Sunday, 6 January 2013

Could Thunderbirds work outside of a puppet show ?:

In memory of the late Gerry Anderson who created a variety of staple children TV shows like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. At the time of his death however he was reportedly involved in a revival of Thunderbirds a different media format.

The puppet show which followed the adventures of the covert rescue organisation International rescue using hi-tech machinery to save the day in a wide array of calamities.

To shake things up and because of the timing of this post I don't want things to end on a sombre notes I'm going to begin with the negatives.


The Cons

Revitalisation has failed before:
In many previous attempts to bring back the show to appeal to new generations has sadly fallen on it's face. The show was taken over seas and didn't do well and channels re-interpretation of the footage did not help either.

The 'Anderson' touch:
 In 2004 a live action Thunderbirds film was released and failed critically and finically. It's clear Anderson and co had a real understanding of his work and in the hands of others it's just doesn't come together. Perhaps it similar to mixed reaction to Dragon ball GT since original author Akira Toriyama was not involved with the project, or how the only original Batman franchise failed after Tim Burton was no longer involved.

 Whilst a lot of effort and ground breaking went on with puppetry and design a lot of Andersons work suffered from Avatar syndrome, great looking but behind a little shallow. Characters were thin and personality free expect for characters like Brains (International rescues whiz-kid). The show was basically a disaster a week formula. An episode would begin with a disaster and the team would solve it.

The Pros

I've said it before and the smarter then the average bear media watcher will know, production executives love stuff which covertly sell things to children (except cigarettes of course). The show offers plenty of marketing opportunities like toys for all the vehicles and action figures.

Japan loved it:
The show was a huge cultural success in Japan. To cash in an unrelated anime was dubbed over to become Thunderbirds 2086 and the show was referenced in various media forms. This may have been down to the fact the show had various similar conventions with the Japanese genre Tokastu. Already theirs a fan base which still references the show even today.

It could be 'caped and masked':
By the term 'caped and masked' I mean the shows formats could be easily converted into a superhero style format. This is similar to Tron Uprising with the lead taking on the role of secret identity. The pilots of the Thunderbirds never revealed their identities and tried to remain as a covert organisation, despite never hiding their faces, something a costume re-design could attend to.

Personally I hope their could be another Thunderbirds project but perhaps it's time to put that dream to bed out of respect for it's creator, or just another one of those wait and see things. Either way Thunderbirds touched my parents generation and my generation thanks to repeats so the fan base it still their.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Are we supposed to dislike Anakin Skywalker ?

A not so long time ago, on a not to distant screen a young adult pondered thoughts concerning a character which many grew more distant away from it's fans. Anakin Skywalker.

So to boil it down my lightsaber it's concluded by many that Anakin Skywalker pales into comparison to his bigger badder adult self, Darth Vader. But has anyone else thought that maybe this was the point ?

Darth Vader by all means is evil. Though he's iconic and sums many peoples childhoods. He's perfectly mastered his craft of villainy from the appearance to the chilling methods his uses.

So to essentially take more positive view to a source of negative feelings for the Star Wars franchise, were we supposed to simply hate Anakin from the start ?

Look as the characters grows up on screen. His appearance in Episode 1 smacks of Wesley Crusher, the know it all kid whose just simply to perfect to like. The ace pilot with a sense optimism and knowledge which puts many Jedi's to shame.

Of course this is the complete opposite to how he comes across in Episode 2. The villainous Sith has entered his teenage years and he's sure vocal about it. He's over emotional and that leads to choices which are foolish and aren't built on any justifiable reasoning making it hard for the audience to relate to him, in a sense this perfect make up of a villain, think how it is to relate to a Darlek or the Red Skull ?

In Episode three he's shockingly more level headed. In the space between films he seems to have been taking lessons from Captain Kirk as he becomes the level headed space hero. Though this doesn't last as he again moves closer to the dark side.

So that's kind of the transition, but maybe the point of Anakins transition was to make him more relatable and show off the fact that he too had a clunky growing up phase like the teenage tantrums and bad hair styles.

Though at the end of the day maybe we all hoped this bright young child would grow up to be a great hero and not tarnish someone's love of great villain.

To conclude we all knew what was coming we can't root for a bad guy and we all knew it was coming as these are prequels. So to make things better look at how their trying to make you dislike Anakin so the change doesn't come as much as a shock and cushion you when he puts on the black mask.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Could the Power Rangers work in the Marvel universe ?

So to continue what is likely to end up as one of my frequent blog topics (for now), Power Rangers. This time however I want to look at the idea how to logically approach a fan fiction crossover. The crossover I have in mind would how would the Marvel universe logically go across creating it's set of Power Rangers ?

Recruitment: So using my comic book knowledge I guess the most sensible way a group of new superheroes would get started in the Marvel universe might have begun the Initiative. For those who don't regularly read comics the Initiative served as a recruitment program for new superheroes for the state. So it'd make sense the five heroes journey and training would begin there.

Martial arts training: Maybe movie success is in the pipeline for them but there are many martial arts heroes scattered around the Marvel universe. So to master those un-realistic jump kicks who better to go to then Iron Fist, Daredevil and comic book Bruce Lee Shang-chi.

Costumes: That spandex best be made out of something sturdy to withstand all the explosions it'll come into contact with. So why not get the Fantastic four's Reed Richards to whip a couple of costumes made out of unstable molecules ? Never wearing and almost indestructible.

The mecha: No Power Ranger is complete without some over designed super robots. So whose best to go to when you need armoured weaponry ? Why Tony Stark of course !

Weaponry: You're bog standard Punisher weapon would not mesh in right with rainbow colour palette you need something flashy and something that demands close up fight sequences. So why not see Thor would kind of enough to loan some weapons from the Asgard armoury. I'm sure their would be a few personality suitable but censorship unfriendly weapons lying around.

The lovable and guiding commander: Ever team of rangers needs a Zordon, the wise leader who bestows guidance on the colour co-ordinated protagonists. Well I'm sure Nick Fury wouldn't mind bestowing some guidance ?

Villains: Well I'm sure their would be a spares lying around....

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The nostalgia boom trilogy: Ben 10 or 20 years ?

So in the final part of my nostalgia examination I'd like to present an oxymoron to the subject. Looking to the future of the nostalgia boom. In a nutshell what in the next ten or twenty years will be the next summer blockbusters be based on.

Looking at younger franchises still contempt with a younger audience and have been around in short period of time in franchise years I'd say your best bet is Ben 10.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the show it revolves are Ben Tennyson, a boy with a magic alien watch which gives him the powers of 10 aliens and further adventures expand his collection and toy line.

Though it may market itself towards a younger audience the show plays nicely with some big ideas and some humour to keep grown ups amused.

So with the comment right their would appeal to any future film producer, director or writer. The show just toys with the ideas of death and moral ethics a hero faces in a similar way to Batman or to a lesser extent the Transformers cartoon has.

Thanks to the censorship it feel like the show wants to be as a modern day comic. Essentially this could lead to a Frank Miller affect. In  the 1980's Frank Miller and other revolutionised how comics were written, they were no longer colourful child friendly productions after the production of Dark Knight Returns Batman and other comics alike grew up with their aging fan base.

The fact Ben 10 is now on it's fourth incarnation and merchandise appears to be selling well shows it's fan base it not bored with it.

Looking at the origins of these big film adaptations most of the production seems to be centred around the vision of a hero growing up with them. Star Trek was rebooted to be more 'cool' and join the modern day world,  Sam Ramis Spider-man pitted Peter Parker in a real cruel world.

I may not be able to tell the future but looking at shows like Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles and every staple of American comics it just appears to be logical and what model the film industry is striving for. Of course this may change if the finical climate changes allowing studios to be all risky and let another Scott Pilgrim happen. But if in ten or twenty years from now Ben 10 does pop up again it could pretty prove this business model either works or Peter Pan syndrome is something our generation is cursed with.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The nostalgia boom trilogy: Mighty morphin' movie

With Power Rangers entering the nostalgia vintage I look at the points which could persuade a movie exec that a Power Ranger feature film is very good idea. This of course ignores all the legal complications which will very likely ensue

Imagine of the cacthphrases came back ?
1. Giants robots- As shown in the Transformers franchise giant robots are appealing. In the west the idea of giant over designed robots is hugely appealing as the concept is still hugely fresh on the blockbuster scene.

2. Superheroes- The world of blockbusters is currently dominated by the superhero genre. The reason this genre has thrived is simply put down the variation of invocative take on the conventional structure of superheroes, like with the 'real life' Kick ass, the far from perfect Iron man and the hybrid genre master Captain America. Since Power Rangers is re-edited and re-purposed Japanese TV show I'm sure the Japanese take on a super hero would help it stand apart.

