Reviews written by registered user
ARTaylor

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56 reviews in total 
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194 out of 228 people found the following review useful:
King vs Kubrick - A Comparison, 10 December 2006
8/10

Let me say this right off the bat, the Kubrick version is the superior movie while the King/ Garris version is the superior adaptation.

What's wrong with the Kubrick version?

His misses out on certain very important plot elements. Jack seems to be crazy from the beginning. Jack's alcoholism is not as known as it should be. The Overlook only seems to be haunted in one or two scenes, the rest could be cabin fever. The breakdown of the family is not so clear, Jack and Danny don't seem to really love each other as much as they should. Differs greatly from the book.

What's right with Kubrick's version?

Superior directing. A very definitive style. Classic scenes ("Here's Johnny!"). Excellent acting. Danny seems to really be his age. Wendy really seems to be scared. Jack really does seem crazy when he's supposed to be. A very good horror movie in general. The hotel is much more imposing. Foreboding music helps to set mood. Differs greatly from the book (I'll explain why it's in both later).

What's wrong with the King/Garris version?

It suffers from many TV-Movie problems. The actors aren't quite as good. They use CGI when puppets, wires, or trick camera shooting could be equally effective. CGI looks out of place. Danny talks like a twenty-year old, although the same problem was in the book. Jack is fine when it comes to being Mr. Every Dad but he doesn't seem to be crazy when he's supposed to be. Jack's transformation doesn't seem so gradual as it should, Wendy says "You're old drinking habits have all come back" when the book shows each one pop up. It's the book, very little is changed so if you've read the book you pretty much know exactly what happens.

What's right with King/Garris' version?

It's not a remake of Kubrick's movie, it's a movie version's of King's book. It's the book, if you loved the book and are a die hard fan you'll love this. Very little is changed. Minor subplots are changed but movie works well without them. You get pretty much everything the Kubrick version left out.

Which one?

It depends. If you loved the book and are a die hard Stephan King fan then watch the Garris TV miniseries. If you are a regular movie fan or a Kubrick fan then watch the Kubrick version. Garris' is for the book fans. Kubrick's is for the non book fans.

Final Thoughts.

It's not really fair to compare the two movies. Each one has their own pros and cons. Kubrick's is more of a movie using the basic premise of the haunted hotel and the father who goes crazy. It's meant to be a movie that's not just a page by page adaptation of the book. Which you got to admire Kubrick for doing that. He did something that even those who memorized the book would be surprised and scared. But Garris did something that the die hard Stephan King fans can love. It depends on who you are. It is definitely not fair to compare the two since they are both very different from each other. Both are good in their own separate ways.

Cars 2 (2011)
168 out of 258 people found the following review useful:
How the Mighty have Fallen, 24 June 2011
5/10

We hoped it would never happen, but no one is perfect. Even the best can stumble. This had to happen eventually. Even the string of terrific Disney's classic films and the 90s Disney Renaissance didn't last forever. I'm afraid that, yes, Pixar has made a bad film.

Cars 1 was their least ambitious film. The story was predictable and character development obvious making it their most mediocre film. It was good but it lacked that little extra touch that made their films great. However, they had some great side characters, a heart, and wonderful scenes that elevated it up beyond most other films. But ever since this film's announcement I always wondered why. McQueen had his story and there's not much else to tell. Like Finding Nemo, where else is there to go? And I'd rather see sequels to better movies like The Incredibles, even Bug's Life seems to have more potential. It's easy to see why they made a sequel to it, since all you need to do is go to Disneyland or any Disney Store and see it covered in McQueen and Mater, which happened to be two my of three year-old cousin's first words. Off all the Pixar films, Cars made the most with the merchandise.

The biggest problem is the story. Cars 1, while predictable, was touching. Cars 2 has almost no heart or character development. The focus shifts from McQueen to Mater. McQueen had his story in the first and there's little to tell here. He has one character moment that's essentially the same realization as the first film's. The problem with Mater is that he's such a simple character. Everything about him is on the surface for all to see. He's the same person throughout the movie, with one predictable realization which goes no where, that he doesn't warrant his own film. He's like Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove. They're both terrific side characters but lack enough complexity for a full story. And Larry the Cable Guy has always been better with the other Blue Collar guys rather than on his own.

