Thursday, September 22, 2011

A nonsensical rant about superheroes, comic books and animé

I was never really into the whole “superhero” thing as a kid.  Owning action figures was equivalent to owning dolls as far as I was concerned.  Robots, hot wheels and dinosaurs were OK but not “action figures.”  I was at the right age to be a He-Man fan but it just didn’t capture my attention.  Perhaps that is why I have such a negative opinion of superheroes and the movies they star in.

I’m not anti-fun.  I like popcorn movies.  I even find fun things to like in bad movies as you can probably tell by my old movie reviews.  I like superhero movies.  I really do.  I just don’t like ridiculous superhero movies.  By ridiculous I don’t mean impossible because having a superhero at all is already highly improbable.

It just stretches the limits of my imagination when not one superhero emerges but an entire army of flamboyantly costumed “extremely rare” positive mutations occur.  That’s partly the reason I like origin stories.  It slowly explains the transition from regular person to freak of nature.  When they all of the sudden give themselves a super corny name and cartoonish outfit…I lose interest.  Not to mention the hilariously over sexualized female tokens.  Having so many super heroes makes them less “super,” naturally.  I didn’t like comics as a kid for those reasons and I don’t like them now because they haven’t matured.

I thought I would give them a try.  There have been a few decent movies with comic book origins I figured perhaps they had improved.  I checked out a few forums and searched for a few to read.  No dice.  The great ones are few and far between and even the best have some stupidity to it that just really turns me away from it all.  Yet Hollywood keeps digging for gold in the comic warehouse.

I’m an adult dag nabbit and I really wish Hollywood would learn to respect me as such.  If they are going to make a cartoony movie, just make a cartoon.  That would make it much easier to digest.  It seems though that they just make these movies live action to keep their countless employees working.

Animé has a HUGE untapped consumer base in the United States.  People importing foreign animation, swallowing up Nickelodeon shows like Avatar and pestering Disney to translate and launch Miyazaki films.  It seems though that the powers that be in Hollywood don’t take animation seriously.  They see it as a children’s market so you see Pixar and its competitors spend tons of money and handicap their projects by building them from the ground up to focus on childish plots.

Now don’t get me wrong, they have made some AMAZING movies.  The Iron Giant and Wall-E are some of my favorite American animation films.  I don’t think they should stop making them altogether.  I just don’t believe that they should continue forcing all animation projects into the children’s section.

Japan, known for its successful animé directed at adults decided to give it a shot and they release a movie called Final Fantasy: Spirits Within.  The critics hated it.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it an average 43% score meanwhile crap like Happy Feet sat comfortably at 74%!  Final Fantasy was created by a company that was known for making video games, so naturally the video game enthusiast press was ecstatic about it at first.

Then when the movie was released they were quick to express their discontent.  One of the common complaints was that they didn’t know who the movie was directed to.  It didn’t have any relation to the games they have made in the past and it wasn’t geared toward children.  So naturally, there was no one left right?

WRONG.  People who enjoy movies were left.  This was a science fiction story meant to be enjoyed as a singular entity.  The fault I saw in reviews came from the fact that most people went in with a preconception or hope of what they would see.  That spoiled them in my opinion.

“Despite the utterly amazing animation and exciting action, this is nothing like its source material and is very disappointing in the end.”
Ignoring the fact that the art was amazing and the action was exciting…
It was nothing like its “source material”?  It was never promised that the movie would be based on any game.  In fact they came out and said exactly the opposite but I digress.

Instead of opening a door to creativity and a completely new branch of film genre, the preconceptions of the critics single-handedly threw this art form back at least a decade while Superman, Batman, X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, Spiderman, Captain America, The Green Lantern await their next release.