Monday, June 18, 2012

Brigitte Nielson A Review

It’s been a while since I’ve been on the blog, but with all the recent love felt by all with the many Marvel movies that have been coming out over the years, I felt the urge to comment on one that never got off the ground. Sure we all know about the wonder that is The Avengers and its awesomeness even though I had more fun watching the other Whedon hit A Cabin in the Woods.

I could go on and on about Marvel’s horrible taste is choosing their women characters much like a man who chooses only to date hookers. At least Marvel girls are clean, so clean that they are boring. Marvel is really good at that. DC on the other hand is excellent at picking great characters from their roster of heroines and then putting them in vehicles that would be more suitable for a Comedy Central Roast instread of the big screen. 

This would be a perfect spot to comment on the title of this blog. So, what exactly connects Brigitte Neilsen and The Avengers besides her attempts to avenge the death of her career? It's kind of like the twist in a suspenseful horror movie when we realize that she was the one who killed it in the end. Well, most might not know this, or care, but our Danish amazon was once set to play Marvel’s own jade giantess She-Hulk.

The "soon to be" that "never was".

I can remember lusting over the words when I first read about them on Wikipedia a few years ago. I will be honest, I hunger for movies about kick-ass women the way Japanese business men lust over sulfur smelling panties. Aside from that distasteful remark, I have to say that I have always admired many of the female comic book superheroes that have been published over the years. Alas, there seems to be this clause in each of their contracts that states they have to be in a movie spin off that is going to be canceled before it starts filming. Worse yet, the subclause states that their movie has to bring in as little money as possible.  

The major movie studios usually put out two films every twenty years that chronicle a comic book heroine’s journey that could be more adequate as campy stand up comedy. They don’t get the respect they deserve, which is shocking, because the publishing side of the industry seems to find able minds to give these ladies cool storylines.  Being born in the 80’s, I missed the first round, but they always follow the same formula.

They are always from the two major comic book publishers DC and Marvel; they usually are about female counterpart of their male counterpart. Said male counter part's franchise has to be doing bad or producers have exhausted their story and descide to use the female counter part because it is an option in the contract. Clever studio executives have found an new way around this with the advent of the re-make trend that has consumed Hollywood. They should just call themselves Stupidwood from now.

The first go around was with Helen Slater, born on the same day as myself, in Supergirl. I don’t get it, they had all the makings of something cool and new. They had a new starlet who was hot and fit the mold of the character. They had a great supporting cast of well known actors, I mean highly regarded actors like Faye Dunaway, Peter O’Toole, Brenda Veccaro, and Mia Farrow and they still put out a dud that was really about a prolonged cat fight between the bitter aging woman and her naïve counterpart. I mean the Omega Hedron was needed to save Supergirl’s home colony- the one she could mysteriously fly back to even though she wasn’t in our solar system anymore. The witch Selena wanted to use it for “nothing less that world domination,” which sets up a pretty interesting plot that gets lost in them fighting over what misogynists think all women fight over…men.

Brigitte as Red Sonja
Enter Marvel's follow up to that formula with Red Sonja, which takes us back to our girl Brigitte. Although lacking a decent back-up cast Arnold Swart (however you spell his name) included, most of them were already recognized from the Conan movies, which were a hit before Red Sonja came out. We are still set with a story line about how Sonja should trust men more and be more willing to let them bone her between forest duels or to use the Hyborian highway.  

My interest in these movies started at a young age when my parents wouldn’t let me watch either of them. Why? Well because my parents had this strict thing against anything that could be portrayed as paganism. Both Supergirl and Red Sonja were magic heavy with either evil witches or magic talismans. The lesbian overtones in Red Sonja didn’t help the cause much either. This created a massive desire to see the forbidden. I can still remember when Supergirl would come on television, I could watch everything up until the big demon gets summoned and then the t.v. had to shut off. WTF! That’s like watching the last line up at the end of a tied game only to have to switch over to the Home Shopping Network. Perhaps my parents were just trying to spare me the visuals of bad filmaking. I do own both of them on DVD now, and I have no regrets.

