* You’ve probably heard it elsewhere by now, but Bryan Singer has been signed to do a “Battlestar Galactica” movie, though of course it’s still very preliminary. I hope it stays that way.
The show will apparently not be related to the recently wrapped, broadly acclaimed TV series, but will be a complete redo of some sort or another and original producer Glen Larson is involved. That Universal would want to do another reboot on such a recently and brilliantly rebooted property makes absolutely no sense to me at all and shows a real failure of imagination. Moreover, if the idea is to return to something more like the original, I have only one question: Why? One of the things that makes the new series so remarkable is how worthless its original was.
A few years back, I took a fresh look at the first few episodes after dismissing it in my younger geek years and, sorry, the show was three times as bad as I remembered. It was nothing more than a listless knock-off of “Star Wars” with an addition of some surprisingly blatant rightwing agitprop and all the poor characterization and infantile plotting that made seventies television that vast wasteland that it really was back then, with a few exceptions. There is nothing to be nostalgic for here and most modern viewers only know the new show in any case. Bryan Singer’s a smart guy and I just don’t get this.
* Speaking of Singer, his sometime writing partner Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”) has been signed to do the next Wolverine flick.
* In other superhero related news, we are back at the start of it all with some new litigation which returns some of the control of Superman to the estates of his creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. It may dramatically speed up, or slow down, production of upcoming Superman projects since the ruling goes into effect in 2013 and Warners might want to keep more money for itself by starting sooner rather than later. Regardless, as someone who remembers the “creators’ rights” movement in the comic book world of the late eighties and nineties, I have to think the good guys won here.
* As all signs point to a profitable weekend for “District 9,” the talk of the cinephile and film geek blogosphere has been an apparent fanboy pile-up at Rotten Tomatoes on critic Armond White of the New York Press because he was one of the very, very few to put up a negative review of director Neill Blomkamp’s feature debut. Roger Ebert’s “District 9” review was mildly positive, but he lept to the defense of Armond White, making the case that this was another example of fans trying to cudgel a critic into submission for the crime of daring to dislike a film they liked and which had garnered mostly great reviews. So, Roger strikes a blow for healthy debate and free-thinking about movies, right?
Not exactly. You see, this is Armond White we’re talking about. I could on and on about this, but Ebert, whose been keeping up an impressive regimen since recovering from an illness that would have put most of us out to pasture, was apparently unaware of a lot of recent history involving White, who has become something of a running joke/object of wonder among serious film lovers online. Perhaps because of his illness, Ebert apparently missed a great 2007 takedown of White’s mindlessly pugilistic approach to criticism by his Chicago Sun-Times colleague Jim Emerson, and some more recent truly unnecessary and needlessly nasty remarks about Ebert that White had made in the middle of a verbal blitzkreig directed pretty much at all film bloggers of all sorts and all film critics who are not Armond White.
In any case, after reading the comments and educating himself, Ebert — who realy is one of my heroes — did what a gentleman does when he realizes he’s missing the point, and mostly took his defense back, although I have to add that the problem goes far beyond White liking certain films and not liking others. (I’d actually never attack a critic on that basis. We’re dealing with one of the most subjective areas of human endeavor here.)
In any case, if you have any interest in this kind of thing at all, I do think you should take a look at the piece I linked to above and read as many of the comments as you have time for. Ebert’s got a great audience and there’s some very thoughtful discussion of what makes one critic a thoughtful provocateur while another might be not much more than a troll.