Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pokemon Go Wish List

I started playing PG around the time it was first released and am currently only a Level 29. Playing as much (or as little) as I have, there are some things that are on my wish list for future updates.

These are just ideas that I have come up with, not "leaked" info.

1. I wish it showed the HP number on my hurt Pokemon. If it did, I could better judge which potion to use to heal them. No point using a 200 healing potion on a Pokemon who only needs a 50.

2. I wish the Prestige Number was visible when Training so I knew when I could add my Pokemon to the GYM. Like a fool, I stay in the GYM battling until I finish, only to see that not only did a spot open up, but someone else had sniped my spot. GRRR Update: Training is now gone.

3. I would like to add purchasing Great and Ultra Balls to the shop.

4. I would like to be able to purchase [universal] candy and stardust from the shop. Update: Rare Candy added to game, which is a form of universal candy!

5. When arranging my Pokemon by HP, I would like to see the Pokemon arranged by highest HP to lowest.

6. I would remove the pull-down-on-screen-to-exit option. I get so annoyed trying to scroll my screen back up to the top, only exit each time.

7. I would remove Pidgey's and Rattata's from the Tracker all together. These Pokemon are so common and are literally everywhere, I'm not going to travel to find one. I mean, who cares that there is a Pidgey at a Pokestop one mile from my home? I only have nine available spots, I don't want it wasted on Pidgey's and Rattata's when there could be a Snorlax nearby.

8. I would bring back the One Pokemon on my Tracker to represent all of the same kind that are near by. Again, it is a waste of valuable real-estate to show all six Rattata's that are nearby. I would prefer to see one Pikachu, click on it, and a sub-menu would pop up that showed all the nearby Pikachu's instead, and then click the ones I want to track.

9. I would like the Tracker to organize the nearby Pokemon by rarity. The rarest Pokemon would be in the number one spot while the most common would be the last. If this was the case, then No. 7 and 8 of my wish list, I could live better without. With this option it would put that nearby Snorlax in my top three spots that I see on my default screen and all those Rattata's at the bottom, or off the list all together (where they belong).

10. I wish the tracking system showed what was nearby (Sightings, with the grass) and the new Pokestop Nearby. With the Sightings, I wish it at least told you the direction to go to find it. Currently, with just the Pokestop Nearby, when the closest Pokestop is a mile (or more) away, the tracker is totally worthless. Sightings (in the wild) should be priority over the Pokestops. Currently I assume it's the other way around. (see my pokemon tracker rant)

11. Wish in the "Notes" section of each Pokemon it listed how many battles the Pokemon has won.

12. I wish the Eggs had a date stamp on them of when I collected it. When I click on an individual Egg to place it in an incubator, it would show the date when it was picked up. Sometimes I wish I could hatch the egg I just got, or the one that I have had the longest, but have no idea how to tell them part. A date/time stamp would do that. UPDATE: Added to game!

13. I wish I could battle wild Pokemon to make them easier to catch (instead of using Great Balls or worthless berries) - UPDATE it now appears the usefulness of Berries has been improved

14. Wish Incubators came out of Pokestops as often as 10km Eggs. (I wish 10km eggs popped out of Pokestops more often)

15. I wish "Excellent" throws were considered perfect catches each time (i.e. guaranteed not to pop out).

16. I wish it was easier to Prestige a GYM. It takes so much time and effort to Prestige a GYM, that I would rather take one down to put a Pokemon in, than Train at one. If I am trying to Prestige a GYM, and someone comes by and starts battling it to take it down, it is impossible to compete. They will take the GYM down faster than I can boost the Prestige. I have to hang out for 10 to 20 mins to Prestige a GYM to get in. It isn't worth my time or potions only to be kicked out minutes after I leave, or to have someone else snipe my spot that I worked so hard to open. Update: No longer can prestige Gyms

17. I wish Training at a GYM meant something. Am I the only one who feels using the term "Training" should be literal? If I take my 600 Snorlax into a GYM to "Train" I would like to think that it is gaining something, like CP or HP. Perhaps Snorlax can learn new moves after X number of battles. You know, training my Pokemon to get better. Update: Training no longer available in game

18. I wish leaving a Pokemon at a GYM for multiple days gave you a bonus. Sure it's nice to get that 10 coins each day, but each day my best Pokemon sits at a GYM, I cannot do anything with it. I cannot battle with it, I cannot power it up. Nothing. After so many days (weeks), that 10 coins a day just isn't worth it anymore. Similar with Wish No. 17, I wish it gained CP, HP or new moves the longer it stays at a GYM. Update: leaving Pokemon at GYM now gets you "hours" logged for the Gym Leader Badge

19. I wish Lures and Incense did not attract Pedgey's, Rattata's, Weedles, Caterpies, or Zubats. I cannot be the only one who has thought, or said out loud, how worthless Incense and Lures are. I used to see Lures popped almost everywhere when the game was new. Now, I barely see any Lures. I believe that players have wised up and see how worthless they are. Now that all my free Lures have been spent, to get more Lures, I have to buy them at $1.00 each. Lures ONLY lure 1 Pokemon per every five minutes for a half hour. That means, one Lure gives you only 6 Pokemon in a half hour of sitting around. That's a lot of time for not much payout or game play. I can catch more than 6 Pokemon in a half hour of walking, and get egg kms in. In addition, nine times out of 10, you are going to lure 1 Pedgey, 3 Rattata's, a Weedle or Caterpie, and a Sandshrew. That's just not worth $1.00, my time, nor was any fun.

20. I wish Lures and Incense lured more rare Pokemon and at a higher frequency (at least one or two a minute), and it shouldn't matter where you used a Lure or how fast you were moving with Incense to get good Pokemon. Also, being at a Pokestop, if a Lure guaranteed you to lure one 10km egg, it would make it more valuable to players. As-is, these features just are not fun to use.

21. I wish Incense lured nearby Pokemon. I am not sure how it would work, but say you see that Porygon on your nearby list, and just cannot find it. Pop your Incense and that Porygon, and all other Near-by Pokemon, come to you.

