Tag Archives: reboot

4 Reasons Why You Should Watch Ghostbusters 

I’m going to watch Ghostbusters tonight and I am crazy excited. Here’s why I can’t wait to see it in the theatre, and why I think you should shell out the money to watch it there too.

1. It will piss off the misogynists spewing their garbage all over the Internet

As you may have heard, the trailer for this year’s Ghostbusters reboot was the most downvoted video of all time. Even though every woman knows not to read the comments on any video containing a woman, I thought I’d take a look just to see what was rising to the top. I was treated to comments like these,

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 7.51.23 PM.png

This, along with the general sentiment that “any reboots staring women couldn’t be good,” was the first strike that got me excited to watch the movie. Mostly, I was just feeling spiteful towards the internet trolls who teamed up with the goal of making this movie suffer. Continue reading

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In With the Old [And In With the New]: The Silver Lining of Intertextuality

Last Friday I asked you all to watch a short video on the concept of intertextuality, which provides the basis for this week’s post.

While Nerdwriter1, the YouTuber responsible, initially describes the device as “something in a text, in this case a movie, that is shaped by another text” he later goes a step further in making the term distinct from mere allusion. Contemporary intertextuality, which he refers to as being “weaponized”, is defined as:

“objects, people or situations explicitly meant to trigger an emotional response”

To use my own visual example, successful intertextuality results in a combination of:

and

Being able to recognize and understand the reference is important, but equally essential is having that recognization elicit feelings, whether they be of awe, or joy, or pleasant surprise. Simply identifying a shot in a film as the replication of a comic book panel matters most if you care[d] about that original work. Continue reading

Is It Time To Stop Reading Shakespeare?

I never really liked Shakespeare.

Never hated the guy, mind you- downright enjoyed a few of his plays (The Tempest, Coriolanus, Hamlet). Still, I never really could bring myself to relish the bard’s works with the same zealous enthusiasm of the drama geeks and English majors.

With that in mind, you might spare me perhaps a little of the horrified gasping when I ask:

Is it time to stop reading Shakespeare?

And I ask that with all sincerity. I’ve made no secret about my general dislike of the theater and the culture surrounding it, but I’m not here to talk about those guys.

You know the type. Melodramatic airheads who’ll actually only refer to this as “the Scottish play”…

I’m talking about the actual works of William Shakespeare here.

Why still read ’em?

After all, with every passing year, we drift further and further away from those stories. In spite the film industry churning out one or two adaptations or modernizations of Shakespeare’s plays, there’s only so many ways to re-imagine Romeo and Juliet.

Continue reading

The Heroes Effect

Nobody would blame you for not remembering Heroes. The show’s stint at the top was so short and its tailspin into oblivion was so swift and violent that it’s once glorious reputation and critical acclaim has almost been obscured entirely.

“Eclipsed”, if you will…

For those of you unfamiliar, let me offer a quick recap.

Heroes followed a number of seemingly unrelated people who, in the days following a solar eclipse, find that they’ve developed superpowers. As they struggle to cope with their new abilities, their storylines begin to entwine as the looming threat of destruction, along with a mysterious and sinister figure, approaches.

The show’s total simplicity made it both accessible to a wide audience (especially one that wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves comic book/superhero fans) and further made the show easy to follow, even with its large cast of characters. That large cast in turn meant that most everyone would have someone they’d be able to relate to, and kept the episodes moving along at a decent pace with no real room for boredom. And all of that went out the window.

Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S2E18 “And Not-So-Sweet Charity”: A TV Review

This is late because I work now, so sorry about that.

I feel like I have more to write about than usual this week [unfortunate, since I’m a little late to this review due to my having a job now], so let’s get right into it. To summarize this episode in a sentence, Max and Caroline have not been paying their rent and are being forced to sell their property to a real estate corporation; not wanting to do so the two go to Caroline’s makeup mogul Aunt Charity to ask for some . . . financial help.

The first topic I wanted to delve into a little bit was the show’s humour, not in how it chooses the easy route on almost every joke but how it seeks to push the bar in its content. For example: a semen joke eight seconds into the episode. Co-creator and executive producer Michael Patrick King said that he “[considers] our jokes really classy dirty [ . . . ] they’re high lowbrow.” While the show has largely steered away from the rampant rape jokes which cropped up multiple times per episode int he first season, they certainly haven’t stopped walking, and often crossing, the line between “classy dirty” and dirty.

