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"I like my evil like I like my men... evil."
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April 15 2006

Joss Whedon vs. Mark Millar. Awesome X-chat.

That was a great little back and forth. And damn, now I really wish Joss would have been able to do X3. I'm quite wary about Ratner's hiring and the overflowing number of mutants that have been rumored to appear, but I hope he pulls it off.
That was a fantastic discussion!
I agree that the number of mutants could pose a problem, but as Joss said it all comes down to the script. We may have to sacrifice SOME character development but that doesn't mean we can't get a great X flick. Story is the key to the lock on my wallet. No compelling story....No cash from me. Ratner Rocks
Great discussion. And I'm glad they mentioned all the crap Ratner's been getting online. It's really out of control, particularly at one geek-laden film review website (which will remain nameless). I'm not really a Rat fan, and I don't really hold out too much hope for this film, but I'm annoyed with the level of vitriol that the anonymity of the internet allows fanboys to get away with.
Perhaps Joss will get to direct an X-men film in the future. I'm willing to wait for that! Or better yet... perhaps Whedon will one day helm an X-men TV series! Wouldn't that be interesting?! Blade is moving to televsion. Perhaps X-men will eventually too.

I loved the plug for Byrne/Claremont's "Days of Future Past" two issue epic. When those issues debuted I was floored. Those are two of my favorite comic books of all time. And when I saw Terminator in theaters several years later... as much as I loved that film, I knew all too well the main premise of the story (changing the present by traveling to the past to alter specific events) had been lifted from the pages of the X-Men.

But then, of course, Claremont's created The Brood which were obviously borrowed from the movie Alien. So there's plenty of give-and-take.

[ edited by Hjermsted on 2006-04-15 00:10 ]
A great interview between two of the best writers in Marvel's bullpen. Is this sort of thing typical of SFX magazine and does Millar have a column where he interviews other writers, because if so, I will subscribe to this magazine right now. It was nice to hear from Joss his opinions on the X-men.
theyarescientists: Frankly, SFX is the best non-specialist sci-fi magazine out there (the best specialist being Doctor Who Magazine) and this is frequently the kind of thing they do -- they were one of Joss's bases in the UK right from when Buffy began broadcast and for a while it was unusual if they didn't have a Joss related actor or actors on the cover. My understanding is that a *lot* of people in the UK first heard about Firefly through the magazine.
Whedon, our British snark is copyrighted. I'm sending the lawyer bots to your house right now to collecting licensing coins.
Yep, and trademarked. It's right beside 'Patronising Bollocks about previously having an Empire' (TM) under 'Patents to wave threateningly at Johnny Foreigner' and I think costs about the same to licence ;-).

That was a great 'interview' between two fantastic writers. I haven't looked at SFX since I read a particularly huge X-Files spoiler years ago in the news section. This from a magazine that actually has (or had anyway) a specific sealed section just for spoilers (it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back since i'd had other issues with it previously). May have to take another look though if this is the sort of thing they're doing now.

Much as I respect Mark Millar I think he's made a common but (for a writer at least) unforgiveable mistake about directors. The condensing of the early chapters of Red Dragon was surely (as Joss hints at) all about the script, not the director and so Ratner doesn't deserve too much credit for it. That said, he's got a pretty good eye and i've been encouraged by his comments in interview about wanting to preserve the tone of X1 and 2 so I also don't think he deserves the kind of stick he's taken online. He may not be Sidney Lumet but he's no Uwe Boll either so let's give him a fair chance.

I think Millar is right though that if you're going to be making political points in comics it helps to have an administration that is fairly extreme (in either direction) in order to have something to rail against (Judge Dredd, V for Vendetta and Dark Knight Returns came out of political turmoil or fairly extreme ruling bodies and I think you could make the same case for Ultimates).

(and Hjermsted, I haven't read the Claremont story in question but the basic idea of travelling into the past and affecting the present dates back to at least 1952 with Ray Bradbury's 'A Sound of Thunder' and probably even further. It's really a staple of science fiction with the classic paradox of travelling back in time to kill your grandfather being the key example. Course, there may be specifics that Terminator 'borrowed' in which case forgive my ignorance and I bow to your superior knowledge ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2006-04-15 01:41 ]
Well, its not like Rattner is the best director in the world, but... He is efficient. I could understand fans of hese movies wanting the best directors to work on these, but we can not be unjust to a very competent director like Rattner just because he is not Kubrick. But we know that in the reigns of love, call it for cinema, comics or, usually, oneself, emotions can go wild, the mind blinded and justice wiped out. Lets give Rattner a change to at least do something of some quality. Even if its minnimum. And i always vouch for respecting honest creators. At least respecxt them. If they dont have talent, they dont have talent, thats nobodys fault. You think thats the case, state it. But if they are honest, thats all you can ask of them. So many things i have read about Rattner are so uncalled for... And ratty (no pun intended)

By the way; i love Blackadder
Matrix borrowed from Terminator borrowed from Days of Future Past borrowed from..Yeah. I loves me some machines ruling a desolate future stories.
Saje, you may beiing refering to Terminator to have "borrowed" a bit too much (at least, legally) from Harlan Elissons short story "Soldier". Thats the kind of "borrowing" they call plagiarism. (And this is the kind of post they call "masking a blatant showing off as a bit of uncalled help information") At least, thats what they were saying. I dont remember if there was money in the settlement arrangemend or not, but there was some kind of crediting in the credits (now, thats redundant, i know, but i forgot the word i was needing) of Terminator about this "borrowing". I dont clearly remember, sorry. (God, my english is lousy)
Serenity borrowed from Star Wars borrowed from Incest Monthly The Sequel Not Prequel.

