Category Archives: John’s Essays
There’s a Star Wars a-brewing, maybe you heard. I’ve been cruising through the old ones. The original and Empire are still bulletproof, Jedi is still dull, and, after all this ‘THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOOD’ scuttlebutt online about the prequels, them being just as bad as I remembered is a bigger surprise than if they weren’t.
They’re not worth seeing and they’re not worth thinking about, except for the moment where, in the closing seconds of his worst film, John Williams accidentally wrote the Game of Thrones theme (starts at 0:04) and then cast it aside as quickly as he noodled it into existence:
Recently, WB announced their slate of superhero movies through 2019, perpetuating this ridiculous genre for another endless cycle. A lot of very smart people have been persistent in drawing an analogy about this, saying that for its longevity and frivolity, the superhero genre is the new western. As a lover of westerns and a hater of superhero movies, I gotta step in here.
I get the facile rationale—both are ‘low’ genres that occupy a disproportionately large space in the cinematic marketplace; both are marketed at American adolescent boys; both are concerned with matters of good and evil solved through third act duels. But in the words of Matt Zoller Seitz: “Where’s Ford and Leone?”
It is rumored that there will be a new Doom movie.
I don’t know anything about video games. I buy a new one every winter, just to get me through the cold. Most of them I never bother to finish. It’s just not my medium, I guess. But I know Doom. Doom and Doom II: Hell on Earth are two of a very few games to really capture me.
There are a lot of reasons to love Doom and Doom II—which, in practical terms, I consider just one long game, sort of like Godfather and Godfather II. For one, you run at like 60 miles per hour the whole time. But above all else, I’m an aesthete, so what really gets me are the games’ production design—something we should talk about in light of the upcoming film. I think this is a great opportunity to repair some long-standing damages in the sci-fi horror genre.
I saw the new Godzilla yesterday. I enjoyed it a lot, but I’ve been weirded out for months over the fact that I’ve had to call it something I’ve never had to call a Godzilla film. Just like how I recently had to call a Bond film something that, in 50 years of recasting and returns to ground zero, I’ve never had to call a Bond film.
I’m all for specialized vocabulary. Film needs its own exclusive words to describe its own processes, but ‘reboot’ is not one such word. I’ve asked people time and again to define it, and I’ve read about it online—god help me, I’ve even read the Wikipedia page for it. It’s just not a real and distinct concept. It’s a cheap marketing buzzword, that’s all it is. And more than that, the very existence of the term is symptomatic of a rot at the core of contemporary filmmaking.
Paths of Movement + Dynamic Sequences, 1913 | Transformers: Dark of the Moon, 2011
Editor’s Note: John D’Amico’s piece, Michael Bay: Futurist, is no longer available on this site because it has been selected for inclusion in a upcoming scholarly print examination of the films of Michael Bay which is slated for release in mid 2018 via a major publishing house. The book will feature a wide range of new perspectives about Bay’s work from a range of scholars, cinephiles, and filmmakers.