Conan the Barbarian (2011) Recap

Jamie

After surviving an attack by the warlord Zym as a child, Conan grows up to be a powerful pirate, pilfering and banging ladies all day (high five). But when he overhears that Zym is back in town and looking for immense power Conan knows what needs to be done. Can he stop Zym (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in Conan the Barbarian.

What?! Conan’s totally the boss from day one. He’s like ten years old and totes crushing his enemies under his Cimmerian heel. Unfortunately a dangerous warlord Zym and his sorceress daughter are hoping to get all the pieces of the powerful Mask of Acheron which definitely does… something… and guess who has the last piece? That’s right, Conan’s daddio and he gets killed trying to protect it. Flash forward years and Conan is still the boss and he’s a pirate extraordinaire. While he loves crushing brews and the ladies with his bros, he finds destiny calling when he learns that Zym is out to finish the job with the mask. To bring it to full power Zym needs the blood of a totally bodacious pure-blood and he’s right on her trail. But Conan’s right there to be like ‘psych’ and grab her instead. He pretends to want to trade her to Zym but really he’s there to karate chop Zym in the neck, but Conan is seriously injured in the ensuing fight. They go off oto recover on his pirate ship and eventually bone in a cave (obviously) immediately after which she’s captured by Zym and taken to his magical cave shaped like a skull (lots of caves in this one). Conan comes to the rescue, fights an octopus, battles with the sorceress, and eventually Zym falls into a crevasse and dies because he’s dumb. Conan and the lady then go off to setup a sequel. If anyone wants to put this in as the synopsis on Wikipedia feel free to do so. I’m pretty sure I summed it up the best. THE END.

Why?! Well the bad guy wants that sweet looking mask that definitely is super powerful. He wants to use it to bring his sorceress wife back from the dead using the pure-blood as a vessel. His daughter is like “but I’m also like a powerful sorceress,” but Zym isn’t too impressed and is like “you’ll never be like your mom. She was rad.” Conan mostly wants to freely kill and pillage to his heart’s desire, but when the chance to avenge his father comes about he’s pretty into that too.

What?! Sometimes even I forget that this section isn’t just for product placement (which might be hard to come by in Cimmeria), but also for MacGuffins. MacGuffins like the Mask of Acheron that Zym hopes to put back together to attain ultimate power. Except that the crown seems to need the blood of a pure-blood to work… so doesn’t that make the blood the real MacGuffin and the crown just something rad you wear while killing innocents? Something to think about.

Who?! As often seems to be a requirement in these types of films the main bad guy has an underling of immense size which our hero must overcome. In this case it’s Pro wrestler/MMA fighter/kickboxer/former pro football player Bob Sapp. While he doesn’t do much of any of that in the US anymore, he is still a pretty big star over in Japan fighting people and apparently a bear. He also pretty much loses every fight he participates in (including against said bear) and recently was accused of domestic violence… so things not looking great for Bob Sapp.

Where?! The lands of the Hyborian Age, duh (emphasis on the -Bor-, amirite?). Conan is from Cimmeria, but his adventures take him all over the place… which is just not worth me talking about since it’s all made up anyway. Hard to judge these things so I usually give it an N/A.

When?! After the sinking of Atlantis, duh (emphasis on the… uh… -Anti-… amirite?). People have tried to place this sometime around 10,000 B.C. but I don’t think that’s worth the effort. This is all made up. Don’t know if you heard but Atlantis is fictional. N/A.

At first I actually thought I might like this. There were bare-breasted ladies, limbs getting chopped, and other things that my lizard brain liked. But it pretty quickly got bogged down in the main thrust of the film focused around the mask and revenge. Blah. Can’t I just enjoy Conan being a pirate and learning of a big time treasure he wants to get (which turns out to actually be a sexy princess, ooh lah lah) and eventually coming to rule a kingdom? Do I need you to rehash and ruin the origin story of Conan? It seemed like they couldn’t even decide how to ruin the plot so they not only had a MacGuffin in the Mask, but also had the revenge subplot. Choose one and stick with it. Also Rose McGowan was not good. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Conan the Barbarian? We haven’t had a movie about him in like … 30 years! Call up that swords and sandals screenwriter we have on retainer and give him a million, I want a script by Tuesday, we’ll lunch. That’s my impression of the producer of this film. Let’s go!

The Good – Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh … uuuuuuuuuuuuuuh … this movie got me to watch the original again, and read another Conan short story. I know a lot more about pulp novels of the 30s and Conan because of it. Thanks terrible Conan movie.

Ps View on the Preview – I like where I went a few weeks ago with this, so I’m going to try again. There are 15 qualifying films in the sword and sorcery genre in Box Office Mojo (nearly 50% of the wide release films qualify, which I’ve now discovered is a higher percentage than 75% of the other Box Office Mojo genres). We’ve seen 9 of 15 qualifying films, the other six being Highlander 3 and 4, Red Sonja, Kull the Conqueror, Krull, and Quest for Camelot. There was a lot of cred to live up to for sure.

The Bad – This is the kind of movie which makes you think they ruined Conan the character (even though they didn’t really). It is an action film starring Conan instead of a Conan story. The acting is dire. And not just Momoa (who sadly captures none of the charm Arnold brought to the role), but everyone, especially Rose McGowan. The story is a bit too expositiony. The action a bit too clean. … I’m doing a terrible job describing this, but having watched the original and read another short story (see below) the heart of Conan was missing and replaced with Dungeons & Dragons (the movie). And that makes me sad.

Get Yo Rant On – This movie is far too convenient for me. Oh, Conan cuts the nose off of one of the villains henchmen so that he immediately recognizes him 20 years later, how convenient. Oh, Conan happens to fall in with an escaping thief who is something of a king of thieves and can pick any lock in the world, hope we have some locks to pick later (oh, we do? How convenient). Conan happens to save Tamara, totally by accident, who is (quite literally) the only pure blood of Achemon in the entire world, how convenient. Hell, the entire last fight scene involved Conan kind of accidentally not falling into a giant pit and dying. Too convenient, bad writing, kind of loses itself trying to set up big action set pieces. End of rant.

Welcome to Earf – Luckily this is a short one. Ron Perlman is in Conan the Barbarian and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale which also starred Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – I think this will only be notable once we finish off the three and a half Conan films available (Conan the Destroyer, Conan 2011, Red Sonja, and Kull the Conqueror which was originally written as Conan the Conqueror). We’ve done two, and the other one and a half should be easy enough. I think this will be the least pleasant, if only because it is the only one without that 80s/90s sword and sorcery charm going for it.

StreetCreditReport.com – Looks like plenty. Here is it 19. Here is it 6. And Stuckman has it at 5. Basically it isn’t beating out things like Jack and Jill or The Zookeeper very often, but it was on the critics radar and widely disliked at the time. Since? I imagine it has mostly been forgotten. Maybe they’ll reboot or sequelize the older movies again.

Whoooeeeeee. And I actually did some homework! I re-watched the original Conan and read another of the short stories, Shadows in the Moonlight. The story was quite good. Goes into Conan’s chivalry, and also his tendency to be both a pirate and a thief, but also never actually pillaging or stealing during the story (it is always before or after the story). He’s an interesting character, and one I think Arnold portrayed quite well in the original. Which also had a much more effective beginning to the film (yada yada yada-ing a bunch of stuff with “and he was a slave and became super strong and learned to fight”), and a generally pleasant and true-to-character thief story that evolves into revenge. I don’t think the new movie did the character wrong in any way, it is a lot closer than I expected. But it still felt like a modern version of Conan with a heart and conscious of gold, not enough barbarian. It just doesn’t really sit correctly with the 1930s pulp novels vibe I would want. C- adaptation, better than I expected, but worse than it easily should have been.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Conan the Barbarian (2011) Preview

Rich and Poe are hardboiled detectives ready to crack heads and flush crime down the drain (if it wasn’t for all the bureaucratic bullshit at the LAPD). Poe is only 10 days away from retirement and Rich doesn’t play by anyone’s rules so when they are called into the chief’s office and told that they must infiltrate a middle school in downtown LA they want to say no way. Unfortunately they know that despite being nearly 40-years-old they are the only ones hip to what the kids are up to and capable of doing the job. Tossing on backwards caps and some Reebok pumps they skateboard their way into school as a couple of dope tweens. They need to infiltrate the 7th grade Dungeons & Dragons club which is suspected to be a front for dealing a new synthetic drug on the market called DeezNuts. “D&D!” says Rich, “man, that sounds like rulez.” But Poe reminds him that in school, rulez=coolz. True dat. They get dressed in some major nerd attire and enter the world of swords and sorcery as they take the guise of Sorsaron the Barbarian and the powerful Mage, Brawln. Together they infiltrate the gang and start up the campaign that will take these drug-dealing preteens downtown. That’s right! We’re watching the remake of Conan the Barbarian. We already watched Conan the Destroyer for BMT so this will complete the complete Conan set… until the next remake comes out. This was produced by Boaz Davidson, who also produced the Nic Cage classic and BMT HoFer The Wicker Man… man, this guy loves making shitty remakes. Let’s go!

Conan the Barbarian (2011) – BMeTric: 60.7

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(Wow, beautiful curve right there. This is a set it and forget it definitely below average film. Like … a kind of film you can enjoy depending (sub 5.0 is where it starts to get dicey), but also not even close to the average (which is around 6.2))

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Raised by a fearless tribal leader, Conan seeks revenge on the rival who brought death and destruction to his father and community. While on his quest he meets a woman who is being hunted by the same evildoers for her “pure blood.” New look at Robert E. Howard’s pulp-fiction hero may not be intellectually stimulating, but it’s never dull, with great action scenes, visual effects, and two formidable villains: warlord Lang and McGowan, as his sorceress daughter. Extremely violent.

(For the record he gave this the same review as the original, which honestly could very well be fair. The “extremely violent” part at the end is pretty amusing. It doesn’t really get me excited for the film, but it doesn’t make me worried either. Just kind of meh.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1iJZIMddpM

(This soundtrack makes me worried. Kind of right there in the thick of the 300 fad of washed out colors which is just now dying ten years later. It looks terrible, but I will withhold judgment. A Conan film is always about the representation of Conan in my opinion. Momoa looks terrible in the trailer, but we’ll see.)

Directors – Marcus Nispel – (Future BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Pathfinder; Friday the 13th; Notes: He was a very prolific music video director up until 2000. Notably a friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, he almost directed End of Days.)

Writers – Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (written by) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Not much information on these guys. They are adapting Mandrake the Magician though, which should be … frankly it sounds like a terrible idea.)

Sean Hood (written by) – (Known For: Cube 2: Hypercube; Future BMT: Halloween: Resurrection; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; BMT: The Legend of Hercules; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Started his career as a set dresser on Twin Peaks. Is known for horror and swords-and-sandals films.)

Robert E. Howard (character of Conan) – (Known For: Conan the Barbarian; Solomon Kane; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Kull the Conqueror; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Wrote the Conan pulp novels in the 1930s. They are interesting and short, reading either the introduction (which is super weird) or one of the novels involving Belit the pirate queen is well worth the time I think.)

Actors – Jason Momoa – (Known For: Justice League; Braven; The Bad Batch; Bullet to the Head; Road to Paloma; Future BMT: Johnson Family Vacation; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Wolves; Sugar Mountain; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Wrestler turned actor who played Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones.)

Ron Perlman – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Pacific Rim; Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Drive; Tangled; Hellboy; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Alien: Resurrection; Enemy at the Gates; The Book of Life; Blade II; The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Name of the Rose; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Titan A.E.; The City of Lost Children; La guerre du feu; The Bleeder; 13 Sins; Cronos; Future BMT: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Mutant Chronicles; Sleepwalkers; Bad Ass; Down; The Ice Pirates; Stonewall; Skin Trade; Outlander; Bunraku; Star Trek: Nemesis; Crave; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Conan the Barbarian; Season of the Witch; Notes: Bad movie legend. He announced his intention to run for U.S. President in 2020.)

Rose McGowan – (Known For: Scream; Death Proof; Planet Terror; Grindhouse; Machete; Class of 1999; The Doom Generation; Going All the Way; Fifty Dead Men Walking; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; The Black Dahlia; Ready to Rumble; Jawbreaker; California Man; Paranormal: White Noise; Nowhere; Southie; BMT: Monkeybone; Conan the Barbarian; Phantoms; Notes: Has been in the news a ton recently due to her high-profile battle with Harvey Weinstein over accusations of rape and legal settlements. Probably most famous as a television actress in Charmed.)

Budget/Gross – $90 million / Domestic: $21,295,021 (Worldwide: $48,795,021)

(Wow, catastrophic. Makes sense they scraped plans for the sequel then. That is just astonishingly bad.)

#76 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(People do love their fantasy don’t they? As crazy as it sounds the highest ranked BMT film is The Last Airbender of all things. Disney and Harry Potter have dominated the releases.)

#46 for the Revenge genre

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(Kind of gross, but the genre is waning which is … good I think. Revenge isn’t particularly great for anyone usually, right? Need for Speed was the highest ranked BMT film here. This earned less than that crazy Ben-Hur remake!)

#20 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

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(The plot is a little enigmatic, but I guess you could say these come in waves and we are moving out of a wave at the moment. Warcraft is the most recent film listed which seems crazy, but I also am hard pressed to name another Sword and Sorcery in the meantime … kind of sad, it is a fun genre I think.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (34/145): While its relentless, gory violence is more faithful to the Robert E. Howard books, Conan the Barbarian forsakes three-dimensional characters, dialogue, and acting in favor of unnecessary 3D effects.

(I don’t get this consensus. More faithful to the books? The 1982 film is extremely gory and violent. And it wasn’t really the character building that made it great … it very much took the pulp approach to the series. So I don’t really understand the point. Whatever. Reviewer Highlight: Rent the original instead. – Tom Huddleston, Time Out)

Poster – Conan the Sklogarian (C)

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(Oh boy. This is like the artistic version of the legendary Avengers poster. Weird two-color gradient is no bueno and there is just way too much going on. That being said this actually looks somewhat artistic with some nice font and symmetry. Lands back in the middle.)

Tagline(s) – Enter An Age Undreamed Of (D)

(Heh. No thanks.)

Keyword(s) – sword and sandal; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 76.6 Hercules in New York (1970); 64.7 Eragon (2006); 60.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 54.1 Vercingétorix (2001); 53.9 Gods of Egypt (2016); 53.7 Season of the Witch (2011); 52.2 Caligula (1979);

(Vercingetorix is called Druids in the United States and looks … awful. It looks kind of like the cheap Asterix films. Hercules and Caligula are classics though, pre-1980 and a 50+ BMeTric is pretty nuts. And then we’ll have truly mastered the sword and sandal epic … but who are we kidding The Legend of Hercules is the best of the bunch.)

