Monday, 20 February 2017

Nerdversity Reviews: Drayton Manor Star Wars Fireworks and Laser Spectacular

Drayton Manor has it's origins as a stately home in the 1800s that was destroyed in the 1920s. After it was used as a training base for Allied Troops in WW2, a small funfair was opened in 1949. In the 1950s, they added a zoo. The park has continued to expand.

I first heard about this event some time back, when we got a seasonal leaflet through the post, promoting their winter events. As soon as I saw the event advertised, I knew I had to attend, so the tickets were booked and on Saturday 29th, I was there.

After arriving at the event, we were signposted to a field, where they had set up a grandstand seating area for the attendees. I settled in, ate fish n chips, while watching The Force Awakens on a large screen, broadcast from the back of a truck. The movie started at 4pm and ran until 6:15pm.

Once the movie was over, everyone filed off to either go find food or use the toilet. Around 7pm. people were ushered to certain areas, where they capped off the night with a firework and laser light show, accompanied by various and iconic Star Wars themes.  All in all, for £30 a ticket, this was well worth the price of admission. There's just something special about watching a movie outside

Nerdversity Reviews: Star Wars Super Saturdays (Week 3)

The Entertainer is a UK based toy retailer. They were founded in 1980 and are one of the biggest names in toy retail. They are heavily focused on charity and Christian values, such as closing on a sunday.

Unlike other events, the Star Wars Super Saturday seemed to only be 3 weeks, ahead of the Rogue One Promotion. So, Saturday morning, it was time to get my card and go down to my local Entertainer store to get the final stamp.

The theme this time round was "assemble the ultimate rebel team", which was basically down to testing out the "Rip N Go" BB-8 toy. this is a ripcord toy that beeps and whistles at the user as they pull the ripcord and send him flying down a smooth floor.

The toy was retailing for £29.99, which is a pretty decent price for this awesome toy. After giving it a test run, I'd highly recommend the play value of this toy.

Nerdversity Reviews: Ghostbusters Candy Sticks

In 2016, Paul Feig rebooted the Ghostbuster franchise with an all new movie that featured a largely all female cast.

With Halloween right around the corner, we have a store called B&M releasing these Ghostbusters movie themed candies. In this instance, we have a 10 pack bag of candy sticks. The front of the bag features the no-Ghost logo with the sticks visible. On both sides, we can see the plain black packaging with slime dripping down the bag. On the back, we have another no-ghost logo, as well as the ingredients and copyright info,

Inside the bag, we have 10 packs of 12g candy stick packets. I was able to separate the designs ad get a full set of 5, with the rest being doubles. In this instace, all the boxes have the ghostbusters logo on the top with slime dripping down. The bottom of the boxes have the hazard stripe. The designs on the box are lifted from designs in the movie. 

There are five of these candy sticks or candy cigarettes as some of you may know them, in each packet. I was able to get these for £1.99 and they were worth the purchase. 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Nerdversity Reviews: Disney Star Wars Apple Juice

Star Wars is a multi billion dollar franchise that spans 40 years. It also contains anything and everything known to man.

Somewhere between the release of The Force Awakens and Rogue One, Disney decided to continue it's massive marketing strategy for the franchise. In this instance, a 6 pack of Star Wars themed apple flavoured juice boxes. German store chain Aldi were selling these 6 packs off for £1.99 a pack, so of course, I picked a pack up.

There are 4 designs in each packet, themed after a classic character from the movies. They are Yoda, Chewie, Vader and a Stormtrooper. The back of the little juice boxes has a short bio on the characters and a small picture, taken from the front of the box. The bios appear to mix both prequels and original trilogy materials.

Each juice box contains around 200ml of sweetened apple juice. After cutting the box open and pouring it into my Cap glass, it takes around 2 boxes to fill it fully. The juice is yellowy and does have that apple taste to it, rather refreshing too. Definitely worth the pick up, especially for a younger Star Wars fan. 

