Captain’s Log: July 2016

SDCC 2016 (And all the trailers that come with it)

So many trailers! Quite a few for Superhero movies. Doctor Strange, Wonder Woman, the Justice League, Suicide Squad, Lego Batman. One thing I wanted to bring attention to was the Wonder Woman trailer. It’s a fine thing, and it looks like it’s going to be a very fun movie, and maybe even a good one. But one minor thing that irritates me about this trailer is the first scene. Here we have this iconic character that has been an inspiration to young women and has influenced many female characters who came in her wake, and the first line of the trailer for her new movie is “You’re a man.” Really leaning into the female empowerment theme, huh?

But it still looks pretty good. And Justice League is looking like much of an improvement on Batman v. Superman. There’s a massive shift in tone, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash both look pretty great.

Having the Flash in both the movies and in the ongoing Flash television show is interesting – it will allow for contrasting interpretations which will show the strengths and weaknesses of adapting this specific character and adapting superheroes in general.

Among all those, it’s easy to forget that there were any other trailers released this month, but another for the Magnificent Seven remake (which looks spectacular) was released to play before Star Trek Beyond. I loved westerns, and I think that slowly but surely, the genre has been crawling toward a revival, with successful movies such as True Grit (2010), Django Unchained, Slow West, The Hateful Eight, and others, all coming out and being greeted with success within the past few years.

Additionally, a first trailer was released for Starz’s adaptation of American Gods was released. It looks great. I’m thrilled because I just recently started reading the book, and so I’m looking forward to this. Once Game of Thrones concludes, there will be a power vacuum, so-to-speak, of the greatest fantasy television show. Many people speculate that this could take its place.

2016 July 1

In Theaters this Month

One seemingly hilarious anticlimax in pop culture was the release of the new Ghostbusters film. It was a reboot of the 1984 film, this time with all women. Some people loved the idea, some people hated it. The internet reacted angrily when critic James Rolfe said he wouldn’t see the movie because of how much he loved the original film, and that, as far as the trailers showed, the new film would do a disservice to the original. This put the internet into a firestorm of disagreement: was this about the original film, or was this about a critic having a misogynistic reaction to the film being cast with all women? Point being this: there was a lot of disagreement and divisiveness leading up to the release, but once the time came, everyone agreed that it was a decent enough movie, and that was that. It currently holds a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is only about $9 million shy of making the amount of money in its budget. That’s about it, I guess.

And then there was also the Bourne sequel. 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, a letdown for a franchise that has brought consistently impressive action with each installment. I didn’t get a chance to see it, and I don’t really want to. (There has been one thing that irked me; why is this one finally titled Jason Bourne rather than The Bourne Redemption or whatever. The first three installments and even the spinoff all followed the same naming pattern, so why didn’t this? Eh, it doesn’t actually matter.)

I think it’s best not to make a judgment about a film before you watch it, but at the same time, I understand how Rolfe feels about not wanting to see the things you love being potentially tarnished by a bad sequel or reboot. I, for one, didn’t much care for the original, and so the new one doesn’t really hold any appeal for me.

Also out this month is Star Trek Beyond, the follow-up to the love-it-or-hate-it Star Trek Into Darkness. Unlike Ghostbusters and Jason Bourne, I did manage to see this one, which left me feeling mostly indifferent. Blog Into Mystery referred to this film as “Star Trek Beyond Apathy,” which is very much the way I felt about it as well. The chase sequence shown in the trailers, with Kirk on a motorcycle, certainly delivered, and there were some other visually outstanding sequences in the film: showing the beauty of the Yorktown base is like a sci-fi M.C. Escher painting and the “Sabotage” sequence is thrilling and beautiful. Additionally, Karl Urban gives a standout performance. Other than this, my friends and I felt as though there wasn’t much to this movie. The plot was weak, character arcs arriving somewhere without any real reason why the characters got there, and Idris Elba seemingly wasted on not much of a role. In short, my verdict is this: it’s enjoyable enough, and if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll like it well enough, but it’s not amazing.

More on Pokemon Go

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about Pokemon Go and how it translated the thrill of Pokemon into real life. Now that the general public has had a little more time to digest the game, I’d like to write a little more about it.

It’s a great deal of fun, but more than that, it’s brought people together. I recently visited a friend in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and we walked through the city, arriving at a main square. It was really something to see; there were small groups walking together, playing the game, going back and forth between the various pokestops, and even talking among one another and meeting new people.

 To reiterate what I wrote in the Pokemon Go post: this is a game like no other. It’s fascinating how it shakes up everyday life, gets us out of our routine, and has us interacting with other people. This is easily the most significant Pokemon game since the original.
Posts this Month

On Pokemon and Pokemon Go

Kylo Ren: Theories and Commentary

One Year of Pop Cultural Studies!


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