Archive for the ‘island adventure’ Category
Filed Under batman, island adventure, robinson crusoe, tiki
By Frank Godwin. Which reminds me that I need to catch up on the new Crusoe show on TiVo and report on it. I really enjoyed the awesome, pirates- and treehouse-filled island-adventure in the pilot.
Cameron Crowe’s Tropical Romantic Comedy
Cameron Crowe will start production next year on a romantic adventure-comedy starring Ben Stiller and Reese Witherspoon and set in Hawaii. According to /Film, the plot features a native Hawaiian council, Hawaiian gods, and a volcano-sacrifice.
I’m gonna have to see a trailer on that one. The awesome-sounding elements are pretty much neck-and-neck with the questionable ones.
Writer Kevin Church is teasing a new comic that looks very island-adventurey. Looking forward to learning more about that one.
As promised: Tiki Batman
By Anthony Carpenter.
Filed Under island adventure
The subtitle to Son of Fury is “The Story of Benjamin Blake.” I guess that would mean something if you were familiar with Edison Marshall’s novel Benjamin Blake, but I wasn’t, so Son of Fury is more than okay with me.
I wish I knew more about Edison Marshall though and how much of his novel made it into the movie, because I loved this film. It starts off like a Dickens story. Young Ben (played by a 14-year old Roddy McDowall) is an orphan and lives with his kindly grandfather, a Bristol gunsmith. Unfortunately, the other side of the family comes calling in the form of Ben’s uncle, Sir Arthur Blake (George Sanders being more sadistic and less charming than I like to see him, but wow how effective). Turns out that Sir Arthur’s older brother was Ben’s dad. There’s no record that Ben’s dad was ever married to the gunsmith’s daughter, so Ben is technically a bastard and no threat to the family holdings. Sir Arthur isn’t taking any chances though, so he wants to keep Ben close where he can make sure the young heir can’t prove anything or cause any trouble.
Sir Arthur has Ben legally transferred to his custody, but puts him to work in indentured servitude as a stable boy. For completely convincing reasons that I won’t go into, Ben chooses to stay. Ten years later, he’s become Tyrone Power and has fallen in love with Sir Arthur’s daughter Isabel. That relationship ultimately leads to Ben’s needing to escape, but he does so as a wanted man and flees to sea, hoping to make his fortune and eventually return to England to free his grandfather (who’s been jailed for aiding Ben), prove his lineage, claim his inheritance, and marry his first cousin Isabel. “Ick” on that last part, but it what are you gonna do? It was the eighteenth century.
At sea, Ben meets a fellow sailor named Caleb (John Carradine) and they hatch a plan to jump ship near an island that Caleb hears is rich in pearls. They do, they make friendly with the natives, they make a fortune, and Ben falls in love (again) with an unbelievably gorgeous island girl (Gene Tierney). The conflict at that point becomes about whether another ship will ever pass their way to take them back to England. And if one does, if they’ll get on it.
I won’t spoil the end for you. I went into the movie without knowing anything about it and I’m sure that’s a huge part of the reason I loved it so much. I struggled a lot during the island part because it’s so obviously Paradise and I sort of hated Ben for not seeing it and for being so focused on getting back to Cousin Isabel.
I can’t claim any kind of moral ground though. I admit that I’d forgotten all about poor Grandfather back in jail, so clearly I was distracted by Gene Tierney, grass huts, luaus, oyster diving, and all the fresh fruit and roast pig you can eat. Who’s to say what the right choice is?
I’m not the only one who struggled either. John Carradine’s Caleb clearly has the same dilemma and my appreciation for Carradine grew a bit more as it always does when I find him in another movie. I was introduced to him as Dracula in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula and didn’t like him at first, but I’ve grown to enjoy his quiet menace as I’ve rewatched those films. It’s the same, subdued sense of danger he gives off in stuff like Son of Fury and Captains Courageous. He’s so thin he looks like you could snap him into pieces, but then you see that glare and there’s no way you’d want to try. There’s also a loneliness behind that reined-in fury that I find fascinating and it’s always uplifting in those movies where he finally opens up and befriends the main character.
Another horror icon making an appearance in Son of Fury is Elsa Lanchester, the Bride of Frankenstein herself. She has a small, but important role as a tavern wench who helps Ben escape Bristol. It’s not a unique part – basically the Hooker With a Heart of Gold – but she sells it and makes it memorable.
I’m going to let the poster above talk about Gene Tierney for me. Except to say that there’s no way you’d get me off an island with her on it. I don’t care how hot or rich my cousin was.
Five out of five hula girls.
