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  • It's been a while

    1 week ago

    AnGuardiandevil

    it's been a while since i wrote here or even check the site.

    truthfully, I have no idea what to do now, I been diagnosed with bunch of health problem and issues and ever since I was three year old, it's always one issue after another after another. That's what you get for being born deaf and blind (technically I am hard of hearing and legally blind). so back in feb, I almost died without having a treatment because at that time, i didn't know I was having acute kidney failure. since then I been on dialysis and already got fistula and already on list of getting donor and being on the list of transplant as well all in three month or so.


    I'm not gonna lie. it truly have put me in a emotional rollercoaster, that to the point where, I almost driven everyone away from me, it's hard to explain to my family and friends how exactly I am going through. they may think they know what it's like, but in my mind, they don't really understand at all. In all honestly, I don't think I even understand who I am. 


    being disabled suck, there are always more of the negatives that will impact and affect your life and other surround you than there is of positive, I mean I do see few people that I follow have their own issue and problem and only some made it while other just disappear without notice, 


    I guess this is my somewhat attempt at reaching out, not for support or pity or anything, just reaching out and seeing what happen... 

  • Showing Myself A Little More

    2 weeks ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    It's been a couple of weeks since my last post.  I have been busy with many projects that I keep forgetting to write every week.  I really have to keep my word when making commitments.


    Anyway, update on my big digital project.  I have finally completed the lighting and shadows for all of my scenes and I am really excited on how it looks so far.  I'm going to edit the lighting a little bit more just to add a bit more detail in the shots, it won't take it me as long to work on.  And when that is done, I will move on to sound editing.  I'm prepping to work on sound by already creating a custom sound proof box, made entirely out of a box with foam inside and a microphone.  I have used the box with the microphone inside to test different sounds and it works perfectly for getting the sounds I need for the project.  And lastly comes editing all the clips and sound together to get the final version.


    I am beyond excited and surprised on how far I have come to working on this project.  Words cannot describe how surreal this is.  It first started off as something small, and it started to become bigger as time progressed.  I'm so happy to have worked on this project and I can't wait to see the end on how it will come together.


    As much as I have worked hard on this long-productive project, I have worked on other small video projects for myself to practice special effects and various forms of animation.  Some of my past work where for college classes, while others where after I graduated from school.  I haven't shared any of my work on my blog yet, so I think it's best to share some of my video work that I have done in the past.  I hope you enjoy a sample of my work.  (Make sure you have the volume down a bit, it might be a bit loud)


    Artist vs Himself


    Fun In The Unknown


    Random


    Controlled By A Mouse


    Short Vines I did in the past


    Hand and Smoke Animation


    Light Cylinders (no sound)


    Divine Ammunition-The Sculpture Of Al Farrow (no sound)

    These are just a few videos/animations I have done.  Looking back at them, I have a come a long way from where I am now as an artist.  I wish to create more in the future and I'm really excited to work on more digital projects.


    Aside from that, I have more drawings to share with you guys.


    Zucchini from "My Life As A Zucchini"

    bY1epDJ.jpg

    Arata Kaizaki from "ReLife"

    oOLfRsE.jpg

    Motoko (Major) from "Ghost In The Shell"

    0Smr5ao.jpg

    Gorq

    EbXhzpq.jpg

    Milton from "Office Space"

    yLebuhG.jpg

    Kratos from "God Of War"

    N7qlw8R.jpg

    Mary from "Mary and the Witch's Flower"

    7qIRb6J.jpg

    I made it to 500 days of drawing on my Instagram account.

    0rjlkRX.jpg

    Gavin being scared of a Boo.

    FZteXnB.jpg

    The Dude from "The Big Lebowski"

    eWSG2hT.jpg

    Deadpool

    Hsds8NG.jpg

    Han Solo from "Star Wars"

    Xbntn5z.jpg

    Lando Calrissian from "Star Wars"

    WwMVMTU.jpg

    Bilbo Baggins from "The Hobbit"

    APxRe9o.jpg

    Spider Man from "Spider-Man Homecoming"

    ih9nlri.jpg

    Mr. Incredible

    zBJgeRi.jpg

    Mrs. Incredible

    8UcnBkw.jpg

    Violet

    ir8N3Zt.jpg

    Dash

    lthY4aE.jpg

    Jack Jack

    CDkmzvu.jpg

    Geoff from Achievement Hunter

    ERNlRaN.jpg

    Thank you and have a great week everyone.


    Bryan

  • Little To Write, More Drawings To Share

    1 month ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    I haven't been writing as much in my blog lately.  I've been busy with many projects that I forget to write what I'm up too.


    I don't have much to write about, but I do have more drawings to share.


    I decided to Jack from Achievement Hunter

    8I7D6rc.jpg

    Justin Timberlake May joke

    VIsWXY0.jpg

    Haruko from FLCL (Fooly Cooly)

    lOPfxTE.jpg

    Blaine Gibson asking a funny question on RT Podcast

    d3N3uw2.jpg

    May the 4th be with you

    5ue4m3p.jpg

    Venom

    imnOGH7.jpg

    Tetsuo from Akira

    dXr9HlX.jpg

    Kaneda from Akira

    17WF5if.jpg

    Thanos 

    YAYptIu.jpg

    Charlie Brown

    OL6fEqm.jpg

    Me in neon lights

    PkE2Gi7.jpg

    Ariel from The Little Mermaid

    8064R8u.jpg

    Castle Crasher character

    2pxlTt5.jpg

    I drew my mother for Mother's Day

    aFYkilL.jpg

    I will try to write more next time when I have the chance.


    Thank you and have a good week.


    Bryan

  • A little bit about working with Grandma

    1 month ago

    Jessefarron

    So, as I said in my earlier post, on top of chasing my dreams of voice acting and destroying my body for extralife, my current "job" is helping to care for my grandmother, which as you may or may not know falls under a government run program called IHSS or in home social services. 


     We brought grandma home on March 23, a little under 2 months ago, we applied to ihss a week before, the consultation was not scheduled until April 10th. And later still orientation is not until May 30. 


    In this time we are fighting with doctors and Medicare to get transportation for my bed ridden grandmother, while buying supplies such as Food, adult diapers, meds are covered so that's nice but still. Above everything else the thing on that list that sucks most is transportation, since they can't get their shit straight we have to pay for reliable transportation which is $80 one way, $160 if we wanna get her home. With bills and rent we barely scrape by, and that's fine you learn to live with it quick.


    I know I'm whining but it's my blog and I'm here to vent. But this is where I snapped, we found a handicap can, a little piece of crap clunker that would probably breakdown if we went further than around the corner, which would work because grandmas doctor is literally a two minute drive away, anyway back to the story, we set up a go fund me thing thinking, people are nice right? $5000 for a good cause ain't too bad, give it a few weeks. Over 1000 people saw it, but by the end of it only my mothers cousin (my cousin? Idk) donated a couple hundred which ended up in transportation fees anyway. Meanwhile some ass looking to by a couch has like $8000. What the hell is wrong with people?


    Anyway we took that down because it's clear a good cause can't beat a couch.


    Thanks for listening.

  • A place to think aloud

    1 month ago

    Jessefarron

    I really hope these just post to my profile and not site wide because that would be embarrassing, But then again with everything I've been going through, who cares at this point.


    Anyway, to anyone that stumbles on to this, Hi I'm Jesse, Jesse Hampton. Like many of you in our big rooster teeth community, well our big family if you think like me and so many other I am an ametuer actor and I've done a few things but my dream and the thing I have my agent working on is to be a part of the big extralife stream, to put the function of my liver and testes on the line for the kids.


    But behind the dreams I have I am something else, something in my opinion far more important. I am a co-caretaker for my grandmother and as you can guess that takes a toll on my career and on me as an individual.


    That's why I'm here doing this now as a way to blow off some steam and maybe just maybe find a friend to talk too.


    So weather this publicly embarrassed me or you found my journal on your own.


    Welcome and Hello


  • Woah...Things Have Changed

    1 month ago

    kirstenxo Miles Luna Fangirl

    I don't post on here often anymore. It's way easier to find me on Twitter (@kirstenlouisex). But yo, so I have brown hair now. Woah I know, I'm really living it up. I've got to calm it down.


    But also...


    1. I've written on my blog again woooo - DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN DEMO

    2. I write for this company called TenEighty which is pretty cool, they do British YouTubery things which is kinda awesome!

    3. I'm doing a walk for charity in July and you can sponsor me if ya like: SPONSOR MY CHARITY WALK


    Just a few updates if any friends are still here etc... See y'all at RTX London!!


    <3

  • Staying Busy

    1 month ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    Sorry that I didn't post on the blog last week.  I have been busy with a couple of projects.


    Quick update:

    1.  I'm doing well for the moment.

    2.  I have taken a break from my big project to work on other little side projects for an event at an art museum.  But hopefully I will get back to the big project soon.

    3.  I have been working out more often than usual.  I actually need a routine to work out to make my body healthy and fit because it's been awhile since I worked out.  From all the digital projects I have worked on, my body started to lose energy.  I do skateboard from time to time, but not as much as I used too.  Let's see what happens.


    Aside from that,  I have more drawings to share.


    Guardians of the Galaxy


    Shfqcd3.jpgzPQbfrP.jpg3UZVxgc.jpglNG3fvI.jpgmsyGyWq.jpgEYsYlqG.jpg

    I decided to draw Elie from Skill Tree hanging from a rope.

    qY1gH3Q.jpg

    Crash Bandicoot 

    3F622lj.jpg

    Kratos

    PeAjR7M.jpg

    Major from Ghost in the Shell: ARISE series

    qO836Qn.jpg

    Yu Yu Hakusho

    OLu7zaA.jpg
    YQ2NsqY.jpgNMBrWVL.jpg6vQpN2U.jpg

    Have a good week everyone.


    Bryan

  • Never really been active on this site...

    2 months ago

    Fortro

    But now I have some free time and absolutely nothing to talk abiut so what better time to start then now? Maybe I will share my life story? Maybe use this as a platform to promote my non-existant products? Who knows? Who cares? Do you? I didn't think so. 


    So lets go on this pointless endeavour!

  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe: RANKED Part 1.

    2 months ago

    g1TheStickman


    WOoOoOaAaHHH NELLY, hello there ladies and gents and all! Whooo's ready for salt? Probable salt? I'm expecting this to get spicy.


    The Marvel Cinematic Universe, more commonly known as the MCU, is the biggest ongoing movie franchise of our times...I mean, literally. It's the highest grossing, and whilst that does have something to do with the volume of films released in this connected series of films that started 10 years ago this month...alllll the way back in 2008 with the game-changing Iron Man, it's also much to do with the consistent quality and entertainment they provide, particularly in recent years. With 10 years under their belt, and the (hopefully) epic Avengers: Infinity War right around the corner, set to hopefully shake up, and shape up the future of Marvel movies for years to come...I suppose it's time to look back on what we've seen so far, and y'know...offer opinions that might piss people off? Yeah that sounds good. It's time to RANK...the MCU. FUCK.


    So yeah, we're ranking every MCU movie released prior to the upcoming Infinity War. We're not including short films, comic tie-ins and most importantly, we're not including the TV shows, neither ABC or Netflix. Mostly that's because I haven't seen all of those, and because it would make an already complicated list about 1000% harder....but I mean...good or bad as those shows may be, they also are barely connected to the MCU films to begin with, and moreso ride their coat-tails for personal gain. As usual with these things, this is just my opinion, I'm not presenting what I decree to be the definitive ranking of the MCU, there are so many films, and personal tastes in genre and characters play a big part in what gets put where. This is just how I feel, I'd love to hear how you feel...so SHOOT THAT SHIT nicely IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. 

    ALRIGHT, THAT'S IT...LET US BEGIN.



    18. Thor: The Dark World (2013).

    We're starting our ranking way back in the distant past of 2013, perhaps the MCU's wonkiest year in terms of quality and dashed hopes. Coming hot off the heels of 2012's The Avengers, which is still considered by many to be the MCUs finest hour (We'll see where it ranks for me later, HUH?), and what many look back on now as the turning point for the tone, style and consistent quality of the franchise...2013? Kinda shit the bed a little. Not massively so, neither release that year was awful...no film in the MCU is really, but it was a worryingly turbulent start to 'Phase 2' of what had now become a much bigger world, deafeningly signposted by the mediocre waste of time that was Thor: The Dark World. This sequel to the original, decent enough Thor, Dark World is the go-to MCU film for anyone seeking to point out the ongoing problems of the franchise. Namely, predictability, crappy villains, and a hesitance to take its characters off the chess board...AKA, killing them off. The premise involves portals to different 'realms' starting to open up at random places, affecting gravity and also allowing all manner of things to pass in and out. One of these realms is Earth, and the unbearably bland Jane Foster, played by a Natalie Portman who clearly wants to be anywhere but on the set of this movie, finds a portal that leads to a ...place...where she finds red goo that...goo's inside of her....and yeah, things. Cue Thor turning up, along with Foster's band of somewhat irritating co-horts, Loki and...Christopher Ecclestone as a blood elf seeking to take control of the powerful goo substance that Portman now has within her. Yes that's right, there was a villain in this film that wasn't Loki. Don't remember? That's because he's fucking boring, does nothing, and then dies. I think? To be honest I'm struggling to remember all the details. Whilst the ending sequence in London, playing with gravity and travelling across 'realms' (Planets) is pretty fun, it's inconsequential filler, like the rest of the film. Nothing is really accomplished apart from putting pieces in place for future movies, which is absolutely not what the only purpose of any film should be. Hell, this film managed to make Guardians of the Galaxy look like a troubling concept, thanks to its cheaply made and jarring mid-credits scene. Thor: The Dark World isn't terrible, but it's bland, and massively forgettable...and that's almost worse, frankly. Easily...EASILY the worst MCU film made to date.



    17. The Incredible Hulk (2008).


    Perhaps the oddest MCU film of the bunch, at least in terms of its place within the grand connected universe, The Incredible Hulk, second MCU film out of the gate, both ready-baked to connect to the wider Marvel universe, whilst also being a standalone reboot from Universal for the Hulk franchise, having failed spectacularly with their previous attempt...it's funny to look back on this film and see just how little of what was set up was carried over in the future. First and foremost, you have the inclusion of Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, who's obviously now played by the vastly superior (In this role at least) Mark Ruffalo. This is so far the only time one of the major players in the MCU has been recast, and in a quite drastically different fashion at that. Liv Tyler's role as Betty Ross, a major Hulk character and love interest from the comics, although mentioned in passing in The Avengers, has never appeared again, and given romantic subplots between Hulk and Black Widow in later films, presumably never will. Tim Roth stars as The Abomination, who's never been mentioned ever again despite presumably being alive in some form...somewhere. Samuel Sterns is shown being mutated by Hulk's blood seemingly into a villain known as 'Leader', which...has never been followed through on. The veiny, gritty design of Hulk in this film is also massively changed in later films, becoming more traditional and comic-book in design...and just...yeah. The only follow-through from this film was Thunderbolt Ross, who weirdly was an important side-character in Civil War, 8 years after the release of this film. The reasoning is mostly based around licensing. Universal Studios have the rights to make Hulk films, and after failing to make the franchise a success for the second time, they seem massively opposed to trying again. Marvel/Disney, however, have the right to include the Hulk in MCU films, and as such, he's appeared as one of many characters in both Avengers films, and Thor Ragnarok where his backstory and library of Hulk supporting characters take a complete backseat to what's happening in the current films, and his relationship to more established members of the MCU. What's also clear is that this is a Universal movie with a quick tie-into the MCU at the end, and not one that follows the style and devotion to the source material that you'd expect. It's...entertaining, not great, but has some memorable moments. It feels out of place within the MCU collective, though...and perhaps that's why it's 

    the dark sheep of the pack, with Hulk's inclusion in later films choosing to focus on what's essentially a 3rd reboot of the character, without worrying too much about this early misfire.



    16. Thor (2011).

    We've gotten passed the genuinely shoddy MCU films now, and we're in the stretch of merely being iffy, so GET STRAPPED IN. We've already taken a look at Thor's second outing, ranked the worst for the whole shared universe, but now we arrive at his debut...which is just called Thor. Thor: Starring Thor. Easy. Whilst I'm not a particularly huge fan of this one either, it's certainly a more accomplished film than the sequel, creaking the door open just slightly into the larger, cosmic Marvel world we're now grown practically accustomed to 7 years later. It introduced Thor, obviously, one of the quite literal big hitters of Team Avengers, but we also got our first go-around with Loki, who's easily the most well known and loved of the MCU movie villains to date, having appeared numerous times in films, both Thor and not, that followed from this point. And look buddy, I hope you like Dutch Angles, because this film is so wonkily framed you'd think the entire Earth had been knocked off its axis slightly, it's quite remarkable. That's not necessarily a problem, but it's definitely noticeable, at least to me, a sad nerd. This film also suffers from a bit of a culture shock in comparison to previous entries in the MCU, which at this stage had been entirely earthbound and all featured Tony Stark, who's somewhat a cool, witty, modern dude. Thor? None of that, the film fully embraces the somewhat gaudy and goofy aesthetic of Asgard and all its inhabitants, including the way they speak and behave, something that would later go on to be ridiculed extensively in the Avengers films, and even the final Thor movie. Whether or not you like that style is subjective, I'm not a huge fan personally, and I don't think the film balances the self-aware humour the MCU has become known and loved for against the somewhat straight-faced and full on 'Shakespeare in the Park' style, as Mr Stark would put it. The human cast are a bunch of cheesy and slightly irritating goofballs, with Natalie Portman only half regretting her agreeing to the role in this entry. It's fun though, colourful and breezy for the most part, with some nice shots of a muscle-bulging Thor drenched in mud, so there's that I guess. A significant chapter of the franchise, in terms of expanding beyond the scope of just genetic experiments, robotics and Earthbound antics, but not a wholly successful one.



    15. Iron Man 2 (2010).

    Arriving at the 3rd MCU film out the door, and the first to really try and hammer home the fact this is a shared universe with infinite potential for expansion. Both Iron Man and Incredible Hulk were self-contained films, maybe a little subtle references peppered throughout, but the MCU'ness only came into play within the end credits scenes, back in the days when having those in a comic book movie weren't necessarily expected at all. Iron Man 2, unfortunately, suffers as a few MCU films do, from trying to set too many things/people up. Beyond massively expanding on the SHIELD aspect teased briefly at the very end of the first, and as such expanding the roles of Nick Fury and Agent Coulson quite a bit, it also has to set up what would go on to become one of the main Avengers, Black Widow, in addition to Rhodes getting his previously teased debut as War Machine, as well as tease other potential heroes and the possibility of the Avengers being 'assembled'. This is in addition to introducing, establishing and resolving the stories of two new villains, expanding the role of Pepper Potts slightly, telling an actual story with all of these pieces combined, and oh yeah...continuing to tell the story of Tony Stark, who this film is about, obviously. In fairness, these elements aren't that hard to manage,  the film just doesn't do a good job of doing so, particularly with the villains, who are generally underused, lacking in threat, and often played for laughs in the case of Sam Rockwell's character. Broadly speaking, the film bites off more than it's personally capable of chewing, rather than biting off more than any film could chew. It somewhat rushes through the most famous Iron Man storyline, involving his battle with alcoholism, lacking the impact and pathos within the context of this narrative to work on any level, really. The action scenes are also a little bit messy, the final fight just being a horde-mode of unremarkable robot enemies (Which won't be the last time we see this on the list), throw in a lot of lasers, explosions and slightly iffy CGI and...yeah. Where this film shines is in the humour, Robert Downey Jr is, predictably on top form as himself (AKA Tony Stark), and the supporting cast all deliver a laugh or two also, whilst Tony's exploration of his father's work adds a touch of heart to what's otherwise a film lacking in much charm. Iron Man 2 is perhaps the most 'loud and uninspired popcorn entertainment' the MCU has gotten, as usually films that followed delivered a better balance of story and action. Not bad, but not great, and super underwhelming as a film that was following on the heels of the game-changing original.




    14. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

    Oh boy, now we arrive at what's perhaps the spiciest of the MCU collection. It was never going to be easy, doing a sequel to The Avengers, one that delivered what people wanted, gave them things they wouldn't expect, upped both the ante and the number of heroes on the team and...God forbid, actually surpass the original film, which was the benchmark for ensemble hero antics at that stage. SPOILERS, it didn't quite manage it, and put a frosty, controversial end to the once peachy position of Joss Whedon as the gatekeeper of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you look back on what I said about Iron Man 2 and crank up the volume somewhat, you'll have an idea of how this film managed to stumble quite spectacularly upon its release a few years ago. Following on from the original, continuing that story, introducing new heroes, establishing, exploring and resolving a new villain, expanding the universe and teasing the future to come? That's not easy, and this film is the definitive example of the MCU going too far with its placing of pieces of the chessboard for future film projects. The most notable example being Thor's side-story, which is included purely to set up his 3rd film, Ragnarok (That would come out 3 years later) and basically amounts to him leaving the main story to go stand in a shallow pool and have a vision of something that ended up never actually happening, Thor Ragnarok itself deviating massively from what was set up, suggesting a good deal of course correction following on from this film. The most controversial aspect of this film was in its handling of Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, the only female member of the Avengers going into this film, who had a somewhat out of the blue romantic subplot between her and Bruce Banner, which resulted in some awkward scenes, particularly the infamous cabin sequence where she reveals her infertility, which she suggests makes her a 'monster' not worthy of love at one point, which did not go down well. At all. She later gets kidnapped, too. It was from this point onwards that the lack of diversity in the MCU was a major discussion point, and continues to be so to this date. Beyond that, the main villain, the highly anticipated debut of Ultron? Fizzled out pretty badly, once again, the villain not getting much development, being used mainly for laughs and lacking much in the way of menace or threat, which doubled up with another ongoing MCU issue, the lack of threat to the core cast (The only main character to die was introduced in this film) and you can see why this film is held up as a sign of the franchise starting to show its bigger flaws. That said? The film is still a lot of fun, got some great action and emotional moments, the Hulkbuster scene is amazing, and the main cast are all terrific. It's a good film, but it's a messy one.



    13. Iron Man 3 (2013).

    YO LISTEN UP, HERE'S A STORY, ABOUT A LITTLE FILM THAT LIVED IN A BIG UNIVERSE, AND ALL NIGHT AND ALL DAY AND EVERYTHING IT DID, WAS compared to The Avengers and Iron Man and could never live up to either of those. *Ahem* Yeah, poor Iron Man 3...poor poor Iron Man 3. To be the trilogy ender to Tony Stark's solo-outings, the most successful individual MCU franchise at that point....and be the follow-up to the bloody Avengers? Ooff. Iron Man 3 is part 2 of our two-part exploration of the MCUs worrying 2013 jitters. What was perhaps more worrying at the time was that it didn't suffer from the same issues as Thor: The Dark World, but instead presented a whole different spectrum of concerns to add to that pot. Whilst Dark World suffered from being massively forgettable and bland, and its villain being basically non-existent, Iron Man 3 suffered from potentially veering too far into the realm of goofiness, pushing the boundaries on the good balance of humour, action and drama established in the blueprint for what became the MCUs signature style, that was The Avengers. Iron Man 3 in its trailers and teasers promised an emotional exploration of Tony Stark's character in a post-Avengers world, suffering from PTSD over his near-death, eye opening dip into the infinite void of space, that...was buzzing with activity, ready to strike the planet at any point. It promised to do this, whilst one of the most well known Iron Man villains, The Mandarin threatened to tear apart everything he'd built for himself, both literally, and in his relationships with his friends and his lover, Pepper Potts. Whilst we got a degree of that in the film, and it was effective in parts, it somewhat parted away in favour of some goofy antics, mostly because this was a potent combination of Shane Black directing, with Robert Downey Jr acting. The film is perfectly enjoyable and was massively entertaining upon first viewing, whilst fully onboard the hype train that was the post-Avengers, pre-Iron Man 3 time period. But there's a lot of problems, particularly that last-minute surprise twist that SPOILERS...generic white dude business man #3, in this film played by Guy Pierce is the REAL Mandarin, a glowy orange...supercharged shirtless man who gets his ass handed to him by a similarly oranged-up Pepper Potts...not the Mandarin in the trailers, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, who was just an actor, and it was all a gag, removing any menace the character had once and for all. That pissed a lot of people off, and I didn't mind it too much, but it is dumb. Also the President gets kidnapped and draped over a giant Christmas tree in an Iron-Man suit...so that should give you an idea of the level of cheese present in this film. Downey Jr gives a great show, and the film is a lot of fun...but ooh boy does it go in the wrong direction sometimes. A victim of its own hype in some respects, but not a wholly successful film regardless.



    12. Iron Man (2008).

    Woah momma, we're here. The one that started it all, the game-changer, the franchise maker, our starting point on this 10 year journey of ups and downs, and we have Robert Downey Jr's big comeback performance to thank for it. It's hard to imagine now, but prior to Iron Man, Downey was just getting back on his feet, following a somewhat notorious downward spiral into drugs and alcohol after a meteoric rise to fame at a young age. He was perfect, then, to play the somewhat reckless and unstable, but charming Tony Stark, at the time a relatively unknown character to the general public, who knew their Spider-Mans from their Wolverines, but potentially not much more. This film changed that somewhat, Tony Stark and Iron Man are now household names, and possibly one of, if not the most well known and loved Marvel properties at one stage. And it's easy to see why, this was a drastic change of style and tone for comic book movies up to this point, Iron Man threw aside the assumption that a comic book movie had to behave like an actual comic book, cast aside the expectation for comic book cheese and sentimentality, and made what became for a while one of two modern blockbuster movie templates (The other being The Dark Knight, also out in 2008, which I'm afraid to say isn't on this list for some reason). It was witty, cool, found that fine balance between staying true to the designs of the comic books, without looking out of place and naff in regards to the suits...and best of all, was just a damn good movie in its own right. It's a really good origin story for Tony Stark, a self-obsessed war profiteer, who has a life-changing experience and decides to become something more, and do something better. Right from the get go, Downey Jr is fantastic in the role, and plays off really well with the supporting cast, which includes Jeff Bridges in the first of many stuffy business suit dudes who winds up going crazy and using advanced technology to do some CRAZY EVIL THIIIINGS. All in all, this is a damn solid film, funny but also touching in parts, and as with the rest of the film, that now infamous after-credits scene where Samuel L Jackson turns up, out of nowhere, as Nick Fury, teasing the arrival of the Avengers? Something that seems so obvious now, but at one point meant nothing to most people until they Googled it? It was a big risk and it paid off massively. Why is it so low on the list, then? Well...it's just...this was the starting point, y'know? You watch it now, and it's great, but it feels so...small? This was Marvel before they were bought out by Disney, before they had the money to go all-in, before they had enough confidence from the audience to go crazy...it's hard to compare it to the scale of later films on this list simply because it was the first step in a 10 year, long walk that they all continued on with. But yeah, with Iron Man at #12, you can tell we're getting into the properly good shit now.



    11. Ant-Man (2015).

    WHAT!? I hear you say. YOU PUT ANT-MAN IN FRONT OF IRON MAN? THAT MOVIE SUCKS, FUCK YOU! I hear you continue, loudly...as I try to hurriedly eat my breakfast and escape from your clutches. Yes, I did. A lot of people aren't so hot on Ant-Man, but I often wonder if that's less to do with the film itself, and more to do with its turbulent road to release, perhaps the most notable of all the MCU behind the scenes situations. Originally to be directed by Edgar Wright, the genius guy who brought you Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim and most recently, Baby Driver. He and Disney parted ways in the run-up to main production due to what's now become the Disney/Director division staple; 'Creative Differences'. The film was then given to another Disney staple, a 'safe pair of hands' in the form of competent but not particularly stand-out director, Peyton Reed. From this point people who very much opposed to this films continued existence, which is fair...Edgar Wright is an amazing and unique directing talent that could've infused the film was a lot of flavour and make it stand-out visually and tonally from the increasingly larger MCU crowd...instead we get someone who's mandate is seemingly to make the film in a way that keeps it in line with the rest...surely resulting in bland, charmless blockbuster filler, right? Well....I don't think so, whilst Ant-Man in a lot of ways is just Iron Man...with ants,  that's hardly a recipe for a bad film is it? And the film delivers a charming and likeable main cast, an action packed, funny heist-style caper, and best of all, some really great shrinking/growing scale set-pieces. Like...REALLY great. Seeing the world from the perspective of Scott Lang in the Ant-Man suit is a real treat, as are the action sequences that play with scale spontaneously throughout, a fight that took place in a helicopter one moment, can now suddenly be taking place within the confines of a suitcase falling out of said helicopter. A fight taking place in a child's bedroom one moment can be a fast-paced train chase on the child's toy railway shortly after. It's visually quite strong in these sequences especially. And perhaps more importantly, it delivers that much needed balance of humour, silly moments, fun action, but also heart. There's a lot of heart to spare between Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, both characters who mask a lot of their feelings behind bombastic attitudes, but it's the peek behind the curtain, when their true natures and feelings are revealed, Scott with the love of his daughter, Hope with the loss of her mother, that's when the characters click and you do more than laugh, you feel something too. And I mean, he rides a flying ant at one point, so. Fuck yeah. RIP Anthony, I miss you every day. This might be Marvel at their most cookie-cutter in terms of basic tone and style, but I mean...it's a damn good cookie, hopefully the sequel this year doesn't disappoint.




    WOAH, those were some hot takes, huh? What's that I hear you say? How is  Ant-Man the best MCU film of all time? The answer is...no it isn't. No. Just no. For reasons of WORD LIMITS, this is merely Part 1 of a two part epic cinema event...you see what I did there? No? Okay. Anyway, Part 2, which can also be read as the Top 10 MCU Films if you have an evasion or allergy to two part events, will be up next week, just in time for the release of Avengers: Infinity War! Like what you read so far? Agree? Disagree? Let's have a civil discussion about it in the comments below! Yes, let's do that. If you enjoyed this blog, please do share it around the ol' place, and give it a ZING of approval with the button below. 

    Until next week, LATER GATORS.

  • Need To Catch Up

    2 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    Sorry that I didn't post anything from last week.  I was working on my big project and working with other little projects that I lost track on writing in this blog.  I don't want to give a long brief summary on what I have done in the last couple of weeks, it would be to much (plus it would be boring to read).  So I have more drawings to share from these past couple of weeks.

    FxtHzo6.jpghWGNy1D.jpgFoVAVBg.jpg

    Spike from "Cowboy Bebop"

    DVAiVW1.jpg

    Drew Jessica Nigri being silly as always in a funny costume.



    EwKhyvh.jpg

    I drew Taeko from "Only Yesterday" being sad for the lost of Isao Takahata.

    luNs8dD.jpg


    bE918Ez.jpg

    I drew Miles and Kyle from Backwardz Compatible wearing their dog hats.

    qgmlSZg.jpggPExK88.jpg

    Edward from "Cowboy Bebop"

    eBWweeq.jpg

    Jet from "Cowboy Bebop"

    K3cv0Lo.jpg

    Faye from "Cowboy Bebop"orLJ8AH.jpg

    Goku from "Dragon Ball Z"

    VYBhmDL.jpg
    clXDQ4J.jpg

    I will try to write more in the next blog.  Hope you enjoy the drawings for now.


    Have a good week everyone.

  • Sea of Thieves VS Fortnite: Why Pirates Win

    2 months ago

    UnWreckQuested


    Xbox and PC players have been emotionally split in their reception of the new hit pirating game from Rare, Sea of Thieves. Already, executives and developers have been fighting the fires of complaints from bored gamers claiming a lack of content and progression. Sea of Thieves Executive Producer Joe Neate told IGN that Sea of Thieves will “continue to grow and evolve” organically alongside its dedicated fans.


    But there’s something that Sea of Thieves has that particularly sets it apart in today’s videogame culture, a characteristic that some love and some hate.


    Sea of Thieves and Fortnite are presently two of the largest games on Xbox One. Both offer optional PvP elements and involve looting chests while exploring a medium-size map. The key difference between these two games lies deep within the philosophy of the game developers.


    Fortnite is a closed system game. Battle royale games by definition require that players join at a synchronous point and are not able to load into that game’s instance after it begins. Players are thus forced to all operate on an equal playing field; players start with nothing and only have a universal amount of time to compete.


    On the other hand, Sea of Thieves is an open system game. The game allows players to drop in and drop out. Instead of all loading in at once, players are able to leave and join a particular game’s instance at any point without necessary detriment to their experience of play. The scaling of gameplay, in order to allow PvP to continue without exponential threat to beginning players, lies in the lack of ability to upgrade weaponry & defense, opposite of Fortnite.


    Closed system multiplayer games force players to engage in a much more active manner. In closed system PvP, if players are not constantly focused on performing in ways that will further their success over others, they will lose. No getting around it. But in drop-in/out systems, players are able to choose moments where they can focus on parts of their experience that do not pit themselves against others.


    Because of this, Sea of Thieves has a capacity to offer a form of gameplay that is contiguous. Instead of winning a single round of battle royale, Sea of Thieves allows for players to continue their success and advancement from one session to the next. It’s not so much that it’s casual, it’s that you can never truly lose.


    And that’s the key difference between players that love or hate Sea of Thieves:

    Some players love the risk that exists in games that you can truly lose while others prefer a format that allows continuous success.


    Another Xbox-Microsoft classic showcases this form of play: Minecraft. Players are able to continue to join and advance in a particular instance of a game without ever truly losing. Sure, players can be killed in PvP just like in Sea of Thieves, but within that same instance of the game they can choose to continue pursuing success.


    So, what kind of gamer are you? Do you prefer risk or choice? Do you prefer to be able to lose or be able to continue to advance forward? What do you think makes different kinds of games sustainable?


    ***

    Tyler Read is a new digital media, videogame, and organizational culture & communication enthusiast. He currently serves as the Manager & Executive Producer of the Popular Apocrypha Podcast.

  • Don't Go Spring Break!

    2 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    I had a relaxing Spring Break week away from my current full time job and I have to go back to work the next day.  I had an amazing time skateboarding by the river, drawing outside of my house to find new ideas or inspirations, working and brainstorming future projects, and kicking back.  It was fun while it lasted, but I have to go back to my normal work routine.


    Please don't go Spring Break!!!


    Oh well.  In the meantime, I have more drawings to share.


     iZJtTC6.jpg

    aHHAJU8.jpg
    T4LmhXK.jpg8Bm2d3v.jpgaseMmiV.jpggoOFzHy.jpgx5s9QTc.jpg

    Have a good week everyone.

