Jan 5, 2009

2008 Comics/Animation Movies Round-Up – I

We have reached a New year in 2009, but there are still a lot of blog posts which were originally planned at Comicology for the year 2008. So, let's quickly wrap them up one by one.

First-up would be a Movies Roundup for the year 2008. Don't panic, we aren't going away from the main Comics theme of our Blog. In fact, all the movies which are being covered here will be those which has some sort of relationship with Comics, or its sub-genre Animation. There were a total of 20+ movies released in 2008 related to these genre, which is an enormous list to be covered in a single post.  Hence this is a 1st of the two part series in this write-up. 

Let’s start with our first post, where the movies are ordered according to their US release date.

Rambo 2008 Rambo (Jan 25, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 1.5/5 >>

Sylvester Stallone tried to imitate his past success by re-booting the long forgotten movie franchise Rambo after a decade (since Rambo III).  This instalment takes him to Burma in a bid to save the missionaries from evil clutches of savage Military Officer.  The film was said to be the most gory of the franchise, with as many killings, but I was somehow not impressed seeing a legendary character being portrayed as in his last breath. 

The storyline didn’t give much justice either to the franchise, but the producers are poised to make a 5th instalment of series in 2009, unlike Rocky Balboa two years earlier, which was confirmed as the last instalment of the Rocky series.  

You might wonder why this movie is part of our list. But, I just came to know that Blackthorne Publishing, had produced some comics based on Rambo character in 1988.  While the Comic based Movie adaptations have mostly been successful, the vice-versa does not show a rosy picture.  No wonder the company folded shops the very next year.

Jumper 2008 Jumper (Feb 14, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 2/5 >>

A partly successful movie based on the original novel by the same name in 1992.  It follows the adventure of two secret mutant genres, which are destined to fight and hunt each other.  Oni Press had actually released a prequel graphic novel before the movie, hence it finds mention in our list.  Mostly it is a disappointing movie, which failed to live up to the expectations set by the famous novel.  The unknown cast and crew didn’t help the matter much. 

But, the film actually did a decent turn out in box office prompting the producers to think on a sequel.  One of the attraction of the movie is that its said to have been filmed in 14 different countries. So we get to see a world-tour, when the lead character jumps from one location to another (which was a cute concept).

Horton 2008 Horton Hears A Who (Mar 14, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 3/5 >>

The first Animation movie released internationally in 2008.  Many in India may not be aware of Dr.Seuss, who is known for his literary work targeted for children.  Two of his earlier books have also been made as films, with the first one featuring Jim Carrey.  But, this is the first movie which was made fully in CGI.  It’s a touching storyline which talks about the importance of living things irrespective of their size.  Horton the Elephant is comically drawn and wonderfully voiced by the talented Jim Carrey (who seems to love Dr.Seuss work).

The movie could have been made better, if it had avoided lengthy scenes and screenplay.  But the climax scene made up for it all, where I was one among those who wished that the voice from the tiny world makes it to what we call as our world.

Iron Man 2008Iron Man (May 2, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 3.5/5 >>

The long awaited movie featuring one of the famous Marvel characters, Iron Man, finally hit the theatres in 2008 (It was in pre-production for almost 2 decades, changing number of hands in the process).  Marvel seem to have an upper hand over the arch-rivals DC when it comes to Movie franchise.  Somehow their comic characters were tailor made for a movies, and the number of characters in their disposal is fascinating, to say at least. 

Tony Stark is wonderfully portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., whose dialog delivery, and style, overshadows his ageing face. It’s said that the production house initially preferred a younger actor, but then decided to give it to Downey, since the chracter resembled lot in him, and also because he is a great fan of the Iron Man comics.

The evolution of the Iron Man Costume in 3 stages; Introduction of Iron Monger, Iron Man’s arch enemy, and the plot revolving around him;  Saviour of the people in war-torn states;   are wonderfully portrayed in the movie, which would make any Iron Man Comics fan proud.  There is also a romantic interlude with the personal secretary, Pepper Pots (isn’t that a cute name), which seems to have been set in motion for the sequels to come.

The last scene press conference, where everybody expects Tony Stark to make announcement disassociating the rumours of him being Iron Man, is closed perfectly with the punch line sentence.  Credits to the Director, Jon Favreau, for making a movie which was in “Development Hell” for near 2 decades, with incredible plot-work.  It should also be noted that the director allowed actors to create their own dialogues.  The humor part in-lined with the entire script, with flashy comic dialogues, is said to be due to the involvement of Downey Jr., contributions in the movie’s screenwriting.  He claims to have made it stand out from the rest of the hard-hitting super-hero movies.  It turned out as a master stroke for the movie.

The Director didn’t let any stones unturned by silently introducing the Avengers Initiative at the end of the movie, setting up the show for 2009.  And, Iron Man-2 with the same cast is in for a 2011 sequel.

Speed Racer 2008Speed Racer (May 9, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 1/5 >>

A prime candidate for the worst movie franchise, this time made out of Japanese Anime series.  I should honestly admit that I was never a great fan for the Japanese Manga style of art and anime, and it could have helped me to write-off this movie completely.  But, the overall rating of the movie, does justify my premonition.  The plot talks about a young racer, trying to win a prestigious racing championship, in which his older brother was killed.  In the process he uncovers the corporate games of cheating, and backstabbing.  Lesser said about the plot the better.

Indiana Jones 2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull (May 22, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 2.5/5 >>

The successful duo of George Lucas (Star Wars fame) and Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park fame), join hands once again to bring back the famous movie character Indian Jones back onto silver screen after nearly 2 decades.  To go by the strong theme of, “If Indiana Jones, then it is Harrison Ford”, 56 year old surprisingly made his return to play the lead character again.  Harrison Ford simply has charisma wooing all over him, and it helps bring back the glory days.  The Nuclear Bomb Blast, Car chasing scenes and a climax with pre-historic monuments, and encounter with aliens its makes (which was kind of too comical) for an interesting watch.  The next instalment may be better.

Even though I wasn’t from the genre when Indian Jones was making headlines, I have heard it from seniors in the biz that it was one of the interesting movie franchise they every witnessed.  Since the movie franchise is actually said to have been rebooted, Shia LaBeouf (Transformer fame) is introduced as Jr. Jones, to centre future movies around his character.  Even though Indian Jones is typically a movie franchise, Marvel Comics and Dark Horse have long printed graphic novels based on the character, hence he makes into our list.

Kung Fu Panda 2008 Kung Fu Panda (Jun 6, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 2/5 >>

A movie from the famed DreamWorks studio, which made its way after a huge marketing campaign.  But, even then I wasn’t particularly impressed to a great extent with jumping Panda.  It shows how a movie from a bigger brand can get mass attention through the strength of campaigns.  My rating is sure to create uproars among the comic/movie fraternity, some of whom have rated it even on the top 3 movies of the year.  But, with that said, this is my honest rating.

There is also a controversy fuming, that the Americans utilized the Panda as the lead character so as to make profit out of the beloved and national figure in China.  I believe that actually worked up pretty well for the success of the movie.  Didn’t they say Controversy creates Cash. :)

Incredible Hulk 2008Incredible Hulk (Jun 13, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 2/5 >>

The Green angry giant makes a comeback to silver screen after 5 years, but as it turned out it was a complete reboot of the Incredible Hulk series from the failed attempt earlier.  A lead character and cast change didn’t help matters, as the movie didn’t impress any better than the 2003 instalment.  We get to witness the introduction of Hulk’s deadly enemy Abomination, who also fails to hype up the tempo.  It looks the producers were never interested to take this hulk movie franchise further, and only attempted to reboot the character to appear as part of the The Avengers Movie planned in the coming years.  A fact justified by Tony Star (aka Iron Man) making his presence again at the end credits.

Wall E 2008 Wall-E (Jun 27, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 4/5 >>

Finally a strong contender for the years best Animation movie award, from the famed Pixar Studios (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille).  Wall-E simply shakes us out of our irregular life style of dumping and littering our neighbourhood, ultimately destroying the planet.  The scene opens up with a deserted Earth, which has now been reduced to piles and piles of garbage, effectively prompting the Humans to leave it for a search among the stars for a better place to live.  But, they forgot to switch off one last robot meant to clear up the Waste, which goes about its task everyday as instructed.  In the process it meets its love of life in form of a new generation Robot, aptly named EVE.

