Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Up

I feel like I’ve put this HUR thing off for far too long! Luckily, I kept copious iPhone notes of the last few movies I went to see in terms of their trailers, so I should be able to piece a few together. I’ll be backdating these to the dates I saw the movies, so these posts will fall behind more recent Apple Cow-related fare, but whatEVS!

The movie was Up! I’m up with Up. Up was friggin’ awesome, y’see. Like with WALL•E, this did not surprise me in the slightest since it’s a Pixar flick. This particular movie was notable for a jarringly sad introductory sequence. Sometimes I think such moments are missing in family films these days, so it was nice to see Pixar continuing to take its all-ages audience seriously for the sake of good storytelling.

T-t-trailers!

The Princess and the Frog
ADAPTATION it may be, but I’m still excited! I haven’t honestly seen all that much footage yet, since this trailer uses up almost a third of its runtime for introspective retrospectives on past Disney successes (ooh, going for success by association! Clever girl), but I’m mostly excited for the idea of a new Disney musical with traditional-style animation. It very well may bomb, but I’m just glad to see Disney supporting old-school animation again.

G-Force
I get the feeling they don’t even know enough funny things about guinea pigs. I don’t want to confess that this is ORIGINAL.

Imagine That
This seems awfully familiar for an ORIGINAL story. I should probably be giving these kid movie trailers a break, but come on! Does anyone NOT know how this movie ends? Man, it would really be something to have a movie like this end with the father continuing to be estranged from his quirky-and-sometimes-magical child. One can dream…

Shorts
I really hope Robert Rodriguez is making mountains of dough from these awful kid movies he keeps churning out. I die a little inside every time a trailer starts by saying “From the director of Spy Kids” and not “From the director of El Mariachi”. At least he’s avoiding the all-too-common trap of adaptations from books with ORIGINAL scripts.

Planet 51
One might think this ORIGINAL story about a role reversal between humans and aliens might appeal to a sci-fi fan like myself. Well… wrong? After the initial joke has set in, there can’t possibly be anything else to a film like this. So the aliens (instead of humans) are frightened of the human (instead of alien), and… 90 minutes?

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
SEQUEL (and a frequent occurrence as trailers go)

TOTAL: 33.33% (2/6)

As of a June 1st screening of Up, Hollywood’s kid movie industry scored an impressive 33.33% unoriginality index for trailers! As usual, of course, the stories themselves look plenty unoriginal in their own rights.

Funny thing about letting a backlog pile up: I know what’s coming next! Stay tuned for the HUR of Harry Potter and the Sequel of Adaptationing!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Star Trek

To beat the heat, Michael, Paul, Nicole and I ducked into AMC Saratoga 14 yesterday to watch the latest movie in the Star Trek series. I should probably mention at this point that this was, in fact, my third viewing of the film in theaters. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie in theaters this many times, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Trek film this good! J.J. Abrams took a franchise that Rick Berman had all but killed and breathed new life into it in the seemingly most ridiculous way possible: by effectively destroying almost all existing canon by hitting the infamous History Eraser Button and starting from scratch. The move was certainly bold, but in my opinion also absolutely necessary for Star Trek to survive. The series was so bound by all that had come before that it could never satisfy anyone: existing fans would complain about every minor diversion from established canon, and new folk would be lost in the dense mythos. As a long-time Trekkie (and Trekker), I fully support Abrams’ new vision for the future, and hope he remains onboard for any future entries in the franchise.

Until the next Trek comes out, though, we might as well enjoy ourselves with various other upcoming film releases! Today’s collection would seem to be proof-positive of successful target marketing, as several of the trailers are themselves reimaginings of existing fiction from my childhood. Allons-y!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies? I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on for the vast majority of this trailer, though I did pick up several explosions and muddy-looking CGI robots punching each other. Maybe that’s all there is to it. SEQUEL of an ADAPTATION… but I did have a great time poking fun at the original, so maybe this one will yield similar enjoyment.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Back-to-back ADAPTATIONs of television shows from my childhood? It’s clear that Hollywood’s pandering to my unfounded sense of nostalgia at this point, but this looks at least slightly more interesting than the previous Michael Bay dreck. Christopher Eccleston’s a fun actor and will probably make for an equally-fun villain. The computer graphics are surprisingly subpar (the green dissolving solution on the Eiffel Tower stands out in my mind), but at least this one features humans more interesting to look at than Shia LeBeouf. That said, the new animated series looks much more interesting to me.

