Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Production Notes and Trivia

Production notes:
James Cameron announced T3 many times during the 1990s, but without coming out with any finished script. During his divorce with Linda Hamilton, she asked for the Terminator franchise rights which she promptly sold to Carolco Pictures owners Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. Tedi Serafian wrote a script, but as it would cost over $300 million, it was rejected. Serafian earned a "story" credit after screenwriters John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris used some of his ideas, like Sarah Connor being dead and the rival Terminator being female.

The studios had long wanted to make a sequel to the Terminator films. However, they were unsure whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in it. Schwarzenegger initially refused to star in Terminator 3 because Cameron, who created the character and helmed the first two films, would not be directing the third installment. Schwarzenegger tried to persuade Cameron to produce the third film. Cameron declined, however, as he felt that he had already finished telling the story upon the conclusion of T2. But feeling that the Terminator character was as much Schwarzenegger's as it was his own, he advised Schwarzenegger to just do the third film and ask for "nothing less than $30 million."

The movie's final production budget was $187.3 million, making it the most expensive independently-produced movie in history. Schwarzenegger agreed to defer part of his salary in order to prevent the relocation of the set to Vancouver, British Columbia, from Los Angeles. Many pundits saw this as preparation to his campaign for California governor, in which he emphasized giving incentives to have movie productions stay in California, rather than film in less-expensive places elsewhere. In that vein, the film was markedly "cleaner" than previous Terminator films, featuring significantly less violence and swearing.

The film takes several ideas from the novel T2: Infiltrator by S. M. Stirling. The novel, published in 2001, features a female terminator, the I-950, a plot point later reused in Terminator Rewired. The idea of Judgment Day being postponed was also used in the book. It also inspires the Sergeant Candy scene with its own explanation of the Terminator's physical appearance, in the form of Austrian counter-terrorist Dieter von Rossbach.

A scene filmed during production explains why one series of Terminators all look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. A character named Chief Master Sergeant William Candy (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) explains in an Air Force promotional video he was chosen to be the model of the Terminator project. Schwarzenegger's character has a Southern accent. When Lieutenant General Brewster questions it, another scientist replies (in a Schwarzenegger voice-over), "We can fix it." This scene is available as a special feature on the DVD version.



Trivia:
Its $170 million budget is the highest approved budget to date. Other movies cost more, but had smaller "approved" budgets.

After viewing initial dailies, director Jonathan Mostow deemed Sophia Bush too young to play hero John Conner's love interest, and replaced her with Claire Danes at the last minute. Danes started filming immediately and basically learned about her character on the job. Danes later said this may have helped her performance, as Kate Brewster's character was similarly thrust into a strange new reality with no warning.

A number of actors were supposedly in the running for the role of the T-X, including Vin Diesel, Shaquille O'Neal, Famke Janssen, Carrie-Anne Moss, Peta Wilson, Jeri Ryan and Lucia Rijker and former WWF wrestler Joanie 'Chyna' Laurer.

The T-X was originally called the T-1G. At one point it was going to be a male Terminator.

The secret production name for the movie was originally "York Square".

Ang Lee was offered to direct the film, but turned it down to direct Hulk (2003) instead.

The original tagline of "The War Begins 2003" was removed from all promotional material due to the political climate of the time, and the war in Iraq. The line was changed to simply "Coming Soon".

Toyota Motor Corporation provided seven Toyota Tundra trucks to be destroyed in the movie. Toyota also sold a limited edition of Toyota Tundra T3 trucks.

Arnold Schwarzenegger put up $1.4 million of his salary to ensure that a key scene where a construction crane smashes into a glass building was shot.

In an early draft of the script, Lance Henriksen was to reprise the role of Detective Vukovich, having the character bound to a wheelchair following the events of the first Terminator. The idea was eventually dropped.

Kristanna Loken put on 15 pounds of muscle to fit her role of the T-X. She also took a mime class to prepare for her part.

Besides Arnold Schwarzenegger, the only other actor to appear in all three Terminator movies is Earl Boen who always played the character of Dr. Silberman.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature line "I'll be back" is not uttered in this film. Instead, he says two paraphrases: "She'll be back" and, later, "I'm back."

The famous line "Get out!" is said in all three films. In this film there is also a variation when the Terminator steals the policeman's motorcycle, "Get off!".

For filming the T-X arriving scene Kristanna Loken spent one night naked. During the filming a glass piece stuck under her leg due to walking barefoot on the street.

T-X's breast inflation scene took several takes because the air bladders underneath Kristanna Loken’s bra made by the effects team didn't work properly. Sometimes one of the bladders popped or one would fizzle out.

A shot of the Terminator getting on a motorcycle and then swerving to the right as he takes off is seen from the same angle in all three movies.

Unlike the first two Terminator movies, the line, "Come with me if you want to live," is not used in this film. However, a variation of it is given when John says to Kate, "Do you wanna live? Come on!"

Billy D. Lucas, a personal stuntman for Arnold Schwarzenegger, can be seen as the angry guy yelling at John Connor after John smashes into his car.

The exact date of Judgment Day is 24 July 2004 at 6:18 PM, according to both the Terminator and the watch he examines in the beginning of the film. The date of the ‘original’ "Judgment Day" that they were trying to prevent was 29 August 1997.


T3 was Arnold Schwarzenegger's last starring role (but not his last acting role) before being elected governor of California on 7 October 2003.

The first week of photography was the scene where the Terminator crashes the truck on the T-X at the exterior of the vet clinic. The last day of photography was the scene where the T-X appeared from the time portal.

When the T-X's weapon is damaged, her on screen display chooses a new weapon. The display shows the name of the weapon and a description, but if you look closely the description for all of the weapons simply states: "Important information about this weapon is being displayed here".

According to the Terminator's computer display, he fires 760 rounds of ammunition during the cemetery scene.

During the cemetery scene, as the Terminator's computer display is counting rounds fired and casualties, names are scrolled on the screen. Many of these names are members of the Visual Effects department.

During filming of the scene where Scott Mason/Petersen morphs into the T-X, both actors were filmed performing the same motions and blended to create the effect. When filming, Mark Famiglietti, who plays Scott, had to wear large platform shoes because Kristanna Loken is significantly taller than he is.

When the Terminator is rebooting after destroying the Jeep Cherokee, among other things loaded is a "Quicktime Video Codec".

Two of the air bases Skynet is shown taking control of are "Moron Airfield" and "Batman Air Base". These are actual military locations. Moron (pronounced More-own) Air Base is located in Spain, and Batman Air Base is in Turkey.

In the third act, The Terminator reboots himself, to rid his system from corruption caused by the T-X. As he does, we can see, in his first-person "Terminator Vision", many items scroll by. These include: "Remote Access", "Sound", "Memory", "Software Update", "QuickTime Player", "Control Strip", "Date and Time", "Multiple Users", "Keychain Access", "Location Manager", "Energy Saver", "Add Application Program", and also "MP3.com". All of these items (with the exception of "MP3.com") are easily recognized components of Apple Macintosh operating systems, most likely Mac OS 9. In the first movie the "Terminator Vision" incorporated assembly code for the Motorola 6502 microprocessor, the CPU for the then-current Apple II computer.

An early draft had a completely different storyline from the film, in which John Connor is a successful computer programmer, who ends up being instrumental in the activation of Skynet. Sarah Connor is also featured in the film. The evil Terminator is a shapeshifter, but also can take on a gaseous energy form.



The scene in the hangar with dozens of T-1 robots was realized via digital matte painting. Only three full-scale T-1 robots were built for the film.

When the Terminator is choosing items at the convenience store, he grabs a Manner Schnitten, which is an Austrian sugar wafer.

It took six months to edit the car chase sequence.

John quotes his mother in the cemetery as calling every day after 29 August 1997 a "gift". The quote is a near-exact copy of what Sarah Connor says in Terminator 2: Judgment Day's original "happy" ending available on most of its DVD editions.

The "Rich Woman" attacked by the naked T-X was planned to have attempted to use an ATM that wouldn't respond, but there wasn't time to film it. If this scene had been included, it would have been one of several indications (Kate's cell phone, the lack of TV reception at the AM/PM) that the computer virus is taking over.

The storyboards for the Judgment Day scenes near the end of the film were much more graphic than what was seen in the film, and included images such as the Statue of Liberty melting, the Hollywood sign going up in flames and even Dr. Silberman being incinerated by a nuclear blast. However, the VFX team were told that it was "too soon after 9/11" to show such graphic destruction, and that only a single nuclear explosion should be seen, and that it should actually be of relatively poor quality compared to what was seen in the second film.

The character of Kate Brewster's fiancé was originally named Scott Petersen. Due to the name's similarity to Scott Peterson (a California man convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and their unborn child in late 2002 while out fishing) and the plot of his fiancée's kidnapping, the character's name was changed to Scott Mason, although he's still listed as Scott Petersen in the credits.

In all three Terminator films the Terminator's definition of "being back" means entering a building by driving a vehicle through it: In The Terminator he drives a car into a police station after saying "I'll be back." In Terminator 2: Judgment Day he drives a SWAT van into the Cyberdyne Building after saying "I'll be back." In this film he flies a helicopter into an airplane hangar, steps out and proclaims, "I'm back!"

Several of Arnold Schwarzenegger's female employees were cast as extras in the opening bar scene, where The Terminator first arrives in search of clothing.

Stan Winston and his team constructed flawless, life-size, fully-operational robotic replicas of Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-star Kristanna Loken because certain sequences involving fire and explosions were too dangerous for them to perform.

Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered a minor hand injury during the filming of the cemetery battle scene. One of the small explosives on the casket exterior, used to simulate a bullet hit, was planted too close to his hand.

Arnold Schwarzenegger worked out for six months, about three hours a day, before shooting started, by which time he had the exact same body weight and muscle measurements as he had 12 years previously while shooting Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

After the T-X has damaged her primary weapon, a first-person view shows her going through different weapon choices. On the right side of the screen one of the weapons is named "Rumsfeld P81 Cauterizer". This is a poke at President George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense at the time, Donald Rumsfeld.

