Reinterpreting Disney’s The Black Hole

A lot of critics attack Disney’s 1979 sci-fi blockbuster The Black Hole on the basis of science.  And while one level that’s understandable, it’s not terribly fair.  For instance one critic called foul on the black hole being visible.

And while it’s true that according to science they cannot be seen–you don’t see the black hole itself, but the reaction of objects in the range of its influence–can you imagine how viewers would have responded to an empty void?

These days?  It wouldn’t probably be such a big deal, but in 1979?  Competing against Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which for my money had way too many plot elements in common with the Space: 1999 episode Voyager’s Return, but that’s another post) that had to couch it in terms that viewers could understand (and not openly mock, it goes without saying).

Besides, when we’re talking about science, why is it movies based on Star Trek or the X-Men get a pass?  For instance, the transporter from Star Trek (which breaks a person down into what I assume is data, and rebuilds them on the other end is pretty silly (scientists are working on such things right now though I’d have to ask if that’s because they were inspired by Star Trek, as opposed to vice versa) and let’s not even get started on the X-Men, characters that exist in a universe where a person can have the power to project beams of force from their eyes, or shape shift (which I could easier accept if it were as painful as altering your skeletal structure and flesh should be).

Continue reading

My Thoughts On Idris Elba As James Bond

Edris ElbaThis is the type of crap I absolutely hate, and Roger Moore should know better.  What I am referring to is an interview he did with Paris Match when he said that Idris Elba wasn’t “English-English” enough to play James Bond.

And he could be saying a lot of things–though we all know what he means, don’t we?

So let’s call a spade, a spade (so to speak):  The only “problem” that he could possibly find with Elba is that he’s black, and since James Bond has traditionally been played by white actors, it stands to reason (by his logic) that only white actors could play the character.

Which is utter nonsense because there’s nothing about Bond that speaks to his skin color (that being said, while I haven’t read any of Ian Fleming’s books, I am reasonably comfortable in assuming that the Bond he envisioned was white) it needs to be kept in mind that the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was written in 1952 and was so successful that three print runs were needed to cope with the demand.

Then there’s the fact that Fleming was born in 1908, which makes me relatively confident that there weren’t too many movies (or books or anything mainstream) with black people as main characters.

Moore eventually backpedaled, though he originally said that a black Bond was “unrealistic.”

And maybe in 1973 (when Roger Moore was introduced as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever) that was the case, but I’d like to think that we’re grown a bit since then.

Unless you’re the governor of Indiana, then all bets are off.

Is Jesse Eisenberg Miscast as Lex Luthor?

A picture has turned up of Jesse Eisenberg, who’s going to be playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and he looks pretty “meh.”

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

The main problem is that Luthor has traditionally been cast by actors like Gene Hackman (who played the character in 1978’s Superman) and Kevin Spacey (who played him in 2006’s Superman Returns) and I think there’s a very good reason that older, more experienced actors were cast.

Namely they bring a level of experience, of gravitas and maturity that Eisenberg doesn’t have, mainly because it comes with age.

And traditionally it’s not something that you can act your way around.

Eisenberg is a smart and capable actor, but he doesn’t look like Lex Luthor to me.  in my mind’s eye I can already see him running about, like a bald version of the character he played in 2010’s The Social Network and know that whomever that chararcter is, it won’t be Lex Luthor.

By the way, does Zach Snyder have something against older people?  The reason I ask is that most of his films–casting wise–seem to skew toward attractive, relatively speaking, younger people.

Help Us, Guillermo Del Toro, You’re Our Only Hope!

And in case you don’t get the reference…

And you should know that I don’t take to paraphrasing Princess Leia lightly, though I think that it’s warranted in this particular case.

Call Girl Of Cthulhu trailer

The point being, I have just seen the trailer for Call Girl of Cthulhu and it looks to be in the vein of movies like Re-Animator and From Beyond, by which I mean the gory, gooey stuff is mixed with liberal doses of humor and/or camp, though I am not implying either of them aren’t entertaining and gory-good fun.

Though what they lack is a sense of the majestic, the feeling that they what we see on screen is only the tip of the iceberg and that the horrors out there in the vastness of space are way more horrific than we can even contemplate.  It’s present in Lovecraft’s writing–and especially in August Dereth’s–though no movie has dealt with the more cosmic aspects of his writing–though John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness, has been the closest.