Movie Stub – Conan the Barbarian (2011 film) (C-class) – There is a small note about expanding the critical reception, but it is already quite good. I’m not sure why whomever put that there put it as a public display instead as a plea on the talk page to be honest. Otherwise this looks like a very well maintained page will little (beyond perhaps editing the plot a bit after watching) for me to offer. Good example of the “(YEAR film)” title requirement on wikipedia, because the name is the same as (1) The character from the original pulp novels, and (2) The original 1982 adaptation.

Notes – Jason Momoa enrolled in an intense six-week training program at a stunt and martial arts academy in Los Angeles for his part, while still finalizing negotiations for the film.

Jason Momoa is by his own admission afraid of horses, so all his horse riding scenes had to either be faked or filmed with doubles. (hahaha, this is like the thing about how Gary Busey is allergic to horse saliva and has a rider in his contracts that prohibits them from being on set)

Rachel Nichols had a body double for her sex scene. (As I assume most ladies do)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was offered the role of Corin, Conan’s father, but declined. Schwarzenegger played Conan in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982), of which this film is a remake. (eeeeh, is it a remake though? Or is it a separate adaptation of the pulp novels. I guess we’ll see if the story is the same … because if it is then yeah, it’s a remake)

Jason Momoa and Rachel Nichols would later be offered the roles of Drax the Destroyer and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Both turned the roles down, and Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana, respectively, took them. (huh I wonder why Momoa turns down Drax. Maybe he was already in discussion for Aquaman)

Dolph Lundgren, then Mickey Rourke, were in talks to play Corin, Conan’s father, but Rourke turned it down to do Immortals (2011) before Ron Perlman was cast. (Oh, that reminds me, we need to watch Immortals)

After production on the film was completed, Jason Momoa (Conan) went on to star as Khal Drogo in the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones (2011). Nonso Anozie, who played Conan’s shipmate Artus, would star as Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the second season of the series.

Ron Perlman, who plays Conan’s father Corin, previously voiced Conan himself in the video game Conan (2007) and the unreleased animated film “Conan: Red Nails”. (Oh … that’s a fun fact)

Kellan Lutz and Jared Padalecki were considered for the lead, which eventually went to Jason Momoa. (Noooooooo, my boy Lutz could have been Conan? And they didn’t just throw money at him?!)

The film was originally rumored to be a remake of the original Conan the Barbarian (1982). It was revealed that the film was not a remake, but a reboot, and it had been intended to be more true to the original stories by Robert E. Howard. (I knew it!)

The ship “Hornet” is a fairly accurate replica of a seventeenth or eighteenth century Chinese junk, especially with its three square sails. (Oh perhaps … only due to its three square sails? I’m skeptical about this IMDb reviewers ship authentication creds)

A “Conan” sequel was abandoned when this film did poorly at the box-office. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played Conan in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982), announced he was to return in the role of Conan, which he last played in 1984, in a long-awaited second sequel “The Legend of Conan”, which will be a direct sequel to the 1982 film. (Wait … it wouldn’t be a sequel to Conan the Destroyer? Also this isn’t happening. Also, I think Conan the Conqueror was the most recent rumored title)

While pre-production, Conan was a temporary title for the film, until it was changed to Conan 3D. Finally, early in December 2010, the title was definitely changed to Conan the Barbarian, as was titled the 1982 film. (Conan 3D is such a bad name)

Assassin’s Creed Recap

Jamie

Cal is a killer given a new lease on life by a company claiming to look for a cure for violence. Through the use of technology his consciousness is transported into the mind of his ancestor in order to find the powerful Apple of Eden. Can he prevent the Apple from falling into the wrong hands before it’s too late? Find out in… Assassin’s Creed.

What?! The Assassin’s Brotherhood is a group sworn to protect the world from the Templars. During the Spanish Inquisition this entails preventing them from recovering what is known as the Apple of Eden, a MacGuffin… I mean, sphere that contains the key to destroying free will and thus subjugating the human race (rad, right?). Cal is descended from these assassins and is rescued from execution by a group called Abstergo in order to find the Apple (extra cool beans). They hook him up to the Animus machine that taps into his assassin genes and relive scenes from his ancestors past (real cool stuff, believe you me). While he struggles with whether to help his captors for the promise of freedom, knowing that they might be evil, he eventually succumbs when it’s revealed that his father, who he witnessed kill his mother, is also held by Abstergo and is an assassin. He’s like “I learned it from you, dad!” and out of spite helps Abstergo discover that the Apple was hidden by none other than Christopher Columbus (badass). They then get the apple and Cal is like “oops, my bad” and quickly turns around and kills the main bad guy and recovers the apple like no big deal (cause he’s a rad, cool, badass assassin destined for several sequels). We then have 15 minutes of credits… not joking, they are actually 15 minutes long. THE END.

Why?! Cal witnessed the murder of his mother by his father as a child and grew up to be a killer himself. So his motivation for much of the movie is to be free so that he might escape what he perceives as cursed genes. This freedom will be granted only if he can deliver the Apple of Eden to Abstergo Industries, so that is what he does. Eventually when he realizes that the Apple of Eden is a MacGuffin that will allow for the Templars to control the world he changes his tune and works against them. That’s the beauty of a MacGuffin. EVERYONE must have it. NO ONE can resist.

What?! This is a truly primo MacGuffin with the Apple of Eden. I mean, it is a total mystery as to what it is, but we do know that the most powerful organization in the world would do anything to get their hands on. To me it sounded like it contained the key to discovering the genetic source to violence in humans (which also is genetically what gives us free will). However, in the video game it sounds more like a piece of the Garden of Eden, which… like… zombifies humans because of the power it holds… or something. It’s hard to explain.

Who?! We get an In Memory Of to Eli Richbourg. He was the VP of Film Development for UbiSoft and was involved in the Assassin’s Creed development. Interestingly he died in 2013 of a brain aneurysm, which gives you a sense of how long the film was in development at UbiSoft.

Where?! It is a very nice Spain movie with settings in both Madrid and Granada. Kinda jumps through hoops to make sure you understand that’s where they are in both the present and past when they very easily could have just obscured it in the beginning. Nope. Very clear and vital to much of the plot. A.

When?! We get an exact date announced for Cal’s date of execution: October 21st, 2016. While this date is not particularly important for the main storyline, the year in the past is 1492. Bet you can’t tell who plays a prominent role in the finale… spoiler alert he directed Home Alone. I say this combines to form a solid A-.

When I started this film I was getting real Transformers vibes. Not the later ones, but the first one and I had a moment where I thought, “wait, could I actually like this?” And then that all fell apart and the movie was straight garbage. It spends way too much time in the present and not enough time in the past and even when they would show you the past you knew it was useless because they more or less told you that Cal couldn’t change anything of the events. So it was like watching someone else watch a movie… cool. This all led to a ridiculously anticlimactic finale that might as well have just had Cal stand in front of the screen and say “I know this is lame, but just you wait for the sequel.” It was terrible… like really, really bad. Although it was pretty at times. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Assassin’s Creed? More like Assassin’s Crud amirite? Ubisoft thought they could make a movie (how hard could it be?) … turns out they were wrong. Let’s get into it!

The Good – The acting. Fassbender, Cotillard, and Irons all did a great job all things considered. There is something to the underlying story, although it is definitely a video game story through and through, but it is interesting in its own way. I could be beautiful at times, in the same way Warcraft was beautiful at times, although not as much as they seemed to think.

