Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Hoping This Summer’s Movies Don’t Suck

Man, work sucks.

I had an awesome idea for a card earlier today, but thanks to the sudden emergence of my mandatory overtime day tomorrow; I was forced to hold off on working on the good stuff until the weekend.

Oh well, even though the craftsmanship of the card above is indeed a rush job, and a shitty one at that; in my mind, any Conan is good Conan.

Speaking of which, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t have my hopes up for the new Conan movie this year; but I’ve got my fingers crossed nonetheless.

That seems to be the theme for all of the big blockbuster movies for me this summer.

I’m excited about them, but as of now my biggest hope is that they don’t end up being embarrassingly bad, or worse yet; “I want my money back” bad.

Transformers has a horrendous track record working against it, but it’s Transformers; so I’ll always be willing to give it a shot; common sense be damned.

"Common Sense" and Michael Bay just don't mix...

Green Lantern has good people involved in it’s production, but the art design looks kind of shitty; and Ryan Reynolds isn’t exactly my favorite leading man.

Especially when looks goofy like this.

Thor looks… Y’know what, fuck it. I don’t even wanna’ talk about how Thor looks…

...Although the prospect of seeing Anthony Hopkins in power armor is awfully enticing.

Conan looks to be headed in a good direction, with a harsher aesthetic and what not; however it’s seriously lacking in the Arnold quotient, (which is “zero,” for those that are curious) which will likely be it’s downfall being as the Arnold version is Conan for Conan newbs like myself.

Although the casting of Jason Momoa does wonders to improve the series' Hawaiian quotient, which is always a good thing in my book.

Oh yeah, and Captain America looks alright as of now, but like all of the others listed above; it’s very much a slippery slope.

Pictured: What said slippery slope can lead to when left unchecked.

The chances of a shitty summer movie season are pretty high, though in all honesty; I feel that I’ll probably end up heading to the theater more often than is the norm for me.

Anyway, I got work tomorrow, so I’ll see yah’ later.

 

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Thoughts On The Thor Trailer

Let it be known, the Azn Badger is in no way an authority on Thor.

Like most kids, I dabbled in Norse mythology in my youth; however when it comes to the Marvel version of the Nordic god of thunder, I’m really kind of a newb.

Truth be told, I’ve never read a Thor comic in my life, largely because I could never find an appropriate jumping on point in the character’s expansive continuity.

That being said, while I don’t know Thor all that well, I do consider myself a fairly knowledgeable movie buff; and it’s from that perspective that I’ve decided to throw together this article regarding my impression of the new Thor movie based on it’s recent trailer.

When I first heard that Thor was going to be directed by the great channeler of Billie Shakes himself, Kenneth Branagh; I found myself struck with a crystal clear vision of what to expect:

Shakespeare-ian melodrama, obscenely lavish and over-the-top costume and set designs, and a cameo by the director himself; most likely shirtless and covered in physique enhancing oil.

"I shall now remove my shirt.... For SCIENCE."

Basically, I expected Branagh’s Frankenstein, but with Norse gods and (sadly) no Bobbie D.

Upon viewing the trailer, I can’t help but feel that most of what I expected, good and bad; has come to fruition.

I’m a little disappointed in the fact that, based on the trailer anyway; many of the principle Asgardian (heh heh, “Ass-Guard”) characters are shown without their helmets and garb, most likely due to a creative decision along the lines of:

“The audience can’t connect with the characters if their faces are covered by their helmets!”

On that note, costume designs seem appropriately lavish and extravagant, and the sets seem impressively vast as seems to be the norm for any Kenneth Branagh film, however I feel it must be mentioned that the sets that appear to represent Niffelheim (the Norse realm of ice) seem a little anemic compared to the Asgardian ones.

While I’m on the topic of Niffelheim, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m excited to see how the Norse frost giants are depicted in this movie.

In glancing at the imdb for Thor, I happened to notice that Ymir is listed in the cast; which in my mind means we’ll be treated to a bit of a throwdown between him and Thor at some point in the film.

Call me crazy, but the idea of a big fuckin’ Scandinavian dude winging away with a mallet against a mountain-sized man of ice just seems like good watching in my book.

Here’s hoping Mr. Branagh doesn’t fuck it up by having the 2 of them give a soliloquy before initiating a “gentleman’s duel.”

...Or fuck it up by having Ymir look any less cool than THIS.

Sorry, I’m not much for Shakespeare…

Getting back to the movie, I don’t know if maybe the intention was that the Niffelheim sequence in the film was meant to be intentionally “stagy” or theatrical, but at this point the set just looks kind of cheap.

Like, Jerry Bruckheimer King Arthur cheap.

Pictured: A still from the climactic battle sequence of King Arthur.

Moving on, from what I can tell, the cast for the film seems fairly solid.

Casting Sir Anthony Hopkins (that’s right, I call him “sir.”  The question is: Why the fuck don’t you?) as Odin was pretty much a no-brainer.

The man has a voice, and gruff old man presence about him that makes him perfect for pretty much any elder god in all of mythology.

Curiously enough, both the actors for Loki and Thor are strangely unknown to me.

Tom Hiddleston, at least physically anyway, seems to fill Loki’s shoes rather well.

When I picture Loki, I picture a frail, weasely motherfucker that does pretty much all of his fighting with his words and his voice.

That is to say, while Hiddleston seems to look the part at this point; the effectiveness of his performance will likely be determined by the strength of the script… which will most likely suck ass.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor, seems to be a bit of a gamble; but a fairly well justified one.

Remember when Daredevil came out, and people were up in arms about Michael Clarke Duncan being cast as the Kingpin?

People were upset that a black man was cast for a white character, however they did so without taking into account the fact that the Kingpin, in the comics anyway; was supposed to be built like a brick-shit house.

Can you name any legitimately talented actors, black or white; with a physique that could meet that description as well as Michael Clarke Duncan?

BRICK. SHIT. HOUSE.

Didn’t think so.

My point is, while Chris Hemsworth is pretty much an unknown in Hollywood; I honestly don’t know of many actors that can pull off the whole “musclebound viking look.”

I said "actors." Yes, he probably would fill the role just fine though.

And don’t say “what about Brad Pitt?” because I honestly don’t think he’d be a good choice given that he’d probably put too much swagger into his Thor.

Stupid Brad Pitt, bein’ all sexy n’shit…

The last thing I’d like to say about the cast of Thor, is that I don’t know anything about the nature of her character in the comics or in the film, but the way they showed her in the trailer, Natalie Portman seems like she’s just there.

Nonetheless, that tends to count for a lot when you look like this.

Seriously, I don’t know if the marketing guys over at Marvel are to blame, but the way she’s treated in the trailer suggests that this may very well be a case of “Tree #3 as played by Natalie Portman.”

Maybe it’s just the fact that she’s the only one in the cast that doesn’t have a flashy and heavily ornamented suit of Scandinavian power armor, or the fact that her schedule was very likely crowded with, y’know; good movies she had to act in, but seriously; if it wasn’t Natalie Portman, I don’t think any of us would’ve even noticed her character in the trailer.

In closing, Thor looks to be pretty much what I expected.

I don’t expect an epic, fast-paced, or even all that entertaining an experience out of it, but it’s a Marvel movie, it has superheroes hitting each other, and yes; that is enough to make me go see it.

I want to see the Destroyer armor blow up cars.

I want to see how many creative ways a big hammer can be used to kill frost giants.

I want to see if Tadanobu Asano AKA the Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp of Japan, can make a name for himself in American films.

But most of all, I want to hurry up and skip this pile of ass so we can get to the good shit like Captain America and The Avengers.

Fanboy as I am, it’s more than likely that all of the above will end up sucking balls though.

Though Thor is the only one that can boast the possibility of a random shirtless Kenneth Branagh.

"I must do this scene, SHIRTLESS! The integrity of the film demands it!"

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Thoughts On Chris Evans As Captain America

Let’s get one thing straight:

I like Captain America.

I like his “patriotic weakling to walking symbol of hope and freedom” origin story.

I like his old timey way, and how it juxtaposes so well with the often times annoying immature antics of today’s comic superheroes.

I like his powers and abilities, as the range of his physical capabilities allows him to be “super,” while at the same time quite vulnerable.

Hell, as goofy as it can look at times, I even like his costume design.

Well, except for this, the "flag conspicuously pointing at crotch" variant.

When I first heard that Chris Evans was going to be playing Cap in Captain America: The First Avenger movie, my initial reaction was to say:

“Really?  Chris Evans is in another comic book movie?”

Off the top of my head, Chris Evans has been in 4 comic book movies, playing 3 different characters, with no less than 2 more roles down the road if you count the Captain America film in question, and his appearance in the upcoming Avengers film.

Chris Evans has an acting portfolio. At least I think so anyway.

Make no mistake, comic book movies as still very much “in” at the moment, and if anyone is making bank off of the trend, my guess is it would be Mr. Evans.

Now, while that may have been my initial reaction to the Captain America casting news; my honest to God feelings on the matter were lodged somewhere in the valley between confusion and disbelief.

To date, I still can’t understand why he was chosen for the Captain America role.

With the exception of Street Kings, wherein he played a very vanilla and by the book cop; every role I’ve seen Evans in has had him cast as the “funny guy” or failing that, the “funny guy that can set himself on fire.”

Although he was without a doubt the best part of the Fantastic 4 movies, that doesn't mean they weren't pure ass.

Truth be told, I’ve never been disappointed by any of his performances, not that that’s saying much; but the point is:

Unless he’s hiding some well-concealed stoicism or acting range beneath his “funny guy” exterior, he just doesn’t seem like Cap to me.

Captain America is one of those characters that, to me; is more easily represented as a somewhat older man.

While the First Avenger is most likely going to take place exclusively in the WWII era, when Steve Rogers was cutting his teeth on Nazis, for some reason I’ve always pictured Captain America as being one of those guys that’s been a manly man since the cradle.

Kind of like Charles Bronson, James Coburn, or Anthony Hopkins.

Pictured: Charles Bronson at 9 months.

I know It’s unfair of me to judge an actor, or a film for that matter; before it’s even had a trailer, but in my mind the actors that would have best played Captain America have already aged themselves out of the running.

Despite a distinct lack of physicality, I always felt that Robert Redford could’ve made for a very effective Captain America.

His voice, face, hair color, acting ability and God given aura of gravitas would’ve gone a long way towards legitimizing the character and the film.

Not only that, with movies like A River Runs Through It, and The Natural under his belt, he always had that all-American feel to him.

Some people said the same of Kevin Costner.

Said people are of course, utterly retarded and full of shit, as Costner’s just about the most boring and vanilla pile of feces to ever walk the face of the Earth.

Pictured: Feces with a soul patch.

Sadly, “boring as shit” seems to describe far too many young actors these days.

Maybe it’s just because they’re young, and seem to be cast more for their looks than their acting ability, but to me it seems like most of the big-budget blockbuster movie actors these days just seem to lack “character,” at least in a physical sense.

When you look at the actors from back in the day, they had a look to them that lent a lot to their performances.

Not only that, in the post-studio picture era, subtlety was an acting trait that was considered praise worthy among performers, a fact that has not changed since; but seemingly has eluded many of the young actors of today.

..... Y'know, I'm not even gonna' say anything.

 

I’m rambling.

Anyway, at this point in time, The First Avenger seems like a pretty decent movie on paper.

It has a pretty strong cast, with Hugo Weaving sure to steal the show as The Red Skull, and a competent, if somewhat bipolar director at the helm in the form of Joe Johnston.

If Johnston gives us another Rocketeer or Jumanji, then Captain America’s gonna’ kick some serious ass.

If he gives us another Jurassic Park III though, then I just might have to sit this one out.

In either case, the man has shown considerable zeal for crafting old timey period films, not to mention he has a tremendous visual effects background, so if nothing else; the film will be pretty to look at…

That being said, on a final note, I’d just like to say that I sincerely disapprove of Marvel’s decision to rely on the Ultimate Universe for some of the visual stylings and character interpretations for their current and future films.

I understand that the Ultimate Universe has not been confirmed to be used as direct source material for said films, but from what I’ve seen, that seems to the case.

Maybe it’s because the Ultimate Universe was never targeted at my age group, as it’s intended audience is that of younger, less seasoned comic fans, but honestly I’ve never seen the appeal of it.

I can understand Marvel’s desire to use the black Nick Fury, as Samuel L. Jackson is the bees knees in the eyes of dorky haole kids, but to be perfectly honest; it makes me sad that both the Captain America and Thor movie’s character designs have drawn influence from the Ultimate Universe.

Long story short, Ultimate Thor is okay, but Ultimate Captain America is absolutely hideous in my eyes.

Concept art from the movie. Where's the fuckin' wings!!!??

 

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