Disney owns Marvel

Oh, go google it if you want a hard link, it’s been reported fucking everywhere already. This is what happens when news breaks while I’m at work…

Anyway, title says it all. The Disney Corporation owns Marvel; as in Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, etc. Which overall means that instead of Marvel producing it’s own films starring 3rd and 4th tier properties while it waits for Spider-Man, The X-Men and The Fantastic Four’s prior contracts with other studios to expire; Disney will be doing that instead.

No need to worry – yet – about editorial issues in the books; comic book publishers make so little money in and of themselves as to not even EXIST for the companies that own them. DC Comics just KILLED Bruce Wayne, made Dick Grayson the new Batman, yanked Damian Wayne (Batman’s son, Ra’s Al Ghul’s grandson, loooong story) out of continuity-limbo to be the new Robin, and has Bruce set up to “return” as one of the “zombie” Black Lanterns. Think Warners cares how that might reflect on their all-important “Batman” movie franchise? Hell no! They know that at this point only dedicated longtime fans are reading DC Comics right now, and they’re all gonna see the movies anyway. As far as the media companies who own comic publishers are concerned, all that “wing” of the company does is hold onto licensed properties until they need to make movies out of them.

Don’t expect to see Marvel rides/characters at Disney World just yet – those rights are probably still under contract to Universal Studios. But you can bet there’s a legal team who’s job it is to wriggle out of that ASAP. I look forward to the day I can have my picture taken with Moon Knight in front of The Jungle Cruise.

The big, super-awesome-mega-happy-good film geek angle on this is, of course, that about 98% of the Marvel Universe is now either under the direct control or at least in grasping-distance of John Lassetter and the boys from Pixar (who along with Steve Jobs are effectively running Disney right now.) Show of hands of anyone who thinks there’s ANY Marvel property that would not be done either best or better-than-before by Team Pixar? Didn’t think so.

Ted Kennedy: 1932-2009

MSNBC is just this moment reporting that Senator Ted Kennedy, last of “the” Kennedy Brothers, has died.

I’m here in MA right now… and somehow that still just feels strange to say. For whatever else he might have been, few figures have ever loomed over American political life for as long and in so many different forms.

This will DOMINATE the news for at least the next few weeks, and probably more considering how much his name will be invoked in the Health Care debate. But for now… wow. It’s surreal, and also hugely tragic. Here was one of those figures who goes beyond politics and parties… I don’t care who you are or how you vote: If you know thing-one about the last several decades of American politics, you know that a Titan has died this day.

Thought(s) For The Day 8/20/09

Ah, so much going on today…

Well, we got our first look at “Avatar” finally, with a trailer that actually manages to FINALLY tell people what the damn thing is apparently about… without ANY spoken dialogue. That’s kind of impressive when you think about it; though one wonders if that’s more an indicator of James Cameron’s expertise as a visual-storyteller or of how much of the now-evident plot is familiar from other things. Whatever. Campbell, Jung, hero’s-journey, only-three-stories, etc. Main thing is, you can’t deny it’s pretty incredible-looking:

Here ya go:

Gotcha. Look, tell me they DON’T look like that…

Here’s the real thing:

We also have the trailer for “The Wolf Man,” which is light on the title monster and heavy on the yes-we-did-it-“period”-and-here’s-Anthony-Hopkins-to-prove-it. GREAT trailer, oozing class… to the point that the very matter-of-fact monster-movie title coming up at the end almost plays like punchline. The lack-of-monster worries me, suggesting that those rumors about the studio being skittish about having a practical/makeup-FX Rick Baker creature and ordering CGI retooling might have some truth. Dammit…

But, as some of you may imagine, my interest was most-piqued by far by Script Shadow’s rundown of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” screenplay…

…in which we learn the film features a sexual encounter between character’s played by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Yeah, so I’m easy – though anticipation is, of course, tempered by the fact that the last time I went to an Aronofsky movie for girl-on-girl action it turned out to be part of that montage at the end of “Requiem For A Dream.”


Thought For The Day 8/18/09

So, the “big thing” today on the film-geek side of the interweb (I’m pretty sure Chud had it up first) was that model/actress Diora Baird – best known as “Attractive Woman With Large Breasts” in a handful of movies that everyone has probably seen at least one or two of – had “Tweeted” that she did a screen test for a role in Kenneth Brannagh’s (still having trouble wrapping my head around that…) “The Mighty Thor,” the next big Marvel franchise coming down the pike at this point most-noteworthy for raising the question of how well (if at all) a “magical” character (he’s the LITERAL Norse God of Thunder, and most of his supporting cast/enemies are similarly mythological in origin) will fit together with the other soon-to-be Avengers like Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America who all come from more of a science-fiction background. Left unsaid, of course, is WHICH role she tested for.

Pictured below, Mrs. Baird:

Yes, HERE’S the “uncensored” one: http://ns4w.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/diora_baird_1.jpg

Question: Right at this moment, so long as those are in the movie… do you care WHO she’s playing?

In any case, assuming (and it’s a pretty big assumption, honestly, like all goofy fancasting) that the part they’re testing for is from the Thor comics, the most-likely candidates that leap to mind are good guy Brunhilde (aka “Valkyrie”) and bad guy Enchantress. Here’s how they’re typicall depicted:



I’m feeling like this could be the best thing Brannagh has put onscreen since those parts of “Frankenstein” he wasn’t in…

"Inglorious" Marketing

I’m fairly certain I’m “embargo’d” against telling you whether or not “Inglorious Basterds” is good or not until it opens on Friday. So, let me just say this i.e. the film’s marketing and how people may be percieving it.

By now, if you’re pre-experience of “Basterds” is limited only to it’s “official” advertising, you’ve probably absorbed the notion that this is basically “Kill Bill in WWII,” another one-beat “Grindhouse”-style lark about a hit-squad of Jewish-American GI’s carrying out a pre-DDay shock-n-awe campaign against Nazis in occupied France. And, depending on how that pitch sounds to you, you’re probably letting that imagined-film influence whether or not you plan to see it. Let me be very clear here: STOP THAT.

Imagine if “Pulp Fiction’s” trailer had bee nothing but the “action” beats from only Butch’s story. That’s all I’ll say.

Escape to the Movies: "District 9"



Off-topic: I don’t care if you live in Philly or not – anyone who still roots for the Eagles this year is a douchebag. And yes, I would not have been “behind” my Pats this year if they’d been the ones who took Vick. I’m pissed (but unsurprised) enough that Bellichick wanted to sign the bastard – y’know, because he hasn’t done enough to make us the Klingons of the NFL.

G-Force (2009)

“G-Force” is just a few yards short of being something really memorable. If it were actively going for it’s own look and feel rather than something akin to a “spoof” of producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s “house style” action-filmmaking, it might well have gotten there. As is, it’s pretty damn decent kid fare; and will probably make a reliable franchise for Disney.

The “G” is for Gineau Pigs, so we’re clear. The film principally follows an underfunded government espionage program based around the use of specially-trained animals as spies; the centerpiece being a team of three GPs (and one starnose mole) who act as a Bond/Bourne type infiltrator unit. The entire enterprise seems premised on the formula that Gineau Pigs are awesome and that the sight of them scurrying around on their stubby little feet slinging around pint-sized versions of night-vision, grappling hooks, tech-vests, etc. is enough to carry an entire 90 minute feature. On this point, it is mostly correct.

The plot involves “G-Force” versus an appliance billionaire (Bill Nighy) who’s uber-popular products have been outfitted with hidden tech that causes them to “weaponize” into killer robots, the resulting action sequences render this yet ANOTHER movie that does “Transformers’s” job better than IT does. Add the element of Pentagon brass looking to kick these “weirdos” back into the private sector and the plot goes about where you’d expect, though with a welcome eye toward tweaking expectations: I was, for example, impressed that the slovenly non-lab-tested GP the team meets in a pet store tags along but DOESN’T become the main hero-journey character; and breathed a welcome sigh of relief when their adoption by a pair of annoying kids turns out to be a comic aside instead of the entire storyline.

The “fun” for older film geeks, of course, is in seeing the Bruckheimer “stamp” applied to a talking-animal yarn, and while it’s indeed fun to see legit amunition and pyro flying in a Gineau Pig movie, I’d offer that if Bruckheimer wants to make straight-out family fare he might want to be more on-the-ball content-wise: The story allows the audience to believe that one of the characters has perished in a pretty hairy way – accidentally crushed in a garbage truck – and the onscreen-depiction of said “death” had the younger ones in the audience freaking the hell out and not in a good way. Overall, not bad.