19 June 2007

Silver Surfer

Everybody's talking about how gawdawful Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is. Which it truly, profoundly is.

Even the line lifted directly from Warren Ellis fell flat. Ugh.

Over at Slate, Dana Stevens almost makes a virtue of the film's sins.

It's miscast, underwritten, muddily shot, and slackly paced, but there's something captivating about its unabashed shittiness. At the height of the trend toward moody, self-reflexive, slickly produced comic-book movies with A-list casts, Fox just cranks out this seeming refugee from Saturday-morning television (at moments, Silver Surfer feels like a worthy subject for commentary on MST:3000) and plonks it on the screen, as if to say, “Yo suckers, you like superheroes? Watch this!”

The Occasional Superheroine was at least impressed by the Silver Surfer himself.

Didn't it seem like the Silver Surfer was too good for the film? Like when they hire Christopher Lee for Gremlins 2 or John Hurt/William Hurt for most of the films they do. It's like between all the goofy Mr. Fantastic stretch scenes and Julian McMahon pouting evilly at the camera you dropped down the comic book equivalent of Jesus and he's like in a completely different film. Surfer's in a Ingmar Bergman film, everybody else is in The Goonies 6.
But after the insults of Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End, Ocean's 13, Shreck 3, Spiderman 3, et cetara, ad nauseum, Charlie Anders of Other has had enough.
Dear Movie Industry:

This is it. We have reached an end. I will never trust you again, or even hope for the least crappy experience from one of your shitfests. You have burned up the last of my goodwill, as surely as if the Human Torch had farted into my soul. It’s over between us. You’ve violated the basic compact between film and filmgoer — a summer blockbuster is supposed to maintain a certain level of dumb thrill-packed plot-wrangling .... By violating the summer-blockbuster compact, you have inviolated all laws. You have ruptured the social contract itself. Every human action is permissible.

Don't give up hope in comic book movies, Charlie. Sure, they took Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman away from us, but there's good stuff coming down the pike.

Christopher Nolan is going to give us The Dark Knight, his sequel to the excellent Batman Begins. David Bowie will not be playing the Joker, as all right-thinking people believe he should, but other than that Mr Nolan seems to know what he's doing.

The Incredible Hulk won't have Sam Elliot as General “Thunderbolt” Ross—I guess he's too busy being perfectly cast as Lee Scoresby in The Golden Compass—but it will have Edward Norton as Dr Bruce Banner.

Iron Man is gonna have Robert Downey, Jr. as everybody's favourite alcoholic superhero. How good is that? Even the publicity stills look encouraging.

Someone agrees with the Occasional Superheroine: they're talking about a Silver Surfer film with the help of J. Michael Strazynski, who has written real (and good) superhero comics, plus the thematically ambitious Babylon 5 TV series.

And we have Neil Gaiman adaptations up the wazoo coming. Stardust is in postproduction, Coraline is shooting now, and Beowulf from his screenplay also in post. Death and Neverwhere are in the running ... as well as, maybe, Sandman, heaven help us, if Stardust does as well as it should. The Dream King himself seems pretty happy with how things look.

Hang in there. This cruel summer is not the end of the world.

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