Take Max’s joke about how bubblegum flavoured lip gloss [which was wearing when she had her first kiss] helped to get her an A in class. It’s no secret that her character has slept around a lot, for little to no reason, but hinting at a minor [I’m sure her first kiss was before the age of 18] locking lips with a teacher is uncomfortable at best. A few minutes later she likes a tube of lipstick to a dog penis.

“How much is too much?” is a question that Gordon and I discussed once in regards to stand-up comedy, and we came to the conclusion that edgy humour is only as good as what its meant to accomplish. In the case of 2 Broke Girls that’s apparently to elicit cheap laughter. As far as I can tell, I mean. This has never been a laugh-out-loud show, but it’s Max’s snarkiness [as overbearing as it is at times] and not her disregard in screening her sexual partners that drew me to her to begin with. 2 Broke Girls may be trying to brand itself as an edgy comedy à la Family Guy, but needs to ask itself if they can continue to counterbalance that with the heartfelt moments they’ve been trying to inject into the show.

As a final note on the show’s humour, Aunt Charity had the upper two layers of her skin removed to look two years younger, which actually made me queasy just looking at her. Physical gross-out humour may be something 2 Broke Girls is thinking about adding more regularly in stretching the limits, which is a decision I’m currently unsure about. After all, one of my favourite episodes was the eighth one of this season, where Caroline yanks a needle out of her arm and proceeds to spurt blood all over the walls of an egg donation clinic.

Finally on to what was the biggest moment for me. So I’ve been writing about what the point of the  “Current Total” and it’s accompanying ka-ching at the end of each episode for a while, so imagine my surprise when I saw it change so drastically in this episode.

Caroline coerces her aunt into signing over $25,000 to cover what the real estate corporation says they’ll need to keep the property, but finds out later that the cheque doesn’t clear because taking advantage of drug-addled relatives [Charity was on morphine lollipops to dull the pain of not having a face] isn’t exactly an ethical business practice. Then her and Max sign over the store.

All of the first season was leading up to “Max’s Homemade Cupcakes,” and suddenly we realize that the girls are starting over from scratch, especially since Max declares that they have just enough money to pay back everyone they’ve borrowed from. Soon after a little bit of curious greenscreen work in the windows behind Caroline’s head is explained when a car crashes through one of their walls. It looked pretty realistic, too.

The “New Total” leaves the girls with a single dollar to their names and us as an audienec wondering what exactly is next for them. This is a hard reboot of the status quo, though there are hints by both Charity and the real estate woman [who was deaf, by the way] that maybe starting out smaller is the way to go.

Whatever happens with the rest of this season, I have to give 2 Broke Girls my grudging respect for reigniting my interest and curiosity in the show.

onedolla

Stray Observations:

  • The audience was going bonkers over Sophie today, and she wasn’t even really doing anything. Maybe an exec decided to re-send the memo that she’s supposed to be this generation’s Kramer.
  • Han has been very into memes lately. “Ermahgerd!”
  • “It’s obvious! She’s obsessed with her brother and she saw your being born as his love being taken away from her.” Morphine lollipops make Max smarter. 
  • The greenscreening was particularly suspicious in that is showed an actual street outside their window, and was actually filmed against a wall I don’t think they ever showed prior to this episode. Which leads me to wonder if they’d planned a car crashing into it from the beginning, which I hesitate to believe if only because I don’t think they have that much foresight.
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: I feel like CBS is forcing me to eat my words when I assumed that they were having the two girls show more skin to draw in viewers. Not much to report here, once again.

Apocalypse Wow

There is, if sources are to be believed, going to be a rebooted Left Behind movie coming out sometime next year.

Your reaction should be as follows:

If it isn’t, then you probably aren’t familiar with the series (and should count yourself truly fortunate), so for you blissfully innocent, here’s the basic run-down.

The Left Behind series is based on the book of Revelation in the Bible, as well as certain (delectably) apocalyptic verses in Old Testament books. I say “based on”, but that’s more to demonstrate the authors’ intentions. Left Behind is “based on” the book of Revelation in the same way that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is based on Vasari’s biographies of Italian Renaissance artists.

