Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Obligatory Comic-Con 2013 Post


Okay, I'll admit, I'm a little late with this.  I've been a bit busy around the house with various things and Comic-Con came and slipped away before I could really pound out this post.  Still, better late than never, right?

Here it is, my thoughts and comments on various aspects of Comic-Con 2013.  Before we begin, I want to mention that I am a vary casual comics fan at the moment, only really dipping my toes into the comic book world.  If someone were to quiz me, I'd very much come off as a "Fake Geek Boy"--and not that wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that at the time I was wearing a loin cloth assembled from discarded SNES controllers with broken off d-pads to cover my nipples.  That's just my lazy Sunday attire, okay?

I bring this up because if it seems like I focus more on movies than I do on comics news it's because I don't have much of an opinion on comics news at this point.  I'm still much too new to the whole thing.  Maybe with time.  I mean, I'll comment if they announce something big--like say, if Superman becomes a Green Lantern or if Batman is suddenly dosed with Gamma Radiation and becomes a giant hulking green monster.  But otherwise, it's just not going to register for me.

Anyway, a brief recap of last year's Comic-Con first:

Twixt - This apparently came out quite a while ago. I had no idea. I do want to check it out, as, despite a terrible Rotten Tomatoes rating, it looks really interesting.

Paradise Lost - Apparently got canned before filming could begin because they couldn't get it under a desired budget.  Too bad.  Sounded epic.

Uglies & Jurassic Park 4 - I've heard no news. Reaction stands.

Oz the Great and Powerful - Sucked.

Resident Evil: Retribution - Never saw it. Looked awful.

The Hobbit - A bit stretched in places, a bit bloated, but I enjoyed it overall.  I may dedicate a blog post to this sometime.

Pacific Rim - Fantastic go see it, please.
Iron Man 3 - Probably my favorite superhero movie this year. Fantastic.
Man of Steel - Hyperviolent & destructive ending almost makes the conclusion feel goofy, but all in all I still quite enjoyed this film.  Another potential blog post in the future.

Horns - Supposedly (hopefully) coming this year. Can't wait.

And onto this year's Comic-Con.

______________________________________

Movies

Insidious Chapter 2
I fucking loved Insidious.  I thought it was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen.  It was atmospheric, it was tense, it was brilliant.  It was done on the cheap, but it doesn't look cheap, and because it was done cheaply, the effects are brilliant.  Very little CG, more practical effects, more use of visual scares and sound to set the atmosphere.  It was brilliant.  The was one of those typical "dun dun DUN" horror movie endings,
but this one, oddly enough, is actually being followed up on.

The movie is supposed to begin where the previous film left off, which is interesting because Patrick Wilson's character had just straight up murdered someone.  You don't see that in the trailer for Insidious Chapter 2, which makes me curious how that will play out.

This movie looks like it will be more of the same--very eerie visuals, great sound design, and still nice and simple effects.  Good.  We need more quiet horror films.

I love James Wan's movies, and I really look forward to this one.

You're Next
I do not get what the BFD for this thing is.  The way they're promoting it, it looks like they're trying to make it the next big thing--I mean, they went so far as to release a new poster for it at Comic-Con.  But...I don't get it.  It looks like your typical home invasion movie.  It harkens back to The Strangers, which I wasn't really a fan of when I saw it...although admittedly it's been a while.  But still, it's in the same vein as The Purge.  It looks...meh?

Oldboy
This is the American remake of a 2003 Korean horror/thriller film.  It's about a man named Oh Dae-su, who is locked in a hotel room for 15 years without what the reason is that he's been captured. When he is finally released, Dae-su pursues vengeance, but the events of his capture are more complicated than he understands, tied up in lots of conspiracy and violence.


The Korean film is supposed to be pretty great.  I get sort of shivery about them remaking it, because it continues a semi-recent trend of adapting foreign movies in pretty much the exact same way, but American, rather than Americans just watching the foreign version.  I haven't seen either version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but Let Me In/Let the Right One In was pretty much the same...I didn't like either one, but that's beside the point.  The original is on Netflix right now.  I plan to check it out when I get the chance.

Anyway, the remake is directed by Spike Lee and stars Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen, which is certainly something.  I like both of those actors, so it does provide me with a little bit of interest to see it.  But I still plan to see the original first.

Godzilla
My reaction is still mostly the same as it was last year.  Only now with a pretty poster.


The Crow
I know basically nothing about The Crow.  I haven't seen the original, although it, too, is on my Netflix queue.  The only thing that I do know is that Brandon Lee died during the filming and that there have been several sequels to it since then.

At one point I read about them casting Tom Hiddleston to play the titular character, but apparently that's not the case anymore as Luke Evans has apparently taken the part.  I don't know who that is, he hasn't been in anything that I've seen, really, so my thoughts are "eh?" at this point.

Riddick
What is it with sequel movies these days just rehashing an older title? The Fast and the Furious vs. Fast and Furious. X-Men Origins: Wolverine vs. The Wolverine.  The Chronicles of Riddick vs. Riddick.  Final Destination vs. The Final Destination.  The Evil Dead vs. Evil Dead. (That one isn't technically a sequel, but you see my point.)

Anyway, I freaking LOVED Pitch Black.  I watched it when I was in middle school.  I used to have pretty bad insomnia, and I would stay up late watching movies on Encore.  That's how I caught Pitch Black one night.  And it was epic.  Totally scary, tense, and Vin Diesel's Riddick was a bad ass, the perfect
representation of a character that is--in D&D terms--"chaotic neutral."  This was before the anti-hero thing was basically every hero on screen.  And I wouldn't see as charming a "chaotic neutral" hero again until Captain Jack Sparrow.

I actually just rewatched the movie recently, and it still holds up pretty well in my opinion.  The characters are all complex and interesting, it doles out information about them at a slow pace.  They're not obnoxious and shouting and screaming curses at each other like most movies do "everyone for themselves" movies nowadays.  And, yes, the CG is pretty awful, it was more than a decade ago, man!

I didn't see The Chronicles of Riddick.  It was PG-13, seeming to eschew the tense thriller/survival horror feel of the first film for a more popcorny action film.  But this new one?  This new one looks like it's going back to its roots.  I'm stoked.  I do worry that it'll basically just be a remake of the first one, but I'm going to be cautiously optimistic on this one.

I, Frankenstein
I have no idea what this is about.  I haven't read the graphic novel.  However, I am definitely intrigued.  First of all, the graphic novel is written by a PoC, which is just super bad ass, and second of all, it's got Aaron Eckhart in it.  I like him.  He was great as Harvey Dent.

Besides the lead actor, the plot sounds ridiculously bad ass.  From IGN:
"[...] this Frankenstein is like none we've ever seen before, an ageless creature who is caught up in a war between gargoyles and demons in a modern day dystopia -- with the two sides fighting to discover the secret behind his immortality."
So, you know, I'm looking forward to that.

Catching Fire
I don't have a lot to say about this one.  It looks great.  The first one was great.  They fired the guy that was at least partially responsible for the crazy shakiness.  Jennifer Lawrence is still adorable and sweet and an awesome actress that I want to support.  That does mean, however and unfortunately, that the films still indulge in brown face for the main character--because make no mistake, Katniss is absolutely not white.

I enjoyed the first one a lot; I'm sure the second will be as good.

300: Rise of an Empire
I remember when the first 300 came out.  People made jokes about a sequel.  301, 300 2: 301, 299, etc, etc.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha, yes, the name of that film sure was a number wasn't it?  And that's never been done before, as long as you don't count 9, Se7en, 11:14, Nine, 21, 42, and 50/50.

Anyway, apparently this film will be taking place at roughly the same time as the first one.  I'm a little intrigued by this movie, partially because it features 2 prominent female characters (the queen and an enemy persian), and partially because it's not directed by Zack Snyder. Not that Snyder's a bad director.  That's not what I mean.  300 was just very much a Snyder-style film, so I'll be curious to see how similar and how different this film is.

In addition, the first film was based off of a graphic novel.  This one is not, so it will be interesting to see where they take the story.

Robocop
I enjoyed the original Robocop film quite a bit.  It was a darkly funny look at the future, while also still being a kick ass film in the process.  And the costuming and effects were rad.  I didn't see the later films, mostly because I was younger and much more into terrible horror films at the time.

photo by ronnieyip of Flickr
I think everyone is getting remake fatigue by this point.  And yet, if that's all Hollywood puts out, that's all we get to see, eh?  So how does this look?  Well, it actually doesn't look too bad.  The guy they cast as Alex Murphy has a very kind...lower face?  Trust me, he has a nice smile that looks very cool juxtaposed with the Robocop visor.  And although initially the new suit looked horrible, several other pictures have come out that make the suit look much better.  And it looks good in motion.

The big thing that this has going for it for me are the actors--once again.  Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman--all three fantastic actors.  I also liked what the director had to say: that the original film was about a corporation slowly buying possession and control of a man.  I disagree with his interpretation of the original film, but that will certainly make for an interesting remake.  At least it's not the exact same movie...I hope.

Apparently, the hand thing isn't a mistake--like they left the roboglove off.  The film says they left one human hand on so he could come across more human-like when he shakes civilians hands.  An interesting take.  I'll reserve judgement until the final film before I say it's stupid.  But it does look goofy.

Ender's Game
Ender's Game is a bizarre moral quandry of a movie.  It is a modern classic, one of the most influential pieces of science-fiction in this generation.  And it's also written by a flaming ass-bag of hate, intolerance, and shit.  Orson Scott Card is a horrible human being that spouts horrible things.  He actively works to ruin the lives of the LGBTQ community, and has actively published screed after screed of hateful things.

Hark! I can already hear the fanboys grinding their ax heads against whetstones, ready to rage and froth at the mouth about separating the artist from their work and blah blah blah this famous author was also a jerk, and the only thing I can say is, whoever you're about to mention, they're probably dead.  Or they haven't made their awfulness as publicly known as Card has.

Some people want to boycott this movie.  They fear that a movie based on Card's book doing well means that he will get more money--which he very well could.  They fear that a movie based on Card's book doing well means that people implicitly agree, or that it means authors can say whatever they want with no consequences because people will go see it anyway.

Some people strongly (sometimes vehemently) disagree with Card's views, but want to support the movie because it is a much more complicated issue, with actors and actresses and directors having spent lots of time devoting themselves to this book and portraying it in the best way possible.  It contains female characters that aren't love interests (shock!), and the careers of these young actors and actresses may very well ride on the performance of this film.  Studio execs will probably not get "this movie did poorly because the author of the source material is a ignorant, bigoted ass hat and people didn't go see it because they didn't want to show support to the original author and his ignorant, bigoted ways."  They'll probably see "this movie did poorly because these actors are bad/this movie didn't fit to the traditional Hollywood structure."

It is a big squirming ball of toughness, and whether you go to see it or not will be determined by your own personal feelings and morality.  For what it's worth, basically everyone that had anything to do with the movie has come out against Card and his horrible ideas--but then again, they would, wouldn't they?  They want the film to do well.

As for my own thoughts:  I really don't know.  It is certainly a difficult issue.

COMIC BOOK MOVIES
             Marvel

Captain America: Winter Soldier
I quite enjoyed the first movie.  However, part of the reason I liked it as much as I did was because the film had a different sort of feel.  It was made in a sort of retro style since it took place in the past, so it was made to look similar to movies of the time period.  I'm a little concerned because this movie will have to take place in present day, which means the style will be significantly different.  It won't carry over like the Iron Man films have...unless it did.  And that would be kind of awesome.

Also, Black Widow is going to be a main character in this one.  Sweet.  Hopefully we're building up to her getting her own movie.  That would be bad ass.

Thor: The Dark World
The first Thor was great.  Obviously my favorite part was Loki.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki is just a part that he was born to play.  Seriously great.  So I'm sure I'll enjoy this movie.  However, for some reason, I'm just not that excited for it, y'know?  Like, it doesn't look bad, it just isn't raising my interest like some of the other Marvel movies have.  I mean, I'll still see it, but it's not one I'm particularly looking forward to.  Maybe it's because the previews have been sort of vague on what really is going on, I dunno.

X-Men: Days of the Future Past
I am a big fan of the X-Men movies--except the third one.  It's bad, y'all.  Real bad.

Anyway, I'm not saying a huge unquestioning fanboy.  I definitely saw flaws in Origins: Wolverine, but I still enjoyed it overall, and I'm going to see The Wolverine this weekend.  But this movie is shaping up to be amazing.

X-Men: First Class was the best X-Men movie since X-2.  It was fun in a way that the series hadn't been in a while.  It messed with the continuity of the series a bit, but the actors portrayal more than made up for some of the more minor flub ups.  And this new one will feature Michael Fassbender as Magneto...AND SIR IAN MCKELLEN!!!  Dude!  As if that weren't awesome enough, Brian Singer has said that, somehow, this movie will make First Class fit into continuity with the rest of the series while also fixing some of the problems that were created in The Last Stand.  So, I am stoked.


I hope that Kelsey Grammar comes back as Beast, because as far as Beast actors go, he's pretty much perfect--I mean, the new guy's good, but I mean for classic, older beast.  Same for Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler.  That was another one of my favorite portrayals in the series.

