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How cool is that? On Tuesday it was confirmed that Google, backed by super-huge director James Cameron, will be taking to the stars to mine near-Earth asteroids. No blue-skinned cat people here: the expedition expects to find large amounts of water, platinum, gold and other resources to haul back to Earth. Their venture, Planetary Resources, projects that they will get up-close and personal with asteroids in about five years.
You know, I’m not Cameron’s biggest fan, but when he gets behind something, it gets done in a big way. Can you imagine everyone who loved Avatar or Titanic putting themselves behind an ongoing resource-gathering space mission? This is the sort of space expansion that we’ve all but given up on in recent years, with NASA and other government-funded space projects scaling back and lowering their sights. Let’s be honest – with Google and Cameron on this project, it’s going to happen. There are major set-backs involved in space-based industry, including a high up-front cost followed by years of unprofitability.
A bit of recursive speculation: if the venture is going to be as lucrative as some suggest, we may see generation after generation of space miners expanding to the stars. They may even stumble across a sleeping alien race on a desolate planet while answering an SOS call. We may even colonize that planet, only to lose contact with the colonists years later…
I feel slightly bad as you may have been lured here under false pretenses. I don’t actually hate all directors, but what I do hate is a bit too long for a title. This is because I hate directors that go back to previous work and edit it, do reboots/prequels/sequels of films from the 80’s, or just generally re-hash/copy other franchises in order just to put out a ‘new’ film. See what I mean about being a bit long for a title?
Directors who do any of these things really do get on my nerves. The cinema industry is in a bit of a dire state and rather than invest in new ideas, backers feel it is safer to go back to things that made money before, assuming they will continue to make more money for them. Certain directors, normally the biggest ones out there, will go along with this because, well, they love money more than creativity, or at least that is how it seems.
To mix this up a bit, I’m going to be doing this in the style of the director having a phone call with studios/producers and trying to sell their idea. This is meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek and not all of it is true. I imagine some is, but not in exactly the same wording. Also, if you read it a bit like a stereotypical 14-year-old girl was making the call as you read it, just adds a few more laughs. I hope you find this as funny as I do.
Phone call 1: “Hey there, so a couple of years ago I made this amazing trilogy of films that sparked a new generation of fans within the geek universe. Anyway, now it is time to go back and make the prequels. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, they will be huge hits and thousands will rely on them to complete the Star Wars universe. Thing is, the first three did so well that I think I should have full creative control over them and no one should be allowed to challenge me. After all, I am George Lucas.”
Phone call 2: “This is slightly awkward after the prequels bombed, but we made money so who cares? I had a few thoughts. Even though I gave a speech to Congress about not changing old works, I think I should go back and edit the originals. Yeah, nothing major of course, but I really just wanna annoy some people. There’s this one bit especially, Vader just doesn’t say NOOOOOOOOOOO for long enough, might change that. It will be great. Trust me.”
Phone call 3: “Me again. So wow, those changes really pissed of fans, but again, as George Lucas, I couldn’t care less. I have a proposal for you anyway. Time to make some money again so hear me out. Star Wars 3D or should I say, Star Wars £D. You know it’s a guaranteed hit, we don’t even have to do that much. KA-CHING.”
Phone call 4: “One last thing. I know Indie 4 wasn’t too great, you know, involving aliens at the end and everything. But look, Harrison isn’t going to be alive for ever so I think we should make another. May as well.”
Phone call 1: “Alien is a pretty successful franchise, so I have a plan. Let’s go back and make a prequel. But we won’t tell people it’s a prequel, even though it is. We’ll just keep confusing them and going back and fourth, either way, it will be a prequel, but don’t tell them that. Guaranteed gold.”
Phone Call 2: “Gladiator did amazingly, won loads of Oscars and all that so, idea here – Prequel. But in space, how cool is that? Tell me you don’t want to invest in that?”
Phone call 3: “Actually, while we’re on the topic of prequels/sequels, Harrison is still alive, let’s do another Blade Runner. I know it’s a cult classic but I don’t think we could fuck it up that much. What’s the worst that could happen?”
Phone call 1: “Hi, Tim Burton here. I made some pretty successful Batman films so now I’m gonna do what I want and you’ll love it. Basically, Johnny Depp with a load of make-up on in a slightly Gothic atmosphere. Female counterpart? My wife, yeah, Helen will do it. They’re perfect together. Why spoil that?”
Phone call 2: “Another idea. You’ll love. Basically, Johnny Depp with a load of make-up on in a slightly Gothic atmosphere. Female counterpart? My wife, yeah, Helen will do it. They’re perfect together. Why spoil that?”
Phone call 3: “Another idea. You’ll love. Basically, Johnny Depp with a load of make-up on in a slightly Gothic atmosphere. Female counterpart? My wife, yeah, Helen will do it. They’re perfect together. Why spoil that?”
Phone call 4: “Another idea. You’ll love. Basically, Johnny Depp with a load of make-up on in a slightly Gothic atmosphere. Female counterpart? My wife, yeah, Helen will do it. They’re perfect together. Why spoil that?”
Phone call 5: ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WANT HELEN IN HARRY POTTER, SHE’S MINE.”
Phone call 1: “The other day I was in one of my submarines and I saw this ship. I was thinking, why has no one told this story? Basically, the ship sank so we’ll spice it up with some sex in a car and a love story and then loads of death at the end. I know it’s based on fact so we’ll just change some of the characters in it a little and pay the families loads in compensations. Why has no one done this before?”
