12 May 2007

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Talia al Ghul

Talia al Ghul (تاليا الغول in Arabic) is the now-estranged daughter of supervillain Ra's al Ghul, and a love interest of Batman. Her father, the leader of a worldwide criminal empire, considered Batman the man most worthy to marry Talia and to become his heir and encouraged a relationship between Talia and Batman in hopes of recruiting him as his successor. Talia admires Batman in his drive, determination, and nobility, but was always torn between him and the love for her terrorist father. It is natural that Batman is uninterested in the criminal empire, but he has shown considerable interest in Talia. Talia has appeared in several episodes of Batman: The Animated series, and also in a twisted episode of Batman Beyond. Sadly, a chance for a recurring female role in the new series of Batman films was not developed for her.

In her youth, Talia traveled with Ra's around the world. He taught her hand-to-hand combat as well as the use of most conventional weapons, from swords to guns. She helped him in the management of his various organizations. Talia first met Batman in the story when he rescued her from Dr. Darkk, apparently the leader of the League of Assassins. It was eventually revealed that the League was just one part of Ra's al Ghul's organization, The Demon, and that Darkk apparently turned against Ra's after failing in a mission. Talia ended up shooting and killing Darkk to save Batman's life.

Later when Dick Grayson was kidnapped, Ra's al Ghul entered the Batcave, revealing to Batman that he knew Batman's secret identity and saying that Talia was also kidnapped along with Dick. Batman went with Ra's to search for Dick and Talia; in the end, it was revealed that Talia loved Batman and that the entire kidnapping was a setup designed by Ra's as a final test of whether Batman's suitability as an heir. Though Batman rejected Ra's offer, he nevertheless returned Talia's feelings.

At one point, Ra's al Ghul successfully enlisted Batman's aid in defeating a rogue assassin who had murdered his wife. During this story line, Batman married Talia and she became pregnant. Batman was nearly killed protecting Talia from an attack by the assassin's agents. In the end, Talia concluded that she could never keep Batman, as he will be continuously forced to defend her. She faked a miscarriage, and the marriage was dissolved. In reality, Talia gave birth to a son. The child was left at an orphanage, adopted, and given the name Ibn al Xu'ffasch. The only clue to the child's heritage is a jewel-encrusted necklace Batman had given to Talia which Talia left with the child.

Later it was revealed that during his travels in Russia in the 18th century, Ra's al Ghul met a woman by whom he had a daughter named Nyssa. Ra's abandoned Nyssa at a crucial time. She was tortured, and her entire family killed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Seeking vengeance, Nyssa planed to use her considerable wealth and resources to kill Ra's by befriending, kidnapping, and brainwashing Talia, turning her into a weapon to kill their father. Nyssa also planed to assassinate Superman with kryptonite bullets she stole from the Batcave.

While Batman was successful in preventing the assassination of Superman, he failed to stop Nyssa from killing Ra's. This was actually part of a greater plan concocted by Ra's to ensure that his daughters would accept their destinies as his heirs, and take up his genocidal campaign. Realizing and accepting this, Nyssa and Talia became the heads of The Demon, with Talia disavowing her love for Bruce Wayne as another result of her torture at Nyssa's hands.

After Nyssa's apparent death, Talia became the new Demon's Head. The child of Talia and Batman was reintroduced. He had been trained by The League of Assassins. Talia gave him back to Batman who was unsure whether this was his son, but he attempted to deal with the spoiled, hot-tempered child anyway. Damian, effectively raised to be an assassin, killed a criminal and, seemingly, Tim Drake, the newest Robin.

Villain Profiles:

Ra's al Ghul

Talia al Ghul

The Dark Knight returns in 433 days!

10 May 2007

Robots Undisguised

Here they are folks. Big Pics of Transformers in Robot mode from Michael Bay's Blog:

Optimus Prime








Radar Blips - Déjà Vu

The Year: 2006

The Players: Denzel Washington, a chubby Val Kilmer, and James Caviezel

The Take: $64 Million

Do you mean Vujà Dé?: Nope, Déjà Vu - as in the feeling that this has happened before - as in this movie involves wormholes and temporal anomalies but no tachyon pulses. But mostly its an action / thriller sprinkled with a bit of glossed over theoretical physics.

Why you should see it: Very captivating and interesting story with some as usual great work by Denzel. One of the film's highlights is a 4 dimensional car chase. Now thats something I havent seen before... or have I. :) Not sure why this film didn't perform better, its got all the ingredients of a hit, and ranks up there with many of the Philip K Dick adaptations.

Deja Vu

09 May 2007

The Marvel Movie Pipeline

During Marvel's investor meeting on Monday, updates were given on a number of upcoming projects. Along with 2008's Iron Man and Incredible Hulk, 5 other films are in development under the Marvel / Paramount distribution deal. Two of these will most likely be released in 2009. Our options are: Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, Nick Fury, and The Avengers. Which of these buxom young heroes would you all like to see? My money is on Ant-Man and The Cap in '09. I would like to see Thor eventually, but I don't want his film to be rushed. I could take or leave Nick Fury, and after the Hasselhoff disaster, I am leaning towards leave.

What say you all?

08 May 2007

Say Cheese

Look at these little cheese eating bastards from Ratatouille. Aren't they cute? Maybe Disney can sell some rat toys after all.

The Banner of Fantasticness

Another new promo image for F4 has arisen.

Ink Blots LXIII - The Secret of NIMH

Don Bluth left the Disney corporation feeling that the company had lost its magic. His first feature film The Secret of NIMH proved to be his masterpiece, and an achievement he has yet to match. This 1982 film was adapted from the Newbery Medal winning book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, though the mouse's name was cahnged to "Brisby" for the film because of the flying toys. Sadly, in spite of its quality, this was another Bluth bomb earning under $15 million.

The story is simple. Mrs. Brisby needs help to move her cinder-block house out of the way of the tractors. She can't just move because of her sick little pinky Timmy. So, she enlists the help of some super smart Rats led by Nicodemus who were befriended by her late hubby. These rats were test subjects in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The "secret" being that the rats have psychic abilities and inexplicably they have also acquired magical artifacts.

What makes this film so great is its dark and mysterious atmosphere. Them rats are creepy as is an owl that Brisby meets up with early in the film. The animation is top notch. There are tons of mouse / rat movies out there, but this one stands apart as a true classic worthy of a rare A.

The Secret of NIMH (Family Fun Edition)

07 May 2007

ACTUALS: Spider-Man is Box Office Venom for Competition

Update: The news keeps getting better. Spidey actually busted through the $150 million barrier over the weekend.

I have underestimated Spider-Man every time one of his movies debuts. Its just hard for me to believe that the friendly neighborhood arachnid is so much more popular than The Man of Steel. While my personal preference is to the web-head, I would think they would be a little closer in the public view. Anyways, Spider-Man 3 had an amazing, opening weekend. He manged to tangle a spectacular $148 million in his web. This sensational figure smashed the weekend record set last year by Pirates 2. I think that what really propelled Spidey aside from the obvious anticipation and inclusion of Venom was the otherwise drought of interesting films currently in theaters. Disturbia came in 2nd place this weekend with less than $6 million. Unchallenged, Peter Parker was able to have his way with moviegoers. Pirates 3 may be a popular film, and may end up beating Spider-Man 3, but with stiff competitions from the Spider, and a little green ogre, retaking the weekend crown should prove futile.

Next weekend, Spider-Man is again unchallenged. Even with usual steep comic book drop offs, Spider-Man should still take home a pretty penny. After all, even a drop as high as 66% would still give Spidey another 50 million bones. That ain't chump change.

Current Rankings:

#2 Lucky You- $2,710,445 (-.-%)*
#1 Spider-Man 3 - $151,116,516 (39.8%)*

*Percentages indicate accuracy compared to my predictions

My Predictions:

#9 Evan Almighty - $170,000,000
#8 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - $175,000,000
#7 The Bourne Ultimatum - $185,000,000
#6 Transformers - $205,000,000
#5 Ratatouille - $260,000,000
#4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $275,000,000
#3 Shrek the Third - $325,000,000
#2 Spider-Man 3 - $380,000,000
#1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - $395,000,000

Tim Story wants a Black Panther Tale

According to the La Times, Tim Story has ideas for supersizing future Fantastic Four films by adding guest heroes. This is a sure way to boost the attendance for the Fantastics. F4 2 has been given a probably undeserved second chance mostly due to the inclusion of the Silver Surfer. If this one turns out OK or better, it would be fun to see future heroes spun off from appearances with the 4. Still, I think the Surfer is a better fit than the Black Panther.

Here is what Tim Story had to say:

‘I’ve got to tell you, to get the ‘Fantastic Four’ and turn it into a franchise, the first thing I thought was, ‘Will I get the Silver Surfer’? Or someone like [the superhero] Black Panther, who was introduced in their book, get Djimon Hounsou and go do it?’ But there are so many other great villains and stories - I feel like I hit the jackpot.”

Who else would you like to see appearing in F4-3? Thoughts? Please post a comment.

Will the Next Spidey Villain Please Stand Up

If you have been frequenting this site, you know that Spider-Man has many foes. The question is, which of them will be crashing the party during the inevitable Spider-Man 4? Freezedriedmovies.com claims to have exclusive news. Keep in mind, these sort of exclusives are going to be a dime a dozen until an official announcement is made. I seem to recall news that Spidey would face Chameleon and Man-Wolf in part 3. Guess that turned out to be wrong.

Anyhow, this "insider" claims that we will be seeing The Lizard, Carnage, and the Black Cat. The Lizard is really a no brainer. Curt Conners has been mentioned in all three films so far, and has had decent roles in the past two. His transformation into the Lizard is due, and I hope he becomes the main villain for part 4.

As for Carnage, I can see him appearing now that Venom has been used up. Carnage ups the ante a bit, and is fairly popular with the fans. Maybe a better fit would be Kraven showing up to hunt the Lizard and Spidey... But maybe that plot is too predictable. Carnage doesn't need a lot of back story, if he shows up, I hope he is just a homicidal maniac. I would much prefer him being a wild card than a goon to another character.

The Black Cat could show up, but I hope is she does appear it is just a small introductory part that plays out more in the planned parts 5 and 6. Why not use Gwen and Betty Brant a little better rather than introducing yet another romantic interest? Besides, the Catwoman movie was so bad, I would think they would want to avoid any possible comparisons.

In closing, if there are 3 more Spider-Men coming, I hope to see The Lizard, Carnage, and Kraven at some point. What I would really like to see if the baddies weren't all dead is a take on the Sinister Six, but that seems unlikely.

Who would you all like to see in Spidey 4? Comments are welcome!