Monday, February 24, 2014

ToQer Episode 1

It's been quiet round these parts lately don't ya think? I know, I know. I should have put up more things to help you fine folks pass these cold winter days but I've had a case of lazy February. Basically I've been playing games, reading books, or just spinning in place while I wait for winter to finish the fuck up. This past week has finally provided some decent temperatures which has allowed me to get outside for some air and recharge the batteries. Hell! I even shoveled during a thunderstorm. Not something many people can attest to having done. With my renewed vigor I deem it time to write about something import. And what could be more important than a brand new Super Sentai series? Please treat that question as a rhetorical one and come with me on this bonkers journey.
I've had a slowly growing love for Japanese superheroes for a few years now, which jumped into top gear last spring as I started to get my hands on fansubs of different shows that have never, nor likely will ever, reach our shores. I finish some of them, and am still working on others, yet there was one final step to take into full fandom and that is keeping up with the current entry as it airs. Seems I picked a good series to start with as the premier of ToQger is pure televised sugar rush.
The show starts with a basic mission statement for the kiddies. The power of imagination is super important and there are apparently shadow beings who strive to destroy that power. Naturally this involves kidnapping children and sending them off on a nightmare train.

As you can see the evil train is absolutely tits and riding on it is our main character whose presence there is still a mystery along with several other story elements. The quote on that screen cap actually belongs to him and it illustrates a lot of what I already like about the character. He doesn't need everything explained to him and most of all, he has fun being a superhero. This is such a sight for sore eyes. I mean I love me some western comic book heroes. I watch Arrow, love the Raimi directed Spider-Man flicks, read X-men, Captain Marvel, etc, but man do I ever get tired of hearing about how hard it is to be a hero. Seeing some kids just enjoy it to the fullest is really refreshing. Plus the main kid totally won me over with this exchange with a monkey puppet.

Yeah, that monkey puppet is their boss by the way. I guess next week they get to meet the an oddly attractive girl robot that works on the train they use as a base. These folks seem downright normal compared to the villains who are all a mix of steampunk and nightmare fuel.
It's not long before we get to the action segments of the show. We get to see the whole array of train themed weapons and robots at our heroes disposal. Also they have the ability to swap colors with each other. Forget your old Power Ranger standards of girls are pink, men are red. In this episode alone we get pink men, green girls, cats and dogs falling from the sky, mass hysteria! I simply must mention the teams big cannon which allows them to finish off the monster with whatever they can imagine. In this case they crush the beast under a pile of crying child statues.
It's crazy wild entertainment and it knows it. There's so much I haven't even hinted at and yet I don't think I could cover everything even if I wanted too. Of course that's somewhat to be expected from the first episode. I imagine things will smooth out a little over the next few installments, allowing me to provide write-ups that aren't utter lunacy. Still; this is exactly the kind of show people need in a time when far too much of the entertainment world is stuck up its own ass with self-importance. I'll definitely be tuning in and continue to bring you the highlights as we go. Toot! Toot!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Robocop 2 The Novel Review

Going back a few months worth of entries you'll find a bit about my finds from the local libraries book sale. In truth it was probably the greatest haul I've ever had from the years I've been attending. Such a great haul in fact that I'm still working on reading through some of my prizes such as the abysmal piece of literature I'm about to cover.
Thanks to the awful looking remake looming in front of us, I've had an urge to revisit some classic Robocop cheese which made for the perfect excuse to read through the novelization of Robocop 2 by Ed Naha. If the authors name sounds familiar to you it's most likely because he was the screenwriter for Honey I Shrunk the Kids, its' lousy sequel, and a few other odd flicks. Dare I say the man should have stuck to screenplays. Admittedly his grammar is sound and incredibly easy to read but the man is an absolute cheese dick. Take for instance the part where he describes the title character as “a shining sinewy warrior of the new age.” I can't say whether Ed actually watched the movies he was adapting or was working solely off of the screenplay but Robocop is the polar opposite of sinewy. He's practically a filing cabinet with a gun. And how great would it be to see that cabinet take down some hood only to then spout off “file him under C.....for creep.” Follow that up with a song from the who and you've got a hit series.
I've you've never had the displeasure of watching Robocop 2 here's the gist. There's a new superdrug on the street called nuke, Robocop is out to stop it, and........that's about it. Ok there are some additional complications from sub-plots involving the Detroit police being on strike and OCP being up to there no-good ways (which results in an evil drug addict robot for our hero to fight” and there' an occasional attempt at covering the emotional fallout of being half-robot but that's really just window dressing as the whole endeavor is struggling to get past two hundred pages. None of this is Mr. Naha's fault of course as he's simply working off of the scraps left to him by Walon Green and Frank Miller (shudder). There is one area where he could have made an attempt tofix something that was lacking in the script and that is in the absolute loss of proper satire. The first flick remains a classic thanks to both the obscene levels of gore and the surprisingly smart social commentary. The second flick pretended to aim for such wit but usually just put in filth for the sake of filth. This book is no different, which is illustrated best by a sequence of one crime leading to another, which includes this bit about ten year old hookers.
So the verbage is far too over the top and flowery. The story and setting are puerile early 90's comic shit. However; there's one element the author could use to make this turd float. Books always have the perk of being able to glimpse into the thoughts and feelings of the characters, offering insights that the movie could never dream of. How does he integrate this extra layer of detail into the proceedings? I give you the bottom of page 227.
Wont somebody please think of the Children!? Oh god what crap. Given the ability to actually delve into the mind of Alex Murphy, the best the author can give us is that he's a tough Irish cop (cause we've never heard that shit before), and that he really cares about kids. Like cares way too much about kids.
Oh but I've gone all this way and forgotten to mention the TV bits. The movies had a tradition of ludicrous commercials and news programs scattered throughout the story. The book isn't much different except that instead of simply cutting away to this stuff the writer makes sure that one of the characters is watching the broadcast. The first chapter of the book is Robocop fucking watching TV! No Joke! I bring these sections up not only because of the absolute silliness of spending chapters describing commercials but one particular bit that made me double take.
Yeah. He went there. Now I don't tend to shy away from racy language in any of my writing but when detailing a suntan ad you might want to avoid using some old timey racial slurs. As a cracker, I can't say as I'm offended so much as amazed that the writer thought this was the best wording to use for that scene and that the editors and publishers didn't block it.

Now don't start thinking that I regret reading this book, cause it made for a refreshing experience thanks to it being easier to read than most goosebumps titles. Of course when that's the best thing you can say about a book, you should probably toss it aside and read Welcome to Dead House yet again. Actually that's a pretty good book. Go read that.