Posts tagged star wars
Posts tagged star wars
Everyone and their mother messaged me yesterday, asking for my thoughts on JJ Abrams taking control of the new Star Wars trilogy. Honestly, I didn’t want to say anything, because I knew that the entire galaxy is divided between “Aw yeah!” and “Dear lord, no!”
So where does ol’ DJC stand in this debate?
DJC’s kinda pissed.
Let’s start at the beginning: Star Wars was the brainchild of a 29-year-old George Lucas. He was fresh out of film school, just finished production on American Graffiti, and his imagination was going a mile a minute. In a world where disaster films and raunchy comedies were dominating the box office, George Lucas wanted an old-school fantasy story under the guise of a space opera. He wanted robots and space ships and a towering villain named Darth Vader. It was all pretty improbable in 1975, when production began, but Lucas had a vision. He was a fresh new mind, and he was doing away with the old ways of Hollywood film making. He was paving the way for something new, and something epic.
Star Wars became a hit of monumental proportions, as did its two sequels. And George Lucas was on top of his world.
Of course, we all know how the rest of this story goes: Lucas fell to the Dark Side…or he became senile. He made the prequel trilogy, which was disappointing, to say the least (and we won’t even talk about the fourth Indiana Jones flick). Lucas’s vision was gone. He was no longer breaking barriers. Instead, he was crippled by his technology, letting special effects dominate story and character.
Oh, how the mighty fell.
But wait! What’s that? Lucas’s insanity is about to pay off? He sold LucasFilm to Disney?! We’re getting a brand spankin’ new Star Wars trilogy?!?!?
The community of Star Wars fans exploded with speculation. What will these movies be about? Will the original stars, Hamill, Fisher, and Ford, make a triumphant return? What about Hayden Christensen (NO NO PLEASE IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS SACRED NO)?
But the biggest question of all was…with the granddaddy of it all stepping down as the storyteller, who would direct?
Rumors bounced around for months. Brad Bird was supposedly involved at one point. Then Jon Favreau. Even Darren Aronofsky was rumored to be attached. I’ll let an Aronofsky-directed Star Wars sink in for a bit. Now, tell me how twisted that would’ve been.
Yeah, there were a lot of big, hotshot directors who could’ve made a phenomenal Star Wars flick. Frankly, I was stoked to hear that Brad Bird was considered. You guys have all seen The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, right? Yeah…him at the helm a Star Wars flick would’ve blown my freaking mind.
Instead? We get Abrams.
Now, admittedly, I can’t say much about Abrams. I’ve never seen Alias or Lost, and the only movie that he’s been attached to that I genuinely enjoyed was Cloverfield (and he didn’t direct that, did he?). But that doesn’t matter. You know why? Because I’ve seen his Star Trek.
“Whoa whoa whoa, Steve!” I can hear some of you shouting. “His Star Trek was phenomenal! How dare you criticize it!”
First off, calm your Trekkie boner. I’ve never been a big Star Trek fan. So, when I sat down and watched Abrams reboot…yeah, I enjoyed it for what it was, but I ultimately found it a largely forgettable popcorn flick. I can’t really explain why…the characters were all there, and they were all fleshed out as well as Trek characters could’ve been, but…I don’t know. It reminded me of the first Transformers movie: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun to watch while you’re watching it, but once it’s over…who cares anymore? And we’ve already had three recent Star Wars movies that played out that way.
When you watch Abram’s Trek, you’ll find that it reads a lot more like a Star Wars film. Go back and watch, say, Wrath of Khan. It has a distinct “Star Trek” feel to it. It’s more grounded in humanity, deals with the consequences of mankind and modern technology. And that’s been Star Trek’s key factor since it’s premiere: Mankind “boldly going” into the future.
The reboot, however, lost that. Instead, it was an intergalactic space war against an alien overlord. Our main character was a nobody from a small town who found himself in the middle of said war, met with a wise old mentor, and found the strength inside of himself to defeat evil with the help of his unsuspecting friends. Sound familiar?
Yeah, Abrams has already directed a Star Wars film. He just called it Star Trek. Abrams already admitted that he was never a Trek fan, but was highly influenced by Wars.
This is the reason why I’m terrified of Abrams directing the films. If you gave the movie to a newer director, someone with a vision, someone who didn’t have a formula, we’d be in for a surprise. We would be at the edge of our seats, waiting to see what’s in store for us after all these years. With any luck, we would’ve been able to feel like audiences in 1977 felt when they sat down and watched the original Star Wars.
