“When DC canceled Young Justice, it destroyed a universe of potential”

“DC rejuvenated their entire comics universe in 2011 when they released their bold New 52 experiment. Although less heralded, they did the same thing for their animated universe the same year with the introduction of the Young Justice cartoon. While fans may have complained about both reboots — the loss of Bruce Timm’s long-running DC animated universe was hard to swallow at first — Young Justice’s outstanding animation, great characterization, and its fresh look at the DC universe won over almost every viewer…and then DC killed it.

Yes, the second DC animated universe is dead, gone after two mere seasons and an overwhelming amount of promise, to be replaced by Beware the Batman. There’s no use in speaking ill of a new Batman cartoon we haven’t seen a minute of (ALFRED FIGHTS CRIME WITH A GUN AAARRRGGGH) but there’s plenty to lament with the loss ofYoung Justice — specifically, a second amazing DCAU that was destroyed before it had a chance to reach its true potential.

• It looked so good.

No offense to Bruce Timm, but he’d be the first to admit his DC Animated Universe was heavily stylized; all the men had the same barrel chests, all the women had the same tiny waists, and everybody had tiny, skinny legs. But Young Justice not only looked like modern comic art, it was simply gorgeous. Brandon Vietti’s character designs were widely varied but perfectly encapsulated each character, whether they were be a member of Young Justice or of the Justice League. And their faces were far more expressive than Timm’s, bette exemplifying the drama that the first DCAU usually had to hint at through the voices or keep underneath the surface. Without a doubt, it’s the best-designed, best animated superhero cartoon made so far — in fact, only The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra even come close to matching Young Justice for pure visual appeal.

• The team was awesome.

It’s excessively generic to point out “the team” as one of the series’ high points — I mean, any show about Young Justice would star the team, right? But the team that ended up starring in the Young Justice cartoon is vastly different from the comic. More importantly, think about how many essentially all-new characters Young Justice established to non-comics fans: Kid Flash, Artemis, Miss Martian and Aqualad…”



“Gaming leads the way in equality”

“Fallout 2 was rightly praised for its sharp wit and biting satirical depiction of a radioactive America, but it was also a game about choice. You could choose to be an idiot savant, a physical powerhouse, a mechanics genius, a charismatic speaker, or just an all-round Joe.

You could also choose to be gay. If you decided to play as a female, your character could later sleep with and marry a girl called Miria, in that run-down church under a burnt orange sky. “Do you take this woman as your lawfully wedded, uhm, other?” the preacher asks, with typical Fallout tongue-in-cheek.

It was a small moment in a story full of branching possibilities, but it also signalled the beginning of a change for gaming. Role-playing games, in particular, started to address the issue of same-sex relationships more openly, offering players the choice to date or sleep with members of the same sex.

It wasn’t an immediate or encompassing change, nor was it always handled with taste, but a statement was being made nonetheless — gaming was taking a stance on diversity. In the 17 years since, there have been dozens of examples of gay and even pansexual relationships in role-playing games. Japanese titles, especially, touched upon simple, broad-stroke representations of sexuality. Star Ocean: The Second Story allowed people to play as either a girl or boy, and subsequently have relationships with party members of either sex…”


“Speed Racer Is Coming Back With A New Series”

“Could it be that Speed Racer is heading back to the track for more laps? The iconic 1960s anime series, which has been relaunched numerous times and even made into a 2008 3D live-action film, could see a return to television. While the plans are far from set, the property’s Japanese production company has confirmed that something is in the works with a new project.

According to a report from Anime News Network, franchise owners, Tatsunoko Production has confirmed that the long-sidelined Speed Racer franchise will be looking to refuel and getting his car, the Mach 5, back in the pop-culture race with a new television project. That, however, is the extent of the details; currently little else is known about the project’s potential format or whether it will move forward.

For fans of the quirky but groundbreaking Japanese manga turned pioneering anime series (known in the Land of the Rising Sun as Mach GoGoGo), it’s been a long 7 years of being relegated to relative obscurity. Speed Racer previously enjoyed several iterations after the brief but legendary run of the original 1967-1968 animated series, with other animated revivals; notably with 1993-1994’s The New Adventures of Speed Racer, 1997’s Speed Racer X and Nickelodeon’s long-running 2008-2013 Speed Racer: The Next Generation. Consequently, the property has been well-represented in the last decade. However, in 2008, it would, like Icarus, detrimentally fly too close to the sun or, in this case, Hollywood…”


“‘San Andreas’ Rocks Box Office with $47 Million Debut, ‘Aloha’ Left in the Dust”

“Warner Bros.’ “San Andreas” is no box office disaster, with the 3D action pic drawing $18.2 million on Friday, setting it on track for a weekend haul of $47 million at 3,777 locations and smashing past early estimates that put it around the $40 million mark. Cameron Crowe’s “Aloha,” meanwhile, was left in the dust, eyeing a modest $10-11 million weekend after a slow Friday that drew approximately $3.6 million at 2,815 sites.

Critics may not be giving “San Andreas” points for its brains, but the Dwayne Johnson film is certainly demonstrating its brawn — its strong performance is the best of Johnson’s career outside the “Fast & Furious” franchise, handily beating the opening weekend haul for “Hercules” ($29.8 million), “Pain and Gain” ($20.2 million) and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” ($40.5 million). There’s still a chasm between “San Andreas” and the opening weekend tallies for Roland Emmerich’s similarly cataclysmic movies, “The Day After Tomorrow” ($68.7 million) and “2012” ($65.2 million), but it’s a vast improvement over last year’s “Into the Storm” ($17.3 million) and “Pompeii” ($10.3 million), which barely measured on the Richter scale…”


“Friday Box Office: ‘Mad Max’ Tops $100M Domestic, ‘Furious 7’ Tops $1.5B Worldwide”

Pitch Perfect 2 earned $4.6 million on its third Friday (-52%) in what is a pretty standard post-Memorial Day weekend come down. The $29m musical comedy sequel has now earned $137.3m domestic and should make $14m (-55%) for the weekend, giving the Anna Kendrick/Rebel Wilson film an aca-awesome $147m domestic cume for Universal/Comcast Corp.

The news is decidedly less optimistic for Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland. The $190m sci-fi fantasy earned $3.75m on its second Friday, a drop of 62% from last Friday’s $9.72m debut. The film crossed $50m yesterday and should gross $13.5m for the weekend (-59%) for a new $64m cume. It’s thus-far playing like The Day After Tomorrow and thus (as of today) should end its domestic run just under $100m. It is not an epic disaster (it’s leggier than any number of recent Memorial Day biggies) except for how expensive it was. It’s not exactly killing it overseas either so it’s little wonder that Disney cancelled Tron 3 last night (more on that coming Monday).

Mad Max: Fury Road crossed the $100 million domestic mark on Wednesday, but I was too busy with a newborn to cover it as it happened (excuses, excuses, I know). Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.’s buzzy action adventure earned an additional $3.865m on its third Friday, dropping just 42% from last Friday. The Charlize Theron/Tom Hardy sci-fi spectacle has now earned $106.155m domestic and should end the frame with a $12m weekend and a $114m 17-day total. I will pass 300: Rise of an Empire ($106.5m) by the end of this sentence and will pass Kingsman: The Secret Service sometime towards the end of next week…”


“Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Movie Further Proof of Disney’s Commitment to Diversity”

“Walt Disney Pictures is developing a live-action movie based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan that serves as further proof of the studio’s commitment to diverse storytelling, TheWrap has learned.

Disney has purchased a screenplay from the writing team of Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek that follows the Chinese female warrior, whose legend was first told in the 1998 animated movie “Mulan,” which grossed over $300 million worldwide and spawned a direct-to-video sequel.

“Mulan” told the story of a young woman who disguises herself as a man so she can join the army and fight in a war. The character first appeared in an ancient Chinese poem, and it’s unknown whether Mulan is based on a real heroine or if the poem was merely an allegory.

Chris Bender and J.C. Spink are producing the “Mulan” movie, which is the latest animated classic to get the live-action treatment at Disney, following “Maleficent” and “Cinderella,” with “Beauty and the Beast” and “Dumbo” on the horizon.  “Mulan” is the latest Disney movie to feature a protagonist of color. Young Indian-American actor Neel Sethi is playing Mowgli in Jon Favreau‘s “The Jungle Book,” while “Moana” follows a young girl as she searches for a fabled island in the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania. Disney has not cast the Polynesian princess yet, but Dwayne Johnson is poised to voice the male lead, a demi-god named Maui…”


“Fresh Off the Boat: Asian-American Representation”

“In the opening moments of Ang Lee’s film Eat Drink Man Woman, Chef Chu (Sihung Lung) slits a fish, scales it,
slices the fatty pink filets into strips, coats them with flour, and drops them into a sizzling pan of oil, all with the exquisite control of a master musician. Crisp chopping sounds intersperse the upbeat tune of a guqin plucking throughout the background of the scene, and we watch with satisfaction as Chef Chu slices a daikon radish into wafer-thin, perfect white moons.

Maybe “we” is a bit of an overstatement here.

This scene fish-hooked me with childhood nostalgia, for I had grown up hearing the clatter of chopsticks against bowls of sunny egg custard, mapo tofu swimming in fiery oil and sichuan peppercorns. But to the general American audience that first viewed Eat Drink in 1994, it might have seemed charming. Quaint.

Eat Drink certainly would have seemed less accessible than celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s new show on ABC, Fresh Off the Boat. Adapted from Huang’s 2013 memoir of the same title, the sitcom tells the story of his experience growing up Chinese-American in hard-core suburban Florida. Yet in comparison, Eat Drink Man Woman challenges the popular consensus that Fresh Off the Boat sprang out of a vacuum for Asian and Asian-American narratives in American media…”