Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Ongoing Superman movie Rumours

It's getting to the point where there are rumours regarding Superman's future in the movies, every single day and each one of them is getting more and more ridiculous.

First it was that Christopher Nolan is 'mentoring' the new movie, whatever the heck that means. My initial reaction to that was that either WB hadn't learned anything from the Tim Burton multi-million dollar fiasco of the 1990s whereby they hired an acclaimed Batman director to handle Superman and it resulted in bizarre and creepy designs like this one:

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It's a bad idea to hire a man known for his great work on Batman, assuming that he'll do great things for Superman. Yes, the characters wear capes and can be described as 'super-heroes' but they are entirely different archetypes and it's unfair to assume that simply because Nolan or Burton did one right, that they'll automatically completely understand the other. Nothing in Nolan's back catalogue of films suggest that he's the man to helm a Superman type-film. Indeed, his most happy, heroic, crowd-pleasing film (or, the kind of tone a Superman film needs to have) was Batman Begins. That's hardly a good example.

Secondly, the whole idea of Nolan taking over the Superman franchise sounds an awful lot like a fanboy's idiotic wet dream. Marvel have had consistent executive producers (namely Avi Arad and Stan 'The Man' Lee) basically forever and this has always been something the DC films have significantly lacked, which would explain why there is tragically few of them in spite of the wealth of great characters who deserve to have movie franchises (the various Green Lanterns, The Flash, Wonder Woman and a number of others), at the very least as much as idiotic Z-list Marvel characters like Ghost Rider. The same goes for the idea of David Goyer writing the script.

Finally, there's this idiocy of Jonathan Nolan (a man who's never directed a film before) directing the picture. Does this not sound like something a fanboy dreamt up, in order to create an ideal scenario where a new Superman and a third Batman can be made without any delay? It all sounds completely made up. I'm half expecting someone to report that Christopher Reeve has returned from the grave and is producing the movie based on a script Jerry Siegel wrote on his deathbed while talking to Marlon Brando over the phone.

If any of this does prove to be true, I've prepared a sure-fire checklist for these filmmakers to follow:

- 5 easy steps to rebooting a classic comic-book cinema franchise:

1. Look at the original and go in an entirely different direction. Don't continue on or rely on 'the public perception'; pretend like no one has ever seen a film in this franchise and build the characters from the ground up with as much verisimilitude as possible.

2. Add more action.

I am surrounded! Oh noez!

As shallow as it sounds, it's what big budget franchises need to have and if done carefully, it's what they can have, if the proper, sustained use of CGI is used and it makes sense from a storytelling point-of-view. That being said, use stuntmen and wire-work wherever possible. A man simply rising into the air on wires (that can be digitally edited out with brain-melting ease)...

An actual human,in front of a grainy

...is always much cooler and more majestic than an obviously computer-generated character zipping into a blue-screen while his cgi-cape flaps because of fake wind that isn't there.

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3. Make small, subtle references to the comics and other favoured incarnations of the characters (the animated series, Lois & Clark, the previous movies), but whatever you do, don't make your whole movie a masturbatory homage to one of the earlier ones (Bryan Singer).

4. Cast a completely unknown actor in the lead role or better still, a character actor who doesn't look that much like the main character and will have the casual filmgoers scratching their heads and fanboys screaming at their computer screens. Choosing specific acting skills over traditional "looking like the character" traits, is not only a fundamentally good idea in adaptive filmmaking, but also leads to iconic performances (Daniel Craig as Bond, Michael Keaton as Batman, Heath Ledger as the Joker and most importantly Sean fucking Connery as James Bond), not to mention the controversy can also end up selling the movie because of the curiously interesting new visual look for the character (Craig as Bond and Ledger as the Joker). This is particularly important when casting Superman, because Christopher Reeve was the epitome of someone who 'looks like Superman' so it would be difficult to find someone who 'looked like Superman' without just finding a Reeve-lookalike (Brandon Routh, Tom Welling and even the two actors who played Superboy in the 1980s were all repeatedly praised because they "look like Christopher Reeve" over any other skill). Besides, when's the last time a director has taken a gamble on an actor who looks nothing like the franchise character and it hasn't worked out critically or commercially (even if 100% of the fanboys don't approve)?

5. Balance: Make the film because there is a specific story you wish to tell, while keeping in mind that (most) fans will want a definitive trilogy and not just a standalone epic.

Hint to Warner Bros: Make THIS into your movie.

Remember though, that people don't want to see a trailer for a sequel, they want to see a great film.

These simple guidelines should lead to a sure-fire hit. Provided The Suits at Warner Bros. ever actually bother their asses to thinking logically.

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