Resin Heroes

Paolo Rivera Planet of the Apes drawing






Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes



There was a 28 year gap between the last of the original Planet of the Apes movies in the 1970s and the very first remake, but I think a lot of people forget that the first remake wasn’t the fabulous Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011 it was instead Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes in 2001.

Burton on the set of Planet of the Apes

Burton’s movie was savaged by critics and fans alike, especially with its time-bending final scene that left movie goers scratching their heads as they left the theater. I didn’t much care for Burton’s Planet of the Apes the first time I saw it either — though admittedly the first time I saw it was via VHS on a little 13” TV so it wasn’t the most optimal experience to begin with. But still, after I saw Burton’s Planet of the Apes 16 years ago I never really checked out the movie again until a few weeks ago when I caught it on cable. I think watching it now without a lot of the negativity that was swirling around the movie back then let me see it in a different light. While Burton’s Planet of the Apes isn’t his best movie, it’s not the worst Planet of the Apes movie either. In fact, it’s kind’a good.

While the most recent Apes movies are sort of reverse sequels/not quite prequels to the original 1960s and 1970s movies, Burton’s Planet of the Apes is a remake of the original film. There were attempts at rebooting the Apes franchise in the 1980s and 1990s, the most famous example of which would have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role with Oliver Stone, yes, that Oliver Stone, directing. But for whatever reason it wasn’t until 2001 and Burton’s film that the apes would return to the big screen.

Here, astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself marooned on a weird planet where apes are the dominant species and mankind are seen by them as pests. Davidson finds help from ape Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) who go on the run from the evil General Thade (Tim Roth) who wants Davidson dead.

Which is essentially the plot of the first 1968 Planet of the Apes movie that starred Charlton Heston, but there is one big difference here between the 1968 Apes and the 2001 version — the direction of Tim Burton.

Honestly, Burton isn’t given enough credit these days for the films that he’s directed. Or, at the very least, he’ll be a director when we one day look back at his career and tremble at how good it was and how little respect he got for his work when it was released.

To name a few, Burton directed the greatest superhero film of all time Batman in a time when superhero movies were considered kid’s stuff. He directed Beetlejuice, a movie so good it’s still relatable 30 years later. And he directed Big Fish a movie I’ve only been able to stand watching once, because I’m afraid if I ever watch it again I’ll spend most of the movie lost in emotions.

Oh, and he also directed that Planet of the Apes movie too.

Now, Planet of the Apes isn’t Burton’s best movie, but it’s still a solid film. Plus, mostly known as a horror director, it’s one of only two sci-fi movies Burton has directed, the other being Mars Attacks. For that reason alone I think fans of the genera should have a special place in their hearts for this film. Burton’s Planet of the Apes has all his weird and wonderful stylings from the design of the apes costumes and villages to the weird and wonderful headgear the apes wear in this film.

I might have not liked the movie at the time of release but I sure did like the posters from it that focused on the style of the movie — I ended up buying several of them back then.

Burton’s Planet of the Apes never lived up to its potential and barely made back its budget at the box office. Which would mean the franchise would go dormant for another decade before it would be rebooted again with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now, the third movie of that series War for the Planet of the Apes is out July 14 that’s supposedly the finale to that franchise.

It might be a while for Burton to return to sci-fi. His next movie is supposed to be a live-action remake of the animated film Dumbo then Beetlejuice 2.




Direct Beam Comms #78



Movies

The Girl with all the Gifts

The Girl with all the Gifts is probably the closest film adaptation to the story I Am Legend I’ve ever seen and the character Glenn Close plays of Dr Caroline Caldwell is probably the closest we’ll ever get to the novel version of Robert Neville even though the story of I Am Legend has been the basis of three films since it was written by Richard Matheson in 1954.

And I mean “closest” in a great way.

In The Girl with all the Gifts, it’s an unspecified time after a virulent fungal plague has swept the planet and turned those affected by it into green, flesh-hungry zombies. The UK military has abandoned the cities and has retreated to bases in the country in order to study the outbreak and come up with a vaccine lead by Caldwell. Enter a group of kids born after the plague including Melanie (Sennia Nanua) who have the infection but haven’t turned into blood-crazed ghouls and seem to be the key to finding a way to end the apocalypse.