The gas station where The Terminator stops for refueling is the same gas station seen in all three Terminator movies. In the first movie it was shown at the end where a pregnant Sarah stops before driving to the Mojave Desert. In the second film it's also the same place used where Sarah camps in for the night after she escapes from the hospital.

The wrist watch worn by the Terminator is a Swiss Audemar Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph. Its titanium case resists magnetic fields making it the ideal choice in the event of any attempted rise of the machines.

It took six months for the VFX pioneers to develop the method to simulate the final sequence, in which T-X's liquid exterior is magnetized to the point of peeling off, revealing her alloy endoskeleton.

In each Terminator film the villainous character's death is greeted with the word "Terminated" in some way. In The Terminator Sarah Connor says "You're terminated, fucker!" as she crushes the Terminator in the hydraulic press. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day John Connor asks "Is it dead?" (of the melted T1000) to which the Terminator replies "Terminated". In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines the Terminator says "You are Terminated!" as it destroys the T-X.

Source: Wikipedia and IMDB

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Monday, June 16, 2008

STAN WINSTON: 1946-2008

The sad news has just been released that Stan Winston, special effects and make-up legend (as the article puts it appropriately) has died. He was 62. He was battling with multiple myeloma for the past 7 years.

He had won the Oscars for his works on Aliens, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and Batman Returns.

If you have seen a movie from the 1980's with special effects in it, Winston was probably there. He provided a lot of monster effects, in particular, for movies such as Aliens, Predator, The Terminator, The Thing, and Pumpkinhead. After the 1980's, his works include films such as Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, From Dusk Til Dawn, Congo, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and many more.

Recently, he created the Iron Man armor in the new Iron Man film, and reportedly was working on James Cameron's upcoming Avatar.

He will be duly missed, very much, but his legacy will continue through his admirers in the world of film. I have no doubt he has inspired a generation of film makers to follow their dreams and goals in the medium.

His works have probably frightened most of us at some point, as well as wowed us. I always love seeing the Aliens on screen that he created, and those Jurassic Park dinosaurs will always be awesome. He definitely struck the world with those. And we can always go back and watch the movies he worked on, and be amazed again and again, and remember the first times we witnessed all of those monsters and tremendous effects.

Goodbye, Stan. Thank you for all of the great, great work you have given we, the audience in the cinema, and for helping us love movies. And for inspiring others to make movies. You were a part of movie history, and you always will be.

Source: Breitbart

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Monday, June 9, 2008

COMING NEVER- Prepare for Dinner!




Auy...

Sorry for no comics for the past couple of weeks...Some things have been going on. I was out of town one week, and another week, there was just too much really going on....I should be back on track now...Although Shin has disappeared to Parts Unknown, as he often does... ¬ ¬ 

I know this is a pretty stupid comic. But it was just a cheap gag I thought of. It was also fun to draw Leonidas. I love 300; the movie and the original funnybook by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Great stuff. The movie was really well done. especially in following along with the comic; just like Sin City did. although that one was not made by the same people.

Also, color! :O There's a bit of color in this one! That's my homage to Frank Miller there. Although, the book was fully in color, by Lynn Varley...

Some people complained that 300 was not a 'realistic' movie, and point out all the historical flaws. Well, did it ever occur to anyone that this was done on purpose? That's done in movies all the time. Hell, look at anything Oliver Stone has done; he deliberately ignores history and the facts all the time. This is where you know that there are people who don't know some backstory about this movie, and the comics. Frank Miller loves the ancient Greeks and has studied them a lot. He KNOWS what he did, and why there were inaccuracies. Yes, he did it on purpose. You think that he doesn't know that the Spartans...wore...uh, armor? Of course he does. Also, there weren't ONLY 300 Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae; there were other warriors there, as well. Altogether, I think there was about 800 or so warriors. Miller was really focusing on the legend of the 300 warriors, and glorifying them greatly. Why is that so hard to understand or accept?

It's a movie, so you have to take it with a grain of salt anyway, and if you do try to take it too literally, well, then you won't enjoy it. But if you've already decided you want to see an EXACT re-creation, you're not going to enjoy it anyway. So I say, take it for what it is, and enjoy it.

Or not. It's up to you. I love the movie, and the book.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

TRANSFORMERS 2 FULL TITLE REVEALED

Although Michael Bay has already issued the statement, or warning rather, that he was going to see to it that lies would be spread about the upcoming Transformers 2, it seems this news is no lie.

Hasbro has issued the report that the official title of the next movie is--



Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.




Oh Lord. I didn't like the first movie as it is, and this one is already off to a bad start....Which doesn't surprise me.


Now, it should be noted that there may be some significance to this title that fans may know. The former company DreamWave Productions once published Transformers funnybooks. In one of those series, they created a character simply referred to as 'the Fallen', and was tied to the very beginning of Cybertron, and the Transformers, in DW's TF universe. There is no word at this time if 'the Fallen' in the title refers to this character, or if it refers to...well, someone else.

I would guess it's probably not the Fallen from the DW funnybooks. Michael Bay seems pretty adamant he wants to do absolutely everything his own way, and doesn't really want to look to other TF sources for ideas or stories.

Maybe it refers to, for example....Starscream, maybe? Or Jazz? Yeah, maybe Jazz returns to get revenge. No, probably not....Or most likely it refers to Megatron.

But stay tuned. I recommend that you don't believe anything else about this movie that comes out. Treat everything as a rumor or just a lie, as that's what Bay wants to do; unless some news is officially confirmed by Hasbro or DreamWorks.

Sources: Hasbro.com
Wikipedia: The Fallen

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gyllenhall is the Prince and DQIV Redux Dated!



Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, The Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain) has been cast in the starring role as The Prince of Persia, in...Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Described thusly, "In the fantasy adventure, Gyllenhaal will play Dastan, a young prince in sixth century Persia who must join forces with Tamina (Arterton), a feisty and exotic princess, to prevent a villainous nobleman from possessing the Sands of Time, a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world."

You know. I don't know how I feel about this. I like the guy all right but... can he do this??

It's already been said before that despite having the same title as the first game in the Prince of Persia's resurrection in games, this movie will intentionally not be a whole lot like the game. You can kind of see where they're going with that, but this movie has already been compared to....Pirates of the Caribbean, in terms how how they are looking at it. But uh, well, PoP is a game with a story, and Pirates was A DISNEYLAND RIDE. Big difference. So stay tuned.

Source:
Dark Horizons


The first of Squenix's Dragon Quest 3D reduxs for the DS is coming to North America on September 16: Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen.

But people are also wondering when DQIX, also on DS, will make it to these shores. It's due in Japan on November 20th. Well, I'd say it's safe to say we won't get it until next year, obviously. :P Probably late spring or early summer. But stay tuned.

Source:
1Up

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Monday, May 19, 2008

COMING NEVER: The Running of the Boll



I don’t know if Uwe Boll really means all the crazy things he says, or if he just plain doesn’t care what he says; because no one else cares. Whatever the case, he’s great at providing comedic material. That’s the only reason to even pay attention to him.

So this week the long-awaited Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens. And so does Boll’s not-at-all-awaited Postal opens, his most recent rampage upon games through a movie. You know, it’s actually frightening that Boll calls this movie his ‘dream project’. This man’s dreams are not to be taken seriously at all then. It’s also true it does open on the same day as Indiana Jones; in only 4 theaters. I am not kidding. That’s what the
report says. 4 theaters. Boll of course has a new rant to go with this. He claims:

“Theatrical distributors are boycotting Postal because of its political content. We were prepared to open on 1500 screens all across America on May 23rd. Any multiplex in the U.S. should have space for us, but they're afraid... We have even tried to buy a few screens in New York and Los Angeles, and they won't let us even rent the theaters! I urge independent exhibitors to contact us and book 'Postal'! Audiences have been expecting the film and I don't think exhibitors should censor what gets played in U.S. theaters.”

Yes, theaters probably do have space, but they don’t want to waste it with this garbage. Although you have to think about how weird that is when you consider al lthe other complete garbage that IS allowed into theaters. The truth is, this just isn’t a ‘big’ movie. In any way. At all. And theaters aren’t going to pretend that it is. People will probably not see it. This definitely looks like a movie that would normally go directly to video.

Also, ‘exhibitors’, which I guess is how Boll refers to theaters, DO have a right to play or not play movies. That’s not called ‘censorship’. But most people would agree to that. Boll is just an idiot.

As for Indiana Jones, we’ve waited years for it. Many years. Early screenings have been positive, and it looks promising. I’m looking forward to a good show. And Lucas is even
thinking about a 5th movie. Although, a few years from now, he’ll probably retract that and claim ‘I never said that’.

Also, as a note, next week’s comic might be a day late. I am going out of town this next weekend, and although I will be back Monday, I will probably be too tired. But I’ll see what I can do.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Movie Review: Transformers: The Movie

Starring: Judd Nelson, Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy, Orson Welles, Lionel Standish, Frank Welker, Peter Cullen, Erin Idle, Chris Latta


Director: Nelson Shin


Release Date: August 8, 1986

MPAA Rating: PG

Synopsis: After a tragic defeat and death of their leader, the Autobots must flee the pursuit of the Decepticons, and solve the mystery of the monster planet orbiting Cybertron.



My Two Cents:

So since I reviewed the Transformers film from last summer, let me now review the original Transformers: The Movie, from 1986. This was a very special, perhaps crucial, part of my childhood, and one I will carry with me always. As I said in my Transformers review, a lot of people said that movie made them ‘feel like a kid again’, but not me. This is the movie that makes me feel like a kid; it’s instant nostaliga from the very beginning. All those memories from my childhood come rushing back. Now, if you didn’t watch the old TV show, or didn’t have or play with the toys, then unfortunately, this movie will not mean the same thing to you, at all. I can understand why if people in that situation watch this movie, and don’t like it, would find it cheesy, etc. It can be hard to really appreciate if you didn’t live your childhood with these things. That doesn’t mean you can’t, but you’ll have a much harder time doing so. The animation and art work themselves are experiences to marvel; I love them. This is what Transformers are all about, and always will be, to me. A lot of different incarnations of Transformers have come and gone, but this movie largely demonstrates what they are really all about.

I’m going to get into spoilish material here, so beware.

The movie is basically a classic battle of good and evil. It doesn’t have a very deep plot and doesn’t really make you think deeply about anything. But there isn’t anything really wrong with that in itself either. We have the Autobots still battling with the Decepticons, who, in the year 2006, when this movie takes place (20 years into the future from when the movie was released), have taken over the Transformers’ homeworld, Cybertron. The Autobots continue to fight to regain control and defeat the Decepticons. They still have important bases on Earth, however, and we see (the very orange) Autobot City as their biggest Earthbound base. The Decepticons hijack an Autobot shuttle going to Autobot City, in which they plan to launch a sneak attack.





Megatron- classic badass villain


And the Decepticons REALLY fight to win in this movie. A lot of Transformers die in this movie, actually, and a lot of kids probably saw some of their favorite Transformers actually die before their eyes. And you KNOW these robots are DEAD, trust me. Transformers get shot, blown up from the outside, blown up from the inside, are disintegrated, and just get mutilated. Most of the time, this happens to Autobots, but not always.





Optimus Prime, badly damaged


The battle in Autobot City is where Optimus Prime and Megatron have their final fight, and it’s a great one. They just beat the shit out of each other, like we had never seen before. But a lot of kids were possibly traumatized, or at least very saddened because, as Optimus Prime said ‘One shall stand, one shall fall’ (this line was also used in the new film). Optimus is the one who really fell. He died in this movie, in what I still call a powerful scene. That broke a lot of kids’ hearts to see the great Optimus actually die. How could they do this to kids? Well...at least kids still had the toys, where Optimus, and all their favorites, could always come alive.




Optimus Prime, Dead


We see a lot of Autobots dead, but I had to wonder exactly how many Autobots were in the city, and how many died. This is a point I’ll get back to later in this review. In the seasons after the movie, there are a lot of Autobots we don’t see again, so I wondered if they were killed in the city. What happened to Bluestreak, Warpath, Beachcomber, Tracks, Trailbreaker, Inferno, Cosmos, Grapple, Hoist, Gears (for some odd reason, Gears is listed as being in this movie in the credits, but he wasn’t there, and certainly had no lines...), Skyfire, Sideswipe, Smokescreen, Sunstreaker (we do see him in the movie, but not what happens to him, and he doesn’t appear again, after the movie), and others? Did they all get killed? Possibly.

One of the things this movie did was make way for all-new Transformers; sort of like ‘the next generation’, but I don’t know if I’d call it that. But the movie was clearly meant to be the beginning of a new age for the Transformers. We meet new Autobots Ultra Magnus, Springer, Arcee (a rare feminine Transformer. Some had appeared in episodes before the movie, but they were scarce), Blurr, Wheelie, Hot Rod and Kup. The movie focuses mostly on them, especially after the battle in the city. The Decepticons get their all-new leader, Galvatron, and his loyal minions Cyclonus and Scourge, and his henchmen, the Sweeps. These guys are all bad-ass, and I sure loved them all as a kid. Megatron was very sadistic, and loved torturing the Autobots, but Galvatron was different in that his attitude seemed to be ‘Just kill them’. And that’s all his minions lived for. Bad ass.


We are also introduced to one of the most celebrated and loved villains in Transformers history; Unicron. We see Unicron at the beginning of the movie, and his appearance doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the movie at first, but it becomes clear after the city battle. Unicron is super-bad ass; he’s literally a planet that eats other planets. He’s like a different kind of Death Star (an analogy that James Rolfe also made). However, Unicron is also clearly some kind of metaphysical evil being as well. He has some strange powers; he seems to have some sort of extrasensory ability, as he was able to see Optimus Prime die, and pass on leadership to Ultra Magnus. This may have something to do with the fact that Optimus passes along the Autobot Matrix of Leadership, simply referred to as the Matrix (Yeah, that’s right. When the movie The Matrix came out, all I could think about was Transformers when I heard the title...), to Ultra Magnus, and Unicron wants the Matrix destroyed, as it’s the only thing that can destroy him. This connection isn’t explained really, but in some ways, it doesn’t need to be. Unicron is the ultimate evil the Autobots have encountered, and the Matrix is something like the ultimate good that can destroy him. Fair enough. The Autobots eventually learn of Unicron and set out to somehow stop him, after the city battle.




Unicron- Bad Ass.


Unicron also has the power to change other Transformers. After the Decepticons leave Autobot City, being somewhat defeated, the bodies of the most-damaged Decepticons are dumped into space; including Megatron, and by Starscream. At least, Starscream is getting his wish of being Decepticon leader. The discarded Decepticons encounter Unicron, who he claims ‘summoned’ them to him, and in exchange for his ownership of them, Unicron gives them new bodies and new identities. Megatron becomes Galvatron, and the other Decepticons with him become the new super-warriors Cyclonus, Scourge and the Sweeps. The scene in which these Decepticons change is really neat, and you see ‘x-rays’ of what they look like inside.



This is what the inside of a Transformer looks like


We also meet another new set of infamous Transformer villains; the Quintessons. The name comes from the fact that they have five faces, or rather, in the movie, there is only one of these particular beings (referred to as ‘the Imperial Magistrate’). In the TV show after the movie, there’s 4 or 5 of the 5-faced ones. The other inhabitants of the Quintesson world, Quintessa, are also referred to as Quintessons, even though they only have one face, and all look different. The Quintessons are evil and sadistic, like Megatron, and basically, they live to do nothing but kill everything they meet. They hold ‘trials’ for everyone they capture, and everyone is always found ‘innocent’. Now, ordinarily, this means that when one is innocent in court, they are let free. Not on Quintessa. All innocent ones, which is basically everyone, are still executed. They are dropped into the Sharkticon pit, where they are eaten. T he Sharkticons...look nothing like sharks, but rather they are rotund Transformers with a lot of shark-like teeth, and spiked tails. The other Quintessa inhabitants are the prosecutor, whose head is shaped like a Xenomorph’s, the executor, the Sharkticon Guards, and another set of Transformers, whose name I am not sure of. They transform into somewhat alligator-like beasts. A Sharkticon toy was made, but not any of these other guys. I always wished that I had some...




The Quintesson Imperial Magistrate


Also, when Hot Rod’s team crashes on Quintessa, Kup teaches us the ‘universal greeting’. So this movie is educational.

Eventually, the Autobots make it to Unicron, who starts attacking Cybertron. But before he does, he reveals his secret; he’s really a giant Transformer. This may not be that ‘surprising’, but his transformation scene is really awesome. And after he’s all done, we see Galvatron actually looking afraid at what he is seeing. Certainly, he’s more than shocked. I always love seeing that, too.

As you may have guessed, the Autobots do prevail, and the Matrix is used to stop Unicron. He isn’t comepletely destroyed though; his head becomes Cybertron’s new satellite. And the Autobots get a new leader. Before he dies, Optimus tells the Autobots that ‘one day, an Autobot shall rise from our ranks, and use the power of the Matrix to light our darkest hour’. Hot Rod fulfills his destiny, and becomes Rodimus Prime. Some of the metaphysical aspects of the Matrix are also demonstrated, as Hot Rod GROWS, literally, when he becomes Rodimus, his face has ‘age lines’; he simply looks like he’s an older robot. He is also now able to transform into a different vehicle; from a muscle car, into a Winnebago-ish vehicle.

Again, there is nothing deep about this movie, and one could easily criticize it for not having enough plot. But well, it’s only 88 minutes to begin with, and it does move fast. But I still call it a great movie experience. Yes, most of that comes from my childhood, but I still enjoy the movie even today. I love the animation and art work, and it just demonstrates what I think Transformers are all about.

The music also helps create a unique atmosphere as well. The score was composed by Vince DiCola, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for Staying Alive, but also won a Razzie for Worst Musical Score, for Rocky IV. I like his music in this movie though; it’s very well-done atmospheric mood music. It may be dated, but I think it still works. Unicron’s theme is particularly memorable, and I also like the theme of the Decepticons. I think there are also some nice moments during Optimus’s death, and when Hot Rod finds himself deep inside Unicron. I’ll always remember those, if nothing else...

But I also have to make note of the soundtrack; 1980’s hair metal. Yeah. But they’re all songs by people you’ve probably never heard of, and who probably stopped existing many years ago....James Rolfe called this music and Transformers ‘the perfect marriage’, and he’s right. Trust me, it does work. It all fits in perfectly. It wouldn’t work as well today, most likely, and certainly not in a film like the new one though...Also, it has a great placement of Weird Al’s Dare to be Stupid. Yeah, it’s awesome.

And of course, the most memorable songs from this movie are Dare, and The Touch, by Stan Bush (the latter was...badly sung by Dirk Diggler, in Boogie Nights...). You might think they’re bad, but I find them to be feel-good songs. And...they just....fit right in.




Sharkticons don't look like sharks.


I cannot review this movie without also talking about the cast, of course. It has a lot of stars in it, really; Leonard Nimoy as Galvatron, Robert Stack as Ultra Magnus. Judd Nelson as Hot Rod, Eric Idle as Wreck-Gar, Kasey Casem as Cliffjumper (he was on the show all the time, too, though) and Orson Welles as Unicron. Yeah, he’s really bad ass in this movie. This was also Welles’s last movie before he died, and legend has it that he actually didn’t finish all his lines before he died, and Unicron’s last lines were given by Nimoy. Now, it really does sound like Welles, so I doubt this rumor is true. But if it is, then Nimoy can do an exact impersonation of Orson Welles. That in itself is really awesome. All of these stars actually do a really great job, and provide fitting voices for their characters; especially Unicron. He sounds menacing and forboding. All the more reason Unicron was a great villain, and Welles went out with a bang.

