Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pacific Rim Trailer Released

Rinko Kikuchi and Ellen McLain feature as a giant robot pilot and an artificial intelligence respectively in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim, which will open in American theaters on July 12, 2013.

Gamers will recognize McLain as the love-to-hate-her homicidal AI GlaDOS in Portal and Portal 2.

 The whole thing is quite distracting, since the movie also features giant monsters, giant robots, robot suits, and Idris Elba giving the best we-will-not-lay-down-and-die speech since Independence Day.

Del Toro described the film as a love letter to Japanese monster movies, and the trailer shows it.

I'm honestly a bit too overwhelmed to analyze anything about it, since it just looks awesome. Pacific Rim stars Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman as neurally linked mech pilots.

Star Wars: Scoundrels


Scoundrels won me over, in true scoundrel fashion, with its affability and sense of luck.

Here’s some background information: I don’t love Timothy Zahn. His writing does tend to be a little tighter and more mature than the average Star Wars author, and he has a sense for the rollicking, space opera side of the franchise as opposed to the politics side. However, none of the beloved characters from the Thrawn Trilogy worked for me, and not being able to tell the main characters apart by voice soured my experience of Allegiance.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Clone Wars: A Sunny Day in the Void

This week’s episode has my favorite title ever. “A Sunny Day in the Void” is clever, a little bit scary, and pulpy without reaping any of the downsides of that association.  Unfortunately the title screen is still blue, meaning we haven’t yet passed those droids that so disappointed me last week. This week they’ve got a bit more to work with – by which I actually mean less. Writer Brent Friedman described the episode as “minimalist” and “an existential crisis,” and doesn’t disappoint. The backgrounds on the planet Abafar match this theme nicely, with not even a sun in sight. I’d love to see the main three Jedi subjected to the same kind of situation. Although it’s heavy-handed at times, “A Sunny Day in the Void” pursued directions no other The Clone Wars episode has ever gone.

The beginning of the episode continues in the same vein as “Secret Weapons,” but the episode takes a drastic turn a quarter of the way through. In the beginning Gascon is still cold toward the droids, referring to a fallen one as “my command center” until Artoo tells him to be a bit more polite. One scientifically implausible comet later, I actually liked a moment in which Gascon presses his hands against the viewport. This is good both because we’ve never seen a character do this on the bridge of a ship before, and because you can pinpoint the moment where he realizes, as the viewport cracks, that he’s the only being on the ship who actually needs oxygen to live. This mechanical-versus-organic conflict, where being organic sometimes seems no more than an inconvenience, carries throughout the episode.

Artoo is more central to this episode, fixing the ship’s engines and saving his companions. It also amused me after last week that Artoo thinks that WAC is “just a pilot” too.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

7 Star Wars Characters I'd Love To See Get Their Own Movies

This November, HitFix's DrewMcWeeny wrote an article entitled 10 Star Wars Characters We'd Love To See Get Their Own Movies. McWeeny is an accomplished writer and penned some of my favorite critical reviews. His saga of watching Star Wars with his sons (in the best possible order) is a must-read.

Something about this list bothers me, though. In a universe that contains Padme and Leia, all ten people on the list are men. One is Salacious Crumb. One is a meme.

Admittedly, some of my choices are pretty unlikely too, but I'm hard pressed to figure out why someone thinks this would make a better movie than Leia.

So, I present to you, in a style shamelessly stolen and/or lovingly borrowed from McWeeny (he focused on the six core movies, not the Expanded Universe, but mentioned EU material if it helped flesh out a character) seven female Star Wars characters I would like to see get their own movies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Clone Wars: Secret Weapons

“Secret Weapons” is a light, droid-centric episode that feels disconnected from the rest of the season. It’s not new for The Clone Wars to be schizophrenic in its content, though. Season Four was a perfect example, with its Wizard of Oz-meets-Droids episodes and the continuity-shaking return of Darth Maul. The recent Young Jedi arc unified the child side and the adult side of the show very well, telling a story that was at times very serious and dealt primarily with preteen characters. The show’s desire to target two different demographics, however, does not excuse an episode as unfunny and patronizing as “Secret Weapons”. Assumptions like “small things are funny” and “droids running into walls are funny” just made me, as an adult viewer, unsure what I was supposed to be getting out of this.

The episode introduces a variety of new characters, including Colonel Meebur Gascon, a tiny alien. Commenters on Facebook before the episode aired said that the colonel’s size was an example of the diverse alien biology possible in Star Wars. I might have agreed except that his size is played for humor, and he has two legs and two arms and a frog face. The first scene hinted that Aayla Secura, Tera Sinube, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and an Anx Jedi might also be involved, and I found myself wishing for them later. For a show called The Clone Wars, we’ve gotten surprisingly little about clones or Anakin and Obi-Wan this season.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Legacy Comic Introduces New Female Character

Dark Horse introduces a tastefully-dressed new female hero in a brand-new Legacy series. This unnamed-as-yet lady is the great-granddaughter of Han and Leia Solo. That's four generations of difference, so she might be as wild a divergence from the Solos we know as Cade Skywalker was from Luke, but it looks like she's got a preference for her great-grandfather's blaster.

The buzz in the blog community is that Dark Horse is jumping the shark by starting a new series so close to the complete Disney overhaul of the Star Wars universe, but even if the move is desperate, it's understandable desperation. I'd want to tell as many Star Wars stories as I could before that universe was taken away from me.

The new Solo premiers in issues set to hit comic shops next year, according to Comic Book Resources.

Stray observations:

  • I'd guess the Mon Calamari is female as well, going by the eyes. It would be cool to have an alien female mentor. $2 says she's related to Admiral Ackbar.