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Enter the Jayster in LEGO Ninjago: Prime Empire

18 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Episodes 1-6 available through Cartoon Network app / on demand

Airdate:
North America – July 19, 2020
Other Territories – Repeat

TT Games can learn a lot from Prime Empire, the latest season of LEGO Ninjago finally airing in North America. I’ve played enough of their products to see their licenced products from this toy line have hardly ever changed. The platform puzzle solving coin gathering engine rarely includes concepts unique to each franchise. For the most part, players are blasting or punching enemies in a non-violent manner rather than fully reliving highlight moments—ranging from racing simulations to martial arts fighting—from their favourite movie.

The story for season twelve offers a lot of ideas I wish to see in a game and in a TRON: Legacy sequel. Unagami is essentially MCP. He’s a self-aware program created by Milton Dyer to deliver players the ultimate experience and he’s also feeling very confused. He wants to find his creator and go mono a mono.

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Scoob! Without the Doo?

19 May

Scoob 2020 film poster.pngBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Spoiler Alert

It’s not tough to know what the minds behind Scoob! are up to in this reboot of a beloved franchise. This modern update is a mixed bag, designed with moments to appease long-time fans and have a plot for dog-lovers to enjoy. Plus, there are a few in-jokes that pays tribute to this series’ humble beginnings.

This film serves to reintroduce the gang and set up the fact other Hanna-Barbera properties can come in. I’m all for the shared universe and hope to see Space Ghost!

In what I miss is the completely supernatural angle of the gang busting ghosts. Hopefully later films will address this shortcoming, but as for bringing Blue Falcon and Dynomutt in, the idea is not new; they’ve teamed up before. The idea in this story is to explore man’s relationship with their beloved canine between different series. The same rule is applied for Dastardly, but where’s Muttley?

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On Aliens, UFOs & Proximity with Eric Demusey

9 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Arrives on VOD
May 15, 2020

DVD Release
July 7, 2020

Eric Demusey is a Los Angeles based filmmaker making his directorial debut with a young adult sci-fi drama Proximity. As part of the creative team who made the fantastic intro title sequences you see on Stranger Things, Game of Thrones and Tron Legacy, his experience showed he was ready for the next step. Plus, his passion is not limited to special effects work which gave him his start. Nearly everyone working in this industry has a story to tell.

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Instead of focusing on getting people to believe in UFOs, this movie explores the lasting effects of those who have been abducted and experimented upon for unknown reasons–hence the title. In this tale set in today’s trying times, this creator does not rewrite Fire in the Sky.

I was reminded of this story because of the introduction–where loggers in Alaska are whisked away by a UFO and the trauma we witness is far worse. Fast forward a few years later and change the setting from the boonies to a metropolis, Issac (Ryan Masson) gets his moment with an alien encounter, and tries to figure out what this all means. What he deals with has less to do with horror and more with trauma management.

When considering this movie was made on a budget, Demusey has to be creative in how to make those special effects shots work without overspending. For fans of FX films and UFOs, this movie has a lot of detail to love, and I spoke to him courtesy of Shout! Factory.

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LEGO DC: Shazam–Magic, Mayhem and Monsters!

1 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available on digital:
April 28, 2020

Coming to Blu-ray/DVD on
June 16, 2020.

The ever-expanding LEGO DC universe has a new hero! The past couple of years have seen the Justice League take on various threats, but we’ve never seen the ethereal realm get examined. Shazam: Magic and Monsters is a very welcome addition which re-introduces the mystical superhero (voiced by Sean Astin) and hopefully sets the tone for what else to come.

The worm Mr. Mind (Jonny Rees) has plans for the Justice League in his bid to rule Earth. When he becomes much too powerful, enter Shazam’s rival Black Adam (Imari Williams), and a nastier scheme which shows not even Mind has thought of plotting.

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