Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Man Who Would Be Schumacher

Joel Schumacher is the ultimate example of what can happen to a franchise changing directors in mid-stream. He's the ghost that haunts the third movie in every current trilogy. When he took over the Batman franchise after Tim Burton's 1989 original and (to my mind) highly superior 1992 follow-up Batman Returns, Schumacher turned out two massive fiascoes that ran the character, and the future of DC comics adaptations, immediately into the ground.

(For anyone who cares, I think Batman Returns is among the better comic book films ever made, along with X2 and Blade 2 and certain sections of Spider-Man 2. Why are the second films always better?)

Only the Superman films can equal that level of crash-and-burn, though no film in that series even comes close to the atrocity of Schumacher's Batman and Robin, surely among the ugliest and quite possibly among the worst mainstream studio films of all time. The movie utterly killed off the notion of the Batman character in the marketplace. Schumacher had rendered the films into a $80 million joke, a garish collection of klutzy mugging, incoherent action sequences and bright pink and green neon.

Where the hell did he get that from? What Batman comic has ever made excessive use of pink and green neon? And need I even get into the nipples?

It has taken 8 years and several hundred million dollars to produce a brand-new Batman film. I use the term "brand" for a reason...They have had to entirely re-brand Batman, based on a new director's reputation, an entirely new cast's vitality and a chronological reset to the narrative. The only way they could distance themselves further from Batman and Robin would be to kill of Bruce Wayne and refocus the series on Barbara Gordon. (AKA Batgirl...duh...)

I bring up the legacy of one Joey Shoes, responsible for not just the destruction of the Batman films but also the cinematic dirty bomb known as 8MM, surely one of the most hypocritical and poorly conceived dramas of our time, for a reason. Fox Filmed Entertainment has turned over the reigns to one of the most successful comic franchises, The X-Men, to what reader and CineGeek Charlie Babbitt has generously dubbed a "fuckmook."

Of course, I'm speaking of Rush Hour veteran and all-around assclown Brett Ratner. Ladies and gentleman, I didn't intend for things to go this far...I thought Ratner would just get off with the sarcastic diatribe I previously posted here. But no, I'm making it official. Brett's in the running for the Braffy. In your face, Ratner!

And as long as we're making things official, here's a photo of Brett irritating legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis.

Dino, of course, produced Brett's highly forgettable and barely mediocre adaptation of Red Dragon, far more interestingly presented as Michael Mann's Manhunter in the 80's, or in Richard Harris' book "Red Dragon." Or probably by your friend who actually saw the movie but can vividly recreate for you the best scenes.

"Okay, so, at this one part, Hannibal Lecter is chained up to the ceiling and he's talking to Ed Norton and then he leans forward like he's gonna bite him. It's pretty sweet."

At least you'd be spared the oversaturated, glossy photography and relentlessly hyper editing that have become Ratner's stock in trade.

But I already goofed on Ratzo's filmography in that previous article. The one posted here. You might as well consider this one combined with that one to be a two-part Nomination Special for dear Brett.

Now the entire online film dork community is abuzz with talk of The Rat taking over X3. Most of the talk is as you'd expect for an artist of Brett's caliber - it's astoundingly negative. Cruelly so. And with good cause! This guy made Money Talks!

So he's doing what any sensible person would do when faced with nerds hammering him on nerd websites around the Internet. He fires back to (who else?) MTV. They proceed to tenderly lick his ass. Oh, and they ask him a few questions.

The 36-year-old Ratner, who proudly declares that he has "read comic books my whole life," had indeed been a candidate to initiate the X-Men franchise at the beginning of the decade. This is where things get real confusing: Singer instead took on the task of bringing Wolverine and friends to the screen, while Ratner came tantalizingly close to directing an earlier version of the Superman movie — yes, the same one that Singer is now overseeing.

"I think we bring stuff onto ourselves," Ratner said of the musical-chairs game with Singer. "He had dreams of doing Superman, that was his fantasy, and I had a dream of it too, and it didn't work out, but X-Men is a part of that dream as well.

Brett right here all but admits to accepting the X-Men gig as a consolation prize for losing out on Superman. Or maybe he just hopes he'll be Bryan Singer's go-to guy when Bryan's done kicking off franchises, and Superman 3 sounds too good to pass up.

