Yes, I can make this list work. I can come up with 17 reasons that the year 2017 is going to be a good one that are all geek-related. Can you? Is there anything on this list you didn’t think of? Anything I didn’t have room for?
A little over a year ago I had a job working at a furniture store. Guardians of the Galaxy had just come out on Blu-ray and it played on repeat on several of the display television screens, including one that was close to the area where I worked. In spite of not being able to hear the dialogue very well, I became very acquainted with the different parts of the story and the struggles of the central characters.
(I’m writing my Christmas post now because my next post is most likely to be my reaction to The Force Awakens)
This is a bit of my OCD talking: I’m a skeptic when it comes to mixing sci-fi and fantasy with Christmas. I was raised in a family where the religious side of Christmas was always observed, and I’ve continued that in my adult life. Mixing Christmas with Disney princesses or superheroes or so forth can make me a little uncomfortable. Holiday specials featuring these characters can get a little on the cheesy side so I tend to avoid those. Storm troopers in Santa hats? I’ll have to tell you no. If we’re talking fan art, I might be a little more receptive. Yes, I believe that Christmas is “magical,” but I don’t like to mix it with other people’s definitions of that magic. Christmas should be about Christmas! I’m not a total purist, I’m just really picky.
Well, here we are. The final movie in the MCU before Avengers: Age of Ultron. This is our last stop in our trip through Marvel’s world, and just in time as Age of Ultron is opening in the U.S. on Friday. It has been a lot of fun to go back and re-watch each of the Marvel films, but few of them have been as much fun as this one. Guardians of the Galaxy was a real good time at the movies. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, and I continue to enjoy each time I see it again.
When I heard that Marvel was making a GOTG movie, I thought that they would finally have a flop on their hands. These characters are not like Captain America or Iron Man or Thor. They are not as well-known to the mainstream public, so I figured most people would not be interested in seeing a film about a bunch of characters they didn’t know anything about. Especially when one of those characters is a walking tree and another one is a talking raccoon. Then, when they announced Chris Pratt as the lead, I was sure this was going to be a disaster. This is the guy who played dorky Andy on Parks and Rec. No way could we take him seriously as an action star. Then they added Dave Bautista as Drax, and I figured that was the nail in the coffin. Other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, most professional wrestlers who make the jump to acting fail miserably. Marvel had a good run, but this was the end. Not the end, the end, I mean, for sure they would bounce back, but this film was just going to be awful.
Then I saw the trailers for the movie, and I was almost ready to eat my words. Almost. I had also seen the trailer to Green Lantern and thought it looked pretty amazing. It wasn’t. There was still a chance that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to be really bad. Then I saw the film, and it wasn’t really bad. It was pretty amazing. Marvel seemed to do everything right with this movie, and knocked another one out of the park. It was just surprisingly good in almost every way.
I think one of the most refreshing things about this movie was that I didn’t know the characters that well, so it was all really new to me. It felt fresh and different. I know Captain America, I know Spider-Man and I know Superman, so when those films come out, and it’s another origin story, or a well-known storyline, it’s still good, and fun to see it on the big screen, but it’s also predictable. GOTG was not as predictable. It was really outside of everything that Marvel had done up to this point, and opened up a much broader universe. Now we are getting some of the cosmic Marvel stuff. We have met Thanos before, but now we get to see more of the world he lives in. We meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, but we also meet the Kree and the Nova Corps, staples in the Marvel Cosmos. Hopefully, the success of this film will lead to a Nova stand alone film or maybe Adam Warlock. It would be cool to see some of these other cosmic characters start appearing.
Chris Pratt is absolutely an action star. When it was first announced that he would be playing Star Lord, I really didn’t get it. I really only knew him from Parks and Rec. He was incredible as Peter Quill. He was a modern-day Han Solo. I’m not saying he was as cool as Han Solo, but he came a lot closer than anyone else has lately. (Would Firefly be considered lately?) In fact, he was so successful as Quill, that it was rumored a few months back that he was being considered for the lead in a new Indiana Jones movie, i thought to myself, “Duh! Who else would they get?” What a difference one film can make.
The rest of the cast was great as well. I don’t know that Dave Bautista will have a long career in acting, but he was a great Drax. He was my wife’s favorite character. She really appreciated his grasp of concepts like metaphors and humor. His one liners were some of her favorites throughout the film. Bradley Cooper does some amazing voice work as Rocket. Women everywhere were probably confused that they would put Bradley in a role that kept him off camera, but it worked really well. Vin Diesel had one line. They gave him one line, three words to repeat over and over throughout the film. And he nailed it. Hey Disney and Marvel, any time you want to pay me millions to repeat three words over and over again, let me know. I am available.
This was such a classic example of catching lightning in a bottle. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Plus, Marvel was smart they had already well established their brand before this movie came out, so it didn’t matter that most people had never heard of it before. They went just because it was Marvel. This was the film that showed that Marvel could make a hit out of any of its properties. Marvel can really do no wrong.
Now that I have made it through all 10 MCU films leading up to Age of Ultron, there is nothing left for me to do but wait until Friday, when I will be seeing the new Avengers flick. It is going to be a long couple of days. Guardians of the Galaxy was a great way to end my trip back through the MCU. I really enjoyed this film quite a bit. What were your thoughts on this movie? Let me know in the comments.
So, you’re planning on going to FanX 2015, which starts one week from today, and you don’t have a lot of cash? I fell you, brother. You’re not alone, but sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes it seems like all the con has to offer is Photo Ops and Autographs, and you just can’t afford it. Have no fear, you’re friendly, neighborhood geeky mormon is here to help. I know there are other lists out there, highlighting all the great guests coming and what not, but this list is my list, and hopefully you might find it useful. I have tried to include only free things, so other than your entrance into the con, this list won’t cost you an arm and a leg. There are a couple of exceptions, but trust me when I tell you they are minimal. I also only included one activity for Saturday, because I won’t be at the con on Saturday, so believe it or not, there isn’t much that excites me that day. Everything on this list is legitimately something I want to go to while I am at FanX, so if you go to these panels you may run into me. Fell free to stop me and say hi. I would love to meet you. Anyway, to the list!
10. KidCon Crafts
At least one of the days, we will be braving FanX with the children (probably Thursday), which means that this caught my eye. KidCon is not new, it has been around since last year’s FanX and made an appearance at last September’s Comic Con. FanX was pretty good, but Comic Con was less than impressive. I am hoping that it will be great again this time around, because it is a great place to come and enjoy with the kids. What gives me hope this year is that they will be doing crafts at the KidCon, and they’re free, according to the website. Two reasons why this is awesome: 1. Kids love doing crafts and 2. It gives them a cool souvenir from the con that costs you nothing extra and is totally unique to them. Yay crafts! They even have a schedule on their website of which crafts they will be doing when. You can check it out here.
9. The Vendor Area
This can get very expensive, so control yourself. That being said, you can’t avoid the vendor area. It is a big part of what is at the con. It is not just people selling stuff, though, so it is really worth checking out. There are some unique things, but beware, a lot of the things can be found cheaper on the internet. Another thing to watch out for is comic book vendors. There are a lot of them there, and some are less reputable than others and may or may not charge more than they should for what you are getting. My suggestion, stop by Black Cat Comics. Greg and the gang will take care of you. If you insist on spending your money in the vendor area, wait until the last day, you’ll get better deals.
8. Artist Alley
This is one of my favorite parts of the vendor area. I love looking at the different artwork here in Artist Alley, and you can usually snag a signed print for not too much, which goes great on your geeky art wall, which I assume everyone has, just like me. Usually these booths are manned by the artist themselves, so that is even cooler. These aren’t usually the really famous artists, although some of them are here as well. Check it out, and if you do spend money, it will be helping to feed a starving artist for like one night.
7. “She Turned Me into a Newt!”: Monty Python’s Holy Grail Turns 40
One of the best things to do at these conventions if you don’t want to spend a ton of extra money is to go to the panels. I’m not talking about only the celebrity panels, but the con offers panels on a variety of interesting topics, and there is something for everyone. This one looked particularly interesting to me. If you didn’t know that Monty Python and the Holy Grail were turning 40, don’t feel too bad, neither did I. When I saw this, though, I thought, “Sign me up.” I love this old, quirky comedy, and I think there are a lot of fans of the show out there. What could be more fun than running through all the memorable scenes and quotable quotes? Nothing. It would be an hour well spent. This panel is at 12:30 PM on Friday in Ballroom B.
6. Voice Actor Script Reading
FanX 2015 has some great voice talent coming to the show. These are some amazing performers who do something that everyone thinks is easy, but it’s actually really hard. A year ago, I would not have been that interested in this, but I saw a documentary on Netflix called I Know that Voice, and I realized just how amazing these actors are. It would be a ton of fun to sit in a room and listen to and watch these performers read through a script together. The details don’t tell us which script they will be reading, but I am sure they will read something off the wall and unexpected, which will only add to the entertainment factor. This panel takes place on Friday at 4 PM in room 250 A.
5. Official Cosplay Contest
This is an event not just for Cosplayers, but for members of any fandom. If you, like me, lack the skill, talent, or ability to build costumes like you see others wearing at the con, then hopefully you, like me, can appreciate how amazing said costumes are. This is a great opportunity to see the best of the best. The actual show starts at 6 PM on Saturday (this is the one Saturday event I mentioned), but it is after hours of judging and competition that runs through the whole day. The participants, most of them have worked long and hard on their costumes, and now you get to sit back and appreciate the fruits of their labors. The admission is free, and it’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss any of the best cosplay at the con. Of course, this event is in the South Ballroom.
4. I’m Hooked on a Feeling: How Marvel Turned Guardians into the Biggest Blockbuster in 2014.
Unfortunately, we just found out that Guardians was not the biggest blockbuster in 2014. That being said, it was my favorite blockbuster from 2014. And it’s not even close. That surprised me, since I was originally thinking that Marvel was making a bad decision with this property. Then they announced some of the cast, like Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista, and I thought, “See? They’re not even trying.” I have seen the error of my ways, and now realize that Marvel is simply the most amazing studio out there, and from now on, when their films come out, I will just be prepared to give them my money. But how did they take a property no one had heard of and turn it into such huge success? This panel will discuss that, and I want to hear about it. It is on Friday at 8 PM in room 250 A, so a great way to end your night on Friday.
3. Karen Gillan Panel
Amy Pond was one of my favorite companions on Doctor Who, and she was one of my wife’s favorite companions, so this is a must see panel for us. Here is the one problem with these big celebrity panels: They fill up quickly. I have this one on the list , but honestly, I don’t know if I will make it in because I don’t know if I will be willing to wait in line for it. However, I think it will be entertaining if we do make it in and worth the time to sit and watch, not just to hear about Doctor Who but Guardians as well. The panel is on Thursday at 5 pm in the South Ballroom.
2. Christopher Lloyd
Great Scott! Who, in my generation, did not grow up watching Back to the Future? In my opinion, it was one of the greatest SciFi trilogies of all time, and one of the main reasons was Doc. Christopher Lloyd has always been one of my favorite actors as a result of my love for those movies. What a cool opportunity to go and listen to him talk about all of his adventures in Back to the Future and beyond. I can’t imagine that he will disappoint as a speaker and presenter. This is another one that I want to go to badly, but I don’t know how quickly it will fill up. Hopefully I can find a seat somewhere, maybe in the very back. I just want to get inside and be there, that’s all. The panel is on Friday at 11 AM in the South Ballroom.
1. Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience
This is the one thing that will for sure cost you money, and if you don’t have tickets, I’m sorry it is sold out. Before you get all upset because this is a list of ways to have fun at the con without spending a ton of extra money, just know I bought the tickets when they went on sale and I bought the general admission tickets that were $15 each, so it wasn’t that expensive. I couldn’t pass this up. Matt Smith was one of my favorite Doctors and he was my wife’s favorite Doctor, so we both really wanted to go. I am not getting a photo-op or an autograph, because that is way too much, but really, the more interesting thing for me is listening to these actors and performers and participating that way. This event is on Friday at 5:30 in the South Ballroom.
There you have it, my list of 10 things to do and see at the FanX that won’t cost you an atom or a leg, except the Monty Python panel which may literally coat you an arm and a leg (‘Tis but a flesh wound!) If you would like to check out the full panel schedule because, well, you’re into different stuff than I am, then look here. Just know that the schedule is always subject to change, so be ready and willing to be a little flexible.
Did I miss anything that you are dying to see? Let me know in the comments.
August is almost over, which means a couple of things. The summer blockbuster season is coming to a close. This year was a slump compared to last year, and what will that mean for all these big budget super hero flicks coming down the pipe? End of August, beginning of September also means that Salt Lake Comic Con is almost here. We are less than a week away, and your humble blogger can’t wait to be there among his native people: Geeks. Here are a few stories from this last week:
The Tick is Returning with Patrick Warburton
Technically, this news just broke today, but I would be an irresponsible blogger if I didn’t include it in this post. People.com is reporting that the live action Tick televisions series is returning to Amazon and their streaming service. Even better news, Patrick Warburton has reportedly already signed a contract with Amazon to return as the big guy for the series. Honestly, would it have been the Tick if he wasn’t coming back? This was a short-lived, quirky series, but a classic. Plus, I love almost anything Patrick Warburton does. He could make reading the phone book funny (for our younger readers, the phone book is a now extinct book that would come out each year with a listing of phone numbers in your area. IT has now been replaced by the internet). Take the opportunity to congratulate Warburton, as he appears at the Salt Lake Comic Con this upcoming week. I wonder if this means we will see an upTICK in Tick cosplay…(see what I did there? UpTICK, like the Tick? Get it?)
GOTG Continues Strong Box Office Showing
Guardians of the Galaxy was already the biggest hit of the summer, but as of this week, it has surpassed everyone to become the biggest domestic hit of the year, beating out Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And, with nothing big coming out in the next month or so, it looks like it will continue to have a strong run. Some experts are predicting that it could break the $300 million mark. This is a huge hit for Marvel and their parent company, Disney. This was a property that no one had ever heard of except for hardcore comics fans. Now it is the biggest domestic movie of the year. Behold the power of Marvel!
Hawkeye’s New Suit for Avengers: Age of Ultron
New set pics have revealed how Hawkeye will look in the new Avengers movie. Personally, not a fan. I don’t like the long coat. IT just seems pointless and it would get in the way with all the running and there jumping. I liked his look in Avengers, and that they carried that look into the comics. I think Hawkeye is a very interesting character because he has no powers, at all, and he is trying to keep up with all these super powered team mates. It’s pretty cool, and I felt like he looked pretty cool in the last film. Despite not liking this look, I am eternally grateful that it isn’t this look:
Salt Lake Comic Con Rounding Out Their Guests
I know I give a lot of love to the Salt Lake Comic Con, but they are the biggest convention out my way. I love that we have something like this here locally that I can now attend without spending a ton of money. As we get closer to the con, they have been making the guest announcements left and right. Some of the highlights recently have been Paul McGann and Colin Baker, who both played the Doctor in Doctor Who, as well as Ron Perlman, who played HellBoy in arguably one of the most underrated super hero movies ever, and Eric Roberts who played the Master opposite McGann’s Doctor in the Doctor Who TV Movie. I expect that we will be hearing about more guests as the Con draws closer. I have seen lots of people posting that Matt Smith is going to be there. None of these people are Bryan Brandenburg or Dan Farr, so take it with a grain of salt, but maybe the rumors will pan out. For a current list of the guests scheduled to be at the Salt Lake Comic Con, please click here. You can also visit their site’s home page for more info on tickets, autographs and photo ops, and special events.
That’s it for now. Please check back next week. We should have plenty of follow-up from the Con and more geek news.
This is a new weekly feature here at the geeky mormon. It will cover some of the big stories affecting the world of Geek each week. It will include some brief summaries of the story, followed by a link to the original source. Enjoy!
Guardians of the Galaxy Another Big Hit for Marvel
Despite the fact that most mainstream Marvel fans had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy before this film was announced by the studio, they all showed up in droves. Many people were predicting that because people had never heard of these heroes before, no one would come out to see the movie. It would be Marvel’s first flop. I’ll admit, when I heard that this film was going into production, I was among the group predicting that nobody would want to see it. It has a talking tree thingy and a raccoon as two of its main characters. However, there Marvel machine got behind their big budget film and promoted the heck out of it. And, as an added bonus, the trailers made the film look pretty amazing. Say what you will, but I believe there were a lot of people who went to this movie simply because it had the Marvel label. Fortunately, it doesn’t suck either. It opened with $94 million last weekend, the biggest opening ever in August, and the 3rd biggest of the year. Let’s see if it can hold on to the top spot this weekend as it goes up against TMNT. I know, it should be a no brainer. TMNT has gotten horrible reviews, but remember, so did all the Transformers movies, also Michael Bay projects, and they all scored big at the box office. Click here to see the whole story on the box office numbers for last weekend.
TMNT May be a Bigger Hit than We Thought
See if this sounds familiar: Big movie company hire Michael Bay to come in and take an old children’s franchise and turn it into a major motion picture, big budget and all. He comes in, adds that signature Michael Bay touch, and totally ruins it for original fans of the franchise. He also ruins an evening for critics across America as they go and have to sit through the movie to review it. It does not go well for Bay with the critics, and they spend their time trying to warned people about the movie, begging them not to go. Everybody goes anyway, and the film is a huge hit, spawning numerous sequels. I know, you’re thinking Transformers, but wrong. This is exactly what is happening again with Bay’s latest project, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Every review I have read has talked about how awful this movie is and has warned against going to see it. People read this stuff, I know they do. People know how awful the Transformers movies have been. They know what to expect, but the news coming in about the box office so far is demonstrating that nobody cares. They are all going to see this movie. The reports are saying that it could bring in around $65 million so far. Why? Geeks are nostalgic and they just can’t resist a film that might bring back some good memories. Unfortunately, this will only mean more garbage like this will be made. Click here to read more about the TMNT opening.
DC Calls off Major Movie Stand Off with Marvel
The big showdown we were all looking forward to in 2016 has been called off by DC. They moved the release date for Dawn of Justice back to the end of March instead of May 6 where it would compete directly against Captain America 3. It was going to be a match for the ages, and a great weekend of hiding out at the theater for hours for geeks everywhere. This move seems like it is DC waving the white flag before the war could even start, and I think it awfully interesting that it came out right after Guardians’ epic opening. In addition, DC also announced 9 other dates that will be the opening of other DC films, although they have not announced what they are. Click here for the story and the list of dates. As you can see, DC is not competing directly with any Marvel film.
SDCC is Still a Big Bully, Sues Salt Lake Comic Con
As we have all heard by now, SDCC is not happy with Salt Lake Comic Con because of the use of the term “comic con”. As SDCC was going on, the event organizers sent a cease and desist letter to Salt Lake Comic Con. I shared my thoughts on the action here. Salt Lake responded with big no on the request from SDCC, so the convention giant has responded in typical jerky fashion by filing a lawsuit with a US District Court. If they win, it will set a precedent that will cary over into disputes with other events throughout the country that use the term “comic con” in their title. Salt Lake is not just fighting for themselves, but for the little guy conventions everywhere. If they win, it will be a victory for all cons not associated with SDCC. If they lose it will be a big blow to the same conventions. There are currently around 24 major conventions throughout the country that use “comic con” in their name. The full story can be seen by clicking here for the article in the Salt Lake Tribune.
That will do it for the news this week. Do you have any stories that should be featured here? Let me know, tweet the link to me or add it to the comments here or on Facebook. Did I miss a major story? Again let me know. Thanks for reading.