Two MCU Films at the Box Office…

Avengers: Infinity War is coming out in just a couple weeks, and it will very likely dominate the Box Office, this isn’t surprising, and if you’d asked someone a year or two ago, they’d have known then that it was likely.  Right?  Here is what was unlikely, but is now seeming incredibly likely:

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Black Panther, will still be in the top 10 spots at the Box Office when Infinity War comes.

Never before, have we seen two MCU films (I’m not sure we’ve ever seen two films of the same franchise in general) dominate the box office at the same time, but we’re about to.  So I wonder what this means for both films.

In case you’re unaware, Black Panther has not only been raking in more money on a week to week basis than almost any other film since it’s release, but it has been moving in on the all time earners.  As of this past weekend, it took down Titanic, as the #3 earner domestically of all time.  It currently stands at #10 globally of all time (not taking inflation into account), and is only $32 million from the #9 spot, and $41 million from the #8 spot, which when you’re looking at the fact that it made $8 million last week, seem a plausible outcome.

31F3511B-8547-43DA-8488-30F23D9E75CEOne thing, that I think could happen as Infinity War looms over us, is that I think it is possible, that Black Panther gets a resurgence in the week or so prior to Infinity War, after all, if you’re an MCU fan, and there’s a chance to watch the previous film in theaters, then the following day/week/whatever watch the most current, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll take that.  Will it be some massive swell that pushes Black Panther to the #1 spot on either the domestic or global lists? It seems unlikely (the domestic record is Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $936 million, to Black Panther’s $665 million;  globally, Avatar has the record at $2.78 billion, while Black Panther is currently at $1.3 billion) but that doesn’t matter, because it’s potentially going to change a lot of things about how films are made.  It bought legitimacy for so many different aspects that may have been overlooked before.

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On the other hand, how will Black Panther affect Infinity War at the Box Office?  My guess, is that it will help it.  From the trailer, it appears that Wakanda is going to play a major role in the film, as well as including multiple characters from Black Panther in addition to the title character.  If people loved Black Panther, they’re getting a sequel of sorts, while it’s still in theaters, and I think that will translate to big Box Office numbers, in addition to the fact that the previous 2 Avengers films have both ranked higher than BP so far in the global market, and let’s face it, whether it’s a good film or not, it’s got EVERYTHING, and so this film would have to be absolutely atrocious to not do amazing numbers in the Box Office.

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Ultimately, if I’m wrong, and Infinity War somehow kills Black Panther’s momentum, it’s already done so well that it hardly matters, on the other hand, I do think that Infinity War could potentially hurt some of the films coming out in the month or two afterwards.  Whether you think Solo is going to be good or not, Disney’s kind of taking a risk putting it a month after Infinity War.  I do think Deadpool 2 is far enough away that it should be able to be successful regardless of the shadow that Infinity War casts (either way, chances are Josh Brolin has a good few months).

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What I Want to See: Avengers Infinity War

 

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Hopefully, I don’t need to catch you up on the history of the MCU, and I can just dive into what I want to see from Infinity War.  This might be a pretty controversial take on it, and as always I’m very open to whatever they’re actually going to do, but this is what I would do if I were in charge.

MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Josh Brolin as Thanos

I want to see Thanos, and his team lay waste to much of the MCU heroes.  I don’t need to see him murder a bunch of them, (although I think we can agree there will likely be some major losses) but I want it to be a one-sided slaughter, I want the end of the second act to appear hopeless, like Han in carbonite, Luke handless level of hopeless.  I want the audience to honestly be borderline upset at how poorly our heroes are doing.

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Then as the third act begins, we see something falling towards the Earth, and it’s coming in too quick, and we see the heat trail as it burns through the atmosphere towards the ground, and it’s the Hulk who has been hurtling through space since whatever happens to the ship Thor and the Asgardians were on at the end of Ragnarok, and he slams into the ground, and is so pissed off from that ordeal, that he begins to pummel through each and every one of Thanos’ lackies and maybe they don’t win the fight (it seems as if this will not be the end since Avenger’s 4 comes out a year from now and originally was going to be Infinity War Part 2,) but he helps the team to at least hold off Thanos.

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I’ve got to admit, with a 2 year-old who’s favorite phrase has been “Hulk Smash” ever since he saw Ragnarok, I want Hulk to not be in the film for long, but then come in and fuck shit up.  I want to see Thanos over confident in his ability, and in his progress in destroying the Avengers and other assorted MCU heroes, and I want to have that moment everyone seems to have in the MCU where they think they know what’s going to happen, and then immediately realize they don’t have a clue.  Hulk is amazing at delivering that moment, and I want him to give that to Thanos.

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A big piece of speculation about the film has been that Thanos will not have all of the Infinity stones in this film, or at least not until the end of the film.  I’m not sure how they cover him succeeding in getting the stones, and still have any kind of victory for the Avengers.  It’s a plot point that seems—from a writing standpoint—to be insurmountable, but one that many seem to think is coming.  If it’s coming, I hope it’s the very last moment, and I would enjoy seeing the Hulk have that same “oh shit” moment of realization that I want for Thanos.  Then despite that, we see Hulk rampage forward, swing for a hit, and before it connects cut to black.

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I want to see the Hulk smash, like he’s never smashed before…

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What I Want to See: Star Wars TV

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Paul did a podcast a week or so ago that covered the show Star Wars: Rebels, and out of curiosity, I began watching it with my son.  We’re hooked.  I like the fact that it’s a legitimately great entry into the Star Wars saga, and my son loved that there were half a dozen Wookies (or as he calls them “Bacca!”) and he also loves that there are lots of “Star Wars” which is what he calls the stormtroopers.  I’m starting him off young if you can’t tell.

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So we’re hooked, but I’ve also been looking into Star Wars animation, since I had also heard that Clone Wars was a good show, and in the process, I found out that there is a lot of speculation that the next series will be Star Wars: Resistance.  This hasn’t been confirmed but apparently Lucasfilm and Disney have been getting the trademarks in order.

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Now, I haven’t made it through the entirety of Rebels, and I will dive into Clone Wars when I’m done (I know it’s backwards but I don’t care, I saw Return of the Jedi first as a kid, and honestly it didn’t ruin anything for me).  I also recently read an article about how Disney with their television programming has a tendency to shut shows down, regardless of success with in about 65 episodes.  Rebels runs for 69, but many adhere to the 65 rule.  While this might be irritating for some, I think it may actually be good with Star Wars, because if we get multiple series, that might be a great way of doing things.  So I’m ok with this idea of 65ish episodes.

If the next show is Star Wars: Resistance, I have some specific things that I want to see.  First, I want this to take place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, it could be right in the middle, or leaning toward either one, but I really don’t want there to be much overlap with Force Awakens.  There are supposed to be roughly 30 years between the two films, and I don’t want this to just be the lead up to Force Awakens.

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I’m interested in seeing the creation of The First Order.  There must be a power vacuum created in the wake of Return of the Jedi, and with both those loyal to the Empire, and the Rebels wanting to recreate the Republic, there must be a lot of story that happens within that power struggle, and arguably it could be more interesting than much of what we’ve seen.  One of the things that I love about Rebels, is that we’re getting to see a group of 5 rebels take on Ezra, and then become a part of a larger rebellion faction which then begins recruiting and forming the alliance.  Meanwhile, we’re seeing the Empire slowly complete their destruction of the Republic and its remnants.  Seeing both sides regrouping and seeing the Rebels trying to take more control from the crumbling Empire, while the Empire loyalists try to find their own new structure could provide some great storylines along with the ‘scrappy’ type of action that the originals, and now Rebels provide us.

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I don’t really want to see much of Poe, Rey, or Finn in this show.  I love those characters, and sure Poe has something of a background in the Resistance, and Finn goes through stormtrooper training, but ultimately, I want any interaction with the younger versions of them to be cameo or Easter Egg level.

