Are "Aquaman" and "Submariner" now redundant?

Had totally forgotten that this was supposed to exist until this trailer popped up today on Dark Horizons.

“Empires of The Deep” is being referred to as the biggest U.S./Chinese co-production ever at a $100 Million budget, but supposedly the “Chinese” side of that is almost-entirely from a single China-based Real Estate billionaire. I like how nobody even bats an eye anymore at the idea of a supposedly-“communist” country having billionaires, incidentally…

The pitch? It’s “Avatar” meets “The Little Mermaid,” with a human hero traveling to an underwater kingdom and getting swept up into an epic war between rival fish-person nations. Naturally, it’s in 3D (something you need to understand about the 3D “thing” right now: Chinese audiences are madly in love with 3D – thats one of the biggest reasons they keep doing it.) The early buzz is that it’s a “Dragon Wars”-level fiasco in every way except the effects (scale wise, at least), design and action stuff:


So… probably a camp classic waiting to happen. Still, I can’t look at the “bigger” parts of this and wonder why I seem to be the only person who can totally see how “Aquaman” could actually work…

"IRON MAN 3" FULL TRAILER

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

“Iron Man 3’s” first trailer is, without a doubt, the most immediately excellent “debut” trailer a Marvel movie has ever had – dramatic, big, good sense of story and a sense that they fully “get” that this thing has to live-up to “Avengers,” not just trump the first two. Get watching, kids:

I’ll probably write more in depth about this later, but for now the main things jumping out at me are that The Mandarin DOES seem to be wearing the Ten Rings of Power and that I’ll be curious to see what mainstream audiences make of the “Iron Patriot” armor (which apparently appears here as the new publicity-friendly paint job for War Machine – which I kinda dig.)

But, mainly… holy shit, THE MANDARIN in a live-action movie. Never thought I’d actually see that.

Politics, Clarified

I get asked to do the “what do you think about _______?” regarding my personal politics from time to time, more so now because it’s an election year, but I also get a lot of feedback that I keep such things off the mainpage. I don’t really see why – everything has a political dimension, so the idea of having some expectation of an apolitical presentation simply because a site is “about” movies instead of a live feed from congress or whatnot seems silly to me – but let it never be said I’m not accomodating: If you don’t want the discussion of anything important to interupt your day, feel free to stop reading after this paragraph and go watch a funny cat video. (not my joke, acknowledged) Or whatever…

So… pretty much every time I have anything to say vis-a-vi politics people either try to “figure out” where I stand or assume they know, and the whole back and forth can get a little tiresome. So, hopefully just this once, I’m going to explain as best as I’m able “where I’m coming from.” Bookmark it for later if you wish especially if you’re going to nitpick everything I’ve said for a decad-plus of web presence looking for “hypocrisy,” that never gets old.

I’ll do this in the form of an arbitrarily numbered list – if it’s good enough for the “winner” of a presidential debate, it’s good enough for me:

1.) I do not have an “ideology.” Political ideology doesn’t make sense to me. Actually, moral/philosophical “codes” don’t make sense to me, period. I organize my life around situational, practical reason – something is “good” for as long as it achieves the optimal result sought (for me, “optimal” generally includes “causes no direct unwarranted harm to others,” just so we’re clear), when it ceases to do so it becomes neutral, when it becomes harmful and/or counterproductive it becomes “bad.” Ideology means doing counterproductive things because you’ve subscribed to some kind of “value system” that says this is the right thing to do even when it doesn’t work; and while I understand why that sort of psychological masochism works for some minds (“my suffering will be rewarded in heaven!”) it doesn’t work for mine.