I do regret that She-Hulk never made it to the big or small screen. Now before people think me a fool, I will be honest when I say that they probably wouldn't have done it any better with her than the other films, but I like the idea of it. It lead me to scoure the internet trying to find anything that would tell me more about why, how, when, and where this was to be. By the time the second round came with Catwoman (a.k.a. Showgirls 2) and Electra (a.k.a. a green lit movie adapted from a phone book) I knew the formula pretty well. I came to expect super hero movies with female leads to be bad. I didn’t have much hope for a live action She-Hulk movie, but I would have watched it and owned it just the same hoping that my measly money would somehow crack the box office into giving it a shot at a franchise with a better sequel or spin-off series.

So far as Brigitte goes, I actually think She- Hulk would have been the perfect role for her. Even with as bad as Red Sonja was, I still can’t help but feel that she was carving out a niche for herself as this cool female action star that wasn’t hideous. That ugly red mullet aside, I feel like the ending kissing scene of Red Sonja was the closet we’ll come to seeing Governor Arnold do a gay movie.  

The She-Hulk photo stills are like watching the Nothing come. All that remains of this once rich idea is a few publicity shots that showcased her in the form of one of Marvels infinitely more interesting and readable characters. From the looks of the pictures, they didn’t seem like they would really be able to do a Lou Ferrigno thing, but it makes my imagination stir. I kept thinking this could have been the equivalent of what Lynda Carter was in the Wonder Woman series of the 70’s. It should be noted that it was the only time one of these major studios got their property right. I love you Lynda.

Brigitte looking cool as She-Hulk

I jump started my research when I heard that they would be making a remake of Red Sonja, which catapulted me into happiness when I found that Rose McGowan would be the lead. It was another great casting choice, especially with those AWESOME movie posters that seemed to go the way of the She-Hulk movie, which never materialized past the “tease” part. There seems to be a compensation period because Rose got a part in Conan. I was looking forward to finding the Holy Grail bundle pack of the old Red Sonja and Rose’s Red Sonja in the $5.99 bin in Wal-Marts all over the country. Brigitte got compensation in the form of being able to bed most of Hollywood’s leading men – Flavor Flav excluded- and making an appearance in Beverly Hills Cop 2. I still can’t seem to shake the appeal of this fine B-movie actress. I know so when she appears in sequels to things that should never have gotten sequels a’ la Sorceress and Chained Heat. Still I feel that Brigitte was compensated with the movie Galaxis in 1995. There she goes from sword and sorcery to outter space where she must retrieve a sacred crystal. It’s fun to watch her wave her manly lips while bitch slapping horrible CGI androids that look like cardboard cut outs. She brings out the big guns here. Her having some pistol whipping action in Beverly Hills Cops 2 is an honorable mention, but putting all the stupid relationship drama aside, two forgettable albums, failed marriages, and incredibly stupid stints on reality television, I have to say that Brigitte Neilson gave us three very cool things that were very much up her ally.

I weep that this was never made.

1.) The dream of her as She-Hulk and the reality of knowing that the producers didn’t get the chance to fuck the character up along with the idiots who were the studio heads.

2.) Red Sonja        

3.) Galaxis – her compensation for not getting to be She-Hulk in my opinion.

She-Hulk does deserve the same treatment as her more famous cousin as I can’t think of a solo title for a female character that has survived the test of time in Marvel the way she has. She was an Avenger too and much cooler one than Black Widow. She was a member of the Fantastic Four before Jessica Alba was horribly miss-cast. Sure there are many cool women in the Marvel line up, but most are affiliated with a team book, and the ones that did have solo books usually didn’t last as long as She-Hulk in history and appeal. I’m sure there was a tie breaker somewhere between the 1980s when John Bryne breathed such a cool life back into her with his run, which is all the more reason she should be exalted on film. She earned it in comics. 

