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"he ordered Smith to make Brainiac’s robot servant L-Ron gay, asserting that the film needed a gay R2-D2 with attitude.
November 27, 2005 2:28 PM   Subscribe

"And this is where things got REALLY ugly. First off, Smith was taken aback when Peters asked him, in all sincerity, 'Kal-El’? Who’s this ‘Kal-El’ guy you keep mentioning in the script?'" The whole sordid tale of the making of Superman V. From the Kevin Smith script that was ultimately thrashed to the Tim Burton "vision" (which involved Tim Allen as Brainiac and Superman driving a Super-mobile instead of flying) to Nicholas Cage fighting to try and keep the character's depiction true to the comics. With the movie finished and due to hit theaters next year, will the last son of Krypton still be able to impress audiences and the fans?
posted by kosher_jenny (115 comments total)

 
Kevin Smith gets more second chances than my abusive step father. Clerks was just ok, but every other movie by Smith has been worse than HIV. Yes he really likes super heroes I get it, so does that slow 15 year old with the ninja turtles t-shirt that rides the bus to Toys R Us to play the videogame demos all day, I wouldn't want him making a movie either.
posted by I Foody at 2:45 PM on November 27, 2005


"Oh, that's the role for Nick's son. We haven't finalised the character's name yet."
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 2:46 PM on November 27, 2005


Bryan Singer did all right with X-Men, and Superman Returns seems to be in continuity with Superman and Superman II so I think it'll be fine. And with Singer at the helm we'll probably get still get some unlikely gay, perhaps with Kevin Spacey a la Magneto seducing Pyro in X2. Perhaps Luthor will try to turn Jimmy Olsen to the dark side. Heh.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:47 PM on November 27, 2005


Superman Returns seems to be in continuity with Superman and Superman II

Superman I wasn't in continuity with itself.
posted by ab'd al'Hazred at 2:51 PM on November 27, 2005


Kevin Smith tells the whole sordid tale of his involvement with the Superman script in An Evening with Kevin Smith.
posted by the_bone at 2:52 PM on November 27, 2005



posted by fleetmouse at 2:58 PM on November 27, 2005


thx for sharing I Foody, yes having Lex Luther and Brainiac merge into one evil villain (cleverly named Lexiac) was much better. Also, flying!? What was kevin smith thinking? Superman....flying? Much better to have him gadget dependant and driving in a super mobile.

might as well change his name to Unleaded Man while we're at it.
posted by freudianslipper at 2:58 PM on November 27, 2005


Burton seems to muck things up more than Smith. Also this:

WB made Justin Timberlake a firm offer to cast him as Superman…which he turned down cold, saying "whatever it is you’re smoking, I don’t want any part of it"

was great. Thanks for the link.
posted by neda at 3:03 PM on November 27, 2005


The Superman in space CGI in the trailer looks really crap...
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:13 PM on November 27, 2005


The greatest Superman adaptation so far was Jerry Seinfeld's series of ads for American Express. So why doesn't Seinfeld get involved in this film thing? Pony up some of his millions to make a REAL superman movie -- featuring the only REAL Superman: The beloved figure from the late 50s and early 60s. He's got the name, he's got the cred. Go Jerry.
posted by Faze at 3:23 PM on November 27, 2005


Ohmyfriggingod! I love that theme. I'm glad that they used it. Gave me goosebumps.
posted by geekhorde at 3:32 PM on November 27, 2005


Oh, come on, Kevin Smith's involvement with the film utterly pales in comparison to the unjustifiable hatchet job J.J. Abrams did on the mythology (basically, Krypton doesn't explode, it's all very Matrix-y, and Lex Luthor is a Kryptonian).
posted by mkultra at 3:47 PM on November 27, 2005


Ah, I thought that I forgot to mention something in FPP. Yeah, the first link talks about the Abrams script, and boy doesn't it sound like a stinker.
posted by kosher_jenny at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2005


er, does it
posted by kosher_jenny at 3:49 PM on November 27, 2005


The Smith script linked above is not bad so far (only about "twenty minutes" into it, though), but Kevin Smith is a shitty, shitty, shitty director.
posted by interrobang at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2005


I'm reading it at the moment (the Smith script) and so far it's good. I didn't really mean for the post to give the impression that his involvement was a bad thing. :/
posted by kosher_jenny at 3:54 PM on November 27, 2005


BRAINIAC
(quickly turns)
Blasting him with a solar beam will only
enhance his power. This world is fueled
by the light of a yellow sun, is it not?

LEX
Last time I checked. Why?

BRAINIAC
Krypton, too, was fueled by a sun -- a
red sun.


I take back what I just said. Shitty writer, too.
posted by interrobang at 3:55 PM on November 27, 2005


fleetmouse's post says more than any words can.

