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Strictly Speaking 4/06/2009

wmd_arcee_copy.jpgThis week in Strictly Speaking, we’ll check what is under the latest Autobot’s hood. Then, we’ll remind Iron Man to hit his weekly AA meeting. Continuing with Marvel movie news, we’ll look at all the problems surrounding the Wolverine movie. And we’ll learn why none of them are the reason it will suck. Finally, we’ll get up to speed with the new/old Flash.

Merge To Form Devastator!!

So, in movie news this past week, a list of Autobots and Decepticons appearing in the upcoming Transformers sequel was announced.

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Ravage...bad kitty

Among the notables are the Constructicons, (Scavenger, Scrapper, Hightower, Rampage, Longhaul, Overload and Mixmaster), Jetfire and Arcee. The Constructicons are notable because they were the first series of characters from the franchise who actually didn’t just transform into vehicles, but they also merged into one big-ass robot. And of course, the delicious irony is that they were all construction vehicles that turned into a dude called Devastator, whose sole purpose was to fuck shit up.

I never had the Constructicons, but a buddy of mine did. When I saw the utter pride in his eyes at merging these toys into one, I realized I would never share his joy. Because I recall thinking: “well, there goes the whole Robots in Disguise gig.” I mean, Devastator was just around to fuck shit up. A giant robot that fucks shit up. Nah, that’s totally inconspicuous.

But he also had Jetfire, and I was totally jealous of Jetfire. Why? Not because he was the first Autobot who turned into something other than an automobile. Rather, because he was totally ripped off from Robotech’s veritech fighter. And I loved me some damn Robotech. At the time, I recall wanting a Veritech that I could hurl at shit without breaking. And this muthafucka was diecast metal. Fully articulated. Fully bad-ass. And Transformers just ripped his ass off wholesale.

Unfortunately, legality prevailed and they had to change Jetfire’s design. He’s never looked even remotely as awesome since. But apparently in the movie, Jetfire will be a Decepticon who switches sides.

She's got a hemiFinally, there’s Arcee. Why is Arcee important? Because she’s a girl-robot. And because she transforms into a motorcycle that other characters can totally ride. When Arcee was first introduced, she turned into some sort of hovercar or some shit, but I was pretty sure that the guys behind the series were all 8 year old boys. Because having the only chick in the show turn into something that everyone can ride is awesome in a way that only 8 year old boys can understand.

But 20 or so (emphasis on the “or so”) years later, Arcee becomes interesting for another reason. Oh, it’s still awesome that she can be ridden, don’t get me wrong. But now, her existence means robots have sex. Now, this is simple logic, of course. There’s no need for robots to have any sort of sexual identity, because…I don’t care how smart the fuck they are, robots don’t get down like that.

Normally.

But remember, these muthafuckas are a race of living robots. So most of the robot rules we embrace in Earth science are out the door. They aren’t built by some dipshit engineer who’s never watched enough sci-fi to realize you don’t build robots that can think. Instead, they…reproduce. You know…they get it on. Barry White style.

arcee_copy.jpgDon’t mistake me, I’m not saying Arcee is a sexy-fine bitch that I wanna hump. All those angles and steel plates and shit…unpalatable. But I am saying it’s possible that Optimus Prime will get his stroll on. Or maybe Bumblebee can finally get some action instead of Shia LeBouf and Megan Fox.

And it also means that it really was that awkward when Shia and Fox started making out on Bumblebee’s hood.

Also…if Transformers have sexual identity, does that mean there are also gay Transformers? I mean, sure, there are folks out there who already think the entire concept of the Transformers is a little gay. But it puts a whole new spin on cross-dressing. More than Meets the Eye, folks. That’s all I’m sayin’.

 

Iron Man Still Drinks Responsibly

Hand me that fortyIt seems the Iron Man movie franchise is gonna stay away from the “Demon in a Bottle” storyline for a while longer. According to Silas Lesnick at splashpage.mtv.com:

Fans were anxious earlier this years when news broke of the films (I kid you not) toilet design, and knowing that the film will open to Iron-vomiting caused many of to speculate that the blockbuster’s follow-up might go for the famous alcoholism storyline, "Demon in a Bottle," which originally appeared in "Iron Man" issues #120-128 in 1979.

When asked if the film was based on this famous story arc, Downey told MTV News, "Not really."

"As a matter of fact, I think that’s probably best saved," said Downey, " because it’s such its own storyline."