Until then, we can play six degrees of She-Hulk until there is a descent script. Here’s what I have so far.

She-Hulk is created by Stan Lee because he is afraid that a competitor would make a female counter part to the successful Hulk television show.

She-Hulk is owned by Marvel Comics who also owned Red Sonja at the time. Brigitte Nielsen’s first movie was Red Sonja.

The producers of the She-Hulk movie were impressed with her stint as Red Sonja so they offered her the role and got the pictures taken so the legend goes. This would now allow the competitor show that Stan Lee was afraid of being created to now be a Marvel property.

Joss Whedon was slated to write and direct the live action Wonder Woman movie, but backed out over fights with studio executives and when he couldn’t find a suitable story (a surprise to me since he made Black Widow interesting). How does this relate to She-Hulk? The scriptwriter of that live action movie also had trouble coming up with a story as well, which led the movie to be shelved just like the Wonder Woman movie. She-Hulk is often compared as Marvel’s Wonder Women and Joss Whedon went on to direct The Avengers, a team that She-Hulk was a part of.

So now we have Brigitte Nielsen who was to play She-Hulk, but didn’t, and then went through a tumultuous Hollywood career where she landed on The Surreal Life with the famous female wrestler Chyna who has just recently subjugated herself to the meat grinder known as Vivid Video where she has appeared in The Avenger’s XXX a porn parody where she plays She-Hulk, not to be outdone by She-Hulk XXX a porn parody, which will be a solo movie featuring Chyna as She-Hulk getting some prison justice by who knows how many of the Avengers. This is set to be released in the winter of 2012.

Chyna as She-Hulk.

Once again we see female superhero movies being made by idiots, but hey, I expect it by now. I’ll probably add She-Hulk XXX to the same shelf that holds Supergirl, Red Sonja, Catwoman, Electra, Barb Wire, Cutey Honey Live Action, Sucker Punch, Silver Hawk, and Barbarella.

Until then, I wonder if Brigitte even remembers taking those pictures or even being up for the role. I wonder if she randomly searches the internet and finds her pal Chyna in the green body paint and has flashbacks to the late 80s when the role was once hers. I tried getting a copy of Brigitte’s memoir to see if there would even be a paragraph, a sentence, a mention of what happened with her and this role, but I’m not holding out. Turns out her book You Only Live One Life, hasn’t lived to see a second printing. No Barnes and Nobels in New York City has it, and I couldn’t even find it at the library, which hasn’t changed since the time Brigitte was offered the role in the late 80s. So I find myself imagining like I usually have to do. I think I can almost see the trailer for it. I have been able to conjure false memories of being a child watching the television, shouting at my brother to change the channel back to the show with the big green lady, the one where my father yells at me for watching her in skimpy clothing, where she shows a little too much green, and how I should like Superman more than a female crime fighter. I would wait until I was at comic- com fifteen years later where I would find a vendor who had a bootleg copy burned onto a DVD with an amateur made cover, because the real thing would have gone out of print a long time ago. I would buy and cherish it as a piece of treasure that would sit next to Red Sonja in my imaginary Brigitte Neilson Collection box set that I made out of loose cardboard, staples, and a felt tip marker. I would sit back and think the world was a better place with my more complete collection. I would tell myself, “Now all you need is Galaxis and Chained Heat 2” and you can have a Brigitte Neilson movie night marathon.        

Chyna as She-Hulk clothed thankfully

To the three people that care, I want to offer an update. Evidentially Nicholas Cage has been lobbying for Eva Menendez to play She-Hulk. There is some Hollywood rumor that Megan Fox was slated to play She-Hulk, but they said the same thing about Wonder Woman, Red Sonja, Witchblade, and now Fathom. It’s only because she has the body and face of every women in comics especially Michael Turner’s women. Still, having Nicholas Cage fight for a She-Hulk movie in the future looks about as bright as having Obama or Romney in the presidency.

Oh Gawd, here’s hoping for better days…

Brigitte as She-Hulk one last time. Thanks for trying Brigitte!

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