I, Da Ca$hman's Movie Reviews

U Can't Beat Me Man!

How will the reviews be organized?

Chronologically. You will see Rambo III underneath The Avengers.

Requests

Go ahead.

Ratings System

Ratings tend to not be the best indicators of opinions - for a better understanding read the entire review. However, ratings are also quick. So here is a quick legend of what these ratings might mean. Note that if there are multiple options, these options can merge in the hurricane that is my mentality.vAll ratings are made with both objective quality of the movie and personal opinion in mind. Reviews are made looking for all aspects of the movies, however seeking the positives as a priority over the negatives. If my rankings were chosen with a different method, this list would be entirely different.

0/5 - Nothing going for this movie. Example: A.V.P.:R.-Un:R[4.0]]{BETA}

1/5 - Barely anything going for this movie. Example: Batman & Robin

2/5 - Option A. Overrated. Example: The Amazing Spiderman. Option B. Had a lot of potential but it didn't fall through. Example: Alice in Wonderland (2010) Option C. Nothing new, nothing special, and synthetic. Example: Dolphin Tale. Option D. At least they tried. Example: Alien 3

3/5 - Option A. Cheesy and Fun, the best and worst of Popcorn Entertainment. Example: Piranaconda Option B. Good, Okay, but nothing that I even recommend by any stretch of the imagination. Just check it out if you're bored to death. Example: Highlander

3.5/5 - Very good, enjoyable. It's a fun time, and I recommend it, but don't rush out to the theaters. Something you would rent on Netflix. Example: Dracula 2000

3.8/5 Close to awesome but just great. Example: Iron Man

4/5 - Awesome but not perfect. Example: Batman Returns

5/5 - Between 90% done overtly well or 95% done well. Example: Batman Begins

5.5/5 - 95% Done overtly well or 100% done well. Example - Return of the Jedi

6/5 - Beyond Perfection. 100% done overtly well. Example: Cloverfield

All decimals represent a space in between these ratings.

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The White Knight Falls to his End (2012)

Also known as The Dark Knight Rises.

So it's come down to this. All this hype, all this fanlove, has all come down to this. The final battle. This is, this is, Gotham's, Gotham's. I don't even know if I deserve to be reviewing this. Obviously Christopher Nolan has all of you sold. There is not a single person who is going to diss this movie. It is a cultural phenomenon than should not, will not, cannot be tampered with or challenged. But this movie portrays a message. Do not stand and accept whatever comes. Rise and make the world better for yourself. And more importantly, make yourself better for the world. So I shall rise. And I shall speak.

There was something that happened before this came in. In front of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (specifically on the IMAX), a segment of the film was played. People were generally impressed with this trailer, but one thing got people up in legs. Bane's voice. People had a hard time understanding this. And I have a question: ARE YA DEF? I could understand the old Bane fine. In fact, I understood him better than the new Bane. But yet this is supposed to be a "good" change? The original voice of Bane sounded like a harder version of Scar. Now he has the hilarious voice of that English actor who everybody knows but cannot name.

I wanted to get past this. I heard his dialogue, and the words coming out of his mouth were awesome. His physical presence would intimidate Andre the Giant. He challenges common conceptions with the psychotic wisdom of The Joker, yet with subtlety that would break Joker. But that voice...man, I tell ya. That is probably the most hilarious voice for an English actor I have heard in a fully serious film. Let me put it this way. Imagine if Tim Curry voiced Scar. Yeah. Now you understand my logic. And, about his look...did anybody else notice the resemblance to the unmasked Darth Vader?

But all that is fault of the fans. Selina Kyle, on the other hand, is completely a fault of the writers. Notice how DSG isn't back, and CJJN got Triple J-N to help him out. Notice my overuse of acronyms. Catwoman was slapped on to this movie worse than any instance in Spiderman 3. If she wasn't there, NOTHING WOULD BE DIFFERENT. NOTHING. She is there for sex appeal, a speech for the trailer that could have been given by Alfred, and a Deus Ex Machina. But we'll get to that later on. Nothing about her appeal for cats gets explored, her costume is weak, Anne Hathaway is just there, her only strong point is her thievery. ...How is she a protagonist again?

Christian Bale improves as Batman this time around. He carefully and intimately portrays Batman as this broken dog on his last leg, still willing to fetch the ball for his owner. His use of the BROODING voice is used with more logic, but there is one scene where he distributes illogical iconography. Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth feels the most sincere he has in the entire trilogy, more so in his writing than his acting, but he still rises above his previous installments. As for JGL as Blake, well, Joseph does good, but his writing is pretty wishy-washy. We'll just have to wait to see what happens next.

I felt like Bane's motivations were poorly explained. In Batman Begins, they pretty much struck gold with how interesting they made the narrative. Beginning-Middle-End, not always neccessary. But here, it feels like CJ5N2 were hiding most of the back story from the audience for the sake of art than entertainment. Not to mention, the entirety of the remainder of the film was told in conventional narrative. So why Bane? I guess this is more proof that you cannot strike gold twice from the same mine. That said, you can still find other mines to strike gold in. Between this, Bane's motivations became a bit of a mess to follow, and for the first half of the movie remained nonexistent. It's almost like Warner Bros. is begging you to see this movie a second time.

Seems like this movie is great material for a music video. The visuals, considering the first film had scriptural and conventional theatrics, blew me away. The music proves Han Zimmer's Godly statues. Speaking of God, guess who makes a little cameo?....But I think it's about time I started getting on the aftermath of this movie, so SPOILERS up ahead. I'll give you the conclusion early so that you can go happy: The Dark Knight Rises is overall, a success. It attempts to risk by working with narrative and morals, and is Spielbergian with it's visuals and sound, but is held down by a generally lukewarm cast. 3.8/5.

So where do we go from here? Well, here's what we do know. Christopher Nolan killed Batman, by via an unknown Deus ex Machina, supposedly saved Bruce Wayne. I'd like to believe that little scene was symbolic, and that's what I will, but I'm sure that was not the original intention. We also know that Robin WAS involved, despite Nolan and Bale saying they wouldn't tolerate it. It looks like Nolan will NOT make another BATMAN movie, but instead will make either a Robin or Nightwing movie. These are some pretty harsh cop-outs, but I can forgive it by ignorance. The Justice League movie is going to come, and we are already aware of two of it's members and their respective films: The Green Lantern and The Man of Steel. Will Robin or Nightwing take Batman's place? His character seems to be a team player while Batman was the loner of loners. Who knows? But for now...

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

The Fucking Amazing Spiderman (2012)

This must be my most belated review ever.

I kinda belated this review intentionally. I knew this was going to be different from Sam Ram's versions, and I didn't want to have false expectations. That said, is it unfair that I expected a good movie? Wouldn't think so...it's not like it's the 1970's where all comic book movies are trash...Besides, the movies gotten pretty good reviews. 74% on RT, all the guys I follow on YouTube are likin' it. Mr. Lead Butterfly told me it was fucking incredible. I went in with barely over neutral expectations. And boy, oh boy, this movie stank. We're dealing with one large ball of tiger feces here.

What happened to Spiderman? Sure, Toby Mac was quirky - Hell, that was kinda the point in the first one - but THIS. What the FUCK is THIS? Who said a concept resembling intelligence included casting a socially awkward Edward Cullen? Probably the same idiot who said the same thing about choosing a director solely on the pun of his last name. Man, this guy bores the FUCK out of me. His voice is always dry, and his face is never-changing. At least he knows how to vocally move his tones. Man, I could see Toby Mac at any ordinary High School - though not a mutant man of spider. This idiot, what's his name, you couldn't find him at a High School because he would have dug a hole in the floor so that he wouldn't have to be exposed to any forms of light.

Gwen Stacey. I was actually kind of excited. I know Em Jay Double-You wasn't Spiderman's first love, and the fact Gwen hasn't gotten much screen-time is a little bit of an injustice. But THIS is TERRIBLE. She's like somebody out of a Disney TV movie that has had one hour of sleep for the last three days. She's a huge melting pot of cliche but with no emotion, attitude, Hell I would have taken SPUNK. SPUNK MOFOS. Her Dad also sucks the big one. He seems to understand police mentality, but never bothers to elaborate. This barely explored plot device and the "authoritative rich Dad" that we never want to see again in a movie are the only two dimensions of his character. The Stacey family is drier than a desert stripped of palm trees for paper and water for swimming pools.

The Reptile. Man, I'm disappointed. I wanted to see a villain not everybody knew. Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, lots of people who haven't even seen the movies know about these guys. The Reptile is one of the more major Spidey villains that only comic bookers and their close friends know. Wow, does he suck. I would have taken the goofy version that appeared in the comic books. At least his look is complex. Basically, make a reptilian The Thing, and you have his look. Does that sound good to you? NO. I remember from the close-up from the trailer, I thought he was going to be some sort of bipedal Pterodactyl. THAT would have been good shit. I would have been threatened by that.

But that ain't it ladies and gents. Curt Conners, the man behind The Reptile. I couldn't give a damn about this guy. His motivations and morals switch every twenty-five minutes, but he never appears mentally unstable. So basically, we have a hypocrite as our super genius villain. Yup. Real threatening. And aside from that, he has no character. OOH, HE'S A SCIENTIST. So what? Who cares? He has a backstory, sure, but we're just told it. We're spoonfed his background so they can get straight to the action. We never get to see him and Richard Parker interact. And in that, he feels like a final boss with a backstory, not a villain from a film.

People talk in this movie? Didn't know. I just thought they were reciting a middle school script. You'd find more engaging conversations in Zoey 101. All these are compromised of is unfunny humor and emotionally zonking* drama. It's not like there's any anything at steak, since we know that there's a second movie there's no way that Spiderman is gonna lose. We barely get to see him at school, and what we do get to see is solely his interactions with the generic and emotionally sloppy bully - and the aftermath of said interactions, which often are not followed upon for more than 5 minutes,

*If any lawyers happen to be reading this, I want the term "zonking" pattoned in Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦'$ name. Ditto for the term "pattoned."

The Amazing Spiderman should not be retitled to The Fucking Amazing Spiderman, rather it should be renamed The Amazingly Underwhelming Spiderman. It's soundtrack is heavily manipulative, it's drama is "emotionally zonking," it's humor unfunny, it's cast and directors drier than a desert. It's as if the original Sam Ram movie was a water balloon, and they sucked all the water out with a syringe. 2/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Piranaconda (2012)

ALL STOPS FOR THIS.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, Friends and Neighbors, Boys and Girls, that dude smoking Marijuana in the background, the apocalypse is a coming. SyFy is trying harder and harder to make more and more crazy stupid ideas, and they're starting to run out. Next week is Arachnoquake - Giant fire breathing spiders from the center of the earth. It is only a matter of time before they make a movie with ALL OF THEM, and then they will combine their strength to destroy the earth. Sharktopus, Piranaconda, 2 Headed Shark, Dracula, Snakes from a Train, DinoCroc, SuperGator, Bigfoot, Nazis at the Center of the Earth, Moby Dick, Yeti, Sabretooth, Rock Monster, Pumpkinhead, Pterodactyl, Painkiller Jane, Ogre, Minotaur, Mansquito, Mammoth, KAW, Kraken, Jabberwock, Ice Spiders, Harpies, Gryphons, Dog Soldiers, Chupacabra, all together destroying the world. You're welcome.

Despite this, I'm not dead yet, so I guess it is my duty to review whatever insane SyFy movie I come to watching. There's definitely a few things SyFy is known for. Bad acting is one. This isn't bad. This is like if you picked up the cast of Jason Goes to Hell, kept them away in a basement with Black Michael Jackson so that they were  not exposed to acting or any form of socialization for ten years, took 'em out, and told them to act 10x worse than they still know how to IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. And ain't it funny that the worst actors are the last two to survive?

And they consistently are able to get actors who look like semi-famous people. We have a pussified Micky Rourke, Mexican Tommy Dreamer and Mexican Mason Ryan (who's fake Batista in the first place.) That's not as wonderfully great as Nazis at the Center of the Earth, but I guess Sholph Dykler works for The Asylum alone. Alas, the acting is still horrible. Another thing SyFy and The Asylum (who, let me clarify, are not involved in this one) are known for is HORRIBLE, GOD AWFUL CGI. How's this one? Well...it's not horrible actually. Definitely the best trickery that the SyFy Channel has hosted that isn't from a big budget studio.

It's movements are probably not improved much. Piranaconda fucking moves like The Flash. It feels heavier though. If this were realistic, it would probably feel like picking up ten elephants. It does, however, look like you'd have to pick up Andre the Giant. And since I have no verse in CGI, I could probably be merciful and say something like a Giraffe. Still, the biggest Giraffe in existence combined with the heaviest Andre the Giant ever was would be nothing compared to ten elephants. It's texture isn't that bad either. It looks like a CGI rendered snake skin, instead of some soup of computer generated colors.

If you compare this to theatrically released films, yeah, it's fucking horrible. But when you consider this is the same channel that produced Boa vs. Python, you can be merciful. They couldn't even fix that shit up for the DVD cover. But you know what really bugs me? The gore. I don't know about you, but when I think of a giant snake eating a person, I (in my b-movie mind) figure a snake grabbing that person from above by the chest, lifting them and then swallowing them with a couple of bites. Maybe I'm thinking of a different creature, but I'm pretty damn certain THIS isn't how it works.

How in The Holy Hell do you figure that when snakes bite people, they instantly vanish into their throats and spray a MIST of red blood four and a half to five feet tall? Despite the creature looking the best in this movie, whoever was in charge of blood must have mailed it in on shooting day, because this is just absurd. Like, for SyFy Standards. Maybe it's a parody of itself. They're filming a movie within a movie that's 5x worse than this garbage in this garbage (make sense of that) and it definitely shows this movie is self aware. After all, it's a Roger Corman flick, this movie knows what it's doing.

And the editing is kind of whack too. You get instant replays in this movie, which happen a lot but it still seems completely ludicrous. There's also the most random ass shot that cuts to a tank of domesticated Piranhas. Like, in somebody's house or office. Maybe restaurant. Does this serve the plot? Nooo....Does this help the atmosphere? Nooo....Is the rest of this movie this 2001 esc? Noooo....Oh yeah, it's because this movie is 70% Anaconda, 10% Piranha and 20% We Don't Know How Snakes Work. Overall, Piranaconda is definitely a treat for SyFy Fans. I wouldn't call it a must watch because it's just too sluggish. I guess they needed ninety minutes and added A LOT of pointless scenes.

3/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦

Prometheus (2012)

Apparently Ridley Scott is a Scientologist.

*SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED IN THIS REVIEW, IF YOU DO NOT WISH FOR THEM AND WANT A RECOMMENDATION – GO SEE THIS NOW*

THE POEMS

Ripley

Never ending will

Never ending road to survival

An insect hunt, not the true reason

No matter Spring or Summer, love end in no season

A demanding world

Full of dumb and destructive people

Good and love conquers all

Not a single person can stand tall

Stand by those you are with

And forget the others

Even if you lost your daughter

You will always be a mother.

Newt

A maze of darkness

Where you’ve been abandoned

Full of creatures trying to kill you

And turn your soul blackened

Father and brother may have been lost

Mommy is gone too

But even the smallest light

Shines through the blackest blue

Mommy may be gone

In that great Kingdom called Heaven

But you still have a mother

And her name is Ellen

If you want the rest of the poems, P.M. me.

PROMETHEUS

The film opens with one of the cleverest two-five minutes I’ve seen in film in one carload of a long time. When you watch the movie the first time, you already note Ridley Scott’s art direction is superb. In this, we get a beautiful exhibition of what looks to be a lifeless earth. It is mostly ground and water, but still, it looks gorgeous. You take whatever documentary you think is the most beautiful piece of film you have ever seen in your life, and you take any 2 minutes from it, and the opening scene from Prometheus rivals if not beats it. The camera work is spectacular, the scenery is next to Heavenly, the colors are perfection, the symbolism is complex and subtle, you could probably have financed this opening scene with the same money it takes to make a movie…which looking at the budget is not entirely impossible.

This scene also takes the time to foreshadow coming events. It introduces us to our main antagonist without even giving the slightest hint that he’s the main antagonist. In fact you’d more likely say he’s a twist ending protagonist from this scene. It foreshadows creation concepts with gallons upon rivers upon oceans of water, which of course was the element that began everything. It even takes the time to foreshadow a red herring. That’s something you often can’t convince your producers to do. I did swear an oath that after this, I will not mention lighting after five reviews or two weeks, whichever comes later.

But I must address it here because it is as clever as Alien…dare I say, even more so? In the beginning we are greeted by a hue that only changes between apparancy. (Another word MS Word doesn’t know exists.) It is an extremely light blue. Hmmm…a light blue. Water. Life. Creation….what oh ever could that possibly mean?!?! The other major lighting scheme is that rotten, piss yellow with hints of black. I believe to symbolize our species becoming selfish, too curious and overall deteriorating throughout history and at the end we’ve become right out rotten.

And of course, to contrast, there is just the plain bright white that was present in Alien as well. Another thing clever when it comes to color is the spacesuits. Humans wear blue on their bodies, symbolizing the biological existence, mainly water. There are white strands which symbolize other minerals and chemicals, or perhaps DNA. However, the focus point and the things surrounding their brains is that rotten yellow color, and it’s even more intense on the spacesuits. (I guess there is a term for them, so excuse me my terminology is terrible.) The main antagonists’ color is a very, VERY bright white. Hmm…a white humanoid who’s heartless enough to create to abandon and kill its own kind. OH WHO EVER COULD THAT BE REFERRING TO Mr. I’m Gonna Make a Franchise Where the Third Film Has a Prison where All the Inmates are British?

In the end, the movie does go beyond the first two frickin’ minutes. God Damn I feel like I’m already in film school. Taking so much goddamn time to talk about lighting and colors. HELP ME IAN, BRING ME BACK TO STUPIDITY! Our main lead is, in the traditional style of the Alien series, a woman. (By this sentence you should be able to guess her outcome.) She’s played by Noomi Rapace (somebody forgot how to spell Naomi) known for films like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. If anybody starts comparing her to Ellen Ripley aside from her role as a woman and her fate, I am going to punch that person in the face.

Noomi is no Sigourney. She seems competent and willing to get in her role with all the ability she can. She seems like she cares about her own character and is trying her best to be her. She’s a really, really good actress. Here’s the problem: She shows her inexperience. Her ability to show realistic emotion is fruitless. She can make a legitimately emotional face, but when it comes to sounding scared or sad or happy or angry…uuugh…She is very forced a lot of the time, and (if my ability to read minds is still fruitful) she doesn’t really know how to do otherwise. Her ability to be her character instead of being an actor playing a character is fantastic, her ability to show emotion on her face is spot on, she just needs a helluva lotta work in the voice department.

Michael Fassbender, a name most are familiar with, plays the token droid of the film. Token may be an inappropriate word, but how else can you say it when every one of these movies seems to have its own singular robotic character? He’s got character…but maybe too much. Or too little. My perspective is that Michael is doing like the previous movies, which I’m sure he watched before his performance. The droid is usually void of personality 98% of the way. In most entries to this series, they typically seem to have picked up on some little emotional habits of human beings, but for the most part they are as steel and mechanical as their body.

Michael essentially does monkey see monkey do. Here’s the problem: We no do like monkey Mickey. In this movie, he is written as indistinguishable as possible from humans. This is a major plot point I’m sure will be focused on in some expanded universe novels I will not read. He enjoys watching movies, he has a better understanding of human emotions, he feels sympathy, hell he breathes fucking oxygen. Don’t know how this helps mission wise. Hell, even though he is reliable on oxygen, he is not intoxicated by alcohol and is void of disappointment. There were a couple of parts of his character that could have used tweaking, and Fassbender’s acting skills are misplaced.

Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers is just kind of…there. If I can read minds still, I believe this to be her mindset under the production of this film: “okay, gotta act sexy, gotta act sexy, gotta do what Ridley Scott does too-” which would end up being try to legitimately act with characters and emotions “-but for the most part, just be sexy.” Guy Pearce makes two slight cameos; one which tells backstory and can be left at that; another which serves nothing to the plot or metaphor in anyway other than having an excuse to kill an old guy very painfully. I dunno, maybe it was supposed to be real God killing false God but it did not work.

I mentioned in Alien (and probably the other reviews) that it was cool how the characters were scripted to be unaware of race and sex. For the most part it feels that way but when you get little scenes like the “father” twist, and the love interest, you can tell the original charm is not here. Of course, we’re not trying to repeat Alien. But I just feel like that’s something carried from the first movie that they could do with. I mean, honestly, if somebody didn’t think this movie was as good as Alien or (gasp!!!!!) didn’t like it, it’s probably because of the cast.

We touched on costumes earlier ago, but I wanna mention something else.  The creatures in this movie. It’s extremely clever how these things evolve. They at first rise from INK, than turn into TENTALCES which INFECT people’s BODIES with their BABIES, which GROW VERY FAST and are flat out SQUIDS, which HUG people’s FACES and continue the process. The ending scene shows a baby coming out which is clearly a cross between the Alien and the Squid. So I speculate that the Squids are an evolutionary step after Xenomorphs. The original Xenomorphs, however they looked, would do this process with other creatures.

Whatever creature they infected, they gained their DNA. Because they infected the Creator of Humans, they became the squids. When the squids merged with humans, they became the well-known Aliens. NOW TO WRITE SUMMAH DAT MUDDAH FUGGIN’ FAN FICTION. The creatuers themselves are a mixed bag. The ink itself is, well, effective as ink. Except it’s the only piece that you can clearly see is CGI. It takes you out of the movie a little bit and overall isn’t that creepy because you know it isn’t real. Why couldn’t they do some complex trickery with a real slimy substance that would have made it legitimately scary?

The tentacles/snake are no face huggers. I think the thing that made the face huggers so creepy was that they were dry and their patterns were unbalanced, also they looked like giant bugs. The snakes are normally sized snakes and are slimy and neutral skinned in terms of patterns, which is a lot less…ah, what’s the descriptive word…oh yeah, it’s a lot less ALIEN to us. Still, the concept of a giant worm infecting your body is satisfactory in its disgusting factor. Despite its aesthetical familiarity, when it comes down to Face Hugger vs. Giant Snake, I’d actually go for the Face Hugger. The final squid is…well…cheesy. Considering Alien is a giant B-movie itself, I’m very surprised they were actually able to incorporate something that made me feel like I was actually watching a giant monster movie. Enough is said.

Time to wrap it up. While its flaws include poor; likely rushed; monster design and a very lackluster cast; it’s positives of one of the most imaginative plots in a very long time and one of the greatest aesthetic looks of any film of all time make Prometheus a fantastic movie and a film that will influence generations for as long as cinema remains important.

The Rating? 5.5/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off. I do wonder what the next marathon will be…hmm…Maybe it has something to with the color red?

Snow White & The Thunder God (2012)

You know, this review would probably be trash done normally. *Grabs a Mtn. Dew* LEZZ DO EZZ!

SO I WAZZA ALLAIKE, "WHO'S GONNA MAKE ME GO WAKKA WAKKA NEXT TIME" AND DEN SUMMAH DEM SCHMUKKEY DUCKEYS WERE ALLAIKE "WOO YEA LOOKET EM KRISSY STEWIE!" AND DEN I WAZ ALLAIKE "AH YA MAN LOOKET SUMMAH DAT KRISSY STEWIE!" AND SO I WAZZALLAIKE "GIMME SUMMAH DAT KRISSY STEWIE MAN" AND DEN DAT THINGY AT DA PLACE WAZ ALLAIKE "AH YA MAN YOU WANNA SEE SUMMAH DAT KRISSY STEWIE MAN YOU GONNA HAFFA PAY ME SUMMAH DAT SHINY DOOLAR" AND I WAZ ALLAIKE "LEMME TELL YA A LIL' STORY ABOUT SUMMAH DEM SHINY DOLLARZ."

IMMA FLY!

IT WAZ A VERY GOOD STORY.

SO I WAZZA ALLAIKE "AW YA MAN I GOT INNA SUMMAH DEMMAH THEATRES MAN" AND DEN DERE WAZ A GHOST, AND I WAZ ALLAIKE "YO MAN WAZZA GHOST DOIN' UP IN DIZ SHMIZZLE KIZZLE BOI!!" AND DA GHOST WAZ ALLAIKE "WELL YA KNOW MAN, I GOT SOME CHIKZ DA BANG!" AND DEN I WAZ ALLAIKE "U GOAN BANG DEM CHIKZ BUT I GOMME SUMMAH DAT KRISSY STEWIE MAN" SO ME AND DA GHOST WE, ALLAIKE, BANG BANG BOY! AND I C'UL'N'T BELEE MAH EYEZ, DAT GHOST WAZZA DEAD MAN. I DIDN' KNO DAT HOWWIT WORKS, BUT I GUESS MAN, HE DEADAH MAN! HE DEADAH!

AND SO I WAZ BREAKDANCIN'

DEN I SIT DOWN IN MY SHIT, AND I WAT DAT SCREEN. AND DERE WAZ KRISSY STEWIE, AND I WAZ ALLAIKE "OOOOOH YEAH MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE." AND DEN I WAZ ALLAIKE "A NAW MAN U NO GOT SUMMAH DAT RANDY SAVAGE BOI!" AND DEN DERE WAS SUM KID?!?! WADDAHPHUCK, A KID?!?!?!  ROAAAAR! I WAMMA SUMMAH DAT KRISSY STEWIE AND SUMMAH DAT RANDY SAVAGE IF YA PLEAZE ME BABY CUZ I DA AMERICAN DREAM DU$TY RHODE$! AND DEN DA MOVIE WAZALLAIKE "U AIN'T NO AMERICAN DREAM BABY U DA CA$HMAN BROSSEF" AND I WAZZALLAIKE "UZZZ RIGHT."

AND DEN DA KID IZZA GROWN-UPZ! AND I WAZ ALLAIKE "Y AM I IN DA WRONG MOVIE TEACHER?" AND DEN DA TEACHER WAZZALLAIKE "I GOT NO IDEA Y U GO TO BAD MOVIE MAN!" AND I WAZZALLAIKE "AW MAN, NEDDER MIND, I JUST GOT NOOON A DEM BRAINZ BOI!" AND SO DERE WAS KRISSY STEWIE, AND DER WAS DA GOD OF TUNDER, AND DEN DER WAZZ SOME REALLY SCARY FORTY YEAR OLD VIRIGINS, AND DEN DERE WERE SEVEN MORE FORDY YER OL' VIRJINS, AND DEN I WAZZALIKE "DUDE DUST GET TO A MASTER DEBATIN' ALRIGHT?!?! BECAUSE I' HESUS J. kRIST"

AND DEN JESUS H. CHRIST WAZ ALLAIKE CUMMIN' DOWN AND WAZZALIKE "Y U GOAN IMMITATE MY BEANS MAN?" AND DEN I WAZ ALLAIKE "WELL, I TELLJYA WAT MAN. U AIN'T NO HESUS J. kRIST MAN! U JESUS H. CHRISTMAS TREES!" AND DEN IT WAZ ALLAIKE BOTTADEM NAMEZ WERE ALLAIKE STUPID AND SHIT AND SO LIKE IT WAZ TIME TO WAT DA MOVIE BUT I CULNDN BECUZ DER WAZ NO MASTER DEBATIN BROSKI!!! SO I LET AND WENT TO FIND SUMMAH DEM MASTER DEBATAHS, AND I WAZ GREETED BY DAT GHOST! DAT GODDAMN GHOST! AND I TELL YA WHAT BOI, NEXT TIME, CA$HMAN GOAN AGAINST DAT GHOST! CGI FUCK THE WORLD!

I'M BATMAN.

Men in Black to the Future (2012)

Pie solves everything.

(This review may contain spoilers as I had no idea what I was doing, seeing as I had a hangover in my belly during the creation of this review.)

This website was originally intended to be a website dedicated to movie reviews and news, with video game and book reviews at the side. Well, you know what happened to the news, and the book/video game reviews have been on the back-burner forever. But according to some of my fans (yes, they exist), it has now turned into a combo of a movie reviewing site and a blog. So since this is now apparently a blog, I'm gonna talk about what happened to me and other people when I saw this movie. It started a long, long time ago, in a miniature Canada far, far away...

I'm gonna be honest witchya, I've never been to a midnight premiere before....today........time is confusing. But I'm sitting around the nosiest library and the man who I will call The Green Hornet (Or agent G if you prefer) asks if I want to go the midnight premiere for Men in Black III. I say, no prob. As a result, here's what I ate after dinner and before 3 in the morning: A Popsicle, Cheesecake (although those two were just a preview), a Mtn. Dew (and I haven't had a soda in like a couple months), a piece of cookie dough, a honking big slice of cheese, a tuna fish sandwich and a chocolate doughnut.

Things I learned from Men in Fluorescents: John Lennon and Macho Man Randy Savage had a kid who inherited the steroid addiction and British accent. If a black man has a nice car in the 1960's, he probably stole it. Andy Warhol is an agent of Men in Black. Tommy Lee Jones is a Hobbit. There was an epic fight scene on Apollo 11 before it took off. Oprah Winfrey is an alien. Suicide jokes are funny. THE CAKE IS A LIE. And finally, above all, PIE. SOLVES. EVERYTHING. I figured this was a pretty educational film if I do say so myself......yeah, I think I do say so myself. 

Chapter two of our fine education: In order for the pie to work, you must let the pie work. If you stare at the menu for ten minutes and ask about the specials twice, ask for apple pie with a mean slice of cheddar...wow, I'm just spoiling all the jokes tonight aren't I. Also, if you see any higher possibility of today being your last day on earth (you should probably know the execution category), order the strawberry rhubarb. The 3 men on the Apollo 13 were aware of the epic fight scene going on. Dinosaurs were the beginning of time. Finally, and this is the most important thing you'll ever know: Your Dad was a hero.

Mr. Boris Lennon-Savage is our villain. Here are his two catchphrases: "Let's agree to disagree" and "IT'S JUST BORIS. " Am I watching a PG-13 action-comedy or something from Cartoon Network? Is there a difference these days? Is the Amazing Spiderman gonna tie in to The Avengers? Why is U2 in the new Great Gatsby trailer? Why am I suddenly attracted to a bunch of male actors like Will Smith and Leo DiCaprio? Why are black people brown and white people pink? Who the fuck said "yeah, that's a RED INDIAN"when they saw Native Americans? Where the hell is everybody? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?!?!?

Code of the Outlaw's Scarlet Clue.

Josh Brolin is Tommy Lee Jones. Basically, Tommy cloned himself and stepped in a DeLorian back in the day. He found that he was an actor in this time. So he decided to stay and become an actor himself, naming himself Josh Brolin. I totally didn't steal that joke from Jeremy Jahns. In fact, Josh Brolin is a better Tommy Lee Jones than Tommy Lee Jones is a good Tommy Lee Jones. Tommy Lee is an old Hobbit now. Josh Brolin has become much more like Agent K. Oh, and by the way. Agent K. Agent J. J.K. John Kennedy. Movie takes place in 1969. Hint hint wink wink.

The special effects are FINALLY up to snuff. I mean, I understood that they were like that in the first one. In the second one that just sucked. But now we have SFX that seem tolerable for the day of today. Except for one Mr. Xenomorph Parasite over here decides to climb into Mr. Boris Lennon-Savage's hand there. And there's plenty of hot babes, don't worry. Don't know why I felt the need to bring that up but I did goddamit. And then some other shit happens. And that's Men in Black to the Future. It's a funny, educational, suicidal, homicidal, simultaneously R and PG expendables and magic ponies step your feet on the gas because the M.I.B. are gonna kick your Candy Ass, IFCHYAASSAAAMEEEEELLLLALAAAAAAH! WHAT DA ₡₳$h.....₥₳₦.....IS......COOOKIN. HIT MY MUSIC!

The Avengers (2012)

The first great Marvel movie I've seen that isn't X-Men related.

It's been recorded. I do not have a very high opinion on MARVEL films, even though everybody seems to love it to death. These are the movies by MARVEL I've reviewed. X-Men (2000): Awesome. X2 (2003): A huge disappointment compared to the first one. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): A stinking piece of crap. Iron Man (2008): Kind of fun but very dry. X-Men Origins Wolverine (2009): A buttload of fun SFX and action. Iron Man 2 (2010): Ditto Wolverine. Thor (2011): Piece of crap. X-Men: First Class (2011): Fantastic. Cap'N 'Merica Da First AVENGAH (2011): Really good, focused more on the characters and action then the looks and SFX.

You can tell there's a lot I'm missing out on. I have seen the Fantastic Four movies, the first two Spider-Man movies and the most recent Incredible Hulk movie, but I wasn't here when I saw them and I haven't seen them since. If the Men in Black movies count as MARVEL movies, then...well, you'll see. So there. My expectations grew and fell and swerved and stayed for the majority of a year. I think I always was aware that there was going to be a big crossover, but it really dawned on me about the time that Thor came out. That this was really all about The Avengers. Like how everything by Stephen King is really about The Dark Tower.

I wouldn't be able to give you a timeline of my expectations. But at one point for the year before this movie came out, my emotions stayed around three basic ideas: "Man, this is gonna be the coolest thing ever!!! MEGA CROSSOVER!!!" "This thing is just gonna be Iron Man 3 co-starring The Avengers" "This thing is just going to be a commercialized money-grubbing 2 hour music video." Now that I've seen the film, I can tell you this is the coolest 2 hour mega crossover starring The Avengers. So no matter whether I was right or wrong, I guess I was right all along.

Probably the best thing about either of the Iron Man movies was Tony Stark as Robert Downy Junior as Iron Man. He was an extremely comical smartass who pretended to care about other people but really was about the publicity, his close friends and self-gain. In this movie, Iron Stark Jr. takes his character and launches it into space. (If you've seen the movie you get that reference, if you haven't seen that movie watch out for what I'm talking about and you'll laugh.) Tony Downy Man has now become an uber hysterical jackass who actually posses the ability to care about the people he protects and his partners that are protecting the people with him.

Bruce Banner in the 2008 Incredible Hulk (this one thing I do remember about it) always felt lukewarm. While there was a sense Edward Norton was trying to be B.B., it only felt like a third of his effort was going towards that. The other 2/3rds felt like Edward was trying to replicate Tony Stark in Bruce Banner. Yeah, I don't like the Edward Norton Hulk that much. In this film, however, Bruce "The Incredible Hulk" Banner is now played by Mark Ruffalo, and from the standpoint of somebody who knows next to nothing about The Incredible Hulk, he is how I will always envision Bruce Banner.

Bruce in this movie is probably the character I personally relate to the most. He's nervous and reluctant to speak out of line, but when he does speak out of line he's competing with Iron Tony Roberts on the cool and funny scale. He's a genius not only in the world of health, but he's also such in human emotions. However, he feels comfortable in his own environment. He doesn't want to debate human emotions because frankly emotions are what cause him to turn into a giant green rage monster as Tony Man Jr. so put it. So, when he speaks his mind about how everything's feeling but nobody is saying, he becomes the most important guy in the room.

In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Evans felt kind of 2-dimensional. Chris Rogers was the ultra cliche that I can spell out right now: "I'm so meek and I can't compete with the big guns but I don't say it because it's not my place (character transition) Hey guys, like the new me? (character transition) Time to put my face on summah 'dem trading cards! (character transition) Shit, this is serious, TIME TO FIGHT SOME NAZIS! (character transition) This isn't right! I didn't sign up for the army to kill people! I'M NOT READY YET!! (character transition) Okay, now I'm ready...to fight the final boss...and make the ultimate sacrifice...to promote The Avengers."

We've seen that character a million times. Fortunately in this movie, we're seeing a character we've only seen 250,000 times before. "I have and always will fight for my army! (character transition) I'm not sure if I should fight for my army (character transition) I don't fight for my army, I fight for my people!" Much more refreshing and Roger Evans is given much more space to work with his character and do his best acting. Still, he can be stale at points. His tone of voice is the work of a Target commercial, and his costume is the work of a Wal*Mart commercial. At a point I couldn't stop thinking he looked like a 6 foot 8 year old.

Probably my biggest surprise was the Asguardian characters. In Thor, we had problems. Loki was cool, but that wasn't the main focus. The main focus was comic relief, a romantic side-story and "finding your true self." Now that we've seen 10 million times. In this movie, Chris "Thor" Hemsworth and Tom "Loki" Hiddleston put on a performance that attempts to make Shakespeare proud. (As if Robert Iron Stark didn't drive that point home enough.) They get pretty far, but are put down by a couple of things. One, Thor is out of his element. You can't take Macbeth and hope for the same level of character when you put him in a Batman movie.

So, in stands to reason that you can't take a Thor and expect the best of his character in The Avengers. But, aside from the fact, Thor Christopher makes his original performance look like total garbage and redeems the possibility of him playing this character. Toki on the other hand, has a different problem. He's where the problems of this movie begin to materialize. For one. Nearly the entire situation of this movie would have been prevented if Nick Fury was more cautious about testing what I will call the magical blue square of doom and destruction and chaos and death.

Two, we barely get to see Loki interact with his army before the big battle. I think if the audience knew what kind of power Loki Hiddleston was packing (and BOY was he ever) before hand there would be more excitement for the final battle. Before the battle the only image we had of our antagonist was either vague or extremely overrated, and that made the first two acts of this movie feel less than important. I also felt like there wasn't enough focus on Loki himself. Like, it would be sufficient if he was just kind of a generic Red Skull type villain. But Loki is totally different.

Loki in this movie is a clever, no holds barred I'm gonna tell you what you really are you dirty piece of shit and you're gonna like it and if you don't I'll beat you to the ground and make your friends suck my cock. (That line will be edited for the YouTube release of this review.) That's my second favorite type of villain, right below "get out of my way you stupid overrated popsicle I'm the real hero here." Of course these two types of villains are very similar. But of course, they're appealing to an audience that wants their icons, so they don't put as much focus on Loki as they really should. Because he's so fucking cool in this movie!

(Yeah, forgive me, I couldn't find a better word that posicle.)

Nick Fury is kind of a flip flop character. Should we like him, should we hate him? Most of the movie it's telling us to like him but at the crucial point it's telling us to hate him and frankly we don't get enough of him to form our own opinion BECAUSE THIS MOVIE IS TAKING SO MUCH TIME TO FOCUS ON SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE THAT IT LEAVES HALF OF THEIR ALL-STAR CAST IN THE DUST DUE TO TIME CONSTRAINTS!!! Give this movie another hour and it might have been several fold more enjoyable. Black Widow becomes one of the most important characters in this movie, but only in actions. Not in words or emotions. Which does leave me craving for more.

Hopefully the Black Widow movie - which I'm sure is coming - will do justice to this character. Same for the Nick Fury movie I'm sure will come. Oh, and Hawkeye. Despite being, you know, the most important character in terms of the overall war; we don't get to know him one bit. He just comes down to "LOOKET ME I CAN SHOOT MAH ARROWS AND I'M AROUND BLACK WIDOW ALL THE TIMEZZ!!" Last thing to mention. I feel like people, at least some people, are seeing this movie as just a shoot 'em up blow 'em up modern action movie. And while it highly succeeds in that factor make NO mistake about it (this could qualify for one of the best action scene ever) let's not forget what this film is really about.

This movie is a superhero. It disguises itself as a film about saving the world from a giant alien battle regime guided by The [Norse] God of Mischief. Like a Superhero dresses up as a masked crusader who thwarts crime. Underneath it, The Avengers has something that the predecessors seem to lack. A person under that mask. That person is Redemption. Like Nick Fury said, "it's about making a promise." It's a promise that we're not the adolescent, amateur soldiers in cheesy suits surviving by the skin of their teeth and keeping the world in balance at the hair of the skin of their teeth. We can stare into the face of danger, and go into it. We're not selfish beings who care about our own publicity, or our power. We are here to avenge mankind.

4.4/5

I, Da Ca$hman, singing off.

Predators (2010)

The first movie in The New Wave…I think…

BACKGROUND

My opinion and other’s individual opinions aside, let’s talk about the general consensus. Most people seem to think that Alien and Aliens are two masterpieces, whichever they prefer. Predator is seen as an excellent movie within the action and monster movie genres. Predator 2 started a trend that continued with Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Alien vs. Predator and THAT MOVIE. Despite some re-edits, diehard fans, etc., the general consensus is that these are crappy movies that don’t deserve to be in the main series. This movie attempts to go back to the roots.

Only paying attention to the main Predator movies and not the AVP movies, this film attempts to revitalize the name of its franchise and not just leave the two beasts as beasts alone. For the most part, it succeeded. It’s the first movie in either franchise in exactly twenty five years to receive a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not by a lot, but hey, this is only the seeming beginning. I predict The New Wave will parallel the original series in several ways. I think there will be one Alien movie and two Predator movies that are received positively, as opposed to the other way around back in the day.

In the original series, there was a 2-by-2 pattern – 2 Alien movies, 2 Predator movies, 2 Alien movies, 2 AVP Movies. I suspect it will become a 1-by-1 pattern as to make the delays less damaging. I also see the titles being designed parallel. Note how each franchise has had one singular, plural and numerical title. I suspect both will also share an R-long word title - Resurrection, Redemption, Retaliation (this one the most plausible for Predator). Now that I’ve rambled about my hopes and dreams that will probably not see the light of day, let’s talk about how this movie actually came into production.

While making Desperado, Robert Rodriguez was writing a potential script for Predator 3. At the time, FOX turned it down because the budget would be too high. But now we have the magic of CGI and endless properties to gain cash out of. And giant amounts of advertising. The other big thing was that they wanted to revamp the franchise. This quote is directly from Robert Rodriguez’s mouth: “It was crazy, this thing I came up with. So then fast-forward to now and, like, six months ago, they found the script and called me up. 'Hey, we want to redo this franchise and we found your old script.

This is where we should have gone with the series! We want to move forward.' And that's what we're doing.” His one condition was that, while FOX would have the distribution rights, Troublemaker Studios would produce the film so that Rodriguez would have more creative control over the film. At first it was thought that Robert Rodriguez would direct the film, but he chose not to. He first approached Neil Marshal (Doomsday, Game of Thrones) and eventually settled on Nimrod Antal (yeah that’s a great name to give your kid.) These two were the guys who agreed to separate the tone from the AVP movies, which had become in the same grouping as Michael Bay’s Transformers. In the casting department, hopes were for an ensemble cast. And they were able to get it…moving on.

With all of this settled, they started shooting. It was shot on a 53 day schedule (why such precise days?) with 21 days of exterior shots in Hawaii, and 22 days of interior shots in Austin, Texas. Complete polar opposites of United States. Despite a general 50/50 split between shooting in terms of days; the majority of film was actually taken in Texas for the sake of tax benefits. Reshoots for exterior footage was done in Comal County, also in Texas. The Actor With the Longest Name is quoted: It was a blast. “It was an amazing experience. We were in the tropical rainforests of Hawaii stomping through the mud and getting rained on all day and then we ended up finishing in Austin, Texas.

I really think this movie is going to be good. They had cut together a trailer while we were still working and it looked amazing. It's a great cast and along with the action elements and the sci-fi elements, and with Robert Rodriguez being involved, I think it's going to push it to another level.” SFX were brought by a newcomer to the series, a team called KNB EFX. The goal was to bring it back to Stan Winston’s original vision, instead of this bulky Pro Wrestler that the Predator had evolved into. They also made it a goal to make new alien creatures, such as prey, domesticated animals, and new breeds of Predators not seen in either of the first two movies.

As for the score, it was speculated that the original guy for Predator would return, Mr. Alan Silvestri. Instead, Robert Rodriguez chose his longtime friend, John Debney. Robert is quoted: “I think we're going to go for something that fits the tone of the movie really well. That original score went great with the movie, but the notes and the music do really evoke a quality – you know, when he (Debney) showed me his rough cut, or some scenes, every once in a while at the right moment I started hearing strings from the score – because we had a temp score, and it really works.... So we'll probably incorporate some of that.

At the right time, because you don't want to overuse it. But it's like the James Bond theme – you can't use it all of the time, but when you do, you can get the audience really, really pumped.” Debney is quoted: “When I first learned that Robert Rodriguez and Fox studios were planning a re-boot of one of my favorite films of all time, 'Predator', I was thrilled. Having worked with Robert on four films previously, I knew that if anyone could do justice to a remake such as this, it would be Robert. Learning that Nimród Antal was going to be the director, I was doubly thrilled and knew I had to be a part of this one.” Debney was a very organic orchestrator. He used Tibetan Long Horns to simulate squeals and screams, and manipulated metallic scraps for the sake of brutal and primitive qualities of the Predator world.

And the film was complete. The New Wave has begun. Let’s start.

CRITIQUE

I swear on The Holly Babble and my mother’s nonexistent grave that after Prometheus I will not talk about lighting for either another two weeks or five reviews, whichever comes last. You’ve gotta deal with me for another couple of reviews, and then its break time. For the outdoor scenes, they mostly took advantage of Hawaii’s natural biome so I can’t really give credit for that. True, it’s very good location scouting, but it’s not like they created Hawaii. I gotta give them credit for outdoor night scenes though. They waited until it was fucking midnight, the darkest it could get outside, to film at night.

And yet they still managed to be able to light the film in a way that you could make things visible. The colors used to illuminate outdoor night scenes are a dull yet very bright (not vibrant, just bright) mix of mostly yellow but part orange. Definitely represents the grossness of being on an alien planet. Which totally goes against the scenery, as I’m shocked just how much the Predator Planet looks like Earth. I mean, I guess this isn’t too much of a problem but I can just see how much of an opportunity to create another world was lost. Hell, The Shit Brothers were able to create a Predator Planet distinct from Earth for just a few seconds of a shot, and look at the shitfest that scene became a part of!

There are some scenes that don’t have the yellow tinting but instead either rely on character’s flashlights or sparklers (not sure if that’s the word I’m looking for but you get me.) This helps in a sense of realism we DON’T NEED. Now, you wanna talk about the costumes. The Predator costumes, to be specific. While they didn’t quite get to the preferred look of the original costume, I think it’s definitely acceptable and allows for the original spirit of Joseph Clements to shine through. There are other breeds in this flick. One is a simple recolor, which is fine and good, considering he’s not there much.

The other is a beefier version with a much creepier face. I like this creature’s design a lot, but the way he’s integrated into the plot seems rushed. They wanted to create competition between Predators, right? Well, considering the audience knows the Clements family better than the Copeland family (I said EVERYBODY gets a pet name) as villains, wouldn’t it make sense that the Clements family are the intimidators who enslave and the Copeland family be the ones who are the unforeseen heroes? I dunno. Feels like the plot could have been stronger by that, but it may be a nitpick.

That’s actually pretty much how this movie goes overall. A very strong base with so many smaller things that weaken the overall picture. I don’t just mean that “the rest of the movie is good, but the acting sucks” or anything like that. I mean every aspect is good but they have one little part – liken it to the knee of the aspect – that destroys all favorability of said aspect. Which reminds me. I’m gonna go for a two for one and talk about both the acting and the dialogue. The dialogue isn’t that bad. It’s basically a script of talk that can be either amplified by good actors or thrown into the trash by bad actors.

A blank canvas. There plenty of splotches of good paint, mostly one liners that make fun of movies in the genre. Not just Predator and Predator 2, although that’s there. There’s also a couple lines that make fun of movies like Doom and Scarface, and it’s all in the spirit of appreciation. There’s also a lot of one liners in its own right. Listen to this little exchange:

Stans: [to Edwin] “You know, man, if we ever make it home, I'm going to do so much fucking cocaine. I'm gonna rape so many fine bitches. I'll be like, "What time is it? After 5:00? Damn. Time to go rape me some fine bitches."

Stans: “You know what I'm saying?”

Edwin: “Oh, yeah. Totally. Like; 5:00, it's bitch-raping time.”

But here’s the major problem: I said most of the dialogue is kinda like a blank canvas, right? Well…so are the actors. These are the kind of actors that are about as good as their material. Adrian Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Laurence Fishburne and other actors; while decent choices for being in an ensemble; are not the type of actors for this script. And Danny Trejo just is forcing his lines, acting like he just wants to get done with this role so he can go film Machete. Going back to visuals for a second, the camera work in this movie is pretty good. It’s not good enough of a movie to get me wondering about the symbolism of the cinematography, but angles are filmed very well; they’re different in terms of aesthetics which can help a movie way more than people like to admit, and sometimes they ACTUALLY WORK FOR THE PLOT.

Ain’t that a thinker? How come so many movies don’t take the no-brainer of using a camera to elevate the tension and situations? As for the soundtrack, it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, you get the return of classic songs from the first movie like the classic Predator theme and Long Tall Sally by Little Richard. You also get some pretty good songs that elevate the situation in the climax, but otherwise if you let me listen to these pieces I probably wouldn’t recognize them at all. Overall, Predators is kind of a throw away film. Somehow they were able to take promising actors and a promising script and have one ruin another; they had a musical score that you won’t remember in T-Minus 24 Hours, good lighting that doesn’t help the film at all, and a very over explained plot. Still, I like it. Worth one watch, and that's probably gonna be it. If it's the jump starter for two more awesome movies, I'm happy.

The Rating? 3.1/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off. Next time: THE END IS HERE.

The Dark Knight (2008)

 

“I’M LEDGER.”

SECTION ONE: AFTER THE BEGINNING

Batman Begins was released in an-anti Batman climate. People were not really willing to see another entry in the Batman series after the JShoe films. Not to mention, Batman Begins got low advertising for a Batman flick. It wasn’t under the radar, but it was kinda like, “oh yeah, that Batman movie’s coming out, ain’t it?” Those who were brave enough to venture towards the beginning of the end were met with a great surprise. And today, the film is known as a cinematic classic. It has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is the highest a Batman film has from 2005 and before, beating Returns’ 78%. The consensus is “Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.”

Lil’ Jimmy Berardinelli said that he was impressed with CJJN’s comprehension of "who [Batman] is and what motivates him", which he felt was an up against Burton. At the same time, he did point out that he did not like the romantic side-story as he thought they lacked chemistry that Superman and Spiderman had with their loved ones. Total Film said that CJJN managed to create strong characters and a story that the third-act sequences cannot compare to "the frisson of two people talking", and they also praised the love story as fresh. Kenneth Turan believed that "story, psychology and reality, not special effects", assisted Batman and the dark tone of the film.

He said that Bale was clearly the shining star and that God and Holmes felt out of place in their roles. Michael Wilmington said that CJJN&DSGINC. "comfortably mix[ed] the tormented drama and revenge motifs with light hearted gags and comic book allusions," and that they took the series out of "slam-bang Hollywood jokefests" the franchise had drifted into. Dennis O’Neil said he "felt the filmmakers really understood the character they were translating", citing the film as the best of the live-action Batmans. Roger Ebert, who gave mixed reviews for the previous films, wrote that it was "the Batman movie I've been waiting for; more correctly, this is the movie I did not realize I was waiting for".

Giving it four out of four stars, he commended the realistic portrayals of the Batman arsenal – the Batsuit, Batcave, Batmobile, and the Batsignal – as well as the focus on "the story and character" with less stress on "high-tech action". Mike Clark praise Christian Bale for performing as good as he did in American Psycho, but he thought the love relationship was frustratingly undeveloped. Kyle Smith thought Batman was "both the menace and the wit he showed in his brilliant turn in American Psycho", and that the film works so well because of the realism, stating, "Batman starts stripping away each layer of Gotham crime only to discover a sicker and more monstrous evil beneath, his rancid city simultaneously invokes early '90s New York, when criminals frolicked to the tune of five murders a day; Serpico New York, when cops were for sale; and today, when psychos seek to kill us all at once rather than one by one."

Not everybody was in the positive, in fact about 15% aren’t in the positive. David Denby said he was underwhelmed and put Tim Burton’s films at a higher position. Batman’s presence was hindered by "dull earnestness of the screenplay" and a final climax that was "cheesy and unexciting” where Nolan resorted to “fakery” used by other filmmakers during action sequences. J.R. Jones criticized the script and said it could not possibly live up to "hype about exploring Batman's damaged psyche". Stephanie Zacharek felt Nolan didn’t Nolan didn’t deliver emotionally, especially when it came to "one of the most soulful and tortured superheroes of all.” She thought Bale, unlike Keaton, failed to connect with the audience even under the mask, and only Gary Oldman succeeded in "emotional complexity.”

Despite all these opinions, most being good, none are anywhere near as deserved as the one and only Tim Burton. He made the two well-received Batman movies before, so he should have his say. And this is what he said: "[Chris Nolan] captured the real spirit that these kind of movies are supposed to have nowadays. When I did Batman twenty years ago, in 1988 or something, it was a different time in comic book movies. You couldn't go into that dark side of comics yet. The last couple of years that has become acceptable and Nolan certainly got more to the root of what the Batman comics are about."

Batman Begins was a natural success, earning 2.5x its original budget. It’s total gross was $372,710,015 2005 /$412,513,762.86 2010. It became the second-highest grossing Bat film, aside from Tim Burton’s 1989 original. Some say this is insufficient for such a huge name, but remember what came before it? Yeah. The audience loved Batman Begins enough to create fandoms, such as three novels. Dead White, Inferno and Fear Itself. Shawn Alders has said that BB has created a trend of darker and realistic genre films that rebooted the franchise. One example he noted was Casino Royale (James Bond). He also expected the then in-development reboots of Robocop, Red Sonja and Grayskull to be similar.

Jon Faverau, Edward Norton, McG, Damon Lindelof, Robert Downey Jr., Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Hugh Jackmann, Matthew Vaughn, Rupert Wyatt and Kevin Tancharoen have all cited this film to describe their work. The film has numerous parodies and tributes. So it must be sufficient to say this film has made an impact. The question is…what would come next?

 SECTION TWO: ENTER KNIGHT

"As we looked through the comics, there was this fascinating idea that Batman's presence in Gotham actually attracts criminals to Gotham, [it] attracts lunacy. When you're dealing with questionable notions like people taking the law into their own hands, you have to really ask, where does that lead? That's what makes the character so dark, because he expresses a vengeful desire." – Christopher Jonathon James Nolan.

Before The Beginning, DSG wrote a treatment for two sequels, involving The Joker and Harvey Dent. He originally wanted Joker to scar Dent during his trial, making Dent Two-Face. Batman: The Long Halloween was used for more inspiration in writing the first draft, especially in his plot. CJJN wasn’t sure he would return, but he would be excited to portray The Joker on-screen. Goyer and crew were able to pull CJJN into production, and the film was called “The Dark Knight” announced on July 31st, 2006. Christian Bale said "this take on Batman of mine and Chris' is very different from any of the others."

Triple J-N, also known as Jonathon James Jonathon Nolan, suggested that Joker’s first two appearances in the Batman comic from 1940 would serve as major influence. Jerry Robinson, one of the fathers of The Joker, was hauled in for creative control on the character’s portrayal. CJJN decided to lose the origin story and instead detail how The Joker rose to power, saying "the Joker we meet in The Dark Knight is fully formed...To me, the Joker is an absolute. There are no shades of gray to him – maybe shades of purple. He's unbelievably dark. He bursts in just as he did in the comics."

He continued, "We never wanted to do an origin story for the Joker in this film, the arc of the story is much more Harvey Dent's; the Joker is presented as an absolute. It's a very thrilling element in the film, and a very important element, but we wanted to deal with the rise of the Joker, not the origin of the Joker." Batman: The Killing Joke became inspiration once again, especially where Joker said that anybody could become him given the right circumstances. CJJN cited Heat (the movie) as "sort of an inspiration" for his aim "to tell a very large, city story or the story of a city: If you want to take on Gotham, you want to give Gotham a kind of weight and breadth and depth in there. So you wind up dealing with the political figures, the media figures. That's part of the whole fabric of how a city is bound together."

He noted his themes of escalation when he said what many other wise men have said before, “things have to get better before they get worse.” He also noted that he would continue themes from The Beginning, like how Batwayne Bruceman is dealing with his father, and justice vs. vengeance.* He also wanted to make clear that Batman is a detective, which hadn’t been fully developed in any of the previous films. He described Harvey Dent and Batwayne Bruceman’s friendly rivalry as the backbone of the film. He also compressed the film from Goyer’s script, making Dent Two-Face in the film. The title, like Predators, has a double-meaning. It refers to The Dark Knight, Batman, and the fallen white-night, Harvey Dent.

If I may interject a little philosophy, I have a passage from Thesaurus.com: “revenge is personal and justice is societal.”

I have no transition. It was time to do design. Lindy Hemming, the costume designer, described the Joker’s look as reflecting his personality. “He doesn’t care about himself at all.” She didn’t want to make him look like a frickin’ hobo, but he wanted to make him look scruffy and ugly. "When you see him move, he's slightly twitchier or edgy." CJJN inputed that "We gave a Francis Bacon spin to [it]. This corruption, this decay in the texture of the look itself. It's grubby. You can almost imagine what he smells like." The anarchical look of The Joker came from figures such as Iggy Pop, Pete Doherty, and Johnny Rotten. Heath Ledger described his clown mask, a three-piece silicone, as a “new technology” taking less than an hour for artists to apply to his face. It had been a huge improvement on most prosthetic speed techniques. He added that he felt like he wasn’t even wearing makeup.

SECTION THREE: EXECUTING DARKNESS

Scouting began in October 2006, and principal photography began in April 2007. CJJN decided to use IMAX cameras to film sequences, which marked the first time a feature film had been partially shot in the format. It was his first chance in years of anticipation for using the format, not just for big-scale action scenes but for "quiet scenes which pictorially we thought would be interesting." The cameras produced a lot of problems, though. They were noisy and jittery, and much heavier than most cameras. The film loads were much shorter. Most film loads go for ten minutes uninterrupted, which was taken advantage of by Alfred Hitchcock way back in the day.

However, IMAX cameras had a load of 30-120 seconds. The film stock was also much more expensive. CJJN implied that the crew was whining and he wanted to make an entire movie in this format, saying "if you could take an IMAX camera to Mount Everest or outer space, you could use it in a feature movie." CJJN also edited the film stock with the negatives, which eliminated generation loss and allowed better resolution. When it was time to use the film, CJJN had said that he had a “truly remarkable experience” filming in Chicago, so Warner Bros. let him go nuts there.

The fake title they used to avoid media was Rory’s First Kiss, but the media eventually saw under the ruse. Production of the movie generated $45 Million 2007/ $47,267,530.56 2010 for the city’s economy and gave birth to thousands of jobs. They stayed there from April to early September. They also reduced the CGI to disguise Chicago, and many recognizable locations were seen. They basically went everywhere. Thirteen notable locations, including the Sears Tower and the Randolph Street Station were filmed. An old candy factory was demolished, which prompted people to think they were under attack.

They moved to Pinewood Studios for studio space filming, right before Conway Wickliffe was killed in a car crash. God Damn this movie is cursed. When filming a stunt with a 200-foot fireball, residents of London called in out of fear of a terrorist attack. When they moved to Hong Kong, they decided to film on the tallest building, the IFC building. They brought helicopters in for the scene as well. Officials expressed concern over traffic and noise pollution. In response, CJJN turned the volume up to 11 and made both countries called China completely def. Environmentalists attacked the crew for wasting energy, and he cranked it up to 12. However, China has a pretty damn big population, and they were eventually outnumbered. They had to run away to CJJN’s computer room in order to film Batman’s skyscraper jump.

Designing the new Batcycle – or Mobatcycle – was the new task given to Nathan Crowley. He designed six, just in case we need spares, ya know? He spent his time in CJJN’s garage, wishing he could have the money sitting right in front of him. Designing a batpod for another person while a stack of cash was right in front of him was a bit of a challenge, but it’s the challenge one must face in order to make that kind of money. If ya know what I’m sayin’ baby, Dustry Dream American Rhodes FUCK YEAH!

The Batpod became steered by shoulder instead of hand, and the rider’s arms are protected by shields that fit like sleeves on your arm. They buffed up the tires to create an illusion of the vehicle being equipped with grappling hooks and that sort of thing. The engines were located in the hubs of the wheels, which are 3  ½ feet away from each other. The rider lies belly down on the tank, similar to how Batman would have to go belly-down to use the weapons arsenal from the first film. This was done so that it would be easier to “dodge gunfire” in Kayfabe.

CJJN designed Two-Face to be as least disturbing as possible. He backed up this insanity with "When we looked at less extreme versions of it, they were too real and more horrifying. When you look at a film like Pirates of the Caribbean – something like that, there's something about a very fanciful, very detailed visual effect, that I think is more powerful and less repulsive." Framestore created 120 CGI shots of Two-Face’s scarred visage. CJJN decided to use this instead of makeup, feeling that the scar should take away from the face, not add to it. Framestone went on to rearrange the structure to the skull and admitting it for the sake of drama. For each shot, three 720 HD cameras were set up to fully capture Aaron’s performance. Aaron wore markers on his face to assist the CGI artists with lighting and location. Here’s a demonstration:

The Tag-Team of HZJNH returned to score this film. They gave CJJN an ipod with ten hours of recordings for testing. They based the nine minute suite “Why So Serious?” around two notes. HZ compared his work to The Damned and Kraftwerk. JNH composed Dent’s themes and HZ composed Joker’s themes. When a certain somebody decided to make an impact to a water container with his foot, HZ wondered if he should revise the songs. But he decided not to, that the original vision was what mattered. And the original vision is what we review today.

SECTION FOUR: WHY SO AWESOME?

That’s a very good question Mr. Joker. Each time I have seen this before, I was relatively unimpressed. The first time I saw it in the theatre, and the only part I remember from that experience was the Batcycle. The second time I saw it on DVD, and the only part I remember from that experience were plot points and the image of Batman standing over the burning buildings. This viewing later transitioned as one of my early “example” ratings. This is my third viewing, I suspect. Although it’s possible it’s my fourth. And I still don’t see what’s going on here. Especially when it is compared to Batman Begins.

Firstly cometh the barbequing of the sacred cow Christopher Jonathon James Nolan. What happened here? The atmosphere in this film takes a heavy downfall. Half of the film is in broad daylight. No added colors, just broad daylight. What, did CJJN love the city of Chicago so much that he refused to alter it in any way? And why DAYLIGHT? It’s the Goddamn BATMAN, did you forget that Bats are nocturnal? The night scenes are also not that special. They’re pretty much the dark with some added blue for trademark. By that I mean that the film needed a unique feel, and CJJN executed his lighting in that and only that. The Dark Knight has a cool blue that does not fit the theme of escalation and is placed for marketing, where Batman Begins’ colors met every theme it presented.

When it comes to makeup, though, CJJN has it going. The Joker’s makeup is awesome and has gained as much iconography as Darth Vader’s robotic mask. His green spaghetti hair and the massive painted eye-circles give a feeling of a tired body tortured by a psychotic mind. The white makeup shows his lack of humanity, how he’s used to seeing everybody become apes again. The red on his makeup is some sort of light candy red, it represents innocence and childhood, and it’s “scared.” Speaking of those scares, you gotta hear that dialogue. Joker’s writing is boss.

I love how he makes the “wanna know how I got these scars?” story different every single time. Like he knows people will believe anything they want. When he’s not making some of the most influential political statements a villain has made in the last 15-20+ years, he’s being his usual self-entertaining sadistic homicidal Joker that we love out of the character. Heath Ledger does a decent job at portraying these emotions. He’s more about the commentary side of Joker than anything. He fully immerses himself in his role, and tries to add technique where he can fit inside his newly found domain.

He’s a method actor, after all. Ledger’s performance is like somebody who is completely off-the-chain batshit insane, but who is trying to hold it in as much as possible. Not let the insanity of his mind show. His performance is like a slow filling of a glass, drip by drip but drip emerging moment by moment to the point where pauses are indistinguishable to the human mind. But the fact it you KNOW the pitcher is full, and you want all of it. There’s no arguing with Jack Nicolson. The man who let his insanity show for fun was more entertaining and believable at the same time.

Christian Bale seems trigger happy with that incredibly throat scratching voice. I got it last movie, he was using it to hide his identity. But now he uses the clearly fake voice in front of people that know his true identity? What’s the point? Why not just use your real voice that you use as Bruce Wayne? What, just when you put on the costume, you voice magically reverts to throat masochism? This relieves the Batman’s voicework of all reality and integrity. And as Bruce Wayne…well, gotta be honest, barely remember him. Just because Bruce Wayne is the “person behind the costume” doesn’t mean he has to be just a person behind a costume. The costume is not what holds power, CB, it’s the person. What the Hell?

And aside from those two, we don’t have a very good cast at all. Side characters and extras are not believable at all. Morgan Freeman and Maggie Gyllenhaal are completely forgettable. Michael Caine trades his importance for cartoonish arrogance. Harvey Dent is reduced to a filler character. If you took out Harvey Dent, you might have to do some renovations, but the film would flow much better. What mattered wasn’t Harvey, and considering he was introduced for this film the script should have been redrafted to completely focus on Joker. Half of his shit was garbage that had no lasting impact, and half of his shit had no short-term impact and could be erased from the finished product with no loss of plot.

The action scenes are nothing to be proud of. The first fully devolves into a music-video-karate-ballet. The second is a clumsily shot and clumsily choreographed climax that is far too short. The only reason people remember these scenes are because of the nice scenery, how much they’ve been shoved down our throats, and how much Heath Ledger shines as The Joker. And there’s also one scene with a really cool explosion. Woopdefuckingdoo. Sigh....(puts arms on hips.) But you know what really bugs me? All of this, I could get past and enjoy the film for what it’s worth. But between two awesome artists who worked on an awesome movie before, how could they forget one of the factors that made Batman Begins so awesome?

