About these ads

Archive for December, 2011


Years ago you couldn’t get through any New Year’s Eve without seeing or hearing Guy Lombardo playing “Roll Out the Barrel” and “Auld Lang Syne” and, hey, I really am not that old.  We also had Dick Clark, the man who never ages, and the big old ball drop in Times Square in New York City, that still keeps rolling along.

This is the album by Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians, Auld Lang Syne, now available on CD for only $2.99, that, back in 33 1/3 LP form, got worn out by several families across the U.S.:

One of the classic holiday tunes that is also all about New Years’ is Nancy Wilson’s What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

In the world of viral videos on You Tube, it is awesome and appropriate that one of our favorite celebrities of 2011 uploaded a free song to celebrate the New Year, Zooey Deschanel and her cool ukelele, accompanied by her good pal Joseph (Joe) Gordon-Levitt, hangin’ around the house singing.  But the result is great.  Check it out:

If you’re not keeping up with the year, Deschanel has had a super year.  You may know her from several movies, both drama and comedy, including one of the holiday season’s best new classics, Elf, with Will Farrell, or from her musical duo She & Him, and more recently by her hit comedy series on ABC, New Girl, that has garnered her a Golden Globe nomination.  We reviewed her new Christmas album a few weeks ago here, and we’ve been loving her TV series all season, and discussed it here, too.

You’ll recognize “RegularJoe” Joe Gordon-Levitt from everything from a kid on Family Ties to Dark Shadows to Quantum Leap, from Roseanne to The Outer Limits to the show that made him well known, 3rd Rock from the Sun, from films like G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra to Inception.  Next year will be a big year for Gordon-Levitt, as he will have roles in both The Dark Knight Rises, and play President Lincoln’s son in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, based on a Doris Kearns-Goodwin book.

Sounds like Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt are not an “item,” but they sure look cute together, right?  It makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention.  How about a musical like A Knight’s Tale, Ella Enchanted starring these two?  And how cool to give a song out like this for free?

Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

About these ads

Originally released to the big screen in 1992, and then moving on to become the now defunct WB Television Network’s biggest hit series, Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer would go on to run seven seasons on TV, making its mark as one of the most successful fantasy TV series on any network.  The story of the original teen defender against vampires turns 20 this year and Buffy, the character, turned 30 this year in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season EightBuffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine released its fourth issue just last week.  (If you’re not keeping track, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy on TV, turns 35 this year and Kristy Swanson, who played Buffy in the movie, turns 43).

Wait, did you say Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons 8 and 9?  I thought the series stopped at Season 7.

If you loved Buffy the TV series and find that you have pangs for Spike or Willow or Xander when you drive past graveyards or if you find that you hear a hilarious pop culture reference and automatically envision it coming from Sarah Michelle Gellar AND you haven’t checked out your comic book store in the past 3 years, you’ll find that you’re a little behind on the ongoing story of Buffy & Co.  But now is a good time to easily catch up.

Buffy creator Joss Whedon himself wrote and was overseer of the transformation of Buffy from TV to comic book, published by Dark Horse Comics.  It is obvious from the storytelling that the trials and tribulations of the second-best known Scooby gang is still in prime form.  Pop culture references are a-plenty.  And 40 issues of Season 8, continuing a year after the end of the TV Season 7, are available in eight collected editions, easily findable in comic book shops, online retailers and half-priced book stores.  It was a very popular series, so it will be easy to find and get caught up.

The covers are stunning, and unlike a lot of adaptations of franchises, the characters look a lot like the actors who played on the TV show.  As is typical, the covers are often better than interior art.  The characters aren’t photo-real by any means, but I had no issue at all seeing the actors reciting the dialog of the story and sometimes Georges Jeanty’s pencils reflect actors really very well, such as Xander, who looks just like Nicholas Brendan in Volume 1 of Season 8.

Without revealing too many spoilers, Season Eight, Volume 1 “The Long Way Home” collects the first five issues of the series. Buffy and Xander are leading up a compound in Scotland, where they direct the activities of 500 of 1,800 slayers across the globe.  Buffy has two decoy Buffys to distract one of fiction’s classic, great villains—the United States government—from finding her.  In the aftermath of a destroyed Sunnydale, Buffy is now public enemy #1.