Nerdversity Reviews: Stikeez From Space

Lidl is a German budget supermarket chain that launched a chain of stores in the UK in 1994. It is well known for selling budget branded food and household items. As of now, they have over 650 stores across the UK.

For decades and even centuries, children have swapped small items on the playground with one another, be it candy, Mighty Max toys, trading cards, erasers and even action figures. Each new craze and fad has started life on the playground. In 2015, Lidl decided to wade into the UK playgrounds by releasing a line of collectible figures called Stikeez From Space. To get these, parents could get a pack for every £10 spent, or they retailed for the pocket money price of 30p. Lidl also released collectors albums and more.

To see what this craze was all about, and why Lidl had sold out numerous times, I bought myself two packets. The foil packaging was largely bare on the inside. The outer piece only showing the logo for the item and the back containing the copyright information. Inside each packet is a little rubber figure with a suction cup on the bottom. For a 30p collectible toy, these were pretty good. They are made of soft rubber. the paint applications are pretty decent too.

This is one craze that sort of slipped under my radar and I'm glad I was able to take a look at the item. These are blind bag figures and they're on the extreme cheap end, so kids can buy multiple packets for their money and still get something good. The crazy thing is that the market for this has blown up to the point where even the blue packet, which are free, were going for around £3 or £4. It's good to see that the playground trading scene is still alive and well 

Nerdversity Reviews: The Real Ghostbusters - The Halloween Door

The Real Ghostbusters was a cartoon spin off from the 1984 movie. It first aired in September of 1986 on ABC until 1987, then it switched to USA network until it's eventual demise in 1991. It was called "The Real Ghostbusers" to differentiate the series from a similar titled show, called The Ghost Busters, created by Filmation.

