“Certain Flaws in This Film”

Last known photograph.

Why don’t you leave us alone?

Silence is golden.

Thank you, El Paso

and Harold P. Warren for

Torgo’s haunting dirge.

Ordered crazy bread.

Baked right in a vacant lot.

They always do that.

“My girl, this peace is what all true warriors strive for”: Game of Hyrule (2006)

The first season of House of the Dragon, the highly popular prequel to HBO’s acclaimed fantasy drama Game of Thrones, has concluded and earned a great deal of praise for its fully realized performances and in-depth storytelling. As a relative neophyte to the world established by George R. R. Martin in his landmark book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, I was very impressed with the series once I was able to sort out the various factions and character relationships so I can follow the labyrinthine plot. Of course, the sweet dragon action and intense swordfights are just icing on the dark and violent cake.

Of course, as I’ve often observed and discussed on the blog, the popularity of a given franchise paves the way for a series of fan-made tributes. During the 8-year run of the series, numerous homages and parodies taking place in the world of Westeros were created. Today, let’s take a look at 2016’s Game of Hyrule, a short film written and directed by Kial Natale that presents the setting of the highly influential Legend of Zelda video game series through the edgy lens of Game of Thrones. Highlights include a chilling interpretation of the Happy Mask Salesman from Majora’s Mask, a rousing appearance by King Harkinian from the infamous Zelda games on the Philips CD-i and some skilled cinematography and costume work.

Credit: Megasteakman

Hope you enjoy this unconventional Halloween post!

“A ghost that drinks blood”: The Hunt for Gollum (2009)

At the time of this writing, the sixth episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the latest installment of Amazon Studios’ prequel series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels, has been uploaded to Prime Video (I’ll reserve my judgment of the first season once it finishes). Even with the bad faith arguments from certain observers regarding the more diverse casting and emphasis on female characters, the show has revived mainstream interest in the Middle-earth saga and introduced newcomers to the more obscure parts of Tolkien’s Legendarium in the same way that Peter Jackson’s film adaptations did, which brings me to today’s post. Today’s subject is The Hunt for Gollum, a 2009 LOTR fan-film by British director Chris Bouchard that was influenced by Jackson’s take on Middle-earth and made on a budget of only £3,000. Despite their limited resources, Bouchard and his crew crafted a short that felt like a natural extension of the Jackson films, with immersive visual effects, creative cinematography and intense action scenes. This might be one of the most outstanding examples of fan-created media I have ever seen.

Credit: Independent Online Cinema

Hope you enjoy it and happy belated Hobbit Day!

“The show created for you”

This Saturday, I’ll be in attendance at the 2022 edition of the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, best known as C2E2! I’ve been going to this convention since it started in 2010 and every trip to C2E2 has deepened my understanding of different fandoms and given me a chance of interact with both talented enthusiasts from around the world and the luminaries of the comic book industry, including Chris Claremont (Uncanny X-Men), Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother), Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and the late, great Neal Adams (Batman). On top of all that, I’ve always had a lot of fun at the con.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area and you have an interest in attending C2E2, take some of my advice if you want to have a good time:

  1. Have a plan for what you want to check out. There’s a lot to do at C2E2, which can be incredibly overwhelming for a newcomer…or even a veteran congoer like me. Make sure there are panels, exhibits and vendors that you know you want to see so you’re not wandering around the show floor waiting for something to happen.
  2. Budget your money wisely. You don’t have to break the bank in order to have a good time at this convention.
  3. Most importantly, stay safe and healthy! Make sure to pack a lunch and water to stay energized and hydrated and keep the C2E2 health and safety policy in mind.

I hope to see you there!

Image source: t.ly/a9sl

“This gets better every time we see it”: For Love of the Film (2005)

The sixth and final part of the latest Disney+ Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi featuring Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the title character and direction by Deborah Chow (The High Cost of Living), streamed last week and was met with a mostly positive reception if you ignore the racist dweebs who are throwing a tantrum just because a black actress, Moses Ingram, was given a prominent role in a Star Wars production. Incidentally, Ingram, who portrays a Force-using Jedi hunter named Reva, gives a very different performance compared to a lot of other villains in the franchise. In a nice change of pace from the icy, understated calculation of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin and the operatic rage of Emperor Palpatine and Kylo Ren, Ingram approaches Reva as someone who is desperate to achieve a higher status within the Imperial structure even though she doesn’t truly believe in her mission. Reva comes off like someone who’s trying very hard to be threatening solely because her job calls her to be a menace but her heart isn’t in it. Ingram consistently and effectively sells this characterization and it pays off very well in the final part of the series.

