A Slightly More Than Casual Fan’s Reaction to Avenger 4 Trailer 1

Christopher Estrada for RunPee
Chris Estrada: RunPee’s Newest Guest Geek Extraordinaire!

Guest article by Christopher Estrada

WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp, and the trailer for Avengers: End Game. 

Wow… Ironman’s helmet really looks beaten… Because it was. And he was. Pretty severely when Thanos nearly snuffed out the life of Tony Stark. I didn’t expect Tony to survive that fight. In fact I’d prepared myself for the death of all the original team when going to see Avengers: Infinity War. But then Dr. Strange pulled the craziest rabbit out of Knowhere when he handed over the Time Stone. Thanos spares Tony and steps through a portal to Wakanda, where he snaps and turns half of us to dust. (I was spared by Thanos… [http://www.DidThanosKill.me/])

Back to the present day. We see and hear Tony power on the Ironman helmet to record a message for Pepper Potts. He’s fairly confident that his death is about a day away, drifting through the vacuum of space.

Gosh. Why must we be depressed even more?!

Cut to the Avengers’ base in Upstate New York. Cap’, Black Widow, Banner, and Thor are all shown in mourning. Which is normal and to be expected. They even show us a kinder, sadder side of Nebula, who lost Gamora, her adopted sister. Strange, considering she has tried to kill her several times.

Bruce stands before displays of Scott Lang (Ant-Man), Shuri, sister of T’Challa (Black Panther), and Peter Parker (Spider-Man). It’s not clear to me why he would be torn over the loss of Scott. As far as we know, they’ve never met. Hulk wasn’t around during Civil War, and Banner likely wasn’t hanging out with a cat burglar before going on the run before the MCU kicked off in 2008. So there is no clear connection between Bruce and Scott. Not even Hank Pym. Bruce only knows that Scott exists from brief remarks between Black Widow and Cap’.

Bruce being torn over Peter makes a bit of sense. He did get to see Pete in action before he was dragged into space with Tony, though Banner didn’t see Pete go into space. It’s a loose bond, but a bond nonetheless. Tony trusted the kid. Bruce trusts Tony, and by extension, Pete.

Thor is likely beating himself up. We see him sitting all lonesome in a gray hoodie, in a cold looking room. His head bowed. For a split second it looks like he’s removed the prosthetic eye. But… No… He just opened that eye slower, or delayed. The God of Thunder lost half of his Asgardian refugees when Thanos attacked seeking the Space Stone, inside the Tesseract. Then he lost another half of them in The Snap. So we’re down to 25% of the Asgardians we saw escape from Valhalla in Thor: Ragnarok. We can only hope that Valkyrie, Korg, and Meek are still out there somewhere.

Through all of this, Steve and Nat have been talking, voicing over these clips. They’re telling us what we know, and what we felt at the end of Infinity War, and still feel today.

But what really gets me through all this… is Steve’s hair. It’s perfect. Like, it doesn’t make sense in the context given. He’s depressed, in mourning. His best friend, his allies, have died in front of him. The guy he disagrees with, but respects, is lost in space, and for all Cap’ knows, turned to dust as well.

Why then is his hair perfectly styled? Did he wake up depressed and decide, “Hey, let me gel my hair and shave the beard before I go and talk about the end of the world with Nat”?

Does this really matter? No. It’s a movie. I get it. But still. It’s out of place to me. I mean… Natasha is another story. Her hair is a bit longer and not styled beyond a quick brushing. It flaps around quite freely. Her hair fits. But his doesn’t. Back to what matters…

Finally Nat gives Steve a small pep talk, saying that, “This is gonna work, Steve.” He looks at her and replies that he knows it will. That, “I don’t know what I’m gonna do if it doesn’t.” The Avengers “A” is shown being reconstructed from dust, followed by the full Avengers title beaming over, and the sub-title, End Game, dusting and flashing in below. Then Scott Lang shows up at the front gate of the compound and asks to be buzzed in.

Wait… What? Wasn’t he lost to the Quantum Realm when Thanos snapped and killed the Pyms and Hope?

Cliffhanger!

Guess we’ll have to wait for the next trailer. Unless Marvel/Disney wants to torture us and not release another trailer. Just make us wait until the movie premieres. I’ll be at an opening night showing. How ‘bout you?

