Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Explores Her Origins

March 13, 2017

A new trailer for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman debuted this weekend, and I’m happy to report that the movie is still looking great. We got a lot of new footage in this one, including a decent amount of time spent on Themyscira, and I really liked a lot of what I saw. Now, of course, this is the DCEU; good trailers don’t necessarily mean good movies. But so far, Wonder Woman has been hitting it out of the park and that has me cautiously optimistic about the film.

Warner Bros. describes the video as the “Origin Trailer” and thus we got a good look at the Amazons. They remain super bad ass and cool, and I like the design of the island and the Amazons themselves a lot. We also get some flashbacks, including a peek at a young Diana who is just adorable:

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I’m hoping we get a few scenes with her because she seems cute and fun.

Little Diana is staring at the “god killer” sword there, and I do remain irked at how much attention the sword is getting. Wonder Woman’s never been a character who wields a sword until very recently; she’s got a golden lasso that she’s rather famed for, and I wish that’s what young Diana was eying rather than a sword. To me, sword fighting just isn’t who the character is. But I was pleased to see the lasso play a key role as the trailer progressed, including this rad takedown:

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Hopefully Wonder Woman’s real weapon gets its due throughout the movie as well.

On top of that lasso scene, we got a bunch of other cool action shots too. I think Wonder Woman is going to have some epic fight scenes. Everything we’ve seen so far looks very cool, and Wonder Woman’s fighting scenes in Batman v Superman were easily the most entertaining part of that movie. All of the action clips we’ve seen thus far in Wonder Woman trailers look exciting and well-shot, and it’s going to be a blast to see the full scenes.

One thing I’m particularly glad to see every trailer has included is humour, and this new one is no exception. Gal Gadot’s fish-out-of-water Diana shtick looks like it should be entertaining, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor seems good for some wisecracks, and Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy looks like she’s poised to steal the whole show. I liked her trying to dissuade Diana from carrying her sword in public:

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The humour in DCEU movies hasn’t been great, at all, and it’s nice to see some genuinely funny bitsĀ  are coming with Wonder Woman.

Finally, the trailer appears to confirm the daughter of Zeus origin story. Hippolyta ominously tells Antiope that Diana “must never know the truth about what she is,” which sounds like it might be a Zeus-related secret given this lightning display later on in the trailer:

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I don’t care for the Zeus origin at all. I much prefer the clay origin, in which no men are involved and Diana’s origins are distinctly female and feminist. Making her a demigod who gets her powers from a man is boring, dumb, and kind of misses the point of the character. I’m hoping it’s not a huge point of focus for the movie, and that Zeus doesn’t come up too much.

So yeah, Wonder Woman looks pretty great. And in ways that seem to be addressing how DC’s other movies have been not at all great, which is encouraging. This could be really cool. And we’re less than three months away now! Can you believe it? Wonder Woman’s finally getting her own movie! And just when we need her the most.

Support “The Adventures of Penny Patterson,” A Short Film About a Superhero’s Love Interest

March 1, 2017

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So often in superhero narratives, the focus is on the superhero to such a degree that supporting characters rarely get fleshed out in any meaningful way. This is especially true for female love interests, who are regularly limited to a “damsel in distress” role in which they are there solely to further the male hero’s story. The Adventures of Penny Patterson is a new short film that’s set to flip this perspective. It’s a superhero origin story told from the point of view of the hero’s girlfriend, a high school student who just wants to get her science fair project done.

The short is the graduate thesis film project of Stephanie Donnelly, an NYU student and a lifelong comic book fan. She’s writing and directing the short, and has started a campaign at Seed & Spark to finance the project; she’s looking to get $12,000, and is 39% of the way there already at just a week into the campaign.

