Archive for the ‘dinosaurs’ Category
Filed Under aquaman, christmas, dinosaurs, hawkman
We Three Ocean Kings
So, I gave this year’s DC Holiday Special the ol’ flip-through because I wanted to check out the Aquaman story, but didn’t want to spend six bucks on it without knowing whether or not it was lame. And it pretty much is.
There’s a cool double-page spread of Aquaman using a giant squid to fight a helicopter full of bad guys (you can see it in The Aquaman Shrine’s review), but the overall tone of the story is sentimental in a corny way and if there’s one thing Aquaman doesn’t need right now, it’s corny. There’s also a trick-ending that left me staring at the final page in disgust, but I was skimming the narrative captions through the story, so maybe I missed something that would’ve made it more palatable. Judging from these reviews though, I’m guessing that’s not the case.
My first reaction at seeing this was to wonder why Aquaman would need it, but after a little thought I suppose that it probably goes faster than he can swim. It’s got to be faster than a giant seahorse at any rate. Besides, I agree with The Shrine that it’s cool to see Aquaman getting his own action figure and vehicle.
Aquaman (and Hawkman) vs. T-Rex
I’m never really sure how to take Kyle Baker, but this sounds like a joke to me. In a now-deleted blog post, he shared the above art and said:
I’m working on a new Hawkman comic for DC, and decided to try a newer, more fan-friendly style. What do you think? leave a comment!No title for the book yet that I know of. It’s not due for another six months. Anyway, enjoy the wallpaper! By the way, just for the fans, I’m making this story the bloodiest and most depressing story ever! Full of realism! HAWKMAN’S WORLD WILL BE CHANGED FOREVER! I’ve revealed too much. I can say no more.
I’m 98% sure there’s not really a new Kyle Baker/Hawkman comic coming, but even if there was one, I’m 100% sure that it wouldn’t be bloody and depressing. Still, Aquaman on a giant seahorse fighting a T-Rex. I can quit blogging now.*
*I can, but I won’t. Sorry.
Filed Under atlantis, dinosaurs
I hadn’t meant to go on a Jules Verne kick, but David starting spotting ads for the DVD release of Brendan Fraser’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Ads with T-Rexes in them.
Because I am physically incapable of watching any sort of remake or adaptation without seeing the earlier versions first, I had Netflix send us the 1959 version (it’s in color, unlike the still above, by the way) starring James Mason and Pat Boone. In a few years, David probably won’t put up with those kinds of shenanigans, but for now he’s willing to watch what I order as long as the dinosaurs are there. And he’s enough of a geek that he enjoys watching various versions as much as I do.
I’ve never read the Verne novel, so I didn’t know what to expect story-wise. I guess I was hoping for something like At the Earth’s Core or a subterranean version of The Lost World, but Journey is a lot more subdued than those two.
Not that it’s a quiet or boring movie by any means. It’s just that the excitement comes from its sense of mystery and the drama between characters more than it does from giant monster attacks. I am absolutely okay with that; it’s just not what I expected.
The movie opens with Edinburgh’s celebrating the recent knighthood of one of its citizens, Professor Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason). Lindenbrook is a geologist, so as a congratulatory gift, one of his students (Pat Boone) gives him a piece of volcanic rock he picked up in a curio shop. The rock is heavier than it should be, so Lindenbrook starts testing on it and finds hidden inside another, denser kind of rock. What’s strange is that the interior rock is only found in Iceland, while the volcanic rock comes from the Mediterranean. Chipping away at the exterior shell, Lindenbrook discovers markings on the Icelandic rock and eventually cleans it up enough to see that it’s really a stone plumb-bob.
The markings are actually writing, so Lindenbrook deciphers it and learns that it was written by a scientist named Arni Saknussem who disappeared a while back while searching for Atlantis. Lindenbrook deduces that that Saknussem discovered another world beneath ours and managed to get the plumb-bob message out before he died. If that sounds overly goofy, it’s because I’m forgetting some details. It’s all believable in the context of the film.
