Monthly Archives: September 2013

Rise of the Guardians

I know the movie was released some time ago in 2012, but as I already have a habit of posting stuff way later then when they happened, I thought I might as well write a bit about this as I just re-watched it and felt like sharing my thoughts.

I first read about the movie on the deviantArt page of the artist Johanne Matte (aka rufftoon) that was involved in its creation. To celebrate the release of the Trailer she posted a series of cartoons that introduced one of the characters she had been working on, a character that was only eyes in the shadows of a closet at first, but then fully visible in the conclusion when the trailer was finally out and he could take revenge on another character that had previously mocked him about not being allowed into the light – which was by the way Zhao from Avatar – The Last Airbender.
This in combination with the trailer made me curious about the movie. It looked like a fun family movie. As a result I asked Iron Eve if she wanted to accompany me into the cinema as soon as I knew when the movie would hit the German theaters.

But what’s the movie about?

(Might be that there are still people who haven’t watched it)

Official poster

One of the official posters of the movie.

The Rise of the Guardians is an Animation Movie by Dreamworks Animation and is about the Guardians of Childhood: Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman protecting the children of Earth with a strong hand…wait…no, that last one was nearly a line from Avantasia’s song „The Tower„. Let’s try again: Those four were chosen by The Man in the Moon to protect the children from any danger. Each of them protecting a certain aspect of childhood: Dreams, Hopes, Memories and Wonders. But of course something does in fact endanger these things: The Fear created by the Bogeyman. He had been weakened over the centuries and now tries to regain the powers he had throughout the dark ages, because all mystical beings can only exist as long as people believe in them. And no one really believes in the Bogeyman anymore. Therefore – much to the dislike of the Guardians – he tries to make children believe in him through turning their dreams into nightmares and stopping their belief in the Guardians to weaken them instead. With the help of a newly appointed and still not so happy about it Guardian – Jack Frost – they try to fight off the new threat and protect the last believer, the boy Jamie, at all cost. But Jack first has to decide which side he choses, as no one ever truly believed in him before.

The watching experience

As I mentioned I watched the movie in the cinema for the first time and as it nowadays is a must-have to show everything in 3D it was also only shown as such.
I have to say I am not a fan of this trend. On the one hand it is pretty annoying to wear the 3D glasses above your actual glasses and on the other hand do 3D movies have the tendencies to either only include short sequences where it is nearly a waste to use it at all or use it in sequences that are that fast that you get dizzy while watching it. Well, at least we have a 3D-capable theater by now and did not have to watch the 3D material in a 2D cinema…(I had that when I watched „The Last Airbender“ and it made some scenes even worse…)
Instead of doing either of it RotG did use the 3D effects quite nicely for the dream- and the nightmare-sand and general movement and perspectives. I kind of think it makes more sense to use these effects in an already animated movie than in a real-people movie, where you can’t actually get the same experience.
Other than that was it also interesting to see when we laughed and when the actual children laughed about certain jokes. It is always fun to be in a children’s movie as a semi-adult. 😀
As we watched it in German we also had the German synchronization and I think it was quite well done, especially now that I’ve watched the original version. The voices are quite similar and even the translation was quite on spot. Though they did change the calling name of the Tooth Fairy from Tooth to Fairy (Fee), they probably just didn’t want the characters to shout „Zahn“ all the time. 😉
Other than that: North (Santa) also has the Russian accent, Bunnymund (Easterbunny) calls everyone a mate (though in the Berlin-way: „Keule“), Sandy (Sandman) doesn’t speak at all. Oh, and Pitch (Bogeyman) is voiced by Son Goku (Dragonball Z), but he can pull off the tragic villain as good as the universe savior. 😀
I really liked that Sandy communicated only through sand-pictures and the Baby-Tooths only through whistling instead of actual talking.

The characters

What I liked about the characters of this movie, is that all of them have enough quirks and antics to not seem as „perfect“ as protagonist in movies often tend to be. It is rare for me, but I don’t think that I really do NOT like any of the characters, especially none of the main cast. (I will probably cover this at some point in time with a separate post)
Maybe it’s because of these things:
North changes from childish to Warrior in seconds.
Bunny is the big and bossy Australian *cough* kangaroo *cough*, that can also be adorably cute.
Tooth is all business, but quite obsessive when it comes to teeth and children.
Sandy slightly silly, but the secret badass of the four.
Jack, the childish prankster that just wants to be seen.
Pitch, the „bad boy“ that just wants children to remember him.
And the kids, that are just kids being silly kids. 😀

As I already have a tendency to like villains I couldn’t help myself but to be taken in by Pitch Black as well…
Apart from sympathy for his chosen colour I felt pity for him at the end of the movie. All he did was trying to regain the powers he had held centuries ago and that allowed him to be seen by people – and not just children. Of course his way was by far not the nicest – or even the cleverest – but he probably just didn’t knew what else he should do to change his demise. There are much scarier things in this world than the Bogeyman, but I’ll come to that later. What also made me like him more were rufftoons comics about his past that can be found in her gallery here. Incredible comics that partly show a different back story than the official one portrayed in special comics and other stuff from Dreamworks and of course the books by William Joyce (The Guardians of Childhood).

The Sandy-toy facing in a weird direction

The Sandy-toy facing in a weird direction

After that I think it would be a tie between North with his weird jokes, the yetis and the elves, Bunnymund and his walking eggs and of course Sandy, though he might even be on par with Pitch. I even have the McDonalds figurine of Sandy standing/lying in my book shelf. 😀 (Eve got Bunny by the way). Though the magnet used to move him is weird. It always gets stuck when he is nearly facing the holding thing, but it’s a fun toy nonetheless. 🙂

Jack and Tooth, though I do not dislike them and they do have some nice scenes, are just a bit too plain to be among my favourites.

Among the kids I consider Cupcakes to be the funniest. Typical bully turned friend, but still fun, just as much as Monty, the kid with glasses, whose reactions were sometimes hilarious…. 😀

It is also great that you can see why the characters act the way they do. Common sense makes you understand the competitiveness between Bunny and North, Christmas is after all the much more celebrated holiday. But you also can understand why both Jack and Pitch strife for being believed in. I think it must be one of the worst feelings to see all these people around you and knowing that they cannot see you in return. It is already awful to be ignored as normal person, but as personification of an aspect of life (Fear, Frost) it must be even worse. At least in our cases others would bump into us, instead of walking right through you.

General opinion

The Rise of the Guardians is a great movie. It has just the right amount of silliness and seriousness needed to portray an important message: Without belief in Wonders, without Hope, Dreams and good Memories there would only be Fear in children and children are our future that we must protect at all cost.
It also shows that even though children do not believe in the Bogeyman himself anymore, there is still enough Fear for him to still exist. Sure what people fear has greatly changed throughout mankind’s history, but it is still there and I could write a whole post about that alone – in fact I once wrote quite a long article about it, maybe I’ll translate it one day.

The movie has some really precious scenes and well portrayed characters.
Angry Sandy, not-believed in Easter Bunny, silly Elves and annoyed Yetis and all that wrapped in great animations (though a bit edged at times).
They also do well with playing with the viewers emotions.
When I first watched it, I didn’t really know what I should feel, when the scene moved on to the next big thing after the previous one had just happened.
You could argue that the movie therefore is a bit rushed, but I’d still say it was the pace needed to properly tell the story – even though the characters themselves did not really get time to process things or have much time for development, but you could say the movie portrays a war and you don’t really have much time in those either.

Regardless of the fact that it is a children’s movie does it have the potential and the ability to capture an older audience with its charms and jokes as well. Awws and laughter could also be heard from adults as much as from children, though not as loudly. 😉

Simply put: I really enjoyed the movie and I gladly bought the DVD, to watch it again whenever I feel like it. Even though some scenes don’t work as much as they used to during the first time watching, as you know what will happen later on. 😉
And I am curious about the books and comics accompanying it, but it’s always quite annoying to buy something in a different currency as I am not sure whether they are even available in Germany. But maybe will I get my hands on them anyway sometime. 🙂

Stuff I’d like to add

For those who didn’t know: „Mare“ is an old word for a female horse, so Nightmare basically means Night-horse and do you remember what shape the Nightmares had? 😉 It is a bit more complicated than that, seeing that the word derives from a creature called „Nachtmahr“ in German that sometimes was portrayed in the shape of a horses head, but that’ll get too off-topic.

