April 12, 2009

Ricardo Montalban

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Does that man look 82 to you? Because he sure doesn't look 82 to me. (Did you know he was 62 when he did "Wrath of Khan"?)

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Dragonball Evolution -- flop

With a production cost of $45 million, it took in less than $5 million at the box office in the US this weekend. Total take worldwide so far is about $25 million.

Which probably means there won't be many more live-action remakes of anime properties. Imagine my sadness. (Or lack thereof.)

They're different media. Stories that work well in animation won't necessarily work well in live action. But even if they did, that's beside the point. Why make it live action if it works in animation? Why not just do more animation?

Time was when live action was cheaper per minute than animation, but these days it hardly seems so. Budgets tend to be under half a million dollars per half hour show (and often well under that). DBE, with a run length of 84 minutes, cost more than half a million dollars per minute. It had twice the budget Miyazaki had to spend on Princess Mononoke, which sure as hell is a better movie in every way.

Including profitability. They're going to be really lucky to break even with DBE, and it may take years, if it ever happens. Princess Mononoke was very profitable. It had a production budget of ¥2.4 billion, and did ¥18.65 billion at the Japanese box office.

So that's the end, right? For live-action DB films? You'd think so, wouldn't you? But there's already a script for a sequel. Here's hoping that was just a small speculative investment in hopes the movie was a smash hit, and now that it hasn't been they'll eventually can the entire project.

UPDATE: It also scored just 16% on the tomatometer.

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March 27, 2009

Battlestar Galactica -- the Board Game

Now that you've seen the series, you can live it! (via)

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March 11, 2009

Dragonball: Evolution clip

Over at Rotten Tomatoes they've got a brief clip from Dragonball: Evolution. And it isn't very impressive. Piccolo Daimao is in it, and we get to see the lower half of his face. Yeah, it's green, but...

The voice just doesn't work for me. And once his whole face is revealed, I expect it to be dreadful. But I've long since given up on this thing as being any good at all.

ANN got to see it at the Tokyo premiere and there's going to be a review in the next few days.

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March 08, 2009

Who shall watch? Well, lots of people

Estimates are that Watchmen did $83 million worldwide at the box office on its opening weekend, which ain't too shabby. The real test is going to be next weekend. Will it be a one-weekend wonder or have staying power? I think it will have.

A few of our friends have seen it. Brickmuppet has a one-word review, but he's kind of busy right now and didn't really have time for anything longer. This guy liked it, too: five out of five stars. So it's probably going to be a solid success, but I don't think it's going to end up being a phenomenon, like Star Wars or like The Matrix.

But that's OK. And this is a title that seems to really deserve high res; when it comes out on Blu-Ray it may be the impetus for me to finally get a BR drive.

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March 03, 2009

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Wonderduck and Avatar are trying to come up with a list of geek canon, of things that someone would have to have watched/listened-to/read in order to be able to understand the kind of in-jokes that geeks tell each other.

My suggestion was "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".

They've come up with a lot of other good choices, but most of them are one-joke ponies. I really do think that between them, Holy Grail and "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" are the source of more geek in-jokes than everything else combined.

At least in the crowd I used to hang out with.

Regardless, now I have an urge to watch Holy Grail again, so I just dug out my copy.

UPDATE: My copy of it has a second DVD, and one of the things on the second DVD is live video of Palin and Jones going back to visit a bunch of the places where they did location shooting.

One of the more interesting stories is that originally they wanted to use several different castles, and had arranged to do so. Then, at the last minute, nearly all the castle owners changed their minds and cancelled. There was only one castle they were permitted to use heavily, and all the castle scenes were filmed there. They used different camera angles, and different set decoration, in order to make it not seem the same. (Successfully IMHO; I certainly didn't figure it out.)

The irony of the situation is that the main reason the other castle owners didn't want their castles used was because they didn't want the reputation for fear it would detract from their value as tourist destinations. And the castle that did in fact get used has turned into a much more attractive tourist destination as a result.

The gift shop there is full of Python memorabilia. Jones and Palin were rather amazed by how much of it there was.

It's kind of like the way that Portmeirion has been sustained as a tourist destination because it was used to film "The Prisoner".

UPDATE:

Moose
Llama
Coconuts
African swallows
I'm not dead yet
Don't be such a baby
He hasn't got shit all over him
Strange women lying in ponds
Come and see the violence inherent in the system
Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
Bloody peasant!
'Tis but a scratch
I've had worse
Alright, we'll call it a draw
A witch!
No! No! No! Yes. Yes. A bit. (my single favorite line)
I got better
It's a fair cop
It's only a model
On second thought, let's not go there. It is a silly place.

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Who shall watch "Watchmen"?

Well, someone had to say it.

Media executives are worried.

Rival distribution executives said the tracking surveys show that "Watchmen" holds remarkably strong appeal among older males but less interest among teenage boys and men in their 20s, and still less passion from women of any age.

So we are the target audience, eh? (I think most of my active readers are "older men", at least by their definition of "older".)

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February 24, 2009

Watchmen -- out

The Watchmen movie has started showing to reviewers, and early reports (spoilers) are that it is excellent. It's also really long: two hours 40 minutes. The "director's cut" (presumably to eventually be released on DVD) is 40 minutes longer than that. Yeesh...

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February 15, 2009

I want

Tim Burton is doing a movie based on "Alice in Wonderland". It's due in March of 2010, and that may be the first movie since The Matrix that I go see in a theater.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar. And Christopher Lee is in it. But who cares about the cast; Tim Burton visuals on Lewis Carroll? True awesomeness.

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January 19, 2009

Watchmen

The Watchmen movie will come out in March after all. Warner gave in to Fox, and they settled the lawsuit. (via)

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