The Halloween Door was the third and final Halloween special created. It was written by screen legend J. Michael Straczynski, yes, that very same JMS that created Babylon 5 in 1993. The Halloween Door aired on 29th October 1989, as part of the 5th season. The plot for this episode is On October 31, children raced through the neighborhood dressed in their costumes. Upstairs in the Firehouse, Peter was getting ready for his date with Lynn Stacy after a gig at a junior high school. Ray revealed everyone else was going trick or treating. Slimer spent the past week making his own costume. Peter found himself face to face with himself, or rather Slimer dressed up as Peter. Peter got an idea and returned dressed as Slimer then slimed Slimer. Meanwhile, downstairs, Lynn arrived and asked Winston if Peter was around. Winston was startled at first but went upstairs. While Lynn waited, Slimer arrived still in costume. Lynn mistook Slimer for the real deal and asked for a kiss hello. Naturally, Slimer went overboard. Disgusted by the act, Lynn stormed out of the Firehouse. Peter was confused and chased after her. However, waiting just outside were two men.
The Ghostbusters were confronted by Dr. Crowley and his assistant Fairweater, who wanted their help in ending Halloween. Crowley insisted Halloween was dangerous for allowing children's imagination to run wild. As Louis asked Crowley more about his mandate, Fairweather sneaked off. Slimer caught on and followed him. Egon attempted to explain Halloween's cultural significance but Crowley refused to listen. Instead, Winston told Slimer there were candy in the visitors' socks. Crowley and Fairweather ran for it. The guys turned them down, but one of their P.K.E. Meters was stolen by Fairweather when Slimer was distracted by news about candy. Crowley recalled he needed a P.K.E. Meter to help focus his machine. Fairweather revealed the stolen equipment. Not dwelling too long on the moral implications, the duo raced back to Crowley's home.
At Jefferson Junior High, the Ghostbusters put on a rally for the students. Once Egon activated a light show, the guys sang about the history of Halloween. Slimer grabbed a girl dressed as a ballerina from the audience and danced with her while Peter tried to flirt with one of the teachers. Meanwhile, at Crowley's home, Fairweather finished the last of the modifications for the machine, the Electronic Positronic Anti-Halloween Machine (AHM). Once Crowley activated it, the AHM scanned the city and destroyed anything related to Halloween - pumpkins, decorations, costumes, candy, and books. However, something very bad happened. A portal opened in the sky above Crowley's home. A very large demon named Boogaloo and his minions crossed over into New York City. Fairweather revealed Crowley was just a pawn in a plan to open a door to the Other Side. He then revealed his true form - that of a monster!
In the city, the Ghostbusters rescued a mother and infant from a pair of winged monsters. However, the city was infested and Egon worried they were doomed. Ray, however, believed it wasn't time to give up yet. Boogaloo and his minions converged on Times Square and celebrated their victory. The Ghostbusters observed a news report from an electronic store display and learned the President declared a national state of emergency. Boogaloo took over the airwaves and declared the ghosts were in charge because the Halloween Deal was broken. Slime gushed out of the television sets and landed all over the guys. Egon explained how Earth was once infested with demons 2000 years ago but the Druids struck a deal. The worse of the demons moved to the Netherworld on one condition, they would be remembered on one day - Halloween. Egon believed if they didn't restore Halloween by midnight, the contract would be broken permanently. Peter looked at his watch. It was 11:30 pm. Winston realized the Containment Unit was a prime target.
At the Firehouse, Janine, Louis, and Slimer struggled to keep an army of ghosts from entering the basement. Several got through and opened the Containment Unit. Slimer quickly flew Janine and Louis to safety as the unit exploded. From a distance, the guys saw the P.K.E. surge from the explosion. All of a sudden, Ecto-1 fell apart and a bunch of ghosts fled the scene. Out of Ghost Traps and 10 minutes of power left on the Proton Packs, Ray was ready to give up. Peter declared all they had to do was find the door and close it. Egon checked his P.K.E. Meter and pointed towards the Times Square district. Boogaloo stood in their way. While Egon and Winston raced to reverse the AHM, Peter and Ray were left to distract Boogaloo. When Egon and Winston arrived at the mansion, the AHM was fatally sabotaged by several ghosts. Boogaloo toyed with Peter and Ray and animated part of the street to capture them. Egon, Winston, and Crowley were paid a visit by a girl who lived next door, Irma. She was dressed like a Ghostbuster and wanted to help out, stating she wasn't afraid.
Egon realized this was the solution. With two minutes until midnight, Irma was presented to Boogaloo. He was perplexed at her lack of fear. Egon stepped in and inferred Halloween was about the rediscovery of wonder and taking back the night for the children. The Halloween Deal was restored and a portal opened up and pulled Boogaloo and his forces in. Time was also restored backwards to 8 pm. Irma parted ways to meet up with her father and the gang decided to go trick or treating for Halloween.

The intro for this episode is special as it features clips from all the unaired pilot, as well as clips from this episode. This episode could be considered one of the better themed of the later seasons. This episode would later be released on the Time Life set

Nerdversity Reviews: The Real Ghostbusters - Halloween II 1/2

The Real Ghostbusters was a 1986 cartoon series. It was designed and created as a spin off to the hugely successful 1984 movie and ran for several seasons.

Halloween II 1/2 was the second of the three Halloween specials that were broadcast in the show's 7 season run. It was written by Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy and aired on October 31st 1987, during the show's 3rd season. The episode sees the return of villain Samhain on Halloween night. The rest of the plot revolves around The Junior Ghostbusters were trick or treating on Halloween night with Slimer. They stopped at a door and knocked. A woman answered with a bowl of candy ready. While she asked about their costumes, Slimer stuffed the bowl in his mouth. He then spit out an empty but slimed bowl. A tied up terrier barked at the Junior Ghostbusters and Slimer. The dog's bowl moved and a hand shoved it into the dog's face. It was one of Samhain's goblins. The terrier retreated into its doghouse but the second goblin rose up from beneath it. It then tossed the doghouse and dog away. The Junior Ghostbusters bumped into Samhain's two goblin minions and dropped their candy. Although the Junior Ghostbusters believed they are just kids in costumes, Slimer pondered about their real identity. Jason gave the goblins some candy as an apology, but they ran off into the night.
Slimer tailed the goblins and found out they dumped the candy into the bushes. Slimer presented the abandoned candy to the Junior's. It was decided they would follow the goblins even though Jason still wanted to trick or treat. The group ventured to the Ghostbuster's headquarters where they found the lights out and creepy faces looking at them. At first they were scared and backed away, until the lights went on and it turned out to only be the Ghostbusters and Janine in costumes. While everyone else started to party, Slimer danced with Janine but noticed the two goblins among the guests. They ran downstairs to the Containment Unit and locked the door from the inside. Slimer alerted the Junior's and they rushed downstairs. Slimer went in alone and saw the goblins messing with the grid. A burst of P.K.E. shot out of the Firehouse roof, prompting the party guests to leave. Egon, Peter, Ray and Winston went downstairs to investigate. However, they get down just after the goblins released Samhain from the Containment Unit.
Outraged that he was imprisoned, Samhain hurled an orb of P.K.E. into the wall. The energy caused the Firehouse to violently transform. The Ghostbusters retreated and hopped into Ecto-1 and narrowly escaped. The Firehouse then transformed into a ghostly fortress and Samhain placed up a protective shield that only ghostly beings could pass through, preventing the Ghostbusters from using light or Proton Streams against him. The more ghosts inside, the more powerful he and the shield became.
Outside the fortress, the Ghostbusters made a retreat as Samhain sent some ghosts after them. The Ghostbusters however managed to trap some of them using a Proton Cannon and Trap apparatus. Winston then created a smoke screen to brush off the rest. The Ghostbusters dropped the children off at their clubhouse. Back at the fortress, an angry Samhain decided to lead the rest of his minions to search for the Ghostbusters. The Junior Ghostbusters, now dressed in their jumpsuits, waited nervously for the Ghostbusters. A jerry rigged ghost detector started stirring all of a sudden. The Junior's headed outside and saw Samhain's army flying by and they decided to enter Samhain's empty fortress. They brought Ecto-Junior from the garage and headed out. Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters were finalizing their counteroffensive. Egon showed everyone the cosmic shape of the fortress and deduced all they had to do was change the shape and it would collapse.
The Junior Ghostbusters arrived at the fortress and encountered two of Samhain's minions. Donald managed to hold off the pair with a giant slingshot and pumpkin. However, they were soon captured by Samhain himself. Egon relented and announced he needed more data on the exact configuration of the fortress interior. Slimer was volunteered to acquire the intelligence. He was outfitted with a mini camera in his mouth so he could take it with him into the fortress. After he dodged various ghosts, Slimer discovered the captured children and Egon also saw a keystone. He explained it was the very spot where the Containment Unit used to be. He concluded that if it was destroyed, it would bring the entire fortress down. After they returned to the fortress, the Ghostbusters faced Samhain, who threatened to kill the children should they not surrender. After the Ghostbusters laid down their weapons, Slimer drew Samhain's forces while the Ghostbusters fired from a distance and hit them. Janine then activated the Proton Cannon and struck the keystone. Samhain is weakened by the damage done to the keystone and lack of ghosts to strengthen him.
Slimer was able to get the children out of the fortress using his own slime to allow them through the wall. The keystone then shattered and Samhain attempted to fight the Ghostbusters, but Janine used the lights on the Ecto-1 to stun him long enough for the fortress to crumble. Once the fortress crumbled, the Containment Unit (which was left open from Samhain's escape) was unveiled and Samhain was sucked back in. The Firehouse reappeared and the group continued their Halloween party.

The episode was aired in syndication in 1987 and would later be released on the Time Life collectors boxed set.