THE GEEK THAT WAS – 23/01/16

A BRIEF LOOK BACK AT THE GEEKY GOINGS ON OF THE WEEK

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Well it’s been an eventful week to say the least. We’ve had sneaky looks at things to come, arguments about what toys boys and girls like to play with, the odd troublesome announcement and in the closing moments, a shocking, yet expected departure. This week has also seen the launch of this blog-type-thing, which was nice for both me and people who enjoy my ramblings. Anyway, let’s have a look at the headlines. Try to imagine a satisfying ‘BONG’ sound as you read each one.

MOFFAT IS OUT, CHIBNALL IS IN

DOCTOR WHO - Steven Moffat

It’s been on the cards for a while now with long-serving Doctor Who showrunner, Steven Moffat, stating in multiple interviews that he would step down once a suitable replacement had been found. It would seem that a suitable candidate has been found in the form of Broadchurch and Torchwood writer, Chris Chibnall. At least Moffat seems to think so anyway, the reaction from the Whoniverse (do people still say that?) has been mixed at best.

Chibnall certainly has the credentials, having written several episodes for Doctor Who including “Dinosaurs on a spaceship”, “The Hungry Earth” and “The Power of Three”, his work on Broachurch speaks for itself although the same cannot be said for his run on Torchwood. Truthfully this is a ‘wait and see’ situation but if there’s one thing us geeks love, it’s a bit of pessimistic moaning. Moffat took a lot of flak in recent years, but even his most dedicated critics would have to admit that he has achieved a considerable amount during his almost decade long tenure on the show.

It is somewhat frustrating that we will only be getting one special in 2017, I was late to the party when it comes to Doctor Who and the notion of a gap year doesn’t appeal to me. But with Who’s ratings down and the shoddy state of funding at the BBC, perhaps a little break is exactly what the Doctor ordered, if you’ll pardon the pun. Now the only question that remains is will the Chibnall era be ushered in by a new Doctor? If so, could we maybe get our first female regeneration?

STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII DELAYED

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Disney announced this week that Episode 8 was being moved back from its original May 2017 release date to December 2017. Queue much geek rage, but why so serious? A Christmas release worked wonders for episode 7. Plus, with the Rogue One stand-alone film coming out this Christmas it means that we will get a regular Star Wars style Christmas gift from Disney for years to come. Like some long distance auntie who somehow manages to know exactly what we wanted.

Truthfully, the summer blockbuster just isn’t a thing anymore, the way we watch movies has completely changed. Star Wars will do well whenever it is released, especially off the back of the good will felt towards The Force Awakens. The only negative here could be the potential clash against Avatar 2 which is scheduled for release at the same time. Although the likelihood of that release date being moved is pretty high.

For the record, if you are the kind of person who would choose Avatar over Star Wars then please stop reading my blog (please don’t, I need the views).

#WHEREISREY

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Never mind the search for Luke Skywalker, where the hell is Rey? The lead character in The Force Awakens has been conspicuously absent from the film’s merchandise. This includes toys, board games, tee shirts and… well, just about everything. This isn’t an isolated incident either, Gamora was similarly M.I.A from Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise and Black Widow appears to be in constant camo mode when it comes to Avengers merch. Apparently, this is no mistake as it is claimed that Disney execs instructed licence holders to focus on Kylo Ren and to avoid creating products for Rey.

There are those within team LucasFilm who state that the absence of Rey merch was done in a deliberate attempt to maintain the secrecy surrounding her storyline. This is of course a steaming pile of wampa dung. The success of the organic hashtag “#WhereIsRey?” combined with the lack of sales for Kylo Ren merch has left Disney with egg squarely on its Mickey Mouse face. Rey connected with audiences far more so than Kylo Ren, one might say for obvious reasons. She is a hero to young viewers and an icon in the making for older ones, so they really have shot themselves in the foot by failing to meet the demand for Rey merchandise.

Ultimately it comes down to a lack of understanding of the target audience. Star Wars’ core audience isn’t little boys, it’s everyone. As an older fan and a collector of ‘stuff’ I want my collection to be complete. But even if it was only little boys that wanted Star Wars merch, it would still be foolish to assume that they wouldn’t want to recreate moments from the film using their favourite characters. Characters like, I don’t know, the main protagonist of the film!!!

It seems crazy that such outdated gender biased thinking could still be applied when it comes to merchandise. To think that A) girls don’t want to play with Star Wars toys and B) boys won’t want to play with a female action figure is as ludicrous as it is insulting. It shows a lack of faith in both the audience and the mass appeal of the product. Disney, we find your lack of faith disturbing!

WONDER WOMAN

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Someone at DC was in a giving mood this week. Not only did we get a shiny new Suicide Squad trailer we also got our first proper look at 2017’s Wonder Woman movie. A rare occasion of DC actually beating Marvel to the finish line as their first female-led super hero film, Captain Marvel, won’t be in the cinema until 2018. Although technically DC had already done it with Supergirl in 1984, but the less said about that the better. You have to think Marvel have messed up here as there is no doubt there was money to have already been made in a Black Widow solo film.

So we got our first look at Gal Godot in Action as everyone’s favourite warrior princess who isn’t called Xena. It isn’t a great deal to go on, just a few shots of WW in action and a couple of shots of Diana in civilian gear. The whole thing has a 300 vibe to it which plays on my personal fear that Zack Snyder is having far too much influence over the DC/WB universe as it is being formed. Despite Kevin Feige’s reputation for controlling his directors at least The Marvel films have their own individual look.

The preview also sheds some light on the setting of the film, which seems to be WW2 America, Europe and of course we will very likely be spending some time on Themiscyra, which does, and always will, sound a bit more legitimate than Paradise Island. We also get our first look at Chris Pine playing yet another icon in the form of Steve Trevor. Truthfully this isn’t much to go on, just a teaser if anything, but it does get the juices flowing.

I am still not entirely sold on Gadot as WW, she lacks the Amazonian frame and her performance in the Fast and Furious films doesn’t make me too optimistic that she has the acting chops to portray such an iconic character. But that said, I would be extremely happy to be proven wrong as it’s about time the super hero movie genre stopped being a boys club. I want this film to be good, so I am vowing to not say nasty things about it until I have seen it. I shall reserve all my venom for the turd that is Joker’s new character design, speaking of which….

SUICIDE SQUAD

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Forget what I said earlier, because David Ayer’s Suicide Squad looks nothing like 300, in fact it doesn’t look like any super hero film we have ever seen before. I am unashamedly excited about this film. It just looks like anarchic fun, which is perfect for a Suicide Squad film. There are undoubtedly a lot of moving parts here and it remains to be seen if they can all be balanced. But James Gunn did a great job of it in Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m confident that a capable director like David Ayer can do it here.

Okay let’s get this out of the way… The Joker. This isn’t about Jared Leto, I am excited to see what Leto does with this iconic character, a character that I love. From the trailer his Joker seems to be straight from the pages of the New 52, a darker, more vicious clown prince of crime. Buuuut, the character design is just awful, distractingly awful. The tattoos just don’t work, they are tacky and contrived. The Joker looks like a hot topic employee who decided to dress as a scene kid joker for his first con. It says ‘damaged’ on his forehead… months later and I still can’t even… WHY DOES IT SAY DAMAGED ON HIS FOREHEAD?!?!?!?!

Okay, I’m done for now, but there will be more about that later. But yes, the Suicide Squad trailer certainly served its purpose and a lot of the doubters seem to be back on board. We get shown quite a lot in this trailer, including a less crappy looking Joker although this is probably just a flashback. It does appear as if Joker isn’t the main villain in the story as most of us initially suspected. He doesn’t tend to use commandos, the team can be seen fighting them in several shots. There is a possibility they are fighting an alien/paranormal big bad as represented by the Groot-like creature seen in a few shots, although this could also be linked to Enchantress.

At this stage it is all of course conjecture, but that is half the fun of trailer analysis. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has proven to be a bit divisive with some people claiming that it misses the target. Personally I like what I have seen, she definitely appears to be a show stealer although I will miss the Brooklyn accent that has become so synonymous with the character since the 90’s animated series. It appears a lot of the Joker’s activity in the film will be based around telling Harley’s backstory and we are shown glimpses of Harley’s manic christening in the trailer. This all looks very promising.

Sale Tim Joker small upload

So there you have it, that was the geek that was. Thanks for reading and until next time… keep on geeking in the free world

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