Monday, July 12, 2010

Movies I like Hollywood to Make, Keep On Making, or Start Making Again

Being a movie lover ever since (being influenced by my father), I would almost watch every kind. When I was a kid, I was not very picky.  I would watch a cartoon just because it was a cartoon, even if the story is poor.  I would watch comedy just because it makes me laugh, regardless of the stupid and desperate jokes and antics.  I would watch sci-fi or fantasy just because I was awed of the special effects, even if the plot is depthless, filled with clichés, and plenty of holes.  I would watch action just because it has plenty of gunfights, explosions, and fight scenes, even if Steven Seagal was a terrible actor.  And so on. When one is a child, one has low standards of entertainment.   But not this low...
But as I grow up, I begin to become a bit picky, more sophisticated (just part of growing up). Standards are raised.  Cheap jokes don’t sell anymore.  Clichés start to become stale.  Bad acting makes me shrug.  And most especially, the story matters now.  Sure, fiction will always have flaws in their story.  But at least, not so much, that the creators at least made an effort to make it minimal and does not make stupid, unimaginative and lazy remedies.  I sometimes ignore absurd coincidences, inconsistencies, minor plot holes, and continuity conflicts (in series or film franchises) in fiction as long as, overall, the story is entertaining and intelligent – made me feel that watching (or reading, if it’s literature) it did not waste my time.

Movies are the top pop culture makers.  So, here are some movies that I hope Hollywood would keep on making, some kind of movies that would potentially create the fashion of pop culture I want to be influenced with.    Of course, these opinions are dependent on my tastes and do not necessary mirror the taste of the general public.

Musicals


Create more musicals with the same class as “Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the roof.”  Making “High School Musical” and “Mama Mia” is a start.  But they can do better.  Significant themes, three hours long, comedy at the start, sudden turn to seriousness at the last part.

Movies with Christian Heroes


It does not necessarily mean that it should be a movie of the Christian genre (though, it would be also nice if they can do that once in a while).  But at least the hero should be a Christian.  Christians are humans also; though they are grounded on sound moral and spiritual principles, they also have the same flaws, psych, strengths, weaknesses, limitations, backgrounds, references, etc. as other humans. What makes them special is their being a Christian.  They can be subjected to any genre of any kind or any situation a human can be put into, and their reactions or acts are dependent on their being a Christian.  And when I say that Christians can be depicted on “any genre”, I mean any genre.  Even sci-fi or fantasy.
        
I can only come up with two Christian heroes I encountered in movies.  And they are just great. Still a flawed human but Christian-themed.  There’s the Puritan Solomon Kane and, the post-apocalyptic Christian who memorized the New King James Bible, Eli.


Badass Christian heroes.  Given into the situations they were set, I believe that the response and action they've shown is how a Christian would actually do and how a Christian would actually act, hypothetically speaking of course.

Or they could create movies out of the already popular Christian heroes in literature, like Robinson Crusoe.  Or even make a “Pilgrim’s Progress” movie.  It’s a fantasy with explicit allegory on a Christian’s journey.  Heck, the main character’s name is Christian!  They could do that.  With a gritty graphic novel-style motif.  And there’s Zaanan, the Christian hero of a Christian sci-fi book series.  Or even Power Mark, hero of a Christian comicbook series.


What of Bible heroes?  Some say that Bible stories are “fairy tales” anyway, therefore stories like the Noah’s Ark will have the “fairy tale” charm.  Imagine the CGI on the Flood and the mob of animals (a preview of how this can be good is “Evan Almighty”.  It’s clumsy, but Hollywood can do better by using the actual story).  Yup, back then, Hollywood already made movies about some Bible stories.  But the film techniques and technology back then can’t really interpret the visual grandeur of the Bible stories.  Heck, even the costumes were lame.  From Noah to Jesus’ time, span of thousands of years, the same style of clothing applies?   Unimaginative stereotypical ideas; just think of it, moviemakers, just by the costume matter alone, can make something exciting.  They could presume or interpret – based on some trends of that era and other facts we know regarding clothing of that era, if we have any – what the clothing are during the time of a Bible story.  The possibilities are actually endless with today’s film technology and artistry.  “Avatar”-style interpretation of Eden.  Parting of the Red Sea.  The numerous battles.  The fall of Jericho’s walls.  Daniel with the lions.  Christians getting eaten by lions.  God’s manifestations of natural wonders.  Plagues of Egypt.  The Flood (It’s going to be awesome.  Let’s use the effects of the mediocre “2012” as reference).  There is lot of room for imaginative speculations, trivial additions that can make the story more exciting (which what Hollywood does to biopics or “based on a true story” movies anyway: lots of additional details, story revisions, and sometimes even straying from the main truths of the “true story”).  It actually does not matter what additional material is added, as long as it will not contradict with the main and important facts and ideas in the original Bible story.  Take a look on Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”, a few trivial details are added to the story, like the manifestation of Satan and evil and death as a wicked looking mother and child.  It doesn’t matter if it was not mentioned in the Bible, such additional detail is trivial.   That minor detail did not change the main theme of the story: Christ’s passion that made him endure such humiliation and pain.            
                
All kinds of stories exist in the Bible.  Historical.  Fiction.  Drama.  Romance.  Action.  Supernatural episodes, which led some to saying that the Bible stories are fantasy.  Even erotica.  The Bible is actually the only R-18 book recommended by Christians for children to read.  Violence and sex are very graphic and extensive throughout the Bible.  To pretend that stories of incest, genocide, orgies, murders, treacheries, sexual deviance, gory violence, adulteries, extreme sins, and other shocking details – which are even committed by the heroes – do not exist in the Bible , or real life for that matter, is wrong.  If kids are going to be exposed to these realities of life, it is better off that they do through God’s Word.  To see these evils is the first step to realize that there is something wrong with this world and with us.  That there is sin.  That there is darkness.  All of these things are in the Bible because it is part of human life and history.  It is reality.  It will not go away.  Evil exists.  And the Bible does not shield as from reality.  It is there to illustrate how human psyche and culture can become rotten or how it is already rotten.  And we must realize that.  This world, this life, this reality is black and white.  Good versus evil.  And that God is good and he hates evil.  But that even evil happens and used by God’s will for a good end, which only his sovereign wisdom knows.  That is what the Bible intends to show by including these “shocking” details in the Bible.

And Hollywood loves sex and violence.  And Bible stories can provide that.  However, at the context of the story (and the whole Bible), these things are necessary in the story to show a good end or a moral.  Hollywood likes to add sex and violence in movies even if they are not actually justified in the story.  They are added just to “spice” it up.  Often times, the sex scene is not relevant to the whole plot at all.  Just for the sake of sex, they put it in the story.  But the graphic details of sex and violence in Bible stories are very relevant to the overall plot of the story.  And Christians will accept it and it is very possible to even recommend it for children to watch.  Back to “Passion of the Christ” as illustration.  The torture and crucifixion scene in that movie was very squeamish and very “R-18”, but it never offended Christians and even allowed children to watch it because (a) Christ’s suffering was really great and the graphical image in the movie is actually underrated, and (b) the violence is justified since it provokes thoughts on how great Christ’s love is and illustrates the comparison of the glory of his resurrection.   These “R-18” details are there in the Bible since they serve as comparisons.  Black to white.  When there is something bad to compare the good into, the good is more appreciated.  That’s how sex and violence is an integral part in Bible stories and why it is justified to show them graphically in movies based on Bible stories.

Plenty of stories to choose from.  Elijah and Elisha’s  “Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi”, “Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez and Connor MacLeod”-type of mentor-apprentice relationship.  The former challenging Baal priests to a duel (how convenient if religious debates are settled like this nowadays.  The story?  Check it out somewhere in I Kings 18), getting fed by ravens during time of famine, and then going to heaven in a chariot of fire when his mission was finished!  And the latter summoning bears to devour youths who mock a man of God (never mess with men of God; nowadays known as Christians).  Moses’ a la soap opera dramatic life story.  Samson the real life Incredible Hulk; who has wrestled a lion to death and killed thousands of Philistines with just a donkey’s jaw bone. 
Just imagine that, the epic fight scene proportion is a la “300”!  And speaking of “300”, what about Gideon’s own 300?  A testament on how badass an outnumbered Israeli army can be (which we saw again in their wars against neighboring nations such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Algeria, etc. as tiny Israel crushed them all). 
What about romantic love stories?  We have Isaac and Rebekah, which shows that “love at first sight” is real, but not how pop culture perceive it.  And we have Hosea and Gomer, which is a better story than the “Pretty Women” concept. 
We also have King David, the best of the best Old Testament heroes.  Shepherd boy who killed lions and bears.  Also a very talented musician and poet and singer.  Then he killed Goliath.  Which prompted him to be a soldier, a very skilled and popular soldier.  He suffered the envy and murderous attempts of the king (Saul) then, and had a once-in-a-million deep friendship with the prince (Jonathan) – the type of which was called “romantic friendship” back in the 1800s, which would be considered so gay in today’s era.  He then became an outlaw.  He married a lot of ladies.  Being a legendary warrior himself, he had other legendary warriors that joined his command as well.  He raised an elite group of fighters a la mafia famiglia.
And just like real mafiosis’ loyalty, these warriors would remain with him up to the time he was king.  As David was king, he created, though small, the greatest empire Israel ever had.  David, his mafia, and his kingdom would remain a power throughout his reign (and Solomon’s, his son).  He would also commit mistakes like adultery and murder, and would suffer from the consequences of his sins.   Nonetheless, he is called “the man after God’s own heart” as his relationship with God and realization that God, alone, would really make him happy grew each passing day of his life.  Really, David’s story is the best in the Old Testament.                     

With all the creative resources Hollywood now has, the Bible stories can now be really effectively brought to life in the screen in all its awesomeness.   Moreover, even if the stories are all about these Bible heroes, the stories will show that the real main character is God Himself.  Imagine how Hollywood’s special effects can manifest all of God’s glory and power.  It would fall short, by so much, compared to the real deal but it can still be good.  Come on, Hollywood, you can do better than this.

More Toy Story and Shrek


Come on. Shrek 4 is the last Shrek?  It was not the band of an ending to end a good animated movie franchise.  Sure, probably Shrek 4 was a story upgrade of Shrek 3.  But the previous movies have better fairy tale allusions and gags.  Shrek 4 is okay but if they are going make a final Shrek movie, it should be a bang.  And Shrek 4 failed, in my opinion, to make that bang.  A Shrek finale should have a good story, plenty of timely gags, and plenty of funny reinventions of fairy tale stereotypes.   

Shrek is the greatest 3-d animation franchise.  Shrek or Toy Story.  Toys coming to life is a very charming and refreshing concept when the first Toy Story movie came out.  Mainly because the previous movies that used the concept of toys coming to life gave the kids nightmares.   
                
Yup.  Toy Story erased the earlier concept of toys coming to life is satanic.  I had always been a lover of toys.   I was a toy lover since, and still a toy lover now.  Thus, you see how much I love the Toy Story movies.  I had waited for the sequel for Toy Story 2 for more than ten years and it was just recently that the 3rd installment came out.  I was about ten when Toy Story 2 came out at the theaters, and I’m now 21 when I watched Toy Story 3.  Thus, in some ways, I had been able to relate to Andy growing older and about to go to college.  Though, of course, as for me, I, instead, had just graduated from college.  But allegorically speaking, there are parallels.  Andy grew older, I grew older (We were both kids by the time of Toy Story 2).  Andy’s steppingstone change in life was going to college, mine was finishing college.  Andy has to let go of his toys, a symbolism of letting go of important things of the past and comfort zones so we can grow up.   There, Toy Story 3 made me sentimental.  Made me reminisce my past and provoked pondering of my future. 

Toy Story 3 had a good story and has the same charm it had when the first movie came out.  Plenty of funny moments, plot progress, and character developments.  Thus, it is a pity if it would be the last Toy Story movie. 

Shrek and Toy Story are on a league of their own in the 3-d animated genre.  Plenty of 3-d animated movies had come out since Toy Story pioneered it, but there was no other movie that was as special as Shrek and Toy Story.  I am not saying that the other movies of the genre were terrible, but it had never reached the standard which the first Toy Story movie set.  Oh, the Ice Age franchise was close, but there are still some things lacking in it for it to join the ranks of Shrek and Toy Story in my book.  “Finding Nemo” had also some high parts, but not enough. 

Shrek and Toy Story are the best and I hope there would be more.

Old School Action Flicks/Martial Arts


An action movie does not need to have a complicated story or award winning acting, though they should be at decent enough not to induce nausea.  Just put in lots of gun fights, explosions, gun fights, bad guys getting beaten up, gun fights, cars, maybe a hot dame or two, gunfights, explosions, some adrenaline rushing fast paced scenes, hand-to-hand combat, explosions, maybe some witty lines, and first class badassery by the main character(s) – plus more gunfights and explosions.  Of course, if the story and acting happened to be good, too, that would be just a bonus.  If there are going to be legendary dialogues and one-liners in it, it’s an instant classic.

I grew up with lots of action and martial arts films.  The 90s was, maybe, the best decade of action movies (or maybe the 80s).  And the 90s was my childhood.  Not only 90s movies, but because of HBO and cable, I was also exposed to some good action movies prior 90s.  Again, I don’t mind much if the story is mediocre or cliché, just as long it has the elements of a good action – fight scenes and all.  Remember, children’s low standards of entertainment.  However, there are just some action films that I would enjoy even if I had re-watched them post-childhood.  So it means either I did not outgrow my “low standards of entertainment” from childhood or the movies are definitely classics.  Especially, if the main character of the movie is pretty badass.

There’s “Dirty Harry” with his classic line: "I know what you're thinking.  'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" 
                
There’s John McClane of the “Die Hard series.”  (Note: that latest Die Hard film is tame compared to the first three.  Not “90s-standard-of-action” at all.)
 Of course, Rambo.  The epitome of the badass action hero. 
     
Then, there’s the T-800, the second best Arnold Schwarzenegger character, which some said the most comfortable role Arnold ever played since he was actually just playing himself in that movie.
Why is the T-800 just second best?  Because Jericho Cane, his character in “End of Days”, is the best.  Heck, he took the devil on with guns and grenade launchers!
           
The 90s was such a good decade for action that even George of the Jungle has a stint as a first-class action hero, as he take on an immortal mummy, which is just a little bit tamer than Arnold taking on the devil.
             
That movie improved Brendan Fraser's image.  Then he destroyed it again by being Dudley Do-Right.        

I loved all the Jackie Chan movies from “Drunken Master” to “Who Am I?” to “Armor of God.”  Nick Cage also had some pretty good movies, like “The Rock” and “Face Off.”  And even John Travolta who is lame most of the time hit paydirt with “Face Off” (one of the best action movies of the 90s) and “Pulp Fiction.”  Keanu Reeves got “Speed.”  Pierce Brosnan became immortal with the 007 movies, actually way past immortal status since he already reached it prior to being Bond when he played Remington Steele in the TV series.  Christopher Lambert has the “Highlander”, which was a great concept for fiction but was ruined by the “Highlander: The Source” movie (I pray to God that the reboot which would be on theaters soon would redeem the franchise).  I even liked Jean Claude-Van Damme and Dennis Rodman’s “Double Team.”
                 Heck, I even liked the movies of this guy, which has lots of fast hands action:
And though he’s a terrible actor and currently just do crappy (but still action-packed, and I still had watched some of them) direct-to-video flicks, he’s still an interesting guitarist, a real life aikido master, and a real life cop!  Wow!

So, Hollywood should keep on making movies with time-proven “80s-90s” action formula.  And they still do.  Though, not at the same degree as what we got in the 90s.  The “Rambo” follow-up film this decade was okay.  And, so far, there are two movies of the 2000s that I would like to have sequels.  First, is “Transporter 3” (okay it’s the third Transporter movie already, but I would still like to see more).  Second, a sequel to “Hollywood Homicide.”  They said the movie was a flop.  But it was funny, with interesting characters, and the appeal of cop stories in Hollywood.  I like it a lot because the movie feels like “90s action movie.”  Plus, one of the main characters was played by Harrison Ford.  Remember, he’s Han Solo…
…and Indiana Jones…
…and Jack Ryan! 
That’s three legendary fictional characters!  That alone should be reason enough to make a “Hollywood Homicide” sequel, or any sequel to a Ford movie whatsoever.

Cats and Dogs


I think the movie poster conned me.  Canine Commandos and Feline Fighters looking so badass.  I was expecting an action packed battle royal between the two camps.  But the action was only halfway my expectation.  The story was warm, I’ll give that. But it all revolves one character.  I was expecting it would revolve around a team of dog good guys.  And don’t get me started with the cats.  I don’t mind if the cats – the animal I root – are the villains, as long as their interesting and not so clumsy.  Sure, the ninja cats were so cool.  But the rest?  Very cartoony.  I was expecting the cats to at least have depth and a rightful charismatic antithesis to the good guy dogs, which were also a disappointing bunch.  I was expecting the charisma of the cats as something like this:
But what I got was something like this: 
I was expecting the coolness of the dogs as like this:
But what I got was like this:
Mushy, mushy stuff.  Yeah, the importance of relationships and loyalty and friendships should be conveyed, but it was too forced in the movie and out of context.   Come on.  The Cats and Dogs concept is very good.  That’s why I hope they make a reboot or sequel to redeem it.  Don’t use a lazy story.  And, please, add in lots of potential action as the movie poster suggest. Again, look at this:
It’s so cool!  Like, a classic rumble would break out.  It never happened in the film.  At least, the next time, if there is a next time, they should meet the expectations the poster has created on the moviegoer.
Lots of fight scenes...
Lots of cat savviness (and cuteness)...
Again, I don’t mind if the cats are the villains.  Just make them interesting villains.  Charming loveable bad guys.

Titan A.E.


So there, I hope Hollywood would redeem Cats and Dogs with a sequel.  While they’re at it, why not redeem a good sci-fi animated movie as well, which only flopped because of poor marketing and promotion.

Sci-Fi

                
Another genre that I had grown up with.  I always love the sci-fi genre.  Whether, it’s space travel, galactic-type (“Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Starship Troopers”) to techno-thriller-type like (“Jurassic Park”) to futuristic-type (“Surrogates”, “Minority Report”, “Planet of the Apes”) to metaphysical-chaotic-VR-type (“The Matrix”, “The 13th floor”) to time travel-type (“Back to the Future”, “Terminator”) to post-apocalyptic (“I Am Legend”) to Twilight Zone-y (“Flatliners”)…  Any kind of sci-fi.  They are exciting and intelligent.
                
James Cameron’s “Avatar” and the re-booted “Star Trek” revive the excitement of raw sci-fi (space-galactic-type).  The “Star Wars” prequels, though, have mediocre stories (except Episode III, which is equal to the quality of the original trilogy) and failed to make the same impact as the first Star Wars trilogy. Sure, the special effects were better, but the overall classic quality was lacking.   Episodes 7, 8, and 9 can’t be filmed anymore for obvious reasons (clue: age of the main characters), thus what is left to return Star Wars to greatness is to reboot the franchise.  Though, I have no idea how it can be rebooted without sacrificing continuity.  Star Trek, though, successfully rebooted the franchise and being freed by continuity problems by using the time travel approach (something that is not applicable to Star Wars, since time travel is not an established convenience in that universe).   The recent Star Trek movie (2009) is the best Star Trek movie in history, and the franchise looks promising again to a fan like me (I only became a fan of Star Trek because of the movies; the Star Trek TV shows suck… big time). 

