Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part One


General Spoiler Free Review Ahead…..But There Are MAJOR Spoilers Later In This Post. I’ll Warn You When They Arrive.

I watched all five episodes of executive producer/writer Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation this weekend. I watched the first episode, the only one written by Smith, and knew immediately that it would put a sour taste in the mouths of many fans of the original series. I’ll touch on the actual episode in a bit, but just know that if you can make it through that first episode, the rest of the series is very good. It manages to capture the essence of the original series, including cheesy puns and jokes, while “adulting” it up a little bit. That means that some people might die.

For the most part the series is very well done, but I really don’t like the way that two characters behave in the first episode. King Randor and Teela have out-of-character reactions to a revelation in the first episode. I just don’t buy that either of these characters would do what they do at this particular moment. The rest of the series is basically derived from Teela’s actions in that moment but, thankfully, the rest of the show’s writers seem to have a better handle on the personalities of all of the characters, especially Evil-Lyn and Beast Man, who, to me, are two of the best characters in the series. These writers save the series in my opinion.

The first part of the series ends in a cliffhanger and gives fans of the classic series hope that what was wronged in the first episode will be righted in part two….unless Kevin Smith wants to see how many gut-punches he can toss at old fans of the show.

Is it worth watching? Absolutely. Almost all of the cast is brilliant. Lena Headey, Henry Rollins, Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tiffany Smith, and Stephen Root are just a few of the amazing voice actors in the show. The biggest disappointment, however, was Sarah Michelle Gellar. She portrays Teela and comes off entirely too bubbly at moments to be a true warrior like the one that Teela was portrayed as in the original series. Considering the fact that Teela is the focus of most of the series, it’s a bit annoying to hear Gellar chew her way through lines while other actors are dominating their roles.

I really like the way this story develops with each episode. At just under thirty minutes each, you can blaze through part one in a little over two hours. It’s nice to see these classic characters back in action and I’m looking forward to part two.

Everything Below This Photo Of The Mighty Skeletor Is A Spoiler! You’ve Been Warned! Nyaaaahhhh!!!!!

This series has so much going for it that I hate to be too critical with my review. The fact of the matter, though, is that Kevin Smith and Netflix sold this series as a show about He-Man and Skeletor and immediately took them out of the equation. As anybody that is part of any fandom knows, you never pull the bait-and-switch on hardcore fans without warning them a little bit. That’s unfortunate in my opinion, because the killing of the two titans in the first episode actually sets up a brilliant storyline that many classic fans will never watch because their childhood feelings were bruised.

Thankfully I managed to check my childhood at the door and was able to enjoy the rest of the series. I like the fact that Teela sets out to save Eternia but I really, really dislike her reaction to the revelation that Prince Adam and He-Man are one and the same. I also found it absolutely ridiculous that King Randor banished pretty much everybody that ever put their life on the line for him, his family, and Eternia. While the adventure is excellent, the initial motivation is bunk. I understand being hurt after finding out such a massive secret, but none of the heroes in the original series ever showed animosity to one another. Perhaps it happened in the comics, but I never read those.

Now I’ll break my spoilers down in bullet form:

  • Pro: The overall plot of the series was excellent.
  • Con: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s voice acting. Teela shouldn’t sound like an excited cheerleader going into battle.
  • Pro: Every single villain. From Scare Glow to Stinkor and Tri-Klops to Beast Man, the villains were awesome.
  • Con: The lack of more heroes. I’d really love to see characters like Stratos, Ram-Man, and Sy-Klone make appearances. Maybe they’ll show up in the second part.
  • Pro: Orko finally gets to shine. Being the bumbling idiot most of the time in the old series, it was nice to see Orko take charge. I don’t believe that we’ve seen the last of him. I expect him to escape from Subternia.
  • Con: The “shocking” death of Moss-Man. It felt forced and came across as more of a “look what Kevin can do in this universe” move instead of an actual plot device. I would have been just fine with only the deaths of He-Man and Skeletor in the first episode.
  • Pro: Wun-Dar. Seeing all of the champions was awesome, but this guy is just cool. As a tie-in figure for Wonder Bread, he’s one of the most wonderfully cheesy things in the MOTU universe.
  • Pro: The growth of Evil-Lyn as an individual and her ultimate downfall. She found freedom with Skeletor gone but she and Beast Man (who is loyal to a fault in my opinion) quickly fell back in line when he returned.
  • Pro: Beast Man isn’t a moron anymore. While he chuckles at a goofy joke by Evil-Lyn, there’s very little of the original screw-up in the new series. Beast Man is a protector and he does that to perfection in this series.
  • Con: I wanted more Mer-Man. This version of the character comes across as more sinister and I hope that I get to see more of him.
  • Pro: The opening sequence of the first episode. The wonderful classic artwork used to catch up new fans and to remind old fans of the past was simply amazing. It was the best part of the first episode.
  • Pro: Something tells me that Hordak will eventually make an appearance thanks to the MOTU Revelation Revelations Aftershow. You can see a figure of him in the background of many scenes. Will he show up at the end of part two? What about She-Ra? I’d love to see the Fright Zone explored in this new series.
  • Pro: All of the nods to all things MOTU that weren’t part of the original series. From characters such as Andra from the comics to a nod to the flying discs used in the live action film with Dolph Lundgren, these little winks made me smile.

I could go on, but I believe that I’ll stop for now. If you’ve made it this far, I assume that you’ve watched the series. Let me know what you think in the comments section. Did you enjoy the series? What were your pros and cons? I really want to know so please leave a comment. Thanks for checking out my post. I’ve got one more MOTU post planned for later this week and a special announcement coming on Wednesday! See you soon!

Parkside NWSL Trading Cards

These cards kick!

In recent years I have become quite fond of soccer. My wife has been a soccer player since she was a young child and was actually offered a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. As a result of her love for the game, I’ve been more invested in women’s soccer than in the men’s game although I do watch many games in various male leagues. The NWSL, National Women’s Soccer League, caught my attention this year. I recently subscribed to Paramount+ and have been loyally watching games ever since. It’s my newest addiction.

Base card front.

Being a collector of trading cards off and on over the course of my life and having lost most of those cards thanks to Hurricane Laura, I decided to pick up the hobby once again. Part of the reason that I decided to do this was because of Parkside and their beautiful NWSL 2021 Trading Card set. The base set features two hundred cards with a simple design on the front that features either an action shot or a posed photo of each player with a banner at the bottom of the card displaying the player’s name and team logo. The backs of the cards include a brief note about the player, their team number, position, Instagram tag, college (if applicable), and birth information. There’s also a QR code that you can scan to see each player’s stats.

Base card back.

Each pack comes with twenty-five cards although I’ve received twenty-six cards in almost every pack that I’ve opened. I got twenty-seven cards in at least one pack as well. There are two foil parallel cards and one black and white parallel card included in each pack. There are also three insert cards included with each pack. Not all of the insert card types are listed on the back of the packs, but as far as I know, these are the types of inserts that you can find and their odds according to the pack:

  • Vintage 1:1
  • Luminescent 1:3
  • Hyped 1:4
  • Signature Series Blue Ink 1:20 with Purple and Red parallels (Unknown odds)
  • Cityscapes 1:100
  • Americana 1:300
  • Photo Variation Base Card (Unknown odds)
  • Promising Prospects (Purple, Red, and Blue parallels) (Unknown odds)
  • Mystery Memorabilia (Unknown odds)
  • 1/1 Base Parallel (Unknown odds)
Black and White Parallels.

The odds for some of the cards, especially the Signature Series and Cityscapes, are disputed by many on the web. I have my doubts as well since I have yet to find a Signature Series card and have quite a few Cityscapes cards in hand. I really like a lot of the inserts, especially the Promising Prospects and the Hyped cards. The Promising Prospects have a base purple card and a blue Walmart and red Target parallel set.

Promising Prospects Red Variant (L) and Purple (R).

On social media you can find a number of trading groups. I happen to be a member of one of the Facebook groups and have made several trades in order to complete my base set. I’m currently on the hunt for a few of the inserts, especially the Promising Prospects cards and the Hyped cards. On Twitter, Parkside retweets trade requests and interacts with collectors regularly. They have a contest going on Instagram where they randomly select people to win official NWSL soccer balls. I’ve entered and am patiently waiting to see if I win.

