Jack Kirby 100th

If one had to think of the most influential names in comics, the first person to come to mind is Stan Lee, but that’s just Marvel. On the DC side of things we have Scott Snyder, but what about a man who could do both?

Sure, Scott has done some work for Marvel but these days he almost exclusively works with DC, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee has stuck with Marvel through the years; but there once was a man who did both, and he was probably the most influential writer and creator in comic book history.

None other than Jacob Kurtzburg.

Oh sorry, you probably don’t know him by that name, let me try again.

None other than Jack Kirby.

Ringing any bells now?

Because it should.

And if it doesn’t, I’m going to have to correct that by giving a long list of comic book characters/teams he created/co-created.

Here we go: Captain America, Brotherhood of Mutants, Celestials, Devil Dinosaur, Doctor Doom, Ego the Living Planet, Elektro, Fantastic Four (and each of it’s members), Fin Fang Foom, Forgotten One, Jane Foster, Galactus, Nick Fury, Grey Gargoyle, Heimdall, High Evolutionary, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the Inhumans (and a good deal of the individual characters), Juggernaut, Adam Warlock, Magneto, the X-Men (along with most members of the team) and a long list of others.

And I haven’t even started on DC.

For DC he created the New Gods (and literally every character associated with them, most notably Big Barda and Mister Miracle), Etrigan, Darkseid, Granny Goddess, Steppenwolf (who features very predominantly in the Justice League trailers), the Parademons, I could go on forever here.

You name a well-established comic book character that isn’t Batman or Superman, chances are ‘King Kirby’ had a hand in their creation; be it as the writer, artist, inker or letterer.

Marvel recently printed a whole bunch of True Believers in honour of King Kirby, reprinting many first appearances of different characters, all of whom, Jack Kirby had a hand in creating.

Born on August 28, 1917, Jack learned to draw comics by copying comic strips in newspapers, eventually working for different comic publishers under many different pen-names, eventually settling on ‘Jack Kirby’. After serving in the European Theatre in WWII, Jack returned to comics, joining up with Joe Simon to create Captain America (for a company called Timely Comics, which eventually became the Marvel we know and love today).

If you’re the kind of person who pays attention to the art in a comic (and, let’s face it, if you read comics you probably do pay attention to the art), you’ll notice the lines along the outer edges of a character’s body. You know, those lines that show just how wide Captain America’s right hook flies before it connects with Hitler’s chin.

Guess who invented those? Kirby.

Another thing Kirby did so well was to showcase the difference between Thor and his human self (if we go by his earliest appearances, once upon a time Thor was just a person who could pick up a specific cane which would turn into Mjolnir, which would, in turn, change him into Thor), kind of like how actor Christopher Reeve perfectly captured the difference between Superman and Clark Kent in a single scene, the one being confident and well postured and the other not.

To perfectly showcase this, I’ve included a link to Journey into Mystery #83 (the first appearance of Thor, as well as his human counterpart Donald Blake) here – just a little forewarning, the site may give you a few captchas, but that’s nothing to worry about.

Notice how Thor is posed confidently, practically showing off his strength and power, and Donald Blake (the man in a blue suit) is drawn as small and physically withdrawn.

Over the years, Jack became dissatisfied with Marvel, the pay was good at Marvel but he just wasn’t all that happy working with them; and if I were in his shoes I probably wouldn’t be that happy either, there was a lack of proper communication between Kirby and Lee; Kirby would come up with an amazing idea, Stan would add to and subtract from it, both would ignore the other’s ideas and when the comic was printed it was too late to make changes. Apparently, Kirby never read the comics he produced, one wonders if he even knew whether or not Stan Lee kept to his original ideas. The other major problem Jack had while working at Marvel was that he felt he wasn’t getting the recognition he deserved, which was the same reason he had when he originally left the company back when it was still called Timely Comics. Eventually, Marvel opted to change Jack’s contract, which sees him earning more but has him sign away certain legal rights when it came to the characters he created and the stories he wrote; he just laughed and made the jump to DC.

Which was probably the best thing he ever could have done for himself; he was earning slightly less than at Marvel, but DC paid attention to what he wanted to do, practically giving him free reign when it came to his creations; as a person, it is said that he was happier when working with DC.

Even though his New Gods didn’t catch on at the time of their first appearance, they’ve since gone on to become some of the most powerful beings in the DC Comics universe, and the most important.