But when the base is overrun and the survivors, including Caldwell, Melanie and a few soldiers lead by Sgt Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) go on the run across a ruined landscape, the question is will they find the vaccine in time or is it already too late?

In many ways The Girl with all the Gifts reminded me of the movie 28 Days Later as well. I’m sure some of that comes from the fact that both movies take place in the UK and a lot of the action around London. But there’s also the idea of a few soldiers being left behind after things fell who are still working and fighting the hungries as well as a group of survivors having to trek across a apocalyptic country dodging the flesh-eaters to try and find a safe refuge. It seems as if most US based zombie stories are about groups holding up in some refuge which is something that happens a lot in the genera creator George Romero zombie films. In Night of the Living Dead it’s a farmhouse, in Dawn of the Dead a mall, in Day of the Dead a military complex and Land of the Dead a walled-off city. But in the UK zombie stories from 28 Days Later to 28 Weeks Later and even in Shaun of the Dead much of the action takes place with character on the run out in the open and very exposed

And this Caldwell/Neville character connection –– not to ruin things too much, but much like with Neville, Caldwell is so focused on coming up with a solution to reversing the apocalypse that she can’t see that a new order has started to emerge which is changing the balance of power on the planet.

Unfortunately, The Girl with all the Gifts comes at a time when we seem to have reached “peak zombie” with there being zombie movies like World War Z and TV series like The Walking Dead to name a few. So any new zombie movie like The Girl with all the Gifts has to somehow stand out from what’s come before to get noticed. Which I don’t think the movie did very well. How can it when it’s competing with nearly 50 years of zombie history with most of that created in the last 15 years? Unfortunately, The Girl with all the Gifts only made a reported $2.6 million at the box office, meaning good movie or not I don’t think we’ll ever see a sequel to The Girl with all the Gifts.

While I thought that The Girl with all the Gifts did a good job of changing enough things with the well-worn zombie genera to make that movie different to the stories that have come before, there was one part of it that made me laugh. At one point one of the soldiers is off scrounging for food when he comes across a rack of nudie magazines which he begins pursuing. “Oh no,” I thought, “this guy’s dead for sure.” Since in horror movies the quickest way for a character to get killed is by having sex I figured that by this soldier reading a nudie mag that was probably the closest thing to sex this movie was going to get so I put two and two together and… Well, you know the rest.

Lucky Logan trailer

TV

The Carmichael Show

The third season of The Carmichael Show premiered on NBC last week. It’s a show very much like a Community or Arrested Development that gets a lot of critics talking about it and a lot of praise but is a series the network doesn’t know what to do with since that praise doesn’t equal viewers. With The Carmichael Show we get a series that had a first season premiere at the end of August 2015 for six episodes then a second seven months later in March and now a third more than a year after the end of the second at the end of May and has constantly changed nights and times along the way.

The Carmichael Show is very interest, and good, in that it’s a sitcom that’s actually about something. It seems like most sitcoms these days are about nothing whatsoever and after a viewing they’re quickly forgotten. But not The Carmichal Show that started this season with an episode about rape and then one about whether or not soldiers are great simply because they’re soldiers, or if they can be just as bad as regular people too.

I think because The Carmichael Show focuses on some serious subject matter that harkens more back to the sitcoms of the 1970s than the 21st century and doesn’t end each episode on an “awww, isn’t family great?” moment that seems to be a prerequisite for each and every modern sitcom is why The Carmichael Show is such an overlooked show. Maybe in a world where where our day to day reality can be somewhat bleak at times, to have a show like the The Carmichael Show say, “yeah, the world might be bleak but that doesn’t mean we can’t make fun of it,” turns some people off who’d rather be watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory on TBS while wearing their “Bazinga” t-shirt.

