How comic book movies have changed

superheroes-finalLet’s start this article with a digression. I saw the Flash Gordon movie for the first time a little while ago.

Yep. I sure did. The only reason you’re not seeing my review of it is that four other people have already tackled the material, and what’s left to say? It’s cheesier than Wisconsin, cornier than Nebraska and squarer than a diced cube – and oh, is it glorious. It’s a great big explosion of Technicolor ham, and I had me a darn good time while watching it.

And yet, even while a great big grin was plastered across my face, a tiny part of my brain was going ‘man, this would never have gotten made today.’ Not in any particularly critical way, mind you, but still, the thought did flash across my mind. Not long afterwards, so did the obvious follow-up – ‘why not?’

That, as is frequently the case, got me thinking – and that, as is also frequently the case, got me writing. And here we are now. And here I am about to delve into comic book movies across the ages, and how, as the title indicates, they have changed, and why. Join me, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare. Continue reading

Deneb does Super Mario Brothers

smb“I’m gettin’ arrested for bein’ a plumber!”

The Scoop: 1993 PG, directed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton and starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson, and Fiona Shaw.

Tagline: This Ain’t No Game.

Summary Capsule: Two plumbers from Brooklyn VS dinosaurs from another universe. Something like that, anyway. Continue reading

Deneb does The Adventures of Mark Twain

adventures_of_mark_twain__the_front_large“It’s just like piloting a river; you get to know the shape of it. Like following a hall at home in the dark, and even if you feel some fear, you know that no harm can come to you, for you’ve traveled that hallway a hundred times with nothin’ but bare feet and faith.”

The Scoop: 1985 G, directed by Will Vinton and starring James Whitmore, Chris Ritchie, Gary Krug, Michele Mariana, John Morrison and Carol Edelman.

Tagline: Where dreams become reality.

Summary Capsule: Mark Twain seeks Halley’s Comet on an airship, accompanied by some of his own characters. Things get strange. Continue reading

Five Potential Batman/Superman Movie Villains

1773297-superman_villains_gif.gifI wasn’t sure if I should do this one. I don’t like writing things that become dated quickly, and while the ‘Net is currently a-swarm with speculation about the upcoming Batman/Superman movie, I was hesitant to join in. Why? Because at this point we don’t know much of anything, but inevitably we will, and just as inevitably, two-thirds of the speculations in question will turn out to be more than somewhat incorrect. The idea of someone running across this article after the movie has been released and going ‘haw haw, boy, did he get it wrong’ is one that leaves a sour taste in my mouth, and for that reason, I contemplated skipping this article altogether. Who wants to write something that will shortly be rendered irrelevant?

Two things changed my mind. One, now that I’d gotten the idea for it, it wouldn’t let me go until I’d brought it into being, and two: the current speculation is for this upcoming Batman/Superman flick. Who says this will be the only one? We’ve got multiple Superman films, multiple Batman films; the two have already teamed up in countless spin-off media – it would be illogical to think that, now that the ice has been broken, as it were, this will be the only Supes/Bats movie ever made. And if I’m correct, well, my picks here could apply to any such future filmic event. That should stave off irrelevancy for a little while, yes?

So without further ado, I present to you my list of five potential villains for this – or any – Batman/Superman team-up movie. Continue reading

Deneb does Yellow Submarine

submarine“Are you, uh, Blueish? You don’t look Blueish…”

The Scoop: 1968 G, directed by George Dunning and starring the Beatles, Paul Angelis, John Clive, Dick Emery, Geoffrey Hughes, Lance Percival and Peter Batten.

Tagline: It’s all in the mind, y’know.

Summary Capsule: Beatles + animation + goodness only knows what else = weird, wild wonderfulness. Groovy, baby. Continue reading

Top Ten Superman Characters That Should Be In Movies

superman-familyI just thought of something. You know how when superhero movies come out, they tend to affect the public’s overall perception of the character(s) in question? Like, since Avengers got big, the team’s movie-roster shows up all over the place, or when Dark Knight became a smash, the Joker got a Glasgow smile for a bit – or, for that matter, when the Tim Burton Batman came out, and comics-Gotham quickly adapted the look of its cinematic version.

That hasn’t really happened much with Superman, has it?

Or rather, it has, but more in little ways. The original Superman was certainly influential with its depiction of Planet Krypton, and General Zod will forever be defined for many people by Terence Stamp’s performance, but otherwise… not so much.

There is, I think, a reason for this. Most Superman spin-off media that I’ve seen tends to keep the focus on him, not the people and places around him. Yes, Lois Lane has gotten some screentime, and, to a lesser degree, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, but they’re all secondary to the Man of Steel. His supporting cast, in short, has always gotten short shrift – and he himself is too iconic to alter much, therefore his screen portrayals have remained relatively static.

To my mind, this is a bit of a missed opportunity. Yes, you watch a Superman movie to see Superman being his Supermanny self, but he has racked up quite a few interesting characters around himself over the years. A little focus on them could hardly hurt, and they would certainly do wonders to flesh out his corner of the cinematic DCU.

So with that in mind, here are my Top Ten Superman Characters That Should Be In Movies! Up, up, and away! Continue reading

Deneb does Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

hansel“Whatever you do, don’t eat the f***in’ candy.”

The Scoop: 2013 R, directed by Tommy Wirkola and starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Pihla Viitala, Peter Stormare, Thomas Mann, Derek Mears and Robin Atkin Downs.

Tagline: Revenge is sweeter than candy.

Summary Capsule: A classic fairy tale gets suited up in black leather and a bloody good time is had by all. Continue reading

Deneb does Swamp Thing

MQG0XuWjfdsPm9upD5aZ0atMAx“Would you recognize immortality if it knocked on your door, gentlemen? Obviously you wouldn’t, but that’s beside the point.”

The Scoop: 1982 PG, directed by Wes Craven and starring Ray Wise, Dick Durock, Adrienne Barbeau, Louis Jourdan, David Hess, Nicholas Worth, Nanette Brown and Reggie Batts.

Tagline: Science transformed him into a monster. Love changed him even more!

Summary Capsule: Man gets turned into a walking mass of mossy muck, staggers around the swamp fighting bad guys. Better than it sounds. Continue reading

Top Ten Minor Batman Characters Who Need More Use

BatmanFamily01I told myself I’d had enough. I said ‘you’ve written enough freakin’ Batman articles already; lay off’.

That’s what I said. But goldurn it, these things just won’t let go of you until they’ve been worked from your system. I’ve already written about Batman himself (in a general sense), and plenty about his villains, and I just did one on Robin – so what else is there to talk about?

Well, lots, really. As I’ve mentioned before, the thing about a character like Batman is that he gathers other characters to him like sugar gathers ants. Now, many of these are villains, of course, but really, we’re talking about everybody – villains, cops, other heroes, prospective girlfriends, the works. So this top ten is going to be devoted to those people, in general. Ladies and gentlemen, Bats and Batesses, here’s my Top Ten Minor Batman Characters Who Need More Use. Enjoy. Continue reading

Deneb does The Last Mimzy

mimzy“I looked through the Looking Glass, Mommy. I looked through it.”

The Scoop: 2007 PG, directed by Robert Shaye and starring Chris O’Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton, Rainn Wilson, Kathryn Hahn and Michael Clarke Duncan.

Tagline: The future is trying to tell us something.

Summary Capsule: Two kids lay their hands on a toy box from the future. Lots of stuff happens. Continue reading