Giles, originally played on TV by British TV actor Anthony Stewart Head, is back training slayers, as is Buffy, separately, another key story element.  Self-described “gay wiccan jewess” Willow Rosenberg has better control of her magic, Buffy’s sister Dawn has been turned into a giant, and the first villain hired by the government to get Buffy is our favorite teenager turned rat and back again, Amy, whose characterization couldn’t better reflect her character on TV.  And Xander has a cool Snake Plisskin-esque eyepatch.

In Volume 2 of Season 8 “No Future for You,” reprinting the comic book series Issues 6-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, and Issue 10’s one-off story by Whedon “Anywhere But Here,” our second favorite slayer, Faith, returns, originally portrayed by Eliza Dushku.  She’s back with great “five by five” slang like “haven’t clocked you since the Sunny D went from being an outie to an innie.”  Giles has hired her to do what she has done before, kill a human, this time Lady Genevieve, a British aristocrat slayer, hunting slayers herself.  And she in turn, of course, is out to kill only one person… Buffy.

So if this hasn’t whetted your appetite for more Buffy, then nothing will, but if it has, eight volumes await you, and then you can get caught up to Season 9, Issue 4, waiting for you at a comic book store near you.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce
Spoilers!
If you happened to miss this year’s X-Men event from Marvel Comics, X-Men: Schism, now is a good time to get caught up.  The mini-series was released in a compilation edition Wednesday at comic stores and is available elsewhere January 11.  It’s also available at a discount for pre-order online.  Noteworthy at a minimum for this limited series is that it serves as the lead-in to the current X-Men storyline and main ongoing Marvel X-Men titles Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men.  “Marvel Architect” writer Jason Aaron created the events that culminate in the break-up of the X-Men into two teams.  The new hardcover collected edition includes Schism Issues #1-5, Generation Hope Issues #10-11, and X-Men: Regenesis, the book where each mutant chooses sides.  Unique to this series, several top artists participated in the complete work, with Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Daniel Acuna, Alan Davis and Adam Kubert each contributing an issue, among others.  Ultimately, like a lot of other series, it’s the lack of visual continuity that causes the entire work to slightly suffer, but ultimately Schism is a tight piece of storytelling and individual issues of the series are notable for the artwork, particularly Schism Issues #2 and 3, by Cho and Acuna.
The battle in the storyline at first appears to be between a growing sense of anti-mutant hatred around the world and the almost arrogant mutants led by Scott Summers aka Cyclops, who at first seems to be toting co-leader Logan aka Wolverine along for the ride.  Ultimately the battle turns to X-Man versus X-Man.  Writer Aaron fans the flames of discontent growing from the ongoing arguments over the years between the two leaders, prompting each to dig their heels in as they clash on how to respond to the anti-mutant sentiments by the non-mutant population.  But the surprising puppetmaster behind the demise of the X-Men unity is a mutant himself, young, annoying, too big and rich for his own good, Kade Kilgore.  Kilgore throws his own father from a plane and leads a group of psychopath children in his own strange arms deal, ensuring that he is the supplier to the world of 1980s-ish strategic defense initiative-type humanoid, robotic, giant automatons called sentinels.  These sentinels serve as the non-mutant population’s defensive shield against the mutants, now numbering only a few hundred, and living off the coast of San Francisco in an island called Utopia.  Kilgore creates the conflict, with the successful result of being able to benefit financially from it.
Ultimately the question the X-Men must face is whether to use children mutants to defend all mutants against the attack by the sentinels.  Wolverine says children should not be used as soldiers under any circumstance.  Cyclops believes the circumstances are too dire, and if he doesn’t use the children and their powers there may be no mutants left to defend.  Mirroring this storyline is the fact that Kilgore is leading his own band of children to attack and attempt to destroy the X-Men.
Although each of Summers and Logan gets ample time to lay out their positions, the reader can’t help but find it hard to support Summers, who comes off as arrogant, isolationist, and dangerous, versus Logan’s concern for not only mutants, but the rest of the planet and the overall big picture of Earth’s future.  Behind this Aaron hints at this result the culmination of the never-ending fallout from each X-Man’s care for the late Jane Grey aka Phoenix, and it seems these two will never be able to get along.  In the final panel Logan arrives at a destroyed Xavier School for the Gifted, and Summers remains at Utopia, paranoid, maybe rightly so, and locked into the idea that mutants need protected from the rest of the world.  In the last part, X-Men: Regenesis, a strange thing occurs, as Wolverine seems to get the short end of the stick, with the majority of the big name X-Men sticking with Scott Summers.  Yet, after Schism, the stronger and more entertaining series follows Wolverine in Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men title, and Summers’ ongoing storyline in Uncanny X-Men unfortunately just doesn’t carry the same spark.  Added plus to look for: the five-image cover gallery by Frank Cho, one of his best superhero works to date.  X-Men: Schism, the hardcover compilation, retails for $24.99.