As far as the other movies go, there’s a certain tawdriness that’s not touched on in any of his writing that I have read–be they written by Lovecraft or not.

At The Moutains Of Madness 1

At The Mountains Of Madness 2

Two images of Guillermo Del Toro’s (so far) aborted film of H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness

And that’s not to say that the sexiness that seems a part of Call Girl of Cthulhu isn’t present in someone’s writings, but I would at least like to see some of mysticism, the subtle horror evoked by his writings.

Which is why I plead to Guillermo del Toro to please bring At The Mountains Of Madness to the big screen because as far as I can tell no other filmmaker has the understanding of the Mythos, as well as the respect for its creator, to do it justice.

From what I have read of Del Toro’s take he intended to treat perhaps the seminal Lovecraft story with the piousness and gravitas that it deserves, and it’s about time.

When Internet Memes Become Dangerous: Slenderman

I was reading Washington Post Express earlier today, when I saw a story that gave me pause:  Slenderman (as opposed to Slender Man) stabbing suspects ruled competent to stand trial.  Slenderman is fascinating because he’s one of the first–as far as I am aware–memes of the Internet Age to take on a life of its own.

What’s also pretty interesting is that this isn’t the fist time that such a being has “existed,” though before people were online urban legends were spread in the manner they were every since Man first appeared on the scene, which was among friends and acquaintances, be they gathered around a camp fire, or a bunch of rowdy kids roaming the concrete forests of Manhattan.

Spread from person to person, like some sort of virus, the stories–where sometimes a gem of truth existed among the more fantastical elements–were just a virulent as today’s Internet meme.

So, when I was growing up and exploring abandoned buildings in New York with my friends, we instead worried about terrors like Cropsey (which is actually really fascinating, with an mythos as elaborate, if not more so, than Slenderman) and Charlie Chop-off.

Though the first place that I ever heard of the Slenderman character was from Bloodydisgusting, where Adam Dodd (also known as Baby Colada) plays video games.

Though someone basing their crimes on a meme is a disturbing twist.

Tron 3 Shooting This Fall?

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Take this with a huge grain of salt, for two reasons.  First, the last I heard Joseph Kosinski was aiming to shoot Gran Turismo (a racing video game), which means that that if the sequel to Tron: Legacy is indeed shooting this fall, the likelihood that he would be helming the sequel is a bit unlikely (though the article does say he’s in “early negotiations,” in reference to Gran Turismo, whatever that means).

Then there’s the fact that there’s been no news on the Tron: Legacy sequel front for years now, and if production were gearing up, why has it taken so long for anyone to hear about it?  I understand that there are some massive movies coming out, such as The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and so on but that doesn’t explain how this has managed to sneak under the radar.

And I don’t mean to sound like a hater because I am a HUGE fan of Steven Lisberger’s Tron, and enjoyed the sequel, but I don’t want to get my hopes up till I hear something more concrete.

Though what I am slightly more concerned about is if Wendy Carlos will return to score the sequel.  Daft Punk’s music for Tron: Legacy was okay, but it lacked the gravitas, the impact, the joyousness, of Carlos’s music.

Ending TitlesTron (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The Fifty Shades of Gray Phenomenon

I have no intention of seeing Fifty Shades of Gray, mainly because it’s not my kind of movie.  Besides, if I were going to watch S&M I’d rather not watch the Lifetime version of it.

Though what I find interesting is how well received the film has been, and that director Sam Taylor-Johnson is returning to direct the sequel, despite the difficulties she experience the first time around.

That being said, clearly there are millions of people who feel different because so far the movie has earned almost $500 million (the bulk of which, over $400 million, was from overseas.  It’s an important distinction because it implies that attitudes about sexuality in movies (and probably in general) are different in places like Europe and Latin America than they are domestically.

Another interesting thing is that–unlike most movie studios–Universal seems to be doing remarkably well with a strategy built around low-budget features, as opposed to other studios, which are built around expensive and massive tentpoles.

Though Universal’s strategy creates maximum profit at minimal cost, which is pretty remarkable.

Very generally speaking, movies that put sexuality forward tend to do better overseas than here.  Conversely, films that are action-heavy tend to do better here than they do in other countries.