Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.
Ben’s Anime Pick: Star Wars: Visions – Even though the latest Star Wars series may not fit into the current canon, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching. Disney collaborated with some of the greatest Japanese animation studios in the business for Visions, and you can tell from just a few seconds that each vignette was made with a deep, deep love for that oh-so distant galaxy. Visions’ visuals are fantastic and varied thanks to each studio’s distinct and impressive art style, as they work with the themes of each story told. Not only that, but the meshing of cultures lends itself to some of the most memorable locales, battles, and characters that Star Wars has seen in years. It’s no secret that George Lucas drew heavily upon Akira Kurosawa classics when making the original film, so the blending of styles is unsurprisingly a great match. Barely any of the segments are over 20 minutes long, but the amount of content packed into them is, quite frankly, shocking. There’s ancient Sith warriors, jaw-dropping twists, an unorthodox spacecraft tactic that gives “the Holdo Maneuver” a run for its money, and more waiting within Visions.
Oh, and one last thing: the subbed version is far superior to the dubbed, in my opinion.
Lauren’s Book/Movie Choice: Coraline – Neil Gaiman’s classic tale of a young girl who must brave a terrifying alternate reality of sorts is a wonderfully creepy, long form bedtime story originally inspired by the author’s daughter’s request for something scary. Admittedly I initially went out of my way to find meaning in things to add complexity to what is likely more of an amalgamation of sorts to inspire a child’s mind, a surface level fast burn through the tale of Coraline vs her Other Mother. So though I found myself a bit disappointed at first in my “I wish Gaiman had done this instead” thoughts, I inevitably came to really appreciate what may often feel like a random collection of oddities, finding new purpose in the imagery the author chose (the button eyes aren’t to symbolize this occurring in Coraline’s imagination as was my short lived, early pages theory, but rather to simply mark these characters as The Other Mother’s playthings/puppets, The Other Mother’s reflection doesn’t appear in mirrors because she is sustained by draining the essences of the children she traps in a comparable way to vampires, etc., though I’m honestly still not sure what the inclusion of a fairy is all about). Now here’s the kicker: though Coraline is a really good book, I honestly prefer the film adaptation because it is able to take this wonderful foundation built by Gaiman and really bring his fantastically magical world to life thanks to simply being a visual medium, making it more than understandable why a child would be easily lured in by an alternative to her own reality with her somewhat dismissive parents, a dreamlike world that seems too good to be true. The plot is not rushed in the same way as the novel is, as the alteration to the structure and pacing for the film truly lets the story breathe, something I very much appreciated. The film really is such a beautiful and cohesive telling of this tale, and a more than worthy adaptation of a fan favorite.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – The newest Guardians of the Galaxy game doesn’t do anything truly novel gameplay or story-wise, but it does everything it needs to, and does it all really, really well. It’s a humorous and heartfelt action adventure title, with a similar charm to the MCU films (which the game has no connection to), that follows the eponymous team of intergalactic heroes. While you only play as Star-Lord, you can issue commands to the rest of the crew, creating a ton of explosive, stabby, floral carnage; and the leader himself has more than a few cool tricks up his sleeve. The voice cast is so, so great, bringing laughs and emotional poignancy nearly on par with James Gunn’s two GotG films, and they make every single optional conversation worthwhile. The game’s soundtrack is probably it’s biggest success, and when used in conjunction with the combat’s huddle mechanic – an ability to call your teammates over, inspire them with a short speech, and blast a random track during the encounter – it led to some of my favorite gaming moments this year. Here’s hoping that Guardians of the Galaxy is just one of the first steps towards a “Marvel Gaming Universe” from Square Enix and Disney/Marvel, because I would definitely play more superhero titles like it.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:
- Lauren’s 10 horror film picks to prep for Halloween: “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Boo.”
- A Middle of the Row: The Podcast episode on the recently released Black Widow.