As a big fan of Michael Westmore, predominantly because of his alien designs for several Star Trek series and movies, I love the odd show or reference to creating professional aliens for TV and movies via make-up, latex or other prosthetic and mask work.  I’d heard of the Syfy reality show Face Off, through its beautiful promos showing the host and others transformed into bird faces and other creatures, but for whatever reason missed the first season.  Thanks to a holiday marathon last weekend I was able to get a bit caught up and now am looking forward to its second season beginning Wednesday, January 11, on Syfy.

As reality series go, I like to think I am a bit selective.  I am easily annoyed and will stop watching any show that is about people in a confined space getting along or, more likely with reality series, not getting along.   This is why my reality series watching has been limited to Iron Chef America (where the fight is not really personal as much as professional with no living situation squabbles).  I also tried The Next Iron Chef and Top Chef for several episodes, but ultimately gave up when they turned into repetitive experiments in cramming people together who don’t really want to be there.  I am sure I’ve sampled some other reality shows that I have repressed or just don’t remember.  The worst of these was probably Worst Cooks in America, a pretty horrible and valueless show.  So why try another reality show?

Face Off at one level is just another competition show where several contestants compete to outperform their peers.  The difference here is the subject.  Like cooking, there is skill and artistry required, and the ongoing battle between those with professional training and those who are self taught or are naturals.   But the subject here is something cooler.   Food is food.  Monsters and aliens are… just really neat.  In creating great alterations of people into something else, we don’t get a college course in the profession, but we can pick up some pointers.  Like watching Bobby Flay and Mario Batali facing off against challengers and showing us how to improve our food preparation, and unlike the other reality shows out there, I want to know all I can about the craft of creature make-up from these amateurs and up and coming professionals and more importantly, from the guests who hail from Hollywood and actual film work, including Academy Award winning make-up pros.  At least all I can glean from limited investment of my time–about an hour per week.

Face Off appears to leverage some notoriety first through the host, McKenzie Westmore, daughter of Michael Westmore.  Admittedly my focus in watching a show like this isn’t the host (and shouldn’t be).  She does have some film credits, to add to her family name as a bit of “street cred,” including some soap opera work and minor roles in Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek: Insurrection and Ms. Westmore claims she has a background studying theatrical make-up, beauty make-up and appliance work “in school”.  As a hook to entice viewers, the Westmore name got me to watch, and from there I found other reasons to keep watching.*

For sure there are reasons to be doing something else while the show is on, specifically the standard reality show garbage–in particular in the first season the producers felt the need to dwell on two contestants that had some inexplicable vendetta against each other.  If you can cut through those parts (the DVR has a fast-forward, remember!) the good work done by the contestants was exciting to see, and I found myself several times surprised by the skill and resulting images created by the artists in the timeframes allotted.  And in one battle, where contestants had to change actual couples who were engaged to be married from male to female and vice versa, the reality schtick was clever and entertaining, even if the art of the craft seemed to suffer a bit.  The best challenge I viewed was the skin and ink contest where the best works had nude models blend into backgrounds in a stunning way.

The bigger draw in the show are the guests and other judges.  These have included Academy Award winning makeup artist Ve Neill (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands, Mrs. Doubtfire, Ed Wood, Beetlejuice), television makeup artist Glenn Hetrick (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the X-Files, Angel, Heroes, Babylon 5), and creature designer and director Patrick Tatopoulos (I Am Legend, Resident Evil: Extinction, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans). Guests have included Michael Westmore himself, Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13th) and Greg Nicotero (Predator, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Army of Darkness, Unbreakable, Minority Report, Hulk, Sin City).

The drawback so far is the over-emphasis on monster make-up, as opposed to fantasy and sci-fi.  It goes with the territory, however, that make-up artists spend a lot of time on horror flicks.  Hopefully we’ll get to see more sci-fi work and challenges in season 2, and maybe more film creators from science fiction films and less from the standard horror genre.

