Archive for the ‘fantasy’ category

The Forgotten Gold of “Rango”

June 29, 2020

You might easily have missed the 2011 film Rango in the theaters, intended as a quirky western comedy and featuring Johnny Depp as a chameleon house pet stranded in the Nevada desert who becomes the sheriff in the town of Dirt inhabited by a variety of desert anthropomorphic animals who move faster and more convincingly than most animal characters in films intended for children. Pictured above is the alluring vixen Angelique (Claudia Black), who is the secretary to the town mayor, an elderly tortoise.

Now Rango satirizes a number of western traditions and films, and there’s even a virtual Clint Eastwood character who appears rather mystically as The Spirit of the West. Although essentially a kid’s movie, there’s enough subversive darkness and hidden spoofs in the film to keep adults happy, and a furry like myself enthralled. The animal characters do smoke, drink, and shoot at each other. The film was actually criticized for promoting smoking, and because of this some actually wanted it to have an R rather than a PG rating… but hey, this is a western after all, and it isn’t real…Lighten up!

So if you haven’t seen it, you can probably catch Rango on your small screen. Johnny Depp is a hoot as always, and Angelique could own me in like two seconds…I’ll forgive her for the cigarette!

Furry Extravaganza on “The Masked Singer” Season 3…

February 20, 2020


“Group B” of Season 3 on The Masked Singer is currently in play, and 2/3 of the contestants were furry in the kickoff episode, with performances given by Mouse, Kitty, Frog, and Elephant as well as foodstuff costumed performers Taco and Banana. I swear that I’m not making this up!   Besides, you just haven’t lived until you’ve heard an Elvis Presley standard performed by someone in a ludicrous banana outfit…but that’s A Little Too Much Conversation…

While all of the performances on this episode were strong, my personal fave was Frog, who together with Zoot-suit dressed dancers gave a memorable rendition of M.C. Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This in a mixture of rap meets the age of swing.  While Masked Singer is a singing competition, the dance elements are what can really bring excitement to a performance, plus this Frog has a sense of fashion, and wears purple really well!  Kitty brought kind of a burlesque vibe to her presentation that was sensual almost to the point of creepiness, performing Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande.  A favorite of the panel, it’s hard to look away from her differently-colored eyes that kind of draw you in…Meow!

When all was sang and done, the performer known as Elephant who  performed Friday I’m in Love by The Cure garnered fewest votes, and so was voted off.  He was revealed to be skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.  Note the fox accompanying him on guitar; my people are everywhere...

 

“The Masked Singer,” Season 3 Premier

February 5, 2020



Without a lot of advance advertising, The Masked Singer returned for a third season on the Fox network…and get this, a fourth season is coming this summer!  The series continues to be outrageous and very furry friendly, with a majority of the contestants on the first episode identifiable species.  There was also a Miss Monster and a Robot performing.

Series host Nick Cannon entered wearing a mirrored rabbit mask that he had worn before on a previous season, and guest celebrity contestant Jamie Foxx  joined the usual panel of judges, wearing initially a mirrored fox mask.  He had in season two been suspected of being the performer named Fox, who was actually Wayne Brady, the winner of last season’s competition.

The show got off to a roaring start with contestant White Tiger (pictured above, center) who was a large, physically impressive presence that performed Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.”   Following was Turtle (far right), who looked like a punk reptile the Ninja Turtles might fight and performed “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal.  Next was Llama (second in from right), looking like a tourist on recreational drugs who performed Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”  Remarkably, this costume had hind legs on wheels.  I thought that Llama’s back-up female llama dancers were also effective, and they played bongo drums strung around themselves occasionally. You just don’t see hot female bongo-playing llama-headed female dancers everyday..

Then there came Miss Monster (far left), a tribute to T-Pains character in the first season.   She performed “Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt, and was joined on stage by the T-Pain character, who did not sing along.  The back-up dancers for Miss Monster mirrored her cyclops look by having heads that were nothing but enormous eyes, a nice surreal touch.  Following was Robot, a clunky retro-looking model complete with a large winding key on their back who performed a Lenny Kravitz number in the company of two lab-coated mad scientist types with white hair and guitars who reminded me of Thing One and Thing Two of Dr. Sseus fame.  Last to perform was Kangaroo, attired in boxing togs like cartoon ‘roos in days of yore, who performed Dancing On My Own.

