Watch Out When Fire and Ice Meet

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Fire and Ice is a 1983 movie directed by Ralph Bakshi.  It was the Online Film Critics Society, 99th greatest animated film of all time.  It was also a major box office bust.  What did I think of it? Meh.

The plot is that there are two major strongholds: Icepeak on a giant moving glacier led by Lord Nekron and his Mother, and Firekeep in the mountains with the volcanoes led by King Jarol.  The people on the giant moving glacier are declaring war on everyone else, and captured the princess of Firekeep, Princess Teegra, to try and force Firekeep to surrender.  Meanwhile a young man, Larn, finds the princess and hopes to rescue her.  It is pretty much a Conan rip-off, except animated, and nobody wears any clothes.

This film does uses the technique of rotoscoping, where they film live footage and then pencil over it give it a smoother look in action scenes, and it gives it that Conan comic book brought to life vibe.  Sadly this movie lacks any real substance, and is just watching a bunch of mostly naked people run around and do heroic things.

I hear that they are thinking about remaking this movie, but I don’t see why.  It seems you could make any barbarian movie, and have it be just as good without buying the rights to this film, and everyone would be happy.

If you are hard up for barbarian action, or a big fan of the Conan comic books and want to watch something with that esthetic then this might work, but I would skip it otherwise.

Beware of the Wrath of Khan!

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The Wrath of Khan is normally thought of as one of the best Star Trek movies made, and interestingly enough Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) was removed from this picture because he wanted to make a movie about the crew going back in time to stop the Klingons from stopping the Kennedy Assassination.  I think this is one of the rare times that the studio did the right thing.

In this movie Kirk decides to retake command of the USS Enterprise, so they can check on a transmission being sent out by his former girl friend Dr. Carol Marcus.  Meanwhile the USS Reliant has been captured by Kirk’s old enemy Khan, who sets a trap for Kirk and the Enterprise.  I haven’t given away the whole plot, but already more has happened then Star Trek The Motion Picture.

It was really smart to bring in a foe from the TV Show for this film, since most people going to watch the movie loved the show.  It was also briskly edited, so it didn’t drag so much, which was a huge problem with the previous movie, and watching Kirk and Khan yell at each other through space is always fun.

They made this movie on the cheep, so the special effects were kind of lame even for the 80s, but they did the best they could with the money they had, so they didn’t have to focus on cool special effects.  They did find the money to replace the blue pajamas with the cool red Velcro uniforms we have all come to know and love.

Khan isn’t just a good Star Trek movie it is a good movie period.  The story and the action is really top notch, and fact it is a Star Trek movie just makes it better.  There are only a couple of Star Trek movies that are must watch, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of them.

Behold the Terror of Frankenweenie!

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Frankenweenie is a stop motion animated film by Tim Burton.  It was one of three major stop motion pictures to come out in 2012, and all of which were nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.  It is based off a short film with same name also directed by Tim Burton.

Frankenweenie is about a young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) who’s dog Sparky gets hit by a car, and not wanting to be separated from his best friend does what all people named Frankenstein do and brings him back from the dead.  When his classmates hear about his feat, they try and outdo him in order to win the science fair.  The plot is simple, but really works.  Sparky is Victor’s best friend, and it is easy to sympathize with Victor’s loss.

You can tell Tim Burton loves stop motion because every character, and every set is lovingly created and animated.  He also gets to pay homage to all the classic horror characters from the golden age, Victor’s classmates look like, the psychic ghost girl, Frankenstein’s monster, Igor, and many others, so it is fun to pick them out.

They also kept this film from wearing out its welcome.  It comes in at almost exactly an hour and half, which is perfect for this sort of film.  The transfer on the Blu-Ray is great, and it looks amazing.  It is also a good movie to test your black levels on your Hi-Def TV, considering it is black and white it really does amazing things with shades of gray.

This isn’t my favorite animated movie from last year, but I still think it was better then Brave, but I think most films nominated were better then Brave.  If you want a short and sweet film to watch, then Frankenweenie may be your ticket.

Does Star Trek the Motion Picture hold up?

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With a new Star Trek movie coming out this year, I have decided to go back and watch some the older Star Trek films, so why not start with the first one.  Star Trek the Motion Picture is a 1979 movie based off the Star Trek TV show.  It was originally the pilot to new TV show code-named Phase II, but that was too expensive, so it got scraped, but then Star Wars came out, and Paramount found the money to fund a new Sci-Fi movie.

The setup is there is an unknown object rushing towards Earth generating tons of power, and wiping out all life on its way, so the crew of the Enterprise, and the now Admiral Kirk have to go and see if they can reason with it and stop it from destroying the planet.  The story sounds kind of epic, but not a lot really happens in this movie.  Pretty much Kirk takes the Enterprise away from Captain Decker, who gets understandably angry, and then they go and stare at this giant ship for awhile while talking to a hot android that looks like the navigator Ilia, who the giant ship killed, and all while wearing cool blue pajamas that for some reason never show up again.

This movie’s main fault is that it could have used a better editor, it would have made a pretty good hour and half long movie, but at over two hours it really drags in some places, and there are more long ship pans then I think have ever graced the silver screen before or ever will.  This movie goes from some dialog, and then starts to pan over a ship for what feels like forever, and this happens a lot.

This movie did bring the crew back to the Enterprise, and you can tell that they were having fun being together again, so it is not a total loss, and when the mystery of the giant ship is revealed it is pretty cool.  They just needed someone to tighten it all up a bit, but I still enjoy this movie, and need to find myself a pair of those blue PJs.