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Transform and roll out!
I tried not to look up too much on the Transformers movie beforehand, because I wanted a fresh experience when I did see it. These days it's possible to find out pretty much everything about any big movie before you even see it, and I didn't want that to happen to me. I also hadn't seen any of Michael Bay's movies previous to this, so I didn't come in with any preconceived notions about the director. As someone who was a kid back in the G1 days, I haven't really kept up with any of the current story lines since Beast Wars. There are also some scenes interspersed with the credits, so it pays to not leave as soon as the credits roll.
The good: The special effects were spectacular, as expected. You really got a sense of how *big* and awesome the TFs are. There are some funny moments to break the tension, including some that had the entire theater in stitches. The main characters got a lot of characterization and there was a good human angle on the story. Prime's voice is done by his original VA, Peter Cullen (who sounds older than he did in the G1 cartoon, but I suppose that's because he IS older). There are also some memorable quotes pulled from the first TF movie.
The bad: While I understand the need for updated vehicle modes, I wish that the TF's robot forms looked closer to their G1 counterpart's, even if it was just in the facial features. If you're familiar with the Alternators toy line, they're a good example of how IMHO the TFs *should* look in robot mode. Some of the TFs got very few lines, and thus not much in the way of characterization. I would have preferred there to be some interaction scenes between the Decepticons, to show their personalities better. The movie didn't use the 'transforming sound', it's just kind of a mechanical clanking and whirring.
The neutral: The story deviates from the classic G1 storyline on how the TFs came to Earth. It's still 'giant alien robots come to Earth' but the details are different. Prime has the face shield, but it's retractable and he spends most of his screen time with it off. It's kind of odd for me to see him with a mouth, but then again, this isn't the first time he's had one. Some of the characters do get killed, but due to their lack of characterization, it's hard for me to feel for them like I did when characters died in the first TF movie. There is some swearing and sexually themed jokes, so I don't know about taking really young kids to see it if you're hung up on stuff like that, but teens should be fine.
Overall, this movie is full of win and well worth the $9 it cost me to see it.
They should have called it "The Adventures of the Humans that Owned Black Beauty"
The book was told from the viewpoint of Black Beauty, and focused primarily on what happened to him and the other animals. If there's any story that demands talking animals, then it's this one. While they didn't have CGI back in the 1970s, they could have done something similar to Mr. Ed.
This show suffers from a major change in focus from the book. It's not about Black Beauty. It's about the humans in the story, plus some extra characters they threw in.
It's like making a show or movie based on the novel Traveller by Richard Adams and having it focus on General Lee.
The show was pretty, and the acting was good, but I can't give this show a good rating. A show supposedly based on the novel should actually be about Black Beauty, not about the parade of humans that passed through his life.
Fight Club (1999)
Most overrated POS on the top 250
I went to see this with a friend because I'd heard 'it was good' at the local IMAX theater, no less. I went in with absolutely no knowledge on it whatsoever. Once I actually saw it, I realized it was one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and I've seen some real stinkers. I'd rather have my eyelids held open by toothpicks while tied to a chair in front of a screen showing a back to back Ed Wood marathon.
I can't think of a single thing I enjoyed about Fight Club. What there is of a plot is all over the place, the lines are beyond cringe-worthy, it's way too preachy, and the 'plot twist' at the end manages to veer off way past the range of strange into the range of bat**** crazy.
The secret longing of men is to beat each other up in basements and blow up buildings? Who knew? Much like the fights, there's no subtlety in the plots. Yeah, yeah, materialism is bad, we're not what we own, blah blah blah. Did we really need that pounded into our skulls for almost 2 hours? If you feel like you're in a rat race and you hate your job, THEN QUIT AND FIND SOMETHING TO DO THAT'S MORE WORTHWHILE TO YOU.
I could hardly believe that was Brad Pitt. His performances in 12 Monkeys and Se7en were far superior to this trashy flick.
Is Fincher incapable of making a movie that doesn't look like the lenses have been sprayed with Campbell's beef broth? The cinematography is choppy, and there's only so much I can take of random dudes beating the snot out of each other for no reason.
They should have used some of that soap to clean up the film.
From me, 1 star.
Not Pixar's best work, but still good
Basically the world is, as the title would imply, full of cars. There are no humans or animals in this flick, though there is a visual pun used here and there with flying Volkswagen bugs. As in the car, really tiny with wings. What kinds of sports do you think sentient talking cars go for? If you answered racing, then you win an internets. The plot revolves around a race car named Lightening McQueen. He's a loner who thinks he doesn't need a pit crew and is obsessed with winning the biggest prize in the North American racing circuit, the Piston Cup. The race at the beginning of the movie ends up a 3 way tie, and a tiebreaker race is set on the other side of the country in a week. In an effort to be first to the track, he pushes his semi partner into driving through the night, which results in him being dumped out of the trailer and on his own when they both fall asleep. After an altercation with a backfiring police car, he's arrested and forced to repave a road he tore up in a backwater Western town along old Route 66 called Radiator Springs. Here he meets a cast of strange cars, including a redneck tow truck named Mater, and a Porche named Sally Carrera. Will he make it to California in time for the race?
The good: It's Pixar. They've never done a bad movie yet, and Cars is not going to be the first. The visuals are stunning. Except when you see the talking cars, you'd think the images on the screen were of real places. The music is great, and really fits with what's going on at the time, especially the dilapidated 50s-60s era feel of Radiator Springs. Makes you want to drive down old Route 66 yourself and see what Pixar thinks we're missing. There are some memorable characters, and most of them are reasonably well fleshed out. There's also some real laugh out loud moments, such as when McQueen and Mater go tractor tipping, and the self ribbing jabs at other Pixar movies near the end.
The bad: Well, the plot is, to put it in car terms, something of a retread. There weren't as many surprises as I would have liked, and I could tell what was going to happen at the end by the time it eventually got to it. Some of the characters are over reliant on the personalities of their voice actors, and are one trick ponies as far as personalities go. It's nice that they got George Carlin to voice Filmore and Cheech Marin for Ramone for example, but they don't actually DO much with them in the movie. It's like, "Hey, I'm just here for a couple of one liners, but look at my celebrity voice!"
My thoughts: Overall I think the movie was worth the $8.25 I paid for the ticket. It's a nice way to kill a few hours, especially if you're a geek like me and just love watching that pretty, pretty CGI. The way that the world of the movie is structured so that it still looks familiar to us, but is built for automobiles is really interesting. Like for example instead of stairs in the stadium, there are circular concourses to the upper level parking spots. The parodies of the way human fans behave is good for some laughs too. There are also a few sad moments, though none that brought tears to my eyes like in some of the previous Pixar movies. Be sure and stay for the credits, there's an extra scene after them. While I don't think it's Pixar's best work as far as the plot goes, it's still Pixar, and that still means something.
Tiny Toon Adventures (1990)
A mix of good and bad, mostly good
I was about 15 when this show first started, so I wasn't a kid. Still, I enjoyed most of the episodes. They range from bad (baby seal short mentioned earlier) to hilariously funny (the parody of One Froggy Evening where Hampton has to dissect a singing and dancing frog that flops over dead when he calls the teacher). The songs, both the theme song and the ones that were in one episode or another were catchy. I still find myself humming 'Emyras Round the World' occasionally. And it seems some of the other people seem to be objecting to the theme song just because the show has one. News flash. ALL TV shows at the time had theme songs, and most still do. And I've heard many that were worse than the one for TTA. At it's best, this show (like the Looney Tunes before it) wickedly barbs the culture of the time, and other animation companies, Disney in particular. This can be best seen in the direct to video movie 'How I Spent My Vacation'.
As for the characters, they range (mostly depending on screen time) from fully fleshed out to copies of their older selves. Buster and Babs are basically the wise@$$ and wacky side (respectively) of Bugs Bunny given seperate incarnations with individual personalities, but still work well. Plucky is a lot like Daffy, but he's more of a cross between a less evil Chuck Jones Daffy and the earlier wackier Daffy than any one incarnation of Daffy. Hampton is a straight man like Porky, but really wants to fit in. Most of the rest of the characters got a lot less screen time, and thus were basically smaller versions of their mentors, save a few originals like Shirley the Loon.
IMHO, most of the cartoons fall on the better side of a 5, with some individual shorts/episodes going as high as 10. If I were rating this show, I'd give it a 7.