The implication is that our stories no longer need us. That they can get by perfectly well without us. We are extraneous even to our own cultural objects, which have taken on lives of their own. Tellingly, the other major sci-fi film in this period is Iron Man 2
, the point at which Marvel's movie division really revved up its seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of churning films out of preexisting properties. Film threatens to become a nearly self-sustaining medium
, imbued with enough depth and concepts to simply retread existing ground over and over again. Narrative without people. Having killed the author
, we've now killed the audience.
Muppets Most Wanted
was, at one time, entitled Muppets...Again
, which would have been both entirely appropriate and a bad marketing hook. It suggests — accurately — that all you have do at this point is give people the Muppets again
, and they will come. Of course I will, and of course I was entertained...mostly (hell, I'd even go see Tyler Perry's Madea Meets the Muppets
, if only to keep myself guessing which of the gang ends up coming to Jesus — Beaker, obviously).
Since Angelina Jolie made Disney enough money to buy a small planet with that live-action mess Maleficent
, and Disney is a greedy whore who can never have enough money, theyíre making a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast
, which will no doubt gross $19 billion, because Beauty and the Beast
-obsessed dummies like me who get the hardcore feels for that movie and will go see it 27 times...Emma Watson
as Belle is all well and good, but I want to know who else has been cast in this future mess. Iím no casting director, but itís pretty obvious who should play the rest of the characters from Beauty and the Beast
. Khloe Kardashian IS
the Beast. The Hammaconda IS
Gaston. Rihanna IS
that slutty feather duster and Leo DiCaprio IS
the horny feather duster-humping LumiŤre. Justin Bieber IS
Mrs. Pottsí annoying teacup son Chip who we all hope ďaccidentallyĒ gets put in a box marked FREE and thrown on the curb (seriously, Chip is THE WORST
And it goes without saying that Angela Lansbury
better be cast as Mrs. Potts, or so help me god, I will only see this movie 26 times.
: A lot of this boils down to the movie really feeling like a rush job. It isnít just that the movie came out less than a full year after the first one, it also had tons of last-minute changes
, like the removal of the actual secret touted in the title...The only set that really wows is the abandoned subway station, and it feels like itís only good because they were planning to reuse it. Chris
: I wonder if they were planning to crank out one of these every year until the wheels fell off.
It honestly wouldnít surprise me.
The story of the Highlander
franchise is a tale of rich people gravely miscalculating how far people will follow a stagnant storyline. The cyberpunk
didn't work, and the Highlander
cartoon series was so terrible any existing copies should be buried in the deserts of New Mexico along with all the old copies of ET The Extraterrestrial
for the Atari. But the live-action Highlander
TV show somehow managed to collect a modest fanbase, and so once again, the studio smelled money and cranked out a fourth movie called Endgame
. It turns out it wasn't money they were smelling.
The problem with the first two movies in this reboot series is that they seem to have been primarily a business decision by J. J. Abrams
to take over a big budget tentpole franchise, thus raising his profile (and salary). And it seems to have worked; he just landed his dream job of directing the next Star Wars
film. Congrats to J.J.! Hereís hoping that the studio replaces him with someone who actually gets Star Trek
, and is interested in doing something more than reimagining moments from the franchiseís glory days. Ah, who am I kidding? Get ready for the Borg
to show up in the next one.
As movies with budgets you could dive into like Scrooge McDuck
follow their trend of venturing no further than the preamble, Star Trek Into Darkness
was certainly a thing that I saw
; a thing of no consequence.
is not interested in exploring the limits of what Star Trek
can be. Itís not the younger sibling
in the same way that Deep Space Nine
was, and so it lacks the freedom to push the boundaries. Voyager
is a show that seems to have the fate of an entire network
leaning on it. That means the network wants a safe bet. It wants something that has worked before. It wants a redux of The Next Generation
All of which is fine, but it wastes one fascinating premise. When Q through the Enterprise
into the Delta Quadrant in 'Q Who?', he teased that it was 'wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, but itís not for the timid.' It contained something utterly unlike anything the franchise had ever seen before. Now, it all seems far too familiar, home to familiar clichťs and stock set-ups. As weíll see, even the Borg themselves have become far too familiar
As a purveyor of words and a crafter of fiction, I find nothing more reprehensible than the fact that we as creators are given tools that allows us to craft such wonderful stories, and yet so often those powers are corrupted in the name of making a dollar or exploiting a fanatical fan base. A fan base that, don't get me wrong, I love. A fan base so dedicated that they follow the character past rationality.
It's why I'm no longer a fan, in the traditional sense, of Superman these days. Star Wars
and Superman slowly broke me of an irrational dedication to something, because irrational dedication leads to exploitation. It's something I should have realized already as an outspoken critic of organized groupthink...Maybe that's part of growing older, but then again, I know many people in their forties and fifties who are older than me that still don't get that you don't have to support a thing or believe it perfect just because you committed to it when you were five.
