Tuesday, January 3, 2017

MegaCon Tampa Bay Review

A few weeks ago, the kids and I packed into the mini van and headed two hours across the Florida Peninsula to Mega Con Tampa Bay.  The folks at Mega Con were kind enough to grant us a press pass, so we wanted to drop this review of the con for our readers

Con Size
Mega Con Tampa Bay is a large con. Over the weekend, they did about 30,000 fans and guests. Hosted at the Tampa Bay Convention Center, right on the water, its a beautiful location and a great space to host a con.  There was plenty of walking space inside the venue and beautiful views outside if you needed to take a break.  Food trucks were lined outside the convention center offering a variety of foods to try if you wanted to avoid the fried food offerings inside.

The Badge Process

If you have read our reviews before, you know the one thing that can sink the boat of a con goer is the badge process.  Often times, the process is so lengthy and tedious, it takes away any excitement you may have had attending the con.  We were fortunate to have Press passes and that process was super smooth.  I am happy to report tho, fan badge process was smooth as well.  Lines were not too long and the wait was short.  MegaCon Tampa Bay did a great job of getting the word out to pick up badges early and fans listened.  There was some hold up for "weapon" checks for cosplayers, but nothing significant.  A great badge process overall!

The Guest List

The Guest List for MegaCon Tampa Bay was awesome. I mean really awesome.  You could have your pick in the world of tv, sci-fi/ movies.. there was someone there you probably have seen before.  From Fonzie, to Levar Burton, to David Tennant, to Neville Longbottom.... An absolute great guest list and from the looks of the autograph lines and photo ops, fans thought so too. I was able to meet "Stewart" from the Big Bang Theory and he seemed like a really nice guy!

On top of the celebrity guest lists, the comic book guest list was also outstanding.  Even tho I am not a fan, Rob Liefeld had a long line at his table all day for his fans.

The Cosplay

The Cosplay was outstanding! People really went all out.  I am not a huge fan of Harley Quinn the character, but she has inspired some great cosplay.  Check out my Flickr page for Cosplayers at the event!

see the guy looking

Vendors were all over the convention floor.  If there was something you really wanted, you could find it at Mega Con Tampa Bay.  The issue, as with every con, is the prices.  Vendors often ramp up the prices and people often get gouged for items they might be able to find cheaper someplace else.  Not all vendors, tho as my kids were able to get a many Lego figures for a great deal from a vendor on the floor.

Family Friendly

For such a large con, Mega Con Tampa Bay was very kid friendly. My kids are 11 and 10 and at no point did I feel the environment was unsafe.  Cosplayers were respectful in their dress out in public and activities that were 18 and above were placed in areas that were far away from the main floor.

This was a great con. I mean really great!  I was able to pick up a 2nd Press Pass and meet with Brothascomics contributor Sandman at the event.  We had a great time on the floor with the vendors, looking for hidden treasures with toys, and geeking out over some of our favorite characters.  If you live in any portion of Florida or in Atlanta, Georgia and all cities south of Atlanta, this is a great con for you to attend.  The con size will not overwhelm you and they really picked a great venue to host the event.

The Producer

Monday, January 2, 2017

Rogue 1: Spoiler Review

If you have been a reader of this blog and/or listen to our podcast, you will know that I have been very skeptical going into these new Star Wars movies.  I held my hype level down for many months before the Force Awakens believing that it was going to be very hard for Disney to convince legions of Star Wars fans to care about these new characters they were dropping into our lives and laps.
I was wrong.... so wrong about the Force Awakens.  The movie, although much of it a beat for beat repeat of a New Hope is so well done, so well acted, and rides the line so well between reminiscing with the old characters and blending in the new.

So when Rogue 1 was announced, you would think my trust in the Mouse with Star Wars property would be restored and I'd go blindly to the stores buying toys and getting my tickets months in advance for a screening.  You'd be wrong.  If anything, I was more skeptical.  A Star Wars movie literally with no characters- beyond Vader- that we have ever heard of; starring in a movie without any Skywalkers.  My thought was this is Disney being greedy looking for a money grab to tell a story that nobody wanted to hear.

Once again, I was oh so very wrong and oh so happy to be wrong!  Rogue One is a great Star Wars movie. Going in I was wary of this story of the rag tag group of rebels who need to get the Death Star plans into the hands of Princess Leia. Director, Gareth Edwards,   tells a fascinating tell that unravels over the course of the movie into an emotional, yet action packed story that will have even non Star Wars fans on the edge of their seat.

There are three stars of the movie. The first is the diverse cast.  Look, we all love Star Wars but it has not been a bastion of diversity in that galaxy far, far away. In this movie, we get a female lead, a Latin male co lead, Asian co-stars, as well as an African-American character is Saw Gerrera  whose intentions may not be all that admirable when you really look at it.  Star Wars should always look like this.  ALWAYS.  Never at a time in the year 2016, should a movie not reflect the ticket buying public.  Enough with the token characters such as Lando, Mace, and James Earl Jones' voice.  We love those characters for sure, but they have never properly been giving the shine they deserve in the Star Wars universe.

The 2nd major star of the movie is Ben Mendelson as director Krennic. His singular focus on wanting to get the Death Star made- no matter what the cost is not only scary, but inspiring in a way I was not prepared for.  We were all expecting Vader to have this overarching hand in the building of the Death Star, but Director Krennic and his manipulating Jyn's  father into the building the thing was a great B plot to the movie that played out so well!

The 3rd star of the movie is the various call backs or forwards to a New Hope.  From the pilots of the X-Wing battle, to the base on Yavin, to the CGI faces of Leia and Govenor Tarken.  So many little Star Wars Easter Eggs.  And the Vader we get to see as he is taking over Leia's ship is the Vader we heard so much about and were so scared of as little kids.

I hope people understand how hard this movie was to pull off.  Going in, knowing that none of these "rebels" appear in the original trilogy, you know they are all going to die. But how they die and the story that leads to it is so well executed, you forget that these heroes are on a doomed mission.

Overall, I rank Rogue one in my Top 3 of the all the Star Wars movies.  I have Empire at 1, New Hope at 2; and Rogue 1 at 3. Just a great movie overall and restored my faith in trusting the Mouse with Star Wars.  Bring on Episode 8!

The Producer

What Could've Been: Batman V Superman

StoryBoards Ultimate Edition

Another day, another news article about something that maybe, coulda, shoulda, might've happened in Batman V Superman.

This week, its a storyboard on the desert scene from the beginning of the movie when Superman came to rescue Lois.  It does not show much of anything and I doubt that it would've changed my or many other viewers perception of the movie.

It does show/tell me one major thing, tho.  Now, look. I am the writer of a non-successful blog/podcast.  I have never written, produced, directed, cast anything or anybody for a major motion picture. So the people at DC and Warner Brothers clearly know more than me when it comes to filmaking.

That being said, I am an expert at film watching. I have watched thousands of movies and have a pretty good knowledge base on what makes a good movies and what makes a shitty movie.  Batman V Superman is not a shitty movie. I believe that strongly.  Its not a good movie either, but somewhere in that mess of a movie, there is a good movie that needed better editing.  So if I believe there is a good movie in there, why doesn't DC/Warner Brothers?

You see if they believed Batman V Superman was a good movie as it is, we would not have all the additional stuff they wants to ADD to the movie.  Between the extended/R rated cut, non-Batgirl, cut scenes, directors commentary, and now additional storyboards, all DC has been doing is trying to convince themselves( and us) that the movie was good. If they truly believed in the movie as it is, they would stand on it and defend it for the art that it is.  They have not done that!  Since they movies came out, they had been pimping the R rated cut and the extended cut.  I know those are part of the business model and helps sell DVD's but you don't see Marvel doing this do you?  Even Marvels' less successful movies don't do this as a way to try and convince us that the movie was better than what the critics said.

And here is the biggest issue with this, at least for me.  This erodes my confidence of when the movie actually comes out in theaters.  Why would I drop that $60 to take my family to the movie, if in 6 months, you are going to put out a "better" version on DVD with shit that was not in the theatrical cut? Better for me to wait, save the money, and watch it on my big screen at my house.

Sadly I am sure this is not the last we have heard of something in Batman V Superman that was going to happen.  DC can't help itself in that regard.  It keeps people talking and blogging about a movie that is not that great. I guess some press is better than no press!

The Producer