REVIEW: STARGATE (1994)

CAST

Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
James Spader (Crash)
Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game)
Alexis Cruz (Dark Wolf)
Mili Avital (Mossad)
Erick Avari (Heroes)
Viveca Lindfors (The Exorcist III)
Leon Rippy (The Patriot)
John Diehl (Crimson Tide)
French Stewart (Mom)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Djimon Honsou (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carlos Lauchu (The Silencers)
Derek Webster (Godzilla)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)

James Spader in Stargate (1994)A massive metal ring with engraved cover stones is discovered in the sands of Giza, Egypt in 1928, by an archaeologist named Langford and his young daughter, Catherine. Many years later, the elderly Catherine Langford offers Egyptologist and linguist Daniel Jackson the chance to translate the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the cover stones. Jackson accepts and travels to a US Air Force installation where he examines the stones. Special Operations Colonel Jack O’Neil arrives to take command of the project and he declares it “classified” before Jackson can begin his research.Jackson deduces from the hieroglyphs the existence of a “stargate”, a device used to travel to distant worlds. He discovers that the accompanying non-hieroglyphic symbols are star constellations used in a three-dimensional coordinate system. When selected in sequence on the metal ring, they create a stable wormhole to some other place in the galaxy. O’Neil leads a team with Jackson through the Stargate, and they find themselves inside a pyramid in the middle of a desert. The team cannot return home because the necessary coordinates are missing. Jackson, O’Neil, and the others explore the surrounding area and discover a mining operation run by humans. The miners assume that they are emissaries of their god Ra.Jaye Davidson in Stargate (1994)Jackson attempts communication with the locals using pantomime, and later realizes that they speak a modern dialect derived from Ancient Egyptian. The soldiers develop a friendship with local teenager Skaara and his friends, and Jackson is given the chieftain Kasuf’s daughter Sha’uri as a gift. He initially rebuffs her, unaware that she is meant to be his wife, but they develop a friendship that blossoms into romance. Jackson guesses that Sha’uri may know the location of the cartouche containing the return coordinates for the Stargate. Jackson learns that the Egyptian god Ra was an alien lifeform who came to Earth seeking a cure for his impending death. Ra discovered that he could maintain a simpler Human body indefinitely, and he “possessed” the body of a human youth, enslaved the youth’s people and transported some of them to another planet to mine the mineral on which all of his technology is based. The enslaved Humans on Earth eventually rebelled and expelled Ra, and buried the Stargate. Fearful of a similar rebellion on this planet, Ra outlawed reading and writing so the people would forget their origins. Jackson discovers six symbols of the return coordinates but the seventh symbol is missing.At night, a pyramid shaped spacecraft descends over the pyramid. Returning to it the following morning, O’Neil and Jackson are captured and taken to Ra, still alive in the form of an androgynous human youth with glowing eyes. O’Neil tries to disarm the guards and kill Ra, but Jackson is killed and O’Neil and his team are imprisoned. Jackson is regenerated in a sarcophagus-like device and meets with Ra. Ra reveals his intention to return to Earth an atomic bomb brought by O’Neil, its destructive power now enhanced 100-fold with the addition of the mined mineral. Ra states that he will kill Jackson and everyone who has seen him unless Jackson kills the rest of the team to remind Kasuf’s people that Ra is their true god.Once Ra has the local people gathered before the pyramid, Skaara and his friends create a distraction while Jackson turns one of the guards’ weapons on Ra. In the confusion, Jackson and O’Neil’s team escape and take shelter in a cave with Skaara and the others. The next morning, Skaara draws a picture of the victory against Ra, and Jackson realizes that Skaara has drawn the seventh symbol needed to reactivate the Stargate.O’Neil and Skaara’s group attack and overpower the overseers of the mine and convince the people that their “gods” are human. With their help, O’Neil’s team return to the Stargate to deactivate the bomb. Faced with open rebellion, Ra prepares his ship to leave and launches fighters to counter-attack. Sha’uri is killed in the battle, but Jackson takes her into the ship and resurrects her in Ra’s sarcophagus device. Ra orders the augmented bomb be sent to Earth immediately. Ra’s guard captain discovers O’Neil, and they fight. Jackson and Sha’uri are captured by Ra, but O’Neil overpowers the guard and activates a teleportation device. The beam decapitates the guard captain and sends the head to Ra, while retrieving Jackson and Sha’uri. As Ra’s craft escapes the planet, O’Neil and Jackson teleport the bomb to Ra’s ship. The bomb detonates, killing Ra and destroying the ship. Skaara’s people celebrate their freedom and Jackson decides to remain on the planet with Sha’uri. O’Neil and the survivors of his team return to Earth.James Spader and Mili Avital in Stargate (1994)Loved Stargate when it originally came out and watched every episode of all 4 shows. I’m glad the directors cut came out on Blu-Ray. The special edition which added a little more to the movie. This will always be a film classic.

