Welcome back to The Geek Beat! This is Movies.com’s weekly one-stop spot for geek movie news, release info and opinion. Last week we were looking forward to a few things, including the new RoboCop costume, the title of Star Trek Into Darkness, a couple of notable home releases, and one main theatrical release. I think the best place for me to start is that last one.
But first, here are what I thought were the biggest geeky stories that came out of Movies.com this past week:
1) First Official 'The Wolverine' Image Shows Off a Ripped Hugh Jackman
2) Watch a Bunch of U.K. Prep School Kids Re-create 'The Hobbit'
3) Is 'Frankenweenie' a 'Beetlejuice' Prequel?
I’ll definitely be touching on that first one here in a bit, but on our way into the news, I have a question for you…
So… Why Didn’t You See Dredd?
Last week, I was really looking forward to seeing the latest attempt at adapting Judge Dredd, the beloved law enforcer from Mega City One that originated from the U.K.’s 2000AD magazine in the 1970’s. Maybe it was my soft spot for the terrible 1995 film, or maybe it was the interesting philosophy surrounding the entire premise. I don’t know, probably a little of both. So going into the theater on Friday night, I was expecting to enjoy Dredd, but I didn’t expect to be very captivated by it -- especially considering the theater was practically empty. Even with the praise I was seeing, was I walking into something stupid?
The answer is no. Definitely not. Dredd was far, far better than I expected it to be, and although I’m not very familiar with the comics, this film made me want to be. The world presented was very clearly defined as mammoth, chaotic, corrupt and hopeless if not for the effort of the Hall of Justice and their Judges. Instead of having the city portrayed as a rather lofty prediction of the future, the inside of the Mega City felt very real, with scenes of poverty, drug abuse, dirt, grime and harsh violence all permeating the entire experience. In a lot of ways, from a pure standpoint of cinematography, Dredd reminded me a lot of District 9 with the way it illustrates the world in which the film takes place.
When I woke up and read the film’s box office take for the weekend, I was shocked. Six. Million. Dollars. This movie about justice was not getting its just due at the theaters, with the crown instead going to End of Watch with House at the End of the Street coming in second. I was shocked, so I went into total nerd rage mode on Facebook, Twitter, my blog and in this week’s Modern Myth Media podcast.
As a result, I’m going to continue banging the drum for Dredd as long as it’s in theaters. Chances are it’s far, far better than you think it will be. Karl Urban is fantastic and Lena Headey is downright menacing. The world is enthralling, and the film deserves your attention, especially if you identify with the title of this column. If you do see it, drop me a line and let me know what you think. I don’t think you’ll be very disappointed.
Wolverine Is Ripped in the Land of the Rising Sun
Have you seen the first official promotional image from James Mangold’s upcoming film The Wolverine? If not, take a look ...
I don’t know how this is possible, but Jackman almost looks younger in this image than he did in the first X-Men film from 12 years ago. From where I’m sitting, that’s practically perfect casting considering the character’s healing factor slows his aging down to a crawl. I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to this film. The Wolverine is right behind Man of Steel in my level of anticipation for the comics films of 2013, largely due to the creative team and the story this film’s rumored to be adapted from.
That story being the 1982 Wolverine miniseries that ran for four issues, written by Chris Claremont with art by Frank Miller. Themes of honor, loyalty and animalistic emotions are at the forefront of the story and make for a very engaging look into the man behind the claws, giving Logan an unprecedented level of pathos and ease to identify with at the time the story was released. It stands as one of my all-time favorite Marvel stories, and really gave me a lot to latch onto in understanding the complicated man with a beast raging within. I hope that the film gives us that same look at Wolverine, and if this image is any indication, it looks like we’re in for quite a ride.
Geek Movies Out This Week
The big release this weekend for fans of sci-fi is Rian Johnson’s Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the same man from two different time periods. The film looks extraordinary, and if the early buzz is any indication (part of which came from our own Erik Davis in his early review), it looks like it’s going to be memorable. As of the time of this writing, the RT score on Looper stands at an impressive 93%, with audience interest practically unanimous among those asked. I’m greatly looking forward to the film myself and should be there on opening night, perhaps to be followed by another viewing of Dredd.
And then, of course, the big home release that’s out today is Marvel Studios’ smash hit The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon and starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. I’m sure that many of you will be picking the film up, as will I, and might be gearing up to have your own Marvel movie marathons with all the films released so far. Remember to keep up with the aftermath of the billion-dollar juggernaut and the upcoming films to follow by reading John Gholson’s Marvel Studios Countdown every other week right here at Movies.com. It'll keep you up to date on all the news coming out of Marvel’s “Phase Two”.
Geeky Thing to Buy This Week
This awesome thing caught my attention this week and I think all geeks will want to own it. From ThinkGeek comes the 2013 Learning Calendar of Gross Scientific Things. Who doesn’t like learning gross factoids, especially when they’re true? Since 2013 isn’t very far away, it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about what your next calendar should look like, and this seemed like a fun piece to have for good bits of info all year long. Available at ThinkGeek for $9.99.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop
I’d like to close out with letting you guys in on what my pick will be this week at the Comics Place, the store I work at in the Pacific Northwest. This week, it’s going to be Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving’s Batman Incorporated #0. DC Comics continues to fill in some details of their characters’ pasts in “Zero Month,” and Morrison will give us an untold tale of the international force that Batman has assembled to take on the threat of the mysterious terrorist organization known simply as “Leviathan.” It’s been a fascinating series thus far, so it has my stamp of approval!
That does it this week on The Geek Beat.
Thanks for reading this week and be sure to come back in seven days to check out what else is new in the world of geekdom. Remember, if you see anything amiss or have any ideas on how things can be improved, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of the page!
Take care, and remember to see Dredd!
Chris Clow is a recent Western Washington University graduate, film history fan, and comic book expert and retailer, contributor, and overall geek to Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM. You can find his regular piece The Geek Beat here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.