Another comic book movie that everyone is excited about and another botched character I’m reluctantly called to shine the light of truth on: the latest X-Men movie completely and totally botched its title villain, Apocalypse.
THIS IS WHAT APOCALYPSE IS [SUPPOSED TO BE]:
BACKGROUND: Born around 5,000 years ago in the middle east and named En Sabah Nur (“the first one”), he was the first being on earth to express the X-gene which is the mutation that makes “mutants” in the Marvel universe, giving people with it altered appearances, deformities, super powers, and often both. He possess the mutant ability of total control over the molecules in his body which allows him to turn limbs into weapons and grow in size and density, has augmented his powers with alien technology over the years, and has had thousands of years to acquire knowledge, skills, and said technology as he doesn’t age. Raised under a strict “survival of the fittest” ideology, En Sabah Nur had some experiences that made him bitter toward the world after societal and romantic rejection in where he renamed himself Apocalypse and became a chaotic-evil sort of force with various motives.
APPEARANCE: Apocalypse is a grayish purple armored version of what Mike Tyson would look like if he turned into The Hulk. He is physically massive with bulky muscles that rested on a huge boxy framed body covered in futuristic armor with a bald head poking out that has piercing robotic lit up eyes and a blue chinstrap around his lips that jut downward in a permanent Star-Wars-Stormtrooper-helmet style stern frown. In addition to his bulk are disproportionate Popeye style forearm clasps and a triangular upper body.
PRESENTATION: I dropped out of the X-Men animated series in the 90s before any Apocalypse episodes, but his presentation in print form is always very serious and stern looking combined with an imposing size that gives him a bouncer/bodyguard tone in that depictions of him merely standing at ease appear threatening.
THIS IS WHAT “X-MEN APOCALYPSE COULD HAVE DONE:
For his first film representation and appearing in the 9th X-Men movie, Apocalypse could cover a variety of themes and settings. This could be 21st Century Fox’s chance to one-up the Disney-owned&distributed Avengers: Age Of Ultron by doing an Age of Apocalypse storyline or theme the way Ultron should have been done (for those of you not caught up on the politics of the studios: Disney owns Marvel but 21st Century Fox owns the film rights to the Fantastic 4 and the X-Men, so these movies take place in conceivably different universes than The Avengers movies or Agents of SHIELD, since they are made by different production studios with different rights to the sections of the Marvel intellectual property archives). The story should be as epic and threatening as the villains name. This should be a depiction for the ages, spanning time and globe in threat of apocalyptic proportions.
APPEARANCE: The character needs to be a visually titanic force with an imposing boxy frame similar to his original art. This is because even when in his normal size, Apocalypse needs to be depicted as meta-human in size and visible strength. The character should appear nigh-invulnerable before any demonstration of his super powers to increase the villains threat level and overall cool-factor.
PRESENTATION: Like Disney did with Ultron, Apocalypse should be an entirely digital character, though unlike Ultron, show much more facial nuance and expression, similar to what Disney did with Davey Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
THIS IS WHAT “X-MEN APOCALYPSE” DID INSTEAD:
Removal of the imposing frame, size, disproportionate armor, and masculine robotically jagged edges. Replaced with smooth and flowing feminine features to face and armor. All makeup and costume with no special effects, resulting in a blue version of the “Engineer” from Prometheus wearing a metal suit.
APPEARANCE: A thin regular sized human in obvious makeup and costume accessory resulting in a silly looking combination of the gay Persian king Xerxes from 300 and Ivan Ooze from 1995’s Power Rangers movie.
What an absolute waste…
Here’s the trailer you’re all so misguidedly excited about…
Recap: Everything about this character is wrong and your approval of it is helping perpetuate such terrible film depictions of great characters.
And you people are all wrong for liking it -___-
Through the insider advantage of being a genius and thinking about things, I have a lot of expectations for the new Star Wars movie based on a formula of using the previous 6 movies and the intentional symmetry they are supposed to have as a compilation of trilogies. George Lucas stated that the prequel movies were intended to “rhyme” with the original and brief analysis reveals many such purposeful reflections that I’m assuming will continue in this 3rd trilogy.
While this post contains no actual spoilers since it is being written before I haven seen Star Wars The Force Awakens, it contains a lot of analytical speculation that you may want to not have muddy the waters of your mind before you see it yourself. My genius brain notices patterns to a higher degree than yours probably does, which means I probably know things that are going to happen that you haven’t suspected.
Here are the 5 things to expect to see (if the filmmakers know what’s good for them), preceded by an explanation of why that includes a similar thing in the same vein happening in 1978’s A New Hope and 1999’s The Phantom Menace.
1- A comic relief character will be accidentally masterful
Perhaps it’s The Force subtly favoring the good guys, but in the first movie of the 2 Star Wars trilogies there are notable instances of a good-guy character not knowing what the hell they’re doing, winging it, and pulling off an impossible victory.
In A New Hope (Episode 4): After Imperial forces detain and board Princess Leas cruiser, her crew exchanges fire across a entrance hall. Paying little attention to the danger, R2D2 and C3PO casually look around and walk directly through the line of rapid laser fire from both directions, comically reaching the other side of the hall completely unscathed.
In The Phantom Menace (Episode 1): Jar Jar Binks is made a General in the Gungan army despite being a notorious screw-up and, unsurprisingly, on the battlefield he is a hapless mess. His stumbles and bumbles inadvertently save him from enemy fire and by getting stuck to a battle droid and while flinging his leg, he accidentally defeats nearby oncoming threats without knowing or trying.
PREDICTION In The Force Awakens (Episode 7): There could be lots of possibilities too large to hazard a guess but I doubt any will come from the new female character simply because of the political correctness sensitivity to portraying a feminist action hero making an achievement accidentally so I’m going to guess that the character the black actor portrays and/or someone new we haven’t seen much of in the trailers will be the one to fall into the “accidental badass” role. I don’t believe the new rolling ball droid BB-8 will be the one to do this because Star Wars treats its droids as being smarter and more prescient than the humans surrounding them, with the pompous childish C3PO being the exception to the rule.
2- A pro will fight an amateur and the amateur will win by both plucky revelation of skill and by being aided by friends.
This will then create a heightened interest in the amateur by the villainous Pro they defeated.
Star Wars movies have a running theme of a seemingly invincible evil force arrogantly displaying its power only to be shockingly defeated by a less powerful but noble opponent. As a companion to that theme, friends of that noble opponent aid the victory in the times of highest need.
For instance, in Return of the Jedi (Episode 6), Luke, as a prisoner of the Emperor, tells him that his overconfidence is his weakness. The Emperor scoffs and says “your faith in your friends is yours”. This ideology of the conflicting sides is a recurring theme in every star wars movie: The bad guys overestimate their invincibility due to rigid emotionless control while the plucky heroes are constantly saved from jams and are able to pull off stunning victories via the help of their teammates who act more as family than as co-soldiers. While the Dark Side is constantly outgunning the Light with organization, numbers, and actual gunnery, the good guys pull off defeats by saving each other the way friends do.
This theme represents itself in direct battles between a master and an amateur, bewildering the master as they are bested by their underpowered foe via the help of their friends.
In A New Hope (Episode 4): In the X-Wing assault on the Death Star by the Rebel Forces, the space station prepares to destroy the rebel planet while the rebel fighters attempt to exploit the known weakness of the Death Star in where a missile to an exhaust port will start a chain reaction that will destroy it. The battle for the Rebels goes just as impossible as one would assume as a squad of Imperial TIE fighters led by Darth Vader himself pick off the Rebel attackers one by one. As Vader closes in on Luke Skywalker, it looks like its gonna be curtains for the Rebellion until Vader is unexpectedly fired upon from behind by Han Solo who had previously collected his money and said his goodbyes but came back to save the day in a last minute change of heart. The shots from Solo send Vader spinning away, giving Luke the chance to make the shot, destroying the Empires biggest and most deadly weapon.
In The Phantom Menace (Episode 1): Obi-Wan Kenobi is what is known as a Padawan – a person still learning the Jedi arts during field training with his Master Qui-Gon Gin. When Qui-Gon is killed in battle, however, Obi-Wan fights his killer and loses the fight until Maul balks at the last minute and toys with Obi-Wan, dangling from a sconce on the side of a bottomless pit. In an unexpected move to Maul, Obi-Wan combo-moves force-grabbing Qui-Gons light saber with a force-fly straight upward and quickly chops Maul in half with it, sending Maul down the bottomless shaft, still with a look of shock on his face.
PREDICTION In The Force Awakens (Episode 7): The new villain Kylo Ren is clearly trained in the Jedi ways and while the trailer shows the new black character and the female character holding light sabers, there is no other evidence to suggest they have been trained how to use it at all. In using both the “amateur victory” and the “bailed out by friends” tropes of the series, perhaps they will defeat Ren by ganging up on him, but if so, it would only happen after he displays the typical Star Wars villain character trait of being wildly over-confident of his eminent victory.
3- A New Villain, but not *THE* Villain will Die
(but their more powerful partner lives for 2 more movies)
The first films in the Star Wars trilogies feature 2 villains: A politician and a Sith Lord. One of them dies in the first movie while the other is a mainstay in the following 2 of the trilogy.
In A New Hope (Episode 4): Seemingly the most powerful political operative in the Empire second to the Emperor himself, General Moff Tarkin holds the leash to even top-dog, Darth Vader, and orchestrates all the events in the first Star Wars movie. While Vader is sent out to destroy the surface assault by the Rebels around the death star, he fails and when Luke makes his winning shot and the Death Star explodes, it does so with Moff Tarkin inside it cautiously watching the events unfold from the commanders bridge while Vaders TIE fighter ship is sent spiraling away in defeat but not death.
In The Phantom Menace (Episode 1): Darth Maul confronts the Jedi on Naboo and after killing the master, his arrogance causes him to underestimate the Jedi apprentice Obi-wan Kenobi who sucker-slices him right in half, sending him down a shaft in 2 pieces. Darth Mauls master, the future Emperor Palpatine, remains safely away from the conflict on another planet as the Senator from Naboo.
PREDICTION In The Force Awakens (Episode 7): I put the odds of Kylo Ren going the way of Darth Maul at near zero mostly because any casual observer can tell that it was an idiotic move to kill off Darth Maul in Episode 1, purely for marketing purposes and merchandise sales. Disney won’t do that to Ren. They’re investing in this character as a new villain with staying power. I think it is much more likely that we get introduced to a new Moff Tarkin type in this new iteration of the Empire who, as in the first Star Wars movie, outranks the Sith Lord but gets killed on board a ship in an explosion caused by a Rebel attack.
4- A Father-figure Will Die At the Hands of the Main Villain
(and the person closest to them will witness it)
The first movie in a Star Wars trilogy introduces a paternal character who helps the main character and is thereafter helped by that main character. In the process, he reveals things to them about themselves and about life in general and how it all works, bonding to them as a guide through their previously directionless and lonely existence. Within days of this encounter, however, the character is killed by an attack instigated by the main villain of the movie: the Junior half of the Dark Side duo.
In A New Hope (Episode 4): Desert hermit Obiwan Kenobi rescues Luke Skywalker from aggressive locals and takes him in for a chat in where he reveals that he knew Lukes father. Luke joins Kenobi on an important mission to Alderaan but having arrived at the Alderaan System, their ship is captured by the Death Star’s tractor beam, as Alderaan was recently destroyed by said Death Star, and the group must plan an escape. Kenobi goes to disable the tractor beam but in his return to the ship he is met by his old apprentice – Darth Vader – who had sensed Kenobi’s presence and was waiting for him around the corner of a corridor with his light saber drawn and ready. As the two battle, they draw the attention of nearby storm troopers. Meanwhile, Luke & Company are escaping into their ship when Luke is dismayed to see Obiwan engaged in sword combat and surrounded by guns. Seeing that he’s cornered, Obiwan stops fighting and allows Darth Vader to deliver a death blow as Luke screams in anguish, unable to intervene from a distance.
In The Phantom Menace (Episode 1): Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin is Obiwan Kenobi’s teacher and takes a liking to the newly introduced Anakin Skywalker, who grew up without a male figure in his life (not counting his ant-eater hummingbird slavemaster). Qui-Gon is seemingly the first to treat the boy as the prodigy he is, frees him from slavery and brings him to the Republic capital for training as a Jedi. While on Naboo, however, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are confronted by Darth Maul who waits to engage them in battle and during the combat, Maul skewers Qui-Gon as Obi-wan screams in anguish, unable to intervene from a distance.
PREDICTION In The Force Awakens (Episode 7): The tradition of entering a new character for the sake of fulfilling this intro-bonding-dieing arc could be broken by using an existing character from the original trilogy. Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are all back in this movie, so any one of them could bite it. For this one, I have to cheat a little and go outside my analysis of the symmetry among the films and go instead to my experience in entertainment financing and marketing + social/pop cultural observations. They’re not going to kill the black guy because the whole reason he’s introduced is to be the new Solo (unpredictable male) while the new female character is the new Skywalker (Force sensitive big-heart plucked out of no where). I don’t know anything about the new pilot character so he might be the one to bite it after teaching the female about everything going on but if it isn’t him, then it will be one of the 3 human returning cast members. I know it won’t be Chewie because, again – marketing. There is no reason in the world to kill off a popular toy item character who is timeless not only due to his fictional species life-span but also due to the fact that since it’s a costumed character – anyone can play him. Chewbacca will be immortal in this series so that leaves Luke, Lea, and Han Solo. Out of those 3, only one makes sense to kill and it’s most clearly Solo for 2 reasons:
1) is character has already arched and was originally intended to die in Return of the Jedi (which he should have, to round out the story and his character and show some actual consequence to the series).
2) money… Harrison Ford is the only one of the 3 to command tens of millions in acting paychecks in his post-StarWars life. Disney doesn’t need that. They’re going to make monster bucks off Star Wars no matter what so why pay Ford an ever-increasing salary of millions, never knowing if he’s going to crash his private plane in real life and make filming impossible, just to bridge their franchise over to a new generation of cast members anyway? If Solo doesn’t die, he will be die in the next movie for certain (to mirror his cliffhanger carbonite freezing in The Empire Strikes Back). The way they could twist this trope would be to set up Lea as a mother figure for some new characters and then kill her off instead, forcing us to watch Solo grieve his love and that would be cool but unlikely for the logistical corporate reasons I mentioned. Han or Lea are on the chopping block in this movie, with my money on Han – and if both of them survive – look to any character taking on a leader/guidance role to be the one who is doomed to heroically die in the 2nd or 3rd act of the movie.
5- The Film Will End With a Grand Award Reception
The first episode in the 2 existing trilogies all introduce characters from a home planet and thrust them into a pre-existing conflict which they win with the help of a 3rd party and the victory is commemorated with an award ceremony.
In A New Hope (Episode 4): After successfully exploiting the weakness in the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance led by Princess Lea awards medals to Luke and Han (while Chewie awkwardly just stands there growling, joining them on stage but with no medal of his own). The final shot of the film before the iris closing into the peppy credits is the lineup of the new crop of heroes facing the Rebellions adulation.
In The Phantom Menace (Episode 1): Having defeated the Trade Federations invasion attempt with the help of the Gungan natives, the Naboo capital city hosts a grand parade in where the leader of the Gungans and Queen Amidala signify their bond as she passes him some kind of electric orb thing in front of the cheering crowds in where the Gungan leader yells “PEACE!”.
PREDICTION In The Force Awakens (Episode 7): Not enough clues here to make a real prediction but I would suspect that it would strongly mirror A New Hope in assembling the new team. A nice touch, if they can figure out a way to make it not too blatantly on-the-nose would be for the award to be handed from the previous cast, Elder Statesman style, to the new, exciting the audience at the adventures and newness to come before teasing that excitement with the abrupt iris-out closer to the credits.
Did you ever stop to think about how Sesame Streets Oscar the Grouch is actually just a city-living version of Dr Seuss’ Mountain/Country-living Grinch?
They are both hairy green curmudgeons without malicious or even ill-intent of action outside of their negative disposition. Neither is particularly active, but rather only outwardly annoyed with others when their isolation is encroached by the nearby citizens.
It’s the same character profile in the same fictional species even. It’s just that Oscar lives in a city and is less taken care of, letting his body fur and eyebrows grow out in his tiny urban dwelling, while the Grinch is more well kept in his spacious cliff-top home.
In the early 90s, the the Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episodes were a major highlight of my year, enhancing greatly the strong and unique Halloween themes emotions by presenting pseudo-scary stories with decidedly Halloween stylization at multiple levels. Over the years however, the Specials became and stayed strongly generic, losing the magic they once had, and it wasn’t because I was getting older – it was because the show deviated from the formula’s that made the original opening episodes so great both as comedic entertainment and as Halloween styled presentations.
1990 – 1995 were gold
1996 – 2000 were severely watered down, barely passable
2001 – 2015 have just been garbage
In tragic irony, the Halloween specials did exactly the opposite of what the rest of the series did, in that while the series has fallen out of pop-culture favor by failing to evolve to the tastes of the times, the Halloween Specials did exactly that and both suffered greatly. Instead, the show should have evolved and the Halloween Specials should have stuck rigidly to their original formula’s celebrating the holiday. Here are 5 reasons in which they deviated from that plan and took something once-special down a path of uninspired commonality:
1- Airing after Halloween
For a holiday to be celebrated after its calendar date, it can’t involve a unique feeling, atmosphere or ritual. Birthdays, St Valentines Day, St Patricks Day, Presidents Day, Arbor Day, etc can all be celebrated after their calendar passing without loss to the significance to the celebration because the nature of those celebrations are commemorating themes instead of being built around date-essential communal rituals. A media production celebrating a holiday has more pressure because unlike the real-life organizing of festivities and event planning that a person has some control within – the airing of a production is relying on those festivities and planning to be relevant and be enjoyed to full degree by its viewers. This makes the timing crucial and Halloween is the #1 most crucial holiday to time right in its airing due to the unique combination of the ritual with the spirit of the holiday, with only New Years Eve coming close to such timing-importance. Other ritual-based holidays such as Thanksgiving, and Christmas (and to a lesser extent, Independence Day) have full weeks of vacation time, travel, family gathering, preparation and lingering days afterward where semblances of the holiday spirit remain – Halloween is a uniquely build-up and one-shot event. Unlike the resettling to normal life after the few days following Thanksgiving and the entire week following the rest of the year after Christmas day – the spirit of Halloween is completely and totally gone by November 1st. The entirety of Halloweens magic, mischief, and fun is a strictly October affair culminating on All Hallows Eve, the last day of the month. By morning, the magic is gone, meaning that all movie and television specials capitalizing on the feelings and atmosphere of Halloween must take place before that hard-deadline of October 31st.
