Category Archives: mars

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 6-20-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Star Wars) Evans, Allison (Mars Attacks) Eckel, and Glenn (The Wedding Planner) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week’s episode includes: The Walking Dead #99, and of course #100 as well, Mars Attacks #1, pin-up covers from Zenescope, Chew #27 Second Helping, Ed’s indies including Star Wars, TMNT and Crossed, Before Watchmen: The Comedian #1, DC Universe Presents #10, Supergirl #10, Blue Beetle #10, Birds of Prey #10, Red Hood and the Outlaws #10, Catwoman #10, Astonishing X-Men #51, the AvsX titles of the week, Phoenix fashion sense, the honey badger X-books, New Mutants and Defenders, the rest of the Marvels, Allison’s kids comics, games, toys and trades.

Be sure to check out the rockin’ new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

No Canadians were harmed in the taping of this video.

John Carter Is Awesome

John Carter ~ In the year of The Avengers , there are only a few movies that I have been anticipating with the same tension and excitement as that of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. There is Battleship, which is more a curiosity than anything else, as in how can a flick based on a kids game have such an awesome trailer? There’s also The Dark Knight Rises, which falls more into the morbid curiosity category. Regular readers know how much I absolutely hated The Dark Knight, so I am curious to see how much of a train wreck this one will be. And then there’s John Carter. In some ways, I have been more excited about this one than The Avengers.

First things first, all you critics and naysayers and underage idiots who think it rips off Star Wars can all just go to hell. John Carter is awesome. The books, by Edgar Rice Burroughs about John Carter of Mars are now over a hundred years old. A century, idiots, so if anything, George Lucas was mining Burroughs, not the other way around. And that goes for everything else under a hundred years old the uneducated are saying John Carter rips off. This is the original, literally the great granddaddy of pulp adventure science fiction. Everything from Flash Gordon to Superman to Adam Strange to Avatar owes a huge debt to this property.

And the other thing, yeah, that thing, I don’t want to hear any crap about box office. Yes, it was an expensive movie, and yes, it did not do well at the box office. The box office folks are talking about is domestic, John Carter did quite well overseas, where also apparently folks knew who the character was, despite the “of Mars” being removed from the title, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The fact is not that the movie did do well financially, it just did not do the numbers it was expected to do, that’s all. Let’s look at the facts – John Carter has made more money than The Artist and Hugo combined. Does that sound like a bomb to you?

There were other problems. The project got orphaned at Disney/Pixar, as nearly everyone involved in marketing was no longer with the company when it came out. So Disney only gave it the minimum promotion a motion picture of its size, budget and content should have gotten. Disney had written the film off before it even came out, and in recent weeks has even admitted it. Feeling saturated by the PR blitz of The Avengers and Brave? Well, enjoy, that’s John Carter‘s marketing money at work.

And then there’s the title. Disney had a real bomb last year called Mars Needs Moms, and decided that the word “Mars” was bad publicity, and so removed it. These are also the geniuses who wouldn’t call it A Princess of Mars (the book on which this movie is mostly based) because it would confuse the little girls (and probably the parents as well) in the audience. Not only is that just plain stupid reasoning, it’s also ripping the heart out of the character. John Carter is John Carter of Mars, period. It’s like calling a movie about Superman just “Man.” And also if they had kept the “Mars” in the title, at least some of the folks who weren’t aware of the character wouldn’t have at least known it was scifi of some sort.

Despite all that that, despite all of this crap that has been piled on top of the movie – I loved it. I’ve seen it three times. John Carter is the best movie I’ve seen this year. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great movie, and there’s nothing original you haven’t already seen somewhere else (it has had a hundred years to be ripped off, mind you), but it is a fun movie, and I really enjoyed the two hours plus I spent in the theater each time. There hasn’t been an adventure like this is some time.

Based on the first novel A Princess of Mars, yet borrowing from later novels as well, John Carter stars newcomer Taylor Kitsch (“Friday Night Lights”) in the title role, genre actress Lynn Collins as the Princess, and Willem Dafoe brilliantly voice acting Carter’s Thark friend Tars Tarkas. Rounding out the cast are two veteran actors from one of my favorite HBO series “Rome,” Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as Dominic West and Bryan Cranston who rule the screen while they’re on it.

I loved this pulp adventure of a Civil War vet transported to the otherworldly Mars to fight for and against its various peoples. I read these books as a ten year old at the Camden County Library when it was part of the long gone Echelon Mall, thanks to my reading enabling big sister. They were great then, and great now, as I read the first book again before seeing the movie. A friend of mine called it adventure porn for ten year old boys. I don’t find that all that offensive, I think it’s right on target actually.

John Carter is a fun adventure flick – don’t believe anything the naysayers tell you, go see it, go see it now.

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Negadon: The Monster from Mars ~ Also known as Wakusei Daikaijû Negadon, this is a loving homage to the great Japanese giant monster movies of the 1960s and 70s. Writer/director Jun Awazu utilizes computer models and animation to construct this kaiju eiga for the 21st century.

At just under a half-hour we get the full story of an anguished scientist, the terraforming of Mars, a giant monster destroying a city and the giant robot that saves the day. All the elements are there, done in wonderful detail. Well worth seeing for not only fans of the genre but anyone interested in special effects or computer animation. Excellent.

Mission to Mars

I am ancient.

Yep, I’m so old that I remember when men first walked on the moon. I remember how every channel, and don’t forget there were only four at the time, carried every NASA mission live – pre-emting everything else, no matter what it was. I remember when astronauts were heroes and just about to coolest thing you could want to be when asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. Hell, I remember drinking Tang, because it was what the astronauts drank.

I remember Apollo 13 (the reality, not the film) and asking my father what “docking” meant, only to be shushed because this was “very important.” I remember getting watch TV at school (something that never happened back then) so the class could see “history” – moon rockets blasting off. I remember rushing home from school to see the splashdowns. I remember summer evenings where everyone would be outside at dusk with telescopes and binoculars to get a glimpse of Skylab going over. And I remember that the first color photo in the local newspaper was the Viking shot of the surface of Mars, taking up the entire front page.

That was then, this is now.

Tonight, in a few minutes actually as I write this, the Phoenix lander will be touching down on the planet Mars. None of the major networks are carrying this event live. To add insult to injury, ABC is airing “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” What that says about us as a civilization, I’ll let you decide. CNN and Fox News are covering the story as part of their usual 24/7 news coverage. The super-accurate and objective MSNBC seems to think a re-run about San Quentin Prison is more important, perhaps Keith Olbermann might mention it later as an afterthought, or a joke.

Only the Science Channel is fully covering this event. And good thing though, this is history, whether the apathetic news media believes it or not.

Capricorn One

Capricorn One ~ This 1978 film by writer/director Peter Hyams was influenced by wild rumors and urban legends that the US moon landing was faked. In Capricorn One, a Mars landing is faked, but when a glitch in the actual splashdown of the unmanned capsule makes it impossible for the astronauts to have survived – the real guys on Earth are infinitely expendable. Hilarity ensues.

Excellent excellent performances by Elliot Gould who plays an unorthodox reporter on the trail of the cover-up and James Brolin as one of the astronauts. Others among this chiefly 1970s cast do wonderful jobs including Karen Black and Brenda Vaccaro, and even a pre-murder O.J. Simpson. Hal Holbrook even proves that he’s been Oscar-worthy decades before the Academy ever decided he was. Capricorn One also features one of Jerry Goldsmith’s better early scores.

Other than the dated 1970s trappings and cast, this is a very current film, and I wonder why in this political environment it hasn’t been optioned for a remake. This was much better than I remember it, and highly recommend it.