Monday, December 17, 2007

"Terminate" this TV project immediately

I don't really like being in the business of telling people not to watch something, especially when I haven't seen it yet myself. It's just not my natural setting, I guess.

That said, I several times had to sit through a commercial Sunday night during Fox's Sunday night animated lineup, which was pretty darn funny. Just in case anyone out there has more of a life than me (which often isn't much of a challenge), I can tell you it was for Fox's simply craptastic take on the "Terminator" saga. I do hope I'm wrong about this, but it just gives me a really queasy feeling.

Which is a real shame, because being a devoted "Firefly"/"Serenity" fan, I wish nothing but the best for Summer Glau (which would be, of course, a revival of "Firefly" on the Sci-Fi Channel, but that keeps getting less and less likely.

So, what's my beef with this new "Terminator"? Well, besides that it's just thoroughly unnecessary, my animosity peaked Sunday night when I heard this rather unwitty exchange between whatever yarnhead is now playing John Connor and the Terminator played by Ms. Glau, as they're getting into a car:

Connor: I'll take shotgun.
Glau: I'll take 9-millimeter.

Now, if that's not enough to make all you Ahnold fans out there cringe, the terminator played by Ms. Glau is actually named Cameron. Believe me, I couldn't make this stuff up.

But why should I get so worked up about a silly TV show that doesn't even premiere until Jan. 13 on Fox? Well, the short answer is I probably shouldn't, but "The Terminator" series has always been close to my heart if for no better reason than Salisbury, Md., the tiny burg where I spent my entire childhood, is also the hometown of Linda Hamilton (and Frank Perdue the late chicken king, for that matter.) Besides, is it too much to ask that my favorite movie franchises not get watered down to pure garbage?

I know that, with the writers' strike ongoing, your choices will be limited this winter, but please, please, please don't watch this new "Terminator."

Good things to come

I had planned to offer an equally bitter comment about Will Smith's "I Am Legend," but seeing that it made $76.5 million this past weekend, the biggest December opening ever, just zapped all the energy out of me to do so.

I'll just say this: The key to my disappointment with "I Am Legend" is pretty much summed up in the movie by Smith's Robert Neville himself. Neville, along with supposedly searching for the cure to a virus he helped create but is somehow immune to, spends a lot of time listening to Bob Marley.

Now, I've got nothing at all against Mr. Marley, and am in fact listening to "Legend" right now (I'd have to imagine that the makers of this movie thought the coincidence in titles was rather clever.) But, back to my rather longwinded point. Of all the great Bob Marley tunes out there, Neville is fixated on "Three Little Birds," easily the most generic one of all.

To me, the movie "I Am Legend" exists in the same realm, a completely tired tale about a man-made virus (stop me if you've seen "28 Days Later" or any number of better movies on this subject) that manages to build very little interest at all before trotting out monsters that were swiped most directly from the end of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" but could come from any number of paint-by-numbers horror flicks. The best thing about "I Am Legend," in fact, was the two trailers that ran before it, one for "Iron Man" and a simply sensational look at "Dark Knight" (Heath's Joker is just gonna kick royal ass.)

And one more thing, while were on the subject. As cool as director Francis Lawrence's vision of post-apocalyptic New York is, I'd like to call for an immediate moratorium on blowing up my favorite city in the world on the big screen. I don't know why movie directors get such a thrill out of decimating NYC, but I'm just damn tired of seeing it. 'Nuff said.

But, enough bile for a Monday morning. For the first time in well, a very long time, there are actually three movies coming out this weekend that I want to see.

I'm thoroughly on board the Dewey Cox bandwagon, and am convinced that "Walk Hard" will be that rare spoof that manages to sustain its gag and be funny from start to finish. And, though I can definitely take or leave Tom Hanks, the teaming up of Mike Nichols and Aaron Sorkin for "Charlie Wilson's War" should also be pretty entertaining too.

The one I most want to see, however, is Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd." I'll find out tomorrow morning if this one is too bloody to open in my little corner of the world this weekend, which I fear may be the case but obviously hope won't be.

Three movies worth seeing? Now that's what I call a Christmas gift!

And, since anyone who sat through all that certainly deserves a reward, here's the trailer for "Leatherheads," the football flick starring George Clooney, John Krasinski and, I have the misfortune of telling you, Renee Zellweger. Enjoy, and have an entirely bearable Monday. Peace out.


Divinity said...

The husband of one of my best friends works in television and film graphic design (currently on Kyle XY) and his company had put in a bid to do the effects for The Sarah Connor Chronicles so they were sent a copy of the pilot. His exact words were,"I don't watch a lot of television, but I'll watch this". I wouldn't worry too much about the show looking anything like the ad campaign. Remember, this is the same network that deep-sixed Firefly...

Reel Fanatic said...

I hope you're right, Divinity, but I can't help but be extremely skeptical ... I suppose I should tune in for at least the two back-back premiere episodes before I rush to such judgment

lylee said...

Although I haven't seen "I am Legend," I have to admit I'm depressed that a movie that's already been made and remade, in one form or another, so many times before should make such a killing at the B/0 just because it stars Will Smith.

Nothing against Smith, but I realized the other day that the reason I don't tend to want to watch his movies is I prefer ensemble pieces to pieces that are structured around the star power of a single actor. But clearly most of America doesn't agree with me...

Even more dispiriting than Will Smith's romp, though, is the fact that the #2 movie, which made a healthy $45 million, was...a movie about Alvin & his effing chipmunks. And *this* is what families are going to see, rather than "The Golden Compass"? Not that the latter movie doesn't have its problems, but...ugh, at least it kept some of the nifty ideas intact. But ideas seem to be a failing commodity in the movie marketplace these days...

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm definitely with you on preferring great ensemble movies over ones that star one "great" actor or actress, and I've never really been able to understand the mass appeal of Mr. Smith (though I love his former partner, Jazzy Jeff, who has made some of the greatest rap records of the last five years or so ... and I too was shocked and depressed by the Chipmumks haul, since I didn't expect them to make more than about $10 million or so

Terence Towles Canote said...

I have to second your thoughts on The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Looking in the past at shows based on feature films, the results are usually less than desirable. The number of bad shows based on movies greatly outnumber the good ones based on movies.

Eaglewing said...

"it's just thoroughly unnecessary."

I think you summed up my view on the TV show right there. I have a whole lotta doubts about it (I thought I heard they're going with whiny Conner version 2.0), although I too am glad Glau is getting work and wish Firefly the comeback or Serenity 2 would happen.

As for Terminator, I just watched the first Terminator movie on the Space station uncut last night. Reminded how good that was and how well the story and special effects stand up even 23 years later. After the way T3 went, the only hope for this franchise is if the rumor of Christian Bale playing John Conner in a new trilogy is true. Either that, or find a way to bring Linda Hamilton back.

Reel Fanatic said...

Even if it would take a huge leap of logic, Eaglewing, I'm definitely with you that the series should only continue with the great Linda Hamilton involved somehow .. And I have to confess that I had never heard anything about Bale being John Connor, but that would certainly be intriguing

Bob said...

I saw "I Am Legend" and enjoyed it. Not spectacular but for me it worked purely because of Smith. Usually I prefer ensemble pieces too I guess, but there's something to be said for one actor or actress who can carry an entire film on their shoulders.
And I definitely agree with Lylee that I'm far more depressed by "Alvin and the Chipmunks" making $45 million. Actually $45 would have been a downer. But MILLION? Horrific.

P.S.: I finally got to see "Juno." My review is up.

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