|08-16-2001, 11:21 AM||#21|
Join Date: Aug 2000
Local Time: 02:30 PM
|08-24-2001, 03:30 PM||#23|
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: London, UK
Local Time: 02:30 PM
WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP!
Why oh why can't Hollywood just leave old movies, and old concepts, be? Why must they indulge in their avarice and money-making vices in the name of a remake? Is Hollywood really THAT transparent?
Yes, of course it is, and everyone knows it. There is nothing shocking about film executives being in a rush to make money, it is their goal and mission in life, however, I did think that one or two words such as 'ENTERTAINMENT' and 'NOT KILLING THE AUDIENCE WITH MIND-NUMBINGLY PAINFUL SHITE' may have also popped in there as well. Just occasionally, once every Kubrick age or so.
Apparently not. Film executives have become increasingly obsessed with the concept or remakes, and I can't for the life of me figure out why. 'Lost in Space' was a complete disaster and was quite appalling, what I remember most about it all was the absolute waste of talent it indulged in. However, it hasn't just been the odd case of this or that remake movie being bad, they have ALL been dreadful. From the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE movies and their inability to find coherent plots, to the absolute carnage the 'BEVERLY HILLBILLIES' experience was, how absolutely dreadful. They have all been so disastrously appalling that its a wonder why any executive would even dream of re-treading old territory, why can't everyone just leave the 60's stuff where it belongs, as in, the 60's?
The best example to convey my horror to you is this summer's remake, PLANET OF THE APES, which, as of now, will be referred to as my retarded friend named 'POTA'. My dear friend Pota is afflicted with many ailments. He suffers from overworked plots, stereotypical characters, an overbearing affinity to slap-stick humour while at the same time thinking himself to be quite clever, and, worst of all, an absolute WASTE of talent. Its as if the world invested its most awe-inspiring into him, but the results just don't show up. What does show up, however, is a lot of screaming, shouting, hullabaloo and the inevitable slur of 'monkeying around'.
Pota is the result of an experiment that has gone wrong, you see. He was conceived in a moment of inspiration by an eccentric genius of the name 'Tim Burton'. You may have heard of him? Of course you must have. He's that genius behind the first Batman movies, the man who made Johnny Depp a star with Edward Scissorhands and the man who proved that you could be an eccentric in Hollywood while making big bucks. He is talent. So is his counterpart, for whom he copulated with in order to conceive Pota; A French dude who wrote a book called "MONKEY PLANET" and was consequently made into a movie back in 1968. Burton, you see, saw the movie and loved it so much, he wanted to name his little kiddie after it, he wanted to capture the irony of the book, the satirical aspirations, the depth and the emotive suspense; he wanted Pota to be a star.
So what does he do? He takes it to some really dire excuses for human beings named 'Screen Writers'. These people, as most excrement being carted off from the Hollywood shores prove, are really quite bad at what they do; screenwriting, and it is the odd screenwriter who truly believes in his or her craft and ends up creating a truly inspiring piece of work. Alan Ball and William Goldman instantly come to mind. However, and I am not being cynical, most screenwriters in Hollywood couldn't write subtitles for the word TALENT if they had to. These guys certainly can't. They take a couple of 'Oh So Important Issues' such as Rascism, Prejudice, Equality and Human Rights (that's a laugh), and churn out 'Spartacus' with apes crossed with a Scientifically aware 'Conan the Barbarian'.
I must admit, the outlook was never all that uplifting, but I did take some comfort in knowing that Burton was behind it. Burton, the man who could make Batman believable, the man who killed an entire all-star cast without a single law-suit, the man who made scissor-handed freaks into admirable pillars of society; the man with creative edge.
No such luck here. Now in his early forties, he suffers from the same thing Spielberg has been suffering the last two decades; 'The Seasonal Loss of Talent, or, Forgetting How to Hold the Camera Altogether and Giving Up'. However, Burton delves into even more horrendous aspects of cock-ups, from hammy performances to loop-holed plots, to undermining great talent (Roth, Bonham Carter) in such a way that yearns for the age of 'quiche'.
