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The Epic Fantasy Movie Legacy of Orlando Bloom

This one goes out to all the ladies out there. Orlando Bloom has been in some pretty epic fantasy and historical fiction movies. Here’s a sampling:

blackhawk

Black Hawk Down (Blackburn)

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The Hobbit trilogy (Legolas)

kingdom-of-heaven

Kingdom of Heaven (Balian de Ibelin)

LOTR

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Legolas)

pirates

Pirates of the Caribbean series (Will Turner)

romeo

Romeo and Juliet (Romeo)

THE THREE MUSKETEERS

The Three Musketeers (Duke of Buckingham) – love the costume and the facial hair

troy

Troy (Paris)

commercial

Orlando Bloom has two other claims to fame in my book. Here he is in a Gap commercial with Kate Beckingsale.

"Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet" Broadway Opening Night - After Party

And, of course, he was married to Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr. Good news, ladies! They are no longer together.

Click to Tweet: The Epic Fantasy Movie Legacy of Orlando Bloom at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Dx via @Nimpentoad


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Eight Diverse Movie & TV Roles by Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch’s (that’s a mouthful!) career is skyrocketing. And with good reason. Here are some diverse roles he’s played in movies and on TV.

12years

12 Years a Slave (Ford)

FifthEstate

The Fifth Estate (Julian Assange)

khan

Star Trek Into Darkness (Khan)

sherlock

Sherlock (Sherlock Holmes)

smaug

The Hobbit (voice of Smaug & Necromancer)

SnapeSimpsons

The Simpsons (voice of Alan Rickman –> art imitating life imitating art)

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Peter Guillam)

WarHorse

War Horse (Maj. Jamie Stewart)

Click to Tweet: Eight Diverse Movie & TV Roles by Benedict Cumberbatch at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Dl via @Nimpentoad


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Infographic: Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Movies Related to The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite books, and I was thinking about the movie version. It struck me that many of the actors in “The Lord of the Rings” also appear in other speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy & horror) movies. Hugo Weaving plays Elrond, but he’s also Agent Smith in “The Matrix”. Christopher Lee plays Saruman, but also appears in “Star Wars” and billions of other movies. You get the idea.

Then I recalled the Six Degrees of Separation theory. So, starting from the Tolkien fan epicenter that is “The Lord of the Rings”, I plotted out how tightly connected by their actors speculative fiction movie are. Below is an infographic that shows an initial answer. I intentionally limited the scope of my inquiry. One could easily expand the network to be more inclusive.

Instructions:
1. Click on the image below to expand the infographic. If it’s still too small, use the View-Zoom In feature of your web browser.
2. Start in the center at “The Lord of the Rings” & “The Hobbit”. Move either right or left to the actor of your choice. Then keep moving horizontally right (or left) to see how these actors link to other speculative fiction movies, and so on.
For example, Karl Urban played Eomer in “The Lord of the Rings”. He was also in “Star Trek”, as was Zoe Saldana. She was in “Avatar”, as was Sam Worthington.  And Sam was in “Clash of the Titans”.

Caveats:
1. I don’t doubt that there are mistakes or omissions. There is no need to email me and remind me of my fallibility. There is no money-back guarantee. Well, since this is free, I guess I can offer a full refund if you’re not fully satisfied.
2. A single asterisk denotes that I couldn’t help myself, and included a few select TV shows. Whatcha gonna do?
3. A double asterisk denotes that I couldn’t help myself, and included a few non-speculative fiction movies. So sue me.
4. As in any network, there can be more than one path to get from one node (movie) to another. I’ve just shown single paths.
5. This infographic is in NO way represented as exhaustive, although creating it was exhausting.
6. If you enjoy it, kindly Retweet (@Nimpentoad) or otherwise share the link with friends you think would appreciate it (or send it to enemies who would not appreciate it, but who you wish to annoy).

Click on the image below to expand it.

LOTRinfographic


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The Nimpentoad authors at San Diego Comic-Con

My fellow Nimpentoad and Twignibble co-authors and I had a great time wandering the Exhibit Hall at the San Diego Comic-Con. Here are a few pictures.

SDCC_PlantVZombie

Nothing starts your day like meeting a zombie from the Plants vs. Zombies game my boys enjoy playing.

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For us older folks, it was a real treat to meet Peter Beagle, author of “The Last Unicorn”.

SDCC_KenMeyer

Here are my co-authors with comic artist Ken Meyer, Jr.

SDCC_KatieCook

Here are my co-authors with Katie Cook, who writes “My Little Pony” for IDW Publishing, and has also done licensed illustration work for DC, Marvel, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

SDCC_HappyHobbit

Proving again that timing is everything, we just  happened to wander in front of the Badali Jewelry booth, when our friend Cliff Broadway from TheOneRing.net was conducting a Lord of the Rings trivia quiz. Have I mentioned that I am a Lord of the Rings Rainman? It will then come as no surprise that we won the quiz, and left laden with terrific Tolkien booty, much as Bilbo ended his Hobbit adventure riding a pony burdened with treasure. As a bonus, we got to meet the Rice sisters, who write and star in the weekly Happy Hobbit video that is shown on TheOneRing.net.

SDCC_EvangelineLilly

In the foreground, my co-author Harrison. In the background, the smoking hot Evangeline Lilly, who will be appearing in the upcoming (second) Hobbit movie. We also saw Sir Richard Taylor, who heads up Weta, the company that makes props for Peter Jackson’s movies.

SDCC_Domo

Here my co-authors pose with the largest Domokun I’ve ever seen.

SDCC_Azog

An enormous Azog the Orc in front of the Weta booth was not nearly as welcoming as Domokun…

SDCC_AndrewHuerta

At the IDW Publishing booth, we spoke with several comic book illustrators. As it turned out, fate smiled upon us again. We have a friend Sohaib Awan, who writes the comic JINNRISE. His illustrator, Andrew Huerta, was there and graciously offered to sketch Nimpentoad !

SDCC_NimpByHuerta

Here is the wonderful end result he knocked out in no time flat.


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Interview with TheOneRing.net senior staffer Larry Curtis

Larry Curtis is a Senior Staff member at TheOneRing.net (TORn). TORn is well known to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’. Larry specializes in live events, news and social media. He was part of a set visit to ‘The Hobbit’ movie filming in 2012, gathering material primarily for the second film which has yet to be published. Although swamped with San Diego Comic-Con preparations, Larry has graciously agreed to answer some questions.

CurtisLarry

What is TORn all about?

TheOneRing.net is and always has been an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization made by fans, for fans, of J.R.R. Tolkien. It is an online community that serves many needs and kind of fan and bridges the gap between the filmmakers who worked on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films and now ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy of films. They are a world wide group of staff and fans that does all it can to bring what it can to fans with the resources of fans. They are best known in the mainstream for their Oscar Parties in Hollywood but they have been reporting book and movie news since 1999. They are passionate people collectively serving a passionate community.

What will be TORn’s presence at SDCC?

We have been a presence at San Diego Comic-Con for well over a decade, presenting panels about either ‘The Lord of the Rings’ or ‘The Hobbit’ for most of those years. This year we have a Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. look at ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ (the second of three Hobbit films). We aren’t part of the production or the studio so we speculate and discuss leaks and rumors as well as collect the public knowledge in a lively one-hour format. We are also selling shirts at the Weta Workshop booth and the Badali Jewelry booth to help us stay online. Currently our expenses are bigger than our income so a chance like this to sell shirts and make up some financial group is a great for us. We also relish the chance to meet fellow fans face-to-face and bring our online staff (or a small part of it) together in a physical place. It is self-paid vacation for many of us.

Henry: We’ll be at SDCC on July 21, so we will swing by the TORn booth to say hi.

What is it about Tolkien’s children’s book ‘The Hobbit’ that you find so intriguing?

I enjoy the book because of its introduction to Middle-earth, its deft use of an anti-hero and how grand and epic it all gets at the end. A very personable tale of a single Hobbit eventually involves all the key races in Middle-earth and despite the author’s modest and homey beginnings. He manages to leave such an impression of untold grand stories and weaves wonder with mundane world building in a way that leaves me appreciating the book long after I put it down.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from your involvement with TORn?

Simply that contributing to the greater good, as an unselfish team, brings me more pleasure and deeper satisfaction than almost anything I can do.

Henry: I will point out that you have a very Hobbit-like attitude in that regard. 🙂

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been involved with TORn?

There are many, many such experiences. It is almost impossible to overstate how being part of the TORn family has enriched my life with choice experiences. Most important of all are the life long friends I have made with fellow staffers. Those folks are as dear as the friends I have from the other portions of my life. I don’t know for sure what they think of me but I surely love them. The other big answer is my personal exposure to New Zealand, including many people there, has also enriched my life.

Do you have any favorite Tolkien quotes?

The one I think about most often is, “In a hole in the ground, there lived a Hobbit” and the bits that come after. It is a sentence and opening of such promise and I am shocked to think how he met that promise and then did so much more. It is very famous of course but not a quote as you mean exactly but it is what I think of first. I feel some need to read LOTR again so I have a better answer to this question.

Henry: For the handful of people who have yet to read ‘The Lord of the Rings’, some other quotes include:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and why?

Reading minds would be a useful skill. Flight would be the most fun power I can imagine but in real life it would be hot and cold and dangerous. I think I would take mind reading as a much more subtle but useful ability. Although, it would bring its own problems to be sure.

Henry: I would’ve bet money you would have chosen invisibility. 🙂

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?

I would have Tolkien to be sure, although I suspect he would be intimidating with his knowledge and difficult for me to engage. George R.R. Martin would be my next choice because he understands what Tolkien contributed and I think I need a modern man. Finally, sifting through all the classic authors, it is tempting to bring Shakespeare or Mark Twain or Charles Dickens but I choose Edgar Allen Poe. He might not be amazing in person but picking that brain would surely be something.

Henry: It would be interesting indeed to see what Tolkien would think of Martin’s practice of killing off his characters with wild abandon.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

The dragon. It is so universal and so amazing and frightening. I like it best when used lightly, but they seem to be at the very top of the mythical food chain. If not that that Sharktopus.

Henry: LOL. For those of you who haven’t seen the 2010 film Sharktopus (and that would be almost everyone), IMDB tells us, “A half-shark, half-octopus creature created for the military, creates a whole lot of terror in Mexico while a scientist who helped created it tries to capture/kill it.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read or experience other stories through film. I like video games too, particularly ones with a story to tell.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

He drank life to the lees.

Henry: Ah, a little Tennyson. He may be drinking so much because you didn’t invite him to dinner.

Where can people find out more about TORn?

TheOneRing.net but also our Facebook page and on Twitter. The best way is to dive into the community! And of course, at San Diego Comic-Con.

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner


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SDCC cosplay ideas: suits of armor from children’s books and comics

When we consider children’s books and comics, we typically think in terms of interesting characters and compelling stories. So while the focus of children’s books is not on armor, some of the tales taking place in fantasy setting, have armor that plays an important part of the story. After all, The Lord of the Rings tale would have turned out very differently if Frodo had not been wearing mithril armor when he was stabbed by the troll in Moria.

