Month: May 2014

The Hangman’s Daughter: Chapter 6



Months passed, and the small village of St Anne draped itself in the yellow of summer, the orange of autumn, the white of winter and the green of the new spring like a child trying on her mother’s dresses and then discarding them as she loses interest. Little changed in the village. News of the war with the English came in peaks and troughs. One day a  terrible defeat, destruction imminent, the next a glorious victory, London in three weeks. But this distant war did not even cause the slightest real ripple in the still lake that was St Anne. Of notable events perhaps the greatest was the death of Doctor Toureil’s wife. The woman who he had so often berated, teased and insulted, had in her last days watched her husband work like a scourged slave to save her, toiling with bottles and jars, resorting to ever more outlandish and bizarre cures to halt the disease that he knew had no interest in ceasing its rampage through her body.


Indefinite Claws: Six Little Things that Changed the Marvel Universe

Warning. This post contains spoilers for X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men, X2, X-Men 3, Wolverine: Origins, X-Men: First Class and possibly X-Men movies that haven’t even been made yet. Read at your peril.
So I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past, fell in love and we are getting married in the spring. Honestly, really enjoyed that movie. My favourite of the X-Men franchise so far, and probably my favourite comic book movie of the year. Now, I said “favourite”, not necessarily “best”. Captain America 2 had a tighter script, whereas DFP will have your brain swerving like an articulated truck driven by a drunken monkey to avoid all the plot holes. And I’m not even talking about the inevitable stuff that comes with a time-travel story, as I mentioned in the Meet the Robinsons review there is really no way to do a “travel back in time to save the future story” that makes logical sense. No, this is just basic inconsistencies with how different mutants’ powers work, and seriously bad science. And yet, I enjoyed this movie so much, even more that Cap 2. It moves around at a great clip, there’s some great gags and character moments and it has one phenomenal prison escape scene and also one of the most flat out jaw-dropping effects shots I can remember seeing since I don’t know when. Also, there’s James McEvoy, rapidly becoming one of my favourite actors, giving an absolutely beautiful performance as a young, embittered, broken Charles Xavier that I honestly think would be getting Oscar buzz if it was in a movie with fewer giant flying robots. But there’s a question that’s raised by the movie’s ending that I want to talk about, and to do that I need to spoil pretty much everything about the movie. It concerns six little things that completely changed the entire Marvel universe, and many would argue for the worst.
I refer of course, to Wolverine’s claws.


Let’s all take a look at the Big Hero Six trailer

So after a long period of radio silence Disney have finally released the first teaser trailer for the next installment in the canon, Big Hero Six. We’ll take a look at the teaser in a second but first, let’s go over what we know about this one.
What is Big Hero Six?
Big Hero Six is a movie.
See? This is why I come here. Searing insight like that.
Well I aim to please.
What is the movie about, smart guy?
Big Hero Six came about with Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Comics. The Disney animators were told to go through Marvel’s back catalogue to look for concepts that would work as animated features.
So, when presented with the opportunity to play with Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, Nextwave…
They chose Big Hero Six, an obscure team of Japanese superheroes. Correct.
So who are Big Hero Six?
The original team included X-Men characters Sunfire and Silver Samurai, GoGo Tomago who can transform into a ball of energy, Honey Lemon who can pull any object out of her magic purse, boy genius Hiro Takachito and his robot buddy Baymax. They’ve made the odd appearance in other books, and were introduced in Starfire & Big Hero Six #1.
Was it any good?
I dunno.
Wait a minute. You? Unshaved Mouse? Don’t know something about a comic book?
Really, really, really obscure property guys. I’m a nerd, I’m not a “I’ve read Big Hero Six” nerd. However, it was written by Scott Lobdell who wrote this little treasure.
Worst goddamn book of the worst goddam reboot in the worst goddamn period of DC history.

Worst goddamn book of the worst goddamn reboot in the worst goddamn period of DC history…sorry I’m getting off track.

So I’m guessing it’s not the second coming of Watchmen.
So why would Disney choose to adapt a property that was both so obscure and so tainted with Lobdell stink?
Probably precisely because it was so obscure. One thing that holds true with Disney adaptations across the eras is that they tend to be, very, very loose, often deviating wildly from the source material.

