If Australian Ninja were a movie, he would be this one
Sat, 15 March 2008
by: Australian Ninja
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This fake documentary is a real gem. It's from my personal collection and after lending it to Sammy and watching it again recently, I decided that more people needed to hear about it. Comic Book The Movie was released direct-to-DVD in 2004 and to import the American DVD back then would have cost a fair bit, but these days you can pick it up for around ten bucks online. The film is a mockumentary, directed by "comic book connoisseur and Star Wars legend Mark Hamill".
The story is about a bunch of executive types making a big budget superhero movie, a re-vamping of the fictional golden age superhero "Commander Courage". The film takes the form of a road trip with interview segments mixed in with 'real time footage'. A large portion of the movie was filmed at Comic-con in San Diego. Cameo guest stars include: Kevin Smith, Stan Lee, Hugh Heffner, Bruce Campbell, Billy West, and Matt Groening.
Donald Swan (Mark Hamill) is brought in as a consultant to the film production, an expert on the history of the patriotic Commander Courage character. The movie makers however have already decided to modernise the character into an ultra-violent killer, "Codename Courage". They send Don Swan on a fool's errand with his own cameraman, making a documentary about the films pre-production and Don's own research.
|Commander Courage and Liberty Ladd |
Slowly Don realises his input is not being taken seriously, and along the way he meets up with Leo Matuzik (Billy West), the only living relative of Commander courage's creator Jack Whitney. Don then accidentally sabotages the movie production process by making Leo Matuzik aware that as 'the only living relative', he is entitled to royalties from the famous comic book.
Mark Hamill's humble Donald Swan character is a guy who gets mixed up in a world he has no experience of, through no fault of his own. Although Don's idea of making a Commander Courage film with the golden age version is corny and ridiculous, you can't help but root for him to win out over the sleazy corporate executives who only care about making money.
The way the fictional superhero "Commander Courage" is weaved into the history of comic books is impressive. Through close-ups of historical comic covers and interviews with experts such as Stan Lee, anyone not already familiar with comic book history would be fooled into thinking this golden age comic book character truly existed. It's not unlike Marvel's practical joke "The Sentry", a character they invented in the year 2000, then fabricated a history that he was "a forgotten pre-Fantastic Four creation of Stan Lee".
Don Swan even carries around a reprint of a key golden age issue of Commander Courage throughout the film, further convincing you of this character's historical value, and making us feel like he were as culturally significant as Batman or Superman. In one scene Don even uses the reprint of the highly valued issue as collateral for the replica Commander Courage costume he had tailor made. It's all completely ridiculous to watch, yet you can't help but sympathise with the naive character of Don Swan.
|"A movie about comic books and they went to Don Swan for advice instead of me? I must be on the bizarro world" |
Most of you readers know Mark Hamill from his role in the The Trilogy as Luke Skywalker, and a few of you may know of his more obscure roles such as The Trickster in The Flash II: Revenge of the Trickster, the Joker in Batman Animated (the 1990s cartoon), and the Cocknocker in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
These roles (especially the Cocknocker) remind me that Mark Hamill doesn't take himself too seriously, and likes a good laugh as much as you and I. Comic Book The Movie is a clever and hilarious film, but it's also respectful of comic books and the people who create them. The film is really suited for geeks and people into comics, but I'd still encourage anyone who digs (or likes to take a dig) at the old Jedi to give it a go, "enjoy it you will."
by: Australian Ninja
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An excellent mockumentary right up there with the likes of Spinal Tap. Give it a go.