Friday, February 03, 2006

Fantastical

You know how they say it takes a few years for major movie sensations to influence what you see at the multiplex? We got the first big taste of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings's combined shockwaves two christmases in a row with the debut of the Lemony Snicket and Narnia franchises. Underwhelming and still cash cows. Turns out Potter made everyone a fantasy book fan and Peter Jackson made it safe for fantasy to be trusted as both a highly lucrative investment and a bid for critical prestige and Oscar glory. In other words we're a long way from the 80s when Legend was for D&D brats only. Sword and sorcery was almost exclusively straight-to-video fare. Some upcoming films with fantasy elements to be hesitantly excited about.

A Sequel to The Dark Crystal, 1982's puppet fantasy spectacular. I was hella wild about that as a kid. Crossing my fingers.
Miss Potter. The unthinkable has happened. I'm excited about a movie to star La Zellweger. This isn't "fantasy" per se but it'll have a mix of real and imagined courtesy of Babe director, Chris Noonan.
Pan's Labyrinth -- Crazy Mexican and fanboy favorite Guillermo del Toro is making another scary/bizarre horror fantasy thing.
Another multi-film fantasy franchise for New Line They hope to capture lightning in a bottle a second time. Anand Tucker will helm His Dark Materials

But the usual fate of films in general, particularly expensive genre ones? That's "Development Hell".
Elric of Melnibone who is one of hard fantasy's most famous protagonists, was supposed to be on his way to the movies as early as 2003. Still no movement of any significance.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

His Dark Materials is going to be a tough sell for New Line. While they are endlessly fascinating and, in my opinion, better than the Lord of the Rings and Narnia, in many ways they are and were conceived as the anti-Narnina. Most specifically in their hostile take on Christian monotheism. Since the series is a subversion of Paradise Lost, as the series progresses the main villain for the story goes from evil church officials to none other than God himself (who is presented as a corrupt and malicious authority figure) and the series ends with a rejection bibilcal story of Adam and Eve. Other problems include a strange cosmology where souls are physically manifested in animal form called "daemons," a nun that forcibly rejects the Church, and witches helping in the battle against God.

The hardcore Christians will come out in full force against these movies once they figure out what is happening, (thankfully many of them haven't taken the time to read the books and get an idea of what is really in them, but the movie will be harder to ignore) probably moreso because these movies are going to be pitched at children. It's that fact that makes His Dark Materials have the potential to be even more controversial than say Brokeback Mountain, a movie never ever aimed at children and was never openly hostile to the Christian conception of God.

Kamikaze Camel said...

What I'm concerned about is Anand Tucker! The guy that made Shopgirl and Hilary & Jackie (two movies i like)?

Although, i have no idea what Dark Materials is, so thanks anonymous for a little bit bout that.

I'm incredible worried about the sequel to Dark Crystal. Like... how many people are going to care enough to make it a viable option?

chasgoose said...

Dark Crystal 2! I am worried, but AMAZING!

I was sort of wishing Nicholas Hytner would be attached to direct His Dark Materials, his London theatrical production of it looked incredible. Controversy aside, if done well, HDM has the potential to be really good and perhaps be the next Lord of the Rings. Except it might be too literary for its own good. I mean at its core it is essentially a William Blakeesque response to C.S. Lewis and John Milton.

Arkaan said...

anonymous, are you aware that the books have already been banned by some school libraries in the US?

With Tom Stoppard writing the screenplay, I have to admit I'm gonna take a look.

par3182 said...

i was about to post about my lack of interest in the fantasy genre but the anonymous synopsis of 'his dark materials' fascinated me. i'll be giving that a go...