For fun, this is a stop motion of our game of Monopoly. I took a picture after every move and Jen beat me in about an hour.
It was a bloodbath. Jen (the train) started strong with some railroad and utility purchases. Mike (the race car) got bogged down early on with a long string of bad rolls leading to only three properties owned. Jen quickly snapped up the second utility, Park Place, and all four Railroads. Mike collected all the Greens, and began building houses, but was wiped out by the Railroads. When Jen finally bought the last property left, Boardwalk, it was all over. The hotels built were never used. It was the Electric Company that dealt the fatal blow and left Mike’s car piece in a wreck.
This deluxe Monopoly has old fashioned wooden houses and hotels, metal markers, organizers for all the cards and money, and proper storage for everything while boxed. For a neat and tidy traditional game of Monopoly (or with whatever traditional rules you play with), this is our go-to version.
From last night’s show Cool Collectables, here’s the animation of Transformers Earthrise Scorponok transforming from Scorpion to robot mode. This took about an hour to make. Toy includes DK-19 upgrade kit by DNA Design,
Music is “Randy” by Max the Axe.
On Friday night’s LeBrain Train, G1 Fortress Maximus was my #4 favourite Transformer of all time. I don’t have a G1, but I have an (even better) Encore reissue. I mentioned during the show that although the figure is now in storage, I did film an animated Transformers movie starring the toy. He featured in a big battle scene with Galvatron, an homage to their original fight in Marvel’s Transformers #79. I filmed the whole thing on the May long weekend in 2013 but lost my script and never edited it together.
However I’ve dusted off a couple shots, edited them together and I present to you a clip from the unfinished film Transformers 4: Fortress Maximus.* Music is “Immortal” by Max the Axe, from Trillion Dollar Threats.
* The series is as follows:
- The Transformers: Death and Rebirth of Optimus Prime (unreleased)
- Transformers 2: Revenge of the Schnauzers
- Transformers 3: The Ghost of Starscream (unreleased)
- Transformers 4: Fortress Maximus (unfinished)
On Friday’s LeBrain Train we discussed the Top Animated Films of all time. The National Film Board of Canada came in with “The Sweater”, a classic short about a young Habs fan who receives a dreaded Leafs jersey instead. It’s beautiful to look it, wonderful to watch, and heartfelt. It’s only 10 minutes long so please enjoy “The Sweater”.
Going into this show, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m not a big animation guy, as you’ll see. But this was one of the most fun shows we’ve ever done in the umpteen months of this show! The discussions were funny, insightful, and passionate. The picks were diverse with some consensus on key animated films. There was a little bit of CanCon and a little bit of Kiss. And a lot of fun.
Thank you to our awesome panel this week:
- Rob Daniels (Visions In Sound)
- Kevin (BuriedOnMars)
- Erik Woods (Cinematic Sound Radio)
- Lana Teramae
- Harrison the Mad Metal Man
I also did a an unboxing of the brand new RSD Triumph Allied Forces 40th anniversary box set (Canadian edition). You gotta see this puppy. Check that out right at the start of the broadcast. After which, the lists commence!
Thanks for watching everyone, this was a blast from beginning to end!
The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Friends
Episode 79 – Nigel Tufnel Top Ten Animated films
I agreed to this week’s theme before I really thought it through. When it came down to making my actual list, I realized how few animated movies I’ve seen. However this show will not suck. Rob and Erik know their stuff, and I’m sure Kevin, Lana and Harrison will bring it. That’s your panel this week:
- Myself (LeBrain)
- Kevin (BuriedOnMars)
- Rob Daniels (Visions In Sound)
- Erik Woods (Cinematic Sound Radio)
- Lana Teramae
- Harrison the Mad Metal Man
BONUS: Unboxing! You will not believe what Deke and I scored this time. That will happen in the pre-show segment before 7:00. Show up around 6:45 if you want to see the musical bounty we hauled!
We also need to update you on the upcoming schedule and future plans. Stay tuned!
And next week…
One of the classic Christmas specials that you never see on TV anymore is Nelvana Animation’s A Cosmic Christmas. Nelvana produced some of the greatest animation of the time, such as Rock and Rule (1983). Nelvana even made the acclaimed Boba Fett animation that introduced the character in 1978 for the Star Wars Holiday Special. Much like that special, A Cosmic Christmas has never been issued on DVD. Yet it truly is a special cartoon that you have probably never seen, until now.
