John Carter (of Mars…..sorta)

John Carter Logo/Poster

Written by: Christopher Lee

I finally got out to see “John Carter” this week and yes, I’ll say it, this movie is good.

No, it’s not going to blow you away. No, it’s not anything you haven’t seen before. Yes, it’s a lot like things you’ve seen before.

Why?

Because darned near movie or TV show in the Sci-Fi genre that you’ve seen in at LEAST 50+ years has either been inspired by or has ripped off the tales of “Barsoom” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

Given that alone, give the film, the story, the respect it’s due. Gene Rodenberry did. Publicly. When he spoke of his inspirations for “Star Trek”. Many others have as well.

Could I sit here and simply review the movie? Sure. But I’m not going to do that per se. 

The difficult thing with this movie is despite just saying “OMG it’s so good! You need to go see it!”, is telling people *why* they should give it a go. There’s few ways to describe it that don’t sound like “Avatar” or a sort of reversed “Superman” or much everything else. I honestly find myself hard pressed to do so, and therein lies, likely, it’s failure. 

How does one make an audience excited for a film that, despite it’s pedigree, is based on a 100 year old story that has somewhat faded into relative obscurity in the eyes of all but the more hardcore geeks?

I suppose simple word of mouth is the best bet. Perhaps, blatantly advertising and chest-beating that this is the story that inspired the genre almost entirely as we know it.  I also suppose that releasing it a mere week before a darned near guaranteed blockbuster (“Hunger Games”) wasn’t the best idea either.

At this point, the best thing to do is judge for yourself. Don’t dismiss it based solely on the critics (actually, do yourself a favor and stop listening to critics all together….except me, of course, but I’m not a professional…yet, and when I do become a pro, feel free to stop listening to me and support another up-and-comer!). Go to a matinee (incidentally, this is a GREAT Sunday Morning film), leave your expectations at the concession stand, and check it out. The least I can guarantee you is an enjoyable, pulpy, classic sci-fi adventure. Personally, I can never have enough of them.

If simple reasoning doesn’t work, just lookit this guy, he’s in the film. His name is Woola. He’s kind of like a giant, sweet, super fast, super loyal bulldog..ish….thing….BUT HE’S SO CUTE AND AWESOME YOU MUST LOVE HIM!! (fyi, this is the concept art for Woola. The finished character is pretty much 90% the same as this with VERY slight alterations that make him more “book-authentic”)

WOOLA!!!

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Oh Doctor, my Doctor.

Written by: Christopher Lee

I started watching “Doctor Who” in the early 80’s when it was shown on both PBS and NJN (the local “New Jersey Network”) UHF channel (not everyone had cable back then). Although they did mix in a few of the other Doctors here and there, they mostly aired the Tom Baker/4th Doctor episodes. I was entranced. The show just had this, “something”. It was frightening and exciting and strange and wonderful, just the thing for a young geek growing up in the days when Dungeons & Dragons still held sway on the fears of parents and metal heads were all stereotyped as Satan worshipers. 

                                                                             

Ahhh…those were the days.

The point I’m making here is, just like anything you grow up with. You’re sort of indoctrinated to a preference. My preference here is for my favorite Doctor, Tom Baker.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the new series. It’s great and I’m very glad it’s finally getting the global popularity it deserves. What I am saying is, a lot of the “new Who” fans either haven’t watched or have trouble getting into the older series. This is completely understandable. They’ve grown into a preference for a different sort of “Who”. However, for those that have tried, many if not most of them will tell you that they’ve enjoyed the 4th Doctor best. That says a lot. 

I got to briefly meet Tom Baker at NYCC a few years ago. I don’t often get starstruck, but, let me say, I heard his voice before I saw his face. I just lit up, I walked over, waited til he was done speaking to someone else, he turned to me and I simply said, “Mr. Baker, thank you.” and shook his hand. I think he knew what I meant, either from hearing it from thousands of others, or just by looking in my eyes, but he put a his hand on my shoulder and said, “Nonsense. Thank YOU. It is my pleasure.” I walked away from that encounter feeling like a schoolkid who just asked his crush out on a date and she said, “Yes”. Okay, that was corny, but I think you understand.

Now to the point. While we’re all waiting to see who will make appearances in the very soon upcoming 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special, and for that matter, what it will be, someone on Youtube has tracked down something interesting. It seems Tom Baker has since donned the persona of our favorite Time Lord once more for a series of New Zealand investment commercials:

So, I want to say, “Oh man, that’s so cheezy”. However, even though it IS, I just can’t find myself not enjoying these spots! He still has it and I still love it. He is and always shall be, my Doctor.

-Chris

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Remember that Smiths game for NES?

Written by: Christopher Lee

Neither do I. Okay, it was a fever dream. That’s what I tell everyone at least. 

Or was it? This evidence may convince you otherwise:

Super Morrissey Bros. by lazyitis

Again, another great bit of music inspired by video games and fantastic hair. 

I’m honestly trying to hold back quite a bit from gushing too much being a big fan of both the Smiths and midi tracks. So instead, I’ll just leave this post as is and fall back into my imagination trying as hard as I can to insert a memory of playing a game in my youth on the NES where Mozz rides his bike around collecting bouquets of flowers, lamé shirts, and mousse for bonus points while he makes it to his gigs so he can raise money to pay the doctors at the hospital because his girlfriend’s in a coma, oh, and trying not to hit any rocks while riding because I don’t want to see him cry. (you just know it’d just be a side scroller).

-Chris

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Shameless self-promotion.

Written by: Christopher Lee

If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate it if you’d spread the word about this blog.

Hopefully you like what I’ve posted thus far. I’m still open to submissions too!

I can’t realize my dream of seeing this successful without an audience though, so I need you!! Reblog posts that you like! Tell your friends about it! 

The blog is hosted on Tumblr, it’s just a button click away! 

I can beg…I’ll give you a cookie…

If I have at least 100 followers by the end of March, I’m going to have a little contest/giveaway of some sort. I have a bunch of cool stuff gathered up for the Geek Flea Market and I think I can part with a piece or two as thanks.

Perhaps some lucky follower will get one of my infamous “Gift boxes”….mwahh-ha-ha-haaaaa

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Say what you will, I still believe the cake is a lie.

Written by: Christopher Lee

Today, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve finally begun to delve into other themes. Tech and Music (as of this post). However, granted, this particular bit of music is video game related. However, granted, it’s perhaps one of the best examples of fan-made video game inspired music that is actually original vs the over-abundance of covers created out there. 

The title of this song is, “The Device Has Been Modified” by the Victims of Science. Feel free to correct me on this bit (please do! It’ll help dissuade my fears that no-one’s reading my posts!), but from what I gather, this song first appeared as simply created and posted on a “Portal” forum. To me, that’s pretty impressive.

There’s such a wealth of talent out there. I’m still amazed when ever I come across some of the fan art or creations of different properties, more amazed at the music that’s created. You guys (I’m looking at you internet) are awesome!! 

That’s it, no big story here, just a fluff piece to give me an excuse to share an awesome tune based on one of the best games of the last decade.

-Chris

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Thanks Pentagon, now Skynet's got another tool in it's belt.

Written by: Christopher Lee

As a friend of mine would say, “I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.”

All kidding aside, this video shows some amazing leaps in mobile robotic technology. Once a practical portable energy source is created (if it has not yet been, where’s our Arc Reactor Mr. Stark?), the world is going to change. Interestingly, and arguably, sadly, it looks as if that change will first come on the fields of battle. 

The “Cheetah”, as it has been dubbed by DARPA, is the latest, fastest, robotic instrument in a long line of alternative, multi-terrain technology. Says DARPA:

The use of ground robots in military explosive-ordinance-disposal missions already saves many lives and prevents thousands of other casualties.  If the current limitations on mobility and manipulation capabilities of robots can be overcome, robots could much more effectively assist warfighters across a greater range of missions.  DARPA’sMaximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program seeks to create and demonstrate significant scientific and engineering advances in robot mobility and manipulation capabilities. “

Okay, so they say this is for defense and bomb disposal, but in my mind (and I can’t lie, in my mind, this scenario looks AWESOME), I see hundreds of atomic powered Robo-cats streaming across the battlefield taking out the opposing forces in one of the most fear-inducing scenes of chrome and blood since the T-1000 pulled it’s eye out in the first “Terminator” movie. I also see a pretty interesting segue into the creation of real-life “rat things” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson and you can thank me later).

But, as said previously, all this, whether it is to be utilized for “good” or “evil”, is still far off until…wait, didn’t I read some theory about the progression of technology creating the fabled AI Singularity very soon? Oh man……we’re screwed…I think we need to stop worrying about the zombie apololypse and start working on civilian level EMP cannons…

-Chris

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Supernatural does it again!

Episode 20 of this season will be titled, “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”.

Seriously, why did it take me so long to get into this series!? If you haven’t seen it, you must give it a shot.

I think the best description I could come up with for it would go something like this; Take the first few seasons of the “X-Files”, when the show was fun and episodic, before it went all heavy-handed and linear, mash-up the Hardy Boys and the Odd Couple, then have your writers read every issue of “Weird NJ” back to back at least 5 times while drowning themselves in Mountain Dew and listening to classic metal.

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

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"ParaNorman" is one of the summer movies you don't want to miss!

Written by: Christopher Lee

The next few months are going to be crazy times in the theaters for geeks, nerds, dweebs and spaz’s, but let’s not let all the blockbusters take our focus away from some of the “smaller” films that might otherwise slip under the radar, like “ParaNorman” which comes out on August 17th, 2012 from Laika Entertainment, the studio that brought us “Coraline” and “The Corpse Bride”.

“ParaNorman” tells the tale of young Norman Babcock who is your stereotypical “Weird Kid” who gets put down by his family and picked on at school. The difference here lies in the odd ability young Norman has for communicating with the dead. 

This of course leads him to all sorts of issues that a kid his age shouldn’t have to deal with, but nothing like the sort of problem that’s coming when an evil witch spirit casts a spell to raise the dead and rule the world. Her plan might come to fruition if not for the heroic efforts of the reluctant little hero.

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit. The plot is/seems a bit “done”, cliche’d, and contrived. It really seems like the studio just wanted to make another “creepy kid’s movie” and having run out of ideas and not wanting to deliberately rip off Edward Gorey, instead ripped off Peter Jackson. Really, this movie looks like the “Frighteners” for kids (and Hot Topic patrons). Not to mention all the obvious stereotypes. C’mon, haven’t we had enough of the “friend of the misfit hero is a dopey fat kid”? I’m sure that if it wasn’t that, it’d probably be a ginger. I mean, everyone knows the only hero dork in pop-culture who has a best friend that’s not an idiot, socially inept, or of obvious physical difference than the norm, is Spider-Man (I refer to Harry Osbourne if you didn’t get that), though, granted, as much as I love the new series, “Ultimate Spider-Man”s Miles Morales’ best friend is a chubby asian nerd…stereotype much? Okay, okay, that’s a different article all together.

All that being said, none of it means that I don’t want to see “ParaNorman”, mind you. It still looks fun, and I honestly think going into it with lower expectations will let me enjoy it a bit more than if I expected something great and new. Your thoughts?

-Chris

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Save the date! Unwinnable.com's GEEK FLEA 3 flea market!

Written by: Christopher Lee

UNWINNABLE.COM PRESENTS GEEK FLEA 3!!!

Save the date and come on by to pick up some awesome stuff!

March 31 – 10am til 6pm
First Presbyterian Church of Arlington
663 Kearny Avenue, Kearny, NJ 07032-2935
After Party at the Loop Lounge – Vendors get in free!

My good friends over at Unwinnable.com are holding another flea market focused on geeks/nerds and the culture we love. The previous two were highly successful and we can only imagine this one will blow the past two away. A great time will be had by all attendees. There’s good music, lots of laughs, better food than you’d expect and plenty of new friends to make.

So, if you’re a collector or just a lover of the ol’ classic flea markets OR you’ve just got a few bucks to spare on some awesome stuff, come on down!! I’ll have a table set up, say hi!

-Chris

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