Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No Ahhnold for Terminator 4 - is there anything Christian Bale can't do?

I was having a conversation with a friend about who today's current swiss army knife actor...the actor who seems to pop up in unrelated films and always nails the role regardless of how questionable the film may be. Such an actor usually makes the film more enjoyable.

Names were thrown around. Val Kilmer (we excused him for Thunderheart) was one...c'mon...you never saw his breakout role in 'Real Genius'? It even had the Tears for Fears hit, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, as the soundtrack's terminus; wrapping the ending up in a nice little package proving that brains can always overcome government stupidity assuming you know how to substitute a 'prom' with the 'reprom' (a little inside Real Genius humor).

Can't remember the others we discussed, probably because the crux of the matter revolved around one actor we both agreed displayed the requisite wicked thespian chops: Christian Bale.

He broke out in Steven Spielberg's 'Empire of the Sun' in 1987. I personally feel that it was his disturbing portrayal of the 'American Psycho' character Patrick Batemen conceived in Bret Easton's eponymous novel that put him on the map. From there he chose films that balanced box office appeal and roles that explored the shadowy facets of humanity without becoming overly saturated in maudlin themes...with 'The Prestige' probably being one of the more darker films of his films.

Needless to say I was thrilled to hear that he'd be picking up the Terminator franchise as John Connor, whom we all know as Sarah Connor's son, who saves humanity from the brink of extinction from the machines led by SkyNet's brutal self-aware AI. Producers are calling it a 'reboot' of the franchise, a term that's becoming more and more popular these days (think the J.J. Abrams 'Star Trek' project). No word yet on who'll be the antagonist, since the Governator has his own battles to field at present.

[sidenote: is this 'rebooting' another indication that Hollywood is running out of ideas, or that present-day themes are so fleeting or uncompelling that it keeps returning to topics it knows were once innovative, visionary, and thrilling...what is it about today's climate that's so less interesting? Are we being lulled deeper into a consumer oriented fugue? Facebooking our privacy away? Are we losing ourselves to our Second Lives, or are dynamic virtual communities making such static artifacts as lights projected on a screen passé?]

Bale is returning as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'rebooted' 'Batman' franchise, and recently appeared in '3:10 to Yuma' and is scheduled to headline in 2009's 'Killing Pablo', also starring one of the scariest villains ever to grace the screen in this year's 'No Country for Old Men'...Javier Bardem. Should be good stuff. They've even gotten out a trailer for the new Terminator film! Amazing! Didn't see Christian Bale though...

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