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Kung fu (2004)
The ultimate Live-Action cartoon!
Stephen Chow really knows how to leave the viewer satisfied at the end of every movie he makes. From Shaolin Soccer's sporty zaniness, to the heartwarming theme in CJ7. Yet Kung Fu Hustle is a real package of absolute delight! Every character has their own sense of cartoonish individuality, from Sing's bumbling to the screaming landlady (I crack up every time she does her signature scream), you're sure to have a good time. I wouldn't recommend it to young children since it is bloody and profane, but when they're older they'll certainly get a kick out of it. The sense of invention is in every shot taken and once you get started you don't want to stop watching!
Darkwing Duck (1991)
I'm the terror that flaps in the night!
Ah Darkwing Duck, a truly unique superhero among other things. Disney really did their homework to prepare this bumbler of a hero. The Shadow, Spider-man, James Bond and especially Batman thrown into the blender makes this one-of-a-kind masterpiece of an after school program special. I was into ducks before thanks to the equally good Ducktales and getting into detective stuff where there's both action and thinking involved as well. I like how the hero lets his ego control him (with hilarious results) and the engaging slapstick action with memorable one-liners, particularly the immortal, "Let's get Dangerous!" (Never gets old). Now as an adult I'm catching all the stuff I missed as a kid such as all the superhero and superspy references to several celebrity and movie references (including an On the Waterfront reference). I'm glad that Jim Cummings (the man who plays Darkwing Duck) won an Annie for his role. This cartoon now ranks as one of my all-time favorites.
Pokémon Origins (2013)
Nice, but too rushed and over-rated
I grew up with the original Pokémon (Seasons 1-5) and I still love it to this day. It was nice to go back to where it all started since right now I couldn't stand Best Wishes and the more recent XY. However, I feel that just 4-5 episodes is just WAY too short to fully tell a Pokémon story. In the regular show every episode was worth the watch as it was more than just formula, it felt like reading a novel. They made Red to be too perfect unlike Ash who really felt more alive. Sorry fans of this one, but Ash's faults were there for a purpose not to drive you crazy. And the whole "win only one tournament" was there for a reason as well. Here the ultra condensed version is just mostly action, very little adventure, comedy, and drama and that's it. I liked how they played it out in the fashion of the Gameboy Games, but the reason I preferred the anime more, is that it had more life. Characters thought, had deep psychology, and made tough if difficult decisions. Here we don't get that as much. Finally, I felt that the mega stone thing was out of place. The creators should stick where it was back then and what it should be.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Very Good Daniel-San!
If there is one movie that can encourage kids to take martial arts classes, this would be the one. Ever since I first watched this at age 8, I loved everything about it enough that today, it is one of my all-time favorite movies. Like any good drama you need to have an imperfect character in the worst situation possible (a perky if lonely teenager who's the new kid in school getting bullied by a future girlfriend's ex) and this one does not disappoint. Even better is the lessons Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita in a well-deserved Oscar Nominated performance!) gives to Daniel LaRusso about karate and life itself. And last, but certainly not least is the action sequences. Well choreographed, exciting with the tournament settings, and most importantly the final bout ends on a sweet note. If you need something uplifting, this could be one of your choices.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
A family martial arts film that stands the test of time
Ahh, the Teenage Mutant ninja turtles. One you either love or you hate. As for me, I'm in the middle. My favorites are Leonardo (swordsman leader) and Michelangelo (goofball). Even after 14 years, I still like this movie, not as one of my all-time favorites, but enough to watch whenever, since this film has a charm that is difficult to resist (hey even Roger Ebert like it a little bit). The turtles in this film are presented pretty good and still hold up today as not only imaginative but entertaining as well, thanks to the magic of Jim Henson. Besides that the story makes a lot of sense as a martial arts drama with a little comedy and a good theme for kids that all parents love their children. There are a few faults such as Shredder's "death" and the fact that some believed the violence was a little over the top for kids, but today its pretty tame. Overall, whether you are a turtle fan or not you will enjoy this film.
Rabbit Ears: Peachboy (1993)
A soothingly told Good vs Evil tale
I grew up listening/watching Rabbit Ears productions and loving it as much as Reading Rainbow. The celebrities who tell these tales really know how to bring a story to life! This one is no exception and perhaps this one is my favorite. The way Sigourney Weaver tells it and with the variety of voices like one would a children's book is just phenomenal and her words stick with you for years. The soothing Japanese music perfectly accompanies this piece, you almost want to do some meditation while listening. Last and certainly not least, the drawings are professionally done. Who says you need it to be fully animated? Not so here, not that it matters. All in all, I love this above all other Rabbit Ears productions.
Another textbook example of how not to adapt a literary classic
I grew up reading Greek myths since age 8, even reading (adapted versions) the classics of Homer including the Illiad. I was psyched upon hearing that this would be an adaptation of the ancient classic. However, when as I watched, I noticed it got some things right, but much more wrong. First things first, the gods (except one, Thetis) are completely absent, which was an integral part of the story. Secondly, Helen was said to be the most beautiful woman of all is completely miscast and not very beautiful. Third the war was supposed to take 10 years as opposed to a few weeks here. And finally the Trojan horse, though present is rather crudely done (it was more crafted in literary works). On the plus side however, the effect that there are thousands of warriors is well done and Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom as Achilles and Paris is well cast. Too bad those aspects couldn't make the picture tread water.
Return to Oz (1985)
Well crafted and under-appreciated yet dark and disturbing
When I first heard of this movie, I was expecting, like everyone else something bright and cheerful just like its original. However, I was surprised at what was in this that was actually creepy yet I still found it enjoyable despite what critics said about this. Even though this movie did give me nightmares for days (I was nine at the time I saw it) there was a magnet in this movie that had me coming back to it. The well designed sets and imaginative characters and the feel that is much closer to L. Frank Baum's works (even though I did not read them) made it more enjoyable than the original. The character that freaks me out the most? The Nome King and his Nomes. The idea of some demonic face peering at me from a wall or rock just gives me the feel of paranoia. Despite its creepy vibe, I would recommend it for the brave and adventurous (if not very young) of audiences.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors (1993)
Even after two decades a Monster Bashing good time!
Ah, Zombies Ate my Neighbors. A Super NES classic. A friend of mine first showed me this around the time of its release and I was hooked right from the getgo. I mean come on, you've got a wide variety of monsters (from zombies, evil dolls, pod plants, spiders, vampires, fishmen, and much more) and weapons of the unconventional variety (from squirt guns, silverware, soda cans, popsicles, and the secret weapon the flamethrower!) how can anyone not like the idea? Thanks to some expert programming the same is never played twice all the way through from start to finish. Add in a haunting soundtrack plus a variety of secrets and you've got a winner that stands the test of time.
Good, but overrated
I loved the first Donkey Kong Country and I was hoping for more excitement in this sequel. You can do more things in this game such as the helicopter twirl and buddy animal special abilities. The graphics and music are equally awesome as the first. So why do I give this an 8? The first thing that turned me off a bit was the coin system, in the first you could save your game free of charge, but here you need two to do that and if you are broke you're in big trouble. The same thing if you need to go back to previous levels. The second is the challenge can really rack your nerves till you go crazy. The commercial for this game said "even tougher than the original" and sure enough they weren't lying. I do like this game just not as much as the first.