Anyway, I've always been intrigued with the Days of Future Past storyline, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what they do with it in movie form.  It's cool that the movies have lasted so long that they can do these big event stories now, y'know?  Instead starting over and having to reestablish everything?  It's nice.

Avengers 2:  Age of Ultron
Avengers was probably one of the best superhero movies I've seen in a while.  Not as good as Iron Man 3, but still damned good.  Joss Whedon has a way with characterization and dialog that is unmatched by most directors and writers.  I know this one will be great.  Same guy working on it.  Promise of another prominent female character--the Scarlett Witch!!--being brought into the mix.  It'll keep things interesting.  Not much more to say.  This one should rock.

It's kind of unfortunate to learn that they're not going to be following the comics origin of Ultron, since that would mean introducing Hank Pym and Ant-Man, but, hey.  It's Joss Whedon. He's earned some trust by this point.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Still don't really know much about this.  Don't know much about the Guardians of the Galaxy.  I do know that it's a bizarre sort of movie with not just a multi-racial cast, but a multi-species cast.  This should be interesting because it's not your sort of mainstream Hollywood affair, and probably represents a big risk on Marvel's part to be putting it out.

Also, Karen Gillen is in it: my second favorite companion from Doctor Who.  Awesome

Amazing Spider-Man 2
I quite enjoyed the first Amazing Spider-Man.  Make all the jokes you want, the fact is it was well done--although Peter Parker was a bit too mopey.  He was great in his Spider-Man outfit, but in the comics, Peter
is much funnier and light hearted than we saw.  He jokes around with his friends and family, even makes jokes to himself, and that's outside of his garb.  Sure, he has plenty of dark moments, but I'd love to see
Peter just a little less mopey in this new one.

It's interesting that they cast Shailene Woodley--of Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars--and then cut her out of the film.  I'm glad--I'd rather see his relationship with Gwen Stacy develop before we try to introduce more love interests--but I'm curious to see how that effects the overall film.  How big a part of the original was she?  Was she physically cut from the film, or was she just cast and then they decided to cut her character from the script?  Did they have to reshoot things?

Pacific Coast News - from this article
Anyway, This new film brings us a villain I'm excited to see reimagined, Electro, and PAUL GIAMATTI as the Rhino!  Jamie Foxx is a little one-note to me, but seems like he gets to be a bit more emotive here than he was in Django Unchained.  But Paul Giamatti seems to really be the one that gets to act out if these photos of him on set are of any indication.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to this film as well.  I think it's going to be great.


COMIC BOOK MOVIES
             DC


Superman/Batman Movie
There's not much to say about this one, actually.  I mean, Man of Steel just came out, and it's going to be a while before this one comes out.  David Goyer I think might have started the script, but it certainly ain't done yet, and there's still rewrites, casting, location scouting.  It'll be a while.

I'm torn on this one.  On the one hand, I'm excited.  This sort of team-up movie is a bit safer than a full-on Justice League movie, while still experiment with a combined universe idea.  And it's a dream team of a team up as well.  On the other hand, DC's movies for the past thirty years or so have been pretty SuperBatcentric.

There have been 15 live-action movies of Batman and Superman to date.  One half-assed attempt at a spin-off character with Supergirl that has pretty much been all but forgotten, and Catwoman had a half-assed attempt as well.  Where's a Flash movie?  Or an Aquaman movie? (And before you scoff, maybe try reading Geoff John's New 52 issues of Aquaman--he's a badass.)  Or, my personal complaint, where the hell is the Wonder Woman movie?

I'm just saying, I know it's early yet, but we just finished a Batman trilogy, and now he's being reintroduced? And paired with the only other superhero to make any money for DC at the box office.  Maybe try branching out?  I know Green Lantern hurt y'all, but Marvel had its share of shitters at the start.  Remember Hulk? Or either of the Fantastic Four movies?

I'm just saying, this is cool and all, and believe me, I'm really intrigued, especially since, based on your public reading, you're basing it off of The Dark Knight Returns and Superman and Batman are going to try to kick each other's ass:
"I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."
But maybe consider branching out a bit, guys. You're letting Marvel kick your ass.


Yeah, yeah, I know, that was a shit ton to read.  It seems it's even longer than last year, and there are some projects I deliberately left off because I just didn't have as much to say about them.  But, now I want to know, what do you think of the news from SDCC? Do any of these projects interest or excite you, or is there anything that happened that I didn't mention that you'd like to talk about? Is there anything that doesn't excite you, or that I didn't mention that you'd like to complain about? Let's continue this discussion in the comments.