While Cars 1's highlight was its side characters, this movie almost abandons them. They do nothing. McMissile is a moving plot device and little more. Shiftwell is supposed to be a love interest but lacks any interesting moments. The rest of Radiator Springs basically sit back while McQueen and Mater have all the fun. Their stories and character are pushed aside so Larry can have fun being Mater. Because of this, there are almost no funny little side scenes where characters just have fun being themselves. Instead, most of the humor is derived from seeing Mater do silly things.

The look is impressive but not more than anything else Pixar's done. With each movie, the studio has pushed the graphics into new levels. Each movie has had some wow moment where audiences can't help but be amazed by what they're seeing. There were times in Cars 1 when it looked almost real. Cars 2 lacks any wow factor. One of the most impressive sets, Tokyo, were already spoiled by the Tokyo Mater short. This more than anything makes me wonder if Pixar was even trying to up the ante or if they were just using what they had to make a movie a year.

Spies and Cars seems to work well together. After all, any Bond or Bourne film will easily demonstrate why the two go together. Indeed, the opening scene on the drilling platform is easily the best with the fast chase and cool gadgets. But they weren't able to properly combine the racing and spy elements, almost as if you're watching two movies at once. There's too much spy stuff for the racing to be interesting, which becomes pointless against the overpowering and overly clichéd spy story. Perhaps Pixar should have set it as simply a spy movie set in the Cars universe and had McQueen and his friends in cameos or as a background story.

Another lousy spot is the music. Cars 1 had a terrific soundtrack with excellent uses of popular songs like Life is a Highway and Route 66. But there's not one memorable song or music cue in this movie. Giacchino usually does terrific work like with The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up. But he too fumbles the ball here. Perhaps he was just uninspired by what he had to work with.

Cars is Lasseter's pet project. But I think he's too close to it. He's got that Lucas Star Wars prequel trilogy problem. The people around him either were in awe of the man who made Pixar and Toy Story or they were afraid to hurt his feelings since he loves the Cars franchise so much. Pixar efforts have been so well done because they were collaborative efforts, each fixing each other's problems to make a better project. But with Lasseter off working more directly with Disney, he really should have had a co-director or perhaps given the reins to someone else like he did with Toy Story 3.

I almost rated this movie higher. It is fun while you're watching it, even if as soon as it's over it becomes too easy to pick apart the problems. But this is Pixar. They've dominated the animation market since Toy Story and have been pushing the boundaries at the Academy Awards ever since. To see them stumble with a not-so-great film would be one thing. But they're coming off from two Best Picture nominees to a movie that's simply flashy but with little substance. Kids will love the bright colors and silly antics, but parents will hate having to then buy twelve new Mater toys. Cars 2 is stalled and in need of a tune-up.

39 out of 50 people found the following review useful:
How to Make a Classic Comedy Unfunny, 4 November 2008
1/10

I used to watch shows like Beetlejuice, Real Ghostbusters, and even that lousy Mummy show. Sure none of them used the movie's actors, recycled some jokes, and were pale imitations of the movies they were based on.That least they did not try to literally recreate its source. They expanded on, and sometimes alluded to, the movie. And at least those shows were meant for children.

This show, however, is by far worse. I don't know who this one's meant for. It's too adult for kids and too stupid for adults.

I had high hopes too. Great movie. Mel Brooks coming back. Plenty to draw on thanks to Star Wars Clone Wars.

The most noticeable problem is the voice acting. Sure you got three actors returning from the film. However, none of them seem all that interested and their acting falls flat. The rest are just lousy. Those other shows at least got voice actors who sounded like the movie's but weren't just imitating, these are just trying to be the movie characters.

Why is Rino Romano even getting lead roles in series? Didn't anybody watch Spider-Man Unlimited or The Batman before hiring him? This man has no range. He's so blah.

