Scenes from Among the Trolls

Forbidden Studios is an independent game development studio based in Turku, Finland. Their first game is in development now. Recently the studio shared a few more pictures from Among the Trolls on Twitter:

Among the Trolls Forest w Birch

All of the scenery looks absolutely lovely, very much like home, which I’m not used to seeing in a video game, and they prompted me to go look for more. Below are a few other shots that reflect a location firmly based on traditional Finland:

Among the Trolls Cabin Interior

A traditional cabin with what’s clearly a ryijy wall hanging. Nice.

Among the Trolls Sauna

It’s a sauna! Ha! 🙂

I’m now looking forward to hearing more about the story. At this writing the description only says “Among the Trolls is a first-person survival action adventure where the strange mysteries of Nordic forests are unraveled.”

On the basis of the current demo video, among other things you can pan for gold and have a sauna bath; at least two things that are highly unusual. (In fact, a sauna bath provides more sisu in game, which can save your life when all else fails. How fabulous!) On Twitter, Forbidden Studios also shared a clip of rune singing, which is clearly a reference to the Kalevalaic poetry. More unique Finnish goodness!

There might be one potential problem, unfortunately. If the Forbidden Studios gallery and Twitter stream are anything to go by—and they might not—there is only one woman in the plot. (The protag’s grandmother Elina Kantola, who has disappeared along with her husband Aarne.) It could be a stylistic choice; it’s not at all uncommon for Finnish storytellers to focus on lone men in the woods. If true, however, that’s a problem for me.

As fantastic as it is to see the kinds of environments I grew up with reflected on screen, if there aren’t female characters beyond the obligatory Smurfette / wife / girlfriend / (grand)mother type, I’m not interested. At this point in my life the lack of multiple individual, nuanced women in a story is as hard and immediate a turn-off as horror and dystopia are.

Images by Forbidden Studios: Forest via Twitter. Cabin interior via their website. Sauna scene screencapped from the video demo.

Of Dice and Dragons is an occasional feature about games and gaming.

Fan Project for Home Bakers: Sandworm Bread

In honor of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune release in Europe, here’s an older but still impressive project for making your own sandworm bread with—you guessed it—spice filling.

Kitchen Overlord Chris-Rachael Oseland Sandworm Bread

The recipe is by Chris-Rachael Oseland at Kitchen Overlord, and it’s an entertaining read as well as a very neat fan project. Please visit her site for more foody, nerdy goodness of all shapes!

Found via File770.

Image by Chris-Rachael Oseland at Kitchen Overlord

Geeks eat, too! Second Breakfast is an occasional feature in which we talk about food with geeky connections and maybe make some of our own. Yum!

The Final Teaser Trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The final teaser trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings dropped only ten days or so before the release day. Desperation during disease-ridden times? Who knows, but I’m glad it’s here; this trailer give us more insight into Shang-Chi the person, not just his past. Here it is:

“Run It” | Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Still handsome with flashy fight scenes. Unfortunately, my original complaint—that the trailers fail to situate Shang-Chi into the Marvel Cinematic Universe—still stands. WHY is this a Marvel movie? Having read any specific comics should be an aid to enjoying the MCU, not a requirement, if you ask me.

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Second and Final Trailer for Eternals

The second trailer for Eternals came out last week. Check it out:

Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Final Trailer by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

This is more like it: at least I found out who the Eternals are and a teeny bit of why they are on Earth. The connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we already know are still weak, though. I do love how varied the characters are compared to the previous MCU movies. And, of course, it does look even more gorgeous than the first trailer, if you ask me. 🙂

Looks like the Eternals is still set to release on November 05, 2021. Ultimately, I suspect, whether we’ll go see it in the theater will depend on the local covid-19 situation, since late summer and early fall have been worse than I’d like.

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The Second Villeneuve Dune Trailer Published

The second trailer for director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is out now, and looks as breathtakingly gorgeous as the first:

Dune | Official Trailer | HBO Max by HBO Max on YouTube

Wow, right? This adaptation certainly gets many of the visualities closer to my impression of the novel than the earlier ones do. The visually minded might also be interested in posters of the various characters; they’ve been published on Twitter as a thread. If not, you might be interested in the soundtrack, of which some details are out as well (e.g. Tor.com has a short piece on two tracks by Hans Zimmer).

There’s still one question that neither of these trailers answer, however: is Duke Leto aware that Arrakis is a trap? Surely he does? My memory, at least, says he and his top aides all did, but the first trailer has only the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam impart that information to young Paul. I’ll have to re-read as soon as I get my books back from the person I lent them to.

I’m really, really hoping the story of this adaptation is as good as its visuals!

Dune will be released in theaters on October 22, 2021, and simultaneously streamed on HBO Max.

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Second Trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The first of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s full-on Asian movies, The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is coming in three months, and the studio has released a second long trailer.

Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | Official Trailer by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

As I wrote in my reaction to the first trailer, if there aren’t enough pre-launch links (no pun intended) to familiar characters or events, I’ll probably skip this movie.

It didn’t look like there were any additional links in this trailer, either. However, Andrew Tejada’s writeup at Tor.com did speculate whether two characters have “huge potential connections” to the MCU. One is the Abomination played by Tim Roth in The Incredible Hulk from 2008 (written by Zak Penn and directed by Louis Leterrier with Edward Norton and Liv Tyler leading the cast). I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the character, and even if I had, completely opposite to Mr. Tejada, his return certainly is far, far, far down the list of things that might entice me to the theater.

The action looks gorgeous, yes, not to mention beautifully shot. However, if I wanted to see skilled Asian people perform feats of martial arts on screen, with occasional flares of the fantastic and/or superheroic, I would’ve been watching Hong Kong flicks all along.

What I’m looking for in the MCU is individual stories that connect and interweave in arcs multiple movies wide, impossible to tell in one or two or three movies. So far the Shang-Chi trailers aren’t giving me that. (While I’ll always enjoy origin stories like the first Iron Man, it’s in connecting his story to the rest of the Avengers’ that makes the MCU so special.) And that is a real shame, since I dearly want more of the world outside the Anglo-American one on the MCU screen.

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More Trailers and Clips for Black Widow

The original release date for the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Black Widow was, unfortunately, eaten up by the pandemic. Out for round two, we have a new long trailer.

Marvel Studios’ Black Widow | New Trailer by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Mostly recycled footage, but a few entirely new clips. Unlike the earlier ones, this trailer seems to underline Natasha’s connection to the Avengers: glimpses gleaned from the rest of the MCU stories are pasted in, and the Avengers’ theme swells in both in the beginning and at the end. I wonder how much the pandemic might have affected the decision to include them?

I also wonder whether the shorter clips linked to below, ranging from half a minute to three quarters, released in June 2021, might have to do with the careful re-opening of our movie theaters and wanting to drum up more interest, yet not going overboard in case theaters need to be closed again? (I certainly do not envy health care officials who have to make those hard calls.)

Let’s Go | Marvel Studios’ Black Widow by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Got This | Marvel Studios’ Black Widow by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Spy | Marvel Studios’ Black Widow by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Control | Marvel Studios’ Black Widow by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Finally, Marvel has uploaded a short film clip titled “In Pursuit”:

“In Pursuit” Film Clip | Marvel Studios’ Black Widow by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Okay, apart from the falling bit, it feels good to see an all-female team chased by an all-female team. The gender of the action heroes shouldn’t matter, if you ask me, but since we still live in a world where it does, I’m going to be rooting for Black Widow

…as long as it’s actually good—2005 Elektra, I’m looking at you!

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First Trailer for Eternals

The Western world is vaccinating their citizens furiously against covid-19, and societies are clamoring to retun to normal. It’s therefore no surprise that we’re seeing more movie-related news.

The first trailer for Eternals has been out over a month now:

Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Official Teaser by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Part of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, it apparently follows a group of immortal, human-shaped beings who’ve lived on Earth for centuries in secret, until something (or someone?) forces them to come out of hiding.

As opposed to the first Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer, there is at least one reference to the rest of the MCU, as bare and uninformative as it is, but I still don’t have a good idea of how these people connect to the rest of the characters we know.

Whether I’ll want to watch this is still up in the air; maybe the second trailer will give us more to go on. A talented, big-name cast should be interesting to see and Ramin Djawadi’s music awesome, if nothing else. Oddly (since I’m not especially keen on the early history of the Near East), one of the things I would enjoy seeing more of is Babylon and the Ishtar Gate, of which we see a short glimpse in the trailer.

At this writing, Eternals is set to release on November 05, 2021.

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First Trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The newest trailer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | Official Teaser by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Um, okay?

If I knew little of the Avengers upon first being untroduced to the MCU, I know absolutely nothing about this Shang-Chi and his (their?) connection to the rest of the Marvel characters. Disappointingly, the trailer itself didn’t answer a single question of how they’re connected either. Oh, we got a lot of fisticuffs and action—speedy fight scenes handsomely filmed, sure—but no answers.

If the rest of the trailers aren’t going to link Shang-Chi to the characters or events we already know, I doubt I’ll want to see the movie in the theaters. I might not even rustle up the enthusiasm to see it on disc via the library.

At the time of this writing, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to open September 03, 2021, in the U.S.

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