Posts Tagged ‘Shrek’

As the Crank Turns

March 8, 2012

If I haven’t done so, I will do it now. Let me state for the record that I do not like horror films, in particular I don’t like horror films made from 1970 to the present day. I find them to be heavy on gore and chase scenes and light on plot and characterization. Don’t worry, there’s a reason for this disclosure and it has to do with this week’s blog entry.

Exhibit A
There will be a remake of the campy horror film Evil Dead.  Reports state that the remake will be more dark and more gory than the original. Also, the role of Ash, which was played by Bruce Campbell in the original film, will be recast as a female. Well, it worked with Battlestar Galactica, so I guess the director decided to try it in Evil Dead.

Exhibit B
Radius,
a game and crowd-sourced film, most likely the first of its kind in the world, had its premiere in Cincinnati recently. The film was made via a smartphone scavenger hunt. People were invited to upload images of people, places and things in the Cincinnati area. Three hundred people participated and 2000 images were uploaded. The company that made this film, Ripple FX Films, is an independent production company that wants to “…put the audience at the center of the art.”

The Point of Exhibits A & B
Exhibit A shows how, once again, the powers that be in Hollywood have decided to greenlight a remake. Exhibit B shows how, once again, the independent filmmakers are striving to creative imaginative and original films. Really, it is necessary to redo Evil Dead? For fans of the film, part of its charm was its low budget campiness. Now there will be a version with lots of CGI effects. Like that will make the film better? As for independent filmmakers, they regularly show their dedication to storytelling and they do it with less resources and more imagination then the studios. Go independents!

“You’ve written about this before,” you must be saying now. “So, what else is new? Hollywood is a business, you know.”

Yes, I’ve written about this before, of course if the powers that be would stop with the redos, I would stop writing about this. Yet, the fact remains, Hollywood is a business and the tension between art and commerce has been going on since the days of Charlie Chaplin. Still, it is possible for the studios to create an original film and make money, as well. Burlesque, The Help, Shrek, Twilight are all recent original films that did well at the box office. So, the powers that be can’t blame it on the recession or throw up their hands and say it is just a trend. In fact, Ripple FX Films was brave enough to solicit images from everyday folks and the people at that company created a film out of those images. So, suits how about taking a line from the independents, putting the lid on all the remakes and making something original?  Don’t worry, you’ll make money. After all, Burlesque, The Help, Shrek, Twilight made money, lots of it and they were all original.

Tune it next time to As the Crank Turns, when our resident blogger will rail against a remake of Planet 9 from Outer Space. (That is if the suits actually decide to greenlight Planet 9 from Outer Space.)

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/the-evil-dead-remake-to-be-dark-and-very-gory-says-jane-levy

http://www.local12.com/news/local/story/First-of-Its-Kind-Movie-To-Premiere-In-Cincinnati/D2zXlk1aKUaa6T4i5gmDGQ.cspx

http://www.whatisradius.com/about

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Disney Classics Goes 3D

November 3, 2011

After the success of the re-release The Lion King in 3D, Disney announced that it will re-release Beauty and The Beast, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid and  Monsters, Inc. in 3D.

I guess I blogged too soon about there being intelligent life in Hollywood. (See Kimosabe, Uncle Walt Says Stop) I must admit I thought re-release The Lion King in 3D was just a one time deal before it goes on to Blu-Ray DVD. Rather it was more like a test for the folks at Disney. Now instead of making original animated 3D films, Uncle Walt’s crew is retro fitting older animated films with 3D effects.

Of course, the 3D retro fitting idea can be traced back to George Lucas doing that to the Star Wars films. I suspect that the folks at Disney found out what he was doing and thought “Gee, if Lucas is doing that for the Star Wars films and there are only six of them, just think what we could with our back catalogue of animated films.” Then The Lion King in 3D did so well, the folks at the Mouse Factory were singing Hakuna Matata all the way to the bank.

Still, 3D isn’t as great as the studios would have us believe and it’s an effect that won’t work for every movie. What’s next? Will Dreamworks’ animation department jump on the bandwagon and start retro fitting all the Shrek and Madagascar films in 3D? What about Warner Brothers? Will we be treated to Bugs Bunny being hunted by Elmer Fudd in 3D? (Quick duck, Fudd has a gun!) Oh Don Bluth*, where are you when we need you the most?

