Monthly Archives: May 2014

Retro 60s Batman

Batman Classic TV Series
Batman
8 Inch Scale
By: Classic TV Toys
$24.99

There’s something inherently awesome about the classic 1966 Batman TV show. While the show played up it’s campy nature, with ridiculous concepts, over the top fights and well placed humor, it all worked for one reason or another. For decades fans have flocked to this show and it’s become a cult classic with a massive following of fans. At one point Adam West was so recognized for being Batman that he couldn’t escape the role and the public had a hard time separating West’s campy portrayal from any incarnation of the character.

Classic TV Series Batman Figures
Despite the show’s continued licensing longevity, there was never much in the way of action figures and toys until this year. Mattel was the first to market with their 60’s Batman 6 inch figures, but that toy line flat-lined almost as soon as it stepped foot out of the Batcave. None of the figures quite worked and Mattel made it clear they weren’t intending to make it a full fledged toy line, thus killing it before it ever really hit shelves.

Retro Batman Figures Review
Enter Figures Toy Company and it’s Classic TV Toys brand to bring us their take on the 1960’s Batman show in action figure form. Classic TV Toys have had mixed results in the past with their 8 inch figure brands, but to many folks the vintage 70’s Megos served as the unofficial toy line of the William Dozier show. So it’s a pretty natural fit that this “Mego-like” style of figures would be a good vessel for a classic TV series Batman toy line. Over the next few days I’ll be reviewing all of Series 1 of these new Batman figures, but today we start with Batman himself, as portrayed by Adam West. Continue reading

Godzilla Review
Earlier tonight I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of Godzilla, the new motion picture from Legendary and Warner Brothers. The film has a lot going for it and certainly does a fine job of erasing the memory of the horribly maligned 1998 Tristar take on the character. While the marketing for that film was much better, this movie has managed to be a bit deceptive in it’s marketing because it’s not nearly as visceral as the advertisements would have you believe. Godzilla the movie isn’t so much about the creature itself and it’s certainly not the “Gojira” remake that some of the promos seem to make it out to be.

Instead, Godzilla is largely a paint-by-numbers “Godzilla movie”, following the basic formula of a dozen or so other entries in the series. Of course, this time it’s with a bunch of Americans in the central roles and no invaders from Planet X, but you get the idea. Even the scenes in Tokyo, seem to be filled with more English speaking actors than not. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just very much catering to a Western audience.

Without going into specific plot points, it’s fair to say that Godzilla has to tangle with another monster, as has become a hallmark of the franchise. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where Godzilla doesn’t quite deliver as strongly as it should. The problem with this Godzilla movie is pretty much the same problem that every Godzilla movie has had… Not enough monster fighting.

Kaiju
The difference between this entry and other efforts, is that the monster fight potential here is huge but it’s largely squandered. We see lots of aftermath, but very little of the battles themselves. And for as much as the destruction is evident, we never really get that beauty shot of city smashing. At times it almost seems like Godzilla is a ninja, stealthy appearing out of nowhere, despite his increased size in this film. This is one shortcoming from director Gareth Edwards, who at times slavishly recreates the classic Godzilla style, but omits a few key parts that leave you feeling a bit like your prom date skipped out before the hotel.

The most heinous offense is when Edwards forgets to include the first monster skirmish about 40 minutes into the film to hold audiences over. Typically this sets up the climatic final battle, but here we’re teased with a first battle, only to have the film cut away to much less interesting human subplot. Sadly, this as with most of the films in this genre, is a bit of a letdown. He then repeats this a few times over.

Bryan Cranston puts in a pretty strong performance, but despite all the advertising, he’s not the main character of the film. The main family that becomes the focus of the film couldn’t be more uninteresting if they tried. On the plus side, at least it’s not Channing Tatum in the “hero” role. Ken Watanabe also does a fine job, but he’s given absolutely nothing to work with. It’s a shame, because his character could almost be interesting, but instead he’s mostly there to try and give the film a “message” and explain perfunctory dialogue. Continue reading

RockNWrestling
It’s kind of strange how much influence Cyndi Lauper had on the early 1980’s wrestling boom. She was something of a pop culture phenomenon and why she ever hooked up with wrestling, is beyond me. It probably held her back once Madonna burst on the scene, but maybe it was just part of a larger “sell out” on her part. Anyway, point being, her teaming up with Hulk Hogan caused the “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” era to head into the stratosphere. Along the way came the Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling cartoon show, which was part of a Cyndi Lauper themed CBS Saturday Morning cartoon lineup.

In addition to the scariest image of Hulk Hogan I’ve ever seen, that neither looks like the real Hogan or the cartoon Hogan, this ad shows us that the Berenstain Bears and Muppet Babies & Monsters were part of the lineup. I can confess that I do not recall Muppet Babies ever being packaged with a Muppet Monsters show, but apparently it was. The Berenstain Bears were sort of like the Waltons, but with bears. But the real draw is this Rock ‘n’ Wrestling image of Hogan. He appears to be wearing black and white striped trunks. It’s just odd all around.