Hollywood has shut down production of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost because of budget constraints and problems with special effects.
All we can say is, Hallelujah. Aside from the fact that the book is always better than the movie, the thought of staring at Bradley Cooper’s face for 2 hours, attempting to play Lucifer, is frightening. We imagine the viewer would indeed, had the movie been released, been dragged into a war between heaven and hell – heaven being Milton’s poem, and hell being the movie version.
Why is it so problematic?
Firstly because Hollywood has been churning out sentimental, effects-laden drivel of late, rendering everything valuable utterly vapid. Hollywood’s job, it seems, is to try and make you cry as fast as possible, with cliched, templated scripts. Like what they did with the recent Star Trek films. Or with Prometheus, the prequel to Alien, which may have been similar in form to the original, but completely devoid of its spirit.
Secondly, the film was going to be directed by Alex Proyas of I Robot fame. And while Proyas did a great job with Dark City, Milton’s Paradise Lost is not a dystopic fairytale, but a deeply theological work. And despite the modern inclination to assume that theology and fantasy are essentially the same thing, treating Paradise Lost in this manner will render it hollow and meaningless – the struggle between Good and Evil, Man’s internal crises, and other themes cannot be separated from the religious basis of Paradise Lost. To do so would be a mockery of Milton, and would make Paradise Lost become more like Dogma, the very smug 1999 comedy about two fallen angels.
All we can say is, the shutting down of Paradise Lost: The Movie is a piece of paradise regained.