Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Does America Have Any Taste?

Apparently not. Ghost Rider was the number one movie this last weekend. I suppose it could be argued that there just isn't anything at the theatre to watch, though I did look and Pan's Labyrinth is still playing. If I could drag my husband to go see it, I would certainly rather see Pan's Labyrinth than the poorly rated Ghost Rider. I have to add too that reviews of Ghost Rider were kind of hard to find since the movie was not previewed before critics before its release; never a good sign. I must admit though, as a comic book movie fan, Ghost Rider sounds kind of interesting. Comic Book Movies describes the story: In order to save his dying father, young stunt cyclist Johnny Blaze sells his soul to Mephistopheles and sadly parts from the pure-hearted Roxanne Simpson, the love of his life. Years later, Johnny's path crosses again with Roxanne, now a go getting reporter, and also with Mephistopheles, who offers to release Johnny's soul if Johnny becomes the fabled, fiery Ghost Rider, a supernatural agent of vengeance and justice. Mephistopheles charges Johnny with defeating the despicable Blackheart, Mephistopheles's nemesis and son, who plans to displace his father and create a new hell even more terrible than the old one. Well, maybe this comes across better in comic books. But audiences are eating this up. Opening weekend grossed something like $50 million+; not as much as Spiderman, but not bad. So are any of you actually tempted to go see this? I mean, we're the hardcore sci-fi/fantasy fans right? Does that mean we need to endure Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze? Maybe I'm being unfair. But hasn't Nicholas Cage become kind of a caricature of himself? I can't believe the casting that goes on in some of these comic book movies. Ben Affleck? Jessica Alba? (though some guys may forgive the casting as Susan Storm due to her generally accepted hotness) Halle Berry? and now Nicholas Cage? Is it just me or is rare to find good casting in comic book movies? Spiderman was cast well with Tobey McGuire and I liked Brandon Routh as Superman even if the movie was essentially a remake. Oh, and I loved Christian Bale in Batman Begins. But other than that I am at a loss. Why oh why can't movie makers take the genre more seriously? But then again, what do I know. Ghost Rider is number 1 at the box office. This week.

25 comments:

Tina said...

a-MEN! I don't remember reading this particular comic as a kid, but most of the other ones I did and I'm always like "uh... o... kay..." Although, in Halle Berry's defense, she did at least look the part. Poor Jessica Alba did not.

deslily said...

noooooo plans on seeing that one even when it hits television lol.. at least with pans labyrinth theres more to look at...it may have to do with it looks like they take a flaming man on a motorcycle and that's the only special effect.. fire...the rest is as we see things when we leave the house... not much of a fantasy to watch...there has to be a REALLY GOOD story to hold my attention to one person (i liked spiderman).. Spiderman had good acting and a good script ..that helped A LOT! lol

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Ghost Rider sucked so hard, I'm embarrassed to admit I saw it opening weekend.
Cheesy dialog, bad CGI, and the most predictable movie I've ever seen in my life.

SQT said...

Angela

I'm actually sorry it was sooo bad. I kind of hoped it would be bad in the so-bad-it's-good kind of way. But I guess not...

Tina-- I didn't hate Halle Berry in the role, but I think I still had Michelle Pfeiffer in mind from the earlier Batman. I think she was the only thing I liked about that movie.

The funny thing is I think I could get over Jessica Alba not looking the role if she didn't seem pissed off all the time. That seems to be her acting strategy-- always be angry.

SQT said...

Deslily

Yeah, unfortunately scripts for comic books movies don't seem to be very well developed most of the time. Spiderman is unusual in that there seems to be some effort at character development.

Avery said...

Jessica Alba. Totally hot. Horrible actress. She just doesn't do well anywhere. I used to watch that Dark Angel show. When Sci-Fi re-released it, I tried watching it again only to discover it was a massive train wreck.

As for Nicholas Cage, what he has become saddens me. Back when he was wacky, like in Raising Arizona and Wild at Heart, he was good. Then came all the commercial movies and it was like Hollywood tried to magnify that quirkiness. Then, it was lost.

I think the Movie Powers That Be are of the opinion that the only way a person will go see a comic-based movie is if they pump them full of big names. Sometimes it works out (Creepy old Jack Nicholson as The Joker), and sometimes it doesn't (Danny DeVito as The Penguin. I'm not even getting into an Ah-nold discussion). Usually, we're left with a substandard script and plot and way too many computer-generated special effects.

Even so, I'll probably end up renting it (although I'm sure it absolutely will suck "so hard"), because I just can't stop hoping more than one per year will be better than my expectations.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I saw trailers for Ghost Rider. Even then, Cage looked miscast. I have tried to see Pans Labyrinth, but it's never shown. Can't wait for the DVD!

jedimerc said...

I was never a big Ghost Rider fan myself... but then a lot of Ghost Rider fans are not Iron Man fans, and I am really looking forward to that movie.

As far as movies over the weekend, I would have rather seen 'Breach', but I do have a soft spot for political/spy movies.

Jeff said...

The effects were good, but the real life 'talent' was a disaster. I actually missed the younger versions of the lead characters. Maybe what the world needs is Ghost Rider: The Early Years?

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

well alrighty then...

smiles, bee

SolShine7 said...

I think it was #1 because everyone was hoping that it wouldn't suck. What's even scarier is that Nicolas Cage was cast as Superman, but thank God the deal fell through.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Okay, I warned you about this movie. And the comic book sucked too. I hated it. There were certain titles that were just niche titles for the comic bookally challenged. This was one of them. This and Deathlok. And the Transformers. And the one marvel DISCO comic where some girl on skates was able to do things with light from a disco ball..don't ask.

