My neighbor is banging on some piece of garbage in his backyard. He collects metal to sell for recycling. Sometimes he gets metal window frames, and he smashes the glass out of them, very loudly, for long periods of time. The noise is very distracting.
I can barely keep my focus on this new video version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which I am reviewing for a popular adult entertainment website. I really didn’t expect much from it. The story has been told a thousand times: A philosophically myopic king hires a notoriously fashionable tailor to create a special outfit for the 25th anniversary of his coronation, but the tailor pulls a fast one and delivers an empty box, explaining that the fabric he used is so fine that it is almost invisible and registers no sensation upon the skin. Only the “truly enlightened” are able to see it at all, so the king, who can’t really see it because it isn’t really there, says that he can see it, sure! Obviously.
And then, of course, all of his advisers and hangers-on say they can see it, too, because they don’t want to appear ignorant or because they don’t want to risk facing the king’s violent wrath, and the king prepares for his coronation.
In the original version of the story, a child at the ceremony points out that the king is naked, and the tailor is beheaded, and there is some sort of lesson in all of that.
In the version I am reviewing, there aren’t any children. When you think about it, the original story probably won’t ever be made into a major motion picture because of the fact that the climactic moment involves a child checking out a naked adult. I think we can agree that children looking at naked adults is a bad idea in the movies … well, unless it’s done tastefully and is important to the character development, like that scene in “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), or it’s important to the plot, like that scene in “Body Heat” (1981).
In any case, because there isn’t anybody to draw attention to the fact that the king is naked, the people start ordering clothes made with the same fabric from the tailor’s shop, and the tailor has to hire more employees to help with all of the extra work. Thereafter, everybody starts walking around naked. It’s awesome. There’s a bunch of funny scenes where naked people are talking to each other about what they’re wearing.
The complications come in when this one guy, recognizing that it’s all a bunch of bullshit, just starts walking around naked, acting like he’s wearing invisible clothes. The naked guy, who happens to be very attractive, starts chatting up the ladies, complimenting their beautiful dresses, and there’s some clever innuendo.
I was totally expecting this to be a segue into some hardcore action, but when the guy starts hitting it off with one of these hot naked chicks, the action cuts ahead to a scene with the couple under some blankets in bed, apparently after having sex. The fact that they’re under covers at this point struck me as funny. I guess the tailor hadn’t branched out into bedclothes yet.
Thereafter, the tailor, who is now extremely wealthy, sees the guy who is just walking around naked, and he calls him out, saying he never bought any clothes from the tailor and that he’s just walking around naked, but the guy says he bought some knock-offs from a shop downtown, and they should look at the label to see who is counterfeiting the tailor’s work, so they act like they can see this fake label and go looking for the shop, but they can’t find it because it was apparently some fly-by-night deal.
While I am maybe a little disappointed that it isn’t really an adult film, I did like that there were a lot of naked people just walking around going about their business. I was particularly impressed that they weren’t all young and beautiful. It reminded me of those old sunbather magazines from the ’50s and ’60s, with a bunch of older and “shapelier” folks among the supporting cast.
For further consideration: Morgan Atkinson’s documentary “Wonder: The Lives of Anna and Harlan Hubbard” tells the brilliant story of the legendary couple who worked very hard to conduct their lives free of various societal burdens, such as electricity and indoor plumbing. It’s available on DVD. Buy local!