Second Trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

A brand-new trailer is out for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves!

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves | NEW Trailer (2023 Movie) by Paramount Pictures on YouTube

We’re not seeing much new plotwise, just some beefed-up scenes from the first trailer. Glimpses of the Red Wizards and the orifice are on par with the typical medieval-inspired D&D worlds, but WHAT ON EARTH is going on with that broomhead wall?!?

Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves Screencap House

The roof looks properly thatched, but I have serious doubts of the durability of the facade. There’s obviously plenty of timber available in this area of the world for framing the house with, so the little detail above the door must be decorative. Perhaps there wasn’t quite enough to do the whole outer wall? Or the straw is there for easy repairs?? The original builders blew all of their money on framing and had to make do for cladding???

Anyway, if a trailer commentary can be so easily stolen by funky set design, the question arises whether the trailer in question really did fulfil its function or not… I hope we’ll get another, better one before the release day.

According to IMDB, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is now expected on April 07, 2023, but the trailer still says “this March”, so go figure.

Image: screencap from Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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First trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

The first trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is out!

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny | Official Trailer by Lucasfilm on YouTube

It’s still hard or impossible to say what the story is about. De-aging Harrison Ford looks impressive, from what we can see. But yay, more archaeology fan fiction with our favorite grumpy professor!

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Random Thoughts on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Thoughts in no particular order but grouped thematically. Spoiler warnings in effect!

IMDB Wakanda Forever Wright Huerta Underwater

Characters

Erik’s thoughts:

  • Angela Basset as Queen Ramonda gives a devastatingly powerful performance. She conveys so much grief, love, and determination with very spare acting choices. She commands the scene every time she is on screen.
  • One of the things I have always appreciated about the world of Black Panther is how much room it makes for characters to listen, learn, and grow. We saw it with T’Challa and Nakia in the first movie; here Shuri and M’Baku show it best.
  • Another wonderful thing about Black Panther has been how much room the movies make for women to have stories that aren’t about relationships—romantic or familial—with men. T’Challa’s death naturally hangs heavily over Wakanda Forever, but the movie also balances that with incredibly important relationships among women.

Eppu’s thoughts:

  • Tenoch Huerta was great as an all-powerful, unhinged Namor. He rotated through cracked, creepy, companionable, and perhaps even a little lonely. (After all, we didn’t see him connect with anyone else other than Shuri.) The way he tried to physically intimidate Ramonda by leaning way, way, WAY too close during their beach conversation still gives me the chills.
  • LOVED the amount of women again: women with real agency, and lives and goals of their own. Like real people, imagine that! (Well, perhaps not Director de Fontaine—she smells like a future baddie, and a hammy one at that like Rumlow / Crossbones was—but to be fair we didn’t see much of her yet.)
  • I knew to expect tributes to Chadwick Boseman, but wouldn’t have guessed how much there was. And the opening credit where the letters spelling Marvel Studios were all filled with images of T’Challa—that was perfect. The usual Marvel theme would’ve sounded garish, too. RIP.

Story

Eppu’s thoughts:

  • I found that the pacing worked for me; I didn’t feel bored nor overwhelmed. It was really nice that the characters were given time to process, to just sit for a bit instead of rushing headlong at a breakneck speed. (I’ve long loathed the old rule of there-must-be-an-action-scene-every-7-minutes or whatever; that means you don’t have a story strong enough to hold the audience’s attention.)
  • It was really nice that Ramonda and Shuri had a moment when they left their high tech behind and just sat in the bush at a campfire, talking. It felt true—we Finns certainly detach from the city life and go enjoy nature from time to time.

Erik’s thoughts:

  • The movie felt like it was pulled in too may different directions. It was strongest when it stayed focused on Shuri and her relationships with her mother and the memory of her brother. Riri Williams was fun, but felt like a distraction from Shuri’s story and didn’t have enough time or focus to develop on her own. Nakia’s story was underdeveloped. Everett Ross and Director De Fontaine felt like they had wandered onto the wrong set while filming something else.
  • There is a beautiful echoing of T’Challa’s story in Civil War. Like T’Challa before her, Shuri’s early days as Black Panther are driven by grief and anger as she turns outward the rage and self-hatred that she feels for failing to save the life of someone she loved. T’Challa ultimately learned that revenge is self-destructive by watching Tony Stark and Steve Rogers fight. Shuri arrives at the same point after seeing the spirit of Killmonger, fighting Namor, and hearing her mother’s voice one last time.

Visuals

Erik’s thoughts:

  • Talokan is beautifully designed. It doesn’t look like a surface city built underwater but like a place built by and for people who live and think in three dimensions.
  • I love getting to go back to Wakanda and see more of the visual design. From clothing to technology to architecture, there is so much to see, so many layers and textures.

Eppu’s thoughts:

  • Superhero movies have a tendency for really flashy environments, so I was surprised how, well, watery they made the Talokan design. It felt more realistic (like The Abyss) instead of ostentatious (like Aquaman).
  • I loved seeing so much of Mesoamerican designs and colors! Granted, it’s not my strong suit, but it looked authentic enough.

Concepts

Eppu’s thoughts:

  • Shuri’s bucking against the traditions felt completely in character, and her coming round didn’t feel rushed. (For once—in my experience, mainstream movies and tv series have a tendency to rush the reversal, while artsy movies wallow in it.)
  • It was fantastic to have so many languages on screen! I don’t care that I don’t know them all—although it is very neat when I do, don’t get me wrong—because the main thing is it’s showing an international world, not just telling us the characters live in one. (Captain America: The First Avenger, I’m looking at you and the horrible fake German accent you gave poor Hugo Weaving and Toby Jones to do.)
  • The ship battle at the end was a disappointment, given how awesomely it started (the Dora Milaje jumping over the side supported by Jabari). You could argue that the sloppy Wakandan preparation is due to not having had fair fights in a long time, but Shuri at least used to care about the lives of her fellow citizens. It’s like she dragged people off to a suicide mission. Then, when the Wakandans decided to leave, no-one though to look down the sides of the Sea Leopard, or to safeguard their sonic weapon pointing underwater? Smacks of more arrogance.

Erik’s thoughts:

  • There is a long history in pseudoarchaeology circles of using the idea of a lost civilization as a way of denying the creativity of indigenous peoples. In particular, claims that Mesoamerican cultures were founded or taught by visitors from Atlantis are part of a narrative that feeds into white supremacism. I was worried about what we would see in this movie, but I’m happy that they turned that narrative around: Talokan was not a lost civilization from which the Maya drew their culture but a new civilization created by Mayan people themselves in response to the horror of colonization. I’m also glad that the name “Atlantis” was never even mentioned.
  • I wish we had gotten a standalone Talokan movie before this one. If this movie didn’t have to do the work of introducing us to Talokan and Namor, it would have had more time to develop its other elements and characters.
  • We’ve been rewatching some older Marvel movies lately. It’s interesting to see how the end credits scene has evolved from an Easter egg to a marketing ploy for upcoming movies to a chance for comic relief to an integral part of the storytelling.

Nitpicks

Erik’s thoughts:

  • Talokan was really dark. Realistic for a deep underwater city, but frustrating in a visual medium.
  • Ms. CIA bugged Shuri’s kimoyo beads? Really? Where did she get the technology to do that?
  • Why did we never see the Wakandans trying to rip off the Talokanis’ water breathing masks when fighting in air? That seems like such an obvious vulnerability to attack, especially when they’ve already talked about trying to dry out Namor.

Eppu’s thoughts:

  • Just the one stinger? Come on!
  • It seriously rubs me the wrong way how many people mispronounced Namor’s name. Even Shuri did it right after he told her the name’s origins and she had the chance to hear it. Nay, it’s not NAY-more. Na-MOR. (You don’t even have to speak Spanish to get it right; compare to the first vowel and stress in a-LIVE.)
  • Everett Ross and the CIA infighting felt disconnected, yes, but I did appreciate knowing what’s happened to him. Clearly Marvel is laying the groundwork for something here. (Reminds me of that random stinger with one of Zeus’ sons being given a mission of some kind at the end of Thor: Love and Thunder.)

Image via IMDB

In Seen on Screen, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

Namor Featurette for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The U.S. release day for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is tomorrow! To keep the hype up, Marvel has published a short featurette on Namor:

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Namor by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Looks cool, even if it tells me less than I’d like. (If I ever read any comics with Namor as a kid, I’ve blissfully forgotten.) It does look like Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda has a larger part to play in BP:WF. That’s great; I’ve liked her a lot ever since I saw her in Strange Days. (OMG, that was in 1995!)

We two are really busy right now, but if lucky, we might be able to slip in to see BP:WF already today. (For some weird reason, in Finland the release of large international productions often happens a few days before the American one.) Definitely some time during the opening weekend, though!

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The Second Trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The second official and likely final trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now out:

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Official Trailer by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

(Phew! I’m growing quite disillusioned with the current fad of making splashy trailers that tell you very little about the story. The cutting is fast, action even faster, and if anything is revealed of the characters it’s piecemeal or prosaic, reducing the characters to a gimmic each. But I digress.)

We do get a little more tidbits in this second trailer. Looks like Wakanda is attacked, but at least I can’t tell if it’s random western soldiers or Namor’s troops. (Or both???) A new character to me is Riri Williams / Ironheart. She’s wearing some sort of a power suit based on the Iron Man suit—which means that the two people in the world wearing those kinds of suits are both black, doesn’t it? Cool!

The former Queen Ramonda seems to be at the U.N. (approx. at the 1:23 mark), but what is she arguing for? Attacking Atlantis??? Finally, we do see the new Black Panther jump from a great height and land (with the kinetic energy of the fall being stored in the suit, of course). Clearly it’s a female figure—Shuri, from the general shape, maybe? And was that Nakia I saw with gorgeous, long hair?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases on November 11, 2022. So soon! 🙂

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DIY of Eowyn’s Camp Dress

What a fantastic DIY cosplay of Eowyn’s camp dress from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies this is:

Cation Designs Cindy Eowyns Camp Dress Cosplay

Made and worn by Cindy at Cation Designs, photo by @captured.by.shirelle. You can read more about the construction process at Cindy’s blog.

One of the really creative solutions she came up with is to inexpensively bone the corselet with zip ties. Much easier to get than corset bones! Another trick Cindy uses is to buy solid-color cotton sateen sheets in good condition from the thrift store to use as costuming material. (I’d add thrift store curtains, but in those there’s much more variability of both quality of material and fiber content, so they might require more time to go through to find anything worthwhile. Then again, if you do find good panels, often there’s quite a bit of fabric.)

Cindy also made the flag herself from a pillowcase using acrylic paint and gold pens. It’s as staggeringly handsome as the costume. Here’s a closeup:

Cation Designs Cindy Rohan Flag

The spear is made from foam, duct tape, and a wooden dowel, and looks as fantastic as the rest of the outfit. Kudos all round!

Images: Eowyn cosplay at rocky landscape by @captured.by.shirelle via Cation Designs. Rohan banner by Cindy at Cation Designs.

How It Happens is an occasional feature looking at the inner workings of various creative efforts.

Star Wars Movies Ranked

We recently rewatched the Star Wars movies. We decided to individually rank the movies from favorite to least favorite, then compare notes. First, our brief thoughts on each movie individually.

Star Wars Movies We Own

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Erik: Visually beautiful, but the plot drags and the dialogue is ludicrous. Like the other prequel movies, it at least has a clear narrative purpose that operates on two levels: the corruption of Anakin Skywalker and the fall of the Republic.

Eppu: Too messy all round; a travesty of writing not helped by (some of) the acting.

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Eppu: Least bad of the prequels; only Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman save the movie.

Erik: Despite its weaknesses (especially in the Anakin/Padme storyline), this film comes the closest to the series’ classic pulp sci-fi inspirations.

Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith

Erik: More weak plot and ridiculous dialogue, but there is an atmosphere to this film that sustains it, a palpable sense of an age of beauty and light coming to an end.

Eppu: An intelligent woman—and playing the Smurfette part to boot—is reduced to a walking womb. Yuck.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Eppu: The learning-to-work-together aspect and found family vibes with a heaping of nostalgia offset the grimdark.

Erik: A love letter to the original trilogy, filled with great characters.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Erik: An unnecessary, self-indulgent piece of fanfiction with neither the spirit of the original trilogy nor the narrative purpose of the prequels.

Eppu: It’s just weak all round, and Alden Ehrenreich certainly can’t pull off the role of young Han. (Well, except for propping, sets, and CGI, which at least are very professionally done if not always terribly imaginative.)

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Eppu: Can’t beat a classic: well edited, scored, acted, with decent if at times very concise writing. Feels a little sparse or basic compared to today’s movie plots, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Erik: There is beauty in how spare the writing and worldbuilding are, giving us just enough that our imaginations can fill in the rest.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Erik: Some great action sequences and character development, but it doesn’t feel like they all belong in the same movie.

Eppu: Darker and more desperate, again well constructed. Nostalgia helps here, too.

Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi

Eppu: Loved it as a kid, but the present me sees the ridiculousness of Ewoks fighting stormtroopers.

Erik: I love seeing Luke’s growth as a Jedi, both in skills and self-awareness, and I like Ewoks versus stormtroopers.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Erik: While the movie is overly focused on being as Star Wars-y as possible, the new characters are all clearly defined and well acted.

Eppu: Tries to hit all of the same spots as the original trilogy, but ends up trying too much.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

Eppu: Despite its confusion on what the movie wants to be, General Leia and Vice Admiral Holdo kick ass. The entertaining side plot with Rose is also a plus.

Erik: So much wasted potential. This could have been the best movie in the entire series, but it is too obsessed with its concepts to actually tell a story with them.

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Erik: An overstuffed mess of contrived events, plot gimmicks, and fanservice for the worst parts of the Internet.

Eppu: I like best the Rey plus Kylo Ren conflict-turns-into-understanding arc. Palpatine and his cronies are comically, hilariously dark and corny, which almost makes me snort my way through those parts.

Here’s our individual rankings.

Erik’sEppu’s
1Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the JediRogue One: A Star Wars Story
2Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
3Star Wars: Episode IV – A New HopeStar Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
4Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force AwakensStar Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
5Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes BackStar Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
6Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the ClonesStar Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
7Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last JediStar Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
8Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the SithStar Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
9Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom MenaceStar Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
10Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of SkywalkerStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
11Solo: A Star Wars StorySolo: A Star Wars Story

Erik’s comments:

I put Return of the Jedi first for a couple of reasons. First, I love the opening act with the rescue of Han from Jabba’s palace. It’s so well structured, gradually reintroducing us to all the heroes and showing us Luke’s growth as a Jedi. Second, I’m a sucker for any fight in which low-tech beats high-tech, and the Endor battle is one of my favorites.

I like The Force Awakens more than The Empire Strikes Back. I’ve never really been a fan of Empire, although I know it’s widely considered the best movie of the original trilogy. I won’t argue about the strengths of Empire or the weaknesses of Force, but I just enjoy watching Rey discover her Jedi powers and Finn find his footing in the Resistance more than I enjoy watching Luke run around a swamp and Han try to kickstart the Falcon.

I didn’t think there could be a Star Wars movie worse than The Phantom Menace, but then came Solo and The Rise of Skywalker. Phantom at least has beautiful sets and costumes, an action hero queen, and a fantastic lightsaber fight. Rise is a jumbled and unnecessary mess, and Solo is just answering questions that didn’t need answers.

Eppu’s comments:

Overall, I found the nods towards the original trilogy in Rogue One an absolute delight the very first time we watched the movie, and I’ve continued to enjoy them a lot despite the fact that many of them are basically direct copies of dialogue or shots. For me, it’s very close to a perfect combination of homage plus original material. Director Krennic is the only acting job that comes close to unbearable ham (but that may have been how Ben Mendelsohn was directed, as he’s great in other productions).

The strength of Empire for me is the exploration of Luke’s, Leia’s, and Han’s characters when they each hit a rough patch, which is why I ranked it higher than Return. Also Lando turns out to have more depth right from the bat than, say, Count Dooku.

Sadly, the sequels are almost as bad a mess storywise as the prequels, but fortunately they picked more talented core actors and did *not* write in an inept, ham-fisted Asian caricature. (Then again, I gather that the production of the sequels was exceptionally convoluted and involved lots of back-end drama.) Cinematographically, though, the sequels are light years ahead of any of the others, I think.

In hindsight, maybe I should’ve bumped Clones a step down and Phantom a step up—Anakin behaves so fecking creepily towards Padme it’s upsetting to watch. At least in Phantom he behaves more maturely, as odd as it is to say about a little kid, and, like Erik said, there’s pretties to see.

There’s a marked difference in quality between the original and prequel trilogies. I’ve often wondered why that is. (Not having really cared to look for an answer online, though, I can only speculate.) I do have a vague impression of having read somewhere that one reason for the success of the original trilogy was that the editing team—if I remember right, especially Marcia Lucas—wove the storylines into a cohesive, tight, smoothly moving arc. In the prequels, the core of the story largely gets lost among the bling. In a way, it feels like once Lucas effectively was the boss, it was to the detriment of the story.

Granted, we finally got the fight scenes worthy of the jedi; that, plus improved effects (including makeup and costuming), are what the prequels did absolutely right. In the end, however, they visuals are not enough in themselves to pull the prequels up from the bottom.

From the point of view of current viewer (i.e., setting aside any past significance from a technological point of view), action scenes and special effects have improved so much in the past few decades that the prequels cannot offer anything memorable. It’s the strength of the story, the characters, and the acting that a movie must stand on now. In that sense, the prequels have very little to offer me. Moreover, it’s actually rather impressive that we both ranked Solo as the absolutely last one, below the prequels—a mark of a true washout. I’m only sad that the tanking of Solo means my fellow Finn Joonas Suotamo likely won’t get hired for more Chewbacca roles.

There’s so much you could say about all of the movies. At times ranking really wasn’t very straightforward. (How do you properly gauge the messiness of the prequels, for instance. I’m sure if you were to ask me two years from now, I’d list some of the movies differently.)

We know other people have different opinions from ours; we’d like to hear yours!

Image by Eppu Jensen

In the Seen on Screen occasional feature, we discuss movies and television shows of interest.

First Trailer Is out for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

The gloomily hilarious Knives Out is getting a sequel. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is also both written and directed by Rian Johnson, and the first trailer is now out:

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery | Official Teaser Trailer | Netflix on YouTube

The cast seems great, but otherwise it’s a little difficult to say what exactly to expect, except it feels like a cross between an escape room and the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None. Although, for my mysteries, I could completely do without the gratuitous gunplay, thank you very much; I’ll go to action movies for that.

At this writing, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is expected on December 23, 2022.

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Trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

I had completely missed the news that there was a big budget D&D movie in the making! On the basis of this trailer, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves looks kinda bad, but fun kind of bad. Take a look yourself:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves – Official Trailer | Comic Con 2022 by IGN on YouTube

I’ve been playing so much World of Warcraft in recent years that I’m woefully out of date with D&D, but I think I spotted familiar things in the trailer. Also handsome, at least on a quick view; they sure churn out decent special effects these days.

At this writing, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is expected to release in theaters on March 03, 2023.

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Trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The first official trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has now been out for a few weeks:

Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Official Teaser by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

OMG, what a different choice of music for the trailer—at first just a neat, atypical choice, then getting more and more sinister when juxtaposed with the imagery. Brr!

The underwater events and Mesoamericans scenes completely took me by surprise. (Seems surprisingly similar to the Avatar sequel about to be released this year, doesn’t it, or am I the only one to make the connection?) Looks awesome, though, and has so much potential for very inventive storytelling.

On the other hand, the tribute to Chadwick Boseman I did expect—or would’ve been surprised to see omitted. RIP; the world lost a huge talent.

Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler did such a fantastic job with the first Black Panther that I’ve no doubt that this sequel will be amazing. (Finally, FINALLY, there are A LOT of serious, powerful, purposeful roles for women!) I can’t wait!

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