In the sixteen-novel series, all true (cough, Protestant, cough) Christians have been “raptured” (removed from the world and taken directly to the after life), leaving behind the unsaved protagonists of the story who find themselves contending with the oncoming “tribulations” (the host of hardships and catastrophes marking the end times) and the rise of the antichrist, who walks the earth in the form of a Romanian politician who takes control of the UN (because, you know, there’s no one more powerful than the UN).

Things more powerful than the UN:
The Student Government of MLK Jr. Middle School,
A Junior Sales Rep from Prescott Pharmaceuticals,
Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua

Needless to say, I don’t think very highly of the series. But hey, if we’re looking for badly written fan-fiction, why not haul Twilight to the guillotine?

It’s because of the fan part. That’s what really gets me. We’re not talking about someone fawning over the idea of stalker-veggie-sparkle-vampires, we’re talking about someone fawning over the idea of millions- billions– of human beings undergoing agonizing deaths. Think I’m reading into things? Take a look at this passage from the series:

The riders not thrown leaped from their horses and tried to control them with the reins, but even as they struggled, their own flesh dissolved, their eyes melted, and their tongues disintegrated. As Rayford watched, the soldiers stood briefly as skeletons in now-baggy uniforms, then dropped in heaps of bones as the blinded horses continued to fume and rant and rave.

Seconds later the same plague afflicted the horses, their flesh and eyes and tongues melting away, leaving grotesque skeletons standing, before they too rattled to the pavement.

You might say “Sure, that’s violent, but that isn’t exactly glorifying it, is it?”. Let me continue on.

…Jesus nudged His magnificent white charger and descended to the top of the Mount of Olives.

As He dismounted, Carpathia shrieked out his final command, “Attack!” The hundred thousand troops followed orders, horsemen at full gallop firing, foot soldiers running and firing, rolling stock rolling and firing.

And Jesus said, in that voice like a trumpet and the sound of rushing waters, “I AM WHO I AM.”

At that instant the Mount of Olives split in two from east to west, the place Jesus stood moving to the north and the place where the Unity Army stood moving to the south, leaving a large valley.

All the firing and the running and the galloping and the rolling stopped. The soldiers screamed and fell, their bodies bursting open from head to toe…

So much for turning the other cheek, eh?

And here’s what gets me about the series. It’s not the generally bad writing or the twisted theology- it’s just how freakishly popular the series is. Popular enough not to spawn just one movie attempt, but two. It’s hard enough for good stories to get a second chance at something like that, let alone this junk. And it’s the implication of that popularity which gnaws at me. There are people out there- a lot of people- who genuinely look forward to this supposed apocalyptic scenario, or an apocalyptic scenario, anyhow. People who fully expect the end of the world to be a plague and hellfire ridden Armageddon, complete with WWIII and genocide of unheard of proportions. People who look forward to this- and not in a “in the sweet by and by” way, I’m talking about a “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” kind of way.

You can’t deny that this blood-thirsty anticipation does exist. If you’re even only vaguely familiar with the Christian (American-Christian, more on that in a second) subculture, you’ll almost have certainly run into this. There’s plenty of other lousy Armageddon fantasies out there.

And what makes it all the worse is just how utterly undeserved all this hidden vitriol is. This vengeful glee isn’t coming from people who have been mercilessly persecuted for their faith. This isn’t coming from the families of martyrs or the congregations of assassinated priests and pastors in the third world. The churches of Africa, Asia, and South America have enough problems combating war, poverty, and disease to be drooling over prophesied war, poverty, and disease. No, this is the bitter vindictiveness that only comfort and safety can breed. All this body-bursting leering isn’t a result of imprisonment (not that it would be justified there either), it’s a result of being snubbed by Bill Maher or portrayed as yokels on some sitcom.

That’s just messed up.

Now this isn’t Shame Day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all gather ’round and ruthlessly mock something that so richly deserves it, and if this drivel doesn’t deserve it, I don’t know what does.

Aaron Diaz: Has a Lot of Opinions About DC

If you peruse the website ComicsAlliance daily, like I do, then you’ve stumbled upon the increasingly controversial work of webcomic artist Aaron Diaz.