P’s View on the Preview – This film felt like it was going to be much better than the critics gave it credit for. I was convinced that I would watch it and think to myself “I guess at the time people just weren’t ready to give a silly movie a chance like they do comic book movies”. Compared to more recent mediocre responses to such films (Tomb Raider, and Rampage) this was completely destroyed in terms of reviews, and it seemed so unlikely that it was actually that bad.

The Bad – But it was. From the word go the direction was really just not where it needed to be. The story is silly, the acting is very serious, and the direction had to be able to tie those two pieces together … but instead we received bad looking crane shots with CGI dust inserted to obscure the vistas (I need me some goddamn vistas). The scenes in the past were mostly worthless as well. Oh and let’s go ahead an glorify Christopher Columbus, expert genocider and colossal garbage human to end the film … great idea.

Get Yo Rant On – I feel like I’m slowly honing on in my structure much like how Jamie ended up with the 6Ws. Here I think the sklogcabulary quiz, sklogification, sklognalysis will kind of live under the guise of me getting my rant on. We all got to vent. We know that because Bud Light told us so via the 8th wonder of the modern world: the vented beer can. Ahem … You know what I can live with? A terribly contrived and rushed plotline that seems to occur in say … three days. But there is one thing I don’t abide … fake anti-heros (coining it now as the Semi-Hero, Sklogcabulary Quiz mid-rant). Have some balls and make a real anti-hero. Cal is a murderer, great start. But wait! He killed a pimp. Aw guys, it was just a pimp. Wait a tick … why does that matter? Are we supposed to think you are some vigilante hero because you killed a pimp? Give me a break. He has the blood of assassins, he doesn’t need to have some heart of gold so we can root for him. It’s called an anti-hero, not an anti-but-depending-on-how-you-feel-about-vigilante-justice-maybe-a-regular-hero, rant over!

The BMT – Lump it in with Warcraft as a failed video game adaptation of 2016 prior to what has become a kind of rise for the genre in 2018. Sure, Rampage is barely clinging to the somewhat embarrassing distinction of being the first video game film to ever get a 50% or above on Rotten Tomatoes (currently 98-98, exactly 50%), but that is much better than those the came before. Really depends on the director I think … and maybe whether Assassin’s Creed can hold onto that Map Street’s Map Alright! Spain spot.

Welcome to Earf: Assassin’s Creed stars Jeremy Irons who was in Dungeons & Dragons with Marlon Wayans who was in White Chicks with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earf. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – Here the film is hidden by two factors. First, it came out on Christmas day of 2016 which means it is somewhat unlikely to make worst of 2016 or 2017 lists, and thus kind of misses out. Second, it tends to be passed over by Warcraft which came out the same year. Critics seemed to not want to throw two video game adaptations in the mix. I don’t think it’ll ever get play though, eventually I think Assassin’s Creed will end up with the (somewhat undeserved) distinction of ushering in a close-and-faithful “realistic” video game film, and could be a pre-Tomb Raider footnote … just feels like it.

I have never played any of these games, but maybe now I will. After a crazy April I’m going to start taking stock of the upcoming movies so I can start doing more of the homework. It feels like I’m letting people down here.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Assassin’s Creed Preview

Having infiltrated the super secret terrorist HQ in Budapest under the guise of the world famous Bad Movie Twins, Patrick and I attempt to locate what we were sent to recover: the obsidian dongle (bum, bum, bum). Trust us, this technological wonder is bad news and we totes gotta get it before the bad guys do or else… something bad for sure. In a stroke of bad luck my mutant disease takes hold and I reveal myself to be a bad guy working in league with the terrorists (what a twist!). Patrick knows the real me and helps me understand that I was never a mutant at all. That to overcome the disease all I had to do was believe in myself, for the nonmutant was within me the whole time! Hooray! With me now cured and our twin powers combined we handily defeat the terrorists, but at the last moment the obsidian dongle slips through our grasps. With hope seemingly lost we are approached by a representative of Absterlutely FerSher Industries. They know the way to finally rid the world of the dongle as long as we are willing to make Spain the next stop on this crazy hike we call life. That’s right! We’re watching Assassin’s Creed for the Fantasy entry in the cycle. Set in Spain both past and future, this video game adaptation did anything but break the video game curse. Despite the high level talent and effort put forth they still ended up with shit. Bad for them, good for BMT. Let’s go!

Assassin’s Creed (2016) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Wow, opening near 9.0 is hilarious. Dropped below 6.0 at this point which is definitely where I would have expected it as this point. Loving the VOD bump, it has been a while old friend.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Unlike the actual video game, “Assassin’s Creed” isn’t ridiculous and fun, but rather ridiculous and turgid. … there’s no way to translate the hands-on action of a video game to the silver screen, so many video game adaptations either have no plot, or get bogged down in blase set-up.

(Yup. Well … no plot is a stretch. But it is either a ton of kind of boring set up (Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li’s plot is basically all set up and no fighting for example) or really ridiculous stuff constantly (Super Mario Bros. or Silent Hill: Revelations come to mind). They have plots, they are just often boring or ridiculous with no inbetween. The more successful ones, like Silent Hill, tend to reign in the ridiculous and don’t get super bogged down in the details. Sounds like they got bogged down in the details here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfJVoF5ko1Y

(I think it doesn’t help that a film like this just … isn’t really up my alley. Like the fight choreography looks overdone and a little tired at this point. I can kind of see the seams of the film come apart a bit and see the Prince-of-Persia-with-better-production-quality showing through. That isn’t even necessarily bad … it just doesn’t feel like the first video game film to actually be “good”. Also feels like it is going to be dark. Hate the music, but whatever. I think I hated the trailer when it came out too. I never played the games, which might also be a bit unhelpful.)

Directors – Justin Kurzel – (Known For: Macbeth; The Snowtown Murders; The Turning; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Australian. His brother is a music composer and often works with him on projects, and he has four movies in production at this point, which is pretty crazy.)

Writers – Michael Lesslie (screenplay by) – (Known For: Macbeth; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Both him and Kurzel worked with Fassbender on Macbeth which is why they were chosen. Next on the docket: Hamlet.)

Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tower Heist; Future BMT: The Transporter Refueled; Allegiant; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Accepted; BMT: New York Minute; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: They do a bit more television now, including a television movie called The French Detective. It is based on a series of “bookshots” by James Patterson … I’m officially intrigued, although when did we start called short stories “bookshots”?)

Corey May, Jade Raymond, and Patrice Désilets (based on the video game series created by) (uncredited) – (BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Hugely successful video game series with, at this point, 10 main series games (20 in total). Jade Raymond was a programmer for what I consider to be the best online trivia game ever made: Sony Online Entertainment’s Trivial Pursuit Online!)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Alien: Covenant; Inglourious Basterds; X-Men: Apocalypse; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Prometheus; The Light Between Oceans; 12 Years a Slave; X: First Class; Steve Jobs; Shame; Song to Song; Macbeth; A Dangerous Method; Eden Lake; Jane Eyre; Centurion; Frank; Haywire; Hunger; Future BMT: The Counselor; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: We just saw him in The Snowman. He is apparently going out with Alicia Vikander. They are a regular video game acting couple!)