Most of the time, the only thing 3D adds to a film is that it adds more money to the admission price. What makes Disney’s animated films so great is that while the stories they are based on are classics in and of themselves, Disney added the artistry and the storytelling elements that made them their own. When it comes to Snow White, people don’t think of The Brothers Grimm. No, they think of Snow White dancing with the Dwarves and singing Someday My Prince Will Come.

Disney has the resources at its disposal and then some to create another classic animated film, so it has no excuse when it comes this. So, come on Mickey, start whipping your minions into shape. They produced animated films that were grand artistic achievements in the past and they can do it again.

*Don Bluth, a former Disney animator who in 1979 left to establish Don Bluth Productions. His company was responsible for such animated films as The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, Titan AE and let’s not forget the video game Dragon’s Lair.

Sources:
http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/10/04/disney-3d-beauty-beast-mermaid/

http://www.slashfilm.com/disney-3d-rereleases-2012/

http://donbluthanimation.com/_Don_Bluth_Animation_About_Don.html

Successful Movie Franchises Part 2

July 28, 2011

In last week’s entry the reader was treated to tales of spies, villains and redemption. That’s right, the blog entry dealt with successful movie franchises. This week’s installment continues the story. Will good prevail? Will the hero get the girl? Read on and find out.

Batman/Superman
I combined them because they both started as comic books, then went to movie serials, then television and finally back to movies. They are also complex characters. They both lost their parents. They both are compelled to fight the good fight. Superman does it because his foster parents, the Kents instilled in him that his gifts must be used for the betterment of humanity. Batman does it because of survivor’s guilt. He saw his parents killed in a botched robbery and that spurred him to fight for justice.

While a lot could be said about the differences and similarities between the two, for now I’ll just focus on the films. As for Superman, there have been five movies about the Man of Steel, four starring the late Christopher Reeve in the title role (Superman films from 1978 to 1987) and one with actor Brandon Routh (Superman Returns). The films are:

Superman: The Movie 
1978
Superman II

1980
Superman III
1983
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
“1987
Superman Returns
2006

Since Superman Returns was such a disappointment critically and commercially, I hope there will not be another Superman movie. It had a good run, give it a rest and think of something new.

Moving along to Batman, there have been six films. Where did I get that number from? Simple I included the very campy Batman film from 1966 starring Adam West and Burt Ward (yes, the television show did spawn a movie) As for the role call of actors, Adam West, Val Kilmer and George Clooney each portrayed the Dark Knight in one film, Michael Keaton portrayed the Caped Crusader twice and with the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises Christian Bale will have portrayed Batman in three films. If you want to know  the filmography, here it is:

Batman 1966 Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as Robin
Batman
1989 Michael Keaton in the title role and Jack Nicholson as The Joker
Batman Returns
1992 Michael Keaton in the title role, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the Penguin
Batman Forever
1995 Val Kilmer in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman + Robin
1997 George Clooney in the title role and Chris O’Donnell as Robin
Batman Begins
2005 Christian Bale in the title role
The Dark Knight
2008 Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger as The Joker
The Dark Knight Rises
2012 expected release Christian Bale in the title role and Anne Hathaway as the Catwoman.

I hope The Dark Knight Rises is the last Batman movie—ever!  Director Christopher Nolan did a great job rebooting Batman and Christian Bale, like Michael Keaton, got the darkness of Batman/Bruce Wayne just right. After all, he’s not some rich guy with nothing better to do than fight bad guys. For all his wealth and for all the good that he does as Batman, Bruce Wayne cannot bring his parents back and therein lies his darkness. Still, like Superman, it had a good run. End it. Please!

Shrek
The thumb nosing tale to every Disneyesque motif out there spawned four films. Each of the films featured the voices of Mike Myers as the title character, as well as Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy. The films collectively have made over $1 billion in the U.S. Not bad for an orge, his wife and his donkey pal. In case you want to put these films in your Netflix queue, they are:

Shrek 2001
Shrek 2
2004
Shrek the Third
2007
Shrek Forever After
2010

This franchise looks like it is done. Yet, the careers of the three principal stars have stalled recently, so there just might be another one coming down the pike. Still, let’s hope the folks at Dreamworks decide not to greenlight Shrek 5: Insert Clever Subhead Here.

