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When will the movie spolight swing back to high fantasy?

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Arcbound Phyrexian, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Is it just me, or is there a lack of really good, high-budget, epic fantasies, a la The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar, and even Sucker Punch, compared to comic book movies and such? When will it shift back? Are the ones I've listed signs?

    Don't get me wrong. I appreciate what we have, just when it comes to movies, I tend to want to see the envelope pushed, so, though I'll watch the movie at least once, if the movie is a lame 80s flick, a shoddy adaption in a low budget Next Generation-era Star Trek style, or some famous actor banging his chest as some historical figure, I'd rather read the book, because my imagination is more believable, you know? It has to be good for me. If it doesn't look good, what's the point in watching it?
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  2. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

    Movies, like other art forms, evolve. You have to take each movie and evaluate it on what it is, rather than an arbitrary standard set on the current date. If all you want to see is movies that "push the envelope," then you miss out on a lot of fantastic movies. What pushed the envelope 40 years ago is old hat now. Take the movie Dracula for instance. If you're a movie fan, the question you're asking right about now is, "Which one?" There are literally hundreds of versions of "Dracula" out there, and variations on that theme. So which one should you see?

    The silent version made in 1922, Nosferatu. This doesn't "push the envelope" today, but it was a masterpiece at the time. In the right frame of mind, watching it can be downright chilling.

    The classic Bela Lugosi Dracula of 1932 would likely bore you, though it, too, is a masterpiece. There's another 1931 Dracula movie made in Spain with the same sets.

    Horror of Dracula (Hammer Films) from 1958 starred Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and brings a whole different viewpoint on Dracula. Hammer created an entire genre on its own.

    The Fearless Vampire Killers of 1967 was a spoof on Hammer's Dracula films.

    Dracula A.D. 1972 was a whole different take on the Hammer Dracula films, with the same actors in the same parts.

    Blacula (1972) - another whole different genre - blaxploitation. Same story, yet completely different.

    Blood For Dracula from 1974. Total weirdness. It was produced by Andy Warhol. Need I say more?

    Dracula of 1974 starred Jack Palance, who brought a whole new interpretation to the character.

    Dracula from 1979 with Frank Langella. While all the movies portrayed Dracula as having a certain amount of sex appeal, the sexual revolution of the seventies really brings it to the fore.

    Love at First Bite (1979). A spoof, but essential. Who thought of the idea of "Mr Tan," George Hamilton, playing a vampire?

    Bram Stoker's Dracula of 1992. An amazing production with Gary Oldman as Dracula and Winona Ryder as Mina. Totally different Dracula, with a story that makes him a sympathetic character.

    Dracula, Dead and Loving It (1995). Leslie Nielsen. Funny, silly, and essential.

    Dracula 2000. Gerard Butler's Dracula. Pushes the envelope and comes out with a new theme.

    My point is this: Every one of those movies worth watching. But not if you're only looking for the one that "pushes the envelope."

    Edit to add: Yes, I own every single one of those movies, except Love and First Bite and Dracula, Dead and Loving it. Though I have seen them.
  3. lawrence

    lawrence Troubadour

    The Hobbit is hitting the screens in just over a year. I expect that from late summer 2012 through to its release there will be a huge buzz and High Fantasy will be on the movie agenda, interest peaking during the movie release and depending on how it is executed (and based on the LOTR trilogy we can be optimistic) alot of profile for some months to come afterwards.

    You would think that studios will be keen to get other great fantasy epics from book to screen, but even with New Line/Wingnuts' partnership and massive success with Tolkien, we didn't see a big surge in epic fantasy movies. Studios, Directors and Producers seemed to have been too busy with revamps and retellings of five year old movies, and loads of sequels.

    Movie making is about getting the finances, and perhaps Tolkien was almost alone, among High Fantasy authors, in being the only one who's work was so hugely popular for the whole latter half of the 20th century that investors were willing to pour so much money into it, and give so much room to their production team to make it a labour of love as well as a blockbuster. Harry Potter was an equally safe bet with its global fanbase already established.

    There is no shortage of very talented people who have the capacity and the heart to turn a wonderful book into a great movie without trashing it and making its diehard fans weep. Huge affection and popularity among readers seems to be the rod that brings the lightning to the inanimate beast laying on the movie studio table - the money that makes it happen. Lets hope we don't get too many mindless monsters stitched from bits of stuff that are best left buried in the ground :)
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Between the Hobbit and . . . this . . . it might not be long before fantasy gets a moment. Both are likely to be pretty good.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  5. Looking forward to The Hobbit.

    That's the first I've heard of a Warcraft adaptation...not sure what I think about that.

    I need to see in my lifetime a proper live-action version of the Dragonlance Chronicles, eventually Legends. The animated version is ehhhh...though touted by Hickman as a first step. I want to see the real deal.

    I've heard much discussion to the filming of Mistborn as well and would love to see that.
  6. They've been "working on" a Warcraft movie since WoW launched in 2004. At BlizzCon in 2007, Chris Metzen talked about all the cool things that would be in it. Two and a half years ago, in summer 2009, they announced that Sam Raimi would be directing it. There hasn't been much word since.

    In other words, don't hold your breath. ;-)
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    They do keep insisting that they're still working on it, though. I expect like everything Blizzard does that it will take a very long time. But either it will be good or they'll scratch the project all together, of that I'm pretty sure.
  8. Elder the Dwarf

    Elder the Dwarf Maester

    I would love to see a good dragonlance series of movies. I would really like to see a couple good Drizz't movies. Or a Drenai series. There are so many good fantasy novels that could be made into movies...
  9. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

    The problem with bringing fantasy books to the screen is cost. Fantasy movies generally have to have a very high special effects budget. Not only must they include special effects, but the effects must be stellar in order to be an asset to the film.

    On the other hand, Ashton Kutcher movies have almost no special effects and the budget can be much smaller.

    I don't think we're ever going to see a "lot" of fantasy movies, but now that we've got the technology, we'll probably see a higher rate than in the past.
  10. Oh, I know. Three years between announcing Starcraft II and releasing it. Yeesh. :) I just mean, I'm not going to let myself get excited about it until I hear that they're actually beginning production. Then I'll go geek out.
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Behind the special effects is an engine which a studio can adapt for the next movie. The tech is getting cheaper, and at some point there will be a breaking point where fantasy effects won't have to be reserved for films they expect to be blockbusters. Above average, maybe, but short of blockbusters.

    On the other hand, the movie industry might be going through some pain pretty soon if they agree to direct-to-streaming contracts. That might set it back.

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