Ant-Man Press Conference

Ant-Man Press Conference London

Last week, director Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Michael Peña sat down for the Ant-Man press conference in London. They discussed influences on the film, how Ant-Man was conceived, and future Marvel movies…

On Edgar Wright’s involvement…

Peyton Reed: I think it’s fair to say that none of us would be here, and there might not be an Ant-Man movie if it weren’t for Edgar and Joe [Cornish]. The idea to make Ant-Man a heist movie structure was all Edgar and Joe. The idea of Hank Pym and Scott Lang as mentor and pupil, again that was all their’s. I came on at the same time that Adam [McKay] and Paul [Rudd] were starting to do re-writes on the draft. There was some elements that had been in the comics but had not made their way into the script, that we wanted to bring into it.

Marvel's “Ant-Man” Press Conference

On inspiration for their characters…

Michael Peña: As far as I know, there is no comic book called ‘Luis’. I am portraying someone that actually lives in Chicago, he may or may not be a criminal. He may or may not be in jail, I cannot say.

Paul Rudd: The idea of Scott doing everything that he does for his daughter is from the comics. That’s the imprint we used for the film. When we were working on the movie and writing the script… both Adam [McKay] and I felt that we never veered too far from something that doesn’t make sense in the Marvel universe, or something that isn’t true to the comic.

Michael Douglas: I was never a comic kid growing up. They were kind enough to send me the script of the Ant-Man along with a leather-bound copy of two years of the comics. There was more backstory for Hank Pym than any of the so-called ‘reality’ movies that I might done. So I had a pretty good blueprint to follow.

Michael Douglas on starring in a comic book movie…

Michael Douglas: I was very excited about this opportunity when they came to me because I never had really done anything in this milieu. My entire career is contemporary-based, not by choice, just by characters. All the things I’ve done in forty years, except for one, is contemporary, never did an effects movie. I was also a producer, so I was really curious about how this whole thing went together. I have tremendous respect for Peyton in keeping all these pieces together. I enjoyed the experience, and I also have a great appreciation for actors who work with green screen, because there ain’t anything there.

On genre in Ant-Man…

Peyton: I think Marvel have always done these sub-genres. I think that’s one of the things that keeps the Marvel movies so interesting. When you look at last year, Captain America: The Winter Soldier owes to a sort of 70s political thriller, a paranoia thriller. And Guardians of the Galaxy is this crazy Gonzo space opera. Our movie happens to have the structure and feel of a heist movie.

Marvel's “Ant-Man” Press Conference London

On the future of Ant-Man…

Paul: I have no idea what the future holds. I’m excited about it, I’m interested in playing this part in whatever way Marvel sees fit I suppose.

Peyton: If we’re fortunate enough to make another Ant-Man movie, I think there is a lot of story left to tell with these characters. I think there is a freedom at Marvel to kind of tonally do whatever we think is best, what serves the story best.

On filming Captain America: Civil War…

Paul: It was weird; it made this whole thing seem real in a way that it wasn’t even real for all of us. I think we were kind of shooting in a bubble when we did this [Ant-Man].

Ant-Man is released in cinemas on Friday 17th July 2015.

Film Review: Ant-Man

Ant-Man

Director Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is a lot of fun. More humorous than many of the other Marvel films, Ant-Man is an entertaining ride.

Recently released from prison, con-man Scott Lang struggle to find a job. Nevertheless, he seems a perfect candidate to Dr Hank Pym, who has invented a suit which allows humans to shrink to the size of an ant…

The latest in Marvel’s universe of superheroes, Ant-Man is one of the lesser known characters to receive a stand-alone movie. With this comes less of a weight of expectation, and more freedom to be creative within the superhero genre. Ant-Man is not wildly different to other Marvel films, however the embellishments made certainly add to the film’s success.

The strength of Ant-Man is its script. The ensemble screenwriters, based on Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish’s story, have done a good job of creating a likeable but offbeat hero, as well as dialogue and situations that frequently make viewers laugh. The sidekicks featured in the film know their role, and are good additions for comedic purposes.

Ant-Man‘s narrative works well to establish Scott as a protagonist, and unfurl the mission of Hank Pym. The film progresses well, keeping viewers engaged. The finale of Ant-Man is not as tense as may be expected, but this is down to the overall humorous tone.

Ant-Man operates as a superhero movie with the tropes of a heist film. This combination of genres, as well as the comedy, is very successful. Ant-Man is an origins story in a loose sense, although the film does not dwell on motivation or threat too heavily. Given the absurdity of some of the situations, this is a good thing. There are some serious moments, but any descent into schmaltz is quickly rescued by humour.

Paul Rudd is good as Scott, and picks up a screenwriting credit for his efforts. Michael Douglas adds a little gravitas, whilst Evangeline Lilly is decent is a well-crafted supporting role. The special effects in Ant-Man are great, and the use of 3D is effective in the miniaturised sequences.

Although it is not one of Marvel’s very best, the blending of genres makes Ant-Man stand out in the sea of superhero movies. An enjoyable watch.

Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a fantastic adventure film that ticks all the boxes. It is superbly crafted and will entertain audiences of all ages.

Reporter Tintin and his canine companion Snowy are well known for solving mysteries and breaking big stories. When a model boat catches Tintin’s eye at the market, he decides he must have it. Tintin is warned against keeping it by a mysterious stranger. It is later stolen from Tintin’s home, but not before a clue is left in the young reporter’s possession…

The Adventures of Tintin is an adventure film of the highest order. Spielberg’s film combines everything you would want from an adventure: mystery, action, suspense, comedy and exotic locales. In this way it recalls some of Spielberg’s earlier work, such as the Indiana Jones films. There is also a very amusing nod to Jaws.

Spielberg directs the film deftly. The chase scene in Morocco in particular is spectacular, with the panning shots and overall fluid movement. There are some wonderful edits between scenes, with one scene seamlessly enveloping the previous one.

The screenplay by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat is great. Good deal of humour, which should appeal to both adults and children. The chemistry between Tintin and Haddock is most believable, and Thompson and Thompson do a good job of providing the comic relief. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis do a great job of bringing Tintin and Captain Haddock to life, respectively. Smowy the dog also plays a pivotal role in proceedings. It is nice to see he is always given something to do while the focus is on Tintin; sniffing round the camel while his master speaks to someone, for example.

The animation is superb in The Adventures of Tintin. Unlike some of the other films that have used motion capture, there is a warmth to the characters. The detail is excellent; the strands of Tintin’s hair are incredibly lifelike. The film should give other filmmakers using this technology something to aim for. 3D also works very well in Tintin. It is a film with paying the uplift for to see in 3d on the big screen.

Fans of the books should be satisfied with this adaptation. It references it source material with a few nods, including the cute portrait scene at the beginning. Moreover, this film should bring new fans into the fold as previous knowledge of the stories is not required. From the great opening credits scene to the very last moments, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is immensely entertaining. Highly recommended viewing.

Film Review: Attack the Block

Alien invasion films are often grand in scale and set against an ostentatious backdrop. Attack the Block takes place on a council estate near Stockwell. Despite this, the movie shares many of the same conventions as its more glamorous predecessors.

On the same night that Moses and his gang of teens mug a young nurse on her way home, something strange falls from the sky. Moses kills the strange creature and returns with his friends to their south London council estate. Before they get home, the gang are interrupted by something that is attacking the block…

After a slow start, Attack the Block is plenty of fun once it gets going. Joe Cornish’s film follows a general invasion movie plot, adapting it to suit the setting. The film adheres to many of the conventions of this genre; not all the characters make it to the finale, for example. The characters are archetypal, with the unlikely hero, comedy sidekick and the innocent bystander caught in a usual situation.

The unlikely heroes of Attack the Block are a gang of teenage muggers. While unlikely heroes are commonplace in this type of movie, Cornish takes it a step beyond in asking viewers to empathise with and support these characters. The nature of the crime at the beginning of the film makes it difficult. These are not desperate teens committing crimes under duress. Rather, they are a group of teenage boys who pick on a single unarmed woman with the sole purpose of taking her valuables. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain a sense of affiliation with these characters, and to care too much about their plight later in the movie.

Cornish’s film is clearly a homage to earlier science-fiction/monster movies. Attack the Block can be quite gory at times, although these incidents are usually short lived. The method of dispatching the creatures certainly harks back to 1984’s Gremlins, among other films. The soundtrack is in keeping with the urban setting, and works well to generate atmosphere.

John Boyega is an adequate anti-hero as Moses. The young actor lacks conviction at times, but this is forgivable considering his lack of experience. Nick Frost brings humour in a small role, as does Luke Treadaway; the most amusing character in the film. Other performances are fairly good overall.

Attack the Block might mostly be appreciated by teens the same age as the protagonists. Sci-fi fans may find amusement in the references, while other viewers are likely to find the film entertaining, if not exactly captivating. It does not quite live up to the hype, but Attack the Block is enjoyable enough.