Archive for August, 2007
Filed Under shazam
Speaking of Big Trouble in Little China, Kung Fu Rodeo has a list up of movies they’d like to see made into TV shows. I’d certainly want to watch a Big Trouble in Little China show if they got the right actor to play ol’ Jack. And I agree that Nathan Fillion is “the right actor.” I’d also totally dig a Time Bandits show and an Incredibles show. Maybe an Army of Darkness show, but I don’t know if you could do that without Campbell and I’m already getting my weekly fix of him on Burn Notice.
The rest, I don’t know if I’d watch. I definitely wouldn’t watch a Showgirls or Goonies series because I didn’t like the movies all that much. Dawn of the Dead, The Dirty Dozen, and Jurassic Park seem like they’d get tired fast. The Road Warrior could be good, but then again, it could absolutely suck. I’d need to watch the pilot before knowing if it was for me.
Speaking of knowing if things are for me, the writer for the upcoming Shazam! movie said something interesting recently. He was talking about the tone of his script and called it an action-comedy, then — perhaps sensing that that wasn’t what fans wanted to hear — immediately tried to clarify what he meant by that. “In a sense, even with a character that doesn’t have the giant spotlight on him like Superman or Batman, there’s a tremendously loyal fanbase who have very clear expectations about what they think a Captain Marvel movie should be.”
The thing is, I’m not sure that the Captain Marvel fanbase does have clear expectations about what they think a Captain Marvel movie should be. I know I don’t want it to be anything like Trials of Shazam!, but do you go more for a straightforward, Power of Shazam! take, lighten it up even more and make it like Monster Society of Evil, or go totally goofy like the original comics? If there are any Captain Marvel fans reading this, let me know what you think. What would a good Captain Marvel movie be like?
One last bit of news for the week: this makes me really tempted to start watching ER. I don’t want to wade into years of backstory, but Michelle was one of my favorite characters on 24 when I used to watch that show and I’d love to see Reiko Aylesworth in something new.
Filed Under warrior women
I really hadn’t planned to review Balls of Fury, but a) it was really funny, so you should see it, and b) it actually has a kickass heroine in it, so it’s the sort of thing I like talking about here.
Regarding the funny: no, you didn’t see all the best parts in the trailers. The ads do spoil some moments that would’ve been funnier if you hadn’t known they were coming, but there are still plenty of surprises. That said, the ads also do an excellent job of letting you know whether or not this is Your Kind of Movie. If you don’t think it looks like Christopher Walken’s Best Role Ever from the commercials, it might not be for you. But then, I pity you for your no-sense-of-humor-having. Throw in Lt. Dangle from Reno 911, Oswald from The Drew Carey Show, Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China, George Lopez from, well, George Lopez, John Doggett from X-Files, Ross’ girlfriend Charlie from Friends, Mowgli from that ’90s live-action Jungle Book, and Maggie Q from Mission: Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard… you’ve got a lot to look at and laugh at.
I was particularly impressed with Maggie Q’s role. She’s a butt-kicker, but not at all your usual spy-comedy heroine. She doesn’t do Damsel-in-Distress, but she also doesn’t do Annoying, Over-Compensating Man-Hater. She’s annoyed with the students in her ping-pong school who paw at her, but she quickly kicks their asses and moves on. She doesn’t seem to hold it against all males and she certainly doesn’t seem like she has anything to prove to anyone.
I don’t want to make too much out of her though. She’s certainly not the focus of the film; I just liked her and wanted to point her out. I will say though that her change-of-heart towards the main dude (she starts off disliking his slovenly self, but ends up falling in love with him) is completely forced and unbelievable. It happens because it’s supposed to happen.
The critics aren’t liking Balls of Fury very much, but screw ‘em. I had a good time with it. But then again, I had a good time with The Last Legion last week, so what do I know?
Filed Under black canary, warrior women
I’ve been trying to warm up to Green Arrow because Black Canary has. If I can’t like him, then it’s possibly going to affect my opinion of her for marrying him, and I’d like to keep liking her.
So, when I read this, I was prepared to dismiss it and keep on trying to like Green Arrow anyway. After all, Devon lists several perfectly good reasons to not like GA, but adds “the constant political posturing foisted upon the character” to the list. That sounds like Devon’s stretching for another reason not to like him. There’s no doubt that GA’s been a jerk in his most important relationships, but to claim that writers have “foisted” political posturing on him isn’t fair.
First of all, GA’s agenda is far more social than political, but more importantly is that his passion for those issues have been a part of his character for way longer than his relationship buttholery. Why does Devon think that that part’s been “foisted” on him while accepting that the womanizing, child-abandonment, and lying are all natural parts of his character? My first thought was that passion about social injustice is actually a positive thing and so it makes Devon’s point better if that’s not really part of who GA is, but just something that writers stick on to further their own agendas. And that kind of logical trickery makes me want to toss Devon’s whole argument aside.
