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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: caldrail on October 25, 2021, 02:51:44 PM

Title: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: caldrail on October 25, 2021, 02:51:44 PM
This afternoon I had the misfortune of stumbling across an eighties film called 'Hawk The Slayer'. To me it represented the worst of what Hollywood considers a fantasy environment. A messenger is trying to find the hero, and suffers one terrible injury or obstacle after another, almost as if he was only playing out a counterpoint role, to make the hero look good.

The hero himself is solidly arthurian in motive, riding around the wilderness finding people to rescue from bandits and villains, who it must be said just seem to exist here and there with no reference to a world around them. A series of set piece scenes rather than a coherent narrative with a consistent backdrop. And yes, Hawk the Slayer carries a magic sword.

I can forgive films of the time for less convincing production, special effects and CGI are now so brilliant it's impossible to be impressed by a painted matte screen. Yet it all comes down to the same thing. Places are simply there to stage a scene, not because a scene needed to to be played out somewhere in the fantasy world.

So it's the screen writing that fails? Stories told by people who perhaps don't understand fantasy or who are simply writing entertainment as they see it. As a musician, I know full well how hard it is to write songs about things you haven't experienced yourself. Perhaps the same is true of film, so a screenwriter who's never read a fantasy novel and has only a passing familiarity with LOTR or Arthurian myth can't write convincingly in a genre that was never mainstream to begin with?

I couldn't finish the film. It did have some star actors in it who gave perfectly good performances, just that the hero was a typical Hollywood pretty boy of the time whose 'stand still and stare menacingly' technique was not exactly credible, though it may have been partially a directorial fault. In fact, on reflection, there were enough clues in the acting to realise this was a western in drag, with sudden death axe, knife, or sword action rather than Colt Peacemakers. The wrong style. No sense of character, motive, just a load of people bumping into each other with one side walking or riding away afterward. Awful. Truly awful.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Ratman_tf on October 25, 2021, 05:51:34 PM
I have a soft spot for Hawk the Slayer. Back in the Before Time, when fantasy films weren't hollywood processed and churned out by the dozens. It's fun in it's awfulness.
There's much better from that time period, like Dragonslayer or Ladyhawke, but I love me a cheesy, low budget mess like Hawk the Slayer sometimes. :)
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Eirikrautha on October 26, 2021, 10:55:26 AM
I have a soft spot for Hawk the Slayer. Back in the Before Time, when fantasy films weren't hollywood processed and churned out by the dozens. It's fun in it's awfulness.
There's much better from that time period, like Dragonslayer or Ladyhawke, but I love me a cheesy, low budget mess like Hawk the Slayer sometimes. :)
Truth.  It was a film for D&D nerds, not the Academy...
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: deadDMwalking on October 26, 2021, 11:03:49 AM
I can't hate Hawk the Slayer because the Knights of the Dinner Table love it so sincerely. 

A fantasy movie COULD be good, but a huge part of fantasy is establishing the world and how it works.  That's hard to do in 90-minutes.  It's easier if you're converting a novel and expect the audience to be familiar with the world, but it's a much easier task to do as a mini-series/trilogy/HBO multi-season prestige show. 

It's not IMPOSSIBLE.  I think Willow does a pretty good job of setting up the world in a Middle-Earth mashup and succeeds in 126 minutes, but it uses 30 minutes of Elwynn village life and choosing a magical apprentice to explain the world. 
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Trond on October 27, 2021, 12:12:32 AM
Hawk The Slayer? Never heard of it before, but now that I've seen the trailer I should thank you. Reminds me a bit of Bollywood  :D
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Godfather Punk on October 27, 2021, 12:58:41 AM
Why settle for Hawk when we have masterpieces like Barbarian Brothers (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092615) and The Sword and the Sorcerer  (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084749)?
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Kyle Aaron on October 27, 2021, 02:27:18 AM
Next you'll be saying you don't like Commando.

Caldrail, you're fortunate I'm not a moderator here, I'd ban you. A person of your lack of taste and refinement has no place in our hobby, you belong out the back with the storygamers and diceless players.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Ratman_tf on October 27, 2021, 03:19:30 AM
Why settle for Hawk when we have masterpieces like Barbarian Brothers (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092615) and The Sword and the Sorcerer  (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084749)?



