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Monitor Preview: Spider-Man 3

Jun. 28th, 2006 | 01:01 pm
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe most successful superhero movie franchise in recent years has come out with its first teaser trailer for the 3rd installment.

Cue the sound of jaws meeting floor.

After the twists and turns of the first two Spider-Man films, Sam Raimi seems intent on raising the bar higher - maybe even higher than the most rabid fans could expect. With the apparent promise of three major villains (one of which looks like a shoo-in for a fourth film), and references to several hallmark stories from the comic books, the film looks like a continuation (and possible resolution) of plot lines from the first two movies, as well as a staging ground for expanding the mythos.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe months of speculation have given way to confirmation - yes, the film does feature the black costume, the symbiote, the Sandman, a new Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy. There's plenty of new blood in the story, but if the success of Spider-Man 2 is any indication, the people behind the film seem to have no trouble handling new characters and weaving them in and around the central triangle of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborne. Sam Raimi has deftly and steadily raised the tension between those characters and the audience will no doubt be looking for more explosive developments in that story arc.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNeedless to say, the effects look amazing. If any film has captured the hyper-realism of the comic book format, it's Spider-Man. Dizzying angles, high-velocity action sequences, sweeping shots of New York City - look for all these and more. Again. Making Doc Ock look cool is a major achievement in itself. They could very well top themselves with a more obscure character, but with just as much visual potential as Dr. Octopus. The Sandman has never been one of those Spider-Man villains that immediately gets mentioned. Give the filmmakers their due for honing in on the character's potential as a threatening screen prescence, even with the goofy striped t-shirt.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIf this is Superman's year, then Spider-Man 3 will be the superhero movie to beat next year. Sam Raimi and his crew are going strong, staying together, keeping the principal cast and crew members on the project - something which the X-Men crew didn't have, much to its misfortune. Multi-million dollar success certainly helps, but there is a passion that seems to run throughout the whole project, a love not just for the characters, but also for the media they appear in. The franchise is a credit to both comic books and movie-making, creating its own mythos with love and respect for the source material. It snaps and crackles with the electric thrill of the new. This is not just adapting comic book heroes anymore. Sam Raimi and crew are busy making legends.

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Review: V for Vendetta

Jun. 5th, 2006 | 09:04 am
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen adapting material for film, some sacrifices have to be made. As much as one would want to keep to the heart and soul of the material, some things just work better read than seen. The restrictions on printed material are quite different from those on the moving picture. It costs more money and takes more time to lift a scene straight out of the page and onto celluloid than it does to transpose it to paper from the mind's eye. Generally speaking, of course. Still, the sad truth of it is that most adaptations turn out to be far less of what anyone had hoped, depth and texture left out of what ignited our imaginations when first we read it. Generation loss, you could call it.

Of course, it would also be unfair to judge the film by its book. That is, if the medium itself presents an entirely different set of rules, then those are the rules by which the material should be critiqued. Still, comparisons cannot be helped. Filmmakers can only try to be as faithful to the source as possible, translating the most essential parts of it to the screen. The essence of the original work, its spirit - that's where the line should be drawn. That last inch of terrain on which one dies trying. The very last inch.

James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers actually make a valiant effort in defending that inch of Alan Moore's V for Vendetta. It is by no means the most faithful and accurate translation, but it does hammer home some key points from Moore's graphic novel. It is not an excellent film, but it is an adequate one. The plot is tight, and moves along at a quick and steady pace. The script whittled down the cast to the most essential characters - sometimes merging characters into a single entity, sometimes removing them altogether. The basic shape and form of the original remains, though the texture and layering is obviously and understandably absent. Still, the Wachowskis deserve a great deal of credit for taking on such a challenging project and making a reasonably faithful and coherent script. Then again, we already expected a watered-down version of Moore's dystopian tale. The happy surprise is that it's not as bad as most feared.

The most rabid of the graphic novel's fans might disagree, though. The political overtones of the story - certainly the key element in V - becomes quite muddled in the film. The totalitarian government remains, yes, as does the freedom fighter/terrorist V. But the resolution at the end has the distinct odor of Hollywood executive. It's hardly the radical and controversial end that Moore devised, with all it's glorious uncertainty. The movie seems almost afraid to look at anarchy head-on and instead settles for some fanciful and idealized form of democracy. The original was a challenging piece back when it was first released. We should all be thankful that it still is today. It is a shame, though, that the film is not quite the same challenge.

