Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pop Culture League: Top Ten…..

I missed last week’s PCL essay challenge due to some unforeseen circumstances. Fret not for I am returning to the league this week in response to the excellent topic given by CommanderBrian…..”Top Ten….”. While there were many possible lists that I can venture into, there was always this one list that constantly lingered in my mind for these past couple of months or so. Fittingly, the topic seemed to be my avenue to finally channel my thoughts for everyone to read and decipher.

My take on this week’s assignment would be…..

“Top Ten Pop Culture Predictions for 2016 – 2020”

There. It felt good to simply just blurt that out. Truthfully, many ideas and (somewhat) irrational thoughts came into my mind during the last couple of months and the owner of the Cool and Collected blog seemed to have somehow tapped into my brain and wanting me to get my thoughts out for everyone to ponder over.

My Nostradamus head gear is ready. Without further ado (puts both hands on crystal ball):

#1 - More and more classic Hollywood movies or TV series will get the reboot treatment as film writers in general hits an all-time low in the creativity department. My money’s on a reboot of the Captain Powers & The Soldiers of the Future or the tale of the time-travelling duo in Voyager TV series next because I badly want to see both happening in my lifetime!

#2 – More outrageous acquisitions by Disney after the already massive coup of Marvel and Star Wars. I’m totally expecting them to get toymaker company Hasbro into their balance sheet and…….*drumroll*…….there would be an attempt to wrestle DC from their current parent company Warner Bros. Preposterous you say? We’ll see.

#3 – Price of a one-sixth collectible figure produced by Hot Toys will eventually equal to that of a car down payment. Really ridiculous and scary fact this is as buying one (1) Hot Toys collectible figure edges you closer and closer towards an unthinkable price points these days. This prediction, sadly, will come true sooner than we thought it would be if Hot Toys is allowed to skyrocket their price points at will.

#4 – McFarlane Toys will go back to producing movie-related action figures. I miss their Movie Maniacs line!

#5 – By the end of 2019, Disney will most probably decide to pursue Episodes 10 till 12 aka the FOURTH Star Wars Trilogy since it is a no-brainer money-makin’ engine to continuously entice Star Wars fans to come back for more. And just think about the gajilions to be made from the action-figure/merchandise department (re: point #2 above!). It makes so much sense doesn’t it?

#6 – Resurrections of music icons/bands long gone will be a norm in 2020 by way of doppelgangers who look or/and sound like the original standing in for the real deal. Think Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala) or Julian Lennon standing in for John Lennon and Dhani Harrison standing in for George for a new Beatles album then! *praying hard*. That South American dude who sounds exactly like Kurt Cobain might even join Dave and Krist for a new Nirvana album too by the end of the decade.

#7 – Shia LaBeouf will finally become a household name trouncing even the likes of hotly-anticipated hopefuls like Chris Pratt or Michael Fassbender. Scary.

#8 – Nessie will be proven real and those who continuously denied her existence up to this point will have to do community service by cleaning up pollution in Loch Ness.

#9 – There will be endless cashing in of (yet again) ‘nostalgia’ reunions by the boybands of yore….or have we grown tired of NKOTB and Backstreet Boys already?

#10 – Nope. Flying cars still won’t happen by 2020. Sorry Back to the Future fans!

Check out other posts done prior to mine by the other members of the Pop Culture League:

Green Plastic Squirt Gun lists down his Top Ten Monsters Cartoon of the Past.
20 Years Before 2000 lists down his Top Ten most Awesome 80s Commercial
Toy Break lists down his Top Ten most Favorite GI Joe Accessories.
Mr Smith's Plastic Bubble lists down his Top Ten most Influential Toy Line
Alexis' Universe also lists down his Top Ten Favorite Toy Line
The Toy Box lists down his Top Ten most Memorable GI Joe figures
Marc Allie lists down his Top Ten Seasons of Power Rangers

Read much more from rest of the League HERE.

Anybody going to the local Malaysia Rogue One midnight product launch this Thursday night/Friday midnight?

The long queue at my local #tru at midnight yesterday. All for the love of The Force Awakens merchandises. #starwars #forcefriday #geeksdotheunthinkable

A little bit of a rant today since I’m in the mood. Hah!

I’ve been going to Hasbro’s Star Wars product launch since 2002’s Attack of the Clones event at the very same Toys R Us/TRU here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Why I didn’t attend nor partake in such a similar event prior to the release of The Phantom Menace is beyond me (oh wait, could it be possibly because I was still that nerdy university student at the time who didn’t have much excess moolah to buy action figures?).

