Saturday, 25 February 2012

Episode 22. GREEN LANTERN (2011)

In brightest day, in blackest night, there is no way in hell this film is escaping our sight! We can’t believe this film ever came in front of a projector’s light! Dru and David are joined by guest Andrew Kannegiesser for an in-depth discussion of Martin Campbell's Green Lantern. Characteristically, Dru shines the indigo light of compassion while David swears allegiance to the rage-fuelled Red Lantern Corps.

Episode breakdown:
0:00 - 5:17: Intro banter (we need storage space for our back episodes!!)
5:17 - 5:55: Green Lantern trailer
5:55 - 1:28:58: Main discussion: Green Lantern with guest Andrew Kannegiesser (with clip from 35:09 - 36:02)
1:28:58 - 1:33:26: Closing remarks

NOTE: As we discussed at the beginning of this episode, we are at the point where we have to delete an episode from iTunes each time we upload a new one. If anybody has any online storage space that they would be able to donate to 24 Panels Per Second, we would really appreciate it. We'd love to have all of our episodes available to download, for free, right here on the 24 Panels blog. Please get in touch with us if you can help.

Send all feedback to Stay up to date with our blog at Follow us on Twitter @24panels. Like us on Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe (and review us) in iTunes!

Next time on 24 Panels Per Second: Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Preview Post - GREEN LANTERN

In brightest day, in blackest night, there is no way in hell this film is escaping our sight! We can’t believe this piece of celluloid ever came in front of a projector’s light!

Yes folks, we’re back, and this time we are taking a look at the 2011 film Green Lantern!

OK, the history of the Green Lantern comics is a little long and complicated, so I’ll try and keep this simple. The first ever Green Lantern appeared in All-American Comics # 16 in 1940, created by Martin Nodell and un-credited Batman co-creator Bill Finger. This original Green Lantern is Alan Scott, a railroad engineer who comes across a magic lantern after a railroad accident. The lantern, originally a meteor which fell to Earth in ancient China, teaches Scott how to construct a magic ring which can harness the power of the Lantern to help him battle crime, starting with the criminals who caused the railroad accident.

 Scott has the ability to fly, walk through solid objects, time travel (I kid you not), and energy beams among other abilities. His one weakness? Wood, thus proving his magic Lantern is based on Time Lord technology.

 Cut to the 1950s: DC Comics, battling declining sales, decides to dust off and revamp some of their older characters, starting with the Flash in 1956. In 1959, Green Lantern is next up to bat for a retooling, which comes via the talents of John Broome and Gil Kane. Debuting in Showcase #22, this time out the Green Lantern is one Hal Jordan, a test pilot who is chosen to replace a dying alien as a member in the Green Lantern Corps, a group of intergalactic peace keepers who wield power rings which require great will to use. These rings, in addition to flight and slight telepathic abilities, allow the user to create “constructs,” physical objects of varying degrees of complexity which the ring bearer can use. The ring's only weakness is the colour yellow, a silly idea only made slightly less silly in recent years given some of the new mythology put into place by DC.

A smash hit, Jordan - and a long list of successors/backups - would carry on the Green Lantern name and concept to this day, becoming one of the lynchpins of the modern DC Universe.

While popular amongst comic fans, Jordan (and the Green Lantern concept in general) has only had some exposure in other media, and for the longest time without Hal Jordan, as later Green Lanterns would appear in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Still, Jordan did beat them all into animation by appearing in the Super Friends series:

Jordan has also managed to star in three DC DTV animated films:

While one may think that Ryan Reynolds is the first actor to play Hal Jordan in live action, this is not actually the case. Howard Murphy beat Reynolds to the punch in 1979 in Legends of the Superheroes, a made for TV mini-series which is embarrassing to say the least. Sorry I can't embed, but look towards the end of the clip for Jordan.

Of course, nearly twenty years later, they still can’t quite get things right on TV, as these clips from the Justice League of America television pilot showcase (NOTE: while the character is not called Jordan in this version, the Guy Gardner of this film is something of an amalgamation of the various Green Lantern characters, including Jordan):

The film we are talking about this week is directed by Martin Campbell, perhaps best known for directing not only two of the best Bond films of the past twenty years, but two of the best films in the Bond series period:

But was Campbell the right choice for bringing the Green Lantern comics to the big screen? No, he wasn’t.  But find out why by joining us next episode as we discuss Green Lantern!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Episode 21. HULK (2003)

This week, Dru and David take a journey deep into their repressed memories to explore Ang Lee's 2003 comic-to-film adaptation of Marvel Comics' Hulk. Neither was particularly fond of the film upon first viewing, but have their opinions grown fonder over time, or only greener, bigger, and angrier? LIsten to this week's 24 Panels Per Second to find out!

