Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Last 'Force Awakens' Rant You'll Ever Need To Read

What a lousy design concept for a Star Wars villain. I was looking for more 'Star Wars 8:
The Last Jedi' news to deride when I came across this pic of Daffy Duck in a hood looking creepy. Couldn't help but think of that poorly motivated 'The Force Awakens' villain, Kylo Ren. I don't have to talk about why it resembles him, now do I?

I say Kylo Ren's character is poorly motivated because if the insinuations and indications are to be believed, that he trained under Luke Skywalker before betraying him, then almost certainly Luke would've told Kylo that his father was redeemed in the end by the Force. That Vader, after his death, would never approve of anyone wishing to be like him. Recall how he told his son Luke at the end of 'Return of the Jedi' that Luke was right about him (meaning that he wasn't a lost cause).

Now here comes Kylo, years later, the son of both Leai and Han, who also would've told him about Vader's turn from evil. SOMEHOW Kylo ignores all of these significant figures in his life, and pretends that their appraisal of Vader was a LIE. That Vader is STILL EVIL. He virtually prays to the recovered helmet of Vader in 'The Force Awakens', expressing admiration for his evil.

This is DOUBLY STUPID. It means that Kylo or another had to go to the Moon of Endor and in the process of recovering Vader's melted helmet actually VERIFY part of Luke, Han, and Leia's story about Vader's end.

Now if all this isn't enough to convince you that Disney simply intends on treating OUR beloved Star Wars as a FAT CASH COW then get this: Rumors are already circulating that Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi, the sequel in the new Rey trilogy is building up to be simply a REMAKE of the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (the 2nd film in the Luke Skywalker trilogy). Another goddamn remake?? Of course it won't exactly mirror 'The Empire Strikes Back' but script leaks and other hints suggest that it will be dark in tone like 'Empire' was and that Rey will lose a hand or other body part like Luke did in his 2nd film. What else are they going to monkey? Will we get another battle on a snow planet like Hoth??

All this points to a sad fact: The people in charge of Hollywood's major studios, for the most part, are not storytellers. Take a look at this little gaff that I just noticed: In the entire film 'The Force Awakens', no one really questions Rey's origins? For all they know she could be an Imperial spy! She was not vetted when she arrived at the RESISTANCE BASE. She and Finn were not checked out at all! Fantastically stupid 'writing'. They could easily have been SUICIDE BOMBERS who could have blown up ALL of the Rebels -or excuse me- 'The Resistance's' leaders by sitting in on one meeting with them!! What a fucking joke this 'story' was.

Notice that Rey's last name is never revealed. Yet this startling lack of admission by any of the characters points to the whole thing as being a PLOT DEVICE. Something created in an ad hoc manner to move the plot on easily, but without having an explanation for it's own existence. Had the heroes began to question Rey's lack of a last name then questions about her (real) identity and thus her actual allegiances would have risen. But the Disney hustlers were too busy looking for a way to get her into the Resistance fast enough to imitate the plot of 'A New Hope', the original Star Wars film, so they could get back the 4 billion dollars they spent in purchasing the Star Wars saga from George Lucas.

Anyway this whole new Star Wars saga starring Rey is a joke and should be treated as one -especially from a professional point of view. Only film illiterate people are raving about this film. People who don't give a fuck about originality or pacing or plotting, etc. and / or who only like the actors in the storyline because they did at least try to make the stupid unoriginal script seem legitimate. And fuck all those people who say that originality is an untrue idea. If your shit reminds others of other people's shit then it's NOT ORIGINAL. If it doesn't remind them of it but is the first of it's kind --in quality, in execution, in detail, then it's ORIGINAL. The original (first) Star Wars was full of stuff that REMINDED you of other films but the quality of it, the execution, the designs, the details were ORIGINAL. Therefore it wasn't attacked as being a rip-off like 'The Force Awakens' has been. 

Coyright 2017 by George Alan Booker, All Rights Reserved

Friday, March 31, 2017

You Say Tesseract, I Say Tomato!

