"Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is." - Yoda
It's hard to believe there are only two more "Star Wars" movies left to watch with the boys. When that Blu-ray box arrived at the house, setting off the Occupy Dad's Office movement, it seemed like it would take forever to make it through all of the films. Now we're coming down to the biggest moments in the series, and the boys are already getting ready to start over.
"Dad, in the 'Revenge On The Sith' and the 'Return On The Jedi' movies, we're gonna learn about the truth about Darth Vader, right?"
"So we're going to know if Old Obi-Wan or Darth Vader was telling the truth, right?"
"Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is." - Yoda
When I was in Russia this summer for the international press day for "Transformers 3," there was a good deal of conversation about how this was the end of the franchise for Michael Bay and for Shia LaBeouf.
Turns out, that talk may have been a bit premature.
The last story I published, about the "Micronauts" deal, was based in part on information revealed in the Hasbro Q3 earnings call that happened this morning. During the call, another surprising bit of information was revealed, and now it looks like Paramount, Hasbro, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Bay are all in discussions to continue the franchise.
When you make a part three in a series and it makes a billion dollars worldwide, you don't stop making those films. Not if you're a Hollywood studio. And so the conversations are underway now, and it looks like Bay is still in the mix despite some of the conversations he had in Moscow about having finally finished with the giant f'ing robots.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Hasbro wants to keep making new movies based on their toy and game products. After all, "Transformers 3" looks to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year, and they've had pretty good luck so far in their relationship with Hollywood.
The "Micronauts" property has passed through many hands over the years. I remember having a conversation with Gale Anne Hurd's company about the material years ago when they were looking for a writer, and the thing that struck me as we looked through the materials they offered us was that this is even less of a fully-realized concept or world than something like "Transformers," and whoever does finally turn this into a film is going to have an uphill battle to figure out what story they're telling.
I guess it's a good thing they've got JJ Abrams producing and Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese onboard as screenwriters.
Now that people are starting to review "The Adventures Of Tintin," and the word seems to be largely positive, it's going to be even harder for American film fans to wait for Christmas.
I understand why "Tintin" is coming out everywhere else first. The character is iconic in Europe in a way that it just isn't here in America. Even so, I think a two month gap is going to be almost sadistic once people start talking about how well Spielberg and Jackson and an army of WETA animators have managed to bring Herge's creation to life.
Today, we've got the new one-sheet for the movie, and it looks like Paramount's finally got Tintin's face front and center. People have been talking ever since the first bit of footage or the first few stills that it seems like the advertising has cleverly hidden the faces and the mouths of the characters because of the uncanny valley issue. Here, we've got the intrepid reporter looking right into the camera, and it's fascinating how his design seems to honor Herge's intention while still playing much closer to "real."
There are little movie trivia facts that I love to trot out in certain conversations just because I love the reactions from people when they hear them. For example, whenever 1983's "Twilight Zone: The Movie" comes up, I love to point out that the original plan wasn't to make an anthology film. Instead, they considered telling one story and simply branding it with the name "Twilight Zone" to kick off a series of films.
The script they were going to use for the film was "Miracle Mile." Yes, the same "Miracle Mile" that eventually got made with Anthony Edwards as the lead. That was very nearly the first "Twilight Zone" movie, and I wonder what would have happened if that had been the approach.
It sounds like the new Warner Bros. feature is returning to the concept of one film, one story, and they've been developing a script by Jason Rothenberg for a while now, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, and Michael Ireland producing for their company Appian Way. We've heard a lot of speculation about who would direct the film, but it appears they've finally made their choice, and I think it's a pretty great decision.
One of the strangest scheduling moments on the film calendar this year happens in December, where we get not one but two new films from director Steven Spielberg in the space of a week. Considering he hasn't had a new film in theaters in the last three years, that seems like a strange traffic jam to end up on the books.
