You Can’t Be Missed If You Won’t Go Away

I just read an article about how Zach Snyder’s plans for the DCEU were supposedly so “epic, grand, emotional, joyful and unforgettable” which bothers me more than a little bit because we’re hearing more about Snyder’s plans for this and intentions for that now than when Justice League was actually in theaters.

As I have said before, Zach Snyder is a talented director, but his vision left A LOT to be desired and was by no means fitting for the characters he was developing.

And his greatest problem was an attempt to apply a ‘one size fits all’ esthetic to DC characters (inspired by Christopher Nolan’s work on the Dark Knight trilogy).

A dark, gloomy feel works fine for Batman–though the constant murdering? Not so much–but the problems start when you try to apply the same esthetic to apparently EVERY character in the DCEU.

Superman is–virtually by design–the polar opposite of Batman. He exudes optimism and hope, and while Batman–who isn’t necessarily nihilistic or pessimistic–does embody a world weariness of sorts, a feeling that the individual is constantly fighting against the tide.

So Zach Snyder–either by design or accident–misread the essential nature of the characters he was working with, and made them look like those most of us have been familiar with and instead twisted them into weird, strange versions of themselves.

And the worse thing is, all Snyder and the executives at DC Films had to do is follow the example of what Marvel Studios did with Captain America, namely double-down on those traits (his honesty, forthrightness and a relatively ‘simple,’ black and white worldview) that were defining traits for the character for most of their existence.

in other words, Superman changed to fit the world we live in today, while Captain America stayed pretty much as he was in 1941, in all his squarish glory and was witness to the world changing around him to a time when his values and (relative) moral simplicity once again came back into vogue.

So Zach Snyder essentially ruined Batman and Superman as millions of people knew them so we need time to forget his funhouse mirror interpretations of our much loved superheroes, which won’t stand a chance of happening if he (or those in his orbit) keep implying that the only that was wrong with movies like Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad was that we just weren’t clever enough to get it or maybe if we were just a bit more patient the wonderfulness infrequently seen would somehow make an overdue appearance.

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The Happytime Murders – Red Band Trailer

Screenshot 2018-05-21 11.18.16The trailer for the Happytime Murders is admittedly funny, but the idea of children’s television characters acting inappropriately has a long history in television and movies.

Here’s a scene from the ‘Smiletime‘ episode from Angel (1999).

And Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) revolved around cartoon characters interacting with the ‘real’ world–as opposed to puppets–though the same idea of subverting tropes typical to children’s television are still evident.

And there are certainly others.  I’m sure that there are television shows and movies that I haven’t included here (you could even go back to the ‘Living Doll’ episode of The Twilight Zone (1963) and the Puppetmaster (1989) franchise.

Though, back to The Happytime Murders.  As I have already stated it’s not nearly as subversive as it likes to think that it is though to be so all they had to do is include Muppets that people are already familiar with (like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and so on) though there’s no way that Disney (the current owners of the Muppets) would allow them to do so.

 

Do the ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’

If you’ve visited these parts before, you probably picked up on an undercurrent, a intimation of dislike if you will, for the Syfy Channel.

If so, let me be clear: My irritation with Syfy is like a rash that flares up often enough that a more sensible person would have sought medical attention long ago.

My most recent problem?  They cancelled The Expanse, a series that had only been on the air for three seasons.

Why does that bother me, you may ask?  After all, I think I saw maybe two episodes–if that?

You see, I’m still smarting over the cancellation of Dark Matter, which was also in it’s third season when things went…well…dark.

And let’s be clear.  Three seasons is barely enough time to develop a storyline, especially one as ambitious as Dark Matter’s

Though to be fair I think I get it.  Dark Matter and The Expanse were likely expensive series to produce, so why bother when you can produce drek like ZNation or wrestling (what science fiction has to do with wrestling is a bit beyond me, until you take into account that wrestling means ratings).

So that’s the long and the short of it.  Syfy apparently places greater value over ratings as opposed to quality.

And I honestly get that though what it does mean is that it’s even more unlikely that the next Battlestar  Galactica will come from the channel.

And that’s the rub, especially since what Syfy is supposed to do is develop–and I know that this is a reach here–science fiction/fantasy-based series.

BlackkKlansman – Official Trailer #1

Spike Lee can be a very controversial director, though I typically find his movies somewhat difficult to watch.

