(Yeah, today is a bit quiet...)
Last night I got along to the Brisbane media screening for the latest Marvel opus: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I'm sure many of you will be checking the film out over the next few days, but here's a handful of thoughts:
1) It is interesting to me how integrated the TV experience is with the movies. There's one character specifically who elicits one of the three biggest audience cheers who is from one of the TV shows. And not one of the characters you would immediately expect. But then there's the inclusion of Wanda Maximoff who carries an entire plot from the WandaVision TV show into the film.
2) There are some VERY positive reviews for this film and, frankly, I'm not sure they are really all that deserved. Lots of reviews refer to it as a horror film. It isn't. The special effects are rather terrible in a lot of scenes throughout the film, several set pieces seem to happen for very little reason, a lead character establishes an arc that is not paid off at all in the film - the character also seems to disappear for large portions of the film too, and it's just too long at 126 minutes. Director Sam Raimi has a few familiar visual flourishes throughout the film that reminds you who is behind the camera, but it is very much a pretty standard Marvel joint.
There's a fight involving Doctor Strange (kinda) and some demons that is VERY Sam Raimi, highly evocative of Army of Darkness - certainly a highlight of the film.
3) This film doesn't work in the slightest as a movie that holds up on its own - you do need to have seen at least WandaVision, the first Doctor Strange film, another very specific Marvel film franchise, and The Avengers Infinity War/End Game movies. I tend to find a lot of the Marvel films have some integrated moments, but can generally hold together as a story on their own. That is absolutely not the case here.
4) The final end of titles sequence is one of the few I think have been genuinely worth sticking around for. It is very silly, but also a delight.
5) Why can't they just film these movies in real locations? There's one scene on a New York City rooftop that would make Tommy Wiseau proud of his own rooftop city recreation work.
I have other thoughts... especially about THAT casting. But as with all of these films, the "spoilers" are all part of the experience of watching the films. Check it out if you're into these films - it's quite alright for the most part. But if you're being dragged along by a loved one, see if you can get out of it - I wouldn't expect you'll find all that much in this one.
NO WATER FOR DAN
I will note I was disappointed that they didn't screen the trailer for Avatar 2: The Way of Water. As South-East Queensland's biggest Avatar superfan, it was distressing to find that while the trailer played for critics interstate, Brisbane media didn't get the trailer screened in front of the Doctor Strange film. I guess I'm going to have to pop my head into a cinema on Thursday just to watch the trailer for the film. Yeah, I am feeling a bit dirty about that...
What do people want from Star Wars?
Polygon has a series of articles examining what viewers are after from the Star Wars movies and shows.
Tasha Robinson argues that fans respond best to new characters and not just trotting out fan favourites (which is a weird take considering general enthusiasm for the return of Luke Skywalker in multiple Mando/Boba Fett episodes).
...when the series pulls away from trying to make new Darth Vaders and new Luke Skywalkers, it’s created whole new waves of fan enthusiasm. The most obvious recent example is The Mandalorian’s Din Djarin and Grogu. That dynamic duo clearly owe some of their creative DNA to Boba Fett and Yoda, but they have little in common with them, and don’t primarily read as attempts to capitalize on the old characters’ popularity. Din Djarin’s struggle to live up to a code he considers noble and right, even though most of his own people find it bafflingly backward, feels unique among Star Wars screen stories. And Grogu’s endearing alienness and opacity is something the franchise has been lacking for a long time, in its endless run of inhuman creatures that mostly just read exactly like familiar types.
Meanwhile Joshua Riverra argues for a greater variety of the sorts of stories told in the Star Wars universe.
Embracing variety and telling very specific micro stories would give Star Wars more room to veer away from its predictable, repetitive tone. Instead of yet another grim crime drama set on Tatooine, it’d be much more fun to look forward to, say, an original-trilogy-era sitcom about a shop that fixes defective droids, or a medical drama where a hospital staffed by Rebel sympathizers routinely has to perform first aid for Stormtroopers.
- Former St Elsewhere actor David Birney, best known for putting the Birney in Meredith Baxter-Birney (I could have phrased that better), has died at age 83. Read: THR
- Fox has planned to launch 100 new originals on its free streaming service Tubi by the end of 2023. Read: TBI
- The Field of Dreams TV show will film in Iowa, but not on the baseball field built for the recent MLB promotional game. Read: THR
- Bosch: Legacy has been renewed for season 2 ahead of its 'debut' this weekend. Read: Deadline
- Allison Janney will star with Kristen Wiig and Laura Dern on Apple TV+ comedy Mrs. American Pie. Read: THR
- A new Jackass TV show is in the works for Paramount+. Read: THR
- Speaking of Paramount+, the streamer has increased its global subs to 40 million. Read: THR
- V*ola D*vis is in talks for an Amanda Waller-led Peacemaker spin-off at HBO Max. Critics, be kind... Read: Variety
- Meta is developing four new VR headsets for release by 2024. Read: VR Scout
Maybe you do need an Apple Arcade subscription after all. Warped Kart Racers, the game brings together 20 different characters from 20th Television animated series like American Dad and King of the Hill, with gameplay that looks heavily inspired by Super Mario Kart.
Pistol debuts May 31 on Hulu. The limited series is about the Sex Pistols and is from Danny Boyle.
The G Word with Adam Conover debuts on Netflix May 19.
Emergency debuts May 27 on Amazon Prime Video.
The Life and Movies of Esran Kuneri debuts on Netflix.
Kongsi Raya is streaming now on Netflix.
WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story debuts on Roku Channel later this year.
That's it for today. Lots of small news today. Maybe there will be a bigger fish tomorrow. Always Be Casting returns tomorrow.