In Brightest Day

17-Jun-11 10:51 AM by
Filed under Trailers; Comments Off on In Brightest Day

This is a day that will be long remembered: the release of a highly anticipated film adaptation of one of the most popular comic books ever.

When I started reading comics in 1996, I was immediately drawn to a superhero I wasn't very familiar with. His abilities and adventures were stunning and made me an instant fan. I've long hoped to see him brought to life by Nathan Fillion, and someone in power must've seen the fan trailer that demonstrated the power of that union, as he's been cast in a direct-to-DVD animated film. But the live action take on this storied character debuts today with an entirely different cast:

Yes, I want to see Green Lantern — but the casting and the reception have both been poor. So I'm psyched to see the perennial favorites from Sesame Street ride the wave of public awareness to promote their upcoming film. The above is one of many misleading trailers that suggest terrible films in alternative genres. Here's the romantic comedy approach:

SImply named The Muppets, the film returns Jim Henson's creations to the silver screen on November 23, 2011.

Cartoons That Should Come to Life

28-May-09 12:48 PM by
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This summer will see the release of Transformers 2 and its Sunbow counterpart, G.I. Joe. They are two representatives of a trend to translate animated cartoons to live action, an effort that was not met with great success in the 1987 release of He-Man (starring Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, and Robert Duncan McNeill). Considering how poorly I received the 2007 Transformers film, I wonder if any animated property can result in a successful transition to live action.

Some enterprising fans are not waiting for big-budget studios to get their grubby mits on their childhood memories and are instead making their own trailers. Rather than cast second-tier actors, these independent producers have repurposed existing media and have masterfully manipulated them to their own ends, allowing for some creative and recognizable casting decisions.

First up is Thundercats, featuring the feline humanoids of the planet Thundera in a show that employs elements of both fantasy and science fiction to good effect. The Thundercats remind me of another team of super-powered beings… wolverines are cats, aren't they?

On July 28th, DC Comics releases straight to DVD the animated feature Green Lantern: First Flight, the latest in a series of such DVD hits. We previously saw Hal Jordan's superhero origins in Justice League: New Frontiers, the difference being the upcoming film focuses on his solo adventure, rather than part of a group. Regardless, I think it's time to take Hal in a new direction, don't you? And who better to take up the mantle than Nathan Fillion?

There's no guarantee that these adaptations would prove any more successful than others based on animated franchises — heck, they could still stink. But kudos to the folks who love and respect these characters for being the first to bring them to life.

(Hat tip to Superhero Hype!)

A Prescription for Horrible

04-Aug-08 12:00 PM by
Filed under Television; 5 comments.

Though actors enjoy the fame that comes with being in front of the camera, a cineaste has no trouble picking out the talent that raised those actors to stardom. Writers and directors like Carl Reiner, Sidney Sheldon, Gene Roddenberry, and Charles-Burrows-Charles brought us some of our favorite shows. Joss Whedon is no different, having created both Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was a unique combination of comedy, fantasy, sci-fi; and Firefly, a space-western.

Though it may be old news to us hardcore geeks, I'm surprised that Mr. Whedon's latest project continues to fly under the radar of the Internet in general. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog debuted last month and somewhat defies description, thanks in part to its misleading name. It's not a blog so much as a vlog, and not so much that as self-commentary interspersed with action sequences and musical numbers — which, without lyrics and a bouncing ball, are no more sing-along than any other musical. The cast credits include Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser, M.D., Cabaret, and RiffTrax; Felicia Day of The Guild; and Nathan Fillion of Buffy and Firefly. Watch as Dr. Horrible (Harris), an up-and-coming villain who does the wrong things for the right reasons, learns to overcome his own shyness and ineptitude while pursuing his master plan to defeat nemesis Captain Hammer (Fillion), win the girl (Day), and take over the WORLD!

The quirky humor and unusual juxtaposition of genre and music make Dr. Horrible worth checking out, though the means to do so varies day to day, as the producers have seemingly waffled over the property's commercial direction. As each episode was released, it was available as streaming, non-embeddable video — but if you read the fine print (which I didn't), you'd know they would disappear on July 20th, to be sold exclusively at iTunes at $1.99/episode or $3.99 for an all-inclusive season pass. The three "acts" that compose Season 1 recently popped back up on the Dr. Horrible Web site, again as streaming video, but with embedded commercials. Since this format is how broadcast television shows are often archived online, it seems a fair deal to me. Regardless, we bloggers are left with only this trailer to redistribute:

You don't have to be a Firefly fanatic and kiss the ground Joss Whedon walks on to appreciate Dr. Horrible. I've bought all three episodes but haven't watched the second two yet, and I don't suspect I'll be memorizing the lyrics anytime soon (unless a separate soundtrack CD becomes available). It's just a fun show with broad appeal across geek culture, and a nifty demonstration of a series made for the Internet instead of just repurposed for it.

(Hat tip to The Standard)

Light Up the Sky

03-Apr-07 2:40 PM by
Filed under Films, Television; 7 comments.

As a fan of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but not a fan of television in general, I was aware of but unexposed to his "space western" series, Firefly, which was cancelled in December 2002 after 14 episodes. Easier to consume was the 2005 feature film adaptation, Serenity, which I enjoyed last year, prompting me to recently, finally, watch the original show.

Holy cow. How was this ever cancelled?? I've been enjoying Star Trek for 20 years now, but I've never seen anything like Firefly. What a breath of fresh air!

To understand the show's uniqueness, you should know its background: