THE MERCHANDISING OF BATMAN BEGINS
No Batman Begins Underoos as of yet, but, believe you me, I'm keeping my eyes peeled.
Meh. Just over two weeks before Batman Begins
opens, and I'm already annoyed by the claims that Batman Begins
will be so much better than the Tim Burton Batman
films because it's dark and goth and emotional. First of all, I'm someone who likes to have a fun time at the movies and never bought into the idea that being "darker" for the sake of being "dark" makes a movie better, and, not only do I not think that comic relief detracts from a film, I actually prefer it, as it provides a good contrast to the legitimately dark scenes. People bring up the missile-launching penguins as a slight against Batman Returns
, but I loved the spectacle of that. Missile-launching penguins appeal to my sense of humour (as does, yes, Oswald Cobblepot's mobilized Rubber Ducky vehicle). That's precisely the sort of fun spectacle I like seeing in my summer movies, and curse anyone who takes superhero films too seriously that they want to suck all of the fun and campy humour out of them and instead have dark scenes contrast with even darker scenes. I know that Bruce Wayne has an anguished soul, but he's not a one-sided "dark" character, and if you make a Batman
film into too much of an angsty gloom-fest, you may as well just call it Darker Black
(a little SlayerOfDukes in-joke for any Rotten Tomatoes forum members who might read this). Plus, the film's only PG-13, so it's not like it will ever get truly "dark", need-to-take-a-shower-after-viewing-it "dark", like Cronenberg's Spider1
. Instead, we'll get a film that'll suffer the same general problem as Revenge of the Sith
in that Batman Begins
will be an in-between film that is less "fun" than the more light-hearted and balanced films in the franchise but won't actually be graphic enough to get truly "dark". It's pre-packaged "dark" that's somewhat moody but which won't alienate mass summer audiences, won't traumatize younger children too badly should their parents take them to see it. and won't jeopardize Warner Brother's lucrative merchandizing and cross-promotional contracts they've made to milk this film for everything it's worth. In other words, it'll be "dark" in the same sort of way that the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh is "dark"
Dare I say, this is the Batman
film designed to appeal to the, in the vernacular of today's young people, "Emo" crowd.
Anyway, with that in mind, let's look at a couple of actual items
that I found which that'll hopefully serve to piss off the fanboys who take superheroes too seriously..
Ooh, the Christian Bale Batman is now an official spokesperson for the Got Milk?
campaign, getting a totally goth milk mustache just like those other angsty pop-culture icons like the Backstreet Boys
, Austin Powers
, Britney Spears
, the Spy Kids
, and, the grand cat of gothy gloom himself, Garfield
Instead of "Got Milk?", they should now call the campaign "Goth Milk?" (Aren't I clever? I deserve a medal for making that joke. Or a trophy. Maybe a pizza trophy.)
Not that I'm endorsing her cause, and I drink milk, usually banana-flavoured myself, but it's probably a good thing that they didn't try tying in the Got Milk campaign with Batman and Robin
, as Batgirl Alicia Silverstone is the leading celebrity supporter of PETA's counter-campaign, Milk Sucks
Next up, here's a the most twisted colouring book this side of Law and Order: An Adventure to Color
, a darkly psychological colouring book full of pain and despair called Batman Begins Color & Activity Book with Crayons : Gotham's Guardian (Batman Begins)
(recommended for children aged 4-8!). Navigate the maze of Bruce Wayne's anguish through the medium of... umm... a maze. Attempt to decipher the mysteries of Al Ghul's most perplexing challenge yet, one he devised over six centuries with secret knowledge passed down to him by the master monk of an isolated Buddhist sect in Nepal where Ra's Al Ghul uses all the intellectual mastery he has accumulated to arrange simple three to five letter English words into an ingenious grid pattern, wherein the words are interconnected with one another, and then he, rather devilishly, removed all of the letters from the grid, leaving only enigmatic clues like "Animal that says 'Meow' (3 letters)", which is all the information he'll give to whichever unfortunate soul that dares to attempt to re-assemble the missing letters in Ra's Al Ghul's "Puzzle of Crossed Words". And the best part of this book is that it comes with four crayons, though, mysteriously, none of them are black, the colour you'll need to use the most since the story's so dark.
