Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Sigh at their Fy

Syfy announced they are re-imagining classic fairy tales for their Saturday night line up of original movies.

From their website here is the preliminary development slate for the new line of Syfy Original Movies:

Red -- A young woman who is a descendant of the real Little Red Riding Hood brings her fiancé home, where he meets the family and learns about their business - hunting werewolves. He's skeptical until bitten by a werewolf. When her family insists he must be killed, Red tries saving him.

Hansel -- Twenty years after his encounter with the witch, a grown-up Hansel returns to the haunted forest, seeking revenge. But there's a surprise waiting - his sister Gretel (who he thought had been killed) is the witch's protégée.

8TH Voyage of Sinbad -- Sinbad searches for the golden head of the long lost Colossus of Rhodes and, instead, discovers an island where the mythical Minotaur still rules, protecting a vast treasure. Sinbad and his crew have to battle the creature and its minions to get the treasure and save their own lives.

Aladdin (working title) -- After accidentally releasing an evil genie from an ancient lamp, Aladdin must find a way to imprison the genie again before it wreaks havoc on the world.

Black Forest -- A group of naïve tourists take a sightseeing tour into a supposed enchanted forest, where they encounter evil creatures from the world of fantasy. Trapped in the Black Forest, their only hope of survival is fighting their way out.

Kicking things off is their new Beauty and the Beast movie starring Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes) and Rhett Gilles (Wraiths of Roanoke). Syfy's description: "In this gritty celebration of Valentine's Day, a young Beauty with a gift for healing helps a deformed Prince regain his throne and defeat the ruthless nobleman who wants to be king -- and then together they try to destroy a power-hungry witch. Beauty and the Beast was directed by David Lister and written by Gavin Scott."

Notice anything? Not one of these movies has a science fiction angle. They're either horror or fantasy. I can see something like Red with its werewolf idea occassionally slipping in, BUT ALL OF THEM BEING HORROR OR FANTASY? NO, SYFY, THAT'S NOT RIGHT.

Perhaps you should change your name to the Horror Fantasy channel (HoFa), then you could just dabble in sci fi movies. Yes, I realize you have several sci fi tv shows in your line up - you ARE the Syfy channel, are you not? But to have not a one of your new original movies be science fiction in even the most remote way is pretty sad, you must admit.

While Disney's Treasure Planet wasn't a box office hit, and it's not a fairy tale, it was a solid adventure movie that proved you could take a story set in one world (and filmed many times in that period setting) and successfully transplant it to a science fiction milieu. Same thing with the sci fi classic Forbidden Planet, which was Shakespeare's The Tempest set on an alien world. Although it too is not a fairy tale its tale of a sorceror and magic was also successfully retold in sci fi terms.

Did no one think of the "Pinocchio as android" angle? Come on, that's an easy one. Almost as easy as Red Riding Hood versus the Werewolf.

ps: Hey, Syfy, the acclaimed 2009 low budget science fiction movie Sleep Dealer was made for roughly $2 million. Look at what a passionate filmmaker is able to do versus your corporate cookie cutter movies. Inventive sci fi movies like Sleep Dealer, REC and, to go back a few years, Pi ($60,000) are what you should be seeking out for your schedule. (There is a place for hilarious fantasy crap like Thor: Hammer of the Gods, and it's in a MST3K reboot or a Rifftrax/Cinematic Titanic show.) Remember your slogan: IMAGINE GREATER.

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