Monday, July 26, 2004

Looking To The Stars: Black Cat Crossing

For those of you who were expecting a review of Catwoman this week, I’m sorry. There isn’t one. There isn’t going to be one. I know you’ve all gotten used to Unca Starman doing a review of any and every comic-based movie that comes out. But this time… I couldn’t do it. I could not justify spending my eight bucks on a film that insulted every fiber of my being just by existing.

You see, I have a small cheering session in my head and all of them are screaming like a Spider-Sense. The comic purist is whining about how the movie had nothing to do with the books. The film freak cried bloody murder about how poorly shot the trailers looked and how bad the acting seemed. The writer in me started out quietly listing every other story that was ripped off to make the “plot” of the movie and then started yelling along with the inner cynic, who was wondering why Halle Berry agreed to this movie when she considered playing Storm an “insult” and how she had been "reduced to playing" comic book movies because Hollywood didn’t offer African American women decent roles.

“Oh yeah! Now I remember,” the cynic said sarcastically. “This time nobody expects her to ACT. She just has to put on a skimpy costume and walk around in the spotlight.”

Mind you, I did consider several options that would let me see the movie without paying for it. I’m friendly with a few theater managers who might consider giving me a pass or having let me in on the Thursday night preview. I thought about playing the press card on some of the theater people I wasn’t so friendly with. I even briefly considered setting up a Pay Pal link on the site and asking for donations, but rejected that idea after deciding that YOU shouldn’t have to pay to support the movie either.

Thankfully it appears that the fanboys, despite most of them usually being easily swayed by anything with cleavage, have stood firm in their resolve to not promote this movie in any way. I can attest to this as a comic book shop employee: I have not seen ONE copy of the new Catwoman: The Movie comic sold in my store.

Lord knows I did TRY and sell it to people (it was one of my sales goals this week) and Lord knows DC did try to make it easier for me to do so. Perhaps they too sensed what a turkey this was going to be and in an effort to apologize to the comic community in general, they had Jim Lee do a cover for the book.

It’s cynical but it is a tried, true and tested theory: put a Jim Lee cover on it and it will sell. They even did a second version of the comic, featuring some classic Catwoman stories and a Jim Lee sketchbook. Sadly, not even Jim Lee could make this monstrosity look good. And there’s nothing I can say good or bad about the fact that Chuck Austen wrote the thing that anybody on either side of the “Austen Is The Anti-Christ” argument will take seriously, so I won’t bother.

Here’s another sign of how strongly the fandom community is coming out against this movie; the collectibles based on it aren’t selling! And in an industry built upon guys who will buy anything if it’s billed as being an ultra-rare chase figure or “limited to a run of 6000” that is saying something.

Here’s how I discovered it. My girlfriend is a collector of Barbie dolls. I forget how it came up in conversation, but she just mentioned it a few weeks ago. This led me to mention the new line of superheroine Barbie dolls that came out a few months back. She just kinda smiled and said “Oooh, do they have Catwoman? I’d love one of her.” I checked my store and we were sold out. I checked ebay and that’s where I found it… and confirmation that the hordes of collectors out there are not nearly as stupid as the retailers and manufactures hope.

Cheapest Price on a Selina Kyle Catwoman Barbie? $40.

Most expensive bid on a Halle Berry Catwoman Barbie? $10.

Seeing that most of the Halle Berry Barbies are unbid on even with a price that can be paid in pennies and having your hope in humanity justified? Priceless.

Just did a quick check on ebay just now and it looks about the same You can see for yourself how well it’s going, but even this weekend… Halle Berry’s plastic dominatrix likeness is doing just as well as the air conditioner repairman in an Eskimo village.

It was all going so well, too. X-Men 2, while having some weak performances, was an improvement upon the first film and quite enjoyable. Hellboy came out and was a moderate success. It was Number One the week it came out and I hear the buzz on the DVD due out this week is quite good. And Spider-Man 2… oh, Spider-Man 2 was SO good on so many levels. Yes, it was starting to look like there was a light at the end of our tunnel; that Hollywood WAS putting some care into their comic book movies.

And then we get our hands stomped by a stiletto heel just as we’re crawling out of the pit. And before we know it we’re back in the shadows with a long climb ahead of us again.

Et tu, Hollywood?

I wish I could say it can only get better. Sadly, for every bit of good news we get something equally bad comes out.

Good News: Bryan Singer is on for Superman!

Bad News: Someone else is probably going to have to do X-3 and Hugh Jackman, unless some major rescheduling is done, won’t be in it.

Worse News: Jack Black is Kyle Rayner in a slapstick comedy Green Lantern.

But lest we end with a completely hopeless tone, let me give you all something good to come out on, along with an open letter.

To Whom It May Concern at Warner Bros.,

Find the man who made this trailer. Give him a budget. Let him do as he will. Do not let Halle Berry play Lois Lane.

Yours sincerely,

Matt Morrison

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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