Whatever it is, the story is still the same after a good 14 years later.

You get in line early, probably a good 2-3 hours before the actual product launch. Some of us might arrive way too early at 9.30pm-ish and find that the queue line hadn’t even started to form yet thus inevitably making us the ultimate dweeb for over estimating things. Some of us might under estimate things and casually stroll in front of the TRU at half past 11pm and find that the queue had made its way past the half kilometer mark inside the shopping mall.

Then there are those a***heads aka the dreaded scalpers who thought that they could be ahead of everyone’s game. Thinking that they know someone on the inside e.g. a TRU supervisor or Hasbro’s staff on duty, they can technically ‘reserve’ whatever they want without actually queuing up like everyone else does. And yes, I’ve seen these ‘inside persons’ reserving the stuff for these scalpers much to the dismay of those forming the long lines outside of the TRU store.

We’re most probably gonna see some sort of price hike since it’s actually a norm for Star Wars product prices to be jacked up from time to time. Slapping some ridiculous price points on highly demanded soon-to-be-launched Star Wars action figures etc seemed to make sense in the economic view. So expect your wallet (or credit card) to be burned…..really hard.

If you’re at the back end of the line then brace yourselves to be green with envy for those who came in at the very front who’d get their stuff much quicker than youse at the back and checking out at the cashier counters early. Watch how they seem to proudly dangle their loot as they strut pass you to make their way back to their cars. This would also be the point when you’d be setting your hopes high as you decipher what items are available inside the store from the shape of their plastic bags (and could be yours too once it’s your turn to enter the TRU premise) to come home with you.

Once/if you manage to get the stuff that you want then most probably Hasbro is gonna throw in some freebies (I’m betting on posters as usual) into your tote/plastic bags when you check out at their cashiers for you to take home. By this point many of the action figures and merchandises would be ‘sold out already’ thus leaving many collectors at the very tail end of the queue cursing their luck and the thought of having to resort to eVilbay to get the stuff that they want starts to linger in their already clouded mind (“Buy stuff on-line you must NOT when tired you are from Hasbro’s zombie-like sale!”).

After all is said and done you’d find yourself back home at about 2am-ish with the horrific thoughts of being at the office in mere hours with your zombie-like appearances complete with sagging eye bags and red eyes. All worth it for the love of new Star Wars action figures? Heck yeah…..(so we thought).

The much sought after (then) First Order Stormtroopers is now dumped throughout all retail stores and TRUs alike everywhere, not even a year after being released. It was also marked down to a record low of RM40 (that’s about USD9.50 by today’s forex rate) each during a recent warehouse sale but nobody seemed to be wanting it anymore.


Weeks later we’re probably gonna find out that the same ‘sold out’ stocks are being replenished (sometimes in abundance) not only at TRUs and other retail stores nationwide. So getting your stuff earlier than everybody else can give you that cheap thrill if that’s your cup of tea.

To each his own I guess, yea? Now excuse me while I ponder and make my decision. Should I get all hyped up and join the madness that is Force Friday later today (Malaysian time)?

I still have time to decide.....LOL.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Shin Gojira ("Godzilla Resurgence") was retro fun!

I understand that the film will only be released sometime in October for youse in the States so those who want to avoid any form of spoilers can steer clear from reading my rant on the film below....
Seriously, you can navigate away from this page now....
Last chance!
Ok....here goes!

Since its debut sometime in the 50s, Gojira or Godzilla to the rest of the world has been redefining pop culture's monster/creature feature with profound impact. With close to 30 films by Toho Pictures done on the creature, it was a matter of time before Hollywood dip their hands into the franchise (more on this later).

Let me be clear. I love classic retro action movies no matter how  cheesy or goofy the special effects might be. During my student days I'd spent many hours in between late night studying sessions watching Akira Kurosawa/Toshiro Mifune's films because I loved the blood spraying/splattering effects and flying limbs sequence so much. Honestly, those classic films immediately sprung into my mind when the classic Toho Pictures and the 50s/60s inspired opening theme opened this 

Having said those, I also enjoyed the retro score throughout the film. Real throwback to the classic Toho films of yesteryear.

I find it rather fitting for the Japanese to finally revisit their favorite kaiju in light of the recent release of Gareth Edward's 2014 movie i.e. "Godzilla" which was in my opinion, a great savior of the whole Godzilla/Gojira franc hise after the tragedy that is 1998's Roland Emmerich's flick of the same name. 

Drama, action (albeit not as much that I hoped for) and humor (?)....is the recipe of a great monster movie....right?

There were light hearted moments and sometimes they felt a bit comedic too especially scenes involving the Japanese Prime Minister. I don't know how other audience would react to these but the audience in the cinema my family and I went to burst into fits of giggles and laughter whenever the PM was caught in some sort of on-the-spot decision making situation. Unintentional I supposed but the comedy worked!

I find it amusing that a Japanese American presidential envoy/hopeful is thrown into the fray with all of her political connotations and references. Thus it made me wonder....could it be that the film is somehow subtly mirroring real-life US-Japan relations? Let's not go there....LOL.

I gotta admit that I almost dozed off a couple of times too during the many and over used 'board room' discussion scenes between the Prime Minister and his ministers/advisers. Truthfully I felt that the film could've done more without many of the scenes.

Now let us get into the star attraction of the film!

This is your classic Japanese Godzilla monster here from the short snout design, the stubby legs, the radiation glow on his body,  the unmistakable spikes on its back and right down to the goofy googly eyes. Make no mistake though as he is one mean kaiju as he terrorizes through Tokyo with his sheer might. Godzilla started out as a marine type of sea monster who ploughed through the Japanese metropolis (think seals or walruses) by moving slowly using its belly.  He evolves slowly into the Godzilla that we know as we progressed to the final act of the film. 

I love the combination of CGI, men in rubber suits and practical live effects as what I saw on screen was convincing enough for me as compared to the many other overly-CGIed monster flicks of recent time.

I was left in awe every time Godzilla unleashed his radioactive prowess by emiting rays and such via his mouth and tail. 

Gone are the days of unconvincing miniaturised models as most of the building and vehicle models used were seamlessly mashed up with the real ones during the many chaotic scenes.

Personally, I felt that there wasn't enough rampaging by Godzilla himself although we got to see a great deal of destruction throughout the movie. The movie however opened up so many possibilities for more outrageous sequels in the future, perhaps even one with crossovers or cameos from other Japanese legendary screen characters e.g. Ultraman etc.? I can't wait.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Transformers Generations Legends Class Autobot Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

Whaddup peeps? I’m gonna spend some time today to talk about something which I seldom talk about these days as opposed to the customary Star Wars or Marvel Legends-related stuff of late. One of my favorite pastime is to dig through discount bins at the toy department in retail outlets (or ‘el cheapo bin’ as my 8-year old kid like to say it because he says his daddy likes ‘cheap but cool’ stuff…hahah, sue me) for hidden treasures and fantastic toys of yore that had somehow escaped the hawk-eyes of hungry collectors.

Talking about Hasbro’s/Takara Tomy’s Transformers action figures, I am usually partial to the Voyager/Deluxe scale and I don’t find myself intrigued that much with scales other than the two. I’ve only just recently ventured into the Masterpiece line (probably about a year or so I think) so I think I have progressed into the bigger sized TFs rather than scaling down. So what I’m gonna say next is probably a shocker to you readers and me alike.
I just bought myself a ‘Legend-class’ Transformers action figure. The Transformers Generations Powerglide figure.
Yeap, that’s right. Legend class figures are those small TFs you see annoyingly warming the pegs everywhere (*cough*….Dark of The Moon Cyberverse figures…..*cough*).  When I say annoying it means that Hasbro Malaysia will usually let these unwanted pile of Legend-class figures until they are destined to be chucked inside some discount bin. However, the ‘Generations’ Legend figures tend disappear faster than the less popular DoTM Cyberverse Legends for very obvious reasons. One’s a faithful reproduction of the all-time favorite G1 cartoon series and the other’s from the very controversial movies by a certain Michael Bay.

I usually steer clear from even touching the Cyberverse figures because they don’t mean as much to my collection of mostly G1 characters and designs. Heck, there was even an instance where they were going on clearance (I think it was RM5 per pop or about a buck and a quarter American dollar each) back during a warehouse sale but even then I wasn’t even intrigued to pick them up.

Two things. Firstly, Legends scale is way smaller than the Deluxe/Voyager scale. My OCD-ness will never allow me to pick any Legends up and mix them with my preferred scales. Secondly, I can never bring myself to buy a small TF figure with such a premium asking price. They’re about RM50 each here in Malaysia at their full retail price (or USD12.50) when it’s only 8 or 9 bucks in the states.

Okay, so it’s the price that really bothered me the most. I terribly want Powerglide (yes, even at this Legends scale) for my G1 shelf. I missed out on the Voyager scale versions many years ago although that one has a less-than-impressive sculpt and design. But hey, it’s Powerglide we’re talking about and there ain’t seem to be enough of him around for us collectors. Screen-accurate ones I mean. So when I saw this one sitting pretty in the discount bin all by himself in a sea of other peg warmers (i.e. Rodimus and the likes) I knew it is time to finally snag him. If you’re wondering, I got him for a mere 6 American dollars. I don’t how cheap this would be for you in the States but in Malaysia a Transformers toy could only get oh-so low. I have been looking for him extensively but somehow I didn’t find him in the open. Ebay prices were so ridiculous that I was ready to go without him in my collection. Lady luck seemed to be smiling on me today.


Let’s get on with the figure.

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

The packaging -  I kinda like the way Hasbro’s blister card packaging style with the character art at the top of the card and all. The blister/thermoformed plastic pack works really well here since the figure’s kinda light anyway for it to drop off from the card. Anyway, the packaging on mine was full of tape, presumably the blister plastic was starting to fall off from the card. Well, the line did come out way back in 2014, so the glue must have been wearing out after two years. Nothing that a good ‘ol X-acto knife can’t handle!

Let’s see him in his ‘bot mode!

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

He looks awesome and seems to be an almost accurate reproduction of his classic 80s look from the G1 cartoon series. I love everything about him, that face sculpt especially. His design is top-class except for the bulk in his legs….*ugh*….but I believe Hasbro/Takara Tomy will work to correct/reduce the bulk in the near future should they ever decide to revisit Powerglide (and at a bigger scale I hope!).

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

This aircraft is very faithful to the A-10 Warthog aircraft design! It’s THE design that inspired both the Cobra Rattler from GI Joe and Powerglide here! How cool is that? Talk about throwback to the 80s.

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

Legends Class Powerglide

For most G1 fans, when you talk about Powerglide, you’d probably be reminded of ‘The girl who loved Powerglide’ episode, because this is one awesome homage to that character we know and love.

Scale wise?

I can’t help it but scale issues will always bug me in the Transformers action figures collecting environment. Sure the Legends scale is smaller than the Voyager/Deluxe scale but judging from pictures from the G1 cartoon, Powerglide does not look that much bigger than the humans after all. So I guess the Legends scale works for Powerglide here.

But hey, it’s the TF universe after all….and the mighty Allsparks controlled the sizes of them ‘bots at will! So who’s to say the scales are all wrong eh?

The Rebel’s verdict:

It’s a tad frustrating, since I think this figure could have been up-scaled to work as a Deluxe or Voager with very little tweaking. Nonetheless, if you look at Powerglide here as a stand-alone figure, this little guy simply can’t be beaten and seemed to be the best G1 Powerglide ever produced by Hasbro. Personally, I think it is ironic that Hasbro is seen to be focusing some of their design work into the Legends Class scale rather than the Voyager/Deluxe scale. One can only hope.

Pop Culture League: Buying Blind

Wha-hey-hey….the whole of September thus far had been TOTALLY on posts in response to the assignments given by Cool Captain Brian of the Cool and Collected blog. What happen to the regular posts you might ask? Well, they’re still there. I’m still writing whenever I can in between juggling commitments and this other thing called ‘life’. Those articles remained unedited and heaps of photos arising from my countless late night photo shoots still linger around in my SD memory card. I really should settle my backlogs. More stuff had been coming in the past couple of weeks and there’s a heckuva catching up to do.

I’m also in the midst of re-arranging my man cave so you can almost imagine the chaos I’m in right now.

But for now, it is time for me to respond to yet another weekly challenge given by Cool and Collected:

“Pop Culture League: Buying Blind”

While my wife, son and I dabbled in many blind bag collecting bug thus far, I think the one that really got our hearts pumping is the LEGO minifigures series. My son was into the Playmobil blind bags some time back but the LEGO minifigs remained the real deal for us. I wished we had more blind bags from other lines or series e.g. FUNKOs The Walking Dead series over here in Malaysia, but they don’t really appear at retail stores at decent price points therefore I’m just gonna ignore the fact that I’d have to pay loads of cash to purchase them at specialty toy stores around town.

So I’m just gonna talk about LEGO minifigures today.

I’m not sure how it is in other parts of the world but we Malaysians rarely depend on deciphered codes or bump codes to determined which minifigures/figures contained herein in any particular blind bag. So how do we do it then? Why, the old grab-and-feel technique of course! I heard that some stores banned their customers from doing so in fear of packet breakage. Those are still fragile packaging mind you.

It’s no fun to NOT know what you’re buying but it certainly satisfying to beat them scalpers to those oh-so-hard-to-get minifigures. So it’s technically a race to see who is the fastest to ‘identify’ what figure is inside the packet you’re holding.

I’ve read the article written by another blogger that says it’s practically cheating if you use bump codes and whatnots to determine which figures you get but I can say that I’d be more annoyed to find the same figures making its way into my collection again. So whatever techniques you feel necessary just employ them! Anything to get the minifigures you want to complete your collection, right? Just don’t be a scalper. Leave the extras for the next collectors because it’s a noble thing to do.

In the end of the day I’m just glad that Marvel Legends action figures are not sold via blind bags because that would’ve really taken my level of annoyance to a whole new level. Nuff said.

These are some posts on the subject by other Pop Culture League members, so check ‘em out if you have the time:

The Last Hometown talks about his fondness on Funko Horror Mystery Minis
Green Plastic Squirt Gun has a few lines goin' on at the same time
Alexis' Universe also collected a number of blind bag lines..
20 Years Before 2000 talked about Garbage Pail Kids..

Read more over at the Cool and Collected page HERE.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: House of Wax

The local Wax Museum is having a fire sale and you have the opportunity to add a life-size, life-like action figure to your collection. Who do you choose? 

I think the answer is pretty obvious for my wife, my son and I with this one. We have always enjoyed the many movies of this particular actor and I can safely say in unison that my geeky family and I wouldn’t mind to have the Governator in our collection room! 

Ok, setting all Republican/Democrats jokes aside….. 

First of all, the man’s a screen legend. I’ve loved his acting since I first watched his Hercules in New York movie even if many critics hated it. Then there were Twins, Predator, Commando, Kindergarten Cop, Total Recall, Last Action Hero, the Terminator films etc. Seriously, I can’t choose which version of 1:1 scale Arnold Wax-enegger I’d rather have for the toy room. One day I’d want him in his dark sunglasses holding his shotgun while other days I’d also want to see him in his Jack Slater getup or his Dutch Schaeffer look. 

In fact, Arnie was the one that my family and I really really wanted to bring home when we visited Madame Tussaud in Tokyo 3 months ago!

What can I say. The man is truly an embodiment of the modern cinematic culture for many of us. Your choice may vary but no one can deny that Arnie is certainly up there with the rest of the best! 

Read the rest of the entries by other bloggers over at the Cool and Collected page here.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: First Quarter....My First Arcade Memory!

Well, here we are again. Another week and another write-up assignment from the Pop Culture League run by the cool (and collected) owner of Cool and Collected. I was first to submit last week's submission but I'm kinda late with this week's for some reason.


This week's topic is First Quarter aka your first arcade or video game memory.....

Well, setting aside my experiences with home video game consoles i.e. Atari, Commodore Amiga, Nintendo and such, I'd like to take everyone back to my good ol' video arcade days in the good ol' 80s.

For as long as I can remember, I owe it all to one of my older cousin for being such a cool sport by bringing me to one of the most famous and legendary video arcade game spot in town when I was 10 years old in the '80s. You see, back in the good 'ol 80s here in Kuala Lumpur capital of Malaysia, we were lucky enough to have several video games haunt in town although some were supposedly frequented by juvenile delinquents and suspicious characters at the time. Many of these 'leisure centres' have dark tinted glasses too, so having an older 'brother' tagging along with you at your local arcade makes perfect sense because no one wants to mess around with a 'big brother'...right?

And guess what, that favorite arcade of mine from the 80s is still operational!

Well, I initially wanted to make a quick stop to this particular arcade I'm referring to as my current office is somewhere near it. My idea was to snap a few pictures to prove to everyone that it is alive and well. And by the power of the arcade gods, when I last step inside the arcade a couple of years ago, they still have several of the games I played in the 80s! These timeless classics such as Pac Man, Super Contra and a few others really brought me back down memory lane. But I was gutted when I discovered that they didn't have Double Dragon installed in any of the many arcade machines anymore.

A quick search though Uncle Google found me this....perhaps one of the few pictures still available online of this wonderful childhood den of mine (no idea whether this is current or taken some time ago but it's the only picture I can find):

Personally I think the whole visit-your-local-arcade trend died a slow and horrible death when the likes of 'modern' game consoles made their way into our homes in the late 80s. But having spent my childhood in countless arcades in the 80s, well, nobody can really take away those memories. So here's to the dark, loud and obnoxious smelling places we call 'heaven' at the time......good times!

Read what the other Pop Culture League members have to say about this topic here.