Archive for the ‘anthropomorphic’ category

“Godzilla vs. Kong” Satisfies…

August 31, 2021

I have at long last been able to see the much-touted Godzilla vs. Kong movie, crown jewel in the MonsterVerse series. While the film is overly-long and leaves many unanswered questions, it’s still a good guilty pleasure for Kaiju fans.

Now it takes over forty minutes for our combatants to finally meet in a neon-lit Hong Kong, which thoughtfully has Titan Shelters (so labeled) present for the safety of its human inhabitants. The dang Titans run amok every so often, and wouldn’t it be great if Titans were the only problem faced by humanity? They would constitute an external, readily-identifiable enemy.

Now Kong in the movie receives much of the initial film time, even taking a waterfall shower to the strains of a 50’s doo-wop hit. He’s being kept in a containment environment, but knows that it’s fake. When Godzilla begins attacking shipping and otherwise behaving badly, Kong is transported via air and sea to protect the mainland, and then it’s match on. Kong and Godzilla have an ancient rivalry and generally bad blood towards one another, you see. Kong is also recruited to fight for humanity by being shown “Hollow Earth,” a vast environment within the Earth where he’s led to believe he may find others like himself. The notion of Hollow Earth should really delight and get fringe conspiracy and pseudo-science adherents buzzing.

So Kong and Godzilla fight in Hong Kong, and I won’t detail that outcome so as not to spoil the spectacle for those who have yet to see the film. I will say that Mechagodzilla enters into it prominently, however, and that he’s become sentient, gone rogue, and is infused with the mojo of King Ghidora through one of his three decapitated heads, and despises Godzilla for having killed him in a previous film. Understandably, this could ruin your entire day. It all gets rather complicated, but suffice it to say that Mechagodzilla here is an impressive creation, his red eyes glowing like a gigantic Terminator endoskeleton. When Godzilla and Mechagodzilla go at one another head to head, it’s like seeing a Jedi vs. Sith light saber battle on a epic scale, so pull up a chair for this one…

So by all means, indulge yourself in Godzilla vs. Kong, which at times is oddly satisfying and a great guy film! No one else needs to know that you saw it. Perhaps in a future film, the absence of the other Titans from this one will be explained. I could do with a good Mothra epic, after all. Until then, satisfy yourself with Mechagodzilla… 🦊

Brando’s “Dr. Moreau” 25th Year Anniversary…

August 21, 2021

Everyone should read the 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells at least once. As a furry, I’ve read it several times, and catch the film versions whenever they’re on. Burt Lancaster played the doctor in a more traditional 1977 version, whereas Marlon Brando really took the role off the rails in a 1996 version that is generally regarded to be the worst film that he ever made.

Brando‘s Dr. Moreau is by almost anyone’s definition bizarre. Playing the part in white Kabuki-style makeup and other outrageous garb, Brando’s characterization is really far out there, and hard to relate to. What makes the film memorable, however, is the cast of animal hybrids that were created in one of the last special effects extravaganzas using makeup rather than computer generated special effects. You can even catch Ron Perlman in the film playing the Sayer of the Law, a goatish-hybrid.

Now Ron Perlman is no stranger to having played furry and other offbeat characters, having appeared as Hellboy and even Vincent in the series Beauty and the Beast. Perlman wanted the experience of having appeared in a project with the legendary Marlon Brando, although this film hardly qualifies as Brando’s best work. Perlman would describe the movie as being an incredible mess…

Now Dr. Moreau was a mad scientist type who endeavored to create human-animal hybrids via vivisection. When his gruesome and painful experiments were publicly exposed, Moreau fled to his island to continue work perfecting his Beast Folk. It continues to be a classic work of science fiction to this day while reflecting the ethical, philosophical, and scientific concerns of the time of its creation. So consider visiting The Island of Doctor Moreau in literature and film, with the 1996 Brando version celebrating its 25th anniversary…and if you see Fox-Bear Woman, a female hybrid of a fox and a bear, tell her I’ve got her back… Are We Not Men?!

