Monday, 25 February 2013

The World Destroyer and his tanned harpy.

In the Beginning.
Boom! Right guys that's act one.
The year was 1995, the film was 'Bad Boys' and it rocked at the cinema. Why did it rock? This was due to the utter stupidity  people allowed themselves to feel for that film. It was complete nonsense, the jokes were poor, the action over the top and the acting, well the less said about that the better. People enjoyed it though and I was one of them. Michael Bay had figured out a way to  tap into the area of the brain where we don't care about plot, character development or genuine humour. Instead we loved his  big explosions, his seemingly endless supply of half naked cardboard cut-out women and his unending torrent of, "Holy shit, did that just happen man!".

Loud explosions, Megan Fox and robots.

2007 came along and we were shown 'Transformers'. Again I enjoyed it and again our minds were tricked into thinking we were treated to a respectful treatment of our childhood heroes, but like those autobots and decepticons, there was more than meets the eyes. Substance wise there was no more but superficially, forget about it. The amount of explosions and shots of  Megan Foxes ass that took the focus from what should have been the main characters of the piece, the 'Transformers'.

I now get to the point, it is not the fact that there are a ton of explosions and over the top action that weighs down Transformers, actually it's one of the highlights. What  weighs it down is the fact that the original human characters are put in the focus instead of fully fleshed out characters that we have grown up with and loved. Characters like Bumblebee were relegated to  Jar Jar Bink style fools who were given bit parts and ridiculous lines. Look at Jazz, one of the most iconic and loved Transformers and what happened to him, he was given literally four sentences and after one piece of dialogue with Megatron he was ripped in two. When this happened two  things went through my mind, "Holy shit they killed Jazz really quickly!!!" and  immediately after that, "Wait a minute he's a transformer, a robot, they can easily rebuild his other half.....".
Remember when we were the main characters of a series?
My main problem is that the Transformers themselves were shown as an event in these human characters lives. It was all about how these characters reacted to alien robots showing up on their  planet. This was a terrible decision, what should have been shown was how the autobots and even the decepticons dealt with the destruction of their home world and their way of life. Give the decepticons a genuine reason to start a war, give the autobots some genuine pain and anguish for losing their families and their home.

Hey, Michael leave those kids alone.

This was all to help you guys understand what I really wanted to explain to you, I have laid the foundations  and now I can build on it. Michael Bay has decided to grab yet  another childhood franchise that we all love. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a great bunch of lads who have the banter and eat  pizza, while being ninjas.

Once again Bay decided that he wanted to reboot a much beloved series and once again he decided that it was about aliens. Even though the turtles are not aliens, yes their origin is alien but they  themselves are just turtles. Don't turn them into carbon copies of the Transformers. Things were going along relatively smoothly, Bay wasn't actually directing, he was producing so his input was minimal. Well that's what we all thought. The news came a few days ago, news that broke my heart, there were many casting rumours about April O Neil, the only real non ninja human in the supporting cast of the Turtles history.

Turtles are like frogs right?.
 Then came some very scary rumours, Megan Fox, Megan 'Jennifer's Body' Fox was cast in the Turtles film. Who is she likely to play? Not April, please not  April, unfortunately the Turtles do not have many other female human characters unless you count  Korai, but since I can't imagine Megan Fox as Shredders asian ass kicking prodigy there may only be one option left. An original character to the series, because original characters created in an already established universe always work out well.

 If Bay decides  to go the same route with the Turtles as he did with the Transformers we could see another massive event happening to an unusually attractive  April O Neil. Who, during her run of the mill, single white female life, bumps into a motley crew of  teenage mutant punks who happen to be aliens, her life will never be the same again. God this is going to suck.

We're in trouble guys.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Sketch No.2

This is my second attempt at the "Man Of Steel". I'm enjoying it and I think you can see it come through in the style of the sketch, 

A New Sketch

I did this sketch today, it's for a Man Of Steel fan page competition. I  really got into this one, it was a lot of fun and I used some interesting brushes and pencils on Photoshop.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Who are you?

A Question Of Race.

In today's world, questions of race are still brought up, usually in a negative manner and I'd like to shine a light on it, but with my own spin on it. When it comes to race in fiction, fantasy and sci-fi who is the tops? Who rules the roost? If you could choose to be reborn as any race which would it be? I mean, fantasy and sci-fi have given us some absolutely outstanding offshoots of humanity, as well as aliens and just mythical beings. Would you be a crazy klingon with their ever changing forehead ridges? Would the prospect of eternal youth lure you to the enigmatic elves? Would you prefer to be the deadly dothraki with their ever so slightly odd relationship with their horses that almost verges on bestiality? Then there some of the really odd ones, the trolls, the halfings and the ever creepy, ever devastating draghkar. They're nt all pretty, they're not all immortal but they all are unique and funky.

My Race.
This brings me to my point and on to my favourite race. They are from Robert Jordan's fantastic fantasy series 'The Wheel Of Time'. They started a war over a tree and and speak of battles like a dance, which they totally rule. The are the aiel, the people of the dragon, 'the black veiled savages from the waste'.What makes them so great? Do they possess any special abilities? Have they any superhuman characteristics?

Apparently they started this war, for a tree. 
The Water
They are perfection simplified, while other people of the fictitious world of 'Wheel of Time' have gold adorned armour and fight with specially crafted swords, the aiel go for a far more simplified approach. They use only their hands or spears, their reasoning is fantastic, they never use swords because swords have one use, to kill, there are no practical applications to a sword other than death.

With the aiel there is no pussy footing around, you speak straight with them or you will get hurt, seriously hurt. Their views on life are unique and at times a bit absurd and bonkers but that's why I love them. I'll give you some examples, such as jie'toh. Where one person owes another person toh, which is in laymen terms a debt. This means that the person has a certain level of debt to the other person depending on what happened. It can range from saving a life to dishonouring yourself in front of people.
It is an intricate system which is just superb in execution , especially when certain characters are being bitches to one of your favourite characters and they find out they owe him toh and are all like,uh oh. They also have their 'kissing games' which are some of the most ridiculous courting rituals ever seen in a fantasy series. Now there is of course the cliched aspect of this warrior race, they accept death, which would be annoying and cliched because obviously all warrior races through history and in fiction usually accept death in some shape or form. However the aiels understanding of death i just that. Every other race accepts death, they understand it, and they have a wonderful phrase to accompany it,”Wake from the dream”.

When it comes to unique and spectacular attributes, the aiel are no different from any of the other races in 'Wheel of Time', except what they choose to do to ensure they are the greatest warrior race ever, that includes Spartans, Klingons, Dwarves, Dothraki, Amazon, and especially the slightly tacked on military regime of the Kryptonians. I mean come on up until maybe a decade or two ago the Kryptonians were pure scientists(with terrible foresight) and a tiny military contingent. Now they have been re-designed as a war race that were a hybrid science/military species. Okay, two decades, that seems a long time ago but in comic terms it's actually not that long.

The Waste.
Now this is a big problem, on the surface the aiel seem absolutely perfect and for the most part they are, except for a section of their culture. You see the aiel race are sectioned into clans and when a particular event happens to them they shatter and one clan in particular become absolute dicks. They break all codes of honour and their sense of purpose and identity becomes warped. Another aspect of the aiel which is kind of suspect is that they are a bit racist. When I say a bit I really mean a lot, they believe that their way is superior to every other way of living and look down on every other race of man in the world, what doesn't help it is the fact that from a readers point of view they are not wrong. You see how all these civilizations are doing and the aiel are tops, every time.

Brothers and Sisters.
There are notable aiel that I would like to point out as guys and girls who are just complete and utter badasses. They are fun and friendly and even though aiel humour is hard at times to get your head around you always have fun with lovely lads and lasses.

Gaul is one of the first aiel we meet and I would also say one of the most important aiel in the series and if you ever read the series you'll understand see how big a compliment that is. He has wonderful moments of humour and this is anchored with a fantastic love story.

Aviendha is a fantastic maiden of the spear, which in terms better understood by non-fans of the series is an amazonian like warrior. She is one of the few women in the series which I have consistently loved since unlike most of the other women in the series at times she can hold her own with the boys without resorting to bickering. She is a fierce and proud warrior and has interesting talents and secrets which are explored and uncovered as we learn about her.

Rhuarc is the chief of one of the many clans of the aiel, the 'Taardad' aiel. He is the first chief we meet and he is very much a father figure to a lot of the younger characters in the series. His relationship with the main character is really genuine.

Suilin is without a doubt my favourite aiel, she is a frightening maiden of the spear but at the same the most tender. She is fierce and loving like a lioness when it comes to the ones she cares about. She will thrust herself into the fore front of battles for her family, and with aiel family is not defined by blood.

Aviendha during her soft period.
This has been a really fun topic to talk about, I hope that you've enjoyed this and I want to hear all your views. Who is your favourite? Who tickles your fancy? Are they fact, fiction, fantasy or sci-fi? Please comment and let's all have a good chat. In the end I offer you this aiel saying of farewell.

May you always find water and shade”.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Wreck-It Ralph Film Review

Wreck-It Ralph
Director-Rich Moore
Starring- John C Reilly
Sarah Silverman
Jack McBrayer
Alan Tudyk

Films based upon video games have never really worked have they? There is actually no decent video game to film conversions. I can honestly think of only one film that even comes close to capturing the essence of the source material and that is 'Final Fantasy VII; Advent Children'. Even this  film however has its flaws and also the major problem with this point is this  film is considered more of a companion piece to the original video game rather than an actual film version of 'Final Fantasy VII'. It's never been done and probably can't be done, so Disney decided, why try and make a game to film when they could make a film about a game. Though 'Wreck-It Ralph' is based on a game character and is set in the actual gaming world, filled with 'Sonic' and 'Pacman', Ralph and his respective game is fictitious. This may be the route to go down for the time being, especially if this is the result.

Some of these characters are not in it  nearly enough.
For the past thirty years Ralph has had to deal with his job, a thankless affair where at the end of the day he is thrown from a five story building where he lands on his ass and is rejected from his work colleagues. While  at the same time Fix-it Felix Jr( Jack McBrayer) is congratulated as a hero for just doing what Ralph does, his job. On the anniversary of their game, Ralph  realizes how  much he hates this and comes to the conclusion  that the only way to be accepted would be to earn a medal just like Felix does at the end of every game. This leads Ralph into the coolest experience ever, in my opinion, he decides to game jump and become a hero. This is where things get really interesting and at the same time get bogged down, but more on that later.

Right, off the bat I would have to say  that the biggest and best  thing about this  film was, the cameos. Seeing Sonic the  Hedgehog and M. Bison in the same universe is absolutely hilarious. The Easter eggs alone make me give out a little man giggle, There is a wall within game central which houses a particular graffiti that holds a special place in my heart. It reads 'Aerith Lives', when I saw this I knew that  this was a film that took into account the true gamer's opinion. The characters throughout are also superb, Ralph( John C Reilly) is  a wonderful outsider and in a world filled with outsiders he is a wonderful oddity. To be fair this film  is filled with weirdos, 'Venelope Von Scwheetz( Sarah Silverman) is a glitchy chatter box and 'King Candy'( Alan Tudyk) a truly eccentric and topsy turvy character.The animation is wonderful, the soundtrack is  pure fun and the worlds are wonderfully crafted.

There a few things in this film that just irked me a bit. I'll begin with the end, up until the end I was not quite sure how it would end, I hoped for  maybe something as unique as the premise but unfortunately towards the end it becomes extremely obvious where it is going. Venelope does grate on you at times, her cuteness and her quips at times come off as simply annoying.The film teases at a massive universe which we only glimpse at, especially when we go  through only three worlds and one of  those worlds is so disgustingly sugary it will cause cavities from just watching it, even for my tastes. 

Next time baby.
The film was great fun, it didn't take itself too seriously and gave us a lot of  memorable characters. There were some glitches in this film and they ranged from a long drawn out middle section of the film to a by the numbers ending which did include a lovely addition to the roster of Disney princesses. For a film which has promised a sequel, which will expand the universe from arcade games to console games and MMO's I am very excited. Not only that but it has also promised that the next  installment will include 'Mario' as another lead protagonist. The sky is the limit with all the ideas they could pack into the next installment and beyond.

Though there was a few glitches hopefully the next film will patch everything up to really show off the full potential of this film and its possible franchise.