But I can’t, because by the end of the essay, I agree with him about why Black Canary shouldn’t have agreed to marry Green Arrow.
“…Oliver Queen tells his ex, Black Canary, the reason he wanted to become a better man so he could get her back and then, proposes to her…Black Canary proved day-in and day-out she was better off without him. He never made the choice to actively become better off without her. He never asked himself whether or not she was better off without him.
“We’ve all taken our own personal walks through hell, confronted personal demons and the like. We’ve all taken personal rolls of the dice and taken bets on ourselves. It should be done out of a fundamental belief in self. In this undertaking, one should become a better person for self, first and foremost. Not from a place of rejection. Kids, do NOT try this at home. That way lies failure.”
I think I disagree that this is further evidence that Green Arrow’s an a-hole, but it certainly does make him an unhealthy choice for a husband. I applaud Barbara Gordon for basically saying as much in the most recent Birds of Prey (#109). I also totally get that Black Canary — who, in spite of Green Arrow’s many faults, is still in love with him — wouldn’t be so receptive to that advice. But I love that Barbara said what needed to be said. Black Canary can’t hear it now, but she’ll likely remember it later when it’s too late to take the advice.
There’s been a lot of talk about how Green Arrow — the Oliver Queen version anyway — isn’t on the cover of the first couple of issues of the new Green Arrow/Black Canary series. And how the solicits for the book hint vaguely at “what’s happened to Green Arrow.” It makes me kinda sad that I’m actually hoping something awful happens to him and that Black Canary’s heart is broken quickly and soon, rather than lingeringly and after a nasty relationship that goes on for a while. They were once a nice couple, but that was when she was the type of character who could just quietly support him. She’s grown and improved though since then and nowadays, I can’t imagine that happening. As Devon says, she’s better off without him.
Edited to add: She’s better off without Green Arrow as he’s currently written. As I explained here, I used to really like Green Arrow and even defended him against other critics, but the way he’s been portrayed recently by Judd Winick and others makes him indefensible. I hope that changes.
Filed Under birthdays, frankenstein
Mary Shelley was born 210 years ago today. I’ll always love her for creating one of the most complex heroes in literature.
There’s a heartbreaking line from Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein that sums the Creature up beautifully and perfectly. I don’t have a copy of the novel with me, and it’s been a while since I’ve read it, but if this line isn’t there verbatim, the feeling behind it certainly is.
“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
Happy Birthday, Mary.
Filed Under fantasy, genre, scifi, westerns
I’ve thought for a long time that “Western” is a term that applies better to a setting than a bona fide genre*. Genres come with all kinds of rules and tropes that tend to trap authors into writing the same kinds of stories over and over again. That’s why a movie like Rustlers’ Rhapsody (which I highly recommend, by the way) works so well. It’s making fun of the tropes.
When you ignore the rules and just treat it as a setting, you move past all the cookie-cutter Westerns and end up with movies like Unforgiven. And books like From Hell to Midnight, which is a comedy in cowboy gear. According to Bookgasm, it’s not a parody; it’s just funny. And it includes “a protagonist who wears jodhpurs, a red polka-dot bow tie and a pith helmet.” Sounds good to me.
*Incidentally, I think the same holds true to “Fantasy” and — for me, anyway — “Science Fiction.” I’d be much more interested in Fantasy novels if they quit being about epic quests and tried telling some other kinds of stories. And I’ve realized in the last couple of years that I’m not at all interested in the speculative aspects of Science Fiction, but just want to read lots of different kinds of stories that just so happen to have robots, spaceships, laser guns, and aliens in them.
Filed Under supergirl, warrior women, wonder woman
I’ve been keeping half-an-eye on the development of the JLA movie, but I just realized yesterday that this is the closest we’re going to get to a Wonder Woman movie for a while, so maybe I’d better pay more attention. Kevin Melrose has the latest skinny, linking to the same Christian Bale interview I did about how Bale and Routh aren’t likely to be in the thing, and also linking to IESB.net who debunks the rumor that the whole thing will be CGI motion-capture.
According to IESB, “it will not be an all out ‘motion capture production.’ Heavy motion capture will be used for the OMACs, the underwater sequences and such. So, all in all, this will be a traditionally made film with some motion capture characters, pretty much like every big fantasy movie these days.” (IESB also claims that Tom Welling has been approached to play Superman, but Superman Homepage contradicts that with a statement from Smallville producer Alfred Gough who says, “Hasn’t happened, won’t happen, [Welling] is under contract to Smallville through season 8.”)