Compiled below are some famous suits of armor from children’s books, comics, and graphic novels. With San Diego Comic-Con just around the bend, these armor choices could serve as inspiration for SDCC cosplay as well.

The Witch King of Angmar

witchking
“The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien
This guy is Sauron’s right-hand man, er, wraith. If you had any doubts about his alignment, a spiky helmet is always a tipoff that someone works for the dark side. Although you can’t really see it in this photo, his gauntlets and boots are beautifully crafted. Plus, he one-handedly wields a mace the size of a naval mine!

From wikipedia.org:
“The Witch-king of Angmar, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl and the Black Captain, is a fictional character and a major antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth fantasy writings. In Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings, he is the chief of the Nazgûl (Ringwraiths), the chief servants of the Dark Lord Sauron. His name is not revealed in any of Tolkien’s writings, nor are the names of any of the other Nazgûl, except Khamûl.”

Thor

thor
“Thor” by Marvel Comics
Here is actor Chris Hemsworth rockin’ Thor’s combination plate and scale armor. I’m not sure why Thor and Loki wear armor, since they appear to be indestructible (recall the beating The Hulk gave Loki in The Avengers movie). And although Edna Mode is not a fan of capes, the red cape really sets off Thor’s armor nicely.

From wikipedia.org:
“Thor is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character is based on the god Thor of Norse mythology. He has starred in several ongoing series and limited series, and has been a perennial member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each volume of that series.

The 2011 film Thor, based on the character and comic, was directed by Kenneth Branagh and starred Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Hemsworth reappears as Thor in The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World is set for release in 2013. Thor placed 14th on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time in 2011.”

Elrond

elrond
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Elrond is one of the senior elves left in Middle-earth, and bearer of one of the three Elven rings of power. As befits an Elf Lord, he is wearing stunningly beautiful armor. The mauve and gold colors are striking, and the gracefully curving lines convey the armor’s elvish provenance.

From wikipedia.org:
“Elrond Half-elven is a fictional character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. He is introduced in The Hobbit, and plays a supporting role in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Silmarillion”.
Elrond was Lord of Rivendell, one of the mighty rulers of old that remained in Middle-earth in its Third Age. He was the son of Eärendil and Elwing, and a great-grandson of Lúthien, born in Beleriand in the First Age, making him well over 6,000 years old by the time of the events described in “The Lord of the Rings”. Elrond’s twin brother was Elros Tar-Minyatur, the first High King of Númenor.”

Batman

batman
“Batman” by DC Comics
Flexible black armor that renders you bulletproof! What’s not to like? Plus a utility belt with all kinds of useful gadgets. And a cape that lets Batman glide. Protective, functional, and stylish!

From wikipedia.org:
“Batman is an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics hero of the same name. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27, published in May 1939. Batman proved to be so popular that a self-titled ongoing comic book series began publication in the spring of 1940. It was first advertised in early April 1940, one month after the first appearance of his new sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder.
The first stories appearing in the Batman comic were written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane, though Finger went uncredited for years thereafter. These early stories depicted a vengeful Batman, not hesitant to kill when he saw it as a necessary sacrifice. Although not canonical, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns introduced a significant evolution of the Batman’s character in his eponymous series; he became uncompromising and relentless in his struggle to revitalize Gotham. The Batman often exhibited behavior that Gotham’s elite labeled as excessively violent as well as antisocial tendencies. Miller portrayed him with an anti-heroic and near villainous characterization.”

Iorek Byrnison

goldencompass
“The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman
Three words: Talking. Polar. Bear. In gold plate armor. OK, seven words. Imagine the power and ferocity of a polar bear, encased in the protective embrace of lovingly crafted sky-iron.

From wikipedia.org:
‘Northern Lights’, known as ‘The Golden Compass’ in North America, is a young-adult fantasy novel by Philip Pullman, published by Scholastic UK in 1995. Set in a universe parallel to ours, it features the journey of Lyra Belacqua to the Arctic in search of her missing friend, Roger Parslow, and her imprisoned “uncle”, Lord Asriel, who has been conducting experiments with a mysterious substance known as “Dust”. Northern Lights is the first book of a trilogy, ‘His Dark Materials’.

King Iorek Byrnison is a male armored bear (panserbjørner in Norwegian). Like all Panserbjørner, Iorek follows a very strict code of conduct, and will not, in any situation, betray a promise he has made. He possesses incredible strength, and like many of his kind is an expert smith. He is a great friend and comrade to both Lyra Belacqua and Lee Scoresby.

During the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Northern Lights, Iorek Byrnison is found shaping metal for humans in an Arctic port town. These humans had deceived Iorek by giving him spirits, then stole his sky-iron armor while he was intoxicated: this left him no choice but to work for the humans.”

Prince Nuada

princenuada
“Hellboy” by Dark Horse Comics
Admittedly, it is hard to not think about Prince Nuada’s extendable spear and his incredible fighting prowess. But his beautiful leather armor is light and flexible, and therefore better suited to his lightning fast fighting style than would be clumsy plate mail.

From wikipedia.org:
“Hellboy is a fictional character, a comic book superhero created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (Aug. 1993), and has since appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and inter-company crossovers. The character has been adapted into two live-action feature films in 2004 and 2008. Prince Nuada was the villain in the latter film.”

Prince Nuada, played by Luke Goss, appears in the Hellboy II movie. He is the son of the Elf King Balor, and brother to Princess Nuala, with whom he shares a symbiotic yin-yang relationship. He resents the diminishment of the Elf realms to the point of madness. His lust to restore the Elves’ former glory leads him to ruthlessly kills a room full of humans, as well as his father, to obtain two pieces of the magical crown that controls the unstoppable mechanical Golden Army.”

