G.I. Joe Retaliation Review


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Nearly a year ago I had the opportunity to see a test screening of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. I have been sitting on my feelings about the movie since then. I have let slip a few times here and there on The Gorram Nerd Hour that I hated it. So why did I watch it again? For the same reason I watched the other movies I’ve seen at test screenings again, to see what they changed. It’s always interesting what the studios take away from the comment cards they ask you to fill out at the end of a test screening. On my card I filled it with stuff like “Why was this movie greenlit?” and “What was the point?” Did I change my opinions after the reshoots? Or were the “fixes” they made just as bad?

When I first saw the movie the only positive thing I took away from it was that Snake Eyes was awesome. I love Ray Park and he gave the movie his all despite how bad it was. Sort of like what he did for Star Wars: Episode I. With the reshoots we got a little more Duke, played by Channing Tatum. In the original version Duke was dead as fast as it takes the average person to blink. Of course, by the time the movie started I was praying for toothpicks to keep my eyes open because my eyes just wanted to close to avoid having to take in anymore of that horrible movie. The Duke scenes were designed as a passing of the torch to Road Block, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Although the movie worked better watching Tatum and Johnson play off each other. The moment Tatum was out of the movie the fun left with it…until Bruce Willis entered the movie. Sadly, this fact has not changed. Sure, they added a couple more scenes with Tatum and Johnson together but teasing the audience with a fun movie for a few more minutes only serves to enrage them more overall. 

Duke still dies…oops, sorry. I meant to warn people of spoilers. Oh well, too late. After his death the movie falls into a boring lull for a good 40 minutes until Willis enters. Cobra Commander, Zartan and Firefly couldn’t bring the fun. Adrianne Padalecki (sic) couldn’t save it by looking hot as Lady Jaye. Nothing worked. Not even the coolness of Jonathan Pryce and Walton Goggins. This still has not changed from the previous version. There were random tweaks done to the movie but none so substantial that it made it worth watching. 

In all fairness I will say this. The few changes that were made to the movie made the film a bit more enjoyable. In fact, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I liked this one almost as much as first. That’s still not a compliment. At least the first had a bit more of an emotional aspect to it. Plus it tried harder. This was just lazy screenwriting. I don’t blame the director or the actors. They did what they could. But when you polish a turd all it does is make the cloth dirty.

A quick note to the writers – Zombieland was fun. Was it a fluke? Or did you just sell out? If Deadpool ever gets made I’ve now become scared about what you’re gonna do with it. Are you going to be the next Ehren Kruger? 

I’m done. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. 

For the original version of the movie I give it 1/2 * out of 5. For the reshot and delayed version I give it 1 and 1/2 *’s out of *****. 

I’m sure Brian and I will be discussing this on the next episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour so make sure you tune in for it.

Why I Like JJ Abrams For Star Wars


When Star Trek ended it’s long run of spin-off series after something like 19 years the movie franchise had already gone down in flames. People were saying it was the end of Trek. Rick Berman, the man who took over for Gene Roddenberry, had simply refused to break too far from the formula he felt still worked after all these years. The problem was the formula was making it increasingly more difficult to ever begin watching Star Trek without starting from the beginning. 

Many years of non-stop television series, ten movies over twenty five years, and constant complaints…even from the most die hard fans meant we may have seen the end of Star Trek. Thankfully Paramount wasn’t ready to accept it. They wanted a way to make Trek accessible to the masses. So they said, “To hell with the fan’s Prime Directive. We’re gonna shake things up.” And shake them up they did. After creating the best Mission Impossible up to that point Paramount was highly impressed with JJ Abrams and wanted to extend their working relationship with the man. Soon after they announced he would be taking the reigns of one of the most beloved franchises in the history of media. 

Let me say something here – I hate remakes/reboots/prequels or whatever other name they spend more time coming up with than the actual scripts of the remakes/reboots/prequels Hollywood makes. For some reason, though, after seeing Star Trek in 2009 I was completely satisfied. It was sort of a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel all rolled into one. And it worked. Abrams was not really a fan of Star Trek but two of his good friends and frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were. He tasked them with the near impossible – make a script that marries all of Trek together and changes everything to make it fresh and new. Abrams used his love for Star Wars by creating some great fights and seriously cool space battles, something more epic than we had seen in any of the previous Trek films. 

