Saturday, January 25, 2014

The 2013 PostMortem Special The Final - 2013's Deleted Scenes

This is the second year of this feature. These are the miscellaneous thoughts that, for some reason or other, didn't become full articles. Often either a mix of life intervening, or the full thing just not feeling like a satisfactory article.

This one isn't quite as extensive as last year's, in part because several ideas I would otherwise call deleted I'm actually tagging for future writeups. They haven't happened yet, but I don't want to give up on them.

In the meantime, these are the ones that, to use the Frank Herbert reference, not only tried and failed but tried and died.

...actually, on that note, let's take this moment to look back everyone we lost over the past year.

-Marcia Wallace
-Eileen Brennan
-Paul Walker
-Karen Black
-Peter O'Toole
-Roger Ebert
-James Avery
(...No. Seriously. Look up the dub cast on the movie. He voiced this guy.)

Okay, We're just gonna stop this one here. This started as a good idea and then something went horribly wrong. I'd assure you all that the person responsible for this has been fired, but since it's me...that presents a problem.

Back to the deleted scenes:

-So, as I'd partially mentioned twice now, over last summer, Variety magazine published some rather dubious advance publicity about Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim. In particular, they were raising speculation of the movie becoming the flop of the summer. Now, thoughts on the movie aside, I just want to go on record as asking:
So, after a summer that gave us The Lone Ranger, Turbo, and R.I.P.D., two of which make up two shiny new nails in the casket for Ryan Reynolds's career, is it really that hard for you guys to just admit you fumbled the call? It's alright, it happens. No shame in it, we all make mistakes. But MAN, looking at some of the competition this year in terms of being the big failure of the summer, again, regardless of how you may feel about PR as a movie itself, you guys REALLY backed the wrong horse.
It's not gonna destroy careers at least, but man,remind me never to go the track with you guys.

-Last year had started on a partial collaboration with Elessar (again, at Moar Powah!) that has been in varying degrees of limbo. It's coming this year. You have been warned, it IS coming. What it is...I won't go into the details on that just yet. All I will say is it's to coincide with a certain anniversary this year.

-Waitwaitwaitwaitwait...DC/Warner Bros are already pressing on with a Justice League movie despite the fact Man of Steel was met with only mixed reviews and financially doing decently for the budget and advertising that got dumped into it?

I suppose I should start by commending the determination and guts this kind of a move calls for.
Now that I've commended it...guys, guys, guys-think about what you're doing for a minute here. I realize you guys are champing at the bit to try and compete against Marvel's The Avengers money train, and the sooner the better. BUT have you seriously considered what you're trying to do here? For starters, Avengers was a BIG chance at the time, and even that took a solid five movies to even have a jumping off point. Even with that in mind, that movie on paper had just as much probability of being an absolute clusterfuck. Now you're proposing to streamline the process to recreate this lightning in a jar, using a sequel to bring in not just another hero, but the other two components of DC's so named 'Big Three?'
I'm gonna be honest - even before hearing who you cast as Batman. This is just a really, really, REALLY reckless idea. Sadly though, not one that surprises me anymore. I mean, I like some of your comics, and, for the most part, I have a lot of respect for your animation division. At the same time, however, I will be one of the first to admit you have NOT had a history of good judgment where film goes, Batman aside. So this kind of reckless scramble to see if you can replicate the box office success that Marvel invested a lot of time and money to cultivate, doesn't surprise me NEARLY as much as it should.

And I promised myself I wasn't gonna say anything, but screw it - you say you want bitter and grizzled and you think Ben Affleck? Really? There's a LOT of great actors out there who could give Batman that necessary level of distrust and world-weariness. How the Hell did you come to this pick?

I could keep going with this, but honestly part of the reason this got deleted was because...well...what can I say about this subject that the web hasn't already said a million times over?
Which makes it even sadder that DC has heard all of this, has endured a LOT of zings about it, but is still determined to just power through.
Hey, it's your money, guys!

Incidentally - I am going to note I am taking down the names of the people who are swearing this casting choice WILL be good. Not 'might be good', or saying at least give him a chance. That's giving the benefit of the doubt. That's actually a very fair answer. I will admit to being VERY skeptical, but I'm willing to hear out the people who are saying 'give it a chance.' Those of you who are much more certain, however. If this backfires, I WILL be calling you on it.
Yes, I realize that's a little hypocritical. This is another reason this one never got finished. Humor me, I'm only human.

-Speaking of oft-debated topics in the nerding world - yeah, I still haven't gotten around to reviewing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. You'll notice I also have yet to get around to reviewing An Unexpected Journey either. At this point, I'm thinking it's probably going to be best to just wait until There and Back Again comes out and power through all three. I will, however, say now that so far I have felt very mixed on this trilogy. It's really not bad- In fact, they're still quite enjoyable popcorn movies. The problem is, like the Star Wars prequels, the films feel like they're trying their hardest to recapture the zeitgeist that made the original trilogy into the box office smash and pop culture staple that they've become. Most notably with regards to- let's call it what it is: appendices porn. It wasn't that problematic in the first movie - in fact, some of the new touches in the first film were actually some interesting fleshing out (though I still feel like, barring them playing it to a separate end game in TaBA, Azog is really pretty unnecessary as a villain and could have been traded out for Bolg with little to nothing lost.)
With the second film, the extra mythos, plus Jackson's own creative touches, are now risking overpowering and consuming the original story. Despite being the title character, Bilbo's role seems to be showing less agency.
It's the kind of thing which is particularly strange since one gets the sense that:
1) much of these changes came about in the aftermath of Guillermo del Toro's decision to bow out of the project
2) Had these films been made first like this, I honestly don't think Jackson would have been called back to do The Lord of the Rings. Again, the movies are watchable, but they are also loaded up with assorted mythos that, were it not for the prior cachet granted by the first trilogy, would be written off by the moviegoing public at large.
I mean, if someone had tried to do similar with something like Batman or The Avengers (which, comparatively speaking, have a LOT of mythology to mine from) would people be willing to indulge in all the extra backstory elements?

Again, I'm not gonna bury it just yet, but I do feel like Jackson's been biting off more than he can chew here. It's still been a fun ride, but unless he really pulls it up for the last one, these films aren't gonna have anywhere near the staying power of the first trilogy.

-Well, Star Wars Episode VII is finally greenlit now. Further, Disney is really hoping they can make this stone bleed gold and has given the reigns to J.J. Abrams.

...I'm just gonna let this clip sum up my thoughts on this:

OK, on a less cheeky note - honestly, I'm kind of surprised to say I feel nothing here. Even with the prequels, I was still able to at least maintain a sort of plausible deniability at the excitement of new Star Wars. This is just another big budget action film that really doesn't have that same magic behind it anymore. We'll always have the original trilogy, and that's still good times, but from there (and maybe some parts of the Clone Wars TV series), the affair may be over for me.

-Speaking of the most loved/hated man on the internet (OK, more the latter than the former these days) I had an idea for an article I had been trying repeatedly to make into a full piece following my decidedly mixed review of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Truth be told, a part of it may still live on in another piece, but the crux of the article that tried and died was the fact that Into Darkness is a perfect example of the risk that comes with trusting a hardcore fan (or fans, in that case) to work on a franchise. Now, liking what you write for isn't a bad thing per se. It can help maintain a degree of enthusiasm that not being connected may not bring. Unfortunately, it also means the fan could simply just want to revisit what they liked, and in doing so, either create an insular work, or miss what made things so good the first time around. In this particular case, it was inspired by the fact that, like I said in my initial writeup, Kurtzman and Orci took a promising original idea and attempted to turn it into a reheat of Nicholas Meyer's The Wrath of Khan. The problem was, Meyer had WoK take place at a different time in the overall Trek history than Into Darkness does - it happened at a time when it was more unthinkable that the Enterprise could be hurt, and even take a loss. Doing it to the new Enterprise crew on their second movie out meant what was supposed to be a shocking and harsh turn of events instead feels like a bait and switch - especially thanks to their refusing to commit to one of the big things that made Wrath of Khan stand out in the first place.

I may still do more with the idea of just what Meyer did with the franchise differently and why it worked, but as it is now, the idea of trying to make a larger piece on just fanboys having the wheel in general just never quite germinated.

-I actually have two, for lack of a better term 'deleted' reviews that may come up in the weeks to come. I say these are deleted in that they are part of last summer's Summer Reading project, a partial casualty of still working out the timing on a lot of that.

This summer's should run more smoothly and subsequently prevent these kinds of slips from happening.

Aaaaaand that's it. The box is empty guys.

Some of the ones that escaped may again surface here. In the meantime, we have a regular review coming back up this weekend. So keep an eye out!

It's back to work!

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