Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, March 05, 2018


Well, I've had a backlog of things I wanted to blog about (a backblog?) and now that it's a snowed-in kind of weekend, may as well finally get around to blogging about it.

I went into the city about a week ago.  Didn't do much of note.  And besides, the main purpose of blogging about my days in the city is plug the review of the latest movie I saw.  So, I went into the city a week ago to catch Black Panther.

Black Panther poster

Black Panther is awesome, you guys.  I mean, I'm on board for pretty much anything Marvel does at this point, so I knew I was going to like it.  Taking place shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, our hero, T'Challa, is returning home to Wakanda to officially be crowned king.

But, the nation of Wakanda is at a crossroads.  Thanks to the country sitting on a massive deposit of vibranium -- the fictional metal that Captain America's shield is made of -- Wakanda is actually the most technologically advanced country in the world.  But, they have chosen to hide this fact for centuries for fear that their technological wonders would fall into the wrong hands.  The wrong hands being our villains, the international arms dealer Ulysses Klaue and soldier of fortune Erik Killmonger.  And it's up to T'Challa, the Black Panther, to protect Wakanda from these threats and best plot a future for Wakanda.

This is a film with a very beautiful supporting cast.  The true scene stealer is Shuri, T'Challa's kid sister and Wakanda's chief scientist.  She's responsible for a lot of Wakanda's technological marvels, and she's the Q to T'Challa's James Bond.  And their sassy brother/sister banter is just perfect.  Also fun is M'Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe, who never pledged loyalty to the throne of Wakanda.  While he is a grim and serious defender of his people, M'Baku also has just enough of a sense of humour to mess with his rivals.

And lets not forget our villain, Killmonger.  It seems with Killmonger, Marvel is on their way to beating their villain problem, as they finally take the time to develop Killmonger and give us motivations for his villainy.  He's a great villain with a plan that's not so evil, when  you see things from his point of view.

So, yeah.  I don't need to tell you to go see it because it's kicking all kinds of butt at the box office.  I give it 3.5 out of 4 Nibs.  Full review on the website.

Oh, and while also in the city, I broke down and bought the first in the latest from Lego in the Marvel Micro Minis collection.  These little tiny Lego kits feature two go-karts piloted by a Marvel hero.  I wound up collecting all of last  year's, and I got the first for this  year's, which is Thor vs. Loki.

I like the tiny detailing in these sets.  As you can see in the Thor vs. Loki set, the go-karts are modeled after their helmets.  I went to the dentist back on Thursday, and afterwards I picked up Star Lord vs. Nebula, so of course, their go-karts are modeled after their respective ships in Guardians of the Galaxy.  And then, some highlights from last year's series, Wolverine's is modeled on the Blackbird, Thanos's is modeled on the Infinity Gauntlet, Spider-Man's is based on his infamous Spider-Mobile....  They're just cute.  Kinda makes me nostalgic for the legendary Muppet Babies Happy Meal Toys from the 1980s.

So, what am I binging these days?  As my morning guy brought up on the air the other day, I've signed up for Netflix, CraveTV, and Amazon Prime Video.  "How do you keep track of everything you're binging?" he asks.  Well, it's tough.  I'll add something to my list, then when i go back to watch it seven months later, it's gone.  So, yeah.  You can probably blame me for the cancellation of Sense8, because that's been high on my list for a while now, but I haven't gotten to it.

Well, the main reason I finally signed up for Amazon Prime was for two of their originals.  First up was The Tick.  Ben Edlund gives us the third TV iteration of his superhero spoof, and this time out, he gives us a semi-serious take on the material.  Don't get me wrong, the Tick is still the Tick, and it still skewers many superhero tropes, but it's got a pretty serious plot going on and gives Arthur some pretty serious issues to deal with.  I kind of wish they stuck with what they were hinting at in the pilot, which was making the Tick the Tyler Durden to Arthur's nameless narrator, but it's still good.  Part 2 of season 1 just dropped, and I'm about halfway through that second half.

After that, the other original that I wanted to check out, American Gods.  I really enjoyed Neil Gaiman's fantasy epic back in the day, and was really looking forward to the TV adaptation, especially since it was brought to the TV screen by Bryan Fuller, who gave me two of my favourite cult classic TV shows, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.  When I read the book in the day, and started imagining the intersection of the world of gods and the mortal world, I only expected a slightly heightened version of the real world.  Like the really good episodes of The X-Files.  But Fuller and his crew, they really pushing things far, and the world of gods really does seem dreamlike.  My only complaint.  I was wondering how they were going to get an entire series out of the book, even though the book is pretty dense to begin with.  But at the end of season 1, I realized that Season 1 was pretty much just the first 6 chapters with a whole bunch of filler.  So they'll be able to stretch it out quite a bit.

Then I flipped over to CraveTV.  They have the first three season of Game of Thrones now, but instead of giving that a shot, I decided to go with The Handmaid's Tale.  I read The Handmaid's Tale at around the same time I read American Gods, and it stuck with me.  It's interesting comparing the two TV series.  Season 1 of The Handmaid's Tale pretty much is an adaptation of the book, but they flesh out several supporting characters and add new subplots and expand the universe in such a way that it never feels like filler.  And I loved its use of music.

Perhaps my most unexpected binge, though, was I discovered that Amazon Prime has New Captain Scarlett.  I'd been curious about this cartoon when it premiered back in 2005, but it never made it out of the UK.  Legendary TV producer Gerry Anderson produced this reboot of one of his classic Supermarionation shows from the 1960s, and it wound up being his final production.

For those who've never heard of Captain Scarlett, or the 1960s original, Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons, this is our story.  Earth is under attack by an alien race known as the Mysterons.  The Mysterons chief weapon is their complete mastery of matter.  Once they destroy something, they can rebuild it and take control of it.  Once they kill someone, they can resurrect that person as an agent completely loyal to the Mysteron cause.

Leading the fight against the Mysterons:  Spectrum, a SHIELD-like organization.  They even have a flying commander centre, Cloudbase (Skybase in the reboot), hovering at 40,000 feet above the Earth's surface.  They have secret caches of weapons all across the globe.  Their top agents have a code name based on a colour.  And they even have their own fighter squadron, the Angels, where all the pilots are women.

Our hero, Captain Scarlett.  Scarlett was one of the first to fall at the hands of the Mysterons.  Somehow, his consciousness survived the Mysteron resurrection process.  He was able to break free of Mysteron control and rejoin the side of good.  But the Mysterons left him with a gift.  As a side effect of the resurrection process, Captain Scarlett is now blessed with "retro-metabolism," a Wolverine-style healing factor.  Rendering him practically indestructible, Scarlett's suicidal tactics have made him Spectrum's top agent, and a dangerous enemy to the Mysterons.

The show itself is really good.  The animation..not so much.  It was early 2000s CGI, when motion capture was the hot new toy.  They used a lot of motion capture on New Captain Scarlett.  As such, while the body movement are very lifelike and realistic...the rest of the animation, not so much.  Picture The Polar Express on a straight-to-video budget and now you're getting it.

But now it's on to the next binge.  The new season of Voltron just hit Netflix, as did their latest big sci-fi series, Altered CarbonJessica Jones: Season 2 drops this Thursday.

And once that`s all done, I might finally get to Sense8.

And we have a new Weird Al song!

For those who don't know, Hamilton is the hottest thing to hit Broadway in years.  It's a biography of the American founding father Alexander Hamilton, told primarily through hip hop music, and with a racially diverse cast.  It has been dominating American pop culture, and made a superstar of its writer and original cast member, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Miranda produced a project called The Hamilton Mix Tape and it's follow-up, "Hamildrops," in which he gets well-known artists to cover songs from the show.  Miranda has also become good friends with one of his musical influences as a child, "Weird Al" Yankovic, so it wasn't long before Weird Al participated in this project.

And what did Weird Al do?  The Hamilton Polka, which is a polka medley of songs from the show.

Even though Weird Al hasn't cut a full album since 2014's Mandatory Fun, he's been pretty active musically over the past year.  A couple of months ago, he participated in the project Dr. Demento Covered in Punk.  Dr. Demento is the legendary radio announcer whose syndicated show focusing on comedy and novelty songs discovered Weird Al.  For Dr. Demento Covered in Punk, Dr. Demento got some of his favourite punk bands to cover novelty songs, and his favourite comedy bands to cover punk songs.  Weird Al contributed a cover of the Ramone's Beat on the Brat.  It's a pretty straight cover until Weird Al comes in with that accordion. 

And then, Weird Al also did the theme song for this past summer's Captain Underpants movie.  I've never ready the original children's books, but apparently, Weird Al is frequently mentioned as an idol of our main characters. 

So, yeah.  I should swing by iTunes and drop the 99 cents for all these songs. 

And that's about all I wanted to rant about, so I'm now all caught up on my backblog. 

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