Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #537: Jonah Hexed?

Welcome to the show folks...

It looks like the
Toy Story franchise is chugging along, meanwhile Warner Bros./DC Comics dream of launching a new franchise from the comic book Jonah Hex has crashed and burned like an old fashioned stunt-horse being tripped on a wire into a barrel of flaming nitroglycerin.

So I think it's time I pipe in with my two cents to explain the...


Jonah Hex is not Superman Spider-Man, Batman, or even Iron Man. He's a cult character with a smaller but dedicated following that like his grim and gritty adventures in the old west. Remember, he's not a superhero, but a disfigured alcoholic with a hair trigger temper and a taste for vengeance. That's going to take some selling to get across to the mainstream audience.

2. PLOT & TREATMENT: First the plot- Jonah Hex is assigned by US Grant to take down a retro-Confederate trying to revive the Civil War. Where have you heard that little chestnut before? It was used in 1981's
Legend of the Lone Ranger, and the more recent Wild Wild West. If you want some expert opinion on how much the audience loves that plot-line, just ask Klinton Spilsbury, if you can find him.

Now let's look at how the story was treated. It was essentially a mish-mash of western, steam-punk meets James Bond gadgetry, and some supernatural hokum tossed in as an excuse for even more special effects. The whole thing looks like an incoherent mish-mash of ideas, just stopping short of that short lived stint from the 1980s where Jonah Hex ran amok in a post-apocalyptic future. (Yes, DC Comics really did that)

3. THE RELEASE: Releasing a movie consists of two very important factors: Timing, and Marketing. Timing wise, it was a disaster because Warner Bros. released the film against
Toy Story 3. Whose idea was that? That's guaranteed to make it look pale in comparison, and in Hollywood image is everything. Then let's look at the marketing, which can summed up as "Josh Brolin looks ugly, Megan Fox is in a corset, and a lot of shit gets blown up." Nothing about whether the story is worth paying money to see or not.

4. BUDGET: First they spent a lot of money on the movie. Then they spent a hell of a lot more money reshooting most of the same movie. That's not a good sign.

5. STARS: Josh Brolin is a pretty good actor, but as
a star, he's the "you know, that guy in that movie, the one that wore the hat" guy. His presence alone isn't going to put bums in seats.

Megan Fox on the other hand is a different story, and it shows that Hollywood doesn't know the difference between "being sexual" and true "sexiness." Megan Fox has all the ingredients of what should be considered sex appeal, a pretty face, a good figure, fashion style that makes her look slutty, etc...etc..., yet she is about as sexy as a common gray brick. It's not just the tattoos, which are not my thing, it's that she lacks the key ingredient of true sexiness: INTEREST.

Outside of her physical appearance, there's nothing to interest people. Look at the great sex symbols of the past and present, and they all have something beyond their appearance that makes them interesting. They're either exotic, funny, intelligent, dangerous, or something else that makes someone more appealing than others. They promise adventure, laughter, intellectual challenge, or excitement, or their fragility and delicacy inspires a chivalrous desire to protect and defend. All Megan Fox has is on the surface, so why would the 9th Graders who settle for solely surface attributes pay to see her in a theater, can just download her picture off the internet and store it in a file marked "Li'l Billy's Spank Bank." Li'l Billy don't know why he settles on just ogling her picture instead of paying money for tickets to see her on the big screen, and apparently neither does Hollywood.

I guess to sum it all up, the key to a real sex symbol with staying power, is the ability to make people to want to do more than just look, but also listen.

Enough with the negatives, let's look at...


Now I'm not saying that Jonah Hex can't be adapted into a live-action medium. He can, but Warner Bros. should have gone beyond the: "Any comic book can be a multi-billion dollar franchise" mindset, because it's wrong.

Not every comic book can become a successful movie franchise, the simple numbers back that up. However, many comic book characters can have a life off the page, and I think Jonah Hex is one of them.

I think Warner Bros. should have taken the character in a different direction, as a TV series. Not a bland network television western, which is automatically pigeonholed as "family entertainment" for its retro charm, but as a dark, gritty, and violent series about a man scarred inside and out dishing out revenge not just for himself, but for the people he encounters on the trail. You could then use that as a vehicle to tell bigger story arcs involving popular recurring rogues like Quentin Turnbull, and El Papagayo. Get some decent writers to write decent stories, the sort of stories that the big screen isn't delivering lately, you might actually get a hit on your hands.

Then, maybe, Jonah Hex may have found his place, but not on the big screen.


  1. JOnah Hex would have worked best as a gritty HBO series. I find there is better stuff on TV than on the movie screen these days.

    I suspect this film was released opposite to Toy Story 3 so the people at WB could just bury this film which they knew was a stinker and get a tax write off.

    When a film gets major expensive re-shoot, that is usually a bad sign. The same happened with the Arnold stinkbomb Last Action Hero.

    What kills me with Megan Fox is yeah she is attractive, but nothing more there is nothing going on there personality wise. The public, Michael bay and studio heads really got tired of her i'm-all-that-and-a-bag-of-shit act really quick.

    In this film she pretty much is nothing more than a body to fill a corset, you would think form the posters and trailers she is a major star in the film when she barely has a supporting role, the villain's right hand man has more screen time than her.

  2. Hollywood's current obsession with the comic book/fanboy set is over the top, hence Jonah Hex. I do like westerns but not with the Hex point of view.Hey studio execs not all comic book characters have screen charisma. I'm sure the studio is looking for a scapegoat,it's a tradition dontcha know? Bottom line? Comic book stories should be selected very carefully.