Tuesday, January 28, 2014

King of the Monsters

While still on the subject of Kaiju and giant monsters, I ran across a documentary on Youtube.  It's from the BBC and called Godzilla, King of the Monsters.  

Last night I found an old SF film on YT  that I had seen long ago, back when my brother and I were living together in Odessa.  We had HBO or Showtime (I forget which one) in the late 70's.  Ever so often you'd turn it on and get captivated by some odd movie.  I ran into the movie, Damnation Alley that way.  Make no mistake, it's a pretty cheesy B post apocalypse movie.  It stars George Peppard and Jan Michael Vincent.  After bombs blow up most of the world they get in this weird ass all-terrain military vehicle and set out to find more people.  Some of the effects are pretty decent.  George Peppard mimics this pretty bad Texan or southern accent, and overall it's written in sort of a comic book style, but aside from the negatives, I  found it still entertaining on some level.  I've certainly seen worse.

The other night I also rented the new Superman movie, Man of Steel.  I didn't have huge expectations for it going in, as I did not enjoy the previous Superman Returns.  I found it pretty boring, plus the Man of Steel had gotten such mixed reviews, but I actually I enjoyed Man of Steel.  I enjoyed the art direction in it quite a bit, and when the movie begins on Krypton, it reminded me a lot of the Superman comic from the 80's when John Byrne had relaunched the title for DC.  I really enjoyed that run of the character back then and it brought back some nostalgia.   I could see where it  would have been a blast to see  Man of Steel on the big screen.  Did they overdo some of the fight scenes with General Zod, well maybe, but it didn't bother me.  A lot of the critics mentioned all the destruction to human lives, etc. and yes, I can see that argument, but it was basically all out war with some aliens that want to conquer earth, so what are you gonna do?  Fight back or be exterminated.  That's the only way out of that unless  you want to totally re-write the whole film or take the fight scenes out to the Sahara desert somehow.  I enjoyed it well enough for a superhero movie, and if they could come up with a good enough sequel for a second movie, I'd enjoy seeing it.

I picked up the new Archie horror title, Afterlife With Archie.  If you've ever read one of the Archie comics throughout the years, you'll instantly remember and recognize the old gang and settings pretty quickly.  
   Not much ever changes within the Riverdale universe, and it's been that way pretty much since its origins. They are only updated to fit more inside the current timeframe when the stories are written.  In fact they have Best of the Archie Americana trades from the '40s, '50s,'60s, and so forth if one is ever in the mood for some of the older stories.  
   In this new comic series though we get to experience a bit of that nostalgia through horror and zombie tropes, and it's an awful lot of fun. It's Halloween, and Riverdale High is having a Halloween Dance. Archie has made plans to attend with Betty, and yes, Bettie and Veronica are still rivals over the attentions of Archie.  
   As the story opens Jughead is distraught over the death of his dog. Out of despair he takes his pet to a friend, Sabrina. She was a newer character to me, but you figure out quickly she's a teenage witch.  
   She brings the dog back to life for Jughead, but in doing so breaks the laws of the witch covenant.  This sets in motion the zombie infestation in the series. Things heat up at the Halloween dance. To give away any more story or plot would be a spoiler and you'd miss out on too much fun from reading the series.
   Afterlife With Archie is a romp down memory lane for those of us that have ever read Archie comics in the past. It's also a homage to the horror genre with different characters discussing which movie horror characters are better, Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees and so forth.  
   The story is written well by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also penned the story Archie Meets Glee, with some terrific artwork by Francesco Francavilla. I also have to say the coloring of the book goes a long way to create mood and atmosphere.


At 9:25 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

I've seen a few folks talk about "Damnation Alley". I haven't seen it, but it sounds like a bit of fun. One of my favorite film composers, Jerry Goldsmith, worked on that film. And that score is pretty rare, and many feels it's a real fun one.

I'm torn on "Man of Steel". I never followed the comics, but my vision of Superman was shaped by the television series and Richard Donner films. So what I saw in the trailers really turned me off. I'm kinda sick of all these dark grim takes on superheroes. I get it with Batman, that works. But with Superman it just doesn't feel right. Still, I understand the need to switch things up. I'll give it a try someday, but I'm not sure I can watch it without judgement. Just a failing on my part.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yeah, Roman, Damnation Alley may be just a B film--I don't think they were trying to make anything but an escapism, popcorn feature. It starred Jan Michael Vincent, who was an upcoming teen-type star. He disappeared somewhere. I've been meaning to do a Google search on him. At any rate the soundtrack, however, is good. It's not B material at all. I think this must have been an early soundtrack by Goldsmith, and he was trying hard to do his best. It surprised me.

I understand your grim and gritty stance, and Superman doesn't necessarily strike many that way, but I enjoyed it more over Superman Returns. Superman is such an iconic character and been around so long, he's going to have different meanings to different people, so it's going to be hard to please them all. A lot of people hated the film, but I enjoyed it.

It's like they say with comics, if you don't like the current run or arc on the comic you're reading, wait, and it will change.


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