It started off with a whimper by simply trying to quickly recreate the movie. Turning classic gags into such brief moments that no one can care about. Why not just start off after the movie like those other series? And none of the jokes were funny. I can still watch the movie and laugh out loud. With this show I was wincing as they said the same exact thing. No one seems to have good comedic timing. Lorenzo Music may not have been Bill Murray but at least he had comedic timing.

The animation looks like some flash video that some kid posted on some website. They really couldn't get anything better in this day and age?

Fans of the movie, skip this show. Haven't seen the movie, skip this show and watch the movie. Unless they undergo some drastic changes this show is going to disappear quickly and quietly. Not that I'll be missing it.

Wonder Woman (2009) (V)
31 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
A Great Movie With Something For Everyone, 27 February 2009
9/10

I was lucky enough to attend the early screening of Wonder Woman at Wondercon '09. Perhaps I was swept up in the excitement of so many fans around me, but I found this to be quite enjoyable. Perhaps the best of any of DC's animated features so far.

It's part action-adventure film and part romantic-comedy. And both parts are done wonderfully that makes this accessible to men, women, geek, and non-geek.

It's not based on any one story, but rather it goes through the typical Wonder Woman origins mixed with a supervillain story. Diana's on the island. A pilot crashes there. She takes him back. Bad guy does bad things. Diana and pilot must stop him. Not entirely original but no complaints here.

When it comes to action there is plenty of it. And violent too though not bloody. In fact I recall only three, maybe four instances of blood actually appearing. Bruce Timm said they did have more in it but it got an R rating and they had to tone it down. This is not necessarily one you would want to show to young kids. There are impalements, decapitations, crotch kicking, neck snapping; and that's all in the prologue not to mention the larger final battle. This isn't television, people die in this. The action itself is done well. It's plenty fun to watch. It's not all that suspenseful so you're not really on the edge of your seats hoping that they get out if it, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

This movie had the theater busting their guts with laughter. From comical moments in fight scenes to the well delivered jokes. But again this isn't necessarily for kids. There's a lot of stuff like that which parents should watch out for. Jokes about sex, Wonder Woman's outfit, just stuff like that. There's different kinds of jokes but generally it's not geared towards kids.

The voice acting is top notch. Everyone does well in their roles. Not a single role is miscast or not done well. My only quibble is the dialog of Zeus, Hera, and Hades. For Greek gods they talk quite modern, even in the prologue. It's distracting since the Amazons talk more formally, like you would expect someone of ancient times to talk. The actors do fine work but I think their few lines should have been rewritten first.

The animation is great except it's just like Justice League. It's not really all that different. It's not exactly the same design but it's very close. So watching this felt like I was watching the series. It's not like Batman: Gotham Knight where it looks completely different than Batman: The Animated Series. It doesn't really feel like Timm is moving forward in the animation.

One guy had a problem with the gender roles in the movie. He didn't like how masculine some of the Amazons were or how feminine one male character was. But the panel was quick to ask why. Cause, that's the real point of the movie. Preconceptions regarding gender roles. Everything in the movie deals with gender roles. How everyone has them and how everyone's views changes by the end. Some of it's subtle, most of it's not. But it never seems like it's hitting you over the head with it.

The movie doesn't shy away from the fact that comic books tend to exaggerate women and it certainly doesn't shy away from the fact that these women, especially Diana, are very beautiful. All the Amazons are called "armored supermodels." Steve the pilot thinks he's died and gone to heaven when he first sees the Amazons (not spoiling anything but that scene truly is a man's fantasy). When Diana first puts on the Wonder Woman costume there's a close up of her large chest. It's certainly in no way animated porn but sensitive parents will want to watch out.

My only real complaint deals with the final battle, which I shall endeavor to not spoil any details. To me it doesn't feel like they built it up enough, like it was rushed into. Another problem is that the bad guy does this one nasty trick which is emotionally powerful, but it's over too quick. My last is one hero goes off to fight, disappears for five minutes while we watch everyone else, it comes back to the hero, they finishes their part, and disappears for the rest of the battle. It just feels like clunky editing.

So to wrap this up: this movie has wonderful humor, exciting action, great acting, and is well made in pretty much every way. It's not for children but it's not meant to be. But when you look at the recent trend in comics and comic book movies you can see that it is being geared less towards children and more towards a mature audience.

Fans of Wonder Woman will love this movie. Fans of Bruce Timm's DC Animated Universe will love this movie. Fans of comic book movies will love this. This is certainly one of the best ventures into animated comic book movies.

21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Most Touching Character Death Ever, 3 June 2006
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Beast Wars was one of the best shows, if not the best, that was on television. The characters were real. The stories were interesting. For a children's show this dealt with some very adult themes such as death, revenge, treachery, and more. But this episode has to be the best episode of the series in terms of emotion.

Dinobot's sudden change in allegiance causes Rattrap to distrust him even more. Megatron and Rampage discover that they can indeed change the future as they see fit using the golden disc. They find a valley where early anthropoid humans exists. Dinobot decides to correct certain mistakes he has made and decides to confront Megatron. He finds Megatron and the valley. Megatron decides to destroy the valley and everything that was in it to prevent the human race from existing to prevent their help of the Autobots in the Great War. Dinobot realizes that Megatron's powers will be limitless if he doesn't stop him from destroying the valley. Dinobot then radios Optimus for help but finds that he must make things right. He knows that Optimus and the others will not arrive in time to save the early humans. He knows he must stop them himself. In the process of saving the valley he destroys the golden disc and pays the ultimate sacrifice in a battle with Megatron. The other Maximals arrive too late. They can only watch helplessly has Dinobot lays dying. Rattrap forgives Dinobot. Dinobot's last words are to tell his story of the good with the bad so he may be judged accordingly. As his spark enters the matrix Optimus calls him one of the greatest of Cybertron. Dinobot is given a full warrior's burial. The humans use what they learned from Dinobot's last stand to use tools to prevent predators from getting them thus entering a new stage of human evolution.

This is the most touching episode of Beast Wars, and possibly any television series. Dinobot's sacrifice is incredibly brave. The musical score is so touching. Off all the deaths on the show Dinobot has the most memorable and touching. Transmutate was a touching episode, but we only saw Transmutate for one episode. We had a whole season and a half of Dinobot. He was in the first episode. We got to know him very well throughout the series. Plenty of other characters have died, but none were so memorable. Tigatron and Airazor disappeared and didn't really die. Depthcharge and Tigerhawk had noble deaths but so much was happening in that episode that we did not get to think about it for too long. Code of Hero just focused on Dinobot.

I cannot watch this episode without feeling touched. I cannot even think about Dinobot's last words without being touched either. He was everything a hero should be. He fought a battle he couldn't win against an enemy he couldn't defeat. He fought to the end because he knew it was the right thing to do. He started off as a bad guy, his allegiance may have faltered, and he may not have been the most trusted but he was the most honorable and bravest of them all. This may be a fictional tale with computer generated characters, but that does not mean it cannot affect you.

"The rest is silence."

Ghostbusters (2009) (VG)
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Ready to be a Ghostbuster?, 14 July 2009
8/10

Note: I played the XBox 360 version. I don't know if there are any differences with the PC or PS3 version. I read that the Wii, PS2, DS, and PSP versions are a completely different experience so read another review to learn about those.

In the last year there were two franchise games that I feel really capture the feeling of being the character. The first is Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. The other is Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Although it's a third person "shooter" it doesn't feel like any other shooter. This feels like Ghostbusters. Whether you're blasting ghosts with the proton pack, sliming possessed people, searching for spirits with the PKE, or just running around you feel like a Ghostbuster.

The gameplay is entertaining in itself. None of the controls are complicated. The enemies are varied enough that you're never getting bored or repetitive. There are several problem-solving puzzles so the whole game isn't always point and shoot. It has its difficult parts without ever feeling impossible. And nothing's quite as fun as slam dunking a ghost into the trap.

The graphics are pretty good looking. The character models look real enough. The ghosts look like the movies where they're almost like a muppet. The environments are well done, it's worth several walks around the firehouse to notice all the details. The graphics aren't boundary pushing but they're still pretty good, just take a look at the Stay Puft level.