The Hollywood version of A.I.M. was a total let down as featured in the plot of Iron Man 3. Gone was the thrilling designs of Jack Kirby. The yellow jumpsuits. The 'gang of scientists' feel that he imparted to them. An oxymoronic concept. A bunch of men, supposedly scientist -implying free thinking, acting like a common group of thugs!! This is why A.I.M. stood out among the many secret organizations in comicdom. The fact that they were anonymous made them even more dastardly!!

I recall when Captain America fished an A.I.M. scientist out of the ocean to learn from him for the first time about the Cosmic Cube!! the COSMIC CUBE!!! [If memory serves me correctly that's how it happened...] Now that's another gripe against these ratty Marvel movies in itself. Not a once during the Captain America movies did they call the Cosmic Cube the fucking Cosmic Cube!! They called it the 'Tesseract', The 'TESSERACT'?? WTF is that? Sounds like an optometry measuring device or something, not like one of the most powerful devices in creation!!!!

Fake ass Hollywood hipster fuckups! Always trying to make stuff 'realer' -if that's a word. Always trying to 'ground' stuff in what THEY (Hollywood honchos -directors, producers, etc.) believe is better. Who the fuck are they to change great literature (classic Marvel comics)?? Arrogant MFs is all they are.

By calling the Cosmic Cube the 'Tesseract' they robbed the thing of it's fantastic elements. The name is the thing you know. You don't call a 'machine gun' a 'repeater' because it doesn't convey what the damn thing really is. As a friend of mine once said, 'Some people know how to kill the very essence of a thing'. They sure the hell did that with the Cosmic Cube!

There's a bunch of 'Tesseract Apologists' out there on the Internet trying to rationalize why the Cube wasn't called Cube in the movies. That's all B.S. It wasn't called the Cube because of a lack of dedication to comic book continuity --a bad quality that happens when publishers allow filmmakers (arrogant filmmakers) to work on their projects. That's the real reason it's not called the 'Cosmic Cube'! Anyway we'll probably never see it in a film being refered to in that cool way, 'The Cosmic Cube'. At least not in my lifetime I think. Oh well.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beauty Gets Her Beast -and Bankability Assurance!

'Beauty And The Beast' Review

Beauty and The Beast, the recent big budget live action film from Disney is what I expected it to be -your typical over-lavish production with little depth besides the occasional moment of inspiration which is quickly extinguished. That's modern day Hollywood for you: all promise, little keep.

Most everyone knows the story of Disney's 1990's animated cartoon version of the classic fairy tale of Beauty and The Beast. But in case you have forgotten it here's a synopsis: Attractive girl which every woman thinks represents herself needs a husband but is so selfish and introverted she winds up falling for a loser prince who has been transformed into a beast by a pernicious (hows that for a Google visit?) witch / sorceress / enchantress -whatever because in her eyes his own narcissistic ways are offensive to her senses of how men (in general) should behave. The only thing that can cure this guy of his new Beasty-looks is the true love of a beautiful woman (strained irony if there ever was any). Which actually shouldn't be that difficult if you take a casual walk around your small town or large city. Gorgeous or attractive women can be found with all sort of ugly guys (beast). So much for that punishment!

Or course I'm being silly about the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale because the whole story is downright silly but awfully revealing about the psyches of some women (most?). They often reject braggart men / accomplished men / even rich men  for more prosaic men who don't challenge their own self's intellectual capabilities or good looks. In short women choose loser or weak men over smart / attractive ones --even if they got big bucks (doesn't mean you get their love, right? Right!)

Now that explains why this story is so damn enduring, doesn't it? And why Disney continues to milk the hell out of it. It's all part of Disney and Hollywood's nostalgia exploiting era that we are all unfortunate to be siting through. How many old TV shows have become awful films in these last 2 decades (since the 1990's)? Too many. And few of them worth remembering; many of them that should be forgotten forever ('Star Wars: The Force Awakens'). Which is [unlike] the 90's Disney Beauty and the Beast. It was really a very good animated film!