Foil parallels and Red Promising Prospects.

I am very much addicted to these cards. If you want to join a trading group, feel free to message me and I’ll send you in the right direction. I don’t want to mention the group here in case any scalpers might be lurking. The group that I am part of is meant to be for collectors and completionists who do not wish to sell off cards simply for profit. The group that I am in is for fans of the league.

Luminescent (L) and Cityscapes (R) cards. Just FYI, I’ve already traded the Morgan cards.

Thanks for checking out my post. I’ve got the trading card bug again and have also been collecting a few Topps Match Attax cards albeit with less fervor than I have with the NWSL cards. It’s very difficult to find soccer trading cards in southern Louisiana. Purchasing them online can be a hassle as well as many boxes sell out before I can get my hands on them. I might be reviewing more cards in the future. Let me know if you want to see more content like this in the comments section.

Vintage Inserts.
More Promising Prospects and one Hyped card.

A&E Biography: KISSTORY

“Two sides of the coin…..”

A&E recently released their two-part Biography documentary KISSTORY that covers the career of the iconic band KISS and its nearly fifty year history. Being a massive fan of the group in all of its incarnations over the years, I was hoping to see something that hadn’t been revealed before in books, previous documentaries, or interviews from the past. While I really enjoyed the documentary and a few cool bits and pieces that I somehow missed, there weren’t very many new things revealed by the band or A&E.

While I appreciated the recognition of people such as producer and choreographer Sean Delaney, who was crucial to the early successes of the band, I felt like the documentary as a whole glazed over the important contributions of band members like Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr. Almost nothing was said about Vinnie Vincent, who stopped the band’s spiral into irrelevance in the early 80’s. Mark St. John was mentioned, but not much was said about his brief time in the group.

As was expected, the bulk of the documentary focused on the band’s rise to success in the 1970’s, the departures of both Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and the band’s 90’s reunion. It should be noted that neither Frehley nor Criss, both co-founders of the original group, agreed to appear in any new interviews for the documentary. They only allowed archival footage of themselves to be used and, as a result, we got a one-sided view of the band’s rise, fall, and resurrection. Some might even argue that Ace and Peter were viewed in an almost entirely negative light and, too a degree, that might be true. Ace and Peter’s strained relationship with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley is well known, but the truth will probably never come to light.

The band’s “unmasked” era in the 1980’s and early 1990’s is mentioned but almost entirely skipped over. I can somewhat understand this as that particular era is the least favorite of Gene and Paul. I can also imagine how difficult it was for the producers and editors to cram over forty years of a band’s life into a three hour program. That being said, I really wish that someone would produce a documentary focusing solely on the band’s “unmasked” era, as there were some solid tunes produced during that time and Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr and eventually Kulick and Eric Singer, proved to be the most talented members of the band in my opinion.

Not mentioned in the documentary were session players such as Bob Kulick, Anton Fig, and Dick Wagner, among others, who recorded parts of or played entire songs on many of the band’s albums. I’m especially shocked at the absence of Fig and Bob Kulick, as both of them proved to be essential session players.

“Biography: KISStory” runs at 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday, June 27-28, on A&E. Photo by Ken Settle

The documentary is far from perfect and definitely suffers from the lack of Ace and Peter. There’s a vein of bitterness over the entire production any time that Ace or Peter are brought up and they are brought up a lot. I’m not saying that Ace and Peter were angels, but I do believe that Gene and Paul laid it on pretty thick a few times too many in the documentary. I also believe that the band’s failures were misrepresented at times. The failure of albums such as Unmasked and Creatures of the Night were attributed to the fans being tired of the band’s infighting when, at least in my opinion, it was due to the fact that Dynasty, Unmasked, and Music From The Elder all failed to deliver what the fans wanted. Creatures eventually found its audience and has since become a favorite album of many KISS fans, but I believe it suffered because of the pop direction and the complete misfire of Elder.

