Steven is on hiatus and in the meantime he gives us a Nicolas Cage Spectacular. We start back in time with 2006’s “Ghost Rider.” You know that sounds like a movie that’s out. Oh, yeah, there’s the “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence” movie. Does either movie have a ghost of a chance to sway Jeff and Ray, or will they just through it back into the pits of hell where it came from? Lastly we take a look at the Futures Past with “Seeking Justice”, a Nicolas Cage movie already released in Europe. This, news featureing Sacha Baron Cohen, The Weinstiens, and Magneto, and even more super hero talk on this the 93rd Reel of COL Movies, “Comparative Exponential Religiosity”
- Sacha Baron Cohen banned from the Oscars?
- The Weinstiens Crawl into bed with Netflix
- X-Men First Class Sequel to serve up more Magneto
The Past: Ghost Rider
Rotten Tomatoes: 27% Rotten , 56% Audience
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bently, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliot
- Jon Voight was attached to the project at one point, but dropped out.
- Nicolas Cage had to have his Ghost Rider tattoo covered with make-up to play Johnny Blaze.
- A large group of on-lookers converged on a bridge in Melbourne to watch scenes being filmed in a nearby location. Over four days of filming at that location, the crowds grew so large they disrupted traffic, and public transport operators reported an unusual jump in passenger traffic to the area.
- Some scenes were filmed near Flinders St Station, Melbourne’s busiest railway station in. Parts of the station were closed for filming, and some train schedules were changed.
- Nicolas Cage’s hairpiece required three hours to apply every day.
- The head-on shot showing Johnny Blaze crashing his motorcycle on landing after jumping a long line of trucks is identical to the famous shot of Evel Knievel’s crash after a spectacular jump at Caesar’s Palace on December 31, 1967.
- Continuing a trend in Marvel Comics adaptations, this film features foes imported from other series. Blackheart debuted in Daredevil; Mephisto in the Silver Surfer.
- Nicolas Cage’s computer generated skull was made from a three dimensional x-ray taken of his actual skull.
- One of the bridges being used in Melbourne was months away from completion, so the studio paid to add tar, lines, and lights to the highway for filming. Afterward the work was ripped up and redone to meet Australian safety standards.
- The shotgun used in the movie is a Model 1887 Winchester lever-action shotgun.
- Nicolas Cage wrote sections of the script.
- When Johnny Blaze and Carter Slade ride together to San Venganza, one shot shows Blaze riding in the foreground with Slade just behind him, and slightly off to the side, so both can be clearly seen. This scene pays homage to “Ghost Rider”, a painting by the late David Mann, that has nothing to do with the Marvel character.
- After Blackheart absorbs the souls of the damned at San Venganza, he says, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” In the Bible, a man possessed by demons says the same thing before Jesus cures him (Mark 5:9).
- The Johnny Blaze video game in the movie is actually a game called “Crusty Demons” (2006) developed by UK games company Climax Studios. The plot is somewhat similar to the plot of Ghost Rider. A group of hard-riding extreme bikers are killed while performing an insane stunt. Satan offers to resurrect them and make them immortal if they use their motorcycle skills to do Satan’s work. Climax Studios also developed Ghost Rider.
- The Caretaker/Carter Slade Ghost Rider character is a tribute to the original Marvel Comics Ghost Rider, now called The Phantom Rider to avoid confusion. However, the character in the comics is a regular human who wears a white costume and rides a white painted horse, both covered with phosphorous for a glowing effect.
- Director Mark Steven Johnson actually put forward his own money to make an action sequence in which Ghost Rider battles a helicopter.
- When Johnny and Mack are on the tour bus and Mack is watching TV, the motorcycle rider shown is Travis Pastrana.
- Originally planned for a summer 2006 release. Director Mark Steven Johnson asked for more time to complete more action shots, including the helicopter battle scene.
- During the shoot, Nicolas Cage was the guest of Ferrari at the Australian Grand Prix race.
- Sent to theaters under the name “Costly Pact”.
