Ender's Game

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s news, discussion, opinions, things! It’s everything that a fan of filmed and televised entertainment could want right before bed. Tonight it’s all about Hobbitses and Guardians, with yet another “Mini-Review” for the masses and plenty of fun to be had.

Staring Down Butterfield – We begin this evening with the first look at Ender’s Game, the film based on the book by Orson Scott Card. It’s kind of like Space Camp, but with a way cooler story, budget, cast. The only thing missing is the nostalgia. Oh look, it’s Harrison Ford playing a badass. There’s the nostalgia.

Money, James Money – Word came through last week that James Bond’s return in Skyfall has become the highest grossing film in the history of the UK. 94.2 million euros. If my math is correct, that’s 6.62 billion Indian rupees. It narrowly beat out Avatar, which earned as much as 6.61 billion Indian rupees.

Language of the Gods – The folks over at The Bioscopist believe they’ve found a great little easter egg on the Prometheus Blu-ray, uncovering the language of the Gods, or the architects, in this case. Some people really do have a lot of extra… interest on their hands.

Obama’s Oscar Bias – The filmmakers behind the not-at-all-biased 2016: Obama’s America are claiming that there’s liberal political bias in Hollywood, and that such bias has caused their doc to be eliminated from the race for the Best Documentary Award. They claim that clearly it’s better than Searching for Sugar Man. Why? Because it was the highest grossing doc of the year. Somewhere, Michael Bay’s team is also working on a political bias angle.

Butts Are Numb – Over the weekend, Ain’t It Cool News frontman Harry Knowles held his highly self-congratulatory yearly birthday celebration known as Butt-Numb-a-Thon, 24 consecutive hours of handpicked movies stitched in-between whatever various movie studios will let him play. To no one’s surprise, The Hobbit played, as did the Guillermo del Toro produced Mama and Sly Stallone’s Bullet to the Head. The real story, as always, is the sheer force of will that it takes to make it through such an ordeal. And Meredith Borders over at Badass Digest has, by my estimation, the best recap.

Who is John Harrison? – The first official still from Star Trek Into Darkness is a good one — Chris Pine as Kirk alongside his trusty friend Spock, as played by Zachary Quinto, facing a now trapped villain John Harrison, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Exciting! Wait, who is John Harrison? His name isn’t Khan? If anyone knows of this John person, please enlighten us.

Star Trek Into Darkness

MNAD Minireview

Rise of the Guardians

Early on, as this one began to screen for press in LA and NY, there were parallels drawn between Peter Ramsey’s directorial debut Rise of the Guardians and Joss Whedon’s monstrous Avengers film. Get it? Because it’s about characters we know who team up to face a world-threatening enemy and save us all. It’s an easy line to draw, especially as both films were released this year. It’s all fresh and simple, fitting well into the marketing-speak needed to propel such a film to box office success.

What seems to be overshadowed then, is the absolutely brilliant achievement of Ramsey, a long-time storyboard artist at Dreamworks, in the task of bringing Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman to life in such a vivid way. The level of detail and motion in the work done here is unlike anything Dreamworks Animation has put out yet. Looking back at the work similar teams did on films like Monsters vs. Aliens and the Shrek franchise, it’s not hard to see where the company is growing. The particle-level detail in the animations of The Sandman, as he spins dreams for the children of the world. Or for Jack Frost, as he paints windows with sparkly signs of winter’s cold. All of it has a level of detail that shows real craftsmanship, an artist’s touch.

It’s beautiful, but not quite perfect. The story is painted by the numbers and some of its human characters walk the borderlines of the wrong end of the uncanny valley, but there are some truly breathtaking elements at work when Rise of the Guardians gets going. There’s also the added fun of seeing a tattoo’d Santa double-wielding swords in a great battle against a Jude Law-voiced Boogey Man. As big, sleek animated adventures go, we can easily chalk this one up as one of the year’s biggest surprises. - B+

Here’s a Hobbit parody – I’m surprised there aren’t more of these. I’m glad there aren’t more of these.


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