Archive for March, 2011

Why Disney’s ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Bombed – The Hollywood Reporter

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Why Disney’s ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Bombed – The Hollywood Reporter.

This article touches on a few truths, but the biggest… that Zemeckis’ motion capture CGI is downright unsettling and not enjoyable to watch… needs a lot more hammering home.

First, let’s discuss the other factors.  Promotion-wise, this film has also dropped the ball.  It’s based on a book by Berke Breathed, creator of Bloom County?  It stars Seth Green?  There are two selling points totally ignored in the promotional campaign, probably because they’re only meaningful to adults… but had I known both of those factors, it would have made me take a second look.

Meanwhile, little kids don’t want to see a movie about moms being captured so that nasty aliens can harvest something from her, and older kids don’t want to go to a movie about moms.

The title references a somewhat obscure TV movie that is 45 years old; to the vast majority of audiences encountering the title, it doesn’t come off as a joke.

Why go to the movie?  Is it a comedy?  The trailer needed to be much funnier.  A visual treat?  Nothing in the trailer appears particularly stunning.  It’s 3-D, right?  Are there any visuals in the trailer that look like they’ll just pop out of the screen when you’re watching it with glasses at the IMAX?  Nope.

Seth Green is the only “star” and while he is enjoyable he’s hardly got the cache of Tom Hanks (The Polar Express) or Jim Carrey (Christmas Carol).  One could argue that without those two huge box office draws, Zemeckis’ previous uncanny valley creepfests could have also done mediocre to poorly.

Zemeckis should have changed things up and tried something different than a third adaptation of a book aimed at children.  If the point is selling his motion-capture process, he should have tried an action piece aimed at an older audience, a real popcorn piece targeting the Star Wars fans.  But he didn’t, and now his animation studio is kaput.

The real lesson?  If you are halfway through doing your movie and it looks like a dud, then don’t be afraid to reexamine it.  Disney did that when their ultra-serious Incanepic musical went off the rails.  They retooled the whole thing, grabbed David Spade, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt and Tom Jones and turned out a hilarious full-length cartoon called “The Emperor’s New Groove” that would be pretty much their best non-Pixar movie for the next decade.  With “Moms”, they knew the movie wasn’t going to be a success but they just went ahead and finished it.  Too bad.

Google celebrates Will Eisner’s 94th birthday

Monday, March 7th, 2011

In times past I have justly ripped on Google for their inappropriate choice for respect in their tributes (as far tributes go, anyway) but as far I as know it is most appropriate to take the 94th day of annual commemoration of the birth of Spirit-ualist and graphic novelist extraordinaire and pay tribute to the man with this:

If you don’t understand the visual relevance than Google will only grant you a cursory understanding insomuch that others understand the significance of Will Eisner’s sizable contribution to the genre of comic strip heroes and medium of comic books, yet not grant an understanding of said significance unto you.

Also: the Frank Miller movie is not about Will Eisner’s character; he just used the name; I don’t know why.



Who is Earl Norem?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

When I was a child I owned a couple of Transformers Kids Stuff Big Looker storybooks. Sentimentality and giant transforming robots aside these particular books came with vinyl records playing the audio for the story.

I owned When Continents Collide which can be seen as fairly terrible. The visual of the oil drilling oil ship has been stuck in my head for over twenty years but for some reason I remember it being alien and cool and not human and incongruous to any plot or setting. Oh well. I’m not going to read it again so I don’t have to worry about nostalgia betraying me. My memory is so shot on this it might have come with an audio cassette tape and reconciling memory and reality does not bother me.

The first book, which does interest me, is The Battle For Cybertron, and that did come with a vinyl record. Despite some wacky scale issues the book has something I appreciate now more than as a small kid: the violence. Well, I loved violence in my fiction then but the graphic art presentation is something I appreciate more than then. When you grow up with a cartoon as the typical storytelling format you never see He-Man behead someone with his Power Sword and very rarely does and Autobot or Decepticon get a hole blown him or circuits torn out.

The man responsible for the violence in the art is Earl Norem. This interview reveals how he remembers almost none of that stuff because as an 81-year-old retired professional artist he has had a long life of turning in decent art in exchange for a living. He is also a World War II veteran; that is more impressive.

Here is a gallery on the Transformers wiki.

Newt Gingrich is married to a robot

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Apparently he is, anyway.

Here is proof 1.

Here is proof 2.

Here is proof 3.

Apparently he is also running for President as a values candidate and that is supposed to be irony.

ABC interviews CBS actor Charlies Sheen

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

I don’t like watching the show.  I have watched it.  That is not important now.

I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body. 

What is important is that Charlie Sheen’s dialogue is written by Jack Kirby.