Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Avengers And The Dark Knight Rises Debate.

The last few blogs I've written have been primarily based on either The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers, and rightfully so since they're the first and second top grossing movies this year.  If you read any article or blog based on these movies, even if the other movie isn't mentioned, the comments below will state that either TDKR or The Avengers is the better movie of the two.  My opinion will come in a paragraph or so, but why even mention what movie is better?  Why does there even have to be a debate on what movie is the best?
I hear the same argument over and over again for The Avengers being the better movie of the two.  There's always mention that The Avengers has made over $600 million domestically, while TDKR has made $423 million to date.  Yes, its true, The Avengers has made more money.  It's also true that its more of a family friendly film over TDKR.  It's also true that The Avengers has a better rating on over TDKR by five percent.

Now the argument for TDKR.  I hear fans saying this movie has more of a storyline and character development than The Avengers.  It's a darker film with more emotion and it packs a punch with its action and climatic finally.  Its also the last film in The Dark Knight trilogy, which to some people this means more than a start of a new trilogy like The Avengers.  TDKR is also ranked number 22 in IMDB's top 250 films of all time while The Avengers is ranked 75.

Now my thoughts on the whole debate on what movie is better.  Yes, The Avengers has made more money than TDKR, but you also have to take into account that there was a shooting at the midnight showing of TDKR.  The shooting did cause quite a few people from not wanting to see the film in theaters.  You also have to take into account that TDKR wasn't shown in 3D, which really boosts a films box office like The Avengers.  As for critics rating The Avengers at 92% on rotten tomato versus 87% for TDKR, those percentages are just a bit to close to call and in reality they both are very good ratings to have for a film.  The character development for The Dark Knight Rises and story is much better than in The Avengers, but honestly, why develop characters that we've already been introduced to in past films.  The only character's who really needed to have development was Hawkeye and we have a good idea what he's about in the first place.  The villain Loki was even introduced prior to the release of the film.  The Dark Knight Rises on the other hand had a new villian and several new characters, which did call for more character development.  It was also the end of the trilogy, which meant the storyline couldnt leave anything open for another film.  The Avengers has a lot more story to tell and sequels to do it in. 

Honestly they're both great films and they both have a different feel to them.  If you really want my honest opinion on the matter.  The Dark Knight Rises wins in my book for several reasons, Batman is just one character while The Avengers is based on roughly seven comic book heroes.  Its not really a fair comparison.  Now if it were The Justice League against The Avengers, then I could go along with that argument.  If your wanting to be fair in this, then place Batman against Iron Man or The Hulk.  Yes I know, Batman defeated both at the box office, but that is a fair match rather than placing The Dark Knight against seven different characters.  Batman is a more beloved character and wins against all else in this race, but if he's against several heroes then its understandable as too why he's not on top.  Case closed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Greatest Summer Blockbuster Of All Time.

The Summer movie season has ended, and even though its a sad time for moviegoers, we look back with fond memories of films that made us cry, cheer, and scream.  Lets look further back though, past the summer of 2012 and see if we can maybe find the ultimate summer blockbuster.

I can't start this list without mentioning the first summer blockbuster, the 1975 film Jaws.  If you didn't know by now, Jaws was the first film to ever pass the two-hundred million dollar mark, a feat no one saw coming when the film was released.  The budget ballooned way past what most producers put into it, and with a faulty shark, happily named bruce that never seemed to work, the film looked to be on its way to a box office blunder.  Who knew that the lack of seeing the shark in the film would make it a success.  It turns out that since the shark wasn't working, Steven Spielberg would shoot the scenes with the point of view of the shark, rather than what everyone else sees.  The camera zooming past kicking legs beneath the surface of the water was more traumatizing than seeing the the shark itself.  The anticipation of an attack gave the audience more chills and thrills.  Jaws has gone on to become a classic in the horror genre, bringing to life a new genre of film and even spawning three sequels, all of which couldn't hold a candle to the original.  The blu-ray release of the film is now available for the first time this month.  But is Jaws the ultimate summer movie, or was it just the first? 

