Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

July 28, 2014 at 2:05pm

Nerd Alert - Guardians of the Galaxy, Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda, Snowpiercer ...

The child of Sharktopus goes toe-to-toe with the latest science experiment "Pteracuda" - half Pteradactyl, half Barracuda - in a battle for monster supremacy.

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Still incensed for Tatiana Maslany, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

FRIDAY, AUG. 1

I admit it: I resisted the Guardians of the Galaxy bug as long as I could. Trisyllabic trees? Chris Pratt as a leading man named, of all things, "Star-Lord?" Space raccoons?! In spite of my lifelong devotion to space opera from Asimov's Foundation to Brian K. Vaughan's Saga, I found Guardians' teaser trailer silly and its action unpersuasive. Then the first screening was followed by a barrage of tweeted accolades. OK, well, fanboys get overexcited sometimes. (I myself was once temporarily duped by an advance crew screening into thinking Roland Emmerich's Godzilla was worth a flying frak. These things happen.) As I write this, though, major critics have begun weighing in, and RottenTomatoes.com has Guardians of the Galaxy at a staggering 100 percent positive. I can no longer maintain my skeptical stance. We appear to be looking at this summer's Avengers, a four-quadrant supernova that'll soon be part of our cultural mythos.

So here, then, is your Guardians backstory. Their first appearance (in January 1969) was in a clip-show comic, Marvel Super-Heroes, in which 31st-century "Vance Astro" and company fought an alien species alongside a chrono-ported Captain America. That team lasted through 1980, then was revived for a few months in the early '90s. They were followed by a new team, the one seen in the movie, which was compiled from existing minor characters in May of 2008. (The print Guardians add Adam Warlock and Phyla-Vell, aka Quasar.) Whether the movie hews closely to that modern comic storyline, which also features Cosmo the telepathic dog and Bug the Galactic Warrior, remains to be seen. We are sure that Thanos, a death-worshipping warlord first glimpsed in The Avengers, will turn up, as will a 1969 Guardian named Yondu Udonta. Both are fun to say while trying to keep a straight face.

If you knew none of those factoids five minutes ago, you're not alone. I had to look them up, and I read every issue of Entertainment Weekly cover to cover and keep half a toe in the comics scene as well. My overriding point is this: Marvel appears to have hit one out of the park yet again. Oh, but hey, DC! I'm sure your Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be, you know, a thing we can watch.

In two years. Way to go.

SATURDAY, AUG. 2

Following directly on the iPad-generated tail fins of Sharknado 2: The Second One, Syfy proudly (are we sure about that?) presents Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda Saturday at 9. This is not a stellar week for TV, folks. If, then, you're sitting around the crizznib looking for something to do, might I suggest rooting through your cable provider's movie rental offerings for a little feature called Snowpiercer? Yes, I'm referring to that South Korean sci-fi action flick, which you may not realize was shot almost entirely in English. Hell, its star is Chris Evans, better known as Vance Astro's super-patriotic pal. Uncertain how to market the film to Americans, mega-producer Harvey Weinstein settled on concurrent theatrical and pay-per-view distribution. Director Bong Joon-ho, best known here for his awesome (and eco-friendly!) monster movie The Host, has clearly been studying the collected works of Terry Gilliam. I describe Snowpiercer as Brazil meets Dredd with a side of bulgogi. A Facebook friend countered with "Jean-Pierre Jeunet meets The Matrix Reloaded with a special act-three rewrite by Damon Lindelof." That works, too, but paints an unflattering portrait the film doesn't deserve. It's fairer to say it's bananas in the best possible way. Like Innerspace or Tampopo, it's so inventively bonkers it may be wedged in my noggin for years to come. Watch for blissfully over-the-top performances from Tilda Swinton and Sex Bob-Omb percussionist Alison Pill. It's worth an eight-buck rental, I can promise you that.

I'm writing this on the eve of my wife Amanda Stevens' 30-mumbleth birthday. Oncoming 40s be damned, she's still the coolest geek grrl I ever met, so we'll be spending part of it in Seattle for The Book of Mormon. Hasa diga eebowai, honey! That means "happy birthday," right?

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may your Groot costume go over huge at Comic-Con 2015.

Filed under: Nerd Alert!, Pop Culture, Screens,
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