In the years since Shrek Forever After, our most recent check-in with the friendly Mike Myers-voiced ogre, DreamWorks’ animated franchise has matured from a massively successful creative property into something vaster and stranger. Gradually but undeniably, the Shrek films have turned into a Whole Big Weird Internet Thing, with various denizens of the World Wide Web creating disturbing fan-art and cracking absurdist jokes about the smart-alecky series of animated films. In certain online circles, even uttering the words “Some-BODY once told me” is enough to prompt a barrage of surreal humor and warped image macros. And now that Shrek lives on as a sense-stymieing parody of its former self, what better time to revive the franchise?
Even as stories about high-profile kidnapping go, the yarn of John Paul Getty III’s abduction is pretty out-there. In 1973, the 16-year-old was taken while vacationing in Rome and ransomed for $17 million. Getty’s father asked his father — the moneybags in the family — for the sum in question, who refused on the grounds that if he paid off this ransom, then all of his other 14 grandchildren would expect him to pony up when they inevitably got kidnapped. (This, like everything else in the paragraph to come, is real and not a joke.)
The suit makes the man, and that’s seldom more true than for the superhero set. Batman would be another joe-schmo billionaire industrialist without the arsenal of weaponry built into his armor, Iron Man would literally die without his hardware, and now we can add Peter Parker to the list of superheroes whose own clothes act as unofficial sidekick. In the latest trailer for upcoming threeboot Spider-Man: Homecoming, we get a glimpse of some nifty new modifications (courtesy of Stark Industries) to Spidey’s trademark red-and-blue spandex. A new generation’s Spider-Man needs some modern upgrades, and the latest iteration of the suit includes a detachable mini-drone and what I can only describe as “skintight suction technology.”
The latest trailer for the upcoming DreamWorks film The Boss Baby — an animated comedy featuring Alec Baldwin voicing a baby who is, bear with me here, a boss — was specially cut together to be paired with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake, which premiered this past Friday. The video, jocularly titled “A Tale NOT As Old As Time” in reference to the line from the 1991 film’s theme music, features the Baldwin-voiced infant making Cogsworth and Lumiere play with one another as playthings before he directly accosts the audience. For a movie that would appear to be marketed to children, it sure does contain a joke about sticking a candlestick in there somewhere.
Did you know that they apparently made another Terminator movie in 2015? Despite having seen it in theaters back during its original run, this still strikes me as new, hard-to-believe information. If there was really a new installment of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular sci-fi/action franchise as recently as two years ago, wouldn’t someone remember that? Wikipedia claims that the film (subtitled Genisys, which sounds fake but okay) attempted to launch Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke’s big-screen phase of her career, included a clutch starring role from Ahnuld himself, and earned the second-most of any entry in the series. Call me crazy, but that seems like a pretty major occurrence to have entirely fled the public‘s collective pop-cultural memory. I’m skeptical — does this look like a real movie to you?
2015’s remake of old-school espionage show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a rollicking good time, but more than that, it was an audition reel for its stars Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill. Hammer brought his marksmanship and high-speed combat skills to Ben Wheatley’s upcoming shoot-‘em-up Free Fire, and now part-time Superman Cavill has also landed a new role befitting his ultra-smooth fighting prowess. He’ll have to run, jump, most likely get shirtless, and appear alongside Tom Cruise in what just might be his most dangerous assignment yet.
Pixar’s 2016 was something of a mixed bag, having landed a true-blue blockbuster with Finding Dory but then missing out on the coveted Oscar nomination. They’ll get back in the saddle in 2017 with Coco, a vibrant fantasy about the power of music, family, and remembrance of those lost to us. In the film, a lonely young boy finds a link to the past through an enchanted stringed instrument and sets off on an incredible journey with an animal companion, encountering all manner of dreamlike wonders (along with a monster or two) on the way. It bears mentioning at this point that this film is, in fact, not Kubo and the Two Strings.
It was established last week that we may all have to do quite a bit of waiting before we get a peek at James Cameron’s many Avatar sequels. Who’d have guessed that the best thing to tide us over until then would be the latest film featuring the Smurfs? The latest trailer for Smurfs: The Lost Village looks rather familiar, as a search party goes on an expedition to a land filled with bioluminescent wildlife, weird and mighty beasts, and peaceable blue-skinned natives. As one Smurf so elegantly puts it, “It‘s like a workout for your eyes!” Indeed, those viewers looking for a lush vision of a hidden world may be in luck.
The Avatar franchise has turned into James Cameron’s Xanadu, a vanity project of staggering scale to which the public will seemingly never be permitted access. It’s kept him busy since 2009, as he’s concurrently scripted a whopping four sequels to the immensely lucrative 2009 sci-fi epic. Perhaps, one day, it shall be his tomb. But to us unwashed rabble in the general populace, the grand Avatar franchise is little more than an idea, and a weird idea at that. As our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer noted not too long ago, pretty much everybody has moved on from Avatar as a cultural touchstone. Cameron seems more jazzed about this plan than anyone else, but he’ll have to put his dreams on hold for a little while longer.
It’s odd — as our planet rapidly hurdles towards any number of very real oblivions, disaster-porn movies have started to play a little more fancifully. ‘Malfunctioning weather-controlling spacecraft triggers climate cataclysms’ sounds like a kinda quaint way for the world to end, as opposed to nuclear holocausts or World War III or a total breakdown of humanity’s societal order. It’s been a minute since the Earth last swallowed up its inhabitants with the earthquake-sploitation picture San Andreas, and frankly, it’s just a relief to see a fictitious vision of the apocalypse that’s not entirely our fault.
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