New TMNT Look Revealed… Sort Of

I understand the nostalgia that some filmmakers have for being able to turn things like “what does so-and-so look like?” into the equivalent of a plot-twist… but I really don’t know why anyone bothers today except in cases where a character’s appearance actually IS meant to be a surprise. There are too many moving parts to big movies now, and trying to keep something like what your main character(s) look like¬†secret isn’t practically feesible: It’s going to get “revealed” by merchandising materials or production art or a thousand other things, and suddenly you lose control of your all-important “first-impression” moment and instead people’s first exposure is a potentially subpar version.

Case in point: According to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fansite, the thing at the right is a children’s Halloween costume-kit for Michaelangelo in the new Michael Bay-produced TMNT movie… and if so, it now gets to be the way we’ll be introduced to Bay’s (and director Johnathan Liebesman’s) version of the heroes:

First reaction: Not loving the basic idea of the head – too human, too much from the school of “people can’t relate without a humanoid face to focus on” creature-design – but a plastic Halloween mask is no way to judge that. The rest of the suits (the fansite claims to have pics for the other three), apparently, are a stretch-fabric onesie with a “stuffable shell” that functions as an attached backpack – making these the most utilitarian-useful Halloween costumes ever (“Just put the candy in my shell!”)

Otherwise? It’s instantly recognizable as “Mikey” orange mask and all but with extra accountremants (workout shorts, a sweater worn as a belt, sunglasses, tattoos, surfer/skater neck jewelry) that reflect his familair personality. I don’t hate this at all. I’m fond of the “identical but for colors/weapons” look from the comics etc for how it ties in with the Japanese/American fusion aspect of the characters, but as an alternate take this makes sense. And the DIY-grubbiness of it fits – I like the implication that these guys have “scavenged” their own personal looks.

The look also lines up to-the-letter with a written description of toys from awhile back, which also matched up with most of what I’d been hearing about the production post-“Alien” script: That the aim for the look was to keep the masks, weapons and standard looks but further differentiate them by body-type (Mike being smaller than the others, Raphael being a “tank,” etc) and clothing/gear choices. This Mikey looks exactly as described, so I imagine subsequent pics will confirm the others: Leonardo wearing Japanese/samurai-style fencing gaurds to some extent, Donatello wearing/carrying lots of tech and gadgets, Raphael in Muy-Thai style cloth/rope padding, etc.

Where To See MovieBob At #ARISIA 2014

Hey guys. Just a head’s up, I’ll be working my butt off all weekend on panels at Boston’s ARISIA scifi/fandom convention. Only had one yesterday evening, but I’ve got 13 more spread out between Saturday and Monday. Here’s where/when to come look for me:

SATURDAY:
11AM “Man of Steel, Plot of Kleenex?” (Otis Media 442)
4PM “DC Comics: The New 52” (Adams Comics 382)
5:30PM “Enders Game” (Paine Media 513)
7PM “Why Do So Many YA Franchises Bomb Onscreen?” (Paine Media 458)
10PM “Remembering Roger Ebert” (Paine Media 458)

SUNDAY:
10AM “2013 Games Consoles: The Review” (Adams Gaming 176)
1PM “The Year In Marvel Comics” (Adams Comics 565)
2:30PM “Star Wars: What’s Next?” (Paine Media 471)
4PM “State of the Star Trek” (Otis Media 469)
5:30PM “Marvel Cinematic/TV Universe” (Burroughs Media 262)
7PM “Up, Up And Away With Superman!” (Adams Comics 570)

MONDAY:
10AM “Race and Identity In Fandom” (Burroughs Communities 548)
1PM “Transformers: A 30 Year Retrospective” (Otis 139)

So, yeah. If you’re already at the Con or were considering swinging in for a day-pass, you can show to these times/places and watch me either work panels or collapse from exhaustion – whichever comes first ūüôā

Round 1: MARVEL. Warner Bros. Blinks, Moves "SUPERMAN VS. BATMAN" To 2016

Yikes.

