Posted on 9/29/11 03:23 PM
It's been some time since my last new review, so I want to get back to writing again, but school and finding work has made it difficult. For my next review, I will do the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
The Ninja Turtles were originally from a Mirage comic in 1984; made by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, who sought to make fun of the Frank Miller comics of the time. As the comic rose in popularity, Playmates wanted to make a series of action figures about it; but also insisted upon having a cartoon made for it.
So, in late 1987, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first came on TV with 5 episodes. These form one complete storyline and kicked off a cartoon series that lasted 10 seasons. I will now review them for you.
Episode 1: Turtle Tracks
April O'Neil is doing a report on the high crime rate in New York City. What's more, it seems that a massive amount of technology is being stolen from science labs across town. The methods by which they are stolen resembles that of ancient Ninja thieves. After the report, April is attacked by a vicious street gang. She escapes into a sewer, but the gang follows her and she's cornered. Then, four figures in the shadows dispatch the gang. April thanks them; but the figures emerge from the shadows and reveal themselves to be 6-foot tall, talking turtles. As a result, April passes out. The turtles take her to their hideout. Upon waking up, April is greeted by a giant rat that can also speak, and passes out again. When April notices the bizarreness of the situation (even moreso when the Turtles are revealed to have an affinity for pizza); she asks for an explanation. The rat tells her that he used to be a man named Hamato Yoshi; the leader of a ninja clan called the Foot. The organization prospered in Japan, but Yoshi had a rival-a jealous man named Oroku Saki. When another school's teachers visit, Saki frames Yoshi for murder and gets him expelled from the Foot. Yoshi then makes his way to New York. Living in the sewers and subsiding off what other people throw away, he only has rats as companions. Until one day, four turtles come down the sewer and become friends with Yoshi. Back in Japan, Saki has turned the Foot into an instrument of crime to do his bidding. Back in New York, Yoshi returns home to find the turtles walking in a pink, radioactive substance known as "mutagen." When he tries to clean it off, he discovers that it turns whoever touches it into the animal they most recently had been in contact with. Since the turtles were with Yoshi the latest, they become humanoid turtles. Since Yoshi had been with the rats last, he becomes a large rat. From that day forward; he was known as Splinter. In return, he trains the turtles in martial arts and names them after the four masters of the renaissance: Leonardo, who leads the group and wields the katana, Raphael, who is a smug smartypants and uses the sai daggers, Donatello, the team's scientist and prefers the bo staff, and Michaelangelo; who is a laid-back partier and has a pair of nunchucks as his weapon of choice. When April hears the story, she takes the turtles above ground. Since the people of New York City aren't accustomed to having a bunch of giant turtles walking around, she gives them trenchcoats and hats to blend in. April then stumbles upon another laboratory being robbed, but is kidnapped. The Turtles find her, along with an army of Foot ninjas. Leo then accidentally cuts one and discovers they are robots, and the group fights them off and saves April.
Episode 2: Enter the Shredder
The morning after their fight, the Turtles and April go through the sewers and try to find who's responsible for the attack. They come across a massive mobile fortress called the Technodrome, outfitted with all sorts of weapons and technology. It it piloted by Saki, who has taken on the new persona of the Shredder, a man covered head to toe in all sorts of blades. He commands the Foot, but he in turn is commanded by Krang. Krang is, for lack of a better word, a brain with tentacles. He once had a body, but was lost when he was banished from his homeworld of Dimension X. As such, he constantly demands a new one through out the first part of the series. Shredder then has a rhinoceros and a warthog kidnapped from Central Park Zoo; and uses them to mutate two members of the gang who attacked April in the previous episode; into Bebop and Rocksteady. The Turtles enter the Technodrome and come across all sorts of machines and traps. They dispatch Bebop and Rocksteady and win their first battle against the Shredder. Still, they know the war is far from over.
Episode 3: A Thing About Rats
Baxter Stockman, a young scientist; has invented a robot called a Mouser. It easily picks up the scent of most rodents, and even tears through walls to capture and kill them. Even so, his request for a grant at the local pest control company is rejected. The Shredder agrees to make more of the Mousers, but for his own reasons. A set of 12 Mousers is made and sent to invade the Turtles' lair. They almost get Splinter before the Turtles intervene. They find Baxter Stockman's name on the foot of one of the Mousers and go to April for help finding him. They do so, and interrogate him on what Shredder wanted the Mousers for. Soon, Shredder sends an army of 1200 Mousers to destroy April's apartment building; but the turtles save her and find Shredder. They reprogram the Mousers to go after his hideout, but since Michaelangelo was acting as a distraction, he gets caught in the rubble. He survives, but is derided by his brothers when he claims to have seen Krang.
