Parts of Hulk 2 (due for release in June of 2008, starring Ed Norton and Liv Tyler) were filmed here in Hamilton last fall. The Hulk 2 Movie Trailer is now available online (go clicky on the link). Many of the scenes featuring destruction in the streets that are shown in this trailer were filmed in Toronto, on Yonge – out front of Sam the Record Man and the Zanzibar Tavern (which looks to have gotten quite a facelift courtesy of the art department). There are, however, a couple of scenes in which you can quickly glimpse the set that was built here in Hamilton – you have to keep your eyes peeled, but there are a couple of scenes in which a club called “Apollo” is visible; that was one of the fake buildings constructed on the North side of King St. east of John.
I posted about the production of some of these scenes here (posts include some video taken on scene during the filming). Here is some video of a bus explosion scene that was taken during the production:
Last night, Spouse and I unexpectedly ended up in a brief hiatus from our ongoing search for a new homeland that will satisfy the Known Requirements and Specifications for the Kingdom of Juniorvania.
This unexpected little time windfall prompted a spirited discussion concerning its proper and appropriate use, the history of which I shall detail for you below.
Option #1 – rapidly conceived, brilliant in its simplicity – was to go to the movies. this plan might have seemed like a no-brainer slam-dunk success to many an objective observer, given the sheer length of time since Spouse and I last actually attended the local Famous Players Gazillio-Plex and the fact that there is actually something playing there that we would both like to see (thus providing us with motive to undertake this operation). Those more discerning and observant readers among you will be familiar, however, with our general suspicion of, and discomfiture within, crowds of people, and might therefore rightly be suspicious of the chances of this plan’s successful implementation. Further, the insiders among you familiar with the lack of time recently spent by us in the immediate company of Popeye and Henry (our dog and his lawyer cat) would have immediately discounted this as a likely solution. Fundamentally incompatible with us, we had to break up with option #1 – though we shared some good times together – and move on.
I was idly flipping through the channels tonight, awaiting the commencement of the Leafs vs. Kings game (late night start time for those of us here in Central Canada) when I noticed something unusual about the *ahem* adult programming listed by our cable service. Certain of the programs, being described as “movies” are assigned a quality rating (1 to 4 stars) – just like all the other movies.
This fact raises a number of questions in my mind.
Who quality rates the porn? Is the porn rated according to its own dedicated system, i.e. compared to all other porn flicks and according to certain porn-specific criteria? Or is the porn judged and rated according to the same star-assignment system as regular movies? This latter possibility may be somewhat disturbing to folks like the Wayans brothers; that is, if Driving Miss Daisy and Driving Miss Daisy are being judged by identical criteria, there are some inescapable and ugly truths that may have to be faced, in a very concrete and quantitative way, by failed directors. For example, the particular adult feature I saw being advertised – Mega Blondes – was afforded a two-star rating by the anonymous cable company cinematic assessors. Two stars! That’s one more star than was attributed to Scary Movie 2, a feature being offered on an adjacent channel. To review, assuming that these 2 films were rated on a common scale and according to identical criteria, the quality assessors who watched both Scary Movie 2 and Mega Blondes apparently came to the conclusion that the porn flick was twice as good as the work of the Wayanses.
In the last few days, Spouse and I have watched both the final episode of The Sopranos and the Simpsons Movie. Tomorrow night, we are planning to solve Rubik’s Cube, listen to the latest Beatles album and find out who shot J.R.
Seriously, it is sometimes difficult to comprehend how I can be so woefully behind the curve in relation to such cultural matters. Being late on The Simpsons Movie was just one of those things, I guess. Although I had expressed, in no uncertain terms, my desire to See! That! Movie! as soon as Spouse and I saw the trailer – I think it was shown in the theatre when we saw Mrs. Cryface and the Terrible Disease 2: This Time it’s Communicable – it so happened that we were both very busy at work when the film finally opened. Predictably, the film came and went with nary a kernel of theatre corn popped into my gaping maw.
In between periods of the Leaf game last night (yay Leafs fans for not booing McCabe -at all – and yay Leafs for showing up when it was gut check time), I banged together a rough edit of some video from last week’s Hulk 2 film shoot in downtown Hamilton. The big buzz on the street was for a scene where a vehicle (generally believed to be a “Hummer” by the man on the street, but described to me as a “jeep” by one of the movie guys) was to be propelled through one of the fake movie building walls. Obviously, everyone and his brother was interested in seeing this scene. That was what had kept me up until 3 o’clock in the morning on a couple of nights. I had been down to the set on Thursday October 11th, which was the second last day of filming – and saw no such scene. I figured that meant it was going to happen Friday night for sure. As it turned out, the scene they were doing did involve a Jeep, but the movie guys seemed to be working on a sequence in which the jeep, loaded with armed soldiers, goes careening through traffic on Main Street. In the meantime, extras were fleeing something on Hughson Street (presumably, this will turn out to be the Hulk in the finished movie). One good thing about this montage is that I did manage to get the scene from a number of different angles – but don’t hold your breath for a jeep smashing through a wall. In the end, Spouse and I gave up and went home to bed.
Hulk 2 is being filmed in downtown Hamilton right now. Spouse and I went down to take in some of the movie magic and I brought along the video camera, hoping to capture some explosions and other cinematic truths. I was not disappointed. I suspect that this film will not focus overly much on character exposition and a search for human truth; rather, the subject of the film is more likely to be “black powder and the things it blows up.” I got a lot of video of the tableau below the window from which Spouse and I were watching: a burnt-out NYC bus with a demolished sedan lying crossways across what would be top of the bus if it had any roof left, lots of (propane fuelled) flames everywhere, and a series of explosions that made the assembled extras eschew their previously lethargic ways and run screaming down the street.
There is a very interesting article in The Economist about the effect of digital technology on the motion picture industry, at the distribution/exhibition end, rather than the more commonly discussed production end. It is well worth a read, but I suspect you will agree that the author has obviously tried too hard in his opening paragraph to articulate a broadly meaningful thesis:
THERE is a scene in “Transformers”, a blockbuster that came out last week, in which a mobile phone turns into a homicidal robot. In its astonishingly loud way, the film is a meditation on the dangers posed by advanced technology.
Transformers? The two hour and twenty-three minute montage of stuff getting blowed up by homicidal robots? A “meditation” on anything? Puh-lease. This like suggesting that “King Ralph” is a “Swiftian satire about the democratization of the monarchy”.
Many lessons can perhaps be learned here, chief among them being “Don’t rely on magazines about economics to provide you with insightful film criticism.” I rather suspect that the thesis in question is a poorly-veiled and badly executed attempt to rationalize, for an inquisitive editor, why the author was apparently busy attending a screening of this summer’s big-budget blockbuster rather than churning out 1000 words on the Chinese widget industry.