Land of the Lost
It must be ADAPTATION Christmas or something! Presumably this is a big-screen rendition of the original Sid and Marty Krofft TV show and not the 1990s remake I grew up with. Not that it matters, as they seem to have dropped any semblance of seriousness in favor of slapstick comedy, so I’ll likely give this one a pass.

Terminator: Salvation
Though I probably will go see this SEQUEL, I’ll still be pissed as all hell. See, I just found out this morning that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has been officially cancelled. The show was absolutely brilliant and, much like the new Star Trek, breathed new life into an ailing franchise. On top of that, a movie release would have only helped the show’s ratings! Once again, I must give a wag of the finger to Fox for their poor decision-making skills.

Year One
I don’t get why Jack Black and Michael Cera are cavemen in the year 1, when civilization had come kind of a long way from hunting-gathering. I don’t get why Cain and Abel are there either! It’s fairly safe to say that historical accuracy is not the aim of a movie like this. ORIGINAL, though they do appear to do a lot of traipsing through biblical stories.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Kind of a crazy-big cast in this movie. I even like a few of these guys! Christopher Guest and Hank Azaria, what are you doing in a movie featuring Ben Stiller getting slapped by monkeys? Your awesomeness is not nearly sufficient enough to make me want to check out this SEQUEL of an ADAPTATION.

TOTAL: 83.33% (5/6)

Oy. As of a May 18th screening of Star Trek at AMC Saratoga 14 in Saratoga, CA, Hollywood was preparing itself for a summer of 83.33% unoriginality. If only a handful of these movies end up being anywhere near the calibur of Trek, though, that might not be such a bad thing.

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Fast & Furious

Last night, Bevin and I pooled together a large group of friends to trek over to Century 12 Downtown San Mateo and see Fast & Furious. The flick was pretty standard insane action with fast-drivin’ cars (possibly also furious-drivin’) and Vin Diesel being The Man, but what surprised me the most was the movie’s attempts to dissuade this very blog from labeling it as derivative! During the opening credits, the words “ORIGINAL FILM” were proudly displayed on the screen for all to see. And here I was thinking it was an interquel (between 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift)! Some might argue that Original Film is probably just the name of some production company, but it’s clear to me that Hollywood has caught onto my little game!

Speaking of which: trailers!

Public Enemies
Might go check this out, if only because Great Depression-era gangster stories are really cool, and Johnny Depp is pretty okay sometimes! Based on the book Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34, and therefore an ADAPTATION (the book itself is based on a true story, so it’s doubly-adapted!). Christian Bale also appears, and I gotta say, this guy’s really been keeping busy. He’s been in 2-3 films per year, and has big blockbuster Terminator Salvation coming out soon… no wonder he snaps on the set every now and then.

Fighting
Possibly the greatest movie title I’ve ever seen. “What sort of activities do they engage in?” “Oh, you know… fighting.” And from what you can see in the trailer, they most certainly do. More importantly though, the trailer alone introduced me to two phrases I hope to work into conversation on a regular basis.

Money Quote #1:

“Where are we going?”
“We’re in a $100,000 Mercedes, that’s where we’re going.”

“I’m in a salvaged Volvo, that’s where I’m going!”

Money Quote #2:

“The only way I’m gonna lose is if somebody beats me.”

That one may rival the legendary “Pain don’t hurt” from Road House.

Oh yeah, ORIGINAL as far as I can tell.

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Most. Nonsensical. Title. EVER. This is a movie that hates grammar. Also, John Travolta looks stupid (but what else is new? HIYOOOOOOOO). This particular film has an interesting unoriginality to it worthy of analysis. Apparently it’s the second REMAKE of the original 1974 film which was itself an ADAPTATION of a novel. Why is it not simply another adaptation? I have no clue. All I know is, whenever I see situations like these, I find myself wanting to see the first adaptation much more than the current iteration. Then again, I never thought Hollywood should be allowed do-overs (case in point: The Incredible Hulk following Hulk).