2.) Example for #1: I am an environmentalist. I am NOT an environmentalist because it makes me feel good, or because I believe myself a steward of the Earth, or because I believe Mother Gaia has been wounded by industry, or because I’m awash in concern for the fate of My Fellow Man. I am an environmentalist because I breathe air, I drink water, and I am likely to live longer and healthier if those things are uncontaminated. Simple as that. This is why the supposed “gray area” of “You can’t regulate the ______ industry out of existance! Think of the JOBS!!!!” doesn’t really move me all that much overall – I sympathize, to a degree I’d rather not get too deep into, with people who finds themselves suddenly unemployed; but given the choice in bad outcomes between “me dying early of mercury poisoning” and “someone else’s hopefully-brief unemployment”… sorry, I’m taking the option clearly less likely to shorten my life – and I take no “moral” exception with people who support the opposite option based on the same calculation. Law of the jungle and all that.

3.) Lack of ideology DOES NOT mean I lack empathy or am “selfish.” Case in point: Another part of the reason that I do not see “jobs will be lost” as a reason not to pursue an aggressive environmental policy is the demonstrable knowledge that the “liberal” politicians I am likely to support for their environmental policies are of the same party/persuasion that consistently vote to extend and increase benefits and The Safety Net to said unemployed people. The notion that reason is a poor substitute for “morality” is a falsehood far more often than it is a truth; as almost all great historical evils supposedly conducted in the name of “logic” were in fact conducted in the name of ideology in the guise of logic or, simply, based on bad logic. That’s the one drawback to reason on the macro level: to use it properly, you have to be reasonably intelligent yourself – which cuts a lot of humanity out of the user-base. Bringing us to…

4.) We are NOT “all in this together.” My votes as far as politicians go swing pretty reliably toward Democrats and/or liberals, but please don’t mistake that for an embrace of “one big happy human family” liberal piety. The fact is, everyone has not always needed everyone else, and as the world becomes more technologically-centered and more mechanized it becomes less true by the day. There are varying degrees for this, of course, and varying types of measurement i.e. worth in the societal-machinery sense versus worth as assigned by relations (friends, family, loved-ones, etc) but it doesn’t change the basic and (admittedly, unpleasant) truth we do not all “matter” equally or at all… at least in the strict physical-world sense – obviously, if you believe in God or some other transcendant assigner of worth then there’s another dimension for you. To put it another way: If I’m hanging off a cliff, and the guy with the cure for cancer is hanging off a cliff, save the cancer guy – he’s more important. However…

5.) #4 is NOT nihilism or cynicism. In fact, I consider it a great motivator: Because I don’t accept that I am “entitled” to worth simply by virtue of drawing breath, I am driven to make sure that I make myself worth something. HOWEVER…

6.) Acknowledging #4 and #5 is NOT a license to ignore the plight of others. Accepting that we are not “all in this together” is not (and can never be) an excuse or justification for cruelty, malice or any other denial of humanity to others. One can debate the “worth” of this or that life as an intellectual exercise, but even the lowest of us have a right to our lives and to fight for them; and no matter how much more “worthy” you may think yourself (or may well be) you are not in charge of who lives and who dies. I’m not certain that the universe has or needs a metaphysical god, but it definitely doesn’t need a tangible one here among us. This isn’t based on emotion or philosophy, but once again on LOGIC: It makes more sense to help others, within reason, than to not help others.

7.) Example for #6: The so-called “Safety Net.” Having explained why I don’t subscribe to “liberal” ideology, let me now explain why I reject “conservative” ideology as well. While I’m accepting of Natural Selection and a chaotic universe, I’m also accepting of reality. And in reality, the baseline right-wing approach to society of removing “Safety Net” social programs in order to let Survival of The Fittest do it’s thing just doesn’t work out. Even if you were cold and inhuman enough to cut the disadvantaged, undereducated, homeless, mentally-unwell, etc loose from help to fend for themselves… it’s not going to “work.” These people will not simply “die off” or “disappear,” the species is too resilient for that. They will survive, they will “organize” in one form or another, and they’ll likely exact a certain amount of payback upon those who decided to cut them loose… which they will deserve. Hence, this is another illustration of why I tend to vote for liberals even though I find “liberalism” fairly foolish: Since a “third option” does not exist, I would rather pay the comparitively SMALL price in taxes it costs to provide the chronically-disadvantaged with basic needs and even methods of mobility out of their disadvantage than pay the much HIGHER cost (in multiple sense of the word) of containing or “putting down” (with all the nightmarish and amoral conotations that word conjures) a 21st Century version of the French Revolution.

