Thursday, September 22, 2005

Grand Theft Auto: THE MOVIE

The Film industry is so funny sometimes. If one thing becomes insanely popular a dozen spin-offs float to the surface (think of all the Jurassic Park clones that came out in the mid-90). Still, it's easier to market a new product clone or spin-off than it is to REmarket an older thing. Take the whole "Ringu/The Ring" franchise. Due to its success a myriad of other Japanese films are being remade (since Japan is the only country really innovating in Horror these days) and brought to American audiences. They'll go to all that trouble, but no one goes to the trouble to re-introduce all those other "Killer Videotape" movies (like Remote Control for example). :shrug: Maybe it's because the older movies suck. Then again, with all the Cover Fu going on in DVD discount bins or just at Blockbuster these days, I'm surprised there aren't more movies being remarketed to trick people into thinking that they have something to do with whatever's actually popular. There is one exception that's been showing up more and more on shelves and had its artwork totally retooled so that you'll be tricked if not slightly tempted to pick it up.
Of course I'm talking about Ron Howard's 1977 film, Grand Theft Auto. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably hear about the moral bankrupt game series (which totally rocks if only for it's ability to kill Police Officers and crash their stolen patrol cars in slow-motion).
So what did the distributor of this film do? Besides finally releasing the film on DVD, they manipulated the cover art to match Rockstar's game and even designed their DVD menu to look like the video game. So with visions of crime sprees and running over pedestrians with stolen cars, what does this film deliver?
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I am sad to report that at no point in this film does Opie (Ron Howard, the director and goofy young actor) start killing cops and picking up hookers before doing missions for the Mafia. :sigh: Those are our heros up there, by the way. Not exactly the "hardcore criminals' we Grand Theft Auto fans are used to. Not at ALL.
The whole film's just a young couple eloping (because everyone knows how the ladies can't resist the sexual energy of Opie) in the girl's father's Rolls Royce while everyone tries to stop them from getting to Las Vegas (where they plan to marry). There is a priest that tries to run people off the road "in the name of Jesus" and there's even a very unofficial cameo by Cheech and Chong (who are implied to be trying to run Opie off the road). You'd think a film featuring in-bred hillbillies throwing dynamite at Opie couldn't be all bad, but the whole thing comes across as a very very bad episode of Dukes of Hazard. On the bizarre side, it would seem that in 1977 the only black people in California were house servants because there aren't any (if memory serves) African Americans anywhere to be seen outside of maid and butler uniforms. I won't judge Opie too harshly though...after all the whole "Affirmative Action In Film" thing (you know: the whole "Black guy dies first" cliché) hadn't really kicked into high gear yet.
All in all, I feel profoundly cheated that a film starring Opie on the run is being repackaged to look like it has something to do with the one of my favorite video games.

On a side note, despite the fact that he's directed everything from Willow to Cocoon to Cinderella Man, Ron Howard will still always be Opie. I'm not exactly sure why.
By the way, wasn't it hilarious that when the drama Cinderella Man debuted in theaters, Russell Crowe gets arrested for assaulting a hotel clerk with a telephone? It might be hard to sympathize with a film character's plight when the actor playing that character is all over the papers being documented as an unstable nutjob who likes inflicting facial injuries when things don't go his way. Bah.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading this article; I was thinking that there would be the cover [re-marked cover I should say;] at the end of the page. But I guess you couldn't post it because of all that copyright sauce.5god

6:45 AM  

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