Star Trek Into Darkness is coming this Summer. I have seen the 9 minutes of footage they played in front of the Imax version of The Hobbit and let me say I was seriously impressed. Some say it’s a betrayal of Trek franchise for Abrams to leave it. I don’t see it that way. He has a proven history of laying the groundwork for other people to expand on the worlds he creates. With Alias he took a backseat after a couple years and allowed others to continue it on. With Lost he allowed Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse to make it into the show that became event television for six years. Fringe was left in the hands of others as well. He continued to stay on as executive producer for all of them but nurtured others into taking these shows and moving them in exciting new directions. Even after Mission Impossible III he stayed on as producer, hired a couple of writers he’d worked with in the past and entrusted the directing duties to Brad Bird. He took the fourth film and made the best one in the history of the franchise. So when it comes to Trek I have faith that Abrams will find the right person to replace him and take the franchise to new heights. 

As far as Star Wars is concerned I am very excited. Abrams has a very fertile imagination, a great eye for dynamic shots, and the ability to pace a story very well. The problem with George Lucas was that he felt bored. It was like he felt obligated to make the prequel trilogy but didn’t really want to. So he loaded it with boring stuff about trade embargoes and the inner workings of the Imperial Senate. It was like the odd numbered Star Trek films and how they were slow, boring movies with little action.

Between hiring Michael Arndt as the writer, bringing in Lawrence Kasdan to consult on the script, and hiring Abrams as director I feel like this new Star Wars film could be the best on since Empire Strikes Back.

Now, let the casting rumors begin. 

LucasFilm Is Now Disney Owned?!


Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard the news. Disney purchased LucasFilm for a whopping $4.05 Billion. That is Billion with a B. This is a crazy bit of news. Nobody even knew it was on the market.

Disney wasted no time talking about their plans for LucasFilm. They intend on having Star Wars Episode 7 in theaters by 2015, the same time as Avengers 2, with 8 and 9 to follow shortly after. This is great news for Disney, but what does it mean for fans?

First off, Disney owns Marvel Studios and their comic book line. That means Dark Horse Comics will lose the rights as soon as their contract is up. There’s no way Disney is going to re-up that contract now. Marvel was the first company to release Star Wars comics back in the late 70’s and they will have it back again in just a couple short years.

Second, we must address what this means for the fans of the movies. Star Wars and Indiana Jones are both owned by LucasFilm. Fox and Paramount only had distribution rights. Now that Disney owns them that means we won’t have Lucas making poor decisions on how to handle these two properties. Instead we’ll have Disney making those poor decisions…maybe. The good thing is Kathleen Kennedy is staying on as the head of LucasFilm. This could go the same way as Marvel or Pixar for Disney where they are able to make their own decisions while having access to giant bags of money.

People that know me know that I hated the Star Wars prequel trilogy and didn’t really like Indiana Jones 4. With Lucas out of the picture we finally get to see other people step up to the creative plate and give us a new vision of the worlds Lucas created. We may also finally see a Star Wars television series.

After so many years of Lucas slowly losing his touch with what fans want we now get to see what may be a bold and creative new playground set in his sandbox. Overall I am excited. I still have reservations about it but that comes with the territory.

Lucas is also keeping ILM. That’s his baby, something he seems to care about more than screwing his fans with inferior product. One of my biggest complaints with the prequel trilogy was that Lucas seemed more in love with his technology than with his stories or actors. I say let him have the tech and give the other stuff to people who care about the stories.

Brian and I talked about this subject in detail on our podcast we just recorded. It will be available on Monday. And when my friend Dave and I record our Midichlorian Mayhem podcast (coming soon) we will be touching on it even more.

Don’t forget to go “like” our facebook page. There is always new stuff to talk about and we want your feedback. We also do weekly polls where you get to tell us what we review on the show. Go check it out. And while you’re there go “like” our other pages too. You can find them here and here.

Ghostbusters 3 Back On?


Rumor has it that Ghostbusters 3 is now going to happen by summer. I don’t want to say I am opposed to the idea. I’m not. I just don’t like that Bill Murray doesn’t want to come back and they still plan to move ahead with or without him. If they can’t get the main four guys there’s no point.

Ivan Reitman, the director of the first two films, had another movie in pre-production at Paramount that just got put into turnaround. Supposedly the reason Paramount did this was to allow him to make Ghostbusters 3. I don’t see Paramount and Sony working so well together to allow Reitman to bail on them for a higher profile project. I have a feeling they didn’t have enough faith in him or the script and that’s why it happened. I think Paramount and Reitman are just trying to save face. In the last 15 years Reitman has been floundering as a director making bad movies like Evolution and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. That’s greatly diminished his clout. He needs Ghostbusters to get back on top. Dan Aykroyd has been pushing to make this happen for years. That’s not a good thing either. He did the sequel to The Blues Brothers, sullying the memory of John Bulushi, and now is considering making an third Ghostbusters without Bill Murray. I say no.

