Last year just wasn’t a very nerd-friendly year at the box office. Like scavengers, we took our pleasures where we found them, and they were scarce–X3, Superman Returns, Scanner Darkly. I thought after the success of Lord of the Rings nerds would be aggressively pandered to, the way Hollywood pandered to 13-year-old girls after Titanic. Instead we got Eragon. That’s some pretty shabby pandering. (Damn you, Jeremy Irons, you Jonah of fantasy franchise movies.)
Some thoughts about the next 6 months.
February 16th: Bridge to Terabithia. OK, until I watched the trailer I literally thought this was some kind of Narnia spinoff. Apparently I was thinking of Terabinthia, which is a Narnian island. Moving on.
February 16th: Ghost Rider. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten the appeal of Ghost Rider. He rides a chopper, his head’s a skull, it’s on fire. I used to read the comic when there was nothing else around, but he always seemed more like an album cover than a superhero. Nicolas Cage should have held out for Iron Man, a part which went to — wow, really? — Robert Downey, Jr. Interesting.
March 9th: 300. Gladiator meets Sin City. There, we’re done. Actually, I’ve seen a rough cut of this, and it’s pretty stunning. Like Sin City this is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel about the 300 Spartans who threw down against a zillion Persians to save Greece. And like Sin City it’s created almost entirely digitally, which gives it a very dreamlike, painterly quality – every scene is perfectly composed, time is fluid, bodies are distorted at the director’s whim (the director is Zack Snyder, who made the unexpectedly sharp Dawn of the Dead remake). It’s trippy, an obvious cult classic.
March 16th. Sunshine. This is the only piece of original intellectual property — not a sequel or an adaptation — on this entire list. In the future a team of scientists — apparently selected for their youth and good looks — is on a space mission to reignite the sun, which is dying. Things begin to go horribly wrong. Oh, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later), I’d follow you anywhere. (Note 1: Makes you wonder what would have happened if Boyle had gone ahead and directed Alien Resurrection, as planned; instead he bailed and made the instaflop A Life Less Ordinary.) (Note 2: a sequal to Boyle’s great 28 Days Later, called 28 Weeks Later, hits theaters May 11th. It is not directed by Boyle, nor does it star dreamy Cillian Murphy (he’s in Sunshine), nor was it written by Alex “The Beach” Garland, but I’ll probably see it anyway. At least it has Robert Carlyle in it. Actually, he was scary Begby in Boyle’s Trainspotting, so the circle is complete.)