Whoop History: Nicolas Cage and Ghost Rider

by Irma Arkus

Recent years have not been too kind to Nicolas Cage. Of all cringe inducing experiences, the least forgivable one would be none other than Ghost Rider.

Ironically, Cage is an honest fan of the world of comics, and was heavily fighting for years to be cast in it. I remember years ago, when HiSciFi was in its infancy, Andrew snorted next to me as rumours of Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, and (wait for it!) Superman started to trickle.

Our responses to Cage as Superman were cruel and childish, and perhaps appropriate at the time, as aging Cage had a growing pot belly, Botox was still not wiping the brows off market, and the top of his head was still “unrestored.” Andrew had a tough time imagining a Super-Hick substitute for a tightly wound Christopher Reeves wrapped in lycra.

A live-action Ghost Rider film was unimaginably complicated to make a few years ago. The closest thing to it was a rendition of Spawn, which, even though made for an entertaining introduction of CG on film, still did not provide for the kind of film quality that would leave us breathless. But things changed quickly, and the concept grew.

The first renderings of Ghost Rider were swiftly turned away as computer animation technology kept on improving, and speedily. Once the aesthetics of depicting a dude with a flaming skull on a motorcycle got one step closer to reality, the work began.

Of course, by the time 2007 came about, and Cage’s face was literally run through photoshop grind, the idea and the look still seemed dated, the storyline fell short, and all together as viewers, we all felt cheated.

Ghost Rider was truly an abominable cinematic experience. Cage’s altered face resembled a playdough pancake with too much addition of Hair-For-Men, and excessive Botox, and not just the regular Nicole Kidman brand, but CG Botox too.

The storyline was equally bad, as incoherent romance between Ghost Rider and his long lost girlfriend, played by delicious Eva Mendes, only served as a reminder that Hollywood sucks and that these actors are making too much dough to play pretend.

I cried a little when watching Ghost Rider. I cried myself asleep, during the middle of the film. The girl sitting next to me sat in awe, mouth half-open drifting with popcorn, only to turn around and say “this is a real trailer trash gem here! My folks at St. John are gonna love this stuff.” Then I cried some more.

Since then, Cage has made some really bad acting choices. His recent work has been predicated on earnings rather than quality. What started with Ghost Rider, quickly degenerated into a string of heart-breakers: Next, National Treasure, National Treasure II: Book of Secrets, Bangkok Dangerous, and now Knowing.

Even though “Knowing” is directed by Alex Proyas, who is responsible for directing some great and imaginative productions, including “Dark City,” “The Crow,” and the less likeable “I, Robot,” I still hesitate. Why? Because for one, it stars Nicolas Cage.

You need more? Knowing also has a really bad poster. And a really cheesy trailer.

Who knows, maybe the story of Nicolas Cage as Ted Myles, a teacher who turns into a defender of Rose Byrne, as he deciphers a detailed doomsday prophecy is great. I can’t really vouch for its quality until I finally watch it.

But in my defense, I would also like to present you with following fact: there is a plan to make “Ghost Rider 2.” Nuff said.