22. I wish Pedgey's and Rattata's didn't pop out of balls. They are practically the weakest (green to yellow rings) of all Pokemon and so common that I feel their catch rate should be higher. I get to the point of frustration that if either a Pedgey or Rattata pops out of a ball more than once, I will leave it behind. My balls are more valuable then catching either of them. Seriously, a Rattata popped out of a Great Ball four times before I caught it, and unfortunately it wasn't the Ditto I was looking for.

23. I wish every time I signed out of Pokemon that I didn't have to reset all my settings when I sign back in. I always have to uncheck Sounds, Music, and AR each time I sign back in (not restart the program, but literally "Sign in"), and check ON Battery Saver. Why cannot these settings be saved to my account?

24. I wish my AR worked. My phone is probably one of the only ones that it doesn't work with (Samsung Galaxy Avant), but my AR has not worked since day one. I always get the error "cannot detect phone orientation."

25. I wish in the "Notes" section of each Pokemon it listed if that Pokemon was Hatched, Caught, or Traded (if and when that becomes available). Personally, I would  like to be able to keep track of the Pokemon that I Hatched. They have higher IVs and sometimes good attacks that it could be more prudent to evolve those Pokemon than say ones caught in the wild. I am sure there are people out there would be more partial to keeping Hatched Pokemon vs ones they caught in the wild. UPDATE: Added to game!

26. I wish the Journal was more useful. I have used the Journal from time to time and most of that time I have wanted to check what I caught, hatched or got in a Pokestop, only to find that it has fallen off the list already. I understand that space is costly, but it would be nice that the Journal listed all info for the day, or I was able to log online and view the Journal more extensively. I just don't feel the last 50 interactions is enough.

27. Wish Paras, Staryu, Horsea, Krabby, Goldeen, Bellsprout, Venonat, Nidoran, Diglett and Ekans where moved to 2km eggs. Geodude should be moved to 5km. Pinsar, and Onix should be moved to 5km eggs. I wish hatching an egg wasn't always such a disappointment. UPDATE: pokemon moved!

28. I wish I could play at home. I get the whole, "get out in the real world and catch", but some days and times, it's too awful to go outside, I am too lazy, or just stuck at home, but I still want to play, but cannot. I sit on my couch, thinking "I want to play Pokemon Go", so I turn it on and wait (forever) for it to load and then....nothing. What can I do? No Pokemon at my house, no stops, no GYMs. My Avatar just stands there with nothing to do. Bored. Play another game.

29. I wish all the Pokemon could compete with another. Most Pokemon are no good in battles. They currently cannot compete with the top tier Pokemon at a GYM. I don't know about you, but all I see, ever, in GYMs are Snorlax, Exeggutor, Lapras, Jolteeon, Vaporeon, and Dragonite. That's it. OK, sometimes I see Gyarados and Rhyadon, but not much else. Out of the (going to be) hundreds of available Pokemon, there are only six that are strong enough to battle with. That's supper lame and boring. Now, all I am doing is catching Pokemon to collect them and not much else. To fix this, combine this Wish with "Wish No. 17" and now we are talking. I could train my Pedgey to get stronger and would be useful in a GYM against a Exeggutor.

30. I wish Pokemon where more plentiful. I get bored pretty quickly with catching the same Pokemon all the time. There needs to be more quantity and more variety. It's like playing a RPG and all you do, all day, everyday, is kill sheep to slowly raise your XP. Yawn.

31. I wish I  could combine Berries (i.e. stack up), Pinaps, and Nanabs. I mean, why limit how many berries I want to use to try to catch that wild Rattata? If I had to choose between a Nanab and a Berry, I will go with the Berry every time.

32. I wish Pokemon GO was fun to play. I totally get why so many people have stopped playing. It's frustrating, boring, and everything is too limiting and expensive with little to no rewards.

33. I wish the Pokemon said their names when you touched them (instead of that stupid squeal noise). In the Pokemon Profiles (when you are looking at a Pokemon's stats), you can spin the Pokemon a full 360 as well as tap them once. When you do, the Pokemon does their battle cry or roar. I wish that they spoke their name at that point. It would be fun and also help those who don't know, how to pronounce their names.

34. I wish the Pokedex information for each Pokemon had the description from the show's Pokedex combined with the playing cards.

35.  I wish there was a timer count down when I use either an Egg, Incense, or Lure Module. I don't know how many times I have asked myself "How much time do I have left?"

36. When I am trying to catch a Pokemon in the wild, I wish the tap screen wouldn't be so quick to drop a Pokeball. There have been times when I am trying to tap the "RUN AWAY" button in the top left, only to fat finger it and miss the button. Instead of running away, I dropped (wasted) three or four balls instead.

New wishes
_______________________________________________________________________________

37. I wish I could create a group of pokemon when choosing which pokemon to battle with. When I go into a raid and I have X number of seconds to scroll through my 300+ pokemon to find the ones I want to use, I get annoyed that there isn't a quicker, easier way. What would be nice, is to have "groups" that I can pre-assign pokemon to. I can take the time needed to choose my pokemon for specific battling types. When i go to a raid or GYM battle and it asks me to choose my pokemon, I could just select "Group 1" and it would assign the six pokemon that I added to that group automatically. Easy.

38. I wish I could send a "signal" when waiting at a GYM for more team members. If there was a "flare" option on a GYM that would sparkle or do something to grab other players attention to say "hey, I am at this GYM wanting to do a raid, but need more players, please come here to play". It would be a Player "Lure". Maybe even to be able to "sit" in the GYM and the GYM would display a Number above it showing all the players currently in the GYM sitting and waiting for more players. UPDATE: Added to game

39. I wish I could get in a GYM with my group when we defeat a GYM. It happens every time that I am battling a GYM with someone else to take it down. One player gets in, and I have to wait like 10+ minutes before it will open a spot for me to put in. Not cool.

