Monthly Archives: August 2014

Who was the best Batman?

A while back I did a couple of posts about my favorite portrayal of Superman. Today I want to do the same with the many people who have played the Caped Crusader. Although I want to limit this discussion to the 1966 TV series and the feature films beginning in 1989, I want to also comment on Lewis Wilson who played Batman in the serials of the 1940s. Many of the themes of those shows made it into the comic books. The Batcave is one example. Prior to the inclusion of the Batcave in the serials it did not exist in the comics. At that time in the comics butler Alfred Pennyworth was depicted as being over weight. In the serials he was portrayed as thin by William Austin and has been portrayed that way in the comics and film ever since. Lewis Wilson paved the way for other men to don the cape and cowl.

The first actor I want to look at is Adam West. I know for myself and others Adam West’s portrayal of the character was the first introduction to Batman. This rendition of the caped crusader was far from the dark and gritty origins of those depicted in the pulp fiction comics of the 40s. This Batman was a goodie-two-shoes and we loved every minute of it. The brilliance of the show was its camp. When I first began watching the show in reruns in the 70s I was 10 years old. The black and white portrayal of good vs. evil appealed to my youthful ideals and sensibility. Now as an adult the camp is funny and entertaining yet the boyscout aspect of Batman has not grown stale.

Things I didn’t notice notice as a child was that Adam Wests’ portrayal was a little cold at time. His Batman was a bit distant even if he was always trying to do good. I even noticed that there were times when Batman was dealing with Robin he could be a little condescending and arrogant at times.

While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Adam West and his portrayal of Batman it isn’t my favorite. I still love the show though and in November the entire series will finally be released on DVD and Blu-Ray and I do plan on picking it up.

 

Next week…Michael Keaton as Batman.

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Noah: My Review

I finally got to see the movie Noah starring Russell Crowe as Noah along with Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins. A good strong cast! The movie was directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, and based loosely on the story of Noah’s Ark. More specifically I believe this was based off a graphic novel that Aronofsky had done.

The story is rather complex and takes liberties with the story as told in the Bible. Since the story is complex and I do not want to spend a long time outlining the plot I will briefly summarize it:

Noah is chosen by The Creator to save the animals as he is going to destroy the Earth because of what mankind has become. To help him in this task are the Watchers, stone creatures that are fallen angels from heaven, who help him build the Ark. Descendants of Cain led by Tubal-Cain arrives with his followers who want to be saved. Tubal-Cain stows away on the Ark. Also on the Ark is Noah’s adopted daughter Ila who becomes impregnated by one of Noah’s sons. This outrages Noah who feels it is his job to complete the Creator’s task to destroy all those who have not been selected to be on the Ark. He vows to kill the child once it is born.

I will leave it at that. I don’t want to spoil the movie. Here is my simple review. Over all I liked it! Good acting, great special effects and a very good story. I like the liberties done with the Biblical epic and this version makes it even more of a fantasy story than I think it already is. I love the look of the Ark itself. In many other times this story has been depicted on screen as this massive ship that always looked very clean and well built. Here in this movie the Ark is massive and looks sturdy but it looks like it was just thrown together and is dirty and messy. It does look like something ancient people would be able to build with the tools and skills at hand…over even stone giants. I also liked the depiction of the animals and how they come to the Ark in groups at different times and how they were sedated for the trip using a special incense.

The human drama driving the story is also well done. Family strife abounds in this movie with Noah coming at odds not only with Tubal-Cain but also his wife and children and adopted daughter Ila. Noah doesn’t come across as a saintly man but a real human being with struggles and faults. He is a man determined to do what he feels the Creator is asking him to do. My only negative comment is that this movie does suffer from the problem that all the recent gritty realistic films are suffering from: namely there is very little joy in this movie! While it is an engaging and well told story with great visuals, the darkness and the heaviness of the film makes it the type of movie that will have limited re-watchable qualities for me. Sure I will re-watch it every now and then once the mood hits me, it just doesn’t have the fun and entertaining value for me. I am sure somewhere in the story they could have had some natural humor to lighten up the mood just a little bit. Even a sense of awe and wonder would have been an improvement.

Overall I did enjoy the movie. I just wish that it wasn’t as dark and serious as it turned out to be. My rating ***½ stars.

Where have all the colors gone?

The more I get into my art work the more I find it fascinating in how things are designed. From the design of starships or monster and creatures such as Godzilla and Cloverfield and even superhero costumes. This last subject, superhero costumes, is the topic of this post. I have been watching a lot of superhero movies and TV shows these past few weeks and I wanted to comment on how the costumes have changed.

In the 50s and 60s with George Reeves as Superman, Adam West as Batman, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and Christopher Reeve as Superman in the 70s and 80s all had one thing in common: brightly colored costumes. Somewhere in the 2000s this began to change. Superman Returns, which came out in 2006, starred Brandon Routh which was a semi-sequel to the Christopher Reeves movies has a uniform that has a different shade of blue along with a red cape, undies, and boots that are more of a muted wine color rather than bright vivid red.

The Flash, a new TV series set to debut this fall, also has a redesigned costume and one of the main points is the bright red is substituted for a similar muted wine color featured in Superman Returns costume. Last years Man of Steel saw a radically redesigned superman costume. The muted blue was textured, the outer undies are gone and the red cape and boots are muted but not as much as the Superman Returns costume.

Why the trend in muted colors? I think in the name of realism these muted colors make our heroes look less cartoon and animated like than  their previous live action predecessors. Don’t get me wrong, I do like these new costumes and their colors. My question is, is this trend permanent or will brighter colored costumes make a return on the big and small screen? My thought is that Hollywood runs in cycles and someday I think we will see a return to brighter colors although I do think we will still see modern designs. I don’t think we will see an exact copy of the Christopher Reeve costume again, although the brighter colored costumes may return.

Maybe the larger question is will we see Superman with outer undies once again?

 

Where are they Now?

Last August when Ben Affleck was announced to play Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice all of the internet was in a meltdown over fans screaming and crying in outrage over him being cast in the role. Last week, on the heels of Batman’s 75th birthday as a crime fighting superhero character, a picture was released of Ben in his Bat-cowl.

http://img2.timeinc.net/people/i/2014/news/140804/batman-435.jpg

But with the picture released above  of Batman in his cowl and this picture of him in his suit…

http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/Batman-vs-Superman-Ben-Affleck-Costume.jpg

A vast majority of the haters are GONE! Sure there are a few stragglers but the majority of the people now posting on Facebook or science fiction and superhero websites are in favor of Ben playing Batman. Well, if they are not out right in favor of him playing Batman they are at least now open minded and eager to see how he plays the role.

I was surprised when Ben Affleck was announced as Batman due only to the fact that he was not one of the names at all on the radar of those being considered for the part. It seems that those who were being suggested as being in the running for the role was pure fan speculation to begin with.

Once the shock wore off I did immediately think this was  creative casting and a great idea. I could easily see him as the playboy Bruce Wayne and if Michael Keaton could pull off playing Batman as well as he did, then I have no worries for Ben Affleck. I am sure he will do great. I am also happy that the hatred and animosity the fan base originally showed has died down.