BOOS! & WHOOP-DOOS!: 'The Dark Knight Rises' and Other Ridiculous Titles

B. Alan Orange looks at this on-going trend currently plaguing our blockbuster sequels.

The Dark Knight Rises? Boo!

Batman contemplates rising
Batman contemplates rising
Jumping Jesus, it sure has been busy around here. News has been flying in so fast, it's hard to keep track of what's actually going on in the world of cinema. The on-line community has been celebrating Back to The Future's 25th Anniversary for weeks now, it seems, and it must be a little disconcerting that all of our focus and attention has been placed on something so...Old.

Don't get me wrong, I love Marty McFly, Doc Brown, Jennifer, and the penis kid on the time travel train at the end of Back To The Future Part III just as much as the next guy (what is it with Michael J. Fox and parting cock shots, anyway? Jesse Ventura, you need to get on this, stat*).

It doesn't bother me that people are obsessed with posting videos from the just-released Blu-ray. What bothers me is that twenty-five years from now, we'll have nothing to get excited about. There wasn't one single movie released this year that will ever garner the love and attention fans are showing for Back to The Future. Its sad that it's the only thing lovers of cinema have to get excited about at this exact moment in time.

Hollywood knows this. That's why, if you look at our own home page right now, it looks like a release slate torn out of a Premiere Magazine from thirty years ago. It feels as though we've actually gone back to 1985. We're stuck in a rut. And that rut is a nostalgic thrust at the hyper gloss byproduct of a bygone era. The Lost Boys, Batman, Tron, Top Gun, Fright Night, Superman, and Planet of the Apes have all appeared on the horizon in the past few days, flaunting their newly restructured wares as they head towards regurgitated cinematic glory.

Or not.

Believe this, moviegoers both young and old want something new. Something fun. Something exciting they can truly believe in. That may very well be another decade away, as the actual studio executives in charge don't seem very smart about what they're currently doing. I've been in the boardrooms. I've been on the ground floor. And to listen to the communal chatter streaming from these sell-by-date committee sessions would make most of your ears bleed. They are rushing to cool without any concept of how to get there. They are three days and four years removed from what is actually hip and reverent. They are the Harvard graduated rich kids whose only grasp on what we actually want comes from reading their own headlines. Not the actual comments you guys make here or elsewhere on a daily basis. They only care about making money. They don't give two shits about making you, the consumer, happy.

The fans are smarter than those making the decisions at this point. It's not a façade or a mirage. When you look at something cockeyed, that just doesn't sound right, its because its not right. And today, I want to look at one specific problem in general that seems to be getting worse: The captions being carried out on our so-called future blockbusters are growing down right silly. Just absolutely ridiculous.

This week, two big tentpole flicks announced their full titles. And they are atrocious. Bad. Movies I wouldn't expect to see on a double bill Drive-In Marquee. When I Boo! The Dark Knight Rises, I am not hissing at the concept or idea of the film itself (though I have never been a big Batman fan). I am wafting my nose at that moniker, surely ripped from a Mad Magazine parody, and overly ripe for two straight years of mocking leading up to its release date. How many cock and yeast jokes will we have to surrender to? How many times will Christian Bale's libido or weight play into that jest-full teaser? It tastes like shit slick foreskin nibbled and ripped off a sixty-year old hobo who has been wallowing around in a dumpster behind an Indian food restaurant.

Don Knotts searches for spooks in Ghost Protocol
Don Knotts searches for spooks in Ghost Protocol
Then there is Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, which was just announced today. If I'm not mistaken, they actual did pull that from a dumpster. The one located directly behind George Lucas' desk at Skywalker Ranch. It was scribbled on a yellow sheet of lined paper, torn from a legal pad, written right underneath The Phantom Menace as George's second subtitle choice for Star Wars: Episode I. Ghost Protocol sounds like a Disney movie starring Don Knotts and Darren McGavin. The sad fact is, there are NO ghosts in Mission: Impossible 4. It's misleading. And it sounds retarded.

