HOW X-MEN’S PAST BECAME THE FUTURE

In honor of the new X-Men: Days of Future Past coming out Friday and because I’m personally obsessed with X-Men, this post takes a look back at how Marvel’s X-men went from the comics to the big screen and the story behind X-Men Days of Future Past.

X-Men created by the comic geniuses Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first appeared in 1963 featuring Iceman, Cyclops, Angel, and Magneto to name a few, but started on rocky waters; as the X-Men comics initially failed to reach the success of similar comics in the Marvel Universe like Spiderman and The Avengers. Nevertheless, by the early 1980s the X-Men story lines and characters begin to rise in popularity with notable names like the Phoenix and Wolverine and new characters like Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Sabertooth, Apocalypse, and Rogue. The era also saw the launch of the Uncanny X-Men, The Hellfire Club, and X-Men Days of Future Past, shortly after followed by the Original X-Men and beloved characters like Deadpool and Gambit.

Soon after, X-Men’s increasing popularity opened the franchise up to other opportunities in media, like the animated TV series — which there have been several versions since the 1990s–, video games, and films(20th Century Fox purchased the film rights during the mid 90s).

From there the first film took nearly a decade to develop and multiple rewrites, before the initial launch of the franchise in the summer of 2000.

On this journey from comic adaptation to screen I’ve discovered a few interesting facts about the franchise and comics that fans may not know.

INTERESTING FACTS

1) “X” in X-Men refers to extra powers or abilities of the mutants; the x-gene.

2) Columbia Pictures originally considered developing X-Men.

3) The X-Men original animated series on Fox was one of the highest rated Saturday morning shows.

4) Bryan Singer originally turned down the project several times, before accepting as director.

5)  The comics have sold more than 400 million copies to date.

6) Beast and Pyro were cut from the first X-Men film due to budget.

7) James Cameron was originally developing the first X-Men film.

8) Hugh Jackman was not originally cast as Wolverine.

9) The effects and look of X-Men takes a nod from the Matrix.

10) X-Men has drawn comparisons to the civil rights movement — Magneto as  Malcolm X and Professor Xavier as Martin Luther King Jr.

Also X-Men Days of Future Past has been adapted multiple times, each with slightly different story lines, particularly with the hero changing for each version — Kitty, then Bishop, to now Wolverine. Thus the new film is similar to many of its predecessors. For those unfamiliar with the story, basically a mutant goes back in time to change the future assassination, war, and inevitable elimination of mutants and/or humans in the future by the Sentinels.

For the new film version releasing tomorrow, Wolverine is the hero that save’s the future from this dystopian world, but as always it’s truly a team effort and so far the reviews have been fantastic. Which seems likely given the critical praise of the first two X-Men films, X-Men and X2: X-Men United, which were helmed by the same director, Bryan Singer.

X-Men Days of Future Past releasing on May 23rd is written by Simon Kinberg and features the characters listed below, who are not necessarily always good or evil in the series.

 

OLD CHARACTERS

 PROFESSOR X – a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy/Patrick Stewart), who seems to be dealing with a lot if emotional turmoil. Especially given his new physical limitations.

 STORM – future Storm (Halle Berry) battles her own turbulent world, that is quickly falling to pieces, while sporting a new do.

KITTY PRIDE/SHADOWCAT – Kitty (Ellen Page) plays a future team fighting role with the ability to pass through things, and is not the one who goes back in time in      this version.

 WOLVERINE/LOGAN – past and future Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) kicks some butt and keeps everybody in line.

ICEMAN/BOBBY –  Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) teams up with Kitty, Rogue, and the rest of the future X-Men to defend their turf.

 ROGUE – Rogue’s (Anna Paquin) role has been downsized, but she’s still a valuable member of the team, in what capacity remains to be seen.

 BEAST/HANK – Hank (Nicholas Holt) and Wolverine try to play nice. Someday they’ll be friends.

COLOSSUS – (Daniel Cudmore) Colossus assist the future team holding off Sentinels.

 HAVOK – Havok (Lucas Till) aka Alex Summers up to his old tricks.

WILLIAM STRIKER – a younger version of his later self.

 

NEW CHARACTERS

QUICKSILVER – Peter’s (Evan Peters) busting people out, with his lighting speed.

 BISHOP – Bishop’s(Omar Sy) hanging tight with rest of the gang instead of traveling to the past using his energy. Sorry, Wolverine got that spot this time.

BLINK– Blink (BingBing Fan) aka Clarice Ferguson is a teleporter of a different sort.

SUNSPOT– (Adan Canto) Sunspot can absorb and channel solar power, we’ll see if that comes in handy.

WARPATH – (BooBoo Stewart) Warpath has superhuman strength and speed, among other heightened abilities … think superman taken down a notch.

 DR. BOLIVAR TRASK – (Peter Dinkledge) Trask is somebody you probably don’t want to mess with. A military scientist and creator of the Sentinels and primary antagonist in the new film.

 SENTINELS – badass machines that have a mind of their own.

 

VILLAINS(ALLIES)/NEMESIS

 MAGNETO/ERIK – Magneto(Michael Fassbender/Ian Mckellan) . . . needs no introduction. Can’t wait to see what he does this time.

