Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Well ahead of its time
I first saw this series as a kid in the mid-70's when the Banana Splits aired in syndication. I didn't care much for the stars of that show, but I couldn't help but look forward to this great, unique series of live-action and animation. Huck and friends got themselves into the animated world as they met with strange people in various locations all around the world. Most times, the villain looks like an incarnation of their archenemy, Injun Joe, whom they mention just about every time they see him. But as usual, the kids were smart and resourceful as they got themselves out of danger and moved on to the next adventure as they sought to finally return home to Hannibal, Missouri. Huck was my favorite character and deservedly got the title billing. He wasn't as simple-minded as some would think and was usually the boy of action when action was needed. He was never afraid to get his hands dirty (not to mention his feet since he was barefoot all the time) to help out others. As I said this series was a rare, unique mix of live-action and animation. And even though this originally aired in the late 60's, the special FX were over the top. One episode in particular proved this. It was titled "Strange Experiment", my overall favorite! Here, a mad scientist develops a shrinking machine and demonstrates it on Huck, reducing him to a mere few inches tall. It was way cool seeing a tiny Huck alongside a normal-sized Tom and Becky. And it was kind of amusing seeing him getting a ride inside Tom's hat, and even funnier as Tom, when attempting to restore Huck to normal size accidentally made him even smaller, nearly the size of a flea. This episode even included a few scares as a green-skinned mutant tried to get the kids and they were rescued by a dog who was also a subject of the scientist's shrink ray, but thanks to the kids, the tables were turned. Overall though, this was a very innovative series well ahead of its time.
X-Men: Evolution (2000)
This show's getting better and better!!!
I saw the 90's X-Men series which was based on some of the comic books and enjoyed it. Because the Evolution series has the situation set from a different standpoint (with the majority of mutants as high school students), I thought I'd take a look at it out of curiosity's sake. The first season was a little slow with the recruitment of several of the characters into either Professor Xavier's X-Men or Magneto's Brotherhood. But it definitely picked up with the two sides battling on Asteroid M.
Season 2 introduced viewers to Principal Kelly at Bayville High, as well as Hank McCoy who eventually becomes our favorite big blue fellow, the Beast, not to mention Iceman among the new recruits, most of whom still have only minor roles on the show. Of course, the original purpose of the Xavier Institute is to train its students to properly handle their abilities while blending in with normal human society. This however was completely undermined by the evil shape-shifting Mystique who hatched her own plan to expose the X-Men at this season's end.
It's after that point in the series that it's gotten so much better. The X-Men now have to prove they can use their powers for good, while other mutants use their abilities for evil. One of the better episodes where they had to show their mettle was in "The Stuff of Heroes", where the group had to battle Juggernaut, the biggest and baddest of them all. The climactic scene where Cyclops used his full optic blasts against him totally rocked!!! Rogue, after absorbing his immense strength and taking him on was the icing on the cake! Of course, with the public aware of mutants now, the X-Men are shunned and treated as freaks, especially at school. They now have to deal with bigotry and have to refrain from using their powers to fight back, with various degrees of success. Whereas some are able to resist those who pick on them, others are more easily provoked. It's because this series has its heroes blending action between the supervillians as well as the normal people in public and their reactions to the mutants that I think is a much more realistic interpretation that what's seen in the comic books.
I also like the quality of the animation and the special effects aren't as over the top as they were in the 90's series. After all, you really can't see magnetic waves when you link 2 kitchen magnets together, let alone when an electromagnet pulls up scrap metal in a junkyard. This series correctly has Magneto's use of his abilities in invisible form (save for a slight blurring of the picture) and a more proper sound effect whenever he strikes. Another change which I think is better from the 90's series is Rogue. I like her much better without the super strength and ability to fly as if she were Supergirl. I know in the comics, prolonged contact with superhero Miss Marvel caused her to have her powers permanently, which in turn made her more confident and more of a flirt with men. Unlike the 90's series, though, there's much more focus on her actual power of absorption, which much more shows how it's a danger to herself and others. They still managed to keep some of her background with Mystique and bond a little with Nightcrawler, since they're of a certain relation because of the evil shapeshifter.
