THE GEEK THAT WAS – 14/02/16

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

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Unless of course you’re like me and the closest thing to romance in your life is a rubber glove that you’ve named Buffy. But there’s more to Valentine’s Day than romance because The Walking Dead returns tonight and as if that wasn’t exciting enough it’s time for everyone’s favourite weekly wrap up, The Geek That Was.

Americans once again got blind stinking drunk this week while worshiping their one true god, The Superb Owl. But the Superb Owl is a cruel deity and its ravenous hunger for human flesh can only be satisfied with offerings of trailers for upcoming films. The owl was pleased by this year’s offerings and it rewarded its worshipers with a bounteous harvest and about 15 minutes of Coldplay.

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So it is my pleasure to present you with this extra-long, super special, I’ve got no girlfriend so I’ll numb the pain by blogging, commemorative wrap up, featuring analysis of all the Superb Owl trailers as well as updates on AMC’s Preacher adaptation, the new Star Trek series, Telltale Game’s Walking Dead series, Deadpool, Batman V Superman, Game of Thrones and more.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Superb Owl Promo

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2016 is the year of big budget superhero beef, with Emo Superman taking on Batfleck and Iron Man and Captain America calling quits on their 4 year bromance in Captain America: Civil War. Of the two, Civil War seems likely to be the better film as everything we have seen looks to be very impressive. The Superb Owl spot was no exception (no, I’m not going to stop with the owl thing).

While not showing much new footage, the promo does feature a couple of cool moments we haven’t seen before. Most notably Bucky trying to shoot Tony Stark in the face at point blank range, only for Stark to catch it in a rapidly deployed gauntlet. If we are working under the assumption that this civil war began when Bucky was wrongly framed for a crime he didn’t commit, then trying to shoot Iron Man in the eye probably isn’t the best way to clear his name.

The other big moment of note is the intense square off between Team Cap and Team Iron Man, with Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Black Panther and vision on one side and Captain America, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man on the other. While it’s anybody’s guess as to which side will come out on top, any team that has a sentient robot made of unbreakable metal with an infinity stone embedded in his head probably has a bit of an unfair advantage.

BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

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Batman V Superman didn’t have a Superb Owl promo although it was featured in some horribly tacky adverts for Turkish Airlines, with Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor trying to convince you to visit the cities that they have helped to rebuild in the wake of the Kryptonians’ attack. Pesky Kryptonians! Batfleck looked particularly uncomfortable in his advert which you can watch by clicking here.

It seems that DC/WB were merely biding their time as a few days after the ball kicky dust had settled they released the final trailer for Batman V Superman. Now I may still be on the fence when it comes to this film but one thing I have always believed is that Batfleck will be the best representation of the Dark Knight to ever appear on screen. From the look of the latest trailer I wasn’t wrong.

Previous trailers had already shown that the two-time Oscar winner could do a convincing Bruce Wayne but here we see him in full Batman mode, as a total force of nature. Punching people’s faces into the ground! Seriously, he punches that guy’s face into the ground!!! While I still have a lot of reservations about this film I really can’t wait for the Batfleck scribed and directed Batman film.

The trailer also features Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman, doing some 300-style slow mo/speed up fighting that Zack Snyder seems to be addicted to. We also get to see a lot more of the fight between Superman and Batman in his armoured suit, including an awesome moment where Batman blocks one of Superman’s punches. YEAH, IN YOUR FACE YOU GOD DAMN BOY SCOUT… he said objectively.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
Superb Owl Promo

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The X-Men: Apocalypse spot was also highly effective, managing to build tension in its opening moments with a sombre cover of a Coldplay song. The Superb Owl featured an unusually large amount of Coldplay. I can’t really see the connection between violent team sports and soppy, indie wobblers from England, but if it makes you guys happy then I am all for it.

The trailer introduced us to all of the new mutants, or the new actors playing familiar mutants, while also helping to establish Apocalypse as a terrifying antagonist. Apocalypse certainly lives up to his name as we see several scenes of mass destruction as well as missile launches, military assaults and a great many other things that don’t bode well for anyone.

We get to see a lot of cool mutant powers including Cyclops’ laser vision, Psylocke going full Sith on a car (Olivia Munn looks amazing by the way), and Magneto destroying a bridge. That guy really hates bridges, although I suppose his wanton bridge vandalism in Last Stand doesn’t count anymore as that film has been wiped from the timeline, but sadly it hasn’t been wiped from my memory.

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Apocalypse throws his weight around, showing off his plethora of powers. Athough I get the feeling the scene where he grows in size and crushes Xavier occurs purely within Charles’ mind. Despite his reduced size Apocalypse actually looks pretty impressive and nothing like Ivan Ooze, which makes me wonder why Fox bothered to release those rubbish images in the first place.

AMC’S PREACHER CASTS ODIN QUINCANNON

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Despite releasing a trailer towards the end of last year we still don’t know a great deal about Seth Rogan’s adaptation of Preacher. The comic is an indisputable cult classic, beloved by its fans for its anarchic and dark tone. It remains to be seen if AMC and Rogan can translate the spirit of the comic on to small screen.

However, we did receive some new information this week in the form of an announcement that Watchmen actor, Jackie Earle Hayley had been cast as meat-loving, fascist, industrialist, Odin Quincannon. This is actually an inspired piece of casting, Hayley may be younger than Odin but he is a great actor with a pedigree of playing creepy and psychotic weirdos.

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With Hayley confirmed to appear in 6 of the 10 episodes in the show’s premiere run it seem like Odin will play a major part in the first season. This is interesting as Odin doesn’t appear until much later in the comic books. With Odin cast, fans are still eagerly waiting to find out who will be playing Herr Starr and the Saint of Killers. Personally I think Damian Lewis would be perfect for Starr.

JASON BOURNE
Superb Owl Promo

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Bourne is back; more importantly Matt Damon and director, Paul Greengrass are back! No offence to Jeremy Renner but Bourne Legacy was a pale imitation of the real deal. The original Bourne trilogy helped to redefine the modern spy thriller, if not for them James Bond would still be making cheesy one-liners in invisible cars. Suffice to say I am fairly excited for this one.

Jason Bourne walked away from his violent past and into the sunset at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum, so there has to be a good reason for him to have returned to the spy game in this as yet untitled sequel. It seems likely that Tommy Lee Jones’s government douche manipulates him in to entering what appears to be a conflict in the Middle East.

From the looks of the trailer it seems as if Greengrass has abandoned the gritty, handheld look that defined the first three films in favour of a crisp, Mission Impossible style of filming. This seems like a shame as the series’ guerrilla feel was something that helped to give the Bourne trilogy its unique identity. But I am confident that it will still be great anyway.

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The trailer includes several scenes of Bourne bare knuckle fighting and an incredible one punch knock out. Bourne has always been tough but Matt Damon looks like an absolute beast in this trailer, much like his bulked up best friend Batfleck. What happened to the scrappy young lads from Good Will Hunting? Did they eat them? It’s a definite possibility.

BRYAN FULLER TO PRODUCE STAR TREK SERIES

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CBS announced this week that Hannibal showrunner and lifelong Trekkie, Bryan Fuller would be executive producing their new Star Trek series along with Alex Kurtzman. There is no available information on the show right now although Fuller has previously worked on Deep Space Nine and Voyager, so he is more than familiar with the brand. Fuller released the following statement that perfectly captures his passion for the project:

“My very first experience of ‘Star Trek’ is my oldest brother turning off all the lights in the house and flying his model of a D7 Class Klingon Battle Cruiser through the darkened halls. Before seeing a frame of the television series, the ‘Star Trek’ universe lit my imagination on fire. It is without exaggeration a dream come true to be crafting a brand-new iteration of ‘Star Trek’ with fellow franchise alum Alex Kurtzman and boldly going where no ‘Star Trek’ series has gone before.”

Fuller certainly has a full plate at the moment with pre-production underway on his adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and now this dream project as well. With such a hectic schedule this doesn’t bode well for those of us still holding out for a Hannibal revival. However, Fuller is a master craftsmen, so the Trekkie in me is absolutely delighted anyway.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Superb Owl Promo

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Michael Bay films are a lot like an infection that you know will only get worse if you scratch it but you just can’t help yourself. Truthfully, the first TMNT movie wasn’t even half as bad as I expected it to be but it was still a pretty shameful experience. Now Bay’s CGI nightmares have returned to throw yet another roundhouse kick at my childhood. How long before he releases Pogs: The Movie?

It actually took me a few moments to realise that this wasn’t a trailer for a computer game; the CGI still looks really horrible. It seems that Michael Bay has followed the model he created for the Transformers franchise by making this sequel bigger, louder and dumber. I wonder if we will get to see any giant robot testicles in this film, one can only dream.

If you didn’t like the first film then odds are you won’t like this one, obviously I wasn’t a fan but I can concede that it had its moment and it seems likely that TMNT2 will as well. The trailer showcases several of these moments in the form of Bebop, Rocksteady, Stephen Amell’s Casey Jones, The Technodrome, and everyone’s favourite undescended testicle, Krang.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 6

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Towards the end of last year George R.R. Martin issued a somewhat lengthy apology to his fans, confirming their worst fears that The Winds of Winter would not be published before season 6 of Game of Thrones arrived on our screens. Cue a lot of angry fans, you can read George’s lengthy apology here and if it helps you can pretend that it is the first chapter of the new book.

Anyway, everything is up in the air when it comes to Season 6 of GOT, if you are not a book reader then rejoice, for they can no longer spoil it for you. If you are a book reader then you probably feel a lot like David Bowie at the end of Labyrinth when Sara tells him that he has no power over her and he turns into an owl… a Superb Owl!

HBO are keeping tight lipped about the plot of season 6, although releasing a poster of a dead character looking considerably less dead could potentially be construed as a not too subtle hint. They did however release a few photos this week to help drum up excitement, as if our excitement for the show wasn’t constantly drummed up anyway.

GOT MAISE STARK

Arya Stark, still very much afflicted by blindness; will her punishment from the Many Faced God be temporary or permanent?

GOT TYRION AND VARYS

Everyone’s favourite double act, Tyrion and Varys; in a show filled with fun pairings, these two might actually be the best. But being fun doesn’t mean they will be able to manage a kingdom in the Khaleesi’s absence.

GOT JAMIE AND CERSEI

Jamie and Cersei make for a considerably less fun pairing. Cersei will want revenge for the death of her daughter, but will this come before or after she takes her revenge on the High Sparrow?

GOT JAMIE AND TOMMEN

Jamie and Tomin stand over Myrcella’s body, her death could be considered an act of war by Dorne. Will the young king order retaliation?

GOT THEON AND SANSA

Theon/Reek and Sansa; Theon helped Sansa to escape but how far can they really get on foot? Also, even if his intentions were good, can Reek really overcome his programing?

GOT DAENARYS

Daenerys looking pretty comfy considering the fact that when we last saw her she was being circled by a Dothraki army after being dumped in the middle of nowhere by Drogon.

GOT BRAN 3 EYED RAVEN

Bran walking with the 3 Eyed Raven in what appears to be Winterfell; it’s safe to assume that this friendly stroll is part of a shared vision, no magic cure for Bran.

GOT MELISANDRE

Melisandre at Castle Black; this is merely conjecture, but I believe she is there to reincarnate John Snow, which will make for some awkward conversation at the Watch dinner table.

Season 6 of Game of Thrones is scheduled to broadcast on April 24th.

DISNEY’S JUNGLE BOOK
Superb Owl Promo

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There are still a lot of people who feel somewhat dubious about Jon Favreau’s live action version of the Jungle Book. I’m not one of them. I was on board the moment I heard that Christopher Walken, Idris Elba and Bill Murray were providing the respective voices of King Louie, Shere Khan and Baloo… Christopher Walken as a giant orangutan! Where do I sign up?

We’ve already seen one trailer that showed a lot of beautifully composed shots of stunning scenery and hyper realistic CGI, but it didn’t really give a true sense of the film. The Superb Owl trailer succeeded in doing exactly that, not least because we finally saw the animals speaking to each other. The whole thing looks effortlessly fantastic.

Those familiar with the book or the classic Disney animation will see a lot of things they recognise here; Mowgli’s encounter with Kaa the snake, Bagheera’s battle with Shere Khan, King Louie’s castle and more. While the characters escaping the border may be a bit gimmicky, I imagine this trailer was highly effective in winning over the last of the doubters.

DEADPOOL BREAKS BOX OFFICE RECORDS

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Deadpool finally arrived on our screens this week and it did not disappoint, you can read our spoiler free review of it by clicking here. The film has so far managed to prove all of its naysayers wrong (in your face naysayers!) opening to an impressive $12.7 million which is a new box office record for an R rated film. Let’s celebrate with a sexy valentine’s message from the Merc with a Mouth.

The film was made on a budget of $58 million, which it is predicted to make back this weekend in US ticket sales alone, so it’s no wonder Fox have already green lit a sequel. Early word is that Cable will definitely appear. For those that don’t know, Cable is the time travelling son of Scott Summers who appeared alongside Deadpool in the comic title that helped launch Wade to his current level of popularity.

If you haven’t seen Deadpool yet, go and see it right now and help to pave the way for more adult superhero movies. Although not yet, finish the wrap up first. I’ve put a lot of effort into it this week.

ANT-MAN VS HULK COCA COLA SPOT
Superb Owl Promo

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Marvel got to showcase another civil war during the Superb Owl, this time an epic battle between The Hulk and Ant-Man over a stolen can of coke. Presumably the incident in Sokovia has led to some kind of Coca Cola shortage in the MCU, while this may help to bring down child obesity it causes Bruce Banner to see green when everyone’s favourite shrinking man steals the last can for himself.

Ant-Man has proven to be a huge hit with audiences and with Hulk not making another appearance on our screen until Thor: Ragnarok it was cool to see them both in this fun featurette. Neither Mark Ruffalo nor Paul Rudd actually appear on screen during the promo, but the suit and the not so jolly green giant are more than enough for now.

WALKING DEAD: MICHONE

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Telltale’s Walking Dead games are less computer games and more gut punches right to the feels. They have won an awful lot of awards and quite rightly so, it won’t be for everyone but if you are a fan of the comics or the series then you need to play them. Plus they utilise a style of point and click play that makes them accessible for pretty much anyone.

So it is exciting to hear that a release date has been set for the next instalment of the series, a 3 part miniseries named The Walking Dead: Michone. This time the action will focus on everyone’s favourite katana wielding attorney. It seems as if it will be set in the current timeline of the comics as early images show Michone on the boat where she spent her time following the conclusion of the All Out War storyline.

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Episode 1 will be released across multiple platforms on February 24th, including the PlayStation Network and X Box Game Store. It will be interesting to see if we delve further into Michone’s past as well as her present. I for one am excited, but it would still be nice to hear an announcement regarding the release of Walking Dead: Season 3, we want more Clementine!

DANIEL BRYAN RETIRES

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And finally, there was yet more sad news for rasslin fans this week when Daniel Bryan was forced to announce his professional retirement. Bryan had an amazing 16 year career that saw him perform all over the world, earning a reputation as one of the greatest in ring competitors of his generation. However he had been plagued by injuries and concussions in recent years leading him to release the following statement on Monday.

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When the American Dragon announced that he would be leaving ROH for WWE most fans feared the worst. He was 5,8 and not exactly known as a promo guy so it seemed likely that this talented wrestler would get lost in the mix in WWE. At first that was exactly what happened but over time Bryan’s skill and personality began to shine through and thanks to a very infectious catchphrase he was able to win over fans of all ages.

Bryan was the everyman underdog and this helped him to develop a huge and very organic connection with the fans. That connection became a movement and Bryan was able to ride that wave all the way to a victory in the main event of Wrestlemania 30, a defining moment that I was lucky enough to witness in person.

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At the end of the day you may not like rasslin, you may find it silly, and that’s because it is. But these men and women put their bodies on the line to do what they love and ultimately that takes a toll. Bryan’s high impact style led to multiple concussions over the years, which in turn led to seizures that could threaten his life.

As much as it saddens me to see him forced into early retirement I am glad to see him do it on his own terms and with a happy, healthy future ahead of him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him join his mentor, William Regal as a trainer at the WWE’s performance centre. But whatever he chooses to do next, we wish him well…. YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

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So there you have it; one super length, Valentine’s edition of The Geek That Was. Thank you for resisting the romantic charms of your partner long enough to read my ramblings. Did you agree with what I had to say? Which of the upcoming films are you most excited to see? How quickly did you get sick of owl puns? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section and until next time… keep on geeking in the free world

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