- To create the Ghost Rider’s voice, sound designer Dane A. Davis recorded all of Nicolas Cage’s lines as the Ghost Rider, and then filtered them through three different kinds of animal growls (played backwards, covering three separate frequencies), then played them through a mechanical volumizer, before finally giving them a fiery crackle. Director Mark Steven Johnson compared it to “a deep, demonic, mechanical lion’s roar” and said “one thing is for sure, his voice will shake the theatre!”
- Johnny Depp was interested in playing the title role. Eric Bana was also in heavy contention for the title role.
- Barton Blaze calls Johnny “Hot Shot” in the first sequence. The French subtitle translates this nickname as “tête brûlée” – literally “Burned Head”.
- One of the few Marvel Comic-based movies that Stan Lee does not appear in. He had absolutely no involvement in the creation of the original Ghost Rider.
- Nicolas Cage is an avid fan of the Marvel comic, and lobbied furiously to play the part of Ghost Rider.
- Nicolas Cage is an avid comics fan; he took his stage surname, Cage, from character Luke Cage. His son is named “Kal-El”, Superman’s Kryptonian name. He was previously considered to play Green Gobin in Spider-Man, and Superman in Tim Burton’s aborted film project, but Ghost Rider is Cage’s first role based on a comics character.
- As the helicopters appear at Johnny Blaze’s stunt, Richard Wagner musical score “Ride of the Valkyries” can be heard playing. This is a reference to the war film Apocalypse Now, which was directed by Nicolas Cage’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola and had a scene with helicopters flying to that music.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
- At the time of filming, the world record distance for a motorcycle jump was 277.5 feet, set by Trigger Gumm in May, 2005. On Dec. 31, 2007, Robbie Madison essentially performed Johnny Blaze’s “Goalpost-to-Goalpost” motorcycle jump in Las Vegas, setting a new world record distance of 322.625 feet.
- Near the end of the film, Johnny tells Mephistopheles that he will be a “spirit of vengeance.” The plot of the movie centers around a cursed town called San Venganza, which can loosely translate as just that: “Spirit of Vengeance” (literally, Saint Vengeance).
- Too Campy?
- Modern Western
What We’ve Learned:
- The west was built on legends
- You Can’t Live in Fear
Jeff: This was a fun comic book popcorn movie. It’s also a Nicolas Cage movie so I didn’t expect much from it. I think this is a streamer . . . if it ever gets on Netflix or Amazon Unlimited. Okay to pay the $3 rental from Amazon too, but only if you’re really intending to watch it.
Ray: This movie really inspired me to want to try to light my own head on fire..especially while watching it.
The Present:Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Rotten Tomatoes: 14% Rotten; 41% Audience
Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Violante Placiado, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba
- Eva Mendes turned down the option to reprise her role.
- The Ghost Rider’s skull has been redesigned for this sequel. The new skull appears to be black and charred, indicating that the skull is actually on fire as opposed to the clean fleshless skull simply cloaked in fire in the previous film.
- Not screened in advance for critics.
- The flashing image of the “devil” is Jerry Springer.
- The Directors.. Camera Work.. Trailer.
- What the hell is with this series and picking the WORST looking bad guys EVER.
What We Learned:
- There are some demons (and movies) you just can’t escape.
- Jerry Springer is the Devil
- Wear Your Seatbelt.
- Twinkies are immune from any form of decay
Jeff: Interesting . . . Okay, more reason to just go ahead and pay to rent the first one. Something to watch instead of this. I didn’t think it was god awful, just not worth my time.
Ray: To steal one of the awful one liners from the movie….. So… That Happened. Even if you LOVED the first one..and god help you if you did.. I would say avoid avoid avoid at all costs.
The Future: Seeking Justice
Release: March 16, 2012
Director: Rodger Donaldson
Starring: Nicholas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce
After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score. Then he discovers they want a ‘favor’ from him in return.
- Formerly called “The Hungry Rabbit Jumps”
- Released last year overseas.
Jeff: Hey, it’s another “deal with the devil movie” I think we have more of a theme to this reel. However, nothing in this trailer makes me want to see it.
Ray: This is not a new story, but the trailer at least looks interesting. I’m not jumping into the theater to see it but I’d definitely rent it