Saturday, 19 January 2013

A List Full of Cash Cows

The most fun I’ve had with this “Hollywood Dollars” trilogy is that I came up with it on a whim, because of the title of the first instalment. And naming them backwards from the “Man with No Name” trilogy. This means that, as an added bonus, the titles will sit in descending order in my archives. But the fact is, this is part 3.
If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2, and wish to read this in order, feel free to do so now. But it’s not necessary. In a year or so, the times will all be put out of whack anyway, since today I’m looking ahead to movies that are to be released in a year or so. But not just any movies, remember!
Because, the Word of the Day is ‘ADAPTATION’.

Adaptation /Adap’tayshən/ n. 1. The act or result of adapting; adjusting. 2. Literature a work rewritten for a different presentation: adaptation of a book for the stage.

Okay, This is promising to be a long post [Editor’s Note: Like REALLY damn long], since I’ve got a lot to say with these lists, so let’s do this part quick. Adapting another’s work to film is a tricky business. Once you take one thing, and change it into a different medium, it’s too different to be relative to its former self.
A lot of people say: “The Book’s better than the Film!
Humbug! I say. The only reason people think that is because you take a much longer time with a book. It’s a personal journey you travel at your own pace. But have you ever read a novelization of a film? I once read a Toy Story book. Spoiler Alert: (It sucked).
But some stories translate to screen better than others, and you can’t really generalize. So, I’ve looked at the upcoming film adaptations of the next year and I have categorized them to find the “Top 10” Best and Worst.
However, in my research, I came across quite a few films that just, well, weirded me out. I was either confused or left speechless. So I have included a third category for films that left me flabbergasted.
I also mention other film adaptations throughout the list, but please note, these are not ALL of the adaptations of the upcoming year. Seriously, there’s over a hundred of these. So any I don’t mention, I either know nothing about, or I need more information before I can formulate a proper opinion to elaborate further.
Now, Without Further Ado! Here we go!


10. The Mask of Red Death
I love Edgar Allen Poe. Who doesn’t? I like what I’ve read, and although I haven’t read ‘The Mask of Red Death’, it’s premise of a freaky plague victim killing people in a manor house is great for a horror movie. But this movie now promises to place this story in Post-Apocalyptic London? Not to mention the only signed-on actress, Charlie Bond, looks eerily beautiful . . . where can I buy a ticket?
Of course, filmmakers are going nuts with old books with expired copyright, so we’re also getting not one, but TWO new movies about Mary Shelley’s monster: “Frankenstein” & “I, Frankenstein” (sadly not an Asimov crossover). While these movies don’t suck, they weren’t as good a cut as the Top 10.

09. World War Z
At first, I yawned at the prospect of a new zombie movie. Even based off a best-seller and with Brad “Joe Black” Pitt signed on. But what sold me was the new ‘feature’ of their zombies I saw in the trailer. Just look at zombies piling over one another. That’s freakin’ scary! And looks crazy awesome. Sure, I’d pay to watch that. What I won’t pay to watch is someone try to squeeze a romance plot out of a zombie movie called “Warm Bodies”. I’ll read the book maybe. Of course, then there was "The Forest of Hands and Teeth", which I didn’t even know was a zombie movie until I googled it. Sounds pretty cool . . . but just not as cool as Brad Pitt fighting zombies in WWZ. Sorry.

08. R.I.P.D.
I don’t know where I first heard of the graphic novel. But the “Rest In Peace Department” just ticks so many of my boxes. ‘Back from the Dead’ stuff is great for drama. Add in the ‘All in a day’s work’ ethic of a cop on the beat, and finally some monsters to fight? That’s a hell of a good movie, in my opinion. I think graphic novels are good fodder for film, in general. But this "Darkchylde" thing, while it has some creepy nightmare stuff, this just looks like softcore to me. There’s also "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For", (but I’ve already seen a good Sin City, so I don’t care), and finally "Morgan Kane: The Legend Begins" which I’ve never heard of, so I’ll keep my eye on it, but 
I’m not looking forward to it like I am with R.I.P.D. and it’s premise. 

07. Pacific Rim
What is Pacific Rim adapted from?” I hear you ask. Why, Japanese monster movies, of course! In the movie, they call these monsters “Kaiju” in reference to the movie phenomenon, and the fact that the entire movie is a lead up and into just one monster fight? I think they’re giving this kind of film the scale that it needs. And with Guillermo del Toro at the helm, and Ellen McLain (aka GlaDoS) signed on to voice their computer, this films pedigree just gets better and better. Some might ask, “If I want to watch a ‘kaiju’ movie, why not just watch the “Godzilla” remake that they're promising?
Because if I wanted to watch Godzilla films, I’d watch Godzilla films. CG isn’t better than puppets of claymation, why would I watch someone else try to ruin a classic?