“Lamb;” Bizarre but Awesome?

August 4, 2021

Mary had a little lamb, goes the familiar nursery rhyme…and so, apparently, did a childless couple depicted in the upcoming movie Lamb, set in rugged rural Iceland. Now the couple (Maria and Ingvar) did not produce the hybrid themselves, but rather received it as the product of a kind of supernatural visitation to their sheep shed during lambing season. They regard the hybrid as a gift, and raise it as their own rather defensively, the human-ovine child bringing the couple happiness and filling in the gap in their lives. The lamb-child is raised in a crib and fed from a bottle, becoming a bipedal furry humanoid of sorts.- – Kinda the ultimate blended family, right?

Called the strangest movie of the year,” Lamb crosses a number of borders and genres as good films so often do, and viewers are left confused thinking about whether they’ve seen a folkloric horror flick or some kind of absurdist comedy. Perhaps a bit of both in what’s been described as a “visual poem.” The lamb-child herself is the product of puppetry, performance acting, and CGI blended seamlessly.

This isn’t Sheepsquatch, but we of the furry fandom are quite familiar and comfortable with the notion of animal-human hybrids; I’m on board with this! We all know people who think that their kid is a little lamb whereas they’re really a little devil, right? Reviewers of the film are not overly talkative about the details of it out of fear that doing so might spoil the cinematic experience for viewers. Produced by the A24 studio that has done such films as The Lighthouse, Hereditary, and The Witch, the film may become a cult classic. Lamb brings forth the elemental beauty of the Icelandic landscape, and touches upon the deep, often unfathomable relationship between animals and humans…and that’s not a baaad thing! Watch for Lamb premiering in the U.S. October 8th… 🐑

The Guilty Pleasures of “Puppet Master…”

July 21, 2021

Horror as a genre is not for everyone, and even those of us who enjoy it have our favorite sub-domains. One of my favorite niche franchises is that of Puppet Master, now having produced over a dozen films since the first one issued in 1989.

Now calling these inspired creations “puppets” is technically incorrect as they are actually marionettes, although of the autonomous Pinocchio type that function without strings, or even direct human guidance. Crafted by old world-type puppet master Andre Toulon, these puppets are infused with the souls of people who died fighting the Nazis, and have an axe to grind against them and other rotten individuals. Toulon had picked up the trick of animating the figures with transmigrated souls through Egyptian magic, and as we know the ancients were quite concerned with resurrecting things. A glowing green brew with which he infuses his creations keeps them perking. Each of the anthropomorphic Puppets has a distinct appearance, personality and skill set.

Consider Blade here. Skull-like but not quite a skull, he’s inhabited by the soul of a German scientist and doctor who wanted to work with Toulon, but was shot by the Nazis. Now he operates with a hook as one hand, and a blade for the other, and is arguably the leader of the Puppets. He has kind of a Goth appearance.

Then we have Six-Shooter, undeniably well-armed with three sets of them each brandishing a pistol. Cast in the mold of a dastardly western outlaw, he can use his arms to climb walls, like Dr. Octopus of Spiderman infamy, and has a memorable hee-hee-hee laugh. Other Puppets include Jester, Torch, Pinhead, Tunneler, and Leech Woman (don’t ask). These are just a few of the regulars, who at times serve for either good or evil as protagonists or antagonists. It can all get rather confusing, and their universe is far from seamless.

The series has prequels, sequels, and cross-overs which add to the general mayhem and confusion. While a horror series with considerable gore, there’s a bit of leavening humor throughout. One leaves each viewing wondering what exactly they have seen, but this strange brew of Egyptian magic I find oddly invigorating and certainly offbeat…

Space Jam: A New Legacy…

July 5, 2021

Perhaps the alarmed expressions on the faces of the Looney Tunes characters is a reaction to their new movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy, opening July 16th in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. A key question is whether the world really needed a sequel to 1996’s original Space Jam movie, and the consensus of opinion is not only no, but hell no!