 MYSTIQUE/RAVEN – Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is all bent out of shape and dead set on bringing someone down.

 TOAD – A younger Toad(Evan J.) with a small role to play.

 

When it’s all said and done, you can thank X-Men for the superhero blockbuster revival.

 

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The Evolution of Disney Part I: Maleficent

 

By now we’ve seen the stories that made us cry, that shaped who we are, that made us laugh. We have seen the impossible become possible; that dreams really do come true; that there is always something bigger or better; and that some, yes, live happily ever after. This is the magic of Disney, that brings us back every time.

The magic that found its roots in traditional animation, learned to embrace 3D animation, and changed fairy tales into live-action adventures; quite unlike anything ever seen before.

Over the next few months, I will explore the evolution of Disney, providing a closer look inside the films — from present to past — and possibly what else Walt Disney Studios has in store for the future.

 

PART I: Live Action

The Walt Disney Studios has a long history with live action films, which began in 1950 with Treasure Island, followed by the beloved classic Mary Poppins, and other features like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, The Mighty Ducks, and recently Pirates of the Caribbean. So venturing into live-action features is nothing new for the studio. However, adapting their animated classics into live-action films is relatively new and it all began with the success of the film Enchanted.

Enchanted, was a new endeavor by Disney released in 2007, based on the idea of happily ever after crossing from fantasy to real-life. The success of Enchanted allowed Disney to explore other fairytale adaptations for a new generation, leading to the current slate of upcoming films for release including: Into the Woods, Maleficent, and Cinderella.

For this part 1 series I will focus on Maleficent, which hits theater May 30, so be sure to see it!

MALEFICENT

Everyone knows and possibly loves the story of Sleeping Beauty, but what about the story of one of Disney’s greatest villains Maleficent. Was she really evil? If so, what turned her heart to stone? This is what the new film will hopefully finally answer for curious fans craving a twist on the beloved tale.

But alas we must wait . . . so until all is revealed on May 30th, I will focus on the costumes which in my opinion are just as iconic as Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman or Charlize Theron’s queen in Snow White and The Huntsman.

The costumes designed by Oscar nominated Anna B. Sheppard, who has worked on such films as Schindler’s List and The Pianist, based the costumes on medieval and renaissance period history and art, in addition to the original Disney designs by animator Marc Davis from the animated classic. From there Sheppard and Angelina Jolie, who plays Maleficent, created the look of the character alongside a brilliant team of designers.

You may notice that the costumes for Maleficent are very sculptural and reminiscent of Lady Gaga — one of the designers actually created pieces for the music artist in the past. As for the fabrics, they are a combination of “floaty” and heavier textiles including some furs, leathers, and feathers.

In short, this was a massive collaboration by a very talented group of designers, including Justin Smith, Rob Goodwin, and Manuel Albarran. The headwear was designed by milliner Justin Smith, with Jolie’s input and was inspired by turban or head wrap styles, animalistic elements, and rope knotting. Altogether there are six different headpieces seen throughout the film.

While the footwear was constructed by Rob Goodwin, who added reptilian and scale like influences into the designs. As for the accessories, collars, and final fight scene costume they were designed by Manuel Albarran who designed the spines you will see on Jolie’s character in the film.

Their work collectively created the dark, yet hauntingly beautiful and elegant Maleficent, that will surely be remembered for years to come.

COSTUME LINKS

http://www.lol-la.com/qa-with-maleficent-costume-designer-manuel-albarran/

http://www.manuelalbarran.com

http://clothesonfilm.com/captain-america-qa-with-costume-designer-anna-sheppard/21536/

http://www.jsmithesquire.com

 

 

 

 

Lost Girl: Kenzie Style

Lost Girl

Kenzi — Lost Girl Syfy

There’s Bo — ultimate bad-ass and Fae. Then there’s the real bad-ass — Bo’s sidekick and bestie Kenzi, who not only repeatedly steals the show, but whose character rocks the best style this side of Fae land, courtesy of costume designers Anne Dixon(Season 1-2) and Noreen Landry (Season 3-4). Kenzi’s style is edgy, fun, and sexy, yet always original. Probably an ode to emerging fashion styles like Goth, Steampunk, Rock, Emo, and Punk that made headway in the early 1980s. Lost Girl is one of the few television shows that still creates original costumes for its cast.

While Kenzi, played by Kesnia Solo, is the ultimate fashionista and chameleon. Always ready for work or play. Her signature style includes state of the art layering with corsets over long sleeve tops, skinny jeans, mini skirts, fitted jackets, and fingerless gloves/arm warmers to match often paired with boots and a whole lot of hardcore bling. Her wardrobe completely compliments her personality and evolving journey with Bo in Lost Girl. Though my favorite part is how well the costumes fit into the world they inhabit, yet are contemporary enough to wear today.

So here is my top 5 favorite Kenzi looks. Enjoy!

1.  Glam Rock

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Kenzi Lost Girl(Showcase)

 

2. Red Warrior

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3. China Doll

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  4. Razor Sharp Sidekick

5. Classic Kenzi

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And just for kicks, because all of Kenzi’s outfits truly rock. Here’s a bonus look.

