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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

‘Geek Films’ Dominate Hollywood Slate in 2008: But Will Any of Them Be Any Good?

The situation between longtime frenemies the Geeks and Hollywood heat up in 2008.  Never before has a Hollywood slate catered so vigorously to the tastes of filmgoers of the comic con, fantasy, and sci-fi set. Sure, the geeks are bad on downloading movies (they’re downloading some right now) but they are also an audience: a real live film audience that goes to the theaters and will pay money just to see how badly Hollywood has screwed up their favourite franchise.  Even better, their extracurricular hobbies, such as blogging like mad about films that interest them, have basically acted as a template for how Hollywood has come to understand online marketing.

So here’s to you geeks and here’s to Hollywood.

Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming big geek films with breakdowns, ratings, and embedded trailers!

Iron Man
The Deal: New comic hero comes to movie life. Trailer makes this look like a Rambo for the new war, done with a healthy dose of dry humor.
The High: Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Post-treatment Robert Downey Jr. is probably one of the most valuable actors of his generation. Forget his Chaplin schtick: that’s nothing compared to the way he can juice up any scene he is in these days. His performance in Zodiac was flawless and more than flawless, mesmerizing. Even when he’s on the sidelines, you can’t keep your eyes off of him.
The Low: Trailer makes this look like a Rambo for the new war--a healthy dose of dry humor may not be enough.
Check it:
Rating: A-
Release Date: May 2, 2008

Speed Racer
The Deal: Film version of the anime TV series.
The High: Christina Ricci was always already an anime character.
The Low: I would be more excited but let’s face it: at this point the Wachowski brothers have a lot to answer for. And only one good film to their names.
Check it:
Rating: B-
Release Date: May 9, 2008

Speed Racer Trailer 1 HD
Uploaded by sebest

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Deal: The generation-defining franchise is back and the trailer has snagged more than 200 Million views online. How can anyone not be excited?
The High: This Franchise always knows how to play to its strengths and this installment looks like its been paying attention to former weaknesses. Grabbing some serious thesp talent like Cate Blanchett and bringing back Karen Allen for the female leads are canny moves. Setting up Shia LeBeouf to bring in the next gen is also wise and fortunately he has largely avoided the dumb teen fare that would damage his credibility here. Also, Spielberg has never been hotter. Did anyone notice that Munich was probably his best film ever?
The Low: George Lucas as writer is always scary, but it looks like they have busted out some troops to help him out. But Philip Kaufman? If Lucas has the potential to be the #1 most embarrassing writer in Hollywood, Kaufman comes in a neat third. Hopefully, actors can overcome.
Check it:
Rating: A
Release Date: May 22, 2008

The Incredible Hulk (Again)
The Deal: First film did so poorly the creators canned it completely and are starting from scratch, so forget you ever saw Eric Bana bursting forth as the giant green avenger. Now it will be Edward Norton.
The High: Robert Downey Jr. is in this one, too.
The Low: Quit while you are ahead. The former Hulk was a decent movie. Nothing here suggests this one is going to be any better. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me.
Check it:
Rating: C
Release Date: June 13, 2008

The Incredible Hulk Trailer
Uploaded by Unchained-Azrael

The Dark Knight
The Deal: Second installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman redux, which will now be known as Heath Ledger’s penultimate film.
The High: Anthony Michael Hall is in it. That’s right. Anthony. Michael. Hall.
The Low: Meh. I know some critics dug the dark tones of the first one, but the only thing I found creepily compelling was that Batman’s dad seemed like a pedophile. I assumed Batman was relieved when he finally died.
Check it:
Rating: C+
Release Date: July 18, 2008

Dark Knight Trailer HD
Uploaded by sebest

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
The Deal: Latest installment of HP series, but note that Rowling's books have outstripped the 2-hour-and-change standard movie format, and producers have decided on an extra HP movie just to incorporate every scrutinized plot point required to finish the saga. Oh, and perhaps they want to prolong one of the most successful franchises ever.
The High: As usual, you will come for Harry Potter but stay for the British actors who clean up in the villainous roles.
The Low: Will Daniel Radcliffe ever act again? Outside of self-parodying turns on shows like Ricky Gervais’ Extras, it’s hard to imagine the world ever not thinking of him as Harry Potter. Fortunately for him, with the coin he made on this franchise, he is well poised to retire at the tender age of 22. Several times over.
Check it:
Rating: B+
Release Date: November 21, 2008

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The Deal: Another before-it-all-began, focusing on how Wolverine became an X-Man.
The High: Fans have proved indifferent to the quality of the X-Men franchise and seem pretty much willing to go along for the ride, any ride.
The Low: Ryan Reynolds. He might even have some chops, and he looks like a comic book character already (like one of the Archie gang), but I wish he wasn’t in this movie. He’s going to try too hard and ruin it for everyone.
Check it:
Rating: C
Release Date: May 1, 2009

Warning: Fan Trailer

Star Trek XI (currently being shot in Iceland)
The Deal: Early days of Captain Kirk and crew.
The High: J.J. Abrams is at the helm and I for one thought that his MI3 was clearly one of the superior action flicks of the last 5 years. Note: many disagree with me.
The Low: Chris Pine as Kirk? Please be kidding. This waifish pretty boy was last seen in Blind Dating, playing, you guessed it, a blind dude who goes on lots of blind dates. He looks 18 yrs. old and resembles an overcooked noodle with puzzled blue eyes. It’s like putting Wesley Crusher in charge.
Check it:
Rating: C
Release Date: May 9, 2009

Warning: Fan Trailer

Average Grade for the Hollywood Geek Season: B-
Works hard, but not well with others.

Posted by Daniel on 04/01 at 10:54 AM
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