Also, John Maschita, Jr., the Micro Machine Man, plays Blurr. Remember him? :D

You have a lot of the main cast members from the show playing their characters, too. Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime, and is great, and the great Frank Welker, who has been everywhere in cartoons, is Megatron, Soundwave, and all his tapes. (For the new film, they got Cullen back to play Optimus, but not Welker for Megatron. I wish they did, though...That would have made that movie better...) There are also a lot of miscellaneous voices that I really love, such as the Quintessons and their various ranks. It’s all just classic.

Now, there are some things that kind of bug me about this movie, or at least, are things to note:

-There are 5 Dinobots, but for most of this movie, only 4 appear. I say ‘most of the movie’ because the missing Dinobot, Snarl, does appear. In ONE scene. But that’s it. He does not appear at any time before that (not even when the other Dinobots drop into the city), and right after that shot where you can briefly see him, he’s gone. This is obviously an animators’ error, I’d guess, but a weird one.

-Something that always bothered me about the Transformers is the fact that some Transformers can alter their size to fit certain needs. For example, the most known example is Megatron transforming into a Walther P-38, but shrinking down to hand gun size so that he can be fired by another Decepticon. Sometimes certain Transformers can become VERY huge so they can transport large numbers of them. In this movie, we see AstroTrain do that when the Decepticons leave the city. Also, Cyclonus, in his space jet (or..starfighter, maybe) form enlarges so much so that Galvatron can sit inside the cockpit. And of course, there’s Devestator. The Constructicons are a special team that can transform and combine to form a super-robot, Devestator. Now, on the TV show, Devestator was always HUGE. The Constructicons somehow enlarge themselves so that Devestator’s parts are massive. If your standard Transformer is 30-50 feet tall, Devestator was well over 100 feet tall. 150 feet maybe, even (in the movie though, they did cut him down A LOT. He wasn’t nearly as huge). How the Hell did he BECOME that huge? How do Transformers shrink or grow when they need to?? It’s never explained, and also doesn’t really make sense anyway.


-When Megatron and his forces are reconstructed by Unicron, Scourge and his Sweeps (that sounds like a heavy metal band, doesn’t it?) all look the same, so you have to wonder how you tell them apart. And...what are the names of the other two Sweeps? Do they even have names? Also, when Cyclonus is created, there’s two of them, too. The second one is never given a name. All Unicron says is ‘Cyclonus the warrior, and his armada’. But then, after that, this second Cyclonus disappears. Like Snarl, he also doesn’t appear in any more scenes. So what happens to him?? What the Hell is the deal?

-On the subject of Scourge, this isn’t a ‘problem’ with the movie, but it’s just a weird thing. What the Hell does Scourge transform into?? He...flies, and can fly through space, so I guess he’s a ‘starfighter’ or something. But...he doesn’t LOOK like anything. Well...except a boat. He looks like a boat. A flying boat. That’s what I used to always call him when I was a kid. It’s...just weird. Also, what’s funny about Scourge is he has pink fingertips. Yeah. Pink. Just....weird.




Scourge and the Sweeps; Flying Boats



-Another Scourge-related issue; there’s one scene in which, including Scourge, there are 4 Sweeps. When Scourge and the Sweeps are all created, there are only 3. Again, clearly another animators’ error, but still not a pretty blatant one.

-Although a lot of Transformers die in this movie, there is apparently some secret to saving them. Wreck-Gar and the Junkions, on the junk planet (Uh, fitting, non?) seem to know how to bring back dead Transformers. If you get blown apart, they know how to just put you back together and...you’re alive again. So now I have to wonder, once the Autobots make friends with the Junkions, why didn’t they bring Optimus and the other dead Autobots to be ‘reactivated’ or..’fixed’, or whatever? Yeah, I know; if you’re really actually dead, they probably can’t bring you back. It’s just something to point out.

-During the attack on Autobot City, Perceptor says the Decepticons outnumber the Autobots. Well...how many is that? The problem is, we know all the Decepticons that Megatron brings with him, but we don’t know how many Autobots were in the city, or even with certainty how many were killed. Megatron’s attack force includes: Megatron, Soundwave, his 5 tapes, Starscream, AstroTrain, Blitzwing, Thundercracker, SkyWarp, Dirge, Thrust, Ramjet, Shrapnel, Kickback, Bombshell, Scrapper, Hook, Mixmaster, Longhaul, Scavenger, and Bonecrusher. That’s a sizely and powerful force, but they were supposed to be against an entire city of Autobots. And...the Autobots were actually ‘outnumbered’ by the Decepticons? Boy....there really must not have been many Autobots in the city....It would have been different if Perceptor had said they were outgunned, or just not strong enough to defend against the Decepticons. And that would have made sense, since the Decepticons really, really wreck the shit out of the city. There is one shot that shows the city from above after the attack, and...the city is almost completely gone. But no, Perceptor said they were ‘outnumbered’. There’s something not right about that....

-And that’s another thing; are the Autobots just not good at building defenses? They had a ton in the city, but...the Decepticons just...destroy everything, and kill almost everyone.

-It’s not clear how far away Cybertron is from Earth, but Galvatron’s forces get there way too fucking fast. Unicron attacks the Autobots’ moonbases, with Galvatron watching from Cybertron, and Ultra Magnus receiving the distress calls in Autobot City. Literally, the Decepticons arrive in Autobot City like, a minute later, right after the Autobots receive the last transmissions. Or at least, it looks like it. You could explain it away that MAYBE Blaster tried to reconnect or something, and it took some time (Blaster is somehow missing after the last transmission, and does not escape Autobot City with Hot Rod or Ultra Magnus). But that’s really pushing it. It looks like right after they receive the last transmission, that’s when Ultra Magnus says to board the shuttles. Then Galvatron appears right after. MAYBE the Decepticon ship has some kind of...hyperspace-like ability or something, but we are not TOLD this. Another example of...very poor planning.




Galvatron and Cyclonus; so bad ass they don't NEED to make sense


As far as I’m concerned, this is the best and greatest Transformers story now, and ever will be. A large part of that are the nostalgia and connection to my childhood, but also, a great many Transformers series and incarnations have come and gone in the 22 years since this movie was released, and absolutely nothing compares. We had Beast Wars, which I despise, and a number of Transformers anime series (Robots in Disguise, Armada, Energon, and Cybertron. and there’s even more in Japan, but trust me, they don’t look that good), and they all fail to come anything close to this movie, in any sense. They’re all just...not very good. There’s also the brand new Transformers Animated, which is a weird title because it makes it seem like the Transformers have never been animated before. I’m...not touching that series....It’s just....so very wrong. It’s awful...

We’ve also had new Transformers comics emerge, and sadly, most of those are also just not good. The now-out-of-business Dreamwave Productions is responsible for bringing them back to comics, and their first story was very good, and was classic Transformers. After this movie, I’d call that book the last good Transformers story made. After that, it all went downhill. I sadly have no hope that anyone, ever, will give the Transformers the proper treatment they deserve again. I think a lot of fans like myself would love to see the original Transformers in a new series like this movie. That would be great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like anyone has any interest in ever doing such a thing.

This movie reminds me what the Transformers are, and what they could be today, but never will be. That does disappoint me, but well, that’s just the way it is. I can always look at this movie and be reminded of what they meant to me as a kid, and the special place they have in my mind; and that determines what they mean to me now as well.





It's the Matrix, Neo. Uh, I mean, Hot Rod. I mean, Rodimus.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Game Review: Burnout Paradise

Developer: Criterion Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Console: Xbox 360/PC/PS3
Release Date: January 2008

The Good
Paradise City is gorgeous. Plenty of traffic, building variety, a lake, sea shore, country side, and countless off-road shortcuts.

No loading while driving around. Paradise City is huge, and as you’re driving to a new area the game loads without you ever noticing it, except for a little icon at the top left corner. There is loading before and after each event, but it’s not terrible.

Marked Man events. You must go from point A to point B, but there will be 3 or 4 black cars out to get you. They will try to make you crash enough times to the point where your car won’t be able to race, and you will lose. These guys mean business.

Road Rage, my favorite event, is back. Opponents seem a little easier to take down this time around, but as you get new licenses the takedown score to beat becomes pretty high.

Online races are a lot of fun. You can also complete online-only challenges with friends, like meeting inside a baseball stadium, jumping together from the same ramp, or making teams to take down opponents.

Located all over Paradise City are breakable billboards, hidden shortcuts marked by yellow fences, junkers, repair shops, gas stations, paint shops, parking areas and super jump ramps that you must find to unlock achievements. I’m having a lot of fun searching for these.

Sound effects are sharp and crystal clear as expected. Tires screeching, glass shattering, engines revving, metal twisting, etc. The in-game Dolby Digital 5.1 never gets old.



The Bad
No offline multiplayer, not even 2-player split-screen.

Events can’t be restarted. That means that if you mess up an event, like a 3 minute race, you have to reach the finish line for the event to end, and if you’d like to retry it you have to drive back to the starting point. This is incredibly annoying.

DJ Atomika, the announcer, just won’t shut up. He says the most obvious and idiotic things, like, “try not to crash” and “use boost to go faster.” I don’t think a single gamer likes him.

Stunt Runs are a bit on the lame side. You are given a limited amount of time to reach a high score by completing stunts, like clearing super jumps, performing barrel rolls or breaking billboards. It’s not terrible, but it becomes dull and repetitive quick.

You can no longer pass an event by finishing on 3rd place. You don’t even win medals anymore. Either you finish 1st, or you don’t finish at all.

No crash mode. Every Burnout has had a crash mode. What the hell was Criterion Games thinking? There’s a Showtime mode where you crash and your car starts tumbling down the road as you try to hit as many cars as possible, but it is not nearly as fun as the previous crash modes. Lame!

The music selection, while not bad, is not as cool as I had hoped. My favorite one is “Paradise City” performed by Guns N’ Roses.

Cars are still driven by ghosts. Is it too hard to put some freaking drivers inside the cars?

