Check out “Bidoof’s Big Stand” here in full and be sure to let us know what you think of our furry friend’s new adventure!
As excitement builds towards the upcoming release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, last week Pokemon fans across the globe were treated to a hilarious and heartwarming new animated short featuring fan-favourite Bidoof!
Well known in the world of Pokemania for his rather derpy (yet adorable) appearance alongside being very useful in-game when it comes to learning HMs, Bidoof has become cemented as one of Pokemon’s most beloved critters, partially thanks to his additional popularity when it comes to meme culture. In his latest adventure, “Bidoof’s Big Stand”, we find a rather unfortunate Bidoof down on his luck after being cast out from it’s group of fellow Bidoof due to his clumsiness. After a close call with a villainous Stratraptor, our Bidoof buddy is rescued by a kindly Pokemon trainer, who takes Bidoof under his wing and together they become a battle-ready force to be reckoned with!
“Bidoof’s Big Stand” follows the other recent animated shorts “Hisuian Voltorb Is Berry Excited” and “Hisuian Voltorb Is Berry Sorry” and I must say I would absolutely love to see The Pokemon Company produce more of these stand-alone animated projects, as I personally think they show a great deal of heart, humour and originality that the animation aspect of the Pokemon franchise is currently very much in need of. When the first handful of Pokemon movies were theatrically released they were packed with fun adventures, silly (and often fourth-wall breaking) humour and iconic animation, but after over 20 films and 1,000 episodes of the anime series I think changing up the formula (and perhaps focusing more on the Pokemon themselves as protagonists) in a similar vein to these recent animated shorts could be very successful in introducing the animated world of Pokemon to a whole new audience.
Check out “Bidoof’s Big Stand” here in full and be sure to let us know what you think of our furry friend’s new adventure! –
Wow Comix are teaming up with Stretford Mall to bring the town’s first FREE ENTRY comic event on Saturday the 9th of October!
Wow Comix are teaming up with Stretford Mall to bring the town’s first FREE ENTRY comic event on Saturday the 9th of October!
Fans of comic book pop culture will find lots of stalls showcasing comic book products and memorabilia, and there’ll be plenty of special guests appearing giving attendees the chance to hang out with some Sci-Fi stars for autograph sessions and pics.
Attendees will also be invited to get in on the ‘cosplay’ act via a competition for the best-dressed character. Families and fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite comic book character, superhero/villain or any pop culture icon and a cosplay winner will be judged on the day taking home the Best Dressed Comic Fest Crown and some fantastic prizes!
Here is a quick look at some of our special guests…
We are very pleased to announce a late addition to Stretford Comic Fest. Our good friend Marc Jackson will be joining us this Saturday.
Marc is a cartoonist from Macclesfield in Cheshire. He has created comics and characters for the BEANO, Aces Weekly, Comicscene and various other publications. His work will shortly be seen in the Phoenix.
Marc has created a comic in partnership with Able Child Africa, seeking to help disadvantaged children in Rwanda navigate basic hygiene issues and the Corona Virus.
Marc runs cartoon art workshops in Schools, Libraries and at different festivals. He is the man behind the very popular MACC-POW! comic art festival in his home town of Macclesfield and this year opened ROOM FOR COMICS, a creative space dedicated to the teaching and love of comic art.
Rachael Smith’s debut graphic novel House Party came out in 2014 with Great Beast Comics to critical acclaim. The Rabbit, released by Avery Hill Publishing in 2015, is her second graphic novel and was nominated for Best Book in the British Comic Awards 2014/15. Rachael is also the creator of Flimsy the Kitten and One Good Thing. She currently works with Titan Comics on her monthly strip for the Doctor Who comic series, and is working on her new webcomic, Bess, which launched November 2015. She lives in Hebden Bridge, in Yorkshire, in the UK.
Brian M Clarke (Crikey!, Mancunian ); John Jackson (Albert the Mouse,Cyborg Gerbils, Count Duckula, Mancunian) are the creative force behind Wallop! Comics, which started after two self-published two issues of the new British superhero comic Mancunian. They have also just released the fantasic Wallop! Annual, a 64 page book that is packed full of great entertainment for kids and ‘big kids’ alike, with features from Keith Robson (The Dandy, Starblazer, for IPC on Jinty and Buster); Alessandro Giampaeletti; Kev F Sutherland (Oink!. Beano, Viz, 2000AD, Star Trek, Doctor Who Adventures); Dave Windett (The Dandy, Spookytown, Inspector Gadget,Tiny Toons); Joe Matthews (The Beano, Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry Comic, Bob The Builder); Chris Matthews; Mike Collins (Marvel Comics, DC Comics, 2000AD, Doctor Who); and Marc Jackson (Beano, Aces Weekly, Comic Heroes magazine, Comic Scene).
Neil ‘Bhuna’ Roch
Comic book artist and creator on a number of projects, most recently for Killing Moon Rises 1 – A 32 page full colour Sword & Sorcery comic from the team that brought you the award nominated Killing Moon.
The Man behind cult favourite Psycho Gran will be joining the guests at both Bury and Stretford Comic Fests. David is one of our most experienced comic professionals having worked for both Marvel UK and US as well as many of the major UK publishing houses over the last 30 years.His work has appeared in publications as diverse as Toxic and The Sunday Times. He has written for Spiderman, Ren & Stimpy and numerous other strips. He is currently Senior Creative Editor at Titan Comics and is editor of the popular Blade Runner series. He has been the winner of “Come Dine With Me” on TV and recently designed an advertisement for Wow Comix featuring Psycho Gran.
Announced as appearing at both Bury Comic Fest and Stretford Comic Fest is actor Nathan Head. He is best known for his star roles in films Theatre of Fear and Exorcist Chronicals.The Manchester trained actor enjoyed success in the theater before being spotted and signed to the cast of thriller Archangel Murders. He has since enjoyed a successful career in film often involving the use of horror prosthetics, creature make up and special effects costumes.
One for the Star Wars fans out there. Bury Comic Fest and Stretford Comic Fest have just added actor Willie Coppen to their guest lists.Willie is best known for Star Wars Episode V1: Return of the Jedi as well as various films and TV shows. He recently played the title character in the movie Perran which is currently in post production.
And the guests just keep coming. Actor Liam Mulvey will be attending both Bury and Stretford Comic Fests as a guest. Liam is best known for playing Libertus Ostium in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Xv Comrades.He will be available for photos and autographs on the day.
Latest announcement from Stretford Comic Fest and Bury Comic Fest is that writer Dan Whitehead is joining the guest list for both events.Dan is a prolific writer whose work spans comics, games and television. He is the author of graphic novels Ella Upgraded, Frankenstein Texas and the upcoming Hex Loader. As well as developing his own projects he has also written for Star Wars, Minecraft and Looney Tunes. https://twitter.com/DanWritehead?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
If our Bury event last week was anything to go by then this should be a cracker too! We hope to see you there on Saturday! For more information or any questions please feel free to email us – firstname.lastname@example.org
In the late 1990s the Pokemon franchise was taking the world by storm, a storm which grew even bigger upon the release of Pokemon: The First Movie and the subsequent Pokemon movies that followed…
In the late 1990s the Pokemon franchise was taking the world by storm, a storm which grew even bigger upon the release of Pokemon: The First Movie and the subsequent Pokemon movies that followed. Currently there are a staggering 23 animated Pokemon movies and 1 live action movie (Pokemon: Detective Pikachu) in existence, but for this article I will be taking a look back at the first 3 Pokemon movies and some of the merchandise/promotions that surrounded them. As a UK-based Pokemon collector a lot of the promotions I will be discussing here will be either UK-based, or were released in the UK alongside other parts of the world, however I do hope to include lesser known merchandise and information that will hopefully allow everyone reading to take a little trip down memory lane with Ash, Pikachu and the rest of the gang!
Pokemon The First Movie and Pokemon 2000 Burger King Toys:
The Pokemon franchise has teamed up with a multitude of different food and drinks brands/outlets over the years, particularly in the early days of promoting their movies. Burger King included an array of Pokemon merchandise with their kid’s meals when promoting the first and second movies, including beanie toys, light-up figures and action power cards amongst others.
These campaigns weren’t without controversy however, as during the promotional campaign for the first movie two infant children died due to getting part of the plastic Pokeball (in which the promotional items were encased) caught over their mouths and noses which led to them suffocating. This resulted in the toys being recalled and has since led to similar Pokeball toys (such as the ones that were included in Hasbro’s 1999 and 2000 action figure lines) having air holes implemented into the design of the toys.
Despite these issues, the Burger King toys remain popular on the Pokemon collectors market, as do other promotional items associated with the campaigns, such as the cardboard Burger King crowns and kid’s meal boxes from the Pokemon 2000 promotions which included branding featuring Ash, Pikachu and Lugia.
Pokemon Movie Soundtracks and Promotional Singles:
The first 3 Pokemon movies all received releases of their respective soundtracks onto CD (and audio cassette, in the case of the first and second movie). The scores to the movies were also separately released, however mainstream marketing tended to lean more towards promoting the soundtrack CDs, which featured contemporary pop artists and songs rather than the thematic instrumentals from the films’ scores.
The soundtrack for Pokemon: The First Movie was released in November 1999 by Atlantic Records and the tracklisting for the record serves as a sort of snapshot of late 90’s bubblegum pop, featuring artists such as *NSYNC, Britney Spears and Aaron Carter. Pokemon 2000’s soundtrack was similarly centred around songs from contemporary pop artists, featuring the likes of Westlife and Dream Street, however it did also include Pokemon-themed songs written by artists for the movie, such as Weird Al Yankovic’s “Polkamon”.
Pokemon 3’s soundtrack continued this theme with the majority of the soundtrack being orientated around the characters within the franchise, which is unsurprising considering many of the songs included could be found on other Pokemon soundtrack media, such as the Totally Pokemon CD. In the UK however, Pokemon 3 was promoted in the contemporary music realm with the single “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”, released by the band 5.0 Grind featuring Pokemon Allstars.
The single was available to purchase from UK music retailers upon its release, and a promotional CD-ROM sampler was also included with the Daily Express newspaper. 5.0 Grind performed the single on Nickelodeon UK (despite the fact Pokemon wasn’t aired on Nickelodeon at that time) and the single reached number #57 in the charts. The artwork for the copies of the single released into UK music stores featured Pikachu alongside Mewtwo, despite Mewtwo having nothing to do with the third Pokemon movie. This inclusion could be due to hearsay that Mewtwo was going to appear in Pokemon 3, which later proved to be misconstrued as Mewtwo actually re-appeared in Mewtwo Returns, a straight to VHS/DVD feature-length special which was also released in 2001.
In a similar vein to the contemporary songs associated with the previous movies, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” is very much of its era, encapsulating the rap-metal/skate rock trends of the early 00’s (albeit watered down for a younger audience and occasionally featuring Ash Ketchum giving shout-outs to his various Pokemon). Personally, as cheesy as the track is I do find it to be quite catchy and I must give kudos to the band for the conviction they showed during their Nickelodeon performance, as I imagine it must be quite hard to simultaneously rock out in front of a crowd of small children and keep a straight face, particularly in the section of the song when a sample of Jigglypuff singing its lullaby plays over the top of the track.
Retail and Newspaper Promotions:
As well as the free Daily Express “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” CD-ROM, a number of other newspaper and retail outlets also ran Pokemon movie promotions during both the cinematic and VHS/DVD releases of the films. The Daily Mail gave away a free promotional VHS tape that gave fans a sneak peek at Pokemon: The First Movie and included other details about the franchise, such as interviews with staff from 4Kids Entertainment which provided a view into how the original Japanese version of the movie was adapted for western audiences.
Woolworths and Warner Brothers stores in the UK also ran Pokemon movie promos during the release cycle of the first movie, offering exclusive promo cards and money off vouchers upon the VHS release of the film. Pokemon promotions from this period also found their way onto snack foods, with Odeon Cinemas in the UK running a competition featured on their popcorn boxes in which fans could win a Nintendo 64 console and a copy of Pokemon Stadium.
Well I couldn’t really write a blog about the promotion of the early Pokemon Movies and not include the cards which were given to ticket holders and packaged with home media releases of the movies could I? Probably the most well known of these cards are the 4 Wizards Of The Coast Black Star promo cards which were available alongside the first movie’s cinematic release, featuring Mewtwo, Pikachu (still sporting his Ken Sugimori-illustrated roundness, which I personally feel is how Pikachu should look and would very much like to see the return of Chubbychu), Dragonite and rather randomly, Electabuzz. Following the extreme renewal of interest in vintage Pokemon TCG cards in recent years, the value of these cards continues to grow (particularly as a complete set) so if you have any in your collection be sure to take good care of them!
A new version of the Mewtwo card was also included alongside VHS copies of the first movie upon its home media release. Promotional TCG cards were also available during the theatrical release of Pokemon 2000/The Power Of One, with Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno being featured. An Ancient Mew card based on the one owned by the film’s antagonist, Lawrence III, was also released, however it was only available along with the purchase of a movie ticket during the first week of the film’s release, as after this fans would only be able to receive a card featuring one of the legendary birds. In a similar fashion to the second Mewtwo card that was released with VHS copies of the first movie, a new Pikachu card was included alongside home media copies of Pokemon 2000.
Later in the course of the early Pokemon movies, in 2001 a promo card featuring Entei was available for ticket holders upon the release of Pokemon 3: Spell Of The Unown, with another promo card featuring one of the Unown being included with VHS and DVD releases of the movie.
As well as the Wizards Of The Coast-produced TCG cards, Topps Trading Cards also produced a line of trading cards featuring images of scenes from Pokemon: The First Movie, Pikachu’s Vacation and Pokemon 2000. As well as the regular Topps movie cards, rare silver foil and rainbow foil versions of cards were also randomly inserted into some packs, mirroring the ever-popular shiny hunting that helped make the TCG cards so popular.
Some of the Topps cards from the Pikachu’s Vacation animated short are notable for having some errors when it came to the names of new Pokemon, with Snubull being incorrectly named “Buru” (which may have been a mis-translation of Snubull’s Japanese name, Bulu) and Marill being named as “Pikablu”, which is perhaps an indirect reference to the rumours of a new version of Pikachu named “Pikablu” that cropped up when Marill’s design was first seen by fans. These errors were probably due to the fact that the Gold and Silver games had not yet been released in the west and that the english-language names of several new Pokemon were still being revised, as the Topps cards themselves were put into production before the western versions of Pikachu’s Vacation and the First Movie had been completed and non-Japanese audiences were yet to be familiarised with the 100 new Pokemon that would be introduced in the Johto region-based games and anime.
Other Pokemon Movie Toys:
As well as the Burger King toys, numerous other Pokemon movie toys were released. Hasbro released several different packs of Pokemon figures showcasing characters that were featured in the first 2 Pokemon movies. These packs were similar to the battle figures that were also released by Hasbro, featuring the same card battle discs that came with each character.
Hasbro also released an electronic Lugia toy following the release of Pokemon 2000, which made sounds based off the ones Lugia makes in the movie. This was quite a large toy and it was possible to fit the Ash Ketchum figure from Hasbro’s 2000 Deluxe Trainer figure line on Lugia’s back and recreate scenes from the film.
As the Pokemon world featured a vast array of characters and locations, it was an ideal choice to be transformed into Polly Pocket-esque playsets, which were popular within a variety of franchises in the 1990s. Several playsets inspired by the Indigo League and Orange Islands anime series were released by Tomy under the Pokemon House brand (known in Japan as Pokemon Mate) and when it came to the early Pokemon movies they didn’t hesitate to create playsets for them either. Pokemon 2000 had the most of these playsets produced, with the Fire, Lightning and Ice Islands from the film all receiving individual playsets along with the shrine at Shamouti Island which included Lugia keeping a watchful eye over the shrine.
Pokemon 3 seems to have had much less merchandise produced for it in comparison to the first two Pokemon movies, which is a shame as I personally consider the animation and story in this film to be fantastic and I think it deserves far more recognition than it currently receives. A Pokemon House playset inspired by the third movie was produced, however it is incredibly rare to come across. The playset was a deluxe model, featuring the Hale family home in the crystallised Greenfield which Ash and Co. had to rescue Ash’s mother from in the movie.
Books and Comics:
As is common with many movies from franchises aimed at children, the Pokemon films were also adapted into novels. Mewtwo Strikes Back: Pokemon The First Movie was written by Tracey West (who also adapted the Indigo League, Orange Islands and Johto Journeys anime series into children’s books) and published in 2000 following the western release of the movie. The book proved to be a favourite at Scholastic book fairs, which is where I purchased a copy from myself as a child when a book fair was held at my primary school. As I recall, a lot of other kids also bought the book and I’m sure our teacher was thrilled when we all handed in our weekly book reports exclaiming that Ash’s “death” during Mew and Mewtwo’s stand-off was the world of fiction’s biggest tragedy since Of Mice and Men’s Lennie last told George about “tending the rabbits”…
The animated shorts that played before the cinematic releases and VHS copies of the first 3 Pokemon movies (Pikachu’s Vacation, Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure and Pikachu And Pichu) were also adapted into Tracey West-penned novels as were Pokemon 2000 Pokemon 3, however much like in other areas of merchandising, the novelisation of the third movie was (and still is) seldom seen in comparison to its two predecessors. The First Movie was also released as a five-part comic series by Viz Media in 2000. This comic was a re-release of a 1998 graphic novel version of the movie which had been originally published by Japanese media publishers Shogakukan Inc as a singular title. The first four issues of the comic collected the story from the main film, while the fifth issue presented the story from Pikachu’s Vacation.
Much like the first movie, the comic adaptation of Pokemon 2000 had originally been released in Japan as a singular graphic novel and was presented to western audiences in five monthly comic releases, with the initial four comics containing the second movie story and the fifth comic showcasing the story from the Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure short. The Pikachu’s Vacation and Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure comics were later collected into the All That Pikachu! graphic novel, which was released by Viz Media in 2006.
Unfortunately Pokemon 3 did not receive a graphic novel or comic book release, which I think is quite a shame as I personally find it to be the most visually enticing of the early Pokemon movies and feel that it would look excellent in a panel by panel format. In recent years the comic book adaptations from the movies (particularly the first movie) have become favourites for fans to get signed by the voice actors from the Pokemon anime and signed collections of these comics can be found quite readily, which could make for a very cool addition to any collector’s arsenal of Pokemon movie merchandise (provided you have a spare £150-£300 available).
As a Pokemon fan and collector, one of my favourite things about the early movies and all the merchandise surrounding them was how they perfectly encapsulated the buzz that accompanied the release of each film, as there was nothing more exciting as a Pokemon-loving kid in the late 90’s/early 00’s than discovering the latest legendary Pokemon and new places that came along with each movie. Personally I think it would be amazing if a new animated Pokemon movie were to receive as wide a cinematic release as the early films did, or perhaps if one of the first three movies were remastered and re-released into the cinemas (maybe even in conjunction with an upcoming event or milestone, 30th anniversary I’m looking at you) as I would love for Pokemon fans old and new to have the opportunity to relive the magic of Pokemania at the movies all over again.
Written by Emily Carney
Sources and Further Reading:
Pokemon The First Movie: Free Daily Mail Promotional Video –
Hypebeast – Pokemon The First Movie Promo Toys + Cards –
Alien #2’s cover of a ghostly Alien (Xenomorph) super-imposed on our protagonist, Gabe, had me eagerly anticipating what kind of direction this new story was going to develop.
In the first issue we learned that Gabe had been cocooned by xenomorphs in the past and his experience had been instrumental in the ongoing research at the Weyland-Yutani Epsilon station. Issue #2 Return to Epsilon Station opens with a time line summary of events that bring us up to speed with all things Alien up to this point.
Spoilers ahead!!! The plot development by Phillip Kennedy Johnson is engaging and progresses at a good pace. It is recognizably Alien franchise in nature, yet has a more Weyland-Yutani focussed twist to its development. Gabe has to return to Epsilon station having only recently been forced into retirement. Danny, his son, has broken into Epsilon Station with his girlfriend the leader of some anti Weyland-Yutani extremists called the Minute Hand Movement. Gabe may be Danny’s only chance of escape from almost certain death, either as a result of a “catastrophic systems failure”, (a cover up to burn up everything and everyone on Epsilon Station), or at the mercy of a new xenomorph threat that Gabe has helped create and that Danny has released.
Gabe isn’t given much of a choice when he first learns of his son’s transgressions. He would prefer to embark on the mission with five synths (androids). Instead he’s given two wet behind the ears, cocky and ill prepared human agents. The clock is ticking, it’s over 32 hours since Danny boarded Epsilon station. Gabe has to race to face the threat and bring home the company’s prized asset, the ALPHA EMBRYO.
Gabe’s interactions with the company’s agents cement him as a no nonsense salty dog who isn’t easily riled. The flashbacks to his past provide good character depth around his traumatic experiences at the claws of the xenomorphs. Gabe having to get back into the ring with a frightening foe was reminiscent of Ripley returning to LV426 in the face of trauma for the second Alien film. I really loved a beautifully choreographed xenomorph kill in the middle of this issue. A headstrong, naive and foolhardy agent rushes after a face hugger who attacks from a ceiling tile. Seeing the face hugger enter in this fashion and the impaled agent on an intercepting xenomorph tail is iconic Alien imagery. I recalled Bishop at the end of the Aliens film. The rib removal in this scene was a delightfully gory death on the back of a thrilling piece of action.
