Nerd Confessions Podcast: We have a big line up on the podcast this week! Tommy talks to us about his Blizzcon adventures. Fresh off of Thor: Ragnarok we discuss if it’s too much like Guardians of the Galaxy. Finally, after Ellie got to meet the Duffer brothers in person we discuss how Stranger Things 2 holds up to season 1. Listener confessions this week from Spencer Moore (via instagram @spencer_moore13) and @manuel_hernandez_animations (via instagram).

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Show Notes

Nerd News

Tommy’s Blizzcon Update:

Tommy attended Blizzcon! What happened?!

  • New Overwatch map, “Blizzard World,” announced. Almost like Blizzard Disneyland.
  • New Overwatch character, Moira, a new healer was announced.
  • World of Warcraft is getting a seventh expansion pack, Battle for Azeroth and a Classic Server.
  • StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm expansion are going free-to-play. Legacy of the Voice and Nova Covert Ops will still cost $14.99 each.
  • Hanzo from Overwatch is headed to Heroes of the Storm.
  • Hearthstone’s next update is Kobolds and Catacombs.

Thor: Ragnarok

What is Thor: Ragnarok?

Thor: Ragnarok is the third Thor movie Marvel has resealed for their Marvel Cinematic Universe and has a large departure from the formula of the previous films. The previous Thor movies were in large part a love story between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane (Natalie Portman) and were not received as well as other Marvel films. Thor: Ragnarok seems to in large part take what worked with Guardians of the Galaxy and adapt it to Thor’s world and characters.

Is the departure from previous films a good thing? Should they have swept Natalie Portman under the rug?

Development

October 2013, Producer Kevin Feige stated that after release of Thor: The Dark World that there was certain elements from the film that they would like to build a story off of.

October 2014 Feige revealed the movie title to be Thor: Ragnarok and stated that, “It would be a very important movie.”

October 2015 Taika Waititi was in negotiations to direct. Marvel asked directors what direction they would like to take the film, Waititi, sent back a sizzle reel using jokes and stuff from movies such as Big Trouble in Little China and used the Led Zeppelin, “Immigrant Song” as the score. This landed him as director.

Filming began in July 2016 in Australia. Sydney stood in for New York scenes in the film. The working title for the film was, “Creature Report.”

Visual effects for the film were created by: Industrial Light & Magic’s (ILM) San Francisco and Vancouver studios, with help from Base FX, Animatrik, and Virtuos; Framestore; Method Studios Vancouver; Digital Domain; Rising Sun Pictures; Luma Pictures; D Negative; Iloura; Image Engine; Trixter; The Secret Lab; WhiskeyTree Inc; Fin Designs + Effects; and Perception.

Previsualization work was provided by The Third Floor and Day for Nite. To help create the Hulk, a person on set was covered in green body paint, and would replicate the intended motions of the character to aid the visual effect artists.

Thor: Ragnarok Released on October 10th, 2017.

Cast

  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki
  • Cate Blanchett as Hela (Galadriel from LOTR, played the main villain)
  • Idris Elba as Heimdall (our favorite from Pacific Rim and The Dark Tower)
  • Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster (our favorite from Jurassic Park and Independence Day)
  • Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
  • Karl Urban as Skurge (played Judge Dredd in Dredd)
  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Hulk
  • Anthony Hopkins as Odin
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
  • Taika Waititi as Korg (voice) (Also director of the film)

Plot (No Spoilers)

Two years after the Battle of Sokovia, Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon and eventually, unintentionally releases Hela, the main villain of the film. Hela immediately breaks Thor’s hammer, (are you the God of Thunder or the God of Hammers?) and travels to claim Asgard.

Thor and Loki both are left stranded on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by time defying wormholes. Thor is immediately captured by Valkyrie and used as a contender in the Contest of Champions by the Grand Master of Sakaar. Soon facing, the Hulk, Thor has to make the best out of this situation and save Asgard.

Music? How does it compare to Guardian’s of the Galaxy?

August 2016, Mark Mothersbaugh (Lego Movie, The Sims 2: Pets) was hired to score the film. The synthesized score is influenced by the work of Jean-Michel Jarre (known for his synthesizer music).

Waititi said that he would have asked the band Queen to work on the soundtrack for the film, if their lead singer Freddie Mercury was still alive, because the film is “a cool bold, colorful cosmic adventure.”

Notable music featured in the film include “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin and “Pure Imagination” from the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Themes from Thor, Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as Joe Harnell’s “The Lonely Man” theme from The Incredible Hulk TV series, are also used in the film.

Great that they paid homage to old Thor movies, but the main themes that stick with you are the Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin and the Willy Wonka Song. Should they have dumped the old Thor themes?

How was the movie received?

IMDB currently rates the move with an 8.2.

Metacritic rates the movie with a 73

Rotten Tomatoes rates the movie at 93% with 90% audience rating.

