07 June 2012

The Road to a Blockbuster: Madagascar v. Prometheus

Another Summer Weekend is almost upon us and that means that some new movies are set to duke it out at the Box Office. This column seeks to discover more than just the fat paychecks these flicks will bring in to their creators - but also analyze the extent of the cultural waves made on this great nation. Actually in the current market the United States return is slim compared to the global appetite for great mindless action. It's for this reason that the biggest films have to be sparse on dialogue, relying on visual spectacle instead of the English language.

But at any rate we have two very different films coming at us this weekend. The first is another in a seemingly long line of extraterrestrial-themed movies we've encountered thus far in 2012 (The Avengers, Battleship, Men in Black 3, for starters) but Prometheus seems to present something different. Is it an Alien (1979) prequel? Probably, maybe, kind of? It has an intensity to the marketing that alludes to both its director and its familiar iconography of that great film of thirty years prior.

Here's the deal with Prometheus: even if it is some kind of direct successor to Alien, it hasn't really been marketed as such. Ever since its announcement and subsequent successful trailers (even if they seem to be spoiler-heavy [I've been avoiding them]) it has built up the kind of anticipation for an original story by a visionary director unheard of since Inception (2010). It's going after a very specific demographic, a cadre of nerds who want this to be the kind of truly harsh and disturbing sci-fi reality they can share with themselves that isn't as broad as The Avengers, doesn't have the stigma of Battleship, and doesn't try as hard to be as self-serious and edgy as Snow White & The Huntsman (2012). Is it weird that Snow White is the film that could steal the most of Promie's business this weekend? They're both pretty dark for Summer Flicks, but with certainly high aspirations. Still, Promie has an aura of authenticity and coolness replete from Snow White's gothic, desperate, revisionist tone. It almost seems destined to jump headfirst into the kind of pulp culture that's featured on a site like this. The only other film to really do that in recent memory is...well, Inception.

Positioned against Prometheus couldn't be more perfect counter-programming for kids (and weak-stomached adults, I guess) is Madagascar 3: Who Gives a Fuck (2012). Somehow in the long annals of animated trilogies this has survived and wins back DreamWorks nearly $200 mill domestic a pop. I actually had no idea what the subtitle was for this film, apparently it's Europe's Most Wanted. Apparently these critters are in Europe now? On some kind of Afro Circus I gather? The advertising for this flick has been short and intense. Suddenly last week there was a commercial blaring Afro Circus on television every 45 seconds. This is probably the most grating sequence ever unleashed upon mankind. Sometimes I can't believe Chris Rock would sink to this kind of level. Then I remember this and it all makes sense.

About to tear up the Orca
So where are we? It ought to be a close race to the top this weekend. I actually think tho that Prometheus has a bit more momentum behind it to come out on top. Culturally, I also think that this ought to be pretty hot, if only from being the second Charlize Theron flick to drop in two weeks, along with the growing clout of Noomi Rapace, and of course, the Shark himself, Michael Fassbender. Of course, as appropriate, it's more and more evident that the love for Fassbender is actually quite confined, as Russell Brand's failed MTV Movie Award jokes would attest to.

Of course the big question here is...Is Michael Fassbender actually a shark that has taught himself to walk on land? There is a tremendous amount of evidence to support this cutting edge theory. Basically, he has huge teeth, a fearsome smile, and the combination of handsomeness and charm that is only befitting of one of nature's oldest and most efficient predators. Naturally then, it would appear that Prometheus features Sharks in Space - and that, my friends, is quite the frightening concept indeed. I don't think we should be lulled into security around this guy. Think about it - a Shark who is a sex addict psychoanalyst who can bend metal with his mind? IN SPACE?! Holy dick. And I mean dick, because that Shark has a huge fucking dick as well.

This is the last post of Norwegian Morning Wood.

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