Saturday, June 30, 2012

Batman Movie Batdown Week 5 - Batman Forever

Well, here we go again.  "Batman Forever" returns from the deep to haunt me once more.  I actually reviewed this movie many years ago back on those strange high school afternoons when I had nothing better to do but write a blog even more amateur than this on the FFWiki.  Why did I write reviews of Batman movies on the FFWiki, an encyclopedia dedicated to a subject entirely unrelated to Batman?  That's an excellent question.  Moving on.

I could just come out here and start tearing 1995's "Batman Forever" a new much deeper hole in up its ass, but I don't really want to jump at this from that perspective.  "Batman Forever" is not a good movie, and even at that standard, it isn't a very admirable failure.  This was a movie made by a studio mostly to fill a room full of gold bars, nobody in the production actually seemed to have any particular passion or interest in Batman as a character or even in making this movie.  Rather, they wanted to sell toys.  Lots and lots of toys.  The results speak for themselves, its a far more lazy, loveless movie than the previous two live-action Batman movies.  It has the worst Batman performance of any movie, and a host of dozens of other problems.  However, I'm going to try to say that "Batman Forever" and even "Batman and Robin" are not entirely wretched movies.  They're bad, really bad, but they're a special kind of entertaining bad that's worth not merely dismissing out of hand.

The biggest problem, I think, that most people have with the Joel Schumacher Batman movies is that they're ridiculous and silly and cartoony, almost as if these movies were not made for the fans of gritty dark Batman and instead for kids.  "Made for kids" is not an excuse I'd usually buy for a movie like this, but as a kid, I loved "Batman Forever" and its sequel.  This was probably because my parents misplaced or hid my VHS copy of "Batman Returns" and for about seven years these were the only Batman movies I could watch at all.  I could just outright dismiss this movie altogether (like I did in my first review) and just call eight-year-old me a moron for liking this movie.  I'm pretty sure that eight-year-old me would just respond by throwing a Godzilla toy at my face and calling me a "giant moron times infinity", crushing my ego, and then he would sit right back down and continue watching it.  He's definitely seeing something in this movie that I'm not.

Yeah, "Batman Forever" isn't showing me what I think Batman should be, but that's one thing we need to accept:  there isn't one Batman.  There are tons of Batmans, playing up all kinds of tones and styles.  Batman doesn't need to just be the Frank Miller psychopath rolling on rooftops taking sadistic glee in beating up hoodlums, he can also be a 1930s adventure serial for boys about "the World's Greatest Detective", and he can be this:  a ridiculous colorful movie full of more flashing lights than substance.  On its own merits, "Batman Forever" is actually kinda entertaining.  Mostly because of Jim Carrey.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

UPDATE - I TOTALLY FORGOT:  I was joking about this months ago to my friends, but I never mentioned this in the review, though I meant to.  "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is actually a huge rip-off of a joke from "Party Down", in which the main character is offered a part in as Lincoln in the movie "Edgar Allan Poe: Vampire Hunter".  Somehow Seth Grahame-Smith managed to steal this idea and get a movie made, but sadly without Adam Scott as Lincoln.  If Adam was in this movie, I would have like this piece of shit.  Thanks to Red Letter Media for reminding me.  Now the real review can continue:

I'm going to have to be careful writing this review, because I could very easily let this disintegrate into a furious tirade at the most horrifically stupid movie I've seen all year.  Or worse, I could fall into my history nerd persona and nitpick all the historical problems of this movie.  I mean, you have Abraham Lincoln, fighting vampires, already this makes no sense on any level.  But I was okay with that, at least, you need to accept that one idea as part of the movie's premise.  However, Mary-Todd Lincoln isn't crazy?  Lincoln isn't depressive?  James Speed is Lincoln's BFF for some reason?  Screw you, movie!

