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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 94: GameCritics at the Movies

Richard Naik's picture

It's a special summer movie threeway! We chat about the hottest films of recent months, Chi and Tim destroy their friendship, and we come to the inevitable conclusion that Superman is a terrible, terrible superhero. With Richard Naik Chi Kong Lui, and Tim Spaeth.

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I was very much looking

I was very much looking forward to a new podcast, until I realized I haven't seen any of the movies you're likely talking about. Got some work to do...

Damn, is there not any

Damn, is there not any feasible method of ensuring Tim is always on the podcasts? ;p

Of the films discussed I've only seen Man of Steel but my opinion differs to both Chi and Tim. I think Chi is waaay too caught-up in the explosive novelty of the film; it's not that great. On the flip-side, Tim wants something from the film that is personal to him (which is not necessarily a bad thing, but is difficult for Snyder to achieve).

For me Man of Steel was kinda okay. I liked the flashback scenes and thought that the action sequences were well-done stylistically, if somewhat mindless and completely stupid. The relationship between Superman and Lois Lane was poor. The material given to Henry Cavill was barely enough to display any proper action ability too; he remained pretty wooden throughout. It's probably a 2 and a half out of 5 for me.

I enjoyed your thoughts on the other films. I intend to watch Into Darkness when it becomes available on DVD, but will see how I feel at the time over whether Pacific Rim will be worth a watch or not (DVD again). I thought Iron Man 2 was rubbish so have no interest in Iron Man 3.

Thanks for the podcast guys.

Into Darkness 'repeated' lines

The scenes repeated from Wrath of Khan that Tim finds annoying were not just for fan-service but were necessary to create a parallelism with the events from the previous time-line. Yes, we've seen it before, that's the point (aside from the touching reversal --Kirk sacrificing himself instead of Spock). The point is to underline (we hope for the last time) that the new franchise proceeds in its own, different universe, set apart, yet made of the same DNA as the beloved, but now irrelevant, canon. This gymnastic was necessary for the reboot of such a deep and studied IP. Kudos to Abrams for pulling it off deftly and with a tip of the hat to WoK, the high-point of the Trek-movie universe. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the Tim.

But I thought the first film

But I thought the first film covered that aspect in making it clear that this was a new timeline?
Frankly as a huge trek fan I was overjoyed with the idea of it being completely fresh, surely that was the point in doing the whole timeline change anyway?
So I thought it was a bit disappointing and unnecessary to have the Khan story,not just because it happens to be a huge fave of mine, but it just comes across as the writers running out of ideas, like using Khan was some sort of safe option.
The use of Khan was heavily rumored before the film came out, and during the film I have to say I was very happy for a moment when I thought they weren't going to use Khan at all, Benedict Cumberbatch was already interesting anyway as John Harrison. From that reveal the film started to fall apart for me. I think if I didn't know star trek at all I would have been confused, it certainly seemed to take shortcuts in the writing by assuming audience knowledge. Whilst I agree with Richard that wrath of khan had the same problem, I thought these new star trek films were supposed to appeal to a broader, non trekky audience?
I want these new star trek films to be moving forward, whilst keeping elements of the original series, the first film did this almost perfectly. However to me Into Darkness was a step backward and I would love to see a more original story in the next one, there are some interesting aspects being put in place in these films, like the destruction of vulcan and the inevitable klingon war, so these definitely enough there for that.

movies movies and more movies

Good podcast discussion.

I think way too much fealty is paid to the fan community. It is clear to me that fans run Hollywood these days. Fanboys aged 18-49 appear to be the primary summer blockbuster demographic, if not the primary movie demographic period. While I appreciate the thought and love that goes into the Star Trek reboot and the Marvel movies, I find the unceasing demands for fanboy fealty a little tiresome.

So I take exception to Tim's demands that Superman be more like the Christopher Reeve portrayal because that iteration is more "faithful" to the classic Superman persona. Disclosure: I haven't actually seen Man of Steel. And I thought the Superman movies were silly when I first saw them as a child. I was never awed by Superman's heroics the way Tim, Rich, Chi et al. were. So I welcome a Superman that shakes up the classic persona a little even if, shudder, he actually *kills* someone or shows something less than slavish devotion to the human race.

I feel similarly about Star Trek: Into Darkness. Into Darkness excelled when it deviated from classic Trek, and suffered when it paid tribute to the Trekker "canon". I think the worst part of the movie was the end, when it inserted the Nimoy cameo for no good reason and rehashed the ending of Wrath of Khan. I thought Cumberbatch made an excellent villain. Unlike the Gamecritics panel, I saw no problem with him playing Khan. There's nothing about that title or the character that makes it necessary to cast a Middle Eastern or Asian actor. Notice that in this movie he never identified himself as "Khan Noonien Singh," but as simply "Khan." I would urge Tim Spaeth to revisit his Trek history. As he will recall, Khan controlled a quarter of planet Earth during the Eugenics Wars. John Harrison saw himself as a modern day "khan", a leader or ruler of a tribe of superior eugenic warriors, and not necessarily as an ethnic "khan".

As for Pacific Rim, I enjoyed it, but wanted to love it more than it did. I can say that it I enjoyed every minute of it, and that it accomplished exactly what it set out to do. The characters, by and large, were pretty silly. The movie really excelled when it explored the nooks and crannies of its own universe, like with the Ron Perlman character and the entire section of Hong Kong that was built out of the remnants of a dead Kaiju. I would have liked to have seen more of that.

The anime/manga you were referencing for Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim pretty much rips from Neon Genesis: Evangelion with the whole "synchronize with a mech to fight giant monsters" idea. I'm pretty sure Evangelion was a much deeper, yet nonsensical take on the subject, however.

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