sobota, 1 października 2011

I cast "Raise Dead" spell on my LEGO! Part 1

I'm having a LEGO renaissance. As a kid, the best present I ever got was the biggest back then LEGO castle. I spent countless hours playing with the fold-out castle flanks, locking up evil knights in the prison and assaulting the moat. Back then all LEGO men looked the same - one face for all, basic accessories and unified looks.

Fast forward 20 years, the conflict has evolved. Not only the variety of minifigures is astounding but also there is an amazing online community of gamers and customizers providing you with ideas and their LEGO compatible 3rd party products. When I was departing from the Legoland, the new creations were starting to bloom. When I came back, I found dragons, elves, orcs and other fantastic creatures.

I found the resurrection of LEGO a blessing of multiple sources: putting the blocks together, searching through online part lists is one of the best ways to relax for me. Plus, as an avid gamer, I am looking forward to playing my first game of dungeon crawl with the plastic heroes.

Scroll down past the pictures of my dungeon and the adventurers to find some useful links.

The dungeon is not for the faint-hearted!

 Ironhoof is a proof that centaurs are far from useless in the dungeons. The elven twins are happy to be accompanied by him.

 Thorek One-Eye, the engineer leads dwarves to reclaim the lost mine.

The fellowship of the Red Tavern joins their forces for riches and fame!

The Company of Green Dragons is ready to take on the Lord of the Underground!

More pictures of the dungeon details later!

If you are interested in LEGO dungeon crawl, try:
If you are interested in LEGO skirmish, try:
If you want to buy some crazy parts, try:

środa, 29 czerwca 2011


After just seeing TF3 Dark of the Moon, I still love the things about Micheal Bay that I already loved and hate the ones I hated. But the love to hate ration is much more favorable in TF 3 than in any other movie in the series as Bay had some aces up his sleeve this time.  There are no major spoilers in the text, so feel free to read on the random collection of thoughts.

1/ The plot is quite complex for a Bay movie, and while the story delivers, the whole storytelling aspect fails in places - narration is bumpy. There are some twists and surprises and the story is not as predictable as in TF2 (it was basically briefed in the trailers!).

2/ This is the most human-driven TF movie of all three. Introducing the human traitors creates a whole new depth - it's not just the giant robots on giants robots action anymore. While robots settle their business with energon axes (yes, what a glorious G1 tribute!), humans join the fray, facing each other and the metal menace from Cybertron.
3/ There is a whole slew of fantastic characters in the movie from humans to Transformers. Once you move the camera off Bee, Prime and Sam (and Sentinel in some ways), the rest, as always with Bay, seem to be just placeholders, cardboard stand-ups that just cry for more attention.

4/ Sam is the driving force and I think Shia contributes to the movie more than anybody would ever admit. Except the dreadful "let's sum up the movie" scene, he is what makes the movie funny, dramatic and very emotional.

5/ Prime is back with vengeance, this is got to be the most badass, ruthless and merciless Optimus ever. Enter the Prime moments gave me the goosebumps throughout the movie. Having a trailer that is a mobile weapon locker doesn't hurt either.

6/ Megatron and Starscream get more of their master-scheming servant sequences than ever, yet, in the heat of the final battle Megs just disappears from the face of the Earth. Megs the Talker instead of Megs the Destroyer - that just doesn't work.

7/ Twins are gone but you get their miniaturized versions that deliver humour only a notch better than the one that made me blush in TF2.

8/And now to wasted chances: so little Wreckers, Shockwave is basically a glorified gun turret, odd non-lore characters like Q (yeah, we get the Bond wink, Mr. Bay). And what's up with Transformers with hair?

9/Highlights - surprise: the picture is mindblowing. Real 3D, great sound and some amazing sequences (employing the real wingsuit jumpers to glide in Chicago was an amazing idea) plus Bay's uncanny ability to first cast and the shoot beautiful cars, from vintage to concept, make this one sweet eye-candy that more or less lets you forget about all of the shortcomings.

piątek, 29 kwietnia 2011

Thunder me 3D

Holywood got us a little present: Thor premiered here a week (or even more if you count the prescreenings) before its US arrival. I decided to treat myself with a 3D matinee and here's a couple of thoughts.

My personal prefference is to treat superhero movies as a genre of their own. Whenever my personal note is 9 or 10 out of 10, they are ready to compete in the transgenre contest for the viewer's attention.
This is not the case of Thor. Where Iron Man  charmed with its autoirony and stellar Downey Jr and Nolan's Batman was just a very good story, Thor fails to do so but I never said it's bad.

THUMBS UP: This is a one well-cast movie. Everything seems to be clicking, starting from the main cast (Loki was a nice surprise) all the way to Warrior's Three and Siff who get much more screen attention that I have imagined. Costume and architectural designs didn't disappoint me either, especially Bifrost, which, as one of the key features of the moviem is something to behold without being to corky.

Most designs follow closely the Marvel's sketchbook which is always a plus in my book.
Movie has a steady pace,the first 40 minutes make all Greek-mythology productions pale in comparison as Asgard and the Asgardians have much more style than Olimpians. Hemsworth feels pretty comfortable in the role and strikes all the right notes I like Thor for: big, oafish, noble golden heart.

The fight scenes are great and boy, you can deal hurt in a thousand of ways with a simple hammer. The big Earth showdown doesn't suffer from the usual problem of "we're are wrapping up the movie so we'll let you smash yourselves for another 20 minutes".

THUMBS DOWN: It's disasterously squeeky clean. It's like dirt doesn't stick to gods and their mates. Thor smashes through a skull of a giant only to come out without a drop of blood on his lush red cape (would make a great bed cover). Armor on close-ups looks very plastic, gold looks like plastic painted gold.

It looks like somebody was really afraid to use the word "god".  Marvel has a major problem with the mystical and occult part of their heritage, building up a thick layer of pseudoscience crap to distract from the fact that in this universe there are multiple pantheons, Satan, Dracula and many others and it can get really really dark (unless Nicholas Cage shows up). The whole process of "rationalizing of the mystery" leads to some really bizarre moments - Asgardian being overevolved aliens, mystical bridge Bifrost looking like a freaking Star Trek teleporter (try not to say "Scotty, beam us down" once) etc.

My last complaint is related to the Loki's origins in the movie (won't spoil it), I understand that two-hour movie needs to call on some character building dramatizations, but wasn't there a way to make it without completely messing up the mythology?

AND AFTER THE CREDITS... won't spoil it for you, but is much more interesting than just seeing Samuel L. Jackson again. It's much more of a story set-up for the next movie.

Overall, if you are a Marvel fan, go and see it. If you like big mythological movies, go and see it.
If you don't know who Thor is, keep it that way.

7/10 in a superhero scale.

środa, 27 kwietnia 2011

Eisner Time

I browsed through this year's Eisner Award (Oscars for comic books but unlike Oscars most of the nominees are pretty obscure for mere mortals) and on a whim bought three nice hardcovers that may steal the show this year.

Return of the Dapper Men (referred to as "the one I can't remember the title of"): OK, I got to admit I am still too scared to approach it. It doesn't look like a comic book. It doesn't smell like a comic book. It doesn't even fit the comic book shelf. But it is beautiful, strikes the fairy tale books nostalgia.
Buying it will certainly make you look smarter.

American Vampire: Safe choice. Stephen King + vampires are always a good match. Starts off as a wild west story of a common cutthroat Skinner Sweet that carries all the bad habits into unlife. The art nicely departs from the typical "King meets comic books" hyperrealistic style as in Dark Tower.
As a side note, I find it extremely funny that thanks to a certain Mormon, giants like King have to describe their vampires in words of opposition. So you will learn more about who Skinner Sweet isn't that about who he is.

Chew: The Omnivore Edition: Brilliant premise: and FDA agent who is a cibopath - whenever he eats something (except for beets), he gets fleshbacks on the life and death of his dish. Yes... you know where it leads to.
I am trying to love it as writing and art are good, but halfway through the book I am still more on "trying" than "loving".

All pictures from respective publishers.

Monstrous: It's born!

It seemed like the only logical way. I absorb monstrous volumes of data of all sorts and need a venue to let it live when my brain is done digesting.
The main goal is to organize emotions that are a by-product of my limited spare-time audiovisual adventures.
I will leave out the issues of life and death; politics and religion;  and focus on those useless things that will not grant the humankind's survival.

If it's a cheap thrill, won't feed or shelter you, I will probably write about it at some point.