Wednesday, January 5

Big Trouble in Little China

This morning I was working on my rough draft for the second novel of my trilogy, writing a juicy bit of bad guy versus good gal violence, and found myself thinking about the Storms in Big Trouble in Little China.  I realized that my bad guy was looking and acting a lot like the guy with the ... what color was the lightening? ... phosphorescent blue?  Mmmm, that might be an excuse to watch the movie again.

Anyhow, back to the topic of this post.  The points of similarity between my bad guy and the Storms got me wondering about those characters and what, if anything, they were based on.  Were they based on Chinese mysticism or, perhaps, some of the recurring character types in Kung Fu movies?

After about a half hour of research (it's amazing what gets to be called research; but it was, it really was) I had no answers to my questions but had found out some amazing things about the movie.

(I guess I should say up-front that I love the movie Big Trouble in Little China, if you dislike it the following tidbits probably aren't going to be all that interesting.)

- Big Trouble in Little China -- although regarded by many (or at least by me) as a great movie -- actually lost money, a lot of money, at the box office and garnered a less than enthusiastic reception from the critics, including Rodger Ebert.   Ebert wrote,

"special effects don't mean much unless we care about the characters who are surrounded by them, and in this movie the characters often seem to exist only to fill up the foregrounds", and felt that it was "straight out of the era of Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu, with no apologies and all of the usual stereotypes (Wikipedia, Big Trouble in Little China)".

(Here's the link for Rodger Ebert's original review, it's well worth the read.)

- Carpenter cited the film as the reason why he became an independent film maker.  He said in an interview that:

“The experience [of Big Trouble] was the reason I stopped making movies for the Hollywood studios. I won’t work for them again. I think Big Trouble is a wonderful film, and I’m very proud of it. But the reception it received, and the reasons for that reception, were too much for me to deal with. I’m too old for that sort of bullshit”.

I'm not sure how similar it is, but currently many writers are blogging about the pros and cons of going independent.  I thought it was interesting that Big Trouble was the movie that pushed Carpenter in that direction.  Interesting and cool.

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