Friday, September 30, 2011

Hope for More Fantasy Movies

Few fantasy books translate well to movies or television. “Legend of the Seeker” based on Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” books made an attempt to capture the story but failed. Recently, “Game of Thrones” made it onto television and the reviews are good so far. (One of the actors even won an Emmy recently.) There have been many films in the genre before. In the past, the entertainment industry has made Fantasy themed movies, but they have been limited in scope. The movies have been about angels, devils, people switching bodies, ghosts, poor versions of sword wielding warriors and many humorous ventures. Granted, some of these are well done, even classics, but most are terrible disappointments. They have inconsistent plots, boring characters and cheap special effects. Few of them explore the depths of the Fantasy genre or leave us with memorable stories. Newer attempts at creating new movies and series are promising for fans of fantasy. This trend could lead to more fantasy series or movies in the future. Film makers have a chance for successful movies and television series because of a large fan base, special effects improvements and a large number of books in the genre to choose from for inspiration.

First, there is a large untapped fan base for film makers to court for an audience. The fan base consists of readers in the genre, role playing gamers, video game players and many others ranging in age from children to elderly adults. Appealing to the base by making more fantasy series or movies would bring a ready-made audience to watch their works. These fans might increase the audience by word of mouth, since fans of fantasy tend to be excellent at networking. Just look at the success of the Harry Potter movies that tapped into the fan base of the books. General movie audiences would appreciate this too and could bring more readers to the genre. With the recent success of the “Game of Thrones” series, the books have catapulted on to the Bestseller lists again due to new readers checking out the books.

Next, the constant rapid improvements in special effects make it easier for more fantasy films to be made. The newer special effects like CGI brings fantasy worlds to life and makes fantastic creatures look realistic. This allows for the suspension of disbelief to be easier for the viewers. In years past, these effects were clumsy, shoddy and cheap, giving the film a very fake appearance. This ruins the watching experience for the movie viewer, leaving the feeling of being cheated. A viewer gets pulled away from the fantasy elements by fake looking costumes, inferior sets and bad plots and dialogue. In the present day, special effects have improved greatly. Computer generated images and monsters create imaginative images. When blended with live action shots and actors, a viewer is drawn into the film, which makes it easier to suspend disbelief.

Finally, the large number of books in the genre provides a greater choice for film makers to draw from for inspiration. Using the many different fantasy books available can bring more depth and improve genre films. Many books could or would make excellent movies. Fantasy themes deal with many things that concern people now. The fight between good and evil, hope, love and many others are displayed in many books. Fantasy removes us from the real world to deal with difficult issues. Numerous books could be used for ideas instead of falling back on overdone fairy tales, devils, angels, ghosts and other repeated plots. Authors that could be looked into are: Robert Holdstock, Neil Gaiman, Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, Guy Gavriel Kay, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, etc. The list could go on for a long time. Books could be made into TV series, miniseries and movies. It only takes the vision and courage of film makers to mine Fantasy books for some entertaining gems.

Fantasy movies poise on the edge of a possible boom of films for fans. The improvement of special effects, a large untapped fan base, and many books to choose from can provide film makers with a large audience. They can improve the genre and get away from overdone themes that have been repeated too often, which bores people to the point of not watching. If they mine the depths of Fantasy, they could provide viewers with new visions in TV series, movies and miniseries. Come on entertainment industry. Take a chance.

For other views on fantasy movies and television shows there are these articles:

http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Culture-Cafe/2011/0621/10-fantasy-novels-that-would-make-great-TV-shows

http://www.magicalwords.net/diana-pharaoh-francis/fantasy-and-sf-movies/

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