Archive | Science Fiction RSS feed for this section

The Life, Times and Advances in Puppetry with Mike Quinn

14 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Mike Quinn is a man of many cinematic trades—a talent mentored by Jim Henson and Frank Oz—and he sees a bright future for puppetry, a style of performance theatre. His passion for it predates meeting these two icons and he is fully aware of its rich history. At an early age, he staged his own live puppet shows for family and friends, and he was always encouraged to pursue his dreams.

This form of entertainment can be traced back to the days of early man. Some simply manipulated the stuffed dolls with their hands and others took the form further, like to have a light source cast upon them so their shadows are projected upon a larger surface. This technique not only helped make them become larger than life but also create a mystique to enthral many a viewer. Quinn is well aware of the many styles of puppetry that can be used to tell a story. In the 90’s, his shift to work behind the camera showed his passion also included directing. He worked on many a TV pilot in the UK and said Mira Mara was one program where he brought in skilled shadow puppeteers to perform while a human actress was regaling fantastic tales to a cast of puppets. It went to full series production, was filmed throughout Wales and Scotland, and was broadcast in Gaelic speaking countries.

“I think this style is a very poetic and abstract artistic way of doing visuals. I also enjoy watching a different form known as bunraku (Japanese puppet theatre). You have three people working a full figure on a tabletop. They are usually seen behind the puppet, sometimes dressed in black, partially visible … they study forever to be very precise. It’s incredible!” observed Quinn.

Continue reading

Advertisements

You Know It’s Solo, A Star Wars Story Not Quite Rogue

25 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Harrison Ford is Han Solo. He made being a scruffy nerf herder charming. As the daring Indiana Jones, he knows when not to cheat death. George Lucas had a vision with the Young Indiana Jones series, to educate first and entertain second, the end product worked. Sean Patrick Flanery made us believe he was Indy and he was young enough so audiences can imagine his ageing process.

At least ten years must exist between when Solo (played slightly convincingly by Alden Ehrenreich) is seen running amok in the streets of Corellia trying to escape his life as a street urchin. He joins the Imperial Army and is soon kicked out due to insubordination. He hooks up with criminals and they hope to commit the Ocean’s 11 (technically not) of all heists. But it all goes terribly wrong, horribly wrong.

Continue reading

May the Fourth Be Coming to Free Comic Book Day

3 May

Free Comic Book DayBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Free Comic Book Day is coming, and it’s happening after May the Fourth. Star Wars fans can rejoice as a tale featuring Han Solo is offered. Bounty Hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM have found these smugglers for hire, and just what happens will require stopping by a comic shop so I can find out! The brief synopsis offered online does not say much, but it’s enough to get me curious.

Fans who are unaware of this saga’s long history in this medium can also talk to the staff of their local comic book store in what else to look at, or pick up. I followed the run back when they started at Marvel. Dark Horse continued the love a decade later with a terrific Dark Empire saga (and much more), but these days they are back with Marvel. Other chapters include a Star Wars: Rebels tie-in with Kanan. I miss this computer-animated series and honestly, the poster tease for the new Resistance looks too bright and colorful. With IDW on board to publish tales from the Forces of Destiny line, no shortage is planned as long as Lucasfilm/Disney is involved! Just how well received it will be depends on the story direction.

At least there are other franchises to consider on Free Comic Book Day. Teasers to Overwatch, Riverdale, Street Fighter and Transformers are just a sample of what people can find at their local comic book store.

These works are usually one-offs. Some have even become collectibles because of the extra work put behind releasing them. Gold Comics are titles which the publishers put a touch more work behind to release “free,” and those Mouse Guards I have from previous years will forever be treasured.

The following are my top ten picks of what must be considered. They are not necessarily collectible, but as a primer for what’s planned by the big publishers, to start here is a must!

Continue reading

Is Alex Garland’s adaptation of Annihilation About Enlightenment?

27 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Alex Garland’s adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s book, Annihilation is a thoughtfully compelling film. The narrative defies the norm for science fiction. It takes elements from survival horror and turns a few ideas I recall from Robert Zemeckis’ Contact around. If I had to deal with meeting aliens in the same way this film suggests, let them have this planet! Part of the story’s DNA may have taken inspiration from John Carpenter’s The Thing. However, this idea goes beyond cloning or regenesis.

In this film, a trip into the light fantastic known as The Shimmer to figure out what’s happening to a small part of Planet Earth is required. Many governments are worried. If this weirdness took place during Jesus Christ’s time, some may call the mission is to approach the Burning Bush. After Moses encountered God to obtain the Ten Commandments, he was positively glowing.

Continue reading