Stitch Trivia

So today How To Train Your Dragon opened in Theaters. I’m dying to see it, cause I have a deep and passionate love for Dragons! AND there is an added plus to this particular movie: Chris Sanders,  creator, writer, director and voice of Stitch is directing this movie!

*SQUEEE* runs around in fan girl heaven, my two favourite passions combined!

So, I have been sitting on this bit of trivia for a while courtesy of imdb.com :

The dragon Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon was modeled to look similar to Stitch!

See the resemblance?

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief

So when Percy Jackson came out I was actually very excited, it looked like a clever idea, looked fun and the CGI looked great. Plus I love movies that have lots of actors I know and this movie was overflowing with movie actors and TV actors that I know. Like Logan Lerman who was in my sisters favourite series Jack and Bobby, and Stella from CSI: New York playing Athena and Dr Hunt from Grey’s Anatomy playing Poseidon, Sean Bean playing Zeus and Pierce Brosnan playing Chiron (yeh never saw Pierce Brosnan as a horsey guy), Rosario Dawson plays Persephone, Uma Thurman plays Medusa. And the chick playing Annabeth is gorgeous. So I got my friends together and we watched the evening showing and it was fun. I’m not saying I’m going to go out and buy all the merchandise ‘n stuff, but it was a good movie. Of course I did wish that there were movies like this when I was a little girl.

Percy Jackson the movie is actually an adaption of the book by Rick Riordan. I found a cheapie copy on take2.co.za (most awesome site for cheap books and DVD’s, it’s local and has a LARGE variety) and when I got it I settled down to read it. Apart from knowing who the lightening thief is because of the movie, I was quite shocked to discover that the book it HUGELY different to the movie. Ok, yes this happens a lot, but recently the book adaptations I have seen have been pretty faithful.

Mostly it’s the overall motives of the Lightening Thief, and Percy and his quest that differ from the book to the movie. And if they wanted to make Percy Jackson into a series of movies which is the trend in Hollywood at the moment like Harry Potter, Narnia, Twilight, Last Airbender, Lord of the Rings, they messed it up with Percy Jackson.

I shall explain why:

MINOR SPOILER WARNING:

The lightening thief did not steal only Zeus’s Thunderbolt! He stole other things from the Gods. He also had the assistance from another God. But ultimately the lightening thief serves someone older than the Olympian Gods! I speak in code so any of you who do Greek and Roman history might have guessed who this big bad really is! AND the Lightening thief gets away at the end of the first book. Now in the next four books the Lightening Thief is constantly going up against Percy and his friends.

Also, on Percy’s quest, there is no Hydra, and the pearls that help them escape the Underworld are a gift from Poseidon, and are also not the main reason they travelled all over the country, not to find the missing pearls.

In the book they go to all the different places because firstly they have to do a job for Ares the God of War, and then they have to go to the ocean to have a meeting with a messenger of Poseidon. 

Persephone was not home when they went to visit Hades.

Percy fights Echidna and a Chimera (his interactions with Echidna are so funny and witty).

The scene where they fight Medusa is a chapter in the book, less than 10 pages, and super short!

 Annabeth and Grover have a history together, and it’s full of death and sadness. This back story comes into major play in later books!

I really loved the writing style of Percy Jackson. It’s fast paced and extremely funny. It was very reminisce to the Maximum Ride books by James Patterson and the Mortal Instruments Trilogy by Cassandra Clare. (Both awesome authors check them out!) The only flaw is that it seems a lot of the time the reader is smarter than the main character, you figure out the threats before the main character does. Actually it’s most probably because I have a better knowledge of Greek mythology than the intended audience, and also because the book is aimed at 8-12 years olds. (Yes I can hear you laughing, I feel no shame, and it’s more interesting than adult fantasy which is about sex and politics!)

The sequel was a bit of a letdown. It reminded me of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, it was trying too hard to be action packed and funny, so comedy never felt natural and the action was a bit boring. But the good news is that the author got his groove back in the third book and it was a brilliant fast-paced, funny read. The Percy Jackson series is a fun read, and if the first movie had been done properly, a good movie franchise could follow. But I think I’ll stick to the books. Man I’m dying to start the fourth book.

Inner Nerd

Today I thought I might as well scare my readers of by revealing my nerdieness. I AM A TREKKIE FAN!!  And now I’m going to discuss my love for sci-fi. 

I blame my mother. I have always been aware of Star Trek. I’ve been watching it for as long as I can remember. I have watched every single series of it except the original. Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise. So you can see I have a deep love for Star Trek. Also Star Wars, my mother loved Star Wars. Star Wars and Star Trek shaped my childhood. So it was natural when Stargate SG-1 started that I started watching it. (Yes I do notice all the ‘stars’ in my series titles). Other series which I grew up on was the original Battlestar Galactica, SeaQuest, Earth Star Voyager, Deep Water Black, Space Island One and some other series which I’m sure you have never heard of and I actually don’t know the names of. (I’ll give run downs of mentioned series another time) 

I love Star Trek; I love the idea of exploring the galaxy, that even with all their technological advances they are not infallible. Spaceships are just awesome. I seem to remember that Next Generation had civilians living on the Enterprise, I don’t recall them explaining why or fully using it to their advantage but having civilians interacting with your space soldiers brings an interesting dynamic to the show. I think this idea of civilians and soldiers was further explored in Star Trek Deep Space 9 and Stargate Atlantis. I like the kind of series where each week they are exploring something new, so continually new stories are been presented and yet an overall main storyline that spread over a season. Stargate follows this same idea, weekly individual adventures but one overall foe or event that builds up until the climax at the end of the season. 

The Enterprise 01 in Str Trek Enterprise

What I love about sci-fi is that, more than any other genre, anything goes. You have complete and utter freedom. The only boundaries within this genre are the ones we as a society create for ourselves. Although sci-fi books and comics have a wider range and more freedom than television does. In television you are hindered by your budget, especially if it’s a live action series, animation you have more freedom. I love sci-fi comic books although I’m very picky about what I read so I don’t have many space comics, Crossgen’s Sigil and Negation were an example of really good sci-fi. The French have a very interesting approach to comics and to sci-fi; it’s very different to what mainstream comic books are like. (When I say mainstream I mean American publishers because their comics dominate the market) I don’t have any examples at the moment, but I’ll write a follow up later. 

Some of the thing’s I love about Star Trek: 

The Enterprise – damn that ship is sexy. 

Beaming technology – so reliable and yet, when you really need it, it doesn’t work. 

Photon torpedoes. 

The Engine room – so powerful and at any moment could explode and kill them all! 

The food synthesiser – it makes whatever you want! Such a cool idea. 

The Aliens – they’re either grouchy and ugly, or they’re smoking hot and evil J 

Space Battles – nuff said. 

Data – human android from Next Generation. 

Communicators – little badges with the Federation Symbol they tap to talk to each other – such an awesome idea. 

Now that is what I remember from years of Star Trek in general. This is what I loved from the last series of Star Trek called Enterprise. The series ran from 2001 to early 2005. The storyline predates the original Star Trek series of the 70’s. It is the first Earth Ship to travel the cosmos. 

 

Crew of the Enterprise

Everything isn’t as clean.

Hot Vulcan first officer.

The Captain has a pet beagle called Porthos, who likes cheese.

They could only do warp 4! (If I remember correctly the other series could manage warp 10 easy)

They don’t have force fields yet and beaming technology is kinda dodgy to use (plus the crew doesn’t trust it).

The Andorians – aggressive, neurotic blue guys with antenna. Enemies of the Vulcan. General Shran is my favourite character.

Dr Flox – First alien doctor in Star Trek, one of the happiest characters ever. Also his species believes in multiple marriages!

The Vulcans are dicks – oh wait they always have been! Ha ha my mistake.

The Klingons – hairier and uglier than the originals, totally ruthless.

Chief Engineer gets pregnant in the second episode. And it’s a guy! BWAHAHAHAHAH

Space ships.

Since this is a Star Trek post I’ll leave Stargate for another time.

So I’m sure you can guess I was incredibly hyped for the Star Trek movie. Considering most of my sci-fi for the last little while has been TV series and anime, I really need a sci-fi movie of epic proportions. In fact the last sci-fi movie I watched at a cinema was, I think, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith in 2005!? (Serenity doesn’t count because it had a very small release in America and no release anywhere else) MY GOODNESS I HAVE BEEN COLD TURKEY FOR THAT LONG!!!!!!!!!! *takes moment to hyperventilate* YOU SEE THIS IS WHY I WAS SO EXCITED FOR STAR TREK.

The original Spock n Kirk vs the New Spock n Kirk

Star Trek 10, the rumoured cursed number. No one would touch it. Till J.J.  Abrams. Now, he did Mission Impossible 3 (which I really enjoyed and I’m not a Tom Cruise fan), Cloverfield (which I got motion sickness in and left after 30 mins – and I don’t get motion sickness!). So we won’t hold those movies against him, we will look at his TV series. J.J. Abrams the man that brought us Alias, Lost and Fringe, wonderfully weird and exciting and original shows.

