Wreck-It Ralph

So I’m not a gamer, my sister and I need a walkthrough just to finish a game. We don’t have a ‘gamer brain’ as I like to call it. We are inept. That being said, a lot of my friends are gamers in some form or other, so often they’ll give me long in depth discussions of the games they are playing. Which I love, computer games/ playstation/ xb0x games sound so creative and exciting from the outside. Final fantasy is my favourite game, even though I haven’t played the games, the storylines are fantastically complex and original and different, and boy do they look good. so it’s understandable that I’m excited for Wreck it Ralph. Its different for Disney, it looks fun, and there’s a small army of video game references. It would be so awesome if Cloud from Final Fantasy ran across the screen, although highly doubtful.

Another highlight for me is that Jane Lynch is voicing a kickass space babe, and while I can’t say I’m a huge Glee fan, and find Jane Lynch’s Coach Sylvester a horrible mean bully, I must admit she can be funny and she fits this character perfectly. I also hate hate hate John C Reilly, I hate the type of comedy he does. I was subjected to Step Brothers, it was horrendous, and I’m scarred for life. That being said, his Ralph looks like a sweetie.

That little girl in the Candy land game looks like Agnes in Despicable Me. I think Disney should have tried a bit harder with her character design. And then there’s the zombie. Zombies give me nightmare, ridiculous I know but we are all afraid of something and mine would be the zombie apocalypse. But I find the zombie in Ralph’s support group oddly endearing.

Well this movie excited me, something decent to watch in the latter half of this year.

Chun Li from Street fighter in the left corner

Zangief from Street Fighter and Doctor Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog I dont know who the monster is.

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The Avengers

Only the most anticipated movie EVER! Fans everywhere have been waiting since 2008, when at the end of Iron Man not only did we get Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, but the hint of an Avengers movie! Iron Man was Marvels first movie that was written and produced by them, so fans accepted that if they were going to make such a promise they would try their hardest to ensure that it would happen. Four years later and an Iron Man sequel another Hulk movie, a Thor and a Captain America film with a sneak peak of the Avengers film later, The Avengers was finally released a week earlier world wide than its American release. I don’t know why this appeals to me, it just does.

So we have a star studded cast, an amazing director and the assurance of stellar special effects. So the question is does Avengers do justice to the hype that surrounds it? My answer is: HELL YES AND A BAG OF CHIPS!! It’s been a long time since I went to a film that not only lived up to its hype, but surpassed it! The Avengers hit the spot, with equal blends of action, comedy, suspense and gob-smacking special effects. I guess that’s the only thing that has really been holding back the superheroes movie genre, the special effects, but Iron Man, Thor and X-men movies have proved that they can been done.

I was really worried that the Avengers wasn’t going to live up to the mass amounts of hype started for it until Joss Whedon was brought on board. Then I didn’t have a single worry, why because: JOSS WHEDON IS GOD. Now not only was I getting and Avengers movie I was getting an Avengers movie scripted and directed by Joss Whedon. We know his genius from Buffy, Firefly and Dollhouse, and I’ve read his run on Astonishing X-men and the Buffy Season 8 comic series, so I know that this guy will know how to deal with superheroes.

One thing that really irritated me was the advertising campaign for the Avengers. Ok so here in SA we didn’t really get much of it, but the internet was lit up lit a Christmas tree with all the trailers for America, Russia, Japan, all the TV spots, there was just too much. I didn’t watch any of it, well maybe 4 no 5 of the earlier trailers, but you have to stop at some point before you spoil the movie for yourself. Like I tried very hard not to watch trailers with the alien enemy in them because I wanted to be surprised, I still haven’t managed to figure out who they are. Obviously alien villains I haven’t read. Oh well. BUT I have finally figured out who the villain is that was shown during the credits! Would you like to know?

So I can’t really speak about the film because most of my favourite bits are kind of spoilery. One of my absolute favourite little moments is during the epic battle at the end of the film, between Thor and Hulk, in Grand Central Station. Let me just say, it was taken straight out of the Avengers cartoon series. Which by the way is a fantastic series, brilliant stories and character development, I can’t wait to watch the second season. I also loved the Shield Base. Was such an epic scene to see in live action!

