Saturday, August 6, 2011

Movie tie-ins

Whenever I see a movie in the theater that I really like, one that truly resonates with me and strikes a cord on a personal level, it leaves me longing for more. I feel a desperate craving that I must feed, an insatiable desire to spend more time with the characters and the cinematic world I have just experienced. I must find a way to get back in.

This is where movie tie-ins come into play. They can help take the edge off. Kinda like the movie methadone for my cinematic crack addiction.

I will leave the theater and often head straight to the nearest Barnes & Noble to scour the magazine rack for any articles, features, interviews, photos, and most of all cover stories about the movie. The days of Cinefantastique, when you could expect entire book length issues of a magazine dedicated to a film and written with in-depth journalistic flair coupled with insightful analysis are long gone. But sometimes you can find good coverage in the British genre magazines Empire, Total Film or SciFi Now. Cover stories from Creative Screenwriting, Film Comment, or Cinefex are usually well done. Every now and then lightning strikes and I find coverage in a well written mainstream publication such as Vanity Fair or The Hollywood Reporter.

Next step, I will seek out a novelization of the screenplay if there is one, or in the case of an adaption, the source material itself. Then, I check online to see if any PDF versions of the screenplay are available. Making of books, The Art of books, Poster books, published book versions of the screenplay and anything else available all will be ordered within hours of leaving the theater.

It goes without saying I must possess the soundtrack and will listen to it nonstop in my car and on my iPod, and right here at this desk. That music will literally be the soundtrack of my life for many weeks and often month to come.

Another ritual I have that dates back to the dawn of the home video era, is to watch three related movies.

Now these films can tie in to the new experience in a multitude of different ways. Sometimes it is another movie in a series but it can be less obvious and direct. It can be a connection to an actor, the director, the story, theme, tone, style, whatever it is that might help me to relive that feeling.

Two recent examples which also happen to be my top two films of 2011.

Super 8

Cover story Creative Screenwriting
Cover story Entertainment Weekly
CD of soundtrack by Michael Giacchino

Related movies:
Close Encounters - genre, Spielberg, tone, pitch, feel, influence, theme, and more that could reveal spoilers.

Explorers - tone, feel, suburbia, the kids. Especially the kids.

Taken (SciFi miniseries) - Genre, plot, Spielberg, another magical performance by another Fanning.

Runner-ups: E.T., Jurassic Park, Batteries Not Included, Gremlins.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Magazine coverage - shutout. Waiting and checking newstand daily.
CD of soundtrack by Patrick Boyle - on the way
Related source material - original novel by Pierre Boulle

Related movies :

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - the origin prequel of the classic series is closest to new film in terms of story.

Mighty Joe Young (both 1949 original and 1998 remake) - story, character, theme, plot.

Harry and the Hendersons (1987) No really. Obviously not in tone but John Lithgow, plot, and a spoiler that fans of both movies will notice.

Runner-ups: Any Planet of the Apes movie.  I would put Project X (1987) on the list, but it is too brutally sad and disturbing to ever see again.

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