Starting in early October, with his post on tumblr Rebooting the Justice League!, Diaz has gone from being the creator of webcomic Dresden Codak to becoming the supposed saviour of the comic book industry. Featuring his own personal take on DC’s super hero team, he redesigned everything from costumes to origins.

This spawned a few other posts, such as Rebooting DC’s Villains!, in which he recreates the Legion of Doom as the “Secret Society,” and Rebooting Batman!, where the Caped Crusader is recreated to fit his new alternative DC canon [his earlier incarnation of the Dark Knight can be seen here]. Beginning with his take on the Justice League, each post has been featured on Comics Alliance, much to the delight/irritation of its readers.

Diaz states clearly that his reboots were spawned by DC’s own “New 52” [which I discussed, in part, here]. Their new designs for Starfire and Harley Quinn, in particular, were targeted in their elevation of sex appeal over utility. Diaz gets downright aggressive in his post DC Comics Reboots Dresden Codak!, where he imagines what it would be like if the company redesigned his own webcomic.

As you can see above, the female characters are overly curvaceous and barely dressed, while the men are very obviously the same male body type with different costumes and hair colour. While a point is being made satirically, he single-handedly slams the work of an entire publishing company instead of the individual artists or writers responsible for the designs he dislikes.

As one would expect, the comments on his tumblr consist almost entirely of praise for his work. One particular question asks “Can you just, like, take over DC and make this happen for reals? These redesigns actually look like superheroes I WANT to read about.” On his Justice League reboot Stephanie Charette admits that “I have never before commented on anyone’s Tumblr, but I must. This is what the comic’s industry needs to do. THIS. THIS. THIS.”

Leaving his tumblr for more balanced opinions, the comments on his features on ComicsAlliance provide a happy medium between blind adoration and outright disdain. Paying no heed to the ones about the rate he updates his comic [which is neither here nor there], there are comments which were written calmly and logically.

On one of ComicsAlliance’s latest features, Aaron Diaz’s ‘Tales of the Uncomfortable’ Takes a Halloween Look at Harley Quinn, a commenter states that “The message of DC has been beaten like a dead horse (particularly on this site) and I really don’t know what else to say anymore.” Thankfully someone else does, and they bring up a post on the tumblr of webcomic artist Amanda Lafrenais. The commenter even pulls a direct quote:

And I REALLY enjoyed, save for minor nitpicks, Aaron Diaz’s redesigns, criticisms and praise of costumes. However his newest post on the subject about cleavage and crimefighting kind of made me wanna talk about it. A friend pointed out that, yes baring your breasts is very impractical in fighting. But so are capes. And spandex. And having no padding or armor.

In her post Lafrenais goes on to push the idea that costumes aren’t really intended to be realistic [their utility further broken down by Edna Mode]. While she admires what Diaz has done, she implores artists not to “take the fun away,” and that there is a point where “practicality ends and fantasy begins.” Even though her post doesn’t address part of what Diaz is railing against, the overt sexualization of women, she does attempt to soften the extreme logic from which many of his designs were birthed.

On a personal note, I liked many of his redesigns, particularly his take on Batman and Robin. Conversely, I strongly disliked  some of his ideas, primarily taking Gorilla Grodd and making him more “Planet of the Apes” than “Mighty Joe Young.” The man has some great ideas [their originality contested by many commenters on ComicsAlliance], and he aims for a creative revitalization of the industry, which I can agree with.

My issue would be with the apparent bitterness his work gives off. His reboots were all well and good, but his portrayal of DC rebooting his own characters was unnecessary and extreme. I can understand in part why he’s doing what he’s doing, but he could cut down on the vitriol.

Lastly, I was very confused with a particular question I read on his tumblr. When a reader asked if he would be willing to redesign the entire DC universe, similar to what Marvel did with Brian Michael Bendis and their Ultimate line, Diaz responded with “I’d do it, and only if they paid me five times whatever Marvel pays Bendis.” I’m unsure as to whether he meant it sardonically, or if he actually believes he deserves five times the money Bendis does. Either way, I found it difficult to take.

Tune in next Thursday, when I write on Christopher Bird, aka “Mightygodking” [or “MGK” for short]. His titular blog is one of my all-time favourites, and his opinions on comics [and one character in particular] are deserving of some exploration. Particularly when viewed opposite of those of Aaron Diaz.

[follow-up post can be read here]