This is, after all, the company that took the story of a chicken getting hit on the head with an acorn and turned it into War of the Worlds .

If you are a Big Hero Six fan hoping for a faithful adaptation of the comic then this is not the movie you’re looking for. We can go about our business. Move along. If Disney had decided to do, say, an animated Captain America movie, they’d have legions of fanboys breathing down their next over the slightest change to the story. With Big Hero Six, they have more freedom to truly make it their own (and if the movie is a success, you can damn well bet that Marvel will change the in-comic team to more closely resemble the movie). Disney seem to have been attracted to the story by the relationship between Hiro and Baymax and will apparently be focussing on that. Also, Sunfire and Silver Samurai will almost certainly not be appearing in the film as Sunfire is an X-Man and Silver Samurai is a Wolverine villain, the movie rights to which are both owned by Fox.
I want Robert Downey Junior in my lady parts. Since this is a Marvel movie, is there a chance that Iron Man might cameo. Is this connected to the greater Marvel cinematic universe?
Almost certainly no. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say DEFINITELY no. Disney seems to have created an entirely new fictional world for this movie. It takes place in “San Fransokyo”, a mashup of Tokyo and San Francisco. It would be pretty much impossible to reconcile that with the more realistic world depicted in the Avengers whose nations and cities are shown to pretty much line up exactly with our own. The only possible hint of a crossover with other Marvel properties is that Samuel L. Jackson has been cast in an unconfirmed role. Will he appear as Nick Fury? Possibly. But I still wouldn’t hold out much hope of this movie crossing over with the other Marvel movies.
Alright, let’s take a look at the trailer.
Hmmm…I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s something quite familiar about this.
Okay, not the most original trailer Disney have ever done. So what we have here is a sequence of Hiro putting Baymax together. Rather than showing a sizzle reel of scenes from the movie this feels more like the Olaf/Sven shorts that Disney released before Frozen, more about showing off the characters designs and animation that going into plot. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if none of this actually ends up being in the movie. A big difference is that I absolutely hated the Olaf/Sven shorts which seemed to be aping DreamWorks whereas this feels more Pixar by way of Miyazaki to me.
Which, as pedigrees go...

Which, as pedigrees go…

“Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” Baymax is pretty adorable and the animation is of course excellent. I can’t say I’m now absolutely raring to go and see Big Hero Six but I don’t see anything here that worries me (which makes it a big step up from the Frozen teaser). We’ll see where they go from here.
What do you guys think? Let me know in comments.

Unshaved Mouse and Erik Copper review: Enchanted


(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

UM: Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Unshaved Mouse, with me tonight is my lovely assitant Erik Copper, say hi to the nice folks Erik.


EC: Hi to the nice folks, Erik!


UM: Alright, listen buster, you want a corny joke war you got a corny joke war.


EC: Oh, trust me, good sir, I am more than proficient in the art of the corny joke. How do the folks over seas say it? “You don’t want nunna this?”


UM: They do say that. In England. Which, for me, is also overseas.


EC: Ah, yes. “The pond” as I heard it once called. Anyway, there are people reading this post, and I’m sure they heard enough of your corny jokes from the past 47 reviews. Ohhhh! And that is what we Americans call a “sick burn”.


UM:  Yes. There are people reading this. Because it is my blog. Key difference. In Ireland, that is what we call “sruthán tinn.”


EC: You’ll have to excuse me. I do not speak–


UM:  Don’t say Gaelic. Don’t say Gaelic. I warn you. Do not say Gaelic.


EC: “Paddy-talk.”


UM: Much better. So, before we incite an international incident., how about we talk about Enchanted?


EC: Well…From last week’s “next week” preview, I have a feeling your thoughts of this movie might already incite an international incident. I hear you do not like this film?


UM: Ah….okay, I may have overstated the case. No, I didn’t. I hate this movie. But I recognise that it’s not bad, and that there’s a lot of good in it. But, I think it’s kind of mediocre and phoned in and really overrated. It’s like American History X for me.


