Wednesday, October 26, 2005

New Toys

With Doctor Who hitting the headlines all the time at the moment, shops are eagerly awaiting the new toys from Character Options - I was out the other day in Kingston town centre and the big toyshop there has a sign apologising that they haven't managed to get the remote control Dalek in as yet ... I spoke to them as well and it seems that demand is so high that they will only get 12 of the Remote Control Dalek! Looks like the predictions of Doctor Who being this year's 'must have' toys are coming true. I was lucky to receive a selection of the new toys a few weeks or so back and so have been giving them the once over. I'm pleased to report that they are, as a selection, brilliant. Ranging from the remote control Dalek to the Sonic Screwdriver there is something for everyone here. REMOTE CONTROL DALEK Starting with absolutely the Christmas must-have, the beautiful gold remote control Dalek stands a foot tall and comes with a neat rt unit which controls its movement. There are also buttons down the centre of the unit which make the Dalek say various phrases. The toy is fairly easy to control once you get the hang of it, although a polished wooden floor or kitchen lino would seem to be the best surface, and as it moves along so its head swings and the eye raises and lowers. The eye is also illuminated with that eerie blue glow and the whole thing is as stately as a tank as it chases cats, dogs or other family members around the room. Everyone who has seen this wants one for Christmas ... SONIC SCREWDRIVER A nice replica of the Doctor's trusty tool from the TV series. This is made from plastic and has two buttons which make the end light up with uv light and the buzzing sound to emit. It also has a uv pen nib at one end (which can be interchanged with a black ink nib) and a pad of post-it type notes which can be written on. The uv pen is only visible under uv light so secret messages can be left for like minded friends. On the downside the toy is a little plasticky and the handle lacks the detailing on the original. Though I am told that this aspect is being improved for future releases. DALEK BATTLE SET This consists of two Daleks, a black and a gold, two remote control units and a model of either the Doctor or Rose. The Daleks, which are about 4 inches high, zoom around trying to exterminate each other and their lights flash faster as they are 'hit' until one of them 'dies' and switches off. Neat stuff though the set I have came with no instructions so I'm not quite sure how the thing works ... my black Dalek keeps dying before the gold no matter what. This is a fantastic toy and having Dalek chasing games around the dining room floor was brilliant. Top marks for this. TELEPHONE TARDIS A really neat idea, this. A small TARDIS model about four inches inches high on which the light flashes and the take-off sound is emitted when a mobile phone nearby is about to ring. Simple and effective. I loved this one. It's very cool. WALKIE TALKIES Large foot high models of the Doctor and a Slitheen hide walkie talkie handsets which can be used to communicate with friends. These are quite large and chunky and I don't like to break them out of their packaging to see how well they work. They are great models though, and it's really cool to see a monster other than a Dalek appearing as a physical model/figure for once. I wonder if the Slitheen farts :) DALEK LCD GAME A neat little LCD game which seems aimed at younger kids who haven't yet discovered the delights of PSPs and GameBoys as yet (does such a thing exist?) Nice Dalek packaging on this one. DOCTOR WHO MONEY BANK A TARDIS-shaped moneybank which speaks several phrases from the show when money is put in and the doors opened and closed. A rather nice idea to save up enough money to buy the other toys perhaps ... All the items have brilliant packaging and make a very consistent and attractive set of goodies from the show. Overall this is a fantastic set of toys with a few more goodies yet to come like talking mugs and the like. What an amazing time to be a fan of the show - we've not seen toys like these for many years and I hope we have many more to come over the next few years.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Night Watch

Went to the cinema tonight hoping to see Land of the Dead ... unfortunately that film was showing on different nights now, so we saw a film called Night Watch instead. I had no idea what this film was about, but I really was pleasantly surprised. It's in Russian with English subtitles, but please don't let that put you off as this is a rather classy horror flick with some superb ideas and visual effects, and it rolls along at a cracking pace. The plot is along the lines of there being two opposing forces: the Day Watch and the Night Watch, each of which keeps the other in check. But a new 'special' human, called an Other, has appeared and when he chooses whether to follow the forces of light (good) or dark (evil) then the balance will be tipped. The plot follows one 'Other' who finds himself seeking this new human to try and bring him to the light, but along the way there's a battle with vampires (some very neat stuff here with them only appearing in mirrors) and other witches and demons, and a nightmarish journey into something called the Gloom which seems to eat up those who venture into it if they are not careful. There are also beast-men and tiger-women, and an incredible sequence where an owl transforms into a woman ... there's a lot going on in this film! The sound design is brilliant, as is the subtitling which has been done in such a way that it actually integrates with the film itself, the words appearing at different speeds and in colours to match the tone at the time - some scenes are almost graphic novel-like in their combining of visuals and on-screen words. Very nicely done indeed. Other great moments are the spider-toy thing near the start, the incredibly edited sequence of the witch forcing a miscarriage on a girl, the sequence where a truck flips over a man in the road and lands and carries on driving the other side ... and many more besides. Overall the film comes over as a sort of hybrid between The Matrix and Underworld with much originality and cleverness added into the mix. I really enjoyed the experience and will probably get the film on DVD as and when so I can see and appreciate it again.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Updates ...

Apologies to all for the lack of updates over the last few months ... things have been pretty hectic ... I have loads of things I want to talk about from the new merchandise and books to the exhibition at Blackpool and other things too ... I'm really going to try and get back into the swing of things and post some musings and meanderings soon.