Episode breakdown:
0:00 - 15:24: Intro banter (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, birth announcement, being creepy)
15:24 - 16:01: Hulk trailer
16:01 - 1:29:40: Main discussion: Hulk (with a clip from 38:55 - 40:13)
1:29:40 - 1:34:42: Closing remarks

*NOTE: The version originally uploaded was missing the clip. This has now been fixed.

Send all feedback to Stay up to date with our blog at Follow us on Twitter @24panels. Like us on Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe (and review us) in iTunes!

Next time on 24 Panels Per Second: Green Lantern...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Preview Post - HULK

The time to record another episode of 24 Panels Per Second is almost upon us folks, and this time we are going to delve into our deep-seeded psychological issues as we tackle Ang Lee’s 2003 psycho-drama-come-superhero film, Hulk.

The Hulk character first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1, published in 1962. Created by the legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the story of the Hulk is that of Bruce Banner, a brilliant scientist and inventor of a gamma radiation bomb. During a test of this bomb, teenager Rick Jones accidentally enters the testing site, which leads Bruce out into the field to try and save Rick. Banner’s heroism succeeds, but at the cost of him being exposed to the bomb’s deadly rays. Instead of killing him though, the rays transform Banner into an initially grey skinned beast dubbed “the Hulk” before eventually settling onto a standard green skinned appearance. Somewhat intelligent, increadibly strong and filled with rage, this Hulk persona originally appeared by moonlight, only for the transformations to later be controlled by Banner through technology. Finally, these transformations would be triggered by Banner experiencing strong emotions, resulting in him being alienated from the world around him.

 Unable to control the Hulk, Banner was early on looking for a cure, running into dangerous foes looking to take advantage of the Hulk on occasion, and being pursued by the military looking to wipe the Hulk out. These military forces were led by General Thunderbolt Ross, a man with a Captain Ahab-like obsession with Banner and his alter-ego. Ross also happens to be the father of Betty Ross, Banner’s love interest. Supporting Banner in his endeavours is the guilt ridden Rick Jones, who is determined to help Banner and the Hulk however possible.

From these humble beginnings as an atomic age Jekyll and Hyde, the Hulk would increasingly develop into a complex character drama and tragedy, as Banner is revealed to have a complex psychology which informs the appearance and personality of the Hulk creature. Furthermore, Banner's condition radically defines his relationship with the people and world around him, and has allowed the character to address a wide variety of issues, from the role and function of science in our society to more personal issues, such as spousal abuse.

The Hulk is arguably the most famous of Marvel’s creations, thanks to large part to the character’s frequent and memorable adaptations in other media. Starting in 1966, Marvel’s creations would be adapted into the television program The Marvel Superheroes, which featured shorts of various Marvel characters, including, for the first time ever, the Hulk:

However, the Hulk most famously was the basis for the 1977-1982 television program The Incredible Hulk. The series starred Bill Bixby as David Banner (supposed reasons for the renaming of the character vary from source to source), who in this version is trying to find a way to tap into innate human strength through gamma radiation, due to his inability to save his wife in a car accident. He experiments on himself, but comes to discover that when he is angry, he transforms into a green beast (Lou Ferrigno). An accident leaves the world convinced that Banner and a colleague are dead, and that the Hulk is responsible. With no way to prove that he didn’t commit murder, Banner takes the road looking for a cure and helping people he comes across, all while being chased by reporter Jack McGee.

A smash hit, the program remains for many people the definitive version of the character, with the program’s iconography and ending theme making their way into the 2008 film adaptation.

Shortly after cancellation, the character would return to animated form in 1982 for a short lived series…

…and again in 1996 in a series which attained critical acclaim in its first season...

...before being unsuccessfully retooled in its second season.

The character would next return to live action cinema in the film we are taking a look at, a film which met with a mixed response from critics and audiences, and so-so box office. Rather than a direct sequel, Marvel Studios would totally reboot the character in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, with Edward Norton taking on the lead role of Bruce Banner. As noted, this film borrowed heavily from both the comics and 1970s/1980s television version of the character, and was again met with mixed response and solid, if unremarkable, box office receipts:

The character will return later this year in the 2012 event film Avengers. While the character here is a continuation of the version played by Norton in the 2008 film, Mark Ruffalo takes over the role.

Along with the Avengers film soon to be released, a new television version is in the works, with Guillmero Del Toro of Hellboy fame helping to develop the series.

