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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There's been some talk lately about how Hollywood hates new ideas these days. There sure are a lot of sequels and movies based on games and toys, including, notoriously, a movie in development based on the Magic 8 Ball.

I think this criticism is off base. Movie adaptations are rarely faithful to their original material. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride didn't have a story, and Elliot & Rossio came up with a really fun one, with outlandish characters and a mythology. And the recent, lovely HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, while based on a children's book, created a brand new story. (In the original book, the Vikings are already training dragons. In the movie, they start out trying to kill them.)

Developing a movie based on the Magic 8 Ball sounds like a dumb idea, not because you can't get a good story out of it, but because no one has them any more.

Producers can also use a "property" where there's a prejudice against a certain territory. Pirate movies were dead until PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. And probably the only way to get a movie project going involving battleships would be to sell a movie based on BATTLESHIP™.

In a way, adaptations can be freeing. In fact the less story is attached to a product, the more room the writer has to come up with original characters and wild situation. The writers of THOR had to be faithful to the well-known Marvel comic hero and the sagas from which he sprang. But the writers of MAGIC 8 BALL can take it wherever they want.



I actually think adaptations being significantly different than their underlying property is part of the problem.

If you're going to make an original movie, why not make one?

Why slap the title RISK on it?

Why pay for those rights?

For every person you get that says, "Oh, like the board game?" you'll get another that says, "I'm not going to see it, simply because it is gimmicky pandering."

While they may be right that it helps sell the movie (I'm not even convinced it's true, look at the Dungeons and Dragons movie from like a decade ago), I also think it limits how good the movie can be.

I do want to see an adaptation of OPERATION though. BZZT! Would be awesome :p

By Blogger James, at 4:45 PM  

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