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Earlier today, Dwayne Johnson released the trailer for the upcoming Jumanji film on his Twitter. The tweet read “EXCLUSIVE: @JumanjiMovie trailer! I smolder, have cool super powers & try not to cry when I’m scared. #TheLegendContinues #Jumanji DEC 20”.

Trailer: 

The trailer opens up with an introduction to our four lead characters. There is Spencer (the nerd), Bethany (the popular girl), Fridge (the football player), and Martha (the unpopular girl). They all get sent to detention and their job is to clean out the basement. This is the plot device that allows them to find the Jumanji game.

Now a retro-looking video game console rather than a board game, the four main characters boot it up and are sucked into the game world once they pick their characters. After a brief mix-up, the main characters are revealed to have turned into the avatars for the game they chose. The nerd has become The Rock and the football player has become Kevin Hart. After more narration, it’s revealed that the unpopular girl has become Karen Gillan, who moviegoers may recognize as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy. Finally, the popular girl has become Jack Black.

The rest of the trailer is basically just the main cast making jokes and coming to terms with their new bodies. There’s the Kevin Hart tradition of making fun of his own height, the nerd falling in love with his new muscles, and Jack Black doing his best impression of a teenage girl. Since it’s a video game, they also all have special abilities which they show off as well. This includes enhanced speed, durability, and strength. The trailer ends with a flurry of action shots and the main logo.

This Jumanji movie seems to be taking a very different approach to the concept but also trying to be nostalgic in a way. The idea of a Jumanji world inside a game has been modernized very accurately. Most kids nowadays would be playing video games on a console or mobile device rather than board games. We’re also so far into this trend of video games, that a retro-looking console fits the narrative of the Jumanji game being this old, forgotten thing.

As for nostalgia, the four main characters are very typical stereotypes from films in the 90s, like the original Jumanji. The nerd is a wimp who cries a lot and is on medication, the jock tries to act cool and better than the nerd at all times, the popular girl is lazy and petty, and the unpopular girl is the female version of the nerd.

Another nostalgic element of these films is that each of these stereotypes is played with when they all get sucked into the game. The old “live a day in another’s shoes” saying comes to life in a comedic way that plays with our preconceived notions of each of the actors. For example, the Rock acts like this scared, teenage boy and Jack Black “literally can’t even.”

I spend most of my days working towards my Writing and Rhetoric degree at the University of Central Florida, but I spend a lot of my down time keeping up to date on the best TV, movies, and video games the industry has to offer. Here I put all of that extended time to use discussing each of them in-depth.

Geek Culture

‘Amazing’ Final Fantasy Movie Inspired The Marvels Director

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Generally, The Marvels is good. It has a 59 on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t great, but it’s better than Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and Disney+’s Secret Invasion. Perhaps director Nia DaCosta’s video game inspirations contributed to that.

The American filmmaker said Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children influenced her latest film at a press junket with IGN. “It’s just an amazing movie, with great fight scenes and a great ending sequence with the main character being thrown into the sky by all the other characters,” she said.
Despite poor reviews upon release in 2005, Advent Children has become a Final Fantasy cult classic. DaCosta seems to agree that the film is a classic. PlayStation exclusives also influenced the Marvels.

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In the interview, she said she didn’t want the superhero film to look “too much like a video game” but did draw from Sony’s biggest franchises, like The Last of Us and Horizon Zero Dawn. “For me, it was from the best games, the best stories that you get, that sort of inspires me to play, and I think inspires people to watch movies like this,” she said.

Since movies have shaped video games since their inception, it’s interesting to see the dynamic slowly changing. Now that technology and interactive storytelling are more complex, filmmakers are looking to PlayStation for inspiration.

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Geek Culture

Netflix raises prices again after strong subscriber growth

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Netflix reported third-quarter earnings and is doing well. Revenue increased as the company added 9 million subscribers worldwide.

Netflix is also using this opportunity to raise the prices of some of its U.S., U.K., and French plans to differentiate ad-free plans from its entry-level ad-supported plan. New subscribers to the most expensive plan will pay $22.99 per month.

Let’s step back and examine Netflix’s current situation. Netflix cracked down on password sharing in its home market and dozens of others in May. The third quarter is the first full quarter under the new rules, so we can see the effect of password sharing.

The company removed the basic tier in the U.S. and U.K. two months ago to simplify its offering. People must pay a lot to remove Netflix ads.

Reports suggest that many customers are experiencing subscription fatigue and considering canceling some streaming subscriptions, but Netflix still has room for growth, especially with advertising revenue.

The company has 247.15 million subscribers. The number of subscribers increased 8.76 million this quarter. Netflix subscribers haven’t grown that much since Q2 2020, when Covid lockdowns were enforced worldwide.

Netflix earned $3.73 per share on $8.5 billion in revenue this quarter. As ads plan subscribers rise almost 70% quarter-over-quarter, ads are contributing more to the bottom line. Nearly a third of new subscribers use ads.

Netflix shares are up 13.75% pre-market ($393.79 per share) on good news for shareholders. However, subscribers will be unhappy because the company will raise prices for some plans again in three key markets. Full breakdown here.

In the U.S.:

  • Standard with ads: $6.99 per month (no change)
  • Basic (no longer available): $11.99 per month (up from $9.99)
  • Standard: $15.49 per month (no change)
  • Premium (with 4K streaming): $22.99 per month (up from $19.99)

In the U.K.:

  • Standard with ads: £4.99 per month (no change)
  • Basic (no longer available): £7.99 per month (up from £6.99)
  • Standard: £10.99 per month (no change)
  • Premium (with 4K streaming): £17.99 per month (up from £15.99)

In France:

  • Standard with ads: €5.99 per month (no change)
  • Basic (still available in France for now): €10.99 per month (up from €8.99)
  • Standard: €13.49 per month (no change)
  • Premium (with 4K streaming): €19.99 per month (up from €17.99)

New subscriptions start at these prices today. Bills for existing subscribers will rise in the coming weeks.

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Geek Culture

Last of Us HBO Showrunner Quietly Removes Name from Troubled Borderlands Flick

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When your writer—one of Hollywood’s hottest—tries to hide their involvement, it’s a bad sign. The Borderlands film’s original script was written by Craig Mazin (The Last of Us, Chernobyl), who recently asked the WGA to use the pseudonym “Joe Crombie” instead of his name.

We hope this means Mazin considers Joe Abercrombie, Lord Grimdark, the grittiness GOAT, but that theory is unproven. Since Mazin wrote the script in 2015 for Eli Roth to direct, a steady stream of writers has been brought in. Aaron Berg, Chris Bremner, Sam Levinson, Zak Olkewicz, Tony Rettenmaier, Juel Taylor, and Oren Uziel have put around 70 fingers in the honey pot.

The name change likely avoids confusion. Mazin probably doesn’t want to be blamed for Jack Black/Claptrap madness, but he wants to keep his rights.

To clarify, the Borderlands film finished filming in 2021, but Roth was replaced by Tim Miller (Deadpool) in January.

When this surprising star-studded film (Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis, Cate Blanchet) limps out, what are your expectations? We think this was supposed to coincide with Borderlands 3’s 2019 release, but it’s overshot the mark.

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