However, before we address any of these other adaptations, join us next time as we examine the 2003 film Hulk!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Episode 20. THE MASK (1994)

The "Angry Green Men" series begins on 24 Panels Per Second with Chuck Russell's THE MASK (1994). What's that you say? The Mask doesn't seem so angry? Go check out the comic books that inspired the film! He's quite the green-faced little hellion! Dru and David have read the comics and seen the movie, and now they've discussed them for well over an hour.

Send all feedback to Stay up to date with our blog at Follow us on Twitter @24panels. Like us on Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe (and review us) in iTunes!

Next time on 24 Panels Per Second: Hulk...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Preview Post - THE MASK

It’s time to P-A-R-T-why? Because we’ve reached twenty regular episodes here on 24 Panels Per Second!  And to celebrate, we are taking a look at a 1994 film that really knows how to swing, The Mask!

The history of the character is a little complicated. Conceived by Dark Horse Comics founder and publisher Mike Richardson in the early 1980s, the character made his full debut in Dark Horse Presents #10, written and drawn by Mike Badger. Except, well, the character at this point is not quite the Mask we know. The Masque (as this version of the character had his name written) is supposedly very different from the more famous version to come. While I have not been able to find much in the way of material about this earlier version of the Mask, the below page can give you a sense as to what it was like.

After undergoing a redesign by Chris Warner, writer John Arcudi and artist Doug Mahnke would re-launch the Mask in Mayhem #1. In this new version, the mask is an object which transforms the wearer into a big, green headed being with nearly unlimited power, which includes seemingly warping reality around him in an almost cartoon-like fashion. While infused with the personality of the wearer, the mask also removes almost all sense of social and moral restraint, leading to usually ultra-violent situations. A mixture of black comedy and horror (think Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn in terms of the comic’s tone), the title became a solid hit for Dark Horse, and eventually a hot property to turn into a film.

Initially intended to become a new horror franchise, New Line Cinema offered the job of directing the film to Chuck Russell, whose previous credits include Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and the remake of The Blob:

While Russell would accept the job, the film would be a far cry from the horror film originally sought by the studio. Instead, Russell would transform the material into an out and our comedy adventure, taking even more direct influence from the work of animator Tex Avery than the original comics did, and drawing upon Classic Hollywood comedies and musicals for further influence. Cast in the lead of the greatly reinvented character of Stanley Ipkiss was an up and coming comedy star name Jim Carrey.  1994 would be a huge year for Carrey, with all three of the films he starred in, including The Mask, becoming box office hits, turning Carrey into a household name. The other two films were little films you may have heard of, the first being Ace Ventura: Pet Detective:

And a little film called Dumb and Dumber:

While the story for the film is credited to Michael Fallon and Dark Horse mainstay Mark Verheiden (My Name Is Bruce and a former writer on the early seasons of the television series Smallville), the final screenplay is credited to Mike Werb, writer of, um, Firehouse Dog and Dark Man III: Die, Darkman, Die!

After being a smash at the box office, a sequel was a sure bet. And we did eventually get one….eleven years later, without Jim Carrey or director Russell. Instead, we ended up with Son of the Mask, which stars Jamie Kennedy and Alan Cumming:

Oh we’ll get to that one sooner or later. Thankfully,there was the ok animated spinoff to tied fans over for the most part:

I said ok, remember? I didn't say great.

Anyways, join us later this week as we take a look at the comedy hit, The Mask!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Episode 19. BARB WIRE (1996) + Between Panels!

Even though Judge Dredd gave Dru and David four consecutive life-sentences as punishment for last week's show, Clint Howard posted their bail and they're back with another episode. Too bad buxom bounty hunter Barb Wire is on their trail, otherwise they'd successfully skip Steel Harbour and start a new life in Quebec. Listen in as they put way more into Barb Wire than the filmmakers ever did!

Episode breakdown:
0:00 - 8:44: Intro banter (2011 wrap-up)
8:44 - 15:20: Jeremy Woodcock on the upcoming slate of comic book films for 2012
15:20 - 19:06: More banter (What we're looking forward to in 2012)
19:06 - 19:51: Barb Wire trailer
19:51 - 1:05:56: Main discussion: Barb Wire
1:05:56 - 1:09:12: Closing remarks

And on this episode of Between Panels, the sporadic 24 Panels Per Second bonus episode, Dru and David discuss whether the comic book film is already past its sell-by date, and what that might mean for Marvel Studios in particular and Hollywood in general. In so doing, they go off on various tangents that are hopefully more entertaining than they are infuriating.

Send all feedback to Stay up to date with our blog at Follow us on Twitter @24panels. Like us on Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe in iTunes!

Additional links: make sure to follow Jeremy Woodcock on Twitter!

Next time on 24 Panels Per Second: The Mask...