In Burnout Revenge you could steer your wrecked car after a crash and slam into opponents for an after-touch takedown. Not any more. Another problem with takedowns is that if you perform a takedown on a car and that one makes other cars crash, you’ll only get 1 takedown point, unlike before where you could get as many takedowns as there were opponents.

There are no weather changes. It’s always daytime, with clear skies. It’s a gorgeous-looking city, but come on, not even a single drop of rain or nighttime? Lazy programmers.

Burnout Revenge introduced the Crashbreaker Race, where you could make your car explode after crashing to take some of your opponents with you. This is gone, sadly.

For whatever reason the Burnout series has never featured licensed cars, so every vehicle looks somewhat similar to real cars, but aren’t.

Car-checking is no longer allowed, so if you hit a car from behind you will wreck your car.



Bottom Line
If you’re new to the Burnout series you’ll love Paradise, but fans of Revenge will miss many features that are inexplicably absent. Also, if you’re not planning to go online, forget about playing locally with your friends. Still, there’s plenty to do in Paradise City to keep you pushing the pedal to the metal for a long time.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Movie Photos: G.I. Joe and Son Goku

Some new G.I. Joe movie images have surfaced again.


Lord....Just....awful.


I mentioned in last week's Coming Never that I had seen one of Storm Shadow and he looked like a reject from The Matrix. Well, a new image of him is out again, so you can see what I mean. And....he has a mask in this image. Just....it looks bad.

I guess Destro doesn't have a mask in this movie, which I guess would look weird. But he's also not bald. So...he looks like the Doctor wearing a suit.

And what's with the Baroness's giant, glittery belt buckle? What, she shop at Wet Seal or something? I guess it's supposed to look like snake skin or something...Also, her glasses suck. She needs actual frames.

Unfortunately, no shots of the Mummy (Arnold Vosloo) as Zartan yet. I really do wonder what they're going to do about his character....

I still can't really imagine why, of all people, they decided Ripcord HAS to be in this movie, especially if not many Joes are actually in it.

So as you can see, everyone wears the same outfit essentially. I guess it makes sense for the Joes to wear uniform battle gear...when they ARE in battle, just like any military does. But...I don't know.

But I also don't really care much anyway because his movie is going to suck so much ass it'll be the world's biggest liposuction clinic.

Source: ComingSoon.net


Also, the first image of Justin Chatwin as...Goku, in the dreadfully in-production Dragon Ball film has surfaced....

I don't even need to comment. The hair is awful. Yeah, I know Son Goku has a bizarre hair style, but he's also a cartoon character. The hair is just one of many reasons this movie cannot really work, and should not be attempted.

This movie....is also going to suck supreme ass. Actually, I don't know which movie is going to suck worse; this, or G.I. Joe.


Source: AnimeNation.com

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Monday, May 12, 2008

COMING NEVER: A Great Disturbance



As most people have come to realize, George Lucas is basically... senile now, or something. Or at least, he’s just become... wackier. None can explain it, but we’ve all seen it. This comic wrote itself, literally, when I saw the direct quote I inserted from the man himself. I don’t have many real doubts that the new Indiana Jones will be a good movie, but Lucas’s statement doesn’t fill me with confidence either. He just sounds like he doesn’t care. Maybe he doesn’t really. I don’t know. I’d feel a lot worse about this if Spielberg was not on board, basically keeping Lucas in check. And I think he’d be extremely surprised to hear about how we, the fans, actually DO remember the movies we love, and how we still experience them. But Lucas has often made it clear that fans are perhaps the strangest species of all life in any galaxy he has been in or created, and he doesn’t quite seem to grasp them. I agree to an extent; there is indeed a whole other universe of weirdness among the fans... And yet, I understand them more than Lucas usually seems to. The tremors in the Force we create when Lucas does or says something bizarre, such as this here, go largely unfelt.

There will be another Indiana Jones comic next week, too, to coincide with the opening of the movie. So that will be a trilogy of Indiana Jones comics right there. It’s just been too easy to think about these kinds of jokes. ‘All too easy’, you could say.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Donnie Darko Gets a Sequel (From People in Stupid Man-Suits)

The unthinkable is happening.

It has been reported that yet another sequel that should NEVER be made is indeed being made anyway, which in itself isn't surprising.

Donnie Darko, the acclaimed cult hit from 2001, is getting a sequel, S. Darko, and...starts filming this week, reportedly.

The report says "Set seven years after the first film, little sister Samantha Darko and her best friend Corey are now eighteen and on a roadtrip to Los Angeles when they are plagued by bizarre visions."

No.

Just....no.

I love Donnie Darko. It's a great movie (by the way, I may review it sometime. It's on my list, basically...) But all you have to do is see the movie and realize NO, there should NOT be a sequel. Just...no. There should never be one. And if you have not seen this movie before, do it. NOW.

I'm also confused about Richard Kelly not being involved in it. Did...he approve of this movie?? Or does he have no say in the matter at all?? I assume if he did, he would not allow this to be made....Auy....

I want to be sucked down a wormhole to where this movie will never exist...

Source: Dark Horizons

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movie Review: Rush Hour 3

Starring:
Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Max von Sydow, Hiroyuki Sanada, Yvan Attal, Noémie Lenoir, Tzi Ma

Director:
Brett Ratner (Money Talks, X-Men: The Last Stand)

MPAA Rating:
PG-13 for sequences of action violence, sexual content, nudity and language.

Release Date:
August 2007

Synopsis:
After the Triads attempt to assassinate a Chinese ambassador, Hong Kong Police Chief Inspector Lee and LAPD Detective James Carter wind up in Paris, where they're both out of their element - tasked with taking down the organized crime family.

The Good:
- It’s always amusing to see Chan and Tucker interact.
- Chris Tucker is back! I had not seen him since... well, since Rush Hour 2 in 2001.
- There has to be more good stuff but I can’t remember...
- Ahh yes, the bloopers at the end. Funny stuff!

The Bad:
- Yet another Chris Tucker Michael Jackson impersonation.
- Jackie Chan is getting old and his action scenes are a whole lot milder.
- I don’t think I laughed at any joke in this film.
- Ridiculous, over-the-top final showdown with the bad guy, Hiroyuki Sanada. Completely unoriginal and predictable.
- No Roselyn Sánchez.

The Ugly:
- That giant Chinese martial artists. What that done in CG? Freaky.
- Inspector Lee likes porn.
- Enough with the racial jokes. Blackanese, smelly Frenchman, etc. Not funny at all.



Bottom Line:
Brett Ratner and crew have squeezed all the milk this cow had to offer. It’s time to move on to other projects. I can only recommend this to diehard Rush Hour fans, if such fans exist.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Movie Review: Heavy Metal

Starring:
John Candy, Eugene Levy, John Vernon, Harold Ramis, Percy Rodríguez, Richard Romanus, Caroline Semple, Vlasta Vrana

Director:
Gerald Potterton

MPAA Rating:
R

Release Date:
August 7, 1981

Synopsis:
A time and space-transcending green orb links together various stories of those who encountered it.

My Two Cents:
This movie is weird. It’s pretty infamous for being just that. That, and violent. And having boobs. And it’s animated. But there is something remarkable about this movie as well that is worthy of praise and viewing.

Now, my synopsis sounds confusing, but... well, that ‘s basically what happens in this movie. A green, sentient orb, called the Loc-Nar, is the common theme/element in this anthology. It’s not really explained what this orb is exactly, except it describes itself as ‘the sum of all evils’. It’s also not clear what it really wants... but it’s evil. You do get the idea that it’s evil. And people all over time and space seek it out in an attempt to gain power. Now, you usually can’t touch it with your bare hands; it disintegrates you. I say ‘usually’ because there is a story in which someone picks it up with no problem, and carries it with him. I don’t think this is a continuity error; it was done on purpose for some reason. I’m just not sure what it is.

Anyway, the movie opens with the famous car flying through space and landing on Earth, and driving to a house. Yeah, that part makes no sense... But this is where the Loc-Nar appears, and for some reason, it wants to share some of its experiences with this now fatherless little girl. So all the stories in this unfold from the Loc-Nar telling them to this girl. I have no idea why the Loc-Nar cares what this girl thinks about any of this, and why the Loc-Nar wants the girl to know to begin with. The girl is probably not even listening because she’s too terrified that a big, green glowing ball has just killed her dad and is eventually going to kill her.

The stories all vary in subject and art style. It’s a wide variety, just the like the underground comic magazine, Heavy Metal, from which this is inspired from. It is inspired from works from such big-names as Dan O’Bannon, Bernie Wrightson, Richard Corben, Moebius, and others. As such, there is no uniform look to the stories of this movie.

The stories include:
Soft Landing: the intro part with the flying car in space. After it lands, the... astronaut drives to his house, where he releases the Loc-Nar for his daughter to see, and the Loc-Nar kills him, and begins telling his stories.

Harry Canyon: a cab driver of the same name in a futuristic, trash hole New York City takes in the fare of a woman on the run. She says the men after her want something she has; the Loc-Nar (although she didn’t know what it was, apparently). Harry helps her get the money for the Loc-Nar, but the woman double-crosses Harry to keep all the money. Harry kills her with a disintegrator in his backseat he uses to ward off robbers and carjackers. This story actually is very noir and pulpish, and reminds me of something you might see in Sin City. Only, you know, not in the future, and not with a time and space transcending orb.

Den: A boy named Dan finds the Loc-Nar, which he thinks is a meteorite. After conducting an experiment with lightning, the reaction with the Loc-Nar sends Dan into some other realm; another planet or universe. It’s not clear. In this world, the Loknar is worshipped as a god, and two opposing sides want to use its power. Also, Dan has turned into a big, muscular, naked adult named Den. He meets a girl, who is somehow also from Earth. He saves her from being sacrificed, but has to save her again. At the end, they fly away together on a giant bug. Den doesn’t want to go back to Earth, and seems to understand the Loc-Nar is evil anyway.

