What to do about The Reluctant Dragon?

the reluctant dragon

The Reluctant Dragon is an old Disney movie a lot of people may have missed, or even forgot they had seen.  It is a guided tour of Disney’s old Burbank animation studio.

The movie starts as Robert Benchley is being read a book, The Reluctant Dragon, by his wife, and when she finishes she tells Robert that he should try and sell the book to Disney, because you can sell books written by other people I guess, but it was 1941 so who knows.  When he gets to the Disney lot he decides to skip out on the guided tour and check things out for himself while dodging his guide.  It also turns out that Benchley is a bit a perv.  He tries to sneak a peek at a model during an art class, but is disappointed to find an elephant instead of a girl, and then he steals a zebra centaur girl clay model that is nude from the zebra up.  There are also various Disney shorts that play while he makes his way around the lot.

It is an interesting film and considering it is not a full length animated movie it is surprising that RKO decided to distribute it to theaters.  It was fun and light hearted, but it did drag from time to time.  I hope if I ever get to go to Disney’s animation studio that everyone there will be just as friendly to me.  Maybe if I bring someone else’s book to sell they will be happy to see me.

I don’t think this movie is a must watch by any stretch of the imagination, but it was kind of a hard title to track down, so I am glad Disney put it on Netflix so people can take a trip down Disney’s memory lane.  I hope more forgotten classics come to streaming services like Netflix, so they don’t disappear from the public’s consciousness.

The Justice League is Doomed!

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The Justice League: Doom is a animated straight to video movie that is based on the comic book story: JLA: Tower of Babel.  Much like a lot of other DC cartoon movies it is streaming on Netflix so I decided to give it a try.

Enemies of the Justice League are given the tools to defeat their foes by Vandal Savage, so he can carry out his nefarious master plan, and they form the Legion of Doom.  The Justice League characters featured are: Cyborg, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter,  The Flash, and Wonder Woman.  For the Legion of Doom: Vandal Savage, Bain, Metallo, Star Sapphire, Ma’alefa’ak, Mirror Master, and Cheetah.

This was a pretty good movie.  It had plenty of action, and it used all the characters they selected well, but it was short, 77 minutes, so it never really developed a good story.  It was kind of like the Justice League was in trouble, and then not to spoil anything, but then they were better, and they substituted some of the major bad guys from the comic with some second tier ones. This may have been an effort to give those bad guys some screen time, but I will take Ra’s al Ghul over Vandal Savage any day.

I do have to say one thing about Wonder Woman in this movie, major spoilers, you can tell DC is doing anything they can to show how cool Wonder Woman is to launch her own movie or show, and she is cool, so the way they chose to almost kill her was to have Cheetah have nanobots on her claws that convince Wonder Woman that everyone she sees is Cheetah, so the plan to kill her is to have her keep on fighting until her heart gives out, so Wonder Woman’s major weakness is heart disease … well she is over 30.  End Spoilers.

Justice League: Doom was a good movie that could have been a great movie if they had taken their time to develop the plot a bit better, and had put in some higher profile bad guys.  DC has been doing a good job with these straight to video cartoons and I am sure I will watch more of them in future.

It is Judgment Time!

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I have posted about Judge Dredd a lot on this site, and I have even told you to buy the DVD/Blu-Ray of the current film, not the Stallone version I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, but I decided I hadn’t reviewed the movie myself, and after this I promise (fingers crossed) not to type about Dredd so much.

Dredd’s basic story is that Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is forced to try out a new rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), and Judge Anderson decides to check out a triple homicide in the Peach Trees mega block, a two hundred story sky scrapper that houses seventy-eight thousand people, and while there they run in to the Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) Clan who locks the block down and the Judges are in for a fight for their lives.

