A Movie Entry – Remakes Don’t Have to be Retreads

Or, “Dang it, Disney, do better!”
Or, “Not all remakes are remade the same.”

Continue reading A Movie Entry – Remakes Don’t Have to be Retreads

A Movie Entry – 10 Things I learned from Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi

Yeah, yeah, I said I wasn’t that interested, but I am not entirely immune to the pull of the cultural zeitgeist that is the “Star Wars” franchise.

1) There is much to learn about the ways of the Force.
2) Emotionally and verbally abusing one’s super-powerful, mentally unstable apprentice is probably a bad idea in the long run.
3) The Mouse never misses an opportunity to sell merchandise.
4) Not every secret plan is worth keeping secret.
5) I really don’t care about the fate of the giant horse-goats.
6) The audience already knows Hux is a cartoon villain of the worst kind. We really don’t need him treated almost literally like a cartoon.
7) Poe Dameron is a terrible soldier.
8) Introducing a new character and having other characters say she’s awesome doesn’t actually make her awesome.
9) Kylo Ren doesn’t understand one of the fundamental rules of cool – if you have to work that hard to prove you’re cool, then you’re just not cool.
10) Leia is extremely forgiving of Luke’s complete abrogation of his responsibilities to his family and the galaxy.

A Movie Entry – 10 Things I Learned from Captain Marvel

1) WB/DC is not the only studio that refuses to use the title character’s superhero name in the actual movie.
2) How Nick Fury lost his eye.
3) Why Nick Fury will never tell anyone how he lost his eye.
4) If one alien race is terrified of an apparently benign Earth creature, you can chalk it up to a hilarious inter-species mis-identification. But if two alien races are terrified of an apparently benign Earth creature, you should probably be terrified as well.
5) All it takes to jerry-rig 1990s Earth tech into an intergalactic communication device is an alien power source and parts from Radio Shack.
6) Even though the CGI necessary to de-age actors has ascended the uncanny valley, it’s still kind of disturbing.
7) When villains lay the, “Fight me one-on-one” trap, heroes can in fact resist the bait.
8) Villains, however, can’t resist giving the hero just one more chance to overcome the only obstacle preventing the hero’s total victory.
9) All it takes to become a superhero is survive what should, by the laws of physics, be an absolutely (and probably messy) fatal accident.
10) For a technologically advanced space-faring, star-spanning imperial alien race, the Kree make some pretty dumb strategic errors.

A Movie Entry – 10 Things I Learned from LEGO Batman

1) A more accurate title would be “Apple Presents the LEGO Batman Movie.”
2) Batman, for kids, but that’s okay.
3) Batman’s favorite meal is lobster thermidor which probably doesn’t taste very good as a microwaved leftover.
4) Which villain properties WB/DC actually has the rights to and as such can use their names.
5) Batman’s rogue’s gallery has some very weird entries, even for Batman.
6) The film makers really love Batman.
7) The film makers really don’t care for Zach Snyder’s vision of the DCEU.
8) Even Joker knows it’s ridiculous for Batman and Superman to fight.
9) A movie can make fun of certain clichés and yet embrace them at the same time.
10) This is probably the best superhero movie to be released since Nolan’s trilogy (not necessarily the best Batman movie since this is for kids) and probably will be the best until WB/DC figures out how superheroes are supposed to act (hint – not like this, or this).

It’s not as good as the original LEGO Movie, but it’s still enjoyable. So go see it, if you like fun, slightly meta movies about kid-friendly versions of Batman and Joker. I don’t think this one requires a big screen, but I had free movie passes and a free night. Your favorite streaming service is probably just fine for viewing this one.

A Movie Entry – Coming Attractions 2017

or, “the movies I’m most likely to drag my lazy self out to a theater to see.”

I realize there’s a bit of time yet until the summer movie season is upon us, but with 2017 shaping up to somehow be even worse than 2016, I’ve got to take what joy I can. So as usual there are a whole bunch of movies coming out that aren’t even on my radar but a few that are, and they are, of course, superhero-themed.

Wonder Woman:
My enthusiasm for this movie has gone from, “Oh, yeah, here we go!!!” to “I really, really hope this doesn’t completely suck.” Yes, at this point I would be pleased with mediocre and pleasantly surprised with adequate. WB/DC done brung me low and it’s so weird to me the studio’s movies are so awful but CW/DC TV is pretty good. And I’ve heard even the comics are worth reading again with the new Rebirth taking off. Somewhere in the vast organization that is now WB/DC, there is talent and skill and yet since Chris Nolan wrapped up his trilogy, that talent and skill hasn’t been anywhere near the studio lot. Still, hope springs eternal and the trailers look good.

Spider-man: Homecoming
I just don’t know about this. Sony’s last reboot was objectively terrible, but I know Marvel has creative control. I also know that this isn’t supposed to be an origin story (thank goodness) and the trailers make the movie look pretty good. Of course, the trailers also make it look like this Spider-man story is borrowing heavily from Ultimate Spider-man Miles Morales and I’m not sure I like that. I’ll keep an eye on the reviews and make a decision then.

Thor 3: Ragnorok
My understanding of the plot is, roughly, Thor‘s on a road trip through the realms to find Odin, who’s gone missing. Odin pulls this stuff a lot in the comics, but with Loki pretending to be Odin and somehow no one noticing (or maybe they have; I’m still fuzzy on the details), it’s kind of important Thor get his Asgardian in gear. Also, Thanos punched into the vault and stole the Infinity Gauntlet, so that’s kind of bad. I knew the Hulk was supposed to join Thor although I have no idea why and apparently Dr. Strange will at least cameo and perhaps have a bigger part. I have to say, I’m much more interested in a Thor/Hulk buddy comedy road trip than another sort of generic “get the MacGuffin (in this case Odin) and fight some one-off bad guy” flick. So far Thor’s movies have been fairly unimpressive to me. My base level to judge success for this movie is if the plot doesn’t unceremoniously ditch Jane for the majority of the running time.

The LEGO Batman Movie – This is probably not a movie for anyone who actually liked Batman v Superman: This Title Goes On and On Like the Movie Itself. I really enjoyed the LEGO Movie and I can see LEGO Batman being considered a break-out character. I’m sure the plot will be almost by the numbers “Batman finds out he really does need friends” plot, but that’s fine. I see this version of Batman as making fun of the recent super-dark, super-serious incarnations. Not sure I’ll get to this one in the theater, though. I don’t know the scope requires coughing up the cash for a ticket.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2 – Of course I’m looking forward to this! The second trailer has been my go-to happy place. I’m excited not just for the CG characters, but the real-life ones as well. Drax’s attempts at learning any kind of social skills should be hilarious. I’d like to get some background on Star-lord and find out how come once he got his own spaceship he didn’t go home again? He’s obsessed with Earth, obviously. That one cassette is literally his groove. My only worry is that with the addition of Mantis, and how Gamora was already shafted character-wise, that these two kickass characters will be relegated to so much comic relief and Star-lord’s crush, respectively. Gamora is the deadliest woman in the universe and Mantis is the Celestial Madonna. I want to see that, damn it!

A Writing Entry – Artificial Conflict

I had an entry awhile ago about contrived situations writers will often use to create conflict in the story. I only listed four examples, and three were situations, and one was a character type (the drama llama). Inspired by a YouTube video, I got to thinking about other character types who exist only to create some kind of obstacle for the protagonist to overcome and hopefully don’t exist in real life. Unlike a trope, these characters exist solely to move the plot forward. Their motivations don’t make sense, their characterization is flat, and their appearance in the story is either lazy on the part of the writer or contrived, or sometimes both.

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A Media Entry – Fandom Rage

So I recently posted about how Jurassic World put a hole in my soul with its awfulness, mean-spiritedness, and almost insulting disregard of the original movie. Well, a friend of mine took a bit of umbrage with that entry, even though he didn’t disagree with my fifteen-minute summary. He said the entry sounded like the reason I disliked the movie so much was because I was in a fandom rage over the departures from the source material. He likened my reaction to those people who said the rebooted Ghostbusters was the worst thing in existence and it ruined their childhoods.

So I figured I’d better set the record straight.

Continue reading A Media Entry – Fandom Rage