Movie Monday: What a Mess (the Craft:Legacy)
So, we watched “The Craft: Legacy” the other night. What a piece of unmitigated garbage. I love the first movie (despite a rather milk-toast main character); it was edgy and dangerous and showed real “sisterhood.” There was a (thankfully fictional, given the story line) Deity figure mentioned (Manon), and it showed the danger of receiving too much power too soon. It also really captured what the neo-pagan and occult communities were like at the tail end of the nineties. This one…well, let’s start with what I liked.
The performance of the main character was excellent and I liked the reveal about her parentage at the end of the movie. There was also a bi male character, which one rarely sees in movies. That was about it. Even the score was crap.
What I disliked: the characters parroted social justice slogans, you know, in place of actual personality, ethics, or soul. I expected a bit of it, but the whole movie was suffused with this nonsense. In the original, there was character development, and the scars and trauma of the girls was shown on screen. In this new movie, it was just slogans. (For instance, one of the girls was trans. Ok. That could be really interesting, but we don’t actually see any of her experience or struggles or personality or journey. It’s just a label to check off). The girls’ sisterhood also goes out the window the moment one of them demonstrates true power, betraying exactly the lack of critical thinking and reasoning skills I’ve come to expect from the left. Masculinity throughout the movie is portrayed as toxic (unless it’s utterly spineless, then it’s “woke”), the rituals are pathetic, and none of the girls are shown actually able to focus enough to work anything, and what could have been a fascinating continuation turned into a poorly written mess. One could have written this well, still with the leftist principles. That’s not what happened though, and it’s a shame, because the actresses were quite good despite being given personality-less characters to play. The movie did show how brutal and bullying high school can be though, in a much more graphic way than the original, which was well done. (Watching it, I said to my housemate: so many reasons to homeschool. So. Many. Reasons).
I think part of the problem, aside from the woke nonsense which I personally think should have been jettisoned wholesale (it became a caricature of these principles, which shouldn’t have been the intent. If you’re going to introduce that, it has to be done well and the time has to be taken to draw out the complexities and characterizations involved), is writers don’t understand the mindset of a magus or witch (used in the traditional sense not as a gloss for Wicca). It’s about the acquisition of power. Any magician who tells you he or she isn’t interested in power is lying to themselves and to you. There is a certain brutal amorality in the best of them. This isn’t the type of character with which the audience will empathize, especially not if that character is female. I’m reminded of a fiction author I used to like, who wrote one of my favorite vampire series (no, it’s not Anne Rice). She recently betrayed and frankly neutered her main character, rendering him harmless. She said in the epilogue that she was concerned about how popular this character was, because he was essentially a serial killer. Um yes, sweetheart, vampires should not sparkle. You wrote a compelling character drawing on a significant amount of traditional vampire lore. Have some courage and stay the course (Gods save us from cowardice passing as morality). Stories with harsh characters, with complicated villains who are not always bad but certainly not good (and heroes who are not always good either) are important, and they teach us about navigating the complexities of a morally grey world. We don’t need a handful of Mary Sues checking off social justice oppression points (but never actually depicting the struggles, which would have been interesting) on screen or on page.
What disturbed me the most, is this movie is all about conformity with your peer group, not independent thought, not power, certainly not magic. It had very little to do with actual power, with overcoming fear of one’s power, with growing into power as a female or male, and even less to do with the much-touted ‘sisterhood.’ Skip it, my friends, and re-watch the original.