So here we are again, in the age of nostalgia exploitation viewing Beauty and The Beast.. It's a too-big for itself film to some degree. The characters actually feel subservient to the landscape / castle that the they live in. It's as if the production team got the go-ahead to design the film without a finished script. So that they would be able to tailor their designs to the specific beats of the film. Keeping backgrounds humble in emotional scenes and going crazy with them in more horrific or troublesome ones. I guess that's part of the Hollywood 'factory film'. Script last, money-grabbing concept first. Hire the artists now, never mind what they design! We'll fit the story to the visuals! Not how good visual storytelling is done, folks. One should make the visuals subservient to the scripts' needs. This 'rule' (because their really are no rules in visual storytelling, only appropriateness) is broken relative to the tempo of this live-action version of the classic fairy tale.

The acting in this film is rather uninspired (showing you that the script is surprisingly dry of any character development). Hiring Emma Watson for the role of Belle is a stroke of genius (and I use that term as hyperbole here). This is her first significant role since she played the intellectual-feminist sorceress-in-training Hermoine in Harry Potter. Now I have to admit that I'm a fan of hers from the start and am glad to see her career advance by leaps and bounds. But I can say in an unbiased fashion that she is perfect for this 'intellectual feminist' version of Belle, for in this version of Beauty and the Beast (this 'version' because everyt ime someone tells this story they either add to it or subtract from it) the character IS a dedicated bookworm and a budding woman's rights activist (she's ridiculed for her reading skills and is berated for her desire to teach a young girl how to read by the stogdy and evil villagers she has to deal with daily). Emma turns in a suitable performance and of course is the real reason to see this 'Beauty and The Beast'. The gentleman that plays the Beast, actor Dan Stevens, is perfect for his role as well. We neither love or hate his beast -so when Belle does fall in love with him we can see that's just the fate for any woman that happens to stumble upon the tragic character and is forced to get to know him (as Belle is when she takes her father's place in the Beasts' dungeon). Another interesting performance is that of Luke Evans. He plays Gaston, the soldier who wants to make Belle into his wife. In feminine psychology he is the REAL BEAST of the story. For his undying 'love' or lust for Belle is seen by Belle and no doubt every other female in the audience as his desire to CONTROL Belle. And most experienced men know that women desire control over their romantic fates more than anything else in life. We are left to laugh at Gaston / Luke Evan's attempts at 'getting' Belle. All the while knowing that it's the strong and silent type who will actually win the heart of the girl (the guy who's had the tragedy in his life, in this tale it's the Prince turned into a hideous monster!).

The directing of this film by Bill Condon is rather uneventful. Nothing really stands out and it appears to me that this may be his first big film for it feels like he may have gotten himself into a 'more than I can chew' situation. Errors in character, plotting, or pacing in the film that can be saved by a clever director go unchanged in this film. But I must digress. I was rather tired when I viewed this film and it is a testimony to the director's skill that I did stay interested in it even though my body was screaming to go to sleep! I didn't snooze during it and what I experienced during my less than tired moments was skilled enough directing to keep me from saying to myself, "Who the hell directed this crap?". So to be fair the film is directed competently and satisfies one of the most important values in visual storytelling which is to hide the hand of the director. It's well hidden and so the story does flow from one logic point to another and that's that. But again, I feel as though the characters took a backseat to the CGI special effects and what-not. [I just Googled this director and confirmed my suspicions. This was his first big budget (i.e. big special effects) film to date. He's an experienced drama director but not fantasy one. Even the 'Twilight' franchise films he directed don't compare to the effects laden film such as this Beauty and The Beast.

All in all this film wasn't too bad. It's a good diversion for an adult or the kiddies. But nothing new will come out of it. The only real winner besides the Disney shareholders is Emma Watson's bankability. She should become the leading lady in future films more often because of this. So good for her!! I am a fan, you know...

Copyright 2017 by George Alan Booker -all rights reserved!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lucas' Legacy

Everyone interested in visual storytelling needs to make sure that he or she survives until 2021, that's the year that Big George's Museum of Narrative Art is slated to open up. In fact, try to stick around until about 2025 in case a bunch of lazy construction workers blow the Grand Opening date.

For all you Star Wars fanatics out there the museum will be in Los Angeles' Exposition Park. So you can head there right now with at least 5 to 8 years worth of supplies and camp out! Just think, you'll be first to enter one of the greatest art museums in history!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Suspension Of Disbelief

I started thinking about Thor 2 which I watched a few days ago and was surprised to realize that I never doubted the special effects that I sat through. Usually when you watch these super hero flicks your mind will pick up on things that don't look real (realistic), which will break your mind away from the spell (focus) contrived by the hundreds or even thousands of people who work on these flicks. This 'spell' is known as the suspension of disbelief.

