August 2nd, 2005

More Glass Crap

The very worst film my name's ever been associated with is released on DVD today. I don't even want to say the name here (god forbid someone googling the crapfest should be led here), but if you simply must know, click here. It would be one thing if - like, say, Blood Angels - this trash just didn't bear much resemblance to my work, but it bears almost zero resemblance to my script AND it's absolutely awful. Why my name is still on it, I have no idea. Literally, the only thing it has in common with my script is the title, the very basic idea, and one - count 'em, ONE - character name.

The release of this nonsense prompted me to think of a conversation I recently had with another screenwriter, wherein we discussed how close produced films were to our scripts, grading them on a percentage scale where 100% would be an impossibly perfect translation from screenplay to screen, and 0% would be a completely unproduced draft. Herewith, then, ranked in order from best to worst, is the annotated Lisa Morton Library of Cinema Scores(thus far):

Meet the Hollowheads - 80%. With a retitling (back to the far more appropriate and intriguing Life on the Edge) and a few simple edits (cut out those ridiculous opticals and the subtitling of Anne Ramsey, re-insert the "Edge Walk" sequence), it could have hit 90%. However, I suspect 80% is as high as most of us can ever hope for.

Tornado Warning - 60%. There were some cringe-inducing dialogue changes and the addition of some confusing subplot involving Dee's credit cards, but overall neither a bad translation of my script nor a bad film. Not bad at all.

Adventures in Dinosaur City - 60%. I was a hired gun here, and the script was, I confess, never great to start with. It was doubly hampered by being too ambitious (sure, build an entire fantasy world populated by talking dinosaurs on 2.5 mil!), and having an inexperienced crew; huge chunks of the script just plain never got filmed. Oh well, kids like this thing, so who am I to complain...

Blue Demon - 40%. At least these guys actually used a little of my research (always nice to know those hours haven't gone to waste - they usually do), and kept most of my basic structure. This is also one of those rare cases wherein I actually really like some of the changes made, i.e., the addition of the wry political context. Other changes were made to accomodate major changes in location and/or budget, and although my draft would have been spectacular (hey, I had the sharks attack a ferry long before this summer's War of the Worlds ferry attack!), they ended up being unable to procure certain production elements (like that damned ferry), so I'm fine with the changes. This'll be out next month on DVD.

Blood Angels - 15%. Basic structure, setting, and character names. However, the actual plot, the characters themselves and 99% of my dialogue all flew the coop. I've already gone on ad nauseum elsewhere about how Blood Angels broke my heart, so no more need be said here.

The Film Which Shall Not Be Named - 0.2%. Title, most basic idea and one character name, that's it.

H. P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon - 0%. I wrote an unused draft. Considering the pile of crap that ended up onscreen, I'm really really happy my name's not on this (and damn straight my draft was huuuuumongously better). Yippee. Hooray for Hollywood.

BOOK: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Man, was anyone else as disappointed by this as I was? For about the first 500 pages there's no plot; now granted, the plot that finally does kick in is a humdinger, but it's too little, too late. The writing seems meandering and lackluster, without Rowling's usual zing. There's an inexplicable opening which leads us to expect more dealings with the Muggle world that never happen. The use of the Pensieve becomes redundant, and frankly - who cares about Voldemort's tragic childhood? (Of course I also refused to see the last two Star Wars atrocities because I don't find the idea of Darth-Vader-as-tortured-teen even remotely interesting). Even Rowling's trademark adverbs have gone AWOL. I've no doubt the final book will be fabulous, but this one's nothing but filler.