Friday, 26 June 2015

Open Letter to Vivid - Reacting Against Hasbro

I've had a long-held loyalty to Hasbro, due to the brands they have licences for, and I've regularly welcomed the products of theres that I want into my collections. But this is 2015 and there is still a fundamental problem with Hasbro; they still think they should only cater for boys.

Their lines I have gotten toys from in the past have included Star Wars, Transformers and the Jurassic Park films. (And if you know me; that's very much obvious.) They also produce Marvel lines too, which I have a fleeting interest in, but never actually bought from...And I most likely won't...

Hasbro has suffered from various issues to their products over the past few years including quality control (paint applications and plastic tolerances), price inflation for less amounts of toy, and the production of themes and sublines that nobody actually wants (go check out the masses of Star Wars Rebel Command and Star Wars Angry Birds products clogging up the shelves...I've NEVER seen anybody pick them up). And not to mention sub-par customer service and not taking into account what consumers actually want. And we toy collectors have been grumpily going along with the general reductions in quality of the main figure lines and the extremely pricey figures that are actually worth looking at, but off-putting for those who cannot afford them (i.e. nearly everyone).

But perhaps more worryingly, Hasbro would rather waste money on these unprofitable (and undesirable) lines than do the one thing referenced at the beginning at this post; invest in the girls. Like I say; it's 2015, we know full well that boys and girls these days do not have a problem with liking toys from whichever range it may be (even if their parents might). Gender identity across the board is nowhere near as simple as it was years ago and to kids today, it isn't a big deal. Yet Hasbro (amongst others) STILL insist on continuing to market the majority of their lines in favour of boys. There has been a systematic continuation of this across the Star Wars and Marvel ranges in particular, virtually erasing all but a few of the women characters from existence. When the Hulk himself can get angry about this development, you best believe it's a problem.

But the reason for finally writing something like this is thus; in Jurassic Park (and Jurassic World), it's practically common knowledge that the majority (if not; all) the Dinosaurs of Isla Nublar are female. It's a major plot-point in the first film and a reiterated fact in the latest. Yet somehow, Hasbro have managed to release their Dinosaur toys describing them with masculine pronouns. It's been confirmed as an error, which in this case is slightly forgivable, but the fact that the masculine pronouns are more-or-less 'default' goes to show how ingrained male-orientated Hasbro's lines are (and thus, indicative of the larger social construct). Call it the straw that broke the Dinosaur's back (NOT a spoiler, by the way), but even though it's an error, Hasbro still have a very misogynistic target. It's not that they should be attracting female fans, but they should be providing for them, because practically half of Star Wars fans, of Marvel fans, etc. are women and girls and it doesn't take a lot of research to work this out. Yet only one tiny two-inch Gamora figure was available for Guardians of the Galaxy, only one Black Widow figure (in the expensive 'Legends' line) in the entirety of her onscreen appearances since 2010 has appeared and there's been no Scarlet Witch for Avengers: Age of Ultron and so-forth. And the only Princess Leia figure in the Star Wars 'Black Series' (6-inch...Also ridiculously expensive) line was her 'slave outfit'...The metal bikini...The ONLY LEIA. This, along with many other reasons mentioned (and not mentioned), is why I hardly buy any Hasbro these days...


So I ultimately write this not for Hasbro, but for Vivid, the biggest toy company in the UK. Because as readers of this Blog know, I've really gotten into Thunderbirds Are Go, but what I mentioned little of in my recent Blog post was how much effort has been made to really develop the female characters from the original series and give them much more prominance, updating them for today. And very soon, Vivid's first wave of Thunderbirds Are Go toys will be hitting the selves. Now, understandably, they've gone the usual business route and produced the most major components for the series, the first four Thunderbird vehicles, the five brothers and the villain. Sadly, we haven't heard if they will be producing figures for regular characters Kayo, Lady Penelope or indeed their vehicles, the Thunderbird Shadow or FAB 1.
Thunderbird Shadow - Kayo's own covert ops Thunderbird

Tanusha 'Kayo' Kyrano, Head of Security at Tracy Island
London Agent Lady Penelope, her dog Sherbert & her driver, Parker
Lady Penelope's Gadget-Filled FAB 1
So this is my plea to Vivid; please do not go the Hasbro route and solely focus on the one gender; consider the female fans of the programme and consider everyone who will be wanting the very awesome Thunderbird Shadow AND the iconic FAB 1 in their vehicle collections at the very least (including myself). I know it's early days, but with thirteen episodes already, the programme has clearly made leaps and bounds for diversity (not just gender, but with ethnicity too) and I hope your products will reflect that too. Thank you.


AM

(All images courtesy of ITV/Pukeko)


29-06-2015 UPDATE: I Tweeted this post to Vivid; they responded! ^^ Basically Expect Lady Penelope & Kayo in some form or another in the future! Thank you, Vivid!

(Just responding alone scores them more points than Hasbro! XD)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pacific Rim - Three Jaegers and a Kaiju Baby

Just a fun post with some of my NECA figures!


Kaiju Photobomb!

"Stay very still, Cherno..."
"What? Something on my reactor...?"


"D'aw look, Coyote, he's saying hello!"

"We shall love him and pet him and call him Squishy...

...

GOJI"

"What? I'm hungry!"
"Who's my baby boy!"
AM

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Thunderbirds Are Go - Updating a Classic


Back in the 1990's, I would say I went through several main transitions in terms of loving certain entertainment franchises. First of all, it was Thomas the Tank Engine...Then I transitioned into Thunderbirds and then finally Star Wars. (Before the latter, Power Ranges were also in there for a little while...)

Must be an attraction to big vehicles and such!

Saturday 4th March saw the return of Gerry Anderson's International Rescue team in the form of a new series:


As the original series were repeated in the '90's (most likely due to the advance of home media...VHS!) I'm very much familiar with the '60's puppets-on-strings, the miniature sets, the near-nuclear-age vision of the future in the designs of the sets and vehicles...Now you'd expect me to have those memories engrained in nostalgia and also for that nostalgia to be ruined by any reinterpretation of any kind. HOWEVER in recent years I consider myself to be an open-minded person, so I welcome reinterpretations...Especially if they make sense. Of course the best reason to update stuff these days is due to the advances in technology. The last time a Gerry Anderson series was updated was with Captain Scarlet back in 2005 (by the lead of the creator himself) with a complete visual overhaul via CG animation (I remember watching it...It was in the same vein as Max Steel and such...)

Anyway, back to this series! It seems now enough time has passed from the 2004 Thunderbirds film to reinsert the franchise back into the conscious of the general public again. And since it was a childhood thing I stuck on to the marketing...I let newsletters drop into my inbox, just out of curiosity. But as soon as information started being revealed I could see what they were aiming for. Then...Intrigue! Potential excitement! From the off, it felt like the marketing was done absolutely brilliantly; designed to showcase each of the characters and vehicles, showing off the updated looks and even including videos that ultimately made me sit up and say 'I have to see this':


Sets! Miniature sets! Actual physical, material-built, tangible, in-camera sets! Of course this take for the exterior stuff meant that the blend with CGI would give it a unique look. And it did! The mix meant that the CGI would certainly have a basic look to work with, but the blend itself reminded me of the mix of puppet action and live-action human hands for close-ups in the original series. It's this mix of different styles that give both series their own identities...In the case of today, so that it can stand out from the many childrens' programmes that solely rely on CGI. The sets for Thunderbirds Are Go automatically give the CGI artists a luxurious palette as a point of reference. The end blend is indeed a unique treat!

Basically marketing on this series has been done right! And they even had Thunderbird 4 on the River Thames a few days before broadcast:




Alright, before the main reasons for liking the new series (or at least the first two episodes...The premiere was technically a double bill), I'm going to get the faults out of the way, because I feel that there are a few...Not many, but nothing's perfect after all! First of all, as good as the music is by Ben Foster (he tends to aid Murray Gold with Doctor Who), HOLY MACKEREL is it loud! And that's what I'd say for the sound effects too. It's like they were both slightly on overdrive! Though I do wonder if it was due to it being the premiere and making sure it got audience attention (which wouldn't be necessary if they had confidence in their brilliant marketing...Interesting). Having said that, the music itself is very much as rousing and wonderfully grandiose as the original theme.
   Secondly, the voice-direction was a bit lacking...Felt quite raw and unregulated (didn't help the sound-levels, etc.). The actors themselves were good, but coupled with the SFX and music, it did feel like the makers didn't quite get how to control the audio! But you know what, it's only the beginning and they've just got catching up to do with the years of experience of series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars/Rebels.
   Thirdly, and I suppose the least important, but still a niggle, was the editing and pace of the story...Not overall, but just the first part before the adverts. It felt like they were trying to get a rush on to establish all the key elements of the series. At least they held off on Thunderbird 1! (Well, something had to be delayed, I suppose!)

Anyway, let's get onto the good stuff! And goodness, there's so much! I didn’t expect how much effort had gone into it to make it an update of a classic that not only made sense, yet not governed by nostalgia; only the premiere has aired as of this writing, but I can really see the love for the original series within. So where to begin? Well, let's have a look at the characters; for the original characters the five brothers are back, as are London operatives Lady Penelope & Parker. As well as Brains, Grandma Tracy and of course, the evil Hood.One noticable absence is the character who started International Rescue; Jeff Tracy. Numerous allusions are made to the fact that he is no longer with us due to suspicious circumstances. However, we are still treated to the legendary voice of Jeff Tracy counting down as the Thunderbird vehicles prepare to take off. But will we see him in the future in any form? So far, we can't tell. And apart from an initial surprise that he isn't a part of the series, I'm okay that he isn't...It ties in to a story arc for the newer elements.
   For one thing, International Rescue are no longer a secretive organization; they now work in co-operation with a world security council, a little bit like the one that S.H.I.E.L.D. answers to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, etc.) and the figure that IR answers to is Colonel Casey (voiced by Doctor Who's Adjoa Andoh). The fact that Tracy Island with all the disguised launch bays for the title vehicles still exist tells us that in this new continuity, IR was secretive at one point, but something must have happened (perhaps tying into the lack of Jeff Tracy...?) that made the Tracy family become more transparent.
   And of course, the main addition to the IR roster is the island's Head of Security; Tanusha 'Kayo' Kyrano. From a feminist stand-point, I cannot help but love that the female presence has been increased (I include the more prominant role of Grandma Tracy and Col. Casey with that, too). She's not a Tracy family member, but it feels like Kayo has always been there as part of the team. This feeling was cemented at the end of the premiere, where she was granted with her very own vehicle; Thunderbird S(hadow).

Which leads us onto the very reasons for the programme and therefore arguably the most crucial aspect to the entire thing...The Thunderbirds themselves! They all have more details (like panel lines and warning/caution labels) than the original Thunderbirds, for a sense of added realism. One overall aspect of the vehicles is that all of them (except maybe TB3) have considerably shrunk in size. For instance, this screencap from the original series shows you how much of a behemoth Thunderbird 2 (and the Mole) was:

(The cars really help for scale!)
Now have a look at this screencap from the latest series; you can gage how small the new TB2 is compared to Virgil (if that car from the previous screencap was there, it'd stretch around two thirds of TB2's cockpit/head):



THUNDERBIRD 5


The Tracy Space Station that receives and monitors communication between distress calls, satellites and the other Thunderbirds. TB5 is the one vehicle that has undergone the most radical update from the original series. However, the general colour-scheme and main circular-body silhouette do remain. With the advances in space technology and the advent of projects like the ISS since the sixties, TB5 has been given an overhall that gives it details you'd find today like solar panels...As well as features that you'd absolutely believe are in development at the moment, such as an artificial gravity generating ring (very 2001: A Space Odyssey) and a central orb that contains a holographic interface with an inverse map of the world so that Alan can monitor, communicate, calculate and pinpoint for anything happening in the world; it's a system that would make Tony Stark jealous.

THUNDERBIRD 4


The only other yellow submarine the Beatles desired! The new TB4 looks very close to its predecessor, except for the new glass panels on the back and the underside, so that Gordon can have a good look around during his underwater rescues. These extra viewing panes are coupled with a pair of retractable grabby-arms that give the vehicle some realistic grounding in that its functionality is comparable to a deep-sea probe-pod-thing. (At least it doesn't resemble so much a deep-sea probe-pod-thing that it may as well be one of those and not a distinct Thunderbird 4 *Glares at the 2004 film TB4*) But yeah! The new 2015 Thunderbird 4 has turned out to be one of my favourite updates, despite the fact I wasn't really bothered about the original.

THUNDERBIRD 3


Probably the most underused vehicle from the original (I don't actually even remember seeing it take off), TB3 seems like the most simple of the vehicles; it's a space-rocket, basically...And the most obvious reflection of Jeff Tracy's astronaut past. Piloted by the youngest brother, Alan, the ship has been given a few upgrades; nothing that changes the iconic profile too much, but like all good updates, it makes sense of existing designs. For instance, the three arms that seemingly used to be there for purely aesthetic purposes are now large-scale utility arms to use on satellites and such. Clever! And the most obvious difference are the engine arrays; increased for stability, adding to the realism and such...For some reason, it's too fascinating to look away from!  Another extensive change is mainly internal; the cockpit now rotates behind a 360-degree viewport around the fuselage, so that Alan always remains the right-way up in space, relative to the Earth. Genius.

THUNDERBIRD 2


Perhaps the most desired and popular Thunderbird, TB2 is the Millennium Falcon of the fleet, serving as the heavy-duty. This is undoubtedly one of the updates that would couse a stir among hardcore fans, due to the classic look being both iconic and impractical (in an aeronautic sense). As we've established, the original TB2 was SUPER FRIGGIN' HUGE. But now it's roughly half the size, making the small wings (at least) seem to make a little bit more sense (what's more, they fold away when not in use, too). Overall, I'm really digging the new slimmed-down, more streamlined TB2, as it's look reminds me of the big Sikorsky helicoptors, especially with the cool protruding refuelling and comms. relay rods from the nose and the hefty sides that lead to the engines. Like the original, it's also reminiscant of the huge cargo-hauling C-17 planes used by many military forces around the world. But along with that, the new version also has vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) outlets that function like a Harrier Jump Jet. Damn, if I didn't love this before, I certainly do now.

THUNDERBIRD 1


I think this was my favourite one of the originals...And it must've been a firm favourite of many of the new makers because it appears to be the one with the least amount of change to it.  Aside from more subtle updates, like the increased functionality at the engine array and the cable launcher, one major difference to TB1 is the way Scott Tracy enters the vehicle; on his rotating chair which is now on an extending articulated arm. It passes through an opening of the hull that is closed with two glass doors. Like TB4, the glass panes give the pilot improved visibility (rather than the original TB1 just being a solid rocket body). Aside from this and other assorted details, the original Concorde inspiration is clearly present for this first-responder. And speaking of which, one of my favourite updates is that soon after take off, the new TB1 makes a point of breaking the sound-barrier and going supersonic. This thing is FAST. If Thunderbird 2 is the Millennium Falcon, Thunderbird 1 is an X-Wing...No question.

THUNDERBIRD SHADOW


Alright, we've looked at the returning boys, so here's a look at the new transport joining the International Rescue roster; Thunderbird S(hadow). Created for the Head of Security 'Kayo', Thunderbird S fits neatly with the other ships (as seen in the screencap below), giving Kayo the chance to perform her own Covert Ops missions when the need arises (though it did look like she was taking it for a casual spin for her maiden flight...Which, in all fairness, I think we all would do). This clip here shows that the introduction of TBS makes a point of being part of the team, as Thunderbirds 1 & 3 very clearly fill the background. But perhaps the reason that TBS fits in so snugly with the others is because it looks to be heavily inspired by the Angel jets from another one of Gerry Anderson's series; Captain Scarlet. Having said this, one thing I noticed immediately is the resemblance to the SR-71 Blackbird, clearly drawing inspiration from real-life aircraft like the other Thunderbirds.

(The Thunderbird Shadow is revealed in the hangars of Tracy Island)
As we've just been introduced, we can't say much about her, but given the arc we've been teased for Kayo, (I hope we can) expect more from Thunderbird Shadow in the future. The female audiences have been well considered, I think (certainly in regard to Kayo & her TBS), and long may that continue and expand! ^^

I could go on about more stuff, like how the IR uniforms reflect the functionality of the respective pilots and their craft (pilot-based for Scott and Virgil, heavy-duty utility also for Virgil, scuba-suit for Gordon, space-suit for John and an amalgam of aero & space for Alan). Or I could celebrate how Lady Penelope's FAB 1 is closer to the original Rolls-Royce (than the Ford thing in 2004) without it actually being a Rolls-Royce...Or even the surprise appearence in this new series of one of the other Gerry Anderson classics in a cameo...

The matter of the fact is; Richard Taylor, who is at the helm of this new series, had blessing from Anderson himself to make this new series. And to me, it really shows. From a production standpoint, its seems that the essential core of Thunderbirds Are Go appears to be 'how would that nuclear-age vision of the future fit in and be relevent to our contemporary times?' And it seems that they have definitely got the right ideas. With the science, the technology, the diversity of the primary cast (in terms of gender and nationality), it really does feel like Thunderbirds has been kicked into the 21st Century. This is International Rescue heeding the call of the age of Transformers, mechs, superheroes and Star Wars: The Clone Wars/Rebels and oh my goodness how Thunderbirds Are Go has responded...!

And for a final thought, it's interesting that nostalgia for American kids' stuff (usually) tend to be fighting the forces of evil and other such combat-based things (Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe etc.) and therefore many recent iterations of them as they try to bring them back (and look at some more of the big US cartoons today comparable to Thunderbirds Are Go; Star Wars, Superheroes...And that's just Disney's end). And yet in the UK our nostalgia is also in franchises that focus on helping others; we've brought back Doctor Who and now we've brought back Thunderbirds. These two British staples have examples of combat and war, but they're not the main reasons they are back with us. And I really hope new viewers to Thunderbirds Are Go can see that; instead of having awesome aircraft and rockets and stuff to fight and destroy, they're used to help, to aid...You could almost say they're used to rescue people on an international scale...!

And that's why, even after only the premiere, I hope Thunderbirds Are Go can achieve the popularity it deserves and needs.

Now hurry up, Vivid, and release them toys already! ;)


AM

(Images & GIFs courtesy of ITV and Pukeko Pictures)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Great Scott; it's 2015!

We're here! Back to the Future's future! (Well, we will be by 21st October!)

So what's happening? Well, for entertainment (films in particular), we are COVERED:

Avengers: Age of Ultron,
Jurassic World,
Terminator: Genisys,
Ant-Man,
Spectre,
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Lookin' good! ^^ Now, considering some of my previous posts, I think it's clear that I'll be the most excited for Jurassic World!

(For my previous post in my Jurassic series, CLICK-A-HERE!)

Seriously; cannot wait, now! As it slowly approaches like a T. Rex impact tremor, we keep learning so much more about the dinosaurs that will feature. I was ecstatic when I learned that the T. Rex from the first film is coming back. And this is not just a recreation of that type of Rex, like the 'Classic Predator' in Predators, but this Rex is exact same character! How amazing is that?! She's been living on Isla Nublar for over two decades now. The new company of Jurassic World, Masrani, has taken over everything that InGen used to do and brought a functioning park to life in 2005. There appears to be a T. Rex-dominated area to the North and it seems that Masrani has been looking after the old girl since.
   But there are still so many questions! Will she be the only T. Rex on the island? If so, is she the matriarch? It seems that all the official stuff says that it's her and her alone, but I think I remember seeing a few things that may indicate otherwise and I actually sort of hope that there are a few younger ones! Now then, we're confident that she'll certainly serve at least one purpose in context of the narrative, which we'll elaborate on in a bit, but for now, I'll let you watch the latest trailer for Jurassic World (again if needs be) ^^


DID YOU SEE?! XD But yeah; now we move on to the big bad boy of the film, the Indominus Rex. 'But wait, that's not a dinosaur!' I hear your inner palaeontologist cry...Why, that's exactly the point, m'dearies! ^^ As I've mentioned in previous Jurassic World posts, over the years the fourth film has stirred some very *ahem* questionable concepts...But now they've finally brought fourth an idea that makes all the sense in the world! ^^ Indominus Rex is a genetic hybrid composed of various different dinosaurs, so this expands on the science of the first film (using frog/lizard/bird DNA to fill in sequence gaps) and thematically it brings it back around to the ethics of playing God (as well as this, the Spinosaurus from the third film was a lot more stronger and powerful than its prehistoric counterpart would've been, alluding to the fact that InGen may have experimented with extra genetic material for it...Also may explain the frilled neck for the Dilophosaurus from the first film).
   Chris Pratt's character, Star-Lord Owen fills in the voice of reason that we saw from Malcolm, Sattler & Grant from the first film. Think of Owen as a condensed character...! ("Probably not a good idea." is a single line that sums up the entire dinner scene in Jurassic Park! XD) He also seems to be filling Muldoon's role too, as the ranger/warden, but rather than trying to keep Raptors confined, he seems to be training a few...! Well, you can see parallels with real-world zoos and trainers with dangerous big cats or some-such, but at least the Raptors aren't weaponized or mutant human hybrids! XD There's a sense of Owen knowing that he could be lunch at any second and that the Raptors know that he knows he could be lunch at any second, so perhaps there's a strange symbiotic connection going on, here. Maybe, like real animals in captivity, Owen has raised these Raptors in particular from birth? OR how about; one of these Raptors was the little new-born was saw hatch in Jurassic Park (and then handled by Grant)? Considering the Rex, that wouldn't be a surprise! ^^
   Anyway, yes, back to Rexes...! Like I say, with each new event that swings by, we learn a bit more, especially with the Indominus Rex. With the Super Bowl we were given the new trailer linked above. With that we were treated to more glimpses of the I. Rex and soon after, the official details were revealed HERE with all the stats and such. As of writing this post, one thing I noticed was that the length of the I. Rex is 'currently 12 metres'.

'CURRENTLY'.

Now then, as of this posting, Toy Fair in New York is winding up and a whole boat-load of Jurassic World merchandise has been revealed (from both LEGO and Hasbro). From all the awesome stuff it looks like the I. Rex will be a lot bigger than the T. Rex in the film. Bear in mind that the official site is designed virally, to look like it's actually representing the island in real-time, so by the time the film is released, we'll get updated status on the size of the I. Rex...Most likely!
   And onto New York Toy Fair; through the goodies on show, we had our first full eye-full at what the I. Rex will look like! ^^ Also its roar (which sounds like the Wolf Predator from AVPR)! And the fact that its mouth will open 90-degrees! Also confirmation of its ability to change colour to blend! To see it and more, check this Hasbro round-up link from SciFied.
   Way may see even more in a future trailer, but what's interesting is how little we're seeing in the trailers and marketing in general...They're holding back on showing us a lot! And that's understandable; we want to be wowed by the practical effects, we want to be on edge when the I. Rex is hunting some poor fool...We want the cinematic experience to be as fresh as possible. But the most prominant example of holding back of all returns us to the Tyrant Lizard King (or Queen, technically). Where's the T. Rex? We've seen images of her on the merchandise and website, but absolutely no footage of her is available (yet).

Even the 'Park Cam' at the T. Rex Paddock isn't giving us any glimpses.

Now, this may annoy some fans, but I really, really am okay with not seeing the T. Rex until the film itself. It does seem like we're going for a big, grand reveal! I'm thinking that she'll serve as a Godzilla-like role; she hunts and feeds for her own gratification, regardless of humans, her purpose for the narrative will be get rid of the 'challenger' to remain the Apex, references are peppered throughout the film, but we hold back until her reveal, which when it happens, will be an entrance to die for!
   How she will be revealed will be interesting too (and I'm basing this on what evidence there is); first of all, we'll have probably had the I. Rex causing as much havoc as possible, so it gets to that point of Owen's line "We're gonna hit it with everything we've got." *Cue his Raptor Pack*. So Claire (Bryce Dallas-Howard) will have to awaken the veteren:

(Image courtesy of JurassicWorld.com - Amblin/Universal)
We've seen this clip/image in both trailers, so how do we know? Well, the flare says it all! ^^ Remember how the T. Rex was easily distracted by the flare in Jurassic Park? It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the folk who take care of the Rex in World would be notified that she likes flares! *Cue T. Rex in swingin' '60s trousers* (Does this also mean the potential possibility of a surprise cameo by Sam Neill as Dr. Grant?)
   But going by the dressed-down appearence, it seems late on in the film, so there's an argument for awakening the Rex as a last resort. As that door opens, she has the look of terror of a person with nothing between her and the Rex. (If you had to make a T. Rex follow you, you'd be scared, too!)
   The absolute head of the nail in this theory is that one of the LEGO sets revealed will feature the T. Rex and the box design clearly shows the Rex chasing a character on a bike; flare in hand!

(Image courtesy of geekologie.com)
And you can see all the Jurassic World LEGO that was revealed HERE.

All the sets are from the new film, but I really, really hope they will do some from the original trilogy...In fact, if you recall, I have a wish-list!


Oh yes; WE'RE GETTING A LEGO GAME, TOO! *Happy dancing*

(*Side-note, yes, we KNOW this is the third time Chris Pratt will be a LEGO character, but he is not alone in multi-minifigure actor-land! ^^ Others (for past, present and future sets) include;

Liam Neeson - The LEGO Movie & Star Wars
Harrison Ford - Star Wars & Indiana Jones
Warwick Davis - Star Wars & Harry Potter
Samuel L. Jackson - Star Wars & Marvel
Evangeline Lilly - Marvel & Middle-earth
Christopher Lee - Star Wars & Middle-earth
Orlando Bloom - Middle-earth & Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean & The Lone Ranger)

So there's my excitement for Jurassic World, fuelled by New York Toy Fair. Only remains for me to say that I won't be posting much on this Blog anymore. (Whaddya mean, I don't, anyway?! XD) THING IS, I have a new radio show that I'm doing at BCB: Bradford Community Broadcasting. It's called The Fandomain and after the broadcasts, the shows will end up on: fandomain-hub.blogspot.org

Basically it's an outlet for me to talk about what I love, but it's inclusive, so come on board! ^^ It's not just dinosaurs, we cover a range of things. So now, if I need to offload about stuff extensively, or requiring visual aid, or fan-fiction, or whatever, you'll find it here. Anything worth yapping about will be heard on the show.

See y'all around.

AM

Monday, 1 December 2014

Pacific Rim - The One that Got Away

((This Pacific Rim headcanon's a culmination of a number of things; the original concept for Trespasser, which had a damaged, more 'used' look to it before they decided logically all Kaiju would emerge pristine, hence the evolution into Trepasser, the NECA action figure based on the concept art itself, and the growl at the very end of the credits of Pacific Rim itself, suggesting there's at least one Kaiju still out there...!))

18:51 - Shatterdome, Hong Kong, 2026

Alright, you lot...Look...

It's been uh...Nearly been seven months since the clock was stopped. Seven months since we closed the breach. Seven months since we lost Pentecost...

Seven months since I lost my boy.

I know several of you have questions, even concerns, regarding my status as Marshall. I don't care if they're health concerns or whatever mental thing you think I've got. The simple fact of the matter is; we stopped the Kaiju coming through to our world. But we didn't stop the Kaiju. No way. I mean, crikey, we were lucky to even close the breach! But that's thanks to our research team. Geiszler & Gottlieb successfully drifted with the Kaiju hive-mind. And what they saw...What they experienced...Well, they told me everything they could about this...Other world. The masters of this world created the Kaiju directly beneath the breach. And that's where Gipsy Danger went off. The point is; she only destroyed that area. Our doctors told me it was only a little part of that world. It's a very good chance they're still alive, over there. And they'll be looking for revenge. Even though we kicked them square in the arse, I've got a feeling they won't take no for an answer. They're gonna try again. And we've gotta get the upper hand.

You all know Striker's record; eleven kills. Well, what if I were to tell you; one of those kills wasn't officially confirmed...? There was one...We detected it off the North coast of New Zealand; headed straight for Brisbane. My boy and I met it half-way. 'Axehead' we called it. Looked a bit like the one who stomped through San Francisco. But there was something immensely different about this one...The way it behaved. Obviously we know now about the hive-mind. It must've remembered us through previous Kaiju. They all must've done...But *this* one...Like it was fixated. We tried all our usual killing moves and all we got was a broken horn. Its life signs never went down. It just disappeared. Our comms were damaged, so when we got back, everyone thought it was another kill.

Like hell it was.



It's still out there...Probably part of the deep ocean ecosystem now; having a whale of a time. Probably actually having a few whales! And considering all the Kaiju that came after it and everything that's happened since...It knows the breach is gone. It's felt all the pain and defeat of all the other Kaiju...It'll be angry; stewing in its own rage in the deep black sea. But more importantly it'll know what's happening on its own world. It'll be in constant communication with its folks. We need to tap into that. If we do, we can find out exactly when and how they'll be trying to return. We'll also know what orders this lone soldier has been getting in the meantime.

And I think we know one or two of those orders, already. You'll have heard in the news that three oil tankers and two container ships disappeared beneath the Atlantic in the past few months. What you won't have heard is that none of them went down quietly. This bastard's gone to the other side of the world to cause maximum chaos without getting in harms way. So you'll understand if I've been a bit pissed off, lately.

And you'll understand why I had Crimson Typhoon's body fished out of Hong Kong harbour. No disrespect intended...But it's the second most intact Jaeger we've got. Coyote Tango, on the other hand, will soon be coming out of retirement with a radiation-shielding upgrade.

All you potential pilot candidates have got a second chance. We're going after the sneakiest, most dangerous Kaiju out there, so get ready.

- Marshall Hercules Hansen

((Many thanks for everyone concerned for Pacific Rim and NECA for another amazing figure! I tried to get a photo that captures a 'caught in the spotlight' moment for Axehead, adding to the whole 'one who got away' motif...Hopefully it's alright! ^^))

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Wonder Woman (and DC) Musings

Hello!

Exactly seven months since I last did a post! But that's because of awesome stuff, which I'll get around to after the next few weeks...

For now, a late-night thing...I take it everybody has heard about DC and their attempts to try and catch up with Marvel?


(GIF not mine)

Cute, isn't it? ^^

Or not...If you consider what DC have been up to recently...

The point is, As soon as Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury said 'Avengers' back in 2008, everybody realized Marvel were kick-starting something unprecedented. They knew what was coming. And everybody knew that if DC and Warner Bros. were to ever try and match them with their own cinematic universe with the Justice League, it would be seen in many different ways (by film fanatics, comic-book afficianados and common audiences) as a copy-cat move.

Yes it would, but that would mean we'd have the first live action Wonder Woman on screen! Why pick out this character in particular? Well, she is arguably one of the three most famous DC characters EVER...So how many actors have played a live-action Batman? 7. How many for Superman? 6. But Wonder Woman? ONE. 1. UNO. SOLO. ETC. (More like 'Oneder Woman', am I right?! Okay, you get the idea...)

(via https://twitter.com/marlaerwin/status/466391974866853890/photo/1
 And kudos to Lynda Carter!)




Here's where I could be letting off steam...You see, Zack Snyder brought us Man of Steel last year. Putting aside the obvious things to complain about for a second, he peppered the film with a few teasers to a wider universe of characters...For example; Lex Luthor, his (eventual) arch-nemesis. Everybody who left the film without a headache (seriously, it's the only film I have ever gotten an actual headache from) were gearing up for the inevitable sequel. What we would've expected #2 to contain would be things such as; Kal-El adjusting to city life (from a rural upbringing), friendly romantic and professional competition with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet and actually helping to rebuild Metropolis as Superman and actually saving people...This time...Y'know, being a hero. I read somewhere that Lex Luthor could be introduced as the actual man to save Metropolis by funding the relief and rebuilding efforts...Using his nefarious ways to paint Superman as a destructive force not suitable for the city. Conflict would ensue with who the public should trust, and so on...


The thing is, I would be one hundred percent behind this idea...If it weren't for Zack Snyder. I was okay with Man of Steel, in that I can justify it as the Casino Royale of the franchise, to some extent...We only really got to see Kal-El become the Clark Kent/Superman we're familiar with, right at the end. Many people agree that we need a stand-alone sequel where we see him be the hero we deserve AND need! (Yes, I went there.) It's logical! But of course, this is Snyder we were hoping this from...I'm surprised anybody actually trusted him with any thought of logic!

So, coming 2016, we'll be getting an as-yet-untitled 'Batman vs. Superman' film. Snyder awkwardly dropped this bombshell at San Diego Comic-Con 2013. And like a young child with his action figures, he doesn't want them shoulder-to-shoulder in a story to inspire team-work and friendship, he wants them SMACKIN' THE CRAP OUTTA EACH OTHER!!!

The subsequent collective sighs scared the environmentalists of the world...('Cause...CO2...)

Okay, so Batman and Superman on screen together for the first time; cool...But we knew the DC would be going in this direction, somehow. See, going back to the teasers; one of them was a Wayne Enterprises satellite. I spotted it! And now back to the Lex Luthor idea, it would've been interesting for a standalone Man of Steel 2 to subtley reference that Luthor is not the only donator for the Metropolis relief effort. It would give Superman a chance to look into it at the epilogue and discover the nearest one; Bruce Wayne of Gotham City...Then Kal-El's next quest is to find him and uncover what his interest is in Metropolis. BOOM. Credits roll...Lead into the crossover (which finds his simple little quest become complex as he can never find Bruce Wayne, but will learn of somebody who can; the Batman...)

However, in Snyder's mind, Batman vs. Superman doesn't necessarily mean just them...It was announced that Wonder Woman will be making her live-action film debut (hah! Thought I'd forgotten about her, didn'tcha). Since then we've heard the casting announcements for the new characters...But it goes to show you how desperate DC are to catch up with Marvel (and tripping up over themselves in the process), when the only uncontroversial casting announcement was Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth. Oh and Cyborg will be in the film too...Which is good; representation an' all...

But the next thing after is Justice League...And Zack Snyder will once again be in the director's seat (many desks were destroyed by collapsing heads from this announcement...Take a moment to remember the desks). Seriously, it may look like this is a post to bash Snyder (and fair enough), but some ideas he did well; filming with 35mm, the rich Krypton backstory and how that informed Superman...Henry Cavill, Amy Adams...It's just that with all the criticisms, he responds to them with this unbearable attitude like he's correct and everybody else is wrong. In my opinion, that's not the type of person you'd prefer to handle a universe with characters coming from so much history and massive fan-bases...Of course you cannot please everybody, but at least have the decency to recognize when elements have been so negatively received. The audience is just as active in film-making as the creators. Otherwise you're just making them cough up for something they don't want...Like taxes...That's it; Zack Snyder's films are turning into tax-collection.


(Side note: It seems that the only decent form(s) of media DC have been getting right in recent times is TV and animation:
(From this thread: http://glitterstim13.tumblr.com/post/85567002787/boynerdramblings-on-your-left But just wait until Marvel's Netflix series start hitting our screens...!)


DC's best films in the past decade have only come from Christopher Nolan...So why try competing with Marvel? With TV, Arrow has been doing brilliantly and has already expanded their own superhero roster with the Black Canary and the Flash. So building up characters and introducing new ones for new series - still connected - could work for the Justice League. Build each major hero and save Superman and Batman 'til last, bring Wonder Woman back to TV (lord knows they have tried for her) and just have the Justice League film as a sort-of culmination point...Anyway, that's just a thought...)

Anyway, so what's the big idea? DC and Warner Bros. fast-tracking a Justice League picture; okay. Then what? Release individual pictures for the seperate characters afterwards? We hope so. (It's a different way to do it from Marvel and I think DC/Warner know that very well.) Especially for the only female in the main Justice League roster...! Gal Gadot has apparently signed for three pictures as Wonder Woman. There is a slight worry about this, due to three being the magic number. You can bet your bottom currency denomination that there will be a trilogy of Justice League films. Therefore, Wonder Woman won't be getting her own story anytime soon.

I could do the usual 'let's not get all 'Womens' Lib.' about this'...But no; LET'S. It's not taboo; people just don't want to bring it up. We need to. Wonder Woman Needs her own film. A quick search through sites like The Mary Sue will explain to you in detail why we need it (just in case you haven't got it already). DC/Warner Bros. seem to come up with every pathetic excuse under the sun to not do anything about it. For that, I point you to this Tumblr thread. Which proves that it would be easier for Marvel to buy the rights from DC to make their own. Because, even Anthony Mackie (Marvel's Falcon) has indicated that the money spent would be worth it.

Marvel have seen the light; they have been showing a whole range of strong and dynamic female characters throughout their cinematic universe...Pepper Potts defeated the villains in the three Iron Man films, the science is strong with Betty Ross, Jane Foster & Darcy Lewis, they're pushing the Black Widow boat out, with more prominant roles in each film she appears in, Lady Sif has been shown as Marvel's answer to Wonder Woman (enough said), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a regular ensemble composed of equal amounts men and women and best of all; Peggy Carter, will be getting her own TV series (based on her appearences in the Captain America films and the highly acclaimed One-Shot: Agent Carter), where she will get to kick the misogyny of the 1940's right in the patriarchy! (I CANNOT WAIT! Now we're waiting for characters in both the films and TV such as Ms./Captain Marvel, Wasp, She-Hulk, etc.)
   Meanwhile, DC/Warner Bros. seem to think that Wonder Woman is 'tricky'...More tricky than a billionaire spending obscene amounts of money to dress as a bat to put fear into criminals, rather than donating his wealth to Gotham where it's needed most? More tricky than an invincible humanoid alien whose only weakness is the element from his own freakin' planet whilst using a pair of glasses as his only disguise...?

Here's an artist who has seemed to understand Wonder Woman better than Warner Bros. may ever do...His work makes Wonder Woman a powerful warrior with a great heart; a faithful representation of the Amazons...THE Wonder Woman I want to see on screen:


SEE?! As soon as I saw these, I fell in love! ^^ This is the Tumblr thread where I came across them...I post this because the comments are brilliant:
http://bloodbabe2003.tumblr.com/post/85205493379/3squirrels-manicpixiedreamergirl

And here's the artist's collection of all his wonderful Wonder Woman creations:
http://nebezial.deviantart.com/gallery/?catpath=%2F&q=wonder+woman

(Whilst we're at it; yes, Batgirl, Batwoman, Powergirl, Birds of Prey, Supergirl, etc. films, please.) 

Why do I feel so passionate about this? Because like a lot of rational modern men, I'm a feminist. In a general sense, I'm fed up of Women being marginalized, treated unfairly and victimized by patriarchal dominance (in all walks of life...Summed up perfectly by Wonder Woman herself). Yes, some things are getting better...But there's a long way to go. I've come across plenty of amazing Women online and through social media and blogging and such...And more often than not, it's because they have put themselves out there to do what they love (creative and journalistic writing, gaming, production, fightin' the good fight, etc.) Like them, I don't just want girls to grow up believing that they need to find a hero; I want them to *be* the hero...And the Women I've come across through Twitter, Tumblr and such are proof that Women are already heroes in my book (refers to the old 'Ginger did everything backwards in heels' addage)...Every major female figure to me that I know or have come across has something to aspire to or be inspired by. And I know Women who will destroy anybody who says that they will have to 'work twice as hard to be seen as half as good as men'. Women in general (remember, it's the Lionesses who go out hunting and return with faces soaked in blood...) have to go through so much in their lives, usually against men...But they fight, they persevere, they become their own superheroes.

Wonder Women are everywhere...It's been time, for a long time, to give them representation.


AM

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Jurassic World

Before we start: just in case you haven't yet...My previous instalment of JP posts: http://swift-inspiredinspiration.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/update-jpiv.html - I'll wait until you're up to speed. ^^

All good? Now then; here's the next in my ongoing Blog-posts on Jurassic Park IV...

Which now has an official title: JURASSIC WORLD. And a snazzy new logo to go with it:


(Full size image here: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BT4jxKCCEAASCxa.jpg:large)

"Fabulous!" (As the mother at the beginning of The Lost World remarked!)

The new title was revealed with the logo and I feel that this was a great way to do it. And, to be honest; I rather very much like it!

It gives it what we're familiar with and, by word alone, aims to expand what we already know. And that's always a good sign for a follow up. And by swapping 'Park' for 'World', it also gives us a sense that this is a new step entirely for the series. Almost a reboot (which thank goodness it isn't). Perhaps giving us the potential to have a new sub-series; we've had the 'Parks', so now we're getting the 'Worlds'. Also reflected in the blue hue, instead of the usual red.

Also, by the title alone, we are given the possibility to imagine that the Dinosaurs may not just be restricted to Isla Nublar or Las Cinco Muertes (something I touched on in a previoues post). It also opens up the potential for new human characters...However much we'd love Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum to reunite!

Of course this isn't the first time the term 'World' has appeared on a Jurassic title. In fact, it could be said that the notion of expanding the universe was a key driving force for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

But it still carried 'Park'. And #IV has basically condensed it down into a nice, snappy title. Hopefully the Dinos will be just as snappy! I'm sure they will be; the director seems to know what he's doing:


Jurassic World has a release date of June 12th, 2015. Actually really looking forward to it, now!


UPDATE: 18th December, 2013 - Phil Tippett, the original Jurassic Park Dinosaur supervisor is returning for Jurassic World! As you can imagine; am VERY pleased about this! ^^ (Announcement here!)


AM