I (Think) I Finally Understand The Ghostbusters Brouhaha

When I heard all the brouhaha over Paul Feig’s reboot of Ivan Reitman’s 1984 Ghostbusters I didn’t quite understand what it was all about; beyond the obvious, such as recasting the leads as women.

You see, because while I enjoyed the original movie, it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

And Brendan Mertans Ghostheads didn’t change that, what it did was help me understand why it is that some people feel so passionately about the movie in the first place.

Ghostheads, a Kickstarter-financed movie is currently on Netflix is about people who’s lives have been changed by the original movie (it also features an interview with Feig.  It was good to hear him respond positively to the idea of Ghostbusters fandom, which is welcome, especially considering his reaction to people on Twitter who have not responded well to his reboot).

It’s a fascinating look into these people’s lives, and appears to be nothing about positive.

That being said, there’s something a bit odd about people who devote so much of their lives to a movie; though to be fair it’s no more strange than the average Trekkie.

Though more importantly, what it says is that some people use Ghostbusters as a way to meet other people, to be part of something bigger than themselves, like a massive, worldwide social club.

And if you look at it that way, it’s pretty cool.

Ghostbusters Reviews Are Filtering In And…

Ghostbusters reviews are filtering in, and they’re…decidedly mixed.

Which is problematic, especially when you take into account that there are apparently a lot of people that take issue with the whole gender swap at the heart of the movie.

Another is that its budget is somewhere in the ballpark of  $150 million.  That’s not a lot of money, relatively speaking if compared to movies like Captain America: Civil War.

As I said, it may not seem like a lot, though being cheaper than other tentpoles doesn’t guarantee profitability, just that it’s easier to reach that point.. After all, Dredd cost about $50 million to produce, and earned just over $35 million worldwide.

I get the feeling that Paul Feig’s female-centered reboot will open relatively strong–like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and falloff just as quickly (also like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Sony is promising that Ghostbusters will be the start of a new cinematic universe, and while that’s possible, I get the feeling that some stars are just too distant without a FTL drive.

Ghostbusters – Official Trailer 2

I have to admit that the latest Ghostbusters trailer is MUCH, MUCH better than the first.

Melissa McCarthy is apparently playing Melissa McCarthy; that’s a good or bad thing depending on how one typically feels about her antics.

Leslie Jones this time around is a pleasant surprise, as she seems more interesting than all the other ladies combined.

Though it’s worth mentioning that the trailer does a Batman v Superman, or least seems to, in revealing that Chris Hemsworth becomes possessed by demonic entities and turns evil.

And while that’s interesting, what’s even more so is all the brouhaha over the three female leads.

Personally, especially considering that–while I enjoyed the original movies to varying degrees–they weren’t the ‘be all and end all’ as far as comedies go.

LEAVE. SLAP SHOT. ALONE.

That being said, I still don’t quite see the point of an all-female cast, especially considering how jarring the transition has been (it would have been cool if the producers had tried harder to manage a more graceful transition).

Science, Sorcery and Movies

Screenshot 2016-03-01 19.08.02Typically, when we’re talking about science, it’s in reference to something that can be proven (such as global warming, which despite what naysayers may say, is quantifiable) by a combination of observation, experimentation and tried and true trial and error.

Now sorcery doesn’t have as nearly as rigorous a system of validation, because we’re talking about something based on belief or faith, which is an intangible and by definition, unprovable.

Yet to determine whether or not a movie will be successful, you might as well be talking sorcery because there’s no algorithm that I am aware of that will–if you follow a certain series of steps–guarantee box office nirvana.

How else can the success of movies like Fox’s Deadpool be explained, or by the same token, the failure of Liongate’s Gods Of Egypt or Sony Pictures’ The Brothers Grimsby?  And the same thing applies for movies that their advocates would like you to think of as sure things, such as Captain America: Civil War.

For a start, the latest–and hopefully the last–trailer for the latest Captain America movie approached 100 million (94.7 million) views in less than 24 hours, an incredible amount.

Now keep in mind that views of a video doesn’t directly translate to butts in seats. which is where the ‘sorcery’ comes in (sort of).

