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Bustin, Turtles & Big Ns

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 7:35 PM

Interestingly enough, there's kind of a theme this week: 1980s. We're talking Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles and Nintendo and that happened entirely on accident.



Is Gender-Swapping All that Creative?

Now I’m not a person that writes off remakes or reboots, and I’m certainly not writing off remaking or rebooting Ghostbusters even if it is one of my all-time favorite films. (Or, for that matter, the Indiana Jones movies, which are rumored be having Chris Pratt as the lead in a reboot). What I find interesting and maybe gives me pause is whether or not simply gender-swapping the whole thing isn’t much else than a gimmick to sell a reboot more to the audience and, as a result, kind of a cheap way to do it.


Don’t get me wrong. The original Ghostbusters was absolutely a “guy movie.” It’s male-dominated and any reboot of any sort should include stronger female leads and, especially, women as our proton-pack slinging heroes (and, for that matter, more minorities). Yet, saying “It’s ghostbusters…but now they’re all women” just sounds cheap to me - as though the rebooters (if such a thing exists, maybe a braintrust in a vault at a studio somewhere) couldn’t think of any other creative angle or hook other than gender-swapping and calling it a day.


To me, it’s suddenly making the gender of the Ghostbusters a central point. Now a clever screenwriter won’t do that, I trust Feig to not do that as well (not so sure about the co-writer as I wasn't a fan of The Heat all that much), but it’s still out there as how the whole thing came to be. Ghostbusters should be Ghostbusters no matter the gender, so why base your entire reboot hook on the gender? Read any article on it, it’s entirely about it being all-women rather than being Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters is prime for rebooting, I just hope there's more creativity going on than simply thinking switching from men to women as though that's going to carry it.


Then again, any news about anything Ghostbusters has to be good news, right? I mean, it’s been decades since there was really anything good going on with that franchise, and if you have to say “well, let’s reboot it with an all-female cast” to get it done, then so be it. I just hope there’s not some old tired trope of “these women want to bust ghosts but have to overcome gender stereotypes to get it done.” Feig completely sidestepped that BS with Bridesmaids, making for a fantastic comedy because it completely obliterated using those cliches, so I’m hoping that’s the case here. I hope Melissa McCarthy’s character just says “My uncle Ray was this awesome thing and now I’m going to do an equally awesome thing with my pals” or something, because that would simply be awesome and nothing to do with “I’m a girl but nobody wants me to be a ghostbuster but I’ll show them.”


Hmmm…maybe it’s not so much the “hook” and cheapness of that I’m concerned with as much as it is I hope the writers don’t take some lazy way out. Either way, I’m on board until I see the movie. There’s no reason to really doubt Feig, really, and the cast is solid. I just hope it’s more than just gender-swapping to get the thing made.


I will say this, though. Comedy styles have changed drastically since the 1980s. Will today’s take on comedy, depending on how broad they go with this, mesh with such an 80s-era concept? We’ll see, but hopefully they’re not making jokes about diarrhea while trying to take on Silmer.


No Ray Parker Jr no peace.


PS: Idiots that say "It's ruining our childhoods" please fuck off and grow up.

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Want some awesome Ninja Turtles and Stars Wars now? It’s happening as we speak.


It’s interesting when I hear people complain about the latest Ninja Turtles movie, as well they should as it was one of the worst movies of 2014 and probably killed the franchise for the big-screen, yet when I ask them “are you watching the new animated series” they kind of just scoff at it: as though seeing CG Ninja Turtles on the big screen feels more “grown up” than seeing Ninja Turtles on the small one.


Let me tell you, if you aren’t watching the new Ninja Turtles and Star Wars: Rebels (or for that matter Clone Wars on Netflix) then you’re kind of missing out.


Allow me to get Rebels out of the way first: it does a great job in capturing the feel of the original trilogy. It has a great balance of humor and memorable characters without being held down by trying to be canon to anything. It’s major drawbacks are its rather limited art style and animation, its pretty obvious Clone Wars had a bigger budget, but its writing is top-notch and hearing that John Williams score just gets me all happy. Plus seeing classic Original Trilogy stuff like TIE fighters and Stormtroopers is pretty damn satisfying. It’s a show that, given time like Clone Wars was, could really turn into something special.


But Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles is where it’s all at. Allow me to get really hyperbolic for a moment:


Ahem…


Nick’s Ninja Turtles is the best interpretation of the Ninja Turtles.


There, I’ve said it. That doesn’t mean I like everything they do, but in terms of characterizations, drama against comedy and martial arts action, all while giving a ton of homages and nods to past incarnations of the Ninja Turtles along the way, it really nails it. The writing is strong and it does enough “new” with the franchise to keep it fresh and interesting while still playing in the familiar territory of foot clans, mousers, Shredder and all that.


They also do a great job giving more purpose to characters like April O'Neal and Casey Jones. I mean, April was a pretty lame character in the cartoon and previous films (and 2014 film especially). While there's certainly some Deux Ex Machina going on with her at times, at least she feels like a real person this time around. You actually care about her and buy her relationship with the Turtles and Casey. Casey can be a bit of a mixed bag at times, though, even if he gets some solid comedy moments.


It’s a show that’s surpriginsly clever and seems to always come at the material (now 30 years old I believe) with fresh, energetic and enthusiastic eyes. Don’t write it off as “oh, it’s for kids.” Don’t be that guy or girl. Sit and enjoy something that was obviously crafted by people with an affection towards the material and grew up with Star Wars and Ninja Turtles just as you did. The love is certainly there and it shows.




Also the pop culture stuff is gold. I mean...they're doing the Kid n Play dance, for crying out loud.

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What’s the Deal, Nintendo?

Nintendo are kind of jerks. Here’s what they like to do: announce a game. Hype it up. Release it and it sells a ton…then stop printing it and making it hard as hell to find their games.


Nintendo pretty much pulls the same “Oh, it’s going back in the vault” kind of BS that Disney has been doing for its home releases for years. Case in point: Ocarina of Time 3DS.


The 3DS is still the numero uno handheld device. It’s not quite as big as the original DS was but it’s still massive and has little competition. Yet, for whatever reason, Nintendo rarely puts out new copies of Ocarina of Time and stopped printing the 3DS versions of Kid Icarus and Starfox altogether from what I’ve gathered.


As a result, you’re paying a ton of money for used games on eBay and Amazon. Not new. Used. That’s a pretty shitty thing to do, Nintendo. I'm still trying to understand how a company with such a history can still be great with its fans one minute but make us shake our heads the next (see also Square-Enix).


I can kind of understand them, say, limiting prints of Xenoblade. Xenoblade wasn’t a Nintendo franchise and it came out when the Wii was starting its downslide. They only published it. In other words, Xenoblade isn’t a “name” or "Nintendo brand" with cache (now it is, of course). I'd also think the recent release of Bayonetta 2 will go the same route.


But if I want to play Starfox on my 3DS…well I’m just shit out of luck, I guess. At least Ocarina of Time and Kid Icarus get a digital download available on the eshop, though that doesn’t make someone who wants to give it as a gift or maybe just have the physical copier any easier. Good luck! Now do a barrel roll…over resellers marking up the price fifty bucks…



By the way...type in "Do a barrel roll" into Google.


 

 

 

 

 

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