Earth
Certainly a gorgeous-looking documentary about our massive planet, and James Earl Jones has a fabulous narrating voice, but apparently this movie was released two years ago in the UK and was narrated by Patrick Stewart! Does Disneynature feel we’re not ready for British narration? Because I would be inclined to disagree! Earth, I would have been willing to overlook the fact that you are designed to be a companion piece to the BBC series Planet Earth, but this injustice cannot stand. ADAPTATION. You ought to be ashamed.

Crank 2: High Voltage
Whenever I see a trailer for a SEQUEL to a movie I haven’t seen, part of me is concerned that I’ll be completely lost and have no clue as to what’s going on. Crank 2‘s trailer leaves me with no such reservations, as it looks completely ridiculous and Jason Statham-kicking-ass-and-electrocuting-himself-to-comedic-effect-y. He’s been given an artificial heart with a crappy battery, and has to constantly shock himself to keep it going long enough to find his real heart (did he check San Francisco?). One has to wonder why he can’t simply get checked into a hospital and get a heart donor (or a better artificial heart), but regardless: I WILL SEE THIS MOVIE.

Just noticed in trailer-rewatching: John de Lancie cameo?! MUST SEE MOVIE TWELVE TIMES

TOTAL: 80% (4/5)

Goodness! As of an April 5th screening of Fast & Furious at Century 12 Downtown San Mateo, Hollywood was actively gunning for 80% unoriginality! I would have expected better for ridiculous action flicks; while they’re invariably derivative in too many ways to count, they’re usually still original characters and stories. Still… FAST AND FURIOOOOOOOOOUS
YouTube Preview Image

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D

Okay, let me explain. I realize that I previously looked upon the trailer for this film with indifference bordering on disdain, as I do for most non-Pixar family film trailers. But I was given two free tickets to an advance screening at Century 20 Oakridge in San Jose, and really, how often does such an opportunity come up? I’m pretty glad I went too, because the film was surprisingly entertaining! The film was chock-full of sci-fi and monster B-movie hat tips and parody, and delightfully light on pointless toilet humor that you see so often in kid-friendly films. On top of that, it was in 3D! As with Coraline, the Real-D technology was put to excellent use creating stunning visuals. Sure, they threw in a few more “throw shit at the camera” gimmicks, but it looked purdy, and that’s what matters in the end. There’s nothing I like better than being proven wrong for the better, and I can confidently say that Monsters vs. Aliens is a pretty okay movie that you could maybe go see if you wanted. Feel free to skip 3D if you need to save some money though.

Alas, this movie continued My Bloody Valentine‘s pesky habit of being light on the trailers, with only a single entry! Worse, it was one I already saw. WORSE, it still looks dumb.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
SEQUEL

TOTAL: 100% (1/1)

As of a March 16th advance screening of Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D at Century 20 Oakridge in San Jose, CA, we’re back at 100% unoriginality, which I will again let slide on account of the small sample size. After Ice Age 3 and Up, are we gonna be out of 3D movies? I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the unique experience those glasses can (sometimes) provide.

Followup question! Do any of you return the glasses? I’ve got four sitting on my car dash now. I ain’t payin’ extra for glasses I’m not even going to keep!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Coraline 3D

Geoff, Kyle and I took another trek to the ol’ dependable local San Mateo theater last night for a screening of Coraline, presented in three dimensions! As mentioned in the previous HUR, I had been looking forward to this particular film for some time now, and it was a wonderful moviegoing experience. The 3D visuals were jaw-droppingly gorgeous; unlike Bloody Valentine, it was clear that this film was made for the stereoscopic projection system. I don’t even know how much justice my brief glowing description can give this movie, but in short: please go see Coraline right away, and watch it in 3D. This is the rare film where the glasses are not pure gimmick, but serve to add (forgive the pun) extra depth to the visuals. Go see it now!

New 3D movie means: new 3D trailers! We were all honestly surprised that so many 3D films are on the horizon. Always happy to get more trailers to analyze, but on the other hand, most of them are kid’s movies I’ll probably never see. Onward!

