Archive for July, 2012

Peter Jackson Confirms Hobbit Trilogy

After a lot of speculation, Peter Jackson has released a statement confirming that The Hobbit, which was previously intended to span two films, will now be turned into a trilogy.

Jackson, who also directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy, made the announcement on his Facebook page, after previously hinting of the possible addition of a third film at this year’s Comic-Con.  The statement explained that, as a fan and filmmaker, Jackson didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to tell the full story of The Hobbit and, having seen a rough version of the first film as well as a large chunk of the second, he believes that there is enough story to fill a third instalment.

The book itself is shorter than each of The Lord of the Rings novels, which can only mean that the film adaptations will leave out none of the plot details.  In fact, the story will be added to using some of the material that featured in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings books.  The goal of this new trilogy is, according to Jackson’s statement ‘to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth’.  If this really is the case, and not just a way to get more money from fans, then this could be the first film adaptation that hasn’t disappointed fans by leaving out interesting plot points.

The first film in The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, is set to hit cinemas worldwide on the 14th of December, the second, which will no longer be called There and Back Again, will come out the following year, 13th of December 2013, the final film will arrive some time during summer 2014.  All films will be available in both 2D and 3D.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of The Hobbit?  Do you think that it should be turned into three films?  Which of The Lord of the Rings movies was your favourite?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.  Also, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the like button.


The Dark Knight Rises Review

It’s been a long wait, and a lot of hype, but The Dark Knight Rises is about to land in cinemas, on the 20th of July.  Is it possible for the movie to meet the high expectations of the fans?

The Dark Knight Rises picks up Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, which is a little confusing at first because some important things have happened in those years.  Batman taking the blame for the crimes, and death, of Harvey Dent has brought about significant change as a new law, inspired by Dent, has given police the power they needed to take Gotham back from the criminals.  With the mob finally behind bars, Gotham no longer needed Batman.  This lack of purpose and the loss of Rachel have turned Bruce Wayne into a recluse.  However, the threat of new evil is enough to shake Batman out of retirement.

Anne Hathaway had an extremely challenging role.  There have been so many great portrayals of Catwoman over the years and she managed to surpass them all.  This version of Catwoman is tough, independent, layered and sexy without being ridiculously over sexualised.  Without a doubt she was the right person for the job.  She was given a really interesting character to play and she did it justice in a way that nobody thought she could.  It’s easy to forget who is actually playing the part and get lost in the character, which proves just how great an actress Hathaway really is.

Selina Kyle is a great character, with a rich history and it was really nice to have this history explored but not thrown in your face.  The Selina shown in this film is the finished product.  You can see what she does and who she is, but not how she got there.  This may not sound like a good thing, but it really is.  How often do people sit you down and explain why they are the way they are?  It doesn’t happen.  It’s clear the character has been through a lot and has had a troubled past.  In fact, escaping that past is a huge motivating factor for her.

Bane has never really been done justice on film before so Tom Hardy didn’t have as much to live up to in that respect, but he’s still playing the man who broke the bat which is a pretty big deal in the comic world.  While it was sometimes hard to understand him, it didn’t really hurt the performance.  To keep the film grounded in reality some changes were made to the character, though they didn’t seem necessary they provided a deeper, more emotional reason for why Bane fights.  As a villain he is very direct and calculated, while also showing no remorse for his actions.  He is pure brute force.

In the comics, Bane has such an interesting backstory and fans may be disappointed to see that it has been changed somewhat.  The alterations feel largely unnecessary as it seems like there were many other ways they could have made the same point without messing around with his history.  However, the edits do provide some twists and turns while also giving fans of the comics something new.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard, who both starred in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, are new to the Batman universe.  Levitt plays orphan turned police officer, John Blake, and Marion Cotillard plays Wayne Enterprises board member, Miranda Tate.  Both do a really great job with their characters, proving once again that Nolan has a keen eye for casting the right people.  While Miranda Tate helps bring Bruce Wayne, played once again by Christian Bale, out of is reclusive state and back to Wayne Enterprises, John Blake works with Commissioner Gordon and Batman to try bring down Bane.  Blake’s ideals sever to highlight those that both Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon once had but have now lost.

Though the film’s long running time, of just under three hours, may be challenging on the bladders of those who ordered the extra-large drink, ever second is necessary to the development of the characters and the story.  This is not a brainless action film it has depth, social commentary and extremely interesting characters.  The series is brought to an amazing conclusion that should leave fans feeling fulfilled, but, at the same time, little sad as it still feels like there is so much life left in the franchise.

What do you think?  Are you a Batman fan?  Do you like Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman?  Which is your favourite film in Nolan’s franchise?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below, also don’t forget to click the like button, if you liked this post, and please subscribe.

Bane Character Bio

Though many people think he’s all brawn and no brain, largely because of the film Batman & Robin, Bane is actually one of Batman’s smartest enemies, who once used a combination of strength and strategy to literally break the bat.  Bane will be appearing as the main villain in Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, which will be arriving at cinemas in just three days.  If you’re about to burst with anticipation, you may be interested in the history behind the characters appearing in this comic book adaptation.

Bane was born on the, fictional, island of Santa Prisca.  His father, a revolutionary, fled the island shortly before Bane was born.  The corrupt government of Santa Prisca made the newborn child carry out his father’s sentence in a prison called Peña Dura.  His mother died giving birth to him and he was named Bane by the warden.  Bane grew up in prison where he learned to fight, received an education from a priest.  He spent most of his time body building and reading.  Eventually, Bane rose up and established himself as the king of the prison.

He then became the test subject for a serum named Venom which gave him super strength, but needed to be administered every so often.  In early comics, before bane was introduced, Batman had once volunteered to take an older version of this drug as he felt that he could not continue to defend the city without superhuman abilities.  He noticed that he began to experience side effects, like rage, so he locked himself up until he was finished withdrawal.  Bane’s Venom is a modified version of the one Batman used; now beginning administered directly to the body through tubes rather than pills like Batman took.

After escaping Peña Dura, Bane created a new supply of Venom from a sample he had stolen and headed to Gotham to fight Batman who he believed was the demonic bat that had haunted his dreams as a child.  Not realising that the outside work does not follow the same rules as prison, Bane thought that Batman was the ruler of Gotham and defeating him would mean taking over this role.  Rather than go for a direct attack on Batman, Bane watched in the shadows and studied the bat.  For months his character didn’t do much else, but then Bane destroys the wall of Arkham Asylum; allowing the inmates to escape.  Many of these inmates are villains that Batman had captured.  Batman must then spend three months catching them, but which time Bane has figured out that Bruce Wayne is the man behind the mask and attacks the weakened Batman in the Batcave.  The fight ends with Bane breaking Batman’s back leaving him a paraplegic.

Bane goes off to establish himself as Gotham’s new ruler, while Bruce Wayne passes on the mantle of Batman to Jean-Paul Valley, Azrael, who does not follow Bruce Wayne’s moral code.  Using a high tech Bat suit, Jean-Paul defeated Bane by cutting the tube and giving Bane withdrawals from the Venom, leaving him weak and in severe pain.  Bane does escape from prison again, but this time decides to hunt down his father, who for a while he believed was Thomas Wayne which would make him and Bruce brothers.  This wasn’t the case, his father is another Batman villain known as King Snake, yet he and Bruce still retain a kind of kinship, Bane even stayed at Wayne Manor for a period.

A relatively new character having first appeared in 1993, which is new for a Batman villain, it is no surprise Bane has managed to stick around.  He is underused compared to other characters in Batman’s Rogues Gallery, yet he manages to be consistently interesting even if he has slipped into a more henchman role lately.  Bane is definitely a good choice for Christopher Nolan’s final Batman instalment, but will they manage to do him justice?  Was Tom Hardy the right choice?  Who is your favourite Batman villain?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.

Catwoman Character Bio

Catwoman has appeared in a number of different mediums over the years and is one of the most well-known female comic book characters of all time, right up there with Lois Lane.  She will next appear in Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, which is coming to cinemas in just four days.  If you’ve already began preparing for the film, booking tickets and cleaning your Batman t-shirt, then you may be interested in the history behind the characters appearing in this comic book adaptation.

Catwoman made her first appearance in Batman #1, 1940.  In this tale her look is that of an elderly woman who just happens to be a jewel thief nicknamed The Cat.  At the end of the issue Batman wipes the makeup from her face revealing that she is in fact a young woman who donned the disguise in to hide her true identity.  Pet shop owner by day burglar by night Catwoman returns in Batman #2, this time with no disguise, and manages to escape.  Many of her appearances ended with her getting away in situations where it was strongly suggested, and even pointed out by Robin, that Batman had simply let her go.

Inspired by Batman, Catwoman decided to adopt a costume, which consisted of a dress and a realistic cat head mask.  It wasn’t long before this costume changed into a more subtle one; a mask, cat ears and, of course, a dress.  After the transformation she became known as Catwoman rather than The Cat.  She was now one of Batman’s regular foes, but since he often let her go she stopped appearing in the comics for a while.  This was because the censored didn’t like the fact that Batman was essentially letting her go because she was beautiful, at this stage her secret identity hadn’t even been revealed and the name Selina Kyle had not been mentioned.

Catwoman did eventually return and even start working with Batman and Robin, under the pretence that she had gotten amnesia which was responsible for her previous wrong doing.  This lasted a while with the trio even hunting down some of Selina’s old associates.  However, it was eventually revealed that she had made this story up to see what it would be like if she became a crime fighter.  Selina then returned to her status as a villain.

A number of stories have looked into Selina’s origin story, which has changed over the years.  When she was young her mother commit suicide and her father drank himself to death she then ran away, after calling the police to report her father’s death.  She then had to survive on the streets, in some versions this meant resorting to prostitution in order to survive.  Though there are some parallels between Selina and Bruce Wayne’s origins, like both of them losing their parents, in many ways they are opposites.  Bruce living in upper class while Selina had to lie, cheat and steal to make it to that social status.

Catwoman has appeared in numerous mediums, portrayed by an array of different actresses, but it will be interesting to see how Christopher Nolan handles the iconic character.  Do you think he’ll do a good job?  Is Anne Hathaway right for the part?  Who is your favourite female comic book character?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.

Spartacus: War of the Damned at Comic-Con

The first trailer for the final season of the hit Starz series Spartacus has been shown at comic-con.

Spartacus: War of the Damned looks to be filled with just as much gore and sex as the previous seasons.  It seems like the show had such a short run, three seasons (four if you count the prequel, Gods of the Arena), but it does seem, from a storytelling angle, it is time for the show to come to an end.  Even though most people know how Spartacus is going to end the show looks like it will be a hell of a ride to get to the tragic conclusion.

Check out the trailer below.

The Batmobile and Bat-Pod come to Dublin

If you’re a Batman fan and you were walking around Dublin today then you may have hit the jackpot as the Tumbler and Bat-Pod from the upcoming movie, The Dark Knight Rises, were on display to celebrate the film’s release in just ten days.

Whether or not you made it in to see them, here are some interesting facts about the Tumbler and Bat-Pod that fans of Nolan’s Batman franchise may find interesting;

The Tumbler/Batmobile

●The Batmobile has not been changed since it was introduced in the first film in the series, Batman Begins.  However, in The Dark Knight Rises, a number of tumblers make an appearance in their original camouflage colours.

●There are three different types of camouflage tumbler, one with a swivelling turret gun, one with a guided missile launcher and one with a gun.

●The Batmobile was designed by Christopher Nolan and Production Designer Nathan Crowley in the filmmaker’s garage in Los Angeles.  They made a prototype of their design by sticking toy cars together.  The final prototype was a combination of a Lamborghini and a hummer.

●The tumbler name comes from its military history due to its ability to jump and tumble.

●The car has no front axle.  This is because Nolan wanted the wheels to be held from the side, which, at first, was believed to be impossible.  Eventually, Special Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould and Workshop Supervisor Andy Smith found a way to make side-mounted wheels work.

●Everything on the Batmobile has been built from scratch.  This means that it was not made by customising existing vehicles.

●The Batmobile has six wheels – two in the front and four at the back, which are monster truck tires.  Three different sets of tires with varying amounts of tread were created so that stunt driver George Cottle could decide how much skid power he required at any one time.