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Trailer Review by Christopher Estrada: “Take a look at my first e-book An Abducted Date. The book is available for free in all e-book formats. So anyone using a Kindle, Ipad, Tablet, Sony Reader, Nook, or Kobo e-reading device can enjoy. Also available as PDF format for reading on a computer! Read and Review!”

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Avengers 4 Title Announced – First Trailer Review

iron man in avengers endgame
Tony Stark, somewhere in the universe.

Oh dear Thor! I’m sitting here sobbing my heart out. I just watched the first (amazing!) trailer for Avengers 4, which finally has a title: Avengers: Endgame. It’s under three minutes long and I’m a mess. Just like I was at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. As soon as it flipped to the title card that dissolved into ASHES, the tears started, and I lost it.

As I’m sure the producers intended.

Damn them, DAMN THEM…okay, I also love them. So it’s complicated. If you’re a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’ll be leaking from the old tear ducts too.

SPOILERS HERE for Infinity War (has anyone not seen this yet?) and the Avengers 4: Endgame trailer. (Get caught up to Infinity War with only five films.)

Here’s the first Endgame trailer, with only a few spoilers (Ant Man‘s inclusion  should be no surprise, if you paid attention to the end of Ant Man and the Wasp).

But don’t blame me if you get something in your eye while watching this. (Full Trailer Review is below video.)

Alright — let’s get to my notes:

  • I knew Tony had a ship available to him, since the Guardians flew to Titan. But with Rocket and Nebula elsewhere, Tony has to figure out 1. how to fly Star Lord’s ship and 2. how the heck to find Earth. Now it seems he’s out of food and water. Also: oxygen. He gives a last message to — who else? — Pepper Potts, who he didn’t manage to marry before hitching a ride to Titan. I’m confident he’ll work this out — he’s a genius, right? And if he asphyxiates in space, the whole Iron Man arc will implode. He’s the brains, while Cap is the heart. An ignominious death won’t satisfy. And, trust me, fans would get ugly.
  • Nooooo! That dusting logo is killing me. Remember when they did that to the title card during the end credits to Infinity War? All the feels just came rushing back.
  • Thanos’ armor is hanging like a scarecrow, perhaps at Thanos’ farm. It’s a pretty world. I wonder if anyone else is on it. There’s a castle-looking building way up on a mountain in the background.
  • We see someone strolling through fields of thistle flowers (?), brushing them with a big gloved hand. Probably Thanos. I can’t tell if the glove is the Gauntlet. Wasn’t that broken by the Snap? Black Widow voice-overs about how Thanos did what he said he’d do.
  • Cut to a wide shot of the Avenger’s compound.
  • OMG how DARE they show a picture of Peter Parker (presumed dead). TEH FEELS, THEY HAS MEEEEEEE……
  • Anyone catch Shuri on the screen just before Peter? We  know she’s been confirmed alive by the MCU producers, so it seems these are people listed as Missing and not Presumed Dead. You have to catch the right second to see this. Also, we see that Scott Lang (Ant Man) is prominently displayed.
  • Where’s Bruce Banner? Oh, there he is!! I was distracted by the cheap shot with Peter Parker. Banner’s got his hand over his face as he watches the screen of the missing. Specifically when young Peter’s face comes up. I know, Bruce, it hurts.
  • So, next. Where did Thor go? (Maybe he’s in the escape pod with Rocket, searching for Tony Stark? This would work. Also, Thor now controls the Bifrost, so he might be checking on the status of the Nine Realms. Or looking for Valkyrie and Korg. My sense is since he was so prominent in Infinity War, Endgame might feature more of Cap.)
  • Where is Nebula? Why don’t I remember where Nebula is?
  • I assume the producers are withholding Captain Marvel from any of this. Patience! 😉
  • Back to the actual trailer. We’re in the Avengers hangar deck at sunrise/set.
  • And there’s our Thor. He’s looking lost in a hoodie — you can see the bleakness in his eyes. I want to hug everyone.
  • Nebula!!! I should finish this trailer before making some of these comments. She looks like she’s on a spaceship. Maybe with Tony. I still don’t remember where she was at the end of Infinity War. I even wrote an entire article about “those left behind”, but Nebula is not on the list, so they must have shown where she was.
  • Who is the hooded sword guy?? Is that Hawkeye?
  • YES, IT IS HAWKEYE! He’s somewhere in Asia and it looks like Natasha went to find him. Which makes me think his entire family must have been dusted. He looks like a man driven insane by grief. Notice the street in China (?) is completely empty. Maybe, post-Snap, people are afraid to leave their homes. It must be an incredibly dark time across the universe. How nice for Thanos to be so happy with himself at the end of Infinity War.
  • Cap looks at an old photo. I assume Peggy Carter. He’s lost everyone who mattered to him now.
  • Captain America and Black Widow talk about the post-Snap universe. It’s grim. Cap wants to be optimistic, because the alternative is unthinkable. Cap has always been the biggest believer in truth and honor prevailing over evil, so I buy it. Black Widow has more of a cynical view of reality… but you can see she’s trying, for Cap’s sake, to salvage the situation.
  • Cut to the A4 logo, looking like the ashes reforming…but the music swells in a mighty crescendo of minor keys. Not a happy track. It’s game time.
  • Because this is Marvel, we even get an extra scene in the trailer: Ant Man waving and shouting at a security camera in front of the Avengers compound. The old van (containing the Quantum Tunnel) is right behind him. Remember, the Avengers think he’s dead. We end on a fun note of him saying basically, “Hey guys, remember me from that big airport fight? Can I come in?”  Nice. I appreciate a little lightness in this otherwise harrowing trailer.
  • We end on the A from Avengers superimposed on April, when the movie is expected to come out.

