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Theories on the Muppets, Puppets and Pooh-Bear & Beyond

10 Aug

Image result for winnie the pooh 2018 christopher robinBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

After watching Disney’s Christopher Robin, I could not help but wonder what’s next for CGI, and where can the use of puppetry shine in movie-making. There were times in this film where I believe puppets were used instead of CGI. Parts of the film required Ewan McGregor to have an on set puppet instead of a motion capture performer. Technology can offer wonderful things when it’s advanced enough. I would cuddle an animatronic doll of Winnie, Tigger or Eeyore.

They can be classified as a muppet. Purists will disagree. Folklorists like me see can only imagine the possibility. This film offers a possibility of these “puppets” of being real and interacting with the world. Reactions will be mixed because not everyone is aware of them. When considering the parent company now owns Jim Henson’s creations in addition to having some rights on A.A. Milne’s seminal bear, could a crossover or further expansion of the mythology happen? The idea of putting these creations into our reality has been experimented with.

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Thoughts on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

30 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Major Spoiler Alert

In preparation for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a rewatch of the first film (and original trilogy) was needed. To see how it all ties together is mildly explored. This latest entry takes place three years after and yes, some advancements in cloning technology happened to allow for the unthinkable.

Dr Henry Wu (B. D. Wong) is continuing his hybrid experiments. I hoped more detail would emerge about who his new masters are, but nothing is revealed. Without him, there would be no ongoing series. Another film is planned.

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Returning to the Fold: MtG’s Global Planeswalker Series

24 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

In concept, Wizards of the Coast announced a terrific idea: to get “a team of Chinese artists, writers, and folklorists to explore a new branch of Magic lore rooted in Chinese aesthetics and mythology.”

They released two new Planeswalker decks a few days ago—Global Series: Jiang Yanggu & Mu Yanling—to appease a new (re)generation of players, like myself who is part of that demographic and heritage they want to appease. I love works inspired by ancient worlds. My return to playing this game is because of Amonkhet. When that phases out, I do not know if I will continue. I hear Modern tournaments are brutal, and I am not sure if I want to play in that arena.

This release is not meant for serious competition or Friday Night Magic tournament play. Not everyone will know this detail. It’s not written on the accompanying story card. From WotC’s own mouth: “After much discussion, we settled on something unusual: these cards would be legal for Standard play in mainland China events. They will also be legal in Vintage and Legacy everywhere. They will never be Modern legal, because once they rotate out of Standard, the reason they were Standard legal no longer applies…”

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How Can The Incredibles 2 Be Topped?

16 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert!

Brad Bird‘s The Incredibles is a perfect send-up to many a past superhero comic. Not only does it explore familial issues (the core of what this franchise is about) but also it continues to examine the public perception of what kind of purpose do these Supers serve. The subplots introduced in the first film get further analysis, and the resolutions are far from being complete.

This second chapter does not get too deep with the whole “Gods and Monsters” aspect which defines many a DC film. To stay light-hearted needed this filmmaker’s magic touch. PIXAR’s mantra focuses on matters of the heart and togetherness instead of the difficult choices heroes have to make: Is it possible to save everyone from harm?

In the first movie, Mr. Incredible aka Bob Parr (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) yearned for those bygone days of simply saving the day. He has an ego the size of his heart. To do good is tough, and he’s not out to showboat. He wants to protect the little guy, but not everyone agrees to his method. The public despises superheroes because they can potentially cause more harm than good (somebody has to clean up the mess they leave behind), and only a handful of folks support them. He gets recruited to do good deeds but little did he know the peoples involved have their own agenda. The sequel flips the situation around by having Elastigirl / Helen (Holly Hunter) getting the adventure and seeing Bob at home, dealing with raising a nuclear family. The plot is a retread and it works well enough to highlight reversed gender roles. Bob gets to clean the dishes at home and Molly gets to be Mrs. Fantastic.

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