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MORIARTY'S REVISED RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB #27: HELLBOY, DREAMWORKS 2000! (with Herzfeld Issue Clarified), '90s LIST!

Published at: Feb. 9, 2000, 9:17 a.m. CST

Howdy, citizens! ROBOGEEK here, helping to hold down the fort while Harry and THE DUDE embark on a mission to retake the Panama Canal. Anyway, I was devoting a few spare vacuum tubes to help search the skies for signals from the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander when I picked up something interesting. At first I thought I might have made a discovery that would get my name uttered on national television for the second time in as many weeks, but alas it was just that pesky old codger Moriarty, playing with his damned satellite transmitter again. (And, no, he isn't responsible for all those "denial of service" attacks across the internet this week. And neither am I.) Anyway, after decoding the signal with encryption technology too many of our elected officials want banned, I uncovered this week's RUMBLINGS FROM THE LAB, not to mention an added bonus including the film I'm most anxious to see greenlit right now, SEED OF DESTRUCTION - A HELLBOY ADVENTURE!





Hey, Fellow Geeks...

"Moriarty" here.

I GOOFED. I freely admit it. While my enthusiasm for MEET THE PARENTS yesterday was genuine, some of my facts about the project's origins were a little well, they were completely screwed. In order to teach myself a lesson about not doing this again, I have left the original entirely insane paragraph up, with my corrections added below. It's in the middle of the section below about Dreamworks. My thanks to all those who wrote to me to gently point my errors out, and no, I'm not "fucking brain damaged," but I do appreciate your concern.

It's just before dawn on Wednesday, but I can't see the sun this far underground. It doesn't feel early down here because of all the activity around the clock at the Labs this past week. A crack team, headed by new Henchman Smeagol, is working overtime to salvage my old hard drive and install our new equipment. The computer virus that finally killed the old system was so fascinating that I created a biological equivalent and have been testing it on poor unsuspecting Henchman Mongo. To be honest, I didn't know fluid could come out of certain openings, but it's good info for future reference.

As a result of the intense recovery efforts of the team, today finally marks the appearance of The Big Damn '90s List Part II. I hope this finally puts an end to the steady stream of e-mail calling me variations on the name "Fucknuts." I also hope you enjoy it, since it's probably the toughest two years to write about of the whole decade. Right now, I'm going to turn up Jon Brion's astonishing instrumental score for MAGNOLIA (he'd better bag a nomination) and jump right into this week's report. One quick question, though: has anyone else noticed how much Michael Douglas looks like Benny Hill on that new WONDER BOYS poster? Guess I know one show Catherine Zeta-Jones loved as a kid.

GUILLERMO DEL TORO SHOULD GO TO HELL

And as soon as possible, too. As many of you know, Guillermo Del Toro is a friend of Harry's, and I've had many opportunities to speak with him. One of the things that strikes me about him is just how strong his vision of something can be. I've read a number of his scripts and they are all strong pieces of visual writing. Some of the projects he's talked about that haven't been written yet are ambitious, crazy even, and they all sound equally exciting. The only problem I see in Guillermo's work is that no one's pulled the trigger on what should be one of the easiest decisions in town. No one has stepped up to make HELLBOY.

First, let me get it technically right. The script I read is called SEED OF DESTRUCTION now, a HELLBOY adventure. An earlier script I read called HELLBOY by Peter Briggs has nothing whatesoever to do with the script that Del Toro has crafted. This is the second draft of Del Toro's I've read, and it's less than two months old. No simple action film, this is a big giant wedge of pop mythology, featuring some familiar archetypes in some truly original interpretations. All credit must be paid to Mike Mignola, who created the comic that the storyline is drawn from. There's a tone to his work that's as distinct and skewed as the best of Kyle Baker or Mike Allred, an eccentric worldview that's neither comic or dramatic, but more like some wonderful mix of the two. It's a difficult juggling act, but Guillermo manages to capture the gothic horror influences, the action movie moments, the surprisingly romantic human drama, and the wicked postmodern sense of humor. There's a real sense of respect paid to the material. This isn't just something that's being slapped together to sell toys. This is a really lovely tale, complete with a framing device that reminds me of Beatty's REDS, people telling stories about their particular Hellboy memories.

I hate when a whole film is used to just set a character up, but comic book films frequently just become origin stories with a villain grafted on. Guillermo dispenses with the origin of Hellboy in a really crazy opening sequence that is as much fun as the opening of the Ark in RAIDERS. This is where we start, keep in mind. From there, we move forward to today, to a time when Hellboy is working with the BPRD in Trenton, N.J. This isn't the newest of ideas. Both GHOSTBUSTERS and MEN IN BLACK have tapped it to comic effect before, and it's very X-FILES in some regards as well. The thing that makes Mignola's creation work is the personalities, and Guillermo's script definitely benefits from strong relationships. There's the father-son vibe between Hellboy and Professor Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm, the man who headed the team that found him. There's Hellboy and the other members of his strike team, Winters and Abe Sapien, as well as the way they all deal with Myers, the new guy.

Mainly, though, there's the doomed love story between Hellboy and Liz Sherman, a woman who walked away from the BPRD, someone Hellboy can't let go of. As written, this is one of the most credible and touching romantic relationships I've encountered in a script in a while. It's the soul of the film. It's also the thing that's going to make HELLBOY more than just a suit job for an actor. Guillermo has put in the effort looking for just the right Hellboy, searching for the right actor and not just a big name. Ironically, with this new draft, it's obvious that's exactly who should be in the film... someone huge. If I were one of Hollywood's A-list action guys, I'd take a look at the film. There's more meat here than in most of the action/adventures that are going to come across your desk, and some of it is stuff we've never seen before.

The main villains of the film are credibly creepy, the perfect villains for this world. This isn't a film that worries too much about "reality." There's magic in this world, demons, albino visionaries, fish men, pyrokinetics, ancient Russian madman, mutliation by surgery, and demon eggs. There's some big giant SUPERMAN II style action, the kind we don't get nearly enough of in comic book films, where serious damage is done. Important characters die. There's a real sense of loss during these fights.

I credit Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon for continuing to develop the material they find as a result of their Dark Horse Comics affiliation. Despite the fact that MYSTERY MEN didn't click with audiences last summer these guys are continuing to develop these properties, and they're taking their time to get it right. Guillermo's script has come a long way, with each draft becoming more and more powerful. He finally focused it, made it really special. One of my favorite sequences in film history is in CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. It's that classic image when Julie Adams is swimming in that white bathing suit, and we see under the water, where the Creature is swimming just below her, mirroring her moves, never quite touching her. It scared me on such a core level as a kid living in Florida who was constantly in the water, but as I've aged, I find the memory more sad than scary. There's a sense of desire that can't be satisfied, and there's a sequence in SEED OF DESTRUCTION when Hellboy shadows Liz Sherman on a date, staying out of sight, watching her every move, that struck that same chord in me. It's really heartbreaking. He's not just an effect; he's a character.

If Rick Baker wasn't so busy in his Glendale labs, I'd be able to sneak in and see the work that he and his crew have done on the project so far, designing the actual look of Hellboy and some of the film's other fantastic creations like Abe and Sammael or some of the big boys from the film's climax. Unlike pretty much every single comic book adaptation ever in the history of movies, Guillermo would actually like to translate the specific look of the book from one medium to the other intact. It's a pretty bold and innovative concept, or at least it must be, based on how things typically work. I mean, I'm open-minded, but trading in the yellow and blue for MATRIX gear is an improvement? If you want to know the flavor of Hellboy, you should check out HELLBOY.COM, the official Hellboy website, which has a page spotlighting a piece of Wayne Barlowe pre-production design art for the film that can also be found in Harry's earlier article about the project. They're really going to try to capture that specific look. All I know is I can't wait to see UberHellboy.

With most of the film's financing in place, all that remains is for some studio to wise up and take the plunge. A minimal investment and they're the US distributor of what looks to be a unique ride for film audiences. Guillermo's probably making THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE in Spain this summer with producer Pedro Almodovar, but he is going to need the time to gear up properly on a film as epic as SEED OF DESTRUCTION is going to be. Once the right star is in place, this is a package that is going to be one of the films we're going to watch the closest. It's not going to be easy, but it just might be great.

HAS DREAMWORKS COME OF AGE?

If I was a betting man, I'd say this is the year that Dreamworks is really going to step up and kick ass across the board. So far, they've been an interesting studio that's been getting its legs under it. They've had some real high points, with AMERICAN BEAUTY, ANTZ, PRINCE OF EGYPT and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN marking the ups, and they've had their share of FORCE OF NATUREs and THE PEACEMAKERs as well. Overall, they've been ambitious, and that's always exciting. Last week, I went to a special ROAD TO EL DORADO event that was held at the Dreamworks Animation complex in Glendale. I also had the opportunity to read most of their current slate, and it's really gotten me thinking about what's ahead for them.

Personally, I'm excited. ROAD TO EL DORADO may not be a perfect animated film, but it's a clear-cut reminder that one of the reasons Disney enjoyed a resurgence in their animated division wes because of the influence of Jeffrey Katzenberg. He was lucky enough to be working with an enormously talented bunch of animators and writers and directors, but Katzenberg has an innate understanding of the form. His fingerprints are clearly visible on the final cut of EL DORADO, and that's mainly a good thing. The film is fast, funny, beautiful to look at, and actually takes care to avoid the charges of racial insensitivity that dogged Disney when making films like ALADDIN. It doesn't demonize Cortez, but it also doesn't soften him up. It's also smart enough to not make him a central character, thus avoiding any major criticism of how he's portrayed. No, it's Tulio and Miguel, voiced with vigor by Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Kline, who are the central characters here, con men who win a map in a loaded dice game that is supposed to lead to this secret beach where Leo Di Caprio and this hot French girl are... wait, I think I told it wrong. Um, the map leads to the Lost City of Gold is what I meant to say, and when Miguel and Tulio show up there, they are mistaken for gods. Rosie Perez plays a local who figures out their scam and works her way in, playing the two men against each other. Overall, the piece is played light, but there's a couple of pretty rousing adventure set pieces and some genuinely sweet moments scattered throughout.

If I have a complaint, it's that there's no reason this had to be a musical. The efforts of Elton John and Tim Rice aren't particularly bad, but they also aren't necessary. If I've ever seen a big studio animated film that could have worked just fine as an adventure/comedy without anything but a score, it's this one. It's Jeffrey's one concession to the fact that he's still playing Disney's game. Dreamworks has proven twice now that they've got the resources to make films that are every bit as technically accomplished and artistically striking as Disney. They should now stretch their legs, shake off the old formula, and stake some new ground that's entirely theirs. When they do, I have a feeling there will be no competing with them.

Things appear equally rosy on the live-action side of things. I don't know why I waited so long to read CAST AWAY, the new Robert Zemeckis film that Tom Hanks is starring in. I think it's because of how much I disliked WHAT LIES BENEATH, a film that I still think reads like THE SIXTH SENSE without any kick. I didn't want to dislike CAST AWAY as well and then have to wait through two Zemeckis films I wasn't interested in. I love Zemeckis (even though he may not believe me after reading my FORREST GUMP piece in the '90s List today), and so it is a great relief to me that CAST AWAY isn't just good, it's great.

William Broyles avoided all the pitfalls that I thought were inherent to doing a "guy stranded on a desert island" film. For one thing, that's not really what the movie's about. I mean, his being stranded is definitely the event that the entire film hinges on, but it's not the major chunk of material. In all, he doesn't even spend 40 pages on the island. Instead, this is a movie about feeling lost even when you're among the familiar. Once he comes back and tries to reclaim some pieces of his life, after four years away, he finds himself overwhelmed. It's not really a role we've seen Hanks play before, and I think it could be wonderful to watch him bring this particular guy to life. Thankfully, the weight thing isn't the film's one big gimmick, even if it is all we've heard mentioned so far. Yes, Hanks will lose a lot of weight for the film, and yes, it will be shocking when we see it. This script is about something human and relevant, though, and that's what we'll hopefully carry away after seeing the film this Christmas.

I think that CAST AWAY is going to have stiff competition for the Best Picture 2000 category, though, and it's going to come from the same studio. Robert Redford's THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE is one of the best studio projects I've read in a long time, and it's nothing that I thought it was going to be before I picked it up. It will not surprise me one bit of Matt Damon and Will Smith are both major awards contenders next year, as they've been given the roles of their careers respectively. I really love the writing of Jeremy Leven, who adapted Steven Pressfield's novel, which I freely admit I haven't read. If it's half as engaging as the script, I plan to give it out as a gift this coming Christmas to friends.

Leven's a novelist himself, having written the brilliant (and poorly adapted) CREATOR, and has also worked in films for some time, having written and directed the engaging DON JUAN DEMARCO. This script is magical, full of one great sequence after another and some of the richest dialogue this side of the Coens. All I knew before picking it up was that it had something to do with golf, and I was pretty sure it was a period film. Both those things are true, and if I told you anymore than that, then I'd be stealing some of the delicious surprise I enjoyed away from you. That wouldn't be fair. It's a film that will delight and move audiences if Redford brings the same sort of intelligence and craft to the film as he did to A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT or QUIZ SHOW.

Universal's got domestic distribution rights to Jon Herzfeld's new comedy MEET THE PARENTS, but Dreamworks has to share some credit for finding this delightful, fast, and funny comedy script that will only strengthen Ben Stiller's and Robert De Niro's reputations as solid comedy stars. De Niro seems to have decided recently that he was going to be funny for a while, and although I'm not a big ANALYZE THIS fan, I adore THE KING OF COMEDY and MIDNIGHT RUN. I know that he's a funny, funny man. The role he's got in MEET THE PARENTS is one of the best he's been handed, comedy or drama, in quite some time. The premise is simple. Stiller plays a guy who is going to join his girlfriend on a trip back to her hometown so she can be in her sister's wedding. It's a perfect chance for him to meet her parents without that being what the whole trip's about. It takes some of the pressure off, or it would if Stiller wasn't practically cursed by the worst imaginable luck for the entire weekend. He does everything wrong that he possibly can, and it's hysterically funny. The script builds beautifully, with each gag sequence paying off into a bigger and funnier one, and with everything falling together perfectly in the last few pages. It's a major step forward for Herzfeld, a guy who I've always thought made entirely okay movies like TWO DAYS IN THE VALLEY, but who never seemed to me to be someone to watch. This script changed my mind.

Okay, wanna know the real story? Universal is the film's domestic distributor, but the film is directed by Jay Roach, who directed both of the AUSTIN POWERS films. The original script was by Jim (MEET THE DEEDLES) Herzfeld, not John (TWO DAYS IN THE VALLEY) Herzfeld, who is currently working on 15 MINUTES, the Robert De Niro/Edward Burns film. The shooting script for MEET THE PARENTS was also rewritten by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, the screenwriters of a film that just might be a major player on my 1999 list, ELECTION. So you've got Jay Roach, Robert De Niro (see why someone could get confused?), Ben Stiller, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, that original script I read... it still sounds pretty damn promising to me. Sounds even better, actually. It was driving me crazy wondering how the guy who wrote and directed the Olivia Newton John/John Travolta flick TWO OF A KIND could come up with something so good.

Then, of course, there's the other Universal co-production, GLADIATOR, which Dreamworks is releasing domestically in early May. I can't get enough of that original trailer, and hopefully Harry and I are going to have some very cool GLADIATOR news for you in the next few weeks. I think the poster for the film is also great. I hope they do an equally knockout job releasing Cameron Crowe's new film later this year. I hope it's a gutsy campaign, because it's a pretty gutsy script. I like the fact that they were entertaining the title UNTITLED for the movie for a while. It's appropriate to the music mileau that the film is set in, and there's a cheekiness about it, like Guy Ritchie's SNATCH, that I find very appealing. Add into that the fact that Dreamworks is making a comedy with MTV's love-him-or-hate-him Tom Green right now, and you can see that they're not playing it anywhere near safe. Considering this is a group of guys who could definitely coast if they wanted to, it's nice to see their studio continue to develop a unique and exciting voice in the market.

HEY, MAYBE WE COULD USE THE INTERNET TO SELL STUFF!

I love that companies like New Line are really embracing the concept of online promotion. They're about to do another update to their official Lord Of The Rings site (www.lordoftherings.net), and it's going to be an extension of the excellent teaser material they've already got there. If you want, you can check out a rough example of the new LOTR material on the DVD for THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE, as long as you've got a DVD-ROM drive. It's just another way that New Line packs really unique extras into their home video releases.

USA Films is trying to learn from last year's winners THE MATRIX and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT with some of their promotional efforts for the excellent SF thriller PITCH BLACK, and I'd say they're batting about .500 in their efforts. Like THE MATRIX, the official web site (www.pitch-black.com) uses Flash-animated comics to extend the story of the film, to give us original material. It works. It's a pretty cool stop on the browser, and it really does a nice job of cluing you in to some of the fun you're going to have next weekend. On the other hand, I was disappointed in their SciFi Channel Special, INTO PITCH BLACK, which is a semi-sequel to the film. It's got all the production value of CARNOSAUR 3, and it doesn't begin to do justice to the much-better film. When the clips from the movie do show up, there's such an obvious difference in quality that maybe it serves to show how great the film looks. Overall, this special's going to run several times around the release weekend, and it's worth watching once you've seen the movie if you really haven't had your fill of Riddick yet, something I suspect will be true for most of you. If you watch it beforehand, there's a chance you'll be expecting the wrong movie when you hit the theater. Consider yourself warned.

Still, you've got to give USA their props for trying. This is the same company that supposedly threw a rave recently at which all the lights went out, only to have the sounds of the aliens from the movie start playing over the speakers as "real aliens" moved through the crowd. Now, that's entertainment.

THE BIG DAMN '90S LIST, PART II

...is just a click away -- finally! (Sorry for the delay, but we had some major problems, given its size, and have been forced to post it in four parts.)

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback

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  • Feb. 9, 2000, 11:26 a.m. CST

    pitch black

    by RipReaver

    I guess this isnt the place to ask here, but whats the deal with pitch black, yes, an oh my god another horror sci-fi flick, but im hoping for a good one. man im about to get bashed for this but although event horizon failed in alot of ways, it did look good i thought and did have some pretty frigging chilling scenes, whats the deal with pitch black anyone? the premise sounds really cool. please be at least watchable and enjoyable, even if kinda campy or whatever. i dont mind a cheese movie but just not "pop" cheese. and yeah darth, i thought deep impact was pretty decent actually, there were no crappy onle liners or jar jar like attempts to garner a broader audience, it was a simple movie about a meteor coming to nuke the world, (yeah bashed again i know) and i agree,it wasnt that bad, it had more of a documentary style then the cheese fest armacheesein. i saw deep imp a couple days ago again and man, at least it was an attempt at a serious movie. so now that ive left myself wide open for aicn bashing with my admitted like for movies no one likes, again, whats the deal with pitch black. hey, while im lowering my shields, i love tron, i thought the matrix was overrated the day i saw it, and i even like ......KRULL....

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Fixing The '90s List

    by Moriarty

    I told you the resources of the Labs were still being tweaked. We will have the link fixed very soon. It's 11:15 EST right now. Keep your eyes peeled. When the new headline shows up on the main page, that's when we've got the thing working. "Moriarty" out.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 12:18 p.m. CST

    On CREATOR and Herzfeld

    by mrbeaks

    CREATOR was one of those "almost" movies. All the elements were in place: a good cast (headed by O'Toole,) an inventive script, and a director coming off a minor masterpiece (Ivan Passer had directed the great CUTTER'S WAY several years earlier.) What ended up on the screen, however, was an absolute mess. There's still a hint of something special, but it's buried in a film constantly searching for the correct tone. A real shame. As for Herzfeld..... a step forward? If you say so, Moriarty. Granted, I haven't read MEET THE PARENTS, but I *did* read FIFTEEN MINUTES, which was easily the most ludicrous idea for a film I've run across since JAWS: THE REVENGE. If you'd like a copy, you're more than welcome to mine. I must warn you, however, that it's been lining my cats' litter box for the last few months. Lucky for me, I just got David Koepp's SPIDERMAN draft; so, I can spare it.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Check this out !!!

    by Hobbs3

    If you haven't already heard ( this really needs to be on the front page ) about the 3 new SW characters. Here ya go, Next 'Star Wars' Aims to Avoid Racial Stereotypes By Jonathan Bing HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The distant galaxy where the ``Star Wars'' saga unfolds has suddenly become a lot more politically correct. Stung by charges of ethnic stereotyping in ``The Phantom Menace,'' Lucasfilm is seeking a more culturally diverse cast for the next ``Star Wars'' episode. Although George Lucas' script is far from finished, Lucasfilm casting director Robin Gurland has met with major talent agencies to outline several new roles. These include a Native American character, said to have a forceful, spiritual nature; an Indian or Hispanic character; and an Asian character, possibly trained in martial arts. Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lynn Hale told Daily Variety that since she has not seen a script for the second episode, she couldn't comment on specific roles. ``All 'Star Wars' films have international characters,'' she said. Lucasfilm was unprepared last spring for accusations that the alien races depicted in ``Phantom Menace'' reinforced racist stereotypes. Much of the criticism focused on the shuffling, patois-speaking Jar Jar Binks, whose ``simple-minded devotion to his (white) Jedi masters,'' Brent Staples wrote in the New York Times, ``reminded people of Hollywood's most offensive racial stereotypes.'' In a statement released to the press at the time, Hale said it was ``absurd'' to interpret ``Star Wars'' as ``a reference to the world that we know today.'' Nothing in ``Star Wars,'' she said, ``is racially motivated.'' While that may have been true, it has certainly given the filmmakers pause. Hale confirmed that Binks will be back in the second episode, but he'll apparently be surrounded by a panoply of characters that better reflects the franchise's vast multicultural audience. Whether these characters prove to be positive role models remains to be seen. ----------- Can you smell the cheese yet??? The next two movies is going to blow chunks. I can see it now Lucas spending large portions of the next two movies with character developement of these new P.C. characters. How can three more supporting characters be inserted into the next movie, it's crowded with characters already, lets count Anakin, Amidala, OB1 , Que-Gon, Yoda, Mace Windu, Jar-Jar ( Yuck ), r2-d2, C3-P0, Palpatine aka Sidous ?, Bail Organa, Boba Fett, the list goes on. I suppose Fett could be one of those three. anyhow this movie is most probably gonna be even worse than the last. GL should have hired a sceenwriter for this one, he's lost it.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 1:33 p.m. CST

    sigh...cmon george

    by RipReaver

    Just give us the straight ahead kickass story of anakins turn to darth vader. no politically correct justification, no assanine useless attempt at comedy in what is a dark story, no fucking muppets being stupid. man, just give us straight up star wars. i hope ep 2 isnt another confused movie....oh wait a minute, this isnt a star wars thread!!! i say again, anyone know anyhting about pitch black?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:20 p.m. CST

    El Dorado...

    by Irie

    ...is a DOG. No disrespect to the artists meant, but Jeffery's little fingerprints on this film are DEFINETLY there--and it ain't good. The animation is vastly superior to the uneven work in Prince of Egypt --and technically it's a marvel. Still, without a compelling story or characters, it's just another bombastic Disney leftover. And the music is more than a bit distracting--and just as un-needed as all but the opening number of Prince of Egypt. Design wise, it's a mixed bag, but the character designs are much better than Prince of Egypt and CERTAINLY better than the awful and unappealing Antz (good film, OFF-PUTTING designs). Personally, I'm looking forward to Chicken Run--not only because it's a Nick Park/Ardeman Animations film, but because little Jeffrey Katzemburg had nothing to do with it.

