With ‘Weathering With You’ Shinkai Proves to Be This Generation’s Miyazaki

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Makoto Shinkai began his career as an animator at age 30. In the 20 years or so since, he’s created a name for himself as someone who consistently tops his previous works in scale, scope, and technicality. Weathering With You, the latest film by the Japanese director and followup to the all-time highest grossing anime film ever, Your Name, proves to be all that and more. It’s a breathtaking achievement, and a film on par with some of the best works produced by the venerable Studio Ghibli.

Is it better than Your Name, though? This is a debate I had with my wife after leaving the theater. In many ways yes, but in other ways no. And ultimately that is a testament to how fantastic the film is, if we could even stop to compare it with Your Name. For many, ourselves included, Your Name put Shinkai on the map. The 2016 film was such a fresh take for viewers accustomed to the fantasy/fairytale-esque Ghibli fare, that going into this next movie it’s impossible not to have some preconceived notions of the director’s competence and the type of film you are going to witness. It felt simultaneously like visiting an old friend and experiencing something wholly new.

The animation was, unsurprisingly, superb. Perhaps it was my familiarity with the previous film’s offerings, however, that pushed me as not being as impressed as I might have been, had I not had preconceptions of his style. But without a doubt there are scenes that will take your breath away. One scene in particular touched me with its sheer beauty as much, if not more so than the story’s actual climax did, and brought both my wife and I to tears. The animation studio was complimented by many of Ghibli’s finest, after their Studio had closed down. Shinkai himself expressed a level of gratitude that those animators would rather work for the Studio that produced Your Name as opposed to going to some television anime factory. And the love for animation is truly apparent in Weathering With You.

One of the more significant aspects of the animation was it’s use of water. The film follows the story of two teenagers trying to make their way in a Tokyo bombarded by nonstop rain. It’s a surprisingly well executed message about the new norms experienced around the world through climate change, albeit to a narrative extreme. But because of the setting, the technicalities of each shot are heightened tremendously. I don’t purport to be some expert on the workflow of animators, but the way water interacts with light, skin, reflections, gravity, surface tension, and more, most certainly added an extra layer or three of work in almost every outdoor shot throughout the entire film. The scope of the work is, frankly, unfathomable.

The protagonists Hina and Hodoka are lovable ones, not dissimilar to Taki and Mitsuha from Your Name. Hodaka has moments of being too headstrong for my tastes in a character, but the story allowed his choices, rash though they may be, to be fully realized and each affected the plot accordingly. Certain plot devices are frustratingly well written, and when you want the story to go one way, Shinkai finds a way to disarm you and throw you into another plot thread entirely.

Hina is a delightful lead, and her self-sacrificing nature is one I find incredibly admirable in a character. She wants to see people smile again. While Hodoka is on the hunt to write a story on some fabled Sunshine Girl, who can turn away rain, we learn that Hina actually IS a Sunshine Girl. And she has a 100% success rate. This, apparently, is based on actual Japanese folk lore, and isn’t something I know anything about one way or the other besides what was presented in the film, but it was such a wonderful window into the culture of the country.

The film blends these themes of Japanese folk lore and superstitions with genres like slice of life, disaster, and sci-fi. It’s a really powerful, truly charming blend, one that keeps you thinking about its subtle messages days after having seen the movie.

In its effort to become more relatable to international markets than Your Name was, I feel Weathering With You lost a bit of itself. There’s a scene early on where Hodoka finds himself in a McDonald’s, and after consuming a BigMac, he exclaims that was the best dinner he’d ever had. This isn’t to be taken literally, I’m sure, but more as an exclamation of the boy’s hunger and how certain meals just hit the spot. But it did feel like targeted ad placement, and cheapened the story somewhat.

The film, in typical Shinkai fashion, takes a dark turn at the end of its second act. Decisions are made by characters that not all will agree with, as they cannot be misconstrued as anything less than selfish. It attempts to explore the fact that we live in a stifled society, always wary of what we post online, what we say and do in public. And because it doesn’t glorify those decisions, it’s my opinion that the film actually gets away with it, and you feel the director’s confidence in the final product shine through.

Shinkai has made such a striking name for himself within the anime community, and since the success of 2016’s Your Name, it’s hard not to see why. The only director to have had more international success than he has is the one and only Hayao Miyazaki. And it’s clear that the torch for this generation’s Miyazaki is currently being passed into Shinkai’s hands. Will his next work be as strong as Your Name, or Weathering With You? If so, I think it is safe to say that Shinkai is indeed the next Miyazaki.

For more discussion on this film, watch our recent video where my wife and I break down why it works so well:

Kenobi Series in Trouble? | No Watchmen Season 2 | Leaked Episode IX Script // Geekend Update

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Here’s our Geekend Update for the week of 1/19/20.

  • Arrowverse producer, Marc Guggenheim seemingly confirms that The Flash movie will revolve around the popular comic event ‘Flashpoint.‘ “The trick with the scene is that I didn’t want to and they didn’t want me to do anything that stepped on the toes of the Flashpoint movie that they’re developing.”

