Pirates and Zombies and Mermaids, oh my

6 May

So I just saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (aka PotC IV) and IT WAS SO GOOD!

No, really, it was!

I know there might be some of you out there who were a little disappointed by the last two movies and, well, if I’m being truly honest, even I didn’t love them as much as I absolutely adored the first one.

(Before watching PotC I: CotBP, when asked about my favourite movie I always said Titanic because that’s a movie everyone liked, right? Then I saw Pirates and I was like, “THIS! This is my favourite movie of all time.” And it was. And it still is. I still haven’t seen Titanic.)

But this movie? Oh, it’s almost back to the first movie’s level of AWESOME. (Yes, that did need to be in all caps. Deal with it.)

In case you haven’t seen the trailer yet:

I think the more honest title for this movie is Pirates of the Caribbean: Watch Captain Jack Being Awesome.  The last three movies were good, but this one is definitely the Cap’n Jack Special.

We do get to see beloved side characters again, a great storyline, exciting chase scenes, swordfights…and there are some really cute deckhands if you pay attention to the extras.

I’m too full of squee right now for this to be a coherent review, so I’m just going to end by saying PotC IV is amazing. Go see it! [Comes out on May 20th]

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Between The Concrete And The Blue, Blue Sky

29 Apr

I just can’t really get myself to care about the royal wedding. I generally don’t even care much for weddings, let alone 2 people I don’t even know are getting married, so… my original plan for tonight was to watch Tekkon Kinkreet, as I just finished the graphic novel on Wednesday. Despite being a hefty 614 pages, Black and White was a fairly quick read, though a bit difficult to stomach all at once–er, broken down into 2 days. I tend to marathon my graphic novel reading…

Image via precur.files.wordpress.com

Image via precur.files.wordpress.com

I did very little research prior to picking up this novel. Half the time I pick up anything to read is from walking into the comic book store or my local independent bookstore (in this case, I went to Skylight on Vermont) and checking out the staff recommendations. Truth be told I can never find the graphic novels I want whenever I go to Barnes & Noble or Borders, and everyone knows I don’t read books, so why bother.

Tekkon Kinkreet is not a new title. I had seen a movie poster for the animated film a while back but forgot to put it into my personal/mental anime queue, and seeing this title at the bookstore with the staff recommendation note posted underneath, piqued my interest. There was only a short and vague summary about the story on the back cover, but it didn’t seem like the usual manga I read. There was a shiny Eisner award certification stamped on the front cover, and rarely are Eisner awards given to manga.

Scenes from the movie. Image via amazon.com

It was important for me to mention that I did zero research on this novel before diving into it. As I flipped onto the final page, I looked at the back insert, to see that this novel had been completed in 1994. The art style was in no way “dated-looking” (avid manga readers you know exactly what I’m talking about), the story transcending time and space–Treasure Town could have been anyplace, Black and White could have lived in anytime.

The story is based on a simple premise–two orphan boys running wild in a town they call their own, until one day the yakuza finally decide to step in to “take over” the town. Black and White–it’s never clarified whether or not they are brothers but they are of the same blood.

In the graphic novel, most of the emotions are conveyed through the stark contrast in the images and the little life occurrences our two protagonists must face. The “symbolism” is not as obvious as it is in the movie, which is a visual and cerebral delight. Though the movie was made in 2006, the animation is stunningly beautiful, even in spite of how raw the character design is. Each vignette is lush with archetypes and important details to be noticed during a second viewing. The music, composed all by Plaid, helps to set the audience in this make-believe, but completely real, world. It sets the pace of Black and White’s world; the soundtrack actually amplifies the emotions from the characters, who seem to only understand violence. Sure, there are a FEW holes in the movie but this is only because I read the manga just a day before.

"Hello, this is Agent White...." Image via pingmag.jp

The movie doesn’t try to match the novel word-for-word, frame-for-frame–but it still successfully pulls key scenes and enhances them. This is the true beauty of the movie–we can become truly immersed into Treasure Town–its beauty and its beast, our protagonist and antagonist.

I suppose everyone would draw different conclusions from their own readings and viewing of Tekkon Kinkreet. There are comparisons to the Lost Boys and Peter Pan, but Tekkon Kinkreet is a whole new vehicle that should be considered a great piece of literature, and the movie, a distinct accomplishment in anime films. (By the way I am glad this was not made into a live-action film.)


Yes, that is also music from AKFG!!

I apologize for not having anything particularly funny to say in this blog post, but it is almost 4am and I was pretty moved by the movie (or maybe it’s just that time of the month and I’m super emotional… er…). I watched the movie in Blu-Ray, so I highly suggest it. Other than that…Happy Friday, everyone!

