Have you ever bit into a Jelly Belly jellybean, expecting it to be something tasty, like Toasted Marshmallow, but instead it's something nasty, like Buttered Popcorn? I totally got ready for marshmallows when I saw a news story that announced that there was a trailer out for the movie G-Force. I was like, "Awesome! Finally, a full trailer for the sure-to-be-excellent computer-animated movie about a team of five crime fighters in bird suits, based on the Japanese cartoon of the same name that I grew up watching!" Then I clicked the link, and the taste of Buttered Popcorn jellybeans filled my mouth. G-Force the movie is something totally, totally different, and totally, totally nauseating.
DreamWorks has just acquired the rights to the Anime franchise Ghost in the Shell. Having made the jump from the pages of manga (Japanese comic books) to several animated films, television series, and video games, Ghost is now jumping even farther into reality, as DreamWorks plans to adapt the work as a 3-D live-action feature film.
The story, as it's been presented in the past, involves a futuristic task force known as Section 9, which fights technology-related crimes. At its center is Major Motoko Kusanagi, herself cybernetically enhanced and engineered. No word on whether she will figure into the new movie or not.
Of interest is DreamWorks' plan to humanize the franchise with flesh-and-blood actors (no doubt framed by state of the art CGI) while adding an element of surreality with the 3-D aspect. 3-D could be said to make something seem more realistic, but the "wow factor" often overwhelms the intended result. Plus, can anyone ever truly forget that they're wearing a pear of special glasses at the move theater? If you already wear glasses (from reading too much manga by the dim glow of a flashlight under the bedsheets) the result is doubly cumbersome.
There's also the lingering stigma of cheesetastic 3-D films of the past, as has been mentioned here just recently. New technology aims to bring 3-D into the digital age, although this time giving you the option of forty-dollar glasses instead of the flimsy disposables. (It's either that or wait until cybernetics advances to the stage where your eyes can simply be reprogrammed.) Will the new Ghost be a technological marvel, or a technological crime, deserving of Section 9's special attention?
Whether you're a fan of the Yancy Butler TV series or a survivor of the "Bad Girl" era of mid-1990s comic books, there's good news on the way for Witchblade fans. According to a recent press release from Top Cow Comics, the scantily clad policewoman in the stainless-steel bikini-and-gauntlet combo will be making the leap to the big screen, in a co-production between Top Cow, Platinum Studios and Arclight Films. While production has not begun, we imagine it will be somewhere between the more realistic TV series and the hyper-erotic anime made by Studio Gonzo...but hopefully closer to the anime. (Leather jackets are great, but nothing puts butts in seats like metal claws supporting your cleavage.)
Leonardo DiCaprio is an anime hoarder. Not only does his production company, Appian Way, have the classic Japanese animated film Akira set up at Warner Bros. as a two-movie live-action epic, Appian has now set another classic anime up at Warners: Ninja Scroll. The gory, over-the-top period film, which pits a vagabond ninja against the super-powered assassins known as the Eight Demons of Kimon, will be written by Watchmen screenwriter Alex Tse. Leonardo DiCaprio will not appear in it, thank God.
Since I was outnumbered 4 to 1, I had to watch whatever my younger siblings wanted to watch on TV. This meant being tortured by The Dukes of Hazzard and, later on, by Voltron. At least Hazzard had Daisy Duke and car crashes. Voltron had nothing but tiresome repetition and the exact same ending every single episode. My brothers and sister thought this show was Heaven-sent. They even had the (admittedly cool) toy robot that came apart into the five pieces that created Voltron. I dredge up these painful TV memories from my adolescence because, thanks to the Transformers (robots I actually liked), Voltron is now becoming a slightly less expensive CGI-encrusted movie. New Regency has put the Voltron movie in turnaround, and it's getting taken over by developer Relativity Media to be made into a more moderately-budgeted film. (Yeah, that should work out well.)