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Episode IX: No Hope
12 June 2018
The Force Awakens was a somewhat divisive film, but apart from the common complaint that it was essentially just a remake of The New Hope, most people seemed to have liked it. It did not kill my interest in going forward to see this film; unfortunately, I cannot speak as favourably of The Last Jedi.

When I saw this movie in theaters for the first (and only) time, I immediately picked upon a major problem; it is incredibly self-indulgent in it's subversiveness, which is essentially just a nice way of saying it's unpredictable. While that's not a bad thing in itself, but when you do it at the expense of all else, including character development and storytelling, what you get is a series of twists for the sake of having them, regardless of whether they actually make any sense or not, resulting in a good chunk of the entire movie being rendered almost entirely unnecessary in retrospect. The Last Jedi feels like it just repeatedly pulls the rug from under the viewer just so it can say "gotcha!", but you know what they say; fool me once...

On hindsight, another major issue with the film is it's complete disregard to it's own legacy. I'm not even talking it's introduction of some serious issues in the rules of the entire Star Wars universe as a whole, or about turning Luke into an old, decrepit, miserable hermit (and I'm not even going to talk about what I see as blatant character assassination), but it fails to even develop the characters introduced in The Force Awakens. In fact, that's something of an understatement; the characters either don't develop at all, or they're essentially reduced to two-dimensional parodies of themselves who plod their way through the film in displays of massive incompetence and/or foolishness. I know making characters act stupid is a common storytelling device to keep the story going forward, but The Last Jedi abuses it to a nauseating degree.

Much has been said about the new characters as well, they're really not that much better off. Rose Tico in particular almost feels like a parody of a typical college liberal. Her dialogue reveals her naivety, and her actions reveal her failure to consider possible long-term harmful effects in favour of short-term "feel-good" benefits, and in one instance in particular the former kicks in almost immediately on the background after she makes some adage about it, which in any other film would come off as a biting satire - I only say she almost feels like a parody, because I'm positive it was not intentional. It merely demonstrates utter cluelessness on the behalf of Rian Johnson.

The film may be impressive visually, but the inside rings hollow. With all the characters worth caring about either dead, flat or reduced to stereotypes, there's just nothing left for me to care about in Episode IX. The franchise is clearly in the hands of people who do not care about it. I guess Rian Johnson does get the last laugh with his biggest subversion of all; the expectation that this movie might've been even remotely decent. Needless to say, I'm not going to see it. Fool me twice, shame on me.
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Polly Gone (1988)
Some say it's the worst CGI short ever made
25 March 2018
But I really quite like this one. Rather than settling for being just another industrial demo or commercial, Polly Gone sets out quite gleefully to do it's own thing; disregarding any attempts at realism and ignoring conventions, this bizarre cartoon displays...I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to portray? The day in the life of a computer program? There's some verisimlitude to real life (cleaning house, getting the mail) but does it in the most absurd manner possible. The way the short goes out of it's way to commit what would otherwise be considered animation mistakes, it insted employs graphics glitches such as objects clipping through the camera to create it's own unique look. In a way, it almost predicts the kind of video game glitches we now make fun of.
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MASK (1985–1986)
Wasted potential - if it ever had any
21 December 2017
You could probably make some kind of an argument about the sensibility of having vehicles that just transform into other, different vehicles, but I'm not going to make that argument because that'd be silly. Even I think the toys were kind of cool.

Instead, I'm going to argue from the perspective of an adult who didn't grow up with this cartoon as a child and therefore can see it for what it is, without rose-tinted glasses. No, it's not going to be complaining about being a weekly 30 minute toy commercial; on that regard, I can be incredibly forgiving. In fact, I tend to be quite forgiving towards most cartoons of the period. Out of all the ones that I have watched as an adult, regardless of whether I actually saw them as a child myself, there really only have been a select few that I can without a doubt say that I did not enjoy.

MASK is unfortunately one of them. The biggest issue with the series is not immediately obvious; if you were to watch maybe two or three random episodes then yes, it might be perfectly watchable. But having watched every single episode has made it painfully clear to me that this cartoon is without a doubt the most repetitive friggin' thing I have ever seen. Out of the 65 episodes of the first season, there are less than five that don't follow the exact same formula; VENOM is somewhere around the world on some kind of a treasure hunt, Matt Trakker just happens to be there at the same time (I think only in one episode they actually bother establishing why), he summons the Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, they fight, good guys win, the end. And in the middle of it all, Scott and T-Bob get in trouble and make some puns.

You could argue that a lot of 80's cartoons are repetitive, but none of them have been quite as shamelessly plot-recycling as MASK. There is absolutely no backstory episode, no character-building, nothing. It's just the same exact story, repeated ad nauseum, just with a different location every time. And the lack of backstory is the worst part; if you know anything about these characters at all, I guarantee you that information did NOT come from the cartoon series. Even the whole aspect of VENOM being mercenaries barely, if ever, comes up. Hell, several times it seems the writers even forgot T-Bob's supposed to be a robot; in one episode he almost drowns (he doesn't breathe!) and in an end-of-episode PSA about not putting plastic bags on your head, HE is the one doing it (HE DOESN'T BREATHE!)

The worst part is that with the second season's racing-themed overhaul, you'd think the series would get some fresh ideas, but the treasure hunts don't even stop there - instead it just happens to be somewhere down the race track! The only thing that really struck out with the second season was that VENOM now got to do PSAs as well, which was absolutely hilarious because in the episodes they are constantly insulting each other and bickering, and suddenly they're demonstrating uncharacteristic concern for each others' wellbeing.

As I wrote this review, I found myself knocking more and more stars off my already low rating, but I don't think I can in good conscience take it all the way down to one; if there is one thing going on for this show that's actually good, it's the animation quality being pretty consistent. Unlike many other cartoons of the era which were animated by a large variety of animation studios, leading to significant differences in animation quality and even character models across episodes, MASK was produced by DiC who appears to have used only one so there isn't any of the usual off-model shenanigans you might find in something like Transformers.
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Jurassic Park III was better than this
7 May 2017
A lot of people love to criticize JP3 for a number of reasons, like repeating the last movie or hyping up the Spinosaur so much but in my personal opinion, I think JP3 captures that "theme park movie" feel much better than The Lost World does.

For one thing, this is a much darker film. I don't just mean how most of the movie takes place at night, but the while the body-count in the original was merely implied, we never really got to see the carnage - in fact, I think there were only three people we saw dying on screen, and not only that, but there were only four confirmed kills in the whole movie. Meanwhile there are dozens of people slaughtered in this film quite explicitly - not necessarily bloody, but it's quite obvious those guys didn't make it. The deaths in the original film, when they did happen on-screen, were relatively quick and didn't linger; meanwhile, some of the deaths in this film are rather drawn-out and even taunt the viewer with the possibility that the character might actually make it, only for them to die horribly. There's also the aspect of the "cold corporate greed" which reduces John Hammond to a bit part, and makes InGen far more villainous than Dennis Nedry could ever dream of being. I suppose there is some conservationist argument that could be made that makes so many of the victims supposedly less sympathetic, but outside of like one guy who faces a very ironic fate, most of them just struck me as guys doing a job and most certainly didn't deserve their fates.

Then there's a couple of really gaping plot holes without any good explanation for them that really strike as deliberately done just so the plot could proceed in a specific way, such as a character who gets a whole establishing scene to show us he knows his profession, ignoring a pretty massive Chekhov's gun - and you can't even just pretend he missed it, because he's the one who draws attention to it! So after a lot of plot contrivances and characters acting like idiots, the only scene I actually liked in the whole film was the animal control department vehicle speeding away from the scene, which is still funny to this day. A glimmer light in this terribly mediocre sequel, I suppose.
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Street Sharks (1994–1996)
It's kind of bad
25 January 2016
I'm not saying it's really bad, just plain bad. And I'm not even comparing it to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, of which this is one of the many ripoffs made in the 90's.

The continuity is really sketchy - I mean restoring status quo is/was a popular thing to do in these cartoons, but considering the series kind of established itself as continuity actually mattering at all early on, it's really jarring when Piranoid finally gets arrested with the President of all characters giving a full expose on his activities, and he's shown trying to escape from prison at the end...and then in the next episode, he's hosting some trade symposium as if nothing had happened.

And the animation is really bad, with the framerate frequently dropping way below the television animation standard of 12 frames a second, leading to characters moving in a very choppy manner, and the characters' body parts occasionally miscolored or left uncolored entirely, like Ripster's jaw disappearing in one frame but the outlines are still there (and considering the low framerate, all the errors are very easy to spot). The show does a lousy job at conveying action on-screen sometimes, making it confusing to figure out what exactly is going on - such as when Piranoid is about to crash the van he's driving in, he's shown screaming, and it cuts to a backdrop painting which doesn't give you a faintest idea about what he's supposed to be crashing into...and then it cuts back to him, screaming again, and a brief pause, and he screams AGAIN as if to inhale between screaming, all before finally actually crashing, it's like the steam roller scene from Austin Powers except I'm not entirely convinced they did it deliberately since it's the kind of meta humor the series rarely dwells in.

And don't get me started on the weird montages that replace action scenes where they just play clips in split screen not only from earlier in the episode but even after the montage, while some second-rate song plays in the background - and once the montage is over, it rarely has made any difference, clearly existing only to pad out the episodes.
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A beautiful movie with a lame excuse of a story
30 October 2012
I'll just get this straight out of the way; Final Yamato is a beautiful movie to look and listen to. There's some really pretty animation here and the orchestral score is a major tour de force, particularly the tracks "Aquarius, Planet of Water" and "Symphony of Aquarius". The ending of the film, likewise, is considerably more satisfying than that of "Farewell Space Battleship Yamato" which, after several fake endings, ended the film with a whistle than a bang.

But I'm not here to talk about the good aspects of this film. As pretty as it is, the story is extremely weak and most certainly not enough to carry the film through it's 165 minute runtime - while the rest of the film is at least above mediocre, the terrible beginning and the new villains' rather dodgy plan overshadows the entire movie.

The movie begins with a red galaxy, coming from another dimension, crashing into our own and destroying the Galman-Gamilas and Bolar empires almost completely. Nevermind the questionable cosmology of this event, but it is then completely ignored in favour of an entirely new plot and feels like a rather lame excuse to keep Desslok out of the picture. After this a far too convenient string of lucky coincidences takes place; after escaping the destruction with a random warp, Yamato winds up near a planet being ravaged by Aquarius, a planet made entirely of water, causing floods and what amounts to a near extinction event for it's population - and Yamato manages to save no one else apart from a small boy, at a considerable loss of several of Yamato's own crewmen, too. On the way back home, Yamato is attacked by a new enemy - who just *happen* to be inhabitants of the destroyed planet - for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, other survivors hatch a new plan; they will use a massive space shift device to warp Aquarius to earth to flood it, to eradicate humanity and colonize earth! Wait, what? Meanwhile, Susumu Kodai, who feels his erroneous judgement caused the deaths of so many crew members, resigns, while the earth defense force learns of the villains' plan...somehow; this is never explained either. Nor is how flooding another planet going to help them; if they're just going to wait for the floods to subside, why can't they just wait for it on their own home planet? Okay, so we're implied to that the aliens' entire culture is based on egotism and social Darwinism, but it serves as a rather lame excuse for the stupidity of their plan.

So the EDF decides to launch Yamato anyway to hopefully stop this plan, with a new captain; Juzo Okita, who died in the first series, is brought back to life with some more dodgy retconning, reducing Kodai to being subordinate once again. And the reason for all this is...I've no idea.

You've probably already noticed that I've used the words "weak" and "dodgy" a lot in this review; that is because those words describe the plot of this film remarkably well. As good as the second half of the movie may be, it is not going to fix the horribly flawed premise. "Farewell", despite it's lackluster ending, would have been a much better conclusion to the Yamato saga.
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Doctor Who: The End of Time: Part Two (2010)
Season Unknown, Episode Unknown
Russell T Davies really exceeded himself this time...
25 March 2012
...he actually managed to write a story even *worse* than Last of the Timelords! Where should I even begin? Firstly, the resolution to the entire cliffhanger from the first episode is stupid. If I didn't know that RTD was completely incapable of any kind of subtlety, I could've assumed that the double-cop-out was a parody of itself. Secondly, the Master's entire back-story is retconned into something completely idiotic involving the drumming in his head (which I thought was a load of bull when it was first introduced anyway). Lastly, there's loads of the Doctor bawling and the whole thing feels like a send-off pandering more to the Tennant fan girls than all Doctor Who fans in general.