Up
I was a little concerned about not seeing the next Pixar film teaser after watching WALL•E awhile back, so it was quite pleasing to see that not only do we get a full-fledged trailer of Up, but that the film is also being presented with 3D projection! I can only imagine it’s a relatively simple matter to re-run RenderMan with two virtual cameras instead of one, and the image looked clean and crisp through the Real D glasses. And come on, it’s Pixar, which means the film will no doubt be charming, amusing for all ages, and of course ORIGINAL.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Ugh! Of course, where there’s a new Pixar summer flick, a new Ice Age entry can’t be far behind. I’m really not a fan of this franchise, but they must be popular with the kids because they keep making more despite my (admittedly non-verbal) protests. The weirdest thing about Ice Age trailers is that they don’t actually show any of the main cast or events, opting instead to devote the entirety of the trailer time to the misadventures of saber-toothed squirrel Scrat. I’ll admit that there is great logic to this, as I always though Scrat’s comic stylings were the only funny part of the series, but I would never pay $13 just for Scrat’s sake. Even if the acorns look like THEY’RE COMIN’ RIGHT FOR US! SEQUEL, and if they don’t actually show the movie, what is anyone supposed to get hyped up for? Ray Romano and John Leguizamo?

Monsters VS Aliens
Kinda cute-looking ensemble kid’s movie I guess. Really don’t have much to say about it, though I’m always happy to see Dwight Schrute doing other projects (when they aren’t The Rocker). And though the Indestructible Gelatinous Mass will probably be a kind of irritating character, I liked the quick Blob shot. ORIGINAL in only the technical sense.

TOTAL: 33.33% 1/3

As of a February 7th screening of Coraline 3D at Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo, CA, the 3D branch of Hollywood shot for the moon with a mere 33.33% unoriginality! Like I said before, it’s a total gimmick, but there’s something really charming about putting on silly glasses and watching things pop out of the screen. It only saddens me that there will be no way to pick up Coraline in a home media format in 3D, as the old-fashioned 2D way of presenting movies just couldn’t look quite as good. But of course, this is exactly the point. Theaters want to compete directly against the home theater experience, and unreproducible gimmicks fit the bill perfectly. Can’t wait ’til we get new Smell-O-Vision movies!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: My Bloody Valentine 3D

Geoff and I went to Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo last night to check out My Bloody Valentine, a horror movie where a miner kills people with a pickaxe. I’m not normally one to drop hard-earned cash on cheesy slasher flicks in the theater (Netflix is a wonderful way to get my fix while holding back on the simoleons), but I was particularly drawn to the experience because the movie was presented in glorious 3D!!! That’s right, no longer were we bound to the tyranny of mere height and width; this time, depth came along for the ride!

Sure, 3D is a gimmick Hollywood’s been trying to use on us for the last 50 years to put asses in seats, and generally isn’t used to any real artistic effect, but every once in awhile it can be a fun experience. Prior to this gem, I’d only previously seen two 3D movies in theaters (Spy Kids 3D: Game Over and The Nightmare Before Christmas; guess which one was actually good?), and this, well… was the third. Beyond the money shots of gruesome murders committed with pickaxe, most of the movie was so slow and uneventful it made severely poor usage of the technology. We counted three instances of a character slowly rotating a gun toward the camera. Okay guys, we get it, the movie’s IN 3D. It’s a fairly standard whodunnit storyline with a twist that I must confess I found somewhat disappointing (I don’t feel the clues were laid out very well, and the revelation leaves a lot of holes). But of course, you don’t see slasher films for the deep plots and shocking developments. If you see only one movie about a mass murderer offing people with a pickaxe this year… eh, wait and see, maybe the new Street Fighter movie will have something to offer.

I was a little surprised by the trailer fare, in that I was expecting the normal array of multiple films I don’t really care about seeing in the coming months, but instead, there was only one trailer! Real D, the company that provided the glasses and single-projector stereoscopy technology for My Bloody Valentine 3D apparently got to decide on the trailers or something, because that film was another 3D flick using the same projector system. Well hey, makes my job easier, and it got us into the movie quicker than I can ever recall, so hooray Real D!

