Saturday, February 11, 2006

Yet Again, I Weep for the Future of Entertainment

Just got done watching King Kong, the big hype-monster of yester-year. I got bored about 30 minutes in, and nothing that happened after that redeemed it in the least. The dialogue was terrible, the CG was overdone, the subplots were stupid, the whole thing felt flimsy and fake, and it bolstered my feeling that the special effects movies of the future are going to keep putting me to sleep, in the trend of the Lord of the Rings movies, Alien vs. Predator, Day After Tomorrow, and the Star Wars prequels. Doesn't anyone know how to do this stuff right anymore?

Actually, someone does. The Harry Potter movies have been pretty good on the whole, though they do run a bit long, and the story gets stretched thin at times. Still, the first three were a lot of fun for me, and no, I haven't read the books yet, so I have no auto-bias or other frame of reference.

We all know George Lucas masturbated his ILM effects all over the place in the Star Wars prequels and remakes like a monkey throwing feces at the zoo. I got over that, thinking, "Oh, isn't George cute the way he's lost his grip on reality and the desire to let someone better write his movies?" But now Peter Jackson does the same thing and people love him for it. His movies are all entirely too long, have often boring dialogue and structure, and are mostly retellings of other people's work anyway. If he has this much trouble (IMO) adapting established material, maybe having him on board for the Halo movie isn't such a hot idea. Maybe if they sign Michael Bay to direct, it'll be ok. Between Alex Garland's solid writing chops, the tug of war between overly drawn-out epic (Jackson) and flashy, punchy-paced action (Bay), the flick might emerge victorious despite the weaknesses of some of its ingredients.

Then again, Jackson did do at least one thing right in his life: The Frighteners. I can't speak to whether or not that is a totally original story or not, but it was a lot of fun to watch, perhaps because I really like Michael J. Fox, or perhaps because it hit all the right notes and didn't drag on for 3+ hours. Maybe keeping movies PG-13 and below has limited Jackson unfairly in his other efforts.

In the end, I haven't lost all hope for Peter Jackson and crew, but I'd like to see them tackle something new for a change and see how it shapes up. If he's going to keep doing adaptations and remakes, try branching out into cross-overs, like Batman vs. Predator or Hulk vs. Kong or Superman vs. Chuck Norris or something. Somedays, I still wonder what could have been with RoboCop vs. Terminator. Then other days I think what an atrocity that might have been.

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