I wish the time-traveling astronaut had gone back in time to shoot HIM instead! I must admit though, this episode is definitely an appropriate send-off for RTD himself; just like his entire tenure as the producer, it is dumb, badly written and infuriatingly melodramatic.
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Some childhood memories are best left unvisited
3 March 2012
Galaxy Express 999 will always hold a special place in my heart, on the benefit of quite possibly being the first anime I ever saw when I was a child. Back then, all I had was a handful of videotapes to choose from, which provided a nice window into this universe envisioned by Leiji Matsumoto.

Roll two decades later, I finally have an oppoturnity to watch the entire series, an oppoturnity I would surely not miss. Finally, I would be able to witness the entire journey of Tetsuro to acquiring his mechanical body, with the assistance of a mysterious woman named Maetel, an odyssey that would slowly teach him that maybe eternal life isn't all it's cracked out to be.

However, as time passed and I dove deeper into this universe, I began to discover how deeply flawed it was. While I was prepared for the series eschewing any kind of scientific accuracy and realism in favour of delivering a story, I wasn't quite expecting it to cheat. Let me elaborate; in the early episodes, an auxiliary character attempting to steal Tetsuro's ticket is a very common plot device. However, as the series progresses, we are introduced to an increasing amount of the railroad company's rules and regulations which eventually amount to such theft never having been really possible in the first place. What's worse, these rules are sometimes introduced and then promptly forgotten or altered. For example, a passenger may be let onboard in an emergency, however what exactly constitutes an "emergency" varies wildly and nonsensically; an abusive husband counts as such, while having your entire home planet about to explode doesn't. The most jarring example is an episode where Tetsuro and Maetel are kidnapped (this also happens frequently) and we are told of a regulation that entitles the railroad company to send an armored train to free them. Not only has this rule never been brought up on previous occasions, it is never brought up again in subsequent episodes! For those who do not understand the implications of this; this kind of blatant cheating in terms of storytelling spoils the drama completely as it comes across as a cheap method of introducing unpredictability into the series. What's worse, despite the series' relatively long run, there seems to be absolutely no character development in regards to Tetsuro, leading me to believe that there was very little communication or planning between the several writers; the lack of a story bible is obvious.

It's really difficult to give this show any kind of score. The numerous failings of this series don't really become obvious until about a third or a quarter into it's run, so I guess I could be generous.
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Uchû senkan Yamato III (1980–1981)
Underrated chapter of the saga
15 February 2012
Space Battleship Yamato III gets frequently overlooked in favour of it's predecessors - I believe a major contributor to this may be the fact that it's English-dubbed version, Bolar Wars, was released years later after Star Blazers and sporting an entirely new voice cast and a slipshod translation which didn't win it any favours.

The original version is, in my opinion, not merely as good as the previous two series but *better*. While the basic premise is pretty much the same, earth is in danger, Yamato heads out to get help...but that's where the similarities end. This time around, earth is in the same predicament as Gamilus was in the first series, and most of the series, Yamato (with several other unnamed ships which are implied to be upon the same task) seeks for another planet for humanity to migrate to. Somewhere deep in space, Desslok is engaging in a war against another superpower, the Bolar Federation, and soon Musumu Kodai and his friends are in the middle of this armed conflict. While Yamato spends much of the first half in battle, the story takes a turn into something far more interesting when Desslok discovers that Yamato is now involved in his campaign, and the story does not let go until the end.

Why does Yamato III rate better than it's predecessors in my opinion? It falls victim far less frequently the kind of stupidity series 1, 2 and especially New Voyage and Be Forever suffered from; namely characters foolishly getting themselves killed or acting just downright stupid for no reason and getting *others* killed instead (looking at you, Mamoru and Starsha).

If you enjoyed Yamato and Yamato II, you're going to enjoy Yamato III as well.
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Save yourself the trouble, watch the TV series
3 January 2012
So basically, the first Yamato movie covers the entire Iscandar adventure.

Fair enough, allowing theatre-goers to experience the tale in time for the sequel which was released year later...only this is just really badly executed.

The single biggest problem with this movie is the pacing. Even knowing it recycles footage from the TV series cannot prepare you for the fact that they did absolutely no additional work whatsoever apart from new narration, meaning they didn't even record any new dialogue - this means that much of the first half of the film races through several key events in a manner that makes it look like the writers of the film really just didn't care. Reducing Yamato's visit to Mars to a mere mention in the fashion of the narrator going "Yamato visits Mars to make repairs" isn't even half as bad as the first test of the wave motion gun and the battle at Pluto receiving almost similar treatment, killing the dramatic tension - and I swear, I've never seen a movie narrate itself through an action scene! Sometimes, they even use the "cliffhanger" narration from the end of an episode! The faster pacing also makes the one-year voyage feel much less epic than it actually was in the TV series, and that in turn draws attention to the awkward fact that Yamato receives grave damage in one battle and is mysteriously repaired by the next scene. How many times does the third bridge get destroyed anyway? With no new animation and a really bizarre priority on what plot elements should be carried over from the TV series at that, the first Yamato movie does not feel like a theatrical feature at all, but a feature-length clip show for television.
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I can't believe this was released...
8 November 2010
Ah, the good old days of VHS, when just about any cinematic turd could find a distributor - why else do you think so many of the movies shown on MST3K were released on VHS *before* that show was even aired? Tho I guess they had some standards; a direct to video release like Tales From the Quadead Zone probably would have never even qualified. And certainly not for a cinematic release, as the whole thing was shot on video. And it shows.

The second movie of Chester Novell Turner, who only made two films before forever disappearing into relative obscurity, shows that Chester Novell Turner is to writing what Chester Novell Turner is to directing. After a whole three minutes of lousy drawings and even lousier Casio keyboard music that makes up the movie's opening, we're introduced to the same ugly lady with the hideous hairdo that starred in the previous movie, The Black Devil Doll From Hell, who speaks to her crappy video effect of a dead son and reads him stories.

Obviously this movie is supposed to be a horror anthology like Tales from the Crypt, what with the premise and all, but for one thing, this film never even begins to work as a horror film; despite the title of the movie, there's only THREE stories in the entire film - and the third isn't even from the stupid book she reads! I don't think I need to even get into the storyline to tell you how awful this film is. Let's just say that both stories are neither interesting or terrifying, the audio mix is so bad that the awful and unfitting Casio music drowns out the already inaudible dialog.

This film really is best viewed with a group of friends while MST3K'ing the hell out of it.
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30 January 2003
While LotR indeed is beautiful in every way, the camera work, visual effects, acting, filming locations and even wardrobing, I think it's severely overrated. Even if people think it should be on top of the top250 list, I think it should be far away from it - It just isn't all THAT good. But still, it's a good movie. 8 out of 10.
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The Evil Dead (1981)
A masterpiece.
30 January 2003
While not as good as The Shining, or horrible as all the sequels of Nightmare on Elm Street, the values of Evil Dead come from somewhere else. Just like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead was made on extremely low budget, but Evil Dead is a good proof that a movie with tiny budget can be great - Evil Dead was shot on a budget of only about $100'000, and yet they managed to make one of the biggest cult hits since TCM. It never got a cinematic success, but when it hit on video, the cult slowly formed up. Evil Dead was extremely succesful on video, and thanks to several releases it has survived to this day. Isn't it ironic how they have spent more money on releasing it on video than in making the thing? Evil Dead will always be popular, there is no question about it. 9 out of 10.
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22 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers

I watched this movie, and found out that it was quite good. Especially the Austin Powers reference.

Ok, let's look at the story. It seems to be a parody of "Attack to Naboo"-scene from phantom menace. Except with Naked barbies, Lando Calrissian and most importantly, the death of Jar Jar Binks. Lando is a professional wrestler(!) and he must save the city...alone.
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