Phone call 2: “Saw this film called Pocahontas, was quite good but I really think I can improve it. What we’ll do is paint them blue and put it in space, in 3D. Am I a genius or am I a genius? How would you not make a load of money off this? We’re doing this.”
Phone call 3: “Titanic. In 3D. That is all.”
Every single phone call he has ever made: “SHIT WILL EXPLODE.”
If you didn’t see Avatar, then brace yourself, I’m about to drop a big ol’ spoiler on your head: Grace Augustine, played by none other than the fantastic Sigourney Weaver, died. It happens to the best of characters, but then, when it does, one does not expect to hear their name associated with the upcoming sequels to the film. However, this is Sigourney Weaver paired up with James Cameron so anything is possible, right?
I read early versions of the script, but I can not say anything else James Cameron comes here and kills me. I can say that I’ll be in both, we will turn them one after another and explore worlds that were not touched in the first episode.
Weaver goes on to comment on how Cameron’s work on the 3D version of another of his blockbuster behemoths, Titanic, has played a pivotal role on inspiring one of these worlds:
What is certain is that Cameron will begin filming in the new Avatar only after going underwater in a submarine that will build special purpose. I think it should go up to the Mariana Trench. Having put his hand on the Titanic for the 3D version has given him many ideas for narrative Avatar.
Weaver does not go on to discuss, however, how her role will be reprised. For some fans of a previous Weaver-Cameron project, the idea of Cameron killing her off only to have her miraculously return for a sequel is a little disconcerting. Will the Grace Augustine of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 only be a shadow of her former self? Will she be resurrected? Will she be limited to the fleeting world of flash-backs? Will Cameron pull out some sneaky sci-fi explanation for her reappearance?
Luckily for us, James Cameron himself had a little bit to say about Sigourney Wear talking about involvement in the Avatar 2 back in October in an interview with Vulture.
Did I say she was going to be in Avatar 2? [Grins.] …Well, I don’t want to disabuse her of that fantasy. But have you ever heard of nonlinear storytelling? A lot happens on that planet before she shows up, and before Jake shows up to join her. She’s there for fifteen years ahead of time. I don’t know, but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions.
One has to wonder if this kind of talk (fifteen years is a lot of time to work with!) means that these sequels might end up becoming more like prequels.
Fellow nerds, it is time for speculation! We have about four years to figure out what Cameron’s got up his sleeve this time. Get to it. The prize? Bragging rights. Honestly, you don’t need anything more than that, do you?
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Good Morning Nerdites! Another month in the new DCU and another edition of Justice League comes roaring to us. I have had some folks on Twitter and Facebook akin the team up of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on this book to being godly, and I do not know that I am about to argue that fact. The reality is that Justice League is not only putting out an amazing initial arc, with a villain fitting the need of a team up, but creating a team origin story that is defining how we will see these characters moving forward. Issue 5 is filled with some interesting dialogue (though I do have a complaint) and some incredible action.
The issue starts with Johns giving us Darkseid in all of his evil glory. This Darkseid does not waste his time telling the team anything more than his name before he starts blasting them with omega beams. He is dark, aggressive and really just annoyed by the Justice League more than anything else. I love the fact that for all of Superman’s superiority, the book starts with Flash trying to save him and ends with Batman heading off to do the same. I have had this nagging dislike of the new 52 that Clark and Bruce do not have a relationship going into Justice League. I think their story and friendship would have been better suited to have started prior to this massive team up, but you get the sense that Batman’s traveling to Apokolips to save Supes might be the avenue for that.
There is one bone I have to pick with Johns. Shortly after Superman is taken capture and GL has had his butt whipped, Bruce reveals his identity to Hal. You get the sense that Bruce has a plan and that Hal has at least earned a modicum of respect from Bruce, but the reality is the Bruce Wayne I know would never reveal his identity to anyone this early in the process. Maybe we come to find out that Bruce really already knows enough about Hal and the others that he is a step ahead (would not be surprising), but that would be a stretch. Outside of that, I love Johns portrayal of everyone else. Wonder Woman’s blunt and aggressive personality making her the muscle of the group is great, and Flash’s much more serious nature is still balanced by a bit of humor and sarcasm that is well timed. It all just works, which is normally not the case.
Jim Lee has to be considered the James Cameron of comics. Justice League’s art is epic in a way that sets it apart from most comics as much as Avatar sets itself apart from most movies. That is not to say I do not like other comic artists or that Jim Lee is even my favorite artist. But his work on Justice League has such a universal beauty and flow, matched with a team of inkers and colorists that makes this book pop off the page. They have such a cinematic feel that matched with Johns’ writing, you feel like your reading a summer blockbuster.
Lee does a terrific job of providing a scratchy and sketched feel to the destruction all around and still giving the book a clean look. It is easy for artists to get tied down in being either overly detailed or not detailed enough. Lee balances it well which is not easy to do considering every other panel someone is getting blown up or beat down. And the transition of powers works. Each hero has their own stylized sense about them, and Lee never misses a beat. I am particularly loving his Green Lantern and you can tell Johns and Lee are enjoying being able to give Jordan a little bit of a spotlight.
Justice League is the flagship that this entire reboot is built upon. While I would say the Batman thing is a miss, it is rather minor. No one gets it right every time out, but Justice League is showing a consistency through it’s first five months that is impressive. With its first issue in it’s umpteenth million print you have to think DC is has a smirk worthy of the joker on their faces. Either way the team is together while it is not Captain America yelling, “Avengers Assemble!” Green Lantern’s, ”We Got this!” will do.