Posts Tagged ‘trailer’

I’m happy for Joss Whedon, after hearing the announcement he’ll write and direct Avengers 2. I like to see a geek inherit the Earth.

But I worry about the franchise in general. Whedon has a tendency to make his villains too comfortable around the heroes. Considering he worked with vampires so long, I’m surprised how quickly he removes his villains’ teeth and makes them just ordinary guys and gals. Perhaps he just likes villains better, like Dr. Horrible. But I’m afraid that, in Avengers 2, Loki will be joining the heroes for a shawarma dinner.

Which one is better?

In the beginning… Later on…
Spike from Buffy Dangerous. You never knew what side he was on. Just kind of hung around because he had nothing else to do.
Danger from X-Men Living embodiment of the Danger Room. Coolest and most deadly new villain in the mutant titles. Just kind of hung around and poked fun of the heroes because she had nothing else to do.

Also:

“The Avengers” fixed the problems of the Marvel prequels

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/the-avengers-fixed-the-problems-of-the-marvel-prequels/

Editing mistake in Dark Knight Rises:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-mistake-in-dark-knight-rises/

 

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For a parody to be successful, it has to be both good and first.

The official trailer for Men In Black III (shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyaFEBI_L24) went online two weeks ago. My animator sent me a link and asked what we could spoof about it. I had a script done in two days. Within two weeks of the trailer being online, my video is online (shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC-x0KkLjS0)

If you search “Men In Black 3 parody” in YouTube, my video is the first to come up. And it’s the only one that’s really relevant.

What I’m hoping by all this is that by being first to the party, I’ll get a head start on views. The script is good, and I especially love the ending. And the video is first, or at least among the first if I missed the others.

So, take a look at it, and let me know if it’s successful. Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC-x0KkLjS0

 

What I hope the Muppets Movie will be:

Celebrities

I’d like to see some celebrity cameos, as long as they are celebrities worthy of costarring alongside Muppets. This is a mainstay. The Muppets always had big name stars. It’s always fun to point out famous people.

For the most part, the human cameos of the Muppet movies were great. Take a look at the talent in The Muppet Movie: Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Bob Hope, Elliot Gould, Dom Deluise, Carol Kane, Orson Welles, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Telly Savalis, Cloris Leachman, and tons more. Hell, some of those people were practically Muppets themselves.

Of course, the celebrities that get used were very much a sign of the times. Brooke Shields appearing in “Muppets Take Manhattan,” which came out in 1984, for example.

This is a tough call, because I just don’t want the movie to have lots of cameos by stars-of-the-moment. I don’t want to see any reality show star, a Kardashian (I’m proud of myself that I had to look that name up on the Internet to learn how to spell it), a teeny bopper music “star,” or any other flash-in-the-pan. If we’re going to have to Google these people in five years, they shouldn’t be in this movie.

Little to no Elmo

I’m taking the fact that Elmo is not on the movie posters as a good sign.

People have told me their kids think Sesame Street is Elmo, and everyone else is a supporting character. I’m under no delusion that he won’t have a cameo. But the scene stealing red furry kid can stay home.

This movie is about introducing kids to the Muppets – they already know Elmo. And the adults either don’t know him or know him and are sick of him. Give me Big Bird again.

My family recently went to Sesame Place. All the older attractions were named after the Count, Cookie Monster, and others. Everything newer was Elmo. Granted, Cookie Monster made a plea to host Saturday Night Live and Grover did the Old Spice Parody, but you can see who’s King of Sesame Street.

I made a video about it. I used pictures I took at Sesame Place, video of my daughter’s toys, and pictures donated by people on Flickr.

Every Minor Character

It’s also telling that even the Mana Manas are on the poster. Every little character that we even slightly recognize will be crammed in – hopefully in a good way. But you know that at some point, Crazy Harry is going to blow something up. The chef will have a spotlight. And Lew Zealand will throw a fish.

A Send-up of Current Movie Trends

I expect jokes about 3D (involving Bunsen and Beaker), bad parody movies, comedies that are only made for adults, etc. There’s an endless supply of things that are wrong with movies today. That’s why the Muppets aren’t around – because Hollywood keeps making movies that are bad.

Now maybe the “Scary Movie” people can lampoon this, “Muppet Movie.”

Actual Puppetry

There are still parts of the older movies where I can’t figure out how they made the puppets move that way. The rat kitchen dance scene in “Muppets Take Manhattan.” Any time they ride bicycles I’m like “How do they do that?”

This means no digital toys. The director has already said he doesn’t want to do computer animation. This makes me very happy.

Oh, and can I tell you how jealous I am of Jason Segel?

This is definitely one of those cases where I had already heard of the story, and that ruins the surprise. But I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to read it had I not known what the story was.

 

For spoilers sake, I’ll leave out as much as I can.

 

The book contains stories about all the different Scourges. If you’re like me, you thought there was just one. Honestly, they should have stopped at one.

 

The original Scourge was a vigilante who gunned down costumed villains. He didn’t just go after B- and C-listers. He actually went for Kraven and Hobgoblin, but they got away. The B- and C-listers like Miracle Man weren’t so lucky, probably because the writers saw less potential in them for future stories.

 

My biggest surprise was that the storyline crossed over into so many books. Often it was just one page. Villain shows up. Bang. Justice is served. The worst issue in the series was in The Thing, where Ben Grimm, Miracle Man and Scourge are all on the same bus.

 

The best issue in the series has him going after Hobgoblin in Spider-Man’s book. Flash Thompson was just unmasked as the Hobgoblin, even though it turns out to be a trick, so Spidey’s got to protect him from Scourge. These big crossovers tend to be awkward when they sprawl into other books, but this was a real strong way to tie in to the current Spider-Man story seamlessly.

 

Usually, when you read an older book, it’s a bit dated. Here, not too much felt old, surprisingly. I think the only thing that was glaring was that during this era Steve Rogers made his living as an artist drawing the Captain America comic book. Seriously. I don’t think this would have flown these days. Not with a character like Cap. If Peter Parker was an artist and not a photographer, then I definitely could see Marvel hiring him to draw Spider-Man. Then he’d have to draw Spidey being a bumbling fool or be told by his editor “You’re drawing him too muscular! Everyone knows Spider-man is a weakling!”

 

The entire storyline was very well done, and could have created a villain with a great future. But, the ending was perfect.

 

The later Scourge stories were less exciting. Once writer Mark Gruenwald said that there was a Scourge program, and that once one was defeated, another took his place, it started to get old. An organization like this is interesting. But I think an individual acting alone is much more interesting. The later stories tended to be retreads of the old story. I guess that’s the way it is with comics. If you like it once, they’ll try it again over and over until you don’t like it anymore. They played with the toy until it broke.

 

Several people took on the identity of Scourge over the years, mostly with the same motive. One notable stand-out was that Red Skull had hired someone to be a Scourge to take out his competition. Unfortunately, we don’t see much of this Scourge’s exploits in this book.

 

Also unfortunately, in the copy I read, the title on the cover and spine of the graphic novel read “SCOURGE of the underwolrd.” Nice job, Marvel editors. Still, it wasn’t as bad as an X-Men collection I read. There were character bios in the back, and they were completely unedited. There was actually a note from the editor to the writer (Write about this for 3 or 4 lines…) that went to print.

WHAT I LEARNED: If you’ve got a good story, know when to end it. I often retread the same thing over and over again. If it can be done once, why not again? Because it’s boring. That’s why not.

 

Abduction = Bourne Identity + The Face On The Milk Carton

Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2, there was a trailer for this movie called “Abduction.”

First of all, the minute I see Taylor Lautner, a) I already sign off on not seeing the movie and b) flagellate myself for knowing his name. (Maybe I’m being mean. I’m sure he’s a swell guy.)

As the trailer hints at the plot, and the girl shows him the age-progression photo, I think that’s not a bad little scene. Then I remember “The Face On The Milk Carton,” a story by Caroline B. Cooney about a kid who learns he’s been abducted.

But then, VIOLENCE!

Suddenly there’s shooting, and who do you trust? And he’s jumping around like he’s got spider-powers. And seriously, can we just get back to “I Know My Name Is Steven?”

Because what this looks like to me is that he’s been involved in some kind of super soldier program, genetically bred to be better than the rest of us, and kidnapped to be programmed, but maybe programmed for good rather than evil and instead of having any real emotional story it just descends into bullets and screaming and trailer scenes.

 

For my (sometimes offensive) humor videos, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge?feature=mhee


I decided I didn’t want to watch Transformers 3. (Here’s why: https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/why-i-wont-see-transformers-3/)

But I’ve been reading reviews to determine if I’m making a mistake.

Here’s what they say:

It’s much better than Rise of the Fallen, but it still had plot holes.

Wheelie wasn’t as annoying, but they gave him a pet. A sidekick should never have his own sidekick.

Shockwave was cool. But he was only in it for a few minutes and was upstaged by the wormy thing that came out of his hand.

John Malkovich was a good actor, but he wrestled a robot.

Some of the new characters were interesting, but completely unnecessary.

So, it seems like the problems I had with the first two are still problems, and maybe I’m correct in skipping this one.

By the way, here’s a silly “live action/stop motion” version of what I think Transformers 3 should be:


By the way: My nephew also told me all about Transformers 3. This is his version:

“When the movie starts, Megatron is like king of Africa. He’s talking to an elephant.”

I’d like to coin a new phrase: Michael Baywatch: When beautiful people run through explosions in slow motion.

 

The Bad:

 

I watched Transformers: ROTF because I felt obligated. The G1 series informed so much of my childhood, I had to go. Granted, the 1980s cartoon movie, if watched at a distance, is pretty cheesy. My emotional connection to my childhood is what makes it my favorite movie.

The high point of the movie for me was the trailer for Harry Potter.

 

Just like the first one, the changes in Transformers are not what bothered me. At first, I was upset that they actually made Bumblebee cooler by turning him into a Camaro. But now, I’ve come to expect some changes.

What bothered me was poor scriptwriting, sloppy scifi, continuity problems, lack of plot, lack of character…

Basically, if it wasn’t a Transformers movie, I wouldn’t have watched it. Or cared enough to post about it.

 

A lot of people are saying to ignore the plot holes and just enjoy the fun ride. But Iron Man and Dark Knight showed us that you can have both: A whirlwind action-adventure thrill ride that has great characters and story.

Saying that “It’s just giant robots fighting, don’t expect much” insults Transformers.

Again, the cartoons I grew up with weren’t Shakespeare. But they had characters and stories.

I still think this movie, and the last one, are monster movies. Giant aliens with no discernible personality are trying to destroy the world. It ignores the fact that the best thing about the toys when I was a kid was that there were personalities. Example: G1 Swindle. Toy was decent but it was the personality that was great. Mirage. Wheeljack. I could go on and on.

In monster movies, a person gets about 3 lines of dialogue and is killed. They don’t have a character, they have one character trait. Sound like ROTF?

 

Roger Ebert’s review is very poignant. It’s where I grabbed the Iron Man and Dark Knight thing from. He also said how a child can hold a Transformer toy and use his imagination to craft wonderful stories. And that ROTF was certainly not the work of a vivid imagination.

 

Some questions:

-If the Allspark created all Transformer life, why does it only make evil robots?

-Why does it take a Matrix of Leadership to bring Prime back to life, but Megatron can just be rebuilt on the ocean floor?

-Why is Megatron such a putz? He shows up on Earth, gets frozen. Gets thawed out, killed by a fleshling. Wakes up again only to kowtow to some ancient Cybertronian. I want my villains better than this.

-During the first fight, a human died. They showed his coffin. Was he in the first movie? Was he supposed to be important?

-How is Optimus a descendant of the primes? Do they have babies?

-Was Ironhide British in the first one?

-How did the government scramble a huge attack force to come in what seemed like seconds?

 

When Megatron called to Starscream for help at the end of the movie, Starscream should have looked around to make sure no other Decepticons were looking, then said “I’ll tell the others you fought bravely.” Then killed Megatron. That one simple action would have changed a lot of my opinion about the movie.

 

This should have been a kids’ movie.

A Bot firing a crotch-mounted cannon; constant testicle jokes; dogs humping; a bunch of cursing; an impossible to ignore drug scene; John Turturro’s thong (OK, that part was kind of funny, but still). The ratings board must have been out for popcorn during some of this.

I would be mortified to have my nephews here. My daughter is 2 and loves Optimus Prime. (She calls him Op-pa!) I think, when she’s older, I’ll have her watch G1 but not the new movies. Kind of like how I’ll have her watch Star Wars Eps 4-6, not Eps 1-3.

 

It’s kind of bad when Turturro had to actually ask Jetfire what the plot is.

Plot derives conflict: Character A wants to do something, but Character B wants to stop that. To a degree, there was some of that. But what we got was “There’s some big thing we have to destroy before it blows up the sun.” When Hitchcock was asked to define a MacGuffin, he said the audience doesn’t care what it is, as long as it drives the story.

Iron Man had a MacGuffin in it, too, the rings that created his power-core-heart-thingy. And the first Batman had the microwave emitter. Dark Knight didn’t have a MacGuffin, and that’s why it was brilliant.

There was comic relief, but no comedy.

The difference is that comedy flows naturally out of the story or characters. Comic relief is injected, forced into a movie. A robot calling a human a “pussy,” for instance. Jetfire’s routine “My father was a wheel….” was hilarious. But it shouldn’t have been in the movie. A lot of the gags, like a robot humping a girl’s leg, should have been in the Scary Movie franchise instead.

 

About the Jar Jar Bots. Much has been made to say they were racist black stereotypes. I didn’t get that. I hated them, yes. But I thought they were rednecks. I didn’t see the correlation.

 

The Good:

I think I’m being overly critical, so I’ll talk about what I liked.

I think Sam and Mikaela are very charismatic. They’re not necessary to the movie. But they’re likable.

I enjoyed Sam’s parents (minus the drug scene.) I liked them in the first one, too.

 

Any fight scene with Prime was amazing. If he wasn’t there, it was kind of blah. But whether it was slo-mo or what, you could really see what the characters were doing. It was a lot of fun to watch those fights. The 3-on-1 where Prime died; his return to take on Megatron and the Fallen; even Jetfire vs. Scorponok; Bumblebee vs. Rampage and Ravage.

And Bumblebee is making up for lost time. He stopped getting his butt kicked and started kicking butt.

There was one point where Ironhide was hurting pretty badly. No incarnation of Ironhide has ever been my favorite, but I was actually sitting there hoping he wouldn’t die.

Megatron and Starscream playing the roles that we’re used to seeing.

Soundwave and Frank Welker’s voice. Soundwave was always one of my favorites. I was curious to see how they were going to use him. The satellite was an interesting idea.

Ravage. Another one of my favorites. Done very well, I think.

 

This is a version of Transformers 3 I made myself based on what I think the script should be:

 

 

Spider-Man got revamped before his time….

Dare I hope that the Transformers license can get relaunched?

The concept is solid: Giant robots that turn into things hiding among us fighting a secret war that quickly becomes not-so-secret. But instead of a movie full of plot holes and forgettable characters, can I hope instead for a reboot within the next ten years?

A movie where you actually care about the humans? And the robots? Where it’s a science fiction war drama, not a monster movie?

Hasbro has said that they have plans to keep the Transformers line in the public consciousness indefinitely. They’ve gone to great lengths to streamline the story and develop the core characters.

Perennial toy lines and constantly retooled cartoon shows are part of this. But how about a new movie trilogy? The animated Transformers movie came out in 1986. 30 years later, there was 1997’s live action movie. Would it be too much to ask to see another series by 2027? 16 years from now?

That works generation-wise. The kids in 1986 (me included) have kids now to show the movie to. The kids watching the Michael Bay movies now will have kids in 2027. And so forth forever.

In the immortal words of Simon Furman: “It never ends.”

 

By the way, here’s a silly “live action/stop motion” version of what I think Transformers 3 should be:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppG3ZtyIiJs

 

 

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

 

As a movie comes to theaters, we’re teased, we’re fed trailers, we’re made to find the stars interesting.
In the coming months before the first Transformers live action movie, I learned some spoilers. Some, like the robotic cast, thrilled me. Some, like the changes in Transformations, irked me. But I learned about a lot of the changes (Even Jazz’s death) before the movie, so I was not upset when I saw them in theaters.
Leaving part one, I was very conflicted, but had a mostly positive review.
Part two was awful. I never saw The Matrix 2 because people told me: “The only reason to see Matrix 2 is to understand Matrix 3, which sucked, so don’t bother.”
Transformers 2 was so terrible that I vowed that there would have to be something amazing to get me to see it. Some friends even said, “It’s got Shockwave in it!” Yeah? The last one had Soundwave. You saw how great that was.
There’s a hint that the humans have been working with Decepticons. OK. Marissa Faireborne (the daughter of Flint from GI Joe) and Carly. Whatever. Anything good that they bring in is just met with skepticism: “How are they going to mess this up?”
Instead I’ve made these movies, to show that it shouldn’t be that hard to make a good Transformers movies, even though mine are ridiculously cheesy and self-effacing:

What I Learned: If you have to win over an audience, it’s not enough to give them more of the same. Especially if they’ve lost confidence in you.
You have to answer their concerns. And the promotional material has to be clear that you’ve made some changes, without pandering to the crowds.

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Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”
I make silly videos and post them here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

The only reason I haven’t seen Green Lantern yet is because the trailer was very…busy…

Parallax. Hector Hammond. Sinestro. The Corps.

I understand you’re trying to start a franchise, but this could be bad.

 

Green Lantern and all his amazing friends

When I first started collecting comics, I knew nothing about GL except what I learned from the SuperFriends cartoon. Then, without really reading the books, I learned that Hal Jordan got his ring when an alien crashed on Earth. That was good enough for me. Then, I learned that it was because Hal is fearless. OK, now I’m very interested.

Now, as I read a few Green Lantern graphic novels a year, I learn that Atrocitus the Red Lantern caused Abin Sur’s ship to crash. And that Parallax was contained inside the battery, creating an impurity. And on and on….

It’s almost as if all the new stories are actually backstories.

Yes, I’m very glad that they explained the weakness to yellow. Yes, I’m happy for the details being filled in.

But my question – not a criticism, really (This is the first time I’ve ever questioned Geoff Johns) – my question is how elaborate is too elaborate for an origin story?

How much of it is story, and how much of it is explanation? Can you sum it up quickly while still retaining its power?

Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider which gave him spider powers. He failed to use his powers to stop a burglar. That burglar later killed his beloved Uncle Ben who always told him “With great power comes great responsibility.”

You don’t really need much more explanation than that for Spider-Man.

What I Learned: You have to keep the beginning simple. Make them want more.

I can’t say I’ve really learned this. I make this mistake all the time. I started a comic book with a time travel story, for crying out loud.

As a writer, you want to sink as much depth into your creations as possible. Then, you can’t wait to show your hand. But you’ve got to hold out, slow bet, up the ante, then go for the big reveal.

So, maybe what we should achieve in an origin story is a sense of wonder: We should be as wide-eyed and amazed as the hero. These wonderful/scary things are happening and we are just along for the ride. And we only learn as much as the hero does.

 

For the record, I like Kyle Rayner more than Hal Jordan. (Sorry!)

 

 

 

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

I make silly videos and post them here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge