Archive for Cartoon

We’re Back!A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 27, 2011 by dpallee

Rex (voice of John Goodman) from "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story"

 The name Steven Spielberg can pretty much sum up (for a lot of people) the caliber this movie presents as we have all come to know and expect a certain quality of entertainment from the director/producer who brought us all those memorable classics. We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (released in Japan as ‘Dinosaur’s March’) is a 1993 production from Amblimation that tells the story of a group of intelligent dinosaurs who are brought back from the past for an exciting adventure film. Although ‘We’re Back’ did not receive as much attention as the Amblimation ‘An American Tale‘ pair of films, I would have to rate this movie as just above average. It is a good watch for younger children who will enjoy the story and colorful characters but nothing too vivid or memorable as far as the storyline goes.

 The plot involves a group of dinosaur’s run in with a small alien named Vorb (voice of Jay Leno) who feeds the creatures a cereal concoction that increases their intelligence; an invention of the strange man known as Captain Neweyes (voice of Walter Cronkite). The dinosaurs are taken into present day and dropped off at the Hudson River where they meet two youngsters, Louie and Cecilia, who attempt to help the dinosaurs make their way to the Museum of Natural History. I don’t want to give away too much of  the plot or expose all the characters in this tale, but kids will certainly be focused on the songs, action and drama of this light hearted story based on the children’s book by Hudson Talbott.

 A lot of known talents helped with voices for this production, such as those mentioned above, with the additions of Yeardley Smith (known as the voice of Lisa Simpson from the television show ‘The Simpsons’),  Charles Fleischer (the voice of Roger Rabbit), John Goodman, Rhea Pearlman (of  ‘Cheers’ fame), Julia Child, Martin Short and Larry King. When the film’s debut came to audiences throughout the U.S. it received a lukewarm response yet potential viewers shouldn’t let this dampen their trying this movie out. It’s a good family show and fun for young kids who are always entertained by dinosaurs.


Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 18, 2011 by dpallee

Reading all the problems to produce this film leaves one wondering how they ever managed to get the film done yet we the viewers are rewarded with a brilliant movie called Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland.  Known in Japan as Nemo, this 1989 film is a fantastic visual delight for people of all ages. Loosely based on the  comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, this fun and adventurous tale of a little boy’s trip into the world of Slumberland had a difficult time being recognized by audiences when first released. Box office numbers did not show favorable and release of the film to VHS and DVD sales didn’t fair much for circulation either. I feel it would be well worth your time to invest in a search for this film as you will want to watch it again and again.

Filled with lighthearted charm and storybook appeal, the rich illustrations and polished animation sequences are superb. The story revolves around a small boy named Nemo (English version voice of Gabriel Damon) who is whisked away in his dreams to a land known as Slumberland. He is requested to become the playmate of a princess who lives there and shares his adventure in the companionship of his flying squirrel friend, Icarus (English voice of  Danny Mann). The story plot doesn’t take a lot of twists but instead leaves the imaginary world of Nemo’s dreams to entertain us with playful songs and interesting characters; probably the most daunting character is the protagonist named Flip (English voice of Mickey Rooney) who pops in and out of the tale . The American released version had some footage cut out in order to preserve a G rating but didn’t suffer any lack of value as far as viewing goes.

Little Nemo is one of those films you can pop in and watch over and over. Kids will certainly remember their ‘favorite part’  years from now when thinking back on this film.  Trivia about this movie: a variety of notable names helped in the production, such as famed French comic artist and illustrator, Jean Girard (Moebius), science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, the voice of iconic screen actors Mickey Rooney and Rene Aberjonois and the world famous Sherman Brothers providing songs for this film. A definite five out of five star rating for Little Nemo.

Jonny’s Golden Quest (1993)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 7, 2011 by dpallee

This 1993 original USA Cable presentation , Jonny’s Golden Quest was a made for television movie that attempts to capitalize on an audience who fell in love with the original 1964-65 series. All the familiar characters from the classic Hanna Barbera Saturday morning cartoon are here as well as an unfamiliar face; Jonny’s mom. Throughout the entire tv series, very little mention had been given to Quest’s mother and this film decided to close up that loose hole by including Rachel Quest (voice of Meredith MacRae) into the story line. We also learn something new about Jonny’s family caretaker and bodyguard, Race Bannon (voice of Granville Van Dusen). All the true fan elements were in this action movie, including the nefarious Dr. Zin (voice of Jeffrey Tambor), Dr. Benton Quest’s most formidable enemy. Being an avid fan of the television series I anticipated this cable television adaptation of Jonny Quest to be as adventurous and exciting as the original.

One of the most noticeable setbacks to Jonny’s Golden Quest, in my opinion, came because the show was too long. The key factor that made Jonny Quest a much watched cartoon was a mixture of high-tech gadgetry, mystical adventures and most important of all, precision timing. The original series was a half hour program that moved along at a good pace, leaving just enough time for brief dialogue or lighthearted antics with the boy’s dog, Bandit. It left little time for in depth drama or deep conversations. Golden Quest used the movie’s longer time format to add more family moments of teen angst to the main character that drew away from the action sequences. The animation and color were very much in synch with the original flavor of this series and even improved on fluidity of character movement. So often remakes of classic animated series will try to update the look and feel of characters which leaves disappointment to true fans. I was glad to see that Jonny’s Golden Quest kept the original flavor of the art consistent with it’s roots and did include those high-tech toys we loved to dream about owning.

Jonny’s Golden Quest would most likely be enjoyed by tween aged boys (9-12) but for fans of the original series, I don’t feel the pace of the show would hold your interest. I sat and watched the entire movie for reviewing purposes and out of respect to the genius of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera but I would not say that this was as enjoyable to me as the original. A quick tidbit or trivia for Jonny Quest fans; the voice of Dr. Benton Quest came from the talented Don Messick, whose voice repertoire included the likes of Scooby Doo, Ricochet Rabbit and Papa Smurf among others.

Doctor Strange; The Sorcerer Supreme (2007)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 2, 2011 by dpallee

Dr. Strange (left) and Gina (right) from the 2007 DVD release "Dr. Strange; The Sorcerer Supreme"

 I anticipated a great animated film from Marvel Comics/Lionsgate Films, the team that collaborated and brought us The Ultimate Avengers DVD releases as well as the Invincible Iron Man but was sorely disappointed in Dr. Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme. This straight to DVD and Blue Ray disk was released in 2007 and later premiered on Cartoon Network in 2008. I applaud Marvel for broadening their super hero venue to include some of the more obscure characters and hope they continue to do so in the future. Marvel has a plethora of stars to pick from (I would love to see a really decent adaptation of Daredevil come out) but they missed the mark with Doc Strange.

 The film tells the story of Doctor Steven Strange, a less than compassionate surgeon who loses the use of his hands in a car accident. Strange has visions which lead him to Tibet where he receives training in the art of sorcery and the origin of this Marvel hero continues from there. The story (by no fault of it’s own ) is reminiscent of the screenplay for the 2005 film Batman Begins at first but plays out into the realm of magic and sorcery once Strange becomes trained as a sorcerer.

 The downfall of this film was the artwork. Flat coloring, lack of styling in the characters and poor key framing made this one hard to sit and enjoy. One of the most flagrant examples took place when the character Steven Strange and his friend Gina (see image above) are walking down the hall of the hospital. They appear to be falling forward; a bad planning job on the perspective of the shot.  The combat scenes seemed lackluster by comparison to other magic battle animated shows; a great example of magical combat would be Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conquerer of Shamaballa. The lack of energy and movement in the characters made the story drag when it could have been a visual stimulating story.

 I wait for the next release from Marvel/Lionsgate films and hope they strive to compete with the recent super hero successes out currently.

Batman Year One (2011)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 23, 2011 by dpallee

from the Warner Brothers/DC Universe Animated Original Movies release "Batman Year One"

 Once I saw how much attention and advertising this movie was getting I wanted to jump out and preview it to see what all the hype was about. Quite often when distributors overload us with advertisements and previews the best part of the film tends to be the previews. After viewing the Warner Brothers/ DC Universe Animated Original Movie release I feel my quickest review of it would be too much drama, not enough action.

Batman Year One follows the origin of the caped crusader and Jim Gordon (who later becomes Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City) during the first year of Bruce Wayne’s (Bruce Wane/Batman voice portrayed by Benjamin McKenzie) dual identity as a crime fighter. Gordon (voice of Bryan Cranston) and his pregnant wife, Barbara (voice of Grey DeLisle) move to Gotham City, a town riddled with crime and corruption. The story line reminded me more of a cop drama with it’s adult situations and reality based themes. The animation and art direction are great quality works which is what I’ve come to expect from DC Universe released animated movies like Justice League; Crisis on Two Earths  and Green Lantern; First Flight. I feel somewhat robbed of more action from this tale though as the fight sequences were superb, just few and far between. One other criticism would have to be the over use of familiar characters from various Batman movies. A good portion of the story seemed to involve references out of the Batman Begins film starring Christian Bale. We are introduced to Selina Kyle/Catwoman for no apparent reason as she does not become a nemesis in the movie; also it seemed too coincidental that Selina lives with a young ward, Holly Robinson, from the Batman Comics (ref. #404, 1987). Character references and names pop in and out just to make the tie-in; Vickie Vale, Carmine Falcone, Harvey Dent, names synonymous to the Batman franchise but somehow almost a mere namedrop in the Year One movie.

 I wouldn’t deny you the chance to catch this Batman adventure but keep in mind that it will not compare to the action-packed thrillers you’re used to from DC Universe films.

The Cat Came Back (1983)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , , on December 31, 2009 by dpallee

A classic 1983 Canadian animation which is a classic example of exaggeration and anticipation.