Category: Hollywood Headdesks


See, I already knew I had issues with them doing a Three Musketeers film, because I just can’t see how they’re going to do it. I know full well they can’t do the whole book and get everything. That said, I agree with what *seems* to be their chosen route: i.e., screw the politics and intrigue and just hit the ACTION! ADVENTURE! part, because frankly, that’s what’s likely to translate best into a film.

But. Like. They’re talking of an apocalypse? They have super-wonky ninja weapons?* And everyone looks miserable?

The only part of the trailer that seems to have caught the tone of the book right is Athos’ parting shot about it being an off day. Beyond that, I’m terrified that it’s going to be a giant unfunny no-good very bad mess of sad.


*unless that wonkyass thing in the first moment is a poinard? Seriously, there’s some crazy knife they talk about a lot, but I never pictured it quite like that.

People, this is a link to a trailer for one of those films that is guaranteed to give me a migraine.

For the link-phobic or trailer-haters, it’s a link to a trailer for a film of Atlas Shrugged. Part 1. Because at least Hollywood was thinking clearly enough to realize that a book that weighs in at 1200 pages (for reference, pretty much the same length as War and Peace) shouldn’t be fit into one two-hour film. I mean, thank heaven for that at least.

That said, I have a million-billion problems with this. There are many blog posts out there detailing how objectivism (Rand’s philosophy, set out most grandly in this book) is a fundamentally selfish, nasty philosophy, so we’ll skip that here because I am tired. But I will note that at least fivehundredthousand-billion of my problems with this whole project have to do with objectivism as a philosophy and my general sense that the last thing most people need to be told is that it’s okay to be even more self-serving.* That said, I do believe it’s a book people should read. It’s hugely influential, and one of those books where the ideas are so strong that everyone should wrestle with them and draw their own conclusions.

Anyway. The problem that’s worth bringing up here isn’t really Rand’s philosophy or my problems with it, but the fact that this is going to be a movie. Because turning this into a movie means either focusing solely on the murder mystery/plot-heavy part of it – thus MISSING THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT OF THE BOOK – or trying somehow to get the philosophical stuff onto the screen in some sort of meaningful, intelligible, non-boring way. What I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s going to be possible to film this book without a severe case of Adaptation Decay, because so much of what makes the book worth reading and wrestling with is fundamentally unfilmable.

By which I mean “good luck, people.”

I assume the film will likely dumb everything down and include a few too many explosions. I’ll read the reviews anyway – maybe I’ll be surprised into deciding to go see it and thereby give myself the migraine I know it’ll give me.
*or hate women, or rape women because they don’t actually matter, or just generally enjoy and be proud of being an egotistical twatwaffle asshole, or…

ETA: this is apparently part one of a flipping trilogy. To quote a friend, “I guess this means part 3 will just be an asshole giving a speech.” 

He’s probably not wrong. Lovely.

… for anyone who doesn’t read the AVClub at 1:39am enjoys moments when the universe becomes more recursive than usual:

James Franco has created a university class (for credit!) about James Franco, partially taught by James Franco, featuring bits of film by James Franco.

So. Enjoy that. I’ll regale y’all with blizzard photos later, should the blizzard warnings my area is under actually amount to a real blizzard.


Edit: It’s appalling that I began February like that. My apologies. I am suitably embarrassed.
Edit 2: It’s appalling that it’s already February.

No. No Seriously, NO.

Um, guys. For anyone who doesn’t read Cleolinda’s blog with any regularity, I have some terrible fucking news for you.

They’ve decided to reboot the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. Like, completely. Like, Buffy apparently won’t even be in high school anymore (not that she was for the latter half of the series), and they have no director and no script or anything. Just a writer who is on a tight schedule (they want the film out in a year), so two things need to be in effect:
– this had better be the best damn writer ever, because the writer will have NO time for editing whatsoever, meaning little chance to fix all but the most gaping of plot holes and even less time to polish the script into anything really entertaining
– Joss Whedon is not involved, so it’s pretty much probably going to suck anyway.

I mean, I’m not in love with Whedon the way is. Tropers seem to half live and die by their insane, overwhelming love of him. However, he did a beautiful flipping job with Buffy*, and I really like Buffy. I don’t want someone fucking it up yet. I figured there’d be a reboot eventually, as gritty reboots are seemingly inevitable, but I didn’t want Buffy to fall to Inevitable Gritty Reboot Syndrome any time soon. This is a sad, sad, terrifying day, folks.

*at least until Seasons 6&7, but those seasons feel like a sort of tacked-on after-the-fact-type “but we were having fun, dammit!” type things to me

Playing Civ V

This is just a quick post to note that every single time one of you clicks on the link to the picture of naked Ron Paul running through a lake already knowing what you’re going to find because I very clearly told you, I die a little. And then I laugh really hard, because apparently I’m not the only weird one out there. 

I’ve been planning on writing an epic post on how to win Civilization V with a cultural victory, but my unbeatable victory plan so far only works up to Noble (level 3). I can’t make it work on Prince (level 4 – the computer’s level). So I’m retooling and will post it once it works.

The thing with Civilization is that I’ve been playing it since at least Civ II and have played every version more times than I’d care to admit. It’s a really satisfying, complex strategy game, and they’ve done a great job of improving it substantially with every new edition.* Civ V gives us City States, which are integral to a cultural victory, and it plays with border expansion in new and interesting ways so that the city automatically goes for the nearby resources rather than expanding evenly, and the combat system has been retooled in fun ways and so on. But in so doing they also managed to make the Cultural victory damned near impossible, which is why (other than unemployment) I’ve become mildly obsessed with getting one on at least Monarch (level 5).

So far, I’ve established the following:
– you need a hefty amount of money to pay off the cultural City States, because you can’t win without all the culture they give you
– you can’t do more than two (or maybe three) cities
– don’t fall into my trap of assuming that an archery unit garrisoned in each city plus 2-3 other units will keep you from looking like a tasty target to some of the more aggressive leaders (I may have lost my capital last night to Hiawatha, who has earned a multi-game level of “must kill the bastard dead” vengeance from me now)
– you really, really want Chichen Itza – golden ages help majorly in creating culture, so lengthening them is a good proposition

After that, however, I’m lost.

One day, there will be a post with a detailed, tested victory plan. Until then, however, I’m still tweaking.

* I’m not usually a fan of sequels. Speaking of, they really ARE doing an Iron Man 3. Because Iron Man 2, um, sucked, so it’s only logical they should make a third. Hopefully they remember to make it funny this time.

I’ve now been laughing about this for twelve hours, in between groans of “OHCEILINGCATNOOOOOOO” and “they absolutely positively CANNOT BE SERIOUS, right?” and then more laughter.

Hollywood has decided, apparently, that the time is right for a film of a particularly long and dense epic poem.

I’m not honestly surprised that they’re doing a film of this poem, as it’s been getting references all over the place in books being written right now, especially in the world of YA, where it feels like I can’t open a book without a 50% likelihood of this poem being referenced, if not heavily leaned on.  I blame Philip Pullman.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, they’re making a film of PARADISE LOST.  Really.  In 3-D most likely, and which, as the second article says, “will be crafted as an action vehicle that will include aerial warfare.”  Of course it will.

Yes, Paradise Lost will be an action film.  Directed by the guy who directed The Crow.  It’s like life just handed me a freshly baked cookie.

I’m heartened by this is many ways, as the fun parts of Paradise Lost should make an effing FANTASTIC action film.  Angels throw mountains on each other in Paradise Lost.  Think about it.  How COOL would it be to watch ANGELS THROW MOUNTAINS ON EACH OTHER.  I am *all* over this, and I want popcorn, and a Guinness, and maybe some Reeces Pieces, and then HELL YES I WANT TO SEE THIS.  On an IMAX screen, if possible.  OTOH, if for some reason the director et al decide *not* to include angels lobbing mountains on each other, I’m going to feel cheated.

(As an aside, sorry for the yellies here.  I’ve been laughing about this for hours now.  It kept me up at night because I was laughing so hard.  I can’t believe I managed not to wake up Tony because my laughter was shaking the bed.)

The part that has me worried is that there’s no way in fucking hell they’ll EVER manage a plausible interpretation of the poem that manages to even glance at the depth of meaning in it, or recognize any of the major themes (much less do them any justice).  I also figure almost goes without saying that Satan will be played by Hot Guy, and that, being Hot Guy, he’ll be the hero. Big misreading of the poem, no matter how sexy Satan is in the beginning.  To put it in modern terms, Satan in Paradise Lost is the rhetorical equivalent of Glenn Beck, if Glenn Beck looked like Clive Owen rather than a pink-faced fuckwit.  Satan’s arguments, when parsed, hold exactly as much water as do Mr. Becks (i.e., none), but he’s blustery enough that he comes across as sexy as hell* anyway.  Until God turns him into a snake and Satan turns, if possible, MOAR EMO.  Really, though, if you read the poem carefully, it’s pretty clear Satan is the bad guy, no matter what William Blake et al thought.

So I’m torn.  On the one hand, this is assuredly going to be a disaster on any philosophical level, pretty much guaranteed to debase the poem from greatness to a handful of headache-inducing 3-D special effects battle scenes.  On the other, ANGELS THROWING MOUNTAINS ON EACH OTHER.

Thoughts, oh world?

*Forgive the pun here, please. It was unintentional (when I first wrote it, anyway – obviously I decided to leave it).

(Note: You really don’t want to google “Avatar Navi” (which I did in order to make sure I put the apostrophe in the right place).  The first thing that comes up on the list is “The Avatar Na’vi Sex Scene Revealed,” the which title I’d link to for you but won’t because I a) find the concept vaguely terrifying and b) am afraid what (i.e., sexspambots or whatever) might end up trying to comment on my blog if I did.(Rule 34. Ugh.)(Anyway.)

The KC Renaissance Festival has been going on for years and years.  And years.  Close to three decades or something like that.  It’s a giant, 6-weekend long festival with a different theme each weekend, a plentiful supply of Ren-Fest-Requisite smoked turkey legs (ZOMGMAZING), plenty of booze, corsets, cleavage and fairy wings galore.  Just as it should be.

As always happens, the costumes run the gamut.  There are the people wearing exquisitely crafted costumes with brocade and leather lacings and appropriate-looking footware and hats and so on, who quite clearly enjoy putting the costumes together and making them look fantastic.  And there are of course the people who’ve thrown on fairy wings, combat boots and a furry tail all at once and who make me wonder what the Ren Fest equivalent of Tim Gunn would say.  I’m fine with any and all versions of this (and everyone else who wanders around with their standard jeans and t-shirt weekend gear).  It’s the Renaissance Festival:  checking out the costumes/people watching is half the fun (the other half, of course, being the turkey legs and mulled mead).

Where I draw the line is when someone shows up at a Renaissance Festival wearing full Na’vi regalia:  tiny bra-like top, tiny skirt, long blue tail, fully painted blue body.  Nothing that counts as even a nod to Renaissance costuming (or Medieval costuming, or anything else along the 3rd-17th century spectrum that the Ren Fest seems to include).  Clearly and simply and only Hollywood.

I have no problem with the concept of the Na’vi costume in general – the movie was popular enough that I’m assuming something like 1/10 adults (and possibly a higher quotient of kids) will be looking at the Na’vi as the hot “must-be” costume for Halloween 2010.  And I’ve zero doubt whatsoever that a good many of these costumes have already been worn to ComicCon and GenCon and whatever else.  Which is also good and fine and exactly as it should be.

At the Ren Fest, however, it seems in my mind that the costumes should at least *reference* the stated time period (however broadly interpreted), because we’ve all agreed on the theme here and it’s the theme itself that is providing the basis for entertainment.  So read some Tolkein, play with chain mail, quote some Shakespeare, throw on some fairy wings and have some fun.  But keep Avatar out of it.  Or change up the costume a bit and go as a troll, lest we decide that you really are a troll.

Hollywood Strikes Again


Paul W.S. Anderson is filming The Three Musketeers (the link is to the imdb page).  This particular Mr. Anderson is the director of the Resident Evil films.  Which, you know, fine.  I’m not a fan of the Resident Evil films, but I don’t have to be.  But the concept of the person who directed those movies having anything whatsoever to do with yet another attempt to create a film of the Three Musketeers flat pisses me off.  The book deserves better than this.

And yet, sadly, I don’t think they (you know, the amorphous “they/them” who get so much blame) will every manage to make a decent film of this book.  There’s just too much there.  And it isn’t the “too much” that often happens in the novel —> film adaptation that there’s too much going on with the characters to make them seem realistic and fully fleshed out on screen.  The characters in the Three Musketeers are practically archetypal – their characters can be illustrated adequately in a matter of moments – maybe a scene or two.  And it’s not that the characters are busy thinking lots of untranslatable-to-screen deep thoughts, because Dumas in general doesn’t seem to have had much truck with all that (except in the dragging ‘deep thoughts on revenge’ parts of the Count of Monte Cristo).

The problem with the Three Musketeers is simply plot: there’s far, far too much of it to fit into a single film (and it’s all far, far too awesome to want to cut).  A trilogy, perhaps – the first film being d’Artagnan’s entry into the Guards, the second being the flirtation with Milady and discovery of her treachery, and the third being the Milady/Felton craziness and giant finale.  Or it could be sliced up to have a film dealing with just the romantic angles, or one that deals primarily with the politics, or one that deals primarily with the friendship between the four.  I’d love a version that attempted to take on the political backdrop, personally, because Dumas had a keen sense of what made people fascinating, and he captures that fascination beautifully in the political intrigues.  The point, however, is that what does make it into the film will have to be carefully chosen and flawlessly executed, else the whole thing will be a mess.  There’s just too much there to make a coherent film, and even the cutting would be difficult, since every element is so tightly interwoven with every other element. 

I love and adore bad movies.  I gleefully watched this year’s version of Robin Hood, near-collapsing into paroxysms of hysterics at the idea that Robin’s uneducated philosopher Freemason father wrote the rough draft of the Magna Carta.  My husband and I throw parties whenever a particularly promising gem of awfulness shows up on the Saturday night SyFy lineup.  I went and saw Prince of Persia in the theaters, FFS. 

This, however, is different.  This feels personal.  The Three Musketeers has been one of my favorite books since I was 12 and first read it.  It’s been destroyed before – see the 1993 Disneyfied Chris O’Donnell production, which seems to have stolen only the title and character names from the original.  It was painful watching it (that film was my Chris O’Donnell crushkiller), and I have zero hope for this version.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to steel myself to sit through it because I’m already worried that the director will turn it into some sort of blockbuster-y gorefest. 

This is the type of thing that makes me question having given up thumbsucking.  It’s.  Just.  WHY.

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