The movie had a $121 million dollar opening in the US and a record breaking $55.6 million in China. (Spider-Man Homecoming had a $117 million dollar opening.)

Do we get after credit scenes?

Yes! We get two! One mid-credits scene and one after credits scene.

The mid-credits scene hints more of what is to come with the next Avengers movie and features Thano’s ship, Sanctuary II, appearing in front of Thor.

The after credit scene is more comedy based than anything and just gives us some more Jeff Goldblum greatness.

What can we expect in the future?

Director Waititi said he would “love to do another Thor film, because I feel like I’ve established a really great thing with these guys”. He indicated that it if he did another Thor film it would be more like a Ragnarok 2 than a Thor 4.

There have been discussions between Waititi and Marvel to create a spin-off following the characters Korg and Miek, but it was not feasible due to Marvel’s commitments producing three feature films a year. Feige did say that Marvel has plans for those characters, but would not say when they would next be seen.

What are our overall thoughts and opinions?

What do we rate it? 9.0

We previously covered Stranger Things Season 1 in Podcast S01E17 so if you want to catch up on all of our thoughts on that Season you can listen to that episode.

Stranger Things 2

What is Stranger Things?

Stranger Things is a science fiction horror tv series exclusive to Netflix that is set in the 80s and greatly inspired by movies by Stephen Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King of the same era.

The series takes place in the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana and centers itself around a core group of kids much like films such as the Goonies.

Stranger Things was created by the Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross Duffer. Season 1 was up for binge watching on Netflix July 15th 2016. Season 2 was released on Netflix on October 27th, 2017 to mess with us since this was also the release date of Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Super Mario Odyssey.

Season 2 Plot (No Spoilers)

Picking up just a few weeks from where Season 1 left off we introduced to new drama:

  • Will is still struggling with his experiences from the upside down (alternate dimension).
  • Joyce (Winona Ryder) is struggling with being overprotective of Will and building on her new relationship with Bob (Sean Astin, who also played Sam in LOTR).
  • Jim Hopper (David Harbour) who has a relationship with the new, “Bad men,” and is developing a relationship with Eleven. There is some emotional baggage with Jim as he lost his daughter to cancer.
  • Mike getting over Eleven being gone and dealing with Will’s new struggles.
  • Lucas and Dustin fighting for the affection of a new girl recently transferred to school. (Max or Mad Max)
  • Nancy continuing to be stuck in a love triangle between Steve and Jonathan.

Just as with the previous season they compare the creatures from the Upside-down to the world of Dungeons and Dragons. This time we have Demodogs (dog like versions of the Demogorgon from Season 1) and the Mind Flayer which is the literal bigger and better villain the Duffer Brothers alluded to in their interviews.

There is also a new human villain. Last season the human villains appeared to be Steve and Will’s father, Lonnie in addition to the, “Bad Men,” scientists. This season Steve earns a lot more respect and love, not being quite the bully he used to be. We are also introduced to Billy who looks exactly like one of the guys from, “The Lost Boys” and is Max’s step-brother.

The bromance that surprised everybody. Steve later in the season starts to believe he is a, “good babysitter,” and develops of loveable relationship with Dustin inparticular. This resulted in a lot of people wondering why they ever liked Jonathan and rooting for Steve. This really indicates that the writing of the show can turn someone that you really hate into one of your favorite characters.

Most people are happy with the pacing of Stranger Things Season 2 with the exception of Episode 7 which feels very out of place and is appears to be pushing a spin-off series with a character that has similar abilities to Eleven.

How was it received?

Stranger Things overall is rated a 9.0 on IMDB.

Stranger Things overall is rated a 94 for both critic and user on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stranger Things Season 2 is rated 78 with a user score of 8.4 on Metacritic.

Stranger Things Season 1 was rated 76 with a user score of 9.0 on Metacritic.

Over 326,000 people binged through all 9 episodes of Stranger Things Season 2 on release day.

Over 15.8 people watched the the first episode of Stranger Things Season 2 the first night. To put this into perspective Season 7 of Game of Thrones had 16.1 million and Walking Dead Season 8 had 15 million viewers the first night. House of Cards was only streamed by 4.6 million people this spring.

Netflix believes that the viewership numbers of shows such as Game of Thrones and Walking Dead is highly inaccurate because of the garbage Nielsen Rating system and believes the actual viewership for those shows is much more, so they’re not celebrating just yet.

Ellie and William’s drunk adventure meeting the Duffer Brothers:

What did we think about Season 2? Overall Thoughts?

What do we rate Season 2, especially compared to Season 1? 9.0

Did you know?

The series was originally known as Montauk, as the setting of the script was in Montauk, New York and nearby Long Island locations. The brothers had chosen Montauk as it had further Spielberg ties with the film Jaws, where Montauk was used for the fictional setting of Amity Island. After deciding to change the narrative of the series to take place in the fictional town of Hawkins instead, the brothers felt they could now do things to the town, such as placing it under quarantine, that they really could not envision with a real location.

 

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