Month: January 2016

THE LION GUARD - The epic storytelling of Disney's "The Lion King" continues with "The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar," a primetime television movie event starring Rob Lowe, Gabrielle Union and James Earl Jones, reprising his iconic role as Mufasa.  Premiering this November on Disney Channel, the movie follows Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, as he assumes the role of leader of the Lion Guard, a team of animals tasked with preserving the Pride Lands. "The Lion Guard" television series will premiere in early 2016 on Disney Channels and Disney Junior channels around the globe. (Disney Junior)
FULI, KION, ONO , BESHTE, BUNGA

If I said I was happy, I’d be lion.

“Disney?”

“Disney?”

“Um…yeah?”

“Um…yeah?”

“Are you tarnishing the legacy of one of your beloved classics again? I thought we were past this.”

“Are you tarnishing the legacy of one of your beloved classics again? I thought we were past this.”

“I’m not! I swear!”

“I’m not! I swear!”

“Then what, pray tell, is this the fuck?“

“Then what, pray tell, is this the fuck?”

THE LION GUARD - The epic storytelling of Disney's "The Lion King" continues with "The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar," a primetime television movie event starring Rob Lowe, Gabrielle Union and James Earl Jones, reprising his iconic role as Mufasa.  Premiering this November on Disney Channel, the movie follows Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, as he assumes the role of leader of the Lion Guard, a team of animals tasked with preserving the Pride Lands. "The Lion Guard" television series will premiere in early 2016 on Disney Channels and Disney Junior channels around the globe. (Disney Junior) FULI, KION, ONO , BESHTE, BUNGA

“Oh it’s an exciting new chapter in the Lion King mythos!”

“Oh it’s an exciting new chapter in the Lion King mythos!”

“You have ten seconds to explain yourself, sir.”

“You have ten seconds to explain yourself, sir.”

“Okay, see it stars Kion, Simba and Nala’s son, as he forms the Lion Guard, an elite group of animals whose sworn duty it is to protect the Pride Lands from danger.”

“Okay, see it stars Kion, Simba and Nala’s son, as he forms the Lion Guard, an elite group of animals whose sworn duty it is to protect the Pride Lands from danger.”

“Okay. That actually sounds like a pretty decent premise if handled well...”

“Okay. That actually sounds like a pretty decent premise if handled well…”

“See, Scar used to have superpowers…”

“See, Scar used to have superpowers…”

“WOW. Stop right there.”

“WOW. Ok. Stop right there. Pull this bus over…”

“See, Scar had the magical Roar of the Elders and led the Lion Guard…”

“See, Scar had the magical Roar of the Elders and led the Lion Guard…”

“Scar? “Shallow end of the gene pool” Scar?”

“Scar? “Shallow end of the gene pool” Scar?”

“And when he tried to get the Lion Guard to turn against Mufasa and they refused he used the roar to destroy them.”

“And when he tried to get the Lion Guard to turn against Mufasa and they refused he used the roar to destroy them.”

“No. No. That never happened. You lying media conglomerate.”

“No. No. That never happened. You lying media conglomerate.”

“But then because he used the roar for evil he lost it.”

“But then because he used the roar for evil he lost it.”

“So why didn’t he just use it against Mufasa in the first…no, you know what I’m not even going to engage with the idea. So tell me, does this travesty ignore Simba’s Pride or take place in the same continuity?”

“So why didn’t he just use it against Mufasa in the first…no, you know what I’m not even going to engage with the idea. So tell me, does this travesty ignore Simba’s Pride or take place in the same continuity?”

“Neither! It canonises some aspects while blatantly contradicting others!”

“Neither! It canonises some aspects while blatantly contradicting others!”

“Ah! So everybody’s angry!”

“Ah! So everybody’s angry!”

“Yeah!”

“Yeah!”

 “WHAT ARE YOU ON?”

“WHAT ARE YOU ON?”

“Everything…everything…so much…I…I can see God…”

“Everything…everything…so much…I…I can see God…”

“Disney you’ve got to stop this. You’ve got to stop this now. You’ve got to pull every episode and pretend this never happened. When people ask, tell them it was a hoax by Dreamworks. Tell them that the perpretrators will be caught and justice will be swift.”

“Disney you’ve got to stop this. You’ve got to stop this now. You’ve got to pull every episode and pretend this never happened. When people ask, tell them it was a hoax by Dreamworks. Tell them that the perpetrators will be caught and justice will be swift.”

“But I haven’t told you the best part!”

“But I haven’t told you the best part!”

“Down we go, down and down.”

“Down we go, down and down.”

Bungaclose

"Who's the tatted up chipmunk?"

“Who’s the tatted up chipmunk?”

 

(more…)

The_Incredible_Hulk_poster

“I don’t want to control it. I want to get rid of it.”

When comic fans and writers talk about a character’s “status quo” they don’t  just mean the existing state of affairs in that character’s book. The Status Quo is sort of like the Platonic Ideal of a comic character, the version of the character that everyone thinks of when they hear the character’s name. For example, Spider-man’s status quo is:
  • Spider-man is mild-mannered Peter Parker, who gained incredible spider powers when he was bitten by a radioactive spider during a science presentation.
  • He wears a red and blue spider-suit.
  • He lives in Queens with his elderly Aunt May.
  • His love interest is Mary Jane Watson.
  • He works as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle, where his boss is J. Jonah Jameson.
  • His life is a never ending parade of misery.
Now, you could pick up any comic featuring Spider-man since 1962 and the odds are good that at least one of those bullet points is not true for the book you’re currently reading (except the last one. That never changes). Spider-man might be dating Gwen Stacy. He might be working as a science teacher. He might not be Peter Parker at all, but instead Ben Reilly or Miles Morales or Otto Octavius or Miguel O’Hara. Aunt May might be dead again. But still, that’s the default version of the character. Whenever the comic goes off the rails, chances are they’ll return Spider-man to his roots and have him back at the Daily Bugle, back with Mary Jane, living with Aunt May. Sooner or later, he will return to status quo like he’s attached to it with a bungee cord.
The Hulk, who debuted a few months prior to Spider-man in 1962 also has a default version; When he gets angry, scientist Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk, a massive rampaging green giant with the mental capacity of a three year old who destroys everything in his path. He is a man of few words, and those words are “Hulk” and “Smash”.
This is the version of the character that everyone is familiar with, and to comic fans he’s known as “Savage Hulk”. What’s interesting about the Hulk is that I can think of very few superheroes who spend less time “at status quo” than the Hulk. And the reason for that is, there’s not really that much you can do with Savage Hulk. Savage Hulk is less a character than an event that other characters react to. He’s like Godzilla. What kind of story can you do with Godzilla? What journey can he go on? Is he going to adopt an orphaned child and raise him as his ward? No. He’s going to stomp on buildings and go “SKRONK!”. Is he going to discover a shocking secret about his past that throws everything he though he knew about himself into doubt? No. He’s going to stomp on buildings and go “SKRONK!”. Is he going to serve as an allegory for the horrors of nuclear war? Yes. While he stomps on buildings and goes “SKRONK!”
That’s basically Hulk’s problem (just swap out “SKRONK” for “HULK SMASH”) and probably why the character often had trouble maintaining a series of his own while still being a very popular guest character in the books of other superheroes. Writers have gotten around this by staying as far away from the Savage Hulk status quo as they can. Often the Hulk will be made more intelligent, or a different side of Banner’s personality will emerge as a new Hulk. Or Banner and the Hulk will merge personalities. Or they’ll swap personalities. Or the writers will huff paint and do something really stupid.
We do not speak of the time Hulk tried to bang his cousin.

We do not speak of the time Hulk tried to bang his cousin.

 Despite that, Savage Hulk retains a near total grip on the general public’s perception of the character, especially since all the non-comic depictions of the (the seventies TV Show, the two cartoon series and both movies) have been pure Savage Hulk. And the reason for that is that Savage Hulk, despite the limitations he brings from a story-telling point of view, is a fanastic concept because he is so universal. Everyone can relate to the Hulk. When we see Bruce Banner finally lose his temper and transform into a huge, rampaging monster it’s cathartic as all hell because on some level we all wish we could do that.
Following the success of Iron Man it was time for the difficult second album and Hulk seemed an obvious candidate for the studio’s sophomore effort. He was, without question, the highest profile character in Marvel’s stable that they owned the movie rights to, thanks to the success of the Bill Bixby series. But there was a problem, looming over the production like a big hulking…hulk.
 p32133_p_v8_aa
In a way, it would have been easier if Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk: A Mediation on Moss has been an out and out flop. That way Marvel could have simply said “Don’t worry, we’ll fix it! The grownups are in charge now!” and completely ignore it other than to work a few sarcastic swipes at it into to the script. But here’s the thing, Lee’s Hulk might not have been popular with comic fans but it actually did fairly decently at the box office and got not a little critical love. Personally, I appreciate what Lee was going for and think that there are some beautiful moments and really good performances but yeah, the movie is kind of a snooze fest. It has its fans though, putting Marvel in a bit of a tricky position. Should they embrace Lee’s Hulk and make their version a straight up sequel, or start again with a new origin story that firmly established their Hulk as a new, separate beast?  In the end, they did neither.

