Comic Fodder

Wolverine Movie: Too Much Spoiling?

How many times has the leaked Wolverine movie been downloaded now? Half a million? One million? I don't get it. I'm assuming these are relative youngsters, because us old fogies tend to stay away from torrent in the first place, and/or prefer to actually pay legally for a service or product, just like our momma raised us. But really, when there's a blockbuster movie with special effects, I want to see it in the best quality I can for the very first viewing. You want to show me a few scenes of Pineapple Express on your little iPhone screen? Sure, okay. You want to have my first sight of Dracula 2000 be on your 80-inch TV? I'll bite (pardon the pun). But for new action movies, stuff like Transformers 2, I want to be in front of a widescreen with crisp digital display and a cutting-edge sound system. Once I've seen the movie, the format doesn't matter after that. I can even sit still for a grainy Youtube kind of vidplay to re-watch a good scene, but I really want my first exposure to good stuff like Taken and Gran Torino to be larger than life (can you tell I enjoy going to the movies yet?). If I can't afford it, I go without.

Are we getting gouged for our movies and I didn't hear about it? I can still get in most places for $10 or $11, and if I'm tight for money, I skip the concession line. I thought it was a fair price for Watchmen, even for I Love You, Man (and speaking of Watchmen, there is plenty of "this is karma" attitude against Fox for the lawsuit that garnered them some of the profits from Watchmen, so there is a ton of animus against Fox right now, and not nearly as much sympathy as you might expect normally). But for this copy of Wolverine, word is the sound is crappy, and full of 'holder' music, meaning it's not even the final sound track they plan to use. The special effects are not complete, and the old copy has places where you've still got the green screen. Between fourteen and twenty minutes of the story is missing, is there any wonder the net-freaks that are already posting reviews say it's horrible? Any movie would look horrible in that state! Granted, there will be some sneak-peaks that get us fanboys riled up that show how they have changed/perverted some of the characters from their comic origin, but that comes as part of every film translation of a comic, so those complaints would have come out anyway.

The weekend box office will be perhaps one of the best signals of whether piracy really affects anything. The previews of this movie have been as good as any of the X-Men movies, if not better. I suppose I can understand the thrill of being the first to see something, and the juvenile sense that you are getting away with something the big companies don't want you to do. There may actually be an increase in demand for the movie, much in the way free copies of music online have driven up interest in many artists in the music industry, or early chapters of books drive up interest in an upcoming novel. I have a suspicion this might be the case. It isn't so much people getting free samples being wrong that makes me confused, it's the prospect that so many people are willing to settle for such a... reduced capacity product. Has our country been eating 'McDonalds' crap for so long that we are used to taking free garbage and somehow enjoying it?

Hollywood has made several attempts to cut down on piracy for this new technological age, but nothing is working. The only solution I can tell is to make the original print off of celluloid film first, and don't make digital copies until the last possible minute. One guy proposed not making digital versions until it's ready for release on Blu-Ray. The current reality is, I have several friends who receive illegal copies of music and movies on a regular basis through their contacts. Mind you, this is not usually stuff leaked out on torrents as much as friends passing copies onesy-twosies to people they know and trust, but the fact is, if I wanted to, I could probably watch just about anything in production right now with a quick call for a favor (except for that copy of Global Frequency, nobody ever makes good on getting a copy of that to me, no matter what they promise!). All of the safeguards and encoding and tracking that the companies are implementing is only as reliable as the least trustworthy employee with access. We have leaks with Top Secret government documents as it is, but we're talking about Hollywood execs with tons of money, often times free-flowing drugs, etc. Is it really any wonder that their "security practices" look like they've already been shredded by Wolverine's claws?

The mere fact that a straight-arrow like me, who even tends to avoid jaywalking when he can, is able to obtain the newest developmental products not just from one or two independent sources, but from three or four places, and I'm just one person... the system is broke. The technology makes things easier, the controllers have very little control, and the ragamuffins running around today seem to have less general room for the idea that you should respect the property of other people. There is an increasing tendency to justify things by viewing the big companies as soulless monoliths that suck the life out of the true creators, and never reimburse them enough in the first place. How this translates into stealing the product (so the main creators also receive fewer dollars in the end) is beyond me.

So here's what's going to happen:

I'm going to see the movie on the big screen as soon as I can, and any "green screen" footage can wait for the 'extras' section on the DVD that might make a good Christmas present (hint, hint).

I hope that the leaked footage and extra coverage will increase interest and give the movie a massive opening weekend.

I suspect that the leaked footage will not seriously harm the opening weekend numbers.

I really wish the studios would realize that their control is illusory, and will adopt a different policy besides 'lockdown' to accommodate the changing times and tech.

As much as I appreciate that other people have different tendencies and desires and ways of living, I really, really wish that in this case more people were like me, and were a tad more respectful of the immense expense and effort put into a project like this by thousands of normal working men and women. For the comics-to-film movement to develop a solid reputation and grow, we need solid "no-duh" hits like Wolverine to succeed and pave the way for other worthy (but less well-known) projects to come to fruition. Like it or not, that means the blockbusters still need to have a genuine blockbuster opening weekend

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

Since the internet became fast enough that you didn't need to spend half an hour online to download a single clip (which I distinctly remember doing in the 1990's), its been used and abused by movie fans with an overinflated sense of ownership and entitlement.

The trick, of course, is whether or not leaks are actually leaks or whether they're carefully managed marketing efforts by sharp folks who know what buttons to push with the interweb crowd. I'm always skeptical of any kind of leak, including a work print of a full film. Or some embittered employee who can't believe that THIS is what they did to his beloved Wolverine, etc... and wants the world to know.

I can't really imagine too many incentives or rationalizations for putting your professional career in jeopardy in a competitive town like LA. And, note... how few of these "leaks" occur for movies with an audience that isn't going to get in a tizzy over seeing their movie with a "first!" in the comments section.

Maybe I'm Mr. Cynical (my supervillian name, I guess), but I always assume I'm getting played. And, like yourself, I'd just as soon wait for reviews to show up at Rottentomatoes and then head for the cinema on my own where I can at least share in the misery with an auditorium full of people.

-- Posted by: Ryan at April 3, 2009 10:55 AM

Whomever claims the Wolverine movies sucks is too damn stupid to realize it is not a finalized copy and the movie could very well be better than expect. Lets a friend of a friend of a friends cousin "lent" me his copy of Wolverine and I must say the movie, although not finished was great. I am still going to the theater to watch it there to see the differences but anyone judging the unfinished copy for what it is is just a moron

-- Posted by: Enigma at April 4, 2009 3:18 AM

Too damn stupid? There are way too many inconsistencies to fix in that movie! Die-hard fans would see that even in an unfinished product... what I want to see is a comparison of the final film and the leak, and see how many of those inconsistencies have been fixed! Comicbook storylines have been horribly bastardized, and, instead of keeping options open, have instead shut down possibilities for many of the characters! I don't think I'm spoiling anything here, but be forewarned of the possibility... I have no problem with Logan's past, or Sabretooth's for that matter. What is done with Deadpool is actually acceptable, and one of the easiest events that can be "undone" in a spinoff. But the movie is so crammed with stuff that just isn't needed... and it can't be edited out OR around. So, yeah, the movie CAN be judged by this leak, and we aren't talking about the cosmetics of the movie but the soul. R.I.P. Wolverine...

-- Posted by: Vox Veritas at April 5, 2009 10:00 PM

I'm going to suspend judgment until the final cut, Vox. But your thoughts follow a similar vein of thought from a multitude of comic fans ever since the first comic movie was made. There are some things that will be translating to a different format, the question is, do any of them "break" the character? And that answer will be the same no matter when the film is shown, so I still can't see much sense to leaking an unfinished product. Maybe I'm old school, but I don't want someone to spoil the murder mystery for me when I'm still on page 10, and that's what these 'first cut' leakage video streams do, in effect. I'm staying far away! There will be plenty of time for me to grouse about what they screwed up later...

-TP

-- Posted by: tpull at April 5, 2009 11:24 PM