REVIEW: DEEP BLUE SEA

CAST

Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Michael Rapaport (The Sixth Sense)
Stellan Skarsgård (thor)
LL Cool J (S.W.A.T.)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Saffron Burrows (Troy)
Jacqueline McKenzie (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Aida Turturro (Junior)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Mary Kay Bergman (South Park)

At Aquatica, a remote former submarine refueling facility converted into a laboratory, a team of scientists searches for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Fluids from the brain tissue of three Mako sharks are harvested. Unknown to the other scientists, Drs. Susan McAlester and Jim Whitlock have violated the code of ethics and have genetically engineered the sharks to increase their brain size; this has the side effect of making the sharks smarter and more dangerous.
After one of the sharks escapes and attacks a boat full of teenagers, Aquatica’s financial backers send corporate executive Russell Franklin to investigate the facility. To prove that the research is working, the team removes fluid from the brain tissue of the largest shark. While examining it, Jim is attacked by the shark and his arm is bitten off. Brenda Kerns, the tower’s operator, calls a helicopter to evacuate Jim, but as he is being lifted the cable jams and Jim falls into the shark pen. The shark grabs the gurney and pulls the chopper into the tower, killing Brenda and the pilots. As the others try to figure out what made the explosion, one of the sharks uses Jim’s body as a battering ram to smash an underwater window, flooding the facility and freeing the other sharks. Susan confesses to the others that she and Jim genetically altered the sharks.
Susan, Russell, wrangler Carter Blake, marine biologist Janice Higgins, and engineer Tom Scoggins make their way to the top of the center. While delivering a dramatic speech emphasizing the need for group unity, Russell is dragged into the water by the largest shark and killed. While climbing up the industrial elevator, a ladder falls and gets wedged between the walls of the shaft, leaving them dangling over the water and the second shark. Janice loses her grip and falls; despite Carter’s attempts to save her, the shark kills her. The cook, Sherman “Preacher” Dudley, is attacked by the first shark, but kills it by throwing a lighter into the kitchen’s oven that had been turned on. He then encounters Carter, Tom and Susan.
Traumatized by Janice and Russell’s deaths, Tom goes with Carter to the flooded lab to activate controls to open a door to the surface. The largest shark attacks them, killing Tom. Meanwhile, Susan heads into her room to collect her research material, but while there, she is ambushed by the second shark. She narrowly escapes by climbing onto a table and disconnects a nearby power cable, taking off her clothes, and electrocuting the shark in her underwear, destroying her research in the process. Carter, Susan and Preacher go to the top of the research center through a decompression chamber and swim to the surface. Preacher is caught by the third shark and dragged through the water, but swims to safety after stabbing the shark in the eye with his crucifix, causing it to release him.
Carter realizes that the third shark is trying to escape to the open sea, and that the sharks made them flood the facility so they could escape through the weaker mesh fences at the surface. In an effort to distract the final shark, Susan cuts herself and dives into the water. When she attempts to climb out, the ladder breaks and she is killed by the shark. Carter dives in to try to save her but is too late. Grabbing hold of the shark’s fin, he is pulled through the water. Preacher grabs hold of the harpoon and shoots the shark through its dorsal fin, but the spear also goes through Carter’s thigh. As the shark breaks through the fence, Carter is attached to the shark by the harpoon. He tells Preacher to connect the trailing wire to a car battery, sending an electric current through the wire and to an explosive charge in the harpoon, killing the shark. Carter managed to free himself in time, and he swims to the wreckage of the facility, joining Preacher in time to see the workers’ boat en-route on the horizon.If you know going into this movie that it is about a bunch of super intelligent mako sharks eating a bunch of human beings, then you can dismiss all of the scientific explanations and exposition as just prologue. You do not have to understand it and you can probably get away with even paying attention to it, because once the shark attacks begin that is all that is going to matter with this film. This is not the thinking person’s shark attack film.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II: THE SECRET OF THE OOZE

