Review by Steve Sawicki
Since weíre directly in the middle of the big, giant, hot, summer blockbuster movie release season I figured Iíd take a moment and do some calculations about timing. I mean itís only inevitable that these turkeys will be flying out on dvd before Thanksgiving. So, to help me along Iíve developed this dvd Matrix. Let me just reload it and weíll be ready to go. Okay, if you look here, along the X-axis, no, no, thatís the Y-axis. You want the X man, the X. Okay so square the X and then follow the line along the slope of the curve to the Terminator and youíll discover that weíre in for one Hulking big release frenzy come the next change of season. Note, these calculations are based on things as we know them today. 28 Days Later it could all be different although the odds of that are roughly the same as being shipjacked by Pirates of the Caribbean
Hmmmm, letís take a really boring book. Letís make that a really boring foreign book. One that needed a team of translators to turn it into English because they kept either falling asleep or going insane. Further, letís take this boring book (which was already turned into a really bad, boring movie by the Russians no less) and make another movie from it. Why, this is sheer Hollywood genius at work!! Solaris, which is Polish writer Stanislaw Lemís masterwork is not readily translated or translatable. It involves a space station where everyone sees dead people. So, rather than just send for a space tug to move the thing, they send for a Psychologist. Oh boy, big mistake because if they had just used the tug this flick would have been over in twenty minutes. Solaris. Which translated from Polish means ĎSkip Out Like A Rat In Searchacheeseí should be avoided at all costs.
Comic books. I love Ďem. But I love Ďem as comics. Sure there have been notable exceptions to Hollywoodís determination to turn even the most mundane line drawing into a feature film, but they have been few and far between. Why, even a mutant could count the successes on one webbed hand. Daredevil, sadly, for I have had to watch this celluloid mistake, is not one of them. Where did they go wrong? Well, wrong actor, bad story, no plotting, too many big changes to the character, too much forced humor and bad camera work--and thatís only in the first fifteen minutes. Itís downhill from there. Why even blind man could see the errors of their ways.
I suppose itís only fitting with Sinbad being released as a cartoon that we get the cartoonish version of the real thing as well. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad involves a bald sorcerer, a very tiny princess, a cyclops, a dragon, one double headed Roc and a band of cutthroat pirates (not the Caribbean kind). Sinbad decides to hire a bunch of convicts and turn them into pirates in order to remove the curse from the princess. Why does he do this? Because heís basically a nice guy in search of adventure. Does he succeed? Who cares what with all the Ray Harryhausen Dynamation effects. The really amazing thing is how well this really primitive form of animation holds up. Great stuff and much better than anything currently out which, I suppose, is a commentary unto itself.
Every week the studios poop out another compilation volume of some television series. This week, itís Farscape Season 3, Volume 3.3. I canít explain the 3.3 bit since thereís no 3.2 or 3.1. Thereís also no explaining why, at the time of this writing, this dvd was the #1 seller in West Virginia. Maybe it has to do with most of the episodes in this release being dark and brooding which may feel like home to the coal miners. This is the year the series got repetitively depressing. It was bad enough getting these things one at a time a week apart. Thereís no telling how much damage an entire set will do.
I would have thought that all of these would be out on dvd by now but itís really hard to tell whatís already out, whatís just repackaged and whatís being rereleased. In this case itís more good new stuff. Dr. Who: Resurrection of the Daleks, reintroduces us to the original Borg, although they didnít want to assimilate but rather exterminate. This is the fifth Dr. assuming Iím counting my Dr.s correctly and while one of the gloomiest episodes itís also one of the best of the for this Dr. The episode also features Davros and the aforementioned Daleks which is a lot of Dís for four strung together episodes.
If itís good enough for a video game than it must be good enough for a movie. This is the kind of thinking that brought us Starship Troopers. Oh, wait, that was a novel. Ah, to hell with it, the end result is the same. Itís this kind of thinking that will ultimately lead to the idea that if itís good enough for a theme park ride it will be good enough for a movie as well. Battle Arena Toshinden is based on the playstation game and involves a mysterious warrior who steals all the best moves of champions to beat them. Will anyone be good enough to defeat him? I donít think anyone actually watches this long enough to find out.
There are some very good and interesting cartoons out there. Sailor Moon is one of them, mostly for the plotting which is relatively strong as these things go, although sheís no Popeye who was a different kind of sailor altogether. Sailor Moon, Season One, Complete and Uncut captures the first season as they were meant to be shown. And for those of you with your minds in the gutter you can forget about any cartoon nudity. The completeness relates to the way the series handles death. This is 1000 minutes with English subtitles in case your Japanese is a little rusty. Wakarimasu?