Marvel has produced a few direct-to-video animated features over the years, featuring some pretty great animation that’s above and beyond what’s normally seen on Saturday morning fare, but not quite up to snuff with a theatrical release. Their target, unlike most cartoons, are for a teen-plus audience, meaning the action is more intense and some of the themes are a bit more mature.
The Invincible Iron Man predated the Jon Favreau directed blockbuster by about 9-months, which is rather unfortunate as the animated feature covers a lot of the familiar ground that the live-action film did, only in a slight variation. The telling and retelling of origin stories is one of the most annoying aspects of translating superheroes to other media, and it shows a decided lack of creativity and inventiveness on the part of the producers of these various productions in doing so.
In the animated feature, Tony Stark squares off against the Mandarin, or rather his demonic henchmen, after Stark Industries helps resurrect a buried temple which unleashes ancient malevolent Chinese forces. There’s subplots involving an anti-Mandarin cult, a love story, and corporate intrigue at Stark Industries, together with the Rhodey/Tony bromance and the tedious Iron Man origin. They pack in a lot, and it looks good, but it feels too familiar, and, if anything, the animation doesn’t take advantage of it’s limitless storytelling and action possibilities, thus the fight sequences are kind of bland.
Unlike DC Comics’ direct-to-video features, Marvel’s productions keep costs down by hiring workhorse voice actors (familiar to most Saturday morning watchers, or viewers of dubbed Anime) instead of celebrity voice talent. One’s not preferable to the other as long as they both work, which they do (in fact, sometimes the “spot the celebrity” can be distracting).
I’ve quickly learned when and why my little girl cries, a lot of it having to do with body movement and facial expression. With LL there’s basically four cries:
1) gassy - her brow furrows, her arms flail a little and her breathing goes erratic before her eyes scrunch up and she lets out a quick burst of a cry, almost like a cough.
2) wet/messy diaper - tends to start with a lot of leg movement and squirming - less arm movement - persistently before crying
3) hungry - a lot of mouth movement, erratic arm flailing and hand gnawing, and a near inconsolable cry
4) I’m naked/exposed - it’s pretty easy to tell when she’s crying because of this, and it’s her most persistent and violent crying… often it’s just because a sock has come off or her feet are exposed.
Many times, 2, 3 and 4 come all around the same time… usually 2 then 4 then 3, then a short while later 1. Otherwise, the little lady doesn’t really have reason to complain.
Homemade burritos take some work, and I’ve discovered that it’s probably best to make burritos at home when there’s a large crowd or when you’re planning on eating them many days in a row.
I cooked my rice like a risotto, sort of, heating a tablespoon of olive oil into a frying pan, adding 1/2 cup of rice and a squirt of lime, stirring for about a minute before adding 3/4 cups of chicken stock (and adding 1/2 cup of stock continuously as needed for the next 25 minutes until rice was cooked)
I diced up a boneless, skinless chicken breast into as fine of pieces as I could, added them to a heated pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. I seasoned the chicken with a pinch of garlic salt, some fresh ground pepper and a dash of mexican chili powder.
Organic refried beans came from a can.
I smudged some beans on the tortilla, adding rice, chicken, green peppers, lettuce, and cheese before folding it up and slapping it on the same frying pan (seam side down) used for the chicken (the chicken removed of course, and the pan carefully wiped down with a paper towel), grilling for about two or three minutes before flipping
Served with Herdez tomatillo salsa.
Not quite Burrito Banditos, but still pretty damn good.