Showing posts from June, 2011

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The Rocketeer, CGI Style!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer, a 1991 superhero movie that was based on the comic book of the same name. In honor of this anniversary, animator John Banana put together an amazing, Pixar-esque animated shot that you can watch on the Vimeo video site here. You can also read's exclusive interview with Banana about his colorful tribute cartoon here.

The Rocketeer character first appeared in 1982 and was created by the late writer/illustrator Dave Stevens. Stevens designed the Rocketeer as a homage to the Saturday matinee heroes of the 1930s and 40s, and the visual style of the Rocketeer comics had a very nostalgic, retro look. (It should also be noted that the director of The Rocketeer movie was Joe Johnson, the same man who directed this summer's nostalgic, retro Captain America movie.) If you're a fan of the Rocketeer, Banana's cartoon is a wonderful trip down memory lane. If you've never heard of the Rocketeer but are a fan of a…

Will You Wii U? An Early Look At Nintendo's Next Video Game Console

The E3 Expo, the annual cutting-edge video game dog and pony show, was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center a few weeks ago. Of the many previews provided at this year's E3, one of the most heralded was Nintendo's next generation console, Wii U. Although I wasn't at E3 to sample the new system first-hand, I've seen enough articles and video footage about Wii U's debut to come to a few conclusions about Nintendo's latest step forward. As long as Nintendo gives their new system the support it needs, it looks like the Wii U could be the next blockbuster system in the video gaming community. Read on....

War of the Worlds Tripods are Coming to Vaporize Your Model Collection This September

Last January, I wrote a post about Pegasus Hobbies' release of an alien creature model kit based on the invaders from the 2005 version of War of the Worlds. Of course, what good are alien invaders without some kind of terrifying war technology (you hear that, M. Night Shyamalan?), so Pegasus Hobbies will be releasing a 15-inch tall kit of the alien tripod from the same movie this September.

This tripod kit looks like an amazing complementary piece for the previous alien creature kit, as well as for model kits of the alien invaders and the golden war machines from the 1953 version of War of the Worlds. The kit will consist of one alien tripod and will include additional parts--such as deployed arm lasers, tentacles and collection cages--for building you own customized version. For model-making experts who have electrical wiring expertise, the kit will also have a transparent hood and clear eye lenses for possible lighting additions. This studio-accurate tripod comes with a logo disp…

Revenge of the Giant Spider Invasion!

A few days ago, David Lohr published an article on AOL's Weird News site entitled, "Junkyard Michelangelo Dick Schaefer Turns Rusty Old Cars Into Glorious Monsters". As the title suggests, Lohr's article is about how Schaefer, a retired automotive dismantler who lives in Erie, PA, turns scrap metal from his brother's junkyard into sculptures. The article features a few photos of the junk artist's work, but the one that stood out for me was one of Schaefer's own favorites: a spider he made out of a 1970s Volkswagen Beetle.

Seeing this picture reminded me of another, er, creative work that relied on using Volkswagens as giant spiders: the 1975 big bug movie, The Giant Spider Invasion.

In this campy z-grade film, giant spiders terrorize a small town in Wisconsin. It was directed by Bill Rebane, who directed other campy z-grade films such as Blood Harvest (the one and only slasher film that featured Tiny Tim in a starring role), Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake

Green Lantern Review: The Space Knight Rises

Continuing with this summer's crop of big-budget superhero movies, Green Lantern arrived in theaters last weekend. Unfortunately, unlike Thor and X-Men: First Class, the Green Lantern movie has become the whipping boy of movie critics who feel that there are just too many superhero movies arriving at the multiplexes. To be sure, Green Lantern is a more formulaic movie than its two immediate predecessors, so that would make it the most likely choice to get a collective wedgie from our nation's film critics who view blockbuster superhero movies as the unmistakable portents of our culture's decline. But don't let the negative reviews fool you--Green Lantern is a welcome blast of emerald-shaded, 3D summer fun (more fun than X-Men: First Class, actually) that's well worth the time of both comic book fans and general audiences alike. Read on for my complete review.

2D Movies That I Want to See in 3D

With Hollywood cranking out one 3D movie after another, quite a few older 2D movies are hopping on the bandwagon through post-production conversion to 3D. George Lucas plans to re-release all six of the Star Wars movies in 3D, and James Cameron will do the same for Titanic. With that in mind, here is a chronological list of films that, if possible, I would like to see converted into high-quality 3D movies. Read on...

The 2011 Chevy HHR: The Unofficial Vehicle for Imperial Stormtroopers Across the Galaxy

Search your feelings readers, for you know this to be true: When painted white, the 2011 Chevy HHR looks a lot like a Stormtrooper helmet from the Star Wars saga when viewed at certain angles. Compare the shots below:

My wife and I noticed this the other day when a white Chevy HHR pulled in front of us. Both of us noticed this similarity, and I found myself occasionally humming the Imperial March theme for next hour. The following day, my wife saw another white Chevy HHR, except that this one had a vanity license plate that read CLONE. Obviously, we're not alone in our opinion.

How else do you think these guys get to fan conventions?

Mini-Review of X-Men: First Class

I had to wait a week, but I've finally caught up. I saw X-Men: First Class yesterday, the prequel to the X-Men film trilogy and the second Marvel Comics movie of this summer. I'll get the good points out of the way first: the direction is great, the globe-spanning plot moves along at an steady pace, and the casting was spot-on. In particular, Kevin Bacon gives a memorable performance as the film's main villain Sebastian Shaw, and the filmmakers chose very wisely when they cast James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender to step in for Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the respective roles of Charles Xavier (a.k.a. Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto). In short, if you enjoy the X-Men comics and the previous X-Men movies, then you'll enjoy X-Men: First Class.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem that First Class has is one that's reflected in the other X-Men movies: too many characters. First Class populates its cast with characters from all over the X-Men univer…

Transformers Invade the Smithsonian

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently had the chance to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Dulles, VA. It was the first time that I ever visited that particular Smithsonian Museum, so I was somewhat surprised to see a small exhibit devoted to the Transformers toy line in the middle of the Smithsonian's collection of real-life aircraft.

This display was put up as part of this museum's role in the shooting of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and I suppose it was decided to keep the display up because another Transformer movie is coming out in a few weeks, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Placing movie props on display next to real-life artifacts in a museum is hardly a new idea. I've seen plenty of props from the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises on display at other Smithsonian museums, and I've also seen props from Aliens, Ghostbusters and Jaws on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. However, this is the first time that I've s…

Early Astronauts in the Movies: Mutated and Mutilated, Irradiated and Impregnated

I recently took some out-of-town guests to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Dulles, VA (a.k.a. the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center). Unlike the Air and Space Museum that's part of the National Mall in Washington DC, the Dulles museum is a gigantic hangar that contains the largest collection of full-sized aircraft for public display. The collection spans from the earliest attempts at technology-enabled flight to some of the more modern examples, such as the F-14 Tomcat fighter and the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.

In the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar section of the museum, which displays the Space Shuttle Enterprise, I found this interesting artifact from the early days of space travel:

If I ever find myself living in a trailer park, my aluminum-sided trailer
will have these words clearly displayed on its side and I will always answer the door wearing a white biohazard suit.
Seeing this decontamination trailer on display alongside the various satellites, rockets and shuttles reminde…

Batgirl Returns (Finally)

I recently heard that DC Comics is going to reboot its entire superhero universe, starting this fall. There are some rumors circulating that this rebooting is supposed to dovetail with DC making its comics available online and they hope that the combination of narrative rebooting and digital distribution will help them build a newer, larger fan base. It's not like DC hasn't done this before, starting with Crisis on Infinite Earths and then in other multi-issue, multi-title "event series", so I really have no idea how this rebooted DC universe will be in terms of quality. So far, though, one piece of good news has come out of this: Barbara Gordon will resume her role as Batgirl.

I've always liked the Barbara Gordon character, and I thought that she got a raw deal when they crippled her in The Killing Joke and then left her to remain in her wheelchair while dozens of other DC characters were either miraculously healed from the most dire of injuries or resurrected fr…

Jaws to Resurface on Nintendo This Fall

For 3D monster shark fans, this fall is going to be an unprecedented shark-a-palooza. Not only are we getting Shark Night 3D and Bait 3D in the theaters this September, but Majesco Entertainment announced that they will be releasing Jaws: Ultimate Predator this fall for both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii systems. Majesco previously released Jaws Unleashed back in 2006 and with the new game designed for play on the 3DS, we will finally have a Jaws console game that's in 3D.

According to Majesco's press release, Ultimate Predator takes place 35 years after the original Jaws movie. Like Unleashed, the new game will have you playing as the monster shark, protecting your turf from both humans and other ocean predators. The game's environments will include Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef, and Amity Island itself. Whether this game will refer to any of the Jaws movie sequels or the previous Unleashed game has yet to be determined.

Ultimate Predator will be the first Jaws game to appear o…

Fiercely Nerding Out Over Disney 3D Blu-Rays, Comic Book Movies, and Schwarzenegger's Future Film Career

I'm back on the Fierce and Nerdy site today, where I ponder Disney's conversion of two animated classics from 2D to 3D for re-release on Blu-ray, complain about what's missing in most movie adaptations of comic books, and make recommendations about how Arnold Schwarzenegger can successfully relaunch his dormant movie career. Click here to read my post.