There was a post-”princess movie” moment where Disney chased the “boy demographic.” It didnt' work out so well; Films like 'Atlantis' and 'Treasure Planet' came and went. Under the current Disney brand, 'Big Hero 6' isn't as aggressively alternative — not with Marvel as an in-house entity — but but the competition raises questions of what the Mouse House can bring to the table. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was basically a cartoon. Guardians of the Galaxy's five-character team had two fully CG characters. The Transformers moves are basically the pixel equivalent of a Stan Brakhage film. And now there's 'Big Hero 6,' a fully animated feature competing with live-action bombast. How will it stand out from the crowd? The Walt Disney legacy, and the idiosyncratic creative process that comes with it.
The best way to stop an anarchist is to allow his or her plan to backfire.
If the hero can't shut him or her down with brute force, if the villain's motivating world views veer a little too close to sound logic, then it's all about going along with the plan until it blows up in someone's face. Emotion overtook Zaheer's methodical planning; Sure, he jetted off like Neo in the Matrix in the final moments of “Enter the Void,' but when his one true love P'li kicked the bucket in an epic duel with Lin and Su, the Red Lotus leader lost his cool. It was only a matter of time. Zaheer didn't believe in the power of collective empowerment, where individuals choose to become one of many. What a thrill it was to see powers combine to tornado him in the butt.
As post-Earth Queen Ba Sing Se erupted into a burning hellscape of violence and looting, you could hear the cautious lyrics of The Beatles' “Revolution” ringing in the background.
With “Long Live the Queen,” 'Korra' takes a step over the line into darker territory. Or that's how Zaheer puts it, when he suffocates the Earth Queen by airbending the oxygen out of the body. If the Parents Television Council knew how to navigate Nick.com, its members would be flipping out.
Though “Stakeout” begins as a cheeky detective story — somewhere between Richard Dreyfuss' 1983 screwball action comedy of the same name and Paul Auster's merciless short story, “Ghosts” — it's conclusion is like flipping through Snyder's Buddhist playbook.
A great villain can usurp the fortitude of a great hero. Look at 'The Dark Knight' — is Batman even in that movie? Heath Ledger's Joker was an instantly iconic performance that overshadowed the small effort put into complicating the Bruce Wayne character. Worth the sacrifice, but Christopher Nolan's Bat-sequel is forever flawed.
Books 1 and 2 of 'The Legend of Korra' didn't have time for episodes like “Original Airbenders.” The closest half hour might be “The Sting,” last season's Korra-less, Mako detective tale. It was an exciting deviation from the stream of plot-driven episodes ... at least, it was in theory. “The Sting” was still adding stepping stones for how Book 2 would wrap everything up. “Original Airbenders” is essential without feeling concretely tied to any big picture, Zaheer's nefarious motives or everything Korra's dealt with in Zaofu. Much like 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' 'Korra' strays from the path to detail its well-worn characters. It's a breath of fresh air(bender).
Last week's “The Metal Clan” saw Lin and Suyin clenching their insides to keep from biting the other's heads off. This was their first interaction in 30 years. It was no easy feat; meditative, green juice-drinking Suyin was in a better position to calmly avoid the situation. Lin's rage transformed her into a rabid dog, teeth out, ready to bite. In “Old Wounds,” that passive aggression literally cripples the diligent cop. The only solution: memory-provoking acupuncture!
In “The Metal Clan,” the upswing of a new Book 3 arc, Korra is the blissfully ignorant student, learning the facts for the first time. We've known Lin Bei Fong since the very beginning of the show, but we've never known her. And a thinner show would have been OK with that; Lin's the gruff, overly-rational policewoman who will do anything to protect the Avatar from danger. That's enough characterization. But not for 'The Legend of Korra,' which shook up the Korra/Lin relationship by traveling to the heart of the Metalbender's past.
If anyone thought this season was skimping on the action — and after last week's mini 'Warriors'-meets-'Mad-Max'-meets-'Akira' throwdown, I'm not exactly sure why you would, but hey, we all require varying amounts of stimulation — the 'Korra' creative team delivers 24 minutes of wall-to-wall action worthy of Danny Ocean.