40. I wish I could exchange candy for rare candy. I have no idea what I am going to do with a 1000 Murkrow Candy. It would be nice if it had some value outside of just powering up a pokemon who doesn't evolve and isn't useful in GYM battles. I mean, maybe it could be an exchange rate, like 10 candies for 1 rare candy.

41. I wish pokemon go came out with their own spyglass. I like the idea of a spyglass option for the tracker (that doesn't work). Like, select the spyglass and you can "roam" around a limited range to see if their are any nearby pokemon. When they pop up in your spyglass view, you will know where they are, then can physically walk over to them to get them. it wouldn't move your avatar, you still have to go to the location, but it would help track nearby pokemon and you can find all those around you  that you want.

42. I wish there was an event timer. I mean, Nianic is terrible and letting players know when an event is starting or ending (i.e. emails show up weeks after an even has started to inform me that there is an even coming), that it would be neat if there was an event count down on the screen. Kind of a motivator to hurry up and go out to catch cuz I only have a day left!. What happened to the NEWS button that showed up under "TIPS?" when events where happening?

43. I wish raid bosses were better pokemon. I mean, seriously. I spent this time to battle a pokemon to earn it, and when I  get it, it's not as high a CP as ones I have caught in the wild, it's not a Pokemon wonder, and its move set is just OK. These Raid Bosses should be top of their line pokemon. Otherwise, why bother?

44. I wish healing my pokemon wasn't so slow. I am not sure why it's so slow, but it terrible. to heal 10 pokemon, it may take me 10 - 20 minutes of sitting there waiting for the program to respond. I tap to heal......................powers. tap to heal........................powers. UGH! I want to tap, tap tap tap each pokemon and go.

45. I wish Pokemon Raid Egg timers had less time before it hatched. I get notices that "a raid battle is starting soon" and it has an hour or so before it hatches. I don't know about you, but for me, that is not "soon". Personally, I do not care that a raid is starting in an hour. I am either walking around, or driving by, and will not be in the area in an hours time. Nor will I wait around for an hour just so see if it's a Pokemon I even want. When the Eggs disappeared for a short while and it was just Raid Bosses popping randomly, I never said to myself "I miss those eggs". If Nianic wants to keep these eggs, have them show up 15 or 10 mins before hatching. For me personally, I don't see any strategic game play usefulness of it at all.

46. I wish the swipe screen to view nearby raids worked. 9 times out of ten I am trying to swipe the screen right to left to view the nearby raids and it either doesn't do anything, or it closes the Tracker all together.

I'll keep updating my wish list as more ideas come to me.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Kubo Replacement Face from Kernel Unboxing

Package arrived for me today. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to own a replacement face from Kubo and the Two Strings being offered by Kernel. With three day priority shipping I couldn't wait till the package arrived after I hit the purchase button. I fantasized about how the face piece would be displayed. Weather it would be Kubo or Beetle, and if it was Beetle, would it be just the face or include a full helmet. Today, all my questions were answered...
hmmmm
Sweet, it includes posters that were not listed as included
Comes with Certificate of Authenticity
#19/300
looks like no display is included, just the head, loose...

My face! Kubo!
...now how am I going to display this...?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie [simple] Review

I just got back from watching Laika's new film, Kubo and the Two Strings. First things first...the two strings...the two strings does not refer to Kubo's shamisen. His shamisen actually has three strings. The two strings refer to something else all together. I wont spoil it here, though, but it's not crucial to the story.

Laika did a great job. Again. Their puppets, animators, set builders, costume designers, painters, etc. are a great team. They are perfecting the craft that is stopmotion animation. 3D printing is definitely their friend. The movie was beautiful and was fun to watch. I really enjoyed it. There is way more action in this movie than, say Coraline, and the Moon King and his Daughters are a bit scary for little kids like Coraline's Beldam and ParaNorman's witch, but I enjoyed it all the way through and had no cringe moments.

Likewise to ParaNorman with it's Anti-Bullying message, there was an underlining moral in Kubo of listening and obeying your parents, dealing with loss, and finding the strength and courage to move on. The ending of the film reminded me too much like ParaNorman, where there was this big visual spectacle of a bad guy, and all our hero had to do was just to stand their ground thus defeating the bad guy with just words somehow. A bit too simplistic since the whole movie is revolved around finding the sun armor, just to bush it way so easily. [spoiler] I was also a bit confused why the towns folk were so quick to lie to Kubo's grandfather of who the kind of person he was in the town. This scene was a nice sentiment, but it felt out of place.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

UPDATE: I purchased the Blu-Ray, and have since watched the movie again. My oldest brother called me asking for clarity on a few things, as he did not understand the ending.
1. Why did the Moonking want Kubo's eyes?
2. Why did the Moonking want to have Hanso killed? I.e. Why was Hanso even a threat to him?
3. What was the point of getting the armor?
4. Why was getting the sword unbreakable important when the only "weapon" that was actually effective was the Kubo's shamisen?

I got to say, Kubo was, in the end, a bit disappointing, mostly do to the final Act of the film. I don't feel that the plot paid out in the end. The whole movie, we are following Kubo to acquire armor needed to protect against, or defeat, the Moonking, but it isn't really clear why this is important, or how it would affect the world as a whole.  But that aside, the armor and sword didn't do any damage to the Moonking, and isn't what ultimately defeated him. Personally, it feels the whole quest was rather meaningless, thus making the whole back story rather pointless.

I am a little confused about the plot holes concerning Beetle. He is Hanso transformed into Beetle. So, he has been in Beetle form for 10 years but his memory and interaction with Kubo imply that he was literally born yesterday. When we first meet him, he is simpleminded, almost child like. As the movie progresses, he grows up personally to adulthood by the time he dies. Why did Beetle grow more in the last few days than he had over the last 10 years alone fending for himself in the wild?

Why, in the last act of the movie, was the entire town, hiding out in the ruins? They all pop up out of no where and their presence here totally feels wrong. Would they not all have left to neighboring towns or family instead of hiding in the ruins in the middle of the night?

Anyways, enough ranting. All that said, just to say that the story just seemed to fall flat at the end.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings at Burger King

Head over to Burger King to get your Kubo Happy Meal toys.

