I know I haven't been blogging much, and I apologize. I haven't really had any topics to discuss, but I may try to blog more often!
However, I have come up with a new blog. As some of you may know, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero ever, and recently, I've been brainstorming up my own cast for a dream reboot of the film series. I love The Amazing Spider-Man, but the cast I've come up with would be PERFECT for me.
So, I'd like to share my cast with you all! Keep in mind it's a "dream cast," meaning I am not taking into account how realistic my choices are, how so many A-list stars can be in it, etc. It's simply a group of actors and actresses I think are perfect for their roles.
The trailer begins with a shot of Spider-Man doing his usual Spider-Man things, swinging from buildings and what-not. Nothing particularly interesting really happens, but we do get our first look at the brand new suit. It's much different from the first suit, with the eyes, and colors in general, standing out much more than they did in the first film.
We see Peter Parker sans suit, still played by Andrew Garfield, sitting atop a ledge overlooking New York. He seems to be reflecting upon or in deep thought about something. However, he doesn't seem depressed or saddened in any way, so it must not be anything major.
Throughout this, he monologues about being Spider-Man: "Every day, I wake up knowing that the more people I try to save, the more enemies I will make." We see a shot of Spider-Man saving a cop from being crushed by a police car, a familiar scene for anyone who caught the leaked Comic-Con trailer.
The trailer cuts to black before cutting back to Peter, overlooking a grave at a cemetery, again in a state of remembrance or deep thought. This time, he seems much more saddened than when he was on the skyscraper. He is most likely visiting Uncle Ben's, Captain Stacy's, or even a fresh grave (more on that later).
Cut to our first look at the Rhino (or, in this case, R.H.I.N.O.) suit, helmed by Paul Giamatti's character Aleksei Sytsevich. You can clearly see Giamatti's head in the suit as the metallic horn lowers, covering his face. Rather than being fused into his skin like in the comics, the suit can be removed whenever necessary. It should also be noted that there is a red star on one arm of the suit, which looks similar to that of the Russian red star. This most likely means that the suit is not created by OsCorp, but rather by Aleksei or a Russian organization.
Cut again to a mysterious face masked in a blue-green light. Due to the close zoom, it's tough to make out an exact identity, but it appears to be the Green Goblin. The ears seem a little elongated, with an earpiece of some kind in one ear, and the eyes are a strange shade of blue.
The same blue-green light flashes and shows a figure behind. Once again, it appears to be the Green Goblin. Instead of a full costume like Willem Dafoe's from the original Spider-Man, this suit seems more metallic and mechanical. In fact, it seems very similar to the exoskeleton of the suit from the movie Elysium. The figure's hair also has an orange tint to it.
Peter continues his monlogue as we see a shot of Spidey headed to the OsCorp Tower, along with some destruction caused by Electro: "And it's just a matter of time before I face those with more power than I can overcome."
After the studio credits pass, the trailer breaks the dark tone with some comic relief and the first appearance of Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy. Peter and Gwen meet at some event in the city, and like always, Peter is late.
"Sorry I'm late," he apologizes. "I had a traffic thing." We see shots of Spidey jumping across police cars, resulting in a huge pile-up of vehicles. Two criminals, who I presume work for Rhino, fire guns towards the police. "Did your traffic jam have anything to do with, I don't know, being shot at by machine guns?" Gwen replies smartly.
We see a slow-motion shot of Spidey dodging machine gun bullets from Aleksei, not in the Rhino suit, Matrix-style. Note the "Follow the Daily Bugle on Tumblr" sign in the background. It's nothing huge, but it could mean an eventual appearance of the news company later on in this film or one of its sequels.
"Yeah, yeah, that was implied, I was implying that," Peter says, and Gwen laughs. The trailer moves on to a shot of Spidey swinging, and then our first look at regular Dane DeHaan, who is playing Harry Osborn. Peter appears to be visiting the Osborn mansion for unknown reasons.
The scene moves on to a new location, which seems like a room at the OsCorp Tower, where Peter and Harry discuss the fact that OsCorp seems to be tracking Peter. When Peter asks "Why?", Harry responds with "Well, isn't that the question of the day?"
This scene is important not only because OsCorp seems to be watching Peter very closely (they may know he is Spider-Man), but it also hints at other characters in this universe. On a touch screen covered in file names, files such as "Venom Storage" and references to Dr. Morbius. These are most likely just Easter Eggs, but with talks of a Venom spin-off circling, this could mean a future appearance of Spidey's nemesis.
The trailer changes to a shot of Spidey avoiding a giant semi truck tearing through the city. We know it is driven by Aleksei, as production pictures showed Paul Giamatti in the driver's seat.
We see Peter in his room, confronting Aunt May about hiding things about his past and his parent's background. In the background, Peter has a map of the city on the wall, with certain locations connected with lines and such. Curiously, pictures of Gwen are hung in various locations. Either Peter is taking his relationship with Gwen too seriously, or something has happened to her that has him concerned for her safety.
Aunt May responds with "I once told you that secrets have a cost." We see Peter pulling a lever or switch, and a secret laboratory or room grows out of the ground. "The truth does too," Aunt May continues. In the laboratory are files and videos, all left by Peter's father Richard. He explains that he has discovered what OsCorp wanted to do with his research.
Cut to the most talked about scene in the entire trailer. We see a dark figure walking along a corridor. Wearing a fedora and long coat, he seem eerily similar to the figure that appeared in the post-credits sequence of The Amazing Spider-Man, known only as "Man in the Shadows." The corridor he walks along is home to two huge pieces of equipment: a pair of mechanical wings, and four robotic tentacles.
These have to belong to none other than Vulture and Doctor Octopus, two of Spidey's most well-known villains. Not only are these villains well-respected in the universe, but they are also founding members of the evil organization known as the Sinister Six. Assuming they make an appearance sometime in the franchise, that leaves four spots if Sony plans to introduce the Sinister Six on film. Electro, Rhino, and Green Goblin also appear in this movie, making five total. But who could the last member be? I predict either the Lizard from The Amazing Spider-Man, or the aforementioned Venom, who could be introduced in a third or fourth film, if not his own movie.
Richard continues his message: "I have a responsibility to protect the world from what I know they are capable of." We see a huge room with several different rooms, leading to who knows what. People have been freaking out when the shot shows there are six rooms (one for each of the Sinister Six), but there are actually seven.
We see none other than a battered and bruised Harry Osborn stumbling upon the chamber. His neck seems a little swollen, his hair is messy, and he has a noticeable bruise or scratch on his cheek. "What is all this?" he questions.
It turns out he wasn't just talking to himself. In the next shot, a sickly voice responds with "The future." The trailer shows a room with a tank of electric eels, most likely forshadowing the origin of Electro. This is further evidenced by a quick shot of the top of Electro, who seems to be strapped to some kind of containment unit.
We see a stressed Harry talking to someone as we see several brief shots: "We literally can change the world." We see a skeleton of an unidentified someone (probably Electro), which fades into a shot of the two Russian thugs looking at a serum of some kind (Goblin serum?), which also fades to a very Dr. Manhattan-esque shot of Electro, not fully formed into his entire form. Notice the corpses at his feet.
Then comes another important shot. We see the mechanical suit-wearing figure from earlier, now standing on a glider at OsCorp (note how scientists in the background seem to be fleeing). The glider is very much in the vein of the one from Spider-Man 3, although it's less like a snowboard. In front of him is a woman, who is most likely Felicity Jones' character. She has stated she has a "special" relationship with Norman Osborn, and even said that she is "the Goblin's girlfiend." We still don't know who she's playing, but the common guess is Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat. I personally don't know, we don't have enough information to properly guess.
Harry returns on the screen, looking rather menacing and devious. "What about Peter?" he asks an offscreen entity. The entity is actually the sickly-voiced Norman Osborn (Remember, "The future."?), his first physical appearance in the trailer. We see just how sick and immobilized Norman is, which was hinted at in The Amazing Spider-Man. He responds with "Not everyone has a happy ending."
Cut to a huge mechanical leg smashing into the concrete as citizens flee in terror. It clearly belongs to Rhino. This leads into an awesome, albeit short, scene of Spidey and Rhino duking it out. Holding a sewer grate head, Spidey leaps towards Rhino and swipes at him with the grate, almost like a razor blade.
After the usual "This summer" card flashes, we see another important scene. Two men, who appear to be aboard a plane, are having a rather intense fight. The man on the left is unfamiliar, but the one on the right seems awfully similar to Richard Parker in terms of appearance. His hair is now more grey than it was in the laboratory, but we can assume this takes place after he filmed those videos. I still stand by my prediction that the man fighting Richard is a character from the comics known as The Finisher. Since Peter's parents died in a plane crash in that storyline, I expect that to be hinted at in this movie.
Two quick shots of carnage flash by: one of Aleksei's semi, and one of some burning police cars. We see Gwen telling Peter "This is bigger than you," hinting at a major decision that Peter may have to make. Cut to a scene of Electro, casually flicking a bolt of electricity with his fingers. The scene changes directly to the streets of New York being demolished, most likely by Electro in a big climax fight.
