Sunday, November 8, 2015

My Faith Keeps Growing That Episode VII Will Be Awesome

Before reading the rest of this post, go watch the trailers at the following pages if you've not seen them yet:

This International Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Has Tons Of New Footage

We now have just over a month to go before The Force Awakens hits the theaters. The excitement keeps building, but there is a lingering feeling that we've seen all this before and were let down in the end. I remember the build up for Episode 1 and how in the end we were left with a film that did not come close to being what all the hype promised.

So why do I think it will be different this time?

Looking at the trailers there is a lot of obvious differences.

To start off with the bad guys this time look like they will ave to be taken seriously. The new Stormtroopers look to be badass add aggressive. We are not getting stuck another batch of worthless solider like the battle droids, who were at no point anything close to a threat. I cannot figure out ow anyone would be afraid of battle droids. They were silly and there was never once any feeling and an actual threat towards the heroes from them. Which left the prequels absent of our heroes being in any real danger. Look at the troopers in the international trailer and you will see a group of deadly soldiers that come off threatening. Huge difference in the drama of the story right there.

Going off of the bad guys, the prequels relayed heavily on the big villains, the Darths to make up for the lack of a real treat. And while Maul and Count Dooku were impressive, they were under used. We hardly see them doing anything real until the end of the film, From what I have seen in the trailers, Kylo Ren, the guy with the red lightsaber this time around, is going to be an active character. He will be doing more than just showing up for the big battle scenes to get defeated. And that is going back to the classic trilogy. Darth Vader did not wait around, he was always active, always out there being a real character, and real threat to our heroes.

There is no doubt all there will be no boring political scenes this time around. Why Lucas ever thought that sowing s the Galactic Senate in session was a good idea is beyond me. Have all that happen off screen.

Of course the Falcon is back. That alone gives me high hope for the film. The Falcon is too awesome for words and to be able to see it back in action... That is what the fans want.

I already get the impression we will be getting some good strong characters with our main characters here. That is really needed. Anakin and Padme just were not strong enough characters.

Han, Leia, Chewie and Luke are all returning, although we've not seen much of Luke and so there is a lot of mystery and rumors surrounding the character. These are characters we cared about and want to know what their fates are. we can handle them not being the major characters, but it will be meaningful to learn what they have gone through over the last few decades.

I could go on and on here. These trailers have made me feel real good about the possibilities. I do not expect the greatness that was the classic trilogy,  but I have faith we will be treated to an enjoyable film that will do the needed job in continuing the Star Wars storyline.

I also have faith that it cannot be as bad as any of the prequel movies. And that is a fairly safe bet to make.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Star Wars Collectibles I Most Likely Won't Collect

With just a over a month before the new Star Wars movie hits the theaters, with what may be a record crushing opening weekend with a predicted 600 million world wide ( we are seeing a big push for merchandising at all levels. As a collector I am enjoying seeing all that is coming out and as budget allows I am picking up new pieces for my collection.

So one area of merchandising I don't see myself going after however is the Star Wars themed CoverGirl collection.

While I find it to be an interesting marketing concept, I just don't see myself picking any of it up.

I'm not a fan of throwing a logo on just any old thing to make it collectible, and this seems just barely a step above that. I am sure it will sell well though, I'm just not going to go after any of them.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What Did You Do For Back to the Future Day?

For those of you who have been living under a rock this last week, yesterday was Back to the Future Day. In BTTF2 Doc and Marty travel to the future from 1985. The date they travel to was 10/21/2015. Needless to say the geek community took full advantage of such a well known movie having an actual date that reality catches up to in their lifetimes.

My boys and I got out to a local library and watched BTTF2 with a bunch of other people as we snacked on BTTF themed goodies. They also had trivia and activities for the kids. It was a lot of fun. My youngest and I got interviewed for a piece that will get broadcast on a local station. We then went home and played the BTTF card game.

I love the fact that a one shot geek holiday has made it to that level of mainstream popularity. There was coverage of this day everywhere you turned. It shows just how huge geek culture has become.

This is just more evidence that the geeks are set up to take over the world.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Important Role of Collectors

I am a collector of a great many things. My house is packed with my collections. I have major collections such as Star Wars, action figures, comics, DVDs, and books. Then there are my minor collections like wind-up toys, Minions and Little Green Men form Toy Story. I have been a collector for as long as I can remember, it is for me and so many others, a way of life.

But not everyone understands this way of life. While most people who come over are impressed by my collections, I have encountered people who see my level of collecting as being hoarding. They are unable to grasp the passion for collecting and instead write it off as someone just keeping and becoming attached to a bunch of junk.

I am not going to go into what hoarding is here, but you can go do the research and learn what actual hoarding is. It is a real serious condition that can screw up a person life. It is noticeably different from actual collecting though.

I can look through my collections and find various pieces that I know the history of and can tell people a story about. Those are my favorite pieces, because they have a story behind them. I will admit most of the pieces in my collections do not have interesting stories, that does not make them worthless. All the pieces have a worth to them, even if there are not financially valuable or rare.

A good, true collector is to some degree a historian. Looking through a collection should show a level of history with-in it. A collector who knows the stories behind the pieces, knows their origins, has a tell about how they acquired them and can talk about them at length, bring a sense of history and importance to those objects. I talked in a past post about comic books being relevant as historical documents. To some degree that same logic can be applied to most any true collection.

I will use Star Wars as an example here. In my collection I have pieces from all areas of the nearly forty years of Star Wars merchandise. You can compare the action figures to see how the action figure market has evolved during that time. The packaging also reflects the era in which they were produced, often being just as interesting to a collector as the toys themselves. In my collection I can show the ups and downs of the popularity of Star Wars as well as the trends in toys through the years. Due to the popularity of Star Wars the merchandise has followed trends and technology during that time, reflecting the changes in society.

Most real collectors I know will tell you the stories and often are hard to get to stop talking about the collections they are really passionate about. They collect because it excites them to find new pieces. And while they know what pieces are monetarily valuable, they also have pieces that they think are awesome but have no monetary value to them.

There is a need for collectors in society. They do serve a purpose.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

100 Days Out

Today marks 100 days until the official release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. And right now Star Wars seems to be everywhere.

This last Friday was Force Friday, basically when all the new Star Wars merchandise was allowed to be sold. While the new figures were blowing out of stores like crazy, in fact you would be lucky to find much in the way of merchandise on store shelves right now, there was a good deal off classic trilogy items mixed  in with the new movie pieces. There were a few prequel items, but those were very few. The companies putting the merchandise out clearly do know what movies matter.

Unlike the crazy amount of everything that was throw out there for the prequel merchandising insanity, they toned in down a great deal this time. While there is a lot of items released, it seems they were more controlled in making sure what was being sold had a little more thought that just slapping Star Wars characters on everything, although some of that did still happen, just not to the level we had seen.

I was surprised at the lack of BB-8 merchandise. BB-8 is the new astromech droid that look like an upside down bowl on top of a large ball. While we really have not seen much of the droid yet, it is one of the main visual aspects that is getting associated with the movie. There were two different remote controlled version of BB-8 released, neither one was affordable ($80/$150). For people with my budget or your average kid, there really was a limited selection for a BB-8. It feels like someone dropped the bomb on this one. While everyone with their hands in the pot are no doubt making big bucks, there is a huge area they are missing out on.

I have no doubt that I will be picking up various items as I am able, right now I am just not able to collect at the level I used to. It will be interesting to discover what Episode VII items end up in  my collection. I have to be pickier than I used to be, so the items I buy will have to be ones I feel are worth the money.

Of course this is just the start of nonstop Star Wars being out there for at least the next five years. We are supposed to get a new movie a year starting with Episode VII. So Star Wars is everywhere right now and is not going to fade away or even have the chance to die down even a little. I just hope the movies can live up to the hype. At least the odds say they will be better than the Prequel movies, so they have that going for them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The World From The Park

We all know that for the most part Hollywood is not big on being original. Sequels and reboots flood our theaters constantly. With that comes both the good and the bad of it all.

With Jurassic World I was not sure if we would get the good or the bad with the film. I was not into the hype and originally planned on waiting until the film made it to video before seeing it. JP 2 and 3 were disappointing, so I had little faith that JW would be anything more.

Also with how Hollywood is making it obvious that there is no way to match the originals when they let a franchise sit for two decades, as we have seen with so many sequels (Or prequels) as of late. I have been let down so much by the big franchises. And while I consider movies like Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skulls to not be the worst in the franchise ( I find Temple of Doom to actually be a worse move) it was lacking. There was a lot of build up to finally getting a new adventure in that universe after all that time. I have learned to not expect the sequels to give me the same wild ride as the original did. With so many of the real great movies there is something magical about that first film that we always want to get again, but it rarely, if ever can be found in sequels.

With that being said, I had heard enough good stuff about Jurassic World that I decided to go and see it in the theater. t also helped that my oldest was pushing for us to go see it.

Jurassic World comes very close to giving us the original Jurassic Park without doing the BS Home Alone thing of just doing the same movie again.

JW is an original movie fully self contained in story. You really do not need to see the original movies to understand what is happening. JW adds to the universe while continuing the story we have seen worked on in three movies already.

With JW they have gone back and given us a lot of what worked in the first movie, that they somehow forgot about when working on the first two sequels. We are back with the moral concepts of man tampering with nature and not caring about the results. We also get the best examples of Ian Malcolm's chaos theory out of any of the movies

In the end it was a fulfilling film delivering what it promised. With how huge of a movie it has become, there is no doubt the franchise is alive and well and will be putting out more movies. Hopefully they will look at what made JP and JW work and what made the other two movies fall short. I am not going to hold my breath on this, but I will keep hoping.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Most Influential Comic Book Ever (As far as I am concerned)

For those who don't know, I am a fan of comic books. I have a good sized collection that spans around sixty years, maybe more, especially if you count reprints and collected works. If so, then I have comics from over 75 years ago. I have read the first appearances of many characters, including Bat-Man, Superman, Namor, The original Human Torch, The Fantastic Four, just to name a few. I have some idea of the evolution of comic books into what is on the market today. I won't claim to be an expert or even one of the most knowledgeable of comic book fans, but I feel I am able to form some fairly well thought out opinions concerning comic books.

As I said I have read some significant first appearance issues now from all eras of comic books. The more I have read from the various ages (Golden, silver and modern) the more I see where the big changes have happened. With that I have no doubt at all that there is one comic that really can be said to have had the most influence as to where comics have ended up at now.

As far as I am concerned that comic is undeniably Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man.

Before I go into the reason I say this, I will openly admit that for some time Spider-Man has been my favorite super hero. His titles were the first super heroes titles I collected and is in essence when I really begun collecting comics. So I will not deny the possibility of bias here. For whatever reasons Spider-Man has always been a hero I felt connected to and I know I am not the only one to feel that way.

Now I shall defend my belief that Amazing Fantasy #15 is the most influential comic ever.

If you read comics before the comic came out (BAF15) character were for the most part just concepts. I am including the Fantastic Four here as well. Bat-Man, Superman, the FF, none of them were much more than an idea of a hero who fought the bad guys and won in some manner, even if it really made no sense at all. The first battle between Namor and the original Human Torch ended in about the silliest of manners with no actual resolution. And that was not at all uncommon

Then Amazing Fantasy #15 came along and introduced the idea of a super hero being more than just a person with super powers. Peter Parker is noticeably more than just Spider-Man from the get go. His origin story is far more than just him getting powers. He actually goes through a real ordeal and has strong reasons as to why he is a hero, instead of just saying 'hey I'll go fight crime' which was how it had been done before that. Even with Stan Lee's other comics at that time, there was not that level of depth to it all. (Not going to go into the Ditko debate here, but there does seem to be something beyond what we had seen from Lee before this in there). Just about everything about this comic went against what was going on in comics at the time, and that is why the story was originally rejected.

Then we jump to After AF15 and we see that even with the established heroes, they all had to have depth to them now. The established character had their back stories rewritten and updated to give something more to them. All new characters needed to now be relatable with more to them than just their powers or hero persona. And after over 50 years that has not changed.

Recently we got to see Marvel create the newest Spider-Man with the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan. She is a teenage Muslim girl living in New York, having to balance being a hero with being a young girl dealing with school and family. In so many ways she is the updated idea of what Spider-Man was.

So go and read any comic books BAF15 (Aug 1962) and then go look at the comics that started to come out not too long after that. It took a few year for the changes to really set in, but it is there.

Now there have been other comics and series that have had an impact on comics as a whole. The industry has evolved and has advanced in a great many ways since then. Yet if you really look back at the history, AF15 really stands out as being a major turning point in the industry that has helped to shape where comic books are today more than any other comic I can think of.

So that is my opinion and the defense of that opinion. Feel free to challenge me on that if you disagree.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Some Con Etiquette Advice for Celebrities

I love going to sci-fi/geeky conventions. I get out to as many as I can in a year. Normally I can make it to four or five, even though here in Colorado it seems we average at least one a month, especially if you can travel all over the state. We are a geeky state.

Last weekend we showed the world just how geeky Colorado can be by holding the Denver Comic Con and having an attendance of over 101,000 people. We have solidly put ourselves as one of the top five comic con.

One of the greater aspects of DCC is the chance to meet various celebrities from all aspects of entertainment. This year I left with a lot of enjoyable experiences like the conversation I had with Anthony Michael Hall that covered his time on Saturday Night Live, Robert Downing Jr and joking about him getting a role in a Marvel movie. It was not a long exchange, but it was enjoyable and I left feeling like Hall was the type of person you would want to hang with.

I can say the same about the incredibly talented voice actors from The Animaniacs. They were just awesome to talk with and clearly enjoyed interacting with the fans.

For me those kind of interactions play a huge role in why people attend the DCC level of conventions. The chance to meet these celebrities and have a moment with them is something memorable.

Yet the opposite happens far more than it should.

Even this year I had a few unflattering experiences with the celebrity guests. So here is a short list of my advice for celebrities at conventions.

First off, never ever say 'no meet and greets'. Meet and greets are a way for fans to just come up and say 'hi' and briefly talk with the celebrities. Not every fan is going to be able to afford to buy an autograph, especially now days with how high the prices get. I don't have a few hundred dollars that I can spend on such frivolity. By saying that if I want to meet you I have to send $40 or more for an autograph, that becomes insulting. You are saying you only care  about fans who have money.

Now I get that your time is valuable. But it is all of your fans who make your career, not just those who have money at the cons. Although I will note that very often those with a 'no meet and greet' policy often have the shortest lines at the cons, meaning they are often spending their time sitting at a table doing nothing, which seems to me to be a bigger waste of time than actually meeting their fans.

And understand, your fans should not be viewed as only a source of revenue.  If that is all we are to you, then you do not deserve us.

My second piece of advice, at least act like you are enjoying yourselves. Most of you are actors after all. Of all the times you should use you acting abilities I would think cons would be perfect. Make your fans at least believe you think they are important.

I know cons might come off as being 'work' for some of them and they might be missing out on doing something back home. You know something, I have a job myself. I have missed out on a lot of things because I have had to work. I still go to work and at the least try to be pleasant to those I deal with during the day, even if I am not feeling my best. Of course in my case I have to go to my work. I am fairly sure conventions are voluntary, extra events these celebrities are not required to attend. So if they truly do not enjoy the interaction with the fans, it would actually be better to just not attend. I would rather never meet certain celebrities than find out they are jerks.

I am not saying that in their everyday life that celebrities need to go out of their way for fans. If I saw Nathan Fillion on the street and he told me he was busy, I would understand and not think him a jerk for blowing me off. Celebrities have lives and should be allowed to live them. However at a con they are more or less making a deal to be there for the fans, spending time in what should be memorable exchanges. If they dislike such meetings with the fans, then they should just stop attending the cons.

I will say that all of my enjoyable exchanges with celebrities have been for the most part with ones who seem to go by the advice I have given. They have given me stories I am excited to tell over and over again because they gave me an enjoyable experience. I do have a batch of stories that I tell about my less enjoyable experiences with celebrities who do not live by the advice I have given. Regretfully this list also grows a little more each year. At least so far my positive experiences out number the negative ones. Most of the time it seems that celebrities have common sense and know the value of doing what is right for their fans.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Great Start To a Geeky Weekend

The family went and saw Avengers: Age of Ultron this afternoon, in 3-D. It lived up to the hype and clearly set up a lot for future films. A lot of little treats for us comic fans as well as some real surprises. Marvel studios has yet another hit on their hands.

Before the film started we were treated to the trailers. Several of them I had already seen on-line, but now I got to see them in 3-D. This included the one movie that will most likely give Avengers a run for top movie of the year and caused me to geek out big time.

The trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was awesome to begin with, but to see it on the big screen, in 3-D... That in itself was worth the price of a ticket. I really have faith that episode 7 will get the Star Wars franchise back on track.

And to keep this geeky weekend going strong, tomorrow is free comic book day. I am always up for free comic book and will be going to Mile High Comics to take part in the festivities.

 And we already know that Monday should be a national, if not international, holiday. May The Forth. If you do not understand the reference, get geeky and think about it.

So I am enjoying all this geeking out.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I'm Hot For Zombie

We've been watching the new show iZombie. We got hooked with the first episode and have enjoyed everything that has followed. I have not read any of the comic books, so I will only be talking about the TV series here.

After the first episode I had to ask my wife "Shouldn't it feel wrong for me to be attracted to a zombie?" One aspect of the show that really does stand out is the main character, Liv (Played by Rose McIver), being actually attractive for dead chick. I also know I am not the only one who feels this way. I would not think I would find such a pale complexion attractive, let along sexy. This may be a high compliment to the actress, but there is something about Liv that is highly appealing.

At a recent convention my wife cosplayed as Liv and that look worked for her as well.

In giving the issue some  real thought, it came to me that we are now sexualizing zombies much the same way we did vampires a few decades ago. The idea of taking what is supposed to be a frightening, inhuman monstrosity and giving it sex appeal seems to be something we as a society are obsessed with. I am not saying that is good or bad, it just is. I have no problem with it myself, but I know there were those out there disliking the attractive vampires. Yet we keep seeing it done and done successfully. Like it or not, it will keep happening.

I do like the unique zombie concept being used in iZombie. These zombies are only mindless if they do not feed and are for the most part able to blend in. Of course our main character, thanks to her medical career, has found a moral way to have access to brains(She works in a morgue). Liv is a very likable, believable character who you really feel for. She is a young woman dealing with a unique problem and  trying to keep her life working.

So far the series is doing well with creating an interesting world and setting up some good storylines that do not feel forced or out of place.Too many shows end up putting in dramatic ideas that are forced and just don't belong (Which is one reason I cannot get into most medical dramas) yet so far iZombie looks to be able to avoid that, in no small part due to the already in place morality conflicts that comes with the  idea of intelligent zombies.

We still have the rest of season 1 to go and I am sure it will be renewed, as it has a following as well as a lot of potential.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Now That Was Good Read

For February Loot Crate had the theme of Play. A lot of fun stuff in the box. My family really enjoyed the game Super Fight. It is a card game based around all manner of match ups between assorted characters with some truly bizarre weaponry.

This was the first Loot Crate we had received that came with an actual novel. The book was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I read the back cover and it sounded interesting so it got moved up in my reading list.

I was not disappointed. Over the last few days I found it real hard to stop reading as I got closer to the conclusion.

The book itself is filled with many great pop culture references. Most are from the 80s, but there are some from the 70s and 90s. There were tons geeky trivia at every turn here. I actually learned some interesting new odd ball facts about Pac Man, Cap'n Crunch and more.

The story takes place in a future where just about everyone is active in a virtual universe called OASIS. OASIS is filled with fan made worlds based on all manner of pop culture. The creator of OASIS dies with no heirs. He leaves a video will explaining that whoever it is that finds his special Easter Egg that he has hidden in OASIS will get everything. There is a series of geek based challenges that one needs to overcome to find the Egg.

After six years of no one getting anywhere with the challenge the first key is found and things start to get intense.

Some of the story had a political feel as the main conflict is the average person vs big corporation to keep OASIS a free system. I saw some reflection of this in the recent net-neutrality debate.

I loved the huge final battle scene that just felt so right in so many ways.

So Ready Player One was an enjoyable read with a lot of great nods to the stuff I remember growing up with. I do think it will appeal more to us kids of the 80s, I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a fun book.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Spider-Verse Saga Has Come To An End

In some ways this is a hard post to write as I am very much conflicted over my feelings about the Spider-Verse saga that recently wrapped up in the Spider-man comics. Spidey is my favorite hero and so I wish for the best from his comics and am thrown off when it just doesn't all come together.

I am going to start with the bad on this so I can finish with a positive note.

Spider-Verse suffered from going no where real fast. The main six part story really was lacking. Each part did little to move the story and often felt like it repeated itself. Most of the real interesting stuff happen in the tie-in comics. The main story just couldn't handle it all. To some level it really felt like trying to get all the various versions of Spider-Man/woman/girl/pig/ape working together was too much to ask and regretfully it showed.

Now there were some good scenes in the main story, but nothing that really stood out. The conclusion itself just happened. There was nothing in it that was as grand as it needed to be. It also ended in a way that did not feel final. There is little doubt that the problems could start up again with nothing having been done to prevent the Inheritors from coming back.

There were also a whole lot of loose ends that did not get dealt with. The fate of so many of the Spider totems was left unresolved. The main one that sticks out to me is the Uncle Ben Spider-man, who really cannot go back to his world. Where does he go now? Is he going to be forgotten? It wouldn't work to bring him to Earth 616 (Main Marvel universe). Maybe he will just wonder the multi-verse now.

There were also many threads introduced in the storyline that felt forgotten and over looked as the battle reached its conclusion. As the amount of Spider totems grew it seemed the use of each one got less important. Ideas that were hinted at early on just had no where to go with the overwhelming cast. What was to me a very obviously important character called the Master Weaver, who I had no doubt was a pinnacle character that was going to have one impressive back story given to us when his secrets were revealed, ended up with a truly weak, uninspired fate. There was so much they could have done there that they didn't.

So now for the good.

The side stories were where all the real stuff seemed to happen. You got small groups of the characters working together and being able to actually have real stories. This is what saved Spider-Verse from being a full disappointment.

The side stories were also where they did most of the work of living up to the promise of 'every Spider-man ever'. They found some great ways to make sure they at least included references to all of them. Even when they could not use the likenesses, they still made comments about one of them looking like that actor from Seabiscuit and another that would not stop singing show-tunes. So there was a lot of fun little pokes at all the forms Spider-man has taken over the decades that I enjoyed.

In the aftermath we have two new comic titles that are directly out of the story line. Both of them are female lead titles. Silk and Spider-Gwen have a huge following with the series just being announced. There is a lot of potential there for some strong story telling.

And now with Spider-Verse over with, the regular series can fix itself and get back on track. Unless the big Marvel event for this year, Secret Wars, interferes. That is a huge possibility. We do know that Secret Wars is going to introduce a reality where Peter Parker is stilled married to Mary Jane and they have a daughter (Most likely named May). Now this is an alternate continuity that has been shown before, but some of the hints given about Secret Wars suggest that some of these alternate realities will end up resetting various continuities of the main Marvel titles. Not sure how I feel about that idea.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm Not A Power Ranger Fan, But This Was Awesome And NSFW

So a group of Hollywood Power Ranger fans went and made a really dark short Power Ranger fan film. And this is some dark, dark stuff.

I remember being very unimpressed when Power Ranger first came out and thinking it would be so much better if it went dark and ah so intensity to it. So here we are twenty years later with someone doing just that for fun and it is undeniably better than the legitimate show.

I would watch an actual series based off of this idea. In less than 15 minutes it has more suspense, drama and twist and turns as well as actual characters and character development. All of those are thing fully lacking from the actual show.

Now I know one of the main arguments for Power Ranger is that the show is for kids. Now the short it self is clearly for adults, kid shows do not need to be that simple, that lacking of character and plot.

I also love to see movie makers go and make these kind of well made pieces that they put out there for free, just because they had something they wanted to make and get out there. We are at a point where fan films can have incredible production values and often be of a higher quality than much of the legitimate junk coming out of Hollywood.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Rebooting of the Star Wars Expanded Universe

For those of you who do not keep up with such things, the Star Wars expanded universe has returned to Marvel Comics after over twenty-five years. There is logic to this, as both Marvel and Star Wars are now extensions of Disney.

Soon after Disney took over Lucasfilm they went and announced that basically all the Expended Universe (EU) that had been put out there (Nearly three decades of comics, novels, video games and more) is non-canon. That means that all the good and bad that had come out of the EU is meaningless as far as Disney is concerned.  All that matters is the six movies and two Lucasfilm cartoon shows, Clone Wars and Rebels.

With that being done everything was in place to start it all up again with a 100% fresh start.

Last month we got Star Wars issue 1 from Marvel comics. It sold over a million copies. Issue two sold out. Today Issue one of the first spin off series, Darth Vader, came out and is in high demand. Originally Darth Vader was to be a limited series, yet due to the high demand it had already been switched over to an on going series before the first issue came out.

Since these comics are being produced by the company that owns the rights, it would seem that these are to be canon now. I am unable to say if this will be good or not. There is potential there and it should be interesting to see where they go with these new EU storylines.

There was a lot of really good concepts put out there in the past EU that will from here on out be fully ignored. And it is going to feel weird when the new EU covers areas that the old EU already dealt with and we are given a fully new continuity on it all.

So the new Star Wars EU is off to big start. All we can do now is wait and see where it takes us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Magic of The Library

The new show The Liberians just finished up its first season and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

For those unfamiliar with the show, it is a follow up to a series of made for TV movies titled The Liberian. The stories revolve around The Library and the man picked to head it up. The movies were fun and had some intriguing ideas to them, so I was not surprised at a series being created to continue the world.

In the pilot episode The Library gets attacked and is pulled into a safe zone outside of reality. A guardian is chosen and three new co-Liberians are introduced as magic is reintroduced to the world. The Liberian from the movies is now a reoccurring character, instead of the focus of the show. The series instead follows the new team as they travel around the world to keep things balanced.

There is a blending of mythology in the show that is enjoyable. Folk Tales and Greek Myths are just as relevant in this world as Biblical stories are. They end up with a fun collection of artifacts from all over the place, that end up being used in interesting ways.

The characters are fun and all feel as lived in to begin with. They have been around and are already damaged in various ways. The cast is really good at playing off of each other and the stories do a great job of allowing each character they own development that does not feel forced.

There is a good mix of humor, action and plot in each episode. While special effects are there, they are not going to be what the show gets known for. It is not F/X heavy in any way, relying more on actual story telling and characters to keep you entertained. I very much would like to see Michael Bay learn from this approach.

One thing that stood out for me is in one episode the Liberians fail and are left wondering if they could have succeeded if they would have been willing to take a bigger risk. You rarely see a show like this allowing an episode to end with everything not being wrap up nicely for the good guys. While I am willing to bet if they get another season, they will revisit the town from that episode and try to fix things, it still works to have your heroes know failure.

The end of the season finale did a great job of both giving us an ending and leaving things wide open for future stories. Which is really how a first season should end. That way if you nylon get the one season, you feel that it was fulfilling, while at the same time if they get to keep things going you already have the sense that there is already ideas on where they want to go with the bigger storyline.

I have high hopes that we will be getting a second season. It is a series that truly deserves to continue.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

It Is Not Always A Good Thing To Be Right

I really love it when I go into a movie not expecting much and ending up enjoying the film. I have been pleasantly surprised many times in the past. I think it is one reason why I often risk seeing a movie I think is going to be real bad.

In this case I never once was excepting anything good. I was warned by many that it would disappoint. I still hoped that there would be something enjoyable in it.

Wow was I wrong.

The movie in question is 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)'.

It lived up fully to my expectation, in that I was positive before hand that it would truly suck on every level and it did. I seriously cannot think of one good thing to say about the movie. There was 100% nothing about it that I enjoyed.

I never once laughed at any of the humor in it, as it all fell flat and was forced.

Shredder, the big 'bad ass' villain was silly. I could not take him seriously at all. His armor and million knives and well everything about him did not make him menacing in any way. The design did not work. He was an eight year old's doddle of a 'cool' bad guy brought to life.

The turtles were... I guess they were the same turtles, but they seemed simplified in their characters. I really didn't care about them or find myself drawn to them. The turtles have been done a good half dozen times now, and generally you like them and get into their development as characters. This time around there was just something missing in that department,

As if to make a point as to the complete lack of creativity this time around, it also stole its whole opening from the live action movie version from 25 years ago. No attempt at all made to do anything new or creative with the story.

I could go off on how this time they had Splinter learn his ninja skills from a book he found in the sewers. Yeah, he becomes a ninja master all on his own through a self help book that someone threw away.

I had to rewatch the big climatic fight scene several times because I figured I had to have missed something. Yet I am positive that in the end the turtles failed in saving the city. They make a huge deal about how they cannot let the tower fall or a bunch of people will get poisoned. The physics are completely ignored as the tower then starts to fall until magically it is stabilized by the turtles. Then the tower falls, but is caught between buildings so it doesn't really fall I guess. Then the tower breaks apart and the area of the tower that has the poison in it breaks away from where the turtles are, falling to the ground bellow, where it should break and kill all the people if we are to believe what the turtles told us just minutes before.

After that the turtles still cling onto the remains of the tower for some reason as it crashes from building to building. They somehow end up on ground level, in a manner that should have broken every bone in their legs, if not their bodies.

Oh, and their shells are now bullet proof.

I truly found nothing enjoyable in this latest take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is one of the worst movies I have seen in some time. regretfully they are already working on a squeal. We are at a time when any piece of crap movie based off a popular 80s property (G.I.Joe, Transformers) is able to make money and pollute our theaters with more of the same crap.

I no longer go to see this movies in the theater. I wait until I can rent them for cheap and then torture myself. I wish the rest of our society would vote with their money as well and send a clear message to Hollywood that we deserve better quality films.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Bet It Will Be A Surprise Hit

Over the last few years, ever since it got announced, Ant-man has gotten a lot of snarky remarks made about it. Check out the trailer

I am fairly confident that it is going to be a good movie myself. So far Marvel studios has done an incredible job of making all their movies work (Remembering that the first Hulk movie was before there was  marvel studios). No one expected Guardians of the Galaxy to be a huge hit, with unknown characters and ridiculous characters with a talking racoon and a walking tree.

Yes Ant-Man is not a hugely popular character and yes there are several silly areas in the concept. Our hero will be riding an ant into battle and his main ability is that he can shrink. If done right, and it looks like that is what they are doing, it can work.

People need to understand that Ant-man is one of the older Marvel character and is a founding member of the Avengers in the comics. He has been a key part of the Marvel universe for a long while now.

I personally am hoping that they will have the Hank Pym Ant-Man do a cameo in Avengers: Age of . It would be real easy to do and it would work as a nice surprise for the fans. I still fidn it off that it is going to be Tony Stark who creates Ultron and not Hank Pym. At the minimum they need to mention Pym is some significant manner.

I have faith that they will give us a solid story that shows respect to the comics while at the same time making it unique with-in the Marvel cinematic universe, which is what Marvel Studios has shown us they are really good at doing.

I am fairly sure Avengers: Age of Ultron will be the big movie of the year, but Ant-Man is going to surprise many and prove the nay-Sayers wrong. I have full faith that it will be another enjoyable addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Friday, January 2, 2015

It Will Still Take Some Getting Used To

It really is odd to see the 'Disney' logo on Star Wars products now. I know Disney owns the franchise, but that doesn't mean they needed to put their logo on everything.

It is not like Star Wars needs the Disney logo. The Star Wars brand is going to sell itself just as well without any connection to Disney. If anything the Disney logo might turn away some fans. There was no need to so blatantly connect the brands.  I know I will never view it as being Disney's Star Wars, that would just be wrong.

What becomes puzzling though is that Disney has not gone and done that to everything Marvel. Marvel is doing just fine using only the Marvel brand.

Just one of those odd things that caught my attention.