Kubo at Universal Studios

9" Kubo figure was sold for a limited time at Universal Studios. Appear to be all sold out now. Find one now on eBay.

Kubo and the Two Strings Opening Day

Kubo opens today! Get your tickets at movietickets.com

Kubo and the Two Strings Nike

As to be expected with Laika, a limited Nike Shoe with the Kubo theme, is available to win through the Kernel website. It appears that there is only one pair to win? Can only enter ten times. A purchase with Kernel automatically enters you the ten time limit...so...what if you enter with email for one entry, and later down the line make a purchase, automatically giving you the 10 max entries making your total entries to be 11 times. Rules state you will be disqualified if you try to enter more than 10 times. So does that mean if you fall into the above scenario, you are now disqualified from the game?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ParaNorman Cast and Crew Gift - Yet again

Another set of three Replacement Faces have popped up on eBay. The photos and Certificate of Authenticity come from The Prop Store of London. I would assume, it was purchased from there, and now being resold.
Auction by webexplorer88

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Coraline: Linden's Department Store Set Production Desgin

In my regular search for Coraline Props and replicas, I came across this "Production Used" folder for Linden's Department Store. It was put together for the art department and set builders for the Scene where Coraline and her Mother are shopping for school uniforms. It comes with the blueprints of the Department Store (drawn by William Sturrock), photos of the scaled prototype of the set, list of props and decorations to be used in the set, and more. The production folder contains 20 sheets. Each sheet is printed on 11x17 paper. I am unsure if any sheets are missing, as they are not numbered. Being a drafter myself, I am a sucker for blueprints. I did notice that, whichever program that Sturrock used, didn't calculate the dimensions of the set correctly. The inner dimensions does not add up to the full width dimension. Probably something that the set builders noticed when constructing it.
(Photos from eBay user: museumofmomandpopculture)

Anyways, I had to buy it. It's now part of my Coraline Collection. I would love to build a replica of the set, but most likely a scaled down version. The production set was almost 8 feet long and over 3 feet wide. Too large for my living room.

Friday, May 6, 2016

NECA Coraline Little Me Replica Doll IN STOCK

NECA's Little Me Replica Doll is now back in stock at Entertainment Earth. The long wait is over. Buy your's today for only $34.99 plus S&H. These sold out pretty fast they last time they were in stock.

UPDATE: SOLD OUT AGAIN

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings Kernel

Kernel is selling Movie Ticket Packages for Kubo and the Two Strings. Each option comes with news and updates from the movie, a digital copy of the script, 10 entries to win a trip to tour Laika Studio's or entered to win pair of Nike shoes, and one movie ticket. Shipping is in August, I would assume before the Movie release on the 19th. Choose your destiny

Digital Script, Movie News and Movie Ticket $15

Get three Journals, digital copy of the movie Script, and Movie Ticket $30 - SOLD OUT

Kubo Hoodie (red or black), digital Copy of the movie Script, and Movie Ticket $65

3D Printed Little Hanzo Figurine, Digital Copy of the Movie Script, and Movie Ticket $100 - SOLD OUT

Original Replacement Face Prop, Digital Copy of the Script, and Movie Ticket $400 limited to 300

Two Tickets to the Premier of Kubo at Universal Studios LA $1,000 - SOLD OUT

Kubo and Monkey Original Maquettes, Digital Script, and Movie Ticket $10,000 - SOLD OUT
That puts one original Maquette of a main character at $5,000.

The replacement faces option is my personal favorite. It is your opportunity to own an original puppet prop from the movie. It does not specify which character you'll get or how many will be sold, just a picture of Kubo himself with eye patch.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kubo and The Two Strings Promo Journal


Another Promo Auction for Kubo

Laika Kubo and the Two Strings


Just saw the trailer for Laika's new upcoming animated film, Kubo and the Two Strings (Trailer No.1).

Got to say, I am excited for this one. I am surprised that I just NOW heard about it. I saw an auction on eBay that made me go "What is that?" and bam! New Laika film. So far my only eye roll was the joke at the end of the trailer about not being able to blink. Very three year old humor. Other than that, I loved the trailer. I'll keep my eye on this.

3D Printed Kubo and the Two Strings Promo Figure Auction. Same figure being sold at Kernel
by movieheaven1968

Trailer No. 2
Teaser Trailer

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Force Awakens Blu-Ray Target "Exclusive" Rip-off

I bought the Target Exclusive Blu-Ray for $24.99 specifically because it was the only version that came with an additional 20mins of extra footage. This extra 20mins cost me at least an extra $5.00. I say "at least" because they cheaped out on the box, which would have made it cost LESS to produce than the $19.99 cased version.

Now that I bought it, my thoughts....I feel totally ripped off. I am so disappointed with this choice that I want to return it and buy another version. First, the movie with the two extra disks (one special features disc and a DVD of the movie) are exactly the same as the $19.99 version. The packaging, while "exclusive", is totally cheap cardboard. I paid more for less. Pulling the discs out is difficult as they are in there pretty tight. Multiple pulls will eventually tear the cardboard, ruining this exclusive box. Not to mention storing discs in this fashion is a huge risk of scratching the discs. By sliding the discs over the cardboard, in and out, plus gripping the discs with your fingers, will damage them over time. The case, totally sucks. I would rather have bought the cheaper version just for a better case that protects my discs better. Now the bonus content...

...There is NONE. No extra disc, no extra features on the discs. It does NOT come with 20mins of extra footage. Just another cheap paper insert with the digital copy to access the content ONLINE!!! You have to use your digital copy download to view this. For those whom have no internet access and bought this, totally wasted their money. If I had known I would have to view it online only, I would have bought the cheaper version instead and watched this extra content on youtube when someone puts it up there for FREE.

My conclusion...Do not buy this version. It is a total waste of money. I'll put it this way: You spend $5.00 at Target to go home, get online, sign up for DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com, and download App, so you can watch two short clips that you can already view online for free. All you get for your extra cash is cheap box that will ruin your discs and will fall apart. Total Ripoff.

Inside the Armory
The Scavenger and the Stormtrooper

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ParaNorman More Crew Gifts

Ahlstran_0 is selling their Cast and Crew gift Here for $650.00

Cluttermonk22's Cast and Crew gift Here for $1,800.00

ParaNorman Will London Mystery Box 37 of 49

Mystery Box 37 of 49 was been unearthed and found its way to eBay. The tag is addressed to Jane. Here is your chance to get an original Will London stopmotion puppet from ParaNorman. Ebay user Anarayne777 lists it as a rubber action figure, which makes me think that she may not realize it's a prop from the movie. However, the asking price does...
Ebay Auction
Turns out the Prop was sold at a yard sale. What a great find for a collector and fan. It's unfortunate that it was seperated from its box and other items it originally came with.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Coraline Custom Plate


This was painted especially for me at Create-A-Memory by a close friend. She used the Promo image as a template, painted on a blank ceramic plate, glazed and fired. I absolutely love it. I cannot imagine ever feeling comfortable eating off it, as I would be too afraid of damaging or breaking it. It sits on display in my dinning room.


Friday, February 19, 2016

The Nightmare Before Christmas Oogie's Boys Scorpion Box

The Scorpion Box that Shock holds during the Kidnap the Sandy Claws song. This little prop is on eBay. Great collectors piece.
$3,900.00

The Nightmare Before Christmas Teddy Cart

Christmas Town Teddy Cart from The Nightmare Before Christmas on eBay. Such a simple little prop and yet it is still so interesting.
$3,750.00

Boxtrolls Fish Maquette

10" Fish Maquette, sculpted by Kent Melton on eBay. I'm looking at IMDb, and do not see a Kent Melton listed in the credits. He also appears to have sculpted for ParaNorman. I also think that at $8,000 the price is a bit steep (maybe take a zero off that). Looks like the Maquette was originally sold by Heritage Auctions on February 12, 2015, Lot 94171. Photos are definitely from there.

Boxtrolls Baby Eggs Stopmotion Puppet

4" Stopmotion puppet of Baby Eggs from Boxtrolls on eBay. Great photo reference. I am not trying to price bash, but I don't believe that this piece is valued at $15,000. Maybe closer to $1,200 to $2,000.

Might be the same puppet that was sold by Heritage Auctions back in February of 2015. Lot No. 94189

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Star Wars the Force Awakens: Who is Rey?

After watching the TFA three times, I do have some thoughts and reflections on the movie. I know there are some pretty weird ones already out there and some really dumb ones. I don't like to speculate too much, but focus on what we know and what we see.

First there is Rey. Who are her parents? We know she is strong with the Force so it is very likely that her parents too were strong with the Force too. She was left on Jakku as a young child in the hands of Unkar Plutt (that is his hand and voice in Rey's Force Flash). Whomever left Rey on Jakku wasn't interested in who's hands she was left in, only that she was alive. This would lead me to believe that she was not put on Jakku by her parents. When we see her, she mimics both Anakin's life as well as Luke's on Tatooine. Both Luke and Anakin where on desert planets way out in the middle of no where, making them hard to detect/find with the Force. This is likely the reason Rey was left on Jakku too, so she would not be found. Her abilities as a mechanic and pilot also mirror Anakin and Luke. My first impressions is that Rey is a Skywalker. However, she has no memory of who her parents are. If Luke or Han and Leia are her parents, then she has no memory left of them. I can only assume then her memory was taken from her. The names Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker are very well known to her, and the Galaxy. So more than likely they are names she would hear a lot growing up and if she knew those names to be family, she would never have forgotten them. Unless her memories where taken from her, perhaps using the Force?

Kylo Ren seems to know who Rey is. When BB-8 steals a Freighter and escapes Jakku, Lt. Mitaka tells Ren that the droid was with a girl. Ren Force pulls Mitaka to him and demands "What girl?" I think we dismiss this as Ren just being curious, but I think there is more too it. The idea that the droid escaped with help, male, female, or alien, wouldn't be of any concern to Ren. He didn't care about anyone else that helped the droid escape, just this girl. Why? Out of a universe of women, why would he be concerned about a scavenger on Jakku? Unless he knew something more. As the movie goes on and we see the interaction between Ren and Rey, this feeling that Ren knows who Rey is, only grows. So, IF Ren knows Rey, and is worried that she might be the one that Mitaka is referring too, then he knows Rey is on Jakku. If Ren knows that Rey is on Jakku, is he the one who put her there?

Han and Leia also know Rey. Maz asks "who's the girl" and we cut away. Maz senses she is Force sensitive and that there is something more too her. The cut away at this time implies that Han tells Maz who she is. Just a scavenger he picked up on Jakku, or someone more? I would lean more towards something more. Maz points to Luke's Lightsaber as something she should take. It was Anakin's and passed down to Luke, and now passed to her...another implication that the saber is being passed down to family. Maz pushes that the saber belongs to her now. Maz has to know now that she is more than just a scavenger on Jakku. What did Han tell her? Then there is Leia. After Han died and the Falcon returned to D'Qar and Leia embraced Rey, her look was one of seeing a long lost loved one meeting again. We think that she is comforting her due to the loss of Han, but this doesn't make sense to me, as the two hadn't met yet at this point and Leia would have no attachment to Rey to hug her. However, neither Leia nor Han tell Rey, "hey, you're our long lost daughter, who we thought died" so I would move away from Rey being their daughter. If she is, they are still hiding it from her to protect her from something. However, since their looks and overall feeling is relief and happy to see her, no fear in sight, I would speculate that they are not hiding her or trying to keep their daughter in the dark of them being her parents. There is no real reason too. Least none that we know of yet.

In conclusion, my theory is Rey was training alongside Ben Solo with Luke. Ben was seduced by the Darkside (or always was) by Snoke and and killed Luke's new generation of Jedi, but couldn't kill Rey, his own cousin (his Lightside struggle). Instead, Ben (now Kylo Ren), wiped her memory of her family and hid Rey on Jakku unbeknownst to everyone. Rey is more than likely a Skywalker and not Ben's twin sister. Although that is still a possibility as Rey and Ben seem to be approximately the same age. More than likely Rey is Luke's daughter, and he was so devastated at her "death" that he went into hiding. However, a even zanier twist would be that Rey is the offspring of Anakin's brother or sister. Watto did say that he married Shmi off. While we never saw her give birth to another child with her new hubby Cliegg Lars, doesn't mean that it couldn't have happened. Maybe she was preggers when she was kidnapped by the Raiders, gave birth, and the Raiders sold the baby. Or if we remove the PT, and Uncle Owen is actually a relative of Lukes/Anakins (I mean, he is dressed like the Jedi), maybe Owen and Beru had a child before Luke came into the picture and left like Biggs and Tank to fight with the rebellion.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Star Wars the Force Awakens: Review

This review is more of what I didn't like more than what I did.

I have to say, I didn't love the film the first time that I left the theater. I enjoyed it more the second time. I do have a lot of complaints about the film that made it feel more like the prequels (PT) than the original trilogy (OT). While this movie was meant to allow fans to re-live the OT, instead of bringing something new to the table, it would have been nice to see SOMETHING new. I mean, even the TIE fighters went backwards in time. In TESB we were introduced to TIE Bombers and in ROTJ we got TIE Interceptors. In TFA we went back to normal TIE Fighters. True, they now have a gunner in the back, cool, but forgettable. Ren's ship wasn't that cool and too close to a Lamda-Class shuttle, the transport ships where not cool, the Snowspeeder wasn't cool. In fact, I think ALL the ships and vehicles looked like flying bricks. They where all just totally forgettable. I wouldn't want any of them displayed on my desk at work. I honestly had a lot of issues with this film.

The opening scene between Poe and Lor San Tekka was a weak way to start the movie. I was instantly bored watching the interaction between the two and the acting felt stale (especially from Sydow). I was reminded of the prequels opening scenes (TPM) and was getting worried that TFA was going to be another disappointment. The conversation between Ren and Tekka regarding Ren's past and family was hard to sit through because the acting from Sydow was so bad and the point of their conversation seemed to serve no purpose for that moment in time other than to talk to the audience. The acting from Sydow was probably as bad as it was from the terrible lines he had. The acting did get better as the movie went on, but it started pretty rough.

I loved that there were real Stormtroopers (instead of CG ones), more in-camera effects, sets and characters. Loved the designs of the troopers and the background characters (most anyways). I thought Kylo Ren stopping Poe's laser blast with the Force was awesome. That was something we have not seen before. However, I didn't like how plastic and toy-ish everything looked and felt. The sets, ships, costumes, props all took me out of the world and reminded me I was watching a movie on a sound-stage. It just didn't have that real-world, lived-in feel that the OT had. A major problem was the design and look felt like "looking cool" was the number one focus in its development, instead of function. In the real world, function pushes design, not the other way around. For instance, the USB stick that had Luke's whereabouts had this weird geometric design. Apart from looking like a poorly painted solid resin stick, its shape had no function. It didn't go in plugs or sockets with that same shape, like a key. It was purely aesthetic. When I look through the Visual Dictionary of props and costumes, all I see are props and costumes. I do not see a real world developed based on culture or art. I don't see function. I see things slapped together that are ugly and have no reason to being there. That's not Star Wars. That's PT.

The X-Wing was awesome as a real ship on set, but it looked like it was made of wood. I could tell it was a prop (aka fake). In addition to the ships, all the blasters looked fake. They were poorly painted by the prop department (Jamie Wilkinson, Richard Cheal, Toby Wagner). The weapons looked like plastic, the weight of it as the actor held it made it feel like plastic, and it was painted like a massed produced toy that is trying to appear weathered but the painter has really no experience painting. The pistol that Han gave Rey was the only blaster that looked like metal, but it to felt too lightweight and handled weird (like it's weight distribution was off). It was described to me as looking like a block of wood. It had no pleasing aesthetics to it, in my opinion. The weapons did not feel/look like "Star Wars Weapons". This same feeling went to the costumes as well.

The costumes on a lot of characters felt like "costumes" and not something that would actually be worn by that character or in that environment. This also reminded me of the prequels. Leia is a good example. Her costume was terrible. The seam on her arm didn't line up in the shot of her hugging Rey. It was a jumpsuit that didn't look like it fit, it didn't appear to move well with her, and didn't look comfortable. I didn't believe that this was an outfit that she would have worn. It didn't fit her personal style. She had really beautiful hair, but this ugly gray unitard. There are other examples, like the Resistance pilot's jumpsuits being too red and clean, their helmets didn't fit, the chest box being poorly painted and looked fake, but I wont pick apart every costume. In short, the costumes were too gimmicky.

I didn't like C-3PO. He still fell short of the OT and remains in the PT. His voice was all wrong. It's like they added an echo or other effect to it that shouldn't have been there. His style of talking and dialogue felt like he was a preschool teacher talking to babies rather than someone who can interact with adults on their level. His slip saying "Princess" was dumb, as in a years time he is still making that mistake? A computer, mind you. It was a nod to the audience only that felt forced and unnecessary. It was also redundant as this was a comment made already in the first scene of the movie. His comment about his arm being red was also dumb. I am not sure if someone said "The audience wont recognize him with his arm being red, we need a line in there that explains it". Totally annoying. Irvin K. said several times while making Empire that he didn't want to have to explain to the audience the world around the story, but to just focus on the story. We never had an explanation on why his leg was silver or had a comment about it. I also didn't like that his whole costume wasn't chromed his standard gold. He was flat and looked, again, like plastic. Why, in the end was his arm back to his normal color? Painting his arm, or finding one with the right chrome look should be the farthest thing

I didn't like R2. I understand that he was made using all the R2 Builders parts, but he also looked wrong. He wasn't painted or made with the attention to detail and love as in the OT. The blue paint felt like spray paint instead of automotive paint, and his body looked like resin instead of metal. If he was really in low power since Luke left, why hadn't he been moved out of the way, say in storage, sometime over the last 15 years? His reveal when BB8 removed the tarp felt forced. It was a shot for the the fans. For nostalgia, more than for the story line. Things that are a "feel good" the first time you see it, but loose its magic the second viewing. His sudden re-wakening was a "what the heck" moment for me that didn't make sense and seemed too convenient. It really made his whole 'in-low-power' rather meaningless. Any explanation for him re-awakening, other than Luke doing it using the Force, is a bad one. He was out for two seconds then suddenly awake for no reason at all. I didn't feel sad that he was asleep and I didn't feel happy at his awakening. I just didn't care. '3P0's line of "..I don't think he will ever be the same again" is another "huh?" moment for me. He wakes up and seems to be his old self to me. The writer tried to make me feel sad that R2 was "gone" but it didn't work because he was back with no struggle and not out long enough to make his absence noticeable.

I didn't like Finn's dialogue when he was telling Rey he was part of the resistance. "Yeah, this is what we look like". Mildly humorous, to a select demographic of people but not when you see it again and again and again. Similarly the "oh my gosh that was awesome" scene between Rey and Finn after they destroyed the TIE fighters, escaping in the Millennium Falcon, was a moment that gets more annoying with each viewing. Finn as a Character in the story really added nothing for me. If he was removed, I don't think anything would have changed. His scene at the cantina felt like a huge flip for him. This whole time we see him wanting to be with Rey and help protect her and now he pulls a 360 and ready to leave her. It was like "Where did that come from?" I didn't believe it was something that Finn would have done, but went with it as that's where the movie was taking us.

Han playing with Chewie's Bowcaster: I really rolled my eyes on this. Seriously? Han acted like over the last 40 plus years that he had been with Chewie, that he had never seen Chewie's Bowcaster in action. Totally ridiculous. Han even takes Chewie's only weapon away from him in the middle of a battle so he can play with it. Not only does this remove the threat of the scene, but it's over the top comedy to the point of stupidity. I hated this. Han uses practically the same pistol the entire time we have known him, it is clearly his weapon of choice. He would never have taken Chewie's gun away from him, leaving him defenseless, so he could have a little fun. It was great to see the power of the Bowcaster, that was a lot of fun, but would have been cooler if left in Chewie's hands at all times. It would have made Chewie cooler, instead of Han stupider. That's what it did. A little comedy that sacrificed Han's character.

I did like Kylo Ren. Most of the time. The scene with him and Rey was good all the way up till she made a comment about talking to him through a mask (this was the second time we had someone comment about the weirdness of Ren wearing a mask. Redundant writing). This was a line added by the writers to manipulate Ren to taking off his mask for a big on screen reveal. BOOOO. In the Star Wars world, she should have been very used to talking to people, aliens, and other creatures wearing masks. It would have been as strange of a comment as her saying "coming from a man wearing a hat!" uh...OK...There could have been hundreds of reasons for him to be wearing the mask and she should have accepted it as common place as him wearing pants. The second problem I had was the fact he gave in to her little dare and took his mask off. This totally weakened Ren's character. When Vader's mask was taken off in Jedi we finally humanized him, and saw how weak and frail he was. This happened with Ren in this scene. He was intimidating before, now he is just a spoiled kid. We see how childish and weak he is. This reveal was too soon in the story. It would have been better if they waited till his meeting with Han on the catwalk to remove is mask, or never took it off at all. Han commenting that Ren didn't need the mask was another redundancy as we already established this when he first took it off with Rey.

Revealing that Kylo Ren (Ben Solo) was Han and Leia's son was also too soon. I didn't like how they commented that Ren was Han's son, I think, seven different times throughout the movie. Totally overkill. Snoke says "..is with your father" a "what? Han is his father?" moment, followed by "..Han Solo." Yes, thank you, you covered that already with your first line. Snoke really wouldn't need to clarify that for Ren anwaysy. He know's who his father is. You're talking down to the audience now. I would remove the line about it being his father, and just left "Han Solo". People, in the real world, don't go around calling each other "Brother", "Sister" etc. Writers use this as a way to explain to the audience that there is a relationship between the two characters. So they have their characters say something stupid like "Our son". Han shouldn't have said "I saw him. I saw our son". It would have been better if the line was "I saw him, I saw Ben". It would have been more real, and would have had the audience going "who's Ben? What's his relationship to Han and Leia?". Hint at it, don't beat us over the head with it. If we didn't know about Ren's and Han's relationship yet, the comment from Ren to Rey regarding Han ("he would have disappointed you") would have also made the audience wonder how Ren knew Han. It would have engaged the audience more, made us care more, than handing it all to us on a silver platter.

I did like Chewy in this movie. He was a lot more interactive and his costume looked more like the OT than the PT costume. Thumbs way up there. I really wanted to see him kick some major butt after Han died. Let's see a Wookiee angry! Common Chewie, pull some peoples arms out of their sockets! However, he seemed to get over loosing Han too quickly. Yes, there was one shot, very brief, of him morning. However, knowing how sensitive Chewie is, this would have majorly depressed the Wookiee. I mean the relationship he had with Han was bigger than just partners. They were best friends, they were family. He totally should have hugged Leia, instead of tending to Finn back at the resistance base. Rey should have run off with the injured Finn, instead of hugging Leia. I don't recall Rey having a scene with Leia at all, so the embrace felt forced and only for the audience. Of all the people in the universe that Leia had in her life, why would she want to seek comfort from Rey, someone who she never meet before, then someone like Chewy, who she's known for around 34 years?

Han's death...for a major character from the OT, someone, we the audience, have grown to love; his death was rather weak. I felt nothing when he died. I didn't care. I knew he was going to die as soon as he first stepped onto the catwalk to 'talk' to Kylo Ren. The foreshadowing was really obvious. I knew it was coming the whole time, so when it happened, it was no surprise, and I didn't care. There was no emotion for the audience in this scene. The performance from Adam was better than from Harrison. I believed Adam, saw his conflict and felt some of his pain. Harrison just seemed to stand there, with one line inserted here and there but he really had nothing to say. The writing and direction of this scene should have been way better. The long shot of Han falling made his death so impersonal. Take a page out of Peter Jackson's book when shooting death scenes.

Starkiller base...sigh...another Death Star, only bigger, and made out of a planet. But we have seen it before. Twice! More than that actually, when you take into account how many times fans have seen the OT. It was a huge disappointment that we were not getting anything new here. I mean, let's take a second to think about this. The Death Star got destroyed essentially the same way twice. Something that a single star ship with a few torpedo's could destroy with a simple chain reaction. In the new Starkiller base they incorporated all the same vulnerabilities and weaknesses as the original design. That's like rebuilding the Titanic exactly the same way and it sinking again and again and again. How did they not learn anything? Even Han makes a joke about it for crying out loud (another line of dialogue I would have taken out. I think this line, in one shot made the whole story, plot, and universe into a joke. It was almost a stab at the audience that we are dumb and will swallow anything you give us, even the same movie all over again). The Starkiller base had a minor role in the film and was too easily destroyed. Not once did I feel like the characters or the universe was threatened by it. There were no shouts for joy when it blew up. It would have been better if A) the attack failed and they didn't destroy it, becoming more of a threat in later films, or B) left it out all together. As is, since we have seen this already, I never felt like our characters where ever in real danger, everything just all laid out perfectly in line so there was no struggle.

Snoke: Just the worse CGI of the whole film. Awesome as a huge presence and made me think "maybe he really is that large". Then we see that he is just a hologram, so more than likely he is just presented that large to be intimidating like the Emperor's hologram was in Empire. However, it worked better in Empire 'cause you only saw his head instead of his whole body like we did with Snoke. Being a hologram I would have rather seen it in its traditional blue hue with static glitches in it like we are used to seeing. Granted you could argue that over the last 30 years they improved holo-tech so much that it appears real now, but if that were the case how come over the last 30 years the improved tech didn't spill over to their TIE Fighters, or X-Wings, or Starkiller Base for that matter? Want me to believe it, stay consistent. Perhaps maintaining the original look of the holograms would have masked how poor the CG was for this character.

Rey and Finn using a lightsaber like "pros" is something I think everyone had a "What the heck" moment. We saw earlier that Rey could take care of herself, so that wasn't too far of a stretch. Especially since when we first see her battling Ren she isn't doing so well. It's just when she calms herself and lets the Force flow through her, controlling her moments and over powers Kylo Ren that lost all believably with me. Similarly, Finn with a lightsaber against Ren should have been no contest. We should have seen very little effort from Ren, almost like he is playing around with him (Like Vader with Luke on Bespin). Because I didn't believe it, I didn't like it. UPDATE: I have watched the movie three times now, and paid closer attention to these scenes. Both Rey and Finn are not pro's with the Lightsaber. Most of the time they are defensive blocks then aggressive attacks. Still, Finn did get in a lucky hit on Ren, and Rey did end up overpowering him.

Finn lying on his back on some random table unconscious...I mean, he did just get his back ripped open by a Lightsaber, so let's lay him wound down on a dirty table. I would have changed this to Finn in a Bacta tank. That would have been a great opportunity for nostalgia and bringing the two worlds together. It is subtle and believable since we already saw this as a way of healing the body. It may have made us care more about his condition. A medical Droid would have also been good to add to this scene. You know, something to show that he wasn't just left on a table by himself to die. I don't even think he was in the hospital wing of the base.

Now the music. I would have to agree with comments I have heard from others. If you where to ask me how I liked the music score I would honestly have to say "What music? I don't remember any." Totally forgettable. I really didn't notice any music the first time and barely did the second. It is the music and sound that really drives the emotion of a scene and since that felt so lacking (or too quiet) in this film, I can only point to the music score not being strong that really took away the potential emotion from all the scenes.

Little things I didn't like: Sound effects seemed to come from the PT library instead of being new or from the OT. The languages that the aliens spoke seemed to be taken from video games and sound too cartoon-y. The monsters on Han's freighter. Totally dumb, nonthreatening, and looked like they belonged in Men in Black. The Millennium Falcon got beat up at every corner but took no damage. Lightsaber calling to Rey...uh, no, the Force is calling Rey to the Lightsaber. The wood box that the Lightsaber was in, to me, again looked like a prop than a real box. Maz Katana crawling on the table to get a closer look at Finn. 'Maz's glasses'. The shot of people looking outside at the Starkiller's beam right before their planet blew up. This is a PT clip that didn't work then, not sure why it was done again here. Chewie tackling Phasma. Trash compactor joke. Finn excited about capturing Phasma. Han was right, "bring it down". R2D2 having the rest of the star map this whole time. Way too convenient and took away all the suspense. "Oh no! we only have a portion of the map, what are we going to do?" (insert suspense) "No worries, R2 has it. Here you go" (suspense gone) "Oh, that was easy, thanks". Rey standing there holding out Luke's Lightsaber for what felt like forever. I mean, it's a great movie shot, but in the real world, people don't do that. I asked myself, "why are you still just standing there? Hello? Rey, Luke, say or do something. You're not statues." As the camera pulled out for the Helicopter shot, Luke SHOULD have approached Rey and went to take the Lightsaber from her and as he went up to touch it...then the credits.

All in all, this movie was better than any of the PT films. It did give myself and lots of fans a new hope that we can get more Star Wars. It was great that JJ tried to take the world back to what we experienced with the OT. However, it is unfortunate that they didn't take more risks with designs and storyline. The humor is dated and at times too childish to be timeless as the OT. The costumes, props, and sets were too clean, and "costume-y" like the PT and not enough like the OT. I feel the problem is that they tried too hard to make a "Star Wars movie" instead of a movie in the Star Wars Universe. Does that make sense? The movie was still fun and I would love to see it again and will buy it when it comes out on Blu-Ray.