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Films, television, videos, or other visual media that's currently caught my eye ...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wolverine and the X-Men

The new vehicle for one of Marvel Comics's cash cows, the merry mutants that are the X-Men, debuted this weekend.

Wolverine and the X-Men is the newest cartoon for the X-Gene challenged, and I find it so far to be a good mix between my beloved 90s series, and X-Men: Evolution (from which it takes some heavy visual cues).

The series has some serious talent on the acting side (Nolan North, Liam O'Brien,Richard Doyle, Kari Wahlgren, etc.), same writer (Craig Kyle, also a comic book scribe) as X-Men: Evolution. I'm a big Steve Blum fan, though I think he's more of a Cowboy Bebop / Spike guy than a berzerker canuck, so his emoting felt a little off in the first two episodes. I'm hoping he flexes into it (and I know he can, so it's not a talent issue at all).

Not that everything's rosy with the series. Marvel is going to have a serious challenge of doing the series justice, without bending it too much on its ear to support the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film vehicle in May (example: Cyclops is a leader of the X-Men; Storm is a leader of the X-Men; Wolverine is not so much).

Marvel also has a glut of animated content available or coming down the pipe (the current Spider-Man series; the new Iron Man series that has me concerned; all of the Lions Gate direct-to-DVD fair (they already had to smartly combine the two "Hulk Versus" films; etc.). I do have a concern that people will get saturated with it, and we'll have a late-1990s(ish) tailing of interest in all things comic book. That would make me sad.

I think what will mitigate it is companies treating these things for what they are -- not comic book properties, per se, but intellectual properties with various expressions, one of which happens to be comic books. The dark horse is whether the fanboys will give the properties that latitude.

Lookit me -- I start out with quick impressions, and wind up with the start of a biz dev article. I'm complex that way.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Prince Caspian (Blu-ray)

I finally got around to watching Prince Caspian on Blu-ray last night.

The film does well, even if it isn't the emotional powerhouse of the first Narnia film (nor the commercial one, grossing roughly half of its predecessor's box office earnings).

Caspian is a tougher book with which to follow The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but arguably a needed setup for following films.

Titular hero Ben Barnes does a solid job (though his accent seems a bit inconsistent in the more emotional moments), and I hope to see more of him in the follow-up film, and in other projects.

And while Warwick Davis will always be Willow to me (and Wicket), I'm impressed with the amount of work he does, how hard he works, and his diversity in roles (and people probably don't remember his previous tie to the 1980s TV incarnation Narnia franchise).

I'd really like to see more of Anna Popplewell (who portrays Susan Pevensie, and has an absolutely stunning on-screen presence), and William Moseley (High King Peter Pevensie). Though given the nature of the Narnia storyline, this will have to be via other film vehicles.

Long-time actor (and first-time villain) Sergio Castellitto makes a convincing baddy, with the boudoir scene being his most powerful.

I thought Pierfrancesco Favino (General Glozelle) was ridiculously underutilized in the film, and now I'm going to have to run out and grab a few of his French films to see if I'm right.

The next film in the series is allegedly The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which will make (I think) for a far better film than Caspian (think Jason and the Argonauts(ish), which could be tough, given that film's possible relaunch in the same 2010 year as Dawn Treader).

Again, Caspian is a great film, the Blu-ray transfer is solid, and I hope more people will start liking or disliking the Narnia films based on their own merits (and those of the talent), without liking / hating them just because they're pro- or anti-christian.


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