I literally cannot believe Kevin Smith was writing Superman 5. The movie industry is so stupid with the whole "lets shove together anyone successful with any project we want to succeed, regardless of who they are." Alfonso Cuarón directing Harry Potter and Jean Pierre Jeunet and Alien resurrection springs to mind.
posted by fire&wings at 3:55 PM on November 27, 2005


Actually, fire&wings, Kevin Smith has been writing comic books for quite awhile, particularly Daredevil and Green Arrow, so he does know something about comics.
posted by interrobang at 4:00 PM on November 27, 2005


Yeah I didn't say he didn't know about comics, I've seen his films.
posted by fire&wings at 4:03 PM on November 27, 2005


I don't the problem is confined to Superman. Too often movie makers take an amazing, wonderful story (eg: Batman: Year One) and decide "we can do it better" and the result is utter $#@%%@!!! I think they've gotten lucky with X-Men and to a small degree the last Batman, but really! Even the last few Star Trek movies were mounds of phlegm compared to some of the ST and ST:TNG novels. Just make a faithful adaption of a story written by an uberfan (with talent) and watch the money roll in, I'm tellin' ya!
posted by blue_beetle at 4:07 PM on November 27, 2005


Great post! Lots of interesting inside stuff. And I'm only part way through the first link.

But... Holy crap! I've always wondered about why some movies suck so much, and others don't. I can see how having a knucklehead like Peters involved with a project could cause it to suck mightily.
It needs more action! The suit is too gay! It needs a cuddly Chewbacca character!

Sheesh!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 4:23 PM on November 27, 2005


It takes a lot, I mean a LOT to break me out of my cage to go see a movie. But I might go see this one just to see how badly they fucked it up. I mean, I'm no purist, but it seems that the changes made to the "supe" story are all ego driven, not movie-consumer driven. Oops, forgive me, I forgot, we are talking about some of the most massive egos in that massively ego driven industry, aren't we.
posted by beelzbubba at 4:23 PM on November 27, 2005


this story, combined with the more questionable aspects of Willy Wonka, have convinced me (a long time Burton fanatic) that Burton is seriously fucked in the head. The dude really needs to endure a period of, say, 20 years of absolutely no one wanting to work with him. Then, desperate, he might rekindle that old genius and start making good movies again.
posted by shmegegge at 4:25 PM on November 27, 2005


"a partially translucent suit that would allow full view of Superman’s internal organs"
posted by newton at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2005


"Lemkin’s draft had Superman dying in battle with Doomsday, but managing to impregnate Lois as he’s dying by way of Immaculate Conception. Lois is killed off later in the story, but not before giving birth to a baby who grows 21 years in three weeks’ time, and takes over as the new Superman and saves the universe from Armageddon. Lemkin’s script—which even he proudly boasted was campy and silly—was scrapped because WB thought it was too similar to Batman Forever."

How the fuck is that similar to Batman Forever?!
posted by papakwanz at 4:58 PM on November 27, 2005


How the fuck is that similar to Batman Forever?!

Because they both suck?
posted by Servo5678 at 5:05 PM on November 27, 2005


Only on Metafilter would an enormously entertaining story about the mess a bunch of Hollywood imbiciles (like Jon Peters) made for themselves be turned into an opportunity to bash... Kevin Smith? Just one of the many, many people involved in the long, sordid tale?

Seriously. Whatever you think of Smith, the story of the Superman script is entertaining and enlightening. If ever you wondered why Hollywood screws things up as often as it does, here are your answers. To attack or defend Smith in this context is to miss the point, the fun, and whatever lessons there may be.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:07 PM on November 27, 2005


This story makes me wonder how Burton's first Batman movie turned out so good (or at least it seems so in retrospect... I haven't seen it since 90 or 91). This piece makes him seem like a real tool.
posted by papakwanz at 5:10 PM on November 27, 2005


I just want a good Doc Savage movie. Superman's too super, especially now, they've got to contrive ways of hurting him. Eventually you'd think he'd just fly at super speed and collect all the nasty green kryptonite and hurtle it into a black hole or something. Batman's at least a human, but his gadgets are too far fetched. Doc Savage is brains and brawns and pretty mundane gadgets. In fact I don't recall any really unrealistic gadgets. His van was just a faster van with a soundtrack to make it sound like a van. His hideout was just a non-existant floor in a building and his aircraft was just an aircraft.
posted by substrate at 5:11 PM on November 27, 2005


I just want a good Doc Savage movie.

