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On Netflix, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and Jane is Just Another Spider-Man

27 Jan

netflix-tarzan-and-janeBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Arad Animation, 41 Entertainment and Arc Productions are behind the latest animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ heroic couple. Tarzan and Jane has a very good serialized story to bring pulp style adventure to a new generation of youths growing up on Netflix instead of Disney. I enjoyed Disney’s take from 2001-03. It was more of a comedy than tales taken from the original author’s work. This latest version is no different.

Avi Arad is producing this latest venture, and his influence upon the production can be felt. He is better known for overseeing Marvel Studios many animated productions like Spider-man up until 2006 (he resigned and formed his own company) and the style is still there. Instead of swinging through a concrete city on threads of a spider and saving people from crime, this jungle hero uses vines and has illegal animal traders. From a creation episode to explain Tarzan’s supernatural origins to establishing Jane as an equal than love interest, this new animated version has enough to like for the messages it conveys, but you just have to weed through the action to find it. The theme of animal conservation is important because animals do not deserve to be put into private zoos.

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Changes are in Store for Howard Lovecraft & The Undersea Kingdom

21 Jan
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Comic book cover

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Revisions are in store in Arcana Studios next film, Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom. The original comic book story had two companions helping the boy travel to this new world to rescue his family. With only his mother and aunts, life may seem easy. But after the events from Frozen Kingdom, he better look out! His father broke out of his asylum prison so both he and Constable Smith (who finds the boy without a home) can help. The gun-touting action and violence in this edition works, but in a product targeting a general audience to enjoy, it has to be changed.

“The guns and grenades being used in Undersea Kingdom were an immediate offside from numerous distributors,” revealed Sean O’Reilly, co-founder of Arcana Studios. “Losing that character [of Smith], and replacing him with a character that H.P. Lovecraft created in Dr. Henry Armitage, put us in a direction towards Miskatonic University. This then leads to building out the world that the author created.”

Both this studio and Shout! Factory announced the voice cast a few days ago, indicating that progress is on track for a Q4 direct-to-video release. Mark Hamill will be playing the role of the prestigious doctor. Best known as The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, this talent can do more than swing a light saber in Star Wars. Also set to play a bigger role is Jeffrey Combs as King Abdul, the primary antagonist for this second film. When he kidnaps his mother and aunts, the young lad has to get Spot to help him travel to the Undersea Kingdom to rescue them. But he can not do it alone, and to see what O’Reilly has to alter in series creator, Bruce Brown’s work, will have followers curious.

Using the original graphic novel as reference, the monsters we will get to see include Shoggoths and Deep Ones. With luck, maybe a Mi-Go or two will help out.

Returning talents include Christopher Plummer and Doug Bradley as Dr. Herbert West and Nyarlathotep.

A Monster Calls Upon the Fairy Tradition to Tell Its Tale

9 Jan

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

A Monster Calls is a powerfully moving film about young Conor (spectacularly played by Lewis MacDougall) struggling to come to terms with the world around him. He is isolated. His mother Lizzie (Felicity Jones) is suffering from a terminal illness, his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is stern, he is bullied at school and he wants to be closer to his father. In the latter, there’s distance between them. His parents divorced when he was young and the split was not without causing some rifts. This story is not as developed as the other three. The demons the boy faces manifest as a yew tree (menacingly voiced by Liam Neeson) who visits him nearly every night at 12:07 am.

This walking behemoth offers him three stories, and there’s a riddle in the parable that Conor never quite figures out. Technically, this creature is this lad’s imaginary friend, and to figure out how he can help is buried in the analogies of the animated tales that make up part of this story. Just how he comes to figure them out requires a stretch of the imagination, or realizing that we are living in a fairy tale world. In this realm, true to Welsh tradition, these mystical figures are portrayed in shades of grey than individuals who are either naughty or nice. The tales Conor hears is supposed to impart a lesson, but the question of whether his experience with the tree spirit is real or not is up to how he sees the world.

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Michael Bay’s Transformers Has a New TV Spot & Tying the Film’s Mythology Together

7 Jan

michael-bay-transformers-the-last-knight-201597By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Could there be a decent story in Michael Bay’s 5th Transformers movie outing? The Last Knight has a new television trailer, and it shows Optimus Prime behaving badly. The tagline of “Rethink your Heroes” suggests he’s been corrupted. He’s purple eyed and looking scary.

Including the previous trailer, there’s very little information to explain Prime’s transition. The last movie had him rocketing into outer space to search for the Creators, while carrying the Seed. While I doubt he’s going to ram that down their throat upon finding them, I suspect he did discover their whereabouts and because he was one to their many — they overpowered and reprogrammed him. He’s been left for scrap, floating helplessly in space. As the full length trailer suggests with the vortex (conical) shaped spaceship, could that be the Quintessons vessel? There’s not enough detail to say, although I am hoping these creators will be featured in this fifth outing.

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