Coraline 3D
Whoa ho! The only trailer they played and it’s something I actually want to see! Based on Neil Gaiman’s story of the same name (sans 3D) and therefore an ADAPTATION, Coraline is the first stop-motion animated movie filmed stereoscopically. What this basically amounts to is that the movie will look much better than the average 3D film because it was actually filmed in 3D! The video looked incredible. The effect was at its best not when things popped out of the screen, but when objects receded into the distance (especially one shot where Coraline opens the secret door and watches a tunnel extend backward into darkness). On top of that, I’ve already been pumped about this for some time, and now I will almost certainly seek out a 3D screening come release! Sadly, since your average computer does not have built-in stereoscopic video output capability, I can’t put up the 3D trailer, so go watch My Bloody Valentine 3D to check it out (I kid, of course).

TOTAL: 100% (1/1)

As of a January 18th screening of My Bloody Valentine 3D at Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo, CA, Hollywood has slated itself for a record 100% unoriginality! … But since there was only one trailer, I don’t feel that’s a fair assessment, and we’ll let them slide today.

Almost forgot to mention: the 3D glasses we got were amazingly dorky! Observe Geoff and myself, seeing the world through new eyes!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Quantum of Solace

Geoff, Kyle and I walked down to Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo last night to take a gander at the latest James Bond flick. Though I have been a big fan of Bond movies in the past, I hadn’t seen one since The World Is Not Enough, as that film (and the previous, Tomorrow Never Dies) left something of a bad taste in my mouth. I still consider GoldenEye to possibly be the best Bond movie ever made, so it was disappointing that they couldn’t keep up the momentum. The later Brosnan films went heavier on the action and lighter on the comedy, which didn’t really feel very Bond-ish to me at all, so I wasn’t in a hurry to see it through to its logical conclusion.

Okay, I’m done with the Bond film name-dropping now. Quantum of Solace was a great film! Perhaps somewhat ironically, it was the turn to more serious storytelling that won me over. The movie portrayed a more inexperienced 007, but also a more passionate one, a more believable character with faults and moments of realistic clumsiness. Bond can make mistakes! I also found it amusing that the Bond girl with the stupid jokey name was the one to get killed early on. I was afraid I’d have trouble following a direct sequel film without seeing the previous, but I think I would have been okay even if I hadn’t read Casino Royale. A fine flick that sheds all the old clichés to deliver a solid compelling story! That’s what I would say about Quantum of Solace if I were the kind of person that writes movie reviews. Thank goodness I am not.

“Come on man!” I hear you protesting, “We must know what trailers preceded this movie you saw last night!” I do apologize for keeping you waiting. On the bright side, with this post several months after the last HUR, there’s no trailer overlap!

Seven Pounds
I had absolutely no idea what was going on in this trailer. Apparently Will Smith sells his house to some lady at the beginning, and then… no, seriously, what the hell was going on? The trailer seems to make allusions to there being seven different stories intertwined around Smith’s character, but gives no real sense of how anything is connected. Or which parts were even different stories. Anyone want to provide some input on this? Did it make any sense to you? Points for ORIGINALity are vastly cancelled out by generic vague boring trailer clichés.

The International
Stop the presses! Clive Owen plays a guy that shoots guns and protects a lady?!? It’s an odd typecasting, but I suppose it works for him. Make sure you watch this one for a glass-breaking shootout scene that would seem to exceed every glass-breaking shootout scene ever made before. In terms of how much glass is broken. That building looks like it was designed to be shattered by Clive Owens’ bullets. Hooray for more ORIGINAL screenplays!

Star Trek
Hooray for trailer #2! Whereas the first was basically the biggest tease in the world, the new trailer delivers some genuine content. Zachary Quinto was a brilliant choice for a young Nimoy-alike, even if I keep thinking he’s going to kill Kirk and steal his woman-seducing powers. Simon Pegg’s Scotty clip, though brief, gives me additional hope for a better film than *shudder* Nemesis. Finally, J.J. Abrams has proven himself to me with the amazing success of Lost, so I’m extra-pumped that this will breathe some much-needed new life into a dying franchise (thanks a lot, Enterprise). Of course it’s an ADAPTATION and a PREQUEL, but it’s also friggin’ Star Trek! I’ll go see it in theaters like I have every other one since Generations.