CAST

Paige Turco (The Stepfather)
David Warner (Black Death)
Ernie Reyes Jr. (Red Sonja)
François Chau (Lost)
Kevin Nash (The Punisher)
Vanilla Ice (The New Guy)
Toshishiro Obata (Demolition Man)
Michael McConnohie (Naruto)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Kevin Clash (Sesame Street)
Raymond Serra (Bolero)
Robbie Rist (The Brady Bunch)
Adam Carl (The Monster Squad)
Brian Tochi (Space Academy)
Laurie Faso (Summer Student)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)

A young pizza delivery boy named Keno inadvertently encounters burglars on his route and tries to stop them. Seeing him as a witness, the burglars attack Keno, who proves to be an expert martial artist, but he is soon overwhelmed before the arrival of the Ninja Turtles. They vanish after rescuing Keno, tying up the burglars, and taking the pizza he was delivering, leaving money to pay for it.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2 the secret of the oozeLeonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael, along with their master Splinter, are living with April O’Neil while they look for a new place to live following the events of their last adventure. Splinter wants to remain in the shadows, while Raphael thinks they should live out in the open. At a junkyard where the remnants of The Foot and Shredder’s second-in-command Tatsu are hiding out, they are met by their master, who has been disfigured by his previous defeat but did not die as they thought. April interviews Professor Jordan Perry of Techno Global Research Industries (TGRI) about a possible toxic waste leak. He assures her that everything is fine, but at the same time their scientists discover dandelions which have been mutated by the contaminant. Freddy, a spy for the Foot posing as April’s cameraman, discovers this and reports it to his master, who decides to have Perry interrogated. Back at April’s apartment, Splinter reveals to her and the turtles that TGRI was responsible for their mutation more than fifteen years prior, and they too decide to talk to him. The Foot gets to Perry first and kidnaps him, salvaging the last vial canister of ooze in the process. The turtles attempt to get the canister back, but ultimately fail. Afterward, Keno gets into April’s apartment under the guise of delivering pizza and discovers Splinter and the turtles.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2 the secret of the oozeAt the Shredder’s hideout, Perry is forced into using the remaining ooze on a wolf and a snapping turtle, which mutate into Tokka and Rahzar. With the imminent threat to April’s safety by the Foot, the turtles start to actively look for a new home. After an argument with Leo, Raph breaks off from the group, while Mikey, who soon discovers an abandoned subway station, deems it a perfect hideout. Raph and Keno defy Splinter’s orders and implant Keno into the Foot Clan to find their hideout. However, they are caught and Raph is captured, while Keno escapes to warn the others. When they come, they are ambushed by Shredder and the Foot; Splinter saves the group, but leaves as they face Tokka and Rahzar, who prove too strong to defeat. Donny finds Perry and the five of them make a tactical retreat. Once back in their hideout, Perry explains that the creation of the ooze was an accident, disheartening Donatello, who saw a higher purpose for their existence.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2 the secret of the oozeShredder unleashes Tokka and Rahzar into a nearby neighborhood to cause damages. The next day, Freddy sends a message to April that Tokka and Rahzar will be released into Central Park if the Turtles don’t meet the Foot Clan at the construction site. Perry develops an antidote to the mutations and when they confront the two, Leo and Mikey trick Tokka and Rahzar into eating it. They discover the trick and brutally attack, throwing Raph into a public dance club. A big fight ensues among hundreds of witnesses and eventually the turtles turn Tokka and Rahzar into their natural state, while Vanilla Ice improvises the “Ninja Rap”. Shredder attacks, threatening a citizen with a final vial of ooze, but Keno intervenes and the turtles overload an amplifier, causing Shredder to be blasted out onto the docks behind the club. They follow and discover that Shredder had drunk the last vial, becoming a “Super Shredder” who begins to destroy the support structure holding the dock up. Not caring about his own life, Shredder attempts to kill the turtles by collapsing the dock on top of them, but the group escapes the collapse and surface in time to witness Shredder’s last breath.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2 the secret of the oozeIn a press release, April reads a note from Perry, thanking the turtles for saving him, and when they return home, they deny being seen by the humans, but Splinter holds up the evening’s newspaper on which they are plastered across the cover. He then orders the four of them to do flips as punishment, chanting the theme song they were dancing to at the club “Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!” exclaiming he made another funny as the scene freezes.Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2 the secret of the oozeThe second movie was lighter in tone to the first, it may not be as good as the first, but i liked it, I liked the introduction of the new mutants, it is a shame that super shredder is only on screen for a short time as it would of been nice to see him more.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Ramón Rodríguez (Iron Fist)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
Isabel Lucas (The Loft)
John Benjamin Hickey (The Ex)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Matthew Marsden (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Rainn Wilson (Star Trek Discovery)
Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)
Katie Lowes (Scandal)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
André Sogliuzzo (Family Guy)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
Grey DeLisle (Ultimate Avengers)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Josh Kelly (Jarhead 2)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
Michael York (Logans Run)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Robin Atkins Downes (Babylon 5)
Andrew Howard (Bates Motel)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)

