Above is a 5-minute short film by Gareth Evans, director of the incredible martial arts films The Raid and The Raid 2. He had some of his Indonesian friends visiting him in his native Wales so they threw together a little samurai fight scene. It’s very impressive and shows how well Evans choreographs and films action. Worth a watch. Below we have our news of the week including China making a live-action Transformers musical, Marvel shutting down the fan animated X-Men cartoon and Marvel’s new TV spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a surprising new actor and character. Also, Vin Diesel playing with toys, DC Comics updates the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and Paul Rudd trying to beat Dr. Stephen Hawking at chess.
DC Comics’ parent company Warner Bros. owns the rights to the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 60s and 70s and they’ve decided to update them. DC is releasing a new line of comics in May with updates on characters like The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Wacky Races, Space Ghost, Johnny Quest and more. Jim Lee updated Scooby Doo to apparently include a hipster Shaggy for Scooby Apocalypse. That’s… weird. Fred has tribal tats, Velma has a drone and Scooby has, I dunno, an eyepiece that shoots out emojis? I’m surprised Daphne isn’t driving an Uber. It’s like all the millennial ideas tossed in a blender.
But Future Quest by Doc Shaner and Jeff Parker looks pretty great. I was a big fan of The Herculoids as a kid so I’m interested in seeing them again. The story unites all the action/adventure/sci-fi characters into one epic crossover story. Also, the update on Wacky Races to become Wacky Race Land by Mad Max: Fury Road designer Mark Sexton is pretty innovative and cool-looking.
Okay, we all saw this one coming. Joel Furtado is a guy who made the animated online series X-Men: Danger Room Protocols. But after just one episode on YouTube, Marvel sent him a cease and desist. And Mr. Furtado was surprised. He said he sees t-shirts and fan art all the time so he didn’t think his animated show would be any different. Well, he may not have had the million-dollar Star Trek fan movie but companies that own intellectual property HAVE to do this to protect their property. If they let too much of it out, their trademarks can actually lapse. So just because some terrible t-shirt on Rift featuring, I dunno, let’s say Power Rangers with Pokemon schemes, exists does not mean you’ll be overlooked. You roll the dice when you create something based off of someone else’s ideas. And I’m not saying his creation was bad. It was very well done. But that’s the thing. The better the product, the more likely a company is to shut you down for using their property.
ABC is rapidly moving forward to make a new show based on Marvel comics. This will be a spinoff of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featuring their characters Mockingbird and her ex-husband Lance Hunter. It’ll be called Marvel’s Most Wanted. And they just cast actor Delroy Lindo in it. He’ll be playing Dominic Fortune. In the comics, Fortune was a guy who decided to be a roguish mercenary in the 1930s. He was first featured in 1975 by artist/writer Howard Chaykin. The character later showed up as an older man in some Spider-Man comics. I’m guessing he won’t be from as far back as the ’30s on the TV show, but chances are he’ll be a semi-retired mercenary that hires Mockingbird and Hunter as his field agents. It may even allow them to stay on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Are the Transformers the ideal subject matter for a live-action theater musical? No, obviously not. But what if the folks behind the Spider-Man Broadway musical funded it? Oh wait. That failed. No, I guess the idea for a Transformers musical debuting in China is probably not going to set the world on fire. Still, I can’t wait to hear Optimus Prime belt out:
And Goodness knows
The Decepticons’ lives are lonely
Megatron will die alone
It just shows when you’re Megatron
You’re left only
On your own
This video is hilarious. Paul Rudd, with help from Keanu Reeves, takes on Dr. Stephen Hawking in a game of Quantum Chess. One of the best things to come out this week.
Why is Vin Diesel playing with these Street Sharks toys? First of all, it doesn’t matter. We’re just grateful that he is. But it’s also because it’s 1994, pre-Fast and Furious, and it was the Toy Fair. “I don’t have friends. I have toys.”
It’s long been a theory that Michael Jackson composed some of the music for Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog 3 game, released to the Genesis back in 1994. But Sega denied it then and officially still does. However, a writer at Huffington Post decided to get to the bottom of things and three sound engineers that worked on the game (including one who also worked on a later Jackson album) admit that he did compose three music pieces: The Ice Cap Zone theme, the end theme and the Carnival Zone theme. It’s worth reading to see how it came about, how it was done and why his name was eliminated.
We’re doing another theme week starting on Monday. This one will be all about Star Trek: The Next Generation. That means we’ll review obscure TNG stuff like the VCR game, take a look at the careers of the actors, examine the show with some think pieces and have a lot of new Star Trek Problems comic strips. Hope you enjoy it.