Filed Under captain nemo, giant monsters, island adventure
Minor SPOILERS BELOW
I must have seen Mysterious Island as a kid, because a lot of it looked familiar. Or maybe I’d just seen lots of clips from Ray Harryhausen tributes. Either way, I can’t believe I made it this long into adulthood without watching it (again?).
Yay for Turner Classic Movies though. And it feels kind of appropriate to watch it now since I’ve just watched 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It would’ve been even more appropriate to watch after the Disney 20,000 Leagues, which is a lot closer to this movie in tone and look than the Richard Crenna movie, but oh well. It was still cool catching up with Captain Nemo. And a much cooler version than Crenna’s pal, too.
If you haven’t seen it, Mysterious Island is the story of some Union soldiers and a reporter who escape from a Confederate prison camp in a hot air balloon towards the end of the Civil War. A Confederate guard jumps into the basket to try to stop them and ends up stuck with them too. Unfortunately, there’s a huge storm going on and it blows them clear across the continent and over the Pacific Ocean. Eventually they come down on the titular island and have to learn to work together to survive giant crab attacks and pirates. It’s pretty awesome.
The group is prettied up when a couple of English women are stranded on the island after their ship wrecks. They’re a rich woman and her niece, and at first they come across a bit entitled, but they integrate with the camp pretty quickly. And lucky for the men, the aunt can sew, so she makes jungle clothes for everyone including a skimpy outfit for her niece.
I won’t spoil how Nemo shows up or what role he plays, but he does show up to add an extra helping of awesome to the plate. He’s played by Herbert Lom (Chief Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies) who’s doing his best to equal James Mason’s version from the Disney film. He doesn’t quite make it, but he comes close. His goofy seashell diving gear hurts him, but he’s much more animated and exotic than Ben Cross’ version in the Crenna film). Lom even plays Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (but then, so did Cross, which was the coolest thing about him).
The Nautilus is also clearly ripped off from the Disney version, just as it should’ve been.
According to IMDB, the original concept for the movie was to shoot it as a straight survival story (inspired in part by the success of another Disney movie, Swiss Family Robinson), but the producers thought that was boring and ordered some giant monsters. So, yay, producer meddling!
Speaking of previous versions, there’s a giant bird attack at one point that was held over from an early draft that featured prehistoric beasts. As much as I like dinosaurs, I’m more than okay with the giant crab, bees, and nautilus in this movie. Part of what made it so cool and interesting is that I never knew what to expect next. Dinosaurs are great, but I don’t think I would have thrilled to a T-Rex half as much as I did to that crab.
My only complaints about the movie have to do with the ladies’ not kicking enough butt and there not being enough Nemo in general. It could have been just a little bit more awesome than it was.
Four out of five giant crab dinners.
Filed Under aquaman, argonauts, dinosaurs, island adventure, jungle, pirates, sea monsters, sub-mariner
Guide to Pirate Parenting
At last there’s help for those of us who want to raise our children to be scurvy sea dogs. Includes: “Top 10 reasons to raise your children as pirates” and “Top 10 traits that show your new baby has great potential to be a pirate” amongst other great lists and tips.
My favorite from that second list: “When mom’s water broke, the baby yelled, ‘I sail with the tide!’”
There are a couple of Jason and the Argonauts movies
in the works. One is a retelling of the myth by Zak Penn; the other is a Dreamworks film about a group of modern-day treasure hunters who find the wreck of the Argo and are transported to ancient Greece.
Iron Chef Japan’s Sea Monster Week
Aquaman vs. Sub-Mariner
Caleb observes that though Sub-Mariner has been around longer and is the more interesting character, Aquaman has won the battle for popular consciousness.
/Film reports that a sequel series to Hawaii Five-O is in the works. “The new series will focus of Chris McGarrett, a Hawaiian cop and son of Steve McGarrett.” Just don’t screw with the theme song, fellas. Jazz it up if you must, but make damn sure it’s recognizable. That’ll make or break this thing.
Savage Land action figures
ToyFare has the review and some good pics.
Robert Hood takes a look at the underappreciated technique of depicting dinosaurs in the ’60s: sticking fake frills and horns on real monitor lizards. It was a horrible technique and a drastic step back from the stop-motion used in the preceding decades, but there’s still something kind of stupidly charming about it, no?
I don’t know how much sea adventure goes on in Gregory Frost’s Shadow Bridge and Lord Tophet, but the two-book series has a cool setting at least: an ocean world criss-crossed with spans and bridges. My friend Shara Saunsaucie liked both books, so I’m curious now.
Filed Under aquaman, atlantis, island adventure, mermaids, pirates, sub-mariner
Nim’s Island on DVD
I know it looks like a kids’ movie, but I found a lot to love about it as an adult too. It’s all about love, being brave, and keeping promises. And like I said before, it made me wish there really was a series of Alex Rover books. Plus: Jodie Foster.
Anyway, it’s on DVD now and I’m getting it.
I once found myself in the weird position of having to justify my fondness for pirates to someone who really wanted me to understand that piracy is a horrible, modern, real-world problem. Well, of course it is. And I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed hanging out with real pirates 300 years ago.
I’m also sure that I wouldn’t want to ride a real, live T-Rex, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking that dinosaurs are pretty darn cool. There are awesome, fantasy versions and there are horrifying, real-life versions. I prefer the fantasy versions, but this International Maritime Bureau map of 2008 piracy attacks is really interesting and educational.
I can’t help but notice though that there’s not a whole lot of high seas piracy going on here. Mostly its very close to shore. I also notice that one attack about a month ago occured pretty much in port at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Knowing what I do about recent events in Haiti, I wonder how much that attack was motivated by greed versus a desperate attempt to get some food.
Not that I’m at all excusing any use of violence to take something that doesn’t belong to you; I’m just questioning how many of these acts are actually committed by what we’d think of as traditional, merciless, professional pirates.
Pirate Hotel East
Back to the cool pirates though: if you’re looking to stay in a pirate-themed hotel, but aren’t headed to California: good news. Walt Disney World is opening their own, pirate-themed rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort.
Want to know how to convert your kids’ wagon into a pirate ship? About.com tells you.
The Pirate Shack has links to a couple of sites focused on Lego pirate sets.
Marquette Pirate Festival
If it weren’t seven hours away, I’d head over the the Pirate Festival in Marquette, Michigan this week. It goes until the 18th and includes treasure hunts, a carnival, a play, and a pirate ball. None of the information I found mentions a specific tie between piracy and the town’s heritage, but I’m sure there must have been pirates of some kind on Lake Superior at some point. Even if it’s completely arbitrary though, it sounds like a lot of fun.
Otis Frampton has been talking about and showing concept art from the pirate/fantasy graphic novel he’s working on. It’s called Flynn and it’s about a young girl in a world inhabited by dragons, steel airships, and cat people.
Mermaid end table
I wouldn’t want it in my living room, but the sculpt on this mermaid table is cool enough that it’s worth pointing out.
Sub-Mariner: The Depths
I don’t know why I haven’t been more interested in aquatic superheroes than I have. You’d think I’d be all over Sub-Mariner and Aquaman comics, but I’ve never cared that much about them.
I think that’s mostly because writers have seen them as standard superheroes (or occasionally, in Sub-Mariner’s case, a supervillain). They’ve focused on the water-based powers, but stick the characters in New York or outer space or wherever else you typically find superheroes. No wonder most folks think these guys are lame; Sub-Mariner slightly less so because at least he has an interesting, volatile personality.
Since I’ve been thinking so much about ocean adventures lately, I’m getting curious about checking out some Sub-Mariner and Aquaman comics. I know there’ve been some that focus on the undersea lives of these guys, but I’ve ignored them because of my perception that I just didn’t care for the characters. I think it’s time to give them another look.
One that looks good is Marvel’s upcoming Sub-Mariner mini-series The Depths. It’s written by Peter Milligan (Human Target) and will be illustrated by Esad Ribic (The Mighty Thor: Loki). It’s about a legendary, Indiana Jones-like explorer who gets it into his head to go find Atlantis, but runs up against the city’s lord and protector once he gets there. That sounds like a good story with or without a Marvel superhero in it.
Filed Under batman, bond, dinosaurs, doctor who, indiana jones, island adventure, knight rider, pirates
Topless Robot has the correct reaction to the new Batmobile:
I can’t imagine the Bat-rims are part of his intimidating criminals and so forth, because frankly, they’re ridiculous. All custom rims are ridiculous. No decent criminal would think a man driving a car with custom rims should be feared; they’d think he’s a douchebag. If I saw a car whose rims all said “Steve” on them, I’d assume a guy named Steve drove the car, and that Steve was a huge dick.
So is Batman feeling his age? Is he trying to get down with the kids? Is this Robin’s fault? Was he minutes away from putting neon underneath the car, and decided on the rims instead?
Doctor Who theme remixes
Whomix is so Awesome.
There’s only one thing better than dinosaur comics: FREE dinosaur comics!
I’m not a videogamer, but I’ve always loved the design of BioShock and a movie made from it sounds excellent. Especially one directed by Gore Verbinski.
Mapping the Mysterious Island
I love it when people with more time than I’ve got spend it making things I love.
Batman vs. pirates
If you don’t know about The Daily Batman yet, here’s an excellent example of why you should.
More new Bond pics
Can be found here. Some small, potential spoilers there, I guess.
Indiana Jones makes everything better, continued
Gnod has come up with a fun tool to help you discover new writers based on the writers you already know you like. You decide who you want in the center of the map and the program does the rest. The closer two writers are on the map, the more likely you’ll dig them both.
New Knight Rider show back to drawing board, sort of
New Showrunner Gary Scott Thompson promises to up the Awesome when he and his writers turn the new Knight Rider pilot into an actual series.
We sort of had to backpaddle, and the good thing about what they did – and by the way I had nothing to do with the 2-hour (movie), I was brought in afterwards to do the series – the good thing about what they did with it is they left it almost a blank slate. There are a few things, but everything that was there we can either fill in and embellish or basically discredit in some way and say no that’s not the truth. Actually that’s open very well for us mythology-wise. One of the things we’re going to play with is Mike’s military background, and there’s a couple of little secrets in there that I’m not going to reveal to you right now, but there’s some fun stuff. And then the other thing we’re doing too is just the car- I really want this car to be super cool and super hot. We’ve gone back in and we’re really redesigning the whole Attack Car, and that’s going to be a big secret we’re going to hang on to as long as we can (laughs), exactly what the car can and can’t do.
…This has to be super cool. And it has to be super cool every week. And there has to be really cool gadgets, and technology-wise, we’re at a level where stuff should be way beyond what we’re seeing now, and that’s where we want to go.
Filed Under dinosaurs, giant monsters, indiana jones, island adventure, king kong, nazis, treasure hunters, vikings, zeppelins
Land of Kong
Man, I wish this place was still open.
War Eagles story can finally be told
Robert Hood has the history of Merian C. Cooper’s War Eagles concept (essentially giant eagles, dinosaurs, vikings, Nazis, and zeppelins in an aerial fight over NY). There’ve been a couple of movies planned and a comic series, but it looks like the first medium the story will be told in will be novelization.
As Palaeoblog says, “If only…”
Brad Pitt: Treasure Hunter?
He’s apparently interested in making a movie about a guy searching for a lost Amazon city. Sounds pretty cool to me.
Indiana Jones novels
Bookgasm’s got the skinny on the reissues of some Indiana Jones novels.
Indy can’t stop the rock.
Indy finds Waldo.
Lilo & Stitch’s Chris Anders is designing The Perfect Dashboard Hula Girl.
Via Giant Monsters Attack:
Normally, I consider dinosaurs to be outside of the realm of giant monsters since they’re not technically “monsters”, but just really big, extinct animals- however, the content and paleontological inaccuracy of the creatures depicted in the series is much more akin to a rampaging daikaiju movie than something you’d ever come across on the Discovery Channel.
Indiana Jones makes everything better, part one
Even M&Ms. There’s a fun temple-exploration game in there, so you should check out the site.
Filed Under apocalyptic, island adventure, medieval, rhona mitra, spies, terminator
Got a bit of a backlog of movies I’ve been meaning to talk about, so here are some quick reviews.
Almost awesome. It had all the right influences (Road Warrior, Escape from New York, and the medieval movie of your choice) and filtered them through the story of a booty-kickin’ Action Girl with a soundtrack that includes Adam Ant, Fine Young Cannibals, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Any movie that uses Frankie’s “Two Tribes Go to War” as the background music to a Road Warrior-style chase scene immediately rules.
Unfortunately, the medieval movie that the filmmakers were influenced by appears to be Flesh + Blood. The violence and gore is over the top, but in a bad way. There’s zero restraint and that doesn’t work for the movie. For instance, one of the bad guys is a gang leader named Solomon. He’s depicted part of the time as a fun, charming villain, but then he goes and does absolutely despicable things that we get to see in graphic detail. That might be a cool, nuanced approach for a drama, but not an adventure movie like this.
Four out of five Frankies.
The Bank Job
Not really what I was expecting. It’s a spy movie disguised as a caper movie and the caper part works pretty well, but the spies are pretty much idiots, so I didn’t enjoy that bit. I haven’t researched the real-life events that it’s based on, but I suspect that the spy angle is speculation based on conspiracy theory. And kind of dumb conspiracy theory at that.
If the British government wanted to retrieve potentially damaging photographs from a bank safe deposit box, surely there are better, easier ways to go about it than covertly hiring a bunch of local crooks to break in and do it for them. The unknown, uncontrollable variables the spies had to accept to even consider the mission are infinite. In fact, there’s not a single element that the spies do control during the whole film.
The caper part of it works though because the crooks are pretty charming. Especially, naturally, Jason Statham. But they’re none of them so charming that I wanted to see them get away with robbing people’s safe deposit boxes. This isn’t insured bank money we’re talking about. It’s people’s jewelry and passports and birth certificates. Yeah, some crooked people banked there (in fact, in a hard-to-believe coincidence, apparently all of London’s slimy underground banked there), but I couldn’t forget that the thieves were stealing from real people and unlike in a good caper movie, I wanted to see them all caught.
Two out of five secret tunnels.
I was hoping this would be an awesome spy story set in WWII, Japanese-occupied China. And it is a spy story; just not an awesome one. It’s about a young, Chinese girl who joins the Chinese resistance when Japan invades. She and her other college chums come up with a scheme to assassinate a high-level Chinese official who’s working with the Japanese to oppress the Chinese people. The scheme involves our heroine’s seducing the official so that she can lure him into a trap where her friends will kill him. Unfortunately, the official is a very careful man and difficult to snare. So she has to keep working on him – keep seducing him – until he slips up.
The movie’s title comes from the focus on the obvious sexual tension between the girl and the official, and how that’s in conflict with his paranoid, extremely cautious nature. And that’s the movie’s primary concern. Where The Bank Job is a bad spy movie pretending to be an okay caper film, Lust, Caution is a powerful, but twisted love story masquerading as a fairly decent spy flick. As long as you know that’s what you’re in for, you should do fine. I didn’t, so I had to adjust on the fly. Sort of like what I had to do with Ang Lee’s Hulk. I can appreciate it for what it is in hindsight, but I still really wish it was more like what I’d hoped for.
Four out of five clandestine meetings in coffee shops.
Jodie Foster + island adventure + Gerard Butler in dual roles (both of which are handsome adventurers) + fantastic story about love, promises, and bravery + bearded dragon = Freaking. Awesome.
Five out of five Alex Rovers.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
I avoided this in the theater for two reasons. The lesser of the two was that it didn’t have Sarah Conner in it and I’d fallen for her in T2. I didn’t know how much I’d enjoy a Terminator movie without her.
The bigger reason though was that it didn’t have James Cameron in it either and without his vision to guide it, I was afraid that it would lead the franchise down the Highlander path. By which I mean that Highlander is a fan-freaking-tastic movie, but the sequels sucked because they abandoned the concept and continuity established by the first. “There can be only one,” indeed.
That’s what I was afraid would happen with the Terminator movies. Someone would come along and try to keep the series going, but would go too far and not only lose the feel of the first two, but ignore the careful, almost intricate continuity they’d set up.
Fortunately, to my surprise, T3 didn’t do that. It was a logical extension of what had come before. It was pretty brave in its ending, but that worked for me. It makes me want to see sequels, which is not at all the response I thought I’d have.
Not that there aren’t problems. John Conner and his girlfriend walk into top secret military bases far too easily and the Schwarzenegger Terminator’s conflict about its programming was cheesy and horribly acted. I’ve seen Schwarzenegger do some good acting, but he wasn’t doing it here. There’s other silliness too, like how in the midst of nuclear Armageddon, US military leaders somehow instinctively turn to punk kid John Conner for comfort.
So, yes. Flawed, really pretty average action movie. But so much better than I thought it would be.
Three out of five naked Terminator women.
Filed Under forbidden kingdom, island adventure
Nim’s Island: My son is SO excited to see this because it has a bearded dragon in it and we’ve got a bearded dragon. He’s been going around for two weeks now telling everyone that it’s coming out on April 4th. It does look fun though, so I’m looking forward to seeing it with him.
Smart People: This one’s all about the cast. In order of attraction: Ellen Page, Thomas Haden Church, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Dennis Quaid.
Chaos Theory: And this one’s all about Ryan Reynolds. Is Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place available on DVD? Oh, look! Yes, it is.
88 Minutes: I kind of feel like I’ve already figured out the mystery, which means that I’ll either be a) really disappointed or b) really surprised. I wish I knew which it’ll be.
The Forbidden Kingdom: Jet Li and Jackie Chan has to be better than Jet Li and Jason Statham was. The trailer certainly looks better.
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: Looks stupid as all get out, but the trailer makes me laugh. I can’t account for my funny bone.
Deception: Because the plot sounds like something Michael Douglas oughta be starring in, I actually wasn’t going to list this one until I was farting around on Apple and watched the trailer there. I should’ve trusted more that I’d like a movie with Wolverine and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor looks especially cool as a nerd who has to man up in order to do battle with the evil Hugh Jackman.