5/28/2009

New Talk of a Tennant Doctor Who Feature - BBC is talking about a big screen Doctor Who movie featuring David Tennant which is odd on two points: One, a Doctor Who movie would be a gamble considering how well known the character actually is outside of Britain. Two, David Tennant has already said he's leaving the show, so this would be a slap in the face for the new twelfth Doctor, Matt Smith to me.

Star Trek is now 2009's top-grossing film - No surprise there, but I wonder how high it will go in "All-time" status?

Will Summer Glau enter Joss Whedon's Dollhouse?
- Now that "Terminator" has been cancelled, Summer Glau (River Tam in "Firefly") is free to re-unite with Joss Whedon on Dollhouse for it's second season.

New Tomb Raider to be a prequel film? - With Prequel-mania striking Hollywood, it's no surprise that "Tomb Raider" is being rebooted. But really, is there any point?

Spider-Man Marriage Restored… In Newspaper Comic Strip - After the outcry from rabid readers, Spider-man is being re-united with Mary Jane...in the daily comic strip. The idea of making it all a dream clears out the ret-con nicely. No word if the comics will follow suit.

Terminator Salvation director McG says he's the biggest j--k in Hollywood - Apparently Bay accused McG of stealing his giant robots from Transformers and McG responded with class and dignity...not.

5/27/2009

I thought I'd caught all of the Star Trek references until someone mentioned Scotty had accidentally lost "Admiral Archer's prized beagle" a reference to Enterprise's Captain Archer. It made me wonder what else I missed and it turns out A LOT.
ComicMix compiled what I imagine is a partial list:
http://www.comicmix.com/news/2009/05/12/star-trek-movie-annotations/

5/26/2009

I saw Star Trek and thought it was really good, but was confused when I saw Winona Ryder listed in the credits. I figured maybe she played Ensign Number Ten in Scene 14, but then I discovered she played Spock's mother. My first question was, "why?" First of all, why would they make such a big deal about hiring a nutjob like Winona Ryder? And then go to all the trouble of hiring her, and make her near-unrecognizable with old age make-up? And why would they hire a young woman and make her up an old woman when there are actual old women who would bludgeon their grandchildren to get an acting role like that? Well, the answer is that they originally had a scene with Winona as a young Spock's mother giving birth that got cut. But still. You're telling me Judi Dench wasn't available to play the older Mrs. Spock? Something's wrong in Hollywood, and Winona Ryder as Spock's mother in Star Trek is Exhibit A.
Saw the new trailer for V and it looks pretty good. Instead of the Nazi allegory they're taking more of a religious allegory.

The trailer sets up the show and the main characters, starting with a sequence right out of Independence Day. V is slated to debut in midseason in early 2010.

5/19/2009

As the networks release their list of shows being renewed most fans gave up hope that Dollhouse, which premiered at horrible ratings before sinking to even worse ratings by the finale would be renewed. So, imagine their surprise when Fox picked it up for a second season and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" was canceled. In explaining why, it seems like it came down to two things: money and creativity.

Kevin Reilly, Fox's president of entertainment, described Terminator as "not an inexpensive show" and felt that it was given ample support and scheduling following a huge launch. "We tried, and felt it was time to move on." he said.

He describes Dollhouse differently, "First, it's a bet on [creativity], and that's something that has never changed," Reilly said. "And I'm happy to say we're doing that. You know how inspired Joss Whedon is. It's a bet on Joss."

Personally, I was more interested in Dollhouse than Terminator mainly because of the writing. Dollhouse was a weird premise that was hard to hook into, but managed to be an extremely well-written and character driven show. Terminator was a great premise with a familiar concept that managed to have hours devoted to Connor pouting and whining and Cameron getting hit by trucks every week. I stopped watching both shows by the end, but if someone locked me in a room and gave me a choice of DVDs to watch, I'd take Dollhouse because at least it felt like it was going somewhere.

Plus, with the new movie "Terminator: Salvation" coming out, the show just can't compete in terms of mythology and action. It's always been a theatrical spectacle and didn't really fit on the small screen.

5/10/2009

Having faithfully watched four seasons of Lost to find the answer to the reason behind the Numbers, imagine my surprise when it turns out it was revealed at a comic book con instead. There, Damon Lindelof said:

"Here's the story with [the] numbers. The Hanso Foundation that started the Dharma Initiative hired this guy Valenzetti to basically work on this equation to determine what was the probability of the world ending in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Valenzetti basically deduced that it was 100 percent within the next 27 years, so the Hanso Foundation started the Dharma Initiative in an effort to try
to change the variables in the equation so that mankind wouldn't wipe it itself
out."
Now I knew this because I was once a rabid Lost fan online, and this information is freely available there. But I've been waiting for them to put the answer into the show. Why haven't they? Because, according to Lindelhof:

"That would be the worst thing ever. We have to make the show for the
hard-core fans who care about the numbers, but we also have to make it for
my mom, who just wants Sawyer to take his shirt off."


So his explanation for why they haven't explained the Numbers on the show is that the average viewer doesn't care? Bogus. I don't know anybody who watches the show that doesn't watch it primarily to find the answers to the questions it raises. Why spend so much time raising questions on the show if you don't think the viewer wants the answers? I think this shows that the creators of the show have a rather dismal view of their own audience. Just a bunch of mouth-breathers who are more interested in seeing the characters in underwear than the deeper themes of the show. That's why the show has been diverted from an entertaining and mysterious show about a ragtag group of crash survivors to an endlessly convoluted and bewildering mess of storylines that never get resolved.

5/09/2009

If I were to summarize my review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it would be “good, not great.” The movie is not as epic as the trailers would claim to be.

The opening shows a young Logan gaining his powers for the first time, and I won’t spoil what little power the scene has by revealing what goes on in it. Even still, the scene was almost completely ruined by the horrific child actors. They played a scene that should have been gut-wrenching as if it were a commercial for a videogame. Someone should have told the kids that putting in eyedrops to simulate tears isn’t enough to convey sadness. Really, I think you could point to that one opening scene as the problem with the entire movie. We have a lot of stuff that is very powerful and emotional on paper, but the actors and the director aren’t able to convey it.

The opening scene also captures the shallowness of all the characters. We don’t really know much about these two kids in the scene, and we never really do. I was looking forward to the movie to find out more about who Logan (a.k.a. James Howlett-lousy name, but blame Wolverine: Origin for that) was before he lost his memory, but we get very little of that as well. A hundred years of his life is glossed over with a montage of Logan and Victor fighting in every major war in the last century, but no explanation of why they were fighting the wars in the first place. The story only stops at the point where events are set in place to make him Wolverine. I guess that makes sense, but even a few lines of dialogue about Logan and where he came from would be welcome. I feel like I knew less about Logan than I did before I saw the movie. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a good explanation of how Logan became Wolverine, but not a good explanation of Logan himself.

The rest of the characters are paper-thin in most cases. Most of them walk on-screen and function throughout the film with no explanation of who they are and what their motivation is. This is a movie that would rather have a cool fight scene on top of a nuclear power plant’s cooling tower than provide an explanation for why the characters would climb up there in the first place. But of course, most of the film’s audience isn’t there to see the characters. They’re there to see an action movie, and in that sense, the movie delivers. The fight scenes are excellent with enough eye-popping stunts and cool mutant powers to make the movie worth seeing. Even if it doesn’t always make sense.

Really, the movie has a lot of plot holes, but considering that the Marvel comics still have trouble sorting out Wolverine’s origin, the movie can be forgiven. A few that stuck with me (spoiler alert: skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t seen the movie); still a little unclear on how they got the adamantium onto Wolverine’s bones. In the first movie, it looked like plates of adamantium were grafted onto his skeleton. In Wolverine, it seems they injected adamantium into his bones and that somehow infused the skeleton. But then how did his lumpy and circular bone claws become thin and knife-shaped? During the procedure, where were the champagne glasses and bunny-suited men from the first movie’s flashback scenes? Why didn’t Sabretooth mention that he was Logan’s brother in the first X-Men? No “hey, how’s it going, long time no see?” Why doesn’t anybody mention Sabretooth/Victor’s weird claw-like nails, even when he was a kid? How did Logan get from Three Mile Island in the U.S. to living in Canada, mere miles from Alkali Lake where he was created? And why would the U.S. government have a secret military project in Canada? And why doesn’t Striker have a Southern accent like he did in X2? And what kind of a stupid circus act is turning on a light bulb?

I found the ending a little disappointing. Considering the amount of build-up to the point where Logan loses his memory, I thought it really got short shrift. I won’t give it away if you haven’t seen it, but I found it too perfunctory and also slightly unbelievable. I mean, how could Striker really know that [censored] would destroy Logan’s memory? Couldn’t it also have turned him into a vegetable?