Yes Man
Wait, didn’t Jim Carrey already star in a silly comedy wherein he was forced to respond differently to situations, with supposedly hilarious results? I wish I could label this as unoriginal based on its similarity to Liar Liar, but luckily I don’t have to! It’s based on a 2005 biography of the same name! ADAPTATION. Also stupid-looking.

Bedtime Stories
Adam Sandler is doing kids movies now? For Disney?! I thought his whole appeal was his crude adult humor, and I can’t imagine he gets to do much of that in a Disney film. Instead he’s being surrounded with lavish CGI dream sequences. At least he gets sprayed in the eyes with flame retardant. ORIGINAL, though none of the storytelling segments appear to be anything but derivative. Also: was that music from the Back to the Future Part III score in the western story? Why yes it was.

The Day The Earth Stood Still
Color me very wary. I am a huge fan of the original film; it’s rare that science fiction stories are told so seriously as they were in that brilliant allegory. While this movie looks like a perfectly solid sci-fi experience, it would seem to bear little resemblance to its predecessor. The potential destruction of Earth appears to be happening in the movie, whereas the original gave warning of dire consequences if our ways were not altered. I suppose you need action to sell tickets. I probably will go see this REMAKE, mostly because Keanu Reeves makes me crack up whenever I even think about him.

Valkyrie
Welcome back to movies, Tom Cruise. Can’t say I missed you. Despite his presence, if we have to have ADAPTATIONs, at least they chose an interesting true story (the 20 July plot, specifically). I was amused to find that this story has been retold in movie form many times before, but hey, maybe there’s something new to add to it. Maybe they pull off the assassination this time! *fingers crossed*

TOTAL: 57.14% 4/7

As of a November 22nd screening of Quantum of Solace at Century 12 Downtown in San Mateo, CA, Hollywood is geared for a season of 57.14% unoriginality. Not a bad ratio at all, and beyond that, I might even go see a few of these! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rent Casino Royale. Thank you, Daniel Craig, for renewing my faith in the Bond franchise!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Get Smart

Carlo and I went to the Regal Cinema Stadium 5 in Davis this Independence Day weekend to see Get Smart. I must admit having somewhat low expectations going into this, but I like Steve Carell enough to give his projects a chance. It was basically an Agent Michael Scarn movie, which is not a bad idea at all. Instead of doing a Don Adams impersonation, Carell decided to take his own spin on ol’ Agent 86, and I thought the results were pretty okay!

“But how were the trailers, man?!?” I hear you asking. Well ask no more!

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Hmm. I hate to nitpick, but if you were to fall thousands of miles and land in water, you would die. At terminal velocity (and probably even at lower speeds), hitting water is supposedly a lot like hitting concrete. It bugs me when movies use bodies of water as magic cushions to protect their freefalling protagonists. The rest of the trailer, with its crappy CGI and Brendan Frasereses, did nothing for me. This is like the third ADAPTATION of a classic story, and I’m going to guess it’s probably the worst of the bunch. PROVE ME WRONG, HOLLYWOOD.

Step Brothers
Is there some script writer in Hollywood throwing darts at a board covered with situations for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to play out in their buddy films du jour? I’m not complaining necessarily since I enjoyed what they did in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby so much, but I don’t necessarily want to see the same two actors portraying the same two stupid guys in the same kinds of movies for the next decade. Wikipedia says ORIGINAL, and Wikipedia is always right.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
SEQUEL

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
I could have sworn I saw a trailer for this movie during a previous HUR, but the archives yield nothing. SEQUEL of an ADAPTATION. I had no interest in seeing the first movie, and was about to write this one off until I learned it was helmed by awesome director guy Guillermo del Toro! It’s got a freaky monster guy without eyes, which just made me think of the similar freaky eyeless monster guy from Pan’s Labyrinth. Then I found out that del Toro did the first movie too! Guess I’ll have to check them both out…. on Netflix or something.

The Accidental Husband
I guess this is about as ORIGINAL as a romantic comedy can be. Except it isn’t, because it’s a romantic comedy. The trailer actually reveals more than enough of the plot that no one needs to go see the movie; Uma Therman initially doesn’t like the guy but eventually does like him! Who saw that coming? The answer is: nobody saw that coming. We are shocked.