Marion Cotillard – (Known For: Inception; The Dark Knight Rises; Allied; Contagion; Midnight in Paris; Big Fish; Public Enemies; Macbeth; Rust and Bone; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Two Days, One Night; Le Petit Prince; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; La Vie en Rose; Rock’n Roll; It’s Only the End of the World; The Immigrant; Blood Ties; A Very Long Engagement; Love Me If You Dare; Future BMT: Nine; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Very impressive resume considering she only has one more qualified film left. Cast in the upcoming Dr. Dolittle film.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Justice League; Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Beautiful Creatures; Lolita; Die Hard with a Vengeance; Their Finest; High-Rise; The Man Who Knew Infinity; The Mission; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; Casanova; Race; Appaloosa; Damage; Dead Ringers; The Merchant of Venice; Night Train to Lisbon; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; The Man in the Iron Mask; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; La corrispondenza; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Well established theatrical actor who grew up on the Isle of Wight. Currently, still, Alfred in the recent Batman films.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $54,647,948 (Worldwide: $240,942,515)

(Not bad worldwide, although given the budget maybe a disappointment? But top 10 video game adaptation … they couldn’t have really hoped for more than $100 million domestic I would think.)

#18 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

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(Huh … I completely forgot about This Means War which juuuuust barely beats this film out for the highest grossing Hitman film we’ve seen for BMT. The giant peak is Pulp Fiction, and these days the per theater average looks a bit down. I wish Wanted qualified for BMT, that film is just god awful.)

#9 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Naturally, perfect timing from BMT with Rampage releasing this week. Tomb Raider and Rampage this year are very likely to be the two best critically received video game films ever. They are kicking it up a notch, and given The Rock’s current hotness I imagine Rampage has a decent shot at a top three gross for the genre. Which will open the floodgates even more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (35/192): Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.

(Joyless doesn’t sound very fun. Other reviews call it “over-cast” which is meaningless … except I think they are going for some “joyless” pub of sorts with “overcast”? Maybe, that would be kind of bonkers and I kind of love it now. Reviewer Highlight: Assassin’s Creed mistakenly assumes that the plot is the most important element of its source material. Actually, it’s the least. – Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly (I actually agree with this, a lot of video game movies fall into the trap of trying to deliver too much fan service via the plot, when making a new story is probably the best way to go).)

Poster – Assassin’s Sklog (B-)

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(Blah, you need better coloring, bro. Embrace that blood red and wash out Fassbender’s coloring and you might have something. Like the framing and the font, but comes off bland and amateurish as it is.)

Tagline(s) – Your destiny is in your blood (B-)

(God damn! That would work amazing with the Sklog poster with “Your destiny is in your sklog.” Otherwise this is real close to not meaning anything. Probably better than it actually sounds… which is real awkward. My brain doesn’t like it.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 BloodRayne (2005); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.0 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.2 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 72.8 Far Cry (2008); 69.7 Wing Commander (1999);

(I always forget we “haven’t seen” Mario Bros. … we have. Many times. Just not for BMT yet. It’ll come up though. This is a sublime set of movies, just a murderer’s row from top to bottom.)

Notes – The film features the highest free fall performed by a stuntman in almost 35 years. The stuntman Damien Walters performed a free fall from the height of 125 feet (38 meters), which lasted almost 3 seconds with a 61 mph impact speed. (Exciting. I appreciate the effort for practical effects)

Michael Fassbender and Ariane Labed did 95% of the fights in the film themselves.

Cal’s father, Joseph is played by Brendan Gleeson and the young Joseph is played by Brian Gleeson – who is actually Brendan’s son. (Hmmmmm. I kind of prefer janky CGI honestly).

Ubisoft gave the prop makers a detailed list of every weapon ever made for the games that they could use as a guide.

The Assassins costumes took 2-3 months to make and were all hand-crafted. There are eight versions of each costume, with an entire costume team devoted to each of the Assassins. (Kind of love the detail here actually)

80% of the film, including stunts, extras and locations, were shot on camera, without using CGI.

This movie is based on a game with the same name. The actor Michael Fassbender had never played any of the nine games in the series until just before filming commenced; he didn’t even know that the games existed until he was hired by Ubisoft. (HA)

As one of the producers, Michael Fassbender lobbied to have Justin Kurzel directing the movie following their work on Macbeth (2015). Fassbender also chose Marion Cotillard to be his co-star again. (Yes, obviously, although I think they might have needed more experiences screenwriters on the job).

Marion Cotillard told French magazine Studio Ciné Live in May 2016, that when she was on the set of Mal de pierres (2016), she received a new version of the script of Assassin’s Creed and discovered that her character and by extension the film, no longer corresponded to what she had loved. So she called director Justin Kurzel and he fully agreed with her disagreements. For fifteen days, Kurzel, Michael Fassbender and Cotillard reworked the script. (Huh, and yet none of them have a writing credit which is interesting).

In the Assassin’s Creed video game series the present-day character, Desmond, has a scar on the right side of his lip. This same scar can also be seen on the assassin from the first game, Altair, as well as the assassin from Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Ezio. Coincidentally, Michael Fassbender also has a similar scar on the same side of his upper lip. (Coooooool)

The historical sequences set in 15th century Spain were shot in Spanish language. According to Justin Kurzel, they tried to do them in English first, but the decision about Spanish was too obvious and good, and it adds an exoticness and richness to the film. In the games, however, these sequences were in English, as well as all the modern-day scenes. Which was explained by the presence of built-in translator in the Animus machine.

While portraying Aguilar de Nerha, the protagonist of the past time-line, Michael Fassbender wore brown contact lenses, creating an alienating effect to the outward world and achieving the subtle difference between him and Callum Lynch, the protagonist of the present time-line. (Jeez louise. I need to curate these notes, but I kind of love them).

Michael Fassbender actively participated in the film’s post-production, including editing. (I hope he didn’t do the same with The Snowman heeeeeeeeeeeeeyooooooooo)

Kurzel didn’t want the movie to feel like a superhero film, he wanted to embrace “what it is to be human” through practical effects and parkour-intensive stunts. (Honestly … that’s a little weird. To use practical effects to make something NOT feel like something? Not sure I agree).

Originally, it was going to be 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was then shortened to only 1 hour and 48 minutes. (Wooooooof, not a ton of confidence there)

At the end of the film when the templers all meet up. The building they are in is the United Grand Lodge of England, the building is the main lodge for Freemasonry in the U.K. (That’s a fun fact).

Batman & Robin Recap

Jamie

Batman is back, Jack! The new baddies in town are Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane. Can Batman and Robin work together (perhaps with a little help from Batgirl) to take them down before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman & Robin.

How?! While Batman and Robin struggle to learn to work as a team a new bad guy has risen and is stealing all the diamonds in sight. His name is Mr. Freeze and he requires his body to be kept at a super low temperature at all times due to a lab accident. The diamonds he steals both power a cryogenic suit he wears and fund his continued research into curing his wife of MacGregor’s Syndrome. In a wild coincidence Alfred has just come down with MacGregor’s Syndrome and is steadily dying (if only someone was doing some research into curing that!). His niece Barbara comes to visit and basically disappears for most of the movie. At the same time a researcher in a Wayne Enterprise funded botany lab is accidentally turned into a powerful plant-human hybrid called Poison Ivy who vows revenge on Bruce Wayne. These two baddies converge on a trap laid by Batman at a fundraiser featuring the showing of a large diamond. While Mr. Freeze attempts to steal the diamond, leading to his capture, Poison Ivy demonstrates her ability to pit Batman and Robin against each other through the use of pheromones. After Poison Ivy breaks Mr. Freeze out of Arkham, Batman and Robin learn to trust each other again and go after her. Remember Barbara? She’s back and is now Batgirl for some reason. Great. They all converge on Poison Ivy’s hideout and take her out like it ain’t no thang. They then go after Mr. Freeze and totes crush him too and save Gotham from getting frozen. Having captured Mr. Freeze they then remember that he can cure Alfred and they’re like, “What up, give us the cure,” and Mr. Freeze is all like “OK.” They then cure Alfred and everyone laughs and they ask Barbara to stay because she is a vital and interesting character for the series. THE END.

