Monthly Archives: October 2015

Star Wars photo-op!

Remember when I talked at length about that Star Wars promo thing going on at Carrefour supermarkets?

Well, it’s still going strong, and I stopped by last week for one of their in-store events. The site advertised that Star Wars characters would be on point for photo-ops.

As I rolled into the parking lot, I immediately noticed a truck with familiar characters.

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The Disney promoteam is here! This is bound to be good.

Once inside, I was greeted by this sight.

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A slightly oversized stormtrooper statue, surrounded by technical equipment. Apparently, I was a bit early. The team was still setting up shop and told me to return in 15 minutes. So what did I do? Like a good boy, I idled around. I admired the promo team’s attire: Star wars caps, coats, hoodies and shirts. I could tell they started getting creeped out by the giant manchild ogling their clothing. So I took my idling to a different spot. Since the photobooth was located behind the registers, I could check which customers bought Star Wars stuff. So I did just that. Which soon started getting me weird looks from the cashiers, which in turn caught the attention of security. So again, I took my idling elsewhere.

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Luckily, there was a Rebels banner set up as well. Closer inspection revealed it held free posters, so I took one to help me pass the time.

Man, setting up a simple photobooth seemed to take up an eternity. I was running out of spots for idling. Luckily, an overstressed mom with three children appeared. All three kids wanted a photo, so I took a spot behind them. Thus forming a line and eliminating all weird stares.

When all three anklebiters had their photo taken, it was my turn. I was handed a lightsaber, someone threw a brown cape over my head and snapped away. I was then ushered towards two giant piles of papers, which turned out to be consent forms that I needed to sign, and someone promised me the photo would appear on Facebook the day after.

And that was it.

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I look like a dork.

Jan

Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom

ljlpackWhat do you get when you mix Batman with Lego bricks?
What? Highly enjoyable playtime? Well… yes that too, but what else? A videogame-series? Yes, well… I guess you’re right… But what else? Bat-bricks? Batman with an extremely sore foot?

Let’s just stop it, shall we?

What you get (for the purpose of this review anyway) is an animated feature that had me giggling like a six year-old in a candy store. In Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom, the Lego Justice League faces off against Luthor and his cronies. The league with fresh member Cyborg must try and overcome Luthor’s newest addition to the team: Martian Manhunter.

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When I said I giggled throughout, I was serious. There’s so much humor in this feature. You get the overtly, not-so-subtle jokes aimed at the young target audience obviously, but there are a lot of more subtle jokes, aimed at parents and comic book geeks. What’s not to like here?

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The answer is nothing. The animation couldn’t be better. Writing is great and voiceacting nails it. It’s always fun to hear Mark Hammil speak, even when he’s not being the Joker.

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So would I recommend this one? Abso-brickin’-lutely! Kids will go love it, parents will like it too, and comic book enthousiast will most certainly appreciate this fresh take. Go watch it, now!

Jan

Star Wars Topps

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It’s thursday and I forgot about Tusken Tuesday! So you can consider this an official Tarkin Thursday.

And boy, am I excited for this one: trading cards!

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Yes, I know. To you, dear reader, trading cards don’t seem all that special. To me however… Well let’s just say I’m excited. I’ve been collecting Star Wars since I first found the Making Of book in my dad’s library when I was very young (that’s a story for another time). Before that, I was already into collecting. I collected stamps and stickers, a bug I caught from my mom.

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I fondly recall going to the store and getting packets of stickers, then running home and sticking them into the album. I collected everything from WWF to GI JOE, M.A.S.K., Masters of the universe and Young Indiana Jones. I swiftly moved over to trading cards, but, the curse of being based in Belgium hit again. Trading cards are not popular over here, and you have to get them from specialized stores.

And then, yesterday happened. I went to buy a paper, and lo and behold: on the counter sat a box of Star Wars Topps Trading Cards. I grabbed a handful and checked out.

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Oh the joy of opening these.  They have a kind of retro look and feel to them. They tell the story of the Star Wars saga in pictures. Bonus The Force Awakens cards are inserted (I got Kylo Ren!). And there are special foil cards! And that smell…  God, that smell.  If they ever market “trading card printing ink” as a cologne, I’m buying it.

So here I am. Thought to have been cured of the sticker/card-collecting bug, and Disney throws me a curveball. Thanks again Mouse. Your merchandising antics are appreciated.

Jan

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem

Batman_Unlimited_Monster_MayhemAs you all may (or to be realistic: won’t) recall: I wasn’t exactly blown away by Batman Unlimited Animal Instincts. I didn’t think it was bad, I was just a bit…  underwhelmed by it. Not one to back out immediately (I was the one guy who watched Lost ‘till the very end, holding on to the belief it would regain its footing in the end…), I decided to give the series a second go with the next installment: Monster Mayhem.

In it, the Joker gangs up with Scarecrow, Silver Banshee, Clayface and Solomon Grundy. His plan is to take over Gotham City by means of an extremely powerful virus that blocks all technology.  It’s once again up to Batman and his band of merry crimefighters to take him out.  The only problem is that good guy Cyborg is infected with the virus as well, and is now under Joker’s control.

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So there.  Pretty straightforward (if not a tad clichéd) plot. Joker happens to be one of my favourite bad guys, so this can’t possibly go wrong. Animation is fine, voiceacting was done well… I like this one better than its predecessor! The fact that there are a bunch of nice extra’s included on the DVD helps things as well.  All in all, I got a good two hours worth of animated fun.

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I still have one gripe with this “Unlimited” series however. During the action sequences, I get the overwhelming feeling I’m watching a commercial for Batman action figures. Joker suddenly gets a souped up motorcycle, with pop-up guns? Batman owning a robotic dog that can change into a motorcycle? Reeks of merchandising to me.  Further on, we even get Batman riding a mecha t-rex into battle. While that’s probably one of the most awesome sights you’ll ever see, it strangely feels out of place. On an aisle in the toy store? Yes. During this movie? Not so much.

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So if you can get over this (very minor) gripe, you actually like toytoons or you’d just like to see Batman on a t-rex, then this is the animated feature you’ve been looking for!

Jan

Edit: See, I knew I was right…

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Adventure Time strikes again!

advtimeYay! A new season of adventure time is being aired on Cartoon Network. I just caught a new episode called “The Mountain” and frankly…

I have no idea what I just watched.

Jake and Finn spot the earl of Lemongrab entering the Mountain of Matthew, and Finn decides to follow.  Inside, Lemongrab goes through an existential crisis, I guess? There’s a lot of metaphors and discovering of the self. Stuff psychiatrists really dig.  Also, the earl destroys Matthew with three lemonflavoured candies, proving Matthew was just a combination of different people, absorbed into one single hivemind.
Yeah, I know.

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Complicated as it may be, it sure is fun to watch.  I cannot stress enough how wonderfully weird it all is.  Sure, there is the feeling you’re watching a dream written by David Lynch, but it feels so…  Right?  I dunno.  Something about Adventure Time just tickles my funny bone, no matter how weird or incomprehensible it seems.

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Seriously, if you haven’t checked this cartoon out already, take some time and go do it now! Just don’t operate any heavy machinery or motorized vehicles afterwards…

Jan

Star Wars takes over my local supermarket

Star Wars fan in the corners of Europe, rejoice! It seems that with Disney’s takeover of the franchise, we’re finally out of the dry spell. I was over the battle station (“that’s no moon!”) when I wandered over to my local Carrefour store last week. I needed to shop for some groceries and the most awesome sight greeted me.

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There it was, smack bang in the middle of the store’s promotional billboard. Kylo Ren, backed by a First Order trooper. Was I dreaming? Had I died and gone to Geek heaven? An angry old woman in a Volkswagen honked me out of my reverie. Still awestruck I wandered inside.

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Only to be greeted by more Star Wars awesomeness!

First Order troopers were scattered everywhere.  Between and on the shelves, on promotional banners throughout the store. Truly this was the stuff of dreams. I had always been envious of American department stores that got a Star Wars makeover, and now it was happening to Carrefour, the supermarket chain in my own back yard.

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As it turns out, the store is host to a six week contest. People can enter some sort of random prizedraw. Prizes are given away bi-weekly, and a grand prize is given away at the end of the promotion. I spotted tickets to the new movie, encyclopedias and trips to Disneyland amongst the goodies. The grand prize is a trip to London for the family, including tickets to the Star Wars exhibit at Madame Tussaud’s. Need I say I’ll be shopping here exclusively for the next two months?

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Further into the store, there was a special aisle for Star Wars merch. Toys, plates, alarm clocks, pillows, cutlery, ballpoints, comics, books,… A heavenly choir sounded in my head. Truly, the dark days are over. Our lord and savior Disney is here to bring us the much needed merchandise. We thank thee, oh great Mouse-eared one.

On the way out, arms laden with merch (And no groceries – One has to know ones priorities!) I was told the store will be hosting to more events. A day with Star Wars characters and photo-ops and another day with ‘instore animation’.  Expect to see more of these in coming Tusken Tuesday installments.

Jan