Tag Archives: Pacific Rim

Do We Really Need Another Godzilla Remake?

I mean, really?! Do we?

I know we don’t NEED one, so I guess my question should be “Do we really want another Godzilla remake?” Why can’t we just be satisfied with the classics and be done with it? Why must Hollywood once again milk the teets (does it have teets?) of Japan’s beloved gigantic lizard? Wasn’t the last horrible remake enough to make them say, “Hey, maybe we should just let this one go.”

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I am perfectly content with the old school, guy-in-a-rubber-lizard-suit Godzilla flicks. I don’t need a giant CGI Godzilla rampaging through some unsuspecting city (probably L.A. or NY), breathing radioactive fire, and thwarting the military at every turn. We all know how the movie is going to play out. He’ll show up mysteriously (because no one ever notices the monstrous lizard hiding undersea), wreck a butt-ton of buildings, kill a lot of people, and just basically scare the shit out of people. Everyone will get super-dramatic and not know what to do but will try a bunch of stuff that they think will work but ultimately know won’t. And then one scientist, or an incredibly intelligent citizen (probably Bryan Cranston), will figure out a weakness Godzilla has and then the military will develop a plan to destroy him. Same thing every time.

Did Pacific Rim not fill the giant, rampaging monster quota for a while? Is there a quota? If not, there should be. Maybe not a quota but a limit. There should definitely be a limit on remakes. Maybe one or two a year. I have no problem with a good remake every now and then, but when the theaters are being overrun with them like deer, it’s time we “thin the herd.”

The original idea is becoming somewhat of a lost art anymore. I know that a lot of people say that truly original ideas don’t exist anymore but at least some people are trying. Sure it’s easy money to take another person’s previous work, repackage it, and sell it as your own, but where’s the fun in that. If a writer did that with a book, they’d call it plagiarism. Someone does it with a film, it’s called a reboot. Makes no sense.

Ya know, I’m glad Bryan Cranston is getting work, especially since he won’t be playing Lex Luthor anytime soon. And I’m talking as though I’ll boycott this film for the rest of my life but I’ll end up watching it eventually, probably when it hits Netflix. However, I still believe that this film doesn’t need to be made and Hollywood needs to take a very long break from remakes and reboots. New, original material is required.

Here’s the trailer for the new Godzilla film. By the way, there is no way in hell those paratroopers are going to do any sort of damage to Godzilla. I’m gonna bet that most if not all of them will die. Great plan, guys.

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Movie Baggage

Pacific Rim came out last week, and I loved it for most of the reasons I already predicted. Visually, it’s fantastic. It hits all the bright colors and foreign feel of Blade Runner while containing the grittiest elements of military fiction. And that’s kind of what the movie is, a marriage between Starship Troopers-esque action and Voltron with a massive budget and an adult demographic. It’s all the best parts the Power Rangers, Godzilla and, for reasons I’m not entirely sure, Street Fighter 2.

What the movie isn’t, though, is an origin story. And thank god for that. The audience gets caught up with the current events of the film through a 10 minute introduction with protagonist narration. It’s simple, elegant and somehow not reminiscent of the 90 second info dump at the beginning of Green Lantern.

Not unlike a cross between an anime, a video arcade and a Hong Kong casino.

Not unlike a cross between an anime, a video arcade and a Hong Kong casino.

I can’t say what every film should do because there is no such formula for success, but I can say what I liked about this movie: simplicity. There’s no question about how to use power or how to deal with the morally grey questions of supeheroics. The protagonists aren’t grappling with the hardships of great power and great responsibility or restraint.

There’s simply a hole in the ocean where monsters keep coming out and you need to punch them in the face with a robot while wearing Mass Effect style armor. Kick it in the d*** and don’t get killed.

And I couldn’t help but reflect on other summer movies that were a little too bulky. Man of Steel‘s origin story, coupled with the obligatory struggle with power and shoe-horned romance, had enough girth to bog down the entire story to a degree that made us questions whether it was still Superman.

For anyone that saw the film, did romance between Lois and Clark seem uncomfortably forced? With all the time we spent rehashing Superman’s past and dealing with the Kryptonian invasion, by the time they were kissing at the end, all I could think was, “Uh, Lois! You barely know that dude!”

Also, that Superman couldn’t stop the destruction of Metropolis, the death of thousands of people and snapped a guy’s neck: SUPERMAN IS SUPPOSED TO SAVE ALL OF THEM!

Am I saying that Superman’s origin shouldn’t have been part of the movie?

No.

Maybe.

