Monday, June 30, 2008

Wall-E Movie Review

First off, I want to admit that I am a Pixar fanboy. I have seen every Pixar film but Ratatouille, which I plan on seeing, I just have to get my hands on a copy of it. Anyhow, I actually first fell in love with the movie when I first saw a preview in the theater. It was a Pixar movie, I was excited.

Since the movie has come out, I have seen it twice now, and I'm probably going to see it again this week.
The first thing that kind of strikes me about this movie is that the main characters don't really talk all that much. I mean, Pixar movies involve things that talk, talking toys, talking bugs, talking fish, talking cars, talking rats, here's a movie where the stuff doesn't talk much. The first 20 minutes of the movie are completly without dialogue, if you don't count the "Hello Dolly!" scenes. There's also a couple funny Apple references in this part of the movie. When Wall-E goes home to his crate to unwind after a hard day at work, he puts in a old VHS of "Hello Dolly!" which plays on a 2nd Generation iPod, which he magnifies with a refractive sheet. (which, BTW, took some serious iPod hacking skills, since he'd have to get the input to the iPod, get the iPod to play video, and somehow get a color screen for it too!) Secondly, when he recharges himself in the morning with his solar panels, he makes the iconic Apple boot up chime. Awesome.

So the basic premise of this movie is that Wall-E is the last of a series of garbage cleaning robots, and after hundreds of years of being lonely, he has developed quirks and habits and a personality. His only friend, at this point, is an unnamed cockroach. Again, side note, as much as I hate cockroaches, Pixar has somehow managed to make one cute and endearing as a minor character.
One day Wall-E's routine is turned upside down when a spaceship lands in the wastes and drops off another robot. Where Wall-E is clunky and boxy, Eve is smooth and sleek. Perhaps this is another Apple reference, but she kinda looks like a cross between an egg and an iPod. The technology that goes into Eve is obviously much more advanced than Wall-E, as she flies around without legs, and moving parts like her head and arms stay in place, though physically disconnected from the body. There are also several nice details that make her more interesting to look at than a plain, smooth, white exterior.

In any case, either due to being alone for so long, or due to the grace of Eve, Wall-E immediately falls in love. Unfortunately for him, as he works up the courage to indroduce himself to the new robot, he becomes aquainted with her trigger happy mentality. Personally, I think it's a bad idea to program an exploration robot to shoot at anything that moves, but you know, it works. Anyhow, I'm going to try to be a bit vague, since not everyone has seen this movie yet, but Eve is on a mission, and she has a job to do. When she finds her objective, she aquires it and shuts down. Sleep mode or something. This is where the story begins to get sweet, as Wall-E stays with her all the time. This part is mildly like "Castaway" where the guy builds this friendship with a soccer ball and takes it everywhere. Anyhow, one day he goes off to work and leaves Eve in the sun, where she's been for who knows how long. That also happens to be the day that the spaceship comes back to retrive Eve. Wall-E runs after the spaceship, and manages to get on before it blasts off.

Some really goregeous scenery follows, and Wall-E ends up on the Axiom, which is a human ship. This is where we start to get some more characters. One of my favorite characters is a little cleaning droid called M-O, who spends nearly the entire movie chasing after Wall-E to clean up the tracks and dirt he leaves behind. Other interesting characters introduced are the misfit droids from the repair center, and the autopilot, OTTO, who is apparently voiced by Sigourney Weaver, though her voice is so processed it could have been Alvin the Chipmunk for all we know. Oh, also the ship is populated with fat people. Anyhow, the ending was a bit tense, and there's about five minutes in the end where you think, "if it ends like this I'm gonna kill someone."

The voice of Wall-E was put together by Ben Burtt, who perhaps is best known for voicing everyone's favorite droid, R2-D2. I don't know if he synthesized it or literally voiced it. Eve, on the other hand, was actually voiced by a woman named Elissa Knight, who must be a Pixar employee, because the only other thing IMDB says she did was a role in Cars. Anyhow, as a result of the way they do this, Wall-E's voice carries a lot of character, whereas Eve's voice holds more emotion, which is an intersting thing I noticed.

In the end, I found it to be cute and enjoyable throughout. There are a few statements made in this movie, more than in most Pixar movies, about ecology and society, but they are pretty tame. I mean, the opening scenes are shots of piles of garbage, with wind farm windmills poking out of them, and garbage surrounding a nuclear power plant, as if to say that clean energy like that won't stop us from junking stuff, and of course, the fat people, as if to say that if we don't get off our butts and do something, we'll end up like them, but they are tolerable because the movie isn't about that. Movies like "The Day After Tomorrow", and "An Inconvenient (ed: Un)Truth" were about those things, but not this one. This movie is, plain and simple, about Wall-E, and how he falls in love, and sacrifices everything for the one he loves. And about Eve, who learns that there are more important things in life than directives. This is much much more a sweet romantic comedy than a political platform.

