Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Least Successful Potter Imitations


From the story –
In the decade since "Potter" first hit screens, a host of other fantasy movies have tried to copy its formula for success. They were based on very popular books, they featured a plucky young hero (or two or three), and they relied heavily on expensive visual effects. And while some made for passable movies, most never launched the sort of multi-film franchise that made "Potter" such a smash.
The eight films listed are Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eragon, The Golden Compass, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, City of Ember, Inkheart, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.  I have seen all of these movies and own most of them on DVD.  In fact I’d go so far as to say that most of them were pretty good movies.  Sure none of them were fantastic films but only one was borderline terrible (Eragon).  In many cases the problems with these films was that they seemed to be missing that connection to the books that was so strong in the Potter and Lord of the Rings films.  In both cases, it was obvious that those involved in making the films loved the books and wanted to bring them to life in the best way possible.  In the case of these other films, even though (for the most part) the acting was great and, in all cases, the production was fantastic, there didn’t seem to be the passion for the original material (the only exception to this would be The Golden Compass but sadly that film was destined to do poorly, no matter how passionate the producers were or how excellent the movie turned out).  This of course could be a misunderstanding on my part but that is the impression that I got. 

Personally I hope that in the light of the mega success of the final Harry Potter film, the success of the Twilight series, and what I’m sure will be the huge success of The Hobbit, that Hollywood will continue to adapt fantasy literature to the big screen.  These projects can be successful if those who make them are passionate about the book(s) and select the stories that speak to the human spirit.  Fantasy touches that same part of humanity that has been touched and inspired by mythology, folklore, scripture, and our need for the fantastic.  There are countless books out there that speak to this part of our nature and could make wonderful movies…hopefully we’ll see many of them in the near future.

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