...Oh yeah, because they got a whiff of Warner Bros. studio D0LL₳ℛ$. The narrative structure. How do you got from a perfectly executed jumpy narrative that assists the audience in emotional interactivity, to just going back to the relatively old and sluggish format of beginning-middle-end? How do you take something so good and water it down so bad? Batman Begins was like a good puzzle. It wasn’t so hard that only experts could figure it out, but it still took some thinking and thought to put together the narrative in your mind. This gets the audience member gripped, if they are willing to be, and makes the audience more excited about the past, present and future of the film, especially since each aspect could be explored further. Here, it’s just “once upon a time, then all of the sudden, the end.” Why? That’s all I can ask, WHY? WHY SO CONVENTIONAL?

The Dark Knight is a film remembered for the excellent performance of Heath Ledger and his iconic makeup, and that’s it. It’s soundtrack is highly manipulative, it’s cast is lackluster other than HL, it’s narrative is painfully conventional, the action scenes are poor and rare, the lighting loses meaning and trades it in for iconography. I’m sorry, CJJN, but nobody does perfect every damn time, no matter how much your fanboys would like to believe it. Love you for the rest, though.

The Rating? I would give it 2/5. However, the cultural impact and pure awesome of The Joker make me want to give it 4/5. So it gets 3/5.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

John Rambo IV: Return to Hell’s Final Battlefield (2008)

R.I.P. Richard Crenna, Nov. 30 1926 – Jan. 17 2003

Live for nothing

Die for something

Fight for everything

And win with nothing

Human rights

Burmese fights

A hellhole and back

American Rights.

Shoot me now

Your shot is clear

But if you shoot me

Your end is here

----

Let the bodies hit the floor

-----------

Alright, how’d you guys like my little poem? Piece of shit, right?...NO? YOU GUYS THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD? Read some Edgar All-I-I mean, thank you, kind…loyal viewers…all two dozen of you….Now, time to talk about J.R.4:R.t.H.F.B. I often have a hard time trying to get things started, so it should be little or at least moderate surprise that I wish to discuss something out of the blue for a Rambo flick this early. But it is something to start off with. As you guys know, this film was released twenty years after the previous entry. If only one thing can be said about modern films, it’s that their cinematographic look has improved overall.

I think the worst period for film quality was 1960-1990, with the climax of unappealing cinematic appearances being between 1986-1989. A resurrection of the 1930-1957 glory days stared around 1996-ish. 1910-1930 also has its own right to novelty. What’s my point? Well considering the Rambo films were made pretty close to the climax of shit stock and stale cinematography, this new entry stands out as by far the best looking of the saga, with the original First Blood coming in for an honorable second. The camera moves around virtually all the time. This does get pretty annoying sometimes as the action scenes utilize shaky cam in a more abusive manner than my oh so beloved found footage flicks of Cloverfield and Apollo 18.

But at least it’s better than the camera virtually staying at a 180 degree angle and moving only when necessary, mostly with cheap cuts. This being extremely prevalent in Rambo III. And the sets return to the beautiful, gorgeous, luscious rainforests that made their name in Rambo: First Blood Part II. If you wanna talk about getting at you good, in terms of feeling gritty, painful and disgusting, this movie takes an extremely interesting turn on RFBPII. This gorgeous rainforest and waterfall combination coupled with mud and a gritty film texture that I already gushed over in my review of the 2nd entry gets revamped.

The gritty film texture is gone, of course. However this is twenty fold  compensated by no water being clean and fresh, grass and foliage being a disgusting shade of green, and most importantly the color red appearing all over the place in every shade and hue; which is ugly in opposition to the color green. Some people have complained that this movie made them sick because of the crazy camera work and unappealing color scheme, and as I said in regards to Cloverfield before. If you can’t handle the heat, don’t get in the kitchen. This movie utilizes these looks to emphasize the horrors of war and the feeling of being surrounded by enemy opposition, which results in the crowning of Sylvestor Stallone as champion of Rambo visual directors.

Now, in these regards, Stallone is king. But as writer and director, it could be argued that Stallone went overboard on the atmosphere. To add to the cinematography and color scheme, every actor in this film is chiefly A.) Sick, tired, afraid and disturbed; or B.) Blind and don’t understand the game, out for their own interests; or C.) Hellish, awful, abhorrent, appalling, atrocious, gruesome, horrendously horrifying shit eating no good murderous satanic jackasses! Rambo is the only respectful and both good and smart person in this movie, and it doesn’t rub off on anybody else.

It gets even more obtrusive when it appears every clever or witty or even Badass line of dialogue is saved for the self of the writer. It’s one thing, Mr. R&R, to favor yourself in the writing. It makes sense, especially if you’re the main protagonist. It’s another thing to deify yourself, especially if you are not in full realization. But by far the most unfortunate side effect of Stallone attempting to capture the violence of Myanmar’s civil war – As Stallone himself is quoted for saying – is the violence. Now I knew that 236 people were going to die in this movie. I probably had some sort of fear that this was going to beat out Commando somewhere in the back of my mind where I couldn’t even read the thought. And if you want to know, in Commando Schwarzenegger approximately kills 5 people per minute for ten minutes.

In this movie, Rambo as Stallone kills approximately 38 people IN THE FIRST MINUTE.  Over the course of the film 236 bodies hit the floor. And I’m cool with that, if it’s mostly a composition of Stallone killing Burmese soldiers, who are clearly the villain. I also expected it to show some gritty scenes of Burmese soldiers killing civilians, maybe even children, to illustrate the violence of the current Burmese/Myanmar war. But it goes waay overboard. Rambo III goes crazy, but John Rambo fucking attempts to synthesize us to this shit. Before the thirty  minute mark occurred, I was thinking to myself “MOVIE! I GET IT! I got the message NINTY-FIVE kills ago! Can we please stop seeing innocent people be stabbed, decapitated and blasted?”

Rambo IV is an interesting piece of cinema where the numerical and scriptural expectations are delivered 2000%, and yet it disappoints in mood and message. I can’t honestly say I recommend this movie, though it is exactly what should have been made of this movie in the more shallow senses. I give it a Q/5, since that’s how confusing my reactions were anyways.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Spiderman 3 (2007)

You know, I’m not saying I’m upset that they didn’t put Enter Sandman by Metallica in Spiderman 3…actually, I am.

So despite my thinking that Deuce was a very good but inferior sequel, the critics went and essentially had a nerdgasm over #2. The thing has 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a slightly higher rating than its predecessor. An even slightly higher rating on iMDB it garners, a 7.5/10; which considering the highest ever is 9.2 translate to 81/100. Considering most sequels tend to get worse reviews, a higher review no matter how slightly is very much to be congratulated. It made nearly 4x its budget, which Sony anticipated, and was very happy about. They were happy that they had already began.

THE CREATION OF SPIDERMAN 3

which had a release date before production even began, as was with the last movie. The first thing that happened was Ivan Rami writing a treatment for the film. The main theme that they got from this treatment was that the lines between good and evil were blurred to some degree. This treatment also brought back Harry Osborn as The New Goblin. See the cliffhanger in the last movie. However, a lot of the plot came from this script. The treatment called for The New Goblin to be essentially a younger version of The Green Goblin. Sam wanted him to be somewhere in the middle between being Parker’s friend and The New Green Goblin.

The Sandman was introduced as the villain in this treatment. Sam then took this and introduced the relationship that he and Spidey have. In 2005, they had signed a seven figure deal with Alvin Sargent, who had written the last movie. He also had an option to work on a fourth film. Rami was not happy though. Despite two villains being more than one than in the last two films, he wanted ANOTHER villain. He originally signed on Ben Kingsley to play The Vulture, but the character was cut for…umm…reasons. This is the part where I ruin the fact that I subtly give hints that the studio was fucking things up. Samuel didn’t want to use Venom at first, seeing him as a character with no humanity. But the studio finally pressured him into using Venom. If I was choosing another villain and had to choose ANOTHER villain, it’d probably be Electro.

But Venom already had a minor role in the script as Eddie Brock, so Rami waz allaike “whudduh duin mahn?” And dat studio waz allaike, “yo man, we gottit undah control man, Bee Tea Double-You they’re remaking The Evil Dead.” “WHUD!” “He’s got a strong fanbase.” “THE REMAKE?” “No, Venom.” Rami eventually gave in to PEER PRESSURE and included Venom. He began to hypnotize himself and like Money—I-I mean Monev himself. Sargent, the screenwriter (in case anybody here is as stupid as I am) found  the script so goddamn complex and filled to the brim with villains that he wanted to split it into two or three films, but he couldn’t find an intermediate climax and hint hint: STUDIO. I have a very good feeling that Irwin R. Shyster was up to something ‘round this time.

Quick note on the music: Danny Elfman was about ready to quit. He had a miserable time under the helm of Sam Rami, and could not possibly make good music with him again. Christopher Young was then hired for the music. Danny  Elfman snuck into his house late at night and worked ALONE. IN THE DARK.

So they started filming. Fast. All shots which would be inserted with Crappy  Generic Images were shot in ten days. They filmed principal photography between January and July, as opposed to the year and a half they took to film the last movie. If you took out days of travel and stuff, they spent 100 days of filming. For the most part, they filmed in LOS ANGELES. AGAIN. However, one of the camera guys took a crew to film scenes in Cleveland, Ohio. More rushing. Gggreat. They wound up filming the climax up in the tower in Cleveland, Ohio, bringing the entire crew in.

No sooner than May 26th had the crew moved to WHERE SPIDERMAN LIVES Manhattan. Rami was starting to get his own back problems and general stress because of all the goddamn travelling, and having been on set working on a Spiderman movie since 2002. The main cameraman, Bill Pope, had a lot of trouble filming because all the costumes were black during night scenes. WHY? You got me. After a month long break, Samuel decided that he needed more fights, so he started filming again, which wrapped in October. A few more SFX shots were made before they finally wrapped the entire project for editing.

About that editing. John Dykstra. He declined. He was the guy who did the stuff for the last two movies. He even won an Academy Award for his work on the second film. Scott Stokdyk took his place. He lead The Army of 200 to program the movie at Image Works. They made new computer programs that had not existed prior to this movie to create nine-hundred effects shots. Nine hundred. God dammit fucker that’s a lot. In addition to the compooters, he also built a skyscraper. Well, down 16 sizes. This made it easier for the brain but not the budget, seeing as how destroying real shit wouldn’t call for massive amounts of guesswork.

Café FX wanted in on the action and created The Crane Disaster Scene. To do The Sandman, who has Entered, they basically had the biggest sandbox party any adult, or anybody, has ever had. Thomas Haden Church (John Carter, Easy A, We Bought a Zoo) stood in front of the green screen…for some reason. Helped with the models or something. Sand was used to model for sand. This is making even less sense than the production of the first movie. Then they hired an amputee actor instead of using ONE OF THOSE NINE HUNDRED EFFECTS SHOTS YOU GOT DERE so that Spiderman could punch The Sandman. When they realized sand was a material, they decided to FUCKING DESTROY CORN COBS and bury their actors in them. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, it would appear as if the actors were truly buried.

REVIEWING SPIDERMAN 3

Let’s go over the characters. Toby Mac reprises his role, as most people know. At least he doesn’t feel like the self-conscious Nerd that he used to be. Throughout the movie he begins to loosen up further and further, until the last act where he tightens up again. Which is a disappointment. During the looser parts, I could tell that Toby was able to play Peter Parker better because he was stoned. This guy, man. He’s lucky the direction and script called for it in the first movie, but now there’s no hiding that he has a hard time acting. Anytime he wants to raise his voice, he has to force it really freaking bad, and when he talks normally it’s just a louder and clearer version of before.

Anytime he is trying to feel excitement, he doesn’t just channel, he goes straight for the M.J. Fox Marty Mac performance. There’s a little scene where M.J. mentions that here voice apparently got her criticism because it was too small. Yeah, HELLO. TOBY MAC IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. I mean, shouldn’t he feel on top of the world? That’s how he is between the beginning; before he finds out the truth about Uncle Ben; and when he goes on that little Emo fad that nobody cares for. BTW, it’s not that bad. In fact, in the script, it makes perfect sense. It’s actually one of the better parts of this movie.

But you know what else bugs me? Toby Mac can’t make facial expressions for shit. Man, I was successful at ignoring that in the first two movies but now it’s gotten past me. Anytime you see his face, he is resisting a smile so hard because he can’t take his work seriously. He still has those little curves showing. Why would somebody be having the genesis of a smile when he is in emotional pain? What about that Mary Jane anyways? Yeah, well, I told you how a lot of her personality was washed away in the last movie? It’s all gone now. They fucking bleached that girl of her feelings.

We move onto the clusterfuck of villains. It is a huge problem when you try to focus on the hero, his side characters, and THREE villains. James Franco actually plays really good. But he has the huge thing in the middle which I’m gonna call JRPG syndrome, which is just an excuse so that the screenwriter doesn’t have to make new shit for a long time. Just rely on bringing up old stuff. The Sandman gets barely any good screen time. He gets one scene of backstory that felt extremely obligatory, a transformation scene that DIDN’T HAVE ENTER SANDMAN BY METALLICA, and the rest is just him and Spiderman fighting. He also has a really annoying sound effect that feels cliché for The Hulk, and his actor is as stiff as the material which is created when sand is heated. Let alone The Sandman who Entered.

Not to mention, just like all the other villains because there’s too damn many, he is heavily underused. That’s another thing. Let’s talk about the fights. In the first movie, they were really well done. They had a perfect mix of spectacle and tension. In the last movie, it was on the border of being a Kung Fu ballet, but it held its ground. In this movie, I’m watching a video game that’s part plat forming and part fighting. Oh, and, how about dat Venom? Well…he barely shows up. He’s basically there to bring home the Deadly Sin, which WASN’T pride (my bad): Lust. The actual character means absolutely nothing; it’s all about Peter Parker. I think that is a huge waste of a well-loved villain from the comics. This metaphor of fighting himself could have been done in a much more respectful - and more importantly - artistic way.

The rest of the reprises are pretty much the same stuff as from the last movies. And that’s their only backbone. Even May Parker feels kinda flat, her dialogue is so stereotypical old woman. And Eddie Brock feels like a stereotypical bully, without either the disgust factor or flat emotion. Now he’s just flat. The CGI can be wrapped up pretty damn quickly. It feels like really good CGI from 2007. But let me put that in perspective. The second movie had CGI that would look acceptable today, and the first movie had CGI that would look GREAT today. ‘Nuff said.

A script is not just dialogue and characters, however. Pacing time. This movie is slow and long as fuck. And let me tell you why: #1: The movie is filled with inadequate exposition from too many characters, up to the point where the first half of the second act feels like the first act. #2: Every turn of events that means a damn in this movie feels illogical and convenient. The first movie was nostalgic with its resemblance to Saturday Morning Cartoons, the second movie couldn’t help feeling like one thanks to all the source material, but here, the script is as BAD as a SMC.

It feels so much like a movie and not a real story. You know what I mean. And #3: The film doesn’t go back and forth between storylines, keeping them fresh and relevant, and keeping the film flowing with information, action, or generally important or entertaining scenes. Instead, we get huge fucking chunks of this movie focusing on one thing and every other storyline seems to hibernate in between. That’s what happens when you want to have a main focus on an upwards of 5 characters!

Pant. Pant. Pant. I think that’s all I gotta say. I mean, granted, I typically wake up the next day and say “dammit! Why didn’t I add that?” But for the most part, I’m done here. Spiderman 3 is easily the weakest link in this chain of storytelling. It is also the first that makes me feel like this is an example of how NOT to make your movie. Toby Mac cannot follow up with new material, MJW lacks all personality, the endless exposition clogs down the movie, all three villains are not used anywhere near as much as they deserve to be, the side characters are bland, the CGI is worse than both predecessors, the soundtrack is goofy when it’s not being forcibly sentimental, and there is a huge sense that Sam Rami did not try nearly as hard to make this movie good as the last ones.

However, I do kinda feel bad it’s all over. This film wrapped up the trilogy tightly, though not as good asI would have liked. Still. Sam Rami’s characters are some of the most fleshed out and alive characters that have ever been in movie universe, and I wish I had more of them. They felt as close to real people as any superhero movie has ever gotten. Definitely  including the Nolanverse. I’m going to tell you, The Fucking Amazing Spiderman is not going to beat this version.

The Rating for #3? 2.8/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

A.V.P.:R-Un:R[4.0]{BETA} (2007)

If you’re not fond of swearing, but can stand my website…still, you might wanna not read this…

BACKGROUND

You know, considering my recent re-review of the last movie gave the rating I gave to this movie the first time, and that was a huge downfall….OH BOY. Not to mention, my first review of this movie, I pretty much focused on one aspect and didn’t even have the heart to finish. As my movie loving arch-nemesis Savage Broadcast recently said, “that’s just unacceptable.” This is going to be good and proper. Hopefully, you’ll get to see my tear this thing apart. Before I begin trashing how this movie was produced, let me introduce you to a tag-team named Brothers Strause.

If the Internet movie community is down with Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ Crew, than Colin and Greg are members of The ₮₳Xℳ₳₦ team, for sure. Despite some of my own opinions, these guys have a worse reputation than mothah fakin Michael Bay. If you don’t know who these guys are, and don’t hate their guts harder than any other filmmaker, let me give you a list: The Nutty Professor, Titanic, Galaxy Quest, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Day After Tomorrow, Constantine, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Venom, The Fog, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, Poseidon, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Bedtime Stories, Fast & Furious [4], X-Men: Origins Wolverine, 2012, Avatar, The Book of Eli, Jonah Hex, Battle Los Angeles, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

If you haven’t gotten extremely enraged at their creative ability, I have one more juggernaut. But be warned: This is going to topple anybody’s appreciate for Colin and Greg….Alright. Here we go. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Now, who here hates these two idiots? You are to keep your hands down. Anybody who rose their hands, WE COMIN’ FOR YA NIGGAH. So with all this in mind, let’s tell our story. It’s quite a short one. I guess nobody wanted to document the stupidity that happened on set. Colin and Greg had created their SFX team called Hydraulux, after failing to find employment at IL&M; the company George Lucas hired for Star Wars (wow these three franchises just keep crossing over.)

They had pitched an early draft for the predecessor to this and Wolfeinstein before, but neither were picked up. However, they were called to do this movie in 2006. Filming began in Vancouver of all places (better than Czech fuckin Republic) on a 52 day schedule. They were even WORSE with the special effects and changed everything that wasn’t bipedal or already there to CGI, for the sake of cost efficiency. Sure, houses and trees weren’t CGI, but virtually everything else was. Now then. Let’s fuck over this piece of shit.

CRITIQUE

Boy, oh boy, where do we start, ladies and gentlemen? Well, I guess we better get to the obvious out of the way. Because I’m in love with this aspect nowadays, probably because it’s simpler, let’s talk about the lighting.………WHAT LIGHTING? You can’t see bullshit at night! I can’t even fucking tell if I’m looking at a Predator or Alien during the fight scenes, let alone the fucking actions I paid to see! It makes it even more confusing with the stupid Predalien! By the way, the Predalien is not used to any constructive way. He’s just another monster that’s meant to fight and kill.

What is this, a motherfucking slasher movie? No! Because that would be implying that this piece of shit has anything on Freddy vs. Jason. Hell, fucking Friday the 13th PART 2 has more to it than this piece of fucking garbage! As for any sort of lighting during the daylight…they just went outside. They just went outside. They couldn’t do anything different than go outside. I have a theory that the Shit Bros. didn’t want to BUY LIGHTS, so they just turned out the lights for the night scenes and then relied on daylight for the sake of day scenes, and then called it okay because “uuugh durrrr look at the other movies durr hurr DUUUUURRRRR HURURRRRRRRRRRR.” OOOH.

OOH. Speaking of being lazy! How about summah dat MOTHERFUCKING CAMERA WORK, HUH?!?!?! At least Paul tried to be artistic, even though he’s such an imbecile that he couldn’t really do anything above average. The condom brothers just got motherfucking drunk and said “aaah fugghedaboudit, just film it fuckers, who dafuq cares about art?” I GUESS NOT YOU TWO BALLSACKS. But hey, what’s a midget munching diarrhea dumpster camera crew without some cum filled douchebags* to film? Looket ‘dem actors! I’m sorry, did I call the actors from the last movie wooden?

 

*I would just like to point out that according to Microsoft Word, “situationally” is not a real word but “cum” and “douchebags” are real words.

I’m sorry guys. You’re not wooden. You’re actually very talented. Don’t believe me? LOOK AT THESE JACKASSES. If the last movie had WOODEN actors, then THESE ACTORS ARE A FUCKING TWO HUNDRED FOOT TALL OAK TREE WHO HAS NECK PROBLEMS, BROKE HIS NECK, IS FORCED TO KEEP IT STRAIGHT VIA A ROBOT, HAS AN ERECTION, AND IS PARALYZED FROM THE NECK DOWN. THESE ACTORS HAVE NO TALENT. THEY ACT LIKE THEY WENT ON A SEVENTY HOUR FAST WITH NO PISS OR SLEEP BREAKS, WHO THE FUCK FOUND THESE PEOPLE? DID YOU JUST GO INTO THE SEWERS INTO NEW YORK FOR YOUR “TALENT?!?!?!”

WHAT KIND OF FUCKING BULLSHIT IS THIS?!?!?! But you can’t have cow humping actors without feces ingesting special effects! How about dat CGI, EH?!?! THE CGI IN MEN IN BLACK WAS BETTER! THE CGI IN ALIEN 3 WAS BETTER! THE CGI IN TRON BLOWS THIS AWAY!!! THIS CGI MAKES THE SYFY CHANNEL LOOK BIG BUDGET! THEY MAKE THE ASYLUM LOOK TOP OF THE LINE! WHO THE FUCK DESIGNED THIS SHIT, IT’S FUCKING HORRIBLE!!!! WHO SAYS “YEAH, THAT LOOKS GOOD, THAT SYNTHETIC, PLASTIC, OBVIOUSLY COMPUTER GENERATED TOO FAST NO WEIGHT BULLSHIT LOOKS GOOD?!!?!!”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AND NO, YOU KNOW WHAT, WE AIN’T STANDING BY NO LONGER. YOU’RE GONNA SEE THE GIANT RAGE I HAVE. DIALOGUE?!?! WHAT DIALOGUE?!?! I THOUGHT THEY JUST TOLD THE ENTIRE CAST TO WATCH HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL AND SEE HOW THEY COULD DO 10X WORSE THAN THAT MOTHERFUCKING PIECE OF GARBAGE! But….but….Holy damn. If there’s one thing. Everything else. Everything goddamn else was all just related to this movie alone. Under normal circumstances, you figure that people are gonna confuse Alien with most horror movies anyways.

You figure most people are just going to put Predator with Commando and Die Hard and mesh them all into a pile who gives a fuck if this exists. You guess that somebody will write up a fan fiction called Jason vs. Predator vs. Machete. But this…this takes it to a whole motherfucking level. What the FUCK is up with all the graphic violence towards CHILDREN and BABIES?!?!? WHAT KIND OF AN  INEPT SHIT THROWING DIRTY STUCK UP SADISTIC – and probably masochistic – COCK SUCKING PENIS SMELLING CROTCH GRABBING BALL LICKING HORSE’S ASS FUCKING SEMEN DRINKING DOG RAPING NAZI LOVING CHILD TOUCHING PERVERTED SPINELESS HEARTLESS MINDLESS DICKLESS TESTICLE CHOCKING URINE GARGALING JERKOFF GOAT FACED SHEEP FONDOLING TOILET KISSING SELF CENTERED DILDO SHOVING SNOT SPITTING FAT ASS MONKEY SLAPPING BASTARD SCREWING HERMOPHRODITE ENSLAVING MALE PROSTITUTING DOUCHEBAG ASSHOLE…….Has a chest-burster kill a fetus inside of a pregnant mom while it’s being born?

0/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Batman Begins (2005)

 

“Who are you?” “I’M BALE, MAN.”

SECTION ONE: AFTERMATH OF BATMAN & ROBIN

Well, in the short term, Batman & Robin was the most successful Batman film to date. The film did $42M on its opening weekend, which was the most successful any Batman film had done on its opening weekend. But by short-term, I mean REALLY short-term. The next week it would take a 63% plunge Observers based this on word of mouth, and competition between Face/Off and Hercules. I hate to say that each might be a legitimate and equal observation. It’s Batman, under normal circumstances it won’t LOSE to an animated Greek God adventure. JShoe blamed it on yellow journalism, especially by guys like Harry Knowles of Ain’t it Cool News and Dark Horizons.

It’s surprising domestic disappointment was met with an equally surprising overseas success, in the end earning a gross of $238,207,122 1997/$322103557.27 2010. Relatively, this figure also is a disappointment. It earned 1.9x its original budget, which would be success for most films, but most Batman films gained somewhere in between 2-4x its original budget. The critical reaction, on the other hand, is much more interesting. Interesting is an understatement, it is legendary. The first thing that people like to poke out is “Bat-Nipples.” (Unless they’re Doug Walker.) Between Forever & Robin, JShoe, an openly gay director, added nipples and enlarged codpieces to the costumes. He also included shots of them putting on their gear, certain half second pieces put extra focus on their rear ends and chests.

This is ALSO true for Batgirl, but she doesn’t have nipples, so the male audience doesn’t know what to make of it. The Batmobile was also seen to be a large phallic symbol, though I never saw it. I thought JShoe made it like a giant batarang. However, the homosexuality issue is not a new one in the Batman franchise. Check out this panel from the June 1954 issue of the comic: (http://tinyurl.com/w56st). The relationship between Batman and Robin has been criticizes and parodied, and both the TV Series and JShoe have attributed to this controversy. This subject was covered in the controversial novel Seduction of the Innocent, which covered most comic books and how they influence young audiences. Not just in sex but also in drugs, violence, etc. etc. stuff teenagers love to do anyways.

Well, aside from the bigot controversy, Batman & Robin has received extremely low reviews overall. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has received a 13% from the critics, not to mention 19% from the top critics and 28% from the audience. It seems as if most if not all people hate this movie. The film has received a “certified rotten” rating with an average rating of 3.5/10. The general consensus reads that "Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin, resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for."

JShoe and Peter Mac blamed their inability to work properly on Warner Bros. pressuring them to fast-track the movie. "There was a lot of pressure from Warner Bros. to make Batman & Robin more family-friendly," Schumacher explained. "We decided to do a less depressing Batman movie and less torture and more heroic. I know I have been criticized a lot for this, but I didn't see the harm in that approach at all." …Years later, JShoe would say: "If there's anybody watching this, that... let's say, loved Batman Forever, and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation, if I've disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize. Because it wasn't my intention. My intention was just to entertain them."

Roger Ebert would specifically target the toyetic approach and Mr. Freeze’s one-liners. Kenneth Turan (LA Times) felt that the movie killed Batman and left the franchise at an endless stream of SFX. Desson Thomas would destroy JShoe and Akiva Gold’s work. Mick La Selle of the San Fran Clock, called Cloony a zero in the film and would go down as the George Lazenby of the series. Janet Laslin was probably the only person to give the film a positive review, mostly praising Uma Thurman’s acting….wait, The Bride is in this movie?

SECTION TWO: ATTEMPTING TO REVIVE BATMAN

Akiva Goldsmith quit production to avoid writing for a fifth film. However, JShoe and Warner Bros. were ready to start work on a fifth film while Batman & Robin was in production. They had hired Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Thor, Mass Effect) to write a script for the fifth film, titled Batman Triumphant. Mark would write Scarecrow to return, where he would resurrect The Joker. Does anybody sense the immense irony right now? Harley Quinn would also appear as The Joker’s daughter instead of girlfriend. George Clooney and COD would reprise their roles, until they realized their paychecks would grow smaller and smaller as films went by. It was unknown who they were going to hire to play Scarecrow, but Jeff Goldblum, Nicolas Cage, Howard Stern, Ewan McGreggor and Steve Buscemi were all considered for the role. Jack Nick was looked at to reprise the role from the previous movie, and Madonna was considered for Harley Quinn.

However, when the negative reception of Batman & Robin was revealed, Warner Bros. became unsure about their current route to Batman Triumphant. JShoe wanted to earn redemption in the culture and make a dark Batman movie, where he approached the studio with an adaptation of Batman: Year One. They hired writer Darren Aronofsky to work on the film. Darren brought Frank Miller to collaborate after their film Ronin. Darren and Frank wanted to make a completely new Batman film as opposed to any other previous concepts. He also brought his friend Matthew Libatique for cinematographer. He approached Christian Bale, and when he was doing this, Warner Bros. shot them all in the back and went forward with other plans. One was THE MOVIE THAT WILL NEVER BE MENTIONED AGAIN. The other was Batman vs. Superman.

Batman and Superman both had a ton of proposals that never made it through, and this was the one they share. After J.J. Abrams’ script for Superman: Flyby was green lit, they immediately turned their back and rejected the film. He was brought in to Batman vs. Superman, which also attracted Andrew Kevin Walker and Akiva Goldsmith. It was going to be a BIG THING. The basic concept was that Batman would go through a mental breakdown after so many years of hate and death surrounding him. Death surrounding him meaning Alfred, Robin and Gordon all being dead.

However, new fiancée Elizabeth Miller assists in resolving these motions. Meanwhile, Clark Kent is also struggling because of a divorce with Lois Lane. Clark and Bruce are best friends, and Clark is Bruce’s best man. After the Joker kills Elizabeth on the honeymoon (how did he come back?) Bruce plots a revenge scheme and Clark tries to hold him back. In return, Bruce blames Clark for Elizabeth’s death (that’s not Batman) and they HAVE A FIGHT HARD YEAH! Part of the script took place in Smallville, and it is later revealed that Lex Luther was controlling the two heroes’ emotions. In the end, they plan to both stop Luther.

During the construction of these never to be seen plans, other plans were created as backup. The first was a live action adaptation of Batman Beyond. This was made very slowly and only there in case they couldn’t come up with something “better.” The other was Batman: DarKnight. Do you people have ANY idea how much irony is flowing through my veins? The concept was pitched by Lee Shapiro and Stephen Wise. Bruce Wayne would retire from the vigilante scene and Dick Grayson would go to college. Jonathon Crane would use his position as psychologist to research the emotion of fear in patients at Arkham Asylum.

Crane would turn partner Kirk into a Man-Bat on accident. Citizens of Gotham would believe this to be Batman’s bloodthirsty return. Bruce would solve the mystery of the Man-Bat and return his cape to clear his name. Kirk wants to become a man and not a monster, while Batman wants to be a man, not a monster, and Crane wants to kill man, not monster. GEE, I WONDER WHAT THE THEME IS?...With all these concepts scrapped, in 2003 lots of stoned hippies (or naturally stoned hippies like myself) started to pay attention to a guy named Chris J.J. Nolan. The main movies people know from him were Memento and Insomnia. Warner Bros. took notice of this, and figured, “hey, we’ve got some pretty drug induced characters. Let’s see what this guy has.”

SECTION THREE: CREATING THE BEGINNING

In January 2003, Warner Bros. hired Chris JJ Nolan to direct an untitled Batman film, with David S. Goyer planning to write the script. Nolan expressed his desire to inject some needed life into the series and planned on "doing the origins story of the character, which is a story that's never been told before". He said that humanity and reality would be injected more than any other Manbat film had done before, and trust me that’s not a lot. "The world of Batman is that of grounded reality. [It] will be a recognizable, contemporary reality against which an extraordinary heroic figure arises." The goal was to get audiences to care for Batman and Bruce Wayne, where most of the movies one was overshadowing the other. He took inspiration from Richard Donner on how to focus character growth and not style. Nolan also wanted an all-star cast to make the film feel epic in scale.

The Man Who Falls served as a jumping off point for CJJN, which was a short story by Denny O’Neil and Dick Giordano, published in “SECRET ORIGINS.” The story detailed Bruce’s travels through the world. The early scene of a young Bruce Wayne falling into a well was adapted from this story. Batman: The Long Halloween, written by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale influenced Goyer in writing. He especially liked Carmine Falcone and thought he was a realistic and somber villain. Harvey Dent was originally slated to appear, but Rachel Dawes replaced his timeframe because they thought they couldn’t do HD justice.

Batman: Dark Victory, which was a sequel to The Long Halloween, also served as inspiration. He also drew upon Batman: Year One for assistance in telling time in an extended fashion. James Gordon was also taken from BM:Y1. The corrupt police force was also a major thing that was inspired by the graphic novel. In the end, Nolan chose to be very different from the comic books, in part because they messed up logic. Seeing a Zorro film seemed illogical, as his inspiration came from BATS. I don’t know about you Johnny James, but I think it would have been very ironic for him to watch “The Bat” and bump up the year a few. That would have been an awesome little segment that everybody would have remembered.

He also made it clear that guys like Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc., did not exist in this universe because then Batman’s reasons for becoming a vigilante would be extremely different. With all things solidified, Filming began in 2004. During filming, Nolan would often refuse a second unit in order to keep his vision consistent. They started filming in Iceland, specifically the Vatnajokull glacier, their largest. This would stand in for Bhutan. The weather was insane, with seventy five mph winds, rain and a lack of snow.

Nevertheless, the crew built a village and the front doors to Ra’s temple, as well as road access to remote area. There was a shot Wally Pfister had planned, which required using a handheld camera. Nolan would move to England like many blockbusters of the 70’s and 80’s, specifically in Shepperton Studios. A Batcave was built there that was 250x120x40 ft, Nathan Crowley installed twelve pumps to create a 12,000 imperial gallon waterfall. They also built rocks out of molds from real caves. As opposed to fake caves, ya know. In Jan 04, an airship hanger was rented for Warner Bros. in Cardington, Bedfordshire. The Narrows and feet of the monorails filled the 900 ft long stage.

Mentmore Towers was chosen from a wide variety of locations for Wayne Manor. Nolan and Crowley appreciate it’s white floors, in particular as tribute to Bruce’s dead parents. The National Institute of Medical Research was chosen to represent Arkham Asylum. The building was in Mill Hill in London. The St. Pancras Railway Station and the Abbey Mills Pumping Station were used for Arkham’s interiors. The UCL was used for courtrooms. Some scenes were filmed in Chicago, including the Batmobile pursuit. These locations included the Lower Wacker Drive and 35 East Wacker. Authorities agreed to raise Franklin Street Bridge for a scene where The Narrows are closed.

During the filming, gore and blood were excluded. Nolan’s reasoning was for innocent children who knew Batman as a cartoon character, and his goal wasn’t to shock young kids like somebody getting cheap scares on Halloween. "Not the youngest kids obviously, I think what we've done is probably a bit intense for them but I certainly didn't want to exclude the sort of ten to 12-year olds, because as a kid I would have loved to have seen a movie like this." And what do you see anyways? The Batsuit? The Batmobile? Well, that’s a weekly executed Segway into…

SECTION FOUR: MANUFACTURING BATMAN

Chris JJ Nolan used Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner as inspiration for his new Batman film. Wally Pfister (the cameraman) had BR screened for him, with his two buds to understand the attitude and style of this film. Nolan described the movie as "an interesting lesson on the technique of exploring and describing a credible universe that doesn't appear to have any boundaries.” Nolan and Crowley worked on Gotham City together. Crowley’s model filled Nolan’s garage. The city would have areas that reflected each stage of architecture, with the general feeling of a modern metropolis. Tokyo, Chicago, and especially New York City were used as major inspiration. The Narrows were based in the slummish aspects of the walled city of Kowloon.

When it came to the batmobile, Crowley used the nose-cone of a P-38 Lightning model to serve as the chassis for the Tumbler’s tubular engine. 6 1:12 models of tumblers were built in 4 months. Crowley and 29 other folks made a full sized Tumbler out of Styrofoam in two months. It was created using a “test frame,” which stood up to several standards. It needed to have a speed of over 100 miles per hour, go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, poses a steering system to make sharp turns at city corners, and be able to withstand a launch of 30 feet. On the first test, the Tumbler came crashing down on its front and it had to be rebuilt. The basic configuration of the newly designed tumbler included a 5-7 liter Chevy V8 Engine, a truck axle for the rear axle, front ties by Hoosier, rear 4x4 mud tires by Interco and the suspension system of Baja racing tracks. The design and development process took nine months and cost several million dollars.

The design process became completed for the Batmobile, and four street-ready race cars were constructed. Each vehicle possessed 65 panels and cost $250,000 2004/$286,106.63 2010. Half of the cars were specialized versions, one being a flap version, possessing hydraulics to detail close-up shots  where the vehicle propelled itself through the air. The other version was a jet version, in which an actual jet engine was mounted on the vehicle, fueled by six propane tanks. The visibility inside the vehicle was poor, so monitors were connected to cameras on the vehicle body. The pro drivers for the tumblers practiced driving the vehicles for six months before they drove on the streets of Chicago for the film’s scenes.

The interior of the tumbler was an studio set that wasn’t a car. The cockpit was long and thick in order to put cameras inside. In addition, another version of the tumbler was a miniature model that was 1.5x smaller than the actual tumbler. The mini model had an electric motor and was used to show the tumbler flying around and going cocoa banana. The actual tumbler was used for the waterfall sequence. Moving onto making the batsuit, the goal was to create a mobile suit for the actor. Good job Undertaker. This would allow Christian Bale to fight and crouch and teabag. The previous suits had been stiff and restricted movement.

Lindy Hemming worked on the Batsuit in a workshop called Codename “Cape Town.” It was very well guarded. Psychos in masks and that good shit. The basic concept was a neoprene undersuit, which was shaped by attaching molded cream latex sections. Christian Bale was molded and sculpted from the works only avaialbe to the Groman Gods. His suit, however, was molded from a full body cast. To avoid imperfections from using human available material they used a smooth surface. I D K. They also brewed different mixtures of foam, drank it and died. They were resurrected by The Scarecrow to continue their work in order to make the suit flexible, durable and BLACK. Which was ironic considering making it black would make the suit less durable.

The cape was its own focus. Chris JJ Nolan wanted a "flowing cloak... that blows and flows as in so many great graphic novels". They created the cape out of parachute nylon that did something, a process shared with somebody. The process got adapted by LPD to minimize being spotted while they masturbated at the dead of midnight. The cowl, which topped the cape, was designed by CJJN, Hemming and designer Graham Churchyard. It was thick enough to avoid wrinkling, and thin enough to allow movement. The cowl was made with the mind to show Batman had angst. Interesting.

They trained Batman to be a self-dense specialist. Nolan would prefer traditional stunt work over CGI. Scale models were built to represent Ra’s temple. Some organically shot scenes had multiple images inserted into the shot. The Skyline, Wayne’s Tower, and some exterior monorail shots all include these aspects. The cinematic monorail sequence is the best example of mixed effects between CGI, live action and models. The bats were entirely digital, unless only one or two bats were present. Same reason they did this with Batman Returns. They killed bats to make digital models. Models of the sets were used during the CGI creation so that the flying would not look superfluous.

Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard were brought in to do the soundtrack. It was originally just gonna be HZ but he invited JNH to the party. The two personalities worked on two personalities of Bruceman and Batwayne. They did their work in LA and London. And all the inspiration they needed was the sets themselves. They got a bunch of English people to fiddle with electric shit and somehow it worked. Between this and human aspects, the duo worked on 2 hours and 20 minutes to create the score. And now, we have our movie.

SECTION FIVE: REVIEWING BATMAN BEGINS

Christopher Jonathan James Nolan is one of my favorite directors, and is truly a director at heart. A director is an executioner, and a movie is a visual art. To execute a film visually can be and often academically stated should be the director’s prime directive. This film looks incredible. The film is mostly that dark mix of black and sick yellow that normally gives the overall feeling of being in a bath of piss. But here, it seems to reflect something different. It seems to reflect a dark situation in Gotham, and how Bruce Wayne has been put in charge of it. The colors surround him instead of engulfing him, which reflects his willingness to fight crime.

They begin lightly and sometimes vanish during brighter scenes. These brighter scenes represent generally positive moments of Bruce’s life. These are not common. The colors intensify throughout the film to represent the audience’s understanding. The film jumps around the narrative in order to spice up the old beginning-middle-end formula, and the lighting represents our gradual understanding of the situation. And it’s nothing a 16 year old couldn’t get, winkity wink wink. I love Nolan’s (or maybe it was Lee Smith’s) style of the narrative. I think it is definitely a template for how to make more interesting narratives. One direction is not the only rock band out there, and lately they’ve become more and more forgotten.

Hans Zimmer is the next John Williams. His theme song for this movie is as iconic as the Danny  Elfman music and all of these tracks will live on as pure good example. That is all. Christian Bale is where imperfections begin to arise. The man is mostly a good actor. As Bruce Wayne, he is an actor who excels based on his material. He is as good as the material and is the material, he absorbs himself in it and loves it, and if it’s a certain quality he becomes a certain quality. The dialogue and script are both awesome, but I think we might get to that later. I just wish he would excel like I suspect he can, but hey, we got good shit.

As Batman, he is surprisingly awesome with that completely unconvincing voice. I think it’s his distinguishing abilities. Like, that is the BATMAN voice and no other person has the Christian Bale Batman voice. That alone makes it impressive. Not to mention, his audible timing, his facial expressions (oddly) and his ability to work with the action choreographers climax as The Dark Knight. The only problem is that some of the material is not the best and a couple of times during the climax seems to revert to comic book patterns. Nevertheless, CB does the best with what he can do.

God plays Rag. Soak that in. God is pretty much God in this movie. Him as a teacher? Pure nature. Him as a preacher of righteousness? Excellent. Him as a fighter? Beyond possible expectations, especially with his clear age. He was 53 filming this and is 60 now. The only problem is the balance of the character’s importance, and this is a purely personal standpoint. I have never found Rag the best Batman villain. I think he’s like a cliché from a 70’s martial arts fantasy movie with some edgier material thrown in. He never captivated me, I always preferred guys like The Joker and…hmm…dunno, maybe SCARECROW?

Aside from The Joker – the greatest comic book villain of all time – Scarecrow is easily my favorite Batman villain. The way he can grab your mind and just play with it like a video game gives me the creeps. If I ever meet up with this character, I’m fully aware of my screwed statues. That said, he is pretty much ruined in this movie. He has one good line that happens to be in the one good moment which is during the climax. Otherwise, Scarecrow has been reduced to the man Joker wishes he could be to the man who wishes he could be Joker. He is this naïve, young experimenter who is reduced to the pawn of a greater plot by villains I never cared for before. And his role is minimal. The focus is on Rag and Bat. Notice that recurring theme in comic book movies?

Michael Caine as Alfred is pretty sick. I prefer Michael Gough because I think his honesty was exponentially large in volume, and because he looks a lot like my dead grandfather. But here, Alfred trades these qualities in for witty quips, more ability to assert himself into the situation, and better understanding of the situation. He seems like more of a person and less of a slave. I know he’s a butler, but they were teasing us in the 80’s/90’s movies, I figure they might as well make him a fully-fledged character here.

Speaking of guys who are now real characters, Gordon appears in this movie. He never becomes a commissioner, at least not here, but he’s actually involved with what is going on now. He’s nothing more than a comic book character, but at least he has a role, and that makes several people happy. Katie Holmes and Rachel Dawes is half bad. Rachel Dawes is a character full of understanding and quotability to rival the best historical figures. Katie Holmes is an actress who forces her lines and doesn’t; say couldn’t; understand the character she is portraying.

Man, I love the action scenes. I think it’s partially the actor’s ability to fight, but this film has been choreographed well. Sure, it’s got a hint of the ballet style, but they mention that theatrics can help in deceiving your enemy. So they have an excuse to make it a little flashy. And I’d say 7-8/10 of the moves in each scene are built with reason and logic, and each other move is done for theatrics. Film is entertainment folks. Intensity doesn’t quite flow through the scenes as good as some other noticeable examples, but I think that’s partially due to the fact we know that A.) They wouldn’t kill Batman in the first movie; B.) There are other Batman movies.

The action scenes do get a little Naruto like, specifically (and only) when Batman and God are fighting. They talk during the action scenes. You know that line from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, “when you gotta shoot, shoot, don’t talk.” Yeah, well, today, that would translate to “when you’re shooting, no talking.” Hell, that should have been a line in Rango. But whatever. For the most part, they did good.

I cannot possible exaggerate how awesome the script is. It’s like the inside of a clock tower. You can’t exactly spot how it’s working so well but God damn it it’s working perfectly and it’s different than you will ever write. Chris JJ Nolan is one of my favorite directors and this is not a blemish on his record. Christian Bale, God and Michael Caine do excellent in their roles. Hans Zimmer is the next John Williams. Commissioner Gordon is an actual character. But this movie is like the greatest piece of Swiss cheese. It’s fucking delicious and it’s holes are small (aside from one large on in the side representing Scarecrow) but the holes remain numerous. They must be filled in to get the proper cheese enjoyment. And that wasn’t supposed to be a double-meaning, but, take it as you like. Batman Begins was a fucking amazing starting-point…but what would come next…

The Rating for Batman Begins? 5/5.

Spiderman 2 (2004)

DOCTOR OGTAGONAPUS BLAAUGH

AFTERMATH OF SPIDER-MAN: SECTION ONE

The teaser trailer was pulled, making it the most famous special shoot trailers since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. That probably gave Spiderman a heavy boost in attention….oh wit, you don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s a hint: Spiderman wears red, white and blue in New York City pre-9/11. Footage pulled post-9/11. Meanwhile, not only was their controversy in the country of Red, White and Blue, but in the country of…Red, White and Blue. Good ol’ England everybody. Spiderman has normally been considered a pretty kid friendly affair, being a teenage superhero frankly.

But because of the blood, “suspense and terror” (I know, I know), and the ability to see MJ’s nipple in one scene (very nice) the film was given a PG-13 in ‘Merica. But in ‘Merica, as long as mommy says it’s okay, you can go. In Britan, it’s kinda stricter. More or less, they’re not total pussies about it. (Little TV-MA box shows up in the corner.) They were kinda forced to give it a 12 rating. They didn’t want to give it something so low, and parents were shocked it could have got something so high. Once these two forces met, the BBFC was allaike “DUDEZ. U SEE NIPPLES. GEDDAFUG OUTTAH MAH HOUSE!”

When Sony re-released the film in le cinema, it got a 12A, which was BBFC saying “this is the best we could do without making moms lynch us.” The 12A rating was introduced for Spiderman and is only used for the cinema. With all this talk about Spidey between the new movie in and of itself, and all the controversy, it somehow made nearly six times its budget. It’s quite possibly Spiderman established May as a summer month in cinema land. It’s had a 89% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has a 7.4/10 on iMDB. Those are some pretty damn impressive scores, especially considering their highest rating ever given is 9.2/10. This can translate to 74/92, which translates to 80/100. That’s really damn good, guys. With all the critical success, the name’s power, and the money it made, Sam Rami was 100% certain from the point it was released that he was going to be

MAKING THE SEQUEL: SECTION TWO

So when it caught word that Rami was up for another one, they went around looking for writers. Alfred Gough (The Mummy 3, I Am Number Four) and Miles Millar (Herbie Fully Loaded, Hannah Montana: The Movie) are highly questioned by Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ (The Cyclops, Oedipus Rex in a Nutshell) to write for Sam Rami (The Evil Dead every day six times a day). And they were also hired to write a script. They were given triple duty on the villains, namely Doctor Octogonapus Blaugh, the Lizard, and Black Cat.

It was originally under the name The Amazing Spiderman (hmmmm) they gave Rami $200 Million as opposed to his previous $140 Million. In a month, it was decided Universal Monsters and Hannah Montana weren’t enough, let’s put David Koepp (War of the Worlds, Men in Black 3) in there as well. They looked at the script and said, “Not all the Will Smiths, Miley Cyruses and Brendan Frasers could save this,” so they grabbed Michael Chabon (books and shit) to do a rewrite. His draft had a much younger Doctor Octogonapus Blaugh, who fell in love with Mary Jane. His arms had endorphins (they’re like adrenaline for confidence) which counteracted the pain caused by being part machine.

Mary Jane sees him kill two muggers and is shocked. (Isn’t that a less pussified version of what got you into Spiderman?) The final battle would have Doctor Octogonapus Blaugh’s tentacles meshed together, which makes it nearly impossible for him to fight. It’s also revealed that DOB made the radioactive spider, and he was willing to give an antidote. In other words, “I kill myself willingly, so does my arch nemesis.” Except he would steal Spidey’s spine to save himself. This was scrapped because they thought a love triangle wasn’t…ugh…well, it was UNACCEPTABLE dundundun.

And the fact this also called for Harry putting a price of Spiderman’s head was apparently also…ugh…UNACCEPTABLE. Despite the fact that seems perfectly logical for his character. In The end, they took a bunch of shit from the scripts they had gotten, some stuff from a new script by Alvin Sargent (all of ‘em man), and Superman II. This way, the script would go through whether the hero wanted his responsibilities or not. Good job Undertaker. Doc Oc was kept, but Sam Rami took Bruce Campbell’s Chainsaw to that bitch and chopped off so much of his backstory that he replaced that emotionally he was nowhere near the same character as in the comics.

The Spiderman costume stayed the same mostly. But the effects guy decided to give the colors some steroids which were taken from the eyes. They made the muscle suit into pieces, like how the body is separated, to make movement much more realistic. They gave Toby Mac a fake jaw for his helmet, which allowed Spidey to…TALK. Doc Oc had rubber tentacles that were eight feet long and weighed one hundred pounds EACH. Somebody give Alfred some props. They were controlled by puppeteers – who also should get some mad props – four per tentacle, who dubbed the claws “death flowers.”

He dubbed each puppeteer with the same names per group, Larry Harry Moe and Floe. When it came down to it, Sam Rami eventually had to give in to the CGI so he filmed the big fight scenes with it. He always did the practical tentacles first to see if it was necessary, and scanned the CGI ones from the practical ones. WHAT I KEEP TELLING YOU PEOPLE TO DO. The sounds were made with motorcycle chains and piano wires. Perfect. And wouldn't you know it? By the end of 2002, they were already set to film. It was as if these movies were going to be pumped out one by one.

They shot for two days on The Loop in Chicago. This was for the big climax, in which they bought a carriage. Don’t ask questions. It’s a dolly. The big stuff started in April ’03 in New York City. But of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same. They moved to Los Angeles again in the next month. Toby was having a lot of back problems during the shoot and said, “hey, Rami, can we do summah dat CGI stuff you told me about?” And Rami waz allaike, “nah man, we gonna have you go shoop da whoop and go ding man!” And Toby Mac was allaike, “yo man, whuddabot dat script man? I can be allaike, ‘yo man, mah back man, MAH BAK.”

And Rami waz allaike, “yo man, dazza good idea yuggot der.” Rosemary Harris apparently saw this as an opportunity to do stunt doubling for Toby Mac, and figured her stunt double didn’t…DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. Later, they had to take a nice six weeks break – which I’m sure helped Toby Mac with his back – so they could make Doctor Octogonapus Blaugh’s lair and pier. Inspiration was mainly taken from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. And that’s how all weird sets in movies should be done. Just saying. They built this giant monster. They built this giant monster.

They built this giant monster. AND THEN THEY BLEW IT UP. After all this, it was still during Christmas 2003 where they were getting shots. I’m sure the producers at Sony were alliake “whud tagging u so long?” During this time, they created the Spydercam. Basically, a camera that filmed in the perspective of a climbing insect. That was very nice for POV shots from Peter Parker himself. It could go down 50 feet from the roof and would sometimes be shot at six frames per second which made a super-fast playback. And this makes me want to go on and on about frame-rate but I won’t do that right now. They pre-planned the shots in virtual reality, and used motion control to help with the steadiness of the shots.

And at that point, they were pretty much finished. It came out. And several people were sent out to be

REVIEWING SPIDERMAN 2: SECTION THREE

Toby Mac. Kristen Durst. We need to have talk. First you Toby, because we’re sexy here at whythefuckamIreferrencingSpinalTap? It’s one thing to not change your performance throughout the movie, even though the performance makes sense in the story and is very convincing. You show a lot of personality. But it’s another thing entirely to not change your performance throughout 95% of the SEQUEL. First off, Peter Parker is no longer this reject nerd that was in the last movie. Now he has had two years of success with Spiderman put behind him at the beginning of this movie, is being called “brilliant” by his teachers and idols, and is on much more level grounds with Em Jay Doubleya.

But he is confident when he’s under the suit. There’s a whole mini-plot where it becomes clear the mask was mental protection, and he realizes that he is just as appreciated no matter if he wears mirror and mask. But am I the only one who thinks this would have been much better placed in the first movie? Just seems out of place here for the rest of the movie. This movie is dealing with Peter wanting to retire, the first movie dealt with him on his first days of the job. I can see where they were going, but it feels kinda forced. And I gotta telljya something. It might be partially his looks, but I swear when he’s not stuttering and keeping his voice dialed at one notch, he is channeling his inner Marty McFly. I don’t think that really belongs.

If you would have told me while I was watching the movie that MJW was still being played by Kristen Durst, you would’ve won $10 from me. I felt like so much of her personality was just vanished. She went from being archetypical in the romance only, to being archetypical everywhere. They mentioned that she did plays back in the first movie, but they show her playing the most pretentious, uptight play that I’m sure Shakespeare wouldn’t even give a damn about. Though this scene was very well used for a certain special somebody. She speaks in pouts a lot, and when she isn’t she is force fed the most cheesy dialogue. “Kiss me. I need to figure something out.”  She has lost dimensions in translation.

I know what you’re thinking. “BHEEMA. DOUBLE-YOU TEA EFF? IZZ SUPPOSED TO BE A CHEEZE MOVE.” I know that. In fact, I was heavily looking forward to a live-action Saturday morning cartoon. But it isn’t a live action SMC. It’s a live action movie that has turned into SMC. The first movie was self-aware and attempting to give whatever nostalgia it could to teenagers, therefore it could connect to its target audience and its message could get across better. In this movie, the dialogue is just flat-out corny. I mean corny in a Superman+Titanic way. That’s not going to win over your target audience, even the kids. And I honestly don’t think this was the intention of Sam. I think he was going for something else.

Doctor Octogonapus Blaugh was also very lackluster. I barely remember what he looked like. The insert on the DVD, which is a shot not appearing in the movie, is more iconic than any image of him in this movie. The claws were really damn cool, but there definitely wasn’t enough plot focus on them. His actor was EXTREMELY generic. Like he was remember his favorite supervillain from when he was eight and doing his best job at replicating his version of him – but his memory is so clouded that he can’t remember it that well. He was written without a lot of flow. I felt like he emotionally accepted and disbanded from the tentacles way too quickly. So much of this movie should have been dedicated to Doc Oc trying to decide what to do, instead of just fucking leaping off of cliffs to conclusions.

That’s another thing. If you’ve read the review so far this is not a spoiler, and besides telling you this is not going to ruin too much. The main focus of this movie is Spidey trying to decide whether he wanted to continue to be Spidey or not. But I mean, c’mon. If he said NO, we wouldn’t have a movie. Besides, this movie isn’t going to try to be all controversial all of the sudden…well, you know what I mean. I’m not saying it’s not strong. The whole story-arch has a lot of emotional strength because you relate to Peter Parker’s situation. He was built extremely strong in the first one and is still very strong in this one. But because it’s extremely telegraphed, it does not carry the emotional strength to actually  make an impact in the viewer like the first one had.

Sam Rami is a Transformer. Because from this one to the last one, he steps up the visual directing A LOT. Every shot and every action can be translated into symbolism, foreshadowing, metaphor, whatever, to the point where by the end of the first act I was telling myself to STOP because if we do we’re going to be here all night. It’s definitely an example of how to insert the major plot into small actions or objects. The camera work is also a lot better, I still could feel the epic look of the theatre resonating on my standard definition TV. But you just know that he stepped up the plate because he was trying to compensate for a weaker script than the first one he had.

My guess is he was also trying to compensate for weaker CGI from the last movie. I don’t know if it’s because the colors were changed from the last movie, but he weighs a lot less like a human and more like an image, he moves in ways I cannot possibly figure out even factoring in he’s a superhero, and his texture looks a lot more like the white shit from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And now I’m going to have a lynch mob because they just realized I’ve never seen T2.

You know, I just... *rubs back of head.* I don’t know. I don’t want to be bashing this movie. But it kind of tricks us. The movie on its own is really, not that great. It’s just that the first movie built the characters so well, and the second movie was able to capitalize on it. But it didn’t give any long term effects for the characters. The script and effects are weaker than the standard set by the first movie. The actors are giving nowhere near as much effort as before, granted Toby had back problems, but c’mon. How many people know that going in to this movie? Sam Rami proves he is an awesome director and tries his best to save this movie, and to some extent he succeeds. It deserves it's fanbase and I'm sure that without knowledge of the first movie it is a masterpiece. But Spiderman 2 is an inferior sequel.

The Rating? 3.9/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off. Next time:…Woah boy.

Alien vs. Predator (2004)

Talking to different species in English that you have no previous connections to = logic.

THE CREATION OF ALIEN VS. PREDATOR

So apparently I was a little off with Predator 2. Turns out Predator 2 was inspired by one fan fiction, but the rest of the fan fiction was inspired by Predator 2. There was a 1989 comic series called Aliens versus Predator. And because it is, BOOTY. Attempts to turn this comic into a movie had begun ever since Predator 2. There was a spec script created in 1990 and 1991. It was successfully pitched, however they did not go through with it until TWO THOUSAND TWO. Who the fuck…how? Eleven fucking years to make this much of a ₡₳$h-in? What, were they too busy making Alien Resurrection??!?!

Huuuhh….Regardless. The script that was pitched way back in 1991 is actually very close to the finished product. However, there was a little difficulty with the producers. There were six producers between the two franchises, and they were all worried about the potential damage that a crossover could do. That’s where Paul W.S. Anderson comes in. He wrote a script….and somehow that worked like magic. After Prisoners of  Wars of Something Awful penned  his script, they just…let it happen. Paul is magic ladies and gents. He started working on it after Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

Him and Shane Salerno tossed around ideas, such as humans attempting to bait Predators with Alien eggs. This was scrapped as it seemed to contrived and simple. That’s where the*SPIOLER ALERT* Ancient Pyramids come in. Mr. Anderson researched how there were theories Myans and Aztecs and Egyptians were able to build pyramids via Aliens. Two different things clicked and KABLOOEY! We have our movie.  It was explained that humans were being trained by Predators, and that fighting Aliens was a rite of passage. To explain sudden dissapearances of civilizations, there apparently was a self-destruct button in case the Aliens ever became overwhelming.

At the Mountain of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft, was a major inspiration. *SPOILERS OVER.* Anderson also wanted a total of five Predators to appear in the movie, but it was later reduced to three. Then he was looking for locations. Setting the film in an urban environment would contradict the Alien franchise, as this is a prequel to Alien but a sequel to Predator 2. If the characters in the franchise following this movie had no knowledge of them before hand, he would have to put them in a pretty remote environment. Therefore, he moves it to Bouvet Island. This is an uninhabited Norwegian island close to Antarctica. (I know, that breaks everything, but let’s go with it.)

Then comes casting. His first choice….was to cast Bishop. Yep. You heard right. Bishop, the Droid from Aliens. According to Anderson, the REAL Bishop existed in our time (no he didn’t, he appeared in Alien 3) and became known for finding the pyramid (if that was true than how the hell do we “not know” about the Aliens?) and in that sense, built a droid is his name that would last for one hundred and fifty years (Aliens clearly takes place much longer after this than one hundred and fifty years, and if this was true how come the droid didn’t tell Ripley about the Aliens?)

Regardless, he casted the rest independently. He went for an all European cast (again motherfucker) that was pretty much three countries: Scotland, Italy and England. And according to him, this gives the film “an international flavor” (I am going to punch this man.) Sanaa Lathan was casted as the female protagonist (being black doesn’t mean you’re from another country). The producers supposedly KNEW that she would be compared to Ripley (by idiots and fanboys). Sigourney Weaver was reported for not wanting to be involved in any sense, even as a co-producer or having a different character cameo. She felt a crossover was the reason she wanted her character to die in the first place. Arnold Schwarzenegger was also approached for a cameo, but he had made it to California like he wanted to in The Wizard, and was too busy bein’ GOVNAH.

Now that all this (whatever this is) was taken care of, it was time to start filming. Instead of the USA, Norway, England, or on location, all of those sounding logical, they started filming in the Czech Republic. Go figure that one for me ladies and gents. Turns out the reason was that in Los Angeles, the costs for the sets would have been $20 Million. However, the costs for Czech constructions came up to $2 Million. Considering the budget was $50 Million I’d say this was actually a wise choice. They couldn’t find in NORWAY though? You know, where the MOVIE TAKES PLACE? And where they filmed an even snowier movie, The Empire Strikes Back? Ah well. Fuck it. They modeled The Pyramid after Egyptian, Aztec and Cambodian pyramids. They pioneered the twisting corridors for the sake of claustrophobia, which has been present in all of the Alien films and to some extent Predator 2.

One thing that Prisoners of Wars of Something Awful did better than Jean-Claude Who Remembers Your Name Anyways was to use miniatures instead of CGI. I love you Paul. They used this mainly for vehicles, because like The Asylum, WE CAN’T PAY FOR CARS! Let me ask you something. If you’ve got $50 Million 2004/$57,221,326.72 2010 (Jesus it’s that fast already?) how can you not pay $10K for a CAR? Especially when it cost $37K to build your miniature icebreaker? Oh, but you can totally get TWENTY TONS OF SNOW. Artificial snow, but still twenty tons of it.

Would you believe there were FOUR producers, THREE veterans to this franchise, and not a single one really paid good attention to how P.W.S.A. was using their money? Da fuq happened during production? Arthur Windus: "With computer graphics, you need to spend a lot of time making it real. With a miniature, you shoot it and it’s there." (Yeah but you have to build it idiot.) It took several months to build a 25 meter “miniature” for the whaling station. Only to be collapsed and reconstructed. Adding to our lunacy of visuals, they rehired ADI. Yeah. From the last two movies.

They spent four months enhancing the Predator’s wrist blades and adding a crater. Seriously folks. Then they decide to make a unique mask for each Predator. WHY? Nobody knows ladies and gents. And WHY make them with clay instead of legitimate metal? At least that makes financial sense. OH WAIT, IT WASN’T. It was made to make the “used future” look of the first movie. For Predators. Figure that one ladies and gentlemen. Apparently that’s what Predator is “all about.” Fuck this shit man, I just wanna watch E3. But it doesn’t stop there all you friends and foes.

They brought back THE PUPPET. THE PUPPET. This was to make it look quicker and make it slimier. And to not have to use an actor. Even though this took six people to run it, including making sure the signals got on the computer. HUH? Then they spend ONE MONTH on ONE FIGHT SCENE? Not even THE scene that’s so awesome. It’s a different scene!!! I can’t fucking get it. Who is so stupid when they direct a movie? Waaa….waaaa…ATTACK!

CRITIQUE OF ALIEN VS PREDATOR

PLOT HOLES. THEY ARE NUMEROUS. ‘NUFF SAID.

I guess that leads me onto the plot itself, and how it’s paced out. I suspect Paul W.S. Anderson is one of those guys who does a basic outline of his storylines before doing them. As Stephen King says in On Writing (close enough) the good stories are situational. Paul W.S. Anderson was strategizing an Alien vs. Predator story, he wasn’t creating one, and even better, he wasn’t unearthing one that already existed in his head. Let me give you a rundown of the script start to finish WITHOUT SPOILERS. First hour was co-written by Exposition the Fox. There’s a few kills with satisfactory amounts of blood, but they’re not drawn out.

They are done very quickly. You go to this kind of movie to see creatures either wailing on each other or doing what they do best: kill humans. You hope that you get a good chunk of both, with exposition being told situationally by the violence. In this film, the first act sets up the exposition for their exploration, and the second act is backstory. Finally there’s a fight scene at about an hour in, ONE OF TWO. And this fight isn’t that great. I know not a lot of you are big wrestling fans, but I assume most of you know of the existence of Rey Mysterio and Brock Lesnar, right?

Imagine those two - in their primes - in a wrestling match. It would be shit. That’s basically what the first fight scene is like. The rest of the violence are instant kills. At this point it felt like watching somebody else playing an Aliens vs. Predator video game than it did watching a movie. The final fight goes like this: GOTTA RUN, GOTTA RUN, GOTTA RUN, RUN, RUN (x3) HI HO SILVER! Or a chase scene for us less imaginative. Then “I am now a video game character” or; impossible and impractical stunts. Then GET TO DA CHOPPAH! Or, QUICKLY, GET TO THIS SINGULAR OBJECT THAT WILL SOLVE ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS!

I think what I just described sounds pretty boring, and in the end this movie is boring. You have to be one stupid bastard to make an AVP movie BORING. But hey, Prisoners of Wars of Something Awful is just that stupid producing the movie, how about writing the movie? But what bad is a terrible script without a terrible cast? You know how I talked about P.W.S.A. wanted to assemble a cast with an international flavor? That’s their ONLY FLAVOR. Their one asset is that their ethnic. And not only is that being too racially conscious and afraid of our uptight society to take necessary risks in order to get good actors; it also means that they’re fucking boring.

And you would HOPE since the director is so impotent that it’s that sort of acting that’s so bad it transcends into reality – like real people – nope. They’re just boring, forcing themselves, have one emotion or role throughout the entire movie (Leader, Exposition the Fox, Delusional Boss, etc.) and it’s just BAD. But hey, what would a bad script and a bad cast be without lukewarm visuals? Let’s talk about the illustrational (getting tired of the word visual) aspects. Since I seem to just be in love with lighting recently, let’s discuss that. It’s like Alien Resurrection in the “I c wat u did thar” style of “clever” lighting.

