Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Thundercats Movie?

Let me lay this shit out for you:

The Grammy’s are on tonight, my WordPress is fuckin’ broken, and I’ve been playing Valkyria Chronicles all day.

Add all that shit up, and you get an evening scenario that involves me not wanting to write tonight.

That being said, you remember that fan-made fake trailer for a live-action Thundercats movie?

In case you don’t, here it is:

As goofy, and unintentionally hilarious as that may have been, I tip my hat to whoever made it; as I can’t imagine the time they must have put into it.

Anyway, for all intents and purposes, this clip serves as the best indication of what a potential remake of the Thundercats series could look like in this day and age.

That, and fuckin’ Avatar

Getting to the point, I was pokin’ around Twitchfilm.com earlier today, and I happened to notice a news post regarding the emergence of possible footage for a CG Thundercats movie or series:

Wow, I can’t speak to the quality of the audio, (no sound on my computer…) but that shit looks dated.

Like, CG TMNT movie dated…

Based on the quality of the animation, my guess is that this footage was indeed produced for a feature film; (albeit, a shitty one) however that’s just a guess, and an uneducated guess at that.

Thundercats was a product of it’s time.

It was a decent cartoon, with terrible animation, horribly dated character designs, and one of those gorgeous opening sequences that so many cartoons of the era used to trick kids into thinking they were getting ready to watch the coolest shit ever.

Hell, the same production company, and the same voice cast tried the same damn thing with the equally mediocre Silver Hawks:

… And then tried the same shit with the crappy, utterly doomed-from-the-start show that was Tigersharks:

The point is, Thundercats worked for us as kids, but I guarantee you that if you take a look back at it now, you’ll find that the magic has long since faded away.

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience on this one.

The question I ask in regards to a possible redo/reboot of the Thundercats franchise, is the same one I ask whenever something of a previous generation is recycled/repackaged for today’s youth:

Why?

In the interest of brevity, I’m going to leave things at that and go watch a stupid fuckin’ music awards show that involves not one artist I’m familiar with.

Man, I need a job…

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Filed under: Games, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kung Fu Panda 2 WILL Be Awesome

I liked Kung Fu Panda.

I saw it in theaters with a group of some of my closest friends, and despite my initial feelings of apprehension regarding Jack Black’s presence as leading man in the film; (I like him better in supporting roles.  Too much Black can lead to bad things.  NOT racist…) I found myself laughing aloud in the theater to an extent I’ve rarely experienced.

You see, I’m one of those guy’s that generally doesn’t go to see comedies in the theaters, not just because really good comedies are hard to come by these days; but largely because I feel self-conscious about making noise/disturbing others in theaters.

Call it a quirk… A really stupid and oddly specific quirk.

Anyway, I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda once or twice since I initially saw it the theater, and I’ve gotta’ say; the movie is still pretty damn good.

While Pixar will always put out more technically advanced, prettier, and more thoughtful films, Kung Fu Panda stands as an example of Dreamworks’ more lighthearted and scatologically humored formula adding up to something enjoyable to the masses.

In particular, I found the voice cast; while riddled with needless celebrity cameos, (Jackie Chan had 2 lines, Lucy Liu was there for no other reason than her Chinese heritage, etc.) to be quite exceptional.

Jack Black’s energy and enthusiasm, married with the hilarious animations and facial expressions of Po was a match made in heaven.

... I like the Panda better.

Dustin Hoffman also managed to impress as Shifu, with the timbre of his voicing doing well to add a sense of forcefulness to his voice regardless of the volume in which he spoke.

While I’m on the topic of great voice acting, let me just say:

Ian McShane = PIMP.

... And all the panties in the room suddenly dropped to the floor.

‘Nuff said.

The fight choreography in the film, while of course animated; and thusly free of the inherent limitations of the human body, also managed to impress me.

The movements were artfully strung together, with a pace that reminded me of the old style of Hong Kong choreography I.E. sharp movements, with brief pauses for every strike so as to highlight and make visible, the beauty of each exchange.

In other words, everything was imaginatively choreographed, but conducted in such a way that the viewer could easily see exactly what was going on.

In this age of Greengrass-ian shaky cam techniques, and ultra-fast handed performers; I found Kung Fu Panda’s battles to be a refreshing take of the art of fight choreography.

While I’ve known for awhile now that a Kung Fu Panda sequel was in the works, I found out just today who some of the new characters/voice actors were going to be.

Gary Oldman, James Woods, and Jean-Claude Van FUCKING Damme.

"That's right, ME!"

Oh yeah, Michelle Yeoh’s in there too, but chances are she’ll just be there as a novelty ala Lucy Liu in the previous film, or rather Michelle Yeoh herself in The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Pictured: Brendan Fraser about to lay the smack down on Jet Li. I'm not kidding, it actually happens.

I hope she was paid well for that, ’cause her presence in that film certainly didn’t earn her any brownie points in my book.

Moving on, as long as they let James Woods be his same old snarky self, I expect great things for him in Kung Fu Panda 2.

He was great as Hades in Disney’s Hercules, and he seemed to have fun playing himself on The Simpsons and Family Guy, so yeah; I think James Woods was a good choice.

And then there’s Van FUCKING Damme.

No caption necessary.

I’ve never heard The Muscles from Brussels do voice acting before, but chances are he sucks donkey balls at it.

Not that his normal acting was anything to write home about, but give him a break; the man’s entire career was based around him kicking people in the head… and showing off his ass.

And wouldn't you know it, here's him doing both at the same time!

Apparently he’s playing a crocodile in the film, so I don’t expect any jokes to emerge regarding his limberness, nor do I expect any gratuitous shots of his ass; but regardless, it’s Van Damme, he’s in an American film, and you can be damn sure I’ll be there to see it.

Anyway, the previous film was good, Van FUCKING Damme is in the sequel, and thusly Kung Fu Panda 2 WILL be awesome.

Well, maybe not THIS awesome; but close enough...

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Motion Capture Is Cool…

I was watching my newly purchased Blu-Ray of Avatar tonight, when it suddenly hit me that I forgot to write my blog.

Nah, just kidding, I never forget…

While I’m on the subject of movies though, I figure now would be a good time for me to talk about my feelings on motion capture technology; something that Avatar couldn’t have been made without.

I’ve always been fascinated by the artistry of the human body in motion.

I’m a firm believer in the concept that much of how we communicate our image and demeanor to the the people around us, stems from our body language.

That being said, whether it be in stage acting, professional wrestling, dance, mime, sports, or fighting; a person’s character, both fictionalized or genuine; shines through in the manner in which the move their body.

For me, a person that doesn’t converse with new people often, or well for that matter; being able to understand gesticulations and body language goes a long way towards getting to know people.

Though I can’t pin down the first time I saw it in action, motion capture technology is an amazing tool that I’ve grown to love very much.

The basic concept of it alone is utterly intriguing to the point in which I found myself wanting to be involved with it at some point.

Seriously, if you know anyone with an “in” to the motion capture industry, let me know!

For those who are unaware, motion capture is a technology that uses a specialized camera and computerized tracking system to map out and record the movements of a subject’s form.

Using the data recorded through this process, said movements can then be transposed onto the anatomy of a digital character.

In the context of movie or videogame production, doing so allows CGI animators to save (some) time by using actual human actors to map out a performance for digital characters, which can then be finessed or tweaked further by the animators.

In many ways, it’s the heir apparent to the classic animation technique of rotoscoping.

In many ways, the largest benefit of motion capture technology, is that it grants directors and animators an incredible degree of control over their projects.

If George Lucas is any indication, control is something that is very important to filmmakers.

They say some of the best moments in film history have been the results of happy coincidences, or even mistakes.

While that may be true, CGI stands as a counter to that, as a tool that allows filmmakers a degree of control that makes the word “mistake” seem almost obsolete.

CGI allows directors to create and animate just about any imagery that pops into their head, but motion capture technology allows them the ability to continue to work with actors, while taking advantage of the technology to precisely extract the desired performance from said actors.

While I don’t see live-action movies going away at any point in human existence, the inherent possibilities of producing digital motion captured films are downright incredible.

Think of it this way:

When producing CGI films with motion captured performances, one gains the freedom to set their film anywhere they want, populated by whatever they want.

They also retain the ability to cast big-name actors that put asses in the seats, not to mention gain the capacity to modify the actor’s appearance to their liking.

Not only that, motion capture also allows for stunt actors to be inserted into scenes without having to be shot at distance or from behind, as the whole process would be seamless.

Come to think of it, the whole concept of “stunts” as a whole could potentially be removed when making a motion captured film.

After all, the whole thing is performed in a sound stage, not to mention the actor can be “removed” from scenes whenever necessary, thereby allowing the animators to take over for the dangerous or “un-performable” sequences.

Still, the idea of being able to slip Donnie Yen’s motion capture performance into Tom Cruise’s digitally de-aged body is something that I’m sure a lot of people would pay to see.

To me though, the most interesting aspect of motion capture in film, is it’s effect on the acting process.

Acting in a green room, surrounded by artifice, actors have to dig deep and use their imagination to summon strong performances.

In short, more stress is put on the actor to use their body to convincingly occupy the digital landscape their character inhabits.

From the audience’s perspective, I find it changes how we view these performances as well.

While I myself am normally attuned to the physical aspects of an actors performance, when I watch motion captured performances, I find myself drawn to dig a little deeper.

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to see a digital character walk around in a movie, only to find the tiniest little inkling of evidence of the fact that you are in fact seeing a familiar actor, give a performance in an unfamiliar shell.

In many ways it reminds me of my lifelong love of Godzilla, or any sort of “suit acting” for that matter.

When Haruo Nakajima stomped around in a Godzilla suit, you could instantly tell it was him by the “largeness” and sheer character of his movements.

When Kane Hodder killed bitches as Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th movies, we could always tell it was him by how savagely he went about killin’ bitches.

When Peter Weller was switched out in favor of Robert John Burke (the fattie from Thinner) in Robocop 3, we were all up in arms; not just because that movie sucked, but because Burke’s physical performance simply wasn’t Robocop.

While motion captured performances will never beat good ‘ole “man-in-suit” acting, the concept is similar enough that is brings me great joy to watch.

I look forward to seeing the day when Donnie Yen steps into the motion capture studio and shows us what motion capture pictures have been missing out on.

Seriously, why the fuck hasn’t anyone made a martial arts movie in mo-cap yet, huh?

That’s right Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron, I’m lookin’ at you two…

Filed under: Boxing, Kung Fu, Movies, Tokusatsu, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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