Thursday, 29 September 2016

Film Review - 'Justice League: Throne of Atlantis'

In the aftermath of Darkseid's attempted invasion of Earth, in Justice League: War, the Justice League may have officially been formed - though, it's members don't seem all that eager to continue working together. Only Cyborg makes regular use of their shiny new base of operations. For everyone else, it seems to be business as usual - continuing their solo adventures and, seemingly, largely content to ignore their responsibilities to this newly formed team. It seems that it will take another large-scale threat to bring this disparate team of heroes back together.

Fortunately, for the audience's sake, a suitable threat is not far off. Deep beneath the ocean, the lost kingdom of Atlantis still thrives - but, the destruction caused by Darkseid's invasion triggered the eruption of a volcano which caused the death of the reigning king, and left the people of Atlantis reeling.

Prince Orm, and his adviser Black Manta, argue for retribution - insisting that it is only a matter of time until the 'surface-dwellers' launch an all-out invasion on Atlantis, and demanding that a preemptive strike be launched. But, with Queen Atlanna determined to pursue peaceful relations with the surface, it seems that Orm and Black Manta will have to take matters into their own hands to get the war they both clearly want.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Film Review - 'Justice League: War'

If you've never been all that big on reading comics, then the phrase 'New 52' probably doesn't mean all that much to you. This could be a bit of a problem, though, if you happen to be (like me) a fan of the characters, themselves - since, as far as DC's broad and complex comic-book universe is concerned, it is a pretty big deal.

The basic idea, here, is that the convoluted web of story-lines which made up DC's comics had simply got too difficult to manage - so, it was decided that it was probably time to, essentially, wipe the slate clean and start over. The old DC universe was brought to a close with a massive cross-over event (which, if you're interested, was adapted in the previous animated film, The Flashpoint Paradox), and the new one was set up in its place. Writers of the various new comic-book lines were free to choose what, if anything, of the old story-lines they brought over, or whether they would prefer to start off fresh.

This isn't the first time that DC have felt the need to do this, either. There was also Crisis on Infinite Earths back in the 1980s, which did much the same thing for much the same reason - and, it even seems to have happened again, recently, with 'Rebirth'.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Film Review - 'Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox'

For the more casual fans of DC's comic-book universe, the 'New 52' reboot that occurred a few years ago must have been a somewhat confusing event (even if it wasn't the first time that something like this happened in the DC Universe - or, it seems, was it the last). The basic reasoning behind that reboot was fairly straight-forward, though - with it being seen as an opportunity to wipe away years of increasingly convoluted story-line continuity, and to start over.

Setting aside the issue of whether this major reboot was actually worthwhile, in the end, it was still fairly obvious that it would take a pretty major event to justify its occurrence - and, that event was 'Flashpoint'. It was 'Flashpoint' that was supposed to bring the old DC Universe to an end, and to explain how a new (very similar, though still very different) DC Universe could come to take its place - and, it is 'Flashpoint' that serves as the basis for what might be one of DC's most entertaining animated films, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Although, given the scope of the 'Flashpoint' event in the comics, it should also be fairly obvious that this film goes about adapting the story in a very condensed manner.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Review - 'Going Postal'

The third, and so far last, in a series of live-action adaptations of Terry Pratchett's popular Discworld novels, Going Postal is an adaptation which also manages to be the most successful of the three. It is a tale of love, redemption, and postage stamps - and, one in which a talented con-man isn't so much given a second-chance at life as he is practically forced into it by circumstances well beyond his control.

Moist von Lipwig (Richard Coyle) decided early on that he would choose his own path through life - and, that he would be responsible for his own success. Unfortunately, the way that he has chosen to go about this is one that relies exclusively on other people's money, and on his ability to take it for himself. Over the years, von Lipwig has made a significant fortune through what he considers to be, essentially, victimless crimes - and, in all of that time, he has always been able to easily avoid the consequences of his actions.

The one that Moist von Lipwig could not possibly have anticipated, though, is that the officer of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch assigned to investigate his most recent crimes should happen to be a werewolf - and that, as a result, she should be easily able to track him down and arrest him. Within a matter of days, Moist is tried, convicted and sentenced - and, in no time at all, he is also hanged.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Review - 'The Color of Magic'

It has always seemed a bit strange to me that it is actually the second live-action adaptation of one of Terry Pratchett's popular Discworld novels that would be the one to actually go back to the beginning. For whatever reason, though, that is exactly what seems to have happened, here - with the two-part mini-series, The Color of Magic, providing a somewhat condensed version of the first two books in the series (The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic).

While these first two are typically considered to be amoung the weaker of the series now (being written at a time when Terry Pratchett was still developing his ideas), they still proved to be popular enough to launch a long-running, and incredibly successful, series of comedy/fantasy novels - so, following the release of Hogfather a few years earlier, it seemed inevitable that they would be adapted eventually. I'm still just a bit surprised that they weren't done the other way around.

The Disc, drifting as it does through space on the backs of four massive elephants who, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, is a world of magic and wonder - and, occasionally, outright absurdity. It is a very different place to Earth (or, Roundworld) - and, it runs according to very different rules.

Review - 'Hogfather'

For anyone unfamiliar with Terry Pratchett's long-running Discworld series, Death (as in, the classic image of a robed skeleton wielding a scythe) must seem to be a strange addition to the cast - especially when cast in the role of central protagonist, as he is here. For long-time fans of the Discworld series, though, Death has always been something of a favourite. He is a character who has been allowed to evolve throughout the many books which have featured him - eventually becoming a surprisingly sympathetic figure, and one whose earnest desire to understand the humans he has become so fond of have provided some of the series' most memorable moments.

Hogfather, in which a bizarre sequence of events sees Death forced to take over for the Disc's version of 'Santa Claus' for a night definitely counts as one of those moments - providing a very clear example of exactly how an anthropomorphic personification of death could become so popular. It is, however, a very strange choice to serve as the first in a series of live action adaptations of Terry Pratchett's wonderfully strange stories.