Why are we getting such strained superlatives tacked onto our upcoming sequels? Because those super smart studio boardroom committees want to give us something familiar, while also giving us something that sounds fresh and new. The translation ends up sounding absolutely foreign. Like they've gone directly to the way a Japanese 1-Sheet would translate a proper English title, leaving it incomprehensible, funny, dumb, and head shaking all at the same time. It's weird, really. Basically, the studios want to distance themselves and their latest franchise reboot from what has come before it, while also piggyback on its past successes.

They've ditched the numbering system altogether. Thing is, no one hates numbers. We love numbers. I'd much rather have a 4, or a VI, or a Four than I would Ghost Protocol. That title feels like a rubber chicken to me. I feel like it's mocking me. Taunting me. Teasing me. Hitting me in the face. Did Don Rickles fucking write that shit? I think so. Either that, or Tom Cruise has far too many secrets locked away in the Scientology footlocker of shame, and one of the head Church leaders, thinking this was a great title, forced him to thrust it into the public's collective eye to insure that Tom's latest Furry home-shot porn doesn't get leaked on the Internet. Cruise's statement on the matter doesn't even make sense to me:

"One of the things I always wanted for the franchise was for it not to have a number afterwards. I've never done sequels to films and I never thought of these films as sequels. Paramount has done a great job in coming up with a title, so it's not going to be MI2, 3, 4: it's going to be Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. I always felt it should have a title."

What a pretentious twat. I've never had an opinion about the man one-way or the other, but fuck him! Sorry, dude! These are sequels, whether you like it or not. What do you have against numbers, anyway? Did Sesame Street scare you as a kid? Is age against you? Numbered sequels are cool. They always have been. Just look at Back to The Future. Its sequels are simply called Part II and Part III. Not Ghost Almanac. Or Western Protocol. And here, twenty-five years later, they are still all the rage.

I am guessing that 98% of the fans waiting to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon wouldn't mind if it were just simply called Transformers 3. In fact, I am sure they would prefer that. Here is another example of a title that hurts. It actually kicks the mind, because you want to call it Dark Side of the Moon. The title as it stands seems incomplete. It feels like you've blinked or blacked out for a second looking at it. Even without "SIDE", its still too closely associated with Pink Floyd. I'll give Michael Bay the benefit of the doubt on this one. But only if Pink Floyd's seminal album synchs up perfectly with the robot mayhem. If it doesn't? Well, then fuck him, too, and give us back our 3.

The trend of titling sequels with improbable and ludicrous captions seems to have started with Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. When that hit, everyone, including my mom, let out a loud, quizzical groan, as if getting caught jacking off in the middle of taking a long, painful shit. To this day, it still doesn't make much sense. Or sound compltly right. We accept it because we've heard it so many times, and we've seen it so many times. But when we first laid eyes on those two words side-by-side: Phantom. Menace. We were dumb struck. And today's new stupid titles aren't arriving with a softer blow. Despite our having to live with that ode to goofy sci-fi flicks from the 50s, we're still taken back when another subtitle lands with a loud thud.

The newest Autobot: Cockfetti Prime
The newest Autobot: Cockfetti Prime
Maybe studio executives are in a race to see who can top Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo as the worst sequel title of all time? Since its release in 1984, it has been the go to joke whenever a part 2 comes to fruition, or when ever anybody does something stupid, and then they turn around and do it again. At least the title Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo has both a number and something that actually pertained to the film's plot.

Sure, over the years, maybe even since the beginning of cinema, there have been some quite puzzling and painful sequel captions. But nothing as obvious as this latest outpouring has been in its attempts to be both lazy and frustrating. Maybe there is hope. Tron got it right with Tron: Legacy, though I'd like to see a two in there. Paranormal Activity 2 played it straight without a goofy caption. Hopefully The Hangover 2 and Scream 4 will stay put. But you never know. I have heard murmurings of The Hangover: Thailand Sunrise.

Whatever the case may be, The Dark Knight Rises, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be three of the biggest blockbusters of all time that also have the dubious distinction of having the worst titles of all time. Tom Cruise and Hollywood both needs to get over their fear and hate of numbers.

It's not that big of a deal.

Kill Grandma! Eat food! Whoop-doo!

And seriously, Jesse? What is up with this:




Sources: B. Alan Orange

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Comments (18)

  1. Phil Mata

    Though I agree that The Dark Knight Rises is an underwhelming title, I wouldn't call it horrible. But I also would've had a problem if it were given a title like Batman 3 for reasons of sequel-title parallelism. So I don't think that this final installment was easy to name at any rate, so I think they should be given a break.

    4 years agoby @phil-mataFlag

  2. fake

    it should be called the Caped Crusader!

    4 years agoby @fake343333333Flag

  3. C138

    As for the Batman title, it's not that surprising that they named it The Dark Knight Rises. Warner Brothers is obviously playing it safe so they can sell tons more tickets, with people knowing immediately that it's a direct sequel to one of the highest grossing films in box office history. Besides, this isn't anything new with Batman movies. The Dark Knight was the first film to not have the word 'Batman' in the title. Take a look at all the previous titles: Batman (1966), Batman (1989), Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman and Robin... and what did they kick off the franchise reboot with? Batman Begins.

    But anyways, I've begun to warm up to the new title. It's a bit underwhelming considering all the time people were waiting around for what it would be, but I've heard worse. Here's a few that come to mind:

    Transformers: The Dark of the Moon
    Die Hard 2: Die Harder
    Die Hard With A Vengeance
    Live Free or Die Hard
    Darkman 3: Die, Darkman, Die
    I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
    I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

    4 years agoby @c138Flag

  4. Brandon S. Todd

    It's not the title that makes the film, I believe we all know that by now...If not, very very sad.

    4 years agoby @brandon-scott-toddFlag

  5. the Narrator

    Lol @Sly. I thought the same thing.

    4 years agoby @narratorFlag

  6. slysnide

    Does anybody know what the "T3" title even means? Cuz it sounds as if "Dark Side of the Moon" was copyrighted. XP

    4 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  7. CBF

    The Dark Knight Rises, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon will be three of the biggest blockbusters of all time that also have the dubious distinction of having the worst titles of all time.

    4 years agoby @comicbookfanFlag

  8. Mka47

    "They only care about making money. They don't give two sh*ts about making you, the consumer, happy." welcome to america, buddy

    4 years agoby @mka47Flag

  9. Emmytt

    f*ck this idiot i love batman 3's new title

    4 years agoby @emmyttFlag

  10. The Dark Knight

    That was great!

    4 years agoby @thedarkknight23Flag

  11. slysnide

    WTF? I can't believe I've never noticed that before. Guess they gotta pay attention to everything in the frame nowdays.

    4 years agoby @slysnideFlag

  12. Err

    "wtf", indeed, i never would have noticed that kid if you hadn't pointed it out.

    anyway, this was a good, interesting and coherant bit of insight, you should try to con your way onto the stage early on in the rally to restore sanity and read it to the people, and if anyone tries to tell you that it's a political rally just shoosh them and see how much of the speech you can get through before security tackles you.

    4 years agoby @err2005Flag

  13. KaoNoshi

    I agree The Dark Knight Rises is a pretty lame title. I'm sure they originally wanted it to be The Dark Knight Returns but decided they didn't want it associated with the comic book of the same name. They should have called it Legend of the Dark Knight or Shadow of the Bat or something like that. There are tons of Batman comics out there they can steal titles from that would be better.

    4 years agoby @kaonoshiFlag

  14. skywise

    cynical. Its the only word that comes to mind. But after all the drivel hollywood has forced upon us i get it.

    4 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  15. Lane

    Personally, I think "Rises" is better than "Returns" as that title has been played out much too much in movies, especially considering 2 other comic book films already share that distinction. As evidenced by "Batman Returns" and "Superman Returns" I don't think "The Dark Knight Returns" would've made it any less over used or any more credible as a legitimate movie title.

    4 years agoby @lane1Flag

  16. Lane

    At the end of the paragraph starting with "I am guessing that 98% of fans"...

    Funny how MW articles are allowed to cuss but in comments there's always a letter scratched out.

    4 years agoby @lane1Flag

  17. Tyranus

    I don't see a problem with the new Batman title at all, all this fuss about titles is a bit silly. I will agree that Hollywood is spending way too much time remaking old films or tacking 3D onto the originals

    4 years agoby @tyranusFlag

  18. ejk1

    It's a Phantom Menace because you can't see the danger coming right at you. I didn't think it was that hard to understand.

    4 years agoby @ejk1Flag