                
As for sci-fi stories derived from classic sci-fi books, well, what I like is that Hollywood will remain faithful to the concept, themes, and story as much as possible.  I watch sci-fi movies like “Surrogates”, “I, Robot” and “I Am Legend” before encountering their literary counterparts and found them very very good.  Then I read the books and realize the axiom “the book was better than the movie” applies.  “I, Robot” is forgivable, since it’s not exactly based entirely on Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels (the “I, Robot” title itself was the title of Asimov’s anthology of robot short fiction and not the main “Robot” story), though the concept was based on Asimov’s concept of a society of robots and humans together.  But the “I Am Legend” movie will actually disappoint when you are familiar with the original Richard Matheson classic. The novel would give sense to the title “I Am Legend.”  The ending of the novel is better.  Actually, the intended original movie ending (the alternative ending packaged with the DVD) has almost the same similar impact (though, not the same story ending) as the book’s.  The original ending was changed because of unfavorable response by test audience.  Which is a pity, because in my opinion that original ending would make more sense regarding the scene where the vampire-zombies created a trap for Will Smith (which means they are evolving).  You can watch the alternate ending in youtube. And it’s a bit of a twist ending, too (almost as much twist the Matheson novel has).
                
There are plenty of pretty good sci-fi books that can be turned to movies.  There’s Isaac Asimov’s magnum opus, the “Foundation” series, which is related to the “Robot” mystery novels, though I think the concepts of psychohistory is unfilmable.  But that’s the challenge for Hollywood.  There’s also Hubbard’s “Battlefield: Earth.”  I refuse to acknowledge the existence of a movie already made based from it, that movie was trash.  “Final Blackout”, another of Hubbard classic.  There’s Anne McAffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series and “Pegasus” series.  There’s Harry Turtledove’s alternate history stories.  There’s Arthur C. Clarke’s “Ringworld.”  There’s Frederick Pohl’s “Gateway.”  Plenty of sci-fi material in classic sci-fi novels. And the only way to make a movie based on a sci-fi book really successful is to spare no expense in the special effects for visually interpretation and never stray much from the original story.

The Rest of Potential Movies from Books

               
Again, my main thought on basing a movie from a book: as much as possible, remain faithful to the book’s story, concepts, and themes.  Of course, the axiom of “the book is better than the movie” would almost always apply most of the time.  But, maybe if Hollywood can do it right, they might create the rare “better than the book” movie.  Like, “The Godfather”, as many say (though, I can’t be personally sure because I haven’t read the book, though I agree that the movie was one of the best I had seen). 
                
There’s plenty of books I would like Hollywood to make movies of.  Like the other fantasy classics that are not “Lord of the Rings” or “Narnia.”  Speaking of Narnia, I heard that the production of “Dawn Treader” is on hold.  I hope this is only temporary and not an end to movies based on the C.S. Lewis series. Aside from the continuation of the rest of the Narnia books, I want a movie to be made of Stephen Donaldson’s “Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” trilogies, one of the best fantasy book series I had read.  And there’s “Artemis Fowl.”  I already heard there’s a production of an Artemis Fowl movie, but that was years ago, and we still don’t have an Artemis Fowl movie.  And, of course, there is Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series. 
                
There are already many movies based on Stephen King works.  Some are good, but they would never hold a candle against a “Dark Tower” movie.  “Dark Tower” and “The Stand” are the only two Stephen King works I want to be filmed.    

Space Jam

                
Aside from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”, “Space Jam” is the best movie mixing live action and animation.  It’s one of the movies I never get tired of watching over and over again when I was a kid.  I would regularly check HBO schedule just to watch it again. 
                
I would really like a sequel.  Back then, the best basketball player of that era (also the best of all time, as many consider), Michael Jordan, starred in it.  Now, in this sequel, the best basketball player of this era should star in it.  And that would be Kobe Bryant.

                               
Kobe Bryant starring on a sequel to Space Jam would bring lots of fun.

Will Smith films

                
He’s probably one of my most favorite actors, if not my most favorite.  He brings wit and charisma and depth to every movie I had seen him.  “Enemy of the State”, “MIB”, “I, Robot”, “I Am Legend”, “A Pursuit of Happyness”, “Bad Boys”, “Independence Day”, “Wild Wild West”, etc.  Not only is he a blockbuster-making actor, he is also an underrated rapper.  Check out his tracks and his freestyle performances.   He does not need a lot of gimmicks (like backers), angry screaming, or cursing, to make intelligent (believe me, his vocabulary is great) catchy raps.  Any Smith film is almost sure to be good. 
                
