Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sea Monsters, Superheroes, & Strikers

Dig that. That clip appeared on Yahoo about a week ago, and while I'm sure it's an edited clip (there are big sequential gaps in there), it's still badass! I'm particularly partial to seeing Beowulf fight Sea Monsters as it was the very first sequence I ever storyboarded for Robert Zemeckis when I started on the film. In the script it was a paragraph, about two inches of text which basically said "Beowulf fights sea monsters during a race." Bob told me to just have a run at it and have fun.....I followed those instructions to the letter. Even though years have passed since I came up with it, and hundreds of artists added their respective voices to the sequence, many of my ideas are still there. And that makes me feel like a goddamn big shot- just having had some influence.....ok, I'm actually feeling a little sheepish...a small smirk tugs at the corner of my mouth.....that was cool. So, yeah, Beowulf coming up out of the water on the teeth of the monster and jumping off onto another monster, using his sword to tear through it belly....that was me. Neato. They used it. Can't wait to see the finished film. Should be a pip. Too bad that the art of book didn't include any storyboard work, but fear not, after the film is released, I'll put my sequences up.
And speaking of art books- turns out that the Trick 'r Treat artbook IS available. Not through Amazon or any of your local bookstores (you still have to wait until NEXT halloween to get yer mitts on it there), but directly through the publisher, Palace Press. Go pick yourself up a copy. Now. These guys also published the Art of Monster House and they really know how to put together an eye-poppingly beautiful collection of stills and art. Check out these pages.....

What else? Well Japan is keeping me extremely happy by continuing to release both intense and nutty Kaiju television programs that I already need to see right 'effing now. But I'll just have to wait for DVD release. Oh well. First up is this: Yes sir, they brought back Ultraseven. And it's about time. The past few years have seen Tsuburaya revisiting much of their old concepts and characters. Ultraman Max- while being a great new show was still formulaic (but the japanese audience knows what they like, and I SO agree with them),and started a new trend of bringing old monsters from the earlier series back to take on Ultraman. Ultraman Mebius took this a step further by utilizing the entire history of the Ultra series- from Ultraman through Ultraman 80- as a single continuity. When old monsters showed up, the GUYS team (you know, the Science Patrol?) had an extensive database of past kaiju attacks to help the new, inexperienced Mebius take them on. Various Ultra characters returned in different story arcs which culminated in the movie, where the original Ultraman, Ultraman Jack, Ultraseven, and Ultraman Ace returned to help Mebius. Super fucking cool, that was.
So revisiting the character of Ultraseven makes sense. At least to me. The cool thing is that Tsuburaya is breaking formula (something both they and Toho do every couple of years- sort of "experiments" that never really pay off, and they go right back to the old ways) to create more of an adult drama. They did this back with Ultraman Nexus- which was a very dark and complex series that many fans rallied against and I thought was just one of the most brilliant bits of television ever made- with a payoff (after forty-odd episodes) that literally made me jump off my couch in excitement. Ultraseven X looks to be another walk on the wild side for the Ultra series and I'm hoping it works. Sure the music is cheesy and I'm really getting tired of the floofy long hair that Japanese heroes are donning these days, but just look at those monster fights! If you google hard enough you can find the early episodes online already.
On the flip side is Kawaii Jenny. Which is just plain insane. It's super powered dolls.....yes dolls, fighting giant robots and monsters. You can read about it over at Sci-fi Japan. For as goofy as this thing sounds, I'm ever so curious to see how they bring the little Barbie-looking heroines to life. I'm thinking these guys saw Robot Chicken and said, "Yep. That's for us....but let's add some Kaiju suitmation in for good measure." And I just love it, LOVE IT, when they decide to use old robot toys as inspiration for their giant robots.
On a final note, this Robot Operator wants to extend his heartfelt support to all those hard typing writers of the WGA out there walking the picket lines. This is an important issue and I can only hope they get this thing resolved soon. Give 'em hell boys and girls, and give it to 'em quickly. Perhaps you could use red hot pokers and while you're at it heat up that funny brush and the little shovel that rests next to the pokers near the fireplace. I want so much for the Hollywood machine to get its gears in order. This working stiff still needs to keep the monkeys fed.

Listening to: Sunset Rubdown
Watching: Mothra 3