I’ve been hearing lately that the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie franchise is going to again be rebooted after the shit show of the Michael Bay era of the reptilian heroes in a half shell. So it sparked me to revisit the original 1990 movie the other night which I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so. I was amazed at how well that movie has aged, seeing it in theaters back in the day I’d enjoyed it but kind of dismissed it as “kid stuff” at the time as my older brother in the 1980’s collected the original indie comic series and I’d had the chance to read them as a kid. If you’re aware of the TMNT early beginnings you’ll remember that it started off as a dark, gritty & violent comic series. I was blown away back then at the sheer oddity of the characters and the equally bizarre story lines of the originals. When I decided to revisit the 1990 TMNT film I’d forgotten just how dark that original movie actually is, especially considering today’s climate of safe moviemaking. The movie is almost closer to an R-rating than it’s original rating of PG. There’s kids smoking & drinking alcohol, robbing people, the foot beating up April O’neil, Raphael beaten into a near coma by The Foot and a badly beaten and bloodied up Splinter strung to a fence. It’s actually a pretty dark and gritty movie with the addition of the comedic surfer dude Turtles to lighten things up.
So currently we’ve got these new “TMNT” flicks, a big bloated Michael Bay produced, soul-less mess of CGI, uninspired storytelling and poor character development. The current franchise just hasn’t been connecting with fans the way they’d hoped, mainly with the amount of money that the films have made. Now they’ve got plans for a brand new reboot and it’s never been more clear just what this franchise needs to do: go old school.
So first off let’s address the obvious big issue, imo the latest Michael Bay era CGI Turtles look terrible. They’re massive 8 foot tall green hulking humanoid turtles with creepy ass faces and not in a good way. Compare the newest incarnations with the very original designs. They couldn’t be more opposite. Even the Turtles of the 1990 movie do essentially look pretty much like what you’d hope for, sure they’ve been made much cuter but they stay fairly true to the original vision. So let’s face the facts, the original designs of the 80’s weren’t broken so why try and modernize them by making them the opposite of what they were intended to look like? Bring back the smaller classic versions of these characters, go simpler with their general design. It’s a lot easier to digest and most definitely not rocket science folks.
Next I’d say you could go the similar route that many movies are taking by making the next movie a direct sequel to the original or at least setting the movie in the late 80s’ or early 90’s, it’s clear people love that era of film today (Stranger Things, IT anyone?). That being said bring back the suits!! Put real actors in real costumes with modern day animatronics the Turtles could look absoluterly mind blowing. The 1990 movie Turtles STILL look great and that was with a micro budget of 13.5 million dollars for the whole damn film. What they could do now would be incredible, we all want to believe that the TMNT are actually living breathing creatures and the latest movies sadly look like fakey cgi rendered cartoon characters inserted into the “real world”.
Lets get real here and let’s keep the budget low, we don’t need a TMNT movie to be on the scale of an Avengers film, we need a smaller more personal, more heartfelt movie with high stakes like the original. Next let’s get some real martial arts, real choreography and some real stunts again. One thing that blew me away revisting the 1990 movie was the actual real on screen martial arts that were displayed, it was pretty amazing actually and I’d love to see something in that vein in a brand new Turtles movie. It’d be like nothing out there in the mainstream that’s for sure. Lastly I’d love to see a darker more serious storyline, of course an “R-rated Turtles” movie would be my first choice, one that evokes the original comics would be absolutely insane. However, I know that’ll never happen so I think at the very least going as dark as the original movie would be more than good enough. Let’s see the Turtles roaming the city streets at night, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and roaming the dank sewers. Bring on the amazing real life set pieces, puppets and crazy creatures once again, I think fans would go bonkers for a throwback style TMNT. However I doubt Hollywood has the courage to try something as unique and inspired as the original movie. What do you think?!
So for the time being I’ve taken a break from buying comic books weekly as they are pretty damn pricey these days and honestly there really weren’t too many titles that really grabbed and made it worth the weekly cash drop. As a huge fan of The Incredible Hulk ever since I was a little kid, I’ve got to admit I do miss reading about the adventures of the “Jade Giant” and really couldn’t get into the whole “Totally Awesome Hulk” stuff. The Banner Hulk was killed off a couple years back and it seemed perhaps that the original green goliath was gone for good (or at least for the time being as no one is ever really dead in Marvel Universe). Well now there’s a new HULK book out called The Immortal Hulk and my curiosity has been sparked as the first issue dropped in June and it’s been referred to as a return to form for the Banner Hulk. I’ll probably wait for the trade but I’ve gotta say this Variant cover by Sal Buscema sure does give me the goosebumps longing for a nostalgic old school Hulk adventure!!!
Now here’s a new crazy looking monster movie that looks pretty damn sweet and totally ready to quench my thirst for those gooey creature features of the 80’s! There’s something about most modern monster movies that just doesn’t cut the cake for me, I’m rarely convinced these days that a CGI creation is much of a threat on screen, as they don’t really look like they’re actually there in the flesh. Rather floating around on a separate computerized layer. So as much as I loved “A Quiet Place” the monsters were probably my least favorite thing about the movie. Give me an 80’s classic like ‘The Thing’, ‘The Blob’, ‘Gremlins’ or even something like “Neon Maniacs” any day of the damn week!
Judging by the new trailer for “Book of Monsters” I might’ve just found the kind of movie I’m looking for. It looks like a long lost 80’s creature feature in the best way possible. The premise sounds like a fun time as well, besides the whole “evil book” thing which might be considered a bit played out at this point, it still looks like a ton of gory fun filled with a lots of old school practical fx monster mayhem.
“Sophie’s 18th birthday party becomes a total bloodbath when six horrific monsters descend upon her home, intent on devouring the party guests and killing anyone who tries to escape their clutches. As her school friends are ripped to shreds and eaten, Sophie must rally a band of misfits and take up arms to send their party crashers back to the depths of hell. To survive the night, Sophie will face her destiny; monsters are real – and she’s the only one who can stop them.”
Check out the trailer, this one’s set to drop on August 25th..
Happpppy HALLOWEEN boys, ghouls and all freaks of nature!! It’s finally here that special day where all things creepy and spooky are considered the norm amongst all other average humans!! Well today we’re going the distance and going to take a look at one of my favorite topics of all time: MONSTERS!! Duh!
So today many will be transforming themselves into creepy creatures of the night and I want to compile the top ten movie “human to monster” transformations of all time!!! Let’s get on with this shit, in no particular order, it’s time to get gross people, because who doesn’t love seeing humans morph into creepy creatures especially on Halloween!!
10. The Howling (1981)
I just NEVER get sick of this awesome werewolf transformation in the Howling! It’s one of the best human to monster transitions of all time, I just love the fact that Dee Wallace watches the whole damn thing instead of getting the fuck outta dodge!! One of the best!
9. The Beast Within (1982)
Check this shit out, one of the best most bizarre transformations for sure! This time though we witness a troubled teenage transform into some sort of bug/human hybrid! Nasty for sure!! Goddamn do I love some good practical fx!!
7. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (2007)
What a damn fine movie, I just can’t get enuff of this one, it’s got awesome practical old school monster fx and even features Robert Englund in one of his best (maybe the best?!) post Freddy movie roles. Better yet Englund transforms into a big ass monster that look’s like Chet’s brother from “Weird Science”!!
6. The Curse 2: The Bite (1989)
Damn I love this flick, it’s a sequel only in name to the ‘Will Wheaton’ movie “The Curse” from a couple years before. It’s a fun movie with some superb extra special fx and a finale that’s worth the wait of the often meandering story. If you’ve never seen this one maybe skip watching this here and just seek out the full movie, this sequence is most of it’s awesome finale…
5. Tales From The Dark Side: The Movie (1990)
The finale story to ‘Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie’ anthology is super awesome and features a totally memorable monster movie transformation! I still feel bad for the dude who didn’t keep his promise, things were just going so damn well in their relationship! Oh well no amount of counseling could have fixed this deep inner relationship issue! It had to come out at some point!