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I’m somewhat interested in Kylo and the Knights of Ren, but I think perhaps that should be in its own series, something based on Luke training new Jedi or something, but it seems to be somewhat separated from the action of the Resistance.

This show however, could provide some of the answers that people are wanting that haven’t necessarily been necessary answers.  We could see who Snoke is, and fill him in more, we could see more about Hux, and I’d be ok with those explorations as long as they’re not the main focus.  What I really want to see though, is new characters.  These wars span the course of 90ish years so far, and an entire Galaxy, and so I want to see more of the people who are also giving it their all, but aren’t necessarily connected, or not deeply connected to the Skywalkers.

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I am sure that now that I have started down the rabbit hole of the Star Wars animated universe, that I will likely be along for the entire ride, so I’m not saying I won’t watch if they don’t do it the way I necessarily want, but that is ultimately what I do want to see.

Written by Michael Cole

The State of the Arrowverse

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I’m a big fan of the Arrowverse.  I watch every show, including Back Lightning, which doesn’t technically seem to be part of the Arowverse and I personally hope it stays that way. But there have been a few pieces of evidence that suggest the shows may be connected. Don’t forget, when Supergirl premiered on CBS and even for a few months after, it was definitely not apart of the Arrowverse. But things change and I suppose we’ll have to see.  Speaking of The Girl of Steel, I’m even a defender when people like to talk about their least favorite one (which tends to be Supergirl).  I think what they’re doing on that channel is great.  But not amazing.

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I think each of the shows right now has one element that seems to be holding it back from achieving something amazing.  With Arrow, I think it’s Oliver as the Green Arrow.  Let me explain that explain that. I really like Oliver, but whole idea of juggling his two lives is played out to me.  Earlier this season, he stepped out of the role, and John Diggle became the Green Arrow, and honestly, I loved that.  Arrowverse Trivia:  In Legends of Tomorrow season one, John Diggle’s son, John Diggle Jr., is the Green Arrow protecting Star City, decades in the future,  under the assumed name of Conner Hawke. AnywayI wish Dig as Green Arrow had been a season long arch, maybe with Oliver being forced to take up the mantle again towards the end of the season. That could have the show go out with a real bang at the end of season six.

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Green Arrow of 2046 AKA Conner Hawke AKA John Diggle Jr.
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Left: Wild Dog, Right: John Diggle as Green Arrow (Present Day)

I also hope that they are able to make Ricardo Diaz a really cool village. Up until now, he’s just been in the background as a puppet master, so he couldn’t really be in the forefront of the story.  Otherwise it wouldn’t be as much of a surprise when the revealed he’s the one orchestrating everything. In the comics (and they reference this on the show) he goes by the name Richard dragon, one of the greatest martial artists on the planet and formidable thorn in the side of characters like Batman, Nightwing, and of course Green Arrow. I’ve always wanted to see him on the show and I hope they do him justice now that he’s been revealed is the true big bad. It’d be pretty cool if he started going by Richard Dragon for the rest of the season, I’ll be honest I’ll be disappointed if they don’t.

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Before I move on to the other shows, I want to touch on something else that all of the Arrowverse shows are guilty of: Many of the really interesting, major changes seems to be resolved way too quickly. Season 3 of Flash began with Barry having traveled back in time, changing the timeline and arriving in Flashpoint, within 3 episodes he was back in the regular timeline. Yes, there were consequences for Barry later in the season, but I think everyone would have wanted to spend more time in the Flashpoint timeline. They had set it up at the end of Season 2, and it seemed like over the summer they said “oh shit, we cant pull off such a massive world change!.  Let’s fix it asap.”  The same thing happened this season with Legends of Tomorrow, the final shot of last season showed them appearing in San Francisco with modern architecture and dinosaurs running around. That would have been a crazy season, but within minutes of the first episode, the anachronism was fixed, as if they realized it wasn’t in their budget.  It’s a bit frustrating.