I got to read the script for the project, and it’s both a fun story and a pointed commentary on the traditional tropes of the superhero genre. Stephanie brings a sharp, feminist perspective to the underrepresentation of women not just in comic book narratives but also in the film industry as a whole. Stephanie’s a female writer and director, and has created a project with a female lead because to intentionally counter the lack of women protagonists in film today. As she explains, “As a filmmaker, I strive to change those statistics by telling more stories about strong, complex women. I think now more than ever, we need to see more empowered female characters in superhero movies.”

The Seed & Spark campaign has a variety of reward levels, ranging from thanks in the credits to a digital download of the finished film to getting to be an extra in the project and even an associate producer. That last one will get you on IMDB, by the way, which is all sorts of cool. It’s a great project with a smart perspective that looks like it’s going to be really entertaining as well. I encourage you to check out the Seed & Spark page, see the video they’ve put together and read up on the project, and consider sending some money their way to help the project come to fruition. You can also sign up to follow the project; more followers can help it get featured on the Seed & Spark homepage and thus reach more folks.

The superhero genre can always use more women in starring roles, and The Adventures of Penny Patterson gives us just that! Check out the project and support it if you can!

Wonder Woman Movie’s Mattel Figures PLUS Build-a-Figure Revealed at Toy Fair

February 21, 2017

Toy Fair 2017 was this weekend in New York City, and it provided us our first official look at Mattel’s upcoming Wonder Woman movie action figures. We saw some action figure/doll hybrids last week that were very cool, but these are the official 6 inch action figures that are part of DC’s larger “Multiverse” line. And they look good! There are only four of them plus a larger “Collect & Connect” figure you can build with parts that come with each of the primary figures, but there is some fun stuff in the mix.

Let’s take a look at them, thanks to the excellent reporting of Toy Ark; it’s my favourite toy news site, and their coverage of Toy Fair was great as always this year. We’ll start with Diana on Themyscira:

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We’ve seen a blurry picture of this toy before, which didn’t do it justice. This one looks very cool, and is a solid likeness of Gal Gadot. Plus it’s got a lot of points of articulation, which should make her easy to position in rad action poses. The only accessory appears to be a sword; I’d like to have seen a lasso as well. But still, I like it.

Next up is Wonder Woman in a cloak:

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I’m guessing that they did this cloaked figure because the “Multiverse” line has already released a standard Wonder Woman figure as part of their Batman v Superman run. Rather than duplicate that, it seems that they decided to go with this slightly different take. I understand the why of it, but this is sort of weird figure. The cloak is going to get in the way of doing anything cool with it, and it doesn’t appear to be removable. It’s kind of a bummer that they went this direction with the only proper Wonder Woman figure in the line; I’m worried this is going to be the trench coat Batman of the line, i.e. the figure every store in America has 472 of because NO ONE buys it since it’s just a superhero in a coat.

Hippolyta, however, looks amazing:

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First, how great is it that we’re getting a Hippolyta action figure? Plus she’s dual weaponed! We get a sword AND a spear. The sculpt looks great as well, and the cloak doesn’t seem nearly as cumbersome as Wonder Woman’s. I’m excited to pick this one up, and for Connie Nielsen’s Hippolyta in general; I can’t wait to see her on the big screen!

Next up, good old Steve Trevor:

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I remain underwhelmed by the texture, coloring, and all around look of this figure. It feels too action figure-y, if that makes any sense. The rest have a touch of realism to them, but this one looks kind of flat all around. I’m glad we’re getting a Steve, I just wish it was a little more detailed and capture Chris Pine a bit better.

Finally, all of the parts included with each figure add up to Ares:

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This is our first decent peek at how Ares will look in Wonder Woman, and it’s not bad. It’s got touches of the classic, Perez-style Ares with the darker, more ominous angle that’s characterized the DCEU movies thus far. I don’t know if I love the helmet, but I can see how it might look cool on the big screen. I’m curious if there’s a face in there or if it’s all just helmet. The figure also comes with a red sword and a shield, which is fun. Though in my mind, Ares should have a proper long cape; I’m too steeped in Perez comics not to want to see that!

So overall, it’s a cool line. Diana and Hippolyta are the standouts for me, and the Ares is kind of cool. I’m not sold on the cloaked Wonder Woman and the Steve is a bit underwhelming, but they could both still be cool. Only four figures is a bit of a letdown, though. Perhaps we’ll see more in another wave. I’d love to get an Etta Candy, and the movie’s take on Dr. Poison looks rad and action figure worthy. Keep your eyes peeled for the figures; they should start to hit stores later this spring.

The New Wonder Woman Movie Trailer Looks Ridiculously Cool

November 4, 2016

I’m starting to get really excited about this, gang. I know I’ve been burned by superhero movies before, several times in fact, but dang does Wonder Woman look like it’s going to be a cool movie. This new trailer, released yesterday, is an absolute blast and leaves me so keen for more. Warner Bros. and Patty Jenkins still seem to be in tease mode here; it’s the second trailer, but it remains light on details. Still, we know a little bit more than we did before, and perhaps we can start to make some educated guesses.

First off, it appears that Dr. Poison could to be one of the villains, and I’m assuming that she’s the lady with the partial face appliance. Showing gases that can eat through a gas mask is a good indicator, plus the World War One setting makes a lot of sense given the terrible toxins used in the trenches during the war. If this guess proves true, it could be a very fun choice. Dr. Poison is a classic Wonder Woman villain that should fit well in her new setting. And I’m guessing we’ll get a second, likely mythological villain in the mix, probably Ares, though to my eye the trailer seems inconclusive on the mythology front.

Also, Steve Trevor’s arrival on Paradise Island may not be a solo affair. His crash landing appears to be followed by a German invasion of the Amazons’ home. I’m not super up on my World War One history, but that rowboat is named “Schwaren” (or some such; it’s blurry), which seems rather German, and I googled their uniforms and these fellows look similar. That’s an interesting twist on the classic Steve Trevor arrival.

And DANG does the battle that ensues look SUPER COOL. I can’t wait to see all of this on the big screen. That swinging Amazon flying down from the cliff? Amazing. It looks like at least one Amazon is going to die in the attack, presumably leading to Diana departing the island and going to help fight the war.

Paradise Island looks rad, by the way. That long shot with all the buildings and such looks great. There’s a definite style to the place that feels ancient and classic while being unique at the same time. I like everything I’m seeing on Paradise Island so far.

In Europe, we basically get a whole lot of Wonder Woman kicking ass, which is a blast. She deflects SO MANY bullets. I love it. Also, that alley way attack looks like it might be an homage to Superman: The Movie, which is delightful. All of the action is awesome, and also not at all generic, which I’m glad to see. Wonder Woman appears to have a unique fighting style, and the action looks well shot and choreographed. I’m very into it all of it.

The trailer hints at the Diana/Steve romance as well; we’ve got a near kiss between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine that should have fans of their relationship very excited. And, just like with the first trailer, Lucy Davis’ Etta Candy steals the show at the end, this time with her enthusiasm for fisticuffs. She seems poised to be the film’s break out character.

I will say, yet again, that I’m still not sure on the World War One setting. As much as I loved the trailer, this is not a setting we’ve ever seen for Wonder Woman before and that feels a little bit weird. Also, Diana clashing with the gender norms of 1917 is amusing and all, but I’d much rather have a Wonder Woman who pushes the boundaries of our modern world rather than a world a century past when women couldn’t even vote yet. It’s not hard to look progressive and tough a hundred years ago.

Nonetheless, this is a fantastic trailer and I enjoyed it like crazy. Everything looks so fun and exciting and rad, and my already astronomical keenness for the movie has now grown even more. If Wonder Woman can deliver on all of the promise its shown in the two trailers so far, it’s going to be a heck of a film. And it’s only seven months away now! I can’t wait.

New York Comic-Con Wonder Woman News Extravaganza: New Comics, Toys, Movies!

October 11, 2016

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This post is as much for me as it is for you, reader friends. New York Comic-Con was this weekend, and with it came lots of fun news, announcements, and reveals, nearly all of which I missed. My sister got married this weekend (congrats to Kate and Tom!), and I was all wrapped up in that. It was certainly a better way to spend the long weekend than scanning the internet for cool NYCC news, but now the week has officially begun and it’s time for me to dig in and catch up. So here’s a look at what Wonder Woman news came out of the convention this weekend!

First up, let’s chat about Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, an upcoming biopic about Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston and the women who played key roles in his life. Angela Robinson will write and direct the movie, with Luke Evans starring as Marston, Rebecca Hall playing his wife, Elizabeth, and Bella Heathcote joining them as Olive Byrne, the final member of the Marstons’ polyamorous triangle. This could be an absolutely fascinating film; Marston’s life was interesting and unusual, to say the least, and it has all of the makings of a great story. I’m curious to see how much DC gets on board and what sort of Wonder Woman stuff they’ll be allowed to use, but even just the story of their lives leading up to the creation of Wonder Woman is quite a compelling tale. It’s good to see the women behind Wonder Woman getting recognized from the get-go as well, rather than shining the spotlight on Marston alone. I’m very excited to see how this one turns out!

In other film news, Warner Bros. Animation might have another Wonder Woman cartoon film in development. It doesn’t seem to be official yet, since the quote was, “they have Wonder Woman on their radar in some form or fashion,” but that’s better than no Wonder Woman at all. There were no details on whether this would be a sequel to the 2009 direct-to-DVD film Wonder Woman or something completely new, but things might be happening on the animation front.

We’ll stick with movies for one more bit of news: DC Collectibles revealed a line of statues for the upcoming live action Wonder Woman film, and they all look quite lovely. Here’s Wonder Woman on a horse:

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And you can click through the link to see a couple more. They’re very nice but also pricey, ranging from $150-300 USD. Expect them out in the ballpark of June 2017, when the movie is due to hit the big screen.

Moving to comics, we’ve got a rad crossover on the way with Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77, a comic book teaming of Adam West and Burt Ward’s Batman and Robin with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman. Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker are writing, with art from David Hahn and Karl Kesel and covers by Alex Ross and Mike Allred. Check out this peek at Alex Ross’ first cover:

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The six issue mini-series will premiere digitally in November and then hit comic shops in print form in January. It looks like the chief villains will be Ra’s al Ghul and Catwoman, which should make for a lot of fun.

This next news broke a bit before NYCC, but it’s too awesome to leave out: We’re getting DC Super Hero Girls Lego! Here’s a look at the Wonder Woman set, which includes an invisible motorcycle:

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Other sets include Batgirl, Bumblebee, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Supergirl, and more. Some will hit stores in December, with more to roll out down the line; Wonder Woman is in the second wave, due to come out in January. The sets are in the style of Lego’s “Friends” line, which they target at girls, and while I do miss the blocky classic Lego look on the minifigs, it does match a bit better with the style of the show. I’m definitely going to need to pick up a few of these sets, the Wonder Woman one first and foremost.

Finally, the U.S. Postal Service officially debuted their new line of Wonder Woman stamps that celebrate the character’s 75th anniversary:

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Artists Cliff Chiang and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez were on hand for the event, and the stamps are now available to order online or in your local post office if you’re an American. I actually got to work behind the scenes a little bit on the stamps, consulting on the text that accompanies them in the packaging to verify that everything was historically accurate. It was a very fun process, and it’s so cool that they’re officially out in the world now!

I think that was all of the big news this weekend, but let me in the comments if I missed anything cool. Overall, it was a big NYCC for Wonder Woman, and there should be a lot of fun stuff on the horizon for Wonder Woman fans and collectors.

