Sunday, May 22, 2016

Geekdom Madness 2016 - The Real Game: Poachers/Thrillseekers

This week, we wrap up The Real Game with another eclectic mix.

Let's reacquaint ourselves with the combatants:

MATCH 1: Poachers


Captain Jack Sparrow was created, almost as an afterthought, by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio for the 2003 film "Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." He was added to represent a more "ethical" pirate to contrast Barbossa's corruptness, and envisioned as a Bugs Bunny-esque figure traipsing through and commenting on the proceedings.

Whatever the writers had in mind, it certainly wasn't what actor Johnny Depp brought to the table. Depp was excited to do a film kids could see, excited to be in a film inspired by the classic Disneyland ride, and excited to try and revive the long-dormant Pirate Adventure genre of film. Upon doing some research into real pirates of the time, he made a connection between their lifestyle and that of modern-day rock stars. As a result, he modeled his performance on an exaggerated impression of legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Kieth Richards (with a bit of Pepé LePew thrown in). While Disney studio heads were puzzled and put-off by Depp's eccentric performance, the writers and director Gore Verbinski thought it stellar and went to bat for Depp at every turn.

And rightfully so, as Captain Jack Sparrow became the most popular thing to come out of the surprisingly popular film. The character was an instant pop-culture phenomenon, even earning Depp an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Depp would go on to reprise the role in the sequels "Dead Man's Chest," "At World's End, "On Stranger Tides," and an upcoming fifth installment. In addition, he provided voiceovers for Captain Jack's addition to the classic rides at Disneyland and Disney World, and occasionally makes random public appearances in character - usually to bring joy to children who have little for various reasons. When Depp is unavailable, Captain Jack Sparrow has also been voiced by James Arnold Taylor in various video game appearances including "Kingdom Hearts II" and "Disney Infinity."


Katniss Everdeen was created by Suzanne Collins for the 2008 book "The Hunger Games." Collins drew inspiration from the classic myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Roman gladiators, and modern reality television when crafting her tale about a dystopian future where several preteens and teen fight to the death as punishment for an earlier uprising.

Katniss, whose name was taken from a water-dwelling tuber, was given survival and wilderness knowledge as a tribute to Collin's father, who had grown up during the Great Depression and had to augment their meager food supply with hunter game. This plant is also sometimes called "arrowhead", symbolizing Katniss' weapon of choice.

Katniss is the protagonist and narrator for the book series. In spite of her standoffish personality, her determination to do what's right has charmed not only the other characters in the books, but readers and audiences as well.

In the film adaptations of the books, Katniss was played by Jennifer Lawrence. Beating out several more familiar actresses for the role, the films made Lawrence a household name and is arguably the catalyst for her current success in Hollywood.


MATCH 2: Thrillseekers


Sebulba was created by George Lucas for his 1999 film "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." Sebulba, was the podracing foil for young Anakin Skywalker. He represented the classic archetype of the cheating racer who will do whatever it takes to win a race, especially if it means sabotaging the competition.

Sebulba was designed by paleontological illustrator Terryl Whitlatch. Lucas and Whitlatch decided to make Sebulba something nobody had seen before by making him walk on his hands and use his feet for fine manipulation. Whitlatch also modeled Sebulba's face after a camel, as camels are "the one creature that's always in a bad mood". Originally, Sebulba's design included prominant fangs, but these proved difficult to lip synch with and were removed before animation.

While a puppet was used on set while filming scenes of Anakin and Sebulba's cockpits latching together, Sebulba was one of many completely Computer-Generated characters debuting in the film. Interestingly, Sebulba seems to be fondly remembered even among the film's detractors due to his unique design and antagonistic attitude.

In all official appearances, Sebulba is voiced by Lewis MacLeod, who to this day is very fond of the character.


 Rose Tyler was created by Russel T. Davies for his 2005 revival of the classic BBC show "Doctor Who." As the revival was both a continuation of the previous series as well as a starting point for new viewers, Rose was used as a Point-of-View character to help viewers brush up on the mythology - the audience learned along with her.

Davies wanted her to have a character and social context outside of simply being "The Doctor's Companion", and thus the majority of the first episode (named after her) dealt with establishing her life, character, and situation before The Doctor crashes in in typical Doctor fashion to make things weird and wild. As both her and the Doctor's character was developed across her two seasons (or "series" in Britain) as a main cast member, an effort was made to make her not merely a sidekick but a foil and equal.

While she was written off the show after the Series 2 finale, she has made several surprise appearances since. While fan reactions are as hotly mixed as they are with most companions, she is arguably one of the most fondly-remembered especially amongst New-Whovians.

Rose Tyler is played by former British pop singer Billie Piper, who said Rose's story reminded her of her teenage years.


Final Verdict
These are all very popular characters not only with me, but with their respective fanbases. I have a giant soft spot for the one contender here that isn't (arguably or otherwise) a "Main Character," but what about the rest of you?

As always, make sure you're viewing the WEB version of the site and vote in the polls (remember, there are two now) on the right-hand side of the screen. Polls close Friday at 5:00 p.m., and results posted on Saturday. Feel free to discuss your picks in the comments below.

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