Showing posts from September, 2017

Summer Blockbusters, Superhero Franchises, and Media Monopolies

With the summer blockbuster season 2017 tucked away, many articles have been circulating about how this was the lowest-grossing season since 2006. Naturally, these articles include speculation over why this happened, everything from audiences being sick of "gimmicks" such as 3D to superhero movie fatigue. I think that these speculations (which don't have any hard data to back them up, of course) overlook some very key details about the current state of filmmaking, why superhero movies aren't going anywhere, and how the current state of summer blockbuster movies reflect the current state of Hollywood, which is dominated by a handful of powerful media mega-monopolies.

One thing I've noticed that is consistently missing from 2017 summer blockbuster commentary is information about the ongoing rise of high-definition, on-demand video technology. These days, just about any device that has an internet connection and a screen (i.e., HD TVs, smartphones, and touchscreen ta…

Nintendo vs. Virtual Reality

Nintendo earned its popularity over the years by its willingness to experiment with new forms of video gaming. In fact, the popularity of its latest console Switch, a home/portable console hybrid, is a great example of this strategy in action. However, it looks like Nintendo won't be doing anything with virtual reality (VR) any time soon.

This news comes as a surprise to many Nintendo fans, but recent comments made by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime at Variety's Entertainment and Tech Summit strongly indicate that Nintendo won't be going virtual with the Switch. In his comments, Fils-Aime said that the "problem with VR is that there aren't a lot of experiences that are truly fun."

While I can understand Nintendo's reluctance to invest in VR, this news still baffles me because the company's strategies in recent years would suggest otherwise. The Nintendo 3DS has both stereoscopic gaming capabilities and augmented reality (AR) games, whil…

From Shark City Ozark: The Limited Edition Jaws 2 Bruce Bust

When it comes to high quality Jaws collectibles, no one else does it like Shark City Ozark (SCO).

In a time where just about every popular franchise has licensed its name out various companies for the production of detailed collectibles, SCO rose to the occasion for the woefully underserved Jaws fan community by releasing a series of amazing mechanical shark replicas. Not only did these replicas meticulously capture the intricacies of the mechanical sharks used in the first movie, but SCO has also produced replicas of the sharks from the threesequels with the same amount of outstanding quality.

The latest line of SCO's Jaws collectibles is a series of limited edition 1:6 scale busts of the mechanical sharks. Its newest entry in is a reference to the electrifying ending of Jaws 2: the "Cable-Chomping Scarface Bruce" bust.

As the name suggests, this Jaws 2 bust includes an underwater power cable that can be put in its mouth to give it a sort of "action pose", or …

The Last Jedi Toys: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Disney recently unveiled many of the toys that it plans to release in conjunction with the next Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, which is scheduled to arrive at the box office in December. None of these toys give away any major plot details for the next chapter in the blockbuster space opera, but they do include new interactive entertainment products ... as well as reminders of Disney's reluctance to move too far away from the original trilogy.

The Good: Of the many Last Jedi toys that have been previewed so far, two interactive toys instantly caught my attention: Sphero's remote control R2-D2 and Lenovo's Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, an augmented reality (AR) lightsaber kit.

Sphero's initial contribution to licensed Star Wars merchandise was a remote control BB-8, which was released for The Force Awakens back in 2015. The new Last Jedi RC toys include R2-D2 and another BB droid named BB-9E, but it's the R2 toy that impresses me the most. Of the many, many electronic…