What happens when you put a group of super powered “humans” together in one place? In the DC universe you get the Super Friends aka Justice League, in the Marvel Universe you get the dysfunctional ego ridden Avengers. The hero’s of the Avengers are not only The World’s Mightiest Hero’s but some of the world’s most complex.
I have been waiting for this movie for years. The chance to see some of my favorite super hero’s on one screen has been a dream. I then heard that Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy VS, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse) was directing and I knew they had the right man of the job. Whedon is not only a terrific storyteller and creative director but he is a fanboy. His love for comics is well know and he in my eyes was the right person for the daunting task of wrangling the an A-list cast and the cast of characters, many of which have very, very complicated back stories starting in the 1930’s.
I have to say success was achieved. The first minutes of the film are filled with action and the action almost never stops. The story, which I won’t give anymore away than the trailers let you know, is about the origin of the Avengers as a team. The World facing alien invasion lead by Thor’s brother Loki and the effort by S.H.E.I.L.D the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, to combat the invasion by assembling the best we have to offer to fight it off.
I don’t think the success of this film would have been possible without the long wind up by Marvel Studios to make the previous Ironman, Capitan America, Thor and Hulk films. The back ground given in those films gave you a primer on the universe and the background on several of the characters involved. You didn’t have to be told that Tony Stark is an ego maniac or that Thor is not of this world or that Cap is true of heart and conviction. The small introduction you got to Black Widow in Ironman 2 and Hawkeye in Thor as well as the easter eggs involving Nick Fury at the end of each film go along way with giving the Avengers a running start.
The action is fast and the story is sound filled with good dialogue and jokes that will keep you and the kids laughing. You even got to see some of the matchup you’ve dreamed about as a kid like Thor vs. Hulk and speaking of the Hulk, Mark Ruffalo may have just made the definitive interpretation of Bruce Banner the Hulks less violent side. I think this is saying a lot considering that there have been two other actors portraying the Hulk in 2003 and 2008.
We’ve seen NYC blown up every way to Sunday. We seem to try to make it an art. The destruction was viewed by a detached bus mirror, through the back of a broken taxi window and in the reflection of the shattering glass of buildings. The creativity gave us a new way to look at the city we seem to love to destroy. I for one if living in the Marvel Universe would not want to live in New York which seems to have a disaster every week.
I loved this movie in case you couldn’t tell. I recommend it you adults and youngsters. The PG-13 rating seems to be for violence. The violence is often against nonhuman looking creatures. So Assemble your friends and head to the movies for Avengers.
I will first admit to loving the books. I was reluctant at first, fearing it would turn out to be a futuristic Twilight. I started the first book and was hooked before the end of the first chapter. I’m halfway through book two and can’t read fast enough.
The movie, in my eyes, had a lot to live up too. So let’s begin…
The casting was perfect with the exception of Donald Sutherland. I just don’t buy him as evil, sinister and heartless President Snow. They were dead-on with Stanley Tucci as Caeser Flickerman. It was like he was channeling Richard Dawson from the old Family Feud (who played a similar character in “Running Man”).
I think Jennifer Lawrence did a bang up job as our reluctant heroine Katniss Everdeen. She portrayed the character with the vulnerability and strength that comes when your back is against the wall.
The biggest surprise in casting was Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy. I had always envisioned an older man with a bigger gut who looked more like a disaster, kind of like a Madeye Moody from the Harry Potter books. It didn’t take long for me to buy in to his portrayal as the former Hunger Games victor who treats his PTSD and constant torment of having to watch children he trains year after year die in the arena with gallons of alcohol.
Oh, and did you recognize Lenny Kravitz as Cinna? I have to admit, I knew I knew him, but I couldn’t place him until I looked up the listing on IMDB.
The story was dead on. The director did a good job of subtly packing in a lot of back story through text on the screen and setting the scene for District 12 from the outset. You see the establishing shots of District 12, Katniss’ home, and can immediately recognize it as the poor Appalachia community and home of crushing poverty it is.
A scene by scene retelling is impossible as with every novel turned movie. I understand this and it is rare that a movie outshines the novel; the only exception I can think of was “Gone With the Wind”. I find it impossible for a movie to ever reach the emotional depth of the written word. The director did, however, do a good job blending scenes and condensing the timeline without degrading the story.
I whole-heartedly recommend seeing this terrific adaptation.
I really, really, really recommend reading this exciting trilogy. The intensity can cause extreme anxiety. I recommend you refill your Paxil prescription before opening the book.
And ha! The spell check wants to change Katniss to “Catnip”. I wonder if Suzanne Collins found that out and went with it for Gale’s affectionate nickname for her?
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs born in 1875 was a visionary of science fiction writer. His most famous creation was “Tarzan the Ape Man” but like many novelist his greatest novel wasn’t his first. A Princess of Mars was published in1917 and was the first of his Barsoom (Mars) series. The story set is set on a Mars that is dying and whose imagery makes you think of the old west. A red tinted mesa and scrub brush landscape fills the imagination as it sets the stage for civil war veteran John Carter’s adventures. The Barsoom series has helped shape the writing of Ray Bradbury inspired scientist like Carl Sagan to search the stars for extraterrestrial life.
Burroughs didn’t only imagine other worlds he imagined other ways to do business. He, against the advice of publishers and other experts, capitalized on the success of Tarzan by syndicating a Tarzan comic strip, license merchandise, and adapt it to the screen. I whole heartedly suggest if you haven’t seen Tarzan and his Mate you Netflix it ASAP. It is wonderful in direction and pushes the boundaries of what you thought was acceptable in early Hollywood.
He didn’t stop at fiction. He lived in Hawaii during the Second World War and became the oldest war correspond in the war.
He died in 1950 in California after writing more than 70 novels.
-Disney’s Meet John Carter bases on Mr. Burroughs creations opens this weekend-
J.J. Abrams Gets Green Light For A REVOLUTION
The new sci-fi show to air on NBC is set in a world were all forms of energy are gone. I’m thinking a post apocalyptic Gilligan’s Island, no cars, no phones, and no electricity.
The description released by the studio is as follows “A high octane action drama from J. J. Abrams following a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist.”
J.J Abrams has proven himself a innovative director over the last decade with mind bending shows like Lost and action shows like Alias, mmmm Jennifer Garner in a catsuit. He even brought his own genesis effect to the Star Trek universe with a blockbuster hit, something that hasn’t happened for Star Trek for a long time, by revamping the story and even changing the rules of the Star Trek universe (alt-timeline).
I just hope this new foray into a world with no electricity doesn’t shutdown a Bad Robot.
In Other New..
Matthew Vaughn has been signed to direct a sequel to X-Men First Class, this is great! The even better part is the uber-talented Michael Fassbender will reprise his role as the master of magnetism Magneto. Jennifer Lawrence who did a superb job adding depth and motivation to Raven Darkholme aka Mystique is under contract to return as well. The earliest speculations at the plot only have that it might take place later than the 60’s. I vote we skip the 70’s and tap into all the kids my age who got to know the X-men in the 80’s. The greatest coup would be if they could just get Hugh Jackman to join as Wolverine.
Super Girl Issue 5 The New 52
The lost girl Kara has had an interesting few days, she woke up in a strange land, was attacked by robots, kidnapped into space and experimented on, oh yeah, her baby cousin is a grown man and has superpowers and so does she. She also is told her planet has been destroyed. So what does she do? What any super powered young woman would do hold your breath and fly through space back to where her planet once orbited. Her home the City of Argo was floating in space with the rest of the krypton’s’ rubble. What happened to her parent? Her friends? A cryptic message from her father points at trouble but is unclear what happened leaving the reader guessing too.
I’m not sure if this is the beginning of a story arc or the end of the first one. I’m thinking it could be either. The definitive proof that Krypton is gone should help her come to grips that earth is her new home. So, I hope we start getting down to the brass tacks of her trials of fitting into human society and dealing with the duel identity thing. I always find that one of the most interesting parts of the story. I do have to say regardless the storytelling is excellent and the art work is great. Kara aka Super Girl looks hot, but without looking slutty. She is supposed to be the girl next door with superpowers; I hope this reboot of the character doesn’t forget that.
I was amazed at the strong comeback for the fourth showing in the Underworld series. The third film, the prequel Rise of the Lycans” was weak compared to the first two installments, much of that I feel had to do with the lack of the amazing Kate Beckinsale as the ass kicking lead. The most recent adventure has the return of the gun toting death dealer Selene. She, without giving away too much, awakes after 12 years in cryogenic suspension in a world where Vampires and Lycans are being hunted to extinction by humans. The pace of the movie is fast, as action films should be, and is filled with great gun play. The 3-D was also not overdone. I feel some movies that are shot in 3-D are gratuitous. You see the camera angle and are like “Oh here’s the explosion flying in my face shot.” If I wanted to have things predictably fly in my face I’d be a hockey goalie. The 3-D seams natural. It gives the viewer a natural depth.
One of the main pieces missing from the original is Scott Speedman aka Michael Corvin the Vampire/Lycan hybrid and the last living descendent of the original Corvinos, the progenitor of both species. . I don’t think that I’m giving away too much in stating that Selene spends a large portion of the picture looking for Michael since you hear her in the trailer asking “Where’s Michael?”.
The world has changed during Selene’s slumber and rather visually too. The unnamed city and country that had a distinct old world feel due to its shooting location in Budapest, Hungry looks distinctly modern now because of the filming location of every ones generic city Vancouver, Canada. I have nothing against filming in Vancouver it’s just the locations are becoming very too familiar. A key location in the film, I immediately recognized as a location from Stargate and Battlestar Galactia. I wish that directors would think of this when using a signature location like that. The main reason Vancouver is a great location is it is generic; its joked Vancouver doesn’t even look like Vancouver.
I give it Underworld Awakening my wholesale recommendation. The film is a fast paced action flick that doesn’t sit on the laurels of the previous three. I would even say it “breathed new life” into the undead franchise. I’m even thrilled that there is obvious room for a fifth installment.
season premiere episode one
I see it as the 4400 meets prison break. What would happen if the worst criminals America ever put in prison suddenly started reappearing in society. These criminals who disappeared decades ago from unescapable Alcatraz Island resurface with money, resources, instructions and the chance to settle old scores in 2012 San Francisco and did I mention they haven’t aged a day. It sounds like the city by the Bay is in deep trouble who will be tasked with this job to round up these hardened criminals a young San Francisco police detective played by Sarah Jones the historian played by Jorge Garcia (Hugo aka Hurley from Lost) and Sam Neil is the mysterious director of a special FBI unit and channeling creepiness and spookiness we haven’t seen since a Event Horizon.
The premiere episode moves at a rather quick pace and doesn’t leave the viewer asking wha? It is a little heavy on the exposition as characters explain themselves and who they are but that is expected in a pilot. I am looking forward to seeing the next several episodes. The immediate questions you want answered are most likely to be dealed out slowly by the writers. Where did the inmates and guards go? Who is the mysterious benefactor? If I guard comes back will he be a good guy or a bad guy? Will a guard be more forth coming with an explanation? What is the end game? I imagine we’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.