Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Random Thoughts for June 2015

Hello everyone! Life has NOT been good towards me of late, so here's an article based on questions and random musings from both my Facebook and DeviantART pages. Enjoy!

Yours truly, in deep, terrified thought.

King Kong 2005? OR Godzilla 2014?

Both films are good, and I've come to appreciate both on their own respective merits, upon revisiting. BUT man do they have flaws that almost turn me off from either!

"Godzilla" (2014) tries way too damn hard with the 'Hide the Shark' method (inspired by the 1975 classic "Jaws"), that every director or screenwriter in Hollywood is hopelessly in love, these days. Even when it's a terribly ill fit with the source material, like the appalling dumb-ing down of 2011's "Green Lantern" (There's space aliens? What space aliens?).

And "King Kong" (2005), while having way better, imaginative monster designs and action sequences...Spends way too much time on THAT GOD DAMN BOAT! It's almost a tie for me here, between these two, but I'd have to pick "Godzilla" for NOT having the hour-long boat ride.

Which isn't really saying much for either, I might add.

Although hated by most fans, Gabara from "All Monsters Attack" (1969) is totally alright in my book!

The Lamest Giant Monsters of Them All?

Somebody recently asked me Who (or What) is the Lamest Kaiju Ever Made? Well...

Almost all Kaiju / Giant Monsters are awesome in my opinion. But the ones I really can't stand, is from an obscure sub-category that you never really see in films or television - Giant monsters created by people who clearly don't take the material seriously, done as a pretty lazy joke, AND is somehow still treated was pure brilliance by said creators.

Like when you ask an unimaginative jackass to create a worthy foe for Godzilla. And instead, they come up (without any real thought) something akin to 'Nazi-Dinosaur-Hitler-Rex', or 'Satan Possessed Mega Cow', or 'Giant Super Jesus', or 'Killer Blob Made of Toilet S***' and so-on-and-so-forth.

For me, these are the lamest monsters of them all.

What sucks is that there's a VERY thin line between this 'normal people' laziness and flippancy towards monster concepts. And the comical or silly monsters that are actually GOOD in their own offbeat right. Such as the more charming and equally creative 'guest villains' from "Power Rangers". Or comical monsters that can still pose a threat and can hold their own in battle - 1970's Gigan comes to mind.

My Thoughts on the Female "Ghostbusters" Reboot?

I'm getting sick of remakes and 'late sequels' as much as the next person...Which isn't saying much, seeing how the two biggest hits this summer was "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Jurassic World". And yet, I have nothing against the upcoming female reboot / remake / re-imagining / re-branding / redo / re-whatever of "Ghostbusters".

Me and my two brothers grew up with both the films, and the animated series. And even though I'm not a video game guy, the 2009 entry was a satisfying alternative to third film with the original cast. But I too was wary at yet another film, and one so late in the game. And the unfortunate passing of Harold Ramis, pretty much sealed the deal.

If you were to revisit "Ghostbusters", take it to new direction, or give it one Hell of a twist. Even if an original story (OR not doing it at all), would have been preferred. So yeah...I'm more than okay with an all female Ghostbusters team!

BUT my true concern is how the ghosts and monsters will be handled in the new film. The two previous films (and 2009 video game) had a great variety of otherworldly creatures, ranging from humanoid specters, to Lovecraftian monstrosities. And although many were played for offbeat giggles, they were all still terrifying and menacing beings. Including The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man himself - that evil 'I'm gonna get you' stare, that he gives our four heroes, is priceless!

Sadly, considering modern movie trends, the ghosts will likely be portrayed as too comical, or as way too serious. And with no excellent middle ground in-between, minus a lucky accident or two.

But at least the new Ghostbuster suits look classy! I'm less thrilled with the literally homemade Proton Packs. But not bad either!

The new GB suits and Proton Pack.

Your Thoughts on the Film Version of "Rampage"?

A live action movie based on the 1986 arcade game "Rampage" has been in Development Hell since 2011.

So the recent announcement of the film moving forward with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, is being met with a large block of salt from my end, as it could still get cancelled at the last minute. Especially if the decision to finally make this film is less based on the recent successes of "Jurassic World" and "Godzilla" (2014). And more on the 'insider projections' of the upcoming film "Pixels".

Plus, knowing Hollywood trends, and how the monster characters always take a backseat to the more marketable (often bland) human stars, I agree with this particular article that the classic "Rampage" monsters George the Gorilla, Lizzie the Lizard, and Ralph the Werewolf, will be the distant co-stars to The Rock, like the title robots of the "Transformers" films. Or at best, the aforementioned "Godzilla" (2014).

On the OTHER hand...The Rock could ultimately become one of the three giant monsters, which is also likely. Personally though, I hope they get someone like Elizabeth Banks in the Lizzie the Lizard role.

Your Biggest Inspirations for Your Original Characters?

The colorful, humanoid creatures from most tokusatsu shows, most notably Super Sentai / Power Rangers. And the criminally underrated series "Metalder".

Lesser, but related influences come from 1960's fantasy cinema and television (Kaiju Eiga for sure), classic Anime, American cartoons of the past (Tex Avery, Disney, Chuck Jones, etc.), and documentaries focused on biological life, mainly obscure animal based ones.

Your Favorite Color?

Blue - It's majestic, calm, and dignified, but also looks great on almost anything you put on it. Though I must admit, that I'm also an Aquarius. So I might be a tad bias in choosing the universal color of deep, massive amounts of water there.

How I love Blue, and it's many shades and variants.

Favorite Underrated Anime?

There's a lot of overlooked anime shows and movies, but my top choices include "Robot Carnival" - fantastic film, even when some of the segments fall short. "Dai-Guard" - giant robot anime meets charming office comedy, while doing it with a totally straight faced. And to a slightly controversial extent, "Space Dandy" - a lot of people abandoned that series quite early on, but as a fun and funny love letter to all things space fantasy, it's great!

Favorite Underrated Character in Any Media?

Gamera, the flying giant fire-breathing super turtle. 2015 was supposed to be his 50th anniversary, and NOTHING is being done for the poor monster. And the outcome of the Godzilla vs. Gamera "Death Battle" hasn't helped his street credit much either.

All that aside, Gamera really is an fantastic 'hero monster' who deserves a lot better.

Beautiful promotional image, from 1996's "Gamera 2: Attack of Legion"

Favorite Movie You Like BUT EVERYONE Hates?

Wow...Pretty much opened my whole DVD collection right there.

But as far as films that have no fans outside myself, that honor goes to "Space Invaders", "Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century", "Coneheads", and possibly "Overdrawn At The Memory Bank". Though granted, that last one I've only seen as it's "Mystery Science Theater 3000" version.

Words of Advice for Artist and Writers Out There?

That's a REALLY tough one, as often almost any kind of advice given to artists will end up bruising their confidence, based off on my own unfortunate experiences.

And in some environments, artists are only there to stroke their individual egos, and often take any advice, let alone basic questions about their works, as a negative attack. Not because it is, but because their individual 'pissing contest' is being endangered by an 'outsider'.

Or the opposite side of the same problem, when 'alpha jerk artists and writers' give bad or hurtful advice, as a deliberate attempt to undermine your own talents. Again, based on my own experiences (various creator meetings at the local comic shops).

The only stern advice I can give is JUST DO YOUR OWN THING, and see how it's received AFTERWARDS.

So many times an artist or a writer will double guess their own works, to such a point that's it's never finished, or in a constant cycle of re-working. And it doesn't help when other artists will tell you your idea sucks, based on the basic plot description alone (again, creator meetings at the local comic shops).

It's totally okay to get second opinions on your work-in-progress, and filter out the aforementioned saboteurs from actual constructive criticisms out there (though that can be freaking difficult).

But at the end of the day, you got to just finish it, post it, and see the reaction, good or bad. Often times a story that sounds horrible in the pitch meeting, will entrances a large audience when completed as its final whole (SEE "Star Wars").

Somewhat cynical (and long) answer, but I hope you keep this cautious advice for yourselves in the future.