Where Are The Adaptations Of Octavia Butler’s Work?

Parable Of The SowerFrom the time that I could read, science fiction and fantasy were my mediums of choice.  (Horror–with a vengeance–came later).

From Edmund Cooper (The Overman Culture–the first book I am aware of reading with a gay protagonist–, Seahorse In The Sky) to Ursula K. LeGuin (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Earthsea novels, etc) and a lot in-between; I’ve always been an avid reader.

Which is why when they were making movies based on young adult novels like The Hunger Games, it gave me hope that a lot of the books that I lost myself in as a young person would come full circle to entertain me as an adult by being made into movies and television shows.

This has happened with Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes, as well as many other writers like LeGuin and Stephanie Meyer (who’s work I have never read).

Though I’ve come to notice something, namely that there isn’t any representation of African-American science fiction writers.  And I’ll be honest, I am only aware of one, and that’s Octavia Butler.  But what a writer she is!  Before her death in 2006 she had won numerous awards for her writing, but that’s less important that her work is really, really good.

I have read the books that comprise her Zenogenesis Saga (Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago) as well as her Patternist series, which are some of the best science fiction I have ever read–what I found a bit odd, and somewhat disappointing, to tell you the truth, was that Joe Haldeman’s Camouflage covered similar territory, though not nearly as well.

The legacy, the novels that she’s left behind are still with us though as far as I know no one is talking about adapting them for either movies or television.

And that’s a shame, because her writing is not only as good, but perhaps better than a lot of the stuff that has been adapted so far, but her work has this weird, alien quality that’s unlike anything that we have seen to this point.

Though I get the feeling that a lot of Hollywood thinks as Matt Damon apparently does, namely that a diversity of voices is okay as long as they don’t have anything do with writing or they’re not behind the camera.

Why Superhero Fatigue Is Nonsense (With Zombies!)

Superhero fatigue” seems all the rage among some, but it’s a dubious concept at best, and easily disproven.  Reason being, if superhero fatigue were a thing, it would have been proceeded by ‘zombie fatigue.’

Look at the 2013’s World War Z, the Brad Pitt-starrer that was for awhile looking like the Fantastic Four of its time.

Except that it wasn’t, and despite a $190 million budget it went on to earn over $500 million and spawn a sequel.  And zombies haven’t only been successful in movies.

And speaking of zombies, whether or not they shamble (as God and Romero intended) or run despite the fact that their muscles should have atrophied as much as their bodies have, they clearly aren’t going anywhere.

AMC’s The Walking Dead has not only spawned a spinoff, Fear The WalkIng Dead, but the show continues to be a ratings behemoth for the cable network.

And for the life of me, I don’t quite understand it.  Where I used to work I was the first person to sing its praises (I didn’t have cable, so I purchased the first season via iTunes) and introduced it to anyone that would listen.  The fifth season has recently turned up on Netflix, and I have been watching that too, and its pretty good.

Though what it’s also, is relatively one-note in that while the cast may change, very little about the series itself does.  Not really,

Screenshot 2015-09-28 08.42.08

The scene above, from season 5, episode 10, Them possessed a bit of gallows humor the series sorely misses on a regular basis.

Though there are relatively rare instances when it rises above its humble origins, like in the picture above, though that’s the exception because, except in relatively rare situations, the series refuses to embrace the absurdity of the situation.  It’s as if the writers and directors have a mandate (like the one DC Entertainment supposedly has toward humor), and that mandate is that things will be as grim, as relentlessly bleak, as possible.

And I understand that.  After all, the series exists in a world were dying isn’t quite what it used to be.  The thing is, what the series misses–a lot–is that there’s humor to be found in the bleakest situations.

So, The Walking Dead has lasted over six seasons and shows no sign of slowing down and consistently remains one of the highest rated shows on television, while also being, sometimes literally, a pretty grim slog.

So if a series as repetitive–though admittedly enjoyable (in a end-of-the-world hopeless kind of way) as The Walking Dead–can not only grow, but thrive, then I expect that superheroes, be they in movies or on television, will as well.

What Is Going On With Ridley Scott And Prometheus?

Color me confused, but what’s going on with Ridley Scott and Prometheus?  As far as I could tell, he did all he could to distance the movie from Alienthe original screenplay by Jon Spaihts was called Alien: Engineers (click on the link to read) was firmly entrenched in the Alien universe, while the re-write by Damon Lindelhof was significantly less so in that it involved the personalities and architecture of Alien without actual Aliens (the photo-Alien at the end not withstanding).

So imagine my surprise when I saw this (courtesy of Comicbookmovie.com):

Alien: Paradise Lost.

From seeming not interesting in playing in the Alien sandbox, to diving in up to his neck, I am not sure if this is a good thing for the franchise.  Visually, Scott is a very talented director–with perhaps one of the most distinctive visual styles today–but this odd indecisiveness (I know of nothing else to call it) is a bit disturbing.

