The Ugly Side Of Fandom

If you’ve seen videos of cosplay or the various ‘Cons’ the first thing you notice is that they feature all sorts of quirky, colorful (and often brilliant) costumes, which is why it’s understandable if you thought that that was what comic geek culture was all about (besides costumes and the–virtual–worship of certain movies and comic characters).

And for the most part, you’d be right, though there are instances when a comic character that began “life” as a white person, and is reinterpreted as a person of color in the movies (Oddly, when a male character was reinterpreted as female, in the case of 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, when Starbuck was underwent gender reassignment, fans only offered token resistance while most were relatively sanguine about it) when you often see the ugly side of fandom.

Before I begin, you’ll noticed that I deliberately don’t use the term “race” because, besides being a misnomer, it has always bothered me because white people are genetically identical to black people, yellow people, beige people, and so on.

I bring this up because the reaction to John Boyega, dressed as a stormtrooper in the beginning of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, has been pretty distressing for some members of the fan community.

Comic book fans tend to be sticklers for detail, which to a degree I can understand. If someone has been following a character for the better part of their lives, it probably feels amazing to see the character on the big screen; till that is, they see that the character has been interpreted in a manner opposite to what they have known and anticipated.

That being said, it feels that whenever an actor of color is cast in a prominent role in a comic book movie, some in the fan community lose all sense of propriety, and logic goes out the window.

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‘Terminator: Genisys’ Trailer

Do we really need–or more importantly, want–another Terminator movie?  Especially since the last movie in the saga, Terminator Salvation, performed relatively mediocre?

Well, according to Paramount and Skydance, we do.

Enter: Terminator: Genisys.

The trailer looks okay, but is it really doing something that we have already seen?  Or is it bringing something new to the table?

I am assuming the former.

And what’s with the rather creative spelling of ‘Genesis,’ anyway?

‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ Trailer

I might have to turn in my African-American membership card after I admit this, but I have never been a huge fan of Spike Lee’s films.  I often admire what I assume are his goals when making them, but in my eyes the final execution always left something to be desired because (it felt to me) that he brought a self-indulgence to most of his projects that distracted from the project itself.

This is why movies like his remake of Oldboy, Inside Man and to a lesser extent, Clockers, are three of my favorite movies of his.  In the three aforementioned films, his stylistic flourishes (his signature move would typically have a person on a dolly moving through a scene as if on rails–which in a sense they were–always felt dream-like and fantastical to me) were minimal.

But his confrontational style and the way he did what he did, and damn anyone who didn’t like it?  That was awesome.

His most recent film, the Kickstarter-financed, Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus, seems to play with themes and ideas most often seen in vampire movies and looks to be typically Spike Lee (by which I mean self-indulgent and meandering) though I am curious what a Lee-directed vampire movie would look like.

‘Antboy’ Review

Antsy movie poster

“Entertaining for children, and (probably) mildly interesting for adults.”

Antboy, a film by Danish director Ask Hasselbalch, is a decent enough movie about a little boy named Pelie (Oscar Dietz) who’s bitten by an scientifically-enhanced ant, and gains certain insect-like abilities, like climbing walls, enhanced strength and acidic urine (?).

The synopsis above probably sounds a bit familiar–except the acidic urine; I have no idea where they got that from–because it’s essentially the story of Spider-Man, though luckily the movie plays more as a love letter to superhero movies than any sort of (blatantly obvious) attempt at perjury.

In fact, when the movie is caught in the trappings of genre it’s at its most interesting, though there’s a fly in the ointment (see what I did there?).

And that’s that the movie is dubbed into English (from Dutch).  The dubbing isn’t terribly done, which ironically makes it worse because when characters talk, it’s sort of, but not quite, in sync with the way their lips move.

It’s oddly distracting and took me out of the movie virtually anytime someone spoke, which was quite often.  In fact, if it were released in Dutch with English subtitles I suspect that it would have been a much more enjoyable experience (you can opt-in for subtitles on Netflix, though I don’t know if that means subtitles with an English or Dutch vocal).

Though if such things don’t bother you, then check out Antboy.  It’s a cute movie with a few moral lessons that it doesn’t hammer you over the head with, and should definitely appeal to younger children.

Antboy is currently on Netflix.

‘Swearnet’ Red Band Trailer

Honestly, I don’t get the Trailer Park Boys.  Their eponymously titled series is on #Netflix, and I’ve given it a try, but it just doesn’t work for me.  That being said, I caught them on Getting Doug With High–a Youtube series revolving around comedian Doug Benson getting high while interacting with his guests, whom he also gets high–and they struck me as more interesting than the characters that they play on television.

Swearnet, the name of the movie as well as a actual website (I assume created for the movie) seems to be a place where men can be men, women can be women, and everyone can curse as much as they like.  The impetus for its creation were the strict restrictions the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has on cursing over the air.

Sounds a bit like SCTV, with profanity.  And speaking of SCTV, here’s Indira, which stars Andrea Martin as Indira Gandhi (?) and Joe Flaherty as Slim Whitman (?)(?).

Mea Culpa: The ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Edition

I admit it, I shat the bed, figuratively speaking.  When I saw the trailer below, I assumed that it was for J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, and should have known better.

Why?  Because a huge clue was staring me right in the face the entire time, which I have posted just below.

Bat Robot logo

Bad Robot logo

For those who are unaware, Bad Robot is the production company owned by Abrams (Mutant Enemy is owned by Joss Whedon, which is why you see it credited at the beginning of Marvel’s Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

For it to appear on the latest Star Wars trailer would mean that mean that Disney and Lucasfilm were sharing the wealth, so to speak, with Bad Robot.

Which is a relatively stupid idea, if you give it any sort of thought because Disney just finished paying $4 billion for Lucasfilm and the last thing they would do is to share any potential profits with Bad Robot–which isn’t to imply that Abrams isn’t making a buttload of money from directing it, because he probably is.

I have posted the actual trailer below (The Force Awakens will always sound to me like the title of a movie on Lifetime, mainly because there’s something oddly feminine about it) and it’s pretty good, though not quite as dynamic as the fake.

‘The Force Awakens’ International Teaser Trailer

Let me being by saying that I am not a huge fan of J.J. Abrams (and I still think the subtitle, The Force Awakens. is pretty weak).  He’s talented, but feels relatively passionless to me.  He also efficient–he finished Star Wars: The Force Awakens almost disconcertingly quick–but I am not sure I am feeling the love.

But this trailer looks amazing.  I am not a huge Star Wars fan, the prequels went a long way toward my current apathy, and I know that typically trailers look awesome, but this one is almost breathtakingly cool.

And for the first time–other than The Empire Strikes Back, which was unbelievable–I am looking forward to a Star Wars movie.