Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Playing Games

I recently finished a novel and I've been thinking about it quite a bit. It's sort of a science-fiction/survival story called "The Hunger Games." I'd never heard of it, but apparently it's kind of popular.

Anyway, I was thinking about what a great movie it would make. You know, except for the one glaring flaw that makes the prospect utterly absurd. I refer, of course, to the author's poor choice of a female lead.

I know, I know: what was she thinking? Clearly, she wasn't considering her future prospects. Scripts with female leads just don't get made unless they're love stories or low budget dramedies.

A quick glance at the largest movies of all time should tell you why: when it comes to action movies - particularly genre flicks - the biggest ones of all time have been starring men. There's just no female equivalent to "The Dark Knight." It doesn't happen.

Sure, a skeptic might point out that Hollywood's never really tried, but that just isn't true. What about Catwoman? Or Electra? Or.... Catwoman? Hollywood has tried literally more than once to turn a profit with a genre movie starring a woman, to no avail. It's not misogyny: people just don't like women. That's why no one's ever made a Wonder Woman movie: it just wouldn't sell tickets the way a relatable character like Green Lantern does.

And I really think that's a shame, because while the "Hunger Games" isn't a perfect book, the point of view is extremely cool, and there's something gripping about the story. I even think a lot of the book's weaker points, particularly surrounding the world-building, could be cleaned up in a film.

I'm not saying a hypothetical "Hunger Games" movies would recoup it's budget in its initial theatrical run, mind you, but I really get the sense that, were it handled well, it would eventually turn a profit after a few years on DVD.

But, then what do I know? If there were really people out there willing to pay money to see a movie about women, then Hollywood would have been making movies about them all along. I mean, come on, these people are professionals, not idiots. They know how to make money in this industry.

So, who's excited about Battleship?!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Movie Eulogy: John Carter

I can't bring myself to review John Carter: there's just no point. It was a solid movie with a serious casting flaw. It was a hell of a lot of fun - not quite as good as the Star Trek reboot, but certainly within leaping distance.

And critics, as they are wont to do, failed to appreciate it. I truly believe that, as an invention, Rotten Tomatoes's Tomatometer is a technological leap forward in critical film analysis as significant as that day, so many decades ago, when an early film critic looked up at the night sky and gazed upon stars. But clearly it contains a flaw. When it comes to genre action movies, the Tomatometer is utterly unable to differentiate an enjoyable flick from a dull one. As such, movies like John Carter are relegated to the same bucket of rotten films as hundreds of less deserving pictures.

But by now we know the signs: movies with a rating between 35% and 60% where the majority of positive are glowing rather than tepid will generally be as good as your average movie in the 85% - 90% range. We've seen it before, and - until such day as this flaw is corrected - we'll see it again.

But it's a shame John Carter had to get burned. Of course, Disney's piss-poor marketing campaign is more to blame than all the critics put together.

After all, who reads reviews anymore?