4. The Company of Wolves (1984)
This rad and totally bizarre, sometimes forgotten gem of a werewolf movie, has several awesome transformations in it. However this one is my favorite. The snout out of the mouth is an awesome totally disgusting effect that still awes me every time. I’ve got to re-watch this one again SOON! This freaked me the fuck out as a kid…
3. The Thing (1982)
Here’s a classic! The Norris transformation sequence in The Thing is one of the best most iconic moments in monster movie history! Like it needs any real introduction-here it is again in all it’s gory glory!
2. Black Sheep (2006)
I love this horror comedy and Weta Workshop did an incredible job giving us a totally memorable transformation sequence! The movie is filled with awesome practical fx work and I love the whole “weresheep angle”, if you’ve never seen this indie gem you better check it out asap-it delivers the goods and then some!!
1.An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Considered by most to be the greatest man to monster movie transformation of all time obviously this one needed to be on the list, so here it is one last time for any of you who’ve been living in a damn cave for the majority of your life! Ohhh the pain of it all!!!
Still haven’t had enuff? Me neither-here’s a few more I totally dig!!
Oh and Luke Skywalker as he transforms into a bug in the shitty “Guyver”…still damn cool tho!
Oh and Drew Barrymore’s crazy transformation in the underrated “Doppleganger”!!
God bless Youtube, Here’s a cool one from The Spookies from 1986~!
Cool one from Waxwork II: Lost in Time!
A great one from the criminally underrated 1987 monster extravaganza ‘The Kindred’!!
….and of course this WHOLE damn movie!!
I was such a big X-men fanatic back in the 1980’s! Lets face it they were the most unique super team ever way back then. The only problem was that the comic book was so hot at the time that all of the classic issues featuring the second team were expensive as hell! So as a kid I wasn’t able to afford all the cool Claremont / Byrne stuff. Well lucky for all of us they reprinted all those issues under the title of Classic X-Men! Yep not only did these issues feature incredible brand new back up stories of the our favorite characters in their more “normal” everyday lives but they included brand spankin’ new covers as well!! Here is one of my favorites Classic X-Men #45 drawn by Steve Lightie proving once again that often times keeping a cover simple is often the most effective way to paint an incredible picture!
This issue reprints issue #139, here’s what the original looked like also a great cover by John Byrne:
I’ve been questioning some of the ways comic book artists are doing their “artwork” these days. Lets face it art has changed quite a bit from back when comic books were printed on newsprint and cost a mere sixty cents. Today our comic books cost four bucks and are full of computerized gloss. Hell I’m not even sure what they are printed on is actually real paper. But it got me thinking a lot on just how comic book art is produced these days for the bigger companies out there. It turns out a lot of artist out there are phototracing, meaning gathering photos online, shot from a digital camera or even other artists actual artwork, uploading them onto the computer or light box and tracing them, adding costumes different hair etc.
It seems this trend has a small debate forming on what exactly is real art in comic books these days? Is it real art when Alex Maleev uses a light box to do all of his city back grounds or David Mack tracing pictures of his characters? Or when an artist simply takes some celebrity photos and traces over them giving the characters their likeness? To me I’m a little disappointed to hear that this trend is becoming even more popular these days. I guess you don’t have to spend much time with perspective if you’re merely tracing a photo.
I guess the “Artist” these days has maybe actually become the inker? Don’t get me wrong there’s still good degree of skill and talent needed to make a trace job look real good. People have been photo referencing for years but tracing to me just doesn’t really make the cut. I love for a comic book to look good, heck if the comic has shitty generic artwork (as most do these days is seems) I flat out just won’t buy it.
Art is very important to me when dropping 4 bones a pop on a comic book these days the art and story better be top notch. What do you think? Do you care how the artwork was made in your comic book? Here’s a great video from IFanboy on the great debate of phototracing!
