Several days ago, on Monday September 16th, I waited in line twice to pick up my pre-ordered copy of GRAND THEFT AUTO V from Gamestop. First, I had to stand in line to get my group number at 6pm. Then, I had to wait in line from 11:00pm to the 12:01am Tuesday release date of the game.
I’m not complaining, bitching, or moaning; I could have (and should have) just picked up the game Tuesday morning and avoided the crowds. After all, I did preorder the game months ago; there would be a copy there waiting for me in the morning.
Though I wish to avoid all lines these days; I’ve waited in my fair share that require arrival hours in advance, whether I am waiting for a hot game system or the latest blockbuster. Each and every time I have found myself in such a line, I come across the same five geek archetypes. Without fail. Continue reading “‘Waiting for GTA V’ or ‘Types of Line Geeks’”→
First off, let’s dispel the rumor of a young Khan once and for all…
1) Khan has NO super powers. He is genetically superior to the average human, altered into a Napoleonic genius with a thirst for conquest, but he’s not psychic; he can’t cause mass destruction without a starship or army. The synopsis for INTO DARKNESS calls the villain a “one-man weapon of mass destruction.” That ain’t Khan. Some of the destruction Cumberbatch creates in the teaser is well outside the abilities of Khan.
2) Khan, at least in the original canon, was from 1999 (I believe), one of the genetic “super-humans” (again, in intellect and strength, NO actual superpowers) marooned in space after attempting to conquer Earth. That was long before Kirk or Starfleet’s time. And Cumberbatch’s character seems to want revenge against both.
THIS WOULD NOT HAVE CHANGED IN THIS NEW TIMELINE. After all, it happened long before Nero and Spock returned from the future, changing the fate of Kirk and his crew.
3) J.J. and crew would be fools to touch Khan. It’s like redoing the Joker… but Abrams is NO Christopher Nolan. Just watch the steaming pile of SUPER 8.
Now, more reasons (in addition to the ones in my past blog), why it looks to be Mitchell…
1) The girl with the blond hair (Alice Eve). Look at her. Though so-far nameless, she looks an awful like Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, the only other Enterprise crew member to receive psychic powers with Mitchell during the magnetic storm encountered while trying to exit the galaxy in THE ORIGINAL SERIES (TOS) episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”
Now, Dr. Dehner was not in the IDW comic version of “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which is officially canon with the new timeline, so she never received powers herself. But… she has a history with Mitchell… and Bones… regardless and is key to the original episode. The only reason she is not on the ship at the time of the accident in the comic is because Bones is already the Enterprise’s top physician, at the start of the comic, where in TOS she was his predecessor.
The comic also mentions the two have had a romantic past which is why she and Bones were not both assigned to the same starship.
So what does Mitchell want with Dr. Dehner now (assuming it is Dehner)? She’s powerless. Does he love her? Do his powers allow him to somehow remember the other timeline where they were empowered together? Driving him to seek a way to transform her as well so they can be together? Or does he simply sense the minor TK (LOOPER speak for telekinesis) in her already. Either way, she’s totally in peril at some point… and is featured in the teaser more than many classic crew members.
2) Cumberbatch wears a Starfleet uniform and even is sitting in a Captain’s chair in parts of the trailer. Khan was never a part of, nor never wanted to be in Starfleet. Though he did steal the Enterprise and would destroy the rest the fleet with glee, I can’t see him dressing in uniform of his enemy. On the other hand, Mitchell is a former member of Starfleet and a personal rival of Kirk’s.
What glee it would bring Mitchell to prove he is the better Captain after all.
3) Bones said it. On a press junket for DREDD, Karl Urban aka STAR TREK’s Bones said Cumberbatch is “awesome, he’s a great addition, and I think his Gary Mitchell is going to be exemplary.”
Sure, this could be misdirection, but what are the odds he would plant it months ago only to have the trailer seemingly support his claim? That’s too intricate, even for an Abrams secret.
Loose lips sink starships, Bones McCoy!
4) Mitchell’s been in the IDW comic series that is canon. Khan has not (unless he is the focus of the new “Countdown To Darkness” mini-series, in which case my theories are fucked).
Sure, he dies, but he also has powers no one, not even Spock understands. It’s not outside STAR TREK logic to think Mitchell was already unkillable when Kirk thought he did the deed. In which case, how in the world will they defeat him this time?
Maybe it’s neither Mitchell nor Khan.
What if this is what Abrams wants? All this speculation between Khan and Mitchell when it is someone completely different?
After all, how does this quote from the Japanese teaser apply to Mitchell?
“Is there anything you would not do, for your family?”
The line could simply be Mitchell questioning Kirk’s allegiance to his “family” aka crew, though it almost sounds like an explanation for his own actions. Perhaps this character is not Mitchell and is seeking revenge for his own lost family (though that’s a lil’ similiar to Nero’s plight).
I guess we’ll all know soon enough. There will be 9 minutes of INTO DARKNESS on THE HOBBIT Imax Friday, with a real trailer for the film following on the 17th.
Have you noticed a trend in your favorite blockbusters of late (well… “of late” meaning “the past 5 years or so…”)?
Are your villains more interesting? Do the actors portraying them have past Oscar nominations and/or can they overcome the action-movie stigma to achieve at least pipe-dreams of one? Are these bad guys crazier than normal? You know, more unique with a funny voice or passion for mayhem?
If you answered yes to any of those absurd questions, perhaps you, like me, feel that the past decade has produced some of the most memorable and unique villains in the history of cinema. (No, not just memorable because they’re recent, memorable because they’re so good it feels like they have some real staying power.)
2012 alone has been particularly giving, including last weekend’s SKYFALL, anchored by villain Javier Bardem. I’d like to take this time in “movie villain history” to recall past favorite villains of mine and compare them to the current crop that catch audience’s eyes for their originality (like Bane… that is some really bizarre shit).
Patterns will quickly emerge, suggesting that these modern villains we love to love for their originality, actually share quite a bit in common with one another. It’s less that each breaks the mold, more that each fits the current mold; a mold that itself has evolved from what came before. Even the mold is not original, it has simply built on our past, perfecting the traits of a great villains past rather than inventing them.
My personal favorite antagonists from decades past range from those widely-considered classics to a few lesser appreciated gems (especially recently)*:
*I am a lover of film, but I am also only 24 years old, so I apologize if my naturally limited knowledge of films before the 70s cause me to leave out an obvious villain for this list. Likewise, I am writing this all in one night (instead of sleeping); I’m confident that later today I will be like “oh fuck, I can’t believe I forgot ___________!”
*Also, to set up some sort of limits as to what qualifies as a villain/antagonist/bad guy, I’ve decided to draw the line at live-action man. No sharks a la JAWS, dinosaurs a la JURASSIC PARK, no machines a la 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and no animated baddies like Gollum. After all, though many (including myself) would argue three of the four preceding examples are incredibly emotive/iconic in their execution, are they really the same as an actor doin’ their thang’?
*Finally, to simplify shit even further, I eliminated any characters who may be imaginary, a la FIGHT CLUB.
TOP CLASSIC BADDIES
1964 – Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) – Really set the mold for the classic Bond villain better than DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE had established before. Besides keeping a light and witty rapport with the hero, Goldfinger seems to take great pleasure in his own eccentricities, something we will see time and time again in the Bond universe and elsewhere.
It is this pleasure in action I am trying to drive home today, this aspect that is essential for an interesting antagonist today.
1977, 1980, 1983 – Darth Vader, uhhhh I’m not even gonna say what movie he’s from cause I’m insulted – Obvious choice. No one is more ruthless than him. None more iconic. He’ll death grip the shit out of his own men. And look great doing it. The guy to imitate when it comes to getting results from your henchmen.
And even back in his day we were using tricks like interesting voices and masks (again, see Bane) to give villains identity in a world full of ’em.
1981 – Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK – Rene Belloq is my favorite type of villain, the doppelganger; that is, a baddie who is very similar to our hero/nearly the mirror opposite. Belloq and Indiana Jones are both archaeologists, peers in their field, but they differ in methods. As Belloq tells Jones, “I am but a shadowy reflection of you, it would take only a nudge to make you like me.”
1982 – Khan (Ricardo Montalban), STAR TREK II: WRATH OF KHAN – It never hurts to make it personal, not for the audience at least.
Not JAWS 3 or TAKEN-I-want-my-daughter personal. More like the villain feels as though the protagonist has personally wronged them, personal. So, rather than the good guy going on a rampage limited by what makes him a good guy, you have a sadistic madman who don’t give a shit ’bout no’body out to settle a score, and no one will stand in his way. When this happens, there are no Innocent and the world (and/or the universe) burns.
So is the case with Kahn who seeks revenge on Kirk for marooning him on a baron planet, and so will be the case with one of the top villains of 2012.
1987 – Joshua (Gary Busey) with an assist by Endo, LETHAL WEAPON – Joshua is perfect parts crazy and loyal as proved by the classic flame-to-arm scene. Besides, it’s hard to forget that crazy cop on crazy mercenary beat-down with Riggs (Mel Gibson). Joshua would also be considered a doppelganger for Riggs (noticing some patterns here?).
And as far as Endo goes, one need only quote Mr. Joshua, “Endo here has forgotten more about dispensing pain than you and I will ever know.”
Live or die by that reputation, Endo.
Live or die.
1988 – Hans Gruber, DIE HARD – Fine, I admit that so far, very few of my choice are controversial or unknown. Don’t worry, that comes later, like in the 90s where nostalgia clouds my judgement.
Characters popular in the 80s are in-proportionality represented on this list because it’s a personal favorite time period in cinema. Like today, villains were quirky and took great joy in their “work.” Gruber didn’t just have a killer, well thought-out master-plan; he also had fun! (Sound familiar?)
1989 – The Joker (Jack Nicholson), BATMAN – Really, who has more fun killing people than the Joker? The Joker is supposed to be having the time of his life, even when things don’t go according to plan. Jack doesn’t disappoint, though his version still pales in comparison to that of Mark Hamill. Goddamn it though if the man doesn’t commit.
1989 – The South African Consulate’s Minister of Affairs and his Henchmen, LETHAL WEAPON 2 – “Diplomatic Immunity,” really says it all, don’t it?
(Answer: “Yes, it don’t. It really don’t.”)
A little advice, don’t kill the hot South African chick Riggs is fucking AND THEN tell him you murdered his wife. That is, unless you want your house pulled down a mountain.
That shit’s just super personal, and Riggs goes the appropriate amount of ape shit, like 007 post-Vesper.
NOSTALGIA SETS IN: VILLAINS FROM MY FORMATIVE YEARS
1995 – Alec Trevelyan aka 006 aka Janus (Sean Bean), GOLDENEYE – There’s a reason 006 was/possibly is still my favorite Bond villain. Again, everything’s super-personal (he’s Bond’s old friend, plus Bond scarred him by “setting the timers for 3 instead of 6.” He knows MI6 and is another perfect example of a doppelganger (perhaps the most perfect as Bean was nearly hired as Bond). All the correct chips are in play, driven home by all the witty banter between “006” and 007, up until the end.
millennium006 shares quite a few similarities with the still to be discussed Silva from SKYFALL, and is certainty a precursor for the new villain. His past drives him a different direction than “For Queen and Country” Bond, feeling a similar need for revenge to that of Javier Bardem’s character.
1995 – John Doe (don’t wanna spoil the surprise), SEVEN – He’s certainly one of the most quirky/sadistic killers on film. And he knows how to deliver an unbelievable third act, important for any villain worth his salt (if that is even a saying).
Returning our attention to 006, while he’s always great, but it’s the combo of an incredibly strong introduction action scene and the finale showdown that cement his role in 007 history. Likewise, with an ending like that of SEVEN, I doubt we’ll forget this serial killer soon.
1997 – Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio), MEN IN BLACK – Really, unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, D’Onofrio’s performance of a space roach in an “Edgar” suit still astounds. Certainly one of the most “out there” threats. Again, fun work with the acting and voice make for fun times at cinemas.
1998 – Don Rafeal Montero (Stuart Wilson) & Captain Love (Matt Letscher), THE MASK OF ZORRO – Double the doppelgangers, double the fun!
With old Zorro facing his old arch-nemesis (who just happened to accidentally murder his wife then intentionally -d’uh – steal his daughter) and new Zorro facing his brother’s killer, after years of training and dreams of revenge. Really, Nick Doll’s wet-dream.
From the director of the aforementioned GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE, Martin Campbell, I like to think of MASK OF ZORRO as the movie Campbell made simple because he couldn’t, at that juncture, make a 007 movie. ZORRO follows all the rules of 007 from the detective work, to the “Bond” girl, to a madman with a country changing plot, Don Rafeal Montero, his lead henchman, Captain Love, and an epic, explosive finale.
2002 – Norman Osbourne (Willem Dafoe) aka The Green Goblin, SPIDER-MAN – “Work was murder”
Now, there’s an actor who chewed the scenery in the best way possible. Whether realistic or not, Dafoe’s approach to the over-the-top Green Goblin set the standard for modern comic book movie villains like those of the AVENGERS and DARK KNIGHT.
Limited by an expressionless mask, Dafoe does a lot with a little. His conversation with “the Goblin” is thing of super hero movie legend, making it ok for mechanical arms, black goo, sand, and lizards to talk to mad scientists in SPIDER-MAN sequels for years to come.
Talking to yourself is a unique place to go with your villain, and comics like Spider-Man nearly demand it. What is most important and fun about the character though is, again, the extreme joy felt by “Gobby” whilst terrorizing Spider-Man and New York. This really laid the groundwork for silver screen villains like Loki.
If they were to cast Norman Osbourne in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 tomorrow, I’d insist it remain Willem Dafoe. He embodied a comic character perfectly even before RDJ ever became Tony Stark.
We’ll continue this analysis of the modern blockbuster villain as derived from his aforementioned history next time on BREAKING GEEK in “A Better Class Of Criminal: Part II” including the final era of movie villains, “Adult” Life: Nearly Modern To Today… And Beyond!
Find out what Bane, Joker, and Silva all have in common!
Find out which villainous strategy is hot, hot hot! (clue: Joker, Bane, Loki, and Silva all recommend it!)