Still, "The Adventures Of Tintin" and "War Horse" are very different movies, and I don't see much cross-over in audiences. I think one is aimed at families and young viewers and its an adventure movie, and the other definitely skews older, a sprawling emotion war story. They play to different strengths that Spielberg has as a director, and I think there's room for both of them to be successful without cannibalizing each other.
Next Christmas, though, an even more bizarre head-to-head match-up is on the books, and I can't imagine it actually plays out the way it looks on paper right now, because one of the studios involved will have to blink and figure out a new date. We can't really be getting two new Leonardo DiCaprio movies on the same day, can we?
It is appropriate timing here in the McWeeny house for a "Phantom Menace 3D" poster to show up. After all, we're exactly halfway into our six-part "Star Wars" series on Film Nerd 2.0, and the film we just watched on Monday was, indeed, the controversial 1999 film that brought "Star Wars" back to the bigscreen.
So it was that today when the boys got home from school and I showed them both the poster, there was much rejoicing. These kids simply accept that 3D is part of the theatrical experience today, so much so that when a film comes out that is not in 3D, they think something's wrong. I'm shocked at how closely Toshi pays attention to the fine print in the movie trailers and the TV spots that he watches. He's been seeing 3D movies as part of his movie diet since he first started going to the movie theater. I remember taking him to a press screening of "The Ant Bully" where we got seated next to the film's executive producer, Tom Hanks, who seemed quietly delighted when Toshi ripped off his glasses and hurled them about six rows away three minutes into the film.
Did I really just hear a bunch of chickens sing Cee-Lo's "F**k You"?
God bless The Muppets.
I haven't posted every one of the many parody trailers for this film because, while I admire the effort by Disney, I'm more interested in the film they're really releasing. And now that we've got the new and much longer trailer for "The Muppets," there's a point that the preview raises that explains some of the thinking behind those parody trailers.
"You're not famous anymore." Hard thing to believe for anyone who was raised in a Jim Henson world, but it's somewhat true these days. While "Sesame Street" is still a powerhouse brand, the Muppets themselves have been on simmer for a while now. Over the last few years, ever since I was on set for the "Dracula" musical segment at the end of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," I've been having an ongoing conversation with Jason Segel about the Muppets. He's a huge fan, and making a new movie involving the classic Muppets has been a dream of his.
Much of 1980s pop culture bounced off of me. There were many giant hits that I simply wasn't interested in, and "Footloose" was one of those. I saw it. I was aware of it. The soundtrack was omnipresent. But it wasn't really my cup of tea. It was only later, looking at it in the context of Herbert Ross's career, that I considered the film and really appreciated what it is. The film works as a story of teenage rebellion and it works as a dance-based musical for the age in which it was made. Ross was the right choice for that picture based on his history with musical films, and his "Turning Point" is one of the classic dance movies of all time.
Hiring Craig Brewer to helm the remake of the film was inspired, and it pays off as a choice in the way he's approached the material. Brewer's script is reverential to Dean Pitchford's script for the original, but it also manages to have its own voice. The film opens with a sequence that immediately recalls the title sequence from the original film, close-ups of dancing feet, a great way to kick off with energy and charm and letting the audience know that it's going to get something familiar but with a new edge to it.
For those of us who were avid filmgoers in 1982, the last few years have been very strange. First they made a sequel to "TRON" that cost several hundred million dollars, which is just plain strange considering the way the first film fizzled at the box-office. They recently announced plans for a return to the world of "Blade Runner," another movie that just didn't work at the box-office, and now we've got this weekend's release of a prequel to John Carpenter's "The Thing," another choice that makes no logical business sense.
I love Carpenter's film. I loved it when I saw it in 1982. As time has passed, I've grown more and more impressed by what Carpenter accomplished, and I've also come to view it as a bit of a miracle. It is one of the bleakest films I've ever seen, completely pessimistic. It features some of the most disturbingly surreal imagery in any horror film, but it is also a model of restraint. I love that time has been kind to Carpenter's movie, and I love the way it's grown in time just like "Blade Runner" has, slowly but surely pushing the film's overall reputation from "bomb" to "overlooked gem."