Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

It's that time of the week again! And I've got an ooky, spooky Halloween episode of U62: The Targ!

When deciding what I could do for a Halloween episode, a friend of mine suggested I should share some of the tales of what my childhood Halloweens were like. It was nothing too spectacular, but I decided to do it anyway. And here's the final product, Episode 4.06: Ghosts of Halloween Past.

So give it a spin!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Scared Shrekless

Over on my Facebook page, I was recently taken to task over my recent blog post where I cry woe over Cars 2, Pixar's recent discovery of sequels, and how DreamWorks started the whole thing by taking each and every film of theirs with a modicum of success and beating it to death with an endless stream of sequels.  Apparently, some 3 year olds read that blog post and were heartbroken.  After I stopped patting myself on the back for having some 3 year old fans, I started being amazed that 3 year olds can read blogs.  They grow up so fast these days....

Anyway, I can't be too mad at DreamWorks Animation for beating each and every dead horse they unleash on the screen.  They actually have a sound business strategy for it.  DreamWorks has said that the whole point of their endless streams of sequels is that they're trying to build a stable of beloved animated characters.  You know, Warner Brothers has Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the whole Looney Tunes gang.  Disney has Mickey, Donald, Goofy et al, and DreamWorks is hoping to make a universe out of Shrek, Po the Kung Fu Panda, and Ben Stiller the talking lion.  And the only way DreamWorks is going to do that is through constantly exposing us to these characters. 

And as part of their constant exposure is a new line of holiday specials featuring the DreamWorks characters.  It all started in 2007 with the Shrek Christmas special.  It continued last year with the Monsters vs. Aliens Halloween special and the Madagascar Christmas special.  And it kept going last night with Scared Shrekless, the Shrek Halloween special.  I thought I'd check it out of curiosity, mainly because brand new animated holiday specials don't come around that often anymore.

So, as the special begins, as you can imagine, ogres love Halloween.  Shrek, Fiona, and their triplets are having a grand old time scaring the pants off of trick-or-treaters.  Donkey, Puss in Boots, and some of your other favourite supporting characters unsuccessfully try to scare Shrek, only to have Fiona remind them that they're ogres:  "We do the scaring.  We don't get scared."  Disbelieving this statement, Donkey and Puss in Boots propose a contest.  They'll spend the night telling spooky stories.  And whoever tells the scariest story will be proclaimed King of Halloween!  Shrek gets the bright idea to raise the stakes by taking their contest down to Castle Duloc, which you may remember as Lord Farquaad's fortress way back in the first movie.  Apparently, it's lain in ruins since the end of the first film, and is now reportedly haunted by Lord Farquaad's ghost.

OK, here's where I've got to give the special kudos for being clever.  I still kind of like the first film -- you know, before they ran the premise into the ground -- and in their journey back to Duloc there were lots of wonderful callbacks to the first film as we saw everything in a new, spooky light. 

They settle into the ruins of Farquaad's throne room and being telling their spooky stories.  The whole thing then devolves into a ripoff of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror as we're treated to some parodies of horror stories featuring Shrek characters.  We've got:

The Bride of Gingy - Gingy the Gingerbread Man implores the Muffin Man to make him a Gingerbread Lady.  However, Gingy throws too much sugar into the mix, turning his bride into an obsessive, stalkerish, crazy lady.  Gingy thinks he disposes of her by tossing her back into some mixing batter, but this only turns her into a horde of zombie brides. 

Boots Motel - This tale is told by Donkey and Puss in Boots.  What starts off as a simple Psycho spoof soon turns into pure slapstick as Donkey and Puss in Boots come up with more and more outlandish ways to off each other. 

The Shreksorcist - Shrek's tale is a spoof of The Exorcist, as Shrek is called upon to be babysiter for a possessed and demented Pinocchio.  The usual round of head-turning-around and projectile-vomit-pea-soup jokes are in full force.  However, the punchline, concering the revelation of the voice in Pinocchio's head, is priceless. 

Fiona and the triplets show up, masquerading as Farquaad's ghost, and it's enough to scare off the rest of the supporting characters and for Shrek to win the contest.  Shrek, Fiona, and the triplets then cap off Halloween by egging the Seven Dwarfs.  "I am not Happy!" exclaims one of the dwarfs, thus ensuring DreamWorks won't get sued by Disney. 

And that was Scared Shrekless.  A few clever jokes couldn't salvage it from being more than an endless stream of repetitve slapstick gags.  I was really glad that they got back to what made the first film so great:  slamming Disney and the typical fairy tale conventions.  But yeah.  It just got too silly and too stupid after a while. 

If you'd like to see it for yourself, it's going to be on again on Saturday night.  And they advertised quite heavily that A Kung Fu Panda Christmas is coming in one months time.  You go, DreamWorks.  You work to make Donkey as beloved as Chip n Dale.

And for any three year olds whose hearts I may have broken with my comments, come on.  Come here.  Sit down with me on the couch.  I first saw this movie when I was about your age and I still love it to this day.  Let's watch it together, and you'll see it's a much better movie.  It's called Star Wars.   

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reflecting on Back to the Future

Back to the Future is one of those films where I never tire of hearing stories about it.  With all my DVDs and everything I have access to on the Internet, the one "making-of" tale that I keep revisiting is Back to the Future.  I have no idea what makes the making of that movie so compelling to me.  Probably because it's one of the few films where, no matter how many times I've seen it, I always discover something new the next time I watch it. 

I think it all stems from the first time I spotted something new.  When I was about 12 years old and watching it for the 100th time, my brain finally picked up on something.  At the end of the film, when Marty returns to 1985 and heads off to the mall to save Doc Brown, the mall is now called the "Lone Pine Mall."  But in the beginning, it was called the "Twin Pines Mall."  What happened?  Then I remembered.  When Marty first arrived in 1985, he ran over one of the twin pines and destroyed it.  And the timeline was altered.  It's little things like that that has made Back to the Future a textbook case in film schools the whole world over on how to set up a gag and have it pay off later in the film.

The big 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray of Back to the Future went on sale this week, and the Internet is a flood with new stories about the film.  Like this one which came across my desk the other day.  In the opening credits of the film, as the camera pans through Doc Brown's workshop, the camera lingers on a framed newspaper clipping, saying that the mansion that Doc Brown lived in in 1955 was destroyed in a fire.  In a recent interview, what producer/co-writer Bob Gale said was, what they had hoped to imply with that newspaper -- imply, not say -- was that Doc Brown burnt down his own house in an insurance scam to raise the money to build the time machine.  Wow.  That puts Doc Brown in a whole new light. 

Another story I recently came across.  The well-known story is that Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly.  Stoltz was dismissed from the production several weeks into filming when the producers and the director found his work to be unsuitable.  But did you ever wonder what Stoltz was doing that was so unsuitable?  Lea Thompson said what Stoltz was doing in an interview a few years back.  Apparently, Stoltz took a look at the whole gag where Lorraine falls in love with Marty and thought, "A mother falling love with her own son?  Why, this must be a sci-fi re-imagining of Oedipus Rex.  I will play the whole thing like it's a Greek tragedy."  And no matter how many times director Robert Zemeckis explained to Stoltz that the whole thing was a comedy, Stoltz kept playing the material like it was a tragedy and Marty McFly was this epic, tragic character.  And if you've ever seen that video on Cracked.com that explains how Back to the Future is secretly horrifying, Stoltz may have been on to something. 

But yeah.  So many great stories about Back to the Future.  And I'm always learning more. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cars 2 Teaser!

I've been wanting to blog about this for a while now, but I wanted to get the pomp and circumstance of my 2000th entry out of the way.  That's done, so let's get to it!

My beloved Pixar just released the first trailer for their animated blockbuster of 2011, Cars 2.

I've already told everyone I know my extreme disappointment with this.  First up, I'm very upset with the whole "animated films as franchises" concept.  That largely stems from the fact that Shrek 2 was the first movie I found so terrible that I wanted to throw things at the screen.  And lets face it, DreamWorks is really running the "animated film as franchise" concept into the ground.  We've had a total of four Shreks with a prequel in development, and we're getting Madagascar 3, Kung Fu Panda 2, and How to Train Another Dragon.  So I don't like how Pixar seems to be following this formula right now, with Toy Story 3 this year, Cars 2 next year, and Monsters, Inc 2 in 2012.

And secondly, out of all of Pixars films, why the hell did Cars 2 demand a sequel?  It is on record as Pixar's worst reviewed and lowest grossing movie.  (Bear in mind, with Pixar, "worst reviewed" tends to mean it only got 3.5 out of 4 instead of a full 4, so Pixar on a bad day is still pretty good.  Argh!  I'm a Pixar apologist!)  Well, actually, I think another blogger hit it on the head.  Despite low grosses and lukewarm reviews, Cars is Pixar's #1 film...in terms of merchandise sales.  Every little boy goes through a phase where they're all about Hot Wheels, and the Cars franchise ties into that quite nicely.

The plot has our hero of the first film, Lightening McQueen (once again voiced by Owen Wilson) participating in a series of races around the world.  Meanwhile, his faithful sidekick Mater (once again voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) gets mistaken for a secret agent and gets embroiled in all kinds of espionage adventures. 

The director is longtime animated film producer Brad Lewis, who's last production was Pixar's RatatouilleCars/Toy Story/A Bug's Life director/head of Disney animation John Lasseter is co-directing.  It hits theatres June 24.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My 2000th Blog Entry!

Around 10 years ago I was reading an advice columnist in the Edmonton Journal.  The young lady writing in for advice said she recently went on a date with someone, in which this date mentioned he had a blog.  This young lady went home, read this blog, and wasn’t too impressed with some of the things this man had written.  The question:  should I dump this guy, based on what he wrote in his blog?  The answer:  dump him immediately, because anyone who has a blog is an attention-starved loser. 

Words that hit home for me because I’d been blogging for about six months at that point.  And because of those words, around every six months or so I take a good hard look at this blog, and now, the entire world of my online footprint, and try to figure out why I keep putting out there what I keep putting out there.  No matter what I decide, I ultimately choose to keep going, and I have for at least 11 years now.  It’s been going on for so long that now I’ve hit this, my 2000th blog entry.  2000 entries!  2000 things that have been burning in my mind that I just needed to share it with the world!  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Guess who's back...back again. I wound up taking a longer break than expected from U62: The Targ, but I'm back from holiday and making radio shows again!

For Episode 4.05: The Turkey Hangover, I tell you how I spent my Thanksgiving vacation, sample the KFC Double Down, and discuss the Oilers cheerleaders! And in my regular features, I finally tackle one of the films that I started doing Fishing in the Discount Bin for.

So give it a spin!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tron and Brave Stuff

As I've said to many friends this year, about the only movie that I'm 100% excited for is Tron Legacy, aka the 28-years-after-the-first-one Tron sequel.  And yesterday, Disney finally unveiled the final movie poster for Tron Legacy

Of course, part of the appeal of this poster is it's designed to mimic the art and poses of the movie poster for the first one. 

December 17 can't come soon enough! 

And, we've got some eyebrow-raising news from the world of Pixar.  The upcoming Pixar film Brave just lost its director. 

The original director was Brenda Chapman.  The announcement that she was directing was quite a high-profile announcement for Pixar, as she was the first woman directing a Pixar film.  Chapman also helped develop the story, drawing on her own knowledge of Scottish folklore.  No word yet on why she's been removed from the project, just the cryptic announcement that she's no longer with Pixar.

The new director is Mark Andrews, whose last directing credit is the Pixar short One Man Band

Again, directors getting shuffled around on animated films happens all the time in Hollywood.  Pixar also did this with Ratatouille, when original director Jan Pinkava was replaced with Brad Bird.  Disney also did similar director shuffles with Bolt and Tangled.  But, again, as I mentioned, with the high-profile announcement of Brenda Chapman as being Pixar's first female director, this is getting a little more coverage. 

