The Dark Age of genre movies

What set me off was the post And the He-Man Movie Is Back to Being F@#$ed about some nobody writer, egged on by Warner Bros., fucking up the script to a potential Masters of the Universe movie.

Warners sees the big-screen version as a gritty fantasy and reimagines Adam as a soldier who sets off to find his destiny, happening upon the magical world of Eternia. There, Skeletor has raised a technological army and is bent on eradicating magic.

A technological army? Robots? Why? Well, robots are natural cannon fodder, I concluded. No one cares when they get blown-up, cut in half or crushed (just ask HELPeR, a Battle Droid, or the Terminator). Having disposable baddies lets you get action in your movie without having to worry about killing off any beloved characters and risking tying your hands when it comes time for a sequel. But wouldn’t an action movie where no one dies be better described as a motion movie? Transformers: The Movie killed off characters in spades, and it still remains one of the most memorable movies from my childhood. It never had a sequel.

True, the reason so many G1 Transformers were killed off was to make room for new toys, but I would rather have old characters killed off and new ones brought in than to let a franchise wallow in its own ossified nostalgia. Must He-Man, Transformers, or GI Joe (whoa… all movies) be the exact same things from our childhood? We grew up, why couldn’t they? (OK, maybe some of us didn’t grow up so well, so I guess maybe toy franchises are no different.)

But with this eye-rolling example of a writer who just doesn’t get it writing the He-Man movie, plus the huge shit Michael Bay has taken on the Transformers franchise, not to mention the sound and fury signifying nothing that was Wolverine, I feel like comic book movies are suffering through the same Dark Age that comic books went through in the ’90s.

It took some time to digest, but soon the better draftsmen in the field began to interject their art with realism and reverence. … Artists who draw in the cartoon style of the Eighties or the hyper-thyroid style of the Nineties are out of fashion — perhaps forever.

This excerpt is taken from Our Gods Wear Spandex, how Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come broke the mold that had stifled comic books in their garish pre-bagged, chromium-covered trappings throughout the Nineties. It was a time when talentless hacks churned out mediocre characters and horrible art. Sound like something playing at a theater near you?

By Tim

An animator, video producer, Lego artist, and author—I am moderately skilled at a lot of different things.

2 replies on “The Dark Age of genre movies”

That still doesn’t make it good. That’s the difference between an X-Force and a Swamp Thing, for example.

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