Friday, June 30, 2006

What? No Superman?

Added some cranes. They can extend, retract, raise, lower, and tilt as well as dolly. Obviously they maintain structure through some sort of handwavium but I like them.

Here she is with the REAL U.S.S. Enterprise, and some of the support ships. And BOY HOWDY she looks pretty if I do say so myself.

And now in HUGE-O-RAMA! (You can click on the thumbnails to see bigger pics.)

Whew! I needed that. It's not the light at the end of the tunnel, but it might be an "Exit Ahead" sign. (Why is it already July?!?)

Truth, Justice...

First off I'd like to point out that back in the Fleischer Superman cartoon, Superman fought for "Truth and Justice". It wasn't until later that "...and the American Way" was added (the George Reeves TV show, I believe). (Probably right about the same time we started saying "One nation under God.")

The Carter era Superman still had a specific place to fight for. When Lois asks Superman "Why are you here?" he unflinchingly replies "I'm here to fight for truth, justice, and the American way." Although even then Lois was amazed that he actually believed this nonsense. (It's a great moment when she is genuinely chagrined that she doesn't.)

Lois & Clark ditched TAW. Not sure that it was ever mentioned in the Bruce Timm cartoon.

In Superman Returns, Perry asks "Does he still stand for Truth? Justice? All that stuff?" In a way I thought it was kind of cute. It's like he just can't bring himself to say it. Well, in the Reeves movies Metropolis was New York, so the Daily Planet would be the New York Times, right? Rings true. (Ok, Metropolis is acutally Cleveland, so that would make the Great Metropolitan Newspaper the Plain Dealer - Close enough.)

So if Superman "belongs to the world", why isn't he fighting for communism? Why didn't he fight for the Axis, just to keep a level playing field? Why doesn't he seem like he'd be particularly pro-North Korea? In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman gets rid of all of the world nukes, which plays into Lex Luthor's diabolical scheme. I'd like to have seen what happened when the world devolved back into full scale conventional warfare, myself. Germany could have been reunited in 1987! Maybe not how we had liked, but what can you do?

The press materials for SR say that the boy in blue now fights for "truth, justice and all that is good". Heh - well, if we're to say that A=B and B=C therefore A=C (it does, by the way) then "The American Way" = "All That Is Good". Well done, WB. What? That wasn't what you meant?

(Hey, I could still be writing about the Da Vinci Code!)

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Well, here we are. The day after.

I loved it. A lot. Bryan Singer loves Superman: The Movie more than I do and he was given zillions of dollars to prove it. Most of the time it's endearing. Sometimes it makes you cheer - if you have any fond memories of the opening of Superman: The Movie (hereafter referred to as S:TM, S1, Superman, or Lennie) then the opening of this one will just about make you explode. Sometimes it makes you wonder if you're playing Superman Bingo. "You really shouldn't smoke, Miss Lane." Ok. "You know what my father said to me?" Ok. "I hope this little incident hasn't put you off flying." BINGO!

I'll run down my own scorecard for the film before I make all you silly people that didn't see it last night go away (i.e. SPOILERS!).


Well, wow. Brandon Routh is the new Man of Steel. He shines. Chicken Noodle (Supe) is going through a tough time in this film for so many reasons he's almost Parker-esque. It's tough to walk back into a life after five years. (I will ascribe no more intentional symbolism to the fact that Superman left in June of 2001 than I will to the fact that according to the animated series The Batman, Bruce Wayne put on the cape and cowl on September 11th, 2001.) So he's a little down for a lot of the film. But when things go right, he glories in it. And when it doesn't he seems sadly happy to be able to look inside to see the wonderful people of this terrific living world that he was sent to. Does he knock it out of the park with the "Clark can't possibly be Superman" bit that Christopher Reeves did? Close. But not quite. They try it once, but they didn't quite earn it. (On the other hand, you hurt for Routh's Clark in this scene a lot more than you did for Reeve's.) It's not nearly the stretch to connect the dots from CK to Supes in this that it was in S1.


(Hang on, lots of comic book philosophy coming up.) I remember getting happily sloshy at a bar in Canton, OH with one of the bigger comic book geeks I know (the night before we saw X-Men, ironically enough) and we were getting very loudly, publicly passionate about our ideas for the Spider-Man movie, and how they should make the audience absolutely love Gwen Stacey in the first movie so they could kill her off in the second one and make everyone cry. (They didn't do this.) Ahhh, heady times. We didn't know that X-Men wasn't going to suck, how good Spider-Man was going to be, or that Fantastic Four wouldn't be worth making. Anyway, we got to talking about Superman. On the whole, I love Superman, John does not. (And Simon Cowell finds country music to be a bit irritating. This is an understatement.) Not only does John not like Superman, he really dislikes the 1978 Superman movie. And not only does he really dislike the 1978 Superman movie, he hates Margot Kidder. I know many people that were not crazy about her Lois. As time goes on, I think that she is pitch perfect. She's not the prettiest Lois. She's not the smartest. She's not even the spunkiest. (I think all three of those go to Dana Delany in the animated Superman.) But she's the one that Superman loves the most.

I think there's two ways to show Lois Lane (heh, and the stuck up B on wheels from Action Comics #1 is not it, thank you). 1) EVERYBODY loves Lois and the only man who could possibly win her heart would be a Superman. I've seen this work very well. Superman: Last Son of Krypton / Miracle Monday (Elliot S! Maggin) are good at this. Or 2) Lois is a great reporter but this makes her kind of tough to be around and Superman is the only one that actually "gets" her. That's Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.

You know when you have a friend who just totally falls for a guy or gal and nobody really understands it, but gosh, your friend just seems happier than you've ever seen them? There's a moment in S1 where, after throwing away the whole world to save Lois, Lois goes off in her usual Lois-ness. And when she's not looking, Superman just slumps in total relief, because he's going to want to keep living, since she's ok. (It is a common "Elseworlds" theme that Superman falls apart and the world falls apart with him because something happens to Lois.)

Having slogged through that, Kate Bosworth is ok. She's a lot better than I expected her to be. They give her just enough flaws - mostly inherited from Kidder - she smokes, she can't spell - to keep her interesting, but she's very very balanced. Maybe that's the point (for plot reasons not mentioned here). And Superman's whole life is very much centered on her. She does actually seem to be a reporter (trying to track down a story, calling on sources), and she appears very very good at it. At least they didn't just settle for her being pretty. (Oh wait, that's a Batman movie.)

Yeah, that was a lot about Lois, but the movies don't work without her. Don't believe me? Watch Superman III.

Lex Luthor:

Greatest Criminal Mind of Our Time! (How did THAT line get left out?) Kevin Spacey, simultaneously not as goofy or quite as scary as Gene Hackman. (But Singer never just lets the camera roll because he's having too much fun watching Lex, either. More fun than we were having, Mr. Donner.) You never quite get that Spacey is as smart or as mean as Hackman was. Spacey is terrific, but he's just not given the same bite. He's a lot madder at Superman than Hackman was, but he never really gets to work that out. He's given more facets than Hackman, but each side is shown and discarded. He feels like a bit of a has-been. More in the spoilers.

I'll lump Parker Posey's Kitty Kowalski (you figure out which name is the character and which is the actress) in with this section and ask why they bothered to remake Miss Teschmacher and give her a different name? She was good but largely unnecessary. Teschmacher seemed interested in Lex. Kitty does not. And she doesn't seem to think he's smart enough to get her anywhere, so she's not even gold-digging. I think she was there because Teschmacher was there in the first one. Meh. (But no Ottis, so we're ok.)

Character Played By James Marsden:

Not telling you anything. Go see the movie. Marsden is exceptional and now we know what he was doing instead of making X3.

