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12/12/08

...Shrek, the Musical...

When a good idea gets stretched and stretched and then squeezed until every last drop of life or creativity is drained, it's always tragic. Even worse is that this most often happens with kids' entertainment. This is because most of the media doesn't respect children or think that what they watch & hear needs to be up to the standards that is set for adults (which half the time is also embarrassing).

For instance: Shrek was a great movie. During the period where everyone first started rushing to make full-length 100% CGI films because they assumed hand-drawn was dead- Shrek was actually well animated. It had a great cast (even Cameron Diaz was pretty ok), a quirky script, and it was not dumbed down to be for kids. Instead they used the better tactic of raising some jokes above the heads of kids, so that their parents like it and kids will continue to enjoy it as they get older and start to get more out of it.

Shrek 2 -as it happens in most sequels that are made because the 1st was so successful, even though a second part was never intended- was forced, mundane and irritating. All of the quirky stuff was now trite and overdone (with a pop culture reference every 20 seconds), the acting was half-assed and the plot was held together by a thread of "what the hell, let's just go with it!" To fans of the original, and good movies in general, it was kind of insulting.

Shrek 3...I didn't even bother to go see. I assume it's like #2, only they added in a bunch of burping, farting, pooping babies for "comedic effect", which always make things worse. And of course with all 3 there were video games, shirts, hats, stuffed animals, action figures, Halloween costumes, bed sheets, throw rugs, lunch boxes, posters, sneakers, underwear- just like with any other marketable kids' movies.

But I figured the worse was over until I was waiting to cross the street to go to work this morning and a bus drove by with an ad for Shrek the Musical! on the side. I so wish I was kidding. Was having Shrek: On Ice not an option? (Or did Disney copyright the term "On Ice"?) Aside from the obvious fact that the pictures of the actors in make-up makes me want to puke, there's no way that this can be good. The reason that [most] Disney movies that turn into stage productions are good, or at least stand a chance, is because they were musicals to begin with. So if they need to add a few new songs, or flush out existing ones, it's no big deal (but don't even get me started on the Little Mermaid on stage or worse yet...Tarzan which wasn't even a decent movie.)

But now, doing Shrek, they have to make a musical out of a show that's already twice overdone, and the only songs were renditions of existing pop songs. So even though they'll probably just do the original story, now they have to stretch it to be "musical" length and dump a bunch of crappy, lazy songs into it. (maybe they should get Andrew Llyod Webber to do it...) And we all know that embarking on something like this is done to hypnotize children so their parents can be hung upside-down and shaken until every last cent can be put towards this crap. Then at the show, they can sell more merchandise and special "collectibles". With tickets ranging from $41-$300+, it's bound to making a killing, no matter how wretched it is!

I hate when children are only seen as a demographic and art is only seems as a means for profit. And I hate when creativity is choked out of people. I wish writers and artists could resist the lure of being super rich (as if being just regular rich wasn't good enough) and insist on leaving their work as is. Why can there be no originality? No purity? It's not like the movie Shrek was so amazing or original (hell, even that was based off of a book)- but this just happens so often that I think it's enough already.

At times like these, I respect Bill Watterson even more. When Calvin & Hobbes was at it's peak of popularity, no matter what merchandising deal they dangled before him, he always declined. He worried that overly commercializing the strip would drain it of its spirit and what the characters stood for - it would just become another commodity. He'd torture himself mulling it over, but in the end always stayed loyal to his original ideals. And when he thought the strip had run it's course, he stopped making it. No assembly line of fledgling cartoonists manufacturing dried up strips from repetitive punchlines that Watterson would just put his own name on. No TV show, no live action feature film. It did it's work, it pushed it's own limits, and when that limit was found, it reached its end. And that's why it stayed brilliant and classic and my full collection of the works will be cherished forever and ever.

Sometimes things should just stay the way they are.
Read more: http://www.blogdoctor.me/2007/02/expandable-post-summaries.html#ixzz1Ygp5vxLJ

2 comments:

  1. But you haven't actually seen it, right? So you don't know if it's any good or not. You're just making assumptions and talking out of your ass. Easy to do.

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  2. I've also never seen the movie White Chicks. But I'm pretty sure I'd rather shoot myself in the foot first.

    You know what else is easy? Leaving anonymous comments on the internet! At least everything I say you can trace back to me.

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