Luckily, we don't have to choose.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Godfather Punk on October 27, 2021, 05:28:00 AM

What if we remade Conan, but on the cheap, and gave him a twin brother?
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Pat on October 27, 2021, 07:42:03 AM
Next you'll be saying you don't like Commando.
A dumpy middle aged man with a dadstache and a chainmail wife-beater makes the best villain, especially when the climax has him facing off in hand to hand combat against a hero who is so sculpted and physically powerful that there's a scene where he literally carries trees around.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Ghostmaker on October 27, 2021, 08:07:57 AM
Next you'll be saying you don't like Commando.

Caldrail, you're fortunate I'm not a moderator here, I'd ban you. A person of your lack of taste and refinement has no place in our hobby, you belong out the back with the storygamers and diceless players.
I think your fedora is too tight on your head, buddy.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: hedgehobbit on October 27, 2021, 08:21:08 AM
What if we remade Conan, but on the cheap, and gave him a twin brother?

The scene where the Barbarians cut themselves out of a giant snake was a classic. The writer of that movie had to have played D&D as there are just too many D&Disms in it for it to be a coincidence.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Pat on October 27, 2021, 08:25:04 AM
Next you'll be saying you don't like Commando.

Caldrail, you're fortunate I'm not a moderator here, I'd ban you. A person of your lack of taste and refinement has no place in our hobby, you belong out the back with the storygamers and diceless players.
I think your fedora is too tight on your head, buddy.
I bet you thought Jonathan Swift supported eating babies. (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1080/1080-h/1080-h.htm)
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Lurkndog on October 27, 2021, 06:57:35 PM
Anyone remember The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire? (http://"https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082027/?ref_=ttls_li_tt")

It was a low-budget TV-movie released in the summer of 1981.

I haven't seen it since, but 13-year-old me was amused.

The hero was an archer with a magic bow, and his sidekick was a thief/rogue with an endless supply of throwing knives.

Probably an attempt to cash in on the then-mainstream D&D craze.

At the very least, it was better than Wizards & Warriors (http://"https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085113/?ref_=fn_al_tt_5").

Back then, the big three networks were willing to take a chance on oddball summer shows, on the off chance that they would get better ratings than the reruns they were up against.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Mind Crime on October 28, 2021, 01:18:30 PM
What if we remade Conan, but on the cheap, and gave him a twin brother?

The scene where the Barbarians cut themselves out of a giant snake was a classic. The writer of that movie had to have played D&D as there are just too many D&Disms in it for it to be a coincidence.

Just rewatched DC Cab and the Barbarian Brothers  are in it. As much as I shamelessly ripoff things from movies, I can't believe haven't used their roles from The Barbarians in a game somehow.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Stephen Tannhauser on October 28, 2021, 03:03:23 PM
This afternoon I had the misfortune of stumbling across an eighties film called 'Hawk The Slayer'. To me it represented the worst of what Hollywood considers a fantasy environment. ...A series of set piece scenes rather than a coherent narrative with a consistent backdrop. ...Places are simply there to stage a scene, not because a scene needed to be played out somewhere in the fantasy world.

This actually isn't an unusual storytelling style in basic pulp sensibility; this kind of thing is not dissimilar from the basic plot structure of many a Shadow or Spider story, which emphasize set piece spectacle usually without much emphasis on character development or interior drama.

I think one difference is that in most pulp stories you have a single author who is, if not always in love with his material, at least comfortable enough to do a quick and competent turnaround of it in ways that will deliver the enjoyment the readers want. Pulp only really works if the creators bring enough energy to it that audiences are swept along before they can dwell on the melodramatic thinness of the characters and themes. The problem with any even moderate-budget Hollywood film is that it's the ultimate committee production, and the odds are good that in any given cast and crew (especially in the '80s before Harry Potter, LOTR and the MCU took over movie theatres and most people didn't think highly of FX-heavy fantasy) the majority will be there solely to turn in the minimum effort they need for their paycheck. That shows, much as individual professionals might like to think it doesn't.

