Tag Archive: idris elba


Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

UK Release Date: 30th October 2013.

Stars: Alan Taylor (director), Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Jaimie Alexander, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard

Plot: Thor battles an ancient race of Dark Elves led by the vengeful Malekith who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness.

This is the first action packed trailer for Thor: The Dark World, which sees the Norse God return to Earth, as promised, to see Jane Foster and whisk her back to Asgard with him. The trailer doesn’t really give too much away and leaves a lot of questions to be answered but it sets the seeds for a great story.

I’m pretty interested to see why Thor just decides to take Jane with him to Asgard rather than let her stay on Earth, presumably Asgard is the only safe place in the Nine Realms, despite the fact she seems to get captured later. However, I get the impression I’m really gonna hate Natalie Portman in this. In the first film she was a pretty smart woman, a scientist who was so good in her field that SHIELD wanted to contain her. Now she seems to have transgressed to ‘damsel in distress’.

I am looking forward to see the relationship between Jane and Lady Sif which should be interesting. Sif didn’t look too pleased that Jane was hanging around with Thor. Also, we didn’t get to see too much of Christopher Eccleston but what we do see looks extremely positive.

Marvel’s success continues.

With the news this week that Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman will all be reprising their roles as Professor Xavier, Magneto and Wolverine from the original trilogy in Days of Future Past, I thought it would be fun to take a look at characters from the X-Men universe that are yet to make it to the big screen in a true capacity and who should play them. Here are my thoughts on the top five I would most like to see:

 

Cable

We’ll start with Cable, one of the most popular X-Men in the comic books. Cable is the time-travelling son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey) and his back story would probably have to be changed in order to fit in with this film series. Although, saying that, with what seems to be a time traveling element added to the series with Days of Future Past then perhaps it is a plausible addition. Suggestions for this role put forward by fans have included Dominic Purcell, Clive Owen (two good actors but bad choices for this role) and Kurt Russell (a better choice). But my favourite is Stephen Lang. This week, Lang has come out and expressed an interest in playing the character and, while he may need to bulk up a little bit more, I think Lang definitely has the bad-assery needed to play Cable.

https://i1.wp.com/www.comicbookmovie.com/images/users/uploads/14267/Stephen%20Lang%20-%20Cable.jpg

 

Bishop

Bishop is another time traveling mutant in the X-Men universe and comes from a dystopian future. Again, a little back story change may be necessary to include Bishop but I know there are plenty of fans that would love to see the arrival of Lucas Bishop on the big screen. Idris Elba is an actor that is linked to every role for a black actor that is going around which is clearly a credit to how highly thought of as an actor he is. However, while I know he can play a complex character with a lot of attitude he wouldn’t be my choice for the role (he’s already appeared in two superhero movies as well). I’m not sure how popular my choice will be but I would suggest the 6’4 hard man Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. His toughness is unquestionable and his ability to act has been proven in his most recent projects.

Dwayne Johnson Bishop

 

Scarlet Witch

All in all, female characters weren’t greatly portrayed in the original trilogy or in X-Men: First Class. Plenty of attention was given to Jean Grey but characters like Shadowcat, Rogue, Emma Frost and Storm didn’t quite reach their full potential in my opinion. Scarlet Witch is one of the greatest and most powerful female mutants there have ever been, with the power to even change a whole universe (which would have come in handy to reboot the series properly). As Magneto’s daughter Scarlet Witch has featured a lot in the comic books over the years. A few big name actresses have been mentioned (Eva Green, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams among them) however I would choose someone younger in the form of British actress Katie McGrath.

Katie McGrath Scarlet Witch

 

Cannonball

Cannonball, aka Sam Guthrie, is one of my favourite characters from the X-Men comics although how it would come across on screen I’m not so sure. Cannonball’s ability is described as the ability to “bodily generate thermo-chemical energy and release it from his skin. This energy is used as thrust to cause his body to be propelled through the air like a rocket”… or to put it simply, he’s a bit like the Human Torch. Someone young would have to play Cannonball for me and I can’t look past Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker) for the part!

Alex Pettyfer Cannonball

 

Psylocke

Okay, so technically Psylocke did appear in X-Men: The Last Stand but if you’re going to count that as a true interpretation of the character then you need to get your head checked. Psylocke is a born leader, a fantastic warrior and one of the more prominent characters in a number of X-Men comic book lines and in some of the biggest events to shape the Marvel universe. There is a lot of debate among fans whether Pyclocke in the film should be British or Asian (long story, Wiki it) but the actress I have chosen, and have seen put forward by other fans, is neither of these. Olivia Wilde.

Olivia Wilde Psylocke

 

Who would you want to see join the ranks of the X-Men on the big screen? And who would you pick to play them?

 

 

“The name’s Bond, James Bond” is one of the most iconic lines in cinema history, almost as iconic as the man himself who says it so often. James Bond is a figure known all across the world, a British Secret Service agent that has saved the world and defeated villains countless times. The Ian Fleming creation has spawned twenty-three canon films and has been played by six different actors, all of whom have been white.

Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and today’s Daniel Craig have all donned the suit and the suave attitude to play the most famous spy that the world has ever seen. But once Daniel Craig steps aside is the path paved for a black actor to take on one of the most famous cinematic roles in history? It certainly looks as though this is now a real possibility where it has never really been given any thought before. Skyfall Bond girl Naomie Harris has let is slip that a black actor has been met by producers to talk about taking on the part, despite Daniel Craig having a contract for another two films. The actor in question is the phenomenal Idris Elba, who would certainly be an inspired choice as his stock continue to grow in Hollywood after roles in huge blockbuster films such as Thor and Prometheus.

Harris is quoted in The Huffington Post as saying “it does seem like there is a possibility in the future that there could very well be a black James Bond. And I would have to vote for Idris because I just finished working with him and he’s a great guy”. I thoroughly believe that the colour of his skin should not be an issue for the casting choice but let’s not forget all the uproar that was caused when Daniel Craig was cast just because he had BLONDE hair! But this is something that Idris Elba has mentioned and spoken about before, in October 2011 he stated “I don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond”. This makes complete sense; it should be his ability to act as the famous James Bond character that should see him either accepted or declined for the role.

Unfortunately I have been on a few fan forums and a lot of James Bond fans seem to be against this idea with some even saying that this would lead to a ‘gay, then female’ James Bond. Some fans say that making Bond black would go against the creation of Fleming but things are changing in the modern cultural climate and character’s do not stay the same forever. M was once a man in the films, now is a woman. Although I do believe that film fans can be fickle and in the end, if Elba played the part well enough there would be a lot of people backtracking on their previously held opinions.

Let’s not forget that it does appear to be a kind of underlying rule that a Hollywood hero must be either white or Will Smith. This would be a great opportunity for James Bond to not only take their own franchise and name forward but help pave way for better roles for black actors and a more equal chance for actors despite what their race may be.

It is unclear when in time the meetings took place between Elba and the Bond producers, it could even have been before they signed Daniel Craig on to two more films or it could have been after. It is also unclear whether Elba is the only person producers have met with or whether there have been others (black or white actors) who have been approached with a view to replacing Daniel Craig when he eventually steps down. Although, with critics already calling Skyfall the best Bond ever you have to think that fans will want to see plenty more of Craig before any considerations get under way as to who will be next in line.

Bond 23 ‘Skyfall‘ is in cinemas tomorrow (26/10/2012)

Prometheus Reviewed

***Minor Spoilers Ahead***

 

“Prometheus, are you seeing this?” asks Noomi Rapace’s character scientist Elizabeth Shaw and yes I saw it, but there is a huge difference between seeing something and enjoying it.

Prometheus is an indirect prequel to the Alien series. This film focuses on a team of explorers who discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth that leads them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race. Sounds interesting.

As mentioned, Noomi Rapace leads this cast that really manages to pack in the noticeable names: Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Rafe Spall and even a small part for Patrick Wilson. With so many experienced cast members being directed by the hugely acclaimed (although in my opinion drastically over rated) director Ridley Scott big things were expected from everyone, especially taking into consideration the success of the Alien film directed by Scott himself.

The film opens with a series of long, wide and very scenic landscape shots and this is a theme that the film will follow throughout and every time we see a large shot of the planet that our heroes find themselves on it looks fantastic; the directing and camerawork means that Prometheus is incredibly pleasing on the eye with some of the best environmental shots I’ve ever seen. The special effects follow suit and are so real that it doesn’t matter how far in the future the crew of Prometheus (the ship which the film is named after) are, it feels and looks as though it could happen today, the effects are believable.

Unfortunately Prometheus has one huge flaw and one that I can not look past: every single one of those characters lacked any kind of personal motivation; their actions seemed uninspired. Noomi Rapace’s character, the main character, spends the first half of the film doing not a lot at all and then spends the second half running away from things and holding her stomach all the time. And this is who you are supposed to empathise with and support, not really your traditional hero. I couldn’t have cared less about her partner, whoever he was and Charlize Theron’s character was ridiculously under used to the point where it seemed like if you took her out of the film no difference would have been made.

In fact, the only character that I felt was worth watching, partly because of the portrayal of the actor, was David, the non human member of the crew portrayed eerily well by Michael Fassbender. Another good performer among the cast was Idris Elba, relatively new to big budget films after carving his career out on television but deserves all the success that comes his way, although killing off his character just seemed like something to do rather than having any impetus behind it.

A stand out scene is when Shaw gives birth to an alien life form and while the rest of the film around that moment seems rather boring this scene is anything but! She doesn’t have a lot to do everywhere else but here Noomi Rapace earns her salary hands down; the trauma and pain her character is going through comes across excellently on screen. Sometimes, poor films or films you don’t enjoy have one glimpse of brilliance and this is Prometheus’. I would go so far as to say this is one of the best scenes I have ever seen in the cinema.

Does Prometheus live up to expectations? Not really.

Is Prometheus an enjoyable sci-fi film? Ish.

Would I watch it again? Not for a while.

My Rating: 5/10.

I really wanted to give it a higher rating but I just couldn’t justify it.