5 Types of Characters That Just Don’t Translate to Film

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Has the question ever been posed to you “If you could have any super power, what would it be?”

Sure, it’s bound to pop up here and there. Most people stick with flying, invisibility, the “basic stuff.” Most people will bounce back and forth between something Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, or Batman can do. But Batman can’t be counted people. Having a lot of money and a perfect body doesn’t count as a power. Try again.

Then there are the powers where writers have dug deep to come up with an ability that just wouldn’t pop into the average person’s brain. But once you’ve seen their movie, the general public just breezes right over them. Why? My guess would have something to do with how they’re portrayed.

Here are a few characters that have amazing powers anyone of us wouldn’t mind having, yet their translation to film have made their abilities seem less than spectacular.

5. Characters with Super Speed

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“Yes, that’s it Flash. Run from me. I am your worst enemy.” -Logic

There’s a reason we haven’t seen the Flash since his 90s TV miniseries. The ability of super speed is an awesome one, sure, but the way to photograph it interestingly enough for you to keep watching is a mystery the magical world of Hollywood hasn’t been able to crack yet.

Watch this-

Now aside from the fact that it’s terrible because it’s Twilight, they’re still using the cheap-o effects of the 90s that The Flash mini-series used. Why? Well, much of it seems due to laziness. But ultimately, running fast alone just doesn’t seem to work very well.

What do you do with a character that simply runs fast unless he’s on a team where they order the speedy character to do something specific? To which they’ll respond “On it.” before dashing off as a blur.

The fullness of the power is never taken into reality and writers just don’t seem to know what to do with it. The physics of what’s happening to the world around them aren’t taken into consideration and when you don’t do that, you’ve got one boring character. Heck, the Flash’s lame villains translate better to the screen than he does. Tell me you couldn’t see a bit of Gorilla Grodd in the last Planet of the Apes movie.

He's a gorilla but like, a totally smart one.

He’s a gorilla but like, a totally smart one.

On top of all this, the physicality of the character is never explored either. Many characters aren’t just impressive when you see them; Superman’s abilities are pretty self-explanatory as he’s using them; speedy characters don’t give us the same effect unless fully explored.

We’re just meant to assume that because their power is to run fast, that they don’t get tired, their clothes don’t wear out, and in many versions of these characters, they can talk while running as if the bottom half of their body is separate from their lower half and can operate independently. My 14 month old niece does this but runs into walls all the time because of it.

So I’m not saying it can’t be done right, I’m just saying that we haven’t seen it because filmmakers don’t want to take the time to explore it but simply have it happen and you accept it. A simple blur isn’t enough, especially when the characters stop by just looking like they weren’t moving in the first place.

Someone help Fox. Please.

Someone help Fox. Please.

4. Characters in Video Games. Period.

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As we all know, there aren’t really any good video game-based movies. Mortal Kombat wasn’t bad until you realize it’s a super-powered rip-off of Enter the Dragon, and the Resident Evil movies make money but I defy anyone to say they’re actually good.

A good part of this has to do with the simple mistranslation of mediums. In the Hitman video games, it’s pretty crazy to have to sneak into a mansion guarded by ex-military, possibly disguise yourself as one, hide his body and discreetly go in for the kill. Then there’s the difficulty of getting out undetected.

More points for keeping the suit.

You get more points for keeping your clothes on. Not joking.

In movies, we see this all the time. Jason Statham does this on a regular Tuesday night. It’s so common a theme in Action movies it makes a lot of people lose touch with reality and feel like they could go hitmanning if they felt like it. Because that’s the experience the game provides you with that the movie can’t. You are the MAN.

So what do producers feel the need to do to add some spice up to their video game-inspired movie? Add crazy trademarks of course!

The Doom movie is based on a first person shooter, so of course we’ve got to get a scene where we are Karl Urban. This the closest thing they’ve gotten to taking us back to the game the movie was based on and it just ain’t good. It feels corny, out of place, and for some people, sickening. We don’t need references to the game or homages, we just want a decent movie.

Easier said than done, you say? Well of course! But that’s why you don’t just make any successful game into a movie. If you have to change everything people love about the game to make it fit, then just call it something else. Hollywood rips people off all the time, I don’t see the issue here. Oh, they just want the name to bring in the easy money? Oh, I get it now…

Still, my point remains the same and it’s why The Mario Brothers movie is still regarded as Bob Hoskins’ biggest life regret.

Interviewer: What is the worst job you’ve done?
Hoskins: Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn’t do Super Mario Brothers.

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Glug glug glug glug!

When you’re no longer the characters themselves thereby no longer the hero, much of the connection between fan and content is lost. If an Ocarina of Time movie were made, Ben Affleck saving Zelda and all of Hyrule while you sit and watch would take away from what was a very rewarding experience.

3. Stretching Characters

fantastic

Now I know what you’re thinking- “You mean like Mr. Fantastic? He’s the only one I know of.” Yes, I mean like Mr. Fantastic. But there are others we’ll never have to worry about making it to the big screen- Oh wait-

This is an animatic (or moving story board) for what was going to be the opening scene for a now-abandoned Stretch Armstrong movie starring Taylor Lautner. I did not make any of that up as you can see the retarded evidence above. Woo! That was close!

And as mentioned, Mr. Fantastic of course has already made it. But good Lord, doesn’t this look stupid? I think even if the budget were big enough and the special effects were to catch up with man’s imagination, I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the point where this ability doesn’t just look stupid.

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Here’s another example if you didn’t believe me.

And I like this character! But it doesn’t change the fact that having Ioan Gruffudd stretch around like Silly Putty looks about as believable as Dennis Rodman being the ambassador for peace between North Korea and the rest of the world.

When your main character looks like Gumby and you don’t want us to laugh at what’s happening, it makes it difficult to take the rest of the movie seriously.

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2. Human Sized Bulky Characters

fantastic-four

I didn’t write this solely to rip on the Fantastic Four movies even though they sucked pretty bad. I really didn’t. But I don’t know how else I’m supposed to react to the Thing as a 5’9 guy in a foam suit. It’s not that I even have a better idea on how to do it, with the easy solution being “CGI! Do it with CGI!”

Sure, CGI is an option but it’s costly and it’s not even a guarantee that the character will look any less cheesy. Get a character like the Hulk and CGI is the only way to go these days. But what about a character that’s of average height?

PRAY.

PRAY.

It’s a character that doesn’t exist in reality, and the filmmakers have to come up with a way to bring it to life. So at some point, the director will have to say out loud “Okay, how do we make this walking, talking rock come to life? It’s got to allow the actor to still be alive by the end of the day AND act. Hurry it up, we’re on a schedule and have 97 other things to do by noon.”

So I understand that dilemma. To which I say that it shouldn’t have been messed with in the first place. Not because it’s just so perfect, but because Micahel Chiklis in a foam suit looked like Michael Chiklis in a foam suit. Tell me you couldn’t have put him on an episode of Sesame Street and had him fit right in asking Big Bird what number comes after eight.

But he ain’t the only one.

Fan favorite Beast suffered from the same problem when being brought to film. Kelsey Grammer’s voice and disposition fit the X-men’s Beast quite well, but dude. Look at this garbage.

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I’m not going to give Wolverine as a character any more credit than every other eight year old does these days, but as a character, his claws pop and he heals. I hate the X-Men movies (I hate a lot of things. But let me have this.) but I can say that as far as Wolverine’s abilities go, they nailed it. Claws come out and the sound is what we always imagined it would be. He heals like we thought he would and other than the third X-men, they usually manage to get his hair down pretty well.

"You look ridiculous." -Your choice

“You look ridiculous.” -Your choice

But Beast looks awkward and stiff. When he jumps around, he looks like he’s being hoisted up on wires. And he is. We haven’t been afforded the nanomachines that allow a person to do perform superhuman abilities and I’m a miserable disappointed man child because of it- so we’re stuck with CGI and wires.

So while the comic counterpart can be drawn agile, strong, fluid and lively- the movie versions look only a tenth better than your average Comic-Con attendee. With credit to them (I guess) and credit taken from the 210-million dollar movie.

Sure!

Sure!

1. The Team Stoic

cyke

History has had a long running relationship with this type. It’s pretty much a necessity to have them. If the character isn’t a straight-forward rule follower, it will be a straight forward character that simply makes sure the rules are followed.

This can create an interesting dynamic between team mates as their discipline is to be admired while they’ll clash with the more rebellious members of the team.

But movies themselves tend to take this character to be a punching bag that makes it hard to like them. When screenwriters have their turn at it, they’ve successfully managed to make the lone hero a stoic. He follows his own path. He does what he wants, when he wants. If you don’t like him, it’s because you want to beĀ him. Batman and Judge Dredd are examples of characters that are written as tough and unbreakable.

But put them on a team and suddenly they’re goody two-shoes you want to slap across the face and tell’em to get a life.

"Eight seconds of fighting- I'm going to make this count!" -Cyclops

“Eight seconds of fighting- I’m going to make this count!” -Cyclops

While many know that Cyclops of the X-Men movies was killed off due to actor James Marsden’s schedule, his character in the previous two installments wasn’t faring much better. He was knocked around by first rate loser Toad and was in about twenty minutes of the sequel. If you don’t know anything about Toad, just know that his freaking name is Toad.

And this is what he looks like.

And this is what he looks like.

Leonardo is also a fan favorite of the ninja turtles (There are only so many to choose from) but his cinematic counterparts seem to serve the sole purpose of nagging Raphael. The discipline, the wisdom, and the training all go out the window when the team badass enters. Sure, they can still be a badass, but at the expense of the guy leading the squad? Why is he leading the team if he can’t handle his own guys?

Captain America in The Avengers movie came pretty close to breaking the Team Stoic mold but much of his screen time involved him trying to understand references being made around him, giving him much more comic relief than the average stoic is given so whether or not that counts is up to you.

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2 Responses to “5 Types of Characters That Just Don’t Translate to Film”

  1. Beast didn’t bother me at all, but I’m guessing your dislike of Xmen is biasing that as much as my love of Xmen biases me. Plus you gotta give credit to making Mystique translate onto screen even if their scaly method was a bit left field.
    Though I am a massive Transformers fan, I have to be honest and say it takes a hugely loyal fan not to flat out laugh at the amalgamation of junkyard scraps that the Bayverse Transformers are. Giant transforming robots that bear resemblances to real cars without looking like G1 cardboard boxes is a challenge I admit, but really, Ironhide?! He looked like “a piece of shit!” -Kup, DRSMOOV

    • Taylor Says:

      A. Nice reference, those DRSMOOV videos just don’t get old. “Thundercracker! Pull a rocketpack out of you ASS and give it to Optimus Prime!”

      B. Even in 2006 when I shelled out money to see The Last Stand in theaters and THEN on DVD, I’ve never been a big fan of how they brought Beast to life. Good casting with Grammer, but Beast is such a great character in personality and physicality, it’s always just been too easy to see how he’s doing everything he’s doing, be it jumping, flipping, etc. It begins to look like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for me.

      C. I’ve never been a Transformers fans, aside from the effects in the movies but yeah, there are very few that actually resemble their original counterparts.

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