The atmosphere is really what makes it feel like Ghostbusters. There are times when it's laugh out loud hilarious. Others when it's edge of your seat scary. For example, in the library level Ray is great to listen to as he desperately hunts down the Library Ghost from the first movie. But there's one part where you approach a table in the corner and turn around to find yourself surrounded by book stacks. It creeps you out but Ray chimes in with some quip, you laugh, and move on. It captured that great Ghostbuster dark humor feeling.

The best part of the game is how authentic the game feels. First, all the actors return to voice their characters again. No Lorenzo Music or cheap sound alikes. This is the real deal. Everyone's back in perfect form, plus some great appearances by Alyssa Milano, Brian Doyle-Murray, and even Max von Sydow. It's a shame that Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis didn't return but the story works well without them. It really sounds like a movie. The environments are detailed enough. The firehouse is exactly like the films as are the hotel and the library.

The story is grand enough to be its own movie. It follows the usual film plot device of a powerful ghost trying to take over the world. However, it's not like Ghostbusters II where it's just the same plot over again. This time they added a mystery aspect. There's a question about just who the villain is and what he is doing, and in every mission you find clues to help solve it. The story itself builds off the first movie with respect towards the second.

My one and only problem with the game is that it is too short. It seems like once the story really got me hooked I was finishing it. It's not that the levels are too short or the story is lacking in any way, though it could have been expanded a bit. I finished the campaign in just three days. But maybe it was so entertaining I couldn't put it down until I was finished, and like the movies I enjoyed it so much I just wanted more. It is entertaining enough to warrant more than one play through.

This is a must for Ghostbusters fan. Whether you've watched everything Ghostbusters a hundred times over, love the first and refuse to acknowledge the second, or simply grew up on the cartoon show(s). It has everything you could want from another Ghostbusters film. Even non-Ghostbusters fans who are gamers of any level should check it out. It may not be the must-have game like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or Call of Duty but is definitely worth a rent at the very least. Simply put: every gamer should play this game.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Incredibly Fun And Terribly Annoying At The Same Time, 5 November 2008
7/10

This is probably the most fun I've ever had with a Spider-Man game. This is the first time since Spider-Man 2 that I've really felt like Spider-Man swinging through the city, and the controls are vastly improved from that game. I do miss the Splinter Cell style missions from Spider-Man 1, but the free-roaming environment gives you plenty to do.

The controls are simple, anyone can do it. It's not like Marvel Ultimate Alliance where sometimes you have to perform combos to defeat enemies. You can, and it's fun, but if you don't want to you can defeat just about any villain with simple punches.

The graphics are pretty amazing. The Incredible Hulk game also uses this large sandbox environment. However, after about three blocks it everything disappears in this green haze. No loading time but no scenery. This game fixes that. You can see details all the way across New York. No haze/fog/mist/etc. And up close things look pretty decent too.

But there is a problem with the graphics, they use the same thing for the cut-scenes. Now, Gears of War can get away with that because their engine is so top notch it made it's own notch. Why didn't this game go the same route as MUA? MUA has spectacular cut-scenes. Sure the graphics are good, not spectacular, but what few cut-scenes they did use with the in-game graphics looked just plain awful. But those cut-scenes like the opening or Nightcrawler escaping just looked so theatrical and amazing. This game could seem far more cinematic if they did that.

I don't care for the decision making. It's too obvious. Either, red (good) or black (evil). They should have done like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic where you make a decision and then find out where it put you. This game makes it too easy to be either good or bad. There were times in KOTOR where I thought I was doing good but ending up with dark points because I didn't know how it would end. Any game that allows you to make decision and have multiple endings should do the KOTOR way, not this one. Because there's no surprise.

The story is lacking. True it's a video game, but in this day and age story lines are becoming more and more necessary thanks to Halo, Half-Life 2, KOTOR, and even MUA. Those games had great story lines where you almost couldn't put them down until you found out what happened. In fact you could enjoy those stories outside the video game medium. With the invasion, Venom, and the choices this could have been a huge, grand epic. Instead, if this was a comic book it'd be over in two, three issues like it didn't matter. You don't really feel the emotional impact from any of the characters. If you're going to make a comic book video game you should use a Kingdom Come or House of M sized story. Grip the audience and don't let go until it's over.

Now there are some glaring problems which also make this an annoying experience too.

The voice actors are just a pain to listen to. When I first started playing MUA, I did not like any voice actors except for Fury and Doom. I thought Spider- Man was too whiny, Thor had no command, and Wolverine was too gravely, etc. By the time I finished I loved them all. They just grew on me till I couldn't imagine anyone else doing the voices. This game does not do that. None of the voice actors fight the characters. If they had subtitles, I'd turn off the voices. The only one I like is Wolverine, because he's been doing Wolverine sine MUA. They couldn't do that for Spidey and the others from MUA?

Exploding cars are like the balloons from Spider-Man 2. It seems like every other battle I get in there's an exploding car. Unfortunately I'm always two blocks away fighting some goon. By the time I find out there's an exploding car, turn around, and get anywhere near it it's already over and I'm getting 10 black points for it all. Or what's worse is if the exploding car knocks you away and by the time your character gets up you're getting the black points. It's very frustrating if you're trying to be good.

Climbing buildings is annoying. Incredible Hulk was very simple: get near a building, press one button, and you're on it. It doesn't automatically make you jump up nor leap across the street. You just get on. This game uses one button too but it sends you running around the side for some odd reason. Sometimes I get on a building but I end up running in some odd direction. I don't understand why you have to get on and run too. Why not just get on and then some other button lets you to run?

I've been fighting the camera more than I have thugs. Especially on the sides of buildings. There are times when it glitches so bad that I'm either looking straight up or straight down (no in-between) and neither helps whatsoever. I had heard there were camera problems with Spider-Man 3 but I had hoped they would think about that before making this game.

If you bypass the flaws you'll have a wonderful time. At midnight I certainly am. Comic book-gamers should definitely play this. Casual gamers may be put off but should at least rent it. Those who loved Spider-Man 2 will certainly enjoy this. I'll eagerly await a sequel, but hope they learn from their mistakes.

Valkyrie (2008)
11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A Great Cast Drives This Excellent Thriller, 12 January 2009
8/10

This is an enjoyable movie. It isn't quite as different as The Usual Suspects but it's still an intriguing film. The German channel ZDF summed it up well: Valkyrie is "neither scandalously bad nor the event of the century...Neither is it the action thriller we feared, but it is a well-made and serious film."

The story is suspenseful, filled with tension to keep you glued to it. It isn't bogged down with pointless side stories to add needless drama. "Will he do it for the world or will he chicken out to be with his family?" There's already enough going on with just trying to get it all planned out and get everyone on board. The movie's like the characters, know what needs to be done and just goes for it. And I liked that they didn't delve into every character's back story and reason for trying to kill Hitler. It's 2008/09. We know there's plenty of reasons for people to kill the man. Besides, that would have just added twenty to thirty minutes of dialog and exposition just to say that Hitler is bad.

This proved to be a great role for Tom Cruise. For once he doesn't just break out in a run for some random reason trying to be an action star. Here he goes back to what he's good at, like his older roles in A Few Good Men or Rain Man. He's a good actor but not when he's running around. Maybe we can finally forget about him on the couch and think of his acting.

The rest of the cast works perfectly. Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and the ever lovable Terence Stamp are all in top form. There doesn't seem to be a single person who could be replaced with someone better.

The production values are great, certainly nothing is done half-hearted. Everything looks amazing and is well done, the kind of touch Bryan Singer brings. I like all of Singer's movies. Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 & 2, and even Superman Returns. He's no Christopher Nolan or Steven Spielberg but he's still a fine director.

My only real problem with the movie is I wish there was some extra punch to it. This is a real historical account. Therefore we already know how it ends. Anyone who would see this movie should have enough education from grade school to know that this plot didn't kill Hitler. This is the problem that faced the Star Wars prequel trilogy. How to make it engaging when the audience knows the ending. He did a good job but I feel he could have gone further. Maybe Singer should have taken a page from Nolan's book and made it non-linear. Perhaps played up the suspense of Hitler trying to communicate before the plotters succeeded. Or something a little more that would have pushed it from a good movie to great one.

It's an exciting thriller that I recommend to everyone. It showcases not only an important event but one of the best parts of humanity. The plotters weren't saints but normal, average human beings trying to be good. They stood up in the midst of insurmountable odds to do what is right. And the fact that it was all true made it all the more touching.

And in the end it did what all movies should aspire to do: I left wanting to see it again.

Blade II (2002)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Good but not Special, 25 May 2011
7/10

I didn't care for this one. Maybe because I heard so many people say it was better than the first that I got my expectations up too high. I didn't find the characters all that compelling or the universe all that intriguing this time around. The villain certainly wasn't as interesting as Deacon Frost. It didn't seem like Blade had any substantial subplots to keep us interested in him.

I hated that they brought back Whistler after his terrific sacrifice scene in the first film. Perhaps if the first had set up his return, but as it is it's just sloppy continuity.

The action and style of the movie are great. But they would be out-shined by Del Toro's Hellboy movies. It worked, but it wasn't as fresh as it was when the first movie came out. At the very least, the CGI looked finished this time around.

The movie is okay, but it doesn't really do much to stand out on its own. The character was already introduced, the story was nothing special, and the fights were nothing that The Matrix didn't already popularize.

Dracula (1980) (TV)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The Tomb of Dracula, 5 October 2013
6/10

I love Marvel Comics. I love all the shows (for the most part) and the movies (again, mostly). I find the characters incredibly interesting and love to know about it. I'm particularly interested in animation. I had read all about Marvel's modern animated movies, but learned that there were two relatively unknown movies: Dracula and The Monster of Frankenstein. Marvel and Toei Animation made a deal to make several of their properties, but those were the only two produced.

Dracula is inspired by The Tomb of Dracula. The comic features Dracula's grandson finding his body and encountering vampire hunters like Blade. I picked up a collected edition and it's quite...odd to say the least (it was the 70s). This film is loosely inspired by the comics and features a few of the characters, but greatly alters the story. Oddly enough, the comics weren't available in Japan at the time so it's an odd choice that this was made above Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, or Hulk.

The film follows both Dracula and his grandson Drake. Dracula meets a woman, falls in love, and has a child. Drake meets a team of vampire hunters and searches for his grandfather. Satan, angry at Dracula for stealing his bride, plans to destroy the vampire lord. The meeting of the three stories eventually leads to a big climatic showdown.

The tone is all over the place. There's a lot of late 70s and early 80s camp, silly hairstyles, plot devices that stretch believability, and other problems that were common in anime at the time. On the other hand, there's a lot of dark stuff. Early on, Dracula graphically kills two women on screen. There's a flashback to his days of Vlad the Impaler which is more historically accurate than most other screen versions (violence-wise). Some of the characters even take a side-trip to Hell. And one female character appears fully naked from the side. I wouldn't say it's scary, but there's a shot of birds picking at dead bodies on pikes (hence the real-life Vlad's nickname) that could be disturbing. I actually applaud the darker elements. That's something almost no one in animation deals with. The problem is, the campier elements make it too silly for adults but the sex and violence make it a bit much for children.

The voice acting is, again, standard for anime at the time. Unless it was Disney or Don Bluth, no one took animation seriously and certainly not anime (Akira being nearly a decade away). At the time, translations were done quickly and cheaply. It seemed that the same ten people did everything anime. The voices work for their purposes but not a one is anything more than adequate.

The animation is astounding. Anime has always featured terrific animation. Characters look realistic, not the oversized hands and eyes that American animation often has. There's a great richness to the images and backgrounds. Lots of interesting looking set pieces, even for tiny little scenes or just single shots. They do have the occasional problem, but it was typical to cheat every once in a while.

Dracula is an interesting tale. I would recommend it to anime and/or Marvel buffs looking for something different. There's actually a lot of interesting ideas. For example, Dracula resents his life as a vampire and his need to consume people, though Let the Right One In would do that idea better. If only this movie was simply a better movie. There's simply too many problems to take this seriously.


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