Speaking of the New Gods, has anyone read the newest Mister Miracle comics? It’s a limited run of only twelve issues but just #1 by itself was incredible and I need someone to talk to about it.

 

 

Now, I know this is a little late (at the time of writing, it is almost a month after Jack’s 100th birthday), but Happy Birthday to Jack Kirby; comic book readers raise their glasses and tip their hats to you, my good man. Rest in peace.

Advertisements

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

The first trailer for The Hitman’s Bodyguard had me raring to go and watch it, I just couldn’t wait till it came out. And then it did.

Now I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I honestly don’t think that Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson were actually given scripts, it seems more like they were told “You’re a hitman, you’re a professional bodyguard, you two have tried to kill each other before; YOU have to escort HIM to a court in another country. Have fun.”

And the two actors were then released into the world.

Whether or not they were actually given scripts, I don’t care, because the lines were perfect, from the timing to the delivery, everything was perfect. The action? Also perfect, if a little drawn out at parts.

 

There were a few scenes where our two protagonists would get split up and we would follow the one until his high-speed chase ended and things would die down for a few seconds, only to needlessly pick up again for another three minutes when we switch to the other character.

The jokes were, in my opinion, pretty good, but some of them seemed a little lost on the audience – although it probably doesn’t help that I watched it late on a Sunday night, either everyone was really tired or I was going just a little crazy (in which case I apologize for this review, because as I write it, I literally just got home from the cinemas).

There was a fairly serious over-arching story to the film but all the things going on between Jackson’s and Reynolds’ characters and their respective love interests kept on ruining the overall feel. Or was it the politically themed story that kept ruining the romance? I can’t quite tell.

 

 

Side note: I do know that there were other movies out there this month that I could have reviewed, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the IT previews, Atomic Blonde didn’t actually seem that interesting and Dark Tower (as much as I’ve been looking forward to it) unfortunately has to wait. But hey, that just means you guys will get more reviews in a shorter timespan in the next month or so (provided I actually find the time to get to them).

Bethesda GoT Game?… Nope!

Remember the story of how Skyrim was made?

Or, rather, the part where Bethesda started making Skyrim? No, not the part where they rushed it and didn’t get to fully flesh out the quests and actually finish the game, I’m talking about the part where they were offered the opportunity to make a game based on Game of Thrones. Remember that?

And for years we all thought “I love Skyrim, but wouldn’t it be cool if Bethesda made a GoT game?” and then it nearly happened and we all started screaming bloody murder.

 

Just a few days ago, a listing popped up on Target’s online store, a listing under the name “Bethesda: Game of Thrones”. All the Thrones fans thought this was amazing, but the Bethesda cult knew better…

For quite a while, Bethesda has been throwing out Fallout and Elder Scrolls games, with a Wolfenstien game thrown in the mix somewhere, but with Bethesda doing nothing but releasing Skyrim on every console they can find and not actually making the next Elder Scrolls game, their fans (myself included) are very disappointed – and the return of paid mods definitely isn’t helping their case.

Bethesda knows they make good games, people are still playing Skyrim, and, nearly six years after the fact, it’s community has done nothing but grow (granted, Skyrim SE did bolster the ranks considerably last year, but I’m talking about before that). Skyrim has stood the test of time as one of the most iconic games out there… and Bethesda knows, has openly admitted it too, that it isn’t even finished. I don’t know if the devs started late or if they just got off to a slow start, but at the end of the day, there are so many unfinished quests in Skyrim. It was going to be possible for you to lose the war, regardless of which side (Empire or Stormcloak) you picked; but Bethesda wasn’t able to finish it and so they cut the content… needless to say, they left the programming in the game files so modders have since resurrected the civil war.

Think about that: Bethesda released an unfinished game, and it is incredible, they know this. To them, that just means they can keep putting out unfinished games, start slacking off; or, as they’re doing now, milk Skyrim more than Ubisoft could ever dream of milking the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

To me, that says that if Bethesda actually tried, and took their time with a game, it would be glorious and people would play it for decades to come.

But then they released Fallout 4 and it was not as great as it was hyped up to be.

 

So now, among Bethesda’s cult of followers, we all know that they actually make horrid games (which we still love, for some odd reason).

And that’s why we don’t want them touching George’s masterwork; because it will quite literally be a reskin of Skyrim.

Don’t believe me? Bethesda did exactly that when they released Skyrim, they used the things they had put into Oblivion; the same game engine, many of the same animations and a good deal of the hitboxes. Some of the coding in Fallout 4 has also shown itself to be the same as Skyrim’s.

 

Target has since apologised for the mishap, “This is not a real product – we’re sorry for any confusion.” Notice how they’re avoiding the part where they explain how this happened. I’m sure Target has launched an internal investigation of sorts in an attempt to figure out who created the listing.

 

So, to any Game of Thrones fan reading this, pray that Bethesda doesn’t make a GoT game, pray.

 

 

Side note: wouldn’t it be cool if CD Projekt Red made a Game of Thrones game? They have consistently gotten story, gameplay and graphics perfect time and time again.

Dunkirk

When I saw the first trailer for Dunkirk, it was only a few weeks before the film was to debut, but with just one trailer, it was easy to see that this would be a heavy hitting film… and it was.

Dunkirk tells a tale of surviving the Nazis on the Western Front in World War II. The thing with history is that we already know how the story ends, but not everyone knows the exact chain of events that lead up to the end of the now infamous Battle of Dunkirk, not a lot of people know what those soldiers went through.

Dunkirk follows the story through several different perspectives; that of two soldiers on the beach, three civilians in a small boat (on their way to Dunkirk to get their soldiers home) and three Spitfire pilots (on their way to provide air support to the Allied soldiers on the beaches). The film constantly, and seamlessly, jumps between these perspectives, sometimes even jumping forward or backward by a few hours; but in the end, it all makes one cohesive film.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice that the music wasn’t at any point heavy, it was often high-pitched and suspenseful, choosing to purvey more the urgency of each situation instead of the action. A lot of the scenes spent following the pilots didn’t actually have any noticeable music, opting rather for the iconic sound of a Spitfire engine.

Something I didn’t notice until it was pointed out to me after watching the film, is that there isn’t actually a lot of dialogue; we go through the first ten minutes of the film with almost no dialogue at all, with many of the scenes on the beaches also having very little dialogue.

All those soldiers wanted to get off of Dunkirk, but not all of them were willing to work together; however, the two Allied soldiers we spend most of the film following, spend almost the entirety of the film soundlessly working towards their goal of leaving Dunkirk.

Something this film purveys very well is the true desperation of those soldiers stuck on the beach; they spend most of their time waiting in lines for ships to come and collect them… and they very quickly learn how to tell when the tide will be coming in, a rather morbid line that I would rather not spoil for those who have yet to watch Dunkirk.

I feel that this is a film that one absolutely has to watch, I enjoyed every second of it and it felt more like an actual account of the event rather than a documentary. Dunkirk is definitely near the top of my ‘Recommended Films’ list.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I’ll be honest with you, until I saw the first trailer for Valerian, I had no idea what it was; but upon doing a little bit of research, I discovered that it was based on a groundbreaking French graphic novel from way back when… needless to say, I went and read it.
And I enjoyed the hell out of it.
The original graphic novel was filled with amazing lore and had an incredible story… the film, not so much, it’s a little lacking on that last bit.
I’m not going to deny the beauty of what the film’s producers have done: they gave us some brilliantly designed aliens (almost none of which were actually in the graphic novel, those were all completely new designs) and a feast for the eyes. Is it worth watching in 3D? No, its not Doctor Strange; you won’t notice much of a difference between the 3D and 2D versions.
Unfortunately, as with many ‘book to big screen’ adaptations, the film falls short where the graphic novel succeeds. It’s almost as if they spent too much time on the visuals and almost none on the storyline. After the first half hour, the plot became predictable – very predictable.
“Scene of a random race on a random planet, weirdly random stuff happens (we promise this random stuff will make sense later). Meet our two heroes; one is arrogant, free-spirited and has a disdain for rules, the other is a by-the-book leiutenant; both are basically black ops agents. Our heroes get assigned to a job at a giant space station – que explanations for each alien and their weird design. Meet this general; he’s a douche. Heroes go on a job, get drawn into conspiracy” — I’m going to stop right there, I had this whole hilarious summary ready but then realised it was a bit too spoiler-ish, so I’ll just cut that bit out and keep it for myself.
Continuing on…
The film’s biggest shortcoming, besides the story, is the world-building (or should I be saying ‘universe-building’?). The movie spends all of one minute trying to convince us that this is a living, breathing world/universe where all sorts of crazy stuff happens, but all it’s really doing is explaining some of the aliens and areas we’ll be seeing later on in the film (but, to be fair; there are some things in this movie we just wouldn’t understand without a proper explanation).
There were also a few scenes that had absolutely nothing to do with the story… but they needed an excuse to make our two protagonists like each other a little more. Then there was the completely unnecessary death of a particularly lovable side-character.
No, seriously, forget about Valerian and Laureline, I want a whole movie about (insert name of side-character who dies here); there is something I would love to watch a couple hundred times.

War for the Planet of the Apes

An epic ending to a wondrous trilogy.

War of the Planet of the Apes picks up several years after Dawn for the Planet of the Apes (which picked up years after Rise of the Planet of the Apes)… I think I’m noticing a pattern here.

Note: I’m going to refer to each of these movies by the first word in their titles, it would be completely superfluous to type out the entire title each time I want to say it.

One thing that bugged me is that War didn’t pick up straight after Dawn. Anyone remember Caesar telling his new human friends to leave while they could and that war was coming? Caesar had a serious look on his face and then the screen cut to black. Remember that?

Yeah, we never get to see the ensuing epicness; War starts two years after that.

War got nothing but praise at the international box office, and it is easy to see why.

There were no plot holes (something most film franchises tend to have by the second film these days, if not in the first), the pacing was perfect and, of course, the acting was amazing and the CGI was even better than in the first two films of the trilogy.

I’m actually really happy to hear that this is where the rebooted franchise ends, because if you watched the originals, you’ll know that things get pretty crazy (and completely nonsensical) after the first two movies). As interesting as it would be to mix time travel in there somewhere and involve the race of humans who live underground, it would be a far stretch from the world that the current version of the franchise has built.

Andy Serkis’ acting is in it’s prime, as usual, that man just keeps getting better and better, Caesar was more expressive than ever.

It was fairly evident from the get-go that Maurice would play an important role, but I was quite surprised to see Rocket again, making him one of only three characters from the original film to survive this far (with Buck having died in Rise and Koba getting himself killed in Dawn).

What was interesting to see, as with Dawn, was the cultural progression of the apes. At the start of Dawn, we saw that the apes had built an amazing base and that they had developed a reasonably advanced culture; and now, with War, we see that they have developed further (we don’t see much difference between Dawn and War but there is enough to be noticeable).

For those who watched the originals, you’ll probably remember the big Xs that were used as warnings to humans, with human corpses attached to them in a manner almost similar to that of a crucifixion; those made a not-so-welcome comeback, this time being used by the humans to torture uncooperative apes.

This is one of those films that really makes you question your humanity and what it truly is to be human, it’s also one of those films that makes you feel bad for being a human.

Spider-Man Homecoming

When Marvel announced Captain America: Civil War, the one question on every comic geek’s lips was “What about Spider-Man?”

So Marvel started brokering a deal with Sony and they came to an agreement: Marvel could do two standalone Spidey films and use the character in a few cameos, but Sony got publishing rights to the standalone films and made most of the money (Marvel does, however, finally get to add Spidey to all their MCU merchandise, so they make a little money there). This meant that Marvel got to do the casting, directing and most of the producing. Meaning that we didn’t end up with another flop like the Amazing Spider-Man franchise.

It’s been quite some time since the film came out (my friends and I struggled to book tickets for the release date) and it was glorious. If you still haven’t seen it (where have you been, under a rock?), then I’m giving you a heads up that there are two post-credit scenes… one of them featuring Captain America.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

(it’s been long enough… right?)

(and besides, this one is just too great not to talk about without spoiling)

Remember when Zendaya was cast as “Michelle” and the internet exploded? And then she told us she wasn’t “MJ” and the internet exploded again? I’ll just clear that up right here: she is MJ, just not the one we’re used to.

And don’t complain about Aunt May being too young, the actress, Marisa Tomei, is 52 years old; besides, she’s his aunt, not his grandmother. No, seriously. If you read the original Spider-Man comics, you’ll note that Peter is practically finishing university at the start, he’s in his early thirties. But over the years his origins were changed and he was made younger and younger so that he was just 15 when the spider bit him; but his aunt and uncle didn’t get the same de-aging treatment, they both stayed old (while the rest of the comic universe was either getting younger or simply just not ageing). In actuality, MCU Aunt May is probably the most logical Aunt May we’ve ever seen (I know right, I’m applying logic to comic book characters, but I’m a comic book geek, it’s what we do best).

