The Rocketeer

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This poster hung on my wall in my little room back in the early nineties. I was a child so having a superhero on my wall wasn’t anything strange but something about the art decco style of this poster I absolutly loved. What I didn’t know then was that this poster deliberately echos the 30’s estetic of the times which arguably made this poster the most adult contempary peice of art in my room and made it stand out next to my Batman and Ninja Turtles movie poster.

This is of course a promotional poster for the movie of the same name that came out 1991. If you are familiar with the character then come on in and make yourself at home. Chances are we would have good conventions. If not let me introduce you to Cliff Secord. He’s a little slice of nostalgic americana. He’s a stunt pilot and one day he happens to come a across new fancy gadget that can make a man fly without a plane. But the nazis want it for themselves thinking such tech could win them the war. To keep it out of the wrong hands he uses it effectively turning himself from “Joe Everyman” into someone extraordernary. This jet pack technology basically becomes his only advantage over enemies and obsticles that and his quick thinking and gung ho bravery make him the nemesis to any evil doer out there.

Essentially this film is like an Indiana Jones/Iron Man hybrid and if that excites you, you should deffinetly give it a watch. The movie is based on a comic book that came out in the 80’s. The comic it’s self was made to resemble the pulp comics of the 30’s and 40’s so it was very stylised. I knew nothing about the comicbook as a kid, I went into that theater expecting adventure and got it in full. Crazy thing is the movie still works today. It was released by Disney so somethings they 0db805e1bc3aad452f81b34a69fe6341toned down from the comic. Most notably Cliff’s girlfriend in the comic was Betty a actress/pinup model that was the spitting image of Bettie Page (google her and thank me later). But in the Disney movie she is Jenny an aspiring actress played by a very young and equally stunning Jennifer Connelly. The film doesn’t particularily need that aspect, it works fine without it! So imagine my  supprise when I found this shot in the only comic I ever found of the hero. Needless to say my 8 year old mind was more then delighted. Anyway, where was I? The film feels like a classic. In fact I heard that the director Joe Johnston got the job directing Captain America because of this film. So there’s that.

rocketeer2-posterI am aware that the film didn’t exactly make the kinda dough the studio was hoping for meaning the proposed sequels were scrapped. After watching the movie again I can totally see a reboot working today. Something that feels like a “spiritual-sequel” to the original, you know reference the events of the last film a bit and not focus too much on the “origin” just keep it simple and light but up the stakes. I found this pic online and I had to share it. I don’t know if this is an actual promo or fan made but this teaser is mouthwateringly good. I just know a hit movie is in there somewhere. In closing I just wanna add that when you find an obscure jem that you love chances are there are others out there who know where you’re coming from and if you make enough noise maybe the studios and or franchise holders just might see us and give us what we want! They want to give us what we want. They wanna make money. Support your passions by letting people know what your into! If any of this sounds awesome do yourself a huge favor and give this one a watch!

The Rocketeer (1991)

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Iron Sky vs. FAQ About Time Travel

Reciently I watched two films that were Sci-Fi comedies that you may or may not have heard of. I decided i talk about ’em here. Both of these I heard about and thought to myself I might want to see them. So first up is a movie that seemed ambitious and full of potential.

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When I first heard about this I saw a big poster for it and was instantly interested. I loved the premise. Sometime during the second world war Nazis managed to escape and hide on the dark side of the moon only to return later intent on finnishing Hitlers vision. The trailer featured key characters where you could kinda tell what needed to happen in the story for it to be movie. You had the idealistic leading lady who having been lied to all her life teaches the children of the moon how the nazis stood for unity and peace. The token black guy who in a movie about nazis becomes the wise cracking unexpected hero. The president of the united states a Sarah Palin look-a-like who’s mostly comic relief and of course the Big bad guy nazis that truly want to take over the world.

Sounds like fun doesn’t it? It’s only mildly amusing. What didn’t work? The script is a mess. It’s written and directed by a finish guy who obviously loves amican movies but refused to stick to the formula that most american movies have which at first is this scripts saving grace giving proceedings an unexpected slant. But every place these unexpected story threads go don’t have a satifying pay off. There are allot of jokes that feel forced and could have been explored better. One thing this could have done with out is the heavy handed political satire. One scene that stands out is when a sudden parody of the bunker scene in Downfall kinda happens, problem was instead of recognising the parody I was trying to figure out who this woman was what job she had why she was so pissed off. That was a failure on the part of the director. The script also seemed to forget that the most important characters are the idealist lead and her plucky black sidekick. The actress playing her is beautiful and did a good job she just lacked a defining hero moment but perhaps the biggest sin is the black guy. This character is taken to really unexpected territory. Eveyone of his comedy scenes feel like they could be funnier with a better actor. Will Smith he ain’t. It’s such a Will Smith kind of roll too. But then again I’m sure Will wouldn’t have any trouble taken down a 7o something year old mad scientist in the climax. Pitiful. The most important thing any movie should have is satifying ending. In a movie like this the ending should leave you with the tone the movie had up to that point. I wanted to have a good laugh but the last shot of the film is dark.

ironsky_renaterichterWhat worked. One thing you gotta admire is that the director made a movie that his 1332805350-postfans realy wanted to see and actually sent him money to help fund. Some of the visual effects, alltough not up to parr with big budget hollywood productions, are quite impressive. Much of the movie is forgiveable because of the labour of love sentiment that went into making it, but as a movie goer it might not be enough. The best joke was probably the bad guys thouroghly unromantic and utterly nazi-esque marrige proposal to our leading lady in the begining. I’m glad the appropriate languages were spoken. Allot of german is in this movie but that is to be expected. Subtitles are present but there are plenty of english spoken as well so don’t worry. My last compliment to the film is perhaps a very superficial one. There are pretty girls in this movie. Julia Deitze who plays Renate the lead is adorable and naiv but gets increasingly sexier as she progresses through the movie. Peta Sergeant is pretty hot through out this film but unfortunetly I never understood her characters motives which annoyed me. She just get increasingly over the top. Still sexy though.

In the end it’s definetly worth a watch but it’s nothing I’m gonna buy on bluray.

Tune in next time when I talk about Frequently Asked Questions about something or the other…

Two Christmas Specials!

Well, It’s december and you better believe that i’m all about that warm feeling I get through good old fashion christmas themed storys. One of the most celebrated and most often retold holliday story is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

If you are alive chances are you have seen 6492 different versions the story in movie form. Some take the story as it was originally conceived with it’s 1800’s setting and characters, some attempt to update the story by putting it in modern day, and some retell the story by thorwing in popular characters into the rolls putting a new often comical spin on proceedings.

I will be focusing on two completely different retellings of the story. Let’s start with a great sci-fi retelling based on the popular brittish hero DOCTOR WHO simply titled A Christmas Carol.

Doctor WhoFor those of you who need an introduction to the Doctor, my only advise is: look it up. I was never a fan because the show looked cheap as all hell and cheasey to boot. But my interest peaked with the introduction of the latest Doctor played by Matt Smith. I saw clips online and short reviews and relised that this seemed pretty cool. I watched every episode of the Matt Smith Doctor and I have pretty much loved it. So sorry in advance to those who are unintiated.

The story starts off as most sci-fi stories do with a spaceship entering an alien atmosphere, but unfortunetly the strange clouds are interfering with the ship threatening to crash it along with all the innocent bystanders onboard. Amung them are the Doctor’s two companions Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams. The two inform the crew that they know of someone who can help.

The Doctor makes his first appearence stumbling down a chimney and proceeds to playfully figure out the situation. That being a greedy old man has control of this worlds atmosphere and can allow the ship a safe landing if he so pleases. But he doesn’t want to. ‘Cause he’s an asshole. The Doctor then realises that with the help fo his time machine he can reenact the classic Dickens tale casting himself as the three ghosts of christmas past, present, and future. What follows is a rather unique adventure, that’s funny, poingant and features a sleighride in the sky by a flying shark! Plus a beatiful song to end it all that i wouldn’t mind adding to my christmas playlist. This is the first time I was genuinely supprised by a twist ending in such a classic tale. It was great!

Best Line:
We’re boys, and you know what boys say when they’re scared? …Mommy.

The other retelling is probably the definetive modern comedy feature film version original characters. SCROOGED.Scrooged

Bill Murray is perfect as Frank Cross the stand in for Ebeneezer Scrooge and even though the film was released in ’88 it feels like a deicent mordernisation of the story. He’s a rich, selfish tv executive in New York. Bob Cratchet is instead a african-american woman working for practically nothing as his long suffering assistant played by Alfre Woodard. The Tiny Tim is of course her son isn’t dying but suffering from a psychological issue and hasn’t spoken in years. The story plays out bassically as it should but with some added stuff for fun. The ghosts aren’t what you’d expect they all get a makeover even the ghost of Christmas future has a great twist in style and execution. The film’s got great creepy moments, gross out scenes, lots of laughs and of course heart. Sitting through the movie it does feel a bit long but it’s all worth it for the great emotional speech Murray delivers as a climax. I tear up everytime I watch it! Another great thing is the music. Danny Elfman’s score makes this a great flick to watch next to Nightmare Before Christmas and sets the zany/eerie tone for the movie.

Best Line:
Frank:  Who is this?
Grace: It’s my son!
Frank: Yeah, well you beat him!

One interesting thing that can be said about these two specials is that both film’s characters are aware of the source material the film is based on. In Scrooged he is producing a live tv event which happens to be Dickens story, a rather lame one too simply entitled Scrooge which as a kid lead me to believe this was the correct titel of the story. In Doctor Who’s special he happens to be a fan of Dickens work and that story is what gives him the idea to attempt to rewrite the history of the old curmudgen in hopes he’s do the right thing just in time for christmas. I really enjoyed these and if you have trouble finding a movie to watch this year or wondered which version of  A Christmas Carol is worth your time look no further!