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Author Topic: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy  (Read 1369 times)

caldrail

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The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« 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.

Ratman_tf

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #1 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. :)
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Eirikrautha

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #2 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...
« Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 07:57:24 PM by Eirikrautha »

deadDMwalking

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #3 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. 
When I say objectively, I mean 'subjectively'.  When I say literally, I mean 'figuratively'.  
And when I say that you are a horse's ass, I mean that the objective truth is that you are a literal horse's ass.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. - Peter Drucker

Trond

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #4 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

Godfather Punk

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2021, 12:58:41 AM »
Why settle for Hawk when we have masterpieces like Barbarian Brothers and The Sword and the Sorcerer ?

Kyle Aaron

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #6 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.

Ratman_tf

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2021, 03:19:30 AM »
Why settle for Hawk when we have masterpieces like Barbarian Brothers and The Sword and the Sorcerer ?



Luckily, we don't have to choose.
The notion of an exclusionary and hostile RPG community is a fever dream of zealots who view all social dynamics through a narrow keyhole of structural oppression.
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Godfather Punk

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2021, 05:28:00 AM »

What if we remade Conan, but on the cheap, and gave him a twin brother?

Pat

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #9 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.

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #10 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.

hedgehobbit

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #11 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.

Pat

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #12 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.

Lurkndog

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2021, 06:57:35 PM »
Anyone remember The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire?

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.

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.

Mind Crime

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #14 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.