In 17,000 B.C., the Seven Primes travel the galaxy to create Energon with star-absorbing machines named Sun Harvesters. The Primes followed a rule: never destroy planets with life; however, one of them, Megatronus Prime, later known as The Fallen, defies this and establishes a Sun Harvester on Earth. He is confronted by the other Primes, who imprison him before he can harvest the planet’s Sun with the Matrix of Leadership. The Primes then sacrifice themselves to hide the Matrix in an unknown location.In the present day, two years after Megatron’s defeat, the Autobots have formed the Non-Biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty (NEST), a classified international military task force dedicated to eliminate the surviving Decepticons. In Shanghai, the Autobots intercept two Decepticons, Demolisher and Sideways. They send in new recruits: Sideswipe, Skids, Mudflap, Arcee, Chromia, and Elita One to hunt them down. Sideswipe successfully kills Sideways, while Optimus Prime kills Demolisher, but not before he warns them of the Fallen’s return. At NEST’s headquarters in Diego Garcia, National Security Adviser Theodore Galloway scolds the task force sarcastically for their tactics, reminding them that Megatron’s corpse is still at the bottom of the Laurentian Abyss and the last known AllSpark shard is locked up in the base. Soundwave hacks into a military satellite, overhears the information, and sends Ravage to retrieve the shard.Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is preparing to attend college, leaving his girlfriend Mikaela Banes and guardian Bumblebee behind. He finds a smaller AllSpark shard and picks it up, causing him to start seeing Cybertronian symbols and accidentally brings multiple kitchen appliances to life. After Bumblebee destroys the rampaging appliances (along with part of the Witwicky’s house), Sam gives the shard to Mikaela, who later captures the Decepticon Wheelie when he attempts to steal it. The Constructicons resurrect Megatron by ripping apart the smallest Constructicon Scrapmetal to provide parts for him, as well as using the stolen shard.Megatron then travels to one of Saturn’s moons, where he reunites with his master, the Fallen, who orders him to capture Sam alive and kill Optimus, the only Transformer who can defeat the Fallen. Sam, Mikaela and his college roommate, Leo are attacked by Alice, a Decepticon Pretender posing as a college student. After killing her, they are captured by the Decepticon Grindor and taken to an abandoned factory. Megatron reveals that the symbols in Sam’s mind will lead the Decepticons to a new Energon source before the Autobots arrive to rescue the trio. Optimus rescues Sam and engages Megatron, who is accompanied by Starscream, and Grindor. Initially overpowered, Optimus manages to injure Starscream by cutting off his arm before killing Grindor. Megatron then ambushes Optimus and blasts his spark, destroying it and leaving him fatally wounded; Optimus dies shortly after telling Sam to run without him. The other Autobots arrive and repel the Decepticons, forcing Megatron and Starscream to retreat. The Decepticons launch devastating simultaneous attacks around the world, destroying ships in the Second Fleet and damaging Paris. The Fallen hijacks Earth’s telecommunications systems, demanding that Sam be handed to him.Sam, Mikaela, and Leo enlist the help of former Sector 7 agent, Seymour Simmons, who reveals that the Transformers visited Earth eons ago and the most ancient, known as Seekers, live in secret. With help from Wheelie, they track down a Decepticon Seeker named Jetfire at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They use their shard to revive Jetfire, who teleports the group to Egypt and explains the story of the Fallen. Jetfire and Wheelie turn against the Decepticons, and order them to locate the Matrix, which could revive Optimus. Sam’s group finds the Matrix in Petra, but it disintegrates into dust in Sam’s hands. Undeterred, Sam stuffs the Matrix’s remains into his sock. Meanwhile, NEST forces and the Autobots land near the Giza pyramid complex but are attacked by a large force of Decepticons. During the battle, many Constructicons combine to form Devastator, who destroys one of the pyramids, revealing the Sun Harvester inside, before he is killed by a battleship’s railgun called in by Simmons. Under Megatron’s orders, the Decepticons Rampage and Ravage spring a trap with Sam’s parents (who were captured during the Paris attack) as bait in order to force Sam to give them the Matrix, but Bumblebee interferes and kills both Decepticons. Lennox and Epps call in an airstrike, which kills a large portion of the Decepticon ground forces. However, Megatron manages to shoot Sam, seemingly killing him, before retreating upon getting attacked. Nearing his death, the Primes contact Sam through a vision, telling him the Matrix is earned, not found, and that he earned the right to bear it. They restore Sam’s life and the Matrix, which he uses to revive Optimus.The Fallen teleports to their location and steals the Matrix from Optimus, then returns to the pyramid with Megatron and activates the Sun Harvester. Jetfire, who was wounded by Scroponok but did manage to kill him, sacrifices himself in order for Optimus to gain his parts, which give him immense strength and the ability to fly. Optimus knocks the Fallen and Megatron off the pyramid, destroying the Sun Harvester in the process. In the battle, Optimus disables Megatron and kills the Fallen; vowing vengeance, Megatron retreats with Starscream. The victorious Autobots and their allies then return to the United States, having saved the world.This builds things up to a much greater scale than the first film, and it brings in a lot more of the robots, both good and bad ones. The plot does involve you to have to work at it, a little more than you might expect from a piece of escapist entertainment. And yet, whilst it’s not as focused as the first film, it does come up with a big action battle climax.  As humans and alien robots alike battle evil forces and strive to do the right thing and are quite prepared to put their lives on the line, it’s not hard to find yourself rooting for them all the way.

