Sunday, March 05, 2006

Werner Herzog's sense of scale

by Alex Stroup
In today's Answer Man column from Roger Ebert, someone asks about why the Discovery Channel was so brutal in adding so many commercials to their presentations of Grizzly Man. Unfortunately the Discovery Channel is how first saw the documentary and I suspect the commercial breaks every 8 minutes or so had a lot to do with me being underwhelmed. The 103 minute documentary is stretched out to 3 hours. Discovery Channel added a 25-minute reminiscence/rebuttal from people in the film but the rest of the padding is commercials.

To answer the question, Ebert went to Werner Herzog who mostly said it was something to be tolerated since Discovery Channel helped finance the film and they are, after all, in the business of making money. But he concludes his comments with this paragraph, which shows perhaps just a bit of a lapse in his sense of scale:

"Sure, centuries from now our great-great-great-grandchildren will look back at us with amazement at how we could allow such a precious achievement of human culture as the telling of a story to be shattered into smithereens by commercials, the same amazement we feel today when we look at our ancestors for whom slavery, capital punishment, burning of witches, and the inquisition were acceptable everyday events."


Blogger jaydro said...

Well, Herzog is the guy who got shot while doing an interview and continued answering questions while seemingly ignoring his bleeding wound.

3/05/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Alex Stroup said...


I guess one underreaction earns you one overreaction.

3/05/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

The commercials didn't bother me much, really. I was just happy to see it on TV. I watched it every time it came on, even though I own the DVD. To me it was enough that it was presented with no bleeps or edits for running time.

Commercials are a necessary evil, and it could have been much worse. At least there was no product placement; imagine how it would take you out of the film to see Herzog say "these Greeslies are so extreeme," after chugging a mountain dew.

When Herzog was shot by the pellet gun, he said "it was an insignificant bullet." I see the commercials as an insignificant bullet. My boyfriend's parents watched it and were still extremely moved, despite the commercials. It might just be that we watch a lot of TV and are used to our stories being broken into by car ads.

3/06/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

I bow to the fuckin' Herzog. Only a few truly blessed mad geniuses, and he rubs shoulders with the greatest of them.

And when slavery, capital punishment, burning of witches, and the inquisition are no longer with us, what other evils remain?

3/06/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger LesterG said...

Say what you want about Discovery's presentation but they’ve done a hell of a job promoting the film and bringing it to the attention of the masses.

When my mother-in-law is talking about Werner Herzog, you know he has officially crossed over.

3/10/2006 04:32:00 PM  

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