Greetings from the Odinson,
For years and years, Hollywood has used their draglines to troll pop culture for ideas for movies.
Novels like The Godfather, JAWs, and Interview with a Vampire have been a great source of material. Saturday Morning cartoons like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, and The Smurfs have been brought to the Big Screen. Video games like Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros., and Mortal Kombat have been adapted into movies with varying degrees of success. Even our beloved ‘80s childhood has been mined for gold as He-Man, GI Joe, and Transformers have all been adapted into films. And, of course, comic books are a huge source of movie material as seen with The Crow, Watchmen, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, like reboots in comics, Hollywood has a tendency to get a bit lazy and start doing remakes of movies that already broke the mold. Sequels I get because at best, they expand on the mythology (i.e. Aliens and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), and at worse, it doesn’t live up to the hype and is quickly discarded and forgotten (i.e. Alien 3 and Spider-Man 3), but remakes?
Who was clamoring for remakes of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, two of the most classic horror films in history? Why did Man of Steel waste two-and-a-half hours retelling the origin of Superman when Smallville just spent the previous ten years telling that story and Dick Donner told the definitive version of it that can never and will never be surpassed with Superman: The Movie in 1978?
My point is Hollywood is spending so much time with remakes and cashing in on the names of established properties when there is still so much gold that has not been mined.
And, yes, the Odinson has a list.
The Odinson’s Top 5 Pop Culture Properties Hollywood Would be Remiss Not to Exploit: Part 1 of 2
Dragonlance Chronicles was a trilogy of novels that was inspired by game modules for the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. For whatever reason, even though Dungeons and Dragons has been around since 1974, other than the fantastic cartoon from the 1980s, Dungeons and Dragons just has not gotten the love and/or treatment it deserves in the movie medium (and, yes, I’m ignoring the travesty that is the 2000 D&D film).
I was already playing D&D when in 1985, while walking through the book store, some gorgeous Larry Elmore artwork caught my eye. In vibrant autumn tones, the cover of this book depicted a stalwart knight, a fiery haired bowman, and a beautiful maiden with a sinister red dragon stalking them from the woodlands in the background. That cover was to Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Volume 1 in the Dragonlance Chronicles.
In those pages, writers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman introduced a young Odinson to the world of Krynn, a magical realm of elves and dwarfs where a great cataclysm caused the old gods to abandon the realm of mortals and the return of dragons signaled the coming of war! It is a tale with complex characters with interesting back stories and features a band of heroes on a quest to save the world. It is an epic on par with The Lord of the Rings.
As a bonus, I was introduced to one of the greatest anti-heroes in the history of fiction – Raistlin Majere. He is a red robed wizard whose physical health has been destroyed by his pursuit for power. He possesses hourglass-shaped eyes that allow him only to see the decaying dying side of life. His insatiable thirst for knowledge will see him one day not only become the most powerful mage in history but actually see him ascend to godhood.
Dragonlance has novels, video games, an animated special, comic books, toys, collectibles, but no movie.
Drizzt Do’Urden, a dark elf ranger, is the protector of Ten Towns and a champion for justice whose name is renowned and his exploits are legendary all throughout Faerun, a.k.a. the Forgotten Realms. With his whirling scimitars, ethereal panther companion, lavender eyes, and unbridled courage, Drizzt is, hands down, my favorite fantasy hero next to Robert E. Howard’s Conan.
I was introduced to him in the pages of The Crystal Shard, another novel whose beautiful Elmore cover caught my eye and drew me to it like a moth to a flame. In this book, the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale, a community of hamlets stationed at the edge of the world upon a sprawling tundra, struggle against invading hordes of barbarians and ultimately the emergence of the all-powerful Crystal Shard – Crenshinibon, a crystalline artifact that draws the forces of darkness to its shimmering tower as well as a powerful demon lord. A small band of heroes are the only thing standing in the way of total annihilation.
This group of heroes is like the Avengers of fantasy. There is Bruenor Battlehammer, a displaced surly dwarf king with a head as hard iron, a demeanor as coarse as stone, and compassion as vast as the ocean. Catti-Brie the human maiden and adopted daughter of Bruenor who will one day grow into a mighty warrior. Wulfgar, a seven-foot-tall barbarian with super human strength and wielder of the mighty Aegis-fang, an invincible, magical war-hammer forged by Bruenor for his adopted son. Regis the Halfling thief with a mystical ruby that can hypnotize the weak willed. And, of course, Drizzt, arguably the greatest swordsman that has ever lived.
The Crystal Shard is, without a doubt, the Odinson’s All-Time favorite fantasy book. I have had to rebuy it half-a-dozen times because I have read the cover off previous copies. Drizzt has gone on to star in almost 40 novels! His creator R.A. Salvatore has an energetic, vivid writing style that paints a picture for the mind and captures the reader’s imagination. Drizzt and his companions have appeared in video games and comic books, but never on the Big Screen. Together, these heroes battle barbarian hordes, giants, trolls, dragons, armies of orcs and goblins, dark elves, and even demons from hell!
Be sure to tune in next week when the Odinson rounds out his Top 5 list of pop culture properties that should be film franchises with three science fiction gems that could surely raise the bar for Silver Screen entertainment.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.