  • I'll never believe another evil criminal mastermind ever again... for two weeks. Anyhow, I was just starting to look forward to EL DORADO until now. Not that I dislike musicals per se but I'm really tired of all these singing, clapping, hoe-down animated movies (except for THE JUNGLE BOOK - you can't tell me Baloo wasn't hooked on crack throughout that whole movie - and ALADDIN).

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Mr. X: Del Toro DOES have other producers "beating down his door

    by Liz Sherman

    Producers like Francis Ford Coppola ("Montecristo"), Pedro Almodovar ("The Devil's Backbone"), James Cameron (heh-heh-heh), not to mention the fact that he's got projects brewing at Disney/Touchstone ("Domu") and, I hear, New Line. Furthermore, Del Toro has _passed_ on _countless_ projects since "Mimic" (many _very_ high-profile) because he is very, very choosy. So before you go mouthing off, Mr. X, check your facts.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:53 p.m. CST

    hellboy comix

    by Fuzzydog

    where can i get some hellboy comics are they paper comics or hard back "graphic novels" that are like 10 bucks can i get them at borders or do i have to go to a comic store e-mail me if u can help

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:59 p.m. CST

    shadow of the vampire

    by bigdaddymuffla

    I recently saw a TV spot for it, and it looks pretty damn cool. Excellent gothic tone and I spotted John Malkovich. Anyways... can't wait to see the Tom Green flick, i'm a big fan of the show, and I saw a behind-the-scenes thing for this movie on MTV. Generally plotless but it has several recognizable faces in it, and it looks funny (Tom eats a mouse). I heard it also has some celebrity cameos in it. Big Daddy out. ah yeah............

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Hellboy Artwork

    by Wadeo

    Is it just me or does anybody else think the artwork in the Hellboy comic sucks the big loin? I was going to pick up a copy a couple of months ago,but as soon as i opened it up to take a peek i could'nt believe the incredibly lousy artwork,i mean this stuff is flat and absoluteley no detail,uugghh! It sure seems like alot of the comics artwork has gone downhill,including Marvel and DC titles. The comics that really stand out for me are Image,Top Cow and Dark Horse,all of these have titles with awesome artwork! The Darkness,Tomb Raider,All of the Spawn titles,the Star Wars and Aliens series just to name a few. I only wish i could draw a tenth as good as these incredibly gifted artists. Now don't get me wrong not all of Marvels and DC's stuff is bad,just some.All of the Spidey titles are still pretty good,and yes ther'es definateley room for improvement in the art dept.the storylines however are excellent,man do i miss the days when Todd McFarlane was doing Spidey,those were truly awesome. And actually alot of the Batman titles are awesome in the Art and Story dept.It just seems like alot of the other titles are'nt up to snuff,both Marvel and DC. I can remember in the 70's and 80's i'd go to pick up all kinds of titles and all of the artwork was excellent,remember the Micronauts?, man that had great artwork and storyline from the first issue,another is the Punisher,i remember i was elated when he got his own title,and subsequently the two other Punisher titles,these were my favorites for a long time,man i miss him! Just thought i'd throw my two cents about this since you were talking about Hellboy,anybody agree with me on the artwork issue,let me know. Thanx, Wadeo

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:50 p.m. CST

    On the "SW" issue - what a f***ing CROCK!!

    by scifihead

    "...These include a Native American character, said to have a forceful, spiritual nature" - Yes, of course, ALL Native Americans are forceful and spiritual - I mean, remember the one who made all of us feel guilty for littering the beach??... "...and an Asian character, possibly trained in martial arts." RIGHT, because all Asians do have SOME martial arts training. This is such a load of PI BULLSHIT!!! Instead of making it even MORE racist by bowing to the above stereotypes, why not just write a good, fucking story, George, and then cast it with the best possible actors - if some of them happen to be hispanic, asian, african-american, or american indian, GREAT! But to force the issue like that? Good God, are you a jackass or what?!?!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:01 p.m. CST

    geez

    by RipReaver

    Yeah right scifihead, good point! that casting call is as racist a thing as anyone could have said! the second you try to make a point like that, you ruin the integrity of your project. now george will be on a crusade to appeal to all genders, as well as children, as well as non violence, blah blah blah. fucking pitiful, cast a "spiritual" indian? a martial artist asian?! and on top of that JAR JAR will be back. what the hell happened to the fantasy story of darth vader in all this? well, my post here is seeming more nutty on this then i meant, its all bullshit anyway, who knows, there years before any of this takes shape, whatever....

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Mike Mignola is a GENIUS

    by Charlie Oakley

    That's not only my opinion but that of 90% of the comic book industry. The guy fuses the best of Kirby, Toth, Kurtzman etc into a beautifully-balanced visual style and makes it aaaall his own. Hellboy is a great comic book, an absolute gem and anyone thinking that "more lines" mean better drawings, well, to each his own- I personally think that McFarlane's drawings single-handedly lowered the bar for all pro work in this country. His toys kick ass though-

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Moriarty's 90's list, Hellboy, etc...

    by BlueDeimos

    Hey, oh Evil One, I hope you'll remember movies like CITY OF THE LOST CHILDREN, starring none other than Mr Only-I-can-be-Hellboy Ron Perlman. That guy is aawesome. Question: wasn't Scorsese (sp?) producing del Toro's "Montecristo" or was it a movie called "Mefisto's" or something like that. When is the "Hellboy" movie being shot? Is it going to look like the comic book? also, another great movie from the early 90's was THE LAST SUPPER -also starring Ron P. Did you like that movie? see ya-