But the Will Smith movies I want Hollywood keeps on making is “Men in Black” and “Bad Boys.” Yeah, I heard that there are already talks on making Men in Black 3 and Bad Boys 3, if they are not already in production. 

                
The most disappointing thing about Big Wil’s career is of him turning down the role of “Neo” in “The Matrix” so he can take on “Wild Wild West.”  Sure, “Wild Wild West” was okay (at least, for me) but, come on, it’s “The Matrix”, one of the best films ever made.  Will Smith as Neo would definitely make the Matrix Trilogy better.  Bummer.


Johnny Depp films

                Let’s make a review on some of his characters:
                Edward Scissorhands
                Willy Wonka
                The badass CIA operative Sheldon Jeffrey Sands
                Sweeney Todd
                The Mad Hatter
                And the best of the lot, Captain Jack Sparrow!

Johnny Depp probably is the best actor in portraying unique charismatic character and making it very charismatic.  He also plays guitar well and, he confessed in an interview with David Letterman, never watches the movies he stars in.  Totally fun guy!  Are the characters making Depp interesting, or is Depp making the characters interesting?  For me, it’s the latter.  Thus, more Depp films! 

Mystery/Twists               


Who doesn’t like twists in movies?  Director M. Night Shyamalan (“Unbreakable”, “The Sixth Sense”, “The Village”) made it his trademark (though he would also make the crappy “The Happening”).  But twists are often more charming if it’s found on a stretch of a movie series, like the “Saw” franchise or even “Harry Potter.”

As for mysteries, usually mysteries and twists come hand in hand together.  It’s always fun watching the smart main character (Robert Langdon, Benjamin Gates) racing against time to figure out puzzles and mysteries.  And the answers to these puzzles are usually significant twists that blow us away from our seats.

The greatest detective in the planet, Sherlock Holmes, has a potential movie franchise on the way. So, more of SH movies.  And how about thieves doing cons and heists?  The “Ocean’s” movies are the best of this genre, lots of cleverness and twists.  Ocean 13 is supposed to be the last, but I think, they can still make more.  They should make more Ocean movies.  Maybe in the “Ocean’s 14”, aside from George Clooney, Bradd Pitt, and Matt Damon, they can have a new lineup (since the original team would never be complete since Bernie Mac is now dead). 


So, more twist and mystery movies.  More “Saw” and “National Treasure” movies.  Hopefully, more “Ocean” as well.  And less, M. Night Shyamalan.  He already lost his step in this game.

Anime

                
Hollywood live adaptations of anime, so far, suck.  Like, “Dragonball” and “Astro Boy.” “Dragonball” was so terrible that I stopped watching it halfway through.  But I still think that a live version of an anime could still work.  Hollywood might start with an anime movie like “Blue Submarine no. 6” since the plot is already on movie length and they would just have to follow it.  Or closer to reality animes, like “Samurai X.”  All it takes is a good script for a live adaptation of an anime to be successful that retains the charm of the anime.
                
And when I mean the “charm of the anime”, I’m not exactly referring to the anime’s style of cute large eyes and surreal hairstyles with surreal hair colors ranging from pink to green.  These are good in cartoons.  But these styles are not applicable to real life.  It is plain silly.
                
Yeah, disappointing.  Male fantasies crushed.  Anime girls are cute with those large eyes, but only in anime.  It’s definitely silly and weird in real life.  Just like comicbook heroines, they look hot in their super hero costumes, but in real life, they would really look sil –
                Uh, my bad.  They would look hot in real life!         

Movies From Comicbooks



Marvel Comics still rocks the stage for movie adaptations of their superheroes.  They had already made successful films based on their products, though some of them have mediocre stories.  Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man did well, though I find it a bit disappointing there’s no Spider-Man 4 anymore but a reboot instead.  Spider-Man 3’s ending did not really settle all the issues of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man. It was much better if they had made a Spider-Man 4 first, that would make a concrete ending for that Spider-Man story, before doing a reboot.    The reboot looks promising, though, with a promising and refreshing actor to play Peter Parker.  X-Men needs a reboot, too.  X3’s story was above average but disappointing.  And reboot, Daredevil, too, if they’re not going to make a sequel.  As of now, the healthiest Marvel Comics superhero film franchise is Iron Man.  Robert Downey, Jr. made the Iron Man loveable – after being the most hated character in Marvel after the Civil War storyline.  Iron Man and Incredible Hulk franchises look promising, and with Thor and Captain America coming up, I am excited with the Avengers movie.
                
