This week, the Geek Beat is operating on a relatively slow news day, with a couple of odds and ends in addition to some new, unconfirmed reports about a certain science fiction franchise. I also have a little bit of a rant that I’m going to lead with, but before I can get into the gory details of that, let me lay out for you the top three geeky articles you could find at Movies.com this past week.
1) Read the White House's Hilariously Geeky Response to the 'Build a Death Star' Petition
2) Marvel Studios Countdown: Five Predictions for Joss Whedon's New 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' TV Series
3) 'Jurassic Park 4' Will Hit Theaters Next Year
Okay, I said I had a rant. And I do. I know there’ll be a few of you out there that will roll your eyes as soon as you see the headline, but I know there’s at least a few of you out there who agree with me. If you roll your eyes, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs. If you agree, please read on.
You’ve been warned.
Superheroes Snubbed at Oscars Again
Before the Oscar nominees were announced back on January 10, I was preparing for disappointment. My circle of friends has been cynical about the awards show for years, but that’s never really been something that I’ve ever shared. In years past, sure there were nominations that I’ve been annoyed and/or disgruntled about, but, after the uproar four years ago where a film that was so sure to get a best picture nod did not, I thought that the Academy would do its part to rectify a definite mistake on its part.
In January of 2009, Geoff Boucher wrote a fantastic report for the L.A. Times’ Hero Complex blog about industry surprise that The Dark Knight was snubbed in the fifth “Best Picture” slot for that year’s Oscars in favor of the Kate Winslet-starring The Reader. Michael London, a producer on the Sean Penn starring Milk, expressed the surprise very succinctly in the piece.
“People were surprised The Reader got the fifth slot instead of Dark Knight,” he said. “That seemed to be the biggest surprise. People are talking about it. I don’t know what it means. I love The Dark Knight. It was a fantastic movie, but I suppose it’s difficult for successful popcorn movies to get serious attention from the Academy. It’s a knee-jerk thing where smaller movies are perceived as more artistic.”
Now, I know that The Dark Knight Rises had a critical reception that was not as comparatively warm as its predecessor, and I understand that a Best Picture nod may be too much to ask. Even having said that, though, in a slate of 10 films I think that it’s downright foolish not to include either Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers on the list, considering their high-critical reception and untold levels of success in making this year’s box office the biggest in history.
The Avengers, an achievement on multiple levels, managed only to get a slot for “Best Visual Effects,” the one normally reserved for popcorn blockbusters. What did The Dark Knight Rises earn? Nothing. When looking at that film and its predecessor, I think it’s fair to say that everyone upped their game considerably to meet the larger scale of the third film, but even though many of the same people were on the production team turning in larger, more complex work than they did in the second film, the Academy deemed their work in this film unworthy of a nomination.
Those departments undeservedly ignored were in sound editing, cinematography, art direction, sound mixing, visual effects, makeup and film editing. The Dark Knight was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 2009, winning two. It broke a previous record set by Dick Tracy at seven nominations for a film based on a comic book. I understand some people had creative problems with it, but as a piece of film construction? I feel that it was snubbed by an Academy that refuses to recognize the artistic merit and inherent complexity in making films that just happen to be based on people wearing masks and capes.
Die Hard Marathon Coming to U.S., See A Good Day to... a Day Early
According to reports, moviegoers in the U.S. that love the Die Hard films will have an opportunity to see them all (including the new film, A Good Day to Die Hard) on Wednesday, February 13. Apparently, the last screening of the marathon with the new film will begin at 10 p.m., actually giving you a chance to watch it ahead of its wide release the following day. Sounds like a pretty awesome opportunity if you’re a big Die Hard fan!
According to the report, tickets for the marathon will go on sale on January 17, this coming Thursday. At the time of this report it wasn’t clear which theater chain in the United States would be hosting the marathon, but keep your eagle eyes tuned to Fandango for your first opportunities to see when you can buy your tickets and take all of the films in on the big screen!
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 1/16)
The Joker continues to wreak havoc in terrifying form throughout Gotham City in part four of “Death of the Family,” published in Batman #16. Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo continue to peel back the layers of the Joker’s latest plot to build his darling Batman back up by tearing his family down. After last issue’s decidedly creepy conclusion where it’s revealed that Joker is basically in love with Batman, the Dark Knight has to head in blind toward Arkham Asylum to confront his nemesis, whose plan is about to reach its apex.
Joker’s return to the DC Universe has been nothing short of shocking, with reverberations throughout the entire DC Comics line, spilling into other corners and their respective titles. The main story has always been the best, though, just because it’s always engaging when a capable creative team is handling what I believe to be the single best conflict in all of comics.
Be back here next week for the latest bits of news and info revolving around all of geekdom. Be sure to join the conversation in the comments below, and have a great week!
Chris Clow is a graduate of Western Washington University, in addition to having an obsession with film history and general geekdom. He is a comic book expert and retailer, contributor, and overall geek to GeekNation.com, Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews and participated podcasts at BOF and MMM, regular blogs at GeekNation, as well as his weekly piece The Geek Beat right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow!