June 23, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Elemental” and “The Flash”

Mike Schulz talks with Dave Levora and Darren Pitra about how, despite the warning signs, he didn’t hate Elemental, the latest Disney/Pixar animated joint. Given the film concerns anthropomorphic elements — earth, air, fire, and water — he was a bit flummoxed that earth and air didn’t figure hardly at all in the finished work. Apparently, the thematic thrust is whether fire and water can get along with each other without, you know, canceling one another out. Aside from the lack of songs from Earth, Wind, and Fire in the soundtrack, the absence of the other elements was just a missed opportunity. Oh, well — there’s always the sequel. Assuming there is one: To date, Elemental has earned $55.8 million on a $200 million budget. Presumably, more folks will go see it and justify its existence. However, as one of the Deez points out, what point does anyone have to see a Pixar movie at the box office when it will stream to Disney+ within a month or so? About The Flash, Schulz knew that, twenty minutes into the movie, he would be twenty minutes older — oh, and that he hated The Flash. The FX, for one, is just terrible. Schulz figures the problem with such films of late stems from the over-reliance on pixilated art in CGI, in the studios’ mad rush to meet unrealistic release dates, and the relative absence of actual artists lending a unique perspective to the proceedings: Just not enough hours in the day for the flesh-and-blood talent. Everyone agrees that, given another year, the creative team might have gotten The Flash right. As it stands, it looks like the rough draft of a better film. There’s also the fact that we’ve learned a lot about Ezra Miller in the past year — more than any one human can possibly stomach — and they (Miller) are in nearly every shot of the film. Among its demerits, The Flash provides audiences a prime opportunity to not see Ezra Miller by not seeing the film. Schulz thought it a kick to see Michael Keaton back as Batman, but director Andy Muschietti doesn’t do much with him. “The reason this movie doesn’t do something really interesting,” says Schulz, “[and] I don’t think it meant to do — it underlines the inherent meaninglessness of the multiverse stories. Because once anything can happen, nothing means anything.” Attempts at building suspense go by the wayside, moreover. So the fact that, on a budget of approx $200-220 million, The Flash returned $141 million, doesn’t come as much of a shock as one might have expected. Aside from reaffirming Schulz’s love of The Blackening, he and the Deez talk about previews for the Jennifer Lawrence rites-of-initiation sex comedy No Hard Feelings — reasons for excitement being we may be seeing the return of R-rated comedies as well as, well, J-Law — and Wes Anderson’s universally-acclaimed, star-studded, metatextual, retro-futuristic Asteroid City. What sounded like a movie lumbered by too much conceptual conceit has been received by critics as confirmation of the rejuventation of Anderson’s creative mojo, which, if we’re being honest, began quite a while ago, with 2014’s Grand Budapest Hotel. Will audiences agree? Will multiple Academy Award nominations all the reward Asteroid City has going for it? Will it return on its $25 million budget and then some? The fact that there’s still filmmakers who can deliver a $25 million anything should be cause for celebration in itself — but we will know the full scope of its success in the coming weeks.

“Elemental” and “The Flash”