8 -I.) As you will be unsurprised to learn, I am generally disillusioned with democracy. I fully agree with Winston Churchill’s famous quote about democracy being the worst system except for every other system… except that Churchill meant it as a clever turn of phrase and I mean it as a sobering reminder that we seem to have stopped trying to find something better. The basic tenet of democracy – citizens choosing their leaders – is sound, but in the modern world it has a fatal (and ironic) flaw: It’s become much too easy for “the people” to actually effect lawmaking directly, while at the same time “the people” seem to be getting progressively less capable of making those decisions intelligently. The days when voting and political engagement in general required a greater investment of time, intellect and effort may having been taxing in their own way, but at least it helped keep those too dumb and/or unengaged to bother being involved from getting involved and mucking things up. Today, thanks to the internet and cable news, the uninformed are now JUST informed enough to show up and vote the way Sean Hannity tells them to. I’m NOT saying I wish to be “ruled” by some kind of dictator, I’m saying that right now I am living under laws made in part by polticians elected by pandering to (and doing the bidding of) the nation’s thriving population of idiots – and that just doesn’t seem right or reasonable to me: For example, I should not be denied access to life-saving medicines or life-improving technologies/activities because I’m outnumbered by a population of fools with some kind of “moral” superstition that considers them (or the research into them) “taboo.” Speaking of population, see #9…

8-II.) Case in point: Not everything should be up for a vote. The most obvious example here is the current fascination with putting gay marriage and other equality issues up for a popular vote, but I can only assume that anyone who’s read this far “gets” how asinine and awful that is. I’m thinking more about things like science, technology or environmental policy: Things that simply aren’t a matter of opinion – science either works or it doesn’t – shouldn’t be decided by opinion and definitely shouldn’t be decided by people who don’t actually “get” what they are voting on. Why do we put politicians in charge of these things when we know they are susceptible to their constituencies over the facts and that they cannot be trusted to fully grasp the often complicated things they

9.) Overpopulation is a REAL and serious problem, and saying so does NOT make one a Nazi, a eugenicist or “anti-human.” Y’know why the jobless rate isn’t getting better faster? Because the collapse of the labor market isn’t an accident – it’s a reality check. The fact is, American society has been becoming mechanizing at a faster and faster rate. Manufacturing, construction and even war-fighting are increasingly replacing men with machines, while the developing world is undercutting the ones that remain by doing what developing regions do: Having major manufacturing booms. This has been going on at a steady pace for a long time, and would not necessarily be as big a problem had the U.S. not continued to reproduce at rates that are only sustainable if you need a massive and ever-increasing physical labor force and physical boots-on-the-ground military… and we don’t really NEED either of those things to anywhere near the degree we used to. Things change. Unfortunately, because the U.S. has remained committed “traditional values” about family-planning and other related topics (“traditional values” that were invented in order to encourage population-expansion in the eras when it WAS needed) the arithmetic of the whole mess is adding up in a bad way. It’s actually even worse than it seems, because we spend massive amounts of money subsidizing the agriculture industry – not because that farming can’t be done cheaper and more efficiently via export or by further mechanization but because without artificially-prioritized farming jobs to keep citizens employed whole communities and even whole regions of the country could be decimated by mass unemployment (see #7.)

10.) However, overpopulation does NOT require any kind of draconian or force-of-law “solution,” and to suggest that is does IS both anti-human and lazy. Our overpopulation muck is going to be a problem for a long time, but it’s not a crippling one, it can be mitigated and maybe even reversed. The first step goes back to #7 again: Once you accept that we simply have more people than we have jobs to fill them, the only rational answer is once again the so-called “liberal” answer: YES, we’ve got to spend some money on taking care of folks who ultimately can’t find work or can’t create a livelihood. Crappy situation, but better than the alternative. And hey, y’know what else “liberal” policies ultimate support? Expanded and well-funded family-planning (YES, including abortion) services, funded and more widely-disseminated birth control, science-based (as opposed to “values”-based) sex education and in general the emergence of a secular society wherein individuals are not told that monogamy, early-as-possible marriage and “traditional” family dynamics (those things are fine if you choose them, of course) are the only proper course of action – and what do ALL of those things have in common? They all at once increase individual freedom while having a strong potential for (gradually, over time) stabilizing (following an initial period of “slowing”) the overall birthrate in a given society. Of course, to do most of that you have to take care of the elephant in the room…

11-I.)  Roe vs. Wade is the most important Supreme Court decision still considered to be “up for discussion,” and if it is reversed America is OVER as a nation of greatness. I’m what you could call “emphatically” pro-abortion rights – not only because I support equal rights but because I support the basic idea that individual, sentient humans ought to have final, absolute control over their own bodies and the importance of de-mythologizing the life-sciences to human improvement: Laws governing science (and medicine) should be made based only on science – not on emotion, not on superstition, not on ancient taboos. Science. Knowledge. FACTS. Apart from it’s immediate effect of being the ultimate equalizer of gender in American society (now neither sex needs to be “locked-in” to an unwanted pregnancy), Roe is a massively important symbolic victory of science and progress over superstition and “tradition.” The statement of Roe as a peice of U.S. law is: “This country’s laws are made based on the universal truths of reason and logic, not on the subjective spiritual or emotional “truths” only held by some.” That’s vitally important. That’s what makes us a modern, relevant nation capable of surviving into a future that is only going to get more secular, scientific and mechanized. The superstitions (and I’m not necessarily talking about “all religions” or even “religion” itself here so Atheists please zip your pants back up) that animate, say, the pro-life movement or the anti-gay movement are not long for this world as taken-seriously institutions, and if American law (and culture) regress back into them now we will be swept off the table with them later…

11-II.) …As such, so long as the Republican Party is reliably the party of inserting religion, superstition and “tradition” into lawmaking I cannot consider any Republican electable to any office. There are a lot of things I agree with Republicans and/or the political “Right” about. On balance, probably moreso than Democrats. But they are all of lesser importance, to me, than the solidifying of a secular, science-focused, reason-based America for the future. An America that is still wringing it’s hands over whether a petri dish has a “soul” a generation from now is an American that doesn’t matter a generation from now. So long as “the religious right” exists and so long as they can exercise a SLIVER of power over the GOP, I have to oppose at all levels on all fronts (politically.) On the day that religious fundamentalists in America have equal or lesser “political clout” than, say, Trekkies or some other devotional subculture; the Republican Party might be worth giving a second look to. Until then, they’re in the way. I don’t like things being like that – one party having a monopoly on reason-based lawmaking isn’t a good thing – but thats how things are. And before anyone asks…

11-III.) “Libertarianism” doesn’t work for me, either. Libertarians are good people, by and large. I pretty-much like all the flavors, from the committed “realist Right” to the “we just want legal weed” College dudes to the “we want a lable but Dems and Reps are just too mainstream” poli-hipsters. But apart from their useful function in siphoning away votes from Republicans and ensuring Democrat victories in certain races… I don’t think it’s that practical of an ideology. “Small government” is a nice ideal, but in the practical reality of the real world right now a strong, central and activist government is the only way I can see to implement and solidify the long overdue transformations that this country needs in a timeframe that will keep it strong and competitive into the future. Also, it lends itself too handily to weak-minded conspiracy-fetishists; if you really think that the U.N. is out to get you, that The Rothschild Family has been controlling the world from behind the scenes like S.P.E.C.T.R.E. or that we’d actually be doing better as fifty autonomous mini-countries, I’ve got a bridge to sell you… and no, I will not take payment in gold.

