When the poster for Sex and the City 2 was released in flooded an onslaught of articles about the incredibly high use of Photoshop found on it. I couldn't have agreed more that the poster - this one most of all - was like a smorgasbord of obvious airbrushing as if the audience weren't going to notice. I'm sorry ladies, but I know nobody's leg looks like that at 45 years of age. No need to try and make me believe otherwise.
However, in the desire for fairness I thought I would take a critical eye to the newly released banner poster for Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables. Truth be told, I am looking forward to this movie like crazy! Yes, I am looking forward to The Expendables. The trailer looks like a hoot, okay! Nevertheless, not even this movie filled with masculinity oozing out of its every pore can escape the dreaded curse of Photoshop. It's like the curse of the Cat People in many ways because in some cases you do end up looking like Joclyn Wildenstein.
Let's take a look at the beast in its entirety and then a more specific man-by-man dissection.
It looks good enough. Striking black and white imagery with bold red writing and, hey look, their names match up with the faces for a change! Isn't that a novel concept to get your head around? But let's take a closer look, shall we?
For a man that, as Wikipedia tells me, used to be a professional wrestler and who turned 45 late last year (he is three months older than Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker), Steve Austin happens to have such perfectly flawless skin, doesn't he? Does he shave his eyebrows to match his scalp? I like how he's standing in a position that almost makes it look as if his neck isn't wider than his head - that's some ingenuity right there! The vague illusion of throbbing scalp veins is also a nice touch since I imagine the actual Steve Austin (this being a robotic replica, surely) probably looks like a road map comparatively.
I am going to admit that I haven't the foggiest idea who this so-called "Randy Couture" (that is so not a real name) is, so I went to trusty friend Wikipedia and discovered he is an Ultimate Fighting Champion, Greco-Roman wrestler, martial arts expert and an actor. Phew. For a moment there I thought he was someone I was supposed to know. You would think that for a rough and tumble action movie they may have kept some cuts and scratches on the actors' faces. Instead, this man looks like a corpse from House of Wax.
Ya know, all things considered, Dolph Lundgren doesn't look all too different to what he actually looks like these days. There are forehead wrinkles! So, well done to Dolph for actually improving with age and somehow avoiding the Photoshop scalpel to a large degree.
Oh, Jet Li. I forgot he existed for a while there. Last time I remember seeing anything advertised with him it was that weird Bob Hoskins movie where Li played... a dog? I like how they kept his short stature in relation to the other men and that his face actually looks like his own.
Oh Sylvester Stallone! I should've known that you wouldn't let your own face go unchanged on a poster for your own movie. Nothing about this face looks real, am I right? If that is indeed what Sly looks like in this day and age then he's had more plastic surgery than Meg Ryan in Thailand! You know what's most disconcerting of all? The sunglasses. They should've had Arnold Schwarzenegger in the reflection instead of deadness. Nevertheless, Sylvester Stallone is 63 years old and no 63-year-old should look like this.
Dear Jason Statham, I will gladly throw away all my worldly possessions and donate all of my life savings (so, about $78 dollars) to a Nigerian credit card scheme for the chance to be some sort of wild, kinky love slave to you. For real. You are beyond and even if the faux lighting on this poster makes you look like you have a head shaped like an alien from Mars Attacks, I just do.not.care. Gawd, I hope The Expendables features a fight sequence in which you are slowly, but surely, stripped of all your clothes. I know it's happened before in another movie, but who said you can't have a trademark move?
Sorry, I got a bit carried away there, didn't I? Jason Statham tends to do that to me.
Another Expendables cast-member that I don't know. Turns out Terry Crews used to be an American Football player who then went into acting with roles in high class cinema titles such as White Chicks. He is 41 years old and he actually looks his age and not like he's spent the latter part of a decade trying to stave off aging in a hyperbaric chamber.
And so we come to Mickey Rourke, the inspiration for this entire entry. I feel as if this is a momentous occasion that will instantly make its mark in the Photoshop Disaster hall of fame. What on Earth were they thinking when they did this to Mr Rourke? I don't even think that is Mickey Rourke, actually, since it looks absolutely, positively NOTHING like the actor we've come to know once again. Everything about this is fake: the hair, the hat, the eyes, the skin, the neck, the eyes and - most of all - the smile. That smile is going to haunt my nightmares.
It really is unfathomable to think the person doing this thought they had done a good job. Granted, Mickey Rourke isn't the prettiest human being on the planet these days and not even amongst the men he is surrounded by on this poster, but damn! Really? This Photoshop hack job on Rourke is worse than any mistake a plastic surgeon may have done to the real Mickey Rourke's face. It has dived so far down the rabbit hole of Photoshop excess that i almost looks like they have used the charcoal filter on a badly hand drawn image of Rourke and superimposed it into this poster.
Nothing but a disaster. And, yet, there is still more!
Fear not, because Bruce WillisBot is here to save the day! A version of Bruce Willis from a computer game has somehow made its way from its world into ours and is now replacing Willis, who is clearly lazy and a bit bored with it all, in acting gigs. He will sprout dialogue like "The mission is accepted. Do I go left or right? COMPUTE ERROR 302232423907XX" and when he can half-walk into walls before getting stuck and dissolving into a puddle of pixels.
Naturally, this poster won't get anywhere near the amount of vitriol thrown at it as Sex and the City, but I've gotten used to that. However, I think it's fair to say that this is a debacle of airbrushing overload. Now, just bring on the movie!