Friday, March 29, 2013

Hatred of the Twilight saga

I have commented in previous posts, how among "armchair movie critics" and internet reviewers it seems to be an unwritten rule that if the majority of other people detest a particular movie (or franchise) then everyone must detest it, lest their credibility be tarnished.

There are many, many examples of this. For instance, you absolutely must detest the Star Wars prequel trilogy (especially the first film), the second and third Matrix movies and, as a more minor example, the Battleship movie. If you don't, then you are strange and without any credibility.

Personally I would add the Twilight saga to this list. Especially the first movie. It's, once again, one of those movie franchises that everybody must hate, because everybody else also hates them. It's not even allowed to say "it was ok." Even that's too much.

I'm not saying that the Twilight movies are the best masterpieces ever made (after all, only an extremely small minority of all movies can be,) but they are definitely not anywhere even near to the worst movies ever made. (For a personal list of those, see here.)

The movies (and obviously the books they are based on) are quite clearly aimed primarily at teenage girls. However, once you get past that, I think that they are enjoyable, especially the first movie (the next ones start to get a bit bland and repetitive.) Perhaps not great, but certainly enjoyable. That's certainly much better than many other movies I have seen.

Hating the Twilight saga is more of a meme than anything else. Everybody hates it because everybody else hates it, and if you ever express anything else than pure hatred towards it, you are considered strange. (You don't even have to like it. It's enough to simply not hate it. Even a "it's just ok" is too much.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Modernized remakes and adaptations

It seems to have been a trend during the last decade or so that every time they make a movie that's a remake or adaptation of a story, they always modernize it to happen in the modern world, even if the original story is set to happen many decades ago. It doesn't really matter if the original story is set to happen in the 1980's or the 1920's, the trend seems to be to always adapt it to happen in the 2000's.

Sometimes this has no big impact in the story, so no bad consequences follow this modernization. However, oftentimes they have to bend over backwards in order to make the adaptation work.

A very typical example is that 20+ years ago almost nobody had a cellphone, while nowadays it's rare for somebody to not have one. Thus if the story relies on people being stranded or otherwise cut from civilization or the authorities, the adaptation needs to go to extra lengths to try to explain why the cellphones aren't working or why they don't have them. And that's only one example.

The thing is, usually all these modifications are pretty moot because often there is no advantage in setting the story in modern day. It brings nothing of value to the story, and there's no reason why it couldn't have been set in its original time period.

A much rarer situation is when the do the exact reverse, and go completely overboard with it. In other words, not only do they keep the story in its original time period, but they actually make the movie itself look like it has been made back then.

This gimmick is rather inexplicable. What possible value is there in making the movie deliberately look like it has been made decades ago, rather than it being a modern movie set in that time period? What possible value is there in limiting the technology that can be used to make the best possible movie?

The most egregious example of this that I can think of is the 2005 movie The Call of Cthulhu. It's set in the 1920's, as per the books. However, it's deliberately made to look like it has been made in the 1920's. It's black&white, silent, and with production qualities similar to movies of that time. And for what? What exactly has been gained from this? What could have been an awesome movie ended up being nothing more than a gimmick.