This week we review Rick Riordan’s latest book, Magnus Chase & The Gods of Asgard.
Wait, who are we kidding…this is Maddy and this is my review. Anya hasn’t even finished the first Percy Jackson book yet (but if you would like to talk about BuzzFeed & Scream Queens, she’s your girl).
The first book in the Magnus Chase series has Mr. Riordan taking on Norse Mythology as we follow a 16 year old homeless Boston boy on an adventure after finding out his dad is the god Frey. This is a spoiler-free review, so instead of spilling the plot details, I compare this Loki to Tom Hiddleston’s version in the MCU and I tell you about what this Thor likes to binge watch.
Sure he does all sorts of bad stuff as Loki in Marvel’s AVENGERS and THOR films, and now in theaters he is even creepier in Guillermo del Toro’s new horror outing, CRIMSON PEAK. But why is it we still find him so damn charming? In our exclusive talk with Tom, you find out just how deep the charm runs.
As you can imagine, we bought a lot of stuff at WonderCon. And if you know anything about tween/teen YouTube viewing habits, you know hauls (shopping show & tells) are key. So, this week we bring you Part 1 of our WCA Haul! We’ll show you which geeky chic items we’ve added to our collection and which “vintage” comics caught our eye. We also review Joie Brown’s Heavenly Kibble Guardian Corgi issues 1 & 2 and Crystal Cadets by Anne Toole and Katie O’Neill.
Stay tuned for Part 2 (maybe even part 3 — we took home a lot of comics) for more reviews.
Even though this month has brought The Tweeks sickness, they are still super excited about November. You won’t find Maddy & Anya pushing an early Christmas (Snowflake red cups on Halloween, seriously, Starbucks?) but you will find them celebrating what is currently making them happy— stuff like the new Marvel movies announcement, the spoiler about Tom Hiddleston in Avengers: Age of Ultron, new movies on Netflix, Halloween candy, and the graphic novel, Fragile— which may have cured the girls of their aversion to Manga!
Synopsis: Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World continues the big screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos… but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman) as Thor, Natalie Portman (Marvel’s Thor, Black Swan, Star Wars Episodes I-III) as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston (Marvel’s Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, War Horse) as Loki and Anthony Hopkins (Thor, Silence of the Lambs, Nixon) as Odin.
Director: Alan Taylor (TV’s Game of Thrones, TV’s The Sopranos, TV’s Mad Men)
Screenplay: Christopher L. Yost (Revolutionary Road, Snitch)
Christopher Markus (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise)
Stephen McFeely (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise)
Story by: Don Payne
Producer: Kevin Feige, p.g.a. (Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel’s Iron Man Franchise)
Executive Producers: Louis D’Esposito (Basic Instinct, Marvel’s Iron Man, Marvel’s The Avengers)
Victoria Alonso (Marvel’s Iron Man, Marvel’s The Avengers, Big Fish)
Craig Kyle (X-Men: Evolution, Ultimate Avengers, Iron Man: Armored Adventures)
Alan Fine (Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel’s Iron Man, Marvel’s Thor)
Nigel Gostelow (Batman Begins, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Da Vinci Code)
Stan Lee (Marvel’s Iron Man, Spider-Man, Marvel’s Thor)
Release Date: February 4, 2014 for Digital 3D (Select Retailers) and Digital HD
February 25, 2014 (Direct Pre-book: TBC; Distributor Pre-book: TBC)
(3D Combo Pack, BD, DVD & Select Digital Retailers)
· Never-Before-Seen Extended and Deleted Scenes
· Gag Reel
· Exclusive Look – Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier
o Get an exclusive first look at the latest installment in the Captain America franchise and its incredible cast of characters, including Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury, Chris Evans, our hero Steve Roger’s, his new ally Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon played by Anthony Mackie, and a mysterious enemy from the past…the Winter Soldier played by Sebastian Stan.
· A Brothers’ Journey: Thor & Loki
o In this 30 min feturette go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast as we explore two of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe with stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) & Tom Hiddleston (Loki), and journey through the key moments that have defined and endeared these characters to audiences around the world.
· Scoring Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World with Brian Tyler
o Go behind the scenes with the filmmakers and acclaimed composer Brian Tyler for a look at the creation of the movie’s stunning original score.
· Audio Commentary with Director Alan Taylor, Producer Kevin Feige, Actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau
· And More…
Feature Run Time: 1 hrs. 51 min. 53 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Languages: English, French & Spanish
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
Most movie reviewers have been acting like teenage girls over Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in Thor: The Dark World. But only ComicMix gives you real teenage girls to review the movie! (We even got siblings with light and dark long hair, just to keep with the theme of the film.)
Take a look as Tweeks Maddy and Anya review the blockbuster and find out whether Marvel is reaching the audience they’re hoping for, and who the cuter Hemsworth brother is…
Glenn: So. How long have you been waiting for this film?
