After the stirring creative success of his English-language debut Gothika — still hovering around a 15% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes — no one could really fault French filmmaker-actor Mathieu Kassovitz for expecting miles of auteurist latitude on his new film, the sci-fi Vin Diesel thriller Babylon A.D. Least of all Kassovitz himself, it appears, whose journey to the farthest-flung frontiers of studio hackery (or Eastern Europe, whichever came first) nevertheless found him face-to-face with micromanagers from 20th Century Fox — "lawyers who were only looking at all the commas and the dots," he recently told inquiring minds at AMC. Things quickly deteriorated from there, alas, but Kassovitz's loss is our gain today as he disowns Babylon A.D. in the most spectacular, career-immolating fashion imaginable:
"It's pure violence and stupidity," he admits. "The movie is supposed to teach us that the education of our children will mean the future of our planet. All the action scenes had a goal: They were supposed to be driven by either a metaphysical point of view or experience for the characters... instead parts of the movie are like a bad episode of 24." The last stroke, Kassovitz says, was when Fox interfered with the editing of the film, paring it down to a confusing 93 minutes (original reports were that 70 minutes were cut from the film; Kassovitz says the number is closer to 15). ... ""I don't see how people who went through all these amazing blockbusters like The Dark Knight and Iron Man this summer will take it. ... I should have chosen a studio that has guts," he says. "Fox was just trying to get a PG-13 movie. I'm ready to go to war against them, but I can't because they don't give a s—t."Fox was not available for comment, according to the author, but we don't mind defending the studio on the basis of its clear interest in rich "points of view" belonging to everyone from Manoj Night Shyamalan to Eddie Murphy to Space Chimps — this year alone, in fact, as evidenced by its glamorous run of greeting cards memorializing those perspectives and experiences. Furthermore, if you can't get a metaphysical hard-on watching Jack Bauer clamp jumper cables to terrorist nipples, then maybe it's your point of view that requires more worldly considerations, Matty. We're almost loath to say it, but seriously: Team Fox.