The First 3 Big Bads on The Flash:

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Eobard Thawne AKA The Reverse-Flash
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ZOOM AKA Hunter Zolomon
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Barry faces Savitar

Other cool Villains :

 

Anyway, back to each show’s big flaw.  I think The Flash’s biggest flaw has been the villain.  We got three season of speedsters and honestly they were each great in their own way. Thawne and Zoom inparticular where fantastic villains. But 3 speedster villains was one too many and the show needed some variety. So as we entered this season and you got The Thinker.  The guy they got to play him was amazing, then they killed him off and put his brain into another guy’s body just as soon as you become invested in him as a villain.  This was hugely disappointing even if it did land Barry in jail for several episodes (which did end up being it’s own highlight).  Now Barry’s out of jail, facing an able-bodied Thinker (part of the appeal of the character was that he was so smart that he would be able to beat Barry with just his brain, while sitting in his hover chair).

Other cool heroes:

 

Then there is Supergirl.  I might be in the minority here, but I do like Supergirl, I just think it has some major flaws.    Most superheroes stories derive their success from action sequences and thrills, but the best parts of Supergirl are the character moments .   There have been less of these great character moments that make the show so good. This season for example, the highlight has been Kara’s sister Alex’s personal turmoil over her romantic life, and her desire to be a mother.  Alex’s struggle last season with her sexual orientation, and discovering she was a lesbian, was the highlight, and this season expanding on that, breaking her heart has been the most intriguing.  The problem then falls on the action, and the “A plot,” and unfortunately, it’s just not keeping up.  It’s serviceable, but it’s not special, it’s not captivating like Alex’s life is.

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Left: Clark Kent, Right: Kara Danvers AKA Supergirl

Finally we come to Legends of Tomorrow.  Before I get into it I’d just like to say, Sarah Lance, whom I disliked during her run on Arrow, is amazing on this show. She’s the Han Solo of the Arrowverse, and honestly, even though I’d really want Barry’s powers, ultimately if I had to BE anyone character, it would be Sarah Lance (She even has her own Millennium Falcon!).

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Sarah Lanch AKA White Canary: Captain of The Waverider

Legends is probably the most fun show of the lineup.  It definitely keeps improving year to year. It is amazingly fun every week and definitely the best of the Arrowverse, at least for now. Also, the cast’s natural rotation, and the structure of the show allow for it to always seem fresh.  So what is wrong with it?  It’s unoriginal.  The idea’s cool, that’s not what I mean.  The Wave-Rider, the team’s time-machine is suspiciously similar to, as I mentioned before, the Millennium Falcon, there are a lot of Doctor Who similarities, and while I loved the episode this week, it was Groundhog’s Day.  None of these things ruins the show for me, in fact I like them all, but I do think it keeps the show from achieving the ‘amazing’ status certain other genre shows achieve.

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Legends of Tomorrow (Version 1.0)
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John Constantine again because he fucking rules.

I mentioned before that I hope that Black Lightning doesn’t become part of the Arrowverse, and I just want to clarify that is just because it’s a different kind of show.  The Arrowverse may touch upon issues of the day, but mostly they’re fun fare, where as Black Lightning as far as we’ve seen it, is a drama, with some comic book elements.  They don’t really mesh, and so I hope they don’t try to force them to.

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Black Lightning AKA Jefferson Pierce with his future superhero daughters

Thanks for reading, everyone!

Written by Michael Cole

With additional writing by Paul Wright

What I Want to See: The Fifty Shades Franchise

I kind of doubt that there is much overlap, between World’s Best Media’s audience, and The Fifty Shades audience, but hear me out, ok?

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The final Fifty Shades movie is upon us, and it seems like we may largely be done with this franchise altogether.  I personally don’t care whether or not it gets rebooted, or continued, but if it does, I have an opinion as to what I want to see from it.