It’s light blue and light black (whatever that is) for the most part. So it’s COLD. In Antarctica. Hardy har har. Alien 4 was better at lighting than you were and that didn’t save the movie from being a piece of trash. I’m not 100% PWSA has enough creativity to handle the fan fiction he spews. As for the Alien costumes, they’re pretty much the same as in Alien 4. With one exception. The Queen. She’s also the same as Aliens. But here’s a crucial difference: Positioning of the costume. For a creature like this to stand upright as she did in Aliens is very queer. In this movie, she’s properly bent back so her appearance can truly represent the concept of a dinosaur sized Xenomorph.

That’s about the ONLY thing this movie does better than its numerous predecessors. The Predator suits are a downgrade. They are big and bulky, everything from the body to the clothes to the hair. The original suit was designed so that the creature looked agile. Now you’ve completely ruined that. It’s okay to do slight changes to skin and hair and even the mask, but at this point it becomes a question of why fix what isn’t broken? There’s a lot of technical garbage in this movie. The cinematography is nothing special. For the most part the camera stays on the 90/270 degree revolution around the character’s face.

Rarely do we get to see a shot where we don’t get the chin at the bottom and the forehead at the top. Some shots are done clumsily, where we don’t get to see what we need to. But for the most part, and I never thought this would make sense, but there are WAY too many cuts. Cinematographer David Johnson – without a Wikipedia article – attempts to capture ALL the action in the shot from as many angles as possible, which results in editor Alexander Berner (also without a Wikipedia article) having to cut every half a second during a fucking battle. The only time we get a shot longer than two seconds is during the “chase” scene and even then it cuts very rapidly.

I’d like to see just one shot of action because, despite cuts often making a movie faster, it takes away from any sense of realism. This is ART here, folks, not a music video or a VIDEO GAME. Look at the picture of Paul! He is a video game fan fiction crossover nerd. Look at this film. Look at his filmography. Do you think this guy comprehends higher art? I haven’t even been to film school and I understand the process of filmmaking better than this guy who, at the time of this film’s release, was NEARLY FORTY YEARS OLD. God Damn! Where was this version of me when I was reviewing The Three Musketeers?

Alien vs. Predator, on the objective level, is a big pile of crap. On the subjective level though…it’s really damn fun if you’re drunk or in a state of mind like being drunk. It’s slow and drawn out story, lack of fights WE PAID TO SEE, wood like actors who were hired for THEIR ACCENTS, and Paul’s misunderstanding of filmmaking create a wash away piece of crap. The Rating? 1.5/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off. Next time….ooooh next time…..

Attack of the Clones (2002)

The only reason I allow this to exist is because of Battlefront II.

SECTION ONE: AFTERMATH OF THE PHANTOM MENACE

Most people today:

What actually happened:

The phrase “Phantom Menacing it” has become a somewhat popular saying for forcing yourself to like a movie because you didn’t want to disappoint yourself. People went into that movie and forced themselves to be positive to the best of their ability because THEY HAD WAITED SIXTEEN ANXIOUS, INTENSE YEARS for this shit! Because of this phenomenon, the film has gained a much higher rating on film aggregator sites than it deserves. Hell, the only reason it got as low ratings as it does is because nowadays people have looked with an objective eye.

On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 57%. That means over half of the critics gave it a rating anywhere between decent and great. I suspect you can flip the numbers for an accurate rating in 1999, due to all the people who didn’t want to be let down. Remember, people went to Bug’s Life and Wing Commander ONLY to see the trailer, and then they left! It was that important to them! Even ROGER F’ING EBERT didn’t have the strength to admit to himself the truth. In his review he states: “[The Phantom Menace is] an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking…Lucas tells a good story."

Man, Roger, I wanna know what you’re smoking! Probably weed or crack or LSD or something of the “woah dude” variety, because he goes on to state than any filmmaker could "give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day." He was just knocked out cold and looking at the pretty lights. TEN YEARS LATER? Hmmm….Most other reviews were not such a stunning example of self-dishonesty. They basically went to compliment Liam Neeson, the action scenes, Darth Maul and saying that the better stuff topples the worse.

In other words, they reviewed it like they were putting it against a film by Roland Emmerich, not George Lucas! Despite the lies the critics gave to themselves and their fans, there were always that last 25% here to save our sorry asses. They were able to see through the hype and talk about how much of a stupid marketing opportunity Jar Jar Binx was instead of a legitimate character. He was described by Kenneth Turan as “a major miscue, a comic-relief character who’s frankly not funny.” The character bathed in so much hate and anger and replay that Ultimate Warrior video that George Lucas was successfully pressured to make him a minor character in Attack of the Clones, and later a cameo in Revenge of the Sith.

He definitely was not pressured to do anything beyond that, and to an extent this is where I begin to side with the greedy billionaire. He began criticizing media, American of variety, for using “fan opinions from the Internet as a reliable source of information for their news stories.”  Granted this is where I begin to take his side. I don’t recall any of that ever happening, and the American media is a specific cliché that is typically used by conspiracy nuts. But there’s shit. After the release of the movie we’re going to be reviewing soon, lead actor Ewan McGreggor stated that the first film lacked the color and humor the further prequels would have.

And shut the fuck up Ewan. He felt it making the result “kind of flat.” And hug me Ewan McGreggor. Drew Grant stated in his review: "Perhaps the absolute creative freedom director George Lucas enjoyed while dreaming up the flick's 'comic' relief – with no studio execs and not many an independently minded actor involved – is a path to the dark side." In the future, its reputation would pretty much wholly turn negative. Entertainment Weekly and Comcast both ranked it as one of the worst sequels of all time. Even though it’s a prequel, but, whatever. Lil’ Jimmy Berardinelli would note:

"The Phantom Menace was probably the most overhyped motion picture of the last decade (if not longer), and its reputation suffered as a result of its inability to satisfy unreasonable expectations." William Arnold would agree with him, in saying "it built expectations that can't possibly be matched and scuttled (the) element of storytelling surprise." He then made a heel turn (or went to The Dark Side if you prefer) and stated “the film was well made” and said it was far better than The Matrix or The Mummy. Now, how many angry flipping tables fanboys here are pissed off at him?

Midi-chlorinians GOT PEOPLE PISSED. The fact that the force was removed from God and was taken into a viral infection made people as outraged as they would if a pastor came out as Gay. Daniel Dinello (or D2 as I’ll refer to him) states: "Anathema to Star Wars fanatics who thought they reduced the Force to a kind of viral infection, midi-chlorians provide a biological interface, the link between physical bodies and spiritual energy." Some were more positive about the concept, but in a “yay George Lucas is being politically correct!” kinda of way. John D. Caputo states:

"In the 'Gospel according to Lucas' a world is conjured up in which the intractable oppositions that have tormented religious thinkers for centuries are reconciled. ... The gifts that the Jedi masters enjoy have a perfectly plausible scientific basis, even if its ways are mysterious: their bodily cells have a heavier than usual concentration of 'midi-chlorians.'" But if you REALLY wanna talk about whether Lucas is politically correct or not, the film really got heat when people analyzed the stereotypes associated with Jar Jar Binx, Neimoidians and Wattoo. I’ve already gone over how they carry the stereotypes of Blacks, Asians and Jews respectively, and many others have as well. Lucas denied these allegations, but Rob Coleman very quickly dug up the character of Fagin – specifically played by Alex Guinness – in Oliver Twist, and observed his similarities to Watoo.

With the connection with Alex, and the fact that Star Wars is a giant scope of most classic stories, the Jewish stereotype from O.T. isn’t unlikely. He also described J2B as "Servile and cowardly...a black minstrel-ish stereotype on par with Stepin Fetchit." Michael Eric Dyson came on Rob’s side and started talking about how the entire Gungun civilization resembled a stereotypical primate African tribe. And M.E.D. is a professor of African-American studies at Georgetown University, I wouldn’t doubt he knows what he’s talking about. He said that "The leader of Jar Jar's tribe is a fat, bumbling buffoon with a rumbling voice, and he seems to be a caricature of a stereotypical African tribal chieftain."

Despite all the hatred and all the flaws, the film has made exponential amounts of money. It is one of twelve films to have made over a billion dollars. It’s current total is $1,027,044,677, $924,317,558 of that money was made in 1999, when adjusted for inflation would make $1,197,837,293.73 in 2010 money. So with all doze D0LL₳ℛ$, Lucas decided he was ready to get going A.S.A.P. And that’s where we enter

SECTION TWO: MAKING ATTACK OF THE CLONES

George Lucas apparently took more of the criticism to the heart than was initially thought in 1999. He was very hesitant to return to the writing table. (When it fact, you may notice the two best Star Wars movies were not directed by him, but still written – even if partially.) The cast and crew was even half-mocking him by using a working title Jar Jar Big’s Adventure. Under the stress, first draft was finished only three months before shooting began. He also jittered and froze along his way writing the second draft. The third draft, which would become the shooting script, would be done by Lil’ Johnny Hales, who had helped him on Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Like most S.W. flicks, the script was finished at an uncomfortably close time to shooting at one week prior. One major part of his script that changed continuity was the origin of the Clones. When he was doing The Empire Strikes Back, he decided it was a cool idea that Lando Calrissian was a clone, and his planet erupted in a war that Obi-Wan Kenobi was involved with. Only during the production of this movie do we get a remote planet of clone shock troopers that were picked up by OBW by some coincidence. But hey, it helped with the whole storm troopers thing later on.

So we go from Tunisia, to Norway, to Arizona, to Tunisia again, and now we wind up in Australia. Mostly they went to Australia because they had poisoned the residents of Elstree Studios and were winding down the time until it looked like some sort of freak accident. Location shooting went all OVER the place. To Tunisia again, Spain, Italy, and of course USA’s resident Hollywood. I don’t know if I would like all the free traveling, or if I would be mad that I’d have to spend so much goddamn time in an airplane. During shooting, Samuel L. Jackson requested that his light saber would be the “Amethyst” light purple that it does instead of the green/blue for good guys and red for bad guys. Once they finished, Lucas (with enough patience already drenched from his mind) viewed the footage and decided he needed moar esplosions. So they shot some stuff in FOUR HOURS

How long has it been since I used that clip?

George Lucas continued his movement into the Digital Age with the digital camera HDW-F900, using the digital 24 frame system. The film was one of three films in HISTORY to be filmed entirely in digital. The others being Jackpot and Vidocq.  A lot of people were opposed to a digital conversion. Part of the problems were environmental aspects. Film would shake and be damaged, but digital doesn’t. However, film would be able to show heat visually as an added benefit, which had helped films like Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, and any desert adventure films to feel hot.

You know, I gotta tell ya something. When I do these reviews and I talk about “900 special effects shots” and “30 shots in New York” and all that good shit, it feels weird man. It feels like I’m talking about the movie like it’s a series of sequences. Like if I was to talk about a novel as a series of paragraphs, and the paragraphs were a series of sentences, and the sentences were a series of words, instead of talking about the novel as a thing in the whole. I don’t know. But, I’ve set up my responsibility, and it’s time to talk about those #XXX SFX SHTS. Attack of the Clones abandoned the storyboards and used “digital animatics” (whatever that is) for pre-visualization.

Ben Burtt, the guy we know for creating the lovely organic sound effects of the original trilogy, created a new process called “videomatics.” The process wasn’t wholly different from the digital animacts, only that the environments where the characters who be placed was shot on a household camera. Actors would stand in front of a greenscreen, which made creating these digital storyboards as much of a process as the actual filming, but with a worse result. But, it was just a rough draft, and Lucas would use these in the future. They would make second and third drafts, just like a script, and by now I’m just wondering why the fuck they didn’t get a guy with a set of colored pencils and a stack of paper. One of the answers might have been choreography. A storyboard is a pretty still image, but the videoanimatic allowed a rough draft of what the actors moves were supposed to look like.

The only scene that did not go through this insane process was The Battle of Geonosis, which was created after a vague page on the sequence.

“Patience is a virtue....but it’s a boring virtue.” – Chugga A. Conroy.

When it came to stunt doubles, they were made out of material. Digital doubles were made out of ones and zeroes, so Lucas was happy….well, the real idea of a CGI stunt double was that stunt doubles tend to look a tad bit different from their acting counterparts, so a CGI rendering would look closer and it would “be the same person.” Unfortunately it wouldn’t even be a PERSON, but hey, mrphnherpnderp. Christopher Lee was one of two characters who had this technique used mainly. He was seventy-eight years old. And now he’s ninety. The guy is OLD. He couldn’t swing a light-saber, let alone swing his entire body!

But this was also where the puppet Yoda was dropped, and they converted to a CGI Yoda. And I’ll get to this later, but after seeing The Phantom Menace, I kinda see what they were going for. He wanted to keep it like the puppet from episodes 2/3, for the sake of consistency. They even used stock audio from the previous films. Frank Oz was consulted, and stated the main thing that needed to be retained was his old, sore and frigid look. The biggest thing was keeping the slightly cartoonish Muppet look that was subtly in the previous episodes. Not giant eyes or insane voices, but ears jiggling when the head moves and so on and so forth.

And before we got into section three, here’s the production of the music in a nutshell: JOHN WILLIAMS IS A FUCKING BOSS London Symphony Orchestra revamping The Imperial March released by Sony Classical Records song Across the Stars on DVD only.

SECTION THREE: REVIEWING ATTACK OF THE CLONES

So, in my mercy, I’m going to talk about the better aspects of this film first. There aren’t a lot, and what are available don’t become more prominent until the movie after this one. In fact, that’s almost what it feels like sometimes. This movie just feels like an excuse to have the story in Revenge of the Sith be what it is. The original three films weren’t like that. They were able to tell their own unique story of an over-arching story. A New Hope wasn’t an excuse to boot up Empire Strikes Back, and Empire Strikes Back CERTAINLY was not an excuse to boot up Return of the Jedi.

Hell, even THE GODDAMN PHANTOM MENACE wasn’t an excuse to boot up Attack of the Clones! But whatever. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. The real shit is why this film is ignored. But I said I was gonna talk about the good stuff in this film first, and I shall. The film looks gorgeous. Like, wow, this would look beautiful in the end of the previous decade. Maybe I don’t have the keenest eye for this thing, but I figure I have a little say. The CGI characters look great. Detail is extreme and color is deep, the prime example being the new look for Yoda. They act as if they weigh what they should (with the exception of fight scenes), and they tend to resonate their weight decently.

The factory on Geonosis is looks smokey and daunting, but at the same time it feels more compact than the never ending factory from Monster’s Inc. It’s good, but they could have done better. The rest of the film’s environments did not need to “do any better” thought. The city of Coruscant, which is taken directly from the 1927 Sci-Fi epic Metropolis, looks really damn beautiful. It’s like an anti-Cloud City. The cars move with perfect flowing animation. However, their resignation of weight and design are very off and look like they need work. What we get to see is like something from another world.

It feels like a giant New York, it looks like a giant New York, it sounds like a giant New York. It is colorful, it feels huge, and it is real. It is a Metropolis. Camino is also really, really beautiful. Another anti-Cloud City, but a dark and wet version with a highly advanced society that looks like an expansive land of its own life. Tatooine at night feels downright apocalyptic, and the orange colors are intense. It makes you feel like there is so much uncharted territory to be found in this universe. The scale of the original SW films is not lost in this prequel.

My second positive is the newest member of The Universal Monsters Fanclub (UMF.) Count Dooku. Let me explain to you something. He is a Count. He has a cape. He is played by Christopher Lee, who played Dracula in a total of eight times. HE IS DRACULA GOD DAMMIT MOTHERFUCKERS. And he feels awesome as Count Tyrannus. His over-bearing size, deep lumbering voice, malicious face and generally fantastic delivery is only defeated by his age. And Christopher Lee takes the cake from Ric Flair for ability to act at such an age every day six times a day. The only thing that takes away from Count Dooku’s awesomeness is his extremely weak backstory. It’s essentially “oh hey, did you know this Sith used to be a Jedi and he actually means business yeah here you go.” ESTABLISH YOUR CHARACTERS PROPERLY.

So now we move onto the negatives.  And boy, are there a lot of them. Is that still Natalie Portman? Guess she had some time for acting lessons between the films, because she is  HUGE improvement over the most boring performance ever in film that she put on 3 years before. Yes, even compared to any of the roles in the Thig Wilt films. But that’s not saying much. She’s still horrible. She is now essentially a completely spoiled, dumbass bitch who is forcing any moment when she is trying to be nice. Seems like Natalie in real life. She is such a fucking baby. Can you get behind this love interest? What does Anakin see in her? He fell for her when he was ten when he didn’t even understand a girl was? She looks good? WHAT ELSE IS THERE? She’s dumb, she’s arrogant, she’s boring, she’s spoiled…oh, wait. They’re exactly the same! Well, I guess that’s two actors for the price of one.

Ewan McGreggor doesn’t know how to act, but the difference between him and the two guys I mentioned before is HE THINKS HE CAN. He thinks he’s the star player, so he doesn’t bother trying because he believes his role as Obi-Wan will steal the show. Hint, fucker: Harrison Ford didn’t even like the idea of Star Wars the first time around. How are we supposed to get around a Jedi who is more arrogant than his apprentices, who is this strict know-it-all filled with gallons of gasconade? Not to mention, none of these three actors have any more than one or two emotions.

Typically agitated, disinterested disguised as calm, and if they’re Ewan forced comedic. But I mean…man. I gotta give credit where credit is due. I know it was a horrid movie, but the fact that our current subject has become far superior to its predecessor is commendable. Sure, in the grand scheme of things it’s garbage, but at least it’s not complete garbage like T-PM. At least I was able to get through this thing in one night. Or, I would have, if it weren’t for the disgustingly gluttonous pacing. I could have cut 20-30 minutes of unnecessary footage alone in this 142 minute slug, let alone what a veteran like Ben Burtt could potentially do.

Hell, maybe somebody should do a custom edit of this film just to make it much more bearable. It’s like a cinematic hoarder in that way. The love story between Anakin and Padme feels like filler that could have been saved for the next movie. At least cut it down a notch, we get the point, he loves her. We understood this in the last movie! Why do you feel the need to hammer it in with these slow, corny scenes that are anything but entertaining?

The soundtrack by John Williams WOULD be good…if it wasn’t so repetitive. Let me lay it out. Repetition = banging it into people’s head = widespread knowledge. Widespread knowledge = opportunity to sell merchandise = The D0LL₳ℛ Bill. I highly suspect that the money  lovers at 20th Century FOX and LucasArts  pressured The God John Williams into making the soundtrack this repetitive. In the end, it’s good for what it is, but the lack of variety makes it more like an over chewed piece of bubble gum than the perfect Jolly Rancher.

The film still retains the daunting racism of T-PM. A race of purely white beings are tall and overbearing, intelligent beyond any other species, calm and well dressed. J2B remains his black stereotype he is, which doesn’t require any other explanation. A new character, who was Obi-Wan’s friend in the past, Dex (later to become General Grievous) is definitely another stereotype for Jews, though not nearly as bad as Watto (who makes an unfortunate return.) He’s fat, unclean, and runs a deli. The WORST part are the titular characters. The Clones. They’re Asian. I know I might sound racist here, but let me make this clear: A group of people who are all there pretty much to be in a gigantic army, all look alike and do what they’re told. Yeah, there’s absolutely no Chinese stereotypes there whatsoever.

But when it all comes down to it, even the worst actor could be somewhat elevated by good dialogue. And this dialogue reeks of amateur. Did George Lucas get hit in the head or something? Did he forget how to write people talking? This dialogue is a matter of good material being rushed. The writer doesn’t have the patience to slowly flesh out the characters and have conversations that get pieced slowly in order to create intrigue. Instead, he just cuts to the chase as much as possible and as often as possible. He relies on old clichés that aren’t welcome in this universe. And sometimes the lines are stated in the WRONG ORDER. Great directing! (Y)! All these problems create a dry script where it is nowhere near impossible to predict each line as they come in the first viewing.

The action scenes are, honestly, not that common, and extremely forgettable. There’s a maximum of half a dozen. The space fight scenes feel too spectacular. They feel way too overblown for the steaks which are in place, might spoil the audience for what comes next, and aren’t very realistic. You need to take proper time to build up the situation before you do the climax. The fight between Wan and Fett felt clunky and flashy, like a back and forth match between Rey Mysterio and Brock Lesnar (or Bork Laser.) Both of these fights happen past the hour point, which makes this dry film even more boring.

I mean, action is not the only factor that amps the pace up in a film, but when most other factors are anywhere from lacking to awful, then you kinda need a jolt of adrenaline to fix things up! What’s more is that the next action scene (if you don’t count the suspense scene in the factory with ten dozen plot holes) happens at 105 minutes into the movie. This is the big set piece that everybody talks about. And it isn’t even that great. You know that all these characters have to survive for the original trilogy to happen. There is little music in this scene, and it retains its vastly redundant qualities.

It’s physical movements are very slow, and twists and turns happen at completely wrong times. It’s ill paced and not very exciting. The 2nd to final action scene is what the large set piece really is. Millions of droids against millions of troopers. But still, it just feels like “BLAUGH GUNFIRE LAZERS BLAUGH EXPLOSIONS TWENTY FIVE NEW ACTION FIGURES BLAUGH STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II BY LUCASARTS BLAUGH” instead of a concentrated, intelligent conflict. But hey, at least all of this is far removed from the flashy ballet in T-PM that would become an inspiration for many modern action movies.

Though you still get hints of people jumping up for no reason and twirling in flashy fashions, at least every move here seems reasonable even if it requires a not very obvious twist of mentality.  The final fight scene returns to the ballet format. Anakin, Yoda, Wan and Dooku all join in on the fight and it feels even more flashy, unrealistic, poorly coordinated, unintelligent, blaugh we’re making action figures, opera stageplay medieval like than T-PM. It barely even makes for a good music video, IT WOULD BARELY PASS ON BROADWAY. It’s not even entertaining. I can remember the flashy fight scenes from the T-PM and RoTS, and some I even find some dumb pleasure in during my less intelligent moments. This film, I barely retain memory of, even with the conflict sequences, and do not care for any of them when I watch them. Not even Let the Bodies hit the Floor could save this piece of garbage from landing flat on it’s face while it’s body hits the floor.

As far as our token Jedi, they can’t save anything. Samuel MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES Jackson feels out of place as a wise, calm Jedi. Ki-Adi Mundi is just there, like Aelia Secura. Palpatine is just biding his time, not really interesting at all. None of these guys have had their opportunity to shine and probably never will. Yoda; who is the only guy who feels unimportant yet gets a spotlight; has been made into a marketing technique. We saw intensely bad omens in the previous chapter, but now all I can here is “I’M YODA, I’M YODA, YODA I AM” instead of the wisdom that used to be spoken out of the oral cavity of such a green creature.

He is no longer The Wise Sage Yoda, he is The Green Ugly Teddy Bear Yoda. This is one of the most depressing tragedies to the Star Wars universe. What used to be the most important and insightful aspect of this franchise has become an unnecessary and annoying tool to sell toys and gummies. Huh….And you know what else? I’ve been thinking. Fuck this high, ruling order of Jedi. I know they’re being taken down from within, but this feels bad. How is this Republic that rules the Galaxy going to be taken down? In the original films, we had a small group of Rebels going against the daunting task of The Empire.

Not only did you want to get behind the team because you knew you loved them and agreed with them, but you also felt like you HAD to get behind them because The Empire is such a huge task. In this film, it’s just like “yeah, there’s no chance the good guys are gonna lose. Get on with it.” Of course that is not how it goes. And that’s another thing. How does it go? We don’t get to see nearly enough focus on the villains. If we want them to be believable as this small group of master manipulators, shouldn’t we get to see their small union of Nazi evil power? Villains are only believable if we get to see them be awesome, or if they have the upper hand up until the end of the saga. Otherwise, it’s just like, “HEY! THEY’RE THE VILLAINS. TTYN, TA-TA 4 NOW.” That’s not convincing, that’s contrived and pretentious.

Overall, Attack of the Clones is still a very bad film. While all of the problems from The Phantom Menace are highly improved, they only transform from horseshit to dogshit.  A lot of new problems arise, and the only saving graces are forced likes. The film is poorly made and nobody remembers it. 2/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off. Heh. Episode I got 1/5. Episode II got 2/5. Wonder if…

Men in in Black (2002)

You know, it’s not necessarily that A sequel was unnecessary, it’s that THIS sequel is unnecessary.

Production notes……..Uuuuuughh……Some guy wrote some shit….some guy wrote some more shit…..towers were bombed during the production like every goddamn movie in 2002……some guys work on the audio….some guys work on the SFX….Yeah, get to the movie.

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Well first thing that stuck out immediately was the CGI in this movie. The original MIB came out in 1997, a time when CGI was just becoming a often used tactic. Not saying it’s NEW, it’s actually been around since 1972, and in some capacity 1966, but 1997 was when people were starting to use it as a source for their entire SFX library. This second movie came out five years later, in 2002. Now, if you don’t think that’s a lot of time, let me draw a comparison. In 2007, Spider-Man 3 featured no entirely CGI villains. In 2012, The Amazing Spiderman will feature all CGI for the singular villain, and from the trailers I am impressed.

But we’re talking about the difference between 1997 and 2002 here. Between this we saw Fellowship of the Rings and The Two Towers, part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I put those three films, Jurassic Park and Spielberg’s War of the Worlds as perfect examples of old-ish CGI that beat most SFX of the last decade. We also saw minor or moderate strides in X-Men, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. Hell, even Jason X had some CGI in it. Consider the environment. Now consider a sequel to the film between this timeframe actually has WORSE computer generated imagery than its predecessor.

I will not hold details and by this I feel required to speak of the singular improvement present in these models. They do have some sort of weight. LITTLE, very, very little, but there is a sense of weight present. We don’t get a sense of how much it weighs in the real world, bitch stop dreaming. But we do get a relative sense. Like we understand that a leg is this heavy in comparison to the head of a creature. We also get a sense of it taking up space. How much space is completely lost on us, but space, yes. It does exist. But it’s not like we even get an inkling of how it fits in the puzzle of the environment, we just know it does.

I’m gonna be honest, that’s a lot less than it sounds. To add, the original film featured creatures that seemed like walking representations of Albert E.’s theory of relativity. Not great by any means but  a good example in 1997. Here, it just looks like somebody drew a 3D picture with crayons. And then ran it through a computer to give it that synthetic, plastic, shiny look we all hate. Detail is available but by no means do we get any sort of texture. If we were to touch it it’d all probably feel like shiny wet yellow dish washing gloves. As for their movements…well, despite the fact that they actually have weight, they move with none of it. It’s weird. In the first movie, they moved with weight but had none visible. In this movie, they have weight but they move with none. And to think this is the same studio who released Spider-man the same year.

As I make no transition whatsoever we move onto the comedic aspect of this film. Ed Solomon is nowhere to be seen here. Instead we get Robert Gordon (Galaxy Quest) and Barry Fanaro (Kingpin, Chuck & Larry) to write the script. Aaand they suck. Frank the Pug. My question is, WHY? Let me set an example. Have you ever had that annoying sibling who’s really rude, self-centered, stupid and unknowing of the fact, and loud? Yeah. That’s Frank the Pug. He’s horrible. I’m sorry, but he’s Jar Jar Binx. Think about it. Racist accents, both of them. Different species, both of them.

Play on stereotypes, both of them. Annoying, both of them. Look at this guy! You wanna know why he was originally in there? They were actually not going to put Agent K in the movie, and have Will Smith be the straight man. WILL SMITH BE THE STRAIGHT MAN LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. I mean, I just try to ignore Frank but he’s in every goddamn scene and he’s sooooo stupid and annoying. As for Tommy Lee, late addition, well…he’s just boring. He’s got nothing. No humor, no character, except for scraps left over from the first movie. No nothing. Now, how’s Will Smith doing?

Well, you can tell it’s not just the Pug that has the bad writing. Will Smith does his absolute best to do the material justice but there is literally nothing there. Quite literally. Nothing but lines. Not funny, not witty, not smart, not wise, not any goddamn thing. Just lines. Is there comedy in here? I guess but I hardly ever laughed at him. This film is comprised of generic, uninteresting dialogue in a pool of lukewarm, already-seen-it-too-many-times plot. This script is just bland. I think I know what happened. Stephen King wrote really fun, creative books drunk off his ass. These guys wrote this piece of shit hungover. I mean, this is the kind of film like a Michael Bay film, where people are too stunned by individual moments that could go down as worst in history to even acknowledge the rest of the abomination. And I mean, FUCKING….let’s talk about something else.

Introducing, from Los Angeles, California, weighing in at 39 awards and 45 nominations, standing in at 35 years of legacy, he is the only half-man, half-elf in the cinematic music industry, DAAAANNYYY EEEELLFFMAAAAAAAAAANAH!  Yes, along with Spielberg, Jones and Smith, Elfman returns to reprise his role as musician for the film. And like most things in this movie it’s the opposite of the original, which pisses me off even more. In the original he had an awesome score that didn’t go along with the sequences they were organized in at all.

In this film, on the other hand, we get a score that is almost a Siamese twin to the actions of the scenes. But ain’t dat sum irony? Because each and every goddam scene is fucking CRAP. Sometimes the scenes ARE FUCKING HORSESHIT! GOD DAMN THIS MOTHERFUCKING PUKE SUCKING CUNT EATING LEECH INFESTING COW HUMPING MIDGET MUNCHING CRAP GATHERING NO GOOD SON OF A BITCH COCKSUCKER MONKEY CHEWING ASSHOLLEEEE!!

The result is a shitty score. Nah, less shitty, more cliché. (Right after I give a long, drawn-out swearing marathon.) The same situation of “we’ve seen (or head) this a million and a half times, give us something at least somewhat new!” Plus, it’s a score attempting to help shitty jokes, so it just makes us more angry that a guy of the talent of Mr. Elfman is being reduced to this pile of garbage. So that’s my profane rant about the 2nd movie in Satan’s Alien Lawyers. S.A.L. To wrap it up, it’s Seven Deadly Sins include: Not using Will Smith, having no clue how to use Tommy Lee, Misusing Danny Elfman, casting away Ed Soloman, hiring Robert Gordon, hiring Barry Fanaro, and finally degrading the CGI to the worst of levels. I gotta be honest man, it’s Phantom Menace bad. 1/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

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Wow, it's been a long time since I've uploaded a picture here, hasn't it?

Spiderman (2002)

TWIN TOWERS: NEVER HAPPENED

SECTION ONE: THE INCEPTION OF SPIDERMAN

When I think of famous superheroes, one of four has typically popped into my head throughout history: Superman, Spiderman, Batman and The Hulk. Captain America, Aquaman, and, recently, Iron Man have also popped in on several occasions. By 1999, Superman had four films between 1978-1987, numerically title. Supergirl also had a spinoff. By 1999, Batman had 2 movie serials, 5 live action movies and 2 animated movies. All the love seems to have gone to DC. Marvel’s two “biggest” guys had no love, except for made-for-TV movies. All of Spiderman’s had been, really, just giant TV episodes like the Pokémon movies.

Hulk had a TON of TV Movies both episodes and real movies. By this point, Men in Black was beating Spiderman in the race. Part of the problem is, nobody really knew how to write Spiderman. It’s such an unusual mix of seriousness and comedy that can work, and has worked, but few people don’t work with it. By the year 1999, both Sony and MGM had opted for working on the movie and possibly even TOGETHER. Because they knew it would make so much money. But the problem came up with “where’s the damn script?” They had a script that was very risky accredited to several writers, and “The Cameron Material” which was a 45 page mix of script and treatment by Lil’ Jimmy.

So they basically went out and said “YO, GUYZ, WHUDDUP? WE GOT SPIDEY ALL IN EARZ, SO, YEAH, GET OVER EAR!” People who were lined up included THE CREATOR OF INDEPENDENCE DAY AND GODZILLA (aka Roland Emmerich), Really Creative Emo #1 aka Tim Burton, I’m going to sue my parents for child abuse aka Christopher Columbus, and why did I direct Alien 3 David Fincher. Davey was probably the last guy they wanted to direct since he was completely against doing an origin story, and rather wanted to set the movie on The Night Gwen Stacy Died.

He figured everybody knew the origin story, but c’mon Finchey you know that doesn’t make sense. They realized Spiderman is not a horror story or Batman and dropped him. They realized that INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA sucked and dropped Roland. They realized Christopher Columbus had no experience and dropped him. They realized this was supposed to be fun and dropped David Fincher. But they were running out of guys pretty fast, so they picked up Mr. Evil Dead with Sam Rami……….DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. Well, he was a big fan of the comic books, which I guess makes up for stuff. Besides, newbies to the comic book genre can surprise you.

Look at Michael Keaton as The Goddamn Batman. The ability to get a good writer was a little easier. David Koepp was signed, who had worked on Jurassic Park WITH MICHAEL CRICHTON, Carlito’s Way, and Mission Impossible. He took Lil’ Jimmy’s stuff pretty much word for word, but of course went up to 100 pages with his own filling. He even kept Electro and The Sandman as villains. His second draft is where The Green Goblin came in as the main guy. He added in Doctor Ocotogonapusblaugh as a secondary villain. Sammy felt like focusing on one villain only would be best, and that’s why they saved for The Lazer Collection para numero dos.  

One thing that remained, even when Scotty Rosenberg showed up, was an organic web shooter. Which is NOT how it happens in the comics. But hey, let’s not go T-KAM up in this sizzle. Sam Rami said it would stretch suspension of disbelief (IT’S SPIDERMAN) if he were to make mechanical web shooters (AS OPPOSED TO SUPER POWERS?) Finally, they submitted the script to The Screenwriter’s Guild, they didn’t read it, and gave sole credit to one and a dozen writers. Nice job ladies and gents.

SECTION TWO: THE PRODUCTION OF SPIDERMAN

One of the biggest things about comic book movies is the designs. There were A LOT of designs for the Spiderman costume. One was a black costume with a red emblem. That would make sense except VENOM. Doing a skintight suit proved to be a challenge, and they had to do some craft stuff I’d rather not detail. They did the mask on its own, with the eyes being mirror like. They cut the webs around the suit by computer (AKA, CGI up the wazoo.) Green Goblin’s costume was much less difficult but much more complex to make. William Dafeo rejected having to wear super heavy material and so they went Predator on his ass.

A streamlined and athletic look. His mask was meant to be overly cartoonish, mainly with extremely long cheekbones. They also drew some inspiration from black ops that never really made the cut. Some of the Yes Men at Sony came up with a plot device where The Goblin was followed by adolescent girls who were brainwashed by him and wore their own costumes. Rami said “fuck you, I made Evil Dead, I’ll do whatever I want.” Doing whatever he wanted, like the beginning of another trilogy, they filmed this movie partially on location and partially on sound stages.

Some in New York, some in Sony’s crib. Somewhere along the lines, Sony became the dudes and MGM was kicked out of the deal. They decided that, since this is the franchise that includes Dr. Octogonapusblaugh, procrastination makes perfect. They started in January ’01 and that’s why it was released as late as it was. When what they couldn’t accomplish also became too complex for New York City, they moved over to Los Angeles, CA (and this what sense making?). They became so intense about the filming they KILLED A MAN. I guess Sam Rami still thought he was filming Evil Dead.

45 year old construction worker died when a prop fell into a pit he was in. They were fined $60K and given a pretty heft warning from the California Jury. They still decided to stay (by now I’ve lost the logic in Rami’s directing) and film in the Natural History Museum, the Pacific Electric Building, and Greystone Mansion. During this time they had some of the costumes stolen (you see what I mean) and Sony put up a $25K reward, but they were never returned (well what’s the point if you’re not gonna take the ransom?) This movie’s production is lacking a lot of logic. They finally goddafuck out of L.A. and moved to N.Y.C. for a few weeks. They mostly did The Queensboro Bridge, the Low Library, and the New York Public Library. The Rockefellar Center was also used. They finished up what they couldn’t before going back and forth and filming was finished.

With this done, it was time to work on the effects. So they went to Lil’ Johnny Dykstra. This is where Rami was convinced to have some stunts be done by CGI. The Reason? It’s quite obvious. This horrible graffiti is to blame….I-I mean, the stunts were going to be impossible in live action. Rami waz allaike “dude, I dunno watchoo taggabout, cannyou like…tell me?” And so Sam Rami learned what a computer is during the production of Spiderman. He wanted the movie to look like “a ballet in the sky” and blew $30 Million doing it. The fact that The Green Goblin was…well, green….made it impossible for him to be shot in front of a green-screen.

And Spiderman was ‘MERICAN, so filming him in front of a blue-screen would also have his legs erased. While Spiderman was filmed in front of a green-screen, The Green Goblin was filmed in front of a blue-screen. Otherwise it would have been Spiderman vs. The Invisible Man….which reminds me…somebody remind me, one day, to talk about The Invisible Man vs. The Human Torch. That should be fun....anyways! Part of the choreography involved a lot of arm and leg language. The eyes and mouth were lost for emotion because of the mask. You notice that A LOT.

Plus, Rami was starting to become a bit of a film snob himself, which translates to: “OH MY GOD IMMA REAL FILMMAKER! I HAVE A COMPANY! Alright guys, we’re gonna do this, and this, and this, and this…” So he wanted to have Spiderman symbolize a teenager going through puberty. Hinting at a Seven Deadly Sins gimmick with the movies. So they had to get really damn hardcore about subtle emotions. It was kind of a “holy shit how do I do this I am twelve and what is uvula?” moment. But they appeared pretty damn successful when they showed CGI shots to movie producers who thought that it was actually Toby McGuire being a real life superhero.

They pretty much got out of their seat and screamed “I AM WORTH TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS AND WHAT IS TOBY MACGUIRE DOING ON TOP OF THE TWIN TOWERS?” Later, in early September, they would tell Sam Rami “I AM WORTH TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS AND WHAT IS TOBY MACGUIRE DOING ON TOP OF THE TWIN TOWERS?” Lastly, they made some computer animated cars (so it’s not just The Asylum) and pretty much finished up.

SECTION THREE: REVIEWING SPIDERMAN

When it comes to superheroes, often I’ll say my favorite is Batman. When I hear people say Spiderman, I kinda smirk on the inside. “How can anybody like him?” I say, “he seems like pure cliché comedy. Like a teenager’s fantasy.” Watching this movie, I realize that’s exactly what makes him great. Batman is Badass, and he is a complex character, but one of the most important things about characters is how relatable they are. Batman is a billionaire ninja with a butler. 100% of my readers, I’ll bet $100 against any naysayers, have no chance in Hell at attaining this fate.

Spiderman is just some [science] geek that gained superpowers through a radioactive spider bite. If we lived in a world where [science] worked this way, I will bet $2,900 that all of my readers could live to this fate. Batman films tend to be a test of visuals and grittiness in comic book movies. They try to make their readers uncomfortable because they deal with the darkness of reality. This film attempts to stay within the boundaries set by cartoonish superhero depictions because it is attempting to inspire. You won’t inspire somebody to greatness by showing them reality.

If you show them something relatable but fantastic, they gain another glimmer of hope. Spiderman is about telling the common teenager, “hey, you have a life to live. Don’t commit the deadly sin of sloth.” Similar to Yoda’s remark, “do or do not, there is no try.” To do this, like I stated earlier, the film goes for a teenager’s fantasy. (No, not THAT type of fantasy.) And let’s be honest, guys, when you are (or were) a teenager, you imagined the same things that are depicted in culture. The nerd for so many years miraculously turns into the knight in shining armor and gets (or steals in some cases) the girl pretty damn quickly.

I’m guessing if I have any adults reading this, they’ve left by now. But, in reality, this is the Saturday morning cartoon for those who feel too grown-ups for Saturday morning cartoons. In that sense, the dialogue passes its test with flying colors. The stereotypical – though not as much as you’d think – bully’s vocabulary is 50% the protagonist’s last name. The villain speaks with a tone of voice that is a horrible rip-off of Jack Nicholson and inquires about Spiderman’s hero or villain status far before we get enough exposition for us to question about it. And remember, I’m speaking all positive about this.

These are the things that make this movie work so well. Most notable is Toby Mac as The Human Spider. Unless you count cameos. Then it’s Randy Savage by far. But, for main characters, Toby Mac is our protagonist. He speaks with a muffled, extremely nervous voice and talks with the speed of an elephant half sunken in tar. You would think that throughout the movie, his speech would loosen and he would gain confidence as he becomes more of a citywide superhero. But, what the Hell, it’s better than Superman who has the charisma of Barack Hussein Obama from day one.

Or Batman, who speaks like he’s ready to kill somebody throughout his entire career of attempting not to kill anybody. Most of the characters here feel like a giant cliché with some spices thrown on to make them feel fresh. Not Mary Jane, though. I feel like she was just a carbon copy of a cartoon character with a body. I do hope she gets better in #2, as I’ve heard people say. Moving on from the emotion of the characters to the look of the characters, ‘DEM COSTUMES. First, let’s talk about The Green Goblin. This guy is probably carrying the most controversy in this movie. Because, unlike the Spiderman suit, it’s not true to the comic books at all. But uuuugh…have you seen the comic book version? For those who haven’t seen one or the other, let me draw a comparison:

Being respectful to your source material and being true to it are two different things. The comic book version would have looked like complete shit! It looks really damn goofy on paper already, but hey, Superman, ‘nuff said. The original comic book version was an Halloween costume underwear based goofy typical villain who could be in a really strange porn. The movie goblin is still having his problems (goblin nipples ftw) but as a robot he looks more like a rejected devil. Let me ask you something. Do you want a rejected audition for Lucifer, or a rejected audition for gay lesbian zombie midget porn? Just saying man.

As for Spiderman himself, well, the costume obviously came directly from the books. But this gets to my point of “I AM WORTH TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS AND WHAT IS TOBY MAC DOING ON TOP OF THE TWIN TOWERS?” I only recognized that this movie had CGI because I knew about it before…and those stunts are actually impossible. Hmph. I wonder what Sam Rami’s talk with Toby Mac was like before they started shooting. “Okay, so, Toby, you’re going to fly around The Brooklyn Bridge, holding a bus in one hand and the lead actress in the other. Is that cool?” Yeah, good they went with CGI. And as for faults, well, not much really! The colors are kinda off, deeper reds and blues than they really should be. But unless you’re sitting half an inch away from a theatre screen, you’re only gonna notice it if you’re looking for faults and have your critic’s hat on.

His movements are kinda rubbery. But seriously, kinda. I’ve seen giant monsters in movies that have moved with more inhuman agility, and this is a human spider we’re talking about. But the computer generated images look like Spiderman, they feel like Spiderman, they weigh the weight of Spiderman, if you’ve already slipped into the Saturday cartoon morning mood you’d probably let yourself believe that character on screen IS Spiderman.  I’m still having trouble writing as if I was looking at an image, having to constantly press the back button.  But I think you get the point. It’s damn good.

Alright, we get how nice the characters look from a computer. Now how is the visual style of this movie? It looks NICE. The cinematographer Don Burgess (Source Code, Forest Gump) takes advantage of every goddam camera angle he can think of. That’s not every camera angle in existence, but it’s still really damn good. The colors of the film are deep and vibrant; kinda like…A COMIC BOOK? Problem is I could not extract a meaning to it for the life of me. It feels like minimum Oscar material. (Watch that term be coined.) I dunno. It feels like a half full cup of the best goddam mixed drink you’ve ever had. Obviously I would know how that feels. Because the sixteen year old critic knows how that feels.

Well, I see it as time to wrap this baby up. Sam Rami’s first Spiderman is definitely a hit. In short, the most impressive live action Saturday morning cartoon ever created. In a little less short, the film speaks to teenagers with a glimmer of hope in one of the most impressive examples – joining the ranks of The Breakfast Club – with a self-aware and self-loving script, a satisfactory visual style, trickery that does exactly what its name implies, and carries an impressive cast. 4.3/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing offtogonapusBLAUGH.

The Phantom Menace (1999)

Okay, sorry I procrastinated a week. But...CAN YOU BLAME ME? IT'S THIS MOVIE!

SECTION ONE: SIXTEEN YEARS

Star Wars had become the biggest franchise in history. Novels, video games, action figures, buttons, T-Shirts, many other forms of fan-fiction, general knowledge, dedication, tribute, critique, and the massive wealth of the above have proved this. I’ve already covered this in my review of the first movie. Lucas makes billions and billions of dollars a year from the franchise, even without video games, ticket stubs or home video being counted. Something that happened once the three movies settled in (even for me after the last re-watch) is why can’t there be a [true] fourth movie?

We all know it’s because the story is and was pretty much over. But we just want MORE, DAMMIT, MORE. It is the greatest saga ever put to film, whether it’s your favorite or not. It’s the most influential in film, in history, and most importantly people. True fans of the franchise tend to be touched deeply by these movies. I believe Mark Ellis once said, “when people ask me what my favorite movie is, I mean…you’re not counting Star Wars, right?” There are only two movies which I love more than The Empire Strikes Back (those two being Lord of the Flies (B&W Version) and Cloverfield).

I could go on and on about how much these movies tend to touch people and how detailed they are, allowing nerds to create all sorts of spin-offs, but I don’t want to repeat myself too much. My point: When it comes to entertainment, whether in music, literature, table-top figures, and duh MOVIES, Star Wars is pretty much the end all be all. Not a villain is more iconic than Darth Vader, not a score is more iconic than The Imperial March, not is a Badass more perfect than Han Solo, not is a picture more influential in its visuals than the three films, NOTHING BEATS STAR WARS. If I have to drill this into your head more, marry me I have so much to blabber about to you.

So you can guess by the fact people want more and more, people wanted new movies. George Lucas had never planned sequels to the series, but he had written a rough sketch and story of the backstory to the series of events. Obi-Wan even mentions The Clone Wars in the first movie. This was the seed for a new plan. Since IL&M went on to do other big name movies, and did extremely impressive effects with Jurassic Park, Lucas decided it was time to put CGI in his original movies. (Must restrain, must restrain.) To us, the news that all three movies were going to be re-released in theaters again and three all new films that had been in the works since the original movies was the most exciting news for nerds everywhere. 

There’s no way I could properly state the excitement for re-releases and new movies, but I think somebody might have quoted a certain Chris Jericho clip for a year without stop. Something that happened for a lot of people was another chance. People who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and either saw 2/3 or 1/3 movies in the theaters or maybe just saw them in the VHS might have felt like they missed out. Now they were going to see the awesomeness on The Grandest Stage of Them All. It’s pretty much the ultimate luxury in Nerdom. DID I MENTION NERDS LIKE STAR WARS?

So, in 1997, The Holy Grail of personal nerd experiences was realized. (There’s definitely other movies that seemed like The Holy Grail for a long time that would affect major groups of nerds – the full Metropolis for Sci-Fi Nerds, now realized (YES!!!!), London After Midnight for general horror fans, Dracula’s Death for vampire fans, etc.) When Lucas decided to start his work, but discovered a problem. Not only were the negatives of the first film were dying, but Lucas had also used internegative stocks. Those stocks tend to deter way faster than negative stocks.

Why he did this…uuuuhhh….Well, it meant hard work for people. Certain scenes had to be completely reconstructed when the restoration process was started. They did a lot of color corrections and removed parts where you can SEE THE SOUNDTRACK. I saw this in Return of the Jedi, apparently it’s also there in Star Wars. Basically, at the end of the picture, there’s a little strip that tells the speakers what to put out. Because a separate track like experimental film is too risky and can be synched very easily. But Lucas shot most scenes with anamorphic widescreen, and the aerial dogfights with 16 x 9 stock for the sake of making it easier to film.

At the time it was okay since its SPACE and space is dark, plus the walls could cover for any major changes. But now, TVs were here and they didn’t have the same dynamics (I won’t go too intense on you guys) so they had to fix this problem up. Now it was time to add his new scenes. Like most people ever (including Spielberg) they seem to forget that the reason why J.P. had such great effects was because they used models to scan into the computer, and sometimes even used animatronics. With films like Avatar and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, people have started to understand that motion capture is the way to make realistic computer images.

Fans have become angry at the changes. It’s happened before, for instance the line EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE has only appeared in the opening credits after the first theatrical release. But here, there were a lot more major changes. There were a TON of added CGI scenes. Mostly in Mos Eisley, which are meant to make the city look more busy. The entire map of Mos Eisley in a certain video game we’ll get to later was pretty much derived from the Special Editions. There’s also scenes of the Millennium Falcon and Alliance spaceships as CGI. They do look kinda nice actually, but they clash with all the organic matter that was iconic to the movies.

When there’s really something in front of the camera, you tend to believe it more. A lot of story changes were made too. They re-inserted the lost Jabba the Hutt scene to the first movie, adding in Jabba with CGI. And then there’s the BIG ONE, known as Han Solo Shot First. In the original movie, Han Solo shoots Greedo, case closed. It comes directly from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Fistfull of Dollars, part of The Man with No Name trilogy. (damn the inspirations just keep rolling in.) In the NEW versions, however, Greedo shoots before Han Solo shoots him.

The scene is STUPID. Han Solo doesn’t change emotions because the film was not fit for this scene, his head is altered with digital editing which looks like complete shit, and as they say “when you gotta shoot, shoot, don’t talk.” It was done so Han Solo seemed more innocent and heroic…C’MON. That was saved for the latter two movies. And if it looks like shit, and it feels like shit, and it’s shit writing, than it probably is shit and it doesn’t belong. While this is easily the most controversial, the worst is the longer dance scene in Return of the Jedi. The scene was already really, REALLY stupid and ugly and didn’t belong.

But he extended the fucking thing, and added way more ugly CGI effects. It’s puke inducing. All of these unnecessary changes – whether interpreted as better or not (the latter being correct) – were reasoned by Lucas that “films are not finished, they’re just abandoned.” How many times is he going to polish these movies? Umm…wait, just, just wait a second, I’ll get to that much later. People still loved these movies even after seeing the tampered versions. And there was still the endless hype for a new movie. With that, it was time to release a new movie.

Endless Hype. That would be enough to say, but I say nay. There were only two films released the same week – The Love Letter and Notting Hill. Notting Hill didn’t do half bad but The Love Letter was a major flop. Film studios had to close up shop for an entire week because too many employees were going to see the premiere. (I’m starting to understand why people get so angry.) It was so popular that lines at cinemas became so fucking gigantic, advanced tickets were forbidden from being sold up until two weeks to the movie. The fear was that casual movie goers would have the hardest time ever trying to get inside.

They’d probably have to resort to megaplexes that charge gigantic fees, things that most people couldn’t afford. They were mostly sold on a first-come-first-serve basis when they went sale on the day or the day before. People could only have a twelve ticket per customer limit…WAIT, ONLY?!?! Scalpers sold the tickets for $100 a piece because it was so hard to get in. They had to play The Phantom Menace in the biggest cinema theatre per building for at least eight weeks and at maximum twelve, and all payments to 20th Century FOX required be sent within seven days.  He bumped the release to a Wednesday so that weekend movie goers would have an easier time getting into theaters. Charity Premiers were shown on the Monday of that week. Corporate packages ranged from 5K-25K.

Lucasfilm spent $20 Million in the advertising campaign. They made promos with Hasbro, Lego, Tricon, Global Restaurants and PepsiCo. The Star Wars Fanclub held a convention in Denver, Colorado (hell yeah my home state’s capital), assisted by Lucasfilm. Movies that had The Phantom Menace trailers before it had people paying full admission price just to see the trailer, starting with A Bug’s Life and extending to Wing Commander. (It’s not like I can totally think of another trilogy where this has happened.) On March 13th, a bootlegged version of the trailer was pirated to the Internet. One I’ll see if I can find. When the trailer was released on the official site, servers became bootlegged. The extended trailer got even more hype because in addition to several movies, it was screened at ShoWest Convention in Las Vegas. A teaser poster was released that featured Anakin’s shadow making Darth Vader’s silhouette.

He made sure that it could not be altered in any way but text, and for translation purposes only.

LucasArts made a video game, Dark Horse made a comic book, Scholastic made a junior novelization, Terry Brooks wrote a legitimate novelization and William made a pinball machine. And then people got in the theaters, and people applauded when they saw the name Star Wars. And…wait, just a minute Y2J, there’s more to discuss here.

SECTION TWO: THE CREATION OF THE PHANTOM MENACE

So remember way back when we talked about how George Lucas wrote his original giant space opera The Star Wars with a backstory? Yeah. After getting all the money from The Empire Strikes Back, he said to himself “yeah, I can do dat.” And then when he finished Return of the Jedi, he was allaike “yeah, I’m fuckin’ beat, here’s some money for Howard the Duck, I’ll come back in ’95.” But then a few years later, in ’87, his wife was allaike “fuck you for falling asleep on me, I’m havin’  a divorce.” And den George waz allaike, “how many D0LL₳ℛ$ you want?” And his wife waz allaike “half o’em.”

And Geoge waz allaike, “fuggedabout ‘dem 7, 8 n’ 9 man! We gonna make summah dat fuggen prequels.” He couldn’t sleep for a while but he still stayed in bed, producing movies every so often. He then saw that people liked to jerk off to things that weren’t really there better, and thus decided it was a cool idea to make everyone out of compooters. Plus, he had some stuff to work with. He decided to wake up early in 1993, twenty years after he wanted to sleep for twenty two. He got on the phone with Variety and told them to report a prequel trilogy focusing on Anakin Skywalker.

And people were excited. The original version of the backstory was a small journal that was filling in certain details, he decided to puff it up to an entire saga about the downfall of Darth Vader. Starting on November 1st, 1994, he would begin writing his prequel trilogy full on. Three films from a 15 page outline. Genius. His working title for the movie would be The Beginning, but instead, taking a page from a certain serial starring Bela Lugosi I’ve mentioned a couple times, he changed the title. The Phantom Creeps is the serial, the first episode being The Menacing Power.

Really, beyond that, if you’re looking for the story of how this thing got written, A.) You’re not an angry fanboy; and B.) It’s just that he wrote the backstory beforehand and ended up using that. No co-writers or anything. During the writing process a certain Doug Chiang (that is such a gangsta name it’s awesome) set himself up for two years to go around location and artist scouting for the design of the film. He ended up with thousands upon thousands of possibilities. After all, who doesn’t want to be a part of Star Wars IV? One of the guys who eventually made the cut was Nick Gillard, a man responsible for one of my hugest gripes with these movies and what keeps me from forgiving them on some level.

No, it’s not a lack of Vader. No, it’s not J.J. Binx. It’s something else. Something you might not get, but I’m gonna get super fucking angry about it. His initial description does not completely spoil my gripe, so I will describe it. He saw sword fighting as a chess game with every move being a check. So…because this makes sense I guess – he went on to find every remote form of sword fighting from samurai to kendo to kenjutsu to tennis swings to tree chopping. Figure that one ladies and gents,  imagine Qui Gon Jin playing against Darth Maul in a tennis match. Somebody make a fucking video game of that. Star Wars: Tennis!

Then the apocalypse will truly be in sight! Gillard also had an odd way of writing the scenes he would choreograph. As he trained the actors, he would write the sequence. That’s already enough to confuse you. But instead of writing them fight-by-fight, instead he would write them in five or six parts, each part being about a minute long. You know, I know absolutely nothing about ballet and dance but this seems odd to me. (hint hint wink wink.) Around this time George Lucas talked about Jedi and Sith being negotiators, and this is why they used swords.

Dude, I’m sorry, I love digging into these movies emotionally, but just admit they’re connected to Samurais and their code of honor. But Lucas did make some last minute mythology changes that did seem to work too. (Last minute relatively I mean.) He figured that whatever led the Empire into power had destroyed and lowered many civilizations, so the pre-imperial reign era would be much more diverse. So he went to find a lot more options in clothing from a lot of countries ‘rounddah globe. And then, it was time to film on June 26, 1997. The same year that marked the end of Sixteen Years.

It finished on September 30th in the same year. They returned to Tunisia to film scenes in Mos Eisley, in the same spirit as the first movie. Mos Espa, a city on the same planet as Mos Eisley, was filmed in Tunisia as well. There are still remains of it there. And like the original movie, they encountered some unwelcome weather. This time something more predictable, a sand storm. This was on the third day too, and not the first day they frickin’ got there like #1 and #2. This was much more merciful on the crew and they were able to finish on the same day they expected to.

Naboo had several locations to shoot in. First was the Caserta Palace in Italy. They also filmed in Cassiobury Park in England. And now you’re thinking, “England, Star Wars, let me guess, Elstree Studios?” ….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (To quote a future movie.) Most of the indoor shooting was done in Leavesden Studios. I have absolutely no idea why. I was thinking Elstree Studios would be called The Home of Star Wars. It still is, but…hmph. There are a lot of themes for returning but leaving at the same time here. One of the others is that this was the last S.W. movie to be shot on 35mm. The other two live action movies were shot on high definition cameras with pretty much the same specs but no grain. Not my preference, but whatever. At least he didn’t go The Room and film it on 1080p and 35mm.

Now that the filming was out of the way, they had a couple things to do. The first was get summah dat MUZIK! And who else but The One, The Legendary, The Modern Beethoven, The Musical God, JONATHON TOWER WILLIAMS! Lil’ Johnny began work in October o’da’ 1998, returning to the groups he had used for The Original Trilogy. London Voices, London Symphony Orchestra, all at Abbey Studios and you’re pretty much good to go. They finished on Feb. 10th, 1999. Oh, such a wonderful musical composer, such a legend, such an awesome SYNTHESIZERS? Why electronic synthesizers? Are the Gods not perfection? Who  made this decision?

The best music has never felt electricity in its veins why do we need to add this who does to me HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME you awesome person. He apparently was trying to go for less of a military feel and more of a magical one. Lil’ Johnny, I goddabe tellinjya summen. U mad da most magikah score in Star Wars EVAH. How the fuck was it MILITARY?!?! That music from Star Wars takes the top 50 greatest fairy tales after wrapping them in bubble gum and says “fuck you, you are not magical enough!”  How could anybody say the original theme song was MILITARY themed?

Even the Imperial March was more pure emotion than propaganda emotion. Ah well, even if he became delusional about his own past records he did a good job of seeking his own desired accomplishment. Duel of Fates got its own music video. It had to be something good. He made Anakin’s very early themes with most childhood innocence but every now and then  you would say “hey wait, ain’t that from the Imperial Mar----OOOOOOOOHHH.” And now, The last thing I’m going to note before we get into the critique is the effects. Because this is probably the thing most people take away from the 2nd generation of Star Wars.

(We’ll get to the 3rd generation soon enough.)

As we noted before, The Original Trilogy had very little CGI. I’ve gone into more than enough detail about them in my reviews of the original three, but here’s a rundown: Space scenes used miniatures in every way; creatures were often made out of puppets and costumes; and other effects were made with organic trickery. John Knoll provided 35K storyboards for the film (tall order there buddy), and figured that whatever NEEDED computer imagery was going to be what made into CGI. But Lucas had the mindset that whatever he thought looked better as CGI he would make into CGI.

This free set of mind for synthetic visuals was the beginning of a huge mistake that has caused volcanos of Hell to erupt. And as for the Titans that erupted those volcanos…you’re going to get your own Holy Roast. John Knoll, despite maybe some orders he shouldn’t have followed up on (JJB could have been a guy in a suit) did some work that would help pave the road for guys like Peter Jackson. Mostly in trying to make CGI that was indistinguishable from other things, and that could interact with humans. (Mhm, sugar.) When they finished these designs and choreography, Lucas did something called “blocking.”

Essentially, he dictated how the actors would move in order to make sense with the CGI element. They used the voice actor on set to make things seem less “blockish” in the “blocking.” Then they would film the scene with the actors alone. This all sounds like something that has a really nice foundation but a giant mansion on top that could collapse it. When he figured he could morph actors to CGI, Georgy figured he could morph the actors WITH CG for the sake of choreography. Youch. Only one scene is completely without CGI, and the count for scenes being with CGI is 1,950.

Now, whatever practical effects were left had to be manufactured. The R2D2 robot proved to be a challenge (why?) so he essentially held a contest between IL&M – his financial children – and the British SFX company they were working with to create the best R2D2. Nine robots ended up being manufactured, one was intended for Kenny Baker (Ewok) to be dropped into. The seven built by IL&M had wheelchair wheels that could support up to 440 pounds. But since R2D2 is pretty darn light, this meant he could go as fast as they wanted him to. The British SFX crew did get one of their robots in (and out of two ain’t bad) because it was a robot that could switch between two and three legs. This was helpful in Tunisia in because of the terrain.

Finally, the podracing research. They scrambled in a junkyard in Phoenix (Huh?) to find engines of Boeing 747s. (HUH?!!?) Life sized replicas were built instead of taking back the original engines (HUUUUH?!??)

……………………..It’s time.

Alright, this should be fun. *cracks knuckles.* I’m gonna have a tall order of spicy food because it’s time to RAISE SOME HELLFIRE! Let’s DEEEESSSTRRROOOOOOY!!!!

SECTION THREE: CRITIQUE (MOTHERFUCKER)

So let’s start this rant with something I don’t hear everybody talking about, and I’m surprised they don’t. What the FUCK Natalie Portman? She plays Queen Amidala, and OH MY GOD….no, God should not be disgraced. Actually, let me rephrase that. For this atrocitiy, God should not be the ONLY one to be disgraced. OH MY GOD, OH MY JAYZUZ, OH MY SATAN, OH GREAT BUDDHA, OH LORD TENSAI, OH LORD FRENCH FRY, OH MY GOD KRISHNA, OR MY GODZILLA, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED? I’ll tell you what happened. It was when I emerged out of my anti-Star Wars phase.

I wanted to watch the movies. So I started with episode one, like any uniformed yet somewhat logical first timer. And I swear to God, not ten Goddamn seconds into the first scene where she shows up – not even there, on a transmission – I wanted to leave. In fact, I did leave. I found playing SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG a more enjoyable experience than this. I was a stupid kid who might like S.t.H but I was also a stupid kid who might like T.P.M. And I could not stand Natalie Portman. I never thought it was possible, but 1999 Natalie Portman makes 2012 Kristen Stewart looks talented.

At least it seems like Kristen fucking tries in some – SOME – of her movies, she just has no fucking clue watch cinematic emotion is. In this total piece of garbage, Natalie fucking Potwomen seems like she got stoned on some really heavy shit during the shoot, and is just trying to act like she’s not tripping. She is about as interesting as watching paint dry on a pebble in South Park, Colorado. She is about as emotional as the corpse of House M.D. Her collection of facial expressions is a quotient to the times that Chris Chan has not been a virgin. I can’t go on. What is wrong with her?

That little rant about Queen Immaboreyoutodeath is your little appetizer. Still, a good restaurant takes time to make their fresh meals. So while I’m baking up a batch of rage, we’ll have to eat the house salads. AKA, the good stuff about this movie. Which, as much as all fanboys would like for me to say there isn’t, there is. Let’s go back to 1999. Now that we’re there, you probably understand where I’m going. As much as I hate to say it, I must say it. The computer generated effects are admittedly pretty good. Not PERFECT, not even great, but still good. I think the problem is how they move.

They talk like the animator made the models without hearing the dialogue, only reading it, and guessed lip movement based off of that. Sometimes it looks like they just fucking had lips move and didn’t bother to sync it to words. Also, they act pretty damn weightless. That said, they look their weight. They look like these are full bodies and not just hollow designs we’re dealing with. If only they moved like that, but whatever. Their textures are really damn smooth and computerized, a big no-no.  But their textures are very detailed and well organized as far as anatomy goes. Remember, this is ’99. The standards are lower.

House Salad finished, looks like our waitor, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ has come with our meals. There’s four of us. The most elderly of us is Uncle Anus. He got a good 3-part dish. One was racist Black stereotypes. One was racist Jewish stereotypes. And the last one was racist Asian stereotypes. First, he eats his Asian stereotypes. These guys speak broken English, have slanted eyes (though slightly), have accents that sound like a Canadian imitating a German imitating a Chinese, and are the leaders of an “evil trade federation.” Hopefully one of you is feeling awkward by now.

Now let’s talk about ‘em racist Black stereotypes….sorta…Dumbasses who only care about themselves, banish people for no good reasons whatsoever, are extremely lanky, obey their masters (if they have them), and speak the most cartoonish English that was a common stereotype for Blacks in good ol’ slave driven ‘Merica. Feels more or less like half black/half white stereotypes, but, it’s Lucas. We know it’s ALL to bash on blacks. Why would he make whites look bad? Him and Cameron come together every Wednesday to watch The Birth of a Nation while they mutually masturbaaaaa…I’m not going to finish that.

Then you got your racist Jewish stereotypes. A fat guy with a big nose and an accent that sounds like a Frenchman imitating a German imitating a Yankee that’ll do anything for money. Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen. George Lucas is a racist asshole. Fiction of any type is the easiest way to implant thoughts into a person’s brain, and sometimes the only way. With slipping things in like this….FUCK THAT. (............................................And look at me, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, a money-driven lunatic who speaks in broken slang. Imma hypocrite man.)

Across from Uncle Anus sits Mr. Twister. He had the special today. A dish that hasn’t been served since 1985, brought back by popular demand, the child actor. The motherfucking child actor. Jake Lloyd. And I am so sad for this kid. He had to be in THIS movie as his big break. He only got to show up in one more movie, and after 2001 nobody ever wanted to hire him. Probably because when he was 10 (thirteen years ago I might add), he COULDN’T ACT FOR SHIT. I tell ya what. As much stuff bores me to sleep, as much stuff makes me frickin’ angry it exists, almost nothing embarrasses me in this movie.

