Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WoW Wednesday- I'm Still Talking About Warcraft

So I went to Warcraft for the second time on Saturday, just like I said I would. It was still amazing. We saw it regular this time, no fancy 3D IMAX. It was weird, some of the images that looked cheesy in the IMAX (the gryphons flying), looked okay in the regular viewing. Watching the movie didn't change my opinion of it at all, and this time the people in the theater seemed to appreciate the humor in the movie more than the ones in the first viewing did (although, if you ask critics, there was no humor whatsoever in the movie). What I wanted to talk about today is the promotion that Blizzard and Regal Entertainment are running together, and see if any of you had the same experience that my husband and I did.

So one of the things that had some people really excited for this movie were the promotions that Blizzard has going with various theater companies (you can check those out here, and sorry Canada- you aren't included for some reason), and the fact that if you log in within the two months of its release, you get some cute transmog items from the movie (two items from each faction, plus an achievement). The deal with Regal states that anyone who buys a ticket will get the a code for a digital download of the game, plus if you pay with your Regal Crown Club card, you get a chance to win two tickets to BlizzCon. Great, right? Except, we bought four tickets and got one code. The guy at the box office said he was only allowed to hand out one code, but the way Blizzard words it, it sounds like every ticket is supposed to get a code. Now if you check Regal's website, they word it a bit differently, and its vague enough that it fits with the one code only policy. We have a lot of WoW accounts anyway, but we were going to give the downloads to our kids, so it was a bit of a bummer to have to pick which child was going to receive it. Have any of you run into this problem with the promotion? I was just curious if our theater was just trying to regulate their supply (because the codes are only handed out "while supplies last", and since they're the only Regal in town, I imagine they need the gimmick to take sales away from the other theaters we have here), or if that is in fact the promotion, and Blizzard was misleading.

And if you still haven't seen the movie yet, you really should. Ignore all the critics horrible reviews and just go see it. Its not a wannabe Lord of the Rings, its not a disaster of epic proportions. Its visually stunning, and if you have any sort of WoW knowledge, things will click for you and you will understand the movie. And more than likely, you will want to play once you're done watching it, even if you haven't played in years (and I think that's exactly what Blizzard wanted lol). 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Poppin' Off- Warcraft

So I know what you're thinking, this is about a WoW related thing, shouldn't this be a WoW Wednesday post? Yes, it probably should, but I don't want to wait until Wednesday to talk about this awesome movie, and movies do technically fall under the Poppin' Off umbrella, so here we go!!

This movie has been ten or so years in the making, and let me just say, it was well worth the wait. I loved it. I'm pretty sure I can do this spoiler free, but just in case, if you haven't seen the movie and don't want any inkling of anything that happens, please come back to read this after you've seen the movie

My husband and I saw it Thursday night in IMAX 3D, and the visuals were stunning. There were lots of familiar cities and landmarks in it (Dalaran, Stormwind, Ironforge, Goldshire, Karazahn, The Dark Portal....there are some I'm forgetting I know), and it was so cool to see them on a big screen. It was like being able to take what you see in the game and just become one step closer to fully being in it, if that makes sense. 

The movie is based off of Blizzard's game Warcraft, not World of Warcraft, so this has caused some problems for people that do play WoW. They're basically saying that the movie doesn't stay true to the lore, but I guess that it does stay true to a lot of the original game's lore, not the current lore we all know now. Also, when any book or game gets turned into a movie, usually studios will streamline some content to either make the film flow more fluently, or to explain or simplify things for people that might not have read the book/played the game, and are just coming to see the movie. Does that mean that everyone likes it? No, but as long as you understand it, you can accept it, move on, and appreciate what the movie has to offer. And this movie offers a lot, an engaging story line, top notch graphics (although there was a few times I wondered if they just threw a toy gryphon across the screen lol), and pretty good acting. The characters were well cast, although I wanted to punch the Queen of Stormwind in the face. Shes played by the girl that plays Tulip in Preacher, and just after seeing her in that panel at WonderCon just made not like her as a person, so it ruined the character for me a little bit. However, King Llane is played by the guy that plays Preacher, and he just does a great job. Hopefully with them working together on so many things, his charming personality will rub off on her. Overall though, all of the characters were really well acted- it was nice to see. 

My favorite character was Lothar- he was everything you'd expect an Alliance solider to be. He had some dry humor and wasn't hard on the eyes, so that was a plus. I have to give it up to Khadgar too, he definitely showed that mages are more than just vending machines! Also, there are some very strong female characters for those of you that complain that WoW never includes them- Draka, wife of Durotan and mother of Thrall, is a fighter until the very end, and of course there is Garona, the half breed who basically has an Alliance heart but a Hordie face who is fierce in every way she can be. There are two little CGI's that are just adorable too- a Murloc has a cameo and baby Thrall. 

Critics have panned this movie- they all hate it. I think they hate it because they've never played a Warcraft game and don't understand what the movie is supposed to be. I think fans of the game will love it. And the movie ends open ended enough that there can easily be a sequel (or five.....). It does end on a very cheesy note (ever wonder what a baby Thrall growling at you would sound like? you'll find out), but I don't really know how else they would have ended it. There was so much story that you see during it (and really, that you play through game-wise), that there isn't a good place to just stop. But like I said, I loved the movie, and we're actually going to see it again on Saturday, and take our kids this time. If you love Azeroth and everything surrounding it, and you want to see more of these movies made- let the movie studios know! Go out and see Warcraft this weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Quests/Bill and Ted's Circle K and Cabazon Dinosaurs

Recently, we went on a family trip to Phoenix for their Comic Con (read about it here, here, and here). It was a lot of fun, and my husband and I are hoping to go again next year (minus the kiddos though). While we didn't eat at a Waffle House (a newly acquired item on my life achievement list- what others would call a bucket list), we did get to visit the Circle K where Bill and Ted was filmed and those super huge Cabazon dinosaurs that I have been dying to see since every time we head that way lol. Its been years now, so that was exciting. 

So there are a million Circle Ks in Arizona. Fact. Or should be, since they're on every corner like Starbucks is here. We were gassing up at one before leaving, and with the Whoa, Keanu! panel still fresh in my head, I decided to see if we were anywhere near the Circle K where they filmed Bill and Ted. Guess what. We were like five minutes away! So we went to the Circle K and thought for sure that there would be some sort of Bill and Ted memorabilia. It would make total sense, right? Nope. Not one thing. We bought some snacks (and the nastiest Icee you will ever taste) and asked the cashier if lots of people come there because of Bill and Ted. She said" What? Nope." So we felt like weirdos and went outside to take pictures. Its at 1010 West Southern Avenue in Tempe if you're interested in visiting it yourself. 

Bill and Ted's Circle K!

So we drive a few hours........

And we're back in our home state! So we drive some more.....

Then we see signs for the Cabazon Dinosaurs! I didn't really think we'd stop and see them, because the drive home was feeling twice as long as the drive to Phoenix, but we stopped. And look at these bad boys.

They have some kind of museum or exhibit behind all this, but we didn't want to pay (and there aren't any large dinos that you don't get to see if you don't). The gift shop is located inside the Apato, which was cool but it was soooooo hot in there.

So those were our little side stops, and one day, I will eat at a Waffle House.....
It was right next to our hotel! So close, and yet, so far...

Have you visited any of these places? What did you think of them?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Phoenix Comic Con/My Yays and Nays

I like to write up my likes and dislikes about conventions in a separate post, just because it can otherwise make things lengthy, and who wants to look at walls and walls of text? So here are my yays and nays for Phoenix Comic Con (spoiler, they're pretty much all yays):

*Their air conditioning was fantastic. I can't tell you how many conventions I've been to where it gets nasty hot for seemingly no reason other than they don't run the A/C enough. Lots of people equals lots of heat, which is no good. This place was rocking that A/C, and it was nice. The convention center wasn't cold, but it wasn't hot either. I guess with record setting highs outside, they understood that people didn't want to be roasting inside too. Thank you.

*They gave away prizes. I have never been to a convention where the convention itself hands out prizes for asking questions in panels. We got all of our prizes because our kids were well behaved (seriously) or because they had some extra prize cards and needed to dump them. Once you got a card, you took it to this table and you had a choice of some comic books, Walking Dead Lego-type sets or tee shirts of conventions past. We ended up with three Walking Dead sets and three shirts. I think that's really cool of the convention to do that. It encourages audience participation during panels, and it helps them unload unsold merch- so nothing goes to waste. 

