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Posts tagged “Firestorm

Re-Introductions Required

With the new year approaching, this is a time we reflect and look forward all at once. Today I found myself considering that this year I have not discovered much, no new bands, I’ve played almost no new games, and I don’t think I’ve even read a new comic, let alone any new books, and it’s not for lack of desire, in all cases I either lack the time or can’t find anything that captures my attention so utterly that I simply have to know more. A few great films have come out, and T.V. series, but nothing truly original, mostly remakes or Marvel properties.

But really it’s not been a wasted effort. On looking back I find that most of my experiences this year have been about remaking, and about shedding new light on things I’d already experienced once before, revisiting things I know and finding that I could still discover more. (more…)

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DC Playing Catch-Up

I am not looking forward to the Justice League films.

It screams of a lot of playing catch-up with Marvel’s unstoppable Juggernaut – the films I mean, not Cain Marko – but without all the set-up work. Marvel had quite a few films building up to the Avengers, and it was brilliantly done. They had a lot of films that came together for Age of Ultron, and that was good (if a little rushed). Dawn of Justice has Nolan’s Batman and Snyder’s Superman, and they’re including plans to introduce Wonder Woman and Aquaman too?

Although Jason Momoa does look like he could make Aquaman awesome…

But here’s something I did not see coming.

I like Arrow and Flash! They’re cool, a lot of fun, and they’re also big DC heroes that don’t see an awful lot of spotlight, which is a shame. I think studios shy away from anything other than Superman and Batman because of what happened to Green Lantern, but here are two very successful TV series that have built up quite a rich setting of their own, introducing other major heroes like Firestorm, ATOM, and White Canary.

DC still have problems to overcome, like the fact that Green Arrow and ATOM are basically palette swaps of Batman. Billionaire on a mission to clean up their city following a major crisis that changed their lives? Change the record guys, this one’s scratched. Seems you got a bit of Ant-Man on it at some stage too, might want to look to that.

Including backstory for Hawkgirl could prove a challenge, but I’m actually looking forward to learning more about her. I’ve done a little research and she seems to be a genuinely interesting character with (most importantly) a limited range of powers, more common than you may expect amongst DC heroes, just not one we see enough of.

Why though, have they seen fit to redesign Rip Hunter as a Tennant’s Doctor look-alike? I’ve been looking at the character and really, they had a lot of places they could have gone with giving him a TV makeover. Instead they seem to have gone for the “we’re not even hiding the lack of originality” look.

Now let’s move on to something else:

Well now…

First of all, different network, no possibility of a crossover. This could very well be for the best, looking at the tone of Supergirl, but I’m increasingly disappointed in how far spread DC’s universe is becoming. Gotham – for all it’s flaws – is never supposed to be getting brought in with Flash and Arrow, and none of the above are being brought in with the films. Compared to how many platforms the MCU is covering, it’s a little narrow-sighted of DC not to want to bring it all together. Gotham is an outlier there, I admit, but still the point stands.

Here’s the biggest problem with the first look at Supergirl, this looks identical to something that Saturday Night Live and Marvel already ripped apart before they knew it was coming:

This is not clever! You can’t market superheroes to women, you can only market to superhero fans, and include the female ones. It’s like painting a steak green and selling it to vegetarians – they still won’t eat it, and meat eaters will want to know why there’s paint on their steak.

There are ways of doing this without it being New Girl or Ugly Betty in a cape, and it really hinges on DC’s biggest strength: it’s villains. If played well, Supergirl could strike an interesting contrast of a girl trying to live a real life while balancing the burden of heroism in the face of terrifying extra-terrestrials like Doomsday or Darkseid. Ok, maybe nothing quite so huge, but it could all come out well.

I hope so, because the alternative doesn’t really bear thinking about.


Firestorm Update – An Interview with Jamie Anderson

Further to GeekOut South-West’s coverage of the Firestorm Kickstarter, we were offered the opportunity to interview a member of the crew. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when Jamie Anderson himself offered to chat to me through Skype about Firestorm, it’s past, present, some interesting revelations about it’s future, and Anderson Entertainment itself.


 

Q: First things first, what inspired you to revisit Firestorm as an idea?

A: Oooh! I think because I remember Dad talking about it when it was first thought about and first created and being really excited about it, and I hadn’t really seen him as excited about a project as he had been about this one before. He’d worked on things during my childhood like Space Precinct, which he’d been working on getting made for 8 years and I think the slog had killed his enthusiasm a bit, so even though they got that going, when they got the funding for it he said “Oh god, we’ve got to make it now.” which is not the response you want.

