N710

As I sit here at my desk pretending to do work that matters, I find my thoughts woozily drifting off to to the stars of 2183 and interstellar space travel. Sipping my green shake in my N7 hoodie, I fondly remember my expedition with Garrus, Wrex, and most importantly Commander Sheppard. Ten years have passed, and still the journey is as fresh as the day I started.

With Mass Effect: Andromeda released earlier this year, the Mass Effect series celebrates a Continue reading

Advertisements

Nerd-base Podcast 7 – Hobbity Euphemisms And Tearful Cinema

Nerd-Base Podcast Banner

We’ve had two “Lost Episodes”…now, just one..BEHOLD!! EPISODE 7 IS HERE!!! (episode 9 is likely far off if it ever comes, haha) This episode, Chris sits down with new(er) Nerd-Base contributor, old friend, and regular member of the Digital Press Podcast and Video Game History Museum, Frankie Viturello! Continue reading

Nerd-Base's 10 Best Remakes/Reboots Part 1

Every site’s gotta have at least ONE Top 10 list these days, right?
Here’s a list of the 10 best movie re-makes (that I could think of, it’s by no means definitive, but  then again, what is? Everyone’s got an opinion). I hesitate to use the new term “Re-Boot”. I think that term is something that some Hollywood PR guy cooked up because of all the press and social ire towards the incredible lack of individuality being pumped out of the big studio movie making machines. I think for something to be called a Re-Boot, it needs to come out within the same decade as the last iteration of its license.
Either way, here’s a list of our favorite unoriginal films!

10) Death Race (2008)

Okay, before anyone starts going “What?! Have you even SEEN the original? They’re barely the same movie!!”, I know. I know. The changes between the two are vast. However, let’s be honest here, the original “Death Race 2000” (1975), like many Corman films, was remarkably cheesy and the only REAL draw to it was the point system (which they sort of hit on in the remake) and the funky cars.

The thing about this movie, and what most of its naysayers aren’t aware of, is that it’s not really a re-make or a re-boot, per se. It’s actually meant as a prequel to “Death Race 2000”. As a prequel, it fits rather nicely. I mean, of course there are inconsistencies, but they can be forgiven, if for no other reason than, are you REALLY going to take a movie about souped up death-cars that seriously? Bottom line is, this movie is an enjoyable action fest with all the bloody-explodey-gritty-boom-boom that makes such guilty pleasures in the genre so memorable.

9) I Am Legend (2007)

“Omega Man” (1971) is one of my all-time favorite films. I’m not saying it’s a great film, but it’s up there in a collection of movies that since I first saw it when I was about 6 years old, I can and have watched multiple times without getting tired of. 
Vincent Price is one of my favorite actors, always has been. Perhaps because there was just something about him that reminded me a lot of a really classy version of my grandfather. Imagine my surprise when I found out while pouring through a video store at about 10 years old that he had made an earlier version of that story called “The Last Man on Earth” (1964)!

So yes, early on, one of my favorite tales of post-apocalyptic earth was the film versions of Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”. Having finally gotten around to reading the source material for the films in my teens, I discovered that the movies I loved had little similarity to the book. The closest being “The Last Man on Earth”, the screenplay of which, I had found out, was originally written by Matheson. Alas, after many rewrites by the studio and production companies, he had his name taken off.

That leads us to 2007.
I’m not one of those big “Oh “f” Wil Smith” guys. I honestly quite like his movies. He’s really not a bad actor. Regardless, with the huge amount of stinker remakes coming out of Hollywood at the time, I was understandably cynical about this movie. It was probably the last time I allowed myself to act in such a way as to dismiss a film before seeing it.
“I Am Legend” is not the book. It’s neither “Omega Man” or “Last Man On Earth”. Rather it is a combining of all three while standing on its own. The beginning of the film, like the beginning of “Omega Man”, really captures the loneliness of the Smith’s Robert Neville. The flashback sequences, telling the story of how the world came to be in such a state, harkens back to “Last Man on Earth”. Lastly, and perhaps most interestingly, the ending…no, not the weird “butterfly glass”, explodey ending that was on the theatrical release, but the original, cut, ending of the movie, was a very big nod to the novel. Neville is made to realize that the creatures are attacking him because in actuality, HE is the monster. They’re defending themselves from him and Neville finally recognizes it. As the character in the book says before he dies, “[I am] a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend”.