Overall, I’m super pleased this upcoming movie seems to have the real stakes we’ve waited 10 — soon 11 — years to pay off. April can’t get here soon enough. I wonder how many times I’ll watch this trailer? RunPee will do an MCU rewatch before Avengers: Endgame, and keep you updated with newly posted rewatch commentary.

Related MCU posts with our predictions: 

10 Ways Ant Man Could Escape the Quantum Realm

Once More, with Ant Man. Why him, and why now?

The 5 Movies You Need To Watch Before Infinity War

Even more: Read every RunPee article about the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Any Endgame early predictions? Leave your comments below!

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Aquaman

Movie Review - AquamanWhat does DC have to do to shake off the feeling that it’s the poor man’s Marvel?

For starters: make better movies.

I’m not saying Aquaman is bad. Far from it. It’s a decent movie despite being as predictable as it is visually appealing. But it’s no better than the first Thor movie. Which would be fine if Aquaman came out a decade ago. Unfortunately, Marvel beat them to the punch. DC is trying to find their feet while Marvel is breaking Olympic records.

Here’s my best guess why Aquaman doesn’t soar: it just doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s an origin story for sure, but not much of one. For such a long movie, the origin of Aquaman only comes up in a few brief flashbacks and only one of them — when he’s a young boy — really works.

There’s a little romance, which is fine, but the timing of the scenes are completely wrong.

Then there’s a few scenes that feel like they were stolen from a National Treasure sequel.

The worst part of all of this is the inclusion of Black Manta. I don’t know why the writers felt compelled to throw this character into the story, because it only drags the plot beneath the waves.

All of this happens in the middle third of the movie, robbing the plot of any real dramatic weight when it needs it the most.

It looks like the creative decision makers behind the DC movies heard the criticism about their previous movies being too dark, and decided to “lighten things up a bit.” All I can say is it’s just not that easy. The audience needs a feeling of impending doom so the story grabs them, but there’s also a time and place for the distractions that make a story memorable.

That’s why DC movies are like a mixed salad of moments while Marvel serves a complex meal, where each serving is meant to compliment the others.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: We have 4 good Peetimes. We recommend the 2nd and 3rd over the others. The 2nd Peetime is a chase scene — pretty — but nothing you haven’t seen in previous scenes. The 3rd is mostly a music montage, followed by a transitional plot that’s easy to summarize.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Aquaman. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Why Newt Scamander is a Fantastic, Yet Underrated Hero

newt scamander in fantastic beasts where to find them crimes of grindelwald
Not the usual male protagonist, but my new favorite hero.

Not every hero has to fit the typical mold we’re so very used to in epic storytelling. It’s always either the manly man’s man who is the big, strong, authoritative handsome guy, like Thor and Captain Kirk. (This really doesn’t even have to be a man — look at fighters like Black Widow and Wonder Woman — but we’re going to focus this piece on men, because it’s specifically about Newt Scamander from the Wizarding World’s Fantastic Beasts series.)

Or the protagonistic hero is frequently The Chosen One, who is “Called to the Quest” by nature of birthright or a unique ability, like Harry Potter himself, Luke Skywalker of Tatooine, Paul Atreides of Dune, Neo from the Matrix, or even pint-sized Frodo of the Shire.

Some men like Thor, Hercules, and King Arthur fit both the strong fighting man and Chosen One categories. It’s a very well-worn premise. These heroes fit the archetype most clearly defined by Joseph Campbell’s Journey of the Hero.

The third most common kind of male hero is a leader by nature of being the smartest, most talented guy in any room, like Captain Picard, Dumbledore, Gandalf, or Dr. Strange.

There’s also a fourth common heroic category: the lovable rogue with a heart of gold. Mal from Firefly, Han Solo of Star Wars, and Starlord from the Marvel Universe nestle right in there.  Iron Man may be more smartass than badass, but he fits the mold, along with being super smart like Dr. Strange (and to wit, in his words: genius, billionaire, philanthropist.)

I freely love these heroes, these ‘accepted’ stereotypes. I grew up adoring them and never thought much about it before.

So what about the humble, good-natured, perhaps shy man, exhibiting gentleness and compassion? His skill sets usually don’t include fighting; he isn’t of noble birth, and is actually not interested in the big events of the world except as they effect his personal goals: in Newt’s case, communing with and conserving the endangered magical creatures of the world first, and secondly, to find his girlfriend and help her (she is the one actually interested in fighting Grindelwald).  I’m not sure he even believes in evil at all: he says he doesn’t choose sides, and twice ignores Dumbledore’s behest to take the safe house card in Paris.

I think an attempt was made in Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald to have Dumbledore retcon Newt into being a sort of Chosen One, in the mold of Frodo Baggins (“You’re a man with no lust for power, so you’re the only one who can do this…blah blah bah” I was pleased to see Newt still wanted none of it).

This video below by Pop Culture Detective came highly recommended to me by several RunPee fans, most of them, happily, from men. And it’s AWESOME.

If you read the comments, it’s clear there’s room out there for exactly this kind of protagonist among the male gender. I applaud every bit of it. I’ve loved Newt Scamander as a new kind of protagonist as soon as I realized his social awkwardness likely stemmed from a bit of Asperger’s Syndrome: he approaches people (save his very, very few friends) in the same way one would a dangerous animal, in a submissive posture with almost no eye contact. And yet he comes alive most when he’s loving on the fantastic beasts in both the magical suitcase and his wonderful zoo-like apartment. Freddy Redmayne is astounding as Newt. The video below shows a few clips that can’t not make you go Awwwwwww.

I hope Newt isn’t marginalized as the series plows on. We have three more films of which he is the intended main character. But from his unusual nature, even JK Rowling worries he might be pushed aside for more typical male heroes to assume the center spot.

Do you believe we have room in the world of epic genre entertainment for a gentle, quiet, and unassuming male figure to remain in the center of political intrigue, wizardly power plays and world-dominating plots? Do you like Newt at all? Please use the comments section below.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Yes, it’s about Dune – The Lyrics to Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice

sand dune weapon of choice
Yep. Here’s a Dune.

If you know anything at all about Dune, the grand brick-sized novel by Frank Herbert, you know there are gigantic, dangerous, and strangely helpful Sandworms featured in it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan or hater of the Lynch movie version, Sy Fy’s mini-series, or the potential interpretation by Jodorowsky. One thing they all keep intact are the worms, and the use of the Bene Gesserit Voice.

Why Fatboy Slim made a top pop song about Dune remains a mystery (they must be fans, I guess. Like Led Zepplin and The Lord of the Rings). But the song is undeniably catchy, the lyrics are super fun…and the wacked out video with Christopher Walken FLYING around a hotel atrium is truly inspired.

If you haven’t deciphered all the lyrics of Weapon of Choice, we’ve faithfully recorded them here. And the sweet, sweet music video is on the bottom for your viewing enjoyment.

Weapon of Choice: Fatboy Slim (2001)

Come forward and get your teeth smoked, word
Come forward and get your teeth smoked, word
Come forward and get your teeth smoked, word
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Come forward and get your
Don’t be shocked by tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice
Don’t be shocked by tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice yeah
Listen to the sound of my voice
You can check it on out, it’s the weapon of choice yeah
Don’t be shocked by tone of my voice (aah…)
It’s the new weapon, the weapon of choice yeah
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
Or you can blow wit’ us
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’…
Walk without rhythm, it won’t attract the worm
Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm
Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm
if you walk without rhythm, huh, you’ll never learn
Don’t be shocked by the tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice
Don’t be shocked by the tone of my voice
Check out my new weapon, weapon of choice
Be careful, we don’t know them
Be careful, we don’t know them
Be careful, we don’t know them
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
Or you can blow wit’ us
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’…
Organically grown
Through the hemisphere I roam
To make love to the angels of life, yeah
and my girl …..
I guess you just don’t understand
It’s gone beyond being a man
As I drift off into the night
I’m in flight
She’s a boy’s scoundral gal
But I’m gonna hold my cool
Cause the music rules
Yeah, so move on baby, yeah
Halfway between the gutter and the stars
Yeah
Halfway between the gutter and the stars
Yeah
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
Or you can blow wit’ us
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’ this
Or you can blow wit’ that
You can blow wit’…
Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Why Fantastic Beasts 2 is not so Fantastic

poster for Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald
Who are all of these PEOPLE?

I feel like a guilty Gryffindor, A Harry Potter heel, and a bad geek, because I have such confused thoughts about Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald. I’m supposed to love it: I’m a crazy fan for everything Harry Potter. I even came around on the first Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them — which I had mixed feelings about originally . So, surely it will be the same for me on Crimes of Grindelwald, right? Right??

Truth be told, while my immediate review/reaction was less than stellar, I liked it a WHOLE lot more on my 2nd and 3rd viewings. I considered changing my review, and even bumped it up a few grades. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling there was a lot inherently wrong with CoG. It reminded me, unfortunately, of my experience viewing  Star Wars: The Last Jedi, another very pretty but deeply flawed movie. Yikes.

So I sat on it and let things digest in my brain, avoiding other people’s reviews. Until last night. That’s when I took to You Tube to see if my perspective was just dead wrong. WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Turns out: no. I mean, I’m right. The other Potterheads are just as confused and butt-hurt too. Attached are some of the best video breakdowns of why CoG failed, based on impossible inconsistencies within JK Rowling’s OWN canon, in small part — and in just weird cinematic storytelling, in large part.

large cast in fantastic beasts 2
This isn’t even everyone.

To wit: who ARE all these characters? Why should we care about the endless in-depth backstories and reveals of folks we’ve never met, some of which die right there in the same film? In Avengers: Infinity War, by comparison, it took 18 films to earn their immense casting roundup. In-Universe, The climactic Battle of Hogwarts was full of characters we knew and loved — absolutely LOVED, and died, and #YesDamnYouJK for breaking my heart there.

It doesn’t help that CoG undid the main emotional beats of the previous film in the second (also recalling The Last Jedi. #WTG).

As for the eponymous Grindelwald, we don’t get to see a lot of actual crimes. He orders the killing of one family (and their toddler child, which, yes, bad)…and, um, boots his faithful lizard to its death out the prison carriage for the ‘crime’ of being affectionate…and, hmm. Escapes from  prison, sort of, though it seems he maybe wasn’t in it…? The whole breakout scene was unclear. He bothers to save the life of one of his jailers, which I found a nice enough gesture.  He also holds a rally protesting the Holocaust. This is the most evil wizard of his generation, the Big Bad before Voldemort?

man with the eye parasite in Crimes of Grindelwald
“Tentacles”: I don’t remember his deal, either.

While Johnny Depp was never my first choice to play Grindelwald, he wasn’t awful in the part. I think the main flaws in CoG, which are legion, is that half the film was devoted to useless flashbacks and — let’s face it — underwhelming and/or incredibly contrived reveals. Who is Corvus?  (I’ll do you one better: WHY is Corvus?) What is the incredibly tangled Lestrange family tree about and why should we care? Who is Tentacle Guy  — do you remember he was in this film and what his purpose was?

Then there’s this: Credence is a Dumbledore? How does this in any way make sense? It’s like everyone is a Skywalker, all over again.

Even Queenie and Jacob, so reliable in the first Fantastic Beasts, were poorly used here. I see what Rowling was after with Queenie’s arc, but the logic doesn’t stick. You’ll see what I mean in the videos.

Where the film DID shine was three-fold: I continue to love and admire Newt, the fantastic beasts themselves were still a joyous addition to the lore, and Jude Law’s Dumbledore was note-perfect. And I love being among wizards again, especially at Hogwarts, albeit briefly. (Also, Tina’s eyes are like a salamander’s, which is a little bit true, and very cute, and if you think about Newt Scamander’s whole name, it’s essentially “Salamander Salamander”, so Awwwww.)

a cute salamander
How Newt Sees Tina

With no further opinionated grumblings from me, here are the best five reviewer videos breaking down and backing up my fretful thoughts on Fantastic Beasts 2:  (PS: start with the excellent SuperCarlin Brothers, and work your way down. All these videos will take a while to view, and I put them in order of insightfulness in my ranking scale. Your mileage may vary.)

What did you think of this second-of-five installment of Fantastic Beasts? We’ve got a comments section below: please use it.

Lastly, if you’re still reading, here are our RunPee reviews on the two films thus far:

Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts 2 Review from a Harry Potter Novice

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

A Very Harry Cruise – Hogwarts at Sea

Harry potter luxury cruise
A luxury Harry Potter cruise. It’s nicer than apparating.

I can’t put my jaw back in place. It dropped when I heard there was going to be a week-long luxury Harry Potter cruise. I want more information. Also, I want $4,000 to pay for this.

My dream Harry Potter cruise would have Hogwarts teachers, with classes in Defense Against The Dark Arts, Muggle Studies, Potions, and Caring for Magical Creatures. We’d play Quidditch above the pool. The last night would have a fancy formal Yule Ball. And I wouldn’t mind if a few actors from the movies made an appearance.

Ooh, and on the first night we could have a Sorting Hat ceremony-slash-feast! House Elves would make our beds and leave fantastic beast towels on our pillows. The shopping level would look like Diagon Alley; all meals would include Treacle Tarts and unlimited Butterbeer.

Honestly, I think this ship should hire me as a cruise director.  Like Julie McCoy from The Love Boat, except with magic.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

The Three Types of Movie Reviews at RunPee

runpee-movie-reviews
RunPee’s movie reviews are the “Reel” deal. 🙂

At RunPee.com, we write plenty of movie reviews. A lot (and I mean a LOT, like literally hundreds and possibly a thousand) of insightful write-ups, upon viewing 10 years of films… all to get you Peetimes for the RunPee app.

New, current reviews can be read on either our blog, or in the app (all reviews are linked from the individual movie screens). The vast majority of our reviews are written by the members of the RunPee family; they’re as opinionated as we are ourselves.

Recently we added two new categories of featured reviews to our content index. So it’s not just the brand-new flicks…we want to let you know what we think about every movie out there. A life-long task, to be honest. You can help too, telling us what you think of a movie in the comments.

Here are the three kinds of film reviews at RunPee: 

  1. New Movie Reviews  – We just call these simply “Movie Reviews.” These are the articles we write “live”, so to speak, the day after a new movie comes out on the big screen. We cover mostly wide releases (since we don’t see a lot of limited release films.) The majority of reviews on this blog are for these new movies.
  2. Movie Rewatch Reviews – These rewatch reviews are for movies we’ve seen before, but are taking a second (or third, or more) viewing. These include both classic films from long ago,  and movies that are relatively recent, but decided to take a closer, more analytical look at.
  3. Virgin Movie Reviews – A Virgin Movie Review is one where we haven’t seen the movie in question when it came out, and finally got around to seeing it — with no particular expectations, and often no foreknowledge of plot, or actors, or relative popularity. It’s a lot of fun to see what a newbie thinks of something everyone else has seen and formed opinions about. Imagine seeing Back to the Future, or The Raiders of the Lost Ark now, with no prior knowledge? (We’re too geeky to even pretend we haven’t watch these dozens of times. But you get the idea.)

So, hey: if you read a review you enjoy, do us a solid and Like or Share it on your social media of your choice. Or comment. Word of Mouth is our best (and only) marketing avenue — we’re grateful movie fans love us. Thank you!

Find most of our great RunPee Movie Reviews here. 

Learn all about the RunPee App (the only app in the galaxy telling you exactly when to Run and Pee at the movies so you don’t miss the important bits. Or if there is anything extra after the credits.) #YesWe’reSerious  🙂

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Can Dune be done? Should Dune be done? Bringing Long Books to the Screen

herbert sandworm dune
If you walk without rhythm, you won’t attract the worm.

Until the last generation, when Peter Jackson proved The Lord of the Rings could not only be made into a successful film — but be so off-the-charts good that it took home 11 Oscar Awards — it was unheard of to succeed at translating most of the great sci-fi and fantasy epics of literature to the big screen.