When the elimination vote was performed, Robot was eliminated, although I thought he didn’t give the weakest performance of the night, and should have abided far longer.  When unmasked, Robot turned out to be Lil Wayne, a very commercially successful performer.  The Masked Singer airs on Fox Wednesday night in my area…

 

 

Daemons of “His Dark Materials”

November 7, 2019



I’m not going to try and explain the strange and wonderful world of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials here as it’s vast, complex, and can be quite bewildering.  Rather, I’m just going to latch onto one item of it as suits this blog, namely the notion that we all have an animal spirit representative or daemon, which is kind of an external soul never far from you which is intelligent, talks, interacts with you, and can be seen by others, as well as by other daemons.  Although part of your soul, these daemons also have distinct personalities, opinions, and feelings. They’re not pets, and you don’t want others to pet them…that’s a serious transgression and violation of etiquette that’s simply not done!  Furthermore, the form of your daemon can transform or shift when you’re a child, assuming a permanent form when you reach puberty.  Then the “tiger in your tank” (dated advertising reference) is yours for the duration…

A British fantasy adventure series based on the novels by Pullman and available on HBO, His Dark Materials depicts a Harry Potter-esque kind of world sometimes referred to as a Narnia for atheists.  Set in a past kind of alternative universe, there are airships and other steampunk kinds of touches.  The notion of daemons exists in other cultures and in their literature as well.  In our universe, daemons are said to be invisible and internalized.  Socrates, however, is said to have seen and talked to his…but he always was a wise guy!

 

 

“The Masked Singer” Continues…

October 14, 2019


In this past week’s installment of The Masked Singer, we were treated to a singing flower, two birds, and at last, a fox…so you might say that this show is furry friendly, with a high percentage of animal-themed contestants.

The Flower reminded me a little of Batman villainess Poison Ivy, but she had a great set of pipes, and sang her way to victory over her opponent the Eagle, who you still had to love as an American icon, looking a bit like an avian retro-hippy. In a matchup which pitted the Penguin again the Fox, the competition was closer but the Fox prevailed, resplendent in knee-length boots, a top hat, and a couple of steampunk or perhaps cybernetic embellishments. This Fox moved well and had a good sense of stage presence, cutting a dashing figure as he sang a Maroon 5 song, grooving with the audience. Some think that the Fox is Wayne Brady, who has the song and dance chops to give this performance. It worked for me, but I’m admittedly biased…

The second-chance “Smackdown” then pitted Eagle vs. Penguin, and it was the end of the line for Eagle, who was unmasked to be Dr. Drew Pinsky, an addiction medicine specialist and media celebrity. As for the Fox, I’m looking forward to seeing more of him…

The Masked Singer, Season 2, Ep 3

October 4, 2019



In the next installment of The Masked Singer, viewers were treated to an arachnid, an avian, and two mammals competing. The Black Widow’s costume was the stuff of nightmares, and she would have been an appropriate villainess on the 1960’s Batman show.  One can imagine Burt Ward’s Robin spouting a line like, “Holy entanglement Batman, it’s the Black Widow!”  Then those multiple arachnoid limbs would wrap around the Boy Wonder, causing Batman to whip out the Bat-Spray from his utility belt…

 

But Black Widow did have the vocal chops to best The Leopard in voting for their initial sing-off, belting out a Whitney Houston number to Leopard’s “Somebody to Love” by Queen.  Leopard sported kind of a queenly medieval royalty outfit, but was surprisingly a guy!

Then there followed Flamingo, a rather cheesy costume but a good female performer who belted out Sucker by the Jonas Brothers.  She outvoted Panda, another female who sang “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson.

In the “Smackdown” second chance match-off of previous round losers, Leopard with a performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” bested Panda’s rendition of “All I Do Is Win.”  Unmasked at the end of the show, Panda was revealed to be Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter!  Had this been another kind of smackdown, Ali undoubtedly would have won…

The Masked Singer continues to present a weird and wacky mixture  of American Idol with The Gong Show, and is furry-friendly.  As too much sanity can be madness, I like this warped concoction, with off-the-wall comedian Ken Jeong as one of the judges and a whipped-up audience enthusiastically egging on the performers…

 

The Masked Singer, Season 2…

September 27, 2019



The Masked Singer is back for a second season on Fox, that show which plays like American Idol on psychotropic drugs.  Contestants wear full body costumes head to toe which totally conceal their identity, and perform popular musical numbers for which they are judged over intervening weeks in an elimination contest.  The show is hosted by Nick Cannon, and also features celebrity panelists including Robin Thicke and Dr. Ken Jeong.  Shamelessly weird, the show also incorporates “security personnel” who dress like the Men in Black attired in black suits and ties and wearing sunglasses at all times.  I’m OK with all of this, as I prefer my fantasy worlds to reality, anyways…weird is good, and works for me!

Episode 1 for the second season commenced with a contestant called Butterfly performing Bang, Bang in competition with Egg who performed Just Dance. The costume worn by Butterfly was suitably dazzling and iridescent, and coupled with a good set of pipes enabled her to emerge victorious over Egg, who was later unmasked to reveal Johnny Weir.  In a second matchup, Thingamajig (don’t ask) performing I’m Easy defeated Skeleton who performed Rappers Delight.  A third pairing pitted Ladybug who sang Holding Out for a Hero against Rottweiler, who won with Maneater performed against a chain link fence that also appropriately housed a fire hydrant, which thankfully he didn’t use during the performance.  Rottweiler was my furry fave for the night, working with backup dancers who wore canine masks and featured a rather sensuous and lithe female worth howling over.  This was one fine bitch, and I’m not using the word in the pejorative sense!

The final pairing was even more surreal, with a contestant Tree dressed as a Xmas Tree performing High Hopes and defeating Ice Cream who sang Old Town Road.  Ice Cream was unmasked as Tyler “Ninja” Bleving following a second chance “smackdown” defeat by Ladybug, who appropriately won singing Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

With two insect costumes and only one identifiable mammal, I was a little disappointed although an upcoming episode features a feline performer and one of personal interest called Mr. Fox, who appears to have steampunk stylings.   Until we see their performances, I’m putting my paws up for Rottweiler…he’s such a good boy, even if he does remind me of Homer Simpson in an episode of The Simpsons where he voiced Poochie the dog…

 

 

 

“Preacher” vs. Furries…

August 18, 2019

(Advisory:  some mature content)

AMC’s show Preacher  is one of the most over-the-top shows on television, outrageous yet compelling, and definitely not for children, those easily offended, or squeamish about blood and violence.  The series is complex and twisted, and so I won’t begin to attempt to explain it here; it even has Hitler and a likable vampire as recurring characters!  At any rate, in the Deviant episode of the current season (Season 4, Episode 3), central character Jesse Custer enters DeSade’s House of Entertainment to rescue a child, and winds up fighting and prevailing against a small army within that included furries, people costumed as anthropomorphic animals. 

The fight scene was extended, epic, and spectacular, beginning with fists and progressing from there to blunt objects, then knives, and finally guns.  Preacher Jesse was victorious, of course, because it is after all, his show!  I’m not quite comfortable with the portrayal of furries on the episode and I’ve seen far better fursuits,  but it was all intended to be outrageous in keeping with the general tone of the series, which has previously given us the divinity in a Dalmatian suit…

  

 

 

Colonel Chester…

July 10, 2019

The iconic KFC founder and spokesman Colonel Sanders has enjoyed a lively if bizarre post-mortem career, melding into Robocop, being portrayed by Reba McEntire, and even tripping the light fantastic with Mrs.Butterworth.  Now the Colonel has morphed once again to be portrayed by Chester Cheetah, retaining the original’s trademark white suit, beard, and tie.  Frankly, this spokes-cat wears the garb well!

And so it comes to pass that Cheetos mascot Chester Cheetah becomes Colonel Chester to mark the launch of a new Cheetos Sandwich, even skateboarding in his commercial outing.  The popular anthropomorphic mascot is but the latest in a kind of rotating spokesperson concept for the franchise.  Time will tell if he continues to be “dangerously cheesy…

  

 

 

 

The Chantix Turkey Goes Camping…

April 22, 2019

Watching a commercial of the Chantix turkey camping, I wonder if the vest that he’s wearing is goose down filled, and if so whether the wearing of it isn’t some kind of crime against birds in general. Don’t get me wrong, he does look good in it, kind of like an avian Eddie Bauer.  One almost expects to see Elmer Fudd emerge from those woods in the background in his ludicrous hunting outfit, toting a long gun and announcing, “I’m hunting wabbit…but you’ll do!”  Then in my crossover fantasy, previous Chantix spokesman Ray Liotta emerges from those same woods, engaging Elmer in a firefight since one corporate spokesman might reasonably be expected to defend another.  Ray would easily win the fight, having played tough guys in Mafia-inspired films.  Elmer is hardly known as being a marksman…

Other questions lurk, too…since the Chantix turkey represents the slow turkey approach to smoking cessation, might we someday expect to see his cousin, cold turkey?  That bird might be imagined as being cold to the point of chattering, and to have really jittery nerves.  As we view the Chantix turkey hiking in the woods, we’re sorry that he’s mute.  Perhaps in the future he could be given a voice, even singing the Happy Wanderer song as he hikes.  With just a little refinement, this turkey could really take off.  He even cooks over a campfire, and I’d toast marshmallows with him..we’re all forest friends here!