Bloodsport(s)

25 Apr

Now that I’m fully recovered from Coachella and a spectacular Prince concert last week, I’m back into my schedule of eating dinner while watching anime (that’s what you do when you don’t have a roommate/social life). I would have written about this anime right after Coachella, but I don’t think I could legitimately “review” Deadman Wonderland without watching at least 2 episodes, so here we are, after 2 episodes. A friend recommended the manga to me a mere 3 wks ago, and I read through all 43 chapters in about 3 days, basically because I had nothing else to read at the time. (I have this tendency to marathon a series) While it’s not memorable by its own merit, it draws many similarities to “Elfen Lied”, “Darker Than Black” and “X-Men”, all of the associations which are helping me to remember this story.

Image via thefanboyseo.com

The first thing you’ll probably realize from the “Deadman Wonderland” anime is that almost all of the seiyuu’s (voice actors) from “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” moved on over to provide their talents to DW. Well, if you didn’t figure that out you need to get your shit together and watch FMA:Brotherhood, then we’ll talk. But seriously, the production quality of DW is brilliant (thanks to HD quality Youtube also), Kazuma Kondou‘s original manga illustrations translate beautifully into the animation, and I can’t wait to see the Carnival Corpse battles.

So as I’m watching the first episode while simultaneously trying to Facebook-chat with my friend, also watching the first episode, we both realize that the anime expands upon each character a TAD bit more than how the story unfolds in the manga, as though the mangaka knew that the story would be adapted into an anime… I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing as I would have no reason to watch the anime if the plot followed the exact tangent of the manga, but based on the first 2 episodes it would seem that this series is slated for a 2-season run.

As you probably see, I am trying very hard to spoil as little as possible about this series. I will merely leave you with the below hints I mentioned above….

1a) Elfen Lied= evolved humans using parts of their body to destroy other humans = Deadman Wonderland has this.
1b) Elfen Lied= half-nekkid girl character who has the intelligence of a 3-year-old = Deadman Wonderland has this.
2) Darker Than Black= characters who use blood to destroy other humans = Deadman Wonderland has this.
3) X-Men= evolved humans with powers that may be used for good or evil and are shunned by the rest of society = Deadman Wonderland has this.

”](There, I have spoiled very little for you.)

While DW doesn’t introduce any ground-breaking plotlines or characters, the manga was a relatively fun ride. But instead of waiting patiently for a new episode to release every week I think I’m going to catch up on Beelzebub and wait until the DW season is over to write up my summary.

Time Travel Theories

19 Apr

So, there are three main types of time travel. Or, at the very least, that’s the way I tend to classify time travel events in my head whenever I think about it. Which I kinda do a lot, because I’m that much of a nerd. Whatever.

With slight adjustments for the details of a particular time travel event, I really believe that these three categories can be applied to explain and classify every instance of time travel in comics/movies/books/TV shows/etc.

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1. Time is Unchanging: All time travel that happens was always meant to happen. There’s just one timeline; all events are fixed and built into it and can’t be changed. In fact, trying to change or avoid things often means that you, the time-traveller, are the one who makes them happen.

Ex: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure| Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban| Kate and Leopold| Premonition| Supreme| Timeline.

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2. Time as a River: Time travel can change certain things, but the things that were meant to happen will happen eventually. You might be able to change small details or delay things, but eventually the timeline will correct itself. It’s like throwing rocks into a river: pebbles make ripples, where you can see the tiny effects, but it won’t change the major flow.

Ex:  Doctor Who| Journeyman| Terminator| The Time Machine

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3. Time Changes into Alternate Timelines: The act of time travel always causes a change of some sort, and an alternate timeline branches off from that moment. This is where the most significant changes can happen and so it’s the most commonly seen. This one’s the most complicated just because different ‘verses deal with the role of the traveller and the state of their timeline in so many different ways.

Some ‘Role of the Traveller’ options:

  • merge with your other self and have memories of both timelines (I’ve only ever seen this in Harry Potter fanfiction, but it exists)
  • replace your other self (Batman/Superman Absolute Power)
  • cause yourself to never be born (why Marty fades in Back to the Future)
  • you and the other you(s) can exist simultaneously (old and young Spock in the ’09 Star Trek movie);

Some ‘State of the Timeline’ options:

  • jump between the past and the future making and seeing changes instantly
  • changes in the past create a new timeline, completely erasing yours giving you nowhere to jump back to
  • jump to the future and return to the past to create a new timeline based on what you learned

Ex:  13 Going on 30| Back to the Future| Batman/Superman: Absolute Power| Charmed| Cinderella 3: A Stitch in Time| Eureka| Heroes| Star Trek

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Can you think of more examples of time travel?

Is there anything that doesn’t fit into these categories? Anything that should be reclassified?

Oh, Yes, I Did Pre-Order The Ultimate Tron Collectors’ Set

14 Apr

I’m surprised I handled myself well enough to not immediately rip open the box upon arriving home after work today to film this un-boxing video. Because I no longer have Christmas presents to look forward to, I have to occasionally order material objects to fill that void in my life.

