Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Childhood Strikes Back 2015

2015 will certainly be the biggest year for bringing back the stuff I loved as a kid. Unlike some people, my taste in media has pretty much remained exactly the same. I don't feel too insane, I know plenty of people like me. Even grown-ups can appreciate the media they loved as a kid, even if it's not quite as obsessively as I do.

Is bringing back our childhoods a bad idea? Will regurgitating my younger days keep me forever from maturing?

Who cares! (But probably yes)

The trickiest thing to do when bringing something so loved back into the limelight, is getting it right. After all, there is a lot more chance of upset among viewers than a completely new idea with no fan base.

So, have my childhood favourite reboots succeeded in fulfilling my inner 10-year old's expectations?
Unfortunately, a few of them have not been released! But they look promising.

So let's start with the ELEPHANT in the room. It's that one that has taken the whole world by storm. STAR WARS was a huge part of so many peoples childhoods. The universal love has actually become one of those amazing discoveries only the internet can offer. It was not just you playing with your STAR WARS toys who loved the films. It was EVERYONE.
The original trilogy had very human characters, amazing ideas and lots of fun. Oh and lots of toys. My favourite bit was when I learnt Luke had built his own shiny new green lightsaber. That guy was so cool.
I quite liked The Phantom Menace as well. That's all I've got to say about the prequels.

STAR WARS:The Force Awakens is not out yet and so could still be a train wreck. But it has grabbed the exact look and atmosphere that I think every fan was hoping for. Something subtle and surreal in this world that feels so much bigger than our own.
Without the prequels, we'd probably not have something that looks so right. I'm hoping the amazing visuals compliment a good story... else we're in trouble. But looks as if we may be in good hands.

An honourable mention now. The 21st of October this year was celebrated as the day Doc and Marty arrived in Back to the Future II. It was a bit depressing that the day had finally come, but a good day to remember some excellent films. (3 is my favourite... )

While we're talking about big Hollywood films vaguely related to Steven Spielberg, 2015 also brought us Jurassic World! The fourth installment in the Jurassic Park Series and personally my least favourite.
Another one we were all so excited about. Who wasn't inspired by the original? It still stands today as one of the greatest films in history.
Unfortunately 'Safety Not Guaranteed' Director, Colin Tomorrow delivered a bit of a mess of OK and awkward. While Jurassic World has one of the most exciting ENDINGS I've seen, it has messy characters and boring, unrealistic dialogue. I still prefer Jurassic Park 3 to this. Did the film feed the Jurassic Park fan child? No, not really. Chris Pratt was great, but he was no Sam Neill.
Spoilers in this CLIP

While we're talking disappointments, can't forget the recently released PAN. Really, the only reason I say disappointment is because it has not done very well in the critic circuit. Also, my little brother didn't really enjoy it.
Thing is, I really liked it! I will probably be buying it on DVD as well. While I'd say the first half had the better scenes (The nuns and the circus act pirates) it does have some massive problems that can't be ignored. Though, as I mentioned in my full Pan Review, it's probably the best Pan Adaptation we've got since the brilliant, Hook.
As it's kind of the point of the article, did PAN feed the HOOK and Disney's Peter Pan fan child inside? A lil bit. It didn't make me upset at least.
Here is the trailer (Why was this song not in the film? *sigh*)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation released this year. The fifth in the series, a series that looked like it might have been dead after movie 2. It's not that special that a new Mission Impossible came out this year, they've been coming out at a good rate for the last few years. But this one felt kind of special to me. The original Mission Impossible film is another for my list of serious favourites from childhood (Obviously not THAT young). But it was certainly up there with Star Wars and Jurassic Park. Out of every Impossible installment, this one felt the MOST like the original. Gritty, dark, spyey, but a lot more funny. Loved it!
Did it win in the fight against the child fan? Yes.

Some other quick mentions before I get onto my TOP 1 and 2 childhood favourites coming back... Even though this is not a TOP 10 list, it's not a TOP anything list.

So these are some that didn't really make much of an impact on me but I do think are important to mention.
Terminator: Genisys, Goosebumps, Spongebob Squarepants (Sponge Out of Water), Batman V Superman....
Oh and can't forget Mad Max: Fury Road (That was awesome)

So really, everything has been MOVIES. Where are all of the music and television shows? Well, none of my personal favourite television shows have come back! But go and check out the new DANGER MOUSE series. It is magnificent. There is also a new Peabody and Sherman series on Netflix I have yet to see. Or you could just go and watch this hilarious parody of Peabody and Sherman instead by my friend, Rob Yulfo.