06. Ender's Game
Although, the aliens are called ‘buggers’, (make of that what you will) we’re ignoring Orson Scott Card’s homophobia for now, because this movie intrigues me. It’s the future: cool. Main character is a teenaged super-genius: wicked cool. He’s training for the war: okay. He trains in zero-gravity virtual environments with lasers: DUDE!
And there’s drama because other people hate Ender for being a genius. So yeah, I’m gonna watch it. I like sci-fi, but I hate the ridiculously political/complicated sci-fi, like "Dune". It’s the same reason why I like "John Carter" (which you need to see by the way), it’s all the cool stuff, explained naturally. And also the same reason I don’t care about "Hyperion". I mean, even the title sounds like way too much research to understand.

05. Man of Steel
What do you expect? I’m the Absurd Word Nerd after all. Actually, I want to see this because I haven’t seen a good superman movie (you failed me, Christopher Reeve) and so I want to see it done right. That’s not to say this will be done right. They’ve got Christopher Nolan on board, (who did the Dark Knight trilogy) and while that movie was good, it was a little too realistic, grim and gritty for the likes of Clark Kent. But from the trailers I’ve seen, they have an idea of what their doing. And while it’ll probably draw out the movie as long as they can before putting him in the suit, I expect it will be worth the wait. Don’t let me down, Superman!

04. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
I have to. I saw the first one, and it didn’t suck, so I have to see the next one. As I understand it, they’re actually going to finish the story here, and the next will be a sort of ‘interim’ movie, to connect the Hobbit movies to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So that means here we’ll actually get to see Smaug (who has until now, only been seen partially, or as a fiery blur), so it’s got a lot of promise. I do like this sort of ‘follow the little hero’ fantasy epic. Which is why I am also keeping an eye on "Jack the Giant Slayer”, a film adapted from the fairytale of the same name. I’ve never been an orc, or an elf, but if your main character is a hobbit, or a Jack, I feel like I can better relate to it, so let’s hope for the best from these two.

03. The Seventh Son
From "The Wardstone Chronicles", better known as “The Spook’s Books” for UK and Australian readers in particular, this film promises to adapt Joseph Delaney’s “The Spook’s Apprentice/The Last Apprentice” story to film. That alone has me enthused, I love these stories. But the spook is none other than Jeff “The Dude” Bridges? Oh, I swooned.
Promises of other Young Adult books like "Beautiful Creatures" & "Paranormalcy", while still interesting, are blown out of the water by the tight, thrilling story of Tom Ward and John Gregory as they fight off the forces of the Dark. Then again, those two movies are more aiming for the Twilight fandom, whereas I believe the Spooks series could be the next Harry Potter phenomenon. If you haven’t got the books yet, get them! They’re AWESOME!

02. John Dies at the End
Spoiler Alert: John Dies at the End. But that’s just the end of the story . . . there’s a lot more to it than that. The How, Where, Why & What of John’s death are just a glimpse into a bigger world of trans-dimensional drugs, imaginary creatures and lots of dick jokes. I loved the book. It’s got that surreal humour of other comedy authors, grounded in the reality of a scared little man named David Wong. My only issue is, it seems to follow the story pretty closely, so make up your mind NOW if you want to read the book first or see the movie, because there will be no surprises afterward. Oh, except for the sequel: “ThisBook is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch It!” Which I have yet to finish reading, because I want to re-read the JD@TE first. Yes, it’s that good.

01. Iron Man 3
Oh, like I even had to say it. But it’s not just because I watched and loved the first two (yes, even Justin Hammer) that makes me want to watch Iron Man 3, but also it looks like they’re doing the ‘rogue suit’ storyline, where the Iron Man armour, sans Stark, slaps around Tony for being a drunk (at least, that’s how I understand it). That alone is ripe for drama, but then there’s the Mandarin on top of that! His hair looks ridiculous, but whatever, Ben Kingsley still acts awesome, and the Mandarin is his arch-nemesis. I can’t wait.
There’s also new sequels for all Avengers except Hulk with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" & "Thor: The Dark World". I’m going to watch those movies anyway, but more than both of them I really want to know what’s happening with Tony Stark and his pimped-out prosthesis.


10. The Wolf of Wall Street
Firstly, a movie with ‘Wolf’ in the title that is not actually about werewolves is always going to piss me off. But more than that, who cares about Wall Street? This movie’s description is ‘a stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud cause involving–‘
BOOOOOORIIIIING. Sure, DiCaprio can act, there’s no denying that after Inception. But can he make the stock market interesting?
Eh, Meh, Nyeh . . . No. Sorry, but No. Another adaptation with a misleading title is "Black Wings Has My Angel". But this pisses me off less because A) It’s based on a crime pulp fiction novel from the 1950s, and they can have weird titles & B) It’s a Crime Thriller of the 1950’s! That sounds pretty cool. I’ll keep my eye on that one.

09. Jack Ryan
Based on Characters by Tom Clancy” That’s pretty much all I needed to hear. to be sure, I looked into this Jack Rya character on my old friend, Wikipedia. I got about four paragraphs in, then started skimming, then gave up. It's boring . . .
So let's talk about "Serena". Set during the depression, and I quote: "George Pemberton's timber empire becoems complicatred when it is learned that his wife, Serena, cannot bear children." Admitted
ly this too sounds boring. But Depression, business issues and family conflict all sounds like fodder for drama. It doesn't sound like something I would enjoy, but I've been surprised before. I'm much more interested in Pemberton's housewife than I am in "Jack Ryan, C.I.A. agent", that's for damn sure.

08. Jeepers Creepers 3: Cathedral
A sequel for a horror movie is always a bad idea. I mean, you already know the stakes if they’re able to do a sequel. For one thing, it means the monster isn’t dead, which ruins any potential catharsis of the originals. It makes the monster unstoppable (and as Bane taught us, we need hope otherwise there’s nothing to lose). And lastly, it’s Jeepers Creepers! Those movies weren’t really scary. I’ll admit some of the stuff was gross, and at times the creature was ‘creepy’ but never horrifying. And we already know the Jeepers Creepers monster, so what more does it need to do?

07. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
This one is very simple. The first one sucked. I don’t like watching movies that suck. And it wasn’t just the story, the story seemed pretty cool. But the actors are either B-list or lower, and the main character is boring. I don’t know if it’s the actor’s fault or the director’s fault. But it’s someone’s fault that it sucked, because you have to try pretty hard to make Greek Gods boring. Speaking of Ancient Gods, another ancient tale to be remade is "The Monkey King" a story about magic, monkeys and Japanese folklore which promises to be better than anything about Percy Jackson. And despite being Made in China, it is apparently being filmed in both Mandarin and English, but I’m not sure, so keep an eye out for updates in that respect.

06. Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn
No, these books are not suited for film. There are some interesting plot points with treasure, cross-dressing and murder. But these books seem more like a character piece. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m sure Mark Twain’s writing is swell. But as a movie, it seems like it doesn’t have much of a point, so long as they don’t add extra scenes. Not that I mind directors adding their own scenes, where necessary. Extra scenes are the only thing I can think of to save the upcoming “Noah" film from being a flop. It’s the story of Noah, I know how it ends! And for those six or seven people that haven’t heard the story before, it’s a pointless story anyway, it teaches you nothing of truth or value.

05. Pet Sematary
Again, just no. There’s a reason all Stephen King books suck on film. It’s the same reason Twilight sucks as a film. The story is stupid. The only reason people like his books is because he is good at the atmosphere and making everything sound creepy with his writing. But that cannot translate to film. Not to mention this is a film about dead things “coming back evil”, which has been done before and better. And by that token, "The Ten O'Clock People" should not be a movie either. It’s about smokers who take drugs and then ‘discover reality’. Do I really need to explain why this is boring? Come on, people. Stephen King is a bad storyteller, don’t you get that yet?

04. The Smurfs 2
The Smurfs sucked. Thus and therefore, Smurfs 2 will suck. I’m not saying sequels to bad movies are always bad. I mean, I didn’t like Batman Begins, and look where that took us? But the reason this will suck is because it looks like it does the same thing as the first movie. Same goofy acting, same bad premise, same style. And on top of that, the ‘Naughties’ freak me out. Seriously, when I first saw the image of Smurfette turning into a Naughty, I got chills. That face resides deep in the pits of the Uncanny Valley for me. She looks like the original Miss Piggy puppet before they fixed her eyes. Just having to find the link for that image has given me chills. Those eyes, man . . . eurgh.

03. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Despite the racist undertones and poor storyline of the original game, I do believe this would make a great movie: Young dude, out solving ancient mysteries of archeology while bad guys are trying to kill him. The problem is, we already HAVE that movie. Four of them. They’re called Indiana Jones. “Oh, but wait,” I hear you say, “This may be like Indiana Jones, but it’s set in modern times!” Oh right. Problem is, we already have that movie too. It was called “National Treature” and no matter how flippant, fun and self-aware this Nathan Drake man is, no one can out-cage Nicolas “The Cage” Coppola. I'd prefer they do another sequel to that, to be honest. Oh, a "National Treasure 3" is in the works? Well, fantastic then.

02. Untitled Transformers Sequel
Why is Michael Bay still alive? I’ve heard of presidents that were killed for less. Fellating the army into submission; ruining childhood favourites; ignoring the last 50 years of women’s rights & the last 200 years of race relations. Why has no one killed this man? He’s a douchebag, and more importantly one that makes bad, bad movies. He’s also trying his hardest to ruin "Ninja Turtles". Thankfully he’s not directing the Turtles movie, so I’m gonna wait for a trailer before I decide to set his Humvee on fire (I just assume he drives a Humvee). But then the next film he’s actively working on is the macho man-meatfest of "Pain & Gain", a movie all about the struggles of a trio of bodybuilders that can fight crime. For heaven's sake, Mr Bay, can you please just fuck off and die?

01. Oldboy
Oh, hell no. I get that people don’t like to read subtitles, but that is, at best, an excuse to redub a film. But what sick hell is this changing the main character “Oh Dae-su” to “Joe Doucett”? I’m sorry, but that’s just racist. The original was a story, amidst two others in the “Vengeance Trilogy” showing the love and hatred of the human heart in a cinematic triptych. This is just a remake for money’s sake. The Absurd Word Nerd does not approve.
It’s almost as bad as the “Akira” remake that they’re trying to make, which is threatening to be a two-parter . But that film doesn’t get the number one spot here because it has the decency to dwell in developmental hell. This Oldboy movie should not be remade. End of story.


10. Santapprentice
Okay, I get that this was apparently a French-made kid’s animated movie or something, so it’s not as random as it sounds. The story of Santa's apprentice who is chosen when Santa retires. But why is someone actually paying for this to be a movie? What gets weirder is not only does it have two directors (Tim Hill & Mike Mitchell) and Dreamworks on the bill as the animator, but check out this ‘tagline’:  “Finally!, DreamWorks Animation's First Live-action/CGI Hybrid” Wait, what? First of all, so many movies with special effects these days, MOST movies are Live-Action/CGI hybrids. And second, this is your big movie for it? A Christmas Movie about Santa Claus's retirement plan? Where the hell did this idea come from?!

09. Riddick
First off, why just Riddick? The first movie was called “Pitch Black”, followed by “The Chronicles of Riddick” Two videogames and an animation followed. But why come up with the title, with the word Chronicles, plural, if you only had one. Isn’t this another Chronicle? The IMDB page says “Follows The Chronicles of Riddick”, so this isn’t a reboot or anything. Is there any real need for this besides Vin Diesel having fun roleplaying? Oh, wait that was the only reason. There’s also an “Untitled Daredevil Reboot" in the works, which at least was worse than Pitch Black, so deserves a reboot. But there’s also “Short Circuit” reboot in the works! That movie was pretty bad, yes. But it was a family movie. It was supposed to be like that. Besides, we already have a cool self-aware, goggle-eyesd robot movie. It was called "Wall-E", So why do we also need a new Number 5?

08. Untitled Muppets Sequel
You know what I really liked about “The Muppets”? The ending.
SPOILER ALERT! [FOR REAL THIS TIME!]: In the end, they failed their mission. They did not raise all the money they needed. But they decided to go on anyway. Because it’s not about being The Muppets, it’s about being together. -END OF SPOILERS! That is a beautiful message. And having a sequel screws that up! Now they’re just like “Oh well, let’s just keep going”. I am conflicted about this movie the same as I was with “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”, because I know it is a bad idea, but I have to watch it anyway. Hopefully The Muppets 2 will be less disappointing than that movie was.

07. The Lone Ranger
One question: Why is Johnny Depp playing a Native American? He’s whiter than I am. Why couldn’t they give the part to an actual Native American actor? They do exist, just look at this list from Wikipedia. Also, how do they expect such an old show to translate to modern times? The trailer for the movie promises train crashes and action scenes. But that didn’t happen in the original show, so why even call it The Lone Ranger? I don’t know. Another film adaptaion based on the Old West is "A Walk Among the Tombstones" a movie I know nothing about. But, dude, Liam Neeson is signed on to play a cowboy, so I’ve definitely got my hopes up for that one.