Now the sequel a quarter century later involves basketball superstar LeBron James’ young son Dom being captured and held by a rogue A.I. in a digitized world from which he will be released only if LeBron can best the A.I.’s team in a game of basketball, with LeBron’s team consisting of the classic Warner Bros. Tune Squad characters.

They’re almost all there, with Pepe Le Pew having been deleted due to criticisms that he “normalized rape culture.” I kind of miss the lusty French skunk already, and hope that somehow the character will be reintroduced someday, although probably it will be in a contrite, sanitized form. Well, first they came for Mr. Potato Head and then Pepe Le Pew, and now it would appear that Lola Bunny has also been subjected to cultural revisionism as having been overly sexualized in the original Space Jam movie. – – Give me a break! I’m a furry but not of the ‘toon subdivision. Now Cheetah from Wonder Woman 1984 was a stunning anthropomorphic shifter, much more to my liking. But I digress…

Now the redrawn Lola Bunny (left) is rendered less curvy than her 1996 predecessor shown to the right. Lola is also rendered more fully clothed and styled less like a teenager than her previous incarnation. We wouldn’t want Bugs Bunny to be considered a pedophile, after all. A previous love interest for Bugs introduced in 1966 was Honey Bunny, although she was dropped as she overly resembled Bugs, and might have been him in drag. So now we have the revised Lola Bunny, looking less hawt than before…

..So Space Jam 2 is a mixed bag, with some things that are painful to see, like Porky Pig performing in a rap battle. But other things are a hoot, like Granny channeling Trinity and Speedy Gonzalez doing the honors as Neo in a take-off on the The Matrix. “Abuela, let’s do this!,” exults Speedy before effortlessly dodging bullets like a furry Flash.

Just don’t tell Yosemite Sam to “shoot the ball,” because that’s exactly what he does! And may Speedy have a long run!

“Jellystone” Is Coming!

June 26, 2021

William Hanna and Joe Barbera are sadly dead, to begin with. Thankfully not so Warner Brothers Animation, which is producing a major revival of classic Hanna-Barbera characters in a new HBO Max series streaming beginning July 29th and appropriately called, Jellystone, named after the fictitious park where Yogi Bear raided pic-a-nic baskets, and plagued Ranger Smith. In this incarnation, however, Jellystone is not a park but rather a town where the characters live, play, and work, inevitably interacting with and causing one another difficulties. The mayor of said Jellystone is none other than Huckleberry Hound, who was notable for holding a variety of diverse jobs in his day.

Sound good, right? Cherished animated characters from your childhood? The animation style you may find a bit disquieting, however, as the characters do not exactly resemble the classic renditions. The animation has been compared to that of the infamous ThunderCats Roar series. Consider Yogi here; this is a cartoon of a cartoon, and Yogi, Boo-Boo, and Cindy Bear provide medical services…hah, and you thought your health care plan was bad!

Well, I’m at least glad that they’re getting the band back together, even if they look rather different. The town of Jellystone, by the way, is best known for producing the hats and ties that its denizens and presumably other ‘toons wear. You wouldn’t want them running around naked, after all…

Some of the characters depicted haven’t been seen on television for over thirty years, and will include “deep cut” as well as mainstream Hanna-Barbera creations. It’s just hard to improve on the originals… 🦊

“Sexy Beasts” Is Coming to Netflix…

June 24, 2021

If you melded The Masked Singer with The Dating Game and sprinkled in some psychedelic drugs, you might come up with something similar to Sexy Beasts, a bizarre dating series premiering on Netflix July 21st. The show is based on an earlier British series that also had versions run in Germany, Korea, and the United States.

The show’s prior core concept involved taking an eligible male or female and matching them on successive dates with three other singles, with all four individuals transformed by heavy prosthetic facial makeovers to resemble animal or mythological figures. Only the contestant’s face would be altered, the rest of their body being as it would normally appear. In the course of the episodes two of the three suitors would be eliminated, allowing the remaining person to go on a second date with the bachelor or bachelorette, both parties then unmasked.

