Azn Badger's Blog

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5 Movies That SHOULD Be Remade

And the point of this was.....?

These days it seems every big budget summer movie is a remake or a sequel.

While this is hardly a new phenomenon, it’s alarming just how many of these films seem unwarranted given the nature of their predecessors.

In my eyes, the point of remaking a film is to improve it, or in the case of films that are severely dated; repackage them for contemporary audiences.

Some of the worst examples of a remake that I can think of are A Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, and Rollerball.

In the case of the former 2, neither made any attempt whatsoever to expand on what made the original films great.

Psycho was of course a shot for shot retread, making it essentially “Psycho with Vince Vaughn” and little else.

Elm Street expanded on a sub plot or 2 that was already embedded in the mythology (though wisely underplayed) of the series, but ultimately came across as soulless and downright ugly due to it’s poor pacing and even worse special effects.

Sometimes the old ways are best...

Rollerball… Well, Rollerball was pretty much as complete a fuck-up a filmmaker can produce… Especially when said filmmaker happens to be someone talented like John McTiernan.

I think it’s best we all just move along and pretend Rollerball never happened.

Anyway, in light of all the buzz surrounding the new embarassingly Twilight inspired Teen Wolf and Fright Night remakes, I decided to put (literally) a few minutes into coming up with a handful of movies that I actually wouldn’t mind seeing get remade at some point.

1. Robot Jox

Robot Jox = Rocky IV with giant robots.

That alone should tell you this movie is worthy of a big budget remake.

The original Robot Jox was a pretty awful low budget sci-fi film with mediocre stop-motion and miniature effects.

Despite all this, the core concept; that of robotic gladiatorial competitions being staged in place of war between nations, definitely still holds water in my book.

It worked for Rocky IV, it worked for Ip Man 2, and it would’ve worked for Robot Jox, had the production had some flash to go with it’s premise.

The end product would be dumb as all hell, but with state-of-the-art special effects, and even an ounce of the heart of Rocky IV; I think it could be stupid fun.

REALLY stupid fun.

At the very least, a Robot Jox remake would probably turn out better than Real Steel… Or either of Michael Bay’s Transformer movies.

Anyone wanna’ come with me to see Real Steel when it drops this October?

2. The Land That Time Forgot

... Is that T-Rex drowning?

Surprisingly enough, this one was already remade in 2009, in the form of a “mockbuster” produced by the oh so infamous crew over at The Asylum productions.

Given that everything The Asylum produces is essentially of the “ironically bad” variety, I don’t think it’s asking too much if we pretend the 2009 version of The Land That Time Forgot never happened.

Hmm, I wonder how many times I’m gonna’ have to say that over the course of this article…

Anyway, The Land That Time Forgot was a classic adventure story loosely based on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs AKA The Tarzan Guy.

When I was young, this film was one that I could always depend on to bring a smile to my face.

Even to this day, Land has a lot going for it.

It had cool period costumes and tech (WWI), explosions and volcanoes, and of course; giant dinosaur puppets fighting German sailors.

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Dinosaurs are always a win in my book, but when you put them head to head with U-boats and machine guns, well; it’s very hard to get that wrong.

In my mind, a solid modern remake of Land would play out kind of like the Skull Island segment of Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake, only for 2 hours instead of… Well, 1 hour… And with less giant gorilla ice-skating.

In my eyes, more dinosaurs always equals a better film.

3. The Day of the Triffids

The Day of the Triffids’ plot concerns a meteor shower than blinds everyone on the planet who views it, leaving the vast majority of the population virtually helpless.

The remaining sighted individuals find themselves thrust into a nightmarish world of violence and danger as disorder and chaos threatens to consume the last vestiges of society.

As the icing on the cake of it all, a new threat emerges in the form of vampiric, mobile plant creatures called Triffids that consume humans and multiply at a fantastic rate.

Triffids has been remade before, but not successfully; or with a Hollywood budget.

It’s hard to argue Triffids’ premise isn’t intriguing, however the reason I’d be interested to see a remake, is because the film is kind of silly to look at by today’s standards.

Pictured: The title monster.

On paper, the plot sounds amazing, but in execution; the film just doesn’t hold up all that well.

As with seemingly every movie I mention on this list, I think Triffids would be a helluva’ thrill ride with a new coat of paint and a few extra bits of characterization.

4. 2o,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Anyone who’s read a post or 2 from this blog probably already knows how much I love Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

What can I say other than the fact that it’s a thrilling and accessible adaptation of an amazing piece of fiction.

From a technical standpoint, few films can measure up to Leagues’ combination of Oscar winning effects work and absolutely brilliant casting direction.

In that sense, it’s hard to imagine a retread of Leagues being better than the 1954 version, however it’s one of those stories that I feel should be shared with the youth of every generation.

What I wouldn’t give to see what modern special effects could do for the giant squid sequence…

5. Them!

Them! is a great movie.

It’s a B-movie by today’s standards, and is indeed kind of hokey; but if you ask me, Them! is a terrific suspense thriller.

The pacing is absolutely brilliant, the Cold War metaphors none-too-subtle, and the monsters memorable, formidable, and truly horrifying.

At it’s core, Them! is about giant ants trying to take over the world of man.

One of the greatest successes of Them!, is the fact that it tells an epic-sized story without sacrificing characterization.

To that end, if Them! were to be remade, I think I’d actually prefer to see it maintain a similar scale to the original.

Modern special effects allow filmmakers *cough!* Michael Bay *cough!* to fill the screen with all sorts of crazy shit, to the point in which some of the craziness and spectacle actually loses some of it’s impact, or worse yet; ends up going unnoticed on the periphery of the screen.

While I admit it would be cool to see an army of ants bum-rushing L.A., truth be told; I found the sewer sequence at the conclusion of the original film to be more than sufficient for a climax.

The really cool thing about remaking Them!, and this is totally unrelated to the actual integrity of the film; is the fact that you could do all sorts of crazy J.J. Abrams shit with the marketing.

A good chunk of Them! didn’t even make mention of giant ants, so I think it would be kind of cool to tease the movie as a cop thriller or military action flick, without showing a frame of ant action.

Imagine how fucked up that would be to show up at the theater expecting Black Hawk Down or L.A. Confidential, only to end up having giant ants thrown at you a half an hour into the movie?

Sure, plenty of people would feel robbed or jilted somehow, but if the movie ended up being half as good as the original Them!, chances are a lot of people would end up loving it.

Then again, maybe “a lot of people” don’t appreciate giant monster movies the way I do…

Anyway, there’s my list, feel free to point out some movies you think I left out.

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The Top 10 Manliest Man Moments #9: “BULLLLLL-SHIT!”


Alright boys and girls, we’re back with more of the Top 10 Manliest Man Moments in movies!

This time around we’re tackling MANLY moment #9, a MANLY moment that belongs to none other than quite possibly the MANLIEST of all action heroes; Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As any self respecting MAN is aware, MANLY moments are very much the norm in any Arnie movie.

Seriously man, given the chance, Arnold could find a way to make just about anything the fuckin’ MANLIEST shit ever.

Jesus fuck, he even makes chugging a beer look fuckin' awesome...

He was just that fuckin’ MANLY.

During the course of his acting career the man has killed Darth Vader:

Done battle with (and killed the ever-loving fuck out of) intergalactic game hunters:

"Hey, you're that guy from Night Court!"

And even managed to get away with calling THE FUCKING DEVIL a goddamn choir boy:

To say Arnold’s done some pretty MANLY-ASS things over the years would be an understatement akin to saying Steven Seagal’s flipped a lot of fools on their heads.

In other words, it’d be a BIG fuckin’ understatement.

Which begs the question, just what is the MANLIEST moment of Arnold’s illustrious film career?

Well, that’d have to the be when he summoned his MAN-STRENGTH to call “bullshit” on, well, pretty much everything; and then inexplicably whooped the shit out of a curiously overweight Australian at the end of Commando:

Let me go on record by saying that, while it’s far from the best movie in Arnold’s filmography; Commando has probably the highest MAN QUOTIENT of any of his movies.

Commando truly is a “dumb” movie in the sense that it’s plot, dialogue, and overall production values are kind of ratty; however most of this is played to it’s advantage in the form of copious amounts of “violent but not offensive violence,” and an insane number of Arnold-isms throughout.

In short, it’s a big dumb action movie that thrives on being big and dumb.

Which brings me to MANLY moment #9 on our list.

At the end of Commando, Arnold’s John Matrix faces off against a former “colleague” (read: killing buddy) of his named Bennett, who just happens to be holding Arnold’s daughter AKA Alyssa Milano, hostage.

She looks like fuckin' Chucky with those overalls...

While totally bat-shit crazy, and holding a penchant for knives; I’ve gotta’ say, Bennett is just about the least threatening villain I can recall in a Schwarzenegger flick.

I suppose it doesn’t help that half the time the guy looks like he’d sooner jump Arnie’s bones rather than kill him:

Pictured: Bennett's "O" face.

Seriously man, while taller than Arnold, the guy is obviously somewhat out of shape and doesn’t look at all to be a match for Arnold’s Herculean John Matrix.

To make matters worse, the poor guy is obviously kind of sensitive about his weight, as he wears some sort of goofy-ass chainmail getup to try and conceal his love handles.

Think fat kid wearing his shirt to the pool:

Pictured: Bennett, in his formative years.

Top things off with the fact that he looks like a fat Freddie Mercury, and you’ve got yourself one very sad-ass final boss.

Despite all this, thankfully Bennett gives himself a fighting chance by capping Johnny Matrix in his right shoulder just before the final battle.

Sadly, that would prove to be just about the only good move ‘ole Bennett makes in the whole fight.

Using his MANLY powers of psychology, Matrix manages to convince Bennett to let go of Alyssa Milano so that they may knife fight to the death like the MANLY MEN they are.

The fight appears to reach an equilibrium of sorts, as both men receive minor cuts; however one could argue that Bennett pulls ahead at this juncture by attempting the use of scornful finger wagging and black magic:

Despite this, using the MANLY STRENGTH of his willpower, Johnny Matrix manages to power through the effects of Bennett’s evil spell and push the big Aussie off the fuckin’ catwalk.

Unfortunately however, his MAN STRENGTH proves to be too great, thereby causing him fall off alongside Bennett:

After their fall, the knives are discarded; and things really start to heat up.

In classic villain fashion, Bennett makes use of a conveniently placed pipe to try and press an advantage over Matrix.

Courageously/dumbly fighting unarmed and without the use of his right arm, Arnold manages to stay in the fight, landing pot shots when able, and generally doing well to counter most of Bennett big swings.

Hell, one-armed or not, Arnie even manages to ape Steven Seagal by busting out an awkward hip toss of sorts:

Despite the awesomeness of that maneuver however, it would seem it wasn’t all that damaging; as Bennett manages to bounce back almost immediately.

Utilizing a nearby furnace door, Bennett whacks Matrix in the nose by opening it ala Tom and Jerry then proceeds to tear it off it’s hinges and chuck it at our hero.

Despite missing by a fuckin’ country mile, this maneuver allows Bennett the time to pick up another pipe from the floor, with which he proceeds to go to town on Matrix’s stomach and flanks.

Did I mention that during all of this, Bennett still looks like he want to mount Matrix something fierce?:

Pictured: Bennett's "O" face Mk. II

I’m not gonna’ lie, Arnold takes a helluva’ beating during this sequence.

After sustaining an absurd number of pipe shots to the torso, Arnold manages to land a desperation kick to… somewhere on Bennett’s person, thereby freeing our hero and allowing him to stand up once again.

I call the kick an act of “desperation” not just because of the nasty circumstances during which it was employed, but because kicking is just something Arnold doesn’t do.

The man is shaped like a fuckin’ upside down PYRAMID OF POWER, kicking is not one of his strong suits.

Van-Damme he is not.

Anyway, from there the fight devolves into one of those awkward struggling/wrestling matches that suck all the momentum out of fight sequences.

Long story short, Bennett opened the furnace earlier, both guys almost get put into said furnace; and much grunting and sweating ensues, likely to Bennett’s pleasure.

Jesus fuck, man! How many times is he gonna' do that!?

Likely growing weary of being in such close proximity to a dark magician/child molester like Bennett, Matrix creates some distance with a strategically placed headbutt followed by a left hook to the jaw.

While Johnny Matrix indeed succeeds in gaining some breathing room with this maneuver, unfortunately he makes the mistake of knocking Bennett into the power grid, shooting thousands of volts through the big Aussie’s chainmailed form:

"You fool! Electricity gives him power!"

Now, ordinarily this would put a motherfucker to sleep like no other, but not ‘ole Bennett.

You see Bennett, like King Kong in King Kong vs. Godzilla, actually gains strength from electrocution.

Unfortunately, Matrix clearly was not aware of this fact, and is thusly caught completely off guard by the immediate and hellacious counter-attack that follows.

Totally helpless, Matrix takes blow after blow, not the least of which being the dreaded “double axe-handle to the man boob”:

Following this, Bennett declares himself to be “feeling good,” thereby solidifying his dominance at this late stage in the fight.

Pummeling away at Matrix’s back with fists and elbows, Bennett continues to pour on the verbal abuse to John’s MANHOOD.

“Your’e a dead man John!”

With those words, whatever weakness may have remained in John Matrix’s soul burned away to cinders, leaving only MANLY MAN-NESS in their wake.

