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Jun 012016
 

I had a great time at MegaCon 2016 in Orlando this past weekend. Among the highlights were replicas of vehicles, costumes, and large props from different movies and TV shows on display, like in a pop culture museum. Let’s start with Star Wars. As you can see, the Wampa was huge.

Here are some of the Sand People. These guys were cool, but I always found the versions from Spaceballs more interesting because they had more personality.

Then there’s the metal prison Han Solo was held in. As iconic as it is, it’s difficult to remember what this thing is called.

There were some pretty cool costumes on display also, which included this one of the Flash from The Flash TV series.

Now let’s move on the vehicles. Once again, here is the Pokémon car, but this time it includes a bunch on Pikachus wearing outfits from different franchises.

Next there was the Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters. It’s neat that it has Florida plates, even though the Ghostbusters come from New York.

Now here are some vehicles I really found interesting, the Batmobile, Batcopter, and Batcycle from the 60s Batman series.

Even though the Batcopter and Batcycle were only used in the 1966 Batman movie, footage from that was reused in later Batman episodes.

I also met a couple of voice actors, who have voiced quite a few great characters. Check my blog to find out more.

Apr 272016
 

Among the different musical artists that perform at conventions throughout Orlando, my most favorite is Geekapella. They are an acapella group that consists of at least ten singers. The group is hard to keep track of sometimes because each time I see Geekapella perform the members tend to change as well as the number of singers.

One thing will always remain consistent and that’s the music. The songs are entirely based on pop culture. They are very creative and also appropriate for conventions like Omni Expo, Holiday Matsuri, and Space Coast Nerdfest.

It wasn’t until recently at Space Coast Nerdfest 2016, when I found out that Geekapella was selling demos of their album, Geekapella: Legends of the Hidden Demo. The CD cover is a real nice design that resembles an 8-Bit video game.

Geekapella has many songs, but right now let’s just focus on the highlights in the album, starting with Batman Knows What You Did in the Dark. It was certainly different and catchier than most songs about the Dark Knight. At times I wonder if the meaning of the title insinuates that Batman is always watching you, even in your home.

Video games are another common subject that Geekapella sings about like in The Man Who Throws the Tetris Piece. It’s true that Tetris can be a tough game with random pieces coming down, not knowing who throws them down in the first place. That’s pretty interesting if you think about it.

I would also like to point out that of all the video game soundtracks I have heard, Tetris is among the unlikely choices to include. So that definitely shows creativity right there.

John Williams is the Man is a song about Star Wars, though I can’t help but notice that the melody is much like the theme from Indiana Jones.

Then we have Super. It’s basically a medley of theme songs from shows like Ghostbusters, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version). That’s sure a great way to bring back the classics.

I certainly enjoyed this music group. They sure know how to set a mood when I attend a convention. Of course, you never know what Geekapella will perform next, whether it’s an old favorite or something brand new. They never cease to amaze me.

Jan 272016
 

LEGO toys have been around for a long time. I know because I used to play with LEGO when I was a kid. However, It wasn’t until about the late 2000s when LEGO took well known franchises and made video games, then eventually animated features with a cute style of humor.

One such feature is Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite. Apparently it’s about Lex Luthor trying to become President of the United States with help from the Joker by using destructive means to make it happen and it’s up to Batman to stop them.

Robin also helps out and so does Superman, despite how Batman only believes that he can only rely on himself. That’s a bit annoying but not nearly as annoying as Superman is when he talks in the third person. What’s the point of that?

The action is cool. As Joker disrupts an award ceremony, it gets real interesting when the other major Batman villains like Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Riddler, and Harley Quinn help him out.

Steve BlumRob Paulsen

I met Steve Blum, who was the voice of the Penguin, at CollectiveCon 2015 and Rob Paulsen, the voice of the Riddler, at MegaCon 2014.

What’s real common in LEGO features is buildings and machinery falling to pieces as well as being put back together. Lex Luthor has a weapon called the De-Constructor that can tear powerful black objects apart like Batman’s vehicles and it’s powered by Kryptonite.

After Luthor breaks Joker out of Arkham Asylum, Joker frees the other Batman villains who even include Bane and Poison Ivy. It’s so cool how Batman and Robin keep them from escaping with exciting vehicle chases.

 

Then it all comes down to a giant Joker robot that runs on Kryptonite. As much as Batman hates to admit it, he needs help. That’s when the Justice League comes to the rescue. Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Cyborg all make an appearance.

This was a good LEGO movie. Lately many of the modern straight-to-DVD Batman movies have been darker and more brutal. In comparison, it’s nice to see that this one is a least a little bit lighter for a change.

Jul 152015
 

There are many different villains in pop culture. Some live on to become as iconic as the heroes who fight them while others, not so much. So I put together a list of old villains from movies and TV shows that seem underrated, but still stand out as favorites of mine.

#10) Mouser from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Originally featured as a bomb-throwing boss from the Super Mario Bros. 2 NES game, this talking mouse often serves as King Bowser Koopa’s right hand man. Mouser is a stooge but a worthy adversary. However, he hasn’t been featured in the Super Mario Bros. franchise for a long time, among other old characters that seemed to have disappeared off the radar. I wonder why that is.

#9) The Witches from the Volcano of Gloom from My Little Pony (1986 version): They are known as Hydia and her two daughters Reeka and Draggle and come from a long line of evildoers. This trio, along with their giant spider monster Ahgg, is intent on turning the world dark, dank, and dreary and the little ponies are the only ones standing in their way. The witches were the main villains on My Little Pony the Movie (1986) and the ten-part episode The End of Flutter Valley. After that, the witches never returned. It would’ve been nice if they did but this series was not known for its consistency when it comes to villains.

#8) Hurricane Harry from Cool McCool: It does seem that the villains on this show are very similar to the ones in the Batman franchise. That’s mainly because the series was co-created by Bob Kane, the original creator of Batman. However, Hurricane Harry stands out the most. His lungs are so powerful that a single deep breath can easily affect the world’s weather. The most impressive example is when Harry shows his ability to inhale the power of the sun and spit fire like a dragon. It’s unknown how Harry acquired this power to begin with, but it is enough to overlook his lisp.

#7) Jean- Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) from The Fifth Element: Gary Oldman has had quite a few villainous roles before. Unfortunately, this was not labeled among his best. Zorg is an industrialist who believes that preserving life comes from destruction and chaos. He may come off as a lame villain at times, but don’t underestimate him. Zorg is ruthless and never likes to be disappointed by anyone. When that happens he won’t hesitate to blow you up.

#6) Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Batman & Robin: I know this sounds strange since Mr. Freeze is a popular Batman villain. However, this particular version is often frowned upon due to the fact that this movie was constantly mentioned as a box office flop, based on many reviews. Sure his dialogue mostly consists of ice puns but Mr. Freeze is highly skilled. He can move around smoothly in that extremely heavy suit and his freeze gun is amazing. It can encase people and objects within ice in only a matter of seconds. The special effects really blew my mind, especially when compared to the effects used in this movie’s predecessor Batman Forever. Seriously, how can you not find this interesting?

#5) Velasca (Melinda Clarke) from Xena: Warrior Princess: This amazon warrior from season 2 was the adopted daughter of Queen Melosa and intended to be queen of the Amazons. When Gabrielle was selected as heir, Velasca became incredibly jealous. Soon after, she ate ambrosia and became a goddess completely intent on killing Gabrielle. Velasca was eventually plunged into a lava pit along with Callisto, leaving the possibility that they would both return. Although Callisto did return in the third season, Velasca didn’t. There were plenty of opportunities to bring Velasca back throughout the series run but it never happened. Any ideas why?

#4) Beastur from My Pet Monster: He’s the evil master of Monster Land and always pops into the real world in his many attempts to bring Monster back with him. The confrontations are always big chases, but I always liked how Beastur keeps getting sent back to Monster Land when he’s defeated. He does have his hilarious moments too and that’s what makes Beastur so memorable.

#3) Tweeg from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: It’s no surprise that this troll grunge makes this list. Although Tweeg’s biggest evil trait is his greed, many of his evil plots are focused on trying to meet the standards of MAVO (The Monsters and Villains Organization) as well as his troll mother Eleanor. Tweeg is sneaky and cunning, but even with a group of bounders serving him Tweeg always seems to fall short. He can’t even hit anything with a cannonball. Sometimes you just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.

#2) Prince Gasket and Archerina from Power Rangers Zeo: The oldest son of King Mondo had fallen in love with the daughter of King Aragon (not featured in the series). Since their families were at war with one another, the two of them eloped. That scenario is much like in Romeo & Juliet, except that Gasket and Archerina mostly lived in hiding from their fathers. These two are both skilled fighters intent on conquering the Earth and ruling the Machine Empire. Once King Mondo caught up with them, Gasket and Archerina retreated and were never seen or heard from again. It leaves you wondering what could’ve become of this duo since they only appeared in 10 episodes out of 50.

#1) Prime Evil from Ghostbusters (1986 version): Who better to take the top spot than the Ghostbusters’ biggest archenemy. This creepy character is intent on taking over the human world and has many different ghosts and ghouls serving him. Of course, Prime Evil has his comedic moments also. He takes insults as compliments, struggles to say “Ghostbusters”, and has a hot temper when putting up with his henchmen. Unfortunately, with the other version of Ghostbusters completely overshadowing this series, Prime Evil went down with it but he’s one villain I’ll never forget.

Special Note: It wasn’t easy putting this list together since there were so many underrated villains to choose from. I was also going to include Scorpina from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as an honorable mention, but after learning the reason behind her disappearance from voice actress Wendee Lee at Anime Festival Orlando 2011, I’m going to let that one pass.

Nov 192014
 

The newest Batman movie to date is Batman: Assault on Arkham. This time things are different because Batman is not the main protagonist. It’s actually a team of villains working for the U.S. Government called the suicide squad.

The team consists of Dead Shot, Captain Boomerang, Black Spider, King Shark, Killer Frost, and Harley Quinn. I must say that this latest version of Harley Quinn is as great as ever. Even though I’ve never heard of these other villains before, they certainly leave their mark as dangerous individuals.

Jennifer Hale

I met Jennifer Hale at MegaCon 2014. She voices Killer Frost in this movie and several characters on Powerpuff Girls, but I remember her best as Ivy from Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego.

Amanda Waller, leader of Task Force X, runs the suicide squad. She is very strict and the suicide squad members are made up of convicts that are highly expendable. If they refuse to cooperate, Waller kills them by activating a bomb she placed in each of their heads. Now that’s just brutal, even it’s done to evil doers.

The mission is for the team to break into Arkham Asylum to retrieve a computer file that was stolen by the Riddler. It contains information on every suicide squad member. It’s been a while since the Riddler was on a Batman feature.

The Penguin also makes an appearance, providing the arms and equipment to the squad members. It’s just gross seeing him eating raw fish and squids.

Meanwhile, Batman is on a separate mission to find a powerful bomb the Joker hid somewhere in Gotham City. However, the Joker is still locked up and it’s revealed that he and Harley are no longer together.

Things don’t run smoothly at Arkham. During the chaos, other Batman villains join the battle. They include Two-Face, Bane, Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy. It’s neat to see those super villains back in action.

Despite how intensely violent this movie is, it’s a real good one. Even though I never played any of the Batman: Arkham video games that this film is based on, it still brings a sense of nostalgia in comparison with Batman: The Animated Series.