1492: Conquest Of Paradise

It’s news to me that Christopher Columbus spoke English with a heavy French accent (courtesy of Gerard Depardieu). In fact, most of this lame effort is high camp that even director Ridley Scott’s gilt-edged pictorialism and screenwriter Roselyne Bosch’s research can’t save. A chief problem may be that a conflict of interests exists between creating something halfway serious in terms of history and creating something ideologically salable; we don’t get nearly enough about Columbus’s passionate belief in slavery, but thanks to lots of sound bites and a ludicrous opening title that makes him sound like Rocky, we know he’s a man with a dream. Cecil B. De Mille used to work wonders with guff like this because, rightly or wrongly, he at least had a vision; this merely has some dim memories of Apocalypse Now, an extended running time, and a score by Vangelis that can’t compare to the one in Blade Runner. With Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver, Angela Molina, Fernando Rey, Frank Langella, and Michael Wincott. (JR)

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