Nothing about the premise of "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" fits.  Abraham Lincoln was not a warrior, he was a lawyer, an intellectual statesman who believed strongly in an ordered society.  Nothing about Lincoln's achievements as a statesman, as a revolutionary who redefined what America stood for, as a civil rights figure, or as anything else had to do with being a kung-fu master fighting vampires.  And I guess that's the joke, that Lincoln is the last history figure who should be a superhero.  But "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is not a comedy.  The idea probably began as an ironic inversion of a beloved President's career and purpose in our national history, but at some point an idiot director got behind the project and decided that this needed to be a straight action movie.  You know, as if people actually want to see Lincoln fight the undead, as if that actually is a cool idea.  No surprise, its done by a barbarian named "Timur Bekmambetov", who recently produced "Apollo 18", that movie where the fictional Apollo 18 mission gets eaten by MOON ROCKS.  And while "Apollo 18" was just good cheesey fun, this is just wretchedly stupid.  All because somehow, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is no way a comedy.

Actually, "Abraham Lincoln: STUPID Hunter" is a good cross-section of just about every movie trend these days that is terrible.  Twenty years from now "Vampire Hunter" is going to be a perfectly hilarious example of silly 2010s movie styles, as dated in that time as something like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3" is today.  The entire film has two colors:  blue and orange.  The action scenes stink of CG everywhere, and there is not a single attack, not one swing of an ax, that doesn't use gratuitous slow motion attacks.  Nothing seems real, the action is too over the top, its just stupid.  "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is the worst mess of a movie I've seen all year.  Stupid does not even begin to describe it, which is why I'll use that word twenty-one times in this review.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Batman Movie Batdown Week 4 - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

"Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" is only film of dozens of Batman cartoon movies to actually receive a theatrical release, which qualifies it for consideration in the Batdown.  However, "Mask of the Phantasm" is such a wonderful movie that I would have bent the rules to get it in.  I like "SubZero", I think "Return of the Joker" is excellent, "The Batman vs. Dracula" is just... yeah, and I'm sure one of the three dozen DC animated straight-to-VHS/DVD films that get made every day about Batman is decent, even though I haven't seen all of them.  But this is "Mask of the Phantasm", this is a cut above.  A serious cut above, really.  Even after "The Dark Knight" set movie screens on fire in 2008, there are still people out there who maintain that "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" is the best Batman movie ever made.  And I can see why, I love the heck out of this movie.

"Batman: The Animated Series" first came on the Fox Kids Saturday morning cartoon block in September 1992, as a cartoon tie-in to that Tim Burton Batman movies, specifically "Batman Returns".  Usually cartoon tie-ins are, frankly, godawful, but there was something magical about that 90s "Batman" cartoon.  Just as a start, it was huge critical hit, being popular enough that it managed to hit Fox's Primetime slot, which is basically unheard of for a Saturday Morning Cartoon.  The only cartoons that have aired on a Primetime network slot are adult cartoons like "The Simpsons", and "Batman".  Yeah, "Batman" didn't last long in Primetime, but the point is worth making.  "Batman: The Animated Series" would last until 1995, then get revived in 1997 as "The New Batman Adventures"* on the now-defunct WB Network, in 1999 "The New Batman Adventures" led directly into "Batman Beyond", a sequel TV show featuring Bruce Wayne and his successor Terry McGinnis fighting crime IN THE FUTURE.  All this finally came to an in 2001, but by this point "Batman: The Animated Series" had spun-off an entire DC Animated Universe, which would continue to make shows and TV movies until 2006.  So when Kevin Conroy signed on to voice Batman in 1992, I really doubt he'd continue to be playing the same character in the same continuity for another fourteen years.  And godbless him, because these Batman cartoons are awesome.

"Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" was conceived as soon as Warner Bros saw how successful their "Batman" cartoon was doing on TV.  Originally it was designed to be just a straight-to-video short movie which would largely be a big episode of the TV show.  However, Warner Bros in a rare burst of genius from a major film studio, decided that "Batman" was so artistically relevant that it needed an entire theatrical release, and boosted the budget with a few million.  The movie was made in just a single year, which is very rare for animation, and was released on Christmas 1993... where it was a gigantic flop, not even recouping its six million dollar budget until home video.  I guess audiences were more interested in "Beethoven's 2nd".  Yeah, not all stories have a happy ending.  But anyway, even if 1993 audiences were full of Philistines, "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" has proved them all wrong, making for an excellent movie.  Far better then "Beethoven's 2nd" at least.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

"Moonrise Kingdom" is the latest film by Wes Anderson, the quirky™ director of such films as "The Royal Tenebaums", "The Life Aquatic", and the - dare I say - fantastic, stop-motion film, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox".  Being a quirky™ director, Wes Anderson is obsessed with a bizarre detached style to his movies, to the point where you're never quite sure what you've seen and why it was made, but you always feel like a richer person for the experience.  This guy loves drab colors, monotone dialog, and quirky™ music choices.

 Now unlike many of my reviews here, I'm not going to act like I actually understand "Moonrise Kingdom", and that's fine.  There are a lot of movies I don't actually understand and still like, The Monkee's "Head", "The Last Circus", several Cronenberg movies, etc.  And really, if I could just automatically understand everything in life, I'd pretty much just give up on existence and evolve into a Boddhisatva.  That sounds dull to me, I'm glad for life's little mysteries, and I'm glad for the mysteries of film.  Perhaps Wes Anderson isn't saying anything at all with his quirkiness™, he could be a fraud like Terry Malice.  But there is a definitely a distinctive style here, Wes Anderson makes movies like nobody else.  And I think I know why.  Watching a Wes Anderson movie is like watching a film made by some artistic alien race.  They came to Earth, saw movies, realized immediately that this medium was exciting and they wanted to make their own movies.  Unfortunately, they aren't quite human, so what they create looks a lot like a regular human movie, but there's something clearly off.  Real people don't act like this, the film is shot wrong, the dialog is bizarre, and the colors are all-off.  But still, you gotta hand it to these foreign alien creatures, they sure made an interesting movie, even if your human brain cannot quite understand it.  Do you laugh, do you cry?  Its hard to decide.

So yeah, I'm saying that Wes Anderson is an alien.

Anyway, "Moonrise Kingdom" is a pretty clear example of a Wes Anderson movie.  Almost to the point of being a completely generic Wes Anderson movie, which is what a lot of the negative reviews have been saying.  But as for me, I usually enjoy a Wes Anderson movie, especially one features Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton in quirky™ supporting roles.  The main couple is too socially awkward friendless preteens who run away from home and fall in love in the New England wilderness.  Then of course, since they ran away from home, their parents and guardians want them separated.  Its puppy love with a Wes Anderson flair, I guess you could even consider this a kid's movie if you ever wanted to expose children to a movie filled with such miserable adults and sexually awakening young adults.  Its Wes Anderson through and through, and thus, a rather beautiful movie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Okami PS3 Trailer

A few weeks ago SE announced that "Final Fantasy III DS" would be ported over to the PSP, making "Final Fantasy III DS PSP" (try saying that title the fastest you can, its fun!).  They even included screenshots, and the game looks exactly the same.  No graphical upgrades at all.  So this release could only have two markets:  people who inexplicably do not own a DS and only a PSP, or idiots who buy the same game twice just out of blind fanboy stupidity.

So I bring this up because Capcom actually is doing something very similar.  They're porting one of the greatest video games ever made, "Okami" for the PS3, now calling it "Okami HD".  At first this might sound like a good idea, since "Okami" is a game that's about eight years old and could use a graphical upgrade right?  Actually no, trailer:

THIS LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME!  And I mean, utterly exactly the same.  Capcom even included a comparison between the PS3 and PS2 versions, which I'm going to have to call false advertising.  The PS2 version in this trailer appears to be filmed through a filter of max paper while a fog machine is going off while the game is being played on a dusty TV that hasn't been cleaned since the Clinton Administration.  Maybe if Capcom actually is confused enough to think "Okami" looks anything like that, they could escape my label of being "greedy liars too lazy to make "Okami 3" already".  But otherwise, they're greedy liars too lazy to make "Okami 3" already.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Batman Movie Batdown Week 3 - Batman Returns

