Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poor Old Uncle Ben

So, the most recent Spiderman flick came out on DVD a while ago. And yes, we're still keeping our policy of saying "Screw you," to the Launceston cinemas, and watching the movies we want to see a bit later on. It's working well for us at this end. Who knows? Maybe the people behind the cinema business in Launceston will get the message, and find a way to make their venue interesting again, some day.

But probably not with movies like the Amazing (Astounding? Astonishing? Unlikely? Silly? Who the hell can remember which adjective they chose, anyway? Not me.) Spiderman.

I'm happy to admit it's a better film than the Raimi version. It's shinier. The FX are better. The main actor (whoever he was; they're all a bit interchangeable these days, aren't they?) was much more interesting than Dopey Maguire. And the lead female role was played by someone (whoever she was; they're all a bit interchangeable these days, aren't they?) with much more life, spark and personality than Kirsten Dunst.

(Dunst. Dunst. Dunst. Dunst. Damn. That's starting to remind me of a comic-book sound-effect, maybe. The sort of thing you might see in a panel where a surgeon throws a bit of unwanted organ-meat over his shoulder into a trash bin. Dunst!)

I liked the villain more too. Willem Dafoe's turn as Psycho Norman Osborne Green Goblin Bad Daddy was a bit too hard on the scenery for me. Yeah, I know. He was playing a comic-book villain. But he was in a movie, right? They're not the same thing, no matter what the fanboyz say. Peter Jackson knows what I'm talking about.

Whatever. The point is that even for my young boys, the movie was largely unfuckingnecessary. We lounged about, giggling over whatever silly elements of the story took our attention. We lampooned Dopey Maguire, and we dissed Dunst, and we did it over the top of the dialogue of the Unbelievable Spiderman and we didn't give a damn.

Because, of course, we knew exactly where the movie was going. At every point. Aside from the usual elements of signposting (oh noes! Peter's dad has been working on a Sekrit Formula!) it was just the same old, same old Indefatigable Spiderman story.

And we got bored.

Thus, when we saw Petey's parents onscreen, the boys and I shouted warnings: "Look out, Pete! Your parents are gonna disappear! You're gonna be an orphan, and you're gonna have to live with your Aunt May and your Uncle Ben! Look out!"

Of course, Petey paid us no heed, and his parents duly shuffled off, as directed.

Then there was Martin Sheen doing his Uncle Ben impression. And let's be fair: it was a good Uncle Ben impression. (They really pulled out the stops casting Aunt May and Uncle Ben, didn't they? I didn't even know the Flying Nun was still making movies!) But there he was, puffing and blowing and pontificating his way through his stand-in parent role, and instead of engendering sympathy, it just made the boys and I shout again: "Great responsibility!" we howled. "Tell him the bit about great power and great responsibility, Uncle Ben!"

Oddly, he ignored us. So we shouted the line for Peter to hear. But Pete ignored us too.

Worse still, when Uncle Ben wandered out into the night to get (what was it? Extra tampax for the Flying Nun? I can't remember) something from the shops, he ignored us again. "Look out, Uncle Ben," we shouted. "You're gonna get killed! Don't go down to the shops! There's a bad man with a gun!"

Peter, too. We called out to him as well: "Look out, Pete! Uncle Ben's gonna get killed by that bad man with a gun! You better stop him, Pete, or you're gonna be orphanised even more, and then you'll be all angsty and have to go around beating up criminals for the rest of your unnaturally prolonged teenagerhood!"

But did he listen? Nope. Not a word. Not a hint.

I am tremendously glad that we didn't bother seeing that one at the cinemas. I'm sure we would have annoyed the shit out of everyone else in the place... but unfortunately, taking the piss out of the tired, sad, predictable developments unfolding inevitably, mechanistically, fatalistically on the screen in front of us was the only way to have fun with the film.

If I was five years old, seeing the Unredeemable Spiderman for the first time, I'd want it to be that version of the movie, yep. But I'm not five. I saw all three of the previous Dopey Maguire versions, and so did the boys. So what if the suits at Sony wanted to hang onto the rights? I don't give a shit. It wasn't worth the effort.

Fuck all this "reboot" shit the studios are doing. There are a million fantastic amateur projects out there on the web. Hollywood is a frustrated dinosaur, screaming and stalking around the landscape trying to masturbate with hands too short to reach its wiener.

That's not what it's about any more.

Guess I won't be back to the cinemas any time soon.


  1. At first I thought you were going to have a diatribe about fake rice. Might have been more amusing than Spidey. I never did like him. The comics were cruddy and it's no surprise they managed to capture that onscreen too.

    1. Ooh! That's harsh!

      Illuminate me, though: what does Uncle Ben have to do with fake rice?


      Popular brand here in the US. Utter crap.

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  3. I'd probably grab my popcorn and settle in to watch you and the kids :) Bugger the movie...

    1. It was a bit of a tragedy, I admit. But yes, the homespun comedy helped. And the home-made popcorn. My popcorn is infamous for its fiendish deliciosity...