Also available: Batman Begins Color and Activity Book: I'm Batman
, with free stick-on tattoos. (Note, say the previous sentence like Principle McVicker in the "Huh-Huh Humbug" portion of the Beavis and Butt-Head Christmas Special
Finally, my most favourite item of all I've seen..
Hello. Welcome to Goth Talk
. I'm Azrael Abyss, the Prince of Sorrow. Every evening, I embrace the darkness of the night and heed the call of the howl of a distant wolf deep in the whispering shadows in my Batman Begins short-sleeved pajamas (with removable cape)
, the vestements I wear when I dance with the marauding demons in the tormented world of my inner nightmares. I have to go to bed early on weekends to get up in time to work the morning shift at Cinnabons.
Actually, the page I linked to doesn't really indicate whether these pajamas are for little kids or for adult Batman fans. One thing's for sure: they're designed for people who still live in the same house with their parents2
.1 Yeah, I'm sure there are a thousand-and-one better examples I can name for truly "dark" films than David Cronenberg's Spider, but I don't watch many films like that and that's the one I've seen within recent memory.
2 Yeah, I know, so do I.
I HAVEN'T BEEN BLOGGING MUCH FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS BECAUSE...
I told you, I'm working on the drawing of Piccadilly Circus in London I mentioned two entries ago.
After two days, this small portion of the advertising signs at Piccadilly Circus is all I have to show
, which looks okay, but it's not nearly as precise as I wanted. I'm working on a 64 cm by 22 cm drawing area; it'll probably have to be a lot larger to look photorealistic. (The Coca-Cola logo especially was a pain in the ass to draw mostly freehand. "The "Cola" looks okay, but the "Coca" doesn't look quite right.) While I have drawn with coloured pencils in the 9 years since I kept on getting YTV "PJ Fresh Phil" Guerrero and Snit to show my Sailor Moon
artwork on The Zone, it's been a couple of years since I've done a serious drawing and I'm a bit out of practice.
Be aware that I am going to add more layers of colour, so hopefully, most of the pencil lines won't be too visible in the finished work.
Also, please note that, a lot of the work I did which isn't really visible in the small section of the picture I'm showing you was taking an insane amount of measurements and then scaling them up as a basic "skeleton" to make the picture roughly proportionally accurate (it's not perfect, I'm still going to have to "fudge" some things).EDIT
Finished Piccadilly Circus drawing here
BENTORA, BENTORA, SPACE PEOPLE!
Hmm... will aliens zap us before we get a chance to see Spielberg's War of the Worlds?
"There's a Las Vegas guy making an extraordinary claim about extra-terrestrials. This guy says the Old Testament written in Hebrew taught him how to summon UFO’s. He says he can do it on command and he's been doing it for 25 years, keeping it secret, until now."
Annoningly, that's all of the text that KTNV-13, the ABC affiliate in Las Vegas, Nevada, has written about the news item they shot. Here's the link where you can watch the full 13 Action News video
of Ramon Watkins a.k.a. "Prophet Yahweh"
stunning KTNV reporter Mike Dello Stritto
by "summoning" a UFO, which looks like a small point of orange light, on demand, at a time, location, and circumstances of Dello Stritto's choosing. Please note that "UFO" is strictly a designation for any unidentified flying object and does not imply an oject of extraterrestrial origin.
From Ramon Watkins' press release
"Prophet Yahweh was blessed to discover the lost, ancient art of summoning UFOs and spaceships on-demand.
There is a difference between UFOs and spaceships. UFOs are usually small flying objects: glowing orbs, metallic spheres, satellite-type flying machines, etc. And, their flight patterns suggest that they are not of this world.
But, spaceships are large futuristic vehicles that are clearly designed to carry passengers in like you see in the movies.
