Disney Outbids Comcast (Or Mice Aren’t Typically Known For The Size of Their Genitalia)

Apparently Disney has upped their offer for the studio and theatrical divisions of 21st Century Fox to somewhere in the ballpark of $71 billion, topping Comcast’s prior bid of $65 billion.

As I understand it, Comcast would normally have five days to raise their bid, but apparently Fox has accepted Disney’s diabetes-inducing offer so it’s likely ‘Game’s Over!’ for Comcast.

And while I am glad the X-Men and Fantastic Four will be part of the MCU or Marvel Cinematic Universe (let’s be honest: Fox’s management of the X-Men franchise has been, at best, mediocre–which is a high complement compared to their mismanagement of the Fantastic Four) I am not entirely sure we need another massive company which seemingly exist only to enrich the rich and screw the workers (I.e., the people who do the damn work).

And something tells me that soon–not today, not tomorrow, but soon–the worm will turn on these mega-monster mergers and trustbusting will be back in vogue.

Mark my words.

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Does DC Stand For ‘Damn Clueless!?’

Actually that’s ‘Detective Comics’ but based on some of their current decisions you’d be perfectly justified if you were slightly confused.

For instance, DC Films is reportedly developing two movies based on the Joker. One’s based on Jared Leto’s interpretation of the iconic Batman villain from Suicide Squad and the other…not so much (though reportedly some sort of alternate universe take on the character).

So, let’s see if I understand…one movie’s based on a not particularly well-received version of the Joker and if that weren’t bad enough, the second movie will be ‘Joker’ in name only, and exist outside of DC Comics continuity (and rumored to be played by Joaquin Phoenix).

What’s wrong with such an approach should be fairly obvious, though let’s start with the creation of an alternative to a character that’s been already introduced to audiences.

And speaking of which, suppose audiences are more into Phoenix’s movie than Leto’s?

What happens then? I have no idea but I’d bet money they’ll be retconning Leto’s version.

Think I’m wrong? Maybe, but what about the DCEU (or whatever they end up calling it) makes you think they’d be loyal to an actor when they apparently don’t hold their directors in too high an esteem (as much as I can’t stand what Zach Snyder did to the DC Extended Universe he should have been ‘fired’ long before Justice League. Heck, he should have been fired after Batman V Superman as opposed to the trifling way he was actually treated)?

Black Manta or Black Man-Duh

I understand the moviemakers sometimes have to sacrifice accuracy for realism when producing something based on a comic book because what looks good in a drawing doesn’t always translate well to real life (which is why we’re likely to NEVER see a comic-accurate Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies).

That being said, the goal should be as close to comic book accurate as reality will allow.

And the recently released photos of Black Manta from James Wan’s upcoming Aquaman movie? It misses the mark by quite a bit.

Manta’s helmet from the comics is particularly odd in that in the ways it’s typically depicted it’s too ovoid and flat to hold a human head.

The likelihood that this was made possible by the lower half of his face extending into the neck of the suit, while the ‘saucer section’ only contained the upper part of his face.

Black Manta’s helmet as (seemingly–after all, this could just be a prototype) depicted in the Aquaman movie? It’s a full helmet, which means the weird dimensions that made is so iconic aren’t (unless it were comically–pardon the pun–massive) possible.

And that’s a shame because the DCEU needs to keep it 100 because people are losing faith and one way to begin to get it back is depicting these characters as accurately and faithfully as possible.

I (Might) Have A Problem With Vertigo

According to The Hollywood Reporter, DC Comics is relaunching their Vertigo imprint, though I wonder why it stopped in the first place.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I was never a huge DC fan–I started on them, but migrated to Marvel Comics–but Vertigo always held a special place in my heart because they were doing all sorts of stuff you’d more likely find from a small boutique publisher–like Calibre though there are many others–than one of the ‘Big Two.’

Stuff (in no particular order) like Hellblazer, Shade: The Changing Man, Animal Man, Lucifer, Sandman, Sandman Mystery Theatre, to name a few.

Vertigo stories covered all sorts of topics, though a trait they more often than not shared was a paucity of spandex-clad heroics, and an emphasis on thought provoking, mind-bending fare.

So you’d think that I’d be overjoyed at the relaunch of such a prestigious label. And I was, till I read this:

‘The series will tackle subject matter including white supremacy and sex workers struggling to survive in a repressed future dystopia.’

My problem is that Vertigo dealt with ‘mature’ issues like sexuality and racism all the time, though they weren’t the point of the imprint.

Instead what they did was tell interesting, adult stories first, which isn’t to say that the new Vertigo won’t do that, but when you seemingly wear your agenda on your sleeve–unnecessarily in my opinion–it makes me wonder if that will come before story, which the original Vertigo was renown for.

Revisiting Alien

Screenshot 2018-06-02 23.00.41In preparation for a video on the Screenphiles Youtube channel, I re-watched Ridley Scott’s Alien (the 2003 Director’s Cut, which adds a few scenes not in the theatrical version) and doing so reminded me of a colloquialism, namely you can never go home again because not only is it overrated, it’s also a bit silly in places.

And I fully admit to being impressed by the movie at the time, but it doesn’t wear particularly well.

We see earlier, when the exploratory party encounter the derelict and the ‘Space Jockey‘ that something exploded outward from it’s chest.

We know this because Dallas (Tom Skerritt)  comments that bones were visible, which directly contradicts most of what we see in 2012’s Prometheus, which claimed that the Space Jockey was wearing some sort of space suit.

And speaking of the Space Jockey, in Alien it’s literally three or four times the size of a regular human, while in Prometheus the Engineers are not significantly larger than an ordinary person.

Which makes me wonder:  Did Ridley Scott think that no one would view earlier films in the series?  Has he ever heard of ‘forced perspective?’  Why make changes that contradict what came before?

For instance, when Ash (Ian Holm) and Dallas examined Kane (John Hurt), didn’t anyone notice that a parasite had taken up residency in his stomach?

It’s a really irritating point and one could take the perspective that maybe Ash was altering the medical information, except for the fact that the movie–which implies throughout that he’s not to be trusted–not only doesn’t explicitly show that happening but shows that Mother–the ship’s computer–is working with him, so there is no need for him to do so.

A running theme through the Alien movies is that the ‘Company,’–Weyland Yutani–wanted the alien for the bio-weapons division, but nothing in the movie actually establishes that.  Originally it’s a theory offered by Ripley as to why Ash allowed Kane abroad the ship in the first place, and it’s a good explanation as any but never verified as fact (though I think it was mentioned in Alien 3 as well).

Alien is a trailblazing movie and an almost perfect synthesis of a British esthetic and an American big-budget thriller.  It’s a well done, at times clever movie but it doesn’t hold up particularly well (which ironically has more to do with Ridley Scott’s more recent efforts that the movie in and of itself).

 

Did Solo Really ‘Bomb’ In China?


img_0027-1 Words matter, so if you read ‘China Box Office: ‘Solo’ Bombs With Third-Place $10.1M Opening’ from The Hollywood Reporter you’re likely to assume that the movie failed there.

And in a sense it did, though Star Wars movies since being purchased by Disney have underperformed in the Middle Kingdom before–Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($69 million) and The Last Jedi ($42.5 million), notice the downward direction of those figures?–with perhaps the exception The Force Awakens ($124 million).

So, my question is why Solo: A Star Wars Story would be any different?

In fact, what should worry Lucasfilm is not it’s performance in China but it’s domestic take which at just over $83 million is problematic.

And it’s worth remembering that Ron Howard’s reshoots likely added somewhere in the ballpark of $50-100 million to the budget (that’s a guesstimate though I wouldn’t be at all shocked if it weren’t even higher),

A similar thing happened to Warner Bros Justice League when Joss Whedon replaced Zach Snyder.

So it’s not impossible that Solo will have the weakest opening of any of the Star Wars films under Disney, but could still eke out a profit when all is said and done though I but I wouldn’t be so quick to call–or imply–that it’s a bomb (even in China).

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.