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Re: Wadeo

    by Dave_F

    Mike Mignola's art is fairly stylized, so maybe it's just not to your taste, but I have to say, I think he's head-and-shoulders above all the artists you listed as favorites. Most of the artists at Image and Top Cow follow in the tradition of Jim Lee, who is quite likely one of the worst, most-overrated comic artists of the 90's. Possibly ever. Lee and his followers are terrible draftsmen. They attempt to compensate with overly done cross-hatching, large-breasted women (pose shots on every other page), and very superficial cinematic techniques. Mignola's work is far more original. He uses heavy blacks to create tone. His clean line style exudes power as only Kirby has before. Even the colorists he works with are ten times more skilled than the typical Image folks, who bathe everything in a metallic sheen and overwhelm the artwork with special effects. Like Charlie Oakley posted, detail is not a measure of quality. Mignola's forgotten more about artwork than the Todd McFarlane/Jim Lee-legions will ever learn.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Charlie Oakley is right...

    by Penderecki

    He said everything I was going to. People who worship Image and Top Cow just don't "get" the art of Mignola, Miller, etc. They never will. Too bad.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 8:22 p.m. CST

    Hey,I liked Carnosaur 3

    by user id indeed!

    Can't a shifty studio make a cut-and-paste puppet show out of $75,000 and a couple vats of weird-smelling plastic to try and catch up with the killer dinosaur craze for a few bucks without it being considered "poor production values"?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Hellboy comics

    by Tons of Fun

    This is a little off subject but I didn't know where else to ask. I am a recent addition to the AICN family and a longtime reader of comics, and Hellboy has been one title I've wanted to pick up. The problem is I want to start from the beginning. I've checked out the official site for Hellboy and some other sites and they have the comics listed alphabetically, not in chronological order. Can someone out there help me out? My e-mail is snoogans@dragonbbs.com. I would really appreciate some help guys. Thanks. Tons of Fun

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Mignola's art has gotten a lot worse since Seed of Destruction

    by Wesley Snipes

    I love the stories (though Wake the Devil was disappointing) and the characters, but Mike Mignola's art has took a huge turn for the worse starting around Wake the Devil. It has become extremely abstract, distorted and the panel-to-panel work is weak. The fact that they made the borders white instead of black takes away from the art too. I used to love his work. I'd go so far to say that Seed of Destruction has the greatest comic book artwork of all time, but now, I don't even bother to buy the issues. I just wait for the graphic novel. I mean, his art has always been highly stylized of course, but if you look at Seed, it's stylized/simplified while still clearly being EXTREMELY carefully done. You can tell there's been an incredible amount of attention paid to getting the shapes right, the figures right, the details right. It's that attention to form and shape and detail that made it so fantastic. It's not the amount of lines you put in there (McFarlane - blech), but which lines you put in there. So it was this beautiful blend of simple and complex. It was like modern stylings mixed in with true, superbly-learned classical drawing technique. Now, it's still stylized, but it looks like he's just dashing off vaguely humanoid shapes, and putting in random squiggles. Just look at Hellboy's trenchcoat from his early Hellboy covers compared to current ones. The coat in the early work actually looked like a coat. The current ones look like pear shapes with crescent cuts in them! It takes away greatly from his work. His storytelling has also changed. Seed of Destruction used fewer panels, but more powerful, iconic images. Later work eschews that for many panels, perhaps to accomodate the wordiness? (veteran writer John Byrne scripted Seed; Mignola the rest) I prefer the former approach but whatever. Another issue is making the borders white instead of black. The white draws attention away from the art IMHO. When the borders were black, the art just jumped off the page. It suits his style. End fanboy rant. Ack, sometimes I wish I had gone the comic artist route instead of university and "real" work...Even looks like the comic industry may be recovering somewhat...

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Wesley Snipes' Mignola critique

    by kkrankk

    It's nice to read a thoughtful composition on AICN TalkBack. I, too, have noticed a change in Mignola's work. I think he's a little hasty these days yet his stories still don't come out often enough. I continue to love his pictures but I'm sometimes aghast at how shamelessly he borrows from H.P. Lovecraft for the occult elements of his Hellboy stories. I recently reread a dozen old Lovecraft stories and it was clear that Mignola lifts huge chunks of the old boy's plot elements without quite plagiarizing. However, he ends up with something fresh so what the hell, right?

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 4:46 a.m. CST

    There should be a permenent talkback for starwars

    by McKenzieFrenzy

    seriously, i really do enjoy hearing every fucking trivial piece of news about the star wars movies, but enough is enough. Hear i am reading talk back that actually has something to do with the above artical, then WHAM! some dickhead is telling me about the ground shattering news that Anikin's Jedi cloak is going to be dark brown instead of pastel bone, or that the actor playing Bobba Fet is going to be 2.24 inches taller than the actor in ESB. Seriously, these pieces of info are important, but try to share them when the topic calls for it. By the way I think that Deep Impact was a rotten piece of offel, it looked like shit, I wanted that naked truth chick to get it, and if that dickhead and his girlfriend can escape the flood that covers half of America by ridding a dirt bike up a fucking hill then i'm moving to the States (the land is too flat in Australia). One more thing, to Edgard, Flash Gordon is a kick arse movie which can be enjoyed thouroly without the need of any "nostalgic" motivations.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 1:17 p.m. CST

    And now, Back to Star Wars!

    by Niiiice

    Before that guy posted about the new diverse roles of Episode Two, I would have agreed that every Star Wars casting rumor should come with a full talkback from another Star Wars story, since nothing new ever EVER EVER gets said. But this race thing brings up something new, even though it seems like every talkbacker is of the same wavelength on this one. Lucas misinterpreted the problem and chose a wrong way of reacting. The problem was RACIAL STEREOTYPING, NOT LACK OF DIVERSITY. He mixed up the two, and in the process of addressing diversity, he forgot about stereotyping, which was the "problem" to begin with. Now, this racial thing is all bullshit; people can read whatever they want into some subtle symbolisms, but in the end, their reaction reveals more about themselves than it does about the film. So what are the typical asian stereotypes? Short and squinty-eyed, right? What about the Nemeuroidians played off of this stereotype? They were tall and bug-eyed. As for Lucas, conceding to the public is a MAJOR COP-OUT, he's admitting that the public was right in its assesment of Star War's racial portrayal, something that SHOULD NEVER BE PART of a Star Wars movie. What the hell point would these new characters serve in the new film? If they're there just to satisfy the political activists, Lucas needs to take his own advice: "It's just as movie."

