Apologies for missing Wednesday. I intended to post, but thought I’d get some quick demon-slaying in. However, I was distracted by a portal I’d never seen before and ended up basically robbing Gringott’s. Oh, well, these things happen.
Scooby Doo Dark:
I love Scooby Doo. I really do. I got around to watching one of the later incarnations available on Netflix – Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated. It features the voice cast that usually works on the direct-to-video movies. You know how I wrote a parody/summary of every “Scooby Doo” episode ever? Yeah, this incarnation is absolutely not like that. It is a bizarre cross of a new “Scooby Doo” incarnation and a self-aware parody of “Scooby Doo.”
"We've been in high school for like, forever." - Shaggy.
There are a whole lot of references to previous series and even the movies. There are also a whole lot of references to Hanna-Barbera characters in general (like Johnny Quest, other teen mystery solver groups, Blue Falcon and Dyno-mutt), and pop culture references that 99.9% of children will miss (like the original Twin Peaks, Beverly Hills 90210, Vincent Price, H.P. Lovecraft, and Harlan Ellison). I would say that this is a “Scooby Doo” incarnation for adult fans of the franchise. This is not for non-fans or children because show has a heapin’ helpin’ of dark and edgy, especially in the second season as the myth arc progresses. It’s well-written and clever and certainly has many elements of the more kid-friendly versions, but the antagonists are a lot meaner than just people in rubber masks, there’s a lot of violence, and oh yeah, people totally die. This is also the only series thus far that actually explains why Scooby can talk and why no one is freaked out by it.
I’m on record as generally enjoying the LEGO games. I especially like the superhero themed games because I like superheroes and the creative team does a good job in general with giving the mini-figs different powers that are still in character. This time around I’m working through “LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham” which is basically the DC version of “LEGO Marvel Superheroes.” It’s even got a unique story line and dialogue, and instead of saving Stan Lee, you have to save Adam West. Batman and Robin, like in the other games, unlock a variety of suits to give them a variety of powers. But I have to say I really like a lot of the other characters better. All the Kryptonians are invincible (their heart meter is greyed out). They all also can fly, have heat vision, and X-ray vision. When Superman flies, the John Williams theme to the original Superman movie plays in the background. Wonder Woman is also awesome, except she’s in the New52 Jim Lee blue-red-silver costume instead of gold. She can block lasers with her vambraces, throw her tiara, and when she flies, the ’70s Wonder Woman theme plays. Cyborg’s stealth mode is a washing machine. I love this game.
Although, to be fair, all the games have two drawbacks of varying seriousness – a) a lack of depth perception and b) killer camera angles. The lack of depth perception appears to be a chronic issue in all the games and is especially problematic for jumping puzzles. The camera angles can range from a minor annoyance to a game-breaker. My friends have the “Age of Ultron” game for a different console than mine and they are really struggling with it. In segment I tried to play, there were three situation in which one character had to make a blind jump, by which I mean even with the split-screen the camera would not pan over far enough to actually see where that character was positioned. Other than that, they are a lot of fun.
I got the chance to see RiffTrax’s Live Mothra show (encore showing). I admit that have been exposed to Japanese monster movies more through indirect pop culture references than directly from the source. Mothra is a weird movie. The lead character acts more like the comic relief, which maybe is the idea? I’m not sure because my knowledge of this genre is pretty limited. So this bad guy kidnaps tiny twin women singers from a radioactive island to make them the star of his novelty show. The lead character, a reporter, and a scientist, try to rescue the tiny women because they warn them Mothra is coming to save them. It takes a long time to get to Mothra, and in fact there’s more Caterpillara than Mothra. Also, Mothra is adorable. After wrecking expy cities in model form (she hates Hot Wheels, for some reason), the protagonists take the women to Mothra and they go home while the city crumbles and they all laugh at the photographer for forgetting to take pictures like the end of an ’80s sitcom. I half-expected the movie to end on a freeze-frame of everyone laughing. So, yeah, it’s kind of weird, but the riffing is fun. I also found my new favorite Japanese monster-movie related song (the former was the excellent “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part 1” by the Flaming Lips). The guy who wrote it was directly inspired by Pacific Rim and this should be the lead track on a Dr. Demento compilation album. Please enjoy, “Not This Time.”