by clarkkenallstar at 03-06-2020, 01:43 AM
If you’re getting tired of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and can’t keep up with the DC franchise’s terribly inconsistent batting average, Vin Diesel's Bloodshot would like to offer you an alternative. The movie, which stars Diesel as a super-soldier turned superhero, just dropped, and it seems promising—even if it’s hard to fathom that it could actually be a serious contender for the MCU’s throne.
As the trailer explains, Diesel plays Ray Garrison, a soldier who is killed in combat and then revived by a shadowy organization that provides unwanted technological enhancements to its “recruits.” Garrison is implanted with nanobots that provide him with super strength and the ability to instantly regenerate from any wound. The visuals of Garrison’s healing are just gory enough and a unique take on a common superhero trope, and they’re a good sign that Bloodshot will be more than just an updated Robocop—especially because, like the cybernetic hero of that cult ’80s movie, Garrison is being used by his creators, and he’ll eventually turn against them.

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Bloodshot is based on a comic series from Valiant Comics, a publisher that’s been around in various forms since the late ’80s and offers readers a superhero comic universe, not unlike its more popular competitors DC and Marvel. Valiant’s universe, which relaunched in 2012 and therefore is a lot less bloated and confusing than the Big Two’s continuity-tangled webs, has a lot going for it, and Bloodshot was intended to launch a film franchise to match its competitors' big-screen exploits. Bloodshot is essentially the Valiant Cinematic Universe’s Iron Man, with more movies focusing on other characters intended to follow before leading up to an Avengers-style crossover based on the comic event Harbinger Wars.

Except, there was a problem. Bloodshot is being made by Sony, but the rights to Harbinger, the next planned film about a group of superhero teens, recently switched over to Paramount Pictures in September. As the repeated battles between Marvel and Sony over Spider-Man have shown, getting rival studios to play nice isn’t easy. As a result, Bloodshot might just end up being a standalone film—more of a Venom or a Morbius than an Iron Man.
Still, watching Fast & Furious mainstay Vin Diesel essentially play a more gruesome version of Hobbs & Shaw’s superpowered villain might be fun enough to make Bloodshot worth your time, even if it can’t dangle shared continuity in front of audiences.

Bloodshot hits theaters on March 13.
by clarkkenallstar at 03-06-2020, 01:38 AM
Get ready to meet a new kind of superhero.

Vin Diesel is swapping Fast & Furious car stunts for superhero thrills in his new movie Bloodshot, and he's now revealed what attracted him to the role.
In a new featurette that looks at the origins of Bloodshot, Diesel explains that he was "drawn to the idea of playing a character that had superhero-like powers who uncovers that his mind is manipulated".

He stars as marine Ray Garrison who is reborn by a team of scientists with nanotechnology after he is killed in action.
With nanotechnology in his veins, Garrison becomes stronger than ever and gains the ability to heal instantly, transforming him into the superhero Bloodshot. But he's unaware that he isn't in control of his own body – or his mind.

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Garrison doesn't know what's real and what's not, but he's on a mission to find out and seek revenge.
As co-creator Bob Layton explains, the character is "kind of like Frankenstein as James Bond", with Kevin VanHook adding: "The idea was they were experimenting ultimately to try to create immortality."
Bloodshot also stars Baby Driver and Hobbs & Shaw star Eiza González and she's promised a superhero movie like no other.
"It's completely different to anything I've done before. It's badass," she enthused. "Enjoy your traditional superheroes because when Bloodshot comes out, it's gonna be a whole new game."

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Last year, Diesel said that Garrison is "one of the most complex characters I have been fortunate enough to play": "Ray Garrison is a central character in the Valiant Comic Universe... Hope to make you proud."
Bloodshot also stars Outlander's Sam Heughan, Guy Pearce, Toby Kebbell, Lamorne Morris and Talulah Riley.

Bloodshot will be released in UK cinemas on March 11 and US cinemas on March 13.
by clarkkenallstar at 03-06-2020, 01:24 AM
This road movie set in a world of elves has its moments, but by Pixar standards, it doesn’t quite cast a spell.

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Ian (voiced by Tom Holland) and Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) in “Onward.”Credit...Disney/Pixar

“Onward,” Pixar’s latest invention, begins with a bit of what is now called “world building.” The universe of this animated feature is one of elves, dragons and wizards. Unfortunately, as a prologue explains, magic is tough to learn. A flash forward illustrates how mythical creatures, lulled by the invention of light bulbs, smartphones and other technology, gradually forgot how to cast spells.
Although road signs and milk cartons still use fonts suited for medieval manuscripts, “Onward” otherwise unfolds in a mostly modern, unmagical time. Unicorns fight over trash like angry raccoons. A fearsome manticore (voiced by Octavia Spencer), her questing days behind her, runs a theme restaurant and worries about lawsuits. A single mother (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a mighty warrior — according to the workout she watches on TV. And elves are, ears and sky-blue skin aside, much like humans. Our hero elf, Ian (voiced by Tom Holland), has just turned 16. He has the same anxieties (shyness, fears of highway driving) that might befall any high-school-age orc or hobbit.