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Peter Cullen (Dungeons and Dragons)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Orson Welles (Citizen Kane)
Eric Idle (Monty Python)
Judd Nelson (New Jack City)
Robert Stack (Caddyshack II)
Roger C. Carmel (Star Trek)
Neil Ross (G.I. Joe)
Susan Blu (Jem)
Lionel Stander (Hart To Hart)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
John Moschitta Jr. (Dick Tracy)
Buster Jones (Super Friends)
Paul Eiding (Ben 10)
Gregg Berger (The Jetsons)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Chris Latta (G.I. Joe)
Casey Kasem (Battle of The Planets)
Scatman Crothers (The Shining)
Dan Gilvezan (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends)
Corey Burton (Aladdin)
Stan Jones (Challenge of The Super Friends)
Arthur Burghardt (Star Kid)
Don Messick (The Last Unicorn)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Ed Gilbert (The little Mermaid)
Clive Revill (Return To Neverland)
Hal Yale (Ewok Adventures)
Norman Alden (Super Friends)

In 2005, the war between the Autobots and Decepticons has culminated in the Decepticons conquering their home planet Cybertron, while the Autobots operate from its two moons preparing a counter-offensive. Optimus Prime sends an Autobot shuttle to Earth’s Autobot City for Energon supplies, but the Decepticons, led by Megatron, commandeer the ship and kill the crew, consisting of Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl and Brawn. Travelling to Earth, the Decepticons attack Autobot City, slaughtering many Autobots and leaving only a small group alive including Hot Rod, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Arcee, Springer, Blurr, Perceptor, Blaster, and the human Daniel Witwicky. The next day, Optimus and the Dinobots arrive as reinforcements. Optimus single-handedly defeats the Decepticons and engages Megatron in a climactic battle that leaves both of them mortally wounded. On his death bed, Optimus passes the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Magnus, informing him that its power will light the Autobots’ darkest hour, and dies.Elsewhere, the Decepticons jettison their wounded from Astrotrain, including Megatron at the hands of his treacherous second-in-command Starscream. The wounded are found by Unicron, a gigantic sentient cyber-planet who consumes other planets. Unicron offers Megatron a new body in exchange for destroying the Matrix, which has the ability to destroy him. Megatron agrees and is converted into Galvatron, gaining new troops from the other Decepticons present. Going to Cybertron, Galvatron crashes Starscream’s coronation as Decepticon commander and destroys him, before travelling to Autobot City to eliminate Ultra Magnus. The surviving Autobots escape in separate shuttles which are damaged by the Decepticons and crash land on different planets.transformers-movie-bluray-screenshot-2Hot Rod and Kup are taken prisoner by the Quintessons, multi-faced tyrants who hold kangaroo courts and execute prisoners by feeding them to the Sharkticons. Hot Rod and Kup learn of Unicron from Kranix, a survivor of Lithone – a planet devoured by Unicron. After Kranix is executed, Hot Rod and Kup escape their own trial, aided by the arrival of the Dinobots and the small Autobot Wheelie, who helps them find a ship to leave the planet. The other Autobots land on the Junk Planet, where Galvatron kills Ultra Magnus and seizes the Matrix, intending on using it to control Unicron. The Autobots reunite and befriend the local Junkions, led by Wreck-Gar, who then rebuild Magnus. Learning Galvatron has the Matrix, the Autobots and Junkions fly to Cybertron, which Unicron, discovered to be a gigantic Transformer also now in robot form, begins to destroy.14041_1The Autobots crash their spaceship through Unicron’s eye, but they end up separated. Daniel rescues his father Spike and Jazz, Bumblebee, and Cliffjumper from being devoured. Hot Rod confronts Galvatron, who tries to form an alliance, but is forced into attacking Hot Rod by Unicron. Hot Rod obtains the Matrix, which converts him into Rodimus Prime, the Autobot that Optimus said would light their darkest hour. Rodimus tosses Galvatron into space and uses the Matrix’s power to destroy Unicron from the inside. The Autobots celebrate the end of the war and the retaking of Cybertron, while Unicron’s severed head continues to orbit the planet.vlcsnap-2011-12-12-17h24m21s199_758_426_81_s_c1Transformers the movie is a retro 80’s cult classic that not only took the original series forward in the animation department but also took the story forward in to the future with the next generation of Transformers. All the fan favourites are here with new ones to be cherishing, and the soundtrack to this movie is probably one of the best sounding albums to come out of the 80’s. This movie still holds up as one of the best TV to Movie translations of all time, and it still kicks major league butt as well. The only drawback that it has that they did not make a sequel to this classic in animation.

