Wolfgang Petersen, RIPComments
We do need a word on Wolfgang Petersen here, as he has died at the age of 81.
I see Peterson as one of a long line of European directors who directed amazing work at home, then came to Hollywood and became a competent studio hack. I don’t really use “competent studio hack” as quite a pejorative here. We need those people. One reason why Hollywood sucks today is that it has gone all in for Batman 48: Batman Has Hemorrhoids rather than produce quality productions that might not make a billion dollars in China but are still competent, enjoyable films. Das Boot is one of the great films of all time. It made Peterson an international star. He followed it with In the Line of Fire and Air Force One and The Perfect Storm and Troy and other action adventures. I like most of those movies well enough. But if you were to tell me that the director of Das Boot would end up there, I’d probably be a bit disappointed. But then it’s hardly different than Fritz Lang. Ingmar Bergman’s attempts at Hollywood were disasters. It’s not everyone who can make that transition.
Anyway, he was at worse an extremely capable director.