The new Star Trek cast 

Firstly, we get hardcore CGI – those space battles look frikken real!  There is some stunning sound effects in the movie, just wonderfully weird sounding beeping and moaning and explosions. There are some very powerful scenes where they mute all sounds and just have the sound track playing while explosions are happening all around. This Star Trek is ‘bright’. When I say ‘bright’ I mean the sets, the colour, the lighting is ‘bright’ colourful – cheerful. The colour scheme matches the energy of the movie. This movie is exciting, fresh, they throw you into the action, into this futuristic world and you feel comfortable in it. Now as a Trekkie fan I can adapt very easily to different forms of sci-fi lingo, but for the average person too much fancy sci-fi tech lingo is going to lose the viewer. Not so with this movie! There is also a lot of great comedy in this movie. To my mind the comedy in Star Trek is like the first Pirates of the Caribbean – its natural, the actors don’t feel like they’re trying to be funny, more like they’re being dead serious when they say these stunning one liners.

Star Trek’s beginning is my favourite opening scene in a movie. I have three: Star Trek, Transformers and Underworld. All three have the most awesome beginnings. With Transformers it’s the attack on the army base in Iraq, the helicopter transforming and then blowing up the base, visually exciting, and terrifying. With Underworld its Kate Beckinsale sitting on the ledge of a window of a rundown church, lightening in the background, the colour is practically monotone until you see her bright blue eyes, and then she jumps from the window ledge! And lands on the pavement waaaaaaay below! So cool. And Star Trek’s beginning starts with a Federation ship being attacked by an unknown enemy with advanced weaponry, and in all the chaos and destruction, the newly appointed Captain Kirk makes sure his wife and their son, whom she gives birth to while the crew are escaping the ship, survive, by kamakazieng his ship into their enemy. WOW what a beginning, the first time my sister and I watched it at the cinema, we bawled our eyes out! Seriously we did not expect to cry ourselves silly in the first 10 minutes of the movie! We still cry when we watch it – although not as hard.

So, have I now thoroughly scared you off? You must understand one thing, when I was little, sci-fi and fantasy movies and books were not as widely published and produced as they are now. So I grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars (and later Stargate) because they were the best and only things available for those who wanted escapism. Ok so there are a lot of other stunning mind-blowing sci-fi movies but I can’t write about all of them. And escape I did. I spent my entire childhood in space travelling the stars, exploring new galaxies. It was awesome.

and here is the epic trailer: 

Living Dead Girl

So, today I’m tired. I haven’t slept very well since Saturday. I wrote a test yesterday and another today plus I also handed a rather stressfull essay in as well. And this day just wont end. When Im exhausted and feeling like my life source has been drained from me, I think of a Rob Zombie song called “Living Dead Girl”. Which is how I feel right now.

Futterwacken

So yesterday I saw Alice in Wonderland. Truthfully I have never been a very big Alice in Wonderland fan. It all goes back to the time when I was but a mere wee pup, watching Disney’s version of ‘AiW’. I absolutely despised that movie. Many years later and some deep philosophical thinking I came to the decision that I hated the movie because it was just too damn weird for a 6 year old to watch and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too mean. Have you ever noticed that in some kids’ movies, there are characters that are just so unreasonably mean? Like in Dumbo where all the elephants (and everyone else for that matter) are so mean and cruel to that poor widdle baby. Well in AiW it was the flowers being mean to Alice that got to me. I don’t like it when people are mean and unreasonable to children, and Disney’s AiW was particularly cruel.

Having said that I don’t really dislike the story of Alice in Wonderland, truthfully I realised that I have actually NEVER READ THE ORIGINAL!!!!! (I came to this realisation yesterday). I can recall half watching a very good Hallmark version of Alice in Wonderland. It starred Tina Majorino – whom I absolutely adored in Waterworld (yes the Kevin Costner movie critics despised, but sci fi fans loved). Recently the SyFy Channel made an Alice miniseries, which took the idea of another world and completely changed it. I really enjoyed it. Wonderland was a casino, where pearls (humans from Alice’s reality) are sapped of all their emotions so that the people of Wonderland can experience all those intoxicating emotions. This ‘drug trafficking’ kingdom is ruled by the Red Queen. Alice’s boyfriend Jack Chase, is kidnapped by the Queen’s ‘cards’ and taken to Wonderland, Alice follows and all sorts of mayhem ensues. My favourite thing about the miniseries was that it was completely different yet very similar to the book (which I haven’t read). I also loved that Alice wasn’t some weakling, and that she and the Hatter had this lovely I-don’t-trust-you-I’m-falling-for-you relationship.

Right, so back Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I loved it, and at the same time I felt there was something lacking. And apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, I just took longer to come to the same realisation that my friends did. And apparently we are not the only ones.

