Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Thoughts Drifting Off to Sleep

Just some random thoughts I had as I was drifting off to sleep last night, and they're a little too long to tweet.

Firstly, I can't believe how excited I'm getting for Spider-Man Homecoming.  The film's composer, Michael Giacchino, posted this to his Twitter feed a few weeks ago.  I've listened to it hundreds of times, and it always makes me smile.

Have you ever heard the classic Spider-Man theme sound so grand and epic?

Some 20 years ago, when I first discovered the Internet on a late night in Augustana's computer lab, the first thing I typed into a search engine was "Spider-Man Movie," and I just started reading every bit of news I could.  For those who don't know the history, back in the 1990s, the movie rights to Spider-Man were stuck in a legal quagmire.  It looked like a film that would never be made.  But finally, in the year 2000, the complainants were whittled down to just Sony and Marvel, who settled out-of-court, thus paving the way for Spider-Man to hit theatres in 2002.

So, yeah.  I'll never not get excited for a Spider-Man film, because I'll never forget those days where it seemed like a legal impossibility.

That being said, it always easy to look back with disappointment.  With my excitement building, I popped The Amazing Spider-Man into my Blu-Ray player last night and watched a bit of it.  After five minutes, my frustration started boiling to the surface again.  The Amazing Spider-Man films represent everything that's wrong with Hollywood's "gotta build a franchise" mentality.  Those films are just so overstuffed.  The entire attitude is, "Let's throw everything at the wall and see what pays off later."

When The Amazing Spider-Man was first announced, reaction was, "We'll be fine with it, as long as you don't rehash the origin story."  And what did they do?  They rehashed the origin story.  If they skipped the origin story...if they cut out that "mystery of Peter Parker's parents" BS...if they cut all that out and just focused on a proper "Spider-Man vs. the Lizard" story, it probably would have been a much more decent Spider-Man movie.

Same with its sequel.  For some reason, they decided to resurrect "the mystery of Peter Parker's parents" and tried again to make that work.  They awkwardly shoehorned in the Green Goblin just so they could work in the death of Gwen Stacey.  If they cut all that out and just focused on a proper "Spider-Man vs. Electro" story, it would have been a much more decent Spider-Man movie.

Which makes me wonder why Sony is pushing ahead with their "Spider-Verse" cinematic universe plans.  The Venom film has been resurrected, with Tom Hardy playing Eddie Brock.  The film about a to-be-decided-later female character from the Spider-Man universe is going ahead, with the female characters being Silver Sable and Black Cat.  And there's an animated Spider-Man film in the works, focusing on Miles Morales.

For what seemed like an impossibility for so long, we really are lucky to have so much to complain about.

The Mummy hits theatres this Friday, and with it, we get the launch of Universal's "Dark Universe," their attempt to create a new cinematic universe out of their classic monsters.  I'm on the fence about going to see The Mummy, as the Universal Monsters are a franchise I've always been indifferent towards.  Plus, I'm not so sure if I can commit myself to another cinematic universe.  I'll probably give it a few weeks, see what the reviews are like, and then check it out.
But, with that cinematic universe, things seem to be progressing nicely.  It was announced a few weeks ago that the second film will be a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein, from director Bill Condon, who just gave us Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.  That's slated for Valentine's Day 2019.  With that came the announcement that Johnny Depp has joined the Dark Universe as the Invisible Man, and Javier Bardem is on board as Frankenstein's Monster.

And then yesterday was the announcement that, along with the best-known monsters like the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, and Dracula, they're going with some of their deeper cuts like the Phantom of the Opera and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one where people are scratching their heads, as the Hunchback has never been portrayed as a monster.  But then, as I was drifting off to sleep last night, I had a thought.  Igor, Dr. Frankenstein's long-suffering assistant, has long been portrayed as a hunchback.  What if they're turning The Hunchback of Notre Dame into Igor's tragic backstory?   I mean, the original novel ends with the Hunchback being buried alive next to his beloved Esmeralda.  What if Dr. Frankenstein rescued Igor during one of his grave-robbing expeditions to get parts for his Monster, and took him in?  I guess we'll know for sure if/when we get to that chapter in the cinematic universe.

And then there's the Phantom of the Opera.  I don't know...I've got a little bit of bitterness towards the Phantom.  Back when I was a kid, the Broadway musical of The Phantom of the Opera was still new and a very big deal.  The Canadian touring show had just launched, and it's only Alberta stop was going to be in Calgary.

Now, back in Entwistle School, the Grade 9 class always gets to go on a massive year-end class trip called the Grade 9 Farewell.  When I was in Grade 8, the Grade 9 Farewell was going to be down to Calgary to see The Phantom of the Opera.  A few students pulled out, so the teacher in charge, Mr. Twerdoclib, decided to hold an essay contest among the Grade 8 students to fill those empty seats.

I entered.  I lost.

Don't get me wrong.  I deserved to lose.  I wrote the whole thing in the backseat of my family's car coming back from a weekend trip in Red Deer.  My bitterness stems from how Mr. Twerdoclib informed me as to how I lost.  One day, he pulls me out of my nice, comfy science class, brings me into his Grade 9 English class, puts me at the front of the room, and proceeds to dress me down as to how lame my essay was.  It was the kind of public humiliation that my 13-year old self never really got over.

I learned two things from that incident.  Firstly, the winning essay was about comparing various branches of the federal government to positions on a baseball team.  I thought to myself, "Huh.  Teachers really like this 'comparison' thing."  So I used that as the formula in every essay I wrote for the rest of my academic career and aced everything.

The second:  Mr. Twerdoclib is a dick.

Anyway, I see the latest touring show for The Phantom of the Opera hits Edmonton next month.  Maybe I'll go.  Get some closure.

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