Episode 4: Hot-Rodding Teenagers From Dimension X
Krang is becoming increasingly displeased with Shredder's failures, and opts to bring in his army of Stone Soldiers from Dimension X. Shredder agrees, but dismisses Krang's warnings about summoning things from the portal willy-nilly. He succeeds in getting two of his Stone Soldiers, General Traag and Lieutenant Granitor, but also brings in three rambunctious Dimension X teenagers known as Neutrinos. Meanwhile, the Turtles are modifying a van that Baxter left them full of equipment. Within a pinch, it becomes the Turtle Van. The Turtles come across the Neutrinos. They reveal at a local restaurant that Dimension X is a war-torn hellhole, and they are the few people there that would rather have fun than participate in their conflicts. Traag and Granitor then come across everyone. They pull out a weather machine that will consume the city in a matter of hours. The Turtles and Neutrinos team up to stop Shredder and Krang. They invade the Technodrome and send Traag and Granitor back to Dimension X and stop the weather machine. Leonardo declares that tomorrow will be the final battle with Shredder.
Episode 5: Shredder and Splintered
Shredder completes Krang's request to make him a new body, and then puts in the finishing touch-a chip that enables the user to grow at will; thanks to a gem in it. The Turtles take one of the flying cars that the Neutrinos left; but run out of fuel and discover it runs on plutonium. Donatello then goes back to Baxter's lab and gets to work on building something that can help them. The Turtles then fight their way to the Technodrome and come across Krang in his new body. Krang intends to summon an entire army of Stone Soldiers to invade New York. The Turtles try to fight Krang, but he activates the chip and grows to an enormous size. Shredder has also built a retro-mutagen ray that can reverse any mutation. Splinter fights him for it, but is trapped. Krang gets above ground, and Donatello reveals what he made-a transport called the Turtle Blimp. Leonardo and Donatello get inside Krang's body and find the chip. Donatello smashes the gem, which causes Krang to shrink back down. Shredder comes across the turtles and threatens to shoot them with the ray, but Splinter throws his cane and destroys it. They go back to the Technodrome and attempt to summon Krang's army, but Donatello reconfigures the portal so it will pull the Technodrome itself into Dimension X. The Turtles are lauded as heroes when April completes her report on them.
There you have it. The first 5 episodes of the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Even after all these years, it is still considered to be one of the biggest pop culture phenomena ever. I'm Steviemus Prime, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marathon will continue soon.
Posted on 9/01/11 05:02 PM
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is a fitting end to 10 years of fantasy and fun in film.
Director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves pulled out all the stops for the last entry in what is now the most successful movie franchise ever. Everything is dramatically staged, skillfully acted, and it holds an emotional power like no other.
Daniel Radcliffe's Harry (now also known for his full-frontal nude scene in the play Equus), Rupert Grint's Ron (branching out into independent films such as Driving Lessons), and Emma Watson's Hermione (attending Brown University in this country) end their journeys as they find and destroy the Horcruxes and face Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) for the final time.
The visual effects are perfected in the Battle of Hogwarts, but to me; the real achievement is the digitally-aged Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson in the film's epilogue.
There was not a dry eye in our little theater as the lights went up. The impact that the Harry Potter series has had on me and our country can be seen everywhere. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two joins Super 8 as one of the best films I have seen this year.
Posted on 9/01/11 04:39 PM
The year is 1925. Prince Albert, the Duke of York (Colin Firth) is charged with delivering the closing speech of the British Empire Exhibition, but is unable to overcome a stutter that lingers in his throat. He and his wife Elizabeth, the Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter) attempt to find a cure, to no avail. One day, they come across Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush); an unorthodox speech therapist who uses methods such as singing a cappella, reading the "To be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet against classical music, and letting loose a tapestry of profanity with rapid-fire succession. The new medium of radio increases the urgency of such a task, as Albert becomes King George VI and must lead his people into World War II.
The King's Speech is a rarity in film these days-a modern classic. Winning 4 Oscars for Best Picture (notably beating out The Social Network, Inception and Toy Story 3), Best Actor (Firth), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director; and making over $414 million worldwide on a budget of just $15 million; it is a film that must be witnessed at least once to appreciate.
Posted on 8/18/11 08:57 PM
Forget Yogi Bear. Forget Scooby-Doo. Forget The Flintstones and Viva Rock Vegas. Forget Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Forget Alvin and the Chipmunks. This is the absolute worst movie based on a cartoon ever.
