Monday, March 3, 2008

Pumping Iron II: The Women

The first shot of Pumping Iron II: The Women involves a tanning bed. Welcome to the eighties, everybody! Brace yourselves for headbands and feathered hair!

Oh, and leotards. Many, many leotards.

This movie takes some liberties with the idea of a "documentary". The first movie certainly had some, um, aggressive editing and some people may scowl at the idea of Schwazenegger being told what role he was supposed to play. But this movie builds up to a competition that was put on by the makers of the movie. They completely decided ahead of time what point they were trying to make, and it shows. Also, the Dramatic Lighting of the competition makes it hard to actually have an informed opinion.

Also, it seems weird to complain about objectification in a movie that's explicitly about people who have sculpted their bodies to a specific point, but that shower scene seemed a bit over the top. I certainly don't remember a scene in Pumping Iron that was quite so soapy. But it's balanced off by the extremely dull scene in which (old, male) judges try to figure out how to operate a calculator.

In the first Pumping Iron, the guys were big. Not as big as they are these days (judging from those terrifyingly veiny magazine covers you sometimes see), but still pretty big. In this, though, most of the bodybulders look like today's aerobics models. Even the one who's supposed to be "too manly" wouldn't stand out much these days. I mean, except for her exceptional mullet.

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