Despite all the challenges of making V, McTeigue acquits himself quite well for a first-time feature-length director. The photography is sleek and glossy, capturing the idea of an almost sterile world. For the most part, the direction is solid, focusing on story-telling than on crowd-pleasing camera work. He does seem like a better director without the special effects than with them. The second act of the film is where he shines brightest, allowing the scene and the actors to come to life. With such excellent actors as Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, getting out of their way seems like a sound decision. There is wisdom in restraint and, for the most part, McTeigue knows when it's time to hold back to create a more genuine effect.

There are, of course, times when the movie becomes simply a movie again and loses the real dramatic weight it had been building. One particular shot in the most riveting sequence of the film almost ruins it. Just when the characters seem most real to the audience, the special effects take over and we are once again in our seats in a movie theater instead of with them in the film. The Matrix-like fight sequence is another offense, especially when the all the preceding violence happens in real - as opposed to bullet - time. It's not required in a film such as this, and it's proximity to the actual climax only steals momentum from the ending, and even makes the movie drag quite a bit. It knocks the viewer straight out of what was an interesting and surprisingly engrossing film. It's become old hat for the Wachowski Brothers and one has to wonder if they can come up with anything new.

For a film that was marketed as an uncompromising vision of the future, V for Vendetta suffers from some key compromises. The loss of a few characters is forgivable - the depth and texture of the graphic novel would be entirely impossible to fit in a two-hour film. But with all the fine-tuning involved, it remains a mystery why the film still feels oddly paced. The film takes place over a year but it is hardly evident that the manhunt for V has taken so long. The action sequences make up a surprisingly low percentage of the movie, but the movie still feels rushed with quick cuts and montages - undoubtedly with the intention of making the film more exciting. And again, the little creative decisions to appease the Matrix-hungry audiences. When the smoke clears, however, V for Vendetta gains enough ground to stand on its own two feet and claim victory, even if only by a couple of inches.

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Review: Fearless (2006)

Mar. 19th, 2006 | 01:02 am
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen did martial arts movie become so much more than just fists and feet flying across the screen? Of the myriad genres of cinema, none has shown more growth and potential for more growth than the martial arts movie. In the span of six years, we've seen the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers - all wonderful films in their own right. But what makes them unique is their ability to transcend the martial arts genre even while mining its traditions. What used to be pure visceral fun now offers intellectual and emotional stimulation that sometimes surpasses even the upper echelon of Hollywood's output. The legendary Enter the Dragon may be a good martial arts film, but Crouching Tiger and Hero are great films - period.

Jet Li, who starred as the stoic warrior Nameless in Hero, gives another fine performance as Huo Yuanjia in Fearless. All martial arts aside (as if there was any need to question his ability), Li makes the most out of a predictable script. His Yuanjia is intense in almost every way possible - a focused and determined fighter, a doting father, a devoted son. He loses his way at some point, intensity winning over reason and discretion, and suffers a truly horrific tragedy. He wanders off into exile and, as is often the case in such stories, finds truth and meaning elsewhere and returns to regain his lost honor.

The plot is simple, but hardly bad. It's merely unoriginal and almost uninspired. However, in a movie like this, the real crime would be if the story were uninspiring. Fortunately, they do manage to present Yuanjia as a person who is not only admired, but almost revered in a religious manner. There is an uncanny strength in Yuanjia, even at his lowest. At the very end, he finds an even greater strength, a higher mastery. Give credit where it is due: despite the thin script, the message is delivered without unnecessarily beating the audience over the head with it.

In a strange paradox, the one scene where the movie seems to become almost too preachy turns out to be one of the most compelling. Some time before Yuanjia's last challenge, one of his opponents - a Japanese fighter named Tanaka - asks to meet with him. Yuanjia agrees, even if he senses something amiss with the entire competition. They meet, drink tea, and have a truly interesting conversation on the nature and purpose of martial arts. There is a simple yet subtle beauty in this sequence, one that hopefully people will not dismiss as mere feel-good banter. In this moment of calm and honest reflection, the true heart of the movie beats.

