Uwe Boll the Director
If you’re an avid moviegoer you’ve probably seen previews for Uwe Boll films. This goes doubly for moviegoers who are also gamers. Boll is known as the German filmmaker who adapts video games into movies. Unfortunately, these films are mere shadows of their source material and not very enjoyable to watch, to boot.
In recent years, Boll has created visual disasters such as House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne, Bloddrayne II and In the Name of the King. To be fair, I haven’t seen the last one, but I imagine it to be of the same caliber. Not only are the plots ridiculous, the acting hammy at best and the dialog cacophonous, but the directorial choices are just mind-boggling. Cameras spin wildly around actors. Shoot’em up scenes last entirely too long. Flashback sequences recap bits of the film we just saw five minutes ago. There are numerous editing issues as well. In Alone in the Dark, a dead character can be seen getting up before the scene ends.
Amazingly, Boll kept making movies. With each incarnation, he seemed to get a bigger budget and bigger name actors, which left audiences scratching their heads in wonder. How the heck was he getting the funding? It turns out that Germany offered a tax shelter to investors who funded a film that lost money. In his recent interview at Fearnet.com, Boll explains:
They did, in the beginning, leverage the tax loss in Germany in a major way so you were almost covered by the tax loss. When I started raising money, it was not the truth anymore. So with my movies they have to make at least fifty percent back to get the recoupment of the investment after taxes, so the idea that was written in the U.S. press over and over again was not true—the idea like Uwe is shooting movies to destroy the money. If you see the numbers, a lot of people on the internet are writing only about U.S. box office. If you see Alone in the Dark or Bloodrayne was like number one or number two at the box office in, like, 15 other territories, like Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Thailand. And now, In the Name of the King was nearly everywhere two to three weeks in the top ten, only not in the U.S. So this together with the DVD and TV revenues is not that the movies are a total financial disaster.
Video gamers around the world despised Boll for essentially butchering the games they loved, nicknaming the director Toilet Boll or Uwe Bollocks. The name calling reflects the general age of Boll-Haters, which the director claims is a “vocal minority.”
Petition Against Uwe Boll
Earlier this month, Robert Harvey created an Online Petition, calling for Uwe Boll to stop making films. Boll touched on this topic as well during his interview with Fearnet.com:
Are you aware that there is a petition online, signed by 18,000 people, requesting that you stop making movies?
Yeah, I know that. 18,000 is not enough to convince me.
How many would it take?
One million. Now we have a new goal.
At the time of this writing, the petition has 191943 virtual signatures.
The Genius of Uwe Boll
Following the interview, Boll filmed a video response to the Online Petition. In it, he lambastes prominent Hollywood figures and dubs himself a “genius.” Here’s the full clip:
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
The Pro-Boll Online Petition has 1643 virtual signatures at the time of this writing.
Not fully realizing his catharsis, Boll created an addendum response, this time directed at Boll-Haters. Ironically, Boll’s ire seems to focus on burgeoning filmmakers rather than gamers.
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
Rip you apart? Wow. Violent thoughts aside, I can’t help but think that Boll might be on to something with his films. After watching Alone in the Dark I found myself anticipating the next Boll movie, because there was a certain “train wreck” appeal to them and I was curious to see the innovative ways that Boll would disappoint me in the next film. When it comes to movies, we want the characters to succeed, because we identify with them. When it comes to real life, there’s nothing more delicious than watching someone else fail. Is it any wonder why the viewership for American Idol drops severely after auditions? Furthermore, Boll feeds the frenzy by lashing out at his critics, which can only drive those critics to the theater or rental store to watch his next film for more ammunition. He makes a pompous remark about being a genius, challenging audiences to prove him wrong by watching his next film. Audiences go, feel validated in hating Boll and then flood the Internet with hate speech. Meanwhile, Boll has their money. Considering that people will slander you on the Internet regardless, Boll has actually managed to create a business out of it. If that’s not genius, I don’t know what is.
A Little Respect for Uwe Boll
Boll has set himself up with a win-win situation. He’s either purposefully making bad cinema and acting upset about it, which increases sales and ultimately profitable movies or he’s just a hated, sub-par director who gets paid to do what he loves. That ain’t too shabby.
The only problem I see is that Boll is slowly getting better. His movies are backsliding from “so bad, it’s good” to “so bad.” I hope he can refocus his efforts and get back to what we all know and hate him for.