Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Hollywood Dream Machine Sells Second-hand Dreams

Once again Hollywood demonstrates that it has (A) no imagination, (B) no willingness to think outside its limited comfort zone, ad (C) no understanding that there’s a big world out there full of people who crave imaginative new things on the screen.  Case in point:  Jack the Giant Slayer, which is about to open nationwide.  This is just the latest in a long and tedious line of movies based on fairy tales, including Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters.

On TV, we have the much better Once Upon a Time and excellent Grimm.  Why is this happening?  I surmise that the success of Game of Thrones on HBO has a lot to do with it.  

HBO took a brilliant series of highly imaginative novels and brought their stories to the screen with outstanding script and direction, superb casting, and painstaking attention to detail.  The show is collecting awards and building an audience because it earned the awards and deserves the following.  Observing this success, Hollywood “idea men” sat in script meetings, looked at one another and said, “Aha!  This is fantasy.  We know what fantasy is.  Sure we do.”  

They don’t read in LaLa Land, of course.  Books are so old fashioned and slow—not to mention hard to understand when you’re stoned.  But they continued, “There’s, umm, fairy tales.  And then there’s, um fairy tales.  Everyone knows fairy tales so there’s a built-in audience.  Let’s make fairy tale movies and TV shows.”  

But aren’t those for kids?  

“We’ll add lots of violence and tight black leather costumes and unrealistic weapons.  We’ll make two-hour movies out of simple children’s stories by throwing in big special effects and cheap jokes.  Did I mention lots of violence?  People will love them.  They’ll be a huge success, just like Game of Thrones.”  

Well, not so much.

Why not?  I’ll have some of my own answers in tomorrow’s post.  Let me know your theories. 

1 comment:

  1. I liked Red Riding Hood. I missed the very beginning, but it was the last night it would be in the theater so I bought my $3.50 ticket and went in. I thought it set a great mood with the cinematography. The main character was beautiful and beautifully photographed. Had I seen the beginning maybe I could have guessed which character was the werewolf sooner, but I didn't, so it held my interest. Not at all tedious. It didn't seem like a cynically made phoned-in sort of Hollywood production. It was an artistic statement. I mentioned the ticket price because I think we're harsher at judging movies once the ticket price goes over $5. And it definitely benefited from the large screen, so if you saw it on video it might have lost much of its charm.