CG Peanuts movie to use classic comics for thought bubbles.
The CGI animated Peanuts feature will pay homage to the original comic strip through the use of the classic comics in thought bubbles.
Dan Aykroyd excited as Ghostbusters reboot starts filming.
Aykroyd, who was the co-creator of the original movie and is the executive producer of the remake, is happy with how the new movie is turning out. While that may not be persuasive, the photos of the costume and the new Ecto are promising.
The Rock’s going to be busy.
Not only is he working on a remake of Big Trouble in Little China, as reported last month, he’s also looking at an adaptation of the classic arcade video game, Rampage. The video game allowed players to take the role of kaiju and destroy a city while fending off the puny defenders.
New Spider-Man film, new Spider-Man actor.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have announced the casting of Tom Holland in the title role. Holland will play Peter Parker in the new movie.
The Rocky franchise continues with Creed.
Rocky Balboa turns coach this November. Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, from the first four Rocky films.
Classic Canadian animated series, The Raccoons, may be returning.
Kevin Gillis, the creator of the original cartoon, is working out how to bring back the the show, featuring raccoons Bert, Melissa, and Ralph. The Raccoons aired on the CBC with TV movies in the early 80s and a regular series starting in 1985. The series also aired on the Disney Channel.
Farscape movie has been confirmed.
Rockne S. O’Bannon has confirmed that a Farscape movie is in the works. The film doesn’t have a script yet, but one is being drafted by Justin Monjo, who wrote for the series.
Dynamite Entertainment to bring Atari classics to comics.
Dynamite will produce comics based on classic Atari video games, including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. The same company will also be producing James Bond comics helmed by Warren Ellis.
Lost in Translation to take a hiatus.
There’s a shake up coming here at MuseHack. Steve will have the full details, but Lost in Translation will be on hiatus during this time. The reviews will return, as will the history of adaptations.
Adapting video games to movies is difficult. Lost in Translation has discussed this before, in a general sense. DOOM is a good example of the problems inherent to adapting video games.
The video game itself, while not the first, greatly influenced the nature of first-person shooters. DOOM also allowed for custom levels, reskinning of the monsters, and multi-player. The studio, id Software, used shareware* for distribution. The player took the role of an unnamed Marine assigned to Mars for assaulting his commanding officer after being given the order to shoot civilians. The Marine then became the only thing between Earth and invading demons. id Software estimated that there was two million paid copies and another ten million copies of the shareware demo of DOOM installed. Considering that the game was released in December 1993, twelve million players is an impressive user base.
With the success of DOOM, id produced two sequels plus interstitial levels for the game. Doom 3 returned to the original game’s plot and expanded on it. The new game also pushed against hardware limitations; not all video graphics cards of the time, 2004, could handle the game. The game’s graphics greatly improved on the original’s, and added lighting as an effect. Players would have to switch from weapon to flashlight and back as needed. Like the original, Doom 3 could be modified, adding custom levels, monster skins, and effects. Extra details were added in the unnamed Marine’s PDA, where emails and phone calls of the missing could be played. Doom 3 was a success, selling 3.5 million copies.
In 2005, Universal released the movie Doom, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karl Urban, and Rosamund Pike. The plot involves a Rapid Response Tactical Squad of eight marines being sent to investigate and quarantine a situation involving dead and missing scientists on a Martian research lab run by the Union Aerospace Corporation. As the movie progresses, the fate of the scientists is discovered, as is the realization of what happened to the previous population of Mars. Along the way, monsters appear and attack the marines. An autopsy of one of the dead monsters reveals its human origins. The movie ends with a continuous shot that is based on Doom 3 from the eyes of “Reaper”, Karl Urban’s character.
The movie did not perform well in theatres, getting a decent opening weekend then tanking, not even earning back its budget. Much of the problem was the combination of horror and action, two genres that don’t have much in common. Horror requires suspense and tension to be built through atmosphere and limited viewer information. Action uses tension, but suspense is based on stunt work. It is possible to combine the two, but the atmosphere of a horror movie, which typically involves dark or dim areas with ominous sounds, clashes with the needs of an action movie where lighting needs to show the physical conflict, The nature of the monsters also turned fans of the game off from the movie; instead of demons from Hell, the monsters were changed by the addition of a twenty-fourth chromosome, unleashing the victims’ darker sides. The nature of a movie as opposed to a video game also worked against the movie; players are far more active and involved in a game than viewers are with a movie. Video games are active; players make the decisions and pull the trigger. Movies are passive; even with the first-person shooter segment, the viewers are there for the ride, not making decisions. One last factor is the R rating instead of PG-13. Most studios see PG-13 as the sweet spot; a mature enough rating to get adults in while still not preventing teenagers from getting together and going to it. A movie rated Restricted means that the teen market can’t get in. During the summer, that’s the kiss of death for a movie. In late fall, early winter, it’s not as big a problem, but the loss of potential family movie nights could not have helped Doom.
However, as an adaptation, Doom worked. Barring the change in the nature of the monsters, everything one would expect from DOOM was in /Doom/; the weapons, the appearance of the corridors, the lighting, even the monsters all came from the video game. The BFG made an early appearance, working as a Chekhov’s (big f***ing) gun. The production crew took care to make sure that the visual look of the movie mirrored that of the games. The extras on the DVD are well worth the price and show what the crew did to recreate the video game, including how the first-person shooter segment was shot.
Doom isn’t a bad movie. Like Battleship, it’s also not a good movie. Doom may be, though, a rare example of a good adaptation still failing at the box office.
Next week, Scott Pilgrim
* The first episode was free as a demo. Further episodes had to be paid for.
Last week’s link round up included several movies being turned into TV series and one TV series being adapted as a movie. The former tends to be successful; the format of a series allows the development of characters and plots over more time. TV series adapted into movies haven’t had the same success. The root cause has been a lack of respect to both the original material and the fans.
Lost in Translation hasn’t looked at many TV series adapted to movies. The more successful ones, like Star Trekand The Naked Gun were made with the original creative staff and cast; the transition was to take what was being done on television to the big screen. In the case of The Naked Gun, the move allowed the creators to indulge without having to worry about restrictions imposed by the network’s Broadcast Standards and Practices group. Meanwhile, works like Land of the Lost and Starsky & Hutch played the ideas behind the original shows for laughs, missing the point of the original work. The A-Team remake ran into the passage of time; The Vietnam War was still lurking in American culture when the TV series debuted while the Gulf Wars didn’t affect the American psyche with returning soldiers vilified.
This leads to the news of Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock” himself, being cast to play Colt Seavers in a Fall Guy remake movie. For those not familiar with the show, The Fall Guy was about a stuntman who moonlighted as a bounty hunter to make ends meet. Colt would use tricks of the stunt trade to help track down the men and women who skipped bail, with the help of his cousin Howie and fellow stunt performer Jody. The show was light action/adventure, with humour coming from the byplay between the core cast. Note that the show wasn’t a comedy, though; the humour came from reactions of characters. The trick is to trim back the 80s era cheese while still keeping the core of The Fall Guy and also feature Johnson and give him a solid role to build on. At the same time, Johnson brings in his own physicality and can bring a new dimension to the character. Ultimately, Johnson has to respect Lee Majors’ work while adding his own element.
What holds for The Fall Guy holds for other movie treatments of old TV series. Just because the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s had different approaches to televised storytelling doesn’t mean that series from those decades can be easily held up for ridicule. The shows did have a following; what is seen as cheesy now was once ground breaking. The grim darkness of today’s works will be seen in similar light in time. Respect for the original work and its fans is critical to success.
Next week, Doom.