Azn Badger's Blog

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Captain America Score Sounds Pretty Good So Far

I’m a lover of movie scores.

Something about the way movie soundtracks are arranged just makes the music stand out to me as something special.

I’ve always liked the “big” sound of an orchestra, but the one reason I rarely listen to classical music; is because I have trouble drawing emotion from it.

Movie soundtracks are typically composed with the intent of harmonizing with the visuals they accompany, and in many cases; one simply would not be the same without the other.

While I can’t see myself ever watching Star Wars without Johnny Williams backing it up, I’ve always found that I can enjoy Star Wars music without the films.

I’ve always made it a point to pay attention to the music in films, and doing so has resulted in me seeking out a vast library of movie soundtracks.

Seeing as this is me we’re talking about, it should come as no surprise that the vast majority of these soundtracks are dumb action movies, kung fu movies, and/or old cartoons.

Oh yeah, and lots and lots of Godzilla and Ultraman soundtracks:

Pictured: One of my prized possessions. Yes, I am a dork.

Nerd-gasm aside, while it’s hardly the best soundtrack I’ve ever heard, I feel I need to point out that, from the 14 minute sample I’ve heard of it; Captain America The First Avenger sounds pretty damn good so far.

Composed by industry legend Alan Silvestri, the Captain America soundtrack makes great use of his signature sound, both old and new.

On the “old” front, Captain America has some marches and cadences that borrow somewhat from Silvestri’s work on Predator, while the “new” aspect of the music, primarily the more uppity synthesized segments; draws comparisons to the composer’s work on Van Helsing.

Yes, I am aware Van Helsing was an epicly shitty movie; however few can deny the soundtrack had it’s moments.

The movie, sadly; did not.

It DID however have vampire bimbos. Lots and lots of vampire bimbos...

Boasting a bombastic, and appropriately militaristic feel; the soundtrack sports Silvestri’s trademark heavy brass, but also makes subtle use of synthesizers; such that end result feels very much like a period piece, but with the energy of a modern summer blockbuster.

The 14 minute sample I was fortunate to get a chance to listen to contained several arrangements of a few different cues, one that I feel comfortable assuming was one of the central themes of the film; and one that had to have been an action cue.

The “theme” feels like a throwback to WWII themes of the past I.E. Patton and The Great Escape.

Curiously enough, parts of it feel kind of like The A-Team theme, (minus the BADASS electric guitar solo) which Alan Silvestri recently remixed for the feature film adaptation:

Really now, did I seriously need an excuse to embed that clip?

Didn’t think so.

Anyway, truth be told the “theme” feels kind of weak when compared to the greats of the past, however it’s far stronger than Patrick Doyle’s work on Thor, which in my eyes was one of the summer’s biggest missed opportunities for producing a great action movie soundtrack.

That’s not to say the Captain America “theme” is all that great, it’s not; it’s merely good.

I think it’s biggest weakness is that it comes across as somewhat generic, largely because it’s “militaristic feel” overshadows the fact that it’s supposed to be the theme music for an individual.

When I listen to the “theme,” I get images of Americana and WWII stuff, but sadly I don’t get any pictures of Cap’ wearing his goofy blue costume.

Not that I have any idea of how one would compose music to convey such imagery in the first place.

Maybe this:

Wow, that brought back some memories… Mostly bad.

Moving on, the action cue from the sample was actually quite good.

Energetic and colorful, the action cue feels like a mix between Silvestri’s great work on Beowulf, (minus the overbearing choir) and his equally great work on The Mummy Returns; however composed at a much faster clip.

Truth be told, the cadence of the music leads me to believe part of it was arranged with the train sequence from the trailer in mind; however I could be, and likely am wrong on that.

In any case, I like what I’ve heard thus far, and truly hope the movie ends up yielding a similar reaction from me when I finally get to see it next month.

Post a comment if you’d like a download link to the Captain America sample soundtrack!

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Optimistic About Captain America

I’ve posted a few times regarding my thoughts on the upcoming Captain America movie.

In those posts, I expressed apprehension regarding both the casting of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, as well as Joe Johnston’s role as the director of the film.

Looking back, I also took time to thoroughly dissect (read: shit on) the design of the Captain America costume.

Yeah... Still not a big fan of this design.

In all, based on the content of the teaser trailers, as well as Joe Johnston’s notable, but severely bipolar filmography; I’d be lying if I said I was expecting much from the finished product.

Ever since I caught word of the Captain America movie, the one thing I was hoping for from the movie; was that it wouldn’t shame the character of Captain America.

I happen to like Captain America.

Some people take offense to the boldfaced patriotism inherent to his character, or his cheesy “old-timey” sensibilities; but personally, I kind of like that about Cap.

While I’m far from posting an American flag out on my porch, in a cynical age; I can’t help but admire the straightforward nature of Captain America’s values and symbolism.

Anyway, the real reason I’m making this post; is because, after viewing the newest full-length trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger, I can honestly say my impression of it has improved.

Well okay, that kind of had a hand in raising my spirits too.

While the trailer itself is far from brilliant, there’s an intangible element to it that appealed to me.

Hell, even Chris Evans seemed closer to being Steve Rogers than I felt previously.

In short, the trailer gives the impression that the movie is far more cohesive and well put together than I initially thought.

I know of the dangers of creating expectation from promotional materials, but for whatever reason; this new trailer has drastically changed my expectation from “hopeful” in the sense of hoping it won’t suck balls, to “hopeful” in the sense that I hope it’s as fun as it seems.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me that’s a pretty big leap.

Anyway, take a look for yourself HERE; I think you’ll pleasantly surprised.

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Thoughts On The Captain America Teaser


Though it hardly qualifies as “big news” in most circles, this past Sunday marked the television debut of the 30 second Captain America: The First Avenger teaser:


Oh yeah, and something called “The Superbowl” happened too.

The Packers won, the Steelers lost, and balance has been brought to The Force; at least until the next season.

Anyway, given that the Captain America preview was a trim 30 seconds in length, and was intentionally edited so as to keep most of the major details of the film foggy at best; here are my thoughts on what I saw:

The CGI used to reduce Chris Evan’s heroic physique to that of the undersized pre-Project Rebirth Steve Rogers appears fairly convincing at this point.

Well okay fine, it doesn't look perfect, but it looks better than young Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy.

While most likely a minor element of the film, technical gimmicks like this have always fascinated me; particularly when they work, I.E. Lt. Dan’s amputated legs in Forrest Gump.

We’ll see how it turns out on the big screen.

Moving on, I’m pleased to note that nothing looks cheap about the movie as of yet.

Some of the costuming for Thor had an unfortunate, plastic-y look, but the period elements, and overall production design of Captain America seems pretty slick thus far.

Of particular note was the set for the Project Rebirth sequence, not only because it’s the only set we really get a good look at in the teaser; but also because it genuinely looks pretty good.

One thing I was afraid of seeing in a Captain America film, was gaudy or needlessly extravagant production design.

Thankfully, and remember this is just me going by what we’ve seen thus far; this seems to be a non-issue in The First Avenger.

Most everything in the teaser points to an almost Rocketeer-esque (also directed by Joe Johnston) marriage of the pulpy comic book aesthetic and appropriately utilitarian, or at least practical, design elements.

Truth be told, I loved The Rocketeer back in the day, so if Captain America can capture that same gleeful energy, I think we’re in for a good show.

Another thing worth noting in the teaser, is the brief glimpse we get of the Red Skull, as played by Hugo Weaving.

Red Skull is a character who has undergone a great deal of variations in his design.

In his early appearances, as well as the current Steve Epting version of the character; Red Skull had what I like to call a “toad face”.

 

TOOOOOOAAAADDDD FAAAAAAACCCEEE!!!!!

His eyebrows were exagerrated and protruding, like a neanderthal; but the “toad face” part of his design came from his broad, perpetually frowning mouth.

My personal favorite design of the character, was the one featured prominently in the early 90’s (go figure) that featured a very straightforward skull-shaped, well, skull.

In the case of the movie, it would appear that the design was designed primarily to capitalize on Hugo Weaving’s unique facial structure, while retaining some of the classic “toad face” features:

...And he tears off his normal face mask to reveal... A hideous skull mask!

In other words, expect a bug-eyed, big forehead-ed Red Skull that looks more like Agent Smith than, well, a skull.

I already voiced my opinion on the design decisions for the Captain America suit, as posted here; however there’s one last little detail I’d like to add to that, in the form of a comment from a friend of mine.

Chris Evans in the Captain America suit looks like Shaq from Steel.”

No Caption Necessary.

While I was (sadly) inclined to agree in some respects, I still remain hopeful that Captain America will turn out to be a better film than the almost ludicrously ass-tastic Steel.

Even so, if ever there was a comic character that was easy to fuck up, it’d have to be the Cap’n…

At this point, Captain America (along with Green Lantern) is poised to be my big summer movie this year, so keep your fingers crossed people, The Azn Badger commands 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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