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 1:19 p.m. CST

    By the way, twist my nipples if I'm wrong....

    by Niiiice

    But isn't EVERY jedi supposed to have a "STRONG, SPIRITUAL NATURE"???????

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 3:08 p.m. CST

    Reading Hellboy.

    by otto66

    To answer your ? about the order of the Hellboy books...pick up the collected stories from Dark Horse. Hellboy.com is still the best site for all things Hellboy and it will link you to the best sites to buy the books. 1- Seed of Destruction 2- Wake the Devil 3- The Chained Coffin and Others Buy Seed first. If you don't like it or don't "get" Mignola's art then take a pass on the other two. Mignola didn't create the Hellboy stories in chronological order. He moves up and down Hellboy's time line to tell the whole story. If you feel that you have to know in which order the stories fall, a little bit of detective work on the Hellboy sites will make this very easy to do. I envy you. Your about to link up with a character that is totally unique in comics. Those of us that have been reading Hellboy since the beginning wait months and months while Mignola creates the pages of his art. You, you lucky reader, can have 3 books worth of Hellboy if you so desire. Come, share our addiction.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Hellacious

    by Crom

    I stand by my original wish to see Hellboy done as an animated flick - maybe they'll do this live-action thing and a cartoon will be spun off. Did I just suggest that? Damn, I am getting desperate...maybe the black lotus is making me hallucinate. And when is McFarlane Toys gonna release the Hellboy action figure? Army of Darkness Ash is outstanding, he will guard my workstation, but the pictures for the Hellboy prototype have been around for quite some time now. As for the comments about Mignola's art, at first I found it a little different than the norm, but he does have a signature style. What really brought me into the Hellboy fold were the stories - I just really like his stories. Waitaminute! Stories...characters...plot...using ellipses like Harry...can't hold her, she's breaking up...stories! I sincerely hope that the screenplay is interesting. Yes, I like films that tell stories. All the special effects in the world can make a lame movie walk (and yes, I'm thinking specifically about Jurassic Suck, so let them slings & arrows fly).

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 5:08 p.m. CST

    addendum to Hellacious

    by Crom

    in my final sentence of the post, please replace the word "can" with the word "can't"...fookin' Micro$oft...

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Rest in Peace, JIM VARNEY

    by Bregalad_

    You were funny in spite of yourself. The world of Slapstick Comedy has lost a really talented fellow. Good luck in the great beyond, know what I mean Vern?

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Jim Lee

    by CAD

    People, cmon. You may not like the image style of comics, but to say Jim Lee can't draw is just wrong. Don't confuse style with draftsmanship. I'm not knocking Mignola either his stuff is great.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 12:53 a.m. CST

    No, it's true. Jim Lee really can't draw.

    by Dave_F

    Okay, that's a little harsh. I haven't looked closely at Lee's art for a few years, but what I remember is a guy who used excessive crosshatching that did little to delineate shape and form. His faces were flat and resembled each other. Backgrounds were sparse, and often filled with that same meaningless crosshatching that fills the background of so many Image titles. These deficiencies represent poor drawing skills, not stylistic choices. Now believe it or not, there was a brief time when I was actually "into" Lee's art (circa the early 90's relaunch of the X-Men). I liked the costumes, some of the anime-inspired vehicles, and the pretty ladies with the big boobs. Now I look back on his work and it's just so empty, so flat and uninspired. He and his legions of followers have a certain very superficial slickness to their work, but it's ultimately lifeless. Jim Lee was a little better than the likes of Rob Liefeld, but that's about all I can give him. And isn't he doing Frank Miller riffs these days? God, there's nothing sadder than a Frank Miller imitator.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 2:38 a.m. CST

    Come on Cormorant

    by Niiiice

    It's true that Lee's excessive use of crosshatching gave his work a somewhat "messy" look early on in his career perhaps pervading through his stint on Uncanny, but thankfully I'd have to say that he eventually got control of it. No matter how much lovers of old-school style may hate it, I have to say I like it. It may be a case of style (flash) versus substance, but I'd have to say he does a really good job of flash.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 4:31 a.m. CST

    Niiice, I agree to disagree with ya.

    by Dave_F

    Tastes vary, that's fine. I'm a lifelong comics fan with kinda refined tastes, but even I can enjoy a glitzy no-substance artist on occasion. As for people like me being "lovers of old-school style", as you put it...well, if "old-school" simply means "good", sure, I'll accept the description. But I'm by no means a slavish follower of the old guard comic artists. I dig on any artist that's good, whether they're from the 60's or the 90's. Sadly, Jim Lee just doesn't fall into the "good" category. There are so many more 90's artists deserving of the recognition and fame that Lee got. Hmmm, this is gonna sound really condescending, but I think one day, as your artistic tastes mature, you'll look back on Lee's work and cringe. Yeah, that was condescending. Sorry, didn't mean it to be, but I think it's true.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Jim Lee can't draw? Don't be ridiculous

    by snapperhead71

    I'm really only familiar with Jim Lee's work on the X-Men, but it was clearly head and shoulders above anybody who's work cam before him. It was quite a stunning difference when he came on board the X-Men. To say he can't draw is an irresponsible statement.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Are you out of your gourd?! Jim Lee used to be the best!

    by Wesley Snipes

    It's true that Jim Lee's art has become a parody of itself and has been that way for several years now (essentially after the first few months of Image). It looks stiff, rushed, and particularly uninspired. He's too busy running his business and has admitted as much. Whatever. He publishes some amazing books (All that Alan Moore stuff) and has a good stable of talent. But if you look back at the height of his Uncanny X-Men days (Note I mean "Uncanny X-Men", not the later series simply entitled "X-Men"), he was absolutely world-beating. I've no idea where that "no backgrounds" comment came from. Perhaps you've confused Jim Lee with Rob Liefield? Check out his issues during the X-Tinction Agenda crossover event (#276-277??). Gorgeous, detailed and most importantly natural-looking (not that "inserted" stage play look drawn by some crappy artists) backgrounds. INCREDIBLE mastery of anatomy and perspective. Great composition. Wildly exciting layouts while still being absolutely easy to follow. I'm stunned that you would put him in even the same ballpark as that hack Rob Liefield. Actually, I'm sure you're at least partially confusing Lee with someone else, as backgrounds have never been a problem with his art. I'm not trying to be a snob or trying to insult you so please don't take this the wrong way, but anyone with any kind of art training should be able to objectively tell that Lee knows his stuff, especially upon seeing the Uncanny X-Men work. It's evident that he has a superior grasp of anatomy, perspective and general illustration skills. Yeah, his faces didn't vary enough and I wouldn't stack that work against that of a Renaissance master (hehe), but remember he wasn't using live models to work from, had to churn out 22 pages every 30 days, and had to accomodate the demands of the story. Lee's work was better than 99% of the other comic art out there. And regarding that Frank Miller rip, he only did like 2 issues of it! It was an experiment. And personally, I thought it was a beautiful rip. Probably the best thing he did the entire time he was with Image.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 10:21 a.m. CST

    #271-272 - Best Lee work.

    by Wesley Snipes

    Sorry, issues 271 and 272 of Uncanny X-Men are the ones I'm referring to as Lee's best work. You can find them in a collected trade paperback of the whole X-Tinction Agenda series, though the print quality of that book is strangely faded. See if you can find the issues themselves. Okay, enough making a nerd out of myself. :)

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 11:31 a.m. CST

    up your bung

    by John Brabble

    Enjoy the comic books-- the X-MEN are fantastic to experience on the drawn page. Whether the movie is good or not-- we'll see. It's not a dream cast, but there are some great people in it, i.e. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan. And the X-MEN!!! I mean, they are huge, iconic, legendary. This movie-- it's like trying to write a movie about who Shakespeare was and how he wrote and why he wrote. It's impossible to please every, single, solitary viewpoint of each individual human being who has come in contact with the material. Everyone has an opinion about what Cyclops' visor is supposed to look like. The movie will be what it is, and for all y'all who think that Hugh Jackman is a poor choice... tough shit. He's been cast, and he will do his best. As will the others. I have a feeling that they want to work again in show business, so I think that the cast and crew and everyone associated with the movie will probably do their absolute best and poosibly surpass that. There is no perfect X-MEN movie, only the ones that exist in our imaginations. xxxooo, John Brabble P.S. Shove it straight up your bungholios. Relax.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Jim Lee

    by CAD

    Ok, I don't if you guys are just biased because Jim Lee gets recognition that other artists that you feel are overlooked don't or you guys are being comic snobs(which is just sad). Fact, Jim Lee can draw, you may not like what or how he draws, but he can draw the shit out of things. Pure technical ability can be seen in an issue of X-men which takes place in the savage land. There is a panel, kinda rip from apocolyspe now where he draws a bunch of hind helicopters. Dude, they are in perspective with characters inside. I'm not talking about great storytelling or generic faces, I'm saying he can draw. Please don't be petty about about popularity when there are many other artists out there who really can't draw. Face it, if he couldn't draw, he wouldn't be popular or rich. Rob Liefield on the other hand I can't explain.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Hellboy casting

    by Tons of Fun

    I would first like to say that i have never read any Hellboy comics...yet. but I am getting some soon. I have always loved the look and concept of Hellboy, but for some reason never picked any up. But I know who should play him in the movie. Michael Clarke Duncan (the big guy from THE GREEN MILE). Who said Hellboy had to be played by a white actor? Hellboy's frickin' red. Like it matters and Duncan is a really big dude. He also really made me feel bad for his character in TGM, and I guess Hellboy has some of the same character elements.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 8:55 p.m. CST

    WARRIOR youre tame compared to Percie Johnson, and Moriarty and

    by Malchizedik

    That guy has been banned fucking 5 times now, and still cant get a solid spot or post. and most of the time he was addressing the subject unlike you who cant do more than suck off ABKing. Moriarty, have you ever been in a film????

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 11:44 p.m. CST

    Anakin Casting

    by Palpateen

    Lucasfilm's Lynne Hale has posted the up to the minute definitive update on the casting of Anakin on the Star Wars website. Check it out.

  • Feb. 12, 2000, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Warrior ..

    by Malchizedik

    youre about as bright as Conan, good luck pal

  • Feb. 13, 2000, 5:48 a.m. CST

    right on--WARRIOR

    by Malchizedik

    that was great pal, ill paraphrase brundledanmaunzfanfightclub here- tis not a greater pestilence known to man than the poster who corrects grammar- but on the other hand, i actually enjoy your posts, do you have a girlfriend?

  • Feb. 13, 2000, 5:18 p.m. CST

    ata boy WARRIOR

    by Malchizedik

    your all over it ehh. so, would you like to go out sometime? What sort aye things do ye like tae do?

  • Feb. 13, 2000, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Malchizidek is a girl?

    by Niiiice

  • Feb. 13, 2000, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Warrior, i underestimated you

    by Malchizedik

    and your capacity for ignorance. I can take a hint. The spelling isn't exactly wrong if the idea is still conveyed. Im bobby mcgee you thick fuck, thats how i talk.

  • Feb. 14, 2000, 3:11 a.m. CST

    Hmmm...tricky tricky!

    by Niiiice

    I'm slapping myself for not seeing through her/his clever ruse, SSZero