We are all looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, that special someone who will make us feel like we’re in a Disney movie with singing crabs and kleptomaniac monkey sidekicks. Unfortunately, not everyone we date will always meet our expectations. If only our partners could be more like the heroes and heroines we read about in books or see on the big screen. Yet, not even those seemingly perfect two-dimensional representations are without flaws, and if you were to ever find yourself on a date with any of the following characters just remember that no person -even fictional ones- are perfect.

Supes profile2
This corn-fed farmboy is a protector through and through. He will stop a speeding bullet, catch a falling plane, or even superspeed to the store to get you ice cream when you’re feeling depressed. Superman is friendly, conscientious, and will take you on romantic flights over the city. He naturally puts your needs before his own, and if the Man of Steel makes you a promise you can count on him keeping it. It does not hurt that he is easy on the eyes and looking for a committed and loving relationship.

However, when it comes to dating Superman you might find that it may not be all truth, justice, and a two-way relationship. Setting aside the fact that he has a secret mild-mannered side, protectors like him are always trying to rescue the damsel in distress. Though that is appreciated, not every woman is looking to spend their days falling off of buildings so a man in blue tights can catch them. A relationship with the Last Son of Krypton will work for a while, but eventually he may lose interest when he realizes you don’t need him or becomes frustrated if he is unable to help you. Even worse, he will always be flying off to save someone else instead of spending time with you, and the jealousy that might create could prove to be as good as kryptonite to your relationship.

 

Her profile1
This good-hearted know-it-all is a real thinker, but her calm and serious exterior hides a deeper passion and a true loyalty to those she cares about. She can be quiet at times, but when you need someone to punch a Malfoy in the face you will be surprised by the fire you find inside her. Her dedication to schedules will help you always be on time, but she is not without a spontaneous side and can occasionally be made to abandon her best laid plans in the name of friendship. She is well organized, practical, and the exact type of person you want around on a date to playing pub trivia or trying to solve a century’s old riddle to break into an underground basilisk pit.

Because of Hermione’s status as an underage wizard, dating her may be difficult for many. Be warned that she is Azkaban bait and cannot practice magic outside of school. So that means you shouldn’t try any your “magic” on her. Those that can date her may find that she is sometimes arrogant or emotionally distant. The wizarding wunderkind spends too much time in the library, preferring the company of books to most people, and her strict adherence to rules -which she can often quote by memory- could drive a partner crazy. Anyone who cannot take criticism or a strong will would do good to avoid Hermione as she can often be dismissive and skeptical of other’s ideas, often believing that she is right in most situations. The most annoying part is that she usually is, and that could mean avada kedavra to any hopes of romance.

 

mike profile1
If you like those who are outgoing, friendly, and fun-loving than Michelangelo might be who you are looking for. The hero in the half-shell is all about being spontaneous and enthusiastic about almost anything that life throws at him. Less arrogant or rude than some of his brothers he will always be there for you as a supporter and a team-player. Michelangelo is also the exact type of person you want around when you are feeling down or depressed. He can find the fun and the funny of any situation, even when facing down a clan of ninja or a robot that houses a talking brain in its stomach.

Unfortunately, that also means Mikey doesn’t take a lot of things seriously. So when situations or romance get tense he will often come off as annoying. Everybody likes to party, but not everybody wants to party all the time, especially when you are trying to have a serious conversation about your feelings. He is not a leader or a hard worker, often preferring to seek pleasure and getting bored easily in mundane situations. Michelangelo also does not respond well to rules or structure, like those found within the confines of a relationship or a government laboratory that might want to dissect him. Overall, he is a very uncomplicated personality, though he will seek the spotlight and he enjoys being the center of attention in all occasions. Any significant other who cannot share the spotlight might find that hard to compete with. It is also worth mentioning that he is a giant talking turtle, and any sort of relationship would probably not win the approval of parents, friends, civil authorities, or the religious community.

 

Snow Profile1
Snow White is a caregiver. Generous, compassionate, she will always be there to kiss your wounds or cook your pot roast. She is happiest when she can lend a hand and is always the person who tries to keep her environment harmonious, which is hard when you live with seven other roommates. Some will see Snow White as adhering to outdated stereotypes, but she is just content being a homemaker, and she is the exact person who will help you make your house your castle. Her love of animals also belays a kind soul and a possibly magical ability to summon the beasts of the wild on command.

However, many people will see “the fairest of them all” as nothing more than old fashioned. Not every man is looking for a maid who will take care of his every need, or wait patiently for him to save her with his kiss. When it comes to dating she is mostly a shut-in, preferring to stay at home rather than go out for the night. Many will often see her as fussy and maybe even a bit smothering, and Snow White’s adherence to keeping domestic peace will be frustrating at times. It will ultimately mean that any argument or disagreement will be stopped before it can become productive, causing feelings to fester until they explode like a bubbling cauldron of a wicked witch. There is also the matter of her questionable relationship with seven unattached miners that could cause emotions to flair from happy to grumpy to dopey to jealous.

 

Spock Profile
Spock’s life is dominated not by emotion but logic. He is a natural problem solver and just the type of person who will always be able to give you the best of advice. He excels at predicting outcomes and patterns in situations and people. Unlike other high thinkers, Spock is not arrogant and is often fascinated by the emotions of others, even if he cannot always understand them. When proven wrong the Vulcan science officer is the first to admit his mistake and take responsibilities for his actions. So, if you are looking for a good conversationalist you have found your green-blooded man. He is also a strong leader and an equally adept follower, comfortable in playing any role in your relationship.

The Vulcan Mind Meld is a technique that literally allows two people to share each other’s thoughts, so if you are not open to a completely honest relationship, then Spock may not be the mate for you. He is also not the person who will be there with a shoulder to cry on. For all his logic the decorated Starfleet officer can sometimes come off as cold and unfeeling. He is a great life-coach but a terrible sympathizer, and he will often put the needs of the many before the needs of the few, including you. Biologically, Vulcans only need to mate once every seven years, thus you should not expect an overly physical closeness. Spock is long lived, and even after he dies he can store his katra or personality inside your mind, which gives a new meaning to the word “commitment.” Yet, in some ways, of all the souls you will ever meet, he may be the most… human.

 

Leia-Profile1
Leia has it all. She is a strong willed leader who can pick a Stormtrooper off with a blaster at fifty meters, and look good in a golden bikini while doing it. Any relationship with Leia will be one of give and take one, as she is a master at negotiation and compromise. She also usually knows what she wants, being both decisive and assertive. Coming from a royal upbringing Leia is highly educated and refined, and if you ever need the perfect date for a wedding, formal reception, or Galactic State dinner, she is the woman you want on your arm.

However, Leia is very much a career oriented woman. She is one of the leaders of the Rebel Alliance and that comes with a lot of responsibilities and not a lot of time for dating. Include into this that her family life is a bit of a mess, and you do not want to meet her father. Some men will also see her as blunt and argumentative, as she has no fear of speaking her mind and telling people exactly what she thinks of them. Yet, the former senator from Alderaan is also a very shrewd politician and an adept liar when it suits her purpose. That can always leave a seed of doubt in the back of any man’s mind. The princess is very goal oriented and will work tirelessly to reach those goals, which mean she has a tendency to ignore the feelings of others, including you, in the pursuit of a higher objective. Most importantly, Leia needs excitement in her life and some who works a 9-5 job and watches Netflix on the weekend is not going to keep her entertained for long. As much as she claims to like nice boys it is clear that she is looking for the scoundrel type, no matter how scruffy looking.

 

Venkman Profile
Peter Venkman is a ladies man in the truest sense of the word. A showman, he is outgoing, witty, and at times aloof. Most of Peter’s life is ruled by his impulses, including his mouth. Peter will always knows the right comment to make to infuriate or impress his significant other or any crowd that has gathered to watch him. This means that when he wants to be, Venkman can be the most romantic partner a girl will ever have. Also, despite his exterior fun-loving nature, he does care deeply about the friends and family around him, even if he is often unwilling to show it.

Unfortunately, Peter Venkman will never settle down. He is not marriage material as much as he sometimes wishes he was. It will about the time when he starts introducing you as “the old ball and chain,” that you may decide to pack up and move on. He is smart, having two doctorates, though most people do not quite know how he got them. Many will find Venkman selfish and self-centered, often using his charm and wit to manipulate others into doing what he is unwilling to do himself. A natural liar and showman you will always find yourself having doubts about the sincerity of anything he says. There is also the very serious question of where Peter got the tranquilizer drugs that he once used to knock out a possessed Dana Barrett, because that means he may carry roofies around with him whenever he goes on any date.

 

Kat profile
Katniss is a survivalist and the kind of person you want around when you are stranded with a dead phone battery or in the middle of a vast wilderness where children are constantly trying to kill you. She is fiercely independent and does not care much for rules. Basically, time spent with Katniss will always be difficult, but it will never be boring. She is also slow to trust but incredibly loyal once you earn her confidence. She will stop at nothing to protect those she cares about or feels responsible for. More than anything the Girl on Fire is an introvert at heart and will often need time alone to recharge; any partner that can respect that will go far to learning how to maintain a relationship with her.

Unfortunately, no relationship with Katniss Everdeen will ever be easy. Having faced so much tragedy, her natural instinct is to cut herself off completely from her feelings, including love. However, every so often she will explode in what may appear to be an emotional and almost irrational outburst. She also does not like being controlled by anyone, and will often withdraw or fight against the will of others, whether it is an oppressive white-bearded dictator or an overbearing significant other trying to plan for a night out. She has admitted to being opposed to romance or marriage, but Katniss has problems understanding what she truly wants, whether it be the son of a baker or the brother of a thunder god. This kind of indecisiveness coupled with her emotional problems and fiercely independent nature does not bode will for the odds of any relationship with her being in your favor.

 

Did you enjoy our list? Was there anyone we forgot? Anything you disagree with? Let us know in the comments below.

Over the weekend Legendary Films released their first full length trailer for the film Warcraft. The movie is based upon the popular video game franchise from Blizzard and will feature the story of the first meeting and the first war between Orcs and Humans. Visually, the effects are being handled by Weta Workshop and look like those of the video game franchise.

The trailer promises a mix of CGI, motion capture, and live action to bring the world of Azerorth to life. All things considered the movie looks as if it will be a faithful adaptation of the Warcraft video games. This is sure to delight fans, but it is questionable if it will bring in those unfamiliar with  Blizzard’s most successful game series. Then again with more 100 million people playing World of Warcraft over the past decade maybe there is no need to tap broader appeal.

Either way we want to voice our approval of Blizzard and Legendary for sticking with the source material at a time when so many other studios and entertainment companies are only seeking to buy the rights to video games and other nostalgia-laden properties, just to exploit them and pay little to no lip-service to the original fan base. With any luck Warcraft will be a success and pave the way for better video game movies to come.

Seeing as how Blizzard has always had the ability to create some of the best cut-scenes of any video game company we have cautious hopes for their two-hour long cut-scene of a movie, but what are your thoughts on the trailer? Is it too much like the video game? Did you want to see some diversity in the franchise? Or is it everything you and your raptor-mount could hope for?

Warcraft is directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and written by Charles Leavitt and Jones. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. It will be in theaters on June 10, 2016.


Image courtesy: http://www.warcraftmovie.com/

We have all been hearing a lot about this Star Wars thing lately. The newest trailer dropped last week and the Internet has been talking about nothing else since. Unfortunately, the thing the last trailer lacked was any sort of solid idea of what Episode VII might be about. Well the guys at Science Vs. Cinema decided to try and fix that.

They edited last year’s teaser from Star Wars Celebration along with the most current and final trailer to blend together the scenes to give us a sense of the order of the movie. We are not sure if it reveals anything more or less about what how good Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be, -we are reserving our Jar Jar judgement on that one- but it at least gives us a better idea of what old JJ Abrams is working with.

This fan trailer gives puts order to the chaos of the images we see, starting on a desert world and ending in the climatic battle which very well could be the movie’s climatic battle. Be warned, if you want to go into Episode VII without expectations or spoilers than you should not watch the following trailer, but if you are the kind of person -like Todd- who needs to know everything so they can dissect, conjecture, and digest it all, then this Star Wars trailer is for you. Check it out:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on December 18, 2015. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, then you are probably already out of luck. You may just have to wait a week.


Image courtesy: http://www.starwars.com/films

This past week, the nerd community saw the release of one of the most anticipated trailers of the year, Star Wars Episode VII. Unfortunately, almost immediately afterwards we also saw some Twitter trolls start the offensive hashtag: BoycottStarWarsVII. The campaign was supposedly created to stop Star Wars from pushing a evil multicultural agenda of tolerance and acceptance, because there are some people out there who just aren’t fans of Lando Calrissian, or nuanced and informed discussion. Those people are morons, but in a world where important conversations about identity, gender, and racial divides are conducted with hashtags, at least they have given us this opportunity to have a dialogue about multiculturalism in geekdom. A big part of the problem is the way that people of diverse -and especially African American backgrounds- are not always perceived as being stereotypically nerdy, but nothing could further from the truth.

Missing the Target with Stormtroopers
Let’s face it. The outrage over a black stormtrooper or the outrage over a multicultural Star Wars cast is completely ridiculous. It is the same kind of outrage we saw over the casting of Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, the creation of Miles Morales, or any one of a thousands or so similar incidents. It is possible that sometimes nerds don’t mean to be racist, and they get so caught up in canonical in-fighting that they fail to realize what they are doing. It is also possible some people are just terribly ignorant.

However, the nerd community does not share the fault alone, as the media does not do a good job of embracing the idea of a black-nerd, or “blerd.” When Hollywood thinks of geeks, they think male, white, Asian, or even Indian. -Basically the cast of the Big Bang.- Welcome to the struggle of the blerd, but why is that the case? There have been plenty of famous black nerds, Raj in What’s Happening, Carlton in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and of course Steve “I am the goddamn nerd king” Urkel in Family Matters. Yet, Hollywood and geekdom in general still struggle with casting African American leads in science fiction, fantasy, and comic entertainment, partially because they fear the choice will put off those big juicy, money-spending, white male, geek crowds. Worse yet, when they finally do buckle and add a little variety, it is the members of that very same nerd community who are the first to rage or completely disregard such casting choices as nothing more than “political correctness,” and that has a lot do with our collective cultural stereotypes of the black community in general.

For this article, we are not looking to get into the complexities of black culture or how the media and white culture perceives black culture, or how black culture may perceive itself through the mirrored lens of the media. Mostly, because we don’t have the time, historical perspective, or proper doctoral degrees to really do the subject any justice. For now, let’s just say that living up to the media’s standards of being black in America means you often find yourself stuck along very rigid stereotype lines, and very few of the prescribed roles that the media assigns to African Americans involves being nerdy.

The Trials of Mace Windu
When a black character gets portrayed it is often along certain stock-lines such as a sports star, a rapper, or the bad ass. We love Mace Windu as one of the only good things about the prequels but he has an undeniable Samuel L. Jackson quality about him. Now that is not a bad thing, but not every black Jedi needs to be Shaft with a lightsaber. Why couldn’t Qui Gon Jinn or any other Jedi have been black too? Why do we only seem to get one representation at a time? By portraying African Americans so heavily along the roles of gang members, criminals, and even “the cool one” the media helps create the perception that these are really the only acceptable things young black men or women can be. So for years, the very idea of the black comic book nerd or the black science fiction nerd was forgotten. We’re not saying that they didn’t exist, just that they were not made visible by Hollywood for the viewing audience at large. In fact, when blerds were portrayed at all, many perceived those characters as “acting white,” because smart and uncool have not been the standard labels for young African Americans. So whenever we got the black nerd character, he was only ever portrayed as the person who was rejected by the show’s wider community. Both Carlton and Urkel started as comparison characters to the show’s “cooler” characters. In other words, they were not the characters that were “normal” or worth emulating. Even if they did eventually become some of the most popular characters on their respected shows.

Thankfully that perception is changing, slowly but surely. When you really open your eyes and take notice you see blerds everywhere, and it is amazing. People like Aisha Tyler, Damon Waynes Jr., Donald Glover and Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson have come to epitomize what it means to be black and nerdy. Characters such as Turk from Scrubs, Toofer from 30 Rock, Gus from Psych, and Troy from Community, helped to put forth new roles for African American nerds in Hollywood, even if their shows are now all canceled. No longer are these characters the punching bag or the annoying friend. They are funny, smart, and fun to be around. In the past decade it has started to become cool to like cartoons, comics, sci-fi,.and be a little weird. That has helped the blerd gain some prominence, but unfortunately even with these positive role models, studios, social media, and geekdom at large, still hesitate and debate over the merits of casting African Americans in starring roles.

Will Smith may have starred in Men in Black, Laurence Fishburne may have played Morpheus, Samuel L. Jackson may be Nick Fury, but the minute you cast an African American actor as a stormtrooper the Internet breaks. People will point to characters like Falcon, Zoe Washburne, Static Shock, Black Panther, Uhura, or Captain Benjamin Sisko as example of diversity in geekdom, and they would be right. However, those characters are just a good start, and not a justification for why we need an all white cast for Episode VII. Being a nerd should be about including all people and most importantly giving everyone a hero they can look up to and say, “He/she is like me. I can be a hero, a Jedi, a stormtrooper, a Galactic senator, or whatever I want to be,” because that has always been the magic and importance of our shared nerd heritage.

Gambling on Lando Calrissian
Many people will inevitably wonder why we need a separate label for a black nerd. Those will be the same people who will wonder aloud why February is Black History Month, or why “only” Black Lives Matter? What those people need to understand is that saying that Black Lives Matter is not the same as saying only black lives matter. It is a reminder that black lives matter too. Similarly, giving one the label of blerd does not mean they are separate from other nerds. As a race and as a minority African Americans have been poorly under-represented, or worst yet represented poorly through the lens of media stereotypes. The blerd label -much like the Black Lives Matters campaign- is way to remind us that African Americans are not just two-dimensional stereotypes. They are humans who are entitled to life, hopes, dreams, and the freedoms to swing a stick around their head and make lightsaber noises. We all need to remember that nerds and people come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and they all deserve respect.

Hollywood forgets that sometimes. It is easier to typecast people in certain roles, because it is accepted by the culture at large. Thus the fanboy backlash from casting an African American in a previously white role may sometimes force studios to temper otherwise multicultural and innovative choices. However, as easy as it would be to blame the media for the lack of ethnic diversity in the movies we love so much, it is not entirely their fault. They are far from perfect in fostering equal casting opportunities, but it starts with us, the fan community. As a famous leader once said. “The change you wish to see in the world, you must be, hmm.” Acceptance and equality start with each of us.

Blerd Lives Matter because all nerd lives and loves matter, regardless of color or creed. We need to encourage more diversity in our movies, television shows, comics, literature, and lives. As a community, we geeks and nerds need to start demanding a fair balance of positive racial representation, and more importantly we need to stop raging every time Hollywood makes a stormtrooper black. -It is a perfectly conical choice.- There will always be people out there with poorly conceived hashtags because they are filled with bigotry. Yet we cannot let them be the voice for our larger community. Geekdom is full of great and accepting people, and we have to make sure that the only minority we disregard is the minority of people who want to do nothing more than spread their message of fear, because that leads to anger, which leads to hate, which leads to a darker-side for us all.

It has finally arrived in blazing trail of flaming tire marks, October 21, 2015. This day has been hotly anticipated by the Internet, but much like October 20th or September 21st, the truth is that it is a day like any other. We look at the world that Marty McFly visited and part of us wonder why it is so different than our own? Where are our flying cars? Where are my dog-walking drones? And where are the hoverboards? (God knows we’ve tried.) The real fact of the matter is that the future is harder to predict than a comedy movie about about a time traveling DeLorean might have us believe.

Omen, Doc
It is important to remember that there was never a plan for Back to the Future II. It was the commercial success of the original movie that created the sequel, not some grand ideas about the future of the world. Most of the predictions made in that second movie were done for laughs, and yet it is ironic that many of the more comical predictions, like 80’s themed restaurants, where the things that actually came true. Back to the Future never claimed to be an authority on what was to come, and despite that it managed to get more than a few things right, maybe not in practice but principal. For instance, it predicted that Flea would still be around, and who would have guessed that was true.

Prophesizing about the future is hard. Even real scientists and their teenage sidekicks have made incredibly wrong predictions about what is to come, and for some incredibly believable reasons. For decades, whenever we got a new gadget or gizmo that we believed would be the “future of mankind,” our predictions often made that thing bigger and better going forward. After all, if computers were the wave of the future than surely they only continue to grow to the size of buildings? In the 90’s some people believed that arcades would become massive places of entertainment. Yet, we have learned in the past three decades that miniaturization was always more likely, computers got smaller and video games got personal. Even Doc Brown never guessed about things like the Internet, Wi-Fi, or smartphones, because he had never seen them before.

As humans we think we know what will happen because of a common confusion between prediction and hindsight. In 1932 Albert Einsteins  famously said, “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” At the time he was not wrong. It was just that his experiences and understanding of the world of the present made such an act seem feasibly impossible. We don’t have a flying DeLorean to help us see what is coming so we have to rely on our ideas and understanding of past patterns. It’s one of the reasons why we are always predicting doomsday around the next corner. Our personal experiences coupled with unrealistic feelings of nostalgia tell us how much worse things are now, so we must surely be heading for the end times?

ALMANACCultural Flux Capacitor
The changing potential of our future is not limited by our technological achievements. If anything culture is a far greater factor on the development of what our tomorrows look like. Back when George McFly was still busy being a creeper outside his Lea Thompson’s window, people believed that by 2015 we would have robots and easy-clean synthetic materials to help Mom out around the house. All those ideas about the technology that would exists to help out the “little woman” never really accounted for the fact that maybe wives and mothers didn’t want to spend their lives as homemakers. So instead we got technologies like dishwashers and microwaves, conveniences meant to help families with two working parents.

One of the most innovative and flashy technologies of Back to the Future II is the flying car. It’s the kind of invention everyone was waiting for, but it never happened. The truth is that we could probably make it happen with our current level of technology if we were so inclined, but we’re not. In a world of frivolous litigation, high insurance premiums, and fluctuating gas prices a flying car is completely impractical. Think of how much of a hassle it is when you bump another car at a traffic light. Now imagine that you are 2,000 feet up in the air and one or both cars  comes crashing out of the sky and lands on some poor guy’s deck. Somehow we don’t think that even 15 minutes will save you 15% or less on that kind of a fender bender. What the movie failed to guess at was the rise of the electric and self driven cars, which are far more likely in today’s world of climate change and overcrowded highways, because those have become our new priorities and/or frustrations.

Our lives and our culture change ever year. When you were a kid, maybe more than ever you wanted that one special toy, but of course it was way too expensive to get. Now that you are older and have an actual job with a paycheck you could easily afford that toy, but you have other priorities. -Food, rent, video games, etc- We are not saying these new priorities are wrong, just different, and as a kid you never really understood how your life was going to change as you got older. Society is like that, we are constantly changing along with our needs and wants. That is why the predictions of the 50’s are different than the predictions of the 80’s, which are different than the predictions of today. Our understanding and priorities keep shifting. -Though, truthfully, we at the NYRD would still argue that there is always time for toys.-

Marty, The Future Isn’t Written
The back and forth between culture and technology is not a one way street. They are two sides of a coin. In fact it is a little like time travel. When you alter or change the technology you run the risk of altering the culture and the course of our society going forward. So like old Biff and his now outdated sports almanac, every new technology or cultural shift has the potential to create ripple effects that change the trajectory of our future. For instance, in the movie we see that the Marty McFly of the future is still using fax technology in his home. Nowadays we look at that and laugh because, -apparently unlike the screenwriters- we know the true potential of The Internet and how it changed everything.

Nothing exists in a vacuum, which means that if you fail to predict one thing you have the potential of missing everything connected to it. Think about it. If you never conceived of the Internet, then you miss things like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Napster. You also fail to foresee things like the collapse of the music industry, the changing nature of on-demand streaming, Uber and its potential impact on the transportation and car industries, and more. You would have no way of knowing how such things affect today’s youth culture or even geopolitical revolutions. The Internet has changed the way we think of communication, humor, language, navigation, and even knowledge itself. In turn our lives and goals have changed. We no longer leave work at work. Emails follow us around every where, which is something that -arguably- Back to the Future II actually did predict. We also now worry about government surveillance, maintaining online personas, taking pictures of our food, and about writing overly-detailed articles about 30 year old movie franchises and their correlations to modern culture. These are not concerns that Marty was thinking about back when he was jamming out to fresh beats of Huey Lewis and the News, but they are the realities of today.

It is also worth noting that art and movies like Back to the Future have a place in all this. Think about all the products we have developed in the past few years. Nike has created self-tying shoes, Pepsi even created Pepsi Perfect, and of course, there is our seemingly endless quest for hoverboards. Heck, we could write a whole separate article on the technology that inspired by Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science fiction and fantasy movies, comics, books, and television shows. Human beings are dreamers and we almost instinctively look to our fictions, such as Back to the Future, for inspiration. Part of science fiction and movies in general is to help us see worlds we can only dream of and then question how we can achieve them for ourselves.

In essence, we may not always be great about predicting the future, but Great Scott, are we amazing at creating stories that inspire it. So do not despair that we don’t have all the cool things of Marty McFly’s future. Instead, rejoice at what we do have and be thankful that we live in a world where we get to enjoy great works of fiction like Back to the Future, because that is certainly one thing you won’t find in Hill Valley.

Do you remember Dino-Riders? If you do, then you are one of very few people, or you work for The NYRD, -in which case we are still waiting on your W-9 form.- Mattel is reportedly in the early stages of turning the late 80’s cartoon series into a live-action feature film, with a possible franchise option, because of course.

The Dino-Riders cartoon show was about two races of futuristic beings, the Valorians and the Rulons, whom crash land on prehistoric Earth. They are trapped and unable to get back to their own time so they use their technology and psychic abilities to harness the dinosaurs as pets, laborers, and massively cool weapons of war. Basically think, T-Rex with rocket launchers. Quite frankly, we are just surprised no one has though of making this movie sooner.

We are only weeks away from a disappointing Jem and the Holograms live-action movie, and Hasbro has announced their intention to keep pumping out crappy Transformer movies. So, with no sign of Hollywood slowing down on their 80’s nostalgia obsession, Dino-Riders, could be the next logical step. The premise is certainly no crazier than transforming robots from space, and with the success of Jurassic World, dinosaurs are in again.

The franchise was originally created by Carla and Gerry Conway, the same Conway who also co-created the Punisher for Marvel. The series only ran 14 episodes, -which is not something our prepubescent selves realized until just now.- Similar to Transformers or GI Joe, the show was developed primarily to sell toys, though it never shared the same amount of success as the former two. Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime, was even part of the Dino-Riders original voice cast.

Alissa Phillips and Stephen L’Heureux are producing the movie for Solipsist, and are said to currently be searching for a writer to pen the adaptation’s script. If they are looking for any suggestions we have a few writers on staff who are actually very big fans of the original cartoon show and still even own some of the toys… Call us.


Photo courtesy: http://www.dinoriders.eu/index.php/dinosaurs/

New York Comic Con has come and gone. We here at The NYRD enjoyed every moment. Check out all the pictures taken by our resident photographer. We want to thank everyone we met and mingled with at the show. This truly was one of the greatest collection of nerds on the east coast. There were some great panels, some big news, some awesome previews, and more than a fair share of excellent displays to keep us busy. Most importantly we got to meet some amazing people and dedicated fans, but that was our experience.

Share your experiences with us in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to like, share, and tweet to us with all your great pictures and moments from this year’s New York Comic Con. For more, remember to keep checking back with The NYRD to stay up to date with all our news, in-depth articles, artwork, and more. Don’t forget to subscribe and contribute. We are always looking for the most excellent of nerds to help our little community grow.

For now enjoy the gallery below and watch our weekend-long adventure as we met, mingled, and geeked our way through New York Comic Con 2015. What more can a NYRD ask for?

It is that time of the year again. The month of October where people dress up in scary and sexy costumes to celebrate the most important event of the year, New York Comic Con. What else would we have been talking about? However, if you don’t have tickets to this premiere New York nerd event, fear not. There is still plenty of geeky/nerdy activities you can take part in that don’t involve talking to that guy scalping tickets on 10th Ave. New York Super Week is a plethora of events happening all over the city, but where to go and what to do? Have no fear The NYRD has you covered with some of the best and greatest things to do after hours this week.

Jump to: TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY, FREE T-SHIRT.

TUESDAY

Body Worlds: Pulse Exhibit and Live Sketch – Oct 06, 2015, 6:00 PM – Discovery Times Square
Fans will experience Body Worlds in a whole new way.  In addition to walking through the exhibit, visitors will watch two of the world’s foremost artists live sketch the bodies.  Russ Braun (DC Comics and Disney Animation Studios), Alex Maleev (Daredevil), and Cory Smith, will sketch a few of the bodies while conversing with the crowd and guiding them through the intricacies and techniques used to sketch human anatomy.
Tickets are $27.00 for adult, $23.50 for seniors, and $19.50 for kids 3-11. Buy your ticket now.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast – Oct 06, 2015, 7:00 PM – Littlefield
It’s a New York Super Week LIVE edition of “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast” as Gilbert and co-host Frank Santopadre are joined by outspoken and outrageous comedian, SiriusXM radio host and bestselling author Jim Norton.
Tickets are $5.00. Buy your ticket now.

This Week in Marvel Live Podcast – Oct 06, 2015, 7:30 PM – Discovery Times Square
his Week in Marvel delivers all the Marvel info on news and new releases — comics, video games, toys, TV, film and beyond! Co-hosted by Marvel.com Editorial Director Ryan “”Agent M”” Penagos, Editor Ben Morse and featuring special guests. Tweet questions with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel.
This event is FREE. Space limited.

Running Late with Scott Rogowsky – Oct 06, 2015, 9:00 PM – Littlefield
Featuring special guest Horatio Sanz, Impractical Jokers’ “Sal” Vulcano & Brian “Q” Quinn, along with NY1’s Budd Mishkin. Drawing on the late-night tradition from Carson to Cavett to Conan, host Scott Rogowsky and his sidekick/dad Marty welcome an eclectic mix of comedians, musicians, authors, actors, and local celebs to the couch for a unique live talk show experience that needs to be experienced to be experienced.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 day-of show. Buy your ticket now.

WEDNESDAY

GeekFest Film Fest Day One – Oct 07, 2015, 6:00 PM – Gotham West Market (Club Room)
The world’s 1st and largest traveling geek film festival, showcasing the best in indie science fiction, horror, fantasy, fan films, and pop culture films. GeekFest Film Fests tours the United States and screens amazing genre and high concept indie films that comic con audiences will love.
Tickets are $10 per screening or $25 for all 4 screenings per night. Or full pass for $40 for all screenings both nights. Buy your tickets now.

Comics and Jews: Panel and Auction – Oct 07, 2015, 6:30 PM – Center for Jewish History
Join us for a meet&greet with the key Jewish figures of the comic industry, a panel on history of Jews and their formative contribution to the establishment of the comic books industry in the US, and a special silent art auction. The panel will feature Karen Green, Danny Fingerhoff, Arie Kaplan, and Paul Levitz.
Tickets are $10 general, $7 members/seniors/students. Buy your ticket now.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Spelling Bee – Oct 07, 2015, 7:15 PM – Benzaquen Hall at the DiMenna Center
Join us for a spelling bee featuring words from Klingon to Na’vi, from Middle earth to Westeros. Study hard, but you won’t find these words in the dictionary, unless your dictionary was written by JK Rowling or Frank Herbert. This interactive show features awesome prizes and is hosted by Saad Sarwana.
Tickets are $12 advance or $15 at the door. Buy Your ticket now.

FanBros Present the Crossplay Cosplay Contest – Oct 07, 2015, 8:00 PM – Latitude
The cosplay event that everyone has been waiting for, finally an event that celebrates diversity and difference in the cosplay world! The Crossplay Cosplay Contest is centered around the idea of switching races & genders for the ultimate in cosplay change ups.
Tickets are $10 or only $5 if you wear a costume. Buy your ticket now.

Indie Comic Performance with Mindy Indy & Friends! – Oct 07, 2015, 9:00 PM – Gotham City Lounge
Mindy Indy & Friends will be reading Mindy’s latest comic “”Apartment Hunt,”” based on a true story of crazy apartment hunting in NYC – two girls struggling to find a decent place for cheap is harder than it seems.  Comic pages will be projected in an awesome comics-themed bar with cheap hero-themed drinks.  Q&A will follow the reading, including any questions about apartment hunting tips!  Feel free to share your own crazy hunting experiences too.
This event is FREE.

THURSDAY

GeekFest Film Fest Day Two – Oct 08, 2015, 5:00 PM – Gotham West Market (Club Room)
The world’s 1st and largest traveling geek film festival, showcasing the best in indie science fiction, horror, fantasy, fan films, and pop culture films. GeekFest Film Fests tours the United States and screens amazing genre and high concept indie films that comic con audiences will love.
Tickets are $10 per screening or $25 for all 4 screenings per night. Or full pass for $40 for all screenings both nights. Buy your tickets now.

Robot Chicken Season 8 Party – Oct 08, 2015, 6:00 PM – Brooklyn Bowl
Join Robot Chicken co-creators Seth Green & Matthew Senreich for an early look at Season 8 and the world premiere of Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship. You’ll also be treated to an evening of free bowling, prizes, a DJ set by The Rub, and good company. Must by 21+.
You must reserve your spot. Click here to reserve your spot now.

Rock Band 4 New York Super Week Super Party – Oct 08, 2015, 7:00 PM – Hard Rock Cafe
he team at Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. will be celebrating the launch of Rock Band 4. This is open to all fans  as a New York Super Week event so come party & play Rock Band 4 with the devs that made the game!  Guests will be entered into a raffle upon entrance at the party for a chance to win one of four Rock Band 4 guitars signed by Harmonix developers. Must be 18+.
Tickers are $5. Buy your ticket now.

Muppet Vault – Oct 08, 2015, 7:15 PM – Benzaquen Hall at the DiMenna Center
ToughPigs.com presents The Muppet Vault: Geeky Stuff, a celebration of all the times the Muppets got a bit geeky.  The evening will include screenings of classic and rare clips hand-picked by Muppet experts. The Muppets have done countless pop culture parodies (The Muppet Show’s Pigs in Space, Sesame Street’s recent hilarious Cookie Monster movie spoofs) and worked with tons of geek-friendly guest stars.
Tickets are $10. Buy your ticket now.

Rock N’ Comix – Oct 08, 2015, 7:30 PM – Rock Bar
Oni Press presents Rock N’ Comix 2015, featuring live comix readings and musical performances by the industry’s top talents! Enjoy your favorite creators reading their work as projected large to screen, while musicians perform a live score beneath, followed by an all out comic book rock show! Special guests include Charles Soule, Ted Naifeh, Dean Haspiel, Antony Johnson, Jeffrey Burandt and Americans UK, a live performance by Run by the Gun.
Tickets are $5. Buy your ticket now.

Uptown Showdown: Superheroes vs. Villains – Oct 08, 2015, 8:00 PM – Symphony Space
You never know what to expect at this debate series that brings together two teams of comedians, writers and performers to face-off on a chosen topic. In this special New York Super Week edition, the defenders of justice battle it out with the criminal masterminds. Which are more badass? Those characters we love, or love to hate? Debaters are Janeane Garofalo, Mike Drucker, Michael Hartney (I Love Superman at UCB), Travon Free (The Daily Show), Jessica Delfino (New York Funny Songs Festival), Joe Garden, and Nick Turner.
Tickets are $15. Buy your ticket now.

Star Wars Minute – Oct 08, 2015, 9:00 PM – Benzaquen Hall at the DiMenna Center
Join the co-hosts of the famous Star Wars Minute podcast and their special guests as they analyze, scrutinize and celebrate the virtually-forgotten 1984 TV movie An Ewok Adventure: Caravan of Courage.
Tickets are $7. Buy your ticket now.

FRIDAY

The Big Superheroes Quiz Thing – Oct 09, 2015, 6:00 PM – New York Historical Society
Join us for a viewing of the New-York Historical Society’s special exhibition, Superheroes in Gotham, followed by NYC’s premier live trivia company presenting a special themed edition of its multimedia game show spectacular. The Superhero Edition features the world’s greatest multimedia team trivia on the past, present and future of costumed crime fighters — comics, movies, sci-fi, TV and all that other stuff you know so well. Win big prizes and big glory.
This event is FREE. Reserve your seat by calling 212-485-9268.

BBQ Films Blade Rave – Oct 09, 2015, 7:30 PM – Terminal 5
Step into 1998’s BLADE film at the first big Halloween party of 2015. Electronic musicians The Crystal Method headline BLADE RAVE with support from Pictureplane, and more. While the crowd dances to blood-pumping dance tracks, we’ll bring the movie to life as only BBQ Films can.
Tickets are $56. Buy your ticket now.

Aaahh!! Real Trivia: Nickelodeon Trivia Night – Oct 09, 2015, 8:00 PM – Toshi’s Living Room
Can you name all the teams from Legends of the Hidden Temple? What about Helga Pataki’s middle initial?  We double dare you join us for this all-Nickelodeon trivia night to win prizes, gifts, and so much more.
This event is FREE. Reserve your seat now.

Trivia AD Presents: Star Wars Trivia – Oct 09, 2015, 9:00 PM – Discovery Times Square
Prove your Star Wars knowledge in this, the only official Star Wars trivia event of New York Super Week 2015, hosted by Trivia AD.  The city will be crawling with scum and villainy of all kinds this week, so this is your chance to put them in their places.
Tickets are $5. Buy your ticket now.

SATURDAY

Batkid Begins – Oct 10, 2015, 7:00 PM – IFC Center
BATKID BEGINS is a documentary that takes you back to November 15th, 2013, the day San Francisco turned into Gotham City, and the day the internet was nice. More than a billion people took to social media to cheer on BatKid, even President Obama! In all, the #SfBatKid and #BatKid hashtags reached more than 1.84 Billion people on Twitter and Instagram.
Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for kids. Buy your ticket now.

Hollywood Babble On Live! – Oct 10, 2015, 7:30 PM – Hammerstein Ballroom
Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman take a twisted look at showbiz news and bite the Hollywood hand that feeds them. Sometimes, they feel bad and give Hollywood a tetanus shot and some Neosporin, but, even then, they usually just turn around and bite Hollywood’s other hand.
Tickets are $60 VIP Opera Boxes with autographed pic, $40 floor, $30 first balcony, $20 top balcony. Buy your ticket now.

Adult Swim Tyrannic: Second Maiden Voyage – Oct 10, 2015, 8:00 PM – Pier 81
Join a 3 hour cruise along the Hudson, featuring a night of NY views & city sights, an up close look at Lady Liberty, a live performance from a secret musical guest, and the company of your Adult Swim Friends & Family. Must be 21+.
This event is FREE. First come, first serve. Reserve your spot now.

Comic Con Vixens II – Oct 10, 2015, 10:00 PM – Hard Rock Cafe
Multi-award winning mega nerd DANGRRR DOLL brings you one show to rule them all with another epic installment of COMIC CON VIXENS, celebrating the sexy side of New York Super Week and New York Comic Con. Starring some of NYC’s most gorgeous geeks and cosplay burlesque. No fandom is safe from the sexy, crazy brains of the Comic Con Vixens. Must be 21+.
Tickets are $75 VIP, $45 preferred seating, $25 general admission. Buy your ticket now.

SUNDAY

PressPlayNYC – Oct 11, 2015, 12:00 PM – Hammerstein Ballroom
Want to meet many of your favorite social media personalities?  Want to take selfies and get autographs with the hottest all-stars on Twitter and Vine today? CLICK HERE for times, guests and prices.

We Got This Live! – Oct 11, 2015, 8:00 PM – Le Poisson Rouge
Featuring special guest John Hodgman for the first ever live We Got This podcast in New York City! Every week on the Maximum Fun Network, Mark Gagliardi and Hal Lublin take the dumb issues in life that people care too much about and settle the argument once and for all. No topic is too small or insignificant for them to dissect and decide. Must be 21+.
Tickets are $15. Buy your ticket now.

THE NYRD T-SHIRT OFFER

LoveNYRDSThough we at The NYRD are not running an event this year we do not want you to miss out on getting your free NYRD t-shirt. If you see anyone at NYCC dressed in the “I love NYRDS” t-shirt just come up to them and say the secret password, “Hey, can I have a T-shirt?” and they will give you a free T-shirt… It’s that simple. (Supplies are limited.)

We will see you all at NYCC and around the town at all the great events. Have a safe and wonderful Comic Con.

The science fiction novel, The Martian, by Andy Weir is a love letter to NASA and the human desire for space exploration. It is also one of the most plausible and scientifically accurate sci-fi novels in recent memory. Now, this weekend, the movie adaption comes to theaters and we here at the NYRD couldn’t be more excited, but then again we have always been big fans of journeying to the red planet. So to celebrate the opening of a movie that has its foundation in real science, we thought we would take you through some of the technology and aspects that you will be sure to see if you venture to the theaters to watch two-hours of Matt Damon trapped alone, without even a volleyball for company.

Hab Sweet Home
In the book and movie the story’s hero, Mark Watney, is stranded on Mars, but at least he has some things going for him. First of all, he has the habitation module or Hab for short. This is good because we all need a roof overhead, whether it be a one room studio walk up in downtown Manhattan or a multi-room state of the art module on the surface of Mars. Even if development of a real Hab is still a few years off, NASA has been testing crews in the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA). This analog helps crews learn to work and live together in a simulated deep-space mission. The two-story habitat is complete with living quarters, work spaces, a hygiene module, and a simulated airlock. Currently NASA is running just 14-day duration missions with crews but that will soon be increased to 60-days.

While on Mars, Watney is also forced to grow food in the inhospitable soil of Mars. He accomplishes this by mixing the Martian soil with nutrients and samples from Earth soil, along with his own special brand of compost… eww… Eventually he even yields a full crop of potatoes, but he is not the first person to grow plants beyond the limits of our little blue orb. Vegetables are grown everyday on the International Space Station, but lettuce is the staple of choice for our real-life astronauts. In fact, last year aboard the ISS they even grew Romain lettuce and ate it. That sounds unremarkable, but it is a big step in sustained space living. The vegetables are grown under red, yellow, and green lights in bags of soil mixed with fertilizer, which harvested by the astronauts… eww.

Of course now that Watney has all those potatoes to eat he needs something to wash it down with, and that is where the water recycling system would come in. The one used in the book is a bit more sophisticated than what we have today but still entirely plausible. The Environmental Control and Life Support System aboard the ISS recovers water from sweat, hand washing, tooth brushing, and even urine… eww… However, current methods of water reclamation return only about 85% of pre-used water. The WRS runs water through a series of filters and a centrifuge, since micro-gravity makes separation of gasses and liquids tricky in zero-G. Even better, the technology is being put to use here on Earth, to help developing countries and communities have safe and reusable drinking water.

One Small Breath for Man
Things like water, food, and a roof are only the creature comforts of a Martian stay. In the book and movie Watney needs to work and sweat for every accomplishment he makes, and one of his biggest problems is getting more oxygen. He uses a method of electrolysis to create more for himself, by splitting carbon dioxide to release the oxygen. On the ISS astronauts use a very similar process, except with water but where Watney was the air around him, the ISS just uses water. The excess hydrogen is then bled out into space or pumped back to the Sabatier System which uses it to create more water.

In 2020, the organization will sending a rover to Mars that will test taking in Martian atmosphere and applying electrolysis to produce oxygen right from the air itself. Also, NASA is now looking to get a leg up on their fictional counterparts. Since the writing of the book it has been discovered that water may be more prevalent in the red planet’s soil than originally thought. That would mean they could actually create oxygen straight from the ground.

A Walk on the Martian Side
However, if astronauts want to go outside they will still need to carry the majority of their oxygen with them. The atmosphere of Mars is cold and inhospitable. Mark Watney’s space suit, though it is still bulky and obnoxious is years ahead of the suits employed by astronauts today. Watney spends hours in his suit doing strenuous work and making long journeys. Current suits have too limited of a life span and are way too heavy to allow much work to get accomplished. Yet, NASA is currently testing the Z-2 suit prototype. This is by no means the final design, but the tests being conducted with it will help in the creation of the Z-3 suit, which will then help with the creation of the real suit that astronauts will wear on the surface of Mars.

Our future Martians are going to need a set of banging wheels, though, if they want to get anywhere worth going. We’re talking chrome rims, cherry red chassis, and maybe even a moon roof -considering Mars has two moons. Watney has two rovers in The Martian, which he cannibalizes and alters quite extensively to suit his purposes. NASA is currently testing the Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle (MMSEV). With a top speed of a blazing 6 miles per hour (10 kph), the vehicle has six wheels for stability and is being developed not just for use on Mars, but also on asteroids and moons. Some of the technologies are still begin perfected, such as lighter weight and more powerful batteries, but the MMSEV seems to be pretty close to what Watney uses on his little adventure.

However, one of the biggest problems with going outside on Mars is the dust. The soil in places can be very fine and it gets everywhere. Think, glitter except more annoying. The Martian dust can do everything from muck up sensitive equipment to cover energy-giving solar panels. Dust storms can last for weeks at a time and be as large as countries on Earth. They can even change the face of the planet in a matter of days. Currently the probes we have on Mars can wait out any dust storms before resuming there mission, but humans may not have that luxury. Going weeks without power in the middle of dust cloud that blocks out your solar panels is a death sentence. Watney encounter this situation later in the book, and currently NASA uses Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG), which doesn’t rely on solar power, and instead uses the decay of plutonium-238 to generate electricity for Curiosity and the upcoming 2020 rover, but we may not be too keen on having a radiation battery so close to our men and women on Mars.

Getting There
In The Martian, Watney and his crew are brought to Mars by the Hermes, a reusable ion-drive ship that was created expressly for making the round trip from Earth to Mars and back again. Ion thrusters are a very real thing. They use beams of ions -electrically charged atoms or molecules- to create thrust in accordance with momentum conservation, and though NASA has yet to develop a wing of TIE fighters -TIE stands for twin ion engines– it does present a very reliable source of thrust for spacecraft, albeit a very slow one. Relative to chemical engines the ion engine is lumbering, but way more efficient. NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) has a fuel efficiency of 10 to 12 times great than that of chemical rockets. Unfortunately, it needs to operate in excess of 10,000 hours to accelerate any space-bound object fast enough to reach even the asteroid belt.

Any ion engine will never be enough to get rockets off the ground, but once in space you can turn them on and leave them on, generating acceleration over time. In fact, we already have probes that use ion thrusters, including Deep Space 1, a project so named because I can only assume the geeks at NASA had hoped we could make at least 8 more of them. The Hermes follows the same principal, a small amount of applying a constant thrust to speed the craft up, but it takes the same amount of reverse thrust to slow the ship down, thus braking takes as long as acceleration. It becomes a factor in the movie, but we won’t spoil anymore of it for you.

Our recommendation is that yuo go see the movie, and if anything sparks your interest NASA has a whole lot of information about everything that is going on with our current plans or Mars. They are hoping to have a human on the red planet by the 2030’s, but that is going to take a massive investment of time, money, and passion by the American people, and the people of the world at large. With any luck movies like, The Martian, can help lay the ground work for the enthusiasm we need to get there. All the technological problems and challenges can be overcome, but without a willingness to go, we may never get off the ground.

Humanity needs to be able to fly or we will fall.

Last week, ABC and Disney premiered their newest show, The Muppets. An adult-oriented behind the scenes look at the lives of the Muppets. It seemed to hit all the right notes and was met with generally positive reviews, but of course it did. Hey, it’s the Muppets. They may just be inanimate objects operated by hands and string, but they are people too, as real as you and Chuck Norris. However, it wasn’t always like that. In fact, the Muppets started from very humble beginnings and from what Jim Henson once called, “ridiculous optimism.

Jim and Friends
In 1954 Jim Henson started working with a partner at the University of Maryland creating puppets for children’s programming airing in the DC area. While working with Jane Nabel -who would later become Jane Henson- Jim created the Muppets, starting with the unforgettable frog himself, Kermit. It is said that Jim Henson coined the term “muppet” as a combination of marionette and puppet. Starting in 1955, Kermit and Rwolf, became regulars on the Sam and Friends show. Initially Rwolf was the more popular of the duo, going on to appear as a sidekick to Jimmy Dean on several episodes of the Jimmy Dean Show, starting in 1963. This was mostly due to Rwolf’s mastery of the piano.

It wasn’t until 1969 with the premiere of Sesame Street that Kermit really found his groove. Kermit was one of the original Muppets to appear on the children’s classic show, and ten years later when Jim Henson decided to create a Muppet television series that could be enjoyed my adults and children alike, it was Kermit the Frog who emerged as the heart and leader of the Muppet troupe. The Muppet Show, first aired on September 5, 1976. A sketch comedy that featured parodies, musical performances, and a flock of big name celebrities. The show was a hit and introduced the world at large to the Muppets including such new characters as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and Animal.

After the success of The Muppet Show, the Muppets went on to make three movies, The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan. At nearly the same time, the Walt Disney Company entered into talks to buy the Muppets from Henson -because they have some sort of need to own the world- but the deal fell through with the death of Jim Henson in 1990. The company passed to his son and daughter Brian and Lisa Henson, who in association with Disney produced The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. Disney finally acquired the full rights to the Muppets in 2004, except for the Sesame Street characters, which were sold to Sesame Workshop, and the Fraggle Rock characters which were retained by the Henson Company. The mouse-run organization has since produced The Muppets, and Muppets Most Wanted, along with the new show simply titled The Muppets. They have also produced a slew of award winning YouTube videos -bet you didn’t know YouTube videos could be award winning?

As a result of the Disney purchase the name Muppet became trademarked, which means the NYRD is currently in serious violation of copyright laws, because we unabashedly use that term like forty times throughout this article. It also means that any other creatures created before or after the Disney acquisition could not be called Muppets. Thus creatures like Falkor from Never Ending Story or Pilot from Farscape, are not Muppets. They are just puppets created by the Jim Henson Creature Workshop. Sesame and Fraggle characters have a special exclusive licensing agreement with Disney, so they can still be called Muppets, but that is also why you don’t see Kermit the Frog appear anymore on Sesame Street. Also, please note that Yoda is and has never been a Muppet. He’s a Jedi and there is a difference.

The Wonderful Land of Oznowicz
However, we hardly need Disney’s corporate branding to tell us what is and isn’t a Muppet. There is something special about the lovable group of felt covered creations that just makes them different from other puppets. For example take Miss Piggy… please… Everyone’s favorite pig, was originally meant to be a background character, a generic female pig puppet, but a few months before the start of The Muppet Show, Jim Henson received a request to perform on a TV special with a “young starlet” character. So Piggy was done up, her eyelashes were extended, her hair was changed, and the puppet was given to a young man named, Richard Frank Oznowicz, known mostly by is stage name, Frank Oz. Much like Oz, Miss Piggy was originally born under a different name, Miss Piggy Lee, but she dropped the last name. In a sketch where it was scripted for her to fight with Kermit, Miss Piggy did an impromptu karate chop and the character was born, along with her long standing relationship with Kermit.

That seems to be how the Muppets are really created. They aren’t just made with foam and glue, they evolve. New Muppet characters are often passed around among Muppet performers until one human seems to click with the new creation, and then the character’s personality, voice, mannerism, and more develop from there.  By most accounts the personality of Kermit the Frog seems to be very much based off of Henson himself, as he was the original puppeteer. Maybe that is why each Muppet feels as if they have a unique personality, as if they are really alive. Functionality wise some Muppets are simple, requiring only one person to operate, but then there are others that require an army of humans and technology. Yet, each of them feels like a person. This is partly because Jim Henson was the first person to pioneer the idea that the Muppets were not just puppets controlled by people, but actual creatures.

The Muppets were the first puppet characters to use the TV camera as a framing device. Before that puppeteers were either hidden behind a visible stage on screen, or the puppets sat next to them, like a ventriloquist. With no human operator on screen and no indication of a human presence the Muppets became people unto themselves. It also helps that, unlike other puppets, the Muppets are very articulated. In other words, it is not the movement of the mouth, but the hands, feet, and other appendages that help create the illusion of reality. Humans operators work below the Muppets, using their right hand to operate the mouth and their free hand to operate the Muppet’s arms. As a result, many of the Muppet characters tend to be left handed. This illusion of reality is so strong that we don’t even like to think about humans playing a part in making the Muppets who they are. In fact even talking about their operation in this past paragraph as made us feel wrong inside, and there is a reason for that.

Getting Inside the Muppets
We want to believe that the Muppets are alive. They are our friends and people we grew up with. Did you know there is a concept that something can be real, even if it is imaginary? Dr. Jennifer Barnes has a great TED talk on this very subject. She talks about how we form relationships with fictional characters. We come to empathize with them. They are real to us even at the same time they are imaginary. It’s why we cry when George R. R. Martin works his sadistic magic or why we cheer when  Rocky wins the Cold War. In fact, it has been observed on Sesame Street and in other similar programs that children who interact with Muppets, treat them as living creatures, even if they can see the person who is operating and talking for that Muppet. It is a special kind of suspension of disbelief that our minds can entertain, especially when it comes to Kermit and his friends. It doesn’t matter who has their hand in it, we still identify them as distinct individuals from their controllers, and so does all of Hollywood.

The Muppets have appeared in a lot of things. The Muppets have a star on the Holylwood Walk of Fame, in addition to Kermit’s own individual star. The Muppets have presented at both the Oscars and Emmy’s. They’ve made cameos in various non-muppet movies, including Rocky III. They have had guest appearance on shows like The Cosby Show, and West Wing. They have been interviewed on late night and daytime TV. Kermit the Frog was one of the first guests Jon Stewart ever had during his early days on The Daily Show. They have guest hosted several TV shows including The Tonight Show, Extreme Makeover, and even Larry King Live. They have made numerous public appearances during the Rockefeller Tree Lighting, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, and Kermit even gave a TED talk. Kermit appeared on Hollywood Squares and as a commentator on VH1’s I Love documentary series. All of this contributes to how we see and think of the Muppets. They aren’t just creatures they are working actors and genuine celebrities.

When you watch The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, and you see Kermit the Frog acting as Bob Cratchit, you don’t think, “They made Bob Cratchit a green frog?” No, you think, “Oh Kermit is playing Bob Cratchit,” in the same way you think of Michael Cane as playing the part of Ebeneezer Scrooge. We instinctively see the Muppets as people, even as a part of our brain acknowledges that they aren’t. Maybe it helps that we were introduced to the Muppets as a character troupe on a variety show, but there is something more to it.

What is the difference between a real person and a puppet or a cartoon on TV? They both have personalities. You feel an emotion for both of them? You enjoy their company? Maybe a better question is, what is the difference between Jon of Arc and Miss Piggy? You have never met either of them, unless of course you met Miss Piggy. You probably know more about Miss Piggy than Joan of Arc. You probably feel more attachment for the Pig of the Muppets over the The Maid of Orléans. Yet, of those two it is Joan of Arc who was a real flesh and blood human. So maybe in some sense, Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Rizzo, and Kermit are real in some way. They are obviously more real to us than people we acknowledge as having been actual famous humans. The Muppets are loved, they are respected, and they have a positive impact on the world. If only that could be said of every real person out there.

Who among us has not gazed out into the night sky and envisioned the possibilities. Science fictions are all about possibilities. Our graphic artists have taken some of NASA best images and used their skill to insert some of our favorite stories, because space is a vast and incredible place, and there is no telling what is really up there.

Who knows, we may even be up there ourselves someday. Until then, we can only dream.

This weekend marked the annual D23 Expo, one of the biggest Disney Conventions dating back to 2009. D23 is the official name of the Disney Fan Club, named because 1923 is the year that Walt Disney left Kansas for California and begin his domination of the planet. Over the past few years, and thanks in no small part to the Disney Corporation’s need to buy major brands from the Muppets to Pixar to Marvel to Star Wars, D23 has become one of the biggest places for Geek-related news, rivaling even San Diego Comic Con. In fact this year D23 even had more Marvel related news than SDCC.

We here at The NYRD are going to give you some of the highlights that came out of Anaheim this weekend.

Jump to: Disney Live Action, Disney Animation, Marvel, Star Wars


Disney Live Action:
Perhaps the two biggest properties announced were the two movies no one expected or even really believed we would ever see again. They also have one eye-liner heavy character in common, Johnny Depp. Disney will be producing Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2016, which isn’t being directed by Tim Burton, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales in 2017, because surely those were the movies that everyone had been clamoring for. Depp will step back into his roles of the Mad Hatter and Jack Sparrow respectively, and even more interesting Orlando Bloom will also be reprising his role as Will Turner, because Hobbit cameo money doesn’t last forever. If there is one thing you have to hand to Disney, they are more than ready, and able, to squeeze blood from a dry stone, and we can only wait and see to how much money these two properties have yet to make the House of Mouse.

In other news, a live action remake of the Jungle Book is also set for 2016, staring Bill Murray as Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and Christopher Walken as himself in the role King Louie. There will also be a live-action/CGI remake of Beauty and the Beast, staring Emma Watson as Belle, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellen among others. That movie is set for 2016. Lastly, there will be a remake of Pete’s Dragon, staring Bryce Dallas Howard also in 2016, because that is certainly a 1977 classic everyone was clamoring for.

alice-through-the-looking-glass-poster-1bjpg-4352a3 JBPoster-720x1066

It seems that Disney is putting all their eggs in the live-action remake/sequel basket. Other than Chris Pine’s new Finest Hour there was not one original live action movie announced under the Disney title for next year.  This is a bit disheartening, especially since, for better or worse, Disney is a large trend setter for the entertainment industry. They have the resources, the money, and the time to burn and experiment on new projects, but perhaps after the middling response to this year’s Tomorrow Land, the corporation giant has backed off on taking risks for a while.


Disney Animation/Pixar:
On the animation side of things, there is some hope, other than the announcement of Toy Story 4, where Buzz and Woody go on an adventure to find Bo Peep, because why let a movie trilogy end gracefully and on that right bittersweet note when you can just keep pumping it for more cash? The Pixar movie is set for 2017. Disney and Pixar also announced Finding Dory, which will be hitting theaters in 2016, staring Ellen DeGeneres. They also premiered an Inside Out short entitled, Riley’s First Date.

In other news, Disney will also be producing a 2017 animated cartoon called Coco, based upon the Dias de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. The Rock himself then took stage to promote his new 2016 musical animated movie, Moana, which is based in South Pacific mythology, and will be about a young girl who teams up with a legendary demi-god named Maui, played by the Rock to figure out why people have stopped exploring. Disney is definitely trying to reach more diverse audiences with these two movies, which is a good thing.

Clips were shown from 2016’s Zootopia, which is a buddy cop movie that takes place in a city made up of anthropomorphic animals, staring Once Upon a Times’ Ginnifer Goodwin. Lastly, Disney will be producing Gigantic, the supposedly “definitive” Jack and the Beanstalk story for the big screen. This movie very much seems to be aiming to be in the tradition of The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, to become another Disney animated musical classic.

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Marvel:
Perhaps one of the most anticipated panels of the Expo, Kevin Feige took to the stage to introduce the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War. The trailer is not currently released for public consumption, except in leaked form. Please note that we will not show you that trailer, because we at The NYRD do not support leaked footage. Also, why would you want to watch some grainy, shaky-cam footage that some jerk took on his phone from the 103rd row? Disney and Marvel will release the trailer on their own schedule and we are sure it will turn plenty of heads when it finally hits YouTube and movie screens. Until then, we are content to wait for all the Civil War goodness.

Marvel also premiered a small movie showing concept art from Doctor Strange, along with a video love letter from Sir Benedict Eggs Over Easy Cumbersome Batching. He has the best, most British name. Unfortunately we have no footage of those pictures, either. really we are saying we have nothing visual to show for Marvel. However, it was announced that Tilda Swinton will be playing Strange’s mentor, the Ancient One, though she admits that she is yet uncertain if she will be playing the part as a man or as a woman.


Star Wars:
Last but not least, it was Star Wars again that shook down the house. The panel had everything, complete with a show stopping appearance by Han Solo himself. Well, it had everything except for a new Star Wars trailer, which JJ Abrams said would not be out till the Fall. The audience also got to hear from Gareth Edwards who will be directing the first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One. The movie is set to be a gritty war drama that takes place during the Rebellion Against the Empire, and possibly involves the stealing of the Death Star plans. In other words, forget everything you learned while playing Dark Forces, Kyle Katarn forgive us. We did get the first cast photo. This movie stands out as a interesting concept, though we are still unclear as why they called it Rogue One. After all, that would have been Luke or Wedge Antilles’ callsign during the Rebellion, but then again, who really knows what is canon anymore, Wes Janson forgive us. The movie began principal photography this month.

RogueOne

Finally, and perhaps the biggest announcement was the fact that Disney World and Disneyland will both be opening new Star Wars-theme parks. The new parks will be based around two signature rides, including one where you will be able to pilot the Millennium Falcon. The second one will give guests the chance to be in the midst of a battle between the First Order and The Resistance. Both will be based in the lore of the new trilogy, because why base rides on classic Star Wars. When will we get Admiral Ackbar’s Crazy Trap Ride?

Despite our snark and our disbelief, we will ultimately end up going to the parks and seeing the movies, because of course we will. No matter what your opinion of the mouse-led entertainment behemoth, there is one thing that you have to admit is for certain, Disney stands to make all the money… like all of it.


Photos and video courtesy: https://d23.com/

Entertainment Weekly is all about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and they are showing off some new pictures. The images looks begrudgingly amazing and exciting. Though many of us here at The NYRD are still mourning the loss of the Star Wars Expanded Universe even we have to admit that these shots look and feel like classic Star Wars. However, we are still reserving our expectations until opening day. No one around here wants to come down with a classic case of “Phantom Menace Syndrome.”

EW also talked with cast and crew about some of the questions that fans had in regards to the new movie. Most importantly, they cleared up some fans objections over the character names, which seem to have more whimsy than meaning, unlike the names like Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker. JJ Abrams revealed that the names may have more meaning than originally believed.

The two main leads, Finn and Rey only have first names on purpose. It leaves it open for their last names to be revealed at a more dramatic time and point. In other words, expect one or more of them to have a last name such as Solo, Skywalker, or maybe even Calrissian. The villain is named Kylo Ren, but he is a member of the Order or Ren, which we would guess is hopefully some kind of Sith Order and not something you get as a meal a long time ago at a drive-in window far far away. Also, Kylo is not his real name either, which means he could very well wind up having one of those very same above surnames we were talking about.

Regardless, enjoy the pictures below. Out favorite is the look at General Hux. Check it out.


All photos and captions courtesy: http://www.ew.com/gallery/star-wars-force-awakens-first-look-gallery

It has finally arrived. After weeks of anticipation and hype after San Deigo Comic Con and years of rumors and other hype after his first appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The first Deadpool trailer has dropped, and we here at The NYRD have to admit that we are a little underwhelmed.

“I’ll take it from here.”

“What? How did you get in this office?”

*Click*

“Wait…”

*Sounds of a scuffle and duck tape ripping*

“Hi boys and girls, It’s your old pal here, the Merc with the Mouth, and first off let me say that it’s a little weird that this guy typed out the sound of me pulling back the hammer on Daisy… She’s my new favorite gun. Though I am impressed that you managed to write, Sounds of a scuffle and duck tape ripping.

“Mmm… Mmmmm”

“Shut up NYRD. I have the power now, the power of the written language… Also these guns… BANG… Nah, I’m just kidding. I’m not a killer.”

*Fingers crossed behind back*

“Why did I type that? Oh well. Anyway, I’m here today to say that my new trailer is like totally amaze-balls. Like… O… M… G, it is so totes hot right now. Hashtag Jon Stewart for Deadpool.

“This movie is going to have it all. Violence, comedy, fourth-wall breaking, fifth-wall breaking, violence. It’s rated R, folks. That means only people over eighteen and kids with fake ID’s.

*Puts hand to side of handsome face and whispers to the computer screen, which is odd because he is typing and not really talking at all, but just go with it.* “You know it’s going to happen.

“Forget everything you knew about Cryin Reynolds in X-Men Origins: Wolverine… ha, that’s cute. They thought they were going to get to do more of those abominations, but Daisy made sure that never happened. Didn’t you? Yes, whose a good gun? Whose a good gun?”

*Gun shot followed by a Wilhelm scream*

“Sorry. I’m sure the blood will wash out. The bullet won’t, but a little seltzer will take care of the stains and you’ll be fine. A lot of people only have one lung and no heart… Donald Trump for instance. Man, we are really going with topical humor today.”

“Mmm… Mmmmm… Mmmmm”

“No, your mother. Hey, I’m hungry. Do you want anything? Is there any place in this city to get some good shawarma? Nah, I’m kidding. Iron Man is a douche. I hope Captain America kicks his ass… What?… I can’t talk about them?… What do you mean I am getting sued? Well, it’s a good thing I keep the law firm of Daisy, Daisy, and Groin-Kick on retainer. They’ll be hearing from at least one of them soon.

“See you later, NYRDs. I’m going to take a long lunch. I have some court stuff to take care of, but after that I’ll come back and write an article on why the movie Ordinary Magic is a modern classic. I’ll do it through a nuanced and refined comparison to film noir and James Cameron’s Avatar, or maybe I’ll just kill you all. I haven’t decided yet. Either way, chimichangas here I come.”

“Mm… Mmmmm.”

“One more thing. For everyone at home, check out my trailer below, and the trailer that announces my trailer… Yeah I know, right, but that’s Hollywood for you. And they call me meta…”


Photo courtesy of those guys over at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1431045/Geez, this is a long hyperlink name

It looks like the people in Hall H are no longer the only ones who get to put their peepers on the new Suicide Squad trailer. Fresh from SDCC, now you too can revel in the struggle of “Bad versus Evil.” Check it out below, and check out our breakdown further down.

Breakdown:

The first shot is of Amanda Waller, well known DC power player basically bragging how she has captured. “the worst of the worst” to two high ranking military officials, possibly a meeting of Checkmate, the Agency, or one of the other hundred shadowy government organizations that have existed in the DC Universe over the years, so take your pick. They talk about the squad as they are still in prison, claiming that the events of Man of Steel may have acted like a beacon to attract other metahumans to come out of the woodwork.

The rest of the conversation seems to talk about why the squad is formed.

“They are bad guys.”

“We have built-in deniability.”

Then we get a montage of the squad starting with Harley Quinn, the person everyone has been waiting to see. We are a big fans of the jester diamond tattoos on her wrist. From the looks of the trailer, Margot Robbie is going to play Harley with the right amount of sweetness, innocence and craziness to make the character work. Unfortunately, from the few lines we get, it seems as if they have dropped the iconic Staten Island accent, which means we may not get to hear the iconic, “Mistah Jay.”

Other than a line from Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang, Will Smith’s Deadshot is the only other character to get in some lines, because of course. It’s Will Smith. His lines are fairly generic, basically giving the movie’s title in a off-comment and confirming how the squad is patsies for the US Government.

Of course the trailer ends with what everyone has been waiting for, Jared Leto as the Joker. It seems as if we are going to get a tatted up silver toothed version of the character. Leto even channels a little Ledger in his voice choice. Yet, this may be a good direction for the character. After all, it looks like Batman V Superman is going to establish that Batman has been around for a while, and that he may even have lost a Robin or two to his ultimate nemesis. So on the same token, the new Joker needs to be menacing, larger than life, but also feel a bit worn. We need to see that hehas spent years battling the Caped Crusader in the streets of Gotham.

It is still too early know how much of the footage shown is actual movie footage or shot exclusively for the trailer and comic con. All the dialogue we hear, especially the lengthy opening scene between Amanda Waller and the military officers could very well be footage shot exclusively for the trailer. They spend a lot of time explaining the concept of Suicide Squad, as if in hopes of interesting the non-comic readers in the movie’s concept.

Well, mission accomplished, because we here at The NYRD are more excited to see the team of villains on the screen than we are to see Superman and Batman duke it out. This is going to be the movie that really deepens the DC movie universe, and now we await 2016 with baited breath.


Photo credit: Courtesy of @DavidAyersMovies

Some say that the best movies are those that are about the process of making movies. We say that the best movies involve dinosaurs, but you might find it surprising that both might actually be true about one of this year’s newest blockbusters, Jurassic World. did you think we were going to say, Furious 7? Considering that this prehistoric-murder-romp has currently grossed a worldwide total of $1.422 billion dollars to be the second highest grossing film of 2015, beating out Avengers: Age of Ultron, it might be worth considering why this particular Jurassic Park sequel succeeded when so many before it had failed.

Dr. Ian Malcom would probably call it the essence of chaos theory, all while he was trying to hit on the woman sitting next to him, but we believe that there is something more to the success of this latest installment in the franchise. Jurassic World, can actually be seen as a clever allegory for the modern entertainment and movie industry. It’s real triumph comes from its themes, plot, and allusions to common undercurrents in today’s society, which help boost the two-hour dinofest to something more than just mindless summer entertainment. Also, it may have something to do with all the dinosaurs eating people. According to our market research that usually helps in these matters.

All the World’s A Stegosaurus 
Let’s start by analyzing the players on the stage. Masrani, played by Irrfan Khan, is the man who took over InGen from John Hammond. He is very rich, and somewhat aloof to the daily goings-on of the park. We get the sense that he pops in every now and then just to see how things are going, or he sends vague and buzzword memos that randomly motivate the directions of others. He is most definitely the Executive Producer in this scenario. He has the funding and the power, but none of the daily responsibility.

That role falls to Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. She is very much in control of everything, making her the movie’s main producer. She is often bogged down in every minute detail that happens, whether it be wooing potential backers, organizing hundreds of crew members, or inspecting sets. She is the person that coordinates it all and puts it all together. She is also very stressed and somewhat of a workaholic. She does have a production team, and two main assistants to help her, but she is still doing the bulk of the nitty gritty herself.

Owen, played by Chris Pratt, is a director. He works with the cast, in this case the dinosaurs. He understands their motivations, he gives them direction, rewarding them when they succeed, and doing his damn best to make sure they don’t bite his or anyone else’s head off. This also means that the dinosaurs are the actors in the analogy, because of course they are. Throughout the course of the movie there are dinosaurs we cheer for, ones we feel empathy for, and ones we root against. In both worlds, they are what the crowds come to see. In the park, they are the names that get put up in lights and glorified as celebrities, even if they can be temperamental and a bit hard to work with at times.

Hoskins, played by Vincent “King Pin” D’Onofrio, is a studio executive. He has no real authority on the set, but no one other than the director seems really willing to risk pissing him off. He has a lot of outside considerations and crazy ideas he keeps trying to work into the movie, applying more and more pressure as time goes on to do things his way. He is always thinking about the profit margin and the bigger implications. In this scenario it is weaponizing the dinosaurs, but for a studio executive that could easily be lingo for merchandizing.

Dr. Henry Wu, also known as BD Wong, or that guy from that one Law and Order, is the screenwriter. He is the first person to conceive of the ideas that eventually turn into dinosaurs. He slaves and works to create something new that will both wow his employers and the public at large. He puts his heart and soul into his work, and has to follow vague directions from the producer and studio such as requests to make a “cooler” dinosaur. Wu even admits that they have been altering the dinosaurs to appear as the public believes they should look, not as they really should look. He is basically throwing historical accuracy out the window to make his final product more appealing to audiences. Unfortunately, like all writers, once his work leaves his lab he loses all control over it and then it comes down to the rest of the production team to alter, raise, and feed the beast as they best believe.

The Blockbustersaurus
The entire catalyst to the plot, the Indominus Rex, was created as a ploy to lure in more customers, and increase the park’s revenue. It is literally billed as the next biggest, scariest, and best thing. The creature was even named not according to any scientific guidelines, but through focus group testing, and what would sell best on T-shirts and coffee mugs. We also learn that the new genetically created dino is basically a mixture of the coolest parts of other dinosaurs, mainly two crowd favorites, the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptor. Like any summer blockbuster, the studio has tried to take the parts of other movies that everyone loves and smash them together in hopes of getting a higher opening weekend box office.

Every summer, studios are expected to come out with the biggest, scariest, craziest new movie to drive up their profit margins and to get customers in the movie seats. Sometimes they hit the mark, and sometimes their new creation ends up rampaging through their banking accounts, figuratively eating the livelihoods of cast and crew alike. In a few instances, and when the monster of a movie was bas enough, it even had the power to wipe out entre production studios, but is the entertainment industry really at fault? If there is one thing Jurassic World got right it is that the hungriest creatures of all are the viewing public.

Maybe in that way, Jurassic World, is more of a comment on our society in general. It tries to point out that as a culture driven by our progress, we are always looking for the next newest thing. It’s the attitude of, “what have you done for me lately?” After all, the movie does explicitly state that dinosaurs are old news. In the world of Jurassic Park, dinosaurs have become as interesting as “watching an elephant at the zoo.” The public has literally become jaded to what sounds like the most incredible thing in the world.

The iRex
The original Jurassic Park happened more than twenty years before the start of this current movie and thus anyone born on or after 1994 would always have grown up in a world of dinosaurs. The kids would not see them as wondrous, just commonplace. It is similar to how the generation that is currently in high school and college views the Internet or smart phones, or movie CGI. To them, it is something they always remember as having existed. It is just a common fact of life. In fact, Jurassic World gives us the perspective of two regular modern children.

The youngest members of the movie, Zack and Gray, represent the common viewing public. They are, literally, the two age groups that entertainment companies target most of their products towards. Gray is younger and obsessed with dinosaurs. He just cannot wait to see them, and he knows everything there is to know about each dino before he even catches a glimpse of them. Zach, the oldest is, completely blasé about the whole thing. He is like, “way totally over it.” Instead, he prefers to spend his times on his phone or staring at girls. Dinosaurs are something he has always known. They are something he can see pictures of on the Internet, but they are not the only two people in the park. There is more than twenty-thousands others who are constantly on their phones, taking selfies, recording video, snapping pictures.

It is more than ironic that these lessons are coming from a movie in the Jurassic Park franchise. After all, for years they have been trying to capture our attention with new and bigger threats and new and bigger dinosaurs. Jurassic World is an example of life imitating art that is so blatant it would probably give Aristotle a catharsis so strong he would have trouble walking in the morning. However, maybe a nostalgic-ridden popcorn movie like Jurassic World is the only type of movie that could really convey this message. In a sense, it is parodying itself, and our world of blockbuster entertainment.

Others might argue that Jurassic World is just doing the same old thing. In fact, the plot is not all that different than the original Jurassic Park, and it would be hard to argue that the Steven Spielberg classic is charged with the same subversive undercurrents. The real main difference between the two is the way in which they are delivered. In Jurassic Park, the park is not open. It is all about wonder and spectacle, not unlike the other big effects movies of the late eighties and early nineties. In Jurassic World, the park is open and doing business. People have become jaded by what they see, and here we find not large animatronic and practical effects, but the usual summer CGI along with the usual summer faces, like Chris Pratt.

A Raptor of Our Own Making
On the surface, Jurassic World is just another summer blockbuster trying to grab our attention to make some cash. It is just another film, like so many others that are produced every year to spike a studio’s profit margin. For all intents and purposes, The park, Jurassic World is like one big movie forcing its actors to try and get our attention. They do a trick and we clap. The T-Rex eats a goat and we watch before returning to our next distraction. For the most part we are blissfully unaware of everything we are seeing, at least until things start to go wrong.

The Indominus Rex sparks not just a bad movie, but a horribly bad movie. We are talking Water World bad. Yet, the unstoppable killing machine is also posing a theoretical question for us to consider. Isn’t it the kind of dinosaur we all want to see. It is smart, terrifying, exciting, and even intelligent. By all expectations it should be everything we want. So really, who is responsible for the creation of such a perfect killing machine? Most people will blame InGen, but ultimately they would not have made the I-Rex unless it was what the public was silently demanding. Could the same not be said for some of the cash-grab movies that we have seen come out over the past several years.

Almost everybody agrees that the Transformers franchise is terrible, yet Transformers: Age of Extinction was the highest-grossing film of 2014. It was the second highest-grossing film in the Transformers film series, and it was the fourth one in that series. It has pretty much unanimously been confirmed that the Transformers series is absolute crap, so how the heck did the last one make so much money? Similarly, how much money is the new Fantastic Four reboot going to make? Despite talk of nerd-wide bans on the film, we are pretty confident it is going to make back its production cost and then some. Why, because we have proven to the entertainment industry time and time again, that we want them to create monsters. So the next time one bites our head off, Jurassic World would have you remember that it is kind of our fault.