Tag Archives: self-sabotage

Superman III 4.21: The World According to Attila the Hun

Okay, somebody secure the bankbook, we’ve got incoming. Brando’s famous paycheck for the first movie was $3.7 million at best, and now the Salkinds are paying $4 million for the services of superstar comedian Richard Pryor. So far in the movie, he’s just been typing in the background, but here — in his first sequence with Ross Webster — is the moment where Pryor is out of the chair and bustin’ loose.

Except they forgot to write him any jokes.

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Superman III 4.8: The Loss of Lois

She’s only got three minutes, and she lands four solid jokes, which is four more than practically anyone else in the movie. Lois Lane — up until this point, the single most important human being in the world — has been suddenly and mysteriously called away to Bermuda, for a surfside adventure that’s probably way more interesting than anything we’re going to experience in Smallville. She is with us, and then she is gone, like a forgotten promise, and Superman III has to stumble along without her.

Obviously, this is a dreadful mistake. If Warner Bros had asked people in pre-market testing whether they wanted Lois Lane to appear in the next Superman movie, 94% of respondents would have said yes, and the other 6% wouldn’t have understood the question, because it’s such a stupid idea that they’d think the survey must be asking about something else.

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Swamp Thing 3.17: People Make Choices

“The film couldn’t and doesn’t rely on its special effects,” said director Wes Craven, erroneously. “As the producers went for the person who did the effects on the basis of who gave the lowest quote, you can understand why I had to make the film more of a human experience.”

Which is all very well — I like a human experience as much as the next guy — but the fact is that Swamp Thing absolutely does rely on its special effects, because the non-human is the lead character. This is a superhero movie about a big green monster who saves a beautiful woman from a mean wizard, which means you’re going to need, at minimum, a credible monster, woman and wizard. A story like that can’t just skate by on insights into the human condition, especially since I don’t think Swamp Thing has any of those, either.

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Superman II 2.37: Another World

Everything seemed possible back then. If a movie about fishing could make $260 million and a movie about film-serial space battles could make $307 million — and now they were making a big-budget special-effects movie based on Superman, of all the crazy things — then maybe what people wanted was lighthearted, high-concept blockbusters. All they needed was a big idea, preferably somebody else’s.

“Comics Strip for Next Film Cycle,” Variety reported in 1978, proclaiming that “the next cycle of big budget films will be centered on comic book characters.” Then they rattled off a list of comics with a film in development — Flash Gordon, Popeye, Tarzan, Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, The Phantom. They even mentioned a live-action movie based on Marmaduke the Great Dane, which seemed deeply unwise. It was like last call at Kevin Feige’s place.

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Superman II 2.3: Let’s Twist Again

Well, here we go again. We’re back on Krypton, which I’d figured was pretty conclusively in the rearview mirror.

But it’s here, on the cusp of this new dawn, that we find out what the three Kryptonians did to deserve being locked up in a revolving parallelogram, and set adrift in the void. At the beginning of the last movie, all we saw was the sentencing; we didn’t see the actual crime that they committed.

Well, now we know. They broke a crystal!

Continue reading Superman II 2.3: Let’s Twist Again