SFX is the magazine which managed to say 'Two characters die in Serenity' before the movie release in their non-spoiler section. When the article starts by saying 'Don't worry, no spoilers'. I still don't know how their editorial staff didn't spot that, and so they need a stern, trademarked one eyebrow raised glance (Joss Whedon owns this trademarked - I'm a details man).

I have to say, I had written X-Men 3 pretty much off, due to the amount of studio mess ups seemingly taking place, the late late schedule, scramble for directors etc. However - the trailer (not teaser) for it is a fantastic thing. I'm hopeful. X1 and X2 did not work for me - I didn't understand why the characters were how they were. If that makes any vague kind of sense. Picard was Picard to me. Literally. I've never seen the original comics, I don't know who these people are, and from the movies I didn't really care either.

The one line which made me laugh in X-Men? "You're a dick". Guess who wrote that line? At the time, I had no idea who Jay Wee even was. But I loves me that line.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-04-15 01:56 ]
Wow, Incest Magazine went monthly ? Must update my subscription.

(if you left two issues of Incest Magazine together for long enough would you end up with another copy that had pages missing and sections with no vowels ? ;)

OK, if SFX is still doing that kind of thing maybe I won't have another look. Having a spoiler section is a great idea but to then print spoilers outside of it is pretty disrespectful of your readership (IMO).

Yeah, love the 'You're a dick line' (and I also had no idea JW wrote it). Guy can write dialogue (though it's worth remembering the 'What happens to a Toad when it's struck by lightning ?' line was Joss' too. Blame the OTT stentorian delivery all you want, I reckon the line's still a bit hokey all by itself which just goes to show even the boss - not Bruce Springsteen, the other one - has feet of clay, just like the rest of us, only his were wrapped in 'creative polish' moccasins with a 'scripting genius' insole).

Darkness, I think they (Ellison and Cameron) settled out of court. There was a bit of PK Dick in there too (probably among many others) but by that time he was dead so I doubt much came of it. As others have hinted, all fiction borrows from what's gone before even if it's only in the sense that it inspires future creators so I reckon so long as something has enough originality to set it apart there's little harm done (though there's an entire legal industry that disagrees ;).
Blackadder with boobs.

Heh, he said "boobs." But sharin' the Blackadder love, yo!

(if you left two issues of Incest Magazine together for long enough would you end up with another copy that had pages missing and sections with no vowels ? ;)

So wrong, and yet, so funny! (Sadly, being American, I did a spit take I was laughing so hard.) Those snarky British -- no wonder they copyright themselves. ;-)
Saje...that "Do you know what happens to a toad" line was actually a nice bit of writing, and totally Joss. I really really think that Halle Berry's Amazonian warrior delivery is the only thing to blame. I can see how that line would work fantastically well from the mouth of someone who understood the kind of offhand humor.

Warrior delivery: "Do you know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lighting?"

*ZAP; Toad crumples to the ground. Beat.*

Offhand delivery: "Ehhhh, pretty much the same thing that happens to everything else."

See?! It coulda worked!
I still think it's funny they invited Joss to the script read through for X-Men, after basically binning his script. Chandler Joss!
Emma’s a close second, as British snark is so delicious. She’s like Blackadder with boobs.

hee! I mean, I see it, and I'm even happier that Joss loves Blackadder (greatest Britcom ever!) but now I have a mental image of Rowan Atkinson in Emma-drag. Dude, can I sue for mental trauma?

I've never seen the original comics, I don't know who these people are, and from the movies I didn't really care either.

Yeah, this is why I've always thought of the X-movies as popcorn flicks. I never got a sense of character or true humanity from them, but did enjoy the pretty fight scenes and visual grace & tempo, and some of the acting. What makes me look askance at Ratner as a director is that he's never been proven to have a very visual eye or been very good at shaping performances, two things that are the director's demesne.

The script for Red Dragon was written by the same man, (Ted Tally? I'm pulling that name out of my hind-brain) who wrote Silence, so it was good & solid. But Demme brought 2 things to Silence that both sequel and prequel (Hannibal) lacked: visual integrity (one of the things that continues to impress me about SotL was the way everything looked lived-in and glossed with autumn light) and he got great performances from his actors. I'm a pretty big fan of Demme and Thomas Harris, the writer of the original novels, and my heart sank when I watched Red Dragon. If you read the book, it's more tragic and operatic story than SotL, with grander emotions and bigger stakes. Yet in every way SotL is the better, deeper, more textured movie. I recall Lecter's caress of Clarice's hand ten times better than anything in RD.

I don't think Ratner is a terrible director. I just think he's a competent journeyman who can shoot things quickly, on budget and get along with everybody he has to work with -- all nice things, but it makes him a better studio director than an artist.

[ edited by dottikin on 2006-04-15 10:55 ]
MARK: I admire your good taste, young Whedon.

JOSS: Suck up.



Just as good as the Ellis/Whedon battle. I wish this SFX chat had been available as a podcast as well.
I've always wondered how Joss would handle writing some
Spider-Man comics myself.As for X3,I'm looking forward to it but will admit,I'm more hyped for Superman Returns.
Buffyfantic...you are not alone. I have been dreaming and hoping for years now that Joss would write a little Spidey. That would be marvelous.

Woah, that pun was unintentional. Thank God, 'cuz if it had been intentional, I woulda shot my own self.

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