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Hollywood, I find your lack of new ideas disturbing…

July 27, 2011

Hollywood has been adapting novels and short stories in various genres for ages, pretty much since the beginning of movies. Okay, I get that. The idea of seeing what you had imagined in your head on the big screen could be pretty powerful. It could also be a letdown, but that’s not my topic for today, kids.

Based on Pierre Boulle's novel, and he wrote the screenplay

When the geniuses in that enclave on the Left Coast decided we were too dumb for movies where you had to think, they went, naturally, to Saturday morning cartoons. Again, some big successes and some big misses. (Anybody remember the live-action Rocky and Bullwinkel?)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - a twofer - comic, then cartoon, then film. Still good.

But remember what happened to those Saturday morning cartoons: the advertisers took over. Instead of cartoons with commercials in between, they became cartoons that were the commercials, promoting Strawberry Shortcake dolls and, even, sad to say, G.I. Joe. Oh, and still with commercials in between.

Now in CGI!

Do not titter at this. My granddaughters love Strawberry Shortcake videos, just as their mother did when she was little. And S.S. has gone through three or four reincarnations since she was a little idea some folks at American Greetings dreamed up. Luckily, so far, she’s stayed in the animated realm.

Yeah, I know about video games, too. I saw the Super Mario Brothers movie, believe it or not, mainly because Bob Hoskins was in it. Same thing – hit or miss. Wing Commander was pretty good, back in 1999.

What Hollywood has been good at mining in these CGI days have been comic superheroes and other “graphic novel” characters. Even the poor ones have been fairly decent, in my view. Well, not Barb Wire. I don’t care what they say. It wasn’t Casablanca.

I'll give you one guess what was supposed to carry this movie...okay, two.

But now, having mined out all the ore that was easy to reach, even with more than a bit of strip-mining, the Gods of Hollywoodland have decided that’s too much plot. Might as well just go straight to board games.

Yep, board games. I know, I know, Clue got the Hollywood treatment way back in 1985, with a pretty heavyweight cast – Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren – but it was a game based on a mystery plot.

What’s he playing at? Why have I read this far? Because, dear reader, we now have sunk (sorry) to the level of a new film, budgeted at $ 200 million, opening in the spring of 2012:

Battleship.

Well, it is America's all-time favorite game...

The trailer’s been pulled off of YouTube. Use the link above to go to the official site and see it there. SPOILERS AHOY!!!!: The alien ship looks pretty cool!

Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna (!?!), and The Man Who Will Do Any Movie That Isn’t Pron If They Pay Me, Liam Neeson.

Told you. You can't make this kind of stuff up.

Brooklyn Decker - See where this movie is going?

Taylor Kitsch - equal time for the rest of my readers! I guess he's supposed to be hot...

Alexander Skarsgard - best picture I could find. Sorry.

So what’s next? Monopoly? Candyland?

To quote Yakko Warner, “The mind boggles.”

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