Why is Uwe Boll still making movies? Who is investing is these cash guzzling beasts? Why are actors investing their time and heart into such horrid movies? Find out in this month's Film Stripped as we delve into the ass-end of filmmaking. In other words, the art and career of one Uwe Boll, a sort of modern day Ed Wood.
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- Film Stripped: Steamy, Extreme Unrated Edition
- The Tao of the MPAA
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Film Stripped: A Study in the Art and Career of Uwe Boll
Every once in a while a great director comes along that defines a generation. He or she takes a cast of well-known and unknown actors and churns out one of the greatest motion pictures of all time...but for every P.T. Anderson (Magnolia), thereís a Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien Vs. Predator). For every M. Night Shyamalan, thereís an Uwe Boll. This monthís Film Stripped deals with the ass-end of filmmaking. In other words, Iím talking about the art and career of filmmaker Uwe Boll, a sort of modern day Ed Wood.
Uwe (pronounced ooo-vuh) Bollís career in Hollywood started in video games and will likely end in video games. The first game he adapted into a feature was House of the Dead. It was produced on a very modest budget and actually managed to make back most of its investment. It was loathed by critics and fans alike. Dr. Boll (Uwe received a doctorate in literature) thought it best to immerse the viewer into not only the film, but the video game as well. He did so by slicing in scenes of the game into the action making for one god-awful zombiefest.
As bad as House of the Dead was, however, there is still some sort of "bastard" entertainment that is taken out of it. Itís a bad movie that so bad thatís its absolutely hysterical and immensely fun to watch. This point is made even funnier by the simple fact that Dr. Boll seems completely unaware that the films he makes are horrid. He comes to them with these grand auteurist visions, and then churns out something so horrible, only a filmmaker like Ed Wood could like it.
Of course, many hardcore gamers figured House of the Dead was a one time mistake and Bollís work on Alone in the Dark would be much better for us and for him. I mean, lightning canít strike twice, right? Well folks, lightening can strike twice. Fans and critics chewed up Alone in the Dark and spit it back out like a fatty piece of meat.
The film, while technically better than House of the Dead, lacked a strong narrative structure to make even a modest film. It even featured an opening crawl that was nearly as long as the crawls for all six episodes of Star Wars combined. Several sites have been erected, dedicated to stopping Uwe Boll. There are even online petitions calling for his early retirment (currently there are over 2500 signatures). But for some reason, Dr. Boll continues to make films. Why is this? Who is investing is these cash guzzling beasts? Why are actors investing their time and heart into such horrid movies?
Just like Ed Wood, Boll somehow manages to finance his films. Itís been said that he makes backend deals with German investors who arenít afraid of losing their cash because of a German tax law which reimburses them if the film doesnít churn a profit. I donít know the validity of this claim, but Iíd guess his homeland of Germany helps him out as much as they can.
Boll recently finished producing and directing his latest opus, Bloodrayne, based on the moderately successful game. This film, like his previous works, looks positively horrid.
In Bloodrayne, he casts southern speaking Michael Madsen and rocker Meatloaf as 18th century British nobles. Now I know these guys are actors, but seriously, British men? Methinks not. Just take a look at these pictures below and see what I mean:
This odd casting trend continues with the recent announcement of Bollís next project based on a semi-popular game entitled Dungeon Siege. This time around, Boll has collected a group of celebrated B-actors and character actors to fill the screen. The cast includes Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Perlman, John Rhys-Davis, Matthew Lillard, Kristanna Loken and Burt Reynolds.
If "What the hell are these people thinking?" is what youíre thinking, then youíre not alone.
From the above mentioned cast one could argue that Boll does not understand how to cast someone. In other words, he doesnít know that in order to make a successful character and film for that matter; one must play to the actors strengths. Director Quentin Tarantino can use Michael Madsen because he understands the patchy terrain of Madsenís acting ability and thus, Madsen holds a commanding performance in everything he does with Tarantino. But again, like Ed Wood, Boll just takes a few washed up Ďnameí actors and literally banks his whole movie on them. Just listen to the words of Dungeon Siegeís producer, Shawn Williamson for proof; "We are excited about the tremendous cast members who have chosen to join us this summer in shooting Dungeon Siege. We are confident that they will bring the magic of this story to life."
Unfortunately, Bollís losing streak is so bad Iíd doubt bookies in Vegas would even take bets on him.
That comes to my second reason for this Film Stripped--what actor in their right mind would even want to star in an Uwe Boll film? I can understand unknowns, I mean, if nothing else, its exposure for them. But an Uwe Boll film could seriously damage the colorful careers of some of these otherwise fine actors.
Just look at Ben Kingsley (appearing in Boll's Bloodrayne). The guy canít seem to tell a good script from a bad. He goes from extraordinary Oscar winning work in Schindlerís List to well, underwhelming Razzie worthy work in Thunderbirds. Does Kingsley even read the scripts that are sent to him? Do any actors read the scripts anymore? I'm guessing this whole "not reading the script before signing on" trend is a growing one--one that should be stopped as soon as possible.
The two actors cast in Dungeon Seige that break my heart the most are John Rhys-Davis (Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Ron Perlman (Blade II, Hellboy). Didnít these guys watch Uweís last two films? Itís sad to see such great character actors literally wash their careers away.
While Boll does make some unintentionally funny "party" movies, itís so sad that some truly talented filmmakers go unnoticed these days. Hereís a guy with little or no directing talent, making $60 million dollar schlock-fests better suited for the cheapie straight-to-video market.
Of course Boll promises that Dungeon Siege will "transcend the video game genre and appeal to mainstream audiences".
We all know thatís just not going to be true. It never is. My hope is that someone in Hollywood reads this and takes note. There is talent out there. Even if you donít finance his films, donít distribute them either. Stop Uwe Boll dead in his tracks.
And someone should give these actors a good talking to, seriously. Don't sell yourself sort like that guys. Find a film that suits you and your talents.
A modern day Ed Wood Mr. Uwe Boll may be, but that doesnít mean he should keep making movies.
If you want to sign the Stop Uwe Boll petition, go HERE.
Related Anti-Uwe Boll sites:
* Uwe Boll Sucks.com
* Uwe Boll.com
* Uwe Boll is the Antichrist.com
Email me and let me know what you think
----R. L. Shaffer