Just some random thoughts about movies this post.
Saw Repo Men. Eh, it was okay. The “surprise” ending isn’t really a surprise.
“Hey, you know that thing that I mentioned a couple of times for no clear reason?”
“Oh, no reason. Certainly not clumsy foreshadowing or anything like that.”
“Oh, good. For a second I was worried about . . . wait one second. There’s a commercial for that thing that keeps coming up. Let’s watch it then resume our more plot-oriented discussion.”
“Sounds good to me.”
So in addition to not really being surprising, it also manages to make the entire movie moot. Good acting from all the participants, but just ends up going nowhere. That’s kind of the point though, so take it for what it’s worth. I know that many will disagree, and I’ll just admit that I don’t get stories like this.
The ads for How to Train Your Dragon look impressive. I’m not just saying that because I have deal or two with Dreamworks. Looks like a fun film. One question though. Why did they start referring to it as “Dreamorks’ Dragons”? Was the original title too difficult to remember? Did it not test well? If so, why did they use it in the first place?
I get that they want to use Dreamworks. That’s the way we brand now. It worked for Disney. It’s working for James Patterson. It’s more important to develop a recognizable brand than anything else. And it’s easy to be critical of something like that, but in this age, when we are exposed to an endless media barrage, having a recognizable name or logo is key to getting noticed. It’s just a shame that it can so often become the most important factor.
Disney purposely chose the title The Princess and the Frog over the more traditional The Frog Prince. The intention is clear. Let’s add a African-American princess to the Disney princess stable. Another marketable character to make toys of. I liked The Princess and the Frog. Found it to be amusingly retro and fun. It did well, but apparently it didn’t perform as well as Up. Oh, excuse me. That’s DISNEY PIXAR’s Up.
That’s another thing that annoys me. The Princess and the Frog did well. Maybe it didn’t break any box office records, but do we all have to aspire to be KING OF THE BOX OFFICE! Can’t we sometimes just make a nice film and make some money? I guess not.
Now Disney is changing the name of their Rapunzel movie to Tangled. The rumor is that this will make the movie more palatable to boys. Frustrating that, for all the progress we’ve made, we’ve actually taken a step or two backward. I don’t remember hearing about little boys not going to see Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. Maybe it was true. Maybe not. But was it assumed?
On a small side note, DIVINE MISFORTUNE has a solid rating on Amazon in the Single Women category. While I’ll take all the exposure I can get, I have to wonder if perhaps we’re not getting a little specific in our marketing. Is there something especially different about Misfortune that would make it more appealing to single women? Strangely, it’s the first book of mine to feature a married couple. But I won an Alex Award for GIL’S ALL FRIGHT DINER, and that’s a young adult oriented award. Gil’s only has two teens in it, and both of them are the bad guys. So maybe I’m overthinking it.
Finally, I’d like to mention the commercials for KICK-ASS. While I’m not a big fan of the concept in general, it looks interesting at least. But the ads keep making it seem like it’s a story about regular people becoming superheroes in an effort to help people and empower themselves. Yet this isn’t what the original miniseries is about.
Kick-Ass, the comic book, is about dangerous, deranged individuals who hurt people in pathetic, juvenile narcissism. It has nothing at all to do with any of the bright and shiny aspects of superheroes, and everything to do with criticizing and deconstructing the superhero genre. Whether or not it succeeds largely depends on your point of view, but what can definitely be said about Kick-Ass is that the protagonists of Kick-Ass are not heroes.
It reminds me a bit of the Watchmen movie (and remember, it’s Watchmen, not THE Watchmen). Alan Moore’s deconstruction of the superhero genre was marketed too as a cutting edge heroic fantasy. Never mind that it isn’t about that. What matters is getting the people into the seats, and admittedly, it’s hard to advertise a tense, literary piece of fiction (that just happens to have superheroes) with a thirty second commercial.
Kick-Ass will probably have better luck because, despite its attempts at deconstruction, it is everything it pokes fun at. It’s a big, dumb action movie without a lick of sense. It lacks the insight or subtle characterization of more traditional superhero faire like Iron Man or The Incredible Hulk. Mark Millar might think he’s the next Alan Moore, but if so, he’s got a long way to go.
But Kick-Ass the comic did well. And I’m sure Kick-Ass the movie will do well too. And I’m sure that Millar will have a long, prosperous career ahead of him. So, as I’ve said before, what do I know? Just some more random opinions from a world-renowned novelologist. Make of them what you will, gang.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,