Greetings programs! The first episode on Tron: Uprising recently premiered -legally- online, and I just have to say something. Aside from being a rabid fan of all things blocky and glowing, what I saw shows so much promise for the series, it really made my week. You can watch it for yourself below, and see if you agree.
When it came to the film Tron Legacy, despite the amazing art, concepts, and quite convincing performances, the storytelling was the definite Achilles heel. I still loved it, but it just begged to be written a bit more tightly. With Uprising, that appears not to be the case. Everything from the writing, the editing, design, action and cinematography are all truly top-notch. The dialogue would easily rank with the original Batman the Animated Series, or Avatar the Last Airbender.
The first episode is told in flashback. The hero, a young program named "Beck" (Elijah Wood), is being held for interrogation by an ominous masked program for an alleged act of sedition. In these flashbacks, we get to see what these "programs" really do in their day-to-day lives, and how the rise of tyranny in that world affects them. With the back-story of an oppressive regime conscripting programs into deadly gladiatorial games, we see more clearly than ever the similarities to Spartacus, and even Hunger Games.
The art design is also spectacular. The slender, exaggerated character designs seem a bit inspired by Peter Chung's Aeon Flux. While they may take some getting used to at first, they emote very well, and it becomes quickly clear that the style suits the action perfectly. There are superbly rendered new environments in the grid, exciting new vehicles, and entirely new types of grid weapons that still fit the digital world we've come to know. There are action sequences with very surprising turns, making full use of the alien physics particular to the grid.
It's clear that the writers and director have paid careful attention to the Tron canon up until now, realizing the gaps of what hadn't been shown, and are now ready to deliver it. I predict (or at least hope for) new legions of young Tron fans inspired by the series, much the way Clone Wars has done for Star Wars. Some stories might just be too large to tell in a film... or a review.
...END OF LINE
This rambling rant was originally posted on my old site about 6 years ago and later removed, but I was inspired to bring it back after finding the Mr.Plinkett reviews at RedLetterMedia.com It’s amazing how many of our ideas matched, I guess bad storytelling is fairly indisputable.
I began writing this list the first night after seeing The Phantom Menace. With each new film, I added more of my outrage. I'm sure a lot of this stuff has been said, ad nauseum, but at least I now have it all in one personal list. I don't read any of the Star Wars chat boards, this is straight from my own boggled brain. If you've said some of the same things yourself, good for you. I'm with you brother. I just needed the catharsis of getting it out. Why? Because the original films meant so much to me that I couldn't believe this was the prequel set meant to sit next to them.
Don't even tell me, "You'd understand this-and-that if you read Heir to the Empire or played Knights of the Old Republic or watched The Clone Wars. Screw that. These are the movies, and those aren't. Real movies don't need instruction manuals; they sink or swim on their own celluloid, PERIOD. That said, I think the Taratovski Clone Wars shorts are far better than anything in the prequels, but I digress...
So am I over-romanticizing something from my youth, and expecting an impossibly high standard for the newer movies? I have watched the original trilogy, with and without "special edition" effects, at least 3 times since seeing Revenge of the Sith, and I'm not exaggerating the point. The old films, with their fewer effects and less ambitious sets, are far superior. They have better dialogue, continuity, character motivation, pacing, and sympathy to the heroes. But I'm not writing here to defend the best sci-fi series of all times. I'm here to rip Lucas's last vision a new Star Hole. Actually, a bunch of them. And so...
A long time ago, in no particular order…
1. Why did they have to make Tattoine the planet that Annakin was found on? After all, that's where baby Luke and Obi Wan would later go to HIDE from Vaderkin. Would the Dark Sith Lord have lacked the clairvoyance to find his own son in his own home town? Never once tempted to check in on his only remaining family, stepfather Lars and step-siblings Owen and Beru? Did Vader decide never to check there for the sake of irony?
2. And for that matter, wasn't one of the main premises of Star Wars Ep IV, that Tattooine was BORING, and Luke wanted out? Seems they ruined that idea once you add up 1. amazing chariot-style racing 2. ruthless space gangsters 3. ruthless wasteland pirates 4. a bustling spaceport and 5. the known birthplace of a Sith Lord, the #3 man in the Empire. To bring the infant Luke back there, and even keep the name Skywalker, means everyone around there would have certainly known his lineage, and that's an awfully big secret to keep from a kid. Biggs or Tank would have spilled the beans for sure.
3. Should Jar Jar Binks have been, at any point… tolerated? No. Especially considering that his stupidity (in nominating Chancellor Palpatine to instigate martial law) arguably led to the fall of the entire Republic. In retrospect, Padme should have been imprisoned immediately for placing such an incompetent mollusk in her senate seat.
4. How can they let anyone refer to Darth Vader as "Annie", even as a child? Maybe those Jedi never heard "The sun'll come out...Tomorrow!" But the audience here on Earth has. Come on man! This is DARTH FRICKIN' VADER! They could have nicknamed him Grasshoppa' or Damien or Wonderboy, anything but Annie.
5. Why are all the aliens suddenly speaking comically-accented English in the prequels? What happened to all the other cool languages (like Greedo's) with subtitles? You'd think there would be less universal language in the days before the Imperial unification, not more.
6. Tell me again… why was Padme Amidala a queen in Episode I, and then not in Episode II? I thought royal lineage was a permanent thing. Or if she was somehow elected… who would vote for a little girl to rule a planet?
7. Why did the Jedi have had to "deal" with a scrap yard merchant in order to get the parts they needed to save a planet from invasion? Why are they willing to defy an entire Trade Federation (with its own space armada), but not rob a sleazy horsefly with no apparent security measures? Watto should have at least flexed some hired muscle like Jabba. Would you be willing to face a fleet of battleships, but not hop a chain-link fence to steal a hyperdrive? Heck, they could have just lifted it out by using the force.
8. Would pod racing really work? Why did they use lightning bolts to hold the pods together, but big ropes to tow the cars behind the pods? Wouldn't sitting in an open cockpit right behind two jet engines be kinda' bad for you? I mean, if by some miracle they didn't blow you out of the chariot, you'd have massive burns, be suffocated by the exhaust, and probably receive massive skin trauma from the air-force friction. People don't generally enjoy sitting behind jet engines. Yeah, sure, suspension of disbelief and so on, but plausibility comes from something looking plausible, even if it's not. Pod racers just didn't look like they would work.
9. How can a slave family live so well? Annakin and Shmi were definitely living in the middle class. Where would a slave get the funds (or permission) to live in a nice condo with his mother, build and race a state-of-the-art pod racer, and construct a sentient droid? And oddly, the Vader we knew in the original trilogy didn't show much interest in being a grease monkey, or for that matter any remembrance of C3-PO or R2D2. Wouldn't somebody have remembered something? The droids themselves? Obi Wan? Vader? Owen and Beru? Obi Wan even said in Ep IV that he didn't "seem to remember owning any droids." Why would he lie? He wanted Luke to get involved at that point. Or is Lucas now implying he became senile? Sigh…
10. Are they saying that all this time R2D2 had rocket boosters in his legs? Funny he forgot about them later, I bet they would have helped just a tad on Dagobah or Tattooine, or Bespin, or Hoth, or...
11. Yes, I know that special effects today run rings around that of the late 70s. Still, should the vehicle tech have been so visibly better in these supposed prequels? Why didn't they use seismic mines or guided missiles to fight around the Death Star? Energy-barrier cockpit windshields for the Tie Fighters? Buzz droids to disable the Millennium Falcon? And given they had all this high-tech, long-ranged weaponry, should the ground battles of the clone wars have been fought shoulder-to-shoulder, packed onto the battlefield like the American Revolution? I think you could start shooting from a lot further away than that.
12. Wasn't it kind of silly to see Count Dooku ride around on a little scooter amidst all the fighting (without mussing his hair I might add)? Wouldn't a man of his station be afforded something like a motorcade (or at least something with doors)?