The idea is supposedly to see if romance can be generated solely on the basis of personality if not allowed to see the true face of a prospective suitor. A scenario can then be generated where a woman wearing a panda head inquires of a man resembling a bull whether he has health insurance. We all know that this happens all the time…

Not all of the contestants will be furry, with some facially made up to resemble insects, aliens, monsters, or assorted supernaturals. We all know that the course of true love seldom runs smooth, after all. One’s “date” might turn out to be a real dog, but then presumably you’d at least have a new best friend…

Ah well! In the search for a sexy beast, if nothing’s ventured, nothing’s gained. You might, after all, find one of your own kind.- – Do you know any sexy beasts?  Might a few of you out there be one? Time to ‘fess up…or maybe not. Feral is as feral does, after all.  And what might be a suitable soundtrack for this series?  Perhaps You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate!   🦊

“A Pet Too Far” Progressive Commercial…

June 19, 2021

Where animals are concerned, there’s cute, and there’s painfully cute. So when a commercial being filmed for Progressive Insurance starts with a basket of kittens and proceeds to a bulldog in a top hat 🎩 and then dogs and cats in band uniforms, it’s Progressive’s own Flo who decrees that they’ve gone over the top with a cuteness overload.

Progressive loves animals as much as you do, we’re told, and so protects them for up to $1,000 in the event of an auto accident.

But apparently according to Flo, putting animals into tiny band uniforms to sell car insurance is too much. “What’s wrong with cute animals?,” a team member protests. “Define ‘too much,’ ” says another.

Who’s going to tell Mitten?,” protests Jamie in full band uniform. “She’s a diva!” Mitten is an adorable kitten in a band uniform, a tiny trombone around her neck. She meows pitifully…

Well, I wouldn’t want to have to tell Mitten that her big commercial moment is cancelled…would you?!

Liberty Mutual’s “Gym” Commercial…

June 13, 2021

We once again find the LiMu Emu and Doug on a row of treadmills at a gym, where the human half of the duo asks an unfortunate fellow exerciser on a cell phone if he’s using the Liberty Mutual “customizer” tool, so he “only pays for what he needs.” Doug hardly seems dressed for a workout, wearing long pants, his trademark yellow shirt, and a tie. Bad form, Doug…

Putting Doug to shame, however, is the Emu at the end of the row of treadmills, who is running full tilt! “LiMu, you’re a real animal!,” remarks Doug, adding “Who’s got the ‘bird legs’ now?” Cute…

In an expanded version of the ad, the Emu is also shown pecking at a heavy bag in the gym. His beak punctures the bag’s covering, causing sand to pour out.- -Well, there goes their membership! This is one buff bird…

“Grilling Out” with the LiMu Emu…

June 11, 2021

I’m not sure that one would want to date or marry an insurance company spokesman or rep as depicted on TV, where they never seem to be able to talk about anything but insurance, which can get old really fast! So it is at an outdoor cookout for Liberty Mutual’s “Doug” (David Hoffman), the Emu, and their presumed wives. The partners are dressed alike in matching loud yellow floral Hawaiian print shirts, and even their wives are in matching tones. It’s a surreal occasion, their outfits matching the yellow finish of the Liberty Mutual-mobile visible in the background. They’re nothing but thematic here…

When Doug blathers only about insurance, his wife politely asks him to change the topic, it being the weekend and all.- -Give it a rest, dude! In the awkward silence that follows, Doug asks the Emus wife if she would prefer to eat either a hot dog or chicken right off the grill, the latter offering seeming to be at least quasi-cannibalistic for the bird. The Emu vocalizes a brief response which Doug interprets to indicate a choice for a hot dog. It is not clear whether this is possibly because chickens may resemble baby emus in their sight…

For inquiring minds, the Emu memorably depicted in these commercials is a mix of real bird and CGI effects. At any rate, he certainly can rock a pair of aviator shades! Perhaps a future commercial could touch on a sensitive issue, such as The Great Australian Emu War of 1932, where 20,000 emus prevailed against World War I veterans armed with machine guns. They are a resourceful and resilient species… 🦊


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