Two years after the release of the first summer blockbuster, we find ourselves in a new territory that most movie makers can only dream of being in with the release of Star Wars.  I'm sure most Star Wars fans are looking for A New Hope to come after the title but when the film first arrived in theaters it was just called Star Wars, so that's what I'm sticking with.  Star Wars went on to become the highest grossing picture of all time, and it held onto that position for twenty years, until the release of Titanic.  Star Wars has gone on to have multiple re-releases and is due to come back to theaters in 2015 with a conversion to 3D.  Adjusted for ticket prices and inflation, Star Wars is the second highest grossing film of all time, just behind Gone With The Wind.  Two sequels were released several years after the original along with three prequels twenty years after that.  The franchise has become a phenomenon and still lives through novels, television shows, and conventions.  It has held the test of time and still builds upon its already massive fan base with every passing year.

  Raiders of the Lost Ark, too some the ultimate action adventure movie of all time, too others just another box office success from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas; too me, the greatest movie of all time.  I won't be biased though and will play fair with this list.  When Indiana Jones was first thought of in the mind of George Lucas, he wanted to create a movie based on the 1950's serials he grew to love.  With those thoughts and a director who was wanting to direct a James Bond picture, Spielberg and Lucas joined forces to create a character named after the family dog, carried a whip, and wore a fedora.  Indiana Jones was re-released in 82 and 83 and is soon due to come out in IMAX for two weeks in September, coinciding with its release to blu-ray.  The film has garnered three sequels with a possible fifth in the works, of course most would probably like to forget the last one in the franchise.  The film is still considered the consequential adventure film of all time, who would deny that?

  Alright, I know that it seems as though I'm showing favoritism towards Steven Spielberg, due to the fact that he's been on this list three out of the four movies posted.  Who are we too deny though that he practically ruled the summer in the 80's and 90's?  Jurassic Park is the first time we actually got to see dinosaurs walk the earth the way they might of done so 65 million years ago.  Any film released prior to Jurassic Park with a dinosaur in it was nothing compared to what audiences witnessed in 1993.  It was the first film I seen twice in theaters and it still looks great on screen.  The special effects used were still experimental but they still hold up to what comes out presently.  Jurassic Park has had two sequels, both being successful with a fourth in the works.  Next year it will be re-released in 3D, and what a treat that will be for whoever remembers the massive force of a footstep that audiences felt before the T-Rex first made its appearance on screen.

Spider-man does seem to be a little out of the ordinary from what I've put on this list previously, but we have to realize that when the year 2000 arrived, so did the dawn of the superhero era.  Spider-man is the first film to reach over $100 million dollars at the box office in its opening weekend.  It went on too gross over $400 million dollars and helped create a franchise that's still successful today.  Looking back at the film, with its great score by Danny Elfman and wonderful direction from Sam Raimi, it finally showed us the hero we have read about for several decades.  Spider-man isn't the oldest character to grace this list, nor is he the most popular, he is probably the nicest and most generous of the superheroes.  Defending a city that considers him a threat but always protects the one girl he can never be without.  The take on the hero was a little campy, but the charm of the film and its characters outweighed the bad and gave us a summer blockbuster that audiences fell in love with.

The second superhero to grace this list and probably the most popular of all of them.  He first graced the screen in 1989 with Micheal Keaton (great article with Keaton about Batman here.)behind the cowl.  We lost all hope for the character in 1997 with Batman and Robin, but in 2005 we witnessed what it takes to be more than just a man, but a symbol that everyone can stand behind.  In 2008 though, Batman reached new heights and praise that no one thought was imaginable.  The Dark Knight was released several months after one of its main stars died, creating a shadow over promoting the film.  In some cases though, most believed that the success of the film came from the tragedy.  I'd like to believe that the film deserved all of the success it received.  The Dark Knight has gone on to become on of the greatest superheroes films of all time and too some, on of the greatest films to be made.  It was a critical success as well, and even received an Oscar for best supporting actor for Heath Ledger's role as the Joker.  The film sits with only three others to ever cross the $500 million dollar mark.

