Monthly Archives: June 2019

Battlebots 2018 Season Review

The 2019 Battlebots season has just begun but I want to take us back and reflect on the 2018 season and what made it work and what could be improved.  But first, I totally missed watching the 2018 season when it premiered as I was in Wyoming with no TV or internet access.  Thankfully, now back in civilization, I have finished binging all the episodes and I’m ready to dive in.  Let’s take a look!

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Switching networks, switching styles
The transition from ABC to Discovery Channel is a welcome one.  At its core, Battlebots is a reality show focused on engineering and destruction, perfect for the modern Discovery Channel and its programs.  DC understood what makes Battlebots great and modified it to give us quality and substance.  The end result was a whopping 20 episode season, 10 more than the previous ABC season and on par with the Comedy Central-era show.

This was an excellent choice.  With only one weight class, the show could focus entirely on the competing robots and treat the show like a professional sport.  I’m mainly referring to the playoffs which is such a great choice I’m baffled why it wasn’t introduced sooner.  We have so many robots that we love but we don’t see too often given the brutal nature of a KO Tournament.  With playoffs, we see robots get second (and third and fourth) chance of proving they’re the best and they can give us a good show.  That means we can see bots that do average or okay fight each other and not against the brutes that would otherwise dominate them (I’m looking at you, Duck, you magnificent robot!).

This also means we have a excellently seeded 16 bracket that give us, without a doubt, the best robots of the season by win record.  We can eliminate the duds (like veterans SubZero, Overhaul, and Chomp) and give us the robots that pack a mean wallop (like newcomers Whiplash and Monsoon)!  The bracket gave us a few 4-0s and a lot of 3-1s, most of whom got their seed based on satisfying KOs.

Most of the episodes are focused on the playoffs with each episode ending with an Event Match, a fight that gives us something to look forward to.  This was another smart choice as it gave us really great robots that have done well in previous seasons but who never fought each other (like Tombstone vs Minotaur).  The event match also gave a chance to newcomers who were doing well like Whiplash and Duck who both did incredibly well given they were facing against Tombstone.  Playoffs were great as it helped cement in our hearts bots that we grew to love.

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Duck!  was one of my favorite new Battlebots.  I honestly thought it was robbed from appearing in the sweet sixteen but it did tremendous.  Excellent ram/lift bot!

Pad for Time
Unfortunately, this season was the worst example of filler content as almost every episode had only five battles.  The previous seasons crammed more in there with the trade off that we saw highlights for the battles that were slow or inconsequential.  This…I’m okay with, if a battle isn’t exciting then it’s not exciting; probably a quarter of battles in Battlebot history end with two robots barely functioning with both weapons nonfunctional.  As long as we see a good clip here or there, I’m cool.

The Discovery Place network, however, did not do this.  Now, I’m one of those fans that doesn’t mind filler but a good chunk of the episode is basically me waiting for a battle to happen without a lot of fulfilling content.  The filler is basically Faruq announces the first bot, the builders wave to the audience, Faruq announces the second bot, the builders wave to the audience, the builders are interviewed, once in position the first builder punches the button, the second builder punches the button, some more waiting, the lights go on, and FINALLY the match begins.

Previous seasons, most of the time, had a quick introduction by the announcers for each robot and they jumped right in to the battle.  That’s it!  And that was all I needed.  To have the above formula repeat five times for 20 episodes got tiring after awhile.  You could’ve definitely made it six battles per episode and cut out all that filler.

Now, I definitely don’t mind the filler for the actual tournament itself, that is great!  Really gets you hype up for the tournament.  You can play that out because these are robots that actually deserve to be introduced with some spotlight treatment.  You could also use filler for behind the scenes action.  What are the builders doing?  How are they recovering from the match?  What damage did their robot sustain?  How are they fixing it?  I would love to get into the nitty gritty of that.  It would really show the teams’ comradery and intelligence in working together to get their precious bot up and running.  Thankfully, the 2019 season looks to be doing this more and cutting down on the intro filler.

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My other new favorite from the season.  HUGE was so hilarious but the height advantage and those weird wheels made it an unlikely, fantastic foe.  Too bad it fell apart in the Sweet Sixteen otherwise I think it could’ve beaten Bite Force!

An Experienced Crew, a Thoughtful Show
By now, the people who have worked on Battlebots these past few seasons have a lot of passion, love, and experience with the sport.  You can tell they have a lot of fun doing what they do and I don’t blame them!  I remember how I was initially critical of our hosts, Kenny and Chris, but I now think they are great.  They know the bots very well, they have seen many battles, and they know how to comment and keep the battle entertaining even when it may be slow.  Seeing Kenny being outspoken against some of the judges’ decisions was something I could appreciate deeply.  I think Kenny may come off as apathetic when next to the hyperactive Chris, but when you see him defend bots and disagree with the judges it really shows he cares for about the sport.

I also like the intro skits, silly they may be, I find them quite entertaining!  My favorite was Warhead lighting the birthday cake on fire though the staring contest with Huge got a good chuckle out of me.

Overall, Battlebots returned from a two year hiatus but it was worth the wait.   My only complaint left is that I wish Battlebots would show the best fights on Youtube!  That would further spread the love for the show I think.  Looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has to bring for us!

Unapologetic Nerd for the Second Half of 2019

Hello everyone, I’m writing to give you a rare update on my blog and what I’m planning for the future.  I started my blog in April 2014 meaning I have hit my five year anniversary.  Despite not updating it as frequently as I did in my first couple of years, the past three months has seen my highest traffic ever with May 2019 being my best month by a huge margin as I am writing this article.  This has given me inspiration to start writing more often and ensure this blog keeps chugging along.

I have a series of articles I have planned going forward for the second half of 2019.

First, my single type run articles will keep being produced and updated.  I’m currently done with all the main stream games and now all I have left is Pokemon Sword and Shield.  As more information comes out about that game, I’ll decide how to tackle it like how I did for Sun and Moon.  I’m also tempted to revamp my iconic Single Type Run chart and make a new one in its place that can include Sun and Moon and Sword and Shield.  I’m also planning on streamlining some of the articles by making them less confusing, and fixing small errors that may have been overlooked.  Additionally, keep an eye out for articles focusing on specific types like Steel, Fighting, and Dark!

Second, Battlebot articles, reactions, and predictions are coming back!  Last year, living in the Wyoming wilderness severely limited my internet access so I couldn’t watch the new season of Battlebots.  But now that I’m back in civilization, I’m catching up with the 2018 season and I’ll be watching, commenting, and geeking out with each new episode for 2019.  These articles were popular and I was requested to get back into this by a fan.  Thanks, and go Huge!

Third, random articles focusing on the NPS, cartoons, Godzilla, and other things, will be coming back.  Single Type Run articles have dominated the past few years of my blog mainly because I find them fun and easy to do and they’re popular with readers.  However, I’m not just a one trick pony and I want to write about other things that I love.  Additionally, I’m hoping to continue my podcast with Mary as that went on hiatus when we moved.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Review by a Godzilla Fan

Spoiler Free Summary: Godzilla: King of the Monsters offers satisfying monster fights,  neat world building, and, surprisingly, lovely personalities from the monsters.  Unfortunately, the film falters from an insufferable character lead, unnecessary (and likable) character deaths, and being a glorified ad for the US Army.  Nonetheless, the film hits all the right marks for a Godzilla fan, let them fight!

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Spoiler Review: It has been a long time since I left a theatre feeling so conflicted.  I knew going into this that Godzilla: King of the Monsters had already struggled with a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes but that still couldn’t prepare me for what I saw.

Godzilla: KOM picks up five years after Legendary’s first Godzilla film in 2014.  A very long gap, all things considered, with only one film, Kong: Skull Island, giving us relief in-between those films (with the unrelated Shin Godzilla to boot).  The Monsterverse (Warner Brothers answer to Disney’s MCU) is still picking up steam and trying desperately to build its Titan-filled world.  Despite this, I think it does a great job with this world such as introducing hollow-Earth theories in Kong and continuing that with the underwater Atlantis scene in this movie.  Strangely enough, the film’s end credits sequence did SO MUCH for world building and I really like that.

The reason why I’m bringing this up is that Legendary is doing a successful job simultaneously referencing the original Toho films while introducing new villains and monsters for Godzilla (and Kong to fight).  The best example is King Ghidorah, who sees probably the best version of himself (or himselves???) in the entire Godzilla franchise!!  A big claim, yes, but hear me out.  “Evil” monsters in Godzilla films are somewhat uncommon and are usually controlled by world-dominating aliens or from future white people.  Ghidorah is the pawn for these aliens and when the (usually) humans break the mind control plot device, Ghidorah becomes a rampaging monster, easily beaten by Godzilla and his allies.

This film establishes Ghidorah as an invasive alien from outer space which is most excellent!  It ties back to world building with Godzilla and the Titans bringing balance to Earth’s climate and nature.  Naturally, Ghidorah, the invasive alien, wants to destroy that world and recreate it in its image.  Making Ghidorah not only control other Titans was smart but having him regenerate introduces a heighten level of threat that makes it extra scary.  Ghidorah also having three separate personalities is such a treat and something I never realized I needed until now.

Speaking of personality, Legendary boosted Godzilla’s character trait in spades (thanks in part to a far longer screen time which was a big miss in the first Legendary film).  Godzilla is friendly, crotchety, and smart.  From eye movements to subtle facial expressions, this is a return of Godzilla that is all good.  A trait that I pined for a long time.  The majority of the most recent Godzilla films have seen him in the anti-hero or straight up the antagonist/villain role.  A “good” Godzilla hasn’t been with us since arguably Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004 if not Terror of Mechagodzilla in 1975.  Godzilla allying with Mothra, the Earth’s Guardian, only further seals his alignment.

Speaking of which, I was disappointed that we didn’t see more of Mothra or Rodan but I’m satisfied nonetheless.  Rodan popping out of its volcano was a nice callback to its first film but having it being a flying lava-monster makes it so delicious.  As a side note, Mary and I also couldn’t help but compare Rodan to Transformers’ Starscream and Terrorsaur due to Rodan’s quick reallignment towards Godzilla at the end of the film.  Mothra standing up against Ghidorah and Rodan was nice but seeing it sacrifice itself for Godzilla, giving him the energy to fight, was classic Mothra.  Glad to see another Mothra egg at the end credits!

Oh and the fights were so wonderful.  That first standoff with Godzilla vs Ghidorah was great with Ghidorah’s wings outstretched against the blizzard.  It’s great to see the monsters fight three times!  Godzilla biting off the head of Ghidorah was also very satisfying and surprised me.  The end fight was well done with Godzilla getting that nuclear boost and kicking Ghidorah’s ass but then Ghidorah got the powerplant boost and I was like AHHHHHHHHHH!!!  I was on the edge of my seat!  Besides the animated Godzilla Planet movies, this is the first CGI fight of Godzilla vs Ghidorah and they didn’t pull any punches!  Ghidorah lifting Godzilla up in the sky, Godzilla blasting off Ghidorah’s heads (nice!!!), Ghidorah shooting lightning from its freaking wing tips, Godzilla’s charge up sound effect, and so forth and so forth.  Nicely done!

One more thing before the bad stuff, the soundtrack for this film was top notch.  That was another big complaint I had in the first film, the original Godzilla theme was missing.  It’s not a true Godzilla movie if it doesn’t have those iconic themes.  But we got them!  IN SPADES.  The themes were repurposed with choir, they got Mothra’s theme, they even got a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla theme which was so rad to hear.  The music really sold me here but I just wish they did a better job with sound editing cause goddamn I had to struggle to hear the music sometimes along with the characters.

Okay, enough with the gushing now for the ranting.  Damn these characters were annoying.  At least the first film had Brian Cranston even though he died a third of the way in.  Kyle Chandler’s character Dr Mark Russell was the most annoying, blatant use of a white protagonist ever.  He was telling other, WAY MORE QUALIFIED, characters what to do even though HE HADN’T BEEN STUDYING GODZILLA.  Seriously, bugged the crap out of me.  In all honesty, they could cut his character entirely from the film and it wouldn’t change much.  We could focus on the mother-daughter relationship and the experienced Monarch group can keep doing what they do best.Image result for godzilla king of the monsters lead

My distaste for the lead wouldn’t be as nasty if it wasn’t for the fact they killed both Sally Hawkins AND Ken Watanabe’s characters who were both waaaaaay more likable than the lead even though they still didn’t have a lot of personality (but at least they were tolerable which goes a long way).  I don’t need interesting humans in a Godzilla film.

I don’t know.  I know I didn’t come to see a Godzilla film for the people but to make them this insufferable or boring is an achievement in a Godzilla film.  Millie Brown’s character was okay and she did all she could for the material given to her.  I give her character points for being tenacious that’s for sure.  I will also give points for the ORCA plot device, at least it gave a good tie in from the humans to the titans.

Finally, the US military irked me in this film.  Military in the Godzilla films are supposed to be ineffectual and only a super, sci-fi, weapon can take down Godzilla.  Sometimes, a non-destructive solution comes up to handle kaiju problems that are very cool like the coagulant juice in Shin Godzilla (or in this case, the ORCA device).  In this film, the US military, though mostly ineffectual, was still glorified to the umpteenth degree in this film and we didn’t have any antagonistic military characters with the exception of Charles Dance’s character (and even then he’s British so it doesn’t count!).  All this glorification is pretty funny when you compare it to Shin Godzilla and how the US military birthed Godzilla, tried to cover it up, failed, made the problem worse, and then wanted to nuclear bomb Japan.  Really says a lot especially when one film is produced by a Japanese studio as compared to an American one.  But that comparison is for another article…

Final Godzilla Movie Rating: 3.5/5  Overall, I have issues with this film but you know what?  At least they got the monsters right.  They hit the right notes again and again and I felt very satisfied by it, they introduced new concepts and ideas to the monsters and I appreciated them.  Hopefully, the human characters will be less annoying in Godzilla vs Kong but we’ll see…I personally wouldn’t count on it.  Thank God(zilla) though that it’s coming out less than a year from now!

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I also want to learn more about THIS guy!

Random Godzilla References That I Was Able To Catch

-The Mothra Twins made a cameo through Zhang Ziyi’s characters.  The fact that she is a third generation Monarch scientist makes it extra sweet.  Thank goodness she’s coming back in the next film.

-Godzilla, Rodan, Ghidorah, and Mothra, first appeared together in a major crossover movie, Ghidorah the Three-Head Monster.  This united the films Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra together creating an expanded series of Toho Monster films that span from the 1950s to the 70s.  In the film, Godzilla and Rodan fought each other before Mothra convinced them to set aside their differences and fight Ghidorah.

-Ghidorah’s codename, Monster Zero, references his English title for the second film he appeared in, Monster Zero in 1965, who was from outer space.

-Kong was referenced several times in this film along with Skull Island, not sure how it ties in yet to the next film but I’m looking forward to it

-The Oxygen Destroyer, the thing that killed the very first Godzilla in his debut film, was introduced and, in my opinion, poorly handled in KOM.  It was shoved in at the last second and it was never mentioned again.  It didn’t even kill Godzilla or Ghidorah. Tsk Tsk

-Godzilla becoming a nuclear meltdown seems to be a reference to Godzilla vs Destroyah where he was on fire and couldn’t contain his nuclear energy.  The humans had to build an giant ice ray in order to cool down the king of monsters.