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#488: Toy Story

July 9, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #140: The One About Shrek the Third; #268: Old School, Part One

Tomorrow is officially the 5th anniversary of Multiplex, so there will be a few guest strips in celebration of that little milestone!

I know some of you don't like guest strips, but don't worry — I'll still be putting up my regular updates. There will just be a few extra ones by other cartoonists, like T.J. Tague, whose guest strip from Wednesday is now up in the Guest Strips section.

Here's a short Book 1 update for everybody: the proofing stage for Book 1 is winding down (the couple of passes were relatively mistake-free, finally), and I've finally arrived at a universally well-liked cover design, so I just need to put the finishing touches on the illustration and I'll be good to send it to the printer by the end of next week. Then it'll be time for… printer proofs! Joy.

About this strip, it's not really important to mention, but if you wanted to go out and buy an action figure of Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon… you pretty much can't. There are "Night Fury" action figures with a healthy tail, but none actually of Toothless, with the missing fin and Hiccup's saddle & rig. And the moveable wings on the 7" deluxe Night Fury figure seems to have a habit of falling out, if the Amazon reviews are any indication.

I have a hunch that the whole "Night Fury" thing is because they added the whole bit about Toothless's tail late in the game, and the toy manufacturer was forced to just change the name on the packaging or redo the mold. (I don't have any reason to believe this, other than a couple of early stills of the movie featuring Toothless with an unmistakably whole tail.)  As a reader in the toy business pointed out to me, it takes 6–8 months to get a toy from the concept to the shelves, so some significant, late story changes could have left the manufacturer without the time to redo the figure. 

While that sort of change would be excusable, what's not excusable is not having an Astrid action figure. While I'm reluctant to take guesses as to why (because she's a girl), when two of your three main characters don't even have figures, something's not right.

Hopefully by the time the sequel comes out, someone will put out a more complete action figure line for How to Train Your Dragon, because I totally want some. I just want to actually have Toothless, not a stand-in.

And yes, I feel a bit like David Willis right now.

Also, Mr. Mister was awesome:


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Review: Coherence (2013)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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Written and directed by James Ward Byrkit.
Starring Emily Foxler, Hugo Armstrong, Nicholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen, Lauren Maher, Alex Manugian, Lorene Scafaria, and Maury Sterling.

A new Patreon backer at the $50 level opted out of the usual reward of a plug in the “Become a Multiplex Patron” box (above, on the website), asking instead for me to plug the 2013 indie science fiction filmCoherence (with which he is not affiliated). I was happy to oblige, and so “A fan of Coherence” — a.k.a. The Patron, as I’ll refer to him from here out — is, for the duration of his patronage, among Multiplex‘s supporters. (And, yes, I will review just about any movie a $50 backer asks me to.)

What really got my interest in the film (aside from being asked very nicely to see it) was that The Patron compared it to Shane Carruth’s Primer, one of the best no-budget sci-fi movies ever made. I can definitely see the comparison: both are decidedly low-budget films with small casts and a science-fictiony premise. I feel like seeing the film fairly blind is probably the best, so I won’t summarize the plot beyond the premise of eight friends having a dinner party when a comet passes over and Strange Things Happen, but I don’t think I’m quite as enthusiastic as The Patron.

Unfortunately, the “go in as blind as you can” suggestion means I feel like I need to be pretty vague. Some clunky (and largely unnecessary) exposition gets spat out early on, which tried my patience a bit, but it gets fun as the plot gets rolling. And the plot is definitely the star of the film, not the largely forgettable cast of affluent, Southern California white people or the dialogue, which often feels improvised (in that it neither pushes the story forward nor reveals character, as good dialogue ought to).

Despite some genuinely terrifically creepy or suspenseful moments in the film, a handful of contrived plot points hold it back from being much more than a fun genre flick for me, but I found myself wondering what would happen next — almost up to the very end. A late turn in the film got more of an eye-roll from me than the shock that I think it was supposed register. As always, your mileage may vary, but the film’s merits make it well worth a viewing, particularly for science fiction fans suffering from blockbuster fatigue.

Here’s the trailer! If it piques your interest, please do check it out. It’s available for rent from Amazon Instant Video or for purchase from its official website, among other places. (I never recommend reading YouTube comments, but definitely on’t read the comments if you want to stay away from spoilers.)

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