Archive for the ‘movies’ category

The Legend of Tarzan…

March 22, 2016

 

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Every so often, the buff guy in the loincloth is reinvented for a new generation.  In the upcoming “The Legend of Tarzan” flick, the Lord of the Jungle is actually returning to his old digs in the Congo as a trade emissary of Parliament, following a time of luxury and privilege as a London aristocrat.  He’s unaware that he’s a pawn in a Belgian captain’s deadly plot. ..

The preview clips I’ve seen look promising, with the CGI apes looking as good and realistic as those in the “Planet of the Apes” franchise minus the clothing and English language capabilities. Time is devoted to the Tarzan “origins” story, and the African landscapes and animals are magnificent. And yes, we do hear the legendary Tarzan yell, and see the Jungle Lord swinging on vines and making awesome leaps.

Not to lose out on the jungle thing, Disney is apparently coming out with a new version of the Jungle Book, so everything old is new again…

“Zootopia” is coming!

February 10, 2016

 

 

 

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Imagine a world in which “humans never happened,” and you have the central premise of Disney’s upcoming 3D computer animated feature, Zootopia.  Now the mammals which dominate are anthropomorphic, which to the uninitiated means they are human-like intelligent bipedal creatures who use language, wear clothing, and employ technology in a civilized society.  This is a familiar realm to a card-carrying furry like myself; my world, and welcome to it!

Now two of the central characters include Judy Hopps, a rookie police officer rabbit and a red fox called Nick Wilde (played by Jason Bateman), described as being a small-time con artist (while I prefer to consider him as sly). Together the two form an unlikely alliance to solve the case of a missing otter.

The result is a buddy comedy/adventure with a large cast of animal characters that include a gazelle pop star and a noble lion mayor. Opening in early March, you’ve never seen anything like Zootopia be-fur…

Shaun the Sheep!

August 6, 2015

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Although a smaller sheep, Shaun the Sheep has leadership written all over him, and would probably be a better presidential candidate than most of the Republican field.  A break-out character from the third Wallace & Gromit short, ‘A Close Shave,’ Shaun is a resident of the Mossy Bottom Farm who needs some time off from the farm, eventually winding up with the flock in the Big City (London).  The farmer who pursues them winds up hospitalized with amnesia, and it falls to Shaun to free the farmer, return home, and restore the normal order of things.

Remarkably, this can be done without dialogue save for the odd sound effect and musical score.  Visual humor is key, with references made to The Shawshank Redemption, The Silence of the Lambs, and even The Wolverine.  We also learn that sheep, long under-rated creatures, can sing harmony.

Other films from Aardman Animations include Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run.  The resourceful Shaun also has his own television show in the United Kingdom…

Wooden Personalities?

August 1, 2014

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I’ve always found it fairly easy to ascribe to the notion of sentient plant life.  I swear that the weeds are implementing a master plan to take over my lawn and garden, and mock me when I seek to eradicate them.  “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can imagine!,” cry their tiny voices in my ears, echoing old Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars.  If you would look for examples of intelligent plant life in movies or on the small screen, consider the carnivorous alien Audrey II plant from Little Shop of Horrors, the Triffids, the Jolly Green Giant, and a host of others.  We just haven’t had a good sentient plant around recently.

Fortunately, we have the character of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy coming to our rescue!  Yeah, I know he’s essentially a sentient tree, but he does appear with a raccoon, so he merits mention here.  Furthermore, Groot is voiced by none less than Vin Diesel, so you know that this is a plant to be reckoned with!  While Groot is integral to the action of Guardians, he isn’t much of a talker, saying only one three-word line in the entire movie (“I am Groot!“).  Still, Vin Diesel voiced that line in several languages for movie outtakes, and even wore stilts coming in to the recording studio so as to better assume more of the character’s stature…and you thought that method acting was dead!

I’ve always liked the actor as an action hero, although some might say that his performance here is a bit…wooden, ahahahaha!

Godzilla Fiat Commercial…

June 3, 2014

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“He’s back…and it looks like he’s craving Italian!” – –  Well, who could blame him, right?!

Movie tie-in commercials are usually terrible, but for this one, we’ll make an exception!  A city street is shown devastated, as if a war is going on…well, one is, but with the King of Monsters!  Godzilla, whose fortunes are on the rise with the new re-boot of his franchise, is clearly in control, buildings crumbling around him and hardly bothering with the pesky small-arms fire being directed against him ( foolish humans, when will they ever learn?).  Attacking a city does make a guy hungry, however, and the big guy is tossing small cars down his gullet.  Along then comes a bright yellow Fiat packed with people, and it too is thrown down Godzilla’s gargantuan hatch like a Cheeto…

…but wait!  Is it too much to swallow?!  The big guy vomits the Fiat back up, completely undamaged, and it hits the ground running flawlessly, spinning away. – –  Is it because Fiats taste terrible? – – No, it’s just because they’re surprisingly big, you see!  I guess that size does matter, after all…and next time, Godzilla, chew each bite before swallowing!

Godzilla Resurrection!

April 28, 2014

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I have a confession to make; I’ve always loved Godzilla, ever since the days that he appeared in badly-dubbed Japanese movies and was obviously played by someone in a rubber suit!  Godzilla fans have endured a variety of outrages over the years, including a series of increasingly lame and outrageous adversaries (e.g., the “Smog Monster”), bad storylines, and even alteration of the character’s gender. The last major studio film treatment in 1998 portrayed Godzilla as an iguana-like creature, focused on a human love story, and was almost universally hated by fans.  It appeared that Godzilla might have fallen to bad treatment rather than an oxygen destroyer, but we who believe have maintained our faith.

The upcoming reboot of the Godzilla franchise by Gareth Edwards promises to take Godzilla back to his 1954 roots.  Co-produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. under license from Toho, the new movie will be live action while Godzilla will be computer-generated.  Unlike the 1998 film, Godzilla will again fight several monsters rather than just the military.  The opponent monsters, referred to as “mutos,” will fly and be multi-limbed.  Godzilla himself will stand 350′ tall, the biggest incarnation ever.

The plot should delight conspiracy theorists.  It seems that Godzilla’s existence has been covered up by the U.S. government (like aliens, ‘ya know), and nuclear tests of the 1950’s were actually attempts to kill the creature.  Godzilla’s face is supposedly modeled on elements of features of bears, dogs, and eagles.  The big guy’s fighting style is based on that of bears and komodo dragons.  His roar is the original one pioneered by Toho, with improvements and enhancements.

Godzilla is conceived as “a terrifying force of nature,” and his kung fu should be the best.  He’ll be stomping his way into theaters this May, hopefully a monster for our times…

 

 

Rocket Raccoon Explodes Onto The Big Screen!

April 22, 2014

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Raccoons are kind of bad boys in the furry community; you might want to watch your wallet and your sister around one. While they are rascals, raccoons do seem to get the job done, and they’re good to have on your side, even if they don’t always take the high road.  For this reason, it’s only a slight stretch to see a raccoon as a kind of deviant action hero, and Rocket Raccoon fits that bill perfectly.

With his name supposedly inspired by the Beatles song Rocky Raccoon, Rocket Raccoon is for my money the most captivating character in the Guardians of the Galaxy team, a more obscure Marvel property certain to gain fans following release this August of the movie by the same name.

The Rocket Raccoon character debuted in 1976; his backstory is too complex and lengthy to go into here, but suffice it to say that he is an anthropomorphic bipedal raccoon who is an accomplished starship pilot, a master tactician, and an expert marksman who prefers really large guns!  He has anger management issues, and a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder…but what raccoon doesn’t wash their paws often? Voiced in the movie by actor Bradley Cooper, the CGI Rocket is in part modeled after movements of a real-life raccoon called Oreo. Muscle for Rocket is provided by a tree-creature named Groot, voiced by none other than Vin Diesel.

One of a ragtag team of intergalactic aliens, Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy promises to be a breakout furry character…

 

 

Mr.Peabody & Sherman…

February 8, 2014

Peabody– – I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that a movie is being made of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, since movies and sequels have been made of The Smurfs and The Chipmunks.  If there’s a chance that parents are familiar with the original subject, a movie treatment serves to introduce children to the character, and film makers hope that a profitable franchise is born.  

Now The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was a gem in the 1960’s, and has already been subjected to a movie treatment.  Besides introducing us to Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle Moose, the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show had other unrelated ‘toon features that included Dudley Do-Right and Peabody’s Improbable History segments.  Mr. Peabody was a talking, bespectacled, intellectual white dog who in a role reversal had an adopted boy, Sherman.  Through use of a time machine, Peabody and Sherman would travel back in time in episodes to encounter memorable historical figures, teaching Sherman of their significance and at times benevolently influencing the turn of events.  

Based on these memorable offbeat characters, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an American 3D computer-animated adventure-comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation, and involves Sherman’s misuse of the WABAC time machine with subsequent efforts by Peabody and Sherman to put things back on track before the space-time continuum is destroyed, a problem common in science fiction.  As with the original shorts, the film is described as sweet-natured and amusing, with enough witty touches to keep adults entertained as well.  In theaters March 7th…

Visions of Flying Monkeys…

February 22, 2013

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– – In the beginning, there was the classic The Wizard of Oz in 1939, based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Disney had contemplated an animated film based on the first of Baum’s Oz books, but lost out the rights to MGM in 1938, and the rest became film history. Disney Productions did acquire the rights to the remaining thirteen Oz books in 1954, and in 1985, Disney produced Return to Oz, a rather dark and eerie film which was not exactly child-friendly or in the spirit of its predecessor, and so performed poorly, both critically and commercially.  The Oz franchise was then basically put into mothballs for more than a quarter century…and lo, I have waited these many years for a really good flying monkey, one with a discernible personality, not just one of the “Army of Darkness” type drones that served the Wicked Witch in the original…

…and at long last, Sam Raimi, who gave us the Spiderman trilogy, appears poised to deliver just that!  In Oz the Great and Powerful, we are given flying monkeys that not only talk, but are gentle and whimsical creatures, worthy furry sidekicks!  We are also given so much more…three witches, and the backstories to the Oz saga that fleshes out both the place, and the “Wizard” who becomes its reluctant and faltering savior.  Constructed as a “prequel” to the original 1939 classic, this film has big shoes to fill, but just might pull it off…but don’t expect to see ruby slippers, they are copyrighted to the original.  It will be so good to see the Wicked Witch again, as the better the villain, the better the tale!  And the green-hued one looks awesome!

Oz the Great and Powerful is coming to theaters March 8th…and as always, best witches to you all!

Revisionist Fairy Tales…

January 25, 2013

Hansel and Gretel– – Witches could use a good spin doctor to handle their bad PR problem; they’re often portrayed as ugly and evil.  Hollywood has also put forth a number of doctored and rehashed variations lately on classic fairy tales, with Red Riding Hood one of the most common.  In this vein, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters will be coming your way soon, conceived as an action fantasy sequel to the tale of two kids who stumble into a candy-covered witch house in the woods where they are taken prisoner and almost wind up consumed.

Well, in the 3D Witch Hunters, it’s now 15 years later, and the grown-up Hansel and Gretel are doing the Van Helsing thing on witches, who they shoot, stab, burn, and behead; at one point, a Gatling gun will be turned on them…there are serious anger issues here!  Gretel is limber, and looks good in leather.  At least it’s not intended to be taken seriously, and Witch Hunters mixes horror with hilarity.  There will be ancient Bavarian milk bottles bearing pictures of missing witch-kidnapped children, for example.  There will also be a troll named Edward…

I guess we’ll see what happens during the Feast of the Blood Moon in this Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film produced by Will Ferrell and associates, and starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the dynamic duo…