Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #544: GEEK ALERT!!

Welcome to the show folks...

It's a geek-a-rama kind of post this time, so let's get going...


DC Comics has once again embraced the "change for the sake of change" philosophy and rearranged their classic character Wonder Woman with a new look, and a reworked back-story. So in case you haven't seen it yet, here it is:
My reaction: Feh.

I mean it looks like they dug up a rejected idea from the 1990s that was going to be called
Wonder Woman: EXTREME! and just shaved off the spikes, pouches, and over-sized high-tech looking guns.

It's not the first time they fiddled with this character. In the 1970s DC assigned comics legend Denny O'Neill to "update" the character to make her in tune with the times. This reboot essentially took away all her powers, her magical weapons, and just about everything else that made her unique, especially the original book's fascination with bondage, and tried to revamp her as a Mrs. Peel type spy/vigilante using gadgets, guns, martial arts and a white polyester jumpsuit to smack around the bad guys. It almost killed the character's sales, and they had to eventually revert back to her roots.

Which is probably what will happen again now.

The "classic" Wonder Woman look is too ingrained in the zeitgeist to get rid of completely. There are just too many facets of its marketing that's dependent on that look for this one to stick around for very long. A classic character's design can be modified gradually, something that has actually happened over the decades to Wonder Woman, but not completely overhauled in one go. Usually such radical changes aren't natural and evolutionary, but are done to justify the existence of someone in a position of authority.

Plus, when heterosexual comic geeks start saying that the boobs are too big, they are
waaaay too big.

What do you think about the new Wonder Woman?


There's a rumor going around that American movie star Johnny Depp is going to play the title character in a big screen version of venerable British science fiction franchise Doctor Who.

For those who don't their who from what, I'll do a little explaining. Doctor Who is a TV series that first started in the 1960s and is about the last Time Lord, a very ancient alien called The Doctor (his real name is never revealed) from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor has a vehicle called the TARDIS (for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) which looks like an old British police box from the outside, but appears near infinite on the inside. (It looks like a police box because of a malfunctioning camouflage circuit)

The Doctor uses the Tardis to take him, and a usually young attractive female companion from the planet Earth, to wander through time and space, battling aliens, monsters, and megalomaniacs.

Now the Doctor has been played by 11 actors over the years. This is explained by something his species can do called "regeneration." When a Time Lord dies, he is reborn with a new face, body, and even a slightly different personality. This became a necessity when the first Doctor William Hartnell's health started to fail, leaving him unable to continue, but the BBC didn't want to cancel the show.

It chugged along well into the late 1980s, but budget cuts, changing attitudes at the BBC, and a dip in the ratings killed the show. There was an attempt to revive it in the 1990s with an Fox-Universal TV-BBC co-production shot in Vancouver, but it never got past the pilot movie.

The BBC decided to revive it as a series, and hired writer Russel T. Davies to oversee it. This revival, with actor Christopher Eccleston doing the first season as the 9th Doctor, was a monstrous global hit. The show stayed a hit through 10th Doctor David Tennant and Matt Smith who just wrapped his first season as the 11th Doctor and a new executive producer named Steve Moffat.

Now this rumored project isn't the first attempt to put the Doctor and his Tardis on the big screen. The mid-1960s there were 2 movies made with actor Peter Cushing as Doctor Who. Except the film's producers wanted time travel, and the show's perennial villains the Daleks, but they dropped everything else about the character. Making him an Earthling inventor of a time machine named Who, instead of an alien with a stolen ship and a name that's kept secret from everyone. They're not considered canon by fans, and viewed more as curiosities than classics.

So let's look at the pros and cons of a big budget Hollywood version of Doctor Who.


-Johnny Depp is a very good actor with a solid record of memorable and original performances in big budget fantasy extravaganzas.

-Fans would love to see their favorite character on the big screen, and a movie could expand that fandom to others.


-Johnny Depp has a lot of baggage as a 'movie star' taking this role. I find that the best "Doctors" are the ones that make you either go "Who is that guy?" or "Why on Earth did they cast him?" For some reason the factor of surprise seems to work in casting this character.

-The fundamental theme of The Doctor is loss. He's lost everything and everyone he's ever been connected to. He lost his family, his planet, his people, and just about every companion has either left him, or been dumped back home. He keeps picking up and dumping losing companions because he can't bear to be alone, but also can't bear to have these mere mortals face the same dangers as him. That works in a series when you have time for attachments to form, and then be broken for great emotional effect, but can you do it in a feature film.

-I'm pretty sure a major studio would balk at doing a Doctor Who movie without trying to drastically change The Doctor. He balks at using guns, contrasting the default position of the classic movie hero, but he's committed genocide multiple times over the course of the show. (He's even destroyed his fellow Time Lords and burned his home planet to a cinder) I'm not sure a Hollywood studio can accept this kind of character without trying to re-mold him in the image of something more marketing friendly.

What do you think: Do you think it's a good idea for Doctor Who to hit the big screen with a big star, or would you rather he just stay a TV series?


  1. It's very simple - whoever told J. Michael Stracynski that he could write comics needs to get dragged into an alleyway and beaten with a rusty tire iron.

    He has never, EVER, written a good comic story, yet he commands this idiotic star power in the industry - including a rumored prima-donna proclamation that, while he was writing a Superman title, the other two monthly Superman titles couldn't actually show Superman. The sooner he keels over, the better off we'll all be.

    Granted, this ain't gonna last long. I give it eighteen months, tops, before she's back in the old, er...whatever you'd call what she normally wears. And the... interesting... decision to rewrite her as the last surviving Amazon, raised on the streets, will probably be brushed aside as soon as a new writer takes over.

  2. Also, the older version of Wonder Woman is a lot more attractive, at least to me.

    And no, whole you can see the why the material would attract interest with regard to a movie, I just don't think that "Dr. Who" is good movie material. It's like the decision to make the "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" into a movie - it looked good on paper, but...


  3. This new wonder woman is just made of fail and desperation. Desperation as in comic book sales are just plain flat, no one is buying them anymore what sales are happening are in the Japanese manga department.

    Fail as you put it better, "It just reeks of the nonsense they did in the 70's" Comic Books do this all the time we get some writer who is full of arrogance and want to change up some iconic character like Superman or batman, and then the change just goes over like a fart in church and the character ends back where it was.

  4. Wow! Johnny Depp in a quirky fantasy role, now that is quite a change from his usual parts????If he does this role can we expect to see Depp in whiteface again? Atop hat? What has happened to the movies? There is too much fantasy in film, I feel as if I have fallen down that rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.But if I had I would see Johnny Depp in whiteface and tophat there too.