The first time I saw A Cosmic Christmas was probably the winter of 1977. I saw it yearly, until it stopped running. Why is it no longer shown? Possibly due to a brief mention of Jesus and the star of Bethlehem?
Young Peter and his goose Lucy encounter three old wise aliens on Christmas Eve. They’ve come to Earth to investigate the appearance of a rogue star some 2000 years ago. (Nice attention to the speed of light!) Peter tells them that what they have really come to learn about is Christmas: peace, love and caring for others. He tries to show them, but Peter has a bully named Marvin (wearing purple Paul Stanley boots!) who steals his goose. Why did he do it? Because he’s a bad egg? Or just because he is hungry?
“Wait! There is something we do not understand,” says one of the wise aliens studying human culture. “How could someone go hungry, if this is Christmas?”
“Because we were so busy thinking about ourselves. We never thought about other people,” answers one of the townsfolk.
Enjoy the Christmas story that brought tears to my eyes back then, and still does today. A Cosmic Christmas.
Dedicated to SW – “A good soul”
GETTING MORE TALE #836: Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Schnauzers
For one weekend in the summer of 2012, I put the music on pause. Transformers 2 – Revenge of the Schnauzers was the title. It was a series and I made four movies in total. Five, if you count the final one that I shot but never edited. There’s something so satisfying about animating Transformers. I wanted to go big or go home this time, and what I ended up with this time was a 44 minute movie (originally split into two parts for file size reasons).
It’s amazing to think I did this movie in a single weekend in July 2012. Probably Canada Day weekend. I filmed the whole thing in just two days. You can see the the light change as I filmed from sunrise to sunset, in order to squeeze time out of every minute. And this movie was just my side project! At the same time, I was also posting 1-2 articles per day for my main gig: reviews and Record Store Tales.
I came prepared for Canada Day weekend with my Nokia C3 cell phone as my only camera. Here’s something you didn’t know. Cell phones back then were so much easier to do primitive animation with. There’s a pause button you could hit when you’re making a video, and it essentially allowed me to do the stop motion very single-handedly, very quickly, just by hitting that pause button. Sure, I made a few mistakes along the way. I had to reshoot entire scenes when I didn’t know I was pausing “off” instead of “on”, but it did enable me to do this entire thing in just two days. I barely stopped to eat, and I was just wiped by the end of it. I think it was a manic episode to be honest with you, but a doctor never diagnosed that so it’s just my opinion.
I chose the characters (and more importantly, toys) that I wanted to use for the movie. Most of them are from the Generations lines, with some third party add-on kits for Hound and Goldbug. Others are reissues of G1 originals: Soundwave and his tapes, Predaking, and Ultra Magnus. I needed figures that would be easy to transform on the fly. Magnus and Predaking were brand new in my collection and I wanted to show them off. I decided to bring more Decepticons with me than Autobots to give them a real disadvantage. I built the teams and roughed out a story. Dialogue was improvised on the spot but not fixed in place until the editing stage a few days later!
I used Windows Movie Maker, then and now, to edit. It was much less stable then (or at least my computer is more powerful now). The amount of edits I used numbered in the hundreds and crashes were frequent. Even though I was essentially editing “live” in-camera as I filmed and animated, I was also tightening up those edits with Windows. Funny enough, Windows has no more features in the current version than it did in 2012. For the laser blasts, I added a “split” and inserted a “fade in from white” effect. They are remarkably effective.
I originally edited the movie with mainstream rock music as the soundtrack. I used Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, and AC/DC among others. Needless to say, YouTube never let me upload it, so it sat on my various hard drives and DVDs all these years. Until I recently had an idea.
Uncle Meat’s hatred of my “playing with action figures” inspired me to use his music to get around the YouTube issues. More accurately, Max the Axe’s music (with a little of my sister’s mixed in). It worked brilliantly. Just as well as the original version, though with music you’re not familiar with.
Now you can hear many of these great Max the Axe tracks for yourself. While watching robots blow each other to bits!
Sure, it was cool when I used “Accident of Birth” by Bruce Dickinson as the entrance music for the Colossus Schnauzers and….
Oh! You’re confused about the Schnauzers. Having grown up around the wee beasts, I realized that in action figure scale, you could use them as giant monsters if you could get them to do what you wanted them to do. With Kathryn Ladano’s help, we used treats as incentives to chase and attack Autobots. I affixed Decepticon logos to their foreheads and wrote them into the story as Shockwave’s latest creation: Colossus Schnauzers. With DNA stolen from a secret lab (named after the two doggies Laci and Ali), the Decepticons engineered giant versions of the beasts.
It’s up to the Autobots to find out what they are up to, with a small squad led by Ultra Magnus. (I had focused on Optimus Prime in the preceding chapter with his death and rebirth as Powermaster Prime, so I wanted a different leader figure this time.) I used two Bumblebee figures. One was modified with a third-party head that made him into a Generations version of Goldbug, his rebuilt form. This is all roughly based on an original Marvel comics storyline. I also took inspiration from the TV show. One figure that I wanted to show off next time was my transparent “Ghost Starscream”. I didn’t have time to get into that with this chapter, so I ended it with some foreshadowing that would allow me to introduce my ghost version of the figure next time.
I coloured the dialogue to make it easier to tell which ‘bot is talking. I did an “infodump” introduction for the Predacons. This is the much-critisized technique used by Bob Budiansky in the 80s Marvel series. Each new toy had an introduction, because the comic was just a device to sell toys. That was my homage to Budiansky. The characterisations of the figures in my film are meant to be true to their toy bios and comic book appearances. Although my story takes place in a universe all its own, it’s similar to the ones you know. The “release the Schnauzers” scene is of course a parody of the the Kraken scene in Clash of the Titans. I wanted something that reminded me of Poseidon pulling the chain that opened the big gate.
I haven’t watched this movie for a long time. I had forgotten that I even included a “blooper reel” at the end. This is the only part of the movie that still has its original music soundtrack. Though I’ve forgotten the name of the track, that’s Kathryn Ladano’s music playing and that’s her in her only cameo!
Consider that I shot this thing in two days, sunrise to sunset, and edited it together in a couple more, all while posting new daily reviews and Record Store Tales. That’s unbelievable and probably also unhealthy. But I still enjoy the results! I legitimately like this. I also enjoyed adding the new music by Max the Axe and seeing how it worked out. I’m proud enough to post it here for you to enjoy. And I hope you do!
Please welcome guest writer Robert Daniels, from radio’s Visions In Sound
ROCK AND RULE (1983 Nelvana)
“Oh what will the signal be for your eyes to see me…”
Back in about 1984 or 85 I remember watching TV one afternoon and stumbling on an animated movie. Interested, I stopped to watch. It had weird, trippy images and some scantily clad cartoon woman singing and a strange creature growling. My 14 year old mind was intrigued and then was completely blown when one of the animated characters said “Shit!” Cartoon characters were not supposed to swear!! Clearly this was a mistake. No, it was not a mistake, it was Rock and Rule. Although at the time I didn’t know the title and didn’t see the movie on TV again for a while.
Rock and Rule was set in a post apocalyptic future where the street animals evolved into a human like society. MOK is an aging rock star trying to find a specific voice in the guise of a worldwide talent search. MOK hopes to unleash a powerful demon from another dimension, his dwindling popularity driving him to destroy the world in vengeance and immortalize himself in the process. After returning to Ohmtown he finds the voice he’s looking for in Angel, a singer in a local band along with friends Omar, Dizzy and Stretch. MOK invites her to join him and when she refuses he kidnaps Angel and forces her to sing to raise the demon.
This was the era of the edgy “adult” cartoon, Heavy Metal, American Pop, Wizards, Starchaser: The Legend Of Orin and others. I do remember getting into an argument with my Mom back in 1981 about not being able to see Heavy Metal. “It’s a Cartoon…it HAS to be for kids!!!”.
It would be several years later when I was in high school that I described the ending scene to someone and they said “Oh yeah, that’s Rock and Rule…” Bingo, I had a title and looked high and low for a copy on VHS. Nothing. I was obsessed to find Rock and Rule. Of course, in the late 80s early 90s there was no internet so the only thing I could do was continue to bug the people at Steve’s TV to try and find a copy. Again, nothing. Then one day out of the blue I got a call from Steve’s. They said they found a copy and would order it for me. “Great” I said, “How much.” “$129.99”. My heart sank, that was far too expensive for my blood. So the film continued to sit in the back of my mind for years.
“My Name Is MOK, thanks a lot”
Then one day in (about) 2003, I heard of a showing at the former Hyland theatre. A local Anime expert and film buff rented the then-empty theatre to show the a cut of the film.
Also Don Francks, the voice of MOK, was going to be there. I jumped at the opportunity.
The film was nothing like I thought it was going to be. First, it was produced by Nelvana Studios that I only knew for Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Droids and Ewoks, etc. All kids’ cartoons. It was also one of the first films I ever saw that listed “Songs by…” first above the main cast. This list included Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, with a special performance by Earth, Wind and Fire. After the movie there was a Q & A with Don Francks, who I later found out provided the voices for such characters as Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, Lackki from Captain Power and the un-credited voice of Boba Fett from the Star Wars: Holiday Special. I asked him if he based his performance of MOK on David Bowie. He said that he didn’t have any particular person in mind when he voiced MOK. I later found out that MOK’s full name was MOK SWAGGER a spin on Mick Jagger. However, the talent representation of The Rolling Stones’ lead singer objected and forced the producers to drop the character’s surname. It’s also interesting to note that David Bowie, Tim Curry, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger and Sting were all considered for MOK but the budget of the film couldn’t afford them.
“I dunno about this, nobody seems to be buying these ‘I survived the MOK concert’ T-shirts.”
This year (2018) is the 35th anniversary of this masterpiece of Canadian animation. Rock and Rule is the first English speaking Canadian animated feature film entirely produced in Canada itself. Unfortunately the film sat in near obscurity for years after being shelved by distributor MGM and never got released in North America. The film did develop a cult following after being shown on CBC (who held the Canadian TV Rights), HBO and Showtime. Bootleg copies would show up at comic book conventions oddly enough with Ralph Bakshi being credited as director.
“She can sing, or she can scream!!!”
Much like Heavy Metal from 1981 music was a huge part of the film and also much like Heavy Metal the music got tied up in rights issues.
Back in about 2005 just before the release of the Rock and Rule DVD, I was actually in contact with someone from Nelvana Studios who told me that director Clive A. Smith, whose wife Patricia Cullen had also written the score, had the tape masters for the soundtrack in his garage and that he might be willing to let me have them for mastering. Unfortunately nothing came of this as I lost contact but it was the closest I came to producing a soundtrack release. In 2010 the film was released on Blu-ray and unfortunately has become quite expensive on the used market.
It was previously believed that no official soundtrack album had ever been issued for Rock and Rule. In fact, Deborah Harry mentions on a “Making Of…” documentary that she hopes the music gets a soundtrack release. However, as it turns out, a handful of film critics received a cassette tape featuring nine songs (“Hot Dogs and Sushi” and “Send Love Through” were omitted). All songs are extended from how they appear in the film and in familiar copies. “Born to Raise Hell,” “I’m the Man,” “Dance Dance Dance,” and “Ohm Sweet Ohm” have been officially issued on CD, along with an alternate version of “Pain and Suffering,” and “Maybe For Sure” (an alternate version of “Angel’s Song”).
Though a deliberate Google search will turn up a couple of versions of the soundtrack, this is the most common track list:
[2:46] 01. Born To Raise Hell (Cheap Trick – Album Version)
[5:14] 02 Angel’s Song (Deborah Harry)
[4:22] 03 My Name Is Mok (Lou Reed)
[2:11] 04. I’m The Man (Cheap Trick – Album Version)
[3:12] 05. Earth Wind And Fire – Dance Dance Dance
[2:49] 06. Ohm Sweet Ohm (Cheap Trick – Album Version)
[3:15] 07. Triumph (Lou Reed)
[1:28] 08. Hot Dogs & Sushi (Melleny Brown)
[3:28] 09. Invocation Song (Deborah Harry)
[3:41] 10. Pain & Suffering (Iggy Pop)
[5:56] 11. Send Love Through (Deborah Harry and Robin Zander)
[4:30] 12. Maybe For Sure (Deborah Harry)
[5:22] 13. Angel’s Song (Cassette Mix)
[3:29] 14. Invocation Song (Mono Cassette Mix)
[4:35] 15. My Name is Mok (Cassette Mix)
[3:42] 16. Pain And Suffering (Iggy Pop)
[0:52] 17. Triumph (Movie Mix)
[2:35] 18. Angel’s Song (Movie Mix)
[1:38] 19. Invocation Song (Movie Mix)
[1:49] 20. Pain & Suffering (Movie Mix)
[2:06] 21. My Name is Mok (Movie Mix)
[3:36] 22. Triumph (Mono Cassette Mix)
Rock and Rule falls into the category of “…what could have been”. Had MGM had more faith in the project and released it in North America it may have been a hit rather than the cult classic it would eventually become. If you haven’t seen it or are interested in a look at a piece of Canadian animation history check it out, you will not be disappointed.
A solid 4/5 stars. Dark, and yet at the same time fun.