That’s not for lack of trying. Larry McMurtry’s  Lonesome Dove book-to-film effort was a grand feat, but it’s the mini-series scale that made it work. The book is too big and involved to be made into one cinema-length film. Nowadays it would be at least a film trilogy, but I don’t think it needs a reboot — the 1989 miniseries is already a flawless snapshot of the last gasps of the Western Expansion. So they could make a new movie with these characters, yes, but I’d say it’s time to move on and  tackle other works of genre literature. (Also, who’s going to try improve on Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duval?)

Watership Down is another epic tale in a brick-sized book, but it’s a hard sell, being entirely from the point of view of rabbits. And it’s absolutely not for children: the themes are mature and often mesmerizingly frightening. (The rabbits even have their own word for being stuck in a “mesmerizingly frightened” state — called Tharn –). The 1978 animated feature has its fans, but most people who’ve loved the book pretend the “movie” doesn’t exist. (Seriously, it’s like a long scary drug trip.) Hazel’s troop of rabbits could now be done with puppets, animatronics, or CGI — instead of animation —  but the question here is “Why?” We’ve seen entire CGI movies like Avatar, and they can be lush and sweeping films, but it still remains that Watership Down must be seen at rabbit-height and from rabbit-eyes. It would take a very special studio or director to take that on. This is probably why nobody is chasing this particular story at the moment.

Here’s a full length video of Watership Down, if you’re curious:

In  the Post-LOTR and Harry Potter world,  the densest, longest, and most involving books can come alive on film…with inspired directing, gobs of studio money (and little studio interference), the right acting ensemble, and legions of dedicated crew members. Not to mention a crack PR team dropping hints and teaser trailers to excite the fans. (See: anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

The key to adapting epic novels to the big screen, it seems, is respecting the source story. Behind the sets, Sir Ian McKellen (as Gandalf) would pace around Peter Jackson with this LOTR novels, saying, essentially, “Peter!That’s not how Tolkien wrote it!” This is probably one of the many interconnected reasons why Lord of the Rings, previously considered unfilmable, worked so well.

It’s not that a script can’t deviate from a source, but the result should clearly be recognizable from it. Book fans will be waiting for certain beats, beloved details, fantastic settings worthy of a grand story, and most of all: a faithfulness of essence to its literary origins.

There’s a line between slavishly book-faithful recreations (as in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and movies that recalls its novel by name only (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, AKA Blade Runner, or Lynch’s Dune).

So, yes, finally. We get to Dune. It’s been tackled several times, although none were recent enough to benefit from the current seamless FX at our disposal. (Which doesn’t excuse anything at all. Look back on the practical effects of Star Wars: A New Hope, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and tell me those films failed — they don’t.)

david lynch dune
Lynch’s Dune – looks good, tastes bad.

Lynch’s 1984 Dune remains a problem, and its not from poor effects. It’s mainly that Lynch took Herbert’s book, tore a few pages he liked from it, and threw away the rest. It’s only “Dune” because the characters have the same names, there are Fremen and there are Sandworms, and Arrakis, the desert planet, is still called Dune. Otherwise, it’s a sprawling, sometimes grotesque mess, bearing little likeness to the story they aim to tell. I admit they got to the story’s conclusion just fine, but the path to get there was completely unorthodox. I know Lynch’s Dune has its fans, so I’ll let it lie.

scy fy dune
SyFy gives Dune a try. Definitely more Herbert, but definitely still wrong.

When SyFy made Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000) into a television miniseries, you can see there were many attempts made to be faithful to the book…but Sy Fy also took liberties in the telling. The main arguments I’ve heard seem to coalesce around the casting, that the actors didn’t look like the part, or didn’t act like the part. I’d say in both versions they got Jessica right, and Chani, and Irulan, for that matter, but the men’s roles are hit or miss. I think they got a lot more right than wrong, and crafted a personable, sensible, enjoyable tale without a whisper of heart plugs.

In my grading system, I’d give Lynch’s Dune a D+. (While I thought it was overall atrocious, he got a few things right, and that’s where the + comes in.) I’d give SyFy’s Dune a nice fair B score. It crumples a little as time marches on, but at least it’s recognizably Dune. SyFy even went on to combine Dune Messiah and Children of Dune as a second mini-series, which was ambitious, welcome, and mostly effective.  That one gets a B as well; maybe a   B+ — I’d have to see it again.

jodorowksy dune
Jodorosky’s Dune. Third time’s a charm?

