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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
One of Disney's finest Live Action works!
It's not often one finds a movie that was made 60 years ago hold up today and this is one of them. As an adaptation of the famous Jules Verne novel (yes, I have actually read the book before, in elementary school once), this movie does the source material justice and a lot more. The cast does a great job portraying their characters; Kirk Douglas makes a charming Ned Land (the harpooner) with some doses of humor thrown in this dark tale, Peter Lorre is a convincing Council, but it is James Mason perfectly capturing Captain Nemo's balance of genius and madness. The real show stealing scene so happens to be the giant squid attack. Even today, the squid looks and acts convincing (even the first tentacle attacking the deck looks frighteningly real!). Disney made this trip a real adventure, and although some parts of the book were taken out (such as the part where the Nautilus is under antarctic ice), the movie is still magnificent to look at, plus some insights on humanity worth adult supervision in the family.
The Lion Guard (2016)
Better than the purists say!
I regard the Lion King as not only my favorite Disney movie, but one of my favorite movies of all time. When I first heard about this show, I was skeptical about the idea of centering on Simba's son Kion. I've seen the first batch of episodes so far and you know what? I love it! Contains all the things that made the movie so successful: memorable characters, zippy music, and a well written story that has some deep themes as well. This one is no exception. It may be a kids show, but there's plenty for adults to enjoy here as well as it contains themes of environmental conservation and racial tolerance (more metaphorical as it was shown in Don Bluth's Land Before Time). The characters are well drawn both in appearance and personality wise as each has his/her own strengths and weaknesses whether in defense or story-wise. I even love the epic intro with a great African Choir singing, plus the way that characters say some Swahili words make this equivalent to what Roger Ebert said about the first movie that it becomes "a learning experience as well as entertainment". Thumbs (and paws) way up!
Reading Rainbow (1983)
My favorite Educational show!
Watch it, but you don't have to take my word for it! No seriously, this is the epitome of PBS's educational shows, the ultimate package of variety. Levar Burton is a great host and thanks to him, at the age of 4 I started reading books and I'm now a book lover and writer myself. This show covers a wide variety of subjects besides reading such as science, history, sociology, and much more. The actual book reading by a variety of celebrities never gets old, and everyone does a great job bringing each story to life. There's too many good performances it's difficult to pick a favorite. I tapes about 10 volumes (you heard right 10 volumes!) and like Bill Nye I used it a lot in my life. This is my most treasured educational show.
Bill Nye, the Science Guy (1993)
the most fun and most timeless science show!
Ah, Bill Nye, not just a TV show but an influence on my life as well. I managed to tape 17 episodes on one tape and even now, I still use it every now and then. I even used it it 6th grade for several subjects and the teacher was thankful I did. Like Square One, uses variety into the mix to teach children science. Bill Nye is a very funny man, and I like that he encourages kids to do experiments themselves. I bet the kids involved in this show have science degrees by now. I even love the music videos, parodies of other great songs in the 90's and 80's. Looking at it now, nothing has become dated, just as fun and educational as it was back in the 90's and I'm grateful it is still being shown on TV.
Square One TV (1987)
A brilliant Educational show!
I was a PBS kid in the late 80's to the mid 90's and taped many of its shows in that time period. I was able to find an episode of this show on one of my Reading Rainbow tapes (more on that in a later review), and I realized just how much fun this show is at teaching math. I regret not taping any more episodes, though I wish this could be on DVD. There were many great memorable segments, from a variety of gameshows, comedy routines, music videos (even one with Weird Al Yankovic!), my favorite part Mathman (I kept wondering all the time when he would get a free game), Dirk, and of course Mathnet. Shame this show no longer airs on television, children these days don't know what their missing.
Pokémon: Bye Bye Psyduck (2000)
Misty is one of Ash's best friends but doesn't always get the chance to not only show her character, but her battling skills simultaneously and this episode does that. We get another character that is like Misty herself in terms of interest and following the nature of the show maintaining a friendly disposition even in the midst of battle. This episode would be my favorite of Misty's battles she has had traveling with Ash. It starts off a bit awkward, but gradually develops strong courtesy of one Pokemon: Golduck, who's not only cool to look at but has a powerful disposal of moves. Adding in a Team Rocket attack makes the episode more memorable followed by the climactic final round and a hilarious ending I won't reveal.
Pokémon: Can't Beat the Heat! (2003)
The battle everyone waited 5 years for
5 years in the making brought us fans to this amazing battle! Story-wise and character-wise it all fits together like a puzzle. Every clue that was subtly hinted throughout the original series hinted and reminded us of this climactic fight. In fact, every part of this battle tells a story, from Ash's clumsy start to a strategic finish that takes three to take down one and one to take out three. Who could that be? Charizard! That's right, the big orange proves himself the real hero, redeeming himself from the embarrassment at the Indigo League. But he couldn't have done it without Muk or Bayleef lending a small hand before. Ash didn't use Pikachu and Gary didn't use Umbreon as everyone anticipated, but no matter. Even now 12 years after its release this battle holds up as the best battle of all time.
Very underrated series!
I'm not much of a Power Rangers fan, but this series won me over 15 years ago when it first aired on TV. What hooked me was not only the action, but the story, messages, and the realistic scenarios the rangers are when they aren't fighting evil forces. The demons themselves are kind of creepy rather than ridiculous especially Queen Bansheera. The story is very involving as Captain Mitchell has a history with the demons and it plays out nicely with touches of poignancy. The acting ability is much improved, you really feel for the characters and they think of the consequences of their actions. Thankfully unlike earlier seasons (especially the first one) this Power Rangers installment doesn't let the violence stamp out the messages, story and the fun.
The House of the Dead (1997)
inserts coin (ominous voice) The House of the Dead!
I enjoy blasting ghouls as one of may favorite pastimes and this game is one of them. I love the gameplay here: blast the zombies, save the hostages, your performance determines route. The enemies come in a wide range such as unarmed, axe, chainsaw, spider, frog, monkey, and bat. While not as diverse or long as the sequel which is my favorite, I still find this game pretty enjoyable to this day even with the dated graphics and bad acting (not as bad as the second). The bosses are pretty generic (for the time) though the Magician more than makes up for it if you make it to him. The music is really slamming! Gets your blood pumping with excitement as you blast the zombies. The 9 I'm giving it is for the minor faults and surprisingly low difficulty, but otherwise fun to play.
South Park (1997)
Immature audiences only
I've only seen 3 episodes of this and not once did I laugh. First of all the so called "mature" content and subject matter is ironically juvenile, in fact juvenile is a completely relevant term for this. Toilet humor, gratuitous violence with (fake) blood and gore, exploitative sex, and excessive heavy swearing, I see no humor in that. The artwork resembles that of a 1st grader's art project and even the voice acting is juvenile, from the four main kids to the celebrity cameos. Some have said that there is some good stuff in this show, but that's like trying to find gold in a pile of rotting fish. Don't get me wrong, I do occasionally like irreverent humor such as SNL, Harold and Kumar (juvenile but not to the total extreme), Daily show to name a few. It's just that I don't approve of comedy that's totally exploitative and random for no apparent reason other than try (unsuccessfully) to make someone both laugh and think.