Peter stands up in his room, wearing his costume without the mask. We can guess he's about to go out into the city to do something. We hear him talking to Gwen again: "I made a choice. This is my path." All the while, we see Electro flying backwards, as if he has taken a huge hit from someone or something. You can see Spidey on a screen in the background: maybe there are cameras watching the battle?
We see Peter and Gwen embracing as he finishes the speech started just moments earlier. Take note of Gwen's clothing: this becomes VERY important in a later scene.
Cut to a scene of Spidey and Green Goblin battling it out in what appears to be an atrium or something along those lines (it makes a reappearance later on). We get a pretty good look at Green Goblin this time around, allowing for a good look at his face, hair, and suit before he gets a punishing kick in the face.
The scene changes to the plane from before, which now appears to actually be crashing. This is definitely the same plane from before: the seats are the same color and design, and the exterior in general matches that from before. Also note the hair blowing in the decompressing cabin: Mary Parker? That scene changes to another scene of the outside of the plane, fiery and headed straight for the ground. This appears to be the end of the Parkers.
Electro cuts in with some dialogue: "Somewhere, everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy, without Spider-Man." All the while, we get a ton of really important scenes. We see Electro screaming with rage before cutting to him causing destruction in Times Square.
The scene changes to armed men running along a corridor. It doesn't appear to be the Sinister Six corridor: the floor design is different this time. This corridor also has prison bars along the walls. This is most likely Ravencroft Institute, the Spider-Man equivalent of an Arkham Asylum. Marc Webb has hinted at its presence on Twitter frequently during production, so it will most definitely appear more than just this shot. Could we get a Doc Ock, Vulture, or even Curt Connors cameo?
We then see Harry actually undergoing his transformation. He's clearly not enjoying it, as he appears to be screaming in pain. I actually predicted this was Harry back when I caught the Comic-Con trailer too!
Several small shots of Peter (it actually seems a lot like the cemetery scene), New York, and Electro lead to a shot of a huge tank of water bursting. This could be the tank that holds the electric eels that lead to the creation of Electro. He's nowhere in the frame though, so who knows.
Peter and Gwen kiss in a shot, then we see bruised Harry again. He looks the same as he did when he found the giant chamber. Shots of Spider-Man fighting Electro (presumably) follow, resulting in a huge electrical explosion.
We see the two Russian thugs appear again for half a second, running along the top of a moving vehicle (most likely a car or truck). They have guns, and seem to have a target in their sights.
Cut to the two biggest shots of the trailer that I guarantee everyone missed. First is Gwen in what looks like a clock tower (see the big gear in front of her?), who clearly looks distressed. Remember when I said to take note of her outfit? This is where that comes in: it's the same coat. Now, for fans of the comics, this is an unmistakable outfit: this is the outfit Gwen wears on the night she dies. Remember when Peter was visiting a grave? Could it actually be... Gwen's?
We see Spidey dropping onto a spinning gear, where he lands and almost instantly shoots a web downwards. Notice the roof behind him: it's where he and the Goblin were fighting before. Now, put the pieces together: Spidey and Goblin are fighting, Gwen, in her "death outfit," is in trouble, Spidey shoots his web to get something below him... it appears to be the demise of Gwen, which slightly ties into the next shot.
A woman stands in a building and watches as a car smashes into a taxi. Believe it or not, this is Mary Jane Watson, played by my future wife, Shailene Woodley. This is most definitely Mary Jane: Woodley was seen in THAT outfit, with THAT hairstyle, in THAT location, filming THAT scene. What's peculiar about this is the fact that Woodley was cut from the movie as early as July, about a week before Comic-Con. I can understand the editors leaving her in the Comic-Con trailer (which she was) due to lack of time to remove it, but this is December. Maybe Woodley may appear after all? Hey, I'm not complaining: the more Shailene Woodley in Hollywood, the better.
This leads to the coolest shot of the whole trailer. Nothing is hinted at or teased, but Spidey leaps and bounds across huge metallic columns or pillars as Electro teleports back and forth, arching electricity, almost straight out of inFAMOUS. It's hard to make out where they are fighting: I thought I could make out a bridge, so they may be out in the city, but it's dark and hard to tell.
The trailer ends there, with the title and release date flashing onscreen.
I finished writing up my analysis of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 blog, and I have my images about halfway edited. I will finish those up tonight, so the blog will be ready sometime tomorrow! Be on the lookout!
As some of you may know, the official Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer was released online yesterday, and upon multiple viewing of it, I can rightfully say I am impressed. Of course, some of the CGI looks a little unfinished, but the movie has time to straighten that out. The story, characters, and situations all look stunning though!
That leads me to my main point: I will be writing a shot by shot analysis of the entire trailer, which is jam packed with secrets and other neat tidbits! However, let me make it clear that I will be covering POTENTIAL SPOILERS related to the film. If you are anticipating this movie as much as I am, but spoilers bother you, I advise that you SKIP the blog entirely.
This may seem like something better suited for a video, but I do not have the software for something like that. However, I did start up a new YouTube channel, where I will discuss movie and gaming news that interests me, as well as reviews of movies and games. My first video is a smaller analysis of the same trailer. I touch on certain scenes, but it is not as in-depth as this upcoming blog will be.
Look for the blog sometime tomorrow or Sunday. Something this big is going to take a lot of time! Also, I still have my Top 50 Movie Directors Redux in mind, with a new edit: I must have seen MORE THAN ONE of each director's movies for them to qualify for the list. Sorry Scorsese, I'll watch The Departed one of these days! Look for that blog by the end of the year!
I've decided to either delay or replace my Top 50 Movie Directors Redux series with another series. I have a ton of movies on my DVR schedule, so the list would be ever changing once I watch some of them. I think I will wait until I get through most of those before I start up my series. I would like to have a finalized one by the end of the year, however.
Yes, I'm still here. I've been here, lurking in the shadows like a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a dark knight...
Wait, I think I'm thinking of someone else...
Aaaanywho, I'm here to announce a new (well, sort of new) blog series that I will do if enough people see this blog. This series will be looking back at my Top 50 Movie Directors list that I did a while back (before GameSpot went through its metamorphosis). Since then, I have been able to see more movies from some of the directors that made the list the first time around, and I'm sure that some of them will be lower or higher this time (to the ballbags from last time: Ridley Scott will be higher than Michael Bay, I guarantee it).
I will essentially do the same layout as before (average rating, best movie, etc.), but I am considering going further in-depth about each director, such as their strengths and weaknesses and their upcoming projects' potential as well.
I will try to begin this series sometime this week, just as soon as I revise my list and write up analysises (analyses?) for each. It should be no later than Friday, so stay tuned!
That's really all there is to say about this, so see you later!
EDIT: The list may be boosted up to 60 or 70. There's just too many directors that I can't leave off the list! I'll let you know if it changes permanently.
I have been lurking around here on New GS for a while, but a lot of these new features have prevented me from being as active as I once was. I can't help but feel that, as I predicted, this new redesign has created a giant mess in terms of organization and accessibility.
Finding blogs written by my droogs is simply impossible unless I take the time to visit every single profile and search their feed. This is extremely disappointing, as blogs were really the only thing I visited GS for, after losing faith in the forums. I've heard rumors regarding a fix for this, but I honestly don't believe it.
When I do post in the forums, there's no option to go straight to unread messages. This creates a hassle of scrolling through previously read posts over and over and over again.
There's no way to delete images uploaded either. This is mainly just a pet peeve, but nonetheless, it bugs me.
Probably the biggest issue is the dreadfully slow load times, if they even load at all. Upon pulling up a page, I have to wait several minutes for one single page to load. Sometimes, it leads me to the freaking "internal error" page, where I may have to refresh 5 times for the page to finally load. Some pages, like the "stacks" or whatever that cal is, won't load at all.
To be honest, there's not a lot of pros coming out of this redesign. The one thing I noticed is the lack of trolls in the forums, which I thank the new ToU rules for. Aside from that though, everything's a mess. I guess I'll stick around, but it may not be for long. If any of you, my droogs, are actually reading this, congratulations on managing to find this blog. If I suddenly disappear from the site for an extended amount of time, potentially indefinitely, you know why.
When you think of Japanese animation, Studio Ghibli is often the first thing that comes to mind. When you think of Studio Ghibli, one beloved character is always thought of: Totoro, the large, grey wood spirit first introduced in 1988's My Neighbor Totoro. The lovable character, and the movie he was introduced in, are very beloved not only in Japan, but also worldwide. This all comes with good reason: My Neighbor Totoro is a lovely piece of animation that truly anyone can enjoy.
My Neighbor Totoro follows the story of a family consisting of three members: Tatsuo Kusakabe and his two daughters, ten year old Satsuki and four year old Mei. The family moves to a house in rural Japan in order to be closer to their sick mother, who is in a hospital in a nearby town. Their house appears to be "haunted," as seen when Satsuki and Mei run across little black creatures known as "soot gremlins." However, they don't mind it too much.
One day, Mei is playing in the yard, where which she discovers a strange white creature roaming in the grass. Chasing the creature, she discovers a small tunnel leading into a large camphor tree located nearby. Falling into a hole, she plops right into the den of a sleeping spirit, known as Totoro. Soon discovered by Satsuki as well, the children go on several magical adventures, discovering more about life and friendship along the way.
My Neighbor Totoro is a rather simple movie, but that's why it's such an interesting one. There's no important conflict between two characters that causes tension. There are no evil villains or big battles between factions. Of course, the fate of the sick mother is there, but the appearance of Totoro or the other forest spirits is comforting in the few times of distress. It's no wonder Totoro is one of the most beloved characters in anime. Hayao Miyazaki, who wrote the film, manages to make such a simple film into a masterpiece that can be enjoyed by anyone.
The movie has a way with making images stand out, thanks to the animation. My Neighbor Totoro nails the atmosphere of rural Japan, and is full of bright, luscious colors. The characters are all designed well, with very charming facial expressions that can make anyone smile or laugh. The film also contains scenes that are almost unforgettable. After viewing the movie, the bus stop scene and the Catbus will be burned into your memory forever.
The English voice acting is great as well. Satsuke and Mei are voiced by real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, both of whom are absolutely adorable. Occasionally, Dakota seems a little too young to play a ten year old girl, but it's not something that takes away from the overall film. Tim Daly voices the father, and Pat Carroll voices "Granny," the Kusakabes' new neighbor.
Many people might turn away from My Neighbor Totoro, seeing it as nothing more than a movie for kids. Sure, it will appeal to kids, but anyone of any age can find enjoyment from this movie. Everyone can relate to the themes given off, as just about everyone has had imaginary friends like Totoro (who may or may not be imaginary; that's up to you to decide). The animation is stunning, the characters are fun, and the Fanning sisters' voice acting is adorable. My Neighbor Totoro is one of the best movies to come out of Studio Ghibli, and will always be seen as a classic.
When people look at animated movies, it's not strange for them to dismiss them. Many people see these movies as nothing more than "kid's movies", and immediately turn to something more "mature." It's a shame many of these animated movies are overlooked as so, as a lot of them are fantastic pieces of film. Grave of the Fireflies can be included in this latter statement. One of Studio Ghibli's lesser known gems, Grave of the Fireflies is fantastically written and directed by Isao Takahata, and manages to be one of the best anti-war movies, and animated movies, of all time.
Grave of the Fireflies is a rather deep and emotional film. The movie follows a semi-autobiographical story about two siblings in World War II -era Japan: Seita, a 14 year old boy, and his four year old sister, Setsuko. Living in a time of constant air raids and bombings, these children, as well as everyone else in the city of Kobe, have it rough. Food must be rationed, and supplies are hard to come by.
After their mother is mortally wounded and killed in one of the many firebombings experienced in the city, Seita and Setsuko, emotionally wounded by the death of their mother, live with their cruel and unforgiving aunt for a short time. She refuses to ration their rice meals fairly, keeping most of it for herself. Seita and Setsuko then decide to leave and live on their own in the country.
Grave of the Fireflies is a punishingly emotional film, and with good reason. Unlike the more whimsical films Studio Ghibli would create in the future, Grave of the Fireflies is more grounded and down-to-Earth. The tale of Seita and Setsuko is essentially one of survival, and, although a few scenes go by slowly, the plot and characters are interesting enough to keep you hooked for an hour and a half. By the time the ending sneaks up on you, you'll be crying like there's no tomorrow.
The movie overall is basically an anti-war movie. Grave of the Fireflies tells just how bad the victims of World War II had it. The movie doesn't make Japan the good guys, or America the bad guys (in fact, you don't see any Americans other than the planes); it tells how, sometimes, the enemies of war can be your fellow citizens and townsfolk.
Like other Studio Ghibli works, Grave of the Fireflies is wonderfully animated. Environments are very well detailed, making everything crisp and enjoyable to look at. Takahata takes the time to show small little objects in between certain shots: maybe a flower in one, and a firefly in the next. Even the most minuscule details, such as the planes flying overhead and the flames burning in the streets after a bombing, are hauntingly beautiful. The characters themselves also look great. It's especially cool, and saddening, how the characters look when they cry; seeing the tears slowly build up in their eyes is chilling.
Grave of the Fireflies is one of the most heart-wrenching, achingly sad movies out there. Even though it's release was 25 years ago, the fantastic animation and saddening plot and characters make this worth watching once, even if you can't handle a second screening of this wonderful film.