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.
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
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.
Sgt. Drill & Zombie Soldier
1 Inch Scale
Hasbro’s Kre-O figures are one of my favorite new toylines of the past couple of years, but unfortunately they haven’t exactly taken the world by storm. Hasbro decided to push a smaller version, tied in with a game for tablets, called Cityville Invasion. These figures are smaller than the regular Kreo/Lego style figures, but use the same scale heads, hats and accessories. I picked up a set a while back in hopes of creating a custom Sgt. Slaughter.
This set has two figures and is packed blind, like most mini blind bag toys out there these days. It didn’t take long for me to find them and they were available at most every retailer. I think these guys have since been clearanced out, so you may have to look a bit more for them. Is this Kreo 2 pack worth your money? Can you make a custom Sgt. Slaughter out of this set? Continue reading
Michelangeo, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Splinter & Shredder
#60 – #65
3 3/4 Inch Scale
My friends over at Fun.com invited me to take a look at a few Funko Vinyl Pop figures in celebration of their big push for more toys and collectibles. They have tons of Funko Pop Vinyl figures at great prices and it only made sense that I take a look at the TMNT figures. Series 1 is based on the classic Fred Wolf Ninja Turtles designs. It includes the four turtles as well as their sensai Splinter and their arch rival, Shredder.
There isn’t a ton of nostalgia TMNT product out there right now, but I expect more and more of it to hit shelves as the new Ninja Turtles movie draws closer to release. Among the various things that are out there, these Funko Pop Vinyls are actually pretty nice. Definitely better than some of the other stuff we’ve seen. It’s a testament to Funko’s knowledge of the “nerd” industry for them to have so many awesome licenses under one roof.
The other really nice thing about the Funko Pop Vinyl line, is that you can collect tons of different characters all in the same style. Which is basically unheard of in this day and age. Or if you’re only a fan of a single property like the Ninja Turtles, you can just get their whole series. Continue reading
It may be April Fools, but it’s no joke (although the press release is) ToyFinity are bringing the Knight of Darkness back. I actually own a couple KODs and am a big fan. This knockoff doesn’t get much love these days, but I’ll be curious to see how it will be reintroduced through the ToyFinity brand. I had been hoping for a Captain Action-like tie-in, but I doubt we’ll see that now. Anyway, check out the press release below.
For immediate release – April 1st, GROVERS MILL NJ – Somber. Powerful. A grim-masked menace that strikes terror into the bravest heart. A perfect bad guy for long hours of imagination and excitement.
– Ideal Toys Catalog 1978
So read the official description of the awesomest bad guy from the greatest space franchise in the 1970’s, Ideal Toys’ SPACE TRAVEL AND RECONNAISSANCE (S.T.A.R.) TEAM™ – THE KNIGHT OF DARKNESS™. And now, HE’S BACK.
Originally created by a nameless Ideal executive in the late 70’s as a way to revive the long-dormant IDEAL’S ZEROIDS WORKER ROBOTS OF THE FUTURE™ franchise and their own SPACE TRAVEL AND RECONNAISSANCE (S.T.A.R.) TEAM™ franchise of the early 70’s, Ideal Toys’ SPACE TRAVEL AND RECONNAISSANCE (S.T.A.R.) TEAM™ was a completely original concept revived by Ideal because they knew kids of 1978 were dying for some awesome space-based action figures for some reason. With impeccable sculpting prowess, THE KNIGHT OF DARKNESS™ was formed from the imagination of one of the artisans of Ideal Toys to provide the key figure in the franchise which the heroic ZEM-21™and ZEROID SCOUTS™ could battle in endless original adventures throughout a child’s imagination. Along with their human friend KENT AND HIS COSMIC CRUISER™ and their S.T.A.R. TEAM SPACE HAWK™, ZEM-21™ and the ZEROID SCOUTS™ battled THE KNIGHT OF DARKNESS™. His magnificent black and silver uniform encased THE KNIGHT OF DARKNESS™ in a cloud of mystery, as his futuristic weapon cut a path through the toy shelves of the time, destroying all the cyborg and military heroes that were his competition in the 12-inch action figure market.
But THE KNIGHT OF DARKNESS™ had one problem – he was just too evil and imposing for the children of the time, who had never seen such an evil and imposing character in any medium ever. He’s just so evil and imposing and dark and knight-ish. So after only one series, Ideal Toys’ SPACE TRAVEL AND RECONNAISSANCE (S.T.A.R.) TEAM™ disappeared from the shelves, never to return. Or so everyone thought. Continue reading