"Batman Returns" is, in my opinion, the finest Batman movie ever made.  More so, if I were to write up a list of my favorite favorite movies I've ever seen, "Batman Returns" would have a happy place within the top twenty, at least*.  I may actually be this movie's biggest fan.  "Batman Returns" also marks a change of epochs for me personally, since this is the first film on the Batdown that was made in my lifetime - its also the first Batman movie I ever saw at the tender age of four.

Following the smash success of 1989's "Batman", Warner Bros immediately decided that there was going to be a sequel.  Before even getting a single bit of ink dry, they spent a quarter million dollars saving the sets from the first movie in preparation for building a franchise.  Three years later, in 1992, they had their sequel.  And really, the studio deserves points for giving Tim Burton almost complete creative control over the direction of "Batman Returns", because this is essentially a perfect specimen of a proper sequel.  Its bigger, its more character-driven, and its significantly more impressive.  Anybody who laments that "sequels always suck" needs to visit the Batman movies, because it isn't just "The Dark Knight" that vastly improved on its predecessor.

By "bigger" I don't simply mean the movie is larger in scale, which is true.  "Batman" had only one villain, this has three:  two supervillains and Christopher Walken.  "Batman Returns" attempts a far deeper storyline than the older Batman movies, which were typically just "Batman fights bad guys, saves day".  This one creates a trio of bad guys, including the Catwoman, a character that deeply touches Bruce Wayne.  Every villain in some way or another is a shade of Batman's own psychic injuries, but Catwoman is the only one Batman directly loves, and the only one he really tries to save.  The Batman-Catwoman dynamic is probably the deepest and most profound character conflict in any Batman movie.  All this tragedy occurs under the moody white streets of Christmas in Gotham City.  Yeah, this is "A Very Batman Christmas".  However, "Batman Returns" is easily the least jolly Christmas movie ever made, a gothic tale of good versus evil while the snow falls.  And its absolutely wonderful.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alien 0: Prometheus

Right now Spoony's Vlog is playing in my headphones as I type out this movie.  I need to know.  I need to understand.  This is a pounding unbreakable need inside my head to come to grasp with this unfathomable problem, this paradox in the very fabric of humanity.


I cannot understand how the reviews for "Prometheus" can be at all mixed.  Because I loved the heck out of this movie.  I was pretty much captivated from beginning to end.  And I've already reserved a place on my Best of Year List 2012 for this movie.  Perhaps this just a result of being the prequel to one of the most popular SciFi franchise of all time, "Alien", you're going to run into dissatisfaction no matter what you do when touch something so sacred.  Of course, the "Alien" franchise has been screwed over repeatedly, and in ways far more painful and invasive than this, but I'll get to that in a minute.  I thought "Prometheus" was great.  It was part high-minded SciFi, and it was part creature feature.  And if you're mad about this movie turning into a monster movie, what the heck were you expecting?  This is an "Alien" prequel!  If there weren't monsters, the whole thing would have been pointless.

Ridley Scott was the original director of the original 1979 "Alien" movie, a movie so scary it made my eight-year-old uncle at the time run screaming from the theater in tears.  He's come back* to the series after almost twenty-five years, with some brand new ideas to explain the origins of both the Aliens and all of mankind.  Basically this becomes a SciFi search for our very creators, only this meeting with God doesn't quite go as well as anybody hoped.  It goes so bad that it accidentally gives birth to the Alien menace, that's one terrible family reunion there.  People get eaten, some interesting concepts are brought up, there's something of existential crisis where we learn how little our creators think of us, all in all, its a great ride.  Plus, there is fantastic acting, even more fantastic special effects, and yeah, people get eaten.  Unfortunately, no, you're not going to know all the answers about everything, so nitpickers are pissed.  A lot is left open, including all the really big questions.

