Hey You Geeks!! This marks the return of the Hey You Geeks column, a weekly deconstruction of the best and sometimes worst that geek culture has to offer. A companion to the Hey You Geeks podcast, each week, the column will examine the news and rumors of the previous week with opinions, predictions and new takes on the movies, comics, games, events and television us Geeks clamor for. This week, reaction to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s trailer hits the web, Facebook game requests go mainstream and a trip to the Rumor Mill for some Indy, Daredevil and Ghostbusting speculation.
Turtles in a Half-Shell of a Producer’s hands
Boy did the Internet rage army come out in droves this past week. And rightly so! The first trailer for the new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released this week. It’s really no surprise that the movie looks terrible, but what is a huge surprise is its tone. Let me start by prefacing that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is not directed by Michael Bay as so many people assume. It’s branded as a Michael Bay film, and it sure as hell has all of the blemishes of a Bay directed joint, but TMNT is actually only produced by everyone’s favorite Transformers director. TMNT is in fact directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans, Battle Los Angeles).
You really can’t judge a director’s success or failure from a trailer, but what you can judge is tone. Is the tone of the trailer necessarily the same as that of the film? Usually yes, though on rare instances a studio will market a film to brand it around the feel of another popular film. I hope that’s the case with TMNT, though I doubt it. The trailer presents a very dark and foreboding world. This is clearly a product of the thematically somber superhero films that spawned from the success of The Dark Knight. The original Ninja Turtles comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird was dark, but the Turtles of the 80’s soon morphed into a fun, goofy take on the mutant-hero genre. It would be great to say the tone of this new film comes from Eastman and Laird’s original incarnation, but I know it really comes down to Hollywood’s new trend of turning the lighthearted dark. They did this with the current Spiderman reboot as well, turning nerd outcast Peter Parker into an emo stud. The problem is, they’re missing the mark. The comic-book fans and nostalgia miners that flock to see these films expect familiarity and some level of personal relevance. In that regard, Ninja Turtles fans expect a goofy band of dudes and an equally goofy troupe of villains. None of that is on display in this first trailer.
I won’t even go into the complaints about the looks of the Turtles themselves, or the fact that the canon is being changed around completely. Those complaints are better reserved for after I see the actual movie. All I can say is thank god we at least have Marvel Entertainment, a company who are willing to let their characters be fun (see Guardians of the Galaxy). As far as serious mutant animals go in 2014, I’ll hold off for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Farmville is why the Oculus Rift was created, right?
In other Internet-rage-inducing news, Facebook announced that they are purchasing the Virtual Reality Company Oculus VR for $2 Billion. Oculus VR, makers of the holy grail of virtual reality gaming, the Oculus Rift, are known worldwide for bringing our dreams of full immersion gaming into fruition. Since the 90’s, we’ve longed for VR headsets that could take us into the video game worlds we love and allow us to actually experience gaming from within. Oculus has done it!
So why the rage? Isn’t Facebook, with their endless dollars and tech wizards more suited to bring the Oculus Rift into each of our homes? Sure, but at what cost? The Oculus Rift has amazing potential for plugging into consoles and computers and allowing us to view and experience games in exciting new ways. The Rift was created with gaming in mind, but Facebook wants to take the technology somewhere else entirely. Facebook doesn’t deal with games in the gamer’s sense of the word. When you think of Facebook and games, the correlation comes from those goddamned game requests you get on a daily basis. Facebook wants to use the Rift to deliver a more personal computing experience. Facebook asks us to imagine watching a basketball game from courtside using the rift. Imagine a group study session where you and other Rift users appear in the same room. Imagine Google Glass! That’s what it sounds like Facebook is pitching here. This is precisely why gamers are enraged. The Rift was created for and crowd funded by gamers to be used for playing Skyrim with the feeling of being in Skyrim, not a study group.
What a waste. The light at the end of the tunnel however is that PlayStation and Xbox are each working on their own Rift style VR headsets to correspond with their consoles. Gamers will just have to wait a little longer since the all-consuming face of the Internet has extinguished the Oculus VR. To hold you over, I recommend reading Ernest Cline’s incredible “Ready Player One,” the best geek-inspired novel ever written about full immersion gaming. If you want to read an account of where Facebook is taking us however, read Dave Eggers’ ominously close to home “The Circle.”
The Hey You Geeks Rumor-Mill
RUMOR: Phil Lord and Chris Miller, directors of The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street may direct Ghostbusters 3.
PRO: These two know how to take something that sounds bad on paper and make it hilariously charming.
CON: If this is a sequel and not a reboot, the lack of Ramis, Murray and Reitman would make this sacrilegious.
RUMOR: Disney may or may not be considering an Indiana Jones reboot with Bradley Cooper in the starring role.
PRO: George Lucas originally intended the Indy films to be a James Bond like series of films, so this makes sense.
CON: Think Crystal Skull.
RUMOR: Michael C. Hall may be cast as Daredeveil in the forthcoming Marvel series coming to Netflix.
PRO: Drew Goddard, Michael C. Hall, Marvel and Netflix!
CON: Is there any?