*They appreciate their 18+ fans. This actually ended up being pretty limiting for my husband and I since we brought our children, but there were quite a few panels and events that were labeled 18+. I thought that was cool though, it gives older con goers a place to hang out without having to censor themselves. And I also thought it was really cool that they advertised so many outside events in their program guide. At larger cons, you hear about these great parties, but if you don't know the right people, you can't go. Well, at PHXCC, they were printed in the guide, so everyone had a chance. 

*Panelists. If you're not hosting an 18+ panel, please don't tell people that you can't say what you want to say because there are children in the room. It makes people think they're missing out on really great stuff because of the children, and it makes them very disgruntled towards the people who brought said children. People with children like to attend conventions and panels too.

*No bags, lanyards or programs given with badges. Mentioned this in my Friday coverage, but not having those things right away was a huge pain. And the freebies weren't flowing like they do at larger conventions, so it took a minute to find some on the floor (which the staff said "would be like, so easy to do").

*The cosplayers. So I'm probably going to get some crap for this, but it has to be said. I think I saw some of the rudest cosplayers at this convention, and that's why I don't have any pictures of them anywhere in my coverage. Don't get me wrong, there were some amazing cosplays there, and I'm sure that there were also some very nice cosplayers too. But after hearing one girl tell her friend how much she hated everyone that asked her for a photo, then turn around and act all sweet with some guy, only to call him a name when he left- I was less than impressed. And you might be thinking, well that's just one girl. No, there was a lot of that, and its for that reason that people hate asking cosplayers to take their photos. It was just really sad to see people behave that way. 

Overall, I had a really fun time. My husband and I want to go back next year (sans children) and experience all the other events that are offered. 

This was at the convention center. When we were driving into Phoenix, there 
was this radio ad about having scorpions removed from your home. Um, no thanks!

Check out Friday and Saturday's coverage, and let me know, are you interested in going to Phoenix Comic Con next year? Maybe I'll see you there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Phoenix Comic Con/Saturday

Saturday was pretty much a panel day since we'd walked the floor on Friday. Our first panel started not too long after the convention opened, at it was Zombies, Government and You. And it was about how to survive in a zombie apocalypse (or any disaster really) without any help from the government. The guys that did the panel were pretty interesting, but I found that their panel got away from them. There were a lot of what-ifers in the crowd, or people that were there solely to argue, and it detracted a lot from what you could tell they were trying to talk about. Also, there was this one guy in the audience that was like, trying to sell everyone survivalist bunkers at one hundred thousand dollars a piece, and that got to be really annoying. The panelists do have podcasts though, one being the name of the panel (Zombies, Government and You) and others a nineties nostalgia one called 2 Legit with Drew and Nick. The panel was fun and it made me want to listen to their podcasts, even though I left really irritated at some fellow audience members.

The panel title is in the background.

 After that one, we moved on to a mashup panel about Goosebumps. It was more for the kids because we were trying to make sure they didn't get bored during all the panels (six and ten is rough for a full day of panels!), and they had a lot of fun in this one. There were members of the National Comedy Theatre (Derrick Tesson, Frenchie Lynn Augustin, Jacob Talbert, Jesus "Chuy" Huerta, and Mike Mayfield) who were ad libing the entire two episodes of Camp Nightmare. Do you guys remember the short lived Goosebumps teevee show from the 90's? It was so campy and fun, but these guys did it one better by removing all the sound and basically making up their own show. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of this panel because it was like, bam, darkness and right into the episodes, but they all did a wonderful job.

We saw some of the previous panelists again right after in our next panel, Whoa! Battle of the Keanus! Its based on a podcast that they are currently doing, and the panelists (Alice Baker, Andrea Coffman, Anthony Thornton, Jacob Talbert, Krissy Lenz, and Nathan Blackwell) showed different Keanu Reeves characters, and had them "battle" it out, with audience participation. It was very much like the Rotten Tomatoes panel at WonderCon, but instead of clapping or whatever, you were supposed to say whoa. It was a very lively, interactive panel, and our final battle was between John Wick and Ted Theodore Logan....and I'm sure you can guess who won! I think its a really great idea for a panel, I just don't see how they did a whole podcast series around it. But they have, so go check that out if you're interested.

