Archive for June, 2012

Justice League: Doom (2012)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by dpallee

 

DC Animated Universe and Warner Premiere give JLA fans a well paced action story in Justice League: Doom. Long gone from the days of Saturday morning cartoon status where television censors and quick turnaround budgets forced half-hearted scripts, this newer adaptation of the Justice League adds a bit more substance to it’s cast, both good and evil. Although not a direct sequel to the 2012 release Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Doom does bring back the look and feel of drawings stylized for Crisis and continues to thread some human drama into the lives of these superhuman characters. I applaud DC’s effort to add more character personalities and conflict between the League members, yet still manage to give us a huge amount of action packed fight scenes and suspenseful situations.

The basic story line centers around the supervillain Vandal Savage (voice of Phil Morris) who plots to wipe out most of the world’s civilization so he may rule it, but first he must do away with all Justice League members. Savage incorporates the help of the Mirror Master, who stows away into the Bat Cave and retrieves critical data on all JLA members’ weaknesses. The hunt ensues as the ‘Legion of Doom’ methodically battle Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Cyborg. Betrayal from one of the League’s own plays a key element in the storyline but the big enjoyment for me is a dose of all my DC favorites in one story. Each crime fighter and villain get a fair amount of screen time that all works together into one great action adventure.

The voice talents brought to this movie include the recognized talent of Kevin Conroy as Batman (truly THE voice of Batman, in my book), Tim Daly as Superman and a cast that will hopefully stay on board with DC Animated Universe for future JLA movies. Although the artwork and style behind the characters developed have a somewhat simplistic look when compared to other DC productions (the red ‘S’ insignia on Superman has been stylized to be less dynamic in appearance, character shading during dramatic scenes are simplified) the script drives viewers to watch and enjoy this story and not focus so much on wanting more enrichment from the artwork. Justice League: Doom is a great afternoon movie to enjoy and I await future JLA movies with the anticipation of familiar faces and (hopefully) new one as well.

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The Magic Voyage (Die Abenteuer von Pico und Columbus) 1992

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 by dpallee

Pico (German voice by Jens Wawrczeck) convinces Columbus the world is round from 1992 “The Magic Voyage”.

The German animated film Die Abenteuer von Pico und Columbus (English translation The Adventures of Pico and Columbus) was  released in 1992 but gained more viewing in 1994 when released with English dub to American and Canadian direct to video audiences as The Magic Voyage. The film seems best deemed for home viewing and most entertaining to ages 6 through 9.  The film, produced by Bavaria Films, was conceived as a satirical view of the discovery of America and-like most cartoons-is not meant to be historically accurate.

 The story begins in 1492 as a small woodworm named Pico (2nd English Dub voice Corey Feldman) convinces Christopher Columbus (2nd English Dub voice Dom DeLuise) that the world is round. Columbus takes his discovery to the King and Queen and under threat of execution, Columbus must prove this theory by sailing into uncharted waters. The film takes off from there with comical exaggerated characters and antics that remind me of DePatie Frelengs The Inspector mixed in with a little Gilligans Island. One of the more frightening characters for the very young is the Swarm Lord (2nd English Dub voice of Dan Haggerty) who tries to do away with Columbus but for the majority of this film, the mood is comical.

 Although older viewers may see this film not so captivating to them, this one is a great play for younger kids who I imagine, years from now, can look back at this and get a kick out of the humorous little story and the favorite part they remember. Other English voice support was provided by such notables as Micky Rooney, Samantha Eggar and Gino Conforti. The Magic Voyage can be purchased for home collection or may be watched (as of this posting) on YouTube.

Le Royaume (The King and the Beaver)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 13, 2012 by dpallee

This 2010 work is a 2010 student graduating film from Gobelins, L’école de l’image and can thankfully be viewed online. I praise this short (just over 4 minutes) film  for the quality animation, color and story. They manage to tell the entire tale without th use of any language, a sign of true visual communication. The King and the Beaver was written, directed and animated by Nuno Alves Rodrigues, Oussama Bouachéria, Julien Chheng, Sébastien Hary, Aymeric Kevin, Ulysse Malassagne & Franck Monier, with music provided by Mathieu Alvado. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 10, 2012 by dpallee

Ashitaka (English voice of Billy Crudup) fights the demon boar from “Princess Mononoke”

There are a handful of animated movies I would classify as superior productions in all aspects, and “Princess Mononoke (Japanese titled もののけ姫, best translated as Mononoke-Hime) is a classic example of achievement. Written and directed by Hayao Moyazaki, this period drama took 16 years of development to bring audiences a tale of fantasy, adventure and sorrow. The characters leave you caught up in the story and the artwork stuns viewers with rich detail and mood setting color. Studio Ghibli continues to bring the highest quality entertainment with productions like Princess Mononoke.

The story take place outside an Emishi village; a demon board runs amok and Ashitaka (voice of Yoji Matsuda, English voice of Billy Crudup) slays the beast but not without consequences. Ashitaka becomes cursed with superhuman powers that will eventually kill him if left untreated. On the advice of a elderly village woman, he travels west in search of a cure and comes upon a monk (voice of Kaoru Kobayashi, English voice Billy Bob Thorton) who suggest Ashitaka search out a forest spirit to lift the curse for him. The story continues there with an engaging plot and a list of characters you’ll enjoy.

This is a long film (approximate running time 2 hrs., 14 minutes) and parents should be warned that the images may be too frightening for young children. The opening battle scene against the demon boar is pretty graphic and the forest spirit is pretty spooky to watch lumbering through the woods. I do recommend this as a must-see for older children and adults, as I am sure you will find the production a spectacular one that leaves you wanting to own a copy of your own. Great voice performances were given by such stars as Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) and Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting). I’m sure Studio Ghibli will continue to bring quality animation to worldwide audiences with future productions, but don’t let this one slip by you as I consider it to be a classic.