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  2. Okay, I don't know who all is left around here...I've been wanting to discuss The Rise of Skywalker with somebody, but I can't seem to get my regular buds to talk about it, so I thought I'd try here. And yes, I've been a traitor, I will admit it...Facebook and all of the toy groups I've discovered there has consumed my time and attention in recent months, but TNI will always be home for me online... So anyway...a good friend of mine secured me a ticket on the premier night at one of our local theaters. I'm not sure it was the premier...I think it was even a night early, like a pre-screening or something...I don't know. All I know is we got to go to one of the very first viewings around here, and I was so excited considering this has been touted as the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, and so many questions and theories have been swirling in my head for the last couple of years, so naturally I was hoping TROS would be the finale I was expecting, and I'd get some satisfying answers to all my questions... (WARNING: SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON OUT!!! TURN BACK IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET!!! (I'm sure, though, that most of you have...)) (lol) Let me just say up-front, that this movie was the finale I was hoping for...and it wasn't. It answered some questions, but not others. And this is in no way me complaining...I absolutely LOVED this film. It was just as epic as I was hoping, but it didn't seem to be trying to be epic, if that even makes sense. I'm not going to summarize the plot of anything like that...I think I'm just going to talk about what I loved, what I was and wasn't surprised by, and the questions that I still have, even after watching it twice... Upon my first viewing, I left the theater a little shell-shocked. Like you may have heard or read from other fans, there's ALOT jammed into this movie, and there's so much going on that you're just along for the ride, reacting to the plot points you've been wondering about, just following the story scene-by-scene, event-by-event, and there's not a whole lot of time to let anything sink in or to ponder what's going on, to make the connections. First of all, the return of Emperor Palpatine was probably the one thing I was most looking forward to...he's one of my favorite characters in the entire saga, in fact...he's probably my favorite villain of all time, even over Darth Vader. And even since I was a little kid seeing the bubble gum card of him way back in the spring of 1983 and wondering just who in the world Palpatine was...I was always endlessly fascinated by the mystery surrounding him. That's probably why I enjoyed his character in the prequels so much, which only served to deepen the mystery more than answering any questions about his origins or motivations... Anyway, he's back...no one knows how, but he is. And I really expected them to explain how he survived the plummet down that generator shaft in Return of the Jedi, but they never do. On one hand, I love that...he's always been dripping with evil and so mysterious, and his survival falls right into that theme. He even quotes himself from Revenge of the Sith by telling Kylo Ren that the Dark Side of the Force is "...a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural." It was one of the best and creepiest lines from that movie, and for him to reference it in Episode IX was perfect. Now this leads me to my next point/observation... Palpatine has inexplicably sent out an ominous, message from Exogol, a planet in the proximity of the galaxy referred to as the Unknown Regions, a mysterious region that supposedly Snoke and/or the beginnings of the First Order originated from, as the peripheral books and material has alluded to. Kylo Ren seeks Palpatine out, viewing him as a threat to his newfound power as Supreme Leader of the First Order. He goes to Exogol head-on to confront him in a total Sith/dark Jedi move, where he learns that Snoke was pretty-much a puppet...in one of the first scenes there, you see what looks like clone tanks or something of that nature in this dark and creepy lab-like setting populated by what looks like those weird, shadowy, cloaked figures in the background of Snoke's throne room. Now here's I was asking "Whaa...???" (lol) So was Snoke simply a puppet controlled by Palpatine? He tells Kylo Ren that he "made Snoke", and that's it. That's the only reference he makes. Was he an early failed attempt in cloning Palpatine? Was he simply a body he possessed, a vessel for his evil spirit until his original body could completely re-generate through the Dark Side? It's never explained. And part of me likes the mystery of it, the stuff that's simply left up to my imagination...I don't necessarily need to have every single plot point explained away...I just felt like a character as influential and powerful as Snoke needed more exposition, but maybe it was enough simply knowing it didn't matter, that he was a disguise for Palpatine, a placeholder until he could return to his full power. I like the idea that he could possess other bodies like that using the Dark Side, and the whole ghoulish returning-to-life ability he had is endlessly fascinating and so much fun to entertain. It reminds me of the likes of Dracula and characters in that vein... Oh, and the Emperor looks so very creepy in this movie...he's downright horrifying. White skin, pupil-less eyes like a zombie, and black-looking lips and teeth. And he's hooked-up to this big apparatus that looks like something H.R. Giger would have designed that keeps him suspended from the ceiling. The only thing I thought was kind silly or questionable was the fact that Palpatine seemed to simply be hanging-out in the weird lab-setting I described...he's just kind of there as Kylo Ren walked in. It wasn't like a dramatic entrance, where Ren walk into some elaborate chamber, and there you'd see Palpatine being attended by those mysterious robed figures. But Exogol itself is so very cool...it's like obscured within an almost impassable nebula or something, kinda like "The Briar Patch" thing in Star Trek: Insurrection, if you've seen that, and it's dark and cloudy, with lightning storms flashing all over the surface of the ancient-looking, rocky planet. And Palpatine's hang-out looks like this huge, monolithic, dark temple that's crumbling with ruins everywhere on this inside, complete with what looks like massive statues of past Sith Lords...it's fantastic-looking, and it hints a little at the origins of the dark, unknowable past of the Sith and Palpatine that I've always wondered about... Okay...I'm gonna have to do this in parts, apparently. It's getting late, I've got to get in bed for work tomorrow, and I've only scratched the surface of my impressions of this film. Bear with me, guys. Part two, maybe tomorrow...
  3. Following up a directing job on Thor: Ragnarok, as well as an episode of The Mandalorian, 'sources' say Taika Waititi is being considered to create a future Star Wars film. Disney and Lucasfilm have no comment. In addition to directing Ragnarok, and the 'Redemption" episode of The Mandalorian, the actor/director also worked on the Academy Award nominated film, Jojo Rabbit, has voiced numerous characters, including The Mandalorian's IG-11, and is scheduled to work on Thor: Love and Thunder for late 2021, followed by Warner Brothers' adaptation of Akira. (Source: THR)
  4. I've been thinking about this lately...I fell for the modern-style figures. I just chalked it up to the reality that Hasbro may never make figures like the vintage ones ever again due to production costs, metal components, etc. And I even used to convince myself that the newer figures were superior since they didn't sport brittle plastic or o-rings that could break and had to be replaced. You didn't have to worry about broken thumbs or crotches anymore, and the new figures had added articulation. I've come to realize, though, that none of that matters. Let me back-up a little... Over the last several months, I had decided that I was gonna get serious about rebuilding my vintage collection. Yeah, I had dabbled some over the years...I'd buy a vintage figure here, and a modern wave there, but I had never went all-in, as it were...I'm talking about MOC figures, MISB vehicles...a truly mint and loose collection that rivaled my original childhood one. I'm even getting ready to restore some of the handful of toys that actually survived the great purge of the early 2000s. (lol) I just realized one day that I'm not getting any younger, and if I'm gonna get serious about truly rebuilding my collection, I had better get on with it... So...since I've been in the throes of a new collecting era, I've been re-familiarizing myself with those good-ol' vintage o-ring Joes. And yeah, I've discovered all of the elbow cracks my figures have that I wasn't aware of, an issue that sometimes comes with age (or, I've learned, with specific waves). I've nit-picked over the paint rubs they have, realizing they're not as mint as I remember, and I've gotten discouraged over brand-new, sealed figures I've bought, only to discover they have cracked-elbows, too. But I'll tell ya...the fun I've had with it all, the memories, and the awesome look and feel of those old figures can't be paralleled. Now I know, when you line a vintage figures up next to its modern counterpart, it looks dated, pudgy even, perhaps, but...I was holding a vintage figure the other day and just appreciating how naturally it moved when I manipulated it. The combination of ball-jointed neck, o-ring, t-hook hip connector, and ball-jointed shoulders just makes for such a fluid-moving action figure that can be posed quite naturally despite the rivets, pins, and quaint sculpting. As much as I love the modern ones, simply due to what they are, you just can't get that same feeling from them... In conclusion, this has all got me to thinking...how cool would it be to someday get brand-new o-ring Joes, and I'm talking about the exact same packaging, cardback art, file cards by Larry Hama, and even the same style, scale, and even plastic quality of the originals...well, maybe not the exact same plastic. Maybe a type that wouldn't get brittle and break over time. (lol) But...wouldn't it be so very cool to see a new o-ring wave at the store, you turn the cardback over and see all of those tiny little pictures on the back, hinting at the new characters that were available again? And I don't even mean the same characters, per-se...I mean it'd be cool to see a line just pick up where the old one left off, brand-new characters again, with maybe upgrades of a few familiar faces sprinkled throughout each wave, just like in the old days... I'm not going to waste any more time looking back though, or wishing for what might have been, or what could be...I've missed enough vintage stuff to last me the rest of my life...I'll always be pursuing the old stuff to satisfy that part of me. I'm even excited about the new six-inch stuff coming out later this year(?). I've been wanting a six-inch line of Joes for years, so I'm super excited. I kind of expect Hasbro to actually do some sort of commemorative 3-3/4" line, too, kinda like that Retro Kenner line they did for Star Wars last year...I think that would be utterly fantastic... My short answer? Yes, I miss the classic style, too, Phanstar. (lol)
  5. They wrote him out already in the same way they wrote out Jeremy Jordan, the door has been left open for return visits. I honestly don't know how/if they'll address the whole Daily Planet thing on the New Superman show. Seems to me it would skew to close to what their doing with Kara/Katco on Supergirl.
  6. Fantastic display, brother...I love it!!!
  7. That's awesome, brother!!! I was able to snag a Slugger still sealed in the plastic bags, unassembled, along with a mail-away Thunder still sealed to go with it. Also, I've got a Conquest X-30 coming that's also unassembled with bagged parts, new. Things fell into place and I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, luckily. I'm hoping the trend continues this new year. (lol) Phanstar, I'd love to see pics of your Flagg, bud!!!
  8. Mehcad Brooks (James olsen) is leaving/has left 'Supergirl', correct? Has he been written out yet? With the Superman & Lois series on the way, and James/Jimm'ys connection to the characters (Daily Planet/ ' Superman's Pal'), do you think they''ll recast, or could Crisis retcon (Like Brainiac, Lex, etc...), the character?
  9. Aww thanks a lot ! The title was a little tribute to the cartoon
  10. Expected by probably just about everyone, this evening we got our first reported brick and mortar sighting of Transformers Earthrise, long before the online on-sale date comes to pass. Found at the Cascade Station Target location in Portland, Oregon were the Earthrise Micromasters assortment including the Hot Rod Patrol and the Military Patrol. View the full article
  11. Yeah its also incredibly heft and literally feels like you're carrying a child lol. Thanks!
  12. The pompous son of the billionaire boss of the company takes flight off of the top of the ambulance in an attempt to demolish an injured Kane!
  13. This is something I been thinking about for awhile. With two out of three of HasLab projects been successful funded, what would you want from HasLab? For me, I would like a Power Rangers Lightning Collection Command Center (I don't know if that would work, but it would be difficult for me to say no to).
  14. Looks great, especially the lighting. That was awesome of Mezco. I have their standard Kong and was very pleased. The ultimate version looks amazing, but an 18” Kong can be a hassle to display when you have limited space.
  15. Oh well, I was hoping to see information about more interesting toy lines being leaked to the web, it will have to be next month.
  16. Another excellent shot, I really like how both the Hound's Tooth and Slave I are pooping out of the background with them being the focus of the photo.
  17. These pictures are really bringing up nostalgic memories of the Shadows of the Empire line and video game. Really great work with these.
  18. Excellent posing, that Shang Chi kick looks perfect.
  19. Agreed, it's just the way things are now, the market has changed. I feel that it applies not only to vehicles but to 4'' figures as well, if you want highly detailed and articulated figures like The Vintage Collection they run you around $12.99 or go for the less articulated ones that are like $10.
  20. Alright, I'm not a fan of Marvel Legends, even though this obscure character got my attention, not only because of Bruce Lee's obvious influence but also because I see Hasbro probably reusing some of the pieces in this figure to make one of Quick Kick for the rumored new line of gi joe.
  21. Yesterday
  22. Good to know, I'll keep that in mind for when I get mind, thanks.
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