Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, May 03, 2010

Board game boredom is coming to a theater near you

You can tell the creativity levels in Hollywood are low indeed when there are serious plans underway to make a Magic 8 Ball movie. I wish this was a joke,folks,but the sad truth is that the board game genre is rearing its ugly head again.

Don't get me wrong,I like board games but in the form that they were intended to be enjoyed in,not as a halfhearted excuse to waste time and money on a pointless film. Some of the proposed movies for this sad new cycle have classics like Monopoly and Battle Ship on deck,with the likes of Ridley Scott attached to them.

One upcoming film is actually using an idea that's been done before and I'm not sure that the producers realize it. As plans for an "action adventure" take on Ouija boards are being made,many of us recall a little horror flick called Witchboard back in the mid 1980s that had that supernatural slumber party favorite as the main mode of menace.

Tawny Kitean starred as the ill fated gal who made the mistake of summoning the spirits on her lonesome with that board and set off a chain of cheesy death sequence and a played out demon possession riff. The movie did manage to spawn a sequel that went straight to video,but despite it's small cult following,Witchboard is the first flick that comes to mind for this horrifying home game:

A better known example of the board game genre is Clue,another mid eighties movie that boasted an all-star cast(Tim Curry,Lesley Ann Warren,Madeline Kahn and even Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Gos)playing the likes of Miss Scarlett,Col. Mustard and other favorite persona pieces from the game trying to figure out whodunit.

The movie used three different endings,to keep audiences guessing which is not a wholly bad gimmick(it worked for the Broadway version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood for a good long while there). However,the over the top nature of the story line and some of the acting quickly snuffed out any potential for peaking any major interest in this haphazard adaptation:

There are a few success stories in every genre attempt,and it's only fair to acknowledge that here in this discussion. While Jumanji is really a children's book adaptation more than a board game one,it does use the popular notion of making your imagination come to life via a playing board and a roll of the dice to full advantage.

Since the source material is from a picture book,Jumanji does run into the same type of criticism about thin plot lines and visual bag of tricks overkill that other board game and especially video game based features face.

However,this movie garnered a tidy sum at the box office,inspiring a similar sci-fi version of another picture book with a board game theme to be made. No doubt the kids that were intended as the target audience for this movie were amused,which counts for something:

In the end,there's not much we can do to stop this genre die from being rolled again,other than to hope for low numbers on their opening weekends.

While it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to wish failure upon hard working film folk,it would be nice if someone with the power to greenlight major motion pictures would pluck an original script from their submission piles and give a struggling artist's vision a golden ticket to showing filmgoers something worth their money on the first day of release.

Then again,these new board game movies might at least be entertaining on a Mystery Science Theater level,so some good can come of their creation. When Hollywood hands you lemons,the best way to deal with that is to make laughter lemonade:


Ladytink_534 said...

Are they purposely trying to make bad movies now? Jumanji wasn't too bad but then again, like you said, it was based on a book. Instead of this craptastic stuff Hollywood keeps trying to shove down our throats, I'd love to see more adaptations or remakes of films with really bad special effects but good plots.

lady t said...

See,even your statement about if they're making junk like this on purpose would make a better movie than some of the cinematic sludge being dredged up for us!

I do agree that remakes of good movies with bad special effects would be a nice trend for Hollywood to pick up on. Maybe if we wish real hard.....:)