Despite the griping from the racist trolls, Ingram’s performance has received a lot of praise from the majority of Star Wars fans, which goes to show you the importance of positive voices in any fan community. The Star Wars fandom has a lot of toxicity problems to address but I’m confident that those issues will always be dealt with in various ways, whether it’s through charity, discussion spaces or creative endeavors. The subject of today’s post is For Love of the Film, a 2005 short film directed by the current head of Marvel Studios security Barry Curtis and the winner of the 2005 George Lucas Selects Award at that year’s Star Wars Celebration. I’ve chosen this short because it reminds me of how diverse the fandom truly is, especially now. People of various races, genders and ages have always loved the series and no amount of gatekeeping can change that. The Star Wars fandom is not perfect but there will always be bright spots that make it all worthwhile.

Credit: Barry Curtis

“Strong, silent type”: World’s Finest by Sandy Collora

Before I go into the main topic of this post, I would like to do something unusual for this blog: a review of a recent movie.

Music by U2’s the Edge not included.

I have just seen The Batman, Matt Reeves’ revamp of the Caped Crusader starring The Lighthouse’s Robert Pattinson as the title character. The most impressive attributes of the film are the visual effects and Greig Fraser’s cinematography. I especially love how the lighting changes over the course of the movie, going from nearly pitch black in the beginning to the more vibrant and naturalistic colors that we see in the end, which represents how Batman’s mission changes from a quest for vengeance to a crusade to help the downtrodden. Pattinson delivers a more humanistic portrayal of Bruce Wayne than we’re used to seeing in live-action. Zoe Kravitz’s energetic performance as Catwoman and chemistry with Pattinson provide a welcome amount of tension, Jeffrey Wright’s stern but warm portrayal of Commissioner Gordon is an effective counterpoint to Batman’s stoicism and Paul Dano’s demented Riddler provides a chilling contrast to the more flamboyant depictions provided by prior Riddler actors like Frank Gorshin and Jim Carrey. Wrap it all up in Michael Giacchino’s fantastic score and you have a film that I’d place in the upper echelon of Batman movies alongside Mask of the Phantasm and The Dark Knight.

If you’ve already seen the movie, which is now on HBO Max, check out World’s Finest, a 2004 short film directed by Sandy Collora featuring a then-hypothetical team-up film for the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel and using most of the same cast and crew from his prior short, Batman: Dead End. It’s an interesting time capsule to a simpler time when movies like this were things that fans could only dream of. At the very least, the characters were utilized in a better way than in Batman v Superman (sorry Snyder fans).

Hope you enjoy it!

Credit: 72Christos72

“As you wish”: Mandalorian Dance

A few weeks ago, the latest Disney+ live-action Star Wars series, The Book of Boba Fett, aired its season finale. Although its release lacked the immense hype of the first 2 seasons of The Mandalorian, the involvement of El Mariachi director Robert Rodriguez, Ming-Na Wen and Temuera “Jango Fett” Morrison created some buzz. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the show, even if it felt more like The Mandalorian Season 2.5 at times, complete with a episode where Fett didn’t even appear until the last few minutes. Then again, Boba Fett being a small part of his own show lines up with his portrayal in the 9 mainline Star Wars films. Contrary to his substantial presence in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Boba only has about 8 minutes worth of screen time in the 9 episodes of the Skywalker Saga. Despite his brief appearances, Fett has retained such a very devoted fan following that his iconic armor was the basis for an entire culture within the Star Wars universe, which might have been the main reason he earned his own spinoff.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun at Fett’s expense. For instance, take a look at Canadian animator Patrick Boivin’s short film featuring our favorite intergalactic bounty hunter as the lead in a Flashdance-inspired dance routine.

Hope you enjoy it! I have spoken.

Credit: Patrick Boivin