Since I felt it was a bit hard to show exactly what this collectors’ set included, aside from beautiful Disney packaging, I decided that a video would be a pretty good idea. You also get to see who we are (er, just me, this time), unless you’re my Facebook friend. Then you’re just stuck with seeing all my damn blog posts and shitty camera phone pictures of the concerts I go to.

If you:

a) are at work and can’t watch this video, maybe watch it later?
b) are not interested in watching this video, okay :[
c) watched about 2 seconds of this video and think I am ugly and boring, sorry, I am not Felicia Day :[
d) all of the above,

Scroll down.

If you watched the video and would like us to make MORE videos, please leave a nice comment. We will try to find more seemingly interesting things to vlog about. As always, thanks for all your support, we seriously appreciate it!

Spend $107 at tronsoundtrack.com and you get these goodies:

1. A physical copy of the TRON R3CONFIGUR3D (remix) CD. Looks kinda cheesy and reminds me of the Digitalism album cover art :\

Meh.

Inside

CD Booklet art

Moar CD booklet art.

2. Exclusive Daft Punk poster 27″ x 39″ (glows in the dark… when was the last time I owned anything that glowed in the dark…)
3. Tron: Legacy graphic novel (prequel to the movie)
4. 5-disc DVD set including a special lithograph (not really that special), but basically a Blu-Ray 3D version of the movie, for everyone that owns a pair of 3D glasses and a full HD 3D TV (yeah, sure), Blu-Ray 2D version, regular DVD version, digital copy, and most important, a Blu-Ray version of the original Tron movie.

Graphic novel and 5-disc set.

Yes, full color pages! All 127 pages!

Collectible lithograph inside DVD case.

There are basically 4 versions of Tron:Legacy.

Why I have hope for the Green Lantern movie

12 Apr

Answer = the new extended trailer.

Where the original trailer came off as cheesy, predictable, and hinted at the possibility of a badly animated super(skinny)suit, this trailer looks… epic.

It’s funny (his attempt at an oath actually made me laugh) and yet properly dramatic (the actual oath sounded almost inspirational).

It has snippets of exciting action scenes (explosions and fights and spaceships) and looks beautiful (aliens and settings that actually look cool).

Watching this trailer actually makes me want to go see this movie!

(I mean, I would have watched it anyway because it is a superhero and there’s no way I could say no to anything involving superheros, but now I’m way more likely to go see it in theatres)

Spoiler-free Book Review: The Court of the Air

10 Apr

If I’m being perfectly honest, I bought this book because of it’s cover.

It’s got a pretty font! And there was a cool looking balloon. And a super-cheesy, yet tantalising, tagline. (“A fantastical tale of high adventure, low-life rogues, and orphans on the run.”)

Can't argue with its appeal

Luckily, it managed to live up to my font-driven expectations.

Slotting this book into a genre actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be; all I have to do is string words together until they encompass it: it’s a steampunk Victorian fantasy adventure novel.

I think my favourite part about this book is how it shoves you into this new world and just goes, without tedious pages of background explanation. Through the clever use of jargon (in this case, words that are similar enough to their ordinary usage that you can understand their meaning, but used in unusual ways so the world still feels different) you’re plunged into the world without fanfare.

This is one of the few books where I’ve instantly thought “This would make a really good movie.” (Normally, I’m a stickler for original formats: I appreciate the nuances found in a book that a movie wouldn’t be able to convey. And vice versa; I’m an equal opportunity stickler.)

But this book? Would make an awesome movie! This world, done right, would be absolutely beautiful to see on the big screen. There’s so much unique detail: steam-powered living robots, fey mutations and magic users, armoured crab-people, flying bat-winged tribes…and those are just the character possibilities.

You know what would be even better? If it was animated. Not as a kids’ movie, and not necessarily computer animated because I don’t think you’d get the level of detail that this world deserves…but an old-school hand-drawn animated movie. Oh, why don’t I have any artistic skills? I really want this to happen now.

The Court of the Air can be enjoyed as a good old-fashioned adventure novel: exploring and experiencing a new world with the characters as they run for their lives from mysterious forces trying to kill them. (Always fun, right?)

Or, for the literary analysts among us, there’s plenty to read more deeply into. Examples:

  • Political commentary easily conveyed by exaggerating the parliamentary procedures (they actually fight each other during meetings in order to get proposals approved).
  • Social commentary thinly veiled in the described class structure and differenced between the many species/cultures mentioned.
  • Religious contradictions examined, for instance, through the fact that steambots are more spiritual than humans, whose religion is almost indistinguishable from political theory.

The world doesn’t feel as crazy-expansive as most sword-and-sorcery novels do; it’s not spread-out so much that you feel the characters are taking months to trek across it. Not to say that it isn’t good world-building…there are plenty of aspects of this world mentioned in passing which hint at a larger and more detailed universe (which seems like it’s more fully explored and expanded upon in the sequels).

The other covers in the series are just as awesome, and more than enough to encourage me to finish the series. (Yes, I’m shallow in that way. And now I’ve admitted it on the internetz. Damn.)

Has anyone else read it? Want to let me know what you think?

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