Emerald City Comic Con never fails to impress. I have attended over six and have always enjoyed being here. Twisted Toonz‘s zany shows featuring voice over talents playing iconic roles are always the highlight. With a floor dedicated to comic book talents and fiction writers, this area is the place to hang out. Those with a lot of merchandise to sell are located on the show floor. Here is where the shopping happens. At the Washington State Convention Center, a complete level for all things gaming related (from Pathfinder to Magic the Gathering) will keep the mainstream fan happy, and in another building altogether, LEGO!
It’s possible to take in this four-day show in two; to make the most of any event requires planning. I did the Friday/Saturday combo. For my first day, I got my essentials done. This meant getting autographs from a handful of comic book creators and hitting the Sheridan Hotel where all the celebrity opportunities happen; the people managing the lines are tops. The wait was minimal. I met David Tennant. My introduction to him was in BBC‘s Casanova and he does “crazy” very well, especially as Barty Jr., in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. My appreciation only grew upon hearing him lend his voice in works with side characters like Spitelout in How to Train Your Dragon and taking on the lead as Scrooge McDuck in the rebooted Ducktales. He is more than just Doctor Who, and I got my moment to ask him how did he like his stay in Victoria, BC. He said he loved it. Had Gracepoint been renewed, the chance of meeting him outside of a convention might be better. I like candid photos, but I did not want to miss this opportunity when this convention announced his appearance!
Even after watching five episodes of Disney’s new Ducktales (2017), the character designs in this reboot of Carl Barks product will take some time to get used to. They are not as cute as his designs and with the much beloved cartoon from the late 80’s / early 90’s. The duck family are fine, but the Bugle Boys, I’m sorry but they just too pug-like. My other issue is in replacing the voice of Launchpad McQuack. Terry McGovern is the one and only. Nobody can replace him and the jovial candor he imbued into the character.
When news first broke about this remake, I was hesitant. Yes, I wanted to see new adventures. At the same time, I wondered who has the vocal talent needed to succeed in being the next Scrooge McDuck? I grew up admiring Alan Young. This actor provided decades of quality entertainment over the 70 years of being in this entertainment industry. He is the definitive Scrooge, and when he passed away in 2016, I wondered if he ever expressed his opinion on this revival. I’m sure that if he was still alive and saw the finished product, he would give his seal of approval to David Tennant. This natural talent burst into the pop culture scene with Doctor Who and since then, his enthusiasm can be seen in many a product. I particularly loved his work as Fujitoid in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and he’s the perfect choice to continue the Scrooge McDuck legacy.
Two of Scotland‘s favourite sons are paired in a family comedy drama, What We Did On Our Holiday. David Tennant and Billy Connolly headline this film about a dysfunctional family attempting to come to terms before Gordie McLeod’s (Connolly) 75th birthday. This patriarch of the family is about to celebrate a milestone if he does not succumb to his cancer first. But when his grown up boys Doug (Tennant) and (Ben Miller) are constantly bickering with him or their respective spouses, he wants nothing to do with them. In his glory days, he was a well-known soccer player — he’s had his share of experiences from the school of hard knocks.
His grandchildren, however, are still innocent. Their outlook on life is very different and that perspective is very refreshing to see. Gordie has to carefully choose what he has to say around them, and in what he reveals, these youths receive some very important perspective defining lessons before his passing. At the same time, they provide the best laughs and steal the show. Lottie (Emilia Jones), Mickey (Bobby Smalldridge) and Jess (Harriet Turnbull) have a charm that works very well on the screen. When their characters prove themselves wise beyond their years after their little education from Gordie, they certainly show that they understand grandpa better than the two men trying to give their father the best celebration amongst his peers.
When news hit about Fox TV’s Gracepoint Victoria, BC based team having another sale in town, my suspicions that the program is not going to continue past the first season was only confirmed. Ever since I saw episode two of this murder mystery serial, I had a strong feeling that there will not be long-term interest. My issue was with this show’s pace and use of cinematic modernism to create a compelling tale. When compared to the original Broadchurch program, this American version felt too stretched out and I really did not find the use of incidental music all that effective in drawing me into the narrative. All those sounds was just distracting.
By the third episode, I lost interest in wondering if I could figure out who Danny’s killer was. But if I had to guess in what the animated tastes were of one of the children that was in this show, I found G.I. Joe – Valor Vs. Venom and Spy Troops on DVD as perhaps the most violent of animated titles being sold for cheap. Even a wood boomerang is suspect. If they belonged to Tom, that would suggest he might have a violent streak. For the most part, he acts very sedated. It’s almost like he’s hiding some terrible truth himself.
The last two weeks have been very busy for the cast and crew of Gracepoint. The production team reported that two episodes are “done,” and as for what that means next is probably showing it to producers for fine tuning the edit before the show gets broadcasted at the end of the year. And locals will no doubt have fun finding out that nearly most of the city Victoria and its outlying regions (Island View Park in Saanich, a church in North Saanich and bits from the town of Sidney) is going to make up the landscape of the North Californian town of Gracepoint. To see how Fernwood will get stitched in will be fascinating, as this community has its own unique charm of being rustic much like how Oak Bay is.
The middle of last week saw Kevin Zegers and Jack Irvine perform some daytime scenes near Fernwood Square, home to the Cornerstone Cafe, the Belfry Theatre and Stir It Up (my favourite place to hit for Caribbean food).