Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Former Present Becomes The Past? Yeah... Yeah, That Sounds Right.

     Since Avengers: Endgame is now out on laser disc, or whatever the kids are watching these days, I've gone ahead and updated my MCU timeline. Click on Ken Jeong's mustache to check it out.

     Endgame, of course, deals with time-travel which posed an interesting dilemma when it came to putting events on a timeline, but I think I figured out a way to make it work. Hopefully, future films in the MCU lay off the time-wimey stuff. For one thing, the stakes could start to feel pretty much non-existent, BUT MAINLY, this whole nerd thing I'm trying to do here would be a lot more difficult!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bright Suns

     ONE of my favorite things about Disney parks are the many characters that were created just for the parks themselves. The Hitchhiker Ghosts, the Tiki Birds, Figment, the Redhead... the list goes on and on. With pop culture being as big as it is these days, it would be easy for Disney to just overhaul all of their theming to coincide with their ridiculously successful catalog of films, and while they have, of course, done this in some places, I find it refreshing that there are still occasions where the parks are used as an outlet for NEW storytelling ideas rather than just a bunch of rollercoasters with a preexisting brand slapped on.

     And now we have Galaxy's Edge, which in my opinion, is a nice blend of both approaches. You get Rey, Stormtroopers, a Jim Cummings character, and other recognizable icons from that galaxy far, far away, but in an immersive new world with new characters that expand on this beloved franchise that has always been so close to my heart.

     Naturally, I can't wait to pay Batuu a visit, but until I do... I'll have to rely on fan art and dreams to teleport me off this rock. And with that, I give you a new line of Disney Park Pals... Galaxy's Edge edition!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Care Bears: Endgame

     My sweet wife would rather me tell her about the movies I see, rather than drag her to them. This works for me because I love recounting things in great detail without worrying about spoilers. After I told her about Avengers: Endgame, and that one scene in particular, she says without hesitation, "Sooo... like Care Bears? They do the Care Bears Stare?"

To which I respond...

"Yeah. Pretty much."

Then, I went and made this.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Chilling Sound of Your DOOOOOM

    I've started giving my own take on the iconic Batman characters and thought that Mr. Freeze was a good choice for the next installment. Freeze is a giant heartless husk of a human so I decided to go the Darth Vader route a little bit and put him in a menacing robot suit. Plus, it does away with the snow globe helmet which, let's face it, Batman would totally be able to break.

Mr. Freeze

     Oh, and since I've also been coming up with casting choices for these guys, I'm going to go ahead and give the part of Victor here to the great Doug Jones, the very talented man whose face Hollywood loves to put in a mask.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Thour Perthimmonth

     Why have I not delved (I'm talking' straight up delved) into the resplendent majesty that is the Looney Tunes earlier?!

It's a regret I plan to rectify.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

5 Things I Actually LIKE About Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

People LOVE to slam the Star Wars prequels! It’s practically its own genre of web content! We’re talking a plethora of long-form, well-constructed essays delving into every facet of what makes these three specific movies so… not good. Go ahead and look it up. There are articles, videos, podcasts. If you’re trying to put your finger on what it is about these films from a galaxy, far, far away that you just can’t stand, then there is more than enough material out there to tell you what to think.

I, like so many, am not a fan of these films either. I also, like these same so many, have watched them several more times than films I actually enjoy! I don’t know why exactly… but I definitely have.

But rather than add to the already massive pile of negative reviews out there, I thought I’d challenge myself by racking my brain to come up with something positive to say about the Star Wars prequels. And because it's the 20th anniversary of the film's release... and mainly just because it's the first film in the saga... I'm focusing this first installment on the prequel that started it all. So here we go! Without further ado, here are 5 things I actually like about Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace!

Yep. It’s a numbered list. That’s also a genre.

#1. The bit with the lightsabers in the smoke
     I don’t think there’s anything more “Star Wars” than lightsabers! Seriously, the idea to put a handle on a laser beam goes right up there with putting potato chips ON a sandwich! It’s brilliant! Since The Phantom Menace is supposed to be the first installment in the Star Wars saga, this is canonically the first time we see this elegant weapon, so it deserves an intro with some oomph!

     When Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan hear their ship exploding, they freak out and prematurely ignite their weapons, only to be left standing there awkwardly in an empty conference room. While this is technically the first time we see a lightsaber, I choose to ignore it in exchange for a moment with some more of the aforementioned oomph.

     Seconds later, after flooding the conference room with deadly gas, the battle droids open the door to… fire lasers at the Jedi’s lifeless corpses? I’m not really sure what their intentions were, but before they even get a chance to carry them out, we see the glorious blue and green beams light up and the two Jedi blast through the smoke, hacking every dumb droid in their path. The original trilogy planted the seeds in our imagination of these daring space knights dispensing justice, and after years of waiting, we actually get to see these thoughts come to fruition! It was like Christmas!  

#2. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor
     I’m not really sure who the central protagonist of The Phantom Menace is supposed to be, but the two characters who really anchor the whole thing, for me, are Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. My reason for thinking this has everything to do with the performances of Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor respectively. No stranger to film epics, Mr. Neeson delivers the expositional nonsense in a way that sounds 100% natural. As for Mr. McGregor, filling the shoes of the great Sir Alec Guiness is definitely no small feat, especially for a fairly newcomer, but he does a superb job!

     The original Star Wars trilogy filled our heads with this concept of an era of civilized knights fighting to keep peace in the galaxy and, in my opinion, these two actors are the perfect choices to bring this concept to life. I only wish we were able to see more of Mr. Neeson in the other two prequel films.

Oh yeah. Spoiler alert. Qui-Gon dies.

#3. Podracers!
     The podrace sequence is a HUGE part of The Phantom Menace that, as far as I can tell, advances the plot in no real way whatsoever! Nevertheless, it’s bonkos fun to watch! What I like most about this scene are the podracers themselves. The filmmakers could have easily made racecar versions of a landspeeder or speeder bike, and it would have been just fine, but instead they designed something new! What we got are these Star Wars-ified chariots that, like the TIE fighter, are unique and instantly recognizable!

     With all of the new Star Wars movies in the works, I hope that Lucasfilm gets over this seemly fear of all things prequel and give us some more podracers in the future. I, for one, would much prefer them over those giant llama goats from The Last Jedi!

#4. Throwdown with Darth Maul
     With the original trilogy, the lightsaber fights were always underlined with some form of emotional subtext. With the prequels…. well, not so much. I suppose if you tried hard and referenced some expanded universe novel, you could find some level of depth in there but, for the most part, they’re just a REALLY good amusement park stunt show. Nevertheless, I love the crap out of the lightsaber fight between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul and NEVER get tired of watching it!

     Sure. I could talk about how cool-looking Darth Maul is. He has a double-bladed lightsaber, blah blah blah. NO! What I love about this fight is the location! WHERE ARE THEY?!? The scene starts at the royal palace in what’s a fairly practical looking hangar bay, but then they turn the corner and BAM! They’ve stepped into some sort of synth-pop album cover! There are thin walkways weaving around GIANT columns of purple energy, all leading to several red force field doors, that are constantly opening and closing, guarding a fairly small room that, at its center, is a bottomless pit! Again, I ask… WHERE ARE THEY?!? What is the purpose of this place?!?

     I probably sound like I’m slamming it a little bit, and maybe I am, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy every minute of this fantastical laser show! This whole bit is a reminder, for me at least, that there doesn’t have to be constant logic in a movie for it to be good. Who care’s what the giant purple columns do? I don’t WANT to know! Let’s just enjoy the ride!

#5. Jar.. Jar… Binks
     If I haven’t already, this is probably where I’ll lose most of you. I actually LIKE Jar Jar… or rather, I like the idea of Jar Jar. As great as BB-8 is, (and he’s really great) he’s still just a slightly more adorable version of R2-D2. As a result, Artoo’s role is significantly reduced because the same character can’t really play well opposite… himself! Jar Jar is like David Pumpkins… he’s his OWN THANG! Lucas and friends took a risk and created a brand new character to fill the very important role of the comedy relief. Where they went wrong, I think, is that they underestimated just how difficult good comedy is! Trust me, I know! I just referenced David Pumpkins in my Star Wars post! I'm trying REALLY HARD to get a laugh!

     Jar Jar is annoying. He sniffs farts and takes pratfalls that make Steve Urkell look like Steve Martin, but he has potential! In the next two installments, his character is scaled back to practically nonexistent. At first, this seems like an improvement, but how much better would the prequel trilogy have been if rather than shy away from Mr. Binks, the filmmakers owned up to their original vision and put a stronger effort into evolving him into a character with some strong comedic chops? Maybe I’m the only one with this opinion, but meesa thinka that’s a pretty okee idea!

     The Phantom Menace is not a good movie. Not even a little. But out of all the Star Wars prequels, it’s actually my favorite, which means providing this positive take on it was the easiest. I'm not sure when I'll get around to coming up with things I like about my LEAST favorite film of the trilogy, Attack of the Clones, but when I do, it's gonna be both passive AND aggressive!

Get excited!

Oh yeah! Thing #6 - I like this poster.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

My MCU Timeline - Part Five

     While putting this thing together, I noticed that a few other people have already done something similar. Buuuut... mine's better. 

Click here to start from the beginning.