But with this, he was more excited about it. I always remember it not working out the way he wanted, not necessarily for a Japanese audience but for him, and for what he was after, so upon investigating the right situation, and realizing that this was another original Anderson property that we had a stake in. It felt like the most exciting one, and also it featured a design by Steve Begg –  one of the craft a double-hulled giant submarine called Ocean Storm, which was based on a previous design Steve did for an aborted Thunderbirds re-launch in the ’80s – so there were lots of elements about it that were really good, and there was scope for it to be redeveloped because it became quite a basic idea, and there was room to make it a bit more intricate.

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So it’s a lot of things coming together then?

Yeah, just a big stack of things coming together at the right time, in the right way.

Why Take Firestorm to Kickstarter?

Well, there’s all sorts of reasons, it was partly to repeat what we did with Gemini Force One. As a general rule – especially when you’re trying to start from scratch, or reinvigorate an existing brand – I hate the term brand, but for the purposes of this Gerry Anderson as a brand in the same way as Walt Disney – when you’re doing that there’s a bit of reluctance from those in the industry who have high pressure jobs, the people choosing to pump money into productions or those choosing to buy productions to show on channels or… whatever, any of those executives, they’re in a very difficult position because if they pick a show or get behind a show and it doesn’t do well then they’re at risk, so everyone’s in this horrible position of “Oh, I’m not really sure.” so if there’s anything that’s unconventional about a project that automatically makes it something that people don’t want to touch. In terms of Firestorm, puppets were the thing that made people not want to touch it, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with puppets but for two reasons:

The first being that Team America ruined puppets forever because they picked up on all the comedic/silly aspects of puppets they made a mockery of them really, and that’s what they meant to do and they did it extremely well, but now people think of marionettes and they think of these floaty malproportioned, weightless things; possibly two puppets having sex which I know Dad disapproved of enormously when he watched Team America, but they kind of spoilt it which made puppets a bit “Can we make something a bit more serious with puppets?”

And the other thing that made it more difficult for us was ITV’s decision to make the new Thunderbirds series with CGI characters rather than puppets and they’ve made that decision for a variety of reasons that I understand but don’t agree with.

Those two things got in the way, and with those two things in mind you go to investors, you go to distributors, and you say “Right I want to make a Gerry Anderson thing” and they go “Great! Tell us more.” and then you get to the bit about puppets and they go “Oh no, you see we can’t do that, because…” and normally Team America and/or the ITV decision will come into play there.

So with those problems it makes much more sense to go to the fans, the people who are actually going to watch it and say “Here’s what we want to do. What do you think?” We did the same thing with Gemini Force One and what happened there was people loved the idea, they got behind us, and that show of confidence was enough for Orion – the publishers – to go “Oh, people do want this!” and that gave them the kind of security to make a decision to get behind Gemini Force One which will now be a three book series with the first book coming out on the second of April. So I was hoping we could mimic that model, which is to gather the public support and say “Look, fifteen hundred people from all over the world have got behind this. They believe in it, people want it!” and it just gives that extra weight. That was the creative reasoning for going down the Kickstarter route.

What’s the next step for Firestorm itself?

There’s a lot of pressure obviously to get this right and it’s a very difficult thing to get spot-on, because we’re trying to take the best elements of a decade of Anderson puppet shows, combine them with maybe more modern storytelling and advances in technology, but without taking things too far. We’ve already had a great deal of difficulty deciding exactly how far we’re going to take the animatronics in the puppets, and the puppet development has already put us back by about seven weeks on the original schedule so far, and I’m sure those problems will continue to arise.

Past and future for Firestorm

Past and future for Firestorm

Right now we are trying to lock down the script for this pilot episode, and that has been quite difficult again to strike the right tone, but I think what we’ve got now is a story that has the darkness of a Captain Scarlet episode, and the positive world, and I guess the look and feel to an extent of a Thunderbirds episode.

Wow, that’s a really difficult balance to strike!

Haha! Well I’m glad you agree with that from my description, but yeah, it’s really really tough, but I think there’s a lot to love from Captain Scarlet, there’s some really thoughtful stuff. There’s an episode in particular that sticks in my mind where three guys pretend to be Mysterons in order to go and steal from a bank vault, and at the end of the episode Captain Black locks them in the bank and blows up the bank, and basically says “You are exactly what is wrong with mankind, and so here’s your fate.” and things like that are really dark, and really quite strong, but I just remember watching that as a kid and finding that really thought provoking and it then made it an episode that I want to go and rewatch now! I probably saw it the first time when I was 7, and 22… coming up to 23 years later I still want to go and watch it again because it had all the elements that made it enjoyable as a kid, but with something that could keep you thinking into adulthood.

Watch that Captain Scarlet episode here!

Something that’s missing now from a lot of ‘Kids TV’

Well precisely. This is the other thing we’re trying to include in the world building and also in the pilot. There’s a lot of kids TV around, and a lot of effort that goes into making it, but it’s all this obsession with demographic targeting, “We’re going to make this show for a 5-7 year old audience” which again is the thing to do, and it makes TV exec’s feel more comfortable but it makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. Part of the reason we have the longevity of something like Doctor Who, or Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet or any of those shows is that there’re different levels at which you can enjoy it. I can’t see something – and absolutely no disrespect to the show at all – I can’t see something like Peppa Pig having the same longevity of Thunderbirds, it has nothing to do with the production values or anything else, but kids that watch it when they’re 5 years old may think when they’re 10 years old “Oh, I remember Peppa Pig, I’ll go and watch an episode on YouTube.” and they’ll watch it and they’ll think “Oh! It’s so childish” even at that point. Whereas with any of the Anderson shows, or certainly for the most part, you can watch them at 6 years old and enjoy elements, you can watch them at 10, 16, 26, 66 and still find something to enjoy.

So trying to incorporate that into a relatively short script that tells the story of the world, gives you the set up, shows off what we’re going to be able to do, is a bit of a tall order. That’s why that’s taking quite a while, the script isn’t locked down yet but I’m hoping that within the next ten days/two weeks it will be.

Something that would have been much easier had you got the [22 minute] pilot episode you were hoping for.

Well we are still looking at doing some top-up funding externally from Kickstarter because I figure now we’re putting the stuff together – we’re going to have a crew together, we’re going to have sets together – if we can make this a full story then that is what I would like to do, so as well as doing the script we’re looking for some external funding and I’m fairly hopeful that we may find enough to go up to at least 15 minutes plus.

That’s brilliant news. What does the future hold for Anderson Entertainment as a whole?

Whooooooo! Um…

Oh yes, straight for the jugular!

It’s a good jugular, it’s a pulsing jugular so it’s fine.

There’s so many different bits and pieces going on, so like I said April is a big month for the Anderson World in general, obviously ITVs new Thunderbirds is out in April, the first book of Gemini Force One is out on the second of April, the Terrahawks audio series which we’ve produced will be out mid-April. We are currently developing another sci-fi project which I have to keep entirely secret unfortunately. There’s an animated film that’s been in development that Dad wrote in 2006/2007 that’s been in development since then and is rapidly approaching a point where we could actually do something with it.

There’s lots and lots going on which is really exciting but I think the main focus right now, I’m passing notes to the editor for the Terrahawks audio series so we can get that polished off. We’re just prepping-up for the Gemini Force One launch, and in the mean-time the whole way we’ll be ploughing through pre-production for Firestorm. So there’s loads going on and I think that 2015 will be a big, big year in general for Gerry Anderson as a “brand” – again I’m doing air-quotes when I say brand.

It’s some really exciting stuff, and I’m really pleased to hear about it. Very last question then, what would you point to as your geekiest passion?

Hahahaha! Well, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since I was about 4 years old, so probably my continuing Doctor Who. Behind me I have a replica Dematerialization Circuit, quite geeky isn’t it?

That’s definitely geeky. I’d say that puts you well within our demographic.

Perfect! Well, I’m pretty geeky like that, and I’m currently rewatching a load of Colin Baker, which some people might not agree with entirely, but I quite enjoy some of Colin Baker’s stuff. So yeah, I’m still a massive Doctor Who geek at heart.


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Past and future for Anderson Entertainment

Gerry Anderson has been a media giant for the latter half of the 20th century, and has made television history more than once. Jamie has one hell of a heritage and is determined to bring it to a new generation. Talking to him I got an incredible sense of his passion, his fervour, and his belief in what he is doing.

I want to thank Jamie for a fantastic interview. Keep your eyes peeled for major developments this April, and we look forward to bringing you more on Firestorm soon. I wish everyone at Anderson Entertainment all the best of luck, and a happy new year.

 


The Week in Geek – 27/10/2014

This was a rather eventful week for the cinema geek!

But not only that, we’ve got lots of small updates – Firestorm’s campaign is over (But their work isn’t finished), Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 has a great trailer and we talk about the intrinsic impossibility that is pure NOPE.

The Week In Geek

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The Week in Geek – 20/10/2014

The Week In Geek

We’re back once again ladies and gentlemen for another awesome edition of The Week in Geek. This week we ramp up the extremely exciting by bringing you… Mathematics? Also in the news this week, we see the return of a gaming legend, Avengers, Antman, Spiderman (Marvel madness in general) and an update to Gerry Andersons Firestorm.

This was one very eventful week in geek!

 


PhotoMath

PhotoMath

This might be one of the coolest bits of software I’ve seen in some time.

What PhotoMath does is literally allows you to scan over an equation or maths problem of some kind and once it’s focused on it, it’ll try to resolve the problem for you. Now, that could be thought of making people lazy, but it does a lot more than this.

Not only does it solve the equation, but it tells you how to work it out for yourself. Step by step instructions for the scanned equation appear on your smartphone. This is one seriously powerful bit of technology. It’s already available on iOS and it’s also available on Windows Phone. It’s due to be released on Android in early 2015. Watch this space, Android fans – iOS and Windows Phone fans, go look this app up. It rocks! Let us know how good it is!

Logo Microblink landscape

There’s one thing I’ve failed to mention… This is a free app. They also have provided an SDK for their camera text scanning software which can be implemented in any of your apps. It appears the SDK is free to obtain, too. Is this the beginnings of a truly augmented reality, perhaps?

Follow these links for more information on PhotoMath as well as the rest of the MicroBLINK family. Seriously – Exciting times are ahead of us!

3D Realms is back

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To all of you out there, this is a very small announcement by the 3D Realms team.

If you don’t know who 3D Realms are, all I can say is “It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum… and I’m all outta gum.” These guys made Duke Nukem and I assume with them coming back, they might have re-acquired the rights to the Duke Nukem name. That’s pure speculation of course, but they might be coming up with completely new franchises after a long period of absence. Watch this space as this is a small developing situation right now. Let’s hope they produce more gems like their games of yesteryear!

But for now, they’ve given us a 32-game anthology pack… That’s a great way to make a return guys!

Marvel Cinematic Universe News

Kudos to Marvel this week for recognizing the power of the internet. As they began a countdown to the release of the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer the leaked footage spread faster than their countdown ever could, so – being the sensible types they are – Marvel cancelled the count and released the HD version within 24 hours. It looks spectacular without giving a thing away about the plot that we didn’t already know. Biggest and most gleefully received reveal would be the Iron Man Hulk-Buster that comic book fans have been dreaming of since the incredible film project was announced at the end of the first Iron Man film. Check out the trailer here:

The beleaguered Ant Man project is due to follow it later next year in July. Original director Edgar Wright (famous for the Cornetto Trilogy) left the project following creative differences. Still, I am looking forward to the lesser known Marvel Property joining the big-screen cast.

And finally, it has been revealed that not only can we expect an Iron Man 4, but the plot of Captain America 3 is looking likely to be the story of the comic series Marvel Civil War, in which Stark and Rogers divide the world’s super-heroes over the topic of power registration! It’s a huge undertaking, and one that should, ideally span both films. More importantly it begs the question, will Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man be integrated at last? I won’t spoil it for those who don’t know, but Spider-Man plays a somewhat pivotal part in the storyline.

marvel-civil-war-too-soon-for-a-civil-war

Firestorm Update

More of our coverage on the Gerry Anderson Kickstarter project, which is now in it’s final few days and still a long way away from it’s highest stretch goal, a 22 minute pilot episode! It looks unlikely but the fact that they’ve achieved funding so quickly is still fantastic news. Here are a few more sneak peeks at some of the work being done:

 


That’s it for this Week in Geek! If you know of anything happening that you think should get a small piece on this site, let us know! Drop us an e-mail or even use the contact form below. If you don’t want your name to be featured or if you want some information to be displayed should your news make it in, then please let us know what you want and we’ll accredit you as expected!

 


The Week in Geek – 29/09/2014

The Week In Geek

We’re back once again ladies and gentlemen for another awesome edition of The Week in Geek. This week, we’ve had a bit of a slow one, but it’s also been an exciting one for a few reasons. Here’s last week’s geek happenings and what there is to look forward to!

 


 

GeekOut South-West’s next meetup

GeekOut Sam

That’s right, last week we did a new post on the next GeekOut South-West meetup which is taking place This Friday. Why not come along if you’re in or around Bristol, UK? We’d love to see you there. More information can be found on our Meetup page.

