Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shrek 2

A sequel that pales (unsurprisingly) to the original, mainly because the story isn't as epic or as classic, as the original.  The story is centered on more down-to-earth problems, such as the stress on Shrek and Fiona's relationship.  What this means is that it's not the classic adventure from the original, but one that's more talk and less heroics.  While the movie still littered with cultural references, the humor doesn't feel as natural or as clever as the original.  You'll chuckle along with some of the attempts, but by and large, it's nowhere near as funny or amusing as you would want it to be.  The climax brings back a taste of what it could be, purely because it was the only adrenaline rush in the whole movie.  It stands out as the most exhilarating scene in the 1.5 hours and it was a lot of fun to watch.  The music complemented what was shown on screen really well and there was even a sad moment when one of Shrek's comrade fell.  Overall, a bland film with an uninspired plot, it just feels so... normal that it doesn't feel much like a fantasy other than the obvious fairytale characters.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Toy Review: Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Air Vehicon (Legion)

Review:  #157
Name:  Air Vehicon
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Decepticon
Line:  Prime - Beast Hunters
Year of Release:  2013
Size Class:  Legion (Wave 4)
Variations:  there is a white one coming out as Ace Vehicon and the TakaraTomy version is a darker purple


Air Vehicon transforms into the hoverjet/boat/flying car mode as seen in the cartoon.  The only significant aesthetic flaws here are the sunken cockpit and a messy front (thanks to transformation).

Sadly, unlike the earlier Legion Vehicon which hides the head in vehicle mode, Air Vehicon has his visible from the back and basically sticks out due to the silver paint.

If you look at the underside, you can pretty much see the whole robot mode tucked in, it's slightly disappointing as this indicates a simple transformation (and somewhat of a shellformer).

In terms of size, he's not too bad.  He can feel a little bit small in your hands thanks to the wings which can hinge backwards.

A comparison with his bigger incarnation.  Despite being a bit flatter, it captures the essence of the design very well.

As you see, there are a few ports scattered around the mold, this is to attach his weapon.

A solid vehicle mode.  It's faithful to the cartoon model.  Sure, there's a huge hinge on top and it's lacking in paint, but it still looks good.


Simple and by the numbers.  It isn't innovative or clever, but it works well.  The arms lift out to the side and you split the hood to form his legs, flip down the feet and flip the wings onto his back.  Too be fair, it feels a little bit boring and uninspired, especially after some of the more complex Legions we've had in this line.


The robot mode is striking and well proportioned.  There are some great sculpting present on the figure which really brings the character to life.

Fairly kibble-free, the only noticeable kibble is the wings on his back which is a defining feature of this character anyway.  Interesting, the wings can hinge backward so you can have it more like the show or more like his Deluxe brother.

Surprisingly, the head sculpt lacks the protrusions to the side, it's the vehicle Vehicon version.  What's even more interesting is that the stock photos have the protrusions, so now it looks too smooth...

Comparison with another Legion sized figure, he's shorter at the head but he has giant shoulder pads and the wings on his back create the illusion of a larger figure.

In comparison with the Deluxe version, it's amazing at how well the sculpting and placement of parts on the smaller figure mimics the larger (although the shellforming nature helps).

As mentioned, you can fold the wings back to more closely mimic the show model.

His weapon is a gun with a saw on top.  Like a bayonet type weapon.  He shares the same mold with a few other characters in the line like Hun-Gurrr and Soundwave.

Poseability is better in theory than what you can actually achieve.  He has balljointed shoulders and hips, and feet that can fold up.  The shoulder pieces can be in the way but largely, they don't hinder articulation much.

There's a few different ways you can attach the weapon, including attaching it to the port on the outside of his hand.

A strong robot mode and the winner between the two molds.  It looks excellent and the sculpting is great.


A great take on the flying variant of Vehicons.  It captures both modes wonderfully and while the transformation doesn't cause any wonders or does anything new, it works well.  The sculpting in robot mode is good and there's a good use of paint (albeit sparsely) to highlight some of the details.  Recommended for this cheap little figure.


More Prime Beast Hunters reviews (as well as other lines) can be found by clicking this link.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A funny and engaging animation that feels right at home with the other fairy tales it takes for inspiration.  One of the biggest charms of Shrek is picking off and recognizing all the fair tale characters throughout the film, from the Three Little Pigs to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Pinocchio.  Their interaction with the created world seemed natural.  They story took off on it's own, which, while simple, can be sweet in the end and the characters' charm really lifts things up.  The humor here is probably Shrek's strongest part, there were many, many parts where you will laugh out loud.  A lot of classic one-liners and classic scenes that will just stick to your mind because they are just that good.  They songs included were catchy and complemented what was onscreen extremely well (i.e. they didn't feel awkward or forced).  By the end of the film, you wished it was longer.  The animation was good and music was solid.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: Cage of Eden Volume 10

Review:  #386
Title:  Cage of Eden Volume 10
Series:  Cage of Eden - 10th volume
Author:  Yoshinobu Yamada
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  This is a fairly sad volume, and I mean that in the emotion sense, and not because it’s bad (because it’s not).  One of the major supporting characters die, which is something you wouldn’t expect.  It’s sad, especially as he was one of the few characters to get some proper characterization, for the reader to understand him.  He died a heroic death, and what he decided to do in his last moments was sad, he will be missed.  Towards the end, things get more interesting as what Eiken saw at the top of the mountain was revealed and the strange message explained.  It leaves in a cliffhanger once again, and you really don’t want it to stop.  Their destination is intriguing, and it seems to hold at least part of the answer to this mysterious land.  The art is getting nicer and nicer, it looks brilliant here.  There’s still the random ecchi shots which seems out of place, but all in all, a decent volume and this series is starting to turn into something really good.
Rating:  6/10

Friday, November 22, 2013

Batman & Robin

If you thought Batman Forever was too cheesy and corny, then Batman & Robin is easily ten times worse.  The corniness starts right away at the opening scene, with Mr Freeze's gun cheesily turning stuff into ice.  They went overboard with the special effects here and it all just looks very fake and half-baked.  The ability for Batman and Robin to just happen to have the gadget that has the exact feature they need at that specific moment happens way too much (and will cause you to shake your head).  While the dialogue isn't terrible, it's just the performance of the actors.  They seem to not have put a lot of effort, it's as if they knew the tone of the film was too cheesy and they didn't bother putting on a more serious performance.  Also, as if one sidekick wasn't enough, we get treated to another, Batgirl.  What this means is that Batman will occasionally find himself in situations where he needs help.  It's hard to focus upon three protagonists (and three antagonists) at the same time and the film doesn't do a great job of it.  Robin's personality is as annoying as ever, even worse during the sequence (which you could see coming a mile away) where he argues with Batman.  Poison Ivy also seemed like a useless character, only there to try and seduce everyone while not preventing much of a threat (we don't get to see her in action using her botanical abilities much).  The reduction of Bane to another mindless thug was an insult.  Mr Freeze wouldn't be so bad if not for his over-exaggerated actions and stiff movements.  The movie focuses on too many boring scenes (although it's more that you don't feel attached to the action scenes, they don't feel significant enough for you to invest in) and makes the two hours length too long.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Toy Review: Transformers Masterpiece MP-18 Streak

Review:  #156
Name:  Streak
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Masterpiece
Year of Release:  2013
Size Class:  Masterpiece (MP-18)
Variations:  a retool of MP-17 Prowl and a later variation was MP-18 Smokescreen


A Masterpiece figure, therefore the box will be quite nice.  It has a matte finish while the photos of the figure are glossy.

The back shows off the toy and some gimmicks, including how it scales with MP-10 Optimus.

The left side shows off the robot in a different pose.

While the right shows off the car mode.

Streak also comes with a bio card in colour showing the art.

The other side contains the actual bio and pictures of the toy, as well as tech specs.  The only accessory Streak comes with is his gun, so it feels a little bit bare in terms of extra accessories, especially compared to fellow Masterpieces such as Sideswipe and its recolours.


As displayed prominently on the box, Streak transforms into a licensed Nissan Fairlady 280Z-T.  Just putting it out here first, this is an amazing vehicle mode.

It is hard to find any faults with this mode, Streak looks great all around.  The tail lights are painted, he features an exhaust pipe and you can barely see any robot parts sticking out.

The Nissan badge is displayed proudly on the hood, and the only thing that breaks the realism is the Autobot symbol, it would be nice if the designers could somehow find a way to hide that in this mode, but it's no biggie.

Streak is halfway between a Deluxe and a Voyager classed figure, both in terms of size and mass.  He just looks bigger above since Trailcutter is such a small Deluxe in vehicle mode.

Despite being an old model from nearly 40 years ago, Streak looks so sexy.  There are sculpted details all over the body which really brings the figure to life.

Streak is covered in paint.  From the gunmetal grey to the beautiful glossy black, it brings an absolute premium feel to the figure, just like a Masterpiece figure should.  Streak actually does this better than Sideswipe ever did.

Even though there are no die-cast metal, Streak is hefty enough to not feel cheap, and of course, the premium paint job helps.  I think there weren't many samples that had quality control issues.

Streak has clearly defined windscreen wipers.  You can still see the red torso parts and shoulder cannons through the smoky plastic.

There seems to be some 'tech' detailing in the sculpting for the skylight.  The silver outlines looks really good.

The side mirrors are made of a softer plastic.  Streak also has silver hubcaps and painted indicators (which is a pleasant surprise), all that's missing are painted license plates.

There are some transformation panel lines throughout the car.  The whole vehicle shell has been painted.

The rear has a molded wiper too.  You may notice a slot in the rear bumper, this is for the Amazon exclusive launchers (which I unfortunately do not have) to attach.

Next, you can attach the gun into the car.  To do that, you have to fold the handle up to bring down the attachment point.

You have to detach the doors and rear to flip up a black piece to attach the gun.

It looks okay like this although it feels as if something is lacking since the gun is pretty thin head on.

Lastly, Streak has some interaction with MP-10.  He fits into Optimus' trailer.

He can roll down the ramp properly since the hood juts so far out.

A fantastic vehicle mode which looks amazing with all the sculpted details and being slathered in paint.  You can tell from the photos just how glossy the black is.  One of the best vehicle modes ever.


Perfectly balanced between easy enough to make it fun and complex enough to be interesting.  The only part where it can make you wary is the small pieces with the side mirrors attached.  Thanks to the softer plastic, you have to be careful to only use the harder plastic to fold it down and into the body.  Also, the way the torso clips to the hood makes it seem as if it could scrap the paint off those side mirror pieces (and can be a tight fit if you didn't fold it completely in).  The feet can also be unorthodox, it can be hard to figure out the first time.  In subsequent transformations, you would come to appreciate how it works.


As great as Streak was in vehicle mode, his robot mode is no pushover either.  Aiming for extreme cartoon accuracy, it succeeds in this area, not to mention that it is quite accurate to the G1 toy as well.

The biggest kibble piece is the vehicle roof sitting on his back, although it can collapse a bit more, it sits flush enough with his body that it's not too bad.  The feet are also hollow due to the transformation.

The head sculpt is great, although the expression could use more emotions.  It is fully painted and the red used is very rich.

The feet managed to keep the blocky look from the G1 cartoon while also being slim enough to be versatile.

The heelspurs help Streak even more stable.  His feet is also angled forward a bit.  One minor thing that could be improved is if the side windows could tuck in further instead of jutting out from the back of the legs.

Now, Streak features in-built shoulder cannons, to deploy them, you detach the windshield and flip it up.

They are compacted in storage form so they look truncated and short.

You can extend them until they click and angle them in however you wish.  Sadly, they are not painted which kinda sucks with the dull grey plastic used.  They also don't look very powerful and while they tout that it is cartoon accurate, I think in the cartoon, Streak's cannons had sharper tips.

The photo above shows how small the box he comes in is.

A lot of red comes out in robot mode, the thighs and torso.

The doors can angle upwards but one worrying thing is that the joint that allows them to do so is made from clear plastic, which mean it could potentially crack and break easily.

All his fingers are jointed as one, which means his hand can open and close.  It is more of that dull grey plastic, which feels odd that they didn't bother to paint it when the rest of the thing is so nice.

Streak's gun looks good, with a great sculpt.

There is a slot inside of Streak's hand which corresponds to the peg in the handle of the gun, such that Streak holds it very securely.

Streak stretches during transformation, so that he is approximately Voyager sized now.

He is approximately 3/5 of Optimus' height.

In terms of articulation, Streak has is all, from a waist swivel to pivoting ankle.s

His elbows are also double jointed and his head can turn side to side and look upwards.

Streak looks just the tiniest smudge elongated thanks to the long thighs and shins.  Streak is stable in most poses thanks to the range of motion his ankles have.  He's also easy to balance since he isn't too top-heavy.

His chest, which is the hood of the car, juts out a fair way from his torso.

With the addition of more unpainted parts, Streak loses some of the premium feel from the vehicle mode.

Streak's wrists can rotate.  If need be, you can also use Streak's double jointed knees to your advantage.

A stunning robot mode that doesn't disappoint.  Sure, Streak lacks some gimmicks so his play value is limited to posing and his weapons.  However, Streak displays wonderfully well and presents an excellent upgrade to his original figure.


Pretty much a perfect figure.  He has a sexy and beautiful vehicle mode (although the glossy black means that any dust is easily visible) and a striking robot mode.  It has some clever engineering and good attention to detail.  It's hard to decide which mode to keep him in because both are so good.  Highly recommended.


Other Transformers reviews can be found on this page here.

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