Thursday, 9 April 2020

DualSense controller teases PS5 form factor

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Sony is still on course to release the PlayStation 5 (PS5) this holiday season. Although expect it to be in very limited supply at launch.

Earlier this week, the Tokyo-based multimedia company revealed the DualSense wireless controller for the upcoming console and I was instantly reminded of Detroit: Become Human.

SIE President & CEO Jim Ryan says: “DualSense marks a radical departure from our previous controller offerings and captures just how strongly we feel about making a generational leap with PS5. The new controller, along with the many innovative features in PS5, will be transformative for games – continuing our mission at PlayStation to push the boundaries of play, now and in the future. To the PlayStation community, I truly want to thank you for sharing this exciting journey with us as we head toward PS5’s launch in Holiday 2020. We look forward to sharing more information about PS5, including the console design, in the coming months.”

DualSense has met with mixed reactions, but I really like its sleek anime design cues. Whilst gamers won't know how the premium-looking controller handles until in-hand, the latest evolution of DualShock looks larger and should appease fans (myself included) of the Xbox One controller. Subjectively, the DualShock 4 has never been comfortable for long gaming sessions and curtailed by poor battery life.

Sony has piqued my interest far more than Microsoft with its Xbox Series X. I've no need to replace my Xbox One X for the foreseeable future. A two-tone PS5 would be a welcome addition to my home gaming setup this Christmas. Let's hope it's whisper-quiet compared with its noisier predecessors.

What do you think of the DualSense wireless controller? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

At Home With Olaf

Whilst many productions are halted as we all self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic. Disney is releasing a series of short films featuring everyone's favourite snowman, Olaf.

Josh Gad is reprising the beloved role of Olaf from Frozen. The short films, under the umbrella title of At Home With Olaf, will be free to watch online. Beginning with Fun With Snow, animated by Hyrum Osmond.

Even in these troubling times, creatives can work remotely on a little much-needed magic.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Artemis Fowl to debut on Disney+

With cinemas closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing the new norm, studios are pushing back the release of blockbuster movies and dipping a toe in streaming selected titles as audiences self-isolate.

Beginning with Universal Picture's Trolls World War and now Disney is releasing Artemis Fowl directly on Disney+. This isn't something entirely new as Netflix has released movies including Annihilation and Bird Box.

“Director Kenneth Branagh and his spectacular cast take viewers right into the vibrant, fantasy world of the beloved book, which fans have been waiting to see brought to life onscreen for years," said Disney+ President of Content and Marketing Ricky Strauss in a statement. "It’s great family entertainment that is the perfect addition to Disney+’s summer lineup.”

Frozen 2 and Onward are already on Disney+ in the US and Canada. However, self-isolating families remain frustrated at Disney's reluctance to release its movies everywhere day-and-date on Disney+. There's still no news regarding when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be available. How about using Disney+ as a force for good for all in these troubling times, eh? It's all about optics.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ series finds a new writer

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series, starring Ewan McGregor (The Phantom Menace) as the titular character, was put on hiatus earlier this year. However, a new writer has been tapped for the live-action Star Wars spin-off, which will join The Mandalorian and Rogue One prequel on Disney+.

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) reports Joby Harold will be the writer. Harold is known for executive producing John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, as well as producing King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Trumbo.

Lucasfilm announced Deborah Chow will direct the new live-action Star Wars series. Chow, who recently worked on stablemate The Mandalorian, has also directed episodes of Mr Robot, American Gods, Jessica Jones, Fear the Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and The Man in the High Castle.

“We really wanted to select a director who is able to explore both the quiet determination and rich mystique of Obi-Wan in a way that folds seamlessly into the Star Wars saga,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a press release.

“Based on her phenomenal work developing our characters in The Mandalorian, I’m absolutely confident Deborah is the right director to tell this story.”

Looking forward to the Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off series? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Fans animate Colin Trevorrow's Star Wars

Whilst Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have ended the saga that George Lucas started. Director JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens) didn't appease all fans - an impossible task for anyone at the helm. And Colin Trevorrow's (Jurassic World) leaked treatment for Episode IX, Duel of the Fates, has inspired this awesome animated fan film.

What do you think of this animated fan film based on Colin Trevorrow's script? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Netflix renews supernatural series Locke & Key

Netflix has renewed its spellbinding live-action adaptation of Locke & Key for a second season, which should please self-isolating fans (myself included).

Based on the graphic novel series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, Locke & Key had a long and winding road to television screens. But, the wait was worth it. I binge-viewed the first season back in February before the coronavirus lockdown and have championed the series on social media.

"We are thrilled to be continuing the journey of Locke & Key alongside all of our amazing collaborators," showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill said in a statement. "We are grateful to Netflix for all their support, especially at this difficult time, and look forward to bringing you the exciting next chapter of our story."

