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Archive for July, 2016


Krennic

Last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, and earlier in the month at Star Wars Celebration Europe, and even earlier this year at the Nuremburg Toy Fair, Disney displayed several key costumes for this coming winter’s Lucasfilm release Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story.  From the trailers we have seen so far, Rogue One appears to be the first film in decades that might be able to compete with Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.  New human heroes and villains, droids, and dozens of new alien characters will no doubt be made into action figures by year’s end, and from the looks at the new costume designs, many of us will be shelling out some cash to start collecting these cool new characters.

Screen-worn costumes for the film’s central characters Jyn Erso, Captain Cassian Andor, Baze Malbus, Chirrut Imwe, Bodhi Rook, Director Orson Kremnic, Imperial Death Trooper, a Shoretrooper, and a character with the not so creative name of Two Tubes, all drew crowds at the Con.

Here are some descriptions of the new characters from the Comic-Con exhibit along with some photos:

five Rogue One costumes on display at sdcc 2016

From left to right, Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, Jyn Erso, Captain Cassian Andor, and Bodhi Rook.

Bodhi Rook.  A former Imperial pilot, Bodhi has strong piloting and technical skills that he will put to use for the Rebellion. Ever practical, but highly anxious, Bodhi must gather his courage to bring the battle to the Empire.

Baze Malbus.  The harsh reality of his Imperial-occupied home world has hardened Baze Malbus into a pragmatic soldier and a crack shot with his heavy repeater cannon.  Baze has a bravado that provides a marked contrast to the spiritual centeredness of his best friend and moral compass, Chirrut Imwe.

Jyn Erso.  Putting behind a checkered past by lending her skills to a greater cause, Jyn Erso is impetuous, defiant, and eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Used to operating alone, she finds higher purpose by taking on a desperate mission for the Rebel Alliance.

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moon base concept art idr

While some approaches in the “Art of” or “Making of” category of film books provides explanatory text describing the moviemaking process, others are primarily photo essays.  Both approaches have their merits.  Titan Books has offered a mix of the approach with its Elysium: The Art of the Film, reviewed here, while Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Art of the Film, reviewed here, was a more visual snapshot of the filmmaker’s journey.  Although it has less explanatory material and more in-world story background, the new book The Art & Making of Independence Day: Resurgence is most like Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films, reviewed here.

Like the Planet of the Apes work, The Art & Making of Independence Day: Resurgence covers a behind the scenes account of two films, here the original 1996 Independence Day and this year’s sequel.  The reader is reminded of the history of the key characters in the original film in the first third of the volume, which also provides a review of the movie’s key special effect scene–the alien destruction of the White House.  Not only providing movie stills, we get to see the relative size of the model used for the building and the process for the explosion.  This sets up a good introduction for the special effects for the next two sections of the book: the rebuilding of Earth after the first invasion, and then the return of the aliens that is the focus of the sequel.

art and making of idr

Titan’s usual quality hardcover design and thick full-color pages include in-universe accounts of the next generation of Earth’s defenders, followed by concept art and sketchwork, extensive coverage of space vehicles and fighter plane designs and futuristic weaponry.  Director Roland Emmerich provides a foreword introduction.

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King-Arthur-Legend-of-the-Sword

It’s not the first time we’ve seen completely unrealistic, fantasy armor in what otherwise purports to be a historical account of the legend of King Arthur and his sword.  Excalibur is barely watchable with its completely strange choice of armor and costuming throughout the film.  Guy Ritchie’s next film also opts for fantasy garb over any reach for historical accuracy.

A trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword premiered last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con.  Fans of Guy Ritchie may go for this one because of the director alone, yet we need to see a few more trailers before we can decide whether this is one to see in the theater.  The first trailer has some elements that are very Ritchie, like his filming style from his popular Sherlock Holmes movies.  But what will this new retelling add to our appreciation of this classic story?

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword stars Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak) as Arthur, along with Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, and… famed Brit footballer David Beckham?

Armor in King Arthur 2016

Check out this preview from Comic-Con:

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Flash a

CW’s The Flash proved to be the best comic book adaptation to any size of screen in 2015, and it looks like it could be heading that way in 2016, too.  Where Arrow soared into the lead spot in prior years, The Flash and its less dark story unfolded in its second season as the cast began to gel.  This year the all-out fun circumstances marked it as a favorite among fans of the source material–comic books.

As The Flash–which ended with a great appearance of 1980s Flash actor John Wesley Shipp donning The Flash suit once again–returns for Season 3, Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen is entering the realm of a loose tie-in to DC’s “Flashpoint” series story.  As previewed at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend, that means Barry Allen finally does what we all would probably do–go back in time and prevent the death that changed his life.  But what will this action, this manipulation of the timeline, mean for the future, and his relationships with all those around him?

Wally West

For one we get to see Wally West as The Flash.  But what else?  Check out this preview for The Flash Season 3:

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JLD animated movie

Warner Bros. confirmed that Justice League Dark would be its next animated movie project this weekend at its panel at San Diego Comic-Con.  Now a behind-the-scenes feature included on the home release of Batman: The Killing Joke is online, and not only confirms Justice League Dark is the next animated movie coming from the DC Expanded Universe, but that it’s pretty far along in production.  Fans of NBC’s short-lived, Constantine television series will be happy to hear series lead Matt Ryan will voice the character in the animated movie.