06. Paddington Bear
Y'know, someone in the movies industry believes it’s a good idea for a teddy bear to get a movie. Until I heard of this film I didn’t know much about the bear. But Wikipedia tells me Paddington is an immigrant from “Darkest” Peru, who was found in a train station and has a long history that he shares as the stories go along. The majority of stories seem to be about how difficult it is for a teddy bear/Peruvian to get around England. That being said, I vaguely remember seeing the thing around when I was really young, but just barely [haha, 'bear-ly']. And from what I see, if done well, this could be a beautiful story. But right now . . . all I’m thinking is: So, it’s "Ted", if Ted wasn’t an asshole? But yeah, as far as I’m concerned it all depends on the voice they pick for Paddington. I’d like something gruff and worldweary.

05. Kane & Lynch
Did you play the Kane & Lynch game, or it’s sequel? If so, I am so very sorry for you. If not, let me fill you in: It sucks. A game about unlikeable characters in a poorly written story with retarded A.I. to shoot. On the one hand I thought “Well, the game sucks, so now this has the opportunity to do it again, better, in a new medium” but on the other hand, the story of Kane & Lynch sucks because nobody cares about these horrible, horrible characters. There are so many other games to choose from, why . . . what’s that? Another “Tomb Raider” movie? Did that really need a sequel . . . a reboot you say? So Angelina Jolie gets to start all over with . . . she’s not signed on as Lara Croft? But that’s the only reason anyone watched the movie in the first place!

04. Bunyan
Wait a minute, I know that name . . . oh, Paul Bunyan. Yeah, that’s that old folktale of a giant lumberjack who has a blue ox as a pet. Wait, WHAT?! No, wait, okay, it seems they’re serious. But what’s this now. The tagline is: “This Tall Tale is Murder” . . . so it’s a murder mystery, about a twelve-storey lumberjack? Oh, wait. IMDB says the genre is Horror. Hmmm . . . I can kind of see where they’re coming from. Anyone who think that a lovable folklore figure can’t be scary obviously hasn’t seen a sculpture of this thing. I don’t know if this will be a good movie, but the premise alone demands you pay attention, even if it’s just to watch this thing crash and burn.

03. Hansel & Gretel Get Baked
Okay, for these last three, I feel the need to remind you: I am not making these up. There are quite a few Hansel & Gretel movies coming out this year, such as "Hansel and Gretel in 3D!" which just looks childish and stupid. But this just sounds, well, adulterated and stupid. It's basically a Comedy Horror of the original tale, set in Suburbia wherein all fantastical elements are explained by the drugs or by other characters being high. The drug stuff just looks stupid, but the non-comedy indie Horror "Hansel & Gretel" also coming out this year doesn't seem to fare much better. Yet still a fourth "Hansel and Gretel" film presents an indie action version, but that's all I know about it. However, this all pales in comparison to the “Van Helsing” inspired, "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters". At least here, although the premise is ridiculous, the moviemaker seems in on the joke, and they’re just having a load of fun. But can someone explain why we need FIVE freaking Hansel and Gretel movies?

02. Lego: The Movie
Again, not kidding. One of the cool things about the Lego company, is that with the “Lego Star Wars” & “Lego Harry Potter” videogames and the like, you get the impression that Lego doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which suits, because it’s a toy company. And the story is said to be about an average Lego figurine caught up in a quest to stop an evil Lego figurine from gluing Lego together. Sounds pretty funny, but could get serious what with the drama of Lego figures stuck together. But check this out: What do Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett and Morgan Freeman have in common? They’re all signed on to do voices in this movie! And with characters like President Business, Bad Cop, Pirate & Batman to look forward to, I just don’t know what to expect next!

01. Postman Pat: The Movie - You Know You're the One
I’m sorry, what? Postman Pat? At first I thought this was just a joke or something, but David Tennant, Rupert Grint & Jim Broadbent are all signed on to do voices. And IMDB says it's Post-Production, so it seems like this movie is totally happening. But I have to ask. Why is it called “The Movie”, only then to add the subtitle “You Know You’re the One”? Usually you call something The Movie, if you’re only gonna make one. But a subtitle implies it’s the first of a series, or that it’s a special case. So is this The Movie, or a special case? It can’t be  both, damn it! And this thing says the storyline is that Postman Pat “finds his beliefs challenged” when he enters a televised Talent Show. How the hell are his beliefs challenged? And in a talent show?
The Absurd Word Nerd is at a loss for words.

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