Jimmy Olsen:

Wow is this kid terrific. [Comic Guy Voice]Best Jimmy Ever[/CGV]. Jimmy is a big ol' nerd. For the last twenty years or so people keep trying to make Jimmy "cool". Jimmy's not cool. This Jimmy is so not cool he's just cool.

Perry White:

Everybody in this movie is going to be measured against whoever played their parts before. Frank Langella is going to be measured not just against every Perry White ("Great Ceaser's Ghost!") but more recently against J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man) as the gruff talking hard bitten take no nonsense newspaper editor. So he dials it down. Quieter rather than louder. But there's not a lot of guys with more screen presence than Langella so he pulls it off very well.

Martha Kent:

So glad she's in this movie. Eva Marie Saint. "How does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?" She's a nice mix of the 50's mom figure and the powerhouse that Martha has become in the last couple of decades. She's obviously doing just fine on her own but she thinks it would be so much better if Jonathan was still around. And they gave her her old truck back.

Story: The short of it? Very bitter-sweet. Lot of heart, lot of big derring-do. You WILL believe a man can fly. The message? You can't quite go home again, and that might not be a bad thing but it takes some getting used to. More nods to S1 than might be good for it. There are a handful of scenes that are as iconic as anything seen before (SPOILER: Superman landing in his fortress with all the shadow and light - Yowza!). There will be film makers twenty years from now talking about how this got them into movies.

Effects: I think that the artistry of this age is no longer can you do an effect, but why you do an effect. And boy does Singer know his whys. He never gets into Lord of the Rings "everything happening at the same time and aren't we just so cool?" territory. His biggest splashiest effects feel understated and purposeful. The little stuff that happens to big things when big things happen to them. Crunching, rippling metal. Or a building's worth of dust being shaken off. Amazing is common place now. This is AMAZING amazing.

Well, there's my spoiler-free Superman review. Those of you that are still with me, thanks.

Ok, now the specifics.

SPOILER alert. SPOILER alert. SPOILER alert.

If you haven't seen the movie, go do something else. Like go see the movie. (Mouse over the text to read.)

Watching S1 after this movie is like watching The Mark of Zorro after watching The Mask of Zorro. You know they all didn't live happily ever after. "But then again, who does?" (Sorry, random Blade Runner quote.)

Richard White: What a terrific character! You love him so much you want Superman to go back where he came from. Go save the world some more, we have a life! Who needs superpowers to save the girl? Not me! I have a pilot's license and a seaplane. I'm good! And I could get KILLED so I'm ESPECIALLY heroic!

In S1 the scene on the terrace is wonderful because they're both all flirty and cute. This time around you want to tell Kal "Dude, she's taken, buzz off!" It feels a little creepy.

Oddly I find the scenes where Superman follows Lois home to be sweet, not creepy. He's trying to find where he fits in in this new world. He finds out that the world doesn't NEED a Superman. It just wants one really bad. I think this makes him more part of the world than outside of it. (I read too much Maggin.)

Lois denounces just about the greatest force for good in the 20th century and gets a Pulitzer. How's that for true to life?

"Weren't there two of them?" Bwahahahahahahaha! (Sorry, honey.)

Cameos to watch for: Noel "Lois Lane" Neil is the old lady who leaves Lex everything. Jack "Jimmy Olsen" Larson is the bartender.

I'm sure Singer got a kick out of re-doing Superman 1 and 2 with the train set (Mount Rushmore was a particularly nice touch).

Lex starts out with a great angle: He's the good guy. He's helping the world, Superman is hindering it. This never really goes anywhere. Having just watched S1 again, I realized that even though they have like 5 minutes of screentime together, Hackman and Reeves really connected. Part of this is because Superman doesn't really take Luthor all that seriously. He figures he'll bundle him up and be back at the Planet to finish his meeting with Perry. Here, Superman knows he's a threat, and Lex has actually done something personal to Superman - taken his father, so to speak. There's a moment where they're both realy mad at each other, but for some reason it wasn't enough for me. You never get the idea that Superman knows what the stakes are. Dunno, maybe I'm just whiny. I did love that everything bad in the movie is Lex's fault (on purpose or by accident). And the moment when the lights go out (train set scene again) and he backs up to leave his lackeys is perfect.

