Saturday, April 24, 2010

"...If Done Right."

Like many, there are some books, video games and classic films that I think could make great films or remakes... if done right. For example, I always thought that Clash of the Titans would always make a great remake with today's technology. I have not seen the new film yet, but from what I hear, it was not done right. Most people have claimed that it isn't worth seeing. I haven't decided if I want to see it, but... we'll see. It sounds like another Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to me; awesome graphics wasted on a stupid movie. I always feel bad for the graphics crew, they work so hard to make these amazing graphics, and half of the time the movie sucks. Talent gone to waste. Sad days.
But one thing I've paid attention to is what people have to say about a film being made from something I like. I really enjoy the Wheel of Time book series by Robert Jordan, and they would make some really cool films... if done right. I know that a film/mini-series of these books has been in the process for a long time, and that Universal Pictures® has recently picked up the rights to do so, but this is a mammoth project. The books are so detailed that to take a 700-page book and turn it into a 2-3 hour movie seems nearly impossible. I still have great hopes, but Hollywood has been pretty good at keeping me disappointed these last few years.
Another franchise that I would like to see turn into a film series is the popular Legend of Zelda video game series. You can call me a nerd if you want, but no one can dispute how cool these games are. I, myself, am working on scripting a trilogy based on these games, but Nintendo® will be hard-pressed to let rights to this treasure chest go.
Since I'm writing scripts for the Zelda series in my spare time, I keep an eye out to see if there is any news about a film being made from the video games and I usually end up on a forum or someone's blog. The most common thing I find on those sites are people discussing how cool it would be to see a Zelda movie, and who should be the one's to make it. Usually, the crew for a Zelda film goes like this:
Peter Jackson - Director
James Cameron - Writer
Steven Spielberg - Producer
Leonardo DiCaprio/Orlando Bloom - Link
Zoe Saldana/Ellen Page - Zelda
And yada, yada, yada...
This irks me to no end. You ignorant swine! Yes, Peter Jackson did an amazing job on The Lord of the Rings trilogy! But if you ask him to do a Zelda film, all you're gonna get is Lord of the Rings with different characters. James Cameron is a pretty amazing storyteller, agreed. But then you'll end up with Link being a robot chosen to protect Zelda from Ganondorf, the man who wants to destroy Hyrule so that he can mine the profitable material beneath the land. Maybe not, but it's likely to just be another Avatar. Could be cool, but probably not.
Please, please, please do not have DiCaprio or Bloom in the role of Link, or Saldana or Page in the role of Zelda, for two reasons:
One - This is not a heartthrob film. We don't want people going to see it just so they can swoon over the main characters. Which leads into...
Two- With a film like this, you want actors that can act (that cuts out Hayden Christensen) and that are not well known. You want to watch a movie and believe that those actors really are the characters they are pretending to be. You don't want to spend the whole movie thinking of all the other movies those actors have been in and how well their acting compares to their other film roles. Completely destroys the believability of the film, which is a very bad thing.
Bottom line, just because someone has done something good in the past, doesn't mean that they'll do good on everything else. The main thing that will make the difference in making a film from another popular medium is whether or not the filmmaker is passionate about it or not. Peter Jackson did great on the LOTR films because he loved the books, he was passionate about them and his goal was to do the best he could and not disappoint the other fans. That is a requirement for turning anything into a successful film; the director/writer has to love what he is creating and where it comes from. If not, you end up with a film that was made for money (again, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Fantastic Four, Spider-man 3, Batman & Robin, so on and so forth). You can't walk onto a film thinking about how much money can come from it, you need to walk onto the project because you love what you do and you truly want to give the audience something amazing.
Money versus creativity is a big thing in Hollywood today, but that is a discussion for later.

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