Bleats

Forget Spider-Man, Tom Holland's Got Another Big Film Loss On His Hands

With great responsibility comes great abdication of responsibility.

You’ve got to feel for Tom Holland, the man who was until very recently assumed to be the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the greatest of all Spiders-Man, for he has just suffered another loss in the form of a director for the doomed Uncharted film adaptation.

Yes, Spiders-Man. That’s the proper plural, just like Attorneys-General. I will not hear otherwise.

I KNOW RIGHT IT JUST MAKES SENSE.

As you’re doubtless aware by now, Sony has just had the rights to Spider-Man return to them and expressed their lack of interest in doing any more things that involve Marvel using the character. So that’s that for Pete and the MCU, despite Far From Home setting up a whole lot of loose thread-work which was clearly meant to be addressed in future Marvelry.

And Uncharted should be an absolute no-brainer of a film, given that the games upon which the film is based are all very cinematic; which is a polite way to say that they rip the hell off of the Indiana Jones films and also every other swashbuckling adventure film with a wise-cracking hero.

And when Holland was signed on to play Nathan Drake everyone went “really? But isn’t he a dead ringer for Nathan Fillion?”

Yes. Yes he is.

But since Fillion is nudging 50 and Holland is but a callow youth, it was clear that they were thinking long term and starting with what is essentially a prequel.

However, it’s just lost another director with the news that Dan Trachtenberg has decided yeah, nah.

And this wouldn’t be noteworthy were it not the fifth – count ’em! – director to jump from the project since it was first announced almost a decade ago, following David O. Russell (who planned to star Mark Wahlberg as Drake), Neil Burger, Seth Gordon, and Shawn Levy.

The team, five directors ago.

Anyway, now seems like a perfect time to remind you that there is a campaign afoot to have a building in Edmonton renamed in honour of Mr Fillion, who called the city home, and have it used as a public meeting space.

And anyone who doesn’t think the world would be improved by the existence of the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion has already given up on life and hope, sir.

Some Hipster Filmmaker Decided To Release His Indie Music Documentary On VHS Only

So, anyone actually got a video player?

As a bearded, bespectacled lefty sort I generally find complaints about insufferable hipsters a little close to home – but the news that the maker of a documentary about the world’s most achingly indie record label is making said film available only by renting it on VHS makes me want to cry into my artisanal microbrew.

This guy feels the same.

The label in question is Elephant 6 – which started up as a collective of a bunch of friends to live together, share equipment and play on each other’s stuff in Denver, Colorado, in 1991.

And all indie-cool aside, they formed goddamn amazing bands including Olivia Tremor Control, the Apples in Stereo and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Yes, it’s a real band. Not just a joke on Parks and Recreation.

Anyway: Chad Stockfleth started making a documentary about the label/musical collective/friendship group five years ago, now entitled A Future History Of: The Elephant 6 Recording Co.

This film has now been completed, and you can watch it. If you pick up a flyer at record stores around Portland, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and other selected US cities.

Once you have the flyer, according to Pitchfork, you can get the number for the Elephant 6 Video Rental Club, who will give you instructions which eventually ends with you being sent the video cassette in the mail.

That package also contains as a “library card” to sign when the tape is mailed back, and a fresh flyer the renter is to put up in their ‘hood.

So yes, this is all offensively twee. But it’s also kind of perfect for the weirdly out-of-time music of the bands themselves.

Anyway, at the risk of looking even more hipster, now I just want to find a VHS player and watch this documentary. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get on my fixie and play In The Aeroplane Over The Sea on wax cylinder (vinyl is SO mainstream, you guys…).

The Next Wave Of Star Wars Films Is Already Doomed For One Simple Reason

We have a bad feeling about this.

There’s another trilogy of Star Wars films coming, and let’s be honest: they are doomed.

There’s been a wild will-they-won’t-they game going over whether Disney would plough ahead with plans for a post-The Rise Of Skywalker series of Star Wars films after the… shall we say “muted” response to Solo: A Star Wars Story and the comparative disappointment of The Last Jedi.

But after many rumours of cancellations, TLJ’s director Rian Johnson has confirmed that yes, a new trilogy is happening and yes, he’ll be directing at least the first one – although the whole “happening in 2022” thing seems to have been gently put aside.

“We’re doing something that steps beyond the legacy characters. What does that look like? To me, the blue sky element of it is what was most striking about it,” he told Observer. “It really makes you think and figure out what the essence of Star Wars is for me and what that will look like moving forward.”

Here’s the thing: we know what Star Wars is looking like. And that is “tired”.

And as we’ve seen with the sequels the franchise is trapped between being over reverent about the past (like The Force Awaken‘s beat-for-beat copy of A New Hope) and the fact that the more they get away from their previous formulas, the more people complain (see: the ridiculous monster chasing Han and Chewie in The Force Awakens, all the internet response to The Last Jedi).

Oh, I bet Phasma does something cool he… oh, never mind.

Also, as befits a pioneering genre-defining film like the first Star Wars film, the competition didn’t exist. Science fiction movies were either silly or over-serious, not playful and mythic.

Since then there are some massive franchises which have taken their cues from Star Wars and created their own engaging myths – most notably the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Harry Potter.

Furthermore, today’s audiences have so very much to inspire their fantasies, while people enamoured of the way George Lucas built entire fictional universes have Game of Thrones, or the Lord Of The Rings, or… well, again, Marvel.

Star Wars has nostalgia and… um, that’s kind of it.

OK fine, I choked up too.

And pure nostalgia isn’t doing the job. The Star Wars Galaxies Edge section of Disney’s parks hasn’t proved to be the hit the company had assumed, (at least, not as yet) proving that making a Star Wars thing isn’t a guaranteed home run.

And while kids in the 70s and 80s desperately wanted to be Luke and Leia and Han, are there currently new generations of kids aching to be Rey, or Poe Dameron, or Finn? More specifically, do they want that more than they want to be Hermoine or Black Panther or Jon Snow?

It’s not a problem exclusive to Star Wars either. Alien was similarly groundbreaking for science fiction upon its release, but there’s not a person on the planet that would look at any of the sequels, prequels or spinoffs since 1986 and and go “yeah, this is definitely better than the first two films.”

Aside from this.

And yes, maybe Johnson will find a way to stay true to the legacy while exciting and inspiring a new generation, in a way that neither the prequel nor sequel films quite managed to do.

Or maybe Star Wars is doomed to inhabit the same franchise graveyard that contains such failed reboots as the Edgar Rice Burroughs books, Knight Rider and Men In Black. Some stories just aren’t as timeless as you’d assume.

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