Now before I go on I should say that there is a girl (well she is more a young woman) who works at Disney, has a stunning art style, and has a deep and unrequited love for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. I consider her an authority on the subject. So I was quite interested to read what she had to say on the movie.

Here is her blog entry on the movie: http://bri-chan.livejournal.com/352799.html#cutid1

You don’t have to read it, it’s just interesting. Also here’s a deviant art account bri-chan.deviantart.com She is such a talented person.

Right, back to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Visually it is a treat. Stunning special effects and costumes. My favourite characters in the movie were the March Hare and the White Queen. The March Hare has the most stunning facial expressions ever. I loved the twitching ears and eyes, how jittery and neurotic he was. And Anne Hathaway as The White Queen was just stunning. She has a refined gentle nature, and when she isn’t being courtly and refined she has this gentle silliness to her. (I don’t think I’m making my point but I hope you get the idea.)

I really liked that this wasn’t a retelling of Alice in Wonderland but a continuation of the story. (I love it when people take the classics and rewrite them, but differently). I think one major point of contention I have with movie was that there wasn’t a big climax. If it were an action movie I would say it was missing that final explosion the one that totally destroys everything and bring an end to the movie. Also, throughout the movie everyone is waiting for Alice to realise that she is their destined hero blah blah woof woof. When she finally comes to this realisation…….. Wait did she really? See there’s my problem, Alice never had her big epiphany where she goes ‘Oh my God I am the chosen one!’ it was more a fizzle than a bang. Also I had a bit of difficulty following the Hatter when he swopped over to a Scottish accent, and it is not too clear why he actually swops to a Scottish accent, but I get that its meant to show that the Hatter has schizophrenia or something.  I also loved the dialogue. Like ‘Futterwaken’, what a wondrously strange word.  Unfortunately I can’t think of anymore examples but trust me they’re there.

WARNING SPOILER

I think the thing that bothered me the most was the ending. Alice goes back. After everything we have seen, why she would want to go back to such a stifling life when everything she ever wanted is in Wonderland. Also the Hatter is totally in love with her and it’s not like she’s going to find a liberal man in the society she is from.

So Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland not as climatic as Avatar, but a fun movie.

The Trap Door

This was one of my favourite childhood series. My mothers as well. Looking back at this show I realise just how dark it really is. Talking skeleton heads, evil monsters comming out of a trap door. The set is just stunnig, and the fact  that its stop motion adds to this lovely creepy theme that when you watch it you dont realise just how dark the theme of this series really is.

watch the intro its stunning:

Avatar the Last Airbender – FEEL THE AWESOMENESS

This is the most awesome cartoon series I have ever watched! This is the kind of cartoon series I would have loved to have watched as a little girl. Avatar is a Nickelodeon children’s series, not an anime.

Long ago the four nations lived together in harmony. But then everything changed when the fire nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements could stop them, but when the world needed him most he vanished. A hundred years pass by and Katara and her brother Sokka have discovered the new Avatar, an Airbender named Aang. The last of the Air nomads, Aang must master water bending, earth bending and fire bending in order to become a fully realised Avatar and bring peace and balance back to the four nations by defeating the Fire Lord the leader of the Fire Nation.

This series is 3 seasons long, each one focusing on Aang mastering a different element.  Of course there’s more to it than that, Aang has to find his water, earth, fire-bending masters to teach him in a world oppressed by the fire nation. Every episode Aang and the gang (fu fu fu that rhymes) have to stay one step ahead of the fire nation, and the exiled Prince Zuko who wishes to capture the Avatar to regain his honour.

The animation in this series is just mind blowing! With every episode you can watch the animators get more and more comfortable with the style and flow of movement. That was one of the greatest appeals for this series,  not only watching the characters and story develop and grow, but to actually see the storytelling and animation grow as well. I love to be able to see my artists improving (especially in comic books).

So 2 years ago my beloved series ends. My animation friends and I mourned the loss. Then we discovered something that made our blood run cold. THEY WERE MAKING A LIVE ACTION MOVIE.  In our Avatar starved, Avatar crazed state, we were first excited, the idea of more Avatar was so thrilling. After some reflection though we began to dread it. How would one condense 20 half hour episodes into one substantial movie? Who would direct this movie? Who would they cast to play our beloved characters? There were some early scares, like Jesse McCartney playing Zuko (even now I still break out in a cold sweat at the thought.) Then M. Night Shamalamamalalalaalalal (can’t for the life me remember how to spell it) was named director. The question became could he do it? Avatar is so far out of Shyamalan’s (it has a ‘y’!?) chosen genre, can he pull off a hardcore fantasy movie?

Well watch this trailer and tell me what you think: