Three Things To Consider For An Unbreakable Sequel To Work

While it’s good news that M. Night Shyamalan is finally getting around to producing a sequel to his Bruce Willis/Sam Jackson-led Unbreakable, three problems in particular come to mind. 

1.  The original Unbreakable came out 17 years ago.

The point being that a lot of people aren’t going to get fired up for a sequel to a movie that came out before they were born. This is why Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson must reprise their roles.  The two leads returning will help to bridge not only the gap in people’s minds, but  the very real gap between the original and the sequel. 

Could the movie work without Willis and Jackson?  Maybe, though why take the chance?  After all, many believe that one reason in particular  Independence Day: Resurgence tanked (which is perhaps too strong a word for a movie that earned almost $390 million worldwide) was because Will Smith did not return to the role that catapulted him to A-list stardom.   

2. Will we be seeing the ‘Blumhouse’ Shyamalan, or the ‘Lady In The Water’ Shyamalan?

I could have written the ‘AfterEarth’ Shyamalan, though the meaning would have been the same, namely I’m talking about the period of time when Shyamalan was seemingly driven more by ego than creativity, and it showed in vanity projects like Lady In The Water,  AfterEarth and The Last Airbender. 

While the ‘Blumhouse Shyamalan, ’ where the resurgence of his career began with movies like The Visit and Split

Lean, relatively small-budgeted features (pretty much the only type of movies Blumhouse Pictures makes), managed to reign in Shyamalan’s excesses though I suspect he won’t have a Jason Blum to keep an eye on things for an Unbreakable 2.

Though considering we’re talking about Bruce Willis and Sam Jackson, I suspect that neither will come cheap. 

3. How will Unbreakable 2 differentiate itself from all the other superhero movies?

When Unbreakable came out the idea of superhero films was relatively uncommon, which is why the original could work as a superhero film despite being relatively action-free.  Such an approach would likely not work today, so how can Shyamalan create a drastically different-looking superhero story, while not drifting too far afield of what made the original so engrossing and worthy of revisiting is a question worth pondering. 

If Shyamalan can address these three points, it by no means guarantees that Unbreakable 2 will be a success, though what it does mean is that it will likely find a receptive audience, one way or another.  

Logan – Trailer# 2

Twentieth Century Fox’s Logan is indicative of their problems managing their X-Men franchise.  

Supposedly it’s going to be R-rated, not because Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a mutant who’s primarily features are a healing factor, Adamantium-coated claws and a bestial nature to match, but because Deadpool had an R- rating, and it gave Fox almost 800,00 reasons to do the same.

Money see, money do.

So it’s not as if the executives actually understand the character, because if they did they would have had him be PG-13 in the X-Men movies, and R in the context of his own features.

Which isn’t for a moment to imply that the character can’t work as PG-13, only that he’s better suited for a harder rating. 

Santa Clara Diet – Official Trailer

Netflix is hitting it out of the park as far as their work producing superhero-based action series is concerned (their pact wirh Marvel Television will soon introduce Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders–though as far as Frank Castle goes, perhaps ‘reintroduce’ would be a better choice of words since he played a prominent role in Season two of Daredevil) though their horror offerings?  

Not too impressive.  We got two seasons of Hemlock Grove, which started out promisingly, then jumped the shark relatively quickly. 

Their latest entry has it’s tongue firmly in cheek as Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) play a couple that lets nothing–including Sheila being a zombie–get in the way of their love because the family that slays together, stays together. 

The trailer is hilarious, though what’s particularly novel is that–as opposed to being something to be shunned–their children seem to have adapted amazingly well to their mom’s altered state (it helps that she looks pretty healthy, minus the whole ‘no heartbeat’ thing.

The title is also particularly clever in that it not only refers to the often goofy diet fads that tend to emanate from the West Coast, but Sheila’s somewhat unique dietary requirements. 

Movie Magic: The Black Panther (Captain America: Civil War)

These days as a mover goer I know full well that practical effects combined with CGI can create virtually any type of effect imaginable. 

Though what I find infinitely more interesting is when a movie’s special effects are so seamless that I don’t know that what I happen to be looking at is a special effect, which brings me to Captain America: Civil War.  

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There were two scenes where I recall the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a full-on CGI character: when he was sliding down the side of a building when chasing the Winter Soldoer (Sebastian Stan) and another when he was slowing hinself down after momentum carried him beyond the Soldier in a second confrontation.

Beyond those two instances, I assumed that the character–as well as many of the locations–were entirely practical.  

Imagine my surprise to learn that virtually every scene featuring the Panther had three or four layers of CGI over a practical stuntman, and most of the locations were CGI enhanced as well!

Movie magic indeed.  

Marvel Television & Netflix: Sound & Vision In Harmony

While Marvel Studios is doing some amazing things in the movie space, we sometimes forget that Marvel Television is making waves of their own on the small screen.

And while they have been doing solid work with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter arguably their strongest work so far has been the series that have have done with Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

Along with a distinctive visual palate, each series is aurally unique was well, each evocative of different places and/or eras.   

Daredevil opening sequence

Jessica Jones opening sequence

Luke Cage opening sequence

Daredevil’s theme was composed by John Paesano, Jessica Jones’ by Sean Callery and Luke Cage’s by Ali Shaeed Muhammad and Adrian Younge.

At this point I can’t wait to see and hear what Iron Fist and The Punisher bring!

 Is Marvel Studios Still Producing An Inhumans Movie?

Numerous sites have declared Marvel Studios’ movie based on the Inhumans as either dead or removed from the Phase Three production slate

Though there are reasons to suspect that the former isn’t true and a feature–while removed from Phase Three–is still very much alive. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter with Channing Dungey, ABC Entertainment Group president,  a interesting bit of information was revealed.

“ABC also hopes that Inhumans — which is not a spinoff of the network’s Agents of SHIELD and does not replace the planned feature film (italics mine).”

Whether or not The Inhumans remains in development at Marvel Studios remains to be seen, but the possibility that it does suddenly looks a little bit brighter.  

The Moon (Knight) Rises?

The idea that James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy) is particularly fond of Moon Knight is really great news because I can think of nothing better than seeing the Fist of Khonshu on the big screen.

But the hurdles for that happening are two-fold.  First Gunn is occupied working on Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, so he doesn’t have time to direct.  

The second issue is that Marvel Studios’ production slate is booked so far in advance that even if Gunn were ready to go tomorrow there’s no guarantee that they could fit it into their schedule (according to Screenrant their production slate is filled all the way to 2028).

And that’s working on the assumption that Kevin Feige even thought it was a good idea.

But there’s a way to make it happen.  Instead of directing, what if Gunn wrote a treatment that could be ready for shooting but more than likely would form the basis of the movie that others could build on.

Then Marvel Studios would create a new imprint, in the vein of Marvel Knights, that would handle more adult-orientated characters that might warrant an R-rating (and Kevin Feige has said that he didn’t want to create R-rated movies.  This way he technically wouldn’t have to though more importantly the characters would remain faithful to the versions that their fans have come to expect).    

An important aspect of this strategy would be production budgets falling somewhere in the ballpark of $50-80 million because, while no one wants a movie to fail, if it weren’t able to meet expectations losing somewhere in the ballpark of $80 million is small change compared to the production budgets of most superhero movies today.