Since 1979, more than 1,500 UFOs and/or spaceships have appeared on Prophet Yahweh's signal before witnesses or at unawares.
During this time, he was performing his summons privately with only those close to him as witnesses.
But, starting June 1st until July 15th (45 days) Prophet is going public by opening up to the news media.
He will demonstrate his ability to call down UFOs and spaceships, on-demand, for them to film and photograph.
Prophet is in direct telephatic contact with his space being friends. They have revealed that they will send UFOs as soon as Prophet starts asking for them to appear.
Also, before the 45 day summoning period has ended, a spaceship will descend and sit in the skies over Las Vegas on Prophet's signal.
The spaceship will hover in the sky, not far from Nellis Air Force base, for almost two days. All Las Vegans will be able to see it, day and night, before it goes back up into space."
Reminds me of that scene in Rumiko Takahashi's Lum: Urusei Yatsura manga comic wherein Ataru Moroboshi's then unnamed classmate, who would later get the nickname "Megane" (glasses) in the Urusei Yatsura anime, attempts to summon Lum's UFO
with the words "Bentora, Bentora, Space People" (alternatively translated by AnimEigo translator Vincent Winiarski as "Ventura, Ventura, Space People"), only to summon a space taxi, who gives them a short ride home (and then demands all the oil on Earth as payment).Rival station KVBC-3, the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas, gives a less incredulous account of Watkins' "abilities".
"Our newsroom gets dozens of press releases every day from people who think they've got a good story for us. But we've never seen a "media alert" quite like this one. It says: "Beginning next week, spaceships will appear overLas Vegas," summoned on-demand by a man who claims he's in touch with an alien power. News 3's Steve Crupi reports.
This sounds strangely reminiscent of "The Amazing Kreskin." Thee years ago Kreskin got worldwide attention when he predicted that UFO's would appear over Las Vegas . But no surprise, it turned out to be a publicity hoax. Now, we have a man who calls himself a prophet, predicting alien activity, and he swears this is no hoax.
From the driveway of his downtown apartment, Ramon Watkins is waiting for UFOs. "There are spaceships right now, parked around the planet." On his web site, he goes by the name Prophet Yahweh and says the existence of extraterrestrial life will soon become obvious to everyone. "I know you guys are skeptical, and I don't blame you man." He has a computer filled with home videos that he claims prove his power to summon strange objects in the sky. And he says within the next 45 days something big is coming. "At least one of those days a gigantic spaceship is to set up over Las Vegas for a day and a half."
Watkins tried to give us a demonstration of his abilities, but we watched and waited, and all we saw was an airplane.
"We tried, it's a no-show.""
Watkins adds this warning:"Watkins says the aliens won't attack us the way they do in the movies, but he says their intentions are anything but friendly. "And they're here, to take over, it's just that simple.""
Why "summon" them then, dumbass? :P
"Luciferian" Sunday night radio talk show hosr Aaron C. Donahue tries debunking the video in this press release, though this isn't a CSICOP or Penn and Teller's Bullshit debunking, Donahue makes other "interesting" assertions to prove Watkins wrong:
"Donahue and Sharpe both used their skills as advanced remote viewers to examine the strange jumping light in the sky as it appeared on the ABC special. They said they found that the image was no more than a projected image from three separate beams, all coming from the ground.
“The reason they chose Las Vegas is because the place is a circus. They have the technology to make it happen,” he said.
Donahue said he did a mind probe of Prophet Yahweh and found that the man is sincere. This confused him for a while.
“He isn’t lying to you. He sees UFOs,” Donahue said. “In fact, I really like this guy and I don’t want to belittle him. He really believes he is evoking UFOs.”
The problem is that the prophet is being used in a massive fraudulent trick designed to stop the Luciferians.
The biggest insult is that Prophet Yahweh puts a Christian slant to his story. He prays before evoking the ships."
Ooh! Ramon Watkins got the Luciferian psychic remote viewers angry at him! This reminds me of a certain scene from the South Park episode "Cartman's Incredible Gift" (the Dead Zone spoof episode):
Male Psychic 1: Kid, we have a problem. You didn't go through the proper channels to become a psychic detective like we all did.