What also is too off-topic but what I still would like to add is a bit about my experiences with these characters/guardians in my childhood.
So you can look forward to that some time in the future. 😉

PoiSonPaiNter

© Rights for the poster and the figurine belong to Dreamworks (the latter probably also to McDonalds).

In Concert 2013: Paganfest

This years concerts started a bit differently, as it was a mini-festival that provided them.
When I looked for possible concerts I noticed that one of the bands I like – Alestorm – would be headlining the Paganfest, which is a series of concerts with about 6-7 bands a day in different cities – that’s why I called it a mini-festival.
I had heard little about the Paganfest, only randomly seeing some shirts but nothing concrete, so I did not really know what it was like. I only knew Alestorm would be there and that the Paganfest would have a station in Hamburg and Berlin.
Soon I started asking around for company for this (and the other concerts I had found), as I had failed to see Alestorm at the Metalfest the year before.
From my initial question Liathano was the first to say yes, even offering me her couch again. But as Black Kat and my other colleague – from now on called „Schnitzel“ – had interest in it too I thankfully declined her offer and told her that I might be using it for the upcoming Avantasia concert – that I’ll be covering some time later.
But shortly before the festival a nasty cold befell her and she couldn’t make it…
Neither could my colleague and fellow student – Lil‘ kat from now on – , whom I had asked as well, as she had semester at that time.
In the end I went with Black Kat, Schnitzel and Anice to the one in Berlin .

Of early Fridays and frozen bottles…

For quite some time I was certain that the „festival“ was on a Friday, so I was confused when Kat and Schnitzel talked about taking a vacation day for it.
But when I realized my mistake I was too stubborn to take a day off as well and decided to just go to work the following day. This way it was also a trial for the concerts after this one as they were in the middle of the week as well.
Nevertheless we soon ruled me out as driver for the evening, as my car is simply too slow in comparison to Schnitzels….
As Kat wanted to have a beer for the way Schnitzel joked about still having a bottle from the WGT (Wave Gotik Treffen, you’ll read more about this later) the year before.
Only to realize that said bottle did NOT survive the cold (aka freezing) winter….
Its content was completely emptied into the door pocket, as the bottom of the bottle was split off (more or less clear cut) and the whole thing smelled accordingly…
It is kind of a surprise that Schnitzel hadn’t smelled it previously, but as it was March the last frost hadn’t been that long away and it still is unclear when exactly the bottle broke.
Anyway, before we could start we needed to clean up the mess. Fortunately the pocket was leak-proofed, so it really was only a stinking pocket and its swimming content. Lots of stuff was thrown away that day…
When we were finally done Kat „sacrificed“ herself and sat at that side of the car. I’m not sure if my sensitive nose would have survived the trip otherwise. Even though we had put disinfection wipes into the pocket it now smelled of both: The rotten beer and the disinfection stuff….
Still, what was most fascinating about the whole trip was for me to have a back seat again.
When you start driving and you have your own car it is rare that you are the one being driven. And it was a nice change. I could actually see a bit of the scenery between Neubrandenburg and Berlin and converse and drink with Kat. 🙂
When we reached Berlin it was close to the festival already starting, but before we could even think about that we had to find a parking lot. Which is no fun, if the car does not have a green pollution badge and the concert is in a green pollution badge area…
When we had finally found one we had to wait a short moment for Schnitzel to change into more appropriate shoes (Normal shoes at certain concerns just aren’t save enough for your feet 😉 ), before we then took off – the clock already saying that the first band had started.