Then there was that wonderful clip of Captain America in what appeared to be an old video tape the teachers were playing for the students at Midtown High. When that first popped up in the trailers, people were pretty confused… for a while, then we started to pay attention to the old-style font. In Homecoming, the gym teacher actually explains that the tapes are a required part of the schooling system and that he has to play them even though Cap is now technically a war criminal. So that clears some things up.

If you have seen Homecoming, you may have noticed some continuity errors. Those being that the first Avengers film was supposed to take place in the year it was released, 2012, with Homecoming taking place eight years later, which would put Homecoming (and technically, Civil War) in 2020, but in Civil War, Vision says that Tony announced his identity as Iron Man to the world eight years prior to Civil War; Iron Man is supposed to be set in 2010 (in Iron Man 2, Tony states that it has been six months since he became Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Thor are supposed to be in the same year, with Nick Fury stating in Avengers “last year Earth had a visitor”, in reference to Loki, putting Iron Man 2 in 2011 and Iron Man 1 in 2010 – even though it was released in 2008).

With all this in mind, it means that either Homecoming and Civil War take place in 2020 or they take place in 2018.

I’m sure Marvel will just do what they do when this happens in the comics and simply say that Doctor Strange messed up a little when he used the Time Stone, or that it was Thanos when he used the Time Stone in the Infinity Gauntlet (more on that thing some other time, seeing as it made an appearance in the first Thor film). Oh, Marvel; why are your continuities so messed up?

Later on in the film, it is revealed that Liz (the girl Peter spends most of the movie crushing on) is Adrian Toomes’ daughter. Adrian Toomes is the Vulture. Whom Spidey is currently pestering. This may come as a shock to some of you but a few months ago, Marvel threw out two prelude comics (Homecoming Prelude Part 1 and Homecoming Prelude Part 2) which revealed that Liz is Vulture’s daughter (not everyone read the comic, and many of those that did didn’t actually notice, it was one of those well-hidden secrets which was actually out in the open). But either way, actually seeing Adrian as Liz’s father still felt like quite the shocker in the film.

One thing that bothered me was the amount of trailers and T.V. spots there were for Homecoming, but literally only the clips from the first two trailers were actually in the movie, the rest were all shot specifically for other events (one of them was a car advertisement, another featured DJ Khaled but was actually an advertisement for some or other biscuit). Those of you that still haven’t seen Homecoming will be very pleased to know that it is a lot more standalone that many of the trailers led us to believe, Iron Man actually has very little involvement (we see him like two or three times, Tony actually has less than 10 minutes screentime).

But now for the most amazing part of the film: the one scene that pays homage to, possibly, Spider-Man’s greatest moment in the comics, his greatest moment of strength.

Remember that bit where Adrian uses the Vulture wing-suit to (basically) drop a building on Spidey? Then Peter loses all hope and starts calling for help because he’s stuck under several tonnes of building rubble? Yeah, that bit.

Look up the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #33 and go to images. In this issue, Spidey was trapped under rubble and machinery in an undersea base, with the ceiling caving down on him; Spider-Man managed to lift the rubble (and effectively bench press the weight of all the water on top of him as well) and escape.

You might be thinking “But Spider-Man isn’t that strong!” And you’d be right, at current, he isn’t that strong, but physically, and at his weakest portrayal, he’s generally on par with Captain America; at his strongest, there was a time when Spider-Man was the fourth strongest man in the world – right up there with Hulk, Thor and The Thing; but according to the comics this wasn’t his strongest, mentioning that he was just a teenager and wasn’t actually in peak physical condition…

PS: they haven’t retconned this yet so he might actually still be the fourth strongest.

But I digress: that moment in Homecoming is an homage to that moment.

Now onto the film itself. Did anyone notice the change in music for Marvel’s usual opening sequence? Another reference, this time to the old Spider-Man television series.

The dramatic timing and acting in this film was spot on and very much believable. Peter really felt like someone I could identify with, in an effort to get a pat on the back and reach his goal of becoming an Avenger (because at some point in our lives, we all wanted someone to be proud of us, for someone to acknowledge just what we really are capable of, for people to stop treating us like five year olds and to treat us with the respect we feel we deserve, whether or not we actually deserve it).

And Robert Downey Junior really did seem like a mentor, only he was the kind of mentor who would rather leave his acolyte to figure things out for themselves and only tell them what they did wrong, never actually revealing what Peter could be doing right. But that was part of what made Peter’s journey so much better: the fact that he wasn’t really getting any help and he had to decide what to do by himself.

And did anyone catch that Miles Morales easteregg?!?!?! If you don’t know where that one is, I’ll leave you to figure that bit out yourselves.

The Mummy (2017)

So I was a little late to watch the most recent reboot of The Mummy, the start of Universal’s Dark Universe – which was actually supposed to start with Dracula: Untold (2014) but that was such a flop that Universal has done everything in their power to make people forget about it. Well guess what, Universal? I remember, I remember it ALL.

This time around there is no Imhotep, no Anksunamun, no Rachel Weisz (bummed), no Arnold Vosloo (really bummed) and no Brendan Fraser (really, really bummed about that). This time the mummy’s name is Ahmanet, and she was a princess that the Egyptians wiped from their history because she made a deal with Set (in the film he is described as the god of death, but fans of the 1999 Mummy film will know that Anubis was the god of death, Set is the god of evil, but whatever, Universal reckons that The Mummy won’t be attracting any Egyptian mythology fanatics to the cinemas, so what could possibly go wrong?). She was mummified alive (no flesh-eating scarabs this time around) and her sarcophagus placed in a pool of mercury (Egyptians believed that mercury could trap or destroy evil).

Skip to the present day and someone unsuspectingly sets her loose upon the world.

 

We all saw Dr. Jekyll in the trailer and you’re probably wondering if Mister Hyde makes an appearance… I don’t want to spoil it for you but it’s kind of obvious. Sadly, this isn’t Mister Hyde like we saw him in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, he isn’t a gigantic, hulking beast; he’s slightly taller than Jekyll and is obviously considerably stronger but that’s about where it ends – and that was really disappointing.

Some of the character interactions were a little interesting (mainly between the main character, Nick Morton, and his best friend, Chris Vail). There was some incredibly forced romance which, from what I can tell, was based on a one-night-stand; this was a little funny in the first fifteen minutes of the film but after that, it just got boring and dragged on.

The best actor in the film was Russell Crowe, who played Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. Everyone else’s acting was believable but seriously; don’t put Russell Crowe in your movie if you want the other actors to look good, because he will make them look terrible (same applies to Clint Eastwood, Idris Elba, Sean Connery and Morgan Freeman). I still don’t know why they chose Tom Cruise for the main role but it is what it is and there is no changing it now.

This film changed a whole bunch of stuff around in that the Crusaders were involved, and I can’t explain how without spoiling the majority of the plot. What I will say was that the climax was anti-climactic, to say the least.

 

 

Alright, so this film was supposed to set up the Dark Universe, and in some ways it did. When we first see Prodigium, we are led through what appears to be an anatomist’s laboratory. Seeing all sorts of things on display in vats of what is presumably alcohol. Among these things are a webbed hand (setting up the Creature from Black Lagoon) and a human skull with very long canines (obviously a vampire skull). There was also a rack with skulls on it in Jekyll’s office, one of them very ape-like; this could have just been an actual ape skull or a reference to a very old (and mostly forgotten) movie monster known as Paula the Ape Woman.

Films confirmed for Dark Universe so far include Van Helsing, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Invisible Man, Dracula, Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera (yes, once upon a time it was a monster movie, not an actual opera) and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame; all of these are as yet untitled.

Universal has a massive log of movie monsters to choose from, but with Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and the Invisible Man, I feel like they could do League of Extraordinary Gentlemen while they’re at it.

 

Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.

Welcome to the Dark Universe.

Creation Club: Are Paid Mods Making A Comeback?

A few years ago, Bethesda tried to make gamers pay for mods – particularly through Steam (note that this was before mods were brought to current generation consoles, it was still under consideration at the time). Some modders wanted to charge for their work and were perfectly fine with the idea, but others, including some of the biggest names in the modding community, were not okay with the idea.

 

Bethesda snuck a little something into their Creation Club reveal at E3 this year, showing that you could download mods using points… points that would either be earned by completing in-game actions or through actually paying with your hard earned cash. There is no official statement on how Creation Club will actually work, even the website for the program is vague on how modders will be paid and how much they will be paid for their work.