REVIEW: THE ZETA PROJECT

MAIN CAST
Diedrich Bader (Batman: TBATB)
Julie Nathanson (Sofia The First)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST~
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Eli Marienthal (American Pie)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Tom Kenney (Super Hero Squad)
Chad Lowe (Floating)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angel)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why)
Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey)
Chris Demetral (Lois & Clark)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Mae Whitman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)
zeta-b
In this Batman Beyond spinoff, Zeta, an assassination & infiltrator robot, rebels against its programming. The authorities think it has been reprogrammed by their enemies, and tries to bring Zeta in for reprogramming. Zeta goes on the run, trying to find his creators and assisted by an orphan girl, Ro.
zetaproject1
As a spin off for a character introduced in Batman Beyond, this cartoon series went beyond the scope of adventure. Zeta was an experimental infiltration robot equipped with weaponry and a holographic self-projector that allows it to assume any identity. However, negating his own programming, he refused to kill. He fled his employers merely attempting to find his creator to prove that he is acting on his own free will. The government doesn’t know that, and hunt him down as they think he is rogue. Along the way Zeta hooks up with Ro, a teenage girl, and they assist each other in their treks.
165770_fullDiedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) lends his voice to the peaceful, naive and near-human robot, sounding the least bit threatening and true to Zeta’s nature. The friendship between the child-like Zeta and Ro is genuinely portrayed. The supporting characters who chase him are great, including the government agents, and a young genius whom at one point reprogrammed Zeta. The Zeta Project is indeed a combination of Short Circuit and The Fugitive, balanced out by fantastic action, excellent characterization, and plenty of comedic moments.  In one episode, Batman Beyond even makes a cool guest appearance. Sadly, KidsWB canceled this exceptional show after 2 seasons, leaving Ro and Zeta’s quest hanging.

REVIEW: BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER

 

CAST (VOICES)

Will Friedle (Boy Meets World)

Kevin Conroy (Batman:
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Angie Harmon (Agent Cody Banks)
Teri Garr (Young Frankenstein)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Tara Strong (Comic Book: The Movie)
Matthew Valencia (Lawnmower Man 2)

Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
Rachael Leigh Cook (Antitrust)
Ryan O’Donohue (The Iron Giant)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang theory)

It’s a shame that Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker did not have the opportunity to grace the silver screen. Though the film was originally conceived as a direct-to-video effort, Bruce Timm reported in San Diego during the summer of ’99 that Warner was flirting with the idea of a theatrical release. Was not to be, though, and as the Halloween 2000 release date of the video and DVD drew closer, the entertainment industry was under the watchful eye of the government, fending off accusations that it was delivering adult content to children. A nearly two month delay for the dark, violent Return of the Joker was announced shortly thereafter, and fans were aghast at the timing. Rumors began to circulate that Warner was unhappy with the content of the movie in this hostile political climate and sought to water it down considerably. Writer Paul Dini confirmed in an interview with Ain’t It Cool News that edits were in the wings, and though he was positive about the changes spearheaded by partner Bruce Timm, it did apparently lead to a rift in the seemingly insurmountable team.