Lindenbrook transcribes the text on the plumb-bob and learns that it reveals the entrance to the world below. He sends it to Professor Göteborg, another famous scientist who lives in Sweden, for verification. When he doesn’t hear back from Göteborg, Lindenbrook writes again. This time he gets a response, but not from Göteborg. The University in Stockholm writes to let Lindenbrook know that Göteborg has disappeared. Lindenbrook estimates the date of Göteborg’s disappearance as being approximately when the first letter would have arrived. It’s a lot of set-up, but it goes by quickly and it’s made enjoyable by Mason’s suaveness and the sheer, boyish charm of Pat Boone.
Boone’s Alec McKuen is a good guy, but he’s not as irritatingly fresh-faced and squeaky clean as I’m imagined a Pat Boone character would be. He’s in love with Lindenbrook’s niece Jenny (played by Diane Baker, who apparently guest-starred in every single TV show made in the 1960s and now plays House’s mom) and a lot of the first act is about their relationship and whether or not unwealthy Alec will ever be in a position to propose to her. This is a 1950s movie about the 1800s, so obviously their relationship is pretty chaste, but there’s some hand-knee action that shows that Alec isn’t above trying to cop a nineteenth century feel. Also, Alec is the first one to start shedding clothes when things get bad below ground, and there’s a hilarious scene towards the end with Naked Alec, some nuns, and a sheep.
Act One is fun, but Act Two gets awesome when Lindenbrook and Alec rush off to Iceland to try to beat Göteborg to Saknussem’s secret entrance. There’s murder and betrayal as Göteborg and one of Arni Saknussem’s descendants each try to find the underworld before Lindenbrook and Alec. During all the intrigue, Lindenbrook and Alec meet a local farmer named Hans who joins their expedition, but doesn’t speak English. That necessitates their including a translator in their party, so they also bring along a woman played by Arlene Dahl.
Peter Ronson as Hans is the coolest character in the movie. I love that he speaks Icelandic the entire movie, but never comes across as anything less than intelligent and capable. It would’ve been so easy to make him a comic figure suitable only for lugging around heavy packs, but Hans is an indispensable member of the team and everyone acknowledges it the entire way through. He’s made even cooler by his love for his pet duck Gertrude whom he brings along on the expedition.
Arlene Dahl’s character is also wonderful. She’s smart, capable, and never tries to use her gender as a crutch to get her out of something. Lindenbrook needs convincing that she can carry her own weight, but she more than proves herself. She’s also, incidentally, heart-breakingly beautiful.
The only thing I didn’t like about the movie were the special effects on the dinosaurs. Putting fake back-sails on live reptiles and calling them dimetrodons is cheesy. Not that cheesy can’t be fun and cool. I appreciate it, for example, in schlock like the 1960 version of The Lost World where the whole movie is cheesy. But the rest of 1959’s Journey to the Center of the Earth doesn’t give off that vibe. It’s awesome in all other ways and it needs awesome dinosaurs too.
That factor alone makes Journey ripe for a remake or five. I can’t imagine any of the subsequent versions in my Netflix queue matching this one in terms of cast (Greg Evigan is no James Mason) or set (the 1959 underworld looks fantastic), but as long as they’re updating the dinosaurs, it would be cool to see them try to keep the mystery and drama of the plot intact. I’m not counting on it though. The ’80s version is next on my list and it’s modified the story to fit a couple of kids, their nanny, and Emo Phillips. As Verne would say, “Le sigh.”
Four out of five pet ducks.
Filed Under christina ricci, dinosaurs, space opera, speed racer, spies, star wars, valkyrie
I don’t remember where I found this; I just like it and don’t remember seeing it hanging in theaters.
Betty and Veronica: Super-Spies
Via Chris Sims. If only all Betty and Veronica comics could be like that.
By Ted Mathot.
By Mitch Foust.
By JC Lyendecker.
“The Red Dust” and “The Conquest of the Moon Pool”
Both by Lawrence Sterne Stevens.
By Björn Hurri.
Filed Under dinosaurs, femme noir, giant monsters, jungle, tarzan, the phantom, xenozoic tales
Who Knew Tarzan Lived in California?
I got an email from Danielle, who runs the way cool Who Knew Tarzan Lived in California blog. There are a lot more Tarzan-California connections than you’d think and Danielle’s exploring them all.
The Comic Book Catacombs has a short, Golden Age jungle girl story up. Fair warning: it’s from 1948 and racial depictions are typical of that era.
Femme Noir meets Okona the Jungle Girl
Writer Christopher Mills reveals that Femme Noir #4 will feature a jungle girl character and an island full of giant monsters. Everyone else can stop making comics now. Chris wins.
The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks
Okay, obviously I was just kidding with that “no more comics” crack. There’s always room for more awesome. Like Moonstone’s Phantom comics, which are soon rebooting. According to the press release I got, they’re leaning towards “edgier stories” that are “torn from today’s headlines of modern day Africa.” I’m not sure that’s the direction I’m most interested in, but I loves me some Phantom, so I’ll give it a shot.
They also promise “new issues more often,” which will also be nice.
The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks #1 will be written by David Michelinie and Mike Bullock, illustrated by Silvestre Szilagyi, and will have a variant cover by legendary Phantom artist Sy Barry.
“Blitzkrieg in the Past”
By J. Allen St. John.
Xenozoic Tales print by Mark Schultz
Flesk Publications has an awesome print of Jack and Hannah in their car fighting a horde of dinosaurs. 18″ x 24″ for $19.95.
One step closer to Jurassic Park
Making live clones from dead animals is now possible.
Filed Under dinosaurs, mermaids, sea monsters
By Michael Dixon.
“The Lost Warship”
By J. Allen St. John.
Via the always helpful Never Sea Land blog.
Filed Under aquaman, argonauts, dinosaurs, island adventure, jungle, pirates, sea monsters, sub-mariner
Guide to Pirate Parenting
At last there’s help for those of us who want to raise our children to be scurvy sea dogs. Includes: “Top 10 reasons to raise your children as pirates” and “Top 10 traits that show your new baby has great potential to be a pirate” amongst other great lists and tips.
My favorite from that second list: “When mom’s water broke, the baby yelled, ‘I sail with the tide!’”
There are a couple of Jason and the Argonauts movies
in the works. One is a retelling of the myth by Zak Penn; the other is a Dreamworks film about a group of modern-day treasure hunters who find the wreck of the Argo and are transported to ancient Greece.
Iron Chef Japan’s Sea Monster Week
Aquaman vs. Sub-Mariner
Caleb observes that though Sub-Mariner has been around longer and is the more interesting character, Aquaman has won the battle for popular consciousness.
/Film reports that a sequel series to Hawaii Five-O is in the works. “The new series will focus of Chris McGarrett, a Hawaiian cop and son of Steve McGarrett.” Just don’t screw with the theme song, fellas. Jazz it up if you must, but make damn sure it’s recognizable. That’ll make or break this thing.
Savage Land action figures
ToyFare has the review and some good pics.
Robert Hood takes a look at the underappreciated technique of depicting dinosaurs in the ’60s: sticking fake frills and horns on real monitor lizards. It was a horrible technique and a drastic step back from the stop-motion used in the preceding decades, but there’s still something kind of stupidly charming about it, no?
I don’t know how much sea adventure goes on in Gregory Frost’s Shadow Bridge and Lord Tophet, but the two-book series has a cool setting at least: an ocean world criss-crossed with spans and bridges. My friend Shara Saunsaucie liked both books, so I’m curious now.
Filed Under aliens, creature from the black lagoon, deep sea divers, dinosaurs, sea monsters
Why must Schiani Ledo be so awesome?
The Metal Doom
By Leo Morey.
Doc Savage vs. the Creature from the Black Lagoon
By Keith “Kez” Wilson. You’ve got to check out the rest of his gallery too. He pits Doc Savage against everyone from Godzilla to Doctor Who. It’s a beautiful thing.
Slaves of the Fish Men
By J Allen St. John.
Monsters and Heroes
By Al Williamson.
Filed Under aliens, battlestar galactica, buck rogers, dinosaurs, giant monsters, giant robots, nazis, spacemen, star wars
Dinosaurs invade the modern world. Coming soon to BBCAmerica.
Axis and Allies, if there had been giant robots and other alien tech available during WWII.
Speaking of boardgames…
Topless Robot rates the five best and worst boardgames based on movies. They forgot Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star though. Definitely should’ve been in the Best list.
Rick Remender and Eric Nguyen are coming out with a comic about giant robots, monsters, and consumer culture.
More giant robots vs. giant monsters
Robert Hood’s got the dope on G. It features one of the coolest giant robot designs I’ve ever seen. And a giant monster using a couple of train cars as nunchuks.
Additional Laws of Robotics
Something Awful has discovered 27 more, less-famous Laws that Asimov came up with. Like this one:
23. A robot must shut up around girls and let me, Isaac Asimov, do the talking; however, a robot may bail me out if things start to go haywire.
Pulp Sci Fi work safety posters
I wish my work was cool enough to hang these around.
Buck Rogers Doll
It’s a great-looking doll. I just don’t know if it’s $175 worth of great-looking.
Eric Stoltz almost makes me want to watch the otherwise lame-looking soap opera Caprica. Think I’ll just pop in Some Kind of Wonderful again instead.
And as long as we’re talking about Battlestar Galactica spin-offs I’m not interested in
TokyoPop’s got a BSG manga anthology coming out.
Okay, back to the Awesome…
Whatever eFx Collectibles is asking for this Ralph McQuarrie version Vader helmet, it’ll be worth it.
You baked that? You’re braver than I thought.
I’m hungry now.
Filed Under batman, dinosaurs, hellboy, mystery, superheroes, talking animals, trains, x-files, y
Hancock: My history with Will Smith movies is that I enjoy them for the two hours I’m there and then pretty much forget about them afterwards. I don’t expect this one will be any different.
I might’ve had higher hopes if they hadn’t already spoiled his character development in the trailer. I think it would’ve been a bolder choice to have him stay a butthole the entire movie, but maybe they pull off the change really well.
Kabluey: (Limited release) I expect I’ll like this costumed hero a lot more than Hancock. Plus: Teri Garr.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army: C’mon, it’s Hellboy. I’d see it even if it didn’t look the most awesomely imaginative fantasy film since Return of the King. Which it totally does.
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Despite my liking both Jules Verne’s imagination and Brendan Fraser’s screen presence, I’m having a hard time getting excited about this one at all. They’ve changed two of the main characters into kids (”…making [the Icelandic guide] Hans into Hannah was just an obvious choice,” says director Eric Brevig) and seem more focused on playing with the 3D technology than on telling a great story (”…The rest of it [aside from adapting a couple of iconic moments from the book] was me coming up with pieces of business that I thought would just play wonderfully in 3-D as well as 2-D”). This is probably a DVD rental for me.
The Dark Knight: As much as my brain tells me that this is going to be awesome because the first one was and Christopher Nolan can Do No Wrong, my heart’s just not in it. I’m getting a little more excited the more we see of Two-Face, but I’m so tired of the Joker being played as just another psychotic killer. This is absolutely NOT a criticism of Heath Ledger whom I love as an actor and I expect is brilliant with the part he was given, but just once I’d like to see the Joker in the movies hatch a scheme involving an oversized mallet and a giant jack-in-the-box.
Transsiberian: (NY and LA only) The trailer looks uninspired, but I love trains and snow enough that I’m hoping those elements will carry me through even if the plot is lousy. But maybe it won’t be. Maybe it’s just a lousy trailer.
Space Chimps: Talking apes in a space adventure. What could be nicer?
Step Brothers: This is such a toss up as to whether or not I’m going to like it. John C. Reilly is great, but I can’t usually take much of Will Ferrell. All the ads I’ve seen for it have made me laugh though, so on the list it goes.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe: This has the potential to be my favorite movie of the summer. I love and miss Mulder and Scully like you wouldn’t believe. Unfortunately, it also has the potential to be the biggest disappointment. My hopes for it are way too high.