What we do know is that Bethesda will allow modders to apply to the site, these mod authors will then be verified (or not) and will be paid for any mods they create and upload to the Creation Club. One of the major criterions being that you cannot upload any pre-existing mods, it has to be something new that you created – this prevents people from creating accounts, somehow getting verified and then uploading someone else’s hard work to the site with their own name slapped on it. And mod authors will have to pitch their mod ideas to Bethesda first, because Bethesda doesn’t want to put time into something that sounds like it probably won’t do well.

This sounds like a pretty safe system but there is something we have to be clear on: this is not the return of paid mods, this does not mean that all mod authors have to charge for their work, just those that want to get paid for what they do. These mod authors will work alongside Bethesda’s in-house developers to create new content for games like Skyrim Special Edition and Fallout 4. Which, when you think about it, makes it easier to understand why Bethesda wants to charge for these mods, because their developers are putting in time that would otherwise be used to develop games for the company – games that would make money.

And that is understandable; at the end of the day, Bethesda is a company and they need to pay their staff somehow. They’re not going to freely host the servers for a site that allows mod authors to work alongside their developers, those developers need to get paid, that site has maintenance costs. Which begs the question as to why they would do it in the first place: because mod authors are putting in valuable time to create something for free.

And that’s it right there: time is money. Many mod authors enjoy what they do but can you really blame them for trying to make a little money off of their hard work? Can you really blame them? Because if modders got paid enough to cover their living expenses and actually have money left over on top of that then they would most definitely be spending their time doing nothing but modding; they wouldn’t only be modding in their free time and it wouldn’t be a hobby anymore, it would be a job. And whether or not it becomes a job is entirely up to the mod author.

But if a mod author wanted to make money off of their mods, it seems the Creation Club is the right way to go about it; Bethesda won’t be employing these modders, they’ll just be paying them for whatever work they put out in their own time. That way a mod author can keep their day job and modding stays a hobby (which it should be), a hobby that earns them a little bit of extra cash on the side.

 

 

 

While I don’t necessarily support paid mods; if I had to pay for every mod I’ve downloaded, I would be way past bankrupt; I’m definitely not against it. Because who am I to tell a person to give me the fruits of their labour for free?

Either way, I’m sure many mod authors will continue to fly the Forever Free banner on their Nexus pages.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge

So I watched this just a day after it came out and (weeks later) I’m still not sure if it was all that good or not. It seems more like a nostalgia trip than anything. Ever notice how the PotC films seem to follow a very specific character layout? Being Jack, a woman and another guy. Through the first three films the other two were Will and Elizabeth; with Barbosa constantly changing sides at the flip of a coin. In On Stranger Tides, the leads were Jack, Angelica and the missionary. Now we have Jack, Henry (Will and Elizabeth’s son) and Carina. Or am I the only one who’s noticed this?

And what’s with the different titles? I get that sometimes words don’t have an equal translation in another language and some regions take offence to certain words but what’s wrong with ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’? Why did South Africa get stuck with ‘Salazar’s Revenge’? Did our rating board think the title was offensive? How would it even be offensive? Who even came up with the title ‘Salazar’s Revenge’? ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales is considerably better – and it’s an actual line in the film.

The film picks up quite a few years after On Stranger Tides, and Jack hasn’t quite figured out how to get the Black Pearl out of her bottle, so the crew don’t really even have a ship. They try to rob a bank, by stealing the entire vault itself, but the whole thing goes wrong and in the end they don’t actually have anything to take from the little misadventure. Jack gets caught and is to have his head lopped off with the newly invented guillotine. It is here that he and Carina (who is about to be hanged for witchcraft) officially meet each other. Henry, having previously met both of them, helps them escape and so they begin the search for the Trident of Poseidon – each for their own reasons, of course.

Somewhere along the line, Jack gave up his compass, and apparently giving up the compass will release one’s greatest fear – in Jack’s case, pirate hunter Captain Salazar Armando, who Jack trapped in the Devil’s Triangle way back at the start of his pirating career. This opens up something of a plot hole – seeing as we have seen Jack give the compass away before, but hey, forget about plot holes and just enjoy the movie for what it is: a horrible pirate film that we’ll all enjoy anyway because it’s got Captain Jack Sparrow.

Oh, and if you thought you’d be seeing much of Will or Elizabeth, you’d be wrong; Will gets less than one minute of screentime and Elizabeth only gets a few seconds.