 

To get an idea of how drastically certain portions were changed, World’s Finest has a assembled a detailed list of edits, though bear in mind that there are substantial spoilers. Sales of the edited disc were lackluster, due in large part to a lack of any real promotional effort by Warner Bros. Though the quality of the butchered product was still exceedingly high, it seemed as if the untainted version would never see the light of day. Slowly, positive news began to trickle from Tinseltown. Paul Dini, at the Wizard World Convention last summer, stated that he was certain that an unedited release would be forthcoming. This was confirmed by Warner two months later in a chat on the Home Theater Forum. Now, just over three years after Paul Dini first put pen to paper for his initial draft of the Return of the Joker screenplay, Warner has finally given the movie the release it deserved from the very beginning.


Batman Beyond, for those unfamiliar, takes place some fifty years after the previous animated series. Bruce Wayne had long since shelved the cape and cowl, and Gotham City went two full decades without a protector. Derek Powers, who picked up the reins at Waynecorp, was using Wayne’s company to traffic weapons, including some of the thoroughly nasty biological variety. The father of troubled teen Terry McGinnis stumbled upon this secret and paid for this knowledge with his life. Terry, after a chance encounter, deduced Wayne’s secret identity and lifted a Batman suit, setting out to punish those responsible for his father’s murder. Despite some early friction between Bruce and Terry, the mantle was passed, and Terry took over as Gotham’s champion.


The Clown Prince of Crime has been painted in the animated series as more of an entertaining nuisance than a psychotic murderer, a far cry from how the character has appeared in comics for the past couple of decades. Return of the Joker shows the title character for what he truly is: a genuinely deranged, insane soul. Bruce has made a conscious effort to avoid telling Terry about his greatest foe, though such facts cannot remain buried forever. A gang of thugs inspired by the Joker has been ripping off bleeding-edge tech, which isn’t exactly their style. While Terry tries to determine who it is they’re fencing for, Bruce regains control of his corporation after a prolonged battle, much to the chagrin of the worm who was next in line. At a celebration to commemorate his return, the gang strikes again. This time, they are led by an individual who looks and sounds exactly like the Joker, unmarred by the ravages of time. Terry is assured that the genuine article is dead, though Bruce and Commissioner Gordon are both reluctant to provide a detailed explanation. Whatever may have happened decades ago was obviously traumatizing for the elder Wayne, who is concerned enough to request that Terry step down as Batman. Though the Joker is six feet under the festering remains of Arkham Asylum, whoever’s stepping into the role is well-aware of the secret identity of both Batmans, seizing the opportunity to rid himself of the Caped Crusaders once and for all. Long-buried secrets are unearthed, and not everyone will walk away from the final battle unscathed.

I cannot heap enough praise upon Return of the Joker. The animation is theatrical quality, sharper and more fluid than any of the previous animated tales or the best of the television series. The roster of voice actors put in excellent performances, particularly Mark Hamill as the Joker and the always-reliable Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne and the original Batman. Return of the Joker also doesn’t pull any punches…literally. Though it’s not really any more violent than what can be found on the printed page, this is undoubtedly the most extreme representation of the Caped Crusader to date, live-action or animated. It’s kept in character, though. Bruce Wayne has said time and again in the animated series that Batman does not kill, but in the film’s central flashback, he lobs a knife at the Joker with fatal force. It may have missed, but it’s difficult to fully describe the sensation of seeing Batman pushed that far. The intensity of the flashback to the torture inflicted by the Joker rivals most any live-action film I can recall offhand.

This DVD-only release of the unedited Return of the Joker includes the supplemental material from the previous release, as well as its original commentary track and intended aspect ratio. Devoted fans of the Batman Beyond series ought to find a purchase to be a no-brainer, and even those who didn’t much care for the concept of the series may very well feel differently about Return of the Joker.