Random Nerdery: Netflix’s Bright, IDW’s G.I. Joe, Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
Random Nerdery is a regular Opus feature covering the latest nerdiness from the worlds of film, TV, literature, comic books, video games, technology, web development, and more.
Netflix’s Bright Gets a Sequel
Let’s just get this out of the way. Bright — Netflix’s biggest, most expensive film to date — wasn’t nearly as terrible as many critics made it out to be. Mind you, it wasn’t great (among other things, its treatment of racism was pretty ham-handed). But if you were looking for something to watch late at night that featured a higher than usual number of sarcastic quips from a grizzled Will Smith, well, then Bright more than fit the bill. And it got enough views that Netflix has greenlit a sequel.
Bright is a modern day urban cop fantasy film in which elves, orcs, dragons, fairies, and other mythical creatures are real — a concept that’s certainly ripe enough for additional stories. The first Bright hinted at plenty of storylines for a sequel, such as Smith’s character’s ability to wield a magic wand, but you could also make a sequel about the X-Files-ish “Magic Task Force” or the shadowy “Shield of Light” organization. Heck, just make a movie about that centaur cop.
Original screenwriter Max Landis, however, won’t be writing the Bright sequel (possibly because of his recent legal troubles). Instead, director David Ayer will take over the writing duties.
Yo Joe! Reading G.I. Joe’s IDW Collection.
Back in August, I bought a ton of G.I. Joe digital comics courtesy of Humble Bundle, including all seven IDW Collection volumes, and spent a good portion of my Christmas/New Year vacation reading them. While there was certainly a lot of nostalgia involved — I was pretty obsessed with the G.I. Joe cartoon and toys back in grade school — I was reminded time and again that the comics are a world removed from the cartoon series of yore, in which Cobra couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, everyone ejected before their plane crashed, and nobody ever died.
The IDW Collection is quite a bit more mature, even going so far as to draw some parallels between the Joes and Cobra. Both are extremist groups in their own way, and time and again we see the Joes operating in moral gray areas in order to bring down Cobra Commander, Destro, et al. via off-the-book missions. Furthermore, there are some affecting one-off stories that show how people in desperate straits might become willing to join a terrorist organization as evil as Cobra.
There were plenty of times when the comics pandered with fan service, especially with regards to the female characters. (I’m pretty sure a no-nonsense soldier like Scarlett would never really wear a midriff-baring uniform, much less a thong.) But in its attempt to build a more elaborate mythology, the IDW Collection does solid work. What’s more, it made me yearn for another cartoon series that treated the Joes and Cobra with the same seriousness as G.I. Joe: Resolute.
Godzilla Comes to Netflix
I’ve written about Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, the first animated Godzilla movie, several times already, but that’s only because I’m excited to see it. I’ve been a fan of Godzilla movies for decades, but let’s face it, a lot of them seem to tread much of the same ground. One of the reasons I’m so intrigued by Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is that the premise feels relatively fresh (for a Godzilla movie, anyway).
Set 20,000 years in the future, the film follows the last remaining humans who return to Earth, only to find it completely hostile to human life. And at the top of the food chain is the big “G,” who’s evolved into something bigger and badder than ever. Which means that we’re going to have desperate humans taking on Godzilla and host of other monsters with super-futuristic mecha. How can I not want to see that?
The film’s CGI animation (by Polgyon Pictures, who also did Knights of Sidonia and Blame!) will no doubt be off-putting to some, but early reviews have been fairly positive. And I have to admit, I’m curious to see what writer Gen Urobuchi (who also wrote Psycho-Pass, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, and Expelled from Paradise) will do with the most famous movie monster of all time.
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters will begin streaming worldwide on Netflix on January 17, with two sequels to follow. The first sequel, titled Godzilla: The City Mechanized for the Final Battle, will be released in May 2018, and will feature Mechagodzilla.