About my only problems with the Evolution series in comparison to the 90's X-Men series is the lack of focus on adult characters like Storm and Beast. The latter only gets significant time either when he's doing his scientific duties or when his "inner beast" rages out of control on some occasions. Storm gets attention primarily when she's with her nephew Spyke, whether she's training him or giving him some sort of discipline. But she does provide a good parental symbol on the show. Spyke is a pretty good character as he's had to make adjustments to having his abilities, moving to Bayville, and devoting his time to school and his training. In a recent episode, his powers had gone out of his control and as a result has major bone protrusions sticking out from all over his body. With the increased bigotry and overall stress he's had to deal with, he made the choice to join the Morlocks, whose more freakish outward appearances make them more of outcasts than either the X-Men or the Brotherhood. Also a potential upcoming storyline for the series is the potential coming of Apocalypse, as he's had Mesmero manipulate the X-Men and Magneto into opening the doors that will release him from imprisonment. This and Rogue's possible role in this situation (seemingly predicted by Destiny) will most certainly make a good story for the following seasons. X-Men: Evolution is definitely becoming one of the best quality animated series on television.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Good little horror flick
I missed Jeepers Creepers when it came out in the theaters, so I eventually spotted it on the DVD shelf at the video store. The synopsis on the box pack piqued my interest, so I took it home thinking it would be similar to the numerous Freddy and Jason movies that have dominated the horror genre for the last 20 years (I'm sure it's been that long!). Anyway, the movie starts off with brother and sister driving home from college when they spot a burly figure of a person dumping what seems to be a covered up dead body down a drain. They keep going but Darius (the brother) becomes increasingly concerned that the person covered by the sheet may only be injured and would certainly die if they do nothing. His sister Trish, however, wants to keep going out of fear that intervening could lead to dire consequences as it would in most horror movies (a good reference they've been watching them at least). Of course, they turn back and Darry climbs (then falls) down the drain to find not only the person wrapped in a sheet, but a few other victims as well. Brother and sister eventually find their way out to look for the nearest sheriff, only to be pursued and nearly run off the road by the large figure in a huge truck.
The two eventually make it to a small town to report their findings to the sheriff's office, but a series of incidents make it certain they have company (the wrong kind of course!). They find their car broken into and Darry's dirty clothes strung out all over the ground. It's a sure bet now whatever's pursuing them has the characteristics of a bloodhound, with the likelihood it has Darry's scent down pat. Brother and sister later get help from a woman who's in tune with the supernatural, telling them what's hunting them down. No matter what they throw at it though (like running it down with their car several times), it keeps coming for more until it gets its target. The two fight valiantly until the very end, which I thought was tragic. Yep, for once I was actually sympathetic for what happened. Frankly, I hope they don't do a sequel since it was a pretty good movie. To do so would certainly "jump the shark" as with what's already happened with the Jason and Freddy franchises.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Pretty good, in my opinion (minor spoilers)
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the original Planet of the Apes and its sequels. But the new version does tell a different story and therefore not a remake of the original. Here, Mark Wahlberg plays Captain Leo Davidson aboard the space station Oberon in the year 2029. After routine simulated test flights with chimps, the station's sensors detect an ion storm (a term familiar to Star Trek fans). Despite Davidson's protests, his chimp is sent out to take scans of this storm up close. Greatly concerned for his well-being (you just gotta love his compassion for animals), Leo goes on an unauthorized shuttle launch in efforts to rescue him only to get caught up in the storm himself. Sure enough, he goes forward in time and crash lands on a jungle-like planet. Before he knows it, he's caught in a conflict where humans are running for their lives against an army of huge, talking gorillas. He, along with the rest of the people are captured, imprisoned, and sent into slave quarters in a civilization run by these intelligent apes.
Unable to accept life as a slave, Davidson organizes an escape with his fellow humans and a few ape sympathizers, including Helena Bonham Carter's character, Ari. After returning to his wrecked ship, Leo is able to recover a few devices that detects a signal indicating his crew is searching for him. The ensuing 2-day hike leads to some shocking revelations for Leo once they find the signal's origin. It's from this point that Davidson is thrusted into the role of the reluctant hero as more and more humans become inspired by the quest to escpae slavery from the apes. The ending of the movie also provides a major twist that most certainly indicates a sequel. After what happened in those last scenes, I'm quite looking forward to it.
Overall, I thought this was pretty well-done. Many of the lead characters undergo significant development. Mark Wahlberg goes from being a happy-go-lucky animal-loving pilot to the role of reluctant hero to a bunch of rag-tag humans. Carter's Ari becomes more of an activist for humans knowing that they are capable of being more than slaves. Of course, you have the main troublemaker in the form of Tim Roth's General Thade, who's willing to murder even his own kind to maintain the status quo on the jungle planet. Of all the character developments, my favorite was that of Michael Clarke Duncan, whose Attar character goes from being one of Thade's lackeys to a free-thinking ape who realizes the truth as to whom the real enemy is once he's presented the proper insight. Duncan was a pretty good choice for this movie, especially considering how big he is. Some might say he's really part-gorilla, and thereby born for the role. I got the DVD of the movie and liked the process he went through with the make-up people. They were still applying his fur and make-up as Mark Wahlberg comes in for a brief touchup, which lasts less than a minute. The two actors trade jokes and in an instant Wahlberg's back out shooting scenes while Duncan's still changing into ape form. A good funny bit here!
Again, we have a good story that goes from basic science fiction to the main theme of the battle for freedom. At the end, it goes back to the element of sci-fi with a major twist. Hopefully, the sequel will help to provide some revelations as to how this twist occured. Mark Wahlberg has proven to be a good actor in previous film roles, as he did in this movie. With the numerous trashings of this new Planet of the Apes movies, it's very likely he'll do a good job for the upcoming sequels. I'm definitely looking forward to them.
The Chronicle (2001)
Too great a show to be cancelled so soon.
I was very disappointed Sci-Fi Channel cancelled this teriffic show. The Chronicle provided just the right combination of humor, action, and wit which worked out very well about this series about the weird and unusual stories the reporters investigate for this Enquierer-type newspaper. From alien abductions to rich elderly people paying to relive their youth via body switching to vampires at an Elvis convention, The Chronicle was very imaginative and quite entertaining. In particular, there were quite a number of episodes that explored the human psyche. Remember, the magic pizza oven that sucked its victims into a weird dimension where they were exposed to their worst fears? How about the episode where high school cheerleaders were actually willing to become bionic women. Remember in that episode when the reporters went undercover as students, they made references to Beverly Hills 90210 as their reason they could pull it off. Pretty funny for sure! There was even an episode where a so-called superhero had psychological problems of his own. The Chronicle was one show that not only explored the weird and unusual, but took on current issues of human behavior as well. With the series' great writing and blending these issues together, the results really paid off as an overall funny, dramatic and entertaining show. The cast of Chad Willet, Rena Sofer, Reno Wilson, Don Polito, and Curtis Armstrong (as Sal the Pigboy) were all excellent in their roles. They all had great chemistry and really looked like they had fun doing the show. Let's hope they have as good success in their future endeavors now that the show is unfortunately over.
After Olympic fever swept the nations, especially in the United States during its bicentennial in 1976, a substitute was badly needed until the next Olympic Games in 1980. Fortunately, Hanna-Barbera provided the necessary relief in animated form with this terrific series. At least 45 of their classic cartoon characters were featured on this show competing for the gold medal. The All-Stars were divided into 3 teams. First are the Yogi Yahooeys, which featured Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound, and other wacky animal characters featured in hundred of shorts that were first seen in the late 1950's to early 1960's. Second are the Scooby Doobies featuring (obviously) Scooby-Doo, his sidekicks Shaggy and Scooby-Dum, as well as their fellow crime fighters and mystery solvers (including superheroes Captain Caveman, Hong Kong Phooey, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt) whose shows debuted in the late 60's to early '70's. The Scoobys team was my personal favorite since I first saw their shows as a kid in this particular decade. Last and least, we have the Really Rottens, most of whom appeared only on this show. The only exception was team captain Mumbly, who was featured in "Mumbly, Relentless Detective", which was part of H-B's "Tom and Jerry Show" a couple of years earlier. Ironically, he was the good guy in that series, but here with the wrong crowd, Mumbly is particularly deceitful and conniving. Paired with teammate Dread Baron, they strike a strong resemblance to Dick Dastardly and Muttley from "The Wacky Races". If you've seen that show, you know they were just as diabolical. As a matter of fact, I can even recall at least a couple of Laff-A-Lympics where Mumbly was called Muttley. Is it possible that they're brothers (or even cousins)? They certainly have similar traits!
As for the show, the main objective for each team was to score the highest number of points to earn the gold medal. The majority of events had the simple scoring process of 25 points for the winner, 15 for second, and 10 for third place. There were occasional 50-point bonus events which could help a team get back into the competition or pull them away depending on whoever was trailing or leading at the time. Though some events were similar to real-life Olympic events, others were pretty offbeat and quite unusual, which likely means they could only be done in cartoons like this. Among the weird events were racing on ostriches, camels, kangaroos, rickshaws and unicycles, as well as more daring events like scavenging for creatures like vampires, the Abominable Snowman, and the Loch Ness Monster. With events like these, each Laff-A-Lympic was bound to be a major adventure!
While the Scooby and Yogi teams competed with flair and determination (and crazy hilarity), the Rottens always resorted to cheating and usually sabotaged their opponents' efforts to win. However, with rules and regulations in place, they very rarely got away with their dirty deeds. In some cases, they suffered point deductions if their efforts went too far. So it was no surprise that they usually ended up as the third place bronze medalists. But unlike Dastardly and Muttley from the aforementioned Wacky Races, the Rottens actually did win at least a couple of Laff-A-Lympics. It just goes to show that even the down-and-out group will eventually have their day if they keep trying.
Overall, this was a very entertaining show to watch as a kid (and even an adult). This show was the perfect venue to showcase Hanna-Barbera's All-Stars. Since the real Olympics bring the nations of the world together, "Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics" brought many of H-B's characters in the same environment. Though some individual cartoons allowed for a few cameos from other characters, this was about the only show where members of Yogi's and Scooby's teams could interact with each other. This concept was nothing but pure genius from the minds of William Hanna and Joe Barbera!
COOL!!! Fonz and the gang in animated form!
It was pretty good seeing Fonz, Richie, and Ralph as cartoon characters. In this series that aired Saturday mornings on ABC from 1980-82, the three are taken along for their greatest adventures in a time machine resembling a flying saucer by a 25th century babe named Cupcake. I'm not sure if she was human or alien, but she had very goofy magic powers that had very unpredictable results. Of course, they would be predicable in the sense that something would go wrong as you continue watching the series. There have been episodes where Richie and Ralph ended up in period women's clothing, or zapped down to their boxer shorts or even naked altogether (conveniently inside a barrel), or even sight gags where the whole gang is dressed as clowns! Among the funniest magic mishaps was when Cupcake and Merlin the Magician's combined powers caused Richie to turn into a bird (episode "Gone with the Wand")!!! What a riot!!! Ralph thought he could use birdboy for a talent act and gain fame and fortune!
Along for the ride in this time-hopping adventure is the Fonz's dog, Mr. Cool, who tries so hard to be like his master (but with little success). Watch out when he snaps his fingers! Disaster looms whenever that happens! As mentioned, this is a time travel show. Among the places the gang have visited are the Stone Age, ancient China, medieval era, and even the moon in the future. They even managed to get themselves in versions of classic stories like "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Around the World in 80 Days".
You need not take the show too seriously, but "Fonz and the Happy Days Gang" was entertaining and was full of laughs. There were quite a number of dangers in their time travel trips, but Fonzie always kept his cool and saved the day (whichever year it was), and always managed to get the girl. Perhaps the show could have benefitted a little by adding characters like Potsie and Chachi. That way, you could have the trio of Richie the brain, Ralph the prankster, and Potsie the screwup, while Chachi was there to make his own moves on the girls that fell for Fonzie. Of course if this happened, there probably wouldn't have been a need for Mr. Cool and the show wouldn't have had a mascot for all the kids to like. All in all, the show was enjoyable to watch for fans of "Happy Days".