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|9 reviews in total|
After the less-than-stellar 1993 film that was "Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles III", the world's favored Heroes in a Half-Shell began to take
a seemingly indefinite leave from pop culture and I for one wondered if
the awesome foursome would ever make a comeback.
Ten years later, a brand new animated series redefined what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were and helped everyone begin to see past the pizza-loving, child friendly characters of the 1980's cartoon, the live-action "Next Mutation" series and the second and third live-action movies. It was a step in the right direction and left many fans wanting more.
Now, in 2007, Peter Laird, Kevin Munroe and the amazingly talented folks at Imagi Animation Studios deliver what could very well be the movie that everyone has waited for for so long: A film that presents the light-hearted aspects of the 1980's cartoon, and the dark and gritty of the original comics books that started it all, while introducing a brand new story that moves at a pace that's sure to keep new viewers enthralled.
The animation on show here, while heavily stylized to emphasize the film's comic book origins, is absolutely stunning. Something I really admire about this movie is the voice acting, especially that the team working on the film went to lengths to portray ethnic authenticity with characters such as Foot Clan Leader Karai and the Turtles' mentor and father, Master Splinter.
While the story may not have a whole lot of depth to it, it really doesn't need to. Hell, this is a movie that deals with humanoid mutant turtles going around and kicking butt, ninja-style. And thats not a bad thing in the least. The soundtrack consists of a mix of orchestral tunes and the seemingly obligatory rock/pop stuff, and thankfully its a pretty healthy mix as neither one seems to outweigh the other.
All in all, I found TMNT to be a very enjoyable ride and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun time at the cinemas. In my honest opinion, the fourteen year wait for this movie was most definitely worth it.
It's not a good day for Dante Hicks (Brian O' Halloran). He is supposed
to have the day off, but instead winds up behind the counter at the
Quick Stop Convenience Store dealing with all manner of customers.
Meanwhile, his nerve-grinding best friend Randal Graves (Jeff
Anderson), who works across the street from Dante at RST Video, is
adding to Dante's grief.
This move is, a brilliantly-written peek at twenty-something frustration. It provides our first peek at writer/director Kevin Smith's world, the Askewniverse, and the characters that inhabit it. Not only that but as the movie progresses, you begin to become absorbed into the lives of these characters, and it leaves you with the impression that what you see on the screen could actually happen. It's always a plus when you begin to really care for a character and it doesn't feel forced in any way.
In addition to the aforementioned Dante and Randal, this is also the movie that helped to turn Kevin Smith and his best friend Jason Mewes into pop-culture icons thanks to their obscure roles as the foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed drug dealer Jay and his mute "heterosexual life-mate" Silent Bob.
Shot completely in black and white on a rather low budget, nobody famous (such as, say, Ben Affleck) is here and the acting shown in this movie isn't the absolute best, but it doesn't need to be. The film has an overall natural feel to it while delivering laughs aplenty in all the right places. One such example of the comedy stems from something that every clerk undoubtedly has to deal with: customers that annoy the hell out of you.
I give major props to Kevin Smith's first cinematic outing. Anyone who can take a job as seemingly dull and normal as that of a convenience store clerk, and turn it into a riotous, lovable comedy of major proportions scores major points in my book.
The world has changed a great deal as the years have come and gone over
the last decade. However, in Leonardo, New Jersey, life at the Quick
Stop Convenience Store remains at a frightening stand-still. Best
friends Dante Hicks (Brian O' Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff
Anderson) are still spouting off wise-ass one-liners at the expense of
their costumers, but they're not fresh-faced young men anymore. More
like vulgar and insulting thirty-somethings in a dead-end job.
The two friends are forced to venture out into the real world when disaster strikes and find themselves working at the fast-food store, Mooby's, with Randal bringing his unique brand of social abuse along for the ride.
And as always, the ever-famed Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, respectively) are up to their usual antics.
I personally enjoyed Clerks 2 a lot, as it shows how these characters have evolved since they were first introduced to the world in 1994. Not only that, but the actors behind these characters are all back in fine form.
This film seems to cop a fair bit of flack for no reason than being a sequel to a cult classic, and writer/director Kevin Smith has been largely criticized as cowardly for going "back to the well", so to speak. Kevin's response to that couldn't have been any more true: "You can go back to the well, but that doesn't mean you can't draw fresh water". Damn straight, Kev. Look at George Lucas and the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
I honestly recommend at least renting this movie and its predecessor, Clerks. They really are two great films and I've no doubt that you will fall in love with these two slacker buddies. Or at least come to appreciate them on some level.
The Askewniverse began with Dante and Randal, and it is truly fitting that that universe end with them.
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Today I finally got a chance to see the one movie I've been waiting for ever since I first heard about it: Superman Returns.
After a long absence of twenty years, the Last Son of Krypton graces our movie screens once again, Bryan Singer does an excellent job of bringing Superman back to life for a new generation.
Newcomer Brandon Routh portrays the titular character, and he does such an incredible job that I was left totally speechless. He looked and sounded so much like the late Christopher Reeve that I could've sworn he was right in front of my eyes. It was like he had never left us.
I had my reservations about Kate Bosworth being cast as Lois Lane, but she brings a certain kind of sadness to the role. You really can believe she is upset and feels abandoned, yet still headstrong and sassy.
And finally, we come to Kevin Spacey as the villain of the piece, Lex Luthor. My mother and I both agreed this was a smart choice and for good reason. The man plays devious and cunning so very well. And while he drew obvious inspiration from Gene Hackman's rendition of the character, he did well in bringing some arrogance and bitterness to Luthor as well. His half-sane, half-insane approach worked well and was befitting of a jailed man.
Also, the little touches such as the comic references are worthy of pure fan-boy joygasms. The movie also has plenty of laughs and drama in all the right places without going over-the-top with them, which is a major plus in my book.
All in all the film is very story-driven and the sight of Superman pulling off his stunning feats and butting heads with the bad guys only serves to complement the story. Bryan Singer has done an unbelievably amazing job with this movie and I for one highly recommend it. Superman Returns, and I'm sure he'll be around for a long time to come.
I remember watching the original Uchyuu No Kishi Tekkaman Blade series
(or as I knew it at the time, Teknoman) when i was a kid. I was too
young to understand it completely at the time, but i loved every minute
of it. In the weeks leading up to Christmas i brought the entire
Tekkaman Blade series and finished watching the English Dub in about a
week. I am currently re-watching the series in Japanese.
Only a few days after Christmas, I came across information regarding the subject of this review: Tekkaman Blade 2, The direct-to-video, six-part sequel mini-series. From that day on, I made it my mission to obtain a copy of this anime by any means necessary. I tried Ebay (where i got the Tekkaman Blade collection from) but no luck. Many other exhaustive searches turned up zilch. However, that was soon to change.
Just today, i was browsing my local anime shop when something on the very corner of one of the racks caught my eye. I reeled in shock for a moment, and then felt a smile cross my face. I had finally found Tekkaman Blade 2. And i must say i was more than pleased with the cheap $15 price tag. So i forked out the cash and happily headed back home.
As i mentioned before, this is a mini-series. AND WHAT A MINI SERIES IT IS!!! While Tekkaman Blade 2 is not as plot-driven as its predecessor, its a very enjoyable romp and has enough action, drama and comedy to keep the viewer entertained throughout.
The characters are well thought-out and the animation is as fantastic as ever. The story centers around Yumi Francois, a 16 yr old mechanic for a new team of space Knights under the command of Aki Kisaragi (Star Summers for those who only watched the Teknoman dub) and the youngest of a trio of Tekkamen. Being a rookie, she must learn to earn her team-mates confidence and trust, and overcome her fears when she is thrust into the heat of battle.
While making an effort not to spoil anymore, i will say that Uuchyu No Kishi Tekkaman Blade and Tekkaman Blade 2 are both well worth the look-at, especially for newcomers. This is the kind of series that will show them that there was watchable anime before the kiddie-crap like Pokemon and Medabots.