The Deuce TV spot

The Gifted TV spot

Books

Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series

I had no idea there was ever a card series based on the Planet of the Apes movie series, but apparently there were at least three sets released over the years. One for the original Planet of the Apes movie, one for the live-action TV series and one for the Tim Burton movie. All of which are being collected in this new Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series book due out this week.

From Amazon:

This deluxe collection includes the fronts and backs of all 44 cards from the original 1969 Topps set based on the original film; all 66 cards based on the 1975 television series; and all 90 base cards, 10 sticker cards, and 44 chase cards from the 2001 film. Also included are four exclusive bonus trading cards, rare promotional images, and an introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani, editor of hundreds of trading card series for Topps…

The Reading List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1982: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan opens in theaters
  • 1984: Gremlins opens in theaters
  • 1984: Ghostbusters opens
  • 1986: Invaders from Mars debuts
  • 1989: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opens in theaters
  • 2014: Edge of Tomorrow is released.



2017 Summer movie preview



Out first this summer is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 2. I wasn’t a fan of the first movie but am in the minority since the launch of these trash-talking, comedic space-faring heroes lead by Star Lord (Chris Pratt) quickly became a surprise mega-hit at the box office a few winters ago. This time, “Chris Pratt of the 1980s” Kurt Russell joins the cast as “Ego,” who in the comics anyway is quite literally a “living planet.” And what’s not to love about that?

May 19 sees the release of Alien: Covenant, the third Ridley Scott Alien film, and a direct sequel to Prometheus (2012). Prometheus got a bad rap by the critics but made more than $400 million at the box office hence Alien Covenant. What’s interesting here is that from the looks of things Scott has taken Alien: Covenant back to something a little more in the vein of Alien with the crew of a ship fighting the insect-like baddies and away from the more esoteric Prometheus, which I happened to like a great deal. Luckily, I also happen to like Alien a great deal too and couldn’t be more excited for this movie if I tried.

DC Entertainment tries to get their movie act together with the release of Wonder Woman on June 2, the fourth release of the modern DC movie universe. Originally appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and stealing the show, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) launches the Amazonian to the big-screen in her own movie set during WWI. My only concern for Wonder Woman is that she fought the monster Doomsday in Batman vs Superman and almost single-handedly took him down in an ultimate bad !#$ way. So whatever she faces in Wonder Woman has got to be as big or that movie might be disappointing.

The creators of The Mummy on June 9 are attempting to create their own franchise and so-called “shared universe” of movies with the Universal Monsters. Starring Tom Cruise not as the mummy but someone trying to stop her from destroying the world, early looks at The Mummy seem to indicate something like Mission Impossible crossed with Suicide Squad. The Mummy is the first movie of this interconnected film universe that will also include the likes of The Invisible Man, Wolf Man, Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon in future films if this one’s a hit.

Spider-Man movies have had a really weird path to the big-screen the last few years. There were two Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man flicks a few years ago that failed to score billions at the office so that version was shelved. More recently Columbia Pictures, who owns the film rights to the character, had a new Spider-Man, this time played by Tom Holland, crossover in the Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War last year while still retaining the rights to make their own Spider-Man stand-alone films. Now comes that first film Spider-Man: Homecoming out July 7 this time with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) crossing over to this film.

A third Planet of the Apes film War for the Planet of the Apes is out July 14. The Apes film series is one of my favorites with the first chronicling why the apes got their smarts and the second what was happening with them just after the fall of man. This third film seems to be the story about the final apes vs man battle, with the winner taking claim to the planet. If you’ve seen the 1960s/1970s apes movies I’m sure you know how that works out.

Closing out the summer is the first movie based on the The Dark Tower Stephen King book series on July 28. Starring Idris Elba as the heroic gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the evil sorcerer, the The Dark Tower movie series is being billed as a sequel or continuation of the books rather than a big-screen version of them. It’s hard to describe The Dark Tower without giving too much away, but there are alternate dimensions, monsters and magical powers and, best for Hollywood, if this first is successful a series of seven other books that can all be turned into films.




War for the Planet of the Apes movie poster