Friday, December 12, 2008

Aliens, Heroes, and Hugh Jackman

A decade from now, we may have an angry mob of aliens at our doorstep. In a stellar publicity stunt, 20th Century Fox is promoting its new re-imagining of alien movie The Day the Earth Stood Still by beaming the movie from a satellite communications network in Cape Canaveral, Florida to Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighbor star system (Variety, IMDb). The question is, will they also send a compendium of movie reviews so the residents of said star system will know not to bother watching it?

If Galaxy Quest and Contact teach us anything, it's that aliens pay attention to the Earth media that makes it out into space. And considering the universally dismal reviews that the new Day the Earth Stood Still is receiving, we can only expect a dismal reception throughout the universe. If the denizens of Alpha Centauri are a warlike race, the offense of having such a horrible movie beamed to them will force them to declare war on us. But even if the Alpha Centaurians are keepers of peace, the movie will prove to them that we humans cannot be trusted to take care of our own culture and they will be forced to intervene... by destroying us. Luckily, it will take over four years for the signal to reach Alpha Centauri, and presuming that Alpha Centauri technology has not developed to the point of faster-than-light travel, it will take another four years or more for their armies to reach the Earth. After that, all bets are off.

Well, that was my favorite bit of recent news. What else has interested me lately?

Spider-Man The Musical continues to sling its way towards the Broadway stage with Julie Taymor at the helm. Evan Rachel Wood, who showed off her singing talent in Taymor's Across the Universe, has officially signed on to play the part of Mary Jane (IMDb). Taymor is still trying to get her other Across the Universe lead, Jim Sturgess, to play Peter Parker. We'll see how that goes.

I have already made it abundantly clear that I am very sad about ABC's cancellation of Pushing Daisies. It is possible, though, that some good may come of it. As distraught as I have been about PD's demise, I have also been distraught (along with countless other fans) over the pathetic decline of Heroes. I have refrained from ranting in this blog each week about my specific gripes with various nonsensical plot developments, but suffice it to say that a show that I once enjoyed and admired has turned into a mishmash of Heroes doing random things for no good reason amidst a world of forced plot devices. Sometimes I feel like they must have new writers each week who have not seen more than two of the previous episodes. Plot twists are great, but they still have to make sense. It's fine not to be able to see a twist coming before it happens, but it's a problem if you still can't see the twist coming after it happens. Hmm, apparently the one sentence did not suffice for my venting, but I'll stop myself there at four. Anyway... Bryan Fuller, who co-executive produced the well-loved first season of Heroes and wrote a couple of its episodes ("Collision" and "Company Man"), has not been working on Heroes for the past two years because he was busy being the creator of Pushing Daisies. Now that PD has been canceled, Fuller has returned to Heroes as a consultant. There are no guarantees that Heroes can or will be saved, but fans at least have a reason not to give up hope (EW Ausiello Files interview).

Lastly, it was announced today that Hugh Jackman will be hosting the Oscars (Variety, IMDb). I hope he will do some singing. He won an Emmy for hosting the Tony Awards the year after he won a Tony for his starring role in Boy from Oz (which I saw--he was great, as was the show), so he has some good qualifications. While not a comedian in the same sense that recent hosts Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Steve Martin and others are, he knows how to work an audience from a stage, is fun and likable, and he is the World's Sexiest Man Alive. I'm looking forward to the Oscars. Hopefully it will happen. We'll see how the strike thing plays out...

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