Friday, June 26, 2015

The Most Portrayed Characters on Film

Remakes and sequels aren't always a fan favorite, especially when we're used to seeing a character portrayed by one actor and suddenly that actor is replaced by someone else. This change up can often ruin a movie when the changes happen within the span of a generation, but throughout time certain characters have been portrayed over a span of decades. If they are on this list, chances are your grandparents might have seen the same character in the movies back in the day as well.

Santa Claus – 800 + Times

This jolly figure has been in movies over a whopping 800 times. Perhaps the most famous portrayal of Santa was by Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street in 1947. Other notable portrayals of Santa include Tim Allen in the Santa Clause (1994) movies and by Edward Asner in the Will Ferrell favorite, Elf (2003).

Dracula – 250+ Times

If Bela Lugosi doesn't immediately come to mind when you hear the name Dracula, you need to sit down and watch the 1931 classic. If you're not a fan of old black and white movies, you might be a fan of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) in which Dracula is portrayed by Gary Oldman of The Professional, The Fifth Element and The Dark Knight. Recently, Dracula was portrayed by Luke Evans (Furious 7, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies) in 2014's Dracula Untold, which tells of how Dracula came to be the famous monster we all know.

Napoleon – 300+ Times

It's fair to say we haven't seen Napoleon on television and film in the United States as often as we see other historical characters. However, globally he has been portrayed over 337 times! The famous emperor nearly conquered most of Europe before being exiled to the island of St. Helena where he eventually died in 1821. Here in the US, we've seen Napoleon have smaller parts in movies like the Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009).

Abraham Lincoln - 250+ Times

The 16th president of the United States has been portrayed over 250 times throughout film and television history. Even commercials have featured actors portraying "Honest Abe" in his signature suit and top hat. If you're a 80's kid you'll remember Abraham Lincoln's speech in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), but in 2012 Stephen Spielberg brought the president's story to life in Lincoln, with Daniel Day-Lewis in he lead. His performance won him an Oscar and this version of Lincoln's story is currently the most recognized in the US.

There are plenty of characters that have been portrayed multiple times, especially religious figures. Which ones would you add to this list?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Technology Predicted in Movies and Television

Did you watch fantasy and sci-fi movies as a kid and wish you could have the gizmos and gadgets they had? The world of technology boomed after the 1950's and hasn't stopped since. This week, we'll take a look at some technology from movies and television that “came true” and are currently being used in today's world.

Dick Tracy's Watch – The iWatch

Dick Tracy was a comic book from the 1930's. The detective used his intelligence, strength, and gadgets to fight crime and defeat villains like Flattop. Tracy would use his “2 way wrist radio” watch to communicate with with police and other heroes. Fast forward to 2015, where various companies, including Apple, have released watches that can be used as both a computer and a telphone.

Picard's Tablet – the iPad

Star Trek spawned a worldwide fandom of science fiction fans that gather at conventions and learn the fictional languages used in the books, television series and movies. Star Trek was also responsible for predicitig a variety of objects we use today, most notably, the tablet. In Star Trek, a tablet-like device was used in place of a book, to listen to music, and to look at different parts of the galaxy. Sound familiar?

Various Shows & Movies - Robotics

Countless movies and television shows featured robots in a variety of occupations. In The Jetsons, we saw a robot as both a maid and family friend. Then in Terminator, we saw the polar opposite, where computers and electronics come to life and destroy the world's infrastructure while androids police humans. Today we have advanced by leaps and bounds in robotics in both science and medicine, but artificial intelligence is becoming more of a reality. Honda created ASIMO, a robot that can communicate with humans and perform simple tasks. Some fear ASIMO is the beginning of a dark future like Terminator.

Minority Report – Gesture Based Unser Interface

Whether or not you thought Minority Report was a good movie, it was visually fascinating and the technology used in the film, like facial recognition advertising and gesture based user interface (the projected computer screen Tom Cruise manipulated with his hands) are now a reality. An MIT grad who was used as a consultant on the film actually made the same software used in the movie.

The list of technology that is now a reality is much longer than this post, but it would take more than one post to list them all. We will see what the future holds when it comes to making movie magic a reality.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Unique Movie Inspired Merchandise

Movie merchandising is a huge part of the Hollywood revenue stream. From action figures and posters to collectible replicas and t-shirts, movie merchandise is one of the best ways a production can continue to make money long after a movie has left the theaters. Some movie franchises continue to come up with new merchandise years after its release and after awhile they start to get quite creative. Let's take a look at some of these unique movie merchandise products.

Death Star Ice Cubes

The Star Wars franchise has to be one of the most lucrative in film history. Well over 30 years after the release of the first movie, we get new merchandise to collect on a yearly basis. In this case we get a little treat for when we need a cool drink on a hot day. If you want to impress your friends, use these ice cubes shaped like the Death Star to cool their beverages of choice. While definitely not the craziest piece of Star Wars merchandise we've seen, we think it might be the one most accepted by your non-fan friends. 

R2-D2 Mailbox

Back in 2007, the US Postal Service created a series of R2-D2 mailboxes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. Continuing to be a collector's dream, the USPS also released Star Wars stamps along with the limited edition mailboxes. Finding the R2 mail boxes became a “thing” on the internet, and today an R2 mailbox, signed by Star Wars creator George Lucas, can be found in the USPS Museum.

Nike MAG's

If you grew up wishing you could own a hoverboard like Marty McFly's in Back to the Future, join the club. Nike did a limited edition release of the shoes a couple of years ago in which most of the pairs were auctioned off on the internet for thousands of dollars and raised for $5 million for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. But unlike in the movie, those did not self-lace. Nike is said to release a limited amount of the shoes later this year which can lace themselves like in the movies. There has been no mention of a price point, but we can imagine they won't be cheap.

Star Trek Caskets and Urns

While many men have gone, and will continue to “go there” before, if you want to go out in a blaze of geeky glory, look no further. You now have the option to be buried in a casket inspired by the uniforms of Star Trek's various characters. If cremation is in your plans, you can have your ashes stored forever in an urn emblazoned with the Enterprise's logo. Morbid, yes, but if they exist it's because someone out there is buying them!

Sure, some of the merchandising items you see might not be in the best taste, but to each his own! All it takes is a quick internet search to see the wide variety of movie-related items available for purchase. What will you find?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lesser Known Superheroes We'll See Soon

Batman, Superman, Spider-man, these are all names the general public is famillar with. The iamges are iconic enough to have people that are familiar with them all over the world, even if they've never picked up a comic book in their lives. Superheroes are more common place now. With box office smash hits like The Avengers and television shows like Arrow and The Flash being a huge success, companies have realized how profitable superheroes can be, and so they've delved into the archies to create series and films about superheros you might not have heard of.


Daredevil's first big-screen moment was in the Ben Affleck movie back in 2003. The movie was received poorly and still considered one of the “misses” when it comes to the hit and miss world of cinema. Recently, Netflix brought the character back to life with a dark and gritty series that allowed the creators to show the character's world as dark as it is in the comics, with no need to worry about PG ratings. The entire series is available to watch on Netflix now.

Suicide Squad

If the Justice League had a polar opposite, it would be the Suicide Squad. This group of supervillains is contracted to do deadly cover missions by the US government in the comic book series. As DC continues to go tit-for-tat with Marvel on the silver screen Suicide Squad is DC's answer to The Avengers. While you might have heard of The Joker, the other group members like Deadshot and Harley Quinn might not be as familiar. You will learn more about them soon enough when the movie is released next summer.


Bugs and superhereos go together more often than you would think. There are characters we all know like Spider-man and other characters people might not know, like The Wasp. This summer we will meet Ant-Man, played by Paul Rudd (Anchorman). Ant-Man uses a special suit to change his body size and multiply his strength. Expect this movie to be more tongue-in-cheek a la Guardians of the Galaxy, with a bit of self deprecating humor we already saw in the trailers.

A.K.A. Jessica Jones

If you remember the television show ALIAS starring Jennifer Garner, you will be excited for this Netflix series. A.K.A. Jessica Jones is about a superhero with PTSD that retires and starts her own private detective agency. Mix Law & Order with ALIAS and it seems we would have the formula for A.K.A. Jessica Jones. The show will be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning it takes place in the same world as The Avengers and Iron Man—it is not separate or comics/ only. A.K.A Jessica Jones will air sometime later this year.

Are you ready for this superhero invasion? If you're already a fan you will have quite a bit to look forward to and if you're new to world of caped crusaders, there will be plenty of material online and on TV to get you started.