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Now, let me be honest, I didn’t read any of the books.  I read a randomly selected page that my wife thought might entice me to read the entire book, and she was very wrong.  I did however go and see the first film with for Valentine’s Day, however many years ago that came out (was it two?  It feels like it was 5, but it’s been a crazy couple of years).  You may be surprised to hear this, but I didn’t think the film was as bad as seemingly everyone else did.  Don’t get me wrong, it was really bad, but there was a shining light.

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Sam Taylor-Johnson, who directed the film, did as good of a job as possible with the combination of source material, and restrictions she was given.  For whatever reason, the studio dictated that she stick fairly rigidly to the dialogue from the novel, and the dialogue in the novel was apparently a complete dumpster fire.  “I’m Fifty Shades of fucked up!” is one of my top 5 least favorite movie lines of all time.

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According to my wife, there is very little description in regards to the visuals of the world, apparently E.L. James didn’t spend much time on setting or anything while typing away on her Blackberry. This allowed Taylor-Johnson to create a pretty interesting visual style.  One of the things that the film lets her play with is visual metaphors, and it enhanced the story immensely.  During the initial meeting with Christian Grey, the main character Anastasia Steele (God! I hate the names of so many fictional characters) is attracted and sexually aroused by him. While the dialogue and acting don’t do a great job of selling that point, there is a moment, immediately after the encounter, where Anastasia walks out of the building into the rain.  Now, this could easily be missed, but water signifies climax throughout the movie.  Later when they’re in the ‘red room,’ as Anastasia succumbs to Christian’s BDSM lifestyle, the camera pans up to a painting of water splashing hard against the rocks.

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I think this film, is similar to the problems that I have with the Star Wars prequels.  They stick to rigidly to dialogue that is not only awful, but also hurts the acting performances.  Had the studio not insisted on staying with the dialogue, then I think that Taylor-Johnson would have made the movie much more watchable.

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Now, that’s all in the past, and on this first go ’round, we got very little in the way of what I would have preferred (probably because I’m not the main audience for it.)  If there is a reboot, or further exploration of the concept, what I’d like to see is something different.  If you watch the movie Shame from 2011, you see an NC-17 film about a sex addict, which is gritty, and realistic, and harsh, but more importantly, it is sexual while not really being sexy.  It showcased Fassbender’s performance, as well as exposing many to a type of sexual behavior that they weren’t previously aware of.  That is what I’d like to see with any future Fifty Shades reboots, or reimaginings or whatever they come up with.  In this series you have a story that many actual BDSM practitioners have called abusive, because the author didn’t know what she was writing about, and very few people in the creative process knew enough to correct it.  Take these characters, adapt the story to conform into a more realistic BDSM relationship, scrap side plots, and dive into the psyche of the two characters, examine the roles within the relationship, show us why it works for these characters, water crashing against the rocks.  We’ve never seen that in mainstream film, and yes it would likely get an NC-17 rating, but if the subject matter, and acting, and pathos are all strong enough, with the “Fifty Shades” name on it, it could be really interesting.

What I Want to See: Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther is coming out next week, and I really wanted to write a What I Want to See in honor of it, but the truth is, that Black Panther as a character was the MVP of the one Marvel movie he’s been in, has had one of the coolest trailers in the MCU, looks like he’s could be the MVP of Infinity War.  As a movie, Black Panther boasts one of the more exciting casts, and crews of any MCU film to date.  Ryan Coogler coming off of Creed to the MCU is an inspired choice. So I didn’t want to do a What I Want to See about Black Panther.  I have faith in this, and What I Want to See, is what they’ve got, I think it’s going to be amazing.

I first saw Chadwick Boseman in 42, as Jackie Robinson, and he was great in that film.  Then a year later, he was James Brown, and I haven’t seen that, but again he looked awesome in it.  Then we got to see him as Black Panther in Civil War, and he stole the show.  This last year, he played Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

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He’s played 3 men who have been hugely important in the conversation of race over the last 70 years, and one of the most important fictional characters in the same area.  I really only know about these 4 roles, and I already consider Boseman to be a legend.

What I want to see, is Boseman get to play the big two.  The two big names we think of when we think of race in the last 70 years, I want to see him play Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  I think that he has the acting chops, and I would love to see what he can bring to these two characters, and while it may sound ridiculous, I’d be interested in seeing him do both in the same film.

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I think that it wouldn’t get taken seriously enough, but with two characters like that, two characters who we often think of as Yin and Yang, it would be really interesting to see what one actor can bring to both roles, to juxtapose them through one actor giving two performances.  I think the only man (at least right now) who could do that role, would be Chadwick Boseman.  I think he could give enough nuance to distinguish the two roles, and with make up they could make him look like two different people, and what we’d get would be something bizarre, but potentially really incredible.

We’re in a time where we’re seeing some very creative methods of telling historical stories.  Hamilton casts against historical race in order to show the spirit of America, we’ve seen time travel tell the story of JFK’s assassination and what his legacy may have been in 11.22.63.  We’re ready for something like this, and if you got someone with a really interesting direction style and Chadwick Boseman playing the leading roles, it could be amazing.  That’s what I want to see.

Time Travel in the Show Travelers on Netflix

I want to tell you all about a show that I’ve literally heard no one talking about, but I don’t want to spoil it.  So please bare with me.

The Netflix show Travelers, has some of the most compelling time-travel I’ve seen in a long time.  The premise, is that people are coming back from some far off, terrible future, in hopes of fixing it.  In that regard it’s pretty standard, but everything else really stands out for me.

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The travelers have their consciousness placed in the heads of ordinary people in 2016-2017 (there have been 2 seasons so far), at the moments before they were going to die.  The point of this being, that they’re not killing someone to make room, they’re just borrowing what would otherwise be an empty shell.  Without getting too into spoiler territory, this process doesn’t always workout for them, and that creates a lot of the interesting aspects of the show.  (I really want to tell you, but if I do I’ll be doing you a disservice).

The plot about saving the future, really takes a back seat, to the stories of the characters, who have to adapt not only to a world that they don’t recognize, but to roles and relationships they are thrust into by means of their “host’s” previous life.  One thing I will tell you, is that these characters come from a future in which famine has ravaged their food supply, and so any time a new ‘Traveler’ is brought into the show, they really explore their relationship with food.  It might not sound that interesting, but food, both the experience of tasting, as well as all of the addictive nature of modern food and sugar, show how they aren’t ready for, or able to adjust while eating in front of non-travelers.  It’s a small weakness in their ‘act’ that they all have to perform.

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The show focuses on one team of ‘travelers,’ who work toward individual missions as they are assigned.  One of the things that I find really cool about the team, is that you have a leader, an engineer, a weapons expert, a medic, but also a historian, who has one of the coolest functions.  Essentially, the historian is in charge of remembering all the deaths and events in the area, so that they can go help new traveler’s transition, or look for differences that they may make in the time-line.  Philip, the historian, also has to face the idea that as they change the time-line he becomes less essential, and less helpful to their missions, which creates something of an existential crisis for him.

Ultimately, the characters learning that they can’t just travel back and accomplish their missions without lives interfering becomes the meat of the show.  Each character ends up with a particular set of challenges that were unforeseen from the future, and they have to adjust and keep going.

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I’m only a few episodes into season 2, but the show remains really interesting in this perfect fusion of character and device. What I would suggest to you, is that you watch the first episode, which I consider to be one of the best first episodes I’ve ever seen.  It had me instantly hooked and wanting more.  That being said, I can’t really tell you anything about why I was hooked from the start without spoiling it for you.  I hope you enjoy.

Also, as a side note, and a shameless plug, if you’re looking for time-travel fiction, check out my new time-travel blog, which I’ve been working on since October.

