Caused To Be Alarmed

While not a huge Hellboy fan–I’ve seen the two Guillermo Del Toro-directed movies and read the occasional comic–I don’t know enough about the character Ed Skrein would have played to comment upon his decision to withdraw from the role.

Though in this day and age, is there really any excuse to cast a white actor in a role that originally was–in this instance–Asian?  Was there a sudden dearth of Asian actors?

And before anyone even thinks it, casting people of color in roles traditionally filled by white people isn’t necessarily the same thing.  For instance, I recall Roland from Steven King’s Dark Tower series of books being white–though it’s been awhile since I read them–and Idris Elba was cast as the role.

So is that being hypocritical?

Not at all, for a few reasons.  First off, are white actors hurting for roles?

And that’s not to diminish how difficult it is to be successful in Hollywood though despite being hard in general, I suspect that if you’re white the odds are greater that you’ll find work consistently.

Does that mean all ALL white actors are doing great?  Of course not, though what it does mean that as an white actor you’re likelier to have significantly better odds of working regularly than black actors.

Or Hispanic actors.  Or Native American actors.

And speaking of Asian actors, the image on the the left is from The Conqueror, a big-budget (for 1956) movie starring John Wayne.

Let that sink in for a moment John Wayne as Genghis Khan.  

Now was there an Asian actor (at the time) with the box-office pull of John Wayne?

Likely not, and one reason why is that roles that would (and definitely should) have been played by Asian people, weren’t.

For instance, he’s a photo from Charlie Chan in Rio from 1941. The actor playing Charlie Chan–holding the magnifying glassimg_0543-1 on the right–is Sidney Toler (if his name didn’t give him away, Toler is as Asian as I am, and I’m definitely NOT Asian). 

And just so you don’t assume that this frankly offensive casting trend is a remnant of the distant past, here’s Joel Gray from Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

Which was in 1985.

And let’s not forget Ghost In The Shell, which I remember like yesterday–which relatively speaking it was–since it came out earlier this year.


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Del Toro’s Fantastic Voyage

Guillermo Del Toro ranks among my favorite directors, though what I have seen–which is exclusively the trailer–of The Shape of Water left me underwhelmed.

Color palette-wise it feels a lot like Blade II, while story-wise and visually it feels like The Further Adventures of Abe Sapien (though part of me hopes the movie is a backdoor way for Del Toro to delve deeper into the worlds of H.P Lovecraft).

In other words, despite never having seen the movie, I feel like I have, which is never a good thing.

Now, Del Toro directing a remake of 1966’s Fantastic Voyage?  Now that I’m interested in!

By the way, this is how you do remakes!  Most people don’t even remember the original–though there also was a cartoon based on it two years later, never mind the novel–so it’s going to be new to most, which should give the producers room to veer from the source material if necessary.

Though there’s a fly in the soup, namely David Goyer, who’s writing (though to be fair Goyer also wrote Blade II and Del Toro was apparently able to reign in his hackier tendencies, so hope springs eternal).

By the way, Guru!?  Notice how everyone on the team has an actual name, while the Indian character doesn’t (A guru is ‘a religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism…’).

That’s like naming someone ‘teacher’ or ‘bar keep.’  And I won’t even start on the ‘master of mysterious powers’ malarkey.

Scorsese Joker Project: Proof The DCEU Remains Broken

For those of us who thought that the greatest problem with the DCEU (the DC Extended Universe) was Zach Snyder’s stewardship, you were right (sort of).

Though to be fair, that’s like blaming the small (relatively speaking) bit of iceberg that remained above the surface for sinking the Titanic.

Reason being, some executive(s) okayed Snyder’s approach, which is the real issue.

I bring it up because there’s talk of a Joker origin movie that seems to exist outside the DCEU (essentially an Elseworlds-type of story).  And this is a problem because–while Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were popular, they existed outside the DCEU, which means that everything that this new movie establishes will likely not be a part of the current universe as well.

And there are so many different DCEU’s as it is.  There’s the version that exists in movies, which has finally begun to gain traction with Wonder Woman.  Then there’s the DCEU as it exists on television, which shares characters like the Flash and Superman.

Now there’s what I call the Elseworlds DCEU, that takes characters people are aware of, and places them outside the universe proper.

This is where the Nolan Batman movies reside

If you’re a comic reader, the latter scenario I mentioned is hardly an unusual one (Marvel Comics had their own take on stories based in an alternative Marvel Universe called What if… ) but moviegoers might find it a bit confusing.