What all those eyes glued to the trailer illustrates is interest, which is a very powerful thing, though a somewhat unquantifiable one as well.  There’s no one-on-one correlation between someone watching a trailer and that same person going to see a movie, but what a well-made trailer does is move it onto someone’s radar, and can even make an event of something that did not have that status prior to the trailer being revealed.

That being said, I am in the camp that says the movie will be a massive hit as well, but don’t take my word for it, check out this review from YouTube reviewer Grissle, who’s passion for the movie is almost overwhelming for him (and I mean that literally).

The Curse of Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios is one of the most successful movie studios today, if profitable, reasonably-budgeted movies are the metric–if you consider a $200-250 million reasonable–so much so that some within Disney were rumored to be disappointed with the earnings of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which took in $1.4 billion at the box office–so if that’s a curse, it’s probably one that rival studios wish were a pandemic.

Unfortunately for the competition, in a way it is.

The reason being, other studios have begun to mimic what they perceive is Marvel’s secret sauce, but can’t seem to get the formula quite right.

For instance, Sony was attempting to create, a la Marvel, an integrated cinematic universe featuring Spider-Man.

Things began well enough with The Amazing Spider-Man, though the weakness of the plan became evident in 2014 with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, when Sony decided to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios.

And while I use the word ‘sharing;’ I get the feeling that Marvel Studios is running the show–especially since the the Sony Spider-Man movies are being supervised by Kevin Feige (the head of Marvel Studios) and Amy Pascal (former head of Sony Pictures).

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Daredevil (2015) Ep. 1: Into The Ring

Daredevil poster

“An Auspicious Beginning For Marvel’s Un-Caped Crusader.”

Daredevil openingWhen I was growing up, comics not only taught me how to read, but they inspired me to action; I remember vividly running about New York City, trekking through Central Park like Cortez or exploring abandoned buildings with my not-so-super friends. And I would read–though perhaps devour is a better word–just about anything I could find, though I preferred comics. Batman, Green Lantern, The Justice League, I read it all. Though I gravitated most to Marvel.  There was something about their superheroes that hit closer to home for me.  I have no idea why, though it wasn’t because of their origins (after all, while I have been bitten by insects, they never gave me any enhanced abilities–though I do sometimes develop an annoying allergic reaction to mosquito bites).

Though I was never particularly fond of Daredevil.  Even Frank Miller’s run, while critically acclaimed, never moved me.  It’s not that I hated the character–far from it!–it’s just that he more often than not felt like pale copy of some much better characters. Then there was Ben Affleck’s turn as the Man Without Fear in the 2003 movie.  The costume was good, but the CGI was rubbery; though he acted like a blind version of Spider-Man. The movie wasn’t terrible, but also wasn’t differentiated enough from other more popular superheroes to work as as well as it should have. Enter 2015 and Netflix, who’s producing four 13-episode television series, based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones (who I have no idea about), Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Marvel Studios, unlike Sony and their Amazing Spider-Man franchise, realize that most people are familiar enough with superheroes that they don’t want to sit through hours of origin story, so how Daredevil comes by his abilities is literally over in the first three or four minutes–if that long.

I’m watching the first episode, Into The Ring, as I type.  And so far, it’s pretty good. The small screen suits the character, its confides somehow as restricting as Matt Murdock’s lack of sight.  The series has a very noir look, with lots of shadows and characters being defined by the reflected light emanating from the sprawling city all around them, which is a character in and of itself. And while I can’t (yet) speak to whether the entire first series will be as entertaining as Into The Ring, I’m optimistic. Verdict: Must See TV, Marvel Style.

Pixels – Trailer

I have to admit that I was getting a very cool Tron vibe (with a plot that’s curiously similar to what I have read about the–supposedly–upcoming sequel to Tron: Legacy), watching the trailer for Pixels.  It actually looks pretty clever, a impression that I suspect that I am going to have to abandon seeing that Adam Sandler, the prince of low-brow comedy, is part of the cast.

Luckily, he seems to be one part of an ensemble, and the last scene almost makes up for it.