ALMOST.

The one thing that embarrasses me in this movie is Anakin Skywalker. I almost can’t describe him. You know this if you’ve had a younger sibling, are a parent, or were a really annoying kid yourself. That stupid ass kid who doesn’t know when to shut his mouth up, who speaks lines he’s been taught by a mom who constantly watches Oprah Winfrey and a dad who’s trying to quit his addiction but never can. And his thoughts don’t go beyond what he’s been told, and intuitions that seem innocent in his mind but really there aren’t any time and place for them. Good questions never come out of kids.

His acting is as forced as ever. He seems like he has no fucking idea what he’s doing, he’s just sitting there, reading his lines. And I understand. He’s only TEN. Most kids don’t understand how to portray real emotions; they either just sit and wine or overdo their excitement. They do this because they feel like this is what they’re supposed to do as kids. That’s all kids think they are. They don’t know what an actor is, and thus…fuck this, man. This is one of the biggest tragedies of acting. I cannot even explain it, because it’s just so embarrassing. Just trust me. It’s bad. Everything you’ve ever thought about child actors rolled into one and then topped with extra atrocities.

Our pal Skim “Bob” Joe here, another member of Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ Crew, is a bit of a Jayzuz freak. That’s why his order is a little bit a Qui-Gon and a little bit of Jinn, played by Liam Neeson, the God of the Sky. And he is goddamn boring. He is just there. He is able to adjust his face by singular quotients out of a possible three hundred and sixty. He always has the same emotion in his voice. The “Yeah, there’s a little unrest, but Imma Jedi, nothing to worry about.” This may have something to do with QGJ being in touch with his inner soul or something, the force, I don’t fucking know.

All I know is that he fucking bores the hell out of me. Nobody remembers Qui-Gon, hell they forgot to put him in almost all of the video games. Hell, I can’t even type up more than a paragraph and a half about him because he’s so 100% forgettable. He’s like T.G.I. Fridays but without any of the good. Meanwhile, Mister Twister finishes his dish up early. His being by far the smallest and all. Getting bored, he takes a peak at what’s behind him. Someone ordered the Luke Skywalker. Only, they were sold out of Luke Skywalkers and he had to settle for a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. Played by Ewan McGreggor.

You know, you gotta give Liam Neeson some credit. Hell, this credit even goes to Queen Immaboreyoutodead. At least they apparently understood they were playing a character in a movie. While Qui-Gon could only play one emotion and Natalie Portman could play none, Obi-Wan can’t even play a character. He’s the perfect definition of just there. He’s there for the plot of the movie, he’s there for the plot of the saga, he’s there to help the writer out and to give fans some sense of familiarity. He just reads his lines, not attempting to be a part of a narrative. And he is boring as hell. He feels like going on a slide that has been coated with liquid cement room temperature and bubble gum. I think the word “arid” is the perfect one to use in this context.

Uncle Anus got lost in his thoughts, you know, being an old man and all. He started to look around the room, his brain wondered to planet Neptune, and all of the sudden he spotted a giant camera filming our meal. And he started to wonder, “do these people even have a clue about what to film?” I don’t know about you, but I’m suspicious Mr. David Tattersall was the right choice. It’s not a mistake he would be associated with a film listed as “didn’t happen.” His filmography includes The Tooth Fairy, Speed Racer and The Day the Earth Stood Still. He seems to get still shots pretty good, but I can feel DA POWER of George Lucas emanating in those shots.

As for moving shots, you know where you have to put in some effort instead of just listen for directions, he completely sucks. The ability to get all necessary components in a moving shot is lost on him. If I were to find out that this was adjusted for shaky cam, than I would suspect David thought he was chasing a wild Lion or vice versa, and not filming a Jedi fight scene. The worst point is the first confrontation between Maul and Gon, where there’s a shot where the center of the screen is Maul’s armpit and no important action is documented. Not to mention, the angles in this movie are extremely standard and bring no freshness to the film.

I look around, lost in my own thoughts, and see there’s an advertisement around the entrance of the restaurant. A sign that has a purple light saber in the back, and reads “BUY ONE JEDI GET TWO FREE.” This is where I talk about some of the Jedi characters. Aside from Gon and Won, they don’t have much of a role. But they’re worth talking about. Mace Windu is played by Samuel L. Jackson and does his role probably better than any other goddamn actor in this movie. But that’s not saying much. In an actual Star Wars film, he would be seen as the low point of the movie.

Samuel should have been hired to play Jango Fett, not frickin’ Mace Windu. Samuel plays either Badasses or Villains, not these at peace heroes. Bad casting choice. Ki Adi-Mundi appears in a brief role. He’s also not half bad. He plays his character to the best extent. The problem is that his character is some sort of dying old man who’s going to go senile in a couple years, barely hanging on to his wisdom. This would be interesting if he was a major character, but since he only shows up in less than half a dozen scenes, he’s just boring. And lastly, Yoda also appears in a brief role.

In the previous films, Yoda acted and looked cartoonish to illustrate that appearances do not negate wisdom. In these films, he retains his wisdom fully (jeez that’s an accomplishment for this movie), but his eyes grow to the size of baseballs and his voice becomes one in the same with The Muppets Show. You already had a perfect balance in the original trilogy, why crank it up to massive amounts? Merchandise. That’s why. Speaking of money, Any good dinner is not only met with food and atmosphere but it’s also met with discussion. And that’s where the dialogue kicks in.

You remember in the first movie where we had fun one-liners, philosophical discussion, powerful, emotion filled statements? Real conversations that flowed perfectly and made sense? The language was a part of the characters and not its own sterile thing? DAT’S ALL GONE NOW FUGGERS! Now we have debate that would find the higher arches of a school district board. You have talk that contains ideas in one remark and then switches too drastically between the other. You have politics and sciences replace the whimsical, timeless power talks and memorable conversations of the days of old.

You have Jedis talking about the Trade Federation and 10 year olds being taught about imaginary bacteria. You can watch ten seconds of a talk between Immaboreyoutodeath and Palpatine (AKA Satan) and have no trouble falling to sleep within half an hour after that. And if you’re weak, you’d probably fall asleep right there. This movie is written like the cheapest ass knock-off of a movie like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or 12 Angry Men and it’s really the cheapest ass knock-off of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. How the hell is that supposed to work?

Now, as for my dish. I’ve been a little been of a Satanist lately, so ₡₳$h₥₳₦ ordered one large sized extra cheese Darth Maul Burger imported from England. And even at extra-large it’s still one small ass, unsatisfying burger. In a good and bad way. It tastes excellent, there’s just not enough of it and it’s mostly there to fill in for the main courses. Like Boba Fett, kinda. Such as our spoken bounty hunter, Mr. Satan’s Satan gets to speak one line. Unlike B.F., he sounds like about as threatening as Brock Lesnar. Translation: He sounds like a tool. Of course his design is awesome. Like if you put a Dinosaur, Satan, Palpatine and Vader with a double-sided Red Lightsaber. That’s fucking amazing. But other than that, he’s not much. He’d be as impressive in a video game or a comic book, the only thing he adds to this movie is a boss fight. He is a Big Mac on screen.

Now that everyone’s eaten their meals, it’s time to decide on what to get for desert. And it seems as if between Me, Mr. Twister, Skim “Bob” Joe and Uncle Anus, we all want something different for desert. And we fight about it. And that is where my final point as to why this movie is atrocious, boring, disrespectful to its predecessors, and gives a bad example for the ones that follow. The fights. Remember that little moment, in fact very little moment, in Return of the Jedi? The one that, I dunno, won me over? It was when Luke Skywalker broke down out of anger, fought Darth Vader, and continued to wail on his own father even when he was defenseless and only had one hand.

So much was told about the character, the universe, and the philosophy of these films within two seconds of a fight. Now we evolve to the movie where nothing is told in the fights. No we evolve to a ballet that would be inappropriate for a musical stage play. Now we evolve into a choreographed dance that takes away all realism and – if you’re not a mindless childish/teenage boy – excitement from the scene. It looks like stuff made for a music video! Not stuff made for a story, a narrative, an art! There’s no story in these fights, there’s no realism in these fights, there’s no excitement, and each of these are the cause and result of each other.

It’s either a predictable outcome because the story of the later films would not continue without it, or the outcome is not foreseen but that doesn’t help. You just wait bored for the outcome to be seen, because that’s all you care about. Suspense and tension is lost. It’s things like this, not only in action but in all aspects of film, that cause people to go to movies only for the ending. This movie is injustice in so many ways. Everything, EEEEEEEVVVVEEEEERRRYYYYTHIIIIINNNG in this atrocious picture earns twelve Razzies for all-time records. It’s saving graces go under the radar when they are piled on top of shit.

You cannot save a diamond when it is half a centimeter in length and in the largest dump of cow waste forseeable. I cannot blame George Lucas for everything – certainly actors, choreographers, cinematographers, and editors have a lot of the blame here. But it is known as his movie, and his movie gets 0.7/5 with a stinkbomb glued on.

SECTION FIVE: SOURCES

Wikipedia article on the film

Video compilation of information and opinions on the films: http://cinemassacre.com/2009/03/10/star-wars-movie-review-part-2/

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Batman & Robin (1997)

I'M ROBIN

BACKGROUND: MAKING AND MARKETING BATMAN & ROBIN

Warner Bros. instantly commissioned a fourth movie after the impressive success of Batman 4Ever. Akiva Goldsmith (writer) and JShoe reprised their previous roles. They also put them on speed and told them to get the movie out a year faster than the previous Man of the Bat feels have taken. JShoe wanted to make an homage to the old TV Series and the work of Dick Sprang. The story was conceived during production of A Time to Kill. This is where they included portions of Heart & Ice, an episode of Batman: TAS. The production was postponed from August to September and finished in January, two weeks ahead. It was mostly shot at WB Studios.

Interviews were coming out around the time of the movie’s release, and they were pretty much full-blooded honest. Chris O’Donnel, fresh off of his work as Robin, stated "It just felt like everything got a little soft the second time. On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid's toy commercial." John Glover gave some inside scoops on JShoe, saying "Joel would sit on a crane with a megaphone and yell before each take, 'Remember, everyone, this is a cartoon'. It was hard to act because that kind of set the tone for the film." Barbara Ling stated her inspiration came from neon-ridden Tokyo and the Machine Age. Her Gotham became The World Fair on Ecstasy. The mad stable of Pacific Data Images, Rhythm and Hues, John Dykstra and Anderw Adamson made the CGI.

The soundtrack contained a wide variety of music. Alternative rock got its spot with The End is Nearly The Beginning is The End by The Smashing Pumpkins. Goo Goo Doll’s made the song Lazy Eye and REM played Revolution. R&B got it’s share with R. Kelly writing Gotham City. Eric Benet and Meshell Ndegocello also introduced their tunes. In addition to a $125 Million budget, Warner Bros. spent $15 Million marketing this movie. The first trailer showed up on Entertainment Weekly. Warner Bros. brought in Toy Companies during Pre-Production for the sake of concept art. This was where JShoe even couldn’t take it. Six Flags parks also introduced coasters for the movie. The movie did not birth the toys, the toys birthed the movie.

REVIEWING BATMAN & ROBIN

You watch the first 15 minutes and you can instantly see  over 50% of this movie’s problems. First is the dialogue. This applies to everybody and mostly people like Mr. Freeze and Robin. 9/10 times spoken lines are “one-liners.” Single line jokes placed in the normal dialogue. This presents so many problems. First off, comedy in any live-action movie is used either when the film is a comedy itself, or to offset serious tones – which is not easy to achieve. Hasn’t been achieved by Lil’ Jimmy Cameron can tell ya that much. Because of this tremendous overuse of one-liners, it feels like a live-action cartoon, like it was directed to be.

But it wasn’t even made like a cartoon. It feels like somebody who hasn’t watched a cartoon since he was 8 directed this live-action cartoon. Like every possible cliché that is 70 years old is used here. And despite all this, there is still flaw, because conversations became artificial instantaneously. Talking is choppy and blocky and no flow is present, not to mention nobody talks in constant one-liners. It feels like they are speaking script that makes pulp publications feel proud of their quality of dialogue. This isn’t even parody, this is taking parody and thinking it’s serious and adapting it and then fucking up to make it even more laughable.

Speaking of Mr. Freeze, he’s present. And he’s played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now, I know what they were thinking. Mr. Freeze is a naturally big character and his stature needs to be portrayed in his voice. Same with the Frankenstein Monster. However, in the comics Mr. Freeze is an extremely sympathetic character. And I can understand taking creative liberties, but washing out all emotions for comedic value and childish digestion is shallow. It’s clear they did this because they got a guy whose best performance was as a robot. I cannot properly express with words how disgraceful, disrespectful, artless and shallow these character maneuvers and casting choices truly were.

Action. Not in its quality, but in its placement. Immediately we jump into a 12-minute action scene. Exposition is apparently invaluable enough  to be degraded to being told while our heroes approach the crime scene, but the one-liners are “so awesome” that they must be told in still action. Yeah, and that’s the way it is. Exposition only gets told if the characters are “SUPER WACKY AND ZANY!” The whole thing of instant action raises the potential of spoiling our children. It’s not a permanent disorder, but if you feed your kids the wrong material they can grow to not have patience with material they refuse to pay attention to more than they want to. Cure is obviously a diet of more substantial media. Instant action brings up the spoiling of wanting action as soon as the movie starts up, and that commercials are enough of a wait. Plot becomes useless to those who are fed on this type of film. And all film should be graded on educational value, because as Martial McLuhan said, “anybody who tries to distinguish education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.”

George Clooney replaces Val Kilmer as Batman. I thought Val Kilmer was a poor choice by his physical stature, but man he blows away Clooney. I have never liked Clooney, the only two movies he was in I can name off the bat are this and The Men Who Stare at Goats. In both of them he sucks, independent or dependent on the film’s quality. He is too short, too fat, and too lacking in muscle to look like Batman. His face looks like a young Dad’s face. His facial expressions vary slightly, and his vocal expressions vary not at all. He is as interesting as rotting foam with only signs of decay that you can feel, which turn it into gluttonous paste.

So there’s this girl that’s supposed to be Alfred’s niece…yeah, don’t care. So Bane is in this movie…and he’s a sloth. He is the lead grunt, a gorilla without hair, the giant luchador, the grunting soldier, as opposed to the existent character he was in the books. I haven’t even read them but with vague knowledge of these characters I can tell they are shallow both as villains themselves and as adaptations of the literary material....Whatever. When you get down to it, this movie was made to sell toys. So how do those toys look? Mr. Freeze looks pretty sick, overall. His suit is like a 6-foot tall transformer, and you cannot beat 6-feet tall transformers. That’s a costume I’d want to wear.

His makeup looks really fake up closer, but it’s fine from a distance. Bane looks like every muscular man you’ve ever seen put together. He looks like he could beat the shit out of anybody whenever he wants. If he was in ECW, he would be their version of Goldberg (Ryback for WWE, Goldberg for WCW.) Poison Ivy is pretty hot. She’s no Catwoman, but she’s really sexy. That’s all you need to know. After all, that’s all she is in this movie. “I’m sexy PLANTS.” And from what I know, that might actually be pretty accurate to the comic. But she’s just another cliché and something for the adults to look at while she is as P.C. to make it okay for the kiddies. You see this kind of thing on Cartoon Network all the time, though washed out through the process of drawing.

Heh…you know, if I don’t mention it now, I won’t get to mention it again. And I think if I’m going to review any of the four movies proper, I should. Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth. This guy is the bomb. I would credit him to the first movie, but I guess I can still talk about him now. This guy brings a sense of sophistication whether or not the general mood is cheesy. Fellow characters in a scene being stupid? Pennyworth saves the day. His dialogue corny and comedic? He saves the material. Hell, even when all surrounding material is good, Pennyworth still goes above and beyond to be the intelligent guy in the room. Even Batman hadn’t seemed like a genius yet, other than abilities to perform tasks. His class has not been present yet. But Alf lifts the intelligence in the movie, and this is probably where he does the most commendable performance. For him to do such good stuff with this material is awesome and sad at the same time.

In closing, Batman & Robin is a complete waste of time. It is a live action cartoon designed for making toys that exhibits complete disinterest and disrespect for all previous material in Batman and Hell even Saturday morning cartoons. It was designed to make money. And that’s it. But eventually, when you do not grow up with your audience, your audience grows disinterested and refuses to deliver the material to latter generations. So for Batman fans who knew films and films only, Warner Bros. understood that long term success would arrive in the form of a revamp…but that’s next time.

The Rating for Batman & Robin? 1/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Alien Resurrection (1997)

Uuuuuuugggghhh…

 AFTERMATH OF ALIEN 3

Uuuuuuughhh…Nobody liked it, FOX made triple their investment, NEXT PLEASE.

CREATION OF ALIEN RESURRECTION

Now, trust me, I love Joss Wheden. I just think he’s overrated. Drew Goddard is the awesome one. His two movies he’s worked on were Cloverfield and Cabin in the Woods. Both two of my favorite films. Joss Wheden is not perfect, he is a bipolar hit or miss. And honestly, He has 6 major hits. Toy Story, X-Men, Captain America, Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers and Dr. Horrible. Some might say he also hit with Speed and Thor. Notice how he’s clearly a massive comic book fan. Some of his not so great movies include Thor (to half the audience), Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Waterworld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to most this movie.

I’m not trying to bury Joss Wheden, God no; he’s one of my favorite guys working in Hollywood right now. But he has a 7:6 ratio. That’s not the best ratio ever. The thing is the seven are fucking amazing, and the six are fucking horrible. That’s some weird luck! Also note his only hit movie at the point of 1997 was Toy Story, where he had a 1:2 ratio, good to bad. Somehow, Mr. ANONYMOUS was impressed with Joss Wheden’s work with a screenwriter and had him sign a contract to 20th Century FOX. Here’s what happened in a nutshell:

Joss: “OH MY GOD! I get to write for ALIEN! Alright, we’re gonna have a giant battle on Earth!” Anon: “No.”

Joss: “But I want a”

Anon: “No.”

Joss: “PLEASE?!?!”

Anon:” “…No.”

Joss: “C’mon, man, we’ll have clones, and giant robots, and aliens, and maybe a Preda-”

Anon: “NO!” “But” “I SAID NO GODDAMIT!”

Joss: “…Well, what do you want?”

Anon: “I want a clone of Newt.”

Joss: “Aw sweet, I can do that!”

(one month later)

Anon: “Scrap it, we want a clone of Ripley.”

Joss: “FUCKIN’ A MAKE UP YOUR MIND MAN!”

Anon: “Do it”

Joss: “…How?”

Anon: “Ask Davey  Hill and Wall*E.”

Joss: “Can do!.......Hey, Dave and Wall, can you give me some-”

Davey: “Buddy, just clone her and do shit. We don’t want anything to do with this.”

Joss: “Uuuugh…oookay.”

Joss walks back to MR. ANONYMOUS

Joss: “What do I do now?”

Anon: “Ask Weaver.”

Joss: “CAN DO!” (Walks over to Weaver.)

Joss: “Sigourney, can you-”

Weaver: “No.”

Joss: “But I-”

Weaver: “I said No!”

Joss: “WHY?!?!?!”

Weaver: “I don’t want Ripley to be a figure of fun. I don’t want her popping up whenever there’s monsters to kill.”

Joss: “…I don’t think it’s like that.”

Weaver: “Well, let me read the script.”

Weaver read the script.

Weaver: “That’s actually pretty good. I could do stuff with an imperfect clone.”

Joss: “YAY!”

Weaver: “Be careful though. If this is no good, I don’t just quit Alien, I quit FOX.”

Joss: “Umm…yes, will do.”

Weaver: “Here’s $11 Million”

Joss: “Thank you so much, I love you!”

Joss runs out of the room.

Weaver: “WHAT?!?”

Little would she know that they would meet again. Now it was time to find a director. Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Weeks Later, 127 Hours) and Peter Jackson (Do I Really Need to Tell You) were both considered. They were both unenthusiastic about doing an Alien movie. Brian Singer (X-Men, X2, X-Men First Class) was approached. But he declined. Eventually, it came down to Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Who has done NOTHING…well, some stuff, just not notable stuff. He was chosen for his visual style. He first declined, feeling the trilogy was complete.

But then they waved $70 Million in front of Jean’s face, and he accepted. For inspiration (not like you already had a script) Jean and Crew watched modern Sci-Fi films and the previous three Alien movies. Jean was the one responsible for Joss’s endings being dismissed, as they were too expensive. He was also the one who inserted a lot of dark comedy (what did you watch Men in Black before directing this movie?) He was also encouraged to include more violence (SCI-FI not SLASHER.) For SFX, they turned to ADI, who had worked on the previous film. Their first change was to make the Aliens more apt for swimming, so their heads had fins and were pointed differently.

Now I’m going to talk about something that doesn’t appear into late into the film, so *SPOILERS.* The Hybrid Alien was originally mostly human, but they suspected this looked to close to Sil from Species. They retained eyes and ears to make it less than a killing machine. Jean wanted to add male and female genitalia of a human….yeah, you read that right. But FOX was very uncomfortable about this…AND RIGHTFULYL SO. Jean scrapped it, saying “it was too much, even for a Frenchman.” Now I know they were just doing this as a massive joke. They removed this during digital editing.

And just so you know what I sacrifice for you, I KEEP TURNING TO THE ORIGINAL MODEL EACH TIME I GET SOME INFORMATION. FUCK YOU. *SPOILERS OVER.* Once filming started. That’s the question. They had a really hard time getting a lot, as Lil’ Jimmy’s Titanic, Spielberg’s The Lost World and Somebody’s Starship Troopers was taking up most of the space. The reason they shot in Hollywood was that the first three had been shot elsewhere. They felt like a trip to England would exhaust the crew. That may explain the cast in Alien 3. Stage 16 was first to be reinvaded (I CAN SPHEAL) and made into a 36 x 45 meter tank of water, 548,000 gallons.

This was done to save money short term, even if it meant a lot of costs later on. Because of the scene, some cast members actually had to learn to swim. I don’t know if that makes me feel good about myself or sorry for these actors. One of the actors, Winnona “so many Ns” Ryder, had nearly drowned at twelve years old. (I understand how to feel now.) This was a big problem. She suggested a body double but quickly dismissed it, the shorter hair would be too obvious. So she learned to swim, but with some insane anxiety. This is a lesson to all aspiring directors.

You are going to have to change some motherfucking lives motherfucker. And you probably shouldn’t say motherfucker twice per sentence, because people get motherfucking angry! Weaver also trained for basketball. She was supposed to make a basket looking the opposite direction. She hit 1/6 and on a shorter course. That was a good sign. They suggested CGI or machinery, but Weaver was allaike I WILL SHOOT THAT BASKETBALL EVEN IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO!!! And she did it. Fortunately, it wasn’t the last thing she did, although it might have been the last thing her character had done. Then they realized it was off-screen for a frame, and instead of editing, I WILL MAKE A PERFECT BASKETBALL SHOT IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO.

Damn are we grateful Weaver is still alive today. Ron Pearlman almost fucked up the shot that third time, by saying “OH MY GOD!” Fortunately, there was enough of a pause to fix it in editing, and Sigourney wasn’t like I WILL MAKE THE MOST PERFECT BASKETBALL SHOT IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO. AND SPEAK IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS TOO! Back to SFX, CGI replaced any suited actors or puppets when the Alien’s legs were on screen. This makes Bheema really sad. As for the spaceships, they worked like Star Wars and did miniatures in confined sets. John Frizzel was fired for the soundtrack, and basically wrote a score for an Alien romance…sigh….the Aliens might be resurrecting, but Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ is redeeming his past mistakes.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CHILDREN OF ALL AGES, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, BOYS AND GIRLS, ALL YOU WEED SMOKERS AND BEER DRINKERS, I AM THE BRONI BEATING, CHEETOS EATING, TRAIL BLAZING, EYEBROW RAISING, TAKE MY FOOT OUT OF JEAN PIERRE’S FRENCHY ASS, THEN TIE A CINDERBLOCK AND STEP IT ON THE GAS, IT’S TIME TO BLOW THIS MOTHERFUCKER!

REVIEW OF ALIEN RESURRECTION

I think the first thing that comes to mind is all the pretty lights we call SFX. Lighting has become a favorite of mine as of late, don’t know why. I think you’re gonna have a laugh at this one. The fourth film in the series, the most unnecessary one, and the very last one (in terms of Ripley and continuity) is the ONLY ONE in existence to use a green lighting scheme! What’s up with that shit? All the posters for the other movies have been green, and this is the only one that uses it? False advertising! Nevertheless, that’s FOX, not the film. This movie has a mix of very light but bold greens and very bright but dull yellows.

With some blacks thrown in to emphasize the horror. I see the main two colors as another metaphor, though not one as sophisticated as Riddle Skedaddle’s film. The green represents the Xenomorphs, and the weak yellow is about as close to the skin tone of a Caucasian pigmentation; which represents humans (in this backwards world we call ‘MERICA.) With the being light or bright but dull or bold, that is a representation of the artificialness that is Clone Ripley. This is clever but nothing constructive to any deeper meaning, just is kinda “I c wat u did thar” and adds to the creepy atmosphere.

Which leads me on, I don’t know why, to some of the dark comedy. Sometimes it works well, like when nobody in the entire room could fully comprehend the number “twelve.” Other times it’s just stupid, like the homosexuality joke near the end. Sometimes I’m not even 100% if it’s a joke or if Joss Wheden was having too much fun writing this movie. Now for the designs (my transitions are very sudden today.) The original Alien design is present of course, there’s a couple of changes. The blacks are much more black, and the costumes are covered in moisture. I feel like that emphasizes their newborn status, but it goes a little overboard.

I never figured moisture of all things would be helpful in an Alien movie. Hell, I still don’t. The Queen herself is ughh….she’s uuugh….aaaa…..she’s uuugh…Remember what I said about the Queen in Aliens being a transvestite? Well, she’s not quite a transvestite, but she’s much creepier. Not in the horror type creepy, I mean in the eek type creepy. Something not scary, just shocking and disturbing. NOT scary. I hope I emphasized that enough. And there’s THAT Alien. He’s like a Beatles cartoon gone bad. Gone really, REEEEAAALLY bad. That’s enough said.

The cast is half boring as hell, half over the top and weird. The half that’s boring as hell is, sadly, our two top cast. Winnona “Too Many Ns” Ryder seems to be confused about her role. She’s trying to play up the boring, metallic Keanu Reeves type cyborg that was portrayed in the first two movies. At the same time she’s trying to be emotional and takes up way too much of the plot. This…makes no sense, and her performance alone is probably responsible for one big slice of the boring pie. Sigourney Weaver returns…AGAIN…and that’s exactly how she feels. “UGH, I’m here AGAIN? Fine, let’s film this.” Sorry, not the best protagonist.

That’s another thing, who the fuck is the protagonist? Everybody’s either a jerk, too unbelievable, or boring. I can’t really find somebody to get behind. The rest of the characters are comprised of: Col. Hicks written by kindergarteners on acid; a midget played up for very few juvenile laughs; some racial stereotypes (we all know how much I hate those) and…yeah, that’s it. Does this sound like a good crew? NO. It sounds STUPID. Who the fuck casted for this movie? Fire the sunnuvavich! What’s with the plot anyways? There’s anywhere between 6-12 plot points brought up that never get used.

Genetic crossbreeding experiments? Awesome concept, sure. Not used for more than five minutes. How about how much life values its own living? Awesome concept, fucking yes. Used? For 5-7 minutes in two scenes, never brought up otherwise even in the most minor of sense. Well, there is Ripley and Winonna, but as far as I’m concerned they’re not real life so it doesn’t work for me. How about inter species relationships, not necessarily sexual but as close? Awesome concept, oh fuck yeah. Definitely takes a lot of risks and breaks a lot of comfort barriers. Used? Uuugh…Not properly, I can tell you that much.

That’s another thing, look at all this above me. There’s too many ideas that don’t get explored enough packed into one movie that just doesn’t know what it wants to be. The narrative is also pretty damn broken. “OH! HERE’S A PLOT POINT! Now we’ll leave that at bay. Here’s another plot point, and another one, forget that other one, here’s that one from ages ago, let’s not bring up any plot points, HERE’S THE BIG ONE!” I can understand if there’s more than one thing going on at once but this thing is nuts. There’s like 4-5 things that relate to the main plot brought up at once and they aren’t raised to the surface fast enough to satisfy. What else is there here?...Gore? Who cares about gore anymore? Soundtrack? This thing is about as generic as Friday the 13th #2-10. I don’t know what else I can cover.

Alien Resurrection is the most unnecessary sequel ever created. It’s only pure benefit is the lighting. Otherwise all potential positives are squandered by inexperienced directing and writing, with extremely poor actors,  a forgettable soundtrack, and going overboard on the Alien mythos and appearances, Alien Resurrection is a complete throw away. It won’t make you mad, it’ll probably even entertain you in some spots. But when you look at it objectively, what else can I give it but 1/5?

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Men in Black (1997)

Yeah this has absolutely nothing to do with the 1934 Three Stooges flick…

But it does have to do with the 1990 MARVEL COMICS series of magazines. (Sentence worded by anti-corporate character?) The comic, short and sweet, was as the movie would be if it was more realistic. It’s themes revolved around lies and deception and had more uncomfortable sexual situations. As opposed to the movie we’re discussing today which is a comedy sci-fi that’s amount of awkwardness is strictly for comedic purposes. However, the comic did have its share of very, very dark humor, which opted the possibility of a faithful yet lighthearted screenplay adaptation.

Ed Solomon penned the original script between several different locations between D.C., Nevada and Kansas. He showed the script to the producers of the film Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald and the script was turned down, as it was decided it was “too dirty.” So he took 5 years to make new scripts under a less excited mode, hopeful to get everything tightened but acceptable. Eventually he changed the mode of the film, and held the movie mainly in New York City, where aliens can go unnoticed within disguises and most buildings appear to be in the shape of alien spacecraft.

Speaking of aliens, that was one of the most difficult parts of the production. Similar to a Kubrick/Sagan approach, Rick Baker did not wish to have the aliens look like humans. Why do they need eyes? And then Barry Sonnerfield would come back with “how the hell would we know where they’re looking?” And then Steven Spielberg who was reportedly drunk at the time would go, “eeeh I likkkke daaaa bottom of thissss one aaaand da head of thisssss one why…why don’t we djust use the flubbin combination!” And then Barry would come back with, “Sir, one is giant red enchilada-Gremlins fixture and the other is a small white abortion.” And then Steven would come back with “well fffuck it I made E.T. white?!?” (Can you tell where I started making shit up?)

------------------------

Ed Soloman, who I mentioned went through hell to get this thing written, delivers the strongest aspect of this motion picture to the plate in the form of witty, comedic dialogue. In the spirit of somebody like Joss Wheden (Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers), Ed Soloman (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey), not only excellent dialogue but excellent dialogue pertaining to each character. Will Smith has plenty of lines that the average smart yet cool teenager wishes  he could say on a daily basis, however he also shows a lot of his inexperience and lack of respect for authority in his words.

Sometimes it gets annoying how his immaturity overshadows his calculation of diction, such as when he “unleashes the magic orange ball of doom” shall we word to not expose any important details. Another minor problem I have with Smith’s written lines are there might be too many of them. On their own, I don’t think I need to go any farther than hilarious and appropriate to major degrees; but the fact is there’s way too many of them. I feel like it almost becomes impossible to believe there’s somebody so smart in his humor yet so dumb in his actions and it weakens the character of Agent J.

And before we move between subjects, I must give credit to Will Smith. His typical over-the-top “I’m funny and both of us know it” kind of performance elevates the dialogue and it’s almost impossible to tell that the dialogue was written before Will Smith was cast for the part. Now we move onto Agent K, who, is a parallel yet opposed tale of the tape. He’s played by Tommy Lee Jones, a man with a filmography that’s range is on an intergalactic level  varying between  No Country for Old Men and Captain America. An analogy is the only way to describe this. Basically, take dry dialogue and moisten it up.

You might be asking how that’s possible but it is. Take the line “We’re the F.B.I., we have no sense of humor we’re aware of.” If you don’t notice the contradiction immediately, do not fret, just look at it again and you will laugh. Agent K from a glance appears as a man who would be cold, hard and humorless, a wooden block only a few steps away from a cartoonish stereotype. And this has rubbed off on him; I mean no human contact outside of the M.I.B. that must be something. But he still has some sense of humor pretty much on par with Will Smith’s character, just much more subtle. He won’t be as quick to force a joke on somebody because he needs attention, his confidence radiates in his decision to let those who get the joke get the joke, and leave the humorless or naïve unknowing. After all, how many memories has he wiped out?

And now, since we have kind of flowed from dialogue to characters, we’re gonna talk about Edgar, the underused and misused villain of this film. He’s played by Vince D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Ed Wood, Kill the Irishman). The guy’s got two sides to him. His serious side, AKA his good side, is a cold-blooded killer who has more appreciation for cockroaches than humans. It’s an interesting comparison and while I don’t suspect there was any metaphor, a comparison between homosapians and American Cockroaches. We inhabit the earth, use up its resources, check in but never check out, are resilient and simultaneously effortless to kill, do not please any other terrestrial inhabitants, etc.

However, this doesn’t come out very often. His dialogue is written to be this ultra-serious Badass, but director Barry Sonnerfield (Misery, Enchanted, The Adam’s Family) apparently thought it was a good idea to make the character of Edgar a herp-n-derp special entrée. He talks in very muffled speech and moves both in an over exaggerated yet simultaneously oafish stride. I get that he’s supposed to not have fully adapted to the human body on Earth yet, but when you have your actor move in a way that sacrifices intimidation and depth of character for the sake of comedy and some unnecessary logic (because there’s logic in this movie right?) you’ve made a crucial mistake.

Not to mention, we don’t get to see him a lot in the movie, half the time he’s talked about. By the end the viewer lacks the feeling that this is the Final Boss per say. You haven’t seen any intimidating things about him, and you’ve barely seen him. You could remedy this with tension, but that’s not present either. Speaking of seeing him, He is one of two major instances of this film’s CGI. It’s sprinkled here and there throughout parts and it’s not just cameos or anything. But the only times where we get a really good, close-up, thorough look at it is at the very end and the very beginning.

This saves the film from being a SFX extravaganza. Which, as I’ve said before, I do not believe narrative film is a proper genre (medium whatever you call it) to host a SFX exhibition. This film gets that right. But it is present and I need to fluff up this thing anyways so here I go. Consider films of the mid-1990’s. Hell, you can consider CGI from a 2007 catastrophe called AVP:R|UN-R[4.0BETA]. You can even consider the average film put on by The Asylum and The SyFy Channel, even to this day. Now that we’ve set the stage for not comparing this film to pictures like Avatar or King Kong, I think you understand I understand that.

But I must say what I see. The CGI is extremely sleek and obviously came from a computer, does not have any sense of legitimate material. Creatures move worse than most animations in Nintendo 64 video games – which debuted a year before this to give some sort of background. You feel like you’re watching a walking digital representation of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. (If you’ve ever seen it you know what I’m talking about.) Considering this was a year after Independence Day, I still think this is a milestone in SFX considering the designs and ability to synch voices with CGI creatures.

Now I’m going to cover a couple of things in a relatively short amount of time. First, the execution of the plot. This script is not tight at all. You can see numerous plot holes from the get go. For instance, the “smuggler,” not executing his right to resist search and seizure. This also ties in to some convienenant and forced moments. For instance, it seems as if every single celebrity is an alien according to Agent Kay. Doesn’t that seem a little, I don’t know, mis-encouraging? And it just seems forced. The idea that there are no smart humans is not only depressing in a film like this, but it’s also just completely unrealistic.

Also, the score. It’s done by Danny Elfman, famous for Beetlejuice, Batman, Dick Tracy, Batman Returns, Dolores Claiborne, Mission: Impossible, Good Will Hunting, Spider-Man, Hulk, Terminator: Salvation, Hellboy II, The Wolfman, 9, Real Steel, so on and so forth. It’s a good score, no doubt about it. But it’s not really noticeable. Sure some parts are worth listening to in an orchestra but by no means all of them. And none of them assist the current scene. I don’t think a lot of these scenes needed to be lifted per say, but there’s plenty of room for assistance and frankly it’s like the musical score is misplaced between scenes.

To wrap this up, Men in Black carries to its name pioneering SFX, a talented cast, a great orchestrator and extremely strong dialogue, but lacks a convincing villain, a well tied plot, and a well arranged series of the musical score. It’s more than a worthy film to begin a franchise, and I give it 4.2/5. I definitely recommend as a casual, fun, Saturday Night watch, but any time is a good time for M.I.B.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Batman Forever and ever and ever and ever (1995)

I’M SCHUMAKER

SECTION ONE: AFTERMATH OF BATMAN RETURNS

Batman Returns was an immensely successful film financially. It broke the all-time opening weekend record, and has since made 2.8x it’s then considered huge budget. It became the sixth highest grossing in history at the time. On the other side of the coin, the reviewers were also very positive. Rotten Tomatoes holds a 78% for the film, which is 8% higher than Burton’s cultural phenomenon. Janet Maslin in The New York Times thought that "Mr. Burton creates a wicked world of misfits, all of them rendered with the mixture of horror, sympathy and playfulness that has become this director's hallmark."

She described Michael Keaton as showing "appropriate earnestness", Danny DeVito as "conveying verve", Christopher Walken as "wonderfully debonair", Michelle Pfeiffer as "captivating... fierce, seductive", Bo Welch's production design as "dazzling", Stefan Czapsky's cinematography as "crisp", and Daniel Waters's screenplay as "sharp." In other words, she was a fangirl for the picture. Peter Travers in Rolling Stone wrote: "Burton uses the summer's most explosively entertaining movie to lead us back into the liberating darkness of dreams." He praised the performances:

"Pfeiffer gives this feminist avenger a tough core of intelligence and wit; she's a classic dazzler... Michael Keaton's manic-depressive hero remains a remarkably rich creation. And Danny DeVito's mutant Penguin—a balloon-bellied Richard III with a kingdom of sewer freaks—is as hilariously warped as Jack Nicholson's Joker and even quicker with the quips." Desson Howe in The Washington Post wrote: "Director Burton not only re-creates his one-of-a-kind atmosphere, he one-ups it, even two-ups it. He's best at evoking the psycho-murky worlds in which his characters reside.

The Penguin holds court in a penguin-crowded, Phantom of the Opera-like sewer home. Keaton hides in a castlelike mansion, which perfectly mirrors its owner's inner remoteness. Comic strip purists will probably never be happy with a Batman movie. But Returns comes closer than ever to Bob Kane's dark, original strip, which began in 1939." He described Walken as "engaging", DeVito as "exquisite" and Pfeiffer as "deliciously purry." Todd McCarthy in Variety wrote that "the real accomplishment of the film lies in the amazing physical realization of an imaginative universe.

Where Burton's ideas end and those of his collaborators begin is impossible to know, but the result is a seamless, utterly consistent universe full of nasty notions about societal deterioration, greed and other base impulses." He praised the contributions of Stan Winston, Danny Elfman, Bo Welch and cinematographer Stefan Czapsky, and in terms of performances, opined that "the deck is stacked entirely in favor of the villains", calling DeVito "fascinating" and Pfeiffer "very tasty."

But, like the first movie, the reviews are extraordinarily mixed, and especially among fans but still among critics. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: "I give the movie a negative review, and yet I don't think it's a bad movie; it's more misguided, made with great creativity, but denying us what we more or less deserve from a Batman story. No matter how hard you try, superheroes and film noir don't go together; the very essence of noir is that there are no more heroes." He compared the Penguin negatively with the Joker of the first film, writing that "the Penguin is a curiously meager and depressing creature; I pitied him, but did not fear him or find him funny. The genius of Danny DeVito is all but swallowed up in the paraphernalia of the role."

Jonathan Rosenbaum called DeVito "a pale substitute for Jack Nicholson from the first film" and felt that "there's no suspense in Batman Returns whatsoever". Batman comic book writer/artist Matt Wagner was quoted as saying: "I hated how Batman Returns made Batman little more than just another costumed creep, little better than the villains he's pursuing. Additionally, Burton is so blatantly not an action director. That aspect of both his films just sucked." Ty Burr in Entertainment Weekly wrote that "Burton still hasn't figured out how to tell a coherent story: He's more interested in fashioning pretty beads than in putting them on a string.... Yet for all the wintry weirdness, there's more going on under the surface of this movie than in the original. No wonder some people felt burned by Batman Returns: Tim Burton just may have created the first blockbuster art film."

When it came down to it, Warner Bros. was calling the film a success less on whether they go their money back (which they did nearly triple) but whether a newer movie was going to be palatable for this target audience if their anticipation is based on this film. That was a mouthful. Basically, superheroes will never been seen as adult material no matter how many Burtons, Nolans or Synders we get. Parents taking their kids to see the film were shocked at how violent and sexually active it was. McDonalds pulled their toy tie-in because of the film’s contents. Burton would go onto say "I like Batman Returns better than the first one. There was this big backlash that it was too dark, but I found this movie much less dark." Man, Lord all mighty would he ever eat his words.

SECTION TWO: CREATING BATMAN FOREVER

Burton was given the boot to Joel Schumacher. Burton remained a producer and approval, but obviously was being pressured by Warner Bros. to make the film more mainstream. Schumacher originally wanted to make Batman: Year One, but this was rejected as Warner Bros. wanted a sequel and not a prequel. Shoe got his friends Lee and Janet-Scott Batchier to write a script, with the requirements of Batman, the Riddler and a rat. Most of the story and dialogue stayed in the final movie, but Joel attempted to lighten down the material as much as possible. Akiva Goldsman wrote the second draft.

Casting was done super-fast. Rene Russo was cast as Dr. Chase Meriden firstly. Keaton rejected because he did not like being harassed by ADHD kids on a sugar rush. He turned down a $15 Million 1994/$21,777,803.82 2010 Salary. His choices would be The Paper and Speechless, both films you have never heard of! Daniel-Day Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, William Baldwin, and Johnny Depp were all considered but all turned it down. Val Kilmer was cast days later after Shoey saw Tombstone, and he accepted the role with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever. Rene was dropped because of this since she was seen as too old.

Choosing somebody to replace Rene was also a bit of a hassle. Robin Wright, Jeane Tripplehorn and Linda Hamilton were all considered. Nicole Kidman was eventually casted. Schumacher, the racist idiot that he is, removed the black-and-white aspect from Two-Face and casted Tommy Lee Jones instead of Billy De Williams. It was working on The Client where TLJ and JShoe had spent nights watching The Birth of a Nation together. But the script was so horrible that he only accepted because Two-Face was his son’s favorite Batman character. Robin Williams wanted to play The Riddler but Jim Carrey was cast instead. Grr. Marlon Wyans and Leo DiCraprio both fought for the role of Robin, but Chris O’Donnell won the war.

Filming began with all the disoriented drugged crew in September 1994. JShoe got Barbara Ling to help with his self-confidence. JShoe and BL went with a design based around everything wacky and cliché, modern Tokyo, Batman comics from the 1940’s and New York of the 30’s. But JShoe needs his neon. So he added neon up the wazoo. And statues. Long, thick, statues. He and Kilmer did not get along. Kilmer would not speak to him for two weeks straight after JShoe called him “rude” and argued with most of everybody. Probably because he was sober from whatever you drugged him up with. The only person he appreciated was Jim Carry and prayed he would never work with them again. The spoiled fucker. I can tell you how it really went down, but you can guess.

Richard Baker, who is haunting these reviews, showed up to do some makeup work. John Dykstra (also haunting), Andrew Adamson, and Jim Rygiel also showed as VFX supervisors. Pacific Data Images also got in on this shit. They made a CGI Batman for complicated stunts. Costume design was a bit of a trouble, requiring up to 146 people AT ONE TIME. They replaced Batman’s suit with one they felt was MTV organic and edgier. Trust me. Mainstream up the wazoo. John Levesque and Bruce Stambler helped with sound mixing/editing. They even went their way to record bats walking on the floor.

Elliot Goldenthal was hired to produce music months before production began. He also made sure to keep Danny Elfman to a chain to make certain he did not get any bright ideas. The soundtrack CD itself was extremely successful, though only 5 songs were from the movie. The rest were created before the movie even began production. Seal, U2, The Flaming Lips, Brandy, Method Man, Nick Cave, INXS, PJ Harvey and Massive Attack were all contributors to the soundtrack. Tell me if you recognize more than one of those bands. Exactly.

SECTION THREE: REVIEWING BATMAN FOREVER

Two-Face is not present in this film. The Joker is. Tommy Lee Jones does not put on a Two-Face performance. TLJ puts on a performance where he is a wise-cracking, high-energy purple wearing clown with mask wearing grunts. That is The Joker. TLJ is a great actor and did a fine job as The Joker, but the fact is we already saw The Joker and want to see something fresh and new. Even if it wasn’t really Two-Face, although I’d prefer it, I’d accept something well-performed and fresh. TLJ2Face is a failure in this case.

Val Kilmer sounds like Batman, and feels like Batman, but really doesn’t look like Batman. His face is small and short and his eyes are large. I don’t think that’s any of the preferred visions of Batman. His sound is all just repetition of Michael Keaton’s voice, which creates even more redundancy. He isn’t naturally holding his mouth closed, and when he is his lips are too hunched together. Trust me, with as many close ups this film has, that’s an issue. He’s short and his suit is miniscule in comparison to the previous suits. Not to mention, his Batmobile would suffice for a Robinabile in the Burtonverse.

Jim Carrey plays The Riddler 100%...if The Riddler was completely retarded. Carrey embodies all the confidence and wackiness that The Riddler is supposed to have (and is still entertaining), but he doesn’t exert any of the class and style that helps The Riddler prove his higher intellect. He definitely feels like he’s playing something from a Disney B-Movie comedy like Flubber, Honey I Shrunk the Kids or The Nutty Professor. In fact, that brings me to something else. This movie kinda looks like one of those movies. It’s so colorful, but colorful with deep greens and purples and sad, salty blues. It has a lot of aesthetically dry scenes that seem forgotten by the director and a lot of odd-looking devices or characters. (Somebody’s a man child, say yeah!) It feels like a comic book on acid and acutely distant from proper Batman atmosphere.

Robin’s in this movie!...Why? Personally, I like Robin. He serves several purposes in the Batman franchise. He serves as reason for Batman to have a fatherly complex, he brings a style of fighting that Batman’s heavy weight could not supply, and is a reminder that Batman existed before 1989 to fellow half-casual fans. Sometimes even to the most hardcore comic book junkies. This all said, he has his place. A cameo in a video game or movie here or there is plenty acceptable and I find enjoyable. See Arkham City. And of course in a couple seasons of a cartoon or a run in the comic books is also highly acceptable.

But a major role in a movie that’s predecessor is Batman Returns? Gimme a break. Despite this, Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson is…actually pretty good. In the long run, he’s just a natural teenager. He barely even seems to be acting, he’s completely in his element as Robin. 100% natural talent. And his choreography, well, it’s assisted immensely by editing, but he does an awesome job to his own credit. But not on the birghter side, Oof, the dialogue man. It’s dry. It’s really, freaking, dry. It is really fucking arid, baked, bare barren and dehydrated. The Lees were simply writing conversations and nothing more. Not witty, not sad, not happy, not innocent, not intelligent, not anything. Just conversations. They happen, and they’re over. They happen, and nobody cares. And JShoe didn’t bother to ramp it up because he is a shitty director and more importantly is too nice of a friend.

Damn, that plot. That plot is fucking dragged out. And this time it’s not because we need to squeeze room for two villains. That’s already enough of a problem, but it gets even worse when you focus too much on one villain and not enough on the other. The Riddler gets so much goddamn focus. Way more than Batman, Robin shows up at an hour in, and criminally exponentially more than Two-Face. When you have other characters, you show them at various intervals throughout the film in order to keep the film fresh. Give us various perspectives on the story to focus on.

Especially with these many characters. In a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey, I can understand a single focus because that’s the only one that is worthy and available. But in a film where you have all these different characters and they’re not exactly genius, you need to spread out the focus. Otherwise it’s gonna get stale. For God’s Sakes, his backstory is told in a brief TV spot and the rest of his appearances are just there to assist Carrey. I mean, for God's sakes, Chase Meridan is in this movie? Couldn’t tell.

The action scenes are also pretty poor. They’re uneventful. They’re half PRETTY LIGHTS and half KARATE CHOP HIGHYEAH! And both are slowly spread apart. There’s no fun in these scenes. No legitimate steaks on the line, no intensity between moves, not even cool music video set ups to be made. When Robin comes the latter approaches, but that’s still average. I don’t know how a kid couldn’t be bored by a 2 hour movie of this shit, let alone a grown, intelligent adult consumer.

The soundtrack is incredibly manipulative and unbelievably cliché. It would be a welcome addition to the live action Batman TV Series. In fact, Batman Forever is easily a welcome addition to the live action Batman TV Series. It’s a lazily shot and edited movie with poorly controlled expression and an extremely lackluster cast of actors that the director didn’t even care for. Aside from little moments that are worth being Internet Memes, this film fails very badly. 2/5

SECTION FOUR: THE SPECIAL EDITION OF BAMTAN FOREVER

Though I blame the problem of Two-Face not getting enough attention on JShoe, it turns out that the correct amount of footage may have been shot. Dennis Virkler and Mark Stevens, the editors, may be more responsible to this. According to JShoe, the film was originally much darker in story and close to two hours and forty minutes. Talk of an extended cut was made in 2005 for a tenth anniversary, in addition to coincide with Batman Begins and the special editions of the other films, but that never went into fruition. However, the DVD released that year included many of the old shots that were deleted scenes.

One of the scenes was Two-Face escaping Arkham Asylum. This would have been a significant help to the film on its own to make it feel like a circular story. Two-Face is in it at the beginning, Riddler is in at the end. His psychologist would have been hanged with “THE BAT MUST DIE” written in blood on the wall. The construction of Nygma-Tech was more in-depth, which would have assisted in a sense of realism. Sugar & Spice were meant to try out the Boxes with Two-Face and Riddler, which would have made the girls feel more like real characters than just pretty faces. A lot of scenes were abbreviated, including Two-Face’s speech and Riddler beating a guard to death. Don’t know if those additions would have helped but they were there.

The most important scene that was cut involved The Riddler shooting Batman in the face, which would have wiped a portion of Batman’s memory. He forgot his past as The Dark Knight. Alfred would take him to the Cave to rejuvenate his memory.  However, the Cave was destroyed by The Riddler. They go to where the Batmobile used to be, and Alfred would say “funny they didn’t know about the cave beneath the cave.” Then they go down to get some good stuff.  This is where Batman sees a Giant Bat, which is the first image that inspired him to be The Batman. The Bat would swoop in as Bruce raises his arms, and they would appear in a singular silhouette. He remembers The Batman and all the cheesiness pays off. This scene right here. This is good shit. Why the fuck didn’t they keep it?

The ending was originally designed to be like the previous films. Alfred would be driving the Batmobile and the camera would pan up to see Gotham. Chase would ask him “does it ever end?” To which Alfred would reply “no, Meridan, not in this lifetime.” Batman would look up at the signal and Robin would look at it with them, then they leap off the pillars and into the camera.

SECTION FIVE: AFTERMATH OF BATMAN FOREVER

Batman Forever, like its two predecessors, destroyed the record for the highest opening weekend gross, with $52.78 Million 1995/$74,759,836.45 2010. The film has since gained $336,529,844 1995/$476,675,181.86 2010, which is 3.3x its budget. Behind Toy Story, it was the biggest financial success of the year and huge for Warner Bros.  However, it’s reviews are not as nice. The film holds 43% on RT, as opposed to 70%/78% that Batman/Returns holds. The consensus on the website is "Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief."

Peter Travers criticized the commercialism (oh boy would he eat those words) but said "Batman Forever still gets in its licks. There's no fun machine this summer that packs more surprises. The script misses the pain Tim Burton caught in a man tormented by the long-ago murder of his parents." Brian Lowry added his nitpicks: "One does have to question the logic behind adding nipples to the hard-rubber batsuit. Whose idea was that supposed to be anyway, Alfred's? Some of the computer-generated Gotham cityscapes appear too obviously fake. Elliot Goldenthal's score, while serviceable, also isn't as stirring as Danny Elfman's work in the first two films."

Scott Beatty started bringing in the heavy artillery when he said "Tommy Lee Jones played Harvey Dent as a Joker knock-off rather than a multi-layered rogue. Lee Bermejo called B3 unbearable and Roger Ebert gave it a thumbs down. He said "Is the movie better entertainment? Well, it's great bubblegum for the eyes. Younger children will be able to process it more easily; some kids were led bawling from Batman Returns where the PG-13 rating was a joke." Mick LaSelle would say "a shot of Kilmer's rubber buns at one point is guaranteed to bring squeals from the audience."

James Berardinelli, who appears in these sections as much as Roger Ebert, actually enjoyed the movie.  He said "It's lighter, brighter, funnier, faster-paced, and a whole lot more colorful than before." Gene Siskel also gave it a thumbs up…and that’s it. That’s all the notable positive reaction.

But would anybody believe the reaction to what came next?

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Alien x Alien x Alien (1992)

Twenty years later, it was still a stupid decision to make Sigourney Weaver bald.

I think I forgot to mention it because I was so shocked at hating Aliens, but Predator is also celebrating its 25th birthday. SO LET’S RELEASE A GOOD BLU-RAY FOR THE OCCASION!

PRELUDE

I’m sure a lot of modern movie fans who started off with something more natural like Spiderman…as opposed to me who started with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla…are big fans of David Fincher. I know lots AND LOTS of you like lots AND LOTS of his movies. Fight Club. ‘Nuff Said. The Social Network. ‘Nuff Said. Zodiac, Seven and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. You guys love this guy. He’s also working on a lot of projects I’m sure will be damn awesome, but this isn’t a news feed so I will resist the urge. This is a guy who sticks true to his directing roots and takes his time with his movies.

Due to this, he releases less than one film a year. And almost every time, he creates a modern masterpiece. I presume if you’re a David Fincher fan but don’t know everything about him, you’re either A.) Screaming “LIES! LIES! DO NOT TELL US YOUR LIES!” or B.) Crying at the screen. Or maybe I’m so egotistical that I would believe this delusion. But, yes, the truth hurts like hell. David Fincher started by making Alien 3. After Alien received 94% and Aliens received 100% (that looks fixed) on Rotten Tomatoes, Alien x Alien x Alien receives 40% on R.T. It makes no sense. A talented director, an awesome franchise, how would this happen? There’s only one place to look. And that’s at the beginning.

THE CREATION OF ALIEN 3

Dan Ban, Rolly Shussy and Mr. ANONYMOUS were the ones to find Lil’ Jimmy at the bottom of the ocean. But they were at least trying to find Riddle Skedaddle. Here, we get a new team of explorers. David Giler and Walter Hill. Davey and Wally were just desperate and took any script they could find. Eventually they went up to Mr. ANONYMOUS & Crew at 20th Century FOX to say “YES! YES! We found something” “Cool, what’d you find?” “Uuugh…there’s some Christians, and they’re socialists, and there’s Aliens, and there’s no-” “-Calm down, calm down. Sounds good, just make the movie.”

Davey and Wally exit the room. Weaver approaches Mr. ANONYMOUS. Anon says “what were they going to say for that last line anyways?” Weaver says “no Ripley.” ANON wouldn’t take it, and sent Sigourney Weaver to chase them down. This sounds like a good parody of Salt. Maybe I should capitalize on this…Their original vision was to have Ripley make a cameo appearance in the movie, and have Cop. Hicks play the lead role. This would have made fans of the story and fans of the metaphor alike really fucking angry. (I guess it did anyways.) Alien 4 would see an epic battle between Ripley and the Alien Queen…’s Queen.

(Yeah, we’ll get to THAT when the time comes.)

In reality, Weaver agreed to the cameo. She felt like only so much could be done with her character. Also in reality, as opposed to my biased story, they actually did want to get Riddle Skedaddle to be the director. But he found something this grand in scale and over-the-top kinda hard. This makes sense to me, even though he’s a great director, he likes compact and simple stories. Look at his latest, Gladiator and Robin Hood. History, a self-contained and already thought out story. It’s also not filled with aliens. Even Prometheus looks to be a relatively predictable story.

It’s his job to make the tension, terror, and characters awesome. With Riddle Skedaddle working on movies like Thelma & Louise and 1492; and Lil’ Jimmy “Racist” Cameroon working on films like True Lies, they turned to a famous novel author to write a script out of the proposed story. Willy Gibby wrote novels like the Sprawl trilogy, the Blue Ant trilogy and the Bridge trilogy. Trilogy trilogy trilogy. Sounds like your regular author to me. He wrote a script thirty pages shorter than the final cut, which still left the movie to Hicks and Bishop. (How did they fix him?) His only new element used was the bar-code tattoo, which became one of the major plot points.

Not an ORIGINAL one though, anybody who has stepped in the footsteps of George Orwell practically cannot live without this plot point. He also wanted to go Predator style and introduce different classes of Xenomorphs, in this movie he would introduce Warriors. This was scrapped later as the movie wanted to go back to a singular alien. The script was then handed over to Eric Red, a writer of cult horror films like The Hitcher and Near Dark. (Or Near Profit as it may now be called.) This new script abandoned all characters from the original film. No cameo even.

Ripley’s nametag would make a cameo, though. Otherwise, it was an entirely new crew. This might have been the script to go with, but then again who knows other than the people who worked there? It also did something that has been a trend recently in The Simpsons Movie and Under the Dome, where a small USA town would be held captive in a dome for reasons varying. In this movie, that would be the place for the Alien to feed. And it would also be in Space. It resurrected ideas cut from previous films, such as Aliens going through metamorphosis in cocoons.

Even if I never got to see this script, I’m sure this would have been an excellent addition to the franchise. There were even new Alien mosquitos in this script. Alas, these excellent ideas were scrapped due to a misunderstanding. Red first showed the script to Renny Harlin. Renny later had to drop out of the project to do Die Hard 2. FOX and company took this as a sign that the script was shit and they fired Red. They handed the script to David Twohy. This script kept closer to the original idea as Eric Red went way out there. Basically, it was to take place in a prison planet.

Prisoners were mock executed on death row in gas chambers, only to be used as bait in Alien experimentation. These exeperiments would be done for the sake of finding a Xenomorph weak point. Which completely goes against what was laid down in the first movie, that they are the perfect organism. As did Lil’ Jimmy’s film. This script also introduced clones of Aliens, failed and successful. It also went back to going Predator style, where a bunch of classes of Aliens would be seen. Rouge, Spiked and Chameleon were experimented with. There was also something called the newbreed.

God damn all these ideas sound so cool! There was also something experimented where there was a hole in the hull that nobody was aware of. It was big enough where a head could get stuck in by the neck, which lead to extremely gruesome deaths. This lead to …something else…but it’s time will come. Vincent Ward, one of the Mr. ANONs at FOX, stated he was not introduced in Twohy’s script either (OH FUCK OFF) and wanted to do his own script (SEROIUSLY, FUCK OFF.) His script would look like the script that was finally used, although the Davey Boys and Wall*E tweaked it to work more like a prison planet. And now, they had the most mediocre script written for the film that they could work with. Good job.

There’s not a lot of info about what happened afterward. They tried to get Stan Winston, but that didn’t work that well. 7 Million bucks was spent before the script was even finished. It was filmed at Pinewood Studios in Britan. For the four legged aliens, it was suggested a dog would work, but they later resorted to puppets. They also brought in some CGI artists, but like CGI should be used, it was only for the impractical. But otherwise, there’s not a lot more to talk about with the filming and editing. So I guess it’s time to do a

CRITIQUE OF ALIEN 3

Alien 3 eventually decides to go terrestrial. It takes place on Earth, which has become a prison planet. More specifically, a major prison for super hardcore criminals in Oakland, California. Planet and location are only confirmed by the appearance of those cranes that look like AT-ATs. This prison has, supposedly, twenty-five inmates – although it looked more like thirty-five. These characters are individually and without circumstance satisfactory. However…these guys are pretty lazily crafted. Davey Fishy continues Lil’ Jimmy’s trend of not following Riddle Skedaddle’s advice on making the characters unisex and uni-race.

There are three groups of inmates. The one that contains the majority have heavily British accents. In Oakland, California. Uuuuugh. I just feel like, the one place where you SHOULD be aware of heritage is by location. Why are there so many people with British accents in Oakland, California? Is this a flag for fan fiction or frivolous fiction? I find the latter. It could even be a suggestion that the British are brutes who know only animalistic and satanic killing. Oh, and the entire cell is entirely Christian. I think the metaphor is pretty damn obvious. This would have been relevant had this been 1796.

But today, England is anything but the mirror image of its past. Relevancy is a necessary part of art. If anything, America is closer to older England than New England is. (Get it?) Not only is this movie made in 1992, it more than likely takes place a long time from now (we never get a year, but it’s pretty obvious.) The next group is two black guys. Logic and all, this makes decent sense. I just hate how 2/3 Americans in this hardcore cell are black. C’mon guys. The last person is this really crazy psycho who thinks that the Xenomorph is a Dragon. He’s there purely to advance the plot and provides no emotional, philosophical or even comic enjoyment….

BTW, I should have stated this earlier, but in case you haven’t guessed by my review of Aliens I am watching all the extended editions… Anyways, those are most of our new characters. The rest only show up at the very end. As for our returning cast…uuuuuugh….One? Ripley arrives on Earth with Hicks dead and Newt apparently drowned. So they’re finished. Bishop was already SPLIT IN HALF at the end of Aliens; I think we can safely say he’s done for. Ripley, on the other hand, is a different story. She has some pretty nice writing. Not guaranteed genius, but when has the dialogue been the star of these movies?

It’s good enough to where a talented actress/actor could take it and make it some of the most iconic lines ever spoken. And Sigourney Weaver is a talented actress. But here’s the small problem: Remember how she’s not the biggest fan of having Ripley’s character live? Yeah. That shows. She obviously wants to be doing something different and not be here. I’m sure you could come up with the excuse of that being part of her character, where she’s sick of this endless cycle of stupid men and man (or woman) eating aliens. Whether that’s true or not is left up to the viewer, but it still leaves an overall dry and boring performance.

But that’s our characters. They are of heavy importance and a movie is often only as good as its cast. Still, that’s not the end of the story. You’re not allowed to tuck your kids into bed yet, parents. (How many parents read my blog anyways….) There is the issue of pacing. The plot itself is lackluster. You know that typical “exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution” graph that language arts teachers tell you to ALWAYS follow? When in fact it can be broken all the time? This movie breaks it. But pretty incorrectly. There’s very little rising action. Let me illustrate:

The thesis for Alien 3’s pacing is hold off on any sense of threat or suspense, except in little bits and teases throughout the plot. Then unleash as much Hell as possible – within the confines of this setting and plot is not a lot at all – that we held up this whole time. That sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me, especially if you don’t have the actors to hold it up. But alas, is it not the truth that sometimes, visual aspects can hold a movie? It is the truth, but only to an extent. Good dialogue and good actors can hold you up twenty five feet in the air, but visuals can only hold you up 10.

Your movie can look as cool as you want It to, if it’s more than twenty minutes, let alone two freaking hours, you need more things to help it. The Alien creature in this movie is easily best when he’s a guy in a suit. The CGI is only in one instance, but it is a stand out of the rest of the movie and sucks BAD. (The two parallel franchisees would never have a lot of luck with CGI.) The puppet is obviously sped up artificially, and from this he looks like a joke. Like a parody of H.R. Giger’s original design. So, yeah, he sucks. As for the lighting, that’s actually pretty good.

Lots of yellows and blacks. The universal color for hazards. And look at that, we have a bunch of inmates, a suicidal depressed heroin, and an alien that’s trying to kill everybody. Guess that makes sense. Still wonder, with all the posters that have been green for movies of this franchise, when the hell is the actual movie going to be mostly green? Guess that just won’t happen, especially with the last three Alien movies having blue covers. The cinematography is pretty good. There are a lot of different angles, though none one would find purpose for, at least on the first viewing. Despite some strengths, the visual aspect of this movie are just a reminder that this is David Fincher’s first film, fresh out of film school. Soundtrack?

So bad I don’t even remember it, except for one really stupid moment where they have a Matrix style high tense music score during a scene WHERE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO RAPE RIPLEY! Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, is this insensitive? U.S.S. Missouri Joy Ride Fuck the World. And as much as I’d like to continue talking about this movie, there really isn’t anything else. It’s just such a lukewarm movie. But at least you can tell the big guns like the main actress and the director are really trying. It’s a failure because it went through too many rewrites, was an unnecessary sequel, the final writers felt rushed due to studio pressures, David Fincher is completely inexperienced in this film, and the supporting cast is as interesting as watching cement harden.

The Rating? 2/5

I, Da Caa---Caaaa….REALLY?!?!!? FUCKING REALLY?!??! ONE OF THE INMATES IS NAMED JONATHON CLEMENTS?!?!! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Batman Returns (1992)

I’M BURTON.

SECTION ONE: AFTERMATH OF BATMAN

The movie has received immensely mixed reviews, and depending on who you hang with, your impression of the general impression will vary greatly. On the positive side, it gave Batman justice and is the closet adaptation of Batman that we have seen even today. Michael Keaton and Jack Nicolson were praised some pretty obvious reasons. They MADE Batman and The Joker. Lil’ Jimmy Berardinelli said he thought the movie was entertaining with the highlight being the production design. Variety said that Jack stole every single scene. Gene Siskel said the movie was a “’refreshingly adult' approach with performances, direction and set design that 'draws you into a psychological world'”.

