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“TRON: Legacy”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s finally here! After years of waiting… Flynn lives! I, like may others, have been looking forward to the release of TRON: Legacy for quite sometime. And, now that it’s here, it’s time to answer the million-dollar question… Was it worth it? Ah… Yes?! It’s not an easy question. Look, the first TRON is a classic! It was the birth of computer animation as we know it, and yet it’s not really that great of a movie. It was slow, and the story didn’t always work. When you look at it today it looks like a caveman chiseling a wheel, but then again that’s exactly what it was. TRON: Legacy is much like it’s predecessor in that aspect. It’s not really that great of a movie, but it’s not bad either. It’s just not the greatest movie ever made, and yet that kind of makes me like it even more. Confused? Don’t be. This movie has more in common with its first film, than most sequels do these days, even if that’s not a good thing, it still kind of works.

The story begins with the disappearance of software and game developer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), and then picks-up again 26 years later when his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) finds his father’s old workshop in the back of the now closed Flynn’s Arcade. Sam, much like his father before him, finds himself unintentionally transported to the Grid, a living environment inside of a computer system, where programs live and work. They’re also forced to play games, and if they lose they will find themselves derezzed and erased from the system. So, you know… No pressure. Now, not to give anything away, but we do get to find out what has become of TRON. But to be honest, the filmmakers seem to try and throw in some surprises for the viewers that just don’t work. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they don’t really fool anyone. And if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry I’m sure you would have figured it out on your own, even without my little hint.

I don’t think TRON: Legacy lived up to my expectations, but then again how could it? I mean, when you have years to look forward to a movie you almost always over hype it for yourself. I did enjoy myself though, and would gladly see it again. One of the things I thought could have been better was its use of the 3D. I love that the 3D experience didn’t begin until Sam was in the Grid, but I would have liked some more in your face 3D. I know, in the past I’ve always praised 3D movies for not using the cheesy in your face approach, but I think it would have been great here. I really wanted Identity Discs to be flying straight at me. The 3D gave some really nice depth, but overall it was just under utilized. The CGI recreation of Jeff Bridges’ younger Clu character was at times, amazing! However, to be honest there are a few times, if not more, where Clu’s CGI is painfully obvious. But, if you want to be really nerdy about it, you can justify it by saying Clu is a computer program, so he should look computer generated. Don’t judge me! The music by Daft Punk is outstanding! Add that to the mind blowing visual effects, and it all really helps to immerse you into the world of TRON. The costumes have an outstanding sense of the original look, and manage to make silly looking tights look rather bad-ass. Never the less, TRON: Legacy, much like TRON, may not be a good movie, but I’m sure it will be just as beloved.


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Comic Con 2010

Well, another Comic Con has come and gone, but your old friend Darby is here once again to give you all the news you need to know, and 100% Nerd Flu free.


“Tron: Legacy”

Tron: Legacy was back at the Con this year, and this time Flynn’s Arcade was also able to transport you into the game itself! After you had your fun playing free video games, you are escorted to Flynn’s workshop, where you get zapped into the game and find yourself at the “End of Line Club” a haven for rogue programs. This re-creation of a set from Tron: Legacy was one of the most impressive things at Comic Con this year. I almost didn’t want to leave the room.






“Burn Notice”

It was announced at this year’s Burn Notice panel, that there will be a straight-to-DVD Burn Notice prequel, starring Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, and will tell the story of Sam’s last mission before Miami.





“Predators”

Sadly, Robert Rodriguez announced Thursday, that 20th Century Fox will be releasing a sequel to this month’s new Predators incarnation. I know, not everyone disliked the new movie, but let’s be honest; it was crap, and I’m sure Predators: Electric Boogaloo isn’t going to be much better.




“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”

At the end of the panel for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, director/co-writer Edgar Wright announced that a surprise secret screening was about to take place. He then took a select few of the audience members from Hall H, and lead them Pied Piper style through the streets of San Diego to a theater not far from the convention center. Let me just say, that this is hands down the best movie of the summer! A review will be up here closer to the release of the movie, but take my word for it and buy your tickets now!




“The Walking Dead”

AMC‘s new series The Walking Dead, based on the Image comic, definitely had the biggest presence at the Con this year. You couldn’t go any where without seeing a horde of zombies, or footage from the upcoming show, stopping people in their tracks… Literally. At the panel on Friday we got to see some bloody amazing footage, and I mean bloody in both senses of the word. The cinematography on this show is going to blow you way. The sparkly vampires and teenage werewolves have had their time in the sun, well maybe not the vampires, but I do believe it’s about high time for the zombies. Long live the zombies! Can you say that about the undead?




“Saw 3D”

I was able to attend the press event/panel for the new Saw 3D, or Saw VII whichever one you prefer, and got to see the first eight minutes of the movie. They also unveiled the new eye popping poster, and also announced that this will be the final chapter in the Saw series.





“Green Lantern”

After thousands of people, along with Ralph and myself (Ralph was out there much longer than I), camped out all night just for the chance of getting in to Hall H for the Green Lantern panel, it was finally 11:45AM and thanks to Ralph and Lenny we made it in! On hand for the Q&A was Mr. Hal Jordan himself Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, and directory Martin Campbell. The panel wasn’t overly flashy, but we did get to see a few minutes of footage in the form of a somewhat trailer. It’s less than a year away, but I think I might just have to get in line now!




At the Warner Bros. booth, there was also a floor display of Abin Sur’s body.





“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

At the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides panel, the audience received a special message from Captain Jack Sparrow himself! Does this mean we can stop calling it a trilogy?




“The Stabbing”

Okay, so here’s where Saturday gets a little pear shaped. Two men started arguing over space, or lack there of in Hall H, just after the Resident Evil: Afterlife panel, and just before the Paul panel. It was at this point, that of the one guys ends up stabbing the other guy near the eye with a pen. When news of the event quickly made its way around the Con, the only thing that shocked me was that it doesn’t happen more often. You’ve got thousands of antisocial people all huddled together with other antisocial people, add to that most haven’t eaten or slept in days, and at some point the nerd-rage is going to fly. The best part of all this was the costumes that followed on Sunday.





“Cowboys & Aliens”

Thanks to the amazing Jon Favreau, for the first time in Comic Con history, Harrison Ford graced the Con with his presence, and in handcuffs no less. The handcuffs could have had two meanings; 1) that’s what it took to get him to his first Comic Con, or 2) it was trying to make light of the stabbing that took place earlier. Either way, the crowd erupted when they saw Han Solo being lead to the stage by security.




“The Avengers”

For the first time ever, the cast of the up-coming Avengers movie were assembled in one place, and that place was Comic Con! The video says it all!

Avengers Assemble!!!



But it’s not just all about the movies at Comic Con. One of the best reasons to go to Comic Con is to get your hands on the exclusive toys and action figures only available at the Con… Well that is until they’re put on eBay for five times the original price. This is just a few of them; there really are way too many to list.



Plastic Man

This one was a “Must Have” for me this year!



Attack of the Show

These Gentle Giant Comic Con exclusives, are mini-busts of the Attack of the Show hosts Kevin Pereira & Olivia Munn.



Doctor Who

This years Doctor Who figure is a two-pack of the Eleventh Doctor and one of those lame Dalek redesigns.



Venture Brothers

These old school action figure dolls of Henchmen 21 and 24, were almost impossible to get.



Mo-Larr vs. Skeletor

By far the funniest exclusive at the Con this year, based on the Robot Chicken skit, this two-pack features for the first time ever Mo-Larr and a gapped toothed Skeletor.



One last thing before I go. Every year the studios at Comic Con make these giant bags for people to carry their stuff around in while at the Con. Well the best bags this year, without a doubt, go to the SyFy Channel.

One side of the bag reads “Mega Tote,” and the other “Giant Backpack.” But the thing that makes it so great is that in the fold of the bag it reads “vs.” You’ve got to love that!



Well, that does it for another Comic Con, but Comic Con 2011 will be on July 21st to the 24th next year, so start making your plans now.

“Alice in Wonderland”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s time to go back to Wonderland, and to do so you’ll need your Tim Burton 3-D glasses. This version of Alice in Wonderland is not so much a remake, as it is a continuation of the original classic tale. Of course, it’s also told through the eyes of visionary director Tim Burton, and marks his third remake or retelling if you will, of an already existing movie classic. I’m a huge Tim Burton fan, but I’m truly starting to miss the originality of his former moviemaking. It’s true that these remakes embody the essences of an original Burton film, but there is still this underlying familiarity of the original movies or stories on which the work is based. Which is a good thing for a remake to embody, but at this point I would really like to see Burton take me to a place I have never seen before. We don’t have many visionary directors that can do what he is capable of, and it seems like for the last few years we have been getting the “What if…” versions of Tim Burton films. For those of you that are not huge comic book nerds, “What if…” comics, are a Marvel Comics series that takes a classic storyline, like say… Spider-Man. The comics would raise the question, what if Peter Parker’s Uncle hadn’t died? Would he have learned that with great power, comes great responsibility? And that is exactly what we have here, “What if… Tim Burton directed Planet of the Apes?” Sadly, we all now know the answer to that question.

In this version of Alice in Wonderland, we follow a now nineteen year old Alice, who has forgotten all about her original adventures in Wonderland, and finds herself now facing even more grownup decisions than ever before, which could not be better timing, because the creatures of Wonderland (or Underland as they call it) are facing troubles of their own; and only Alice can save them. I think they did a really good job of putting a new spin on a classic tale, while still retaining some moments from the original story. The movie moves at a nice pace, and Tim Burton’s visuals are anything but boring. The special effects are quite amazing, and it managed to do for me what Avatar couldn’t, which was being able sell me on the movie’s world and characters. I was totally submerged in the world of Wonderland. I cared about the characters. I was interested in the story they were telling. And even though I was familiar with the story they were telling, they still managed to take me somewhere new, and give me an environment that was worth caring about. Okay, maybe I’m laying it on a little thick. The story wasn’t that amazing; but if anything, it just proves that James Cameron did not try hard enough to change his Dances with Wolves storyline in Avatar.

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter is well… Okay. Look, Johnny Depp is an amazing actor. I think we can all agree on that. But, it seems like when he plays these remake roles for Tim Burton, he tends to go too far. He almost over plays the role. I’m not saying it’s a bad performance by any means, but much like his portrayal of Willy Wonka being almost Michael Jackson-ish, it feels like sometimes less could be more. I feel that these characters already have such a larger than life persona attached to them that Depp is almost trying to harness that imagery by playing them as big as he possibly can, when the truth is playing them slightly smaller, might actually give you the same effect in the end. Anne Hathaway, surprisingly, gives a horrible performance as the White Queen. I’m not quite sure what happened there. I would have to imagine that it was the way Burton wanted the role to be portrayed, but I’m afraid it really didn’t work for me. I found it to be very distracting. I couldn’t keep myself from trying to figure out why she was acting that way. The best I could come up with is that the role of the White Queen most likely would have been the role that Burton’s former fiancé, Lisa Marie, would have played if they were still together. He was most likely directing Hathaway as such, which would possibly explain the uncomfortable nature of her performance in the film. Just a theory. On the better side of the coin, Little Britain’s Matt Lucas gives an amazing performance as both Tweetledee and Tweetledum. And what Tim Burton film would be complete without current fiancé, Helena Bonham Carter? Donning an abnormally large head, inspired by the books original illustrations, Carter plays the hot-tempered Red Queen.

Like I mention at the beginning of this review, Alice in Wonderland is a part of the new and ever growing trend that is 3-D movies. Now, I will admit that this new RealD 3-D system works so much better then those old red and blue glasses ever did. But, it’s still getting a little out of control, if you ask me. I enjoy watching these new 3-D films in the theatre, but once you watch the movie at home, I’m afraid it’s just not quite the same experience. The scenes in which the glasses just add depth are fine, but when things are constantly being pointed at you and there is sadly no 3-D there to enhance it, you truly notice just how lame those stunts make the movie look in the end. Also, the 3-D seems to have a hard time handling fast paced close-up action. Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole was very blurry; and because of the glasses, I felt like I might have missed some really nice moments on the way down. Over all, the movie does a great job of delivering a fun, entertaining, and somewhat curiouser and curiouser night at the movies.

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Comic Con 2009

Well, Comic Con has come and gone, but if you didn’t make it down to San Diego your old friend Darby is here to lay it all out for you. The one thing that seems to always be true about Comic Con, year after year, is the fact that it has less and less to do with comics each year. This year it was the teenie girls and their “Twilight: New Moon” that over ran the Con. The one thing I always hated about Comic Con is the standing in line for two hours to get a ticket so you can stand in line for three hours the next day; the whole time not being able to spend any time on the floor. The panels are the same story. Wait in line for hours for a panel and miss a bunch of events while sitting on the floor. The Con is amazing. It’s so much fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But every year, I make a list of the things I want to do, and every year I get like two done if I’m lucky. So, here’s a run down of some of the events that went down at Comic Con this year. Some I got to see and others that I only got to hear about.

 

“Iron Man 2”

The buzz for the first “Iron Man” movie started at Comic Con. So even with production having only wrapped a week ago, nothing was going to stop Jon Favreau from sharing what he could with the fans at Comic Con this year. Appearing with Favreau on the panel was Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Sam Rockwell. After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Favreau’s son Max, they rolled the exclusive clip that introduced all the film’s new characters. “Iron Man 2” will hit theaters in May of 2010.

 

“Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” & “Torchwood: Children of Earth”

At the Saturday night screening of “Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” and the 5th and final episode of “Torchwood: Children of Earth,” fans got a little bit more than they were expecting.

 

“The Green Hornet”

Seth Rogen stopped by the Con to unveil the new Black Beauty, a modified 1965 Chrysler Crown Imperial that he’ll be cursing around in for the upcoming film.

 

“Alice in Wonderland”

Tim Burton premiered the first trailer for “Alice in Wonderland” on Thursday at the Con, with a huge surprise visit from the Mad Hatter himself Johnny Depp.

 

“Avatar”

James Cameron makes up for his lame E3 appearance with over 20 minutes of footage from his already over hyped film “Avatar.” He also announced that fans worldwide would be able to see 15 minutes of the film for free, online on “Avatar Day,” which is August 21st. The film is set to open this year on December 18th.

 

 

 

“New Moon”

“Twilight” fangirls came by the thousands to Comic Con this year. Some would say it was the downfall of Comic Con this year. These two guys were walking the floor on late Sunday with signs to show their displease of the upcoming film’s presences this year. Some of the fangirls stayed two nights outside the convention center waiting in line to attend the “Twilight” panel on Thursday. This was truly the craziness of this year’s Con. There’s always one thing at the Con that you can’t get away from, and you at times just wish would go away. This year it was most definitely “Twilight.” It’s hard to explain. It’s like a high school click. Comic Con is geek’s paradise, and this year the popular cheerleaders stormed the gates and stole the show. “Twilight” seems like the kind of thing that would fit in at the Con, but it really just seemed to overpower everything around it. For the last six years Hollywood has been taking over Comic Con, but this is like the Jonas Brothers performing on the center of the convention floor.

 

“Dollhouse”

The almost canceled series had a screening of the unaired thirteenth episode, which can also be found on the “Dollhouse” Season One DVD set. Look for my “Dollhouse” DVD review here soon.

 

“LOST”

This was probably one of the best panels of the Con. Wayne has already done a write up on this so I’ll just redirect you there. Click Here!

 

“The Hobbit”

Peter Jackson talked a little bit about the upcoming project.

 

“Jonah Hex”

The next DC Comic film, starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, was premiered by the new teaser trailer. The new teaser poster was unveiled as well. I cannot wait to see this movie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Tron: Legacy”

Last but not least… The long awaited “Tron” sequel “Tron: Legacy.” A scavenger hunt sent convention goes around downtown San Diego, and finally brought them to their final destination, a marvelously reconstructed 1980’s arcade, called Flynn’s Arcade! They actually had Flynn’s Arcade tokens! I know! They also unveiled the first teaser trailer. I for one cannot wait!

 

But it’s not just all about the movies at Comic Con. One of the best reasons to go to Comic Con is to get your hands on the exclusive toys and action figures only available at the Con… Well that is until they’re put on eBay for five times the original price. This is just a few of them; there really are way too many to list.

 

The Wonder Twins and Gleek

This is the one I really wanted, but sadly it sold out by the time I stood in line for a ticket to stand in line for a figure. These DC Universe figures are so cool. I love that they make figures for the secondary characters. I can’t wait for the upcoming Question figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LOST Benjamin Linus Bobble Head

This beaten up Michael Emerson bobble head is so cool. The likeness is uncanny.

 

Doctor Who Comic Con Exclusives

Okay, I’m a huge “Doctor Who” fan, and I love the figures, but there just always seems to be just too many of them to buy at the Con. This year there were five, all between twenty and forty dollars, mostly forty. I’m sorry, six figures if you count the Captain Jack Harkness Torchwood figure. I wish they would just make one exclusive figure each year. I would buy that figure every year, but I’m not going to spend over two hundred dollars at one booth. 

 

The Blackest Night 5 Figure Green Lantern Set

 

 

One last thing, before heading back to L.A. I stopped in Eureka to have dinner at Café Diem.

Well, that does it for this year. Comic Con will be July 22nd to the 25th next year, so start making plans now.