Sunday, March 27, 2005

Robots

a selection from Ovid's Metamorphoses (tr: Dick Splick, PhD)

Of bodies changed to other forms I tell; of dollars transformed into tickets to shitty films; of normally sane people become beasts when confronted with sights beyond mortal reckoning, namely, yet another stupid computer animated movie with lots of celebrity voices and "knowing" references.

There is a vale in Melbourne called Doncaster, where many years ago the adherents of the cult of Hollywood built a great temple, now grown old and faded and with strange sticky spots on its carpet, but still a place where the screen god is worshipped, albeit mostly on tight-arse-Tuesday. To this place the legendary warrior Tim wandered, leading his daughter, to make offerings to the Hollywood god, whose new film Robots had come out just in time for the Easter weekend.

Inside the temple, Hollywood's priests attended Tim, and he gave them mountains of gold coin in exchance for tickets and a "combo" deal, comprising drink, popcorn, and piece of molded plastic vaguely resembling one of the characters from the film. In this last his daughter delighted for approximately three quarters of a second. They then entered the inner sanctum, where the assembled worshippers were anxiously querying their offspring about the status of their bladders.

The curtain rose, and Tim was brought face to face with Robots. He shrieked and tried desperately to escape, but Hollywood held him firmly to the ancient upholstery. Tim watched with horror as his daughter was transformed into a slavish adherent of the god, first laughing heartily at the film's highly predictable conceit, before lapsing into a kind of trance as the slick computer generated images gouged the mind from behind her young eyes.

Other worshippers began to change form. Some had their arms and legs turned to hooves, their faces extended: they became horses, whinnying at the slightest provocation of the cacky script. Some became pigs, snorting into their extra large Cokes at the hammy antics of the voice "talent". Tim too was transformed, from man to enraged beast, his prayers to Jove becoming anguished howls as they passed from his animal jaws.

Hollywood, hearing this dissent, manifested himself in the dregs of Tim's soft drink. Even the howls of animals are important to this god, hence his reliance on test audiences. "You disgrace my temple with your criticism," said Hollywood. "I curse you to remain ever thus, an animal burdened with accompanying your daughter to my cynical delights, at least for a few more years, until she learns to despise you and prefer the company of creepy adolescent males, whereupon you shall be discarded like the worthless bag of bones you are."

And so Tim was condemned, and to this day can be found, a man still but also a beast, seated in the temple of Hollywood at Doncaster, shivering in anticipation of the god's next move.

1 comment:

Le Driver said...

Well I thought it was excellent.