This, if anything, is the legacy
One advantage that pro wrestling will always have over MMA
or boxing is that, due to its scripted nature, its big fights usually deliver, and always at least attempt to do so. Thereís no way to know whether a UFC
main event wonít end in mere seconds, but when you order wrestling, you know that the show has been engineered specifically to give you your moneyís worth.
Somehow, though, someone in WWE
thought it would be prudent to throw out the one thing it could always lord over UFC, putting this deliberate stinker on not just any pay-per-view, but the supposed biggest and best pay-per-view of the year, the culmination of a yearís worth of storylines
. Whoever responsible was clearly taking a page out of Charlie 'Iíve already got your money, dude' Sheenís
playbook, except at least the unhinged actor didnít beg his disgruntled audience to see his next one-man show that he promised would totally be worth it, honest!
In this new world that video games inhabit and helped to build, people are unimportant. The talented artists and artisans who make the games don't matter half as much as the brands: the titles, the licenses, the intellectual properties, the copyrighted fictional entities featured in the product. Quick, without looking it up, name the guy who directed BioShock 1
. Name one of Super Mario Galaxy
's level designers. Name Street Fighter IV
's character artist. Chances are, you're not able to do it — even though you certainly do recognize BioShock
, Super Mario Galaxy
, and Street Fighter IV
. Video game consumers are most attuned to IPs. And as you can tell from today's mainstream gaming landscape — saturated with sequels
, and "Brand X Vs. Brand Y
" titles — the publishers conduct their business with this fact foremost in their minds. The staff is disposable
. The brands are not.
Probably the best metaphor for Mega Man 4
is the last moment Dr. Wily is seen after bowing for forgiveness
. The mad doctor arches his eyebrows as he swiftly escapes through a hidden swivel door right next to him, before the fortress self-destructs. It's obvious that he will be seen again and again much like a punch-clock Saturday morning villain
as the series began turning into a safe and by-the-numbers, annually shipped franchise machine. A good formula yes, but still same ol', same ol' and losing its novel luster fast.
It would be foolish to miss the parallel between Kojima's
nanomachine-crazy dystopia and his personal opinions on the direction of the series, in my opinion...Sequels are being hyped up and pumped out without any real inspiration, while developers are being bought up and merged by profit-driven conglomerates. 'War has become routine', much like how game-creation has become routine, you could say. I wouldn't be surprised if the PMCs
and their 'Outer Heaven' parent company serve as a reflection of companies like Electronic Arts
, with their reputation for buying up the competition and then producing soulless installments. Where's the heart?
Marvel might sell 100,000 issues of a big-time book
, but the law of diminishing returns kicks in as they load up on books that tie into that big event
. Marvel and DC
are so obsessed with making sure that they sell more and more to a smaller and smaller audience that they donít realize that many people are not only skipping those events, theyíre giving up on ALL superhero comics that the companies sell. Weíve all heard stories about how kids love comics, and thatís true, but theyíre not buying superhero comics in the magnitude that they once did. And older fans arenít going to live forever, even if the characters they love do
The whole reason Watchmen
has a unique place in superhero history is that itís an actual, honest-to-gosh novel, with a purpose, and a beginning, middle, and end. The reason there arenít more books like Watchmen
is because DC and Marvel donít understand the difference between making something like that and creating IP that can be spun off into continuing franchises. They donít really understand that thereís a difference in the results when art is created for personal expression, and when itís created for t-shirt sales
. Recycling is just as good as creating. Better, really, because then you donít have bitches like this Alan Moore
character with some personal connection to the work muddying up the issue
. When people make sausages at a factory, they donít get worked up over what sort of sandwiches those sausages are eventually used on. Better if the artists they employ understand their place as cog polishers, rather than thinking theyíre clock makers. The fact that [Dan] DiDio
has referred to Watchmen prequels
as being their attempt at being bold and creative shows that he doesnít really have much of a concept
of what creativity actually is. Creativity typically involves creation.
Well, part of the rub is that it isn't actually his cow to slaughter, even if he wanted to. It's WotC's cow (as is the Forgotten Realms), and it keeps their pockets filled... they just redistribute some of it Salvatore's way for performing regular "cow maintenance." And, nothing can go on in their farm without their written, in triplicate, consent.
In essence, it doesn't matter how far Greenwood, Salvatore, or Cunningham may want to take a character, because WotC's always going to hold the rope and decide which pasture the cow feeds from. An author can say, "how about the 'character death' pasture," but they can easily be countermanded with, "no, the grass at 'looked bad but it was Only a Flesh Wound' looks a little greener today, go over there."