B-17: The pilot and co-pilot are the only two crew left alive on board a B-17, during World War II. The Loc-Nar appears and follows the plane, and then boards, turning the dead crew into zombies. The pilot escapes and lands on an island, which, not coincidentally I’m sure, is full of the wreckage of other planes, from both World Wars. And the dead crew are still around as well, sealing the pilot’s doom.



Captain Sternn: a futuristic space story in which Captain Sternn, who resembles Superman, is put on trial for a vast list of terrible crimes; 12 counts of first degree murder, 14 counts of armed theft ‘of Federation property’, 22 counts of piracy, 18 counts of fraud, 37 counts of rape (WTF???), and 1 moving violation. Good Lord, this guy is far beyond being an asshole or a scumbag. He’s been charged with 37 counts of rape??? That’s... just unspeakable and unthinkable... The trial is disrupted when Sternn’s witness he hired in his favor transforms, Hulk-style, and rampages after Sternn... until he gets his payment, that is. But Captain Stern double-crosses his witness in the end. Apparently, it was the Loc-Nar, which was the size of a marble in this story, that provided these transformation powers... but that is not clear. So Beautiful, So Dangerous: this is more or less the story with the least purpose. Two aliens and their robot abduct a woman from the Capitol Building and fly away. There... seems to be no real reason for this either. Except that the robot wanted to have sex with her. Yeah. Maybe that was the whole point of their breaking into the building. I can’t say. Also, the aliens just snort some form of alien coke and crash the ship anyway. What I do like about this story though is that their ship was shaped like a smiley face.

Taarna: This story is the highlight of the movie, and actually seems to be the whole end purpose of the movie. In yet another futuristic world, but still fantasy-looking, a band of barbarians became mutated (or otherwise transformed) when the Loc-Nar crashed into a volcano and... erupted green sludge all over them... The barbarians seek to conquer the land around them and attack the governing council. There is only one hope; the last warrior of the Taarna people. This is the woman on the front cover of the video, and poster. She never speaks, but she is a strong and skilled warrior, and sets out to take down the barbarians when she discovers who killed the council. She also swims naked to a statue where she gets her impractical and non-protective outfit, and sword. After she kills the barbarian leader, being critically wounded herself (uh, because she wears no armor), she rides her giant... bird thing... into the volcano of green sludge, where the Loc-Nar is. She must sacrifice herself to save the land. This is the story that seems to be the real point of the movie because the Loc-Nar telling the story to the girl is destroyed, and the girl is revealed to be... yet another of the Taarna. One of those giant birds appears somehow, and she rides away on it. Yeah, this all isn’t really clear, since it’s not explained. But transcending time and space is what this movie is all about.

The problem with this movie is that it has a lot of beautiful art, but it just doesn’t always look good when it’s moving, if that makes any sense. Some things in this movie just... look too weird when they are in motion, and would be best left as the comic work they are inspired or taken form. Some of the animation just looks kind of jerky and not too well-done anyway. It varies depending on what story it is.

However, this movie does deserve some credit for what it does have. Taarna in particular is great, and it has some beautiful background colors and backgrounds, period. There was no motion-capturing when this movie was made, but they used something else for this story. If I am not mistaken, the Taarna warrior was animated over footage of a model who performed her actions. Hence, the animation on her is often very smooth, and natural-looking. The segment where she is getting dressed is particularly notable, and beautiful to watch. But this movie all stringed together just makes for weird watching. Even if the Loc-Nar was explained more clearly, this is just a very odd movie. You’d really need to see it to even try to understand how odd it is. But I imagine there are weirder movies; like Eraserhead.



People always think about sex, boobs, nudity and violence when this movie comes up. Probably because this is non-Japanese animation that has all of those things. These things are not the..highlights or top points of the movie, I guess, but they do happen. If you think animated sex and boobs are weird, you’ll just find this movie to be more bizarre anyway.

This movie was recently parodied on an episode of South Park, and I thought it was awesome. They specifically had parodies of Soft Landing, B-17, and Taarna, of course. The episode particularly made a big deal about boobs, and exaggerated the use of boobs that are actually in this movie. But it was pretty funny.

You know what this movie also has is... big muff. I mean... yeah, they’re big. Do they even naturally grow that high? And... that thick? I just... want to point that out... *cough*

The other most noted thing about this movie is the soundtrack, which has... well, mostly rock. I wouldn’t say any of this music is exactly ‘heavy metal’ though... But it does have two songs titled ‘Heavy Metal’, one by Sammy Hagar, the other by Don Felder (Felder’s song was used in the South Park episode). Other artists include Devo, Blue Oyster Cult, Donald Fagen, Journey, and one of Homer Simpson’s favorite bands, Grand Funk Railroad. This makes the soundtrack feel very dated, but the music also feels appropriate for the movie anyway. I must say the tracks were all pretty well-chosen, and a lot of people consider this to be one of the greatest or best soundtracks ever, if not one of the greatest or best albums ever.

There is another Heavy Metal movie, Heavy Metal 2000 (originally entitled F.A.A.K.-2), which was released in 1999, but it contained only one story, and is far from being as
appreciated and celebrated as this movie is. Also, according to Heavy Metal's web site, another movie might be made; this one being CG animation, as you might expect. But it also says it probably won’t have any of the stories in this movie in it; so in other words, this movie will not be a redux. It sounds like this movie is still up in the air though.

I think this movie is worth at least one watch, just to experience how weird it is, but also because there are aspects of it you can appreciate; especially if you’re a fan of funnybooks, probably. You might end up hating the movie, or just otherwise disliking it, but well... I said Legend was ‘something else’ in my review of that movie. This movie is...probably farther out there, making this movie even... more of a... ’something else’. You decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Two-Face Revealed! The Spirit Haunts This Christmas! Iron Man 2, and Other Avengers Movies Announced! And, Doom 4 in Development!

- Two-Face, as played by Aaron Eckhart in The Dark Knight Returns, has been revealed, as posted by figures.com. I must say... it's pretty disgusting. Keep in mind that Harvey Dent's face is burned with acid, so this seems...fairly believable, I'd say.

- It's the Spirit of Christmas. It's been announced that Frank Miller's rendition of Will Eisner's The Spirit has been pushed up from January 13, to Christmas; THIS year.

The movie features Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Stana Katic, Dan Lauria, Jaime King, Paz Vega and Louis Lombardi.

A lot of fans are looking forward to this movie, but there are a lot of detractors too, who don't like the changes Miller is making from Eisner's work. Those are always legitimate causes for concern, but I'll reserve judgment until the movie is released. After all, look at all the grand changes made to Spider-Man and Batman...

Source:
Dark Horizons

- It's the Age of the Avengers. Marvel is already making sure Iron Man 2 goes into development as soon as possible, right after the uber-success of the Iron Man movie that was just released last week.

Iron Man 2 already has a release date of April 30, 2010. But that's not all. Surprisingly, 3 other Avengers-related movies have release dates. Thor is scheduled for release right after Iron Man 2, on June 4th. Captain America (or as the article names it, 'The First Avenger: Captain America') is scheduled for May 6, 2011. Finally, The Avengers is scheduled for an unspecified day in July, 2011.

I had no idea any of these movies were that close to being made or in development. You hear the occasional mention sometimes of Captain America, and Thor was mentioned some yonks ago. But now it sounds Marvel wants these things rolled into high gear fast. Stay tuned...

Source:
Dark Horizons

- id Software has revealed they have begun development on Doom 4. And they are looking for new workers.

"Doom is part of the id Software DNA and demands the greatest talent and brightest minds in the industry to bring the next installment of our flagship franchise to Earth... It's critical for id Software to have the best creative minds in-house to develop games that meet the standards synonymous with our titles", stated id CEO Todd Hollenshead.

Nothing else has been stated about the game, but it's at least official that the game is in development. Expect the game to be on PC, of course, and I'd assume 360. Will Sony get Doomage too, and have it on the PS3?

Source:
1Up

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Monday, May 5, 2008

COMING NEVER: Silent But Deadly



See, I told you they all wouldn’t be the same thing over and over again. There’s no sitting in front of the computer in this one.

Anyway, I’m not making it a secret that I am not looking forward to the G.I. Joe movie. It...just looks and sounds awful. I’m certainly not convinced that Hollywood clown shoes will handle it right. I didn’t look forward to the Transformers film, and as I suspected, I found it pretty bad. I don’t think G.I. Joe will be any different. I intended to write an article about this later. The movie doesn’t open until about a year from now, so hey, I have plenty of time...

I’m sure Ray Park will make a decent Snake-Eyes. They probably just need him for his martial arts and acrobatic training. And since Snake-Eyes doesn’t talk, hey. Unless they decided to record over his voice again. But uh, let’s just hope that Snake-Eyes stays silent in this movie, too... And yeah, let’s hope he...looks taller in this movie.

I realize Storm Shadow doesn’t look like how he does in the movie, in this comic (I can no longer find the image of his appearance online. It seems all sites took them down). This comic was drawn before that image was released. Needless, his original, classic look is much better than how he will look in the movie. He basically looks like a rejected thug from The Matrix; probably one of the many working for the Merovingian. He’s got a white leather (or maybe latex?) coat and everything. And no mask. All the more reason this movie will be just plain not good.

I made a note of apology there to Ian McConville, who I stole Snake-Eyes’
pose from. I needed a good one, and I thought of something he did once. And his was also a chibi, so hey. I love his work, he’s just plain awesome. So, thank you, Ian, and erm... sorry.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

ESRB: Earthbound IS Coming to the VC??

I don't usually report things like this, because you might as well consider it 'rumor' status. This has not been officially confirmed by Nintendo of America, however, it seems that Earthbound is indeed coming to the Virtual Console.

The ESRB has it listed, with a rating of 'E' (the SNES game was rated 'KA' under the old rating system), and the platform listed is 'Wii'. So... naturally, one assumes this means the VC.

However, Nintendo of America has not officially commented on this, or made an announcement. We need to remember that. This news is being reported all over the web that the game has been 'confirmed'.

