Tag Archives: Featured

UnBoxing | Star Trek Discovery KLINGON SARCOPHAGUS SHIP

At the center of the dramatic conflict that encapsulated the premiere season of the newest spin-off from the Final Frontier, Eaglemoss Collections releases the “Special Issue” part of its line of Star Trek Discovery Starships Collection

Unmatched in size and scope and now part of the continuing line of releases from Eaglemoss Collections the Klingon Sarcophagus Ship part of the Star Trek Discovery Official Starships Collection is appropriately the first “Special Issue” in the line of high-quality models offered to avid fans. Intricately detailed and measuring 12” in length from stem to stern, the model is an impressive reflection of the warrior races might and dedication to tradition and gives collectors an unparalleled glimpse into the vessel at the center of the first season of the hit show’s conflict.

The model includes a 16-page magazine detailing the vessel’s background and design inspiration.

Appearing to be centuries old, the Klingon vessel also known as “The Ship of the Dead” represented one of the mightiest houses within the Klingon Empire. Restored to its greatest by T’Kuvma, the enormous ship remained hidden from prying eyes as the self-styled leader of the reunification moment worked to bring the warring houses of the Klingon Empire together against what he perceived was their common enemy: Starfleet and the Federation. T’Kuvma fashioned the ship, which measured 2,550 meters in length, with cloaking technology, and honored its dead by attaching their tombs onto its hull as a ceremonious form or armor.

In the year 2256, the vessel would play a significant role in the Battle of the Binary Stars, when it encountered the Starfleet exploratory ship the USS Shenzou and served as the focal battle of a melee between the two enemy fleets that would result in the Klingon/Federation War of the 23rd Century. Although formidable, the Shenzou’s captain and first officer Michael Burnham (portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Green) bypassed the Sarcophagus Ship’s defenses, boarded the ship and engaged the Klingons, including T’Kuvma in hand-to-hand combat. There were many casualties in the battle and the vessel was eventually destroyed by the USS Discovery.

Ship Design

Keeping with the uniquely organic look established for the warrior race for the new Star Trek spin-off, the Klingon Sarcophagus Ship exhibits many of the traditional design specifications associated with the Federation’s longstanding enemies. Determined to enhance audience expectations, the ship’s designer Sam Michlap wanted this particular vessel to reflect the spiritual side of the alien race, as well as inspire awe. The ship was described as being “centuries-old” so Michlap capitalized on the Klingon’s culture and spirituality to exploit a design unlike anything was ever seen, which was far more refined, artistic and tribal.

In the 16-page magazine accompanying the model from Eaglemoss, the designer contextualizes his approach. “From a design point of view they wanted to start with gothic architecture and the Middle Ages,” Michlap explains. “This was going to be as sculptural and tribal and as primary, as primitive and earthy as possible.” The designer explored and presented various silhouettes before the production team settled on the final design, which still had plenty of references to the familiar “bird of prey” feel that has become long associated with the Klingons. The surface texture of the ship would become the biggest departure as he drew inspiration from Islamic architecture.

Working from the outside and then fashioning the interior sets, Michlap’s design gives the impression that the Klingon Sarcophagus Ship could have been crafted from stone or even bone, with stained glass window fixtures, giving it a formidable and still elegant, predatory appearance — a space-faring cathedral, both defiantly beautiful and deadly. The ship at the center of the Star Trek Discovery reintroduction of the Klingons, successfully altered fan expectation of the warrior race and broadened understanding of these characters that have long played a significant role in Star Trek continuity and lore.

Eaglemoss Collections | KLINGON SARCOPHAGUS SHIP Star Trek Discovery The Official Starships Collection is a “Special Issue” release and available through the Eaglemoss website here.

Advertisements

iFeature | Marvel’s Cinematic Universe on AVENGERS Heading Towards the “ENDGAME”

The final curtain is about to drop on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and after “The Snap” heard around the universe, it’s anyone’s guess how it’ll all play out, but invariably MARVEL STUDIOS redefined the superhero movie!

All it may have taken was a single “Snap!” to tragically undercut the growing legacy of the Marvel Studios heroes, in Avengers: Infinity War the big bad that has loomed in the shadows, puppeteering events across a decade of blockbuster films, the Mad Titan Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) altered the course of the history by annihilating half of the entire galaxy’s population — and taking with him some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest stars including Black Panther, Doctor Strange and the newly integrated Spider-Man.

The third installment in the Avengers franchise, crushed under its heel any anticipated hope fans may have had of a new “phase” elaborating on an ever-expanding universe capturing the spirit of the Marvel Comics that many movie goers had been thrilled to see come to life, since the introduction of Robert Downey, Jr in 2008s Iron Man. Studio chief Kevin Feige envisioned a theatrical experience that replicated the serialized episodic world these characters had inhabited in their 2-D incarnations, fleshing them all out fully to properly transition to the big screen.

By the time all the main players converged onto widescreen for the Avengers team movies, the film just couldn’t get any better, the action more dynamic and the stakes always higher, but at its core the players remained rooted to the core of their origins — their creator Stan Lee had always believed in the premise that as extraordinary as the circumstances that were that made these individuals heroic, they were always as “real” as real could get — especially in the case of sharing hall space with a thunder god and a radioactively rage-filled hulk.

The Avengers (2012)
L to R: Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

A Marvel Indeed

When the titular heroes including Iron Man, Captain America and Thor (and arguably The Hulk) were corralled under one umbrella to be featured in the team film Avengers the studio blockbuster would immediately be altered forever! Successful franchise films had become regularly expected, especially with genre-inspired material like the X-Men or Spider-Man films, although by the time those features hit their third installments the narrative often felt stale, leading to the inevitable reboot. Kevin Feige imagined a longer, more linear experience and inspired a universal story arc.

Avengers bent that rule by landing all the separate or anticipatory franchise characters inside of a team roster. The first film released in 2012 introduced the “founding members”, its follow-up 2015s Avengers: Age of Ultron expanded upon the roster, and by the time we’d arrived at 2018s Avengers: Infinity War the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was recruited to take on the larger than life adversary. It was also necessary since the team was essentially disbanded.

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo Captain America: Civil War (2016) the third film in that franchise disassembled our core heroes, but introduced Black Panther, initiated the Ant-Man and gave us an amazing Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Avengers may have come to an impasse but movie audiences knew that the real war was infinitely on the horizon, and that when the stakes were raised to upwards of a cosmic scale, it would take all of our muscle to fight back — unfortunately we hadn’t factored in that the bad guy might win in the end!

The Next Phase

So perhaps now would be a good time to catch our breath before the next, and fourth film in the franchise hits theaters worldwide. Avengers: Endgame is not shying away from admittedly letting its audience know upfront — however this plays out, the title should be taken very seriously. Inevitably some of our favorite characters may live, and others might die, and still some others have to determinately crawl themselves back from where ever they may have found themselves after that fateful “Snap!”

Marvel Studios has proven in its premiere decade its dominance over the superhero film franchise, a formula that others have attempted to emulate with mixed results, but never as effortlessly as Marvel appeared to master the medium. With the theatrical experience marking a steadfast transition to the home, the Marvel catalog is now getting the 4K respect that it widely deserves. In the Ultra HD resolution that 4K offers the Avengers franchise especially has never looked or sounded so epic!

Picture quality is unmatched and this is most evident in the heavily CGI moments that often occur when the screen is inhabited by Hulk and an army of Ultron robots. 4K also enhances the environment that these actors exist in, turning their highly futuristic war rooms and battle sites, whether deep on the edges of the earth or on the streets of New York appear all the more textured and tangible. The cinematically profound depths of the audio bombardment is also something to behold! With all three of the current film’s available on 4K, this is the only way to assemble proper!

iTunedIN | MADONNA Introduces MADAME X

For her latest album project, the Queen of Pop is gearing up to present to her fans to her newest incarnation. On Madame X audiences will get a globe-trotting experience and a far more exotic Madonna than we’ve ever had before.

It would appear that even on vacation there’s no keeping Madonna down. While taking some personal time to reinvigorate her creative juices, the Queen of Pop dove into the multi-cultural diversity of Portugal and found the inspiration for her fourteenth studio album. Madonna is no stranger to reinvention, and has taken on several new personas to express herself on the album project entitled Madame X which she promises will highlight many of the spectacular new sounds she has been exploring.

The artist has commented on how homogenous popular music has become; Madonna has said that everything sounds the same, and the idea of releasing a new project that didn’t stand out just wouldn’t do. Collaborating with Mirwais on the new album also provided a creative safety net for the artist. The pair worked together on her Grammy® Award-Winning Ray of Light and its follow-up Music. The premiere single “Medellín” also features Colombian pop-singer Maluma. The controversial singer approached Madonna backstage at the VMAs and insisted they work together.

Intrigued by the invitation, Madonna and Mirwais familiarized themselves with Maluma’s work and found the perfect track bring him in on. The result is the world-dance sounding “Medellín” which immediately sets the tone and pace for what fans can expect from Madame X. Releasing a tease of the album’s themes via social networking, Madonna insists her newest incarnation is many things. “Madame X is a secret agent; traveling around the world — changing identities, fighting for freedom, bringing light to dark places.”

Madonna teaming up MIrwais and Colombian signer Maluma for her latest album project “Madame X” hitting stores in June.

“X” Hits the Spot

The last decade has suggested that Madonna is less interested in commercial success and far more focused on nurturing her creative animal. Her last two ventures 2012s MDNA and 2015s Rebel Heart proved exercises in experimentation. Madonna has always ventured the push the envelope especially when its come to her music, always preferring to take risks. Though critically well interpreted, these most recent offerings are perhaps the artist’s least cohesive explorations. Both albums featured multi producers and ran the gamut of genres, from dance to folk.

Though the details of Madame X have still appeared scarce, with Madonna taking a more reflective approach, perhaps this will be the album to present her best as the constant innovator she has demonstrated over the course of her legendary career. The track list on Madame X also suggests that Madonna still pursuing complex narratives of religion and soul searching, but only time will tell, and fans won’t have long to wait. Madame X will be dropping on June 14 and features guest collaborations with Maluma, Quavo, Swae Lee and Anitta.

A video for the debut single is expected to hit the airwaves the week of April 22 and will be introduced in traditional Madonna fashion. The artist is hosting a record listening and video premiere on MTV to air on Wednesday, April 24 to air live from London.

Madame X | Madonna will be released on June 14. The first single “Medellín” is available now. Check it out on iTunes here.

Trailer | JOKER

The most diabolical adversary in the Dark Knight’s gallery of rogues is about to headline his own motion picture and the trailer reveals this look into the psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime is no joke!

Brace yourself! Although the internet has been permeated with images of actor Joaquin Phoenix in and out of full clown make-up, the Academy Award® Winner is blisteringly more frightening in the first trailer for the upcoming motion picture Joker. Directed by Todd Phillips this stand alone examination of The Batman’s most dangerous arch-enemy is promising to showcase only the man behind the sinister psychopath and not the caped and cowl crusader. The film is an origin story set years before Bruce Wayne’s crusade on crime.

Darkly haunting, the first trailer is meant to evoke a deeper more unsettling narrative, and not necessary inhabits a cinematic universe that includes recent DC blockbusters headliners like Wonder Woman and Aquaman. The since here is that the man who will become Gotham City’s most vile inhabit is living out “the one bad day” that has often been the common denominator of the leading theories behind The Joker’s incarnation. It’s established in the classic graphic novel The Killing Joke and remains much of the character’s motivation in The Dark Knight Returns.

Already many on the internet are seeing parallels with director Martin Scorsese; the filmmaker is known for his skill at humanizing and navigating even the darkest extremes into relatable situations. With The Joker among the DC Universe’s most complex personas, this deep dive into the makings of this monster is evoking familiarities with Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the character which won him numerous accolades and a posthumous Academy Award® for best Supporting Actor.

Joaquin Phoenix will be the latest actor to take on the iconic role in WB Pictures full-length feature “Joker” coming to theaters in October.

Why So Serious?

With The Joker moving into the spotlight with not just this first full-length feature to premiere in the fall, another one is still in the works intended to center on Jared Leto’s take on the villain as he appeared in Suicide Squad, is Warner Bros. opening the door to similarly “Black Label” prestige looks at their DC comics properties? The less than stellar reception of the Justice League movie which was intended to inspire a cinematic universe in the same style as Marvel Studios own, has all-but jettisoned that idea, forcing the studio to course correct.

Perhaps if WB intends on keeping the DC brand afloat within its studio system, the direction may be to apply a more “adult oriented” approach. Recently the publishing imprint, decided on applying a new top title to some of its releases; with “Black Label” branding the idea is to present stories that have a prestige feel or are more graphic properties that exist outside of the DC Universe established continuity. The recent specialty series “Batman: Damned” is an example of fresh material, while a re-release of the best-selling “Watchmen” series has been “Black Label”.

Whatever fan expectations are for Joker it is certain that the film will undoubtedly raise eyebrows as it heads toward an anticipated R-rating, which may be just what the film’s director and Warner Bros. Pictures are hoping for. If the DC heroes can’t work together in a cinematic world, maybe its villains can emerge as the next marquee favorites, at least until another “crisis” appears on the horizon threatening to reboot the properties, simplifying the theatrical multiverse and gauging greater box-office appeal.

Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips will be coming to theaters on Oct 4.

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.

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