His partner, Roger Ebert, partially disagreed, stating: "Batman is a triumph of design over story, style over substance, a great-looking movie with a plot you can't care much about." and called the film "a depressing experience". Many comic book purists were surprised at the dark tone of the movie, especially when it came to how many people The Joker and Batman killed. They also got pissed off when Alfred let Vicki Vale into The Batcave. The Prince and Michael Jackson songs were criticized like jumping sharks and nuked refrigerators. Hell, for all you snobs who think this movie should not be harshly criticized, BURTON doesn’t even like it.  "I liked parts of it, but the whole movie is mainly boring to me. It's OK, but it was more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie."

With the immensely mixed reviews came an even more immense collection of Oscars, Golden Globes, Saturns and Hugo Awards. I MEAN A LOT. Out of that movie came Batman: The Animated Series, which was the first step on the way to the animated DC Universe. TAS is universally loved by fans and critics and has been, by far, the most prominent impression on the average Joe’s view of Batman. The second being the 60’s TV Series. Burton said that "ever since I did Batman, it was like the first dark comic book movie. Now everyone wants to do a dark and serious superhero movie. I guess I'm the one responsible for that trend." Tim Burton would follow in his own trend in

SECTION TWO: WRITING AND CASTING BATMAN RETURNS

Warner Bros. was ecstatic with the results from the 1989 movie and wanted to do a sequel as soon as possible. They spent $250,000 1990/$411,672.98 2010 keeping the sets intact and protected. Burton was iffy on the subject of a sequel. "I will return if the sequel offers something new and exciting", he said in 1989. "Otherwise it's a most-dumbfounded idea." *pushes nose up with finger.* In the meantime, he went to go direct Edward Scissorhands from FOX, which made 4.3x its budget. Bob Kane and Sam I Am Hamm stayed with Warner Bros. for what it’s worth, and developed the first two drafts. Hamm’s script was the one that introduced Penguin and The Catwoman, specifically to go after treasure.

While he was doing Eddie Scissors, Burton found impression in Heathers, and brought on Daniel Waters to write a sequel to Beetlejuice. When Warner Bros. was certain they would lose him, they made Peter and Peters exec producers and gave Burton nearly all the control he wanted. He finally took a look at the Sam I Am Hamm script and said “fuck it, get me Danny Boy.” So DANH20 "came up with a social satire that had an evil mogul backing a bid for the Mayor's office by the Penguin. I wanted to show that the true villains of our world don't necessarily wear costumes." Waters wrote a total of five drafts, with the mayor element coming from the 1960’s TV series. That’s a great sign.

Wesley Strick (Arachnophobia, Cape Fear) decided that The Penguin needed a master plan. Wesley’s big thing was going Moses on this place and having Penguin kill each first born son. Robin also appeared in this rewrite, but he was deleted for clutter. He was originally a juvenile gang leader who became friends with Batman. He also became a black teenager who was also a garage mechanic. DANH20 said "He's wearing this old-fashioned garage mechanic uniform and it has an 'R' on it. He drives the Batmobile, which I notice they used in the third film!" DANH20 went on to say "[Robin is] the most worthless character in the world, especially with the loner of loners." When he was doing Catwoman, DANH20 said "Sam Hamm went back to the way comic books in general treat women, like fetishy sexual fantasy.

I wanted to start off just at the lowest point in society, a very beaten down secretary." Harvey Dent would appear in early drafts of the script, but he was deleted for fear of clutter. Good job Undertaker. "Sam Hamm definitely planned that. I flirted with it, having Harvey start to come back and have one scene of him where he flips a coin and it's the good side of the coin, deciding not to do anything, so you had to wait for the next movie." When it came to casting Max Schrek (if you don’t get that reference let me show you this pit of spiders I have downstairs) Burton had an uncomfortable time. The original script called for him being a golden boy of the cobble pot family while Penguin would be the deformed outsider. When casting Christopher Walkin, Burton ran far, far away, out of fear that Chris would eat him slowly and painfully.

Michael Keaton would return for a second film once his salary was raised to ten million dollars. Annette Benning was cast as Catwoman after Burton saw her in The Grifters, but she got the fuck outta Dodge when water started breaking. A Royal Rumble erupted for the role of Catwoman (WHY WOULD YOU WANT THAT?) between Raquel Watch, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madonna, Cher, Ellen Barkin, Bridget Fonda, Sean Young and Susan Sarandon. Sean Young, who was supposed to be Vicki Vale in the first movie, demanded her audition even dressed as Catwoman before even being approved for a tryout.

When Burton met Michelle Pfeiffer, he didn’t know who the fuck she was but decided to cast her anyways. He liked her. Tits. He liked her tits. Let’s be real here. He already had a heft collection of basement slaves. Michelle received $3 Million as salary and a percentage of the box office. She kicked Burton in the face to prepare for the role. Kathy Long punched Burton in the face to try out for a body-double. By that time, Burton was out cold and drooling blood. When he woke up, he saw Christopher Walkin trying to help him out and went back to sleep. DANH20, in some other room casting Danny DeVito, would say "I kind of knew that DeVito was going to play The Penguin. We didn't really officially cast it, but for a short nasty little guy, it's a short list. I ended up writing the character for Danny DeVito."

SECTION THREE: PRODUCING BATMAN RETURNS

In 1991, Stage 12 and 16 of Warner Bros. huge ass lot were being prepared for the filming of Batman II. Stage 16 would hold the Gotham Plaza based on the Rockefeller Center. Stage 12 housed The Penguin’s underground lair. A half-a-million gallon tank of water was used up for this movie. Eight other locations on the Waner Bros. lot were used, with over 50% of their property being used for Gotham City. Burton was too worried with the cute little penguins and wanted to make sure they were nice and cozy. The Animal Rights groups didn’t believe it when they got wiff of penguins having rockets strapped to their backs.

(the whut the whut the whut?) Dick Mountain got to the Animal Rights groups and gave them a lot of flan. A LOT of flan. “On the flight over the plane was refrigerated down to 45 degrees", said Dick Mountain as they enjoyed their deserts. "In Hollywood, they were given a refrigerated trailer, their own swimming pool, half-a-ton of ice each day, and they had fresh fish delivered daily straight from the docks. Even though it was 100 degrees outside, the entire set was refrigerated down to 35 degrees."

Like the first movie, Warner Bros. spent a LOT of money keeping the production secretive. The art department was required to keep their blinds down. Cast and crew had to have photo ID before they entered the studio, which included the fake working title Dictel. When Kevin Costnar got to the set, Tim grabbed a 9mm, got to the door and said “I’M BURTON” and shot the guy in the knee. Fortunately, he died. Somebody got a picture of DDV as The Penguin, and in response Tim said “I’M BURTON.” Fortunately, he died. The budget came between $15 Million 1991/ $23,704,777.94 2010 for marketing; and $65 Million 1991/ $102,720,704.42 for production. The total was $80 Million 1991/ $126,425,482.36 2010.

Bo Welch said “I’M BURTON” to Anton Furst and, unfortunately, he died. Bo Welch became production designer because of this. He decided to put Joseph Stalin and Bozo the Clown into a blender to make Gotham City. He also put Fritz Lang in there for added measure. An iron maiden was used for Batman’s entrance into The Batcave. Stan Winston also joined the killing party and helped make The Penguin’s makeup, which took two hours to apply. (You think that’s bad, check out Chaney Jr. over there in 1940.) Devito was forced to put mouthwash, green and red foodcoloring in his mouth to create the desired effect.

More than 60 catsuits were created for the sake of the production, coming in at $60,000 1991/ $94,819.11 2010. The batsuit also got an upgrade to be thinner and flexible. DDV wasn’t a big fan of his costume, but it helped him get into character. J.P. Morgan came in for dressing Christopher Walkin, and Burton fainted again. The bats in the batcave were made entirely out of CGI, since enough people committed suicide directing bats in the first movie. Aside from the spare real penguins that were brought in, robots, CGI and men in suits (whut the whut the whut) were used. 30 African Penguins and 12 King Penguins were used.

Music in a nutshell: Danny Elfman is complacent, Peter and Peters didn’t like Danny, he had a 12/7 schedule, the score was as long as the average movie but not as long as this movie, licensed songs by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

SECTION FOUR: REVIEWING BATMAN RETURNS

When it comes to The Batman in modern cinema, there are essentially two ends of Batman. The one that is preferable between the two is the hard brick that is impossible to break, the one that hides any feelings he may or may not be feeling. Even as Bruce Wayne he is probably just gonna be super casual and unbiased. Then there’s the other side that is complex and “has feelings,” tossing them between fake lovers and fake children. However, the perfect Batman, in my conceited opinion, is the one that can strike a balance between the two. The first movie, between Burton and Keaton achieved this potential goal and apparently did it by a slot machine because the delicate balance is gone. The crew did not strike gold twice. He is now what I consider the worst of the modern Batman interpretations.

He is the guy with all the feelings and balancing them between whatever he has to juggle. Which, honestly, isn’t a lot in this movie. But we’ll get to that later. I don’t know. I mean, yeah, the character is more complex and there’s more opportunity for emotional exploration. But the thing is, Batman is a SMART superhero. Even Spiderman addressed this, and he’s not out of high school. Even Superman addresses this at some points, and we all know he’s a fucking dumbass.  And all of these guys appear to be hypocrites, and understandably so. But, you don’t show emotion when you’re doing duty because if you do you show weakness and attachment. Your enemies can target these feelings and get at you better. I prefer a smart guy who has little emotion to a dumbass who has all the possible feelings in the world. Maybe I’m just boring that way. That said, Michael Keaton is extremely convincing for what he has. He plays a dumb Batman very well.

When it comes to Batman fans, there are two sides of the spectrum. And they have been at war ever since Nolan gave a big F.U. to everybody else. There’s the side that loves Batman, and then there’s the side that loves a good Batman story. The side that loves Batman is the obsessive who knows everything there is to know about Batman, and what makes him Batman, and only cares about Batman. The side that loves a good Batman story is typically more casual, only watching the movies and/or playing the video games and reading the comic books on a whim.

They just want to see either Batman kick some ass, or some good character exploration. They don’t really care if it’s Joker, Penguin, Batman or Mr. Freeze, just make some good characters with good atmosphere. Which side is correct? It’s hard to say, actually. Being the latter, I like to think of myself on the winning side and probably did bloat that side up in my description. They seem to be a little less biased and purist. But the other side has collected more knowledge and understands the material better. In any case, it could be said that this movie is for the latter while the previous movie was for the former.

What the fuck am I getting at here? Batman, in all honesty, feels like an attachment. And it’s something you’re going to hear from hardcore Batman junkies as a complaint way more than lighter, more story based Batman junkies. Batman should be the center of the Batman movie, right? Well, what if we just see it as a film on its own? Anyways…onto my complaints. I think there are two problems here. One is Batman simply not getting as much spotlight and not having as much material to work with as he could. They went nowhere near as far as they could with the complex love relationship between Bruce and Selina.

The other is Selina herself. She also feels like a bit of an attachment. As Kyle herself, Michelle does a really good job. Her character as the secretary seems like the complex, interesting person that I want this movie to be about. But I don’t get that, not even a little backstory. It seems like it’s available, but there’s no elaboration. And in such a long movie (for the genre) that’s a bit of a problem. Instead we get this sex model that is attempting to hide her emotions for the sake of sexiness. What emotional logic does this make? None. What marketing sense does this make? All of it. It makes all of it. All the senses are made. I think I’m going to take my time machine and convince Tim Burton to make a little spin-off about Selina called…OH WAIT, FUCK, NEVER MIND…

When it comes down to it, this movie is all about The Penguin. And I like it. DDV is excellent as The Penguin. His psychotic nature and ability to replicate animalistic insanity is riveting. The only thing that ever bugged me was the repetition of his behavior. How much snorting is he gonna do, and how horny is he anyways? I know animals act like this more, but hey if we’re gonna replicate penguin nature should we make him GAY? Yeah. I thought so. Now you see my point. Still, I love the confusion in his mind about how the real world works, and yet at the same time he completely understands how it works. It’s something I can relate to, how a guy can’t function in what he fully comprehends. It’s not fun. And it’s definitely a way to tear his emotions apart between being a bird and being a person. His makeup is also really good. I mean, it is UGLY. The flippers are extremely realistic, his clothing is gruesome and his face can only be described as hard puke. That is how you make somebody uncomfortable.

Tim Burton is an expert at experimentation. In this film, penguins act about as human as he could have gotten them while making them look real. The media’s bullshit is taken to new hilariously blatant levels of portrayal. The atmosphere overall is an unsettling version of a funhouse. This coupled with the raging clowns makes me think “did you forget to use this when you were doing The Joker?” The dialogue has a lot of funny little offbeat quips, but there’s also a lot of stupid, STUPID puns. “A die for a die” was the climax of comedy failure. The film challenges what is a-okay to show on film. People get eaten. That’s all I will say. It’s partial, but people get eaten. Birds do too.

The action scenes show Tim Burton’s directorial prowess. The chase scenes are intense and every moment down to the most intense separation is filled with suspense. Everything in these action scenes matter, where in the predecessor sometimes you felt like “there’s no way this is resulting in B, it must result in A.” They’re well-choreographed in singular movements and their distance away from each other, and vary through the flow of the battles.

Overall, Batman Returns is a fun comic book movie, but filled with clutter. Catwoman’s role seems shoved in for the sake of billing, which should have been sacrificed for more attention on Batman. But on the other hand, most of Batman’s emotional battles originate from Catwoman’s presence. The film feels slow, but if it was cut it might not carry as much power. It seems as if this is the best we have. And between the action scenes, the Burton style atmosphere, and The Penguin, I feel very happy with the overall outcome. Definitely the best of the 4 films that are now part of the “Motion Picture Anthology.” 4/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Predator 2 (1990)

King Willie: You can't see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin'.

PRELUDE TO THE REVIEW

So uuugh…production notes…yeah, not so much honestly. It was given an NC-17 Rating in the beginning but they cut down the violence. (Die Hard 4 anybody?) They wanted to get Arnold Schwarzenegger to return as the protagonist, but he declined saying that going to the city was a bad idea, and instead signed on for Terminator 2. Good job Schwarzenegger. Now I don’t know if Stan Winston took a car to the head or something, but between three years he apparently lost all of his elementary, middle and high school biology. Because of all things, THIS is what he said:

"Broad concept's the same. The difference is, this is a different individual. A different individual of the same species. As is a snake is a snake, but different snakes are different. Their colorings are different, different parts of their characteristics, their facial structures, subtle differences." Stan, are you referring to special differences? Though I’m sure each snake is distinct to each snake, to us each species is a species. I’m sure that we all look to the same to them. So, naturally, the Predator would not look very different between individuals to us. If you’re trying to make them human, okay go! But make sure to SAY SO! Because you look kinda dumb. Anyways, let’s get on with the

CRITIQUE OF PREDATOR 2

When you want to talk about an 80’s action movie called Predator 2, you usually want to talk about the actions scenes from a movie called Predator 2. That’s one of the reasons this movie sucks and is impossible to pay attention to. There are two major action scenes, one at the climax and the beginning. Predator had the same problem, so you would THINK with the SAME GODDAMN WRITERS that they would try to fix this? Naah. They just make it even more of a problem. As the movie opens, we are treated to an action scene that doesn’t really matter.

The plot is extremely predictable. Two drug gangs, none of them win because The Predator is here to kill them all. Speaking of which, I’m going to name this guy Jeffrey Clements. Since that logic apparently works here. Since this is a dystopian future…well, seven years into the future (I’m gonna be honest does 2019 sound futuristic to you?)…we of course have only one good cop in the entire city of Los Angeles and of course he’s black. These two things can work sometimes if paired with fun actors and innovative action techniques, but these two things combined with all the clichés in the book zzzzzz.

Snooze away for 2 hours, you’ll do better to your body and mind. Of course there’s also the “EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND RESEARCH!” gimmick which was overused by the time Alien came out, and goddamn if it isn’t the cheapest thing to turn to since Apollo 18. All of this predictability and familiarity make the movie not worth paying attention to. We know exactly what’s going to happen, and we can tune out. You’d think a movie of this caliber would want some sort of tension/action somewhere. The people in this movie don’t even try to defend themselves until they know what they’re up against.

The militia in the first movie didn’t need that! They just went in because they knew, species or no species, Joseph Clements was the enemy. Simple but sweet, and shows the character’s bravery rather than tells the character’s intelligence. Right after they  learn what they’re up against, they have a plan all filled in. No time to figure it out or anything. Bottom line, if you’re looking for good writing, you’d do several times better writing something yourself. There is ONE SCENE that takes 10-20 minutes at the very end…but I gotta save that for the end. Despite the suspension in this movie being blatantly nonexistent, and the plot weaker than walking on a pixie stick over the Mississippi River, can the action scenes that the plot carries be seen as some sort of highlight?

...No. It’s basically “Predator kill kill kill PREDATOR kill kill KILL Predator KILL kill KILL” for an hour and a half, until Good Cop comes in and actually gets some shots in. I wouldn’t mind if this was a fucking slasher movie where I just wanted to see people die, but in this movie I expect a survival of the fittest. Even the back and forth isn’t done very well. There’s a lot of times where both characters are moving very slowly, and the other parts they seem to be running aimlessly. Plot points – such as THE BOMB – seem to go nowhere, and stupid jokes about stereotypical elders are forced into the action scenes for no artistic reason.

Speaking of stereotypes, this makes James Cameroon look like Gandhi when it comes to judgment based on race. J&J Thomas (as I shall call the writers) are likely suspects to believe the Men in Black are comprised of Jamaicans that worship the sun and answer to all beings that are not God. I wouldn’t have believed that from the first movie, but from the fact King Willie says in a racist Jamaican accent “aw yeah man, fucking Voodoo magic man, ha ha ha!” Makes me pretty sick to my stomach. The white characters are John Bradshaw Layfield, and if you don’t know who that is look him up and you’ll understand what that means.

The Latino characters put Jeannette Goldstein to shame. Every single goddamn character in this movie either screams “I’M A MINORITY!!!” or “I’M A METAPHOR!!!!!”It’s uninteresting, it’s immature, it’s simplistic, it’s bad, and it’s frivolous fluffy fan fiction fuck. There’s no good scenery in this movie. Hint: When they call it the steel jungle, that doesn’t mean it retains the same hunting atmosphere. The Predator himself has changed.  Jeffrey Clements, who COULD be a girl, is now less reptile and more bipedal fish. It’s also very hairy. I feel like this amplifies a lot metaphors from the first design, of which I already went over.

Still, no way in hell it’s going replace the initial guy. Speaking of the initial, remember all those awesome one-liners? Dey iz gone boy. Dey iz gone. There’s a few carried over from the original movie, like the motherfucker line. Some new ones, like “want some candy?” It’s actually a pretty good one that, in the big picture, is pretty disturbing. A deadly hunter is repeating the words of an American child. The potential controversy! I love it! But…try saying “I ain’t got time to bleed” to a friend; then try saying “want some candy” in that really creepy voice to similar friend. Doesn’t work anywhere near the same, ain’t it?

This movie fails on every level. The directing surpasses laziness, the writing surpasses insanity and lack of competence, the pacing in this movie makes the pacing of another related movie an hour longer look classic, the editing is sloppy and choppy (I also guess there’s a few important scenes missing), and their only positives – monster and one-liners – fail in the respect they are attempting to live up to the entry of the three years past. 1/5. BUT. You must stay, because…dun dun dunnn.

SPOILERS: THE AFTERMATH OF PREDATOR 2

Despite being the worst entry in either the Alien or Predator franchise so far, it is the second most important to both franchises. Obviously the respective firsts not only began the franchises but laid standards nearly impossible to surpass. However, this film leads to something much bigger. At the end, our good cop character falls down into a spacecraft housing the Predators. In there is actually really cool. Lots of fogs, lots of creepy oranges (didn’t even know that was possible), but there’s one place. There’s a room of this spacecraft with a few skulls.

One is of a human, which we saw at the beginning. There’s one of a deer or moose placed high near the ceiling. There’s one low to the ground of a Tyrannosaurus Rex – although it must have gone through some intense shrinking. These earthly skulls give us a hint that the Predators have been hunting everywhere and everywhen. Since Earth creatures proved formidable, they have been going one on one with us. They also give the main character a gun from 1715. This alone has gotten a lot of Predator fan fiction, graphic novels, stories, remixes, video games, and other things set up. The merchandise has blown from Die Hard levels to competition with Star Wars. But there’s one thing, one tiny little thing, that made Predator at least one of the ten most major science fiction, fantasy or horror franchises of the modern day. Inside is a Xenmorph Skull.

NEXT TIME: We return to space, where nobody can hear you scream.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Batman (1989)

You ever dance with The Devil in the pale moonlight?

Alright, first things first. It’s time for The Dark Knight Rises. I don’t think I can add to the tremendous hype and discussion that has been going on, other than stirring ingredients than have already been added. But Hell, I can offer a new look at the old movies, can’t I? Since this is a simple hype to a new movie, I’m not going to do a 100% comprehensive marathon. This is  the TKR marathon, not the Batman marathon. I’m not going to talk about the Batman and Batman and Robin movie serials from 1943 and 1949 respectively, nor the 1966 movie, nor any of the animated epics or any fan films.

At least not comprehensively in their own right. That will come when I decide to do a full Batman marathon. But right now, I don’t think it’s the right time nor am I ready to do absolutely everything about The Bat. I’m going to talk about the movies that had an effect on The Dark Knight Rises in some sort of direct fashion. Like Step A leads to Step B leads to Step C. Not A happened, then later on B happened – yeah, B would have never happened if it weren’t for A, but B didn’t happen because of A. With that, I am going to give a quick summary of “WTF JUST HAPPENED?” in

SECTION ONE: BATMAN SOARS FOR SIXTY THREE YEARS

In 1926 The Bat was released, a film slashed* by Roland West. It was based on a 1920 stageplay and later was remade in 1930 and 1959. Between all of these sources, it’s impossible not to address the connections to Batman. The Bat Signal was introduced in this movie, among many of the classic tools in a utility belt. The main villain would go around in a bat costume scaring people. Even the bat logo and the grappling hook were introduced in this movie. In 1989, when the movie we’re gonna talk about was released, Bob Kane said that the 1930 film was the one that inspired him to create Batman. When you think about it, Batman seems like a fan fiction of The Bat. Like if somebody did Jason Voorhees as a hero. It’s almost too cheesy when you think about it.

*If you don’t know what slashing means, it means written/directed/produced by, sometimes also with /edited.

In 1928 a film called The Man Who Laughs was released by Universal. It was a based on a Victor Hugo novel and portrayed a ugly yet attractive sympathetic psychopath as its main antagonist. Gwynplaine, The Man Who Laughs, was a son of a nobleman who offended King James II. King James II sent his dad to a death in an iron maiden, and sentenced the son to disfigure his face to a permanent grin. Do you get it now? This was the inspiration for The Joker. He later finds a girl named Dea who is a baby when they first meet. He takes her in and eventually falls in love with her.

(Yeah…guys…I know. It’s 1928.)

This does bare some similarities to Harley Quinn, how Joker finds her extremely young and out of her environment and eventually comes to “loving” her. I’m surprised this doesn’t get brought up more, because it’s a much more famous silent film (though nothing close to stuff like The Lost World and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and the similarities are much more “in the spirit” of The Joker. The Bat had all those tools and things but were used in a completely different style. Gwynplaine is a villain who believes in his own righteousness with one love who believes in him. I dunno. But whatever, moving on shall we?

The Batman comic started off as pretty damn dark itself. The artwork didn’t show it, but Batman in the early days was much closer to an anti-hero than most adaptations. He would kill people all the time. ‘Nuff said. So it wasn’t the most palatable for film adaptations. Comic book heroes like Superman and Captain America were not adapted into full length motion pictures, that was typically reserved for books and stage plays. They were typically adapted into color cartoons and movie serials, which were meant to be cheesy light fair before The Main Event. However, he ended up being so popular with detective buffs and mystery junkies that Hollywood couldn’t resist banking in on the popularity.

For 15 weeks in 1943, Batman became a movie serial, one episode per week before the movie. They took a lot of creative licenses in order to make it something generally loved by people familiar with superhero fare.  It introduced The Bat Cave, which would be shown full of bats and called “The Bat’s Cave” at the beginning of each episode. They also introduced the secret entrance through The Grandfather Clock. They also changed Alfred from fat and clean shaven to skinny and sporting a thin mustache. And if that ain’t the popular image of butlers today, I don’t know what is. But they created a very stale cliché villain of the times with the serial that never carried over to the comics. However, with the success of the 1943 serial, they made another serial in 1949 called Batman and Robin. This one included The Wizard, who had been introduced in the comics two years earlier.

These two serials were re-relased in the early 60’s and gained a new cult following in the time. This lead to the inception of the intentionally cheesy Batman TV Series. It became the notion that Batman was a cheesy superhero just like Superman or Captain America. Back in the day when everything serial was served with a ham-n-egg sandwich, it was one thing to take these liberties. But their immense popularity created a huge numbing on the bridge connecting the comic book and the movie. The series lasted for 120 episodes twice a week, for 60 weeks. Despite an immense cult following, far beyond its inspiration, it has had no DVD release.

Yet the movie has? Basically what happened was that the contract that was signed for the TV Series stated that it could not be shown anywhere but the TV. But the movie could since it was naturally going to show on TV, the cinema and airplanes. This is why you can see it on any TV Station anytime somewhere in the world; in the US we’re getting it on the Hub. Between the three screen incarnations of Batman, he was a cheesy gadget-based crime fighter that was in the same tone as Superman or Captain America. This is not the comic’s intention. So Tim Burton waz allaike, “DUDE. I LIKE DARK MOVIES. I LIKE BATMAN. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASP!!!”

SECTION TWO: WRITING AND CASTING THE BATMAN

Tim Burton had success in the film industry prior to 1989. He had adapted his old student film Frankenweenie into a short film. Mainly his success came from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985 and Beetlejuice in 1988. So Warner Bros. hired Burton to direct Batman. They presented him with a script by Tom Mankiewicz, but Burton felt that the script was too campy for his taste. Yeah. Soak that in folks. Tim Burton now had the responsibility of picking a basement slave to write a 30 page treatment. He decided to use the one that the public saw as “his girlfriend” for P.R. ease.

He was presented with the dark, recently and successful comic books The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke. Steve Englehart also got on The Batwagon and helped maked a new treatment, this one including The Joker and Rupert Thorne as the main villains with a cameo appearance of The Penguin. Silver St. Cloud and Dick Grayson were to make key supporting roles. In the third treatment, The Penguin and Dick Grayson were removed, despite Warner Bros. apparently being impressed with the second treatment. The crew met up with Sam Hamm (that is the most awesome coincidence ever) to write a screenplay.

His screenplay kept away from being an origin story, finding flashbacks and “unlocking the mystery” more fitting. Sam I Am Ham reasoned: "You totally destroy your credibility if you show the literal process by which Bruce Wayne becomes Batman." I don’t know how that works. Christopher Nolan seems to have some fans left. Maybe it’s more of a hipster thing to explain Act I. Hamm took an axe to the treatments by replacing Silver with Vicki Vale and Rupert Thorne with his own creation, Carl Grissom. He also kept Dick Grayson to a cameo appearance. James Gordon was also going to have a cameo, but this was cut.

Warner Bros. was all cool with the script. They loved it. But the problem was that they didn’t want to make it into a movie. What are they, middle scholars? Hamm’s script became bootlegged in Warner Bros.’ lack of attention and sold at comic book conventions. Between this and the success of Beetlejuice, Batman was finally given the green light out of PEER PRESSURE. When they casted Batman it was similar to Superman in that half a dozen were considered for the role that didn’t make the cut. These included Mel Gibson, Kevin Costnar, Charlie Sheen, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Selleck, and Bill Murray.

Tim Burton didn’t want to give into studio pressure to cast a typical action movie star. He wanted to cast Michael Keaton as Batman, because of his experience in Beetlejuice and learning of his dark and edgy side that he pushed away with comedy. When producer Jon Peters joined him, the studio gave in and let him cast Lil’ Mikey. But between Tim Burton and Michael Keaton (famous comedian), fans were getting up in arms about ANOTHER cheesy Batman movie. Fans heard Tim Burton and immediately thought of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, and fans heart Michael Keaton and immediately thought of Mr. Mom.

Not to mention, the three main screen incarnations so far were a breakfast supreme from IHOP, a corn on the cob and a ham and cheese sandwich. Bob Kane, I Am Sam Ham and Michael Uslan were notable presumption protestors. Adam West even said himself that he would have been a better choice. Bob Kane was brought in as a creative consultant and he saw the awesomeness in the movie. He helped make the trailers intentionally dark to try to sway some fans, but there were still A TON of skeptics. In the end, 50,000 letters of protest were sent to Warner Bros. before the movie was even released.

When casting The Joker, Tim Curry, William Dafoe, David Bowie and James Woods were considered, with Robin Williams LOBBYING HARD for the part. However, Bob Kane had lobbied for Jack Nicolson since 1980, even before a script or directorial position was in existence. Jack agreed to what is called an off-the-clock contract. Basically, whenever he felt like filming, he would film. Bottom line. He has others movies, he has a day job, and he has Lakers games. Then he will film this comic book movie. The only thing he demanded that wasn’t met was a three-week schedule, which lapsed into 106 days. He got $6 Million as well as a large chunk of the movie’s gross. Man, I’d fucking hate to work with younger Jack Nicolson, and I can’t imagine he’s much better as an old dude. He ended up getting $50 Million for side stuff.

Sean Young was originally cast as Vicki Vale, but got fucked over by a horse and couldn’t make it. Burton wanted to cast Michelle Pfeffier as Double-V but she was Keaton’s girlfriend and that would have been pretty awkward. Supposedly. Kim Basinger was suggested to replace her because they were gonna shoot in T-Minus 10 Seconds and she also needed to look the part. They ended up putting a gun to her head and making her “shoot” the movie. She ended up enjoying the part despite being threatened to the end of her days. Choosing Alfred Pennyworth was an easy choice for Burton.

He loved Michael Gough in the Hammer Horror Films (or as I call ‘em in the DFM2, H2Fs), such as Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera. Robert Wuhl’s investigator was supposed to die via Joker Gas, but Burton loved the guy so much he “let him live.” Billy Dee Williams was cast as Harvey Dent because Tim Burton is a stupid racist and thought a “black and white” concept would be good for a future Two-Face. But we’ll get to here’s the REALLY stupid REALLY racist dude here in a couple of days. Nicholson convinced the crew members to cast Tracey Walter as a henchman as him and Nicolson were buddy ol’ pals in real life. The rest of the casting was simple do-dis-do-dat sorta shit.

 

SECTION THREE: CREATING THE BATMAN

Originally it was considered to film the movie entirely in the Warner Bros. backlot, but media interest in the film made them change the location. They went for Pinewood Studios in England between October and January. 18 sound stages and nearly all of the 95 acres Pinewood possessed were used. Because of this shootmania, the budget escalated from 30 Million to 48 Million, or in 2010 money from $54,567,681.23 to $87,308,289.97. Filming was HIGHLY SECRATIVE. SO STOP READING THIS YOU FUCKING MORON OR YOU WILL DIE. Not get assassinated or anything, just magically die. Magically of course. One of the publicists over in England offered 10,000 euros which I am NOT converting, and the studio was NOT going to accept. 20 minutes of footage were stolen and the police were called up to do somethin’ ‘bout it. Due to this, Timmy said this was one of the worst periods of his life.

In 1988 The Writer’s Guild Strike of America began. I Am Sam Hamm was not allowed to write a rewrite. So Jonathon Gems, Warren Skaaren and Charles McKeown rewrote during the period when Tim Burton was filming the movie. Hamm criticized the rewrites and blamed it on Warner Bros. U figgure dat wun out urself. Burton said: "I don't understand why that became such a problem. We started out with a script that everyone liked, although we recognized it needed a little work." It was during these rewrites that Dick Grayson had the final cut to him.

When designing his movie, Burton wanted to hire Anton Furst from his work for A Company of Wolves. He didn’t have much luck when he tried to hire him for Beetlejuice, Furst was committed to High Spirits at the time of Beetlejuice, which he admitted he regretted during the filming of Batman. He stated: "I don't think I've ever felt so naturally in tune with a director", he said; "Conceptually, spiritually, visually, or artistically. There was never any problem because we never fought over anything. Texture, attitude and feelings are what Burton is a master at." His first priority was to fuck everything into a melting pot to make Gotham the ugliest metropolis imaginable.

"We imagined what New York City might have become without a planning commission. A city run by crime, with a riot of architectural styles. An essay in ugliness. As if hell erupted through the pavement and kept on going.” Brazil, a 1985 film, became a huge inspiration for the art. Derek Meddings (James Bond, Superman) and Keith Short (Prometheus, Hugo) also added their support. When talking about the Batmobile, Furst said: "We looked at jet aircraft components, we looked at war machines, we looked at all sorts of things. In the end, we went into pure expressionism, taking the Salt Flat Racers of the 30s and the Sting Ray macho machines of the 50s".

Bob Ringwood turned down License to Kill in favor of Batman. However, that does not mean he did not have difficulty. He stated "the image of Batman in the comics is this huge, big six-foot-four hunk with a dimpled chin. Michael Keaton is a guy with average build", he stated. "The problem was to make somebody who was average-sized and ordinary looking into this bigger-than-life creature." Burton commented, "Michael is a bit claustrophobic, which made it worse for him. The costume put him in a dark, Batman-like mood though, so he was able to use it to his advantage".

Burton’s original idea was a fully black suit, which made Bob Kane a happy camper.  Jon Peters, on the other hand, wanted to use a Nike product placement on the suit. The entire cost of all the different physical drafts of the suit was $250,000 1988, $454,730.68 2010. In the end, the costume the suit was mostly a dark black but did have its spots of yellow like in the comic books, and abandoned all use of spandex and underwear and the sorts. And Now all needed to be done was the MEEEUUZIK, MEEUUUUZIK, MEEEEEUZZIIIIIKK, MUSIC MUZIK, MEZIK, MUUUSSSICC!!!!

He got Danny Elfman for his third big hit film, like he did for his first and second. This was also Danny Elfman’s first big huge scale film, and all he had for inspiration from his buddy Tim was a graphic novel. Yeah, real helpful Burton. Real fucking helpful. Jon Peters almost cut Lil’ Danny, but decided not to when he heard the opening MUZIK. It was Peter and Peters who decided it was a good idea to get The Prince and The King to do the music. If you don’t know what that means, fuck you because you didn’t grow up in the 80’s. So I guess I should get a pretty good boning later tonight.

Burton combated this style saying that his movies “aren’t commercial like Top Gun.” Somebody give that motherfucker a looking-glass. Elfman stated: "Batman was done in England by technicians who didn't care, and the non-caring showed," he stated. "I'm not putting down England because they've done gorgeous dubs there, but this particular crew elected not to." In the end, all of the songs were successful, despite some bitter tastes left in some people’s mouths. And you know what else was successful? THE MOVIE. And you know what else I’m going to do in

SECTION FOUR: REVIEW BATMAN

Danny Elfman might have had reason to be self-conscious about his soundtrack. Everybody knows it, of course. No mistaking the Batman theme. And it’s a gorgeous, sweeping symphony of sounds. I love the theme. But the rest of the music, not the matzah. In fact, this theme is not 100% matzo either. I feel like it is extremely…well, comic-book like. There are a lot of moments in the soundtrack that come close to spelling out “the superhero swoops in to save the day!” “Nice punch!” “Can Batman possibly make it out of this situation?” Relaying the message with soundtrack is only one step above relaying the message with narration.

I just feel like that shouldn’t be Batman. I know a lot of Batman purists are like “ooh, but that’s how he was in the comics!” Yeah, well, you gotta make the movie before you make the Batman movie. You see what I’m saying? And besides, Batman is not at all like the soundtrack suggests. Michael Keaton is an excellent Batman and his Bruce Wayne ain’t half bad. As Batman, he is dark, brooding, but also clever and colorful. He has a personality. He isn’t just this stiff, scared, focus entity. He is a human, not a titanium eggshell. He has a sense of humor in him, and he doesn’t follow some code of honor in not killing people.

That’s how I like my Batman, and that’s how I think a lot of people love their Batman. Bruce Wayne ain’t half bad. He’s about as interesting as Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. ‘Nuff said. He’s an average guy, but an interesting average guy. Jack Nicolson as The Joker is another thing entirely. I fucking love Jack Nicolson. He is one of my favorite actors. The guy brings such psychotic life that I can totally relate to. Every time he’s given even a decent line, he fucking makes it comedy gold. Him saying “I’m glad you’re dead” and “you are my number one guy” have become famous movie quotes.

The guy is fucking nuts, he adds the perfect pause between each breath like a pro wrestler, his look is beyond iconic and psychotic, his sense of humor is bonkers on the outside, but has a slight sense of sarcasm and social commentary on the inside. Like he said, “I’m only smiling on the outside.” But there are some kinda dumb moments he gets. They’re not his fault, really. Like the whole Prince thing. That was funny at first but it went a little too long. The giant gun felt kinda juvenile and the dancing scene was just complete idiocy. Go over the top, I love over the top. But over the top does not mean stupid. There are his moments of underwhelming material, but for the most part Jack kicks Ass. I love fucking purple.

The supporting characters aren’t half bad. But the problem is there aren’t a lot. Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Dent, and a carload of assholes of other guys just kinda feel like being there for the sake of being there. Vicki Vale feels like a typical 80’s damsel in distress from the 80’s who’s uptight with everybody to hide her promiscuity that is never revealed to any substantial degree. Bob, Joker’s henchman, is this crazy instance of stealing the show for no apparent reason. He doesn’t talk much, but he looks and feels awesome. He’s like if the lead singer for Metallica decided to trade in his voice for extra intimidation and look. That’s Bob. He’s the Boba Fett of the Batman series.

The visual style is okay. It looks a lot like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It definitely looks ugly as fuck, like they were aiming for. Like this place was puked up by Killer Croc. But it doesn’t feel dark or foreboding. I don’t know. I mean, I get you trying to do a completely ugly city. But your film does not firmly establish the amount of crime that would be appropriate for such a look. You tell us all about how this city is filled with criminals, but all I can see are The Joker and his Henchman. And they’re newbies. SHOW us some guys. Even the villains who killed Batman’s parents are…well, you’ll see. If you can’t show us a reason to make it ugly, make it like Batman fans know it as a dark skyscraper of a city.

And, overall, the film just has a lot of holes. Like Sam Hamm just expected the audience to accept his material in the easiest format ever. If he was established in the comics, then 9/10 times they don’t establish him. Again, a lot of the side characters just feel there. The film is filled with jumps that just leave the audience supposed to be assuming what happened when it would have been easy and adding to the film if they showed it. It’s like a Mario Bros. game.

How the ground of the game is mostly solid but there’s a lot of pitfalls you gotta jump over. This isn’t Mario Bros. dude, just show us stuff. I know you don’t wanna show stuff that feels like repetitive exposition but could you please keep the continuity intact? Thanks. Some of the dialogue is lukewarm. I mean, if this was your everyday 80’s action flick the dialogue would actually be pretty impressive. Its sense of timing, understanding of human emotion and color are helpful to the film. But this is BATMAN. You can do better than just 85% of your effort. Moving on, the action is also not choreographed that well.

People get shot in the wrong way, at the wrong time. Physical action is reminiscent of pro wrestling. C’mon, are we watching a Godzilla movie? And for a BATMAN movie, there sure as Hell isn’t enough of it. It’s not like the drama is any good. The relationship between Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale is forced as Hell and barely even existent. You know, a movie can be measured by how it’s aged. A film like Scarface: The Shame of a Nation has not lost its quality when the masterpiece Scarface came out; in fact it might have even been boosted for being so different.

I think a lot of people loved this movie initially because it gave justice to the Batman character that it so desperately needed, and of course because of the great performances by the lead roles. And it is a pretty good movie, all in all. The two leads are fucking amazing, the visual style is really good though misplaced, and the soundtrack is well made even if extremely manipulative. But when it comes to the script, everything falls apart faster than you can throw a holy bone at a batman. It’s an alright movie, but nothing special. The Animated Series from 1992 can even blow this away. I give it 3.5/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Rambo III (1988)

The last Rambo film for 20 years.

In Nineteen and Eighty-Eight years after ل€$u$ h. ₡hRi$₮ was born (supposedly), we were in the final years of The Cold War. Communism was becoming open to The West, and Afghanistan was being fucked over big time. We were intent on getting rid of nuclear warfare, and everything was pretty much stable for the time. Then this movie came out. Sylvester, Andre and Mario came back to the Rambo franchise because they wanted to capitalize on some sort of fear that would have been better capitalized on 30 years ago. And that kind of fucked things up. Not only was this movie extensively anti-Soviet, but it is also PRO MUJAHIDEEN.

Now isn’t that something? Now, I probably have a lot of ignorant American viewers (and honestly it’s very possible you folks in Germany – who are apparently my second biggest demographic – aren’t very keen on the subject either), who don’t know what the Mujahideen is. Basically, when Russia (or the Roussi) invaded Afghanistan and took them over, Mujahideen formed like Anonymous forms on the Internet. A group of rebels against The Man which anybody can join, and is in some ways nonexistent. Essentially when Afghanistan was regained, it was split up between different sects of the Mujahideen.

Eventually one sect took over all of Afghanistan and became Afghanistan’s government. This group is known as THE TALIBAN. At the time this movie was released, the Mujahideen were a group respected by the U.S.A. After all, they were very similar to The Founding Fathers of Freedom Fighters (or The F4 as I call ‘em) that founded ‘Merica. It was only around the mid-90’s when the ugliness of The Taliban really started to rear its ugly head.  And if I got any of this history wrong, I humbly apologize. After all, I am just a fat, ignorant American teenage boy.

Clearly this movie has as much significance as First Blood, though not for the sake of quality or entertainment. There’s another reason beside Russia/USA/Afghanistan politics that this movie is important, and this will appeal to the more Rambo-oriented audience. Let’s turn our attention to a Jason Voorhees and Rambo comparison. 12 movies vs. 4 movies. Psycho zombie madman vs. War Veteran. Horror movies vs. Action dramas. So let’s get us a body count. Jason Voorhees, over 11 movies (he wasn’t in the first and barely in the fifth) kills 156 people, a car, a boat, passengers of the boat, “Ghetto-Blaster,” a beer keg, Grendel Spaceship, Solaris Space Station, Space Station’s population and a virtual reality Alien; with the high-score being 24 and 5 variables in Jason X. Now we turn again to J.J. Rambo.

Where, in this movie alone, the Guiness World Records calculated in 1990, there were 221 acts of violence, 70 explosions and over 108 characters killed on-screen. Do some more math, Rambo in this movie does 2.5x more damage than Jason Voorhees has done in his entire career!

-------------------------------

(I’m no good at transitions, aren’t I?)

Well it’s been like….a couple of weeks…and I’m here to do the critique part of the review. With the loss of the title First Blood, it also loses most of its connection to the first two flims. Leaving any sense of logic or storyline to lose any sort of grip that it had, we find a plot that goes essentially like this: “I’m Rambo “Hi Rambo” I’m not Rambo” “But you’re Rambo” “But I’m not” “But you’re Rambo, and you need to do Rambo type things!” “But I’m not Rambo!” “But Rambo!” “No, shut up” “B-b-ut” “But what?” “PEOPLE!” “…Get me some explosive arrows, those Reds are gonna suffer at my crossbow.”

And then two things happen: Either Exposition the Fox stays longer than was printed on the invitation or shit explodes. Seriously, a lot of shit explodes. People explode, horses explode, bombs explode, helicopters explode in ways they’re really not supposed to, ropes explode, more bombs explode, more people explode, explosions explode, arrows explode, ropes have resurrection abilities, Rambo can pull bullets 8 inches long straight out of his intestines and recover within hours, helicopters explode in the way they’re not supposed to, tanks explode way more than they’re supposed to, tanks and helicopters explode together, I think I know one of Michael Bay’s inspirations.

But they really do attempt the impossible. For the second time in a row, they take what really should have been mostly explosion music video and try to be serious with it. And the message is really good. But of course it’s dragged down by shitty actors and an overused plot. The overused plot? Aside from what I already examined, there’s also the “AMERICANS OUTSIDE OF AMERICA BEING HELD CAPTIVE?!?! THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR SUPER-RAMBO!!!” As for actors, two of them are at least decent. Boring, cliché, and without any proper exposition, but decent.

The rest of the actors have waaaay too much exposition, racist accents, racist appearances that while may have been present in reality were enhanced by make-up, and clichéd yet somewhat real motivations. And then Rambo’s in there because…he’s Rambo, what other U.S.A. Troop has super explosion powers like he does? It was their only choice! And then there’s the sets. It’s either “desert, desert, desert, dssrt, dessart, desireart,” or “hey I know where Call of Duty got the stages for the Modern Warefare games now!” And then you wanna talk about some of that dialogue..snoooze….

It’s too bad. I wish they gave this concept of supporting freedom fighters (oh how ironic that would turn out to be a decade later) over to a non-franchise creation team. Because frankly it’s like taking a really good tasting watermelon and drowning it in a river of moss and bacterial H20 that only certain animals can survive in. Really, I don’t know what you need to know about this movie. This is all it comes down to. A shallow movie with some sort of hidden treasure comes down to a short review with some unexpected humor, iffah do sey so mahself. I just wish either they focused entirely on the serious freedom fighter aspect, or the guns and explosions aspect, because frankly these two don’t mix nearly as well as they should.

Or at least under the hands of these filmmakers. I say, with Rambo V coming out someday, put it back in Afghanistan. Let him see this ever fighting nation one more time, and this time REALLY TRY. Hire GOOD actors that aren’t either racist or boring, get a GOOD script with no loose ends, get a GOOD director who understands how to not only execute things well but take things into his own well-crafted artistic hands. And get a good soundtrack too, while you’re at it, this soundtrack sucks way worse than either of its predecessors. The Rating? 2.5/10

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ singing off.

Predator (1987)

Maybe I can make it up to you all…

Character List: $₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€ walks into Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ crying.

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€: “What’s wrong, bro?”

Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦: “I’ve done a horrible thing.”

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€: “What’s that?”

Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦: “I gave a negative review to James Cameroon’s Aliens!”

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€ shrugs in terror.

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€: “₡₳$h₥₳₦…there is a way to become good again.”

Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦: “I have to go adopt my half-brother’s son to rescue him from a family of terrorist rapists?”

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€: “Uuuuughh….”

Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦: “And then when I finally get him to a hotel room, he will try to kill himself by bleeding int-”

$₭i₥ ฿o฿ Jo€: “I ain’t got time to bleed!

THE PRODUCTION OF PREDATOR AND OTHER NOTES:

I am so sorry for giving that review to Aliens, but I can’t hold back my opinion. Hopefully I can win you guys by giving a good review to Predator. I remember the first time I saw it, I was very flustered by the genres this one covered. Predator successfully covered the war drama, the horror film, the science fiction film and the action film. Honestly now that I think about it those are two pairs that often get mashed anyways. The only film other than Predator I’ve recorded that went over more genres was Jonah Hex, but I haven’t been looking around for a long time.

J.H. was a Western Romance Horror Action Sci-fi Patriotic War Drama Paranormal Religious Comic Book movie. Since then I’ve thought other movies that tie Predator. Gojira is romance, horror, science fiction, and historical drama. King Kong is horror, fantasy, romance and action. Star Wars is goddamn everything. It appears as if the more complex movies tend to be, and the more familiar elements they incorporate and refresh, the more people fall in love with them. Except for Jonah Hex…oddly. Another example is Jaws, a mix of action, horror, suspense and national geographic. People even love Cowboys & Aliens, a movie I hate; which is sci-fi, western, romance and historical drama. Maybe it’s the amount of subtly these ensemble genre films have. How did Predator start anyways?

It started with Rocky (we’re putting sports/boxing into this too?) Rocky III had Balboa face off against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, and Rocky IV had him face off against a cyborg. This is why I love Hollywood. Because of this, rumors started circulating around Hollywood filmmakers and residents that Rocky V would see Sylvester fighting off against an alien. Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly that interesting. Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took this joke all the way (I love you) and wrote a screenplay for Rocky V fighting aliens (I want to see that script.) These are the kinds of guys who would be employees of the month at The Asylum.

They could make movies that are extremely ridiculous and still make them GOOD. They’ve written the AVP movies (oh we’lll get to those later), Mission to Mars, Wild Wild West, and apparently The Tales From the Crypt TV series…and Batman: Dead End. They later tweaked up the script, realizing a joke script might actually NOT pass in a Rocky series (crazy, right?) It was later called Hunter (ooh now I know where it comes from.) (parenthesis bitch.) They were teamed with the producer of Commando (fuck yes), Joel Silver, who went on to work on movies like Die Hard, Demolition Man, Conspiracy Theory, The Matrix, House on Haunted Hill, The Invasion, The Losers and Sherlock Homles: Game of Shadows.

Together they assembled a team and seemed ready to go through with the project. They went through a few problems. First was designing the monster suit. At first the wanted to do an entire invisible alien thing where it was always blended into a greenscreen; so they made essentially a giant ass Kermit the Frog. Nobody would see it anyways. Later they figured audiences would want to see the creature, but still wanted to find a way to make him invisible at times. They then went for something with big yellow eyes and dog like head, but this became impossible to use.

They made several attempts to cast big name stars in the monster suit, such as Jean Claude Van Damme, but guys like him weren’t Katsumi Tezuka, they weren’t used to wearing anything but clothes – and sometimes less. Stan Winston, their SFX designer, was preparing for the project to shut down. He got on a plane and talked to his friend…umm….his friend Lil’ Jimmy. (Stop following me!) He suggested a monster with mandibles, like on an ant, he had always wanted to see that. With this information they turned to a company called R/GA, whom had worked on Superman, Alien and Ghostbusters. Probably the guys you want to go to. Now we have the monster we know as The Predator. Now that this was fixed, they  needed some protagonists. TO SCHWAZZY!

His quote: "The first thing I look for in a script is a good idea; a majority of scripts are rip-offs of other movies. People think they can become successful overnight. They sat down one weekend and wrote a script because they read that Stallone did that with Rocky. Predator was one of the scripts I read, and it bothered me in one way. It was just me and the alien. So we re-did the whole thing so that it was a team of commandos and then I liked the idea. I thought it would make a much more effective movie and be much more believable. I liked the idea of starting out with an action-adventure, but then coming in with some horror and science fiction."

Maybe Arnold is smarter than we critics think just because of his acting skills. Now it was time to find other cast members. They wanted action stars and they were going to shower the earth to find some. They found Carl Weathers AKA Apollo Creed and teamed him up with Jesse “The Body, The Brain” Ventura. To find “diversity” (wow maybe times haven’t changed) they got Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves and Bill Duke who had co-starred in Commando. They even got Shane Black, known as writer and director for Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3, to play both a supporting role and to supervise McTiernan due to his inexperience.

It was now time to find somebody to be in the costume, and for that they found Kevin Peter Hall. Seven feet two inches. Yeah, that sounds good. Sounds like hiring the motherfucking Undertaker to play The Predator….heh heh…. Predator 4: Resurrection, starring The Undertaker. Peter Cullen, also known as the voice of 1976 King Kong, was hired to do the monster. They polished the suit with a few horseshoe crab designs, and finally the suit was finished. Looking at it…you might say…

CRITIQUE OF PREDATOR

“It’s been said that, in movies, aliens tend to represent either the good side of huamsn…or the bad side of us.” – My Dad when I first watched this movie. I guess that’s pretty obvious. A ten year old who has been exposed to humanity can grasp this concept. The childhood innocence portrayed in E.T. or the need to conquer portrayed in War of the Worlds is not what disturbs me. What disturbs me is the unbalanced ratio. With every Day the Earth Stood Still and E.T. come seven Alien or Predator films. With Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters come seven entries titled War of the Worlds.

With Super 8 naturally come three or four movies within the circle of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What makes us attracted to these movies? The answer is simple. In movies where aliens are a reflection of us, simultaneously we need an antithesis to play the protagonist. In comes us. In E.T., Super 8 and Close Encounters, you can vary the protagonist species but we are always the antagonist. In films like The Blob and Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, we are the good guys. That is satisfyingly safe for the insecure, simple audience, and when our minds see symbolism in reverse it is too good of social justice. Which leads me into the main antagonist, a species not of our own. Him and his species have no name, but the expanded fiction has suggested the names Hish (Fish, really?) and Yautja. I’m going to call him Joseph Clements. And everyone will be pissed off at his initials.

Joseph Clements is “one ugly motherfucker.” At the same time, he is the antithesis of the Xenomorph in a way. A Xenomorph is nearly unidentifiable. It’s spinal positioning is not in the angle of any other animal and it is comprised of too many species from too many areas of The Animal Kingdom. Joseph Clements is comprised of two basic ideas: its aesthetic design is that of a repile, for the most part; and its dynamics are that of a human. Its skin is gray and scaly. One looking for a metaphor might say that the skin is a visual representation of Joe’s cold-heartedness.

It’s mouth is scaly but not gray, rather it is tan. It is freckled. Its mouth, like the face hugger, is…excuse my immaturity, but it’s kinda like a clitoral opening. But the mask is big, bulky, a stone cold face hider. I feel like this is a less meaningful but as subtle representation of his attitude towards pray. Most are just points in a hunting game, and thus they are not deserving of his identity. But when he is faced with a true challenge, then it’s time for things to get personal. Freckles and vaginas are typically things us humans, especially women, are prone to hiding.

Especially considering men typically don’t have vaginas…but hell, nothing’s impossible. It’s gadgets are hunting mechanisms, sure. But I also feel like they are chains. They are a representation of his lock that is placed between him and his heritage. He’s born into it, and there’s no way he’s not going to develop the love of violence and hunting that is in his/her nature. (I’m starting to believe it’s actually a chick.) Notice how his gear never comes off, not even when he needs to be agile or run. If it was simple hunting mechanisms, this would not be the case. Not only is Joseph Clements an extremely menacing force by vision, he is also filled to the brim with potential metaphor.

Unfortunately the rest of this movie is not so similar to high art. The actors are pretty much who they should be. Arnold plays his typical role, simultaneously wooden yet naturally emotional, it’s an astounding parallel that has gotten him his fame. There’s a reason why Arnold is much more of a household name than Jean Claude. The rest of the actors are pretty much blended together as an army of thugs. All of them are equal badasses, and I didn’t feel like too many were that different. But at least it’s better than Aliens, where the characters are different for the sake of cultural stereotypes.

There’s only one character that screams “I’M BLACK!! I’M BLACK!!!”, and he’s the most forgettable character on the cast list. The dialogue they spit out is impossible to execute to its fullest potential because this is the most quotable movie in the history of testosterone fests. I’m fully convinced that “I ain’t got time to bleed” is the greatest line in action movie history. I’m probably going to figure it is the greatest line in movie history. Fuck you Gone with the Wind, I don’t give a damn if you don’t give a damn. “GET TO THE CHOPPER!” “DO IT NOW! DO IT NOW!!! DO IT NOW!!!” “That’s a really nasty habit you got there”

This movie is up there with Pulp Fiction, man. Not quite as good, but it’s in the same style. The pacing is a little slow, though. There’s two big actions scenes and they’re at the nose of the beginning and the tail ends of the movie. If I were directing the pacing, I would rework the story and make sure the two big actions scenes were in the middle and end of the movie. Because of this, all the time they do playing hide and seek with Joseph Clements gets kinda boring. The tension is not there that much. You know it’s going to boil down to a final battle between Joseph and Arnold.

When they have their battle, that’s when the movie picks up and at one point I was saying to myself “please don’t miss, please don’t miss” even though I have seen this movie before. The blood in this movie is good too. Again, it’s at the nose of the beginning and the ass of the end (not close enough to say the tail) but it’s there and if you’re patient you’re going to get some good stuff. The famous shot with…well, the “hangers” as I’ll call ‘em. Yeah, any gore hound will find that as a nice treat. The scenery is okay. I feel like if I describe it, I’ll be repeating my discussion on Rambo II.

Just take that little description and remove the part about water and mud. It’s all foliage and sky in this movie. Simultaneously wet and dry. Not that effective in the long run, but it had good intentions. And…oh my good the music. Most of the music in this movie is actually pretty bad. It’s very cliché and works more with the editing than it does the plot, which is just annoying and extremely transparent of its intention to manipulate emotions. But that one song…the goddamn thing song….the AWESOME theme song. That makes me want to go into the streets and give everyone I see six quick jabs to the gut with a final uppercut to finish them off. I mean...John Williams in the UFC man. Alan Silvestri = John Williams in the UFC. No wonder he went on to do stuff like The Avengers, Captain America, Beowulf, G.I. Joe, and Lara Craft Tomb Raider.

To conclude, Predator is a successful mix of polar opposites. With an excellent alien design, actors that define 80’s action flicks, an awesome theme song, scenery that of Rambo II, and buckets of blood; Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 action flick successfully satisfies both the testosterone hungry action fan and the most geeky of science fiction fanatics. And if you like one-liners, this movie’s going to be your 2nd favorite next to Pulp Fiction. The Rating? 4/5. Gotta put that in perspective.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Aliens (1986)

Hicks: I like to keep this handy... for close encounters.

 AFTERMATH OF ALIEN

“It was the most incredible preview I've ever been in. I mean, people were screaming and running out of the theater.” - –Editor Terry Rawlings describing the film's screening in Dallas.

Alien was a film that changed people’s lives. If that’s hard to imagine, let me draw this up. For all the power that the film still holds today, its power has been divided by magnitude amongst magnitude. Age, decaying of audiences and knowledge of the film’s creatures take it down one hundred notches. Yet it still has the power to keep me at the edge of my seat. With this in mind, I can only imagine myself in that theatre thirty three years ago, screaming my fucking lung out. It opened two years to the day after its inspiration If I Have to Name This Movie I Will Fucking Kill You.

The film got an R Rating in America, an M Rating in Australia, and an X Rating in England. It “premiered” (kinda) at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre where a number of props, sets and costumes were displayed from the film. The Space Jockety suits were burned by religious zealots, those under the impression they are work of Lucifer. On a budget of $11 Million 1979/$32,599,523.402010; the film profited $93,931,801 1979/$278,375,631.29 2010. That was a very nice chunk of change. The film received generally positive reviews. Even a share of anti-sci-fi snobs fell for this film’s genius. It went on to win eight awards and be nominated for thirteen more. This left 20th Century FOX with two questions: When the hell are we going to make our next Alien movie, and where the fuck did Ridley Scott run off to?

THE PRODUCTION OF ALIENS

“Ridley….Ridley….Where are you….We have blockbusters for you to make!” Said somebody at 20th Century FOX who wishes to remain Shakespeare’s writer. Mr. ANONYMOUS here went far and wide to find Mr. Scott, and eventually Dan Ban and Rolly Shussy can around too. They needed to find their golden goose. They went across all the lands, and could not find one. They went across space and time, and only encountered their own worst nightmare. They were able to make it out alive, and came back to earth. This leads into the storyline for Alien vs. Predator but we’ll leave that side story for another time.

Dan Ban, ANONYMOUS and Rolly Shussy decided to dive into the ocean, wynaut? They had to do battle with Bruce AKA Jaws, got sucked up by different alien UFOs, rode on the back of a laser shooting whale and did battle with Godzilla, and finally ended up by the Titanic. At this point they were fully convinced Ridley Scott was missing and dead. Little did they know he was just working on Blade Runner. As they scowered the Titanic with desperation and hope being quotient to the amount of not sexiness on Neil Patrick Harris having sex with Angelina Jolie, they came across a certain Canadian who appeared wet behind the ears.

Quite literally. He was kinda mad at the time at the fact they chose to  cast Arnold Schwarzenegger in his newest tour de fuck, and had decided to go to his happy place. You know how when we’re kids and we get angry we go to our room? Yeah. That’s the actual RMS Titanic for this kid. They eventually got to calm down this kid. They found out his name was Lil’ Jimmy Cammy. They talked about they were looking for a guy named Ridley Scott. Lil’ Jimmy told them that Riddle Skedaddle was working on another movie. When Rolly Shussy decided to inform Lil’ Jimmy they work looking for Riddle Skedaddle (I WILL GIVE PET NAMES TO EVERYONE) for a sequel to Alien, Lil’ Jimmy begged to be working with it.

Eventually they accepted given they would need it quicker than Riddle Skedaddle could grant them. Lil’ Jimmy also begged for giant robots, and for that he was granted writing in addition to directing. He fainted. He was so excited because during that time he was upset at Arny Schwazzy (I SAID EVERYONE) most of his thinking consisted of being bitter at said Austrian and thinking of ways to make an Alien II. Lil’ Jimmy later washed up ashore with ANONYMOUS, Rolly Shussy and Dan Ban, and worked for four days on his initial 45 page script. When he finished, he attempted to walk through the already open doorframe and the door was slammed in his face.

It was Alan Ladd Jr., and no he’s not Mr. ANONYMOUS. Ally Laddy J. informed Lil’ Jimmy Cammy that they were too busy working on Return of the Jedi, please come at a later date. For the next couple of months, Lil’ Jimmy went back to the RMS Titanic being even more bitter than before. Then he remembered he had The Terminator to make. But when Lil’ Jimmy called Arny Schwazzy, Arny informed Jimmy that he was busy being a jackass in Conan the Destroyer. That was the last we heard of for Lil’ Jimmy for the next year or two. After punching a hole through the RMS Titanic, he was able to drain and seclude a dry room for the sake of writing a script.

During this time he doubled the size of his plans for Alien II, his script now the equivalent of an hour and a half movie. He washed up back ashore around the tail end of 1984 and presented the script bitterly to 20th Century FOX. Mr. ANONYMOUS told him that he was impressed, and that if The Terminator was successful, he would be given permission to make his second Alien film. It was released the next Friday, and earned $71,871,200 1984/$148,837,910.79 2010 on a budget of $6,500,000 1984/$13,460,835.77 2010. That’s a damn good chunk of change. So, naturally, Lil’ Jimmy was given all the permissions back for Alien II.

He also got Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, Alien Nation, The Incredible Hulk, Virus, Aeon Flux, Tremors, The Abyss, Armageddon) to produce the film. Dan Ban and Rolly Shussy were nowhere to be seen. Dan Ban was working on Return of the Living Dead and Invaders from Mars, while Rolly Shussy was working on King Kong Lives. Boy do they wish they were with Lil’ Jimmy Cammy at the time. He was sick of being mad at RMS Titanic and wanted to finish a movie in one beaching, so he was very stubborn about his wants. He needed Ellen Ripley, he needed her played by Sigourney Weaver, and he needed the movie to be more combat based than escape based.

Or, in his words, more on terror and less on horror. Question Mark. He wrote her as what he called “Rambolina” (Thanks for doing the pet name for me), which is self-explanatory. A female version of Rambo.  Which is ironic as Jamie (yeah mix it up a bit) decided to model the film after the Vietnam War. So let me get this straight. The last movie got most of its inspiration from 50’s b-movies and Star Wars. The second one got most of its inspiration from Vietnam and Rambo II. I’m just saying folks. Oh, you know what else gives James Cameroon the pet name of Lil’ Jimmy?

His casting regulation was this: Find British people who do good American accents. Don’t just find Americans or anything…find British people who can do American accents. Well this was STUPID and ladies and gentlemen, they went to hiring American actors. You know, it’s something when your predecessor doesn’t care about ethnicity or gender as long as they’re good actors. It’s another when you want BRITISH PEOPLE WHO CAN DO AMERICAN ACTORS. You know, have you noticed by my bashing of Rambo II, Avatar, Titanic, and my not so loving parodies of the guy that I have a beef with James “Racist” Cameroon?

He was so stubborn he couldn’t help any new actors out, like the first movie did. He decided to hire back some of his crew from The Terminator, who were more than likely to go to superstardom. Those who were to play Marines were to do two things. Read Starship Troopers and do legitimate military training. We can see the conclusion of this story more and more clearly as we progress, that Cammy tried to make Rambo in space. But…BUT…ladies and gentlemen, let us not jump to conclusions…FFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

I’m gonna go get drunk then sober by watching the movie, I’ll be right back.

CRITIQUE OF ALIENS

Ya know, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m not gonna make megafans of this movie happy. I’ve heard everything from this is a total shitfest, but mostly I’ve heard that this is an awesome movie and better than the first movie. I can see how people might like this movie but BETTER? Are you fucking serious? Are we…me a few months before I started this website? I’m starting to wonder if Jeremy Jahns went to filmschool. Oooh, speaking of characters that are catered to specific audiences, you know how I hinted to James being a really racist and possibly sexist filmmaker?

Yeah, that hurts this movie. In Ridley Scott’s film, the characters were written with no effort to make them feel like a race or gender. That’s ruined here. You got one character that’s very bland, has an English accent, and is a robot. You know, I don’t even think that says anything about Cameroon’s obvious racism. I think that’s an immature jab at Scott. I think that’s trying to say “fuck you and your boring shit, I can make giant robots!” Middle finger to you Jimmy. Middle finger to you. You get another character who’s black, has giant eyes and lips, speaks with an over exaggerated racist accent, and oh yeah he’s smoking a cigar.

