Thursday, May 1, 2008

Summer Movie Preview Preview

Yeah, yeah, I know. I haven’t updated this blog for a while. In my defense, I have been extremely busy at work. Also, I was away for a while in April, which also precluded me from sharing my wit with the world. I wish there were a definite article that started with a w, so that the last part of that sentence could be perfectly alliterative. I think Hemingway had the same problem.

First thing’s first: The Indiana Jones blog-a-thon is coming up in a few weeks, and I have heard from a fair number of people that they are looking forward to the blog-a-thon more than they are looking forward to the film itself. That’s only a slight exaggeration. The next instalment of the Indy franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (aside: the Turkish translation is Indiana Jones ve Kristal Kurukafa Kralligi - ve is and in Turkish: see how unfortunate that translation is?), got off to a very shaky start. When it was first announced that Spielberg, Lucas and Ford had all agreed on a script, and they were definitely making a new film, scout’s honour, the world, or the part of it that gave a shit (read: 17 middle-aged nerds who still live with their parents, and can’t get over the fact that Starbuck is a chick in the new Battlestar Galactica – which, incidentally, is the most overrated piece of garbage on telly right now), collectively rolled its eyes as it realised that the elusive promise of a new instalment was much more fun than a rigid announcement (on the other hand, nothing can be more fun than MY rigid announcement, aye!). The buzz was fricking dire. As the months passed, and photos started to trickle from production, including an excellent one taken by Spielberg himself of Ford in his Indy get up between takes, the buzz started to build, and reached somewhat of a fever pitch just before the debut of the first trailer. Which, unfortunately, was pants, and interest started to vane once again. Right now, it’s almost back to its original abysmal level – at least among fans and the online blogging community (not to mention scoop sites). So much so that there has been some rather unsubtle damage control, which seems to have had the opposite effect. I call this the The Phantom Menace Levels of Disappointment Prevention Syndrome, or TPMLODPS for short.

All of which got me thinking about this summer’s crop of wank that’s about to be unspooled on us. Everyone seems to be chiming in with their opinions on this year’s big blockbusters, and I decided to take a bite of that shit sandwich myself and do my own summer preview – after all, this is the product we will have to live with until the awards season starts in mid-Autumn. We might as well enjoy it. And by we, I mean me, and the eight other people who live in my brain (the very people who are more excited about the blog-a-thon than Indy).

The summer movie season officially starts tomorrow with Iron Man – some have questioned if he hasn’t lost his mind, if he can’t see or isn’t blind. Apparently, nobody wants him, he just stares at the world. I hate myself. Right, got that out of the way, back to the subject at hand: Iron Man. Apparently, he’s planning his vengeance – kidding, kidding, don’t leave.

Iron Man is interesting for a number of reasons. The character might not necessarily be one of Marvel’s second-tier heroes like Ghost Rider or Daredevil (Blade is eighth-tier, by the way), but he is not necessarily in the same league as Spider-Man or The Hulk, either. I was talking to my great friend Phil the other day, and he said what most people with lives, who reside outside of the States (and quite a few in the US, too, I’d imagine), must be thinking: “Iron Who?” The character is just not that well known – which is why they seem to be selling it as “Forget about the fact that it’s based on a comic book, here is a story of a guy with a jet pack who blows shit up good.”

Which is doubly important when considering the talent that’s launching the film. I think Jon Favreau is a talented director with a keen eye for commercial fare, not to mention an enthusiastic cineaste (his Dinner for Five interview with, nay, paean to, Scorsese is overwhelming in its enthusiasm - I mean that as a compliment), but he ain’t Michael Bay or even Stephen Sommers, you know (with regards to making commercial flicks). And eclectic as it is, a cast fronted by Robert Downey, JR, and including Mrs Chris Martin (almost wrote Steve Martin), Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and err, Shaun Toub, is not going to sell too many tickets on its own. But put all that together, throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato - Baby, you've got a stew going.

The buzz has been excellent on the film for months now – and the early reviews, almost unanimous in their praise (but let’s wait for the print critics, too) seem to indicate a comic book film in line with Dick Donner’s hallowed Superman, or Raimi’s equally excellent Spider-Man 2. Which I am all for. A comic book film is supposed to be fun, first and foremost. Even Batman Begins is a fun film, slightly more edgy, but still FUN, and still a comic book film (I will deal with Batman soon enough).

Come back tomorrow for the next part of my summer preview.


Unknown said...

the fact that Starbuck is a chick in the new Battlestar Galactica – which, incidentally, is the most overrated piece of garbage on telly right now)

:::::whining::::: how can you say that about '90210 in space?' ;)

Ali Arikan said...

Hah! Brilliant.

Kevin J. Olson said...

Great to have you back! How do I get in on this Indiana Jones blog-a-thon thing?

I just don't think Iron Man will be any good. No matter how many talented actors they throw into a movie like this, the fact remains: they just want to blow shit up.

So who cares if it has Academy Award nominees and winners in it? What's the difference between Robert Downey Jr. blowing shit up and Josh Charles and his Hal 9000 Super Stealth blowing shit up? A bad script is a bad script.

Too cynical?

Ali Arikan said...

Kevin - Just write on anything Indy related, and send me a link. I'll put it up on the main page. I'd love for you to take part.

Re: Iron Man - I am keeping cautiously optimistic. Even though I despise the Marvelverse, it's a bold move of theirs to stick to comics continuity (and set up a world inhabited by superheroes, and not just the eponymous character, as is usually the case in comic bok films). We shall see this weekend...

Anonymous said...

I can't effing' wait for Iron Man (I'm getting Serenity-level of excitement here, which for me, is pretty much pegging the meter) but Indy I _might_ see just in case it's better on the big screen. Looking at the trailer I can't help but think it looks like a decent video game (even more than usual) and lately I'm just not so sold on Harrison Ford, as he seems to have slipped even further into "cranky old man" mode.

Awesome post, btw, I'll try and come back for more, I wanna know what you think of Iron Man. It opens here in four hours, but I have soccer and homework to get past first with the kids, so I doubt I'll get to see it tonite.

Ali Arikan said...

Ben - I'm feeling it, too. I hope it's the real deal.