The last time I did one of these was four years ago, I really ought to make it a more regular thing because San Diego Comiccon is a prime event to promote new material and media coming up in time for the mass indoor-migration. Here are a few of the highlights I’ve picked up on:
Harley Quinn Animated Series [NSFW]
No seriously, they packed this thing with bad language and violence.
Ok, this has some potential. I like Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn although I wish she’d given it the proper southern-drawl* that has been a hallmark of the character for decades, but that’s about my only complaint. In the post-Nolan DC days it can be hard sometimes to remember that there have been fun days in DC, even in Gotham where some of the dumbest villains have challenged the caped crusader, and that includes Quinn. So far we appear to be capturing the essence of what Suicide Squad wanted and failed to achieve, and we’ve kept key elements of the Suicide Squad Quinn in the pink and blue look.
Being broadcast on the new DC subscription network may limit the potential pretty dramatically, I actually think this may prove to be a growing problem because Disney are doing the same thing (more on that later) and the number of subscription services are getting as prolific as the number of television channels, but now you have to pay for all of them individually, and slowly but surely that new business model is going to prove how well it doesn’t work. I think. That’s my opinion at any rate.
Anyway, reserving judgement on Harley Quinn but holding on to a shred of optimism.
The Abrahamsverse Star Trek has put one hell of a stamp on Star Trek since then, we’ve seen it all over STD, and apparently we’re seeing this new theme of industrial style sets and higher colour-contrast lighting schemes in this resurrection of the greatest captain to ever command an Enterprise. The story looks to be another combination of Data and the Borg, and Seven of Nine will be joining the crowd as well to really dig into themes like artificial intelligence versus actual intelligence, life, freedom and independence. Rumours are that Jonathan Frakes will also be reappearing.
Our new crew includes Allison Pill and Harry Treadaway, two very talented young actors who never seem to have broken big which is a genuine tragedy.
Prediction: Turns out the young woman in the trailer with all that mystery around her is the borg queen and somehow time travel is involved… again. I say that because it looks like that borg cube is under construction, and as everyone has a particular loathing of this woman there’ll be some kind of shenanigans with nanomachinery and paradoxes. In short I can’t say as I’m all that excited, but I’m curious.
Marvel Season 4
I was expecting a long slow decline for the MCU that would slowly hurt everyone’s feelings and ruin ten years of amazing cinema by soaking the legacy in bleach until we’re left with a flimsy, pale imitation of what used to be. It looks like they just gave up, no part of the line-up gets me excited, no, not even the new Thor film.
Blade and Fantastic 4 have been confirmed for the future, along with another Spidey-film, and a Black Panther follow up, and sure we’ve got the groundwork for a Secret War or something, and who knows, maybe this is a grand fake-out, but I have some issues, and I’ll keep them short.
The time for Black Widow was about three years ago, some time around Civil War or Winter Soldier when she was at her most popular. A great animated film was made with her and the Punisher working together to take down Crimson Dynamo, and that was about as good as I think we’ll see. You want a good Black Widow? Red Sparrow is probably your best bet.
One quick look into the history of the Eternals tells me that there will need to be some serious conceptual changes to make them work well in the MCU. They’re a bunch of demigods in service to the Celestials, which should bring in a few of the Celestials in time for the likes of Glactus and whatnot, but from what I read they’re far from beloved characters. Shang-Chi is a house built on sand, with Iron Fist flopping harder than Finn Jones’ hair (hah!) and the Mandarin being a fake-out that upset a lot of fans.
“Multiverse of Madness” is a rather uninspiring subtitle, as is “Love and Thunder” which sounds like an episode of Miami Vice.
And here are all of these Disney+ titles, all of which were unsubtly set up during Infinity/Game, Hawkeye will be about training a younger archer, Loki picks up from the Tesseract incident, and buddy cops Falcon and Winter Soldier screams of Lethal Weapon with more vibranium. What If… sounds like it could be mildly interesting, but it’d need to do something more than regurgitate the old What If’s of the comics. What they plan to do with Wanda and Vision is anyone’s guess but for now I’m contenting myself with some early 00’s style sitcom in which most of the comedy is Vision trying to understand people.
A better sounding fan-timeline can be found here, filled with titles that – while clearly fake – has a few more beguiling titles.
So the Witcher looks… fine, I guess? There are a few showpiece scenes that look like they could be cool, but I’m listening to the story and it doesn’t grip me yet. I’m quietly hoping to see a Mad Max style approach to Geralt, approaching as a nearly blank slate who comes to propel someone else’s story.
Far more interesting, we saw a mini making-of for dark Crystal along with a bit of new footage which looks like it’ll be a genuine masterpiece of television. It’ll be something to look forward to binging straight after Insomnia.
We’ve had new trailers for a bunch of extra films that we’ve known about for a while, a glimpse of what Rick and Morty’s fourth season will have to hold which… basically is more of the same but that’s cool, that’s what we like. A, hopefully better, television adaption of His Dark materials is on the way and now we can see a bit of it, it looks like it won’t be shying away from the anti-religious themes that were omitted in the Golden Compass film, but also features a cast of some of the best actors of the decade. IT, Watchmen, Westworld, but perhaps the thing that worries me the most is the Snowpiercer series that I simply cannot envision accomplishing what the film did.
Hate to end this on such a downer, so I’ll let it fizzle on a bad line instead.
*New Jersey accent! Turns out I’ve been getting it wrong for years.
Sometimes, the villain likes to get a laugh in. Infrequently, the villain gets the last laugh, but when they do get their laughs in, you know you’re going to be etched with their echoing laughs for a long time. We wanted to honour those bad people who wanted nothing more than to show us how much they enjoyed messing with our heroes, in this week’s Top 10 Evil Laughs list.
Oooooh, I’m in a good mood for an angry rant! Haven’t had one in a while, and this one has been preying on my mind of late.
Films – especially the big cultural phenomena – have a way of entering and shifting the social consciousness wholesale. This can be for the better, allowing film makers to affect positive social change when such change is needed, or it can create a culture all of its very own, as fans turn into gatherings turn into societies. Sometimes that change can be negative, be it a kind of misinformation, unintentionally spread by a work of fiction; or an idea so potent that it spreads despite the negative impact it can have.
This might have actual, real world consequences, but most of these are ones that just get on my nerves… (more…)
A mere fourteen years after the first film we finally get the sequel we’ve all been craving, Karl Urban’s Dredd!
No? Never mind, I suppose that was only six years ago, it just feels like longer.
Anyway, we’ve been anticipating the return of the Incredibles since a teaser trailer was dropped in November, one of Pixar’s most beloved properties that has been praised for it’s family-oriented approach to superheroism, how family dynamics can be altered and reflected by the addition of superpowers, and for the villain’s profound philosophical standpoint. In other words, Disney found a way to make Fantastic 4 without ever making Fantastic 4, and effortlessly outdid every effort by 20th Century Fox.
TL;DR version, as good as the first. Not better, not worse, exactly as good, equally enjoyable, respectably different. Let’s take a look at why. (more…)
Grand buildings – Buildings which genuinely take your breath away with either the sheer immensity of it, or just at how lavishly it is decorated. We’ll be checking both into the same list here, where the more epic the setting feels, the better it’ll do on our list. So, let’s get right to it in this week’s Top 10 list.
And hey, before you go, please do go and check out the vote at the end of the article. Today marks the four year anniversary of our Top 10’s. Thank you to everyone who has been with us every step of the way.
10) End Of The Line Club – Tron
Though we don’t see much of the outside of the club, the End of Line is pretty grandiose both inside and out. Vibrant against the dark of the Grid, the lights are turned up high, the drinks flow constantly, and Daft Punk play every night! All of this is overseen by the equally spectacular Castor (Michael Sheen), whose glowing cane and ever joyous demeanour make a party atmosphere by themselves.
Positioned at the top of the tallest tower that overlooks the city, the party floor has the greatest view a program could ask for. A shuttle-car brings guests from the floor to the top, meaning that security should be a flawlessly managed thing. Sadly, Clu’s security forces are better prepared for renegade club owners, and the End of Line club is now… ended.
9) The Tower of Isengard – Lord of the Rings
They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard, they said. But what they didn’t count on is the fact that one of these powerful wizard-folk were going to turn on them. But I digress, Isengard is a bit of a dump when you really look at it on the outside. It’s just a bloody great big iron fortress, of which the name implies. It became the home of the almost hermit-like Saruman, a wise and powerful wizard. Who, y’know, betrays them all.
Anyway, ignoring the betrayal, the reason we chose the Tower of Isengard is the sheer immensity of it. Unlike the rest of the area, it’s just this massive spire which sits dead centre in the fortress. Don’t get me wrong, it plays an important part and is one hell of an image, but what doesn’t sit right with me is the lack of being able to see the insides. The film makes a great case for it; the book paints an impressive image… But we just don’t know what’s going on inside.
That summit however is rather incredible.
8) Cair Paravel – Narnia
The Kings and Queens of Narnia rule from within Cair Paravel, a massive, incredible castle in the realm of Narnia. Through them wardrobes you go, as you step into Narnia, where the castle houses the four thrones. Indeed, this castle is central to the story of Narnia in many ways, even if we’re not necessarily going to see everything about it, which is why we can’t rank this one much higher than this spot.
However, don’t let the placing on this list fool you. Cair Paravel is an incredible castle, home to many a people. Depending on where abouts you are, it’s just a castle or it’s a castle surrounded by a whole city. Naturally, a city isn’t a building, so throughout we’ve focused on the castle… Which is truly a shame, as hey, spoilers, that castle ain’t staying up forever. All in all, it represents power and position, which is always a surefire way for something to be brought down!
7) The Combine Citadel Tower – Half Life 2
The ominous scar that marrs the skyline of City 17, and for thousands of miles around, the Citadel is an icon of oppression. Literally scraping the sky, the tower reaches up high enough to define the clouds around its apex, and at its base it trails cables, a constant vampiric feed of information used to monitor, control, and subdue.
The monolith is so vast it requires a train to efficiently travel through. The space is filled by an enormous military force, a portal to alien destinations, and the leviathan “Advisors” that have come to enslave humanity. It’s hard to put a human face on a force that grim, and Wallace Breen is not the face any of us would have chosen.
6) The Dark Tower – Stephen King
If I were to tell you that The Dark Tower is basically about a gunslinger who’s taking over a tower, by, y’know, shooting stuff to get to said tower… It all sounds rather daft. But, that’s actually kind of what The Dark Tower is in a nutshell – And the imagery the book sets is amazing. Standing before the massive tower, one lone gunslinger is out for vengeance, from a disturbed childhood. It’s riveting reading and viewing.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Stephen King novels, you cannot deny the immensity of the tower. It’s arguably one of the taller constructs on our list. It’s hard to place what the tower is exactly, except for a nightmarish place which must be entered to be destroyed. Technically, it’s effectively a hub for many worlds… But we’ll let you read or watch it for yourself. We follow our protagonist through his perilous journey into the tower. However, you’d be better off not following Roland into the Dark Tower, as you’d be better off knowing it’s dark secrets.
5) Hyrule Castle – Legend of Zelda
Arguably the most classic example of a video game building on this list, Hyrule Castle has seen many iterations throughout the ages. It doesn’t matter what version you’ve seen, it’s always one of the grandest dungeons in any Legend of Zelda title. As of the time of writing, Hyrule Castle has been in 11 Legend of Zelda titles, which definitely makes it one of the most prolific entries on this list.
Hyrule Castle will always hold a place in gamers hearts; With a multitude of enemies having taken it over, the princess having been kidnapped and much more, Hyrule Castle has a checkered past. Here’s hoping one day Hyrule Castle will be a much more stable and secure place for a king and queen to rule from, but whilst we’ve got Legend of Zelda titles, you can bet that some serious adventuring is going to take place within the walls.
Tidy stone, royal carpets, throne rooms – This castle’s got the lot. It’s even got a dungeon underneath it, to keep the villains locked up.
4) The Disney Castle
Ahh, the iconic edifice that opens every Disney film, the many turreted, completely impractical castle over a river. I’m not saying it’s completely indefensible, but it’s not difficult to get passed that outer wall, and the compound beyond appears to be chaotic, without safe points of retreat and consolidation. Now, the original Neuschwanstein Castle, that’s got some holding power, check out that long runway, leaving invaders open to bombardment and forcing them to bottleneck for easy rep- y’know what, never mind.
The Disney Castle is iconic, a centrepiece to the visual spectacular that is every Disneyland, and the very image we have come to know from the House of Mouse. Despite the Mickey Mouse logo, we perhaps know the castle better now as a culture, since it rose to visual dominance in the days of Sleeping Beauty.
3) Tyrell Corporation – Bladerunner
From a vision of wonder, the the very epitome of domination. The great squat pyramid of Tyrell – producers of the Replicant androids – aglow with lights, but no less dark for the near-divine image it portrays. To refer to the compound as a pyramid is no mistake, creators of “life” after a fashion, Tyrell have created for themselves the image of a kind of god-king, and their temple dominates the horizon.
The floating obelisk-like outer buildings create an almost ethereal power about the thing, as though it defies physics. The interior is as temple-like as the outside, bedecked in fabric hangings, modelled to capture the image of the pope’s bedroom, or the inside of a grand cathedral. Make no mistake, this is dystopia concentrated, all hail the corporation, Tyrell is god to the people.
2) Stark Tower – Marvel
More accurately, Avengers Tower now, Stark Tower suffered some auspiciously cosmetic damage during the Chitauri invasion of New York, losing the S, T, R and K, somehow keeping hold of the stylised “A”. The landing pad sets it apart from every other tower in the Manhattan skyline, veering out from the side of the upper floors to really underline the fact that there are no helicopters putting down there, just a suit.
The lounge that overlooks the landing pad is spacious enough to host a party, a well stocked bar overlooks a seating and party space large enough to swing a god. Just below is a fully automated repair and maintenance facility for the Iron Man Suits and the Iron Legion, along with a variety of workshops and labs further and further down, including spaces specifically made to accommodate the other Avengers. The tower is impressive inside and out, and while it would serve no purpose, I still feel that New York itself would be improved for the addition of a fake one.
Not like Disney couldn’t do it for the giggles…
1) Hogwarts – Harry Potter
If you didn’t think Hogwarts was getting our first place spot, you’d have been sorely mistaken. Hogwarts is indeed our first pick – Although this wasn’t the only building in the Harry Potter universe that we considered. Indeed, we considered Ollivander’s Wand Shop, for the immensity of his collection of wands. We considered Gringotts, as the wealth of gold and the fact there’s a massive roller coaster to get to your vault. We considered Hog’s Head Inn, but that wasn’t that grand.
Indeed, Hogwarts was a fitting first place on this list. Without it, we’d have not seen so many exciting stories. We’ve gone to dark places that most wizards wouldn’t dream of seeing. We’ve been to all sorts of different wonderfully terrifying places within the walls of the school. The fact this massive, magical school is surrounded by forests filled with wildlife, vast luscious grounds, a Quidditch pitch and more is just the beginning.
Once you penetrate the fortress itself, there are staircases that move around. Grand, incredible paintings which are literally alive. A huge dining hall, where all announcements are made… Trust us, there was no better pick than the immensity of Hogwarts.
Indeed, being grand is an important matter… Although the term grand is indeed incredibly subjective. Are we on about pure size? What about randomisation?! Indeed, we’ve got two more plausible entries which we couldn’t quite fit on our list, but we certainly had to give them a bit of a nod!
Knightmare Castle – Knightmare
This was a fun pick to put in here – The Knightmare Castle doesn’t really have much of a name, other than the TV shows namesake, but honestly there have been so many great stories told in here. If you’ve never seen Knightmare, watch an episode of it above. This was a much beloved show which runs live events now-a-days and that’s about it. A pity, as honestly so many kids would love to see Knightmare on TV.
Dreaming aside, the castle was incredible. Sometimes it had people playing NPCs whose whole purpose was to kill the heroic kids; other times it had NPCs willing to get the kids out of harm’s way. Sometimes, people would get poisoned – And every time, the protagonist would be blinded by the magnificence of the castle; so much so, they would always say…
“… Where am I?!”
Unseen University – Discworld
Ankh Morpork’s campus for practitioners of the arcane is a wondrous place of learning. From the glass dome of the High Energy Magic Building and its strange atmosphere of thaumatological radiation, to the soaring, crooked Tower of Art, UU is a wonder of the mystic art of architecture and containing large amount of wizard.
Rivalled across the disc only by Buggerup Uni in Fourecks with its many-heighted tower, the university is a defining feature of the AM skyline on those days when it can be seen through the dust, smog, and general effluence of the Ankh. You could buy it in paper-craft at one point, pretty sure I missed my chance though.
So, we’ve got something to admit to all of you. Today marks the four year anniversary of our first Top 10 article, Top 10 Bears. It’s old, it’s outdated and so, so many of our classics are. But, we loved every one of them so much. To celebrate, we’re picking up three of our classic Top 10’s for a redo as we think there are many new entries we could consider – So, go ahead, select one for us to do a redeux on. Will they be better, or will they be basically the same as before?
That’s it for another Top 10 list – But as ever, we’re not quite finished yet. We’re going to pass the conversation onto you now. What did you make of our list today? Did we get the right buildings, or did we forget about any truly grand buildings? Did we get the order right? Could anything have toppled Hogwarts? Leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, on behalf of Timlah and Joel: Thanks again to everyone who has been with us every step of the way.
To be proud of where you come from – That’s what we all wish to be. To be able to say, with your head held high, that you come from a proud, noble people. Your homeland is the envy of the world and you are one of its many fine citizens. A nation is defined as a large body of people united by common grounds (culture, history, language, etc). So, it’s time to fly your flags high for our Top 10 Fictional Nations!
This is the SPOILER FREE part of the [Infinity War review/MCU study] delete as applicable in which I’ll be talking about all the work that got us here. This is going to be a long one, hence the “Part one of four” in the title.
I’ve spoken a lot on the subject but let me reiterate, the MCU is the cinematic event of a generation, as Star Wars was before it. Nineteen films in ten years, fourteen directors, ten titles and twenty-something main characters, that all coalesce into a single universe, not wholly ripped from the pages of the comics but treated with sufficient reverence to the source material and laced so deeply with lore that even the most dogmatic comic book fans can at least respect the effort, even if they don’t like the final product. (more…)
For nearly a century, Disney has been providing us all with top notch entertainment in the form of beautiful art, exceptional animation and great storytelling. All in all then, Disney is pretty much one of the most recognisable names in the world, proving that adding a dose of magic into peoples lives will sometimes sell incredibly well. It’s with this in mind that we held this month’s GeekOut Bristol Meet to the theme of Disney and we got a new game out, which was heavily Disney influenced itself. As ever, welcome to our monthly gallery post!