The Kinks – Supersonic Rocket Ship: MARVEL Music Monday

Welcome To New Asgard!

Move aside, there, Lebowski!” – Tony Stark

Thor: “Do you know what is coursing through my veins right now?”

James Rhodes: “Cheez Whiz?”

 

Sphare Sechs – Phase II: Mellow Music Monday

We Have Loved The Stars Too Fondly To Be Fearful Of The Night…  

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit” – Stephen Hawking.

 

“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” – Carl Sagan.   

 

 

The Midnight: Explorers

To The Freedom Fighters

To The Everest Climbers 

To The Castaways

To The Midnight Riders

To The Spark Igniters…

“Mom, remember that stuff you were tellin’ me about your dreams and doin’ what you want to do? Well, if I really want to be an astronaut and go out in space – and really do that, it’d be ok, right?” – Ben Crandall.

 

Dear Friends,

Following yet another losing battle against this madhouse that is the 21st century, Brad has decided to strike back and hold an ’80s Party this week. 

Had such a groovy time this past weekend dipping into 80s pop classics and Retrowave numbers, so can’t wait to share some of my top picks with you! Therefore, this edition of Manic Music Monday offers a preview of what nostalgic delights lie in store. 🙂

Have recently discovered The Midnight: a group who have really tapped into the sounds and vibes of that decade. This vid exudes such a welcome feelgood quality, includes an amazing assortment of movie clips, and, being a joyous celebration of all-things-80s, it seemed just too cool to hold back.

After last week’s Retro Review of The Goonies this vid is a reminder that Joe Dante’s Explorers (1985) had also passed me by! Have started watching that, so perhaps another Retro Review might be in the works…

Hope you can make it to the party in mid-week. It’ll be lovely to see you! 

And – hey! – if Brad is really on the ball, you should be getting the latest Fartlighter Bradventure by the end of this week! 😉

Cheers!

 

Wolfgang Müller: “Explosions in space? It’s impossible.”

Darren Woods: “What do you mean? You can hardly see the strings.”

 

Electric Dreams III: Revenge Of The Synth

Synthwave, Retrowave, Dreamwave And – Oh Yes – Darkwave… 

“We’ll always be together
However far it seems
(Love never ends)
We’ll always be together
Together in Electric Dreams” – Phil Oakey.

Is it too soon, you may ask, to have another music post on this site?!

Perhaps. And yet…

Considering how it feels like an age since the last Post, and my writing is a tad sluggish at the moment for my liking, this seemed like the easiest option to get me back into the swing of actually completing something!

Have not listened to any Synthwave for a while, but returned to it just this week. For me, Lazerhawk is the outstanding artist of this amazing genre – so selecting our first vid posed no problem at all: 

SAL-9000: “Will I dream?”

Dr. Chandra: “Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why. Perhaps you will dream about HAL… just as I often do.”

You may be interested to know that my ideas have not abandoned me.

Far from it – there is no shortage of them! Time is no problem – never has been for me! My problem is finding the energy! 

Purge those rumours of this site’s imminent demise!

Forthcoming attractions are on their way. In  the next few days: you can (hopefully) expect Bradscribe Reviews of BOTH Deadpool movies, various updates on my expeditions to find more awesome Bronze Age comics, and…? The rest is a surprise! 

Blimey! So was this next track now this is fukkin’ sick! (As the younglings are wont to say these days, by Jove!): 

Nancy Thomson: It’s only a dream!”

Freddy Krueger: “Come to Freddy!”

Speaking of nightmares, my fiction has suffered more than anything 😛 – it seems to have dried up (only for the time being we hope! Yeah…?) 

For the second time, my novel has stalled. What has been produced so far is bereft of plot progression  – that breath-taking twist still hasn’t “sprung to mind.” Not going to chuck the bally thing in completely – for one thing, it would be a shame to see all my research papers go to waste… 

On a much brighter note, during this past two years my enthusiasm for concocting short stories has revived. Through the blog format, Bradventures featuring a distinctly English galactic hero have come along in leaps and bounds. You may like to know/be assured that a handful of new episodes reside on my Dashboard awaiting editing, so he won’t be going away any time soon! 