What I Want to See: YA Dystopian Movies

 

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re aware of some of this recent trend in dystopian films, in which a kid is chosen to go against a huge government conspiracy.  Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, you know what I’m talking about.

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I was on board with Hunger Games, I read the books, and saw the movies.  I really liked the books, and thought the movies did a pretty good job translating them to the screen.  They’re not the deepest in movies or books in the world, but after Harry Potter finished up, they helped to fill the hole.

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Then I started reading the Divergent series, and the first couple of books were enjoyable, the third one was terrible, and then I saw the first movie, and realized that I just didn’t care about it.  I haven’t seen the second, and I think there was a third, but apparently the audience fizzled out like I did and so I guess they’re not even going to finish the series in cinematic releases, but instead a made-for-TV movie.

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Then there was the Maze Runner.  Now, I didn’t read the novel, I listened to the audiobook, and if I’m being honest, it wasn’t good.  I thought the story was good, but the dialogue wasn’t good, and I wasn’t sure if it was writing or delivery.  I tried to listen to the second one but gave up half way through.  When the movie came out, I didn’t bother to see it in theaters, just waited until it was on HBO.  I still haven’t seen the sequel which has been available on HBO for a while.

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Ultimately, these series all told the same basic story, big bad government uses kids for entertainment/soldiering/whatever, and one kid decides to defy them.  They’re too formulaic now, and really there isn’t much that’s unique or interesting about them.  They found something that worked, and milked it, and I think now we’re seeing it dry up.

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What I want to see, is good science fiction in this category.  Good stuff targeted to the PG-13 crowd, with new and interesting ideas.  I’m currently reading Ready Player One, which is coming out as a movie in a few months (directed by Steven Spielberg), and it might be what I’m waiting for.  So far, it appears as if the goal is different, and I just hope it isn’t too formulaic.  So far, it seems that corporations and not the government are the bad guys; while it seems to be a competition against a large force, they don’t seem to have a significant nearly insurmountable advantage, and as far as I can tell there are no big hidden secret conspiracies lurking to end the first section (all three of the other franchises are trilogies, and Ready Player One is a stand-alone).  Now, I’m not very far into the book, but I am really hoping this is the one to buck the trend.

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You look at something like The Matrix, and not only did it visually revolutionize film, but the ideas and concepts it portrayed were interesting and new.  You might be able to say Hunger Games (on a much smaller scale did that) but then we saw so many copycats.  What I want to see is another movie that makes us go “oh I never would have thought to do that,” and I want that on a story telling level, visually if possible, and basically in anyways filmmakers can come up with, but I don’t want to know the beats and structure of a film because I saw what it’s knocking off anymore.  This is a problem that is not unique to this genre, but does seem to have gone from height of popularity to almost completely waning in the public eye in record time, and so we need something new!

 

What I Want to See: Doctor Who

As you’re probably aware, Christmas is coming, but what you might not be aware of is that every year on Christmas, Doctor Who releases a Christmas special.  These specials aren’t just goofy Christmas specials like many other franchises might create, but are part of the continuity of the series.  In this particular special, we will see the 12th Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, regenerate into the 13th Doctor who will be played by Jodie Whitaker.

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Whitaker will play the first female Doctor in this show’s 54 year run.  There is some controversy over it, but there is also precedent with other Time Lords (the Doctor’s race) becoming Time Ladies upon regeneration.  It’s really not a big deal.  I promise.  Or at least it shouldn’t be.

The fact that it shouldn’t be a big deal, is actually what I want to see with this show.  If Whitaker follows the trend she’ll be on for about 3 seasons (other than the 9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston, all modern Doctors have had 3).  I’m hoping that while the writers are making the character female, and can introduce elements of the female experience, I hope they don’t change fundamentals of the show’s structure in order to pander.

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Doctor Who has romance in many of its storylines, but ultimately the Doctor him/herself is not inherently romantic or driven by these stories.  David Tennant’s tenth Doctor was in love with Rose, and with it came heartbreak and all of those things that romance comes with, but the Doctor stayed focused on saving the world.  Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor had something of a romance with River Song, (spoiler alert she’s his wife) but again, it was secondary to his main story of saving the world.

