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Author Topic: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy  (Read 1366 times)

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #15 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.
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Omega

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #16 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.

HappyDaze

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #17 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.

Stephen Tannhauser

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #18 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.
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Ratman_tf

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #19 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
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Omega

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #20 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.

Neoplatonist1

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #21 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?

Pat

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #22 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.

Lurkndog

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #23 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.

Omega

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #24 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.

Aglondir

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #25 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

Omega

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #26 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.

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #27 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.

Omega

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #28 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.

Lurkndog

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Re: The Awfulness of Film Fantasy
« Reply #29 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.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 08:55:06 AM by Lurkndog »