Sunday, March 26, 2006
Superman Returns....Some Crappy Merchandise!
Here comes the wave. It's out there in the far distance, approaching very quickly and it will be here before you blink. The giant, plastic, red and blue wave of overabundant department store aisles, filled with the fresh bounty of "Superman Returns" related products! The hope and dream filled, risk-taking unknown actor, who has put his entire career on the line and in the hands of Director Brian Singer, will remember always this moment in time, when his face was molded onto hundreds of dolls and "action figures" and printed on everything from keychains to lingerie. For his sake, I hope success is around the corner or these plastic pals will be a constant reminder of his failure, reflected in the eternal optimism of the world of movie merchandising and over saturation marketing.
For my part, I see fear and awe in the approaching piles of pressed and molded mayhem. Who's this guy? Not Superman! Not yet at least! He hasn't earned anything yet! Superman's been gone a long time and the actors who have played him have been embraced in our hearts like Mr. Reeve or ejected from our sight like Mr. Cain. The only decent Superman that's been around lately, and he is, in my humble opinion, one of the great portrayals, is the WB Animated version that those pesky Warner Brothers (and Sister Dot) are pulling off the air with the cancellation of Justice League Unlimited.
Smallville has held the live action fort with the stories of young Clark, pre-Superman, and many of us are sad that Wacko and Yakko decided to not let young Tom Welling take to the cape that we have watched him approach these last five years. The truth is, they desperately wanted him, but Welling didn't want to go down that road. He was afraid of the "Superman Curse" that would have forever associated him with the character. Tom, are you crazy? Do you think there's a "I only played Clark, so it doesn't count" loophole? You're already part of the curse, why couldn't you just ride it to the big bucks? Did it get in the way of doing important independent movies like "The Fog" or "Cheaper by the Dozen 2?" It's been a lot of fun Tom! See ya in a few years as corpse #12 on the CSI dissection table during the debutante ball massacre episode.
Moving on.....Okay Brandon Routh, you put it on the line, you deserve our hope and attention. For what it's worth, I'm a Brian Singer fan, as is any self respecting comicbook movie fan. We will go and see you attempt to reach thesky. We will even root for you, but doesn't the rain of plastic kill the buzz?. Don't you Warner Pals get it? If the movie is successful, you will sell it all, even the extremely ugly cookie jars that were probably made by slave labor in Brazil.
Why can't the merchandisers wait? Because they don't believe in films, patience or class, they believe in the here and now. They will make the money on the anticipation, the building hype, that once made it immediately "not nerdy" to wear a Batman symbol on your baseball hat and still makes kids think that dressing up like Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins is a smart way to make friends. If the movie is poor at least the dark theater will give the viewer ample cover to covertly drop their Superman hats and Lois Lane charm bracelets under the seat in front of them, before their rushed exit, when they run to their cars with Superman scarfs wrapped around their faces for anonymity, scarfs that will quietly be burned later at home..
The bombardment of STUFF ruins the magic, doesn't it? It's like seeing naked pictures of your date before the date. Isn't it more fun to discover things slowly layer by layer? And aren't we kinder and more willing to believe when we go slow, and act in the moment? Doesn't building passion forgive and enhance, where foreknowledge just invites insecurity, paranoia and cold analyzation? Just a thought Warner Bros, learn how to woo your audience. Don't make them sick before they even see the movie, let them be slowly seduced. When they do fall in love, the public will buy all the "Superman Returns: Super Cheese Cheetos" they can pump out of the machine..