What we get to witness is then a romantic interlude among these unrelated machines, and a race against time to bring the humans back to earth.  The fact that the half of the movie from the opening scene didn’t feature any dialogues, but still managed to sweep us off our feet, is a testament to the legacy set by Pixar’s animations. Some of the scenes depicted as future humans turning to a lazy chunk of pile, seems to represent partly on our current life style.  Pixar’s animations have a richness associated with its work, and it is no lesser witnessed in Wall-E, which is said to the be the costliest movie ever produced by the Studios till date.  No wonder, Wall-E finds itself being nominated in various award categories in different film festivals.

Wanted 2008 Wanted (Jun 27, 2008) << Comicology Rating: 2.5/5 >>

The first comic series based movie franchise of the year, which is not from the famed Marvel.  Wanted was originally a Comic Series written by Mark Millar (Ultimate series fame), and published in Top Cow (a comic publishing company started by creators to own their work and related licensing).  It follows a young executive who suddenly finds that he is a successor to the secret cult of 1000 year old Super-able assassins cult, and he should either be part of them, or see they turn against him.  Even though the plot had all the ingredients for a successful movie franchise, the resultant movie is a great failure to the original concept.

The movie even though featuring a strong cast with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman, failed to live up to its hype.  Often losing its way in the screenplay, and a struggling actor in its lead character.  The only bright spot in the movie is Slow-Motion Fast paced action sequences, and an ever beaming Jolie, with some bare-dare acts ;).

[Concluded on Round-Up II]

That completes our first part in this 2008 Comic/Animation based movies review.  The second part to this mini-series is also online now.  If you liked the post, why don’t you leave your comments and reviews about this topic and the movies discussed in this post in the section below?  I would be eager to read them.

12 ComiComments:


எனக்குப் பிடித்த வரிசையில் என் கருத்துக்களை பதிகிறேன், ஹல்க் படத்தினை நான் பார்க்கவில்லை ஏனெனில் அதன் ட்ரெயிலரே எனக்கு திருப்தியளிக்கவில்லை.

WALL E மிக அருமையான படம், என்னை கண்ணீரின் அருகில் வரவழைத்த காட்சிகள் உண்டு.

SPEED RACER இப்படத்தின் கிராபிக்ஸ் காட்சிகளும், அவை படமாக்கப்பட்ட விதங்களும் என்னை மிகவும் கவர்ந்தன.

WANTED கத்தி முனை ஆக்‌ஷன், படத்தில் இடம் பெறும் பாடல்கள், அஞ்சலினா

IRON MAN என்ன மாயமோ ROBERT DOWNEY JRன் நடிப்பு, திரையில் கதை நகர்த்தப்பட்ட விதம் என்னை இப்படத்தினை ரசிக்க வைத்தது, இறுதி காட்சியை தவிர.

KUNGFU PANDA ஒ.கே ரகம், ஏற்கனவே பார்த்த திரைப்படங்களை ஞாபகமூட்டும் காட்சிகள்.

HORTON ஜாலியான யானையின் அட்டகாசங்கள், கழுகு மாமாவின் சூழ்ச்சிகள், ஒ.கே சொல்லிடலாம்

RAMBO, INDIANA JONES சொதப்பல் தொடர்ச்சிகள்

JUMPER ஆளை விடுங்க சாமி.

Some random thoughts on this post:

First thought: excellent post! I enjoyed reading this.

Anime actually refers to Japanese animation only. So Wall E does not belong to the anime genre.

Iron Man: Nick Fury of SHIELD is suddenly black, just like they turned the Kingpin into a black in Daredevil. Bad choice to play one of my favorite Marvel characters.!!(Played by Samuel L Jackson). I was not much impressed by the movie as it tends to be kinda racist with stereotyped villains. IMHO, Ghost Rider was much better than this trash.

Hellboy II was ok but not nearly as good as Hellboy I.

Finally my all time favorite comic movie of the year was "The Dark Knight". Hope to read about it in your next post.

