Welcome back to our second weekly mailbag episode! This week we discuss whether absolute power would corrupt Superman absolutely, what happens when you reboot Harry Potter, and whether the zeitgeist of our time is destroying our cartoons.
Come join us in the nerdy conversation!
I’ve been seriously thinking about this question. So we know Superman gains his power from the sun, and can fly closer to said sun to amp up his power. However, what about two suns? Would he, therefore, gain two times the power and upon flying closer to the sun, become an overpowered Superman? If this is the case, would he stick with his boy scout ways and continue to fight for good? Or might he fall off the wagon into the darkness and become a villain? Personally, I think he might even just explode. Too much power.
What do you think? Would he stick around with the good guys, join the bad guys or just die from double the sun-power?
Jimmy from Sales
So Superman’s Kryptonian body is basically a rechargeable battery that feeds on “ultra solar rays” (either a description of a fictional element, or a general descriptor of the stuff that comes out of our stars). A lesser known fact is that he gains additional powers, and his abilities are enhanced further when he is powered by a blue star. (Blue stars burn 10,000 times hotter than our yellow sun.)
Based on this alone, I think it’s safe to assume that A) You are correct that he would gain more power if he had regular exposure to more sun rays to feed him, and B) There isn’t a limit to how much power ‘ole Supes can stomach.
To answer your second question: if two suns amounted to Clark being twice as strong, I doubt it would change Superman’s moral compass any more than having $2 billion would change the moral compass of people who once only had $1 billion. The bigger question is whether or not Superman would have the same wholesome upbringing by Ma and Pa Kent if this theoretical two-sunned Earth more resembled the world of Mad Max.
Yo Mr. Wolf,
Harry Potter! The biggest movie franchise in recent memory. The films defined a generation and it’s generally seen as an iconic take on an iconic character. Which means Hollywood will reboot it eventually. What can Warner Bros and Rowling do to make the (for now, hypothetical) remake different from the original series? What creative direction would have any impact to separate it from what they’ve done?
Accio your answers,
Craig “Whomping Willow” Wilson
Hello Mr. Willow,
First, I must disagree with your premise that a Harry Potter reboot is a forgone conclusion. Firstly, because J.K. Rowling seems to have a tremendous amount of creative control over her creations, and because she is a stickler for quality.
The second, and much larger reason is that while I always found the Harry Potter movies quite middling next to their masterpiece source material, I think you’re right when you describe them as films that “defined a generation.” Because of that, I think any plan to do a strict reboot would be seen with intense animosity by a chunk of its core fan base. Perhaps not at the level that rebooting The Wizard of Oz or Raiders of the Lost Ark would incur, but after seeing the reactions to rumors of the Labyrinth reboot (actually a sequel), I think we can assume it would be bad.
Reboots have lost what little public favor they once had. But don’t worry! They’re being rebooted!
I believe that, as of 2015, the long-gap sequel has become the new reboot. Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World were both enormous successes financially. They also proved that audiences would rather be hoodwinked into thinking they’re experiencing something new with a sequel that “pays homage” to a classic, than straight up be told that the series is getting re-imagined and rewritten from the ground up. There were even a couple critical darlings from the year that did this successfully (Mad Max: Fury Road, and Creed), further legitimizing this template.
The most likely, and the most profitable option, would be for Warner Bros. to wait for 10 years or so, tread water with offshoots like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and then do a soft reboot/continuation of the series involving a new class of students going on new (but more than a little bit familiar) adventures. These adventures would occasionally cameo an old Daniel Radcliffe, reprising his role as Harry, now a mature auror, and whoever else is alive and willing from the old guard to add legitimacy to the proceedings.
It’s possible that this could be done well, but to be honest, I’d much rather see a straight reboot.
I want it to be animated (a tasteful 2D/3D hybrid) and I want it to spend much more time on each story. Maybe not long enough to hit every beat from the novels, but certainly long enough to prevent major story arcs and character developments from being criminally underrepresented. Either turn each book into a full season of an HBO miniseries (something similar to Game of Thrones), with each chapter being represented as an episode, or at least split the longer books into a couple features each (similar to Deathly Hallows).
Such a reboot would be beloved by purists, and might even overcome the reboot stigma from a general audience. It might even make a lot of money if done really well. It would definitely make my wildest dreams come true. Pardon me whilst I ingest some gillyweed. I’m going to be holding my breath for a long time waiting for it to become real.
I wanted to know your thoughts on the lack of 2D animated films in theaters these days. I mean, I know that CG films are all the rage, but come on, it’s been 20 years. Don’t you think true animation fans are itchin’ for some 2D animated feature films?
There’s been a long, slow, tapering off period from 2D animation since Toy Story entered the scene in 1995. But I can see your concern. Disney’s most recent theatrical 2D animated film was the 2011 Winnie the Pooh. Dreamworks hasn’t made one since Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas in 2003. The big guns have moved on, leaving traditional animation to smaller studios around the world.
I think my biggest concern with the move to CG is that traditional animation will become a lost art form, and that even if a major studio wanted to animate a new film traditionally, they would no longer have the legendary talent that they needed to make it happen. Not to say that this knowledge can’t be re-learned, or that new techniques might not be superior to the old ones, but starting over from scratch could be cost prohibitive in a way that big studios typically don’t like. (UPDATE: Having discussed this point with animation experts, I can happily report that this is not a concern. Apparently, nearly all professional animators are also trained 2D artists, and most animation techniques are common between both CG and traditional animation mediums, regardless of the technology used to achieve the end result.)
The thing I appreciate most about animation is that it allows a story to be told in a style unique to its own world. It’s why I appreciate 2D animated films like Song of the Sea (pictured above) and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. (both released within the last year or so). However CG animated films like The Peanuts Movie or the Disney short Paperman I think show that the feel of the medium is more important than the technology used to achieve it.
(In example: television comedy Bob’s Burgers was animated in Adobe Flash its first season before moving onto traditional animation. An ardent fan of the show, I didn’t even realize this until researching it.)
While I would have liked to see more unique looks for recent Disney films Tangled, Frozen, and Big Hero 6, I don’t think any of these films were begging for a different style of animation. It’s possible that the style of animation chosen simply begets a film that feels correct to that style. (I similarly could not imagine feeling right about Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast animated primarily in CG.)
Whether we like it or not, for better or worse, CG is the new zeitgeist for animation in our time. My highest hope is that innovative animators will continue to push the boundaries of what a film’s look can make us feel, regardless of the tools they are allowed. With any luck, we’ll see a return to that warm, familiar, and personal feel that beautiful line art can evoke.
That’s it for this week! As always remember to send in your Q’s for us to A at firstname.lastname@example.org.