The Sh– To Just Sh–ty… Fantasy Movies

NOTE: Everything that follows is my opinion… and it’s all fact.

Fantasy movies are geared toward the audience that longs to be whisked away, and that’s namely the pre-teens of this world.  The reason why they are so susceptible: there’s still imagination (child-like wonder) remaining in their brains.  Any adult that is too into fantasy films obviously has a mental/social disorder (hello PotHeads and Twihards)…

I’m not meaning to be mean.  I’m merely meaning to get to the bottom of why fantasy films don’t do it for me anymore.

Growing up, I loved Clash of the Titans, The Beastmaster, The Dark Crystal, Gremlins, Tron, The Princess Bride, and some movies had to deal with a Star War or a few. There were others that I couldn’t quite get into like Legend and Labyrinth, but I always felt they were more for the young ladies (for the record, The Princess Bride was being read to Kevin Arnold Fred Savage).

Outside of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (it’s insanely absurd and clever), when I was turning thirteen, Willow wasn’t even cutting it anymore.  If I was going to like a dopey fantasy movie, it had something else going for it, such as my crush on Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands or me still being a fan of Steven Spielberg when he made Hook.

Let’s use The Neverending Story trilogy (yes there were three – and a TV show) to reiterate:

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The first film released in 1984: AWE-SOME (hyphen added for pause worthy emphasis).

The second film released in 1990: (Avoid making tasteless joke about Jonathan Brandis, avoid making tasteless joke about Jonathan Brandis, avoid making tasteless joke about Jonathan Brandis…)

The third film released in 1994: Really?!  Highlights from an IMDB review:

I cannot begin to describe how awful this movie is… NES3, for lack of a better term, sucks.  The storyline was as unimaginative and vapid as you could hope for… After the fart jokes and potty humor commenced, I just couldn’t take it any longer.  My advice is don’t wast your time and ruin your childhood memories with this piece of refuse.

Now I don’t count superhero movies or animated films because they’ve almost attained the status of having their own genre.  Outside of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, what do you have left to defend?  The Mummy films?  Van Helsing?  (Not fair – those are mostly Stephen Sommers‘ pieces of crap.)  Okay, then.  MirrorMask?  Eragon?  Beowulf?  Lady in the Water?!  Stardust and Coraline were even kind of meh.

(SIDENOTE: I will give props to The Last Mimzy, The Bridge to Terebithia, and Big Fish for tugging my heart strings, 300 for being new, and the first Pirates of the Caribbean for the laughs. Am I missing any others?)

Ultimately, have fantasy films declined from being the shit to just shitty, or am I just getting old?  I guess the proof will be in the pudding (sorry for the oldtimer-y expression) when the following films get remade or updated:

(FINAL SIDENOTE: I really, really, really, seriously hope that M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t fuck up The Last Airbender.  I looooove that cartoon.  That ended it’s run.  On Nickelodeon.  Just last year.  Stop looking at me that way!  I don’t have that serious of a mental/social disorder!  Use this blog as proof!)

The Sh– To Just Sh–ty… Filmmaker Chris Columbus

I know he created you, but he also wrote "Christmas with the Kranks"

I know he created you, but he also wrote "Christmas with the Kranks"

As a child, my list of favorite films was simple and current.  There were the easy ones: Star Wars, E.T., Back to the Future, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Some of the others… not so easy: Gremlins, The Goonies, and Adventures in Babysitting.

What do those works have in common?

Who has two thumbs and loves Beth Cooper? Not too many movie goers, I'd say.

Who has two thumbs and loves Beth Cooper? Not too many movie goers, I'd say.

Steven Spielberg’s protégè, nay, discovery (hah!),  Chris Columbus wrote Gremlins and The Goonies, and directed Adventures in Babysitting.  For me, he could do no wrong, and let’s be honest: as kids, our taste is horrible.  But I feel all three of these films have stood the test of time.  Some of his other works?  Eh, not so much:

  • Young Sherlock Holmes (noted as the first film with an entirely CG character)
  • Heartbreak Hotel (a kid kidnaps Elvis… anyone else but me remember this?)
  • Only the Lonely (made me thankful I wasn’t a mama’s boy… sorry mama)

Now grant it – he had other hits through the 90’s: Home Alone 1 & 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, and, um, Nine Months?  Jingle All the Way?  Stepmom?  Bicentennial Man?

And to most Potter fans, he directed the weakest films in the series (Harry Potter and the Stuff in the First Movie and Harry Potter Rides Again), but I don’t watch those films, so I don’t hold it against him.

Like his compatriots I will be attacking in future The Shit to Just Shitty’s, it’s about the fall from what imagination, vision, and drive they once exhibited, to the money grubbing, the disillusionment, or the detachment from the public they display in recent works.  Is it the state of the studio system?  Is it the movie going public’s demands?  I offer no answers, only martyrs.

Here’s hoping *hold your breath* *cross your fingers* Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (that’s the title folks), contains some of the gritty charm of his earlier works, and not the glossy finish of his latest offerings:

Hrm.  Looks glossy…

How Big Furry Bad Ass Does This Look?

Finally!  A full preview for Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are (sorry, Maurice Sendak!)

There were a lot of concerns popping up all over the TripleDoubleU regarding the making of this film, but it looks like those concerns were not warranted.  Plus, I’m glad they decided to show the Wild Things so clearly in the trailer, and not pull a Godzilla (but in this case, maybe a Gremlins would have been nice).

I mean, look at all the worrying done over the film adaptation of Watchmen, and see how well everything turned out.

Vodpod videos no longer available. Did you know that the music was done by Where the Wild Things Arcade Fire?



Next, someone should adapt this Google guy’s book into a flick:

Happy birthday very hungry guy!

Happy birthday very hungry guy!

Fall Out Boy Should Have Pulled Out Quicker

No, they named him Mowgli, not Mogwai...

No, they named him Mowgli, not Mogwai...

Guinness World Record-breaker, Pete Wentz, and coattail-rider turned family meal-ticket, Ashlee Simpson (I almost spelled it Ashley… heavenstamergatroid!), have given birth to something they named Bronx Mowgli Wentz.

There’s one of two ways I can go with this, so I’ll go with both.

  1. People can type Bronx Mowgli Wentz to test their typewriter.  Ha!  Y’know… like The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.  No… um… then how about…
  2. Bronx Mowgli Wentz?  That’s an anagram of what Pete likes to do when he’s in Germany – Blow Next Zing Worm.  Hey-o!

Ah, whatever.  Congrats you two (because I know in my heart of hearts they are going to find this little blog and be heartbroken if I don’t say so)… and also, please stop reproducing!

A Pathname Less Traveled Is Less Traveled For A Reason

So let me get this straight... you cannot even drink beer?

So let me get this straight... you cannot even drink beer?

You know what… I’m kind of digging this blog thing.  I’m thinking about asking my site if she wants to go steady.  I already have the promise ring, and my letter sweater is sure to keep her warm on cold nights when we go walking in the moonlight, my arm over her shoulder, my hand feeling her up.  And I’m serious about it too.  How can I prove it?  These are some sites I wanted to start, but I’m cutting off communication with them immediately, even though I heard they do put out on the first post:

Slogan: Another Way of Saying Hissy Fit
Purpose: An outlet to bitch and moan about things other people quite frankly could care less about. I’ve decided that’s what this site is for.  And I’m sure you could care less.

Slogan: Porn Reviews In Fifteen Minute Intervals
Purpose: To make money… and have an excuse for watching a ton of porn.  The reason why I abandoned this concept is simple – I didn’t want to embark down that path.  That path being having to watch the entire DVD.

Slogan: Munching at Midnight like a Mischievous Mogwai
Purpose: Who the hell knows?  But isn’t Gizmo so cute?

JusWondering… Size Matters?

With Halloween approaching, I begin my usual ponderings like: who’s hosting a party? 

Will there be booze?

The Right Answer

The Right Answer

And is someone in Hollywood considering a remake of “Gremlins” as a CGI movie?

That eventually leads me to ponder about what makes something scary in an allegedly scary movie.  CGI does not work.  Sure, “Jurassic Park” had the advantage of being the first flick to fool our minds with computer graphics, but it smartly mixed in animatronics and puppets as well.

To me, it’s the proximity of the “evil one” in relation to the hero that works well.  When the Queen in the first “Alien” film sleeps not far from where Ripley’s about to hit the hay, that’s creepy.  In “Ju-On,” the Japanese original remade into “The Grudge,” I can barely handle the scene when the girl in bed removes the covers off her face to find the ghost woman bent over her.  (Maybe my fears are sleep-based.)  Then there’s always that ending chase in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”…

One facet of horror in film that I believe goes untouched is size.  Big things are terrifying and small things are chilling, but what about medium things?

Going back to to the puppets in “Gremlins,” they were definitely small dangerous, and small dangerous can be frightening (ask Karen Black in “Trilogy of Terror.”)  But Gremlins in all their puppety-ness can fit in blenders and microwaves.  What are you going to do against a four-foot tall Gremlin?  A four-foot tall Chuckie?  Or a four-foot tall hamster?

In order from least scary to most.

In order from least scary to most.