13. Wouldn't it have really taken more than a handful of Jedi to maintain peace "across the galaxy?" That's an awful lot of people to police (there are over 4 billion people on a planet like Earth alone). And yet we are never shown any alternative police force. Creating the Republican (clone) army is a revolutionary idea after all. What are the odds you'd ever even meet a Jedi? Imagine the backlog of arrest warrants! Don't even bother to report shoplifting or drunken land-speedering. You KNOW those guys are going to walk. Jedi 911 won't even answer the phone unless you're reporting a full-scale geocide.
14. Should the droid armies have been so wimpy? Most of them looked like walking rubber-chickens, and didn't fight much better. Why not a battalion of a much bigger, scarier droids, like the IG-88? Would that have been too cool or something?
15. So tell me, why was a clone army really needed to fight a these droids in the first place? What about drafting some of those citizens from the remaining loyal systems in the Republic? It's not like the droids were any good at fighting anyway. Instead the droids should have been portrayed as fierce fighters (I still say IG-88s) and the original cloning subject (Jango Fett) should have had renown as a "droid hunter". And for that matter, why would the clones all have to dress almost the same as their "daddy", considering that they weren't even to fight on the same side?
16. Should Annakin have been an immaculate birth? What's the point of that? And was he really meant to be the most powerful Jedi of all time? Even after very little training (started much later in life), Luke was able to beat his dad's ass on Death Star 2.
17. Should Jedi power really be made possible with something as simple as a count of "midichlorian" buggers in the blood? Forget all that "stretching-out-with-my-feeings" crap, I'll have an injection right now. And if a jedi can sense another jedi's powers, it seems stupid that Qui-Gon would have to test Annikan's blood to detect his messianic potential. Messiahs aren't supposed to be proven, but believed.
18. Should Annakin's mother have died such a pitiful, pointless, and impeccably-timed death? Wasn't it a bit ghastly for a Star Wars film to imply that these Tuscans had been "raiding" her for weeks? What did they keep her alive for? To eat her? Ransom her? Make sweet love to her? And if one of the early motivations that turned Annie "dark" was the death of his mother... then why were there still any living Tuscans anywhere in the entire universe by EP IV? Hell-oo, planetary bombardment of Tattooine desert? And on the flip-side, if his hatred were supposed to become directed at the (good) Jedi, then shouldn't they have been somehow responsible for her death? OK, maybe they were indirectly responsible by rescuing him from slavery on Tattooine (and leaving his Mother there) but Annakin he never said anything to that effect, and he had plenty of chances to say it throughout his endless scenes of whining. And the little "bastard" chose to leave anyway.
19. So why, oh WHY did we have to meet Annakin so young (and annoying) in the first film? Remember how we met Luke? He was old enough to have some real adventures, and without shouting "Yipee" every chance he got. Episode I was largely wasted on baby-sitting. Star Wars was never supposed to be about kids, and certainly not little dorks like this one. Why not at least make him a cool kid… like the Golden Child from that Eddie Murphy movie, or maybe that Sixth Sense kid? At least they proved some little kids CAN act. Hell, I would have settled for one of the Honeycomb Kids.
20. Why were the Gungans called a race of "warriors"? Who were they warring with? They never fought the Naboo, and they were clearly too lame to leave their planet to fight anyone else. Yech, I can't even bear to think of them.
21. Jedi or not, should Yoda really have given 6-year-old children real light sabers? Those things will slice through anything they touch. Just ask Luke! Even he wasn't allowed to have one until he was nineteen, and then he lost his hand while playing with it. That looked like it hurt, too.
22. Why would Yoda's light saber have to be shorter than a normal one? That's quite an unnecessary handicap. I can't imagine a beam of light weighs very much.
