Archive | November, 2010

Is Avatar sequel worthy?

11 Nov

Is Avatar sequel worthy? and Why it is not an original idea.
by SimplyKyle 11/11/10

It’s official James Cameron has announced he is going to shoot a sequel to Avatar and even plans to do a third movie. Haven’t heard this yet? Check out this article. With such an announcement I feel it is only fitting I finally give my opinion of Avatar. (Yes I am aware the movie has been out for a while.) To clarify I am talking about the 2009 US movie, not the 2004 Chinese flick or the 1916 silent film (oh wait there was more than one movie with the same name?) not that you’d really get confused because when you Google Avatar movie there’s only one that pops up, well that and the other blockbuster “hit”…

the-last-air-bender-movie-poster(lol “blockbuster”)

I just felt you should know this is one of several aspects that seemed to have been “borrowed” from other media. When I first watched Avatar, I began to recognize several elements, like I had seen them before. Then it hit me; I’ve seen Disney’s Pocahontos, read Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead, and I’ve got friends who play World of Warcraft. So I began to wonder if James Cameron just spent one weekend playing WoW, reading the Ender book series, and his grandkids happen to have the Disney channel on in the background when he suddenly realized; “oh snap. It’s been five years already, I better put together a new movie.”
It’s said that’s not the case. Cameron claims that this movie had been in the works for years. The special effects and 3-D technology I can believe, this would not have been possible to pull off years ago, but the story-line and plot is hard to believe to have been worked on for so many years (although that is what they said about Star Wars episode 1-3). The movie itself is absolutely visually stunning and utilizes new 3-D technology and motion capture techniques co-designed by James Cameron himself. Being into the technical aspect of filmmaking myself, that is pretty sweet.
We all know James Cameron has brought us great films like Terminator , Aliens, Terminator 2, True Lies, and  Titanic (like it or not it was quite the epic movie feat). Of course who could forget his most memorable and world renowned….

piranha-ii -the-spawning-poster

 Avatar being his latest in his usual every-five-years-or-so-come-out-of-the-woodwork-and-make-an-epic-blockbuster (very much like he goes through wives).  As I mentioned Cameron used new technology to film Avatar and has revolutionized the movie industry. Of course they also said that about The Matrix and we all know how those sequels were. So does Avatar warrant two more movies or is it just a means to squeeze movie goers out of more money? That is another article in unto itself. My discussion here is based on the fact that, set aside from the visual special effects (2 ½ hours of awesome scenery), the movie has a dull, unimaginative story-line and borrows elements from other works whether intentionally or not.

Avatar is far too much like an outer space version of Pocahontas, hell Neytiri even looks like her to an extent, especially when she’s peeking through the trees. I was surprised she didn’t start singing about the wind and the trees when she first told Jake about the connection the Na’vi have to Pandora. A connection eerily similar to the Pequeninos (aka piggies) have to their planet, Lusitania, in Speaker for The Dead.

For those that don’t know this story, Speaker for the Dead is a sequel to Orson Scott Card’s book Ender’s Game (if you don’t know that one, you best read it!). The story is about humans who arrive on this planet that is inhabited by animal-like humanoid creatures (the piggies) as well as other feral creatures the humans don’t understand. They discover the Piggies are in sync with the trees and they claim they are their ancestors and can learn from them and talk to them, even transfer their life and memories into a new tree when they die. Sound familiar?

The humans are also located in one settlement on the planet and when they leave to explore they find the piggies and don’t know if they are hostile or not, but most of the humans make them out to be, as they don’t understand their culture or their way of life (that’s like in Pocahontas too). There is no love story between any of the piggies and a human, but pretty much the same idea. Besides that part is told in Pocahontas anyway. Eventually both parties learn to live in harmony, to an extent…I think I know where the sequel will go. (read Xenocide).
You may be saying that could just be a coincidence. Maybe. And the creatures of Pandora are completely original and don’t resemble anything else…

Leonopteryx vs Pterrordaxdire horse vs horseThantaor vs nightsaber(nope I don’t see any similarities whatsoever)

I don’t play World of Warcraft, but I’ve talked to several of my friend who do and they pointed some these similarities out to me. Even I can see the question-ability and so do others, like this guy. Now I’m not saying Avatar is a rip-off at all, it could all just be subconscious connections. I mean they did create a bad ass AMP suit just for the movie for Colonel Quaritch to done.

aliens-ripley-powerloader_1193711350
(oh wait)

Now I did enjoy watching the movie. As I stated I love the technical aspect behind creating a film of this magnitude. But I would not go so far as to say it was the best movie of all time or get fanatic and obsessive over it. I mean people worshiping the movie and claiming it changed their lives is a little excessive. Besides Hindus have been worshiping Avatars for much longer, read more here. Some people even say they “were brought to tears” and “got shivers” when they watched it wanted to be in the world of Pandora. Those sensations were probably the result of the hallucinogenic they took before the movie, amplifying the intensity of the visually stunning scenes, because their friend said it would be a “great idea”. Still no one beats this guy when it comes to Avatar-related “great ideas”…

man-gets-not-one-but-five-avatar-tattoos-18970-1279759948-44
(this is totally going to be relevant in a few years)

All in All James Cameron did an amazing job at creating new film techniques, as he always does, and invented a new 3D camera for this film that would go on to shoot such epic films as Jackass 3D. I just wish he had stuck with the original idea to make a Spiderman movie (yes he was attached to the project for the first film) that has nothing to do with this but I felt like bringing it to light. We will see how the Avatar sequel panes out (in probably 5 years), I mean Cameron did give us Terminator 2, that far surpassed the first. Maybe Avatar 2 will blow Avatar out of the water, but I doubt it.

-Photos used are property of 20th century Fox, Blizzard Entertainment, and Nickelodeon Studios respectively. They do not belong to GeekTheWorldOnline and are intended for use in character and media review in strictly entertainment and editorial means. Their use is protected by Section 107 under the US copyright law.

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Robert Kirkman is F@*#!ng Awesome

9 Nov

Robert Kirkman is F@*#!ng Awesome
by Andy Potter

kirkmanRobert Kirkman is fucking awesome.  There I said it.  The man has gotten me back into comics after a long hiatus and for that I thank him. But I digress. Kirkman first came to my attention many years back while working at Gamestop. On one particularly boring day, my friend and I were discussing zombies; what they feel, what goes through their minds, do they have a favorite flavor of human? It was during this discussion that he mentioned a little comic call The Walking Dead.  I had not heard of it, and so on that fateful day he brought me the first volume.

walking deadI was hooked! The writing was fantastic, the art was gritty, the gore; well lets just say I could practically taste the brain matter, you know, in a good way. I went through six volumes of The Walking Dead in about a week. My friend told me that the writer of the series also did superhero books, and that if I liked his zombie stuff I would like his superhero stuff even more, I told him I’d give it a read.  I didn’t. (well not right away)

My love of comics has had many ups and downs over my twenty-four years of life.  At that particular time I was at a low.  Years later my life was going through a rough patch. Thanks to the unending geekiness of my good friend Kyle, and my own need to return to something I had lost over the years, my love of comics returned.

Every sunday for almost a year Kyle and I would eat, drink, and go to our favorite comics shop (good times were had by all)  It was here that I rediscovered Kirkman and discovered Invincible. I purchased Invincible on a whim, with a gift card from my parents, under the thought process that if it sucked, at least I wouldn’t be wasting any of my actual money.

It didn’t suck.

I read volume one in a single afternoon, and quickly reread it.  The next six months were devoted to Invincible.  There were eleven volumes and I would have them all.  Sure, I grabbed other stuff too, but nothing held my attention like Invincible.  It was a superhero book without falling into the same crap most long running superhero books fell into.  It had drama without taking itself to seriously.

It had characters that were just familiar enough to understand, but just different enough to be interesting. Ask Kyle, it was all I talked about; I threw money at my comic shop owner (thats right threw it, he didn’t want my money in any way.  I think he cried at one point)

It didn’t end there; after Invincible came Astounding Wolf-man, then Brit, Capes Inc, Tech-Jacket. I grabbed Marvel Zombies, and caught up on my Walking Dead.

The man could do no wrong in my eyes.

Ok, Kirkman isn’t infallible, but he’s pretty damn close.

So, why do I think Kirkman is fucking awesome? Could it be that he surrounds himself with some talented artists? Nah. Simple;  he takes a well known idea and twist it just enough to make it fresh and interesting.

My father is a huge Superman fan and has been for as long as I’ve known him. I was explaining Invincible to him the other and day and summed it up thusly:

“Ok, Superman comes to earth, gets married and has a son”
“Ok, sound cool”
“Now the son develops superpowers, and starts to fight crime”
“Of course”
“But turns out Superman actually came to earth to prepare it for invasion and enslavement, consequently son decides to fight against him and defend the planet”
“Oh…thats a good idea”  My dad hasn’t read a comic in years, but I think I could get him to read Invincible.