EC: But isn’t that part of the charm? It’s supposed to be a parody/deconstruction of the Disney princess motif. And in that respect, I think it does it’s job really well. Showing that the Disney “magic” doesn’t really exist outside of film kind of makes the charm all the more endearing.


UM: Well, firstly I don’t think it does it WELL, I think it does it like…competently. Like, it starts with the premise of letting a Disney princess loose in modern day New York, gets the most obvious jokes it can out of it (and don’t get me wrong, just because they’re obvious doesn’t mean they’re not funny), but it never really goes beyond that. It does everything you expect with the concept and not a jot more. And it’s not that noticeable because Amy Adams and James Marsden are giving it so much energy. I mean, they are both really, really appealing in this. That’s why I likened it to American History X, a mediocre movie that people think is great because it has a really good lead performance. Also, it’s about white supremacy.

EC: I’ve never seen American History X, but that description makes me think I might have a Song of the South reaction to the film. While I do see the side of your argument (and believe me, this movie seems to have more sides than an octagon) I think the point of the movie isn’t to give more than what it did. If you think about it, the film’s concept isn’t really all that broad. “Fairy tale in New York” (No, Pogue’s fans, go away). That’s a theme you can’t do much with, because fairy tales are so confined to a certain kind of feel, and real life contrasts with it so much. I think what the movie did with what it had made it a better film than you’re giving it credit for.

UM: “It’s Christmas Eve Baaaaaaaaabe….in the drunk taaaaaaaaank!” I’m sorry, did you say something?

EC: Goddammit, I’ve lost the Mouse. After I fetch a cat to try and wake him up (fear is often the best medicine, I find), we’ll start the actual review.



UM: You ever….EVER  do that to me again. You just wait. I’m gonna get your natural predator and launch it at you when you least expect it!


EC: Somehow, I doubt that entirely. ANYWAY! How does the movie start?


Turn this ship around (How to rescue Star Trek).


I am a massive Star Trek fan (please, no shrieks of astonishment) so fair warning right now, we are going DEEP down the nerd hole for this post.

In 2005 Star Trek was dead. The last film, Nemesis, was a big dumb turd (although not the worst Star Trek film by a space-mile in my humble opinion) and Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled, marking the first time since 1987 that there had been no new Trek on TV. Then, in 2009, JJ Abrams massively successful Star Trek brought the franchise roaring back to life. That movie pissed off a lot of hardcore Star Trek fans. I was not one of them. I loved that movie. Was it dumb? Oh hell yes, but then the Star Trek movies have always been less cerebral affairs than the TV series (and in fact the movies that did try to go all deep and philosophical often were even dumber and a hell of a lot less fun than the ones that were content to be straight up action flicks). There was plenty of sloppy plotting and ridiculous coincidence but the cast had good chemistry, the action looked great and it took some really brave chances. Blowing up Vulcan genuinely shocked me and showed that these guys weren’t afraid to seriously shake things up. So I was well and truly pumped for Star Trek Into Darkness when it came out in 2013.

Star Trek Into Darkness was the shittiest piece of shit that ever shat. God-DAMN but I hate that movie. Hands down my least favourite Star Trek film. Yes, even more than the one where Kirk meets God and then he’s not God. Even more than the one that’s almost entirely slow motion shots of the Enterprise. I hate that movie even more than the never released Star Trek: Scotty Presents the Wonderful World of Nude Mime and I just made up that film. I literally flipped off the screen in the cinema as the credits rolled.    

And now the news has broken that JJ Abrams (who, whatever you think of his work, at least we can all agree is a director) is not returning for the sequel and will instead be replaced by script writer Roberto Orci, the man responsible for most of what I hated about the last film and who has never directed a movie before in his life.


The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 5



Marie swam languidly through a black sea of sleep that was deep, warm and mercifully dreamless.

When she awoke, the fever was gone and her bed was once again cool and soft.

Seated on a stool by her bedside, Doctor Toureil scrutinised her with two small grey eyes that were cosy beneath great white bushy eyebrows.

“Good morning.” he said quietly.


Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #47: Meet the Robinsons


(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

I never get to say everything I want to say with these things, there’s never enough time. For example, in the Chicken Little review there was actually a lot of fascinating stuff going on between Disney and Pixar that I didn’t  even get to mention because I spent so much time talking about the fan-hate for that film and how I felt it was completely overblown. So, Chicken Little came out around the time when Pixar’s co-production deal with Disney was coming up for renewal and there was a lot riding on it, as whether it was a success or failure would strengthen or weaken Disney’s hand at the negotiating table. A flop would allow Pixar to say “See? You can’t make CGI movies without us, your movies blow chunks.” and a success would allow Disney to say “Nu-uh, our movies are totally boss and everyone says so.”

A typical Disney boardroom negotiation.

Chicken Little was released in 2005 and was a resounding minor success. Critics hated it, but it did do quite well at the box-office. Pixar realised that while Disney’s CGI output might not be ready for primetime, they’d probably be better to have as a friend than as an enemy. And so Disney and Pixar patched things up and decided to stay together for the kids and the billions of box-office and merchandising revenue generated by those kids. Disney acquired Pixar wholesale in 2006, at which point it became very, very difficult to tell where Disney ends and Pixar begins, what’s a Pixar movie and what’s a Disney movie and who exactly is qualified to be  a Disney princess.
Sure. Why not? She wasn’t in a canon Disney film, but why not? Hell, let’s make BUGS BUNNY a Disney Princess, who cares anymore?

Sure. Why not? She wasn’t in a canon Disney film, but why not? Hell, let’s make BUGS BUNNY a Disney Princess, who cares anymore?

Sorry. It’s just been a dark time for people like me who don’t like their fishfingers touching the peas.  Today’s movie, Meet the Robinsons was created right about the time that “Disney” and “Pixar” were becoming “DisneyPixar” (“Dixar”, as the media conglomerate shippers call them) and it really, really, really shows. In every Disney era there is a movie that sums up that whole era perfectly. Pinocchio is the quintessential Tar and Sugar movie, Jungle Book perfectly defines Scratchy Movies and honestly, I kinda feel that Meet the Robinsons is the ultimate Lost Era movie. Not that it’s bad (it’s not). But it is thoroughly weird and constantly searching for a tone. There’s also a wild, “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” style to its comedy, and in fairness to it, a lot of it does indeed stick. It’s a movie that feels more like several little movies strung together rather than a single, cohesive whole. But first a little background.
Meet the Robinsons is loosely based on A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, the infamous Anglo-Irish fascist who, during the second world war broadcast Nazi propaganda from Berlin into British homes as the notorious “Lord Haw Haw”…
"Im sorry..."

“I’m sorry…”

Ah. Different William Joyce. This William Joyce is an American illustrator, children’s author and animator and most definitely not a Nazi. He did write Epic, however, so. Y’know. He’s not Mother Teresa either. He also worked on some really good movies like Toy Story and A Bug’s Life.  Which side of the spectrum does Meet the Robinsons fall on? Let’s take a look.


A fond farewell to Mauricio Guaura (he’s not dead, just busy.)

So some sad news folks. Mauricio, who’s been doing the video version of my reviews read by Erik for the last half a year has unfortunately had to call it quits because apparently getting good grades and making something of himself is more important than translating my mental illness into a visual medium.


 Seriously though, Mauricio’s done some great work over the last few months and I know you’ll all join me in thanking him for all the effort he’s put in and wishing him the best in his studies.  Thanks for everything buddy.

And of course, you can still watch all of the video reviews HERE.

The Hangman’s Daughter- Chapter 4


If you were to meet Doctor Toureil, your first impression of him would be that he was a farmer. He had the broad red face of a man who spent his days tilling fields, or clumsily trying to catch agile sheep on misty mountains. His hands were huge, pink and covered in a sandpaper of calluses. His clothes were shabby, and had probably not left his body in ten years. This, of course, was one of the reasons why the villagers of St Anne trusted him so much. He wasn’t some polished outsider come to sneer at the simple little country bumpkins. If anything, Doctor Toureil was more of a bumpkin than anyone else in the village. He was also an excellent doctor.