Late last night I stumbled upon an odd little gem on YouTube called ‘Mystery Incorporated’, a live action 53 minute long pilot that was just released that’s based on Scooby Doo. We basically got a brand new mysterious teen drama featuring the iconic mystery solving gang, funded completely on Kickstarter that also most definitely feeds off of that “Riverdale” type of vibe. It sorta feels like a live action version of the incredible animated series Scooby Doo! ‘Mystery Incorporated’ from 2010. A Scooby Doo “prequel” just like this one!
Being a big fan of Scooby Doo, this was quite a nice little late nite surprise to stumble across. I had no idea that this was something that’d been in the works for a while. As of right now there’s only one episode, which apparently was completely crowd funded. But did it quench my Scooby Doo thirst?
Well, it’s definitely grounded more in reality in some ways and in other ways more fantastical than some of the incarnations of Scoob’ we’ve seen in the past. First and foremost don’t expect a talking dog, Scooby here however is the perfect looking live action incarnation of the iconic character.. The same thing can be said about the rest of the gang, they all look great, but have much more of a real world vibe than any previous versions we’ve been presented with.
It’s teen drama/mystery with a true supernatural aspect unlike the original series. It also harkens back to the OG series with lots of fun easter eggs and character traits. You might notice even some familiar classic adversaries of the ol’ gang. At first this reminded me of 2012 ‘Saturday Morning Mystery’ a horror movie that spun the same type of “Scooby Doo” narrative. If you’re a fan of Scoob’ you might want to check that out just for the hell of it. It”s quite interesting on how dark it is, maybe not the best version of a Scooby Doo themed horror movie that I would have loved to have seen, but still I dig the effort that went into the concept.
Over all I think this pilot was pretty well filmed, it looks slick and the special effects were also quite well done with a pretty cool practical fx creature/villain. Of course some of it’s dialogue does feel a little bit hokey (but it IS based on Scooby Doo) and “CW network” feeling at times. We get an overabundance of cheesy pop music, which I could’ve done with less of, but it’s clear there’s a lot of love that went into this. Clear love for the classic with a modern spin and twist. I’ve also been reading a book that’s similar in style to this called “Meddling Kids” although much darker and intense. That’s a definite recommendation for Scooby fans of the older age.
I’d also like to add that even though Scooby Doo doesn’t speak in the pilot episode I see several ways where that could clearly change that in the future by way of the supernatural elements involved. Anyway if you’re bored and find yourself going down weird YouTube rabbit holes definitely give this a try if you’re a fan of Scooby Doo! Or just watch it right here:
So it seems that the ‘Masters of the Universe’ right now are all the rage for ALL the wrong reasons! Yes, Kevin Smith is in the hot seat for his Netflix masters”He-man” series, having watched the first 5 episodes I will admit, I was pretty freakin’ underwhelmed. The animation was indeed pretty great but some of the voice work I wasn’t a fan of and the general storyline feels like Kevin Smith’s failed attempt at recreating the Transformers movie from 1986 while trying to model the series after what’s trending on Twitter. Killing off He-man twice in the first 5 episodes was a bit of a disappointment and having the “new & improved” Teela take over the entire show was all too predictable in this current landscape of the oddly forced “strong female lead” narrative. I mean if we wanted a female He-man we already got one: where the hell is She-Ra dammit? The show is only halfway finished so maybe Kevin Smith will redeem himself with some masterful storytelling, however I don’t have too much faith as the guy hasn’t made a good movie in about 15 years. I mean has anyone actually ever been able to finish ‘Yoga Hosers’? DOUBTFUL!
All this made me want to take a moment to go back to my childhood as I was a huge collector of the Masters of the Universe toy line and a BIG fan of the cartoon. My favorite thing about the toys were most definitely He-man’s cast of colorful villains! So I wanted to take a moment to throw out there my top 5 favorite He-man action figures which were most def always the bad guys!
Of all of them I’ve gotta say that ol’ Trapjaw was easily my favorite as a kid! His movable jaw, his interchangeable weapon arms and just his rad look in general made him my all time favorite Masters of the Universe action figure! This guy was a true bad-ass, I literally carried him around everywhere with me.
