Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Shin Godzilla!

Sat ,12/08/2017

So, in response to the big success of Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla film (discussed earlier here) – the original Godzilla film company – Toho – decided to do yet another Gz film of their own. The result: Shin Godzilla, which just came out on DVD and Blu-Ray this month.

Funimation, god love ’em, actually did a limited release of this movie in theaters last year(?) – and I went, but like an old loser, fell asleep midway through the movie so missed most of it – doh! So I’ve been waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can actually watch the whole thing through.

My take: mixed feelings. So on the one hand, the special effects are definitely in the top tier of any of the Toho Godzilla films – especially when the earlier mutant version of Gz is waddling through down (there is no other way to describe it) and crushing boats, rivers, trains and buildings – very, very realistic looking, even if Gz doesn’t look very dangerous at that point – yet.

But then on his second run of destruction through town, the battle is a bit too drawn out (timewise) even if a bit too abbreviated (battle-wise). You see, the filmmakers are obviously putting in a lot of human commentary on Japan’s current political situation – the first half hour of the movie if not a bit more is spent spoofing meeting, after meeting, after meeting, at the govt level and how they are ‘paralyzed by process’, even when faced with a giant mutant nuclear-fired monster is about to stomp their country into oblivion.

While this setup is funny at parts, it drags on a bit too much – bring on the monster!

My other minor/major gripes are two – Godzilla himself looks like he’s wearing a weird chest-jutting haltertop underneath his skin when he finally assumes the role he was born to do – his upper body is just weird looking. His skin looks much closer to General Tsao’s Chicken than the usual scaly, rubbery mutant we know and love, and most egregious – his roar is severely muted, if you hear it at all.

This last was largely my big gripe for the Gareth Edwards film, likely because he probably couldn’t license the sound, but Toho OWNS that roar – hel-lo?

Also, as you see in many Gz movies, they play up the ‘sympathy’ angle more than a bit – especially when the military is (literally) dropping buildings on him left and right. In the older movies when this happens, he really gets pissed off – and to some degree that happens here, but we never really see the big ‘rage moment’ that happens at least once or twice in the older movies. Disappointing – I wanted to see more destruction!

The actors are good otherwise, although the ‘americans’ mostly appear off camera with pretty stilted dialogue. And the notion of a Japanese-American woman becoming President by her 40th bday is fine by me, bring it!

So I think in the end the movie is definitely worth watching but a bit too long and not enough Godzilla. I think on balance still my fave movie is Godzilla 2000 – easily the scariest looking Gz in any of the movies, definitely among the most badass, especially at the end.

Other voices:
Rotten Tomatoes
Metacritic

candybowl

weird….

Fri ,21/07/2017

SPOILER – watch the trailer first

This is an interesting concept for a C&H movie, that will of course never get made (at least while Bill Watterson is still alive, anyway) – except – that I believe it leaves behind a key essential point (if not THE essential point) of C&H – tragic comedy.

Throughout the comic, we are always confronted by Calvin’s underlying struggle to fit in, while his personality, likes and dislikes and the fact that he’s six, serve to nearly always defeat him to varying degrees. Yes, for the most part his parents never step in, and Suzie tries early on, but figures him out pretty quick and then just tolerates him after that.

So Hobbes is all that’s left – and while he proves a true friend time and time again no matter what Calvin does – and he’s not always an unforgiving one – he’s in the end a figment of Calvin’s imagination – or possibly a projection of what Calvin knows he could be – but doesn’t really want to.

Just turning it into a psycho-pseudo horror story (scary or not) misses the comedy (which brings back the reader, strip after strip, despite the comedy usually being at Calvin’s expense) and only tells one part of Calvin’s complexity. Having read several Bill Watterson interviews, one thing he says several times is that he expected Calvin might have a tough adulthood, when his preferred lifestyle was going to evaporate right before his eyes and likely make him pretty sad. Maybe so – but even if Calvin got past that, I don’t think his imagination would consume him in the end – I think he might just lose it – which could be even worse, really….. 🙁

candybowl

farewell, Commander Koenig…

Mon ,17/07/2017

Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau dies at 89

We too, argued constantly as kids whether Space:1999 was better than Star Trek too – and never came to a consistent conclusion. RIP.

Space 1999 @ IMDB

episodes on YT

hard to believe we were watching that in 1975(!)

candybowl

Wonder Woman.

Sat ,17/06/2017

Saw the new Wonder Woman movie today with kerewin. Definitely one of the better superhero movies out there, albeit the first DC-related one i’ve seen (haven’t seen the Superman reboot, and Superman vs. Batman looked very, very dumb). Hoping to see some of The Flash tv show at some point and the Justice League trailer we saw today looks good – but I digress.

So compared to the 70s tv series with Lynda Carter, naturally this is higher budget and far better special effects. But despite her origin on an island full of kick-ass women in semi-revealing outfits (worn while full-on fighting on foot, horseback and flying through the air at intervals), this movie avoids the usual ‘movie hot woman’ factor in most cases and simply tries to tell a compelling story instead.

The island part could have been a bit shorter, and as per usual, the Germans are the always-convenient bad guys, even though these are WWI Germans, not Nazis. But Diana keeps on kicking ass throughout the movie, both in attitude and action, which just builds until the end (definitely a good thing).

*****SPOILERS******
Now for the other minor complaints – If Diana is a god, why do they need other superheroes at all (given that the story is told in flashback format when it begins with her getting a package from Bruce Wayne while working at the Louvre in Paris)? Much like Thor in the Avengers/Marvel movies – again, if gods are on Earth, why bother with the rest of even mutants or superheroes, period?

I liked the turnaround with ‘Lupin’ (David Thewlis) playing Ares, the god of war, though, and didn’t see it coming, so that was cool.

While we missed any cameos from Lynda Carter (apparently scheduling problems prevented it) it was very cool to see Lucy Davis, whom we knew was familiar but didn’t recognize until we looked her up afterward.

And Chris Pine plays it pretty straight as Steve Trevor, which was a relief – while it’s likely given the time period of the movie being in around 1917 that he’d be definitely trying to keep Diana in check at all times, he doesn’t try to do it in a bad way unlike other male characters might have and he does fairly quickly realize his limitations in comparison with her – he’s not deluded.

All in all, an entertaining movie – I wonder if Gina Carano will show up as a Diana nemesis in a future one?

Other Reviews:
Rotten Tomatoes
The Guardian
IGN

candybowl

The Legend of Korra.

Sat ,21/01/2017

Finished this animated series a few nights ago. I have to say, this was overall a very good series. There were a few minor flaws, but for the most part it was very good on character development, creating real conflicts in and around the variety of personalities they present, and not being above injecting humor throughout, but not in a completely ‘kids’ way (Superfriends, i’m talking to YOU).

To me, there are essentially 3 kinds of animated shows.

1) Those that are pure, straight kids entertainment – i would throw in nearly all early cartoons in this realm (Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, most of Flintstones, most of Hanna-Barbera’s other output, most of Bugs Bunny and his era, and of course Speed Racer), most the 70s Saturday am stuff I grew up on, SpongeBob, etc.;

2) Animation that masks itself as kids stuff but tries to also play to adults either directly or indirectly, sometimes even as a smirky way to increase viewership – I’d put nearly all Pixar’s output in this realm, even though a few of their movies of late have really lowered the bar (anything with *cars* in them comes to mind); a lot of modern anime is also here; and more ‘serious’ stuff like Samurai Jack, TRON:Uprising, etc.

3) Animation that obviously intends to be for adults directly – either because of certain subject matter (we really, really don’t have to go there, but sadly it exists) or because the show in the end is actually the same as a live-action show would be, but for whatever reason (set in the future, deals with fantasy, horror, unrealistic or science-fiction type stories and/or technology – even production cost) is an animated show.

I’m not going to count animation that is essentially glorified commercials for toys (TMNT, much of Transformers, and the list goes on) – not.

The Legend of Korra is squarely set in (2). While it’s effectively a sequel series to Avatar:The Last Airbender, it goes in its own way to try to entertain and teach at the same time – but despite the fact that there may be slightly *too* many crises throughout the four Books of the series, it never talks down to its audience, and I was pleasantly surprised time and again with the way it handled the characters and dialogue. And unlike many recent comic book movies or similar multiyear series – it really doesn’t have glaring plot holes that take the viewer out of the story due to simple logic failure. It’s definitely a long series (52 episodes) but in the end, it’s definitely worth it. I only wish other equally good or better series (TRON:Uprising and Sym-Bionic Titan) had received an equal level of network support and promotion (both only had one season). And the far quirkier earlier Invader Zim – same deal.

but watch it – you won’t be disappointed.

candybowl

Ha!

Thu ,22/12/2016

candybowl

Sleeping Giants – Book Review

Sun ,27/11/2016

Just finished reading this book – Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. This is a sci-fi story told in an somewhat unusual way, via ‘interviews’ – most often with an unnamed lead interviewer we never meet. I won’t spoil the main storyline (plenty of other places online can do that for you) but to say the following:

– The main story ‘device’ of the interviews works very well, IMHO. It makes you think harder about the motivations behind and the mentality of the main characters, especially as the ‘unnamed interviewer’ most often heard from is usually not sympathetic.

– I like the focus being first and foremost on the characters and not the main overarching plotline. While that may get further development in a future book (looks like a sequel is coming out possibly next spring?) and it will be interesting if the ‘interview device’ is maintained there too – this book ticks right along and definitely holds your attention all the way through, with at least two major plot twists I never saw coming.

– Finally – while there may be some story elements here that are inspired by past classic sci-fi (or even anime/kaiju), I still think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this is a great read – DEFINITELY recommended!

candybowl

Other perspectives (and spoilers – you are warned!)
NPR – The Sleeping Giant
Goodreads.com – The Sleeping Giant

Get yours yet?

Tue ,22/11/2016

Got mine yesterday – woo hoo!

The Art of Atari

Inside The Art of Atari (pre-release book review)

candybowl

But will The Diva return? :)

Thu ,10/11/2016

The first trailer for Luc Besson’s Valerian promises a dazzling space opera romp

candybowl

Le Mans 2030..!?

Sat ,29/10/2016

Truly amazing stuff….

Le Mans 2030: Car designers with eye on future tackle Michelin Challenge Design

2017: Showcase of Selected Entrants

I think the ‘Bentley 9’ was my fave:

candybowl