“Microbudget creature slasher Winnie-the-Pooh: Bood and Honey became a viral hit for its IP-bludgeoning take on A. A. Milne’s beloved children’s story, helping it amass more than $6 million globally when it was released earlier this year off a budget of under $100,000. Buoyed by the success, Premiere Entertainment — which sold out all territories with theatrical components on the original — has now gotten off to a fast start on the follow-up, with many distributors coming back for a second swing of the bloody axe.
The slasher franchise film centers on Winnie and his sidekick Piglet. Having turned feral after being abandoned in the wild by their friend Christopher Robin, the two go on a murderous rampage through Hundred Acre Wood.” This from the Hollywood Reporter in Cannes today.
My heart sank when I read this….how low can we go in our industry? “Hold the mirror up to life” wasn’t bad advice from Hamlet and as we dive deeper and deeper into the dark side of humanity in the search for fame and money, we are digging a hole for ourselves in the business of filmmaking, from which there may be no return.
I was at two screenings of two films on the big screen within the last two weeks, I can say that watching was “Guardians of the Galaxy“, was not easy, however watching “Air“, the latest film from Producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck was an absolute pleasure . ” Guardians of the Galaxy” is cleaning up at the box office – $500 million so far. According to IMDB, (The Hollywood data base), “Air” is making a profit, but with numbers, nowhere near those of “Guardians of the Galaxy“. So, I ask myself, what do I know? However I do know that watching ” Guardians of the Galaxy“, for me, was a test of stamina, watching a confusing story, peopled by some actors wearing strange costumes and make-up, driven by an undoubtedly expensive array of digital media special effects. If you asked me what the story was about I couldn’t tell you. All I remember was that fine actor, Bradley Cooper voicing a raccoon. Maybe the problem was I hadn’t seen the first one and in any case the Marvel Studios output of adult filmed comics books, holds little appeal for me. The only one I really enjoyed was “Black Panther“, with talented Chadwick Boseman, who then sadly died, ending the potential of more of him in the part.
However “Air” is a simple, clear, well told story of how the failing, famous Nike brand was rescued by the creation and sale of the Air Jordan shoe…tied to Michael Jordan’s rise to fame as number one basketball star in the US. The structure and thrust of the story, is beautifully written, it is directed wonderfully by Director, Ben Affleck and driven by Matt Damon’s terrific and very moving performance as the man selling the idea, Sonny Vacarro. I breathed a sigh of relief after seeing it…and said a silent thank you to these two men, who are still making films, with good grown-up stories, in the best Hollywood tradition, where so many great films have been made by some very talented people.
So….back to poor Winnie-the -Pooh. Pooh the slasher? how could we let this happen? Those who manage AA Milne’s estate, should hang their heads in shame. These so called filmmakers are stealing children’s childhood, no wonder there are so many young troubled young people who are losing their way. We are de- humanising ourselves and whole generation with this sad rubbish.
I am grateful that my career was at its height in the ’60’s and ”70’s, when we were making real entertainment, some more thoughtful and less commercial, (BBC Play for Today etc), but nonetheless compelling and some, just plain old entertainment (The Saint, The Prisoner etc).
And I believe that many audiences still want that, a good story, with good performances, well told…Tom Cruise has proved it. At least ” Guardians of the Galaxy” is about the familiar fight of good against evil (I got that much of the story!).
My whinge is over..May the Force be with You! Now there was a film!