Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the new Phantom miniseries on Syfy (hate typing that). Of course I thought it was going to be total garbage based on the trailer, so it didn’t have to do a whole lot to impress me.
What I liked:
I actually like the lead actor, this came as a complete surprise to me
I really liked the love interest, and you know how I feel about love interests in Superhero Movies, but for the Phantom, it’s always been a part of the character
The decision to make Guran female totally works
The interior of the Skull Cave set was very cool
They pretty much kept almost all of the Phantom mythology intact
The animated Historical sequence
The Training sequence
The suit was a pleasant surprise, I hated it less than I expected to
Keeping the trench coat and hat, part of the mythology
What wasn’t as good:
The group that helps the Phantom being an organization and especially having a really stupid name that no one can say or even remember (including me)
Not having the bald guy be Guran, but it makes sense with the ending (I won’t spoil)
Chris’ parents murder being way to close to what I can only call Luke-esque
Not as good as the animated series Phantom 2040, find it on DVD if you can
It was way too long, it probably only needed to be one TV movie, not two.
Both Isabella Rosselini (who has really never been a very good actress) and the Main Bad Guy (whatever his name was) were horribly way over the top, but the ending cures that
The exterior of the Skull cave was totally lame, in huge contrast to the very cool interior
The whole mind control plot was extremely lame, and Flickr gonna sue somebody
(SPOILER) How the hell did the kid get in that tire?
What is up with the whole “fire that won’t burn” scene, it’s a completely realism based film why add that element?
And one mistake that the costume designer made, they would absolutely have to change it for a series, NEVER COVER YOUR LEAD ACTOR’S EYES WITH THE COSTUME!! The full visor was big mistake, let us see his eyes.
I watched the 6 episode British TV sitcom No Heroics today. It aired in 2008, I only know about it because there was a pilot for an American remake in 2009, thankfully it was not picked up for a series because an American remake would totally mess it up.
I’m still interested in seeing the American pilot sometime, as Freddie Prinze Jr. was playing the jerk superhero character, and Paul Campbell (Billy from BSG) was the lead character.
I was also interested in watching the original show as the creator, Drew Pearce, was just hired by Marvel to write a script of The Runaways.
But back to the original British show, I want more!! I wish it lasted beyond it’s original 6 episode run. The premise is simple, “The world is the same, with one difference, there are superheroes.”
Most of the action takes place in a bar, The Fortress, with some rules, no powers, no costumes, no sidekicks. This keeps the main characters out of costume most of the time. But occasionally, as we see them out of the bar, or in flashback describing their day, they are in costume.
What I liked:
The four main characters are hilarious.
There’s a lot of foul language, even for a British TV series
The “main” character, The Hotness, is very sympathetic and funny
Electroclash is totally hot
The Sayid rip-off character, Timebomb, is one of the most interesting and scary characters ever on TV
Electroclash is totally hot
It’s great to see a “full figured” woman (She-Force) as one of the superheroes, and the most powerful
Did I mention that Electroclash is totally hot?
The supporting characters, are all equally funny, even the goofy villains
The special effects are surprisingly good, especially by 1970s Dr. Who standards
I hope it comes out on DVD in the US soon.
I know, clearly i’m catching up on a lot of old editing I needed to do.
Flashback to the biggest year in Superhero Movies ever! 2008 was packed, this is our panel from that year’s Starfest, it was the last time Jefferson came back to Denver for the con.
It’s a good hour, it’s fun to see what we got right and what we got wrong, and it had a lot of good Q&A with the audience.
My news segment from April 2010 at the Starfest Convention in Denver CO. Obviously stuff changes on a daily basis, and things have changed in the month since I did this, but it’s a good primer on the current info. Also I think it was entertaining and possibly the best presentation i’ve given of this type.
Here are my thoughts on Iron Man 2:
What I liked:
They beefed up all the secondary characters really well, I thought Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, Agent Coulson, Natasha Romanov, were all well fleshed out and while not the focus of the story, really added to it.
The initial 45 minutes were really exciting, the first action sequence was great, and the story was set up well.
The last 45 minutes were also action packed, and really moved well, better paced and better action than the last film’s conclusion.
All of the action scenes worked great, just like the first film.
Smart villains, I thought both Whiplash and Justin Hammer were good foes for Tony Stark, and I was really surprised that they didn’t have Mickey Rourke playing a simple dumb brute, he was a really smart adversary.
The performances were good all around.
The “after the end credits” scene was totally worth waiting for (I won’t spoil it here).
Good continuation of the story, it’s great to have the origin out of the way, and this really worked to move the story forward.
What wasn’t as good:
The middle 45 minutes dragged a little, I thought they really dragged out the scenes with Hammer and Whiplash, and the discovery of his father’s “discovery” was a little far fetched.
I would like to see more of the action scenes in the daytime, both films had the final battle take place at night, and I think that’s cheating, let us see the fight!
The “final” scene with the senator was a really strange moment to end on, it really just laid there as a scene, not an upbeat moment like ending with “I am Iron Man”, strange choice from Favreau.
I personally didn’t like that Tony and Pepper end up together at the end, it really didn’t seem to be leading that way, it would have made sense that Pepper and Happy had gotten closer in the time that Tony had disappeared, and there were several moments in the film that suggested that (this is what happens in the comics). It would better serve Pepper as a character if she stayed President while not being his girlfriend and he has to respect her that way, it would also grow Tony as a character.
I did think Sam Rockwell’s performance was a little over the top as Justin Hammer, he could have dialed it back a little and it would have meshed with the other performances better, especially in his scenes with Whiplash.
I thought Rhodey’s motivations are very unclear, I was never sure why he chose to do what he chose to do at any given time, he should have been developed better as a character as far as his background to explain betraying Tony.
While I thought her performance was overal pretty good, and above average for a love interest in a Superhero Movie, I got really annoyed with Gwynth Paltrow’s character’s continual response to a dangerous situation to be staring at it. She did the same thing in the first film. How about trying RUN AWAY FROM DANGER INSTEAD OF STARING AT THE THING ABOUT TO FALL ON YOU!
My final negative was the music, the first film really benefited from a very original music score by Ramin Djawadi, it really added to the feel of the film, made it fun, and I think it was a big part of it’s success.
For this film, Favreau turned to a composer he’d used before, John Debney, who is extremely experienced, but I think that was the mistake, the score didn’t add anything to the film, it sounded like any other movie, it had no distinct musical feel.
Just because the negatives outweigh the positives, don’t come away from this thinking I didn’t like Iron Man 2, I loved it, and plan to see it a couple more times. My overall feeling about the movie is positive.
I wouldn’t bother criticizing it this thoroughly if it wasn’t worth it as a movie.
Starfest April 16-18 2010 http://www.starland.com for more details.
This isn’t exactly Superhero or Comic Book commentary, other than the fact that I would love to read comics on an iPad.
This is adapted from The Five Stages of Grief by Kübler-Ross.
Prior to the iPad’s announcement, I followed all the rumors, I’d decided that it just wouldn’t make sense for me as a product. I could see the potential, but I didn’t think I’d be tempted at all. “I have a laptop, I have a smartphone, what do I need with another device”.
Watching the announcement, there were two stages of anger. The first stage was the fact that the Steve Jobs reality distortion field was in full effect; I was very quickly falling in love with the iPad. I didn’t want to, but I started envisioning all the scenarios this device could work in my life. Then the second stage was when I realized the limitations and the things I thought would bug me too much to work for me, the additional cost for the 3G version, the lack of the forward facing camera for the absolutely natural video conferencing that the device would be perfect for, etc.
This is when I started thinking about the ways I could justify buying an iPad, if I get rid of my smartphone, and go back down to a regular phone, I can justify the 3G fee. My 1st Gen MacBook is really old and out of warranty, so I need a new main machine, can the iPad function as my main machine? Can I justify getting work to pay for it? If not, can I sell my wife on it?
I just don’t know if I can convince myself to buy it, I mean, believe it or not, I’m not actually an early adopter, I never buy the 1st generation of any technology, I was one of the last people to have a CD player. I only just recently bought my first plasma TV. I still don’t have an iPhone. Plus I really want the 3G, so if I order a 3G model and I don’t get my iPad when everyone else gets their Wifi model, will I still get that satisfaction in being one of the first?
You know you’re going to do it, just figure it out.
Superhero Cinema is now also involved in Comicfest, a new convention attached to Starfest. Last year I did one panel there, this year I will be doing more, I will probably be moving the activities from the video room at Starfest to Comicfest. All of the video programming will still be at Starfest. Video schedule will be posted soon.