This matches Jon Favreau’s thoughts last year that, while "Demon in a Bottle" may come one day, it doesn’t need to be in "Iron Man 2". Hopefully, Downey has quite a few "Iron Man" films ahead of him

It probably is too early for that storyline, I suppose. It will certainly add some darkness to the movie franchise, and I think it probably still needs time to stand on its feet before it’s worked over by such a dark character arc. It will be that much more anticipated when they do include it in the movies. And I’m certain Downey’s got a wealth of personal experience to bring to the alcoholism storyline.

I just hope that the Iron Man franchise will hold up beyond its sophomore effort.

 

The Origin of Wolverine’s Problems

wolv002.jpgIt seems like this movie just can't catch a break. I mean, you sorta wonder exactly what the fuck has gone wrong at Fox that it let an early print slip out, almost intact.

But according to Rick Marshall and splashpage.mtv.com, Fox Studios head Tom Rothman says the pirated print is totally not representative of the flick.

"The version that went out is unfinished. It’s about 10 minutes shorter, doesn’t have key scenes, it wasn’t edited, and none of the effects shots were in any remotely final form," Fox Chairman Tom Rothman told EW. "It’s a complete misrepresentation of the film and is deeply unfair to the people who have worked on it for years."

The interview with Rothman goes on to name an Australian special effects company suspected of leaking the film (the company has publicly denied anything to do with the leak), with the studio exec acknowledging that the incident is indicative of a post-production process that is far less secure than anyone realized.

Well, that’s good to know. Except scifiwire’s reporting something a little different about the leak:

An Australian visual effects company that worked on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, meanwhile, said Thursday it was not responsible for leaking a full-length work print online, though the company's name—Rising Sun Pictures—appears in a caption dated March 2 a few minutes into the high-quality leaked copy, the Associated Press reported.

"As we worked on individual sequences within the film, neither Rising Sun Pictures [nor] its staff members have ever been in possession of a full-length version, so it would have been impossible for the movie to have been leaked from here," Rising Sun Pictures chairman and co-founder Tony Clark said in a statement posted on the company's Web site Thursday.

So, is Rothman blaming Rising Sun despite their protestations? I mean, should Fox really be so quick on the trigger when it’s obviously got its own problems? Let’s take a look at what iesb.net has to say:

From 20th Century Fox:

"We’ve just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a freelance columnist who writes Fox 411 on Foxnews.com – an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox -- watched on the internet and reviewed a stolen and unfinished version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This behavior is reprehensible and we condemn this act categorically -- whether the review is good or bad."

Update from News Corp 4/4/09:

"Roger Friedman’s views in no way reflect the views of News Corporation. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. Once we learned of Roger Friedman’s post we asked Fox News to remove it, which they did immediately."

Well that sucks, I guess. But at least they fired the guy, according to Nikki Finke at www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com:

Roger Ailes, who oversees Fox News, initially deleted the review and then fired the author, freelancer Roger Friedman. Ailes was quoted as saying:

"He promoted piracy. He basically suggested that viewing a stolen film is OK, which is absolutely intolerable. So we fired him,"

Gaaaawwwwwddamn. This is a whole lot of shit for a movie that ain’t even come out yet. I mean, if the lines of post-production are so unsecured, I wonder why we’re not seeing full illegal releases of a hell of a lot more films. But nah, it couldn’t be due to the fact that Fox needs to look to its own house before telling anyone else they need to get their shit together. Could it?

I haven’t seen the print, because I’m not the sort of muthafucka who breaks the law.

Usually.

Okay, well, not anymore. I mean, those pig farmers couldn’t prove anything.

But a lot of folks did download the flick, and they posted amateur reviews. I’m not gonna post any of that shit here, but they kinda lead me to a conclusion: it seems the problems of the movie don’t really have anything to do with unfinished special effects or some nebulously absent ten minutes of footage.

It seems to me it’s just a dumb-ass flick.

Hell, with the totally legal advertisements that have already aired, I decided I wasn’t dropping cash on this flick. I don’t need an illegal print of the movie to tell me what I already have decided. I still can’t get past the Deadpool nonsense, or the fact that Sabertooth is the dude from CSI.

And I got no sympathy for Tom Rothman, who all but assured two things: that we got a shitty X3 flick, and that Bryan Singer would have no other options but to make a shitty Superman flick. This whole travesty couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Well, technically it did, since Hugh Jackman is reportedly heartbroken by this whole affair. I really feel sorry for the guy, because he seems like such a cool dude. It’s not his fault the movie sucks.

At least…I don’t think it is…

 

Flash Back

flash-rebirth_small.jpgAs if it weren’t sufficient to have comic book movies punching your childhood in the balls, now the comics themselves are punching your childhood in the balls. Only this time, you fuckin’ love it.

Geoff Johns spoke on Flash: Rebirth in an interview with CBR:

CBR: "The Flash: Rebirth" was announced back at Comic-Con International last summer. Are you happy that the first issue is finally out and people can hold it in their hands?

Geoff Johns: Yes. I think the direction and the tone of it is not going to be what some people expect, which is exactly what I want. Barry Allen was a man before his time in a lot of ways. Now is his time.

When it was revealed that Barry Allen was coming back from the dead, it almost broke the internet. Even mainstream media was running the story. Do you consider it an honor to be responsible for his return?

Yes, and it’s a challenge. A lot of readers come with pre-conceived notions and, obviously, this is the most controversial return since Bucky Barnes. But I love The Flash, I love his villains, I love every character behind the lightning so getting back to Flash and the Flash universe and diving back in, I did without hesitation when I finally found the story and the direction.

Barry Allen, the character now, is very different from the Barry Allen of old. He means something different than he did when he was still running around. Everyone has pre-conceived notions of who he is, of what he’s done and what he’s sacrificed. He’s a little removed from everything when he returns, when he first stops for a second, after he finally realizes that he’s still here. He didn’t think his return was permanent and yet he’s still here. He’s wondering where everything goes next. Where does he run? And he sees so many things have moved on. Wally has become his own Flash. There’s a new Kid Flash. The concept and the idea of the Speed Force is not as familiar to him as it is the others. Something is bothering him. There are other forces at work here, things beyond his imagination, that the Flashes are about to face.

I’m sorry…I know a lot of you love Geoff Johns and feel he can do no wrong. I admit, I like some of his work. And I’m damn sure a fan of Ethan Van Sciver. His art sure is pretty.

But come on.

COME ON!!!!

Enough with this slavish goddamn devotion to the past! I mean, sure, I like the past. I got laid a lot more often, and I had a lotta fun with drugs. The past is awesome.

Problem is, the future never will be awesome if we keep looking back to the past for our guiding fuckin’ light. This is the problem with DC. It made these great storylines and characters in the past, but now, can’t seem to do anything unless it’s bringing some dusty fucker back from the grave, or chaining some otherwise new character to any one of a dozen legacies.

I’m just sayin’, you know comics are doomed to continually look backwards for inspiration when it becomes common-place for the professionals to reference other instances of dusty muthafuckas from other companies being brought back from the dead.

I grew up with Barry. Then Barry died. So I continued growing up with Wally. We watched Wally stumble and stagger around as the new Flash. He didn’t hit the ground running. But eventually, he more than filled those track shoes. Is there some comic book law at DC that you can’t ever let the new guy have the spotlight for long?

They did the same with Kyle Rayner. I mean, I always preferred Hal over Kyle, but I was at least willing to give the dude a chance. When Green Lantern: rebirth came out in 2004, courtesy again of Johns and EVS, I suddenly realized that Kyle had been GL for ten years. But we were still seeing stories where he was the rookie; the new guy; the poser. Ten frickin’ years and DC never gave the character the chance to grow beyond “New Guy” status.

That’s some pretty fucked up shit.

And the weird thing is, now that Hal is back from the dead, I can’t stand him. I was stoked for this shit, and now I can’t stand him. Every time he says, “remember fear,” I cringe. I know he’s a bad-ass test pilot who doesn’t back down from anything, but “remember fear”? How in the fuck do you forget fear? Even steely-eyed missile-men like John Glenn were afraid of sucking. That’s just about one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

But I digress. Point is, Wally’s been the Flash even longer than Kyle had been the Green Lantern, but just from the interview, you can already see the move to turn him into second banana Flash. Just like Kyle is a second banana GL. They tried to give Kyle some props by going Ion with him. But that got scrapped in favor of turning yet another old-ass character into Ion. So, now Kyle is slumming over in Green Lantern Corps, which is a book I find much more enjoyable than Green Lantern.

How long will it be before Wally is relegated to being an occasional guest star in what is likely to become Barry’s book? Or worse, hanging out in the old speedsters’ home with Jay Garrick…

Remembering the past is great. But embracing it exclusively is not the way to walk into the future, folks. It’s that fucking simple.

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