Batman vs Superman vs Star Wars

Vader-vs-Batman2The new Star Wars trailer was released yesterday. In addition, we had a bootlegged version of the Batman v. Superman trailer leaked.

Now, I won’t pass final judgement on the Batman v. Superman trailer until I can see it in high definition as it was originally intended. The sound and picture quality of the phone-taped version is relatively poor.

Nonetheless, I know how watching these trailers made me feel.

Star Wars left me excited, full of wonder and desire. B v. S left me still unsure if this was a film worthy of my time.

In thinking about why I had such a different reaction, I’ve come to this conclusion…

Star Wars felt like a movie made by people who loved the source material and wished to be true to its spirit. Not only was this evident in how the trailer was put together, and the designs which look like natural evolutions of the old films, it was also the call outs to fans. Using Luke’s voice as the first we hear evoked obvious emotions. And the ending… “We’re home.” Gawd, the feels! All the right notes, just enough flashy visuals, but leaning more on emotive visuals and sounds (music and voice).

The Batman vs. Superman trailer feels like a movie made by people intent on forcing their own creative vision on classic characters. Odd, seeing how much the imagery owes to Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, but I couldn’t shake the feeling these weren’t my Superman or Batman. There is nothing wrong with putting a personal stamp on things, but I felt no respect or love for the source material.

Of course, this could be because Warner Brothers seems intent on making their superheroes the “Dark and Gritty” ones to stand apart from Marvel. So blame may rest with the studio.

But I want to feel the love. Star Wars made me believe. If episode seven as a whole movie can capture just two-thirds of the feelings I had watching the trailer, it will be a worthy successor to the original series.

Batman v. Superman, well, I hope my feelings will be partially dispelled by watching the trailer in high-def with decent sound. But I don’t have high hopes.

Misgivings aside, seeing the huge response to these trailers, it feels like a wonderful time to be a genre fan (geek, fanboy, whatever you want to call me/yourself).

PS the image above is a still from a video on Machina Prime’s YouTube channel called, appropriately, Batman vs. Darth Vader

Vampire Rewrites and Fans Remake Films

On Twitter today, I noticed an awesome contest being put on by the fine people at GalleyCat. They’re taking a Victorian vampire novel and assigning each of the entrants a page to rewrite. When the book is complete, they will be releasing it as a free eBook as well as giving prizes to their favourite entries. I couldn’t resist. I’ve signed up. If it sounds like something you might be interested in, you can follow the link to their Rewrite Victorian Vampires post.

This idea of theirs was born from the fruits of another fan remix project, Star Wars Uncut. For that project, fans were assigned 15 second segments of the original Star Wars – A New Hope and were to refilm their segment in any manner they wished. It’s amazing, entertaining, and a wonder to see the varying levels of creativity. If you have 2 hours to spare, I recommend it!

So, wish me luck with the rewrite contest. And if you join, let me know in the comments and we can post/link to our respective pages.

Read the Original

A Video Game Should Be FUN

Last night, I finished a major rewrite of the most problematic chapter in The Veil. I decided to unwind by playing some Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Number 1. I just picked it up for a bargain).

I’m a child of the 70’s. Star Wars was the first film I recall seeing in a theatre. The toys were the only thing every kid in our neighborhood could agree to playing with. There’s a very special memory of my mom tied to the Star Wars series. When I say Star Wars is important to me, I’m making an understatement.

So it’s natural that a game that supposedly ties into the Star Wars story should intrigue me, yes? And since I can now play it with the glorious graphic capabilities of the PS3, it’s even better.

So I sit down and start to play. I confess, it kept me up until 3:45am. But here’s the thing, I didn’t have fun. Yes, the story was engaging. In particular a certain plot twist early on that changes your perception of the whole original trilogy was pretty sweet. But the story was the ONLY reason I kept going (that and I’m cheap & don’t want to waste $20).

The most annoying aspect is that you can fall anywhere. I mean, if you’re standing next to a river and 20 enemies attack you, they can push you to your death into the water. WHAT? Since when did an action RPG do such a thing? I played the far superior Castlevania Lords of Shadow and it never allowed for you to die so easily. It understood that when you involve combos, jumping and enemies that can push you back, it’s pretty unfair for you to die just cause of a ledge. Especially maddening in Force Unleashed because you have to start a hella long way back. It gets frustrating that you can complete all these tasks, battle hordes of enemies and then you get hit with a laser blast and since you were too close to the ledge, kiss your ass goodbye. The frustration level elevates more when you consider that if you do get hit, your character is useless and takes some time before he’s responsive to the controls.

I only stopped because it was the fourth time I had been pushed into water and died and I was about to do harm to my PS3.

As I stomped up to bed (OK, not stomp exactly, didn’t want to wake the kids) I thought this was a good lesson about writing. Story is important. Hell, it’s why we write, but what if it isn’t fun for the reader? Yes, I know, we don’t always want the reader to have fun, but the reader should be having an emotional experience that is complementary to the story. They shouldn’t be frustrated with odd language usage or poor formatting, or for us indies, poor editing. Playing that game last night reinforced in my mind what I said yesterday about needing patience. I have to make it right. I have to ensure my audience feels what they should be feeling. I don’t want them throwing the book because it’s needlessly frustrating to get through and they got pushed in the water again.