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Everything posted by Lexomatic

  1. Summary of attendance for the three Fathom Events "Macross" movies (I'll edit this post and update the table as reports accumulate and/or I re-scan the forums to add/verify details.) Schema: Locations are obtained from the user-profile or as hinted in a post, and I've translated to major market area (MMA). Username with asterisk means "checked the online seating reservation, but did not attend." Codes: "nr" post but a value was not reported, "na" no post. Rows are sorted by time-sequence of report, not username or location. In lieu of direct HTML control with TABLE or PRE, I've formatted this table using the fixed-width Courier New font (at 12 points, otherwise the rows wrap) and column padding as CHR(160), i.e., the non-breaking space; this facilitates transfer to a text editor or spreadsheet of your choice, unlike an image of my spreadsheet. Findings: There were many more reports for "Macross Plus" in December than for "Macross Frontier" in June. Username Location(MMA) MacPlus MacF_1 MacF_2 blackconvoy_D01 8 na na Kelsain Erie PA nr na na Metal_Massacre_79 ?? 11 na na jvmacross 3 na na NightmarePlus ~20 na na snakerbot Houston TX 8 na na TehPW Cleveland OH 10 na na jealous37 12 na na Knight26 Tucson AZ 8 na na DYRL VF-1S Denver CO nr na na HGSucks Oklahoma City OK 12 na na Corrinald 5 na na 100mega San Antonio TX nr na na Britai 7018 San Francisco CA ~50 na na Boobytrap ~40 na na UN Spacy San Francisco CA 6 na na Gaijin HI 8 <11 11 Rhubarbarian Los Angeles CA ~full na na Focslain Pittsburgh PA 8 na na EastwindS2k DC nr na na twich Spokane WA nr na na Shawn few na na Shawn * 15 na na Rogueload 6 na na Rock nr 5 na Seto Kaiba Detroit MI half nr 12 Lexomatic Phila PA na 4 4 Stampeed Valkyrie Allentown PA 9 12 na sharky Atlanta GA na 6 na darkranger12 na nr na kajnrig >20 nr ~25 M’Kyuun Spokane WA ~12 7 7 Master Dex na 7 na kazuo na ~20 ~10 Bolt Northern CA ~25 na na iguanaman8989 na na 7 Gamma00Ray New York NY na few few
  2. So, "Macross Frontier the Movie II: Wings of Farewell" (2011), as screened in southeast Pennsylvania ... Again a four-person audience, but the three apart from myself were different than a fortnight ago. Younger than last time, one of them a woman, and she's a dedicated fan, subtype: character goods; showed me a picture of her display cabinets full of Sheryl, Ranka and Mylene. (I myself had brought a backpack of the Perfect Triangle Roman album, Macross R mook, etc.) The Regal staff had again to be reminded to start the stream, but no problems with the audio. It wasn't a thundering bass mix, but was entirely adequate to purpose. The movie was bookended by a voice actress greeting (only one of them this time), no ad for merchandise, and then a triplet of short music videos. "American fans, please consume Macross!" she urged, basically. Gee, Big West, it would be helpful if you gave us some hints how we might do so. Do you really have zero idea about marketing? Show us the URLs for the official site and YouTube channel. <rolls eyes>
  3. Well, actually ... as of SNW episode 7, there's a character from ST5 who's been re-introduced, that being ... ... which is at least thematically consistent with the show's emphasis on "let's reinvent Spock and T'Pring's relationship." I'm waiting to see if they somehow insert Sarek and Amanda so that Pike knows all about Spock's family, even if Kirk doesn't; evidently Spock gets more circumspect between these two Enterprise tours.
  4. Same here. Anyone who didn't know there's a second half would be left wondering "that's an odd place to end the plot." But there's probably no such person: who doesn't know the second half exists, who hasn't already found the listing on the Fathom Events. Fathom Events is all about "you're already familiar with this, now see it again / on the big screen for the first time" (The Fifth Element +25, G.I. Joe: The Movie +35, The Thing +40, ...). It's not a fatal disaster, given presumably low expectations to start with, but it's certainly a weird failure of marketing. I suppose we could provide feedback to www.fathomevents.com or its SNS channels, rather than just commiserate here. I mean, how many screens total were showing this? (You have search by location; there's no "all screenings" list.) Given the "under a dozen people" reports above for a sample of screens, it's probably under a thousand audience members, nationwide.
