All posts by Matt

Editor in Chief of NerdNewsToday.com. Primary video producer, shooter, editor, and purchaser of too many toys... although there is really no such thing as "too many toys".

“Star Wars Han Solo Carbonite Chocolate Bar” Review

When I first reported about this Han Solo Carbonite Chocolate Bar, I was head over heels for the concept. Star Wars + Chocolate= Amazing. The centerpiece of the Star Wars universe could now be the main event in my dessert of sugary cocoa cravings! Man, this smuggler really does get around.

The fine folks over at ThinkGeek were cool enough to send me a bar for me to try out and review, so that I could pass on the info to all of my hungry readers. The idea is great, but how is the execution on this treat? Is this nothing more than a quick sugar rush, or is this packed with levels of deliciousness, the magnitude of which you can not repel? Take a look at the review and find out for yourself!
Continue reading “Star Wars Han Solo Carbonite Chocolate Bar” Review

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Evangelion Chopsticks: Do Want!

The Japanese people must really hate me. Why else would they tease me with these chopsticks based on “Neon Genesis Evangelion” that they know I can not have.

Over on Japan Trend Shop, you can pick up a set of very clever chopsticks based on EVA. Designed to appear like the entry plugs for the various EVA units, each chopstick includes the appropriate pilot at the top of them. I am not talking about a picture of the pilots, by the way, I mean an extremely tiny and highly detailed figurine that is embedded into a clear part of the chopstick.

There are four versions available; Asuka Shikinami (red), Mari Makinami (green), Rei Ayanami (orange), and everyone’s favorite emo giant robot pilot, Shinji Ikari (blue). Here is the part that sucks the most about these great chopsticks – they cost $37 each, with an additional $20 for express shipping. If you wanted to buy one of each, you are looking at spending around $130-150 depending on how you ship them. Sorry, Gainax, I am not that hardcore, but if JTS wants to hook a nerd up, let’s make it happen!

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Sneak peek of the first scene from “Spartacus: Vengeance”

Starz has just released the first scene from the follow-up series to “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” entitled “Spartacus: Vengeance,” and let’s just say things kick off with a bang

IGN has the exclusive first look at the opening scene of this show which debuts next month. The premise continues the story of Spartacus and the other slaves from the House of Batiatus breaking free at the end of the last season (spoiler alert? Too late now). The video also features a special introduction from new Spartacus star Liam McIntyre, as he explains what you are about to see.

Just a quick warning, if you don’t like blood (CG or otherwise), this is probably not the vid for you. But, if you have never seen the show before, this should start your bloodlust for more episodes!

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“Thundercats Classic: Lion-O” Action Figure Review – Toy of the year?

Thundercats are on the loose once again in 2011, with their Cartoon Network reboot holding strong against the competition. Ban Dai has been making the figures from this show, and earlier this year decided to throw their hat into the nostalgic adult-collector world by creating their “Thundercats Classic” series. Sadly, the line has been cut short after only two figures were produced, Lion-O and Tygra, but more on that later.

It truly is depressing since the figure we are reviewing today, Lion-O is probably the best action figure of the year for me! I am not a hardcore Thundercats fan, although I did grow up with the series, but this toy very well might make me a changed person. What makes this action figure so great that I have given it that illustrious award? Read on and find out!

Packaging: Unlike his four-inch counterparts from the rebooted series, the packaging on this classic figures is more like a showcase box. At nine inches tall, it is an impressive looking package and focuses more on verticality rather than stuffing things horizontally so it can better fit on racks in stores. You get a clear view of everything that comes with the figure, as well as the many joints of it as well.

Taking him out of package will require more attention the four-inch figures, since the sides of the box have slits that are taped up in several spots. Once you get through the tape, you will be greeted by more tape holding some of the accessories in place. Keeping the figure itself in the package are five plastic strings (not twisty-ties, but plastic strings). Unlike twisty-ties, you can just cut these out of the plastic, but getting a pair of scissors in that tight space is a bit of a chore. I found the quickest way to get them out was to use the scissors to cut into the case itself, then gently pop the strings out.

Sculpting: This is Lion-O as we all know and love him. His mane caught in that bizarre windstruck pose (that, or he uses more hair gel than everyone on “The Jersey Shore”), his stoic muscular frame, right down to that cleft-chin of his. Lion-O has an iconic look of his own, just like He-Man or a GI Joe character, and this figures sculpt captures that feel to the tee.

It’s not a character that lends itself to much detail to begin with, but Ban Dai has paid attention to every minute aspect of the character to make this the definitive Lion-O figure. The beauty here is in the simplicity, since the character was one that had to be mass-produced back when cartoons were still hand-drawn (remember those times). This figure is exactly the way Lion-O looked in the original show, and just plain feels right.

Paint: Much of the figures good looks comes via the paint job on it. Ban Dai is not known for highly-detailed paint jobs like McFarlane toys, but for doing a very simple look done right. Lion-O does not have much fanciness to him to begin with, but what Ban Dai has done is made this figure feel like it was torn straight off of an animation cel.

There is a little sloppiness around the edges of his hair near his face, but it is nothing earth shattering and nothing else suffers from that issue. The cartoony appearance of Lion-O is dead-on here, and small nuances like painting his belt with a shinier paint add to that feeling. Most of the figure here is molded plastic anyway, so there is not much to paint, but what there is looks fine all-around and screams Lion-O.

Accessories: This classic figure includes a spare set of hands, the fully extended Sword of Omens, and the sword in dagger form. You could also count the Claw Shield as an accessory, so Lion-O is ready for action no matter what the situation. The sculpting on all of these pieces is on par with the rest of the figure, and maintains the style of the retro series completely.

The sword and dagger are made from sturdy plastic, although the blade of the sword can be a bit wonky (easily fixed by just flattening it out for a few minutes). The coolest part about the dagger is that it fits into the Claw Shield, just like in the cartoons.

There is also a handle attached to his belt, which allows you to easily slip the Claw Shield into it for easier carrying if you want to use his plain hands.

Lion-o is loaded with accessories, which includes an additional pair of hands, and the sword of omens in two sizes – dagger form and fully-extended form.

Playability: Lion-O is beyond flexible! I did not get as creative as I could have with my poses in the photos, but this figure can hold just about any pose because of his many joints, and the type of body he possesses. There are many other ball-jointed figures on the market, but due to various reasons (like molded clothes or body types), the figures are not as poseable as they should be. Ban Dai is great at making figures highly articulated without losing the integrity of the character, and Lion-o is a great example of that.

Lion-O has a whopping 25 points of articulation, meaning he can be posed in nearly any stance, no matter how dynamic, and still stay balanced. If you want him to be slashing at Mumm-Ra with one hand while pushing away Skeletor with his other as he climbs up the steps of Castle Greyskull, he can do that. If you want Lion-O to do a German Suplex to one of your pro wrestling figures, he can do that. The only limit is your imagination, and for a kid, that means there are no limits to how much fun they can have with him.

The downside of so many joints, especially the kind that Ban Dai uses, is that they can wear out with use a bit faster than other figures (I know from experience). But, if you keep your posing of him down to a minimum, he will last many years on your shelf. If you buy this for a child, it might get loose over time, but that will probably make things more fun for them anyway.

Final Verdict: I started this review by calling it the potential figure of the year, and I stand by that. As a fan of Mattel’s adult collector lines, such as “Masters of the Universe” and “Ghostbusters,” Lion-O does not reach the level of sculpting prowess that they have attained. However, what Ban Dai has done masterfully is capture the look, feel, and energy of the original series, put it into an action figure, and made the perfect blend of a toy for both adults and collectors. Best of all, their price point matches that, as this figure has a suggested retail price of around $16, and unlike Matty Collector toys, you can find this in brick-and-mortar stores.

It’s sad to see this line discontinued so early on, especially when they only released Tygra to accompany him. Fret not, as Ban Dai is forging ahead in 2012 by reviving this line, but now in six-inch size so that they will be perfectly compatible with Mattel’s MOTUC line and other high-end collector figures. The plus side is, once again, you can find them in stores and for much cheaper than what Mattel charges.

2012 is the the 30th anniversary of MOTU, so the pressure is on for Ban Dai to compete with their nostalgic line of “Thundercats Classics,” and if they can keep this quality up with their new figures, I think Matty is going to have some serious trouble on their hands.

You can buy ThunderCats Lion-O 8″ Collector Figure from Amazon.com at this link here. If you are a fan of the show, nostalgic for your childhood, or just plain like really great figures, this is an absolute must-buy!

Check out the gallery below for more photos of Lion-O!

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“Legend of Zelda” history lesson in 60 seconds

PeanutButterGamer offers you a chance to catch up on the entire canonical history of “Legend of Zelda,” from the creation of the triforce to what it all means. Of course, how serious it is may be up for debate, but the important info is there, and now you can fake your way through any conversation with Zelda fans. If only they explained why all the creatures in that world have such bizarre names.

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“Mumm-Ra” Action Figure Review

What is a cartoon show without a villain? He-man has Skeletor, GI Joe has Cobra (and GI Joe Extreme had S.K.A.R., but the less said about that the better), and the kids from Dungeons & Dragons had to deal with Venger. Meanwhile on Third Earth, the Thundercats dealt with an ancient mummy that could transform into a powerful monster named Mumm-Ra the Everliving.

In the reboot on Cartoon Network, Mumm-Ra has returned, looking more gruesome and powerful than ever. Of course, there is an action figure of this evil character, and today we are reviewing the mummified version from Ban Dai’s line of four-inch basic figures.

Packaging: Mumm’Ra’s package is simple and small. You get a clear look at what is underneath the plastic, and the graphics both on the backing and inside the plastic are attention-grabbing.

From the packaging, you can infer that this is not necessarily a line for adults to collect, but more for kids to open and play with. Thankfully, your kid can rip this open with relative ease, although there is a harder plastic bit on the bottom to make sure you don’t tear into it too hard that the pieces fly out of it, never to be found again.

The back of the figure includes a bio on the top half, and images of the other figures from this line on the bottom half, in a very colorful display. When you take Mumm-Ra out, you can see the famous two-snake emblem behind him.

Sculpting: Mumm-Ra has an easy but distinctive look to capture. Ban Dai got it right here, giving him that hideous face we have grown accustomed too, along with his slender bony fingers that would make Mr. Burns feel right at home.

Loose bandages hang off of his arms and legs, and are pretty thick for gauze. They are wider than Mumm-Ra’s fingers in fact. The character is hunched over with a nefarious look on his face, plotting something evil to unleash on the Thundercats. The way his hands are clutched gives him a wicked feeling, making for a very classic looking figure that captures just how powerful this old mummy truly is.

Paint: Mumm-Ra has only three shades of paint to worry about; blue, red, and the off-white color of his wraps. There is some slight sloppiness when it comes to the open parts of his wrapping that reveal his blue skin, and while his eye balls are painted, his pupil is not, so I hope Mumm-Ra plans on seeing an eye doctor about those burst blood vessels.

Everything else is a solid color, so not much more that I can say about the paint. The packaging shows him in more of a dull grey color rather than this dark blue he has been painted with, and I hope that Ban Dai goes back in at some point and re-releases a grey variant so we can have some uniformity with the color scheme of Mumm-Ra transformed. With Mumm-Ra’s cloak on, most of the issues I have with his paint disappear instantly, but the cloak is a story unto itself (see “Playability”).

Accessories: Mumm-Ra comes with a Shield Claw of his own, and a Dagger of Omens. The dagger barely fits in his hand, and loosely at that. It took some nestling to get it in there, and if you want to move him around, expect to see that weapon drop from his grasp pretty quickly.

The Claw Shield attaches to his wrist pretty easily, but the cloak makes it cumbersome to stay on for too long. The dagger fits conveniently into the shield, and stays there well enough, as long as you can find the sweet spot.

This figure also has a “Thunder Lynx” magnet in his hunchback, which allows him to interact with certain vehicles and playsets in this line as an added bonus. I do not have any of those items so I can not tell you what they do, but I can report that it blends into his back-hump and is totally hidden by his cloak anyway. We can count his cloak as an accessory too since it is removable, but without it, Mumm-Ra just looks like an average blue-faced mummy.

Mumm-Ra also comes with an enormous instruction sheet, which you can peek at in the photo gallery below. It explains how to do everything you ever wanted to know how to do with the figure, including how to put his cloak on, and how to use his action feature.

Playability: This is where Mumm-Ra falls disappointingly short. Mumm-Ra is not meant for action, with a mere six points of articulation. His head rotates around his neck, his shoulders go up and down, his wrists feebly rotate, and his waist turns. The end.

If this was my first figure in the Thundercats line, I would be totally turned off from buying others. Luckily, I know that the rest of the line has high articulation, but Mumm-Ra does not. Since the other figures have more mobility, it clearly is not an issue of size. So why does this mummy monster have such limited flexibility? No idea. He is also a bit unbalanced when his cloak is on, so much so that the entire weight of the figure is balanced using the end of his cape, leaving Mumm-Ra standing on the balls of his feet.

I suppose he is not meant to be agile anyway since he is a decrepit and ancient being. It’s not like Mumm-Ra goes charging into fights anyway without transforming first, and if he had more articulation, his classic hunched-over look would not work as well. So, I suppose we can forgive them for this since it works with the character, but I would not have minded elbow joints at least and maybe some moving ankles. Even their Ben 10 “Swampfire” figure had more joints and he was in a pretty fixed pose too.

Final Verdict: Mumm-Ra is not the strongest of the Thundercats figures in terms of playing with, and is too simplistic for hardcore collectors to get much out of. The appreciation I found with Mumm-Ra came from the nostalgic look of this creature, and even with his flaws, I still find myself enjoying this toy.

The price of Mumm-Ra is not steep at all, and while he is not nearly as cool as his transformed version, there is something captivating about the evil aura this toy gives off that makes him cool. He makes for a good desk decoration, but little kids might not enjoy him as much as adults.

You can pick up Mumm-Ra from Amazon.com for around $6-7, making him pretty much worth it on that price alone. He might not be the best that the Thundercats line has to offer, but he is still pretty neat at that size and fun to have around. And remember, Mumm-Ra is not a bad figure, he’s just evil.

Check out the gallery below for more shots of Mumm-Ra, the everliving!

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The Xbox 360 dashboard update is almost here

BY JASON NAWARA

The next phase in the never ending evolution of user interfaces is almost ready for our Xbox 360’s and by the time you read this the update should be ready on your console…Hopefully.

The new Xbox 360 dashboard was supposed to go live Tuesday morning, but after a series of delays and false starts it looks like Microsoft will be rolling out the update literally any moment now. For all I know it could be up. I would check but I’m preoccupied with trying to cram 3 seasons of LOST in before Netflix streaming pulls it down on December 8th. Check out the sixteen minute breakdown of all the new features to whet your appetite further.

This marks the third time Microsoft has streamlined the 360 interface in as many years. The smooth layout and enhanced marketplace looks to satisfy the nerd in all of us. Now we just need bigger hard drives.

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Who wants a TARDIS closet in their room?

Who wouldn’t want to own their TARDIS to travel through space and time? But what do you do when it’s not warping between dimensions? The answer is simple – use it to store your DVD’s.

Brought to you by UK-based model-maker msmuse101, here is the story behind this random act of nerdery:

We are both model builders and love a bit of woodwork so when I mentioned to my Dad that I could do with a new bookcase for my DVD collection he decided to build me a Tardis to keep my collection in, after all I’d never run out of room in one of those!

Sadly, this device is not larger on the inside than it is on the outside, unless you had a super secret closet hidden behind the first closet. Personally, that sounds like a lot of effort, and if you have that many DVD’s I doubt you have the time to do all that construction. And for those of you wondering, yes, those DVD’s are in fact alphabetized.

Via Nerd Approved

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List of theaters showing first six minutes of “The Dark Knight Rises”

Last week, it was revealed that the first six minutes of the third and final Christopher Nolan “Batman” movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” would be shown in select IMAX theatres. We now know just which theaters, and the list is shorter than expected since they are only showing it in 70mm IMAX theatres.

The prologue for the film will not screen with digital IMAX or regular digital or 35mm film presentations of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”. Regular, non-IMAX versions of “Ghost Protocol” open December 21. The list of theaters follows. Moviegoers should confirm theaters will be playing the prologue for “The Dark Knight Rises” before purchasing tickets.

Market Theatre City

Austin,TX IMAX Theater Austin Austin
Boston, MA Jordan’s IMAX Natick
Boston, MA IMAX 3D Theatre in Reading Reading
Calgary, AB Scotiabank Theatre Chinook 16 + IMAX Calgary
Chantilly, VA -Washington, DC Udvar-Hazy Center IMAX Chantilly
Chicago, IL Navy Pier IMAX Theatre Chicago
Des Moines, IA SCI IMAX Dome Theater Des Moines
Detroit, MI Henry Ford IMAX Dearborn
Edmonton, AB Scotiabank Theatre Edmonton + IMAX Edmonton
Harrisburg, PA The Whitaker Center for Science & the Arts IMAX Harrisburg
Houston, TX Houston Marq*e Stadium 22 + IMAX Houston
Indianapolis White River IMAX Indianapolis
Los Angeles, CA Irvine Spectrum 20 + IMAX Irvine
Los Angeles, CA RAVE 18 + IMAX Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA Ontario Palace Stadium 22 + IMAX Ontario
Los Angeles, CA Citywalk Stadium 19 with IMAX Universal City
Madison, WI Star 18 Fitchburg with IMAX Fitchburg
Miami, FL AutoNation IMAX Fort Lauderdale
Minneapolis, MN Great Clips IMAX Apple Valley
Montreal, QC Cinema Banque Scotia Montreal + IMAX Montreal
Nashville,TN Opry Mills Stadium 20 + IMAX Nashville
New York, NY Lincoln Square 13 with IMAX New York
New York, NY Palisades IMAX West Nyack
Omaha, NE Star Cinema 16 with IMAX Council Bluffs
Orlando, FL Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 + IMAX Orlando
Ottawa, ON Silvercity Gloucester + IMAX Gloucester-Ottawa
Palm Springs (Los Angeles) Desert IMAX Theatre Cathedral City
Philadelphia, PA IMAX & the Tropicana Atlantic City
Philadelphia, PA Tuttleman IMAX – Franklin Institute Philadelphia
Phoenix, AZ Arizona Mills 25 with IMAX Tempe
Providence, RI Providence Place 16 with IMAX Providence
Quebec City, QC IMAX Le Theatre At Quebec Quebec City
Sacramento, CA Esquire IMAX Sacramento
San Antonio, TX IMAX at RiverCenter San Antonio
San Francisco, CA Metreon 16 with IMAX & ETX San Francisco
Seattle, WA Boeing IMAX – Pacific Science Center Seattle
Tampa, FL Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Tampa
Toronto, ON Coliseum 12 Mississauga + IMAX Mississauga
Toronto, ON Scotiabank Theatre Toronto + IMAX Toronto
Toronto, ON Colossus 18 Woodbridge + IMAX Woodbridge-Vaughan
Vancouver, BC Colossus Langley + IMAX Langley
Vancouver, BC Silvercity Riverport 18 + IMAX

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“Starship Troopers” remake coming to a theater near you

Is nothing safe from the curse of the remake? Apparently, the answer is a resounding “no.”

The Vulture is reporting that producer Neal Moritz has been put in charge of rebooting Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 sci-fi classic gore-“Starship Troopers” by Sony Pictures.

Screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, who have written “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class,” as well as many episodes of TV shows like “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and “Fringe,” will be responsible for working the script. No further info has been released yet since the film is purely in early pre-production phases right now.

This film joins the two other remakes of Verhoeven’s other films from the ’80’s, “Total Recall” and “RoboCop.” You would think that studios would wait until after those two movies were released before gauging any more reboots, but that would be logic, and the only time that word exists in Hollywood was when it was written into the original “Star Trek” movie scripts.

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