Claps for Keanu!

Have you ever wanted to hear Ed Sheeran talk about zombies and how they've evolved? You should've gone to the Evolution of a Zombie panel at PHXCC then! No, it wasn't actually Ed Sheeran that did it, it was Craig W. Chenery, but he looks darn close to him and they both have that fantastic accent. This panel was also very interesting, he was a one man panel with a great Power Point presentation. He has researched the zombie genre going back all the way to the 20's or 30's, it was pretty cool. I had no idea that zombie movies were really a Caribbean thing, but that's how they started. He really knows his zombie stuff, and is currently writing a couple fo different books, one of them being a zombie movie encyclopedia of sorts. Hes watched like over a thousand zombie movies, or something like that, it was nuts. And sadly, I don't have a picture of him either. Just picture Ed Sheeran.

Our last panel of the day was the only panel that disappointed me out of the whole convention. It was supposed to be about post-apocalyptic obsession, but instead it basically turned into this cosplay group's hangout and all they did was talk about this piece of land that they own that they're trying to fix up to look wrecked based on some place here in CA (and their apparent love for bourbon). To be fair, the program description said that the group would talk about themselves to an extent, but they weren't supposed to be the topic of conversation for the whole panel. So that was lame, but some of them did have cool costumes. No pictures of them either, because the room was so crowded there really wasn't the space to.

After that, we left the convention center. We ate at Whataburger again (its all my kids wanted the whole trip- its that good!) and then saw X-Men Apocalypse.

The best thing EVER.

Don't forget to read Friday's coverage, and look for the final wrap up tomorrow!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Phoenix Comic Con/Friday

I got to attend Phoenix Comic Con this year and it was so much fun. While it was a four day convention, I was only able to attend Friday and Saturday. The drive there was long (almost eight hours....), but it was worth it. I really like Phoenix, it reminds me a lot of where I am here in California, but also has that cool kid vibe that you find in L.A.

My husband and I loaded our kids into the car about 1:30 in the morning and started off to Phoenix, and made in there around 8:30am. We managed to park in our lot (which was cheap and super close to the convention center, so there was minimal walking) and make it into the convention center before the convention was even open for registration, so we got in line and waited. The line looked huge, but once it got moving, we got in to where we needed to be in no time- they were beyond efficient, and I really appreciated that. They had everything clearly labeled, so you knew where you needed to be (prepaid, press, buy on site, etc). One of the things that was weird to me was that they didn't hand out lanyards, bags or programs. Its probably because I'm spoiled, but I do expect those things from conventions that have been around a while. Especially since, once we were on the hunt for a program, we found out that there were none. Apparently they had run out during Thursday, and at 10am Friday, they had yet to restock. So they had a lot of angry con goers, and some already moody convention workers trying to deal with that problem. While I did think that was poor planning on the convention's part, eventually we did get our programs and convention life went on :)

My super cute pass and Her Universe pants.

We hit the convention floor first, since there wasn't a lot of people there and it had prime walk-ability. There were pretty much the standard con booths, minus a lot of the big comic names and clothing companies (but We Love Fine was there, and I love their clothes!). I was excited to see Filthy Casual there, I have been wanting to buy some of their gear for a long time and have never seen them at a convention. But their customer service was lame, the people at their booth were so rude. I did buy a shirt, but I really regretted it. I probably won't buy anything else from them either, that's how bad it was.

They had cutouts of the Geico camel, pig and gecko on display.

In the afternoon we decided to attend a panel, it was about re-dos in comics, and if they're killing superheroes. It was really interesting- most of the panelists seemed to think that re-tellings aren't horrible, but they all have comics as a profession in one way or another, so to say that rebirths are killing the industry wouldn't really be beneficial to them. Sadly, their names weren't listed in the program, the panelists are just "Phoenix Comicon Staff", so I'm guessing they just pulled these people last minute. They also didn't have nameplates, which I didn't like either. I usually just take a picture to remember who I saw, that didn't help this time.

The panelists.

After the panel we just walked the floor a little more, then decided to leave. We ate at Whataburger (love that place! I wish we had them in Cali) and went back to our hotel.

Watch for Saturday's post tomorrow! And if you attended, what did you like best about it? Let me know in the comments below.