23. Why oh why did Padme fall in love with Annakin? After all, he was just a snot-nosed rug rat when they first met-- and what normal, heterosexual gal could shake an image like that? Then she meets him again when he's all grown up (sort of). Yet he never even saved her life, as Luke and Han both did for Leia. Nor did he wow her with any detectable charm. However he did 1. stall her planetary rescue mission with his silly pod race, 2. use her as bait for an assassin's killer centipedes, 3. try to ditch her on Naboo while she was supposedly in his protective custody, 4. let her get lacerated by a giant Tiger in an arena, and 5. allow her to fall out of a flying transport and leave her in the sand!! I know she is supposed to be a strong gal, but for crying out loud, he's a Jedi! He should have had plenty of MADSKLILLZ to save her at least once, but mysteriously he never does. If rescuing a damsel isn’t PC anymore, they could have easily added a reciprocal rescue by Padme for her beloved knight. But no, there was no rescue, but Annakin did, however manage to criticize Padme’s political views during a picnic-- a career politician might be offended by that. He even suggests his own tendencies toward imperialism and genocide. Oh yeah, and then there was that thing with the slaughtering of the Sand People. All he really did to earn her love was to stalk her in a very creepy way, whine like a BEEatch about being second fiddle to Obi Wan, and then force himself upon her until she basically gave up and decided to love him. Oh and he floated a piece of fruit and pretended to be injured by that weird ass-cow on Naboo. Can we assume it was really the Old Jedi Mind Trick? Or did she just realize he could kill her at will? Oh wait, he did. Women who are attracted to creeps like this need an appointment with Dr.Phil, before it's too late.
24. So while they were rewriting everything else for pointless cameos, why didn't they dig up the Ewoks too? I dunno, something like Wicket being the stumpy, impotent half-brother of Boss-Nass and Chewbacca, who was shipped off to the Endor moon to hide his disgrace. But, with the Kaminoans' help, Wickett created a race of cloned mini-wookies called E.W.O.K.s (Emasculated Wookie-Ousted Klones). They soon built a treehouse empire with technical advice supplied by Ree-Yees and Dengar, including, but not limited to, the method of hauling supplies up into the giant redwood canopy with Dewback lizards outfitted with suction-cup shoes. Ridiculous, but it makes perfect sense according to the prequels’ logic.
25. How can the stormtroopers ALL be descended from Boba Fett? Doesn't that dilute the supposed theme of ordinary people submitting to tyranny… when it was only these clones who were actually made to fight for it? And wouldn't Boba Fett, the "real" son of the father of all stormtroopers, have been given somewhat more special treatment in the original trilogy? He would have been a rock star. But then, how would Boba even prove who he was? Any storm trooper could paint some Mandalorian armor green and collect his bounty checks. Wasn't the best thing about Boba Fett NOT knowing what he looked like (as a grownup LET ALONE a child?) And since all the stormtroopers were made as clones… doesn't that make ALL the "Star Wars", in fact, "Clone Wars?" Why would they refer to the "Clone Wars" in the past tense during the original trilogy? And lastly… why did they pick an actor with a raspy, Billy Idol-esque accent to play Jango? Boba Fett in Ep. V didn’t sound like that. And can you even imagine that same voice saying "These aren't the droids we're looking for,"??
26. Would any independent contractor in the universe work for a decade on a project without any contact from the requester? That's what the cloners of Kamino did. They didn't even know he was dead! Who was footing the bill all this time? Payable 30-days after delivery ?
27. If Jango Fett was helping the Kaminoans make clones of him in aid of the Republic, then why was he later working as Count Dooku's bodyguard on another planet, in aid of the Separatists? Why did it have to be him doing both things? And who was protecting the Count while Jango was relaxing on Kamino?
28. In his talk with a captive Obi-Wan (hanging in energy restraints), why did Count Dooku justify his separatist rebellion by saying that an evil Sith Lord was corrupting the Republic? Because in the very next scene, we see him taking orders from the very same Sith lord! Wouldn't it be enough to have him revolt merely on the grounds of rejecting Sith influence? Wouldn't that have added a sympathetic dimension to his character? He certainly still could have been manipulated to revolt against the Republic, thereby helping to destroy it, even with those best intentions at heart. And wouldn't that make his ultimate death that much more poignant… realizing too late that he'd been wrong to instigate secession? Seeing him as yet another of Sidious' puppets turns him into a huge fooland, even worse, a hypocrite. And it heaps too much power on the Emperor if you ask me. As for why the greedy Trade Federation aliens get suckered in, that I understand… because they just plain suck. But COME ON, not Christopher Lee! How can you punk an iconic Hammer-school actor like that?