I’m saying that everyone knows his origin story because Superman is the most recognized fictional character on Earth. Would it have been bad to do a clip montage like Pacific Rim or a brief intro like the 2009 Star Trek? Actually, that’s a great idea. In 8 minutes Abrams created a tangent history for Kirk and the entire Star Trek universe. Granted, the rest of the film was still a kind of origin story for the crew, but it was dynamic and interesting.

Speaking of Abrams, Star Trek: Into Darkness has a lot of the same baggage. I really wanted to like the film, and I’m quite fond of the first J.J. Abrams reboot, but there were some things that I couldn’t get past.

1. Kirk getting demoted for being a screw-up and then being immediately promoted to save The Federation and avert war.

2. Having a battle with a secret ship in orbit of Earth. Where is the rest of the Federation? They just had a terrorist attack like 2 days ago.

3. Earth’s complete lack of monitoring devices or defenses, allowing for a terrorist to crash a ship into Star Fleet HQ. If the destruction of Vulcan was the 9/11 (or Pearl Harbor) of Star Trek, how is it Earth is completely undefended?

4. Kirk kicking the ship’s engine to get it working again. This wasn’t so much an oversight as an accidentally perfect metaphor for the transformation of Star Trek characters from their original incarnation as diplomats and scientists to people who get things done by hanging off ledges and punching people.

All of these things are symptoms of movie baggage. These films are trying to complicate characters that, traditionally, are considered beyond reproach. And maybe this is the heart of the problem. I’m tired of flawed characters burdened by their responsibilities. I’m over shades of grey and coping with how awful having super powers must be.

Where is the joy? Where is the sense of whimsy? Where is the simplicity of having the ability to help people and wanting to do it? That’s what Pacific Rim had and, I argue, what Man of Steel and Star Trek: Into Darkness were missing. Again, I’m not saying that this is the way all films should be because you know I would be on here complaining about how static and boring protagonists are. But I do believe these two franchises deserved characters with a sense of wonder and joy.

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Who Doesn’t Love Giant Robots? (or The Awesomeness of Pacific Rim)

I’m sure that in the back of everyone’s mind there has always been the question of what the results would be if you made a grown-up version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with a cast featuring incredible talents. Well, how about if that film starred Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Ron Perlman(Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy), Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Idris Elba (Thor, Prometheus), with Guillermo del Toro directing? On July 12th, you’ll have to wonder no longer because once Pacific Rim hits theaters, all of your questions will be answered.

Pacific Rim poster featuring a Jaeger. (image source: Legendary/Warner Bros.)

Pacific Rim poster featuring a Jaeger. (image source: Legendary/Warner Bros.)

By now, every die-hard sci-fi fan has seen the Wondercon trailer for Pacific Rim. If you haven’t, why not?! It’s freakin’ amazing! One of the most exciting trailers for potentially one of the most fantastic films of all time.

And, no lie, when you watch it, you’ll think to yourself, “This looks like the Power Rangers but better. So much better. Leaps and bounds better.” I’ve waited so long for something like this. And since the wonderful wizard of odd, Mr. Guillermo del Toro, is directing the film, I’m positive the wait will be well worth it. Oh, and it’ll be in 3D! Normally I don’t get excited about 3D,a but I’m pretty stoked about this.

Here’s the plot, courtesy of Wikipedia:

[In the near future, giant monsters identified as “Kaiju” arise from a crevice in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a war which takes millions of lives and quickly consumes humanity’s resources. To combat this new threat, a special type of weapon is designed: massive robots, known as Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. As time passes, even the powerful Jaegers prove almost defenseless in the face of a relentless enemy. On its last stand and on the verge of defeat, the remaining defending forces of mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to pilot a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the early trials of the mechanical titans. Together, they must stand as the human race’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.]

How does that not sound like the greatest giant robot movie ever? It’ll be some of the best giant monster versus giant robot fighting since Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. I’ll definitely have a full review when this is released.

So if you haven’t seen it, or just want to watch it again, here’s the trailer:

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Someone Make My Childhood Cartoons Real!

By “real,” I mean “live-action.”

Some people really aren’t fans of their favorite childhood cartoons being made into live-action representations, but I’m usually pretty excited by the whole process. Well, that is until I actually watch the film, and then I understand their disgust.

Ever since the live-action Ninja Turtles movies, I’ve wanted more and more of my favorite cartoons to be made “real.” G.I. Joe and Transformers didn’t quite cut it for me, so here’s a list of the ones I want to see made, and hopefully someone in Hollywood will read this and make something happen.

