Tag Archives: hollywood

Sony Announces Live-Action Final Fantasy XIV TV Series

Today, Sony Pictures Television and production company Hivemind Entertainment (the company behind Netflix’s forthcoming adaptation of The Witcher and Amazon’s The Expanse) announced a partnership with Square Enix to develop a live-action Final Fantasy TV series based on the online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV.

The live-action television series will tell an original story set in Eorzea, the world where Final Fantasy XIV is set. What the series will focus on is still under wraps, but per a press release it will explore “the struggle between magic and technology in a quest to bring peace to a land in conflict.” It’s still in the development stage—which in Hollywood means “writing, but with more meetings”—so there’s no word on who will be cast, nor is there any footage to speak of, and there won’t be for some time. Same goes for what network or streaming service you’ll find the show on, or a premiere date.

Given Hollywood’s long history of optioning and announcing video game adaptations that never actually come to fruition, there’s no guarantee that this ever actually happens, but Netflix did distribute Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light, a live-action show about a father and son bonding over the game, in 2017.

Also promised are all the series longtime calling cards: “magitek and beastmen, airships and chocobos” as well as “the live-action debut of Cid.” (Presumably they mean Cid Garlond from the game, although it could very well be just another Cid entirely. Final Fantasy has never been shy about introducing new Cids.)

Early as it may be, a Final Fantasy XIV TV show is a pretty cool idea—Eorzea is a great big world full of classic Final Fantasy trappings and nods to previous games in the series. It could be great! It could also be a disaster. Final Fantasy projects have a habit of being dramatic productions right up until the very end.

Source: Kotaku.com

Godzilla: The King of the Monsters: The Kotaku Review

It’s fitting that the first few minutes of Godzilla: The King of the Monsters are a flashback. The movie, which is a sequel to Legendary Pictures’ 2014 Godzilla, feels like a natural evolution of the previous film. In some ways, it’s a better movie—rather, a better Godzilla movie. In other ways, it’s not.

Gareth Edward’s Godzilla was proof that Hollywood no longer was confusing kaiju with dinosaurs à la Roland Emmerich’s 1998 film. This was a movie steeped in the lore of Godzilla, and perhaps fittingly for a reboot, it appeared to be heavily influenced by Toho’s 1954 original. The new Hollywood take was moody, ponderous, and for many fans, short on monster fights. Its sequel sure ain’t.

Godzilla: The King of Monsters centers around a family still mourning a loss suffered several years earlier when Godzilla and the Muto ravaged San Francisco. Still dealing with grief, research scientist Mark Russel (played by Kyle Chandler) is now estranged from his scientist wife Emma Russel (Vera Farmiga) who is raising their daughter Maddie (Millie Bobby Brown). Monarch, the secret government organization from the 2014 film as well as Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island, is back. The company turns to Mark for help after a group of terrorists that has kidnapped his wife and daughter then makes a move to unleash a truly deadly kaiju foe. Meanwhile, Dr. Serizawa (once again played by Ken Watanabe) urges all to put their faith in Godzilla to handle the situation.

In the original 1954 film, Godzilla was only on screen for around eight minutes. For audiences of the day, seeing the first kaiju film ever made, that must have been mind-blowing. The 2014 film also only featured around eight minutes of Godzilla, largely cloaked in murky darkness. Modern moviegoers who were eager to see more big-time Hollywood special effects in IMAX were left unsatisfied. But for Edwards, who was looking back to the 1954 original, holding back Godzilla as long as possible apparently made sense. It would’ve been nice to see what was going on, though.

The King of the Monsters isn’t about holding back Godzilla, nor any of the other kaiju. It’s about getting them on screen and having them pummel each other. If you want to see giant monsters beat the tar out of each other, this is the movie for you. The King of the Monsters is the most fully realized CG Godzilla film to date, and that’s including the two previous Hollywood movies and Toho’s Godzilla Resurgence, a movie that seems to delight in ditching Godzilla movie conventions in order to make a jab at bureaucratic Japanese politics.