( All Images on Fanpop.com and Courtesy of Syfy & Showcase)

Premium Art Titles: 3 Cable Shows Worth the Intro Alone

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like TV show credits have greatly improved in the last 5-10 years; especially on premium cable shows. Almost every show on now has a memorable, one of kind visual opener that captures the audience’s attention as easily as the actual show.

This year in particular has been a good year for the art of the title and the motion graphics industry.

Out of the bunch, three new shows stand out among the best: HBO’s True Detective, Starz’s Black Sails, and Da Vinci’s Demons — all good shows in their own right — are some of the best title credit opening sequences of 2013-2014.

So here’s my analysis of the three shows breaking the mold and bringing TV show credits into the major leagues.

First up,

  1. Black Sails – Starz (New 2013)

Set in the 1700s during the golden age of piracy in New Providence (The Bahamas), this show boasts itself as a prequel of sorts to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, following the adventures of some of the most notorious pirates both fictional and historical such as Calico Jack, Captain Flint, Captain Vane, and Anne Bonny. It’s certainly one of the most interesting and best pirate interpretations since Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise I’ve seen.

The title sequence for the show is very unique and creative.  It is inspired  by the Rocco and Baroque period the show is set during and also artists Pablo Genoves and  Kris Kuksi. , utilizing digital sculptures to embody war with the establishment. The sequence was brilliantly designed by Imaginary Forces under the creative direction of Karin Fong and Michelle Dougherty as a juxtaposition of different symbols or concepts, like light vs dark and alludes to the impending doom on the horizon.

An overall highly detailed, intricate, and beautiful ivory masterpiece, that makes  you do a double take.

Personally, I love how this sequence is composed and how in the moment and alive the sculpture feels as the camera moves through the credits. It’s quite intriguing and every time you watch there’s something new to discover.

http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/black-sails/

Next,

2.  Da Vinci’s Demons – Starz (Season 2)

This show follows the genius Leonardo Da Vinci, shown in a very different light than previous incarnations and as a  much younger version , during the 15th century as he tries to find the mythical Book of Leaves, as well as his involvement with the House of Medici; all the while facing his own demons or delusions.

Demons which have yet to determine the artist and inventor’s fate. However, the title sequence for the show paints a glimpse into the complicated workings of Da Vinci’s mind. Designed by Huge Designs studio and Creative Director Paul Mcdonnel and his team, this electric, animated sequence of drawings leaves a lasting impression.

Under the clips on the Art of the Title website it says “Genius cannot be contained” which is truly the only way to describe this larger than life historical man, but it also captures the essence of the title sequence. As the images and ideas cover the screen and evolve from one thing to the next at a rapid pace.

It clearly reminds me of my own mind at times because I never seem to be able to turn it off, as ideas are constantly pouring out. Makes me wonder what a non-artist mind must be like — pure bliss?

http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/da-vincis-demons/

Last, but surely not least …

  1. True Detective – HBO (New 2013)

A very different show, set in Louisiana, follows the story of two detectives and a ritualistic murder case they had back in 1995. The story and characters are revealed through present day interrogation and looking back into their past relationship in connection with case. It’s a rather dark show and definitely not your typical procedural cop drama.

The story is fittingly portrayed in the style of the title sequence. Somewhat ethereal, but beautiful; the sequence layers images together to create an interesting and revealing truth that captures the characters internal struggles.

It’s an exquisite montage of images, featuring the the two detectives, nude women, and different places around town, that was created by Elastic studio in collaboration with several other studios. It was all inspired by photographer Richard Misrach and executed using various techniques like animation and low-poly modeling with imaging overlapped and composited.

I particularly like the emotional blue and purple coloring that turns into a fiery hell as well as the fragmentation of the photos seen throughout the sequence. Truly surreal.

http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/true-detective/

http://www.titledesignproject.com/tag/true-detective-title-sequence-by-elastic/

 

All of these, once again, are very good shows especially for history buffs like myself. And I plan on exploring other aspects of the shows further in the future so stay tuned and enjoy the links.

 

Game of Thrones: The exhibit

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Before the premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones on April 6, check out this inspiring and awesome exhibit traveling across the globe — I recently had the opportunity to see it when it came to Austin. Overall the exhibit is small, but it features an exclusive first-hand look at many of the costumes, props, production art,  and must-see Iron Throne.

In total the exhibit includes some 100 artifacts primarily from seasons 3 and 4 and an interactive experience using the Oculus Rift, which is currently changing the gaming landscape with it’s new technology. It will be stopping next in Rio de Janeiro, Oslo, Toronto, Belfast, and then finally in Vancouver. Below are some of the highlights from the exhibition,  which you can click through too find additional pictures and links from this year and last year’s traveling exhibition. Enjoy!

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DAENERYS

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ARYA & THE HOUND

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BRAN & HODOR

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   OFFICIAL LINKS

http://connect.hbo.com/events/game-thrones/game-thrones-exhibit/

#GOTEXHIBIT

(*PLEASE DON’T USE IMAGES UNLESS CREDIT/LINK TO BLOG*)