Anniversary Special

Jokerside Top 10 Posts of the Year: 2015

Jokerside best posts 2015

The results are in – which posts from the Jokerside were the most read in 2015? From dystopia to horror to platformers to clowns, there was something for everyone…

  1. Waterworld at 20: We need to Parley about Mariner (July 2015)

The Mariner sinks - Waterworld at 20One of the single shots from the Dystopia series, there was no way Jokerside could ignore the 20th anniversary of Waterworld. A huge reaching addition to big budget future-set blockbusters, it’s as much of a dramatic disaster as it is a flop. It made money and has lots to teach modern disaster cinema. Still notorious 20 years on, it’s impossible to overlook the sparing desolation, the beautiful filming, solid retro effects and fine sense of humour in what’s proved to be quite the influential film. Jokerside came to praise…

“Waterworld may never escape its reputation, but it’s never going to disappear. There’s a dash of Snake Pliskin, a helluva lot of Max but essentially it’s a pirate film. Eight years later Pirates of the Caribbean would pull a neat trick on the two Kevs, taking set-pieces and settings from Waterworld while hitting many of the narrative beats of Prince of Thieves. And that’s a real anomaly at the pirate box office, a very successful one. As dystopia has risen again to remind us that it’s still around sunken cities and post-apocalyptic action will continue to grace the big screen.

And really, for all the criticism, let’s not forget that the three Universal Studios are still running Waterworld attractions to this day. And inventive side-effect from an inventive film. Never forget Waterworld’s last line: “It’s more than that” – and so it is.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: Stay tuned this winter as the Dystopia Series draws to a halt on The Planet of the Apes. Ka-boom…

  1. Doctor Who: Silence – Fooling you twice the same way (Whovember #11 Alpha) (March 2015)

The Eleventh Doctor and the Silence that must fallA surge into the top ten for just one of the Eleventh Doctor retrospectives. The New Series restructure has pushed the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors near the top of the pile in terms of stories. While the Doctor’s 51st birthday saw Jokerside revisit the Tenth Doctor’s tendency to meet historical celebrities.

The Eleventh Doctor’s tortured and twisted tales demanded a three apart retrospective as Jokerside took on the nefarious overlapping plots of the Silence. Quite possibly the biggest mixed bag in Doctor Who. The first part took a look at the prolonged plans of the Silents that didn’t involve their memory averse high priests the Silents. The summary, mid-way through makes it sound all rather exciting, while capturing some flaws that were never solved…

“Of course the something that abducted the TARDIS and blew it up, destroying the universe in the process, isn’t uncovered. The Silence, whatever it is, is still out there. But this Doctor, like his successor, are in no great rush to find out what could have easily accomplished this horror show. Narratively this is a far stronger force than the Pandorica Alliance; the greatest threat he’s ever faced. But then again, it’s a whole new universe and there’s an Egyptian Goddess lose on the Orient Express that’s far more appealing (or possibly not, as it’s contradicted by Series Eight). The Silence are off the hook and would need a Plan B, if they could possibly realise they failed what with it being a wholly new universe and everything… Fortunately, that night aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor’s companions are providing the Silence with just such a second chance…” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: Stay tuned for Jokerside’s customary celebration of Doctor Who in November 2016. And first, this March we’ll be taking a look at the episode that saw showrunner Steven Moffat make Who history…

  1. Super Mario Bros. the Movie! Dystopia hits the Mushroom Kingdom (September 2015)

Super Mario Bros at 30 - MarioAnother one-shot in the series of Dystopia, the 30th anniversary of gaming icon Super Mario’s first solo adventure was the perfect time to revisit his sole Hollywood outing. Another film mired by, it was unfortunate to kick-start videogame big screen adaptations. It’s flawed certainly, but the creativity and ambition behind a film that’s almost never shown and fairly difficult to get hold of should trigger mass-reappraisal. At the very least it remains a vivid lesson.

“The terrible tone issues don’t affect Super Mario Bros. cult status, but they do lessen the chance of a brightening reappraisal. Hollywood’s infatuation with videogames comes not just from their inherent merchandising, but also their in-built audience and huge money earning (as well as surely a wary glimpse at its parallel and media rival). Few chances to merge the two have managed to fulfil the potential and that sadly started here. Ultimately Super Mario Bros. manages to do a disservice to itself and the game franchise while being immensely watchable and on occasion visually stunning. Its greatest injustice is that such a glorious adventure ended with the opposite legacy: two decades later an increasing raft of videogame adaptations are now expected to fail, following standard formulas with the need to break ground being felt less and less.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: Stay tuned for Jokerside’s widening look at videogames – particularly a special glimpse at James Bond on consoles coming soon…

  1. Blur: The Magic Whip Reviewed (May 2015)

Blur The Magic Whip ReviewBlur has been the cornerstone of Jokerside’s rolling glimpse at Britpop two decades on. When the band reformed and once exiled guitarist Graham Coxon was the unlikely/perfect saviour of their new material, Jokerside had to grant the Magic Whip one of its rare reviews. After all, it was not only a return, but one of their finest albums…

“You expect consummate production and instrumentation on a Blur album. But in what might be the band’s most together hour, Coxon’s softer but no less brilliant guitar complements Albarn’s ever widening gyre of a taste like never before. All it took was a 16 year split. Surprisingly, Blur have crafted a monumental piece, doing exactly what they’ve always done well: distilling pure Blur through older eyes and arms and different sensibilities.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: Jokerside will soon complete a Britpop trilogy with the special anniversary of a special album…

  1. Doctor Who: Arrival of the Imaginative Plodder (The First MArchSTER) (March 2015)

The Original Master - Doctor Who Marchester takeoverTypical. You wait almost two years for the Whovember retrospective to complete, and the Time Lord’s Moriarty comes along for his/its/her own series. Poetic that of the so far three long reads it’s the original, implacably bearded original who’s stole the biggest ranking.

“In just a few lines, in his first scene (appearing before the Doctor), Robert Holmes and Roger Delgado define a cool, impeccable, menacing and powerful nemesis. As the Master, Delgado cut a smooth and sartorial figure, with his dark suit, Nehru collar, slick hair and crucially piebald goatee. Delgado’s superior sneer and almost always unruffled delivery gifted much comedy to the character without sacrificing any of the threat…” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: The final Master retrospectives are coming in 2017. And to cap it all off, she’s called Missy…

  1. Doctor Who: The Late 1970s, the Fourth Doctor and Stitches in Time (January 2015)

Doctor Who and the late 1970sJust pipping his nefarious nemesis, one of Jokerside’s occasional glimpses at Doctor Who through the ages – in January 2015 marking the 40th anniversary of his first full appearance in Robot. This time, glam was banished and punk was on the horizon. The Fourth Doctor is unlikely to be dethroned from his position as the most distinctive and well known Time Lord. While the velvet jacket reminds us how much of the Third Doctor sits behind the Twelfth Doctor’s persona, the influence of the Fourth Doctor is undeniable…

“Tom Baker signified, not so much a physical shift to youth away from the very tight triumvirate of the first three Doctors, but a stampeding charge into the real 1970s. It’s a slice of delicious Who irony that the apparently youngest Doctor made way for the joint oldest, and that this signalled a shift of focus from the 1960s to the 1970s. Or perhaps it’s simply fitting that the two giants of the 1970s, including the difficult middle cog that cast the biggest and most awkward shadow, play such a role in the Twelfth incarnation of the last Time Lord.

The Twelfth is nominally three times the Fourth Doctor – but maybe it’s more like one-third.” Read More

If you liked that in 2015: Doctor Who in the 1980s is on the horizon…

  1. Mad Max: The Long Road to Hollywood (May 2015)

Mad Max Even further beyond the ThunderdomeTop spot in the Dystopia couldn’t have fallen any better. Mad Max Fury Road was certainly one of the finest films of 2015, simultaneously remaking the second instalment and reinvigorating a style of film-making much missed from big budget blockbusters. The scope, direction, interpretation of female characters and antiheroes have been much discussed and lauded. In celebration, Jokerside looked at the original trilogy. It’s no coincidence that the second part, covering the incredible second instalment The Road Warrior ranked the highest:

“This is it, the film that all other Mad Max pictures need to live up to. It set the template from the middle of the trilogy, the leanest and most influential of three different visions… Remember we left him a broken man without hope? Now, he’s fully set, cold and survivalist. This is the cue that Fury Road picks up, rewriting the second instalment more than others. Like the James Bond comparison that keeps coming up, Max can lose his Interceptor twice in part two and four, just as Bond meets Blofeld twice in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and You Only Live Twice. And if there’s any part of this diverse trilogy that Fury Road should mimic it’s the second one.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: This Spring we’ll be looking at one of pop-culture’s great anti-heroes who’s never quite made it to the big screen despite three explosive attempts…

  1. Marvel: Minimising Daredevil and Maximising Ant-Man (July 2015)

Daredevil and Ant-ManThe Marvel machine just can’t be ignored. But the studio’s tremendous success isn’t luck. Missteps like the incredibly slow build-up of ABC’s awkwardly titled Marvel: Agents of SHIELD proved that it can go awry. Aside from the big hitting Avengers sequel, 2015 found the House of Ideas traverse one of their trickiest times in style. Rolling out one of their hottest properties as the flagship show of their Netflix deal while their most diminutive hero took to the big screen in double-quick turnaround. Jokerside put them back to back in the final post on Marvel Phase Three:

“In a phase that’s taken us from PTSD to conspiracy, from self-destructive AI to the Dark World and out to the galaxy, it’s commendable that Marvel also found time to take us to the realm beyond reality. And with the Hydra-outed Mitchell Carson seemingly getting away with the Yellow Jacket formula thanks to some deleted scenes, there’s plenty of potential to get back to the world of miniaturised molecule em’ups.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: The DC Comics big guns fully enter the race in 2016, and Jokerside will be ready…

  1. Dracula Learning from Mis-stakes – AD 2015 (in two parts) (February 2015)

Dracula AD2014 on television and filmJokerside likes a good horror, particularly when it can draw of the gothic. Following a glance at Frankenstein mid-2014, 2015 landed on Dracula. The first part, as indivisible as love is from the vampire these days settled on the short run of rebooted Dracula that NBC fielded in late 2013, a network that’s quickly becoming the Van Helsing of classic horror icons. The second part took on Universal’s sadly toothless attempt to reboot its classic horror account with Dracula Untold.

“There are rich tapestries hanging in Castle Dracula, both real and metaphorical. But once the master of the castle is transformed the film is compelled to act out the action film rather horror. Stan Lee is a bigger influence here than Stoker, and he’s not alone. It’s not long before we Dracula in conflict, taking out an army single-handed as the Turks are repelled, 1000 men killed. And then The Lord of the Rings then kicks in through a post-battle pilgrimage. With all those influences buzzing around the real shame is that it’s stuck with such a solemn and mirthless script. Half character study, half historical epic, a little fantasy, a very little horror – no one seems to have attempted to draw out the romance or the gothic. Or perhaps it was just lost along the way.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: 2016 will catch up with a regenerated Frankenstein, but first this January takes a look at Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde AD 2016…

  1. Batman at 75: The Joker – Anonymous Clown (January 2015)

The Joker from his first appearanceWho else could sit at the top of the pile than the Clown Prince of Crime? Jokerside wasted no time to bid the Harlequin of Hate a happy 75th anniversary in 2015. A few months earlier, there was the review of his first appearance in Batman #1, but for his birthday Jokerside took at look at key interpretations throughout his seven and a half decades all the way up to Scott Snyder’s modern interpretation and Heath Ledger’s iconic take on screen in 2008. As Jokerside warned:

“Dotting through the life, times and media of the Clown, here are some select glances at Joker’s many zero years. Of course, the joke’s on everyone. For a character all about obscurity he sure has a lot of people trying to redefine him. And for every fact you think you learn, by the end you find that he hasn’t given a quarter. No matter how many times he seems to come last.” Read more

If you liked that in 2015: Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison have bestrode 21st century Batman with multi-year runs. In the next year Jokerside is going to line them up…

A happy 2016 – follow Jokerside to make sure you don’t miss any of 2016’s posts!
Keep smiling!

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