Net Worth: Cinematic endings revamped by animated site

Back during my dozen-year stint as a film critic, what infuriated me more than anything was sitting through a good movie that was thwarted by a terrible ending.

It was worse than enduring rotten acting, cheesy dialogue or catching sight of the boom mic. I figured that if you didn’t have a great way (or at least an appropriate way) to conclude a flick, why make it in the first place?

Consequently, even superior pictures such as “Saving Private Ryan” (with its clumsy contemporary add-on) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (its interminable epilogues) were forever tainted for me.

Fortunately, there’s a site now that attempts to solve these issues.

How It Should Have Ended offers brief, parody animations of fresh endings to popular films.

Take “Return of the King,” for instance. After the Council of Elrond scene from “Fellowship,” the new ending cuts to four of the travelers standing outside of Sauron’s stronghold of Mordor, taunting and mooning him. Meanwhile, Gandalf and the hobbits use the distraction to fly atop one of those giant eagle things and deposit the ring directly into Mount Doom.

Mission accomplished.

As the heroes soar into the sunset, a chuckling Frodo can be heard saying, “Can you imagine what it would have been like if we walked the entire way?”

How It Should Have Ended was launched in 2005 by Daniel Baxter and Tommy Watson, who decided to aim their first project at “Matrix Revolutions” (another movie in need of serious finale finagling). Last week it won Best Animated Web Series at the 2010 Streamys Awards.

Several of their short pieces go beyond a rimshot punch line to cleverly deconstruct the plot. One of the best is for “The Terminator” series, structured like an upcoming trailer.

Narration explains: “Three times the machines have sent an assassin back in time to take the life of my son, John Connor.”

So the heroes decide the only way to stop them from eventually succeeding is to “terminate the creator of time travel.”

Cut to a knock on the door of Dr. Emmett Brown from “Back to the Future.”

What follows is a seamless hybrid of both sci-fi series that makes a snapshot story of how Marty McFly’s parents must kiss at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance ... or else the human race will be terminated. Excellent throwaway bits include the skateboard chase from “Back to the Future” that now includes the knife-hand wielding T-1000 in pursuit.

The video ends with Arnold pointing his gun and reciting Biff’s line, “So why don’t you make like a tree and get out of here.”

Other standout parodies on the site target blockbusters such as “The Blair Witch Project,” “Seven” and “Twilight.” Of course, pretty much anybody should be able to come up with a better ending for “Twilight.”

— Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth. He can be reached at 832-7178.


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