  • Blogging

    2 months ago

    dontdoit96 Boo, Motherfucker

    I started a blog, maybe one day I'll accompany it with a You Tube channel. For now I'm just writing about films, TV, the environment, and anything else that interests me. I'm also posting my designs there. 

    https://andthen721579023.wordpress.com/


    PS. I know the URL sucks, but that's what I get for a free plan  simmons

  • Spring Break!

    2 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    I made it through another week of work and I made it to Spring Break!  Whoo Hoo!  I'm really looking forward to this break so that I can get into more of my projects, relax a bit, and to skate more.  I wish I could've gone to a convention or went somewhere else for the break, but not a lot of people I know personally are off during my break and it would've sucked if I was by myself.  But I will make the best of my Spring Break and still make it exciting.


    I have more drawings to share.


     DFi0aVl.jpg

    oa73EHd.jpg
    bTL014k.jpgXTuahJX.jpgcJQTp6Y.jpge8P3bZ8.jpgSCxf9jL.jpg

    I recently watched Achievement Hunters play Mario Party and this came to mind.

    pIDPAw9.jpg

    Have a good week everyone.


    Bryan

  • Finding Inspiration

    3 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    I've been feeling a lot better since my last post.  I've been in a funk for awhile now, but this week made me be calm and relaxed.  With the projects I'm currently working on, I have been a bit stressed these past weeks.  However, I have taken some time away from my projects to find some new ideas and inspirations.


    I have been searching for some new artists around the internet to be inspired by and to learn a few new styles.  It amazes me on how much creativity there is in this world and how it all seems to never end of discovering new things.  I have to say, being an artist on the internet (especially me) is amazing.  And it's all different mediums of digital art that we learn more about online such as 3D modeling, 3D animation, 2D animation, illustration, graphic design, video/film, etc.  I really needed a bit of a break from my work because it's all I know about, 24/7, when it comes to my style of work.  I'm really committed to my vision of my big project that I forget everything else around me.  So, it's best for me to separate myself from my work a bit in order to find new people or artworks to be inspired by.  Everyone needs a break from their work to find something else in this world to be inspired by, am I right?


    Aside from that, I have more drawings to share.


    TkHMp9N.jpg

    I decided to draw Geoff, Jack, and Jeremy from Achievement Hunter being on Theater Mode.

    k9QBQ6O.jpg

    Andy Warhol if he had social media.

    nZ4GzFV.jpg
    ZOywL55.jpgczIn0f9.jpgrIkF5Sd.jpgtl7uI9z.jpgTYkOttO.jpg

    With Nomad of Nowhere, I drew Skout and the rocks.

    iVA0p5B.jpg

    Have a good week everyone,


    Bryan

  • My hoping future

    3 months ago

    JCWolfe

    I love RoosterTeeth very much. I always dream of working with them on videos, animation, motion capture, music and voice acting. I’m just someone who has a lot on his plate and I need help finding a solution. I want to be able to get my foot in the door and let RT know I’m 100% interested. The date is March 16, 2018 as I am on my spring break weekend vacation. I passed by RoosterTeeth studios in hopes of seeking an opportunity to talk. But then realize no one is probably there or there was no way of talking to someone. I would humbly appreciate the day that someone from RT messages me with an opportunity to join the crew. I love the podcasts, I love the original series, and I love the community. Heck, I have a working idea for a new series that I could bring to the table. 


    I just hope that my future involves RoosterTeeth



    - John 

  • Week 19- Still Same Old, Same Old

    3 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    I'm still going through the same week routine as usual, ordinary.  I'm still working on my latest project and everyday drawings for the time being.  I just need to find something new to create when this big project is done.  I have a few ideas, but I just need to get this one out of the way.


    I'm searching for a change in my life, but I don't know what it is yet.  Hopefully, something will come my way when the time is right.


    Until then, I have more drawings to share.


    j8zChaE.jpg
    KX3v0wz.jpgckfgBhK.jpg

    For International Women's Day, it's my mother and sister.

    7CR5EgT.jpgaHoNFuK.jpgYuoXBsr.jpg

    When you want a Blu-Ray Copy of LadyBird in Sacramento and the stores are all out.

    M7Fkfgh.jpg

    Have a good week everyone,


    Bryan

  • Week 18- Same Old, Same Old

    3 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    I don't really have much to write about this week because I still feel the same way from the last post.  Everything just felt ordinary this week.  For now, I'm doing well and staying focused on my goals.  


    I still have more drawings to share.


     4MeB7yV.jpg

    y4l5HEX.jpg
    UGdBagi.jpg4oZWiTM.jpghPGObos.jpgzV2BSOD.jpgio5VIYD.jpg

    Have a good week everyone,


    Bryan

  • Week 17- Things Are Getting Better

    3 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    I'm starting to feel better this week.  More work as usual, but somehow calm.  It's weird that with all of the projects I am currently work on, I was a bit mellow.  Maybe, with everything going on I'm kind of getting used to working on multiple things; especially when they are my own projects.


    For instance, as I'm working on my big digital project, the lighting effects for the files are starting to become more faster to work with.  It's not so much time consuming to work on because the files I have are becoming shorter to work on as I go down the list.  I might have this done a little bit faster than expected and then I can work a little bit more on different lighting portions of the project.  I have more lighting to work on as I 'm done with this portion of the project, but it will be smaller to edit.


    I don't really have much to write about, everything is ordinary this week.  I have more drawings to share this week.


    HKUsQt0.jpg

    BSmeG1s.jpg

    uOHIpuR.jpg
    Yozjnms.jpgEwLncoG.jpgYk5WSNd.jpgQsJhli9.jpgU842Vpb.jpg

    Hope everyone has a good week and I'll see you later.


    Bryan

  • Car Build

    4 months ago

    AEPheonix

    2/19/19

    Yo wasssup wassup what’s up?!?. So I’ve been checking out the whole YouTube thing making videos and all that I’m pretty proud of myself, I have 40 subscribers and I average like maybe five veiws a video. The videos are mostly about my car or day-to-day operations, like a daily vlog or something like that, but I got the car dynode in town in the middle of nowhere South Dakota where I’m from. I had a Buddy just pop up with his shop. So definitely works out and I don’t need travel down to Colorado. He did a little bit of tuning better than what I could’ve done or have been doing. And I’ve been running into issues with the car it’s been miss firing in boost and I was having that problem on the Dyno, but he got it tuned to the point where it wasn’t doing that. So I start driving it and it’s misfiring again. The problem I found was the distributor, the contact points for the spark plugs were bent outward’s and it had burnt plastic everywhere and just not really usable. Anyway on 10 psi the car made 180whp and 173wtq. Pretty good numbers for a D16a6


     That’s about it. I’m definitely forgetting more, but go ahead and check out my channel if you manage to find my page on this here RT website.

    Day:Start

  • Week 16- Starting To Feel Tense

    4 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    This past week has been pretty tiring and stressful.  I'm starting to feel a bit pressured when it comes to presenting my daily drawings (or weekly drawings here on the RT journal site) and working on my digital project.  


    With every daily drawing I present to the public, I have to keep presenting something new and original for everyone to see and to keep the momentum continuing.  I love doing my daily drawings because it allows me to find something new in my style of work and to watch it develop, change, and progress.  It's amazing to create something new and different each day.  I have come so far that I don't want to stop.  However, when new people start to know who I am based on my drawings and follow me, it starts to change my perspective on what is right and wrong when drawing.  Sometimes I think to myself, "Will this be humorous for people to like, will they understand what the drawing is about, is it to average, etc."  I start to question myself on what viewers think instead of what I think when drawing a chibi comic.  Every time I finish a drawing, I sometimes doubt myself and question myself on why I drew it.  But in the end, I always have to be confident when presenting my work for everyone to see and to stand by my answers on why I drew a certain image.  So far, this is discovering more about myself and to push myself further on what else I could create.


    As for my digital project, I'm still working on rotoscoping lights.  It's starting to really annoy me in this phase of the project.  I have to do this by rotoscoping every keyframe and I have more than 30 files to work on.  This is starting to drain my energy and I start to get tired quickly as I work on this.  This may be a long phase in my journey, but I know I can do this.  I just have to keep my head up and stay positive.


    Aside from the work I am doing, I have more drawings to share.

    yfrE9GY.jpg

    Barbara Dunkelman posted herself in a hotdog costume one day, and this idea came to my mind.

    LUPJFDh.jpgxOGWkHc.jpgD5zmPt7.jpgjjK3I0i.jpgjflMoK2.jpgz5LDj7l.jpg

    Hope everyone has a good week and I'll see you later.


    Bryan

  • First Journal Since RTX 2016 - An Update on Life

    4 months ago

    HowMad_Gladi

    Hello friends, if you’re still there! My activity on the RT site fell off pretty quickly after RTX 2016 because I was starting my last semester of my forensic science degree. I ended up receiving my degree in Fall of 2016, and decided that I wanted to continue schooling. The following semester, I earned a lab science certificate, but has a lot of trouble finding employment, so again, I decided to continue schooling. 


    I applied to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (my dream school), two other UW schools, and Ohio State University. Unfortunately, I was not accepted by the University of Wisconsin, but I was accepted by Ohio State. 


    So here I am in Columbus, Ohio, now a Buckeye instead of a Badger. I’m working and going to school full time, so I’m always sleepy lol. I’m currently majoring in forensic biology and minoring in German – which leads me to the second part of this journal! 


    Ohio State accepted me for a study abroad program in Dresden, Germany from June until August. Sadly, my flight, food, and room and board is not included in the program costs. I started a GoFundMe to hopefully meet my goal of at least helping me with my flight. Any little bit helps, and I’ll love you forever for helping me accomplish a bucket list goal of mine :)


    >https://www.gofundme.com/aeq2z-study-abroad-dresden-germany


    Until my flight, I’ll be working and studying my ass off while trying to catch up on RT content I’ve missed over the past year. 


    Thank you to anyone who read this!

  • Wallace & Gromit: Ranked.

    4 months ago

    g1TheStickman

    HellLLllLOOOoOoo and welcome to ANOTHER BLOG. A few weeks ago, to celebrate the release of Early Man, Aardman's newest feature film, I did a Top 10 of my favourite animations from the studio. The main rule? No Wallace & Gromit. The reason? Because of this! It's now time for the US release of Early Man, the one maybe more relevant for the majority of people reading this blog, so that means it's time for the Part 2 I promised. Every Wallace & Gromit film/show...RANKED. OH MY GAWWWWDD...said nobody ever. 

    So, what counts as Wallace & Gromit, exactly? Well, obviously the series of short films, and the feature length movie they are, perhaps most well known for outside of the UK. I'm also counting any television production starring them, but I'm not including video games, comics, adverts or one-off short-form animations, such as the minute long short done for the National Trust a few years back. I'm also not including 'Musical Marvels', a W&G themed concert that had original animations and brief story peppered throughout, as the animated sequences are merely window-dressing for what's otherwise a BBC Prom performance. 

    The most important addition? Shaun the Sheep. I debated whether or not this counted as Wallace & Gromit, but given it's a spin-off from the short films, featuring a character introduced in Wallace & Gromit? I figured it counted...also it made the ranking more pleasantly numbered, so there's that...that said, I'm not counting the pre-school spin-off to the spin-off, Timmy Time...as it's a Shaun the Sheep spin-off...aaaaand also I haven't seen it. Y'know, so there's that.


    That's it, really! As usual, these are just opinions, you're entitled to disagree, let me know which your faves are, along with anything else you'd like to say...nicely, in the comments below! Okay? OKAAAY...HERREE WE GOOOOOO.





    10. World of Invention (2010).

    Kicking things off with something most of you have probably never even heard of...yeah, that's right. Wallace & Gromit had an actual TV show, back in 2010. Not only that, it was also the final W&G production that the sadly now departed Peter Sallis ever worked on, and it's also the last long-form Wallace & Gromit production made as of time of posting. For something with that many significant claims to fame, it's a wonder why it's not as well known as other things in the franchise, really, huh? Well....actually, about that. The reason is because it's less your normal kinda W&G production, and more...an educational series presented by Wallace & Gromit. Yeah, that's why it's at the bottom, folks! This one off, 6 episode show was a co-production between Aardman and the BBC, in an attempt to use the characters as an engagement point to get children interested in science, technology, and some real life wacky inventions. Each episode was framed as a TV show hosted by Wallace, with Gromit being a one-man production team on the cameras and TV operation. The main focus was short live action clips showcasing new inventions and inventors, but each episode had a specific theme, and that theme was framed by animated exploits in the studio, with Wallace's attempts to showcase his own inventions, or just scientific experiments usually going predictably awry, with Gromit on hand to save the day, as it were. This was inoffensive and enjoyable enough stuff, but obviously, given the main draw to this is Wallace & Gromit themselves, having the purpose of the show be to focus on real people and real technology meant it didn't really catch on the way the BBC may have wanted, given the extensive marketing/educational push that came alongside it. The animated sequences are, obviously funny, detailed and super charming, as you'd come to expect from W&G, and I appreciate the sentiment behind using the franchise to inspire children with real technology and creativity, but it's not what I want from the franchise, and that's why it's at the bottom of the ranking. It certainly carries a certain additional charm, knowing this was, at the time nearly 90 year old Peter Sallis' final stint in one of his most iconic roles, so maybe it's worth checking out for fans, anyway.




    9. Cracking Contraptions (2002).

    Another TV series...of sorts, Cracking Contraptions holds a special weight with me, because it was the first new Wallace & Gromit production I ever got to enjoy as a child, and when it got announced, I more or less exploded, actually coercing my primary school teacher into letting me use his overhead projector to watch the first short online before I even made it home back in the day. Whilst these are short...shorts, varying from 1 to 3 minutes, depending, I'm counting them because they came as an original series shown on TV, rather than as one-offs made for a specific promotional purpose. The actual purpose of Cracking Contraptions was to train up a team of rookie, or at least inexperienced animators at Aardman to be able to animate in the style and quality required for Wallace & Gromit as preparation for the at that point in pre-production feature film. These are fun, but brief mini-adventures with the duo, the brief nature being why they're so low down on the list, it's simply hard for them to compare to the short-films, features and shows that came before, and followed on from it. That said, these 10 Cracking Contraptions shorts are still a fun time, and made for a very, very Merry Christmas for 9 year old me as each episode aired on BBC One across the festive period, and then on Christmas Day itself I got the lot on DVD, along with many other W&G goodies that'd come out around the same time. Nostalgia aside, these still hold up in the same way all the W&G films do, providing the same detailed, creative and funny exploits you'd expect, just at a smaller length. Highlights include the above Shopper 13, possibly the ultimate 'why don't you just do it like anyone else would' scenario for Wallace and his many unnecessary inventions, rivalled only by The Tellyscope, which features the most overly complicated alternative to turning a TV on ever. Other ill-fated inventions showcased include a malfunctioning Auto-Diner, a crumb targeting vacuum cleaner turned feral, a rather cruel real-life alternative to counting sheep at night, and a self-defence vest that basically amounts to a boxing glove on a spring. These creative, slickly produced shorts are a lot of fun to watch, their only real weakness is well...being short. Ignoring the above edutainment misfire, this is as close as we'll ever get to a Wallace & Gromit TV series...at least...featuring Wallace and Gromit, specifically.




    8. Shaun the Sheep (2007-2016).

    Speaking of TV shows...here's a ...TV show! Aardman's first attempt at a proper children's TV show, and only their second attempt at a proper TV series in general (Rex the Runt, featured on my previous blog was the first), Shaun the Sheep was a long in development spin-off of Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave that came off of the pop culture growth of Shaun the Sheep as a character, following his use as a fashion item by one of the Spice Girls in the 90s...yep, that was a thing. Roughly 10 years later, and the series finally came to be, show-run by the same guy who made Rex the Runt, and ran the Creature Comforts series prior to this one. Shaun the Sheep is a spin-off entirely removed from the world of Wallace & Gromit, in that they don't appear beyond brief easter eggs here and there, but in some ways the set-up and geography is pretty in keeping with the main series. Shaun, a bit older than he was in his first 1995 appearance, is now living on a farm with a whole flock of other sheep, tended to by a farmer and his dog, who acts as both friend and foe to Shaun himself. Although visually, beyond the dip in quality you'd expect from a syndicated TV spin-off directed by someone other than Nick Park, it's as you'd expect in terms of design, charm and detail from Wallace & Gromit. The key difference is there's no speaking whatsoever, dialogue across the series being reduced to various grunts and gasps, something that extends to both animal and human characters. This lack of language barrier, paired with the pre-existing appeal of Shaun/Aardman, and the simpler, more child-friendly antics have allowed the show to catch on big-time in regions all across the world, particularly Europe and Asia, with the character now Aardman's biggest financial income, and international export. As a result, the show has run for 5 seasons across nearly 10 years, with 150 episodes produced as of 2016, which easily makes it Aardman's longest running, collectively lengthiest production. As it stands, Shaun the Sheep is a children's show, it lacks the same polish and wit of Wallace & Gromit, but that doesn't stop it from being a visually pleasant, creative and entertaining series that's very hard to dislike, regardless of what age you are. A couple dud episodes aside (A clip-show episode being the real low point of the series...and mankind in general), it's consistently high quality and easy to enjoy from whatever entry point you randomly stumble across. It's no Wallace & Gromit, but in a world increasingly without Wallace & Gromit? It's not a bad alternative, and having an Aardman TV show of any sort is pretty neat in general. Whilst its future at this point is uncertain, with another feature film on the way in 2019, it seems likely this will continue at some point, in some form.




    7. A Grand Day Out (1989).

    Here we are. The one that started it all. The student film project that became one of animations most beloved and acclaimed franchises, and the short that put Aardman on the map globally. A Grand Day Out was the first outing for Wallace & Gromit, and Nick Park's first film production....and...well, it shows, really. It's a classic, and a perfectly enjoyable, thematically iconic one at that, but it's very rough around the edges, and lacks the same degree of humour and creativity that the pair later became known for, and that's why it's appearing so low down the list. That said, I still really love this first outing, in all honestly, I don't hate any of the things ranked on this blog, there's just a clear difference in polish and scale between Grand Day Out and anything that followed, which sadly puts it at a complete disadvantage, historically significant or not. The basic premise is very British. It's a bank holiday, Wallace & Gromit want to go on a day trip...but they're out of cheese! OH NO. They, or Wallace at least, opts to pick a destination known for its cheese production...so you have Cheddar, Wensleydale...uh...Tesco...and then the moon. As everyone knows, and NASA clearly are covering up to this day, the moon is made entirely of cheese. Naturally, the moon is the hot destination for any cheese connoisseur, and one homemade, bright orange rocket ship later, the pair are off into space...after a very last minute cracker supply run, of course. It may be Wallace & Gromit at their least polished, but it really goes to show how good the series is when this is the formative film that paved the way...because it's still really fun to watch, and full of memorable moments. The rocket construction montage, the in-rocket shenanigans prior to landing, their exploration of both the moon itself, and the...unique? flavours of its cheese and of course...the coin operated cooker...guy who I guess is evil? But maybe just lonely? Um. That one's a bit odd, and not something the series ever repeats or explains, but HEY...it's pretty fun all the same. Throw in some delightfully (fittingly?) cheesy, brass-heavy music and some perhaps unintentionally creepy character models for Wallace in the first half, which was made at Nick Park's school, prior to his recruitment by Aardman, who then helped him finish the second half on the moon, with slightly less nightmare-inducing results...and, well...you got yourself A Grand Day Out. Like I said, it's rough, it's lacking in certain aspects we've come to know and love from these guys, but it's still really entertaining stuff, and features a host of motifs (The rocket, the rivets, the love of cheese and Wallace's passion for inventing) that have remained a mainstay to this day, hell...the classic porthole view of Wallace & Gromit looking out on the moon at the very end has become something of a logo for the franchise, the two staring goofily through their hand-made, bright orange rocket-ship window really summing up a lot of what's appealing about the franchise. It may not be their best, but it was certainly a damn good effort for a first try.



    6. Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015).

    From the first one out the gate, to one of the most recent, and the first feature length film on the list. Shaun the Sheep Movie is...obviously, a follow-up to the Shaun the Sheep TV series, taking the same setting, characters and general kid-friendly tone, and applying it all to a 90 minute run time, instead of 10. The results are mixed, but on a whole pretty successful, and ended up being a surprise critical hit back in 2015, nominated for both the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, despite maybe not being on the same quality as previous movie attempts from Aardman. The premise? After trying to get a day off from the monotony of his day-to-day life, Shaun and his friends stage an elaborate plan to take their farmer out of action for the day. Previously mentioned friend/foe to Shaun, Blitzer intervenes, and inadvertently ends up sending his owner on a caravan trip into the city, resulting in head trauma, and amnesia. Shaun, Blitzer and eventually the rest of the 'flock' head into the city after him, and encounter many hardships along the way whilst attempting to blend-in, eventually attracting the attention of the menacing, violent animal control ...guy? Will they survive their trip to the city, and will they be able to get their farmer back...and even so, will he ever be the same!? Well...it's a kids film, so take a wild guess, but it's a fun ride getting to the expected conclusion all the same. Whilst the film has some less successful attempts at humour, it's frequently funny, generally quite charming and even a little touching at times, something the TV show has dabbled in once or twice, but never to the extent of the film. Shaun the Sheep Movie very much hits all the usual mainstream animation notes you'd expect, but stands above the usual fare thanks to the obvious Aardman charms and details, in addition to a cast of likeable characters, both main and supporting. As with the show, there's no dialogue at any point, which also leads to a certain unique quality, this maybe why it's caught on with critics so much. It's maybe Aardman's weakest feature, but it's still pretty darn good, and like with the show it came from, it's a very hard film to hate when you get down to it. Shaun's just a fun guy, y'know? The less said about the credits music the better, mind...



    5. The Farmer's Llamas (2015).

    Remaining on Mossy Bottom Farm (Yes that's the name) for our next entry, also moving forwards to the most recent entry on the list to date. Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas was a 30 minute special broadcast Christmas Day on BBC One, much in the same vein as the Wallace & Gromit shorts that came before it, actually releasing in the same year as the Shaun the Sheep Movie, suggesting it was a very busy year for the production team of that franchise. Whilst the Movie took the GANG off the farm, Farmer's Llamas keeps them at home, but introduces a set of new characters in the form of the titular Llamas. After making friends with the new guys at a farm show, Shaun tricks the farmer into buying the troublesome trio at an auction. At first, things are going great...at least for Shaun and the Llamas, the rest of the farm not so much, the new arrivals being somewhat enablers to Shaun's bad behaviour. When things take a turn for the worse, Shaun finds himself alienated from both groups, and seeks to correct his mistake, with unexpectedly dark results. Whilst some have considered the design of the Llamas, paired with their specific style of music to be a stereotypical caricature of South Americans, with the mischievous nature leading some to consider the portrayals as racist, I feel this is maybe overthinking speechless animated characters a bit too much. Personally, the unique individual personalities and stellar animation on the Llamas, paired with the serial-killer'esque, visually creative end sequence are what set this 30 minute short above its feature length predecessor in a lot of ways. It's the same quality of animation and same mixed, but generally successful mixture of humour and heart, but with what I feel is a leaner, more entertaining 'story'. It lacks the crap-pop songs and abundance of pop-culture reference related humour that the movie thrives on also, and whilst it may not have the same degree of ambition, it makes up for it with a fantastically realised set of new characters, once again proving Aardman are the kings of expressive stop motion puppetry. For fans of Shaun the Sheep, and Aardman in general, 2015 was definitely a treat.