Instead, we already know what to expect from Episode VII, because…well…because we’ve already seen it.
It’s not a matter of “Oh, I think JJ sucks.” It’s a matter of “JJ’s already done this. Give someone else a chance to surprise us.”
And that’s just DJC’s two cents.
Guys, I have done practically nothing for DJC’s first Christmas. I’m remarkably disappointed in myself, but I’ll be damned if Christmas rolls around and I don’t show off my pathetic little Mini-Tree!
Meet “Mistah Tree.” He was a 1940s gangster from LA who, during a shoot out, was mortally wounded and used black magic to transfer his soul into a miniature Christmas tree. Like Chucky, only transferring your soul into a doll at least makes a little bit of sense.
He can’t speak, but I can tell he’s furious about me decorating him with multicolored light and various Christmas ornaments. But, since he literally cannot do anything about it, he’s just going to have to live with the holiday cheer I’m putting him through.
The real reason for the obnoxious white fedora/8-bit sunglasses combo is actually quite simple: I didn’t have a star for the top of this stupid little tree. And, you know, there are few things more depressing than a bald Christmas tree. Using my quick wit and MacGyver-like sense of improvisation, I haphazardly grabbed a hat and shades and transformed this 5 dollar holiday prop into a legitimate character. Will he return next year?
Well…probably. I mean, he’s a tree. He ain’t going anywhere.
But you’re not interested in a sentient-yet-not-sentient tree, right? Nay, you’re here for his accessories! Let’s check them out, shall we? Starting with the blurriest:
When I was a kid growing up, I was obsessed with Hot Wheels. In retrospect, I’m not sure why. I’m not a real big car guy, and I don’t remember having a fascination with cars as a wee little tot. Maybe it was just watching things on wheels go really really fast on bright orange tracks?
Yeah, that must be it.
Anyway, every year, my parents got me a new Hot Wheels ornament to hang on the tree with care. And this one completely stole the show. It had an actual car on those actual all-too-familiar orange tracks. This ornament spoke to me as a kid, and it’s still one of my favorites today. I want to make a Hot Wheels track now…you know they have tracks that go on the walls now?! I didn’t know this, but I kind of need them ASAP!
This is an unofficial Chewbacca ornament, and it’s not the best paint job ever, but who cares? Chewbacca is my favorite Star Wars character, bar none. And no Christmas is complete without him. Why? Because of http://christmaschebacca.ytmnd.com/.
Best Christmas tradition ever.
Christmas doesn’t exist without the Peanuts gang.
No, I’m dead serious. How can you celebrate the holidays without hearing “Linus and Lucy”, or without watching Charlie Brown almost kill a nearly-dead tree, or without seeing Snoopy and Woodstock in adorable winter fashion carrying a pine tree?
The Peanuts are Christmas, in my opinion. I grew up watching the special(s) and reading the Christmas arcs in the funnies. It’s just…it’s Charlie Brown and the Peanuts!
I chose this ornament in particular because it’s the only one that has both Snoopy and Woodstock. And, my oh my, do I love Woodstock.
Once upon a time, there was a little…place…was it a church?…or maybe it was a high school?…I actually don’t remember, but there was a place that held amazing craft fairs every year in November. And they would sell all sorts of amazing things that other people have slaved over, and I would beg my mom for literally everything.
This ornament is one such treasure. It’s a lightbulb painted to look like The Grinch. And it’s so beautiful.
Guys, I love The Grinch. The story itself is alright, and the animated short is another amazing Christmas tradition, but I just love the look of The Grinch. He’s this big, furry dude who’s just head-to-toe green! And once he dons that bright red Santa suit, he just looks so damn awesome.
Fun fact: I have three different pairs of Grinch pajama pants. Yup. You didn’t need to know that, but I told you anyway.
Geeze, why did these photos come out so damn dark…?
Charmander was, is, and always will be my favorite Pokemon. I think, if you’re a Pokefan, especially growing up in the late 90s/early 2000s, your very first starter Pokemon always ends up being your favorite. Charmander was mine, just because he had the coolest design. And…guys, it turned into an obsession. Plushies, toys, stickers, cards, candy dispensers, keychains, T-shirts, baseball caps, notebooks, anything and everything I could find that had Charmander on it, I needed to own.