Anyway, not the best attitude to come in with. "I dreamt of making a Superman movie, but this will be almost as good. Cause, you know, they have powers and stuff. It's almost the same."

"Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner are in that age range who grew up on comics," Ratner said, referring to himself in the third person. "Well, I don't know if he grew up on comic books, but in that generation where comic heroes are part of our society and part of our pop culture."

Bryan Singer left X-Men 3 because he didn't like the material," Ratner insisted. "But I don't think this movie is tainted; I think it is fantastic and the script is amazing.

Wow, so much stuff to goof on...First, he refers to himself in the third person. "Brett Ratner is in that age..." Lons thinks that referring to one's self in the third person makes one look like a total douche.

And what's this "that generation where comic heroes are part of our society" bull crap? As if that's not true of the current generation. Or the generation that came before Ratzo Spazzo. Or the generation before that, even? When did this guy grow up, the 70's? He was barely old enough for the "Batman" TV show.

Also, maybe it's just me, but it's probably a bad sign when the brand new director brought in to take over a somewhat troubled movie production starts referring to the material as "tainted," without provocation. Getting a little defensive there, BR.

"Jackie Chan says Brett Ratner is the luckiest guy in the world," the director said of his Rush Hour star's opinion of him taking over the comic-book franchise, "and I feel like I am."

Jackie Chan also thinks that images of him falling down are hilarious enough to propel 10 feature-length comedies. Who gives a shit what he thinks?

"I'm not Joel Schumacher," he said of the fan-despised director behind Batman Forever and the even more poorly received Batman & Robin, "and I'm not ... um ... who did the third Superman?"

That would be Richard Lester. "I'm Brett," Ratner said, "and all I know is what I know, what I can do and what I have to work with."

Yeah, Brett, you went to NYU film school. Richard Lester. He directed a little movie called A Hard Day's Night you might have seen in a class, if you weren't too busy doing lines off the ass of your sometime girlfriend while she edited together your latest slapdash music video for a local junkie/street poet/post-modern beatboxer known only as The Science. He's also the same guy that did Superman II, and The Knack, and also perhaps the best version ever filmed of The Three Musketeers. He's, how shall I put this, a lot better director than you. A lot. A whole whole lot. Even if, however unlikely, X-Men 3 should totally rule, Richard Lester would still be 100 times cooler than you. So shut up.

Ratner insists that the X-Men 3 script is up to snuff, that production will commence in Vancouver, British Columbia, in eight weeks, and that series stars Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, James Marsden and Rebecca Romijn will return. As for what he'll add to the successful Singer recipe, the director said, "I want to stay true to the franchise and true to the characters, but I think it's elevated ... I don't want to be pompous and say I'm going to take it to the next level. I think the script that Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn wrote gives me a tremendous amount of confidence."

Oh, man...he said elevated, folks...What the hell is wrong with you, Ratner? And he wants us to be happy that he's keeping Halle Berry around? Didn't he see Catwoman or Die Another Day? Doesn't Brett Ratner get screeners?

Brett, write that bitch out! Send her urgently back to Africa to save her people from a drought or some shit! Or, better yet, outer space! It's a comic book, think of something! I'd rather watch her and Billy Bob Thronton have 2 hours of awkward floor sex than hear her try to squak out something with a Matobo accent ever again!

He also said you can expect his X-Men to have an enhanced sense of humor. "Not jokes for the sake of jokes," Ratner added, "jokes that come from character humor, that come from characters and that come from the situations."

Yeah, that's what we need. Brett Ratner to start bringing the funny. This guy directed Rush Hour and Rush Hour 2. His idea of funny is jokes about how black people be all listening to the radio really loud and shit. He thinks Chris Tucker making fun of peopel with Asian accents, and Jackie Chan falling down repeatedly, is the height of comic genius. I look forward to the stream of Cyclops fart gags, and Rogue's incessant mugging. It's gonna be quite a summer!

1 comment:

Cory said...

This is a tight one. Clearly the closest contender to Esfandiari. Hmm...he does do the third-person thing, that's really, really, really bad. I'll have to think about this one.