Hey another Great Post Rafiq...though I am yet to go thru it properly..will give a long comment once U are done with Part 2 of the list...my opinion will differ a lot on the ratings though ;)

I wanted to do a similar post on my blog sans ratings as I loved almost all of them :) call me a Fanboy but that's what I am :)

PS. Do visit my blog...have posted the pics of my Library...(sadistic pleasure of showing off ;))

This installment of Indiana Jones had more in common with Tintin than before. The plot elements from Prisoners of The Sun and Flight 714 were present heavily. Read http://www.tintinologist.org/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=7&topic=2804
for more.

My favorite movie from this list is "Iron Man"
The worst film from this list is "Speed Racer"

Kungfu Panda நல்ல அனிமேஷன் படம். மடகாஸ்கர் 2 -ம் நன்றாக இருக்கும்.

இன்டியானா ஜோன்ஸ் வகை படங்கள் அனைத்திலும் கதையை எதிர்பார்க்க கூடாது. நல்ல திரைக்கதையுடன் கூடிய அட்வென்சர் படங்கள் அவை. அவற்றை ஆராயாமல் அனுபவிக்க வேண்டும் என்பதே என் கருத்து.

Nice Reviews, Rafiq!!

I liked most of them .Thanks for sharing.Wish you well

I loved Kung Fu Panda... for it's great animation... haven't seen Wall-E yet...

Other comic to movie re-incarnation was The Spirit released some month back i guess.... haven't yet caught hold of it

ஷங்கர் அவர்களே: ஒரு வரி செய்திகள் போல ஒரு வரியில் உங்கள் முத்தான விமர்சனங்களை பட்டு பட்டு என்று உடைத்து விட்டீர்கள். உங்கள் கருத்துகள் என்னுடைய கணிப்போடு ஒத்து போவது (ஜோலி உட்பட, நவஜோ மதகுரு மன்னிக்கவும்) எனக்கு ஒரு பெருமையே :)

BN: Long time since I seen your comment in my humble blog. Thanks for paying your visit again and importantly recording your comment.

Thanks for also pointing me about the mistake on Anime. I generally used to inter-change the Anime and Animation interchangeably, and only noticed after your comment that, Anime refers only to Japanese Animation. I have corrected the post immediately based on your point.

Iron Many Nick Fury is Black because, he has been turned into black for years in the comics installments. I guess it is more to do with the increased dominance of colored people in US, which has lead to them finding their presence in all popular culture.

I too loved the Batman Movie, and I have updated the review for the same in the new post.

I will look forward to seeing your constructive comments more on other posts. It will be a great tonic for my future posts.

Toonfactory: Thanks for your warm comments. Please go through this post and the new one at your leisure, and record your valuable comments. Heah, there is no offense in being a FanBoy, but when I am going to write about it on a blog, then I should set the Fanboy in me aside and try to have an even footing. The fact that I watch all genre of movies irrespective of the rating I attach to it, is a clear enough indication that I am FanBoy too, just like you :)

I did visit your blog and was astonished with your collection. Keep up the Great Work.

Anony: Thanks for that TinTin info. Obviously, TinTin inspired many movies, and this seems to be one on the long list as per your comment :)

Maha Rasigan: Thanks for your comment. You stole the words out of my mouth, by terming Speed Racer as the worst. My ratings are in the same line, so I am saved :)

Josh: மறுபடியும் வருகை தந்து உங்கள் கருத்துகளை பதிந்தமைக்கு நன்றி தோழரே. இண்டியான ஜோன்ஸ் பற்றிய தங்கள் கருத்து மிக சரியே. என்ன செய்ய நடுநிலைமை கருத்து கூறும் பொது அவற்றை தீர ஆராய்வது அவசியமாயிற்றே :)

இப்போது உங்கள் வரவை அதிகம் பார்ப்பது இல்லை, அந்த குறையை இனிமேல் நிறைவு செய்வீர்கள் என்று நம்புகிறேன்.

Thanks for your appreciation.

zingtrial: Thanks for your visit and comment.

dPsych: Thanks for your visit and comment. I haven't got hold of Spirit too, but have mentioned that in my concluding movie review post. Have a Look.

Heah, by the way different nickname you have got I must say :)

Friends, the New and Concluding Post to the Movies of 2008 is now on, request all to visit and record your valuable comments in there.

I liked most of them .Thanks for sharing.Wish you well

My favorite movie from this list is "Iron Man"
The worst film from this list is "Speed Racer"

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