Anybody who had a film fan as a friend or teacher will know exactly what that means. It means they’re having masculine troubles. Or, as Lil’ Jimmy implied it to mean, he’s not a man. The black character isn’t a man. Fuck you Cameroon. Fuck you. Then you get a character that’s very Latino, and has a very stereotypical accent. Beyond that she’s actually not that bad. She’s one of the few to take charge and head for action. There is the possibility saying the message is Latinos are brutal, but let’s give the filmmaking sea explorer some mercy. There’s one joke I really hate.

One of the characters, who is a jackass, says “you thought they said illegal aliens and you signed up.” She’s only moderately carrying harmful stereotypes, but she still fails in the same way as others in the fact that she is a stereotype, and a clichéd stereotype. Dwanye Hicks isn’t that bad, just kind of boring. He stays pretty much the same throughout the movie. He’s like what would have happened if Dan Ban, Rolly Shussy and Riddle Skedaddle didn’t paint on the blank canvases that they gave themselves. Most of the other characters were extremely forgettable.

But there are of course, our two female leads. Rebecca and Ellen. (Yes I’m referring to them that way.) Ellen becomes a wimp in this movie. In the last movie, she clearly had sympathy for human life but wasn’t totally insane. When somebody was killed off-screen, she accepted that person is most likely dead and she didn’t go for him. In this movie, if there’s any chance of survival, she’s on the case and risking her life and the rest of the crew’s. You could argue that in the case of Rebecca, it’s a mother daughter kind of thing. Let me ask you something: Does their bond seem natural?

They share no past. Does Ellen see herself in Rebecca? Maybe, but I just think she knows the situation and feels for everybody. Doesn’t mean her life is more important than others. “Oh, but ₡₳$h₥₳₦, it’s a kid!”….Yeah, so what? You risk losing two adult lives and a cyborg at the cost of one child? But, I mean, that’s all understandable. It’s not very feel founded but it’s excusable. What’s not excusable is the lack of a natural growth. For the first half of the movie, Ellen feels for Rebecca in the way a liberal socialist tree hugging Obama care commie - such as myself – might feel for a lost cat.

Then once the second half starts, snap crackle and pop all of the sudden Ellen cares for Rebecca like a kid. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, ₡₳$h₥₳₦, Ripley never got to live with her own daughter, so now she gets a new opportunity!” But if that’s the case, wouldn’t she also be looking for a husband? And if you say she found it in Dwayne, Goddamn that is the prime example of two hundred and seventy degree turn arounds in emotions happening in an instant in cheap cinema. But I might not care about any of this, ANY of this, if it weren’t for Newt’s actress. And this time, I can’t blame anybody.

It was between Carrie Henn, who doesn’t even have a damn Wikipedia article, and a bunch of kids who were used to doing advertisements. They were used to giving a false smile after every line. That’s…not so good. But Carrie Henn is still a child actor. And like any child actor, she is a bland, pointless, shoehorned in, forced, uninteresting, dead weight piece of crap plot and acting around. I really wanted to love this relationship. I really did. I loved it the first TWO times around. I saw this movie when I was goddamn nine and loved it. Now, I just can’t get behind it anymore.

It’s so forced and unfounded. BY THE WAY, this reminds me! Plotholes! Last time, they were used appropriately. In panic, people aren’t always trusted to make the smart decision. This choice was made because the first movie was trying to be ultra-realistic. But this movie is trying to be that tight piece of entertainment. So why is it that the plotholes are TWO TIMES MORE NOTICABLE HERE?!?!? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Visual style. With the camera, it’s nothing special. Very uninteresting angles that are meant to get all material in shot. I suspect this technique is used because filmmakers aren’t happy if they spent money on something that didn’t get used. That’s why Lil’ Jimmy re-inserted extra scenes in it. Speaking of which, to trail off the traintracks here, that’s something. I thought the pacing was sucking because James “Racist” Cameroon was adding too much material in. It was only nine extra minutes. This movie’s pacing is horrible. Cameroon’s friend apparently described it as forty miles of nightmare.

GUESS WHAT DOOFUS, THAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE! If you’re trying to do something ultra-realistic, why are there armies of aliens, giant xenomorphs, and a final boss fight with a giant robot crane? Back on the tracks with visual effects here, let’s talk about the lighting. It’s not interesting. A good chunk of the time it’s the last movie but quite literally watered down. Seriously, it was as if they used the same light fixtures seven years worn out from prime. The other half the time there’s a very faint hue of bright orange. That makes no sense whatsoever. Is it supposed to be hot or energetic?

If it’s hot and explosive, make it intense and dark. If it’s energetic, than make it bright and light. No FAINT colors, are you serious? Did they take away the budget or something? No! This movie has an extra $7.5 Million compared to the last movie! Why the hell does this movie have an extra 4% compared to Ridley Scott’s masterpiece? Guess what? The last movie’s catchphrase was “In space, nobody can hear you scream.” So what INGENIUS catchphrase did they have for this movie, huh? HUH?...”This time it’s war.” Really? Fucking really? FUCKING REALLY?

Oh, and don’t credit H.R. Giger’s Aliens to this movie, because they’re from the last movie. Maybe you can credit The Queen to this movie. Sure, that gets it a lower score. I thought it was cool back in the day, but now it looks like a really tall transvestite of the xenomorph species. YUCK. I don’t like it….MOMMY, I DON’T LIKE IT! Huuuuhhh…WAIT! There’s one good thing here! It’s really cool! It’s fucking awesome! It’s ruined a little by Newt, but it’s still really awesome! Metaphor!!!!..,asp21o34 Ladies and Gentlemen, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦ has officially solidified himself as a pretentious snob. – A message from the ₮₳X₳₦.

₮₳Xℳ₳₦, you may in fact be right. But hey, if I’m this far as a sixteen year old, imagine how much of a cinema snob I’m going to be after film school! Oh I’m gonna be such a gigantic pain in the ass. But I saw it. It’s a metaphor for adultery. I didn’t see it when Newt made it obvious, I actually saw it when I saw the underside of a face hugger. It’s a clitoral opening. Or, as my kind may call it, a vagina, a pussy, a cunt. Especially since it’s not the vagina…but whatever. With this in mind, let me show you a chain of events. Face huggers with the underside resembling clits latch on to your mouth and impregnate you with embryos that pop out of your stomach and kill you; growing into creatures that are taller than you and go around infecting tons of people.

Aside from the whole oral sex thing, this is equivalent to having sex with a stranger, having a kid who reminds you of something not of your kind (relevant to committing adultery with one not of your heritage) and grows up to be a horny teenager who gets several people pregnant. This, of course, being from the point of view of a woman. This is of course amongst the metaphors for women’s voice and rights, of which there are plenty of film scholars you can go for their interpretation. Huuuh…well, then, I can conclude now. Aliens is a bad movie. It’s characters are bad, it’s actors are even worse, it’s visual style is a faker compared to Ridley Scott’s direction, it attempts to do in 150 minutes what could have been done in 100; and for a film that’s supposed to be an action themed anti-thesis Rambolina to Scott’s film, there’s not enough action! Of that, it’s poorly choreographed and sluggish. It’s redeeming factors are carry overs from the previous installment, including Ellen, the H.R. Giger design, and the metaphor for adultery. With this and it’s giant fanbase, I’ll give Aliens some mercy

The Rating? 1.85/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

...This is a great sign for Alien 3!

Return of the Jedi (1983)

The epic conclusion to the long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

(We'll talk about that trailer later.)

SECTION ONE: AFTERMATH OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Now, here’s a thinker. With TESB being a sequel to the first movie to gross more than $700 Million, it being even more awesome than the first movie, and having a bigger budget, how did it earn LESS than its predecessor? Well, a few things happened. First, George Lucas was granted permission to film The Empire Strikes Back on 70mm. Due to this, only big name cities like Los Angeles and New York that had theaters that could afford these kinds of film reels got the movie for three weeks. Later, it was issued a wide release on 35mm. Another deciding factor is the numerous re-releases.

Star Wars had already been released 3 times by 1980 and would be released another two times before Return of the Jedi. The Empire Strikes Back has not gotten any re-releases OTHER than THE re-releases, but that’s for another week. In the end, The Empire Strikes Back still made a whopper of a profit. With a budget of $32 Million 1980/$83,555,045.95 2010; George Lucas was able to earn it all back and give a total of $5 Million/$13,055,475.93 in bonuses to employees. By the end of its run, it had made ANOTHER $501,375,067/ $1,309,138,023.74 in profit.

That’s a REALLY nice chunk of change. Not the ULTIMATE Star Wars profit but still profit. But the D0LL₳ℛ doesn’t tell us everything. In the beginning, The Empire Strikes Back actually opened up to mixed reviews. However, over time, it is considered the best in the franchise (correct) and currently holds a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 8.6/10. Most negative reviews from that time still confessed to the innovation in filmmaking. Judith Martin’s (The Washington Post) biggest problem was the middle of the story feeling. Like there was no beginning or end.

WELL DURR. It’s called A.) A cliffhanger and B.) Watch the first movie doofus. Roger Ebert, in 1997, went on to say this was “the most thought provoking” of the Star Wars universe. There’s no way I can disagree on this one, did you not see how much I gushed over Yoda? Many other critics in 1997 (STOP HAUNTING ME) went on to say it was the darkest and best film in the trilogy. The FUNNIEST one though, which proves that not all paid critics should be paid critics, is the one by Chuck Klosterman. You know, at least he’s able to recognize the genius. But…listen to this quote, you’ll laugh: "movies like Easy Rider and Saturday Night Fever painted living portraits for generations they represented in the present tense, The Empire Strikes Back might be the only example of a movie that set the social aesthetic for a generation coming in the future."

I don’t need to paint a picture of how stupid that is. Big words does not a smart person make ladies and gentlemen! The movie went on to win thirteen awards and be nominated for another thirteen more. Darth Vader was ranked as the third greatest villain of all time by the American Film Institute, just under Norman Bates and Dr. Hannibal Lector. Wizard Magazine voted the “I am your father” line to be the greatest cliffhanger of all time. The film is now preserved in the National Film Registry. It was really ONLY, and I mean ONLY a matter of time, before George Lucas’s ultimate vision was realized.

SECTION TWO: THE WRITING OF RETURN OF THE JEDI

So you’ve probably grown tired of seeing me re-write the same points about inspirations for Star Wars. So I’ll just give a quick rundown of stuff that relates to Return of the Jedi from previous movies, if you want some more details you can check my reviews of the first two movies. C3PO = Robot from Metropolis. Characters in Star Wars have parallels to characters from Wizard of Oz. The Chicken Walkers are directly out of the H.G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds. Basic storyline is from The Hidden Fortress and other Kirasawa films. Samurais with swords are like Jedis with lightsabers.

Most notable people who align themselves with the Empire even if temporarily –Darth Vader, Moff Tarkin, Palpatine, Lando – are wearing cloaks or capes, straight out of Frankenstein and Dracula movies. That’s why I call ‘em The Universal Monsters Fan Club. David Prowse was chosen mostly out of his three Frankenstein performances in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (starring Peter Cushing, another coincidence), Horror of Frankenstein and Casino Royale. All the titles for the movies, aside from maybe the first one, are all inspired by b-movies and monster flicks.

Let’s play the typical name game here. Return of the Million Eyed Nuclear Spider….Return of the Monster Crag LegsReturn of the 50 Foot Woman from Outer Space…etc. Luke and Obi-Wan, but in 2 & 3 it would be Luke and Yoda, play the classic mentor and student role. Just like Gandalf & Frodo or Merlin & Arthur. The big thing I want to get to though, is the Tragic Hero. We ALL know this if we’ve taken high school language arts classes. Darth Vader is just like Oedipus Rex and Macbeth. Think about it. He starts out as a Jedi Knight, fighting for the side of good, gets tempted into sin, and joins the dark side of the force.

Oedipus Rex started out as a pretty pure dude, in fact saved the kingdom from the Sphinx. But when Apollo tricked him into incest, him and his wife committed suicide together. In Macbeth, Macbeth starts out as a pretty chill dude. He’s up with the King and all dat good stuff. (Trust me, after writing a certain reinvention this is how I think of Shakespeare works.) That’s until his wife convinces him to stab The King and claim his Kingdom. Then rebels take over and they crown a new King. George Lucas has often said that Star Wars is a reflection of History as a never ending cycle.

Democracy is formed by rebels tired of dictatorships, a dictator abuses and takes over the democracy, and rebels form together to take over the dictator and reform a democracy. There will always be rebels and there will always be power hungry villains, and who eventually wins? It depends on who you’d ask. Darth Vader would probably tell you Evil, and Yoda would tell you Good. The thing is, look at these two. Vader quickly turned down his allegiance at a young age because of his fear of conspiracy and his ability to be tempted by sin. Yoda has stuck around his guns for NINE HUNDRED YEARS.

And only his own age was able to beat him. That’s some pretty good evidence good wins, at least in this universe. Gandhi…well, he took a little less of an honorable death. But at least it wasn’t the people he was “fighting” against. (Can you call it fighting?) Hitler killed himself before being beaten by his enemies. I think, despite Evil being powerful, there’s enough evidence that good conquers all. Even if it means being more stubborn than a mule, a llama and a goat combined. Whatever the fuck that means. Being smart helps too. Another theme explored in this movies, and most heavily #3 (this one) is how much heritage can affect your choices, whether you agree with them or not.

As sickening as it is to some, and honorable to others, people will often do what their parents tell them too; even after they’re grown and have their view of the world. I’ve even seen cases where parents come to their children for assistance, sometimes even relying on them. This typically happens in older years, but it’s still prevalent. I’m no Christian, but I can sum it up like this: No matter how dark, the blood of your parents is always thicker than the blood of your savior. You get such powerful messages in Star Wars, combined with fun action and awesome SFX, all comprised of classic science fiction, Japanese folklore, Biblical references, western movies, fantasy stories, WHAT MORE DO YOU REALLY NEED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN?!?!?

But enough about a general look at the origins of Star Wars. Let’s take a look at how the final film the in the trilogy was created. With all that extra dough George Lucas had, he was again able to personally fund this movie. The budget came up to $32.5 Million 1983/$70,198,258.56 2010. When you factor in inflation, that’s actually far less than The Empire Strikes Back. Makes sense, seeing as the profit wasn’t as high, even though it was a major success. George Lucas needs to keep us his pool of dollars. His first mission was to find a director. David Lynch was approached, a director we all love.

But he was more interested in doing Dune. WHY? Nobody knows ladies and gentlemen. But that’s how it happened. David Cronenberg was also offered, but he declined in order to do The Dead Zone and Videodrone. WHY? Nobody knows. Eventually it came down to Richard Marquand, known for nothing! Due to this, he did most of the co-directors work with the second unit stuff. But only Richey Rich was credited as the director, I presume a personal favor. Lucas is known for this, as he did with American Graffiti, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the previous film The Empire Strikes Back.

Marquand was chosen because he worked well with actors and was a very nice person, but he had very little experience with SFX. Marquand noticed this conspicuous presence, and stated “It’s like trying to director King Lear – with Shakespeare in the next room!” The next thing was to write the script for the sake of the trilogy. Lucas got much more involved in the writing this time around, seeing as last time finding a writer was a hassle. But Lawrence Kasdan is still credited as the main writer. Marquand and David Peoples (Blade Runner, 12 Monkeys, Unforgiven) also made small contributions.

The title was temporarily changed to The Revenge of the Jedi (gosh I wonder where that went.) This title, along with Blue Harvest for the first movie, were both used in early posters. (Gee I wonder where Blue Harvest went?) The script wasn’t finished until budgets and shooting schedules were finished, a liberty only Star Wars could really take. The Art Department was forced to use the rough draft and original story to make their designs. When writing the script, Kasdan, Lucas and Howard Kazanjian had meetings about the script. They recorded these on tape and used these to write the script.

Harrison Ford was also an issue. He had no contract to do this last movie, and it was a wonder if he would return or not. Harrison Ford proposed a self-sacrifice so his role would be shorter, which everybody else was cool with. Except for Lucas. And he’s THE MAN. Yoda was also supposed to be absent (NOOOO) but returning to Dagobah only seemed necessary. Not only for the sake of AWESOME, but that it was worried that most kids would find Vader’s claim to be a lie. Children’s psychologist told him. A children’s psychologist named Dr. ANONYMOUS. The Ewoks were added in later, as they were originally meant to be Wookies.

Obi-Wan was also supposed to come back to life. That would bring up some fan fiction. All of this came out of the success with toys and merchandise.  Han Solo almost did die, until Lucas remembered he had a pool of money to keep flowing. Luke Skywalker was supposed to walk alone in the end, like a ranger in a Spaghetti Western. This was changed for the sake of happier ending to increase sales. And honestly, this is the correct decision even in storytelling. How the hell would we prove that the good side of The Force is unifying and awesome without a social, happy ending?

SECTION THREE: THE CREATION OF RETURN OF THE JEDI

Nearly literally as soon as the script was finished, filming began. It took place between January 11th and May 20th, six weeks shorter than The Empire Strikes Back. The reason why they finished filming nearly a year before the film was released was because Kazanjin felt that “IL&M needed as much time to work on the SFX.” (http://tinyurl.com/88ot6gj). But this left some of the cast members dubious as to their preparation to act. They wanted to…you know…REHERSE. Things of that nature. Lucas was more focused on the D0LL₳ℛ (http://tinyurl.com/7up3ycz) and did not want the budget to skyrocket.

The Reason? Besides being a member of the ₮₳Xℳ₳₦ Team, the budget started at the same size as Empire Strikes Back finished. They didn’t want it to get fucking insane. They also resurrected the old title Blue Harvest, previously used for Star Wars, taglined as a horror movie for tabloids and other movie news sources. This way nobody would be spying or leaking any information they weren’t supposed to have or give. Now that they were pretty  much prepared (as they’ll ever be) for the shoot, they were ready to head back to Elstree Studios – which I will now call The Home of Star Wars. They went to Elstree first and not any special locations like Tunisia or Norway because the budget was already gigantic and they didn’t need it to get higher.

Especially since Lucas had taken himself and his company out of any Union, Guild or MPAA organizations. So they took advantage of their home as much as possible, taking up ALL NINE STAGES. Attempting to film scenes that they  would normally  need to film on location. Mainly revisiting Tatooine. They started with a sandstorm that later got scrapped (oh that must have been pain.) Fortunately that was the only major scene – for plot anyways – that was cut in editing. When filming the scene with the Rancor, George Lucas decided that inspiration never ceases and he wanted to film a movie from a Godzilla movie, specifically with a dude in a rubber suit.

They tried a lot but realized Godzilla never did full-body view battle with a human being, so they resorted to a high speed puppet. (Ironic since this is the major tactic Toho would use for the Millennium series.) Scenes they couldn’t film at Elstree in Tatooine they filmed in Arizona, specifically the Yuma Desert. They did this for two weeks before moving to the redwood forests of northern California near crescent city. They did this for another two weeks before going to IL&M to finish some bluescreen shots. Guys who needed to film legitimate backgrounds for bluescreen shots went to several places, including one in Death Valley. There was also a lot of steadicam shots in the forest for the sake of the speeder chase around the middle of the film.

With the final filming finished, and everyone giving each other their hugs over this epic journey we call The Creation of Star Wars, it was time to put on some finish touches. John Williams returned for the soundtrack with newcomer Thomas Newman (say that was Newton and you’d have two of my favorite historical figures). IL&M, on the other hand, was not having as much of an ease. The ability to replicate the SFX awesomeness from the first two movies was available quickly and efficiently, but they wanted to raise the bar even higher for the last movie. (Still young blood I see.)

Some of the employees were also more interested in other projects they had on the table (WHADDAHFUQ THIS IS STAR WARS) and work cycles decreased. They decided to keep offices open twenty hours a day, challenging employees to work as much as possible, to make the nine hundred effects shots they wanted and as good as they could do them. VistaVision shots were done in-house, as there were about five hundred of them and they were the only company licensed to use the technology. All other four hundred-ish shots were done out of house. When they finished work on the film and had time to work on the teaser trailer, they used the tentative name I mention above. If I found the right teaser trailer you might actually see that little piece of history up above. But I can’t see into the future, just read people’s minds. The teaser poster released had this tentative title and some other changes.

They even reversed the colors of the lightsabers for this picture, Vader wielding a blue lightsaber and Luke a red lightsaber. I’ll let you interpret that for what you will.

So the film was retitled Return of the Jedi. The trilogy was complete…and…TAKE IT AWAY JERICHO!

PART FOUR: CRITIQUE OF RETURN OF THE JEDI

The main focus of any Star Wars movie is debatable, but from my perspective it has always been the characters. In the first movie, Luke was pretty much a kid. Empire Strikes Back grew him into a mature and capable leader who still had a few issues and questions. In Return of the Jedi, he has completed his growth and is now pretty much an adult. A Jedi Knight, if you will. He acts a lot like Obi-Wan acted in the first movie. In the most obvious regard, he seems to be under the impression that he has gained some sort of authority. He is able to tell people what to do a lot, not just as a leader but a commander.

He is able to tell, with perfect confidence, to anybody and anything, who they really are whether they’re willing to accept it or not. The funny thing is that his allies, especially Leia (whuzzupwiddat?) are able to accept his leadership. In the beginning nobody would have taken orders from Skywalker, but now that he’s a fully trained Jedi Knight and one with the force, they all seem to accept he is a superior. At some points, yes, it seems a little out of place. But it also just seems beautiful how strong their friendship is. Luke also has a stronger connection to the characters.

In the last two movies, they all seemed pretty distant from each other. Like they were all their own separate personalities, among unique. In here, despite their differences, they all seem to be working as a unit. They are all one with not just their own force but each other’s force. Luke seems to be much more in touch with his soul. And the scary thing is, his soul is not as pure as he may like it to be. That’s another thing. Especially during the final battle, you can see that there is that side of Luke that wants to be angry and vengeful and rule the galaxy as father and son and kill the Emperor himself.

Maybe even kill Vader. There is always that Satan inside of you that is not at balance with The Force. Or GOD, if it wasn’t already obvious. You even see this early on in Jabba’s palace. He comes in walking in a big old dark brown cloak, and even wears black throughout the rest of the movie. He is even able to put his friends at risk just to reach the end goal. But at the same time, his iron will is relentless to stay with love and truth. His wisdom extends to defining each and every personality he meets. He is one with all beings, you could say. But that’s enough about Luke, let’s talk about Han Solo.

He literally had no time to mature between movies because he was frozen in carbonate. But this feels like a nitpick to me. These films are more about magic than logic. In this movie, his maturing has also gone full circle. He is no longer putting himself and his possessions above others. He seems to gain an understanding about personalities that aren’t like him. He seems almost like a dad in this movie. As you all know, when he is first rescued by Leia, Jabba the Hutt catches them and eventually captures Leia. Han Solo pleads for mercy as he says “he had the money, he just got a little sidetracked.”

There’s not a lot of surface evidence for his lack of selfishness here, but I feel like with his tone of voice and with his current state, you can tell he feels more worried about Leia than he does himself. Trust me on this one. I can read minds. Han Solo has become a much more understanding and caring person. Never thought I’d type up that sentence. I think it all comes his understanding that the big picture doesn’t revolve around him. The world won’t treat him any different just because “I’m Han Solo,” he has to follow the way of The Force like everybody else does, and by that he starts to get the point.

In the end, all things come to a unified purpose. What you should be doing in your life is finding happiness and enjoyment. Nobody ever says this and it’s never shown to the extent where everybody can get it. But just by his actions and emotions and voice patterns, I think this mood is interpretable. And speaking of the lovely, let’s talk about Leia. In the first movie, she was essentially a girl in a woman’s body. In the second movie, she’s a woman who still feels like a girl. In this movie, her maturity is complete and she feels like a fully grown woman. She no longer feels entitled to anything and is not consciously aware of her womanhood.

(Oh but are the boys aware…)

She just seems to act like a person who happened to get the feminist card played at birth. I guess my point here is that she doesn’t feel like a spoiled brat anymore. Nor is she feeling like, ‘I’m a woman, I can do what I want.’ She is on the same level as the guys in all respects but tone of voice and appearance. Now, Jabba the Hutt would strongly disagree with me………….The Droids feel more significant in this movie as well. They’re pretty much the center of the plot for the first half of the movie. Their entrance into Jabba’s palace starts a chain of reactions that causes pretty much everything in that scene.

C3PO always talked about being able to translate different languages, but in this movie he actually shows that off at least five or six times. He also seems to be less an annoying necessity and more a part of the team. Though he still has his moments of doubt whether he really is helpful or not. R2 is the reason why everybody is alive after Jabba captuers them by keeping Luke’s new lightsaber in his body, which Luke deliberately planned out. And you can see during this big fight scene a little foreshadowing of Luke’s rage. “Yeah, man, just keep hacking, slashing, hacking and slashing, hacking and slashing and killing.”

That’s something so awesome about this movie, which I already covered but I must restate because it is easily the strongest part of this movie. Our protagonist is not perfect by a long shot. Nor is he just part scum like most wanna-be Luke Skywalkers. There is a part of him that is legitimately evil. There is potential for him to blow away Darth Vader’s reign. Vader could have destroyed several planets but there’s a part of Luke that could obliterate the entire galaxy. There are a couple of protagonists who I felt got a bit of a downgrade. Chewbacca doesn’t play any major roles besides being cute and piloting ships. He actually has less of a role than in the other two. Lando returns but not as a very important part.

His first major role is for no purpose whatsoever, he’s literally just THERE. The other major role is there just to further the plot along, and it’s a plot point where it’s like “I’ve already SEEN THIS. It was at the end of the first movie!” I just feel like, why include Lando if he’s going to be reduced to the importance of Captain Fish Head and Mr. Asian Stereotype? Now we shall move onto our antagonists. First are some of the less major ones. Boba Fett returns, of course, everybody knows Boba Fett returns. He doesn’t talk. His voice acting was awesome in the last movie, why doesn’t he talk?

I already talked about his looks and how awesome he is doing shit, and that reigns true here. His death I felt was not as stupid as everybody says, just that I WISH WE GOT MORE OF THIS GUY. That’s why there’s so many goddamn books about Boba, because PEOPLE. WANT. MOAR. Jabba the Hutt I also feel is not the greatest of antagonists. I saw the delted scene from Star Wars that picture him as a human. This is almost certainly the correct decision. This giant slug thing is well…sluggish. Both in his actions and his words. He doesn’t feel like much of a threat without much movement. If his gangs are supposed to be a threat….how?!?!

You got a giant blue elephant, a guy with a worm around his neck who – while looks intimidating – doesn’t pose a threat, that stupid bug singer, an equivalent of a dog, and a bunch of dancers. Does Jabba even HAVE GANGSTERS? How’d he get so powerful? I feel like the actor who played Jabba in the deleted scene would have been a legitimate threat. Not to mention, his language wouldn’t be SLOW AS FUCK. He takes FOREVER to pronounce words. The old actor seemed like not only someone who could put up and fight and talk, but he also seemed much more like a cold blooded murderer instead of an ineffective metaphor for the higher class. I wish we got to see more of that guy.

But whatev. It’s time to talk about the meat and potatoes of our antagonist line-up. It’s Vader and The Emperor. James Earl Jones is at his most polished acting in this movie, always carrying that evil tone which he is known for around everything about him. Sure, he doesn’t have all the best lines of dialogue like he did in the last movie, but Lil’ Jimmy understands his role in this movie better than the two predecessors. David Prowse, on the other hand, is the least polished here. He seems lethargic and clumsy, just very, VERY tired in his roles. I guess this isn’t too surprising, considering A.) The character is about to die and B.) Davey Boy is nearly fifty years of age himself at this time.

Still, he feels less like the ultimate darkness that surrounded him and more like an old man. I know, it makes sense in the story, but it doesn’t help Vader’s feeling. The third actor to play Darth Vader IN ONE MOVIE (yeesh which audition do I sign up for?) is Sebastian Shaw. He has gotten a lot of stardom just from this one movie alone. He’s done pretty much nothing of note other than this and that’s apparently more than enough. The makeup that he has when he finally looks at Luke with his own eyes really shows how much the dark side has corrupted him.

Have you ever seen a person that out of shape and disfigured? Outside of horror movies, of course. Hell, even then, this takes the cake compared to most horror films out there. I just wanna say – what is scarier? A white William Shatner mask, or this: http://tinyurl.com/6pnb382 ? C’mon.  Even then, he’s not meant to be scary. This is last chance to be at peace with the force, and he’s doing it with his son. That is one of the most emotionally beautiful scenes in cinema history. Darth Vader’s peak of evil was in the last movie, but it’s just as incredible to see his good side. DARTH VADER’S GOOD SIDE. The Dark Lord of the Sith. Funny how the Sith are not formally mentioned anywhere in the original trilogy.

Speaking of Sith, let’s talk about Palpatine. The Emperor. He’s introduced by actor Ian McDiarmid. This guy is bad news. His skin. Man, if you thought Vader would haunt you in your dreams…think again. I think this guy is Satan. Yeah. There is no other way to describe how he looks than The Devil of Hell. And it’s not like, he’s, I don’t know, the most important evil man in the entire Star Wars universe. The Devil wouldn’t be that far off. And how does he talk? Like he’s about to drop dead and die. But that’s the creepy ass part. This guy is as weak as a wet Ziploc bag, and yet the power of Evil is so strong with him that he rules the entire galaxy and has the power to SHOOT MUDDAH FUCKIN’ LIGHTING OUT OF HIS HANDS.  

How do you do that?!?! Only Satan knows. His name ain’t Sidious, it’s Satan. I don’t think we can discuss him further, except for one more thing…and that gets to where my problems with the movie start to materialize. I already touched on this when I talked about Jabba’s talking. But that wasn’t bad. At least stuff was happening and the plot was moving forward. That’s all you really need for a movie to feel fast, for the plot to move forward continuously – even if with lower speeds – and for there to always be a risk. They were tiny little spots that could have been forgiven. But then there’s The Battle of Endor.

There is this forty-seventy minute chunk in the second half of the movie that is slow as tar. One of the reasons is the three part cycle that does not forward the plot in any way. The first part is the alliance and the empire shooting each other down. It’s not even a constant, CAN WE SURVIVE kind of thing. That happens at points, and that’s the best part of the battle of Endor. Mostly it’s Chewy and the Ewoks (I’ll get to those later) beating down a bunch of storm troopers. The second part of the cycle is Lando and a racist Asian stereotype just trying to survive.

In a scene, where, as I said, it’s just “I SAW THIS BEFORE! It was at the end of the first movie!” The third part of the cycle is Luke looking out into space over dramatically while Palpatine says “yes, you shall join the dark side of the force, and all of your friends shall die.” This cycle goes on for a long as time and it creates a really slow part in a normally fast paced exciting movie. This all happens during the climax, before the REAL climax, where Luke, Palptaine and Vader come fist to fist and make the final decisions. THAT’s the real climax. The other part of this slow as tar part is the Ewoks themselves.

You can’t understand what they say, yet they are put in a position where I guess they expect you to understand what they’re saying? They’re there to be cute teddy bears and they overstay their welcome by a longshot, become way to important. They don’t feel real, they feel like toys that need to be sold. Ain’t that foreshadowing for a sixteenth year post RotJ? And I ain’t done yet. There’s the look of this movie. Overall, they look really damn awesome. This film feels a lot less aged than the other two. The box that the spaceships were in, that feels a lot more open and it feels a lot more like deep space instead of just outer space.

Endor looks pretty damn sweet. It feels like a lush forest and that there is so much to be found here that this movie didn’t touch on. Tatooine gets a nice touch up too. There’s so much going on in the space fights. That’s not normally done in 1983. There’s more going on in the dogfights of this movie than in 90% of any other movies. You can’t do this shit without CGI! But they did this shit without CGI! They did awesome things without CGI! What the hell? How? It feels more spectacular and theatrical than most action movies lately. This movie really shows the fact that this is a WAR.

Not some team good vs. team evil conflict, not some political debate, this is a WAR. Every single person in each group has a personality; they’re not just expendable grunts. It really feels like something that the entire galaxy is involved in, not just a set of characters. I do have one problem though, call it a nitpick if you want. They’re on a moon of Endor, right? Can you show the planet of Endor? At least from the exterior view? I’d figure if a moon is this expansive, the planet must be fucking incredible. The Death Star was compared to a moon in the first movie. I think they even said it was too big to be a moon.

They show The Death Star orbiting Endor’s moon and Endor looks like an entire planet. It looks like Earth….THERE’S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. So, my question is, is Endor like The Sun or something? And if THAT’S true, is The Sun like the most massive giant in the galaxy? I’m not asking for a full exploration, I just want to see some hints so that it feels like your implications. Oiy. Well, this is getting pretty damn big. I think I gotta end it off here. As J.R. said, “you could probably have a two hour conversation about that tree in the background.”

This film is not as perfect as the last movie. Lando, Boba, Jabba, and Chewbacca all don’t get used very well. There is that horribly slow section with the Ewoks and the Three Part Cycle. However, the full maturity and importance of all other characters where their personalities meet perfection, the spectacle of the sight that surpasses any and all expectations, the visual style being close to on par as the last two movies, the most realistic sense of an imperfect protagonist EVER, and more of a human understanding of our villains, plus the introduction of The Devil still rank Return of the Jedi of one of all-time greats.

The Rating? 5.5/5

SECTION FIVE: SOURCES

Wikipedia articles Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and related actors.

Video compilation of information and opinions on the films: http://cinemassacre.com/2009/02/28/star-wars-movie-review-part-1/

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Scarface (1983)

SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!!!!

SECTION ONE: THE AFTERMATH OF THE SHAME OF A NATION

In 1932 the film Scarface: The Shame of a Nation was released in states with no state  censors, and the Hays Office was ignored for as long as it could be. The film challenged two parts of the world. It challenged the people to stand up not against the government, not for the government, but as the government to end crime wars. The film also challenged society to consider its grip on reality. Though the amount and intensity of the gun violence, drug usage and domestic violence was extremely shocking for cinema, what a lot of us spoiled ‘Mericans don’t often realize is how much worse it is in real life. We like to escape in cinema because it is naturally less miserable than reality, even the most hardcore of films. This film challenged that concept. It never said, never even showed, but planted the seed of thought for this concept: “escapism leads to sloth. When you are lazy, others will capitalize on your absence. Then monopoly happens. Then there is war for monopoly.”

The narrative and morals were not the only major influence of this film, though I consider it to be the biggest. George Raft’s got pushed to the moon with a rocket up his ass in the movie world, and became known for roles like Some Like it Hot, Each Dawn I Die, and They Drive by Night. In 1994 the National Film Registry filed it for preservation, marking it as significant to either history, culture or visual arts. The American Film Institute has marked Tony Camonte as the 47th greatest villain in cinema history…the question is, is he a villain, or a hero? Rotten Tomatoes holds the film at 100% with 30 reviews. This makes the film one of the greatest films ever made according to the review aggregate site, as the Top 100 starts at 100% with 31 reviews. Damn would I love to see that movie beat out The Odd Couple.

But as cinema has evolved over the years, and the audience has become more and more ruthless, the film did lose some of its shock. Yes, if you consider the age, it’s still going to leave you flabbergasted. In 1968, with the release of Night of the Living Dead, the MPAA’s rating system was put in to place. Now films much more violent than The Scar could be released in the theaters. The decade of 1972 and 1982 saw a shallow revolution in cinema. Grisly qualities in film were no longer measured in concepts and misery. Instead they were measured in bloodshed and swearing.

No longer was saying that Jesus Christ was not the lord and savior meant banning, instead now just saying the name Jesus Christ when it’s not in the sentence “the lord our savior” meant you would get attention from the MPAA. You’d get much more controversy from SAYING shit than SHOWING shit. In the older days, it mattered if people died or were in excruciating pain. Now, it became more about how many gallons of precious blood they lost. If they were some sort of invincible monster like Godzilla who didn’t feel pain, it didn’t matter. In some ways this lead to good things, more freedom for artists and more critique of sacred concepts. But on the other hand, people become thirsty for repetitive foul language and buckets of ketchup instead of discussions of domestic violence and themes that challenged religion. In either case, The Scar became outdated for the general audience. So Oliver Stone decided it was time for a little reboot.

SECTION TWO: THE WRITING AND CASTING OF SCARFACE

One of the other big factors that had made the original Scarface outdated was that they were fighting over booze, back when probation was a thing. Nowadays, alcohol is somewhat legalized. Heroin, meth, marijuana and cocaine are the big drugs of the last three decades. So Oliver Stone, dealing with a cocaine addiction himself, is writing his first two huge successes: Conan the Barbarian and Scarface. He wanted to keep the film attached yet separated to its predecessor simultaneously. He wanted to keep the name Tony, but wanted a new name than Camonte.

He found the name Montana after Joe Montana, who was his favorite football player. Oliver Stoner also knew that this was the a cocaine dealer in the 1980’s and he needed to have Tony swear his motherfucking ass off. According to the scorecard feature on the Platinum DVD, the film has 226 instances of the word “fuck” with 1.32 fucks per minute. Fucks per minute. FPM. I love that fucking motherfucking figure. He also added some international curse words, the most notable being “maricon.” It means faggot. And technically, he did up the usage of the word Scarface.

Though it’s a 0:1 ratio. With his wonderfully vulgar script finished, Oliver Stoner went to find a director. His quest was not the easiest one. Sidney Lumet, known for films like 12 Angry Men, was the first choice to direct. He backed out but did give his suggestions, including having the 1980 Mariol harbor boat lift in the story. He was also the idea who made the characters Cuban, as opposed to the original who’s characters were exaggerated Italians. At least it’s not like the modern stereotypes, *shudders.* Later Oliver Stoner found Brian De Palma loved the script so much he put down all of his current projects to do this film. That might have been the best choice since the most notable thing he was working on at the time was Flashdance.

Now it was time to find an actor. Robert De Niro was the first who was offered the role, but he turned it down. Al Pacino was later chosen for Tony Montana. He met up with John Travolta about showing up in the movie as Manny Ribera, but the plans fell through. Ally Pack’s experience on so great the he called Tony Montana “his favorite character to ever play.” He became known for the role, I’d sure hope he liked playing it. He was the one who put the word “yeyo” as slang for cocaine in the script, ad-libbing it into the dialogue. Learning Cuban, Al Pacino used the line “look at them pelicans” which would be later inserted into the film.

He actually only spoke one line of Spanish during the entire film, learning only accent and culture. He actually had to double up for some police officers. Him, Dennis Franz and director Brian De Palma (who I’m just gonan call Brian Pillman) contributed to the dubbing. During the final sequence, even though only blanks were used, Al Pacino was burnt by one of the shots in the gun and production was postponed for a few weeks. This probably sucked for the other cast members; it must have felt all about Ally Pack. It must have been especially weird for Miriam Colon, because she was supposed to be the mother of Ally Pack, but she was only five years older.

Steven Bauer probably felt a little bias too as he was the only legitimate Cuban in the cast, even though Ally Pack, Mary Elizabeth, Robbert Loggia, and Miriam Colon all play Cubans. F. Murray Abraham played a generic Latino, but he is clearly ‘Merican. During filming, he was notified that he had won the role in Amadeus. It was a huge role that a lot of actors wanted, and when he got it everybody started treating him with a lot more respect. When it came to casting Elvira Hancock, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Melanie Griffith, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields were ALL offered the role.

Man, I guess I wouldn’t want to play a character named “Hancock” if I was a girl too, but Jesus guys what the Hell? And Brian Pillman, you too! You actually get girls who want to play this role, and you turn them down? Kay Lenz, Kristy McNichol, Carrie Fisher, Geena Davis, Kelly McGillis, Glenn Close and Sharon Stone ALL were turned down by either Brian Pillman or the producer Martin Bregman. Martin was the special case when turning down Glenn Close, because he felt she was “only half a hooker.” Jeez. I guess these guys know what they’re doing.

SECTION THREE: THE PRODUCTION AND RELEASE OF SCARFACE

The creative team originally wanted to set it in Chicago, as the previous film, but the budget was getting out of hand and they reset it in Florida and other tropical locations. Standing in for Miami was mostly Los Angeles. It was done this way because of angry Cubans going against the film’s portrayal of their peeps. The guys in charge of Miami tourism were also against this because they felt that a portrayal as the newest immigrants as gangsters and drug dealers would not be healthy advertising. Buildings were redressed to have a “Miami” feel to them. The cocaine prop was originally supposed to be dried milk.

However, they found this unconvincing. Brian Pillman has yet to state what was used as a stand-in for fear that it might weaken suspension of disbelief…or at least, that’s what he wants us to think. The prop guns were given electronic synchronizers which, extremely simplified, made it so that they only shot when the camera was able to capture it. That way, the sound and picture would be perfectly synchronized. This is something not done in most movies. The picture of General Cocombre is actually a picture of Luis Acre Gomez, a factual member of the infamous Cocaine Coup. The picture of Spiro Angnew is a very common one sent out to fans a while back, and now goes for a mere $20. Finally, the film is noted as one of the final four-track magnetic stereo releases.

The film was released in Spanish speaking countries as El Precio del Poder, which is an easy translation to The Price of Power. The film was dedicated to Ben Hecht and Howard Hawkes, the creators of Scarface: The Shame of a Nation. Releasing the film in America was a difficult task for multiple reasons. Obviously it would be hard to get it in Miami because of the controversy surrounding the portrayal of Cubans. The really big thing was that they faced a lot of the same problems as the original S:tSfaN in the MPAA. They originally gave the film an X Rating. Brian Pillman gave it some cuts and resubmitted it.

It was given a second X Rating. One of the reasons was apparently that the clown was “shot too much.” You see what I mean when I talk about our perspective of violence and taboo material deteriorating? YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? He did some more cuts and sent it out a third time, AGAIN getting the dreaded X Rating. Brian Pillman refused to cut it further to get it approved for an R Rating, and I agree with him. Brian Pillman was about to blow up when Martin came into the room. It was foggy, smoky, dark, and the doors were wide open. It was also black and white for some reason.

Martin pulled out two M16 assault rifles with M203 40mm grenade launchers attached to the barrels. He threw one over to Brian Pillman and gave one to himself. Brian replied to this silent proposal with these words: “Martin, you and me, huh? We'll show them. We'll lick them all! We’ll lick the MPAA! We’ll lick the ESRB! We’ll lick Hollywood! We’ll lick The North Side, the South Side! YOU AND ME MARTIN, WE’LL LICK THE WHOLE WORLD!” They recruited some drug dealers to go in with them. Then they went over to the MPAA and made them say hello their little friends. Bloodshed everywhere, skulls were turning into salt against the walls, small testicle sacks were glued to the toilet seats as they flew into the air, purple explosions burnt the entire state of California, BRIAN PILLMAN LICKED THE WHOLE WORLD! Shit was taken care of, and the film was released.

SECTION FOUR: REVIEW OF SCARFACE

Wow, where do I even start with this movie? I mean, fuck guys, I’m fucking speechless. I think I’m going to start off with the one smallass problem I had with this movie so it doesn’t fuck the flow later on. Giorgio Moroder. This guy is pretty well known. He’s done shit like Superman III and Inglorious Bastards. He also did his own custom track for Metropolis, but we’ll get to that another day. His music in this movie is mostly really good. I mean, it’s well known and the movie often goes together with it by association. It evokes the right emotion and doesn’t feel manipulative until the very end, but by then you just watched such a fucking amazing movie you sort of submit yourself to the admission that you are feeling the stuff this music wants to manipulate you towards, so you’re cool with its slight blatancy.

If Lord of the Rings can get credit with that aspect, Scarface can too. But I just have one itsy bitsy problem. And sometimes it’s the itsy bitsy problem.  A cake made of spiders, you can just ignore and not eat and go live your life. But a delicious ice cream cake you eat, and you find out you just ate half a spider in the last bite, then you want to puke and will never forget the experience. I can’t stand the electric elements. In a film that is so intense, realistic (mostly), grisly, violent, and vulgar, why the Hell are there techno electric instruments? The Sci-Fi genre is the only genre that has electric instruments in its proper place, and even then it’s only for great cult films like Tron and The Last Starfighter. The electric instruments interrupt the flow, and you don’t really get used to the unwelcome noise of said instruments throughout the film. That said, good work otherwise.

Now we get into what I love about this movie. And boy, where the fuck do I begin? It’s almost like if I talk about the directing, I gotta talk about the cinematography, and if I talk about the cinematography, I gotta talk about the editing, and if I talk about the editing I gotta talk about timing, and if I talk about timing you know as Hell I talk about acting and if I talk about acting it goes back to directing and I forget to even articulate on pacing and shit. Eh, well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it I guess. Brian Pillman does a spectacular job making a visual epic. Miami looks 110% like Miami and as if they got the best locations in Miami to shoot in. That’s fucking incredible considering it was shot in Los Angeles.

When tension rises, fog and steam and lots of fire and other elements come into play. But they don’t just burst out of nowhere neither, no they are perfectly placed in the plot. It’s like the ultimate coincidence set up on purpose. In fact, anytime you need emotions to be elevated, you get the perfect lighting and set. And it all fits in the plot. When you need a feeling of a foreboding future, the lights are dim and the room is black, but it was all gonna be in there anyways! When you need to express the price of power, you get the most extravagant bathroom in the fucking world, but hey it all fits into the script so why not right?

I love the way the film opens and I love the way the film ends. They just seem like perfect timing. Like, in a lot great movies, credits are amped visually to represent certain emotions or pay homage. Here, the credits are just in your face and big and brooding and mean. Like the movie’s saying “yo, fucker, shit’s like this, and you gotta eat shit and like the taste of it, unless you plan to do something about it and start eating what you actually like the taste of. But you gotta be careful not to fuck up this shit again.” It’s subtle things like that that makes these movies so great.

Man, you gotta talk about that camera work. Man, you gotta talk about those extremely slow zooms that build up tension, and then just when you’re about to get your answer you realize you’re not getting your answer for a little longer, but this ain’t no fucking false climax ‘cause you fucking know that camera work doesn’t build up to nothing. You wait a little longer, and when you’re least expecting it, BLAM! Fuckers hit you in the head with the coldest slice of reality in the universal refrigerator. But man, the camera wouldn’t be so fucking tense if you didn’t care about the characters man.

I’m not 100% sure what it is, but I think I got an idea why Alfred James Pacino plays such a Goddamn good Tony Montana. It’s because he’s fucking real man. It’s because there is no Al Pacino, there is only Tony Montana. It’s because he is that fucking character man. His accent may be fake, but his character ain’t fake. Like, it’s because AP ain’t fucking afraid of making the movie entertaining, he ain’t afraid of doing Cubans fucking justice. Tony Montana is Tony Montana and if you play Tony Montana you play Tony Montana, you don’t play TM for Cubans, you don’t play TM for the audience, you fucking play Tony Montana and if you don’t feel like you are Tony Montana then go hang yourself because you ain’t no Tony Montana. And that’s how you play Tony Montana.

Man, after this movie, you just feel like fucking swearing three fucking goddamn times in every sentence. You don’t need any more articulation than HE IS TONY MONTANA. And man, one of the most awesome things about Tony Montana is his fucking face man. You recognize that face everywhere. And it never changes. It’s always sad and brooding, sometimes getting Sylvestor Stallone angry but it is a piece of cinderblock man. His voice changes between every emotion in the book in this movie, but his face is always the same and you can’t imagine the guy without a fucking cigar in his motherfucking mouth.

When he gets angry, it means serious business, because this guy doesn’t get angry for nothing. And it’s something when you know exactly how the character feels without having it told to you, without even having it shown to you, little to no evidence other than Al Pacino playing the role and you fully understand the character on screen. How can you not love that? Yeah, the rest of the cast did pretty decent, but in comparison to the one and only Scarface few even manage to be memorable. The only person who comes close is his sister, who was renamed from Cesca to Gina.

And that’s only because of the end. Man, I didn’t even think they were going to go that route. Man, I told you about that domestic abuse shit in the last movie, but they really go nuts here. Tony and Gina’s relationship is one of the most brutal sister and brother relationships portrayed on screen. What Cesca said at the end of the first movie was really fucking cool, but in the end, did kinda feel forced. Gina fucking rips the darkest, most shameful feelings you can grab and throws ‘em in your face like not that many other movies do. I mean, if I wanted to, I could just talk about Al Pacino all day.

He is one of the greatest movie roles of all time. And listen to that fucking dialogue. Almost all of it is fucking quotable. Right off the bat you get lines like, “I eat octopus three fucking times a day! I got fucking octopus coming out of my fucking head man!” Even when the dialogue isn’t technically “quotable” it’s still far above passable and Al Pacino can’t help but make it awesome. The movie’s script is fucking amazing. It deals less with trying to tell a story that everybody can follow and deals more with trying to tell a story that will draw the right emotions and the right messages.

It deals with trying to be more realistic and more in your face than being a textbook definition of “good story.” There’s a lot of foreshadowing and irony in this film. Past events reference future events and future events reference past events. The film has a very strong feeling of continuity and life to it. Very strong is a huge understatement. Hell, fucking everything is a fucking understatement. This film is fucking incredible. Everything goddamn about it is fucking amazing. I could talk for eons and eons about this but I think I’ve gone way past Ramboing by now. My God man, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? This is a Legend of Cinema! You know, fuck the fucking electric instruments. This is one of the greatest movies ever made! This is one of those movies you NEED to see before you die!

The Rating? What fucking rating man? What fucking rating deserves to even touch this shit? 6/5

SECTION FIVE: AFTERMATH OF SCARFACE

Scarface premeried on December 1st, 1983 in NYC with very mixed reactions. Whether they loved it or hated it, everybody had its eyes glued on the film and attention was swarming around it. A lot of people loved it. Martin Scorsese turned to Steven Baurer during the middle of the film and said this inspiration line: “You guys are great – but be prepared, because they're going to hate it in Hollywood ... because it's about them.” Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and stated:  "DePalma and his writer, Oliver Stone, have created a gallery of specific individuals, and one of the fascinations of the movie is that we aren't watching crime-movie clichés, we're watching people who are criminals.”

He later put it on his Great Movies list. Vincent Canby of The New York Times absolutely loved it, stating: "[T]he dominant mood of the film is...bleak and futile: What goes up must always come down. When it comes down in Scarface, the crash is as terrifying as it is vivid and arresting.” The Golden Globes saw the excellence of Tony Montana, and gave him a well-deserved nomination. And of course, naturally, a lot of people also hated it. Lucy Ball hated it. Her reasoning was because of the violence and swearing. John Irving and Kurt Vonnegut walked out when the more than ferocious chainsaw scene happened.

And trust me, this shit happened when The Shame of a Nation came out. People are gonna hate challenging movies if they’re people who don’t like to be fucking challenged. Dustin Hoffman was reported to have fallen asleep. I’m guessing it’s because the movie is so long and it doesn’t really pander to being able to follow the story in the traditional Hollywood style. Leonard Maltin has been a complete idiot, stating: "...[Scarface] wallows in excess and unpleasantness for nearly three hours, and offers no new insights except that crime doesn't pay. At least the 1932 movie moved.”

David Ansen gives a confusing opinion in: "If Scarface makes you shudder, it's from what you think you see and from the accumulated tension of this feral landscape. It's a grand, shallow, decadent entertainment, which like all good Hollywood gangster movies delivers the punch and counterpunch of glamour and disgust.” Jay Scott clearly did not understand the movie, and wrote: "For a while, Al Pacino is hypnotic as Montana. But the effort expended on the flawless Cuban accent and the attempts to flesh out a character cut from inch-thick cardboard are hopeless.”

Gary Arnold wrote a review that was barely a review, stating: "A movie that appeared intent on revealing an alarmingly contemporary criminal subculture gradually reverts to underworld cliche, covering its derivative tracks with outrageous decor and an apocalyptic, production number finale, ingeniously choreographed to leave the antihero floating face down in a literal bloodbath.” In either case, the film made quite an carload of assholes of money, earning 2.6x its original budget in gross. On VHS, it became an instant bestseller. When it was released in the Spain, the title turned to The Price of Power.

A TV version was released in 1989. This is where things get comedic for a little bit. 32 minutes were cut, all the fucks were censored, and a ton of new stupid scenes were added in. Some of the most infamous alternate lines created were lines like “where’d you get those scars? Eating pineapple?” Or “This city is like a great big chicken, just waiting to be plucked.” The first DVD release was not nearly as successful as the VHS release. It had one of the worst digital transfers by a big budget studio. Muffled sound and all that jazz. In 2003, a DVD and theatrical re-released were issued.

Consideration for fan songs to be included in the film were made, but rejected by Brian Pillman. In 2003, a DVD and theatrical re-released were issued. Consideration for fan songs to be included in the film were made, but rejected by Brian Pillman. In 2006, another DVD was released to coincide with the 2006 video game, which has gotten more praise than would be expected. The film was released on Blu-Ray 5 years later, and it’s the one I have. A gorgeous steelbook with lobby cards, a DVD of the 1932 version, and a digital copy. They also launched a collector’s item that was the Blu-Ray in a cigar humidor, but of course I don’t subscribe to this shit and didn’t know about it until it was time to buy that steelbook.

Nowadays it goes for $1000. You think I’m gonna pay a thousand bucks for a movie I already own? I might as well start dealing crack. Universal held a fan contest for art, and they included these art cards in addition to the miniature lobby cards. That must feel fucking incredible for whoever won that. The Grand Prize winner even got his art on a major billboard to promote the release. Fathom Events re-released the movie in select theaters, but I live in a very suburban area of Colorado, I’m not getting that shit. At least I don’t live in rural areas. Yush. Over the years, the reviews have changed from generally negative to general positive.

Rotten Tomatoes now  holds it at a 89% rating with this consensus: "Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess.” Hey, I’m digging that line. In June 2008, the AFI named it the tenth greatest American gangster film. The line “SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!” was ranked #61 in the mag’s greatest movie quotes. It was ranked #8 by Entertainment Weekly in the Top 50 Greatest Cult Films. Empire Magazine placed it as the #284th greatest movie of all time. VH1 probably gave the most praise, giving it the #5 spot in The Top 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.

And well, where do we go from here? Obviously the phenomenon continues. Universal says they plan to make a new version of Scarface. Can we say maybe the next one will explode our expectations? What if it’s a comparison between the first and second movie, as with the second and third? But Hell, there’s so many remakes inferior to the awesome originals, how do we know they’ll do better? And who says the movie is anywhere near outdated? They say it’s going to be about a kingpin pursing the American Dream. Who knows, really? All I know is that all a guy has in this world are his balls and his word. And let me tell you a little something about the world. The World is Yours.

I, Da  ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

We’re just getting started up in this galaxy far, far away.

SECTION ONE: AFTERMATH OF STAR WARS

After Alan and the folks at 20th Century FOX had a battle royal over how much money George Lucas should have for his space opera project, the budget eventually came to $11 Million. This is $39,110,952.20 in today’s money. Even with inflation considered, this was still a very small amount of money to produce an epic science fiction film on. Close Encounters, the rival to Star Wars, cost $20 Million 1977/$71,110,822.18 in today’s money. Still not as crazy a most movies today, but easily a bigger budget than S.W. But since Lucas created his own SFX team, they didn’t need MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to make the fantastic ships and shiny things that they did.

The important thing was the profit. Close Encounters made a large ass sum of ₡₳$h after its budget. $317,700,000 1977/$1,129,595,410.30 in modern money. Star Wars is another story altogether. With a budget around 50% that of The Third Kind, its profit was a whopping $764,398,007 1977/$2,717,848,537.45 in modern money. TWO AND A HALF BILLION MOTHERFUCKERS. It’s been noted that in 1976, when Spielberg begun production on Close Encounters and Lucas began production on Star Wars; that the two artists bet that their rivals’ film would make more dough. Spielberg won the bet.

Only he knows what his feelings were towards his victory. But if we’re measuring in money, it was definitely the victory Lucas & Crew. Gary Kurtz was doing a radio interview on opening day, somewhere, I don’t know where. He was shocked at what happened. This is what he said: “On opening day I ... did a radio call-in show ... this caller, was really enthusiastic and talking about the movie in really deep detail. I said, ‘You know a lot about the film.’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen it four times already.’” This was when Gary, Lucas, the cast, the crew, the SFX team, and every goddamn person on the planet realized Star Wars was an international phenomenon.

THAT GUY SAW IT FOUR TIMES IN ONE DAY. George Lucas came to realize it a different way. Most of the day he was nervous, so he hung out alone in a sound studio. But he did end up taking his wife out for lunch. When they did, they were essentially mobbed by paparazzi and Q&A cursed public. There was also a bunch of people who were just trying to get into Star Wars, but the theaters were packed; so they pretty much had to beg George Lucas. Even people like the lighters, or that devil Gilbert Taylor, were asked for autographs. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill became household names within twenty four hours.

It became the highest grossing film ever, beating out Jaws from just two years earlier, and as I’ve said before is till #38 on the top #50. It was originally meant for one wave of screenings in 32 theaters; but eventually it got to the gross amount that Avatar got to; and it went through five waves of releases between five years. Only when E.T. The Extra Terrestrial broke the record in 1983 was it not pronounced King. It wouldn’t stand down for long, though. BUT let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’re already too much so. We’ve got  to save THAT story for #4. It wasn’t just about money either.

The film was a gorgeous and heartwarming story that pretty much got everybody in the seats between six and a dozen times. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film still holds a 94% favorable rating – which means that 94% of the critics liked it. The average rating is 8.2/10; or 82%, which signifies universal acclaim…somehow. Ah, it deserves it, whatever. The “general consensus” on that website is as follows: "A legendary expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opens our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster film-making and things have never been the same."

To translate for all those who are not of the tour de fuck kind, Star Wars was successful because it wasn’t overly complicated and the metaphors didn’t take precedence. While I wasn’t fond of how the characters didn’t really grow up; that’s not what the people saw. The people saw a movie that was action packed, gorgeous, funny, imaginative, and big. And I see all of that in addition to my gripes. And that’s why, for the most part, it’s awesome. It’s action packed; fuck yeah especially for the time. Not a lot of movies compare to the awesomeness that is Star Wars.

Vader vs. Obi-Wan is still an awesome fight. How it’s realistic and you can see what these people are thinking, and it’s not some choreographed dance. How every time the light saber hits there’s a little yellow light, as if there’s some miniature explosion happening. It may not be the best for any music video, but it’s made perfectly. While some critics have bashed the film entirely for some of the reasons I agree with; in no way does that make it not AAAAWWEESSOOOMEE. Sure, it’s not perfect by any stretch; but Lucas was still an amateur director at the time! Star Wars is pure genius.

It went on to influence the movie business. Those movies that value fast paced action and evil villains over metaphor and character study that open up every Summer that we love on an equal level to the alternative are purely a product of Star Wars. I mean, there were vague versions of the same concept; but Star Wars was the first pure adventure film. No longer were dramas and romances and comedies and horrors separated, or to be crossed only vaguely. Now you could pretty put everything into a melting pot and actually come up with something well-made instead of a sloppy clusterfuck.

Artists finally saw the light of not making visual fiction for themselves; rather make visual fiction to please the audience. This is an art that must be perfected to succeed.  Star Wars is the reason we have movies like Indiana Jones and The Dark Knight, but unfortunately it is also the reason we have movies like Avatar and Conan the Barbarian. Speaking of Mr. Cameroon, this was the movie that made him make movies, believe it or not. Cameroon was a truck driver at the time, but he quit to start making movies. In that is another way Star Wars it the true reason why modern cinema is the way it is, and take it for what you will; but Star Wars created the last four decades.

Household names as Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, David Fincher, Kevin Smith, and yes even the man who shall not be named that created all the movies THAT ARE SPELLED IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Ridley Scott was inspired by the used future, something he would imitate – though never duplicate – in his hit films Alien and Blade Runner. Peter Jackson also used this concept; along with the simpler and humorous characters to appeal to the audience; in his Lord of the Rings trilogy and his soon-to-come duology of The Hobbit. Christopher Nolan attempted to push the boundaries in special effects for Inception.

Not just in realism but pure scope and size. Boy did he ever succeed. While some blame Jaws and Star Wars for killing the new wave of extremely smart films such as The Godfather and Taxi Driver…c’mon guys. No kids going to beg his parent to see The Godfather. Hollywood’s a business and you know it. People are attracted to the simple and spectacular; and those two artists were only plugging cinema into the correct electrical outlet. So with all this success, Lucas walked up to I’m sure a stunned or happy as fuck Alan Ladd Jr. He said “hey, I got two more Star Wars films if you want to have some more international success.” Alan was pleased.

SECTION TWO: THE WRITING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

With all this extra profit George had gotten, 20th Century FOX was willing to give Lucas all the money he needed to make another hit sequel. Fortunately for Alan Ladd Jr. and the crew at 20th Century FOX, George had earned enough money in his own rights to finance the movie to the effect of Star Wars. He upped to $32 Million, or $83,555,045.95 modern bucks; by loans his associates were more than willing to give. His one request was that he would have full control of whatever he wanted to do with the movie. I’m sure Alan was more than happy to do so.

20th would still distribute the film, but the epic fights of hardship and the one week deadline nightmare would not happen again. One reason I’m sure the cast was willing to resign onto the project. After separating the second third of the script that would become The Empire Strikes Back out of the original Journal of Whillis, George said “fuck it, who needs to direct, right?” His decision was not creative, CLEARLY. Fact was he had a lot of other productions going on at the time, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Plus, he had IL&M to take care of. It’s his pet. Lucas offered the role to a certain Irvin Kershner (Never Say Never Again, RoboCop 2), one of Lucas’s old sex prisoners at college.

It was a REALLY odd choice considering Irvin was known for small scale character studies. But he passed up, seeing as a sequel to awesomeness of Star Wars could never meet expectations, and he didn’t want to be seen responsible for the possibility of wrecking the Star Wars franchise. (Yeah, how’d that go for ya?) But he double checked with his agent. His agent pretty much threatened to kill Irvin if he did not take the job. So he did. So since he’s not directing, you would THINK that after DEMANDING full creative control over the film, he WOULD WANT SOME INVOLVENMENT.

Well, he was about to write some stuff, and then he said “fuck it, I don’t need to write.” I am very confused. The script got handed to Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dreamcatcher) and Leigh Brackett (El Dorado, The Alfred Hitchock Hour) to write the script. My question is huh? Two inexperienced writers and a director that did small scale character studies? Is Lucas a psychic or something? How did he know this would work? Well, apparently it’s impossible he was psychic, because after the first draft Leigh Brackett unfortunately passed. She was sixty two years of age. Lucas worked on the second draft in her place, finally stepping up to take care of his own lovechild. The final draft was worked on by Lawrence Kasdan, after he impressed Lucas with his first draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The final product of The Empire Strikes Back borrows as much from previous fiction as does Star Wars. I talked about the giant pods from War of the Worlds being the inspiration for the AT-ATs and the Chicken Walkers. Well, this is where they debuted. A lot of stuff from the first movie carried over, such as C3PO, who again is an inspiration of the robot from Metropolis. And of course the parallels to The Wizard of Oz, in terms of the characters, are still present. The feeling of episodic serialization is still present as tribute to The Phantom Creeps and Flash Gordon.

In this film, despite the fact it’s a sequel and you would expect it to pick up right where it left off; it does it again where we don’t know a lot of backstory. How is The Empire still in power after the loss of the Death Star? What happened to these characters between films? We don’t get to see that stuff and, again, that’s how it was back in the day. Most people would see episodes 2 and 7 or something like that of the running serials; only if you were super rich and went to the theatre all the time did you get the whole story. Or you can get those 2 disc packs that include everything; IF it still exists.

The Emperor’s introduction via hologram is also something borrowed from Wizard of Oz. Palpatine, to my knowledge, wasn’t even mentioned in Star Wars. The Jedi continue more and more to act like Samurai. Especially the part of hands being cutoff, which was introduced to Lucas’s space opera in his second entry. The Universal Monsters fan club (and I know they’re really more of a Hammer fan club) is still present; capes and casting altogether. The Empire Strikes back is definitely a title that could be associated with b-movies and horror films. Let’s see here….Giant Starfish of Zimbabwe Strike Back….or…..Mega Spiders of Madagascar Strike Back….something along those lines.

I betchya good money those are actual movies. Whereas the parallels to Frodo and Gandalf or Arthur and Merlin were derived from Luke and Obi-Wan in the first movie; now it’s Luke and Yoda. And their mentorship is much more intense. There’s one other really big thing I want to mention REEEEEEEAAALLLY BAD, but I must save it for Return of the Jedi. Let’s move onto

SECTION THREE: THE PRODUCTION OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Meanwhile, in Marin County, California; IL&M had grown from asking for more Oscar Wilde style to tipping it back with M.C. Scorsese. They were pretty much happy and when Lucas told them about a sequel to Star Wars, at first they figured it was no big deal. Except there was a problem. They were able to do creatures on ground, and giant robots in space. But Empire Strikes Back provides giant robots on the ground.  In space, the original technique of small set pieces against a small background with slow cameras worked really well. But the illusion could not possibly be attained on a planet; especially with robots that walked on the ground.

Oh, and there was Cloud City. Enough is said. The initial idea was to use several layers of green screens for the Hoth battle, but this proved to be more complex and have very lackluster results. Shit piled on more shit, as the juvenile say. So instead they got some artists to do some paintings, and had stop motion miniatures Ray Harryhausen style walk against them. It’s interesting note AT-ATs were originally supposed to have wheels. Many have compared these robots to the Port of Oakland container cranes, but that was actually one thing Lucas wasn’t inspired from. You can see the comparison, but they would have turned out very different if this was the case. The backs would be much farther down and much thinner, no shell. The head would be long and elongated as opposed to the herbivorous Godzilla style head they eventually went with.