I loved this film; I cannot wait to see what they have planned next! What would really make my day is if Luke Cage and his wife Jessica Drew, Spiderman and Wolverine were on the cast for the next film. This won’t happen because Marvel doesn’t have the film rights for Wolverine. Wolverine and Spiderman on the Avenger’s roster are such fun. Spiderman is such a fan boy, and brings a lot of witty one liner’s that eases the tension. Wolverine is just awesome, and can be quite funny in his own dark and brooding way. Well one can hope and dream.

 

FRANKENWEENIE!!!

I feel that name should be yelled, I think it’s an awesome word to yell, with an inflection of horror in your tone.  Like Frankenstein, of which Frankenweenie is a parody.

In the beginning there was Tim Burton’s original live-action short film – Frankenweenie, filmed in 1984, in black and white, while Tim Burton was still working for Disney.  Disney in fact fired Burton for wasting their money on projects like this because they deemed them too scary for children.  I agree, Frankenweenie is not appropriate for children, but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t watch it.  Frankenweenie was not released by Disney until the DVD release of Nightmare Before Christmas, along with Burtons stop-motion short, Vincent.  Both shorts are utterly ridiculous, macabre and downright inspired.  They perfectly complement Nightmare Before Christmas.  Now Tim Burton is taking his half-hour short and turning it into a stop-motion film.  Personally I don’t think it is necessary, since the live-action short was magnificent because it was live-action.  But, the story does lend itself nicely to animation, and since stop-motion and 2D animation are dying arts, I’m excited to see it.  Stop-motion lends itself nicely to Tim Burton’s ‘style’, which I think is becoming a genre in its own right.  Who doesn’t want to see a new Tim Burton stop-motion film?  We haven’t had one since The Corpse Bride, which was good, but to me I found it fell a bit short of Nightmare Before Christmas.

Doesn’t Frankenweenie look amazing!  The dog looks like the dog in Brad Bird’s animated series Family Dog, which I vaguely remember from my childhood.  Shame that poor dog had a horrible family;  he was even more longsuffering than Courage the Cowardly Dog!  (my favourite animated dog, and cartoon).   I have just read that Tim Burton was the character designer on the Family Dog series.  I love the Igor looking kid in Frankenweenie, his teeth, his face; he just looks so ugly he’s actually adorable!  I love those teeth.  My only gripe is that Vincent Frankenstein, Frankenweenie’s master/owner looks too similar to Victor from Corpse Bride.  That being said, I suppose the main protagonists look is another Burton trademark.

Since we are on the topic of zombies, the supernatural and stop-motion, there’s another film coming out this year called ParaNorman. ParaNorman is being released by Laika, the company that made Coraline.  ParaNorman is about Norman, a boy who can talk to the dead, who is the only line of defence for his hometown when they come under siege by witches, ghosts and ghouls.  It looks fantastic, weird and quirky.  This promises to be a highly original and entertaining film.

I love the first trailer, the song Season of the Witch by Donovan creates this really surreal, supernatural feeling.  I also love the zombie toothbrush, it’s just stunning!

The second trailer gives you a better idea about the film, what our characters are like, the mood of the actual film rather than the mood created by the music used in the first trailer.  It appears to be more comedy based.

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time and Terra Nova are my two obsession series of the year.  They’re different from the usual cop murder shows, or the hospital dramas that I watch, they are now my fantasy sci-fi fix now that Stargate is officially dead.  The concept behind Once Upon a Time excited me, we have had very few fantasy shows over the years, and not many of them survive for very long.  If done right Once Upon a Time could do very well, and is doing very well so far, although I do have a few gripes.