Having set up up a new experimental xenomorph outbreak in issue one, the story opens with a frightened girl and her grandpa bathed in emergency lighting red. Outside there is chaos and the sounds of what may be xenomorphs. We are propelled straight into the action. The sound lettering is consistently eerie throughout this issue. The overall feel is claustrophobic, atmospheric and tense. The terror of the girl trying to find comfort in singing to herself provided a nice touch of emotional investment I thought.
Salvador Larroca (Artist) captures the instant terror of what has been released on Epsilon station to open and close this issue well by capturing well the frenzy of xenomorph encounters. Once again GURU-eFX does an outstanding job bringing the art to life, the colouring uses the perfect pallet for terror, suspense and threat lurking just out of sight. The entry to the station for Gabe and the agents is cold and shadowy. The red of the alarms framing the xenomorph encounters at the start and ending of the issue add to the overall heart pumping action. Splendid job GURU-eFX!
Larocca’s Aliens are mostly tracings or copies and this makes some appear clunky, disjointed or misplaced in their framing. The tracings do give a certain consistency to their presence There is however, so much good xenomorph art to compare Larocca to that he comes off a bit short. The tracings do leave me questioning his passion for producing Alien franchise art. Gabe is drawn inconsistently in facial features and this affects the frame continuity. I did however wonder if this may be deliberate, maybe as part of some sort of clever metamorphosis process linked to Gabe’s encounter with Aliens, a mystery illness we know little about or perhaps as a result of the experimentation he was a party to at Epsilon Station.
The lettering is perfect and flows so well that I found it a great page turner and an easy choice to subscribe for A#3 Reunion. The xenomorphs are out! There is plenty scope in this story and more twists beyond a race to save the day. Keep it rolling Marvel!
Verdict Terror, action and horror in equal measures are strung together entertainingly in this continuation of a tense and atmospheric Alien story.
Sometimes even the smallest positive element can make a piece of entertainment worthy of my time and consideration. I believe that once you engage with the creative process a little for yourself, you gain a much deeper appreciation for the work and creations of others. So with that mindset, I settled in for my second viewing of the Green Lantern movie…
Article By Andy Flood 11/8/21 The Case for… the Green Lantern Movie
No! Wait! Don’t leave, just… hear me out. Put down the weapon… there we go. Now…
Released in 2011 to a distinct lack of praise or indeed, audience appreciation, the Green Lantern movie has long been the superhero film that no-one talks about unless it’s in jest. Certainly, I remember not being overly fond of it on my initial viewing around the time of its home release (I borrowed it, don’t worry).
Following a family visit to one of our local Wow Comix to meet the very cool and kind staff (while also browsing the long boxes), my wife and I decided to revisit the film and watch with our sons. This decision came on the back of some in-store banter at the expense of the film alongside my being assigned the new run of Green Lantern for review. It seemed like as bad a time as any to watch it again and give it another chance.
Now for some, this film is a nameless horror, its number lying between 5 and 7, and so on. For my part, I remember it being quite flawed but also quite fun. We had access to the blu-ray release (we were keeping it for a friend, honest) and so were able to watch the extended version of the film, which expands on the central relationships in the film. This helps. A little.
I have found that when watching films with my sons, I often end up viewing them through a different lens; one concerned less with artistic merit or cinematic truth and more with fun and spectacle. Thought of another way, I’m more forgiving of a film’s flaws if my family are enjoying it. They have fun, I have fun.
That said, I’ve always been predisposed to finding the good in almost anything and I nearly always find something cool about whichever book, comic, game or film I’m engaged with. Sometimes even the smallest positive element can make a piece of entertainment worthy of my time and consideration. I believe that once you engage with the creative process a little for yourself, you gain a much deeper appreciation for the work and creations of others. So with that mindset, I settled in for my second viewing of the Green Lantern movie.
Even in the earliest frames of the film, it’s apparent that efforts were made to adopt some of the framing techniques used in comics in the making of this film. While there is some cross-pollination (now more so than ever) between ‘cinema’ and comics in the way images are presented, there are certain angles and ‘shots’ which are identifiably comic-like and I was happy to see some of these used here.
The opening expositional speech (delivered by Geoffrey Rush as the alien Green Lantern Tomar-Re) is similarly reminiscent of the sort of ‘catch up’ narrative you might see in comics from time to time, particularly those from silver and bronze eras. We’re introduced to the idea of the Lanterns as a sort of intergalactic police force (this being in line with the comics) and are soon introduced to a problem from their past.
Following scenes of galactic intrigue and peril, we’re brought back to Earth and are introduced to Hal Jordan as a child and witness the formative tragedy of his losing his test pilot father to an accident. We then go on to see Hal as an adult and his antics as he follows in his father’s footsteps.
As events build towards Hal being chosen as the next Green Lantern, the film tries to tap in to one of the factors which make the Green Lantern comics so appealing. Consider the idea that almost anyone could be chosen by this cosmic ring, powered by the force of will, to be a superhero.
You don’t have to be Kryptonian, obscenely wealthy/disturbed, super powered or even a particularly ‘together’ person. You just have to be fearless, or able to face fear, or strong willed; however you choose to interpret the criteria. The point is, ‘it could be you!’.
This is pretty powerful when it comes to the imagination of a child or indeed anyone with some imagination and perhaps a desire to be something else, something more. Green Lantern comics appealed to this idea and made their hero relatable. The movie actually goes some way to doing a good job with this idea too, particularly seeing as Hal is essentially quite reluctant to engage with his calling and even ‘quits’ the position at one point.
The look of the film is a lot better than all the comments berating the CG would have you believe, and the depiction of the Green Lanterns’ powers and their central world of Oa is good enough to have some fun with, particularly if you disengage your critical brain. With any high concept CG, it’s always easy to point at the flaws and scoff. But if you choose to buy into it a little more, you start to worry a little less about the way the ‘manifestations’ appear. It was always going to be a tall order to film the Green Lanterns’ powers. I feel like they did okay.
Of special note was the scene where he manifests a Hot Wheels track to save a crowd from a crashing helicopter. It’s totally bonkers and requires heavy suspension of disbelief, but when two little voices cry, “No way! Look! It’s Hot Wheels!” it’s all good.
Similarly, the space-bound, multitude of alien life, science fiction type scenes are all quite good visually and undeserving of the panning they received. The weird and wonderful space scenes were always some of my favourite aspects of the comics back in the ‘80s, so it was nice to see them represented here.
The Green Lantern (Hal) does look pretty much like the comic book version, despite the much derided CG costume. This was always a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ type decision for the makers; no matter how the costume is filmed, there’s always a chance that it doesn’t come off right. And similarly, no matter who you cast, you can’t please all the folk all of the time.
Something that did come off right was the presentation of Sinestro (even if we don’t really get to see him become a villain per se). Mark Strong does a great job with his performance and it’s a shame that the intended sequel never came to pass, as he would have made a really good comic book bad guy. Instead, the decision was made to focus on Hal’s childhood friend who, tormented by a disapproving father and being on the loosing side of a love triangle of sorts, proves an easy convert for the power of fear when a fragment of Parallax (the Green Lanterns’ nemesis in this film) enters his body. It makes for a weak antagonist and Earthbound action which left me wishing we could have been in outer space more.
This is one of those films that disappointed fans and is quite easy to poke fun at. It has pacing issues, bears the indelible mark of ‘studio interference’, feels like it was written by committee, has a poor choice of bad guy, doesn’t do enough good things with its arguably strong cast… the list goes on. In spite of all that, my eldest son (he’s 10) enjoyed it. And, because of that, and independently from that, I enjoyed it. I was entertained. And isn’t that what we’re here for?
There’s a sweet Deadpool Pride Edition up for grabs, a brand new Mandalorian holding Grogu (aww) and, well you can’t turn down a new Carnage Pop at that price… can you?
Watch our Funko section on wowcomix.com over the next couple of weeks as we are adding a load of recent, ‘vintage’, to use the term loosely, and pre-order Funko Pops!
This week, smack your eyes on these hot pre-orders on sale from only £8.99! There’s a sweet Deadpool Pride Edition up for grabs, a brand new Mandalorian holding Grogu (aww) and, well you can’t turn down a new Carnage Pop at that price… can you?
‘Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage sees the return of Tom Hardy as investigative reporter/symbiote host Eddie Brock and his violent alter-ego Venom, as they come face-to-face with the one and only Carnage! Here we have Venom’s arch nemesis Carnage, the symbiote hosted by the body of serial killer, Cletus Kasady. Add Carnage to your Funko collection today!’
Deadpool Pride Edition – Funko Pop! Vinyl
Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Pop! Vinyl Figure: The Mandalorian With Grogu
Carnage (889): Venom: Let There Be Carnage – Funko Pop Vinyl