411 Movies/TV Fact or Fiction: Would We Watch a Black and White Logan?
Welcome back to 411 Movies Fact or Fiction! I’m Jeremy Thomas and it’s time for another week of movie and TV questions. This week we have Wyatt Beougher facing off with…well, me! Let’s see what we have to say.
Kong: Skull Island will be in the upper tier of King Kong films.
Wyatt Beougher: FACT. At least, I certainly hope so. From the trailers, it looks like Legendary has listened to the feedback from 2014’s Godzilla and addressed fans’ biggest complaints – the addition of John C Reilly should ensure that the tone never gets too serious, and I would be surprised if Loki or Captain Marvel bites the bullet before the movie’s climax. Personally, while I really like Elizabeth Olsen, I think Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston are major upgrades over her and especially Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and John Goodman is my jam. My only real concern is with Samuel L Jackson, as this seems to be the kind of film that he detracts from, based on Jumper, The Legend of Tarzan, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. This is the part of my response where I’m contractually obligated to remind any casting agents who might be reading this that Ving Rhames is, in fact, still working in Hollywood and Sam Jackson’s track record as a villain in genre films isn’t all that awe-inspiring. That said, there are ten King Kong movies/tv series listed on IMDB, and aside from the original, the remake with Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, and Jessica Lange, and Peter’s Jackson’s overlong version (which wasn’t bad, just way too long), the rest of the entries are pretty forgettable. King Kong vs. Godzilla was notable for pairing up the two icons, but it was a pretty average movie all around, and I’m confident that Skull Island will fall squarely in the top two or three King Kong movies when the dust has settled.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. Critical consensus seems to be fairly good and to be fair, “upper tier” isn’t the hardest bar to clear. The 1933 and 1976 films are classics and King Kong vs. Godzilla is pretty great, but there are also duds like Son of Kong, King Kong Lives and King Kong Escapes. Based on that, the question becomes “will it be better than Peter Jackson’s?” I know that film has a lot of fans, but I felt it was overlong and indulgent. Skull Island has some flaws if the critics are right, but it seems to be my kind of blockbuster and I’m confident I’ll enjoy it enough to put it in the top half of the big guy’s cinematic efforts.
You like the casting for the key roles in Marvel’s Inhumans.
Wyatt Beougher: FACT. Before we get into the casting, though, can we take a minute to talk about what’s actually important here? LOCKJAW. The giant teleporting Inhuman dog is confirmed for the show, and early set pictures show that he’s going to be appropriately massive. They could’ve completely whiffed on the casting and I still would’ve watched at least the first season just to see Lockjaw. That said, though, I think they’ve made some pretty solid casting choices, especially Iwan Rheon, better known as Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones, as Maximus. If ever there was an actor I trust to make Maximus a wholly unlikable character while still giving him the depth that he deserves, it’s Rheon. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I only know who Anson Mount is because I’ll watch any show or movie that features a rapper, but he was one of the high points of Hell on Wheels in my opinion, and I enjoyed that show immensely. I’m also extremely interested in seeing Ken Leung, who is probably best known for playing spineless weasels on Lost and Person of Interest play against type and hopefully imbue Karnak with the gravitas and presence the character has in his series as part of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different relaunch. I’m not all that familiar with the rest of the principles, but from what I’m reading, they also seem like good casting decisions, so between this show and Runaways, it looks like both of Marvel’s upcoming shows will be joining their Netflix brethren when it comes to being lauded for spot-on casting.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. Wyatt beat me to the punch, but I’ll say it too: EFF YEAH LOCKJAW. This is exactly the kind of character I would have been worried about before Guardians of the Galaxy showed that the weirdest Marvel characters can work if done right. But yes, the casting I am largely excited for. Anson Mount is a fine actor and has the physicality and expressiveness to be able to portray Black Bolt as a character without his voice. And Serinda Swan is an actress I’ve liked since Breakout Kings who has comic book experience from her Smallville days as Zatanna. Iwan Rheon is obviously perfect casting to play Maximus; this was a character I was actually worried about because he’s very Loki-esque in some ways but Rheon should be able to play that character in a compelling way that comes off as more than just an Asgardian-wannabe. Ken Leung is an inspired choice as Karnak, another character it can be hard to empathize with but who is a serious badass. All in all this is a very encouraging start for the show, and I’m excited to see it.
You don’t have much interest in watching a weekly pop culture talk show featuring Chris Hardwick.