Legendary has packed some brutal fight scenes in here, with stuff I’d never seen in a Godzilla movie. Thankfully, the kaiju battles aren’t in the dark as they sadly were in the 2014 film. The King of the Monsters is lit with oranges and blues, with a clear understanding that what people want to see is giant monsters throwing down. That they most certainly do. With Michael Dougherty, a diehard Godzilla aficionado since childhood, at the helm, these fights are by a fan for fans. But it’s more than just a slugfest; there are a good number of easter eggs, such as a subtle reference to Mothra’s fairies.

Dougherty seems born to direct Godzilla movies. There is a genuine wonder and awesomeness about the kaiju that was absent in Hollywood’s previous films. He truly cares about these monsters and wants to make them as realistic as possible. I just wish I got that same feeling about the human characters, who feel more like chess pieces to move the plot around. They never feel authentic. Their motivations are either unclear, superficial, or unbelievable. The plot does include the interesting idea of flipping a protagonist into an antagonist, but that’s all it is, an interesting idea. That idea’s execution is inconceivable. In the 2014 film, the characters were, for the most part, believable and empathetic. Their motivations made sense, and even if the movie ran out of gas by the end, those motivations alone were what propelled the story.

In King of the Monsters, the actions of characters often didn’t make sense. They were propelled by the plot, instead of the other way around. There is one exception to this: Dr. Serizawa. The movie holds him in the same reverence that it does Godzilla and the other kaiju. Considering the character’s place in the Godzilla universe and Dougherty’s reverence for it, that is not surprising. Ken Watanabe, per usual, shines with grace and dignity. In any case, most people seeing this movie will view the non-kaiju scenes as filler between the monster stuff. Fair enough. In that regard, the movie does deliver. This is King of the Monsters, after all, and not King of the Believable Human Characters.

When I left the movie, I kept imagining what it would’ve been like if the human drama from the previous film had been melded with this movie’s kaiju battles. The result would have been a better movie, but that’s not what The King of the Monsters is, nor where its interests lie. This is a kaiju royal rumble. It’s about iconic monsters squaring off, sizing each other up, and fighting. That is what The King of the Monsters is. And in the end, that’s all it needs to be.

Source: Kotaku.com

Detective Pikachu Director Explains A Most Unexpected Easter Egg

Screenshot: Warner Bros.
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Pokémon Detective Pikachu is full of Easter Eggs—namely, a bunch of Pokémon getting cameos. You’d expect that! But there is one Easter Egg I was surprised to see.

[Note: This article includes spoilers]

During one scene early in the movie, Justice Smith as Tim Goodman goes to his missing father’s apartment.

On the TV, an old movie is playing a scene from Angels with Filthy Souls, the fictional gangster movie that Kevin watches in Home Alone.

Last month in Tokyo, Kotaku asked director Rob Letterman why the Home Alone movie-within-a-movie appeared in Detective Pikachu.

“Truth be told, we were just looking for the perfect placeholder,” Letterman said. “There was this full movie which we found on YouTube. It’s this whole thing, and Mark Sanger, our editor, dropped it in, and it just fit perfectly. We could not beat it. And it came down to the wire and we were like, let’s just embrace it and we licensed it. It’s just cool. It’s just a funny easter egg that people may or may not notice.”

So there you have it. Detective Pikachu and Home Alone don’t take place in the same universe. This was just a cool thing the filmmakers added. Noted!

Source: Kotaku.com

Detective Pikachu Is A Good Movie

Image: Warner Bros.

Based on the Nintendo 3DS game by the same name, Pokémon Detective Pikachu is the first live-action Pocket Monster adaptation. Hollywood has an abysmal track record with video game movies, but this time, it seems to have pulled off the impossible: Making an enjoyable live-action Pokémon movie that will delight fans and non-fans alike.

This piece was first published on May 3, 2019. We’re bumping it today for the movie’s release.

Set mostly in Ryme City, where Pocket Monsters live alongside humans, the movie follows the game’s basic plot. While trying to find his missing father, a young man named Tim Goodman discovers he can talk to a crime-solving Pikachu. The central mystery isn’t only what happened to Tim’s father, but also, who is making the drug called “R” that makes Pokémon go berserk. Detective Pikachu follows a rather formulaic detective film plot but so does the original game.

Image: Warner Bros.

But Detective Pikachu doesn’t share the same burden that weighs down so many adaptations, whether that’s video game or anime. For example, one thing that continually plagues made-in-Japan anime and manga adaptations is how many fans want the live-action version to simply be that: the anime and manga brought to life, as is, with humans. This means that character costumes and attributes, which might look cool when drawn, get directly translated to live-action, often with awkward or off-putting results that do not look realistic but instead appear downright goofy. The other extreme is something like the Attack on Titan cinematic movies which completely disregard the character’s original designs for a localized version. Detective Pikachu takes a different approach.

Image: Warner Bros.

The smartest thing Legendary Pictures did with Detective Pikachu was to not adapt Red & Blue — or any mainline Pokémon game or the long-running anime. The expectations would be too high and inevitably end in tears. Instead, by starting with a spin-off, the filmmakers were able to adeptly sidestep those expectations for how characters should talk, look and dress, giving room for the actors to bring them to life. (The Resident Evil movies, the most successful video game cinematic franchise, previously took a similar approach: Don’t redo the games, but instead, create a cinematic universe based on the in-game one. Detective Pikachu, however, has a far better understanding of its source material.)

Image: Warner Bros.

The character of Tim Goodman from the game isn’t beloved like Ash from the anime. In both the game and the movie, he’s a former wanna-be trainer turned insurance salesman with a rotten relationship with his father; in the movie, Tim is actually far more interesting and well-drawn than the in-game original. Since the other lead character Lucy Stevens doesn’t appear in the game, there aren’t the same expectations placed on a, say, a live-action version of Misty. Lucy is an intern at a news network, sick of writing listicles and hungry to break a big story.

The makers of Detective Pikachu certainly appear eager to please, but it’s not through cheap visceral thrills. Instead, so much of the movie appears to be set on getting the world of Pokémon as right as a big-budget movie can.

In what must be a cinematic first, the movie adaptation is more fully realized than the game in scope and breadth. The 3DS vision of Ryme City is rather bland, especially compared to the movie’s incarnation, which looks like Neo-Tokyo meets Pokémon. The urban cityscape is filled with layered with Pokémon cameos and layered with Easter Eggs, advertising shops like Charizard’s BBQ and the quite-clever Snap Camera Shop. In comparison, the game’s Ryme City is bland, and interestingly, smacks of the movie’s first ho-hum location, the town of Leaventown.

Image: Warner Bros.

Early in the picture, when Justice Smith as Tim Goodman is riding the train from Leaventown to Ryme City, a Lickitung sticks out its tongue and then proceeds to lick the side of his face, covering it in globs of salvia. It’s gross but played for laughs, which perfectly sums up what meeting Lickitung would actually be like. This also helps establish that these Pocket Monsters are living, breathing creatures. Some are creepy, others are cuddly, and a couple of them are truly menacing, but they’re all real.

Pokémon are well conceived and fascinating creatures, so the fact that the filmmakers have recognized that and are not content to simply rely on appearances, but have a deeper understanding of what the Pokémon can do, is why this adaptation works so well compared to Hollywood’s other superficial attempts. Detective Pikachu understands Pokémon. It’s why the film works.

Image: Warner Bros.

Often with movie adaptations, only the barest superficial elements from the source material are referenced on-screen. Characters kind of look how they do in the games or share the same barebones modus operandi, and that’s it. In Detective Pikachu, joke after joke centers around Pokémon, and major plot points hinge on the abilities of certain Pokémon, instead of only a series of hollow spot-them-if-you-can cameos, showing how much thought has gone into the production. The movie is acutely aware that it has two audiences: Pokémon fans and non-fans. Early on, there’s a quick and painless explanation of how catching Pokémon works. Even this is laced with smart quips that fans can appreciate. It’s clearly evident the filmmakers did their homework and are enjoying themselves. The world of Pokémon is fertile, and instead of simply scratching its surface, Detective Pikachu delights in going deeper.

Once Ryan Reynolds does make his entrance as the titular detective, the joke ratio does spike suddenly, with nearly every other line a zinger. Reynolds has proven himself one of the most enjoyable and likable actors of his generation, thanks to his ability to not only craft excellent jokes but to deliver them. This is a kid’s movie, so he’s not working blue like in Deadpool, fart and pee-pee jokes aside. The Ted for kids comparison is apt.

Image: Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures brought in some of the best visual effects artists in the business. Director Rob Letterman cut his teeth on CG animation with films like Shark Tale and Monsters vs. Aliens. The filmmakers had the added plus of The Pokémon Company’s involvement, providing notes on the CG character designs. All of these parts came together in the final film and resulted in Pocket Monsters that didn’t feel like live-action translations, but instead, live-action versions.

The movie does take liberties with the game, introducing several huge set pieces, totally different motivations for the antagonist, a new ability for a truly powerful Pokémon, and a completely different ending. The original game has an unsatisfying, unresolved conclusion, whereas the movie adaptation attempts to wrap everything up. I found it awkward and unbelievable, but the rest of the movie was so much fun that this wasn’t a dealbreaker. The big reveal at the end did make me wonder how they’ll pull off the inevitable sequel. However they do, here’s hoping it packs the same fun.

Image: Warner Bros.

Source: Kotaku.com

Detective Pikachu Has Enough Adult Outtakes To Make An R-Rated Version

Screenshot: Warner Bros.
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

Detective Pikachu’s humor is kid-friendly. Deadpool, this ain’t. During an interview with Kotaku late last month in Tokyo, Ryan Reynolds said an R-rated version of Detective Pikachu was possible. That doesn’t mean one will happen, though!

“Motion capture is a unique experience in which you are alone and you throw a billion things up against the wall,” Reynolds told Kotaku.

“It’s up to somebody else to sift through it and figure out what they think is going to be applicable and what they feel they want to use.” Reynolds produced a massive amount of possible material for every scene. “I’d come out with 85 options for any one joke,” Reynolds said. “It was crazy.”

For example, Reynolds’ fart and pee jokes did make it into the final film. While that’s tame by Reynolds’ Deadpool standards, his humor does provide an edge to the family-friendly film. According to Reynolds, “The stuff they used, there might’ve been some pushback, I don’t know.”

“Everything ran the gamut from Rated R to PG,” he added.

Does this mean it’s possible to do a Rated-R cut of Detective Pikachu? “You could probably squeeze together a Rated-R cut if someone went looking for it in the edit, I’m sure. God forbid they would.”

While we ended up with a kid-friendly Deadpool 2, knowing The Pokémon Company it seems a lot less likely we’ll ever get to see or hear Reynold’s R-rated takes for Detective Pikachu.

In case you missed it, read Kotaku’s review of Pokémon Detective Pikachu right here.

Source: Kotaku.com

Artist Fixes Live-Action Sonic The Hedgehog

Edward Pun is a talented artist at Sucker Punch, makers of Ghost of Tsushima, Infamous and more. His quick fix for the live-action Sonic is excellent.

Here is how the original and Pun’s reworking compare:

I think he nailed Sonic, avoiding the creepy Uncanny Valley of the movie version.

Now, if he could fix live-action Sonic’s teeth, that would be great!

For more, check out Pun’s Twitter and Instagram

Source: Kotaku.com

Detective Pikachu Trailer Just Dealt A Fart Joke 

Since 1996, when Pokémon debuted, I have not once wondered whether or not a Pikachu can fart. Then I watched the latest Detective Pikachu trailer.

The film is the first live-action Hollywood adaptation of the world of Pokémon, fart jokes and all. Is this movie canon?

I’m not anti-fart joke! Not at all.

This trailer ain’t George Carlin, sure, but at least we now know Pokémon can fart. I guess!

Source: Kotaku.com