Flights of The Electribird

Through Games, Events and Multimedia


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Serious Acting from the Smith Family

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, but there’s a good reason for it. I’ve been putting myself back on the school bench, doing some research and learning to get better at what I do for a living and will do even more of it until some time in the middle of next year. No worries, I’ll still update this blog with something when I come across something worth mentioning, like I’m doing today. Just keep in mind that my updates won’t appear as often as I would like…

When you’ve seen Will Smith as a rapper and sit-com actor, you always expect something funny or goofy about his films, no matter how serious his films are. If you pay attention, you can always spot him doing something that lightens the mood in every movie he’s ever acted in. I also have a habit of questioning the acting-skills of his kids after watching Jayden Smith in the remake of The Karate Kid, which can only be described as a “for dummies”-version of the original with kung fu instead of karate. But the Smiths’ latest project, After Earth, showed some promise when I saw the teaser, so I took a shot and gave it a chance a couple of weeks ago. I can indeed say that this movie had some surprises in store…

The movie takes place in the future, where Earth is no longer suited for humans and aliens had killed and scared people into moving to another planet to live in. On that planet, a teenager named Kitai is trying to become as good of a soldier as his father, General Cypher Raige, in hope to impress him. After Kitai fails to get a rank, Cypher decides to take Kitai with him on a last mission. On the way to their location, they crash down onto a planet inhabited by dangerous animals, toxic atmosphere and ice-cold nights – Earth. Being the only two survivors of the crew, Cypher and Kitai must fire a beacon to summon a rescue party to Earth to get out of there, which is easier said than done when the beacon is in the part of the ship that landed on a different part of the planet. Since Cypher is unable to move due to a broken leg from the crash, it is up to Kitai to go out into the unhospitable air and fetch the beacon. To make the task even harder for Kitai, another survivor breaks free and is on the loose…

I never expected to give this movie a 3/5, but it earned it. The story has the right amount of darkness to pass as acceptible for this kind of movie and there wasn’t a lot of useless lines or scenes that didn’t really belong there. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t really much of anything, really, just a kid who had to move from one location to another. It makes the movie feel empty and short when you look at it like that… still, I never expected this kind of simplicity in the directing and story-writing of a Smith-movie, nor did I ever expect Will Smith to be able to play such a serious character throughout an entire movie, which is impressive. As for Jayden Smith, you can tell that his acting has improved a great deal, but he’s still got a long way to go. In all, this is a good movie for a casual evening, when the last thing you want is too much talking, too much high-tech or too much action. Strange, considering that this is supposed to be a Sci-Fi/action movie, but too much of everything would have ruined this movie completely, believe me…

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Storm Troopers Parade to the Book Store

Do you love the title to this entry as much as I do? I never thought I’d be the one to type it, but that is indeed what happened last Saturday. When a Science-Fiction book store switched location of their store, the owner decided to celebrate big by having a parade go from the old book store to the new one. The store was almost empty when my companion for the day and I arrived at the new store. It was a good thing too, because it gave us a chance to sneak into the store before the parade arrived. We didn’t stay there long, but long enough to catch a peek of the entrance floor.

Darth Vader stands proudly, waiting for the storm troopers to arrive...

A large Darth Vader exhibit statue takes a lot of space near the check-out counter.

One of the main reasons for why I went, is my weakness for Doctor Who. When I heard that the elevator in the store was a TARDIS, the time machine that the doctor travels with in the TV-show, I had to see it for myself.

Unfortunately, you couldn't travel in time with it...

A TARDIS for an elevator.

It didn’t take more than a minute or two before we heard the parade music become louder and louder. Then we saw the first few storm troopers appear a couple of meters away.

The storm troopers are coming!

The storm troopers are coming!

Indeed they came and, just like in the movies, they came to conquer. They made us back away from the entrance to line up outside the store.

Where's Luke Skywalker when you need him?

Storm troopers taking space by the entrance…

In the meantime, the band and the cheerleaders were taking place behind us, playing music and dancing.

It's cool to be on the front row of these people for once!

The band and the cheerleaders played music and danced right behind me. Too bad the storm troopers stole the show.

Apart of the storm troopers and the paraders, there were also some other Star Wars characters that I was really happy to see, like Boba Fett…

Good thing it was him and not Jabba the Hutt...

Boba Fett lined up with the storm troopers.

… a TIE fighter pilot…

I hope he didn't double-park the TIE fighter somewhere...

No flight-hours for this TIE fighter pilot.

… a snow trooper commander…

He also likes photo-ops...

This snow trooper commander is ready for action (and photo-opportunities)!

… and Princess Leia, who got her attention stolen by a dog.

The force is strong in this pooch...

Princess Leia, her blond “clone” and a cute dog.

Their reason for taking over the place? Photo-ops (duh)! They lined up to get their pictures taken by eager fans and photographers.

Can anyone tell if they're smiling?

Soldiers of the empire and Boba Fett showing off their good sides to eager fans and photographers.

I almost got shot by one of them!

"Take my picture or die!"

This storm trooper insisted that I took his picture.

As they took space, I noticed that there were other characters there too, not just from Star Wars. Apart from the ones hired for the parade, a lot of the visitors of the event were also wearing costumes of sorts. We saw several Doctor Whos…

Sadly, none of them wore any scarves...

One of the several doctors who made my day!

… an pretty elf with a dragon and a camera…

If she's suppose to be Dzala Laryn from Dungeon Quest, she's way off!

A dragon AND a camera? This modern elf sure got her hands full and my respect!

… a Jack Sparrow…

Who knew Jack Sparrow liked to read?

Captain Jack Sparrow seems to be uncomfortable with the crowd…

… a Darth Vader…

What? The empire without Darth Vader would be blasphemy!

A small Darth Vader is still a Darth Vader.

… an Indiana Jones, a Gandalf and several other characters I couldn’t identify.  There were lots of people wearing towels too, for some reason. I thought they were fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide Through the Galaxy, but it turned out it was Towel Day that day (same thing, I suppose, since the idea for the holiday came from the love for the book series anyway).

Inside the store, lines were already forming and not just for the check-out counters. People wanted to ride the TARDIS-elevator!

I have no idea why the picture became so dark...

Inside the TARDIS…

Even the second floor had become crowded and for a very good reason. Not only were most of the boardgames and comics down there, the empire had set up a place to take pictures as well. While Boba Fett got his picture taken…

Jabba the Hutt should have been here.

Boba Fett is ready for his close-ups!

… the TIE fighter pilot waited patiently for his turn.

This pilot knows how to keep it cool.

The TIE fighter pilot standing awesomely by.

About a quarter of a meter away, some kids were having their picture taken in front of an alien statue.

Hopefully not for dinner or killing...

Aliens love children.

On the way back to the entrance floor, we decided to take the stairs to avoid the crowd coming out of the elevator. In front of it, we were greeted by Gollum.

He still hasn't found it.

Gollum sat on a shelf, saying he wanted his precious and other phrases.

By this point, the crowd by the cash registers had almost conquered more space than the empire, so buying something was not an option. This was just as well, because I couldn’t afford anything. Too bad, I really wanted one of those beautiful wooden wands by the entrance…

Only someone with Harry Potter's inheritance money can afford one of these beauties...

Wooden magic wands for sale.

Sadly, there wasn’t much more to the event than that, which was just as well. It was getting really warm and crowded inside, so I knew that it was time for us to go.

So, what’s my verdict of this store relocation party? Well, I got threatened to death by a storm trooper, record while Princess Leia danced with a storm trooper, ride a TARDIS, got to see Boba Fett outshine a TIE fighter pilot, got to shake hands with the doctor (an acquaintance of mine was cosplaying as the doctor from Doctor Who) and I got to see Link from The Legend of Zelda!

Cosplayers rule!

A cosplaying Zelda-fan came dressed as Link.

This event gets a 4/5. Sure, the band and the cheerleaders got the attention stolen by the Star Wars cosplayers, but several of my dreams and more came true for me one way or another that day. If there were any discounts for those who didn’t get a special invite to the opening, I’d have given the event top score right away!


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Warp Speed to Hollywood Again, Captain!

A couple of days ago, I got invited to go see Star Trek Into Darkness. After watching the previous movie, I knew that Hollywood would once again insult my intelligence and love for the Star Trek franchise, but curiosity and hours of work got the better of me, so I tagged along anyway.

Those who saw the prequel remember that James T. Kirk was studying at the Starfleet Academy. In this movie, he’s got his Enterprise, his crew and his rank as captain – until Spock’s complete honesty made him lose all of that. When his superiors are being attacked during a meeting, Kirk gets it all back along with a mission to get the one responsible, which is easily said than done when you have to fly through enemy territory that belongs to the Klingons to get the job done…

You can really tell that the director, J.J. Abrams, and the rest of the crew are happy about the time-travel storyline in the previous movie, because it gave them a lot of freedom to play with. As much as I love seeing the Klingons again (along with some other surprises that I can’t spoil for everyone), I noticed that they decided to speed things up a little storywise by adding details and characters that weren’t suppose to appear that early in the story. One detail especially that I can share, is the part about the Klingon foreheads. Those who remember the original TV-show that the movies are based on might remember that the Klingons looked very human during Kirk’s days, so how in their world did the Klingons get that huge forehead so soon? My theory is that a certain person had something to do with it. If you have no idea who I mean, I’m sure there’s a trekkie somewhere who’s screaming that person’s name somewhere as you read this. As a movie, however, it was an acceptable sequel, but there is something that a moviemaker must understand. When it comes to Star Trek, you don’t mess with physics. Observant fans with scientific knowledge will spot the flaws and insult you in “Klingonese” for it, because Gene Roddenberry, the one who wrote Star Trek, did a good job to keep most of the scientific parts of the TV-show as accurately believable as possible whenever it was possible, something that’s really hard to do in Sci-Fi stories. There was even an article a few years ago about a theory for the warp drive during the time when nations competed to send someone to the moon, but that idea had to step aside for the rocket fuel. I don’t know how accurate that article was, but I do hope that rocket fuel won’t be the only way to juice up a spaceship-worthy engine, because that stuff won’t last long in outer space…

Enough digressing. The movie gets a 3/5, which is too high of a score. But if you’re a true fan of Star Trek, not just a simple amateur fan like me, you’ll enjoy the entertainment value and the surprises enough to let the score stay the way it is. You’ll also smell the hint of a sequel coming, because there’s one character who’s has yet to appear in these new movies and if J.J. Abrams is going to speed everything up like he did in this movie, this character (and hopefully the actor who plays him) will most likely appear in it. I may not be referring to the Borg, but their line still fits very well here – resistance is futile.