Anyway, back to my friend Pota. He too is of the "remake" progeny and stands well apart from them as being the most pathetic. He stands tall and proud, with the talent of Roth, the beauty of Barker Make-up, the intensity of Burton and the well-endowed gifts of Mark Whalberg, but somehow cripples himself internally. Its a sad case of appalling literary values. I can NOT emphasize enough to film makers that the most important thing in a movie IS the script. Never mind your actors, how can they hope to even save a film? Who can save a film internally if its shot for shit? No one can. If your film is being written by names such as Akiva Goldsman, Robert Rodat, Steven Zaillan and Branon Braga, abandon ship folks! Goldsman, the man who gave robots more emotional credibility than the entire cast of 'LOST' and Zaillan, the man who single-handedly turned HANNIBAL into a 'Lecter Indulgence' are considered talented by this critic when comparing them to the culprits behind Pota's murder. These evil little men are guilty of the THREE MORTAL SINS of SCREENWRITING.
The first one is, of course, Ironic Irony. Ironic Irony, we know it really well, because we see it all the time in whatever artistic medium these days. This is when a screenwriter is pretentious enough to think that he is being heavily ironic when in fact he is killing his irony altogether inadvertently. This crime is worse than mere 'pretentiousness', for there is nothing truly wrong with being pretentious as long as it serves a purpose and doesn't harm the credibility of your characters. No no, the crime of Ironic Irony is truly awful. In this case, the IRONY would've been our hero, Mark Whalberg, crashing into a land filled with inept humans who can't speak and can't do anything intelligent after saying 'never send a monkey to do a human's job' as he does in the first scene. However, the screenwriters are faced with a problem. 'Shall we make the humans stupid? No, we can't. We can't have people routing for moaning morons', though, if you ask me, we end up doing so anyway. And since when have the heroes of Blockbuster films ever been remotely intelligent? This, in the hands of a credible screenwriter, would not have been a problem. However, these poor potato-brained dingo carcasses make it their mission to make the audience FEEL for the poor humans; we're gonna have to relate to them. However, do the screen-writers even TRY to make us relate to them? I think they are under the illusion that simply because they ARE humans, we're going to relate to them. Well, guess what? When a gorilla comes running at me with a foaming mouth, I don't grab a torch and go running upto it as if I was on 'Chariots of Fire'. When a talking ape has just killed my father, I don't perk up my boobs and try to entice Mr. Whalberg as if he were still in 'Boogie Nights'. Oh, did I mention that we're supposed to relate to Whalberg's character too? Personally, I hate jocks. Always have. And it is evident from Whalberg's character (the oh so laughably named LEO Davidson... gee, I wonder who he was named after) that he’s a jock; he has big muscles, a limited vocabulary and makes really stupid faces when trying to look emotional. He IS a jock, and not a likable one at that. He forms a really weak love triangle with a blonde chick with gigantic handfuls and a monkey-faced Helena Bonham Carter, who is also, along with the rest of the cast, a waste of talent.
This scientifically inclined jock who hovers around space like, well, God, crashlands on a planet filled with talking apes who are supposed to be cleverer than humans. On that note, then, it can be deduced that the planet has to be the most retardedly populated planet in this side of the cosmos. In the course of the two hours, he (and the writers, don't forget the writers) learns absolutely nothing of this juxtaposition, is chased by a horny Tim Roth, accidentally (thats right, accidentally, as if revolutions were as easy as switching Britney Spears' banter off) causes a revolution and ends up in a nightmare of a joke that can only be rivaled by the Monty Python boys on acid. The movie is a huge MESS, to be concise. Its one retarded scene LITERALLY running into the next. Of course, there is no surprise why the film did well in the States. It has action for the guys, and Whalberg for the girls, while at the same time APES and Burton for the cultists. However, I can not tell you how awful this film is. Awful. Terrible. Akiva Goldsman would've laughed in contempt and felt proud for his work in BATMAN & ROBIN, again, this is because of the three mortal sins of screenwriting. Having your hero surrounded by supposedly ordinary IQ-ed humans destroys the irony of monkeys being smarter than humans, all that is left is a script that just grins at the subject matter with a cheesy smile worthy of a Kodak picture.
