One of the highlights for me at NYCC 2012 was the panel discussion and preview trailers of the animated rendition of this truly great Frank Miller story, The Dark Knight Returns Part 2. The panel was made up of legendary Warner Brothers, DC producer Bruce Timm and the talented voice director Andrea Romano, moderated by Gary Miereanu.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (TDKR) was originally written back in 1986, and still to this day remains one of my favorite comics ever made. It put Frank Miller on the map for me as an amazing story-teller. Honestly I was never a huge fan of Frank Miller’s art style, but his writing is phenomenal. Continue reading
Written by: Christopher Lee
Odds are, even if you are in your mid-30’s+, you may not have seen or remember this movie. But if you have and you love it, you’re a better person in my book.
If you haven’t, there’s never a better time than now to check it out. I still kinda holds up I think. Even if it didn’t, the music is definitely amazing with contributions from punk, rock, and new wave legends of the 70’s & 80’s like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Blondie (Debbie Harry), Cheap Trick and Earth, Wind & Fire.
As the opening dialog reveals
“The War was over, the only survivors were street animals, dogs, cats, and rats. From them a new race had evolved. That was a long time ago.”
From there, we’re told that aging rock legend “Mok” (himself looking like a conglomeration of Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger), has been researching the means to open the door to a dark dimension. At this point, he has everything he needs, save a single, special voice….and now, his search has led him back to his roots, in “Ohmtown”. There’s plenty of futurism in the movie playing on the themes of apocalyptic tech and electricity, but that just lends to the films wonderful atmosphere.
From here we meet our “heroes”, Omar & Angel, and their sidekicks, Dizzy & Stretch (effectively whose characters are sort of tropes of Donatello from TMNT and Shaggy from Scooby Doo). They’re a band, and they’re performing at a seedy little club and having a bit of tension. This is what you see in the clip I posted.
Mok has found his voice.
The movie itself is a big-budget remake of a 1978 Nelvana cartoon called “The Devil and Daniel Mouse”, which had been a Canadian Halloween special, itself, if you traced back the inspiring tales, a retelling of the story of “Faust”.
“Rock & Rule” had started production in 1979 and was in constant peril over the next 4 years of it’s inception due to constant rewrites (from the studios, not certain what to do with the film, shelving and un-shelving it), a high turnover (over 300 animators worked on the film) and almost bankrupting the company (it ended up costing Nelvana around 8 million dollars, unheard of for the studio at the time, which had yet released a film produced for English-speaking audiences), was finally release 4 years later in 1983 to unfortunately lackluster reviews.
Their hadn’t really been a film like this. A (relatively) big budget animated film aimed at adults. It had drugs, bad language, “sexual situations” and what is/was considered “satanic” imagery.
In 1983, cartoons were still considered “kiddy fare” even with the underground and fairly obscure movies like “Heavy Metal” or Ralph Bakshi films like “Fritz the Cat” and “Wizards” running the back alley theater and midnight movie circuits. Unlike them, however, “Rock & Rule” had a distinct quality to it. Above par animation, a soundtrack featuring some of the bigger artists of the time. I mean, c’mon, Blondie practically DEFINED the early 80’s. Still, the film had trouble. The studios didn’t know how to market it. The theaters didn’t know when to show it. The public didn’t know what to make of it. It sort of faded away.
Had it not been for late night showings on cable TV stations like HBO and Cinemax, it may never have developed it’s following. Thanks to them and the growing convention circuits, it had become a Cult Film phenom, with copies of the hard-to-find home video versions and bootlegs of the very rare laser discs, making their way into circulation. As a matter of fact, there were two versions of the film to hunt down! The theatrical version, and the American release with a bit of editing (ohhh…we love editing don’t we?) and some different voice acting. The VHS release is actually included on the DVD released a few years back by Unearthed Films.
For me, it was always so exciting to find someone else who loved the movie, much less knew about it. Honestly, it’s sort of still like that today. I’m okay with that.
So, long story short, do yourself a favor. Go out and grab the DVD. It was released as a double disc collector’s edition that includes different versions of the film AND the original “Devil and Daniel Mouse”, along with a booklet telling a more detailed history of the production.
Here’s some AMAZING fan art by Deviantart user, Fpeniche!
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Written by: Christopher Lee
Okay, I totally made up that word. Some things are obvious, like the level of awe you will express when you view the video of this cake.
French artist of film, photo, and of course, confections, Alexandre Dubosc created this masterpiece of animated (animatable?) cake as a tribute to fellow artist, Tim Burton. Most impressively, if the theme of it weren’t enough, Dubosc created an animated ring around the cake depicting the Bat symbol from “Batman” and a pumpkin which could be taken as a reference to either “Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Sleepy Hollow”, of which I’ll choose the latter in my own perception because on top of the cake is a revolving, smiling “Jack Skellington” face.
I hesitate to even refer to it simply as “cake”. Cake brings to (my) mind some sloppily iced mess (though granted, always delicious) that I make. This goes beyond cake as we know it. We’ve all, by now, seen the elaborate culinary constructions that seem to have found a place on every blog and feed and tv channel we may peruse, but I have yet to see anything that has impressed me as much as this. For your mouth watering, viewing pleasure:
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If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve been in heated discussions not only about the movies, original or prequel, but of aspect of all the other medium as well.
Many I’ve spoken to have dismissed the “Clone Wars” tv series as a kids show to be put on the backburner indefinitely, no doubt, in large part, to the fact that it’s based in the environment of the almost universally reviled prequel films.
I say now, as I’ve said for some time, don’t do that to yourself.
The “Clone Wars” is a treat. It’s a well made and planned out series that caters to the fans. It has a linear story format that, at times, seems above the age for which it seems targeted. Characters die. I don’t mean just faceless clones and robots, I mean real storyline characters that you grow an attachment to are killed off in this series. It’s relatively violent, more than you’d expect. Not simply lightsaber battles either. It’s well acted as well. Oddly, the computer generated characters seem to have more life than they did in the actual movies.
There’s quite a bit of fan service to be had as well. Nods and appearances to locales and characters you might not expect are given aplenty. There is a two part episode in season three that is a tribute to King Kong and Godzilla respectively. There is, as well, a tribute episode to the “Seven Samurai” that was rather well done, giving a wonderful nod to what is generally well known as the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa that Lucas claims formed the base of Star Wars itself.
I could go on about how much I enjoy this series, but instead, I think you should check it out and form your own opinion. Don’t just dismiss something without giving it due chance. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to discover some good that has come out of the prequels.
Oh…and did I mention, Darth Maul is BACK!! Watch the trailer and be excited!