This ornament was no exception.
The best part about this ornament is that my parents got it for me without asking me anything about Pokemon! They didn’t know a Caterpie from a Moltres, yet they still knew that Charmander was my favorite.
I swear, I jumped up and down for five minutes after opening this crazy thing on Christmas morning. Good times, Charmander. Good times.
Ah, and here it is. My favorite Christmas ornament of all time. A holiday-themed Magic Schoolbus, complete with a “Mrs. Claus” Ms. Frizzle.
Guys…The Magic Schoolbus. If you ever watched the show, you know why it makes me so damn happy. Back when kids shows (like, you know, actual kid’s shows) weren’t afraid to get educational, but also weren’t afraid to star a sentient school bus that can transform into various different shapes via either witchcraft or advanced robotics.
I don’t even know what else to say about this thing. I feel like my words would just ruin the moment. So I’ll just let you guys marvel.
So that’s my…like, only Christmas post of the year! Next time you guys hear from me, I’ll be doing something for New Years! What will it be?
I have no idea It’s a surprise!
So Merry Christmas, my awesome followers! May your days be merry and bright and all that jazz!
I haven’t legitimately updated this blog in about a month. I guess I haven’t had any reason to. Yeah, there are a few fun Christmassy things I could write about, or a movie I could review, but I’ve been running on empty for these past few weeks. I feel like, once Christmas is over, I’ll actually have more time/energy to write decent articles.
That being said, I’m dusting off Double Jump Company tonight for one reason: a tiny little treasure trove called Prieh’s Hobby Shop.
I was drawn in with the promise of Marvel Comics. I mean, when I’m driving down a nearly-deserted little road in the middle of the country, and a giant sign with Spider-Man on it enters my field of vision, it’s an involuntary reflex that my body instantly stops the car and walks towards the promised land.
This place looked to be about 80 billion years old, and their “Marvel Comic & Card Headquarters” motif was plastered everywhere. This wasn’t just a selling point. This was a promise. You wanted Marvel stuff? Prieh’s Hobby Shop was the place to go!
To say this place was like the epicenter of an explosion created by Horders Anonymous would be an understatement. I literally had no clue where to start at this place. There were crates and crates piled up to the ceiling, packed with a hodgepodge of stuff, just everywhere. Random toys, mostly broken, were scattered around on tables and counter tops. Half-completed model cars and tattered Yu-Gi-Oh cards settled down where ever they felt comfortable. This was the opposite of organized chaos: Prieh’s Hobby Shop was unorganized harmony.
I didn’t have much time to explore this frazzled little roadside store, but what I did find was nothing short of magical. I mean, guys…this sort of place is exactly why I started writing DJC articles in the first place.
Obviously, the first place I went to was the comic book rack. Because, you know, Prieh, whoever he/she/it is, promised me a plethora of Marvel merchandise What I got instead was rows and rows of Shonen Jump magazines from the early 2000s, all prominently featuring a certain spiky-haired duel master on their covers. There were also Dungeons and Dragons books, comic book sleeves, and a Captain Underpants comic thing. But still no sign of anything bearing the Marvel logo. So I moved onward.
Guys, there were so many toys. Like, this is literally just the tip of the iceberg. Most of them were old wrestlers or Spawn toys, but a few choice DBZ figures were around. And, look, an actual Marvel action figure!
Oh wait. Is that Storm? Dammit. I hate Storm. Moving on…
This was an entire shelf dedicated to Star Wars toys.
No lie, folks, I think Prieh’s should’ve had C-3PO or Boba Fett on their sign instead of Spidey. There was so much Star Wars stuff in this place. At least five different Jabba the Hutts, a couple of enormous AT-ATs, a few amazingly-detailed podracers. This was a sort of Star Wars treasure trove, and it was awesome.
So, yeah, plenty of Vaders and Han Solos, but the only Marvel thing I’ve seen thus far is that crappy Storm toy. Onward!
I will never doubt that Prieh’s is a hobby shop. There were so many coins there, guys. So. Many. Coins.
And the model cars? There were even more model car boxes than there were coins. Like…so many. An overwhelming amount. It was kind of crazy. Obviously, there’s no market for these things, otherwise there wouldn’t be as many. I felt bad for the older dude working there. It looked like he was trying to make a model car. But if he was planning on making all of the model cars he had in his shop…well, he was gonna be there a while.
Still that Secret of NIMH lunchbox kind of stole my heart…
Guys, this picture doesn’t do anything any justice. This was an entire table, and aside from a few random odds and ends, it was just completely packed with trading cards. Nothing new, either. I mean, there were original Return of the Jedi booster packs chilling there. Honestly, if I invested any time looking through these cards, I probably could’ve found one that cost a pretty penny.
However, I didn’t look through them. There were so many. It was just so intimidating. I’d be there all week.
Rounding a dark corner, stepping over boxes of hand-me-down Boy Scouts uniforms and vampire magazines, I stumbled across an area that must not have been touched in over a decade. Genesis games consumed most of the case, but PS1 and NES games managed to squeeze in, as well.
Man, guys, I seriously want a Genesis again. Some of my favorite old-school games were on that console. Does anyone want to be awesome and get me one for Christmas? Thank you in advance, and you may message me for my shipping address.
I have some sort of otherworldly connection to pins. I’m constantly drawn to them, no matter where I’m at. Record stores, comic cons, and now, apparently, old hobby shops. I cannot escape them and their tiny hypnotic ways.
Sadly, with barely a penny to my name, I wasn’t able to purchase any this time around. Which, I mean, was still alright by me. For the first time in recent history, there wasn’t a single pin I was even interested in buying. A sign of the end times? I think so.
This box was the end all/be all for me. So many action figures, haphazardly tossed into a cardboard box like an actual garage sale. Wolverine, Hopper, some sort of badass dragon…and Spider-Man! Even though this was Spider-Man back when he was cursed by some villain the world has forgotten about, and he was actually more spider than man. I mean…the story arc itself may have been rubbish, but you can’t deny that it makes for a pretty sweet action figure!
That was the only Spider-Man related thing I saw inside Prieh’s Hobby Shop that day. A hobby shop, may I remind you, that had a giant sign that looked like this:
Like many middle-class suburbanites, I have a mall near my house. It’s an absolute waste of space, and unless you’re a junior high student or a mall-walker there is literally no reason to go there. There used to be a bookstore there that I would hide out in for hours on end. That place is now gone because America hates books. Now I’m left with smelly Hollister stores and a food court that is trying desperately (and failing) to be healthy.
So what could’ve possibly pulled me out of my air-conditioned The First 48 marathon and into this toilet?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…China Capital Arts.
Every single mall in the world needs a store like this. A store where nerds from all walks of life and stroll in and gaze upon the merchandise from a culture far more bizarre than our own. A store where underage children can purchase a katana with their birthday money, because why the hell not? A store where college kids with long, greasy hair and pathetic-looking goatees can browse body pillows with scantily-clad Officer Jennys on them. Yes, this place goes beyond being a store: it’s a sanctuary.
It came out of nowhere. Trust me, had I known this store was being brought to my sad excuse for a mall, I would’ve camped out in anticipation for opening day. And, honestly, I really don’t know why. I’m not huge into Japanese culture; I’m not even the world’s biggest anime fan. So why do I love this store so much?
Well, first off, because the front window proudly displayed Mario, Pokemon, and Dragonball Z stuff. And an R2-D2, for reasons that intrigue me.
Secondly, just look at the inside!
It’s filled to the brim with stuff! It felt more like a museum than a store. I literally spent two hours there today, just browsing around the various things that was crammed into this tiny little outlet-sized store. Granted, they didn’t have everything an Asian-themed store could offer, but they were pretty damn close.
You’ve been reading my blog for a while (maybe). You know I love Kingdom Hearts. It’s one of my favorite games of all time. And CCA had this absolutely-orgasmic collection of Kingdom Hearts memorabilia that caused me to unintentionally drool all over the glass. I just wanted everything.
…I actually think that should be the subtitle of this article.
Steve Goes to China Capital Arts: “I Just Wanted Everything”
It’s insanely accurate.
And there’s Pokemon! A ton of Pokemon stuff! Like, a Pokepalooza! It’s making my inner 8-year-old jump up and down with glee.
And Mario and Zelda and DBZ and Totoro…
It’s actually really weird, because outside of CCA I have very little interest in this kinda stuff. I mean, it’ll always be knocking around the back of my mind. I do run a nostalgia blog, after all, and Sonic games are pretty nostalgic for me.
But once I enter the walls of CCA, any and all shame I have vanishes in a puff of animated smoke, complete with a “POOF!” effect. The store is hypnotic, y’all. It’s so hypnotic that I just typed the wordphrase “y’all” for the first time in my life. It makes no sense!
Of course, every store like this one needs a wall of extremely dangerous weapons.
Most of these are katanas (I think…?), but they also have throwing stars, nunchucks, brass knuckles, comically-oversized knives…if those Florida zombies ever make their way to Michigan, I know where I’m building my shelter.
Oh, and they have Keyblades.
And they’re so beautiful and I want one to the point where I’m actually on a black market website right now, putting my kidney up for sale.
Of course, there are other things adorning the store that aren’t as nerdy. They still sell more traditional souvenirs for tourists, including little Buddha statues, waving “good luck cats”, and pots of bamboo. And dragons with swords. You’d be surprised how many nerds love dragons with swords.
What kind of place would CCA be if they didn’t sell the entire Asian food section of Meijer right next to their register? None of it looks particularly appetizing, with the obvious exception of Pocky. Don’t label me, internet people, I love me some Pocky!
After two hours of looking around and taking random pictures, I got the feeling that I was frightening the Japanese manager girl. So I sadly to leave this land of magic and wonder and dragged myself back into the gross insides of the mall.
I’m poor (fun fact: Steve is always poor), but one day I’ll go back to China Capital Arts and buy a sword. And some Pokemon toys. And a Kingdom Hearts statue. And a Sonic keychain. And a Trunks figurine. And this Sackboy pillow…
Because WHY NOT?!
(The title rhymes, you see.)
…this is kinda weird, doing an article instead of a video. But I just need to remind myself that I literally just got home after leaving for work at 10am, so maybe writing an article instead of editing a video ain’t so bad.
Today is Wednesday, so I went to pick up some comics, right? Only today I didn’t go to my regular stop. No, instead I went to this mysterious little hole-in-the-wall joint that I pass every single day. I’ve only been inside once or twice, but it never ceases to blow my freaking mind!
See all this stuff? Those are all toys. Just…old, retro-tastic toys covering an entire wall of this place! While it’s not as huge or insane as Flipside Records, it’s still a pretty impressive collection. I mean, you should see their Star Wars merch! So many wonderful 90s-style Original Trilogy stuff! The stuff of my childhood! All right there in front of me! Ahhh…the good ol’ days…
Oh, and then there’s this: an original Kerner X-Wing toy from the 70s. Take that home and chew it!
Oh…look down there…yup, those are…there…
…let’s move on.
There are just so many superhero toys here…so many…and I know people who would kill to have some of these! Unfortunately, whenever I walk into this place, it’s always completely empty except for the older gent who owns it. I always feel bad whenever I walk in there and see this madhouse of nostalgia just sitting there. It’s like going to an awesome garage sale and being their only customer.
Do you like Dragonball Z? If you’re a dude who grew up in the late 90s/early 2000s, then you’ve already answered “yes” about six times. Well, this place had a bunch of those “four episodes per disk” DVDs. Even back then, these were a complete rip-off. Why pay $20 for four episodes when you could’ve just gotten a blank tape and recorded as many episodes as you wanted right from Toonami?
Well, hey, this place knows how stupid these DVDs are. So they’re on sale. For 50 cents each.
Fifty freaking cents.
You could seriously own the entire Cell Saga (aka the best one) for 10 bucks! I was insanely tempted, you guys have no idea…
One day I’m going to do an entire article about how much I love the first two Alien movies. Until then, marvel at this retro Ripley action figure from
1986 1992 (Thanks Jared XD). Then ask yourself why I didn’t buy it. But don’t ask me, because I wouldn’t know and instantly regret it.
These are trading cards. Like…holy crap, a ton of them! They have those “Fossil Pokemon” cards, Small Soldiers cards, Batman Returns cards…I have no clue why anyone would want them now, but I still applaud this place for trying to bring the TCG fad back.
I don’t think I was old enough to beg my parents to get me themed cereals with prizes on the outside. Even if I was, I wasn’t a big enough Addams Family or Bill and Ted fan as a kid, so I wouldn’t have wanted these. Last time I was here (like, 40 bajillion years ago) they had a whole row of Ninja Turtles cereal with character bowls! And, oh how I wanted them. Now, however, they’re nowhere to be found. I hope whoever got them was happy…and didn’t try to eat the cereal. 30-year-old bits of sugared grains don’t tend to sit well.
After I purchased my comics, I decided to support this old fella’s business by also buying a rather kick-ass poster of my two favorite Marvel heroes, Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Yeah…I made the right choice.
See you all tomorrow!
Aaaand welcome back! Let’s continue!
Like every other child on the face of this planet, I had dozens of these toys as a kid. I had about four versions of the Charmander family and at least fifteen different Pikachus. All that I have left in this drawer are these five.
And what a strange Pokemon team…tell me, how far do you think I would get using only a team consisting of Weezing, Arcanine, Zapdos, Onix, and Hypno?
Last Halloween was one of the best Halloweens of my life. I went all out, going to haunted houses, watching every scary movie I could find, and critiquing Halloween stores across the state. I recorded my epic Halloween in the “Beta” version of this blog, but it was sadly deleted.
If you managed to read it at all before it was forever erased from existence (sob…), you might recognize these guys. And you can bet I’ll be pulling them back out once the leaves start turning again later this year.
Not much to say about these guys. One is from Big Boy, the other is Puss-in-Boots. They’re both pretty cool (I love bobbleheads), but not necessarily anything I can write about in depth. I mean…their heads bobble. It’s cool. You’ve seen it all before. Moving on.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Action Figures (IN BOX!)
There was a time when I thought these figures would be worth a crapton of money. After all, they were Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader from Revenge of the Sith! How awesome, right?!
Sadly, a quick trip to eBay tells me that they’re worth about ten bucks each.
I wanted to open them up so badly at one point, but now I don’t even care. May as well leave them unopened for a few more years and see if my luck won’t change.
Reader’s Digest Binoculars
I like to think that every child had a really cheap pair of binoculars. I mean…didn’t you? Why wouldn’t you? I just thought it was a given. You had a ball of some kind, you had Legos, and you had a pair of binoculars.
These were from Reader’s Digest Magazine. I can only assume I mailed away for them and then my parents had to pay for them once they actually got shipped to my house. I did that a lot when I was a kid. And I regret nothing.
Mini Sword-Kirby Plush
I think I got this little guy from “Japan” in Epcot, Disney World. I love Kirby. Always have ever since he kicked ass in the original Smash Bros. I dunno, he’s cool. And adorable. And he’s a cosplayer. What’s not to love?
A Motorola Razr
OK, not technically a “toy”, but it was in the drawer. And since it did to cell phones what PT Cruisers did to cars (become a huge fad for about a month), just about everyone had one. It was such a big deal and they were so cool and so thin!
Nowadays, we have laptops thinner than this. Oh well…not sure why I kept it…
Wolverine Happy Meal Toy
Guys, this thing was freaking awesome. One of the coolest Happy Meal toys I ever got. Like, OK, there’s Wolverine, right? I’m not the biggest fan of Wolverine, but he’s pretty awesome. So this toy has him growling at you, his fists clenched. No big deal, right?
Well, a little switch is protruding from his spine. Flip it…
Oh, come on! That’s awesome! Don’t you lie to me!
There was more stuff in the drawer, but none of it was terribly exciting, I’m exhausted, and you’re all bored. See you next Tuesday!
…wow, that phrase is slang for a very naughty word…I clearly didn’t think this through…oh well.
I’m conducting a very stupid experiment today called “Toy Tuesday.” People who watched my old YouTube channel (aka none of you) might be familiar with the concept: on occasional Tuesdays, I’ll dig through some of my crap and show of my ridiculously lame toy collection. It’s fun to write, so I’m doing it.
On this first ever written Toy Tuesday, I’m rediscovering the secret compartment cleverly hidden behind my white board. At first, it looks like a completely ordinary dry erase board/hat rack/peg board combo. But in reality…
BAM! Secret compartment!
No it’s not nearly as awesome as I’m trying to make it seem. But I’m a writer, dammit, I can do that. For all you know, this is the most exciting thing I’ve ever freaking seen!
Today, I’m gonna tackle everything that’s in this white drawer. I was insanely excited to write about all of the fun, old toys that were bound to be hiding inside, but then I remembered that I cleaned it out a few years ago and all of my older toys are now either in the attic or…gone forever.
But who cares? Let’s dive in anyways!
(Fun fact of the day: my camera is terrible. If blurry photos disturb or offend you, I deeply apologize in advance.)
Marvel Action Figures
I went through a serious action figure kick my first year of college. No clue why. I think I might’ve even played with them, but really…I was 18-going-on-19. I shouldn’t have been buying toys to actually play with. Though, that was my freshman year of college. I was younger and naive, and that was probably the last time I was even able to play with action figures.
Anyways, they’re all pretty cool. Most of them are from their respected movies…I have no clue where Mark III Iron Man is…I know I had him. Mark II was always my least favorite. His points of articulation were always stuck and he could never stand upright. Stupid silver suit…
But look at Titanium Man! What a badass Communist beast!
My favorite was Mark I Iron Man. The guy was huge and bulky and looked like an action figure. I mean, I love Spider-Man, but look at the guy. He’s so flimsy and thin. I can barely hold him without thinking I might break him. Meanwhile, Mark I and Venom are massive and badass and totally worthy of fighting each other.
Where did this come from?!
Either way, I’m so happy that it’s in my possession. I mean, guys, it’s a pirate slingshot!
I’m assuming I got it from Mackinac Island, just because…where else would I have gotten a pirate slingshot? It looks like it’s hand carved and painted. And it’s genuinely awesome. One day, I’m gonna try it out. I know it’s old, but the stretchy part looks like it’s still in great condition, so I figured I might as well…give it a shot.
Micro Machines Slave I
To say that I loved the Slave I would be an understatement. It was the ship when I was a kid. A lot of people loved the Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing, but I was more fascinated with Boba Fett’s ship. In fact, I’ve made a point to collecting every single major Slave I LEGO set ever released because it’s so damn cool-looking.
(I used to have Jango’s Slave I until my brother broke it. I still haven’t forgiven him. That was about ten years ago.)
It’s a shame that this is the only Micro Machines ship I have left. I used to have an X-Wing, Y-Wing, B-Wing, Twin Pod Cloud Car, and a Snowspeeder (or a T-47 airspeeder…nerds…). I also had a Death Star playset. I loved Star Wars so freaking much.
Alas, all that remains is this beautiful Slave I. And, who’s that still inside?
Boba! You sneaky devil, how are you not hopelessly lost in a vacuum yet?!
I have a confession: I was never really into Transformers as a kid. I mean, I collected the toys like it was nobody’s business, even though they were usually pitched after a few months because I could never transform them back and they became a ball of pure plastic mess.
But the cartoon…nope. Never got into it. Not that I didn’t like it, but just that I didn’t watch it. In fact, it took a while for me to even realize that there was a cartoon based on these awesome toys.
So, no, Gen 1 of Transformers wasn’t my scene. My Transformers was Beast Wars.
Aw yeah! I don’t know why I loved this poorly-animated cartoon so much. I think it was Rat Trap. I loved that guy. I had three different action figures of him as a kid. Just such a sarcastic sonofabitch.
However, I also loved Dinobot, because he was just so freaking awesome. He was a double agent, essentially, and his story arc really captured my imagination. Plus, he was a freaking Velociraptor! Dinosaurs were all the rage when I was a kid, so naturally Dinobot would be my favorite.
The other two I had crammed in the drawer were the movie versions of Starscream and Barricade. I somewhat regret my Starscream purchase, just because his Decepticon tattoos are terribly ugly, but I love Barricade. In fact, I think he’s one of the best things about the first film (there is nothing good about the sequels). A Decepticon disguised as a police car? Sorry, but I think that’s bloody brilliant.
I’ll transform them…one day.
Batman PEZ Dispensers
These bad boys were released around the same time as The Dark Knight. I’m a Batman fan. Joker and Two-Face are two of my favorite comic book villains of all time. I freaking love PEZ dispensers. This was a no-brainer.
3.75” Action Figures
I know a lot of people love these sized action figures. I’m not one of them. They seem too small and are only cool if you’re collecting them. If you want to play, you need bigger toys. These are just too small to have an epic battle with each other.
For example, my Hasbro Marvel action figures were about double the size of these guys. Now those were fun to play with. Plus, if you threw them at your friends, they freaking hurt. Try throwing that Electro at a sleeping baby; he/she won’t even flinch.
