Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why making The Justice League is a bad move.

Because, every once in a while, you just have to quote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Well it's official. The Justice League live action film is happening. It's scheduled to release in the summer of 2015, and in case you didn't know, Avengers 2 is coming in May 2015. But everyone knows that Marvel and DC are practically sworn enemies, so having their movies compete is no surprise. Nor should it be a surprise to you when I say that Marvel is winning, and DC is trying desperately to play catch-up. Marvel is way ahead, so far ahead, in fact, that I think DC should just give up, or maybe try something original to bring in the money, because making the Justice League is not a good idea.

I have a few reasons why I believe this, and the first is the most obvious. As I mentioned, DC is playing catch-up. They're rushing to get their franchise out before everyone gets too hooked on The Avengers. But it's too late for that already, so what good does rushing do? I can't think of anything... anything good that is. Not-so-good things? You bet. Case in point: rushing a movie leads to a rotten movie.

Ready or not...
Marvel already beat them to the punch, so why the rush anyway? It would be smart of them to wait, and give this film some real attention, and hype, and forget about competing with Marvel. That would give them time to create solo outings to establish characters, and give us time to prepare for a new Batman, and to forget about the Green Lantern. Now something has gotta be done about him. I'm guessing a re-cast, and pretending it never happened, and hoping everyone forgets it really fast. Hey, it worked for the Hulk. Twice.

The biggie for me is that in order to make this movie, the Batman must be rebooted. I repeat: Batman is going to be rebooted in 2015. His latest film was just released just a couple months ago, maybe you've heard of it. One of the biggest trilogies ever? Hundreds of millions at the box office? And they expect us to accept a reboot two and a half years later? It took longer than that to make each sequel! They waited five years to reboot Spider-Man and people still complained, and those Spidey movies weren't even as good as the Dark Knight trilogy. You've probably guessed as much already, but I must say I'm very wary of a new Batman, and will not readily give him my approval.

The only way it could be worse is if Joseph Gordon-Levitt somehow ends up as the rebooted Batman, or if Christian Bale comes back... very unlikely, fortunately.

So far Superman is the only character looking like success here, with his big, realistic and serious movie produced by Chris Nolan and coming soon. If his movie is setting the tone here, I'm wondering how well the rest of the characters will take the serious treatment. Some of them might only get more ridiculous. I know one thing; if Aquaman gets cast then we can dismiss this movie as a flop without even having to see it.

Man of Steel. Looks to match the Dark Knight for dark and brooding seriousness.

While I maintain that this is a bad idea, I am extremely curious to see how they are going to make it work... or not. And I probably won't be too ashamed if I find I have to change my mind and be glad they made it. I was skeptical of the Avengers at first too, though not nearly this much.

I'm sure my opinions will change around a lot over the next two years. I'm excited for the release of Man of Steel, plus casting characters and hiring a director will certainly be interesting to see. And who knows, maybe someone as brilliant as Joss Whedon will step up, snatch a good cast and wrangle the League into submission and success. But in my oh-so-professional opinion, as it stands now, success even close to that of the Avengers will be nothing short of very, very good luck.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to make a John Blake/Robin/Nightwing movie.

… In the opinion of a person who has never made a movie in her life!

I would warn you about spoilers, but if you hadn’t seen The Dark Knight Rises by now you obviously wouldn’t care about it, and therefore wouldn’t even be reading this. So read on.

So the Dark Knight Rises is over and done, Bruce Wayne as the Batman rose to the challenge, and saved the day and the city for the last time. Now he’s gone off, doing some well-deserved life-living with Ms. Kyle, and we’re all very happy for him. It’s a good end to the story. Batman (read: Christopher Nolan) thought of everything, and even passed on the Bat cape and cowl to the young and spunky ex-detective John Blake. A smart choice considering his morals are high, and his first name is Robin.

But here’s the problem; we want to see Mr. Blake in action. Please. We got a taste of his upright character, quick thinking skills and determination, and now we’re just dying to see more. We want to see some real action. We’ve known Joseph Gordon-Levitt can dominate action ever since seeing his amazing stunt work in Inception, and he’s had his share of solid lead performances, with more on the way, so why cast this star, ever-increasing in popularity in the role of Batman’s replacement unless someone was planning on capitalizing on it? Maybe it was just because he was perfect for the role, however small it was… or maybe not.

Would it shock you terribly if I said Joe Go-Le was my favorite part of the movie?

Nolan say’s he done with all things Batman, and I say it’s no big problem. It’s not going to happen with him, and it just doesn’t need to. In fact it could help with that been-there-done-that feeling if there’s a new director with a fresh take. I have no ideas as to whom, but it should be someone who can honor Nolan’s work on the Dark Knight trilogy, but take the new franchise a new way. This is very important. I would feel cheated if someone just tried to mimic Nolan’s movies. It’s gotta be fresh. There’s only one thing I can think of that should stay the same, and that is the realistic feel. That is the quality that made this franchise exceptional in the first place. Practically everything else that can reasonably change should. 