Everything I’ve heard regarding the production of the “MAN OF STEEL” sequel – both stuff that’s widely known and not-easily-confirmed insider gossip – has added up to one conclusion: They don’t know what they’re doing. Not in an incompetent way, in a “We haven’t really settled on what this movie is” way. It’s fairly clear that they had a definite plan in place well before “MOS” ever came out, that that plan involved a new Batman showing up, and that they were already working on it to some degree as the first film was rolling out in theaters.

What’s equally clear is that Warner Bros. had a Karl Rove on Election Night 2012 reaction – in slow motion – in regards to “MAN OF STEEL’s” performance, which they’d forecast as a huge moneymaker and a game-changing fanboy lovefest. Instead? A hit, but not an “AVENGERS” or even an “IRON MAN 3.”¬†The audience? Bitterly divided… between “ruined forever!!!” and merely “deeply flawed” – hardly anyone, as far as the pop-culture tea-leaves are concerned, thought it was great.

As a result, whatever the Big Plan was¬†for the sequels and tie-ins has been getting revised on the fly (cameos expanded to supporting characters, plans to split the production in half with the second film being “JUSTICE LEAGUE,”) as the studio and filmmakers try to figure out what it is the audience actually wants to see since “More ‘Man of Steel” has become clearly not the answer.

Added to all that: The film had been scheduled to hit mid-Summer 2015 – just two month’s after “AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON” – as part of a cluttered field what was already making that year a blockbuster bloodbath waiting to happen. So it’s only a little bit surprising that Warner Bros. has bitten the bullet and moved the film almost a full year ahead to May of 2016. For the kind of money involved, that’s a really¬†big deal… but it’s probably the best news that could’ve possibly hit the project. Now they can, potentially, work out a functioning screenplay instead of whatever half-rewritten mess they’d been working from thus far (on the down side: David Goyer is moving with the movie.)

I wonder how much playing release-date tic-tac-toe contributed to this decision. Across town from WB, Disney is still¬†having problems with “STAR WARS: EPISODE VII” (the buzz: nasty¬†power-struggle between J.J. Abrams and LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy for control of the franchise.) They’ve already moved the film once, from the series’ traditional May release date to XMas 2015, and I’d been hearing some say they’d be better going all the way to the following May. The only thing really stopping them was that Big Boss Disney had already staked May 2016 for “Untitled Marvel Project” (presumed to be either “DOCTOR STRANGE” or an unannounced character possibly spinning-off directly from “AGE OF ULTRON”) and that they’d promised shareholders they’d meet a 2015 target. Disney would almost certainly have moved the Marvel project to make room for “EPISODE VII,” but now they’re blocked. This stuff is simply Byzantine, after awhile.

I also wonder if this will lead to any major cast or crew defections. Henry Cavill has really nothing else as major going on (ditto Gal Gadot), but Ben Affleck had another prestige-project movie scheduled to start after he was done shooting this – would he walk and hand back his Batman money to keep that commitment? They’ve been aggressively pursuing certain actors (The Rock, Jason Momoa, possibly Denzel Washington) and characters (Green Lantern, AquaMan), are any of those commitments solid enough for this to not displace anyone? Goyer’s script was already getting a rewrite by Affleck’s pal from “ARGO,” does he move on? Is this room enough for the Nolan Bros. to wash their hands of the DC movies at last? Hell, does even Snyder maybe depart to make room for someone to helm both movies? There’s a lot¬†that can happen here.

"BATMAN" Returns

“Holy About-Fucking-Time-Bat-Time, Batman!”


I’ve maintained for awhile that one of the reasons the Adam West “BATMAN”¬†still hasn’t gotten a fair shake even though Dark Age comics’ need to use it as a whipping boy has faded into memory is that it hasn’t been widely available to buy or watch outside of scattered reruns. A lot of people have really only seen the theatrical movie spin-off, which is fun but doesn’t really capture how sly, clever and subversive (both of the material and of 60s pop-culture) the show actually was underneath all the surface-level camp.

Well, this year that can finally start to change: It has just been announced (via Conan O’Brien, of all people) that Warner Bros. will bring “BATMAN: THE COMPLETE SERIES” to DVD in 2014!¬†Granted, now we have to wait for the other shoe to drop and see which music rights or celebrity estate will innevitably keep certain episodes from appearing either in edited form or altogether… but most is definitely better than nothing. Yay!