Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chasing the fantasy

This appeared on today

It hasn’t been much longer since Thor, the American superhero film based on a comic book character got released. The Norse powerhouse is still going strong at the box office. As with every other superhero film, this too had invaded my personal space via obsession by all the men in my vicinity. But the pirates are here to save me that trauma now.

I’ve been gleefully unbitten by superhero films bug but I’m afraid the mode is unsustainable. If nothing else, I need them to safeguard my dignity during water cooler discussions. When someone’s passionately talking about how cool the mosaic design of Asgard, Thor’s mythical realm is, I don’t stand a chance with how skittish I found the tone of Bridesmaids movie. It’s not just superhero characters that gets men glued. It’s a variety of characters that capture their hearts. Year after year, Hollywood has delivered one or more such mega blockbusters to get the men hooked with their collection of action set pieces and thrill a la amusement park rides. The variety is immense but the patterns aren’t all that unpredictable.

If you look at the past decade, 2000 was the year of the mutants. X-Men hit it big. 2001 started a new era of sorts with Hobbits and Wizards taking center stage until 2003. The spectacular Lord of the Rings trilogy released each year 2001 onwards, which I tried to like except that the faceless evil continued giving me nightmares. Wizards weren’t much further behind. 2001 and 2002 was their year as well with two films on Harry Porter. I think my threshold for fear might be way lower than someone half my size because even the Harry Porter movies sent shivers down my spine during half the scenes. Zombies made an appearance in 2004 in a couple of films whereas wizards remained strong for two successive years around then. Finally, the pattern was broken in 2006 with the uber sexy pirate Captain Sparrow who won over through negotiations and wit instead of weapon or force, both on and off screen. Wizards returned again the following year and have continued, albeit with weaker impact with each successive film. And then, a new phenomenon hit the world. Those bloodiest blood suckers! 2008 and 2009 have been the years of vampires and werewolves but with any luck, Twilight killed those and we’re done for good. Before we knew it, it was zombies again with Thor.

Will the zombie phase continue? The genre seems to be slowly devolving. Zombies combined with vampires? Zompires? God I hope not. Captain Sparrow is chasing the fountain of youth in his latest but if critics are to be believed, this movie is nothing to speak of and it might just be the end of the series. What else could come up? Gnomes? Just kidding. Cowboys? Ninjas? The Hobbit series starts next year and with Orlando Bloom, it’s sure to gain cult status. If characters in real life were half as interesting, we wouldn’t be leaning so much on the fictional ones. Glenn Beck, Charlie Sheen and Rebecca Black – what say?