The Dark Knight
SEQUEL/ADAPTATION

TOTAL: 66.67% (4/6)

Bottom line: as of a July 5th screening of Get Smart at Regal Davis Stadium 5 in Davis, CA, Hollywood is all set for 66.67% unoriginality. And the ones that were original, I probably won’t go see. Sucks to be you, Hollywood!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: WALL-E

WALL-E was so cool! Incidentally, I went and saw WALL-E on opening night with some friends at, uh… damn, I have no idea what theater we went to, as someone else bought the tickets. I do know I was in San Mateo though! That ought to count for something.

WALL-E was so cool! This very well may be my favorite Pixar film to date, and that’s saying something. Any critics complaining about the lack of dialogue probably weren’t paying attention to the movie. It expertly conveyed emotion and backstory with minimal spoken lines. So yeah, critics are dumb, and WALL-E isn’t.

Perhaps I’ve become a little too attached to the HUR portion of this blog, but at least some of my pre-film excitement revolved around seeing a set of trailers from a rarely-explored genre: kid and family films! Let’s see how that went, shall we?

Bolt
I was a little confused with this trailer. Though the computer graphics looked to be of a similar quality to Pixar’s works (the human character models in particular look like they were directly ripped out of The Incredibles), Pixar’s logo and name were nowhere to be seen; the movie was branded as a solely Disney affair. Perhaps Pixar did have some involvement (not an unreasonable assumption, since Disney owns them, and they seem to basically run the animation department now), but it doesn’t show in the writing. ORIGINAL, perhaps, but it also looks a bit boring.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua
AAAAAAAAAAH!!! I caught a glimpse of the teaser for this film awhile back when the RiffTrax blog brought it to my attention (presumably because they hate decency over there), and my brain died for like a week. The film did not redeem itself to me upon repeated trailer-viewing, no matter how ORIGINAL it may be. What inspired this movie exactly? The fact that numerous soulless celebrities carry around small dogs in purses? Is that the audience we’re pandering toward now?!? (EDIT: OH GOD HE’S POSTED ANOTHER REMINDER THAT THIS FILM EXISTS. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH SANDPAPER IN THE WORLD TO SUFFICIENTLY SCOUR THE SURFACE OF MY BRAIN AND REMOVE ALL TRACES OF MEMORIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS MOVIE)

The Pink Panther 2
Steve Martin is dead to me. SEQUEL of a REMAKE of a once-good film series starring a once-funny comedian.

The Tale of Despereaux
Sucks to be you, Universal! The definitive rodent movie came out like a year ago! Your ADAPTATION of a children’s novel has no effect on us. Mostly because it looks kind of saccharine.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
I could feel my entire group cringe when they started playing that horrible “I Like To Move It” song. Then animal asses started swaying on the giant screen. It all went downhill from there. A SEQUEL I may just miss.

The Longshots
Am I too hard on movies made for kids? Because this ADAPTATION of a true story doesn’t look appealing in the slightest to me. I try to argue that kid movies were a lot better when I was a kid, but am usually accused of viewing my childhood memories through rose-colored glasses. Then I punch the other guy and win the argument by default. Ice Cube is annoying!

Fly Me To The Moon
0_o Bad pun title. Poop-eating jokes. Tech college commercial-caliber CGI. ORIGINALity cannot save this waste of hard drive space and processor time.

TOTAL: 57.14% (4/7)

Let’s rock-talk: as of a June 27th screening of WALL-E in San Mateo, CA, Hollywood (or at least the part of Hollywood that little kids care about) was primed for 57.14% unoriginality. I had expected a much higher value, since kid movies are so often grabbed wholesale from books about witchcraft or wizardry or lions or witches or wardrobes. That said, the “original” films seen here were generally pretty derivative. My biggest disappointment stemmed from the fact that we didn’t see a trailer for Pixar’s next project; I can’t remember the last time that happened, and hope this doesn’t indicate the Next Great Film from That Totally Awesome Animation Studio will be a long time coming.

WALL-E was so cool!!!

