Category Archives: Reviews

My thoughts on Television episodes and movies

‘Star Wars: Bloodline’ is Amazing. That is All.

Dear Mom: If you are reading this, I want this book for Christmas, and I also think you should read this book because I think you would love it. I think the boys and Mary Lynne would love it, too.

To my general readers: I haven’t read that many Star Wars books. I never touched the former EU/Legends material. So I couldn’t tell you fairly how it compares. But this is one of the best books I have ever read, period. And I think it needs to be read. And my fellow Star Wars geeks on Far Far Away Radio agree. Bloodline by Claudia Gray is that good. My review here contains a lot of what you would consider spoilers but Bloodline is not that fun to talk about without them. I have a lot of feelings for this book.

Continue reading

‘Finding Dory’ Hits Close to the Mark

Finding Nemo has always been my favorite Pixar movie. It is one of THE defining movies of my generation. By all rights, I should be offended that they decided to make a sequel at all. And yet after seeing Finding Dory the other day, I’m actually glad that they made one. Finding Dory doesn’t really work as a stand-alone film: in fact, the exposition of Dory’s backstory ties in directly to where Dory met Marlin. I wish they hadn’t explained away so much of Dory’s spontaneity. Yet as annoying as it was for Pixar to retcon so much of Finding Nemo it segwayed nicely into Dory’s conflict as the central protagonist.

Continue reading

‘Civil War’ Delivers a Balanced Story and Emotional Impact

Spoilers discussed but not really mentioned in detail.

The first time I saw Captain America: Civil War in theaters, I had my doubts about whether or not it actually was a Captain America movie.  It doesn’t feel like Cap gets a lot of depth because there is so much else going on.  The plot and exposition is really about the buildup to the two main battles at the end. However, it is still a Captain America movie because the events in this film shape the mantle of Captain America and how Steve Rogers carried it. While I and lots of other fans are disappointed because we wanted more resolution for Steve and Bucky’s stories, the ensemble of characters was still balanced, even with the show-stealing introductions of Spider-man and Black Panther.

Continue reading

Soaring with Supergirl

(Spoilers ahead, obviously)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…the first DC superhero I have ever really liked. I’m not joking. Batman and Superman both bug me because they are both so popular. And Superman is just so perfect.  But, ICYMI, Supergirl just wrapped up its first season on CBS and it was spectacular. Supergirl is my new favorite superhero because she’s 1) not dark and brooding and 2) a modern (slightly clueless) twenty-something just like me. I didn’t have terribly high expectations for the TV show but it delivered.  It’s not the best-written but it’s still very high-quality storytelling and family friendly to boot. After Star Wars Rebels, this is my second time watching a television series all the way through, but allow me to break it down for you.

Continue reading

Batman v Superman- A Review

Batman v Superman is probably one of the most highly anticipated movies of this year. Maybe one of the most anticipated movies of the last few years. Considering the movies that have come out or that are coming out, that’s saying something. After seeing the numerous previews and teasers for the film, everyone was left with the same question: Would the movie hold up to expectations? The people wondering this ranged from people who were hoping that it would finally be the movie we have been waiting for from DC to the people who were fully planning on seeing a train wreck in the theater, and couldn’t wait. So, who was right? The answer, in my opinion, is all the people who were in the middle of the two extremes. It wasn’t earth shattering, game changing good like, say Marvel’s The Avengers, but it wasn’t the steaming pile of brown stuff that was 2010’s Green Lantern. Simply put, it was mediocre at best.

Continue reading

To Infinity and Beyond! The Legacy of ‘Buzz Lightyear of Star Command’

The good news is, I will be attending Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX event next week. I am planning perhaps my most intense cosplay ever for the occasion: I am going as Mira Nova from the TV show Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.  This will involve painting my face blue and wearing a wig, and I am currently working on sewing the dress (and like all of my sewing projects it’s consuming my life).  So far, it’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of time and money.  There are pieces of the project I bought as far back as October. Why am I doing this? Why am I cosplaying an obscure character from an obscure TV show in hopes that a few people at FanX will recognize me?

Because it’s worth it.  If you ever saw BLoSC back in the early 2000s and knew what a brilliant show it was, you would see.

Buzz facing off with his nemisis in “The Adventure Begins.” Via dvdizzy.com

The irony of all this is that I was never a huge fan of Toy Story, where Buzz Lightyear, the Little Green Men, and Emperor Zurg originated. But right after Toy Story 2 came out, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command premiered with a feature-length event, The Adventure Begins, starring Tim Allen.  Then the show came on ABC and Disney’s One Saturday Morning. I couldn’t tell you at what point I fell in love with the show or specifically why.  But the show’s female lead, Mira Nova, grabbed my attention quickly and kept it.  The humor was a big draw, too. Booster was okay but I really loved the zany robot XR. As for Buzz Lightyear himself, well, for me it was never about him.  At least at that age.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command took place in a very engaging original world even while making riffs on Star Trek and other popular science fiction, but it was also never afraid to poke fun at itself.  Some of the episodes veer off towards the cheesy side, some are brilliant, some are better animation quality than others.  The show very rarely referred to its Toy Story origins, except for in the “Strange Invasion” and “Stranger Invasion” arc where it becomes the butt of a brilliant joke that I know better than to spoil here.

 

via dvdizzy.com

I’ll give you the scoop on the main cast, since you may not have seen the show. Buzz Lightyear himself in the show is a little less nuanced than the Toy Story version, a straight-up, stereotypical hero who is sometimes so caught up with himself that he isn’t aware that the ladies find him desirable. But he’s occasionally interesting to watch, as in when he saves the day in “Speed Trap.” 

Booster is a large alien who likes to eat food, and he also has a thirst to prove himself as a hero. There aren’t any moments that stick out for me except for “Plasma Boy,” where he falls in love with a girl but has to compete her boyfriend.

Via blosc wikia

XR the robot is the main comic relief, with his killer one-liners, smart attitude, and tendency to blow up in nearly every episode.  However, he gets to be a hero on multiple occasions, including in “Enemy Without a Face” when all of his flesh-and-blood friends start fighting each other.

via Disney wikia

Now, the meat: Mira Nova is a princess of an alien race known as the Tangeans that can “ghost” through solid objects.  In addition to her powers and beauty, however, she is a level-headed counterbalance to Buzz’s high-and-mighty act and the voice of reason for Booster and XR. Her best episode?  In “The Shape Stealer,” Star Command goes on a lockdown and Buzz is trapped outside with the nemesis.  No one else can get to him.  She puts her helmet on and ghosts through the armored security of the space station. Flawless.

via blosc.wikia

Mira isn’t overly sexualized on the show, but she’s comfortable with her femininity while kicking butt for a living. Maybe there’s some flirtation with Buzz at the beginning of the series but she saves the show by being the one woman who doesn’t want him. I think she’s mostly attached to Buzz because he’s her hero and her team leader. Mira does get a bounty hunter love interest in the episode “Star Crossed,” and he was okay, I wasn’t terribly attached to her relationship with him, but the episode itself was one of the best in the series. She is definitely a heroine for any young girl to look up to, and I can say that even though she would never make the official lineup she is my favorite Disney princess.

(Also, Mira was voiced by actress Nicole Sullivan, who also played Shego in Kim Possible.  I have asked repeatedly for Sullivan to come to Salt Lake and it hasn’t happened.  So if they won’t bring me Mira Nova, I’ll bring Mira Nova to them–aka that’s part of the reason I’m doing the cosplay.)

Buzz with his fellow ranger Ty Parsec. via Tumblr

While the central cast is the glue that holds the series together, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command offers a host of supporting and minor characters that are to die for.  Other heroes of the series include Commander Nebula, the head of Star Command; Buzz’s love interest biologist Osma Ferbana; the President of the Galactic Alliance, the adorable LGMs; and Cosmo the diner operator. The villains are delicious: there’s Zurg with his grubs and brainbots but also the malicious Gravitina, the sinister energy vampire NOS4A2 who delivered some of the most thrilling episodes of the series, the egotistical Torque, and Buzz’s traitorous old friend Warp Darkmatter, now in the employ of Zurg.  We even get a few characters in between, like the Star Command Psychiatrist, Mira’s father priggish father King Nova, and the scumbags on Tradeworld.  If you like the worlds of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy you will love this show. 

My mother is a huge fan of BLoSC, and she says it’s not just a show for kids but there’s humor for the adults as well. Watch The Adventure Begins if you get the chance, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.  If someone knows of a way to watch the show online (preferably for free) let me be the first to know, I may start looking myself, but Disney seriously needs to release the show in DVD/Blu-Ray so the fans aren’t as tempted to pirate it.  In the meantime, I am getting very, very close to finishing my Mira Nova cosplay, and I will have pictures for you.  Hope to see you at FanX!

50 Good Books: Where the Sidewalk Ends

It might surprise some of you to find out that I read more than just Fantasy and Science Fiction novels. I also read various blogs and of course comics, and occasionally, I will read something random like a collection of poetry. Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends is a classic and should be read and enjoyed by everyone. His poems are quirky and fun and absolutely brilliant. Of course I would recommend this classic to anyone, along with his other titles like A Light in the Attic and Falling Up, and of course the ever wonderful The Giving Tree (which, because of the title, I always confuse with The Giver. They are two totally different books).

Continue reading

Lucy Goes to Marvel Universe Live

Lucy heading to the show.

This is Lucy. If she looks excited in this picture, it’s because she is extremely excited. In this picture she is riding the train, heading downtown to see Marvel Universe Live, and she cannot wait. More than any of our other kids, Lucy has always marched to her own drummer. She decides what she likes and what she is into based on, well, what she likes. And she loves Thor. She is obsessed with Thor. He is by far her favorite super hero. She has a birthday coming up, and we had the opportunity to bring her to Marvel Universe Live, which is a large stunt show based on characters from Marvel Comics. We thought she would really enjoy it. And boy, did she.

Continue reading

50 Good Books: Star Wars: Lords of the Sith

I am one that normally does not like the villains. I am not usually one that can cheer for the villains or see one of them as the main protagonist of the story. For that reason alone, I was unsure about wanting to read Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp. I didn’t want to spend my time trying to get into a story where Darth Vader was the main protagonist. It just didn’t interest me. The more I thought about it, though, the more I was intrigued and found myself curious to learn more about Darth Vader.

Continue reading

50 Good Books: The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time, Book 4)

One thing that seems to be becoming more and more unpopular is reading. I was at a get together a while back. My wife and I were sitting at one table with my brother and his wife. The four of us are pretty avid readers (although I am not as much as I would like to be), and we overheard another table talking about how they hate reading. They laughed about how they would much rather just wait for the movie to come out, and if they don’t make a movie about a book, then the book probably wasn’t that great. The four of us just looked at each other with wide eyes. We all felt pretty strongly that the other table simply had it wrong.

Continue reading