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[VIFF 2018] A Look Into the Animated Mirror, Darkly with The NFB

25 Sep

National Film Board of CanadaBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 27 to October 12th, and this year’s selections from The National Film Board of Canada ranges from horror to introspective to humour. Of the latter, Alison Snowden and David Fine’s Animal Behaviour (see review here) gets a home-side engagement, and Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s Holy Angels has a big screen debut.

In the animated front, the following shorts are making their BC premiere and are worth noting:

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There’s Alchemy to be found in Netflix’s The Dragon Prince

23 Sep

Netflix’s The Dragon Prince is a curious beast. This action adventure fantasy series gets far more intriguing in the latter half of the nine-episode season. It combines some high fantasy style trappings from Lord of the Rings with the humour from Avatar: The Last Airbender. When considering series co-creator Aaron Ehasz was head writer and director of the latter, he’s bringing some of that award-winning formula into this new work instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

In the world of Xadia, the elves are not your traditional kind. They are the protectors of dragon-kind. They are also different looking. In addition to their pointy ears, they sport satyr-like horns and speak with a Gaelic lilt. When considering the literary figure hails from Scandinavian and British sources, this oddity is not too weird. For the humans, they seem very atypical. Of course, a handful of them will do anything it will take to become absolute rulers.

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How to Train Your Dragon flies into Dragonvine, A Graphic Novel Review

24 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The next graphic novel in Dark Horse Comics’ How to Train Your Dragon series is now out in comic stores and will land online and at bookstores on September 4, 2018. Dragonvine finally brings a few details of to light which is very important in further developing each member of the Dragon Riders, Valka included. This tale takes place after the events of the second film. This story starts with Hiccup and gang fondly remembering Stoick the Vast.

This introduction can easily be made into an animated short. Dean DeBlois put in a lot of development to this interlude, and it shows. Together with Richard Ashley Hamilton, the first 17 pages is a story in itself. It blends some of that wonky humour from Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon and seriousness in Gift of the Night Fury. Artists Doug Wheatley and Francisco de Fuente contributed to this work. Their illustrative styles are different enough to make one-third of the book feel solid and the other not as consistent. I much prefer Wheatley’s solid and inspired look straight from the computer-animated series than the comic strip style of Fuente. Wes Dzioba‘s colours compliment Wheatley’s work much more fluidly too.

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The Art of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Advance orders available!

18 Aug

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Fans can have The Art of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World arrive at their home days after seeing the movie. This work is being offered at outlets like Amazon months in advance, and anticipation is high for the film which will cap off the series. This hardcover book promises to feature exclusive commentary and never-before-seen art from the creation of DreamWorks Animation‘s upcoming movie, set to arrive in theatres March 1, 2019. It will no doubt complement the previous tomes, as writers  Linda Sunshine and illustrator Iain Morris are listed as the principal team who are putting together this work for Dark Horse Comics.

This 184-page book will hit shelves on March 5, 2019, and will offer plenty of original art from the studio detailing from proof of concept to final product. Director Dean DeBlois will offer added commentary, and we at Otakunoculture.com will report previews as it becomes available.

This 184-page volume retails for $39.99.