Fantasy as a film genre is notoriously difficult to get right.
For each Tolkien project which Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have lovingly brought to the screen, there are a veritable Dwarven hall full of movies which didn’t quite connect – I’m thinking here, particularly, of films like “Eragon” which seemed hamstrung by film executives less concerned with sympathetically adopting their source material and more keen to quickly get to screen in a rush to grab some of that post-“Rings” buzz and a slice of the financial rewards.
One such film where any cinematic potential was resolutely squandered by its adaptation was New Line’s 2000 “Dungeons & Dragons” movie, whose campy take on the beloved role-playing game killed stone dead any chance for that series to grow into a global multiplex bestriding colossus. Direct to video sequels followed but didn’t bother any but the hardcore, with low production values not exactly filling the screen with spectacle and wonder.
Cue an improbable saviour for the realm of Izmir in the form of Warner Brothers, who have rushed into the breech, rolled for initiative and announced that they’ve picked up the rights to make a new “Dungeons & Dragons” movie.
Fantasy works as a genre when it’s done properly – i.e., not making the project on the cheap and using the limitless potential of contemporary tools in alliance with a great film-maker’s vision. There’s a sign that this message might be getting through to Hollywood, what with Duncan Jones beavering away on the long-gestating “World of Warcraft” film, for example. Heck, we might even get a decent Markus Heitz “Dwarves” movie if this trend continues…
There’s no reason that this can’t be a huge, ongoing series of adventures for Warner in much the same way as Disney now have the likes of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm projects to draw from.
As an utter nerd who is currently listening to Blind-fracking-Guardian as I write this post, this is the best news that I’ve heard all day…