I really love this fucked up bad dude, he’s so damn bizarre & cut from a different cloth than the regular Masters of the Universe action figures. I’d spend hours trying to configure him into the weirdest shapes and sizes that I could, big & small! Modulok was one of the coolest, and also a bit frightening! If you bought two Moduloks you could make him even bigger and weirder!
Oooooh yeah this guy was a damn gem, a true freak of nature! When I first saw him in Shopko I was so PUMPED! He was also cut from a different mold with his 2 heads and strange giganto torso along with his spring action arms made him a true freakazoid enemy of He-man!! Two Bad was double the pleasure and two time the EVIL!!
Oh boy, I couldn’t get enough of Whiplash!! the first time I saw him in the package at Toy R’ Us I begged my mom To let me take him home with me. This bad-ass, green reptilian, half breed alligator man was one of my favorites and his rubbery tail could certainly give Prince Adam the ass whoopin’ that he always needed. Easily one of my favorite action figures of all time! I’d take this dude in the tub with me for a swamp alligator style MOTU adventure – He-man was truly put to the test…thos were the days. Get bent Kevin Smith! Ahhh!
Oh I just loved this freaky crab human hybrid baddie SO damn much! As a kid I had hermit crabs and as an adult I still got one! So when I saw this guy At K-mart it was love at first sight! I don’t know why, but as a kid I was obsessed with crabs and crayfish. When Skeletor added Clawful to the mix you wouldn’t hear me complaining. Nope, I dig his fiddler crab style look and his spring action giant claw hand was his greatest selling point!
Damn it how I fucking loved Hordak! I was so happy with his introduction a fresh new bad guy and IMO he was cooler than Skeletor. He was a truly exciting addition to the evil gang and not only a rival to He-man but ALSO to Skeletor. So many good times with this evil asshole, but you know what, the whole damn ‘Evil Horde’ needs to make this list, they were all so bad ass and unique and screw anyone who thinks Grizzlor and Manteena were stupid-they were fucking rad-Kevin Smith you could redeem yourself by bringing in Hordak and his crew to kick Teela and Skeletor’s butts and just bring She-ra back to fight them ALL!
Legendary epic power metal band Iron Maiden has just dropped a brand new god damn song called ‘The Writing on the Wall’ which is accompanied by a brand new fully animated video that channels the cult classic style of the 1980’s movie ‘Heavy Metal’!
This 7 and a 1/2 minute long fully animated music video showcases a post apocalyptic distopian future with warring global factions hellbent on ending all civilization. It also features plenty of action, cyborgs, monsters and ghostly motorcycle riding wraiths. All with a soundtrack by the epic band. It also features their mascot Eddie in a battle to the death against the evil forces that plague the planet! At this point we can only speculate and hope that a new album is right around the corner- Maiden fans rejoice!
I finally checked out an animated movie I’ve been curious about for years! ‘The Plague Dogs’ from 1982 is from the same team who brought us ‘Watership Down’ so if you’re familiar with that you know right off the bat that you’re in for something quite special. Like Watership down The Plague Dogs is hardly a children’s movie, it deals with some pretty damn heavy stuff. We the follow two dogs Snitter (John Hurt) & Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) who’re caged in a lab where they’re continuously abused by scientists for testing purposes.
However one day, one of the “white coats” (as the dog’s call the doctors) accidentally leaves Snitter’s cage door ajar and both him and Rowf escape to the open countryside. In the wild they struggle to find food and shelter and find help from a mischevious fox named the Tod (James Bolam). The three of them go on an epic journey. where the two dogs long to find a new kind family to take them in, but once the Government tell the locals that the two of them are infected with the bubonic plague, it becomes a race for survival as true danger lurks around every corner.