8) Fright Night (2011)
“Oh you’re so cool Brewster!”

Say that to anyone who is or was a fan of 80’s horror films and they’ll know almost immediately where it’s from. At the absolute least, they’ll remember that squeaky voice of none other than Stephen Geoffreys’ “Evil Ed”.
“Fright Night” is a film that could only have been made when it was. In the mid-80’s, the larger corporations were starting to gobble up network TV, and the reign of the late-night horror host was coming to an end. The Horror Host shows as some younger readers may not know, where a big staple of late-night TV for about 20 years from the 60’s through the 80’s. The likes of Vampira, Zacherlie, Svengoolie, and of course, Elvira would host showings of (mostly low-budget) horror movies during the late hours on local tv stations as a pull to try to grab viewers that would normally have turned off the tube hours ago. Unfortunately, with the coming of the infomercial, stations found they could make more money from hours-long advertisers/ments, than something cheap just placed there to run more commercials.
The original “Fright Night” was definitely a film for its time, so you can imagine the hesitance when a re-make was announced. Nobody knew what kind of angle they could take. All the general public saw was another studio trying to cash in on a beloved favorite. Even if that’s what it was at its base, it was so much more.

“Fright Night” 2011, was just enough of a separation from the original to really let it stand on its own and feel fresh to new audiences while not feeling like an “insult” to the fans or the 80’s film.
David Tennant (who was brilliantly cast here. The producers knew who they had and really marketed him to the Doctor Who fans as this was his first big American film after coming off his run as the 10th Doctor) plays the spirit of the original “Peter Vincent” so well, replacing the washed up Horror Host with a washed up Vegas magician. Anton Yelchin’s “Charley Brewster” (which honestly surprised me since I’d only seen/noticed him as the garble-accent-mouthed Chekov in 2009’s “Star Trek”) was fantastic and very much like the original. Who now could you possibly get to play the geeky-weird friend other than “McLovin” himself? Well, I will say this, Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s “Ed” is definitely NOT as memorable as Geoffreys’ was, but good nonetheless. Lastly, Colin Farrell’s “Jerry Dandrige”? Creepy. Creepy in an almost realistic, unstoppable serial killer/predator way. Smart, manipulative, and brutal.
If you haven’t seen it yet, and you need a good Friday night creeper, I recommend it.

7) Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I’m not going to do a big write-up on this one. I’m just going to say that this remake of the classic 1956 film of the same name is not as well-known, not because it’s bad by any means, but rather because it’s so damned creepy that nobody wants to think about it anymore after seeing it. Seriously, maybe these are “spoiler-y”, but if you haven’t seen this movie in the past 30 years, I can hardly be blamed, but I’m going to leave you with just these two short clips to watch:
Scene 1:

Scene 2:

Okay? Now try to go to sleep. Can’t do it? Don’t worry, neither can I. *shudder*

6) Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The original “Dawn of the Dead” is, in the opinion of many, one of the greatest zombie films ever made. It is one of my personal favorites. As you can imagine, to this day, there are many, MANY who still complain about the changes made to the feel and especially to the zombies in Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake. I am not one of them.
This remake is only similar in very few ways to the orignal. The setting, (some of) the characters, and the undead are pretty much all that is kept. I’m okay with that. Why? Because I’ll always have my collection of all the different release versions of the original to watch. Also, if you take some “artistic license” and do it well, any changes can be made acceptable. This movie is most definitely acceptable. The human emotion and danger is captured very well. The theme that Romero puts forth in his films, that the “humans” can pose a bigger threat than the monsters is well engrained in this film. Think about it, if everyone just gave a moments thought to the consequence of their actions, they could have survived comfortably in that mall. But really, when does that ever happen in real life? Some concepts in this were brilliantly conceived. Having the other survivor so close, but so far, the “pregnancy”, the greedy power-mad mall workers, all led to the drama and thrill of this movie to the point where the zombies were almost…almost an afterthought.
If you happen to be one of those that have dismissed this movie and/or refuse to watch it because you’re so upset about what it does to the original, you really must get over that hurdle and allow yourself to enjoy this great entry into the genre.

Go check out part 2 covering 5-1 here!!!!

"Prototype" the movie…not the game.

Written by: Christopher Lee

Checking out upcoming film trailers, I came across this interesting little gem. I’d heard nothing about it previously. 

Italian-Argentine filmmaker, Marcelo Grion wrote and directed this film where, from what I can piece together by the trailer, seems to be sort of a combination of the Fugitive and Robocop. 

To me, it looks as if the scientist profiled in the beginning of the trailer is perhaps killed for some reason and maybe transfers his consciousness into the experimental machine. At least, that’s what I take from it.

At any rate, I like the robot design, and the film itself looks like it’ll be pretty cool.

It currently has a release listed for some time in 2013.

George Takei as the Doctor!?

Written by: Christopher Lee

My friend Sarah (check out her blog) just picked up a ukelele and learned how to play “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. She posted the achievement on facebook, to which I replied by posting the camping scene from “Star Trek V” where the crew sings along to Spock’s plinking on his Vulcan Lute. This, of course, resulted in me watching a few more clips from the classic adventure where I noted a quick, funny little thing…..

Sulu, better known as the social media giant George Takei, performing a quick little scene that, to me, felt VERY reminiscent of a certain “3rd incarnation” of everyone’s favorite travelling Doctor. As if we needed more proof of Mr. Takei’s awesomenitude (yeah, I just made that up, but it’s fitting and you like it.)

Watch from about :20 to :34…

 I mean, c’mon…the “capelet”, the “judo” (though, to be picky, it looks more like Aikido), the “sonic screwdriver-esque” tool he uses. It’s too obvious to me to NOT be a “nod”. What do you think?

Follow the Nerd-Base! Still looking for contributors too!

Awesome Real-Life Vs. Sci-Fi "Spaceship" infographic!

Written by: Christopher Lee

CableTV.com posted this fun and honestly, informational (funformational?) pic. I want this as a poster! (I want too many things as posters..I just want to be surrounded by awesome, haha).

IRL vs SF

Follow the Nerd-Base! Still looking for contributors too!

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

Follow the Nerd-Base for nerdy news and reviews!

SPOILER ALERT: WALKING DEAD SEASON 2!!

The Walking Dead recently had a big spoiler hit from a leak of the Season 2 blu-ray cover. To fans of the comic, it won’t be big news, although if previous story leaks, that have thus far proven to be accurate are to be believed, the actual “incident” will be a bit different from how it panned out originally. If it DOES happen as said, I personally will be a little upset about it since it is a defining moment of the growth of two of the main characters in the series.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! SPOILERS AHEAD!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

So, the first part of what I’ll tell you here is what was on the blu-ray cover. The part that many saw coming and the Walking Dead comic fans have been waiting for, the death of Shane.

“This special limited edition Blu-Ray includes all 13 episodes on 4 discs, including bonus features such as: the making of the barn, an extended zombie gut scene, Shane’s last episode, full Comic Con coverage with panel, comic book vs episode comparison, and more!”

Now, for the story leaks, why I believe them and what upsets me about the evident change.

An unnamed source spoke out before the premier of the second half opener of Season 2. He/She detailed a few scenes that have occurred just as described, the scene with Hershel in the bar, the encounter with the other group and Rick taking them out, the big fight between Rick and Shane in the school yard, and Shane’s ultimate demise.