Which is fine by me.  You know what that means?  SEQUEL!  YAY!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Django Unchained Trailer

Once upon a time in Italy, there was a movie made called "Django", starring Franco Nero.  "Django" was a pretty lovely Spaghetti Western B-movie, which managed to be great little movie, mostly thanks to Franco Nero himself and its incomparably awesome theme song.  Yeah, it was low-budget, and yeah, it was ridiculous in a few parts, but "Django" became a legend of B-movies.  Its rumored that there have been over 100 unofficial sequels to this movie, most of which having absolutely nothing to do with the original.  Quentin Tarantino has joined in with the act, making "Django Unchained".  The trailer is out:

A few years ago, Tarantino made "Inglorious Bastards"*, where he gleefully murdered a lot of Nazis.  Now he's moving down on the list of politically correct historical villains, by targeting racist Southern slave-owners.  I suppose next he'll be fighting the Huns or Vlad Dracula.  This movie is what he calls a "Southern", by which its an Old Western that happens to be set in the South.

Now this trailer is exciting and awesome.  I kinda wish they used the old Django theme, but then again, every trailer could use the Django theme.  Its got loud Blackspoitation rifts, blood metaphorically splashing against cotton, and a roaring rampage of revenge across the South.  Most importantly though, its got Leonardo DiCaprio, playing the hammiest and most silly Southern villain since the advent of Kenneth Branaugh's Dr. Aliss Loveless.  I'm glad to see DiCaprio play a fun little character instead of his usual roles of being a super intense dude on the edge of going insane.  He needed this, I think, because otherwise his skull would have popped out of his head.

And I still have more to say:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

E3 2012 Reaction

Last year I got myself good and excited for E3.  After that, I made the very wise cynical choice to never do that again.  This turned out to be sage-like Buddha-caliber wisdom because I don't think there was a single person on the face of the planet who actually was satisfied with how E3 2012 turned out.  Video gamers are usually extremely negative folk, often hugely unsatisfied and belligerent about often the silliest of things, and yet somehow able to defend utterly despicable companies like Activision and EA who want nothing more than to fuck us up the ass endlessly*.  We're a divided folk, but still E3 2012 left everybody pissed off.

Really, my problem with E3 was simply that there was almost nothing new and surprising to offer from anybody.  Of the games I found interesting this year, only one is actually a totally new title.  The rest are games that appeared at E3 last year, or are out already in Japan, or I knew were coming out for years now.  Yeah, there are plenty of games that managed to miss the conference, and that annoys me to no end, but the real problem is that there's almost nothing to talk about.  This post isn't even all that much about E3, its more like an upcoming slate of games I want to play.  You know, I could complain about the silly casual games, but I'm not going to do that.  Hard core gamers are too self-righteous already.  They don't own video games, they don't get to decide that every single title in this medium needs to be made one way, and really, I wish a lot of them would shut up.  Half these guys hate used gaming because they buy into the propaganda that the used gaming market is killing gaming, they're out of their minds.

I'm going to try to look above the easy negativity, and try to be positive.  There actually are a very nice suite of upcoming games, many of which are going to be very satisfying and enjoyable experiences.  Its easy to hate E3 for what it lacked, but lets try to love it for what it had.  So I have nine games to talk about here, all of which look rather decent.  I'm not listing these in any kind of order at all, because why would I be organized?  And then when I'm done with that, I'll briefly pop back to being negative again.  Anyway, here we go:

Batman Movie Batdown Week 2 - Batman

The Nineties Batman movies today seem to be in the dubious position of being "those Batman movies made before Christopher Nolan took over".  With the stunning success of "The Dark Knight", its easy to let the 2000s Batman movies overshadow the films that came before.  I've even heard some critics claim that Nolan's more realistic and "darker" movies essentially make the Tim Burton films irrelevant, as little more than weaker lead-ins to the true masterpieces.  Well, that's a load of crap, obviously.  The "Batman" movie of 1989 is a remarkable little movie, and it is a capital movie-crime to ignore it.

When "Batman" came out in 1989, it would actually have been easy to expect something ridiculous and campy like the Adam West "Batman" series of old.  Thanks to the work of authors like Frank Miller and Alan Moore, the Batman comic books had since abandoned silly surreal comedy in favor of serious dark violence, pop culture had not yet caught up with this evolution.  When most Americans and children thought of Batman, they saw Adam West and Burt Young walking up a vertical wall while a random guest star popped their head out of a window.  It certainly did not help that the director was Tim Burton, who was most famous for "Pee-wee's Big Adventure", and that Burton's new Batman was being played by Michael Keaton, who was most famous for... "Mr. Mom".  When movie audiences of 1989 were instead greeted with a bleak noir Gotham being defended by a cold silent Batman hiding in the shadows to defeat criminals, they were shocked.  So shocked that they ate this movie up, making it one of the biggest movies ever at the time, inspiring three sequels, and leading directly to the glory that was "Batman: the Animated Series".  "Batman" pretty much invented the idea of a modern Blockbuster superhero movie.  Anybody who considers this movie to be unimportant is out of their damn minds.

Oh, and if anybody thinks this isn't a good movie, they're also more than a bit crazy.  "Batman" isn't nearly as good as movies that would come later, but its definitely a giant leap away from whatever "Batman: The Movie" was trying to be.  I can't help but feel the heroes are a bit wasted in this movie, especially Michael Keaton as Batman, but Jack Nicholson's excellent crazy performance as the Joker never fails to bring a smile.  Really, they should have named this movie "Joker" instead of "Batman", but that's neither here nor there.  Tim Burton was able to construct a world with real style, while putting together a nicely compelling action blockbuster.  This right here is the birth of the modern film Batman, always remember that.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

"Snow White and the Huntsman" could have gone one of two ways.  It either could have joined the ridiculously stupid "Red Riding Hood" from last year in reveling in "Twilight"-esque antics, or it could have played the dark fairy tale thing straight.  And when we all saw Kristin Stewart in the trailers quixotically playing the "fairest of them all", I guess we all panicked that this movie would turn out to be "Twilight 4¼:  Snow White"*.  Luckily, that's entirely not the case here, "Snow White and the Huntsman" actually turned out to be a decent movie.

Obviously, however, this isn't the kind of movie running on film reels made from the sacred Blood of Christ.  Its a mixed bag, and this should have been obvious to you the second that Kristin Stewart appeared in the trailer.  Actually, if you follow the trailers, you'd think this movie was entirely about the Evil Queen, played by Charlize Theron.  Well, while it is true that the Evil Queen still completely runs away with the show from her very first scene and greedily hordes all of the glory until the end credits, its still technically a movie starring Kristin Stewart.  By which I mean she's in front of the camera most of the time.  She doesn't actually say very much, though, which is probably the best way to handle a movie starring Kristin Stewart.  Some stagehand positions the Kristin prop in front of the camera, and while she poses as a human, everybody else acts around her.  Let's be honest here folks, we're here for Charlize Theron, we're here for Chris Hemsworth, and we're here again, for Charlize Theron.

So really "Snow White and the Huntsman" is approximately 70% a good movie.  Which is fine, its certainly a better batting average than the dismal "Battleship".  But still, this movie has a way of dragging right up until the second half, there is ZERO chemistry between Snow White and the Huntsman, despite Chris Hemsworth's best efforts, and thanks to Kristin Stewart, we have a movie with a black hole for a lead.  These are all problems the movie actually manages to overcome, thanks to having an impressive visual style and the proper commitment to being a high fantasy adventure movie.  Curiously, even though I think this was supposed to be a love story at some point, the romance plotlines are ignored and underplayed and ultimately left entirely hanging and pointless.  Which is just fine.  More action, more fantasy, less "Twilight".

