Hollywood Loves Nerds: The Year in Geeks on Film, From J.J. Abrams to Videogame Fails
It's a bittersweet time to be a geek. On one hand, mainstream media is finally wising up to our beloved stories and giving them life through films at an unprecedented rate. On the other hand, mainstream media is wising up to our beloved stories and is "giving them life" through film. For every Star Trek reboot (which deftly used a break in time-space to give us Kirk/Spock in all new adventures), there is a Super Mario Bros. Or Prince of Persia. Or Jar Jar #&^@%ing Binks. Or Doom. Not even Karl Urban could save that hot mess.
Like it or not, Hollywood's march through nerd culture will continue through the rest of 2013. Find out what movies are coming down the pike to test our love for our franchises, what we might dig, and what will most likely be screwed up -- and why J.J. Abrams could be the best-loved or -hated man in the geekiverse.
The recent Star Trek reboot was met with pretty fierce praise -- which is a big deal, considering the reputation Trekkies have for being fiercely loyal to their canon. The sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness kicks off the 2013 summer movie season. Rumors have swirled around Benedict Cumberbatch's villain's identity for some time, with Kha(aaaaaaaaaa!)n still being thrown around as an option, despite plenty of still-image evidence to the contrary. To that, I give a hearty noooooooooope. It was almost cute when Ricardo Montalban played a North Indian villain named Khan Noonian Singh. It'll be blatant, unforgivable whitewashing if Cumberbatch ends up as Khan.
J.J. Abrams couldn't possibly screw up that badly, right?
Well, let's see how he does with...
Yep. That's right. In a move that some deluded nerds would call sacrilege, J.J. Abrams is listed as director for both the new Star Trek franchise and Star Wars Episode 7. I am cautiously optimistic. Abrams earned my trust with the Star Trek reboot, and Disney's purchasing power worked pretty damn well for the subsequent Marvel films. As long as he doesn't bring back that godforsaken Jar Jar (or anything like him), we'll be cool.
But that's not the last we'll see of the Star Wars canon. In addition to a new trilogy, stand-alone prequel films based on the origin stories of characters such as Han Solo (who shot first, damn it) and Boba Fett are in the works.
Star Wars. Stop it. Go home. You're drunk.
Between Trek and Wars (not to mention additional Marvel and D.C. comic-book movies that have already earned my first weekend box office money), the nerds of Earth might just be too oversaturated with geek feature-length films to care. At least they're not trying to return to making movies about our favorite interactive geeky pasttime, right?
Oh, wait. They totally are.
Ubisoft: Assassin's Creed, Ghost Recon, and Splinter Cell
The Assassin's Creed franchise is not the first Ubisoft title to be immortalized in film -- the too-bad-to-even-be-hilarious Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time earns that distinction -- but the story lines are definitely rich enough to be deserving of feature-length treatment. We know little about the movie so far, except that shark-toothed Michael Fassbender is slated to star. Considering the multicultural, multigenerational scope of the game franchise, there is a whole mess of ways this could success -- or be utterly screwed up. There is hope, because the franchise's creative team has a heavy hand in the production. Fingers crossed.
Seriously. What kind of dark-ass magic allows J.J. Abrams to be attached to another beloved franchise? His production company, Bad Robot, is in talks to produce movies based on Valve's most popular franchises. I will be watching Portal, in particular, like a hawk: so far, this is the only franchise on this list that can lay claim to a female protagonist, and the backstory fleshed out in Portal's second installment is such a perfect mixture of well-written villainy and humor, that it's hard to imagine that any deviations would be easily accepted. I'll be at the midnight release, to be sure, but with companion cube in one hand and a flaming pitchfork in the other. Just in case.
Hey. At least none of these could be doomed enough to repeat this piece of work:
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