  5. Responding briefly to @Seto Kaiba's response to my observation: yes, I know it's a compilation movie, and you know, but I'm pointing out that, given the constraints of the form, the pair aren't ideal as a standalone experience, and that became very obvious now that I've watched them (I've got the Japanese BD of Wings of Farewell, plus fansub). If you're trying to entice a friend into Macross, and they're unwilling to watch a whole TV series, this shorter rendition won't be entirely satisfying either. Follow-up pondering: what's the goal as a Fathom Event? Presumably not to appeal to the tiny, tiny fraction of the U.S. population who are already fans. It can't serve the purpose of theatrical distribution in Japan, which is to promote the home video and ancillary merchandise. Is Big West testing the waters of U.S. cinematic distribution? Was this a practice run for the Delta movies? Did Big West get a really good price, given the struggling state of the U.S. cinema market? Flip side: Is Fathom Events desperate for name-recognition content?
  6. Just got out of my local Fathom Events screening (southeast PA/north DE happens to be well supplied with options, and the nearest location is my home Regal multiplex, just a few minutes away). There were three other audience members. Demographics: all of us were male, age 40-plus. We had to remind the Regal crew to actually start the projector: "7:00? It starts at 7:20, with ads. Wait, you've got a blank screen?" Pre-roll, there were a couple of cheery statements by the voice actresses for Ranka and Sheryl, and an ad for the so-called "proplica" interactive-electronic toy versions of their microphones, but no other merch. The BIGWEST logo displayed, but that was it; not the usual vanity parade of a half-dozen production committee members, and definitely no Harmony Gold USA. Post-movie was a static card reminding us about Fathom Events, but nothing about part 2 ("The Wings of Farewell") in two weeks. Movie comments: I've seen the TV series, I'm familiar with the plot, and I've got the Roman album for the visuals, but this is the first I've seen this movie adaptation. Viewed critically, as part one of a two-part story, it doesn't effectively establish all of the points of conflict ... We know that Galaxy (*) is up to skulduggery, and they're fond of cybernetics, but it's not yet established there's a cabal behind Grace. Ranka and Sheryl's song is somehow linked to the Vajra, but we don't know why that's important. We know that Galaxy and Frontier are in a race for the Vajra homeworld, but not why (since, in isolation, the movie doesn't mention humanity's mad scramble to survive via supertech). Presidential aide Leon looks shifty, but that's the only sign the Frontier government-military-industrial complex might not be lily-white. The Vajra themselves aren't compelling as an adversary: they're big and dangerous, but they've got no personality, and "kaiju property destruction" is a bit abstract -- "hey, mass funeral for 280 people we don't know." The climax of this chapter is that Ranka realizes the Vajra are after her, but neither she nor anyone else understands that the Vajra consider it a rescue (that inversion comes in part two). (*) If you're not familiar with the naming conventions of the emigration fleets nor the scale of the milieu, "Galaxy" will be confusing. "Wait, so the Frontier fleet is in competition with the entire galaxy? Is that a human galaxy or aliens?"
  7. If I might interject on the contours of the current debate: I concur that the Protoculture doctrine behind the Zentraedi doesn't make sense, if you come at it with assumptions derived from "serious" space-opera and mil-SF like Star Trek, Legend of Galactic Heroes, Keith Laumer's Bolo novels, etc. [1]. If the over-the-top scale of Zentraedi forces is a satire of real world nuclear-MAD overkill (to name one facet), then it might originate in the original conception of Macross as a parody of Gundam, in which case the proper interpretation is more in line with the British-1980s-satire stance for Warhammer 40,000 or Judge Dredd. (Where "originate" would mean "post-hoc rationalization compatible with ideas from 1982, but rejected at the time.") As a viewer it's very easy to be unaware of the Protoculture doctrine, because it's mentioned on-screen only a few times (when the human characters are lucky enough to encounter a Protoculture relic with storytelling on its mind) and is otherwise revealed in video games and "setting materials" like Macross Chronicle, relayed to us through the good services of @Seto Kaiba et al. Most of the time, the narrative focus is elsewhere, and the only discernible reason for most elements is "rule of cool." FWIW, the story of "human strategic planners and historians (none of them romantic nor singers) who interview Zentraedi officers, study Protoculture relics, discover the true horrific scale and callousness of the original plans for the Protoculture's civil war" seems more doujinshi territory than anything we'll see on TV or in a Macross R-style official written form. Imagine Captain Picard faced with the Protoculture's decision to create "an entire race of disposable people." [1] ... Star Wars (some of the novels, not really the movies, although the TV series sometimes consider the ethics of the Republic's clone army), David Weber [2], John Ringo, Sean Williams and Shane Dix, or the Jack McKinney Robotech novelizations (which are a different beast than the TV series which had to make-do with existing footage). [2] The third book of Weber's Dahak/Empire from the Ashes series reveals a premise akin to that of Macross: the Achuultani have been sweeping around the galaxy for millions of years in a state of cultural stasis, exterminating everybody, because their war computer is justifying its own continued operation.
  8. For the moon (0:16), it resembles Mimas, the "Death Star" moon of Saturn -- I'm guessing that's a recent bombardment crater (by somebody's superweapon) with four concentric walls of ejecta. FWIW, the first caption line 演習1日目 reads "exercise first day" -- I thought it might be the name of the body. Yamato 2199 et seq. has put some effort into its astronomical realism -- at 1:57, on Day 7, they seem to be conducting exercises around a pulsar. Also, I don't care for the animation of the space fighters: IMHO, it's too Macross-y for this milieu. (My benchmark in this respect are the Starfuries from Babylon 5.) The Cosmo Pythons (that's the new-model Earth fighter, according to Yamato superfan site OurStarblazers.com) ignite engines and are instantly at full speed (0:45), rather than accelerating; they've got RCS thrusters but aren't consistently showing "thrust/counterthrust" (0:50), and make aerodynamic-style moves without thrusters (0:52, 1:06) such as scissoring/swooping (1:04). I do like that the console displays at 0:39 are more concise than in Macross.
  9. The awkward helmet-plus-cuirass (with four Technic pin connections, two lateral and two downward) was introduced for divers in the "Atlantis" theme in 2011, and I agree this is an improvement for Space contexts: it's akin to the two-stud trans-clear neck-bracket used in "Chima" to affix wings to the Eagle-tribe figs. Hasbro's KRE-O had something similar (neck-bracket with four studs) for the Transformers minifigs, several years ago. They're both more versatile than the MMU-style backpack-with-handgrips from CS in the late 1980s. I don't care for the medium-azure color, though; I'd prefer a neutral white or light-bley. For the windscreens, the trans-light-blue hue isn't very exciting. Set 60349 is clearly inspired by the NASA "Lunar Gateway" station and corresponding Orion spacecraft, whose service module has four solar panels in a cruciform arrangement. Hmm. We've had plenty of STS, but have any of the recent City spaceport sets inspired by the misbegotten SLS launcher? I try to avoid thinking about its particular configuration and distinctive features. On the station, the far-left end is the 4x4 curved-corner plate introduced for the Super Mario sets. The EVA'ing astronaut is wielding a power drill, which is funny considering the "oops, there's a hole in this newly-launched Roscosmos module of the ISS, so let's blame a U.S. astronaut" scandal over the past year. A power driver would be a more likely tool, but that element is found in a bagged tool-cluster, and who needs a 4-way lug wrench on a space station?
  10. I've recently started working through the SpeakerPodCast's back catalog during my thrice-weekly walking-trail exercise. Always fascinating, but to supply context and improve comprehensibility, might I suggest: At the start of each episode, state the date you're recording it. The publication date is metadata, but I don't necessarily look at the metadata if I'm letting my iPhone iterate through my podcast queue. Also at the start: what's the current state of emergency in Tokyo, and how has that impacted moving out-and-about? When name-dropping, help those of us who aren't so plugged-in to the industry and physical layout of Japan: People: "So-and-so, director of Series-PQR and Series-STU" Musicians: They tend to have weird names that a listener might not recognize when spoken. "Who's Main? Oh, May'n, the vocalist for Sheryl Nome. I thought it was pronounced May-uhn." Projects: "Title-XYZ, a TV series from 2007" Locations: "Held at Site-JKL, a small event venue in the basement of a department store in Gotanda ward, Tokyo" Each episode has an agenda but the actual direction of the conversation is seat-of-the-pants, so please keep in mind, "if we allude to XYZ, how much context (who/what/when/where/why) do listeners need, to understand why XYZ is significant?" If you realize during editing that clarification is needed, insert an explanation: "In this next section we talk about the production team for ABC: person 1, person 2, and person 3, whom we've met at several publicity events over the past five years, so they're willing to share extra details with us."
  11. Haven't fully screened 3.0+1.0 on Prime Video yet, but I've skimmed it. (I've been screening the Rebuild movies with my parents for lack of another audience with whom to share the cinematic experience, and 2.5 hours is potentially a slog for them. If you think you're confused, try explaining Hideaki ANNO's obscurantism to a couple of senior citizens whose main exposure to anime is Studio Ghibli films.) Initial thoughts:
  12. IMHO, the story (*) of Evangelion is first and foremost about character growth (i.e., transcending the "hedgehog's dilemma") so the civil and mecha engineering isn't the point, but I agree that the magnitude in the Rebuild movies strained credulity. My partial-head canon is that: Some of the NERV mega-installations were repurposed Progenitor facilities (to give a name to the aliens who seeded Earth with the so-called White and Black Moons). Post-N3I and post-SEELE, Gendo and Fuyutski used Progenitor automated manufactories that had been included in the seed packages, whose instructions were part of the so-called Apocrypha to the Dead Sea Scrolls. WILLE didn't build the AAA Wunder, but they did refit it. (Originally I speculated that it was a leftover Progenitor ship -- as in Nadia -- but the final movie gives a different *spoiler* origin.) They tapped a whole lot of international NERV materiel that Gendo wasn't using. (*) The story is about character growth, but the money is in the character goods: muscular mecha and cute protagonists.
  13. Re: the sequence in which humanity learns about the Protoculture Epoch: some is revealed in the episodes, but are additional (and less cinematic) details provided by the setting materials? Are we told of a NUNS Ministry of Xenoarchaeology on Earth that coordinates research reports from the emigrant fleets? Which works with diplomats to gain access to Protoculture ruins in sovereign (Zolans, Windermereans, etc.) and emigrant fleet quasi-sovereign planetary claims? (As a premise, this bears similarities to elements of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but with a much larger cast of players. Yeah, that's probably the domain of doujinshi or at best cast audio dramas, rather than official animations. Romance between middle-aged bureaucrats in rival ministries -- who are not threatened with daily violent death -- fighting great battles over funding priorities -- and singing karaoke!) In DYRL, it's "yay, we defeated Boddole Zer! But the galaxy has a thousand other fleets just as dangerous." In Macross 7, Exedol almost goes catatonic when he infers the Protodeviln have broken loose -- but there's no indication he had proactively warned humanity that "we might encounter this threat." Later, the fleet discovers the Protoculture infodump-installation. In Frontier, we learn there are "research" fleets -- presumably their remits would be astronomy, superdimension pathfinding, exobiology, xenoarchaeology and "this seems to be a regular Zentraedi patrol route." In Delta, the galaxy-telepathic network hijacked by the Windermere-Epsilon cabal has been interpreted by fans to be a last-ditch effort by a Protoculture remnant, but we don't get dates.
  14. I'll add a recommendation for Cyberverse (available on Hasbro's YouTube channel). The three seasons differ in tone, and it's not perfect, but it conveys enthusiasm that we haven't seen since Robots in Disguise (2015) -- certainly not in the Machinima trilogy or War for Cybertron. You'll have to accept that some of the characters look like G1, but their personalities have been modified -- sometimes for the better (belying his name, "Grim"lock is basically jovial-Aquaman from Batman: The Brave and Bold). There are no human characters, even during the season set on Earth (which is a plus for some viewers), but there's also a dearth of human crowds where they should exist (which has long been a problem in CG-animated TV -- if TMNT (2012) is set in NYC's Chinatown, why is it always deserted?). The third season feels truncated and has gaps in its plot arc, but the back half has some fun standalones.
  15. It's certainly convenient (for tech-head viewers) that the parallel lineages have non-conflicting and similar model numbers. I wonder how Earth and allied emigrant nations coordinate that? Do potential derivatives proactively get assigned numbers, or does Earth wait for each ally to register its intentions? The TV shows focus on only a couple of prominent, wealthy fleets, but there are oodles of emigrant planets and fleets ("Frontier" is #55) -- is a proliferation possible, with VF-25 through VF-45? FWIW, a subordinate numbering system like VF-24.1 through VF-24.21 would address that possibility; conversely, if Kawamori et al. wanted to confuse us, they could give each ally its own sequence, as with the Mitsubishi F-2 (for Japan) being a derivative of the General Dynamics F-16 (for the U.S.). Earth: We've adopted our Fifth Gen mainline fighter, and we're calling it the VF-24. Here are the redacted plans, folks. Emigrant fleet 1: We can do something interesting with this. Earth: First off the block! Yours shall be the VF-25. Emigrant fleet 3: Our engineers are chomping at the bit. They've proposed all sorts of fascinatingly unethical mods. Earth: And yours shall be the VF-27. --Wait, what?
  16. Re: the alleged utility of a transforming space battleship, I will quote Ryoko from the first Tenchi Muyo OAV: "that may all be true, but I'm not convinced." You get the same results ("point the spinal-mount weapon thattaway") by putting the engine exhausts on gimbals or having higher-thrust verniers, without wasting mass on transformation actuators. You might want to reorient the 20% of the ship's mass which is the gun instead of the 100% of the whole ship, but given how movement works in microgravity (i.e., when your feet aren't anchored to a much larger body) that's nigh-unavoidable. "Fighter-like maneuverability" you're not going to get without mass-reduction magic (as in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda) and why would you even need such a capability in a battleship? We haven't seen cap ship-on-cap ship dogfights ... well, except for the Macross Elysion high-speed water-skating in the vidclip above, and I refuse to believe that was actually a movement scenario programmed or endorsed by the shipbuilder. IMHO, this is irreducibly a "rule of cool"/"franchise's trademark style" thing, like Space Battleship Yamato using Pacific War tactics in space, or combining robots, or almost everything in Star Wars.
  17. IIRC, Anno is on record that he used Christian and Kabbalistic imagery and terminology because "rule of cool" -- since neither tradition was widespread in Japan (c.1995) they lent the show an air of exoticism. Which I agree would be classified as "mood" (aesthetics) but not "tone" (theme). (Evangelion is hardly alone among anime in "let's use Christian-style terminology, hierarchy, costumes and architecture, but with zero connection to Christian doctrine.") Anybody who is familiar with those concepts -- i.e., the unplanned-for Western audience -- is then predisposed to look for connections and subtext that simply don't exist. Certain explanations provided by the characters (Keel, Fuyutski, Ritsuko) can easily be dismissed as speculation, and therefore subject to revision in later chapters of the saga. If SEELE does know what's going on, that implies the alien progenitors included a manual with one or both of the "moons," and it was intended for the eventual genetic product, and could therefore be translated by them -- but the fact that only one group has got a hold of it (instead of the manual literally growing on trees where anyone can get a copy) implies a flaw in the progenitors' plan. (Which is kinda interesting itself; see also the Alien prequels.) It's easier to classify all this as "word of god" from Anno. "Congratulations on being a sentient species spawned by Panspermia Project, Seed #743. The ephemeris indicates 12.72 galactic rotations have occurred since seeding of your planet; for further information, tune to macronic bands 43908 through 43956. At this juncture, please select from the following teleological destinies for your civilization ...". Dramatically, there's a problem with "the characters are desperately confused until a late-series infodump of the setting materials" (as opposed to "they figure things out by their own efforts") but that's a recurring trope in anime. For that matter, it's how murder-mysteries are usually structured.
  18. And that's the distillation of all these point-by-point critiques, isn't it? Does ST:DSC entice you to spend your limited entertainment hours on it, or do you pick an alternative? For any show, each viewer will look for a different combination of ingredients ... Coherent plot, engaging mystery, quotable lines, individual performances, character interaction, fight choreography, space battles, mecha design, vistas, SF/F ideas and worldbuilding, commentary on current social issues or the human condition, whether it fits with/extends the larger fictional milieu, music ... and DSC doesn't excel at any of these. It has isolated moments, but it's mostly a slog. If you watched the whole thing in real time there was the hope that maybe the disparate pieces would eventually converge in a satisfying way ; but if you're on the fence, you can rely on reviews that no, they don't. A corporate owner relies on "fannish loyalty" regardless of quality, but a responsible entertainment-consumer will recognize commitment bias and sunk-cost fallacy, and jump ship.
  19. I haven't bought any of the WFC figures, but I like the color blocking on Seeker Sandstorm, he's a reasonable scale for my collection, and video reviews (for example, PrimeVsPrime) show good articulation, an interesting transformation, and an acceptable degree of vehicle-mode undercarriage kibble. I suppose I'll have to investigate one of the mail-order options? Which I haven't bothered with, before now; my one third-party fig I bought at TFCon Toronto, and the chronically terrible selection at my local Target (and before that, at TRU) has destroyed any holistic sense of the breadth of each annual line. If I opted to use a panel-lining pen to further improve Sandstorm's deco, how well does the ink stand up to handling, I wonder? Given that transforming figures entail more fiddling than a Gunpla. I notice that a double-hinge-with-cover-panel limb-collapsing technique is used on both the arms and legs. That's probably easiest to mold and assemble, but a telescoping joint would be more intuitive and faster to actuate (one movement instead of four).
  20. This might have been addressed in an episode of the "Ready Room " after-show -- haven't watched it myself, but I'm told there's some useful insight into the worldbuilding intentions -- but here's how I posit it could work: It's a two-step process. At your origin, the passenger is wearing a pair of teleport-modules, A and B. Module A sends B *out* to the destination. Module B, hovering in mid-air, beams the passenger and A *in*, then re-adheres to the passenger's lapel. All of this happens too quickly (ka-foomp!) for the separate steps to be visible. Regardless, a "personal transporter" requires techniques other than those of the 24cen, which involve scanners and pattern-buffers which are all much larger than the cargo. Hmm. Maybe the instrumentality is larger, but it's hidden away, TARDIS-style. Apart from Discovery's exasperating turbolift-cavern, the Tikhov-M seed-vault ship also had an impossibly large interior, so maybe that's meant to be an enabling technology of 28cen-or-later, and the show simply neglected to tell us. ("Our 23cen refugees are practically neanderthals, but we can only allocate five minutes to learning about 32cen tech, so do it all on the bridge with their omnibadges and p-matter consoles.")
  21. DSC has so many problems that it's no longer worth our time to discuss them individually (*). Instead they can be grouped by type, and then arranged in a hierarchy: which questionable decisions represent a maker-audience difference in dramatic priority and style, and which are incompetent in any show? Which of them leave a show that's still salvageable? At the show's start, fan discontent focused on visual continuity (Klingons, starship shape) and milieu continuity (what's this war we've never heard about?). Then the problems were Burnham as Mary Sue, and competently structuring a season-long arc. It's now inescapable that the writing is incompetent at an even smaller scale, with things like "the adversary's death is an afterthought" and "what's the hullaballoo about the Sphere Data?" We can't attribute the incompetence to any single staffer, though; given the number of writers and producers, "too many cooks spoil the soup" is a definite possibility. Did the scripts get edited (badly) by producers? Were the individual writers told, "concentrate on your ep, and we'll script-edit so they fit together"? (*) The entire mess would probably make a good-sized thesis -- business decisions, picking the production team and whether they have the right amount of experience, writing, the dynamics of audience discussion.
  22. The problem with "Su'kal the marooned Kelpien psychically caused the Burn" are twofold, IMHO: Dilithium has never been attested to have psychic properties. Lack of thematic consequentiality. Trek invents new technobabble and new properties thereof all the time, but "dilithium can mutate Kelpiens into sympathetic resonance" had no groundwork this season -- not "Discovery's 32cen refit includes novel uses of dilithium" or "Book's nature-empathic powers are amplified by dilithium" or "Saru reads about Kelpien cultural development in the past 900 years." (It's almost Macross fold quartz and biological fold waves -- if Su'kal had triggered the Burn while singing rather than terrified, I'd have to call foul.) The Burn isn't an attack, environmental terrorism, scientific hubris, industrial overdevelopment, or a cosmic natural disaster that spacegoing civilizations have to deal with every few millennia (a "great filter"). The only possible connection is to Saru, as in "oops, I'm embarrassed on behalf of my species' accidental culpability" -- and Saru's not even the show's main character. (There's general agreement that "main character" is a bad fit for Trek, but if you're gonna do it, do it right.) Now, the idea that "exploding dilithium can cause a subspace shockwave" has precedent -- viz., Star Trek 6, the Klingon moon Praxis, and the wave that hit Excelsior. (Disclaimer: Due to the holiday, I've thus far only skimmed the episode and reviews thereof.)
  23. I'm not sure it's "plagiarized" -- Kirsten Beyer was executive story editor for season 2, and is a co-producer on season 3, so she may've freely tossed the idea into the pot in the writers room. Evidently the show wants us to believe one exists, since it's got a Twitter account. Warning: feed includes behind-the-scenes video of Grudge the Cat mugging for the camera. (Whatever "co-producer" may entail in responsibility and authority -- there are 20 listed executive, co-executive, supervising, consulting, co-, and no-bloody-A-B-C-or-D producers -- see the official PGA credit guidelines for long-form TV. Huh, "consulting producer" isn't a PGA title. At least during the Berman era, you could trace bad decisions to one guy.) Earlier this season, when we learned The Burn was due to exploding dilithium, at least one poster on TrekMovie.com speculated the idea had been borrowed from the TOS novel The Last Roundup (Christie Golden, 2002), to wit, the antagonists-du-jour had widely distributed a viral nanoprobe as a plot to inactivate dilithium and corner the market (see also: the James Bond movie Goldfinger), but didn't realize it would instead fracture lower-grade crystals, hence warp core breaches. That's still as-maybe, since we now know there was a center to The Burn, but we don't know what's hidden within the Verubin Nebula, apart from the Kelpien science vessel Khi'eth and a dilithium nursery.
  24. Splitting the wings into three splayed segments is something that was done with Thundercracker in the IDW comics for a while, during a period when the designs were tweaked to be more Bayformer-ish. Ooh. The Chengdu J-20 "Mighty Dragon" is a sweet-looking (*) fifth-gen fighter (now that I look), and this toy has one sweet transformation -- very little jet-mode undercarriage kibble, nor robot-mode back- and leg-kibble. Nice color blocking (three shades of grey vs. -- pale blue? mauve?), and the rib-like shapes around the thorax/canopy add some angular contrast to the stealth-curves. Stealthy zig-zags that break up what would otherwise be large blank areas. Head isn't excessively blocked by the shoulder pads. Engine nozzles end up on the calves rather than the feet (personally, this always bothers me -- squashing two very different mechanisms into one spot). I don't see anything that looks like a third-of-jet-on-one-swingarm transformational technique. One of the reviewers is pleased about the die-cast fraction, and indeed it's visible in the calves and feet. The package photos reveal that it comes with a stand for jet mode, but there's no indication how to support the robot. There's a sniper rifle-ish hand weapon, but I can't tell if it stows in the jet or display stand. I think I see a couple of spots where a faction insignia (courtesy of Toyhax) could sensibly go in dual-mode or robot-mode-only. (*) Not the same thing as "effective in any of its intended roles." (Do we have a thread for transforming toys that are neither Macross, Transformer, nor unlicensed Transformer character? For example, there's the whole since-2017 "52TOYS - Beast Box" line of mostly-dinosaurs that fold into cubes.)
  25. "Are home theater and a cinema interchangeable?" depends very much on personal taste, and it's a "why not both?" situation where the choice is repeated. There are evidently a lot of people who prefer going to a cinema for at least some of their movie experiences, for technical or emotional reasons -- anything from "no arrangement of subwoofers is compatible with my living room" to "I want to get out of the house." (Personally, I enjoy the experience of a "going out for" a movie -- stages of anticipation, the camaraderie of other moviegoers; and to replicate the technical quality at home would be fiscally illogical, given that I spend only ~$200 per year, as a solo viewer. The equation is tilted differently for consumers who can't tolerate other moviegoers, face family-scale expenditures, or have small bladders.) The question is: will the choice continue to exist? Will cinemas survive as individual businesses and as a sector? -- they're in mothballs now, but are there any parts of the supply chain that will die permanently because they require a critical mass? Studios will continue to produce movies. Modern digital projectors are (probably?) easier to maintain than film projectors. Popcorn and powered recliners are no danger. Expertise is widely distributed. Even if there are bankruptcies in the exhibitor chains now, if market demand revives, there will be investors interested in recapitalizing them (in the current global low-interest-rate environment, there's a whole lot of money looking for returns -- and that's likely to be true for at least several years).
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