"Does he knock it out of the park with the "Clark can't possibly be Superman" bit that Christopher Reeves did? Close. But not quite. They try it once, but they didn't quite earn it." - It would have been nice if when comparing vital statistics between Clark and Superman (and giving us another chit in Superman Bingo) they had changed Clark's height. Or maybe not. Chistopher Reeve's Superman was 6'4" but his Clark Kent was about 6'1". (Routh doesn't quite become another guy like Reeves did. But Reeves never got to recreate the cover of Action Comics #1 either.) But like I said, when Clark drops his glasses and then battles (again) whether to tell Lois or not, it's probably a lot more touching.

"But when things go right, he glories in it." - When he saves the 777 and the crowd goes wild. 2nd favorite scene of the movie. When the streets overflow as the world keeps vigil over Superman. 3rd favorite part. Especially when Martha shows up.

The Passion of Kal-El: I thought the Christ comparisons were a bit overblown (yes, there were intentional Biblical overtones in S1, this is old news). Then Superman saves the world with his arms outstretched and nurse Magdalene finds the tomb, er, hospital room empty on the third day. Heh. Awesome. Take that Tom Hanks.

I want to take this movie back in time to show DC in 1992, THIS is how you kill Superman! (Doomsday. Feh!)

The Boy: Well. Where are they going to go from here? Singer is going to have to be a genius to pull this one off. (Of course, I think he is kind of a genius...) I mean, do we really want this kid hanging around another movie? Especially now that he's super? This could be a big block of kryptonite hanging around the series' neck. I can't think of anywhere I would like to see this story go.

(If you remember S2, Lois does not remember that she and a de-supered Clark ever slept together. So this has to be a bit of a surprise to her. And why is the kid Super then?)

BUT: Singer is usually pretty careful about setting these things up (assuming he's not lured away by another franchise before they pay off). So we'll see. And when Kal-El tells Jason "My life will be seen through your eyes" I just didn't care how bad this could screw up the whole thing. It was one of my favorite movie scenes ever. The whole movie (even the previews) was built for that moment. And Routh nailed it. If this self-destructs any sequels, so be it. I'll just watch this one a lot.

Thanks for reading. "I'm always around."

(No spoilers in the comments, please. Wait at least until the weekend.)


Today's Foxtrot is as cute as it's been in a long time.

Superman Returns

Five stars. A few issues. Curious what a sequel will look like. HUGE review later.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Maybe Michael Moore will get all of her food?

Some news just makes you laugh. As my friend Todd so wisely said "If that doesn't work she might try holding her breath to get her way, that sometimes works for toddlers." But don't question her patriotism.

"I shovel well!"

Heh. I liked Mystery Men. (Not as much as Galaxy Quest, but there you go.)

Don't forget:

Tell Me Everything

I hate the day before one of my BIG movies comes out. Cause it's all out there now. I can read ALLLLLLL about it. I can find out more about Superman Returns from the web than Al Queda can find out about the Army's plans from Geraldo Rivera (bet you thought I was going to say New York Times).

But I am strong. I will not read. (too much...) (I'm not "change the course of mighty rivers" strong, you know?)

Gotta stay busy before Pirates II. (I'll see Superman Returns and Cars a few more times. And we have lots of Poirot to watch.)

And Kevin is going to see it before I do. What kind of a world do we live in?

By Your Command

Does anyone else think that the New York Times is being run by D'anna Biers?

Yep. They're the bad guys. Prove me wrong.

Monday, June 26, 2006

"I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate."

Rhino was kind enough to point this out to me:

"This date in history, June 25, 1982: "Blade Runner" released. It depicts a nightmarish future where Schlitz and Atari are dominant corporations."

Wow. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, E.T., Tron, Poltergiest, Blade Runner, all within weeks of each other.

What the Future Used to Look Like

Whoooo yeah! (Mostly) pre-70's spaceship design! Rockets! Lots and lots of rockets! Ray guns! Space suits!

Destination Moon, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Jules Verne... Wow, it even includes The Vulture from "Salvage 1". That's right, Andy Griffith in space! Hey! Mal's gun from Firefly! Battlestar Galactica! And of course, lots of Star Trek.

Did I read all of it? Are you on drugs?

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's a bird, it's a DUANE!

Well, Hugh Hewitt is doing terrible things to his lackey, er, producer again. (He's going to have to work hard to top when he made Duane ride It's a Small World 50 times in a row!)

So here is my humble entry into the fray.

See? It's kind of a PUN.

Latest 3D

More work on the drydock:







Arrgh! (Grrr?) No post yesterday! Sorry!

I've been meaning to look this up since the whole World Cup furor started. A buddy of mine was kind enough to send it to me.

"He accused Confucious of having no free will..." Ahhh educated silliness. How can you not love that?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Boldly Going

You've got to be kidding me.

Remember in Galaxy Quest when Jason Nesmith (*cough* Shatner! *cough*) was supposedly going to fans' garages where they had built thier own replicas of the bridge of the Protector (*cough* Enterprise! *cough*) and they'd film their own little Galaxy Quest (*cough* Vicks 44D! *cough*)? In 1999 (Heavens, has it been that long?) the idea was pretty silly even for Trekkies, er, Questarians.

But then Starship Exeter came along. Then there was Star Trek: New Voyages. Then New Voyages got William "Blood and Guts Matt Decker" Windom. Then Walter "Scream It Baby Pavel Checkov" Koenig. Then George "We're Just Not Going There Hikaru Sulu" Takei.

Now this:

A Fan produced feature-length digital miniseries that starts shooting on July 12 called "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men" will be Produced in part by the team behind "New Voyages," this new webisode which will be distributed on the Internet in three parts stars Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig reprising their roles as "Uhura" and "Chekov," but in the post-Kirk time of Enterprise-B captain "John Harriman," reprised by Alan Ruck. Tim Russ will direct, and will also appear as a younger "Tuvok." The film will include other performances by Garrett Wang ("Harry Kim"), Chase Masterson ("Leeta"), Grace Lee Whitney ("Janice Rand"), Gary Graham ("Soval") and Crystal Allen (from "Bound"), along with some special "surprise" guests.

"Of Gods and Men" is executive produced by Sky Douglas Conway, head of PlanetXpo and producer of "Lady Magdalene's" and the "Roddenberry on Patrol" short film, and the script was written by Conway along with Jack Trevino and Ethan H. Calk, both of whom contributed to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes. Other behind-the-scenes professionals from the actual show will be involved, such as Doug Knapp as director of photography.

The miniseries will be shot in part on the "New Voyages" set in New York State, but is expected to include locations in Los Angeles. The movie's Web site is
I wonder if John "Next Tuesday" Harriman will be any better written this time around?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"This is no fantasy!"

What? The BSG 2 soundtrack isn't on iTunes this morning? Well that's just SUPER! But wait! Look! Up in the sky! John Ottman Returns! A week early! Whooooooo! (And I'll still be making a Best Buy run after work for BSG. Sometimes you have to roll the hard six.)

On a first run through? Well it's su- it's terrific. Ottman does a great job of making it his own while neatly weaving Williams' score through his stuff. I have to say in that regard it's the best job I've ever heard of using another composer's insanely well known material (David Arnold comes close with Tomorrow Never Dies). Heck, Williams himself didn't even do that well with SW Eps 1-3. (He tried a bit in 1, Lucas butchered his score, after that he just didn't care.) (Hey, I go whole days without Lucas bashing, thank you.) It rarely feels like Ottman goes "write, write, write, press the WILLIAMS button, write, write". (See Potter, Harry. Or Superman II for that matter- only without the "write" bits.) And when he does just push the Williams button, you can tell that it'll be the "get the whole cinema on it's feet to cheer" moment. So, like I said, I'm so excited about Superman Returns I can hardly see straight. But I can hear just fine.