I honestly think that part of why the LOTR Jackson films worked as well as they did was that if you look at the behind the scenes production materials, it's clear that everyone involved in those films, from Jackson on down to the newest on-set grips, knew what they were doing, cared about it and wanted to do it for its own sake.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 01, 2021, 10:34:40 AM
I actually rather like Hawk the Slayer. It has some rather nice moments in it and some occasional innovative effects. Its also reads like a D&D adventure where random stuff happens on the way to some mission. The setting of the gem into the MindSword was nicely done.

Sword and the Sorcerer I actually like alot. Its a fun little movie with not bad production. And the SlySword is just awesome. This is another one that feels like a D&D adventure.

And one thats mostly forgotten but a personal favorite as to me it really felt like a D&D TV series pilot. Archer: Fugitive from an Empire. Nice practical effects and things move along in some semblance of order. Too bad the pilot didnt get picked up. The HeartBow was another great magic item!

Then there is Legend, which also very feels like a D&D adventure and has some really good production values.

And of course there is Krull which would have fit right in with Blackmoor with its fantasy vs sci-fi theme. And the Glaive is yet another awesome weapon.

There are others. But those five allways stood out to me as very D&D inspired.

The Early 80s was a boon of these.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: HappyDaze on November 01, 2021, 10:39:34 AM
For fairly modern bad fantasy,  there's In the Name of the King with Jason Statham playing a farmer named...Farmer. it's delightfully bad.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Stephen Tannhauser on November 01, 2021, 10:41:41 AM
And of course there is Krull which would have fit right in with Blackmoor with its fantasy vs sci-fi theme. And the Glaive is yet another awesome weapon.

Plus a genuinely awesome pre-Aliens James Horner soundtrack. In all my daydreams of remaking Krull the one thing I'd insist nobody touch would be the music.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Ratman_tf on November 01, 2021, 07:24:22 PM
And of course there is Krull which would have fit right in with Blackmoor with its fantasy vs sci-fi theme. And the Glaive is yet another awesome weapon.

Plus a genuinely awesome pre-Aliens James Horner soundtrack. In all my daydreams of remaking Krull the one thing I'd insist nobody touch would be the music.

We could put some French Horn blasts in there. Just sayin'. :D
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 07, 2021, 01:13:13 AM
For fairly modern bad fantasy,  there's In the Name of the King with Jason Statham playing a farmer named...Farmer. it's delightfully bad.

Well to be fair 99% of Bolls game based movies are. The sequel was far worse. I actually thought the first movie was ok-ish. But one of my players who played the games alot did not like it at all. Though they were bemused by Burt Reynolds being the king and having his own ninja squad.

I thought his Dead or Alive movie was not bad. But thats another one whos game I know just short of nothing about.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Neoplatonist1 on November 07, 2021, 02:46:42 PM
And of course there is Krull which would have fit right in with Blackmoor with its fantasy vs sci-fi theme. And the Glaive is yet another awesome weapon.

Plus a genuinely awesome pre-Aliens James Horner soundtrack. In all my daydreams of remaking Krull the one thing I'd insist nobody touch would be the music.

Why in the world would you want to remake Krull?
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Pat on November 07, 2021, 09:04:20 PM
And of course there is Krull which would have fit right in with Blackmoor with its fantasy vs sci-fi theme. And the Glaive is yet another awesome weapon.

Plus a genuinely awesome pre-Aliens James Horner soundtrack. In all my daydreams of remaking Krull the one thing I'd insist nobody touch would be the music.

Why in the world would you want to remake Krull?
To the fix the glaive, and then introduce all the other Gygaxian polearms like the lucern hammer, the bec de corbin, and the spetum.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Lurkndog on November 08, 2021, 08:46:22 AM
And one thats mostly forgotten but a personal favorite as to me it really felt like a D&D TV series pilot. Archer: Fugitive from an Empire. Nice practical effects and things move along in some semblance of order. Too bad the pilot didnt get picked up. The HeartBow was another great magic item!
Ah! Someone else remembers this!

I haven't seen it since it first aired, though. Does it hold up?

I just remember the HeartBow, and the companion with all the throwing knives. And a ton of fantasy stormtroopers getting their just desserts.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 10, 2021, 07:19:47 AM
And one thats mostly forgotten but a personal favorite as to me it really felt like a D&D TV series pilot. Archer: Fugitive from an Empire. Nice practical effects and things move along in some semblance of order. Too bad the pilot didnt get picked up. The HeartBow was another great magic item!
Ah! Someone else remembers this!

I haven't seen it since it first aired, though. Does it hold up?

I just remember the HeartBow, and the companion with all the throwing knives. And a ton of fantasy stormtroopers getting their just desserts.

I had it on VHS way back but thats long lost.

I'd say it holds up about as well as any TV pilot from that era holds up. Its weird and has both good and bad production values. It gets alot done in the run-time its given and the story is fairly cohesive once you parse out what is going on.

I have a bad transfer saved as a file and sit back to watch it every few years and its still interesting and makes one wonder what would have happened had it been picked up for a series. And the prosthetics for the snake people minions is still pretty good. No damn CGI.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Aglondir on November 10, 2021, 09:09:35 PM
And one thats mostly forgotten but a personal favorite as to me it really felt like a D&D TV series pilot. Archer: Fugitive from an Empire. Nice practical effects and things move along in some semblance of order. Too bad the pilot didnt get picked up. The HeartBow was another great magic item!
THANK YOU. I have searched for the name of that for years!

Ima just gonna throw this n the mix with no explanation needed:

The Beastmaster
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 11, 2021, 09:10:09 AM
Ah Beastmaster.
I hope Norton got payed well for what amounted to using the title and just short of nothing else.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Ghostmaker on November 11, 2021, 10:00:13 AM
Ah Beastmaster.
I hope Norton got payed well for what amounted to using the title and just short of nothing else.
That happens a lot. One of the funniest things I've ever read was Bruce Campbell's tale of how Crimewave got made. While there have been bigger dumpster fires, it's almost a microcosm of how fucked up Hollywood can be when handling properties.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 19, 2021, 02:21:15 AM
Its practically the norm. Rare will you see an actual true to the source adaption.
The John Carter movie being a semi-recent example of just short of being in name only. And barely in name even.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Lurkndog on November 19, 2021, 08:53:11 AM
Its practically the norm. Rare will you see an actual true to the source adaption.
The John Carter movie being a semi-recent example of just short of being in name only. And barely in name even.

I mean, you can still see the outlines of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but they've been scribbled over with a heavy layer of crayon.

And they get the character beats of literally every character wrong. And the storyline.

At the very least, we should have gotten a good sword fight out of that turkey, but no.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: ThatChrisGuy on November 19, 2021, 10:28:22 AM
I mean, you can still see the outlines of Edgar Rice Burroughs, but they've been scribbled over with a heavy layer of crayon.

And they get the character beats of literally every character wrong. And the storyline.

At the very least, we should have gotten a good sword fight out of that turkey, but no.

Any everyone was overdressed! Pants, on Barsoom?
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 20, 2021, 01:24:53 AM
Yeah none of the characters in the movie had anything to do with the characters in the books.

John Carter has a (dead) family and wont freaking fight?
The Martians arent exactly red and instead have tattoos?
The whole mish-mash of walking cities, white martians manipulating everything.
And on and on and on.

I think they tried to cram plots from 4 different books into one movie. Badly.

Its such an idiot mess.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: S'mon on November 20, 2021, 04:50:23 AM
Hawk the Slayer is not a 'Hollywood' film at all. It's from the days when Britain still had an independent film industry. It's as 'Hollywood' as Carry On Up the Khyber.
They brought in one Hollywood actor - Jack Palance. Otherwise 100% British.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Thorn Drumheller on November 20, 2021, 07:22:56 PM
Is it okay to add the awfulness of tv fantasy? I forced myself to finish the first episode of the Wheel of Time on Amazon prime.

Would not recommend if you're a fan of the books.....ya know, the thing that the series is supposed to be based on. Hollywood is completely woke.

If you like the TV series, good for you and have a great day.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: caldrail on November 21, 2021, 02:11:40 PM
My own recent (and limited) experience of the film industry had me making an hour-long phone conversation to a Hollywood producer in which I pitched my idea, not unsuccessfully, but having done that I discovered my bid had evolved from the period military drama I had in mind to a comedy featuring women as the lead roles. WTF? (Actually it got worse, I was asked to fund a non-union screenwriter to the tune of $15,000. Erm... No).