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The Eighties version of semi-awesomeness

1. Masters of the Universe

I know there has already been a live-action film made for Masters, but it definitely needs a renewal. Don’t get me wrong, Dolph Lundgren was magnificent as He-Man, and Frank Langella’s performance as Skeletor was definitely Oscar-worthy, but I’m sure there are other actors out there that could portray the characters better. Not to mention, CGI and special effects have come a long way since the ’80s, so they can definitely do some pretty badass stuff.

2. Thundercats

This is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, and I’ve wanted a live-action film made of this for years, now. It’s about time for it to happen! There were rumors of a CGI film being made years ago, but it never got off the ground. A fan-made trailer was created that looked pretty incredible and gave me a bit of hope, but it was only a fan-made trailer, nothing more. I’m hoping with all of the comic book film success and the success of the cartoon reboot that Hollywood will make the move to bring the Thundercats, Mumm-Ra, and the Mutants to life.

"Let's get dangerous!"

“Let’s get dangerous!”

3. Darkwing Duck

Thinking about this brings to mind the tragedy that was Howard the Duck, yet I still want this to happen. Just the thought of a famous actor (Sam Rockwell) decked out as Darkwing, feathers and all, makes me giddy. Not quite sure who would play Launchpad McQuack, but it needs to be some who can play “the goofball” very convincingly. But save Gizmo Duck for the sequel. Maybe even get Christopher Nolan to give it the Dark Knight treatment or maybe even give it a Mystery Men feel.

4. Voltron

People love giant robots, people love space, and people love colorful costumes. Voltron has all of that and so much more! Just like Thundercats, there have been rumors of a Voltron movie being made for years now, but so far nada. The world needs less Transformers and more Voltron, so back off Michael Bay. This one probably won’t happen for a while so I’ll have to settle for Pacific Rim to get my giant robot fix. Sigh.

What cartoons would you like to see made into a live-action film?

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What 2013 Has to Offer on the Big Screen

I thought I’d take a moment this week to briefly look at what’s hitting the box office this year and give a quick prediction on the outcome of each.

