Setter’s ‘Spectives: Let’s Put On a Movie-Inspired Show!

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Do you remember the (sometimes) good old days when Hollywood turned Broadway musicals into motion pictures?

Yes, we still get that to some extent with Chicago, Phantom and others of their ilk. But, uh …

Well, but. It’s not the same, is it?

Definitely not the same is the trend to turn motion pictures into Broadway musicals. The Lion King is one example. Another’s Newsies. Even My Favorite Year got into the stagebound act (terribly, I might add).

What are we going to say about the cinema 20 years from now? “Hey, where were you when the film of the musical based on the movie The Producers came out?”

I know how I’d respond: “Me? I was watching the film of the opera based on the Beaumarchais play The Marriage of Figaro at the Met. After that, we ate at the restaurant spun off the novel based on theĀ  video game inspired by … ”

Blah, blah, blah.

There’s something truly uninspired about creating a play or musical based on a movie–especially if the original’s a good one. Film’s not like theater; it’s permanent, constant. Actors don’t flub lines one night and get them perfectly the next. You’ve got a completed work.

So if the source movie’s good–as is the case with My Favorite Year and The Producers–why bother translating it for the stage? Shouldn’t we consider ourselves lucky that we have a film we can always return to, laugh at, quote the lines from? And isn’t that one of the main reasons why we can watch great movies over and over again … because we know them like we know our significant others, our families, our friends?

Because they never change?

That’s why I’m not interested in seeing any more Broadway shows based on films. The theater begs for interpretation, transformation; movies don’t. I’ll watch the motion picture version of Sunset Boulevard, not the musical, thank you very much. Because the latter, like so many of its kind, just isn’t ready for its close-up.

Skip’s Quips: At Least They Didn’t Make a Movie About ‘Mr. Do!’

Blog Sketch 082813Have we come to the end of the line for movies based on video games?

That’s certainly my hope. I don’t think I could sit through another installment of Mortal Kombat.

Guess I should be glad they didn’t make a flick about Frogger. Or should I bite my tongue?

I can see the tagline now: “The existential adventures of a frog who only wants to get to the other side.”

I wonder, though, if the moviegoing public has seen enough of this type of thing. After all, video games these days are more cinematic than ever, with plotlines and entire scenes developed through computer-generated animation. No one really needs a film based on a game that’s like a film anyway.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a video-game teetotaler. I actually grew up with them during their nascent days. Donkey Kong, Zaxxon. I even had a ColecoVision.

But I enjoyed them for their interactivity. That was a novel thing–to compete against your computer. Nowadays, video games are as much about watching the characters as much as playing them.

And I have to say, I find that interesting. Because the more, it seems, we gravitate toward a new technology and new experiences, the more we want the old incorporated into it.

Looking for movies in video games is perfectly natural. It’s like wanting to know more about Mozart and how he got his inspiration. The interest in the games spawns an interest in the characters.

Yet motion pictures based on these characters seem, for the most part, unsuccessful. There’s only so much we can get from a shoot-’em-up. Within the context of the games themselves, however, the cinematic qualities work. So perhaps that’s where they belong.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to check my officers’ progress in Star Trek Online. Exit, pursued by a joystick.