[discuss]

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: The Happening

I won’t even do the precocious beat-around-the-bush-not-a-review-but-it-actually-is-a-review thing this time. I saw The Happening on June 14th with friends at AMC Saratoga 14, and it sucked. It was the worst movie ever made. Marky Mark played a constantly confused science teacher, but either M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t know what science actually is, or hates it with a passion and is trying to covertly take it down by having dumb scientists in his movies. Zooey Deschanel has insanely creepy giant bug eyes, and stares at anything and everything in the film determinedly. But perhaps the worst offense a film called The Happening can possibly have is for nothing to happen during the entire movie. Oh sure, people die and the main characters run around aimlessly through the countryside, making mad dashes to outrun the scary wind, and hide out in Plot Point House at the end. But the characters never come to any concrete conclusions about what The Happening is supposed to be. The thing simply Happens, and then it stops Happening, and then it Happens again. On the bright side, the hot dog guy was somewhat amusing (he said he likes the shape of hot dogs; presumably it is left up to the viewer to decide what that means).

But yeah, the God-damned worst movie ever made. My friends and I weren’t sure if he could top Lady in the Water but I’m happy(?) to report that this is exactly what Happened.

Um… trailers!

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Oh hells yesses. I miss this friggin’ TV show like I miss no other, so I’m very excited to see the continuing misadventures of Mulder and Scully. I certainly don’t have any complaints about them classing up the joint with Billy Connolly. I gotta say though, Scully (since that is your real name, and not Gillian Anderson like you keep trying to tell me), you look a lot prettier with shorter hair. I’ll still ogle you during the whole movie, don’t worry, I’m just sayin’ is all. A SEQUEL and an ADAPTATION, of course, I won’t delude myself, but I’ll still be happily standing in line. I’m a sucker for beloved franchises.

Mirrors
Probably because I’m kind of weird, I have a lot of difficulty seeing Kiefer Sutherland onscreen and not thinking he’s Jack Bauer. So when I see him as the father figure in a family being terrorized by mirror monsters, I don’t worry for a second. I know that Jack Bauer will make short work of the mirror monsters, probably by shooting them in the knee and asking them where the bomb is, or simply garroting them if he doesn’t have time to deal with them. Apparently this is a REMAKE of a South Korean film. I don’t really care in any case; Jack Bauer just doesn’t feel very Jack Bauery on the big screen (he rarely even kills one guy, much less fifty, though he did some lovely assisted suicides in Flatliners), so I’ll just wait until the next season of 24 to get my fix.

Babylon A.D.
Oooooooooooh, Vin Diesel in a sci-fi movie with explosions, punching and guns. Best part: Vin Diesel shouts out “What is wrong with her?”, and the “what” sounds completely ridiculous. I can’t even describe it in text. I’m sure I’ll be watching this at Geoff’s house; the man has something of an unhealthy obsession with Vin Diesel. Oh yeah, ADAPTATION of the French novel “Babylon Babies.” I love how Wikipedia lets me say stuff like that, and it looks like I’m just really knowledgeable when it comes to French novels. None will be the wiser!

Wanted
ADAPTATION

Swing Vote
Hooray. Nothing more timely than a movie about voting ballots not being counted in an extremely close election. OH WAIT, THAT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO. AND EIGHT YEARS AGO. Also, why does this movie have a thousand actors I recognize? I’m normally terrible with actor recognition, but I saw Dr. Conrad Zimsky, Howard Payne, Major Kira and Frasier! Just so you know, if it were up to me, I’d elect Dennis Hopper over Kelsey Grammer, but that’s just because Speed was so awesome. And- wait, what’s this? ORIGINAL?!? A bright shining beacon amidst a sea of all-this-has-happened-before-all-this-will-happen-againses! Well okay, it looks stupid, but that might just be Kevin Costner.

Nights in Rodanthe
Hey look, that guy from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Otherwise I don’t give a shit about this ADAPTATION based on the novel of the same name by Richard Sparks (thanks again, Wikipedia!). Is Richard Gere sexy? He seems to be in so many romance films, comedy and otherwise, but I just don’t see the appeal. Maybe people are remembering a time when he was more attractive?

Total: 83.33% (5/6)

Wow. As of a June 14th screening of The Happening (sucked sucked sucked sucked sucked) at AMC Saratoga 14 in Saratoga, CA, Hollywood was careening toward 83.33% unoriginality. Hollywood, this is basically a fail for you, especially if The Happening is the best you can do for original scripts.

[discuss]