The Empire Strikes Back is the first time we’re introduced to The Jedi Master Yoda. We never even got mention of him in the first movie, but now we’re going to show him. Stuart Freeborn (2001: A Space Odyssey) designed Yoda with his face and Albert Einstein’s wrinkle pattern. A really good comparison can be seen here:

I especially love on how Google Images the one related search is Albert Einstein. Speaking of Yoda, what of his homeland, Dagobah? The stage was actually built five feet off the ground, for the purpose of Yoda’s puppet able to be reached by puppeteers. This was especially difficult considering A.) Mark Hamill, R2D2 and other props had to be on the surface of the set. B.) Lucas’ attention to making things BIG, which we will get to later. Frank Oz (Muppets, Muppets and more Muppets), who did the voice and puppetry for Yoda had a really hard time with the acting portion.

Since the set was built five feet up the ground and really DAMN big; Frank couldn’t hear Mark Hamill speaking his lines. So he basically had to shoot in the dark, and clips had to be very well edited to be well paced. Speaking of Mr. Hamill, this is where emotions got to him, On the first movie, he was as much a trooper as Steve. Especially with all those problems, that must have been tough. Here, things got to him. He went into a dismal loneliness because he was the only human cast member for months. He had no real things to interact with during his work hours. Kershner was extremely impressed by Mark Hamill’s dedication and sacrifice for the project.

Remember how when George Lucas got to Tunisia he encountered the first major rainstorm in a half a century? Yeah? Well, God hates George Lucas. Just saying. They did their international filming in Norway. As opposed to some extreme swerve in weather, they just got the most extreme of the normal. A storm blew in. Norway’s already really cold, but at that time temperatures dropped to TWENTY NINE DEGREES CELCIUS BELOW ZERO. Not to mention, EIGHTEEN FEET OF SNOW DROPPED. At one point they were snowed in and unable to exit the hotels in order to do some filming.

I’m sure that was boatloads of fun. They was so much snow that in order to film Luke escaping from the Wampa cave, all they needed to do was film Mark running out the hotel. And that was hard in itself. Then Mark Hamill got in an automobile accident. AGAIN. This time with a motorcycle. But it was…curse me for saying this….convenient this time, as he was knocked out by the Wampa. Who, by the way, can be compared to The Abominable Snowman. Just saying. They finally got done with Hell #2, Act #1, raw and cold, and moved again to the suburbs of London to work in Elstree Studios, where Hell #1 had made the transition to Act #2.

When they got there the place was pretty much burned down. Stanley Kubrick had created the event during filming of The Shining. Another very cold and snowy movie. That was boatloads of fun. And of course you already know of Mark Hamill’s experience on set with Yoda and company. Once filming got done, dialogue had to have been changed. One was the line that ended Han Solo’s role in the film, which as ad-libbed. It was originally more of a romantic moment. “I love you too” was the original line. But Harrison Ford decided to with “I know.” A lot of people have said this is an extremely insensitive line. I say nay. I think it was a matter of, “I love you, and you love me, and we both know it. When lovers love each other, both of them know. It doesn’t needed to be stated for it to be truth.” That’s what I get out of it anyways.

Lucas wanted to do like before and have the credits come at the end of the film. This had a major problem. Before, it was fine, because Lucasfilm didn’t exist. So no names would come at the beginning other than FOX. But now Lucasfilm did exist. Which would mean George’s last name; and remember Lucas only wrote the 2nd draft and the story of the script; would come before the movie where everybody else’s would come afterwards. His intent was to keep the scrolling credits to their own dramatic effect. The Writers and Directors Guild, who Lucas was a part of at the time, fined him $250K for this decision and attempted to have Empire Strikes Back out of theatres.

George paid the money and left the butthurt idiots soon after. He even left  the MPAA. That’s a daring move. All this financial stuff, the huge budget and fins and what not; caused 20th Century FOX to go insane. Again. One way or another, Alan Ladd Jr. quit. This made Lucas kinda pissed off, Alan was a huge friend of Lucas’s. He then took his next big series, Indiana Jones – to be started off with Raiders of the Lost Ark – to Paramount Pictures. The most important decision Lucas ever made during the production of The Empire Strikes Back was Darth Vader’s revelation. During filming, David Prowse would speak the lines initially to assist James Earl Jones in his dubbing.

However, Lucas kept this notion very secret. Only him, the editor Paul Hirsch, and James Earl Jones knew of “the big one.” Everybody else was under the impression that the revelation was Obi-Wan Kenobi killed Anakin Skywalker. That was what was originally said. Hamill didn’t even know until right before the scene was supposed to be filmed. He was pretty damn shocked himself. Kershner was informed a few days before. This group of five were apparently very good secret keepers. Even James Earl Jones suspected that Vader was lying to Luke Skywalker. And………

SECTION FOUR: REVIEWING THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

This film opens on Hoth. There are a few things we notice virtually instantaneously. The first is the atmosphere. Hoth looks like the greatest snow storm pelted down just for Lucasfilm & FOX…..oh wait, it kinda did. Yeah, Empire Strikes Back is so great that GOD provided weather control! The other thing we notice instantaneously is growth in our characters. Since Star Wars*, characters have changed on their adventures. Han Solo is still a selfish bastard. But at least he’s not evil selfish, he’s just selfish by nature. He has grown to bond with the characters, and understand each individual’s emotions.

*Note that I critiqued Star Wars as it was originally released, a single movie. However, Empire Strikes Back was originally released with the knowledge that it was a sequel to Star Wars.

An easy example: In the first movie, if Luke asked for advice from Han Solo, Han would probably have remarked with “tough luck kid.” In this film, he is more apt to give advice. That’s how I feel like selfish bounty hunters should act. Still looking for themselves 1st but willing to look for others 2nd or 3rd. Leia has grown in a similar fashion. She still thinks of herself as the best, but her implied conclusion that she is the everyone else is 100% scum is lost. You can see her still separating herself from this notion as she matures. She calls Han Solo scoundrel (her adjective choice in this film is not the greatest) right before she kisses Han Solo. With intensity.

Luke Skywalker has grown…somewhat. He has learned how to take orders without question and be able to take command, be the leader. Throughout the movie, he begins to learn other things, but we’ll get to that. His knowledge gained between films is enough to make him feel like a legitimate protagonist instead of a kid just thrown into space. C3PO and R2D2, despite being robots, start to show emotions here and aren’t just “OH LOOK AT THE TINY LITTLE ROBOT.” They have their humorous and intelligent sides, which are the most intense, but they also can feel peril and anger.

Chewbacca becomes less of a cute animal and feels more like a crew member of a different species. He takes charge and does some important stuff, not always being told what to do. (This does happen on quite a few occasions, though.) He feels human this time, is what I’m saying; where in the last movie he lived up to every aspect of his coat. Obi-Wan is pretty much the same. Although, with the introduction to his superior, his ability to argue and feel rebellious is touched on. This, again, makes him feel more like a human and less like a character. Speaking of characters, we get a lot of new ones in this movie.

Land Calrissian is one of them. He’s become a staple of the Star Wars Universe, especially amongst old school fans. His wardrobe is that of Dracula if Dracula and Van Helsing switched places. Again, Universal Monsters Fan Club. His look – and forgive me if this sounds extremely white – but he looks and acts like a sophisticated version of Mr. T. With a splash of Uncle Vinni thrown in. Who is Uncle Vinni? I thought everyone had an uncle named Vinni! Well, if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. But Uncle Vinni is pretty chill, man. I like Lando, just not as much as everyone else.

Mostly because the only black man in the entirety of the first two films is a dirty traitor and gambler. If memory serves, he’s the only black guy in the entirety of the first three films. Later Mace Windu would join the party, but woah partner we got a long time before we talk about him. Next up on the list is the anti-Han Solo, Boba Fett. He is the one who wants Han Solo’s head for the purpose of Jabba the Hutt’s green dough. I’d like to feud with him. This guy, and I know I’m being a fortune teller in the style I’m reviewing these movies; but throughout everything DOES NOT get enough exposure.

His outfit is really unique. Like a giant sand bug made of metal. This never really gets expanded on, though I could guess it’s a statement against bounty hunters. Especially those who commit these huntings without judgment or reason. His tone of voice and dialogue suggest that of one I’m Batman, but he gets like five lines during the course of this movie. We need more Boba Fett! BOBA FETT TWENTY TWELVE MOTHERFUCKERS. One theory is that he looks so cool not saying anything, and that’s why he’s popular. Fuck that, he’s a motherfucking Badass when he’s talking or when he’s silent. You think you can RUIN this motherfucker? YOU CANNOT RUIN MOTHERFUCKING BOBA FETT! OH MY FUCKING GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Okay, I’m good. Who to talk about next….OH  MY GOD YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA CALM ME DOWN WITH THIS GUY? Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages, Boys and Girls, Friends and Neighbors, may I present to you, the creature with a brain compositied of Benjamin Franklin, Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma” Gandhi, Albert Einstein and Thomas Jefferson all given eight hundred years of wonderful aging, from the Dagobah system, weighing in at six apprentices, the master of the force, the greatest Jedi trainer ever, the genius of a galaxy, far, far away……………………………………….YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODA

Everyone knows how much of a genius Yoda is. “Wars not make one great” and “Do or do not, there is no try” are some of the most awesome and hard to swallow lines ever recorded. Yoda hits you with more wisdom than you can take and that’s why he stays for so long. What’s really awesome is, despite his age, he’s not a generic genius. His tone of voice kind of makes him sound like a derp. A really, REALLY huge derp. But if you actually listen to what he’s saying, this guy makes the letters I and Q look irrelevant. He takes Charles Dickens and Socrates and makes himself into their dream child.

And he’s a smartass too. If I need to tell you that Yoda is the smartest person in the world without you already knowing; go watch this movie right now. I don’t care if this is the twentieth time, go and watch it right now. What are you doing. Why are you still reading this? Go watch it right now? Hell, if you exist, go watch it right now. It’s that fucking WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS? GO WATCH THIS RIGHT NOW! IT HAS GOD DAMN YODA!!!!!!!!! YOU DON’T NOT WATCH A MOVIE IF IT HAS YODA!!!!...Well….ah, never mind. The last thing I want to talk about, if you’re still here from my madness, is Palpatine.

We get a little look at him, actually early on in the film. He looks like…Take the generic image of an evil witch, give it natural skin tones, make it a male, and amplify it by 10. This first introduction to the Emperor is strong and quick, leaving you want to see more of this character. Perfect introduction. We move from characters onto the visuals of this film. I already commented that Hoth is the product of God – literally – but what about everthing else? Like the AT-ATs. Problem: I don’t know what an AT-AT is. I just saw the realistic and metallic version of Godzilla. Next up. The Chicken Walkers.

Problem: I don’t know what Chicken Walkers are. I just saw a 50 foot metallic demon that has the agility of a cheetah. Moving on from the robots to the spacecraft. There’s a little moment where shadows are played with in Space. I made a joke about that and how it was impossible, then I was greeted TO A SPACESHIP THE SIZE OF A CONTINENT. Moving on then. How about Cloud City? I’m sorry, I don’t know what Cloud City is. All I know is that somebody took a peach, hollowed it out, added some fog, and made an entire planet out of it. Did John Williams do an orchestral score?

I’m sorry, I was under the impression he simply changed history forever and ever by turning every person with a working ear’s pants into jizz. The pacing is extremely enhanced from the first to the second movie. The first movie had really awesome moments, but here it feels more like all these awesome moments are wrapped together on a string and it leaves you biting your nails. I’ve seen this movie way too many times and each time I watch the movie it becomes more and more engaging. That’s the counterpoint of the majority of films. James Earl Jones really steps up his game in this movie.

Now that’s he’s given the movie’s #1 dialogue, he unleashes the ultimate star he is. Still, he has trouble with casual discussion. I love the foreshadowing to the next movie that’s in here, such as Vader’s Head. And I don’t care how much it’s in popular culture, I still find that “moment” to make me feel like I was just pushed with the force itself. Is there anything else I can say about this movie that isn’t redundant? Dagobah is really awesome! It’s brimming with life, it’s so moist and jungle like. You’d feel like this is where Indiana Jones finds the lost skeleton of Cadavra, not where Master Yoda resides.

Hoth, Dagobah, Cloud City, Space, so on and so forth, re-enforce the concept of a giant galaxy to lengths that Star Wars couldn’t attain. Star Wars implied that this galaxy is gigantic in the most successful way any cinematic piece could do. Empire Strikes Back is the illustration. The Empire Strikes Back is possibly the greatest film of all time. Where every single aspect is overt in its complete perfection, it deserves the fame it has. It pushes the boundaries of cinematic imagination, character relationships, action, romance, comedy, suspense, fantasy, science fiction, and how it can be melded to create a masterpiece. What other rating can I give this ultimate ultimate than 6/5?

SECTION FIVE: SOURCES

Wikipedia articles on Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Close Encounters, and film of 1977.

Video compilation of information and opinions on the films: http://cinemassacre.com/2009/02/28/star-wars-movie-review-part-1/

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Alien (1979)

A very different long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

Brett: Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Meaow. Here Jonesy.

SECTION ONE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW PRE-REVIEW

Often cited as one of the greatest horror movies of all time, if not one of the greatest horror movies of all time, Ridley Scott’s second feature length motion picture and first blockbuster film was released in 1979. I didn’t add the primary tagline to my review just because it’s in space, although I still would have considered that funny because…I’m retarded like that. It is a really  interesting parallel to Star Wars. It is based off earlier cinema that Ridley Scott grew up with. When you see the inspirations, you say to yourself “there’s absolutely no question this is where that is.”

When you look at Star Wars and Flash Gordon, you can see the parallels instantaneously. Same with Star Wars and Hidden Fortress, among so many others. When you look at Alien, there’s no question it’s a big budget (as big budget as Star Wars was anyways) remake of a 1950’s monster clash b-movie. Like Star Wars and Hidden Fortress, it has its most obvious parallel that many claim is plagiarism. A little film called IT, The Terror From Beyond Space (which may or may not have inspired Stephen King as well) was a huge inspiration for this film. I would review it, but I don’t see it as fair.

Why didn’t I review Hidden Fortress before Star Wars, or Wizard of Oz for that matter? So I’ll leave it for another date. But anyways, the parallels between Alien and IT are pretty damn insane. The only differences in script are that the crew lives in the near future – 1973 to be precise - and they’re on the moon. And of course, with time and production, comes differences in design. But the funniest part of this film being a parallel to Star Wars in its writing is that Ridley Scott was actually inspired by Star Wars itself. Mostly by used future technology. Things don’t need to be all shiny and clean.

This was used in Star Wars to future along show that this universe is big and has history. In this film, it’s used like the title card of Mother 3, where it’s done to make you feel uncomfortable. Or, as I like to say – simultaneously hot and cold. An environment where the heat doesn’t originate from the environment itself, but your own fears. Another parallel you can draw is the nearly emerging slasher films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween, where….by the way, if you don’t know what happens in this movie, what the hell?....where everybody gets killed off but one woman. She’s either smart or lucky enough to escape. In most horror movies, it’s usually out of luck. In this movie, it’s because she’s smart. We’ll get to her later. But where did any of this madness come from?

SECTION TWO: THE WRITING OF ALIEN

It started with not Ridley Scott, but Dan O’Bannon and John Carpenter. They had written and directed in film school a little piece of cinema called Dark Star. Essentially it’s sci-fi comedy making a parody of common films of the genre such as 2001 and Dr. Strangelove. The special effects were not fantastic, as the alien was created using spray paint and a beach ball. It actually makes me wanna see this movie if it’s that stupid. This left Bannon wanting to do an alien that looked real. His basic idea was to do Dark Star but in the horror genre and see if it could get any ₡₳$h.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy, far, far away, a little guy named Ronald Shusset was working on a little script entitled Total Recall. Dan Ban and Rolly Shussy met up and decided to work on the films together. They decided to do Dan Ban’s movie first since it would be cheaper to produce. The original script was called Memory (and AWESOME title) and comprised of twenty nine pages. It made no mention of the design of the Alien, and right when he was about to work on the film; he got caught up in the movie adaptation of Dune. That project fell through before a decade later David Lynch would create his version.

So Dan Ban went back to Memory. But the experience provided him with new inspiration, including thoughts of hiring people like the one and only H.R. Giger – known for the entirety of the Alien, Species and Dark Seed series. He also got Chris Foss and Jean “Moebius” Giraud (Tron, Masters of the Universe, Willow, The Abyss, The Fifth Element) to do some other stuff, which he was impressed by. But the legend H.R. was eventually chosen. For a brief time they chose the plot to gremlins invading a B-17 Bomber, titling it Star Beast. But then they woke up from their acid trip and decided to go back to the drawing board.

So Dan Ban was allaike “hey, I know! What about Alien? It’s a noun AND AN ADJECTIVE!!!” And Rolly Shussy was allaike “yeeeah oooogay fugget we can WHATEVER we wah in diz place.” (This is typically the part where I start making bullshit up to keep it interesting.) Then Rolly Shussy got sober and was allaike “You know, we could have embryos burst out of their chests.” Then Dan Ban was allaike “Why?” And Rolly Shussy “BECAUSE IT TURNS ME ON!” And Dan Ban was allaike “…” They went on to go get inspiration. Like we’ve already discussed, it’s an interesting parallel to Star Wars.

Dan Ban is quoted in saying “I didn’t steal Alien from anybody, I stole it from EVERYBODY!” For claustrophobic environments, as I already showed, they worked on IT, The Terror from Beyond Space. They also worked with The Thing from another World. Forbidden Planet gave Dan Ban his idea of a spaceship landing with warning before, and then everyone gets so brutally murdered. Remember what I said about this being one giant remake of 1950’s films? Thankjya very much. Planet of the Vampires inspired finding Alien remains. Junkyard, a short story, influenced the finding of alien eggs.

Strange Relations, another short story, talked about alien reproduction which was later incorporated into this film. By this point they had completed 85% of the script, and were ready to show studios the idea. At first they went to Roger Corman’s studio, but they quickly got a better idea from 20th Century FOX. More parallels to Star Wars for everybody! Also like The Wars of Stars, during the time they were preparing to make the movie, there were a ton of changes made around the script. Including lengthening it.  They had to fight for their quality, because FOX associates Hill and Giler were quoted by Shussy at “[not being] very good at making it better, or in fact at making it not worse.”

Later they came to appreciate Hill and Giler as the guys who added the Cyborg character. But they had their fights, which went through twice as many scripts as Star Wars, more specifically eight. FOX was originally very hesistant to make the film, but after OH I DON’T KNOW….COULD IT BE STAR WARS…came out, they were like “you go ahead and take as much money as you need. We’re swimming in it.”

SECTION THREE: THE PRODUCTION OF ALIEN

So once they were finished with the script, Dan Ban went up to FOX and was wearing his hat and hat his giant megaphone. And Hill was sitting in his chair. And he was a tad bit pissed. But Hill also didn’t want it, because he was not that responsible. Half a dozen people were considered and not chosen, such as Peter Yates (Bullitt), Jack Clayton and Robert Aldrich (Apache, Sodom & Gomorrah), but eventually they wound up with the wet behind the ears but filled to the brim with awesomeness Ridley Scott. They were convinced he was the only filmmaker who wasn’t going to treat it like a sci-fi extravaganza and make it seriously.

Turns out that was quite literal in the word ONLY. Scott was so good with his storyboards that FOX doubled the budget. His drawings were inspired more from modern movies, such as 2001 and How Many Goddamn Times Have I Mentioned This Movie? He was also the first guy to say “this is not a trio of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. This is strict sci-fi horror, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in space.” However, Scott’s alien had one problem. It was a bloody chicken. Like, literally. A giant, bloody chicken. So H.R. Giger fought hard for his designs to be in the film, and eventually – and fortunately – they won.

When Scott saw the designs, he knew the biggest problem of the film had been solved. Problem: H.R. Giger is afraid of flying. So to get details and stuff filled in, Ridley went over to his home town of Zurich, Switzerland to talk with him about the design. This is also where they came up for the designs of the parasites and aliens. After this, Scott wanted to go even bigger scale than they had original intended, and hired back Chris Foss and Ron Cobb for help on the SFX. Cobb did a ton of work, but didn’t let Scott get away with everything. Namely, he wanted to make sure the visuals weren’t the focal point of the film.

This is a quote from him: “I resent films that are so shallow they rely entirely on their visual effects, and of course science fiction films are notorious for this. I've always felt that there's another way to do it: a lot of effort should be expended toward rendering the environment of the spaceship, or space travel, whatever the fantastic setting of your story should be–as convincingly as possible, but always in the background. That way the story and the characters emerge and they become more real.” Scott understood this. With this in mind, he decided to make some very daring choices.

For one, the entire crew was unisex. They could be male or female, none of that mattered. THAT’S a decision I love. The other major change he made was a realistic setting. Fuck giant robots. Fuck lasers and fuck all the spectacle. We want to make a real alien movie. If there was a space crew lost in space, being invaded by this type of alien, it is only this movie that depicts the realism of the situation. This is real. This is damn real. This is Ridley Scott’s Alien.

SECTION FOUR: CRITIQUE OF ALIEN

So you take the concept of being realistic and you do it in ways I wouldn’t have expected at first. Plot holes. Beforehand, I hadn’t realized how much of a necessity they would be to a realistic film. I hadn’t remembered how much scripts are often artificially tightened. In real life, characters often don’t make the best decisions. Not just morally – there’s that too – but they also just sometimes make really dumb, obvious decisions. Sometimes it’s because they’re too confident in themselves. I’m sure this affects every decision of everyone’s lives to one degree lower or higher.

Another reason is because they’re scared and panicking. I think that’s where it really gets into Alien. The first plothole I noticed was due to fear of the unknown. That’s what this entire movie centers around. The sheer terror of going one-on-one against somebody who you have no idea how to kill. Throughout the movie you’ll be noticing plot holes. But that’s a good thing. Because, remember, you’re not the one there. You’re not the one who’s being hunted. Speaking of those who are being hunted, dialogue. Dialogue is not all that interesting and there are no cool one-liners.

If they are, you can tell they weren’t that memorable. People aren’t very funny when they’re about to die. Another thing is sometimes it’s not very clear. People will mumble out of calmness in the beginning, where you can’t understand them. By the end, they’re screaming so loud it’s hard to fully make out their screams of terror. And of course, they’re not always looking at the camera, so it’s not always picked up very well. This is, all, of course, realism in action. Another piece of realism in action is the alien babies, or chestbursters. I feel like in so many horror movies post Jaws, you get such quick kills.

Namely in classic slasher films like Friday the 13th. All you need to do is do a 180 with your machete and heads come flying clean off. Literally. A little blood on the stump but the head’s fucking clean and they got flying for fifty feet. Alien isn’t like that. In this series of films, the best deaths are typically the long and painful ones. First, you feel the creature moving around in your body. Then it attempts to burst out of your skin and causes a few leaks. Before then, you were thinking “save me, save me.” That’s fear but it’s not desperation. Desperation is after it causes a few leaks.

You KNOW you’re going to die, and you can’t do anything about it, but your body is telling you to save yourself. And it’s not like a disease where you have time to think about it, you’re going to die in t-minus ten seconds whether you want it to be that way or not. That’s Horror. With all this, it kinda sucks we have a score at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad score. But it’s also not good enough to make up for the fact that music doesn’t play in the background in real life. The movie is at its best when it’s quiet. The soundtrack is really good on its own, I mean goddamn listen to some of this shit:

But it shouldn’t be there. It’s really damn cool, Jerry is obviously a genius, but it just isn’t appropriate for this movie. And there are parts of the soundtrack that feel like they’re telling you to be scared or feel tension, instead of letting the visual and written aspects of the film do the job. Speaking of those visual aspects, let’s talk about them. First, some of the more simple stuff. Since the dialogue doesn’t hold your interest nor isn’t meant to, something else takes a higher authority. Lighting and cinematography. Compare these angels to camera angles from any movie in any decade and I guarantee somewhere around 85% of the time the cinematography of Derek Vanlint (Dragonslayer, X-Men) is going to rain supreme.

The lighting in this film is also phenomenal. It’s filled with a lot of colors but mostly it is filled with a very dark blue that floats around the borderlines of black. You’d think by the poster and everyone since that this would be a mostly green movie. It ain’t. Almost everything is that extremely dark blue. There are a couple rooms that aren’t so, the medical room is bright and white. Makes sense, you need good light to provide operations. The mother-lab is bright orange. I don’t really understand this choice. Orange is an energetic color and that’s the last thing you’d need in a movie like this. Colors are not solid either.

Colors are always broken up by windows or other shapes in the wall, making them irregular in their pattern. Ironically from a wall pattern that is regular. The scene on the Planetoid is the same colors but very, very grainy due to a duststorm. Inside of the giant spaceship (which I assume will be the subject of Prometheus) light is obscured by shadows. But enough about the lighting. Let’s get to the part that EVERYONE wants to…read me talk about? How does that work? H.R. Giger’s Alien design! We all know it. And I feel like it fits with the rest of the flim’s tone. It’s the same color as most of the movie.

Which makes sense, not only in that it fits the tone, but also that it’s camouflage. It’s not a simple, sleek organism, like a Shark. (Blame me for not thinking of anything else.) It’s got extensions and spikes and shields and helmets and external skeletons all over the place. This serves another dual purpose. First, to work with the film’s sense of irregularity in placement that can’t fully be comprehended. But it also makes sense as body armor and possible ammunition that hasn’t been exhibited. Like in reality, just because we don’t know it’s use doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a use. Lastly, fear and intimidation. Let me ask you something.

A creature that is invincible to impact, has one giant mouth with sharp teeth, another smaller mouth with sharp teeth that stick out of the original mouth, stands at your height, can climb like nobody’s business, and has the head of a Parasaurolophus. (Look him up.) Doesn’t that sound REALLY, REALLY SCARY? I thought so. Another really awesome thing about this movie is the characters. These aren’t the type of overly generic characters you want to see die. Like I said, Dan Ban, Scott and Rolly Shussy created them with unisex and I would assume uni-race personalities. It makes them timeless and more relatable.

They’re pallets to be drawn in with. And they’re not just bland either, which I found made that an incredible risk. Cliché characters are easy to work with. Blank canvases are near impossible. Pretty much only this film proves that it is possible. When people die or are a threat at dying, it feels like it matters. It feels like “fuck, please don’t die, please don’t die, oh fuck he’s gonna die, dammit why’d he have to die?” Sometimes when they’re a little less interesting it’s not as bad but it’s still a pretty big deal. And so, I conclude. Alien is an extremely well made film. Its only foreseeable flaw being a soundtrack that doesn’t belong. The soundtrack still is amazing. It’s other accolades include unbiased, relatable, tight character structure, realistic tones of dialogue, pacing, and death, and a visual style that is above all others.

The Rating? 5.6/5. Is there ANY way Lil’ Jimmy can surpass this?

SECTION FIVE: SOURCES

Wikipedia article on the film: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_(film)

Short, informational review of the film: http://cinemassacre.com/2007/10/21/alien/

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Star Wars (1977)

35 years ago and yesterday and yesterday, we saw the first depiction of a galaxy far, far away….

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all Ages, friends and neighbors, boys and girls, that hippie smoking marijuana in the background, R2D2 rolling around serving drinks, Kathy Tyers organizing an Extended Mythology Convention, George Lucas rolling around in tons of arguably well-deserved dough, Spielberg having a bittersweet moment as he “won the bet,” John Williams head banging to his own music, J.K.S. wondering why I’m such an idiot, RhinoKlox laughing at me being an idiot, Mark Hamill putting on some Joker makeup, all the spoilers I will spill in this review, AND DA REST OF DA ₡₳$h₥₳₦ ₡R€₩ HOW Y’ALL DOING!?!?!? WELCOME TO I, DA CA$HMAN’$ MOVIE REVIEW$ THREE-HUNDRETH REVIEW!!!!!!

SECTION 1: MEMOIR

God Dammit folks. I’ve been here for nearly thirty months and three hundred god damn review. At this end of this marathon, I will have been here for thirty months. This is also not counting the ones I’ve deleted over the years, or the dozen or so video game and book reviews – which has become the topic of much attention, but whatever. Over the years I’ve looked and learned from so much film. Like the first time I ever gave something a 0/5, when I saw Grown-Ups. I remember the first review I got a ton of shit for, Robin Hood, which ended up being the trend for a lot of reviews.

Yet I also remember the first review I got a lot of praise for, The Shawshank Redemption. That was the first time I really connected with a more adult character study, to be soon followed up by Citizen Kane. Got both of those rented from the library at the same time, and my Dad was very confused at that point. Probably the review I’ve gotten the most shit for is my review of Gone with the Wind, which I still hate to this day. I remember the first time I did a marathon, for the 35th anniversary of Jaws. I don’t think I knew it at the time, but that was something different.

I’ve always loved watching movies, I’ve always loved reviewing them and I always wanted to make movies. But after Jaws, there was a very different perspective about it. I didn’t just want to make movies anymore. I wanted to engulf myself in cinema. I wanted to study film, it’s technical aspects, it’s literary aspects, it’s historical significance. I didn’t just want to study how many powers Mechagodzilla had, I wanted to study the many metaphors that Atticus Finch had. (Still prefer the novel btw, even with my new found love for the film.) I didn’t want to make movies anymore; I wanted something grander yet simultaneously more general.

I wanted to be in the history books. Whether by the study and critique of motion pictures, or by the creation of such screenplays and painting that little red dot on the cinematic timeline. I didn’t just have an interest that had certain climaxes and such, I had a passion that coiled itself around my contemplation organ. There might have been one or two more in between, but I place the Toy Story marathon directly afterwards, the first time I fully understood the magic of a complete and perfect trilogy. Later on I got a million and a half shits for my extremely negative review of Conan the Barbarian.

While Robin Hood did get some hate, my CtB review was probably the first one that god sworn down in to Hell universally. It didn’t help much when Gone with the Wind followed up on it. Considering the hate for Conan the Barbarian’s review was blown away by the Gone with the Wind’s review, you can tell why I eventually quit Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes. Though I wish I could start over, because that was essentially free advertising for my main attraction. There have been tons of good memories over the years, such as the Friday the 13th marathon. That was where I really understood what it meant to be a fanboy.

Not an obsessive fan, God I knew that one from….forever. A fanboy is someone who is willing to defend their favorite franchise to any costs, and dammit my opinion is never to be challenged or even disagreed with. I am the perfect Ft13 fan and if I say you only hate Jason Goes to Hell because you are expecting the wrong film, well dammit I know everything about this shit! Goddamn idiot, aren’t I? But that’s okay, because that’s what love is about. Finding 150% affection for something and no will to point out or agree with potential flaws. That is the strawberry-lemonade flavor of love.

Something that so many fans have for these films, but hey, that’s not yet. It’ll be soon. That marathon finished with my review of Freddy vs. Jason. Not only is that still one of my favorite movies that most people would not agree with, but that was also the beginning of my super-long reviews. I typed up thirteen paragraphs. At the time, Techspot1 said “dude, how can you type that much?” It became apparent that I could shoot for the stars later on. Surprisingly, my review of Cloverfield is one paragraph short of my review of Freddy vs. Jason, but whatever. Then we move onto winter.

I think everyone who ever had a good father can agree, your dad is often the one who you look up to the most. Even if he’s got twenty million problems, as long as he’s good to you, you’ll probably end up seeing him as your hero. Everyone knows that if a father tells a white lie about a child’s product (project, whatever), it doesn’t really affect you one way or the other. But if you can feel the sincerity in their voice (and you gotta have a good bullshit detector on you apparently), if you can see the truth in their eyes and legitimate impression flowing through the cracked walls of stutter in their mouths, well goddamit you’ve just won the emotional lottery.

How would any filmmaker feel if a Steven Spielberg or a Francis Ford Copolla gave them credit, how many novelists would be humbled by praise from Stephen King or J.K. Rowling? How many critics would be astonished at praise from the legendary Roger Ebert? So, we can draw the comparison, how can any kid or teenager not be stunned by legitimate impression from their father? That happened in winter. We had watched The Wrestler. Now, you guys could probably tell from that review that I am a pretty big fan of pro wrestling. At least the popular style where it’s a televised comic book.

There was a celebrity angle back in 2008 where Chris Jericho claimed that the depiction of professional wrestling in the film was incorrect and full of media hype and bullshit. Naturally the exposure caused me to want to see the movie. But here’s the thing. That’s 2008. If you recall, I hadn’t started this website until 2010, and hadn’t even experimented with critique until summer of 2009, and that was the early trimester of 2008. Note the potential attitude of my parents when in 2010, my own father was cautious of my viewing of The Shawshank Redemption and Citizen Kane.

So naturally, they made up enough blatant lies to convince me not to watch The Wrestler. Later, dad’s boss, who is pretty much The Miz but with a beer belly, recommended The Wrestler to my dad. When your boss tells you to watch a movie you probably don’t want to skip it. So, with my fifteenth birthday just passing, my father guessed it was only appropriate now that we watch it together. His assumption, honestly, was not too far from the truth in many respects. Especially the together part. I uploaded my review, and this was during like the one or two month period where I A.) Notified Facebook followers of my reviews; and B.) My dad was actually on Facebook.

Therefore, he saw the review when it was posted. I remember coming upstairs after shutting down the computer, and him approaching me about it. He said something around the lines of he thought it was really intelligent and well written. I wasn’t really picky about the fact he couldn’t really express how the thoughts went through his head, and I wasn’t turning my bullshit detector upwards of moderate. I just knew that my father was legitimately impressed with what I had taken for a passion. Somebody who I look up to. Shortly afterwards, I got a bunch of shit for my review of Mad Max, preeeeeety much in the same way as Conan the Barbarian.  

Which reminds me, my original review of To Kill a Mockingbird also got a lot of hate. And I have no idea why, but for some reason my review of The Green Hornet got a ton of love from my friends, probably because they were sick of seeing a fun movie aimed at teenagers being bashed by critics probably too old to get it anymore. Spring 2011 rolled around, and honestly not a lot happened. Mostly it was me drooling over some of my favorites, I think the only movies I reviewed with a generally negative consensus was Lord of the Flies (1990) and The King’s Speech.

Which is the most ironic fucking thing ever, since TKS was originally meant to be my review to prove I am NOT biased against drama and romance. Yeah, how’d that work out, buddy? Fortunately that season also marked me giving a legitimate review of Iron Man 2. I also went back to see The Land Before Time, and was even more impressed as an adult than as a kid. 2010-2011 was the school year where I was taught U.S. Government and World Geography under an independent filmmaker Bob LaRue. His wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor carries on to his IMDb page, where he goes as Robert Omnibozoologist LaRue.

I highly suspect Omnibozoologist is not his real last name, but maybe I’m forgetting something. While I didn’t get to review most of the movies he showed us, probably a good 8/10 became some of my favorites. An example of some awesome movies Mr. LaRue showed us: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, 12 Angry Men, Adobo (his son’s own movie), Lord of the Flies (1963), and the big one Salaam Bombay! Some I didn’t think were quite awesome: A Day without a Mexican, Lord of the Flies (1990). I think by the end of the semester (not year, SEMESTER) we had watched somewhere in the vicinity of ten movies, but the remaining three I have not revealed are probably documentaries that were required material.

Fortunately, the commentary provided was more than great. The summer of 2011 was when I really got into the YouTube Reviewing Community. Before then I had already been a hardcore fan of Fury of the Film Fan, had been subscribed to Jeremy Jahns, and was getting to know Mark Ellis and Kristen Harloff of The Schmoes Know Movie Show. Yeah, believe it or not, I remember you guys from when you had 9K subscribers. Now you have 26K and are certified on Rotten Tomatoes. Hell, I remember Jeremy from when he had 9K subscribers, and now he has 108K.

But for a while I had felt like some sort of an outsider. Like “yeah guys, I know you like this stuff, and that’s cool I guess. But I’m not really digging it. I like THIS stuff!” But in the Summer, with things like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Adjustment Bureau, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, so on and so forth, I really connected with you guys. I know everyone’s entitled to their opinion and opinions ideally shouldn’t get in the way of friendship, but when half the movies you disagree on; and your connection IS movies; it kinda gets in the way.  Now I at least feel like I’m part of the picture, even if I’m the fruit fly in the background.

That was also the time when I first started reviewing Godzilla movies, which got me into movies obsessively in the VERY beginning. (But Jaws got me into cinema obsessively.) That helped open me up to my reviews. I’m not this picture I want to paint, I’m the picture that has been painted.  I still haven’t fully felt that feeling is upon me, but I feel like I’m really getting there. I’m almost all the way open and honest here. You can tell, especially from all of my really early reviews, that I forced an opinion on myself. Sometimes, I still do. Just because, it felt like a sin to do some stuff; even if everybody felt like it was a sin to not do stuff.

If you are your harshest critic, which is what I believe, than impressing yourself is easily the most inefficient decision to make. And we all make that mistake. Evident of my review of Alien vs. Predator (that’s needs to be remedied soon.) The came the mess that was September-December of 2011, which is still spilling out it’s ugly guts today. When I realized that if you go too big for your britches, than you’re going to slip out of them. But as Stephen King says in his introduction to The Dark Tower books, “if you don’t start off too big for your britches, how do you know if they will fit or not?” (Or something of that nature I’m paraphrasing.)

You guys remember it. Me trying to review EVERY Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man movie. It’s still going on. Oh yeah. And it’s difficult. Really, really difficult. ANONYMOUS I remember was the first time I can remember I was really able to say “yeah, this movie is objectively really good, but it’s just not for me.” Films like Hugo, War Horse and Moneyball connected me further to the people of cinematic infatuation. Films like Dolphin Tale reminded me why I am living amongst the hardcore cinematic nerds. 2012 so far has been the year where I take care of business properly. I did The Request-A-Thon (I still have like 5x more requests than I did when I started it), I did my first April Fool’s Day joke where I reviewed my own movie (that’s coming again btw), almost all movies in The Request-A-Thon felt like “Damn Bheema you should have done this ages ago.”

ESPECIALLY 2001: A Space Odssey. That movie and Close Encounters have illustrated the awesomeness of a movie that is simultaneously hot, cold, quiet and loud. I’ve been reviewing the Leprechaun movies once a year, around St. Patrick’s Day, which has become a tradition. I saw The Artist, which made me feel like not only are there people who GET me – which I heard learned with YouTube – there are people who are JUST LIKE ME. I don’t think I’ll go away since The Artist. I think Star Wars will be another huge milestone in my movie ree—vv-v---oh wait, it already is. Shit. Four manuscript pages of just the first section. DAAAAYUUUM.

Quick little addendum, I also remember having an anti-Star Wars phase. I think most people have had this before. Maybe because they think it’s too kiddie for them because they saw it really early in life, or because they’re hipsters and they don’t think it’s their shit, or a combination of both. Mine was done for the former, and for the sake of causing trouble. I don’t want to get into any detail about it, but RhinoKlox remembers. RhinoKlox remembers, buddy.

SECTION 2: THE WRITING OF STAR WARS

You know, there’s a lot of celebrated franchises. Star Trek, James Bond, Godzilla, Batman, and several other things do compete. But…just look up Wikipedia’s list of Star Wars novels, and you’ll get that there is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, more loved than Star Wars. I don’t think there was a single kid from the 70’s or 80’s that didn’t have a Star Wars lunchbox. I don’t think there’s ever been a geek who didn’t have a single Star Wars action figure or novel in his collection. No video gamer has gone without either of the Battlefront games, or The Old Republic. The original film is the oldest movie to still be on the Top 50 highest grossing films of all time, to this day beating out twelve other motion pictures on that list and it’s probably never going away.

It is one of eight of its kind to be on the list from before the year 2000. If you adjust for inflation, Star Wars is the third highest grossing film ever created, just under Avatar and Gone with the Wind. Every year George Lucas alone makes around a dozen billion dollars from Star Wars merchandise, which means Star Wars related material that is not ticket stubs, DVDs, VHS tapes, Blu-Rays or video games. I mean the action figures, t-shirts, buttons, lunchboxes and memorabilia. This movie’s had moderate success or something.  Ever since 77, every movie post S.W. can be compared to Star Wars in some way shape or form.

Yet by movie enthusiasts (and snobs in a different tone) Star Wars is compared to every movie in existence. Old Michael Crichton (the one that requested What’s Up Tiger Lilly, not the author), refers to this as The Hourglass Effect. (Apparently that’s also a book for entrepreneurs but whatever.) It’s not really paraphrasable, (yay new words for everybody) (yay endless parenthesis), but how it was originally said was “Star Wars ripped off everything, and by default everything since has ripped off Star Wars.” Whether that’s his own thoughts or his impression of film snobs I’m not 100% sure, but he seems smart enough to understand it’s a giant ass tribute.

In 1971 George Lucas had finished work on his independent movie THX 1138. If you look at the poster of that movie you can already see Star Wars ideas bubbling in his brain. Not to mention, THX has become his logo for his own brand of sound system; which has become known for audiences now being deaf. Around this time Luke had first thought of the idea of a gigantic opera IN SPACE. From both Star Wars and THX 1138, you can tell one of George Lucas’s favorite things was the Flash Gordon serials from the 30’s and 40’s. He even tried to get the rights to adapt the serial at one point but he was still an indie filmmaker and couldn’t get anything official.

So he moved on with his space opera, which kept tons of elements of Flash Gordon. You know that iconic pre-film text monologue that scrolls from the front and bottom to the top and back of the screen? Flash Gordon. You know those wipe transitions that have become so famous? Flash Gordon. You know CLOUD CITY? Flash Gordon. Hell, look at the opening of the first film. Action scene. Bingo. And with generations that have viewed the film on home video or so forth, the title “A NEW HOPE” (even on the old VHS tapes pre-1997), both these elements mixed to make you feel like there’s a ton of backstory you missed.

So you wanna know what that might remind old school fans of? Going to a movie, and seeing Episode 6 of the Flash Gordon serial without seeing the first 5. Bee, Eye, En Gee Oh and BINGO WAZ HIZZZ NAAAAMEEEEOOOOH! After Lucas lost his rights to Flash Gordon, he got a two-movie deal with United Artists to produce American Graffiti and The Star Wars. But they rejected the script for American Graffiti sometime after and the contract was…well…it’s probably floating around the form of old ashes. After ‘Merican ‘Rffiti, he finally moved onto The Star Wars. Not only would his space opera contain elements from F.G., but also another famous movie, I’m gonna present a little picture:

 

Does that remind you of anybody? If you said a female version of C3PO, you actually wouldn’t be a totally immature teenager. Well, maybe you are, but that point is irrelevant.  Metropolis, in addition to bringing the obvious design inspiration for one of the major characters, was one of the first films to be set in the future. Tons of movies were set in the past before 1927, and a noteworthy bunch were set in the present. But Metropolis was the first to create its own interpretation of the future. It’s become very impactful on our own mindset. Flying cars, dystopian environments of slaves, robots with artificial yet emotional intelligence, and several other things.

The flying cars obviously got morphed into X-Fighters and other spacecraft; and the dystopian environment of ruler vs. slave – while originating from History – transcends into the environment of Empire vs. Rebellion. The inspirations don’t stop there. H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds was probably the first piece of fiction to depict giant ass robots going around and destroying people. Empire Strikes Back anybody? Wizard of Oz – gosh we’re on a roll with the old stuff here – was probably another inspiration and a huge parallel. Dorthy = Main Protagonist = Luke Skywalker.

Chewbacca = Furry = Intolerable yet  Friendly = Cowardly Lion. Tin Man = Robot = Without a heart but a huge brain = C3PO. C3PO = Scared out of his minds = Cowardly Lion. Dorothy just wants to go home, Han Solo just wants to get out of there. Han Solo’s clothes bare similarity to The Scarecrow’s entire color scheme, hay and clothing. And of course, R2D2 = Annoying pet = Todo. Luke is our primary character who is met by an elder (Dorothy’s Mom maybe) who is aware of the overbearing villain (Vader/Witch of the West) and through his adventures meets all these different characters.

Also, Light/Dark side of the force = Yellow/Red brick road. (I have just gotten that song stuck in your head and you all hate me now.) Jawas = Annoying little bastards = Munchkins (oooh another annoying song from that movie.) The Hologram of the end all be all character is presented in both movies, and evaporation post-death are featured in both classic tales. Not to mention, Oz and The Galaxy are both far, far away. A scene where the protagonists disguise themselves as the army for the main protagonist is also present in both films. And since we’re talking about the main characters so much, why don’t we bring up The Journal of the Whillis.

This is an 8-page diary written by George Lucas while he was thinking of characters and places for his space opera. Luke Skywalker was originally Anakin Skykiller – gosh I wonder where that went. Mace Windu was originally Mace Windy – good vowel change if I do say myself. Padawan originally had an extra A, and the name Jedi was originally half of a word, Jedi-Bendu. This made things very hard to understand for his producers (for some reason) and this led to George Lucas using an outline for Akira Kirasawa’s film The Hidden Fortress (for some reason.)

This was also another film he considered buying the rights to, in addition to Flash Gordon’s old serial. Some people say Star Wars is a direct rip off of The Hidden Fortress, and that’s pretty stupid for several reasons. Two are these: A.) You’ve gotta note all the other parallels to other films. And B.) He only used a rough plot synopsis from The Films of Akirwa Kirasawa, first ending up with an 18 page draft for a movie of its type in space. But there is truth for the parallels, as for all other comparisons. For God Sakes, Hidden Fortress is about A PRINCESS LEADING A GANG OF REBELS AGAINST AN EVIL EMPIRE. YOU CAN’T GET MUCH CLOSER THAN THAT.

Hidden Fortress often goes to the point of view of two humble yet rather annoying characters; same way with C3PO and R2D2. And for the most obvious one, Samurais and Jedi both A.) end in I, and B.) Fight with swords…sort of. Severing of arms is also something you might see in a Samurai film. After doing a few rewrites of his potential film, Lucas went to both United Artists and Universal. They were okay with it, but they were afraid of the potentially super high budget. When they couldn’t find any SFX team that worked with something so elaborate as the X-Wing battles and such, they turned him down.

So Lucas went to 20th Century Fox. The deal was closed in 1973. George has said that Alan Ladd, Jr., head of 20th Century Fox at that time, “did not invest [$150,000] in the movie, he invested in me.” Most of his coworkers, and George himself, were not all that comfortable with only an 18 page draft existing at the moment. So he started writing a full draft of his space opera, one that borrowed from subjects I mentioned before, and many classic westerns. The bar scene in Mos Eisley (ANOTHER annoying song for you to hate me for) or the Catina, whichever you call it, is directly out of any classic Western.

The Searchers is a big name to bring up in any Star Wars conversation. You know how Luke Skywalker is out talking to somebody and doing shit, little does he know that his family is being decimated and his house his being raided? Not only does that happen in The Searchers, the scene looks nearly the same. Sure, changes were made. No horses in Star Wars, the general color was made a lot lighter, and camera cuts happen at different times. But it’s almost identical. Even the two musical scores that play in those scenes mesh together. As George wrote his bigger draft for The Star Wars, he re-introduced Jedi – just now call Jedi – and their enemies, The Sith.

Or as I like to call them, the Universal Monsters Fan Club. Peter Cushing plays Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, and David Prowse plays Darth Vader physically but not vocally. That’s the exact same thing that happens in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, a film where Peter Cushing plays Dr. Frankenstein and David Prowse plays the monster. Not to mention, Peter Cushing played Dr. Frankenstein all but one time for Hammer, and David Prowse had played the monster in Casino Royale (the original version.) It’s also interesting to note Peter Cushing played Van Helsing in three of Hammer’s Dracula films…or four…I forget, I reviewed too many of those things.

He played alongside Christopher Lee as Count Dracula. In the recent prequel trilogy, Christopher Lee now plays Count Dooku. Speaking of those movies, Darth Vader rising from the slab at the end of Revenge of the Sith is directly from House of Frankenstein. Yeah, sure, the basic idea has been portrayed in nearly all Frankenstein films, but that’s the one where the scene is almost EXACT. Speaking of Vader, Count Dracula wears a dark, menacing cape, and Darth Vader wears ditto. I know other people have worn a cape, even a villainous cape, but Dracula pioneered the art of looking great in a cape as a villain.

I don’t even think we need to mention how Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are titles straight out of B-Movies and Monster Movies. Phantom Menace is a really elaborate hint at Bela Lugosi’s The Phantom Creeps. Phantom is already in that title, and it’s first episode is The Menacing Power. Think about it. That also happens to be a serial, but we already discussed how those work. In his resurrection of the Jedi, Lucas changed the protagonist a lot. Luke Skywalker was originally a well-trained general amongst a family of dwarves. Now he’s an adolescent kid amongst a family of farmers.

Greedo and Han Solo were in originally opposite roles…and to be honest I’m very glad they switched. Chewbacca was originally named Indiana, because the character was derived from his dog. Indy would often act as George Lucas’s co-pilot. Hint hint wink wink. Later Indiana would be given to Indiana Jones. Yeah, how’s that for disrespecting Indy before Crystal Skull? As Luke became an adolescent, Obi-Wan became his mentor. Very much a Gandalf/Frodo, Merlin/Arthur kind of deal….wait, am I on my 7th manuscript page? ل€$u$ h. ₡hRi$₮. But I ain’t done yet.

I still got this and much more to do. The rest of the creation story is a little quicker though. Lucas watched a ton of Sci-Fi movies….moving on now. Luke’s Dad was originally intended to be one of the heroes of the movie, but that was scrapped once Lucas had the most important epiphany in financial and cinematic history. At one point Luke’s Dad was even dead before the start of the first movie. This is prevalent in Vader’s name. Darth Vader translates vaguely from some sort of German/Dutch/Latin/Thingy to “Dark Father.” Luke had a bunch of brothers, which were dropped after Lucas took a brief hiatus from the script to finish some other things.

The text crawl was originally to be at the end of the movie, and it was less of a fairy tale and most of an action flick. The original idea was that Jedi and Sith were bound for life and never betrayed each other. Typical good vs. evil kind of shit. After American Graffiti came out, Lucas got an extra 8.5 Million due to its success. Thus, he finished a fourth draft which would be revised into the production script. It was at this time Obi-Wan Kenobi was re-written to die. Somewhere along the line, I believe the third script, the entire trilogy was written as one massive movie, such as Back to the Future or Lord of the Rings. But he figured this would be way too much and he put the first third into action. If this would do well, he would do the other two parts. Yeah, I think that went moderately well.

SECTION 3: THE PRODUCTION OF STAR WARS

After George had finished his script, and decided it was to be the script for The Star Wars, he found 20th Century Fox had a bit of a problem. There was a little bit of a disagreement that ended in a one day bloody war and the grass on the lawn was stained green. More importantly, this meant that the SFX team had disbanded. This was a whole lotta fun because the effects for The Star Wars that Alan had trusted to find George hadn’t even been invented yet. How the hell would he get this shit done without even a team? So George was like “fffugget I’m gonna make my own esheffexx team.”

Thus, the team Industrial Light and Magic were born. Since then Industrial Light and Magic have worked on all of the Star Wars films, Dragonslayer, Poltergiest, the Indiana Jones films, the Star Trek films, Howard the Duck, The Neverending Story, and….lots of other shit. I mean LOTS of other shit. But we’ll get into why they got to do a bunch of shit when we actually talk about how the movie is as a finished product. Most people think that ILM used very early CGI for the effects in Star Wars. While CGI has existed in the way we think about it since 1972, and in the literal sense since 1966, you’d be wrong.

For the most part, they used a technique called motion capture photography. This entailed using really small models in very tight atmospheres with open backgrounds and slow moving cameras. After all, if big things are supposed to be slow (take this lesson most modern movies) the camera that follows them should be slow. Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III, The Wolfman, Captain America: The First Avenger) was the one who came up with the original concept art for the giant ass robots in Star Wars. One of the major things about Lucas, McQuire and Johnston’s drawings was the look of history.

Most science fiction teleportation/transportation devices are sleek and clean, such is the way with science fiction even to this day. Take a look at the UFO from the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, or alternatively the giant robot who shall not be compared to any characters from the original in the most recent Day the Earth Stood Still. George wanted to do something different. His idea to pay tribute to the serials of The Phantom Creeps and Flash Gordon by making you feel like there’s a bunch of backstory we missed ultimately serves to make not only the landscape but also the timescape of this saga seem extremely epic.

He wanted the audience to feel like the history of this galaxy does not extend to a 10 day period compressed into a two hour feature; he wants this galaxy to feel as rich in history as our own planet if not more so than Terra. Or Earth. Whichever you prefer to call mother. One way to increase this feeling is to make the robots old and rusty, used. They might even break down from overuse within the near future, they look like they’ve actually been through battles; and that the ones you’re seeing on screen are not the only ones in existence. I tell ya what, if that isn’t good visual storytelling, I don’t know what is.

Or a mix of both. Even in the later films, Droids – mainly the yellow ones I’ll find their name later – looked like they not only were real but had been through stuff, and not just drones that had come out of the factory. So now that George, Alan, Joe, McQuire, and everybody else involved had an idea of how The Star Wars would be constructed and filmed, they ventured to the barren landscape of Tunisia (population over 10 million) to film the opening scenes for Tatooine. I’d like to venture that this was an absolute excellent choice. Check out how much these two look alike.

Check this shit out: http://tinyurl.com/7g67ok6 . Looks pretty much the same, don’t it? Doesn’t it look like the kind of place that never gets rainstorms?...Not when George Lucas is around apparently. In addition to a rainstorm not being preferred for shooting, water got into a lot of props and technical stuffs, which meant electrical breakdowns and malfunctioning up the wazoo. When the rainstorm finally finished, and they were under the impression that they had fixed most of their shit, Anthony Daniels (C3PO) tried putting his costume on and the left leg just collapsed on him.

Then a piece broke in half, and he was stabbed in the leg. Not exactly your typical family vacation….actually, yeah it is. This is why I’m still on the fence about ever being a director. Eventually they did get shit together and scenes were filmed. If you recall, the majority of the first film in the saga takes place either in Tatooine, in buildings, or in space. So after Tunisia, the hard work was pretty much done. (The hard part’s over, this won’t hurt a bit.) So they moved onto the much less risky Elstree Studios in the suburbs of London, England. Since then several different film schools have called themselves Elstree Studios in some variation and it becomes more and more difficult to pinpoint where exactly Star Wars was filmed.

But problems still arose. You remember my little ramble about having an anti-Star Wars phase (if you actually read that.) Well, many of the cast members were already having their anti-Star Wars phase. They considered it a children’s film and weren’t very involved in their work. Kenny Baker (Ewok) and Anthony Davis (C3PO) got in a heated rivalry. I gotta be honest, that sounds pretty funny. Kenny eventually said that he thought the film would be a failure, and I suspect the only person who was lightheaded in this situation were the backstage guys and Mark Hamill.

Harrison Ford was, surprisingly…actually, not surprisingly at all; was one of the most uptight guys about the film. He said he didn’t want to work with weird things like princesses with buns in their heads and a guy in a giant monkey suit. I don’t know, a bear, maybe a dog, but how the hell is Chewbacca a giant monkey? He also didn’t like the dialogue, and I quote, “George! You can type this shit, but you can’t say it!” Things got worse and feelings are contagious, which meant some of the backstage guys would get mad. Gilbert Taylor, cinematographer, BSC, Dracula (1979), The Omen (1976); was stubborn about sticking to his guns and refused innovation whenever was possible and then some.

You can imagine the reason George Lucas refused to ever rehire him. Lucas himself got pretty butthurt over the situation. He had only made independent movies so far, so he was upset that there were production elements outside of his control. Gilbert Taylor got offended by George Lucas’ lighting suggestions. I’m sure Lucas had a few choice words when Star Wars was the highest grossing film ever made for Mr. Taylor. Gilbert felt Lucas had overstepped his boundaries when he moved lights and cameras himself. Lucas even begged 20th Century FOX for gauze and soft-focus lenses, and after the fact Gilbert Taylor refused to use them.

You know, this actually sounds like a really fucking good soap opera. Seriously, Taylor obviously is to egotistical to understand genius when he sees it. Or at least was. Then Lucas, butthurt for better reasons, got upset that certain costumes hadn’t lived up to his shiny, golden image of Star Wars. Something that reflects filmmakers who have moisture in the backside of their hearing organs. Eventually he tried to stop talking as much as possible, as he had few friends on the set – and most of his friends had been gained before production. So his words to the actors were generally consisting of “faster” and “more intense.”

Didn’t help when his earliest friend, Alan, got in trouble for raising the budget too many times. So many times in fact they were forced to finish within the next week or they would be shut down. So Lucas split the team into three units, and barely met the studio’s deadline. It was during this time Lucas was diagnosed with hypertension and exhaustion, and because of this the crew became more sympathetic to him and attempted to cheer him up or create less of a mess. But that was all for not when Mark Hamill got in a car accident. Finally, filming was wrapped up and it was to the seclusion of the editing table…or so Lucas would like to believe.

Once filming was finished in early 1976, the studio estimated that the film would be ready for release Christmas of the same year. But apparently FOX decided to hire an idiot on an editor named John Jympson, whose first cut of the movie was a complete disaster. It was 30-40% different from the final version. This included scenes that have still never been shown to the public today. Considering you are your own harshest critic, I can imagine Lucas saying that. After Lucas trying to get Joe to cut the film his way, John still insisted on his technique. So Lucas said http://tinyurl.com/cc9pqy .

He then hired Paul Hirsch (Mission: Impossible, Carrie) and Richard Chew to edit the film. As a last minute addition he included his then wife Maria Lucas (Taxi Driver, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) to aid in the editing process. She was working part time with Master Martin Scorsese on New York, New York, so she was only able to do so much. Mostly simple cutting. Richy saw John’s cut of the film and said it had an unenergetic pace. Most scenes of John’s cut were simultaneously master shots and close-ups…which seems impossible to me, but my brain is telling me that wasn’t a good idea.

Richard didn’t have enough faith in the actors to carry the film and said it was at fault for being dictated by actors and not cuts. Don’t blame him, actors and drama fanatics, he’s an editor. He feels like the subconscious is the only conscious. In some respect, he might be right. Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, we revisit IL&M, which were having trouble doing unprecedented special effects. They had spent half of their budget on scenes Lucas deemed unacceptable. That must have been fun for 20th Century FOX. The IL&M crew were still wet behind the ears, and it took George Lucas’s extra intervention to keep them on schedule and responsible.

George somehow got a bunch of adults in training to finish a year’s work in half a year. Most from giving them a basis to work from. Unprecedented effects are hard to imagine – after all, they are unprecedented. So Lucas showed them clips of aerial dogfights from World War II, and old films such as The Dam Busters; another controversial case with Star Wars. In addition to visual SFX, the audio SFX were also troublesome. Ben Burtt (WALL*E, E.T., Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Indiana Jones) did the most work in this regards. He originally wanted the film to have a very organic soundtrack.

Yeah, how’d that work out? Blaster sounds were created from steel cables being struck under tension. For Chewbacca, Bert recorded sounds from lions, tigers, and bears…….oh my. And he through in some dogs and walruses for kicks. R2D2 was voiced by George and Bert via being run through a computer synthesizer. Be interesting to know what they’d be saying. If they actually stuck to character, or if they just messed around. Maybe stuck a jab at Harrison Ford or two. Darth Vader was also partially voiced by Bert, specifically the breathing.

He breathed through a scuba mask into a microphone. Be interesting to see how that would work with either water or Bert being electrocuted Gojira style. When things were close to being finished, George Lucas showed the film with Darth Vader’s voice by Davvy, and unfinished SFX; to a bunch of friends, including Steven Spielberg and John Milius. Spielberg was the only person to like the film at the showing. He said that most people probably weren’t pleased because of the unfinished SFX. However, he showed it to the crew of 20th Century FOX, including Alan, and a few people wound up crying at the end.

Very…very different reactions. But there were a couple things to be finished. The SFX, first off. Second,David Prowse, despite being really good in costume, did not have much in the way of voice. At least not for The Father of Darkness. He had…an English accent. I’m sorry, but can YOU imagine Darth Vader with an English accent? Originally Orson Wells (Citizen Kane, The Scottish Play, War of the Worlds, Othello, Transformers: The Movie) was slated to play the part. That would have been fucking Badass. But what we got was somehow able to step up the plate. James Earl Jones (The Lion King, Dr. Strangelove, Malcolm X, Kingdom Hearts II) was chosen.

SECTION 4: REVIEWING STAR WARS

I should give proper warning. Fanboys should probably leave. I’m going to give this movie a really, really positive review, don’t get me down. But I’m going to point out flaws as well. I don’t know if this has ever been done with what is nowadays called A New Hope, but I’m gonna brave the unknown and go where no man has gone before (ooh another inspiration.) You may be able to come back after a certain point, but I don’t want to see any dumb comments here. Also, for those here for me to ramble about how innovative the SFX were, I’m pretty much done for this entry.

You’ll see more when I do my “Aftermath of Star Wars” when I review The Empire Strikes Back. For now, my modus operendi for the critique shall contain the following: An opinion of varying degrees of objectiveness towards the first entry of this saga as its own film. When you guys say “OOH MAH GAWD DAT GETTZAH SUMMAH DAT HELPINGZ IN DA IMPERIRRR ZTRIKES BUCK” that’s only going to make my review of the 2nd and 3rd movie more positive, so hold tight. Anyways, here we go.

It’s been said save the best for last, which implies give the worst as the opener. That’s not always the best option for a performance, but I think it should work in this fashion. I want to get out of the way what I think about the characters. Starting with our leader, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. He doesn’t grow up. He starts out as somebody who makes Marty McFly from Back to the Future look like Mahatma Gandhi’s prime in terms of maturity. (Yes I know that’s not Gandhi’s real name screw me.) His two spots of growing up include the following. Obi-Wan dies, leaving him in charge. Ideally.

In practice, this leaves Luke one old guy with a super cool sword short and one giant bear + one bounty hunter gained. Doesn’t seem like he had much of a loss in terms of defenses. Did he have an emotional loss? Yes. Did this affect his character in any way, shape or form? Nada mi amigo. The other moment is at the very end where Luke becomes the leader and the one to take down the Death Star. This is meant to make him look like somebody who can take an army in his own hands…right? Well it doesn’t help when his moment to be a leader comes WHEN THERE’S NOBODY TO LEAD.

But at least his emotions make sense. They stay the same throughout the movie and are very cliché, but they make sense! Princess Leia. Now that’s another story. She’s another example of looked good on paper, not that great in practice. We see her nice side when she’s a prisoner. It’s meant to look like she’s sympathetic. In the end, her earlier scenes make her look vulnerable and based on the lack of backstory that’s supposed to be absent, we can assume she was caught rather easily. But at least she’s smart enough know to send for help. When she finally gets that help, she’s an ungrateful little bitch.

Let me ask you. If you just saw your HOME PLANET be obliterated within the blink of the eyelid, and you just got home, would you treat your help like shit? That’s the Princess Leia M.O. She barely acknowledges Luke Skywalker’s existence, calls Chewbacca a walking carpet, 100% doesn’t acknowledge C3PO or R2D2, and is a complete rotten spoiled bitch to Han Solo. If this is trying to show that she’s a spoiler princess, IT’S NOT WONDER YOU GOT PARODIED IN SPACEBALLS. Speaking of Mr. Solo, how is he? He’s like Skywalker. He starts off pretty immaturely. Money hungry and selfish.

If he changed throughout the course of the film, that’d make sense. He seems to have thoughts about it but never really changes anything. Remember, I’m critiquing the movie as its own thing. If you’re looking for a 3-in-1 deal, there’s PLENTY of other places to look for. Chewwy, C3PO and R2D2 are merely there for parts of the plot that couldn’t be solved any other way, and comedic relief. They’re pretty much as good as they could have gotten in this respect, but I just don’t feel like this movie needed this much. 3PO and D2 work really well together as a team, and there is no universe where Han Solo is without his Chewbacca.

But I think three comedic relief characters in a two hour movie that would have worked wonderfully without one is a little too much. People say George Lucas wasn’t primarily thinking of merchandise at this time…dude…R2D2. I want one of those things man. You could also bring up to the argument that it’s old serial tribute and not everything is going to happen in one movie. Well, guys, most movie serials feature no character change whatsoever. They’re very light entertainment. Lucas was trying to do something legitimate, and I’d be surprised if he sacrificed the quality of his premiere entry for the sake of paying tribute to his favorite childhood pastimes. I know, a nostalgic sin. But anyways. Now that I’m done picking my one major gripe about this movie, let’s move on, shall we?

I really love these sets. Granted, I watched this movie old school style VHS tape theatrical version. I still fell in love with the landscapes this movie provided. I think the greatest cinematic achievement of this film for my own emotional biases is probably the scene where Luke Skywalker is looking out at the two suns setting. That combination of the epic, vast desert landscape, the knowledge of our protagonist contemplating his nearly coming epic journey, and the two suns giving the audience more reason to believe this galaxy is far, far away….all combined with that gorgeous John Williams music.

I think that is one of the most gorgeous moments in cinema documentation. It is every color and emotion being thrown at you with power and subtly both intensely and simultaneously effective. I think that covers my thoughts on Tatooine. Yavin IV (the spaceship) is also REALLY COOL. Just the fact that you know this thing is gigantic from the first clip of the film is sufficiently intimidating. However, add to the fact that what you see is a small portion of the potential maze like structure of this fortress makes this feel all the more real and massive.

Even the Catina is really big in it’s way. Sure,  it’s small, but it’s dense and compact. You can feel there’s a ton of energy and action and potentially stories that are being untold by the fact that we only have time for one. The sets play a big role in the desire of fans to create an extended mythology. In less than 30 seconds, you get the potential for 30 novels. Especially that Werewolf guy. He looks interesting. The Death Star, where do I begin? Same thing as I said before. Extremely huge. You feel like it would take more than a lifetime to even see everything, let alone map and scale the structure.

It’s full of blacks, blues and intense reds, giving this structure nothing short of the term EVIL. Extremely villainous ill-willed liars. I swear somebody’s used that before me. Speaking of those 30 novel potentials, let’s discuss costuming for a second. The VHS tape that I refer to, is of course, letterbox. Nnnot the best idea when critiquing the look of people. So naturally everyone looked shorter and fatter than I was intended to see them. Despite this, I am still impressed. When you see that 30 second clip before our characters enter the bar, you get a sense of how vast the species of this galaxy are.

Although you still understand these are immigrants from other parts of an entire galaxy, so it’s still not SUPER extended like the sets suggest. But here in our Galaxy, we’ve detected one species on our level in existence and that’s ourselves. In the Star Wars Galaxy, there are – from this film – say 50 species able to interact with our own kind. Mammals, reptiles….thingies….and a bunch of other shit. Speaking of size, the ships honestly get a downgrade in impression after the knowledge of their creation. Still, I can only think of less than 5 entries of fiction that depicted vessels so massive in size, whether film or otherwise, before this film.

If I was, not even a kid, but myself as I am seeing Star Wars for the first time in 1977, I’d probably shit whatever pants I wore that today. The light saber and blaster sounds are some of the most iconic of all time, and to this day I think these audio effects are more impressive than all others I’ve ever seen. Speaking of sounds, how’s the dialogue? I think this is a time when George Lucas was still wet behind the ears. On the one hand, we get more than immortal moments like the Jedi mind trick, or “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Which reminds me, Moff Tarkin is fucking awesome, I wish we got to see more of him. (Extended Mythology anybody?)

But on the other hand, we get moments like “yes your worshipfulness” and “reach out with your feelings.” I can see these lines being great on paper but – and I don’t know if it’s just me being a 21st century kid – but those lines are SOOOOO CORRRNY. Obi-Wan gets the worst of it. His actor, Alec Guinness (Hotel Paradiso, Doctor Zhivagio), does the most commendable job of attempting to make up for it. But his rambles are either CORNY AS HELL or disjointed and awkward. And would you believe that the famous line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” was given by a lukewarm execution by Luke?  

James Earl Jones is also not as tuned as he could be at the moment. He needs to talk slower and deeper, something Darth Vader is known for. And most of his lines are pretty much standard fare, only one spectacular line, and I already mentioned it. Now finally, I must mention the juggernaut. John Williams. Doing the music. My pants are not clean. Nor are they filled with jizz. My pants have been drenched and soaked so far in semen released from the nerdgasm that is Jon William’s orchestral score that the fabric has ceased to exist and the clothing of my bottom half has now become entirely composed of said jizz. Master William. You are a GOD.

To finish things up (FINALLY!!!) the first entry in the Star Wars franchise is one of the most innovative films of all time. But in today’s society, it knows it can’t compete with what came next….

4.8/5

SECTION 5: SOURCES:

Star Wars compilation review provided by famous internet personality James D. Rolfe: http://cinemassacre.com/2009/02/28/star-wars-movie-review-part-1/

Wikipedia article on the film: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Episode_IV:_A_New_Hope

Documentary on Star Wars contained on the final VHS release of the original Star Wars trilogy.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

UUUUUUGGGGH (UUUUUUUGGGHH)

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGHHH

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHH UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM I UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMM see I was was going to UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGH

UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHH UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM I UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMM see I was was going to UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGH

But you see the thing is UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGHHH UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGHHH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH I UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM yeah............uuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGH UUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh seeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Sooooo......*twiddles fingers* yeeeeeaaaaah....ummmm.....UUUUMMM.....UUUUUUUUUUGGGGH AAAAAAAAAAAAAH I UMMMMMMMMMM see the thing is *scratches back of head* ummm......UUUUUUUUUUUMMMM.....yeeeaaaah....I was....I was.....UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGH.............UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM I UMMMMMMMMMM....Yeah....UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, YEAH.................yeah............I seee....yes, this makes perfect sense. This makes perfect logical sense. This all makes complete and rational conclusions. Captain America and Santo are fighting against Spiderman in a movie called 3 Dev Adam. Ummhm. Makes perfect sense.

I, Da UMMMMMMMMM, UMMING off.

Godzilla's (and Minya's) Revenge (against Gabara) (1969)

Why do I make myself do this?

BACKGROUND

Toho fully understood the power of crossovers. King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster and Invasion of the Astro-Monster all brought immense success with their all-star lineups, enough to let Godzilla go his own in two movies. They also wanted to schedule Batman vs. Godzilla and Frankenstein vs. Godzilla, but adequate scripts and copyright licenses were too hard to find. So when they said it was okay to end it all, but only if they did it all out, Destroy All Monsters decided to lineup EVERYBODY in order to rake in as much cash as ten Godzilla movies and be a final war for Godzilla.

The final roster included Godzilla, Angirus, Rodan, Mothra, Varan, Baragon, Gorosaurus, Minilla, Manda and Kumonga with the final boss of King Ghidorah. While most of these creatures were known as G-mainstays, some of them had not been in a Godzilla movie yet. Baragon had only duked it out with Frankenstein, Varan only had his own very weird movie, Gorosaurus had died at the hands of King Kong and Manda was in its own movie not even named after him. Not to mention, Angirus hadn’t been in a Godzilla movie since 1955 and surely wasn’t seen as his best buddy then like he is now.

The original script also had King Kong, Frankenstein, Maguma, Kamacuras and Ebirah, but the budget was getting out of hand. When Destroy All Monsters sold over 2 Million tickets, the first Godzilla movie to do so, the money intoxicated the Godzilla crew rather quickly and they went to make a new movie. Reviving an old in-production title All Monsters Attack, they made a new film that was 100% geared towards children. This is important because all other films were either entirely not geared towards children, or partially geared towards children. Son of Godzilla is the closet they got beforehand, but it was more of a Dad & Son sort of thing than just entertaining the kid. And uugh…yeah, first time is not the charm ladies and gents.

CRITIQUE

Here’s the first thing to clarify: The opening theme song. Not the English version, which is a simple instrumental. The Japanese version. Either understand Japanese, or use subtitles. Many laughs will be assed off. That is all. So umm..yeah that.  That dialogue. Yeah. Offed will be assed laugh. That is all. Yeah, that. Umm...yeah. Eiji Tsuburaya, the SFX guy known for TONS of movies, but mostly the Godzilla series, was busy making his indie company Tsuburaya Productions. Notice how there’s a big gap between 1969 and 1979 in his filmography. So he wasn’t able to do any SFX work.

So the master, the one and only, Ishiro Honda, got an excuse not to execute this hilarious script and went to doing effects work. Unfortunately, observation does not an expert make. Ishiro resorted to using stock footage wherever he could. It’s good to note that the original intent was to make new scenes with all these monsters. On the positive, this means there are a few fun monster fights. On the negative, 9/10 of them are from other movies which you could be watching instead. However, he did do a few scenes of new monster action. One is a little shot of Kamacuras.

The other major shots are with Minilla, Godzilla and Gabara. They have one nice fight scene, but it’s only one move. Let me just say: see-saw. You have to see it, to saw it. As for the monsters, Minilla looks about as stupid as he did before, with the new addition of bucked sharp teeth which I thought I’d never see in my entire life. Godzilla looks decent in this movie. Relatively decent that is. He looks like Cookie Monster Godzilla if he wasn’t The Cookie Monster. Oh, and he has eyebrows now. That’s interesting. Gabara on the other hand…uuuuugh….just….just look at the obligatory picture:

I don’t understand guys. It’s like a bipedal green cat demon with a lion’s mane, a gorilla’s front, Elmo’s eyes and chicken pox run Kaiju style. It gets even weirder when you realize he doesn’t have spines or a tail. That monster can’t be self-balancing. His face looks constipated. Not that his face looks like he’s constipated, his face itself looks constipated. I’m in awe folks. If you wanted something that looked evil, barbaric, disturbing, gross and about as erotic as a twenty inch black dildo in somebody’s ass…then you just got my last description. Oh, and, Gabara ain’t half bad either I guess. I like the British version much better hint wink wink hint.\

Oh yeah, and there’s also these crazy plant monsters apparently called Maneaters. They’re…odd. They look fake, I can tell you that right now. They can’t even make plants look convincing now...ummm...yeah...about those actors…don’t…just don’t. You don’t wanna know. You really don’t wanna know. If you are mentally superior to any person you have met personally, then you really don’t wanna know.

The soundtrack is fucking weird…but it ain’t half bad. I mean, when they’re not singing of course. It’s like some sort of drug induced trashy Jazz piece of its time. It’s like this guilty pleasure I have just achieved. It’s terrible but it’s really fun to listen to. It gets you in the mind for a film from this space-time. My only complaint, aside from THE MOST ANNOYING SINGER THEY COULD HAVE POSSIBLY HIRED FOR THIS PIECE OF CRAP, is that it’s really repetitive. They made like, one 6 minute song and repeated 1:30-2:30 assorted portions of the song over and over again. Hey, I can understand, they probably didn’t want to work too hard on this movie anyways.

 So I guess that’s Godzilla’s All Monster Attack Revenge in a nutshell. The music is good but repeats more than a bad video game, the actors and dialogue challenge Tommy Wiseau, the monster suits are trash, so on and so forth. But I think we all learned a valuable lesson today. MINILLA IS A GOD.

2/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

King Kong (and Gorosaurus) (and the Giant Sea Serpent) (and Mechani-Kong) Escape (1967)

...Dr. WHO?

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster was originally not meant to have Godzilla. Operation Robinson Crusoe: King Kong vs. Ebirah was it's original title. However, Ishiro Honda saw the film as not the matzah, and decided to go for War of the Gargantuas. Getting newcomer Jun Fukuda was a decision Rankin-Bass could not compromise with, and they would not work with Toho. Thus, King Kong would not be used. Later on, Ishiro Honda came to the rescue and said, "look, guys, I'm here, you gotta cartoon we can work off, let's do some shit." They were able to make this movie. And boy, is it cartoonish.

Today only the English version is available on DVD, and I really didn't feel like pirating today thankye kindly. I've done it twice already for this marathon that most people don't even care about. And two of the main protagonists originally spoke English in the Japanese version. Yet they are dubbed over, and very clearly. Holy shit. The actors. I'm telling you people, this is why we want the Japanese versions! It is honestly more distracting to hear that broken dialogue and look at that bad synching then having to read. Seriously. Settle whatever kind of conflict at get the two living Japanese movies in their original versions.

You gotta listen to these guys. The dialogue is choppy, it doesn't synch with the lips, their emotion is 310% faked and exaggerated, and even the original actor's physical movements and facial expressions are pure bull. I can't stand it, especially when they're on screen so much. They're not even in a plot, really. There are two plot points, which are extremely generic. One side wants research, one wants UNIVERSAL domination. Neither are taken any farther than exposition. There's also something about an unknown country working under the scenes, but this never gets elaborated on. It's just "the country" and "you're working for it."

We can't care about the plot if we don't care about the actors, and we can't care about the actors if we can't care about the plot. But, hey, we came here for Kong, didn't we? Well, his suit is even worse than last time. Basically, take the original design from King Gorilla vs. Big Gorilla, and make him a very funny comedy joke. There. But he can put up a fight. Too bad he only does it once. He doesn't even fucking destroy buildings. HOW MUCH OF A LETDOWN IS THAT? He doesn't destroy buildings! IN A JAPANESE MONSTER MOVIE?!?! How? What? When? Who made this catastrophe? Ishiro Honda? DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME THAT.

He climbs a building though. And most of it is just static placement. Once he grabs the robots leg, and that's when you can see it's rubber instead of metal. The robot itself is pretty stupid, but he's better than King Kong. Take the same body mold, but reduce his eyes and make his body metal. It's this clash of serious and stupid that is just bad. Gorosaurus, an excuse for a Tyrannosaurus, is introduced in this movie. Compared to Angirus being an Anklosaur, Godzilla being a T-Rex, King Kong being a Gorilla, Minilla being a mini Godzilla, this guy is fucking art. 

The only problem is that his head is a square and it's way too big. He's also very fat. But, relatively, they got a T-Rex pretty damn good. Him and King Kong are the one real fight in this movie. Sure, he fights a Giant Sea Serpent, but that's just fighting a wad of gum off of his...uugh...chest. There is one really funny moment from that fight which makes this entire movie worth it, so I won't spoil it. But it's fucking hilarious. The Gorilla vs. Dinosaur fight is sick though. I think King Kong punches the guy over 100 times, there's a couple of sleeper holds followed up with slams, and eventually Kong breaks his jaw like he did in the 1933 movie. It's great.

I'll bet honest with you guys, the movie is actually shot pretty good. I mean, granted, it's nowhere near praise for a legit film, but for a movie of this level I was surprised they didn't just get a bunch of static zero degree angle shots. The island is also visually impressive, though clearly a miniature. The tanks are bullcrap though. C'mon, guys, this is Toho. You can do better than that. The city also looks pretty cool, definitely a nice and brisk atmosphere at night. And honestly...well, that's all I gotta say. King Kong Escapes has it's moments, and is historically notable for being one of two surviving Japanese King Kong films - not to mention introducing Gorosaurus - but it is very boring and only has one good fight. Youtube the two dino scenes, and stay away.

The Rating? 2.6/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Son of Godzilla (1967)

How could anybody NOT like this movie?

BACKGROUND: 1962-1967 AND OTHER STUFF

King Kong vs. Godzilla continues to hold the largest box office attendance figures (people who showed up) in Japan. Due to the incredible success, they wanted to cash-in on the crossovers as much as possible. They planned to crossover a monster they had always wanted to use and a monster they had created – Frankenstein vs. The Human Vapour. They also planned a sequel to King Gorilla vs. Big Gorilla called Continuation: King Kong vs. Godzilla. Which, if you’ve seen the Japanese version like I have, you know that the movie has a pseudo-crossover.

When these two projects fell through, 1963 saw two Toho monster movies that went relatively under the radar. Matango and Atragon. After this, they decided to smash the two projects into one with Godzilla vs. Frankenstein. This script had existed before, back in 1960, when they were experimenting with ways to work Willis O’Briens script. Godzilla is encased in ice at the beginning of GvF. But the fact was that the script was too outdated to make into another Gojira film. In 1964, they eventually were able to capture the magic of crossovers, crossing their two most famous monsters in Mothra vs. Godzilla.

They released Ghidrah the Three Headed Monster the same year, which put their three most successful monsters, Mothra, Godzilla and Rodan into a trio to fight a three headed dragon. They continued this to remove Mothra out of the picture in Invasion of the Astro-Monster. Godzilla’s look had slowly transformed from a menacing mutated, disgusting dinosaur to a giant reptilian Cookie Monster. It was at this point Godzilla had become a full fleshed franchise, and what do you do when something becomes a fleshed out franchise? GIVE HIM A KID…for a reason. Hey, if King Kong, Frankenstein AND Dracula can have their own kids, why can’t The Big G?

And that’s where they came up with Son of Godzilla. They filmed the movie mostly in Guam and a large pool on Sound Stage Nine (Toho’s biggest stage.) They used the pool mostly for Godzilla rising from the water, which is one of the most iconic shots from this film. The actor held onto a cart and rail that was used to elevate the monster. He had an air cylinder that was good for ten minutes of air, which would have been helpful no matter what Godzilla movie you’re shooting. The only reasons it wasn’t used in past Gojira movies was because you could sustain shooting for that time, and the cylinder might slip out of the neckpiece.

The name Minya and Minilla have become the names that are most associated with Godzilla’s kid. In the cartoon we would get the name Godzuki, and in later movies we would get Baby Godzilla, Little Godzilla and Godzilla Jr. The name Minilla isn’t used until the final film in the Godzilla franchise, which is why many people discredit the names Minilla and Minya. In actuality, the name Minilla is the correct word. It originated as an in-joke that Godzilla’s son was Mini-Godzilla, so the names were crossed at the “I” where the two words would be the hardest to differentiate. The alternate spelling of Minya have also made the in-joke less known. And I could talk about this shit forever, but I think it’s time to be

REVIEWING SON OF GODZILLA

How the Hell can anybody not like this movie? It’s like the dumbass version of Bambi. Oh man, where do I begin? Well, I guess I begin with the things everybody remembers. Monster costumes. First, there’s the Godzilla costume, which has come a long way since its inception. King Kong vs. Godzilla looks like a Millennium era movie compared to this. I mean, just look at this:

Just look at that man. Godzilla has become a giant cookie monster. Look at those huge eyes and that dopey face. He looks freaking hilarious. No way you can’t say you love that shit. And then look at Minilla!

You can’t tell me you don’t love that shit. Minilla just looks fucking stupid and childish, and it makes it all the more funny whenever he tries to fight or trick his Dad into letting him play jump-rope with his tail. The best is when he goes crazy on the dirt and starts honking like a donkey. Minilla feels like every annoying retard kid that we either knew, or were. And if you weren’t either…well, coming from one of those kids, you didn’t really miss much! Maybe a little lesson in how not to be retarded, but hey, if you didn’t come up with the alternate word “Pajama” I think you’re pretty set.

Godzilla’s cookie monster outfit actually kind of takes a weird twist. I mean, imagine The Cookie Monster freaking pissed off. That actually kinda scares the shit out of me. Some of you may have seen the extremely funny picture I’m talking about, but this review is already overloading so I won’t upload it here. So when Godzilla gets angry and starts being hard parent on Minilla, I do feel sorry for the little guy. He also has that adorable little squeal and wow I feel like a girl. Plus, there’s the sad music playing in the background. Which gets me onto my next point.

The soundtrack in this movie is hilarious. Masaru Sato sat in for Akira Ifukube on three different occasions: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (which I reviewed last year), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (which will be reviewed in the relatively near future) and this movie. You remember how cheesy the soundtrack was in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, right? Yeah, this movie gets even worse. It’s like Sato just looked at his players and said “look, I need this to adjust to the mood, otherwise improvise and do your best.” But they all misheard as “look, I need this to be blatantly manipulative, and always improve and do your corniest.”

Turning this car in a circle on The Lost Highway to Hell, we return to monster costumes. Two new monsters debut in this movie. I already went over one of them in the last monster movie marathon, but this was his first movie so I’ll do it again. The other one was a one-hit wonder for the entire Showa series, and by the time Final Wars came out he was heavily revamped. The first is Kamacuras. I’m not sure if I should pronounce it Kah*mah*curr*us, or Kah*mak*er*us. Japanese is TUFF MAN. Even when it’s Roman characters. Doesn’t matter anyways, THIS IS TEXT. Check these guys out:

Kamacuras are names given to a trio of giant purple-brown praying mantises with some sick chainsaw like blades and huge yellow eyes that look like balloons. The antenna on their bodies are definitely the creepiest part and the off colors make them unique, it’s just the giant eyes that make them kinda stupid. If they would have replaced them with small black eyes that are only visible at a “once you see it, you’ll never un-see it” thing, this guy would have been legitimately terrifying. They’d also have to film him mostly at night, but still, he’d be good. Kumonga is another story entirely.

This guy awakened in 1945, when the first Nuke that wasn’t a test was set to the world and the event that inspired Gojira. I guess maybe he was one of the earliest Kaiju to exist in continuity, but considering he’s on an island that’s not even territory to Japan I doubt he got all that radiation from Iwo Jima. It’s not like a giant spider swam all the way there. Anyways, check this dude out:

This guy’s weird man. His skin tones are literally that of piss and shit. He has giant glowing eyes that are exactly what a spider’s would be if they were mutated nuclear. His body is all like a video game spider or something. All this meshed together feels off, and he is also really distinctive. You won’t confuse this guy for Tarantula or any shit like that. His weakness sucks though. Like, who ever thought that spider webs were destroyed by burning? I guess normal webs might, but not ones that are as thick as two fingers! And it’s really interesting to see a total Dinosaur vs. Insect battle for the first time since Mothra vs. Godzilla, and that time it was Mothra who looks as innocent as Minilla himself.

The dialogue here is fucking great. Like, if you want something to riff and don’t have any idea what to do, GET THIS MOVIE. I don’t know if it’s the Sony DVD or the movie itself, but pretty much every line you can make fun of. Just…just trust me guys. There’s a reason one of the writers doesn’t even have a Wikipedia article. Speaking of writing, what was up with the plot? Like, I stopped following in the last twenty minutes. I don’t even remember why they were fucking up with the atmosphere and the environment and the temperature. I have a feeling it has to do with a group of people. Oh, what were their names again?...Irwin …Teddy …Shane …maybe Virgil…I don’t know.

Overall, Son of Godzilla is a very fun monster romp. Its innocence, charm and stupidity launch it to laughs and giggles beyond expectations. If you look at it as a cheese-fest meant for nostalgic Dads and Sons, it’s definitely one of the best. If you don’t like this movie, come here, why don’t you let me itch your chin? I’ll give you the finger. 4/5, you’ll love it. Put that in perspective though.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

 

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

The Legacy

SECTION ONE: A QUESTION

Let me ask you a SERIOUS FUCKING QUESTION. How many times have you guys heard these two comparisons: The Unstoppable Force vs. The Immovable Object, and King Kong vs. Godzilla? I tell you what, as much as I loved how The Unstoppable Force vs. The Immovable Object was used for Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, King Kong vs. Godzilla didn’t need a comparison. It was just that fucking awesome. It was just that genius. It was just that extreme. It was hardcore. It was unseen. It was unheard of. It was King Kong vs. Godzilla. There are no words that can portray the power of those words better than those words themselves. Think about it. King Kong vs. Godzilla. A giant gorilla who became the arguably the biggest icon of cinema, fighting a giant fire-breathing lizard who became the icon of giant monster movies. It was is simple genius. It is spectacular.

More people would lineup for King Kong vs. Godzilla than Superman vs. Batman or the entirety of Super Smash Brothers colliding on the bigscreen. You want to know why? Because the hardcore fans love it, the mainstream fans love it, and it is that colossal. Superman vs. Batman is epic in the fact they’re the two biggest superheroes ever. They’ll have a really good fight, but do they have good chemistry, and does this fight make sense? Alien vs. Predator makes sense, but is the fighting going to work? Freddy vs. Jason is an awesome idea but only for a cult following. King Kong vs. Godzilla is the biggest epic epic of epicness. Eat your heart out Christopher Nolan. Eat your heart out Peter Jackson. Eat your heart out Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, and I’ll eat your heart for you D.W. Griffith. This is King Kong vs. Godzilla. FUCK. THE. WORLD.

SECTION TWO: THE INCEPTION OF KING KONG VS. GODZILLA

It is pretty damn appropriate that the creator of King Kong would be the man who would conceive this film. Willis O’ Brien had originally wanted to do his version of Frankenstein. Somewhere around 1960 He decide that doing another Frankenstein movie might be tiring (TRUST ME. I KNOW.) and wanted to take it a step further. He wanted to make King Kong vs. Frankenstein, naming it King Kong vs. Prometheus. He created some concept art and a treatment and took the project o RKO Studios, mainly so he could get individual rights to use the King Kong character.

During this time the movie was renamed King Kong vs. The Ginko…..uuuuuugh…I don’t know. I guess they did this because they thought Universal owned the monster’s name – which was wrong, it was just their signature makeup – but c’mon, have you ever heard of Prometheus? Or The Modern Prometheus? That’s what the book was CALLED. RKO was going down the shits anyways, so he went around trying to find a studio after he secured the rights to King Kong. He hoped for Universal, obviously, so that using Frankenstein would be much easier. During his search for a studio, he resurrected George Washington to write him a screenplay.

The story was changed, mostly to get The Monster back his name of Prometheus. (Even though the Doctor is The Modern Prometheus…but you know all that.) The cost of the stop animation was going to be pretty damn colossal for the film to work, so studio after studio declined it. Oh, did they have no idea of what they were offered. Kinda like when Columbia turned down Pulp Fiction after they found it too gruesome. John Beck decided to give a middle finger to the red, white and blue and swim to The Land of The Rising Sun. They were extremely excited. They had wanted to make a movie with King Kong and Frankenstein for a very long time.

Except not together…odd. They wanted Godzilla to fight each of them separately. So how many gallons of Gasconade do you want again? They thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate their thirteenth year in production. AGAIN, HOW MANY GALLONS OF GASCONADE DID YOU ORDER? John Beck was able to sign the deal. But he did it all behind Willy’s back, who never got any credit for his idea. Fucking. Backstage. Politics. Marian C. Cooper, one of the guys who owned rights to King Kong, believed he was the ONLY one who owned rights to King Kong and attempted to sue everybody in existence. But that didn’t quite work.

SECTION THREE: THE PRODUCTION OF KING KONG VS. GODZILLA

This entered an entirely new chapter in the story. It had left Brian’s hands and had entered Toho’s. Of course, they wanted the great Eiji Tsuburaya to work on the special effects. He did want to do some other stuff at the time, such as a cinematic fairy tale called Princess Kayuga. But he saw it as fucking Kong fucking Kong and fucking God fucking Zilla. He couldn’t push his fanboyishness away. He told a newspaper in 1960: "…My movie company has produced a very interesting script that combined King Kong and Godzilla, so I couldn't help working on this instead of my other fantasy films.

The script is special to me; it makes me emotional because it was King Kong that got me interested in the world of special photographic techniques when I saw it in 1933." His love for King Kong apparently wasn’t quite the same for Godzilla. This was the beginning of Godzilla starting to turn kiddish. (And we’ll get to where that leads.) His crew couldn’t believe some of the shit they asked for him to do. Such as having Godzilla and King Kong play volleyball with a boulder, and King Kong sticking a tree down Godzilla’s throat. It was all the vein of appealing to children too, not a comedic sense or any of this bullshit.

JAPANESE DON’T LIE. Nobody was happy with Eiji’s decisions. Even Ishiro Honda, who I would THINK would be his superior, was not a fan of dumbing down the monsters. In the future, they would begin to talk, form friendships, E. T. C. The awesome Ishiro Honda said this much later: "I don't think a monster should ever be a comical character….The public is more entertained when the great King Kong strikes fear into the hearts of the little characters." At least one decision for effects was good…this was the first time either monster appeared in Widescreen or Color!

Toho originally wanted to film on location in Sri Lanka, but they couldn’t do this along with other expensive ideas because of COPYRIGHTSDUNDUNDUN. They ended up paying RKO $200,000 1960/$1,455,614.36 2010 for the rights to make the movie. And Toho was not a very big budget company, ladies and gentlemen. Finding backing for this movie was way harder than finding backing for it if it were in the USA. The bulk of the movie was filmed in Oshima, an island off the coast of Japan, instead. They toyed with using stop motion, but the idea was scrapped because IF IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE FOR UNIFUCKINGVERSAL, IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE FOR YOU. The movie’s budget came out to 5 Million Yen.

I’m not gonna conver that since that is SUPER complicated, but trust me, that’s not a lot. Once they got to filming, Eiji actually gave the suit actors mostly free reign. They rehearsed the moves backstage, but for the most part, it was a giant improv match. Just like Pro Wrestling. In fact, that’s exactly what they were inspired by. It was getting a pretty damn huge following in Japan that would peak in the 1970’s…in Japan. A couple spots were pretty damn impossible to film stunt wise, which would be replaced with CGI nowadays. But back then, stop-motion animation fuck the world.

A brand new Godzilla suit was designed for this film, which is pretty standard for Godzilla movies from then on. They removed the ears, had three toes instead of four, and gave Godzilla steroids everywhere else. This was an attempt to make him look more like a Dinosaur. Instead, he ended up looking more like a happy bundle of sticks. They made a meter high model and two puppets were made for backup. One puppet was from the waist up which would shoot liquid, later to be replaced with Gojira’s fire. The shots were cut from the film because…FUCK, IT’S A PUPPET SPEWING LIQUID. SEE REPTILICUS.  They kept the scenes in the theatrical trailer…in Japan. They also made a prop tail. The significance, well, you are reading a behind-the-scenes section.

The King Kong suit has been bashed down and burned to the ground. Not literally, of course. But it is HATED. It looks like a child’s drawing of a gorilla. But that’s one of the best ones they made. The first one had huge legs and a fat gut, which made him look like a cute gorilla. They eventually went through suit after suit until Eiji was tolerant, and made two masks and two suits for the costume. For scenes that weren’t wrestling and grabbing items, such as climbing or static shots, the costume had added poles in the arms for the sake of reaching things. I guess. They did the same puppet, model, extra limb thing for Kong. The extra limb was a hand, but, whatever.

Now comes the FUN PART. That goddamn OCTOPUS. He’s been called just The Giant Octopus most of the time, but apparently his name is Oodako. I don’t know. They were forced to move with hot air around the huts, and the fourth one was flat out eaten. Sad day for all of Octopus kind. “Hey, hey, I got an offer. You can be in a big budget movie, all you have to do is be my DINNER.” Let us all remember the memory of The Fourth Oodako. R.I.P. brother, R.I.P. They also created some rubber ones, but didn’t use them anywhere near to spare the live animals. Ask me questions, you won’t get answers. They even made A MODEL. Seriously. Ask me questions and you won’t get answers!

SECTION FOUR: THE ENGLISH VERSION

So when John Beck ripped off Willis O’ Brien and his idea of King Kong vs. Prometheus, he was given rights to  “produce” his own version of the movie for non-Asian territories. Warner Bros. and Universal were already being approached as potential distributers before the Japanese version even began production. He even brought Warner Bros. to have two private screenings of the film long before pre-screenings were even starting. Universal accepted, oddly enough without as much bribing. When he was set, Lil’ Johnny enlisted Paul Mason and Bruce Howard to help write a script for the version that would spangle it’s banner with stars instead of have its sun rise.

Peter Zinner was hired as the editor to remove, recut and reorganize scenes. Masonand Howard andZinner decided to go King Kong vs. King of the Monsters on our monkey asses and insert an American newscaster named Eric Carter, who was sent on duty by the United Nations, and he would basically do exactly what Raymond Burr did in the first movie. Narrate the action like us dumbass Americans can’t see what’s on the motherfucking screen. They even inserted a character named Arnold Johnson, who would “attempt” to explain Godzilla’s origins and King Kong’s motivations. If the audience honestly doesn’t know the fucking backstory, TELL THEM TO READ A BOOK.

The new footage was shot in a miniscule three days.  Now that shit was shot and written, it was time to mix and match, like most dumbass Americans these days. Ysircopyh. He grabbed a ton of music from the UMM films, such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Man Made Monster and The Monster That Challenged the World. He decided he didn’t want to make ANY music, so he also grabbed When the City Sleeps, The Golden Horde, Bend of the River and Untamed Frontier, not to mention grabbed some stock footage from The Mysterians. You can see how this movie started trends in the Godzilla series. Reusing stock material, being kid friendly, E. T. C. When all was done, John Beck, the greedy piece of shit, made a $184,500 1962/$1,315,043.67 2010 profit on an investment of $15,500 1962/$110,477.92 2010.

SECTION FIVE: REVIEWING THE JAPANESE VERSION

Note: The Japanese version of this movie is extremely hard to find. The contract that Toho signed with John Beck required that the American version never be seen in Asia, and the Japanese version never be seen anywhere outside of Asia. It has been downloadable once, but…on Megaupload. For those who don’t know, that site has been down by order of the FBI because of all the piracy that’s been going on. Most American audiences still see the English version. And, just a quick tidbit: The double-ending is a giant load of bullshit.

The first thing I noticed off the bat is the actors. Whether you watch the English version, the Japanese version, the actors are fucking cheesy. I can’t…I can’t even. You have a scene where the chairman character, who looks stupid to begin with, is fucking throwing papers in the air shouting what sounded like “PANCHA! PANCHA!” Apparently it’s the word of Hooray in Japanese, but all I will remember from that scene is that guy throwing papers into the air shouting “PANCHA! PANCHA!” I mean, yeah, most Godzilla actors post-Gojira have been cheesy and stereotypical and sometimes even very dry.

But this looks like a parody of FUTURE Godzilla movies. The American actors are EVEN WORSE. Basically, take the images you’ve had all your life of cheesy American actors and cheesy Japanese actors (from the 60’s of course) and throw up out the fucking window because THIS MOVIE. Like, I can’t even, this blows the roof off the place. If any of these guys can be found, somebody needs to do something to honor them. Maybe place them as the initial inductees of The Raspberry Hall of Fame. Yeah, that sounds fucking perfect. The next year we’d get guys like Michael Bay and Nicolas Cage inducted.

Huuh…yeah. Fuckin’ ay. Fucking Cudy man, this shit’s the bomb. How about them COSTUMES? Oh yeah, THOSE COSTUMES. Well, Godzilla isn’t too bad. I mean, he’s horrible, but considering the last movie he was in was Godzilla Raids Again, that’s pretty okay. Here’s a comparison of the three costumes:

He feels BIG again, but not anywhere as big as in the beginning. The head had some problems initially, but they felt more like inherited stuff. Stuff Godzilla might have been born with. Here, Godzilla feels fucking retarded. And trust me, the side-view makes him look good. The front view is fucking hilarious. His spines are definitely better than 2 and close contenders with one, but no. ALSO, this is the first time we found out Godzilla is a gray dinosaur who spits blue fire, as opposed to a green dinosaur who spits orange flames. This is…well, what can I say? It’s extremely iconic.

I’m sure it looked like a joke back in the day, but today it’s become invincible to critique. Besides, blue fire gets over with people. The only thing that I think is as clever as the first movie with the suit is the wrinkles. At first I was like “why does Godzilla look like a prune?” But then I actually had a thought. And, Godzilla is normally in the water. But he was frozen for six years in ice that didn’t melt. Imagine how prune YOUR body would be after that. The eyebrows have also gotten significantly better between the movies.

King Kong, HOLY SHIT, that is a whole nudder story. They might have given him top billing and a victory (yeah, if you don’t know you can kiss it) but they did NOT pay respect to him. I…I…Just look:

So many fucking things wrong here. The fur looks like a fucking carpet. Why the hell is the fur ORANGE? He’s a GORILLA, not a fucking orangutan! In fact, that’s almost a theme. His arms are much lankier than a gorilla’s, even lankier than a chimp’s, the only great ape that beats it is the orangutan. His chest pattern is also much closer to an orangutan than a gorilla. Same thing with his mouth! The only thing that feels remotely gorilla is his muscles and his legs. His face is 10x more wrinkled than Gojira’s skin. The hands are fucking mittens, that’s the bottom line. And the amount of being fake…WOW. JUST FUCKING WOW. ARE YOU MOTHERFUCKING SERIOUS?....WOW. I can’t…I can’t…you have to turn your brain off to be able to appreciate that. The two and a half foot lizard is better than this crap!

MMMMOKAY. I think you get the point. How are the actors in the suit? Well, I mean…yeah, they’re horrible. NEXT. (FYI, in case anybody thinks I’m angry, I’m doing this all out of love. It’s dumb fun.) I think the best thing in this movie is definitely the music. Akira Ifukube friggin’ rocks man. His military based theme is fucking hardcore, and the main theme for this movie had me head banging whenever it played. That shit is fucking epic man. Shit is epic. I could see an artistic vision of Hell like in Fantasia playing during that chant, or maybe the creation of life in a bit of a darker tone than most Western interpretations. Something Chinese maybe. Don’t sue me.

And besides that, well, what is there really to say? This thing is an intensely fun monster romp. Somebody who didn’t see it as a kid will probably find it a piece of shit, but I remember this as a kid and I can appreciate all the stupidity here. I can also appreciate how much of a cultural icon this movie has become. But, guys, c’mon. Both of those monsters continue to be gigantic draws across the globe. You have the technology. You have the directors. You have the licensce. REMAKE. THIS. MOVIE. The Rating? Well, I mean, for the movie itself, it might not get any more than a 2/5. But I would definitely give it a 3.5 personally. And the impact it has given would be rated 6/5. This all averages out to 3.83/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Gorath (1962)

Proceed with caution.

BACKGROUND

This movie is fucking RARE. In North America, we’re used to having only the English dub available of Japanese movies. We don’t like this, and it has become less and less a problem lately. But the problem’s here. Yet this movie is a mysterious exception. It has completely vanished from North America! There’s no news of a soon to happen release, and I haven’t found anybody really asking for it on the webs. So you can imagine finding a file of the Japanese version was tough. I mean, 1st world problems and all, ten years ago people wouldn’t be able to see any version of it.

But still, the fact that we have the ability to view it is an achievement. In that respect, I’d like to think its existence quite mysterious and infamous. The fact that I am going to watch this thing is something out of this world for me. Part of the reason it’s so rare is because it did HORRIBLE on the box office. Between the Japanese release, the English release, and the English double bill with The Human Vapor (another movie worth talking about) there was never profit turned and less people saw it in the theaters than ON TELEVISION. I know some movies, such as Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz, got their fanbases from television.

But this got more asses in seats on the television than the theates? That’s not Toho guys. You might see a halfassed Daiei rip-off get that kind of publicity but TOHO? I’m guessing another reason this movie hasn’t seen our side of the globe since 1968 is whether people would want to buy it, and whether people would be okay with their purchase. There’s the infamy part, but some Kaiju fans take stuff seriously, and those are the guys who are probably more aware of Gorath. They may not be pleased with Maguma. That said, the movie is famous because of no release and Maguma himself. Maguma is more infamous than Hedorah and Gabara combined. Maguma is a giant walrus who was cut from the US release because they felt he was too comical. You hear that? A GIANT WALRUS WAS CUT OUT OF A JAPANESE MONSTER MOVIE DURING ENGLISH DUBBING BECAUSE THEY FELT IT WAS TOO COMICAL. Whatever the reason, it’s time to

REVIEW

Gorath could have taken the easy route of having all the human characters unanimously agree on the subject in general ways. However, specifics would create picky arguments that make it easier for the audience to either digest or ignore. Here, that’s not the case, and I’m kinda impressed. They don’t talk about the really easy one – should we sacrifice humans in our research or not? It takes a much more disturbing yet realistic approach. Everybody is fine with an expendable cast. The only ones who feel real tragedy are the ones who are related. Even then, they understand.

The big controversy here is even more of a “we don’t want to acknowledge this possibility” feeling. Should we even try to avoid this catastrophe? Should we attempt to avoid this star that is roughly the size of our planet heading for a crash course? The easy answer is yes, and that is one side of the argument presented. We want to live, so we are going to constantly find ways to prevent death. The other side of the argument, which I find to be the more powerful, goes something like this: Stars are big. Stars are hot. Stars are made of gas. They are hard to destroy.

We only have a limited time here on Earth. Why not enjoy it? Not only is this the answer most people don’t want to hear, but it’s presented somewhat subtly. Not completely. Every now and again you’ll get characters having a clear as day argument about the issue that you don’t really have to piece together. But it’s better than the ending of The Mysterians, I mean c’mon that script had no idea what it was doing. Most of the time you get a distinction of behavior and not of opinion. There are people who are actively attempting to prevent the collision, and they all sacrifice other people.

Others are either A.) Not trying to sacrifice themselves, or B.) Saying “hey, it’s either me and some crew or the entire planet. I want it to be me.” In both regards, these more positive yet narcissistic out lookers are often seen celebrating the holidays or singing with friends, portraying their enjoyment of life. These people also happen to not be in much of a position of power. People who tend to do what their bosses tell them, most notably an elderly taxi driver. Every once in a while, though not the main focus, you’ll get stuff in between too. Guys who are pretty much fully convinced that the sun will not crash.

Guys who actually are debating the expendable crew policy. Guys who are too caught up in their own personal beefs to have even heard of Gorath. And there’s more examples of various personalities. This all praising the film, I must also listen to Patrick over on my other shoulder and note the poor performances by the actors. Pretty simply put, they don’t seem to understand the script really well. Like I’m sure everybody familiar with these movies is conditioned to do, they looked at the script as a cheesy sci-fi movie with no subtly whatsoever. When, in fact, it’s not.

You wind up with either awkward moments where the actors are either not trying in scenes that looked very good on paper; or scenes where the actor is trying to replicate a cheesy monster movie performance instead of a legit, higher performance. It’s like giving a well done steak to someone who normally goes to Taco Bell. They may appreciate it to some degree but most, if not all, of them will look at it as just a steak and gobble it up without any real appreciation for the craft.

With the really well done characters, not only comes the problem of actors who just don’t get it, but also the lack of material this could use up. This suffices for about a forty minute movie, not a ninety minute movie. You’ve got your side characters and one-scene roles that have some sort of variety but they’re not the main focus and thank God they’re not or else this movie would be all kinds of pretentious. But the two main sides don’t give you much to work with. Takeshi Kimura, who wrote a bunch of sci-fi movies for Toho, didn’t run out of ideas necessarily. It’s just that I can’t invest too much interest in these guys.

One side is just waiting and having fun doing their own shit. If that’s the story why don’t I just go out with a bunch of friends and actually have a life? The other side is trying to find ways to get the star out of the Earth’s path. That is idiocy. That is the movie equivalent of trying to prevent the destruction of The Milky Way Galaxy, which WILL happen. There is no way you can prevent a gaseous fire ball 6000 times the mass of Earth from colliding, unless you want to move the Earth itself which would cause all kinds of problems. So when you watch the second act of this movie, you end up kinda wanting to get to the third act.

Fortunately, despite the first act’s lack of size, the second act is even more drastic in size. The third act, while very predictable, at least holds your interest and you want to see what’s happening more. But can I really give this movie the praise I want to when it becomes a “good if you skip to the end” kind of deal? Ah vell. Moving on to one thing that is almost always brought up in discussions about Toho sci-fi flicks is the special effects. In this movie, 80% of the effects work went into set design. The most subtle thing that goes under a lot of people’s radar is the spaciousness of sets.

People’s houses, the streets of the city, spaceships, work places, and a lot of other buildings feel like they have a lot of empty space being used for the sake of comfort and they almost feel blown up like balloons. I’d like to think this symbolizes two key things that go into this movie’s plot. One is that the Earth is a big place, and no matter how many people inhabit it, it can never truly be cramped as a whole. Sometimes you get a lot of people in one area and nobody in another area, symbolizing our way to crowd relatively small areas. The other thing is that the empty space represents relaxation, that half the world is loose and floating.

The other is filled with its own problems. The spaceship is probably my favorite part. It’s not that over cramped one-room pure white paint rocket we normally see in these types of movies. Nor is it built from anything from real life. To put it very simply, it feels like a calm luxury cruiser in space. The climax of the movie, which I won’t spoil, is goddamn cool. It’s no spectacle, not even stuff that wasn’t pretty much easy peasy in The Toho Kingdom, but it’s really damn cool especially after you get to know this world. The only set I thought was ugly was in Antarctica. Mainly when they’re building the huge scale thing that would somehow move the Earth (more likely destroy it than move it), they use miniatures that look like up-converted LEGOs.

‘Nuff said…and yes, the science is complete bullshit in this movie but did you expect more? As for non-minature effects, we have two big things. First is Gorath itself. It looks like if you took a model of the Sun and left it too long in the toaster oven. Which is I think exactly what happened. But all this aside, we came here for the main event. We came here for the thing that everybody is talking about. Tonight may have been about Gorath, but the thing that will steal the show….Ladies and Gentlmen, may I introduce to you, from The South Pole, standing in at fifty meters, weighing in at twenty five thousand tons, carrying the sharpest tusks this side of Planet Earth, He is The Walrus, He is the Eggman, We are the Eggman:

MAAAAAAGUUUUUUUUUUUMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuggggh……..uuuuuugh…I’m uuugh…

*rubs back of head* jeez, how do I put this? He’s a…a…uuuuugh…I don’t…I don’t want to…but I have to….I need to…If I don’t…But….But….BUT….I am willing to be beheaded if any feel I am worthy of this fate. Because Maguma kinda sucks….EH. Correction: Maguma’s appearance sucks. Maguma looks good if shot from the right angle. Good as in he looks like quality Toho material. Which is not the greatest thing in the world, but it’s what we paid to see. From the wrong angle he looks like a guy in a suit who’s probably not enjoying himself. Which is probably closer to reality. HE HAS ONE GREEN EYE AND ONE RED EYE.

How can that look bad? A giant fucking Walrus with one green eye and one red eye. But the problem is he dies very fast, and he has little impact on the movie. I want to restate this. The main attraction for all these years has little impact on the movie. What we have hyped up to be this kind of undiscoverd dinosaur fossil is really only just the arm. I can see why they cut his appearance out of the American release, and I can see how all this mystique surrounding this movie is all ultra-glorified…horseshit. Gorath does not match the hype that it has built. It is not this mysterious, unknown gem with  one of the weirdest examples of plot and effects.

That honor would belong to House. It’s one major drawing point is really a huge disappointment, it’s smart script is washed down several levels by actors and stretching out the pacing, and it’s awesome set design does not raise it to the level of greatness. I want to rate it something great, I feel like it deserves to be rated something great. And I think in the grand scheme of things, as a movie on its own, it gets a 3.7/5. I wanted to give it more like a 4.5/5, but I can’t with bad actors and surprise walrus time. However, when it comes to the fact that this thing has been hyped up so much, far beyond it's own reality, I need to bring it down a bit. In the end, it’s getting 3.3/5.

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, giving out a warning, and singing off.

Battle in Outer Space (1959)

Part II of Toho’s Space Opera Trilogy

In being Part II of Toho’s Space Opera Trilogy, it makes sense for this to have some connections to The Mysterians. Certain characters reprise their roles, but mentions of the movie’s events are never made. For all we know, they could just be people who have the same name. This takes place in the same universe, but because we can, they set it in the future. Not very far into the future, only by 6 years. It takes place in 1965 and it doesn’t make too much of a difference. They did well with what we had. We’ve sent man to the moon and we now have ray guns.

But you can’t do much with six years. Sorry guys who wanted to set your movie in 2018. Lastly, the villains of the previous movie were slated to reprise their role. However, so that it would be less “Mysterians II” and more “Battle in Outer Space,” they chose new villains. These guys are the first problem I had with this movie and why this is kind of a mirror image of its predecessor. In the last movie, we had some pretty damn cool villains. They had the backstory and motivation that comes with these movies. Unfortunately, they were trying to be more sophisticated than its movie.

“Who’s the real villain here?” In a movie made by Toho where it’s Earthlings vs. Aliens, you gotta make it blatantly obvious. In a Humans vs. Kaiju movie, then you have permission to cross the line (a little), but this genre doesn’t need to go outside its boundaries to please the audience it has. Here, you get the opposite. The Natalians are pretty much 100% certified FDA-Approved prime cooked rare villain. Except they get almost no attention. They’ve brainwashed a couple people, and want to enslave the Earth. After that, it’s just UFOs vs. Spaceships.

You think for a movie in the Sci-Fi genre, we could have gotten a little more exposition? That’s another thing. All the exposition is done from Earth’s point of view. I guess it makes more sense that way, but again, does this movie need to be realistic? NO! In fact, it needs to be the opposite to succeed. Plus, the exposition is the most riveting part of this movie. Once the exposition is done with – and they cram it as far as they can while it’s intact - the rising action of the story is essentially twenty minutes worth of events stretched over what probably is thirty minutes but what feels like fifty minutes.

And then, once the battle is essentially over with, they try to go “EPILOGUE” style on you and finish up the story. Problem. This epilogue is also stretched out to hell. An epilogue in a book is between 5-10 pages, and ten is already stretching it. This is like a thirty page epilogue. You pretty much could have summed up this epilogue in 3-5 paragraphs before the credits, and it would have flowed faster in a MOVIE. Why not end it on a higher note? The dialogue here is another mirror image of its predecessor. In the last movie, the dialogue made no fucking sense but at least it was funny and entertaining.

In this movie, the dialogue is dry and blocky. I’ll grant that it may be fault to the English subtitles on the Japanese track, but, it’s better than a Californian actor imitating a Japanese actor imitating a Texan actor. Trust me on this one. The actors here do the job. These are the kind of actors that are about as good as their material. They don’t raise the bar and they don’t lower it either. But since the dialogue is completely in the middle, their acting sucks. Figure this one. If you stay at a hotel, you either want one of the top floors – for this experiment, let’s say Floor 30 – or, you want one of the lower floors so getting out is easier.

A movie like Star Wars puts us at Floor 30, and a movie like Alien takes up to Floor 2. This kind of movie leaves us at the awkward Floor 11. The action is mostly compromised of people shooting lazers at spaceships. Awesome for its novelty, but boring to oblivion beyond said novelty. The SFX in this movie aren’t that bad. The lasers look like typical Toho lasers which would never really heighten by any substantial leaps. But the UFOs look pretty damn good. They look like they weight as much as you would think, they glow, they glide realistically (if you don’t believe me, look at a plane in the sky), and they have pretty interesting designs from afar. Close ups are brutal though.

I love the logic in this movie too. Apparently, gravity is caused by the movement of atoms in an object. The movement of molecules = heat. Therefore, if you get an object to absolute zero, it would defy the laws of gravity. Nintendo logic long before Nintendo was every born ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, friends and neighbors, that dude smoking marijuana in the background. In the end, of everything in this movie, by far, the thing you want to come here for is Akira Ifukube. If you don’t know who this guy is, SHAME ON YOU. Go listen to some of this epic shit! I don’t know how I’m going to describe this.

For the people who know who he is, he is on par with Danny Elfman, Bernard Herman, and…oh yes…oh yes…Akira Ifukube is, in fact, the John Williams of Japan. My only issue is, well, my only issue with John Williams really. (Aside from the typical you-know-whats.) There’s one very well-known tune of his that is heard in almost all Toho sci-fi movies. This would make sense if they were all part of the same series, but stuff that doesn’t crossover (THAT HAPPENS IN TOHO?) has this tune. With some minor adjustments. I’m sure it was pressure from Toho because this tune is so damn popular and awesome, but still…

Anyways, that pretty much wraps up my feelings on this movie. Shorter review than usual, but, I mean, I don’t feel like I didn’t talk about anything I needed to. The script and the acting is weak, and I mean weak for a Toho sci-fi movie. But if you are just looking for Akira Ifukube’s soundtrack playing against some UFO laser action, you can skip to the 45 minute mark and you should be happy. 3/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

The Mysterians (and Moguera) (1957)

As of this review, the last twenty reviews I have done will have involved either Zombies, Aliens or Giant Monsters

BACKGROUND

You remember last year, around this time, I started reviewing a bunch of old Godzilla movies? Yep. I betchya did. That was the year I did a very big chunk, and I had a hard time organizing that one. So this one is going to be very moderate and only a review a week. In fact, the whole month of June from now on will be a three day weekend of reviews each week. With some bonuses. On Fridays, we’ll have a Kaiju/Godzilla/Related movie. On Saturday’s, we’ll have a Dracula/Frankenstein/Wolfman/Related review. And, of course, on Stardays, we’ll have a review of a Star Wars movie. Our first one is the 1957 debut of Moguera, The Mysterians.

In the 1950’s Toho had two basic cash cows: Samurai movies and giant monster movies. In 1954 alone they released two of the greatest movies ever, Akira Kirasawa’s Seven Samurai and Ishiro Honda’s Gojira. That same year they released The Invisible Man, a movie with name statues but nobody really knows what it was like today. They also released Samurai I: Musashi Myamoto. I know what you’re thinking. Yes. It is. In the monster movie genre for 1955, they released a very successful sequel to Gojira called Godzilla Raids Again, along with the very controversial but well known movie Half Human

In the Samurai world, they released Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple. In 1956, they released another movie that has gained pop culture statues, Rodan, and tripled the monster movie world up with Vampire Moth and The Legend of the White Serpent. They continued the Samurai series with Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island. In 1957, they decided to take some risks. First was the release of The Throne of Blood, which was an adaptation of The Scottish Play and released in the USA with THAT title.

It was a story about empires and kingdoms and rebellions, but it wasn’t strictly a Samurai movie. And that leads us to The Mysterians. Yes, it has a giant monster, but it mostly focuses on the aliens controlling said monster. Aliens that want to take our women. (http://tinyurl.com/cp4n734). This is part one of Toho’s Space Opera trilogy…before Star Wars. GOD DAMMIT. STOP SHOWING UP IN EVERY REVIEW!

CRITIQUE

You know what I love? When somebody proves me wrong about how bad a writer can be. I don’t know what the hell happened here, maybe it’s bad subtitles (it’s the 2005 DVD) but the characters don’t have frickin’ conversations. The lines they already say are cliché and dry, but they make absolutely no sense in context. Here’s what it looks like: They hired a screenwriter for each character and they wrote their dialogue on guess without seeing the rest of the conversation. But they wanted to put a little (and by a little I mean a little) personality into it.

And now it looks completely confusing. I not only didn’t want to pay attention because the plot was completely predictable, I couldn’t pay attention because if I did, every two seconds I would have yelled “wait, what the fuck?” I gave enough of my consciousness to be able to pay attention to what was happening. But still, its nuts. Every time something doesn’t make sense, take a drink. You’ll die. But anyways. How is that plot anyways? …Really? NEXT

When you get down to it, a Toho Showa movie is about three things: Cheesy ass dialogue, special effects and music. In the Hesei and Millenium eras, things wouldn’t change that much, but the stories actually did start to become something above ludicrous. So how are ‘dem pretty lights? We’ll start with our titular characters. They’re the army spawned by the DNA of Dracula and varied Power Rangers. And how’s the guy who became the Robby the Robot of this movie? Moguera? He’s a….he’s a….aaaaaaa…

Somebody call Herp-N-Derp! We’ve got an escaped convict! The colors and parts are not impressive at all. He looks like a rusty robot who’s wearing a full body vest to hide his embarrassment. In fact, that’s kind of how his eyes are too. And he hides underground most of the movie….OOOOOH MYYYY GOOOOOOODDDDDD…ZILLA. I just wonder why he has light green shoulders. None of the colors are vibrant or daunting in anyway and if you can find some sort of legitimate metaphor in this thing please tell me. He does at least look powerful, but not in the “I’m Godzilla and I can take you down with my strength!” way, more like the “I’m fat and therefore I weigh more than you” way.

Know what I mean? Why are his eyes shaped like that anyways? They look like traffic lights. And I love just how obvious the lasers he shoots are drawings put on a blue screen. I want to love that because in some ways it is the most impressive thing about him. In terms of actually being. Like, you can run away from that thing decently in a car. But you can’t escape those lasers. It’s lack of reality is disappointing though. Speaking of so obvious and bluescreened, any projectile electricity based seems to be. Even WATER, if it’s flooding a city, is bluescreened. If you got a heat ray – which shouldn’t be visible anyways – it’s bluescreened. And this is 1957. Not exactly the best bluescreen technology in existence. This is the precursor to the problem of CGI. No matter how fake it looks, it has to look better if it’s actually material.

Sometimes it gets hard to talk about these movies in the humorous light, especially when you’re honest about it. This movie had a lot of unintentional laughs, but when you look at a lot of these old 1950’s monster movies, they are out for an honorable message. Trying to warn against nuclear war. Sure, it was stuffed up their asses in the 50’s, but I feel bad when I bash a movie that warns against destroying wildlife and resources. I’m with the Green party, after all.  A flaming liberal. Whichever way you look at it, if you’re a fan of Toho movies, you’re sure to be a fan of this movie. Let’s tie together the two M.O.G.U.E.R.A. movies with the same rating, 3.5/5

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.

Scarface: The Shame of a Nation (1932)

 Long before friends were little and mine.

This picture is an indictment of gang rule in America and of the callous indifference of the government to this constantly increasing menace to our safety and our liberty. Every incident in this picture is the reproduction of an actual occurrence, and the purpose of this picture is to demand of the government: 'What are you going to do about it?' The government is your government. What are YOU going to do about it?

THE SHAME OF A NATION IS CREATED

In 1929 Maurice Coons, who went through most of his life referred to as Armitage Trail, released a novel called Scarface. He wrote for a large number of mystery and detective magazines and likely used this to mentally battle his morbid obesity. Very quickly afterwards, a band of four writers by the name of Ben Hecht, Seton I. Miller, John Lee Mahin and W.R. Burnett began adapting the novel into a screenplay and eventually motion picture. The film also took very loose inspiration from Al Capone, whose nickname was Scarface. Al Capone’s men came to view the film long before it was released to make sure it was not a direct adaptation of his life.

After this approval, Capone went to view the film privately and ended up loving the movie so much he owned a film print copy. The original script had some moderate differences, such as an unused politician character, but for the most part the script remained the same. The Hays Office, which would take full command of all movies in 1934, demanded rewrites as brutally as they could due to the grittiness and violence of it. Howard Hughes (producer of the film) said to the director and writer “Screw the Hays Office! Make it as realistic and grisly as possible.”

Howard Hawkes (director) made the film relatively fast. Three months with staff working 24/7, in three different locations in California (Harold Lloyd Studios, Hollywood and Los Angeles.) Harold Lloyd, who owned the studio they were shooting on, lost an eye when he was accidentally shot with live ammunition. George Raft nearly made his death scene reality, still retaining a rather gruesome injury to the head. Version A of the finished film was the most grisly. The New York censors wanted a much less grisly version, and they attempted to compromise with Version B. It didn’t work. So Version C was very close to (though not completely) Version A, and if they didn’t like it they could stick it up their big fat asses!

REVIEWING THE SCAR

Back in the late 20’s and early 30’s, when talkie films were first being produced, they often didn’t make soundtracks. I documented this in my reviews of Dracula and Frankenstein, but I should mention it again. Filmmakers were under the impression that all the talking and sounds from the movie would be enough to compensate a musical score. After all, that’s what the scores were for the silent films of the earliest 20th century, tools that kept you from being audibly disinterested. The bonus was that we got a lot of good scores that came out of cinema, best of all when they matched up with the movie’s actions like in Metropolis.

This film, the first instance of a role by Boris Karloff since Frankenstein, was early enough to have been created without any music aside from the beginning and end credits. Later on, of course, somebody would have the bright idea to have all the audio components merged into one, and long story short modern day folks who aren’t dinosaurs tend to not be able to function without music invading their eardrums. Me included. Since almost every movie has a score nowadays, the scoreless film from a small era of half a decade (give or take) has become a bit of a hidden gem in cinema.

In Dracula and Frankenstein, it’s often said that the mood is amplified by dead silence. I tend to agree. In Scarface, the lack of a score now serves to add to the film’s realism. You don’t hear music constantly playing in real life, unless you’re like me and always have something stuck in your head. (It’s especially painful at night.) Since this movie is supposed to be a reflection of reality and SUPPOSEDLY based on true events, the lack of magic music in the background assists the atmosphere. The movie does take some loss without a soundtrack, after all it’s not as fantasy like as one of the UMMs, but considering all music I’ve heard, and especially which accompanies music from the 30’s/40’s, I think a track listing of zero is the best choice.

You know, I know it was a thing of the 30’s and this movie really does have the best of intentions…but this movie is pretty racist! The fact that everybody who isn’t a young beautiful women has an exaggerated Italian accent feels very off. Especially in a mystery movie about gangsters. Seriously, how outdated is the whole “all Italians are part of the Mafia” thing? 50 years? 100? Something like that? Not to mention, just within the context of the movie itself, it dumbs down the audible portion of the actor’s performance. How seriously can you take these guys when you know they’re doing their blatant mockery of Italians, and how seriously can the actors perform when they’re doing their blatant mockery of Italians?

The beautiful young girls – which, BTW, the hottest chicks are definitely from the 20’s and 30’s – are THE HIGHLIGHT OF A 1930’S MOVIE. Can you believe this ladies and gentlemen? The ladies, mostly Karen Morley as Poppey, actually are very good at showing personality. RELATIVELY SPEAKING. They’re able to tell the guys that they’re not just pretty faces, that they’re on the same ground and in the same situations as the guys are, and tend to be much more than the conventional female character of the time. Now, the audio isn’t the only portion of anything, especially in a motion picture. Gotta say, when it comes to visual acting, EVERYBODY did an AWESOME job in this movie. Subtle cues that are made by hand gestures, the way they tell stories with their body language, the facial expressions that are just cheesy enough to evoke the right emotion, these guys can ACT.

When it comes to the visual style, it is subtle, unique and artful.* LOT of the background is very gritty and dirty, lots of paint that has a lot of “white spaces” or unpainted portions. In fact, when you get to rooms that have solid walls, or Hell even the outside, it seems out of place to the rest of the movie. This represents the heat and tension between two mobs that is often foggy in the sense that you can’t know everything about your enemy. Unless you’re enemy is really, really dumb. Then they’re not your enemy for long. A lot of things are at weird angles.

It’s FAR from a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but it’s successful in representing the tilted morals of drug smugglers and mobsters. I love when this movie does montages. It’s not there that often, but when it does, it’s good. My favorite one is when a handgun goes off like a machine gun in the background, while faded calendar pages disappear in the foreground. Showing that The Scar had killed somewhere around a person every single day. That one will stick in your head man. That’s the scene that makes you want to make a movie like this. I also love the “X Factor” as I’m going to call it. Just a good bunch of clever foreshadowing, although probably the least subtle element of the style in this movie.

*Damn, is that a real word?

Time to talk about the dialogue. Boy, is there a lot of it. Most of the movie is talking, really. It’s almost like a stage play in that respect. And there’s a lot of really awesome, really memorable dialogue. Maybe not as much as the small companion, but I’ll be damned with a lot of it. You gotta be paying good attention though. It’s not like most movies with good dialogue, where they just shove it right in your face. In this movie, it’s really subtle (‘cept for a certain scene with “breaking glass”), the jokes and the one-liners are integrated as part of the dialogue. There’s no comedic timing, no comedic voice work, no nuttin’ but the writing and that means you gotta think about why it’s funny and not automatically get it.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying the shove it right in your face is a bad thing. Comedic timing and voice work and all that good stuff is also really important. It’s like how people sometimes think editing or amount of pixels on screen don’t matter, when in fact they matter a lot. Pulp Fiction is an excellent example where the comedy is anything but subtle, and it’s fucking hilarious. And it’s not like this movie is an endless stream of one-liners. All the dialogue is interesting as just general parts of the plot, because the plot is interesting in itself. I mean, c'mon, look at culture today and yesterday and tomorrow.

A gang war between alcohol smugglers. People love gang wars, and alcohol smuggling is a lost art since Probation went out of style, the atmosphere of the situation can only be found in archival material. Not to mention, the movie is like a photo camera that caught the picture at just the right time. The gangs are going through a transition of tradition, characters have a newly opened number one seat at the very start of the movie, this movie starts off right when virtually everything becomes up for grabs and stuff starts getting real. Plus the dialogue is really freaking witty.

(Bear with me). The one thing that might have been a problem was the pacing. NO, NO, NO, not like “it’s boring” or anything, this movie is anything but boring. But it doesn’t feel much like a movie. Like I said, it feels much like a stage-play with the amount of dialogue, but the overall script feels a lot like a book. A lot of this dialogue feels like it’s meant to be read, not seen, and it still comes off as awesome seen but it definitely feels like it’s supposed to be read. A lot of the character iconography would also transfer better as a book. The format of rising action, climax, falling action, and all those in betweens feels a lot like how high school teachers tell you to organize your written narrative.

And hey, wouldjya looket dat, it was based off a book! I kinda feel like the writers could have done a better job writing this for the screen, because it does take away from the speed and the ability to follow (granted I’m sixteen years old) but…you get the point. I guess it is kinda my personal beef, but you see what I mean. And, You know, there is the fact that this movie relies a lot on the script. But I’ll be DAMNED if it doesn’t have some BRUTAL action. I mean, this is 1932 we’re talking about here. You got a montage where three people get shot by a machine gun in a big black van in thirty seconds!

And this ain’t the pussy route, nah ah, it ain’t where we shoot them and then we show them. No, we see them AS THEY GOT SHOT. We don’t see the bullet enter the wound, but I think that was out of a lack of SFX technology. Then a little later, within twenty seconds the guys crash another huge van, a truck carrying beer (along with both vehicles’ drivers) and accidentally kill some woman’s cat. And it’s implied that she sees the cat get smashed to pieces by the beer barrel. Then you get another shot where YOU DO see the bulletS go into the wound (even though it’s from far away.)

By the end of the whole massacre, you’re just thinking to yourself, “Holy fucking shit, Commando but fifty years early!” It’s not like it’s brutal just because violent, I mean the material they’re working with is pretty brutal itself. Domestic abuse, gang relations, where do you draw the line in your morals, how you were raised, the relationship between government and citizens. And it is all handled really well and classy like; it’s far from being for shock value. More so, the shock value elevates the material, rather than the material elevating the shock value. I mean, this would at least get a PG-13 today, and I would vouch for an R Rating. I’d even have a hope I would get my lobbying successful!! IMAGINE how fucking brutal and revolutionary this was EIGHTY YEARS AGO. EIGHTY. THAT ISN’T ROUNDED.

Man…phew. This movie is frickin’ awesome. It may have some problems, like the accents and the novel-like pacing – which both can be easily excused. But this film has so much to it. It’s script is superb, it’s brutality is revolutionary, it’s visual style is top notch, it’s dialogue is genius, it’s physical acting is perfection, and the lack of soundtrack assists in its already tense and brutal atmosphere. Scarface: The Shame of a Nation is NOT the shame of cinema. It is a crowning gem of motion pictures. 5.7/5. MAN does this make me excited to say hello to Tony’s little friend!

I, Da ₡₳$h₥₳₦, singing off.