This is something all the kids will love, and most any adult as well. This is a must see movie for the family.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gundam Unicorn Dual Beam Gatlings

I swear, we need cool stuff in the states.

Apparently when you buy one of the Gundam Unicorn novels, it comes with an accessory kit of weapons for the Master Grade Gundam Unicorn. Now, first of all, the Gundam Unicorn is perhaps the coolest looking Gundam ever. Plus, it also has the Destroy Mode, where it's coolness level reaches over 9000!

The kit comes with two beam gatlings, either of which can be held individually by the Gundam.

Also, both guns can be connected to the same arm to have sort of a cool Heavyarms mode.

Seriously, if you've got a Master Grade Gundam Unicorn, you should look into going over the Japanese eBay or Yahoo sites, and ordering one or two through a proxy service.

More pics at, in case you didn't notice.

EDIT: Oops, I guess that's what happens when I steal bandwidth!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Secret Lego Vault

Apparently, somewhere, Lego keeps a secret vault with nearly every Lego set ever made. Gizmodo got an exclusive visit to it.

Luck bastards...

Some random videos...

Every now and again I like to post cool, funny, or interesting videos from the internet, for readers who visit to peruse.

The first video I'd like to post today is a Half Life 2 video. There's a level designer of some sort on Half Life 2, and some people like to make Rube Goldberg devices using the game's top rated physics engine.

The second video is so cool. I am a big fan of Nerf weapons, and I can only imagine that the people who made this video had a ton of fun with it!

The Great Office War - Funny videos are here

Monday, June 23, 2008

GFF NT-1 Alex

All pics scalped from GA Graphic's site. All text scalped from me.

Also, I'm trying a new image host site. I've heard that supports unlimited storage and bandwidth, so that's pretty cool. It doesn't batch files automatically, but it'll uncompress ZIP files, so it's almost the same thing. If anyone is having trouble viewing this, just say so in the comments, and I'll get to the bottom of it.

The NT-1 Alex is one of the main mecha from Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket. The design gimmick of it was magnetic coated joints for increased speed. The EFSF star pilot/deus ex machina Amuro Ray was showing reaction time that outstripped the capabilities of the RX-78-2, and so the EFSF was designing this new MS for him. The Gundam NT-1 Alex also includes a panoramic display for increased visibility, The first Gundam to have one, I think.

The Gundam FIX Figuration line of figures are high detail figures designed and overseen by Hajime Katoki. Well, he doesn't design them all, the original designer was a man named Yutaka Izubuchi who later went on to design mecha for Char's Counterattack and is probably best known and the designer and director for RahXephon.

No, Hajime Katoki just slathers 100% pure awesomeness over every mecha design he touches, and he releases them to the general public. The Alex is no exception to this. The lines and angles are very sharp and detailed, and the panels are covered with the trademark Katoki decals which make it look awesome.

Hopefully the armor is not a pain in the butt like it was for the MSiA incarnation. It was tough to get on, and you had to remove the beam sabers any time you wanted to switch. Oh, and at some point my Alex's leg decided it never wanted to stay on again. But I don't expect that'll be a problem with the GFF, they've usually stuck together pretty well. The only real exception I've had to that is the arms of my GFF Gundam Ver Ka like to fall off from time to time. The joint system for the shoulder of the Alex looks to be similar, but I'm sure they stay on better.

Most of the GFF lineup features Mobile Suits with swappable parts to reconfigure the figure to another MS, but aside from a rather noticable seam around the collar, there's nothing to suggest that. No seams on the legs or anything.

The other figure gimmick, besides the pop-out gatlings in the arms, is the Chobham armor. First of all, where did that name come from? I envision someone at Sunrise:
"Hey! I made this snazzy armor for the Alex! What should I call it?"
"I dunno, how about Chobham?"
"Chobham? Where the crap did that come from?"
"I dunno, I was thinking about naming my firstborn son that, but I felt that Steve was a better name."
"Um, okay, whatever dude..."

The Chobham armor is nicely made, with panel lines in all the right places. This is only a gray prototype version, but I'm sure the final version will have the correct color, which is, uh, actually, about that shade of gray. Also I'm sure it will have little tiny decals all over it. This IS Katoki, after all.

Kinda sad that we only get this front view, because I can't quite figure out how that armor attaches. I'm sure the shoulder armor just snaps on top, and the skirt armor is a real no-brainer. The forearm armor looks like the top and either side is one part, and that slides on top, and then the back attaches to encase the arm. I'm sure that the chest and back armor goes on kinda like the HGUC armor, but I can't tell from this angle. And I have no idea how the leg armor works. There does look like there's a little seam around the front panelling of the leg. Hmmm....

In the end, it looks like a bulked up body builder or a guy in football armor. I like the Alex, and if I have the money, I may pick it up.

Wesperio: MMS Type Bat

I now bring the other half of the Wave 10 Busou Shinki preview. This figure is named Wesperio.

The first thing I notice when I look at her is probably that she seems to have less armor than her Scorpion counterpart. You know, less pieces, smaller pieces, just not as good of a deal all round. A couple really cool points about this figure are, first of all, the black and blue color scheme is very nice, and her red hair makes a spot of vividness in the middle of it all. Also, she seems to specialize in ranged weapons vs Grapios's melee weapons. She carries those rifles in her hands, and the armor parts sticking over her shoulders make it look like she has cannons. Cool!

One unfortunate aspect of this figure is that it is lacking in the clothing department as well. I know this seems like a very minor thing to rant about, since it's the same mold regardless of what color it's molded or painted in, but still, it's the idea of the thing! Modest is hottest, right?

Here's a wider shot of Wesperio showing the full armors. I'm sure she has a lot more in the box that don't attach on the 'official' configuration. Every Shinki so far seems to be like that.

Next up is a couple shots of the armor by itself, in its bat form. This is a new trend in the Shinkis. Starting with wave 9, the Shinkis have had a form for the armor itself, and also the configuration for the armor combined with the figure. I wonder if this is going to have some effect in Battle Rondo, the Busou Shinki free downloadable game.

This brings us to the last couple pictures of this post.

The armors combine to form a dragon configuration. The dragon is very very cool looking and looks very believable. In fact, I'd wager that these armors were designed with the dragon mode first, and the Bat/Scorpion modes second.

All in all, I think that my feeling for Wesperio is the same as my feeling for Grapios. Namely, I like the armors almost as much as I dislike the bodies. Unless I can find someone who's willing to split the cost of a set with me, I doubt I'm going to get these.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Grafios: MMS Type Scorpion

First up in the lineup of the new Busou Shinkis is Grafios, a Scorpion Type. The first thing I thought when I saw this was, "GET SOME CLOTHES ON, WOMAN!" The second thing had something to do with how sweet her armor looked. I've always like the way the colors red and black went together.

Some things of note on this figure, first of all, the figure itself adheres to one of the anime stereotypes of elves. Namely, she has to have dark skin, pointy ears, very light hair, and be nearly expressionless. Oh, and have a huge rack, but that's kind of a general anime staple. Someone on the Busou Shinki World wondered whether or not Konami was going to come out with a MMS Naked body to match it. I should have pointed out to him that all she needs is some ethyl alchohol and it'll be a naked body anyhow. For that matter, my Tigris is molded mostly in skintone, but she at least has paint on her.

The designer for this wave is the same who designed Eukrante and Ianiera, so that also explains the overdeveloped chest on Grafios. I swear, when I see animeish characters with a tiny waist and a large chest, it makes me think of Ms. Shikijo from Mahoromatic.

The armor looks really good on her. It'd be nice if it formed more of a body armor config instead of mostly attaching on the back, and not just because it would make her more decent.

There are some little door looking things on the scorpion claws, the parts that are hanging to either side of the figures shoulders. They are probably little missile doors.

The scorpion mode is pretty nice though. A nice looking mecha scorpion. This thing probably has about 50 joints, and I don't even know how many parts.

In the end, my verdict is that this is a Shinki with good armor, but a bad body. Next on the list, MMS Type Bat!

Friday, June 20, 2008

New information on GT-R Alternity

Information scalped from TFW2005, who in turn got it from some site called Bo-Ya.

The Alternity figure I liked so much is confirmed to be 1/32 scale, contain diecast, and will be Prime. Also it's coming in two colors, red and silver. I'm thinking that this will be something along the lines of the BT-08 Meister figure, which came in white and red. White because that's the color Meister (Jazz) is supposed to be, and red because Mazda wanted it in the RX-8's trademark color. I'm sure this is the same. The red color will most likely have blue robot parts to make some semblance of Prime's classic color scheme, and then there will be the silver color, which is to appease Nissan. I'm debating whether I want to get the red version, because a deluxe scale Prime could be oh so useful to me, or if I want to get the silver version, because there are so many Primes everywhere anyhow, and it'd be nice to have this mold and pretend it's a different character. Anyhow, the diecast is another thing for me. I don't have a problem with diecast, it's just not my favorite thing, and I certainly don't think it's necessary at all. It adds kind of a nice weight to the figure, but diecast chips and scratches so easily. If we get a US release of this like we did with the Alternators, I'd pick that up for sure.

Anyhow, I'm still gonna probably post the rest of the Toy Show report today, so look forward to it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Breaking the silence...

I'm kind of a bad blogger. I haven't posted anything substantial in months and months. Well, I've decided that I really want to change that. About a year ago I was away from my computer for about 8 months, but that doesn't give me an excuse for the last four months. The truth is, I just fell out of the habit of blogging. Now I'm trying to fall back into the habit. I'm working on coming up with new material to put in here, and be better about posting news I like, and making reviews of sweet stuff. And heck, if enough people read this and ask, I'd be willing to post news you like too. I'm not completely heartless!

So, kicking it off again, I'm going to toss in some coverage of the Tokyo Toy Show 2008! All these images were shamelessly scalped from Fantofan, as their extensive watermarks attest.

So, this first image shows a few items of interest. First off, there is a rather large poster depicting Masterpiece Thundercracker. Thundercracker is one of the three 'fan favorite' seekers from the G1 Transformers show. I like the mold he's got (my buddy has a US release Masterpiece Starscream) but, I dunno, the blue just looks wrong on it somehow. Maybe if it were a little more muted. This release is a given after Takara came out with their MP Skywarp. BTW, that mold looks dead sexy in black! Hmmm, actually, TCracker comes with black forearms, if I recall. Maybe one could make an all-black stealth seeker!

EDIT: I just saw another pic (don't know why I didn't see this before) and he looks pretty darn good, actually.

Also in this image is shown the Japanese versions of the Marvel Crossovers figures. I can't tell if they are in Japanese packaging or if they will be getting the 'US Version' treatment.

Also shown is Encore Metroplex, and what kinda looks like Landmine on a stand, but is probably Thundercracker.

In this next shot, we have the Japanese issue Classics, known as Henkei. Shown standing, from left right, are Ironhide, Bluestreak, Prowl, Sunstreaker, Silverbolt, and the very nice red Powerglide. In vehicle form, is a prototype, Ironhide, Bluestreak, Sideswipe, Prowl, Sunstreaker, Silverbolt, and pretty red Powerglide. As the shot is blurry, oh, and I don't read Japanese, I have no idea what the gray prototype is. If I had to speculate, I would say it's a Ratchet. Oh, and my buddy would probably insist that I point out that Silverbolt is white, instead of off-white like the US release. I add in that I don't care for that character or mold anyhow.

This shot is another angle of the same display, showing Prime, Octane, um, his name escapes me, Galvatron, and Megatron. If I had to pick, I'd get Megatron from that group. Oh yes, and you can see gorgeous red Powerglide below.

This surprised me! It looks like a new Binaltech mold, but I'm not sure if it really is. It certainly has a complex enough transformation, and you can see the internals through the front windshield. The front seats are on his arms, and the back seats are on his feet, so he doesn't have BT Streak syndrome. It looks great, honestly!

Here's what could be considered a catch. Here a early prototype is shown posed with Movie Concept Bumblebee, a deluxe class figure. This guy is not Binaltech sized. Also, the line seems to be called Transformers Alternity. This could be a play on the name of the US Alternators. All in all, this points to a smaller figure with no die cast. Some people will hate this, I'm sure, but I couldn't be happier. I love smaller figures with high complexity, and die cast is a thing of the past, expensive, heavy, and makes the figure hard to pose. Bring on the Alternity!

Anyhow, enough about Transformers.

Here is Bandai's 1/60th scale VF-25 from the latest series, Macross Frontier. I am really happy that Bandai is doing the valkyrie instead of Yamato, because Yamato is just overpriced. Great stuff, but pricey. Bandai on the other hand, makes things like that Aquarion there, which is bigger, more parts, more complex, more 'expensive diecast', less Quality Control issues, and cheaper to boot. Go Bandai!

This is displaying some of the Gundam merchandise at the show. Looks like the Metal Composite GFF Psycho Gundam and Gundam Ver Ka. Also looks like the Kahen Senshi Zeta Gundam, it may be being rereleased. Also, there seems to be an action figure, probably ExMSiA, maybe MSiA Ver. 2.0, of the G3 Gundam.

Here is the last shot of this post. This picture shows the upcoming Metal Composite GFF Psycho Gundam Mk-II, and it's box, and a gray prototype of it in Mobile Armor mode. It also shows a painted, probably production version, of the upcoming GFF NT-1 Alex, which is an awesome Gundam. I don't know what it's alternate mode will be, or if it will have one, but you can see most of a gray proto with the Chobham armor attached.

And thus concludes this post, but not the report, as I've got more news that I will post after I let my fingers rest.