Monday, December 21, 2015

A Claymation Christmas Celebration

Do any of you guys remember this?

No, of course you don't.  What you remember is the California Raisins singing "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," which is on this special from 1987, but strangely enough that's not the only segment of this show.

Strap on your boots, this is a pretty wild ride.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Top Eleven: Avatar Characters & Their Best Moments

It's the last day of Avatar Week here (did I forget to mention that was a thing?) and I decided to end it with something I haven't done in a while: picking apart a huge selection of things and sharing my own personal favorites for reasons that only I can really understand.

I mean, seriously, I put "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" in my top eleven Christmas songs and I went so far as to say that the Purple Man wouldn't work in the Marvel Cinematic/TV Universe.  I also said Man-Ape would be a great addition to the Cinematic/TV universe.

Clearly I often have no idea what I'm talking about.

However, be warned, there are spoilers ahead (naturally).

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Series Notes

So, I've pretty much said without saying that Avatar: The Last Airbender is probably going to be right up high in my top ten favorite animated series of all time, along such luminaries as the Batman/Superman/Justice League run (in my eyes, they're one long series, and if you go back and watch it all in one run, you'll understand why), Animaniacs, Gargoyles, and Jem and the Holograms.

...what?  C'mon, that show was insane, even by 1980 cartoon standards.

Do I need to do an episode by episode review?  Because I've been itching to start something else or go back to doing more Marvel Disk Wars.

But there are things that are spread across the entire series that are hard to discuss in a single seasonal review, so I'm taking advantage of this post to highlight some of the things I found really interesting about the production of the show.

(A lot of information is pulled from the Avatar Wiki, so take it with a grain of salt, but anybody obsessive enough to fill out an entire Wiki for a show is either truly obsessed or so focused on their own fan fiction that it's fascinating anyway)

There are some mild spoilers below.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Season Three

Okay, so Monday was my introducing people to this random series I started watching.  It was the blog post equivalent of telling my friends, "hey, I met this woman, and we sorta hit it off a bit, so we might hang out a bit more.  She seems all right."  Tuesday was my going, "Wow, guys, you won't believe this woman.  She's funny, smart, gorgeous, athletic, and just knows the perfect thing to say or do at any time.  I mean, I'm -looking- for flaws, but I think this might be the one!"  Now it's Wednesday.  Does the fixation remain, or have things cooled off a bit in this weird metaphor of relationships?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Season Two

Yesterday I talked about season one (sorry, "book one") of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  I said I liked it, but that it had a bunch of problems.  The primary villain wasn't that interesting, the story ran slow, and it jumped around a lot before it managed to pull stuff together towards the end.

Now it's time for season two ("book two"), and I'm going to take each one of those complaints, hold them up to the light, and tear them into pieces.  They have no place here, because this season of the show is quite possibly my absolute favorite in terms of second seasons, placing it above some of my favorite television shows of all time.

And a lot of it has to do with this crazy girl right here:

Spoilers follow after the cut, needless to say, so if you haven't watched season one yet (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, BUDDY) then go do that.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Avatar: The Last Airbender - Season One

Have you ever heard about something that's insanely popular, but you just avoided it anyway?  Maybe you think that things the "masses" like are invariably low-brow and for people without good taste, like Transformers movies, or the music of Ariana Grande, or (ugh) 50 Shades of Gray.   Perhaps you're just dissatisfied with the "big, huge" events that become movies, TV shows, or music, and you prefer simpler things.  Maybe you're a hipster.  Maybe there's just so many amazing things out there that you just don't have time to see them all, so when you do finally decide to give it a chance, you're hopelessly behind and can't catch up (see: my experience with Lost).

Whatever reason people have, it means that sometimes you miss out on something that's actually really good.  For example, during a brief "pfft, how good can a cartoon for kids be these days" phase some years ago, I found out that a lot of people were really into this series called "Avatar: The Last Airbender."  I was convinced at the time that every cartoon that was something adults would like tended to be something akin to Dragonball Z, Squidbillies, or Aqua Teen Hunger Force, namely bad animation with weak stories that were often just links between dumb action sequences or stupid jokes.

I didn't really realize just how huge it was until I heard a movie was going to be made based on it, at which point I went "okay, maybe there is something to it if it's going to get a movie franchise like The Hunger Games or the Harry Potter series."  This was, of course, before we would learn just how much a movie can disappoint fans of a large franchise that wasn't Star Wars.

But after putting it off for years, I finally decided to give the show a shot.  I figured I owed it to myself to know what I was talking about if I said something didn't interest me or wasn't along my personal tastes.

Silly me, sometimes things are popular because they're actually really good.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Let's Talk: Yankee Swaps and White Elephants

People, we need to talk.  I know people like having fun around the holidays, I really do.  I like having fun as well.  But we, as a collective species, need to stop the horror that is the Yankee Swap.  I, personally, have a theory that there is alien life watching us, and every year they see people start to celebrate togetherness and caring, whether it's from Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, or those random people who are just really, really into Boxing Day.

They debate whether or not to invite us into their galaxy-wide community, thinking that maybe, maybe we're emotionally and intellectually ready as a people to accept life beyond our little blue marble, one of the aliens on the review board will state, "well, at least they don't have any events around the holidays that encourage people to be mean-spirited to those they care about and act out of spite and selfishness during what's supposed to be a moment of giving."

Then the aliens who suggested Earth be included in their society get really awkward looks on their faces and shuffle their feet a bit, and the review board alien states "Oh, krazlop (it's a real alien swear term, look it up), they still do that Yankee Swap thing, don't they?"

And thus, once again, our place among the stars is denied us.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A few months ago, while skimming through Hulu, I realized that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was now free to watch.  I knew this because every time I tried watching anything, I had an ad that somehow incorporated the show.  Either it was a "bunch of clips as a commercial" ad to advertise it was there, or they'd do one of their (admittedly pretty clever at time) montage commercials listing shows, and there would always be a clip or two from that in there as well.

I was not impressed.  There was lots of screaming, wackiness, and physical comedy, and very little sense of any kind of characterization or plot.  I didn't see anybody I recognized in the quick cuts of scenes, and the one actor I knew was in it was from Saturday Night Live, a show that I enjoyed for a while a long time ago but haven't really watched since.  But when I did, I wasn't really entertained.

I also knew that it won a Golden Globe and was nominated for a bunch of other awards, but I still wasn't impressed.

But I figured I could watch an episode, so at least then I could say "yes, I did try it, and I still didn't like it" so that I wouldn't simply be one of those people who complains about stuff without having any supporting evidence to back it up.

Darn it, I enjoyed it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Rifftrax: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny

Every now and again one wonders "how did this get made?"  I used to wonder it about major motion pictures, like Battlefield Earth or yet another Pirates Of The Caribbean movie, but no more.  I know how those get made.  Studios get talked into trying to bank on a star's success by making a big budget production with them, or they hope to get the next Star Wars, Hunger Games, or Harry Potter.

But I have no idea how Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny was made without someone looking around at the film production, sighing, and doing their best to combine a tank of gas and a match.  I have spent the last four days pondering this mystery, and I am no closer to an answer.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Captain America: Civil War & Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Trailers are out!

And I could not be more "enh."

Don't get me wrong, I'll probably see both movies, but I have to say, watching the trailers reminds me why, for the most part, I don't watch trailers.  They either reveal way too much or they don't reveal anything and leave you guessing.

Let me go into a bit more detail.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thoughts on Tomb Raider

I never played the original Tomb Raider games.  I wasn't a big fan of action 3D platformers, and there were enough other games to keep my attention besides "that one with the woman with the big chest."

I did play some of the later games by Crystal Dynamics, though.  Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Underworld, and the reboot Tomb Raider were all games I enjoyed, but there was something that bothered me about Lara Croft in particular.

In the end, she's always alone.

"Row, row, row your boat, gently down the- okay, now you go!
Oh.  Right."