Friday, February 02, 2007

The Magic Number?

I love watching films. I like reading about them. I'm the type of bloke who will watch a DVD extra-documentary about editing, because I find the whole process of film-making fascinating. (Except for those people who go around weddings, christenings, or any big family party with camcorders, as they piss me off. If they didn't have a camera and just stuck their nose in to people's conversations the partygoers would consider them just plain fucking rude. In my family, which is mainly Irish in origin, anyone sticking their nose in would get it punched and broken, and rightly so. Nosey fuckers.)
I sometimes buy Empire magazine, as it gives me something to read whilst having a dump, and they have this habit of 'bigging up' forthcoming major releases. This year, the films coming out leave me dismayed at the lack of originality and imagination amongst Hollywood's creators. Despite films like Hot Fuzz, Sunshine, Grindhouse and Stardust (films I'm particularly looking forward to.), this summer's big releases are all sequels. There are films like Die Hard 4, Harry Potter 5, National Treasure 2, Saw4, Fantastic Four 2 (loving the Silver Surfer in the trailer, even if he's gained the superpower of being able to phase through stuff, like X-Men's Kitty Pryde, despite no precursor in the comics.)and remakes of The Hitcher, Halloween and Hairspray (all beginning with 'H'. Coincidence?).
These all illustrate the dearth of original thoughts in Hollywood, but most of the tentpole blockbusters are what are known as 'Threequels', ie. second sequels, ie. films ending in '3'. There's Rush Hour 3, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Bourne 3 (Isn't it weird how the new Amarican 21st century superspies Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer have the same initials as the 1950's British superspy James Bond?), Shrek 3, Resident Evil 3, and finally, Spider-Man 3. Everyone knows that most film franchises go off the rails at the third movie. Just remember the third films in the Superman, Blade, Rocky, Alien, Lethal Weapon, Terminator, X-Men, Batman, Jurassic Park, Hellraiser, and the Godfather franchises. All rubbish. (There are good third films, including The Return Of The King, Army Of Darkness, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Goldfinger and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, although, maybe those last two are due to the fact that Sir Sean Connery is in both of them, and he makes even a shit film watchable. I was going to include Return Of The Jedi as well, but compared to the first two it is an overblown rubbish compilation of the best bits of its predecessors with added dwarves in furry suits.)
I hope Spider-Man 3 bucks the trend. The first two are excellent, maybe because they only had one villain in them. The second one was better (maybe because I've always loved Doc Ock as a super-villain.), but judging by the trailer of the third one, it has at least three villains. Sandman, Venom, and a new Green Goblin all appear, and I'm hoping it doesn't follow the precursor set by the Batman films, ie. the more villains there are, the shitter the movie. Batman just had the Joker, Batman Returns had Catwoman and the Penguin, Batman Forever had Two-face and the Riddler, and Batman And Robin had Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and Bane. Loads of villains lead to a lack of focus and therefore a crapper film. X-Men 3, for example, had two plots, the mutant cure and the Phoenix storylines, and if the film focused on either plot and not both, it would've been a much better film.
It's about time Hollywood started making original films.I'm fed up with sequels, remakes, spoofs and video game and comics adaptations. With the competition movies now have with satellite TV, video games and the internet, it's got to get better or it will find itself obsolete.


Jemima said...

a) i disagree about x2's split focus. Tedious is what one strand would have given us.

and b) I disagree about godfather3. I think sofia was lovely and a fine, moving actor.

but I'm expecting nothing from spidey 3.

steve said...

firstly, i wish you'd stop slagging off superman 3.

i dont really mind that all these blockbusters are shit because it means when you find a good indie film it's more satisfying and feels like a discovery. theres always going to be a mainstream which requires no brain in everything, and a more interesting and rewading sub-culture. its there if you look for it.

mick said...

Jemima: I like X2! It's the third one that's shit. Just remember Vinnie Jones dressed up as a seven-foot cock.

Steve: Apart from the scene with evil Superman fighting good Clark Kent, Superman III is a load of cobblers, in my opinion. A super-computer that turns women into zombies with mad hair and tin foil on her mush? The green man (walk)and the red man (don't walk)on a pedestrian crossing having a fight with each other? Superman's breath can apparently clean the ocean of an oil spill, by blowing it all back into the tanker? Richard Pryor takes over that movie and sucks all the fun out of it. It's still miles better than Superman IV, though.
I do watch and enjoy indie films, but sometimes I like to watch a big genre film with my kids and just be entertained, but re-hashing the same old shit stops being fun after a bit.

DanProject76 said...

Maybe this explains why I haven't been to the cinema for ages...

I like your analysis of the JB initials for action/horror film hero/villains. I propose a buddy movie involving an undercover funky darts contest starring Jim Bowen and James Brown.

X-Men was shit. X-Men 2 was alright, as was X-Men. X3 just made me mutter and scratch my balls.

mick said...

The Bowen/Brown team-up movie was in advanced development, until the premature demise of the Godfather Of Soul. A Jim Bowen/James Blunt whinge-off movie was proposed, but it wasn't greenlit, because this isn't true.

IanDSharman said...

Went to see Arthur and the Invisibles yesterday, which was really very good, but the highlight was the trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It was all I could do to stop myself creaming my pants in the cinema. It looks so fucking cool. This year also brings us a live action Transformers movie, the holy grial I've been seeking since I was eight years old.
I would add that, at this time of year, it always seems like the year's movies will be dominated by sequels, but it's rarely actually the case. It's simply that the media focuses on the sequels because it has no idea what the "original" movies are going to be like. Putting a movie that no-one has heard of on the cover of Empire is a fairly risky prospect, so they sell the magazine by bigging up all the sequels, because that'll get people's attention.
Lastly, I'm quietly optimistic about Spier-Man 3 as Raimi seems to know what he's doing.
Oh, and, as for original filsm, check out Blood and Chocolate, out this Friday, especially if you're into werewolves!

mick said...

TMNT and Transformers are hardly original, both being animated TV (and movie, in the Autobots' case)series beforehand, TMNT having three films already. The Transformers film is a Michael Bay film, which is hardly a guarantee of quality!
I'm also hoping Spidey 3 is a good 'un, and as you say, Raimi is far more talented than Joel Schumacher.
I was going to be crude and say that Blood And Chocolate's title reminds me of what I find in my toilet, but I won't.
Werewolf? There wolf. There castle.