There is no reason for this to be a difficult proposition for any production team or broadcast outlet. And yet… In a scarier Y2K disaster that no one predicted – the 11th Simpsons Halloween Special released in the year 2000 aired on November 1st, starting a consistently disappointing run where ever consecutive Special would unforgivably do the same for 8 years thereafter. Finally, the 2009 Special correctly aired in October – only to be followed by 2010’s Special airing on November 10th.
Those other 9 misses were devastating to the franchise. That’s nearly an entire decade of brand diluting, completely ruining the spirit of the production beyond the damage that the productional aspects discussed in the rest of this list already has the dishonor of achieving. While the past 5 year airings have all occurred in October and hopefully all future ones do too, the spirit of the releases have yet to recover from those 9 misfires.
2- Kang and Koddos demoted to cameos and gags
The helmeted green blob cyclops aliens only appear in the Simpsons Universe on the Halloween Specials and used to be utilized the way they should every year which is to add a recurring comedic-horror touch to science-fiction based stories – yet for 15 years they have been relegated out of meaningful storylines, only appearing as cameos like actors that a producer didn’t want to include but had to due to contractual obligations.
The characters are so ripe for diverse arrays of Halloween-themed usage that there is no excuse for this. Their initial appearances capitalized on this unique presentation in both their inclusion in the storylines and the events surrounding their depiction. The characters are a delightful meld of contradictions: Their toothy perpetually drooling mouths suggesting unevolved savagery is juxtaposed by their intelligence and use of advanced technology, their constantly flailing tentacles suggest volatility while their monotone and calculated literal speech is always deliberate and controlled, and their vast knowledge of space and time is constantly undermined by their autistic misunderstandings of social cues and rudimentary situations. These characters are horror parody comedic gold and yet have not been used in this regard since the initial Golden-Five. Specifically, their usage should be quasi-terror, capitalizing on their alien-monster genre in the mold of 1950’s B-movies that they are derived, but instead, even in the off years in where they are given a storyline it is merely a joke entirely consisting of “oh hey. look. aliens”.
The dilution of the characters significance began in 1996’s “Citizen Kang” in where the duo were not menacing in any kind of horror way. Instead, the entire segment was merely a political parody of the election between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole using the aliens as a foil to make political jokes. Same deal 14 years later in 2010’s closing segment “War and Pieces” which was a loose War of the Worlds parody attempting to satirize the 2nd Gulf war against Iraq. Kang and Kodos should be in alien-terror stories that make the usual social and political commentary gags indicative of The Simpsons within those constructs – not the reverse.
The absence of these characters in roles as funny/scary space monsters and replacement of them as generic alien one-liner deliverers severely detracts from the Specials.
3- Homages replaced by references
The golden first-five included award worthy Simpson versions of Dracula, Twilight Zone Episodes, and short stories like the Monkeys Paw or Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. This president should have never been abandoned but was replaced for the most part with stories that weren’t parodies of anything and weren’t based on anything. These kinds of segments aren’t crimes on their own if done the right away, and rather could potentially add a new flavor to the Specials and in a sense be a Simpsons version of Tales from the Crypt stories – but they have to have the veneer of being scary for that to be pulled off. Instead, potentially eerie science fiction disaster parody original tales like 2000’s environmental propaganda short “night of the dolphin” in where dolphins march on land in revenge for ocean pollution is completely devoid of anything science fiction-esque or scary at all. The sin of these kinds of shorts the Special has been airing for 15 years is that there is just nothing “scary” about the presentation of these episodes. The music doesn’t mock-creep you out, the characters don’t experience fear – it’s just a series of violence-for-laughs that are no different from an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. It cheapens the whole venture and robs it of its otherwise unique qualities.
The first offender was the 7th Special which opened up with a short titled “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores” in where giant mascot statues come to life and wreak havoc. I remember watching it thinking, “WTF is this?”. It was an okay sketch I guess, but there was nothing Halloween related about it and it wasn’t a parody of anything except an in-name-only reference to the 1958 B-movie “Attack of the 50 foot woman“. Unlike the previous golden-five, there was no sense of danger or horror whatsoever. The eerie music and suspense parody was completely missing and replaced with regular run-of-the-mill sight gags.
Ever since then, the act of making parodies of Halloween and horror related popular media was completely abandoned and replaced by mere references and cameos of non-Halloween or horror related pieces of media like the episode featuring guest star Lucy Lawless playing Xena in a plotline where Comicbook Guy captures heroes for permanent preservation in plastic seals.
In the rare events that one of the 3 stories in the Specials does end up parodying something – it’s been bizarrely non-Halloween related. Sometimes with a premise that could be a stretch to make Halloween-ish only to see the show not even try to bridge the gap such as stories parodying Harry Potter (2001), A.I. (2004), Twilight (2010), or 2009’s “Untitled Robot Parody” (that’s the name of the segment…) but also completely and totally non-Halloween movies with no attempt to Halloween-it-up in the Simpsons version of them like Mr and Mrs Smith (2004), E.T. (2007), Dr Seuss (2013), and James Camerons Avatar (2011).
4- They stopped being “specials”
The golden first-five knew what it meant to be a Special. They were uniquely and distinctly set apart from every other episode of the season in style, tone, look, feel, presentation, music, type of humor, and subject matter that was all circled around Halloween as a holiday and/or Halloween related monsters, paranormal activity, or horror suspense thriller.
In Episode I, the only episode to actually use the treehouse motif, the Simpsons kids tell stories of horror from the treehouse on Halloween night after trick or treating.
In Episode II presented its 3 stories as being nightmares by Bart, Lisa, and Homer.
In Episode III was introduced by Homer in a parody of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and depicted its segments as stories told by Lisa, Bart, and Grandpa at a Halloween party.
In Episode IV is hosted by Bart in a parody of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery.
In Episode V has Marge introduce the episode by warning that it’s so scary that children should not watch it.
These made the episodes unique. different. “special”…
For 15 years, the only thing differentiating the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes has been a death themed couch-gag (sometimes replaced with a death-themed cold opening not involving the couch), green slime font used in the credits (that also contain punny/spooky versions of the names within) and an increase of comedic violence. That’s it and it’s not enough.
Not even the fact that they are non-cannon stories to the rest of the series makes them different because The Simpsons has always used that episode structure throughout its history. Whether it’s telling stories about history or the potential future or alternate histories – there is nothing uniquely special about seeing the Simpsons characters in roles other than their family life storyline.
5- They stopped being about Halloween
The biggest crime of all that destroyed this sub-brand and disgracefully never even attempted to repair: After the golden-first-five, the Simpsons Halloween Specials dropped all pretenses about being what they claimed to be: HALLOWEEN SPECIALS. It’s one thing to imply a show will be a “special” when it isn’t one, but it is a bridge too far to masquerade it under the moniker of “Halloween” only to completely ignore the holiday. Instead, for 15 years the Treehouse of Horror episodes have all just been excuses to display non-cannon supernatural or large scale events and/or include death and comedic gore. This is not what Halloween is or is all about and has been a 15 year insult to the original 5 that executed the task of a Halloween Special so well. What The Simpsons have been doing for 15 years has been akin to if they had been running yearly “Christmas Specials” that would scarcely (if at all) even *reference* Santa, Christmas trees, gift giving, and Christmas holiday folklore in offhanded ways once every 4 to 6 years and instead just made episodes telling stories of good tidings and snow and that’s it. Just as Christmas is more than pleasant feelings and snow – Halloween is more than violence and supernatural occurrences. To be a Halloween Special, a production can’t just tell stories about murder or magic. That’s not what Halloween is.
Halloween is about trick-or-treating, costumes, ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, witches, black cats, black magic, creepy occurrences, candy, monsters, scary stories, mischief, and scary situations involving the dead, re-animated dead, Death Himself (grim reaper), or the witnessing of/retreat from dying due to super natural elements. To be a “Halloween Special” you must include at least half of those and instead the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror series has sluffed by for 15 years barely averaging 1.5 per episode.
The first 5 years were on-point. They are quintessential Halloween episodes from top to bottom.
The failure to continue the tradition of format, quality, and tone set by the first 5 is a shameful disgrace that underserves the long running series and does a disservice to those who grew up with it like myself. Businesses get dissolved and marriages get annulled over bait-and-switches not half as egregious. It is time that The Simpsons, which has been on for 25 seasons, return to its roots represented in its first 6 years on the air that made it a special icon in American media history in the first place.
In the past few weeks in the lead-up and release of the film version of 50 Shades of Grey, nearly every person who saw it has told me the Grey character “kindov reminds me of you” [me]. And given the nature of the movie, 100% of those people have been either female or homosexual males.
Should I be disturbed by this?…
At the time of this writing, I know pretty much nothing about the story other than it began as a smut novel that originated as Twilight fan-fiction and became wildly popular among that same pre-mentioned Twilight demographic. As far as I know, Graybles McGrey is a wealthy coffee software baron in Seattle (since I know he lives there and I think those are the only 2 industries billionaires inhabit in that region) and he sexually abuses the main character of the story and she likes it, cuz duh (see: women).
I don’t understand what’s going on here…
What the hell, people? That’s nothing like me. I hate Seattle. [audience laughter].
I mean, I don’t hate it like I hate San Fransisco, I just don’t see the point of its high praise as one of the best cities ever, and it has that San Franny posh-hippie vibe that makes me wanna punch something. but then again I’ve never been there and it’s geography looks cool and it seems a lot cleaner and less homeless-riddled than San Fran, so maybe I just changed my mind about the city.
Okay. Nevermind. I’m exactly like that Grey dude.
Nah. JK. But why are so many comparing me to a whip-and-chain-er dude with power issues? I was joking about the whole “I’m not like him cuz I don’t like Seattle” schtick, but I for-real have no interest in leather goofy slip slap nonsense so i’m not sure what this silly-seeming-similarity is spawning from. The whole “suspend me from the ceiling and whip me with a leather tassel” garbage sounds like a total waste of time to me. And the petty power games i’m told the character is all about sounds equally counter productive. I verbally demean people who are bad – not whom I like and wanna get off on treating them poorly. and I only physically abuse robots, dragons and other kaiju that threaten the safety of humanity – not defenseless naive stupid girls alone in the big city.
Is there something else I’m missing? Is this guy a villain or a badass or something in between? Cuz he seems kind of lame from what I know. I was more down with being compared to Rumpelstiltskin from Shrek 4 than Master Grey. Is this all a writers-prompt of you peoples own Richard-fan-fiction extrapolated from me referring to myself in the third person, as “Daddy”, and demanding basic standards of behavior and efficiency?
I’ll probably sample the movie at some point in the future just to make fun of it but in the mean time I’m enjoying approaching it from a reference point of total ignorance while being constantly compared to what appears to be a wealthy pompous sexual sociopath.
You people are weird.
Now lick my boots like the bitches you are….
Nah, JK. Daddy don’t wear boots.
This abomination must die.
What do bugs use for currency in cartoons?
Like in Pixar’s A Bugs Life – there are several references to money and getting rich, but… wtf is money to these fkkers? they don’t have pockets… are there bug banks? do you make wire transfers via flying insects?
They’re making a Toy Story 4 but not gonna answer this shit?? WTF
okay, I’m trusting your collective votes here so don’t fkking lie to me…
Is American Horror Story really worth my time to start watching?
I took a chance on True Blood and after 2 episodes of Truly Bullshit stories about fairies and horribly acted Telemundo style softcore, I never went back to any of the currently trendy shows.
So AmHorrStor? (thats the abriev I just made up for it)… skip?… watch?…don’t fkk with me… My time is more valuable than some of your lives…
I have no idea whats up with this dude but the makeup is pretty cool
In the series of books by L. Frank Baum a little girl named Dorothy has her house lifted up by a tornado whilst she’s still in it and transported to the magical land of Oz and attempts to get back home. After journeying from her landing point in the East to the central city in the midwest and then to West, then back to Mid-west and finally to Glinda’s kingdom in the south, she finally returns home but not for long as she later comes back to Oz and later after that moves her whole Kansas family to Oz in a rip off of how Tim Burtons remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ended (spoiler alert).
The story is a journey-to-another-world adventure series. Oz is a real place on earth surrounded by a desert that turns you into sand if you touch it (seen as one of the least bits of Nightmare Fuel in the 1980s Return To Oz movie), explaining why no other non-fairylanders have ever been there besides Dorothy and the Wizard, and later Glinda puts the whole thing under an invisibility bubble so no one can see it from overhead either, explaining why we still haven’t at least noticed it when flying over at some point.
In the 1939 iconic movie however, the dummies behind the production thought that the sophisticated audiences of the time wouldn’t buy the whole fairyland bullshit so they came up with the conceit that there is no land of Oz, but rather the whole things is a super elaborate dream Dorothy has after recent emotional and then physical trauma. Dorothy gets concussed by airborne debris when in her home trying to escape the twister and falls into a coma in where she dreams the houses is being lifted up and she visits a magical place with familiar faces, realizes she loves her family (and maybe has a crush on Hunk the farmhand – the Scarecrows Kansan-counterpart’s name in the movie) and wakes up safe in her bed surrounded by exactly those familiar faces in the home she never should have left.
So there’s no escaping it and no ambiguity in the movie: it was a dream. We saw her go to sleep, we experienced the dream with her, and we saw her wake up. The end.
