Comic-Con made sure there was plenty of news to post this last week. Here's some of my more recent contributions to MovieScene's ever growing archives:
I already commented on these Avengers: Age of Ultron concept art posters before, so I'll skip that for these latest one-sheet releases, which finally complete the whole picture (see above). There's not much to say about these Hulk and Thor posters, as they add little of novelty value to the project as a whole. Save for the colour of the Hulk's pants maybe, which has finally traded in the dark blue of the previous movie for the iconic pink everybody associates with the character.
This too comes as little of a surprise considering the overwhelmingly positive feedback in prerelease and press showings for the Guardians' first adventure, set to debut worldwide in two weeks. Of course it will remain to be seen whether enough audiences will connect with this oddball intergalactic team of rogues to make Marvel the big bucks as the studio is now preparing for. However, since there's little else of consequence released in theaters this upcoming month, I think it's guaranteed this next entry in Marvel's Phase 2 will do tremendously well at the box office. Which only works in director James Gunn's favour. At this moment, Marvel will stick to directors who have proven their worth and can smoothly work with the studio without creative issues, considering the woes which have befallen Ant-Man's production of late after its director resigned, which continues to have serious ramifications for the project. Stability is now Marvel's prime concern, and when that aspect is paired with profit there's no reason why a capable director shouldn't be rehired to make the second installment turn out as good, if not better, than its predecessor. So go, Gunn!
It seems Gareth Edwards also aims for stability when it comes to his blockbuster success, the rebooted Godzilla. Fans praised the first film's take on the titular character, but proved less enthusiastic when it came to his antagonists, a pair of mutated prehistoric giant bugs invented solely for this film. They did their job serving as cannon fodder for the King of Monsters though, but now it's time to raise the bar. And what better way to do so than by also rebooting his classic gallery of adversaries? General audiences won't mind whatever creature gets hammered by the Big G (or the occasional vice versa), as long as they get enough bang for their bucks. If there's one thing Edwards showed with his first Godzilla feature, it's that he too is an avid fan of the original Japanese films. So it comes as little surprise that he opts to reintroduce everybody's favorite Godzilla enemies: the mythical giant bug Mothra, the humongous Pterodactyl Rodan (both characters got their own movies too back in the days) and last but not least, Gojira's prima nemesis, the three headed armoured space dragon King Ghidorah. Hopefully Edwards won't play all his cards all at once, but distributes the dose of retro monsters a bit evenly for the already announced pair of sequels, so as to prevent Kaiju overkill in Godzilla 2. As superhero movies have showed of late, there's such a thing as too many cool characters in a single film making a mess of the story. Of course, the Godzilla movies are all about characters making a mess of things while the story is subservient to such rampage, but it can't hurt to save your strongest assets for later.
And with the renewed interest in giant monsters comes word that Hollywood doesn't mean to keep that other royal creature dead for long. King Kong too will soon be seen again on the big screen where he belongs, but not in another remake. Which is a good thing, as the last one was produced less than a decade ago and proved to be quite a memorable rehash compared to most of them, so there wouldn't be a need to retell that classic Beauty and the Beast tale just yet. So it seems a prequel is the route the studio chooses, which is also not the most exciting notion to my mind. Do we need to know how Kong became King of Skull Island? It kinda seems a given: it's survival of the fittest and Kong fits that description best, killing every sinister subject that defies his will. There doesn't seem to be much more to it. Of course you can introduce another group of people stumbling on the island and exploring its monster infested interior, getting into conflict with the giant gorilla. Heck, you could even throw another pretty girl into the mix. The result would be predictable though, as we all know how Kong came to his eventual demise, and we never cared as much about the human characters' plight as we did about the ape's. Even though I loved the various incarnations of Skull Island (as I'm a big sucker for monster movies), this project makes me hesitant. That said, it's produced by the same studio - not Peter Jackson's - as the current Godzilla franchise is. Do I smell a potential crossover here?
Speaking of Peter Jackson, he too has a little franchise in the works, and it is coming to an end. A dramatic and emotionally charged end, the new trailer would seem to indicate. Not to mention epic. Needless to say this trailer got me super stoked for the final Hobbit film, which I already was to begin with (yay, Hollywood hype effectively working its magic for five more months!). Parallells with that other closing chapter of a Middle-Earth movie trilogy were bound to be drawn, and the trailer capitalizes on that sentiment by adding just another link with PJ's Lord of the Rings films in the shape of Pippin's tearjerking Home is Behind song playing over the imagery. It's a nice touch, though it hammers the point home harder than might be wise. Nevertheless, what's to dislike in this trailer? Big battles, a giant dragon (bound to be killed off in the first 20 minutes of the film due to the way the book is adapted, but still), all kinds of intriguing cultures and creatures clashing and a top cast bringing it all to life. As I'm not a Tolkien purist, I won't complain about some of the additions the writers made to the story, like that car chase over ice. Keeps some surprises to the whole if you already read the book. But what do we have to look forward to when it's all over? When Lord of the Rings ended, we had The Hobbit still to come (though that took nine effing years!). But could this truly be the end of our cinematic adventures in Middle-Earth? What do we do with ourselves then?
I knew it! You don't brisquely cancel a whole movie, pre-production already in progress, just because someone leaks a script. Screenplays get leaked online all the time. When any movie hits theaters, few people lack the chance to get to look the whole story up on the Internet if they so choose. Which most folks don't, because they want to see it in theaters anyway. When Tarantino first scrapped the project, he stated he might publish it in book form. That would have been the true waste, as we already have a downloadable written version of this story online thanks to that leak. But in Tarantino's case, it's the filmed version we want. Why read that book if the alternative is another one of his expertly written motion pictures starring a great cast determined to make it work? So it was a given Tarantino would decide to make that film sooner rather than later after all. Which makes me wonder whether his whole tantrum about the affair, or even the affair itself, wasn't just some big publicity stunt to create public awareness and interest for The Hateful Eight. Maybe it was just a hateful Tarantino getting in the right mood to direct the project.