Sunday, July 17, 2005

Yet More Movies

Hey, I'm unemployed right now, what else have I got to do?

Million Dollar Baby - To answer Morgan Freeman's question at the end about what happened to Clint Eastwood, I prefer to think he went off, tracked down that German bitch, and went all Dirty Harry on her ass.

Yes, it's a very good movie, and deserves all the praise it's gotten. I'm still not sure I would personally have given the "Best Picture" title to this over The Aviator. They're both great, it's really a toss-up between them for me personally, so I'd probably give it to The Aviator solely because Clint already had a couple of Best Picture Oscars to his name, while Marty only ought to.

Riverworld - The Go For Broke? Why? Leaving aside the obvious fact that the Not For Hire actually sounds like the sort of name Samuel Clemens would give to a riverboat, whereas Go For Broke sounds more like a T.V. game show, why would you even bother making a pointless change like that? What benefit is there?

That's sort of my whole opinion of this one - it's a basically competent, if uninspired, adaptation of the essentials of the books, combined with some pointless changes that add nothing. Why change the main character from Nile explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton to a generic 21st-century astronaut? Why do the grailstones appear to only have slots for about two dozen grails at a time? Why is there apparently no shortage of iron ore due to the constant barrage of meteors? What's with the brief shot of the Ethical Council of Twelve at the very end, with one of them saying, cheesily, "Their voyage has begun. But will they make it in time...?" Hey: They engineered an entire planet, if there is some bizarre reason they need these half-savages in their little wooden riverboat to get to the source of the river, why don't they just go get them?

I gather this was conceived as the pilot for a series, and that since the production company and the Sci-Fi Channel renewed their option, there's still some chance of that happening. I will happily concede that as a series, the obvious thing to do is set it up as Clemens and company traveling along in the fabulous riverboat, since that allows for new and interesting things to happen all along the journey. Like Wagon Train in space, but along a river, as it were. For that purpose, I'll grant the change from a single Resurrection Day to ongoing resurrections, since it means Our Hero can arrive to find the Not For Hire already completed, rather than having to insert an awkward "Five Years Later..." transition somewhere in the pilot. That change has a purpose. I can accept that; some changes are always necessary in adaptations. It's all the pointless ones I don't understand.

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