Sunday, June 24, 2012

‘Jurassic Park IV’ Gets Writers

There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about a fourth installment in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park franchise, and according to Deadline.com, the project is finally moving forward in a major way. Universal Studios is reportedly setting Rise of the Planet of the Apes writers Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver to scribe the next installment in the dinosaurs-chase-humans series, with Spielberg onboard to produce alongside Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.

I caught Rise of the Planet of the Apes long after it debuted in theaters, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I cared about the titular primates who might or might not have risen up against their human oppressors by the end of the film. Keeping that in mind, I’m curious to see what Jaffa & Silver have in mind for Spielberg’s time-displaced theme park monsters run amok. And although I’m not the biggest proponent of 3D filmmaking, there’s a lot that could be done with this series using the technology.

It’s encouraging that Jurassic Park IV has writers, but the big question remains: Who will direct?

For more on this story, head over to Deadline.com by clicking here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

On Blogging, Movies and Other Things

It’s officially summer, which for most people means vacations, barbecues and lazy weekends by the pool. And while it’s entirely likely that I’ll be able to enjoy at least one of those things in a few weeks, right now my nose has been to the grindstone working on a variety of different projects for work. That being the case, finding time to blog consistently has been borderline impossible, so here’s a quick update:
  • I saw Prometheus, and while I enjoyed it for the most part as I was watching it, I dislike it more and more the more I think about how the characters acted throughout and where the story ended up. 
  • As critical as I’ve been about Sony rebooting the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man – retelling Spider-Man’s origin a mere decade after the Sam Raimi original – the more I see from the film the more impressed I am. In fact, director Marc Webb and his team might have made the best Spider-Man film yet. Look for an article on that very subject very soon right here on The Wort Report.
  •  I finished Mass Effect 3, and I join the legions of gamers online who were dissatisfied with the ending. I’ve invested a lot of time into this series since 2007, and I expected a bit more payoff when I saved the galaxy from utter destruction. I know that BioWare is putting out a downloadable epilogue on June 26 that will give the trilogy some necessary closure, but that’s something that should have been considered when the game was released back in March. For shame, BioWare.
  •  Comic books are a necessity when you travel as much as I do, and I’m really enjoying a lot of what I’ve been reading lately. My “must-reads” at the moment include Mark Waid’s Daredevil, Greg Rucka’s The Punisher, Matt Fraction’s The Invincible Iron Man and Scott Snyder’s Batman.
That’s all for now. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for bite-sized nuggets of Wortman, and check out my photo-centric Tumblr, “Wortmania Unleashed!” by clicking here.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is George Lucas Really Retiring?

In a press release this week, Lucasfilm Ltd. Announced that George Lucas is moving forward with retirement plans, with [Steven Spielberg’s longtime producing partner] Kathleen Kennedy becoming co-chair of Lucasfilm. The Star Wars mastermind will continue to serve as fellow co-chair while Kennedy acclimates herself to this role, and will continue as CEO of the company. Micheline Chau will remain as president and COO of Lucasfilm, and, according to the release, will “continue to focus on the day-to-day operations of the business.”

What does this mean for Lucas? Freed up from corporate responsibilities, he would have time to helm those smaller and more personal films he’s always wanted to make. Lucas said as much in a recent interview with Empire, stating the following:
“I’m moving away from the company, I’m moving away from all my businesses, I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies. I’ve always wanted to make movies that were more experimental in nature, and not have to worry about them showing in movie theatres.”
For more on this story, head over to /Film.

My Thoughts on the Delay of ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’

Late last week, it was reported that Paramount Pictures had decided to delay big summer tentpole film G.I. Joe: Retaliation until March 29, 2013. This shocking revelation came just five weeks before the G.I. Joe sequel was scheduled to hit theaters. The official reason for the delay was that the film would be converted to 3D, however reports surfacing this week have unearthed new details regarding the nine-month delay of the film’s release.

According to Paramount insiders speaking to Deadline.com, the decision to convert Retaliation to 3D was certainly part of the reasoning behind the delay, but was not the sole deciding factor. If you’ve seen the trailers, it’s fairly evident that Channing Tatum’s character Duke dies in a Cobra attack early on the film, leaving Roadblock (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and a group of Joe survivors to rally together and bring down the terrorist organization in an act of—wait for it—retaliation. Although many fans of the property applauded the filmmakers’ decision to “wipe the slate clean” and distance Retaliation from 2009’s middling The Rise of Cobra, test audiences felt that the friendship between Duke and Roadblock wasn’t adequately developed fully in the original cut. Also, since Tatum has had a successful 2012 thus far with 21 Jump Street and The Vow, the studio is beefing up his role in this film and shooting additional scenes. Channing Tatum, in Paramount’s eyes, means profit.

I’m not necessarily a fan of 3D conversion, but I’m also aware that not distributing a 3D version of a blockbuster in today’s cinematic climate is akin to leaving money of the table. Plus, with The Avengers continuing to perform well as The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises stand poised to dominate the summer 2012 box office, it’s not unwise for Paramount to reposition Retaliation and pit it against less formidable opposition. After all, a March release date did wonders for The Hunger Games this year.

Having said all of that, I can’t help shaking the feeling that Paramount is setting itself up for failure. After being delayed for nearly a year, is there any way G.I. Joe: Retaliation could possibly live up to the hype, 3D or otherwise? For the sake of this franchise—which I feel has some true potential—I hope it does.