Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Great Moments in Cinema History #28: Bad Taste (1987)

There is no denying that Peter Jackson's films since (and during) the Lord of the Rings have suffered from severe bloat, with storytelling excess that could have easily been cut from the narrative. But it's the blunting of an exceptional sense of comic timing that hurts more.

The Hobbit movies, for all their length, were still overly crammed with action and characters and mad dashing, and moments of genuine wit and humour were lost in the cacophony. Nobody can hear a good gag over all the noise.

There wasn't anything as perfectly timed as the exploding sheep gag in Bad Taste, the film Jackson made with his munter mates for $6.50 on Sunday afternoons in the eighties. Even there, in the raw madness of the director's first film, he still takes a beat to get the moment when a sheep gets blown up by a bazooka just right.

Even among the gunfights and alien puke, it's one of the best bits in the film, and one of Jackson's purest pieces of perfect comic timing. The sheep just has enough time to look out an let out a bleat before exploding into a million pieces, and three decades later, it's still funny as hell.

Jackson isn't quite as funny anymore, but surely you can't lose that kind of timing forever.

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