Thursday, September 19, 2013

Movie Adaptations: The Good, The Bad, and Eragon

Let's start out with this: I'M SORRY ABOUT THE HIATUS!! For those of you who still read, I love you all, you're awesome. Long story short, in the past two weeks I got a new job, and moved to a different state. I'm still settling in, but I can't let my wonderful readers down!

That said, let's talk movie adaptations. Comic book, video game, book, and others.Settle in, because we're gonna be taking a look at some great ones, and some just truly horrific abominations.

The Good: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia #1, Pride & Prejudice (the long one)
The Bad: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Chronicles of Narnia 2 and on
The Hideous: Eragon. Just....Eragon.
Coming Soon: Hunger Games 2, The Hobbit pt.s 2 and 3, Enders Game, 50 Shades of, and a never-ending stream of Twilight clones (The Host, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, etc.)
So what makes them so good? Actors are a large part of why (Lord of the Rings), but they don't always need to be big name stars (Harry Potter) so long as they fit the role. To me it all boils down to the character's mannerisms. Since books by their very nature are a visual medium, the best ones are made great through fantastic character description. Actors who can portray that well or horribly basically make or break the movie.

Then you have the not-so-great adaptations. The ones that, quite frankly, the world would keep spinning if they weren't made (Series of Unfortunate Events, Narnia sequels). But what really makes them bad? Take Narnia for example. The first one was a good adaptation of a famous book. But with the sequels, while they may have followed the books, they were unnecessary. With Harry Potter, the whole point was that the plot had a set timeline, and had to continue. It had a solid base, which was great to build off of. With movies like Narnia, they were good, but not great. They were well received, but didn't have a strong enough take-off to stay in the air.

Then we have Eragon. Now personally I've never seen this movie. The reason I haven't, and most likely never EVER will, is due to the wicked backlash that I've heard from fans of the book. I absolutely adored Eragon, it is my very favorite book, and I don't want that ruined. They tried way too hard, and fell flat on their face as soon as they left the gates. I have a strong feeling this will happen to 50 Shades of Grey.

Now that we've hit literary world, let's continue with COMIC BOOK MOVIES.
The Good: The Avengers, The Dark Knight trilogy, Superman (70's series)
The Bad: Watchmen, Green Lantern, Daredevil, Elektra
The Hideous: Superman Returns, Batman Returns
Coming Soon:Superman/Batman, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Thor 2, Captain America 2, Wonder Woman (rumored), Nick Fury, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange......need I continue?

They. Are. Everywhere. You can't avoid them, and they're not stopping any time soon. Most people think they're a recent thing, but honestly there have been comic book movies since the early 70's. Heck there were (horrific) movies made in the early 90's of Captain America, Thor, and the Fantastic Four.

These ones are honestly a little easier to see what makes them good, and quite honestly it has almost nothing to do with the actor. (I say "almost" because there are rare exceptions) It's all about 1. the director, and 2. the writing. I'll start with a movie I'm a bit biased towards: The Avengers. Sure you have a star-studded cast built up over the course of several years, but if you ask me the power-house performance came from director Joss Whedon. Without a solid script and plot, the movie could have, and most likely would have been utter garbage. Most other directors would have had a much harder time sustaining so much star power. But Joss clearly didn't worry about the stars, he cared about the characters they portrayed. Some are decent, but suffer from gigantic plot changes that end up severely pissing off fanboys everywhere (Watchmen). Taking creative liberties like that is a very risky move, and needs to be done so extremely well, that if it gets mucked up, you're screwed.

And then we have the shining examples of absolute CRAP. The king of these is Daredevil. Pop quiz: what happens when you take a pathetic script, match it with an absolute shit director, and package it all with a lead actor who tries WAY too hard? Answer: you get Daredevil. What happens when you decide to make a spin-off of a shit movie? You get Elektra. Same shit, different wrapper. You ask me why I don't have faith in Ben Affleck as Batman? I'll aways site Daredevil. Maybe it'll be good, but it won't be because of him, it'll be because of the director/writers.

Finally, let's wrap up with...ugh...VIDEO GAME MOVIES.
The Good: Resident Evil (the first one)
The Bad: Max Payne, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, all other Resident Evils, 
The Hideous:Super Mario Brothers
Coming Soon: Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, Metal Gear Solid, World of Warcraft, Mortal Kombat reboot (rumored)

This...this is a hard subject. I love video games, and I love movies. So together they'd always be awesome, right? ooooooh NO. In the mid 90's there were some decent ones such as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, which is why I hesitate to put them in the "Bad" column. They were campy, but they knew they were, which makes them fun to watch and occasionally laugh at.

Then you have Super Mario Bro.s and the like. Mario is an icon, so why was his movie so bad? The same reason the 80's Mario TV show was so bad: the character was just NOT made for live action. Horrid acting, a batshit crazy story that had absolutely JACK to do with the games (except for the fact that he was a plumber), they just plain shot for the wrong audience. If they found an audience, it's stoners/bored college kids. The movie has a place in my heart because of how bad it is, but not everyone feels that kind towards movies like this.

Quite frankly, I think video game movies need to be avoided. If one has ever been truly astounding, I haven't seen it, or they haven't made it yet. Video games in their own right are basically movies with some interactive parts, so why bother taking out the interactivity and throwing in bad writing? Just don't.