Video game movies have a well-deserved rap for being terrible. For whatever reason, the creative teams of Hollywood can’t adapt a video game’s narrative without horribly mangling it. On the bright side, most video game adaptations get the visual aspects of the game right. There’s usually some amount of forethought put into the costumes and set designs, but that’s never enough to make up for the butchered story.
Silent Hill is a prime example of a failed video game adaptations. The movie attempts to follow the plot of the first Silent Hill game, but fails miserably in all of the typical categories. For starters, there are a number of unnecessary changes to the main characters and the plot. Most glaringly is the change of the protagonist Harry Mason. In the film version, the main protagonist is a woman named Rose Da Silva. They also renamed Harry’s daughter Cheryl to Sharon for some reason. Audience members who haven’t played the games aren’t going to notice the difference, and it only serves to annoy the fans so I find it strange they would do that.
The plot isn’t spared from the ol’ Hollywood mangling, either. The game centers on members of a cult trying to resurrect their deity by sacrificing Harry’s daughter. The movie decides “Hey, let’s piss off the fans even more!” and spins us a contrived tale about witch burnings. It makes even less sense than the game’s plot (which was a bit loopy, in all honesty). And because they try to follow the plot of the original while creating new reasons for the events, the movie is riddled with so many unexplained occurrences and plot holes that it boggles the mind. It’s truly amazing at how badly they screwed up this adaptation. It feels like the writers read the Wikipedia summary while drunk and then tried to write the script from memory the following morning.
If there is one saving grace for the movie, it’s the visuals. The creepy spirit of Silent Hill is spot-on, even if the decision to change the town’s unseasonable snow to ash is really stupid. The scenes in the otherworld look fantastic, too. The movie even managed to recreate the game’s heavy reliance on maps for navigation, and it never comes across as cheesy. It’s a shame there’s no attempt at building tension, because the game’s atmosphere is perfectly represented. It’s a really disappointing missed opportunity.
The monsters are a mixed bag, though. This being an older film, the CG is not the best, even for 2006. Some of the film’s monsters look great, like Pyramid Head and the zombie nurses. Other ones, like those weird flaming kids look really terrible. Tying back into the story-butchering, the movie features all of the wrong enemies, even if most of them look really cool. I’m pretty sure the flaming charcoal kids are supposed to be the zombie kids from the first game, but that’s about as close to accurate as the movie gets. All of the other monsters are from Silent Hill 2, where they have a more metaphorical meaning within the game. The designs and purposes of all the monsters are lost here, which really stinks because the first Silent Hill game had some cool monsters that would have been interesting to see on film.
Overall, Silent Hill is a massive bomb. In terms of production, the movie does a good job of invoking the spirit of the games (they at least got the soundtrack right which was nice), but the story and characters are so far gone from their in-game counterparts that it’s a pain to watch. So much of the plot has been chopped up and stitched back together wrong that absolutely nothing makes sense. I’m a die-hard fan of the video games and the movie still didn’t make any sense. It’s sheer incompetence on every level, but at least it looks nice. Save yourself the trouble and just play the games instead.
Hey hey hey, I finally got the art done for my Silent Hill review. Expect it in the next few days.
Tumblr was going nuts for Frozen when it came out and I finally got around to seeing it. The verdict? It was… okay, I guess? I haven’t watched many of the recent Disney movies so I don’t really have any rubric to base my evaluation on, but for a kids movie it was pretty cute. The first half of it was really engaging, but things sort of tapered off for me around the time that damn snowman showed up. He didn’t exactly ruin the movie for me, but the movie started to get boring when he showed up, so there’s that.
The animation was stunning, though. The physics on the snow was impeccable, and it was a very visually stunning movie. (The ice castle formation was just gorgeous. They really should have done something like that for the castle Dr. Manhattan built in The Watchmen). Other than that, it was pretty Disney-ish, so if you’re looking for something to stick the kids in front of for a while, I’d definitely pick this over anything else that’s come out in recent years. For the older set, I’d only look into it if you’re really intrigued. It’s cute, but you do have to put up with a lot of kids movie tropes.
It’s been suggested to me that perhaps I temporarily turn my blog in to a collaborative blog. This isn’t a bad idea, as it would give me time to improve my art skills while still producing stuff for you guys.
So basically what I’m looking for is one of you strapping young artists to collab with me. You do the art, I watch the terrible movies and write about them. Hopefully that is a fair trade. If any of y’all are interested, let me know. I’m eager to improve my blog for you guys.
The Wicker Man is the Infamous Nic Cage remake of the 1973 classic. I’m sure you’ve seen countless memes of the scene where Nic Cage has bees dumped on his head. But that tends to be the only thing people remember about the movie. Is there anything else to this remake? Why yes. The entire movie is a never-ending parade of hilarious stupidity. It’s utter garbage, but it’s at that perfect level of so-bad-it’s good I’d rank right up there with Troll 2 and The Room.
The original 1973 version of The Wicker Man is absolutely fantastic, in case you haven’t seen it. It’s one of the creepiest horror movies of all time, along the ranks of The Shining and The Exorcist. So obviously we needed a remake with Nicolas Cage. The original movie has a slow buildup that gradually creates a sense of unease until the horrifying climax scares the living daylights out of you. The remake has Nic Cage kung-fu kicking a barmaid in the face.
The main problem (and funniest part) the movie has is that there’s none of the tension the original Wicker Man had. The remake mostly focuses on Nic Cage running around and acting like a weirdo. Cage is at his hammiest here, and it’s hilarious. Unfortunately this comes at the price of any sense of dread or creepiness, which is usually what horror movies try to create. Whether it’s the classic bear-punch scene, or Cage flailing around in a field of bees, there’s thankfully never a dull moment.
It’s not just Nicolas Cage who gives a terrible performance, either. The entire cast is seemingly incapable of delivering a credible performance. There’s Cage’s overly enthusiastic co-worker in the opening, the hilarious wooden barmaid, and the Cage’s constantly pouting ex. Nary a scene goes by without some sort of bizarre line delivery or strange piece of dialog. (“What do you have in there? A shark, or something?”)
The remake is a shot-for-shot remake of the original for some reason, and that makes it all the more hilarious. The warped view of the remake takes some of the best moments of the original and turns them into cinematic crap. The ending to the original Wicker Man is one of the most disturbing and bleak in horror history. The remake has Nic Cage trying to threaten the entire population of the island with a gun, and then getting CG bees dumped on him. The classroom scene in the original is the tipping point where you start to realize that the mystery runs much deeper than previously thought. In the remake, Nic Cage has one of his patented freak-outs and screams at a classroom full of small children. It’s comedic gold, people.
As far as remakes go, this is one of the worst in existence. It desecrates everything good about the 1973 original, and then lights it on fire. But unlike other crappy remakes, this one is actually hilarious. Most other remakes are usually dull and uninspired cash-grabs. The Wicker Man is in a league of its own with how awful it is. It transcends being an offense to the viewer and becomes a fantastic comedy film. If you love to rag on terrible movies like me, this certainly one to check out. It has tons of stupid dialog to quote, and numerous “WTF?” scenes that will leave you in stitches.
(Oh boy, my first requested review! At the request of NoFreeTickets, I watched the Australian horror flick The Loved Ones.)
I’m not a fan of the so-called “torture-porn” subgenre of horror movies, but it’s gotten great reviews in the past, so I figured it would be pretty good. And it is a good horror movie, it’s just not my usual cup of tea. The Loved Ones is so far the torture-porn movie I’ve enjoyed, but having only seen Saw and parts of the sequels and parts of the Hostel series, I don’t know if I’m the most qualified person to say that. But that being said, this is a solid horror movie, regardless of subgenre.
The story follows a teenager name Brent, who is kidnapped by a crazed schoolmate after he turns down her invitation to the prom. After that the movie is mostly just Brent being tortured by his captors, Lola and her equally twisted father. They were clearly going for a horror-comedy angle, though, because the story occasionally cuts back to Brent’s friend at the prom, and the prom scenes are played for laughs. The only major problem I had with the movie was that the prom scenes were not that funny and were clearly there for padding. There’s not much direction to the prom subplot, and it easily could have been eliminated. I realize the writers needed something to break up the monotony of the violence, but they could have at least written something funnier.
Surprisingly the horror scenes are actually suspenseful and intense. Most movies like this are just an onslaught of gore, relishing in showing as much bloodshed as possible, trying to gross out the audience instead of creeping them out. The Loved Ones shows a surprising amount of restraint, with a lot of the violence being left to the viewer’s imagination, which is a far more effective way of getting those desired winces out of your audience. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is unapologetically brutal, but it’s made all the more horrifying by what they don’t show, and that is something few horror movies seem to grasp these days.
As with any horror movie, there is a good bit of campiness to The Loved Ones, although because of the comedy suffix, it’s hard to tell sometimes what was meant to be funny and what was supposed to be serious. The villain, Lola, and her father are very over-the-top. There’s such a maniacal glee to them that it’s hard to take them seriously until they’re nailing you to the floor. (I’m still unsure if I’m supposed to laugh when they force-feed Brent fried chicken.) I love that the director was able to get a few laughs even during the most intense scenes. When Lola is attempting to drill a hole in her captive’s forehead, she keeps messing up the procedure, and the perfectly-timed breaks in tension are a great bit of dark humor.
Overall, this is a really good horror movie. It does a fantastic job of building suspense and making you extremely uncomfortable, and while the prom subplot is a bit out of place, it thankfully doesn’t kill the tension. It’s certainly not for everyone because of its torture-porn nature, but if you can look past that The Loved Ones is an interesting watch. I don’t even like torture based horror, and I thought this was well-done. If you like stuff like Saw, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re like me and are skeptical about, I’d say give it a try, because you may find a pleasantly creepy surprise.