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Fantasy

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In regards to film adaptations, video games have been the toughest to crack.  For the most part, we have been raised making our own films when we play the games ourselves.  Playing unbeatable levels gives us more drama and excitement than most film adaptation have even been able to give us.  Since the 1990s, the Warcraft video games have released more than a dozen strategy-based Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) that have entertained us through the years, so it’s a no-brainer that they would try to adapt this as a film.  With the popularity of not only the game, but fantasy films increasing through the years, it would seem like the right time to make an adaptation, so Legendary Pictures gives us Warcraft.  The film is directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), so the sci-fi credentials are there. Unfortunately, the film never really “gets it right” and is best described as a missed opportunity. (more…)

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Okay, let’s get the obvious bits out of the way: the first Dungeons And Dragons movie was a flop and for good reason. It was a cringeworthy, poorly thought-out piece of fantasy cinema which somehow managed to miss out on every single aspect of what made the game great, while delivering some of the worst performances the early 00’s had to offer. Granted, Jeremy Irons’ role as the evil wizard Profion gave us the baseline for every evil wizard BBEG we’ve crafted since, but that was about it. However, Warner Bros is currently considering a brand new approach to getting nerddom’s longest-standing tabletop RPG to the silver screen and they seem to have some pretty solid ideas about it…
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Game Of Thrones is the HBO mega-hit, the fantasy series which made grim & gritty cool again and flooded the Internet with a deluge of nascent nerds and incest jokes. However, according to the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the TV adaptation of The Song Of Ice And Fire series was almost never made in the first place, thanks to their first, disastrous pilot episode. According to a recent interview by the creators on the ScriptNotes podcast… (more…)

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With Winds of Winter officially and irrevocably delayed after a formal statement made by author George R. Martin, seasoned fantasy nerds of The Song of Fire And Ice series are considerably worried about the direction that the HBO mega-hit series, Game Of Thrones, might possibly take. Most fear that the story might diverge too much from the books and offer them a sub-par experience and others worry that the network might sacrifice a lot of the grim and gritty feel of the source material.

Thankfully, Sophie Turner (the actress portraying Sansa Stark) had great news for everyone involved as apparently, Season 6 promises a lot of really, really good things.

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Many nerds view Sword And Sorcery as the weird, closet-hippie grandpa of the fantasy genre: delivered in an episodic manner, the stories of the genre featured swashbuckling adventures galore, the occasional crossover with the Lovecraft Mythos and an overall tongue-in-cheek tone that poked fun at its heroes and authors even as it made them into staples of the genre. Conan the Cimmerian (created by fantasy mastermind Robert E. Howard) is the poster-child of the genre, still recognizable even among the most cynical of nerds.

Some would argue that the only reason he even came to dominate today’s pop culture was due to his legendary silver screen debut in 1982 with Conan The Barbarian, where he was first incarnated by future California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, followed by the less-than stellar 1984 sequel, Conan the Destroyer, which pretty much killed the franchise in one fell swoop. There  However, there is one last bit of really, really good news for all you old-school Sword And Sorcery fans out there…

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After years of speculation, a TV series forever languishing in development hell, along with fan outcry over the inherent troubles with creating The Dark Tower adaptation in the first place, the Stephen King fantasy epic seems to be finally be making a beeline for the silver screen. For anyone that’s still new to the fantasy genre, The Dark Tower is a western fantasy series written by horror mega-author Stephen King, spanning across seven books. It tells the story of Roland Deschain, son of Steven and last gunslinger of Gilead, as he crosses the Wastelands of Midworld in search of the titular Dark Tower, the absolute center of every world in the universe.

The story features a very large and impressive cast of characters and is presented in a very non-linear fashion by the author, which makes an exact adaptation a doozy for the uninitiated, to say the least. However, movie director Nikolaj Arcel believes that it can be done. But until we get some solid info on what the final product is going to look like, the development team have decided to weigh in on some of their more important creative choices…

[WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONSIDERABLE BOOK SERIES SPOILERS TOWARD THE END. DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T WARN YOU] (more…)

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Like a lot of Canadian kids, my first encounter with Hercules was with Adventure Cartoon Productions animated series The Mighty Hercules, which Global ran ad nauseam Saturday mornings well into my high school years. They were simple enough, with Hercules as basically the Ancient Greece Batman, beating up bad guys and taking them to prison on Mount Olympus, which, as it turned out, was as pitifully easy to break out of as Arkham Asylum.

Every couple of years or so, the myth of Hercules gets re-interpreted for a new audience, and in a new way. So far, there’s been two Hercules movies in 2014, the first one came out in January and starred some Twilight beefcake as the son of Zeus, but in the case of Brett Ratner’s Hercules it has the immediate ace in the hole of having Dwayne Johnson as the titular hero. Johnson’s charm and magnetism is a definite advantage to the film, and if the movie he was in was tighter it might actually equal the assets brought by its star. Ratner’s Hercules is a solid B-effort, but it had the potential to be an A. (more…)

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“Happy fucking Father’s Day.” — The Season Four Finale of Game of Thrones

The TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords has now come to a close and, at the end of it all, what is the overall lesson this tale has taught us? Really, it’s the same overarching message that the climax of nearly every slasher film ever made has attempted to hand down: don’t count your opponent as being out of the fight until you are setting fire to his breathless corpse. Though Joffrey may have fallen, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage, whose work this year has been damn near transcendent) found himself at the mercy of the cruelest members of his family. For a moment, Tyrion believed he may have discovered a sliver of hope in his trial-by-combat “champion”, until Prince Oberyn of Dorne wasted one too many seconds taunting his downed foe before he found himself on his back, Ser Gregor Clegane’s thumbs deep in his eye sockets. But tonight, Tyrion got to dole out a few teachings of his own to his tyrannical father, as the imp was once again underestimated by those who look down their nose at him. The resulting patricide is one of the most heart-wrenchingly sad moments in Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire saga, and show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have translated it into the perfect capper for what may be the series’ strongest season. (more…)

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Holy Neil Marshall, ladies and gentlemen.

If you’re going to have someone direct your big, broad, totally gory Helm’s Deep knockoff Episode, it might as well be the director of Dog SolidersThe Descent and Centurion (not to mention the mastermind behind Season Two’s epic, “Blackwater”). Marshall doesn’t just get to go really HUGE (sporting what appears to be a much bigger budget than his previous set of war games), but is also tasked with delivering a reminder that Game of Thrones can actually be “fun”. Despite being mostly effective from a storytelling perspective (Jaime’s weird rapeiness aside), this season has seen probably one too many grim moments; an emotional barrage that has left a good portion of the audience (readers and non-readers alike) slightly jaded. Marshall’s injection of the fantastical (giants! wooly mammoths!) is a much-needed breath of fresh air and a welcome respite from the seemingly all-encompassing cloud of gloom that has hung over much of Season Four. (more…)

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In this past week’s Episode (“The Mountain and the Viper”), Tyrion Lannister relayed a story to his brother Jaime about their cousin, Orson Lannister*. Orson was a simple boy, dropped on his head and left mentally handicapped, who delighted in smashing beetles in the garden. The speech served for some fans as not only a commentary on the relentless cruelty the people of Westeros face on a day-to-day basis, but also a critique of the seemingly heartless nature of George R.R. Martin’s storytelling. For those folks, Orson was a stand-in for Martin — a God-like simpleton avatar the show’s creators made up to analyze the writer’s barbaric death-dealing. And now, thanks to the glory of crowd-funding, fans can donate to Martin’s favorite charities for a chance at becoming a “Martyr”. In short, $20,000 will earn you a place in an upcoming Song of Ice and Fire novel, where you can become one of these beetles Martin gleefully smashes with a rock. (more…)