Disney News

James Bond News

  • Billie Eilish has been hired to perform the title song for No Time to Die, and is the youngest person to ever write and record a Bond theme, at the age of 18.
  • Han Zimmer has been hired to compose the music for No Time to Die, his first film in the franchise.
  • Series producer, Barbara Broccoli, had some comments in a recent Variety interview where she mentioned that she doesn’t mind a James Bond of a different race or nationality, but that she would mind a female Bond, and thinks “we should be creating new characters for women – strong female characters. I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it. I think woman are far more interesting than that.”

Lord of the Rings News

  • Lord of the Rings: Christopher Tolkien dies at age 95.
  • A full cast list was announced via the official Lord of the Rings on Prime Twitter page for the upcoming series, which takes place in the Second Age. The cast, in the order announced, are as follows: Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman.

Marvel News

SUMC

Star Wars News

Watchmen News

  • Watchmen will not receive second season as Damon Lindelof bows out. Lindelof told USA Today that he has no plans for a second season, and HBO has no plans to pursue a second season.

Morbius Is NOT in the MCU – Here’s Why

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The Morbius Trailer has recently dropped and before Jenn or I could get around to actually reviewing/reacting to it, the big spoilers were all over the place, and people were asking us about whether or not the film was in the MCU. We have some big reasons as to why we don’t believe it takes place in the MCU, which we’ll elaborate on below.

We’ll start with something less obvious, an unassuming detail that’s easy to miss, but paints a huge picture. Avengers Tower/Stark Tower/whatever you want to call it Tower is not in the New York skyline. This is a defining feature of the MCU, and was present in one way or another in every MCU Spider-Man Trailer for both Homecoming and Far From Home. If they wanted to set this film in the MCU the most blatant way to do so is to show that one building. They go so far as to show us an overhead view of 42nd Street in the next image, but they chose not pivot the angle to a proper view of the building and/or didn’t put it in there to begin with. The building should be there, right on the left. The reason? This is my theory, but Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters (the SUMC) is not allowed to use items or characters introduced in Marvel Studios produced films, but characters and items from films with Sony attached (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Venom) are all fair game.

Exhibit 2: The poster Michael Morbius passes with his prison attire, of Spider-Man defaced with the word “Murderer” across it; IT’S THE WRONG SPIDER-MAN! It is not a costume ever worn by Tom Holland’s version of the character. In fact, it’s the Toby Maguire costume worn in the Raimi trilogy… taken from an in-game photo of Spider-Man on PS4.

WHY would the prop department go through the trouble of making a poster of Spider-Man, printing it out, roughing it up, defacing it with graffiti, only to use the wrong Spider-Man? Well, remember all those suits worn by Peter Parker? They were all made by Tony Stark. And the cheap suit created by Peter himself? Introduced in Civil War. Again, this coincides with my opinion that they cannot use items introduced through Marvel Studios. The concept of Spidey being a murderer does seem to be a direct reference to the end of Far From Home, however. So thematically it could be tangentially connected, though finer details may be conveniently glossed over.

And then there’s that sting at the end of the Trailer where we see Keaton’s character once again, last seen at the end of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming in the same prison outfit. The Vulture was a character introduced in the Sony films, as opposed to the Disney owned films. I expect we can get to see characters like him show up, but say, Happy and Aunt May? They’ll need to remain out of the fun, if my theory is correct.

Going back to the Variety article from Sept 27th of last year, wherein they revealed Spider-Man would remain in the MCU after a new contract was signed, Feige’s comments seem to suggest there are two separate universes between the MCU and the SUMC. “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.” This is Feige’s personal separation from Sony’s universe, but also a concession to understanding the shared rights. As Amy Pascal likes to deem their SUMC, it’s “MCU adjacent.”

Jar Jar Binks Is BACK | New Gods Update | Christian Bale in the MCU? // Geekend Update

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Hello, and welcome to this week’s Geekend Update. Feel free to watch the video above or peruse some of the biggest geek news items down below.

• Avatar Sequel Concept Photos released alongside James Cameron’s collaboration with Mercedes Benz for a concept car.

• Disney’s live-action Peter Pan remake is reportedly to be re-titled Peter Pan and Wendy, and will begin filming April 17 in Canada.

• Scott DerickSon leaves Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, according to Variety. We break down why we believe the director left the project in the video below:

• Christian Bale has been heavily rumored to be in talks for a role in Thor: Love and Thunder. According to Charles Murphy of Murphy’s Multiverse, he sources tell him that Bale is in it and that he’ll be involved in a motion capture role. Beta Ray Bill and Dario Agger are the two likeliest contenders.

• The Hawkeye series has been put on an indefinite hold, according to Murphy’s Multiverse. There are conflicting reports stating this is untrue, according to the Verge.

• The official D23 site claimed that The New Mutants was the “seriously electrifying new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe” briefly before removing the film from their sote entirely. The film is NOT in the MCU. This was a typo.

• The New Mutants Trailer 2 released:

• Ava DuVernay’s New Gods is still in script writing phase, according to a tweet from the director. Tom King is writing the script. No one has been cast. The fact that this film is still in this phase of gestation proves to me that Marvel had been planning an Eternals film far longer than WB’s New Gods.

