Category Archives: Featured

UnBoxing | Star Trek Discovery WORKER BEE

The latest release from Eaglemoss Collections features one of the Federation’s tried and true auxiliary craft, the WORKER BEE has been seen in service throughout Star Trek incarnations.

Even in the 23rd Century, starship crewman depend on several modes of transportation to get the mission accomplished. In the future, the Federation has depended on auxiliary vessel in order to help construct and service the fleet. Worker Bees, smaller one or two-man vehicles were glimpsed helping to refit the Starship Enterprise in dry dock in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Captain Kirk returned to reclaim the bridge of his ship in order to intercept the approaching alien threat of V’Ger.

The Worker Bee has remained a constant fixture in Star Trek continuity and has played a significant role in the latest iteration of the mythology. Eaglemoss Collections captures the spirit of the Federation auxiliary craft in its latest release; the Worker Bee is reproduced for Issue #13 part of the Star Trek Discovery The Official Starships Collection. The die-cast model combines plastic parts in incredible detailing to bring collectors a close-up look at the ship that has played a significant part throughout the two seasons of the current Star Trek franchise hit. 

The Worker Bee is immortalized in the latest model from Eaglemoss Collections.

Working Hard

The model comes in at over 6” in length and is expertly detailed. The version reproduced is the two-seater version of the auxiliary craft that is used aboard the USS Discovery to move vital components across the ship’s cargo bays. The Worker Bee has also been used in space, and as described in the enclosed magazine detailing the background of the versatile little ship. The original ship was designed by Andrew Probert for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was redesigned for Star Trek Discovery by Ray Lai.

The designer took the basic tropes from Probert’s initial take of the Worker Bee and applied the same principles, while matching the production’s expectation of what the craft would be doing within the narrative of the script. Initially the Worker Bee was to be utilized to help Michael Burnham escape the confines of the brig at “The Battle of the Binary Stars” raged outside. The craft would be seen again throughout the season, moving crates within the USS Discovery cargo bay and is even outfitted with a laser to manage some exterior ship repairs.

The model sits about 4” high on its included display stand and is expertly detailed by the craftsmen at Eaglemoss.

Worker Bee Issue #13 | Star Trek Discovery The Official Starships Collection | Eaglemoss Collections is available through the subscription service and the Eaglemoss webiste here.

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iReview | BUMBLEBEE

Sent on a mission to find a safe planet that the Autobots can call their next home Bumblebee goes back a generation and presents the origin story of one of the most valiant Transformers of them all.

As a movie franchise the Transformers have outpaced any expectations in Hollywood. No one could have imagined that a feature-length film based on a popular line of action figures from the 80s that also inspired a companion animated television series would have box office bankability a decade after the first film hit the multiplex. Five installments later, Michael Bay’s epic has continued to ignite the imagination, and in the latest spin-off, Bumblebee establishes the origin story of one of the franchise favorites.

On a mission to find a safe haven, the Autobot B-127 finds his way to Earth.

After several attempts at elaborating on the Transformers mythology, an intergalactic race of intelligent robots that are engaged in a civil war over their world’s depleting resources, Bumblebee is the first at successfully recreating the familiar aesthetic of the “Generation 1” Transformers many of us grew up with. The film opens with a look at the warring factions on their home world of Cybertron. The heroic Autobots led by Optimus Prime sends his most valuable agent B-127 on a mission to secure on outpost on Earth away from the prying eyes of the evil Decepticons.

As the battle rages B-127, the eventual titular hero of our story, is blasted into space and crashes in a blaze of glory on the planet Earth in the midst of military war games — and its 1987! The military give chase to the alien robot in their midst, but B-127 has bigger problems when an enemy agent discovers his location and attacks, merciless ripping out B-127’s vocal chords and severely damaging his memory processor. B-127 deals his assailant a final blow, but in the end he’s rendered nearly inoperable and goes into hibernation.

Hiding in plain site as expected n the guise of a yellow classic VW Bug, the Autobot is discovered by a young woman, Charlie played by Hailee Steinfeld, and the pair immediately develop a bond. Charlie names the alien “Bumblebee” and proceeds to uncover his true mission, introducing Bumblebee to 80s music in an effort to help him to learn to communicate, especially with his audio vocalizer still damaged. It isn’t long before two Decepticon agents uncover the fugitive and proceed to converge on Bumblebee’s position.

Prequel vs Origin Story?

When it was first announced that a stand-alone feature focusing on Bumblebee would be spinning-off of the film franchises, many assumed it was in an answer to the growing mass-proliferation of the Star Wars universe after Disney had purchased the brand from George Lucas. With the exception of perhaps Optimus Prime himself, it made since that if any of the characters in the arsenal of the toy brand could be made to stand on its own Bumblebee would emerge the likely asset. It also helps that he is introduced the Transformers film franchise.

Michael Bay may have set a tone with his first five Transformers movies, but perhaps passing Bumblebee along to Travis Knight may have been the right call. Setting the film in the late 80s is fittingly meta, but it also gives the mythology of the Transformers room to breathe. As a lead character Bumblebee works really well, because similarly to other benevolent E.T.s, the hero is incredibly relatable, and not to mention very cute. That doesn’t mean the VW Bug can’t pack a punch, and proves a formidable soldier.

As a sidekick Hailee Steinfeld is wonderfully appealing and organically fits in to the time and place of this particular adventure. It’s also a welcome change from the highly charged testosterone of its predecessors. Steinfeld’s Charlie may not continue with the next installment of Bumblebee but that’s OK. The real hero has been established and the audience is already invested in his journey. Perhaps the next time around, the eager young scout will be joined by other Autobot favorites like Wheeljack or Ironhide, before the next major threat, in the meantime Bumblebee can handle it.

Bumblebee starring Hailee Steinfeld and John Sena, directed by Travis Knight is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Rated PG-13

iTuneIN | Sean Finn & Corona THE RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT

The club anthem is given a nice new gloss from Sean Finn featuring the original vocalist that took the track to the top of the dance charts!

The year was 1994. Dance music was experiencing a renaissance and invigorating popularity brought upon by a resurgence of the club culture. Nightlife was booming and the circuit scene was being perpetrated across the globe. This was before the rise of EDM, the music festival magnificence that inspired and elevated the DJ/music producer to the high on heights of near god-like reverence, and techno was starting to invade the dance floor lexicon. Dance anthem artist Corona had a hit on her hands with “The Rhythm of the Night”.

Cut to 2019 and dance music is enjoying new popularity, albeit subversive celebrity. The club scene isn’t what it used to be. Major cities are no longer drawing big room attendances, but that hasn’t prevented hit-makers like Sean Finn from reigniting interest in Corona’s club anthem and giving “The Rhythm of the Night” an injection of the contemporary. The German-born Finn has joined ranks with the likes of Eric Prydz and Benny Benassi, music producers who are taking upon themselves to revive the House genre, pushing the sound to a new evolution.

Check out “The Rhythm of the Night” on iTunes here.

Listen to the remixes now…

 

iReview | JUSTICE LEAGUE vs. THE FATAL FIVE

The present is in great peril from an invading threat from the future and the Justice League’s newest members may find themselves paralyzed and unable to stop The Fatal Five from destroying the future.

The future’s most dangerous villains are facing off against the World’s Greatest Heroes in a fight for the fate of all time. The latest DC Entertainment/Warner Bros Animation full-length animated adventure Justice League vs. The Fatal Five takes us back to the much-beloved heroes of the popular Justice League Unlimited television series. Executive produced by Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett this unique exploit introduces several new characters into the ranks of the Justice League roster and further establishes the heroes and villains that populate the 31st Century.

The Legion of Super-Heroes, a team of young people from all across the galaxy that has united to defend their present era in the 31st Century, are facing off against the vile Fatal Five and have succeeded in immobilizing two of their most powerful members. In order to keep the Emerald Empress and the mindless monster Validus prisoner, the Legion decides to imprison them in the only place that can hold them — the past! The remaining members of the Fatal Five travel back to the present day, but they aren’t alone — the villains are followed by the legionnaire Star Boy.

It doesn’t take the Fatal Five’s Mano, The Persuader and Tharok long to exact their reign of terror on the 21st Century, fortunately for us we have the Justice League, but it appears that these invaders are almost as powerful as Superman (voiced by George Newbern) and they are seeking someone the call “Limelight”. Batman (Kevin Conroy) stumbles upon the mysterious Star Boy (Elyse Gabel) who may hold the key to stopping these new enemies, but not even the alien Miss Martian (Daniela Bobadilla) can penetrate the legionnaires fractured memories.

With the help of Jessica Cruz (Diane Guerrero) a reluctant Green Lantern, and one of the league’s newest recruits, our heroes may be able to stop the Fatal Five from releasing their captured accomplices and exacting their plan to destroy the league preventing the modern day heroes from inspiring the Legion of the future, ensuring their dominance of the 31st Century! Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is a time-traveling escapade with the excitement of a summer blockbuster, while nostalgically reminding us of what made Justice League one of the best animated series ever.

The feature-length animated movie reunites some of our favorite voice actors from Justice League including Kevin Conroy who has voiced Batman since the days of the Emmy® Award Winning Batman: The Animated Series Susan Eisenberg who has become, for many, the most ideal Wonder Woman ever, and joining them in the cast are Diane Guerrero who voices the role of Jessica Cruz, the newest Green Lantern, as well as pulling double duty as a regular cast member on the DC Universe Original Series Doom Patrol playing Jane.

Tackling Bigger Issues

Recently the heroes of the DC Comics Universe had been facing bigger problems than just the nefarious deeds brought upon by their archenemy. Currently playing out in the DC comics event Heroes in Crisis a nine-issue limited series written by Tom King, the revelation of a “sanctuary” a place of respite the heroes use to seek support from the trials of their experiences and emotional support has shaken the perception of how the public perceives its masked defenders. When Sanctuary is compromised a mystery unfolds that has everyone feeling vulnerable.

The idea that even superheroes require special attention to deal with daily stresses is a fairly new idea, and perhaps among some of the most recent characters to have come out of the closet to reveal their emotional instabilities include the time-traveling Booster Gold, the Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn, and the newest Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, who came about her role as a ring bearer rather reluctantly. Cruz was initially seduced into taking the ring from the alternate-earth villain Power Ring, but after standing up to its corruption was made an official Green Lantern.

Left traumatized after a terrifying experience, Cruz was very easy prey from the Ring of Volthoom which feeds off of fear. When it makes Jessica Cruz its new host, it doesn’t bargain with the young woman’s own strength of will. With the help of The Flash, and the other members of the Justice League, Jessica perceivers, using her newfound powers to rise up against Darkseid and the imminent threat of the Anti-Monitor during “The Darkseid War”. Battling through her own fear, Jessica proved herself worthy of wielding one a Green Lantern’s ring.

The inclusion of the character in Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is a welcome examination of the heroine’s journey and goes deeper inside her psyche then has ever been explored in the books. There’s a magnificent dimensionality that is revealed of the newest Green Lantern in this animated adventure that makes her magnificently worthy to wear the ring. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time audiences will be given the chance to revisit the animated exploits of the Justice League especially given how much the heroes have evolved.

Justice League vs. The Fatal Five is available now across Digital Platform and will be released by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation wide across all additional platforms on April 16 with a running time of 87 minutes.

iEditorial | LIKE A PRAYER 30th Anniversary

Still considered the most seminal work of her career, 30 years ago Madonna released Like A Prayer her most introspective project at the time, redefined popular music and elevated her celebrity into the stratosphere.

Expressing herself has always been one of Madonna’s most enduring caveats as an artist. The Queen of Pop has never attempted to shy away from the criticism or the controversies that have followed her especially early on during her emerging career, and in 1989 the controversies were moving at a rapid-fire pace, and yet Madonna kept in step. Proving many of her harshest critics wrong she releases Like A Prayer her most honest and introspective work, the album reshaped the perception of the artist immediately.

There was her high profile divorce from actor Sean Penn. Their tumultuous marriage had been headline fodder for the tabloids since the moment the couple began to date; the distraction of having their lives constantly under the microscope inevitably led to the relationship’s downfall. Madonna emerged determined from the experience not to appear a victim of what many had conspired to describe as an abusive situation. Between her last full-length album and the release of Like A Prayer, Madonna appeared to have grown in leaps and bounds artistically.

The 11-tracks that culminate in the setlist for Like A Prayer beginning with the album’s title track read like an exercise in self-discovery and exoneration for Madonna. She’s putting it all out there and bringing her audience along with her. “Like a Prayer” proved more of a success than anyone could have bargained for. In the lead-up to the video’s MTV premiere, Pepsi had agreed to a multi-million dollar deal with Madonna to sponsor her upcoming world tour. The commercial featuring the track was the perfect marriage of artist and product typical of the 80’s branding of an image.

Unfortunately, the video for “Like a Prayer” with its profound use of religious iconographic imagery, some of which showed Madonna cavorting amorously with a man who appeared as a Christ-like reference while burning crossing raged behind her, may have been more than squeaky-clean soda manufacturer had bargained for. Madonna and Pepsi inevitably went their separate ways, though she kept the millions promised to her, and followed up the controversy of the first video with the even more flagrant “Express Yourself” directed by David Fincher.

Just Like A Dream

For the second single from Like A Prayer, Madonna threw all care to the wind and decided the video for the more up-tempo track would be her most audacious yet. Collaborating with David Fincher (the pair would work together often) the pair chose the art deco influences of the gothic futuristic film Metropolis set to the “non-stop” remix of the track by music producer Shep Pettibone, to drape Madonna in satin sheets, chaining her to a bed — a captive to her own desires — as she awaits the arrival of her oiled up, muscly laborer who toils in the depths of the city.

The imagery from “Express Yourself” alone fueled a movement and would eventually reveal itself as the opening arc of her blockbuster statement of 1990, the Blond Ambition World Tour. The album would go on to release several hit singles including “Keep It Together”, “Oh Father”, “Dear Jessie” and “Cherish” which also featured a video from fashion photographer Herb Ritts. The video which featured Madonna on the shores of a beach playing with mermen who swam amidst the crashing waves was an interesting parallel to Ritts’ other video for Janet Jackson.

Though their rivalry was never a publicly stated competition, the two artists often found themselves during the 80s and 90s battling for similar audiences. Ritts bathed Madonna in cool blues which played beautifully to her own eyes as her skin appeared wet and desirably supple in the watery backdrop, while Jackson’s video for “Love Will Never Do (Without You) placed Janet in the stark California desert, radiating a heat — both artists the lustful affection of several well-built male models; of the two videos Madonna’s the more playful and innocent, by comparison.

Keep It Together

Perhaps the most significant extrapolation of Like A Prayer comes from its significantly closing the artistic collaborative efforts of songwriters Patrick Leonard and Stephen Bray, who had been ever-present in Madonna’s early career hits. They would return to the fold, but after Like A Prayer and her next full-length album effort Erotica Madonna would begin to experiment with alternative producing and writing partners. The success of Like A Prayer would soon be eclipsed by the shockwave of a single hit song that almost ended up a B-Side. The song was “Vogue”.

UnBoxing | Star Trek Discovery KLINGON BIRD-OF-PREY

The most feared warship in the known galaxy — like you’ve never seen it before — continues to evolve in its latest iteration from the Star Trek Discovery and brought home from Eaglemoss Collections.

When the USS Shenzhou decided to wake the bear that is the Klingon Empire at the Battle of the Binary Stars, Star Trek Discovery took the opportunity to once again (re)introduce the most formidible alien species in the galaxy. The Klingons have been a favorite fan, and within the canon of Star Trek history they are the Federation’s most fearsome adversary. With their reintegration into the 23rd century continuity establishing more details of the Klingon/Federation War, this enemy has never looked more ferocious.

The creatives behind the new series have had a distinct freedom to explore technologies and designs for Star Trek Discovery and that’s most evident in the radically more alien look at the Klingons. Even the 23rd Century Bird-Of-Prey the most notorious warship in the Klingon fleet, had a very atypical design and terrifyingly ornate aesthetic; more muscular and constructed to strike fear, the craft looks very much like its namesake implies serving to strike fear in the hearts of its enemies.

A close-up of the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey reveals the intricate detail and vastly more vascular look at the approach the design took to make this 23rd Century war ship different from its predecessors.

The Bird Takes Flight

Eaglemoss Collections recreates the newest Klingon Bird-Of-Prey for its Star Trek Discovery Official Starship Collection and begins to assemble the fleet of the Klingon forces that soar into battle during the Klingon/Federation War and are first glimpsed at the Battle of the Binary Stars of 2256. The model is based on the designs of Sam Michlap. The design team was tasked with giving the Klingons, especially the iconic Bird-Of-Prey a more “aggressive” look. Michlap chose a direction that gave the ship the impression that it can slice its way through space.

The high-end collectible comes in at about 6” from stem to stern, approximating the actual size of the warship which measures 188.7 meters, keeping it within the anticipated size of its predecessors. The Klingons historically dispatched the Bird-Of-Prey as escort ships or as wing defenders; they’ve also served as the introductory arsenal heralding a Klingon invasion. Featuring the recognizable wing-swept design of the line, the vessel was also impressively armed with multiple phaser banks and photon torpedos.

Michlap explains the radical new approach to the ship’s design in the 16-page magazine that accompanies the model (along with a display stand) and admits that much of the Gothic design and texture of the ship was inspired by ornamental details found in cathedrals and especially Islamic architecture. This undoubtedly marries the 23rd Century Klingons very closely to their cultural connection of a more ceremonial people. The Bird-Of-Prey is seen protecting the fleet and is called upon with the enormous Sarcophagus Ship is in peril.

First of the Fleet

Besides the introduction of the unique Klingon Bird-Of-Prey to the line, Eaglemoss has also issued the Klingon destroyer Qugh Class (Issue #8) and the much more elegant Qoj Class (Issue #10). Both ships and their respective models give fans an alternative insight into this formidable force, which is still developing and playing a significant role in the evolution of the narrative storyline of Star Trek Discovery in its Second Season. The ship models are available for purchase individually or as part of Eaglemoss Collections subscription service.

Klingon Bird-Of-Prey | Star Trek Discovery Official Starships Collection Issue #4 is available now from Eaglemoss Collections. Click on the link here!