Why?! Batman and Robin are same old, same old. As for Batgirl, she dropped out of school and is trying to earn money to free Alfred from his servitude before he dies. Only after he accidentally reveals Batman’s secrets to her does she understand the importance of his work and decide to take part (not really for justice or anything). Poison Ivy wants to kill everyone basically because she wants Mother Earth to fight back against the human race that is killing it. Finally, Mr. Freeze is the weirdest character we have in the series because he’s not really insane. He steals the diamonds because he needs them for his suit and research. It’s actually pretty confusing. Just help the dude. He’s sick and just wants to do valuable research. He doesn’t even want to kill Batman until Poison Ivy tricks him into thinking Batman killed his wife.

What?! Another Batman film, another case of an almost product placement. When Poison Ivy seduces Batman and Robin at the charity auction they get in a bidding war ending with Batman pulling out the official Batman credit card. It should have of course been a Visa or MasterCard or something. But no. It just says Batman on it… wonder what the bank makes of the fact that Bruce Wayne keeps paying Batman’s credit card bills.

Who?! Coolio appears in this film in a comically minor role. It may be my favorite example of a musician-turned-actor in the history of film. Also notable is Vivica A. Fox playing the hot love interest (?) of Mr. Freeze for exactly 12 seconds before unceremoniously being ejected from the film. It’s actually unclear why she is even in the film at all.

Where?! Gotham, duh. But in seriousness Gotham doesn’t have a location in this iteration of the Batman adaptations. This is pretty clear from the license plates that simply read “Gotham” at the top. In the comics there have been a number of hints dropped that it’s in New Jersey, which is apparently made explicit in Suicide Squad. Exciting. F.

When?! While Batman Forever was an amazing settings film, this film did turn out to purposefully obscure when this took place as well. To the point where an invitation to an event is clearly shown with no indication of where or when the event takes place… terrible planning. F.

This movie is terrible, but not nearly terrible as everyone seems to make it out to be. It is pretty obviously rushed and put together in a slapdash kind of way. This is best demonstrated by Batgirl who is forgotten for long stretches of the film in what was apparently unhappiness by the studio at her having gained some weight and them forcing Schumacher to cut her scenes… which is really just sad. This and the excessive use of quips and puns by Mr. Freeze is what seems to have set it apart in people’s minds when thinking about bad films. But I was somewhat shocked at how coherent it was given all that. Yes it strayed pretty far into the goofy side of Batman, but not really much further than Batman Forever already had. I truly blame the quips… and maybe that time that all the bad guys played hockey and then Batman and Robin did too and then the NHL had to fold (I think). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross a deluded director trying to make a live action cartoon, and the Dark Knight himself? The highest BMeTric of all time, that’s what. Let’s go!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – The film is shockingly coherent given its reputation. It is also ludicrously fun, way beyond it has any right to be. I think the bright spot across the entire Burton-Schumacher series is that the performances are usually great, and Uma, Clooney, and Arnold all do rather well (despite the puns). And without further ado: Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. When Poison Ivy and Bane interrupt the charity bachelorette auction they are dressed as what animal?
  2. When Robin is frozen at the end of the opening heist how long does Mr. Freeze claim Batman has to thaw him to prevent his death?
  3. Barbara Wilson (Batgirl) comes to Gotham after dropping out of what fictional school in England?
  4. When Alfred contracts MacGregor’s Syndrome he composes a cd detailing Bruce Wayne and his secret identity to be delivered to his brother in India. What is Alfred’s brother’s name?
  5. Both Robin and Barbara Wilson enter a underground motorcycle street race. Robin, naturally, has a Robin painted on his helmet, what is painted on Barbara’s helmet?

A tougher one this week which I think is indicative of a film with a rather simple plot line. Just trivia, but I hope someone who had recently finished the film could get two or three, the last two are tough for sure.

The Bad (Homework Sklog-signment) – The writing is, as usual, sloppy. The movie is too cheesy for its own good. The sick Alfred storyline is just not a great one, worst personal issue Bruce Wayne goes through in a series which is kind of excellent at exactly that. But … it is hard to judge, but it is easier to explain with a Homework Sklog-signment. I watched all four Burton-Schumacher films and I have to say: the Burton ones are kind of messy, dark, and not very fun. They are good, especially the second, but not head and shoulders above the others like I expected. Forever is actually fine if you can get past Lee and Carrey acting like idiots. And this one, while terribly cheesy, is actually a lot more fun than I remembered … but it is hard to tell how much watching this film multiple times when I was ten has warped my mind. It is a danger of re-watching films for BMT. If I saw this movie clean I probably would have been rolling on the floor laughing, but I knew every beat before it happened, so nothing surprised. Nothing was shocking. I think it is a problem.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could, eventually, mark a turning point for BMT, possibly for the better. I think there is a clear issue with watching a movie we’ve seen before. It distracts from the analysis. Perhaps we need to consider recruiting others into the fold for a guest review? We’ll have to have a think on whether this is a problem or not. I’ll just leave this here if you ever thought to doubt the cred on this one.

I’ll forgo the detail in the adaptation grade to lighten things up, but I think it is a C+, too silly given how Batman evolved in the 80s basically. Worse than Forever, but, given how Batman is just straight murdering people in the first two, not bad relatively to the Burton films. The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Gorillas, very impressive costumes actually; (2) 11 minutes, which was later referred to in the climax of the film as the time it would take for everyone in Gotham to die as well; (3) Oxbridge, an intentional mix of Oxford and Cambridge; (4) Wilfred Pennyworth; (5) A very creepy looking angel.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Batman Forever Recap

Jamie

While Batman struggles to guide a young orphan, Dick Grayson, whose parents deaths he feels responsible for, Two-Face terrorizes Gotham and a new nemesis, The Riddler, rises. Can he stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman Forever.

How?! Let me set the scene: Batman is still the coolest cat in Gotham. He’s slaying it with a smoking hot Dr. Chase Meridian (both as Bruce Wayne and as Batman) and torching Two-Face daily. Unfortunately even the worst bad guys get lucky and Two-Face is able to kill Dick Grayson’s family in a botched bombing attempt. So while Bruce Wayne takes in and struggles to connect with the loner orphan who reminds him so much of himself, he allows for a much more competent bad guy, The Riddler, to rise. Using Two-Face’s criminal enterprise (he’s otherwise useless), The Riddler is able to take over Gotham through the sale of a 3D TV type technology which is wildly popular (in what is the least realistic aspect of the film). This technology not only turns the denizens of Gotham into mindless consumer zombies (not sure I’m picking up on this metaphor, wish it was a little heavier) but supplements the smarts of The Riddler, making him the smartest man in the world. After deducing that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same The Riddler kidnaps Chase and baits Batman (and his new sidekick Robin) into a final showdown… which Batman immediately wins. Oh and Two-Face dies in an embarrassing way because his character is an embarrassment. The End.

Why?! Batman exists because of his parents’ deaths. Same with Robin. Plain and simple. They are out for justice. Two-Face wants to kill Batman because he didn’t prevent acid from being thrown into his face… which seems a little vain. I understand that it’s not fair that Batman didn’t save you but you gotta deal with it man. The Riddler wants to kill Bruce Wayne because he dismissed him as a crazed lunatic when he worked at Wayne Enterprises… granted Wayne was correct about that, but still.

What?! The original Batman franchise is notable for stepping as close to product placement without actually getting all the way there. Case in point, in the beginning of Batman Forever Batman tells a concerned Alfred that he’ll “get drive thru” for dinner. I waited with bated breath to see the Batmobile zoom through a McDonalds drive thru and snag a greasy bag of snacks. Instead… nothing happened. I could have sworn that I remembered Batman zooming through a drive thru. Turns out that was tied into an actual commercial that aired on television and not in the film itself. Didn’t want to soil the Batman brand I guess.

Where?! Gotham, duh. See: recap of Batman & Robin. It’ll tell you all you need to know. F.

When?! You would think this would be an F, since almost everything is obscured in this series, but it’s actually a Secret Holiday Film Alert! That’s right! This film takes place on and around Halloween as evidenced by The Riddler and Two-Face ambushing Alfred wearing Halloween costumes and pretending to be trick-or-treaters.

This entire series is much worse than I remembered it being. Two-Face is pretty easily the worst character in the entire series and it really dives deep into the camp with The Riddler given that the rest of the film is played straight. But while the highs didn’t seem as high as maybe I used to think as a kid, the lows also didn’t seem as low. The entire Burton directed/produced series took Batman to an extreme that I don’t think aged particularly well, but also can be appreciated for the ambition and vision that it had. Just doesn’t work anymore.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This year we have decided to hit up some of the old faves from our youth to really give them the proper BMT treatment. Batman Forever has it all, Jim Carrey with ridiculous orange hair, Jim Carrey in a sparkly green jumpsuit, Jim Carrey in a sparkly silver jumpsuit … honestly, Jim Carrey off-the-wall performance was really the only thing I remembered about this film. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – I liked Kilmer in this, it was kind of shocking trying to evaluate all of the Batmans across the series. They were all actually kind of good in their own way and for what they were asked to do. At least Carrey’s performance is insane, otherwise Tommy Lee Jones’ horrible Two-Face would have dragged to movie completely down. There is a lot to like in this movie, I think it is actually not that much worse than Burton’s two films despite what critics say. Mainly it is just that the Burton-Schumacher Batmans as a whole are quite a bit worse than I remembered them being. Trying out a new segment called Pop Quiz Hot Shot! which will posit a few questions, try and play along at home!

  1. Nicole Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian (great name) gives Bruce Wayne a dream doll that is meant to protect his dreams. From which country did this doll come from?
  2. Throughout the movie Bruce Wayne is haunted by the memory of his parents’ wake in which he sees a leather bound book sitting atop a table in Wayne Manor. What book is this and/or what writings did it contain?
  3. Throughout the film you see Two-Face toss his famous coin into the air. What is displayed on both sides of this coin?
  4. Prior to becoming Robin, Dick Greyson discovers the batcave is hidden behind a locked door near the main staircase in Wayne Manor. What did Alfred claim was behind this door earlier in the film?
  5. While trying to decide on his super-villain persona Edward Nigma rejects four possibilities before settling on The Riddler. Name any of these four options.

If you watched the film recently I think the first four questions are possible. The fifth is tough and is the only one I probably wouldn’t have gotten myself. Check below to see how you did!

The Bad (Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch) – The movie is just kind of written sloppily, the plan by The Riddler and Two-Face is probably the best scheme in any of the four Burton-Schumacher Batman films, but it manages to basically make no sense because of how it is presented. Two-Face is a horribly designed villain played lazily by Jones. In trying to brighten up the dingy Gotham in the Burton films Schumacher loses some of the charm of the series (even though I do think he made the series more fun in the process). Somehow the worst final fight of a series which had exactly zero satisfying villain fight scenes. Another new segment! In Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch I’ll try and highlight a single portion of the film that really embodies what makes this a great bad movie. For Batman Forever it is definitely the scene where Two-Face meets The Riddler:

Watch these five minutes of film … it tells you everything about what makes this film both ludicrously entertaining, and just complete garbage at the same time.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this has legacy beyond maybe being a great example of the fleeting nature of BMT. This film wasn’t BMT qualified a month ago, and now it is, this is legit the first time I’ve seen that happen for sure for a film that wasn’t just released. Batman Forever somehow escaped street cred, although that is likely because, as this list points out, it is so disposable people barely remember it. Jones makes a list for worst performances by good actors though. And let’s just say, some people didn’t give Forever as much slack as I did in this rewatch.

I’ll leave a small Adaptations Grade here: oddly, among all of the Burton-Schumacher Batman films this is probably the best adaptation. First, unlike the Burton films Batman isn’t running around violating his one rule and killing people. Second, it gets that dingy gothic look while also being garish and colorized when it needs to for the villains. For this one I think I would give it a B. I’ll leave the homework assignment for the Batman & Robin recap.

The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Malaysia; (2) His father’s journal, Bruce Wayne was upset knowing his father would never write in it again; (3) The statue of liberty’s head, scratched out on one side; (4) The silverware closet; (5) The Puzzler, The Gamester, Captain Kill, and Question Mark Man.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Batman & Robin Preview

Big week highlighting one of the few changes the BMT Board of Directors (BMTBD) proposed for the year. That was to try to bring in some of the many major bad movies that we had watched prior to BMT and as a result never gave the full BMT treatment. Originally such films were totally excluded from consideration. No more! So for the SciFi/Fantasy/Other category of the adaptation cycle we went straight for the crown jewel. That’s right! We’re bringing the single highest scoring BMeTric film of all time, the critically reviled superhero film Batman & Robin. We obviously watched this as kids and probably didn’t even think it was all that bad (we were like 11, so I’m not sure I had ever watched a film and thought it was bad). Let’s see if it holds up (holds down?) on a rewatch. Also have to note that Batman Forever qualifies (RT 39%) so it will be included as a bonus. Let’s go!

Batman & Robin (1997) – BMeTric: 94.5

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(That, boys and girls, is the highest BMeTric in existence. Nearly 200K IMDb votes and a sub-4 rating, it is incredibly, almost impossibly, poorly rated. Let it sink in.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Batman #4 spotlights two colorful villains, Schwarzenegger’s lusty Mr. Freeze and Thurman’s deliciously nasty Poison Ivy, who (for different reasons) want to destroy Gotham City, but even their antics can’t sustain an overlong, episodic film in which the “story” often makes no sense. Clooney is OK but unremarkable as Bruce Wayne/Batman, ditto for Silverstone as the new Batgirl. The action and effects are loud, gargantuan, and ultimately numbing.

(He gave a better review to this one compared to Batman Returns! Incredible. Maltin doesn’t like “dark” things, at least that is what he complains about with the early Burton films. Hell, he gave The Dark Knight two stars! He thought Batman & Robin was better than The Dark Knight. Because of “colorful” villains basically.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RBXypX4qWI

(How did Uma Thurman end up doing this and The Avengers? The trailer is actually pretty cool. It looks like a cartoon, sure, but there isn’t really a good reason that that is a bad thing. Gotham looks cool. Arnold seems like he could work as an intimidating villain. I don’t know. I kind of expected the trailer to be garbage, but it isn’t really garbage, it is surprisingly compelling I think.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: Flatliners; The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; St. Elmo’s Fire; Falling Down; Phone Booth; The Client; Flawless; Tigerland; Town Creek; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Bad Company; Dying Young; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; 8MM; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: In a recent Vice article, Schumacher said “Look, I apologize,” Schumacher told me in a phone interview last week. “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.” Good times.)