Ultimately, KISSTORY is a somewhat bitter-tasting love letter and farewell to fans. It’s actually a pretty good starting point for new and potential fans of the band, but you’ll only get a real taste of KISS by reading their books, watching other documentaries and interviews, and especially listening to their music.

Thanks for checking out my review. I hope that you enjoyed it.

Those Basic Figures….

When you need to be rescued in the checkout lane….

Hasbro, Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney know just how to market toys to children and their parents. Some parents plunk down ten to twenty bucks for a hunk of plastic that won’t receive more than ten minutes of attention from a kid. More frugal parents will hold out on their kid until they get to the checkout lane at the store where Hasbro has some cheaper figures with bright colors and limited articulation. You know what figures I am talking about. You’ve probably picked up a few of them over the years for yourself or for your children. Most of them have three points of articulation: a swivel neck and two swivel shoulders. A couple of them swivel at the waist. A few of them come with an accessory. For the most part, these figures are just for decoration but they do have their merits.

One of the best things about these figures is their price point. For about five dollars you can own Captain America, Thor, Din Djarin, Luke Skywalker, or even Thanos or Darth Vader. Almost all of the figures are the same height. With the exception of Grogu (Baby Yoda), all of the figures that I’ve seen are six inches tall. Grogu is scaled to match Din Djarin (The Mandalorian) but the Hulk, Thanos, and the Hulkbuster Armor Iron Man are all the same scale as figures like Spider-Man and Black Panther.

Another excellent thing about these figures is that despite their limited articulation, younger kids can get quite a bit of playtime out of them, especially on a road trip. With almost no accessories to worry about losing, parents can toss a few of these figures into the back seat with the kids and let them go on a mini adventure. If one of them happens to get broken, it’s not a big deal since you’re only out five bucks.

My personal favorite thing about these figures is how amazing many of them look. Din Djarin and Thanos are two of my favorite figures. They look great. The paint apps are wonderful and the overall design of the figure is extremely appealing. Sure, there are a few paint apps on some of these figures that are atrocious (I’m looking at you, Luke Skywalker and Iron Man), but for the most part they are wonderful to put on display.

These figures probably won’t be worth much as the years go by due to the fact that you can find them in almost every major department store. Plus, they use the same molds over and over and only change the design on the boxes. They just recently released an entire line of Star Wars figures and almost all of them are the same molds and paint apps on the same old figures that have been released multiple times over the years. The newest figures in the line appear to be Grogu and Din Djarin, which makes sense due to the fact that they are two of the newest Star Wars characters.

I enjoy collecting these figures. I know exactly what I’m getting and haven’t been disappointed yet. If I’m ever down in the dumps, getting one of these figures lifts my spirits. I don’t know what it is about them that I love so much. They are just fun to have around and display. I know a lot of “collectors” scoff at these cheap figures, but they have an appeal that cannot be denied. Plus, they are an excellent option for families on a budget or for stressed out parents in the checkout lane.

Thanks for reading my post. See you again real soon!

The Loyal Subjects KISS BST AXN “The Demon”

“You’ve Got Great Expectations…..

Yep, you’ve got great expectations, but does the recent The Demon 5″ action figure from The Loyal Subjects meet those expectations? Yes…..and no. I really do like the figure overall, but there are a few things about it that have me scratching my head.

Before we get to the negative stuff, let’s talk about the positive aspects of this figure. For starters, the design of the figure is pretty cool. No, it’s not an exact duplicate of Gene Simmons (that’s not the point of BST AXN figures), but it has decent paint apps. The figure’s design is based off of Gene’s 1976 Destroyer Tour suit. It comes with removable wings and some nice accessories. The accessories include two of Gene’s guitars, the beautiful black Punisher bass and the iconic Axe bass. It also features a mic and mic stand and an alternate set of hands. There’s also a BST AXN sticker included.

