By Fred Topel | Image property of Freestyle Releasing
I think I've figured out the value of Boll's oeuvre. The epiphany came when I finally interviewed the man and he addressed all of my questions directly. That may add bias to my analysis, but I don't think so. I'm still giving Postal an honest review, but now I understand why it exists.
Reviewing Uwe Boll
I think the value of Boll's movies are the ultimate result of Hollywood. He's just trying to do the same thing they are. He gets all the right names and the right properties to adapt. These are big video games with well known characters and good actors. Ben Kingsley has done worse than BloodRayne and Ray Liotta/Burt Reynolds/Jason Statham far worse than In the Name of the King. Kristanna Loken is a kick-ass heroine.
That's really no different than Hollywood buying a popular book and casting big stars in it. Sometimes you get The Rock which is one of the best movies ever, or even the creatively fulfilling Pirates of the Caribbean. Sometimes you just get The Da Vinci Code or Elektra.
I think what makes Boll's movies the extreme downside of the process is that between language barriers and European production teams and perhaps misguided decisions, Boll's movies turn out to be ridiculous. Well, so be it. There are worse things than bad movies. I hear there's a war going on somewhere.
This is what struck me while speaking with Boll. He's a smart guy. He's not going into these projects blindly. He has intentions, and he sees areas where he needs to improve. Those improvements may only shift the focus to other aspects of his work, or create new problems, but it's every filmmaker's right to try and fail.
It may seem like Boll disregards his critics, but that seems to me a result of either misinterpretation or taking his comments out of context. He'll address a critique of his film. You may disagree or think he didn't prove his point, but he'll go there. His anger is at critics who spend 1000 words bashing him and haven't seen the films. That gets blown out of proportion as "Uwe Boll is in denial about his critics." That's not denial. That's legitimate. But then, I'm hesitant to even talk about quality of acting in my reviews. I don't feel I know much about acting, so I'd rather focus on story.
He's not comparing himself to the Oscar-caliber epics either. He's comparing himself to The Golden Compass and Van Helsing. I think he has a good point there. I would watch an Uwe Boll marathon before ever seeing The Golden Compass again, even on Blu Ray. Compass didn't succeed but I would mention other hits, not in defense of Boll, but in context.
How is an Alien Vs Predator with a stupid story squandering the legacy of memorable monsters is considered by some fans "the best movie ever" (seriously, it is), but similar fans would be so indignant that somebody missed the point of Alone in the Dark? Bless the fans who got their jollies from AVP and my sympathies to the AITD gamers who got dissed, but it's all the same process.
My only advice to Boll would be, as a filmmaker, aim higher. Don't just try to be comparable to the most mediocre of Hollywood. Try to replicate their best. Even if he doesn't, at least I can now appreciate what factors create this phenomenon.
I'm all for bad movies. I love it. It's part of the art form. I get just as excited to go see The Hottie and the Nottie as I do Iron Man. I may not enjoy the former, but it's important to me to see what some people have attempted to do. I've only been slightly positive on one of Boll's films, Bloodrayne, but I'll always be fascinated by what he comes up with next. I may be subjecting myself to future discomfort, that's part of my experience. His backers may want to consider the investment, but that's not my problem.