2016 has been a stellar year for animated films and the power of myth almost dominates my top five picks.
2016 has been a stellar year for animated films and the power of myth almost dominates my top five picks. Moana comes close to making the list, but a part of me is troubled because Disney North America retired Lilo & Stitch. While everybody’s favourite trouble-maker is still loved in Japan with new material in the past years, to see Disney West’s foray into Polynesian culture being replaced with a new product has always bothered me.
When awards season comes, there’s close to 25 films to consider. Hopefully, from my list, I will get to see my favourite get the gold, and I begin with my number one pick.
To read my full review, please click on the title.
(Studio Ghibli, Arte, Belvision Studios, Prima Linea Productions, CN4 Productions)
I’m really hoping for this film to win. The main reason is that it breaks against the stereotypes found in most narratives. Instead of a hero’s journey, it’s a lament and look at the life and times of a survivor living on a deserted island. Although there is a sense that he might one day get rescued, to watch him try to survive is at the core of this product.
At first, the turtle he encounters is vicious towards him, but as the events unfold, they forge a bond that’s not to be forgotten. I cried at the end, and I will not say why for those who have not seen this movie yet.
Sony’s PlayStation VR bundle is now available and if some people are still in the fence about it, they can try it out at special events like Fan Expo Vancouver. This 2016 show had Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment exhibiting LEGO Dimensions and demonstrating Batman: Arkham VR (now available on Amazon) on the PS4 Pro and the experience has me believing the hardware is very capable. I was told this updated system is not absolutely necessary in order to become the crime-fighting detective, but it does help with the frame rates and rendering for those players wanting to go by the numbers.
The headwear certainly can use some fine-tuning for people like myself wearing eyeglasses. It is certainly comfortable with or without (I tried both methods on two different demos of the game) and I experienced minor fogging on the lens. If the addition of micro-fans or vents can be put in version two of the hardware, this problem can easily be solved.
The feeling of being immersed in the digital environment is almost there; the fact the view does not fully fill the peripheral (i.e. I can see the edges of where the screen ends) shows virtual environments are not that all-encompassing. Part of the fact has to deal with the psychological aspects of distinguishing between real space and imagined space. If the eye detects an object at the edge of perception, the body will be inclined to react.
Fan Expo Vancouver (Nov 11-13, Vancouver Convention Center) is shaping up to be a delight for pop culture fans of all ages. Tom Kenny of Spongebob Squarepants fame will have children coming in troves. For older fans, he is lending his vocal talents in the animated Guardians of the Galaxy as The Collector.
Since coming into the entertainment scene in the late 80’s in How I Got Into College, his career just simply exploded. Followers of his work will remember the many voices he’s offered in the Transformers Animated series and for some, the debate will still continue as who is the best Starscream. Die-hard fans of Generation One cartoon will name Chris Latta but after his passing, other names continued this character’s legacy. From the list of seven (including the live action Bay treatment), Tom Kenny and Steve Blum are by far in the top three whose performances are memorable.
In the anime and animated front, original voice-actor Ryo Horikawa (Vegeta) of Dragon Ball Z will be making an appearance. English voice-actors of this show includes Chris Sabat and Eric Vale. Also appearing are Linda Ballantyne and Susan Roman of Sailor Moon, Cherami Leigh of Sword Art Online, Jamie Marchi of Fairy Tail and Trina Nishmura of Attack on Titan.
For a full line-up of guests coming to this year’s show — especially several returning to the Pacific Northwest if you missed seeing them at Emerald City Comicon in prior years — please check out the guest list here.
After watching the documentary I am Big Bird, I felt more than prepared for the Fringe theatre performance of Does Not Play Well With Others. Both products look at children’s entertainment from different perspectives. The former was more of a biography about Caroll Spinney. All the trails, tribulations and experiences he went through to be Big Bird is nicely explored. The Fringe show looks at the trials and tribulations of two puppeteers, played by Adam Francis Proulx and Kira Hall, who are the creative minds behind lovable Oomph and Bae.
I wished these two puppeteers’ names were mentioned more than once for me to make note of. Not like it really matters, since this tale can apply to any disgruntled union worker, but I wanted some extra detail to make this story more specific than general. For now, I will use these performer’s real names.
LOCATION: Downtown Activity Centre 755 Pandora, Victoria, BC V8W 1N9
SHOWTIMES: Wed Aug 31, 9:45pm Sat Sep 3, 6:45pm Sun Sep 4, 4:45pm
The 2016 Victoria Fringe Festival production of Winnie the Pooh & Tales of 100 Acre Wood is simply wonderful. Children can enjoy seeing the bedtime pyjama party of Pooh Bear, Rabbit, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Christopher Robin recounting the tales from A. A. Milne‘s 1926 publication. Literary enthusiasts (mostly me) can read into the context being provided to make this production a look into troubled times for the era poignant. Award-winning Victoria local, playwright David Elendune and director Ian Case made a show that’s a delight to seen by all. This team known as Outpost 31 was also involved in last year’s Victoria Fringe Festival show, Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.
I was particularly enthralled by the world that frames the story. The vintage radio made me ga-ga over the fact that this show will be a period piece. The set design is beautifully period. The framing narrative sets the tone: the London Blitz is happening, and Britain is facing difficult times. The citizens of this country are finding creative ways to cope, and the children we meet — whom there’s only one we know by name, Chris Robin (Ellen Law), faces the most difficult challenge while sheltered at a hospital.