Thursday, December 06, 2007

I blame Peter Jackson...

This goes out to all those D&D fanboys out there....heh

Used to be, when they announced a film version of some book, you already knew the book was going to be better than the movie. It was a given, that words and your imagination couldn't be surpassed by mere special effects, that your favorite bits would end up on the cutting room floor. Some people got all indignant about it, others were more practical and just ignored it.

Then came Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Now, there were some crucial factors in the LOTR movies. For starters, it's a trilogy, The Hobbit notwithstanding. Trilogies are assumed to be better than sequels, no? See The Godfather, Alien, Indiana Jones, the original Star Wars, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Trois couleurs....versus Superman IV (see? they should have stuck with three), Jaws II, Rocky IV- to infinitum, Legally Blonde 2, Bad Boys II, Grease II, Speed 2, Blair Witch II, you get the point.

I think Jackson changed the way trilogies are made, and he set a new standard for them, as well as for the fantasy genre. The first installment was late 2001. Same time next year, there we are, waiting expectantly for our Christmas present from Father Peter, hoping against hope that it'll be just as good as the first one. Please don't let it suck. Please do not go the way of the Matrix trilogy.

And lo and behold, the Two Towers! Even diehard Rings fans liked it. The second Harry Potter was released around the same time that year, major suck, practically a primer on how not to adapt to film. We were ecstatic, now daring to believe, placing our faith in Jackson that he would deliver the goods in the final part of the trilogy.

And then The Return of the King in 2003! Who cares if it seems to have like five endings, it kicked serious ass. I know I sound like a male adolescent comic book collector, but I can't help it. I loved it, I was sad and didn't want it to end. Just thinking that there wouldn't be a new movie for December 2004 was disheartening.

So now The Golden Compass is about to be released tomorrow, part of the Phillip Pullman trilogy, His Dark Materials. I loove those books. They're supposed to be YA or children's books, but they go so far beyond that. I cried when I read them. It's a mix of fantasy, sci-fi, suspense and some Paradise Lost thrown in for good measure.

This is were Peter Jackson comes in. I was quite excited when I found out they were making a movie out His Dark Materials. A bit of apprehension butted in but hey, Jackson had proved you could adapt Middle Earth to big budget and succeed, it could happen. And Chris Weitz had done a credible job with About a Boy, same as Jackson with Heavenly Creatures. Granted, I hadn't heard anything about Weitz's connection to the books, like Jackson and Fran Walsh's love of LOTR. But who knew?

So far the reviews aren't kind, but I'm withholding judgment until I see it. The casting seemed to be on the right track, I could perfectly see Nicole Kidman as Marissa Coulter. When I read the book I imagined Lord Asriel to be Peter Gallagher, from American Beauty and the O.C., already adapting it in my head years beforehand. But I think Daniel Craig is an even better choice, being able to pull off British arrogance in ways Gallagher never could, and besides, Gallagher is a tv actor now, heh. Although, LOTR didn't really use brand name actors, aside from Ian McKellen but he is a well regarded character actor, not some eye candy to draw in the female market.

So, will it suck, or not? If we're disappointed, if we got our hopes up, I blame Peter Jackson. Damn you, Jackson, for showing us it can be done, that fantasy is not an embarrassing genre, then cruelly taking your gift away and filming King Kong.

- by my inner freak & geek

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