MAKING MUSH OUT OF MOVIES
Leave it to Hollywood , or should I say greedy motion picture bean counters, to take a great concept and turn it into goulash, all because of the financial mindset that if it worked once, it’ll work again. Over lunch and a few Martins, they reconfigure a successful franchise, re-boot the thing, and wait for the money to pour in. Forget originality. Why be original? Make a mess of what they assume to be a guaranteed blockbuster and watch suckers slap down 12 bucks a head to view this slop.
Hollywood is packed with great writing talents, brilliant directors, canny producers, and accomplished film actors. Acting on film is a delicate skill. Unlike the Broadway stage, actors must navigate the constant repositioning of their bodies, changes in dialogue, in delivery, in their unspoken gestures and body language. Imagine doing one take after another until the angle of your face is lit just right, blending in with the mood of the set, the environment, the action.
I mention this because the latest Spiderman movie, due out this spring and previewed during the Super Bowl, looks just awful. It’s cluttered with too many villains, too many plot platforms, and most of all the action is so quick, upside down, and relentless I get a headache watching it. Henry Cavill did a superb job as Superman in the Man of Steel. The movie was a letdown though, not because of the story, but because the action was too fast, blurred, and cluttered up, leaving viewers unimpressed with the CGI and the way the director molded it around the characters and the landscapes.
Making superhero movies takes a deft hand, skillfully crafted action sequences that the audience can accept rather than dismiss as too over the top, too unbelievable, and most of all, too quick for the viewing mind to digest, leaving them bewildered as the train they’re supposed to be on pulls out of the station at light speed.
A new Star Wars series is on the table from Disney studios. Hopefully, unlike the disastrous prequels that were miscast and cartoony, Disney will get its act, and the Star Wars franchise, together and deliver a film we can all be proud to say we watched instead of leaving the theatre shaking our heads and wondering why we even bothered to pay to see it in the first place.