And Charlize Theron is awesome, so you really do have to see this movie just for her.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Trailer

For the last few years, Disney has come back in a huge way.  "The Princess and the Frog", "Tangled", "Winnie the Pooh" - three great movies in three years.  They have a better batting average than Pixar in the same time!  But Disney's newest movie is really exciting:

Yeah, that was Bowser, Robotnik, Kano, a Pacman Ghost, and a "House of the Dead" zombie sitting around in a group-therapy session.  Oh, and don't forget M. Bison - this is delicious!  And there's Q-Bert.  And there's Jane Lynch playing a blond woman in a robot suit fighting aliens (who totally is not Samus Aran, don't even think that, STOP IT!)  And Disney's version of Samus isn't humping some jackhole's leg begging for authorization to use her guns, gotta love that.

All in all this movie appears to be the best celebration of video game history ever.  "Wreck-It Ralph" features actual cameos from real video game characters, entirely unchanged.  Remember, the last time Bowser appeared in a movie, he looked like, well, this.  Basically, its the video game equivalent of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", and that's just awesome.  We get to travel along the whole history of gaming, right up to the future when Ralph says it all with one sentence:  "when did video games get so violent?"  Everything about this looks amazing.

Of course, this prompted mot gamers to react in their usual fashion:  to begin bitching that Zangief from "Street Fighter" isn't actually a villain.  (Sigh.................)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Batman Movie Batdown Week 1 - Batman: The Movie

With "The Dark Knight Rises" on the way, I have found myself in an odd situation.  I'm legitimately excited for a movie coming out.  On the surface, this would not be that strange, being an intense paramour of the world of cinema, I am often excited for new releases, but this time, its a bit extreme.  Every day I wake up and I realize my life is considerably worse for not having "Batman 3".  I need this movie.  My soul is incomplete without it.  I haven't been this excited for a new movie since "Matrix 2" or "Star Wars: Episode I" and well... let's try to ignore how those came out.  Right now, I'm jumping in my chair, rocking back in forth like a cigarette addict who quit four hours ago, filled with a boyish glee.  "Batman 3" is going to be HUGE.

So out of the interests of preparing myself for what may be the most important single moment in the history of Western Civilization, I must now guide the world through Batman's storied movie past.  Altogether there have been been eight Batman movies*, stretching across nearly half a century in time.  These include the two Master Christopher Nolan movies, the four Burton/Schumacher movies, one "Batman: The Animated Series" movie, and this, a movie based on the old Sixties "Batman" TV Show.  The plan is that every Friday for the next eight weeks, I will review one of those eight movies, in chronological order.  This will lead directly up to "Batman 3"... which reminds me, I need to order my midnight release tickets for that baby.  Anyway, this is the first episode of what I'm naming the "Batman Movie Countdown Batdown".  Enjoy.

Over the years, Batman has given us six good movies, two or three of which I'd rank as some of the best movies ever made.  There are superheroes, there are superhero movies, and there is Batman.  He's is a cut above, quite simply.  Batman is by far my favorite superhero, and he's definitely been the one hero best served by the silver screen.  Poor Hulk has to wander between two crappy movies before he manages to get some success in "The Avengers", Batman scores touchdown after touchdown.  And don't think its just Christopher Nolan who can make a good Batman movie, there's something interesting to be found in pretty much all of these films.

So first on the order of business is the first movie released, "Batman: The Movie", starring Adam West.  This one is the one furthest from "The Dark Knight Rises" in both years and tone.  And its... one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  But in the most fascinating way.  I think I might actually have to recommend this one for viewing, not as direct entertainment, but as some kind of science exhibit on the perverse depths our species can sink to.  I have no idea what the Hell I just watched, I have trouble accepting this movie even exists.  I don't know what to do with "Batman: The Movie"!  Its too much.  Too much.

Trust me, you're not ready for this one.  I was not ready.  And either are you.