Movie News: Upcoming Sequels and Remakes!

With 2013 now in full swing and summer not that far off, it’s once again time to announce all the remakes, relaunches and sequels that Hollywood has in the works. And much like last year, it seems the majority of the industry’s money is being placed on some safe bets. In other words, instead of investing in new and exciting projects, they are banking on previous successes and old favorites that are sure to cash in.

Oh Hollywood! Do you remember when it was exactly that you lost your passion for cinema and became a tired, old hack? I guess it’s not your fault, what with all the money that goes into generating these movies and all the money that comes out. Money! Screws up everything. And we the public are probably to blame too. If we didn’t lap your shit up, you’d stop slopping it us wouldn’t you?

But this isn’t a thought essay on the merits of marketing to the lowest common denominator or the ethics of mass consumption. Here’s some of what Hollywood and their affiliates have in store for us for the year of 2013. Surprisingly, not all of it sucks!

carrieThe original movie adaptation of Stephen King’s classic tale of alienation, teen judgement and psychotic, telekinetic revenge was… well, a classic! So why do we need a remake? Is there any possible reason other than wanting to cash in on the fame of the original? Or could it be they simply want to take advantage of updated special effects for the sake of the bloody prom night scene? Originally due to come out in March, the movie has been pushed back to October to coincide with Halloween. Good call there!

Catching Fire:
IFor fans of the Hunger Games, this return to the popular Suzanne Collins series promises to be big, bold and profitable. In this installment, Katniss Everdeen (once again played by Jennifer Lawrence) is on a Victory Tour of Panem and realizes that her win with Peeta has triggered a series of rebellions. Photos from the shoot have begun to leak, and the movie is slated for release in November. Probably won’t suck and I am interesting in seeing it, just as soon as I actually read the second book.

Fantastic Four:
Fantastic-Four-reboot-Josh-TrankOnce again, Hollywood is making a reboot just a few short years after a previous adaptation was already launched. They did the same with Spider Man last year and this time around, its Fantastic Four. Josh Trank, director of Chronicle, is rumored to be man who will be directing, and there are hints that the remake will look and feel somewhat like Alien. No news yet on who is being contemplated to play the lead roles, but rest assured, the remake will be splashy and a likely draw.

GI Joe: Retaliation:
After seeing its release pushed back a year in order to incorporate 3D, the sequel to the first G.I. Joe movie is slated to be released this May. In addition to starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruce Willis is also making an appearance as a character that seems no different than John McClain or Church from The Expendables. No telling why the studio felt it was necessary for the movie to be shot in 3D considering all the action and big names, but I would imagine it’s because they didn’t have a lot of faith in these things alone.

Man of Steel:
man-of-steel-logoNews of the Superman remake has already been making waves, and considering the writing team, cast, and the trailers that have been released, it seems that this movie might actually be firing on all cylinders. Still, one has to wonder why the franchise needed to be repitched so soon after the last repitch, which took place back in the summer of 2007 with Superman Returns. Wasn’t that movie decent enough, and didn’t it drop all kinds of hints that there was more to come? But of course, some projects run out of steam and you have to start over fresh. And this is one relaunch that I will actually be seeing and (fingers crossed) enjoying thoroughly!

Smurfs 2:
Yeah, you read that right. It seems we can all look forward to a sequel to the original adaptation of that children’s cartoon that for some reason aired in summer of 2011. I mean there’s nostalgic appeal and then there’s this! What going on, Hollywood. Did some call for a retro free-for-all? Neil Patrick Harris will be reprising his role from the first, no doubt because he’s contractually obligated to! Oh, and its being shot in 3D, which of course means the studio has a lot of faith in it 😉

Thor: The Dark World:
Thor2Building on the success of the first movie, as well as the Avengers and all the other Marvel comics adaptations of late, this sequel sees Thor facing off against some “Dark Elves”, led by Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, 28 Days Later, Shallow Grave, The Others). Rumor has it that this movie will be directed by Game of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor, who’s apparently bringing some of the same realism he brought to that series to Asgard. Will that include blood, guts, and plentiful nudity? Guess things got a little darker and dirtier since the first one!

The Wolverine:
wolverine_prequelThe third prequel in the X-Men franchise, this one once again focuses on Wolverine. Going with a storyline which is big with the fans of the original comic, this movie tells the story of how Wolverine went to Japan to learn the ways of the Samurai. Hugh Jackman will be reprising his role as the title character, and seems to have undergone some kind of surgical procedure to remove every ounce of fat for the role! Seriously, Hugh, I hope that’s photoshop because you don’t so much look buff as scary!

And that’s some of what the great filmakers of LA LA land plan to subject us to. Do you ever sit back and wonder just how many starving children could be fed with all the money that goes into financing these projects? Of course, I can’t criticize too much since I’ve already admitted that I’m planning to attend more than one. And what’s more, there are a few projects coming out which do seem exciting, original, or just plain overdue. But that’s another post!


Of Dune and its Conclusion

Of Dune and its Conclusion

Since posting my thoughts on Dune and its descendants, I’ve found that there are no shortage of people out there who agree with me. In fact, there are even sites dedicated to expressing the dissatisfaction Herbert fans have with the garbage his son and Kevin J Anderson have been putting out. Not surprising really, but I learned some interesting facts in the course of reading through them. For one, KJA does not run his writing by anyone who was involved in the production of the original Dune novels. His test panel, if that’s what you want to call it, consists mainly of family and friends. Second, I learned that, contrary to my expectations, the latest installments they have made have been doing quite poorly. In fact, let this serve as a correction to my post: the “interquel” novels, known as the “Heroes of Dune” set, are not a trilogy. Sisterhood of Dune is in fact a departure from the interquels, apparently due to sagging sales. Score one for the good guys!

Now some thoughts on these revelations: First of, what kind of serious author tests his work by getting friends and family to read it? And what the hell do his family know about Dune? Seems to me any fool looking to work the Dune franchise would care solely what the people who knew Herbert best would think, not to mention the fans. Screw family! And seriously, what are they going to tell him? That they loved it because they love him? Or are they going to be honest: “Honey, this is shit! This is an absolute insult to the legacy of Herbert, chock full of cliches and sci-fi stereotypes, and every contrivance known to pulp literature! Franks Herbert’s novels were thoughtful works that dealt with timeless themes and deep philosophical issues. Any child could have turned out this fan fiction bullshit with all its wooden dialogue, cardboard characters and ridiculous plot holes. The only thing missing is a whole lot of spelling mistakes! What the hell were you thinking?!!!”

Well, it’s one thing to criticize. Quite another to put your money where your mouth is. This is one thing I wanted to say in my original post but didn’t because it kind of made me feel like a prick. But if I got one piece of advice, it was that I was being too nice. So here’s some unbridled honesty. Do I think I could do better? That’s the question everyone must ask themselves whenever they decide to get critical. If not, they should probably shut up. But I can honestly say that I think I could do better! And I challenge my fellow Dune fans to do the same. While it may never see the light of day, I think that between us we could come up with a far better end to Dune and I invite people to make suggestions, either here or on various fan sites. You know how a groundswell works, and in the information age, its being done all the time. People produce their own works, put out their own news, and basically vote with their feet (more like fingers, hits and comments make the difference here!). But the result is the same, the popular product supersedes the mainstream crap and soon the mainstream crap is sitting up and taking notice. So let me humbly suggest that we make our own Dune 7, at least a mock-up for it. The ending that we, the fans, think that Herbert would have wanted!

Below is a link to a fansite dedicated to honoring the legacy of Herbert and bashing the prequel/sequel/interquel crap that has followed in his wake: