The Fifth Element (1997)

08.09.13



Let's first get one thing clear: The Fifth Element is the best existing adaptation of a Moebius work, even if it isn't legally described as an adaptation. Moebius may have lost the case that alleged that The Fifth Element is an unlicensed adaptation of his and Jodorowsky's masterpiece The Incal, but in much the same way that without The Invisibles there probably wouldn't have been The Matrix, without The Incal there wouldn't have been The Fifth Element. To make matters even more complicated, director and co-writer Luc Besson also based many of the story elements off of a different French comic called The Circles of Power, a volume of the long running French series Valerian and Laureline, by Jean-Claude Mezieres, who also did concept art for the film.

Despite its complicated origins and legal issues, The Fifth Element is a striking and lovingly designed ode to French sci-fi comics, full of mesmerizing costumes and breathtaking gadgetry. Essentially a romantic sci-fi epic, The Fifth Element is the story of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a sad sack taxi driver who used to be a hotshot special forces Major who is forced to realize his potential after a beautiful, mysterious woman literally falls in his lap. It's a typical Willis performance, filled with smirking cynicism and resignation, but like 12 Monkeys before it, it's enlivened by its gritty futurism and apocalyptic plot.

That plot is of course marvelously convoluted, but the gist is that Dallas must protect and assist the mysterious femme fatale who landed in his lap, named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), and the ancient cult that has guarded a secret about a pending threat to all of humanity. Opposing Dallas and company is Jean-Baptiste Zorg, played by a wickedly campy Gary Oldman, who manages to be entirely menacing and completely ridiculous at the same time. The Fifth Element is by no means high art, but it's a continuously entertaining film that rewards multiple viewings, especially since so much of its appeal comes from the phenomenal design work, which is impossible to take in in one viewing. Like Moebius' art, the world of The Fifth Element is filled with rich, microscopic details and crammed with impossibly fantastic ideas. It may not be a clearcut adaptation, but no other film has quite nailed the tone and excitement of a Moebius work like The Fifth Element.

by Nick Hanover

publicado por Andreia Torres às 16:20

Nova colaboradora: CARLA RIBEIRO

07.09.13

 O renovado BLAZING WORLD orgulha-se de anunciar uma nova colaboradora: CARLA RIBEIRO

 

 

 

 "Sou uma alma perdida, um sonho sem dono... A voz das trevas descrita em poesia... Uma vontade escondida em palavras obscuras e mundos de fantasia... Sou uma alma nocturna, vagueante por palavras tenebrosas e pelas notas do canto da melancolia. Sou eu... sempre... e sempre apenas eu."

 

Estrela sem Norte

Estrela sem Norte 

Alma de Fogo

Alma de Fogo 

Canto de Eternidade

Canto de Eternidade 

Herdeiros de Arasen, vol. I

Herdeiros de Arasen, vol. I 

Herdeiros de Arasen, vol. II

Herdeiros de Arasen, vol. II 

O Deus Maldito

O Deus Maldito 

Alma Abandonada

Alma Abandonada 

Dualidades

Dualidades 

E Morreram Felizes para Sempre

E Morreram Felizes para Sempre 

Pela Sombra Morrerão

Pela Sombra Morrerão 

Senhores da Noite

Senhores da Noite 

Derivações de Além-Vida (e-book)

Coração Selvagem (e-book)

Coração Selvagem (e-book) 

Fragmentos de Sombra (e-book)

Fragmentos de Sombra (e-book) 

Os Passos do Destino (E-book)

Os Passos do Destino (E-book) 
publicado por Andreia Torres às 22:04

Zombie Science: Why Society Is Crazy About The Walking Dead

07.09.13
Image Credit: Photos.com

Lee Rannals


A Stanford University researcher took notice of the latest craze for the walking dead and decided to pinpoint the reason for the obsession of zombies in culture and society.

Stanford literary scholar Angela Becerra Vidergar says the obsession over zombies can be traced back to the invention of nuclear warfare during World War II. She says our collective visions of the future changed after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, as well as other World War II events, churning up some disturbing thoughts about the human capacity for violence.

Vidergar wrote in her doctoral dissertation entitled “Fictions of Destruction: Post-1945 Narrative and Disaster in the Collective Imaginary” about how the events of the 20th century, combined with movements to increase environmental awareness, have cast doubt about the consequences of our development as modernized societies.

“In our world today, many of us live with an underlying awareness of possible risks to our survival, not just as individuals, communities, or nations, as has been the case for centuries or even millennia, but on a global scale for reasons new to our era of modernization,” she told redOrbit in an email. “That awareness seems to be one factor in the overflow of the apocalyptic imagination from primarily religious, spiritual spheres into more secular parts of our culture.”

NUCLEAR WAR

As an example, she mentioned how we live in a nuclear age that still continues under the threat of wars that could destroy large portions of the planet.

“Furthermore, the violent events of the past century, including two world wars and a series of other wars, genocides, and other acts of physical and psychological violence have forced us into a frightening awareness of the fragility of our moral frameworks,” said Vidergar. “We have taken great pains through efforts around the world to respond to these crises to our faith in what we thought separated the “human” and “inhuman,” but have not yet found solutions to help us process the traumas of our past, much less find a definitive way to prevent them in the future.”

The literary scholar added we could also be more aware today of the dangerous aspects of our relationships to the rest of the earth, and the non-human life that it contains.

“We regularly hear debates regarding the effects the rush of technological and scientific development can have on the world,” she told redOrbit. “No matter what side we take on these issues, the increased fear for the future over the past century or so is part of our socio-cultural milieu–and therefore affects the ways we imagine (and therefore fictionalize) the future.”

 

POPULAR CULTURE

“If we take cultural products such as literature, films, television, games, etc. as an indicator, we no longer primarily picture a promising road of enlightenment to a bright future (as many did during, for example, the Industrial Revolution),” Vidergar added. “Progress has not yet delivered on the utopian destinies we previously envisioned; so despite the advancements we have made, we instead find ourselves surrounded by evidence of the ways we have not only failed to improve the world, but perhaps even made it worse.”

Vidergar, who is currently finishing a doctoral degree in Comparative Literature at Stanford, said our increased awareness of mass-scale risk can shift the outlook of our future to darker possibilities, so “more of us buy into more dystopian visions of the world to come.”

“Zombie plagues are among various different scenarios that have made up the increase in mass-scale disaster stories in the past decades. Zombie horror is, in part, popular in the way other genres of entertainment that provide adventure and violence are popular,” she commented. “However, zombie narratives have a particular set of elements that allow us to tap into those anxieties about the future and how we would address them.”

SURVIVAL


She said like other disaster stories which focus on the survivors, these zombie tales provide us with a low-risk environment to “try out” our responses in an extreme situation.

“It is not the zombies that we are drawn to in this sense, but the survivors. Through them we can face our fears without being in danger ourselves, including one of the scariest things to consider: the strength of our own ethical boundaries and our capacity for survival.”

Vidergar points out the destruction of humans in these stories is not due to natural disaster, but comes in a form that is so close to ourselves it provides a unique element to the survival experiment.

“Zombies have the potential to stand in as reflections of things that frighten us about ourselves. There are various possible and interesting interpretations for what exactly about our culture they reflect, but because of my research I am particularly interested in the idea that the survivors are like the zombies in that the people they were are gone, yet they live on in another form,” she said in the email.

According to Vidergar, in the stories, humans must become different people in order to survive, creating a frightening situation, but somewhat liberating.

 

IMAGINATIVE ENVIRONMENT

For the research, she told redOrbit she was fascinated by the nature of the relationship between the socio-culture environment, and the artistic products that arise from that environment.

“The expressions of our imaginations, such as zombie stories, do not come out of nowhere. There is an oscillating relationship between our socio-cultural context and the fictions we create in response (whether directly or indirectly) to that environment,” Vidergar said. “In short, our experience flows into what we imagine, triggering expressions of that imagination into what we produce. Those products that make it out back out into the cultural environment become part of the experiences of others, triggering their imaginations, and so on.”

She referred to her research as “collective imaginary,” which involves the kind of imagination that is shared, rather than just possessed by individuals.

“Although it is a phenomenon that most of us would agree is ‘there,’ it is difficult to get a handle on and tricky to describe. That challenge is the exciting part!”

Also, she said she is fascinated by the manifestations of survivalism encountered in the US and around the world today.

“Stories of survival have excited and stimulated us for centuries, and they continue to do so,” Vidergar told redOrbit. “But particularly since the end of WWII and into today there has been a strong interest in disaster preparedness, from survival kits and outdoor training camps to fallout shelters.”

Angela is also co-founder of the Graphic Narrative Project, a research group and upcoming journal for the study of comics, graphic novels and other graphic narratives.

 

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

For fun, Vidergar explained to redOrbit what she would do in the event of a “zombie apocalypse.”

“First plan of action: secure shelter, supplies and appropriate weaponry. If the first is a bust, then mobile protection of some sort. I would be traveling with a toddler, so finding sturdy transportation would be a key concern,” she said. “Guns are effective, but weapons that do not need to be reloaded would be a better, long-term solution against the undead. I particularly like the section on defense in Max Brook´s The Zombie Survival Guide. Antibiotics, pain medicine, bandages, needle and thread, dynamo flashlight/radio, water (and water purification tools), non-perishable food items and a route for escape that stays away from areas of major population yet is close enough to possible places to replenish said supplies, as well as fuel.”

She said she would find some kind of effective body armor, a solid pair of boots and layers of clothing, and a “good hat.” Also, “a bandana or scarf would be an added bonus, as it gives protection and doubles as a bandage in a pinch.”

The zombie apocalypse expert mentions it would be good to have some first aid training in your background. Also, to add to the list of supplies, she says ensure you have a compass, a map, backpack, blanket and a solar USB charger.

“The ability to make fire is great and should be acquired in advance–just ask contestants on the show Survivor! Oh, and you always need a good rope. You don´t know what you´ll use it for until you need it, but you will need it,” she told redOrbit. “Finally, good judgment and a cool head are paramount. As The Walking Dead has taught us, the greatest danger won´t be from zombies–it´ll be from other people.”

 

Source: Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Lone Wolf and Cub (1972-1974)

06.09.13



We constantly see news about comic creators getting screwed over and unacknowledged in movie deals. There is no worry about that in Lone Wolf and Cub. In what should have been a template for all comic-to-film adaptations to come, comic author Koike Kazuo was hired to write the screenplays for the films that would transform his wandering ronin and son into internationally known characters.

If you have never seen Lone Wolf and Cub, you might be surprised by just how … cartoony it is. Even though Koike’s comic takes a more serious, dour approach, the film version is pure over-the-top Cinematic Samurai. Sword never touches flesh without a garden hose of blood shooting forth—more blood than a human body can conceivably hold. Attackers leap as if gravity can’t hold them. Aerodynamic principle can’t interfere with a well flung sword. A wooden baby cart transforms into a mechanized death machine. The only physics this film series obeys is the Rule of Cool.

Even more strange then, in the mix of this cacophony of chaos, that the actor playing the Lone Wolf himself is one of Japan’s most accomplished swordsmen actors. Tubby and middle-aged, Wakayama Tomisaburo can wield a katana like few since the age of the samurai. It’s amazing to see a guy that looks not unlike a surly, drunken uncle you are embarrassed to be seen with whipping around a yard of heavy, folded steel like he is fly fishing. Sure, Wakayama may not have the natural charm and charisma of his brother Katsu Shintaro (also known as the blind swordsman Zatoichi), but if the two of them ever threw down there is no doubt who would be sliced into pieces and served on the dinner table.

There are six Lone Wolf and Cub films in the series, which barely touches the 28 volumes of the comic. But it is a testament to Wakayama that, no matter how popular the series remains, they have never been remade. They got it right the first time.

 

by Zack Davisson

publicado por Andreia Torres às 16:19

Ichi the Killer (2001)

05.09.13

 

 

  Based off Hideo Yamamoto’s comic, Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1) is a stylistic, well-made film about killing for the sake of killing, by those who love doing it with style and a sexual passion. It is a brutal film. In a country with few boundaries, none stretch those boundaries quite as far as director Miike Takeshi.

Japan is an enigma to those who see violence in entertainment as having negative social impact. One of the safest countries on Earth—with a close to zero violent crime rate—Japan at the same time creates some of the bloodiest, most brutal, vomit-inducing media available. Free from the threat of actual violence and rape, Japan has more license to play with it as fantasy. Rape films. Slaughter films. Cannibalistic gore fests. Incest-rape-slaughter-cannibal-films. Some of what passes for casual entertainment in Japan is illegal to import into the U.S.

Violence as a genre has a respected pedigree in Japan. Stretching from entrail-covered Edo period kabuki theater to classic ‘60s sex/fight flicks like Sezuki Seijin’s Elegy to Fighting (Kenka Ereji) to Miike’s lovingly crafted gore fests, the Violence genre represents an idea that seems strange to most non-Japanese; the idea that violence—especially extreme violence—can be beautiful. As long as it is full of love.

Love is the key, and the key to Ichi the Killer. At its deepest heart, this is a nihilistic romance film. Like some twisted personal add, the ultimate masochist seeks the ultimate sadist. The masochistic, yakuza killer Kakihara—the scary guy featured on the box cover—has a difficult time finding anyone who can satisfy his needs. While receiving a beating, Kakihara complains that "There's no love in your violence." To commit violence without love is like having sex without emotion, and empty physical act.

Kakihara is undoubtedly the star of the film. He is brash and beautiful. But it is the eponymous Ichi the Killer who is the true protagonist. Mentally unstable and boyish to the extreme, Ichi is a deranged assassin who wears a superhero costume with a bold Number 1 ("Ichi" means "Number 1" in Japanese) emblazoned on the back. Ichi is an almost-controllable tool of Jijii, who plays the gangs against each other for a mysterious motive. Jijii aims Ichi like a gun, then pulls the trigger. Kakihara’s deepest fantasy is to be slain by Ichi, the ultimate killer, but not before the time is right.

Ichi the Killer is a trip into a dark underworld of sadomasochism and lustful violence. Without Miike’s guiding hand, the film could easily slip into parody and irrelevance. But Miike the auteur delivers up a stunning, controlled exploration of the dark places of human nature. Places that most people would not willfully venture into. It is, without a doubt, the finest film in the genre.

 

by Zack Davisson

publicado por Andreia Torres às 16:22

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (2010)

04.09.13


If The Fifth Element was Luc Besson's love letter to Moebius and his fanciful surrealist futurism, then his (legal) adaptation of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is his love letter to Jacques Tardi's own obsession with the imaginative heights of the pop fiction of the early 20th century. Situated somewhere between Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Herge's Tintin stories, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec follows the eponymous character, a journalist and traveler who is surrounded by fanciful happenings.

While Adele Blanc-Sec is as impeccably designed and imagined as The Fifth Element, what really brings the story to life in ways Tardi couldn't have even imagined is the incredible lead performance by Louise Bourgoin, who manages to shine even as she's surrounded by phenomenal special effects. A strong hit in Europe, Adele Blanc-Sec is unfortunately overlooked stateside, but for fans of Tintin and modernist surreal films like City of Lost Children as well as pulp adventures like the Indiana Jones series, Adele Blanc-Sec should be a natural fit, following a plot across France and Egypt that features a dinosaur, mummies and even the Titanic.

Most of the other works on this list are well known and beloved, but Adele Blanc-Sec deserves further attention, both in film form and in its original comic form. It's that rare film that can be loved by people of any age and helps show how little filmmakers have scratched the surface of comics.

by Nick Hanover

publicado por Andreia Torres às 16:18

Persepolis (2007)

02.09.13

 

 

 

   Marjane Satrapi's autobio comic, Persepolis, is her coming of age story during the Iranian revolution. It's taught in college classes, listed in magazines like Time, and received praise from professors at institutes such as Oxford.

It can be tempting to cast a live action version of these kind of stories; we are, after all, a country that is only slowly learning that animation isn't automatically children's faire. That they decided to animate Persepolis, though, gives it an almost otherworldly feel that sets it right in line with Satrapi's art. It was the right decision, and Persepolis is one of the most beautifully animated movies I have ever seen.

Satrapi chronicles her life, from her childhood until she becomes an expat at 24. There's not really a lot more to say that wouldn't be a play-by-play of the film, and I feel like I'd be robbing you of the experience of enjoying the film if I did that.

In short, Satrapi grew up in Tehran and wanted to be both a prophet and Bruce Lee. She spent time in Vienna, as a teenager, because her parents feared that she would only end up getting arrested under the war-torn Iranian regime of the '80s.

Satrapi's life is one of politics and punk rock, homelessness and brushes with death. It's beautiful, painful, hopeful, and one of my favorite comics-turned-movies.

It was nominated for Best Animated Feature, losing to Ratatouille (which, really, feels like a crime), but it deservedly won the jury Prize at Cannes. And it deserves your attention.

 

by David Fairbanks

publicado por Andreia Torres às 16:16

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