With those words, John Matrix summoned the mightiest of MANLY words from deep within himself, channeling the MANLIEST of MAN spirits in the process:

The rest is, as they say, history; as John Matrix spins around and proceeds to whoop the everloving-fuck out of Bennett.

Using only ONE HAND Matrix unleashes a 13-hit Ultra Combo of hooks and backhands that sends Bennett reeling.

Lacking the strength to employ any more magic spells or electrical attacks, Bennett; in a final act of villainous cowardice, draws a micro uzi and makes a move to blast Matrix’s nuts off.

Improvising in a manner that could only be referred to as MANLY-AS-FUCK, Matrix then promptly rips a steam pipe off the wall and throws it into Bennett’s rotund form:

If that’s not the 9th MANLIEST moment ever, I don’t know what is.

Check back tomorrow for MANLY moment #8!

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Top 10 Manliest Man Moments, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stop-Motion And The Azn Badger

I love stop-motion animation.

Something about the inherent tangibility of the finished product, the notion that the footage you’re viewing was created from materials you can touch with your own hands; is just so incredibly fascinating to me.

I’ve said many times in the past, that I find Photoshop, digital tablet devices, and other such digital art tools to be unwieldly and far too advanced for my tiny badger brain.

As an artist, I find that I have come to rely on the feeling of my pen streaking across the paper.

Digital art detaches you from your workspace, forcing you to rely on the borders and boundaries of the toolset provided to you, of the program you are working within.

While I am familiar with the most rudimentary of functions that Photoshop has to offer, this simple notion of detachment is what ultimately keeps me married to my pen and paper.

With a pen and paper, I am free to sketch and “work out” the images that I seek to produce.

More often than not, in the act of scrawling pencil hatch marks on my paper, I’ll usually find an accidental stray line or 2 that ends up being the key to solving whatever perspective/rendering issue that I’m having at the moment.

This doesn’t happen for me in the digital medium, as I feel daunted and moreoever; restricted by the tool based nature of the program.

Which brings me to my love of stop-motion.

The first time I can recall seeing stop-motion animation was on a VHS collection of 50’s and 60’s B-movie trailers that my parents gave me for Easter (don’t ask) called Fantastic Dinosaurs of the Movies.

The tape was prefaced by a short interview with Ray Harryhausen, with a series of clips from King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad playing over his narration.

Known as one of the most famous stop-motion animators of all time, Harryhausen was perhaps best known for his Dynamation technique that matted stop-motion characters over live-action footage, essentially serving as a primitive ancestor to modern digital compositing.

Upon first seeing the clip of the 6-armed Kali statue engaging in a vicious sword fight with a bunch of pirates and sailors, I was absolutely spellbound.

Though the clip was very brief, I remember being absolutely enthralled by the manner in which Kali moved.

I could tell that the motion wasn’t exactly 100% fluid, but even so; the character evident in the expressionless statue’s movements were enough to make me view this as potential plus, even as a child.

Before I could ask “how did they do that?” the tape answered my prayers by having Ray Harryhausen show us a model figure of a gorilla, both with and without it’s skin on; revealing a rigid metal skeleton beneath.

Harryhausen would go on to explain that, in taking a picture, moving the model a fraction of an inch or so, taking another picture, and then displaying the 2 images in sequence, he could create the effect of a once stable object becoming animated.

Though I was very young at the time, this simple explanation served as the start of lifelong fascination with stop-motion.

Not long after watching that tape, I would go on to force my parents to rent all sorts of stop-motion movies, most of which were Harryhausen’s classic works.

To date, Jason and the Argonauts remains my favorite of his, however The Valley of Gwangi is a very close second.

The first time I ever attempted stop-motion for myself, was when I was about 13 years old.

Using a handful of Gundam models I had, I set up the models on my bedroom floor and used the digital camcorder I had just received as a birthday gift to make a brief fight sequence.

Despite my inherent fascination with the technique, I think the reason I decided to try stop-motion back then was because of my lack of resources.

I wanted to make movies with my friends, but we didn’t have any cool props, nor were we all that physical, so most of the movies we wanted to make were ideas that were beyond our capability.

Stop-motion allowed me to side-step a lot of my 13 year old limitations.

It removed the possibility of actors being flaky, it removed budgetary limitations, and it allowed to film for as long as I wanted without anyone whining about it.

In essence, my desire to make films combined with my antisocial tendencies was most likely the catalyst for me trying my hand at stop-motion.

