Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Smell A Crossover

Along the inevitable road to ''One Company Owning All Humans'', Disney announced it has taken over/merged with Marvel Comics. That's right - the empire that once brought critically acclaimed animation (and now only brings you safe, retarded-family-friendly material) has taken over the once mighty and almost fallen but now regarded as safe haven for serious writers place of creation/revisitation comic-book giant, home to roughly 5000 characters.

I guess they can stop stealing from Hans Christian Andersen and other cultures' mythology, at least for a few months.

But we're talking about a corporation that owned Miramax and wouldn't release Kids, Dogma, and Fahrenheit 9/11, arguably three of the most important films of the last 15 years. And I will argue it, if need be, in a later column. Three works of great artistic merit, one that served as a wake-up call to just how fucked up teens were getting in the mid-90s, one by Kevin Smith, one of the best writers (possibly the best dialogue writer) of the past 15 years, and one by money-making renowned documentary filmmaker Michael Moore - not just small names, ones that were sure to make a lot of cash.

But Disney didn't have the balls to stand up against 'parenting' and religious groups who threatened to not watch ABC (a TV network they own) or go to their movies. As a giant in the world of multimedia, Disney should have taken them on - like, really, you're gonna stop your kids from seeing Tarzan? You won't buy them the Buzz Lightyear movie for Christmas? Yeah, right. There's nothing else for them! You'll make them - and ourselves miserable! Go ahead!

But no. At every single occasion, Disney balked, backed, retreated.

Now we're talking about a publisher of comic books that has its own line of adult-oriented story arcs (Marvel Max), writers who have come back into the fold because they're finally free to express themselves completely again (after having departed to Vertigo and Image for most of the past decade), and a full line of superhero movies lined up until the middle of the next decade, in an era when superhero movies are dark, violent, psychological, and deal with real-life issues like war, terrorism, the search for one's self - where sometimes, someone good must do very nasty, evil things to get to where he's going.

And we're to believe Donald Duck and Goofy will let The Punisher torture and kill mob bosses, that Iron Man won't try to hit bag Snow White and catch some sort of disease, that Hulk won't be made into some tender beast who can snuggle up to Pluto?

Let me remind you we're talking about a corporation that turned a (family) movie franchise, and a bad one at that, into an actual professional sports team - and then took its players' names and used them in an animated TV series where they are turned into hockey-playing crime-fighting ducks, including one who sports a mullet. A show, of course, that ran on ABC.

We've had millions of examples how and why these corporations and conglomerates are not Keepers Of the Arts, but it seems even worse when the company in question is one that always pussies out.

The only way this could work out is if ALL these conditions are met:

* Disney has to keep out of all Marvel's decisions
* not the same screenplay over and over while just changing the character
* no songs sang by the cast in the movie
* having the balls to resist 'boycotting campaigns' from religious and 'parenting' groups
* a bit of the old ultra-violence
* T & A
* name directors with free reigns (as Sam Raimi in Spider-Man, Jon Favreau for Iron Man, Bryan Singer for the first couple of X-Men films...)

Only then might it work.

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