Hell, almost the same thing happened when I was explaining The Walking Dead to my best friend, Dennis:

“You like Dawn of the Dead?”
“Yes”
“Ok, now imagine it didn’t end.”
Now Dennis (who had never read a comic in his life) owns seven of The Walking Dead volumes.
Come on, who doesn’t read about zombie Hulk biting the Silver Surfer’s head off and thinks its awesome.  Superheroes who punch a time clock, indestructible cranky old men who defend the planet, or a well known universe of heroes suddenly eating everyone in sight. I could mention the genius of a superhero who realizes he has superpowers when he tosses bags of garbage into orbit, and then, a full six issues later, the bags lands in France.  Now that’s planning ahead.  How can you not think thats awesome, seriously?

Robert Kirkman is fucking awesome.  There, I said it again.  As long as the man keeps writing, I’m gonna keep reading.  (Also note, I will never use the word awesome so much again.  Kyle, I’m sorry)

Find more about Robert Kirkman by visiting his site http://www.kirkmania.com

-Photos used are property of Image Comics and  Comicvine.com respectively. They do not belong to GeekTheWorldOnline and are intended for use in character and media review in strictly entertainment and editorial means.

Hot Tub Time Machine Review

9 Nov

Hot Tub Time Machine Review
by Illumin-Arte 11/09/10

hot-tub-time-machine-poster.jpg.728x520_q85

Starring:
John Cusack– Adam ( 2012, Identity, Grosse Point Blank, Con-Air, One Crazy Summer, Better Off Dead)
Clark Duke– Jacob (Kick Ass, Superbad)
Craig Robinson– Nick Weber (Shrek Forever After (voice of Cookie), Night at the Museum, Pineapple Express, Walk Hard)
Rob Corddry– Lou (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanomo Bay, What Happens in Vegas, I now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Old School)

When this movie first came out in the theaters I received mixed reviews from friends and family who had seen it. Some said it was not funny at all , some said it infantile to pre-teen humor, while others said it was hilarious, up to par with The Hangover (which was one of the funniest movies I had seen in a long time) and although I myself wouldn’t put it on the same level as The Hangover I found this movie hilarious and thoroughly enjoyable.

One of the highlights in the movie (for me anyway) was Craig Robinson whose dry sense of humor always makes me laugh, as Darryl in the TV hit, The Office. There is also John Cusack who brought to this movie an older version of Hoops McCann from One Crazy Summer and a little Lane Meyer from Better off Dead, even after all the movies he has been in these two are my Cusack favz.

164859__better_off_dead_l(Gee, I’m real sorry your mom blew up)

 I find it harder to talk about a movie I really enjoyed rather than one that I really disliked; because it is so much easier to tear something apart, than not. The premise is a bit weak and there are definitely a few holes in the story-line, but none of that really matters because the script itself is written with well placed one liners, puns, and sight gags (projectile vomiting on a squirrel, I’m laughing just thinking about it) One of the only problems I had with the story was “Why?” why did it happen at all?, why did it happen to them?, why were they sent back in time what did they have to fix? Their lives were no worse off than anyone else’s. There didn’t seem to be anything they did in the past that called for time travel to make right. So how do you get them there? Blame it on a spilled power drink.

squirrel

The script was peppered with references to modern technology versus eighties technology

hot_tub_time_machine_221
(“hey guy guess where I’m calling you from? On the mountain with my new phone”)

 IPods vs. sony cassette walkman, any normal haircut vs Nick Weber’s Kid n’ Play Hairdo. There were references to the internet, websites, and text messages. All of which were returned with blank stares and “what are you talking about” comments from the eighties crowd ( even though the internet and computers were around, just not widely used in homes in 1986).

There was the usual amount of sex, drugs, and rock and roll but not to much of each, just the right mix for this type of movie. Also there is a running joke through out the movie about when Phil the one arm bellboy loses his arm (played by Crispen Glover known for so many things but probably best known as George Mcfly in Back to the Future.) I don’t like to use spoilers but the last 15 minutes are really interesting after Lou Dorchen decides he has nothing in the future and stays in 1986.

Hot Tub Time Machine did it for me it gave me an enjoyable night of light hearted movie watching with some good belly laughs. And the review wouldn’t be complete without kudos to Chevy Chase good to see you still out there and funny as hell.

chevy chase

Well I think my review is done so I’m just going to Lougle my favorite album put on the headphones and listen to Motley Lou.

I Give Hot Tub 4 Bums up!