I think why this movie works so well is that it keeps everything basic.  The story is simple: fight your way up the block and deal with Ma-Ma.  They could have thrown in an origin story or decided to create a Anderson and Dredd romance, but instead they kept is simple.  Dredd/Anderson vs. Ma-Ma Clan: Fight!  That may sound dull but it works. They keep the action exciting and don’t drift off in to things that don’t matter or make sence.  They also could have tried to make this movie an epic and had block vs. block warfare or something, but instead they made it a simple ride along and it works perfectly.

Unlike most movies Dredd doesn’t really change in this movie, he has no arc, it could be argued that he does a little at the end, but I don’t think so.  Anderson does change, she becomes more like Dredd understanding what needs to be done to keep this massive city (180,000,000 people) sort of under control.

The actors all play their parts well.  Urban who never takes Dredd’s helmet off really gives his jaw a work out.  His sneers and frowns are wonderful.  Thirlby does a great job playing a person that is way over her head, but is trying to cope, and when she finally understands what needs to be done, she hits just as hard as Dredd.  Headey plays Ma-Ma perfectly, she doesn’t care about anything except getting what she wants and is completely ruthless.

If you haven’t figured it out by now.  I loved this movie, and if you like action movies then you need to check this flick out.  If you don’t like violent movies then this probably isn’t for you, and if you don’t want to take my word for it you should check out Daniel’s review.

Judge Dredd is on the Case! #2

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You should probably read my review of Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01 before reading this review, not that their are any spoilers, but because of the progression of the character.

Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 02 is split up between to main stories, Judge Dredd’s journey over the cursed earth to deliver a medicine to cure a plague ravaging Mega City 2, and Judge Dredd leading the rebellion against the crazy Chief Judge Cal (short for Caligula).

The first story is great, and provides a lot of background in to the reasons for the Mega Cities.  The Cursed Earth is the irradiated landmass between the Mega Cities left after the nuclear war, and it is inhabited by crazy hillbillies, mutants, murderess crazy army robots, and a few dinosaurs left over from the cloned dinosaur park (the comic came out in 1977 and the book Jurassic Park came out in 1990, just saying).  It is great to see why everyone lives in the walled cities, but there are still some good people living in the wasteland and Dredd does his best to make the Cursed Earth a better place on the drive through.

The rebellion against Judge Cal is good, but gets a little long in the tooth towards the end.  Judge Cal takes over and is crazy and the people of Mega City 1 are paying the price, and only Judge Dredd and a few other loyal Judges can stop the mad man.

Unlike the first Complete Case Files, Judge Dredd is much more defined in this book.  He is more stoic with a dry sense of humor, and he upholds the law above all else.  The comedic relief Walter the Robot is not in this book as much considering Judge Dredd as a series has started to take a much more serious tone.  Not that it is all hard core action and carnage, there are still some laughs to be had but the humor is a little darker.

I liked this book much more then the first one, and I am sure that I will be buying more in the future.  Judge Dredd is a cool character and being able read through his history is has been fun.

Don’t pull the Wool over your eyes

Wool

The Wool Omnibus is a collection of self published short stories by Hugh Howey.  Even though there are five stories in the book they all follow the same story line, so it really is one book but split up so he could make more money on the Amazon self publishing store.  Don’t hold that against him though it is a great book.  I was tipped off about this book by Daniel Robison, and since he and I usually have the same taste I decided to give it a shot, and at $5.99 for the Kindle edition why not.

The book is about a group of people living in a silo, and the world outside is destroyed, so they are doing their best to survive in this giant tin can.  As you can guess people start wonder why they are in a silo and what is really outside, which is expressly forbidden.

Hugh Howey does a great job with this story.  It is fast paced and well written, though since it is self published there are some awkward sentences and misspellings, but still good work.  He has a talent for writing believable characters, and he has built a cool universe to play in.  He has written a prequel series “Wool Legacy” which judging by the reviews I will need to read soon as well.

If you haven’t guessed by now I think you should read this book, and if you don’t want to pay the $5.99, the first “book” in the series is free, and then you can decide to buy the rest later, which I am sure you will.