Sara: I was actually less hyped about this than any of the other Marvel films. I enjoyed Thor, but of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One, excluding The Incredible Hulk, it was my least favorite. I didn’t buy tickets till after a friend saw it at the premiere. The thing that made me choose to go to the opening night screening rather than waiting was Loki. I really feel like he and Banner stole the show in The Avengers. So as it became clear that he was going to have a large role in Thor: The Dark World, I became more excited about it.
Glenn: What worked for you here that didn’t work as much in the first film? What improved for you?
Sara: I liked that the movie took itself more seriously than the first film and that it did away with the sorta slapstick Greek god fish outta water humor. I was glad he grew out of his petulant teenager phase.
Glenn: Thor was really Thor, in other words. Not so much humbled as humble. Although he still has trouble making his parents happy.
Sara: True. But that’s true to the comics and his back story.
Glenn: In so many ways, the story of Thor is one of family— not dysfunction, per se, but disapproval. In the first movie, Thor was a headstrong kid who couldn’t make his dad happy. In this one, he’s a more mature individual and he still can’t make his dad happy– and this time, it’s more Dad’s fault.
Sara: Yes, but even within that, they are all dedicated to each other.
Glenn: Very true. Thor and Frigga are still even loyal to Loki, at different levels.
Sara: The other thing that I found so much improved from the first movie was the size of the world. The first movie seemed very small. So much of the film was spent in that town in the middle of the desert. Where as in Thor: The Dark World we got to see Thor and crew across the 9 realms.
Glenn: And even on Earth, we get London and Greenwich as compared to New Mexico.
Sara: And then the Asgard sets were stunning.
Glenn: Did you see the film in 3D?
Sara: I did, which I normally wouldn’t do– I hate 3D movies. But I really wanted to see the 5 minutes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier footage.
Glenn: Do you feel the actors improved, or the characters and what they were given to do?
Sara: In general, both. I felt like the acting was consistently good with a few exceptions. Zachary Levi’s character fell flat for me. And as always, Kat Dennings plays Kat Dennings.
Glenn: But not as annoyingly as in 2 Broke Girls, so thanks for small miracles.
Sara: I thought Christopher Eccleston was good, but not exceptional, which is shocking becuase in general I love Eccleston.
Glenn: Eccleston was good, although it led to a particular moment of dissonance— when you see dimensional rifts opening up over England, my instinctive reaction is to wonder where the Time Lord is— and here he’s on the wrong side.
Glenn: And while we’re on the subject of bad guys… your object of affection…
Sara: So, okay, I’m obviously biased here, becuase I think Tom Hiddleston is the bee’s knees.
Glenn: You and half of the female audience for these films.
Sara: That being said. I really do think he’s a great actor. And I thought Loki was well done. For me the interactions between him and Thor really worked. And It was nice to see his character get at least a glimmer of redemption after the events of The Avengers.
Glenn: The thing that the movies have brought in a way the comics didn’t get for a long time if ever, is the family bond between these two. Only recently (he says, revealing his age) have they acted like siblings.
Sara: And I thought that really came across. Even after Loki denies his adopted Asgardian legacy, these two really are brothers. And they are each driven to achieve greatness and glory in their own way
Glenn: And they may still do so, although… well, why ruin the surprises?
Sara: You know I have a strict no spoiler policy!
Glenn: Yep. So we won’t even mention the fun cameos. However, we can say to stick around to the very end of the credits for two add-ons, right?
Sara: Yes, reasonable to say.
Glenn: How about the rest of the cast?
Sara: Wait, there were people in this movie other than Tom Hiddleston?
Glenn: Yes. The one with the big biceps? The crazy guy without pants? The hot chick in the leather armor?
Sara: Can I be Sif when I grow up?
Glenn: Well, I won’t complain if you grow up to be Sif.
Sara: I thought Chris Hemsworth did an excellent job as Thor. He has the range as an actor to pull of his machismo bravada as well as his softer moments with Natalie Portman.
Glenn: Hemsworth showed more charm than his previous outings, as though he’s finally found the right balance to play at being a Norse thunder god, a prince of the realm, and still a guy who can’t quite get everything to work perfectly and is a bit troubled by it.
Sara: I’m not sold on the chemistry between him and Portman.
Glenn: Me neither, but there’s certainly more here than, say, with Hayden Christiansen.
Sara: I was gonna reference that.
Glenn: Well, when you have that kissieface moment on the lake right out of Episode II–
Sara: Ugh. Ohh, how can we forget Idris Elba reprising his role as Heimdall. I was super disappointed that he was not, in fact, cancelling the apocalypse.
Glenn: He was actually the one character that seemed a bit diminished from the first film.