The mild, one-joke amusement of “Onward,” directed by Dan Scanlon (“Monsters University”), comes from the clash of the mundane and the fantastical. The filmmakers have clearly had fun imagining a milieu with belligerent biker sprites and cops who are centaurs or Cyclopes. (One, voiced by Lena Waithe, is revealed to be in a same-sex parenting arrangement, in a moment that has already drawn praise for its casualness.)

The adventure itself is almost an afterthought. It concerns Ian and his hopelessly uncool older brother, Barley (Chris Pratt), a connoisseur of the old lore. Ian, for his birthday, is given a staff and a spell that the brothers’ dead father left for them. The spell is supposed to bring their dad back to life for one day, but it only partly comes off, leaving him as just a pair of sentient pants and shoes. The boys, intermittently disguising the body with “Weekend at Bernie’s”-style puppetry and clothes that might have suited the original invisible man, embark on a mission to conjure the rest of him.
While the story of “Onward” is personal for Scanlon, whose father died when he was young, Ian and Barley’s journey plays as disappointingly routine, a checklist of mechanically foreshadowed heart-to-hearts and lessons learned, leavened by the occasional offbeat sight gag. (The movie will teach viewers the perils of gelatinous cubes, and the design of the final dragon is a hoot.) What is missing are the unexpected flights of fancy on which Pixar forged its reputation — breathtaking, tempo-altering sequences like the fire-extinguisher ballet of “WALL-E,” or the refreshingly adult perspective of “Up.”

Given the movie’s nostalgia for bygone eras and analog game-playing, “Onward” might have shown more nerve if it had been a rare foray from Pixar into hand-drawn animation. As it is, the film is a brightly rendered, sentimental ode to adolescence that hits all the right emotional buttons, even as it risks being forgotten itself.

Rated PG. Wayward wizardry. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes.
DirectorDan Scanlon
WritersDan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin
StarsTom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez
Running Time1h 42m
GenresAnimation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

by kold123 at 03-05-2020, 03:16 PM
Disney and Paramount haven't shifted their films, while the National Association of Theatre Owners calls the James Bond film's move "very unique."
The new James Bond movie No Time to Die may be being delayed because of the  impact of the coronavirus outbreak, but other high-profile Hollywood tentpoles are sticking to their release plans for now.
On Wednesday, MGM, Eon Productions and Universal said that the 25th installment in the storied spy film franchise will be delayed by six months, from April to November. The circumstances surrounding the move are virtually unprecedented and come as 70,000 cinemas remain shuttered in China and moviegoing dives in markets including South Korea and Italy.

For now, No Time to Die, which has a budget of around $250 million before marketing, appears to be a lone wolf. That's reassuring news for cinema owners, who are already under assault from the rise of streaming services.

The film is of critical importance to MGM, which doesn't have the same stable of big branded IP that other studios boast. One finance source tells The Hollywood Reporter that the loss of revenue from the markets currently impacted by the coronavirus could shave off a fourth of all box office receipts for No Time to Die (i.e, instead of $1 billion, it could only take in $750 million).

The movie business is simultaneously global and local. All theaters in the U.S. and Canada and the vast majority of movie theaters around the world remain open with strong ticket sales," says the National Association of Theatre Owners. "The decision to delay the release of the James Bond movie No Time to Die is very tough to that company and that movie."

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"Conversations with other movie distributors confirm that a strong slate of global and local titles will continue to be released theatrically in all territories except those few countries most affected by the virus," NATO adds. "Cinemas will remain open all around the world with strong attendance, in line with local conditions, and in communication with local health officials.”

No Time to Die was originally scheduled to make its world premiere in London on March 31, followed by its U.K. debut on April 2 and North American bow on April 10. Pulling a film four to five weeks before its release means suspending a pricey marketing campaign and informing talent that they will be needed later in the year. In this case, sources say many of the marketing and publicity activations were easily postponed, although it was too late to alter star Daniel Craig’s Saturday Night Live hosting gig this coming weekend. 

Meanwhile, Disney is sticking with it's upcoming release calendar, which includes Mulan in late March and Black Widow in early May, according to a studio spokesperson. Insiders add that Disney debated pushing back Mulan — similar to No Time to Die — but ultimately choose to stay the course despite the continued theater blackout in China.