Well, I won't consider it a 'confirmation' until NoA says something. Sometimes these things do happen. For example, sometimes Amazon has listings for items that are actually not being released, or have had no official release announcement. Best Buy also posted a PS3 remake of Final Fantasy VII on their site right before the PS3 was released, and absolutely no such announcement was ever made that this game was even being made, never mind being released. In fact, Squenix kept saying 'No, we are not working on this game'.

So my point is, I'm not considering this a 'definite' thing until NoA officially says that it is. However, there is hope. If this game is on the VC, this could potentially mean the biggest thing of all; IF enough people bought EB on the VC... then MAYBE NoA will release Mother 3, eventually... I wish my hopes were exceedingly high.... However, I am trying to be positive.

You know, it is definitely eerie that right after the results of Nintendo Power's poll were released, this information from the ESRB was uncovered.... ¬ ¬ So stay tuned for more news.

Source:
Starmen.net

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Movie Review: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Starring:
Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman, Zach Mills, Ted Ludzik, Jonathan Potts, Paula Boudreau

Director:
Zach Helm

MPAA Rating:
G

Release Date:
November 2007

Synopsis:
When the 243-year-old Mr. Magorium discovers his health is failing, he turns over his fantastical toy store to the quiet, depressed manager, Molly Mahoney. Since the store reflects the energy of those who run it, Molly must work to lift her spirits and help the shop recapture its magic.

The Good:
- Natalie Portman is still cute as a button.
- Jason Bateman, known as the Mutant, is likeable for some reason.
- Some of the toys in the store look so retro you wish you could own some.
- There’s this one monkey plush toy that’s always trying to touch Jason Bateman’s character, but can’t. He’s just so adorable…
- There’s no singing.

The Bad:
- It’s a non-Disney, non-animated G-rated movie. Think about it.
- It is never explained how Mr. Magorium lived to be 243-years-old, or where he got his magical powers.
- When Molly discovers she can use her musical talents to control the store’s magic, she starts waving her arms around like an idiot as if she was conducting an orchestra. Believe me, you have never seen more awkward movements from a human being before.

The Ugly:
- Molly’s haircut makes her look boyish.
- Dustin Hoffman looks repulsive as Mr. Magorium, with his silly hair and oversized teeth.
- Little Eric Applebaum, the hat collector, has no friends because he’s weird, but then befriends a 39-year-old man and invites him to his room without his mom’s permission...




Bottom Line:
Leave this film for little kids who don't know any better, or if you MUST watch every Dustin Hoffman or Natalie Portman movie.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Boll 'Bouts For Bay's Blood? Nein!

Uwe Boll hates his critics. He has even challenged any of them to fight him in a boxing match. But he also has said previously that he would quit making movies if 1 million people signed a petition demanding he stop. He apparently hasn't been happy with the results so far, as a great many people have signed it so far, and Boll has even accused Steven Spielberg of forging names on the petition. Yeah .

Well, now, Boll also has a problem with Transformers director Michael Bay, and he wants to fight Michael Bay in the boxing ring.


Well, Michael Bay has responded to Boll's, errmm...challenge.


He has stated in part:

"Can we stop talking about this guy! I never even heard his name till last week when he made threats and rants. The guy is a ******* idiot, making threats to me, Clooney, Eli Roth, says he has a doctorate - but uses the word "retard" in his vocabulary, come on.* When you look at his videos, what is interesting are the backgrounds. I guess his low rent offices, with 15 year old 3/4 machines, archaic computers, this is just some dumb chump trying to get some fame when he has none, so he has to make Youtube lame quality anger rants. Guy just want attention because he can't get any for the so called movies he makes. Nothing sadder when he had his screening in LA to an over half empty movie house.

He is a troubled soul - let's not waste time on talking about him please."


'Troubled soul'? *snerk* I wonder about that. As I have said before, I really get the feeling that Boll just plain doesn't care what he says or who hears it, because no one does care what he says. And when no one cares what you say, you can say anything. A lot of people think Boll really thinks he's hot shit, and well, he probably does. But I do wonder how 'hot' he really thinks himself is, and how much of it is him simply not caring what he says.

People also can't help but keep talking about him though, because he's funny. He says things that are just so ridiculous, they are funny to mention. People aren't taking him any more seriously; if anything, people take him even less seriously, if that's even possible....But it's just funny to mention the silly things he says. Just like Jack Thompson.


So sorry, Boll, once again, you get a 'Nein!'.


*This is the rant in reference, in which Boll insults Clooney, Roth and Bay. In fact, he calls Bay a 'fucking retard'. And yes, he does refer to himself, TWICE, as a 'genius'. Yeah. He says about Roth that he is ' [not]Eli Roth, making the same shitty movies over and over again'. No, but you do MAKE shitty movies over and over again. :P

Sources:

Seibertron 1
Seibertron 2

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Nintendo Power's Virtual Console Poll: Earthbound WINS the Top!!

The results are in from Nintendo Power's poll of most wanted games for the Virtual Console. As I reported, Starmen.net urged fans to vote for Earthbound, and Mother, if you like (since Mother 3 is a GBA game, it's likely not ever coming to the VC, if it were to be released). The results... are surprising.

The official results read:
1) Earthbound
2) Super Mario RPG
3) Chrono Trigger
4) Mother
5) Majora's Mask

Yes. Earthbound DID get the top spot for the most wanted game people who voted want for the VC. And Mother got spot #4. Wow. I did not foresee this, at all.

And check that out, Super Mario RPG beat Chrono Trigger??? And Earthbound even beat Chrono Trigger. Wow. Just... wow. That's really something. And I don't know what the hell Majora's Mask is even doing on there. But will Nintendo of America listen to this either? Most likely not. I do hate to say it, but Nintendo is just so dead set on NOT releasing these games, they won't listen to ANYTHING.

But congratulations to us, the fans, anyway, for making our demands known. Let's hope for our demands to be met anyway, but... don't get your hopes up too much...

Source:
Starmen.net

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Monday, April 28, 2008

COMING NEVER: Cutting Ties



Not all comics will be like this, in which we’re sitting in front of a computer, presumably looking at the internet, mention a movie, and then an imaginary setting emerges. This is only the second week, and only the second time I’ve done this pattern so far. Things will be different as time goes on. :P

I’m not sure why they decided to put Gambit in the movie of Wolverine’s origin, as opposed to one of the actual X-Men movies. Hopefully they won’t tie his actual origin in with Gambit too much, and preferably not really at all. So I’m not really sure if this will work out very well. Gambit used to really be hot stuff when he was introduced in the funnybooks, and for many years after that. I don’t think he’s retained quite the same amount of popularity today though. I do think of him as kind of a joke nowadays. He may have been cool once, but not so much now. We can only hope he won’t be a joke in the Wolverine movie. However, that won’t really stop us from making jokes about him anyway.

The last panel there is kind of a Frank Miller homage, even though Miller’s Wolverine was not in black and white. I just thought it would be neat to have Wolverine looking like a bad ass at the end.

Speaking of funnybooks into movies, Iron Man opens this Friday. I suppose I should have maybe made some kind of Iron Man comic to commemorate, but I never thought about it. And I can’t think of what I would say even now. Maybe sometime in the future if I can think of something.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

EB Siege: PK Tube'N, from Starmen.net



I've mentioned Starmen.net's movement to bring Mother 3, and even the other two games (Mother 2 having been the only game released in North America, as Earthbound), to North America before. Last year, they started a massive campaign of demand against Nintendo of America, called EB Siege. It consisted of PK Call'N, in which you call NoA to tell them your demand for Mother 3, and the other games if you like; PK Mail'N, in which you send NoA a postcard (or letter) to demand Mother 1/2/3; and NP-Env-Art, in which you send Nintendo Power envelope art, old-school style, related to Mother 1/2/3.

They have now announced a new stage in EB Siege: PK Tube'N.

As mentioned before, NoA removed the tiny Mother 2 demo (which would have been Earthbound here) from the North American release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and thus, the fan community sees this as a very, very bad sign. As I wrote about previously, I think this was the last nail in the Mother coffin, from NoA. They don't WANT to bring Mother 3 here, or any Mother game, and are tired of fans demanding it. This new stage in EB Siege was devised. In this one, as you may have guessed, you make a video expressing your demand for Mother 3, and Mother/Earthbound games. Starmen.net is holding a contest for the best video, as well. You can read the rules on the link below.

The thread says to enter the contest, you must reply to SMN's YouTube post. But I guess if you want Nintendo to see your video directly, you'd...have to mail it to them or something? See, this stage in EB Siege is not as direct-to-Nintendo as the other stages were. On the surface, that makes it sound less useful. If you just post supportive videos online (not necessarily YouTube), well, your chance of being heard by Nintendo is probably not nearly as good as it would be if you sent NoA something directly. But it's something. If you do make a great video that a lot of people watch, then word can spread. But...again, that's bit of a roll of the dice.

Well, here's hoping that SOMETHING works, but I once again say that it's extremely unlikely that NoA will ever listen to any fan support for this series at all, no matter how great it becomes.

Source:
Starmen.net's PK Tube'N Post

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Sr. del Toro Goes to Hobbiton; to Direct

Guillermo del Toro, director of Blade II, Hellboy, as well as the upcoming Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Pan's Labyrinth, will be directing The Hobbit for New Line Cinema and MGM. Both movies. Yes. There will be two movies.

Although The Lord of the Rings is the sequel to The Hobbit, they still want two movies made. The second one will be focusing on the 60-year period between the first movie, and The Fellowship of the Ring. It isn't clear what exactly this movie will focus on specifically, however, since there isn't really a book about this to go on.

So I guess they'll just be... making stuff up. This could potentially be quite bad. But it might not be that bad, either... After all, Peter Jackson, the man who gave us
Meet the Feebles handled the 'Rings movies, and they're excellent, despite a lot of liberties he took.

There's no script for even the first movie yet, and it is not clear when exactly production will really be underway. But according to the article, 'the general thought' is that filming will be next year; for both movies, it seems, and they will be released in 2011 and 2012.

