Showing posts from August, 2018

Dining with Jaws: An Update on the Found Mechanical Shark from the Florida Universal Jaws Ride (Updated)

Way back in February, I published a post about the discovery of a mechanical shark that was used in the Jaws ride at the Universal Orlando Resort down in Florida, a ride that was shut down back in 2012. I have received many inquiries about the shark since then, the most recent one from a blogger in Japan who writes about Universal Studios Japan (USJ). You can visit her blog, L.C.A Studios USJ, here; the posts that pertain to the found mechanical shark are here and here. (L.C.A. Studios also has content on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.)

The questions from L.C.A. Studios prompted me to follow up with John Ryan, the lucky Jaws fan who made this remarkable find, to see what else he has learned about the shark and what he has done with it. Here’s what he e-mailed to me:

"It seems we've substantiated that the shark is from the earlier version of the ride. A local county clerk search of the Maryland property where 'Jaws' was sitting showed the home was previously owned by…

Adventures in Amity: Tale from the Jaws Ride Book—on Sale Now!

When movie fans think of the Jaws franchise, most think of the first film and its three sequels. Yet as many die-hard Jaws “finatics” will tell you (including yours truly), the amusement park rides that are based on Jaws have been just as crucial to the popularity of franchise as the movies. Of the three Jaws rides that have been made, the one at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida was shut down in 2012. Yet for those of you who never experienced the Florida Jaws ride, fear not—Dustin McNeill has got you covered in his new book, Adventures in Amity: Tale from the Jaws Ride.

Here’s a description of the Adventures in Amity from the official press release:

Set sail with author Dustin McNeill as he goes behind the scenes of Captain Jake’s Amity Boat Tours! Adventures in Amity is the ultimate guide to the legendary attraction that once stood at Universal Studios Florida. The book contains over thirty new interviews with the ride’s designers, engineers, and skippers for unprecedented ins…

Exploring the Virtual Worlds of Maryland: A Recap of Last Weekend’s Baltimore and DC Virtual Reality Meetup in Annapolis

Most of the subjects that I write about on this blog originate from Hollywood, which is on the opposite end of the country from me. On the other hand, plenty of exciting things are happening in the area of immersive, interactive 3D media—augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)—at companies that are located in my figurative backyard. Thus, when I heard that there was going to be an informal gathering of AR/VR enthusiasts at Annapolis, Maryland last weekend, I jumped at the chance to see what these technical wizards are working on to bring virtual content to the public through a variety of venues and applications. Read on ...

Last weekend’s event was organized through by two groups: Bmore VR and DC Virtual Reality (DCVR). As their respective names suggest, these groups consist of AR/VR professionals from Baltimore and Washington DC. The Annapolis event was the first meeting that involved both groups, and the event’s location was chosen as the midway point between both …

Muscular Movie Monsters Terrorize Funko’s Savage World Action Figure Line

Some time ago when I was in a deeply daft state of mind, I wondered what a He-Man parody would look like if it were mashed together with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It would be called "Eat-Man and the Flesh Eaters of the Universe", where Prince Adam (the best chili chef in all of Eternia) uses the magic chainsaw he found at Castle Flayedskull to become Eat-Man, a Frank Frazetta-ized version of Leatherface. I guess somebody over at the Funko toy company must have read my mind because with its upcoming Savage World action figure line, that’s what we’ll be getting ... and then some.

In the Savage World line, Funko will be taking five icons of ‘70s and ‘80s horror—Freddy Krueger, Leatherface, Michael Myers, Pinhead, and Jason Voorhees—and reimagining them as hyper-muscular fantasy characters what would fit alongside He-Man and Thundercats action figures. These figures will be available in September, and below are the preview photos of the figures that Funko published online yesterda…

Militarized Mechs: The Acid Rain Toy Line

When I was growing up during the '80s, Hasbro had two of the most popular toy lines: Transformers, a selection of imported, transforming Japanese robot toys that were repackaged into a single line, and G.I. Joe, a relaunch of its classic toy line into the 3.75-inch scale. In response to Hasbro, Kenner launched M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand), a toy line that tried to combine the dominant traits of Transformers and G.I. Joe. Instead of transforming robots and military vehicles, M.A.S.K. consisted of common, everyday vehicles such as motorcycles and cars that would transform into militarized assault craft with guns, armor plating, missile racks and rocket launchers. Now, 30 years later, another company is trying its hand at transformable, militarized machines: Acid Rain.

I’m not sure how long the Acid Rain line has been around, but references to its products have been popping up on enough of the websites that I frequent that I had to check it out for myself. Created and des…

What Went Wrong with The Lego Batman Movie--and Why It Matters

Sometimes, I don't like being right. When The Lego Batman Movie arrived in theaters last year, something about the trailers didn't look right to me. Obviously, it was intended to be a parody of Batman through the lens of a Lego-themed Batman world, but it felt like the movie was going to be something else so I avoided it ... until last weekend, when my curiosity got the best of me. It turned out that my initial instincts were right: For as goofy and absurd as it strives to be, The Lego Batman Movie simply isn't funny. However, what irked me the most was why it isn't funny, especially for a toy company that has otherwise mastered the art of genre parody. Read on ...

It's All About Mii: Thoughts on Nintendo's Tomodachi Life and Miitopia

I've played so many kinds of video games over the years, from brief coin-op adventures in video game arcades to hours-long campaigns on home consoles. However, one particular kind of gaming never made sense to me: the "life simulator". The idea of creating and managing the day-to-day life of a set of characters (human or otherwise) never appealed to me as a form of entertainment. It seemed too boring: there were no impulsive thrills, no high scores to accumulate, and no unlockable rewards at the end of a story. I held this opinion before Nintendo exposed me to its iconic avatars, the Miis.

My experience with the Miis proved one of the most valuable lessons in promoting a new technology: If you want users to desire a product, it has to engage them both creatively and emotionally. Thus, what better way to accomplish this goal than by allowing users to put faces of their own design on the product? Read on ...