Nor is Universal — which is handling No Time to Die internationally — currently in talks to delay the release of the Fast and Furious installment F9, which is set to hit theaters in late May. Like No Time to DieF9 is expected to reap the vast majority of its fortunes overseas, where the franchise is especially strong in Asia.

More immediately, there's no plans of changing its release date for A Quiet Place Part II, which is set to debut March 20 in North America.

Directed by Cary Joji FukunagaNo Time to Die marks the final outing of Craig as 007. The actor has told MGM and Eon that he will keep his schedule free in order to promote the new release date, sources say. 
"For James Bond, the move made sense," says box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore. "But I would be shocked if  it was Mulan or Black Widow moved. This is a highly unusual situation and unusual solution are being taken for some movies."
by clarkkenallstar at 03-05-2020, 02:49 PM
Every happy couple has one moment that defines their relationship.

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Plot: What's the story?
A couple (Issa Rae & Kumail Nanjiani) experiences a defining moment in their relationship when they are unintentionally embroiled in a bizarre crime. As their journey to clear their names takes them from one extreme – and hilarious - circumstance to the next, they must figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night.

The Lovebirds Release Date: When is it coming out?
The Lovebirds is coming out in 2020 on Friday, April 3, 2020 and will be released in nationwide movie theaters. There are 4 other movies coming out on the same date, including The New Mutants, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Saint Maud
by kold123 at 03-05-2020, 02:42 PM
With Avengers: Endgame coming to a satisfying conclusion, the future of Marvel is in an interesting place regarding their future. 
They will be creating several projects for characters who haven’t had a chance to shine on the silver screen, including The Eternals, Shang-Chi, and Blade all coming in the next few years. Marvel also has several sequels on the way, including Black Panther 2 and Spider-Man 3, leaving the question when Marvel would announce a Captain Marvel 2 officially.

Well according to Thomas Polito’s discovery of a new Marvel LLC for “Warbirds Production II”, Captain Marvel 2 has been officially greenlit. It was previously announced that WandaVision writer Megan McDonell will craft the screenplay, and while a director has yet to be found, Marvel is apparently seeking a female director for the project.

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At the beginning directors Anna Bolden and Ryan Fleck won’t be returning for the sequel, which means a new face will be brought in. While I am a fan of Fleck and Bolden’s work on the indie scene (Mississippi Grind and Half Nelson are underrated gems), it never felt like their voice was present in Captain Marvel’s final product, with the film blandly hitting Marvel movie beats while not delving deep enough in its promising feminist message.

With no director attached, the rumor mill is set to circle around who should be the replacement. I would pick Lorene Scafaria, the writer/director behind last year’s breakout hit, Hustlers. Not only did she present a strong understanding of character dynamics, but the film had a fresh visual identity to set it apart from other true-crime related stories. If Marvel is willing to let her work her magic, she could make for a massive improvement over her predecessors.
by clarkkenallstar at 03-05-2020, 02:42 PM
Rupert Goold directs a taut adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg’s film about an innocent man falling prey to clannish locals

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Glass houses … Es Devlin’s design for The Hunt is dominated by a rotating transparent house. Photograph: Marc Brenner
Back in 2004 the Almeida had a big hit with a stage version of the film Festen. Now the theatre turns to another film from the same Danish director, Thomas Vinterberg, which also deals with sexual abuse. The main difference is that the accusation against Lucas, a teacher at an infant school, is in this case unjust. While David Farr’s adaptation and Rupert Goold’s production make rigorous viewing, I miss the sense of quotidian reality that gave the movie much of its power.

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 Tobias Menzies as falsely accused teacher Lucas in The Hunt. Photograph: Marc Brenner

In the film we see the vindictive isolation of Lucas after the six-year-old Clara falsely claims that he had exposed himself to her: even the local shopkeeper refuses to serve him food. The stage version feels more like a savage ritual. Great stress is laid on the drunken clannishness of the local men and Es Devlin’s design is dominated by a rotating house through whose transparent walls we frequently glimpse an antlered deer. The point is clear: this is a hunting community and Lucas has become the prey. Farr also spells out more explicitly than in the film the guilt of Clara’s parents, whose abrasive quarrels compel her to seek comfort from her teacher.

It is all staged with skilful economy by Goold. At one point the house becomes a church teeming with Christmas worshippers. Tobias Menzies, with his taut features, admirably conveys the element of reserve in Lucas that both attracts the equally withdrawn Clara and makes him a natural target for the town’s bully boys. Justin Salinger and Poppy Miller as the girl’s parents vividly portray a couple torn between their long-term attachment to Lucas and refusal to believe their daughter is lying. Taya Tower – one of three children alternating as Clara – has an extraordinary rapt solemnity and Stuart Campbell impresses as Lucas’s loyal son. In its depiction of the way a false accusation can spread like a virus, the play is undeniably chilling. But although Farr’s script is subtly different from the original screenplay by Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm, I still feel this is a piece that works best through the detailed literalness of cinema.

