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Archive for October, 2008

Geek Out Loud Episode 21 is Live!

30

Oct

Posted by Steve

The discussion of the eighties continues in this podcast as Steve takes a look at some of the television of the eighties. Sure to infuriate you as he most likely leaves out your favorite show from the decade that laid the foundation for a whole generation of geeks. A special Halloween segment and the usual listener e-mails rounds out the show. (Steve may or may not get choked up at one of the e-mails.)

Head over to www.geekoutpodcast.com to check it out and subscribe.

My Top Ten Favorite Super Villains – Number 7 – The Joker

26

Oct

Posted by Steve

435659793_d1cce15ec2_o.jpgHe has been written as a twisted killer, a harmless prankster, a petty thief with elaborate plans, a sadistic murderer bent on revenge, and an anarchist. In any incarnation, though, he’s been completely and utterly insane. He is the Joker, and he is Batman’s greatest foe. There has been a resurgence of recognition and interest in this character in the past year mainly due to Heath Ledger’s amazing portrayal of him in THE DARK KNIGHT. The same thing happened in 1989 with Jack Nicholson’s portrayal. The Joker is obviously an interesting character, and whenever he is brought back into the public conscious by a great actor, people pay attention.

What makes the Joker so interesting? There are several things to me. Surprisingly, his intelligence is one of those things. The Joker, despite his obvious insanity possesses an amazing intellect. The Joker is also scary. He is a twisted version of something that is supposed to bring joy to people, and that adds to his freakiness factor. Finally, in his insanity, and his scariness, and even his intellect, he is a perfect foil to Batman, but he is such a good villain (oxymoron) that when he shows up against other heroes he works really well too.

One cannot deny that the Joker is insane.  He is.  While it’s not an insanity that I feel should absolve him from his crimes, no one  can tell me the guy isn’t completely crazy.  Methodical? Yes.  Conniving? Yes.  Crazy?  YES!!!!

What makes the Joker crazy is not the fact that he doesn’t realize that the atrocities he commits are bad.  Rather, it’s the fact that they are bad and he enjoys every minute of it.  From killing Jason Todd to crippling Barbara Gordan and everything in between, The Joker relishes the chaos and pain he causes.  Especially if it’s Batman feeling the pain.  His laughter is the laughter of a madman truly enjoying his work.  His scemes, or “jokes,” make him laugh and that’s all that really matters.  He’s kind of like the Andy Kaufman of criminals.  It doesn’t matter if everyone else is angry, or doesn’t get the joke.  He is amused, and that’s what matters to him.  It’s almost narcissistic.  No one makes The Joker laugh except The Joker.

kjoke.jpgIn the midst of his insanity, The Joker possesses a twisted intelligence that is mind boggling when one really thinks about it. He makes what he does seem so easy. One of the more compelling stories involving The Joker in my opinion takes place after he is presumed dead. Two Face begins committing crimes all over Gotham taking his instructions from a radio. After several issues of Batman attempting to catch Harvey, and finally thwarting his plan, we are taken to a hospital bed where someone is speaking into a microphone broadcasting a signal to Two Face’s radio. As the panels pull back, it is revealed to be The Joker. While the concept is very “comic booky,” the thought that The Joker could pull off that type of maneuvering while convalescing in a hospital bed reveals an intelligence and a resourcefulness that belies Joker’s obvious insanity. In fact, all of his schemes, while seemingly spur of the moment “fun,” reveal a certain ability to figure out all of the angles in a give situation. Intelligence.

When it comes to the bottom line, though, the Joker is downright scary.  He’s not scary because he is a mass murderer who takes pleasure in his crimes.  Though, certainly, that is scary enough in and of itself.  He’s not scary, because he lurks in the shadows or seeks to strike fear into the hearts of those he terrorizes.  He’s scary BECAUSE HE’S A CLOWN!  I’ve never had a fear of clowns.  In fact, I’ve never quite understood that fear.  Clowns are funny to me.  Clowns bring joy.  The art of being a clown is like any other.  It requires a certain discipline and knowledge.   It requires the ability to evoke a whole range of emotions from sympathy to laughter.  By taking the guise of a clown, The Joker takes something meant to be innocent and fun and turns it into something twisted and diabolical.  That is scary.

The fear he evokes is a broken reflection of the fear that Batman employs.   However, while Batman employs fear to paralyze the criminal element, Joker uses it to paralyze the good people of the world.  AND HE ENJOYS IT.

While most people place The Joker high up on their list of favorites, I can’t say that he’s ultimately my favorite, but  he is definitely one of the best.

Geek Out Loud Episode 20 is Live

22

Oct

Posted by Steve

The latest episode of Geek Out Loud is live and you can hear it by heading over to the Geek Out Loud site.

There are too many links mentioned in the show to put here, but the show itself is the first part of what could end up being as much as a three part series discussing the greatest geek generation. THE EIGHTIES.

Leave comments at The Geek out Loud site.

Big Honkin’ All Over

18

Oct

Posted by Steve

Somehow, I’ve become the kings of plugs for my site over the past few months. In fact, it’s gotten to be a bit of a joke over at theStarkville House of El. So, what happens when I am a guest on other podcasts? I guess I pimp out both myself and their shows.

First, my good buddy Michael Bailey released the second part of a three part discussion we had at DragonCon. You can find that conversation along with the first part at www.viewsfromthelongbox.com. In the first part of the convo we talked about a lot of things. In this part, the plane finally lands and we stick to mostly Superman talk. Go check it out and while you’re there subscribe to Views. It really is a great podcast.

Secondly, I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Jones at DragonCon. (No, not the British singer from the Monkees.) He invited me to come on to his podcast at some point and a couple of weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to sit down with Dave and Sam and talk all things Clone Wars. So head over to their place on podbean at thevortex.podbean.com. Dave and Sam were great and I had a great time yuckin’ it up about Star Wars with those guys. They are also into all things Dr. Who, so if you’re a fan of the Doctor, you will probably be a fan of these guys. They do a great job. Oh, and just so he’ll know…Dave is a friend of mine now…and I’m happy he is.

So, that’s where I am on the net this week. Now…if I can just figure out a way to will myself onto The Force Cast. We should so make that happen. GEEK OUT ARMY! FORWARD!

Clone Wars – Destroying Malevolence REVIEWED!

18

Oct

Posted by Steve

SW_TCW_Destroy_Malevolence_small.jpgI haven’t done any reviews for The Clone Wars series since the movie was released. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want to step on my friend Michael Cohen’s toes or because I just haven’t thought about it. However, after tonight’s episode, I can’t help but geek out about it.

“Destroying Malevolence” wrapped up a three part story surrounding a secret weapon developed by the Separatists that was leaving no witnesses to it’s destructive power. In the first part, “Rising Malevolence,” Jedi Master Plo Koon was rescued right in the nick of time by Anakin and his padawan Ahsoka after having his fleet destroyed by Malevolence which employs a huge ion cannon to disable a fleet of ships’ power and then the huge vessel uses turbolasers and vulture droids to destroy the ships leaving no survivors, and no witnesses. In the second episode of the trifecta “Shadow of Malevolence,” Anakin and his fleet join with Obi Wan’s fleet and use information from Plo Koon to track Malevolence and attack it head on. In an awesome space battle, Anakin and a small fleet of clones, using early Y-Wing bombers destroy the main weapon and put Malevolence on the run.

In the newest episode, “Destroying Malevolence,” the fleet has the ship on the run, and Greivous and his droids are looking at a huge defeat and a colossal failure in the eyes of Count Dooku. In an effort to play off of the sympathies of the Jedi, Darth Sidious has The Banking Clan feed Chancellor Palpatine (I know, I know..but let’s pretend we don’t ok?) false information concerning their desire to defect from the Separatists. Senator Amidala is given coordinates to go meet with the head of the Banking Clan and work out the negotiations. Padme, along with C-3PO (See Threepio) (Vintage action figure collectors, see what I did there?) come out of hyperspace right in the path of Malevolence and are promptly captured by it’s tractor beam. As she is being taken aboard the massive warship, Padme gets a call to the ships of the Republic and Anakin, along with R2-D2 (Artoo Deetoo)(Did it again.), Asohka, and Obi-Wan, launch a rescue mission into the ship.

What’s great about this episode?

First, the references to lines in the prequels, and there were several. The first involves a maneuver Anakin uses to dock at an emergency air lock. As the air lock opens Obi Wan tells Anakin, “You know, spinning is not flying.” To which Anakin responds, “Yes, but it is a good trick.” What a great throwback to Episode I! Never thought I’d be happy to hear lines from the prequel movies referenced. As much as I love them, I never thought that they were very referenceable. (Not a word, but it fits.)

Later, Obi-Wan and Anakin are separated and Obi Wan comes face to face with Greivous and a group of battle droids, super battle droids, and destroyer droids. As Greivous walks up in the room he looks at Obi-Wan and says, “Hello there.” We know that a few years later, Obi-Wan will turn the greeting around on the cyborg. Awesome.

There is a great interaction between Anakin and Padme here as well. After Anakin takes out a group on the bridge, Padme tells him that ever since she first met him he’s been playing with droids. Their banter is witty, funny, and their enjoyment of being around each other is evident even in the most dangerous of situations.

That’s the next thing I loved about this episode. Padme and Anakin. For the first time, I felt like I didn’t have to be an apologist for them. There was a great flow to the relationship, and it was really easy to believe.  Padme was definitely not the typical damsel in distress and from the trap she sets for the droids on her ship, the way she carries herself through all of the danger,  and her skills in taking out droid starfighters from the gunner position on the Twighlight (Anakin’s ship that he’s kept from the movie) one can see where Leia gets her scrappiness in the original trilogy.

Finally, there was the action of this episode.  It felt like Star Wars.  The cast was out of one situation into the next right until the droids activated a little creative jury rigging that Anakin did with Malevolence’s hyper drive nav computer and ran the ship into a lifeless moon destroying it.   This episode made me want to watch Star Wars, prequels or otherwise.  I’m sitting here, legitimately wanting to pop in a DVD and just get right back into that galaxy far, far away.

What wasn’t so good?

Basically, the same things that everyone has complained about thus far.  The battle droids continue their Three Stooges, very cartoonish antics.   I’m not sure how kids watching feel about the gags, but my hope is that Dave Filoni and crew will scale back and learn the proper balance between the battle droids being funny, while at the same time feel like a real threat to Republic forces and Jedi, similar to the feel they had in THE PHANTOM MENACE.

The music is still not John Williamsy enough for me, but it works for the show,  and this episode’s music was the best so far.   That’s the other hope I have for this series, that Filoni and crew will encourage Kevin Kiner and the music editors on the show to dip even more into the classical feel of John Williams.  I feel that a move like that would only improve the show.   Just watching the commercials with music ripped straight from the movie soundtracks makes the show better.

So, while I have truly enjoyed every episode of The Clone Wars so far, especially the first episode, “Ambush,” this episode seemed to kick things up a notch for the series.  While, as with any series, I don’t expect them all to be winners, I think that this is going to prove to be one of the most consistently good shows on television.

Next week?  Looks like we’re going to get a very “Clone-centric” episode.  Should be interesting.  Make sure to check here for my review.

As for this week, I have to give the episode a full 5 out of 5 giant warships.  It was honestly that good.

Before I go, however, if you are a total prequel hater, this episode may actually shift your attitude toward the prequels, or at the very least this series.  Here’s my disclaimer however, if you are a total prequel hater, you’re probably still gonna hate this show.  So, go pull out your original version of the original trilogy and enjoy it…it’s still good.

And of course, may the Force be with you.