The Franchises: Episode IV A New Hope
Star Wars. Indiana Jones. Star Trek. Lord of The Rings. The Matrix. Batman. Spiderman. Pirates of the Caribbean. What do these things all have in common? They are all multi-billion dollar franchises. That’s the not so secret word of the day kids, FRANCHISE. In honor of the Harry Potter FRANCHISE…
…finally coming to end(NOOOOOOOO!!!) I want to pay homage to some of the greatest stories ever told. Told, more often than not, over the course of at least three movies to as many as 10!
I’m gonna start with the ones that started off with a bang and went with little more than broom falling in a hall closet.
Yes you do Keanu, but do you know how to make a decent movie sequel without the aid of Alex “Bill S. Preston, esq.” Winter?
That fraking rave scene. GOD in heaven! I should’ve known from that moment that this was not going to end well. RELOADED had some good moments, especially action wise, but Jimney Chricket did it muddle up what was already a fantastic story. Think about it. When the Matrix first hit screens in 1999, nobody knew what it was. And when I sat down to watch, I had no idea the roller coaster I was about to ride. Kinda like last week when I rode Tatsu at Magic Mountain for the first time. Needless to say by the time that ride was done, I needed a new pair of Family Guy boxers. MATRIX wasn’t quite as traumatic, but it was a wild ride. The good way. People dodging bullets, women in tight leather toting big guns and fists of fury, a Yoda like figure in the visage of tall dark stranger whose riddle speak may not be as backward as Yoda but nonetheless confusing to our intrepid hero. MATRIX had everything to make it this generation’s STAR WARS.
Guns, kung fu, downloading skills directly to your brain, evil machines, it had all the video game generation worships. Did I mention Hot chicks in leather yet?
And then there was RELOADED. It had the freeway scene. Yeah that’s pretty much it. Everything that made the first one cool, annoyed the hell out of me in this one. Especially, Morpheus. I like Larry Fishburne, very much. APOCALYPSE NOW, DEEP COVER, BOYZ N DA HOOD. And to be fair the dialogue is more to blame than Mr. Furious Styles(seriously, wasn’t that one of the greatest character names EVER!?)
And that’s what I’m talking about. Great actors can turn great lines into iconic memories. Something you identify with not just a character, but the entire movie.That line for me is BOYZ N DA HOOD. That’s what comes to mind when I think of LF. I can’t remember any of his words from MATRIX 2, except when shouts “WE ARE ZION AND WE ARE NOT AFRAAIIIID!!!” in his pajamas. Hold on…HAHAHAHA. Yep still funny. Pretty sure that’s not what was intended.
Then there’s the scene at the end with the Architect. The scene was supposed to give us all the answers we’ve been waiting for. Set up the final act. Instead, all it did was muddle up even more what was already a very muddled piece of muddle! However, it did give us this:
Should we even get into REVOLUTIONS? Nah, no need. RELOADED pretty much sums it up.
Have you ever wished while riding a ride at Disneyland that the anima-tronic characters on the rides would just come to life. Uh yeah, in nightmare world!! But come to life they did in the wonderful PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN. Yep scary as robot pirates coming to life is, seeing all world performers Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush play pirate, Yeah I’ll take some of that action.
And then PIRATES 2. Like RELOADED, it came with much more complicated story then it needed. But unlike RELOADED, the rest of the PIRATES series at least was fun. Depp was still Depp. There was some good swashbuckling. They very wisely brought back Barbosa.(Was there any doubt in your mind, at the end of 2, who those boots walking down the steps belonged to?)
And there’s beautiful Orlando Bloom…wait….he’s a man. All this time I thought there was girl girl stuff going on with Bloom and cute as a button Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom is a dude. I was wondering how they had a kid at the end of third one. Oh well, the man is pretty, just look…
Actually Hilary Swank is really really really really really really hot in person. And in this:
Oh that’s right, Bloom was in another huge franchise. Peter Jackson’s as close to a perfect adaptation of a beloved classic book series as you can get, LORD OF THE RINGS. They gave RETURN OF THE KING the Oscar for the Best Picture of Year. Now some may say THE TWO TOWERS is a the superior flick, and they may be right. But I was as sure as all the academy members were sure after the TWO TOWERS ended, that unless RETURN OF THE KING completely RELOADS it, this man is getting an Oscar.
That Oscar was a reward for an incredible cinematic feat. LORD OF THE RINGS was one of those stories that nobody believed could ever be pulled off. And here comes this Aussie director whose only credits up to that point were the hilarious and gruesome zombie tale, DEAD ALIVE, the young Kate Winslet indie drama fantasy, HEAVENLY CREATURES, and the hilarious underrated THE FRIGHTNERS starring Michael J. Fox. All great movies that nobody watched, at least a the time of their initial release.
The lush beautiful landscape of New Zealand was the perfect setting for a J.R.R. Tolkein’s vision of Middle Earth. The cast he assembled embodied their characters so well, that I wasn’t watching Elijah Wood and Sean Astin, child actors I grew up watching. I was watching Frodo and Sam of the shire, the characters I read and dreamt about as a child. Ian Mckellan has always been a respected actor, deservedly so. But that wasn’t Sir Ian, that was Gandalf the Gray/White. And of course Peter Jackson’s crowning casting achievement, introducing the world to the otherworldly talent that is Andy “Gollum” Serkis.
For the first time a CGI character was able to convey an emotion and a humanity that no one thought an animated character could have. Jar Jar Binks(Yes he is annoying, but no one ever said he didn’t look real) got the ball rolling and then WETA just rolled that ball and came up bowling a perfect game. Not saying CG characters will take the place of actors, that should never happen. But Gollum did make this guy believer that best performance by a Computer Generated character Oscar is not far off. All that feeling, all that hatred, all that insanity of Gollum was Serkis. His Face, his body Movements, his voice. How is that not a complete performance?
Just a side note, Peter Jackson is directing the Two Hobbit movies, in case you didn’t know. And the one thing that I didn’t like about Jackson’s RINGS, is that it was only 3 movies.
When I first saw that teaser for Fellowship in Winter 1999/2000:
Ok, I was gonna mention how I got goosebumps back then, but I just got goosebumps when I found this link. It was such a great moment to see that footage, that I still remember the excitement now, physically. And Jackson delivered above and beyond all my expectations. So much so, that in Jan 2004, I felt such an emptiness knowing that for the first time in three years, I didn’t have a LORD OF THE RINGS movie to look forward to at the end of the year. But guess what folks…
Thus concludes Episode IV A New Hope, while MATRIX didn’t quite leave us wanting more, it was still mostly a fun ride. Depp and Rush did just enough to keep us slightly interested in seeing a fourth(possibly fifth and six if Disney gets their wish), PIRATES. Peter Jackson just saying the words THE HOBBIT, had us itching with anticipation for more journeys to Middle Earth.
The recent epics have been good to us, but in true Franchise fashion, next time we go back to the beginning. TREK. INDY. BACK TO THE FUTURE. And, the one to rule them all…
…That’s right McLeod, and that one is the almighty STAR WARS.
To Be Prequeled in Episode 1 The Phantom Box Office Explosion.
As I’m sure one exec at Fox said to another exec at Fox in 1975 after agreeing to fund George Lucas’ space opera “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Idiots
Captain “I have GREAT feeling about this” DanFanBoy Friday with Captain Dan (11-19-10),