Should anyone have made a vampire movie in space? That’s a much more restrained concept than say, Elvis vs. the Mummy. Which one sounds like an awesome crossover, and which like a waste of money? The only lesson to be taken about nerd-joke premises is that execution is everything.
Still, it’s hard not to have strong, confused feelings for what they’re offering this year.
On the one hand, it’s RDJ playing Sherlock Holmes in a victorian kung fu movie. That actually got made. I’ll have to throw out my own draft script, but small price to pay.
On the other hand, oh Christ. I’m having League of Extraordinary Gentlemen flashbacks. And The Avengers flashbacks. And visions of the unintentionally hilarious trailer for Cthulhu.There are some premises that can’t survive wearing the skin of a Christian Bale vehicle. Sherlock Holmes is a slow-burn mystery franchise. He’s just … not Spiderman. However well filmed, that nightstick kung fu looks goofy.
Plus, the producers of the film, who know what the thing looks like at 2 hours, sell it with the absolute mark of death.
Could Downey have saved the G.I. Joe movie?
But that’s a wee gamble, compared to this year’s Big December.
James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver just made an action movie out of Call Me Joe. They’ve made an epic mecha action movie out of fucking Call Me Joe. I have such conflicted feelings for this my dick shot up sideways. It’s in the perfect shape of an L. I probably need a doctor.
One the one hand, that’s going to be a sight at IMAX. Who doubts the choreography and pacing will be great? The glimpses of acting look very strong. Cameron has always gotten good inflection work out of his cast, which deepens shmoopy or bombastic material. He’s the classic example of smart cast Sci Fi. From the great source material to the decades worth of tropes in that trailer, Avatar looks like a roll call of classic genre ideas.
On the other hand, how may Pocahontos jokes did you make? How well can anyone say "do you know which team you’re playing for?"
"Roll call of classic ideas" can read "cliche parade." Fish out of Water, Noble Foreign Chick, Greedy Corporation, Conflicted White Guy Goes Native … and after 20 years and those stupid Matrix sequels, exoskeletons like that are not exotic. They’re stock. Every third story told in my lifetime has been about space marines.
A lot of this is James Cameron’s own doing, you might say. The old master has every right to his own innovations. But tell that to George Romero, who has done nothing but make zombie movies, and hasn’t made one of the good zombie movies in a decade.
And it’s worth noting his social commentary did not ferment well. Romero’s last movie had John Leguezmo deliberately becoming a zombie so he could lead a zombie army to kill uppity rich Jews. It contained the line "[gazes at zombie horde] really, they’re just like us."
So that slow building anti-colonial undertone in Aliens? Now we’re singing colors of the wind.
Could a movie about petrodactyl dogfights actually be boring?
You know I’m gonna find out.