Metal Die-Cast Marvel Toys
I have no idea what company made these. I don’t even know where I would find them anymore. I just remember my buddy Neil and I would go to an old dollar store near my house and stock up on them. They always had the most obscure characters (see Dragon Man back there behind Kingpin?) and were pretty damn detailed for costing only a buck.
I used to have a Spider Armor Spidey one, but I think I traded it for the incredibly lame-looking Silver Surfer. You know, the one without his board.
I was a stupid kid.
Teck Deck Dudes
Holy crap, Teck Deck Dudes.
These guys were a huge hit at my elementary school. I had a billion of them, and we would trade them on the playground. I mean, look at them! Any kid would’ve loved them. They were fingers with feet dressed up as ninjas and cowboys (this was before they sprouted arms).
I love these guys. I want more…seriously…
Speaking of more, part two of this nonsense will be up shortly. I don’t want to overcrowd your dashes with this stuff. Ain’t I considerate?
There were many things I expected Disney’s John Carter to be. One of them was painfully bad. Another was a soulless spectacle film like Immortals or the Clash of the Titans remake. One thing I didn’t expect, by any stretch of the imagination, was for it to be intelligent and pretty entertaining.
I love it when I’m wrong.
The only thing I knew about John Carter was that he was a character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs (who also created Tarzan). Outside of that, I didn’t know a thing. I kept hearing things like “These John Carter stories were what inspired Star Wars and Avatar”, and when a studio throws big name comparisons like that, you can almost see them desperately trying to rope stupid people in to see their terrible movie.
However, this film is far from terrible. In fact, it’s pretty damn good.
The film starts out at John Carter’s estate, where a young Edgar Rice Burroughs (played by a too-enthusiastic Daryl Sabara) is told that John Carter has died, and his final wishes were that Burroughs reads his secret diary. We then jump back a few decades to see John Carter as a wild-looking madman who is desperately searching for a cave of gold. He establishes himself as a man of battle and instinct early on, which is a breath of fresh air in a world where most movies don’t even bother establishing why their protagonists can suddenly fight with great skill.
Turns out his “cave of gold” is really a transport to another world. That’s when the real meat of the movie starts. When he first gets there, Carter discovers (rather comically) that, due to the change of gravity on this new world, he has increased strength and the ability to jump insane distances. This catches the eye of a group of Martians called the Thark.
These creatures were my favorite in the entire movie. They had a culture, an entire world that we, as the audience, we thrust into unapologetically. The film doesn’t hold our hand throughout their strange cultures. Instead, it throws us into this bizarre society and we’re forced to keep up. And, actually, I think the aliens as characters benefit from that. They feel a lot more real that way than if we were given “alien school”, the way many other sci-fi movies do it.
Carter, while trying to survive as a freakshow act among the Thark, inadvertently interrupts a civil war that’d been waging for thousands of years. He saves Princess Dejah Thoris (played by a stunning, but somewhat boring Lynn Collins), who is running away from home to avoid…you know what, the plot is somewhat difficult to put into words without sounding cliché.
And maybe the film is somewhat cliché, but here’s something everyone needs to remember: this is based on a story written in 1912. The fact that it holds up so well today is absolutely astounding, especially in a world where the standards for good science-fiction stories are so high.
The acting is really nothing to write home about. Taylor Kitsch, who plays John Carter, is probably the most entertaining human character to watch onscreen, mostly because of his old Southern attitude and fish-out-of-water reactions to this weird world. Everyone else is…eh. Not bad, per se. Not even uninteresting, because their characters are all very interesting. I guess the best way to put it is the acting is largely forgettable. You could’ve replaced any actor in the movie with anyone else and the result would’ve remained the same. Even Mark Strong (who plays the bad guy…surprise surprise) is pretty lame.
Another problem I had with the film was the length. It was pretty damn long, though on your first sit through you probably won’t notice. However, I can only imagine that it would take a pretty big toll on your second watch.
Fortunately, the script, story, and effects made up for that. It’s a film that deserves the recognition and respect of science-fiction and fantasy fans everywhere. It’s not flawless, but it’s definitely a history lesson for fans of Star Wars (the Thark village reminded me a lot of Mos Eisley from A New Hope) and Avatar (the Thark culture is a billion times more interesting than the Na’vi culture). As a film, it makes some pretty big mistakes, but the story John Carter tells is definitely an interesting, fascinating, and entertaining one.
John Carter paves the way for the other epic 2012 blockbusters, and it does it very, very well.