I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.
Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day are an annual event to get readers to visit Victoria, BC’s Nerd Row.
May the Fourth Be With You, because two pop culture events collided together to provide the public with a gaze at what it’s like to be a Star Wars fan and comic book aficionado. While people walked the streets in costume, the children may well be enjoying the sun in a park, reading the latest antics from popular brands like Spongebob Squarepants, Sesame Street or Strawberry Shortcake. An older crowd may have been going for regular favourites like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars or X-men.
But as for whether the latter events was intentionally planned to coincide this year or not, the late morning had downtown Victoria, B.C. slowly being occupied by fans from all walks of life — and curiosity seekers with their young ones — walking along the corner of where Johnston Street and Broad meet.
Nickelodeon and Dreamworks’ low-key promotion for Monsters vs Aliens the Animated Series isn’t helping.
Dreamworks’ movie Monsters vs Aliens (MvA) was a great tribute to the iconic monster movies from the 50’s. These creatures banded together to fight space invaders. The two direct-to-video sequels, Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Night of the Living Carrots played tribute to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Night of the Living Dead. They were hilariously well done. Fans could see that the production teams involved in those products clearly loved the genre, and that fondness is evident in how these three tales are produced.
But what happened to that love in the television series? The television premiere on Nickelodeon was barely passable. The team involved in bringing the series to the small screen must not share the same passion that the story creators of this series, Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon, had. The premise of the television show lack punch.
By episode two and three, all the fun drama and humor from the movie and direct-to-video shorts are gone in favor for more derivative product in the style of Spongebob Squarepants. Even when Susan loses her ability to turn into a giant, the depth she expresses for her lost ability is minuscule. Some viewers may well wonder if any of these any decent character development will occur in the series.
The headliner for this year’s Fan Expo Vancovuer was Stan Lee.
Expectations were very high by fans to see if the organizers could successfully pull off Fan Expo Vancouver for a second year. Problems were abound in its first year because nobody from the East Coast team knew what the West Coast interest would be like. The major complaint heard from the grapevine, especially on Facebook, was with the lineups. At least that looked better managed in this event’s second year. More signage could have helped direct traffic and one out of the many problems that still needs to be addressed is with hallway congestion. If that issue is not enough, detractors say Fan Expo is a form of Creation Con, a style of organization where the show is designed to take every penny out of a fan’s pocket, and true fan-run conventions are few and far-between.
At least the die-hard masses tends to ignore the naysayers and find enjoyment in everything that Fan Expo celebrates: pop culture.
This year, the show took over three ballrooms at the Vancouver Convention Center’s West Wing and it stretched out to the conference rooms on the second level. The exhibit hall was organized to have dealers for one-third of the space, exhibitors (like LEGO and Sony Playstation) in the middle and displays from special organizations at the end, near the loading docks.
As an action/comedy, all the elements required to make Monsters vs Aliens hilarious is here. But young children will not necessarily get all the jokes.
Watch out Shrek! Dreamworks’ Monsters vs Aliens is more than just another franchise in the making. It has now arrived on the boob tube and where the movie fits in is with a blu-ray/dvd video release that delivers a bunch of extra content. The upgrade to the higher-resolution format is worthwhile, and the 3D version on the smaller screen is just as good as the big-screen presentation. And in a combo set, the DVD has extras likes deleted scenes whereas the Blu-ray has an animated extra, B.O.B.’s Big Break in 3D.
While this film does not compare to PIXAR’s movies for depth or meaning, it does keep up with recent 3D trends. The animated short, Monsters vs. Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots became available first on the Nintendo 3DS first, and, of course in 3D, natch! The visuals in both products are very eye popping, and the visual experience is more enjoyable than grating. And the movie experience is a wonderful tribute to the B-movies of yesteryear with a dash of dyslexia mixed in. That is, sci-fi connoisseurs will find plenty of pop culture references of even some current films of the past century to snicker at, but as for Godzilla—he’s a fluffy bug!
Brave is not very suitable to children who can get easily frightened and PG-13 rating is far more appropriate than its current one.
At the heart of PIXAR’s CGI film, Brave, is a look at the ties that bind and the threads that get broken along the way. This medieval parable can easily be retold within any cultural backdrop and that can make for a universally understood movie.
In this film, the Scottish setting is appropriate. The importance of bringing clans together does get noticed as the tale progresses and some viewers can easily shout, “Braveheart!” along the way. But this movie is hardly original. PIXAR may have taken a few ideas from an older product, namely Disney’s Brother Bear, and redesigned it for a newer generation. The concept of brotherhood is important, but this time the focus is on sisterhood, and the bonds that keeps families together.
This movie has the potential to play up some of Scotland’s mystique, and sadly it does not. Should the producers have gone further, a fanciful look into the mysticism of the Celtic pride and superstition could have made for a satisfying watch. MacBeth and Shakespeare must be feeling ashamed by now. This movie is hardly Arthurian in style either. With this film, the struggle comes from one strong-willed teenage redhead who is not willing to be a Juliet to all the Romeos who are brought to her attention.