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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ultimate Geek Fu

Sarnoff, the minor god of channel change serendipity, was in a capricious mood last weekend. In the space of a few days we went from watching Iron Man 2, which was quite a lot of fun in a take-your-mind-off-the-hook-and-don't-think-about-it-too-much way, to The Watchmen, which was—

Pompous? Boring? Pretentious? Overwrought? What is the word I'm looking for here? Turgid, perhaps?

Yes, I think "turgid" gets it rather nicely. It took us two days to wallow through it in all its fulsome turgidity, as on the first night we fell asleep about halfway through. (The second half gets considerably more exciting, though, as Nite Owl and the Spandex Spectre get so turned on while doing a bit of superheroing that afterward they tear off a piece in the Nite Owl's flying hovercraft thingie, and the actress who plays the Spectre is a babe. Especially when she's totally stark nothing-left-to-the-imagination nekkid. Okay, this one is not going on The Kid's viewing shelf.)

But it was only after I plodded through with grim determination all the way to the end of The Watchmen that Sarnoff, sly trickster that he is, played his trump card. A few hours later, while flipping through the channels once again, I came across—

The 1989 version of Batman, with Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger.

Oof. The years have not been kind to this movie. The longer I watched it, the more I found myself wishing I was watching the 1966 Batman: The Movie instead. At least that version didn't even pretend to take itself seriously.

And that got me thinking. Disregarding, say, Barbarella, which set some kind of all-time low-water mark, and anything made before 1960, to rule out all those low-budget Superman and Batman serials from the 1940s and '50s: what, in your considered opinion, is the absolutely worst movie ever adapted from a comic book or comic strip?

Swamp Thing? Barb Wire? The 1989 version of The Punisher, starring Dolph Lundgren? George Lucas's legendary Howard the Duck? Ralph Bakshi's equally legendary Fritz the Cat? Could we possibly forget Shaquille O'Neal in Steel — at least, without electroshock?

The lines are now open. Let the arguments begin.

ULTIMAGE GEEK FU runs every Wednesday. Have a question that's just bugging the heck out of you about Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Star This, Star That, Star Whatever, The Starlost, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Firefly, Fringe, Heroes, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Smallville, True Blood, The X-Files, The X-Men, The Man From Atlantis, or pretty much any other SF- or fantasy-flavored media property? Send it to slushpile@thefridaychallenge.com with the subject line, "Geek Fu," and we'll stuff it in the queue.
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