Part of the problem is that film projects have to be sold to studios or tv channels with a view to profits earned from release and merchandising. So LOTR had a distinct advantage that it was a book known to the civilised world and thus eventually someone was going to do a quality version of it. But basing a drama on obscure passages in the Roman sources wasn't going to sell, so what formula is going to work? Well, now I know :D
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 24, 2021, 02:01:54 AM
So LOTR had a distinct advantage that it was a book known to the civilised world and thus eventually someone was going to do a quality version of it. But basing a drama on obscure passages in the Roman sources wasn't going to sell, so what formula is going to work? Well, now I know :D

Well yes the Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit and Return of the King are high quality. Too bad the Jackson live action movies were increasingly worse garbage all too quickly. Especially the Hobbit. And anything after is nigh guaranteed to be worse drek.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: tenbones on November 24, 2021, 12:08:40 PM
Anyone remember The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire? (http://"https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082027/?ref_=ttls_li_tt")

It was a low-budget TV-movie released in the summer of 1981.

I haven't seen it since, but 13-year-old me was amused.

The hero was an archer with a magic bow, and his sidekick was a thief/rogue with an endless supply of throwing knives.

Probably an attempt to cash in on the then-mainstream D&D craze.

At the very least, it was better than Wizards & Warriors (http://"https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085113/?ref_=fn_al_tt_5").

Back then, the big three networks were willing to take a chance on oddball summer shows, on the off chance that they would get better ratings than the reruns they were up against.

I loved that show! Just like I loved Hawk the Slayer, Sword and the Sorcerer, and let's not forget the sci-fi schlock glory we were served back then too. Like Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn, or the insanely stupid (even back then) Megaforce...

Sweet Galactus... Megaforce...

someone even wrote a song for it https://youtu.be/BLwe7UqUX7k

Best comment ever:

"To date, 37 women have gotten pregnant merely watching this clip.  Documented.  Be careful, ladies.  Oh yeah, and the babies were all born with mullets.  So there's that too."
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 25, 2021, 06:58:36 AM
But did you watch Metalstorm in 3D? heh.

I actually really liked Megaforce. Its goofy to be sure. But not in a bothersome way. It could have been named GI Joe the live action movie and fit right in.

Metalstorm has an almost Gamma World feel to it. Mutants, cyborgs, weird tech.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Tantavalist on November 25, 2021, 06:59:12 PM
A thread devoted to pure trash fantasy films from the 80s straight-to-video era and nobody has yet mentioned Deathstalker and its many sequels-in-name-only?

To keep it brief for the uninitiated- it makes Hawk the Slayer look like a cinematic masterpiece on every level. No, I'm not joking. The sequels were called "Deathstalker X" but just made yet another generic low-budget fantasy movie that had a different actor in the lead role and had just kept the name, which they somehow thought must be a selling point.


https://youtu.be/P8FTMs4hzZk
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Omega on November 26, 2021, 01:18:21 AM
Was going to mention Deathstalker. The first one wasnt all that bad. But its like alot of fantasy movies from the 80s. Weird and the budget and story are all over the place.

For those that havent. Check out Hercules with Lou Ferigno. Some not bad stop motion monsters. Though not used to full potential. Think same stop motion artist did the work for Star Crash too. Another weird movie from back then. The sequel was underwhelming to say the least.

The trailer

Then theres the Ator series which IS really low budget. But like alot of movies from Italy and Spain, oddly entertaining despite it.
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Lurkndog on November 29, 2021, 02:05:37 PM
Any everyone was overdressed! Pants, on Barsoom?
It's not Frazetta, that's for sure.

That said, Frazetta wasn't the original artist for the ERB books. The art for the first editions has more of a "toga party" look to it.

(https://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTAyNFg3MDU=/z/1O4AAOSwWixgS9qg/$_1.JPG?set_id=880000500F)
Title: Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
Post by: Lurkndog on November 29, 2021, 02:08:10 PM
I actually really liked Megaforce. Its goofy to be sure. But not in a bothersome way. It could have been named GI Joe the live action movie and fit right in.

It could also have been named Cocaine Commandos and been more or less accurate. :)