Evidently, in the series, Shane draws Rick away from the group either planning to kill him, or deciding to during an altercation, that much is grey. Either way, the report states that Rick ultimately kills Shane, who then turns and rises, zombified and comes at Rick. A struggle ensues and suddenly Zombie Shane is shot in the head….by Carl.

In the comics Shane is killed before they leave the encampent and head to Hershel’s farm. Shane asks Rick to go out into the woods on a hunting excursion and when far enough out, essentially loses it and points his gun at Rick with full killing intent. What he didn’t know is that Carl had followed them out, having already been trained with and given his own gun, because he felt that he was big enough to hunt with his father. Carl shoots and kills Shane in defense of his father.

This is important for Carl because it shows that he has it in himself to “do what is necessary”, but as he’s just a child, it also, obviously, affects him in a way that changes his character. He matures. He shows that he understands that he can’t be afraid to do what needs to be done even when the actions could be construed in a morally grey area. This also affects him further in the story and helps him and the group in other instances, which I won’t further spoil.

Just so you don’t think it immediately turns him into “Baby Hard-Ass”, immediately after shooting Shane, Carl is shocked at how much his actions hurt and how hard it is to deal with. We’re then given a very honest father and son moment, defining the relationship of the Grimes men.

This is important for Rick because it hits him with a very large smack of reality in his situation. He, more strongly than ever, understands the role that he needs to undertake, both as a leader and more importantly, as a father. There is a scene later in the series where Rick goes out on his own and digs up Shane’s grave to get a better sense of what they’re up against. Whether a person needs to be bitten or scratched or just dead before they rise again. As Shane begins to crawl out of the grave, he gets the answer he needs and finishes the job, thus also coming to terms with his past and letting go of his uncertainty and grief over what happened with his once friend and partner as well as setting the stage for his growth and becoming a questionably better leader for the group as his conscience now hold less sway over doing not necessarily what’s “right”, but what needs to be done. Which, in the world they now survive in, seems a bit of a more important quality.

So, what do you think? If a fan of the comics, how do you feel if the changes to the story come to pass as reported?

Video

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Don't knock it til you've tried it!

 

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ve been in heated discussions not only about the movies, original or prequel, but of aspect of all the other medium as well.
Many I’ve spoken to have dismissed the “Clone Wars” tv series as a kids show to be put on the backburner indefinitely, no doubt, in large part, to the fact that it’s based in the environment of the almost universally reviled prequel films.

I say now, as I’ve said for some time, don’t do that to yourself.

The “Clone Wars” is a treat. It’s a well made and planned out series that caters to the fans. It has a linear story format that, at times, seems above the age for which it seems targeted. Characters die. I don’t mean just faceless clones and robots, I mean real storyline characters that you grow an attachment to are killed off in this series. It’s relatively violent, more than you’d expect. Not simply lightsaber battles either. It’s well acted as well. Oddly, the computer generated characters seem to have more life than they did in the actual movies.

“Sorry I am, young Skywalker. Directing, one of Lucas’ strong points, is not.”

There’s quite a bit of fan service to be had as well. Nods and appearances to locales and characters you might not expect are given aplenty. There is a two part episode in season three that is a tribute to King Kong and Godzilla respectively. There is, as well, a tribute episode to the “Seven Samurai” that was rather well done, giving a wonderful nod to what is generally well known as the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa that Lucas claims formed the base of Star Wars itself.

BEHOLD!!! The Zillo Beast!! (Yes, that’s what it was actually called, just in case anyone didn’t know it was a Godzilla nod already…and LOOK AT THOSE TANKS!)

I could go on about how much I enjoy this series, but instead, I think you should check it out and form your own opinion. Don’t just dismiss something without giving it due chance. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to discover some good that has come out of the prequels.

Oh…and did I mention, Darth Maul is BACK!! Watch the trailer and be excited!

-Chris