Let me explain.  Fairytales and fables are a great source of ideas, there are multiple versions of tales, and you can draw from multiple cultures.  That being said, there is one huge problem.  DISNEY.  I absolutely love Disney, I have watched every movie, except Bambi, hundreds of times, and that’s only during this year.  The thing is, just because Disney has released their version of famous fairytales, doesn’t me that their version must become the cannon.  Once Upon a Time has the opportunity to take the original tales and do with them whatever they want, which they have done in some areas but not in others. For example:  the seven dwarves.  Next year we see the release of two Snow White movies, each with their own set of Seven Dwarves.  In Snow White and the Huntsmen the dwarves are named after Roman Emperors: Caesar, Tiberius, Constantine, Claudius, Hadrian, Nero and Trajan;  in Mirror Mirror the dwarves are named: Butcher, Grimm, Half-Pint, Grub, Napoleon, Wolf and Chuckles.  But OUaT called their dwarves Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Doc, Sneezy, Bashful and Dopey, after the Disney version.  So far we have seen Grumpy and Sleepy in the ‘real’ world, and are known as Leroy and Walter.  I can see Grumpy/ Leroy is a favourite, but then who doesn’t love a grumpy character?  (Team Grumpy Bear).  Seriously, they have all this creative wiggle room and what do they do?  They use the Disney names, which aren’t very flattering.  Ug, even in Kristin Kreuk’s Snow White, her dwarves where named after days of the week and colour coded to match the colours of the rainbow!  OUaT was doing so well with their Snow White interpretation, their Snow White’s on the run, living rough, stealing from the rich, dealing with evil trolls, she’s got attitude and the ability to take care of herself, and Prince Charming actually has a name!  But I won’t spoil that.  They were doing so well avoiding the Disney references with Snow White’s story (apart from the dwarves names) but when we finally get other fairytale characters, it’s like the writers get lazy and use Disney as their source of visual reference for their fairytales.

The evil witch from Sleeping Beauty is the Evil Queen/ Regina’s best friend.  So they call her Maleficent!  Now I admit it is a fabulous name, and considering the evil fairy or queen (depending which version of the tale you’re reading) from the Sleeping Beauty fairytale doesn’t have a name.   I don’t mind the reference, what I do mind, is that they take it a step further to link it to the Disney version by trying to incorporate the Disney design into their design.  And thus we get those ridiculous head ear/ horn purple mesh thingy’s.  In my house when we don’t know what something is, we call it a thingy, and that’s what Maleficent is wearing.

That was episode 2, in episode 4 we get a new fairy tale character not linked to Snow White, Cinderella.  Now don’t get me wrong, I loved this episode, even though, again, it blatantly references Disney.  Firstly, Ella gets a blue ball gown!  It’s like a more sensible less fluffy version than Disney, but it’s a Disney reference.  Followed by the hair!  I can’t believe they gave her poufy hair that imitates the Disney hairstyle.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it, and maybe I just find the hairstyle horrible and unflattering to the actress who has a really sweet face, but I definitely see a Disney reference.  Also, another Prince Charming, shame that is like the default name for every fairytale prince, but at least he gets a name and personality as well.

Episode 5 was a Jiminy Cricket story, and I absolutely loved it.  It showed me that the writers are capable of using the fairytales as guidelines and creating new stories to flesh out characters.  In this episode Archie Hopper/ Jiminy Cricket becomes the person he wants to be in the ‘real’ world, while we get flashbacks of his life in the enchanted world.  He had terrible parents, marvellously evil, apathetic characters.  What’s nice is that the end of Jiminy Crickets origin story then links up to the Pinocchio tale in quite a poignant and original way.

That’s all that’s been released of OUaT so far, and I’m looking forward to the rest, but even now I am disappointed again.  A spoiler was released for a future episode which deals with Beauty and the Beast, a fairytale that I love, and what do we get, but a photo of Bell in Disney’s yellow poufy dress!  I actually hate that dress.  There have been tonnes of other adaption’s of Beauty and the Beast, with stunning dresses, why, why, why the yellow one?  I like the idea of Bell in blue.  Other than my gripe with the dress, I’m really excited about this episode, like what will the beast look like and whose going to play him, what kind of Bell will Emilie de Ravin (Claire in Lost) make, and what on earth is Bell doing talking to Rumpelstiltskin?

I have no objection to Disney references, such as the Tinker Bell wind charm, of Doctor Hopper’s dog being a Dalmatian called Pongo (which is pure Disney, 101 Dalmatians is not a classic fairytale, but a novel written in 1956 by Dodie Smith) or the little Minnie Mouse in Mister Gold’s pawn shop, it’s the blatantly huge ones, the ones that they use to define characters with.  It was suggested that not everyone knows the non-Disney versions of fairytales, that they use the Disney version so that people can more easily identify fairytale characters.  I both agree and disagree with this idea, the fairytales have other signifiers that make the story identifiable to the viewer, as Rumpelstiltskin said to Cinderella when asked about the glass slippers:  ‘Every story needs a memorable detail’.  We don’t need the Disney look to make people recognise which fairytale their watching.  Also, growing up, I watched and read multiple versions of fairytales, many of them not even remotely similar in aesthetic to Disney.

