Friday, May 21, 2010

These damned dirty prequels!

I think in many ways prequel might be an even slimier word than sequel, and if you look around, there's a mounting amount of evidence to back me up on that.

Case No. 1: Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood." I haven't bothered to comment on the flick until now because, well, I don't get paid to do this and it just made so little of an impression on me that I decided to just let it pass.

But the addition of time has done very little to remove the fairly foul taste it left in my brain. And be warned, if you haven't seen the movie and plan to, I probably wouldn't read any further today, or at least skip forward about four paragraphs or so until the news about James Franco that spurred this rant.

Now, Scott's movie certainly looks good enough. The action is close to first rate, and thankfully it was in good, old-fashioned 2-D. Watching Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett flirt for 90 minutes or so would have been mildly diverting enough for 90 minutes or so, but of course, Scott's movie went for a rather thoroughly unnecessary 2 hours and 20 minutes.

And it's not until near the end of all this that you realize just how much of a con it really is. If you've seen the trailer, you've certainly seen Oscar Isaac as King John unleash the cry of "Outlaw!" In any sort of real action flick that's designed to at least entertain, that would be the sign of at least some kind of conflict to come, right?

Well, not in Scott's flick, unfortunately. It doesn't come until there's about five minutes left in this mess, and all you get after that is a final shot of Russell Crowe finally as Robin Hood. And that's when it finally hits, or at least did me, just why this movie - and prequels in general- are just such empty vessels.

Which brings us to the news of the day about James Franco, an actor I've always quite liked ever since his "Freaks and Geeks" days. Because "prequel" is now the new "sequel" in Hollywood's latest attempt to cover up the fact that it has virtually no new ideas left, he's set to star in "Rise of the Apes," which, as you've probably guessed by now, is indeed a "prequel" to "Planet of the Apes" (because Lord knows Tim Burton's abortion of a remake wasn't enough, right?)

In the flick scheduled to start filming July 5 for its planned June 24, 2011, release, he'll play a scientist who is pivotal in the war between the humans and the apes. If I have this right, and frankly I'm not sure how much I care if I do or not, the scientist is working on a project to search for a cure for Alzheimer's in which testing is done on apes. Feeling bad for one of our simian friends, Franco's scientist apparently rescues one of them and takes him home. How in the world this comes to the toppling of the Statue of Liberty is anyone's guess.

In much better news, along with apparently returning to "General Hospital," it's also just been announced that Franco will star in a Jeff Bushell-penned comedy called "Ricky Stanicky" which actually sounds like it could really bring the funny. The movie centers on three male friends who for decades have used their titular imaginary friend to explain their way out of assorted tight spots. When their wives finally catch on and demand they produce this character, they hire an actor to play him, hence Franco.

Anyone who's seen "Pineapple Express" (and if you haven't, why the heck not?) or of course "Freaks and Geeks" knows Franco has the comedy chops, so here's hoping that will be a lot better than him messing with any damned dirty apes.

OK, what better way to close things out than with Helen Mirren saying "I've got 25 psychotic whores to manage"? Until seeing this trailer, I really wasn't convinced that "Love Ranch," directed by her hubby, Taylor Hackford, would deliver anything worth watching, but I've been wrong at least once before, so why not today? Co-starring Joe Pesci and some young buck for her to cougar around with, it indeed looks like this flick about the onset of legal prostitution in Nevada will be a lot of fun when it drops in June in at least some kind limited run. Enjoy the trailer, and have a great weekend. Peace out.


J. Marquis said...

That ape movie would probably be really interesting if it was the only one ever made. But I think we're just too far into the franchise at this point.

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