Sara: His performance felt pretty phoned in. He seemed one dimensional, and in general Elba can act, so I can’t help but wonder whos fault it was, his, the writers, the directors.
Glenn: I blame whoever had the idea to have him take off his helmet. It made him… fallible, rather this bronze guardian. So— is it worth seeing again?
Sara: I’d watch it again. In 2d this time. Like I said, I’m not big on 3d in movies in general and I didn’t feel that the 3d in Thor: The Dark World was either particularly groundbreaking, well done or integral to the movie experience.
Glenn: I think this was an upconversion job, and it really didn’t need to be. But with this film we now have scale that we didn’t have before, now that the origin movie’s out of the way. Granted, there’s still a lot of setup being laid for the next few films…
Sara: NO SPOILERS! But yes, I’m excited for the next pieces of the MCU Phase 2. As long as Marvel can avoid another misstep a la Iron Man 2.
Glenn: Well, the tough one is two films down the road. Can we at least tell people to rush to see it or next week’s Agents of SHIELD may be spoiled for them?
Sara: Yeah I think that’s fair game.
Glenn: Watch the film! And hope that the TV show measures up.
Sara: Fingers crossed for a Loki cameo next week!
Glenn: Hey— no spoilers, remember? We post this, and those women who just can’t get enough of Tom Hiddleston are going to be all a-flutter.
Sara: So true.
Mining history for fictional fodder has been a staple of television program dating back to HBO’s Rome and now series set across the years can be found on prime time and basic cable channels with more on the way. Whereas some like the CW’s new Reign is laughably inaccurate, others do their homework and mine the reality for nuggets to hang characters and stories on. Most audiences are blissfully undereducated about world history so they will swallow events on The Tudors, Borgias, and others without realizing how many liberties have been taken in the name of dramatic license and television realities.
No surprise then that the venerable History Channel would want to get in on the fun and they wisely picked one of the least known and richest cultures to mine for dramatic fare. Last spring they unleashed the nine part Vikings, a Canadian-Irish coproduction developed and written by Michael Hirsrt who proved to have a flair for the past with Showtime’s The Tudors. The Vikings, living in northern Europe, were fearsome warriors and plied the seas, exploring the world long before Western Europe got around to it. Their largely oral history didn’t get recorded until generations later but thanks to modern day archeology, we have grown to develop a much better understanding of their ways.
One of the best Vertigo titles of the last decade was Northlanders, also about Viking culture, so I was primed for this series and was not disappointed. Thanks to MGM and 20th Century Home Entertainment, a handsome box set has been released this week. Set in 793, during the earliest days of their recorded raids, Hirst chose to use the real life Ragnar Lodbrok (Travis Fimmel), who, like John Rhys Myers’ Henry VIII is depicted at a much earlier point in his famous life. Here he is a young warrior, raising a family with his wife, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick).
He desires to ply the seas further west and works with Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård), to develop faster, sturdier longships and then petitions his chieftain, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) for petition to make the trip. Despite Haraldson’s refusal, Ragnar, with his brother Rollo (Clive Standen), makes the first trip to Northern England, successfully plundering the land and bringing home the monk Athelstan (George Blagden) as part of his booty. King Aelle (Ivan Kaye) is none too pleased and skirmishes between the two cultures begin.
There’s the usual dash of soap opera elements such as Rollo lusting after Lagertha, who is an able Viking shieldmaiden, but it’s also a more somber, brutal series than Hirst has previously produced. The writing and performances are strong and compelling, making this satisfying viewing.
The nine episodes are spread over three Blu-ray discs and you have the option of watching them as they aired on History or in the extended (now with more blood and nudity!) versions that aired in Europe. Visually, both versions are sharp, with excellent color transfer.
The lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 track means you can hear the wind rush over the waves or the swords cutting into flesh. Trevor Morris’ superb score is never better and enhances the viewing.
The extras contain the needed Season Mode, allowing you to seamlessly zip through the nine episodes and bookmark wherever you stopped watching. There are also commentaries on the first and last episodes, from Hirst and Jessalyn Gilsig, who plays Haraldson’s wife Siggy, on the first, and Winnick and Standen on the second. There are Deleted Scenes that are extended versions of ones that aired in Episodes One and Eight, which means they were likely trimmed for running time reasons Far more interesting is A Warrior Society: Viking Culture and Law (20:48) where Hirst takes us through what is known about the Viking culture, with input from Dr. Anthony Perron, Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University; Dr. Jochen Burgtorf, Professor of History, University of California, Fullerton; and Justin Pollard. Hirst and his cast appear on Birth of the Vikings (17:09), discussing their characters. Forging the Viking Army: Warfare and Tactics (12:11) tracks how the armies were trained for the vicious battles as sword master Richard Ryan and stunt coordinator Mark Henson discuss their work.