  1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – January 25th. Premise: Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) play the fairy tale brother and sister who are all grown up and have become professional witch hunters. Prediction: Van Helsing meets Brothers Grimm, which means a lot of action with an intriguing story but hopefully with more Grimm and less Helsing.
  2. John Dies at the End – January 25th. Premise: You take a drug, it sends you through time and space, you might come back normal, or you might come back as something else. Something otherworldly. Now the world is in danger of a sinister invasion and it’s up to two college dropouts to save it. Prediction: Dude, Where’s My Car? meets Buckaroo Banzai but with Paul Giamatti for added effect. Definitely worth a viewing, high or not.
  3. A Good Day to Die Hard – February 15th. Premise: John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his son travel to Russia to fight Russians and stop a nuclear weapons heist. Prediction: I think it might be getting to the point where it might be a good idea for John to die. Hard.
  4. Warm Bodies – February 1st. Premise: A zombie becomes human again through the power of love, other zombies follow suit. Possible hilarity, horror, and action ensues. Prediction: I think someone might be trying to “Twilight-ize” zombies. Let’s hope not.
  5. Oz: The Great and Powerful – March 8th. Premise: A prequel to The Wizard of Oz telling the story of how Oz (James Franco) becomes the Wizard. And it’s directed by Sam Raimi. Win win. Predictions: I think this film will be fantastic and be the magical wonder that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland failed to be.
  6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation – March 29th. Premise: All but a few Joes are killed off by Cobra. Now it’s up to the remaining Joes (The Rock, Channing Tatum, some other people), including the original Joe (Bruce Willis) to, for lack of a better word, retaliate. Prediction: Hopefully this film will offer some retribution for the let down that was G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra.
  7. Evil Dead – April 12th. Premise: A remake of the original with a female lead (Jane Levy) in place of Bruce Campbell’s Ash. It’s also promising less humor and schtick and more blood and gore. Sounds promising. Predictions: Hardcore fans will be difficult to convince, but from what I’ve seen so far of this flick, they’ll be won over. It looks wicked.
  8. Iron Man 3 – May 3rd. Premise: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns to take on his greatest foe yet, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). From the looks of things, this might be the Dark Knight Rises of the Iron Man series. Ya know, a very powerful foe shows up, strips him of everything, and then Tony must find the hero in himself to defeat his enemy. This also begins Marvel’s Phase II. Prediction: Probably won’t be the best of the three films but I’m sure it’ll outdo Iron Man 2. And make Marvel a lot of money.
  9. Star Trek Into Darkness – May 17th. Premise: Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the rest of the Enterprise crew return to take on a most deadly foe, possibly Kahn, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Prediction: This film will be epic, just like the first, and seeing Benedict as a bad guy is going to be sweet. This is a can’t miss flick.
  10. Now You See Me – June 7th. Premise: A film about bank-robbing illusionists, directed by Louis Leterrier and scored by The Chemical Brothers. Enough said. Prediction: I have a feeling this is going to be one of those twist-and-turns, mind-f*ck types of film. But with bank-robbing illusionists.
  11. Much Ado About Nothing – June 7th. Premise: Joss Whedon adapted this classic Shakespearean tale while making The Avengers. He cast it with people from Firefly, Buffy, Angel, and The Avengers. He made it because of his insecurities with taking on a huge project like The Avengers. It’s Joss Whedon’s take on Shakespeare….do I really need to say anything else? Prediction: I love Joss Whedon. I love Shakespeare. Without even seeing it, I love this film.
  12. Man of Steel – June 14th. Premise: Zack Snyder directs, Christopher Nolan produces, and a bunch of great actors star in what is sure to be the best Superman film ever. And a film that will hopefully restart the series and lead into a Justice League film. Prediction: The more I see of this, the more I believe that this film will be one of the greatest comic book films of all time. But I’ve been wrong before.
  13. World War Z – June 21st. Premise: Brad Pitt stars in this adaptation of Max Brooks’ bestselling novel about a U.N. employee trying to stop a worldwide zombie outbreak. Prediction: I’m pretty much done with the whole zombie genre, and I haven’t read the book, so I’ll probably wait until this comes out on Blu-ray.
  14. Pacific Rim – July 12th. Premise: Guillermo del Toro writes and directs this film about giant robots fighting to save the world from giant alien monsters. Prediction: I was sold at Guillermo del Toro. The rest is just icing on the cake.
  15. wolverine_jackman_660The Wolverine – July 26th. Premise: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan to train with samurais and take on a powerful new foe, The Silver Samurai. Prediction: This has to be better than Wolverine Origins. If not, I give up on Hugh Jackman. And Wolverine.
  16. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – August 16th. Premise: Part 2 of the series finds Percy (Logan Lerman) and his friends searching for the mythical Golden Fleece. Prediction: I enjoyed the first film, so I may go see this one. I’m hoping this film will fill some of the void that Harry Potter left, but I doubt it.
  17. Riddick – September 6th. Premise: Vin Diesel returns to his most badass character to take on new alien predators, new mercs, and an old foe. Prediction: I will watch this film because I love the others. I will hope this film is the last in the series because I don’t want this series to be run into the ground like Diesel’s other popular series, Fast and Furious.
  18. Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers – September 27th. Premise: Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) discovers that the machine he’s created is still creating food-animal hybrids and wreaking havoc. Now it’s up to him to stop it once and for all. Prediction: If you don’t like the first film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, you have no soul. No but seriously, the first film was hilarious and great for the whole family. This one will be too. I can’t wait.
  19. Oldboy – October 11th. Premise: Spike Lee’s remake of the ultraviolent Korean cult classic about a man (Josh Brolin) who has five days to figure out why he was imprisoned for 15 years without explanation. Prediction: Of all the films on the list, this is one I’m looking forward to the most. I love the original, and I cannot wait for this remake.
  20. The World’s End – October 25th. Premise: Edgar Wright directs a film about five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival. Prediction: This is the final film in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s “blood and ice cream” trilogy, so I hope it’ll be pretty damn good. I have a feeling it will be.
  21. Ender’s Game – November 1st. Premise: Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, 70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion. Prediction: Die-hard scifi fans will go ape over this film and then probably rip it apart. That’s how it works. I want to read the book before I watch it.
  22. Thor: The Dark World – November 8th. Premise: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battles an ancient race of Dark Elves led by the vengeful Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness. Prediction: Part two of Marvel’s Phase II looks to be another epic win with the addition of Doctor Who number nine as a baddie. Get ready to nerd out, kids.
  23. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – December 13th. Premise: The journey continues for the Dwarves, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) as they seek to retrieve their gold from the dragon, Smaug (voice by Benedict Cumberbatch). Prediction: Do I really need to predict anything for this? People will flock and empty their wallets for this film. We all know what’s going to happen.
  24. Anchorman: The Legend Continues – December 20th. Premise: The Channel 4 News Team returns for more crazy on-set adventures. Predictions: Probably won’t be a hilarious as the first but I’m sure it will be freakin’ hilarious! And filled with many great one-liners that will be quoted for years to come.

I know I’ve missed a few films here and there, but I don’t really care. I think the list is long enough as it is now. It doesn’t need any more.

What films are you looking forward to this year?

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