Friday, December 18, 2015

The Force Awakens...What the fandom can't see right now. (Movie review)

[Warning: This review contains plot details from the film that could be considered spoilers.]

The Force Awakens opened last night reinvigorating a movie franchise that was long overdue. Newcomers Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac infuse the project with a freshness that wasn't seen since episode 4 opened all those years ago in 1977.

The film goes straight to introduce the new characters, which are well rounded and relatable:
Rey (Played by newcomer Daisy Ridley) is a fangirl living in the desert planet of Jakku who grew up alone admiring the tales of the rebellion. Finn (Played by Johnn Boyega) is a reluctant Stormtrooper who after witnessing the brutality of the first Order decides to go leave them for good. While Poe Dameron, (Played by Oscar Isaac) is the best friggin' pilot in the resistance (and he actually lives up to that)

Ridley's performance is tender, beautiful, relatable, and tough. God do we love this girl! Boyega's Finn is actually really funny, while still making it interesting  to watch and leaves us wanting to know more.  Isaac's Poe is daring and trustworthy. Definitely a guy you want to have on your side on a sticky situation. (You better have more of those buddy scenes with Boyega in the next installment. The saga needs more of that).

Despite the superb management of special effects, effective use of wipe transitions, well developed cinematography, brilliant editing, multicultural cast and practical effects which are welcome by every fan, the movie does little in regards of story. It fails  in explaining what happened with the republic, how come the empire is still at large and doing so well after all these years, and why on earth are they called the resistance? Since it seems that is the First Order the one relegated to a small planet.  None of these questions are answered in this installment. Still, the movie gives tantalizing  fan boy service through the entire exposition with  jokes, familiar wrecks of fan favorite vehicles, familiar phrases, and more.

The score unfortunately doesn't shine as much as in other installments and is plagued by chase, and incidental music rather than original tunes. The only outstanding piece was "Rey's theme" though you can still hear some good classic tunes thrown in there like the "Millennium Falcon" and some more.

The movie reaches a nerd climax when Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) is reintroduced to the franchise. Han hasn't changed much, he is still the same cocky old smuggler, thawed to perfection for this installment with the same wits and funny lines that we all love and remember. Yes! it now feels like Star Wars!  All this, while the main (apparent) plot of the movie seems to find Luke Skywalker who has mysteriously vanished.

And that is when it gets weird...

The first 3 quarters of the movie felt very Star Warsy but as the film develops, you start to feel a familiarity in regards of plot that you have seen before:

-Evil Empire: Check
-Rehashed opening scene with a star destroyer at the beginning (just a different angle): Check
- Missing droid with important info inside: Check
-Stranded character in a desert-like planet: Check
-Character who is a great pilot: Check
-Daring escape from the desert-like planet: Check
-Mission to deliver the droid to the rebel base: Check
-Rip-off cantina scene : Check
-Death Star-like planet that blows stuff up: Check
-Blowing a planet(s) by said Death Star-like planet: Check
-Major flaw in the design of such weapon: Check
-Lead female character captured and tortured by bad guys: Check
- Rebels finding the design flaw on such weapon: Check
-Attack on such weapon, that seems is not going too succeed: Check
-Killing of a major character in the third act to "inspire" the new characters: Check
-Trench run rip-off scene: Check
-Rebels blowing the weapon: Check

Yes, The Force Awakens is a camouflaged reboot of the Star Wars franchise, that uses the first one as its template. Though it still has some outstanding moments of its own.

While the good guys are the best part of this movie, the villains are the worst: Kylo Ren (Played by Adam Driver)  is a villain with a serious inferiority complex that throws tantrums (literally) every time something goes wrong. He mirrors the daddy issues seen on Empire with Luke and Vader but quite frankly fails to deliver the fear and presence that Vader had. General Hux (Played by
Domhnall Gleeson)  is probably one of the few who still retains that "imperial" feeling about the First Order,  however  back talks and diminishes Ren every time (who can blame him?) Vader- mind you- would have just choked him.

Captain Phasma, the oh! so praised character played by Gwendolie Christie, has few scenes throughout the flick, and on her last one, she is pushed out of frame like a muppet. Adding to that disgrace, as soon as a gun is pointed to her head, she flinches and helps the rebels, and -we assume- is discarded in a trash compactor thanks to the petition of Han Solo.  I hope she can redeem herself in the next chapter.

Finally Snoke....The much anticipated character played in CGI by Andy Serkis is nothing but a holographic Gollum on steroids (really DOES look like him) or a 10 foot Voldemort (choose what fits you) whose real size is yet to be seen since all of his parts are only holograms. Not frightening or intriguing at all.

They all fail to capture the ominous presence of the Empire, the fear that you felt when Darth Vader or Maul were on screen, is replaced by a villain with daddy issues whose personality is WORSE than teenage Anakin. Oh and the Stormtroopers haven't improved in regards of aim either, although they look way cooler.

Fans are raving. Words like "is like seeing the first Star Wars again", "My childhood is back!" are being uttered everywhere.  Well...duh! The force Awakens uses the same template of "A new hope" with similar plot twists, and  identical camera angles, while giving you very little new.  I expected a far more imaginative plot instead of the refry of a 30 year old story.

It's all concealed within an almost subliminal  cinematographic language meant to make you feel like you are a kid again, (sorry JJ, those of us who speak movie, can see through it)  while giving you almost nothing new. Maybe in a few months after the fandom fires die, people can see The force Awakens for what it truly is: A cash grabbing machine, that has reinvigorated the franchise for a whole new generation with new interesting and adorable heroes, an utterly UNNECESSARY death,  dull villains and a legacy cast that probably won't survive the final chapters of this new saga.

But we all knew that.

Star Wars opens nationwide in theaters on December 18th

Chris "Hunter" D.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dc Collectibles Batman Animated Review in Times Square New York

It was a cold afternoon in Times Square  and decided to make a toy review in the middle of it. Why not? Nobody has had the idea before (and I'm sure now everyone will follow/copy the idea) but hey here is the FIRST ever toy review in Times Square New York!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Conventions and zombie walks: Prime terrorist targets?

One dead and five wounded at a Zombie Walk event in Fort Myers. Having been raised in the middle of a civil war where people got shot and blown every hour of the day, (Peru in the 80's)  I have always been concerned -but never spoken about it to not sound like an alarmist- that these events (SDCC, Cons, Halloween etc) are prime targets for shootings or bombings pretty much like what happened in Boston. Well, now is starting to happen.

Just imagine the scenario: Everyone wearing fake weapons and masks making it impossible to identify the assailants which is exactly what is happening here. Fortunately, in events like San Diego I was able to identify DOZENS of undercover Homeland security officers (Don't ask how. I'm the son of a cop) keeping us safe, but that is not the case in every convention around the country. 

With the upcoming Halloween celebrations, please be always careful when attending these events, Look for suspicious people: Those who seem detached from what is happening around,  stay away from extra crowded areas (which is where these cunts like to attack for maximum effect) do not seat or hang around large windows and always, always stay alert.

Here is the full article courtesy of CNN:

Avengers Age of Ultron commentary (Spoiler free)

Yawn. That sums it all up. Nothing surprised me here. Was it good? Yes. Was it groundbreaking? No. But let’s dive a bit in here: Seeing all characters interact between each other is always great. The comebacks and jokes are always fresh and never get boring, however, the Avengers brand is starting to suffer from the typical "let's make it bigger cause we can" Hollywood syndrome, where the visual effects are the main focus instead of the plot. Movie producers and makers should understand: Nobody cares about “stunning” visual effects anymore, we are numbed to them, and in fact: We expect them; since nowadays movie making is not limited to anything but your imagination. Great movies are the ones that strike a balance between a compelling plot and great storytelling AIDED by special effects. This is a point that Age of Ultron is sorely lacking. It felt like a 141 minute SNL skit with great effects and great action but nothing else. As soon as I walked out of the theatre and jumped on my car I had totally forgotten about what I saw.

Ultron was a completely irrelevant and quite frankly boring nemesis not worthy of using all 6 avengers (he would have been great for an iron man movie instead of Aldrich Killian and the whole extremis turd) and not even the genius of James Spader could save you the boredom of watching a cybernetic Tony Stark knock off gone genocidal.

The predictability level on this movie is so unbearable, that mimics the first one even at the end of the movie where a moment that its supposed to be “compelling” does nothing but make you yawn while thinking “dejavu much?” The freshness that we saw on Guardians of the Galaxy, Winter Soldier, or Ant-Man is not present here as the Avengers brand is starting to feel stale like 3 day old coffee.
I love Marvel and I love all comic book movies, but I'm not a fanboy. I'm a fan, and when I see something wrong , I point it, even if I love the characters to death. My fandom does not blind me from criticizing something that I perceive is not as good as it should be, just cause we have to sell movies and merchandise (which for this movie has been the most mediocre line-up thanks to the half assed figures that Hasbro and others have put on the market) This kind of mediocre mentality is what we HAVE to avoid at all costs if we want our comic book movie romance with Hollywood to continue way beyond our time and not end up like a one night stand on the boulevard.

This hopefully will change-AND MUST CHANGE- when we reach the Infinity War, and then you might find me along the thousands of fanboys singing kumbaya, but for now, I have to point it like it is, -and sorry- but this is not a stellar movie. Do I hate it? Hell no! Do I love it ? Not much. I’m just indifferent to it like a frigid person is to sex...

Oh and Kudos to Lizzie Olsen and her Scarlet Witch... The only palatable thing to watch here. Avengers Age of Ultron is rated PG-13 and available now in stores worldwide.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Getting Hasbro exclusives at San Diego Comic Con is not as easy as you think..

As usual, I'm getting tons of requests to pick stuff for others at the convention, and as usual I can't. (and mind you, people just want the Hasbro stuff which is the hardest crap to get)  But is not cause I'm a selfish ogre, but cause of the many stupid ass rules that the big retailers have at the con and here is how its usually done there:

Getting most of the desirable exclusives in San Diego Comic con is not as simple as just walking to the  booth and buying the stuff. Let's take Hasbro by example: They have the shittiest way of selling exclusives of the entire convention: You have to wake up at 6 Am to make a line at the sails pavilion to get a "ticket" that will allow you to form a line at the booth. Past 9 you are shit out of luck cause there are no more tickets being handed out for the day. I wouldn't even wake up at 6 AM for my own wedding, much less for this crap...

This ticket has a designated hour (which is selected at random) where you can form the line AT the booth on the first floor. But in general, by the time your ticket is up, most of the exclusives you want, are sold out for the day. And there are limits mind you, as to how much crap you can buy, so is not like you can ask for 10 Stormtroopers. And that is for the ENTIRE SHOW.

What does this mean?

Well Kimosabee, let's say you are attending the show for all four days of the convention. Well, the wizards at the registration booth will consolidate your passes into one single badge. That is not bad right? WRONG! and here is why: Once you buy your goodies at the Hasbro booth, they will STAMP your badge and you will not be allowed to buy any more exclusives for the entire show. Yes, that is how stupid  things are.  If you wanted something that is sold out,  you are again, shit out of luck. "Try tomorrow fanboy" and do the whole dance all over. If you do NOT have a ticket, you are NOT allowed to even form a line, and the guys who handle the Hasbro line are the rudest persons ever. You feel like you are walking to an execution: They yell at you, treat you like cattle, etc.

Now, it's really not that bad when you think of it, but you forget that at SDCC there are thousands of re-sellers from all over the world who bring their families, spouses, grandpas, aunts, foster kids, bastards etc etc, they camp outside, they ALL form the line, and they ALL get 10 Devastators per household. Multply that by a thousand daily and there is your dance for the entire convention. And THEY are the people that usually get every single exclusive you see on Ebay.

I used to kill myself for the exclusives,  But I admit it, I'm NOT a morning person, I detest to wake up early like a soldier to form a line and self punish me on a time where I should be enjoying the darn thing. The last  last time I did that, I ended up with a headache, a HUGE blister on my foot and overall humilliated by the way they treat the consumer. So this time, I'm going there to ENJOY the darn convention, hang around with friends that I only get to see once or twice a year, keep you informed of the latest reveals,  post the pics, drool at the sexy cosplayers, do some interviewing, and generally have a good time, like a normal person at such event  SHOULD.

Now, I want exclusives, ARE  YOU KIDDING, I'm a toy person, I fucking LOVE toys! But I'll get whatever I can, at frustration free booths like Bluefin, The four horsemen, Mattel, the good folks at Mezco and many others, or any other place where I don't have to form a 10 mile line. If I get lucky and get one or two exclusives this year, it will be cause the toy gods smiled at me.

I aim to get my Hasbro exclusives from Hasbro toy shop or paying the $200 price when they are available at amazon and save me the humilliation and frustration that Hasbro puts you through to get their crap. At least, the internet doesn't treat me like scum for wanting to buy some toys and the extra price is WELL WORTH it to keep my dignity intact. But let's take a  look at some of their exclusives this year:

Stormtrooper? (PFF! I care two shits about the book, and the figure will be available worldwide once the movie hits)
Devastator? (The Takara one is MILES better than that crap, and it comes with individual weapons for each and a different head sculpt, and GOOD LUCK trying to fit that on the plane when you come back. Keep your chrome Hasbro)
G.I.JOE? (crappy repaints with little to no imagination attached)
Marvel Legends? (ok , I DO want that set. It's Awesome)
Marvel Universe? (well, that one is cool too)
Kreons? PASS!
Jem? (well not into dolls mind you, but that exclusive is the first to sell out immediately faster than anything on the booth. Good luck getting it)
Combiner Hunters? (Uninspiring repaints with big fucking swords. No thanks)
MLP? (well, that one I might say is always easy to get, easy to buy, IF you scored the darn ticket)

Is also fair to say that for ANY activity at the Hasbro booth, you are required a DIFFERENT  ticket. You want an autograph from Ray Park? no can do without the ticket. Want a pic with Sergeant Slaughter? GET OUT OF HERE MAGGOT! You are missing the ticket!  So imagine making a line to get a ticket  for every fucking thing you want to do at the Hasbro booth... You will be stuck at the sails pavillion for HOURS behind thousands of people, all this, without breakfast and my morning coffee. Did I mention that this convention is attended by more than 150 thousand people?

Unfortunately, Hasbro has inspired a lot more companies to do this  like DC, Lego, Fox, HBO,  and others, and many more are expected to follow this year. The fun part is that you find out once you get there, not before. I'm not going to sacrifice my sleep to get any of that. San Diego should be about having fun, meeting people, and enjoying yourself. Not about humilliation and military style morning wakings. So I wish you all the best of luck to get what you want my Knights and Knightesses, I'm sure you deserve it , but this Knight is going there to have fun .

-Chris "Hunter" D.