Speaking of Super-folks, the Fortress of Fortitude has a great essay about the history of Supergirl and includes some excellent suggestions on how DC might help young girls reclaim the superheroine from creepy, old guys.
“DC can keep Kara in the Teen Titans or Legion of Super-Heroes, but they should cancel the solo title and reintroduce it as part of the revitalized Johnny DC line. Bring back Streaky, Comet and teen-age romance. Give Supergirl back to the little girls, and once again make her a character that represents everything a young one can aspire to. Not every character has to be complex, brooding and kewl.”
Edited to add: Even though I like the Fortress Keeper’s thoughts about what kind of Supergirl stories DC should be telling, I really don’t see why they couldn’t do those while still continuing to publish the current version as well. Just because Marvel Adventures: Avengers exists doesn’t mean that New Avengers shouldn’t. If there’s a market for both, why not publish both?
Filed Under birthdays, creature from the black lagoon, kaluta
MW Kaluta is not at all someone I’ve recently discovered. I don’t remember where I first saw him, but it was a long time ago. I’m thinking it was a Tarzan illustration. Maybe for this.
Anyway, Saturday was his birthday, the news of which led me to his website. Even if you already know his stuff, the site’s worth checking out for all the art he has posted. Especially the commissions.
Filed Under 30 days of night, frankenstein, giant monsters, hulk, jesse james, maps, star wars, wonder woman, x-files
Kill All Monsters!-Related
The Giant Monsters Attack! blog has a profile of a new comic called Sleeping Giant. The creator describes it as “Princess Mononoke, Godzilla and Donnie Darko all mixed into one with a comedic twist.” Sounds good to me.
A lovely, giant, mechanical octopus shooting lasers from some of its eyes graces the cover of the next issue of Clarkesworld Magazine.
Dust to Dust-Related
The Assassination of Jesse James has an official, new poster that you can see illustrating this post.
It was only a matter of time before someone decided to do a live action G.I. Joe movie. I’ve got slightly more interest in that as I did in a Transformers flick, if only because I think it could be done well as a relatively straightforward combat movie or political thriller. But Stephen Sommers is directing it, so that’s probably not what we’ll get. (Also interesting in that link is news that G.I. Joe’s owner Hasbro is also interested in “possible movies based on such properties as the board games Monopoly and Battleship.” I can’t imagine a world in which a Monopoly movie would be good, but I may be jonesing hard enough for a big-budget combat movie that I’d go see one about Battleship.)
There’s going to be a comic series based on Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein. That makes me very happy in theory. As long as it’s executed well.
The X-Files movie script is done and David Duchovny has read it. But he ain’t talkin’.
The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers has announced the winners of the first annual Scribe Awards. Particularly cool to me is that Jeff Mariotte & Steve Niles have won the “Best Novel – Original” category for 30 Days of Night: Rumors of the Undead.
This isn’t completely fantasy, but I’ve just discovered the existance of a cool blog called Strange Maps that is exactly what its title suggests. Some of the maps are of real places (only made out of, say, clothing on a bed), but most of them are of fantastic places or places that might-have-been. You could easily waste a day exploring the archives.
Two artist pals of mine, Katie Cook and Grant Gould have created some Star Wars book covers for all your back-to-school, book-covering needs. I’m not even going back to school, but I’m still trying to figure out what books I can cover in these. My son starts Kindergarten this year though. Hmm.
I haven’t talked much about the JLA movie here because most of what’s out there about it is just rumor. Like that it’s being fast-tracked and that it might be all CGI/motion-capture like Polar Express and Beowulf instead of live-action. But here’s word straight from the bat’s mouth that puts to rest popular speculation over whether it’ll star the likes of Christian Bale and Brandon Routh as its main heroes. According to Bale, it won’t.
Comic Book Resources readers are offering suggestions of things they’d like to see in Gail Simone’s upcoming Wonder Woman run. Top suggestions are the return of Ferdinand the Minotaur, the return of Steve Trevor, and the inclusion of more romance in the book (with Martian Manhunter and any sort of lesbian relationship being specific suggestions).
I’d write a detailed post exploring my fondness for the Hulk the same way I did with Wonder Woman, Black Canary, and Rogue, but really my Hulk-love can be explained in two words: Hulk smash. It doesn’t go much deeper than that, although I do also love the quiet, simple moments when Hulk tries to fit in with other superheroes. This one in particular made me chuckle loudly in my cube (the lengthy set up to the moment-in-question is informative, but you don’t need to read it to appreciate the gag at the bottom of the post).
Filed Under jungle
Jess Hickman and I are working on another story together. It’s for an anthology that I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about yet, so I’ll just tease the story and let you know more about the anthology when I know it’s okay.
Since I haven’t found what I’m looking for in jungle adventure comics lately (though I haven’t read the first issue of the new Shanna mini-series yet), I decided to write one of my own. And honestly? Getting Jess Hickman to draw it is a stroke of genius that I wish I could take complete credit for. But at least some the credit goes to the anthology’s editor who knows that I love working with Jess and wondered if she might be interested in this. So I told Jess my idea and asked if she was interested.
She says I had her at “jungle girl.”
Filed Under fantasy, last legion
Thursday night has been my night to hang out with the guys for I guess the last 16 years or so. Pretty much since I moved to Minnesota. For most of that time we’ve been a roleplaying group, but now that we’ve shrunk to just three people, we’ve been going to movies most weeks. This week we had a harder time than usual picking the movie.
Top of my list right now is The Bourne Ultimatum, but my pals have already seen it. And I wasn’t that interested in the top couple of picks on their list. But even though it wasn’t high on any of our lists, we were all intrigued by The Last Legion.
Not knowing anything about it except that — like King Arthur, which I really enjoyed — it apparently bridges Roman history with Arthurian legend, I checked out the trailer and decided that it was an action/fantasy flick rather than an historical epic. Good to know what box to put it in.
Wanting to know more, I read the IMDB Buzz on it where I learned that it was originally scheduled for release last January, but was delayed until now. According to IMDB, “the month of August is also known as the other month [January being the first one] during which studios may dump their supposed flops.” They seem to think though that it is supposed to be an historical epic and compare it (unfavorably) to Kingdom of Heaven and Tristan + Isolde. Okay, so it’s not supposed to be very good.
On to Rotten Tomatoes, where it’s got an 18% fresh rating. Yikes! Out of curiosity, I read blurbs from the positive reviews and saw things like “Put yourself in the proper boy’s-adventure mindset and The Last Legion’s corny moments will just add to the charm” and “The many faults of The Last Legion give way to guilt-free popcorn thrills.” Not high praise.
So, I figured, it’s a bad movie, but enjoyable if that’s the kind of thing you’re expecting and looking forward to. And… my figuring was exactly right.
The Last Legion is horrible on so many levels. It sports a first rate cast what with Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, and someone who I thought the whole time was the kid from Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but actually turned out to be the kid from Love Actually. Which makes perfect sense since Colin Firth was also in Love Actually and we kept joking about how we were going to have to watch for cameos by Hugh Grant and Renée Zellweger. Alas, Hugh and Renée didn’t show, but we got the kid and we got Aishwarya Rai from Bride and Prejudice, so the romantic comedy contingent was well represented. Oh, and it also has Dr. Bashir from Deep Space Nine (who’s apparently back to calling himself Alexander Siddig instead of Siddig El Fadil, which he’d switched to for a while). Correction: Mel Lowery from Siddig’s Official Fan Site comments below that he originally went by Siddig El Fadil and then changed it to Alexander. She would know and I bow to her expertise. I guess I remembered incorrectly, which is entirely likely.
Anyway, unlikely cast or not, I couldn’t have had more fun at this thing. Yes, a hearty band of heroes appear to walk from Italy to Britain in about a week without having so much as a parcel of elvish waybread to sustain them. Yes, the acting is mostly wooden, except for Kingsley who makes up for everyone else by overacting, especially in an hilarious scene in which he hugs, kisses, and all but makes love to British soil upon his return to that country. Yes, there’s a scene in which a young girl reveals a crucial plot element by pointing dramatically at the camera and announcing, “It was… it was… HIM!” (That one had my brother-in-law and I rolling and laughing almost to the point of embarrassment, but really, the only people in that theater who should’ve been embarrassed were on the screen.) And, yes, as my other buddy said when a fuzzily CGIed villain fell from a cliff onto the rocks below, “The special effects really aren’t that special.” And, yes, Rome fell to the Goths because there were apparently only about twelve guys defending it at the time. And, yes, oh my God let’s not even talk about the villain who gets points for choosing to cover his face with a mask, but zero for choosing one that looks like a frickin’ faun.
If you’re in the mood for a bad ’80s fantasy flick in the style of Conan the Destroyer or Red Sonja (it didn’t surprise me in the least to discover in the end credits that Last Legion was produced by Dino De Laurentiis; in fact, the world suddenly made a lot more sense), this is your movie. It’s not Dungeons and Dragons bad. There are redeeming qualities to it. The fights aren’t inspiring, but they’re cool enough. And Aishwarya Rai sure is pretty. And… okay, that’s about it. But damn did we ever have fun watching it.
Even if we have banned Ben Kingsley flicks now from Thursday Night Movies.