The suspension of disbelief has been steadily stretched by the introduction of computerized special effects. In the past, there are only a few films that managed to attain this most sought after quality without the extensive aid of computers -films like Star Wars, Superman (1977), and 2001: A Space Odyssey come to mind. And that was done through very laborous processes such as model building and careful lighting, selective camera angles, and ponderous filming techniques. But all of that went straight out the window when faster processing and affordable computers came along. And since even that occured more than 30 years ago the level of realism in special effects is quite astounding currently-so amazing that they may be in danger of being thought of as being taken for granted. But this is what filmmakers actually hope for! Why? Because when you take a thing for granted it also means you fail to notice it  sometimes-and the best special effect is the one you don't notice!

   So as I watched Thor 2 I never really thought about the special effects- they properly fell into the background of the pretty decent narrative that was woven by the filmmakers. There wasn't a moment in it where I consciously said to myself, "Aha! That looks fake!" or as sometimes is the case FEELS fake. No, this film was pretty darn fun and exciting to look at and listen to --and it's about time; considering the cost of watching a movie nowadays. With this movie I got my money's worth.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thor Ditto -The Movie

Thor 2 is out there playing somewhere, people (Europe only right now?). Word on the streets is that it is good. Thank goodness for that! Hollywood or any other film production society or company can't afford to be putting out crap anymore and charge over $10 for a damn ticket. I go to the movies once a month because of this very fact. Pay attention to quality not quantity and certainly not exploitation of the film loving marketplace ( you producers know who you are). But the biggest challenge of any trilogy or series of films is to keep script and production quality continously high throughout it's life. This is what hurt the Star Wars series and other trilogies like the Indiana Jones series. When one team of exceptional creators leave a series, then, whoever owns the thing, should make it their mission in life to hire equal or better creators to continue it. If not then the whole series begins to feel uneven. With geniuses guiding the ship one day, then the next day a bunch of clowns are at the helm headed straight for the rocks

Yet all of this begs the question -why the big focus on sequels in our time? The answer is simple when you remember when and where all this sequel mania began. That would be with film director George Lucas and his Star Wars and Indiana Jones films. Lucas was raised in a time where movie producers new the value of serialized motion picture storytelling. Every now and then ( in Lucas' day) you could expect your favorite movie characters return to the theater in a new and exciting adventure. That was a continuous stream of guaranteed revenue for production houses. Now, having 'rediscovered' the basics of serialized movie production, Hollywood doesn't seem to remember the value of it. The first movie is usually good, but the 2nd and 3rd -TYPICALLY LAME. Waking up to this on a mass level could seriously help the movie theater distrubution market compete with the Netflixes and Redboxes out there. After all, seeing the movies on the big screen -nothing can compete with that. Only by being continuously arrogant and greedy regarding the quality of films will keep H-wood's theater distribution market share in the less than optimum state it's in. Copyright © 2013 John Maxter, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

To Carrie Or Not To Carrie, That Is The Question

Should I or shouldn't I go see Chloe Moretz's take on horror master Stephen King's class horror tale, 'Carrie'? Ordinarily I wouldn't be debating whether or not I should watch anything with young wonder Moretz in it. She's one of those actresses that keeps my attention no matter what she does. Who is she? She's the spunky, hyper-violent tween from the 'Kick-Ass' vigilante super hero film series. I think she's great future Academy Award material. Anyway, as I was saying, I wouldn't be debating this except for the fact that my local stadium seating theater JUST RAISED THEIR MATINE PRICES!!! They only went up a couple of bucks ($9.50 to $10.50) but damn, when you add on the already skyrocketing cost of living - those extra bucks matter! What? Should I have to choose between eating dog food this week or seeing a blockbuster? I mean, come on! I love the big screen but if the prices keep climbing I'm going go take a pair of Coca Cola bottles and strap them to my eyeballs and slap a DVD into the ol' TV set and hope to Oscar that the bottles magnify my tiny TV screen to big screen levels!! Shoot! The things you got to do nowadays to stay in the game.