3. Toy tie ins- The key selling point of a summer blockbuster is money in it's crudest terms. So the more tie in products which can be churned puts the film ever closer to that green light of approval. As shown with Transformers the essential format is their make it so easier for movie execs to swallow it down and with the Power Rangers franchise already successfully honing in on this it makes the rest child's play.

4. Martial arts- As displayed recently in The Raid and through the recent Batman films intense fight scenes displaying exotic martial arts really hits a key note with audiences. One of the things that makes the TV show stand out is the intense fight scenes displaying a wide variety of martial arts from judo and Brazilian jujitsu.

5. Fan base- In tough times even the film industry needs to counts the pennies. Adaptations could be the scene as the safe bet to studios as if said adaptation has shown to be highly popular then they could at least expect to break even on their investment. So with a franchise like the Power Rangers with fan base spanning several generations this makes the likelihood even more of a morphinominal idea to a studio exec. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The nostalgia boom trilogy: Could Ninja Turtles be a good film ?

Part 1 of a look at the nostalgia boom in cinema:

So with the heroes in a half shell drop kicking their way onto the big screen, let's take a sensible rage-free look at if the film could be good and appraise fans and cinema goers alike.

The pros:

One of the original creators is on board:
The origins of the Teenage mutant ninja turtles draws back to an indie black and white comic book in 80's designed to parody the ninja obsessed media of the time. Kevin Eastman Peter Laird may have disagreed about the tone of the franchise but Eastman is set to be involved and has publicly pledged his support and has even popped out some concept art.

The source material can be suitably adult:
Wacthing the cartoon itself can be considered quite childish and would be probably bore anyone above the age of 13. Though the cartoons and previous films display the franchise can play with adult themes confidently for an family film. Looking at how Batman transitioned for a campy Adam West to a dark gritty Christian Bale shows it can work.

The cons:

Michael Bay lack of interest in source material:
As can be seen with Transformers Bay has very little interest in following the source material as shown in the Transformers film which had very little coverage of the actual robots themselves but focused on the human characters who can be considered very one dimensional and generic.

Mass audience appeal:
To look at how geek properties can sometimes fall on their face let's use Stargate universe as an example, a typical sc-fi franchise with pulpy romanticism and complex plots. The universe franchise however plays out more like a normal drama with affairs, pregnancies and day to day regular issues. Studios want money and the fans make up a small minority of ticket sales so they have to advertise to a wider audience. It's thought every film follows a formula of a previously successful films so sometimes the quirks and selling points of the source material may not translate to the big screen. This is what may hinder the fight scenes. Looking at shooting techniques from Bays film it tends to make the plot hard to follow especially for fight scenes as we only catch glimpse of obscure parts of the shots.  

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

My BBC work experience

Through my university we were given the chance to participate in a scheme in which every two weeks we went to help out with BBC radio Lincolnshire's radio show.
The jobs I had included taking phone calls from listeners, bringing guests in and out of the studio, making hot beverages ,helping the afternoon show book guests and I general helped out where I was needed.

I started on the 17th October and finished on March 6th and would start work at 6:30am and would finish early morning. Which meant I was up at the lovely time of 5am to get ready.

The skills I learnt from this experience was how to operate the BBC's phone system and how to interviews in a quicker more concise form. For example when a caller phoned up to comment a story I had to quickly extract a quote for the morning presenter to use and ensure I obtain contact details if the caller is suitable to ring back and have on the show. This also helped me put my shorthand into practice and learn how to make frantic note taking legible.  

Though it may not be hugely superior skill I learnt how to make tea and coffee. I don't like hot drinks so I've never had to make one so it was a skill I had to quickly pick up and it also serves as a great extra skill which might get me noticed since most people like to drink tea or coffee.

I also received a basic understanding of ENPS which is the software system which is used to organise a radio broadcast. This was extremely helpful as it helped me understand how the run down of a radio show is done and how to centralise and all your content and planning together.

Now looking at the bigger life skills I've obtained which will help me along my with my career. I learnt how to communicate more effectively with people who I may encounter in my work from the elderly community that rang in on the phone to council officials we had as guests and even a Take me out contestant who was by far one of the most polite guests we had.

I found that even though this a media outlet it worked like any other workplace. People formed working relationships and worked around the problems they encountered like malfunctioning technology and problems presented with staffing and all dealt with coolly even when things went very wrong.

Either this placement has been so helpful to me, the professionalism of the BBC has rubbed off on me slightly and I've had a peep of what lies ahead of me if I take up my chosen career path.