|Scene from Chariots of Fire|
It has been awhile since director Hugh Hudson's film Chariots of Fire has been publicly thought of. While it won Best Picture back in 1982, it has since been reduced to being that film that had that Vangelis score we all kind of liked (for good reason). However, by some shocking forces of nature, the film's subject Eric Liddell is getting another film. No, it's not a remake of Chariots of Fire nor does it necessarily involve anyone from the 30-year-old film. However, it may as well serve as an unofficial sequel to the film as it follows the runner following these events as he became a teacher in China called The Last Race. More details after the jump.
To briefly summarize, Chariots of Fire follows British track athletes as they run in the 1924 Olympics. It is an underdog story full of Vangelis score that inappropriately sets synthesizer to slow motion hurdle jumping with a Flash Gordon-esque payoff. It is very slow and its only value is in watching British people pompously run through courtyards and make faces of triumph as they win races. You already know how it ends, even if all you have seen is Cool Runnings. It is also the film that beat Reds, Raiders of the Lost Ark and On Golden Pond for Best Picture. If you must know, I think it is the worst Best Picture winner in history, even if subject Eric Liddell is allegedly a very inspirational figure who does nothing more than run in slow motion to an anachronistic soundtrack.
I am not guaranteeing that this new film is going to be as good or worse than Chariots of Fire. In fact, there's a chance that it will not be brought up again. However, since it serves as a quasi-sequel to an Oscar winner and is scheduled to star Joseph Fiennes (of Shakespeare in Love), it deserves some mention. According to reports, it is a film that is going to follow Liddell (played by Fiennes) as he does his work in China following the events of Chariots of Fire. It is going to be filmed in China by Asian director Stephen Shin and Canadian writer Michael Parker. Any release schedule will be announced sometime next year by a Hong Kong distributor.
So while there's very little news about it, this does come as a very odd endeavor. Is there any chance that Liddell will be making a return to the Oscars? It does seem doubtful. Also, speaking as the original film was not that good, there's no real anticipatory celebration for it. Until further word comes out, let's just chalk this up to one of the odder things to happen in recent years with the Oscars, or at least to indirectly be associated with it. For all we know, this film will not even make a splash next year. But hey, at least it gave us a reason to remember that Chariots of Fire exists, for better or worse.