Thursday, October 11, 2012

RE: the Hungry Hungry Hippos movie

Seriously, if Robin WIlliams hasn't been yet cast, it is a matter of time.

  This is an open letter to the employee or employees of Emmet/ Furla/Hasbro who thought it was a sound idea to make a Hungry Hungry Hippos movie.  

Perhaps you are surprised. You might be wondering why people are shocked. Didn't we all love Hungry Hungry Hippos? Didnt we all play it as kids? Doesn't that mean we'd all watch a Hungry Hungry Hippos animated film by default?

Did you not see the result of this line of thinking with Battleship? In case you didn't, here is a less apt metaphor: you know most people in the western world are familiar with? Toasters. Whoever hasn't owned has has at least seen one on TV. Do you think that's a built in audience? Do you think if you announce a movie about toasters it  will bring all toaster enthusiasts?
Can we keep the Christ Parallels to a minimum, please?

And yes, there was an animated film about a toaster and it did generate some revenue. But it wasn't because people thought toasters are cool.The fallacious thinking that just because people are aware of the name of something they will see it, and that the movie will drive sales of the toys was,in fact, questioned earlier when  it was revealed Transformers: Dancing in the Dark was revealed to have not sold as many toys as they expected. And the TF brand has a pretty strong market penetration, too. Perhaps this was because Transformers falied to produce enought "Sprint action Sam Witwickeys" and "Penis Joke soundchip Ken Jeong". You can't sell kids the the character without SELLING kids the character.That's how Transformers cartoons worked. It sold ALL the characters, not just 2.

So Hippos: it will probably land between decent and mediocre which, lets face it, is pretty good when you consider the source material is THIS HIPPOS ARE HUNGRY, THEY EAT A LOT.  So what's our problem? It's not like you can "ruin" Hippos with anything other than not making them Hippos or Hungry. It could be a depressing gritty noir tale of absolution and It'd still be accurate if the lead character is called "John Hippo" and had at last one scene in front of an all you can eat buffet.

The problem is that the idea of a Hungry Hungry Hippos  movie has been a joke in the same way you might say putting 1000 monkeys in front of a 1000 typewriters can create a masterpiece. We're watching you send off for the shipment of typewriters and monkey ownership permits, fully expecting the 21rst century King Lear, apparently unaware as everyone who knew this wasn't a litteral expression . Can this end anything but badly?

But are killing the parody industry. Dude, how are we supposed to mock Hollywood's tendency for adapting plotless toys and games if youkeep doing the very ideas we are mocking? Hippos was probably the last good ridiculous movie-idea joke. Are you gonna make Tetris and Chutes and Ladder And Pacman,  too? What are gonna have to do? "Pencil" the movie?  You are setting the bar of mockability unreasonably high. And that's before your movie gets trampled by a less ridiculous toy adaptation.


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