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December 18, 2005

Uwe Boll, King of Cinema

On Thursday, I profiled the upcoming vampire movie, BloodRayne. Today, I would like to bring you into the exciting cinematic world of BloodRayne's acclaimed German director, Uwe Boll.

Rest assured, that's actually his name (I didn't just have a seizure while I was typing). But what's in a name? I guess it is worth mentioning that if you rearrange the letters in "Uwe Boll", you can spell the phrase "Owl Lube". Sounds like a reference to some bestiality themed Harry Potter slash fiction...

But we're not here to talk about internet fan fiction. Or are we? One might say that Uwe Boll has taken the concept of fan fiction to "the next level". In fact, not only has Boll taken it to the next level... he has managed to defeat the boss at the end of that level, and set a new high score in the process. Think about it: There are thousands of bored, friendless gaming nerds out there who spend their lonely nights writing terrible video game fan fiction. However, there is only one man who has managed to turn his love of video game fan fiction into a lucrative full time directing job.


Just take a look at Mr. Boll's filmography - by the year 2008 this director will have achieved a feat that is unprecedented in the history of cinema: He will have directed eight feature films based on video games. IN A ROW!!! Over his entire career, Alfred Hitchcock only directed six video game adaptations, and two of those were just short films that briefly toured the art house circuit. For those keeping score, that's Boll 1, Hitchcock 0.

Although Uwe's list of completed works is already impressive enough, it is his upcoming projects that most intrigue me. Currently in post-production is a film called "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale". I actually bought "Dungeon Siege", the game this film is based on - and find it to be a fascinating choice for adaptation. Having played this game continuously for two months, all I remember about it was... actually I remember almost nothing about it. I recall there was one level where I spent hours looking for a switch that was supposed to open some door, but I couldn't find it. So I deleted the game from my hard drive. I also remember there being some evil goblins or orcs or some crap like that. If there was a "plot" or "story" in this game, it eluded me entirely. Personally, I can't imagine how one would make a viable movie out of such a mindless timesuck... but that's why Uwe Boll is a creative genius, and I'm just some asshole with a website.

Also on Boll's upcoming project list is "Postal", a movie based on the controversial "murder simulation" game released in 1997. Postal didn't actually sell very well - the ultra-violent content of the game was so reprehensible that even rage-filled adolescents felt a little dirty after playing it. Most directors would consider this reason enough to avoid bringing the game to the silver screen. Uwe Boll isn't most directors. Plus, he's already got Gary "whatchu talkin 'bout" Coleman signed on to the project, so it's hard to see how it could fail.

Like every great man throughout history, Uwe Boll does have his detractors. The critical response to his films has generally been negative. Overwhelmingly negative. "Dear God why did you allow this man to direct movies" negative. But we all know that the opinions of critics are irrelevant... the only thing that counts is the response of the movie-going public. Unfortunately, they don't particularly care for Mr. Boll's films either (if box office results are any indication). Furthermore, some have accused Boll's "Boll KG" company of exploiting a loophole in German tax law that allows investors to profit from unprofitable films (via a tax write-off). Well, if making millions of dollars off of a shady German tax shelter scheme is wrong, then neither I nor my accountant want to be right.

Critics might say that Uwe Boll's entire career has been an exercise in getting rich despite wallowing in mediocrity. However, I contend that Boll hasn't succeeded despite mediocrity... rather, he has cultivated that rarest strain of mediocrity - one that can be jammed into a particular orifice of our popular culture over and over again until the public begs him to stop.

Or until the German government changes their tax laws.

Posted by Joey at December 18, 2005 05:53 PM

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