Writers – Bob Kane (Batman characters) – (Known For: Justice League; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Batman Begins; The LEGO Batman Movie; Batman; Batman Returns; The LEGO Movie; Batman: The Killing Joke; Batman: The Movie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Catwoman; Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Notes: The creator the Batman Character. There are a ton of articles about Bob Kane and his relationship with Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman. Let’s just say it isn’t a super happy tale, although Finger is getting more credit now than he did in his time.)

Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: There is only so much to say right? He is currently overseeing the Ology book series adaptation with other heavy hitters like Michael Chabon on his staff.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Total Recall; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Killing Gunther; Predator; The Terminator; Escape Plan; The Expendables; Aftermath; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; The Running Man; Commando; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; Maggie; The 6th Day; Red Heat; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Red Sonja; Jingle All the Way; Collateral Damage; End of Days; Twins; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Last Action Hero; Terminator Genisys; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Notes: Former governor of California his marriage to Maria Shriver famously fell apart when it was reported he had fathered a child with their former housekeeper. I didn’t realize it, but the child is 20-years-old and goes to Pepperdine.)

George Clooney – (Known For: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond; Ocean’s Eleven; From Dusk Till Dawn; Gravity; Hail, Caesar!; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Thin Red Line; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Burn After Reading; Ocean’s Thirteen; Up in the Air; Ocean’s Twelve; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Spy Kids; The Descendants; Money Monster; The American; Michael Clayton; Out of Sight; The Perfect Storm; Future BMT: Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; The Monuments Men; The Good German; BMT: Batman & Robin; Notes: Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, he’s found love with his wife Amal. And guess what? They had twins! A son and a daughter, so fraternal, but still, that’s pretty good.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Kinsey; Vertical Limit; School Ties; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; A Little Help; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; In Love and War; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; Notes: He’s one of the guys whose career was potentially derailed by this disaster. But he seems like he’s doing okay having starred in all 168 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. I saw the pilot and him and LL Cool J tear it up, so there we go.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $107,325,195 (Worldwide: $238,207,122)

(An absolute disaster at the time. Movies like this are more common these days, but at the time the budget was mind-blowing, so not making it back at the domestic box-office was crazy. I’m sure they made a mint on toy sales though.)

#64 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre

batmanrobin_comicbookadaptation

(The same as above. The largest two we’ve seen for BMT are Fantastic Four and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies … did we watch those for BMT? I think we saw the first one for BMT, but not the second. Which is weird, because I’ve definitely actually seen the second. I must have watched it on a plane.)

#61 for the Superhero genre

batmanrobin_superhero

(There really isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said about the genre in the Batman Forever preview. Let’s just say that we’ve had a few gems in our time watching the dregs of Superhero films. You remember Elektra? You remember that piece of garbage? We need to watch a few of these too, like Blankman. Blankman is crazy.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/86): Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.

(Hmmm, kind of surprising it isn’t below 10%. I do like the consensus though, I think it very much rings true with what can go wrong with the jokey superhero paradigm. It works fine for Marvel, but this is the logical conclusion of the style and it can get ugly.)

Poster – Sklogman and Sklogin’ (D-)

batman_and_robin_ver9

(This is horrific. This is where you can take the Batman Forever poster (good) and make what seems to be mild changes and dive straight into F territory. Too many colors and too much going on. That being said still has the font… so maybe just narrowly missing that The Avengers F level… barely.)

Tagline(s) – Strength. Courage. Honor. And loyalty. On June 20, it ALL comes together… (D)

(It’s like a child wrote this. I really don’t like it… the more I look at it the more I hate it and I better just grade it before I give it an F.)

Keyword(s) – bat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 72.5 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 67.8 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 65.9 Bodyguard (2011); 64.5 Bats (1999); 63.6 Dracula 2000 (2000); 57.3 Little Nicky (2000); 55.4 Batman Forever (1995); 49.5 The Order (2003); 41.3 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994);

(I modified this one a bit, but I do like the ultimate list … I wonder is any of these guys are concerning like a baseball bat? Not an animal bat. City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold is the greatest title for a film of all time as well.)

Notes – Most of the scenes with Batgirl, played by actress Alicia Silverstone, were cut out because Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone’s weight gain and mocked the actress for being “too fat” to fit into her costume. As a result, director Joel Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking “What is this girl’s big sin – that she ate some pizza?” When the press continued to taunt Silverstone’s weight gain, mostly from female journalists, Schumacher again intervened and lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. Schumacher went on record about the weight gain to one magazine by saying: “”It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds – like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I’d say, ‘With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'” Alicia Silverstone Batgirl in this movie is the only time Batgirl was ever shown on screen for a live action Batman movie. (Huh. Makes Schumacher sound like a decent dude. That story kind of sucks)

Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion. (Jesus Christ these notes)

George Clooney has been known to refund people who saw this film. (I would rather watch the film with him in his house. That would be an experience. I don’t need money back)

In later interviews, director Joel Schumacher would blame studio pressure to make the film more “toyetic” (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games), and in a “making-of” documentary on the DVD, apologized to disappointed fans.

Final film of wrestler Jeep Swenson (Bane), who died two months after the film’s release. (Oh no, that is awful. Died of heart failure at 40.).

Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros. to get them to reconsider letting him do another Batman movie. Schumacher wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a “Batman: Year One” movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon and would have had Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. However, Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher and the Batman film franchise remained in development limbo for years until Batman Begins (2005). (Probably a fine decision all things considered. Schumacher would have been poison regardless)

Last Batman film viewed by Batman creator Bob Kane. He would die one year after the release of this film. This is also the last film which Kane worked as project consultant.

Mr. Freeze says 27 “ice puns” throughout the movie. (This is why we watch bad movies)

Voted as the #1 in Empire magazine’s “50 Worst Movies Ever” (February 2010). (Streeeeeeeeet credit report dot coooooooom)

In the evidence room at the prison where Freeze is held and before Bane breaks in, both the Riddler’s and Two-Face’s outfits can be seen. (Noice)

In an interview the cast members were asked what item from filming they would like to take home with them. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would be taking Mr. Freeze’s armor home, Uma Thurman said that she wanted Ivy’s floral throne, and Elle Macpherson said that she just wanted a cap or something with the “Batman & Robin” logo before anyone else. When asked, George Clooney said he wanted Elle Macpherson. (ha … kind of creepy though)

After filming was completed, Arnold Schwarzenegger went in for heart surgery. Because studios were anxious about insuring Schwarzenegger in one of their action movies, he couldn’t get work again until End of Days (1999). (Huh, didn’t know that. Interesting story.)

The only film in the original series in which Tim Burton had no involvement during the development stages (he directed Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and worked as producer in Batman Returns and Batman Forever (1995)).

After the poor reception of Batman & Robin, several Batman projects were considered to substitute for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, Batman Unchained written by Mark Protosevich. The second was an adaptation of the graphic novel, Batman: Year One. The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman of the Future (1999). None of those projects came to fruition, instead the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins (2005). (These notes are really good)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is reputed to have earned $25 million for playing Mr. Freeze.

Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to reprise the role of Conan for “Conan the Conqueror”, which was rewritten as Kull the Conqueror (1997), to star as Mr. Freeze in the film. (Too bad. That film would have probably been terrible)

The Oxbridge Academy, Barbara’s fictional university in England, is really a combination of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Oxbridge is used jokingly in American pop culture to refer to any British college graduate. (British people to refer to the two colleges as such. It is often a boon to hire an “Oxbridge” graduate)

Uma Thurman and Elle MacPherson both went on to have children by Arpad Busson who refused to marry either of them. (Wow, I’ll leave that as the last note. Keep it classy IMDb note makers)

Awards

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Peter Macgregor-Scott)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joel Schumacher)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Billy Corgan)