Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Once and Future Cinema

Like many people, I’ve a love-hate relationship with Hollywood. That much should be evident in my posts about Tinseltown. Right now, however, I thought I’d mention some tidbits that actually seem as if things are going right for a change.

In this post I expressed my feelings on the remake of Forbidden Planet. In short, this is one update I can understand. Assuming it is handled with care, I am quite enthusiastic. Well, just before my Holiday break, I came across encouraging news. James Cameron has reportedly taken interest in tackling the project. Perhaps for some the over-saturation of Titanic leaves a sinking feeling. But one cannot deny it is beautifully filmed and executed expertly. And who can sneeze at the first two Terminator movies? His upcoming Sci-Fi venture Avatar features innovations in combining live-action photography and photorealistic CGI in 3-D invented by Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment. Supposedly it will revolutionize film and has Hollywood who’s-whos dropping their jaws. Who better to transport us to the Krell’s techno-magic on Altair IV? Let’s hope he’s not forbidden from doing so…

Though I am only vaguely familiar with the next film’s source material, I am much more familiar with the source of the source material. Kenneth Branagh has stepped up to direct the film version of the Marvel comic Thor. The fate of this movie has (like so many others) been all over the map. At one point the desired direction by the studio had me already buying a ticket. Shortly after, though, I felt ready to boycott it. Let me explain. Reportedly the majority of the film would take place in Asgard, the home of the Norse gods. (Drool!) But budget and production concerns scrapped the idea, opting to show very little of Asgard and focus on Earthly action. (Yawn!) Well, as of now, I’m thrilled that it is once again hailed as primarily about Norse mythology, with events unfolding in that realm. Myth is a passion of mine yet I am hard pressed to come up with a live-action film about the legendary Norse stories. I can think of two… and one of those had been a single scene that didn’t make the final cut. The film The Mask originally opened with an assemblage of the gods banishing the troublemaker god Loki into the infamous mask. Not the best depiction, but a depiction nevertheless. The other is the movie Erik the Viking. My apologies to anyone who liked this flick, but I did not. Except for when the gods appear toward the end. I quite enjoyed the spin put on it. But again, it’s not enough and/or feels non-existent. If there’s one complaint oft repeated about Hollywood it’s that nothing “new” is being done. Hollywood ransacked much of the Greco-Roman stories again and again – it’s time to see Norse myths. Well, Mr. Branagh, bring it on!

Another long gestating project is the big screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Now in this instance it’s not what’s being brought to the screen that makes me smile. It’s the fact that as of now, it won’t be coming to the screen. According to a MovieWeb article, the movie has been kiboshed on account of Card’s “disappointment in the film's thematic direction.” He won’t allow the movie to degenerate into a “action hero” flick at the sacrifice of the complex human relationships within his novel. In other words, he wants “an honest presentation of the story.” Can you blame him? Bravo, Mr. Card! My friends Sunshine and Doc Holiday adore this series. Despite their praise over the years, I am guilty of not yet reading the books. I know, I know…shame on me. I’ll rectify it. Let’s just hope that if a movie is made, it will both rectify the current situation and satisfy the author and his fans.

And lastly, a new pic from Where the Wild Things Are has surfaced. Not overly stunning, yet not without merit. I originally posted about this adaptation here.

Hosah for storytelling.

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