The axiom of “book better than the movie” also applies with graphic novels.  With a sole exception of “300” which successfully graphically portrayed Frank Miller’s classic, the rest are not as good as the movie.  “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta” films, though, did their respective graphic novels justice.  They were not as good as the graphic novels, but were still excellent.  The rest of the movies based on Alan Moore’s works sucks.  Add “Constantine” (based on Hellblazer) to that mix, and those movies are insults to the graphic novels they were based from.
                 
Still, Hollywood should keep on making movies based on comic books. Who knows, they might get it right next time.  Comicbooks/graphic novels I want movies to be made of are Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, Brian Michael Bendis’ “Powers”, some Crossgen titles like “Ruse” and “Negation”, and Justice League.
       
Vampire Movies
           
    
Nobody is afraid of vampires anymore.
                
We used to be fascinated of them because they symbolize the darkness we hate and battle, but sometimes succumb to.  They used to be fearsome.  The epitome of evil in fiction.  They are full of sexual tension and violent energies.  They used to be the coolest bad guys ever created.  And they strike fear.  Fear because they are evil, and they have the powers to enforce their evilness.  They also inspire fear because, by their bite, one can be someone like them.
                  
 Then “Interview with the Vampire” (based on Anne Rice’s novel) made them so gay.
                
But, hey, the essence of darkness is still there.  Sexual tension and violence.  Hypnotic attraction and bloodlust.  The charm of vampirism as manifestation of evil is there.
                
Then a movie series based on a bestselling overrated novel series by an untalented author who lucked it out destroyed all the real charisma of vampires. 

                
I can write a whole essay why the Twilight series is overrated like Harry Potter.  But at least Harry Potter was good, just not that brilliant as many think, but actually good.  Take away the vampire mythos and Twilight’s story would be like a regular paperback romance novel.  But, hey, give Stephanie Meyer credit for finding vampirism as the secret formula to make a second-rate story a bestseller.                                  
                       
What is Twilight’s pop culture impact?  Girls fantasizing of being kissed by a prince charming in their sleep now fantasize of being bitten by a vampire.  Dreaming of getting bitten by a vampire?  That used to be disturbing.

                
Even Robert Pattinson, a decent and good actor (really he is), who played Edward Cullen hates his character and Twilight.  According to Pattinson, he had little knowledge of the books when he auditioned. He said, "I went into it thinking it was a vampire film directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who does like gritty sort of realistic indie films. If you're doing a vampire fantasy shot like ‘Thirteen’, then that would be interesting. That's why I went into it really, and it ended up being something totally and utterly different." He said that he came to hate the "perfect" character of Edward, and so he decided to play him as a manic-depressive who hates himself. He also claims he felt voyeuristic while reading the novels, as if he were peeping in on the author's fantasies. He noted, "I was just convinced that this woman is mad, she's completely mad, and she's in love with her own fictional creation."  

Pattinson has a right idea on how a vampire should be.  But he got tricked on playing the Edward Cullen character.  He will forever carry the curse of being identified with Edward Cullen which had been made synonymous to the word “faggot.”  I pity the man.

                
I propose that Hollywood should fix this.  Destroy the stigma Twilight gave vampirism.  Vampires should be scary.  Fascinating but scary.  Heck, when I read the “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, I was still freaked out a bit. And I was in college already when I obtained that book!  Return the true image of vampires.  Make decent vampire films like “John Carpenter’s Vampires” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”  Vampires should be the romanticized reflection – not of our Prince Charmings – but of the evil and darkness and lust that we hate. And when a vampire is killed, it would bring back the satisfaction of destroying the evil that could tempt us into darkness – good triumphing over evil.
                               
Let’s root for the slayers rather than the vampires.          

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