Minotaur

minotaur
“Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
While he is not a named character in the book or movie, this minotaur is sporting some some ornate and evil-looking armor (that’s as it should be, since he’s a minion of the White Witch). Plate armor, combined with steel-tipped horns, immense strength, and feral ferocity make him an opponent to be feared.

From wikipedia.org:
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It was the first published of seven novels in “The Chronicles of Narnia” (1950–1956) and it is the best known; among all the author’s books it is the most widely held in libraries.

Most of the novel is set in Narnia, a land of talking animals and mythical beings that the White Witch has ruled for one hundred years of deep winter. In the frame story, four English children live in a big old country house during their World War II evacuation from London. In Narnia the siblings seem to fulfill an old prophecy, so they are soon adventuring both to save their lives and to deliver the country.”

Iron Man

ironman
“Iron Man” by DC Comics
Iron Man’s armor not only provides protection, but also enables him to fly, fire offensive weapons, and to receive tactical artificial intelligence. This high tech outfit is literally and figuratively the gold standard in armor.

From wikipedia.org:
“Iron Man is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963).

An American billionaire playboy, industrialist and ingenious engineer, Tony Stark suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. He later uses the suit and successive versions to protect the world as Iron Man. Through his corporation ― Stark Industries ― Tony has created many military weapons, some of which, along with other technological devices of his making, have been integrated into his suit, helping him fight crime.

Warriors Working With Wicked Witch of the West

OzHalbardiers
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Although formidable in her own right, the Wicked Witch of the West has two sets of minions: those delightfully scary flying monkeys and halberd-wielding and ornately uniformed royal guard. Although the bearskin caps and leather jerkins are impressive looking, their protective value is questionable, given three of them are quickly overpowered by the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion. Still, they had to be included in this list for the sake of nostalgia, if nothing else.

From wikipedia.org:
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is a 1900 children’s novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone.

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American fantasy adventure film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film stars Judy Garland. Notable for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and unusual characters, over the years it has become one of the best known of all films and part of American popular culture. It also featured what may be the most elaborate use of character makeups and special effects in a film up to that time.”

This article is also published in the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.


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Comic-Con 2013 Badge Resale Drawing #SDCC

This just in from the folks at Comic-Con.

comiccon

“Comic-Con International is pleased to announce that because of returned/cancelled badges we will once again be able to offer those badges for resale. This year we have also reduced the allotment of reserved badges for certain departments. Comic-Con has decided to add these badges to the resale for our attendees. We currently have several thousand single day badges available for resale, only 3,100 of which are Saturday badges. 4-Day badges are sold out.

Due to the very limited number of badges available and our vendor EPIC Registration being focused on coordinating onsite registration, the Comic-Con 2013 badge resale will be conducted utilizing a random drawing.

To enter the Comic-Con 2013 Resale Drawing, login to your Member ID account now and click the blue notice that says “Click Here to Enter a Drawing to be Eligible for the Comic-Con 2013 Badge Resale!”

The drawing entry period will remain open for 48 hours only, and will close June 12, 2013 at 10:59:59 AM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Late entries will not be accepted.

You must have a valid and confirmed Comic-Con Member ID to enter the drawing.
Anyone who has already registered for or purchased a 4-Day badge (with or without Preview Night) or a single day Saturday badge will not be eligible to enter the drawing.

Those selected to participate in the Comic-Con 2013 badge resale may purchase their own badges, as well as badges for one additional guest. You may purchase for any guest who has a confirmed Member ID (as of June 7, 2013) and does not have a 4-Day badge (with or without Preview Night) or a single day Saturday badge. Your guest does not need to be selected from the drawing pool to be eligible to purchase.

Comic-Con will notify everyone who is selected to participate by email on or before June 17, 2013.”


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10 Famous Weapons from Children’s Books

Excalibur

When we think about children’s books, we think in terms of interesting characters and compelling stories. So while the focus of children’s books is not on weapons, some of the tales taking place in fantasy settings, have magical weapons that play an important part of the story. After all, T.H. White’s ‘The Sword in the Stone’ might have been a rather dull book if Arthur was never able to draw Excalibur from the stone. Compiled below are some famous weapons from children’s books.

CaptainHookHookCaptain Hook’s Hook

The villain in J.M. Barrie’s book ‘Peter Pan’ is the demented Captain Hook. He is played by Dustin Hoffman in the movie version by Amblin Entertainment & TriStar Pictures ‘Hook’.

SnowWhiteHuntsmanAxeThe Huntsman’s Axe

One of the heroes from Grimms’ Fairy Tales is the Huntsman. He is played by Chris Hemsworth in the movie version by Roth Films & Universal Pictures ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. Disney’s 1937 version was ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’.

BetamechePocketknife
Betameche’s Pocket Knife

One of Arthur’s helpers in Luc Besson’s book ‘Arthur and the Minimoys’ is the diminutive but unquenchable Prince Betameche. He has an amazing multi-function pocket knife. Betameche is voiced by Jimmy Fallon in the movie version by EuropaCorp & Avalanche Productions ‘Arthur and the Invisibles’.

NarniaIcequeenChariotThe Ice Queen’s Chariot

The villain in C.S. Lewis’ book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ is the powerful Ice Queen. She has two swords, can turn opponents to stone, and rides in a war chariot pulled by polar bears. She is played by Tilda Swinton in the movie version by Walt Disney Pictures & Walden Media ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.

PrincessBrideSword
Inigo Montoya’s Sword

One of Prince Westley’s allies in William Goldman’s book ‘The Princess Bride’ is the tragic Inigo Montoya, famous for telling the sword-stealing murderer of his father, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” He is played by Mandy Patinkin in the movie version by Act III Communications & Buttercup Films Ltd.

HobbitSting
Bilbo’s Sting

The hero of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ is the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who finds the elf dagger Sting in a troll hoard, and uses it to good effect in protecting his dwarf companions as they journey to the Lonely Mountain to face Smaug the dragon. He is played by Martin Freeman in the movie version by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer & WingNut Films ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’.

WickedWitchBroom
The Wicked Witch of the West’s Broom

The villain in L. Frank Baum’s ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ is the Wicked Witch of the West. Her magical broom enables her to fly, and she also uses it to spread fire and smoke. She is played by Margaret Hamilton in the 1939 movie version by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer & Loew’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

HungerGamesBow
Katniss’ Bow

The hero of Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’ is Katniss Everdeen, who is a highly proficient archer. At the capitol, she acquires a high-tech bow and arrow set. She is played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie version by Lion’s Gate & Color Force.

LightningThiefLightningMaster Lightning Bolt of Zeus

The hero Percy Jackson of Rick Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ is the son of the Greek God Zeus, and must recover the stolen lightning bolt of Zeus. He is played by Logan Lerman in the movie version by Fox 2000 Pictures, 1492 Pictures & Big Screen Productions ‘Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief’.

HarryPotterWandsHarry Potter’s Magic Wand

The hero of J.K. Rowlings’ ‘Harry Potter’ series is the boy wizard Harry Potter. Harry’s magic wand enables him to cast spells. He is played by Daniel Radcliffe in the movie series by Warner Bros., Heyday Films & 1492 Pictures, the first of which is ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.


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10 Best Suits of Movie/TV Armor

Mike Eisenberg did a fantastic piece over at screenrant.com on the 25 Best Movie Weapons of All Time (though I have to say I missed seeing Prince Nuada’s extendable spear from Hellboy II or vampire Selene’s exploding shuriken from Underworld II). His article inspired this post.

The Witch King of Angmar – The Lord of the Rings trilogy

witchkingThis guy is Sauron’s right-hand wraith, and he’s bad-ass to begin with. He’s strong, he’s mean, he casts dark magic, and he rides a frickin’ dragon. Any time you’ve got real pointy armor, you are clearly up to no good. The gauntlets and boot armor visible when the Ringwraiths are hunting the Hobbits in the Shire are exquisitely detailed.

Batman – Dark Knight movies

batmanDon’t hate me, but I’m not a big fan of the Batman movies because I think they’re poorly written. That said, Batman has some wonderful toys, and flexible body armor that just won’t quit. Plus a cape. Who says stylish can’t be functional?

Robocop – Robocop movies

robocopAn oldie, but a goodie. The armor design left some of his face exposed, but I think that was to remind us he was still part human and so we could hear him better. Love the tuck-away holster feature built into his armor.

Prince Nuada – Hellboy II

princenuadaUnlike many of our other featured suits of armor, Prince Nuada’s is light and flexible. That is perfectly suited to his lightning fast fighting style. I’d say his fight in the Elf Throne Room is the best sword fight in cinematic history. Hellboy II is a fun movie, but it is worth watching for that scene alone. I have a theory that Nuada is Guillermo del Toro’s version of Tolkien’s Feanor. Nuada gets bonus points because every piece of clothing he wears in this movie is stunning.

Lord Tywin Lannister (and everyone else) – Game of Thrones

tywinWe all know the meatgrinder plot of Game of Thrones and the gratuitous nudity are a big part of the appeal of Game of Thrones, but for me, the beautiful suits of armor are also a draw. Lannisters always pay their debts, and always wear beautifully crafted armor. Game of Thrones gets bonus points because every piece of clothing that nobility wear in this movie is stunning.

Lord Elrond Halfelven – The Hobbit

elrondYes, Elrond kicks goblin butt in The Lord of the Rings too, but I fell in love with the mauve armor he wears in The Hobbit. Classic elf armor – functional but swooping and suggestive of nature. Elrond gets bonus points because every piece of clothing he wears in this movie is stunning.

Ripley’s Power Loader – Aliens

aliens2Technically, a power loader is not intended to be armor, but Ripley uses it with great effect. “Get away from her, you bitch!”

Vampire Armor – Underworld II

underworld2Vampires are fast and strong. Now wrap them in steel. Then mount them on horses. What army on earth could withstand a charge from Vampire heavy cavalry!? Love the Spartan style helmets. One of the best opening scenes in action movie history.

The Black Knight – Monty Python and the Holy Grail

holygrailWhat this armor lacks in effectiveness, it more than compensates for in humorous effect. And you’ve gotta’, er, hand it to the Black Knight. He takes a lickin’ and keeps on kickin’… “Have at you!”

Iron Man – Iron Man & Avengers movies

ironmanLet’s face it. Iron Man’s armor is the Holy Grail of, er, sets the gold standard for armor. Protection, movement, and firepower. All it needs is a vending machine attachment for when he gets hungry.


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The 25 Most Awesome Movie Weapons

Thanks to Mike Eisenberg at http://screenrant.com/top-25-movie-weapons-mikee-61274

We all know the weapons make the movie, right?

There is a long list of awesome weapons in the history of cinema, and it’s about time we narrow them down to the top 25 (in our all-knowing, unerring opinion).

From weapons the size of a moon to a gun no larger than your pinkie, there’s plenty of variety on the list. But we couldn’t add them all – a couple just missed the cut. The Bear Jew’s baseball bat from Inglourious Basterds, the prawn electric Tesla arc splattering gun from District 9 and the intense .50-caliber, M82 sniper rifle in Smokin’ Aces should be considered honorable mentions.