Spider-man
This franchise took a while to get off the ground. The motion picture rights were first purchased in 1985 but a combination of the story not being right to limits of technology delayed the movie from being made until 2000. It was finally released in 2002 with Sam Raimi as the director and Tobey Maguire as the title character. Three films where made with Raimi as the director and Maguire as Spidey and these three films made $1.1 billion dollars in the U.S. Yet Spider-man 3 got mixed reviews. So, there were plans to make a Spider-man 4, yet Sam Rami couldn’t meet the deadline of 2011. So, Sony Pictures cancelled Spider-man 4 and announced that the franchise would be rebootted with a new director and new cast. The rebootted Spider-man is expected to be released in 2012. Personally, I think it would have been better just to end the franchise with Spider-man 3. Spidey/Peter Parker battled his demons, got the bad guys and married Mary Jane Watson. There are loads of superheros in the Marvel universe, so there would be no lack of material for filmmakers to draw from. Again the list:

Spider-man 2002
Spider-man 2
2004
Spider-man 3
2007

Pirates of the Carribean
This movie franchise wasn’t based on a comic book or book or came from anyone’s imagination. This successful movie franchise is based on a ride of the same name at both Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The series stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom and Geoffrey Rush. The idea of a pirate movie based on the ride was in development at Disney since the early 1990’s. When director Gore Verbinski came on board in 2002, he wanted to marry the fun of the ride with its supernatural aspects.  Well, it came as a great surprise that the film did well, because a pirate movie had not been successful for a very long time. To date the films have made over $1.2 billion in the U.S. That’s a lot of yo, ho, ho-ing and it won’t end because Johnny Depp has signed on for a fifth Pirates movie.

You know what is below:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2006
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
2007 (Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were filmed simultantiously.)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011

Thus ends the tale of the movie franchise. Tune in next time for another exciting tale from the world of movies, collecting and pop culture, brought to you by a Generation X’er with many writing credits and not to mention many movie posters for sale.

Sources:
http://www.supermanhomepage.com/other/other.php?topic=bizarro-files

http://gothamknightsonline.forumotion.com/t106-how-many-batman-movies-are-there-and-what-are-their-names

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=shrek.htm

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=spiderman.htm

http://spiderman.wikia.com/wiki/Spider-Man_(film_series)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_(film_series)

The Sequel Strikes Again

April 29, 2010

Recently, it was reported on Empire Online that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are confirmed for Men in Black III and it will be a 3D film. The expected release date is May 30, 2011.

Since the late 1970’s, there have been sequels galore. Notable examples are the Star Wars films and Star Trek films. Yet, it wasn’t always like this. Up until the 1970’s a film was made, it was a success or failure and that was that. The characters were never revisited and the story was not continued. Of course, the exception was the James Bond films. The movie going public in years past were willing to accept that Elsa never saw Rick again, Dorothy never returned to the land of Oz and while Scarlett said that she was going to get Rhett back, it was seen as wishful thinking on her part.

My theory is the establishment of episodic television shows lead a desire in the movie going public to know what happens next. It wasn’t enough to have the main characters ride off into the sunset. People wanted to know if Luke Skywalker became a Jedi and defeated Darth Vader or if the crew of the Enterprise found Spock and saved the whales.[1]

I like sequels. There I said it. The Star Wars films are among my favorite movies. I saw Shrek and Shrek 2 and liked them both. I like the Star Trek films with the original television cast, the Next Generation cast and the J.J. Abrams reboot. Also, The Dark Knight was a blockbuster film that I felt was more thought provoking than most blockbuster films.

Of course, not every movie benefits from a sequel and after a while, the story gets old. The two Tim Burton Batman movies were great. Burton and Michael Keaton in the title role got the darkness and the tortured soul of Batman/Bruce Wayne right. When Joel Schumacher took over the franchise, the movies were just about some rich guy who dresses up and chases bad guys. Also, as many Trekkies know, some Star Trek films are better than others.

Still, the powers that be in Hollywood don’t want to mess with a good formula. So, if a movie made lots of money, more often than not a sequel is in order. As the engineers say, “If it works, it works.”

Source:
http://www.empireonline.com/news/feed.asp?NID=27639


[1] Star Wars Episodes IV-VI and Star Trek II & III respectively.