Open Letter From WB “Insider” Calls Wonder Woman Movie “A Mess”, Patty Jenkins Disagrees

August 15, 2016

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In a fun bit of internet drama late last week, Pajiba posted an open letter from a pseudonymed, irate Warner Bros. employee addressed to the company’s CEO, Kevin Tsujihara. The letter took Tsujihara to task for a variety of box office bombs and underperforming franchises, failures for which lower level employees have borne the brunt via layoffs. There’s been some debate about the legitimacy of the letter writer and many have called it a fake written by a fan; the letter has tidbits of insider knowledge, though perhaps not enough to prove her credibility wholly. Regardless of its authenticity, the letter is an amusing scorcher, and is particularly interesting for what it has to say about Warner Bros.’s upcoming Wonder Woman film in the wake of Suicide Squad‘s critical drubbing:

What are you even doing? I wish to God you were forced to live out of a car until you made a #1 movie of the year. Maybe Wonder Woman wouldn’t be such a mess. Don’t try to hide behind the great trailer. People inside are already confirming it’s another mess. It is almost impressive how you keep rewarding the same producers and executives for making the same mistakes, over and over.

We don’t get many specifics, but the implication seems to be that Wonder Woman is in a troubling state in the same way that Suicide Squad was, i.e. a film developed in a similarly dark vein as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice scrambling to change its tone after critics eviscerated Batman v Superman and the film failed to deliver the studio’s box office expectations (it made a lot of money, sure, but all sources suggest that Warner Bros. expected it to be a billion dollar movie, which it wasn’t). Suicide Squad had massive reshoots trying to strike a lighter tone, and the resulting film is a bizarre jumble that’s just plummeted at the box office in its second week. This open letter suggests that Wonder Woman might be experiencing similar troubles.

Whether or not this is true, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins took to Twitter to defend the film and call into question the report. Combined into a paragraph with her original spelling and grammar, Jenkins wrote:

Woah, just saw this press about WW having problems. Are they serious? This is some made up bs right here. Made up! Produce a source, anyone. You can’t because it’s entirely false. Don’t believe the hype people. Someone’s trying to spread some serious misinfo. Isn’t until you are intimately involved in these things that you realize how totally false these rumors can. Let me reassure you zero about the movie we are making has been called a mess by anyone in the know. Fact. Real lasso of truth, time, will reveal that letter to be false soon enough. But lame something so transparent in its agenda gets traction.

It’s an unequivocal defense of the movie, which is to be expected from its director, really. Though we’ve seen other directors at Warner Bros. talk about how well their film is going and how everyone is on board only to end up with cinematic messes; see: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. Still, Wonder Woman is ten months away and I doubt there’s even much of a rough cut yet, much less anything near a finished picture. Unless it’s been terrible from the start, it’s unlikely there’s much for folks at Warner Bros. to praise or criticize yet. Plus Geoff Johns co-wrote the film, and he’s the poster boy for DC’s new, more fun direction. Wonder Woman may turn out to be the first film in this new tone, rather than the last of the original dark tone.

As always with rumoury movie news, time will tell. The trailer for Wonder Woman was fantastic, Gal Gadot is a great Wonder Woman, and the rest of the cast seems strong. I’m not worried about it yet, apart from my general worry about any superhero film that involves Zack Snyder in any capacity. The open letter will either be a prescient warning if the movie is bad or something we all forget about if it’s good. I remain cautiously optimistic it will be good. Maybe I’m fooling myself after Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad, but I’m hoping for the best.

Suicide Squad Review: Not Very Good, Not All That Bad, A Somewhat Watchable Mess

August 9, 2016

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**This review is SPOILER FREE, so read away!**

Let’s start off with my major takeaway from Suicide Squad: That rumoured Harley Quinn spinoff movie that might have Batgirl, the Birds of Prey, and Poison Ivy in the mix needs to be greenlit tomorrow. Margot Robbie is a fantastic Harley Quinn, and with a decent story and some solid directing that could make for a spectacular film. She’d need to ditch the Joker, though, since he is far and away the worst part of Suicide Squad. But apart from him, she’s delightful.

The rest of the movie is less so. It’s kind of a mess, honestly, but I wouldn’t call it bad. It’s not good by any means, but it’s not bad. The plot is pretty ridiculous and makes very little sense if you think about it at all; the villain should have been able to off the whole team in about three seconds. For a huge tentpole franchise film, they put surprisingly little thought into the story. This wasn’t helped help by the very obvious reshoots, rearranging, and general flow chaos throughout. Suicide Squad is a mangled flick. You can see parts of a darker, more menacing movie and parts of a lighter, funnier movie, and they don’t really mesh together well.

Luckily, they hung the film on Will Smith and Margot Robbie, who have just enough charisma to carry it through to the end without everything totally collapsing. Deadshot is the heart of the film, insomuch as it has one, and Will Smith does what he does best and gets you instantly invested in a character by making the most of the few hints of layers that the script gives him. In the hands of anyone else, Deadshot could have been completely unlikeable, maudlin, or just plain boring, but Smith strikes the right balance. Robbie does as well, bringing an endearing and bubbly chaos to Harley Quinn that stands in stark contrast to the somewhat flat and often morose characters that surround her. Smith keeps the film grounded and Robbie keeps the film fun, and the few scenes with just the two of them are dynamite.

Not so much Harley’s scenes with the Joker. The abusive nature of their relationship is a given; it’s been a messed up scene for two decades now. But something about seeing it with real people instead of cartoons or drawings makes it extra offputting. It didn’t help that Harley was sexualized throughout the entire film, far more so than she typically is in the comics. Her costuming and the camera work leaves her more exploited than empowered. And Jared Leto’s Joker is a boring bag of creepy affectations that lacks any fun, style, or force. This movie would be a lot better if he wasn’t in it or was just relegated to a couple of flashbacks, and honestly he could just lift right out without affecting things much at all. Having Harley turn into a fawning puppy whenever he showed up marred what was otherwise a great, impeccably performed character. Even with the Joker nonsense, Harley still steals the movie.

Viola Davis is great as Amanda Waller as well. She is DARK, as the Wall should be, though dang do they really run with it. In a movie full of villains, it’s obvious that she’s the most dangerous of them all. Her interactions with the Squad are fun, but even more enjoyable are her various meetings with arrogant, powerful dudes in which she brutally and incisively turns them around to her way of thinking. She is a force to be reckoned with and it’s fun to watch her work, even when she’s hard to root for.

Generally speaking, Suicide Squad deserves to be commended for its representation. We’ve had over a decade of superhero movies where white dudes fight white dudes, and Suicide Squad is a movie where a black guy and a woman are the two leads. Moreover, four women have significant roles and two of them are women of colour, while more than half of the main cast are people of colour. This is a game changer. Now, not all of the characterizations were great; Katana was sorely underutilized, and the treatment of Slipknot was very disappointing. But in a way, it’s progress to have a film with so many women and people of colour in key roles that a couple of them end up sidelined. We’re used to having these folks sidelined in superhero movies where there’s only one of each to start with.

Ultimately, Suicide Squad doesn’t hang together very well. The plot is silly, the team camaraderie by the end largely feels unearned, and the pacing is kind of terrible. It’s not a good movie, but it remained just entertaining enough throughout. And it’s a masterpiece compared to DC’s earlier efforts like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman; it was a relief to sit through a DC movie and not fume about how the creators fundamentally misunderstood every character on the screen. Also, the plot of Suicide Squad is pretty dumb, but the plot of Batman v Superman was even dumber. And ultimately, Suicide Squad is buoyed by a lot of winning performances. I don’t think I ever want to watch it again, but there are some characters I’d love to see in another film with a better story, for sure. A Harley Quinn movie in particular. Get on it DC! I want Harley Quinn vs. Batgirl hitting cinemas in 2018, please. It’ll be a monster hit.


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