If you've seen The Force Awakens (and you should), you probably noticed Kylo Ren's lightsaber looks and sounds different than any other lightsabers we've seen before. You may be wondering why it sputters and has those two crossguard beams coming out of the sides. Here's the answer, thanks to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary.

It goes back to the Knights of Ren, the group who (apparently) lured Kylo to the dark side. While they haven't been fully explained, the key to remember is that they are not members of the Sith. In the new universe, the Sith no longer exist. That's because when Darth Vader killed Emperor Palpatine, the only Sith in the universe died, and took their knowledge with them. The Knights of Ren have to find their own path.

That means there was no one left to teach Kylo Ren how to make his own lightsaber. He basically guessed at how to make one, and did a lousy job. But the biggest problem is the crystal. It's a tradition to teach new students of the Force (for Sith and Jedi) where to get the secret locations of Kyber crystals, which power lightsabers. Without a guide for pure crystals, Kylo had to make do with a cracked crystal. But the crystal produces so much leaking energy that he had to put vents on the side to keep the lightsaber from exploding in his hand. That's where his so-called "crossguard" beams come from.

That's also why Kylo was so desperate to get his hands on Luke's lightsaber. He wants a real lightsaber, since he knows he can't make one on his own.

What did you think of Kylo Ren's lightsaber?

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Erik Bauersfeld, who performed the original voice of Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, died on Sunday April 3, 2015. He was 93. According to Hollywood Reporter:
He also voiced Jabba the Hutt's staffer Bib Fortuna in the same film. He returned to voice Ackbar in last year's J.J. Abrams-directed blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Bauersfeld's other roles include voice work in last year's Guillermo Del Toro film Crimson Peak and Steven Spielberg's 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence
"The voice work I did in movies was accidental," wrote Bauersfeld on the website for his non-profit, Bay Area Radio Drama. "I was working with Randy Thom on radio dramas at his technical quarters at Lucasfilm. One day Ben Burtt, sound designer for Star Wars, came by and asked if I would audition for a voice in the movie." 
He is also credited with voiceover work for the Ackbar character in Star Wars: X-Wing, a 1993 flight simulator video game. 
I have to say this is especially sad for me, because I have a special fondness for Admiral Ackbar. He's one of my all-time favorite Star Wars characters. Yes, because of his iconic cry of "It's a trap," but also because he's such a unique character. He looks kind of silly with the head of a squid, but has such a gruff and commanding voice. When he did a cameo in Force Awakens, I almost cheered, knowing he was still alive in the new universe. Even if they replace his voice, it won't be the same.

Join me in remembering him with this selection of posts we've done on our favorite Mon Calamari:
Also check out this great interview with Bauersfeld about his role in the movie, and his thoughts on the character.

And, to me, the ultimate tribute came from Adult Swim's Robot Chicken with Admiral Ackbar Cereal...

Happy trails, Mister Bauersfeld. We couldn't repel greatness of your magnitude.

What did you think of Admiral Ackbar?

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Batman v Superman (2016) - Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) [Source: Warner Bros Pictures]
As you could easily tell from my brother Maurice's post 10 Worst Parts of "Batman v Superman", he didn't care for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In fact, a majority of critics agree with him. However, I'm one of the few (along with the moviegoing public that made it a huge success) that liked it. It wasn't perfect, but it had a lot of great and satisfying moments. Here are some of my favorites. And if you haven't seen it...

1. Lex Luthor - Many have said they found Lex Luthor weird, twitchy, babbling, and just plain annoying. To which I say, that's exactly why I liked him. Lex has pretty much always been presented the same way: arrogant, confident, imposing, and self-controlled. I thought Jesse Eisenberg's Lex broke the mold in the same way Heath Ledger's Joker did. I found myself thinking, "Yes, Lex in Batman v Superman acts crazy. Because he is crazy. He's a mad scientist." Anyone who would think it would be a good idea to create an unstoppable alien monster to kill Superman would have to have a few screws loose. It also made Lex unpredictable, which I found scarier.

2. Batman - Many feared that Ben Affleck would be a disaster as Batman. I thought he did a good job. He wasn't perfect. He didn't disappear into the role the way Christian Bale did, playing Wayne more as Ben Affleck in a Batsuit. But he was just as imposing and powerful and strong. He had an aged gravitas, like a man of power, but with the weariness of a man who faced decades of brutal supervillains. The moment when he single-handedly took on a band of soldiers to rescue Martha Kent, and when he faced off against Superman truly delivered.

3. The Justice League - With the subtitle Dawn of Justice, we knew this movie would set up the Justice League. But how? Going in, I wondered how they were going to work in so many characters. Would tossing in the Flash and Aquaman leave the movie a Spiderman 3-level disaster of tangled plotlines and undeveloped characters? The scene where Diana Prince views video clips of the other heroes was understated, but effective in teasing the way they would be presented in later movies. There wasn't enough Wonder Woman, but that's okay. She'll have her own movie in 2017.

4. The Easter Eggs - If there's one thing comic book fans love, it's Easter eggs, those small little details that reference other comic books. And BvS had a ton of them. To list them all would take too long, but I loved the moment when Batman clung to a wall while lightning crashed behind him referenced The Dark Knight Returns. And I almost squealed like a little girl when I recognized uber-villain Darkseid's winged parademons in Wayne's vision of a dystopian future.

5. The Philosophy - In a popcorn movie blockbuster, you don't expect things to get too heavy. But BvS did. The movie grappled with philosophical questions about power and the role of superheroes in ways never before seen in movies. Even Watchmen, arguably the granddaddy of all superhero deconstruction movies, never tapped into it the way BvS did. When Superman's statue is painted "false god," when people literally kneel and bow to Superman as he goes by, we can see how the world is struggling with his image. The government fears him and his power, holding hearings on how to control him. And Superman stands above it all, uncomfortable with being deified. Batman and Lex see his power as a threat in ways that we can't really argue with. The only problem is that the movie raised the questions without answering them one way or the other.

6. The Fight - With all the somewhat valid complaints, I still enjoyed the actual fight between Batman and Superman. Because it was awesome. When Batman unleashed gun turrets on Superman, and Superman ripped the doors of the Batmobile, it really led up to the excitement. Seeing the two of them pounding each other, Batman spraying Superman with kryptonite and sucker punching him, Superman hurling Batman through walls and ceilings, it all paid off. I loved every second of it, and that's really all I came to see. Everything else was just gravy.

7. The Ending - [LAST SPOILER WARNING] And now Superman is dead. I wasn't sure if they would do that, but thought they might by bringing in Doomsday, who killed Superman in the comics. The scenes that followed with funerals for Clark Kent and Superman perfectly captured the grief of a world without him. Okay, I didn't cry, but some people in the audience I saw it with did. It was a gutsy move, as tough as Superman killing Zod in Man of Steel. It also perfectly sets up the Justice League. With Superman around, you don't really need Aquaman. Without Superman, other heroes will have to step up to fill the power vacuum, especially if Darkseid really is the villain in the next movie.

What did you like or dislike about Batman v Superman?

Update: The original version listed 5. The final version is 7.

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Watchmen (2009) - Night Owl (Patrick Wilson) and Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
You'll never believe the movie cameos you didn't notice in Batman v Superman. The movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is full of big name stars like Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot. But hidden among the actors that got first billing are some actors that didn't get the spotlight.

The movie that everyone is comparing Batman v Superman to is Zack Snyder's Watchmen (2009). He's especially proud of it and brought some of the actors from the movie into this film. You probably noticed the first one but you never saw the others.

Warning: Spoilers for Batman v Superman

1. Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Batman v Superman (2016) - Thomas Wayne (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the amoral superhero Edward Blake AKA Comedian in Watchmen. In Batman v Superman he plays Bruce Wayne's father Thomas Wayne. Morgan has been coy about whether he has a cameo in the movie.

When asked on Jimmy Kimmel Live whether the leaked painting of Thomas Wayne was him he only said, "It looks a lot like me, Man."

2. Carla Gugino

Man of Steel (2013) - Jor-El (Russell Crowe)
In Watchmen Carlo Gugino plays the feminist superhero Sally Jupiter AKA Silk Spectre. You couldn't miss her in her slinky outfit, but you probably didn't see her in Man of Steel. She does the voice of the Kryptonian robot Kelor.

When asked by a fan on Twitter if she's in Batman v Superman she said, "You might hear me in it if you listen carefully." She reprises her role as the computer that welcomes Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) to the Kryptonian Scout Ship in Batman v Superman.

3. Damon Caro
Damon Caro
Damon Caro was the fight choreographer / stunt coordinator on Watchmen and the second unit director on Man of Steel. Caro also has a cameo in the movie as a U.S. Soldier.

Caro is a second unit director on Batman v Superman and carries on the tradition of having a cameo. He plays an F-18 Pilot.

4. Patrick Wilson

Watchmen (2009) - Night Owl (Patrick Wilson)
Patrick Wilson plays the retired superhero Dan Dreiberg AKA Nite Owl. Created by Alan Moore, he's basically Batman with a cache of devices all themed around owls. In Batman v Superman Patrick Wilson does the voice of the President of the United States. He's responsible for the nuclear strike against Doomsday.

Back when they were casting Man of Steel he said that he'd like to play SupermanBack when they were casting Man of Steel he said that he'd like to play Superman, but that never happened. At least he got to play a small role in a Superman movie.

5. Tiffany Burns

Watchmen (2009) - Tiffany Burns
Tiffany Burns plays news reporter "Tiffany Burns" of Channel 3 News in Watchmen. She's the one that says "knot tops" killed The Comedian. It sends Night Owl on a rampage. In Batman v Superman Tiffany Burns plays an unnamed "Citizen".

So, when you watch Batman v Superman again, keep your eyes peeled for these cameos. You never know who's going to show up next!

Did you notice these cameos in Batman v Superman? Who had your favorite cameo in the movie?

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Batman v Superman (2016) - Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) [Source: Warner Bros Pictures]
I'm going to start off by saying that if you're dying to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice then go see it. If you're planning to see Batman v Superman at all, then go see it in the theater. Watching it at home without a 70" big screen and a thundering sound system will be disappointing. I'm not recommending the movie, but I'm not telling you to skip it.

I saw this movie at a special preview screening on Monday (thanks, Dr. Pepper!) and I was sorely disappointed. Since then I spent a week trying to figure out how to write a review that doesn't give away any spoilers, but it's impossible to explain why it's bad without examples, so this is a spoilery (but not completely spoiling) movie review. If you want to avoid the spoilers then just read the brief review at the beginning.

Brief Review

Batman v Superman has amazing visuals and not much else. It's an overly complicated, poorly acted and discordant mess with amazing action scenes and little character development. As a comic book fan, I'm saddened over the mismanagement of my favorite comic book characters. As a movie lover, I'm furious that the studio lazily pushed out a movie that makes no attempt to rise above the medium. That said, if you want the full breakdown then here we go.

Warning: Spoilers for Batman v Superman

The Breakdown

1. Lex Luthor

Batman v Superman (2016) - Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg[Source: Warner Bros Pictures]
When they cast Jesse Eisenberg everyone imagined him from The Social Network and cried "foul", but in fact, his performance is worse than Zuckerberg. He's performance is a stream of twitching and facial tics. Lex Luthor is supposed to be a criminal mastermind and a genius, but Eisenberg makes him into a walking joke.

 Eisenberg said he wanted to give Luthor "a kind of manic intensity", but he went too far with the manic and not enough intensity. In one scene he's giving a speech and stops to mumble incoherently before admitting he forgot what he was saying. This Luthor is an idiot with a love of Jolly Ranchers and a smarmy grin.

2. Lex Luthor's "Genius"

Luthor is supposed to be a genius, but this movie makes him impossibly smart and dumb. He's smart enough to figure out how to break into the Kryptonian Scout Ship when an army of scientists couldn't figure it out. How? By wearing the skin of Zod's (Michael Shannon) fingers which is ridiculous in itself. A technology that's light years ahead of ours can be fooled that easily?

So he's impossibly smart. But he's not smart enough to lock his server room or keep the network cables out of reach? No. Luthor keeps his critical data servers in a glass room a few steps from his living room.

3. Lex Luthor's Hair

In the comics, Lex Luthor starts out with a head full of curly red hair. Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor is bald by the end of the movie, but that's only because he has his head shaved. It feels tacked on. Eisenberg said it's the "greatest scene I've ever done" and I have no idea why.

4. Batman's Guns

Batman v Superman (2016) - Batman (Ben Affleck) [Source: Warner Bros Pictures]
Ben Affleck is OK, but he's just OK. He's not the worst Batman (George Clooney) but not the best. The movie lost me the minute they showed Batman racing down the street dragging a car and flipping it on top of a group of his enemies. Time and again they show Batman mowing people down with high-caliber machine guns.

The Nolan films went to great lengths to keep Batman from being an intentional murderer, but this movie shows a shocking lack of understanding about Batman. He hates guns because they killed his parents. It's true he had guns in movies before, but Batman has never been a mass murderer.

5. Batman's Paranoid

Batman is a genius and a brilliant strategist, but this movie also makes him a paranoid lunatic.  After the Battle in Metropolis, he decides to kill Superman (Henry Cavill). Why? Because there's literally a one percent chance that he could destroy the world. That kind of thinking makes no sense.

With that logic, Batman should be killing everyone who even thinks of holding a gun. But that's his motivation throughout the movie. That's why he spends hours working out, building elaborate traps and a super-suit. It makes no sense and is against everything that Batman has ever stood for.

6. Superman's Sad

Batman v Superman (2016) - Superman (Henry Cavill
Obviously, I'm a huge Superman fan and this movie does a good job of showing his humanity. But it also makes huge mistakes in his portrayal. Superman is dour and sad most of the time which is far from his optimistic viewpoint.

7. Superman's X-Ray Vision

Besides Superman's attitude, the movie takes away some of his core powers.

Superman used x-ray vision in the last movie, but he never uses it here. This is mainly because there are two huge plot points that depend on him not seeing things. First, when a terrorist attack happens. Then, when he fights Batman.

If Superman had used his x-ray vision once or twice the fight would have been over. At least, in Superman (1978) Luthor was smart enough to hide his plans in a lead box. Batman has everything laid out like a buffet for Superman.

8. Superman's Reason for Fighting Batman

Obviously in a movie like this Superman and Batman have to fight. But the biggest unforgivable sin is when Luthor forces him to kill Batman.

Without spoiling it, his motivation makes no sense. Sure he killed Zod in Man of Steel but that was because he was saving innocent people. There's no reason Superman would kill someone just because someone else is threatened.

9. Batman v Superman Isn't "Fun"

Batman v Superman (2016) - Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck[Source: Warner Bros Pictures]
Batman v Superman should be fun. Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production at Warner said humor "is an important part" of the movie. The movie doesn't have to be fun in a smarmy jokey way like some Marvel movies. But any blockbuster needs to be enjoyable to sit through. That's what makes you go back to the theater to watch it again.

All great blockbusters have that. For example, Jaws is all about death but you still enjoy the experience. Batman v Superman isn't like that. The movie doesn't need a string of one-liners, but you need to walk out of the theater enjoying the experience.

Plus, the movie is trying to be fun. There are jokes that don't work and emotional moments that aren't earned. The "Is she with you" joke is poorly timed and falls flat. No one in the theater laughed once.

The movie doesn't make likable characters, so there's no joy when they succeed and no pain when they fail. Watching two people hit each other only matters when you care about them.

10. Batman v Superman Has No Surprises

Batman v Superman (2016)
The movie has plot twists, but nothing worth waiting for. When I saw the movie Zack Snyder appears in an opening clip begging the audience not to spoil anything. I'm not sure why.

The plot of the movie is completely told if you watch the trailers. Batman sees his friends die in the attack. Superman is saving the world and hated for it. Luthor has Kryptonite. Batman decides to fight Superman. Doomsday shows up. The Justice League make brief cameos and Wonder Woman swoops in to save the day. Doomsday battles the trio. The end. It's all in the trailers. There are some minor twists, but nothing ground-breaking.

A movie like The Sixth Sense has a genuine plot twist. A movie like Batman v Superman does not. There is one twist in the end that had people bawling in the theaters. But it's the same thing that happened in the biggest comic book storyline in the history of comic books. The thing that happened decades ago and covered by all the major news outlets across the country for a year. It's what happens when Superman fights Doomsday in the comics.

Where's the surprise? Only if you know nothing about the history of Superman in the comic books. So, if you're a comic book fan it's not a plot twist. If you're not then it's shocking, sad, and surprising. But after fifteen minutes the moment is gone.

In the end, Batman v Superman is everything you're looking for in a movie with a fight between Batman and Superman and not much else.

What do you think of Batman v Superman? Are you planning to watch it?

About the Author: Maurice Mitchell
I'm an avid science fiction fan, former professional graphic designer and certified blerd. After the death of my Star Wars action figures, I use my powers for good and not for evil.

Visit my Superman site on http://superman.about.com and my concept art blog: http://filmsketchr.blogspot.com

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When is Luke Cage coming out? Would you recognize Henry Cavill on the street? All these questions and more are featured on this week's Geek Bits!

Even mandibles can get cavities...John Farrier at Neatorama brought us this funny sculpture by artist Simon Lee, along with the immortal line: "if it bleeds, we can fill it."

Luke Cage is Coming
Sweet Christmas! After making his first appearance on Netflix's Jessica Jones, Mike Colter confirmed that his Luke Cage series will premiere on September 30, 2016. Here's the official description:
After a sabotaged experiment leaves him with super strength and unbreakable skin. Luke Cage becomes a fugitive trying to rebuild his life in modern day Harlem, New York City. But he is soon pulled out of the shadows and must fight a battle for the heart of his city - forcing him to confront a past he had tried to bury.
Marvel has released a new teaser for Luke Cage's solo TV series. If you subscribe to Netflix, click here to watch it. Otherwise, here's an embedded unofficial version.

Twitter is Ten Years Old
Wired.com celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the founding of Twitter with a collection of tweets.

Henry Cavill Goes Unnoticed

Superman actor Henry Cavill has tried to test out the theory that Superman's identity can be adequately masked by a pair of specs and slightly less ruffled hair, by posing in and around New York's Times Square without appearing to be recognised by anyone.Only... he wasn't even wearing glasses. And he was wearing a Superman t-shirt. It's almost as if poor Henry Cavill was very bored and wanted some attention, so hit the town expecting to be mobbed by ladies or men or whatever he prefers to pass the time with in hotel rooms -- but nothing happened.
Daredevil Season 2
Season two of Daredevil is out, where Daredevil faces a new enemy, the Punisher. Or is he an ally? I'll have a review of it as soon as I get around to it. I'm still working my way through Jessica Jones.

Apple: "If It Pleases the Court, Tell the DOJ to Go F--- Themselves"
I've been following the fight between Apple and the Department of Justice over unlocking an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino terrorists. I won't get into the politics of it, but I did think Boing Boing did a great job quoting tech pundits about how awesome Apple's legal briefs have been.

Star Trek Updates
Here's what I've been up to at About.com's Star Trek site. I really miss commenting on my posts, so feel free to comment here on what you think of them.
What do you think about this week's Geek Bits?

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Ever since Bryan Fuller was announced as the new showrunner for the upcoming Star Trek TV series in 2017, a groundswell of support has risen up for the lead of the show. Fuller publicly stated he would want Angela Bassett as the captain of any future show, and we want to help make it happen.

In 2013 (before becoming an executive producer on the new show), Fuller described his idea for a new Trek show on Den of Geek, saying his choice of captain would be Angela Bassett, and Rosario Dawson as the First Officer.

The response to the suggested casting has been enthusiastic. Organizations and websites from the AV Club to The Mary Sue have spoken out to encourage the casting. A new hashtag #CaptainAngelaBassett has sprung up on Twitter. Angela Bassett herself has retweeted posts about it.

I've created a petition on Change.org to cast Angela Bassett as the captain of the starship on the Star Trek 2017 TV series. Go to About.com to read more details and sign the petition now!

Do you want Angela Bassett for Star Trek? Who else should they cast?

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Buy "Happiness is a Warm Tauntaun" T-Shirt at OffWorld Designs
We'd love to hear what you think of the Internet's strangest and geekiest moments in this week's "Geek Bits."

By The Way

Here are some new articles you may have missed on Superman.About.Com


    1. CHRONICLE Writer Shares His FANTASTIC FOUR Vision (via Newsarama)

    Fantastic Four (2015) poster
    “Avengers had just come out, and I wanted to present Fox’s superhero team so that any one of them could beat all of the Avengers, and any one of them could be the villain of an Avengers movie. Reed Richards is indestructible. Sue Storm can control light. Johnny Storm can burn hotter than the sun. The Thing is impossibly strong, and you can’t hurt him no matter what you do. I thought, what a cool idea, that these four friends have accidentally become gods.” - Max Landis

    2. ZACK SNYDER: 'If You're A Comic Book Fan, You Know I Didn't Change SUPERMAN' (via Newsarama)

    Superman Henry Cavill - Man of Steel
    Zack Snyder says his Superman is "True Canon" whatever that means.

    3. 25 Actors Who Could Play Cable in Deadpool 2 (via Screenrant)

    Eric Dane would be awesome since he's the best thing about "The Last Ship".

    4. "Daredevil" Season 2 Poster and Trailer

    5. Luke Cage Has a New Character Poster for "Jessica Jones" (via Screenrant)

    6. "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" Mid-Season Return Promo (via /Film)

    Secret Warriors coming in March!

    7. "Blade Runner" Sequel Opening on Martin Luthor King Day (via Comic Book Movie)

    Warner Bros. Pictures officially placed Blade Runner 2 on their upcoming release schedule, assigning the film a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend release date - January 12, 2018.

    Coincidence? Probably...

    8. Ollie Has Epic Goatie in New DC'S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Clip (via Newsarama)

    The team is visiting Star City 2046.

    9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR's Anthony Mackie Isn't Too Keen On A Solo Outing For The FALCON (via Comic Book Movie)

    While promoting his latest movie Triple 9, Mackie spoke with IGN about a potential solo Falcon adventure. Surprisingly enough, he doesn't want one.

    "No I don’t know man. I don’t know. I like going to work with good people. Like shooting this movie [Triple 9] it wasn’t really work. We got to hang out and have a good time and really get to know each other. I’ve admired Aaron Paul’s work long before Breaking Bad. I’ve admired Chiwetel [Ejiofor]'s work. Kate [Winslet] is admirable.

    "So to be able to go to work and meet these people and see the way they work and kind of delve into their process as well is really a learning experience for me. So I feel like when you go to work and it’s just you and it’s me - ‘Look at me, haha’ - it takes away from that."

    Would he turn one down? "I don’t know, I don’t know," Mackie said, "That means my dudes are not going to be there. So Chris [Evans] is not going to be there. Sebastian [Stan] is not going to be there."

    So he'll turn down getting a million dollar movie franchise because he likes working with other people. Can't blame him for being sociable, but hopefully he changes his mind.

    10. The Weirdest Star Wars Games of All-Time (via StarWars.com)

    What do you think of this week's links?

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    We love Star Wars. We love Sia's "Chandelier." And as the Internet has proven, everything is better with Star Wars. But we were not prepared for how awesome this parody of Sia's "Chandelier" is with Chewbacca-themed lyrics. Created by Teddy Films with music by Israel Curtis, it's a shining example of how a flesh body-stocking, Slave Leia bikini, and a rundown house can combine to be the funniest thing we're seen all day.

    [Via The Mary Sue]

    What did you think?

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    Source: Tested/YouTube
    Good news, everyone! Makeup artist Frank Ippolito from Tested has brought one of our most beloved cartoon characters to life: Professor Farnsworth from Futurama! This video shows how Ippolito painstakingly recreated the look of Farnsworth on a live human being. It's both awesome and quite disturbing. But then, what would we expect from a bald, bottle-glasses-wearing old man with an extreme overbite?

    If you don't want to watch the whole video about the planning and sculpting of the makeup, click here to skip to the big reveal at 6:19.

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