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The Little Dragons (1979)
Little Dragons = a little entertainment
I saw Little Dragons in a late night viewing once and thought it was goofy fun in the same vein as Bad News Bears and Six Pack. I really think this film could work for kids today. If it was released on DVD I think it would sell moderately well what with the new Mutant Ninja Turtles animated flick coming to theaters soon. Okay, so it's obvious I have a selfish aim of getting this on DVD and couldn't find any other way to express that in words. I could dramatically get on my knees and beg.....
*gets on knees and begs*
There. Embarrassed myself for this mediocre film. Just at least send a copy to my house.
EDIT: had to. Just learned this is out on DVD under the title Karate Kids USA in the 50 movie pack Martial Arts from Mill Creek. So if you looked this up here on IMDb.com then go get that pack! 50 flicks for about $16! It's insane. And you'll go insane by the time you've viewed them all.
Alice in Wonderland (1999)
Lets get BIG....
Alice in Wonderland. (1999) Jim Henson's Creature Shop and Hallmark followed up the first rate Gulliver's Travels and Merlin with this TV version comprised of Lewis Carrol's Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. Any weaknesses in this production are not in the visual department. Alice has never looked this good at any time in history. Full of eye-catching color and splendid visual effects including the strikingly effective warping of several actors to make them appear cartoonish, while still retaining their facial features. Martin Short becomes the mad hatter while Whoopi Goldberg and her big pearly whites get turned into the wide-smiling Cheshire cat. Excellent stuff! All of this visual pleasure is preserved on DVD nicely (and cheaply).
Now, there are some soft, mushy spots on this otherwise firm & meaty mushroom. The all star cast comes off as hit or miss. Alice is played very well by the young girl from Kevin Cosner's Waterworld Tina Majorino. She even looks a bit like the famous illustrations from Carroll's book and is capable of pulling off some very animated facial expressions just perfect for this. The Alice role is the most important and I believe they filled it with a competent young actress. The most talked about had to be Martin Short, and he is excellent! The mad hatter tea party has always been my favorite part of the material, book or movie, and it's very well represented here by Short and a couple of very well done animated Henson characters. The march hare is of special note, an excellent effect! I just read on IMDb.com that the Alice actress was afraid of the thing. Heh! Miranda Richardson of Black Adder and Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow fame plays the Queen of Hearts role with an insanity above and beyond what was needed. I prefer a more restrained method since that gives it a real world edge while hopefully retaining the insane satire. But Richardson is fun to watch and her makeup is splendid. As for Whoopi Goldberg, all you can do is scratch your head and wonder how they turned her into a kitty cat. Her teeth were sure perfect for the character and that little cat body with her head on it is a trip! I like Whoopi in this. The rest of the cast range from memorable (Gene Wilder as the mock turtle) to lazy and forgettable (sorry George Wendt, your Tweedledee is beneath Robbie Coltrane's Tweedledum). Many actors just needed to inject more energy like Short, Goldberg and Richardson were doing. But nothing railroads this fine production. It's one of my favorite versions and well worth the cost and running time. In fact, I recommend all of the Henson productions mentioned in this review as well as the Henson TV show called The Storyteller. Top quality TV that doesn't get mentioned enough on the net. It's all available cheaply. 8/10