Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Death Becomes Her


This is not nearly as bad as I remembered it. Searching for a reason why that should be, I decided it was probably because the end was not nearly as good as the beginning. In fact, after about the halfway point Robert Zemeckis and David Koepp, the director and writer, couldn’t figure out where to take the story, and so it degenerated into a lot of rather elaborate and unfunny action scenes. Before that, it had been a damn good satire. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn are great as a has-been movie actress and her long-time rival. Both are seeking eternal youth, which is offered by a very sexy Isabella Rossellini. But of course there is always a price to pay.

In this case, it is that they are actually dead. And as we learned in Game of Thrones, “That which is dead cannot die!” But they can sustain a lot of damage. Bruce Willis, in a rather frantic performance, is the undertaker who is charged with keeping them presentable.

It’s too bad they couldn’t keep up with the really swell opening, where Streep performs a so-horrible-it’s-good song and dance routine for a musical production of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth. Outstanding! I had a similar problem with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where the stuff that came after couldn’t really measure up to the great opening musical number of “Anything Goes” in Chinese.

This movie is mostly memorable because it pushed the state of the art of special effects beyond anything that had been seen before. They are unremarkable today, of course, but in 1992 it was pretty amazing to see Goldie Hawn with a hole blown through her middle, and Meryl Streep with her head turned backwards.