It's a bird! It's a plane! It's -- aw, who gives a crap!

on July 02, 2008 by Steve Simels
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specials DVD box.jpg

Okay, I admit it -- I'm a sucker. I just read our review of Will Smith's new would-be comic book epic/parody Hancock and yes, come Friday, just like everybody else I'll probably head over to my local Hell Octaplex to watch him bang into things.

That said, I think I may have pretty much finally reached the limit of my tolerance for superhero movies (seriously -- were you thrilled or alarmed by the news that Marvel, flush with the success of this summer's Iron Man, was developing a film based on their C-list character Ant Man?). Come to think of it, after the almost totally laugh free satire of the recent Superhero Movie I may have pretty much had it with superhero movie send-ups as well. With the exception of the overlooked 2000 genre spoof The Specials, of course.

As a very perceptive critic put it at the time:

The titular Specials are "the sixth- or seventh-best superhero team" around, with self-esteem issues to match (their group headquarters, for example, is a modest suburban frame house in Silverlake, rather than a high-tech super-secret underground lair, and they can't always pay their electric bills)...Screenwriter James Gunn has a wonderful ear for the conventions of comic books and superhero flicks, as well as real-life family dynamics; his script is not only consistently droll but also oddly believable. First-time director Craig Mazin doesn't bother with a lot in the way of special effects, although when they do pop up they're effective, and you won't get all the jokes unless you're a genuine fan of the genres being parodied. Still, it's hard not to love a film in which a costumed character is embarrassed by her bird powers, powers that include — you guessed it: the ability to lay an egg.

Like I said, a very perceptive critic. I wonder who wrote that review?

Oh wait, it was me. But I digress.

Anyway, as you may have gathered, The Specials is essentially X-Men meets Spinal Tap, and despite -- or perhaps because -- of an ultra-low budget, it's pretty much a hoot throughout. Here's a particularly funny scene, with group leader The Strobe (Thomas Hayden Church ) getting very little respect from his peers (Church, of course, went on to be a villain in the painfully bloated Spiderman 3, which has significantly fewer giggles). The Strobe's wife, BTW, is played by the splendidly goyische-monikered Paget Brewster, lately of TV's Criminal Minds.

If that tickles you as much as it does me, you can order the DVD here. In the meantime, my Friday is pretty much booked up with Will Smith, so pray for me.

Tags: Hancock, Superhero Movie, The Specials, X-Men, Spinal Tap, Spiderman 3
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