Variety reports that Columbia Pictures has won the screen rights to the ‘Foundation’ series of books written by Isaac Asimov. Asimov is one of my all-time favourite authors and ‘Foundation’ is one my all-time favourite series of book so the fact that they’re in the process of developing these books for film – presumably a series of films – is awesome.
Unfortunately the director they have chosen to do so is Roland Emmerich. Now Emmerich isn’t a bad director – ‘Stargate’ (1994), ‘Independence Day’ (1996), ‘Godzilla’ (1998), ‘The Patriot’ (2000), and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ (2004) are all good films – but the ‘Foundation’ series is much too awesome to be made into simply a good series of films. And thus I am…concerned.
That said, what is cool about Emmerich’s films is that they manage to depict very well the epic scale of the stories being told. Further, the epic nature of these stories is brilliantly supported by superb special effects that don’t get in the way of the storytelling (think: ‘Star Wars’ prequels as a case in which the CG got the better of the story being told).
What all of those movies lack, then, are deep, complex, meaningful characters that you find yourself caring about…well, with the exception of Benjamin Martin’s character (played by Mel Gibson) in ‘The Patriot’. Okay so the characters aren’t all that bad (you could even say that some of them are good) and, yes, you do end up sympathizing with them (and the predicaments they find themselves in) but they are pretty one-dimensional. Indeed, most of the conflict that makes Emmerich’s films interesting occurs, not because of the way the characters are written, but because of the stories themselves.
*Realization dawns on Ameel*
Which is why, I suppose, that Emmerich is the perfect director to tell Asimov’s stories. Why? Because Emmerich makes the kinds of stories that Asimov writes.
Let me explain: Asimov was never good at writing characters that were deep, complex, and meaningful – indeed very few science fiction authors are – but he did tell awesome stories on a very grand scale.
For example, the Foundation series – which spans a period of about 500 years – contains only one deeply-written (though not very complex) character in Hari Seldon and only one complex (though not very deeply-written) character in Golan Trevize. What you get instead is an excellent, nay mind-blowing, story that is worthy of the the special “Best All-Time Series” Hugo award. And since this matches so well the types of stories that Emmerich likes to make into films…this could actually work really well!
And thus I am now…excited :)