The Plague Dogs goes in some shockingly dark directions, some sequences so surprising I’d paused the movie to double check the rating. Much of it’s admittedly depressing and bleak but done so beautifully with it’s animation and painted backdrops that’s it’s really worth the effort. It’s the morning after and the movie still weighs heavily in my mind so much so that I’d really rank this in the top 10 best animated features I’ve seen. There’s so much heart in it’s characters and by mid point in the movie there’s nothing more I’d wanted than to see these characters get a happy ending. Be warned though, this one doesn’t play out like a Disney movie of the 80’s, no one remains safe here and some of the directions it goes in will literally have you on the edge of your seat. At least it did for me. All that being said I’d wondered who they made this movie for back in the early 1980s, as most kids seeing it might be fully scarred after viewing. I suppose ‘Watership Down’ follows this same formula and has a similar reputation. I’m surprised it took me this long to finally view as it’s clearly in a league of it’s own, one that nearly had me in tears several times, unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. Continue reading
I’ve been hearing lately that the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie franchise is going to again be rebooted after the shit show of the Michael Bay era of the reptilian heroes in a half shell. So it sparked me to revisit the original 1990 movie the other night which I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so. I was amazed at how well that movie has aged, seeing it in theaters back in the day I’d enjoyed it but kind of dismissed it as “kid stuff” at the time as my older brother in the 1980’s collected the original indie comic series and I’d had the chance to read them as a kid. If you’re aware of the TMNT early beginnings you’ll remember that it started off as a dark, gritty & violent comic series. I was blown away back then at the sheer oddity of the characters and the equally bizarre story lines of the originals. When I decided to revisit the 1990 TMNT film I’d forgotten just how dark that original movie actually is, especially considering today’s climate of safe moviemaking. The movie is almost closer to an R-rating than it’s original rating of PG. There’s kids smoking & drinking alcohol, robbing people, the foot beating up April O’neil, Raphael beaten into a near coma by The Foot and a badly beaten and bloodied up Splinter strung to a fence. It’s actually a pretty dark and gritty movie with the addition of the comedic surfer dude Turtles to lighten things up.
So currently we’ve got these new “TMNT” flicks, a big bloated Michael Bay produced, soul-less mess of CGI, uninspired storytelling and poor character development. The current franchise just hasn’t been connecting with fans the way they’d hoped, mainly with the amount of money that the films have made. Now they’ve got plans for a brand new reboot and it’s never been more clear just what this franchise needs to do: go old school.
So first off let’s address the obvious big issue, imo the latest Michael Bay era CGI Turtles look terrible. They’re massive 8 foot tall green hulking humanoid turtles with creepy ass faces and not in a good way. Compare the newest incarnations with the very original designs. They couldn’t be more opposite. Even the Turtles of the 1990 movie do essentially look pretty much like what you’d hope for, sure they’ve been made much cuter but they stay fairly true to the original vision. So let’s face the facts, the original designs of the 80’s weren’t broken so why try and modernize them by making them the opposite of what they were intended to look like? Bring back the smaller classic versions of these characters, go simpler with their general design. It’s a lot easier to digest and most definitely not rocket science folks.
Next I’d say you could go the similar route that many movies are taking by making the next movie a direct sequel to the original or at least setting the movie in the late 80s’ or early 90’s, it’s clear people love that era of film today (Stranger Things, IT anyone?). That being said bring back the suits!! Put real actors in real costumes with modern day animatronics the Turtles could look absoluterly mind blowing. The 1990 movie Turtles STILL look great and that was with a micro budget of 13.5 million dollars for the whole damn film. What they could do now would be incredible, we all want to believe that the TMNT are actually living breathing creatures and the latest movies sadly look like fakey cgi rendered cartoon characters inserted into the “real world”.
Lets get real here and let’s keep the budget low, we don’t need a TMNT movie to be on the scale of an Avengers film, we need a smaller more personal, more heartfelt movie with high stakes like the original. Next let’s get some real martial arts, real choreography and some real stunts again. One thing that blew me away revisting the 1990 movie was the actual real on screen martial arts that were displayed, it was pretty amazing actually and I’d love to see something in that vein in a brand new Turtles movie. It’d be like nothing out there in the mainstream that’s for sure. Lastly I’d love to see a darker more serious storyline, of course an “R-rated Turtles” movie would be my first choice, one that evokes the original comics would be absolutely insane. However, I know that’ll never happen so I think at the very least going as dark as the original movie would be more than good enough. Let’s see the Turtles roaming the city streets at night, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and roaming the dank sewers. Bring on the amazing real life set pieces, puppets and crazy creatures once again, I think fans would go bonkers for a throwback style TMNT. However I doubt Hollywood has the courage to try something as unique and inspired as the original movie. What do you think?!
Since the second trailer for the Venom movie dropped today, which actually looks pretty damn cool in my opinion, I figured I’d post a cool old skool comic cover of everyone’s fave wicked symbiote way back from 1994. It’s a rad cover and also features Morbius, The Living Vampire teaming up with Venom to kick the weirdo Demogoblin’s ass. Bob Mcleod did the art for this one and as far as old Venom covers it’s one of the best. I’m guessing there’s a big possibility as well that in the movies we may see Jared Leto who’s going to portray Morbius eventually meet up with Venom. Whoopee!
P.S. here’s a cool fan made Venom Trailer from the 90’s cartoon to go along with my totally 90’s Venom post!! CHECK IT!
Wait a second here! How could it be that I’ve never heard of the cartoon ‘Defenders of the Earth’ from 1985?! Up until a few minutes ago I never even knew it existed. This cool 80’s cartoon even aired for 65 episodes and featured legendary comic characters The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Lothar along with their children kicking villain ass. I know, everyone probably has seen the shit out of this show except me, I grew up in Wisconsin, never had cable tv and perhaps there it just simply didn’t air around where I lived?!
Whatever the case I’m a bit stunned I missed out, as a kid in 1985 I would have loved this show. The animation looks solid too, and even as a kid I could tell when cartoons had shoddy work done on them, my first thought was that it looked like the same animators that worked on G.I. Joe. There was even a Marvel Comic book series of it too..
I guess Marvel legend Stan Lee even wrote the lyrics for the damn theme song! Damn! Is this some sort of proof of the Mandela Effect manifesting in my life? Anyway this is like a King Features version of The Avengers and I think this could make a pretty cool little movie. Anyone else miss this as a kid?!!
Wait now there were also action figures too?! What? Hmm….I am perplexed!!
And some Robot Chicken…
I saw a couple really cool animated music videos this week and it really got me wondering – what are the greatest cartoon / animated music videos of all time?! There’s a few that come to mind immediately and I know there are a ton that likely have fallen under the radar over the years.
The videos I’ve chosen are official ones by the actual artist, mainly more of an old school traditional animated or hand drawn style & I’ve steered away this time of the modern CG style stuff. Maybe some day I’ll investigate that further in the mean time check this out and most definitely let me know if I have left something off of the list – so let’s get crackin’ here as we figure out exactly what the coolest animated videos of all time are!!
Descendents – No Fat Burger (2016)
Here’s a brand spankin’ new video from one of my personal favorite bands of all time. The Descendents have been around since 1978 and packing the pop into punk like no other band can. This cool frantic animated video finally finds it’s cartoon mascot (and lead singer) “Milo” growing older and trying to resist eating everything unhealthy in sight. The band now in their fifties still has the energy but let’s face the facts, they just can’t eat the way they used to as teenagers. This is a call back to their classic song ‘I Like Food’. I always wanted to see the Milo character come to life in animation and the wait is finally over.
A-ha – Take On Me (1985)
Here’s one of the most popular videos of all time and it’s animated! Aside from this song being one of the best pop tunes of the 1980’s it also featured this incredible video filled with adventure & pure heart. The song was released several times but failed to chart, however when they produced this amazing video the whole thing exploded. One of the best things about it is that it tells a short action packed story that really sticks with you long after the video is over. The cool rotoscoping animation also gives it a hyper realistic quality no one had ever seen before in a music video. A true classic.
This rad series called HamonQuest is fucking awesome. It takes a real life D&D game and puts it into an animated adventure as it’s happening! What a brilliant idea, I wish I would have thought of this. I always imagine what our games of D&D might look like if we could see them on screen with all of the ridiculous scenarios and decision making that ends up going on.
I always as a DM plan for a serious game but then when you get the actual group together and people begin smoking weed, drinking or being caught not paying attention you often times get a totally different storyline than what you may have originally planned for. Ultimate rpg buffoon-ery to the max. That’s fine by me too, I totally dig the unpredictable nature of a D&D session. Well HarmonQuest puts that grand idea into perspective in an incredibly entertaining way. Check this shit out!
Check out the whole series on youtube and get ready to laugh your ass off!