This is due less to the subject matter–though he can be a bit pedantic at times–than he has certain stylistic tendencies (such as putting the actors on dollies and pulling them through a scene) that typically feels more distracting than illuminating.

In fact, the more ‘conventional’ Lee’s movies appear–such as Inside Man and Clockers, though so recall both have dolly scenes–the more I tend to enjoy them because they’re less about directorial affectation than telling a story as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

I can’t tell which camp BlackkKlansman will fall in, though I find it interesting that a similarly-titled movie was released in 1966. 

What I find particularly interesting about Lee’s film is that it’s supposedly based on a true story (which triggers my bs sensor because when that phrase is typically so loosely applied that it becomes almost meaningless).

Though the thing is that the premise of BlackkKlansman (a black man infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan) sounds so ludicrous that I’m willing to bet that a lot of it will be end up being true.

The Predator – Teaser Trailer

What is it with the Alien and Predator franchises?

It almost feels like they’re being deliberately sabotaged (few other things can explain why Ridley Scott is so intent on undermining a series he himself helped to create) by some really bizarre decisions on the part of the people directing them, and it’s a pity.

In the case of the Predator, the problems started with 1990’s Predator 2 (the great idea of a Predator movie in the vein of Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop undermined by Stephen Hopkins paint-by-numbers direction and a weak script) and have pretty much continued to varying degrees since that time.

Though I had assumed that the Predator franchise had bottomed out with 2007’s Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

And apparently I was wrong because despite being co-written and directed by the undeniably talented Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) the upcoming The Predator looks to continue the time-honored idea of mixing lots of bad ideas with one or two half-decent ones.

For instance, the idea that the predators are using the DNA from the creatures on the planets they visit to make themselves even deadlier?  Great idea and probably the best addition to the franchise in many Hunter’s moons.

The idea that a little kid discovers a model (!?) of a Predator craft that somehow manages to (apparently) control an actual Predator spacecraft!?

Dumb beyond belief (on the face of it, at any rate).

Then there’s the idea of the movie taking place in Small Town, U.S.A., an idea that didn’t do AVPR ANY favors, so why not do it again?

As I said earlier, Shane Black is a damn talented writer and director, but I get the feeling he’s screwed the pooch on this one.

Marvel’s Luke Cage – Season 2 Official Trailer

Screenshot 2018-05-08 12.26.36.pngYesterday Netflix released a trailer for the second season of Luke Cage, one of the four series from Marvel Television and it looks…okay.

Cage seems to have accepted a degree of notoriety in his life–which truth be told is unavoidable when you take into account everyone is running around with technology that makes them their own network.

And we’re introduced to Bushmaster (who thankfully doesn’t appear to be wearing any sort of costume.  For some reason tropes native to the genre–such as costumes–does not benefit the show)and Misty Knight received her bionic arm (like in the comics.  Yay!).

Truth be told I’d be happy to get this series of Luke Cage and another Iron Fist (the first series wasn’t nearly as terrible as people make it out to be.  In fact it’s greatest problem is was that it made Danny Rand/Iron Fist a secondary character in his own story though the 13-epsisode structure of the season may have had a lot to do with that) culminating not in The Defenders, but in Heroes For Hire.

And speaking of Iron Fist, he needs a costume (or at least some sort of uniform) because if there’s something underwhelming it should be the costume, not the person wearing it.

Robin Hood – Teaser Trailer

Watching the teaser trailer for Otto Bathurst‘s upcoming Robin Hood I wonder if it’s alternate title was Arrow: The REALLY Early Years because thematically it plays just like an episode of that series in a medieval setting.

Though that’s picking nits.

A more significant problem potentially is that, despite being masked, how is it even possible–even in medieval times where I hear they didn’t have the Internet–does one become such a great archer sans a reputation as such?

Archery isn’t an innate skill.  You have to learn it, so why isn’t anyone aware of a guy who’s a master archer–especially one so young–is a bit odd.

The movie may explain this, but it feels like it might be a bit of a plot hole.

And I hope the movie expands upon another aspect of life in that period, namely medieval cities were supposedly filthy–if London was any indicator–which helped the spread of plagues like the Black Death (though according to Wikipedia it didn’t start there, pre-existing sanitary conditions certainly wouldn’t have helped matters).

Though I get the feeling that the archery won’t be the only thing that’s blatantly unrealistic.