The actual rankings are based on the capability of the weapon itself. Some sit lower on the list because they would be near useless without the specific user. A few at the top of the list may have been destroyed, but it makes them no less powerful or worthy of the their rank.

Sick Stick – Minority Report

W01The sick stick is an impressive piece of weaponry. It is not lethal, but instills fear in any potential victim. Typically seen in the hands of Precrime officers, it is used in conjunction with the “halo” to subdue those suspected of a future crime. It is only used once in Minority Report, but maybe that’s for the best.

Much like a taser, the baton-shaped stick instantly causes its victims to projectile vomit. Thanks to John Anderton’s (Tom Cruise) quick reflexes, we got to see it in action during an intense chase scene.

Point-of-View-Gun – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

w02The point-of-view gun makes up for its lack of explosive power with pure drama. It packs a punch, but more of an existential one. Once it is fired, anyone in its path will uncontrollably reveal their thoughts to the shooter. According to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the gun was created by the “Intergalactic Consortium of Angry Housewives” in an attempt to control the endings to marital arguments.

Although the weapon cannot be found in the novel on which the film is based, it was a pleasant addition to the movie. And in the hands of the beautiful Zooey Deschanel, any weapon belongs on this list.

De-Evolution Gun – Super Mario Brothers

W03Thankfully, when King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) tried to use the De-Evolution gun on Mario (Bob Hoskins), everybody’s favorite plumber used Luigi’s (John Leguizamo) mushroom to block the shot. Unfortunately for Anthony Scapelli, the gun worked moments earlier. When Koopa fired the weapon, missing a diving Mario, it struck Scapelli, turning him into a chimpanzee in a matter of seconds.

The gun is truly unlike any of other weapons on the list. While it doesn’t kill, its ability to turn the toughest human into a goofy chimpanzee is quite enough to fear.

Little Friend (M-16 w. grenade launcher) – Scarface

w04One of the most quoted scenes in movie history has its fame thanks to the customized grenade launcher belonging to Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface. During his last stand, Montana fends off a handful of assassins from atop his staircase using bullets and grenades. It truly is a piece of incredible machinery, even out of Montana’s lethal hands.

While the weapon is powerful enough to kill dozens of people, it has limited magazine capacity. Moreover, it may have been Montana’s wild nature, but the accuracy is pitiful. With a few minor tweaks, it could jump up a few spots.

Bullwhip – Indiana Jones Quadrilogy

W05Most of the weapons you will find on this list have some kind of firing mechanism, but lack the iconic status of Indiana Jones’ bullwhip. It is a tough task to take an item primarily used for dominatrix bedroom activity and make it one of the most recognizable movie weapons ever. That is precisely what Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford accomplished over the span of three (OK, four) movies.

The bullwhip has saved countless lives, swung Indiana Jones over deadly pits, snagged guns from enemy hands, strangled a handful of foes and even gave the hero a chin scar as a teenager. It has been through quite the journey, and to my knowledge, has never been replaced.

Sharks with Frickin’ Laser Beams Attached to Their Heads – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

w06This is no joke. Dr. Evil was on to something in the Austin Powers films when he asked for “sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.” Unaware of his own budget at first, he was given sea bass with laser beams attached to their heads. But eventually he got his way.

Dr. Evil’s loving son, Scott Evil, worked hard to win the heart of his father over Mini-Me. All it took was a retro-fitted laser atop a small shark, but unfortunately for movie fans, it was only used once. Still, that laser has deadly accuracy, at least on henchmen.

Telephoto Rifle (20mm Bushmaster cannon) – The Jackal

w07Arms dealer Ian Lamont (Jack Black) gave The Jackal exactly what we wanted. The long-range gun is controlled by cell phone or computer and may be aimed using a joystick. The rounds are made from depleted uranium, adding even more menace to the already lethal weapon. Even without The Jackal behind the trigger, it would be on this list.

The only problem with the gun is its accuracy. The first time it is used by The Jackal, we get a sense of the work it needs. Of course, what is a few inches when the results are so explosive? But it drops a few spots because of this glaring flaw. If The Jackal had his way, Lamont would have lost more than his arm during the initial test shot.

Oddjob’s Hat – Goldfinger

w08Although I’m not convinced Oddjob’s hat is a bowler hat, it is deadly nonetheless. A metal razor lines the rim of his hat and can cut through a stone sculpture. Tilly Masterson saw her demise at the tip of Oddjob’s hat in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

Ironically enough, the hat was also the cause of Oddjob’s own death. But not through the expected method. Instead, he threw the hat at James Bond (Sean Connery) and missed. It became lodged in a wall of metal bars and when Oddjob tried to pry it free, Bond electrocuted the villain.

Chain Mace – Kill Bill Vol. 1

w09Quentin Tarantino has been influenced by many works, yet his style adds flair to the already dramatic moments of past cinema. Although the fight scene in Kill Bill between The Bride and Gogo Yubari is exciting and intense, it is drawn from a few existing sources. Most notably, a similar scene is found in “Musashi,” a novel by Eiji Yoshikawa.

Regardless of influence, the weapon is deadly and unpredictable. In the hands of the sinister Gogo Yubari, it is even more lethal. The ball and chain has many options. It is used to choke, slice and strike The Bride.

Although the weapon is her bread and butter, it also indirectly helped The Bride kill Gogo. With all the fancy moves Gogo used to wind up with her chain mace, it didn’t do its job. It may have taken lives in the past, but on screen the chain mace takes none.

VX Gas – The Rock

w10To be honest, nothing I can say about the VX gas rocket used by General Hummel (Ed Harris) in The Rock would do it justice. So I’m going to leave you with two quotes from the illustrious Stanley Goodspeed (Nic Cage) to get my point across as to why this belongs on the list:

“Look, I’m just a biochemist. Most of the time, I work in a little glass jar and lead a very uneventful life. I drive a Volvo, a beige one. But what I’m dealing with here is one of the most deadly substances the earth has ever known, so what say you cut me some friggin’ slack!?”

“If the rocket renders it aerosol, it could take out an entire city of people… It’s a cholinesterase inhibitor. Stops the brain from sending nerve messages down the spinal cord within thirty seconds. Any epidermal exposure or inhalation and you’ll know. A twinge at the small of your back as the poison seizes your nervous system…Your muscles freeze, you can’t breathe, you spasm so hard you break your own back and spit your guts out. But that’s after your skin melts off.”

Golden Gun – The Man with the Golden Gun

w11In The Man With The Golden Gun, James Bond’s main foe is arguably not human. While Francisco Scaramanga is a scary man, the gun he uses truly makes him venomous. In the film, his golden gun fires a customized 23-carat bullet. The gun can also be broken down and disguised as various items like a pen and cuff-link, amongst others.

The golden gun has had its fair share of kills. In the hands of Scaramanga it has murdered political celebrities, gangsters, Gibson (a scientist in the film), Hai-Fat (his boss) and agent 002 Bill Fairbanks.

Chuck Norris’ Entire Body – Every thing he’s ever done

w12Let’s face it. No body part is more revered in the action genre than Chuck Norris’ fist. Not even Bruce Lee’s legs have as much pull as the clenched hands of Norris. Thanks to Sidekicks, a film many wish to forget, I have a lasting memory of the iconic Chuck Norris. But his abilities are only superseded by his reputation.

It is truly impressive how many henchmen and bumbling assassins have been knocked unconscious at the mercy of his fists. The rest of his body does come into play during fight scenes, but Chuck Norris’ fists have taken the most fame, even crossing over into Family Guy parody. That is the stuff of legend.

Explosive Nose Charge – Mission: Impossible III

w13When we are first introduced to the explosive nose charge in Mission: Impossible III it is without warning. On a helicopter to safety, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) attempts to save his damsel in distress (Keri Russell), but she dies seconds before he can help her. A charge, planted inside her nose, created a micro-burst that essentially imploded her brain. The result was a disgusting mess of internal debris.

The device is unbelievably fast in its action. Once triggered, it is a matter a milliseconds before death overcomes its victims. Once implanted in the nose of Hunt, it took a defibrillator to counteract the charge. It is difficult to describe just how intense the moments before death can be for a victim of this weapon.

Wrist Laser – Iron Man 2

w13For anybody who saw Iron Man 2 in theaters, one of the most unforgettable scenes involved a weapon that desperately belongs on this list. When Screen Rant king Vic Holtreman told me to wait on this list until I saw Iron Man 2, my anticipation grew every day. In the film, you may recall Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) promoted his new line of weapons with which to equip War Machine. The last was the “Ex-Wife.” Naturally, I presumed this would be the epic weapon.

Boy, was I wrong. The “Ex-Wife” proved to be yet another Hammer dud, but Iron Man’s laser was quite the opposite. Out of nowhere, Iron Man warned War Machine to duck, before priming the ultimate handheld weapon. He began a sort of 360-spin move, but not before initiating a deadly laser beam from each wrist. It instantly decapitated the swarm of enemies around the heroic duo. The same eerie silence overcame audiences as when the Joker’s truck flipped in The Dark Knight.

Bow and Arrow – Robin Hood

w14The bow and arrow is not an illustrious weapon. Following a handheld laser with some wood and string doesn’t exactly win over the ladies. But Robin Hood’s weapon of choice has stood the test of time. The legend of Robin Hood is impossible to imagine without his bow and arrow.

A simple weapon, the bow and arrow needs little introduction or explanation. In the hands of many it is weak and powerless. Yet, with Robin Hood behind it, a bow and arrow can become a cultural staple. He hardly ever misses, and if he does, it may have been on purpose. This is the epitome of a weapon only as good as its shooter, and its shooter is darn good.

.44 Magnum – Dirty Harry

w15The .44 magnum pistol isn’t an overwhelming piece, but it packs a punch. And in the hands of Harry Callahan it doesn’t even need to have a bullet left in the chamber to scare a criminal. Dirty Harry is another film in which the most heavily quoted line is about a weapon.

“I know what you’re thinking — ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But, being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

The Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver is still popular today thanks to Dirty Harry and the film even led to a spike in sales during its theatrical release. Now you tell me that’s not an influential weapon.

Noisy Cricket – Men in Black

w16Not every weapon has to look like much, as long as its bite is big, loud and deadly. When Agent J (Will Smith) takes the puny little Noisy Cricket from Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), he is understandably upset. Only when he fires the pinkie-sized gun does he understand its power.

The weapon not only takes a chunk out of its target, but propels the shooter back dozens of feet. It is quite the weapon, but not necessarily put to its best use in Men in Black.

Rail Gun – Eraser

w17The U.S. Navy has clocked the speed of a railgun at seven times the speed of sound. Of course, you didn’t need to know that to believe it belongs on this list.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has held quite a few guns in his acting career, but few are as intimidating as his pair of railguns in Eraser. Even cooler than the explosive results of firing a railgun in Eraser is the plasma trail it leaves behind.

The swirly, blue trail is eye-popping and adds an extra level of awesome to the weapon. And don’t forget the night-vision scope on the side of the gun, which even uses X-ray technology to see through walls.

Jericho Missile – Iron Man

w18The Jericho Missile was created in respect to “how daddy did it,” and it has worked out pretty well so far. Although we only see it fire once, the missile is unforgettable. Did I mention it comes with a free Stark Industries bar/cooler?

Not only does the missile break into 16 individual missiles while in flight, but even Tony Stark guarantees “the bad guys won’t even want to come out of their caves.” The shockwave alone could do some damage, but the missile itself will blow a hole in the side of any mountain. Unfortunately, it is such a commodity, villains like The Ten Rings have been looking to unleash it on innocent civilians.

Sting – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

w19(Note from  Henry: Here I beg to differ. If we are going to represent Lord of the Rings, then I’d submit Orcrist or Narsil or Grond)

If you are wondering how close an Orc may be to your home, it would be wise to get your hands on Sting. Luckily for its holder, the sword glows blue when Orcs are near. But it isn’t the ability of the sword that puts it so high on this list. Instead, it is the mental strength it gives its owner, Frodo, while in his possession. Of course, throughout his journey, Frodo experiences many events that help his confidence grow. But the sword was a major boost for the once fearful Hobbit.

In addition to the physical and mental advantages to Sting, it holds legendary status in the real world and Middle Earth. Fans of the Lord of the Rings franchise have been awestruck by the glowing sword since its first moment on screen. In Middle Earth it is handed off like royalty, rather than a mere antique.

Zorg ZF-1 – The Fifth Element

w20(Note from Henry: This is also my personal favorite. The gun with everything but the kitchen sink. The Fifth Element is a fun movie, but it is worth watching just for the ZF-1 alone!)

My personal favorite is also the super-villain Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg’s (Gary Oldman) favorite as well. The enhanced weapon is fitted with almost everything imaginable. While it doesn’t hold the legendary status of other weapons on this list, it deserves its place near the top. Imagine all the special features added to James Bond cars in one handheld device. That’s the essence of the Zorg ZF-1.

The ZF-1 holds a rocket launcher, poison arrow launcher, machine gun with replay capability, net launcher, flamethrower and freeze ray. Pretty handy for a light-weight gun wouldn’t you say?

Chainsaw – American Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead

w21The chainsaw is a basic weapon by itself. In the hands of legendary villains and sinister men it is something else entirely. For example, take three of its most iconic users: Ash Williams, Patrick Bateman and Leatherface. The chainsaw can bring humor to the most sadistic moments, while the simple whirring sound can instill fear in the toughest of heroes.

The chainsaw has severed possessed hands, impaled runaway prostitutes and sliced through innocent teenagers over its illustrious history. But the chainsaw is deserving of the #3 spot because of its epic status and basic structure.

Hattori Hanzo Sword – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2

w22“I am finished doing what I swore an oath to God 28 years ago to never do again. I’ve created something that kills people. And in that purpose, I was a success. I’ve done this because, philosophically, I am sympathetic to your aim. I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.”

Hattori Hanzo’s reputation for sword-making is one of the most legendary in film history. Of course, he was speaking figuratively when he claimed the sword would cut God, but honestly, I wouldn’t doubt it. Hanzo’s swords are priceless, unless you are in El Paso, where you can get one for $250.

The core of Kill Bill is a brilliant story, but it is pushed beyond brilliance by the iconic nature of the Hanzo sword. The samurai sword killed countless henchmen and took the lives of much of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. In a glorious death, The Bride sliced the top of O-Ren Ishii’s head clean off. The sword can cut through a human head as easily as it can a baseball. In addition, it makes a nice mirror.

Lightsaber – Star Wars Saga

w24The lightsaber has been the most beloved handheld weapon since it was first seen on screen in 1977′s Star Wars. Anybody who disagrees can head over to YouTube and find hundreds of homemade lightsaber fight scenes as proof. But those who possess a lightsaber in the Star Wars mythology are far more gifted than any YouTube sensation. Obi-Wan Kenobi explained it to the world in simple terms:

“This was the formal weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. More skill than simple sight was required for its use. An elegant weapon. It was a symbol as well. Anyone can use a blaster or a fusion cutter—but to use a lightsaber well was a mark of someone a cut above the ordinary.”

Lightsabers are an intriguing weapon. Sometimes they penetrate like a regular knife, other times they slice a victim in two halves. Either way, if you get struck by a lightsaber, I hope you’ve got a spare limb hanging around. It’s favorite body part to destroy? Hands. And it comes in various colors in case you’ve got a favorite, like Forest Green.

Death Star – Star Wars Saga

w25“That’s no moon. That’s a space station.”

Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) controlled the Death Star, which is hands-down the most intimidating weapon in history. Also known as the “ultimate weapon,” the Death Star is a floating space station the size of a moon. It has the capability to destroy an entire planet in the span of a few seconds.

Of course, both Death Stars seen in the Star Wars films were destroyed, but it does not take away from the epic status of the weapon. Though one downfall (apart from that one pesky and obvious design flaw) would be the lack of maneuverability. The Death Star is relatively slow. Unlike handheld weapons like the lightsaber, it requires a massive tactical team to fire even a single shot.

Some would argue the lightsaber is more memorable than the Death Star, but a ligthsaber is no match for the Empire’s ultimate weapon. Nor are any of the others on the extensive list above. So, pick your favorite weapon and let the debate begin.

Final note from Henry:

This is a terrific list. Honorable mentions might also include the bucket of water from “The Wizard of Oz”, the minigun from “Terminator II” and “Predator”, explosive shuriken thrown by Selene the vampire in “Underworld”, Gandalf or Saruman’s wizard staff from “The Lord of the Rings”, the (frickin’) invisible flying submarine from “The Avengers”, Thor’s hammer from (wait for it) “Thor”, and the ghost-capturing gun from “Ghostbusters.”