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Why Fantasy Movies are Failing - article

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Devor, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    Yep. The further away the movie gets from the book it originated from, the worse the movie is. Almost always. If the book did well enough to get Hollywood's attention, the author must have done something right. Yet when these directors get their hands on it they feel the need to screw around with a winning formula and end up butchering the story.
     
  2. Guy

    Guy Inkling

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    Indeed. Of course, fantasy isn't the only genre with that problem.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  3. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

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    Good CGI doesn't seduce me anymore. I loved the Cloud Atlas movie but the make-up was so damn bad and it reeked of the Matrix films...okay, may be I didn't like it that much, but it made me want to read the book and I thought it was a great book.

    I don't know what I'm trying to say, but I just wish Hollywood would stop butchering sci-fi and fantasy stories. I hate I am Legend, I thought it was terrible sci-fi horror, I hated I Am Robot, also so much self-indulgent machismo. I wish Will Smith would lay off sci-fi or at least stop making it all about him. I ffw most of Oblivion because the human angle stuff was boringly overdone. I mean I'd pass all that and watch Minority Report again on cable, and I rarely watch a movie more than once these days. I want good sci-fi movies back!!! I want to go to the theatre and enjoy both good CGI and a good story, I know most Hollywood actors are good, it's just the material that needs improvement. And there's years and years of great sci-fi/fantasy raw material out there, they just need to find it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  4. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I did forget to mention the third problem. Actors.
    They need good effects, good script and semi-believable actors. Scrimp on any of these and the movie won't do as well as it can.
    Three legged stool, cut one short and the movie will fall.
     
  5. rhd

    rhd Troubadour

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    Sorry I meant I, Robot.
     
  6. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    One thing I was discussing with a friend earlier: they don't make these movies until there is some bigger trend they can tag onto, and that doesn't necessarily translate into cinematic success. We were discussing this more in regards to the YA fantasy trend - The Host, Beautiful Creatures, and City of Bones for 2013 - but I think a lot of it applies to these.

    Unless a book has some serious hype to it, like Harry Potter or Twilight, it takes studios years to get around to actually making it into a movie. And those fandoms, while not gone, just aren't as hyped anymore. Spiderwick Chronicles was an okay film, and I liked the books well enough, but the movie came out four years after the series ended. The peak of the City of Bones hype was back when I was in high school - 2007 to 2009 - which is incidentally when the (original) series was being published. It's been four years. Who cares anymore?

    Eragon was three years from the first book, which was about the only book anyone liked. Even the fans of Eldest had a full year to die down their excitement. There is a Seventh Son movie coming out in January or something, which is based on a series of kid's books that started in like 2004. Those kids are in high school now, and probably are not going to fill theatres.

    There are definitely a lot of factors, not the least of which being that none of these are as popular as something like Harry Potter or Superman were before their films, but if studios stopped making films 4-10 years after anyone who would have cared has long since stopped caring, it might do a bit better. I mean, The Golden Compass wasn't even that bad a film, but it came out 12 years after the book did! The kids who read that were in graduate school by then, for goodness' sake.
     
  7. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    I think this is more the final blow to an already doomed film.

    A book's actual readership means only so much to a movie. A movie needs millions of viewers to succeed (especially with CGI costs), and book crowds aren't as large a share of that as we'd like, although it is hard to get even a full share of that since it's hard to make a deal and a film soon after a book (and we can probably point to a few that were, where the movie suffered).

    So a movie has a chance to make its own buzz (it's a !!!! movie!), but it pretty much has to. I guess it's only when the film is good and probably also the books are big that it's able to push through all this-- good buzz, more fandom to draw on and also attract better filmmakers, and probably the book success also means more books (or Tolkienian loyalty) that keeps the readership fresh anyway. A bad movie made about a flash in the pan is just a bad movie.

    Here's an interesting question: can anyone name a decent post-LOTR fantasy movie --let's call it one "most fans respected" to keep this from getting too personal-- that didn't succeed, and was it because of lack of studio support or other issues? Are failures like that more or less likely than in other genres, and why?
     
    Mindfire likes this.
  8. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    You definitely need more than the readers, but often times it is the readers who create the hype that gets everyone else to go see it. Certainly, there were many more people who saw the Harry Potter films than who read the books, but it was all the hype surrounding the books that got people interested in the movies. I think if you hit any of these films at a time when it's got a sequel on the NYT Bestseller's List and enough people still care about it to try and drag their non-reader friends to see it, you could at least break even on it. Instead, you get City of Bones, which will be lucky to make back half of what they spent.

    Hmm, the closest bomb I can think of is City of Ember, which wasn't poorly received by fans but wasn't really respected either. Probably deserved more than it made, particularly since most of the major flaws of the film were also flaws of the novel. And it had Bill Murray as the villain. Marketing was probably an issue, since I'm not sure I ever saw a trailer for it and only knew of it because I was a fan of the first book and it was mentioned in some thread on Gaia Online (that's where I hung out in 2008; I was like 16), but the rest of the series was only 'okay' so I admit even I didn't go see it in theatres. I don't know. I think it deserved to make it's money back. The effects and sets were nice, the actors were all pretty good.

    I don't know if fantasy in particular is targeted, but I think book-movie adaptations are sometimes handled a bit lazily. Studios seem to think that any book can bring in an audience on name recognition alone, and they sometimes get pretty lazy with the script. They do this remarkable thing where they seem to assume the audience has read the book, but also never bothered to read it themselves.
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I think that only shifts the conversation a little bit - maybe not why do so many fail, but why do they make so many bad ones?

    For those who are mentioning the visual effects . . . . one thing that sometimes happens in big projects is that they get to a point where they're almost finished, only to have the "higher-ups" lose faith in the project and skimp at the end. "Skimp at the end" in a fantasy movie would mean going cheap on some of the visual effects. Is that maybe what's happening?
     
  10. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    When I watched The Last Airbender, it definitely looked like that could have happened. Some bending effects were conspicuous by their absence (90% of the training scenes) and others were just toned down to the point of being pitiful (80% of the bending fights) or hilarious (the now infamous "pebble dance"). Of course, that movie had other problems, like the script for starters, but that's no excuse to scrimp on your effects. Heck, if Transformers 2 is any indication, the worse your script is, the more money you should dump into effects.
     
  11. kayd_mon

    kayd_mon Sage

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    The Transformer movies had scripts?

    I can't guess why there a so many bad fantasy movies. I don't understand why studios would spend so much on a project without ensuring its quality. But there are bad movies in any genre. The core problems rest with the scriptwriters and the actors, then the directors and the producers, and then the special effects crew, I think. You don't need awesome effects to make good movies (TV shows often have bad effects and we still like them), but you do need good dialogue and good actors to deliver it.
     
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