The rest of the film is adequate - they fill their respective needs and move on quietly. The cinematography is energetic but never confusing. The set design accurate, but never overwhelming or distracting. The score moving, but never truly memorable. Yet, despite all appearances, this is more than your average martial arts film. It never reaches the depth and texture of Hero or the mesmerizing beauty of Crouching Tiger, but it delivers more than is expected. It is evidence of the genre maturing, or perhaps, finally realizing its true self. Perhaps the martial arts film is finally becoming truly about martial arts and what's behind that fist flying across the screen - what has always been behind that fist - is finally coming to fore.

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Review: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Jan. 29th, 2006 | 01:18 am
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSome stories just won't go away. They refuse to be forgotten, re-emerging from the edge of remembrance, time after time. They incorporate themselves, ever so subtly, into our collective psyche as myth patterns and cycles, as folklore and legend, endless masquerades of allegory and fable. It's been said that there are no new stories, only new ways of telling old ones. The best stories get told the most, repeated in firelight - spoken, sung or rhymed - over and over again.

The Chronicles of Narnia is an old story. And it's a very good one. The beloved fanasty series by C.S. Lewis has been around for more than half a century now. Countless of people have read it in countless editions, or have had it read to them as children. It's a story that has been told over and over again, in more ways than one. Now, the time has finally come when the technology of movie making is able to give this classic believable visual life. However, adapting any story to motion picture is no easy feat. The written word and the moving image are both excellent media, but they have different strengths and weaknesses - they speak to the audience in different ways. In other words, it's a new way of telling an old story.

Director Andrew Adamson really only had the two Shrek films under his belt, but the job of bringing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to the silver screen fell to him. Admittedly, the choice of director was very troubling, but Adamson proved to be a competent director, ably telling the story. However, Adamson seems to lack the visual flair to give this film different layers of meaning. The movie is fair - good, at best. But even as it faithfully stays with the story, it never quite stands up to the pedigree of the original. It's good and exiciting fun, but it is never outstanding, even if it has the makings for a box-office hit.

Fully equipped with amazing visual and special effects, Narnia is a treat for the eyes. From swashbuckling centaur to ravening wolves to the truly impressive lion Aslan, the inhabitants of Narnia are magically believable. This is really no surprise coming from Weta Workshop, the effects and design team behind The Lord of the Rings. Once again, they bring a visual depth to a film that adds more dimension and texture than the movie could ever really hope to show. They worked for years before the actual filming began, in order to create the visuals for the movie, to create Narnia on earth. New Zealand plays host to another fantasy classic, proving to be the most fitting locale in which to drop the cast pretending to be in Narnia.

Mostly comprised of unknowns, the cast handled their roles well. The veterans in the crew were fairly standard in their briliance. Jim Broadbent and Liam Neeson are always good, and their performances here are no different. Tilda Swinton must be given due recognition for a fine performance as the White Witch. She manages to make her fascinatingly inhuman without overplaying it. She is temptress, wicked queen, sorceress and blood-thirsty valkyrie in the same character, always staying within her character's identity and being. Swinton stands out, moreso than Neeson, who got the most famous role in all of Narnia. With Neeson playing so many sagacious roles, it becomes difficult at times to hear Aslan instead of Liam Neeson. On the other hand, Swinton's Witch is a scene-stealer despite the failure of the film to present her as a true force of evil until the very last battle. Swinton gives Jadis life and makes her a threat, but the audience has to believe that she is a power even before she amasses an army on the plains of Narnia.

The battle is the centerpiece of the film, and it is the most impressive part. While it wasn't truly elaborated on in the original text, the filmmakers expand on it and give it a realistic sense of strategy. Unfortunately, the rest of the film could have used some more elaboration. A sense of geography and distance seemed to be missing. Getting from one place to another seemed too quick and easy to give Narnia believability as an actual place. The power and tyranny of the White Witch seemed terribly underplayed. Even the mystery of Aslan, while it was talked about, was really only given visual power in one short scene (No, it wasn't at the Stone Table).

The film fails in as many points as it succeeds. It is exciting and enjoyable, but it is also never gripping nor challenging. As an adaptation, it is impressively faithful to the original tale, but fails to make the same impact as the story that inspired it. Could it be that it was too faithful? A strange reversal to the trend of adapting to film stories from other media. The film might have benefited from a few more minutes to flesh out the details, to add more texture and depth. The book worked so well because it operated on different levels of meaning, even when in the form of a fairytale. The film ultimately fails to hit the right mark because, while it remains true to the original story, it doesn't quite succeed in its telling.

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Best of the Year: Sin City

Jan. 25th, 2006 | 06:31 pm
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt hits like a shotgun blast square in the chest. It rumbles across the screen like a muscle car from hell, all smoke and gunfire, slick black against the black of night. Like nothing seen or heard before, Sin City smashed its way to the box office and shocked audiences with violence, nudity and an undeniably compelling narrative. Sin City is an exercise in excellent style over great story, more pulp wet dream than noir renaissance that never rings hollow or boring. It's a demo reel for the future of digital filmmaking, bringing to life possibilities hinted at in films like Sky Captain and Star Wars. This is the future, and it's here now in all it's blood-soaked glory.

Frank Miller, writer of the Sin City graphic novels and co-director of the movie, probably never thought his noir-styled stories would ever make it to the big screens. He didn't want them to, in fact. After studio interference made a hash job of his scripts for RoboCop 2 & 3, Miller vowed to never allow his material to be subject to Hollywood story doctors. More than a decade passed from when the first part of the then-serialized tale starring Marv came out, more than a decade before Robert Rodriguez entered the picture.

Rodriguez, director of Desperado and Spy Kids, has always been known more for his stylish and energetic visuals than the quality of his stories. Retaining some of that independent film spirit (his indie hit El Mariachi is what got him all the attention in the first place), he films stories out of his own head, choosing to follow his imagination, his vision. His films are infectiously energetic and entertaining, though, filled with the exuberant energy of a child first discovering the wonders of the home video. Like any child with dreams of making a movie out of his favorite story, Rodriguez dreamed of making Sin City.

But you can't dream of making Sin City into a movie without Frank Miller's approval. Rodriguez presented Miller with a short film - one based on a Sin City short. The result (which actually makes the final cut of the film as the prologue) mimicked the comic book so completely that Miller not only allowed Rodriguez to start filming, but was on set for the entire shoot, and even wrote an all-new sequence to end the film. Miller was so involved in the project - from using the graphic novel as storyboards to giving direction and writing new material - that Rodriguez wanted to credit him as a co-director, a move the Director's Guild of America refused to allow. Rodriguez resigned from the Guild to keep Miller as part of the directing credit and, in an almost surreal turn of events, brought in Quentin Tarantino to direct a portion of the film.

From the directors to the cast, Sin City was shaping up to be the project of a lifetime. Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Benicio del Toro, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Michael Madsen, Nick Stahl, Rutger Hauer, Elijah Wood and Michael Clarke Duncan are a few names from the huge cast. Particularly deserving of note is Mickey Rourke. It's his portrayal of Marv in the first third of the movie that sells the entire film. Rourke's Marv is a beast, a strong man of superhuman ability yet strangely vulnerable, struggling to discern reality from the fog of his own confused mind. He earns sympathy and fear, as a lost child, a lover looking for revenge and a brutal killer. Mickey Rourke incorporates all of these into his performance, easily making Marv into the most compelling and charismatic character in a city full of characters.

Weaving three stories into one movie, the cast of characters was bound to be large. Fortunately, only a few of them truly required much screen time to flesh out - the characters are characters, comic book and film noir archetypes filtered through Miller's sensibilities. They exist not to tell their own stories (though I'm sure they have their own) but merely to participate in the plot, to add texture, to tell this story. Not in any way disposable, they're all part of the style, the smoke and mirrors, dreams to populate a dream city - or nightmares in a broken reflection of our world.

Basin City seems less designed to reflect our world that it is to evoke particular clichés. It's hard to place it in a particular time or era, becoming instead a nexus for different periods, each brought to bear for particular purposes. The landscape seems modern, perhaps for the post-indsutrial grit and grime, for the jagged skylines and dirty backalleys. The vehicles and dialogue seem drawn out of the Prohibition Era, at the height of gangster activity. It's a constructed film, right down to the color palette. The color isn't merely drained away from the picture - it's repainted in black and white. It's not just filming a scene or capturing something on film; it is rebuilding and reconstructing the scene, bit by bit, to create something that cannot be replicated on the actual set. Countless of hours must have been saved by filming it digitally and eliminating the film scanning process. Digital effects could be applied to the footage with previously-unthinkable ease, allowing for more time to fine-tune that all-important look. Like the best that film noir has to offer, the darkness is Sin City is more than just shadow.

There is much that is dream-like about Sin City - from the anachronistic vehicles and terms, to the flashes of color swimming in and out of the black and white palette, to characters bourne out of our corrupt unconscious. It bobs and weaves through the narrative, skipping back and forth in time, crossing in and out of stories, stitching itself to conclusion. It's gun-shot poetry, spit hot and smoking from the barrel of a gun, moaned through blood-painted lips, sneered through crooked mouths cradling cigars - visceral, violent, snapping live-wire intesity. This is unapologetic fun, bloody violent though it is. Sin City is classic movie magic captured in a bottle of whiskey - the alluring and intoxicating power to take us to new worlds, to show us new vistas. At the frontier edge of filmmaking, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have given us a whole new way to dream our celluloid dreams.

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Review: King Kong (2005)

Dec. 18th, 2005 | 06:56 pm
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPeter Jackson has become the David Lean of our generation. The director of such classics as Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lean was a filmmaker possessed of an epic vision and a keen understanding of humanity. Setting a handful of characters against an epic backdrop, Lean brought to focus what made them tick, what made them human, all their flaws and charms reflected in their milieu. Despite being overshadowed in profits by the huge blockbusters of the following decades, no one has had more critical and commercial success with the movie epic than David Lean.

Peter Jackson tapped into some of that David Lean magic with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He taps into it again with King Kong.

The first thing you’ll notice about this King Kong is how much Jackson loved the original. There is an astounding amount of effort put into this film to create a sense of magical realism, to build for the story a fictional place in history and time. New York here exists as if it could really have existed, as well as existing in some dream-space in a corner of Jackson’s mind. More compelling is Skull Island, a myth-in-a-myth location that rumbles with danger and wonder at every turn. No wonder its inhabitants seem to be locked in a state of frenzy and shock: they live among legends and gods.

And the gods look amazing. Dinosaurs and other gigantic creatures stalk the island, all computer creations from Weta Digital. They lumber and roar and hunt like you want them to. I’m not entirely sure about their scientific accuracy, but the T-Rex’s of Skull Island are about as mean as their reputation – ill-deserved or not. Kong, however, is the centerpiece of this whole production, and he is – by leaps and bounds – the most impressive digital creation here. Most of the credit must be due to Andy Serkis, the performer who brought Gollum to life. His is a complicated Kong, both surprisingly human and savagely bestial. Instead of creating a human mind trapped in an animal form, Serkis seems to interpret Kong as a beast suddenly discovering how human he can be, suddenly aware of something more than instinct.

There is something special about Kong (aside from being a 25-foot tall ape), and we see it through Naomi Watts’ radiant blue eyes. I’ll admit to being a huge fan of Ms. Watts, and I suppose more people will, too, after seeing this movie. Jackson imbues her with an easy yet luminous beauty. You might not notice her in a busy street but once you do, you’ll never be able to take your eyes off her. It is her strength and dignity that we come to adore, that allows us to believe that a giant gorilla might fall for her.

The rest of the cast is equally impressive. Adrien Brody plays a man of words who runs out of them. Colin Hanks’ young character learns a bitter truth about dreams and dreamers. Jack Black turns in a convincing performance as an obsessive director whose refusal to compromise compromises everything.

Keenly aware of the amount of special effects in this movie, Jackson never loses sight of the humanity in all of the characters. Amidst all the loud noises of the film, the silences are the moments that draw our attention, that remove this film from the rest of the Hollywood big-budget monsters. Kong switches from a furious rage to an almost-embarrassed silence after throwing a tantrum. Literally fallen into the pit, Brody and Black drown in despair and confusion; and as their enemies draw closer, the sound effects fall dead, leaving only a droning score, like the awful hum of absolute silence. And in a pivotal scene near the climax of the film, Kong discovers both love and joy in an alien land. To describe that scene any further is to strip it of its mystery and beauty. You have to see it for yourself.

There is an important line that is repeated in the film, by Jack Black and by Colin Hanks. “There is some mystery left in the world,” Jack Black says, trying to inspire his crew to continue filming. “And we can all have a piece of it for the price of an admission ticket,” Colin Hanks bitterly repeats the second half of the sentence later on. Jackson realizes that as much as film is an art form, it is also a commercial enterprise. There is a fine line between, and it will be crossed over and over again. It takes a lot of skill, care and luck, and a bit of that rare and special magic to pull off the balancing act. In a way, Jackson puts his career and the filmmaking process into the very heart of the movie: the seemingly impossible connection between two opposites becomes reality. His love for the art and his love to entertain the audience both shine through and make his version a shimmering epic, his beloved black-and-white classic reborn to enchant a new generation like the original did the generation previous. Peter Jackson’s King Kong is that rare big-budget Hollywood beast of a film: a monster of startling beauty.

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Monitor Preview: Superman Returns

Dec. 14th, 2005 | 03:14 pm
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI've never been a big fan of Superman. Bulletproof skin, flight, superhuman strength, heat vision, super breath (of all things) - he should be a comicbook fan's dream, the ultimate superhero. But that's what always made him seem so boring. He could practically do anything he wants (even turn back time if you can believe that). You want to see the hero struggle, to see him face near-insurmountable odds and come out ahead, even if by only the skin of his teeth. What could you possibly think up that would pose a challenge to Superman, aside from insanely powerful aliens and the uncanny intellect of Lex Luthor? You can only use the same villain so much before the audience realizes he's not that much of a threat after all.

I won't even go into the previous Superman movies. In fact, in my opinion, the only version of Superman that brought any real depth to the character is the Bruce Timm-animated Superman. And we don't get to see that version too often anymore, with the expanded cast and long breaks between episodes of Justice League Unlimited.

So when rumors of a new Superman movie started circulating, I merely shook my head in disbelief. Why go there again? They've only just started revitalizing the Batman movie franchise, and then they're going to take this huge gamble on a new Superman movie? That franchise never got off the ground, in the first place. Which, looking back, is probably why DC decided to go ahead and do it.

This is their chance to finally do it right (the Smallville reboot doesn't count - that's not Superman). More than Batman Begins, Superman Returns is DC's opportunity to give their movie arm a shot in the, well, arm. Take their biggest hero, the most famous superhero in the world, put him in a high-profile movie with a high-profile director and make it fly. If this works, DC Comics could very well trump every other movie that Marvel Comics has ever done. Yes, including the absolutely amazing Spider-Man 2.

With Bryan Singer on board, it shouldn't be so difficult. With X-men and X2: X-men United, Singer proved he could take on the superhero genre, and make it work for the cinema. His achievements with the X-men movies are even more impressive when you take into account all the years of convoluted continuity that the X-men franchise carries with it. Paring down the history and actually making a brand-new story out of it while staying true to the essence of the characters is a note-worthy feat. Will he be able to do the same for Superman?

The teaser trailer seems to say "yes." The trailer looks and feels like a brand new Superman, while paying tribute to both comic book and film history. There are powerful and evocative images, my personal favorite being the one shown above: Superman floating in mid-air, the golden light of the sun breaking through the clouds. In that one image, in those couple of seconds, Bryan Singer gave us an image of Superman that captures everything that makes him such an enduring character. He has all of these amazing powers that allow him to do what no mortal man ever could, and yet he is utterly and terribly alone. In that one image, Bryan Singer showed us the key elements for making a good Superman story.

Now, I'm not about to sing the praises of a movie that is still months away from release. There are huge question marks on this movie. It's been reported that the movie will hold the first four films in continuity, and i'm not entirely sure that's a good idea. Batman Begins razed the franchise to the ground in order to resurrect it. And then there's Superman himself, Brandon Routh. Will he be able to step up to the challenge and play a convincing Man of Steel? Not many people, myself included, have seen his previous work so we have nothing to go on. There are still a lot of things that could go very wrong for this movie. But you do have to admit it's becoming pretty exciting.

If there's ever been a right time to make another Superman movie, this is it. Comic book movies have been doing well at the box-offices. Certainly, the current technology of special effects allows filmmakers of today to create digital images not possible ten years ago. Over at DC Comics, they've already brought the Golden Age Superman back in the biggest comics event in twenty years, Infinite Crisis. With some corporate restructuring and a brand-new logo, DC is making a serious push for a larger multimedia presence. The time is right. Now, more than ever, this looks like a job for Superman.

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A Formal Welcome

Dec. 13th, 2005 | 08:27 am
posted by: monitor_eye in _monitor_

Welcome to Monitor, a Livejournal community dedicated to intelligent discussion on film. Try not to take that too seriously. This is a venue for a more critical look at the films we love and enjoy, and even hate, but none of us here pretend to be film scholars or theorists. We're all just fans of cinema, but we'd like to discuss them with a little more depth, a little more focus, a little more effort.

So, sit back and watch the screen...

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