Life After Death: Who’s going to look after artistic integrity?


The big news this week in the movie world is the news that Universal are going to press ahead with the latest Fast And Furious film in spite of the death of lead actor Paul Walker. I first read this story on April Fools Day so my first thought was that it was quite possibly a pretty tactless joke, such is my cynical and world weary outlook on life. But lo and behold, it’s happening and there’ll soon be an influx of Vauxhall Corsa driving “LADZ” descending on cinemas worldwide for yet another dose of car chases, ridiculously sized exhausts and good looking girls with giant tits.

But this doesn’t concern me. The Fast and Furious series has never been something that has excited me, content wise or cinematically. My main concern is what role, if any, Paul Walker will play in this. According to sources, Walker was halfway through filming when his tragic death occured. Which asks the questions; Will the film have a major plot discrepancy when Walker suddenly disappears halfway through the film? Will Fast 7 subsequently storm the Oscars in light of his death? (Expect to see a few new categories next year: Best exhaust in a motoring film, Best occurence of a man in a white vest) Will his appearance in the series be completely glossed over as if he never existed in order to avoid some awkward questions? Or will we see a holographic / CGI Paul Walker completing his role in the film?

I know what you’re thinking; I’ve probably seen too many sci-fi films in my time and I’d probably be more at home on a conspiracy theorists site. But no, I think my fear and trepidation is almost justified this time. In the not too distant past we’ve had 3D music concerts from long since departed musicians such as Tupac, we’ve had Bob Monkhouse come back from the dead for a prostate cancer advert and all sorts of other worldly, poltergeisty nonsense.

Yes, the Bob Monkhouse advert was for a great cause, and yes, the Tupac show was probably a giant cash cow, as the latest Fast and Furious film will be (nothing get punters flocking into a cinema like a bit of pseudo-grief) but who’s protecting the artistic integrity? Who’s to say that Paul Walker had such sway over the crew of F&F that he would’ve persuaded them the series needed a climax and that the whole thing was just a Lost inspired style purgatory? No-one’s to know what choices our beloved thespians would’ve made had they not shuffled off this mortal coil earlier than planned. This is the most worrying thing. What’s stopping a few advertising execs with no shame or common decency in a few years time creating a CGI Heath Ledger all Joker-ed up and giving us a nice rendition of “Why so serious… When you can buy one get one free on Cilit Bang.”

A tad overdramatic I know, but not everyone thinks that common decency and respect prevails over the almighty Sterling / Dollar. With the unbelievable technological riches that are at our disposal these days, pretty much anything is possible. And this includes exploiting someones death / lack of ability to say no in order to push a different agenda or make a few pennies. A disgraceful example, but what’s stopping John Wayne becoming the poster boy for white supremacy because he spent most of his cinematic life shooting Native Americans..?

Maybe Avatar wasn’t such far fetched nonsense after all…