All that being said, it boils down to the fact the X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a pretty good movie for a summer action flick, but not strong enough for one of the biggest and most popular comic characters ever. Then again, could there ever really be a movie worthy of Wolverine that wasn’t five hours long? This one isn’t perfect, but it does the trick. I think the more of a hardcore fan you are of Wolverine and Marvel comics, the less you’ll enjoy the movie. So in this case, ignorance really is bliss.

***
3 of 5 stars

5/08/2009

Now that the Wolverine movie is out, it's time to visit one of my many sore spots over the current state of comic book characters. I haven't followed comics regularly in over ten years, so I was unaware until recently that they had established that Wolverine's claws weren't added in the Weapon X procedure. He was born with bone claws. Weapon X just put adamantium over them. This, to me, makes absolutely no sense. A lot of my arguments were articulated on the very well-written post on Your Mom's Basement, "I Hate Bone Claws." I'll just do a run-through.

  1. They've always established that you only get one mutant power. Wolverine's power was rapid healing. Bone claws have nothing to do with rapid healing, so that means he was born with two mutant powers.
  2. No animal in nature has claws made of bone. That means a completely weird and bizarre ability developed out of nowhere on Wolverine.
  3. The bone claws look stupid. The adamantium claws are sleek and sharp, the bone claws are bumpy and weird.
  4. The bone claws are obviously a retcon, added later to explain why he could have his adamantium ripped off and still be Wolverine. They could've had Logan go to Mr. Fantastic or somebody and get replacement claws surgically added. Adding the bone claws after decades of history is lazy writing.
In addition, the bone claws are a lame substitute for his metal claws. Because they're only sharp on the ends! He can't slice through anything, just stab stuff. Wolverine doesn't stab, he slices. And as we saw in the movie, bones can be broken. I think Wolverine's bone claws are a sign of how crappy and convoluted comics have become.

In a related story...Spider-Man had "stingers?!" I didn't see that, and I'm glad I didn't. What is wrong with these writers? Why can't they just leave well enough alone?! This is why I don't read comics faithfully anymore, besides the three dollar price tag per issue. When I pick up a comic, I want to see that superhero as I always liked him to be. I want to see Spider-Man, the Hulk, or Wolverine. I don't want Spider-Man in armor and with stingers. I don't want a talking Hulk who's also a secret agent. And I don't want Wolverine with no adamantium and bone claws.

5/05/2009

World's Sexiest Mutant Delivers the Goods
Apparently, the promise of a near-naked Hugh Jackman was enough to pull in a large group of women to see the testosterone-filled "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" film. According to the Los Angeles Times 47% of the $160 million dollars worth of tickets this past weekend were bought by women. I'm OK with that since it just brings in more money for the Marvel franchise to play with. Plus, it gives guys an excuse to get "dragged reluctantly" (*wink wink*) to see Wolverine by their womenfolk.

5/04/2009

The new movie had a whole slew of continuity problems that are introduced, however let's just stick with the ones from the movies and ignore the comics:

  1. In X1, Sabretooth's eyes are black in X1 and normal in XOW.
  2. Sabretooth had two sets of fangs in X1 and one set in XOW. While we can assume that he made massive physical changes between XOW and X1, why would they happen over a span of a few years when he's lived for over one hundred years without changing?
  3. Sabretooth shrank in height and changed hair color from brown to blonde.
  4. Sabretooth didn't seem to recognize Wolverine or indicate they knew each other in any way.
  5. The flashbacks in X2 indicate several people in surgical masks, yet there were none present in XOW.
  6. An X-ray in X1 showed the intricate blade work in his hands, but there was apparently nothing done besides injecting Adamantium to his bones.
  7. Striker's accent changes from X2 to XOW.
  8. Sabretooth barely spoke in X1 in private or public, however in XOW he was extremely vocal and had an ironic sense of humor.
  9. Professor X is standing in XOW. However, he was in a wheelchair in the flashbacks of X3 when he visited Jean Grey. If we assume she was ten at that time then Scott would have been one (nine year difference between them). At the time of the film it would have been, at least, fifteen years later and he's out of his wheelchair and can walk. So, apparently, he went back into his wheelchair by the time of the first film X1. While it was never explained in the movie how he became a paraplegic, the movie introduces the idea that it happened more than once.

UPDATE: Turns out I had to amend a couple things after watching X2 again.

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