So here comes a short (I hope) rant regarding films.
I don't work in Hollywood, so I have no "insider perspective" on the filmmaking process. I know that films cost a lot of money. I know that they take huge numbers of people working in collaboration to make them. I know that many of the decisions made by film companies revolve around the ability to recoup the money spent and make some profit so that the rich can get richer and produce more films, continuing the business of filmmaking (which helps employ all those people that work on making films). I know that no matter how much "vision" one, single person possesses (whether that's a writer, director, producer, etc.) that vision is going to be worked over a bit by all the other people involved in the filmmaking process...especially co-writers, co-producers, directors, film execs, etc.
And nothing I write on this blog is going to change that. Still, I'm talking about saving my spleen, here.
I HATE that there is so little originality coming out of Hollywood...that so many of the Big Budget Blockbusters are remakes (or "updates") of existing movies. Whether you're talking Straw Dogs or Clash of the Titans, I just feel like slapping people and saying this doesn't need a remake...if you want to introduce an old film to a new crowd, then digitally remaster it and re-release it. Otherwise make your own Goddamn movie, dudes. Aren't people being paid millions of dollars to do these things? And you can't think of an original idea? You suck.
I HATE it when films based on novels written in different time periods, decide to spruce up ("update" again) the material in order to make it more in line with out 21st century wants and perspectives. "Modernizing" it. Look, if you're going to make a live-action version of The Hobbit, then make The Hobbit. Don't make it into something else, restructuring the characters and plot to make it "cooler." If you don't feel like being faithful in your adaptation, then come up with your own original fucking idea for a movie. How many cars do you own?
[and just to add onto that...]
I HATE it when filmmakers choose to make films that use an existing piece of intellectual property (like The Hobbit) and then inject a bunch of random token characters into it because the original IP wasn't diverse enough in terms of gender and race. THERE IS IP OUT THERE THAT FEATURES DIVERSITY, WHY DON'T YOU ADAPT THAT?! There are lots of fairy tale books that feature female protagonists (Shirley Murphy's Soonie and the Dragon comes to mind). Oh, wait...that doesn't have enough blood and guts and combat for you?
|Nice little tale. Dragon eats people.|
Fine, how about adapting one of Robin McKinley's (award winning) books? How about adapting Jennifer Roberson's Cheysuli saga (when an author gets an eight book series published, maybe there's an audience)? How about adapting the saga of Brynhildr to the screen in a Norse mash-up the same way Ray Harryhausen adapted Perseus and Greek myth in the original Clash of the Titans? Are you just too fucking stupid to do this?
I HATE that so often Hollywood (when it comes to action/fantasy films) seems like the epitome of a "good ol' boys" network where the white, male (straight) hero front-and-center. I'm white AND male AND straight and I get tired of seeing the same old shtick.
You know what I really, REALLY don't want to see? I don't want to go into a screening of Star Wars VII and see three white buddies (two male, one female) going on a fantastic galactic adventure. That was fine in the 1970s, but it was certainly a tired concept by the time Harry Potter rolled into theaters. Give Lupita Nyong'o a kick-ass role as Lando's daughter-turned-space-pirate and let her be the "Han Solo" of the movie.
|Oscar winners shouldn't have to play aliens.|
[EDIT from 2016: They made her an alien. Dammit]
Anyway, these are some of the things I'm thinking/fuming about today. Earlier I watched a trailer for the new Hobbit film (I'm not even going to bother with a link...you folks can find it, I'm sure). And it just made me irritated. And then it got me thinking about Hollywood and all these things I "passionately dislike." Things I really can't change or impact or control. Which, BTW, just makes me more irritated.
One of the wonderful things about this RPG thing...the OSR movement, the Indie movement, the DIY-self-publishing thing is how nice it is to have some control and to be able to make shit without being beholden to "money men." I know that what drives the film industry to do things I hate is (for the most part) money. It's the same reason why people choose to live in Paraguay (for those who HAVE a choice): here you can start a business and expect (on average) 10-30% return on your investment annually.
[which is crazy-huge compared to the 5-8% (or 5-10%) you'd expect in the USA. Here, you can recoup your costs after three years and then just profits, baby, ever after. The money doesn't, of course, get reinvested in the country...but who cares when you can afford to send your kids to school in the United States? Just sad, in so many ways...]
People in the self-publishing RPG biz aren't getting rich, clearly, but at least folks are getting a chance to make games (and play games) that they want. If game design is an "artistic" enterprise (and I'd say it is), then at least its not the compromised art of the (establishment) film industry. And that makes it cooler than Hollywood and (for me) mostly "hate-proof."