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Dawn of Justice: Wonder Woman Rumors

Rumors about the Batman vs. Superman movie, now called Dawn of Justice, have been flying around the internet for months. I was thrilled that Wonder Woman was rumored to be in the film, then had a mixed reaction with the official casting, but I’ve always known it would be the outfit that would really make or break my hope for this film. Now, thanks to JoBlo.com, we may actually have some hints at the direction they are taking Diana in the DC movies.

Wonder Woman’s costume:

Rainfall Wonder Woman

Costume design from the Rainfall Films Wonder Woman Short

The reports of Wonder Woman wearing the pre-new52 jacket and leggings outfit are inaccurate. Completely. The description of the outfit from our source uses the term “badass” on multiple occasions. This Wonder Woman is ripped right from the comics and has a “traditional, yet sleeker” costume that’s “battle ready.” She’ll have a blue leather skirt, silver-armored cuffs that reach to her elbows, golden tiara (with a design of some sort in the center, possibly the red star) and a variation of the traditional-looking red top (no word on additional armor on it). Her overall appearance is described as “Amazon warrior princess” and definitely not an urban reimagining. She’s there to kick ass and that’s readily apparent. Word is that WB is getting a VERY positive response on her appearance to those they’ve shown it to.

HALLELUJAH!!!! THIS MAKES ME SO HOPEFUL AND EXCITED!!! This sounds very similar to some of my favorite Wonder Woman designs, but it also may give us more hints about the movie. A “traditional” and “battle ready” design suggests that they may be keeping her back story intact, which is hugely important to fans. It also sounds like she is going to be a powerful fighter herself, rather than eye candy to hang on Superman’s arm.

Wonder Woman’s weapons:

That’s right, not just a golden lasso here. Wonder Woman will have no less than FOUR weapons, including shield, sword, spear, and of course, the traditional lasso. It’s also noted that she will wear the shield on her back,surrender Captain America style, when not in use.

Did you read that?!? GOLDEN LASSO!! If these rumors are to be believed than this is another sign that they are staying true to comic book Wonder Woman! It is also a great sign that they are arming her with the most common weapons that she is portrayed with in the comics. Now to wait and see if the lasso retains the magical properties it traditionally has.

Wonder Woman’s screen time in the film:

Her character will be introduced as “Diana” in the film initially before we ever see her as Wonder Woman. She will have a fair amount of screen time and will team up with Batman and Superman for the final battle against an un-named villain who may be working or controlled by Lex Luther. Her origin will be intentionally vague, but she is brought into the fold to show that there are other superheroes in the universe other than Superman.

This part I am taking with a grain of salt. I’ve worked on enough movie projects to know that things change drastically between the script and the cutting room floor. It’s nice to hear the whispers that she will be more then a small cameo, and it’s GREAT to hear that she will be fighting in the big final battle. Hopefully, they don’t have her end up being Lois Lane 2.0 and just a new pretty face for Superman to save over and over.

JusticeLeagueLeaving her origins vague may mean that they are planning on giving her a solo movie later to explain things, but I’m guessing it’s due more to pacing and trying to keep the movie shorter than Gone with the Wind. They are introducing A LOT of heroes in this movie. It initially focused on Superman and Batman, but now the confirmed cast includes Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Cyborg, Aquaman, and possibly even Nightwing. That’s a lot of explaining to do if they are even going to briefly touch on everyone’s origin stories, and introducing that many characters in a film will cut drastically into the screen time of any individual character. This makes me nervous, because I want Diana to get the screen time she deserves as part of DC’s trinity.

Dawn of Justice has to do well for Wonder Woman to get her own film. These rumors give me hope, but we have a long way to go before we see the final product.

Wonder-Woman-Comci-Book-2

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Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

GalGadotIt has finally happened. Wonder Woman is going to appear in a major motion picture. Gal Gadot wasn’t on my short list for the part. She wasn’t even on my long list for the part. To be honest, she hadn’t crossed my mind at all. I was hoping for Lynn Collins, who screamed Wonder Woman with her performance in John Carter. Lynn has the look and the acting chops to bring Diana to life, despite the fact that she’d need an apple box and some movie magic to make her appear taller. In contrast, I really don’t know anything about Gal except how she looks physically, because she’s never been in anything that required much acting.

The movie I have been dreaming of has arrived, and I am filled with a mixture of joy and fear that only comes with being a fanatic… er… fan.

JOY: DC movies are really well cast.
I may not like all the choices or stories, but I have almost always liked the casting in DC movies. Every time I nerd-rage out about someone being cast, I have (almost) always been proven wrong. I ate my words with both Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, and Ann Hathaway’s spot-on Catwoman. Man of Steel and Green Lantern were both well cast, and their actors did their best despite terrible scripts. The casting people at Warner’s B&Jobviously have a good eye for this, so maybe Gal will knock it out of the park.

FEAR: DC movies have really crappy scripts.
DC movies have a history of terrible scripts that are filled with cornball jokes or gaping plot holes. I think George Clooney could have been a Batman for the ages if he had been given the right script. Ditto for Jim Carrey as the Riddler. Can you imagine him playing a creepy, puzzle-crazed Riddler in a more realistic way like Heath Ledger’s Joker? These problems have continued into more recent projects. Batman Begins started the new DC movies off strong, but both The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel suffered from bad pacing, lack of character development, and moments that simply didn’t make sense! I am terrified they will completely miss the mark with Diana’s appearance in Batman & Superman, which will be the death sentence for any Wonder Woman movie in the works.

JOY: Gal has actual military experience!
I love this! My sister joined the US Army a few years ago, and even her weeks of boot camp gave her an impressive amount of training. Israel is the only country in the world where service KidsandWWis compulsory for both women and men, and two years of military service in the Israeli Defense Force is nothing to sneeze at. Women can be assigned to infantry combat service and be directly in the line of fire. Even if Gal didn’t experience that, Israel is far from a peaceful place and the training would have prepared her for all possibilities. She has been closer to real combat than most action stars in Hollywood.

FEAR: Gal isn’t built like Wonder Woman.
Yes, I’ll admit that this is a bit shallow, but Wonder Woman’s physique is part of what drew me to her as a child. I was always one of the tallest kids in my class. Combine that with my athletic build from years of competitive swimming and the rude comments prepubescent boys made, I could often feel out of place. Wonder Woman helped young Kimi deal with that. She showed me that a woman could be physically imposing, while still being feminine! While there is certainly a lot of depth to Wonder Woman, her physical build shouldn’t be ignored. I hope Gal hits the gym.

JOY: Zack Snyder’s movies look cool.
There is no disputing that Zack Snyder has great style. Man of Steel and Watchmen were visually stunning interpretations of comic publications. Most importantly, 300 proved that a movie based Suckerpunchon ancient stories/myths (like Wonder Woman herself) could succeed and be accepted by the modern audience.

FEAR: Zack Snyder sucks at creating good female characters.
This is the director who HONESTLY thought Sucker Punch was a story of female empowerment. That’s right, the movie about girl who is trapped in an insane asylum and repeatedly raped, but mentally escapes to a fantasy world where she is a sex slave, who mentally escapes to another fantasy world where she is a scantily clad fighter trying to find random objects, but in reality, she just gets lobotomized in the real world and stays a victim. Wow. Way to empower women Zack. Create a Russian nesting doll of victimization and assault for your female characters on all levels of their psyche. While I have no doubt that Mr. Snyder will make fight scenes that will be worthy of Wonder Woman (just look at Faora in Man of Steel), I believe he is utterly incapable of capturing her character and motivations.

When it comes right down to it, the actress is not my biggest worry with Wonder Woman appearing on film. I’m much more concerned about the writers, and the director. That being said, I’m trying not to judge too harshly until there is something to be judged. I can’t wait to see the costume they come up with… or can I?

*worry*

wonder-woman-migraine

 

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The New Hobbit Trailer

The new trailer for The Hobbit movie was released last week, just in time for the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit. I’m currently reading the book with my middle school English classes, so I’ve been spending even more time than usual contemplating Middle Earth. We just finished the “Riddles in the Dark” chapter, and the kids are loving it. The first trailer was wonderful and the dwarven music gave me goosebumps. This time, I was only left with worry lines in my forehead. Maybe it’s my students’ new-found delight in these characters as they are written, or perhaps it is just that the story is so fresh in my mind, but the trailer seemed to stray from the book a bit too much for my liking.

While The Hobbit is a much more lighthearted book than The Lord of the Rings, it worries me that some of the scenes with the dwarves seem to be inspired by The Three Stooges.  They are the principle heroes in The Hobbit, and I really hope they are treated with the respect they deserve. It’s bad enough that Gimli ended up being comic relief for much of the trilogy, do all the dwarves have to be goofy? It seems that only Thorin is treated with any respect. These are capable warriors from a noble race of artisans, and while there should be comedic moments in The Hobbit, they shouldn’t simply be comic relief.

Another thing that is worrying me is the amount of obvious CGI in the trailer. I realize that it was a hug part of the LOTR movies too, but when combined with miniatures it was usually very seamless (other than a few very annoying green screen shots). Some of the shots in both trailers look very fake. The one moment that made me cringe in the first trailer was when Bilbo held up Sting, and it was very obviously a CGI sword instead of a real one. Perhaps they are not finalized effects yet, or maybe they will look better when they are all in context. A girl can hope, right?

The amount of content that has been added has always been something I was worried about. There were a lot of scenes that seemed to be drastically different than the book, or flat out created for the movie in spite of the book. I realize that some adjustments have to be made when a book is brought to life on film, but  I’ve been nervous since I heard they were going to turn it into three movies. They brought all three books of The Lord of the Rings to life in three movies. Why are they taking three movies to recreate The Hobbit when it’s only one book and a more simple story?

I’m holding out hope and reminding myself of a bit of wisdom from the man himself. “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

 

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Framing The Hobbit

The Hobbit is one of the most anticipated movies of all time. After the bar was set so high by the Lord of the Rings trilogy (except for the horrific abomination that is the battle of Helm’s Deep… don’t get me started) Tolkien fans are champing at the bit to see how this big-budget prequel turns out. With an amazing cast and proven source material, how could it fail? The answer may be held in a fraction of a second.

As all followers of The Hobbit movie know, Peter Jackson is pushing the film to be viewed in 48 frames per second. What does this mean? Well normal movies and TV shows are shown at 24 frames per second and our minds naturally fill in the missing bits. We don’t even realize that it’s happening. However, soap operas, home movies, and other videos are shot at 30 frames per second. This is why you can instantly tell a soap opera or reality TV show from other programs just by looking at it for a few seconds. In general, our minds link video and high frame rates to low budget programs. Despite Peter Jackson’s assurance that it will revolutionize movies, many fans are worried about him using The Hobbit as a guinea pig.

Jackson has been praising the new frame rate for months, claiming that it was “more attractive” and “more lifelike.” He sings its praises and never fails to mention how it will improve the 3D experience for movie goers (how thrilling..not). In April, Jackson and Warner Bros debuted about 10 minutes of footage at CinemaCon. This footage was shown at 48 frames per second and was met with a resounding “Ugh” by pretty much everyone in attendance. The consensus seems to be that it looked TOO real. It looked like a home movie and wasn’t “cinematic” enough. The level of detail and realism distracted people from the movie rather than adding to the experience. Even directors like Chris Nolan and Neill Blomkamp (considered by many to be Peter Jackson’s protege) have gone on the record as hating footage shot in 48 frames per second.

Last week at San Diego Comic-Con, Jackson debuted twelve minutes of footage at The Hobbit panel. (No, I didn’t wait in the ten hour line to see it in person, I had too much cosplay stuff planned this year and am uncomfortable sleeping overnight on public sidewalks.) This time the footage was shown at 24 frames per second and the crowed went crazy for it! Peter Jackson stated, “With our 48 frames per second presentation, negative bloggers are the ones the mainstream press runs with and quotes from. I decided to screen the Hobbit reel at Comic-Con in 2-D and 24 frames per second, so the focus stays firmly with the content and not the technical stuff. If people want 3-D and 48fps, that choice will be there for them in December.”

Interesting. So now the big question, was it the frame rate or the people in the audience that made the difference? Would the CinemaCon critics have found problems with the unfinished footage no matter what? Would the hardcore Tolkien freaks have loved anything they were shown at ComicCon after being in the hot sun for 8+ hours, regardless of the frame rate? Just like 3D it will be a matter of personal taste. Jackson claims that 48 fps is the future and that once we get used to seeing such crisp, clear footage we will never want to watch 24 fps movies again.

Maybe Middle Earth is the perfect place to show at a higher frame rate, and I’m sure many fans (myself included) will see it both ways. We’ll see how it goes. I have a Quenya-to-English dictionary on my desktop and have Elvish baby names picked out for my future children, but I seriously doubt that even Tolkien can make me like 3D.

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Acquiring Accents for RPGs

Accents are one of the most powerful tools in a role-player’s arsenal. Using them can make characters stand out at the gaming table, and differentiate between in character and out of character comments. They can also be the difference between a good GM and an incredible GM who truly immerses players in their world. Why narrate a story? Bring out your inner thespian and BECOME your story.

First of all, research whatever accent you’d like to try, or shop around for an accent that you can mimic fairly well. One of the best tools for listening to accents is the internet, specifically videos. Search for “regional dialect meme” on Youtube and you will get a ton of options from all over the world. This meme is particularly helpful because it includes many words and sounds, but it also includes regional terms. For example, is it “soda” or “pop”? These terms can be awesome little details to add to your characters and really unify a group of characters that are from the same place.

Remember, it’s ok if you aren’t perfect at first, and you really will get better as you go. Hell, it’s an RPG! Unless you are playing a historical game, who’s to say your accent isn’t perfect? Maybe the people from that land over the mountains sound exactly like your bad Jamaican accent. There are a large number of Russian/Irish accented characters in my games… who start to sound more Irish as I drink. Go fig.

Why do we all sound the same?!?

Accents are regional, not racial. In a recent season of the Happy Jack’s RPG Podcast, another host started speaking like a southern character from one of our games. The character was named Windy Drawers, and he was a sloppy, overeating, unintelligent politician. We instantly started receiving angry emails from people who were upset that we were depicting such an unflattering African American stereotype on our show, however we had never mentioned Windy Drawers’ race on that episode of the podcast. In our game he was actually a rich southern white man, but listeners drew their own conclusions based on their own racial stereotypes. Let me say it again, accents are regional, not racial. They are determined by where you grew up and lived, not by your ethnicity or species.

This is a very important distinction that is often overlooked in gaming… and in the media. The stereotypical dwarf may have a Scottish accent, but if he was raised by elves (oh, the horror!) he will sound more like an elf than his dwarf kinsmen. Humans from different parts of the world should have different accents, and drow should not sound like surface elves… unless they were raised together! A good player or GM will use this in their games. An NPC shows up claiming to be from a local town, but speaks differently than everyone there… clue #1 for the party. Maybe it’s your half-elf’s first adventure with this band and you’re getting to know them along the way? Your Irish/British/Russian/common accent tells them that you were raised by the human side of the family, not the elves. They add depth and complexity to a character instantly, that could only otherwise come from sharing written back stories or long in-game explanations.

Here are some easy tips for mastering an accent:

- Find a phrase that will immediately bring you back into your accent. Usually, this is something very stereotypical that you almost can’t imagine being said in any other accent. For my Irish accent I use the phrase “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” because it’s VERY Irish, and it’s easy to fit into many different situations. It’s like hitting the refresh button on my Irish lilt.

– Listen to your chosen accent as much as possible. Watch Braveheart 4 more times, or whatever movie has the accent you are trying to mimic. Audio books are also a great option since they are easy to get and reasonably priced. The more you hear the accent the easier it will be for you to imagine it in your head later when you are trying to use it.

– Practice! The more you use your accent, the better it will sound. Talk along with your favorite movie character with that accent, repeat commercials on the radio or read street signs while you’re driving in the car. I practice in the car a lot because nobody can hear how awful I sound.

– Anticipate what words you are going to use a lot in the campaign and practice them extra! For example, if you are a German spy in a pulp game, you might be dealing with lots of military equipment, location names, etc. You will probably never have to use the words “elf”, “dwarf”, or “dragon”, so stick to what you’ll need. Bonus points for learning and using regional terms or words from their native language!

– Did I mention that you should practice? Seriously, do it. You don’t want your first try at an accent to be while you’re sitting at the gaming table. Trust me on this, I learned this the hard way.

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Why did I start Cosplaying?

It all started with a TV show… a really, REALLY BAD TV show.

As you have probably noticed by now, I am a big Wonder Woman fan. So when I heard that David E. Kelley was bringing her to the small screen in 2011, I was both excited and doubtful. How on earth were they going to pull off Diana with a small budget? I actually got my hopes up when they announced that Adrianne Palicki would be Diana. The woman is 5’11″! Maybe they were going to make a true Amazon Princess after all..

Then they released this image and I died a little inside.

This… shiny latex abomination killed all my hopes for the show. How could any self-respecting costume designer let this be photographed? Did they just grab whatever they could from a Halloween store and say “Fuck it”? Ms. Palicki is a beautiful woman, but she looks like a cheap hooker here. I hope that someone was fired for the horrible production quality of this photograph.

I eventually got a copy of the Wonder Woman pilot and OH MY GOD IS IT BAD. It is seriously the worst writing I have ever seen on any show, and I used to watch Xena and Hercules! Unfortunately, the costume (with a few changes) actually was one of the better parts of the show… THAT’S HOW BAD IT WAS! In the aftermath of the pilot never being picked up (because it was an abomination) many people on the interwebz were using it as proof that a Wonder Woman movie could never be made. They cited the impossible-to-please fans and the logistics of making the costume realistic as evidence of it’s impossibility.

I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted to make a Wonder Woman costume that made sense for a Greek Amazon and was made out of practical materials (ie. leather and steel) so it was more than just a bathing suit. And thus, I was born into the world of cosplay.

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