Now to music.
 I'm not going to go through all of the bands that came back after a long hiatus since childhood.... why would I do that? No, I'll just do one, Blur. Undeniably my favourite band ever. I have no idea why, they've just always made music that I connect with.

I discovered Blur close to the beginning of their.. split I suppose you could call it. I discovered them in 2000 and they released their last album in 2003. While I was super excited for their 2003 Album, Think Tank (And loved it) it was saddening to know that guitarist, Graham Coxon was not involved. Then silence, as Damon Albarn's Gorillaz hit it big.

It was in 2009 that the band got back together to do a few gigs, reliving the old days. But I don't think the scars had healed. Not for a while. I was lucky enough to see them in 2009 at Hyde Park and it was amazing.

We did have a few new tracks come through. Most noticably in 2012 with two songs written for the Olympic Year. At the time we were ecstatic, but looking at what we have now... they could have been better.
Time moved along for us fans as our Blur forum was closed down. All of the band members seemed to be busy with their own things and it looked like we'd probably never have another Blur Album.

Bring on February 2015. An out of the blue press conference broadcast live announcing a new album. Blur: The Magic Whip.
It was a miracle really, for both the band and the fans. In tribute, I even made an animation for them. I'm such a nerd. Anyway, the album was marvelous. And like I hope STAR WARS and THE PEANUTS MOVIE will be, it was kind of exactly what the fans were hoping for.

It's funny with something like that because the fans have SO long to wait and churn up ideas for how it might be and so easily let down. But The Magic Whip was not a let down, it exceeded all expectations. Now let's hope it leads to more!  (Not getting my hopes up)

Two things make Blur's return even more special. I always thought, if Blur were ever to come back, I'd want to be in my home town. Or at least, in the place that I first fell in love with them. Blur came to Perth Australia on July 30th 2015 and I was there. And my animation made it into their official music video for song, I Broadcast.

To top it all, they are releasing a film about the making as well!

Whats next? Only the most important film of 2015!

THE PEANUTS MOVIE (OR The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Peanuts Movie outside of the US)

I've made enough videos on Youtube for you to know that I'm a huge fan of Peanuts. I read it in the paper, I collected the books and watched The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show at 5am when it stopped being on at prime 'Home from School' time.

I've always been inspired by Charles M Schulz's art, character writing and stories. I've not watched every single special broadcast but I have a lot of them on DVD and hope to continue building my collection. I also have many toys, it's RATHER EMBARESSING. What can I do? Nothin. Peanuts has always been perfect for me. When I was a child I related most to the later Snoopy, but these days it's Charlie Brown.

As most of us know, every Peanuts film or television show up until this point has been animated in 2d. Whether that be traditionally, or digitally.

Happiness is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown was the last special to be released (2011). It had quite a digital look that they had trouble shaking off. Plus it was mainly based around the art style and stories of the earlier years of Peanuts so didn't  really appeal to the mass market.
I still really liked it though, it had that weird pace that only the classic Peanuts could pull off. It was a mix of converting comic punchline to screen and using real child voice actors.

This is something I don't think The Peanuts Movie will have much of. Judging by the trailers, it looks like they've thrown out the comic by comic way of writing screenplays. This is probably for the best, as it will make a more flowing picture with space for real human dialogue.

Stories always came across magnificently in the long running comic strips, but not quite as good in the specials. (They still have that wonderful charm about them that will make them timeless).

Just judging by the trailers, they've taken dialogue and relationships from the strips and just spread them out for the big screen.

Look wise, this film looks beautiful. I'm a bit scared that this will call the end of 2d animated Peanuts films (and so never giving me a job on a film). It's kind of generally bad for 2d all together... but at least it will bring people back to reading the comics and watching the specials.

But FAN WISE, by golly, it looks like a painting. It absolutely brings the comic strips to life in a perfect way.
I've seen a good mixture of slap stick, good dialogue and fun Snoopy scenes so as long as it's all paced out well .. I'm totally on board! (On Snoopy's Kennel).

Unfortunately, the film will be coming out quite a while after the original release here. So this means I'll be seeing Jermy Jans and Chris Stickyman posting their reviews FIRST. So I'll be avoiding them at all costs.

Everything looks right to me. It's amazing that it stills feels like the specials, the TV show and the comics though.. wow.
Also, I don't mind all of the music that has been advertised, but I am hoping for some smoooth Jazz.

Does it go down well with my inner fan child? So far, YES!!!!!!!

Thanks for reading!