The following is my review for what could very well be the best
comic-based movie of all time: Batman Begins
When rumours of this movie first surfaced, I simply shrugged it off. Of course, that was before I found out that Batman Begins was to be a complete revival of the franchise, which bombed completely when hack director Joel Schumacher got his hands on it. My opinions began to change for the better when I first saw the trailers for film late last year and I was actually surprised to learn that this movie focused on the origins of the one true Batman: A dark, gritty, highly-realistic one. I was left intrigued.
I attended the first Australian screening today (Thursday June 16 at 1:35 PM) and as I left the theatre with a hugest possible grin on my face, I audibly heard myself say the only words I think could best describe this movie...
WHAT A RUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The film took all the expectations I had and blew them away entirely. An highly capable director and a top-notch, totally believable cast equals one hell of a wicked cinematic experience.
Batman Begins is set in a Gotham City that has been over-run and poisoned by corruption, interspersed with flashbacks to the past life of Bruce Wayne. From witnessing the murder of his parents to leaving Gotham in disgust over the crime-infested hive it has become since they died, the journey Bruce takes to achieve his dream of fighting injustice is all extremely captivating as he learns to push himself beyond the limits of a normal human and work his own fears in his favour in a series of events spanning seven years, all of which culminate in Bruce's transformation into The Batman, the shining beacon of hope in a city shrouded in darkness.
I like the fact that the world of this Batman is fantastical yet realistic all at once. The best example I can give in this respect is the Batmobile which, unlike previous Batmobiles doesn't contain flashing lights in the engine or have multiple exhaust ports. It is an experimental tank-like military vehicle that had been collecting dust until Bruce got his mitts on it.
Seeing the car in action is wondrous indeed, and the chase sequence that occurs in the movie will undoubtedly leave you on the edge of your seat.
Christian Bale is the absolute greatest Batman I have seen since...well...EVER!! He really captures the spirit of his character wonderfully and does a great job.
Cillian Murphy is just plain creepy in his role as The Scarecrow, a psychologist working at Arkham Asylum who conducts experiments on the inmates using a specially mixed fear-inducing toxin.
Ken Wantanabe makes every second of his limited screen time count as the other villain of the piece, the intimidating Rah's Al Ghul.
Liam Neeson is downright harsh as Rah's's right-hand man, Henri Ducard and Katie Holmes does a exceptional job as Bruce's childhood friend/love interest Rachel Dawes, who has grown to become a District Attorney in Bruce's absence.
Michael Caine's rendition of Alfred is a refreshing one indeed, and not at all like any previous incarnations of the character.
Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Rutger Hauer (Earle) and the rest of the supporting cast all do an excellent job portraying their characters. Special props go to Gary Oldman as Lieutenant Gordon, who gets much more to do and is closer to the comic character of Gordon in this movie then Pat Hingle was in any of the previous ones.
This truly is a masterpiece. If you must see one movie at all this month, I highly recommend you see this one.
My overall score: 10 bats out of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Myself and two friends recently attended the 9:30pm screening of the final chapter in George Lucas's epic space saga, and 2 out of 3 enjoyed it immensely. Right off the bat, we are thrown in the closing battles of the Clone Wars via a space battle between the Seperatist forces, led by the cyborg General Greivous, and the Republic. The wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former-Padawan-turned-Jedi-Knight Anakin Skywalker have been sent on a mission to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who is being held captive by Greivous and Count Dooku The movie rightfully centers on Anakin, his relationships with his wife Padme and mentor Obi-Wan, and the journey that will forever change the history of the galaxy and give birth to the man we all love to hate, Darth Vader.
Story-wise, this movie is all that i expected and more. It ties both trilogies together very well, and the fact that it brings back characters such as Chewbacca will surely bring a tear of joy to the eye of any longtime Star Wars fan.
This film is super-charged with emotion and it shows, particularly in the final battle between Darth Vader (pre-armoured of course) and Obi-Wan. I cried with a mix of happiness and awe the whole way through that,and sadness flowed through me when Vader finally received the injuries that will forever place him in his trademark black armour.
The actors all do a splendid job with the parts.
Ewan McGregor channels Sir Alec Guinness perfectly, accent and all. Hayden Christensen shows us how significantly Anakin's character has matured and Natalie Portman does justice as Padme Amidala-Skywalker, Anakin's lovely wife and mother to Luke and Leia Skywalker. The real show-stopper here is Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine, the Chancellor-cum-Emperor.
Anakin is no longer the annoying little brat he was in Episode I, nor the ambitious-but-whiny punk he was in Episode II. Here he is portrayed exactly the way i wanted to see him, and the way i believe George Lucas envisioned him at this point: A young man desperate to gain power he believes can save those he loves as well as the respect he feels he deserves, with the fate of the entire galaxy hinging on the decisions he makes.
In terms of action, this movie doesn't have much, but its got it where it counts. The opening space battle above Planet Coruscant is a glorious sight to behold, and Yoda's duel with Palpatine is equally nice, but the ultimate showdown of good and evil culminates in the lightsaber duel that we fans have waited over two decades for.
Overall, i enjoyed Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith very much and left the theater completely, 100% satisfied. Cant wait for the DVD release...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK I have only one question to all the people who have ever taken a
glance at the dubbed GT, particularly the people that seem to favour
the Japanese version:
WHY THE HELL DOES EVERYONE BAD-MOUTH IT?????????
All I hear out of everyones mouth when it comes to this show are two simple words: It SUCKS (and in many cases they don't mean just the dub). Yes I know that this dub wasn't quite as good as DB or DBZ and that FUNI didn't initially dub the first 16 episodes like all you "real fans" say they should have done in the first place but at least its still enjoyable, so quit ur bee-yatching.
Before i continue i wanna point out that the reason why those first 16 episodes wasn't just coz so FUNI could "Get to the action faster". FUNI knew about GT's less-than-stellar ratings in Japan, and didn't wanna take the chance of losing their audience when they dubbed it. If u ask me that was a smart move, no matter how much you purists complain.
For those of you who haven't seen the show, this chapter revolves around Goku and his universal journey to re-unite a forbidden set of Dragon Balls called the Black Star Balls, after he is accidentally changed back into a kid due to a wish made on those balls. He is accompanied by his teenage grand-daughter Pan and current Capsule Corp president,Trunks
Now on the the pros and cons of the FUNI dub voice cast...
PROS: Returning cast from DB and DBZ along with some more than welcome newcomers CONS: Stephanie Nadolny as Goku. She did a good job in DB, but while reciting her lines here she often sounds like she either is half asleep or doesn't care. I'm not trying to say she entirely sucked. I'm simply saying she, and many of the other returning cast members for that matter, could do much better.
To be completely honest though, I shudder to think what other studios like Ocean and Westwood would have done with this
Another few things i wish to argue is that while i agree with GEOEAGLES when he says that they butchered the dialogue and turned Gill into an annoying little ball of s**t, Pan's voice isn't anywhere as annoying as what GEOEAGLES says. All the newcomers are great in their own ways and nothing bad can be said about any of them. Besides Pan's a teen in this series after all, and Elise Baughman gives a fine performance as Goku's grand-daughter.
All in all, while GT is far from being the best/most popular chapter in the DB trilogy (that title belongs to DBZ), its still very fun to watch, whether it be in Japanese or English. This wraps up the story completely, and is a must see for any Dragon Ball fan.
8 and a half out of 10
I once read in a DBZ magazine that many people viewed this as an
animated soap opera, which is exactly what this is. And like any good
soapie, its ADDICTIVE. It may not be as popular as it once was back in
the long gone days of old, but it still holds up like a champ even
For a series thats more then 10 years old, it still manages to amaze us all with the colorful cast of characters (all three-freakin-hundred of 'em) and stunning battles, along with some captivating plots and decent character development thrown in for good measure.
The voice cast for both versions of the show is mighty impressive, even if Goku's Jap voice is, in a word, crap...Ocean Studios did a fine job with the first 53 eps, and FUNImation deserves good credit..Yes, ill admit it, I'm one of the few people on this whole planet who actually enjoy's FUNI's voice cast.
I will admit that i tend to lose interest when the fights drag ON AND ON AND ON AND ON etc *hints at Frieza Saga* but all in all this show, even if it is more action-oriented than its predecessor (Dragon Ball) and successor (Dragon Ball GT) is mighty addictive and even more enjoyable.
A full 10/10