5 Upcoming Genre Features, 2010-12

via Squidoo.com

Captain America: The First Avenger ‘ (2011) • IMDb l ink Captain America:The First Avenger

This one’s a bit contentious — Joe Johnston, who directed The Rocketeer way, way back in 1991 should have been a good choice to direct a period piece about Marvel’s Captain America set during WWII. But then, Johnston turned in the pointless and unnecessary Wolfman remake this past year, and then cast Chris Evans ( Fantastic Four ‘s Johnny Storm) as Steve Rogers, rather than  Mark Valley , (‘Human Target’) an actor born for the role.

Understandably, Marvel and Disney are reaching for a younger actor for the role, but I really dobt that those 18-49 women should be the marketing department’s target. Rather, the target audience ought to be 4 generations of American men aged 7 to 70 that Marvel ought to be aiming for. That, and the fact that 25 year-old Evans will have to go up against 46 year old Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Samuel Jackson in ‘ The Avengers ‘ (2012) and make it somehow appear that they are peers.

Excalibur (2012) • IMDb links 1 , 2

Here’s one that I could not have anticipated, short of calling it sacrilige — an anticipated remake of John Boorman’s 1981 ‘Excalibur.’ I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning it here, but it turns out that therre may be TWO competing projects, BOTH set up at Warner Bros., one helmed by Bryan Singer (X-Men’) and the other from Guy Ritchie (‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’) written by comic book author Warren Ellis (‘Red’). One is said to center upon Guinnivere and Lancelot, the other a straight remake of the Boorman film.

I’m curious to see Ellis’ take on the legend, yet I can’t besmirch Singer. Release dates for the competing films have yet to be released. IF Warners does it right, they’ll separate the releases. I the meantime, who would have guessed that Arthur would be the new Superman ?

The Ring 3D ‘ (2012) • IMDb link

3D is a current fad, but horror lost something special when director Gore Verbinski abandoned the Ring franchise to make Pirates of the Carribbean for Disney. DreamWorks may have only had good intentions when they invited the original Japanese director, Hideo Nakata, to direct Ring 2, but the producers dropped the ball, by giving him a weak script. (FWIW, I’ve heard that Scott Frank’s uncredited contribution to ‘The Ring’ is what made it work and not the solo credit that the MPAA gave to Ehren Kruger.)

The franchise had legs, but rather than keep the memory of the first movie fresh in people’s heads by releasing a straight-to-video third film, they let it die. Starship Troopers got 3 sequels, The Grudge (2004) got 2 sequels and Jeepers Creepers (2001) got 2 sequels all within spans of 1-6 years for the immediate sequel and third films. It’s madness that DreamWorks and Paramount sat on this franchise for so long, especially given that the fans — both Americans and foreign J-Horror adherents were waiting — no, begging for the opportunity to be exploited.

In Asia, Ringu spun off into both film and television franchises in Japan and SE Asia. It is not as though there is a shortage of story ideas for an American franchise to poach or improve upon, it’s just that producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald stopped making product and abandoned the franchise.

We can’t expect to see another Ring film until 2012, muck less another featuring Naomi Watts or David Dorfman, so this one’s entirely up in the air.. The Ring was made in 2002 — that’s a decade ago, so it’s only possible to presumed that DreamWorks SKG has walked away from tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, especially if the inferior Grudge and Final Destination frnachises were able to make any money.

Runaways ‘ (2012) • IMDb link

Runaways is a Whedonesuque take on superheroes that even Joss Whedon failed at. Runaways is the fruit of scribe extraordinaire Brian K. Vaughan , who has conquered comics (Marvel and DC) , television (‘Lost’) and film (‘Runaways’, ‘Y: The Last Man’ and ‘Ex-Machina’),  during the 13 years that he’s been working professionally.

Runaways , first published in 2003,is part of  the 3rd Generation of comics creators that began with Alan Moore publishing Watchmen back in 1987. The premise here is that there super-villains with children who are unaware that their parents are super-villains. But then one day the veil drops and the kids of time-traveling villains, evil robots, mad scientists and mafiosi determine that they want to get away from their mobbed-up parents and do the right thing. They are all also teenagers.

The good here is that BKV has written the screenplay and is likely to be credited as a producer on this film because he served as co-producer on “Lost.” Word has it that Peter Sollett (‘Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’) has been tapped to direct for Marvel Studios, now a subsidiary of Disney. Marvel’s control over the project should see that the project doesn’t turn into another camped-out version of the original idea (cf. ‘Wanted’, ‘Red’, The Fantastic Four’, etc.)

I Am Legend 2′ (2011) • IMDb link

Fact of the matter is that this could be good in ways that the former film didn’t deliver. Will Smith was never appropriate for this role and they got the book almost entirely wrong by turning it into a Will Smith action vehicle.

The implication in the novel is that our Neville has passed through the looking-glass and become the monster and the vampire/zombies that rove the world are the status quo , now afraid of him. A prequel could do some interesting things in the realm of Charleton Heston’s Omega Man flashback sequences, which are very Andromeda Strain -like. A ‘prequel’ of Legend could, possibly redeem both Legend and the 2008 remake of Andromeda Strain , given that it would be the same type of bio-apocalyptic scenario. The writers of this thing just have to be able to sell Smith as a scientist, as Neville was before he became a rugged, gun-toting survivalist.

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