A lot of people mention Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), which isn’t actually a movie. It’s more like an appetizer for a film, or a promise of Dune. You can watch the movie-length documentary for $3 on Amazon, or check out the free trailers on IMDb. However, if you watch the video, you can’t help but notice that it’s even stranger than Lynch’s version. There’s a lot of people who want to see this one picked up by the studios, but I’m not one of them. I want to see the story the way Herbert saw it in his mind’s eye.

The time is right to try Dune again, using a well-funded production studio, a director who is comfortable with an epic scale,  and detailed sets in grand desert locations. I want to see world-building. Toss in some smart humor, dynamic ensemble casting, and of course, magnificent sandworms: make me long to be a rider. The movie should be a visual delight, engulfing the audience so much you’ll think you can smell the sietches, taste the spice, and feel the grit of sand, sand, sand.

So, it’s exciting news that director Denis Villeneuve plans to try his hand at a multi-film Dune. He says he hopes to make Dune into the Star Wars movie he never saw. “Most of the main ideas of Star Wars are coming from Dune, so it’s going to be a challenge to [tackle] this,” Villeneuve said. “In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults. We’ll see.” (Read the Dune News page on IMDb.)

It ‘s a promising start. We’ll record the news for this Dune project as it comes along.

While you wait for the right version of Dune to thrill you, entertain yourself with Fatboy Slim’s song Weapon of Choice. The lyrics are definitely Dune-inspired, even if the setting isn’t. But watching Christopher Walken putzing  around an empty hotel is a whole lot of awesome by itself…

Which version of Dune is your favorite? Do you think it will be done right by Villeneuve?

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Thanksgiving Holiday Movies

snoopy charlie brown thanksgiving
I guess it’s okay for birds to eat birds after all.

I originally thought there was just the one Thanksgiving movie: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Turns out the RunPee fans stepped in to correct this error, and gave me a few more Thanksgiving films to consider.

The first one to add is a 30 minute TV Special that comes annually on Turkey Day. It’s the animated short film where Snoopy makes toast and popcorn to serve his Thanksgiving guests,  which turns out to be a problem for everyone… until Linus gives a little speech about the first Thanksgiving, and about…well…thankfulness. So, by now you’ve guessed it: it’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. And I think maybe Snoopy didn’t want to serve a turkey in the first place, seeing that his best friend is a bird. As I child I never noticed that, since food was something that came from the grocery store. But it doesn’t matter much, since Snoopy serves Woodstock a slice of turkey at the end anyway.

Is it the best Charlie Brown Special? I’d say no — the best ones are the Halloween and Christmas Specials, but never mind. Watching these always heralded the extended October through December holiday season, and have endured through their simple and sincere sentimentality. And I think calling this racist is kind of overthinking it. It’s like admitting Lucy is a bully (which she is).  Or I don’t know. Franklin does look a little lonely on his side of the table. You tell me.

It turns out you can’t watch this for free on You Tube, but you can buy it for $2: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

There’s more. A lot more. If you love this holiday, sit back and appreciate this surprisingly bountiful list of movies about Thanksgiving:

  • The Oath (this one just came out)
  • Jack and Jill (Adam Sandler does Turkey Day)
  • Free Birds (animated)
  • Garfield’s Thanksgiving (animated)
  • A Chipmunk’s Celebration (animated)
  • A Winnie The Pooh Thanksgiving (animated)
  • Hallmark Movies A Family Thanksgiving
  • The Mouse on the Mayflower (animated)
  • The Turkey Caper (animated)
  • Thankskilling (yes, a horror movie where the birds strike back)
  • Maybe Spider-Man…? (I’ve included a video arguing just this)
  • A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (wow, we’re reaching way back now)

I think that’s plenty.

Let’s get straight to the videos then, shall we?

Here’s a scene from the Steve Martin/John Candy delicious duo from Planes, Trains and Automobiles:

Or you can buy the full show for $3 on YouTube.

Here’s the trailer for Jack and Jill:

Free Birds is actually free on You Tube, a full length film:

Garfield’s 25 minute special is free too:

The Chipmunk’s Celebration:

Winnie the Pooh gets in on the action:

The Turkey Caper:

Hallmark’s Family Film:

 The Mouse on the Mayflower:

The full ThanksKilling trailer:

If you’re feeling open to a new idea, here’s an argument why Sam Raimi’s Spiderman is the perfect Thanksgiving film:

There’s actually more movies I could list, but honestly, I’m feeling a bit full. Kind of like after the Thanksgiving feast, where you want everyone to go home so you can sleep off those tryptophans in peace.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)