The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘Transformers’

A Quick Word Or Two…

Posted by BigWords on December 7, 2009

My television, however, is still FUBAR. Which means that I had to start my Secret Blog Project (down in the blogroll to the right) with a review of an old book I had lying around. There are enough reviews already written that I’m not too worried about the lack of a television at the moment, but if I need to re-watch some DVDs to freshen my memory of them… Well, I’m pretty much screwed.

Here’s another Transformers pic. I swear, this is the last of them for now.

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So Much More Than Meets The Eye

Posted by BigWords on December 3, 2009

I had thought that I’d seen every sick and twisted Transformers image on the web, but I was wrong. Perverts obviously have much more imagination and creativity than I give them credit for, so – after an exhaustive five minute search of weird shit – I present two more examples of the neverending Transformers gallery of weirdness.

And while I’m at it, here’s something for the Star Wars kids to get upset over:

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A Quick Word About New Projects

Posted by BigWords on December 1, 2009

There’s always something going on, and it can be hard to remain focused on what I’m meant to be doing, so I thought I would share some of the things which have been bubbling under the surface and are almost ready to begin work on properly. This does, of course, mean I am taking on yet more commitments, though I have enough material stashed away to prevent them overwhelming me. Hopefully. I can’t guarantee that things will go smoothly, but I can guarantee that there will be a wealth of information available from my archives very soon. Both of the not-quite-ready blogs I am getting ready to add to my blogroll are going to be based around reviews and associated material.

The first of the blogs will appear at some point in the next week or so, with the second added when I get the chance to dig out the reference work I have been gathering for the last few years. The addition of two new blogs doesn’t mean that I’ll be ignoring this slice of insanity on a regular basis, nor does it mean that the book blog will be pushed to one side. If anything, the addition of two new blogs will allow me to put more material online than at present. It will also allow me to cover material I haven’t yet taken the opportunity to spend any time thinking about, adding links throughout all of the blogs to tie everything together in one meta-blog. Did I just come up with a brand new term? Quite possibly…

I have considered adding a fifth blog to the weekly duties, specifically centered on artwork I like, though that might wait a while. Diluting my free time with things to do is part of my attempts to keep busy while everyone else is asleep, ’cause the insomnia is really beginning to affect the way I spend my time. It really isn’t healthy to spend so much time arguing with the radio and causing mayhem around the net. I need constructive work to keep my idle hands from giving the devil work to do – or something.

I’ll finish up here with another pic which I like.

I didn’t draw it, so the blame can’t be pinned on me.

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I’m Catching Up With Where My NaNoWriMo Novel Is Going

Posted by BigWords on November 10, 2009

Everyone is getting on with their NaNo, right? You guys ain’t slacking off? I hit an impasse at the weekend, and initially thought it may have been due to the complexity of my idea, and the length of time I intended to cover, but I really like epics… It couldn’t be merely the expansive setting, so I looked to other reasons. The ideas were coming thick and fast, but didn’t sit well with what I had already done, so I took a step back and examined where things were going.

I stopped writing the novel for a couple of days to explore those ideas I had been having in short story form, and I realized that the things which had been bothering me about the plot I was using for the novel had been answered by my briefer pieces. That’s not all that unusual, in and of itself, but coming back to the novel opened up three questions I had not been able to answer, but now made complete sense.

There have been a few times that I have felt I was being led by my characters, rather than the other way around, but this is the closest I have come to being told the story by my characters.

1. Why does Talos go from being a relatively balanced artificial intelligence to being a psychopathic nutjob who kills people with memes and explosions?

Kenway, the man who cared for Talos before the DCU herded up sentient robots for destruction, seemed awfully chilled out for a person who might have expected his own demise was imminent. I wondered about that scene a couple of times as Talos descended into his madness, and thought of the reasons I might use to bullshit away the psychosis of an artificial lifeform. Turns out I don’t need to. The essence of the man has been downloaded into Talos. It makes perfect sense, and he has a very good reason to hate the DCU.

2. How did Adam survive being infused with nanobots, and patched up with cyborg parts?

He’s a genetically modified human. Wow, that came right out of left-field. The references to Adam’s history with The General appeared as I was writing Adam’s interaction with Adway. Even though I had some idea that they may be connected (I was actually thinking that he was The General’s son) I never imagined that The General might have been involved in Adam’s artificial creation. I like how my characters surprise me, even when I plan out things to the Nth degree.

3.  What the hell is the deal with dinosaurs?

I’ve never been one of those people for whom Jurassic Park was a life-changing experience. It was okay as a novel (but not especially original) and fine as a film (even if it was scientifically implausible), but the threat of being eaten by a dinosaur is a hardy one, and as Transformers proved (the eighties incarnation, not the Michael Bay war crime), talking dinosaurs are fucking brilliant.tumblr_kps1blVDvN1qztneoo1_500There are few things that even come close, yet the appearance of one in my novel surprised me.

I’ve started working out how to fit the T-rex I added to the novel into the plot in a way that isn’t a complete fan-wank, and it is going to play a major part in the plot. Saying anything more at the moment would ruin the surprise, but there is a kinda-unconscious-yet-critical foreshadowing moment that slipped through my subconscious already posted. I’m glad I didn’t excise the goofy lines which will now act as a hint to the future involvement of the character.

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Irreverence Is An Art Form

Posted by BigWords on October 24, 2009

asterix

Is anything off-limits these days? I have a hard time accepting anything as absolutely beyond the limits of piss-taking, but I’ve been thinking about this again and come to the conclusion that there are still things I won’t joke about. Making light of the holocaust is one thing I don’t feel free to do, and any jokes about the twin towers is distasteful at best… But religion is hilarious as it is – there is nothing funnier than what you’re likely to find in a religious text.

Comics are fair game (see image above), as are films. I can’t take most blockbusters seriously, never mind crap like Independence Day or the Transformers films. Humor is subjective, and what I find funny probably comes off as offensive to others. The best example of a completely inoffensive film being lambasted by ignorant and small minds as ‘terrible’ has to be The Life Of Brian. Which brings us back to religion again. Oh joy…

Most of the truly offensive things in this world aren’t irreverent, however, yet they ought to be treated with due irreverence. The tapes which routinely emerge from the Middle East proclaiming such-and-such terrorist act is a blessing or whatthefuckever, as a nice example, should be treated with irreverence. We should laugh and mock. Same with absurdities from closer to home: L. Ron Hubbard? His books are fucking hilarious.

Dammit, I wasn’t gonna pick on religion… Lets look at other areas.

Should sports be made a mockery of? Well, when I use sports I mean should sports be made a mockery of – more than they already are a mockery? Have you seen a soccer match? Hilarity. And when I’m on the subject of sports I should bring up the ridiculous alleged sport of table tennis. Who thought that this was a sport? Was there a discussion on this before it was submitted as a sport? Excuse me while I mock.

And books shouldn’t be excluded either, especially revered texts. I like MAD, Cracked and other magazines which do their best to prick the ego’s of self-important individuals. There can be no higher praise than having the piss taken of yourself in a satire, and people who find themselves lampooned in South Park should feel that they have contributed to society is some small way. And, FYI, Tom Cruise ain’t gay… He has a beard wife now and everything.

Irreverence is vital to a clear view of ourselves, and we should never forget that we are all the butt of someone else’s jokes. I just happen to be the cause of more unintentional hilarity than most…

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Why Do Remakes Have To Kill Franchises?

Posted by BigWords on September 16, 2009

Having just sat through Death Race I have to ask this question. It should have ended with the chick standing on the roof of the car in the Frankenstein mask, the cutaway signifying the possible escape of the drivers. It ran on a few minutes longer, with an ending which was completely unnecessary and destroyed my interest in seeing a sequel. I have to make it clear, straight off the bat, that I’m a big fan of the original, and the thought that this would be similarly laced with barbed commentary appealed to me.

Wow, was I wrong about that or what?

It could have set up a great B-Movie franchise of explosions, gratuitous violence and general mayhem, but after the add-on scenes set in Mexico I’m not sure a sequel would even be possible. It isn’t as if creating a kick-ass franchise is difficult, as even the abysmal Butterfly Effect has managed to drag on to three equally yawn-inducing installments. As for the craptastic remake of The Omen, the least said the better…

Why are remakes so hard to get right? I’m not going to include the constantly revised stuff here, because anything with Sherlock Holmes or Batman is going to be revamped in a few years anyway (and Batman currently has a few versions available), so this is centered solely on fresh remakes on dead properties. Such as Planet Of The Apes.

Rule One (which must be obeyed at all costs) is that a remake must engage the fans of the original. Halloween (which was too slow and too retro) missed a few vital pointers from the original and demystified Michael Myers to a degree that it wasn’t really a horror film. It wanted to be taken seriously, but when there is an audience waiting on a certain type of film, they’re going to react badly when they see something that doesn’t push their buttons.

Rule Two is don’t fuck up the ending. This is where I ought to launch into a “What the Hell is the point of Tim Burton?” rant, but I really don’t care to expend energy attacking someone who doesn’t even have the courtesy to learn about the subject of his films before he starts directing.

Anyone who makes a comic-book movie having never looked at the comics is a fucking hack.

And a pretty useless one at that. There are at least a dozen major problems with the first Batman film, and even an awesome Batmobile can’t save the film from the dumbest ending ever. Who in their right mind kills off the Joker? Then he compounds his errors with the Planet Of The Apes, where he kills the potential series with a completely uncalled for coda in which… Sorry, I can’t even bring myself to relay the end of the story.

Anyways…

Rule Three. Don’t betray the fans of the original. As if having to watch Tom (not gay) Cruise running around in Mission: Impossible, we find out that the heroic Jim Phelps betrayed the IMF. Really? The same Jim Phelps who put his ass on the line every week to save the world? The man who put more villainous dictators in their place than Dubya could ever wet dream of? It was a slap in the face to the fans of the original series, and an insult to intelligent viewers.

Rule Four. Don’t remake Casablanca.

Rule Five. Big robots fighting each other over a Rubix cube isn’t big and isn’t clever.

Rule Six. Never let Pitof direct.

Addendum to rule six: Never let Uwe Boll direct. Anything.

Rule Seven. Just because everyone else is doing a _____ film, doesn’t mean you have to resurrect a crap franchise to cash in. I’m half dreading the announcement that some half-assed reimagining of an old cartoon will be appearing in cinemas soon, because it nearly always turns out to be a bad idea. If you need proof that it’s not a way to appease fans, then just look at the mess which Transformers made of its source material.

Rule Eight. Always keep the villain alive for the sequel.

I’ll add to this when I pluck up enough courage to watch what Uwe Boll did to Far Cry, and I suppose that I’ll have rules for making films based on computer games as well. I may even have to watch Super Mario Bros for that, so I might have to sober up before posting my thoughts. If I watch Tomb Raider I’ll need to be really drunk…

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I Hate Everything

Posted by BigWords on June 28, 2009

Apparently…
Having managed to piss off a fair proportion of folks with a sledgehammer approach to critical analysis of the Blockbuster film experience, I figured I would expand on what constitutes a shit film. In the process I will serve up some sacred cows as juicy steaks, so be warned that there will be a fair amount of pain and anguish. Just because you might think something is out of bounds doesn’t mean I’m gonna play nice. My slice ‘n’ dice of the first decade of  the “Blockbuster” (as summer ‘event’ films seem to be regarded) follows thus:

1977

Star Wars has a shitty script. Yeah, the first film. Sure, I’m talking about the one which inspired a religion. Yes, I know it is a cultural milestone. Doesn’t change the fact that there are plot holes so large that I could fly the Millennium Falcon through them. Blindfolded. With one hand tied behind my back. It doesn’t mean the film itself is worthless – it is brilliant in several regards, foremost of which is the appropriation of Lensman’s light-based weaponry. George Lucas ain’t no writer, as he has proven with the 1990s trilogy. It was also the 1990s films which showed up the fact that he ain’t much of a director either, but that is neither here nor there.

1978

Superman. Do you need me to explain why a musical interlude in the middle of a superhero film is a bad idea? The rest of the film is fine, but Margot Kidder singing? I would rather listen to Danny Boyle explain (for the millionth time) how Slumdog Millionaire is meant to be a ‘feelgood’ film.

Jaws 2. Two words: shit floats.

1979

The year that gave us Monty Python’s Life Of Brian and Alien also puked up Star Trek: The Motion Picture, in which nothing much happened. The film is so slow that I felt my fingernails grow as I was watching. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but the hideous costumes, abysmal acting (“The Shat” really earned his nickname with this film) and pornographic indulgence of the special effects were too much to bear.

1980

If anyone has the balls to defend Xanadu I’ll be amazed. Popeye was a mistake writ large, while The Empire Strikes Back didn’t so much end, as abruptly stop with the main characters looking out of a window. I thought there would have been a final scene filmed for Empire, but nobody else seems to notice the lack of emotional closure for the characters. Too busy imagining what a better director would have done with the material maybe…

1981

Superman II introduces arbritary powers for the main villains, ups the comedy and lowers the tone of the franchise – sowing the seeds for Quest For Peace, while The Cannonball Run manages to squander the talents of a host of brilliant actors.

1982

Rocky III signals the beginning of loud, obnoxious films which have no significant point to them, other than giving the viewer a headache and nausia. Star Trek II continues to plunder the Star Trek corpse, as Poltergeist shows that horror films don’t need to be scary… Wait. Uh… Yeah, that’s the whole point of horror movies. Add Poltergeist to the shit list as well.

1983

Not exactly a stellar year for good movies – Blue Thunder, Psycho 2, Superman III and Trading Places… The third Star Wars film seemed to be a good bet for entertaining space opera, but the best Return Of The Jedi could muster were fucking annoying Ewoks running around a jungle, Princess Leia reduced to a sexualised stereotypical damsel in distress (after a stronger presence in the second film) and poor comedy moments. It would have been better ending the franchise after the Holiday Specials. At the least, it would have been more merciful.

1984

Star Trek III. Proving that even overweight men get to captain starships isn’t adding realism to SF. Seriously. Fat Kirk? Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom manages to waste time on a romantic subplot which feels tacked-on, because – obviously – Harrison Ford doesn’t need questions raised about Indy’s friendship with a little boy. 1984 also gave us the wonder that is Police Academy, the longest running comedy movie series in which you will find no comedic elements whatsoever. The gags which did work (and were honestly funny) were better when they were filmed years earlier – in films which earned the label ‘comedy’.

1985

The producers of Rambo: First Blood Part II probably thought they were going to get some brains with their brawn, but Stallone (and the funniest accent since Kenneth Williams) is as monotone as he has ever played a character. The Rocky saga reached it’s fourth entry (incredibly, it was worse than Rambo), and had little in the way of deep insight. Raging Bull (released five years earlier) played on the same tropes as Rocky, yet managed to provide the audience with a complex main character rather than a cartoon figure masquerading as a human being. 1985 was also the year in which Cocoon served up stereotypes and character traits instead of real characters.

1986

Just a list: Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Raw Deal, The Delta Force, Highlander, Howard The Duck, Maximum Overdrive, Three Amigos… If you can still savour films after sitting through that lot, then you have a better constitution than I. “Wait,” you cry, “What is Highlander doing on the list?” Apart from the accents, the needless pyrotechnics, the cheesy lines, the jarring tonal shifts, the clumsy plot, the poor FX and the historical innacuracies, it is actually quite a good film.

1987

The Untouchables rewrites history, badly, and gives special appearances by the camera operators in-frame… Spaceballs. I don’t need to qualify that with any explanation. Even the Nightmare On Elm Street series had given up anything remotely resembling plot, character or setting in order to make the villain (a fucking child molestor!) into a comedy routine. If Lethal Weapon can be considered a film, then it also goes on the list, but I prefer to think of it as cruel and unusual punishment. Show that shit at Gitmo, and every motherfucker in the joint will be claiming they are Osama bin Laden, just to end the pain…

There you have it. Ten years of film distilled in one easy blog. If I can bear the memories of another ten years of awful films I may continue…

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Transformers – Perversions In Disguise

Posted by BigWords on June 23, 2009

Hasbro’s metal mickey-takers are in cinemas now, and they appear to be doing well. Considering the origins of the toy line and original cartoon, the film can be looked upon as a really expensive advert for cash-in sorry, life-enhancing collectibles… Gee, y’think anyone is gonna let me write a Transformers story after this?

All of the robot jocks who appear in the cartoons, films, comics ad infinitum are based off a bunch of unrelated Japanese toy lines. They were only assimilated into a single unified universe after they got to US shores and repackaged under the supervision of Hasbro.

Which is where the problems I have with the names start…

  • Bluestreak – Yeah, ’cause that’s a whole lot better than Porno Prime.
  • Drag Strip – He’s a trans-something alright. And a Decepticon.
  • Hot Spot – Isn’t that a slang phrase for… No. Never mind.
  • Ironhide – Excuse me for asking, but why does his butt have to be so tough? I mean… What the hell is he stuffing up there?
  • Hardhead – Sure, there’s absolutely no sexual connotation here whatsoever.
  • Huffer – Because even junkie robots deserve an appearance in a cartoon.
  • Jazz – A euphamism for a certain type of magazine, coveted by schoolboys across the world. Perfect name for the heroic second-in-command.
  • Misfire – He gets excited really easily… apparently.
  • Mudflap – Along with his brother Skids, and not forgetting Tracks, the scat-lovin’ sub-section of the Transformers fanbase is conveniently covered. Don’t ask in what they are covered though.
  • Old Snake – The Cobra Commander (GI Joe) made an appearance in the animated series, and his name is the only one on the list which doesn’t have a hidden meaning. Oh, wait…
  • Outback – Because Brokeback would have been too obvious.
  • Ramhorn – I swear I’m not making these names up – he was in the animated movie.
  • Seaspray – A robot named after the splash of salty liquid. Don’t get any in your eye – it’ll sting.
  • Skids – see Mudflap.
  • Slag – The only robot in the series who comes from Essex.
  • Tailgate – If I need to explain the reason this name is wrong, then you’re reading the wrong blog.
  • Thrust – Aw hell, It’s getting to the point where I have nothing more disturbing to add than what is already there.
  • Tracks – see Mudflap.
  • Trailbreaker – I’m not going to dignify this one with any explanations. If I did, I would probably get lynched.
  • Wildrider – This one is another Decepticon, and his name is… disturbing. In any number of ways.
  • Windcharger – Again, this one I’m going to leave to your imagination.

They weren’t kidding when they said ‘more than meets the eye’.

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Insomnia

Posted by BigWords on June 14, 2009

It’s kinda fun not sleeping, because while everyone else is wasting valuable time I get to do things. For example, while the rest of the country is getting some shut-eye, I have managed to tidy up, watch three DVDs and eat cold pizza.

I called my brother up a few minutes ago to inform him that I had caved to pressure and started this nonsense up. After he finished ranting about the time, he suggested that I try to entertain people. By the time I stopped laughing, he had already hung up.

As for the DVDs:

I’ve somehow managed to miss Leon for all these years, and yet – having just watched the film – it doesn’t seem all it’s been built up to be. It isn’t a horrendously bad film, it’s just a completely forgettable experience. The kid is really annoying, way more irritating than the brat from War Of The Worlds (the Tom Cruise abomination, not the classic) and another half hour of it would have sent me to sleep if it weren’t so loud.

Transformers was worse than when I saw it at the cinema. At least I had alcohol in my system then, but watching it sober is torture on the scale of watching a politician try to answer a simple question. So robots piss on people now? How, exactly? And what is in line for the sequel? A golden shower? Two girls and a cup?

If you have to look up that reference, you’re watching the wrong films…

The only half-decent DVD I’ve bought this week (and I have bought many) was The Wild Bunch restored edit. It’s not the best Peckinpah film, but it comes close. The benefits of watching films during the night are not having to listen to pop music blaring in from outside, and listening in full surround sound knowing that everyone else is asleep. I take my fun where I can get it.

I promise not to ‘phone anyone else at night – for a couple of days at least.

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