Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, July 17, 2017

Catch-Up Info Dump

Well, I've been mostly separated from my computer as I've been off on vacation over the past week.  Well, not completely separated...I maxed out my data plan on Friday night, thus not allowing me to share all the cool stuff that was popping up online over the weekend.  So rather than flood my Twitter feed with a bunch of day-old news, I figured I'd just make a big list of everything here at the blog!

Of course, most of the news was coming out of D23, the official Disney convention that Disney puts on, as they went over their upcoming slates.  Things kicked off on Friday night with the most anticipated trailer of the evening that wasn't Star Wars or Marvel...the first trailer for A Wrinkle in Time.

Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay brings the legendary YA sci-fi novel to the big screen, with an all-star cast.  Young Meg Murray's father unlocks the secrets of the tesseract (not the Marvel McGuffin) to traverse time and space, but gets captured by something evil along the way.  Now, Meg must go on a quest to save her father, and is guided along the way by three celestial beings:  Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kailing).

I'm not too familiar with the book...all I really know was a friend in college cited it as one of her favourites growing up, and the last time they attempted an adaptation was a really crappy TV movie in 2003.  But this trailer has me intrigued.  It comes out March 9, so lots of time to check out the book at my local library.

Also on the live-action side that caught my eye was Disney has officially begun production on their live-action remake of Dumbo, from director Tim Burton.  How are they bringing it to live action?  More humans, of course!  Humans barely figured into the original, but now we've got Colin Farrell as Dumbo's trainer, Danny DeVito as the circus owner, and Michael Keaton and Eva Green as the ones who teach Dumbo how to fly.

I was about to give this a pass until I saw Keaton in the cast.  Tim Burton and Michael Keaton, together again since Batman Returns in 1992.  If they bring the wacky like they did in Beetlejuice, this just might be worth a watch.  Disney's aiming this one for a Spring 2019 release.

Over on the animated side, not much new.  Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, and Frozen 2 are all on track.  One of the show-stoppers was the first footage from Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.  The plot:  when Sugar Crush, Vanellope's game, starts crashing, threatening Vanellope and all the denizens of Sugar Crush, it's up to Ralph and Vanellope to venture onto the Internet to get the parts to fix the game (i.e. download a patch).

The sequence shown was a very meta one, where Ralph and Vanellope stumble upon the Disney website and we get cameos by every Disney princess ever.  And yes, every Disney princess has their original voice actress, because that's how Disney rolls.  Wreck-It Ralph 2 comes November 2018.

Meanwhile, over at my beloved Pixar, they gave updates on Coco (this November), Incredibles 2 (next summer) and Toy Story 4 (Summer 2019).  And then...what comes next.

What comes next is a very personal story from Monsters University director Dan Scanlon.  Scanlon opened his presentation by explaining that his father died when he was very young, and as such, he never knew his father.  He only knows his father's voice thanks to a cassette tape of a family gathering that a relative gave him, in which his father utters just two words:  "Hi" and "Bye."  From that inspiration, Scanlon came up with this.

Set in a world populated with magical creatures -- fairies, elves, trolls, "anything painted on the side of a van in the 1970s" according to Scanlon -- these creatures actually abandoned magic long ago and embraced technology.  Two elf children who lost their father when they were very young decide to gather up what magic remains in the world to see if they can use it to spend one last day with their father.  Sounds like it could be an emotional gut punch.  No release date as of yet.

Meanwhile, over on the Star Wars side, we got a new behind-the-scenes glimpse for The Last Jedi.

Nothing really to add...still looking awesome. Still can't wait.  The other big news was the Star Wars Land now under construction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World has an official name:  Star Wars:  Galaxy's Edge.

And on the Marvel side, they showed the first footage from Avengers: Infinity War, and apparently, it's amaze-balls.  Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to literally pull down the heavens upon our heroes.  Nothing official has shown up online yet....just wait until after this weekend and the San Diego Comic Con.

And that's everything that caught my eye from D23.

Over in non-Disney news, we have the Thirteenth Doctor on Doctor Who!

Jodie Whittaker is playing #13, and we have our first female Doctor.

I won't get into all the hate going on right now about how women can't be Doctors.  Let's be honest, they've been toying with doing this since the show's heyday in the 1980s, and with the phenomenal response to Missy (the Doctor's arch-enemy the Master, regenerated into a woman, in case you haven't been watching lately), you knew this was happening.

If anything, the comments I'm reading online are saying that a lot of people wandered away from the show during the Peter Capaldi era, and that this is the creative shot-in-the-arm to bring them back to the franchise.

And don't forget, we're getting a whole new creative team behind the scenes when #13 takes the stage next year.  I think there are very interesting times ahead, and it's going to be good.

We'll get our first look at #13 in action in the Christmas special, airing on Christmas!

So where was I the past week that I've got to play catch-up like this?  I was on vacation! 

I started things off by watching Spider-Man Homecoming.  Loved it!  The core theme was definitely people in suits, and whether it's the suit that makes the hero or not.  We've got Iron Man, who's Spider-Man's idol, and he's constantly trying to impress.  I loved that they turned the Vulture into a kind of "dark Tony Stark," and rather than just a pair of wings, his costume is his own Iron Man-esque suit that he's made from scavenged parts...a very literal reworking of his name and gimmick.  And in the centre of it all is Peter Parker, with a hi-tech Spider-Man suit that he's been given, trying to find his place as a hero. 

Tom Holland is great.  He brings the youthful exuberance that a high school aged Spider-Man needs.  And it's just nice to see Spider-Man in the Marvel universe where he belongs.

I'll write an official review on the main site in the days ahead.  But...3.5 Nibs.

And then I was off to the family reunion, down south, just outside of Red Deer.  It was a lot of fun, and good seeing so many family members again. 

The drive home was nice.  Normally, to get from the Red Deer area to Westlock, I just head straight north on Highway 2, using the Anthony Henday Drive to circle around Edmonton.  Normally, I go around the west side.  But, now that the Henday is complete, I decided to mix things up and go around the east side.

The east side of Edmonton is where Edmonton's oil refineries are, and it was quite the site.  Storm clouds were rolling through, so things were dark.  I don't know if it was smoke from the fires in BC, or just the exhaust from the refineries, but there was this orange haze in the air.  And it was dark enough that all the refineries were lit up.  I find a strange beauty in industrial sites at night...just these metal frames, all aglow with their safety lights.  And all enshrouded in an orange haze...it was like being on Cybertron. 

I was tempted to pull over and take a picture, but probably not a good idea on a busy freeway like the Henday. 

Anyway, I'm about rambled out and I'm getting tired of writing.  Time to head back to work! 

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