Monday, January 17, 2005

News Of The World

Well, the power of this blog never ceases to amaze me. Last week you might recall I posted a desperate plea for anyone out there who might be willing to sell me an old laptop for a fairly reasonable price. In all honesty, I wasn’t really expecting much – it was a proverbial “Hail Mary” pass. Laptops aren’t cheap, and I sure need one.

Anyway, much to my surprise, someone actually answered the call. It’s not the best machine, but it sounds like it’ll suit my limited purposes (i.e., word processing) just fine. Hopefully it should arrive sometime soon and then I’ll tell you all about it.

I’ll just say this: Retro-Computing is a craze that has not yet hit, but will soon be huge. One of these days at one of these crazy MacWorld expos, Steve Jobs is going to announce the return of the Apple II. If they can make money by repackaging old Nintendo Entertainment System “classics” like Metroid and Zelda for modern editions of the Game boy, its only a matter of time before Retro-Computing sweeps the nation. Remember, you heard it here first.

You know I fill you with illicit desires.

New remix is up here, featuring Superman/Batman #16. If you can tell that I was kinda grasping this week, good for you. I at least managed to get in a reference to MVP: Most Valuable Primate and a really odd MST3K/Tony Millionnaire joke that maybe three people will get. You can tell whenever I get hard up for ideas, because I try to make up for it with the proverbial “chicken fat”.

But seriously, what the hell could I possibly do to follow up last week’s “Peanuts Disassembled”?

So, I suppose the water-cooler topic of choice in the comics world is going to be the incredible, mind-blowing historical success of the Elektra movie.

I can’t really say I didn’t see it coming, considering the fact that it was an action movie opening in the dead of January. On the one hand, the previews didn’t really look that bad (at least not what I saw of them), and it couldn’t really help but be an improvement on the Daredevil movie.

(Which, in hindsight, wasn’t terrible, and featured some good performances, but suffered from the fact that they tried to encapsulate about four years worth of story into less than two hours – definitely an instance when they should have got someone who wasn’t a raging fanboy to approach the material. They were fans, they wanted to touch every possible base for a Daredevil movie . . . and they ended up leaving the whole thing rushed and incoherent.)

But apparently audiences have spoken, and they don’t want none of that warmed-over mystical ninja chick mumbo-jumbo. They would much rather have a lame Samuel L. Jackson Hoosiers/Stand And Deliver hybrid, an unthinkably crass Ben Stiller vehicle, a talking racehorse movie, and some odd romantic dramedy with Dennis Quaid, in that order, before they got to Jennifer Garner chopping people up in a red ninja bikini. They say it even made less money in the first weekend than Catwoman.

Which means . . . I don’t know, does it mean anything? I think you can probably be safe in assuming that this has much more to do with Jennifer Garner’s lack of appeal outside of the nerd contingent than any failure of the source material. It’s almost impossible to sell a movie based on a solo female action hero. Maybe there’ve been one or two, but that’s not a lot. Also, there were a lot of rumors about whether or not Disney (which owns ABC, which owns Alias, which was also going through a promotions blitz around the Alias season premiere) actively stymied Fox’s attempts to promote their own Garner vehicle.

All of which goes to show, as if we needed another reminder, that comic book movies are vulnerable to the same vicissitudes that befall the rest of the entertainment world. The Marvel logo does not guarantee cinematic invulnerability. But, it’s worth pointing out, despite the lack of raging success movies like The Punisher, Blade Trinity and Elektra may or may not enjoy, its getting harder and harder for these type of movies to lose money these days, when you factor in foreign box office, DVD sales (always huge for sci-fi/fantasy/action films), and video game licensing (the Punisher video game is apparently a lot better than the movie was, and is hardly suffering from comparison). These more “mature” (for lack of a better word) films don’t have the same kind of toy tie-ins that more kid-friendly franchises like Spider-Man and X-Men can fall back on, however, which is probably a point against them.

I have to ask, is there anyone who went to see the movie solely because of the fact that the teaser for Fantastic Four was included? I know that chances are that any Marvel fan who would have wanted to see the FF trailer enough to go to the theater specifically for that reason would probably have wanted to see Elektra as well, but there’s no law that says Fantastic Four fans have to be Daredevil fans. I personally know people who went to see Kevin Costner’s Thirteen Days back in 2001 simply because there was a Lord of the Rings teaser in front of it, so it’s not as if it’s totally inconceivable. But then again, to my way of looking at things, the Fantastic Four is a lot cooler than the Lord of the Rings – but I have also been reported as saying that the Howard the Duck movie “wasn’t bad”, so I’m probably quite insane.

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