Like other studios, Netflix suspended all production in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. So, the second season of Locke & Key doesn't have a release date.

Are you looking forward to the second season of Locke & Key? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Star Trek in a time of need

So, when Star Trek: Picard was first announced, I warmly embraced the return of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) for a final swan song in the captain's chair.

Spoilers ahead. Engage.

As the latest CBS All Access spin-off series started and Picard’s inoperable brain tumour was revealed, as a direct consequence of his assimilation into the Borg collective in The Best of Both Worlds, I braced myself for a contemplative, lyrical, denouement by season’s end to parallel the heroic death of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame.

Whilst season one unfolded, a real-world pandemic took hold, social distancing, self-isolation and lockdowns became the new reality making the need for nostalgia more pertinent than ever. So much so, when Picard finally met Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna (Marina Sirtis) in Nepenthe, I found the episode profoundly moving.

Aside from reuniting the fan-favourite trifecta from The Next Generation. It was also an excellent opportunity to deconstruct Commander Data's (Brent Spiner) synthetic twin daughter Soji (Isa Briones) as an inverse female Pinocchio, she's only recently discovered she's a synthetic with the help of Romulan boyfriend Narek (Harry Treadaway), through the wide-eyed wonder of Will and Troi's daughter, Kestra (Lulu Wilson). Culminating in one of the best Star Trek episodes in the franchise's storied history. By the time the main theme from The Next Generation is heard, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the series has earned its stripes.

At this point in the season, Picard has undergone a soft reset, took a diversion into a Romulan/Borg/Starfleet detective story and is about to go full-on original Mass Effect trilogy with the threat of Cthulu-inspired mechas destroying all organic life in the galaxy, but then doesn't in one of the most rushed, tonally-jarring, two-part finales committed to the small screen.

Romulan Narissa (Peyton List), a member of the ultra-secret Zhad Vash tasked with destroying all synths, is one of the best Trek villains in years and she's karate-kicked off a gantry on the Borg cube by Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) who is about to come out as queer - pleasing inclusive fans (myself included). Perhaps Narissa survived the fall like Emperor Palpatine did in Star Wars?

Its saving grace was Data and Picard's poetic deaths. The latter was ruined by Hollywood's current obsession with fake-out deaths to appease the fandom menace and, you know, keep shareholders happy. Plus, in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1, Dr Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner) reveals he's developed a golem in the synth enclave. So, there was no surprise twist when Picard's mind was transferred to a duplicate synth body before the end credits rolled.

Ultimately, I'm in no rush to see the second season of Picard. Perhaps, once the coronavirus pandemic is safely over and the world has shifted on its socio-economic and political axis, I'll be in a better frame of mind.

What did you think of Star Trek: Picard and how does it compare to Discovery? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Hasbro releases G.I. Joe animated series on YouTube

Hasbro is the latest company to offer free content whilst we self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

G.I. Joe fans (myself included) can watch the first three 5-part story arcs (15 episodes): The M.A.S.S. Device, The Revenge Of Cobra and The Pyramid Of Darkness on YouTube.

"G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero follows an elite team of soldiers as they battle the evil Cobra organization. These heroes thwart the COBRA's desire for world domination at every turn, cleverly stopping them from controlling the weather, creating unstoppable weapons, and genetically engineering super-warriors."

G.I. Joe became a staple of my childhood when Palitoy licensed the toys from Hasbro in the early eighties and created Action Force. Action Force comprised Q Force, SAS Force, Space Force and Z Force (doubled as U.N.I.T. from Doctor Who) who were pitted against the Red Shadows lead by the diabolical Baron Ironblood.

Baron Ironblood was the forerunner to Lord Buckethead and became Cobra Commander when the Battle Action Force comic ended and Action Force moved to Marvel comics in the wake of Palitoy's closure with Hasbro producing toys directly.

What are your favourite memories of Action Force and G.I. Joe? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Aliens and Terminator star joins The Mandalorian

If it wasn't enough that Rosario Dawson is playing fan-favourite Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Michael Biehn, star of Aliens and The Terminator, joins the cast of The Mandalorian.

Biehn is expected to play a bounty hunter pursuing the titular character, played by Pedro Pascal, in the second season of the live-action Star Wars series on Disney+.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, The Mandalorian wrapped principal photography on its second season and will premiere this October on Disney+. Meanwhile, the first season continues every Friday on Disney+ in the UK.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Star Wars Episode I: Racer on Nintendo Switch

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace may have divided fans decades before The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, but it spawned Darth Maul and podracing.

Star Wars Episode I: Racer was well received on the Nintendo 64 (I owned the Sega Dreamcast port) and it's coming back on Nintendo Switch later this year.

In related news from Nintendo Direct. Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is available on the Nintendo eShop from today.

Are you excited to play Star Wars Episode I: Racer when it arrives on Switch? Let me know in the comments below.