    4. A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008).

    And so, we arrive at the most recent, and possibly last ever Wallace & Gromit film. Nearly 10 years ago now, A Matter of Loaf and Death was broadcast ...as with the previous entry, Christmas Day on BBC One, and ended up being the most viewed non-sporting event in the UK for over 20 years. W&G is somewhat of a British institution, and given how rare new films come along? It was quite the event. This was also the first time Aardman turned a 30 minute short over in a single year, announcing the film in January and giving updates on its production over the 12 month wait on its website, which was fun for people like me, who are desperately sad nerds. The premise is surprisingly dark for what's generally considered family entertainment, a baker hating serial killer has murdered 12 innocent people in the local area, and Wallace has just so happened to recently open his own bakery....you don't need to be a genius to know where this is going. Coincidentally (?) Wallace just so happens to meet the girl of his dreams, a former low-fat bread spokeswomen, and after saving her from being eaten by a crocodile, the two swiftly fall in love. How nice. What could possibly go...oh. Never mind. Although the goofiest, most cartoonish of all the W&G shorts, finishing a transformation into more wacky slapstick territory that began in Curse of the Wererabbit, compared to the more subtle (Relatively anyhow) humour and action of the previous films, Matter of Loaf and Death also deals with oddly dark themes, including the previously mentioned murder of the serial variety, but also domestic abuse and stockholm syndrome-esque grief via the other new character of the film, Fluffles...a similarly mute love interest for Gromit that gets a pretty raw deal across the events of the film. Although the quality of humour isn't quite on par with previous films (The 'bomb in my pants' scene is maybe a somewhat low moment for the series as a whole), it makes up for that with Nick Park's signature flair for cinematic lighting and detail, providing a feature movie's worth of extravagant directing and well thought-out action for a merely 30 minutes long short. It's a great short, not the best from W&G by far, but the characters are still wonderful, the animation/lighting/directing/music is all top form, and the premise, whilst dark (Not a problem for me really), is really fun. If this is the last slice of action from these two we ever get, it's a pretty good ending point. I'd like another though, Mr Park...please? PLEASEEE?!





    3. A Close Shave (1995).

    We're reaching the end of our rankings, and as such, we're very much in the classics territory. Those days of Shaun the Sheep are behind us...oh wait...no they aren't, because sheep are the name of the game in A Close Shave, the 3rd entry in the Wallace & Gromit franchise, which also happens to be the début appearance of a certain, previously mentioned sheep named Shaun. Wallace & Gromit have opened a window cleaning service, soap canons, bungee chords and HILARITY ENSUE, AH AH AH, EH? HA HA HA. But also there's sheep being slaughtered. And Gromit gets framed for murder and sent to jail. Oh...ohhoho? No. A Close Shave introduced what went on to become the formula for the franchise...Wallace uses his inventions to start a new career, meets a girl he fancies, things go awry, with the villain being connected to the love interest in varying ways. In this instance, his window cleaning business leads him to meet Wendoline, owner of a local wool shop who needed her windows cleaning. She's the only store in the area to have any wool, the recent sheep rustling/killings leaving everyone else fresh out...why's she got so many? Whooooo's this evil looking dog called Preston? Gosh, who knows what's going on here. As we now come to expect, the short is beautifully filmed and contains several memorable action sequences, the most famous of which being the truck/bike chase, which takes many forms, including on-road pursuit, air-assault and some truly impressive on-motorbike sheep stacking. The sequence that follows is almost as great, and the whole short is filled with great gags and goofy jokes. Wendoline isn't a particularly interesting character, despite her moral quandaries, but Preston is a suitably menacing villain, and Shaun is...well...Shaun. Although introducing a scrappy young side-kick to a pre-existing, well loved formula can often result in a bad case of Scrappy Doo, Shaun is just sparsely used enough to not intrude, whilst also providing additional charms to proceedings. As with the show that later spun-off, the supporting background sheep cast is great too, and the score, by Julian Notts is as always, an underrated treat, adding tension, excitement and heart to scenes when required, the Gromit trial sequence, shown from the perspective of Wallace reading about the events unfolding, is the emotional whammy of the film, and perhaps the saddest scene in the whole franchise....I mean, obviously things are going to be just fine, this isn't Black Mirror, but still hard not to feel a bit touched by the emotions displayed by usually such jolly characters. This, along with the following 2 entries, are the 3 people always struggle with deciding just WHICH Wallace & Gromit film is the best...well, we're about to find out where the chips fall for me, that's for sure.




    2. Curse of the Wererabbit (2005).

    I'll be honest, it's been really hard to choose which of these final two films takes the top spot, they're both...really...REALLY good, and the best of what Wallace & Gromit has to offer, but despite their one and only feature film outing being one of my all time favourite animated films, it just misses out from ruling the roost, thanks to the previously mentioned beginnings of a shift in tone and humour to be a bit more...flamboyant at times. It's not enough to ruin the film by any means, but it's enough to get it second place in this, a battle of two masterpieces. Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit is probably the most widely seen film of the franchise, given it's a feature length co-production with Dreamworks Animation, that released in cinemas worldwide, and topped the US box office in its opening weekend, going on to win all the animation awards for its specific year. The premise is an exquisitely directed horror spoof where Wallace, frustrated by Gromit's frequent attempts to strong-arm him into a healthier lifestyle, decides to take the natural next step...which is of course, brain alteration. Concurrently, their booming rabbit control business, sold to the entire town thanks to their undying devotion to vegetable growing, has resulted in a storage problem, one Wallace thinks he can fix with...brain alteration OF COURSE. Whilst attempting to remove their veggie desires, the process goes wrong, and he ends up melding minds with one unlucky rabbit. Soon after, a monstrous wererabbit starts ravaging the crops, and it's up to Antipesto (That's the name of their business btw) to stop it...but just who could it be? HMMMM, SUCH MYSTERIES, EH? This feature expands the usually small cast to a whole towns worth of wacky characters, and features such acting talents as Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter in the leading support roles of villain, and love interest respectively. Despite the wider scope and bigger budget, it still manages to keep the feel and charms of the shorts, the puppets all look handmade, and bare the trademark, literal Aardman fingerprints all over them, and even with Dreamwork's constant demands for the film to be more palatable to American youths, Nick Park and the gang basically ignored that and made it just as toothy and British as always, the only exception being the American version turning Gromit's all-important prize Marrow into a Melon...in dub alone, despite looking nothing like one, nice job, Dreamworks! As I've already said, visually this film is truly beautiful, having better directing, lighting and action chereography in stop-motion than a lot of live action blockbusters have, with a spectacular soundtrack one again worked on by Julian Notts, but this time also with the help of my main man HANS ZIMMMERRRRR. The action set-pieces aren't up there with the best of what the franchise has to offer, but they're still really great, and of course, the humour and heart is in abundance, the ending maybe overdoing it a little on the unwarranted attempts at tugging your heart-strings. Nitpicks aside, this is a spectacular animated movie, probably Aardman's best feature film (Although Chicken Run, the previous blog's #1, gives it a big ol' run for its money)...but not the best Wallace & Gromit film? Uhhh? What could possibly top this!? Welllll.... 




    1. The Wrong Trousers (1993).

    I mean, what else? Literally, this was the only one left, this is a franchise ranking blog, not a Top 10. That said, this, the second W&G instalment and the first to be fully produced at Aardman, is a rather predictable winner. The Wrong Trousers is very much the most universally beloved of all the films, at least from the people that've seen them all. It set the blueprint for the tone and quality expected of the franchise, and many would argue it has yet to be surpassed. And given its placement, I'm inclined to agree. Like I said, I love all the Wallace & Gromit films, with the top 3 in particular all being classics, but I mean...The Wrong Trousers is one of animations finest hours, surely? Premise is pretty simple, Wallace is struggling to pay the bills, probably because he just bought a pair of god damn autonomous, NASA designed pants....but hey ho. To make some extra bucks, he decides to rent out the spare room, and of course, it's not long before a silent and creepy penguin moves in, deciding instead to take claim of Gromit's room, leaving the poor pooch in the grotty spare. As you'd expect, the penguin is a fugitive from the law, an infamous jewel thief known as Feathers McGraw, who wears a rubber glove on his head to disguise himself as a chicken. Natch. What follows is a dejected Gromit running away from home, only to discover Feathers' true motivations for moving in with Wallace. The step up in quality from Grand Day Out to this is truly incredible, the addition of a co-writer, and a film-crew, along with the sizeable budget increase from his student film origins, gives Nick Park the chance to truly flaunt the directing talents he's now well known and awarded for. The humour is subtle, but hugely effective, the story is surprisingly engrossing for a film about a penguin lodger planning a diamond heist using a pair of walking trousers, and the whole thing comes across as a slick noir caper, brought down to quaint, British size. The heist taking place in a local museum, the epic chase taking place on a toy train...and holy SHIT. That god damn, motherfucking train chase. What a legendary sequence that bloody well is. At the time of production, the Aardman crew had no idea how to pull off a sequence like that in stop-motion in a way that wouldn't take all of time, and cost a fortune. What you see on screen is their first attempt at this kind of action, and yet it's possibly their finest moment, and one of animation history's most delightful chapters. And when you consider that's only the closing part of an exceptionally enjoyable 30 minutes of cinema? Then you'll start to understand just why this is top of the ranking in this blog. In some ways, you could view it as a negative that Wallace & Gromit have never managed to surpass what was essentially their formative production, but when you consider just how good some of the later films are, and how great the franchise is in general, it's really more a sign of the sheer quality of this film that they can't quite top it. I fear the days of Wallace & Gromit are long behind us, and even if they aren't, I fear even more than any new short would suffer from the continued change in tone and quality of humour that started in Curse of the Wererabbit and has most recently culminated in Early Man (A good film but not a patch on Aardman at their finest), but regardless of what the future holds, it'll never change the timeless excellence of The Wrong Trousers...and, well...most of the Wallace & Gromit library, honestly. It's good shit, and something I'm forever glad I grew up, and developed as a person with.







    And there you have it! My double whammy of Aardman blogs all wrapped up....thanks to anyone who decided to check this, and the pervious blog out....I know they're niche interest, and blogging in general is a niche interest these days, let's face it...so I really appreciate those who continue to support my foolish endeavours. What do you think of the rankings? What's your favourite Wallace & Gromit film? Do you think we'll get another in the future? What did you think of Early Man? LET ME KNOW ALL THESE IN THE COMMENTSSSS, HEYY OHOOOO.

    Won't be doing another blog for a little while, done 5 of them essentially back to back with little overall response, which was expected, but a little demoralising. My next blog is already planned though...and well, it's gonna be...ahem...AHEH...Marvel-ous. Subtle, eh? ALRIGHT, LATER GATORS. GOODBYYEE.

  • Week 15- Working On Lighting Still

    4 months ago

    marettiready Bryan Maretti

    Hi everyone,


    This week has been a bit tiring when it comes to time managing.  I have been working on my daily drawings in the morning, go to work in the evening, and come home to work on my big digital project at the night.  It's the same routine each day, but I can handle and manage for now.


    Aside from that, I am still working on rotoscoping light for the clips I have and it's a long process to do.  I think I'm on my 2nd clip to work on the lighting and I have about above 30 more clips to work on.  With this work I am doing, it might take me a couple of months to work on until I can work on sound editing and compiling the final clips together.  I have much to do, but this is where I am right now.


    Until then, I have more drawings to share with you all.     

    cl2XWHV.jpgqBxb39M.jpgb1cYU0Q.jpgq08kMbF.jpgnshLCaR.jpgQ1Vm0Bv.jpgAetSnfv.jpg

    Hope everyone has a good week and I'll see you later.


    Bryan

  • The Cloverfield Problem.

    4 months ago

    g1TheStickman

    WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS, ALL THE SPOILERS FOR CLOVERFIELD, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE AND THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX.


    Oh...hello! This wasn't planned until a day ago, obviously. I felt the urge to talk about the weird situation with this franchise in more detail, and...well...in the spirit of Cloverfield itself, here's a blog STRAIGHT OUTTA NOWHERE.

    As you may well know, the 3rd instalment of the Cloverfield franchise just appeared out of nowhere on Sunday evening/Monday morning at the end of the Super Bowl, revealed for the first time as The Cloverfield Paradox during the event, only to then be released on Netflix hours later. It was a pretty amazing marketing stunt, but the general consensus is that it may have been done this way partly due to the mixed-negative reception most fans and critics are now giving it. In the hours before release, its single 30 second teaser trailer told viewers that it would finally explain what happened in the original Cloverfield, released just over 10 years ago. The results were...interesting. So I think it's time to now look over the franchise as a whole, and discuss...just what the fuck exactly is Cloverfield as a franchise, and is it even worth being one? LET'S SEEEEEEE...




    Cloverfield (2008).

    Cloverfield came out as it aimed to continue existing back in 2008, first revealed without any prior knowledge of its existence out of nowhere in July 2007, via the above, mysterious teaser trailer that went on to set the tone for the opening sequence of the film, albeit with new, and alternative footage leading us in to what's perhaps the most iconic shot of the franchise, that decapitated Statue of Liberty head rolling across the street, complete with the must lampooned OH MY GAWWWD's. The first teaser didn't even have a film name attached, merely giving you the release date and the vague hints of some sort of big creature roaming the streets of New York. In a time where film trailers had become (and continue to be) less tantalising teases to get the audiences interest, and more condensed versions of the whole film, showing you every key action scene and big story moment before you can even make up your mind about wanting to see it, or not...Cloverfield's teaser got a lot of people very curious indeed. Throw in the extensive ARG (Alternate Reality Game), that's now become an expected and much loved tradition among hardcore fans for this franchise, and a continued sense of mystery leading right into the day of release and it's no wonder why this low-budget, found footage sci-fi movie was a surprise box office hit, earning over $170 Million against its $25 Million budget. The film was warmly received by fans and critics alike, and has gone on to become a standout of the now since mostly abandoned found footage genre.


    The premise of the film was pretty simple, and intentionally designed less to explain what's going on, and more to immerse you in it. A bunch of friends holding a leaving party for 'Rob' Hawkins find their lives turned upside down when a mysterious entity attacks the city of New York. Whilst initially the aim is, obviously, to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (Ironically something the film famously pays homage to with its green head flinging antics), when it turns out Rob's close friend and awkward recent sex-partner, Beth is trapped in her appartment, so the mission becomes to rescue her instead. Along the way, the gang encounter the military attempting to fight back what is now known as a giant fucking spider-monkey....THING that drops smaller parasitic creatures off its back, which they then encounter in the New York subway, the bite of these resulting in the unfortunate...uh...exploding? of Marlena, who had really picked the wrong leaving party to just turn up at without knowing anyone. They rescue Beth, get to da evacuation choppa, and all looks well and good as the monster is carpet bombed by the army...only to then resurface and cause the CHOPPA to crash, leaving Rob, Hud (Played by the recently shamed TJ Miller) and Beth stranded in Central Park, Hud suffers from a bad case of 'needing to get a good shot of the monster' syndrome and gets bitten in half, and then our two remaining lovers are seemingly killed in the following airstrike on the park, which may or may not have killed the monster, the audio at the end of the credits...which is required to be played backwards in order to truly understand, suggests IT'S STILL ALIVE. Throw in a mysterious object crashing in the ocean in a flashback (of sorts) seen at the very end of the film, and a general lack of explanation for what the monster is, where it came from, and what happened next? You've got yourself a mysterious ass film, and something people have been wanting a sequel of some sorts to for a long time now. Well...in 2016, they got one...uh...sorta?




    10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

    Fast forward to roughly 7 years on from the original Cloverfield...and yet again, a mysterious teaser trailer popped in front of a random Paramount release reveals a new Cloverfield movie that nobody in the world knew about, with a release date only two months on from this first reveal. This time, the found footage take is abandoned in favour of traditional filmed fare, with at that point completely unknown director Dan Trachtenberg (Only known prior to this for a Portal fan-film) helming, and John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr starring. The teaser told you next to nothing, beyond these three dudes being in a bunker, seeming to be getting on just fine, something weird happens above them, then it seems everything goes to shit, cue a mysterious, monster-like noise as the Cloverfield logo reveals itself, followed by 10 and Lane...not propositioning this as an immediate sequel so much as a continuation of the franchise. What followed was a predictable degree of surprise and excitement, followed by another extensive ARG that used corporations and concepts that seemed to tie into the first film in order to flesh out the otherwise mysterious character John Goodman plays. The film released, and was another sizeable success, earning $110 Million against a mere $15 Million budget, and the reviews and audience response were even more glowing, with praise especially going to John Goodman's unhinged and unsettling performance, with early-year awards buzz that predictably, went nowhere. Most people approved of the shift from found-footage genre picture, to tense and claustrophobic human drama, but some criticised the ending for feeling tacked on (Which we'll get to later in the blog), and questioned its placement in what was now, we supposed, a franchise.


    The film opens with lead character, Michelle, as she seemingly ditches her fiancé, packs up her bags and drives off into the sunset. She doesn't get too far, it seems, before being involved in a nasty car crash, and then wakes up with her broken leg in a brace, which is also hand (leg?) cuffed to a pipe in a dingy, sealed room in a weird bunker. John Goodman's Howard soon makes himself known, proclaiming to have saved her from the crash, and also from an apparent apocalyptic event that's left the human race completely wiped out, in his words. After several attempts to escape from her seeming prison, she's eventually allowed out into the whole bunker, where she meets another 'survivor', Emmett, and after witnessing a bloodied, diseased and manic women brain herself to death on the bunker's sealed door, the three all learn to live with each other, and accept that the world really has ended. After living in apocalyptic domestic bliss for some time, Michelle discovers Howard's much-touted daughter was actually a girl he kidnapped and seemingly later killed, and whilst he may have saved her and Emmett from a potential apocalypse, he also may have had ultimately sinister motivations for doing so. After their ensuing escape plan is partially discovered, Emmettt meats an untimely, grisly end protecting Michelle, with Howard starting to show his true colours towards her afterwards, and it becomes time to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, come what may. After barely making it out of the bunker alive, and leaving Howard slowly dissolving in its burning remains, Michelle discovers there really was an apocalyptic event, a seeming alien invasion to be precise, which, again she barely survives. The final moments of the film being her decision to stop running away from things, and start to fight, specifically joining the rag-tag human resistance in taking down the alien threat. End film, and again, leaving explanations and conclusions aside in favour of immersing the viewer in a situation that's just as confusing to the characters as it is to them. 10 Cloverfield Lane left even more questions unanswered...in addition to all the ones raised in this film, it also failed to answer anything from the first, or even tell the audience how it ultimately tied in to it...would they ever get their answers? Well...sorta...in a fashion.



    Cloverfield Paradox (2018).

    And thus we arrive at the reason this blog exists today...The Cloverfield Paradox. Unlike the previous two films, this was known about for some time prior to its ultimate reveal, the more attention Bad Robot draws to itself as a purveyor of mysterious projects, the more likely someone's gonna go out of their way to find out. Initially known as 'God Particle', it became known as the third, untitled Cloverfield after not too long, being pushed back from release again and again starting from late 2016, all through 2017 and then supposedly delayed in 2018 too, before suddenly being sold off to Netflix by Paramount, and getting surely the insurmountable peak of surprise releases, being announced and released within the space of 3 hours. The first, and only teaser trailer for this film popped up for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl, revealing the name, release time and a few shots from the film, with the main bulk of the teaser seemingly tying this film into the original Cloverfield...promising to finally reveal what caused the events of that film, going so far as to suggest events may take place simultaneously at one point. This was something of a mis-sell, in immediate hindsight, but the surprise reveal and sudden release got people very excited indeed, with the traditional ARG having been taking place prior to its reveal, in what many had anticipated would be build up to the release of its first trailer, not the film itself. Unfortunately, the excitement of its sudden release started to subside when the majority of people saw, and weren't too impressed with the final product. The critical reviews have been somewhat over the top in their scathing dislike of what I feel is an entertaining, but cliché and half-baked space romp, with some people being more favourable to it than others, with the only universal agreement being that it is a step-down for the 'franchise' and it doesn't fully explore the potentials it lays out, both as a standalone film, and as a tie-in to the series as a whole.


    We start off on earth, with Ava and Michael Hamilton stuck in a long line for some petrol, in a near-future where we've used up all our energy sources, and the world is slowly falling into chaos, with the threat of war over what limited resources remain growing ever closer. It turns out there's a plan, however, and after some encouragement from her husband, Ava makes the decision to do her part, and soon enough we're orbiting the earth in what's both a space station, and a particle accelerator, with the hope behind it being the discovery of an infinitely sustainable energy source from a successful particle collision. After almost two years of failed tests, they finally seem to have some luck, only for everything to quickly hit the fan quite spectacularly, like some sort of shit. Suddenly, they find the earth is missing, and the gyroscope used to position and locate themselves has gone missing too. Tensions start to rise among the international crew, bolstered by increased division between their nations back on Earth. They don't really have that long to think about this, because really weird things start to happen soon after, chiefly...finding a completely unknown women fused inside a wall, who believes she's one of the crew, a Russian crew-member having worms (and a gyroscope, somehow) transported inside his body, which causes some horrific eye...stuff, and eventually, a worm-infested body explosion that, obviously, kills him, and...oh yes, Chris O'Dowd's arm phasing through a wall, disappearing, only to then turn up as ...seemingly some alternate reality version of himself's arm that has sentience? Uhh? It turns out they've phased into an entirely different dimension, and the ship has merged with the version of themselves that had also been there, with a crew that both differed in motivations, and also literally who was and wasn't on board. It also turns out that the Earth in the universe they were now in had succumbed to the energy crisis their Earth is on the verge of, and was close to annihilation. Meanwhile, on the ...real? Earth, Ava's husband is witness to a sudden and catastrophic event that leaves his city in ruins, rescuing a small child from what seems to be a giant monster. Meanwhile, Ava is debating whether or not to stay in this alternate universe, as in this one, her children are still alive, blaming herself for the death of her own as they were killed in a fire from a malfunctioning energy cell that she herself had illegally installed. Throw in the wall-woman, Mina's desires to get revenge on crewmates who were traitorous in her own universe, and also take the possibly now useable energy source of the Particle Accelerator to save her own world? And...well...things get a bit messy. The race to get back to their own dimension before it's too late results in the death of everyone but Ava and her gravely wounded crew member Kiel, who finally make it back home, only for it to turn out that, whilst they've been away, giant monsters that seemingly, their Particle Accelerator incident unleashed on the planet have more or less destroyed the civilisation they were hoping to have saved. Cue huge Cloverfield monster coming out of the clouds, roarwwrrinng, and then end credits. Leaving things on yet another cliffhanger, with scores of unresolved questions, and only vague answers to the big question from 10 years ago...just why are these monsters here? And how are these films connected? Wellll....




    How are they connected? 

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    This has been the million dollar question since 10 Cloverfield Lane dropped...just how exactly do that film, and the 2008 original connect? This has always been a point of confusion for the majority of people, as the brand connection would lead you to believe they either take place at the same time, or 10 Cloverfield Lane is a proper sequel that chronicles another incident that occurred in another part of the USA. Chief problem with concept number 1 is the obvious anachronisms 10 Cloverfield would have if it indeed took place at the same time as the 2008 set original. Phones, cars and technology are quite a bit different now than they were back then, and phones specifically are the kicker, given a modern touch screen phone plays an integral role in the opening...whereas in early 2008, we'd only really just entered the dawn of what's now the modern mobile phone, with a comparatively lower tech flip-phone being an integral plot-device in that one. They simply don't take place at the same time, and given we can assume the original's monster destroyed New York, and continued to survive afterwards, it seems unlikely that it would've been business as usual 7 years later, and even if it had been defeated, aliens and giant monsters are prattled off as ludicrous conspiracy theories by the characters of 10 Cloverfield Lane, which simply wouldn't be the case had this taken place after Cloverfield. Our newest entry to the franchise was promoted as having the answers, at least for how the events of the first film happened. Despite this, the film takes place in the not too distant future of 2028, a full 20 years on from the events of the original Cloverfield movie it was clearly, misleadingly marketed as taking place during. So what's the connection? Well...it's there, but it's not exactly the focus of The Cloverfield Paradox, in fact you could say it's quite literally a throw-away line towards the very start. The non-character of Mark Stambler, chiefly represented through the viral ARG campaign that took place prior to release, turns up very briefly on a newsfeed, discussing the potential dangers of the particle accelerator experiment about to be undertaken. According to him, and his book which I'm surprised doesn't suddenly exist for real yet, the ramifications of this experiment going wrong could result in a tear in the space-time continuum, one that he has on good authority could unleash monsters from another dimension into our own, at any point in time, and possibly in any other dimension in the multi-verse. This is a very specific and sloppy tie into the grander scheme, but it does finally offer...something of an explanation for what's going on? Sorta?


    If the titular 'Cloverfield Paradox' and its very specific prediction of doom are to be believed, the brief tear in space-time caused by the particle accelerator incident that left the crew of Cloverfield Station (There's a lotta Cloverfield stuff to be named in this blog) in another dimension, and later brought them back, was a tear across the entire multi-verse, leaving temporary gateways between different dimensions that allowed monsters to break through and cause havoc in different time periods, in different universes, in an event that occurred both simultaneously but also in completely different times and places across space-time...universe..multiverse...hoo boy. Basically, the monsters of Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane and the one(s?) seen during The Cloverfield Paradox are from a rift in spacetime that occurred in at least three separate universes. The connection is that they aren't connected in a traditional sense, but are in a multiverse that was afflicted by a singular space-time event that tore through all of them. That's...complicated, and kinda dumb, but it does explain why these films co-exist in the same franchise without having specific connections. The running threads through all of them are a connection to Slusho, JJ Abrams fictional brand that appears in basically all of his films...and more specifically, Tagruato...a conglomerate business that features in all three films to some degree. It's the company Rob is leaving to work for in the first Cloverfield, it's the mining company Howard previously worked for in 10 Cloverfield Lane, as evidenced broadly by the ARG campaign, but also briefly featured on an unopened letter in the film...and finally, the name appears on some equipment on the space station in Cloverfield Paradox, implying they had a hand in its construction. These all being apparent alternate realities, the only through-lines are these companies that exist in all of them. You can't even argue that the monsters themselves are a connection, as 10 Cloverfield Lane features an entirely different, albeit similar in basic concepts species. Which leads us to the biggest question...



    Why are they connected?

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    GOOD QUESTION. And one that's not really answerable from a in-universe perspective. After the original Cloverfield released, and made a lotta muns, got a lotta love...obviously the question became...when's the sequel coming, JJ? Whilst I don't think it was ever designed to become a franchise, producer/creator JJ Abrams and director Matt Reeves both seemed keen to explore the franchise some more in the future, specifically, a film that followed on from, or took place at the same time as the original. The chief example of a potential sequel brought up by both in the months and years following its release was that of another found footage film that followed a different group of people trying to survive the same event, from a different perspective, that maybe offered a bit more insight into the lore behind the attack, and its monsters in the process. Reeves specifically points out that in the bridge scene, featured early into the films 2nd act, where the group we're following encounter another person filming the events unfolding. His idea was the possibility of exploring things from that perspective, having that specific crossover moment, but otherwise telling a completely different found footage story, set within the same disaster. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well obviously that never happened, come 2009 and JJ Abrams was showing reluctance to make a sequel just for the sake of doing one, wanting to make sure they had a solid idea for a follow-up before doing it. At this point the idea of a military-focused sequel that'd abandon the found-footage genre was also mused. Fast forward a few years to the release of Super 8 in 2011, which despite being treated similarly mysteriously to Cloverfield, and featuring many seeming connections, was denied by Bad Robot to be connected to the franchise, with the actual sequel to Cloverfield seemingly in development hell. And that was it until 2016, when 10 Cloverfield Lane suddenly existed...how had they made a new Cloverfield movie without anyone knowing? The answer? Well...they hadn't. It was never meant to be a Cloverfield movie.


    10 Cloverfield Lane, previously called The Cellar, previously called Valencia...was an attempt by Paramount Pictures to make low-risk, microbudget genre movies that cost little to make, but potentially offered a sizeable profit. The script originated in 2012 and circulated the infamous hit list of unproduced, but promising screenplays, then being snapped up by Paramount, who gave it to partner studio Bad Robot to develop further. The film was rewritten, cast, and well into production before the musings of a potential tie-in to Cloverfield originated. The film was finished and renamed The Cellar in 2015, and given several test-screenings, where it's reported the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't there at all. Instead of going outside and having a fight with some monsters, Michelle seemingly stepped outside, having completely destroyed the bunker, only to find...nothing. No monsters, no killer gas, but no animals or people either. The film supposedly ended on an ambiguous note, where you were never sure if the event was over, if humanity had survived, and beyond that, if an event had even taken place at all, with the suggestion that it'd all been a lie made up by Howard to kidnap her. When the idea to make it a Cloverfield movie became reality, the budget was marginally increased to include extensive reshoots that tied it into the franchise, and added the required monster madness at the end. It's unknown how much of this was added in order to make it a Cloverfield movie, and how much if it was added because of the test-screening feedback, but the fact of the matter is, this was a standalone thriller re-purposed to become a spiritual follow-up to Cloverfield, with the actual sequel to that film apparently scrapped due to the western kaiju scene, something that was basically non-existent in 2008, having been "played out" by films like 2014 Godzilla and Pacific Rim. Around the same time as Valencia was filming, another micro-budget sci-fi film was in the works at Paramount, called 'God Particle'. Announced in 2012, but only entering production in 2016, this was another intentionally low-budget, but high concept genre picture that initially stood by itself as a standalone project, only to then be tweaked and reshot at a later date after the higher-ups decision to integrate it into Cloverfield suddenly became apparent to the writer. What it seems the Cloverfield franchise has become, is a home for Paramount to repurpose original sci-fi properties into franchise films, in order to make them more financially viable. Something that worked really well with 10 Cloverfield Lane, and worked well for Paradox in terms of marketing, but ended up not succeeding so much as a film, or a tie-in to a larger franchise plan, given Paramount more or less gave up on it succeeding, and sold it off to Netflix. Indeed, it seems whatever plans Bad Robot and Paramount have for Cloverfield are less thought out and more spontaneous whims, which are evidently going to be hit and miss, and remain standalone titles despite leaving so much left unanswered or explored. It also makes you wonder just why Super 8, a film with a marketing campaign somewhat identical to Cloverfield, a monster that, although at the time differed too much from the 2008 original to tie-in, but now could slot in quite nicely in a world where 10 Cloverfield's spaceships exist, and the entire multiverse is at play, and hell...a poster that's almost identical in design and font as 10 Cloverfield Lane's...is...not a Cloverfield film? Because it certainly would be now, there's no question about that.




    What's the future, here?

    As it currently stands, it seems any plans or hopes for a traditional sequel to 2008's Cloverfield, or a sequel to either 10 Cloverfield Lane or The Cloverfield Paradox are more or less off the table. Cloverfield as a franchise doesn't seem to exist as a connected narrative so much as it does an anthology film franchise, seemingly to be comprising of previously unrelated films that've been repurposed in order to vaguely fit around a premise of big monsters causing biiiig problems on our planet. Whether or not this trend of re-purposing existing films will continue, or if eventually what I guess is now the Cloverfield Multiverse will eventually start getting stand-alone titles designed from the get go to be in the franchise remains to be seen. We do know already that there is at least one more film being for the Cloverfield franchise, and that's Overlord, another low-budget sci-fi film that filmed last year, and was reportedly a zombie movie, but may now be about another monster attack, this time set during WWII. None of that is confirmed, but given it's coming from the same sources that outed God Particle all the way back in 2016? Seems pretty likely that it's true. That's currently scheduled for an October release, which would be fitting for its zombie/monster horror angle, but at this point, who the hell knows when a Cloverfield movie's going to be released, for all we know it's already out there and we just don't know it. It's crazy times. Whether or not this film will be any good is another question entirely, it seems, as with any anthology media (Black Mirror, American Horror Story, things of this nature that've caught on a lot again in recent times), the quality is going to vary wildly depending on the premise, and talent involved...and it certainly doesn't help when last minute reshoots and forced injections of brand-connecting mythos are dangerously thrown into the mix. 


    Whilst the idea of a high concept, monster based science fiction franchise which can never be predicted, can land at any moment, and retain the increasingly illusive element of mystery that so few films manage in this day and age is very enticing, my chief concern is the quality of their films, and the need for them to have tie-ins, at the detriment of their own story. Either you're an standalone anthology series that's never going to fill in the narrative blanks left unanswered in each consecutive film, or you're a connected series of monster movies that needs to have a stronger through-line. You can't continued to try to be both, and fail at being either, and expect people to keep turning up at your door each time you pull a wacky marketing stunt from your magic JJ Abrams hat. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed all three of these movies so far, but The Cloverfield Paradox wasn't especially fantastic despite being entertaining, and it does well and truly make you question if Cloverfield'ing random projects at the last minute is a particularly good idea, even if it makes people ooh and aah at the surprises. Three films in, and people are starting to get antsy about the whole concept and the way it both tampers with original movies, and fails to explain its own lore to a satisfying degree. We're at a turning point, I feel. We've had the biggest release stunt possible, we've had the first dud release too. The cracks are starting to show, and if the downward spiral continues, the franchise will have the interest and intrigue it exists solely off of killed stone dead. We have no idea how Overlord will be, we don't even know how much it'll tie into the franchise, and how early on that decision was made. Like everything else in this franchise, it's a total mystery, and that's really starting to become a double edged sword for it. Let's just hope the future gets brighter for Cloverfield before it's too late.





    Well...there's an impromptu blog for you. What did you think of The Cloverfield Paradox? What's your stance on the other films in the franchise, and how do you feel about it being this loosely connected anthology? Let me know in the comments below, and see you next week for Part 2 of my Aardblogs. I'm just...too many blogs, you guys. LATER GATTOORSS.