Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Movie of Countless Easter Eggs

A while back I wrote a review of the book Ready Player One. It will not be long now until we get the movie adaptation.

You can see the trailer for it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiK2fhOY0nE

I enjoyed the trailer, but was disappointed that it did not give any hint of the story. The action was good and we were given a flood of the visual effects. We are given the most basics of the world. The problem is anyone not familiar with the book will not know what the movie is about.

I also found it interesting that most of what we see in the trailer does not appear in the book (unless I am misremembering something). While I loved those scenes, I am wondering how they fit into it all. I have never been a purest when it comes to the source materiel. I've seen great adaptations done that have taken great liberties from the original souces. So that is not bothering me, I just want to see more so I know the story is there.

No matter what, Ready Player One will undoubtedly have more Easter eggs in it than any other movie.  You couldn't do the movie right without that. The book had so many geek/pop culture references to begin with. Any movie of it would have to go beyond that with all they can do in the background now days. The only limit would be making sure they have the rights to do it and with a movie like this, being produced by Spielberg, most of those companies are going to be fine with allowing it.

My predictions are that when all is said and done, we will be talking hundreds, is not thousands of Easter eggs. It most likely will be a movie you have to watch over and over again just to catch half of them. Now they just need to make sure it is watchable enough for that to be doable.

With the trailer alone, we most likely already have people setting up web pages to point out the few dozens Easter eggs it that alone. And each new trailer from here on out will most likely just add to that list.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm Hot For The Doctor

So the big news today is that the 13th Doctor will be Jodie Whittaker (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2092886/), our first female Doctor. I am binge watching Broadchurch today in order to get familiar with her

I have no problem at all with the idea of a woman playing the Doctor, outside of the idea of finding the Doctor attractive, which does feel a little odd after a life time of male Doctors. I am ready to see what direction they take this change and how this alters the dynamics of the series. There is no doubt this is a big change that will attract attention, both positive and negative.

Everything I have seen so far personally has been people all for this and ready for a female Doctor. Of course that is the crowd I associate with.  I have heard reports that I do not find surprising, just disappointing, that there has been those who have a negative reaction to this news.

Found this pic for anyone looking to read comments about the casting:


Regretfully chances are real good that you could get bingo in no time at all on twitter today.

Hopefully the new series will be here next year and we can see how effective a female Doctor can be.

Monday, July 3, 2017

And My Army Grows

If you didn't know, I am a bit of a Star Wars fan, and I do a little collecting here and there.

I also have an army of R2-D2s


And there are more of them in other displays, as well as packed away because I am unable to find room to display them.

R2 has always been my favorite character and he is so easy to merchandise. I love it when I run across a new piece that corresponds to me having money (It is annoying how those two have to come together).

This last weekend I was at Denver Comic Con, which I always enjoy. As of late for various reason I have not been picking up pieces too often, so I was not going out of my way to look.

But on my last trip through the dealers room, I stopped to look at a booth selling Japanese merchandise of all manner.

And I found this guy:






It is an R2 on a bottle cap. The bottle cap itself does not have any groves on it, so you just place it over the opening. Not sure how they were distributed, as there is not really a practical way to have them on the bottles at the stores. Would be interesting to look up that info. I have a bunch of them that I picked up years ago with mostly episode 1 characters on them, but this version of R2 is far cooler.

Always a good find when you can pay a couple bucks for a piece that is not easy to find here in the states.

Update: Did some quick research and learned that in Japan the bottle cap figures are sold via gashapon, or what we call gum ball machines here in the states.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gashapon

Friday, June 2, 2017

Is This The Movie We've Been Waiting For?

Today we see the release of what truly may be about the most anticipated super hero movie ever.

Wonder Woman.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I am not a DC comics fan. I have never been able to get into their comics (With a handful of exceptions) and rarely find their movies worth seeing. Superman vs Batman is one of the worst, most poorly convinced movies I have ever suffered through. Suicide Squad was...not sure how to describe a movie that empty in story, plot and character. Despite all the praise, I found The Dark Knight lacking, with only the portrayal of the Joker being well done. Which may not saying much, as I find the character of the Joker to be weak at its core.(I may have a future post to write on why the Joker is a poor character in general)  I have not had any desire to see a single DCU film in the theaters due to just how poor they have routinely done with their movies.

Yet something about Wonder Woman is making me want to see it in the theaters to learn if it is a good as it looks like it might be.

I also have hopes it will do good because I do think there are a great deal of female super heroes that would be great as the lead character in a movie.

And I am not the only one thinking this. Alamo Draft House decided to celebrate this possibility by hosting women only showings of the film, which has upset a batch of people who are proving such an event is actually needed by their protesting of it. I am a white, heterosexual male who agrees that there are too many movies that focus on white, heterosexual males as the main character.

The reviews for Wonder Woman are the best there have been for a DCU movie, so that is hopeful.

The one thing that kept bugging me with the Wonder Woman trailers is that it looked a lot like Captain America: The First Avenger. Yes, Wonder Woman is set in WWI (Even though that was not how the comics went), but it is still a period piece super hero film, where the main character fights in a world war before somehow ending up in the modern era. Hopefully there will be a storyline that makes Wonder Woman unique enough to stand on its own. Would be nice to see a DCU movie actually have a well thought out plot for once.

Even if Wonder Woman is as good as everyone is saying, is that the beginning of a change for DCU movies? Right now I do not have any faith at all that Justice League will be any good. From everything I have seen it just feels like it won't be able to deliver what it is trying for. While they may have improved the looks of Aquaman, just making him look badass for once does not mean they will get anything else right in the film.

In the end, Wonder Woman is a movie that will be heavily watched by all the film studios to see how it does. It has a huge weight on its shoulders, due to just what it will mean if it does well. Time to wait and see what comes of it.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

40 Years Ago Today





While I may have only been 2 at the time 40 years ago when the first film hit theaters, the impact of the event on my life is unmistakable. I do not remember a time before Star Wars, it has always been there as far as I am concerned.

Out of all my collecting, none has measure up the my Star Wars collection. It has been where my passion has been the most focused. While I kept a handful of pieces from my childhood, I have been actively working on my Star Wars collection since I was 16 and that is where the bulk of my collection has come from.

Both  my boys have grown up surrounded by Star Wars and openly embracing it. My oldest's first words were 'R2' and 'Bacca'. They both were swinging lightsabers as soon as they could hold one.


Me as a Jedi at the first Star Wars Celebration
Next to the X-Wing fighter at the first Star Wars Celebration


I have countless Star Wars related memories from various events and conventions.

Waiting in line to see George Lucas at Star Wars Celebration 3




Meeting Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) for the first time
Tonight I do plan to watch Episode 4 with my family.
Most likely we'll have a few lightsaber fights this afternoon.
I have no doubt we will be able to figure out various was to celebrate.

Interestingly today is also Towel Day, in honor of another unique sci-fi franchise (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). So got find your Star Wars towels to carry around in celebration of both events.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Trailer Made Me Less Interested In The Movie

Last night we got out and saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Really enjoyable, well worth seeing, great sequel.  Very much did what a sequel should do in advancing the over all story line that had been started in the first film.

This post is not about Guardians of the Galaxy though.

One enjoyable aspect of seeing films in the theater for me is the trailers. Had some good ones and some not so good ones.

I was already looking forwards to Spider-Man homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Star Wars episode 8. I'm still unsure about Wonder Woman. Have no desire to see The Mummy, mostly becasue of Tom Cruise(Any more his name is something that keeps me away from a film). Saw my first glimpse at the new Kingsmen movie, and it has promise. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets looks good.

Then we got Transformers:The Last Knight.

The Transformers movie series was not that good to start with after you get over the flash of it all and what you thought was a coolness of seeing the Transformers in a live action movie finally.

These movie got worse and worse as they went on with what can only be described as a clueless journey of repetitive, mindless action with next to no story connected to it and no effort at all put into character.

Needless to say the idea of fifth movie in the franchise held no appeal at all to me. Their one teaser trailer just seemed pointless and had no effect on me.

Then last night I got to see their big full length trailer...  Yeah, I did not think it would be possible to make me have any less desire to see what is clearly going to be a huge piece of crap movie. Understand, I am a huge Transformers fan.

The trailer for the most part was what you would have expected. Very little story given. Lots of action for the sake of action. Nothing in the way of character.

Then they cross a line. In one line of dialogue they show they have no clue at all about the character of Optimus Prime, giving us all we need to know this is going to be a truly worthless film.

Basically the one line suggests that Prime is ready to destroy Earth in order to save Cybertron. This is 100% against everything Prime is about. That storyline has been done in other Transformers universes, but Prime has never once tried to justify it or encourage it. He has always fought against it, always made it clear you do not sacrifice innocents under any circumstances.

Even if they tried to do a brainwashing kind of thing here, it just does not work. It is too out of character. It is also a storyline we've seen before, and Prime has fought it and his true self came through before he did anything that went against his character.

While this is supposed to be Michael Bay's last time as director of the franchise, he has already damaged it so horrible that unless they step back and do a full on reboot with someone who actually gets Transformers, I see no hope for the movies. They have sunk too low at this point to be able to fix by it in the same universe.

How much did they have to pay Anthony Hopkins to be part of this? They must have some big bucks to throw around to get the acting talent they do to for these every worsening films.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Now That Was One Geeky Conversation

My son and I were out doing some Pokemon hunting today.  We got talking about how the Remoraid (A sardine like fish style Pokemon) makes no sense at all to evolve into a Octillery (Basically an octopus like Pokemon). It is the kind of thing that makes it very clear the creators of Pokemon were on drugs while watching Animal Planet when they came up with most of these creatures and their evolutions.

We went through most of the Pokemon and made judgement calls as to how much sense the evolutions made. I think less than half of them really looked right. The creators clearly didn't care at all about logic or study nature when they came up with most of them. They have a basic teddy bear somehow turning into a monster grizzly bear with nothing more than them being bears connecting them, as they physically are clearly not the same species. There is a fat flying rabbit/squirrel then somehow becomes a ferret. Seriously, WTF were they on?

And of course if you get enough gold fish (Known as magikarp in the game) you can turn one into a giant sea serpent...

Then beyond the clear we don't give a damn about rational biology that s obvious, some of the Pokemon are a little disturbing and not necessarily well thought out with their storyline.

Cubones are little rodents who wear their mother's skulls on their heads, as they deal with the death of their mothers.... So I guess all females cubones die when they give birth for the first time to just one offspring. Not a good trait for survival there.

Then we have the truly creepy Drowzee, a creature who sneaks into people's bedrooms and steal their dreams through their nostrils while they sleep... Yeah, no drugs involved in the creation of that one.

I am enjoying Pokemon Go well enough, but it is really hard to take the franchise seriously when so much of it seems to have just been thrown together without any thought put in. Of course we are dealing with a 'cutified' concept of cock fighting where it is considered sad if the creature you are having fight using deadly powers, gets hurt.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Taking on The Round Robin Challenge

Good friend of mine and fellow Blogger, Mr. Smith, has drawn my attention to a Round Robin Blog Challenge that he has participated in.

 
 
This week's challenge is called Two Great Tastes That Are Great Together.

This challenge is actually an easy one for me, as the topic I am going to talk about is one I was planning on doing. DC Comic has been doing a He-Man and Thundercats limited series crossover event. I was going to wait until the series finished up to write about it, but it fits this challenge too well.

The series starts off with Mumm-ra and the Spirits of Evil working on a plan to find a way defeat the Thundercats by acquiring a weapon more powerful than the Sword of Omens. They are able to move Third Earth to the orbit of Eternia during a coming of age ceremony for Prince Adam. Of course all chaos break loose.

I'm not going to go much into the details of the storyline, as right away things get interesting and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Just trust me that it does not take long before you ask 'did that really just happen?'. Of course Skeletor and Mumm-ra do team up, but it is not as simple as you might think.

Right away we are given a good connection between the two worlds that made sense. As these two franchises have a lot in common with their mixture of magic and technology, so connecting them was not an issue as they fit together just fine. In fact I have always felt it was fairly obvious that Thundercats was trying to get in on the popularity of Masters of the Universe.

What I found most interesting was what canon was used from both.

They both came out it the 80s with their basic storylines, although Masters of the Universe did take a years or so to stabilize its best known storyline. While thanks to what MotU started, Thundercats was able to come in strong with their storyline from the get go. Both of the franchises faded away and had recent reboots that were actually much better than the original, but regretfully neither took off even though both were worth watching.

So in He-Man and Thundercats, the writers went with the most basic Thundercats canon, staying with the original characters unaltered from what we had been given in the 80s cartoon, not even making use of any of the characters introduced later in the series.

For MotU however, they used the hybrid storyline that Mattel has been using for their on-line collector's club figures. This storyline is a mixture from just about all things MotU starting with ideas from the early pack in mini comics all the way through the last cartoon reboot. The official canon is about as complex as it gets with all these elements mixed in there, even though He-Man and the Thundercats does not do much in exploring this new hybrid canon.

So we have one issue of this crossover event that was a long time in coming remaining. While I do expect somewhat a cliche end to the story, since they have done an impressive job with surprising us so far, I am looking forwards to seeing how they wrap it all up and what final surprises they have waiting for us.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Still as Bad as I Remember it Being

It is always interesting to watch something from your childhood and see how it lives up to your memories. I've had a mixture of such experiences.  Something actually have gotten better and work on a whole different level that I didn't realize as a child.  Many have aged well and are just as enjoyable now as they were decades ago.  Some of it I can see how bad it is, but I can appreciate the corniness of it due to when it was made and the various elements that might have limited the production.

Then you find something that was horrible back then and is still undeniably horrible now.

Today I just rewatched the live action film version of Masters of the Universe for the first time in thirty years. I only watched it once all the way through when I was young and didn't remember it well. It didn't draw me in and from what I could remember it was bad all around.

Well, it is still just as bad. And bad on every level.

Some bad movies can be enjoyable, with a corniness that works. Prime example of this is the classic 1980 Flash Gorden movie. It is a highly enjoyable bad movie that I have never grown tired of. I know many dislike Howard the Duck, but that is a bad movie I enjoy and feel is highly under rated.

Masters of the Universe is just bad. Idiotically bad. I know why that in thirty years I have had no real desire to watch it again and there is a real good chance I will never watch it again. There is just nothing in it even remotely enjoyable.  Horribly written, acted, directed with really bad fight scenes with cheap special effects that just didn't work. It was clear there was just piss poor choice after piss poor choice.

So this is one movie that held no nostalgic value for me and in the rewatching of it has left me knowing why.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Most Perfect Movie Trailer Ever?

The next movie in the X-Man film franchise is to be Huge Jackman's last time playing Wolverine. This is his third solo Wolverine movie. The first was a true flop and the second was good, but felt to be missing something.

A few month ago we got this trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny3hScFgCIQ, for the third movie simply titled Logan.

I was at a full lose of words when I saw it for the first time and it still has not grown old. It is a powerful trailer than does everything needed to get you interested in the movie. And the music pick is beyond brilliant.

They just released a new trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH3OxVFvTeg, and it works, but it was never going to be able to match that first one.

The first trailer is worth watching over and over again. It tells a story that you want to know more about. It makes you care about the characters. And the music just fits the character of Wolverine.

Could this be a case where the trailer is more worth watching than the movie?

I hope not. This looks as if it will be the best movie of the X-Man franchise. Just a month and a half before we find out.

Hollywood needs to learn from this trailer.  This is how you do trailers right.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

20 Years Later, Gargoyles Is Still A Great Series


Recently I was able to acquire all three sets that make up the complete series of Disney's Gargoyles from the mid 90s. I loved the series when it first aired and caught all the episodes back then.  However this as the first time I was able to watch the full series for start to finish.

It has aged well and is actually better than a lot of the popular cartoons out now.

Gargoyles is the story of a clan of gargoyles, who are stone by day and flesh by night. It ran for three years as part of the Disney Afternoon programing.  Unlike most of the other Disney Afternoon cartoons, Gargoyles featured all new characters and told an on going story.  Most of the other shows with Disney Afternoon were basically half hour long Disney cartoons, based on already known Disney characters, that reset after every episode. From the get go it was clear that Gargoyles had a story line and a history that mattered throughout.

The world of Gargoyles is interesting. It is modern day New York for the most part (Although we do get to see much more of the world at one point) but where Shakespeare meets Arthurian Legends with a huge dash of myths from all over the world mixed in, all connected together. And it works so well.

They also did a remarkable job of building up to some of the big reveals near the end of the series.  Watching it from start to finish for the first time I saw this build up and just how well done it was. The seeds were clearly there early on.

Not sure if I am going to go after the short lived follow up to Gargoyles, Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicle. I don't remember it being as good and it does not tell a complete story in its 13 episodes.

There is no doubt that Gargoyles have stood the test of time and does not feel dated in the least. I recommend them for anyone who enjoys good story telling and well done cartoon shows.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Fantastic Trip Back to That Magical Universe

Opening weekend for it we got out and saw Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them. While I enjoy the Harry Potter universe, I am not a huge die hard fan of it. As I wrote in a previous post here Cursed Child was disappointing. I also have issues with a fair amount of not too well thought out aspects of the original seven book storyline. I understand why it is a fun series and why so many people enjoy it, but I too often felt it was overrated and that many fans tried to turn the series into something greater than it was.

The original eight movies were fun, but too much suffered from the same problems of the books with the added lose of story that is too often seen when turning a book into a movie. I did enjoy them though for the level they were.

So as usual I gave that background of my feelings for what has come before to help put my views on the new movie in perspective.

I though Fantastic Beast was the perfect way to reintroduce the franchise. Movie studios need to take a note from this example and learn just how to break away from the mold and be able to play in an established universe without having to use anything we've seen before. There is no Harry Potter or Voldemort in this movie and that is a good thing. Dumbledore and Hogwarts are mentioned, but are not essential for the story in the least. This could easily be a stand along movie that does everything it needs to in just the one film.

The story is about creature hunter Newt Scamander, who studies these amazing creatures and tries to protect ad help them.  Newt comes to America on a personal agenda.  Much of his philosophy goes against the ideas of the magical community, who seem to believe it is better to kill off a believe dangerous species than study them and try to understand them. The movie shows how ignorance and fear cause problems. Newt also is not a charismatic person and is very aware of this, admitting that he makes people uncomfortable.

Beyond that, the character of Newt is also not a powerful wizard or a chosen one of any of that. We have no prophecies or great expectations of him.  No one is pushing him to be great. He uses his actual skills and knowledge time and time again to make a difference. It is the aspects that make him something of an outsider that allows him to do what he does and it is under appreciated by just about everyone he encounters.  In some ways he is a 180 degree turn from the character of Harry Potter and that makes him far more interesting for me.  Harry fit with what children play as being, a chosen one with great potential and everyone knows it, while Newt is more human and down to earth, a guy who is just trying to do his best with what he has. With that one element we see a maturing of the franchise that is going to help to bring people into this world. I can see it appealing to those who gave up on the original movies becasue they were too childish or repetitive.

While the title itself is not accurate, due to being based on a fictional text book that Harry and friends use, the movie does deliver on showing us a rather impressive cast of fantastic beasts. There are many well down scenes that have a truly magical sense to them showing us these creatures.

And while it does not look like we will see the other three main characters in the sequels, they were well done as well.  The no-mag/muggle Jacob Kowalski was a perfect counter to Newt, as a generally likeable guy who gets caught up in something beyond anything he thought possible.  His fascination with the discovery of the magic world is so perfectly shown. In some ways he plays the average Harry Potter fan getting to play around in the magic world for a bit, with child like wonder at it all.

Porpentina Goldstein and her sister Queenie are a perfectly pair. Fun and charming characters and the main source of our knowledge of the Wizarding World of America.

I am looking forwards to see where this film series takes us. My understanding is that each film will take place in a different country so that in the end we will get to see the magical communities around the world. There is a lot of potential here. It may take ten years for us to get the full story, but if they can keep it all at this level is will be an enjoyable journey.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

This May Be The Worst Comic I Have Ever Read

If you've been reading my blog, then you know I am a big Marvel comics fan and I have a thing for $1 comics. The other day I hit up the $1 comics and picked out a batch of The New Defenders from the mid-80s

First issue I read was 148. It was just horrible. I have no idea why this comic got written or approved for publication.

I think it is supposed to be a murder mystery, but you really don't care in the least about anything that happens in it. It is so boring and pointless that the murder in it just seems to be there to be there.  And all the 'clues' are just put there to have clues for the sack of having clues.

The Defenders themselves are completely unneeded for any aspect of the story and are just hanging out because it is their book. Of course none of the character seem to need to be there, as many are thrown in suddenly just because the writer needed more characters to have more characters in the story.

I also think it was supposed to be a humorous story as they had Groucho Marx showing up, trying to be funny and almost saying Groucho like things, just lacking any real wit or humor. He is more or less just there to be annoying, not funny or useful in any way.

One thing I always try to do with comics is to look at the era they were written in. This is the mid 80s, during a time where comics were maturing and when writers could really start to create some incredible story lines. It was also during the time Marvel was putting out Secret Wars 2, so this was a low point for Marvel Comics. I would put New Defenders 148 as being worse than any issue of Secret Wars 2.

I am going to go ahead a read the rest of the issues I picked up, but I do not see myself buying any more New Defenders comics.