Tag Archives: Mythology

High Chinese Fantasy is Alive in Big Fish & Begonia

31 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Big Fish & Begonia () is a beautifully animated film which takes its afterlife seriously. The people living in a mystical Chinese Middle Earth type realm live harmoniously with the elements but when an individual upsets the natural order, the world will retaliate and the cosmic order will need rebalancing.

This movie debuted in 2016 and it got limited play at select film festivals. After two years, it has finally gotten notice by Shout! Factory and FUNimation. Hopefully, another work, I Am Nezha (我是哪吒) will see release. While one is traditionally animated (2D), the other is 3D. Big Fish is a dramatic product whereas Nezha has more comedy action. To catch either work on the big screen is tough; the release from last month only had a handful of theatres doing short runs.

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Peaking into the Layers of Folklore in Pixar’s Coco

24 Nov

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Despite reports of Disney•Pixar having a troubled start in the development of Coco, the movie I saw in all its charming glory and the reveal of how many anthropological experts were acknowledged in the movie credits certainly put any concerns to rest. The fact Hispanic illustrator Lalo Alcaraz was one such person hired on to ensure accuracy made this animated take in what Día de Muertos is about all the more enjoyable. As a group, these people insured this animated film is culturally relevant. Together, with director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 2 & 3) and writers Adrian Molina, Jason Katz and Matthew Aldrich, they made a film that’s true to the spirit of many past Pixar films, where keeping family ties is important.

Not everyone is fully aware about what the Day of the Dead represents. As a film about young Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez) wanting to be a musician instead of a cobbler — against his family’s wishes — just what he has to face in his journey is an adventure. From the land of the living to the city of the dead to find his great-great-grandfather, all he wants is someone’s blessing for what he wants to do for the rest of his life. Upon stealing a guitar in a mausoleum, he inadvertently enters the afterlife and pretty soon, he meets his deceased relatives. They are, pardoning the pun, aghast and side with his great grandmother’s desire to keep the family away from ever enjoying music. None are allowed to listen to it or perform.

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Returning to the Fold: Thoughts on the Ixalan Release

20 Sep

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

As the release of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering Ixalan nears and the spoiler card information is fully released, everything I’m discovering about it is hardly exciting. Set one offers a bit of cool narrative, but I’m still not entirely sold in this mixed genre realm. Plus, the news on the incentive promotion cards for Friday Night Magic changing to token cards next month is more of a deterring factor. Because these participation bonuses are not shiny, I’m not as inclined to participate.

The Davy Jones in me thinks the plunder is slim. The last set drained my funds so I can pick up duplicates of certain cards. Ixalan offers very little I truly want to play with. While Sorcerous Spyglass and Revel in Riches are two nice cards, the appeal of fighting dinosaurs is not all that hot. I still feel going Land of the Lost should be its own entity. I do not mind the vampire pirates as much (I was hoping for a few lich types inspired from Pirates of the Caribbean), but I have a burning question: just how much sunblock are they wearing to in order to cross the sea to arrive at a new world? The folklorist in me is appalled by the fact these members of the undead can cross water. This fact goes against tradition.

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Could the Gods and Monsters in The Mummy Want Their Humanity Back? An Analysis

12 Jun

mummyposterBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

* Spoiler Alert

Whoever wanted to revitalize Universal Studio’s vast catalogue of monsters into a new Dark Universe needs a lesson in understanding what made their golden era great. In the 40’s, the studio executives simply wanted to combine terror and comedy to reinvigorate box office sales, especially in-between or following a World War. The scares are delightful in Dracula (1931) and the laughs were genuine in Abbott and Costello meets Frankenstein (1948). I feel these two are milestones of an impressive and unintended plan to unite properties.

The whole notion to have a host of these beasts meeting or allying was never considered during these early days. What happened back then was more like a happy accident. Also, the latter film was assembled due to this studio suddenly owning the contracts of these comedians after they merged with International Pictures and producer Robert Arthur suggested pairing the boys with Frankenstein’s monster.

Fast forward to now, the intention to craft a shared world to compete with other studios (namely Marvel Entertainment’s) than to find effective pairings of star power with a property is questionable. Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise are neither exactly huge draws in every world-wide market. When considering the types of roles that earned them their best reputation, Depp can play a terrific smarmy pirate and Cruise that action-hero super-spy.

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