The Hunt is at the Almeida theatre, London, until 3 August
by clarkkenallstar at 03-05-2020, 02:29 PM
Marvel fans are all brought together through their mutual love of the brand’s fantastic superheroes and adventures… but like every fanhood, not everyone is always on exactly the same page. While some enthusiasts love one aspect of the comics, movies or television shows, there’s usually an equally-sized group of others who couldn’t more wholeheartedly disagree with them. These kinds of internal debates have been going on for years and years, covering a wide variety of subjects – but there are some arguments in particular that we not only constantly see, but will probably go on until the end of time.

With an extra emphasis on the film side of things (this is a movie website after all), we’ve decided to take a long, hard look at the eight biggest debates currently in circulation amongst Marvel fans, weighing the arguments of each against each other and leaving it to you to try and find your own answers. Read on, and feel free to fill the comments section with your own personal opinions.

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Is anyone more powerful than the Hulk?

This isn’t just a Marvel argument that fans have been having since Hulk made it to the big screen; this is a Marvel argument that many of us remember having during recess in elementary school. When Bruce Banner transforms into his green, monstrous alter-ego, he becomes a being with terrific and horrifying power – and to make matters worse, the angrier he gets, the stronger he gets. What we may never really know, though, is whether or not there is actually any single character in the comic book universe that is more powerful than Hulk.

This is a tough and very long debate that usually results in fans listing off characters like Thor, Hercules, Thanos, Galactus, The Beyonder, Phoenix, and more – but this is a question that is more about fun speculation than coming to an actual conclusion. After all, any match-up would have layers upon layers of situation and circumstance on top of it that could push the advantage to either the Hulk or his opponent. For example, would Thor be able to use Mjolnir in his battle? And if Hulk were to be thrown into space by his opposition, would he have all the time in the world to make it back to the battle and continue the fight? This is a great rabbit hole conversation.

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How closely should comic book movies be based on comic book stories?

While films based on Marvel properties have certainly taken inspiration from famous comic book storylines – such as "Days of Future Past" for the most recent X-Men chapter – one thing that fans have noticed is that these storylines are rarely actually directly adapted. Whether a title is just borrowing a few elements from a known plot, or changing big key aspects, the movies often act as reflections of famous arcs and miniseries, but have never actually been beat-for-beat retellings. This creates a certain schism in fanhood.

With each feature that comes out, we see a wave of new complaints from those who are unsatisfied with the way that directors handled certain elements of famous story – like Wolverine traveling back in time instead of Kitty Pryde – and believe that it’s a betrayal of the source material to not do everything that the original author and artist did. Of course, the most popular counterpoint to this debate is that direct adaptation is dull (being all stuff we’ve already seen), and that plots deserve new life and creative changes when changing mediums. When boiled down, this is really a matter of taste, but that’s not going to stop fans arguing about it.

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When should the Guardians Of The Galaxy team up with The Avengers?

Marvel Studios has gotten fans hooked on the drug known as crossovers. Even beyond Avengers movies, there is a heightened clamoring for more cameos, like Falcon’s presence in Ant-Man, as fans are hungry to see as much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as possible in each story. This hunger will certainly be partially satiated next year with the arrival of Captain America: Civil War, but the white whale that remains floating out in the MCU is a meet-up between the Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers. But when should this happen?

Fans have speculated about all kinds of possibilities in this area, but there’s a pretty firm dividing line for when the Guardians/Avengers introductions should happen: either before/during The Avengers: Infinity War, or not until long after. More patient Marvel fans have made an argument for waiting and letting the likes of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket further explore the cosmic side of the MCU. At the same time, others don’t want to see more of Thanos without seeing more of the space-traversing Guardians, and don’t want them to be left out of the big party coming in four years. This debate will continue until even after the crossover has happened, with fans deciding whether or not the chosen time was the right one.

What’s better: funny and wild, or dark and grounded?
In the past decade or so, this has actually been the principal argument that has separated fans of Marvel Studios and DC Comics, but the debate really is applicable internally within just the House of Ideas. It’s true that Marvel has become especially popular for producing movies that are just as funny as they are action-packed – like Iron Man and The Avengers - but we’ve recently started to see properties based on the comics taken in darker and more grounded directions, including the brutal Daredevil Netflix series, and the science-heavy Fantastic Four reboot over at Fox. So fans again ask: which way is better?

The reason why this debate is endless is simply because there are thousands of arguments for both sides. The funny and wild stories not only have arguably the higher entertainment value, but are also more accessible to the younger generations that are really the target of superhero stories. The darker and more grounded stories, however, add what some might call a higher level of "legitimacy" to the genre, and allow older audiences to appreciate the material without feeling silly watching vigilantes in tights. The variety provided from both approaches should keep Marvel movies going for years and years, and fans will continue to contest them every step of the way.

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Was The Mandarin twist in Iron Man 3 a good play?

There are many, many specific plot points in Marvel Comics adaptations that have caused fans to go back and forth, but there are few that get the spit flying and raise tempers quite like the conversation about the big twist in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. Audiences went into the movie expecting to see Sir Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the mystical and cruel Mandarin, but were shocked when it was revealed that the character wasn’t The Mandarin at all, but instead a druggie actor being held up as a puppet. People are still both laughing and crying about this one.

Those that despise this twist argue that it was a missed opportunity to use one of Marvel’ best characters, and didn’t appreciate the fact that the movie strayed so far away from the comics (see the point I mentioned earlier). Those who appreciate it, however, see it as an amazing reversal of expectation, and are quick to point out that the door is still open for the real Mandarin thanks to the Marvel One Shot All Hail The King. We here at Cinema Blend even had a debate about this one back in 2013 when Iron Man 3 first came out, and like many of you, we’re still fighting about it to this day.

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Should Marvel Studios have the rights to all Marvel Comics characters?

Because of the rather epic failure of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four this past summer, we’ve been hearing a lot of this argument in recent weeks. Years and years ago, Marvel sold off the movie rights to many of their most popular characters, but now that the company is making its own films, fans regularly clamor for all the rights to be returned home so that all the heroes can interact within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This has already worked out for properties like Daredevil and Spider-Man (partially), but should Marvel be making a focused effort towards getting back the X-Men and Fantastic Four?

There are obvious answers to why the answer to this question should be "yes." Marvel Studios is certainly top dog in the comic book movie game right now, and it would make sense that the company that created the characters would know best how to use them on the big screen. There is a significant reason why some fans may say "no," however. Basically, there’s only so many films that Marvel can put out each year, and if the one company has all the rights, that’s going to significantly shrink the number of comic book movie titles we seen in a given year. There are some major positives and negatives to both sides here.

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What’s better: recasting a major character or putting them in hibernation?

We have not yet seen a Marvel property move on with its continuity after recasting a lead character – but that day is coming, and fans have already spent years arguing about how it should go down. Right now, the perfect example is Hugh Jackman – who is ready to hang up his Wolverine claws after the next solo film – but we all know that there will also be a point when Robert Downey Jr. either becomes too expensive for Marvel Studios, or decides that he doesn’t want to play Tony Stark anymore. So what should the creatives behind the various comic book franchises do in this situation?

When it comes to fan-favorites and iconic performances like Jackman’s or Downey Jr.’s, it’s not entirely a shocker that sections of the audience argue that the roles just be put in stasis for a while. After all, Marvel has created thousands of characters over the years, and an actor deciding that they’re finished is a good way to open the door for a fresh face. At the same time, though, having one actor take complete control of a part could set a dangerous precedent for the future of the genre, and it’s not as though we haven’t seen examples of successful recasting before. We haven’t actually gotten to this bridge just yet, but fans are still arguing about how to properly cross it.

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Is there such a thing as too many comic book movies?

Comments made by Steven Spielberg have actually reignited this debate in recent weeks, and while comic book movie saturation has been a topic of discussion for years now, it’s set to be an even more important one in the coming years. There are 14 films based on Marvel Comics characters set to come out in the next five years, and some have wondered if this is too much for movie-going audiences to take.

Working to establish historical precedent, those who don’t believe in the long, long future of comic book movies point to the death of the western – which was a genre that went out of style simply because the market became saturated with too many similar stories set out in the old west. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but other movie-goers shoot back that westerns made up a much higher percentage of films being released back in ‘30s, ‘40’s, and ‘50s, and that the titles didn’t have the same opportunity for variety that comic book movies have (there aren’t exactly many comparisons to be made between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s true that Fantastic Four showed us that disinterest in a superhero film can cause it to flop hard, but whether or not that’s the future for all movies based on Marvel properties is an unanswered question that will be fought about for years.
by DuongApt at 03-05-2020, 02:26 PM
(Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.)
The post-Walt and Roy Disney era of Disney was a fascinating and very weird one. In the ‘70s, Walt’s son-in-law Ron Miller took over has head of Walt Disney Productions. And set out to expand the scope of Disney movies to appeal to the profitable teenage market that was spending a ton of cash on movies other than the family-friendly Disney flicks.
Sure, we still got some classic Disney animated successes like Robin Hood and The Fox and the Hound. And live-action family-friendly films like the original Freaky Friday. But this was also and era marked by a series of boldly innovative and very dark films that were not huge successes. However, they showed that the company was willing to take chances. Under Ron Miller, Disney released the cult favorite Tron. The company’s first horror movie The Watcher in the Woods. And the dark sci-fi movie that was going to be their Star Wars. But ended up as an enthralling trip through hell with The Black Hole.
The Pitch
Inspired by the success of disaster films like Airport. The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, writers Bob Barbash and Richard Landau approached Disney Studios to make a disaster film set in space titled “Space Station 1.” The project went through many, many changes, with everything but the space setting being scrapped. Pre-production began in 1976. But a little space opera titled Star Wars came out in 1977. And it’s hard not to look at The Black Hole as an attempt to grab some of that sweet post-Skywalker money.
The Black Hole has stormtrooper-like sentries, cute R2-like robots, swashbuckling laser battles, and a silent, tall and menacing mechanical villain that looked like the cross between a Cylon and Darth Vader. But the story is more akin to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but in outer space, mixing Gothic aesthetics with a family-friendly adventure. All accompanied by a moody score composed John Barry. Ron Miller said of the film: “Lately a lot of teenagers and young adults have stayed away from Disney films. They consider it kiddie material. Well, The Black Hole is not a kiddie film. We want to let people know that this is a different kind of movie than they’re used to seeing from us.”
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In order to materialize the effects-heavy look of The Black Hole. Disney employed 150 matte paintings created by Harrison Ellenshaw. Even through they only ended up using 13 in the film. The engineering department at Disney also developed a new computer automated camera system in order to have the actors move within the matte paintings. The end result was a $20 million investment. The most expensive film ever produced by Disney at the time. And also due to the use of the words “hell,” “damn,” and a very violent death. This was the first Disney film to earn a PG rating.
The Movie
When The Black Hole finally came out, it had dropped the disaster part of the story and the extensive star-studded cast in favor for a smaller crew of a deep-space craft that stumbles upon a huge ghost ship precariously floating on the rim of a massive black hole. Our crew is composed of Dr. Kate McCrae (Yvette Mimieux) an astro-geophysicist who has ESP ability; Harry Booth (Ernest Borgnine) a journalist; Captain Dan Holland (Robert Forster) and his first mate (Joseph Bottoms), and astrophysicist Dr. Alex Durant (Anthony Perkins). Curiously, the role of Kate McCrae was originally meant to go to a pre-Alien Sigourney Weaver. But according to director Gary Nelson, the head of the casting department countered: “Oh my god, with a name like Sigourney Weaver. We don’t want her.”
The Black Hole has a strange yet eerily enthralling sense of dread that fills the entire movie. And it starts the moment we meet Dr- Hans Reinhardt (Maximilian Schell). The only surviving crew member of the ghost ship that looms near the black hole.  Though the dialogue can be a bit dull, and it is certainly very heavy-handed. The film’s eerie atmosphere works in keeping you intrigued until the shit finally hits the fan.
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What The Black Hole may lack in story. It boats in stunning visuals and sheer audacity. The opening of the movie is a long sequence that is completely computer-generated. And the model for the ships and even the robots look great. Undoubtedly, the best effect if the titular black hole, made with a slow motion illuminated inky vortex of water.
Then the film goes completely off the rails in the third act, once blood starts to spill. Though nothing graphic is shown on screen. There’s a death for a major character which is as jarring and violent as you can expect a death to be from a Walt Disney film in the ‘70s. The robot Maximilian activates his blade arms like he was General Grievous, and saws right through the heart of a character. Then, there’s the ending. Without saying a lot about this 40-year-old movie, lets’ just say there’s some weird metaphysics going on that results with a character literally going to hell and standing on a rock formation atop cavernous depths, surrounded by flames and legions of hooded, skeleton-like figures. After that, the camera emerges through a divine, glass tunnel as angels float around, which almost became a scene set in the literal Vatican.
The Legacy
The Black Hole opened right alongside Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And just a few months after Alien scared the hell out of space-enthusiasts. Still, the Disney-release became a modest success, grossing $35.8 million from a $20 million budget.
Though it wasn’t a big hit, it didn’t kill Ron Miller’s ambitions, as just a year later Disney would release The Watcher in the Wood, which was meant to be their Exorcist. Sadly, this era of Disney films was plagued by modest successes and big flops, like The Black Cauldron and Return to Oz.
Though not the success Disney was expecting, and despite the negative reviews. The Black Hole grew a cult following, and has recognizeable names amongst its fans, including one Edgar Wright who describes it as a childhood favorite.
Now, of course, you can finally watch The Black Hole for yourself. And come to your own conclusion of whether this was a bold attempt at doing something different, or a colossal failure from Disney. One thing is for sure, with the criticisms that the latest Star Wars movie took few risks. You can’t really say that about The Black Hole.
by DuongApt at 03-05-2020, 02:21 PM
It’s been 42 years, but the Skywalker saga is now finished. While The Force Awakens introduced the franchise far, far away to a new generation by mirroring what had made the franchise special 42 years ago but with new characters. And The Last Jedi dared look at a time where the franchise could move forward without legacy characters. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker tried to tie it all together in a movie that is proving polarizing.
With no more confirmed movies on the horizon. The future of Star Wars is wide open to possibilities. This mean the time is ripe for speculation and wishful thinking as to what will come next. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the paths that Star Wars can explore now that it’s moving beyond the Skywalker family.
Focus on the Common People Instead of Galactic Conflicts
Admittedly, the franchise has been doing this for a few years now. But exclusively on TV. The Mandalorian has been shining a light on the post-Galactic Civil War period (after Return of the Jedi) by focusing not on the leaders of the Rebellion or the powerful wizards on the frontlines. But on how the war has affected the livelihood of bounty hunters, of former soldiers and of the small communities trapped in the middle of the conflict. Episode 4 of the Disney+ show focused on a small community being tormented by pirates and a repurposed AT-ST. Showing how the spoils of war affected the common people.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars took advantage of its episodic format to tell various stories from around the Star Wars universe. Showing us several aspects of life under the Clone Wars from placing a bigger focus on politics than any of the prequel movies ever did, to show us the stories of Separatist citizens and leaders, to even humanizing the faceless clone army that gave the war its name. The show used these smaller-scale stories to give more context and emotional gravitas to the spectacular and bigger-scale stories of the movies.
[Image: star-war-trailer7.png]
Since the sequel trilogy took us back to a galaxy-spanning conflict of an Empire and a group of rebels on the run. The franchise could scale down to tell more personal and intimate stories within the same universe. Say what you will about Solo: A Star Wars Story. But that movie actually tried to tell a story that smaller consequences. Yet one that could easily span other stories. The Expanded Universe gave us a plethora of stories that continued the adventures of the Skywalker family and their descendants.
But it also gave us plenty of smaller-scale stories about people that were underserved in the movies, like Michael A. Stackpole’s X-Wing book series focusing on Wedge Antilles and his group of pilots. Star Wars doesn’t need to be just about the Jedi, the Sith, and the Republic. And just like Marvel gave us Infinity War right before giving us the smaller-scale story of Ant-Man and the Wasp. So can Star Wars go as big or as small as the filmmaker’s imagination allows them to.
Replace the Empire and the Rebellion and Introduce a New Villain
If Disney and Lucasfilm absolutely must continue to make additional Star Wars “episodes” telling epic stories. Then at the very least they should change up the formula and have an enemy different than the Empire or the Sith.
In an article for Syfy Wire, Glenn Greenberg talked to several writers of Star Wars comics and novels about what they themselves want to see in future Star Wars stories, and one of the topics mentioned is the introduction of an unknown and massive enemy that threatens both the Rebellion/Resistance and the Empire/First Order. So far, we’ve kept the same dynamic of a giant, fascist government being the villain and a small group of rebels being the good guys. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? Once again, let’s look at the Expanded Universe because in the span of 40 years. Of course someone already wrote a story like this.
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The New Jedi Order was a series of novels by Del Rey that took place 21 years after the destruction of the Death Star. It was here that the Yuuzhan Vong were introduced. A warlike species from another galaxy that was set on conquering everything in their path. The series isn’t perfect – after all. Chewbacca dies when a literal moon crashes on top of him. It did introduce a villain like no other. One that could be introduced without ruining anything that came before or invalidating the redemption of any Skywalkers.
Similarly, new movies could explore the merits and demerits of the Empire in a way that challenges what came before. John Ostrander’s long-running comicbook series Star Wars: Legacy took place 125 years after the end of the original trilogy, at a time where all the characters known to the fans were long dead. Yet their descendants still resembled the archetypes (kind of like The Force Awakens).
This series introduced an Empire that, while still controlled by a dynasty, was way more benevolent than Palpatine’s Galactic Empire. Just like both the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy focused so much on legacy and how we have the power to choose our own path instead of listening to some pre-determined path. So could future movies could challenge the notion of an empire that’s inherently evil or a republic that is inherently good. Kind of like the Heroes of the Galactic Empire anime, which has long been compared to Star Wars.
Place a Bigger Focus on Mythology
One of the biggest missed opportunities of the Star Wars movies is how much they reference past events and conflicts. Yet how little they care about the mythology or history of the Jedi and Sith. The word Sith first appeared in the 1974 rough draft of the original Star Wars and was used in the 1976 novelization, explaining that Darth Vader was a “Dark Lord of the Sith.” It wouldn’t be until The Phantom Menace that the franchise would draw the connection between Vader’s red lightsaber and an ancient religion/organization that served as the evil counterpart of the Jedi. Still, though we heard bits and pieces of the Sith and the ancient Jedi throughout the prequels. It wasn’t until the Extended Universe and later the animated shows that we finally started diving into the mysteries of the Force and the ancient Sith and Jedi.
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One of the best aspects of the Expanded Universe is when it explores the origin of the Jedi. Like in the Tales of the Jedi comicbooks by Dark Horse, which explored the first encounter between the Jedi and the Sith. And their subsequent wars. The comic explored the culture and structure of the Sith and Jedi organizations and how they expanded. Meanwhile, the Dawn of the Jedi mini-series explores a time before the foundation of the Republic and focuses on the origin of the Jedi order and how the Force came to be polarized into the light and dark side that we know. Even without going that far. The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels have hinted at and explore some of the myths of the force. And ancient civilizations of force users that disappeared to time.
The latest Star Wars game, Jedi: Fallen Order has the player retrace the steps of an ancient civilization of force users. And you learn of how their advanced civilization was destroyed because of their greed and hubris. While the sequel trilogy has hinted at a larger mythology about the Force, with the ancient Jedi texts at the first Jedi temple in The Last Jedi. And the return of the Sith in Rise of Skywalker. We haven’t really explored the culture, history or mythology of either the Jedi or the Sith in any way that explains or informs the stories we know.
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The prequels were all about how the Jedi went from peacekeepers to warmongers. But by the time we meet them in The Phantom Menace. They were already space cops, so we don’t really know of a time when they were anything different than that. And we haven’t really seen the religion part of the Jedi, just the political organization part of it. Meanwhile, we still don’t know anything about the Sith. Other than they were all but wiped out and that they deal in dark arts.
Future Star Wars movies could shine a bigger light on the mythology and the history of the Force and the two organizations/religions that use it.
Explore a Different Time Period
If there’s one thing most fans were asking for when Lucasfilm announced that they were doing non-Skywalker movies. It was that they should be about the Old Republic era. Of course, The Rise Of Skywalker could be seen as an argument against fan service. But it would be foolish not to see at least some reward in listening to this particular fan request. Mainly because of the freedom it provides.
The Old Republic era of Star Wars was first explored in the Tales of the Jedi comicbook series from the mid-‘90s. This comic dealt with the first conflict between the Sith and the Jedi. At a time of exploration when newly discovered Hyperspace routes allowed travelers to go to unexplored regions of the galaxy. Leading to the creation of the Republic. What makes this time period so ripe for new stories is that it’s so separated from everything we know from the movies that you can easily make a completely new story that can make as many trilogies as you want, without ever running into prequel issues of having to connect to past stories. Sure, you can echo certain elements and make the story, setting and characters familiar to Star Wars fans. But you can easily avoid having to introduce a Skywalker or a Kenobi.
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Of course, the biggest appeal of a movie set in this time period is the abundancy of Sith lords and warriors. We’ve spent 9 movies hearing about the Sith and how big of a threat they’ve been to the Jedi. Why not finally show this by way of more than one single lightsaber between two or three warriors? After two entire trilogies about big, bad Empires fighting a small group of rebels. It would be refreshing to see a fully-fledged war between two superpowers. Especially if they both have armies equipped with lightsabers. This would allow the franchise to finally explore how the Jedi are viewed outside of Coruscant. And how Sith societies would work. All while allowing for a different enough aesthetic to really set this apart from the same look of the other films.
Focus on the TV Shows
Lucasfilm and Disney have one secret weapon that they didn’t have when The Force Awakens came out in 2015 – Disney Plus. A decade ago the idea of high-budget, live-action Star Wars shows seemed like a pipedream. But The Mandalorian is proving not only good, but popular. With the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie being turned into a TV show instead. It isn’t too far fetched to think that Lucasfilm could turn other story ideas into one-season mini-series.
We all know how Solo turned out. But outside of the unnecessary explanations. The movie did introduce some cool characters, and Donald Glover proved to be a great choice as Lando. Since the movie proved to be a failure, eliminating most chances at a sequel. Why not a mini-series exploring Lando’s exploits, or the underworld that Qi’ra got herself into?  Disney could easily turn some of their more popular characters. That maybe don’t have big enough stories to warrant a $200 million feature film into a 8-episode mini-series. We may not get another film with Finn or Poe. But there shouldn’t be a reason for them not to appear on some TV show down the line. Even for some of the points explained earlier. Like the Old Republic era, could easily spawn a TV show instead of a trilogy.
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