Neil Gaiman & John Romita, Jr.’s “Eternals”

47694[1]This is a solid enough soft reboot of a series I knew nothing about. The Eternals are a race of immortal beings created to guard and protect the Earth from whatever various threats, from both without and within.  These beings were mistaken for gods by primitive mankind throughout the history of civilization, and were the foundation for many of our myths.  They once raged a war against a race of beings known as “The Deviants”.  Some time after that… something mysterious happened, and now only one of the Eternals, Ike Harris, remembers anything about their near-million-year history.

I now know that The Eternals was a new series created for Marvel by Jack Kirby in his Craziness-In-Space 70s phase.  It ran for about 20 issues, and is reasonably well regarded.  Certainly, it looked pretty.  The characters were folded into the Marvel Universe, and some were used from time-to-time over the next 30 or so years.  Looking for something exciting to work on after the success of 1602, Marvel and Gaiman hooked up once again, and re-introduced the Eternals.

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Metroid: Zero Mission (Game Boy Advance)

Metroid_--_Zero_Mission_(box_art)Metroid has been around for almost 27 years.  The original game was released in Japan in 1986, and it got a North American release around the same time the next year.

The original game features a space bounty hunter in a high powered suit named Samus Aran.  Samus has come to the planet Zebes to stop a group of Space Pirates from exploiting an alien species, Metroids, in a bid to rule the galaxy.  The game was incredibly successful, influential and ground breaking.  It’s exploratory gameplay was among the first of its kind.  An incredibly eerie atmosphere, created by fantastic music, level and creature design marks it–arguably–as the invention of the Survival Horror genre of video games.  It’s practically like playing a video game of Alien.  And, of course, Samus Aran is the world’s first (recognized by Guinness Book of World Records) Playable Female Protagonist in a mainstream title, what’s more, is that the discovery of Samus’ gender comes as a surprise ending (Unless you know Justin Bailey…)

So, what happens almost 20 years later when you’ve created one of the most successful franchises of all time?  That’s right, kids… it’s time for a remake/reboot combo.  Enter:  Zero Mission.

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Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Evil Dead 2Evil Dead 2 follows a grand tradition of horror movie sequels.  It has more of almost everything.  It has more blood.  It has more gore.  It has more characters.  It has more Evil-Vision™.  It has more laughs.  About the only thing it doesn’t have more of, is fright.  You see, since The Evil Dead found so much success by not being taken seriously, Raimi directs resident ham Bruce Campbell in a slapstick comedy that features tons of laughs, blood and gore.  This new formula works very well.  The movie is wall to wall cheese, but unlike most intentional cheese, Evil Dead 2 is actually funny.

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Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

texas-chainsaw-3d-posterTexas Chainsaw 3D is the newest “official” sequel in a long line of sequels, prequels and reboots in one of the pre-eminent Slasher film series of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  This particular movie picks up right where we left off in the first film, making it a sequel/soft-reboot combination, similar to Evil Dead 2, or The Incredible Hulk.  But that’s pretty much where the similarities end, seeing as one of those is comedy-horror, and the other is Super-hero Action.  Texas Chainsaw 3D falls pretty well into the slasher-horror genre, or as my father calls it, a “spooker“, where we see a bunch of stupid young people make a bunch of stupid decisions that get them very, very dead.

Since this is one of mine and my father’s favourite genres, we usually see this type of movie together, in theatres.  It’s a tradition that goes back to the late 80s or early 90s.  Over the years, a formula of sorts has been developed.  Of course, when dealing with this kind of movie, you shouldn’t be expecting high-art.  I’m not saying there aren’t artistic horror films.  There are several.  Having a critically acclaimed spooker is an anomaly, and should be regarded as such.  In order to be successful as a spooker, a movie must really only pass Dad’s three question test:

  • Is it a jumper?  Did it make you jump, if so, how many times?  No-Jumper is a piss-poor waste of time.  A One-Jumper showed up to the party.   A Two-Jumper is a very enjoyable experience, and has done well.  Three-Jumper is fantastic, and very rare.  I don’t think there’s ever been a Four-Jumper, I certainly couldn’t name one.
  • How’s the gore?  Is there a lot of it, and what kind?  Describe it… Is it Tense?  Gross?  Funny?  CGI?  Fake-looking? Realisic? Cringe-worthy?
  • How stupid is it?  How stupid are the character’s choices, and do they at least make a little bit of sense, most of the time?  More importantly, how stupid are the film-makers?  Do they show you a car driving off a cliff, only to see there’s no engine or drivetrain in the car?

If a film can pass most of these questions, then it has succeeded in landing itself a place in the pantheon of films known as “Pretty Good Spookers“.

Now let’s take a look, and see how Texas Chainsaw 3D fared, shall we?

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