Transformers 4 (Or Mediocrity Is Its Own Reward)

Transformers 4
Michael Bay is rebooting the Transformers franchise, with Mark Wahlberg replacing Shia LaBeouf, though I am not entirely sure the casting change will make a whit of difference.

That’s a pity because, if another director were to take the helm, it’s quite possible that we would get something new and engaging this time around.

And I get that the ‘Transformers’ films have made a gazillion dollars.  That doesn’t mean that they were any good, only that they were viewed by lots of people.

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that what viewers are going to get this time around will be exactly the same things that the first three films delivered in spades, which was:  lots of explosions, (admittedly cool, for the most part) special effects and minimal character development.

The thing is, there’s a third path:  The first entry was written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman; the second by Orci, Kurtzman and Ehren Kruger, and the third by Ehren Kruger alone.

If someone were to take on the writing chores that actually cared about character development, then maybe the end result will make more of an impression on viewers for reasons that have more to do with the number of explosions per frame.

And yeah, the image above is the logo for the upcoming film.  It’s pretty lame, if you ask me.

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Vampires Don’t Sparkle

I was talking to a cashier at my local Trader Joe’s while he rang up my order.  Our conversation eventually moved on to movies, so I asked him if he had seen “Skyfall”–if you haven’t, see it.  It’s that good–He said he had, and had liked it.

He then mentioned that he was really excited about the upcoming ‘Twilight’ film, which caused me to break into laughter.  You have to understand that I haven’t seen any of them (nor do I have any intention to), but when I heard that the vampires, under certain circumstances, sparkled, I knew right then that ‘Twilight’ wasn’t for me.

My vampires are tortured creatures, sometimes with the most evil of intentions, sometimes not; though they are always fighting the urge, the desire to indulge their thirst.  The cause of their condition may be viral, spread by blood, or they may be the spawn of an angel fallen from Heaven’s grace.

Though what vampires never, ever do, is sparkle.

I also thought that I’d mention that vampires aren’t capable of sexual reproduction. This is because they’re either demonic in nature, or dead.  It also makes no sense because  it defeats the whole ’spreading vampirism by bite’ thing.

The New Cybermen

Cybermen image courtes of Den Of Geek

I am not a huge Doctor Who fan, though on occasion I did watch some of the Tom Baker episodes.  I hindsight I probably wasn’t more into the good Doctor because, like most British series of the time, the quality of the special effects and sets were usually bad (they did the best with what they had, but still).

Nowadays, the special effects have improved significantly, though there are other factors that I about the series that I am not too crazy about.  For instance, during Russell Davies’ run, there was too much of an emphasis of the sexuality of various characters, which often worked to the detriment of whatever was going on in the episode itself.

It’s like nipples on the Batsuit–which has nothing to do with Doctor Who, but bear with me–sure you can do it, but why you would want to is beyond me.

This uneasy mix of sexuality, drama, and scifi was expanded in the Doctor Who spin-off, “Torchwood,” also created by Russell Davies.

Doctor Who has many enemies, though none were as threatening as the Daleks–though I cannot consider something threatening that  looks like some sort of waste container with a plunger attached to it.

Now the Cybermen, they were my sort of enemy.  Logical…efficient…deadly.

They made an appearance in Davies’ “Doctor Who,” and it looks like they are about to return in an episode written by fan favorite Neil Gaiman.

Here’s an image to whet your appetite, and more can be found at the Den Of Geek.

My Two Cents: Why So Serious?

I wish that people, be they directors or anyone else, would just stop talking about how serious or realistic their comic book-based movies are.  It’s not only tiring, but it makes no sense at all.  For instance, over at Collider there’s an interview with Zach Snyder, the director of the upcoming “Man of Steel,” and he’s telling us about how serious his Superman will be.

Now, keep in mind that Superman, as he’s often portrayed in comics, is a few steps below whichever deity you chose to worship.  He’s literally that powerful, which makes me wonder if ‘serious’ is perhaps the wrong way to approach the property.

What’s propelling this movement toward ‘seriousness’ are two things:  The first is the underperformance of “Green Lantern,” and the second is the remarkable success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.

It’s as if someone has worked out a formula, with mathematical precision, detailing what it takes for a movie to be successful.  The problem with this type of thinking is that no such formula exists, and, like Marvel, DC Comics has many stories to tell; not all of them being dark and serious.  “Green Lantern” should have worked.  The reason that it didn’t had more to do with a mediocre story, and an over reliance on CGI (did Green Lantern really have to have a computer-generated costume?  I imagine that the money could have perhaps been better spent elsewhere).

There was another film that came out around the same time as “The Dark Knight Rises,” called “The Avengers,” that not only embraced its comic book roots, but did it in such a fashion that acknowledged that a great movie has to bring not only the serous moments, but the humorous and light ones as well.

Hopefully, “Man of Steel” will not pay the price for DC Comics/Warner Bros. learning the lesson.

‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Airing!

The original “Battlestar Galactica” was created by Glen Larson in 1979 and began life, essentially, as a knock-off of “Star Wars.”

Despite that fact, the original series has always held a fond place in my heart because, while it started from somewhat humble origins, it began very quickly began to diverge from its source, becoming it’s own animal.

The Cylons were obviously guys in sliver-colored plastic suits–based on Storm Troopers from ‘Wars,’ but that did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm. I liked everything about them, except for their rotten aim and the way that it took three of them to pilot a Cylon Raider, which if you think about it makes absolutely no sense (an oversight corrected in the reboot) at all because usually computers are generally more efficient–though significantly less complex–than humans.

“Battlestar Galactica” lasted a season, and was followed by “Galactica 1980,” which seemed to exist to sully my memories of the original series.

Things changed when Ronald Moore and David Eick rebooted ‘Battlestar’, to critical acclaim, as a mini-series in 2003, which became an ongoing series that ran three years, from 2004-2007.

When “Battlestar Galactica” ended its run a sequel was supposed to air, called “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.”  This would take place before Moore and Eick’s series, and cover events prior to the reboot.

For some reason the project was canceled by the SciFi Channel  (now known as SyFy–for reasons only their marketing department knows).

But now it’s back, soon airing as a series of webisodes on Machinima.

Why Would Anyone Pay For Hulu Plus?

Why would anyone pay for Hulu Plus?  I don’t necessarily mean that in a disparaging way–because, while Netflix may have more films, they lag in the amount of television series available for viewing–but it’s less a question of content, than commercials.

You see, if you were to get Hulu Plus–which is supposedly somehow better than regular Hulu–you’d still get commercials.  As I understand it, there are less of them, but a commercial is a commercial, which leads me to ask: When you subscribe to Hulu Plus, what are you paying for?  Admittedly  it’s cheap, only $7.99 a month, but what are you paying for, especially since you can watch Hulu for free, also with commercials (which I can understand because, in the case of Hulu, you aren’t paying for anything at all).

I suspect that it’s expensive enough for Hulu to acquire content that they need the commercials to make up the difference, but it’s a pretty awful way to differentiate themselves from the competition, and the primary reason why, when my Hulu Plus trial expired, I didn’t renew.

Jamie Foxx As Electro?

Now this is interesting news!  According to Collider, Jamie Foxx is rumored to be interested in the part of Electro in the sequel of “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  Now keep in mind that his skin color isn’t integral AT ALL to the character.  Despite this being the case, and if it’s confirmed, wait to see all the racial nonsense that starts flying about.

Mark my words.