29. Would Padme really have had time for all those lavish changes of clothing and hairstyle? And why didn't she age 10 years like Annakin? And did anyone believe a young gal in a Space-Chanel dress could really be traveling as a refugee? Leia looked just as noble in a plain white dress and two Cinnabons for hair.
30. Did Yoda really need to have known Chewbacca? The little green master said that the Jedi could not afford to lose the Wookies as allies… any particular reason for that? They could have worked in the wookies some other way.
31. How could all those Jedi, after wasting thousands of separatists and killer droids, be killed by a few clones with blasters? Element of surprise is one thing, but these are J-E-D-I. They have a sixth sense for this kind of stuff. Or was being a Jedi really no big deal? Ahem.
32. Did we really need to see the gallant Obi-Wan Kenobi riding a feathered iguana to chase a coughing cyborg riding a giant yo-yo? I repeat: "Feathered iguana chases giant yo-yo." Why did everybody have to go down in that big mine-shaft town anyway? And what was up with the corduroy-faced man?
33. How did General Grievous live long enough to collect 4 light sabers from fallen Jedi, when his vital pulmonary organs weren't even covered by his armor?
34. Tell me again, why did Annakin turn from noble knight to baby-killing dark lord in one scene? All the fuel we were given for this transformation was that Padme was forseen to die in childbirth of some unknown cause… and only Palpatine can save her??? Pure mumbo-jumbo. I must have missed the scene where old Sidious earned his OB Gyn. in Sith Pediatrics. Oh, and then there is the little matter of seeing him fight with Mace Windu in the window sill (the Windu sill, har har). Poor little impressionable Annakin hears Mace and Palpie each accuse the other of trying to betray the Republic. Considering he has known these Jedi all his life, and owes all his training to them, and oh yeah, Sidious had just revealed he'd been lying to Annikan all these years about not being a Sith…. did it really make sense for him to pick the bad guy's side? He even expresses regret when he realizes he got Mace killed! At that point he seems to choose the evil Emperor by saying, "Well, you're the last guy left alive in the room." So now, after decades of Machiavellian maneuvers, Palpatine's master plan finally becomes complete, with Annikan swearing his undying loyalty to the Sith. Couldn't he have possibly said something (anything!) more profound than "Goooood" ??
35. So Obi-Wan and Annikan fought their climactic showdown on a lava planet… please tell me why were they there again? It looked like some sort of non-sequitur mining operation. Please tell me how lava could be sputtering and flying all over the place, and yet nobody gets burnt, and the white tarmacs are all spotless. We must be talking about one very well-paid janitorial staff.
36. Would the noble Obi-Wan really have just left Annikan there to die slowly of his wounds in the lava? Wouldn't he have attempted either to finish the job, or rescue him? A diehard good guy might try to give him another chance, and considering the pounding he'd just gotten for being a Sith punk, he might just have been ready to take it. Still, we all know that for the story to jive with the "real" Vader legend, of course they needed him to be scooped up, barely alive, by Sith forces and remade into a cyborg. Why couldn't they have the evil Clone troops race in while Obi-Wan was still standing there in a quandary, quickly overwhelming him and forcing him to flee? Wouldn't that neatly spare him the tough choice of what he should do, and leave the purity of his character intact? Especially if they decided to make Greedo shoot first, I mean COME ON!!
37. Why did Padme suddenly want to wear the famed Princess Leia "Star Puffs" hair doo? Since the infant Leia never meets her real mom (contrary to what Leia says in EP VI.. aaargh!) we are somehow led to believe the hairstyle was hereditary?? Shouldn't we instead have see Queen Organa wearing the buns?
38. Why would Palpatine tell Annikan the truth, that the young Sith himself had killed Padme? After a career of lying to everyone in the galaxy just to spark a civil war, how unlike him is it to tell the harshest truth of all to the one underling he intends to keep working with? A new recruit like Vaderkin just might use a revelation like that to justify leaving the dark side, not to embrace it even further. And let's not forget that OTHER reminder, one stuffy robot suit he's doomed to wear for life. A craftier Palpatine might have actually blamed Padme's death on Obi Wan. Or Yoda. Hell, even Chewbacca would have been easier to blurt out. He could have said whatever he wanted, there was nobody left to dispute it. "You gotta believe me Annie, there was this really big hairy apelike thing, and he picked up this weird crossbow… Padme never even saw it coming *sniff*." And still, if Palpatine REALLY had to tell the truth, couldn't he have added a little sugar coating to the news first? "Sooo, Annakin… about Padme… ahem. Now, I don't want you to get any kooky ideas about your turning Sith being a 'bad' thing, but, uh… you might want to sit down for this one…".
39. So now Lord Vader, upon learning Padme has died, cries out in his same whiny Annakin way, "Noooooo!" But now we have to hear it in James Earl Jones’ iconic voice. I just can't get my head around it. The sheer audacity, the lameness of this moment, is beyond inexcusable. Isn't this a changed man, in every conceivable sense of the word? Why are we still seeing this conflict in him? That was gone the second he gripped Padme's neck. Why ruin what could have been a perfect opportunity to show Vader's new 'tude? Wasn't he ready to put the past away and just kick everyone's asses back into the dark ages? At the risk of rewriting this saga one more time, the following line would have been my choice.
"The girl no longer interests me, my Lord."
40. So, as we tally up the component characters of the Star Wars prequels 1-3, have a lot of Jedi, who are basically passionless monks. We have the Sith, who are evil monks. We have Senators, Kings, Queens, Chancellors, Generals, Trade Barons, Counts, Ambassadors, and other high-ranking muckey-mucks. In other words, politicians. So we were given a 7-hour saga about monks and politicians. This produced a lot of pomp, rigid dialogue, speechmaking, formalities, and soapboxes.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the original trilogy we loved built around naïve, starry-eyed kids looking to the night sky for adventure? Wisecracking rogues flirting with spunky, smart-assed princesses? Caustic dialogue that could have been written by Neil Simon himself? Fearsome (but lovable) walking carpets? Chatty tin cans who, more often than not, stole their scenes? Mysterious helmeted foes whose true identities were never FULLY revealed-- because just maybe we were AFRAID to learn too much about them? For the saga to veer so drastically off that formula was puzzling to say the least.
Even though I sometimes use the word "them" to lay blame, I expect most every problem can be traced right back to George himself. Was it a matter of having too much control? Or the insular environment of the Skywalker Ranch? Or maybe the syndrome of employing only yes-folk, too afraid of being cast out of Eden to raise a valid complaint? Maybe all of the above.
Still, I can't knock Mr. Lucas too much. We got one history-making trilogy out of him, beloved by possibly a billion people. And beyond that, several other film gems, like American Graffiti, Empire of the Sun, and even a hand in Captain EO and Raiders of the lost Ark. That's a lot more than I, or anyone I know, will probably ever accomplish in the name of entertainment, even in our wildest dreams. He remains a truly brilliant and visionary storyteller.
Nah, that knucklehead shoulda' known better.
So I saw Drive last night, and I really, really dug it.
The trailers might have made it look like those action/slapstick Transporter movies, but it was actually a serious (and at times artsy) crime thriller. Think more in the vein of classics by Michael Mann and Walter Hill, like Thief and The Driver. Not a wholly original plot, but drawing at least from the best of the genre. The story unfolds quietly, but when the trouble starts, things get BRUTAL in the blink of an eye. No punches pulled. Gunfire is cranked to the max on the soundtrack, almost to a punishing degree (and appropriately).
Gosling and Mulligan are well cast in their roles and give performances based more actions and expressions, with dialogue used sparingly. The score is a very 80’s inspired mix of pop vocals and synth, which sets a somber, at times almost spooky tone that marries well with scenes of a lonely, desolate LA at night. I had been looking forward to seeing Albert Brooks, one of my all-time favorite funnymen, play a ruthless gangster, and he does not disappoint. He can be a very scary guy!
Anyone remember Target Earth for the Sega Genesis? Seriously one of my favorite games for that system. In Japan it was called Assault Suits Leynos. It had an equally awesome sequel called Assault Suits Valken (aka Cybernator) for the Super NES. There were also a couple reboot sequels for the Playstation and Sega Saturn systems. These games were a bit obscure in the USA, but featured some very cool robot designs and mecha combat action. They're a great antidote to the current crop of over-worked mechanical designs you find in the Michael Bay Transformers films, and the goofy, feathery, fantasy robots favored in most current anime. No, these Assault Suits were all about business... heavy military-grade armor, gatling guns, missiles and thruster nozzles.
Incredibly, after all these years, there's now a Leynos/Valken revival of sorts. In the past couple years, Takara/Yujin released the Valken and Leynos suits as posable trading figures in their excellent Game Robotics and Shooting Historica lines. They're quite nice, (if small) replicas.
This year, something even more amazing has come along... a super-detailed 1:35 scale Leynos from Plum Models! This thing is incredible. Check out all those pistons, movable plates, and protective caging around the vitals! You could almost imagine this thing being assembled on a factory line and deployed in a real battlefield (almost). Great stuff, this is from what I would consider the epoch era of giant robot design.
There were also some great 1:72 Valken 2 resin models made by Yellow Submarine back in the mid 90's... someday I might show you my collection. I swear I WILL build these someday...
I dabble in posting high score to Twin Galaxies' MAME (arcade emulator) section, mostly for Japanese arcade shooter games from the 80s. No, not the really famous ones, but some that I had fun with back in the day... Darius, Zero Wing, AirBuster, Strato Fighter, and some others. Anyway, after not attempting any records for a couple years, I just sent up two new ones on Capcom's Vulgus and Nichibutsu's Mag Max. I love that feeling when you've passed what you know is the top score, with a few lives left, knowing any points you can grab from there on out are pure gravy.
If you actually want to see my scores listing, go to the Twin Galaxies site, click "Scoreboard" and search for my name (sorry they don't seem to allow direct linking anymore).
Here's the blog of a traditional Japanese kit sculptor... that yellow stuff is poly-putty, which is basically high-grade Bondo. Not many people in the 'States work this way, but you can do some absolutely amazing things with that stuff. If you can handle the fumes!
So summer's officially, totally, definitely over. Actually it's been for a few weeks now, I guess I'm just getting used to the idea. Wow what a busy summer it was! Such a packed show/travel schedule... San Diego Comiccon, Classic Game Expo, California Extreme Arcade, and Gateway Con. In between of course there was the biz and the sculpting, tons of new movies to see (though not that many good ones) and so on.
Now that things are back to "abnormal", you'll be seeing lots of ACTUAL UPDATES to the site. There's so much stuff I have waiting to launch, it's not even funny. Hopefully this week I'll have all the holes filled in the Cult and Heroica sections. I've been playing with the formatting of the pics and menus in WarGamma, definitely not 100% but closer.
Thanks so much for all your support over the last few months... the orders, suggestions, and especially spreading the word by telling your friends about my stuff. It's so much better to bring my work directly to you guys instead of a big company where 2 or 3 people decide whether or not anyone will ever see what you've done... and even then nobody will ever know who you are.
On November 20th I'll be doing DesignerCon in Pasadena, if you like the underground toy scene, you won't want to miss it!
I just heard that Carl Macek passed away over the weekend. He's perhaps best known as the producer who first brought some of the most popular anime to the US, including Robotech, Akira, Robot Carnival, My Neighbor Totoro and many others. I worked in the model shop which was attached to his Streamline Pictures production company, from 1995-1997.
He was a great boss and a very decent guy, to give this wet-behind-the-ears sculptor his first "real job", making models that actual people would buy. I remember almost every word of his genius pep-talks. It was great to hear his war-stories about the animation and film biz. He was a genuine film buff and he knew everything! He was very generous with his crew, as for myself and two other Streamline alums Robert Martin and "Tiki Al" Zequeira, we recall a lot of fond memories working, hanging out and talking geek back in that shop.
Thanks for everything Carl, you will be missed.
(note: I've aded to this a bit since first posting)