12.) The most important reasons to vote for president are defensive. American Presidents, by design, have less power than we think they do and less ability to direct that power than people tend to want them to (when it’s “their guy,” at least.) Unlike congress, their role is often reactive – whatever they may WANT to do as President will be shaped, subsumed and even pushed aside by what they HAVE to deal with. We really can’t say whether George W. Bush would have been such a disaster without a 9/11 response to screw the pooch on, and I don’t think anyone really expected anti-war Democrat Barack Obama to be a cold executioner of terrorists or the political father of America’s unprecedented leap into robotic warfare. As such, I consider the most reliable reasons to vote for a president is the basis of what they WON’T do or what they’ll PREVENT congress etc. from doing. I’m counting on Obama, for example, to stop congressional Republicans from doing… pretty much anything they want to do, and I know he won’t put pro-life judges on the courts.

13.) A Romney victory in 2012 would be a major disaster, long term. I am not a Barack Obama “fan.” His clear dislike for political bloodletting annoys me, and as I’m a supporter of a Space Program I don’t like that he seems to genuinely buy into the “why are we spending money on moonrocks when people are going hungry!!!???” bleeding-heart mentality. But, by and large, he can be relied upon for the judicial appointments and vetos I need to see made, so he’s “the guy” for now. And, of course, I appreciate the symbolic importance of his victory four years ago… which is why I appreciate the very real disaster of his possible loss this year: A Romney victory will be, fair or not, the most racially-divisive event in American culture since the O.J. Trial; in that it will be seen as a “repudiation” of the so-called “browning of America” and the re-installation of the “rightful” white/hetero/male power structure – as surely as Reagan’s victory was seen as a “repudiation” of the social-progress made from the 60s onward and a “mandate” to turn back to the clock to “the good old days.” The fact is, everything from demographic trends to the sweep of history indicates that the New America represented “symbolically” by Obama (less monolithically white, less religious, less partriarchal, etc) is something of an innevitability – but “pausing” that overwhelmingly positive transformation now so that Mitt Romney can cosplay as Ronald Reagan (while “traditional family values America” plays we’re-still-the-center-of-the-universe make-believe) for four years until Hillary sweeps him out will be a vacation from reality we can’t afford to take. The better, more enlightened America will get here soon enough regardless… but if it gets here sooner it can be a more prosperous America as well.

Okay, there you go. That’s what I think about… pretty much everything – with the caveat that if a plausibly-electable presidential candidate of either party were to lead with “we’re canceling every single known program and jacking up taxes so we can pump every dollar into space travel so that Bob can see something resembling Starfleet in his lifetime”… I’d volunteer pro-bono to run that campaign myself. Because a man has to be honest about his priorities, in the end.

Election is November 6th. Get out there and vote – and whoever you’re thinking of pulling for, ask yourself “am I doing the right thing?” before you do.

Is This Your First Look At The Mandarin in "Iron Man 3?"

Marvel has been running a Facebook “like us!” campaign for the last week or so, promising to debut an early look at “Iron Man 3.” At this point you kind of HAVE to know it was just going to be one of those “trailer for the trailer” things, but whatever – it worked, and now the 18 second “pre-preview” is here. Highlights include Tony Stark dealing with reporters, Pepper Potts in trouble, the new gold armor in motion and Iron Man facing down what looks like a half-dozen armored enemies.

Oh, and also very possibly THE MANDARIN.

Hit the jump to see the teaser and a still:

Okay, short preview is short. I’m hoping that the long one features that “Iron Patriot”-inspired suit that’s been seen in the early stills – I have a feeling that U.S. audiences who’ve never seen it before (in comics or otherwise) are going to flip for it. But the “HEY FANBOYS! WAKE UP AND GIVE US FREE HYPE!” money-shot comes at 00:08 – a quick glimpse at the back of… some guy’s head:

Iron Man’s ultimate enemy in the comics has generally been The Mandarin, a technology-as-magic “sorceror” generally depicted as an ancient-looking Asian man with long hair and gold robes with elaborate gold trimmings. That would certainly seem to be who we’re looking at here. AWESOME. He’s been referenced in the series before (though Middle East based, the terrorists in IM1 had Mandarin-style fixations on Genghis Khan and were named for his alien weapon from the comics, “The Ten Rings of Power) but it had been reportedly felt that he was a little too strange and a little too borderline-racist to show up in a modern movie – but when you’re the immediate follow-up to the biggest superhero movie ever you don’t have to worry about those things anymore.