Starting with the hero – no more Batman. Rises implies that Blake becomes the new Batman, and that works great for that movie, but if they give him his own movie, I don’t think being “Batman” is going to cut it. In the afore mentioned very important spirit of not making Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s hero a mere re-hash of Mr. Bale’s, it’s just a plain good idea to give Gotham’s new Dark Knight a new name. So, no Batman, and no “Robin” either. He’s just Batman’s sidekick, so that wouldn’t work, and what would he wear? Anything that’s even slightly recognizable as a Robin costume would be totally ridiculous. But everyone already knows the perfect solution anyway. Yep, John Blake is Nightwing.

I mean COME ON. But here's a thought: call it "The Dark Knightwing"! Tee-hee.

Nightwing is the best idea simply because then there would be no threat of him joining The Justice League. And it could work very well, though not without adding a few more problems to the mix, like after Bruce tells Blake that “Batman” can be anyone, why would he go and make up a different identity? Or like the fact that John Blake isn’t Dick Grayson, or, in fact, any comic book superhero at all. I personally don’t care, but I suppose some might… anyone? No? And who would the bad guys be? I don’t know anything about Nightwing villains, are they translatable to film? What if they keep using Batman villains? I say yes to that. 

Personally, I think it can be done, and I think that if “they” want it to happen it will… but I’m beginning to doubt they do; wouldn’t there be some rumors about it at least by now? Still, I’d like to see Blake as Nightwing; similar to the Batman, but with obvious and original differences, using his smarts over strength in a slightly smaller scale film, where he could take on less powerful baddies, like the Riddler, one of my favorites.

Fan art of David Tennant as the Riddler. Um... Yes please.

But honestly, if someone, anyone, makes a movie, that casts Joe Gordon-Levitt as the same character he was in The Dark Knight Rises, no matter what his “name” is, I will want to see that movie. But until that happens – if it ever does – I’ll just enjoy watching the character in Rises, and fill in that character’s blanks myself. Something tells me that’s exactly what we’re supposed to be doing anyway…

Monday, October 1, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Elements of The Lord of the Rings and Twilight are added to the classic fairytale to try and give it new modern life, but this movie's failure was decided along with its cast; who would ever believe that Kristen Stewart could be fairer than Charlize Theron?

Besides some weirdo magical stuff, and an "epic battle" that was really just a quick castle raid with some fighting, this movie sticks closer to the original story than I expected. After murdering the King, the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) keeps Snow White (Kristen Stewart) prisoner in the castle for years as she terrorizes her subjects. Snow escapes and flees into the Dark Forest. The queen is afraid of going there, so she sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her back, because she just learned that she must eat Snow's heart in order to remain the fairest of them all. (Bad timing on the magic mirror's part... I would fire him.) The Huntsman finds her, and has a mini moment of conflict before deciding to help her instead. There's also a handsome prince (Sam Claflin) and - if my counting skills served me right - eight dwarves. Oh yes, and a magical white stag the size of a horse with tree branches for antlers. I think that's the "Twilight" part.

The Lord of the Rings part was attempted in the tone, and while it was sufficiently gritty, no other Middle Earth qualities quite made the transition. (The dwarves singing around a campfire only made me long for when thirteen of them will be singing in a Hobbit hole come December 14th.) The tone ended up being inconsistent anyway as the picture tries to juggle sweeping adventure, touching romance, epic fantasy, and dark and creepy fantasy, using just one at a time, jumping around with no warning... the result is confusing and exhausting.

Don't they look confused?

The plotting and acting match the uneven tone perfectly. It's the only perfect thing in this movie. The next best thing is Hemsworth. He gave it his all, but couldn't save the film like he did Snow. Perhaps he was simply in it too little. Maybe that's why they're trying for a sequel that focuses solely on his character. (I think I'll settle for Thor 2.) Theron is evil and beautiful, but her evil rants where disturbing and uncomfortable in more wrong ways than right ways. Stewart is unconvincing as the fairest of them all, but maintains her reputation of most deadpan of them all. Sam Claflin worries me as his emotional range is apparently limited to looks of pathetic longing. And if he gives Katniss Everdeen those pouty lips and sickening puppy-dog eyes, I might just lose my lunch, and then go into mourning for poor Finnick.

Redeeming qualities for this movie: none.

Okay, fine, let me think... the action sequences were dull... every fake line of dialogue, and tone change snaps you out of the movie... it's too long, it's too creepy, it's too... fluffy. Hmm. But it entertained me. I bet you're starting to think I'm too easily entertained, but really the majority of my entertainment actually came from the parts of the movie I didn't like... almost like... it was so bad... it was good-- no, you're right, I'm too easily entertained.

We are not amused...

There are parts to this movie that are good - or at least better than the rest of it. And the cast did seem to be really trying... the great Hemsworth almost succeeded in spite of it. But I must say I'm glad I didn't waste money to see it in the theater. I imagine the filmmakers put all their effort into making the trailer, and once they got that looking good, they gave up on the movie trusting that enough people would be tricked into seeing it at least once by the luring trailer and famous cast. If that's what happened they are geniuses. Not really though, because there was a chance for this movie. It was very dim chance, and it could've been a lot worse too of course, but it could've been better. But no, it's just another bad apple of a movie; it's pretty to look at, but beware; it might not taste so great.

Snow White and the Huntsman gave their all
But you don't need a magic mirror on the wall
To see it's not really very fair at all.

Oh yeah. I made a rhyme.

-2/5 stars