Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Godzilla Teaser Trailer

I've read several times that there was a pretty good teaser trailer for Godzilla 2014, but it doesn't seem to be out there just yet.

So here's the Godzilla (1998) teaser trailer.

I frankly remember 1998 pretty dimly for the most part (that is to say, I don't remember much about it), but I do remember this movie had a lot of hype, and then everyone complained when it actually came out.

Now, it was never a fantastic movie (although it sort of was a precursor to Cloverfield a little bit in its efforts to make a more "realistic" giant monster movie), but it did have an interesting facet which was indicated by certain aspects of the film and then the tie-in cartoon (which was actually really good):

It's relatively easy to believe that there were actually two "Zillas" in the film, and we just never see both at once because for giant critters they're pretty darned sneaky, what with all the underwater moving around and the burrowing. When they thought they'd killed it the first time, they actually did kill it (or wounded it badly enough it slinked off somewhere to heal), and they never noticed the discrepancy because the first dead one was the male, and they never recovered his body.

The second was the female, and the one they'd have had the opportunity to autopsy.

And the reason the Zilla from the cartoon showed no sign of self-fertilization was because it was another male, an idea corroborated by another reptilian kaiju that showed up and was a mother (and Zilla Junior and she acted as a mated pair, for that matter).

This has been the headcanon of my sister and myself for over a decade now, by the way, because they brought in an expert on hermaphroditic worms to investigate a vertebrate lifeform.

Don't ever do that.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Really Amazing Part Is The Monster's Reaction

You'd think some monster up against an Ultraman would realize, upon seeing said Ultraman being inept and screwy, that it was time to exploit the opportunity and either 1) attack, or 2) run away.

But no, the silly thing just sits there.

-Signing off.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I Will, However, Say Pacific Rim Is Awesome

On Wednesday, I was a little too tired and overwhelmed to say anything very significant about Pacific Rim.

I also still can't come up with much to talk about, because I'm currently not in quite the right mindset.

(If you're thinking about watching it because you haven't yet, seeing it in theaters? It's worth it. And I don't even like movie theaters.)

But here's the main theme and it's pretty fantastic.

Also, this official Jaeger Designer app is amazing.

Less for the ability to make Jaegers from the handful of parts they provide, and more for the fact that you can make a poster out of it, give it a name, and label it as belonging to just about any country, no matter how absurd (aside from Andorra, which I did above, there's also Lichtenstein and Vatican City).

I had fun with it.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Just Saw Pacific Rim

I had only one disappointment.

That lone disappointment is the fact that now I'll have to wait however many months before it comes out on DVD to watch it again.

(Well, I also missed a little tiny bit at the beginning, but that's my own fault...)

And since it would just feel silly to post mentioning it and not embed a video, here is a video.

(I don't have speakers for my computer right now because some kittens destroyed them [don't ask], so I don't know what they're saying. Just FYI. As far as I know this has been dubbed in Swahili.)

I don't have much to say on the movie at the moment by virtue of being in a sort of confused, euphoric state about the movie, although I will say that apparently Guillermo del Toro finds the "really narrowly slow to a stop" gag about as funny as I do; most filmmakers would only put one of those in a movie, and I counted two or three.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 22, 2013

And Then There Was That Time Stan Lee Shook Hands With A Giant Robot

Wait, is 9'9" really a "giant" robot? I don't know.

Still neat.

-Signing off.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Some Silly Power Rangers Clip

I was recently looking back at bits of Power Rangers ephemera, particularly that of Power Rangers Zeo, a season that had its good points and bad points. (Of course, then it would be followed by Power Rangers Turbo, and the sudden transition was both jarring and almost made Zeo look good by comparison; certainly, there were plenty of things one found oneself asking. The problem is that Zeo had a strong beginning and a weak ending, and Turbo had a pretty strong ending that segued into one of the best seasons of all time, but a rather pathetic beginning.)

This clip from the last episode exhibits Zeo's best and worst: Interesting ideas pushed upon them by the lack of usable material from the later part of its corresponding sentai series.

Yes, that's the best and the worst.

The best parts are the concept-the Rangers turn giant and fight the giant villains personally, including giant mooks-and the fact that Zedd and Rita are just chilling and enjoying the whole thing. The presence of Zedd and Rita throwing the occasional monkey wrench into the Machine Empire's works was always one of the best parts of Zeo, and the episode itself ends with the old villains giving the Machine Empire a "present" that leaves them a pile of junk on the moon, declaring that they're "back."

Then we get Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie and the first part of the Turbo series, and their only appearance is a cameo of less than two minutes when newer villain Divatox is calling them in the middle of the night. While the call itself is great, it left the audience going "But wait-Zedd and Rita, Zedd and Rita! ZEDD AND RITA!!"

The worst parts: The terrible fight choreography, although that was often a problem for US footage, and the missed opportunity-as observed by a YouTube commenter-for Zedd and Rita to be the ones to use growth magic on the Rangers.

Also, the Gold Ranger's excuse for not calling the Zords? Pathetic. The Rangers could get the Zords in time even if a giant monster was seconds away from stepping on them.

I still have fond memories of this season despite its flaws; it is, after all, the same season that brought us the Mechaterpillar, a monster that a villain created from an electronic fishing lure because he heard its minor character owner call it his "secret weapon."

The best part of that was that it was easily one of the strongest monsters to appear in the season, and it was made from a fishing lure. (By, I might add, the technically technologically inclined villain faction, not the magical villain faction.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#92)

911. Rocanar. The Rocanar were the original natives of the planet Rocantor. (You can tell things are about to go bad when I use past tense.) About five hundred years before the movie era, humans colonized Rocantor. Unfortunately for them, the Rocanar gave them a disease that turned into a plague for them.

So once the survivors had reorganized, the human Rocantori had all the Rocanar rounded up and sold into slavery on other planets.


What makes it even worse is that they sent a huge population of individuals who were proven carriers of a plague out into the broader (and presumably non-immunized) galaxy. That could probably be considered an act of war.

Rating: 3/5, because there are implications there that the writer clearly didn't consider.

912. Rodians. Rodians are the green vaguely insect-like aliens of which Greedo, the bounty hunter gunned down by Han Solo (who was the only one to shoot), was a member.

Rodians reputedly smell very strongly, an odor that the majority of humans and members of some other species dislike. Their smell is apparently a complex pheromonal cocktail that Rodians find very meaningful. (Its scent also proved to be the "perfect ingredient" in a drink that the cantina's bartender was planning to sell to Jabba the Hutt, and so said bartender actually took Greedo's corpse to use for such purposes. ...Nice.)

For some reason, somebody decided that the Rodians ought to be mammalian enough that the lady Rodians look identifiably female. To retcon away any appearances of Rodians that don't match up with this idea, they noted that many Rodians decided to conceal their gender via loose clothing.

Rodian culture is very violent, apparently because they're straight out of hunting cultures (not sure it really works that way, but whatever), and they have a clannish murder thing they do. "Despite" this, they also produce very complex plays that are considered serious high art by people who decide that sort of thing.

Incidentally, Greedo wasn't very bright: He'd been hanging out with a guy who turned out to be taking money to kill members of Greedo's clan from other Rodians, and said guy told him he ought to pick a fight with Han Solo, knowing full well that Greedo wasn't sharp enough or vicious enough to take on Solo.

Naturally, Rodians were also victims of the Yuuzhan Vong, and at some point a substantial number of them were mutated into killer crab monsters.

Rating: 4/5. Eh, I just kinda like Rodians.

913. Rodisar. Rodisar are sapient crocodylomorphs.

Crocodile people are cool with me.

The only named Rodisar character we know of, by the way, was a famed general from their homeworld who was successful in battle because of his competent staff and also incredibly corrupt; he was kidnapped from his planet and eventually ended up in a gladiatorial arena, where he would ignomiously die in combat intended to select a warrior for the Separatists. (The winner was a dark Jedi; the runner up was a robot with flamethrowers for arms.)

Rating: 3/5. Crocodylomorphs are a good thing.

914. Romin. Romin are gold-skinned, short "humanoids" ([insert standard "that doesn't mean anything" rant here]) who have very flat noses.

They have a societal structure where there are people who are healthy and rich and people who are sick and poor. Shocking. They also had a dictator at one point who would accept lots of money from criminals to hide them from outsiders. Shocking. Again.

Rating: 1/5. Except for the relatively uninteresting appearance, all the descriptions are just ways of saying "they have a society with obvious flaws." There's nothing interesting or distinct about them at all.

915. Roonans. Roonans basically look like wrinkly greys. They apparently have trouble forgiving little bitty mistakes.

Rating: 3/5. Because frankly, greys who fly off the handle at the drop of a hat sound kind of great.

916. Roonat. Their language is squeaky. Or something.

Rating: 1/5.

917. Ropagu. The Ropagu are "near-humans" ([insert standard "that doesn't mean anything" rant here]) who look vaguely like they're supposed to be "oriental people aliens." (One of them was a Gengis Khan-inspired local warlord from the Droids cartoon; there was no indication whatsoever he wasn't supposed to be human.)

This is not the first time this has come up.

I am willing to ignore this horrible status and pretend they're really just humans because 1) they live with and peacefully coexist with the Kalduu, awesome floating telepathic jellyfish, and 2) they have a Great Library which has recorded history going back ten thousand years, and even though it focuses on their homeworld's history, that sounds like it could easily be handy in a story.

Rating: 2/5. It would be, like, 4/5 if it weren't for the whole racism thing.

918. Roshans. Apparently, they wanted to make a trade agreement with their neighbors at some point, but the Galactic Empire didn't let them.

Rating: 1/5. That wacky Empire...

919. Rseikharhls. The Rseikharhls (did I seriously type that twice with no problems?) are in charge of law enforcement in the Rseik sector (named for their home system, the Rseik system), and in order to perform the job efficiently, they designed a type of droid to do law enforcement work.

Ten years and 22,000 arrests later (the number feels much too small for a sizable chunk of the Star Wars galaxy, suggesting at least one writer is really bad at math or perhaps thought he was writing some Star Trek stuff), the droid model in question had done its work without incurring a single accidental fatality, and the galaxy at large became deeply interested in acquiring these droids. Even the Galactic Empire was impressed enough that, despite its pro-human/anti-non-human policies, it let them keep doing what they were doing.

Ironically enough, the law enforcement droids apparently fetch high prices on the black market.

Rating: 4/5. This is fantastic, even if the numbers are stupid. I like their snarly name, too.

920. Rughja. Rughja apparently have mauve skin, fifteen appendages, and a largish number of eyes. They apparently look like tangly and vaguely incomprehensible messes of limbs to members of most species.

Rughja can apparently play a very large number of instruments simultaneously, and so there is at least one well-known group of Rughja performers, Umjing Baab and His Swinging Trio (in this case, the Swinging Trio including Baab himself). However, they can't sing for human enjoyment because their voices are inaudibly high. In order to communicate with humans, they need some form of translator.

Rating: 3/5. A reasonably interesting little alien design, even if such a design is prone to making all characters of significance from the species musicians to the point of a daft cultural obsession.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Nitpick Alert (Actually, I Talked About This Once)

Serious flaw with this video's reasoning:

If it were possible to be immortal, you'd probably need extremely good healing as a prerequisite. If your healing processes weren't excellent, eventually you'd shrivel up into an arthritic, forgetful, blind little mess of a human being, and forget being worried about losing all your limbs and eyes to random injuries.

It's kind of what tends to happen already to people that all the regular suspects fail to kill off, to some degree anyway. Disintegration by nearly invisible attrition. (Gee, that's not morbid at all, is it?)

(I wrote a post over here about the subject once, actually.)

-Signing off.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Some Random Tokusatsu Things

The buzz seems to be that Pacific Rim is a pretty good movie if you're into that sort of thing.

I am, so I'm looking forward to it.

Also, people whining about its resemblance to Evangelion: Shush.

1. Everything in a genre will look the same once you've seen enough of it (see also: There's nothing new under the sun).

2. Pretty sure Evangelion wasn't the first series to be about fighting giant monsters with giant robots, guys.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I had an... odd day today.

The main thing is that there was a flash flood warning that they issued with the tornado sirens... and then half an hour later or so, they issued a tornado warning.

And about five minutes later, I get a short call from my sister (I thought she'd hung up on me, but her phone's battery suddenly died) telling me to pick her up from work NOW.

And so I drove around and got to watch 1) a huge, terrifying storm system that I essentially drove parallel with for a while (while I don't know it was an actual tornado, it did throw lightning about once a second for a stretch there while I was less than a mile from it, and that was scary enough, thank you very much) and 2) stupid people coming out to watch the storm system.

I don't feel like blogging.

So have a funny video of Transformers-themed Lego-style minifigures stomping on somebody.

Stupid weather's been driving me crazy lately.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Basically Like A Tiny Cat

Well, a cat will keep playing with a laser pointer instead of giving up like this jumping spider does, but otherwise...

A few people made snide remarks that the spider quickly ignoring the pointer made it smarter than a cat. That's silly-it just lacks a cat's sense of fun.

-Signing off.

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Is So High Concept It Hurts

Batman ('66) theme song. Performed with sounds modulated from those produced by actual bats (the modulation is so that human beings can hear the sounds).

This is beautiful and wonderful.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#91)

901. Revwiens. Revwiens are sorta jellyfish-like plant creatures. They were originally intended to be cantina aliens, but the costume would have been too technically difficult to make. (Little wonder; there'd have been no room for a person's arms or legs unless the costume extended to whatever it was sitting on, and they have flat "leaves" that they use as tentacles for moving around and grabbing things. There's no way you could call that a "costume" if you put it on somebody. It'd be a puppet.) Their production sketches inspired the Parwans.

They have between six and eleven "leaves" that they use to get about, needing four to stand or walk on. Their bodies look something like peppers or squashes, and their "heads" look like mushrooms, but with a bunch of little orbs on them that serve as eyes. Revwiens can also vary greatly in coloration. Thus, they're very alien in appearance.

Many Revwiens practice a Force-based philosophy called Tyia, which is a word meaning "breathe." Tyia practitioners, called Thuwisten, form magic la-la circles of unity also called Thuwisten. More relevant to our interests is that the Revwiens' isolation meant that Tyia was very poorly known before the rise of the Galactic Empire. Apparently out of altruism, a number of Thuwisten traveled the galaxy searching out refugee Jedi and other Force users subject to the Empire's purge, seeking to aid them; apparently the Thuwisten never came under attack from the Empire, despite exhibiting many Jedi characteristics. Darksider Thuwisten apparently shrivel up physically and try to break up unity and harmony in others, and Revwien society strips such individuals of their names.

Only one Revwien is known to have used a lightsaber (lightsabers being one of those Jedi things they generally didn't do), and he went by the name of Wuwuhuul, which is both a cool name and a silly one, which is possibly the best kind of name.

Rating: 5/5. Revwiens 1) have an interestingly alien design which is among my all-time favorites, and 2) have an interesting background history.

902. Rhen Varites. The Rhen Varites built beautiful cathedralesque buildings, but were wiped out by an ice age.

Rating: 2/5. "Extinct builders of pretty buildings" feels like a surprisingly common alien archetype, all things considered.

903. Ri'Dar. The Ri'Dar are primitive bat/monkeys from a low-gravity planet with such high metabolisms that they eat half their body weight each day. They're excellent flyers (on their homeworld) and gliders (anywhere else) and have keen eyesight, such that a mercenary group considers a Ri'Dar sniper recruit a catch. Ri'Dar live for the present because they are preyed on not only by the indola, which is essentially a giant thick-hided saber-toothed sloth (yes) but by predatory pack-hunting birds called elix put on the planet by the Empire as a game preserve, who were originally from a higher-gravity world and thus are even deadlier than they would be elsewhere.

Now, the entry would have it that this was a horrible, horrible thing that had happened to the Ri'Dar. However, I'll just point out: They give birth to litters of five or more and reach maturity within weeks.

I'm not saying I have no sympathy for the bat/monkeys, but I am saying that if they didn't have a healthy predatory population to deal with, they'd completely overrun their planet with their absurd reproductive capacity. Those kinds of birth and growth rates belong on small rodents, not moderately good-sized sapient creatures.

Rating: 3/5 for the unintended implications of their descriptions. If somebody wrote a story with this idea in mind and basically presented them as sapient tribbles when a group of them were accidentally transplanted somewhere (individual ones end up taking rides into space all the time, according to the article), it'd probably be worth another point. Free story idea, Lucasfilm licensees!

904. Rigellians. Rigellians are big ambiguously reptilian green guys whose physiology is adapted for a high-gravity world. Just like the ones from Bravestarr.

Except quite a bit uglier and probably quite a bit bigger.

Incredibly hilariously and awesomely, the only known Rigellian is part of a trio of "super-powered" (presumably actually relatively normal for their species) assassins who collectively posed as Darth Vader's porter, Darth Vader's valet, and Darth Vader's secretary. (They weren't after Darth Vader, though. I'm not clear on why they were "posing" as his porter, valet, and secretary.) "Darth Vader's porter," "Darth Vader's valet," and "Darth Vader's secretary" are the only names these characters are known by, and I hope dearly and truly that this never changes.

Rating: 3/5. The Rigellian was the porter, by the way.

905. Riilebs. Riilebs are "humanoid insectoids," which is once again a statement that could mean a whole lot of different things. In this case, it means "beings shaped a lot like really skinny humans who are extremely distant descendants of insects." Eh, could be worse, I guess; it could mean "shaped just like humans but have wasp heads" or something.

Their antennae let them detect the biorhythms of other species, which gives them a natural talent for being affable and disarming, and so they are generally well-liked because they know how to keep people at ease.

They have four nostrils, two for inhaling and two for exhaling. Hilarious.

Apparently they are one of the only species native to Hutt space who have managed to maintain their independence, and entirely through their own merit-they apparently simply fought hard enough that the Hutts decided to leave them alone in favor of easier pickings.

Riilebs apparently are traditionally ruled by a Riileb from a special clan who holds a special ring said to have belonged to the "first Riileb." I suppose there are worse ways to pick your leaders... Though I can't think of any off the top of my head.

Rating: 3/5. A sorta insect-based species that's inherently likeable? BLASPHEMY (BUT THE GOOD KIND).

906. Rikyam. Rikyam are related to dhuryam, but not as culturally significant as dhuryam, which have considerable religious significance, being things that master over planets and all. However, rikyam are the brains for worldships rather than planets, and maintain and protect them from various problems, such as ship-wide muscle spasms (Yuuzhan Vong ships being organic and all, this was a bit of an issue, apparently).

Rating: 3/5. The rikyam aren't really quite as neat as dhuryam (if only because none of them ever made insects bite all the Yuuzhan Vong), but the difference is pretty infinitesimal.

907. Rindians. Rindians are apparently small, have eight fingers per hand, and have "melodious" voices.

Rating: 2/5. Meh.

908. Riorians. Riorians are odd-but-neat-looking "aquatic insectoids." Despite being "aquatic insectoids," they're descended from cool-looking creatures called "cliffborer worms."

Rating: 4/5. Mainly because they look neat and are descended from something outright cool-looking.

909. Ripoblus. The Ripoblus (that name is surprisingly difficult to type) fought with the Dimoks (see earlier link to the dhuryam) until the Empire showed up. At first, the Dimoks fought alongside the Empire (a detail not in the Dimoks' own article when I wrote the previous entry), but eventually the Empire turned on them, and the Ripoblus and Dimoks teamed up... and got stomped.

Apparently, the two groups were still fighting hundreds of years later.

Rating: 2/5. You've got to love the details of old blood feuds that just won't go away.

910. Rishii. The Rishii are owl-like except when they aren't.

In all seriousness, they do resemble some kind of predatory avians, with the addition of rather reptilian tails. They're naturals at mimicking voices. They're also generally friendly with outsiders.

They're primitive and have little interest in most technology other than the "shiny rocks" that outsiders use to come and go, i.e. spacecraft; when invaded by the Confederacy of Independent Systems, they fought back with spears and axes. (Seeing as how they would have been fighting battle droids, which can be defeated by swarms of insects or being tipped over, they probably did pretty well for themselves.)

Rating: 3/5. I like the less owly Rishii design better than the owly Rishii design, but I do like both designs.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 1, 2013

This Went Full Circle

I've read that the suit design from the series Space Sheriff Gavan was a heavy influence if not the outright inspiration for the suit design in the RoboCop movies.

It's only appropriate, then, that there's at least one series from the Metal Heroes franchise, Jiban, which is actually more or less directly based on RoboCop.

Because RoboCop totally fought rhino monsters, demon things, and wizard ladies, right?

(On a different note, this scene was clearly the direct inspiration for a scene in the surprisingly exquisitely written Brave Robots series J-Decker, which was about a giant robot cop that transformed into a police car. Because Japan, of course.)

-Signing off.