(more…)

Beetle

East of Berlin by Hannah Moscovitch

The strongest moment in East of Berlin, the career-making play of Canadian scribe Hannah Moscovitch currently having its first Irish run at the Project Theatre, occurs at the dinner table. Rudi (played with considerable charm by Colin Campbell) is a young lad living with his parents in a German expat community. In the fifties. In Paraguay. Where they throw a party every 20th April.
You can probably guess where this is going.
A casual remark by a schoolfriend (Liam Heslin) reveals an unspeakable truth to Rudi about his father and what he did during the war. This leads to that confrontation at the dinner table between father and son where Rudi asks him how he could have done such awful things and receives answers that, while obviously self-serving, nonetheless have a terrifying plausibility.
How could you have selected people to go to the camps?
If I hadn’t, they just would have sent everybody.
How could you infect people with typhus?
I thought about how many lives I would save if I discovered a cure.
Why didn’t you leave?
I had a wife. They would have come after her.
In this exchange Moscovitch gives us a glimpse into a world where all choices lead to atrocity. Fleeing his family in disgust, Rudi arrives in Germany and falls in love with a Nice Jewish Girl named Sarah (an excellent turn by Erin Flanigan, by turns brassy and vulnerable) whose mother survived the camps. They discover to their wonderment (in one of the most touching scenes in the play) that a mere generation after the Shoah a German and a Jew can fall in love. “It feels right.” Sarah says in amazement “It feels…normal.” But of course, the Dark Dramatic Secrets in Rudi’s past rise up to threaten their happiness as Dark Dramatic Secrets are wont to do and Rudi most decide just how far he will go to exorcise the demons of the past.
Despite the heavy subject matter, Moscovitch has a deft hand with dialogue and characterisation and it remains throughout a play about people rather than themes aided by briskly fluid direction and strong performances from all three actors.
East of Berlin by Hanna Moscovitch runs in the Project Theatre.
Dates: 8 – 16 Jan €16/€14
Matinee: 16 Jan 2.30pm €14/€12

Movie Deathmatch: The Final Reckoning

And so, as another year ends we face the aftermath of another Movie Deathmatch. Dammit, we must build a better world. When will the killing end?
So, as you all know, this time around I was trying to raise money for Joanna VR, a filmed version of my play for virtual reality. We were aiming to raise €12,500. We got around €3,000.
castle
Meh. It happens. We’ll sit down, work out where we go from here, figure out a new way to do it and try again. All part of the process and not one you guys have to worry about. What does concern you is the results and here they are. The winners of the increasingly misnamed Unshaved Mouse Charity Movie Deathmatch 2015 are:
3. Steven Universe
 
2. Gravity Falls.
 
1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2
Wrong winner
Oh wait. Sorry, sorry.
No, first place was actually Gargoyles. Yeah. And for those of you agitating in the comments to get people to vote for Hunchback 2? I have a list. And I will find you.
New_York_Weenie_A_Mickey_Mouse_Cartoon_Disney_Shows
Stories will be told around campfires.
Huge thanks to everyone who voted. Also, special thanks to people who gave larger donations and requested reviews outright. They were Alex Hu, Martha Brady, Michael Tyndall, JBull, Roger Courtney, Adrienne Gallagher and my brothers John, Eamonn and Donal Sharpson who donated just to make sure that I have to review three of the WORST FUCKING MOVIES OF ALL TIME. Thanks to all of you (except the last three) and if there’s anyone I’ve overlooked please let me know in the comments ASAP.
Happy new year everybody.
Mouse out