The New Era of Summer Blockbusters

           Remember when Hollywood discovered comic books? The big names, the good stories and the hottest heroines came first.  How awesome was it to see a living, breathing Spidey swinging from the rooftops? How about a not-so-living-and-breathing-but-still-pretty-sweet Incredible Hulk? X-men? C’mon, that was like a Chinese food buffet chocked full of super heroes instead of MSG!

            As with anything good, we devoured the comic book world like hyenas on a giraffe carcass. When the tender morsels were gone, we started chewing the cartilage and thus came Blade I, Blade II, Blade III, Catwoman, and Dare Devil (that’s right Affleck, Dare Devil was the cinematic equivalent of a rotting giraffe carcass.)  So what came next? What majestic African animal did we set the Hollywood hyena pack on? Graphic novels.

            As with the comic book craze, the first of the graphic novel based movies were incredible.  Frank Miller set the pace with Sin City and later blew us away with 300.  Smelling blood, they searched the shelves for other adaptable (and some not-so-adaptable) titles.  The graphic novel based movies have had a good run.  Constantine wasn’t bad and despite a few unexplored concepts, I Am Legend was mostly bad ass. 

            But like a dark storm on the horizon, 30 Days of Night foretold of the encroaching end of successful graphic novel adaptations.  Not that 30 Days of Night was all that terrible, it was more like a cautionary sign on the road that leads to another Dare Devil (it’s been five years and I still can’t get the taste of that awful movie out of my mouth.)

            So what’s the next crutch screen writers are going to lean on so that they don’t have to actually come up with anything original? It appears that it’s going to be Saturday morning cartoons.  We all know that the Wachowski Bros are adapting Speed Racer (we all know because you all have read the entry on RandT about Speed Racer, right? C’mon, this blog isn’t just for our mother’s to show off at the bingo hall.) “So”, you’ll say in a tone dripping with skepticism, “one movie doesn’t make a trend.” Well, how about two?

           I’ve just read an article announcing M. Night Shyamalan’s plans to turn the Saturday morning kid’s cartoon, Avatar: The Airbender, into a full length feature film for adults.  While I have not seen the cartoon itself, I have seen the happy meal toys based on it and I have to think that Shyamalans onto something.  Check out the article here to learn more about it. 

            

Two movies based on thirty minute kids’ toy commercials, courageously marketed towards adults, may not be indicative of the next Hollywood trend, but Raf and I are making the prediction that more of these are bound to come.  When Michelle Rodriquez gets a bobbed hairdo and jumps in a hot air balloon to portray Dora the Explorer, you’ll hear us say “We told you so.”

 

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