Meanwhile, in the "bring out yer dead!" department. Um - wow. This is from Rythm and Hughes, the gang who did The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, not to mention bringing us the Geico Gecko.

Between this and the "20 years earlier" bit in X3, maybe Harrison Ford isn't getting too old for Indiana Jones - we can just set the Wayback Machine for 1981 and Indy's ready to go! And who cares that Denholm "Marcus" Elliot died years ago. On your feet, Dr. Brody! Maybe when they start to do Star Trek again, they'll just get the whole original gang back together. Including DeForest Kelley and James Doohan! (Shatner's hairpiece never looked so good!)

You know, back in the day (What day? Oh, let's say 1982 was "the day") I never watched cutting edge movie technology thinking "and in a few years I'll have that on my laptop!" It's not so much that some durn fool of a studio is going to decide to make Casablanca 2: A Beautiful Friendship Ain't Worth a Hill of Beans or Citizen Kane 4: Rosebud's Return (ROSEBUD IS A SLED! *cough*). It'll be movie fans and film students. Anyone who hated Lord of the Rings, but realized that it LOOKED gorgeous? Just do your own "The Way Tolkien Wanted It" cut. Coming soon to a web-cast near you. Spider-man: The "Gwen Stacy Must Die" edit. Grab your camcorder, set your Actor's Studio 2010 (tm) software for "Wayne, John - 1945" and you're ready to make "Evil Dead 5: Boomsticks over Normandy". It'll be like The Sims on steroids.

With great power comes great responsibility. But it'll be fun!

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Who the What and the Where?

And we thought the Catholics were having language difficulties!


"Here I will rant, (check)

gripe, (CHECK)

and point you to stuff that you most likely read anyway, but you can now be comfortable knowing that I read it too. (CHECK! Did you see the Hitler Cats?)

Lots of Star Trek (CHECK!)

and Battlestar Galactica are to be expected." (CHECK! And the new CD is out tomorrow!)

What am I missing?

"Making the world safe for really geeky 3D since 2003." Oh, right!

New Drydock:

Texturing on the Truck:

Do you reach?

And an animation:


We Won't Be Fooled Again

Well... Actually, I probably will be. Over and over again. I'm an optimist. A very cranky, jaded, pesimistic optimist.

I've learned, right? Oh, sure, I had high hopes for Attack of the Clones. Even bragged about it. "George is going to surprise us." Heh. But I knew how much Revenge of the Sith was going to suck. Didn't even see it opening weekend. That showed him.

As if the Star Wars prequels weren't enough, Men in Black II showed us why some sequels must not be made. Robocop 2 is not mentioned in polite company. You've seen my views on X3. There is only ONE Matrix movie. Seriously.

I get a knot in my stomach when I hear that Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford may actually get thier stuff together and make Indy 4. *shudder* When I hear that something I love is going to get a sequel now, I feel like shouting "Stop blowing holes in my ship!"

I know that if they make another Star Trek movie, I'll go. Heck, if they make another Star Wars movie, I'll go. "We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life."

I'm ambivilant about Spidey 3. 2 was allright. I guess. I own the DVD and I've never watched it all the way through. But I'll go.

What is this about? (Dude, this has to be about something?)

  • I just saw Cars. Pixar has never made a bad movie. They should teach classes on how to make movies. (Kind of like in A Clockwork Orange, only with Randy Newman music instead of Beethoven. First up: George Lucas.) They'd revolutionize the movie industry. I have very high hopes for the post-Lasseter Disney.

  • All indications are that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is going to rock so hard.

  • And I'm so excited about Superman Returns I can hardly see straight.

  • Just thought I'd mention.