This is sort of off writing topic, but I was pondering this and thought I’d toss it out there.
Why aren’t there more fantasy movies? There’s an enormous plethora of SF movies (though they frequently go to horror and there aren’t nearly enough that aren’t about fighting insect aliens). I was thinking about the fantasy movies and Game of Thrones recently and was wondering, in this day of CGI and the popularity of fantasy, why aren’t there more movies?
Okay, I know there are a fair amount of them out there, and Harry Potter is going great guns, so I’m going to narrow the scope to epic fantasy. We get a fair amount of King Arthur stories and of course the LOTR, and then we got Eragon, Reign of Fire, and the Narnia movies. But when you really think about it, there aren’t that many fantasy movies. Especially good ones. Why is that?
I’m thinking there may be a couple of things. First, I noticed in GoT (which is much much longer than a movie) and also in LoTR, that there isn’t actually a lot of magic going on. Some, but it’s very judicious. I always want more magic, but I can see how the use of magic by wizards or such might look cheesey, especially if not done well, and of course, I’m betting a lot of fantasy has to be done on a shoestring budget, since I’m thinking a lot of studios want to put their money into what they consider guaranteed best sellers like your Harry Potter, Twilight and Comic book hero movies. And Pirates.So you can get great CGI effects, and when they aren’t good, they are very bad (Dinoshark anybody?)
I’m also thinking that epic fantasy involves good and evil, heroism and dramatic action that may not translate that well onto screen if not handled very very well. The acting may appear over the top or the actions might seem too extreme. That plus the scale of events (armies, dragons, distances) and the worldbuilding necessary, might totally mean that the movie can’t manage to achieve the necessary elements on the screen, and also, there are a lot of people out there who may not be willing to watch.
I’ve always said that fantasy is HARD. Readers of fantasy are some of the smartest people. Think about it. As a reader, you have to collect clues, understand (and remember) a new world and culture (or more than one), get acquainted with an unusual economy, legal system, manners, language, and all of that, and you have to figure out who is who and what’s going on and what the history of the situation is and . . . it goes on. There is so much you have to keep track of that it can be truly daunting to not just make into a movie, but to watch it. How do you make it broadly accessible in a 2 hour time frame?
All the same, I’d like to see more attempts. There are so many books and stories that I’d love to see put into film and see what the directors could do with them. I think of Avatar and the amazing worldbuilding on the scrreen and I want to see more of that.
What do you think?
And a small FYI–when this posts, I’ll be on the road with the travel trailer heading for camping on the Oregon coast. It may be awhile before I can get wifi, but I will be back to check in asap.