We live in troubling times. All around us our examples of our inability to adapt while using technology and its tainted perks as a means of further escape. We claim victories over social ills (racism, economic inequality) where no triumphs truly exist and celebrate those who ride such unrealities all the way to a position of power. In these dark and disturbing days, a film like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes speaks louder than any pundit’s proclamations. As with much art, it reflects the era in which it was made. As with all art, it signposts situations we’d otherwise ignore or try to avoid, provides insights, and provokes questions. This film, like all great art, is alive, vital, and transcendent.
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One of the hottest rumors going around Hollywood right now centers on Warner Bros. and their plans to put out numerous DC-themed films over the next few years. It’s a move that many in the comic book fanbase have been longing for and yet never thought they’d see.
If the story pans out (and there’s always an “if” with such web exclusives), we will be inundated with cinematic product, beginning with Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in May of 2016, a Shazam movie two months later, followed up by Sandman during Christmas of the same year. Then, 2017 will be equally overflowing with a Justice League film proper (May), a Wonder Woman stand-alone (July), and a Green Lantern/Flash pair-up (the Holidays). Add in an official Man of Steel 2 for May of 2018 and you’ve got quite the ambitious schedule.
Their names are synonymous with box office gold. Even in arenas outside of film, they find a way to stay in the public eye long after their regional value has been depleted. Put another way, Americans may have long given up on the musical oddball they call Michael Jackson, but before his untimely death in 2009, his planned world tour was predicted to go gangbusters overseas. You see, whether we like it or not, our entertainment has gone global. Let’s repeat that, with proper emphasis, OUR entertainment has gone global. Blockbuster foreign films barely get recognition outside of arthouses and critics groups here in the US, but when an American movie gets released abroad, it can bank significantly more money that it could ever make on our shores. Why? The answer is obvious: star power.
Let’s get something out of the way right up from. Yours truly didn’t “hate” X-Men: Days of Future Past. Not by a long shot. Do I have problems with it? Absolutely. Do I think it stands as one of the best installments in Marvel’s movie mutant mythos? Sure. Is it the number one film in the franchise? No. That title goes to its predecessor, First Class. Why? Well, I liked Matthew Vaughan’s approach more than Bryan Singer’s (still unsure of why this hit or miss filmmaker gets so much fanboy love), I’ve grown tired of the overuse of some characters, and am not sure what I was supposed to get out of the experience except it being a set-up for yet another in a long line of “planned” trilogies. Still, I was entertained, intrigued, and in the end, capable of recommending it to any who still reads film reviews as a reference guide. So, you may be asking, why the caveat? If you liked it, what’s the problem?
Sometimes, my fellow film critics infuriate me. One of the most highly anticipated movies of 2014 has to be Gareth Edwards reboot of the beloved giant lizard Godzilla. Back in 1998, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, hot off their success with Independence Day, were hired by Tri-Star Pictures to fulfill their rights agreement with Japanese producer Toho Studios for a trilogy of American Godzilla movies with the only prerequisite being they stay “true” to the original films and warn against nuclear proliferation and runaway technology. Naturally, the duo ignore most of said prerequisites. While there was promise in their approach, the final result was a ridiculous combination of showboating set-pieces and lax character development. Audiences agreed.