*salivates*
posted by mediareport at 5:27 PM on November 27, 2005


I've always hated Superman. I always thought he got his powers because Krypton had Kryptonite in its crust. Makes sense, doesn't it? But then I grew up and found out about this red sun/yellow sun bullshit and I hated Superman even more. The fact that as a seven-year old I could come up with a better origin story than the canonical one just turned me right off. Canon's not always a good thing. I'd pay to see a movie where Superman is reinvented to make more sense while still retaining the underlying "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" that made him famous.
posted by Eideteker at 5:29 PM on November 27, 2005


Eideteker-

Yeah, superman is kinda lame. And while MOST of the various ideas listed in this article are moronic (a supermobile? why even bother calling him Superman if he doesn't do anything super?) some I thought weren't bad, like the living suit (what the fuck is the suit anyway?)
posted by papakwanz at 5:31 PM on November 27, 2005


This story makes me wonder how Burton's first Batman movie turned out so good

Because it wasn't a Batman movie, it was more about The Joker.
posted by super_not at 5:37 PM on November 27, 2005


Well duh! His body obviously projects a force field a quarter inch from his skin, protecting the suit. I don't know how the cape and hair stay on, but that's a COMPLETELY different issue!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:39 PM on November 27, 2005


yes having Lex Luther and Brainiac merge into one evil villain... was much better

Actually, the "Lex Luthor-Brainiac team" is an old, old idea from the Mort Weisinger era. However, as far as I know, only Alan Moore ever merged them into a single villain (in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?").

I just want a good Doc Savage movie.

To do this successfully, one of the later Doc Savage stories (circa King Joe Cay) should be the source material. The early Doc stories (circa The Man of Bronze) were very campy. The 1975 Doc Savage was a pretty accurate depiction of the early works. (And really, a soundtrack based on the works of John Phillips Sousa?! How cool is that!)
posted by SPrintF at 5:39 PM on November 27, 2005


blue_beetle: I know you're being jokey, but I mean.. what IS it? Underwear?
posted by papakwanz at 5:43 PM on November 27, 2005


Superman has always been a symbol of America and the American Dream. For a poignant and non-traditional take on the Superman mythos, I highly suggest picking up a copy of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. It shows Superman as the blinded, patriotic, flag-waving boy scout that he is and is a surprisingly relevant and well-written story.
posted by fatbobsmith at 5:46 PM on November 27, 2005


I'm surprised no one's jumped on this line from the trailer: "They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason, above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you, my only son."

Why not go all the way and call him SuperJesus?
posted by zanni at 5:48 PM on November 27, 2005


Jon Peters lives in the crazy shadows left by crazy objects.

I had a screenwriting professor once. He had a Jon Peters story. He shall remain nameless, not only for his own protection, but also because he was prone to tall tales. So, my disclaimer is that I neither take responsibility nor even have an opinion on the veracity of these rumors.

At any rate, this screenwriter once found himself in a position with Mr. Peters where he was assigned a high-profile adaptation. He presented that script, things didn't work out, and he had that script rejected. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then he was put on the spot, right then and there, to pitch a script more or less out of the blue. The annoyed screenwriter then proceeded to pitch the single worst script of all time as a joke - something about a heist where the robbers hired firemen and rolled the money in firehoses - which, of course, Jon Peters loved, accepted, and told him to write, pronto, with a very large advance.

So he goes to his laptop and tries to figure out how to actually write the worst pitch ever. He puts on some tea and types out a title page. He gets a call from the chemically agitated Mr. Peters. He's snorting up a storm. He's asking all sorts of bizarre questions about the idiotic fireman-hose-money-joke script, which of course the screenwriter is working on, but he quickly descends into a 3 hour cloud white monologue on the meaning of life and the hardness of his dick and god knows what else, in between snorts and snorts and snorts.

And this goes on and on until eventually the screenwriter, already a twitchy sort, goes mad and snaps, calling Peters a this and a that.

Peters emitted a high-pitched shriek and hung up the phone. The screenwriter never got to finish his script. But, he did get to keep his huge advance. $70,000, so he claimed.

And this story, from the joke-pitch onwards, supposedly unfolded within the span of 48 hours.

...

Sounds like a tall tale to me, but Jon Peters sure is crazy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:48 PM on November 27, 2005


He's not the best, but Superman's not all that lame; he's probably the coolest jewish superhero around.
posted by neda at 5:50 PM on November 27, 2005


NERRRRRRRRRRDS
posted by destro at 5:52 PM on November 27, 2005


But I might go see this one just to see how badly they fucked it up. I mean, I'm no purist, but it seems that the changes made to the "supe" story are all ego driven, not movie-consumer driven.

Of course, none of the things you just read have anything to do with the Superman movie that's actually coming out. So I'm not sure how you're going to "go see" what this article talks about.
posted by theonetruebix at 6:01 PM on November 27, 2005


while still retaining the underlying "Truth, Justice, and the American Way"

What is the 'American Way'? Cuz it seems the present 'American Way' is something to be sought after?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:07 PM on November 27, 2005


I just want a good Doc Savage movie.

You know what I'd like? A great Planetary movie. That might kick ass. I also think Red Son would make a great Superman movie, but we all know that's not gonna happen. :/
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:13 PM on November 27, 2005


There is an amazingly low comic book geek/mefi poster ratio here.

New All Star Superman by Grant Morrison is awesome.
posted by dig_duggler at 6:19 PM on November 27, 2005


fire&wings writes "The movie industry is so stupid with the whole 'lets shove together anyone successful with any project we want to succeed, regardless of who they are.' Alfonso Cuarón directing Harry Potter and Jean Pierre Jeunet and Alien resurrection springs to mind."

I agree about Jeunet, but Cuarón cut his teeth on family film before he made it big in the US with Y tu mama tambien... That particular hire was not made regardless of who they are and the end result was pretty damn good...
posted by brundlefly at 6:26 PM on November 27, 2005


Well, speaking of good Supes stories, Superman: Birthright, by Mark Waid is very good too, and available in trade format right now. :)
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:26 PM on November 27, 2005


rough ashlar: See fatbobsmith's comment.

"NERRRRRRRRRRDS"
posted by destro


Pot? Kettle?
posted by Eideteker at 6:28 PM on November 27, 2005


All-Star Batman and Robin, however, is not. Oh Frank Miller, what happened? What happened to you?
posted by schroedinger at 6:29 PM on November 27, 2005


What, are you retarded? He's the goddamn Batman!
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:30 PM on November 27, 2005


Tim Burton really needs to stick to goth fairy tales with puppets.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:39 PM on November 27, 2005


Ugh. Man AS Batman and Robin sucks. Damn.

papakwanz : "what the fuck is the suit anyway?"

Ahem. As a former fan of Superman, I think I can field this one. Basically...it's a suit knitted for him by Ma Kent.


That's it. That's all there is to it. blue_beetle is accurate with the force field thing, that's how they explain why his suit never takes damage from all his villains. The cape does...on occasion. The hair doesn't, because it's Superman's hair! So..that makes it invulnerable too. He has to shave in the mirror with his heat vision. (I swear to god, I saw this in a comic once.) He's so tough the only thing that can cut Superman is Superman.

Can Superman punch himself so hard that he knocks himself out? That's the real question.
posted by graventy at 6:41 PM on November 27, 2005


New All Star Superman by Grant Morrison is awesome.

By Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, you mean. A co-worker handed me the first issue the other day, and damn is that art good. That said, the first issue's story was pretty good, too, an interesting revisioning that still touches important - if not forgotten - elements from the early source material. (Which source material, it should be noted, has hardly been known for internal consistency over the decades, even if ultra-purists sometimes act as if it had.)
posted by mediareport at 6:47 PM on November 27, 2005


First, why take a potshot at a director like smith? His writing is above par for the hollywood average. And did anyone see the following Superhero shitty films?

Daredevil
Electka
Fantastic Four
League of Extraordinary Gentleman
Batman Returns
Superman III, IV

The further you go back, the worse some of them are. Anyone remember Captain America?

Good Superhero films:
Superman I and II
Batman
X-men 1+2
Spiderman 1+2

Questionable
Batman Begins
Hellboy


Bonus, from An Evening with Kevin Smith


Kevin also had an interesting story to tell about being hired to write the script for the remake of Superman, which was to star Nicholas Cage. The producer, Jon Peters was Barbara Streisand's hairdresser, who later married Barbara and produced some of her movies. Kevin met with Peters at his house to go over the script with him. Peters then told Kevin the three points that Kevin had to adhere to when writing the script:

1) Superman couldn't wear the Superman suit.

2) Superman couldn't fly.

3) In the third act, Superman should fight with a giant spider.

Kevin was incredulous. When he went back to the Warner Brothers studio, they asked him "is Jon still talking about the giant spider?" He found out that Jon Peters had attended open house at his kid's school and learned that spiders are the fiercest creatures in the animal kingdom.

An interesting postscript to this story is that later Kevin went to see the movie Wild Wild West. Jon Peters finally got his giant spider.

posted by filmgeek at 6:50 PM on November 27, 2005


filmgeek writes "First, why take a potshot at a director like smith? His writing is above par for the hollywood average."

Erm, I beg to differ. He's been capable of a few good one-liners, but that's about it...
posted by brundlefly at 6:56 PM on November 27, 2005


Zanni> That's from the first Superman movie. It's Marlon Brando's speech to Christopher Reeves when he first begins teaching him to be Superman.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 7:00 PM on November 27, 2005


He has to shave in the mirror with his heat vision. (I swear to god, I saw this in a comic once.)

That's from John Byrne's Man of Steel miniseries; it wasn't a mirror, it was a piece of the rocket he came to Earth in.
posted by Anders Levant at 7:08 PM on November 27, 2005


Actually, the "Lex Luthor-Brainiac team" is an old, old idea from the Mort Weisinger era.

And has appeared on the new Justice League Unlimited series.
posted by kindall at 7:21 PM on November 27, 2005


The whole sordid tale of the making of Superman V

Well, not quite the *whole* story (no Bryan Singer); turns out the article was posted to another forum a year and a half ago, and was apparently a repost from older forums then. Glad I read it, though, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 7:21 PM on November 27, 2005


...The Dark Knight Returns... shows Superman as the blinded, patriotic, flag-waving boy scout that he is and is a surprisingly relevant and well-written story. - posted by fatbobsmith

I agree. But for me Miller sums up Superman's greatness with the quote: "Twenty million die by fire...if I am weak."

Spiderman II was the last hero movie I saw with any pathos. I don't expect this one to change that.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:34 PM on November 27, 2005


If they fail to turn Jimmy Olsen into a monkey, or at least make him marry one, they haved failed America. The bastards.
posted by arto at 7:36 PM on November 27, 2005


There is an amazingly low comic book geek/mefi poster ratio here.

Kal-L agrees.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:36 PM on November 27, 2005


Nerdfilter: Alan Moore did the Supes-heat-vision-shaving-with-a-mirror thing in D.C. Comics Presents #85, a Superman/Swamp Thing crossover, which I believe predates the Byrne miniseries by a couple of years.

I hate my brain sometimes.
posted by Hogshead at 7:36 PM on November 27, 2005


Actually, I had some reprints of some pulp Superman stuff from the early 60s that had the mirror/laser thing.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:58 PM on November 27, 2005


Know what I'd like to see? Not one more goddamn comic book movie again as long as I live.
posted by fungible at 8:31 PM on November 27, 2005


fatbobsmith: have you even read The Dark Knight Returns? where do you get the idea that Superman is a patriotic poster-boy? he's clearly supposed to be representative of The American Dream, all that, but the whole idea is that he sold out in order to give the other superheroes protection and lost his way in the process; it's intended as a direct analogue to Reaganism and U.S. Cold War policy (as is most of the book). it's made clear that he doesn't really like what he's doing per se, just that he's convinced himself that what he's doing is justified.

you may also recall how in the end, Superman lets Batman go.

i don't want to nitpick about this, but it's one of the greatest comics in history and you're seriously selling it short.
posted by spiderwire at 8:36 PM on November 27, 2005



I literally cannot believe Kevin Smith was writing Superman 5.


Superman 2 and 3 were directed by Richard Lester. I don't see much difference between him and Smith, except that Smith is actually into comic books.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:39 PM on November 27, 2005


Some of these people in the tale...Peters...Burton...you can't just simply kill them? 'Cause y'know, call me Cheech.
How do you not know he's called Kal-El and you're working on the project? How do you not know everything? I'm no artist but Charlie Parker said you have to learn the rules before you break them. Why do this - why do anything - half assed?
posted by Smedleyman at 8:56 PM on November 27, 2005


Kevin Smith sucks.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:02 PM on November 27, 2005


I'm amazed that Hollywood still manages to make *any* movies.
posted by Eamon at 9:14 PM on November 27, 2005


Ok, fine Kevin Smith isn't the worst director, just one of the worst.
posted by I Foody at 9:24 PM on November 27, 2005



posted by Jon-o at 9:28 PM on November 27, 2005


Smedleyman writes "How do you not know he's called Kal-El and you're working on the project?"

Well, it could be this was taken out of context. What stands out to me about that question is that it was not clear from Smith's script who Kal-El is, which seems like a significant failure on Smith's part... Not having read the script, of course. Could be Peter's just a moron and missed it.
posted by brundlefly at 9:38 PM on November 27, 2005


What, are you retarded? He's the goddamn Batman!
posted by kosher_jenny at 6:30 PM PST on November 27 [!]


kosher_jenny, this one's for you.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:43 PM on November 27, 2005


On the main screen, scrambled letters and numbers appear, forming the distorted image of Lex Luthor -- commanding, corporate, suave, bald... And ominous.

For whatever reason, this bit from the script made me laugh out loud.

As for the rest, as others have mentioned it's a wonder that the industry manages to put out any good movies at all. It's interesting to read how those egos all interact with each other.
posted by moonbiter at 11:36 PM on November 27, 2005


The only interesting part of the Superman mythos is the stuff in Dark Knight Returns and Red Son.
The only moral dilemma to give the Man of Steel is "What should I do when I can do anything?"

All else is waste and nonsense.
posted by Boris Johnson at 12:35 AM on November 28, 2005


I've said it before...I'll say it again.

This explains why the big budget movies of the past few years, the ones that get all the money, hype and promotion, are either:

--sequels

--remakes of cult classic films

--adaptations of popular television shows

NOTHING ELSE GETS OUT OF HOLLYWOOD ANYMORE.
posted by deusdiabolus at 1:53 AM on November 28, 2005


I can't believe Smith could be ordered to make L-Ron gay, and not use it as an excuse for a cameo from Manga Khan, his surging, unrequited love for the little yellow tin can and his soliloquy medication. What kind of obsessive comics fan does the guy think he is?

I'm saddened every time Hollywood gets its hands on a comic and falls back into retelling origin stories again. Everyone who might show the slightest interest in the movie knows Superman's origin, and it's not a particularly interesting one! Tell us a good, solid story rather than falling back to the easiest possible script to write, dammit! They seem to think audiences are incapable of comprehending the universes these people live in, too - there's no JLA in the Superman movies, there's no Fantastic Four in the Spidey films, etc etc. It's as if the writers are embarrassed to be making a superhero film, and reach for a bland 'realism' at every turn rather than embracing the fact that this is fantasy. It stinks, and it makes all the films tediously similar to one another.

Possibly I'm just bitter because there will never, ever be a Doom Patrol film. And because the prospect of a wacky, CG-tastic reimagining of WE3 scares me badly.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:07 AM on November 28, 2005


I returned here screaming, gagging and clawing at my face after a few paragraphs. Glad to see others had the same measured response.

This is making the New Adventures of Superman look really, really good.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:26 AM on November 28, 2005


(this is a great thread)
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:29 AM on November 28, 2005


I dimly recall that Superman's costume is made from red, white and blue blankets found in the rocket ship that transported him to Earth, and which are therefore also invulnerable. How did Ma Kent sew them? Well, Superman could punch holes in the cloth with heat-rays, or squash a needle down to neutron-star density to go through the weave (and yes, I know how dumb that last suggestion is - but remember the context!)
posted by alasdair at 3:41 AM on November 28, 2005


I don't want to see my favourite comics made into movies. Could you imagine Preacher made into a two hour movie? Fuck that. I would like to see someone take a second poke at the Destroyer books - Fred Ward made a decidedly second rate Remo Williams but those books are beyond funny and easily lend themselves to action/adventure. My one other guilty pleasure is the Ennis-penned Punisher MAX imprints. From Born through In The Beginning to Up Is Down And Black Is White Ennis has reinvented the Punisher and taken him back to his roots (Mack Bolan anyone?). I have always liked human superheros though - Superman and anyone else with "powers" were boring to me. It's the difference in the way Batman and the Punisher fight crime that I find interesting - both suffered tragedy and both went off the deep end but individually they came up with a different mechanism to cope with their grief.

Okay, that got way too fan boy there...
posted by longbaugh at 5:30 AM on November 28, 2005


And because the prospect of a wacky, CG-tastic reimagining of WE3 scares me badly.

A friend of mine in the biz has told me that there's been some actual interest in a WE3 movie, which is hilarious. I'd imagine that interest would last right up until anyone took a gander at either the comic itself, or at any script that could come of it. I say it as someone who adores WE3 - that thing is NOT a movie.

The cuddliest they could ever get would be Plague Dogs on crack.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:56 AM on November 28, 2005


His writing is above par for the hollywood average.

Ugh. Your should change your Metafilter name.
posted by poppo at 6:49 AM on November 28, 2005


It still amazes me how much pull Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News has. Is he really a force to be courted? Or is it just self-important inflation?

FX are getting cheap/easy enough for TV shows. I wait patiently for a Watchmen/Kingdom Come/Decent Comic miniseries on HBO.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:50 AM on November 28, 2005


Rats, the original link won't work now. I like Kevin Smith but the guy cannot direct anything requiring special effects. Dogma would have been so much better if he had at least spent more than $1.20 on the visuals.

The Doc Savage movie from '75 wasn't bad at all. It would be interesting to see another movie but I am afraid it's too obscure for Hollywood to pursue.

Kingdom Come? A movie? No, I do not want to see them fuck that up.
posted by Ber at 9:04 AM on November 28, 2005


This story makes me wonder how Burton's first Batman movie turned out so good

I am constantly amazed that I managed to see a different movie than so many other people. Yuck.
posted by phearlez at 9:06 AM on November 28, 2005


Alfonso Cuarón directing Harry Potter and Jean Pierre Jeunet and Alien resurrection...

Well, Cuarón did a great job on Potter 3. You might not like it, but it's a real piece of craftsmanship.

And while I never noticed that Jeunet did Alien:Res, I guess I'd have to congratulate him. It was the funniest movie I saw that year.
posted by lodurr at 9:09 AM on November 28, 2005


If Richard Linklater were writing and directing, he could solve all continuity problems by putting Clark Kent in a scramble suit that projected all the actors who ever played the man of steel. Superman would wander around in a kind of haze, trying to get with Lois Lane, smoking dope with Jimmy Olson, hanging around and figuring out the meaning of it all. At the end you find out that he's actually dead, having been killed by Doomsday. Jor-El finds him and attempts to persuade him to return to the world of the living, but just as Superman is about to agree, some hot redheaded girl wanders by and he ends up at her apartment talking about identity and dreams for the next twenty thousand years.
posted by palinode at 9:16 AM on November 28, 2005


The only moral dilemma to give the Man of Steel is "What should I do when I can do anything?"

Two words: Doctor Manhattan.
posted by lodurr at 9:21 AM on November 28, 2005


And while I never noticed that Jeunet did Alien:Res, I guess I'd have to congratulate him. It was the funniest movie I saw that year.

I have a sneaking affection for A:R. For a major Hollywood production, it's batshit insane. It approaches Milk Money levels of batshit.

Dan Hedaya's epic back fur alone.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:22 AM on November 28, 2005


Why does Jeunet get bashed for directing A:R, and Joss Whedon get a pass for writing the damn thing?
posted by barjo at 9:37 AM on November 28, 2005


The only moral dilemma to give the Man of Steel is "What should I do when I can do anything?"
Two words: Doctor Manhattan. -posted by lodurr "

That, I think, is the difference between the two. Superman in the story: “What’s so funny about truth, justice, and the American way?” that introduced Manchester Black and his lot, is an excellent example of what Superman is about. It’s easy to choose to ‘do something’ when you are that powerful. He refuses to as a matter of course and uses his power to prevent the dominion of the powerful.
It seems reactionary, but it’s Dr. Manhattan who, to me, is the real reactionary. No moral compass of his own, he exercises power simply because it is what he is. Granted he changes toward the end and accepts a more God’s eye view of his power; killing Roarschach was in a sense his last act as a human, a transcendent act (symbolicly - transcending duality and absolutes).
Superman however remains a man and must retain his morality and so his refusal to influence destiny (other than keeping the open ended game going by knocking asteroids away from Earth and preventing other superpowers from taking over and such).
But I’ve always thought Captain Marvel had more of a grip on that God/man role. His books used to be more popular than the Superman ones. But for some reason they had him fighting gorillas and doing simplistic child like things. Kingdom Come seemed to bring out Capt. Marvel’s pathos a bit more.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 AM on November 28, 2005


Sticherbeast, A:R is the very epitome of the phrase "Golden Turkey." About ten minutes in, I decided that somewhere along the line, the people making the movie had decided that the movie they were getting paid to make was so bad, that they had to undermine it. There's just no way that it could be as much effing fun as it is without it having been screwed up on purpose.
posted by lodurr at 9:51 AM on November 28, 2005


...nd Joss Whedon get a pass for writing...

now there's someone over-rated. He's got a gift for repartee, so he'd probably make a good TV writer. oh, wait...

smedleyman: Good argument. So, why can't mefites have this kind of civil discussion about smaller and more trivial things like religion and atheism?
posted by lodurr at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2005


My understanding is that most of what Whedon wrote for Alien Resurrrection was pretty much wiped out and never made it to the screen.
posted by Neologian at 11:23 AM on November 28, 2005


@Neologian: the first draft of Whedon's screenplay is on the eighth disc of the Alien Quadrilogy box set. It's different from the final product, but not quite enough for him to be free of culpability.
posted by Prospero at 11:46 AM on November 28, 2005


There was a review of Serenity that made a very compelling case claiming it was the final realization of what A:R should have been.
posted by phearlez at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2005


I am a huge enough nerd to have read the fourth(?) draft of the Whedon Resurrection script, which places it a draft or two south of what he had wanted and a draft or two above the point where there was a little fetus-y thing getting sucked into space and a drunk robot with boxing gloves.

It's a good script. It is. But, it's not great. It reads like a fun pilot for the "Ripley and Call Show."

As for how much of it is in the movie...quite a bit of it is in there, but it's all directed very, very strangely. The visuals are grotesque and icky and goopy, and the dialog is not exactly delivered in the most natural manner possible.

Most importantly, Winona Ryder's character is much more active and prominent in the script. I think it's mostly in the direction that she gets pushed back into being Just Another Weird Thing.

Jeunet and Whedon are two great tastes that do not taste great together, mostly just in terms of sheer style. Who knows what the studio was doing the entire time, too, but mostly it just seems like a clash.

Oh well. Whedon would run off to success in other realms and so would Jeunet.

...

And lodurr, A:R is DEFINITELY a Golden Turkey. Hoo-boy. Wackiness.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:57 AM on November 28, 2005


I'm curious about Whedon's original script- is it available online anywhere (or at least a synopsis of what changed)?
posted by mkultra at 12:18 PM on November 28, 2005


Borp.

Weird picture of Joss, too.

All of a sudden? I feel less nerdy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:37 PM on November 28, 2005


Where does the Hulk movie fall in the greatness-suckiness spectrum? I remember it getting thrashed in reviews and being surprised at how much I enjoyed it and the whole bad daddy theme.
posted by pointilist at 1:11 PM on November 28, 2005


I think Hulk was more of a head-scratcher for most people than anything. Though I agree with you, I enjoyed it a whole lot- at least they TRIED something interesting...
posted by mkultra at 1:18 PM on November 28, 2005


“Where does the Hulk movie fall in the greatness-suckiness spectrum?”

For me - both ends. Overall, sucky. Not a bad conflict thing with his dad, but ultimately failed.
Banner wasn’t cold enough. His childhood not as horrific in the movie as in the comic. And the Hulk just didn’t have that pure fury and balls out rage.
But parts? - like the Hulk ripping off the tank turret and smashing the other tank with it - great. No one fights like the Hulk. Only got a small taste of it though. The all out toe to toe not worried about conserving energy or taking hits thing is awesome to read. The movie had the joy and freedom of jumping miles though. I think it’s fantastic that he can’t fly, but has to jump. Really adds to the anti-heroic edge he has.

Peter David wrote some excellent (for me - pure canon) Hulk stories. Took him from the - admitedly very neat Stan Lee concept - nuclear age Jekyll and Hyde to a more emblematic problem of men in the nuclear age forced to live with the overwhelming destructive power of nuclear weapons.
(Old saw - what do you call a ruler who has nuclear weapons? ‘Sir’.) The dichotomy in men like Oppenheimer who were intelligent enough to know what they were building, but built it anyway is there in the Hulk story (not in the movie). Not merely ‘evil’ like Hyde, but pure “I am become death, shatterer of worlds” level power that transcends morality with it’s invitation to oblivion, with the opposite side of the coin being cold and rational scientific genius. Perhaps necessary to go on living with that amount of horror. I don’t know if anyone else has fully explored that in a fictional character.

I mean I don’t know anything about putting popcorn eater’s asses in seats, but man, there is a lot of room to explore that theme and it just didn’t happen.
It just got sent back to the chemical. The DNA. The original Stevenson idea. Kinda pointless.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:50 PM on November 28, 2005


The only moral dilemma to give the Man of Steel is "What should I do when I can do anything?"

Two words: Doctor Manhattan.
posted by lodurr at 9:21 AM PST on November 28 [!]


I believe the question was "what should I do?", not who.
posted by ooga_booga at 2:37 PM on November 28, 2005


The wand must be recharged for one day in seven.

Great link, neda. And great thread.
posted by weirdoactor at 3:14 PM on November 28, 2005


Could you imagine Preacher made into a two hour movie? Fuck that.
Well...
posted by papakwanz at 3:59 PM on November 28, 2005


The only moral dilemma to give the Man of Steel is "What should I do when I can do anything?"

posted by Boris Johnson at 12:35 AM PST on November 28 [!]


You know, I used to feel the same way. Then I read It's a Bird, which is a story about a guy who has to write stories about Superman. It hit on everything that ever drove me crazy about the character, made me think about some things I hadn't considered, and made me cry.

So maybe I'm just a little fancyboy, but I'd highly recommend it.
posted by macmac at 4:15 PM on November 28, 2005


papakwanz - one could complain about a supermobile not making any sense, but it's been done. Of course, it's toy-tastic.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:28 PM on November 28, 2005


I don't think Superman could fly in the original comics.
posted by jb at 4:32 PM on November 28, 2005


Have Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus ever produced anything that doesn't reveal itself as a tawdry rehash of somebody else's superior film within the first five minutes?
posted by flabdablet at 4:46 PM on November 28, 2005


flab- they do have pretty sweet names. They could be supervillains!
posted by papakwanz at 8:33 PM on November 28, 2005


Actually, the "Lex Luthor-Brainiac team" is an old, old idea from the Mort Weisinger era.

And has appeared on the new Justice League Unlimited series.


i'm sure by now this thread is dead but interestingly as I breezed through my comic collection in advance of my morning toilet visit, i happened on a one-off superman issue called "whatever happened to the man of tomorrow", written by alan moore and published in 1997 in which this happened. lex luthor finds brainiac's head in the snow, and the brainiac head attaches itself to Luthor and takes him over.
posted by poppo at 6:59 AM on November 30, 2005


Thanks Smedleyman. Being a dilettante (as in superfical appreciation), I am glad for the perpective.
posted by pointilist at 2:53 PM on December 1, 2005


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