So why did I never see it that way, growing up? Why did I never think it was a dream and filled in blanks that were not present in the actual film with theories and excuses as to the real actions behind what I was seeing? I hadn’t read the book until 7th grade, so that hadn’t biased me. I simply watched the movie and assumed it was how it should have been instead of how it actually is.
The film shows Dorothy getting knocked out and float into a dream sequence in which decidedly dreamlike things happen including her nasty neighbor Miss Gultch ride by on her bike and transform into a broomstick riding cackling witch. When its time for Dorothy to go home the transition fades in ways appropriate to symbolize waking up from a dream and she wakes up in her bed muttering what she was saying in the dream. There’s no way around what is on the screen: the bitch was dreaming and none of the events that take place in Oz actually happened except within her subconscious.
Originally the script called for the camera to pan-down and reveal the Ruby Slippers under Dorothy’s bed as an “or was it??” big ending but that was cut, again: because Dummies.
Yet as a child I decided, or rather, thought I “realized”, that both scenes were depicting physical displacements. I thought when Dorothy gets head whacked, she was merely knocked out for a few hours and was awaked by the thud of her house hitting the ground (padded by one wicked witch). What the film was depicting as dropping into a hallucinogenic state of mind, I thought was time passage. As a child I had made the flight from New York to California many times and I figured air travel from Kansas to Oz had to be at least that long, so it made sense to transition the traveling. When Dorothy clicks her heels home, I just figured the magic of the slippers was beaming her back home Star Trek style and she both got knocked out and lost the slippers in the process. Her family found her nearby the wreckage of the home after several days of her being missing and nursed her back to consciousness. The reason the scarecrow, lion, tin man, wizard and wicked witch resembled people Dorothy knew in Kansas was because Oz was partially in another dimension where many things run parallel to our world. A sort of multi-verse theory before I was mentally developed enough to know what that was.
This is in the same theme as the fact that the overbearing Mr Darling in real-life London and villainous Captain Hook in NeverNeverLand are traditionally played by the same actor in stage plays of Peter Pan, the tv Mary Martin version I watched on VHS as a kid and noticed and possibly subconsciously noticed in the Disney animation where it is slightly less obvious (to a child, anyway) that the 2 mens voices are 1.
It all made sense to me and to the best of my knowledge – everyone else who watched the movie.
In fact, I never even really considered the possibility that the movie wasn’t intended to be exactly as I just described until recently. And now, as this question torments me late at night, I wonder if it wasn’t all real indeed. After all, artist-intent only accounts for a minority fraction of any film analysis, so the fact that the film is not intended to depict an actual physical journey is nearly irrelevant to the question. The real question is what do YOU think? If enough of you watched it in a similar way that I did, then that is what happened.
So… is it? Did Oz really happen?
Everyone certainly wants it to have happened to a point where they’re willing to pretend that it did, it seems.
In the last 2 years, 2 terrible movies made by different studios than MGM (makers of the 1939 film) have made sequels or prequels that attempt to set themselves in as much of the continuity of the 1939 film as legally possible and they both depict Oz as being a physical destination that exists in real life.
Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful shows Oscar the future Wizard’s arrival in Oz and an even more terrible animated movie called Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return depicts the character in the title doing the thing it says she does in the title. and both movies depict the physical reality of Oz as exactly the parallel dimension type alternate-timeline-of-earth thing going on by depicting counterparts in Oz and Kansas with similar personality and physical attributes.
So wtf is the deal here? When you watched the Wizard of Oz, did you accept that it was a dream? Or like me did you decide it was real? Or unlike me, did you accept it was a dream but decide to retcon it, knowing full well what you were doing? Or did you know it was a dream, accept it was a dream and have no problem with Oz not ever having been a real place to this day?
It is 2:30AM on a Saturday night as I write this from my master bedroom and I cannot rest until I have answers. WTF is up with OZ?….
Look, I wanna watch and enjoy Dragons vs Kid-Kings and Dwarves as much as anybody, but I need a better hook than just …that.
Yes, an adult version (with boobs and incest for some reason) of Lord of the Rings set in the world of Conan with sprinkles of Harry Potter elements in it sounds, not-necessarily-the-worst-ever, but it looks so passe in its visual execution that I can’t get excited about it.
It’s the polished boring looking paint-by-numbers design and style that turns me off from trying to get into this series. If the show looked more like this original rendering instead of “Xena” with slightly better special effects, I’d be watching it with you all…
Just one example is what looks to be the kid character ruling on a giant sword-throne. The original intent by the author looks awesome!
The one in the actual show looks… not awesome at all. It looks dumb.
Could this cheesy set piece be any more lame and disappointing?
Make cooler stuff, Entertainment Industry. Or I will make it for you. #threat.