However, there are worse sins, as you will find. The second sin is of course, weak villains, and Pota has a terrible penchant for absolutely laughable villains. We are introduced to Michael Clarke Duncan’s character, Attar, an intimidating gorilla endorsed with really thought-provoking lines such as ‘the prophecy has been fulfilled’, or some shit like that. He's big, mean, roars like a lion and is so religious he bites everyone’s head off at the diner table if they forget to say ‘Grace’. He is in fact, very religious, and I am not being sarcastic. This blundering fool interrupts a fearsome battle in the end when some disorientated monkey lands in the middle of the field, bows to it and cries “the prophecy was true!” Everyone bows down to the chimp, while Roth’s snarling villain, Thade, looks around as if everyone is on acid; I don’t blame him, given the rest of the entire film and how its been hyping this moment, only to have a close encounter of the first kind with Mr. Genie off ‘The Simpsons’.
Duncan is a superb actor, an extremely gifted actor who was sheer bliss to see perform in last year’s ‘The Green Mile’, that is why it is so awful to see the same man indulge in the worst henchman script since Izzard’s henchman in ‘The Avengers’. His character kills his best friend, and then, after some startling revelation, praises him and evokes an emotionally black-mailing scene that could’ve been ripped off ‘Saving Private Ryan’. When he spoke the words ‘he will be honoured with the rest of the humans… as one’, I really wanted to write in the completion of the sentence ‘… even though I smashed his brains out a few minutes ago…”. All the apes break into tears, reconcile with the humans and embrace a brave new world, and all the while I’m thinking “No! This isn’t right! I paid good money to see apes kill anything that remotely resembled homo sapiens! Have you all got amnesia? You were just killing each other, remember the blood?! That ape just killed your mother, for God’s sake! You stupid chimps, get out there and kill some red-blooded males, GET OUT THERE! Don’t just stand there, KILL THEM!”
However, inevitably this critic was sorely disappointed. The only ape with a hatred for humans, beside the screenwriter, is Thade, Tim Roth’s villain. Unfortunately, he was the biggest disappointment. When I think of Tim Roth, I think of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and rejoice. I think of ‘Liar’ and remember the way he made my spine tingle, I remember the humour he brought into ‘Rob Roy’ and how he, along with John Hurt, single-handedly saved that wretched movie. So, inevitably, I thought his performance as General Thade, the mean head of the Ape Army with a lust for Carter’s pretty-faced monkey and a hatred for Whalberg’s jock (a sentiment I could relate to), would save the film. It doesn’t, it epitomizes and glorifies the stupidity of it all. It isn’t his fault, God help Tim Roth, it’s the idiot who ever thought that a villain could sound remotely frightening if he was constantly breathing heavily as if he was on some potent aphrodisiac. In short, Thade is a horny old goat. Sorry, CHIMP. For some reason, he is the only character in the film that talks, walks and breathes like a monkey. Well, I’m not so sure about the breathing; he breathes heavily like some aroused old age pensioner, and has a lust for groping anything that walks and talks. From having a feel around Whalberg’s molars to Bonham Carter’s body to caressing his two soldiers before executing them, my guess is that the screenwriter wanted him to be like the villain Lord Lawrence Olivier played in ‘Spartacus’. He too was a perverted little freak who tried seducing his servant with his infamous ‘oysters and clams’ speech.
However, a monkey breathing heavily doesn’t evoke fear in me, it makes me want to dive into the screen and put Tim Roth in a Breathing Contest with Darth Vader. Thade hates humans and wants to kill them. Simple enough, however, we never bother to delve into his character because the screenwriter loves to have him bounce around the walls and scream. Why on Earth bring character development into it all, if we can have bouncing villains? Why make us understand the villain, when little men on harnesses are so much fun to watch? Its all very third-rate, somehow I expected more from Burton, who always tried to make us understand his characters, especially when they had scissorhands or dressed up as bats and led a life of crime-fighting. His scenes are a complete waste of time and his dialogue is almost as bad as Whalberg’s, who acts by numbers here. Forget how promising he was in ‘Boogie Nights’, here, without the prosthetic, he lacks confidence and can’t find one dramatic bone in his body. There is a part just before the battle scene where he is supposed to give an inspirational speech to his followers, as in ‘Braveheart’, it is painfully obvious that someone, whether it was Burton or Whalberg, lacked so much confidence in his talents that the speech is cut short to “c’mon people, we can do great things!”
If that didn’t blow you away, how about this one; I actually wanted to like the film. I didn’t care that it had talking mokeys riding on horses and ruling the planet, I didn’t mind that it was based on some allegorical nonsense, I wanted to believe in Burton’s talent. If that doesn’t break anyone’s heart, then the third mortal sin will.
The Never Ending Story; this is when the screenwriter is so in love with the sound of his head going ‘THOUGHT-PROVOKING! THOUGHT-PROVOKING!’ that he tries to write a ‘thought-provoking’ ending and ends up writing a literary cock-up. Never mind the embarrassingly comic battle, never mind wasted talent, never mind chewed scenery from awful villains, Burton finds it in himself to lower his standards further.
“Its been great”, Whalberg tells everyone, “but I have to go back to my home now”. Off he goes in his deformed bucket of a space-pod and dives into that purple piece of piano wire flying around in space and ends up crashing on Earth. You may have heard that Pota boasts a bizarre ending that simply no one gets, this is completely wrong and everyone you heard that off is mistaken. Whats not to get? The screenwriter is obviously a witless wanker who was up all night reading “How To End Planet of the Apes; for Lobotomy Victims” and couldn’t even understand that. I don’t care about spoiling it for you, (as if there was much to spoil) all you need to know is that he lands in Washington, and, before you can say ‘shit ending’, he is surrounded by police Apes and Ape reporters, all driving their cars and flashing their cameras. They all close in on him and he turns around, only to find that the face of Abraham Lincoln on his statue has been replaced by, wait for it, General Thade. Whats not to get? The planet is ruled by apes and, with any luck, they will now get rid of Whalberg by hacking him to pieces, and if they’re lucky enough they might even steal his prosthetic.
The ending of the film, like the rest of the film, doesn’t mean or imply anything. What you see is what you get, apes running after humans. Anything below the surface is pretty non-existent, except a very enthusiastic Tim Burton thinking how he’s paid homage to a cult classic. I was never an ‘Apes’ fan myself, but I know that if I were a fan I’d be incredibly offended, as the fans should be. The ending is by far the worst blow to the film. A film must have a pregnant moment, for it is the very reason its being told. Most decent films do have pregnant moments, and these moments are what inspire people. For ‘Trainspotting’ its Renton’s final declaration of how he will indeed ‘choose life’ before he walks into the sunset. For ‘Shakespeare in Love’, its when they all find out she’s a woman and the Queen is thoroughly entertained. For Pota, I take it, its when the monkey lands in the middle of the field. Right.
What writers seem to do when it comes to remakes is act confidant, overly confidant. The reason why we get Ironic Irony, Weak Villains and the Never Ending Story is that the writers are so bored and careless with the material that the very essence of the movie is lost. Be it an old television series, an old film or an old concept… screenwriters just don’t have what it takes.
Maybe they should just let sleeping dogs lie. Not to mention the apes.
|08-24-2001, 03:56 PM||#24|
She wore graaaapes
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Slightly north of the Lone Star state
Local Time: 08:30 AM
Anthony = someone who REALLY explains what they want to say!!
"See, the rock star gets his way! Thank you very much. This feels very Elvis. Thank you."
Bono ~ Houston, Texas 4-02-01
[This message has been edited by Like O2 (edited 08-24-2001).]
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