Wednesday, 7 April 2021

LIST: WHICH THREE FRANCHISES WOULD YOU ERASE FOREVER?

In response to this tweet from Brian Avolicino: you have to lose three forever and any future projects. What's everybody getting rid of?

So let’s think about this.

[1] STAR WARS. I wouldn’t really want to lose this one, if only because of the first three films (the Original Trilogy). Yes, I don’t mind Return Of The Jedi at all, but crucially any problems I might have with it I’ve found much later in life, not when I saw it first time in my teens (admittedly late teens). The prequels I saw as a grown adult and thought they were mostly rubbish, the Disney sequels and side-project films I saw as an even older grown adult and thought they were perfectly alright now that George Lucas wasn’t making them. No interest whatever in the cartoons and TV shows. Verdict: keep them.

[2] MCU. This is where the problems really start. I don’t actually mind any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (again, I don’t give a damn about the TV incarnations). Some are better than others, obviously, but I’ve never been moved to rewatch any of them and several of them I didn’t even bother to catch at the cinema, settling for the Blu later. My problem with the MCU (and DC to a certain extent) is not with the films themselves but the stranglehold they have on cinemas, taking over half the screens in your local multiplex and running for weeks if not months, thus denying other films a fair chance at the box-office. Also there are too many of them: scarcely out of the box-office before the next one hauls into view. Sure, they’re mostly fun, colourful diversions, but for that kind of money I think they should be more than that; and sure, they’re undeniably well done but for that kind of money so they damn well should be. Verdict: lose them, if only because it means no more Spiderman and also dumps the Schumacher Batman films.

[3] DC. Much the same as the MCU, really, except that at least Marvel are usually fun. DC’s offerings, the Nolan and Snyder films particularly, aren’t. Nolan’s films are taking what are essentially colourful pantomimes for children far too seriously as though they’re serious human dramas, while Snyder piles on the excessive destructo-porn because that’s really all he’s got. Granted, outside of the Nolan-Snyder Axis Of Misery there have been more enjoyable ones like Aquaman and Wonder Woman (I haven’t seen WW84 yet), but the ratio of good to bad is slimmer than Marvel’s and I’m happy enough to lose Marvel. Verdict: lose them.

[4] JURASSIC PARK. I don’t mind them. The first one is great, the second has some terrific stuff in it. The advantage of these is that they only come along every three or four years rather than every other Tuesday with the Marvels and DCs, so there are fewer of them. Verdict: keep them.

[5] HARRY POTTER. Well, they’re done and finished, unless you’re counting the Fantastic Beasts ones as well, which I haven’t seen yet. Again, there aren’t really enough of them and they don’t come out often enough to get angry about. Verdict: keep them.

[6] LORD OF THE RINGS. So, so boring. And the Hobbit films are worse. Lose them. Throw them down The Fire Mountain Of Death or whatever it’s called, along with bloody Gollum. Verdict: lose them.

[7] FAST AND FURIOUS. I see I’ve played my three Death Cards already so now I have to justify keeping the rest of the listed franchises. The escalating silliness, nay insanity, of the F+F series makes this an easy one: they’re slam-bang nonsense that takes enormous steaming dumps on physics and reality from a ridiculous height, but I laughed more at Hobbs And Shaw than I did at every Will Ferrell movie I’ve ever watched put together. Verdict: keep them.

[8] BACK TO THE FUTURE. It’s been thirty years since the last one of these: I liked them enough (not so much the third one as I’ve no great love for Westerns) but I’m at most ambivalent about them. Wiping them from history so they never existed seems kind of ironic, though. Verdict: keep them.

[9] 007. Every single Bond film has something wrong with it, be it a rubbish theme song, an ill-advised comedy bit, a terrible performance, a plot that makes no sense, Dame Judi Dench or an invisible car. Some of them are just plain boring (Thunderball), some are wildly far-fetched (Moonraker), some of them have a star who’s way too old for this sort of thing. But enough of them are good enough, or have enough great stuff in them, to more than get by. Also, most of the scores are great, except for the last two because Thomas Newman simply wasn’t the right choice, and I couldn’t bear to not have John Barry’s magnificent scores from You Only Live Twice through to The Living Daylights in particular (some of the non-Barry Bonds from that era, particularly Live And Let Die and For Your Eyes Only, are great as well, and David Arnold was a more than worthy successor even if he did go over the top on occasion). Verdict: keep them. Even Thunderball, I guess.

[10] STAR TREK. To be honest, I could bear to lose this one, if only because I’ve always felt that if it isn’t Shatner, it isn’t Trek. I found Next Generation unwatchable, gave up on Voyager after the pilot, and didn’t even bother with Deep Space Nine or any of the other subsequent variants. I did catch all the films (except the first one) in cinemas and enjoyed the first six more, probably through the familiarity of the well-known characters, while I wasn’t unduly bothered pro or con about the Picard ones. As with James Bond, though, I’d hate to lose the music: Jerry Goldsmith has always been my favourite film composer and his Trek scores are wonderful. Verdict: keep them.

[11] INDIANA JONES. I think you have to keep these, even the allegedly dodgy fourth one. (Personally I don’t think it’s that bad!) Temple Of Doom is as full-on a horror movie as any actual horror movie short of Hostel and Saw, and Raiders got away with melting faces and exploding heads with a PG certificate. Verdict: keep them.

[12] AVATAR. There’s only one of them, and the four long-proposed sequels may or may not show up at the end of next year and every other Christmas until 2028, so there’s really not enough of it to get agitated about. I saw it when it came out and thought it was alright: haven’t been back since and probably never will. Verdict: keep them/it.

So that’s that: I’d vote to lose Marvel and DC and the LOTR/Hobbits, and keep the rest while acknowledging that some of them aren’t great, and some of the ones I’m willing to lose are actually okay.