Brave follows the adventures of a rebellious princess in medeival Scotland.  Celebrity voices include Reese Witherspoon, Emma Thompson, and Billy Connolly.  It hits theatres Summer 2012. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mark Doubles Down

As I've blogged several times in the past, I love fast food.  I'm always on the search for the newest and best fast food tastes.  And one fast food I've always had a soft spot for is Kentucky Fried Chicken.  When I was a kid, KFC was symbolic of being too lazy to cook and the family all gathered in front of the TV.  Working the most hellish job I ever worked, KFC provided a welcome break on the rare times I earned a lunch break.  And when I was in Japan, most of my colleagues thought me homesick because I ate at KFC whenever I could.  Maybe I was genuinely homesick, but I just loved the fact that there were three within walking distance of my apartment.
KFC, of course, made headlines back in the spring with the introduction of their now-infamous "Double Down."  Two chicken breasts, and smushed in between are two strips of cheese, two strips of bacon, and a dollop of special sauce.  Announced on April Fool's Day and only meant to be a lark for the month of April, overwhelming popularity convinced KFC to make it a permanent addition to their menu in the USA.  And thanks to overwhelming curiosity up here in Canada, KFC announced at the start of this month that they were bringing it to Canada for a limited time.   I knew I had to try one.  I knew I had to be there when they went on sale yesterday.

So, yesterday afternoon, after work, I hopped in the car and drove to the nearest KFC, down in Westlock.

The KFC sign juts towards the gray October sky in Westlock.

After my long drive to Westlock, I took a moment to really drink in what I was about to do.  Many food critics have quickly dubbed it one of the worst fast food items ever created.  But I knew I had to sample it.  Eating a Double Down is one of those things you have to do just once in your life for the experience, like skydiving or visiting a nude beach.  I ventured into the restaurant...and into the great unknown.

A gigantic floor display of the Double Down.  An enormous picture of the Double Down dominated the display.  The caption reads "The Double Down is Here, Canada.  Take one down before it's gone." 

Stopping to take a picture of the floor display tipped off the clerk as to what I was there to order.  As I've learned from prior experience, the Westlock KFC is always very quiet at 2:30 on a Monday afternoon.  (What can I say?  I make the trip whenever I have a serious case of the Mondays.)  There was no line as I walked up the till and placed my order.  I made smalltalk with the clerk as I waited for my Double Down.  Apparently, they weren't selling too quickly at the Westlock location.  Eventually, my order came, and I found myself a nice little corner booth.

I peel back the wax paper wrapper to reveal the Double Down.  The two slices of cheese are sticking out from between two chicken breasts.  The chicken breasts are a golden brown, covered with Colonel's trademark 11 herbs and spices.

I stared at the steaming "meat glorb."  My destiny was staring back at me from that wax wrapper.  I knew it was now or never.  I knew it was onward and upward.  I knew it was time to swallow my fate. 

I picked up the foodstuffs.  Even through the wax wrapper, I could feel grease oozing out of the chicken as I gently squeezed it.  I closed my eyes and took a bite. 

This was, by far, the saltiest thing I have ever eaten.  No wonder one of the health warnings is that you get a full day's serving of sodium from this thing.  You don't taste chicken.  You don't taste the cheese.  You don't taste the sauce.  All you taste is salt.  It's just one big mass of salt held together by processed chicken.  And that was just after one bite.  I paid $8.95 for my combo meal, and I was going to finish this! 

I took a sip of my Pepsi and went in for another bite.  It was still nothing but salt.  After about six or seven bites, you start getting used to the salt, and you can start detecting the other flavors.  But again, after the saltiness started going away, all I tasted was the chicken.  The bacon, cheese, and sauce was completely drowned out.  Was the cheese and bacon even on it?  Well, it must have been because I have photographic evidence.

It was about halfway through that I started feeling queasy.  Not the, "Oh my God, I'm getting food poisoning!" kind of queasy, but the, "I have eaten far too much and if I have any more I'm going to puke" kind of queasy.  Let me put this into perspective.  Because of the hours I work, I ate breakfast at 4AM.  I skipped lunch that day because I knew I was planning to do this.  I wound up having my lunch/supper at 3PM.  I hadn't eaten anything in 11 hours, and I was starting to feel full just halfway through this thing.  But damn it, I was going to finish it!

And I did.  I finished off my Pepsi to rinse the rest of the salt out of my mouth.  I rose from the table and took my trash to the wastebasket.  I felt...full.  I didn't feel sick or any ill effects.  Just full.  I started making my way to the car and the long drive home to Athabasca. 

Now that it's been a full 24 hours since I've eaten this, I can quite honestly say this is the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten.  The grease just oozes out from every where, and the salt!  I just can't get over how salty it is.  The salt just overpowers any flavour this thing might have.  But I have done it.  I have done it just once for the experience.  And the next time I visit KFC, I'll just stick with my Twister, thank you very much. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Various Sunday Morning Rants

Just another Sunday morning, hanging around the house, reflecting on things in pop culture that crossed my path.

For example, last night on TV, I managed to catch a few minutes of the epically forgettable teen comedy National Lampoon's Senior Trip.  I've mentioned to friends in the past that there's one aspect of this movie that I've always found interesting.

One member of the cast is a certain Tara Strong, here going by her maiden name of Tara Charendoff.  Being a lover of cartoons, I'm familiar with Strong's extensive career as a voice actress.  So, first you've got the novelty of finally placing a face with the voice.  In the film, Strong plays the high school slut, and there's a rather lengthy sequence where she tries to get laid at party and starts talking dirty to just about every guy that walks past her.  Now, my fellow fans of DC Comics animation will instantly remember that Strong was the voice of Batgirl for a lot of productions.  And whenever she breaks out the dirty talk in National Lampoon's Senior Trip, she lapses into her Batgirl voice!  So if you've ever wanted to hear Batgirl talking dirty, this is your movie! 

But then, for the few minutes I caught on TV last night, my eye was drawn to something that I'd forgotten about.  Nicole de Boer is in this film, too.  de Boer, of course, known to my fellow sc-fi geeks as Ezri Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and as one of the stars of The Dead Zone.  In National Lampoon's Senior Trip, de Boer is credited as "the token lesbian," and in the scenes I caught on TV, she spent the whole time in background making out with other women. 

So you've Batgirl talking dirty and Dax making out with other chicks.  Why more geeks don't know about this movie is beyond me. 

Like a lot of lazy Sunday mornings, I'm spending a lot of time doing some online window shopping.  I frequently find myself browsing through the Warner Archive Collection.  This is a great concept.  As you probably know, there are thousands of movies in this world that aren't available on DVD yet.  The folks at Warner Brothers realized that they have a lot of movies in their archives that, while there is a minimum public demand for them, it's not really worth it to slap together a mass-produced DVD and ship out to stores.  Hence, the Warner Archive Collection.  They've got all these old movies ripped off VHS and stored in their massive computer.  You place your order for one of these obscure films, they burn it to DVD, and send it to you.  Universal Pictures and Sony Studios have followed the model and now offer their own variations on the Archive Collection.

But Warner Brothers was the first one, and the one I still find myself browsing through the most.  I mean, these aren't all B&W classics from the 1930s.  There are movies in here from my lifetime!  For example, I noticed today that they have what's usually considered one of the worst superhero movies ever, the film that destroyed Shaquille O'Neil's film career, Steel.  They also have the TV movies Genesis II and Planet Earth, two failed sci-fi pilots from the 1970s, notable in that they were both created by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. 

Another one on there that I'm always tempted to get is the animated TV movie Yogi's First Christmas.  Yogi Bear awakens from hibernation one December and has to help save the Christmas festivities at Jellystone Park from the dastardly Herman the Hermit.  I remember being a kid and watching this with my cousins at my uncle's house, and getting so pissed off at my parents because it was time to go before I saw the end.  I would buy this on DVD just to see the end.  I don't know why I have to buy it on DVD to see the end.  I think this film has become a holiday staple on YTV

And most of the DVDs are a reasonably priced $20.  About the only reason why I haven't bought any is they don't ship to Canada yet. 

Holy moly!  Can you believe that CTV still shows The Littlest Hobo in reruns as part of their Saturday morning line-up?  Seeing as to how everything is getting a gritty reboot these days, I started thinking that it's time we do a remake of The Littlest Hobo

Not so gritty, though.  My idea for a reboot is you make it a cartoon.  Make the animals talk.  Maybe Seth Rogan can do the voice of Hobo.  A simple idea, to be sure, but just enough to bring it into the 21st Century. 

So, come on CTV!  Get on it! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DC Showcase: Green Arrow Review

Backstory:  Yeah, I'm mixing things up a little in this review, because I think it'll make things flow better.  For their series of direct-to-DVD movies this year, DC and Warner Brothers have been trying a neat experiment.  For bonus features on these DVDs, they've launched a series called DC Showcase, which is a series of 10-minute short films focusing on some of the DCU's B- and C-list heroes.  For the second last film in the series, they decided to focus on one of the biggest B-listers the DCU has....

DC Showcase:  Green Arrow

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos

Starring the voices of Neil McDonough, Malcolm McDowell, Steven Blum, Grey DeLisle, John DiMaggio, and Ariel Winter

Plot:  Oliver Queen is on the way to the airport to pick up his girlfriend, when all heck breaks loose.  Also arriving at the airport that night is the young Princess Perdita of Vlatava, and Queen soon finds himself in the middle of an assasination attempt.  After a quick change into Green Arrow, he soon finds himself protecting the princess, battling his old foes Merlyn and Count Vertigo, and still trying to pick up his girlfriend on time.

What I Liked:  This is nothing but action as we're treated to epic superhero battles all throughout the airport.  Plus, there's some nice Easter eggs that you'll need to freeze-frame to see (love who Green Arrow has on his speed dial).  And, of course, it's very awesome for Black Canary to provide some deus ex machina at the end. 

What I Didn't Like:  This kind of illustrates how DC is starting to drop the ball with their animated projects.  Green Arrow could easily carry his own DTV animated film, but no.  He gets stuck with a short film. 

Final Verdict:  A highly entertaining look into a superhero's life.

3 Nibs

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Review

Alright!  Now that the long weekend has finally arrived, I can finally sit down and watch the new DVDs I ordered online TWO WEEKS AGO, but didn't arrive until back on Monday.  So let's get going with one that I was eagerly awaiting for ever since I heard about it, the latest in the DC/Warner Brother DTV series of original animated movies....

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

Directed by Lauren Montgomery

Starring the voices of Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Summer Glau, Andre Braugher, Susan Eisenberg, Ed Asner, Julianne Grossman, and Rachel Quaintance

Backstory:  OK, so the DTV movie that came out around this time last year, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, turned out to be the biggest selling DVD in this series so far.  It was so big, that Warner Brothers actually ordered a sequel to it.  Since Public Enemies was based on the first storyline in the Superman/Batman comic, it only made sense that the sequel be based on the second storyline in the comic.  The second storyline was called Supergirl, and it made ripples in the DC Universe for finally giving us a post-Crisis Kara Zor-El.  But, because Wonder Woman was the lowest selling DVD in this series so far, they weren't going to call it Supergirl.  So, they gave it the more action-packed title of Apocalypse.  With me so far?  Cuz here we go!

Plot:  Following the events of Public Enemies, Gotham City is still being pelted with leftover meteorites.  However, one of those meteorites turns out to be a spacecraft, and inside, in suspended animation, is Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman and the last daughter of Krypton.  Young Kara is awakened, and begins to adjust to life on Earth.  But the rest of the superhero community is trying to figure out what to do with this young lady.  Superman immediately goes into "overprotective big brother" mode and tries to gently ease her into the world.  Wonder Woman argues that Kara's place is with the Amazons, where she can learn to use her powers responsibly.  Batman just plain doesn't trust her.  Then along comes the evil New God Darkseid, who's convinced that Kara would make a perfect addition to the Female Furies -- his all-girl hit squad.  And in the middle of this all is a scared young girl who just wants to be free to choose her own destiny.  What will Kara choose? 

What I Liked:  Well, just like Public Enemies, I found a lot of the Superman and Batman banter to be priceless.  I really must pick up the original graphic novels someday.  And I was really glad to see Wonder Woman given such a prominent role.  As I've said before, I think Wonder Woman is the best of these DTV films to date, and so more Wonder Woman is always a plus in my books.  Speaking of women of the DCU, Big Barda is also featured quite prominently in the film, which was also really cool.  The action scenes, as always, are amazing.  Superman/Darkseid throwdowns have been the highlights of Bruce Timm's tenure in DC animation.  And the voice acting, as always, is amazing.  Summer Glau (still best beloved as River Tam on Firefly/Serenity) does a top-notch job as Kara.  And Krypto!  Krypto's in this!  Who doesn't love the Superdog?

What I Didn't Like:  Well, the plot does seem to be quite reminiscent of the whole "overprotective parents try to save their child from the wrong crowd" stereotype.  You know, with Superman and Wonder Woman as the parents and Darkseid as the wrong crowd.  And there really needed to be more Superman/Batman banter.  And the common complaint I'm starting to have with a lot of these...it was just too short!  Barda must have a fairly significant subplot in the original graphic novel, and here, we just get frustratingly brief glimpses of it. 

Final Verdict:  A very satisfying addition to the franchise, but still nowhere near as awesome as the best in the series, Wonder Woman.

3 Nibs

Bonus Features:  I've got me the Blu-Ray!  On the Blu-Ray, you get a featurette on the history of Supergirl, a featurette on the history of Darkseid and the New Gods, two featurettes on the most prominent New Gods heroes of Mr. Miracle and Orion, a preview of the next DTV animated film All Star Superman, 4 bonus episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, and the third and final installment of the DC Showcase short films, Green Arrow.  I'll review Green Arrow in the next blog entry.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Double Down comes to Canada!

Of course, big news in the fast food world today with the announcement from KFC of Canada that they are bringing KFC's infamous Double Down sandwich to Canadian KFC locations!

The Double Down made headlines when it was first being test-marketed around this time last year, and then added to the KFC menu as a limited time item back in April.  All it is is two chicken breasts, made with the Colonel's 11 herbs and spics, and in between they put two kinds of cheese, bacon, and a special sauce.  It was immediatly branded one of the least healthy fast food offerings ever.  But, it proved so popular, that KFC added it to their regular menu.

And now, according to stats released by KFC, 90% of Canadians are curious enough about one to try one.  So it comes to KFC in Canada on October 18, and will be around for about a month. 

Despite being branded one of the unhealthiest fast food items ever, it actually has around the same amount of calories as a McDonald's premium chicken burger.  And the American Heart Association does warn that it contains an entire day's worth of sodium.  KFC themselves have gone on record as calling it an "occasional indulgence." 

But man o man, I can't wait to try one!  I haven't been this excited about a fast food offering since the last time McDonald's brought back the McRib.  I'm already planning to head off to the nearest town with a KFC on October 18 to try one!

Now if I can only convince KFC to introduce that Indian Chicken Sandwich they had at their Japanese locations.  A chicken breast smothered in curry sauce, toppped with lettuce and a dollop of mayo, and served on naan.  I tell you, that was the greatest fast food offering ever.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Computer Animation Milestones on DVD

Back in May, when Avatar first hit DVD, I was telling people NOT to buy it, because all of my DVD websites were reporting that a super-special edition with all kinds of bonus features would be out in time for Christmas.  And...our patience was rewarded. 

Avatar: Extended Collector's Edition drops on November 16!  This 3-disc special edition will have THREE versions of the film!  You get the original theatrical version, the special edition that hit theatres at the end of August (9 minutes lonter than the theatrical version), and a new "extended cut" created for the DVD (16 minutes longer than the theatrical version).  In something that I think is kind of silly, they also added in the "family friendly audio track," which is the option to have all the swears bleeped out.  There'll also be a feature-length documentary on the making of the film, called Capturing Avatar, and more than 45 minutes of deleted scenes!

And that's just the DVD!  If you spring for the Blu-Ray, on top of all that, you also get 17 featurettes, scene deconstructions where you get to see the entire film before the animation and effects were added, the trailers, a whole database explaining everything that the planet Pandora has to offer...and just so much more.

Hmm...it drops on November 16.  That's that weird time of year where I don't know whether to buy it for myself, or just heavily hint to family and friends that I want it for Christmas. 

And speaking of milestones in computer animation, one of my favourite DVD sites, TVshowsonDVD.com, is reporting that Shout! Factory has just signed a deal with Rainmaker Digital to bring ReBoot: The Complete Series to DVD!

ReBoot, of course, one of those fabulous relics of the 1990s.  It was the first computer animated TV show, taking place in a computer as the heroic guardian Bob battled the malicious computer viruses Megabyte and Hexadecimal.  Needless to say, because of its place in computer animation history, and the fact that it made lots and lots of subtle pop culture references, it's become a huge cult following.  I was a huge fan when it was fresh and new and I was in college.

Shout! Factory is bringing it to DVD, and they did those fabulous boxed sets of G.I. Joe: The Complete Series and The Transformers: The Complete Series.  Shout! Factory has already said they hope to do that model again...start off with a massvie, beautiful boxed set of the entire series, and the dole out the individual season sets later. 

In case you're wondering who this "Rainmaker Digital" is, that's what Mainframe Animation (the studio that made ReBoot) changed their name to about 5 years ago.  They seem to have shifted their focus from animation to special effects, doing some of the effects on Stargate and Smallville

Still no word on when this'll hit DVD...Shout! Factory has simply said, "Some time in 2011." 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Superman Returns!...again

Yesterday, the news broke that 300 and Watchmen director Zack Snyder has just gotten the gig to direct the next Superman movie!

Our story thus far:  so, while Bryan Singer's Superman Returns didn't exactly tank at the box office, it was a super-mega-global-worldwide hit either.  And lukewarm reviews from critics led Warner Brothers to think that they should maybe go in another direction.  Meanwhile, across the hall, Christopher Nolan and his crew were kicking ass and taking names with their reboot of Batman.  While sitting around, brainstorming ideas for the sequel to The Dark Knight, Batman Begins and Dark Knight co-writer David S. Goyer said, "Well, I'm still not sure what I want to do next with Batman, but here's what I always wanted to do with Superman...."  After he heard his idea, Nolan said, "That...was...AWESOME!  Let's pitch that idea to the bosses!"  They went and pitched it to the bosses, and the bosses said, "That...was...AWESOME!  It's the next Superman movie!"  So, Christopher Nolan was signed on to the film in a "godfather" role, and Batman Begins and Dark Knight writers David S. Goyer and Jonathon Nolan got to work writing it.

But the big question was who was going to direct it.  About a week ago, a short list was being circulated, saying that directors being considered included veteran action director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Crimson Tide), Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), and, of course, Zack Snyder.  And yesterday, Mr. Snyder got the job!

Yesterday, it was also announced that villain will be that evil Kryptonian, General Zod.  This, I'm somewhat disappointed in.  Thanks to the success of the Christopher Reeve films all those years ago, it seems like the only villains ever considered for a Superman film are Lex Luthor or General Zod.  What, no Braniac?  No Doomsday?  Not even Metallo?  Oh, well.

I'm very interested to see the take that the Batman crew has come up with for Superman.  Many fear that they'll go the dark and gritty route, because that's worked very well with Batman.  But, in the comics, they've tried to take Superman down a grim and gritty route a few times, and it just doesn't work with him. 

No word yet on when this Superman reboot hits theatres.  Zack Snyder's next film, Sucker Punch, hits theatres in March.  Sucker Punch is Snyder's first original film...that is, it's 100% his own creation, not based on a comic book or anything. 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Still tweaking with my new format for U62: The Targ, but it seems to be coming along pretty good!

I've pieced together Episode 4.04: The Saddest Little Boy in a Helicopter, in which I share the news of Star Wars in 3D, celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Flintstones, and check out these new Lego board games!

Download and let me know how I'm doing!

Click here to go download it!

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