I don’t mind tooting my own horn and saying that I think I did pretty well on my first time out:

Sure, I did the whole thing in-camera, and my hand got into the shot a few times, but for the most part; without even really knowing if what I was doing was going to work, I think I did pretty well.

I took my time with my Gundam battle, staying up late into the night to get it done; and I’ll always be proud of it.

As soon as I made my first stop-motion animation, I went into a year-long period of cranking them out every month or so.

Everything came to a head when I made a 7-minute, partially animated film called “Pimpmastah” that ended up taking me several months to make.

Truth be told, the whole thing was shot over 3 days in total, however there was a several month long pause between each day of filming.

I can’t explain it, but the love for stop-motion that I had in my youth started to fizzle out around the time I was going into high school.

Call it life taking priority over art.

Regardless, I wouldn’t make another stop-motion film for 5-6 years, by which time I was already a year or 2 into college.

Living in a dorm, with very few friends, I found myself psychologically in very much the same place I was when I was 13.

In order to pass the time, as well as show off to my roommates, (some of the guys in the dorm also wanted to be filmmakers) I found myself bringing old action figures from home back with me to the dorm to use for animations.

As sad as it was that I spent a lot of my time in college watching Ultraman and making movies with action figures, I have to say; I had a lot of fun getting back into stop-motion.

It was also fun teaching myself how to edit my films, as up until then I had done everything sequentially and in-camera.

Hell, you can actually see the CD player I was playing into the camera speaker for live sound effects in the background of half the shots in “Pimpmastah.”

While I was using it as little more than a hobby, the extremely open-ended and liberal nature of my college allowed me more than a few opportunities to use stop-motion as a means of fulfilling class assignments.

You can bet I ended up making an animation every time I was asked to do a presentation on one of my writing assignments.

Another factor in why I continued to involve myself in stop-motion, was the fact that I was still plagued with the same limitations as a filmmaker, even in college.

Though I applied for them annually, I never got into a filmmaking class at my college.

Stop-motion became my pen and paper for the world of filmmaking.

Even with no budget, or actors, or even decent equipment, as long as I had some action figures and my old dead-pixel ridden camcorder, I could make movies to my heart’s content.

And I did.

I’ll never say I’m any sort of noteworthy talent in the art of stop-motion, as I know I’m not; but that’s not the point.

The point is:

Stop-motion is something anyone can do with a camera and a lot of patience.

I’m fortunate enough to have had both of those things since the age of 13, and while I’ve never had the organization skills or technical capabilities to put together a real movie; stop-motion has given me a venue to make movies of my own, on my own.

The reason I decided to type up this article tonight, is because I find myself feeling that old urge to get back into stop-motion.

It’s been almost 2 years since the last time I used a camera, and after years of consistent improvement in my technique; I think it’s about time I took another stab at it.

This time around I’m considering using more articulate and challenging models, something that is likely to drive me nuts if I actually attempt it.

Though the licensed one’s are absurdly expensive, I ran across a product line from Hong Kong based Hot Toys called True-Types.

Near as I can tell, they are essentially highly articulated 12-inch GI Joe figures that can be modified and fitted with various clothing and accessories.

One comment about the Azn Badger playing with dolls, and I swear I will find you and ram one of those candiru things that took out Eric Stoltz in Anaconda up your urinary tract.

This, but in your pee hole.

Trust me, you don’t want that.

Anyway, my buddy Macgyver Jr. has a bunch of clothing and equipment for figures of roughly the same proportions, so I figure I can borrow a bunch of props from him to suit my needs.

Here’s a hilariously bad, and totally non-animated collaborative video we made using figures similar to the True-Types in about, oh, 45 minutes:

Not only that, true to his name, Macgyver Jr. also happens to be a woodworking wizard, so any other props or scenery that I’d need would be just a friendly favor away.

Though I can’t really say as to whether or not I’m really gonna’ be making any stop-motion films in the near future, (we all know what happened last time I announced I’d be making a film…) if actually go ahead and try to do it, I’m hoping to put more effort into it than I’ve ever done before.

Most of my stop-motion efforts have boiled down to single day efforts that involve little more than a short battle scene.

While I’ll probably end up doing yet another fight sequence, as that’s what I like to do; I’d like to invest more time in the animation process, as well as maybe do some post-production processing of the frames to make for a more polished film.

Y’know, little things like motion blur, or digital removal of props used to balance the figures.

Who knows, if things turn out well enough, maybe I’ll end up filming a story around the fight.

Anyway, I’m done rambling and speculating about things that may never happen, thanks for reading!

Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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