-Photos used are property of United Artists and Warner Brothers respectively. They do not belong to GeekTheWorldOnline and are intended for use in character and media review in strictly entertainment and editorial means. Their use is protected by Section 107 under the US copyright law.

“No Ordinary Family” Review

5 Nov

No Ordinary Family
review by SimplyKyle 11/5/10

key_art_no_ordinary_family

No Ordinary Family, a sci-fi drama on ABC conceptualized by Greg Berlanti and Jon Feldman, some of the minds behind the teen hit show Dawson’s Creek, but don’t let that deter you or skew your opinion prematurely (hehe). It also  happens to be produced by, the reputable yet little known, Samantha Thomas who backed LOST from season 3 to the end. (Which despite some people’s opinion is a big friggin deal.) We’ll have to see if this endeavor last longer than her last attempt at a hit show……

flash forward(t’was great btw)

Some say No Ordinary Family is like if The Incredibles got their own television show but the first few episodes make one consider more of a mash-up of Modern Family and Heroes. A connection not too far off as David Semel directed both Heroes and No Ordinary Family’s pilot episodes.

Say what you will about Heroes, it started off awesome and had much potential and it was sad to see the steady decline after Season 1. (Let’s be honest, Season 2 could have never happened and no one would have noticed.)

Heroes season 2 dead characters(seriously…all in one season…come on!)

But I digress. The cast in my opinion is well chosen. Heavyweight Michael Chiklis, who plays the lead Jim Powell in the series, is no stranger to tv with a solid 7 seasons of The Shield under his belt and superpowers with consequent problems is nothing new after his role in Fantastic Four (despite the movies overall lameness, he still played a g-damn great Thing)

Chiklis’ on screen wife, Julie Benz (playing Stephanie Powell) is a familiar sight in Geekdom TV; having starred in Dexter, Roswell, Angel, Buffy and Desperate Housewives (alright that’s not so much geek as it is gawk). Benz and Chiklis make a quite believable couple, as typical family TV drama as it gets.

As for the rest of the family it consists of experienced TV star Kay Panabaker, starring as Daphne Powell, who has done nothing but TV shows and TV movies. Don’t worry we checked, despite portraying a sixteen year old highschooler, she’s 20. So you don’t have to feel weird, we know what you were thinking. (She’s definitely got the whole Ellen Page thing going on.)

The Powell family also includes son JJ, played by Jimmy Bennett, an ordinary teen struggling in school; that is until he happens to gain super intelligence (convenient eh?) You may not know much about Jimmy, but he got his start doing the voice for Roo in recent Winnie the Pooh movies. Regardless, he gets sci-fi and geek cred for his role as a young Kirk in the Star Trek reboot and lending his voice for Kingdom Hearts II (as Roo of course).

Well orchestrated additional comic relief comes from Romany Malco who plays Jim Powell’s friend George in the show. Both Malco and Chiklis have a believable friendship and go well on screen together. What is not so much believable is Malco playing a DA, he doesn’t scream city official in any way to me. Nonetheless he does manage to build an awesome man-cave/lair in his garage (with wi-fi no doubt!).

An odd matching for the show that actually works quite very well is Stephen Collins cast as Stephanie Powell’s boss, Dr. Dayton King. I feel his history with such a family friendly show like 7th Heaven adds to the creepiness of his mysterious bad guy role.

Stephen-Collins-angry
(he seems a little bitter since he left the Camden house)

Dr. King’s lackey in the show, played by Josh Stewart, is still developing and reminds me much of how Sylar was in the beginning of Heroes. He’s got potential to be a bad ass mofo, let’s just hope they don’t make him an emotional cry baby like we’ve (sadly) seen happen before.

No Ordinary Family is definitely the product of the networks feeding on the superhero hype of recent years. It is textbook superhero series with each character developing “powers of convenience” based on what they “needed” in life (ie. mom getting speed to make more time and boy becoming smart to hep in school) or the situation he/she happens to be in at the moment they surfaced. I’m not saying it is doubtful to win an award or two. The feel-good essence felt from watching it, being able to follow it without straining too many characters or overlapping storylines are definite pluses. It is something I would recommend watching just to see how its done and to see an entertaining story, while it may not be told in a new way, it is done well. It has been picked up by ABC to continue, so we’ll see for how long since a good idea for a movie does not always play out when made into seasons for the small screen. No Ordinary Family is an enjoyable sci-fi comedy drama worth programming to record on your DVR.

-Photos used are property of ABC, NBC, and CW respectively. They do not belong to GeekTheWorldOnline and are intended for use in character and media review in strictly entertainment and editorial means.