Sometimes when I voting for the Friday Night Fights (I wish more people were besides the participants), I like to see what my fellow Fighters are talking about. That’s how I came upon this article at The Meerkat Entertainment Group.
RHI Entertainment has released a trailer for an upcoming miniseries based on Lee Falk’s The Phantom, the newspaper comic strip that is the source for those Moonstone books I review on certain Sunday comic reviews. It also created a theatrical movie and an incredibly awesome animated series (no, not Defenders of the Earth). One would think fans would be thrilled. One apparently hasn’t seen the trailer.
If you clicked the link instead of watching the trailer here, you’ll notice fans aren’t happy. The same goes for commentors at the YouTube page that hosts the above video. Let’s take another look at the costume courtesy Sci Fi Wire.
So what’s wrong with this picture? Let me grab one of the Moonstone comic covers.
I have nothing against updating. This, for example, was awesome!
I loved that show! Now that was taking the classic character in a new direction, but still true to the original. Granted, this story also features Kit being taken out of the legacy (perfectly explained later on) and not being sure he wanted to take up the family business, only to embrace his legacy as the Ghost Who Walks. The suit was also updated with various gadgets, including the plot device hologram that disguised his outfit in civilian form and his face from cameras as the Phantom, a special laser proof material, a kind of Spider-Man-ish cable, an non-lethal (to humans but not robots) weaponry. As for the new suit?
Here’s how Muse Entertainment describes the Phantom’s suit: “The Phantom’s body suit is woven of a high-tech, nano-matrix, dark purple fabric, which is pliable, soft and also glitters with a dark metallic sheen. The fabric is a layered micro-weave of Kevlar, Twaron and Heracron fibers, skinned with a titanium-ceramic alloy neurosymbioticmesh, resistant to heat, bladed weapons, falls, impacts and small-arms fire.
“The nano-matrix fabric actually receives and amplifies intra-muscular nerve transmissions from the person wearing the suit to affect its density and movement—similar to modern bio-electronic prosthetics. Like an insect’s exoskeleton, the mesh amplifies by a factor of 2.5 times the Phantom’s normal output.
“The Phantom’s ballistic vest and cowl helmet/mask are reinforced with contoured Chobham armor plates and wired for cellular and radio communication. The Phantom also wears black fatigues, and his purple and black boots are similar to sticky-soled rock-climbing shoes.”
I don’t have a problem with any of that. It’s the look. It’s classic. It’s like changing the Spider-Man costume to the point of unrecognizably. (Although one commenter at Bleeding Cool made the comment that it could stand to have an update, like the Ben Reilly costume. I agree.) Many have compared it to the Daredevil costume from the TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.
What’s worse is that “Kit” in this movie takes a shot at the classic costume. “I’m not wearing that.” No, you’d rather wear something out of Assassin’s Creed 3000 (not an actual video game–yet). Or a cross between Robocop and a hoodie. I realize that Hollywood loves super heroes (or rather the moolah they bring in) but hate the classic costumes. That’s why Batman gets body armor (and yet somehow worked, even if Bale’s “Batman voice” doesn’t) and Superman returned with darker colors (hardly the worst crime the movie is accused of). (Somehow, Spider-Man and Iron Man escaped with their classicness intact.) However, the costume is one of the things that makes the legacy of The Phantom as a property.
I can handle moving to the urban jungle. (Phantom 2040, remember, was an update and awesome! Interestingly, it also involved Kit having to reconnect with his family legacy.) But why are there a bunch of white guy “shadow organization” guys bringing him in? What happened to Guran and the Bandar?
At least one poster at Bleeding Cool was under the impression that the naysayers just didn’t want to see an update. Remember, Phantom 2040 was an update of the concept, and awesome. Also, Catwoman, the Halley Berry movie? It was considered a new take on a classic character as well. Not even Berry in that outfit could save that movie.