• Birds of Prey Trailer 2 released:

Robert Aramayo cast in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. The actor played a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. Morfydd Clark was previously cast as a young Galadriel.

• According to Making Star Wars, Jar Jar Binks will return in Star Wars: Kenobi, but this time with a beard! More details here! Jordan Maison claims that there will be more than one prequel era character in the series.

New Mutants | Quiet Place 2 | Geekritique Reacts to New Trailers!

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Quick update, but on the YouTube channel we’ve dropped two new trailer reactions today. The first was for the recently released The New Mutants second trailer, the first in over 2 years amazingly. The second was the first full trailer for A Quiet Place, Part II. Enjoy our geeking out!

The New Mutants Trailer 2 Reaction:

A Quiet Place, Part II Trailer Reaction:

Let me know your thoughts either in the comments below or in the comments of the video whether or not you enjoyed our reactions and/or what you think of the trailers themselves!

Black Widow’s Timeline Makes No Sense; A Breakdown

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I spend a lot of time mapping the timeline for the MCU. Consider it an unhealthy obsession. So I was excited when I found out we were getting a Black Widow period piece (the period being pre 2024 (the current year date for the MCU). The film has been said to occur between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, which is great. It’s a two year period between April 10th, 2016 to Roughly April-June 2018.

But after seeing the first trailer for Black Widow, I find that I have some issues with that being the proposed main timeframe. For starters, we know we’ll be jumping around the timeline. If we see spend less than 5 minutes watching her grow as a child spy, that would be a true surprise. We also see a young General Ross, digitally de-aged to a period prior to his earliest appearance in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk purports itself as occurring in 2007, though through a series of retcons, it can occur no earlier than in 2011. But this young General Ross still appears to be a good 5 to 10 years younger than his appearance in The Incredible Hulk. So let’s place this scene in the early 2000s. My issue is the setting doesn’t fit the age of the character. Note the tenth generation Chevy Suburbans, first introduced in January 2006. If that’s the case, I expect that scene to occur around the time period before The Incredible Hulk, but any earlier than a scene from 2006 and you begin to lose the credibility of the props department, or whomever is in charge of in-universe/chronological consistency. It looks inconsistent, but it could be explained away in film. I hope it will be.

But perhaps the biggest confusion comes in the way of Romanoff’s personal props; the IDs, passports, and visas she uses to get from one country to another. Fascinatingly, there’s a Vietnamese visa with an issue date of January 2019, and an expiration date of 14 January 2021.

If you cross reference sample Vietnamese visas (as seen above), the dates are pretty clearly issue and expiry dates. That denotes one of two things: either part of the film occurs during the 5 year gap between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, or the prop department royally screwed the pooch in terms of dating the film appropriately. But the strange thing that denotes that this could be a mistake, or an intentional misdirect, is Natasha’s hair. It’s long, red, and inconsistent with the hair she grew out between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

What do you think? For more information and my personal thoughts, please see the video above.

Huge Rumors! The Hulk Is Back at Marvel? The New Star Wars Movie Takes Place 400 Years Before…

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Before you get into some of these news items and rumors, please note there are some spoilers to be had in the bunch.

* Despite non-compete setbacks that required Disney to hold off from making content with characters licensed by Netflix for at least two years from the day that respective character’s show was cancelled, it appears Disney has found a way around that hurdle. Defenders characters are rumored to be currently worked upon, which was previously assumed to be impossible within that two year period. There doesn’t appear to be any news on whether the original cast will be re-incorporated, or what medium these characters will be featured in.

* Hulk and Namor could be back at Marvel, according to several sources. While the rumor has only been publicly made a breakthrough this past week, rumors of it have been spreading since a September interview with a Marvel TV creative, Shawn Boogie, who claimed “we got she-hulk, we got Hulk, and we got somebody else back…” That interview has since been wiped from the web. This potentially brings new light to the fact that Ruffalo visited with Feige to discuss the future of the character. Could we be seeing some Solo Hulk films in Phase 5?

* Leaked footage of two young actors, Jack and Nick Fisher, auditioning for the roles of Wanda’s children, may reveal that a character is returning. We won’t be linking to the videos.

* Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings begins filming shorty, perhaps as soon as Monday, January 6. According to Taika Waititi, filming for Thor: Love and Thunder begins in August/Spider-Man 3, featuring Tom Holland, begins shooting in the Summer.

Star Wars Rumors
* Two new animated series are coming to Disney+, one potentially featuring Doctor Aphra (though this could be live action), as well as a sequel series for Star Wars Rebels, featuring Ahsoka and Sabine.

* A new Star Wars Saga taking place in the High Republic era. It’s not a trilogy, but the start to a new series. 400 years before the Skywalker Saga. This could potentially be linked with Project Luminous, which begins this year, and may start with a video game. Takes place during the period of Darth Bane’s Sith rule of two being established. Db Weiss and David Benioff were initially attached to the project.

What do you think of all this news? We give our thoughts to everything in the video above.