●The vehicle runs on regular unleaded fuel and weighs two-and-a-half tons.

●The vehicle can jump six feet in height and has jumped a distance of 60 feet.

●Its top speed is 105 miles per hour and acceleration is 0-60 in five seconds

The Bat-Pod

●The Bat-Pod design is the same as it was in The Dark Knight.

●The Bat-Pod is designed and developed to give Batman a swifter mode of travel around Gotham City streets.  Just like the Batmobile it is built to handle different terrains and is equipped with numerous weapons.

●The tires are identical to those on the Batmobile.

●The entire weight of the Bat-Pod is 730 lbs.

●The bike is designed so that the rider can stay level at all times, even when the bike is tilting.

●It can go as fast as the Batmobile.

●It’s a self-righting bike, which means it can stay upright without a foot stand.

●Every element of the Bat-Pod has a designated function; nothing exists for aesthetic purposes only.

Which would you prefer to drive home in?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.  Also, don’t forget to click the like button and subscribe.

Taken 2 Trailer

Liam Neeson is about to show even more people why he shouldn’t be messed with in the upcoming sequel to the 2008 film Taken.

A trailer for the film has been released as well as some details about the plot.  This time around Neeson’s ex-wife will be the one who is taken and the culprit is the son of one of the men killed in the first film.  The story is set one year after the events of the previous film.

Not surprisingly the trailer shows that this instalment will be no less action packed than the first, but will it also live up to the success of its predecessor?  Though it paints an exciting picture the trailer shows no signs of any emotional or intellectual depth, one of the main criticisms of the first.  However, seeing as Taken was a huge success in spite of this, it may be a mistake to change something that clearly isn’t broken.

What do you think?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

Spider-Man is about to swing into cinemas, which means we’re going to have to find some other way to unload our spider related puns.

After seeing Spider-Man’s origins told on film only ten years ago in a series that continued until 2007, spanning three films, it may seem a little strange that the series is already being rebooted, which is why it was very important that it didn’t feel like watching the same movie again.  Director Marc Webb has done an excellent job and managed to tell a version of Spider-Man’s origin that is interesting, exciting, grounded and very different from the tale Sam Raimi told.

This version of the story puts more of an emphasis on Peter’s parents and the effect losing them had on him.  It’s this loss that drives him to look into their past, which leads him to Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans).  Fans of Spider-Man will remember Dr. Connors as the one armed man who accidentally transforms himself into the Lizard.  The character appeared in Raimi’s films, but never got the chance to make the transformation.  In this movie, his potential is released and his character takes on the role of the villain, though it is an interesting dynamic as he himself aims to improve the world and doesn’t see his actions as evil, actually trying to explain to Spider-Man at one point that he didn’t need to be stopped.

Behind every great hero is a female who regularly gets into life threatening situations and is easily captured by evil doers.  In this film that character has been replaced by a strong, smart and brave young woman called Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone).  Gwen has been part of the Spider-Man universe for a long time, almost from the beginning, but her character is not well known by non-comic book readers for the very reason that she’s famous to fans of the comics.  In the comics, Gwen was accidentally killed by Spider-Man when he tried to save her from the Green Goblin.  In the film, Gwen is the head intern at Oscorp under Dr. Connors.  She is Peter’s love interest, but gets to be more than that when she proves that she is just as brave and no less capable than Spider-Man.

This time around Peter is played by Andrew Garfield.  After watching the movie it’s clear that Garfield, and the rest of the cast, really fit.  From Spider-Man to the lovable Aunt May and Uncle Ben the casting was terrific.  There’s an emotional depth between each of the characters, they don’t just exist next to each other they genuinely have feelings for each other and those feelings aren’t always positive, but that’s life and it’s represented very well in the movie.  If you want a hero film that’s more than just fighting, more than special effects, then this movie is what you’re looking for.  This is a movie were you will have fun watching it, but you’ll also care about the characters and feel like it was worth spending two hours following their story.

What do you think?  Are you going to see this movie?  Do you like Spider-Man?  Would you have preferred a sequel to the Raimi version rather than a reboot?  Let me know by voting and leaving a comment below.  Also, don’t forget to click the like button, if you liked this post, and subscribe if you loved it.