Wyatt Beougher: FICTION. Admittedly, I don’t watch Talking Dead religiously, and some part of me is always going to remember Chris Hardwick as the guy who hosted and MTV dating show with Jenny McCarthy, but I’m willing to give this a chance. Hardwick’s a likeable enough guy and he has a genuine love for the material he’ll be covering if his Nerdist site is any indication, so I’m definitely willing to give this a chance.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION. I watch Talking Dead about 80% of the time, depending on how much else is on my TV slate on a particular Sunday. I’m not 100% certain as to whether Hardwick can keep this going when it’s not directly tied to the show, but the variety could do the format some good. My main concern is that talk shows focused on pop culture don’t often get much of a chance to shine because network executives fail to understand the properties, but AMC is fairly good in this respect. I won’t watch regularly, but I’ll check it out occasionally.
Disney should let the TRON franchise stay dormant at this point rather than try for a new film.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION. I see potential in continuing the franchise if they want to tell the story of the digital world invading the real. That’s not to say that I don’t have some concerns, mind. I liked TRON Legacy more than I think a lot of people did, but the film did have some weaknesses and I think Disney would be wise to learn from their mistakes. Often times, that’s not something that studios are particularly good at. But while Leto is on the outs with people because of his Joker, he is a good actor and I can see him as a potential anchor for a film. I don’t know if it will be a hit, but I wouldn’t mind seeing one more go at this series.
Wyatt Beougher: FICTION. I’m with Jeremy here – if they go the route of the story that they had planned, I think it definitely has some potential, and I also believe that Jared Leto, for all of his method acting weirdness, could really bring something to the table in this franchise. And while it’s certainly true that a Tron film could potentially get lost in the shuffle among Disney’s more profitable genre franchises (the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars), I think that should just be more motivation for the House of Mouse to knock it out of the park with one of their home-grown properties. Adding Leto is certainly a step in the right direction, as if he does anything like his reported Suicide Squad antics, it will guarantee that a new Tron film remains in the news, but there needs to be a commitment to ensuring that the story and director are able to take full advantage of Leto’s abilities and leverage them into a film that people actually want to see. Between The Force Awakens, Rogue One, the continued success of the MCU, and the wonderful Moana, I think Disney has more than earned the benefit of the doubt here.
You’d be interested in watching a black-and-white version of Logan.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION. The black and white version of Mad Max: Fury Road was cool for what it was, but it was the kind of gimmick I see working less and less well in successive attempts. I don’t feel like it tremendously altered the merits of what was already a great movie, and doing it with Logan would feel like a rehash and cheap marketing ploy rather than how Fury Road felt, which was George Miller wanting his vision for the film to get released. Maybe I’m wrong on this one, and I don’t think it would significantly detract from Logan but it’s not something I’m hugely intrigued by.
Wyatt Beougher: FICTION. I don’t necessarily have anything against black and white cuts of movies or television shows, as I enjoyed AMC’s black and white marathon of the first season of The Walking Dead immensely this past summer, and I think both Sin City movies benefited greatly from using black and white with only occasional splashes of color. But The Walking Dead comic has always featured black and white interiors, and the Sin City films were faithfully adapting the coloring of their source material, which was 90+% black and white with very simple colors used as an accent. Logan, on the other hand, is drawing inspiration from a character who has pretty much always been colorized, so I don’t think it makes sense in this instance. Like Jeremy, I don’t necessarily think it will take away from the film, but at the same time, I’m not interested in seeing it.
The new trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales gives hope that it will be an improvement on the last film.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. To be fair, On Stranger Tides wouldn’t be a hard film to improve on. It had its moments, sure; they were too few and far between though. But this at least feels like something in the vein of the original Pirates instead of just a chance for Johnny Depp to Jack Sparrow his way around the various sets for a couple hours of screen time. Javier Bardem looks to be having a blast, as does Geoffrey Rush and when Depp is on his game with Sparrow, he’s 100% on. This was a much better trailer than the first couple and I’m actually finding myself looking forward to this, despite my initial ambivalence about another Pirates film.
Wyatt Beougher: FICTION. I haven’t watched a full film in this franchise since the second film, but from what I’ve seen of each successive installment, I don’t think I’ve missed much. And while Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t look MST3K bad, and I’m intrigued by the addition of Javier Bardem, but not even he and Geoffrey Rush (who has been the saving grace of the franchise, in my opinion) can overcome my fatigue at seeing Johnny Depp play Jack Sparrow again. I actually enjoyed the character when the first movie came out, but since then, Depp has played too many characters in too many other films that felt like riffs on the Jack Sparrow character that I find it hard to be excited by anything that has him in it. And seeing the disturbing digitally de-aged Depp in the trailer actually made me less interested in this one, so I have to go FICTION here.
And there it is! Wyatt and I went five for six, tripped up only by Johnny Depp. Damn you, Captain Jack! Thanks to Wyatt for taking part and see you all next week!