Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Sunday, March 14, 2004  

Nay, Robot

I watched the trailer for the new movie, I, Robot, loosely based on Asimov's book. It may be a fun action film, but they have entirely altered the nature of the original omnibus of cleverly conceived stories featuring "feeling" robots grappling with complications in their duty under the three laws of robotics they were electronically (positronically) compelled to follow.

I don't know why filmmakers feel compelled themselves to take good stories that work perfectly as they were created, and mess them up for the sake of a cinematic formula.

Well, I do know why. Take Asimov's brand name and large body of readers, then rather than make a fine movie true to the stories that would not make a huge profit, gamble on making a big budget, comic book, popcorn movie that will either be a blockbuster or a bust.

Asimov's fans will go to see the movie anyway, if only to complain about the treatment, and plenty of other boys will go to see it simply for kicks.

We are always told how studio executives and producers are keen businessmen with their eye on the bottom line -- that investment follows success -- yet, adults like going to the movies, too, and that market (along with the Christian market) has been entirely ignored for decades now.

G and PG movies make the most money of all, yet outside of animated films for children, there aren't many others released. Family movies are most popular of all, but there are incredibly few of them.


Which leads me to this point. I watched Denzel Washington's movie, Out of Time, last night on DVD.

It is a terrible movie with a ridiculous denouement. It was bad, okay, but what bothered me the most was its star. Denzel is often mentioned as one of Hollywood's few Christians. He has an exceptionally loyal following in the black community (who are the most avid film goers), and so all of his movies make money regardless of their quality. Yet, why is it that he rarely makes uplifting and ennobling, feel good films?

Yes, he did Antwone Fisher (which I thought was thin psychodrama, but otherwise okay), but I find his body of work that of a mediocrity. Like Ashley Judd who churns out potboilers, Denzel keeps trying film noir and failing.

His movie The Preacher's Wife made when Whitney Houston was still recognizably human, was a miserable attempt at a sweet, holiday story which perhaps explains why he doesn't try to make more "good" movies. He has lousy taste and judgment.

Nevertheless, there must be hundreds of stories from good literature which would be worthwhile to produce, and would be eagerly supported.

For that reason, many people are waiting to see what Mel Gibson will be doing next as either an actor, director, or producer. Will he squander all the good will and support he has created for himself by returning to shlock films, or will he pioneer a renaissance in Christian art in this field?


Via relapsed Catholic, Gibson's next movie may be on the Maccabees.

Also, via Kathy Shaidle, the Book of Mormon vol. 1 movie is now out.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 3:31 PM |