94 minutes of unfunny jokes, poor special effects, and writing whose sole solitary trait is putting the word "Smurf" in place of most verbs makes for the absolute worst movie I have seen all summer.
I don't mind Neil Patrick Harris or Amy Adams, but Sofia Vergara and Hank Azaria do not seem to realize this movie was a diabetic piece of shit. Tim Gunn fares the worst, since he may be a good fashion critic, but he's a horrible actor. Even worse are respectable people Johnathan Winters mismatched with George Lopez and Katy Perry (she says "I kissed a Smurf and I liked it", but I'm glad she didn't wear a whipped-cream shooting bikini top).
Worst of all, this movie is outgrossing Cowboys and Aliens left and right. This is what makes me ashamed to be a moviegoer in 2011 after 2010 having great family films like How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3.
I never really watched the cartoon, but what I saw of it is much better than this hunk of cow pie. The Smurfs is another entry into my coveted zero club.
Posted on 8/06/11 01:24 PM
Captain America: The First Avenger is a great rendition of the classic Marvel superhero, and the first that truly does the Captain America story justice.
CGI is used to turn rather buff Chris Evans into a thin kid from Brooklyn (before being given the experiment that makes him the famed hero). Hugo Weaving makes a great Red Skull; and Dominic Cooper and Hayley Atwell provide support as Howard Stark and Peggy Carter; respectively.
The visual effects and action scenes are well conceived, but the 3D is a substandard conversion and gives little reason not to see it in 2D.
Bottom line-this movie is the last major peg before Marvel's The Avengers comes out next year; and it is also the best comic book film I have seen this year. It gets an 89 out of 100.
Posted on 8/01/11 03:53 PM
Cowboys and Aliens proves to be a bang for the buck, even though I concede it's not the best movie for Daniel Craig or Jon Favreau.
The buildup to the aliens is great, and the special effects are a sweet piece of eye candy (I expect no less when the VFX supervisor worked on Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith). Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and Harrison Ford make an all-star cast. Even Noah Ringer ("Awng" from The Last Airbender) proves that he can actually give a good performance if the script (which was crafted by eight writers) and director suit him.
I encourage you to see this film, as Universal spent $163 million to make sure people do.
This is Steviemus Prime, signing off.
Posted on 7/29/11 02:00 PM
I have never seen a Yogi Bear cartoon in my life, so that may be part of my problem here. Still, that doesn't save Yogi Bear from being a disgusting, unfunny, and completely inept family film.
The special effects for Yogi and Boo-Boo are creepy (can you say PEDO-Bear?), and the side actors like Tom Cavanagh and Anna Faris are entirely ineffectual. A plot about land disputes would bore kids, and the slapstick/gross-out humor does not hold up for the mere 82 minutes that it is presented in.
Anyway, it will take me some time to find online video of The Smurfs, and I will be seeing Cowboys and Aliens this weekend.
Posted on 7/27/11 03:25 PM
I liked this film when I was younger (I was 13 when I first saw it), but now, Fantastic Four seems more meh than fantastic.
It would be apt for a reboot after next year's Avengers movie, especially now that Chris Evans has moved on to playing Captain America (note: I will try to see Captain America: The First Avenger opening weekend).
Posted on 7/27/11 03:24 PM
Funny thing about He-Man-he's such a manly character and such a gay one at the same time. This led all throughout the 1980s cartoon and toyline (not to mention a 2002 revival).
This film, however, contains little of what made the cartoon tolerable. It should be so bad it's good, but it's not. It's just bad.
Dolph Lundgren as He-Man, fumbling more lines than my buddy Jean Claude Van Damme ever could. Man-At-Arms and his daughter (?) fighting by his side. Gwildor (a dwarf standing in for Orko due to budget constraints) shambling thru like a drunk Tingle. And Skeletor played by Frank Langella (?!) doing his best to sound menacing, but only coming off as a poor man's Palpatine. There are many other Star Wars thefts, like the sword and laser fights, Skeletor's Darth Vader-like army, and even throwing Skeletor into a pit like the Emperor in the end.
Attempting to put them in New Jersey doesn't help, it just pads the film with lousy side actors and lousier writing.
I'd rather have Ram-Man and Fisto take turns beating me than watch this movie again. It stinks like Stinkor.
Posted on 7/26/11 04:17 PM
There was a two-year gap between this Garfield film and the first. This is never a good sign if the intended audience is kids, which means their tastes change with their age. This, and an over-reliance on food-related humor is what killed this movie.
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is very much a one-note kid's comedy, and that note is covered in lasagna and cooking sherry. The first film is tolerable, but I'd suggest skipping this one.