3/31/2012

This isn't the first steampunk Star Wars artwork I've seen. I've seen some pretty good ones, but they never seemed truly extraordinary. Most of them just put goggles and pipes on the same familiar characters. This series from artist Bjorn Hurri seems to me the most impressive rendering of the steampunk ethos with a truly unique look. Some of them are almost unrecognizable, but still have the key features of Star Wars. Click on the images below to enlarge...
Princess Leia

C-3PO

Han Solo

Boba Fett

Imperial Stormtrooper

Jabba the Hutt

Yoda

Chewbacca
Luke Skywalker

What do you think of this steampunk Star Wars series?


[Via Bjorn Hurri via godsofart.com]

3/30/2012


The economy is hitting everyone hard, and the Star Wars universe is no exception. So what would happen if characters from Star Wars had to open a business and advertise for their services? We think it would look something...like this.



Related:
More Star Wars ads

What did you think of the ads? Any Star Wars characters you want to see advertisements for?


1. Trivia Question
During the filming of Superman the movie, who thought they caused the 1977 New York blackout?

2. Blogfests  

Songs That Inspire Through Sadness Blogfest by Spunk on A Stick
List the songs that move your spirit, cut deep into your soul, and threaten to break your heart. 

  1. Spock's Funeral Watch
  2. Bruce Wayne's parent's death memory Watch
  3. Darth Vader's funeral pyre Watch
  4. Death of the horse Artax in The Never Ending Story Watch
  5. Death of the dog Sam in I Am Legend Watch
3. Links 

4. Trivia Answer
Cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth mistakenly believed he had caused the New York City Blackout of July 13-14, 1977, by plugging in a spotlight to a lamppost while filming the movie "Superman."

In fact, many New Yorkers believed it too because of the air conditioning and lights needed to film their scenes. The studio put out an apology just in case, but the Mayor demanded an investigation. It turned out an electrical storm had caused a lightning bolt to strike one of Consolidated Edison's key transmission lines, knocking out all electricity in the five boroughs of New York and Westchester County, and plunging some ten million people into darkness. Filming continued thanks to mobile generators and air conditioned cars.

[Image Source: furiousfanboys.com]

3/29/2012

A Japanese dance troupe called the Wrecking Crew Orchestra created an extraordinary dance and light show using Tron-style lighted suits. The suits use lighted strips and tape to glow in the dark, and they use the illusion to seemingly teleport, duplicate, and disappear in time with the music. Awesome show.



What did you think of the video?
[Via Daily What]
Of all the characters in Star Wars, Chewbacca had the best lines. This old cartoon by Doug Savage shows all his dialogue from the movies.

What makes it even more fun is trying to figure which scene the 48 panels comes from.
Check out the original and a larger version at http://www.savagechickens.com/chewbacca

Which was Chewbacca's best line? Can you name one of the 48 scenes?

3/28/2012


What do you think about the movie, "John Carter?"
[Image Source: geektwins]
Today we have a guest post from one of the most die-hard Star Trek fans I know: Spacer Guy.

His blog always has some great insights and trivia. It's so good, it won a 2012 Ex Astris Scientia Star Trek award for it's phenomenal Star Trek coverage.

So, without any more delay we turn the blog over to Spacer Guy!

Spacer Guy, make it so!

1. Commodore Bob Wesley
Watching Daystom's Ultimate Computer having a meltdown and feeling regret for its actions is classic Star Trek. You gotta love these talking machine episodes with Kirk vs the computer again in Star Trek The Original Series. On stardate 4729 Commodore Bob Wesley oversees the installation of Richard Daystrom's M-5 multitronic unit aboard the USS Enterprise NCC 1701. Captain Kirk is none too pleased about a computer (M-5) removing him from calling the shots. Excited by the potential of the M-5 multronic unit, Commodore Wesley orders wargame trials with the M-5 in full control of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 against Kirk's better judgement. It's too bad M-5 goes bonkers snuffing out 53 souls on the USS Potemkin, I guess you say M5 is tempermental but that wouldn't be quite logical now would it?

2. Commodore Matt Decker
 The Doomsday Machine is another great trek episode to WATCH. Commodore Matt Decker is in command of the USS Constellation NCC-1017 when he encounters the deadly Doomsday Machine which has feasted on several planets in System L374. The hungry planet killer latest snacking spins  Commodore Decker out of control over the loss of 400 of his crew. Refusing Enterprise medical treatment Decker seeks reckless vengeance. The planet killer's  appetite for humans and starships will appeal to your dark sci-fi side desires, heh.

3. Commodore Jose Mendez
The Menagerie is a great two parter. Commodore Jose Mendez presides over court martial proceedings for mutiny and violation of General Order 7. First Officer Spock has been very naughty indeed by taking Captain Christopher Pike and the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 to the ONLY forbidden planet in the entire Galaxy, Talos IV and breaking General Order 7 just by going there. Apparently this is a very serious crime, the only offense in Starfleet punishable by death!

4. Commodore Stone
Commodore Stone is Commander in Chief of Starbase 11.  Hes also the President of the court in the first General Court Martial of a Starfleet Captain in the history of the service.  So I guess you could say Captain Kirk finds himself in a spot of trouble when he returns with a heavily damaged USS Enterprise NCC 1701 and Records Officer Ben Finney is MIA presumed dead. But whats going on here? Curiously Kirks version of events differs with the main computer!

5. Commodore Barstow
Commodore Barstow reacts to the intense threat posed by a mysterious 'rip' in space. He sends a Red Two message from Starfleet Command, Code Factor One, to Captain Kirk warning of an immediate threat of invasion. All Starfleet vessels and personnel are withdrawn from the quadrant except for the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 which is used as bait. Its funny how Captain Kirk's starship is always the one called upon to save the galaxy


Thanks Spacer Guy! Frankly, if you asked me I couldn't name two much less five! After reading the list I couldn't agree more.

Make sure you visit http://startrekspace.blogspot.com/ for more Star Trek goodness!

Also, you can read our guest post on his blog Six Surprising Klingon Moments In Real Life.
Do you know any of the episodes he listed? Who was your favorite Commodore? 

3/27/2012


What if the final frontier wasn't space, but eighties TV? What if the A-Team had come from the USS Enterprise? The classic opening of The A-Team gets mashed up with Star Trek in this awesome video.




What did you think of the video?
[Via YouTube via sfsignal]
What did we think of Star Trek when we first saw it? I'm running into time constraints the next couple of weeks, so I'll be reposting some of my favorite posts from the past. This one is from 2009.

Q: What’d you think of the new “Star Trek” movie?

Nigel: I will say that I thought it was excellent and also very provocative for the hardcore fans.
Maurice: In a word: Awesome. It jumped into my top ten list and is the best star trek movie since “Wrath of Khan”. While some of hardcore fans lament that change in tone of the characters (Spock more emotional, Kirk more rebellious) I think it works really well in making the characters deeper and more interesting.
Nigel: I agree, it was an excellent “Star Trek” movie, definitely in second place in my opinion of all-time best.

Q: What do you think of the changes to the characters?

Maurice: I really liked the way they were handled. I thought all the characters were different, but truer to the essence of themselves. Uhura is a perfect example. In the old series, she was a glorified phone operator. Her character was basically “I have Starfleet on the line.” They gave her a background in xeno-linguistics and all that stuff, but none of it was on the screen. In the new movie, she was definitely more complex and capable than the old series character. She was also sexier and her quiet confidence from the old series became more arrogance. I liked it. It’s true that Spock was more emotional, but the old series always established that he struggled to control his emotions more than other Vulcans. That struggle was just more to the surface in this movie. Kirk was more rebellious, but (again) the old series always established him as a rebel. I think “Star Trek” just took the personalities that existed from the old series and made them stronger and more complex. Then you also have to consider that these are younger versions of the old series, so are less controlled. How about you?
Nigel: That was my take too. Maybe Spock learned to control himself when he got older and Kirk learned how to play by some of the rules. It works and frankly Spock never seemed all that different from other Vulcans before. Now he stands out from them. Uhuru was great really well done. A great homage to the character. And her relationship with Spock just gave a whole new layer to each character. We could go on and on with the other characters.

Q: Ok. Who’s your second favorite character besides the "Big Three"?
Nigel: If you count the Big Three as Kirk, Spock, and Bones, then I would have to go with Uhura. She was cool. I never thought of Uhura as hot before, but she was in this movie. If we count Uhura as a Big Three, then I would say Scotty was my next favorite. They really took him and made him an eclectic character that’s way more interesting and funny than the original Mister Scott.

Speaking of Uhura’s relationship with Spock, I was just blown away by the romantic angle. I was trying to explain the significance to my wife, and she didn’t get it. I mean, just the fact that Spock was romantically involved with anyone outside of his mating season was a bold change to the character. And then: Uhura? I can’t think of any more surprising pairing they could have made in the series, short of having Kirk and Spock fall in love...and I would even consider that slightly less shocking than Uhura and Spock.

Q: What was your take on the destruction of Vulcan?
Maurice: I won’t get into the fan fiction I’ve heard about Kirk and Spock (gross) but I agree it really was amazing. I also like that it wasn’t just a gimmick. It felt genuine. The loss of Vulcan was shocking and bold. Very nice and gave the entire race a purpose other than just “Spock's race”.
Nigel: I have to say, I thought the destruction of Vulcan was the most bold and (to me) controversial move. I’d call it a kick to the crotch of every hardcore Star Trek fan. That’s because the Vulcans are one of the three big alien races in Trek; human, Vulcan, Klingon. By destroying Vulcan and most of the Vulcan race, the power and importance of the race is diminished, and establishes that this universe will never be the old Trek universe. I expected by the end of the movie to have them go back in time and save the Vulcan world, and couldn’t believe it ended that way. Bold move.

Q: What about the special effects?

Maurice: The special effects were dynamite to me. Subtle in spots and bold in others.
Nigel: I had no problem with the special effects, but I saw the movie on a drive-in screen, so it was kind of hard to make out sometimes. I do like that they gave the movie a more realistic feel - like the engine room wasn’t just a comfortable little room, but a huge and sprawling chamber of pipes and tubing. Sort of the “Lord of the Rings” approach to “Star Trek.”

Q: What did you think of the story?
Maurice: Phenomenal. I thought it was a perfect way to start. It was a world expanding romp through space and time. Plenty of action even when none was necessary (ex. Scotty stuck in a pipe).
Nigel: I agree about the plot. I thought it was very well constructed. I never realized how badly most Star Trek stories are written until this one. Most “Trek” stories tend to rely on some technological McGuffin (i.e. “We’re trapped in this solar system. Let’s rig the ship’s warp drive to the teleporter and beam the whole ship out!”) to solve the problem. This movie was more accessible with solutions based on the characters’ ingenuity, not their technology. Spock shooting Kirk onto another planet was awesome.
Maurice: Plot was dynamite to me too (“beam the whole ship out” LOL). It had lots of twists and turns without being cartoonish. The Kirk thing was great too.

Q: One article listed Nero as one of the top ten Star Trek villains. Was Nero one of the best villains in trek?
Nigel: Honestly, I didn’t think Nero was that great a villain. He had great weapons and great ambition, but other than that, he didn’t stick in my mind. You can’t credit him for the great weapons because he was from the future - he was more advanced and powerful by default. I really thought they could’ve done better, but the villain was kind of incidental to the story. The biggest obstacles to the heroes’ goals were the heroes themselves.
Maurice: I thought Nero was pretty good actually. Menacing and driven with a kick of a back story. You’re right about the technology, of course, but even then I liked him.

Q: How about the Kobayashi Maru bit?
Nigel: I know they established that Kirk was the only one to beat the Kobyashi maru by sabotaging the test, but it was still cool to see how it all played out. Having Spock the designer of the test was a hoot.

I agree that there was a really nice mix of old and new to help ground the series in reality. He’s driving a vintage sports car through a corn field while being chased by a cop on a hover bike. The most advanced spaceship in the galaxy looked like a boiler room in the lower decks.

The list of nods to the original series could fill a book. Besides the obvious quotes (“I’m giving it all she’s got captain!”) there are the less obvious ones: The worm implanted in the victim, Pike in a wheelchair, Kirk with a green babe. Plenty for everyone.

Q: Final Rating?
Maurice: Me, I’m giving it four and a half out of five. Solid plotting, great acting and plenty for the whole family. You?
Nigel: I would agree with that rating. Four half stars out of five.

FINAL RATING: ****1/2 out of *****
What did you think of Star Trek (2009)?
[Image Source: URL]

3/26/2012

There is a pose that's all too familiar in comic books, one often used for superheroines that's come to be known as the "brokeback." It's basically a spine-twisting pose intended to show the butt and the boobs at the same time, but which also defies logic and anatomy. While the pose varies between subtle and extreme, it's always hovering within the wings of comic book art. Here are ten of the most ridiculous examples in comic art. Remember, these are all the work of professional so-called artists who are supposed to be trained in skeletal structure, biology, and stuff.
1. Wonder Woman shows her lesser-known superpower, dislocating her spine

2. Even Red Lantern Bleez is surprised by her  flexibility

3. Cloak helps Dagger make this very threatening pose

4. Psylocke demonstrates the very difficult midair brokeback pose

5. Voodoo is wondering how she managed to twist her torso like this
6. Black Widow never lets anyone get the drop on her, not since she surgically removed her ribs
7. Black Cat, like many women, finds this pose very relaxing
8. Barda is tough and strong and has no spine whatsoever
9. Spider-Woman is falling, but still manages to give the male audience what it wants
10. Avengelyne has no waist whatsoever, replacing her stomach with little pouches
What do you think of the brokeback poses?


[Via The Brokeback Pose and Escher Girls]
In this clip, William Shatner promote his new one-man Broadway show "Shatner's World" and ends up arm-wrestling a surprised Colbert.

On the U.S. comedy show "The Colbert Report" Colbert lavishes praise on Shatner calling him "beautiful" for his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek. For some reason, Bill's was a little peeved and the results are hilarious, culminating in Shatner saying he's a "weakling." Colbert compares him to a "shriveled vanilla bean." When you have two funny guys verbally sparring, the fun begins.


Hat tip to M. Pax for the video tip!

Have you ever seen Captain Kirk look more peeved? Who do you think wins the wrestling match?
[Image Source: colbertnation.com]

3/25/2012

If Pixar ever teamed up with Marvel to make an Iron Man movie, I think it would look something...like this...
Click to enlarge
A stunningly rendered and extraordinarily detailed image created by hugo2504 (aka Victor Hugo).

[Via evermotion via reddit]

3/24/2012

This week, we'll be reposting some of our older articles that you may not have seen. This post was written by Maurice Mitchell on 08/2010.

The dorkiest wedding I've ever seen is the one between a guy and a girl dressed as Batman and Wonder Woman. I've seen a lot of costume weddings, from Star Trek to Star Wars and this is the worst. Ever. Where to start?

Neil Vaugh, 45, said "I have always wanted to be Batman, ever since I was a little boy and Sharon said she had always wanted to be Wonder Woman." Compromise is an essential part of marriage. It would have made more sense for  Superman and Wonder Woman to get married. Or Batman and Catwoman. Or Superman and Supergirl if you don't mind the creepiness of cousins marrying. The list goes on and on.

The costumes are cheap. A wedding doesn't need to be expensive, but if you're going to do it, go all the way. 40-year-old bride Sharon Vaugh bragged, "Our wedding was absolutely amazing and it cost us less than some couples would spend on just the dress." Splurge on some authentic looking costumes and make sure they're in your size.

If other people are wearing costumes to your wedding, ask them not to wear a costume better than the bride and groom. This goes back to the last point. If the Joker (Master of Ceremonies) looks cooler than the groom he looks like an idiot. Its like guests showing up wearing wedding dresses and tuxedos. It looks wrong.

Pose in character. Taking pictures with Batman and Wonder Woman holding hands running through.a meadow just looks wrong. Yes, it's a happy time, but stay in character for the pictures.

What do you think? Is this the world's dorkiest wedding?

3/23/2012

AVH: Alien vs. Hunter  (2007) is a masterpiece of poor film making with boring characters, lazy special effects and a pedestrian plot ripped off from a mediocre film, but still manages to be worth watching. William Katt, famous for his role in the 80s hit Greatest American Hero, stars as a washed up writer in a small California town who leads a ragtag band of whiners from one place after another getting decimated by the "Alien" and the "Hunter". The motivations of the characters are so obscure that when one character kisses Katt on the forehead she goes into an embarrassed ramble of how she didn't mean it. Why would such a platonic action need to explained so vigorously?

The movie poster grossly exaggerates the quality of the special effects in this film, which are wonderfully atrocious. While the "heroes" face off against a guy in a bad rubber suit they would cut to a shot of a huge honkin' spider-like monster walking through the forest. I was halfway through before I realized they were supposed to be the same creature. The filmmakers at "The Asylum" obviously created the suit, and then changed what he looked like in post-production CGI. The Hunter, meanwhile, looks like a collection of parts taken from the bargain bin at a hardware store. Don't bother looking back at the poster, because the Hunter looks nothing like that.

The Real Hunter
*** SPOILER ALERT! *** I'm going to give away the "twist ending" because it exemplifies something I've noticed about "Asylum" films. In the end, the Hunter takes off his mask and reveals he's human. He talks to someone, in English, looking forward to the next hunt. So, was he a human-looking alien on Earth or was he a human on an Earth-like alien planet? We're not sure, but if we assume he was a human-looking alien on Earth, then why was he letting the monster run amok and not even try to communicate with the poor saps stuck in the middle? If it wasn't Earth, why was everything exactly the same as Earth in such boring ways? The biggest problem with this "twist" is that it completely depends on you having seen the original. If we don't assume the Hunter is an alien creature from the beginning, then it's no surprise.
***

Overall, this film gets a reverse three stars since it lacks everything you'd want from a good film, but has everything you'd want from a bad one. Bad special effects, lame dialogue, pointless violence and a ridiculous premise.
-*** stars out of five
This week, my brother I will be reposting some of our favorite blog posts that didn't get enough attention.

Quick note that I'm not going to post our guide for The Hunger Games (2012) since we didn't really get enough comments. But, if you want some good info check out the comments on Monday's post.

From the Asylum, the studio who brought us Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, comes a spiritual sequel titled Megapiranha. I say spiritual sequel, since it doesn't feature the same characters or plot, but it's clearly meant to be a follow-up. After all, how many movie studios have produced two movies about gigantic man-eating fish with the word "mega" in them? Of course, let's be clear that there's a reason this movie went straight to video. It's strictly low-budget B-movie stuff, only for the die-hard sci-fi movie lover, so it's unfair to compare it to something like Avatar. So let's ask this: is it better than Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus? The answer is yes. Sort of. Let's take a look.

The basic plot is that a pack of giant piranha escape from a lab and bring terror along a river in Venezuela. When they kill the US ambassador of Venezuela, square-jawed special agent Jason Fitch (Paul Logan) is sent to investigate. There he clashes with Colonel Antonio Diaz (David Labiosa), a maniacal Venezuelan military commander trying to stop him from uncovering the truth; that the piranha are a genetically-engineered experiment that escaped from a lab. The team of scientists who created the mega-piranha, led by Sara Monroe (Tiffany), race to try to stop the piranha before they reach open water and spread across the world.

The special effects are definitely an improvement over Mega Shark. Whereas that movie recycled its meager CGI shots of the creatures in endless loops, Megapiranha actually has numerous and generous CGI of the killer fish attacking ships, people, and buildings. Yes, buildings. One thing about Megapiranha is that it delivers. The piranha disappointed me at first, starting out merely the size of a small dog. But then it turns out that the mega-piranha double in size with each generation. Throughout the movie, they get bigger and bigger until by the end, the mega-piranha are the size of whales. We see giant piranha attack everything from swimming lovers to a nuclear sub. If all you want is giant fish eating people, this is your movie.

The characters are about as shallow as in Mega Shark, if not slightly better. Sarah Monroe is the standard B-movie rogue scientist that no one believes. But as both the creator and enemy of the mega-piranha, her role is a little more complex than normal with some guilt rolled into her heroism. Yet the hero Jason Fitch is a walking cliche whose sole purpose is to talk in a gruff voice, dress all in black, and perform pedestrian acts like driving cars or scuba diving as if they were death-defying feats. As for the villain, by the end I found Colonel Antonio Diaz more annoying than threatening.

Okay, so how is the actual story? Well, it's hard to say. In the beginning, it's promising, introducing some political commentary with the hostilities between the US and Venezuela serving as a background theme. At one point, Colonel Diaz rants to Fitch about how the US treats Venezuela like a child. I was impressed that they tried to make some sort of statement alongside the blood-filled water. But the Venezuelan storyline becomes a distraction with Fitch spending more time fighting Diaz than the mega-piranha. At one point in the movie, the Venezuelan coast is in chaos with giant piranha leaping from the river, eating people whole, and crashing through buildings. One would think such a threat to his people might snap Diaz out of his vendetta against Fitch, but no. We watch a weak car chase instead, leaving me grumbling, "Get back to the piranha already."

But one thing Megapiranha failed in compared to Mega Shark is logic. As hard as it is to believe, a movie about a giant shark leaping out of the ocean to bite a plane in half made more sense than half the stuff in this movie. For example, the mega-piranha's weakness is vague at best, inconsistent at worst. It makes sense that a shark the size of an ocean liner would be hard to kill, but not a piranha the size of a horse. The lead scientist insists that sensible solutions like dropping bombs or acid on the piranha will only lead to more mutations (without explaining how or why), but minutes earlier Fitch is able to stab a piranha to death with a regular knife quite easily. Then a nuclear bomb leaves the mega-piranha without a scratch, but Finch is able to blow the same mega-piranha in half by shooting a fuel tank in its mouth.

I could go on about the endless and often hilarious plotholes and mistakes in this movie (my favorite was the sign for the Venezuelan airport that was obviously drawn on a piece of paper with a felt-tip marker and stuck on a wall). The bottom line is that Megapiranha is overall better than Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, but that's not saying much. Almost any other movie I can think of would be. So here's my rating.

By the normal standard of movies, this movie is a D+. But by the standard of B-movies: B-

Did you see Megapiranha? Would you see Megapiranha after reading this review?
Originally posted May 2010 by Nigel Mitchell
[Image Source: guardian.co.uk]

3/22/2012


This week, we're reposting some of our favorite articles from the past that you may not have seen. This one is from 09/12/2009, written by Maurice Mitchell.

Last year, DC announced that they were merging the Milestone Dakotaverse into the world of Superman. This is sad. Milestone truly lived up to it's name in comic book history as the first attempt - make that only attempt - to create a truly diversified comic book world made up of complex characters.

In 1993, during the heyday of independent comic book companies, a group of African-American artists and writers set out to create a series that would redefine minorities in comic books. While it was published by DC, the comics were completely independent. I fondly remember reading the first issues and it opened my eyes to the restrictive view of minorities in the medium. It spoke to me as an African-American in ways no one else had, and I was sad to hear of it's eventual demise in 1997. Static (renamed "Static Shock") came back briefly as an animated show in 2000 for four years, but then disappeared again.

While it's nice to think of the characters coming to life again, it's virtually impossible for them to retain their soul. Why? Because mainstream comic books are written and marketed to American audiences and there's no marketing value in minority superheros. In comic books, minorities are treated like novelties because there's no money in it.  Minorities are usually reboots of failed white characters (ex. Mr Terrific, Firestorm) or sidekicks (ex. Falcon, Battlestar) and grateful to get any work at all. For now it looks like characters like Icon and Static will just be joining existing superhero teams like "Teen Titans" and "Justice League" and probably won't get their own series.

Maybe it will get better, but the fact that the only honest African-American superheroes are being bused into a larger comic book world to survive says something.
[Image from kevingarcia.livejournal.com]

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