I spy a brand new Star Wars animated series – Resistance

(image via Star Wars Wikia (c) Lucasfilm / Disney)

 

SNAPSHOT
The series, which revolves around the ace fighter pilots of Leia Organa’s burgeoning Resistance, follows a young pilot named Kazuda Xiono (voiced by Days of Our Lives’ Christopher Sean), recruited by the rebel group to conduct secretive spying missions on the growing reach of the villainous First Order. (synopsis (c) Gizmodo)

Those far-off days when new cinematic and televisual Star Wars instalments were few and far between, and longtime fans like yours truly – who is so old he saw the original Star Wars, when it was just called Star Wars, in a cinema in 1977 – had to wait a while for the next part of the story to be told, now seem like a weird dream, a distant memory.

For ever since Disney got their hands on Lucasfilm, it’s been all systems go with an endless parade of mostly very good films – for the record I loved Solo and was meh about The Last Jedi (but not, I must stress, for the reasons advanced by the misogynistic fans who bizarrely want to remark it; I just thought it dull and scattered in its storytelling) – and TV shows which have taken our “long time agaon in a galaxy far, far away” to all kinds of wondrously expansive places.

Next up is Star Wars Resistance, an animated series that tAkes place before The Force Awakens when Poe and BB-8, who’ve around the Resistance traps once or twice greet a new crop of raw recruits eager to do their bit for a free galaxy and fight the pernicious inroads of the First Order.

 

 

The trailer has a delightfully comic air to it that dovetails nicely with the fact that the protagonist Kazuda soon finds that aspiration and reality aren’t always the best of bedfellows and that perhaps there’s a lot more to being a spy that he bargained on as the synopsis for the first episode makes all too clear.

“Poe and BB-8 assign newly-appointed spy Kaz to the Colossus, a massive aircraft re-fuelling platform on an outer rim water planet, home to colourful new aliens, droids and creatures. While undercover, Kaz works as a mechanic and lives with Poe’s old friend Yeager, a veteran pilot who operates a starship repair shop run by his crew: Tam, Neeku and their old battered astromech droid, Bucket. Kaz soon finds himself in over his head with his new friend BB-8 as he’ll have to compete in dangerous sky races, keep his mission a secret from his newfound family, and avoid the danger of the First Order.”

So derring-do adventures, danger, intrigue and some comic lightness? Sounds like the perfect Star Wars adventure and you can catch it all, if you’re in USA, from October, when Star Wars Resistance debuts; international dates TBC.

Avengers Infinity War: How should it have ended?

(image via IMP Awards)

 

Avengers: Infinity War is grim, people, GRIM with the kind of ending that has you leaving the theatre with a desperate, impelling need to eat your body weight in junky comfort food (which as luck would have it, cinemas have in abundance; true, it will bankrupt you ten times over but it’s there).

But it did really have to end that way?

If you’re Marvel and want the mother of all cliffhangers to eat away at people like a cancerous plot point – I have no idea what that is but it sounds dramatic and so shall it stay in the copy – then it’s damn near perfect; but what if, reasons the good, fiendishly clever, and devilishly-funny folks at How it Should Have Ended, there was more than one out of 14,605 ways (the odds calculated by Dr Strange) to avoid Thanos’s click of the fingers?

What might that have looked like?

Well, wonder no more for there are 11 minutes of all kinds of humourously-delivered, well thought-out musings on how the film could have ended instead, which will leave you with the sickening realisation that you might have been able to avoid the 60 kgs of buttered popcorn you consumed after all. (I mean, IF you had; really who would do that? Me? Ha ha no, you’re kidding right … haha.)

 

Welcome to Dreamland: Meet the characters of Disenchantment

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
In Disenchantment, viewers will be whisked away to the crumbling medieval kingdom of Dreamland, where they will follow the misadventures of hard-drinking young princess Bean, her feisty elf companion Elfo, and her personal demon Luci. Along the way, the oddball trio will encounter ogres, sprites, harpies, imps, trolls, walruses, and lots of human fools.

The series will feature the voice talents of Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) as Bean, Nat Faxon (Tammy) as Elfo and Eric Andre (The Lion King) as Luci. They will be joined by John DiMaggio, Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, David Herman, Matt Berry, Jeny Batten, Rich Fulcher, Noel Fielding, and Lucy Montgomery. (synopsis via Coming Soon)

I love a well-executed piece of post-modern animated fun and honestly Disenchantment (I also adore a clever play on fairytale words which this title delivers in glitter-filled handfuls), the new comedy from Matt Groening looks like it has the capacity to deliver that in spades.

Not everyone is convinced – see this critique from Rolling Stone – but these character profiles, which are an absolute hoot to watch (yes I used the word “hoot” so you just know I really liked them) indicate that we’re in for a brilliantly quirky romp into the land of princesses and medieval familial expectations.

Take time to watch them all since they’re a great primer for the series. How do I know this without having seen a single episode?

Well, Groening has demonstrated with both The Simpsons and Futurama that characters, beautifully-written, appealingly-executed characters are at the very heart of every one of his shows, and given how well the characters do their thing in these short videos, it’s obvious that Disenchantment won’t be an exception to the rule.

How right I am will be come obvious today when Disenchantment premieres its full 10-episode first season on Netflix.

 

 

 

 

Wreck It Ralph 2 is off to the colourful madness of the interwebs (new trailer)

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 leaves Litwak’s video arcade behind, venturing into the uncharted, expansive and thrilling world of the internet—which may or may not survive Ralph’s wrecking. Video game bad guy Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) must risk it all by traveling to the world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, Sugar Rush. In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet—the netizens—to help navigate their way, including a website entrepreneur named Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson), who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site “BuzzzTube.”

The film will also include a team up of all the Disney Princesses including Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana), Kristen Bell (Anna in Frozen), Kelly Macdonald (Merida in Brave), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in Tangled), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in The Princess and the Frog), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in Aladdin), Paige O’Hara (Belle in Beauty and the Beast) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid). (synopsis via Coming Soon)

The internet is euqual parts loved and reviled depending on what you need it for and whether it aids and enhances your life and fills it with sunshine and cat memes, or trolls the hell out of you leaving you a bruised and battered cyber mess.

You get a small taste of that when Wreck It Ralph 2 steps into the ‘net’s gaudy, busy environs and encounters all kinds of interesting offers including a chance to race in the Slaughter Race (sounds soooo safe, doesn’t it?) in which the Gal Gadot-voiced Shank has a pretty big stake!

All kinds of things could go wrong, and yet, you get the feeling that Disney princesses from the other side of the studio tracks – the Merida scene in a gem and worth the price of admission alone I think – notwithstanding, all kinds of things could go right and likely will in what looks like a gem of an animated film.

Wreck It Ralph 2 opens 21 November USA, 30 November UK and 26 December Australia.

 

Weekend pop art: Go travel the world with Disney!

Zootopia (image via io9 / (c) Dave Perillo)

 

Much as we might wish it to be different, stretching the budget to travelling to every part of the globe just isn’t possible for most of us.

So let’s give a Mickey Mouse-ian gloved hand to Gallery Nucleus and Cyclops Prints Works who have taken one of the great attractions, among many, of Disney animated films – their many and varied exotic locales – and turned it into the most wondrously escapist show, Dream Destinations: A Disney Travel Poster Exhibition that allows us to travel the world without leaving home.

Well, that’s only if you check out the prints online, which you can do by going HERE and yes, HERE (where you can also buy them!) ; if you do want to get out and about and you’re able to get to Alhambra, California between now and 18 August then you most definitely should!

Life, alas, may not be a Disney movie but for a just a little while you can pretend it is, losing yourself in all kinds of places in the imagination.

 

Frozen (image (c) Eva Vilhelmiina)

 

The Sword and the Stone – Sir Ector’s Castle (image via io9 (c) Adam Johnson)

 

101 Dalmatians – Tour of London (image via io9 (c) Chie Boyd)

 

Lilo and Stitch – Hawaii (image via io9 (c) Xinwei Huang)

 

Alice in Wonderland – Lose Yourself In Tulgey Wood (image via io9 (c) Steph Laberis)

 

The Princess and the Frog – New Orleans (image via io9 (c) Oliver Akuin)

 

Lady and the Tramp – A Taste of Italy (image via io9 (c) Benjamin Burch)

Smallfoot exists suckers! The people … and the film (new trailer)

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, Smallfoot turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human. News of this “smallfoot” brings him fame and a chance with the girl of his dreams. It also throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in a rollicking story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery. (synopsis via Coming Soon)

If there’s one thing our fractured world needs right now – OK, there are many things but let’s concentrate on this one right now – it’s a lot more peace, love and understanding (so that’s three things really but let’s bundle them up into one big old heartwarming theme OK?)

That is exactly what Smallfoot delivers up in spades by the look of this trailer which combines all kinds of comedic hijinks – the scene where the smallfoot believe yeti Migo (Channing Tatum) is trying to warm up Percy (James Corden), the human-shaped proof that he’s not delusional is hysterically funny – are combined with a lovely message that might lack some Pixarian subtlety but looks like it’ll hit the spot anyway.

It’s always a good idea to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and while much of the world seems to be struggling what’s really an elemental notion, Smallfoot appears to have it all sewn up.

Even better than this lesson comes with a whole lot of laughing because that is how people learn best, a spoonful of sugar and all that right?

So get ready to learn lots, laugh lots and indulge your inner child with some frozen fun (no, not that Frozen; the yeti kind all right?)

Smallfoot opens 27 September in Australia and 28 September in USA.

 

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Hank Azaria attest to the genius of Mel Blanc

(image via WB Animated Universe Wiki (c) Warner Bros)

 

SNAPSHOT
Do you know how hard that is? To do to take your own character, have it imitate another one of your own characters? It’s almost impossible. If you try to combine two voices that you’re doing, you kind of just land in the middle. …we all tried to do one of our characters imitating another one and have them sound different and we couldn’t do it. (speech grab via Laughing Squid)

Mel Blanc was a genius.

The voice of so many of Looney Tunes biggest characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam and a host of others, Blanc had the ability, as Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) admiringly points out to switch seamlessly between characters even when he was voicing one character impersonating another character.

Example A is the classic short “Rabbit Fire” in which Bugs and Daffy are competing to convince Elmer Fudd (voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan) just which animal is the target of the current shooting season.

Both pretend to be each other, creating a voicing challenge that Blanc handled with consummate ease.

Watch and be suitably impressed.

 

Driving! The Coen Brothers and The Waltz of the Road

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
Original Video Essay to explore the narrative in the Coen Brothers Style. The importance of the road in all their filmography let them explore the different emotions of their characters. (synopsis via Laughing Squid)

One of the great rewards of watching a film by the ridiculously-talented Coen Brothers, among many of course, is the way their films subsume you into a world where journeys of some kind or another are a constant.

They don’t have to be epic journeys necesarily; in fact, some of the most impacting scenes in their films have involved travelling here and there for the most banal and day-to-day of reasons.

Video editor Rick Perales pays homage to the visual and thematic richness of these journeys in his wordless, atmosphere rich video essay which uses footage from films like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Hail, Caesar!, and No Country for Old Men to explore the role that driving and roads play in the films.

In the process, you are taken on a sublime journey of your own, reminded at every turn of the wheel and bend in the road of the narrative richness of these esteemed filmmakers who find the transformative in the relatively simple act of going from A to B.

 

Forget the Good Place or the bad place! What about The Infinite Place?

(image via YouTube (c) Leigh Lahav)

 

Iron Man isn’t afraid of ANYTHING.

How do we know this? Well, according to the latest brilliantly-clever, very funny animated video from the talented Leigh Lahav, not even death ruffles his cooler-than-cool feathers.

Appearing before Michael from NBC’s sitcom-of-the-moment The Good Place, Iron Man is not the least bit fazed by finding he’s dead, and that things in the afterlife may be a whole different than he imagined.

How cool is that? Cool, and with the help of Janet, very, VERY funny.

As mash-ups go, this is hilariously inspired and maybe, just maybe won’t make death feel quite so scary.

OK maybe that won’t happen but dammit if Iron Man doesn’t make it a possibility.

 

It takes an arachnid to crush a village: Lucas the Spider in “Giant Spider”

(image via YouTube (c) Joshua Slice)

 

Lucas the Spider is a sweetheart.

True in the latest adventure from creator/animator Joshua Slice, Lucas, who is voiced by Slice’s nephew, he upends the lives of some fair wooden folk who he charmingly calls in on in the kind of sing-songy way people in musicals are wont to do, but he means no harm.

In fact, his visit is the various antithesis of mean-spirited and nasty and even when things don’t go quite as joyously as he expects, he is enormously regretful and sweet in a way that most destructive giants don’t tend to be. (Think the oafish giant from Jack and the Beanstalk and know that darling, lovely, inquisitive Lucas is nothing like that.

In this typically whimsical adventure into the material minutiae of our lives, that are, it should be noted, as magical to Lucas as they are to most children, we see him at his accidental worst and intentional best, confirming yet again why he is loveable and a joy to hang out with, no matter the havoc he wreaks.