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Been reading on various message boards today, and there's been a lot of pissing and moaning that any movie will suck, that the game is too generic to hang anything engaging off of.
In the light of yesterday's loss of Ray Harryhausen, I suggest this: the monsters need to be the stars. The human characters matter, sure, and a solid, straightforward script can deliver that, but it's the monsters that matter. Everyone remembers the skeletal children of the Hydra from JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, everyone loved the Hulk in the AVENGERS and Darth Vader was the draw for STAR WARS. People liked Batman, but they leave the cinema talking about The Joker.
Wrath of the Titans and Red Riding Hood failed for precisely the same reasons- a lackluster, generic, overly fiddly script and rushed, ugly VFX. They both felt like half made movies that left 20 minutes on the floor- 20 minutes of unnecessary, fiddly exposition, but 20 minutes that were integral to prop up a poor script. Both also failed as monster movies because they were afraid to show off their monsters- they rushed about like blurry, shadowy messes of fur and teeth. Say what you like about Peter Jackson, but he's not afraid to show off his monsters and let the audience drink in the visuals, rather then rushing about in a CGI tornado.
Give us a Beholder or a Mindflayer villain to hang on to, or some terrifying Drow and we'll be set. No Orcs- don't try and compete with LotR- look at other Goblinoids or the Gith maybe. Give us stuff no audience has seen before, but is familiar to players- it's not like there's a shortage of ideas. Protagonists can be as broad as you like- Star Wars succeeded because of the archetypes they used- we don't need a whole lot of inner conflict and angst, but some sharp writing ala. The Princess Bride.
But like I said; nail the monsters in D&D: The Movie and it'll be a franchise that can run and run.