We are having Kim and Phil, as well as Joel all at this meetup and many more wonderful guests! Come along!

 

Firestorm Funded!

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After only 4 days, Anderson Entertainments’ Firestorm made its’ funding goal! Stretch goals are being put up and achieved in short order, and with every new goal, Firestorm becomes that little bit more awesome. So far we already have a new set – the interior of Ocean Storm, and a bigger explosion – a very real (model) building detonated for our entertainment. So much more still to come, and you still have 28 days left to show your support and get some cool stuff in the process.

 

Samurai Chef Funded!

 

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That’s right, on a similar vein to the Firestorm announcement above, Samurai Chef has already received more than enough for funding! Exciting stuff lies ahead for us and I really hope Mayamada keeps their momentum going. They are great guys who deserved to get their comic to light. Plus, they do a lot of work within the Otaku community as seen in yesterday’s post.

 

Games Day

 

Shameless self promotion:

On October 19th, e-Collectica Games will be hosting a tabletop games day, and because it’s e-Collectica’s birthday this games day they will be including a Settlers of Catan tournament with prizes to be won, their annual Fluxx competition, and will also see the return of Viking Tomato – a role-play using the Savage Worlds system hosted by Quotes From the Tabletop with our very own Mike Pound at the helm. Take the time to try Privateer Press’ Warmachine and Hordes miniature war-game. There will also be a library of games to play, but plenty of space for those of you who want to bring your games to play too.

This is the third such event e-Collectica have allowed me to run, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. If any of you guys are going to be in the Shropshire area on October 19th, come to the Morris Hall on Bellstone from 9:30 onwards. Tickets are £3 on the door, but please feel free to register your name by contacting us here at GeekOut South-West to get the pre-booking discount.

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That’s it for this Week in Geek! If you know of anything happening that you think should get a small piece on this site, let us know! Drop us an e-mail or even use the contact form below. If you don’t want your name to be featured or if you want some information to be displayed should your news make it in, then please let us know what you want and we’ll accredit you as expected!

 


Kickstarter Highlight – Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm!

Love Thunderbirds?

Captain Scarlett?

Stingray?

Welcome you lovely, lovely people:

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Top 10 Alternative Animated Films

Top10 Banner

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 list and this week it’s alternative animated films!

There’ll be no Disney- Oh no wait, there’s some… Well there’s no big CGI produ- oh no, there it is…

Still, not one entry on this list could be considered your everyday cartoon, but they’re brilliant to watch. Cult classics and family favourites, puppets and stop motion! Enjoy our weird and wonderful Top 10!


Top 10

10) Space Jam – 1996

Looney Tunes fans were beyond happy with this film and I too sort of live nostalgically about it.

Michael Jordan plays intergalactic basketball with some cartoon characters. So to put this into perspective, this is a movie where a lot of cartoon animation being animated alongside live-action stories and elements. Whilst it’s not the greatest of films, it’s certainly quite unique and worth a watch at the very least. Plus it was quite amusing which is always a bonus.

9) Small Soldiers – 1998

Small Soldiers will never go down in the history books as one of the greatest films of all time. Heck, online critic Doug Walker, AKA the Nostalgia Critic basically pans this movie. But actually, I think it was rather clever for its use of animation.

It’s not a film that’ll captivate you emotionally, nor mentally. It’s also going to make you cringe often. However, it used these little CGI puppets in a film that was almost entirely live-action. A good proportion of the major cast however was CGI and these live-actors including some young actors had to get used to the idea: They’re talking to an inanimate object for real, but in the movie it’ll be a living, moving creation. Strange!

8) A Scanner Darkly – 2006

So here’s one that passed many people by. In spite of a star-studded cast and highly original style, A Scanner Darkly was based on a Phillip K. Dick book and filmed in live action before being converted to animation later. Following the tale of an undercover cop trying to trace the source of a drug called Substance D, the film’s style allows it to slip into hallucination sequences seamlessly.

Worth a watch for its’ style alone, A Scanner Darkly is a fantastically weird animated film. Not for the easily creeped-out however, it features a lot of messed up imagery and Robert Downey-Junior as a giant cockroach.

7) Muppets Treasure Island – 1996

Ahh, Muppets. Jim Henson created a cast of amazing characters who have entertained families for decades, and retell some classic tales with their classic word-play, slapstick and big musical numbers in some infamous feature-length productions. We had a lot to choose from, but Treasure Island was by far our favourite for its’ raucous songs, brilliant performances, and brilliant Muppet moments.

Tim Curry and Billy Connelly feature in the cast, but the real stars of the show have always been Rizzo, Gonzo, Kermit, Miss Piggy and Mister Bimble the man who lives in Fozzy’s finger.

6) The Lego Movie – 2014

It came as something of a dissapointment to me to discover that the Lego Movie had been made entirely in CGI, but looking back I actually understand. Though the characters only have a limited range of movement because they are kept as true as possible to the Lego minifigures, animating all of that Lego water and all of the Lego explosions? My gods, we’d still be waiting for a full-length Lego feature for another century.

And what a movie it was. In every way it captured what Lego is all about, bringing the toy to life in a way that saw the imagination of generations explode onto the big screen. In short: Everything (about the film) Is AWESOME!

5) Coraline – 2009

From the team that brought us The Nightmare Before Christmas (sans Tim Burton) comes a dark tale about appreciating what you have. A stop motion film about a young girl who is moved begrudgingly to a new house in the country and discovers a seemingly blissful version of her own world on the other side of a hidden door.

Heavily stylized and nightmarish, Coraline captured our imaginations and filled the dark corners of our minds with the terrifying, button-eyed spectre of “The Other Mother.”

4) Who Framed Rodger Rabbit? – 1988

Bob Hoskins starred in the infamous cartoon-noir drama, mixing compelling live action performances with a vast cast of legendary cartoon characters including the only appearance of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse on screen together. I think what really brings the film together though (in spite of the incredible collaborative effort) must be the character of Judge Doom, played by Christopher Lloyd, the terrifying cartoon disguised as a real human, enacting a twisted vendetta against the populace of Toontown.

Rodger Rabbit’s most famous appearance is a terrifying film for something that’s supposed to be family friendly. Cartoon death, torture and sex symbols? The hideous monster beneath Judge Doom’s face? Why is this list so full of scary films for kids? Why are we writing this?

3)Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers – 1993

Yes the inventor and his pet pooch are back once again with the 1993 hit film The Wrong Trousers. Why does this get as far as number 3 in our top 10 spot?

Claymation. This film is done out of clay. If you don’t know much about claymation, there’s not many films made entirely out of clay because it’s such a long, tedious process. It’s painful to imagine how many hundreds of hours were spent making each and every character, then adding in their emotion, by stopping their recording and restarting their recording.  Each move needed to be precise and each expression was captured crystal-clear. That’s right, this film as well as being made out of clay was also stop-motion.

Just look at Gromit if you don’t believe how awesome the quality of this film was.

2) Team America: World Police – 2004

South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker bring their intelligently dumb comedy to the big screen in Gerry Anderson style marionation complete with real explosions and over the top action (although the sex scene was all Parker/Stone, unless there’s a Thunderbirds episode I’ve yet to see). Team America is universally offensive, totally unnecessary, and absolutely ingenious.

Gerry Anderson (who’s Kickstarter campaign starts TODAY) inspired generations before his passing in 2012, and Team America is a fantastic big-screen adaption and homage to his style. Let’s hope Firestorm can honour his memory in a slightly more family-friendly way though…

1) Labyrinth – 1986

Here it is, Labyrinth which might be one of the most iconic films of the 80s. The reason this comes in at number 1 was its stunning use of puppets and CGI combined.

Also, this film features some of the cheesiest 80’s songs imaginable. We didn’t need to say too much about Labyrinth that probably hasn’t been covered in a major thesis, only that the technology that they were using for the time was relatively experimental. Alongside labyrinth, we could have mentioned Gremlins, but we felt out of the films from around this period of time, Labyrinth stands out the most. Hoggle and the gang being actual muppets which are now displayed in a museum is quite exciting. To think the actors and actresses in this film would have had to get used to the idea that these puppets were “real”.

It’s all made weirder when you listen to David Bowie throughout this film, as clearly he’s still debating what kind of magic spell to use.

 


Honourable Mentions

Animation is big business, and pinning down what makes it alternative these days is a little difficult. But with our list assembled we were still left with a few brilliant examples left over that still warrant mention. This keeps happening to us, but Top 12 isn’t so catchy…

Junk Head

Mature Content Warning because Junk Head, an independently made stop-motion animation available to view on youtube, is set in a world so heavily industrialized that biological reproduction has become impossible, and follows an cyborg agent sent into the deep city to find a “sample” that has, rather clearly gained something necessary to biological reproduction.

Intended to be the first of a series, I watched the film and found myself really hoping that a series materializes, as the bizarre urban-wilderness and strange people who occupy it are amazingly realized and entirely created by one man. It’s made it into our honourary section because it deserves some honour.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

This was the first Final Fantasy film and it was a full blown feature-length film entirely out of CGI and awesome effects. With a fun and relatively complex plot which was played through with a beautiful soundtrack and some of the best visuals of its time.

Whilst it’s true to Final Fantasy style, this film is basically all CGI, even if it was impressive. As such, it wasn’t really fitting for our alternative animation theme, but we thought it deserved a mention at the very least.

 


Animation is a brilliant way to present a story in a unique world with style, but to really make it stand apart the animation itself must be unique. We did our best to choose the best, but do you have an alternative (harr harr) for us? Give us some more suggestions in the comments, or on our Facebook or Twitter!

This week’s Top 10 rather elegantly sets up tomorrow’s Kickstarter Highlight, Gerry Anderson’s all-new ultramarionation Firestorm! We mentioned it last week, but the campaign begins today. Be sure to come back to us for all the information. And come back to us next week for another Top 10!

 


Kickstarter Highlight – Previews of Samurai Chef and Gerry Anderson’s Fireball

wpid-Kickstarter-Highlight.jpg

Do you like chefs?

Do you like monkeys?

Do you like chefs who happen to be monkeys? Well then look no further as we’re back once again for our Kickstarter Highlight of the week. This week however, we have two Kickstarter Highlight PreviewsQueue the ooh’s!

 

Complete Samurai Chef Print Edition

What is it?

If you had seen my recent post on Mayamada and Samurai Chef, then this theme of a samurai monkey chef should be a familiar one. Samurai Chef is the awesome content produced by Mayamada, a company based in the UK that sells clothes. The team at Mayamada have been working on a fun, unique concept in manga style.

We last left our Samurai Chef amidst the tough competition, as the samurai chef found himself facing tougher and tougher dishes to try his appetite… For cutting it down.

It’s a fun and quirky story that gave me a good chuckle, so I am hoping part 2 delivers all the same.

This is the Mayamada cast – They all look cuddly, even the Samurai Chef himself.

How much do they need?

The guys at Mayamada are asking for a tiny £650, which is nothing at all in the grand scheme of things. They will be using the money to get the book published.

There doesn’t really seem to be much of a risk with backing this comic, as they have already got a platform to sell their comics on. Further to that: They have already made volume one, so volume two is inevitable! But. without funding it may never see the light of day.

 

What are the reward tiers?

As I have been given access to review this campaign before it goes live this Saturday, the Mayamada guys are offering these rewards for backers:

  • Pledge £3 or more

    Reward 1: Get your name printed in our credits page. (£3 / $4 / €4).

    Pledge £10 or more

    Reward 2: Digital copy of the Samurai Chef plus colour edition of Samurai Chef Origins.(PDF or eBook format). (£10 / $16 / €12).

    Pledge £15 or more

    Reward 3: Print copy of Samurai Chef Vol 1 & 2 (combined) + pin badge set + Reward 2. (£15 / $24 / €18). Want extra copies? Kindly add £5 (£5 / $8 / €6) per book to your pledge and send us a note. (non UK backers, an extra £5 for shipping and handling will be added to your pledge.)

    Add £5 to ship outside the UK
    Pledge £25 or more

    Reward 4: Exclusive Samurai Chef mug + Reward 3. (£25 / $40 / €31) Want extra copies? Kindly add £5 (£5 / $8 / €6) per book to your pledge and send us a note. (non UK backers, an extra £5 for shipping and handling will be added to your pledge.)

    Add £5 to ship outside the UK
    Pledge £60 or more

    Reward 5: Signed copy with limited edition cover + EXCLUSIVE Samurai Chef t-shirt + Reward 4. (£60 / $96 / €74) Want extra copies? Kindly add £5 (£5 / $8 / €6) per book to your pledge and send us a note. (non UK backers, an extra £5 for shipping and handling will be added to your pledge.)

    Add £5 to ship outside the UK

That’s it for Samurai Chef. Let’s see if it can slice and dice its way through its funding objective and become a true culinary delight for all to read.

This campaign will be available This Saturday 27th September. Please do look out for it and of course I will be updating this page with the campaign once it’s ready and speaking of it on social media. I hope the guys at Mayamada succeed in their campaign.

What do you think of Samurai Chef and it’s chances on Kickstarter? Have you read volume one or the free origins story from Mayamada yet? I was lucky enough to meet a member of the team behind this story, so it was a real pleasure to be able to keep up with developments of their new work.

Now, I pass you all over to the capable hands of Joel, who has another Kickstarter Highlight preview for us all!


Those of you not familiar with the name Gerry Anderson may well be familiar with the names Captain Scarlett, Stingray, and Thunderbirds! These now classic puppet-action series have been an inspiration to generations of film-producers, and they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the depth and breadth of Anderson’s lifetime of achievements which look set to continue, even following his death in 2012.

Lesser known was his joint project with business partner John Needham, Firestorm, which combined CGI effects and animation which was mainly released for a Japanese market, and was not widely spread beyond. The series began, and fizzled out in 2003. Gone, but not – it seems – forgotten.

A kickstarter is slated to begin on the 30th of September to return Firestorm to the world, not in animation, but in the ultramarionation that made Anderson’s biggest and best titles so infamous, and so far-reaching. Real explosions! Real practical effects! Real puppets!

Now, the information on the Kickstarter itself is not tremendously forthcoming, but that hook is baited and I’m deeply curious to see the beginnings of the campaign next Tuesday. For now, here’s a link to the announcement page and all of the links you’ll need to keep on top of the news as it happens:

https://twitter.com/sf9firestorm

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialFirestorm

http://www.gerryanderson.co.uk/firestorm/

Keep informed, let us know what you think! Has the renaissance come for true action puppets? Will the rewards come with (dammit Tim, this is your fault) strings attached? Having been raised on all of the above shows, and many more, I’m more than just a little curious to see what the future holds for the Gerry Anderson legacy.


The Week In Geek – 15/09/14

The Week In Geek

Welcome back to The Week In Geek, our weekly summary of all our favourite pieces of nerd news. Tim and Joel keep watch for stories that interest us, but let us know if there are any stories you’d like us to talk about next week!


Deadpool 2016!

After the “leaked” test footage starring Ryan Reynolds hit the internet like an atom bomb, talk of a real Deadpool movie reached an all time high because it was just so beautiful. Fans of the Merc with a Mouth were livid with his portrayal in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in spite of the fact that the casting choice was wildly hailed by both fans, and by the casting choice himself who has been very outspoken about wanting to reprise the role, so long as it was done properly.

Yup, that looks properly like Deadpool to me!

Well, Fox have tested the water and this week they officially took the plunge and announced a date for the movie we’ve been waiting for, February 12th, 2016. Now, that’s a long way away, and projects this popular have been mired in the past to the point where they’ve vanished off the map (Duke Nukem Forever for example) but things have never looked better for Deadpool the Movie!

Encryption by Default

In case you were unaware of the recent announcement by Google and Apple, the Android and iDevices out there will now be getting encrypt functions enabled by default. For the record, both Googles and Apples devices have had encryption on their devices from the get go, although only the savvy knew about the features previously!

To me, it’s a no brainer! By having encryption set up by default, we can expect a lot less damage to our data when we go to a nefarious website. Of course it isnt the end of the worlds problems from them naughty hacking black-hat types. In fact, it doesnt really affect them that much at all with the power of decryption, but at least its one small step back to bringing the power to the average user!

Tell your family, tell your friends: Mobile devices are becoming safer and more ready for more serious usage around offices and indeed day to day activities. Just be aware that this is but one step towards security on your mobile devices.

One thing that wasnt made clear is when this is set to roll out. We will keep you informed about this one if we find out anything else.

Crescent Bay Kit

You might have seen my post from yesterday, but if you haven’t then please go check it out! I think this is quite exciting news!

Crescent Bay then is the latest development kit for the Oculus Rift! How exciting it is then that there is finally integrated speakers. Whats more, a new demo has been made by the developers of the Oculus Rift, a demo that lets you explore all of the new features from the built in speakers to the 360 head tracking!

Its an exciting time for the Virtual Reality headset but to keep abreast of any new changes, dont forget to keep your eyes (and now ears) open to the game conferences out there, as well as the Oculus Rift Kickstarter page, which they STILL keep updated!

Other News

  • This week sees the premier of the new Batman prequel series Gotham.
  • Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm Kickstarter has been announced, more on that later in the week
  • And this week (today actually) GeekOut South-West passed 10,000 views! Thanks everybody :D

Thats it for our week in geek, check back with us next week for more geeky goodness! Until next time, keep it geek folks!

What do you think about these exciting changes and developments? Have you got a good tip for us and our week in geek articles? Let us know in the comments below! We dont bite and we love to read your emails too!