The most recent instalment is still pretty fresh, if a tad neglected, so please, pay it a visit, right here: 

You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break. 😉

Moving on then, this next video would have made it into Electric Dreams I – a perfect accompaniment to a Lazerhawk track, but it got pulled offline so had to rummage around for a replacement at the last minute(!)

No worries!

This tune will suffice; this is the awesome opening sequence from that crazy sci-fi thriller: The Hidden (1987) featuring an alien parasite that uses human vessels to wreak his own warped sense of “fun” on Earth:

Bob Blair: “Now we can go into an enemy’s dream, kill him, make it look as if he died in his sleep. Do you realize what that means?”

Alex Gardner: “It means no one’s safe from you…” 

Blade Runner (1982) remains as monumental as those techno-ziggurats that dominate the LA skyline.

Not only did it create one of the most mesmerising examples of visual futurism on the big screen, but the velvety Vangelis soundtrack has had a huge influence on the Synthwave genre. 

Not surprisingly, a considerable number of Synthwave tracks turn up on YouTube illustrated by stills from this classic movie. 

So, guess what appears here next! :0

Funny how the source material, written by Philip K. Dick is called “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” and yet there is no quote featuring the word: ‘dream‘ in the movie…

But why complain?

It’s Blade Runner!

“Milk and cookies kept you awake, eh, Sebastian?” – Dr. Eldon Tyrell. 

Speaking of visual style, whenever the mood for writing failed to manifest, my creative faculties have expressed themselves instead through sketching. Noting how plenty of Followers/readers have commented that my fiction would be enhanced by converting the work into graphic novels… 

Maybe, just maybe… 

In the meantime, there are some artworks – produced several years ago as well as more recent gobsmackers – that should (scans permitting!) appear on this site very soon.  

Moving on thenoh yes – when it comes to the best Retrowave producers, there’s no ace like HOME: 

Miles Harding: “A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep.”

Edgar: “Who says?”

Miles Harding: “Walt Disney. Sleeping Beauty, nineteen… fifty.”

Edgar: “No, it was Cinderella, 1949.”

To end on a high note, completing this Post has reminded me what is so compelling about the blogosphere; plus, it has restored the verve to carry on!

What better way to end this playlist, fellow Oneironauts, than with some scintillating Chillwave from the exceptional Crockett, who – as you may have gathered from Electric Dreams II  has become my second-favourite Synthwave artist!

“I’m a seeker too. But my dreams aren’t like yours. I can’t help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than Man. Has to be…” – George Taylor. 

Sweet dreams… 🙂

The Prescient Visionary: H.G. Wells: A Celebration

Herbert George Wells Was Born This Day 150 Years Ago

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“Wells occupies an honoured place in science fiction. Without him, indeed, I can’t see how many of it could have happened” – Kingsley Amis. 

As I sit down to write here amidst the shadows of vine-leaves under the blue sky of southern England it comes to me with a certain quality of astonishment that my appreciation of these amazing adventures of Mr. Wells was, after all, the outcome of the purest accident. It might have been anyone. I fell into these things at a time when I thought myself removed from the slightest possibility of disturbing experiences.

Herbert George Wells: prolific and extraordinary science fiction imagineer, visionary, author of histories and polemics, and a noted public figure of his day, is best remembered nowadays for the series of scientific romances published at the beginning of his long and successful career.

Born at Bromley in Kent, young Bertie spent much of his early years in Sussex, on the south coast of England. Following a two-year apprenticeship in a draper’s shop, in 1884 he got accepted at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington, London, where he was taught biology and zoology by T.H. Huxley, one of the foremost scientific thinkers of the Victorian era. He worked as a biology tutor before becoming a professional writer and journalist.

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“Wells’ scientific romances were works of art with unique relevance for our times” – Arthur C. Clarke.  

“It is obviously the work of an inexperienced writer,” wrote Wells in the 1931 Preface to his first published novel: The Time Machine (1895). This work began as a rough, intermittent draft entitled: The Chronic Argonauts during his student days.

This and the subsequent novels: The Island Of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War Of The Worlds  (1898), When The Sleeper Wakes (1899) and The First Men In The Moon (1901), stand as a formidable set, not only as pioneering examples of early SF, but as pinnacles of English literature in general.

It seems ironic that as the only one of this set to cover space travel, and be published in the 20th century, The First Men In The Moon is regarded as the most old-fashioned. The discovery of an anti-gravity metal: Cavorite to spark an elevation to our nearest neighbour sounds quintessentially Victorian.

His first four scientific romances, however, have endured largely because they each tap into fantasies and fears that will forever dominate the human psyche.

There is a very charming theory that the spindly, tripod war-machines that march across the Thames in The War Of The Worlds were inspired by the newly opened Daddy-Long-Legs railway at Brighton, East Sussex – the city in which this very Post has been researched, written and published. This latter novel still stands as the definitive alien-invasion-of-Earth thriller – oft-imitated, but never equalled; and it can certainly never be bettered…

His brand of science fiction did “not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good dream,” Wells wrote in 1934. “They have to hold the reader to the end by art and illusion and not by proof and argument.”

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“There is no need to make allowances for the age of these novels; the science may be proto-steam punk, but Wells’ imagination was lively, vivid and timeless” – Lisa Tuttle.

“Her stews were marvellously honest,” Wells recalled. After years of malnourishment and student poverty, the meals prepared by his landlady in Midhurst, West Sussex, provided his first taste of good and proper grub. “And she was great at junket, custard and whortleberry and blackberry jam.” 

They certainly helped enrich his creative powers. “An important liberator of thought and action,” according to Bertrand Russell, his educational works extended to The Outline Of History (1920) and The Science of Life (1930).

It is difficult to believe now, but at the time, his sci-roms were not deemed “respectable,” so Wells had to develop more literary works; later novels such as Kipps (1905) and Tono-Bungay (1909) are notable, but they do not exude the same power to enthral. 

What is particularly striking about these sci-roms is the flourish of imagination – and a highly original one at that. While contemporaries such as Poe, James and Lovecraft accentuated the fear behind the unknown, Wells not only directly confronted the seemingly unknowable, but gave the impression that it could be scientifically explicable. 

And, by gad, all this ingenuity stemming from the mind of a former mere draper’s assistant…

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“The Prospero of all the brave new worlds of the mind, and the Shakespeare of science fiction” – Brian W. Aldiss. 

Futurology was “an intellectual game” to Wells. He had an uncanny ability to envisage many aspects of the 20th century. He cycled “all over the southern counties,” along roads where hardly any automobile could be seen, yet he foresaw a time when four-wheeled travel would take such precedence that suburbs would spread and the landscape be transformed at an exponential rate to accommodate its rapid expansion.

Among other things, he anticipated the sexual revolution, and a phenomenon he called the “world brain” – what we would identify as a sort of proto-Wikipedia. As well as tanks, he described The War In The Air (1908), almost a decade before aerial dogfights would break out above the Western Front. In 1913, one year before the outbreak of the Great War, his novel: The World Set Free, imagined an “atomic bomb” that could be dropped from planes…

His 1933 future novel: The Shape Of Things To Come – made into a movie in 1936 – predicted the Second World War. And its catastrophic consequences…

In a letter to a friend, he described “Anticipations,” his 1902 collection of futurological essays, as: “designed to undermine and destroy the monarch, monogamy, faith in God and respectability – and the British Empire, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars and electric heating.”

As 2016 also marks seven decades since his passing, it is fascinating to conclude that Mr. Wells’ scientific romances continue to be regarded as essential reading, and his prescient visions of the future remain unsurpassed.

Bravo, Bertie!

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Herbert George Wells: “A man ahead of his time”

21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946. 

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Cakecharmer!: The Adventures Of Brad Fartlighter

MAKE CAKE NOT WAR!

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“He is the fool saint,

The golden stranger living forever

On the edge of reason.

Let your guard fall and he is there!” – The Ghola’s Hymn.  

“Damn your circuits, Nacho!” Major Spoiler seethed. “Where is that bounder named Brad?!”  

The megalomaniac way in which the officer’s bulbous head wobbled like that as he barked informed the clueless fearless troupe: Brad Company that somethin’ serious was brewin’.

And it wasn’t Brad’s Earl Grey…

“He is right here-“

“Then bring on that renegade Battleforce Commander, curse you!” the officer thundered.

“Give him time, sir. He broke a leg running through a comcam vector and has been in a rotten mood ever since we left orbit, so-”

“No biog, Nacho – just put him on…”  

The Commander hobbled forward: “Yo, Big Ears! How ya doin’?” Brad chirped.

“Harrumph. Impudent to the last…”

“Yeah, well, whatcha want? The burrito is getting cold and I’d much rather spend more time with that, know wha’ I mean-?”

“The Zandokans are back in your sector! We need you now, more than ever – the way you led the Resistance and drove five divisions of Zandokan Shokk Troopers off Marsbar was… exceptional-” 

“Only ‘cos those dozy ‘tards knocked me cake onto the floor…” 

“Don’t be so… so self-effacing, Commander. You’ve got to take this job. You see… you really don’t have a choice in the matter. May I remind you that the cred-count for you bozos has tripled since our last vid-conf. And let me tell you: the Calista Blockhead is a top-of-the-line Sentinel-Class Starship which you stole and-“

“Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Let’s get something straight here, fella – when yours truly puts in a request for something, your desksuckers turn me down! If I don’t take it, I don’t get anywhere; I’m a Commander – I commandeer things, simple as, DAMMIT…”

“Hmm,” the self-righteous turniphead growled. “That’s your… philosophy is it?”

“Yo momma…” 

“Ahem. We could take away your commission…” 

“Ha, try it coochie-coo. Just try…” 

“Now listen here, Commander. I have just about had enough-” 

“Sweet, me too! Shut him off, Lex…”

And with that, the amazing Lexi flicked the monitor off. The renegades were left in silence once more.

“He needs you,” Lexi purred sarcastically. “He needs the famous Brad-“

“Yeah, well. Who doesn’t, lov? Now that’s done, let’s see where we can go… Okey-dokey, help me over to the nav-console, Nach.”

“Yo, you got it, boss! Er, which is your jammy leg? Is it that one?” 

“IT’S THE ONE WITH THE PLASTER CAST, EEE YA DOZY HA’P’ORTH! For goodness sake! Flamin’ Nora…”

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“Brad is a real man’s man” – Angelina Jolie.  

The pips on Lexi’s console started bleeping far too regularly for comfort. 

“Don’t tell me…” Brad face-palmed. “That’s who I think it is… is’nit?”

“Yep,” she muttered reluctantly. “A Zandokan K8-Class battle-cruiser de-cloaking off the starboard bow.”

“Nuts… I TOLD you not to tell me…” 

“Er, Commander…” Lexi gulped. “They’re hailin’.” 

“Bummer- fine, put ’em on the screen…” Brad groaned.  

Sure enough, Brad’s arch-nemesis: Zegreatme filled out the screen, smug and supercilious as always:

“Look how old you’ve become…”

“It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage-“

“D****d inzolent c*r, Bred! Ve should haf conzigned you to ze stazziz toobs on Altair IV vhen ve hed ze chence!”  

“Yeah well, sorry ta disappoint’cha, fella, but th-“

“ENNUV, Bred! Your kek-guzzleeng days air ovair! By ze vay… how is ze leg…? Air could get zum of meh agents to admineestair a CLEEN BREK to your uddair leg. Zhen, Cammandair, you vould attain vot hes alluded you yer whole life: conseestency, heh heh heh…!  

“Damn you, you Zandokan moof-milker! Tell me, Zeggy, why are you Zandokans so-” 

“ZYLENZ! En’ leesen! We eemplore you, for the oompteenth tai-eem, Cammandairdo NOT get embroieelled in Zandokan matterzzz-” 

“Blimey Charley, this is the livin’ end. Shut ‘im off, Lex,” Brad seethed.

In that moment, Ensign Crow Magnon yelled: “TORPEDOES COMIN’ IN!”

“SHIELDS UP!” Brad blurted.

He grabbed the Com as a piercing red light shot across the main monitor. The blast shook the Bridge. Chief Engineer Harris Wrench yelped as his quesadillas fell onto the floor.

A wicked Zandokan chortle erupted on the main audio channel.

“Heh heh heh, zat vill teach you to sweetch me urf in meed-sentenz, Bred-fool! Ehr… juzt one more theeng: our Empeerial Tractair Beeem haz juzt confeescated ALL YOUR KEK! Zo long, zuckairs, HA!”

In a flash, the Zandokan ship blasted off into hyperspace. 

“Jeez, Brad…” Lexi cried, glaring at her console in alarm. “He’s right! They’ve seized ALL OUR CAKE from the storage units-”

“Argh! Why, I oughtta… oof; that does it! Set a course for the Wotatease System; cake- (sorry) make OUR jump to hyperspace!” 

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“Brad is only getting more handsome with age. He also bears a striking resemblance to the iconic Robert Redford…” – Entertainment Weekly. 

“Eef you vont zees job done properly, Major…” Baal Maag, the top Zandokan assassin, growled through the vid-comf monitor: “you should tell me more about zees renegade cammandair-turned-bloggair…”

“Very well,” Spoiler spouted, contemplating the traits that best defined the man. And then he realised the sheer immensity of his task: the cake, the burritos, the kebabs, the katsu curries, the beef and jalapeno bake; not to mention the dakgalbi, and bibimbap buffet, the copious cups of tea, and yet more oodles of scrumptious cake…

“Oh Lord… where do I begin…?” 

Meanwhile, just outside the Yuhafbinhad Nebula… 

In the Calista’s cafeteria, the cool-as-fudge Terran Commander was waiting for his tea to brew.

“Come on, damn you. Come ON!”

While those Zandokan feckwits were streaking ever further away across the galaxy – with Brad’s cake, don’t forget! – Brad Company had HAD to beam aboard the Ambassador of Wahtalaf. Initially, Brad had baulked at such a costly diversion, until Lexi reminded him that here, some of the finest confectionery this side of the Oort Cloud could be obtained… 

“First things first, Your Excellency: howsaboutta cuppa tea?” 

“Let’s not concern ourselves with that just now. It’s a long and complicated operation-“

“What?! To make tea? Come, come, fella, there’s really nothin’ to itit’s a piece of cake- HA!” 

“No, I mean the operation we want you and your band to undertake. PLEASE, Brad, you ARE the celebrated Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger; Scourge of the Necroscoffers of Nippleheim. Can we count on you to incite rebellion among the Screwheads of Shakatak? Force them to overthrow the Flaccid Empire of Scrotum IV and restore freedom and ping pong balls to the galaxy?! Eh, Commander…? What say you?!” 

“Do you take milk and sugar?”

to be continued...

Sherlock Holmes and The (Bad) Sign Of Four

I Say, Holmes, This New Fantastic(?!) Four Movie Really Is Quite Dire! 

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“Now, let’s not jump to conclusions. We need much more scientific evidence before we can say that” – Reed Richards. 

“First things first, Watson. Inform Mrs. Hudson that it’s about time for afternoon tea.”

“Certainly, Holmes!” I replied. I could tell by his furrowed brow that the World’s Greatest Detective had found a most perplexing case upon which to cogitate. 

“Now, upon my return to our beloved home at 221B Baker Street this morning after wrapping up that most bothersome Case of the Missing Characterisations, I received a most curious telegram; it outlines a most perplexing case-“

“Aha! Thought so, ho ho!” 

“…Ahem. Here, I shall dictate, thus:

“Why, oh why. Stop. When Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers et al consistently produce such splendid sequels, absolutely no one can make a great Fantastic Four movie? Stop. Please, please, please, make them. Stop. J. Whedon Esq.”

“By Jove! Now, that- that is a frightfully complicated conundrum to elucidate!” I blurted. “Gad, that should keep you occupied for a jolly long time!”

“Indubitably, my good man,” he huffed, rather world-wearily. “Although let it be known that I am about to embark on a most trying venture, so it will be anything but jolly, I’m afraid.”

“Of course, I’m sorry, Holmes.”  

“I shall acquire your help too, old friend; I will need to summon all the powers at my command. My fortitude. My resilience… and some tea. Make it so.”

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“Wow, Dr. Phil, that’s deep. Let’s think about that. You got Victor: more money than God, Stud of the Year. And you got Reed: world’s dumbest smart guy, worth less than a postage stamp. That’s a real toss-up” – Johnny Storm. 

“This new Fantastic Four movie, Watson – more needless “origins” pap. What do you make of it, old chap?”

“Hmm, not much to write home about I’m afraid, Holmes.”

“Precisely, Doctor… Often cited as the greatest team in comics, with a 54-year history of stories to call upon, and yet this charmless cinematic curio offers nothing in the way of wit or worth. Already, it has fallen woefully short of its predicted Opening Weekend Haul-“

“You mean it received a clobbering! Oh, ho ho ho-!”

“Watson, for goodness sake…”

“Sorry, Holmes… It received a paltry single-figure total on Rotten Tomatoes… Not much of a Marvel-“

“AH, WATSON!” Holmes yelled, making me jolt so irksomely that I almost fell off the arm of his plush leather armchair.

“That is precisely the point, my dear Watson! Not… a Marvel. Not a Marvel… at all. It’s produced by 20th Century Fox, wouldn’t you know, but… those stupendous X-Men movies were done by Fox, so it’s no fault of the change in studio… Hmm, there is one quintessential fact about the Fantastic Four that these so-called film-“makers” have overlooked: the comic’s wholesome nature is derived from the fact that – as two of them are siblings, two of them are married, two of them are constantly bickering with each other – they are a family unit, so cue a happy, frothy formula: one that has thrived for decades; not this dark, brooding nonsense currently clogging our cinemas, for pity’s sake! …And so, what next…?”

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“Hey, you think you got problems, you take a good look, pal!” – Ben Grimm.  

“Oh my giddy aunt…”

“My thoughts exactly, Holmes (ahem),” I spluttered.

“What is the meaning of this- this trainwreck?!”

“Well, as far as I can gather, this 1993 version was made primarily by Constantin – the studio best remembered for churning out that Resident Evil nonsense – purely as means to retain the rights to the franchise.”

“Yes, there was a time when Marvel Comics were collapsingat the brink of bankruptcy-“

“Oh no, perish the thought-“

“Oh yes, Watson, it was – I can assure you – a very long time ago, but all unbelievably true… They sold the rights of various superhero titles; apparently, Marvel had proposed a Fantastic Four movie as early as 1983, but – having sold the rights to The Human Torch to Universal in 1977 – they had to wait until 1986 before any plans could be developed!”

“Ah, this version never got released, and was never intended to, either.”

“Ha! Just as well! Huzzah for small mercies, eh what? This abomination was doomed to tank anyway. Anybody could see how elementary that is…”

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“Any more bright ideas? Why don’t you strip down and have a hundred people stare at you?” – Susan Storm. 

“Now, some people cite the 2005 movie as awful. Really, this effort wasn’t half-bad.”    

“It had the ever-delightful Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. Why, on Earth, would they want to make her invisible…?”

“Weh-heh-hell, I count my lucky stars I was never hired to figure that one out, thank the Lord!” 

“And you know, the sequel: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (from 2007) featured yet another extraordinary performance by Doug Jones as the Silver Surfer!”

“Good call, Watson! Yes, the Silver Surfer: the iconic fan fave. Hard to believe that comicbook movie is treated with equal disdain!”

“Delightful Stan Lee cameo-“

“Exactly! There is no reason to vilify this sequel either! No, really, Watson, these two movies should not be condemned to the extent that they have been. Too lightweight, underwhelming, mayhap, but simple, decent entertainment compared to this latest travesty nonetheless. Just look at these good points: you have Julian McMahon as a suitably menacing Victor von Doom; great comic relief between Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis); great special effects as always; and Jessica Alba. Taking her clothes off… These are not the traits of a dud movie-”

“No shit, Sherlock… Ha ha ha! By Jove, Holmes, did you see what I just did there? Ho ho! My, I’m in fine jest, this day-!” 

“Really, Watson, don’t. Milk. Your part. Actually, speaking of milk: WHERE’S MY BLASTED TEA?!”

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4 times the action! 4 times the fantastic…! Ah, nuts to this: 4 times the trainwreck, 4fs…