FWIW, I think he’ll probably still end up revised into a non-specifically Eastern man with an ancient China fixation a’la the terrorists in Part 1. SDCC audiences supposedly saw a full shot of known main-villain Ben Kinglsey (who is partially of Indian descent, something everyone manages to forget whenever he plays a non-caucasian character) looking unmistakably like The Mandarin from the front – hopefully the rest of us will see the same in the “full” trailer.

I think this is a good idea – while the “Iron Man” movies ARE going to have to go back to being their own thing post-“Avengers,” they really do need to get him up against bigger (in terms of personality and power) antagonists now that everyone has seen him battle a God and an Alien Army. Mandarin should accomplish that nicely.

This Is A Real Thing That Is Happening

Remember “Left Behind?” It’s a series of Christian-fundamentlist scifi novels involving The Rapture; a supposedly pre-apocalyptic event (short version: Christians in good-standing are whisked off to Heaven in advance of the rest of us sinners having to suffer through the wars and tyranny launched by The AntiChrist prior to the big Final Battle of Armageddon) that has zero basis in any kind of legitimate Biblical scholarship (it seems to have been invented whole-cloth by fringe preachers around the 1800s) but is fervently believed in by people you will be lucky if you never have to meet.

The books (I think they were up to about 20 volumes at one point) are mainly about a multinational team of resistance fighters called The Tribulation Force (really) battling evil in a post-Rapture world. As you might expect, the damn things get exponentially more bizarre and also more hateful and anti-everything-non-Jesus as they go. Kirk Cameron (of course) backed and starred in a set of low-budget adaptations back when these things were the New Hotness in fundie circles, but now it’s apparently being relaunched as a more mainstream-friendly (how?) Red State cash-grab (they’re only spending $15 million but are apparently garaunteeing a theatrical run of some kind) by Goldwyn Films. Businesswise it’s potentially genius – if Obama is re-elected, the same people who’ll go to see this shit anyway will be more primed than ever for a “fight the false prophet!!!” epic.

Oh, and they’ve also got a can’t-miss plan for netting the “let’s watch a shitty Christian propaganda movie for ironic lulz!” crowd – they’ve landed NICHOLAS CAGE to star. No, really. Nicholas Cage – who covered some of this same ground without the “convert or BURN!!!!” hate-mongering in the underrated “Knowing”will headline the “Left Behind” reboot. There are no words.

Warner Bros. sets "JUSTICE LEAGUE" for 2015

Two days ago, Warner Bros. won the most-recent (and most precarious) case brought against them by the heirs of “Superman’s” creators seeking 50% control of certain aspects of the character’s mythology said to have been created “apart” from what he was when their (crummy) original deal was struck (it’s complicated.) Meaning that WB can now proceed to greenlight and start pre-production on any further “Superman”-related movie projects they choose. And they’ve wasted no time in making it official that they plan to have the “Justice League” movie out for a 2015 release date. That’s one year after “Avengers 2,” for those keeping track.

It makes sense for them to have been waiting for this case to shake out to make it official – I maintain that the people running these projects for Warners have very little idea of why these characters can and should work in movies, but they’re at least correct that Batman and Superman are both needed to make the thing work (Wonder Woman, too, but they’re in no danger of losing her rights and they still haven’t launched a successful modern franchise off of her.)