Weaveworld Is Coming, So Why Am I Worried?

WeaveworldIn the past I have been a huge fan of Clive Barker’s work.  From the Books Of BloodImajica to the Great And Secret Show, if it were written by Barker, I was reading it though I began to move away from his writing when I noticed in books like Sacrament that it seemed that he was moving away from horror.

I also enjoyed, for the most part, the movies he helmed like Hellraiser and Lord Of Illusions (Nightbreed had some good elements, though I always felt that it never quite jelled for me).

I particularly recall enjoying Weaveword as well, though when I recently learned that he was executive producing (and I assume writing, sooner or later) a series based on it, I got a bit of a sinking feeling because its on network tv (the CW) and if there’s one thing that permeated Barker’s work, which I am reasonably sure won’t translate, is a sensualness–in some instances, blatantly so–of Barker’s writing.

I was always of the opinion that sex was what underlie most of his novels and short stories (as well as his movies,  particularly Hellraiser and The Lord Of Illusions) and be it hetero or homo, if you take that away from the reinterpretation of his work, while it may be interesting, it’s not Barker.

Which is why I am surprised to learn that Weaveworld failed to work on Showtime.  I don’t know the details, cable sounds like the perfect place for it (or Netflix.  That would be awesome).

When Is A Movie In The Black?

If you ask ten people at what point a movie becomes profitable, you’ll probably get ten answers, each slightly different than the one that proceeded it.

Based on what I have read what I tend to do is double the production costs, as far as breaking even goes.  I’m aware that a movie also has expenses attached to marketing, and that theaters get their cut, though I’ve heard so many varying ideas about what those numbers are that i tend not to put too much stock in them.

Besides, while a studio may release the budget of a particular motion picture, they don’t often release marketing costs, and those can vary greatly based upon the type of film being promoted (typically, I throw in $50 million or so for a tentpole, but that number can also vary–I have also heard of instances where marketing costs add up to half, or even more, of the cost of the producing the movie itself).

In terms of profitability, I tend to use the 3X rule, namely if your movie has earned at least three times its production costs, then that movie is a success (by which I mean you’re in the black).

For instance, Marvel’s Ant-Man has earned over $401 millon, on a $130 million budget.  As far as I can tell that’s pretty successful, particularly for a character that to some is a “flavor of the week.

Zach Snyder Needs To Shut Up

i understand it when competitive people talk smack about their opponents, which often goes hand-in-hand with healthy competition.

The same thing can extend to the advocates of particular movie studios, just as it more commonly does for sports teams, and few studios are seen as competitors as much as Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment.

Smack starts flying around 21:40, though it’s worth noticing how diplomatic Joe and Anthony Russo are, as compared to Zach Snyder.

I bring it up because recently Zach Snyder (director of Man Of Steel and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice) recently commented on Marvel’s Ant-Man movie, calling it the “flavor of the week (which is a pretty silly comment, if only because one of the greatest mistakes Warner Bros. made–and seems to continue to make, though to a lesser degree–was relying exclusively on Batman instead of developing other characters.  His comment also conveniently ignores that DC is apparently developing a movie based on Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, both of whom aren’t exactly well-known).”

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Five Ways To Make The Upcoming Masters Of The Universe Reboot Awesome

With all the talk of a new movie based on Mattel’s Master of the Universe line of toys, it’s almost as if people have forgotten that there has already been an attempt to bring Skeletor and his minions to the big screen.


And it was actually not that bad–especially considering that it came from Cannon Films, which no longer exists, though they weren’t known for spending a shit-ton on their productions–the movie had some good names, Frank Langella in particular as Skeletor was a coup–and the movie started strongly, before petering out.

Besides, I imagine that Mattel is a bit cheesed-off seeing how many billions Hasbro earned from the movies based on their Transformers line.

1.  Remember What Came Before

I get the feeling that the producers of the upcoming Masters Of The Universe reboot don’t want to watch the first movie made in the late eighties, though they should.

It was George Santayana who wrote “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (which is why Fox needs to return the Fantastic Four to Marvel Studios, but that’s another post)” and the producers of the upcoming Masters Of The Universe reboot need to watch Gary Goddard’s 1987 movie because it’s actually got a lot going for it.

And it also has a lot that should to be avoided this time around, such as…

2. Don’t Design Your Soldiers To Look Like Darth Vader

Skeletor's Soliders

I’m sure it’s tempting, after all Star Wars is one of the most influential sci-fi movies ever made.  That being said, It’s hard to create a property that’s unique and has a feel of its own, without dealing with characters that look a lot like others from (probably) much better movies.

In other words, you can get away with a base that looks distrubiningly like Vader’s head in the Justice League cartoon.

In a live action movie?  Not so much.

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