Bands, bands, bands…

The concert was in the K17, where I last was with Lil‘ kat for the Crematory concert the year before. Having enough bands to count as a mini-festival I couldn’t quite imagine how they would pull off the schedule, as I had heard that there were several floors in the building and knew that bands usually played at the same time on a festival. But they instead just did the simplest thing: They let one band play after the other on the same stage. That at least explained the early start at about 17:30 h. So as soon as we had noticed this we mentally prepared ourselves for six bands in a row by buying Mexikaner shots. This is, by the way, a „cocktail“ made of tomato juice and vodka. As I drank it for the first time I asked if there were some noodles with it as well, as it tasted like the the sauce of noodles, just way spicier… The others than suggested to created a noodle-shot in the same manner, but I’m not sure if that would even taste at all…
The first band that evening were Thyrfing from Sweden and I’m not sure how much of it we actually saw, but I think it wasn’t that much as I can hardly remember them…
Next on stage were Wolfchant from Bavaria. I remember them a bit more as they had two „singers“ and one of them looked – according to Kat – like a giant baby. 😀
Well the bald head and the chubby body did not really help his case.
They weren’t bad, but with the baby in mind you couldn’t really take them serious, at least I couldn’t.
Number three was then Canadian band Ex Deo (which is a side project from the guys of Kataklysm as I have just learned). With their suits or parts of Roman armour they looked quite impressive on stage and the music they made wasn’t too bad either.
The last one before the ones we were looking forward to see were Bornholm from Hungaria.
At this point I was quite annoyed that every band they had picked had a habit of growling their lyrics. I think I already mentioned this in one of my Wacken Reviews, but I am not a fan of this way of „singing“. But as I learned later: Only a few bands that fall into the category Pagan Metal do NOT use growls as this genre derives from Black Metal, though also from Folk Metal, but they only use the instruments from there.
We didn’t completely listen to all of these four concerts, as none of us is that much of a growls fan, so we did spent some time outside were you could sit – and have Mexikaner. 😉

Wait, that’s a woman?

With Arkona from Russia there was finally a change in that pattern, as they are pretty good at combining both growls and clear vocals. And all that is done by one and the same woman(!).
Schnitzel and Kat had told me that they had seen them at the WGT the year before and the show there was brilliant. They had played indoors as well and the audience moved around that much that they caused the heat in the room to went up several degrees, even causing the sweat to drop down from the ceiling again. Every bit of alcohol the bars had to offer was gone, the people were exhausted – but content – and the main band hadn’t even played yet and all this, while the singer still wore a thick, hairy pelt around her shoulders. I do not want to know how much she could wring out herself after that gig….
Berlin didn’t get as hot as that, but they still managed to grab the audience quite well.
And it is really fascinating so actually SEE this woman change from growls to clear vocals in the blink of an eye. I can really understand why people would mistake her as a man while just listening to the records, but if you carefully listen, you will notice that it is the same voice.
By the time Arkona had started we all were quite exhausted from standing around all evening so we sneakily had grabbed a stool from the bar room next door and had carried it into the stage room. With this we took turns in sitting. Alternatively the wall behind us – as we stood at the end of the room – provided us with a free foot massage, as the vibrations of the music resounded in it. It was quit a nice way to lose the tension in your feet after standing for so long.

Pirates!

After them came the/my main reason to be there: Alestorm.
And they were just as much fun as I had imagined they’d be.
I can’t really describe what it was like to finally see and hear all these ridiculous songs live, but I know for certain that the other three looked quite questionably at me when I sang and moved along with most of them. We hadn’t been on a concert of one of „my“ bands before, so they didn’t knew what I was like during one.
Alestorm is not just funny because of their (pirate-themed) songs, but frankly also because of their singer. Christopher Bowes the skinny, short Rumpelstiltskin – again named by Kat – that has a voice as deep as any bulky guy could have; at least I imagined him to be taller and sturdier before I saw one of their videos for the first time.
Speaking of videos: Alestorm used a remix of their song Shipwrecked by Drop Goblin – that is just as much fun as the original – as Intro and Outro, which was pretty fun too and quite catchy…
It was totally worth waiting through all that growling Pagan stuff to get to this concert alone. It was just so much fun. Even when Bowes let the crowd carry him to the bar at the end of their set. 🙂
On a completely different note: I considered the Rumpelstiltskin remark even more fun as Kat had intended as I still had the image of Robert Carlyle’s portray of the character in Once Upon A Time in mind and you can’t really compare those two, even though they’re both Scottish…
To sum this up, I think, I can speak for all of us, if I say that we had a good time that evening.
Regardless of that we also concluded that it wouldn’t have been bad if we had arrived for Arkona and Alestorm only, as the other bands weren’t really ours.
But it was a nice starter for a brilliant concert and festival year.
And it even caused me to do something on our way back, that I usually do not do: Sleep in the car while driving – or being driven in this case. 😉
PoiSonPaiNter