Though what’s worse is that the DCEU has failed to establish their mainstream characters with anything resembling consistency, so now they’re creating alternative takes, seemingly independent of the greater DCEU!?

Such a move may be profitable in the short term, but it does not bode well for the DCEU as a whole.

Star Trek – A Gay XXX Parody

If you’ve been thinking that the only thing wrong with Star Trek was that they were missing gay sex, then I have the video for you!

Though to be fair, what cause my eye was the poster, which is surprisingly  faithful to that of one of the better Trek movies, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (though the font is more reminiscent of the Star Trek television series).

And I am reasonably certain Star Trek is not in the public domain so the only reason I can think of Paramount’s lawyers not setting their phasers on ‘lawsuit’ is perhaps because it’s either flown beneath their radar or they think it’s not worth the bother.

If only Axanar were so lucky.

Though the worse thing is (okay, the second worse thing) that the porn parody is likely more faithful to the original Trek (know as the Prime timeline) than the Kelvin timeline-based movies.

Marvel’s The Punisher – Teaser Trailer

There have been three movie incarnations of The Punisher since he was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. in 1974, and while a popular character in comics, his movies never quite seemed to connect with audiences.

The first movie was in 1978, with Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle/The Punisher.  It was okay, though he never displayed the the iconic skull emblem the character is known for (this lack of fidelity to the character was made up by it being somewhat gory).

The next version was in 2004 with Thomas Jane (who while physically is probably a bit short, he brought acting chops beyond Lundgren’s). It was okay, but failed in some really peculiar ways, such as as some underwhelming special effects and odd story beats (what I like to call the ‘fire hydrant scene’ is pretty bizarre).

Though at least he wore the iconic skull.

Thomas Jane also appeared in a short as The Punisher in 2012 (The Punisher: Dirty Laundry).

The Punisher next made another appearance in 2008 (This time played by Ray Stevenson) in Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone.  

Easily the best interpretation of the character in movies–though some of the violence was way over the top and more cartoonish than anything seen prior–Stevenson brought the size of Lundgren, and the acting chops of Jane to the role.

Though it still underperformed in theaters.

Enter 2017, and the Punisher is back.  Introduced in season two of Marvel’s Daredevil and graduating to his own series (a better format for the character than movies) Jon Bernthal brings us a Punisher worthy of the name.

The DCEU Finds Redemption

There a story on Superherohype where Ben Affleck says that the portrayal of Batman in Warner Bros/DC Films upcoming Justice League would be a more ‘traditional’ portrayal of the character.

What!?

The fact that Affleck has to tell viewers this is indicative of perhaps the greatest problem the DCEU has (yet) to overcome: namely a loss of support from their core audience, which are the people who grew up reading the comics these characters first appeared in.

Which is such a weird place to be because it’s a problem of their own making in that all they needed to do was to make their superheroes more faithful (I understand that no character translates wholly intact from the printed page to the movie screen but it’s almost as if Warner Bros wasn’t even trying) to how the characters appeared in the comics, then literally sit back and rake in the cash.

But if Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have shown us anything, it’s seemingly not quite that easy.

Or does it?  Maybe the greatest problem with the three aforementioned movies has less to do with their their fidelity to the source material (though that’s certainly there) than an attempt to be visually and esthetically different from Marvel Studios.

And on some level that’s understandable.  What isn’t is creating such an esthetically and morally unappealing interpretation of Batman and Superman (though what’s worse is that there’s nothing wrong with such portrayals per se.  It’s more a question of starting with a more traditional interpretation then have events turn the character dystopic–which was said, but never shown in reference to Batman).

That’s an important journey viewers would have not enjoyed embarking on, and would have shown the seminal events that resulted in a murderous Batman (something the character studiously avoided during for the bulk of time he has existed).

Wonder Woman–for the DCEU–is literally a game changer in that it not appears more faithful to the comics than the aforementioned movies, yet managed to appeal to both critics and the bulk of the moviegoing audience.

It may not have quite restored faith in the fledgling cinematic universe that is the DCEU

Inhumans – Trailer 2

The more I see trailers for Marvel Television’s Inhumans, the better it’s starting to look.  The FX is fine (and while Lockjaw himself looks great; his transport effect?  Not so much) and while I’m hardly waiting with baited breath, I am interested enough to catch it in theaters (mainly because I am curious if it looks cinematic enough to warrant the involvement of IMAX.