Unfortunately DC did not choose to base the designs or stories on Mikel Janin’s gorgeous run on the Justice League Dark New 52 comic book series, except for the updated look for Zatanna.  Batman will be a key feature of the movie, along with JLD members John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, and Deadman.  The movie will also feature Etrigan and Black Orchid.

In addition to Matt Ryan reprising his role as Constantine (from his series and on CW’s Arrow), Nicholas Turturro (Burn Notice, White Collar) will voice Deadman, Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy) will voice Zatanna, prolific voice actor Ray Chase plays Etrigan, and Jason O’Mara (Complications, Life on Mars, The Closer, Terra Nova, Band of Brothers, Monarch of the Glen) is Batman.

Justice league Dark

Wonder Woman, Superman, and Green Lantern will have cameo appearances in the movie.

Check out this behind the scenes look at Justice League Dark:

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Vikings 4b

Two years ago I interviewed two stars of Vikings here at borg.com just before the premiere of Season Two of the landmark series.  It’s hard to believe a show this good, and as historically and culturally focused as Vikings is, has managed to survive this long.  But it’s well-deserved–the drama and action rival any other series on television.  The second half of Season Four is coming soon, and we’ve seen a first look at what’s to come courtesy of the History Channel at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.

Swag available at this year’s SDCC booth for the series included a drinking horn and comic book from a story written by Michael Hirst.  “The Bastard,” was written by Ralph Tedesco and drawn by Andrea Mutti.

vikings-sdcc-comic-cover-titan

Panelists from the series this year included key players Travis Fimmel (Ragnar), Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Clive Standen (Rollo), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn), Gustaf Skarsgard (Floki) and Michael Hirst (writer/creator).

Vikings season 4b

Check out this preview of part two of Season Four of Vikings, previewed this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con:

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x-men-apocalypse-quicksilver-rescue-scene

Amid all the chaos and bombardment of superhero movies in the theaters these days, it’s often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Not so long ago if someone asked about your favorite superhero movie you’d probably name it without hesitation.  These days?  You probably will need to mull it over in light of so many quality films.  Of the classic films I would have named Christopher Reeves’ Superman.  Of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I once would have named the first Iron Man.  Then after many Marvel lookalikes and too many dark Dark Knights, the three that rise to the top are Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Then Bryan Singer created another X-Men entry released this summer and I’m hedging again.  X-Men: Apocalypse, still in theaters, is exactly the movie I dreamed of when I was a kid reading comic books.

How often do superhero movies, or any other drama, sci-fi, fantasy, or action franchise movie, threaten stakes as great as the end of the world?  How many actually take you through an apocalypse?  X-Men: Apocalypse delivers the rampage and destruction I read as a kid inside the pages of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars.  I was never an X-Men fan before X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men monthly series, so I haven’t followed the ins and outs of the team for decades to know whether the movies are “loyal” enough for diehard readers.  But I do know what great superhero powers look like on the big screen, and as with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver remains the best realized superhero on-screen.

x-men-apocalypse-008

As kids we debated over what power would allow you to triumph over your superhero peers, and Singer must have done the same thing and landed with the same answer.  Speed.  Despite giving us the best superhero TV series of the 1980s and today with its two looks at Barry Allen/The Flash, DC Entertainment has not yet shown us all a speedster could do.  Will that happen in Justice League next year?  Until then, X-Men: Apocalypse is worth a first or second look for Quicksilver’s big scene.  And more.

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Sherlock season 4

First off, Sherlock Clue is real.  Keep reading.

From the new trailer PBS Masterpiece released this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con it appears we have a dark season ahead as Sherlock enters its fourth season.  Unfortunately, like Doctor Who the wait seems to be endless.  Those British production companies sure aren’t in any hurry to supply fans with new content.  We won’t actually see the next season of Sherlock until sometime next year.

The good news is Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and all the key players are back.  The bad news?  Moriarty might be back.

Toby Jones plays a new menace in season four, Culverton Smith, an original Arthur Conan Doyle character in his original story “The Adventure of the Dying Detective.”

Amanda Abingdon Sherlock season 4

And that’s Secret Agent Watson (onscreen and offscreen partner to Martin Freeman, Amanda Abbington) with a gun.

Check out the trailer straight from SDCC 2016:

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Jock Mondo Star Wars

If you collect Mondo posters or just need a nicely designed Star Wars poster for your wall, we have a great new poster for you.

This year at San Diego Comic-Con, Mondo is celebrating the Star Wars franchise with posters by Jock and Mike Mitchell.  But they haven’t forgotten about fans at home.

Mondo is releasing the regular version of artist Jock’s “Into the Garbage Chute, Flyboy” poster as a 72-hour timed edition in partnership with Acme Archives.

These are hand-numbered screen prints.  Printed by D&L Screenprinting.  But you must act fast as they are only avaailable until Monday, July 25th at 12PM CST.

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Kong Skull Island comic con 2016

It looks like the set up for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sci-fi classic Predator.  A mission gone wrong.  A puzzled crew.  And something unexpected hunting man in the jungle.  It’s not an alien but the next King Kong reboot, Kong: Skull Island, and the first trailer for the movie was released Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.

With an impressive cast, including Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, and Samuel L. Jackson, Skull Island has the feel of Jack Black’s most recent big budget King Kong from 2005.  And that movie was a generally good remake.

The producers, who also made the last version of Godzilla, were savvy enough to hide a full shot of the giant ape from us this early on.

Kong Skull Island 2017

So check out this trailer for Kong: Skull Island, direct from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures at this year’s Comic-Con:

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