Hollywood is Finally Doing Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films Right

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Vortigern99, Jun 28, 2008.

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  1. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    Exactly. My major problem with this thread is that it's trying to somehow establish an absolute judgment. But this is less a situation of "Hollywood has gotten better" and more of "Hollywood is making more of Vortigern's kind of movies".

    As I've said, I agree with the notion that 2008 has been the most entertaining summer at the movies in recent memory.

    Regarding the Rotten Tomatoes scores, I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that critics are generally kinder to these sorts of movies now than they were twenty years ago. People like to point out that the original Star Wars didn't get much better reviews than the prequels, but those old reviews tended to examine how well Star Wars held up against more serious 'cinema' entries. Back then a movie would be dumped on just for being a 'popcorn movie', while these days reviewers tend to take the more open approach of judging whether it succeeds as a popcorn film rather than "Does it hold up to the dramatic adultness of Bonnie and Clyde?"
  2. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Were critics really that much more harsh in previous decades? I was under the impression that many of the superlative popcorn movies from the 70's--The Exorcist, Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien--garnered the notices they deserved. Easily distinguished from dreck like Earthquake and The Towering Inferno.
  3. Vortigern99 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 5
    Guilty as charged. How else does one discuss what films one likes, except according to one's own subjective tastes? This is a discussion, and I invite any and all -- detractors and supporters alike -- to offer their opinions as well.
  4. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I think one of the factors that's been overlooked is DC's influence in the movie industry. DC worked for years to keep a spider-man movie from being made, and it worked. They blocked any progress with that project for 20 odd years, while revitalizing their own titles with the Superman movies in the 80s and Batman in the 90s. It didn't help that Marvel had financial problems and had to sell off movie rights of all their characters to anyone who would buy them. Conversely, once the first theater-releaset movie was made, they followed in hailstorm. However, as I believe has been mentioned, because the rights are owned by so many different companies, getting cross-references or team-ups worked in has been a major snag.

    Look how well the Bruce Timm cartoons worked together.
  5. WormieSaber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 5
    I think DC is headed for triumph well above the Spiderman movies. Considering the type of quality material they seem to be pumping out, like Dark Knight, and later on, we will see The Watchmen.

    The progress of the ease of digital effects and technology has bumped fantasy and sci-fi to a "do-able" medium. But that doesn't mean story is any good. Cloverfield, I thought, though it had a different slant on the whole aliens take-over the city scenario, it was nothing to get excited about. In fact, I hated it. Now 10,000 BC was well worth the price of the DVD, and had a terrific story. Iron Man had a decent story, but has been more or less forgotten already despite the DVD release on the rise, but at least the Sony PS3 game isn't bad. Jumper is better than its' popularity, as nobody seems to know about it anywhere I go. Indiana Jones and Crystal Skull had mixed reviews. This year has been a good year for fantasy/sci-fi flicks, but we aren't getting classics like Star Wars, or E.T., or Jurassic Park!
  6. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    Do you have reference for this?? I have heard of a variety of reasons why the several different Spider-Man projects never got off the ground but never anything about DC blocking their efforts.

    They have also had an abundance of problems trying to get to that level. Between films like JLA being in constant development hell to the troubles trying to refresh the Superman franchise to films like Catwoman and Steel, they are only now achieving a level of quality that transcends the genre.

    Hopefully with Marvel in control of many of their own properties they can start to achieve a similar level of quality.

    I remain skeptical (yet hopeful) about Watchmen.
  7. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    Something that's struck me about the DC films other than the new Batman films and to some extent the Superman films is that they don't match up well with the comics. As noted, Catwoman has nothing to do with Selina Kyle. I suspect that there's a fair amount of writing being done by people who don't read the comics that the stories are based off of and don't understand what it is about the characters that make them work, and similar from executives.

    That isn't to say that characters can be changed from the comics origin - but if you're going to use a comics character (or a character from any form of media to be translated into another form of media) then in my opinion you should either try to remain true to the form of the character that's been proven to work, or you should just create a new story with a new character.

    A good minor example of that is Ramirez from The Dark Knight. Ramirez could easily have been Renee Montoya - young hispanic woman who is a police officer working for Jim Gordon - but due to the nature of the character arc and how she betrays Rachel, a new character was created rather than to change the underlying nature of an existing character.

    Heh. As much as I wish Montoya was in Batman, I'm glad she didn't show up as a crooked cop.
  8. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Kind of like why make the new BattleStar Galactica when there's virtually no similarity to the original? Why not call it something else with different character & ship names?

    Marvel will probablly never regain control of their movies characters. Sony would have to be stupid or bankrupt for them to give up Spider-Man.

    And the big problem has been keeping the stories consistent and interesting across multiple films. When they keep killing villains off, it's kinda hard to bring them back for sequels, and it kinda robs the films of the cheezy comic-book feel.


    One I'd like to see is The Question done similar to the 80s comic version of the character. (not the amsuing comic relief Bruce Timm conspiracy-freak)
  9. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I think I have to agree with that assesment. I think the reason why the Spiderman Trilogy, the Chris Nolan Batman films and the first two X-Men films tend to stand head and shoulders above some of the other comic book films that have been made in the last 8 or 10 years is Nolan, Raimi and Singer are actually fans of the characters their movies are about. They knew what kind of Spiderman/Batman/X-Men movie THEY would want to see and made sure that they had the creative freedom to make that kind of comic book film.
  10. Spiderfan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2004
    star 6
    More and more have been reverting back to Marvel or they are trying to buy them back. Hulk being a prime example (I don't recall how they reaquired the rights but obviously its back in their hands). Obviously Spider-Man and X-Men will have to fail at the box office before Sony and Fox give them up but as it was pointed out to me the rights to those franchises is a major boon to Marvel that can help finance their other pictures.

    Not to mention there are a number of properties they still control. My hope is to see movies like Iron Man across the board.

    Names can bring an audience though. I mean even skeptical fans of the original BSG likely gave a curious glance at the reinterpretation, which can help boost numbers. Hopefully those same fans stick around and start to bring in more people.

    Now thats not to say something new can't out do a name brand product but having a name on a reimagined universe can obviously be a big initial boon to the franchise.

    IIRC Nolan and Singer knew next to nothing about the characters or stories and had to bring in people to help them.
  11. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I think it was more Hugh Jackman who next to nothing about his character, to the point where he had never even heard of Wolverine, than Bryan Singer being ignorant of X-Men as a whole. But if what you say is true, then its to their credit that Nolan and Singer were smart enough to realise that these characters are very deeply cherished by a lot of people and as a result were smart enough to ask for consultants and actually listen to their advice.
  12. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Brilliance excuses everything.



    There's a lot of great comics villains out there. Plenty of room to draw from.



    I'd like to see a story about a superhero dying of cancer, and trying to train his replacement. How about the Question training a Gotham cop to be the new Question? Heh.
  13. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    If I ever see some, I might go along with that. Didn't see any in the pilot, so that show is very low on my priorities right now

    Yeah, but where would Superman be once he killed Lex Luthor? The same place the Batman movies went when they killed the Joker in 1989: a fast-decending downward spiral!


    Yeah, the mentor dying of cancer has been done before (remember Blade?). Still, seeing one done right--long, slow, agonizing, helpless death for at least 10 minutes of film during which the mentor doesn't have time to pass on sage advice--just flinch and cry and gasp in pain--that would be different. And no bringing the mentor back either!

    Fact is, a good movie is entertaining, regardless of genre. Unfortunately, no matter the era or genre, there is a lot more mediocrity, garbage, and outright sewage than there is good.
  14. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    [/quote]

    No need to kill Lex, just don't put him in movie after movie. There are a ton of good Superman villains out there. Just like Batman and Spider-Man have huge rogues galleries.



    I was referencing 52, where the Question recruits Renee Montoya (originally created for the animated series!) to be the new Question. In Blade, Blade had been trained from birth to be what he was. In this semi-theoretical Question story, a cop gets chosen to be a superhero. It's a slightly different spin on the whole origin story thing.
  15. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    OK, don't know that one. Sorry, it's been 12 years since I collected or read any comics.
  16. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I just watched the original THe Nightstalker movie. Incidentally, I highly recommend both series, though the original is much more interesting.
    The DVD has an interview with the producer that says a number of things I've been thinking for a long time, and touches in some ways on this thread. Please pardon my paraphrasing, but this is as close to accurate as I can remember. (exact words may be slightly different)
    "The best horror... And this is strictly story."
    "In those days {70s}, when we made a TV movie, we walked into _____'s office and said 'Hey, I've got a great idea' and tell a little story, and the guy said 'Great. Go do it.' And we did. We made it quickly, and cheaply, and it was done, and it was entertaining. There was no script development. There was no committee of 7-9 people. I would never spend--I can't imagine going in and developing a script that way. Nowadays there are committees and a script is developed and redeveloped and the result is utter garbage. Everything has to have meaning and be a special production. We made movies, and they were entertaining, and tht was it. They didn't have to have some committee approved meaning to them. They were entertaining, and they were fun."
    "We filmed the original NightStalker movie in 12 days for $40 thousand, which will give you an idea of how cheap it was back then to make a TV movie."

    I think this is where many movies fall apart, whether for TV, theater, or direct to Video release. They have to be sterile, corporate-approved, milktoast-safe entertainment, and there is no sense of fun. I'll bet the original cast of Star Trek had far more fun than any of the later casts, simply because they didn't have to take the show so seriously, with ravening hordes of fans ready to jump down their throats at the most minor inconsistency. (and boy are there a lot--an entire volume titled The Nitpicker's Guide to Classic Trek.)
  17. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    I like the Nightstalker, but I wholly disagree with the producer that today's scripts are "utter garbage". I like "meaning", I like a "special production", and I like contemporary genre films.
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