Despite having twenty two points of articulation, the figure has posing issues. The wings get in the way of posing Gene and they easily pop off of the figure. The wings also prevent posing Gene in his iconic “bass straight up and down” pose. On the Destroyer tour, Gene had fabric wings that could be disconnected at the wrist. I honestly believe that detachable soft goods wings would have been a better option for this figure. Perhaps it would have affected the price point which currently sits around fifteen bucks, but the hard plastic detachable wings on this figure really bother me. Also, the legs are pretty stiff as are the arms. This is a good thing if you plan on posing the figure once and leaving him as is, but I plan on changing up his look once I get my hands on some of the upcoming figures in this line. One final complaint, and it’s minor but noteworthy, is the fact that the photo on the box appears to be of Gene from the Reunion tour and not a photo from the original Destroyer tour. I’m being nit-picky here, but I thought that I should bring it up for hardcore KISS collectors.

I’ve ultimately decided to box this figure back up until I can find the Ace Frehley/Space Ace figure that’s soon to be released. The Demon figure was said to have been released in Walmart in late October of last year, but I am only now seeing the figure on pegs. It is also supposed to be available now at Target and Hot Topic, but I have yet to see one in the wild at either location. This might be a stocking issue with the stores or a shipping issue due to COVID-19 or something else. I’m merely speculating on this and hopefully I’ll see Ace on a peg sooner than later.

I definitely recommend this figure to KISS fans. If you’re a member of the KISS Army like myself, you’re probably staring at this figure on the shelf as you’re reading this post. Despite the wing issues, it’s a pretty cool figure to add to any KISS collection. If you’re a fan of hard rock in general, there are other figures in this line including Slash from Guns n’ Roses and Angus Young of AC/DC that I have seen on the peg. More figures are on the way.

As a huge KISS fan, I’m probably critiquing this figure a bit harder than other figures, but I do believe that my complaints are justified. The packaging looks awesome despite the wrong photo on the front and I really love the bass guitars and Gene’s overall look. Keep that in mind while deciding on whether or not to snag this figure. As soon as the Ace figure hits shelves I will be getting it, so be on the lookout for that review in the future.

KISS was born to be action figures, so seeing these guys in an affordable and easy to collect line of figures is great. Hopefully we will see the Starchild and the Cat added to the line in the near future. If you’re a dreamer like me, nothing would warm your heart more than to see the Fox and the Ankh Warrior added to this line as well but I don’t think that that is going to happen. Heck, it would be really cool if The Loyal Subjects gave us a Paul Stanley Bandit action figure!

Thanks for checking out my review. I hope that you enjoyed it. If you have this figure or any other figure that I’ve reviewed, let me know what you like and dislike about them in the comments. Feel free to share this post on social media as well.

Jurassic Park Amber Collection: Dr. Ian Malcolm

“I hate being right all the time.”

Few people would argue that Dr. Ian Malcolm is easily the most beloved character in the Jurassic Park film series. He’s so loved in fact, that Mattel decided to release a second version of his Amber Collection figure with just a few minor changes and one additional accessory knowing that it would sell like hotcakes. They are probably right.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get my hands on the original figure but I do have an Owen Grady and a Dilophosaurus from the same line and I really liked those figures, so it was a no-brainer for me to snag the second version of Dr. Malcolm. This particular figure appears to be a lot easier to find in stores as I have seen the figure on plenty of shelves and they’ve been there for awhile. That’s actually a good thing in my opinion because it keeps scalpers’ prices low on the original figure. If I’m a collector who purchases figures because I love them and not in order to make a profit, I’ll definitely wait for a second version of a figure to hit shelves so that I can get the figure at a decent price.

The figure is pretty much the same mold as the original figure with two exceptions. Based on what I’ve read, the arms are new molds and have more articulation than the original figure had during its release. The only other difference is the paint application on Dr. Malcolm’s boots, which feature a little bit of mud on them this time around. Also of note is that the amber figure base that came with the first run of Amber Collection figures (something that I really loved) is not included with this or any of the other recent figures in this line.

The figure looks pretty good. The face sculpt and glasses could definitely be better, but I’m okay with what I received. The articulation is excellent and allows for some nice poseability. The figure looks good on my shelf next to Owen and the dilophosaurus. I’m hoping to add the Dr. Ellie Sattler figure to my collection once I can find her in the wild.

The accessories included with the figure are a spare set of hands, the iconic glass of water from the first film, and the flare that Malcolm used to distract the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. All of these accessories came with the original release of the figure. What’s new is the walkie-talkie that Malcolm used to help Dr. Ellie Sattler while he was injured. Just so you know, the glass of water only fits in one of the hands as does the flare.

Is the figure worth purchasing? Absolutely if you’re a fan of the character and/or the franchise and you didn’t get a chance to purchase the original figure. If you do have the original figure, the only thing new here is the aforementioned articulation, paint, and walkie talkie. If you’re happy with your original release, I’d skip this one.

Thanks for checking out my quick review of this figure. My next figure review is a doozy! I hope that you check it out later this week!

Throwback Thursday: National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

“Sorry, folks. The park’s closed.”

Arguably the launching pad for Chevy Chase’s successful cinematic career, National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) spawned multiple sequels, introduced us to numerous actors who would go on to bigger things, and became a cornerstone for screwball comedies. The film tells the story of Clark Griswold (Chase) and his family as they drive from Chicago to California in order to enjoy a few days of fun at Walley World, an amusement park based upon the adventures of a lovable moose not unlike Disneyland (the destination of the family in the original script that was scrapped to avoid the fury of the Mouse).

The film wastes no time delivering laughs, as Clark and eldest child Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) go to pick up the family’s new ride at a local car lot. Due to an error by the car dealer (Eugene Levy), the family is saddled with the clunky Wagon Queen Family Truckster, an unreliable behemoth that proves to be pretty tough on multiple occasions throughout the film. Rounding out the family is Clark’s gorgeous wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and their young daughter, Audrey (Dana Barron). The group heads out in the Truckster and experience numerous mishaps on their journey.

At one point in the film, the family meets up with Ellen’s cousins, Eddie and Catherine, and their children. Eddie is played by Randy Quaid and is an iconic character in his own right. He and Catherine (Miriam Flynn) prepare a meal for the Griswolds and let them stay the night. Eddie and Catherine’s oldest daughter, Vicki (played by a young Jane Krakowski), introduces Audrey to marijuana and their son, Dale (John P. Navin, Jr.) teaches Rusty about self love. Before leaving Eddie and Catherine’s home, Eddie springs a surprise on the Griswolds. He tells them that Ellen’s crazy Aunt Edna (the legendary Imogene Coca) will be riding along with them in order to drop her off in Phoenix, AZ.

The family gets in more trouble on their road trip. From getting “shot” by a bartender in Dodge City to losing everything from cash to tires, they get into numerous funny situations. One recurring issue is a mysterious woman in a Ferrari that Clark continues to see on the road. Things come to a head at a hotel one evening when the lady, played by Christie Brinkley, convinces Clark to go skinny dipping with her.

When the family finally arrives at Walley World, the park is closed for repairs. Desperate to have some fun with his family and needing a break from all of the insanity from the road trip, Clark pulls a BB gun on the park’s security guards (John Candy and Frank McRae) and demands that they allow him and his family to have fun. It all leads up to a wacky ending to a wacky film and it’s definitely worth putting on your “must see” list.

While Chase was already an established celebrity thanks to his work on Saturday Night Live and in films like Caddyshack and Foul Play, Vacation opened the door to films such as Fletch, Spies Like Us, and Three Amigos. D’Angelo was already an established actor and even had a Golden Globe nomination under her belt for portraying Patsy Cline in 1980’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, but Vacation launched her into bigger roles in films throughout the 80’s, 90’s and she is still a successful working actor today. Hall went on to star in a string of hit films including Edward Scissorhands, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, The Dark Knight, and the TV series The Dead Zone. Dana Barron went on to have a solid career as a guest star in multiple television shows and is the only Griswold child to reprise her role in more than one Vacation film when she starred in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure. The film also starred the aforementioned Coca, Candy, Krakowski, and Levy, and numerous other actors that were either already established or on the cusp of stardom like Brian Doyle-Murray, Mickey Jones, John Diehl, and Eddie Bracken.

In each sequel that followed the original film, only Clark, Ellen, Eddie, and Catherine are portrayed by the same actors. It’s a running gag of the film series that the adults age but the kids always remain young. The film spawned four sequels and one spin-off sequel (the Cousin Eddie film) and has consistently made multiple Top 100 Comedy lists over the years. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

Thanks for taking a trip back in time with me on this post. I’ve had a major crush on Beverly D’Angelo ever since I saw this film and hope to meet her one day. I’d also love to meet any other member of the cast, especially Chevy Chase. See you all again real soon!

Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure: Mr. Hyde!

“Now it’s time for Mister Hyde!”

The Marvel Legends Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings Build-A-Figure line features six pretty good figures. The line includes four figures from the upcoming Shang-Chi film (Shang-Chi, Wenwu, Xialing, Death Dealer), an A.I. Tony Stark, and Civil Warrior from Contest of Champions. Collect all six figures and you get the necessary parts to assemble Mister Hyde.

Since this is the first Build-A-Figure that I’ve ever completed, I don’t have any other figures to compare it to except for the standard Marvel Legends line. In that case, this figure is roughly 1.5″ to 2″ taller than all of the figures in the line needed to assemble it. The parts snapped together with a fair amount of ease although I did have a little trouble getting the right leg to lock into place.

When fully assembled, the figure has articulation similar to other figures in the line. The only gripes that I have about the figure is the wonky right leg and some stiff elbow and knee joints.

The figure itself looks awesome. I love the green suit and red bow tie. I also love Mister Hyde’s cane, which features dents and scratches that make it look like it is battle worn and ready to pound any would-be heroes into a pulp.

I really like this figure. It has some weight to it and it looks great on my shelf at work. I might have to invest in another Build-A-Figure soon if one pops up that catches my interest.

Thanks for reading my post. More fun, including a super special figure review, is coming soon!

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

“I sabotaged your plane.”

2004’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow didn’t grab my attention when it was first released. I thought that the look of the film in the movie trailer was cool but felt that it was going to be just another “style over substance” flick using CGI, big name actors, and a nostalgic look. I was right. This film was a mess. Parts of it were pure brilliance but the bulk of the movie was a boring, CGI-laden, soft-focused train wreck.

You’d think that a film featuring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Giovanni Ribisi, and Angelina Jolie would have some punch to it, but this film just plodded along from one CGI sequence to the next with a plot that was thinner than most of the serials and pulp novels that the film looked to for inspiration. There was so much potential with this film and it totally missed the mark.

In the film, someone is hunting down scientists who either end up missing or dead as a result of the villain’s actions. Reporter Polly Perkins gets the inside scoop on what’s going down while secretly visiting with one of the scientists who is on the hit list. When a gaggle of giant robots attack New York City, “Sky Captain” Joe Sullivan swoops in to save the day and the girl, Polly. Sky Captain takes one of the robots to his secret base where his tech genius, Dex, manages to discover the location of the villain’s secret lair right before he is captured and taken prisoner by the villain’s mysterious assassin. From that point on, Sky Captain and Polly go on a quest to find the villain and stop his plans to to star a new “world of tomorrow” using his rocket ship loaded with animals and two key vials that he has been trying to track down. Will they stop the evil genius before he destroys humanity? If you can make it through the rest of Sky Captain, you’ll find out!

I really wanted to like this film. It’s based on some of my favorite things, pulp novels, serials, and the Max Fleischer classic Superman cartoons. It even has a number of wonderful Easter eggs for fans of these classic films and books. Despite this, the film just does not connect with me. While I was watching it, all I could see in my mind was director/writer Kerry Conran saying, “Look what I can do!” with each uninspired CGI sequence. To top it all off, Gwyneth Paltrow was horrible in this film. I am assuming that she was trying to emulate classic serial damsels and divas like Louise Currie, Veda Ann Borg, Noel Neill, and Linda Stirling. Instead, she came off as overly annoying with a wooden delivery.

The rest of the cast did a lot better than Paltrow, who portrayed Polly Perkins. Jude Law starred as Joe Sullivan, Giovanni Ribisi had a small but important role as Dex, and Bai Ling did a fine job as the silent assassin billed as the Mysterious Woman. Granted, all she had to do was jump around and fight Jude Law for a bit, but she gave a much better performance than Paltrow. Angelina Jolie’s role as Franky Cook was brief but fun. Also of note is Omid Djalili as Kaji, one of the Sky Captain’s old friends who helps him and Polly.

The majority of the film focuses on the relationship between Sullivan and Polly. Sadly this meant that the strongest and weakest performances in the film were front and center at all times.

I always try to be positive about the films that I view, but Sky Captain was just too bad for me to really enjoy. It’s too slick to be nostalgic like the old serials that it hopes to be like and too boring to hold my interest. Couple that with the worst performance that I’ve ever witnessed by Gwyneth Paltrow and I have to say skipping this film isn’t a bad idea. I wanted it to be good, but it fails on too many levels for me to recommend it. Instead, check out the Blackhawk serial or King of the Rocket Men. Both are superior to Sky Captain. If you’re looking for something more recent to watch, check out the tried and true The Rocketeer.

I know that many fans of the old serials loved Sky Captain, but it’s just not for me. I will admit that I enjoyed some of the humor in the film and the cast outside of Paltrow was solid, but that wasn’t enough to win me over. Thanks for reading my post. I have three special posts coming up next week!

Tunes: The Karate Kid Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1984)

“Sweep the leg.”

Thanks to the highly successful Cobrai Kai series that is currently being produced by Netflix (originally available on YouTube Red), interest in the classic The Karate Kid films has experienced a resurgence. Youngsters want to see the original film and its sequels in order to get a deeper look at the backstory involving Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso. Older folks such as myself that were around for the theatrical releases of these films are hopping on the nostalgia train and reliving their favorite moments about the films.

For me, the music was just as memorable as the original film and I decided to revisit the original film soundtrack. After listening to it I’ve learned that the music actually loses a bit of its luster without the visuals to go along with each song. For instance, the biggest track on the album is probably You’re The Best by Joe Esposito. Played during the epic battles at the tournament that lead up to Daniel and Johnny’s final fight, the song comes off a bit cheesy until it hits the chorus. Whereas most songs actually make a scene better, in the case of You’re The Best, the scene actually helps improve the song.

Survivor is probably the biggest name on the album (although an argument can be made for Jan & Dean) and they had a modest hit with The Moment Of Truth. The song is very similar to many of Survivor’s other early 80’s tunes that spent weeks and months on the charts. It’s nothing new to fans of the band but it holds up pretty well even today.

My favorite song on the album is Young Hearts by Commuter. It can be heard during the “Golf N’ Stuff” sequence in the original film and in a similar sequence at the same arcade in Cobra Kai. This song really hits me every time I hear it. The lyrics are a bit all over the place to be honest, but it’s just a cool sounding song.

Outside of Survivor, the only other band that most casual music fans will recognize is Jan & Dean. They perform (Bop Bop) On The Beach with the Flirts. If it sounds a lot like something that the Beach Boys would sing to you, you’re not entirely wrong. Jan & Dean are often compared to the Beach Boys because of their sound and Mike Love, one of the Beach Boys, actually wrote the track. It’s a good song and probably the most “alien” track on the album. It sounds like nothing else on the playlist and that’s refreshing in my opinion.

The rest of the album features a lot of bands that sort of sound like mainstream pop and new wave bands of the early 1980’s. It Takes Two To Tango by Paul Davis sounds a lot like something that Hall & Oates would have performed. No Shelter by Broken Edge sounds exactly like a Cars tune. Tough Love by Shandi could easily have been performed by someone like Olivia Newton-John. Feel The Night by Baxter Robinson could have landed on just about any early 80’s pop rock band’s playlist, especially artists like Night Ranger or Rick Springfield. Desire by Gang of Four and Rhythm Man by St. Regis sounded like tracks released by many new wave artists like Thomas Dolby.

As is sometimes the case, a few songs were left off of the album that appeared in the film. The biggest track left off of this particular album was Cruel Summer by Bananarama. It would go on to be one of the biggest hits the group ever released. If you want a copy of it for yourself, however, you won’t find it on this album.

Ultimately this album does a decent job of holding up despite being a product of its time. I still love listening to the songs even though some of them are a lot cheesier than I remember. Thanks for checking out my post and revisiting a classic album with me. I hope to do a few more posts like this in the near future.