I will not mind them having flirtations, or even a genuine love story in the 13th Doctor’s story, but the character cannot be defined by any relationship.  There seems to be a tendency in fiction, and perhaps in non-fiction to define people by their relationships, and the Doctor whether he’s a he, or she’s a she, should not be defined by an individual relationship, but rather his or her love for life, and the living.  We get to see the Doctor over the last 10 seasons breaking down as severely over loss of friendship as loss of romantic love, and just as deeply at the loss off a species as that of the loss of a single life.  This is the Doctor’s strength as a character, and there isn’t anything inherently male or female about that (although if written well a female Doctor may shine brighter in this way).

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Lastly, sexuality.  The doctor has mostly been portrayed as heterosexual, but I would argue that this doesn’t seem like a very strict rule at all.  I don’t care, in the inevitable romances that will occur (hopefully in small doses) whether or not the character is engaged in straight or lesbian relationships, as long as it’s about character, and not sticking with continuity, or sending a message.  The companions are where sexual orientation seems to be best displayed, having had some of each, and the Doctor seems to be beyond that.  So I hope that will remain the case when it comes to the 13th Doctor.

 

What I Want to See: Jumanji

When Jumanji came out in 1995, I was eleven years old, and my Aunt Amy and Uncle Mike brought me and my little sister to see it, and it was awesome.  This was possibly the most intense action movie we had seen at that time, and we hadn’t even broken any rules watching it, it was for us!

At the end of the movie, there was a very clear lead in to a sequel, with the board game being found on a beach, and so as it fades to black the whole audience thinks “oh here we go again!”

But this was before it was obligatory that all blockbusters became franchises, and perhaps it wasn’t the box office behemoth I assumed it was, so we never got a sequel.  …Until now!

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Now, you’ve probably seen the trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, starring Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne Johnson.  From what I have gathered, I am the only one excited for this film, but that’s because I’m the only one who is right.

Here’s the deal, the original Jumanji, was about a board game which pulled one character into it, and eventually spit all of the world of the game out of it into the real world.  It was pretty cool, but ultimately it was grounded in the real world, and personally I always wanted to see the world of Jumanji.  Then we got the cartoon, and in that we saw the characters of the film go into the game, and it didn’t quite make sense with the continuity but it was still cool.

462269-1100x620_karen-gillan-jumanji-doublesWelcome to the Jungle!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is a video game that sucks four teenagers in, putting them into the bodies of the game’s avatars.  The fact that it’s a video game and not the original board game seems to be a major point of contention for people, but honestly we have Monopoly video games, and Lego video games, and all kinds of video games that might seem redundant or unnecessary, so why not magically possessed adventure games in both formats?

There have been reports that Robin Williams’ character will have left an imprint on the game, which means it falls into the same continuity, and I have to be honest, I’m psyched.  Jumanji is a great concept, and I don’t think they fully actualized it in the first film, in fact I even liked Zathura, which was just space Jumanji.

One of the cool things about this concept, is that it opens up what they can do with Jumanji.  We could see all manners of jungle beasts imagined and real, in a human killing rampage of nature.  There are many different terrains the world of Jumanji can inhabit, and so maybe in this movie it’s just Amazonian style jungle, but there are going to be sequels (if it makes enough money, and it has The Rock, so lets face it, it will).  That’s the great part about the video game avatars, is that we could have the cast for a full trilogy, but not necessarily have the characters be the same throughout.

In addition to wanting a lot of world building, and exploration of that world, I want cameos.  I want Bonnie Hunt, or Kirsten Dunst, or that other kid.  I want this film to be the clear baton passing, and then after that, we get to the new Jumanji franchise.  Kill off Han Solo in the first film, and move on.  That’s what I want to see!

maxresdefaultI totally want to see this guy pop up again!