Savage Hulk is a series I have been waiting for a long time and finally yesterday it graced the shelves of comic book shops everywhere. I have been seriously missing me some Hulk by way of new comic books lately. The last few Hulk titles have been pretty forgettable. I usually start off buying the first few issues and then well just don’t really end up giving a shit what happens next. That’s a problem I seem to be running into more and more with Marvel titles these days.
So here we have Savage Hulk #1 which is a pretty decent first issue and pretty cool as it ties in directly with an old X-men / Hulk storyline from 1970. So what we have here is a full on old school Hulk story, which is a breath of fresh air. We’ve got some great artwork as well by veteran artist Alan Davis, a favorite of mine in the 1980’s, which make this book even more legit. We’ve also got the X-Men in their old school 70’s costumes and The Leader in his old purple suit and my favorite look for him, his big long ass head! We also have a great alternate cover by Alex Ross which is downright amazing…
I think this series is headed for some fun, I’m not sure if they’re going to follow the old school story types but I’m kinda hoping they do. There’s a ton of fun in an old school Hulk story that’s been missing from a lot of the current stuff. So I’ll be back for issue #2 as it looks like we’re going to get some Abomination action as well. Savage Hulk is a solid start, but it by no means is gonna blow your mind as the story is very simple as we basically have the Hulk on the run from the Hulkbusters, Professor X determined to help free Banner of The Hulk and The Leader determined to screw up everyone’s plan. It’s also nice because we haven’t over the years really seen the X-men and the Hulk cross paths as much as they should. It also made me realize that The Leader and Professor X are perfect arch rivals, I hope we get to see them square off in a battle of the minds! So Hulk fans go check this one out!
I finally saw Knights of Badassdom last night, a movie that I’ve been waiting to be released for years. It first started filming iway back in 2010. So the question remains, was it worth the long, long wait? You Betcha!! I’ll go ahead right now and say that this flick will easily be taking ranks in my top ten list in 2014. It’s really too bad that this one is getting such a limited release theatrically, because it’s better than half the comedies that are coming out these days and it works incredibly well as a horror movie too. When I first checked it out I wasn’t aware of how much the movie truly dabbled in the horror, genre I thought it was pretty much a straight up comedy, so I was pleasantly surprised when the heads started rolling. Luckily I was able to catch it here in Portland, Oregon in the theater. I tried to see twice over the weekend but both times it was sold out. Finally we bough our tickets online! I was determined!
First though let me say the movie has a great cast, Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau and Steve Zahn who I always love, serve up nonstop laughs from beginning to end. Dinklage has got to be the movie’s main draw and without him I really wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie nearly as much as I did. I almost wonder if they’ve been waiting to release the movie because of how popular Dinklage has gotten in last few years with Game of Thrones and his upcoming role as the main bad guy in X-men: Days of Future Past?
The plot is ridiculously simple, metal head Joe, True blood’s Ryan Kwanten is dumped by his girlfriend and to cheer him up his friends get him ridiculously wasted and bring him along to their weekend LARPing outing. Joe’s a bit resistant until he notices his guild has the incredibly cute Gwen (Summer Glau) playing as well. To get the games started the Wizard of the group played By Steve Zahn chants a spell from a strange mystic book he found on Ebay and somehow awakens a succubus that greatly resembles Joe’s ex. She doesn’t show up til later though and in between we get a full on play by play from Dinklage of how to kick ass in the game of Live Action Role Playing that’s one of the movie’s finest moments as he continues throughout to steal the show.
The fun really begins once the succubus emerges from the shadows of the forest. Suddenly the movie starts feeling more like The Army of Darkness than a straight forward comedy. Something that I really enjoyed was all of the old school special effects. The movie features a little bit of well placed CG but by the end of the movie you’ll be cheering in your seat as the evil succubus becomes seriously a little less than human!
The movie is all out fun, the perfect Saturday night popcorn flick and it also delivers one hell of an ending that’s more than worth waiting for. It’s jam packed with, laughs, action, monsters, heavy metal and plenty of surprises! This one was directed by Joel Lynch who also did the awesome Wrong Turn 2: Dead End. If you see this playing near you check it out, it’s got a limited theatrical run before it’s released on Feb. 11th via VOD. I also hear this version may have been heavily edited so that’s just a little more incentive to check out the DVD when it drops!
So it’s been confirmed it seems by several sites that not only is Bruce Campbell set to reprise his role as Ash in “Army of Darkness 2” but now that Sam Raimi will indeed be directing it and is now hard at work on completing writing it’s script with his brother. So this is all WONDERFUL news right?! Another adventure with Ash is something I’ve really only ever dreamed would happen. So now that it that it’s going to happen let’s figure out what it really means. First, when was the last really good Sam Raimi movie? Personally I’d say it’d maybe have to be “The Gift” way back from 2000 or maybe “A Simple Plan” from 1998. Anything since then to me really either hasn’t aged well, was very mediocre or just plain sucked!
So really let’s be honest here, is Raimi really that awesome? Or did he happen to get lucky a few times and land a dream job directing the Spider-man movies? He tried to prove himself to his Evil Dead fans with “Drag Me to Hell” but an honest comparison to other more legitimately awesome current horror/ horror comedies revealed it really wasn’t anything that special. A decent attempt but still a flawed one. So what are the chances that we’re going to get the Evil Dead / Army of Darkness sequel we have all been waiting for? What are the chances it’ll be “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” of the Evil Dead franchise? I’m gonna say 50/50.
One of the problems is that Raimi seems way too far removed from that the genre he basically created that so many others have tried to copy. He’s a bit out of touch, as he’s so used to cranking out big glittery CG stuffed blockbusters I’m not sure he’d really know what to do with Ash this time around. Hopefully he keeps it old school-perhaps this recent Evil Dead reboot will give him a basic outline to follow of what he should do to give the fans what they want as he’s stated that this next Army of Darkness is really for the fans. I think a good sign is that Bruce Campbell seems to understand more than anyone what made the movies all so fun. So perhaps he can guide Raimi into not making a total pile of shit. Perhaps Fede Alvarez who directed the reboot can also talk some sense into the guy.
The fans want Ash plain and simple at least in Army of Darkness 2. Not some young hip side kick to accompany him. He’s the star and he doesn’t need anyone else there trying to make the movie more accessible to the teen or tween masses. The fans want to return to that old school vibe, they don’t want the movie to look like Ash green screening around Oz the Great & Powerful. Give the fans some ridiculous gore and DON’T resort to anymore wretchedly bad CG anvil scenes like we saw in Drag Me to Hell. That was fucking pathetic.
Do it right and don’t try to score a giant Hollywood hit with this movie, show everyone that deep down inside you’re still that hungry independent film maker of the 80’s. Set the new standard for all those newer directors who think they’ve one upped you at your own game. You’ve seen other big film makers try and revive their franchises and fail miserably, pissing off their fans and eternally tarnishing their greatest bodies of work. Let’s do this shit the right way this time! What do you think? Does Raimi still have it?!
I had to take a second here just to say how pumped I am that starting with issue #6 of The Indestructible Hulk we will be getting an old school artist taking the reigns. Yep Walt Simonson will be doing a three issue arc of the book which is also going to feature his old buddy The Mighty Thor which Walt is most famous for! So there’ve been a few preview panels / covers on the web so I thought I’d post ’em here as well. I’m excited about this as Simonson has been a fave of mine since I was just a kid. I’ll admit that his most recent work on The Avengers with Bendis seemed pretty rushed and sloppy. This however is a three issue stint and hopefully he took his time with the art. So far so good I would say though, wouldn’t you?
Simonson used to do some Hulk artwork in the old days too, mainly for The Rampaging Hulk, a Hulk magazine comic book which was one of my all time favorite reads..