I spit on this movie. Angela, I am hurt that you went to see it, I am hurt and I hurt for you.

By the way jedimerc, I guffawed openly at your comment about hygiene at conventions. At the last convention I attended I remember this issue coming up among the merchants and reading that the organizers had taken some steps to correct this situation. God knows what.

Lee said...

I adore Nick Cage, and he looks younger than ever...too bad to hear the movie sucks. I really wanna see Pan's Labrynth...think it'll be too scary for me?

SQT said...

Lee, I used to like Nick Cage, but his movie choices lately have been more than a little off (Wicker Man?)

I hate to see an actor who used to have great quirkiness kind of lose that. Maybe it's poor direction or bad roles, I don't know.

I do think he would have been a disaster as Superman too. ((ducks))

Alex said...

I downloaded it a couple of days ago. It's mediocre. I prefer the xmen films, despite their flaws. Ghost Rider was just plain formulaic.

And Tina hit it on the nose re: Halle Barry vs. Jessica Alba. Yes, Alba may be a nice looking young woman, but A) she can't act, and B) she is nothing like what anyone would picture for the part. I would have liked to have seen someone a little less Playboy beautiful, and a little more Popular Science beautiful. I dunno, maybe Allison Hannigan, or someone with a personality and acting skills.

The Batman movies really set the trend for slap-together ten cent movie scripts attempting to carry billion dollar budgets. I mean, fantasy and scifi doesn't need Titanic-esque budgets to work.

Look at the Stargate franchise: the original movie was pieced together with a modest budget for the time and made a mint. The first series is still going ten seasons later, running on a budget of change collected from couch cushions, two pieces of Bazooka Joe, a jack, a bouncey ball, an some pocket lint. The second series, relying even more heavily on CG, is a great success.

The key to all this? Good writing that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Alex said...

Oh, I forgot to mention: the dvd rips for Pan's Labyrinth have been on Torrentspy for a while. I don't see the need to pay theater prices when the d/l is free.

Asara said...

I didn't even know this movie was coming out (I don't watch much TV that doesn't involve cartoons these days), so I was like.. what? when I saw that it was out. I never read the comic, but just from the COMMERCIAL I could tell that Nicolas Cage did not belong in that movie. I don't want to see it, either. A couple of people at work have seen it and thought it was good, but these are the two people at work who have the IQ of a paramecium (and that's the two added together, too). So I don't think I'll be taking their advice on movies any time soon.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

I agree with Jeff. The younger actors did a great job. I wish it stayed in those Ghost Rider early years.

Stewart, what can I say.. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. Or at least for bad movies.
I just love superhero movies.. all except The Hulk. I was hoping this wouldn't suck AS bad.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Ghost Rider looked like a bad movie from the first time I saw the previews.

Maybe someday, Hollywood will figure out that crappy stories and sucky effects aren't what makes a good movie. People keep going to see them though, so Hollywood will keep chruning them out.

Lee said...

I didin't see Wicker Man cuz it looked scary. I'm a big wuss. But I really enjoyed The Lord of War.

Archangeln said...

Well Nicholas Cage did Ghost rider because apparently he is a HUGE fan of the comics.

He was the one who helped push the movie through according to the early reports on the show.

The movie was decent to me. You have to understand though, I can make myself watch any movie and consider it decent..it is the quirk of mine that leads others to insanity :)

The problem is in Hollywood, I think that you get some directors and editors who are able to cut through the crap from the studios.
Apparently this director wasnt and it made the movie crap.

Ghost Rider was always a niche comic. It will be a niche movie once the wonder of Nick Cage and Ms Mendes wears off.

I am glad Nick Cage and Tim Burton were not able to completely hose superman.

Batman Begins was done very well I thought, but then again Christian Bale is able to play controlled aggression very well.

I am saddened that as much as the Fantastic Four movie sucked....They are bringing in the Silver Surfer...My best friend (a HUGE surfer fan) has already told me I am going to see it.
*sigh*

Now in all honesty, the movies I am looking forward to are The 300 and Spidey3.

Old Knudsen said...

I've been slagging off this film without having seen it as I have a 6th sense about bad movies or just don't fall for the hype or bad trailer cutting. The Da Vinci code was crap and highly hyped but all you had to do was look at the aging lead still thinking hes young and with very bad hair and the movie has given itself away. Spiderman was cast well and I'm glad they got into the characters more on the second one and not just boring CGI. No America has no taste that really goes without saying Hollywood knows this and counts on it to make it's money. If the only thing you can say about a film you've just seen is "wow great effects" punch yerself in the face.

SQT said...

Old Knudsen

Lol and well said. I'm so glad you stopped by.

ShadowFalcon said...

Pan's Labyrinth is awesome, don't miss it. Will being seeing Ghost rider as soon as its released over here.

Rob Whatman said...

"Ghost Rider: The Early Years? ...I wish it stayed in those Ghost Rider early years."

I believe I remember reading a story in West Coast Avengers, back in the mid 80s, where the team went back in time to the Wild West, only for one of the heroines, Mockingbird, to be kidnapped and subjected to some very creepy, obsessive behaviour from the original Ghost Rider. So they killed him. Strange character to franchise into a hero movie...

Suffice to say, it never seemed like Marvel much cared for this character themselves. They're probably pleased to grab a few quick bucks on this one.