Other psychics: Yeah!
Cartman: Proper channels?
Male Psychic 2: You were supposed to fill out the form on the back of the comic book and pay the twenty five dollar fee for the degree from the Psychic Detective School. [shows the ad in question. Looks nice]
Cartman: I was given my gift from a tragic accident. I didn't need to go to Psychic Detective School.
Male Psychic 1: Well you just can't say you're a psychic detective, you have to use the ad in the comic book!
Female Psychic 1: You must pay the twenty five dollar fee and give us ten percent of yoru earnings!
Cartman: [laughs at them] Ten percent my balls, get lost!
Female Psychic 1: Very well, then you give us no choice. Roger?
[Roger steps out from behind the sofa and prepares to battle Cartman psychically. Cartman simply observes, then responds. He and Roger battle with sound effects and hand gestures]
Female Psychic 1: All right everyone! [the rest of the psychics join in the battle against Cartman.]
Liane: Oh, poopsies, what's going on?
Cartman: Stand back, mother! We're having a telekinetic battle of minds!
Liane: O-o-o-o-o-oh! [prostrates herself]
Of course, I shouldn't get too smug and skeptical, after all, I do believe that I did see a UFO land on a street in front of my townhouse in Beaconsfield, Quebec in March, 1981, and there's another experience I had, which I don't think I ever mentioned before in this blog, as a 22 year old in the spring of 1997 where my parents drove us to a dark area north of highway 40 in western Vaudreuil to look at the Hyakutake comet, and we saw that and also some sort of light ball hovering and continually changing directions over Hudson, Quebec (it might have been a helicopter, but, if it was, it was a fast and very quiet one). In the case of my 1981 experience, assuming it wasn't an intense dream (taking note that I hadn't yet, at that point, seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind), I don't think of myself as some kind of "alien beacon" the way Ramon Watkins seems to think of himself, I felt more compelled to look at a certain spot in the sky, like it was calling me, not the other way around. (Anyway, I think what I saw, if it wasn't a dream, was a craft piloted by human time travellers from the distant future, not extraterrestrials.)
The bright side if aliens do attack us on June 15th will be that, while I won't get to see War of the Worlds, I also won't get to see Batman Begins, parts of which initially seemed pretty cool when I read the script (and I like how the Bat-vehicle they built for the film actually does most of what the script calls it to do) but now seems like a somber angsty gloom-fest designed to appeal mainly to appeal to those super-serious Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns kind of Batman fanboys who want to suck all of the fun out of the character and who angrily deny that superheroes, manly men who dress up in underwear, are inherently "camp", and, as such, view the campy 1960s Adam West and Burt Ward Batman TV series as one of the worst attrocities of the 20th century because it taught us that Batman can be wacky fun (and they also hate the wonderful Tim Burton Batman films, which were also "dark", but in a comic way I approve of. I admit that the Joel Schumacher Batman films were too heavy on the comedy, but the Tim Burton ones, especially the grossly underrated Batman Returns, were perfectly balanced).
LONDON, IN "WIDESCREEN".
Since I just got my own Fotopic.net gallery
, I thought I would add a little something else.
I rescanned 10 panoramic shots I took around London (and London Heathrow Airport EGLL) with a Kodak Advantix disposable camera. I've posted most of these photos elsewhere before, but this is the first time I've ever posted them at an amazing resolution of around 3445 by 1200 pixels for maximum detail and an incredible immersive experience.
You can see them at my gallery called "London; Panoramic Shots, July 2000"
By the way, I'm now working on a large pencil-crayon coloured drawing of the photo of Piccadilly Circus seen above, just as a wall-hanging for myself. I'd also love to paint it in oil someday. (I'd consider doing drawings as commissions; if anyone's interested, please contact me at my e-mail address, which is my name with a dot in the middle and then the "at" sign and then gmail dot com.)EDIT
Finished Piccadilly Circus drawing here