The last movie on this list and also the latest to be released.  The Avengers, the highly anticipated film that most had been waiting for since the release of Iron Man in 2008.  The film has grossed over $600 million dollars domestically, the third film to ever do so and is also the first film to cross the $200 million mark in just three days.  In reality, its the fifth most popular in terms of adjusted box office.  Even so though, its rare to see a movie nowadays even cross the $600 million mark.  Most of our favorite Marvel superheroes team up in this gem of a film to fight the villian Loki from world domination.  A sequel is in the works with a release date being in 2015, to long of a wait if you ask me.  Our favorite heroes though will still come to visit us with the release of Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World next year, along with Captain America: The Winter Solder in 2014.  Josh Whedon is set to helm The Avengers along with the original cast coming back for more, with maybe a few new faces to join them along the way.

Alright so, after all of that and seven movies to choose from.  What would you consider to be the greatest summer blockbuster of all time?  This is of course my opinion, and no you don't have to agree with my choices.  In the end I would have to choose Star Wars, not because of how much money its made or how many fans its accumulated over the years, but because of how long its been around.  For a film to still be as popular today as it was back in 1977 is something that can't be ignored.  Of course there are films on here that are just as memorable but Star Wars hasn't lost its traction and is still considered a great film to new and old generations. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Olympics

The games are coming to a close and we'll have to wait another four years to watch the worlds best athletes compete against one another for gold, which saddens me after becoming accustomed to hearing the Olympic anthem blare throughout the house everyday for the last two weeks.  Even though the Olympics will return in two years when the best winter athletes battle against one another, its the summer Olympics that catches my attention more so than any other event.  Have you ever wondered where the Olympics originated from?  Most people know the Olympics originates from Greece but most don't know that it was a pagan festival with only one sport, a 192 meter footrace that was first documented in 776 B.C.  The footrace was won by a cook named Coroebus, the very first Olympian.  Roughly three hundred years later the christian emperor Theodosius I banned all pagan festivals, including the Olympics.

Almost 1,500 years later a man by the name of Baron Pierre de Coubertine, who became inspired by the original Olympic stadium after visiting Greece, proposed an idea to Union des Sports Athlétiques in Paris to bring back the Olympics.  Two years later, the barons proposal was approved and soon he founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC).  In 1896 the first modern Olympics took place in Athens, Greece.  At the opening ceremonies King Georgios I and a crowd of 60,000 spectators welcomed 280 participants from 13 nations to compete in 43 events.

The official symbol of the games are five interlocking rings, symbolizing the five regions who compete in the games.  The Olympic flag flew for the first time at the Antwerp games in 1920.
In 1924 the Winter Olympics debut with events such as figure skating, bobsledding, and the biathlon.  Eighty years later at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, 11,000 athletes from 201 nations came to compete, a far cry from the first Olympics in 1896. 

Now what most don't know is that there is a theme song for the Olympics written by Greek composer Spyridon Samaras called The Olympic Hymm.  The song was written for the first Olympic games and has been a part of every opening ceremony since 1960.  Most people don't really know the song nor would they even know its origins if they heard the music, but in 1958 a composer by the name of Léo Arnaud composed Bugler's Dream, but wasn't meant to be an Olympic theme.  It was just a song he had on an album called Charge!, an album that never went anywhere, not until ABC Sports decided to use the theme during its telecast in 1968.  Bugler's Dream soon became the unofficial theme to the televised Olympic games.  In 1984 though, that melody would be transformed forever when the Los Angeles Organizing Committee commissioned John Williams to compose a theme for the opening ceremony.  The theme conducted by Williams called Olympic Fanfare and Theme was soon adopted in with the Bugler's Dream and is now played during the Olympic telecast today.

Four years will go by quick and we'll be watching the 31st annual Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro before you know it.  We will welcome back familiar athletes and learn the names of the new ones that are competing for our country.  We'll take two weeks out of our lives and stop to see the records they might break and watch in astonishment at things we never thought the human body is capable of doing.  I look forward to those two weeks, not because I look on in awe at the accomplishments of what hard work will grant you, I look forward to it because it reminds me that dreams do come true.