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I Don’t Get The Point of ‘Pan’

I realize that the given way to make money these days in Hollywood is to take an existing thing and try to do a new spin on it…or just continue it with countless sequels. I don’t blame them – so far, it’s made a lot of money.

Released yesterday, the first trailer for Pan is Warner Bros.’ attempt to re-birth the Peter Pan mythos, with a prequel, showing Pan as a young boy, teamed with a super handsome James Hook, battling…Blackbeard, apparently?

The casting is star driven, with Hugh Jackman going for camp with his version of Blackbeard, and the world continuing to try to make Garret Hedlund (Tron Legacy) happen, as he seemingly tries to do a bad Daniel-Day-Lewis-in-There-Will-Be-Blood vocal impression as Hook.

All and all, it looks like they’re trying to mix Burton’s Alice In Wonderland with Harry Potter and calling it a Peter Pan film.  I wonder if they’re going to show us how and when Peter becomes an asshole and feeds his buddy Hook’s hand to a crocodile?

The x-factor possibly in their favor is Joe Wright, who built his name on British weepies like Pride & PrejudiceAttonement and Anna Karina, but he’s also responsible for the awesomness that was Hanna, so it could be good.

Either way, Pan is shooting for (at best) second behind Hook as best Peter Pan re-interpretation, and so far, all it has going for it in my favor is Rooney Mara’s Tiger Lilly. And even that’s a conflicting bit of white-washing.

Pan hits theaters on June 26, 2015.

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Ridin’ With The Dinos: Our First Look At ‘Jurassic World’

A tip of the hat to Universal Studios here.

With a countdown set ending at 9pm Thanksgiving Night, fans everywhere were jittering with anticipation for the first Jurassic World trailer. We even watched a 15 second glimpse millions of times, for goodness sake.

Instead, the marketing gods smiled upon us and delivered the new trailer to us today. And it looks marvelous.

Go ahead, click play below.

I’m not sure what I love the most – how Jurassic World is a literal theme park, how the movie retains Jurassic Park’s wry eye of satire (look at those smartphones), how the cast is stacked with solid character actors, how wonderfully know-it-all Bryce Dallas Howard’s geneticist seems, or how Chris Pratt seems like a way-better-at-his-job Muldoon, I just know it seems awesome.

Oh wait, I know the best part…

Thanks, Tumblr.

Thanks, Tumblr.

CHRIS PRATT’S DINO POSSE

Some people on the Internet have been complaining already about the film involving a genetically modified dinosaur, but it just continues the series’ obsession on whether or not Man should play God.

Besides, if after a trailer that fun, all you can do is pick at it, you don’t deserve to like movies.

Jurassic World‘s first trailer told me everything I need to know: it’s going to be a rip-roaring good time at the cinema. And on that alone, I’m in. Good freakin’ job, Colin Trevorrow.

Jurassic World hits theaters on June 12, 2015.

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What Happened To Pixar? (Worries About A Struggling Studio)

Since 1995’s Toy Story, the computer animation geniuses at Pixar had been a run that can only be described as genre defining.

I was 11 years old when Woody and Buzz came into my life, and the results were nothing short of defining. I became obsessed with movies. The in’s and out’s of their creations. These amazing characters, so richly detailed, were made from computers?

I had always been an inquisitive child, interested in learning as much about things as I could – but I think it was Toy Story that made me a true film nerd. I could tell you as much about Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as I could John Lasseter. And for many many years, Pixar delivered movies that amazed me.

I remember Monsters, Inc. tugging at my heart strings with the adorable Boo. I remember when Toy Story 2 spoke to me as a toy collector at the time, while also showing that sequels can improve on the original. I remember The Incredibles being everything I’ve ever wanted out of a movie, from an amazing score by Michael Giacchino, to being a Silver-Age superhero film that my Wizard-addled mind could only dream of. I remember the amazing short films that came before each movie, packed away in the DVD extras. I remember the shared tears as my family and I watched Toy Story 3 together on Blu-Ray one Thanksgiving.

They were the movies I could talk about and share with anyone – from my film nerd friends, to my parents, to little cousins. You knew that if you paid for your ticket to a Pixar film, you’d be guaranteed an impeccable movie experience.

The less said about the Cars franchise, the better. (I know, kids love it.)