Sure, I have faith in Etan Cohen as a writer but without all the pieces this could very easily fall apart. I would rather have no new Ghostbusters than an inferior sequel too many years after the fact. Let’s just hope it all comes together right or not at all. We don’t need another Star Wars or Indiana Jones type screw up. If it could be like Rocky or Rambo I would be okay with it.

At this point I guess it’s just a wait and see kind of thing.

The Gorram Nerd Hour News


It seems things are moving in the right direction with The Gorram Nerd Hour. Brian and I have been putting a lot of effort into promoting the show. If you haven’t listened yet you really should. After the success we had at The Rapture Horror Expo recently we decided that we would like to keep doing more podcasts from festivals and interview guests.

Up next, unless something else pops up, us the Bloody Hero film festival in February. Chris Martin, one of the festival head honchos, asked me at Rapture if we would like to be involved. I said yes, of course. We also know for sure we will be podcasting live from Phoenix Comicon in May. I am trying to work out a deal to work the International Horror and SciFi show in April as well as seeing if we can get into The Amazing Arizona Comic Con in January. I haven’t heard back from the last two yet. Fingers crossed.

In the meantime I have an old friend from high school stopping by for our next show where he will try and convince Brian and me that the Star Wars prequel trilogy didn’t suck. Then we will be doing our Halloween show where I intend to talk about John Carpenter at length.

We also were talking about trying to get press passes to and a possible interview with the lovely and talented Danielle Harris when she’s in town next month screening her directorial debut. We are certainly doing our best to put on the best show possible for you all. I hope you’re tuning in. If you haven’t seen or heard the show yet go to http://gorramnerdhour.blogspot.com and check it out. We are also available on Stitcher, iTunes, and have video stuff available on YouTube. Just type in Gorram Nerd Hour and you’ll find us. Also, please go “like” our Facebook pages http://facebook.com/TheGorramNerdHour, http://facebook.com/TheCristosSaga, and http://facebook.com/RobotVampireProductions. There’s a lot of great stuff coming. We promise not to disappoint.

Is Dredd Doomed?


Judge Dredd has always been a fringe character. Sure, he had a movie in the 90’s starring Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider but it was weak at best. It looked great in the style category but that couldn’t save it. The movie just didn’t have what it took.

Now, years later, Hollywood tries again with Karl Urban as Dredd. It’s directed by Pete Travis who made Vantage Point, which was a good little movie, and written by Alex Garland, best known for 28 Days Later. These three things make me want to see it. That’s not what scares me.

What scares me is that there has been a serious lack of promotion for the film. A few months ago there were reports that Travis was kicked out of the editing bay because his views on the movie weren’t gelling with the producers. Now Alex Garland just went on record as saying that the movie is the first of a proposed trilogy.

Let’s talk about what the trilogy thing means. Most likely Dredd will end up as a movie that feels incomplete because it was designed to carry on. The most successful movies in a trilogy are never the ones who look at themselves that way. I’ve said it before that George Lucas didn’t know if he would ever he able to make the rest of his Star Wars saga so he focussed on making the first one a great movie that had closure while still leaving it open for possible sequels.

In recent years we have seen movies like Push that was obviously made as the first in a series. All it had was set up without any resolution. That helped to contribute to its failure. The audience was not satisfied with the movie. Same with Jumper and The Devil Inside. If Alex Garland is planning on writing a trilogy I hope to God he took a cue from Lucas or the Wachowskis.

As a comic book fan I like the character of Judge Dredd. I want to see a movie do him justice (no pun intended) and I would love to them make more. But if there is little faith in Pete Travis to make the movie he was hired for this raises a red flag. He is not unhappy enough with the movie to take his name off of it but he has been very quiet about working on the film. Richard Matheson once said that the reason his name is still on the screenplay for The Last Man On Earth is because he had kids to feed and wouldn’t get residuals if his name had been removed. Maybe that’s the case here too. I can only speculate right now as all the facts are not in.

I am also worried about the fact that the studio such limited promotional materials for the movie. We know it’s been done for a while. It was low budget so I can’t imagine there would be a lot of effects to worry about in post-production. Alex Garland even said that the movie only needs to gross roughly $50 for the studio to yes to a sequel.

I’m scared for Dredd. I will see it. Hopefully I will enjoy it. My fingers are crossed.