Here’s hoping the animated take, Heroes of the Golden Maskm will inspire John Wilson to finish his book series that insired the film.
When the only people who can save Ancient China are the Heroes of the Golden Mask, and one of them has fallen, who else can the royal family turn to? Apparently, it’ll take bringing a Yankee to the Imperial Court to fill in the gap! Curiously, this world also needs the assistance of a Mayan warrior and a soldier from Atlantis too. The big question I had was to wonder why a film that’s set in this past would feature warriors from other cultures?
I’m sure Chinese producers were happy that a novel exists to explore how the masks discovered in Sanxingdui might have been used, but to toss in ideas taken from many Ancient Alien theories–including that all these past cultures communicated with one another–is mystery. Anyone who’s seen the exhibit might make this connection too. Maybe that’s what original author John Wilson penned when writing his book, The Ruined City (The Golden Mask Book 1, Amazon link). I haven’t read it, but after watching this film, I definitely want to pick up a copy.
Corrective Measures is a movie that looks at the prison life of supervillains. They have a varied range of abilities, and the most feared are the psychic types rather than genetically enhanced. In a world where they were nearly created overnight, to have heroes around who can stop them took time. But humanity persevered and managed to contain them in a questionably maximum strength facility run by The Warden (Michael Rooker).
Four new inmates get put here. Only two seem matters in this narrative: Payback (Dan Payne) is a vigilante of sorts, and he’s not loved by many since he has superior strength. Diego Diaz (Brennan Mejia) advanced abilities won’t help him survive, and just why these are of concern ties into how they can help Julius “The Lobe” Loeb (Bruce Willis) escape. He is this prison’s most dangerous inmate.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom is the second chapter of a three-part saga. Here, the child version of this seminal writer (voiced by Kiefer O’Reilly) has to deal with untold dangers from more than one dark world. Youths can be introduced to H.P. Lovecraft before he became the recluse and derisive adult.
This film is humourous at times. It’s also a safe product to teach young viewers the importance of never forgetting their elders, even when the world shuns them. When considering what the real-life figure was like, perhaps all he needed was more familial love.
After the events of the first film, he has to keep the three books from being put together to form the Necronomicon. He does not know of this tome’s secrets, but in what he learns — how to use magic — he has to use it to fight the minions mad Abdul (Jeffrey Combs) is sending after him! Although his father is committed to a sanitarium and his mother is possessed (and eventually kidnapped), this lad is proving to be able to take on the challenges from the mysterious city of R’yleh and other strange worlds which lays in this maddening multiverse.
This film is adapted from Bruce Brown’s work (original creator) which is published by Arcana Comics. The print edition (available on Amazon) is much more violent when compared to this cinematic version. The changes required to make this product accessible for youths does not distract. Even as I’m thumbing through my hardcover copy of the complete story while watching this film to find what writer and director Sean Patrick O’Reilly changed, general aspects of all three issues (when it was released as individual comics) are retained. He brings much-needed character development to Winfield Scott Lovecraft, the father. While none of this is true to the real life counterpart, to understand this individual offers to fans a hint at what could have influenced the boy to become the man with unsettling dreams.
Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom can make a great holiday gift for fans of Cthulhu and H.P. Lovecraft’s works. The adult self may well be morbid with his harsh opinions about the people he’s met and the Jazz Age he lived in, but for the youth, his innocence has yet to be tarnished. With snow hitting parts of the Pacific Northwest, I have the print volume, video release and compilation hardcover (amazon listing) to cozy up to and the Dreamlands to visit as I lay snuggled up in my blanket. Some comic book stores may not be able to order them in, and thankfully they can be obtained through Arcana Studios’ website or on Amazon.
I wanted to know more about what’s coming for this trilogy. Reception is great for the animated version, and Arcana Studios is focussing on making Howie one of their flagship products. Michelle O’Reilly (pictured right), co-founder of the company, explained both she and her husband, Sean, wanted to give their production house a bit of rebrand. They want to focus more on kid-friendly content. She said, “Everyone loves H.P. Lovecraft but he’s not very kid-friendly. We made our own version that’s suitable for younger audiences.”
When looking at the two mediums to which this character is developed for, some readers/viewers may well notice a difference in artistic style. “Gary Yuen is our art director and modeler, and I really do love how he went into a much more Tim Burton look especially with Howard. Because there were so many artists on the book series, Howard’s look was never completely locked down,” Sean explained. “One of the greatest things from comic to movie comes from learning what worked and what didn’t work and being able to make those changes.”
If the movie Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (HPL&FK) has not crawled into your collection, perhaps the wait for all the movies that makes up this trilogy will be more worthwhile. Although I’m not chill with the wait, to see how the story introduced in Frozen Kingdom coalesce is what makes me interested. This computer-animated film is the first act to a grander story and it certainly feels like it. As for where the other two parts will go, Howie has a long journey ahead of him.
Last year, Shout! Factory announced obtaining the North American rights to Arcana Studios‘ upcoming movie. This comic book company has an entertainment subdivision to translate their printed products to cinema and this title is not their first. They produced The Clockwork Girl (2014, still awaiting a proper video release) and Pixies (2015).