Pixar’s Brave New Trailer

You can’t see it, but I’m jumping up and down with excitement.  YES, THIS MOVIE IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!!!!!!  Would you look at Merida’s hair!!!!  (That’s the princess)  It looks fantastic;  wow 3D animation is improving in leaps and bounds.  And those wee little bears, just so CUTE!!!!  And it’s a new Disney princess more awesome and capable than any we have seen. Tiana and Rapunzel were very capable, but look;  we finally have a princess that has a proper weapon!  Also very impressive is the fact that the cast isn’t American;  it consists of top British and Scottish talent.  Kelly Macdonald does the voice of Merida, she’s Scottish, and we know her as Helena Ravenclaw from the Harry Potter franchise.  Emma Thompson does the voice of Queen Elinor, Robbie Coltrane aka Hagrid does the voice of Lord Dingwall, Kevin McKidd from Grey’s Anatomy voices Lord MacGuffin (I didn’t know he was Scottish!?), we also have Julie Walter aka Molly Weasley, Craig Ferguson the voice of Gobber from How To Train You Dragon (I loved Gobbers voice in HTTYD) and last but not least the one the only, the epic BILLY CONNOLLY as King Fergus.  Billy Connolly has such a magic Scottish accent, he hasn’t done nearly enough voice acting in my opinion.  To have such top notch UK voice talent in an American created and produced film is quite unusual, usually American films take on other countries and cultures films, and place American accents within.  Like Kevin Costner’s nonexistent British accent in Robin Hood.  (love the movie anyway)  This is a very clever movie by Pixar, by having the correct accents it adds character to the story telling, plus it’s written by Pixar, so the story is going to be original and multilayered, and comedicly brilliant.  I am so excited for this movie;  I’m frothing at the mouth!

Stitch Awesome

So today is my birthday. No I will not mention my age EVER.  But I thought I might share one of my gifts.  It’s a Stitch figurine, but a very special one, it’s a ………………..

SITH LORD STITCH!!!!!!

 He was bought when we went to Disney, earlier last year.  Disney owns the rights to Star Wars, and they have a Star Tours ride, and loooooooooots of Star Wars merchandise.  But the fun thing about Disney is that they inserted their characters into the movies, so you could buy a Minnie Mouse Princess Leia and a Luke Skywalker Mickey.  There was a  Jedi Stitch, but he was in a two-pack with Goofy (the Disney character I loathe the most).  I would have bought it, but then I found Sith Lord Stitch, just the most awesome thing EVER.  Stitch as a Sith Lord Darth Sidious is just so appropriate to his personality, cause we all know Stitch has a bit of an evil streak.  ( he was originally an ‘evil’ experiment).

Christmas Memories

Well I’m in a Disney/ Christmas mood, and I suddenly remembered a video I had when I was little which was sing-a-along Christmas carols to Disney cartoons. So I went looking for it and found them on Youtube. Oh it brings back fond memories, these videos made Christmas seem so magical and exciting.  Unfortunately Disney hasn’t released this on DVD so what you are seeing is some dedicated soul who copied their VHS copy. Which is such a pity, because this is classic Disney animation at its best, and you can’t see the finer elements because the quality is so-so. *sobs*

I think this is my favourite song, I wish I could see the cartoon that these clips are from in its entirety.

This song is so cute. And I love how the toys decorate the Christmas tree. Its so enchanting and fun.

Agh isn’t Rudolph the sweetest thing ever! Shame poor baby they were so mean to him.

This is such a sexy voice singing. Makes you want to snuggle up in front of a fire. Well I’d rather snuggle up in front of my aircon, its absolutely boiling!

Well this is definitely Disney A Christmas Carol.

It’s clips from Fantasia to Joy to the world, but it’s very appropriate to Christmas. I love these fairies.

And of course Jingle Bells. Aaaaw I love the bunnies who hitch a ride on the slay, it’s too dear.

I love Donald duck in this one, especially when he curls his hair.

DECK THE HALLS!!! I love this one; the idea of walking round a Christmas tree from the inside looks so magical.

And finally

Silent Night, my favourite Christmas Carol of all time. When I was in junior school it was the carol that the audience had to sing at our nativity, and I just loved hearing all the adults singing it, it wasn’t harmonious like this version, but it was still absolutely beautiful.