*Editor’s Note:  Original article updated.  My initial review reflected my findings after looking for references to Ms. Westmore’s make-up background.  I hoped to find some either on the show’s website or on Ms. Westmore’s website or on other Web sources but had no luck.   Ms. Westmore tweeted today that she indeed studied appliance work in “school”, not just worked under her father.  The show would do a great service to Ms. Westmore and the show by including some of her background relative to make-up work if so.  Viewers want this detail, and it lends greater credibility to the show knowing she has this background.  Here is what Ms. Westmore’s website states as her background and it tends to promote her role as host and actress vs. active involvement in the FX/make-up industry:

“Actress and host McKenzie Westmore is certainly no stranger to the film and television industry. A member of the legendary Westmore family, McKenzie started her career early, at the age of three, when she was cast in “Raging Bull”, as Robert De Niro’s daughter; and can be seen as the host of SyFy’s exciting new special effects and make-up competition series “Face Off.”  Most widely recognized for her 10-year run as “Sheridan Crane” on NBC’s popular daytime drama “Passions”, Westmore’s additional television and film credits include “Weird Science”, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Dexter”, “Surviving Suburbia”, and the Star Trek feature film “Insurrection.” Westmore also played a recurring role on ABC’s hit daytime drama “All My Children.” In addition, she can be seen in the HBO webseries “Apocalypse Wow!” and in the independent feature film “Vile” scheduled for release in 2011. When she is not working in front of the camera, Westmore can be found working hard behind the scenes, writing and producing on several new projects currently in development. A health, beauty, fitness and nutrition enthusiast with a background in personal training and nutrition, Westmore is also developing a line of wellness products created to enhance the health, beauty and well-being of women everywhere.  Westmore is so proud of her rich family heritage and was thrilled to celebrate in 2008 when the Westmore family received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of their pioneering work in the world of film and television make-up and the combined family contributions to over 2,000 films and television series.”

The show’s website says even less about Ms. Westmore’s background.  Again, I think she would be doing herself and her show a favor by including her other work relative to the make-up world in her bio.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Marketed as a flip book for ages 8 and up, the newly released Star Wars: Darth Vader: A 3-D Reconstruction Log offers a high level overview of the internal make-up of the Empire’s #1 weapon of destruction, from his internal cybernetics to his “exoskeletal” integrated body armor.

As a 24-page board book, this newest look at Vader offers some fun insights, and is cleverly written from an in-world perspective.  The text provides that “The text of this record was salvaged from the memory logs of the two droids that performed the majority of Darth Vader’s procedures…”

Surprisingly, Darth Vader is not the optimal cyborg we might have expected, for certain practical reasons: “if not for the constraints imposed on the surgical team by the Empire’s budgetary issues, the results could have been even more impressive.”  Humorously, the book is sprinkled with excuses and shortcuts taken in the development of Vader’s final form.

The nicely designed book looks at main features behind Vader’s helmet, mask, chest armor, gloves, boots, belt, chest box, bodysuit, prosthetic limbs, implants, organic components, skeleton, nerves, and cape.  Text is accompanied by a stacked layering of each component, seen from the cover all together as the complete “lord of the sith.”

Some interesting tidbits from the book:

Vader’s waste processor is actually a recycling system similar to those employed by long-haul asteroid miners.

Vader has (had) his original lungs, but a breathing regulator replaced this function, and he uses an entirely artificial heart.

As revealed in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Vader’s right arm is entirely cybernetic, but unlike the rest of his cybernetics, it is of a Jedi medicine design.

Vader is a bit of a superhero, as his suit incorporates a body-weave that repels blasts and distributes energy across the suit, a bit like a cross of Batman and Superman.

Also like modern superheroes, the cape isn’t just for looks, as it helps filter contaminants into his breathing apparatus.

Star Wars: Darth Vader: A 3-D Reconstruction Log will appeal to the 6-12 year old Star Wars fan, and the writing is not dumbed down for that age level, adding a benefit to incorporate some expanded vocabularly to this reading group.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Yes, it must be the week of new movie trailers.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our look here yesterday to probably the most eagerly awaited preview in a long time, the trailer for The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey.

Along with the new long trailer to Dark Knight Rises, showing with Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows this week is this unexpected and very cool new trailer for Men In Black III.  Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agent J and Agent K, but with a new twist, as someone messes around with time and Agent J must go back in time to meet up with a young Agent K.  Is Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones perfect or what?

And yes, that’s Emma Thompson, with no Harry Potter or Nanny McPhee make-up, and not in a historical drama for once!

Men In Black III opens in theaters May 25, 2012.

 

As has been a tradition in Great Britain for years, the annual Christmas episode of Doctor Who airs tonight in the States on BBC America.  Set your DVR or establish your own Christmas watching tradition.  Based loosely on the C.S. Lewis novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, tonight’s special off-season episode is titled “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe.”

Based on past Doctor Who episodes starring Matt Smith you can be sure to expect more explosions…

… a yuletide Doctor…

I wear a Santa hat now. Santa hats are cool.

…more Steven Moffat stories set in World War II…

… and maybe a talking Easter Island fellow?

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

The TV Land network and their addictive marathon of M*A*S*H holiday episodes sucked me in once again.

First of all, my all time favorite character in any TV show or movie is Major Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce, played by Alan Alda.  Hawkeye has the toughest job in the toughest place in the toughest time period.  He lives and breathes tough decisions and his job is triage, discriminating between life and death realities, between saving this guy’s life over that guy’s life.  Dealing every day with friendly and unfriendly comrades he is just stuck with.  And yet, except for the last episode of the series (which I pretend does not exist), Hawkeye brings humor and optimism into the equation whenever he can.  And thanks to some brilliant writing over the years (now decades ago) we got not only the best TV series ever, we got the best drama and comedy wrapped into one, and at that, each episode had only 20-some odd minutes to make us all become familiar with a war seemingly firsthand that we never otherwise would have had a personal affinity toward.

What M*A*S*H probably did best was remind us that even though we may have our own issues that approached or even sometimes surpassed the trials of the characters of this wartime mobile surgical hospital crew, more often than not you could be reminded that whatever you were going through was not really that bad–that things will get better if you can just keep your head up and march through it all.

Many main and supporting characters came and went over the years, from Major “Trapper” John MacIntyre to Corporal Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, to Colonel Henry Blake, to Major Frank Burns.  Some of these characters we were supposed to love and others we were supposed to hate.  Colonel Sherman T. Potter was one of the best of the cast, the elder traditional soldier with a sense of both nostalgia for the golden days and humor for his young medical staff.  Potter was played by Henry Morgan, who passed away two weeks ago at the awesome age of 96.  Some great acting can be found in his list of films and TV series, from The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) with Henry Fonda, to State Fair (1945) with Dana Andrews, to Yellow Sky (1948) with Gregory Peck, to Bend of the River (1952) with Jimmy Stewart, and High Noon (1952) with Gary Cooper, to The Glenn Miller Story (1954) with Jimmy Stewart, to Strategic Air Command (1955) with Jimmy Stewart, to Inherit the Wind (1960) with Spencer Tracy, to How the West was Won (1962) with a who’s who of Hollywood, to his co-starring role as Officer Gannon with Jack Webb from 1967-1970 on the TV series Dragnet, and several supporting roles between and after, Morgan may not have been the leading man, but as a character actor he gave credibility to dozens of productions.

One of the often overlooked supporting characters of M*A*S*H was Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, played by David Ogden Stiers, who went on to be a guest character in hundreds of shows, including a guest role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a memorable role as Reverend Purdy in the TV series The Dead Zone.  A snooty doctor of a old-money wealth, Winchester was typically a foil for the show’s own dynamic duo of Hawkeye and B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell).  With a long run like M*A*S*H, which aired from 1972-1983, we were able to share a number of holidays, and holiday episodes, with the cast of M*A*S*H.  If you saw the series, you probably remember this key secondary plot from the ninth season’s Christmas episode “Death Takes a Holiday.”  If you haven’t or even if you have seen it, track down a copy from your library or video source.

The army outfit has invited local refugees to the 4077th for Christmas.  Turkey dinners are being transported in, but Colonel Potter learns that the trucks aren’t going to make it.  Each key character had received care packages from their loved ones, from fruitcake from Hawkeye’s aunt, to fudge from B.J.’s wife, to ham from the Colonel’s sister.  Nurse Margaret Houlihan steps forward first to say she will offer up her care package of cookies to the refugee children and soon everyone joins in to plan a big party.  Everyone except Winchester.  Winchester will only offer up a small sardine-sized can of oysters, saying “it’s not the thought that counts, it’s the price.”  Corporal Max Klinger points out that Winchester received several packages labeled “perishable” so the other officers ask “what gives?”  Winchester is Scrooge once again.

And then the change-up occurs, that illustrates why this series was so good.  Because it had a lot of heart–behind all the war drama and laugh out loud practical joke antics.  Actor Mike Farrell wrote this episode that some may brush off as simply sappy.

We see a dark night, and Winchester covertly approaches the orphanage with giant boxes of gifts, one labeled from a certain premium confectioner.  The man running the orphanage thanks him for the gifts and invites him inside so the children can thank him, which Winchester immediately says “no” to.  Winchester recounts that his family has a tradition, going back every year since he was a child, and it only matters if it is done anonymously.  Winchester shares with the man a story of waiting inside a running car with his sister in an earlier winter from far long ago, excited as they waited for his father to run back to the car to drive away after quietly, sneakily leaving gifts on some needy person’s doorstep.  From the seemingly greedy and abrasive fellow, came an act of kindness and charity.  A touching scene, that seems to affect even the actor as he tells the story.

Sappy?  Maybe just a little.  But great actors and great writing made for a great series, and a nice Christmas story.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Thinking about yesterday’s release of the trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey prompted me to pull off the shelf one of the best book adaptations I have read.  And so we’ll start with a year-long series on Hobbit-y things to do while waiting for next December’s film release.

For starters, reading the original J.R.R. Tolkien books of The Hobbit and the three The Lord of the Rings books would be a good plan.

Absent that, The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic, is a stunning graphic novel book, both for conquering such a large volume of story and for creating some of the best fantasy art to appear in any work.  The book was adapted by Charles Dixon with Sean Deming, but the notable effort is from illustrator David Wenzel.  Originally published by Eclipse Books in three volumes in 1989 and 1990, years before Peter Jackson’s movies, The Hobbit graphic novel is a stunningly well-done companion to the Lord of the Rings films, even if Jackson hadn’t moved forward with the new Hobbit movie.

The Lord of the Rings has never otherwise been adapted in comic book form, and so it is a rare pleasure to encounter a visual adaptation of The Hobbit that is known for being so faithful to the original novel.  The current softcover printing was created by painter Donato Giancola, who we met this year at Comic-Con in San Diego:

Donato Giancola showing us a print of his cover for The Hobbit graphic novel at Comic-Con in July 2011

There is probably not a better way than this graphic novel to get “reluctant readers” excited about reading, and to get them to delve into the world of the Tolkien stories.

Considering this following page is probably the “least” of the offerings in the book…

Why the “least”?  Only because there is so much content to cram into this 134 page edition, even though every major plot point is deftly handled, much is left to be told to us, as opposed to being shown to us–this page is one of the few left to pile in a lot of information.  But compare that to more sweeping visual treats such as this:

… or this:

Not unexpectedly, several scenes in the new trailer appear to come straight from this adaptation (although there are only so many ways to visually depict some of the classic scenes from the original work).

Compared to other storytellings out there this work is worth reading–I have bought it as a gift for relatives over the years who like both high fantasy and comics.

Check out artist David Wenzel’s website to purchase prints of selected scenes from the graphic novel.

To learn more about professor and artist Donato Giancola, check out his website here.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Just in time for Christmas!  Although we will have to wait an entire year, until December 14, 2012, to actually see the movie, New Line Cinema just released the trailer for the first part of the two-movie epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  You don’t have to wait any longer–watch it here:

Funnier than The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we get plunged right into introductions with all the stalwart but very typically chummy dwarves, courtesy of our favorite wizard, Gandalf the Grey, played again by the brilliant Ian McKellen.  Not as goosebump inspiring as the awesome trailer for The Lord of the Rings, it doesn’t show us a lot of new sets yet, but the dinner table scene at Bilbo’s looks great.

We did get to see the return of Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Ian Holm as the older Bilbo Baggins.

Cast perfectly as the younger Bilbo Baggins is Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, BBC’s original The Office, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and we get to see plenty of him in the trailer as the fidgety and typically very Hobbity worrier/soon-to-be adventurer.

But all is not humorous in The Hobbit story, as the plot centers around the re-taking of the The Lonely Mountain by the dwarves under Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage, Robin Hood, Captain America), exiled by a certain rare dragon named Smaug, to be voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy).  The trailer tells this story via song, as sung by the dwarves.  But no peek at the dragon yet.

And if you don’t have all the dwarves straight yet, check out the photos of all of them that we previously posted here.

So what’s missing?  We’ve yet to see a glimpse of Hugo Weaving reprising his role as Elrond the Elf, Orlando Bloom reprising his role as Legolas the Elf, Christopher Lee reprising his role as the wizard Saruman, and newcomer to the series Evangeline Lilly (Lost) as Tauriel and Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown, home of Bard, to be played by Luke Evans.

And now, as Mr. Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 523 other followers

%d bloggers like this: