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Archive for the tag “X-Men”

My Geeky Trivia

By Geeky Gem

When addressing what I should write here each week I sometimes get stuck, when this happens I take a look at my DVD/Blu-Ray collection and wait for something to jump out at me. This often works, this week I did just that and it wasnt so much a movie that jumped out at me but an actor. An actor that has played many roles. That being said folks I bring you Sir Ian McKellen.

He was awarded Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in 1990 for his services to drama.

Before performing the role of Gandalf, he listened to a recording of J.R.R. Tolkien reading Gandalf lines from the novel. He used this as a base for creating the character, and imitated the accent used by Tolkien in the recording.

Began acting as a means of escape from mourning after his mother’s death and constant bullying at school from fellow students.

He used the phrase “old friend” in both the X-Men and The Lord of the Rings film series. In both cases (to Christopher Lee as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and Patrick Stewart as Xavier in X-Men) it is said to an ally who has become a nemesis and “old friend” is said mockingly.

Only performer to receive an acting Academy Award nomination for Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Appears in “The Lord of the Rings” and “X-Men”, both of which required a lead character to be recast soon after production started. In “The Lord of the Rings”, Stuart Townsend was replaced by Viggo Mortensen, and in X-Men (2000), Dougray Scott was replaced by Hugh Jackman.

Says the same line, “The war has begun”, in the trailers of both the major, unrelated blockbusters X2 (2003) and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

Has played both a Holocaust victim (X-Men (2000)) and a Nazi (Apt Pupil (1998), both in movies directed by Bryan Singer.

Hadn’t read either The Golden Compass (aka. Northern Lights) by Philip Pullman, or any of the “Lord of the Rings” books by J.R.R. Tolkien before he was cast in the movie adaptations.

Played “Magneto” in three consecutive films – the only other actors to play comic book criminals in three films, as of 2008, are James Franco as “Harry Osborn”, Gene Hackman as “Lex Luthor” and his X-Men (2000) co-star, Rebecca Romijn.

There we have it just a bit of trivia about Sir Ian McKellen, join me next week to see what I have you.

 

Avenging April: My favourite Mutants

By @hmsbeefnuts

Geeky Gem, in a previous article, picked her favourite mutant superheroes, and bloody well picked most of my favourites too. I was left with a bit of a problem, do I just go ahead, pick Wolverine, Gambit and Beast for my top 5? Or do I try and think of an alternative top 5 of mutant characters that I think are really cool. I chose the former, I loved Wolverine too much, but then half way through I had a change of heart, deleted what I had typed and racked my brains trying to think of some lesser known mutants, or at least, mutants Gem had not chosen. I didn’t take that long, thanks largely to the rich Marvel characters that inhabit their universe, I soon had 5 characters that were different and, perhaps just as good as Geeky Gems choices? So don’t go expecting Wolverine and Gambit, and certainly not Cyclops, but here, may I present to you, my alternative 5 favourite Mutants…

Deadpool

 

Deadpool is just fucking cool, everyone knows this. Not only does his long list of powers include, a regenerative healing factor, superhuman stamina, agility, reflexes,longevity, an immunity to telepathy, a master swordsman, marksman and martial artist, he can also teleport, thanks to a teleportation device. Oh, he also has the ability to break the fourth wall, almost as if he knows he is a comic character. Deadpool is often thought to be insane, but that is his greatest attribute in fights. For instance, he is so unpredictable that the Taskmaster could not defeat him, and even the mighty Ghost Riders Penance Stare could not stop him. Deadpool’s insanity is thought to stem from the cancer that he had, his healing factor advancing and making it worse, but also making him better at the same time. He has horrible scars all over his body, thus the full body suit. A master assassin, and mercenary Deadpool works as an effective hero, anti-hero or villain.

Sebastian Shaw

 

Casual fans may know him from the recent X-Men First Class film, Shaw has one of the cooler mutant powers. A self made man, Shaw was a billionaire by the time he was 40. He joined the villainous Hellfire Club, and eventually, in a coup took the organisation over, and tried to take over the world. This obviously brought him into contact with the X-Men. Shaw’s powers change any energy that he touches into a power that he can use. This includes bullets. He retains the energy and can use it against his enemies, giving him greater physical advantages. I particularly liked Kevin Bacon’s portrayal of Shaw in the last X-Men film.

Longshot

 

OK, Longshot isn’t exactly a mutant, but he was once part of the X-Men and so counts in my book, plus he has an awesome power, one that I would very much like to have myself. Hailing from the Mojo controlled ‘Mojoverse’, Longshot rebelled against his slaver masters, and although losing, flees to Earth. Eventually returning to the Mojoverse to help free his former slave allies, he later joins the X-Men. Longshot’s powers include, a healing factor, superhuman agility, psychometry, and most importantly Probability manipulation. I think Longshot luck powers are one of the greatest powers one could posses, however, they only work in his favour if he does heroic acts, they reverse if he becomes selfish etc. Imagine just being able to pull off anything, it would be awesome.

Magneto

 

Born a German Jew, Max Eisenhardt was captured after fleeing to Poland escaping the Nazi regime. His Mother, Father and sister were executed, but he survived thanks to his yet unknown powers. After meeting his young love in Auschwitz, Max managed to escape with her, but an unfortunate incident, where an angry mob burned their home down, and Max, in a rage killed them with his now enormous powers. The couple split and Max eventually took on the name Erik Lehnsherr. Meeting Charles Xavier in Israel, a battle with HYDRA  caused a rift between the burgeoning friends when Erik realised his ideal and Xavier’s didn’t match up. Taking the name Magneto, Erik vowed never to let mutants be treated as he had been during the War. Magneto is one of the most powerful mutants, able to manipulate magnetism. He is able to fly, manipulate metal objects, and create force fields. Being a genius also helps quite a bit. I wasn’t a massive fan of Magneto, until I saw X-Men First Class. Hunting down the hidden Nazi’s was an amazing sequence, and I saw Magneto in a new light. The guy is awesome, and there are parts of me that support Magneto’s ideals over Xavier’s.

Mystique

Ah Mystique. An ageless shape shifter, with superhuman agility, a healing factor, and a skilled warrior and strategist, my kind of woman. Yes, in her normal form she is blue skinned, but she is undoubtedly beautiful, and I’ve always been a sucker for a red head. I’ll be completely honest, although I do think Mystique’s back story is extremely cool, she appears in this list because she is a stone cold fox, who could turn into an infinite number of stone cold foxes. Yes it’s perverted, yes she is an imaginary character but she was pretty sexy in all the movies. If I was Wolverine, I’d have dropped Jean Grey quick smart to get with Mystique, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for bad girl too.

Avenging April: Mutant Power

My Top 5 Mutants

By Geeky Gem

Not all Super heroes, come from another planet or just decide one day they want to fight crime, some, are very special indeed and are born with super powers. These heroes are known as mutants, they were born with their powers but may not have found out about them straight away. Here I would like to share with you my top 5 mutants, there in no real order they are just the ones I like the most.

 

Wolverine

Oh Wolverine, where would I be without Wolverine in my life. My first encounter with Wolverine was in the X-Men cartoon that I used to watch. Wolverine was created by Len Wein as a character in Incredible Hulk 180. John Romita Sr helped design his look, and Herb Trimpe drew his first appearance. Wolverine was born James Howlett and is commonly known as Logan. Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities with three retracting bone claws on each hand and a rather nice healing power that will let him heal from almost any wound, disease or toxin at a fast rate, it also means he ages at a slower rate to humans. What more could you want, the problem is, as Wolverine has a healing power it means lots of people want to get their hands on him and experiment on him. This led to him being part of the Super Soldier program, which lead to his evolution as Weapon X where a near-indestructible metal alloy called adamantium was bonded with his entire skeleton without killing him. Meaning his once bone claws are now sharpe metal claws. Wolverine is a well rounded mutant, with a mind for trouble and an attitude to disregrade the rules. He is the best at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice.

 

Gambit

 

Again Gambit is a a mutant I found through the X-Men cartoon, in fact all the mutants on the list are from the X-Men cartoon. Gambit’s real name is Remy Etienne LeBeau, he was created by Chris Claremont and the fantastic Jim Lee. Gambit’s mutant power is the ability to manipulate kinetic energy, he is also skilled in card-throwing, and hand to hand combat. Plus he also has a nice shiny Bo Staff which he pushes his power through in order to beat bad guys up. Gambit was a professinal thief before he joined the X-Men, he is often teamed up with Wolverine and has a on-off relationship with Rogue. One reason I like Gambit is that he is from Louisiana and speaks in a very thick Cajun accent. Which in the cartoon always sounded awesome.

 

Rogue

Rogue was always one of my favourtie X-Men, as her power sometimes leads to some upsetting things. Rogue’s name is Ann-Marie but her surname is still unknown. She was created by author Chris Claremont and Michael Golden. As with all the other mutants Rogue was born as a mutant. However she more so than most, considers her powers a curse: she involuntarily absorbs and sometimes also removes the memories, physical strength, and (in the case of superpowered persons) the abilities of anyone she touches. Which means for most of her life Rogue’s potentially fatal power has prevented her from making any physical contact with others, including her on-off relationship with Gambit, but after many years Rogue finally gained full control over her power. Rogue was a runaway who was adopted by Mystique and the Brotherhood, which meant she grew up as a villain, something that always interested me as nearly all the mutants have shady pasts. Well at leat the ones I like do. After Rogue permanently absorbed Ms. Marvel’s psyche and Kree powers, she reformed and turned to the X-Men, fearing for her sanity. Rogue for me always showed that not all mutants are glad they have pwers and some don’t only fear what they can do but fear themselves.

 

Nightcrawler

Now unlike the rest of the mutants on this list I did not come across Nightcrawler in the cartoon it was in fact in the X-Men 2 movie, from then I went on to watch the X-Men Evolution cartoon and this is where I wanted to find out more about the fantastic Nightcrawler and the first of 2 blue mutants on my list. Kurt Wagner is Nightcrawler’s real name, he was created by Len Wein (the man behind Wolverine.) and Dace Cockrum. Nightcrawlers mutant powers are the ability to teleport, invisibility in deep shadows, and adhesive hands and feet. He is one of the many mutants whose physical mutations include blue skin, two-toed feet and three-fingered hands, yellow eyes, and a prehensile tail. He is depicted as being a happy-go-lucky practical joker and teaser, and a fan of swashbuckerling fiction. Nightcrawler is a German Catholic and while this is not emphasized as much in his earlier comic book appearances, in later depictions Nightcrawler is more vocal about his faith. He often mentions his time in the circus, though it is never specified from where he originated, but who cares he’s blue and can teleport.

 

We are nearing the end of my top 5 mutants so last bu no means least is…

 

Beast

I told you there was more than one blue mutant on my list. May I introduce you to Sr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy. Also known as Beast, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Beast has to be on my list because he is awesome and blue, did I mention he is blue? Oh i did, okay then. Beast posssesses a ape-like superhuman physical strength and agility and oversized hands and feet, though he otherwise appears to be a normal human being. Throughout his life time, the Beast undergoes progressive transformations to his physiognomy, permanently gaining increasingly animalistic physical characteristics. These include blue fur, feline facial features, pointed ears, fangs, and claws. This leads to his physical power increasing to even greater levels, as do his senses. Despite his inhuman apperance, he is a brillaint man of the arts and science and is often found in his room hanging upside down reading a book and listening to classical music. While at the Xavier Insitute he teaches mathematics and is a bit of a prolitical activist. While he fights with his beastial inctincts and fears of soical rejection, Beast dedcates his life and his mind to creating a better life for humans and mutants a like. That is way I had to have Beast on my list, some mutants never believed that humans and mutants could live together, Hank did, and he wont stop untill that becomes a reality.

 

Well there we have it folks my top 5 mutants, I think this isn’t bad for my first top 5 anythimg, I can already hear Hmsbeefnuts pacing around trying to think of his top 5 mutants as well…

Unsung Geek Heroes

By Hmsbeefnuts

Now we all know who Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and James Cameron are. Likewise, we have all heard of Christian Bale, Harrison Ford and Jason Statham. Over the years, these people have provided us geeks with hundreds of hours of quality geek entertainment, and as a result, they are rightly rewarded with being known by the general populace, and of course, huge pay cheques. However, the films they are in are usually special effect extravaganzas, or based on characters that have a long standing in the geek community.

 In many cases, the thing you most like about a film etc, has been the work of a team of people who have worked for months and years on making the film/game look as good as it does, or working on the character, or even acting in the film, but being under heavy make up or CGI. Here I will discuss my personal unsung heroes, and even as I do so, I realise that thousands of people are being left out, so next time you enjoy a film etc., stay for the credits, and look at how many people were involved in making that film, game, or TV show.

Shigeru Miyamoto

 

If I told you that one man practically saved video games at a time when people thought they would be a passing fad, and helped turn them in to a world wide phenomenon that makes more money per year than Hollywood, you would be confused that most people don’t know his name. The fact that this man invented Mario, a character more well known globally than Mickey Mouse, but not only Mario, but The Legend of Zelda, and had a hand in Metroid, Poke’mon, Star Fox, Pikmin, Pilot Wings, F-Zero, Donkey Kong and a hundred more, is testament both to his creative talent, and the shame that the world should bare for not erecting a colossal statue to the man. Miyamoto is the dictionary definition of legend. He has given more children more hours of fun than any man on this planet, and lets be honest, more than a few adults too.

 

The Super Mario games alone would be enough to secure this man legendary status, but when added to his other accomplishments, especially The Legend of Zelda, have produced what many people agree are the greatest video games ever created. My personal favourite of his games include, The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, Super Mario World, and Star Fox 64, (Lylat Wars in the UK). The figure head of Nintendo, every time Miyamato appears at a press conference or trade show fun and hijinks are sure to follow. Please people, remember the name, he may not have had anything physical to do with Call of Duty or Halo, but in his own way, it is because of the trail blazing role he played as the creator of the modern video game, that video games were such a large part of all our childhoods. I challenge you not to smile whilst playing Mario or Zelda, or when beating a friend at Mario Kart Battle Mode.

Jack Pierce

 

Universal Horror make up master, and creator of the iconic looks of many of our beloved movie monsters. Ask a child to describe Frankenstein, Dracula or the wolfman, and inevitably they will describe a creature incredibly similar to Jack Pierces’ work. This guy is such a legend that other people on this list think he is legend, yeah he’s that good. Working in the early days of film, Pierce had to use all his gifts to create these wonderful effects. The Wolfman for example must have taken hours each day to apply to actor Lon Chaney Jnr. Each yack hair glued individually and painstakingly to the actors face, it’s no wonder that the two argued frequently.

 

The Frankenstein monster make up is now the established look of the monster, in reality an eerie green, in black and white, the fearsome creature, with it’s scars, square head and electric nodes on his neck (not bolts as is commonly assumed) the creature is a marvellous combination of actor and make up. Now I understand that the technicalities of the make up technician probably do not interest the average man, or woman on the street, but in my mind, Pierces’ make up kit should be placed in a museum and treated with as high esteem as any Renaissance era scrawling.

Richard Taylor

 

I don’t know if you have watched the special features on the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition DVD’s or Blu-rays, but you should. If you have, you can’t have failed to notice the squeaky voiced bespectacled geek genius that is Richard Taylor. Creative powerhouse of the greatest effects company working today, WETA Workshop, this Kiwi man marvel has, with Peter Jackson, and hundreds of their underlings, created the impossible. LOTR was a book that most people assumed would be un-filmable, and whilst it is due to Jacksons tight direction and vision that the film was completed, it was thanks to Taylor and the fine people at WETA that the film looked so damn good, authentic and lived in, every prop, miniature, creature and weapon were created from scratch with loving care and attention to detail. It all looks so good because it all makes sense, items have a common inception and a story behind them, really watch the documentaries on the DVD’s, it’s like a few years in film school, but far more entertaining.

 

Taylor has also been heavily involved in King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Avatar, films that I think you will agree were stunning, at least visually, and in my opinion, stunning all round. Taylor is a major reason that WETA is now seen as the premier effects company in the world, and when you look at their innovations in the world of mo-cap, or their stunning work with their so called bigatures and their pioneering mass army programme MASSIVE, Taylor has helped shape the modern cinematic experience, and from humble beginnings, working in a shed on Jacksons early films Braindead, Meet The Feebles and Bad Taste. The guy deserves a haka.

Stan Lee

You might think that Stan Lee gets enough recognition for his work on Marvel comics, after all he has a cameo in basically every marvel film there has ever been, and I can understand this, but we have to remember people, we are geeks. We delight in the now standard Stan Lee cameo, whether being saved from an automotive death by a young Matt Murdoch, being confused for Hugh Heffner by Tony Stark, drinking a bottle of soft drink infused with Bruce Banners’ blood or trying to move Moljnir with a pick up truck, Stan Lee it would seem gets enough geek recognition. But I wonder, does the average person who just goes to see these films know who the hell the crazy old man is in these films? Well they should, for this man has had a hand in more modern myths than almost any other, the man deserves an Oscar for most important cameo in superhero films for a man who actually created the character, except that he would be the only nominee, and would win every year.

 

Stan the Man has had a hand in Spider-man, The X Men, Thor, Iron Man, The Hulk, The Avengers, Daredevil and many many more characters, the guy is Marvel. OK so in recent years, his creative output has been, well, not so good Stripperella anyone? But the guy deserves a break, and should get one. So the next time your in a Cinema, or at home with friends watching a Marvel movie, and Stan Lee shows up, cheer, and whisper (at the cinema) or shout (if at home) the name of the great man, and spread the word, Excelsior!!

Andy Serkis

The worlds most underrated actor in my opinion, Andy Serkis has given birth to some of modern cinemas most remarkable characters. Caesar the chimpanzee from the latest instalment of the Planet of the Apes franchise will no doubt be over looked come awards season, but the performance, mo-capped by Serkis and WETA, is outstanding. The subtlety of Serkis’ work helps create a living breathing character that holds his own with the human characters. Serkis himself has described the mo-cap process as basically digital make up, the actor is still very much acting, and emoting, but instead of make up, a CG character mirrors the actors motions and emotions. His work as Kong in King Kong was again a work of genius. Playing the character as very much a gorilla, not some monster, Kong exhibited a wide range of emotions and character traits, and it is a cold heart indeed who does not shed a tear when the big ape hits the pavement, after that horrendous fall.

 

It is however, Serkis’ work as Gollum, the evil Hobbit ring bearer in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, that will always be his master work. Quite simply CG characters could be described as living in B.G. (Before Gollum) and A.G. (Anno Gollumai). B.G. Characters, hello Jar Jar Binks, are quite simply, the Homo Erectus cousins to Gollums Homo Sapien. The performance on Serkis is infused in every asset of Gollum, not just the voice. Gollum was one of the most complicated characters put on screen in the last few years, and thanks to Serkis, was 100% believable. Deserving of numerous Oscar credits, Serkis’ work in the advancement of acting is unparalleled.

Rick Baker

 

Our second make up man on the list, and another veteran of the mighty werewolf. Baker is a master of his craft. His practical special effects and make ups are really unrivalled in the cinematic world. He has worked on Hellboy, The Howling, An American Werewolf in London and even Cursed!! But every genius has the odd misstep. His work on the werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf in London alone is worthy of his inclusion in any list of geek heroes. The scene is an amazing example of what practical effects can achieve, worth watching on its own even if you have no desire to watch the movie, you should though its really good. His work on other werewolf movies is equally as good, and this guy has worked on a fair few in his time.

 

The variety in his work shows the man’s range and depth. The werewolves of The Howling, are very different to the American werewolf, which in turn is very different to my favourite make up/effect of his, in the remake of The Wolfman. This film got a lot of hate, but I loved it, and most of all, I loved the design of The Wolfman. Big, hairy, be-fanged and be-clawed, a killing machine and a superb movie monster. I know he got stiffed during the filming as he had designed a practical transformation that by all accounts was going to outmatch the one in American Werewolf, and it is a shame that the film makers decided to go with CGI effects in the end, but never the less, his work in the movie is still outstanding. A master of a sadly slowly disappearing art, the practical effect is being steam rolled by the CGI effect, and people of Hollywood, I implore you, there is room for both!

So there we have it, a small selection of people who need more recognition for the amazing work they do, or have done, in the geek realm. Of course, I would also like the thank all the stunt men, fight choreographers, design teams, sfx teams, writers, best boys, camera operators, concept designers, weapon specialists, miniature departments, practical effects teams….

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