“There can be only one.” WHY DON’T YOU PEOPLE GET THAT?


Highlander.  Say that to anyone in my crowd and one of two things’ll happen.  One, people will move quietly away from you.  Two, they’ll start gushing about the movies, the series, the cartoon, the merchandise, the whatever.  (Say it around my sisters and they’ll either say, “My brother got to you” or “Isn’t that the magazine Mom used to get?”) 

Now they’re doing a reboot.  Well, ANOTHER reboot.  With all the creative people I know, is there really that much of a dearth of new writing that studios will take a chance on? Or do I just know all the creative people on the entire east coast and no one else is writing anything? 

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~ by Sean on May 21, 2008.

9 Responses to ““There can be only one.” WHY DON’T YOU PEOPLE GET THAT?”

  1. What reboot? I’ve heard word of another movie following the story line of the last miserable excuse for a Highlander film with the same cast and an upcoming video game with a new Highlander, Owen MacLeod, in it, but I’ve seen nothing on this. IMDB doesn’t even have a tag for it.

    http://xbox360.ign.com/objects/774/774092.html

  2. What reboot? I’ve heard word of another movie following the story line of the last miserable excuse for a Highlander film with the same cast and an upcoming video game with a new Highlander, Owen MacLeod, in it, but I’ve seen nothing on this. IMDB doesn’t even have a tag for it.

    Highlander: The Game, IGN Games section.

  3. HIGHLANDER: THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES

    Seriously, if they are going to reboot it they should come up with a good meta-story, and possibly enough of the MacLeods.

  4. I can see it now, Micha. A preppy immortal. A flashing Claymore. A head drops. The line?

    “I wonder if they’ll call THAT a hanging Chad?”

    In fact, I might find a way to work that into my screenplays. Chad’d have to be a real nasty sort, though to deserve that.

    Does IMDB usually have games? Didn’t know that. So, when it comes out we’ll have Connor, Duncan, Quentin, and Owen MacLeod. Throw in Marie and a few other generic sisters, and we have a ’70’s variety show.

    What is it that really works with the original? As much as I like it, Christopher Lambert’s acting for the previous times is questionable. What is it in a movie, when it works, makes it work? Like 28 Days Later. Really good concept. Really high production values. Stace just watched Aliens today while I was 60 feet in the air. Still scared the crap out of her. (Me sending a text message to “Don’t look behind you!” didn’t help.) So, why did Aliens work so much better than 28 Days Later? Is it that there is eventually one figurehead for the antagonist?

  5. “What is it that really works with the original? ”

    It’s a very simple formula:

    immortals + swords + different historical eras + the Highlands + men with long hair (see Mel Gibson and every body in the 60’s and 70’s) + Sean Connery + Queen = cool

    The fact that the story was rudimentary and the acting questionable is not that important. The basic simple idea of immortals + swords was cool and worked from the first minute up to the last five minutes of the first movie. At that point you start having problems. They had to go beyond the simple formula. That’s why the end of the movie and movies 2-3 didn’t work. When they tried to go beyond the formula they weren’t able to come up with something good. The series worked because it stuck to the formula. Which does not mean that you can’t go beyond the formula, just that they didn’t know how. I’m not sure why the 4th movie didn’t work. Either because they went beyond the formula, or the formula was not enough anymore and they couldn’t go beyond it, so it got stale. Maybe both.

    I don’t know about 28 days later. You’ll have to tell me.

    Aliens worked because it expanded on the formula of the first movie. It asked what next? What can we add? And it imagined it well. Ripley grew. The scenario got richer but in line with the first movie. The aliens were developed. There was progress that naturally grew frm the original without loosing the basic things that worked for the first movie. (Although aliens was a more sophisticated formula to begin with).

    You want a new Highlander, you have to imagine more beyond the immortals and swords, but in a way that naturally grows from the basic formula.

  6. “Does IMDB usually have games?”

    Only if the actor puts it on his résumé. Other than that, I’ve rarely seen games listed just because.

    “What is it that really works with the original?”

    I think it was just the fact that it was the original. On so many levels, Highlander was a horrible movie. At the time, Connery was really the only good actor in it, some of the dialogue is stiff and clumsy, much of the directing is generic and many of the plot points were predictable. Strangely, all of that failed to stop it from being a really good, really fun and really kick-@$$ movie. The whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

    But once you try to do the “Highlander Formula” or abandon and replace it like the second film did, you just get so much mush. And that’s even more true when you remove the original creators from the equation. Highlander my have risen above its on paper failings because there was so much passion for the project by all the original parties involved with the first film. That carried through to the finished project and you can feel it in every frame. The others just started becoming bland clones and poor attempts to rewrite the myth for the new Highlander. And I don’t even wanna get into “The Source” without large quantities of alcohol at the ready.

    Oh, and Queen. Queen rules.

    “So, why did Aliens work so much better than 28 Days Later? Is it that there is eventually one figurehead for the antagonist?”

    Can you really compare them side by side like that though? Alien was basically a hunted house story and Aliens worked on that level as well and added the military action aspect to it rather skillfully. It retained the closed space, claustrophobic nature of the first an used the ‘they’ll hit you from anywhere and out of nowhere’ vibe of the first better even than the first one did. It was designed to and did create visceral scares in the viewer.

    28 Days Later was designed more to examine the monster that is man. At first the subject seems to be the old standby of our science gone wrong, but then it begins to expose its true target. We get to see the callousness of the blind survival instinct suppressing basic human decency and we get to see why the need to do for others is sometimes more important than the need to do for ourselves and sometimes gives us a higher purpose than if we were merely doing for ourselves. And then Doctor Who and his merry band of sexually frustrated loons shows up and the movie makes it clear that, in its world, man when acting on his potential evil and darker impulses is the greatest monster of all.

    Aliens was a great haunted house story with a hard edged action-adventure mixed into the theme. 28 Days Later was an examination of humanity and the human monster. Yeah, Aliens had the yutz who worked for the greedy corporation, but it was hardly a centerpiece of the theme as was humanities evils in 28 Days Later.

    “That’s why the end of the movie and movies 2-3 didn’t work. When they tried to go beyond the formula they weren’t able to come up with something good.”

    I’ll agree that the endings 2 & 3 didn’t work, although 2 just didn’t work at all for me, but the first movie’s ending worked fine for me. The prize was a power that most people wouldn’t have thought of and, when you really sit down and think about it, would make a man the single most powerful person in the world.

    “I’m not sure why the 4th movie didn’t work.”

    Because it rewrote much of the first film and made Connor a bit of a wuss (thus turning off many old fans who still dug the TV series) and it rather blandly started Duncan’s movie journey. Plus it ticked me off since it wasn’t the movie that was advertised.

    “I don’t know about 28 days later. You’ll have to tell me.”

    GO RENT MOVIE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But pass on 28 Weeks Later if you see it. Wait until free TV for that one.

    “You want a new Highlander, you have to imagine more beyond the immortals and swords, but in a way that naturally grows from the basic formula.”

    Call me a stick-in-the-mud and a cliché thrower here, but I feel that there should have been only one. The TV series was pretty good and I can live with that, but every movie from the second one to the last has gotten worse and worse in every single way and on every single front.

  7. “I’ll agree that the endings 2 & 3 didn’t work, although 2 just didn’t work at all for me,”

    What I meant was that the ending of 1 didn’t work and 2-3 didn’t work at all. I think it was partially because nobody bothered to come up with good ideas beyond the basic immortals + swords.

    “but the first movie’s ending worked fine for me. The prize was a power that most people wouldn’t have thought of and, when you really sit down and think about it, would make a man the single most powerful person in the world.”

    It could have been an interesting ending and maybe even beginning of another movie if it was an integral and established part of the story. But to me it felt like they just attached something at the ending, without much thought, after the immortals + swords idea came to the end of its rope.

    When you watch movies like Matrix or Star Wars or most comic movies, the hero gains power at the end of the movie, but that power is not just attached at the end. It is part of the story up to that point and beyond. Maybe if they established what they were fighting for and why there can be only one than it would have worked for me. But all they had is immortals, swords and Queen.

    “Call me a stick-in-the-mud and a cliché thrower here, but I feel that there should have been only one. The TV series was pretty good and I can live with that, but every movie from the second one to the last has gotten worse and worse in every single way and on every single front.”

    I agree and disagree at the same time. You could begin and end the whole thing with one cool story with immortals and swords. This is just one case where one cool movie is enough. Yet at the same time, the idea of immortals + swords captures the imagination and invites a series to explore a world in which such people exist (see Buffy). Then you can expand this world with watchers and relationships between immortals and maybe even go beyond that — if there are immortals maybe there are other things.
    But movies have to offer something more on a grand scale. Or else what you get is a long TV chapter with a lot of effects (like the Star Trek TNG movies to a certain extent). This is doubly true and doubly hard with Highlander, because the movie supposedly ends with the end of the long fighting. So the only way to go forward is to imagine what comes next, which was really badly done in the second movie. It could also be argued that any attempt to take this next step beyond the basic formula is certain to fail both because it’s better not to add to the simple formula and because the fans will never like something that goes beyond the formula.

    I think it’s possible to expand the story. 2-4 were bad because of bad writing and lack of imagination, not because they had to be. But I doubt the fans will be receptive to any attempt to go beyond the formula, so it’s safer to keep just one cool movie and series and nothing more.

  8. ““I don’t know about 28 days later. You’ll have to tell me.”

    GO RENT MOVIE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But pass on 28 Weeks Later if you see it. Wait until free TV for that one.”

    I saw both on DVD. But to tell you the truth, I didn’t put much thought into it, so I totally missed the messages you mention. How embarrassing.

  9. Highlander 2: The Quickly-get-the-people-out-of-the-theater-ening.

    From what I’ve heard from Lambert, NO ONE associated with the first one wanted to do it, but it was part of the contract for the first that there be a second. Three wasn’t BAD, in fact, I thought Kane was, while no Kurgan, pretty cool. Don’t talk to me about the others.

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