One imagines that this means we can expect some sort of worldbuilding to be going on or teased at in “Man of Steel,” but beyond that their plan is apparently to debut their new shared-universe versions of the other characters in “Justice League” and then spin them off from their (based on audience response and merchandise numbers, most likely.) If true, that move surprises me because it’s a really, really, really good idea: Unlike The Avengers, nobody needs to be introduced to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman as characters or the basic “ideas” behind them; while most of the other likely prospects are self-explanatory – The Flash runs fast, Aquaman is a “boy mermaid,” Hawkman has wings, Martian Manhunter is a more overtly-alien Superman, Green Lantern is toxic as a live-action brand and probably won’t be in the movie, etc.

The biggest immediate change of this announcement, of course, is that – with apologies to Marvel – the three biggest questions in superhero movie speculation are now as follows (in order):

Who replaces Christian Bale as Batman? 
He’s said he’s done, and even if they could net him he’s proven much too volatile an actor for the long-term planning this is going to require (see: Norton, Edward.)

Who plays Wonder Woman?
She’ll have to be in there, since the Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman “trinity” is integral to the iconography as far as the mainstream culture (read: people who’ll wonder why this isn’t called “SuperFriends”) and because she’s the only female DC hero whose not the distaff-counterpart of a male hero that most people have heard of, and the pressure will be on this production to do better than “Avengers” did in terms of team diversity.

Who else is on the team?
As mentioned, diversity will be (and ought to be) a concern for this production. So while I’d lay money that, say, classic-Leaguers like The Flash are virtual “locks” (and I’m not kidding about Green Lantern – I’ll be surprised if they bother with him) expect to see a push for minority characters like Static, Black Lightning or Cyborg (who was part of the “New 52” JLA recently) to get in there as well.

"Ghostbusters 3" is Happening, Because Nobody Learns Anything

Dank Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman have been trying to get “Ghostbusters 3” happening for so long that Generation X has already gone through the anticipation, denial, acceptance and “over it” stages of the “let’s sequelize everything we always wanted another of in the 80s!” mini-mania during the entirety of its “planning.”

But, whatever – it looks like it’s finally really happening. For years, the hold-up was trying to convince the original cast (well, okay, trying to convince Bill Murray) to star again; but now that it doesn’t look like that’s happening it seems they’ll be going with the pitch everyone kind of assumed they’d be starting from when they first started talking about this is in the late-90s: A new crop of young comic-actors being handed the mantle, with the originals in support roles (so, a live-action “Extreme Ghostbusters,” basically.)

I’d honestly be surprised if they didn’t find a way to get Murray back in at least some form – he’s not exactly known for consistent behavior, and he’s put the uniform back on at least twice recently for jokey cameo appearances; so if they could find a way to fit him in that only required a few hours of work and could be shot on his schedule (read: whenever he feels like doing it, wherever he feels like doing it, if he feels like doing it) I’d call it plausible. FWIW, certain early drafts of the screenplay supposedly featured Peter Venkeman returning only in a brief cameo… as a ghost.

But, yeah… apparently we’ve got to deal with this now. Fine.

UPDATED: Sam Raimi (Maybe Doesn’t) Directs "Poltergeist" Remake

UPDATE: Reports are now coming that Raimi is NOT directing the film yet, but is still onboard to produce. This is my sad face.

ORIGINAL POST: …okay, this just feels weird to type. I’m used to thinking of remakes as generational things – “new” talents doing an update of movies made by the father’s and grandfather’s era of filmmakers. Raimi is a few years younger than Tobe Hooper, but they were both coming up and into their own as “name” horror directors in roughly the same decade. I mean… it’s like if James Cameron said he was going to remake “E.T.”

Annoyed as I am with classic horror remakes… this actually excites me. Part of what made the original “Poltergeist” such a big deal at the time was taking the haunted house genre out of the “spooky old manor,” placing it in the contemporary setting of suburban sprawl (the entire premise hinges on the audience’s understanding that these bloated insta-neighborhoods really were springing-up rapidly and without much oversight) and the contemporary anxiety of suburban suffocation (for an interesting take on that, go HERE.) And it’s not like either of those things haven’t gotten more topical – “Poltergeist” in the aftermath of the Real Estate Bubble? Okay, sign me up.