The peak? The amazing three film streak they released from 2007 to 2009. Three films created in the time period where they didn’t know if they were going independent, or staying with Disney. The brillance-out-of-chaos production of Ratatoullie which mixed rats, food and criticism. The apocalyptic yet uplifting Wall-E which warmed our hearts with an adorable robot, while questioning what we’ve done (and may do) to our planet. The love-lorn adventure of Up, mixing some of the saddest animation ever with the bold thrills of pulp – to see what lives BEYOND THERE! I don’t know that there’s been a gutsier trio of films made by any studio or creative force back to back, especially under the guise of “family entertainment”.

They’ve been praised, heralded by animation aficionados as one of the greatest studios ever, spoken in similar tones of the masterworks created by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. They’ve made billions at the box office. They’ve been imitated by other studios such as Dreamworks and Warner Bros. Animation.

…But I worry the sterling reputation has been tarnished, and may not shine again for some time. Since 2011’s Cars 2, something has been off about Pixar. And I’m not sure if – or when – it will turn around.

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A History of Batmen, Or: NECA Toys Delivers Figure I’ve Dreamed Of All My Life

Tim Burton’s Batman was a life changing experience for me. I was 5 years old in 1989, and as a young comic book fan (Batman and Spider-Man being my favs, even now), the movie absolutely broke my brain.

Yeah, I can watch it now with a more critical eye and see how “off” it was for a Batman movie and what not, but that movie was a defining experience. I can watch it now, 25 years later, and spout off entire sequences of dialogue. I lived for that movie as a kid.

Unfortunately, the best option we had as a kid for a Batman action figure (which – of course – I needed), was this guy, from Toy Biz. I remember being so happy getting him for Christmas in 1989. Countless fruitless searches at Woolworths, K-Mart and other stores paid off, no more searching through pegs of Bob The Goon!

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Toy Biz was still relatively new in the world of action figures. Made off of a modified Super Powers mold, I remember their early figures feeling cheap, with paint that would easily flake off. Not really the best look for a defining character of my childhood.

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God Help Me, I’m Excited For ‘Pitch Perfect 2′

I came into the original Pitch Perfect not out of protest, but – I guess out of a sense of loyalty.

My lovely, long-suffering fiancé Sam asked me to see it with her. I cause her to see many of the massive nerd films and Hollywood blockbusters that I talk about at length on here, and while she enjoys some (if not most), I know that there are those she does not care for. And one day, that came to roost.

She wanted to see Pitch Perfect.

All I knew about the movie going in was that I hated the film’s poster and that the plot sounded like Glee-light.

In the movies favor? It starred the delightful Anna Kendrick, who had grabbed my attention with her turns in 50/50, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Up In The Air. I think I owed Sam for seeing Looper earlier that week anyway – even though she ended up loving it. (She has heart-eyes for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.)

Lights go down, movie goes up, and to my shock, the flick was fantastic. It could have been a generic, trope filled mess. Instead, with a witty script, incredible casting, and one of the best soundtracks from a film possibly ever (SUCH GREAT MASHUPS!), I loved every single minute.

…it didn’t hurt that one scene was basically Super Art Fight with a capella.

It seems like the rest of the world seemed to agree, as Pitch Perfect went on to be a surprise hit, generating $113 Million worldwide on a $17 million budget. It made a star of Rebel Wilson, and increased the notoriety of Ms. Kendrick (who even scored a Billboard hit with “Cups”.)

Pitch Perfect has gone on to be quite the favorite in our household – with literally dozens of rewatches on Blu-Ray – and this May, Pitch Perfect 2 hits theaters. It may be the only movie rivaling Avengers: Age of Ultron as a Summer 2015 most-wanted between my to-be wife and I.

And today, we have the trailer.

Pitch Perfect 2 takes the Mighty Ducks approach, and takes our lovely group of singers – the Barden Bellas and throwing them into a Worldwide tournament. Some elements look great! (David Cross? OH SNAP.) Some look…less than great. (SURPRISE! The Germans are the villains because Germans.) But I’m excited to see what may come out of this. The scale certainly appears to be bigger on this one. Helps to have a larger budget, right?

Perhaps Pitch Perfect was a Bring It On moment – a surprisingly great movie coming out of a hackneyed premise. Sequels to great comedies are few and far between. With the first film’s producer Elizabeth Banks making her directorial debut here, I have to think she wants to stick the landing. Lightning can strike twice. I just know that – I may never admit it – but I’m going to be the one pushing my fiancé to see this one opening weekend.

Pitch Perfect 2 hits theaters on May 15, 2015