Saturday, March 5, 2016

Barbecue's Bonfire: The "Not Half Bad Toy Run and I Review the Ghostbusters 2016 Trailer" Edition

Wow! This installment of Barbecue's Bonfire quickly grew into a monster of a task, particularly because I wound up doing a pretty thorough review of the Ghostbusters 2016 trailer. Of course, I also detail the results of a recent toy run, offer some brief reviews of Forever Evil and one of the tie-in titles, and praise Mauro Ranallo for being an incredible commentator on Smackdown. Check out this and more after the break...

*  I was just out on a pretty good toy run yesterday with the family and I think I spotted nearly every basic 1/18th scale figure from The Force Awakens that's currently available other than the newest of the new. It was cool to finally see Han and the Resistance version of Rey out in the wild. Heck, it was cool to see shelves packed the way they should have been prior to Christmas. I'm only collecting The Black Series, so I passed on all of them, but it's nice to see that Hasbro finally seems to have some distribution down. You know, almost 3 months after the movie's release. And that's called a backhanded compliment, kids!

*I did see quite a few of the basic series Kevin Owens figure from Mattel's WWE line at a Wal-Mart today. I'm a pretty big Kevin Owens fan (even though I've been cheering against him in his recent feuds with Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler) and I was really looking forward to this figure but, seeing it in person, I just had to pass. It really doesn't look that much like Owens, does it? Honestly, the headsculpt reminds me more of Walter Sobchak from the Big Lebowski than Kevin Owens. Interestingly, one of the figures I saw came packaged w/ a World Heavyweight Championship belt, a belt that Owens has not held. Bizarre, huh? If wrestling weren't a completely legitimate sport, I'd assume this was a spoiler or something. Actually, I think this is just some kind of promotional for the kiddies as I saw a basic Stardust figure with the title, too.

 *Speaking of WWE, is Mauro Ranallo not freaking incredible? As the newest commentator on Smackdown, Ranallo is absolutely classing up the joint. Seriously, not only does this guy have an amazing voice for providing commentary but his commentary legitimately adds to the matches. He really adds an air of professionalism and legitimacy to what's happening in the ring. While new to WWE, Ranallo has already had an impressive career and brings that experience to Smackdown. Between the possibility of Shane McMahon taking over Raw and Ranallo delivering commentary on Smackdown, it's possible that WWE might really be getting a boost to both of it's two main weekly programs. Ranallo really adds that much to Smackdown. I mean, I feel like if you were just listening to his commentary with no images, you'd still have a really good idea for the tone of the match. Thanks for being awesome, Ranallo!

*While out and about I noticed that nearly every place I went was pretty much devoid of any of Mattel's DC Comics Multiverse figures. I can't believe that we're 20 days away from the release of Batman V. Superman and the Henry Cavill Superman is impossible to find. Of course, the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman is completely gone as well. I did see plenty of the Wal-Mart exclusive Dark Knight Returns wave, though, including many Sons of Batman. It's nice to see that those are being well stocked.

*A huge reason for the recent toy run was heading to a Target to check out the Target exclusive DC Super Hero Girls series of action figures. My Target had a decent stock of these in and, while there was no Harley Quinn to be found, I did manage to pick up both Batgirl figures available! These are pretty cool and I'll be reviewing them sometime during the coming week. The packaging and product looks great and I'm actually really excited to see how this line does come July 2016 when Target's exclusivity ends and they're available everywhere. The first series features 6 and 13 inch versions of Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Bumblebee, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy along with a number of roleplay items such as capes and cowls, a Batgirl utility belt, and Wonder Woman's shield.

* I finally got around to reading Forever Evil, DC's first major crossover from the New 52. I tend to only read the Batman related titles, and then only when they hit TPB form, but I wanted to jump back and read this one since I know it serves as the catalyst for Grayson. I'm not often a fan of big crossover stories, but this one was pretty good. Honestly, it's not really a crossover as you can read this one straight through without reading anything else. The beginning was a bit confusing as I hadn't read Trinity War (I'll probably go back and pick that up now, too) but once you get the general state of the Justice League down, you're good to go. I'd argue that more than anything, this book is a character study of Lex Luthor in particular. When all of the heroes of Earth-0 are missing and presumed to be dead, Lex Luthor rises up to protect the world from the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3, an evil version of the Justice League who have come to dominate the earth. While it's not a philosophy text book or a piece of existentialist Russian literature, Geoff Johns definitely has written a clever and interesting take at how super-villains might respond when they confront something more evil than themselves. Definitely worth a read to fans of Lex Luthor or those feeling a twinge of sadness that DC seems to already be giving the New 52 the boot with DC Rebirth.

*In addition to the main title I also picked up the tie-in story Forever Evil: Arkham War by Peter J. Tomasi, Scot Eaton, and Jaime Mendoza. "Not as good as it should have been" is probably the best way to sum up this mini-series. Occurring during the events of Forever Evil, the inmates of Arkham Asylum are now running Gotham. Of course, the inmate at Blackgate Penitentiary also want a piece of the pie thus leading to an all out war in which Bane tries to take over as the new savior of Gotham. It's a decent enough story but the idea of Gotham divided up and overrun by the villains has happened before in other books, particularly No Man's Land. There are a number of Batman villains in the book, but most are relegated to being background filler for battle scenes. It's mostly a Scarecrow versus Bane story with the Penguin thrown in for good measure. Bane's story here is pretty interesting, but the other stuff doesn't break any new ground.

* Sony has released the first full Ghostbusters trailer, if you've missed it, you can check it out here. I have to say that I still don't have a good grasp on the tone of this film yet and I'm still a little apprehensive about it. There are some things I like about it and some things I don't:

The Positives:
* The intro is pretty good and the images shown make me hopeful that Paul Feig will capture the whole "City of New York as a character itself" vibe that Ivan Reitman managed to convey through all of the establishing shots.

* I like the library ghost scene here. The humor seems a bit more "Evil Dead 2/ Dead Alive-ish than Ghostbusers-ish, but it works.

* The tech looks good. It still has that cobbled together feel of the original stuff but with the refined styling and design sensibilities you would expect from a tech expert having access to modern technology. I'm really liking Kate McKinnon's character, Jillian Holtzman; she seems to have just enough of the Egon vibe going on for my tastes without feeling like she's simply replicating Ramis' role. The scene where everyone busts out their equipment is pretty slick.

*I like the idea of using a former Chinese restaurant as the new headquarters. Pretty funny, actually. I'm starting to dig the new suits, too.

* I like the ghost effects thus far. I've heard a lot of folks bashing them, but I think they look pretty awesome. Yup, even the guy in Jack Skellington pants. They definitely seem to have the feel of the effects of the original film. Slimer looks incredible! I love the scene at 1:35 into the trailer where the Ghostbusters are walking into some sort of lobby (a hotel perhaps) and there's green ectoplasmic energy everywhere. Remembering how crazy and special effects intensive Dan Aykroyd's original script was supposed to have been, it's cool to see scenes like this that can perhaps realize visions of scenes that just weren't possible for the original film. 

The Negatives:
* Is this a reboot or a sequel? Everything Feig has said indicates this being a reboot but the reference to the events of the first film in the text indicate this being a sequel. I'm confused. Plus, should  Winston Zeddemore be referred to as a scientist? In the first movie he was simply a Marine who was looking for a job. Of course, maybe they're referring to the events of the video game by which point Winston had gone back and earned a doctorate. (Totally just having fun, here, not trying to seriously nitpick.)

*Some of the humor is just not working for me. I was talking to a few people about this and I think it's just a personal thing for me as when I think of Ghostbusters, I just don't think of it as a comedy, you know? To me it's a sci-fi/ horror film w/ comedic elements, particularly due to the humor being more deadpan,  situational and based on the absurdity of the circumstances. This movie definitely seems to be leaning towards physical comedy. I think that's what's setting me off a bit. The Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones "possession" scene seemed like it was going to lead up to a really creepy moment, but it ended up being goofy rather than scary. Hopefully, these are simply "trailer moments" and the film has plenty of more subtly humorous moments such as most of those delivered by Kristen Wiig in the trailer.

I'm starting to get excited to see this movie, particularly now having watched the trailer about 7 times, but I still have some reservations since Ghostbusters is constantly vying with Raiders of the Lost Ark for the role of my favorite film of all time. It's honestly the earliest film I remember watching.

*I always find it interesting to analyze the key words that help people to reach my site. Usually there are some gems in there. This week it was all pretty standard fare, mostly focused on various reviews of DC Comics action figures, but there were still a few searches that made me chuckle:

*Batgirl Shiny* Because who wants a dull Batgirl, am I right?
*Star Wars Hero Wooki* Chewbacca is the abbreviated way to type that same phrase. Plus, spelling!
*Action Figure Blog* I think I have one of those around here somewhere.

*Speaking of it, I mentioned last week that The Epic Review is back! Me, the Reel Brad Bell, and Andrew "There's a Snake in my Boot" Stokes have already recorded one new podcast together where we review Deadpool. Those guys also recorded another podcast episode that I couldn't be part of where they reviewed the first episode of Fuller House along with Everett Harn of GWW. Check both podcasts out and let us know what you think!

Dang! This was a long one! Over the next week expect reviews of a few of the DC Super Hero Girls figures, Ello Asty from Star Wars: The Black Series, and a few of Jakks Pacific's 2.5 inch World of Nintendo figures that are compatible with the main 4 inch line. See you in seven!



  1. I found the DC Girls Batgirl action figure too, but both Targets I hit had zero villains (in the action figure size anyways.) I also plan on returning and asking if I can have those cardboard displays when they are through with the endcap.

    1. Those would be cool to have. Mine had Harley and Bumblebee as the side images. Did yours have the same?

  2. There's a fan re-edit of the Ghostbusters trailer, and I'm finding I actually prefer that one. It's the same material, but the pacing and editing are completely changed.

    I'm a little apprehensive about the new movie, but I'm still looking forward to it. I'm with you on the humor part. I was hoping that it would be a little more deadpan, but who knows, it might still work.

    1. I'll have to look into the re-edit. We discussed this trailer in great depth on the podcast this past week and it's definitely making me more excited for this film. My biggest concern right now is the tone of the film. I think the original films has a pretty unique feel and I'm really curious if this film can replicate that.

  3. I love this line and will do much hunting around town to find what I can before I am forced to order or beg my American friends for help. Those standees would be great to have as well. I am going to hit all the toy places in town tomorrow with a hundred in my pocket. I liked the new Ghostbuster trailer. Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon make me laugh out loud on SNL so I am willing to give them a chance. And Paul Fieg's last movie, SPY was very funny with his wife Mellissa.

    1. If you start getting stuck and can't get these, just email me. I'll be happy to help you out.


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