Keep watch towards the Great Eye for more news.

Source:
Dark Horizons

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Movie Review: Legend

Starring:
Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, Mia Sara, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O’Farrell, Anabelle Lanyon, Kiran Shah, Robert Picardo

Director:
Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator)

MPAA Rating:
PG

Release Date:
April 18, 1986

Synopsis:
Princess Lily upsets the cosmic balance of light and darkness, and freezes the beautiful land after touching a unicorn. Jack, her beloved friend and forest-dweller, must now stop the Lord of Darkness from achieving eternal dark and cold in the world, as well as from marrying his love, Lily.

My Two Cents:
If you didn’t watch this movie when you were a kid, and would only now see it for the first time as adult, you’re probably going to think this is a really weird movie to watch. And you may be in for quite a shock that this is a Ridley Scott movie. After he directed Alien and Blade Runner, but before he directed Gladiator and Hannibal, he directed Legend.

But this movie does have its fan and appreciators, and a lot of that is probably due to nostalgia. A lot of current fans probably did watch this when they were younger, and it just stays with them (Labyrinth has had a similar effect on a lot of people).

So you may wonder, especially given by the brief synopsis, why would Ridley Scott make this movie?? This is the man who gave us the masterpiece that is Alien, as well as Blade Runner. Well, he was actually inspired by a rendition of Beauty and the Beast, originally. Also, Scott has commented that there is something about the movie that seems and feels operatic, and that has occurred to me, too. It seems he also did want to just make a fairy tale type of movie, and specifically notes that he was inspired by old time Christmas cards; you know the kind I mean, with painted art work.

So anyway, this doesn’t necessarily feel like a ‘kids’ movie’, but it does have the kind of bizarre look and feelings that kids often like to see in movies. And again, if you have never seen this before, if you were to watch it as an adult, it’s going to feel weird, and you may actually hate it.

It’s not a really ‘bad’ movie, but... well, it’s just... I don’t know what else to say except that it feels weird at first. It even has... a couple of singing moments in it; Lily and Jack like to sing to each other. And you know, a lot of people also don’t like... fairy people. If that’s the case, well, almost everyone is some kind of fairy-type person, so just be warned.

Tim Curry is absolutely disturbing as the Lord of Darkness. But in a good way, not in a bad way, like when he played Pennywise... Yeah, I think Tim Curry essentially playing Lucifer is NOT as frightening as him playing a clown. I am dead serious.

Anyway, so yes, the Lord of Darkness (who has no other name given, if he even has one) is clearly supposed to be a Lucifer/Devil figure. He sure looks like one, with those HUGE horns, and hooves. I’d call him the highlight of the movie, because Curry does it so well. His own voice is even perfect for the part, and his laughter, while... kind of funny, is still very fitting, and evil. Apart from Pennywise, this is the role Curry is best known for, I think.

It isn’t explained in the movie why exactly touching a unicorn upsets the cosmic balance, but Scott indicates unicorns are basically divine, godly creatures. But still... just touching one can screw up the universe? Weird. Anyway, the Lord of Darkness takes the horn from one unicorn, who dies by the way, and then needs the other, last unicorn as a sacrifice so he can shroud the world in forever frozen darkness. Sunlight kills him, too, making him quite literally a creature of the night. So having a dark world is the only way he could really thrive.

The Lord of Darkness also begins to fall in love with Princess Lily; or is it not really love, and really just plain desire, since that’s what he essentially represents? Jack and Lily clearly love. They love each other, and the love life, and the forest. But can someone with the title of Lord of Darkness, who only gives in to all his greed and desires, actually love at all? Hmmm... I guess the audience decides that one.



Lily is the figure who becomes corrupted by Darkness in this movie, and her first act was touching the unicorn, of course, which Jack forbade her from doing. Once Lily reaches Darkness’s lair, she becomes even more corrupted and evil, and even gets to wear a wicked black dress. And she wants to kill the last unicorn. Wow, that was a big change of heart and personality in such a short time... Scott has also revealed that originally, he was going to have Lily turn into a giant cat-woman... yeah. Well, that sure would have made this movie weirder. But it also would have still been better than Warner Bros.’s Catwoman. *shudder*

By the way, what and who exactly was Lily the Princess of, anyway? You don’t see anywhere else to live except the forest, and one house. ONE house, in the whole forest. Or anywhere.

Even though it was Lily who first touched the unicorn, Blix is a goblin sent by the Lord of Darkness (and the most evil and vile goblin, according to Darkness’s description) to kill the unicorn and take its horn. Blix will probably remind you of goblins from The Lord of the Rings, only smaller. In fact, I was dead sure at first that that the same person played Blix and one of the Mordor goblins in The Return of the King. But it seems that’s not actually the case. They just look a lot alike.

Jack, played by Tom Cruise (Mmm-hmmm), must play the hero, and he has never done such a thing before, given that he lived a quiet, peaceful and happy life in the forest. Luckily, he has a tiny fairy with him, like Tinkerbelle, or Navi in some of the Zelda games. She’s extremely useful because she says she can be anything Jack needs or wants... even ‘what [his] heart desires’. Yes. I think this fairy was trying to... pick up Jack, despite the fact that he is clearly in love with Lily, and wants to marry her. Lily might not be the only corrupt one in this movie...

Jack is aided by some other fairy-type folks, although 3 of them are more like dwarves. The last one, still a ‘little person’, but not a dwarf, is Gump. Yes, that is his name. Only this Gump ain’t a retarded Southerner with a heart of gold. He actually reminds me, in appearance, of Mr. Tumnus from Narnia... But whatever he is, he indicates that he’s near omniscient, and basically leads Jack on his quest to stop the Lord of Darkness. Even though he looks like a kid (because he was played by a kid), he’s basically Jack’s mentor as well as geographical guide, and seems to know what to do, most of the time. That’s good for Jack, who doesn’t have a clue, as he’s just so innocent.

They travel through the frozen forest, and into a swamp, which was not frozen, for some reason... Maybe because it was too evil already. Here they encounter a green, nasty, haggered witch, who is also apparently naked. Her face is actually quite creepy, and probably something that Guillermo del Toro would appreciate and-- oh my Lord, did I just see a green, old witch boob??? DISGUSTING. Let’s move away from the witch.

So the other dwarf people that travel with Jack don’t really do much except bumble around. They’re kind of comic relief, but otherwise don’t have much of a purpose in being there. Gump just brought them with him for some reason.

So the movie is basically about succumbing to desire, and evil, and the dichotomy of good and evil, light and darkness; shadow is always cast from light, etc. I don’t think it will be surprising to reveal that Jack does defeat the Lord of Darkness, and when Darkness is cast back into the mirror he came from (yeah, I...know...but you can figure out some kind of symbolism here), he says that he won’t truly be gone because he lives inside everyone, and is a part of everyone. It’s not hard to figure out what he means by this. You get it. Fair enough.

As for whether or not Jack gets to marry Lily or not, well... I guess the audience gets to decide that as well. Before the land freezes, she took her ring and threw it into a lake, and told Jack she would marry whoever found it. Well, naturally Jack wanted to find it. He lost it, though, but finds it after the land returns to normal and presents it to Lily. But it still isn’t clear if they get married or not. Lily just says she’ll come back tomorrow; she only remembers the previous events as a dream.

The movie has a lot of very pretty imagery. The forest Jack lives in is... quite gorgeous. You honestly have probably never seen a forest look this good in any movie before, and certainly not in real life. ‘This is such stuff as dreams are made of’ indeed. It does seem to have a problem with pollen, or petals or something, falling down on you all the time... but otherwise, it’s really beautiful. There are also a lot of really great uses of lighting, and shadow. I also really loved how the frozen-over house in the forest looked when Lily goes to hide in there. It was... pretty creepy. In fact, it really made me think, this really feels like a nightmare.



Scott has also noted that the movie would have been more convenient, in many ways, if it had been made in the days of CGI, and many of the things they did would have been CGI today, or even 10 years ago. But this movie really does so very well without such effects, and you can appreciate that, too. Yes, here’s another example of how people made movies using practical effects, and still look good.

I watched the director’s cut of the movie, which has the original score by Jerry Goldsmith, who worked with Scott on Alien. As always, his score is great and beautiful. The theatrical cut, however, has all original music by Tangerine Dream, for some reason. I’m not sure if this was Scott’s decision or not; he expresses that he loves Goldsmith’s score, and well, if the director’s cut is his preferred print, then I assume he wanted to keep Goldsmith’s music. Hmmm...

It’s a little hard for me to say how much I actually liked this movie. I did first see it many, many yonks ago, as a young’un, and I had forgotten almost everything, except what Curry looks like as the Lord of Darkness. As I said before, looking at it now, for the first time in many years, as an adult... it does feel differently than you would if you watched it as a kid. It seemed... very strange at first, when I first began to watch it, but then I ‘got used to it’, and it didn’t seem that odd anymore. The initial feeling of weirdness was gone as the movie progressed.

I still find it hard to believe this is a Ridley Scott movie... at least he tried something different, and I can understand some of the motivation and drive to make a movie like this. He wanted to make an operatic fairy tale, and I understand that, and why you might want to make one. However, it’s because of that very concept that a lot of people would probably really not like, and even hate, this movie; even if it is a Ridley Scott movie. It’s not a ‘bad’ movie, but it won’t be for everyone either; an acquired taste, maybe? Maybe you like it more if you watch it a few more times, but this isn’t really the kind of universal movie that a ton of people will want to watch several times.

A lot of people don’t care for Tom Cruise, especially now in his weird Scientology days. However, don’t watch this movie for Cruise. Watch it see something different; and to see Tim Curry in his other frightening, signature role. I probably wouldn’t have really little kids watch it, but it’s a decent enough family movie. I say check it out if you get the chance, and if this is a Ridley Scott movie you haven’t seen yet, well, take a look at something really different that he’s done in his career. You may hate it, you may love it. But it’s... something else, that’s for sure.

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