action, adventure, animation, comic book, fantasy, movie, movie review

June 3rd, 2018 Movie – Wonder Woman (2009

wonder woman 2009

Man, why can’t DC make their live action movies as good as their animated ones. I know it is a pipe dream but it would still be nice. Anyways, in 2005, DC started a line of animated movies, separate from the earlier movies that were all related to the animated cartoons started by Bruce Timm. Today’s movie was the 4th one in the series and the first animated movie to really focus on the female member of DC’s leading trio. So, let’s see how good of a job that they did with today’s movie, Wonder Woman (2009).

The plot: In Ancient Greece, Queen Hippolyta leads the Amazons against the forces of Ares, God of War. As Hippolyta faces off against Ares on her own, Artemis and Persephone help keep Artemis’s sister Alexa safe, as she is more of a scholar than a warrior, but Persephone loses an eye in the process. Hippolyta continues to fight Ares but knowing that he only grows stronger as the fighting continues, she changes targets and goes after Thrax, the demigod son of Ares and Hippolyta, who is leading his father’s army. Hippolyta decapitates Thrax and when Ares tries to attack her, she gets the upper hand and is prepared to kill him as well. Suddenly, Zeus appears and tells her to spare Ares life and Hippolyta refuses at first but Hera then appears and calms Hippolyta down. She has Ares bound in bracers that disconnect him from his ability to feed off the aura of violence and death that gives him strength. She then offers Hippolyta the island of Themyscira for her and the Amazons to live in peace forever, as guards of Ares prison. As time passes, Hippolyta, feeling the loss of her child, molds one out of clay on the beach and holds it up to the Gods, where a bolt of life strikes it and brings it to life. Years pass and the baby has grown into a woman named Diana, who questions why they are always training when they never fight in any wars. Hippolyta leads her to the prison, and shows her Ares, still bound in chains, and tells her that they must always be vigilant to prevent him from escaping, as mankind has no doubt continued it’s warring ways. In the outside world, USAF Colonel Steve Trevor is on a mission with two other pilots when they are attacked by 6 enemy planes. As the planes fight in the air, all 6 enemy planes are killed but both of Steve’s wingmen are killed and Steve’s plane is damaged causing him to fall towards the sea. Suddenly, Steve sees the Themyscira before him, as someone had punched the mirror that allows it to interact with the real world, and he manages to crash his plane in a lake on the island. After swimming to shore, Steve comes across some Amazons bathing by a waterfall but he is soon attacked by Artemis and some other Amazons before eventually being captured by Diana. Steve is brought before Hippolyta, who uses the lasso of truth to determine how much he knows about Themyscira. Realizing that neither he, nor his government, knows anything about them, Hippolyta decides to send him back to his world. Diana offers to escort him but Hippolyta tells her she doesn’t have the experience necessary for such an undertaking and says they will hold a tournament to determine a worthy emissary. When Diana continues to argue that she will never gain experience if her mother keeps her from doing anything, Persephone suggest she help her guard Ares and Hippolyta agrees with her. As the Amazons prepare for the tournament, Alexa goes to prison and offers to take Diana’s place, telling Diana to keep her identity hidden underneath her warrior’s helmet. As the tournament commences, Persephone express displeasure in Diana shirking her duty and as Alexa tries to console her, Persephone stabs her in the back. As Alexa falls to the floor and lays dying, she sees Persephone open the cell and kiss Ares, who says he has been seducing her for 100 years, then finishes off Alexa. Back at the tournament, Diana ends up winning and when she approaches her mother, she takes off her helmet and Hippolyta says she will make them proud. Suddenly, a guard informs Artemis of Alexa’s death and as Artemis, Hippolyta, Diana, and some other Amazons head there, they find Ares and Persephone have both fled. Diana weeps over her friend’s body and Hippolyta says that she now has a second task to accomplish in man’s world. Diana dons the armor and lasso of truth and flies off with Steve in her invisible jet and takes Steve to New York. When they arrive in New York, Diana is amazed by some of the sights she sees, especially the sight of children playing, but is also upset at how women are treated as inferior to men. Steve tries to get her to focus on the mission of finding Ares, while continuously flirting with her, and notices an uptick in violent crimes all over the world. Setting the computer to hunt for a pattern in the events, Steve takes Diana to a bar for some drinks, attempting to get her drunk, but she easily out drinks him, then storms out of the bar. When Steve tries to follow, Diana yells at him for proving that her mother was right and showing her the worst out of men, just as a group of muggers appear and try to mug them. Diana easily defeats the muggers and when another figure approaches, Steve tries to take it on only to be knocked aside as it is a servant of Ares from the underworld. Diana starts battling the creature and manages to get the upper hand but it kills itself before it can be forced to talk. Steve searches among the ashes and finds an disk with a symbol on it and Diana recognizes it as the sign of Tartarus. They fly to a mountain in Greece and discover a rebel group that Diana says is the modern incarnation of the Cult of Ares. Working together, they dispatch the guards and head inside the temple, where they find Ares preparing to sacrifice one of the cult members in order to open the gates to Tartarus. Diana tells Steve they have to stop Ares and goes to stop him but Ares casts a spell to bring the two giant harpy statues to life to attack them. Diana manages to kill one of them but the second one grabs her before she can kill Ares and flies off with her. Faced with the choice of saving Diana or stopping Ares, Steve decides to save Diana, managing to get on top of the harpy and throwing a grenade in it’s mouth, then rescuing Diana when it falls. Meanwhile, Ares makes the sacrifice and opens the gate and heads into the underworld with Persephone while Steve flies Diana to get treated for her injuries. In Tartarus, Hades leaves Persephone with Cerberus while he goes to see Hades alone and is shocked to find that Hades has made Thrax his slave but Hades agrees to free Ares from his bonds. At the hospital, Diana regains consciousness and when she learns that Steve chose to save her over stopping Ares, she slaps him and says she was prepared to die for her cause. When she accuses Steve of being willing to accomplish the mission if she was a man instead of a “damsel in distress”, Steve yells at her, saying that the Amazons aren’t perfect either, as he feels separating themselves from humanity was cowardly, and he saved her because he cared for her. The two get closer and seem about to kiss but Diana slaps him again and says they have work to do. In Washington D.C., Ares assembles his army and prepares to wage a war that will cause all of humanity to be slaughtered and allow him to challenge the Gods of Olympus, then sends them after the national guard, who have assembled to stop them. Diana and Steve arrive and begin working on stopping Ares army from destorying D.C. but Diana ends up being captured. Ares moves to behead her, much like Hippolyta beheaded his son but an arrow suddenly knocks the sword from his hand and he turns to find that the Amazons have left Themyscira and come to help Diana stop Ares. As Ares forces move to fight the Amazons, Diana frees herself and continues fighting Ares, getting the upper hand. Meanwhile, the President, feeling the influence of Ares in D.C. says that someone has to pay for this attack and when his intelligence agencies tell him of Themyscira appearing out of nowhere, he orders a nuclear missile to be fired at it. As Diana asks Ares how he will be able to challenge the Gods when he can’t beat her, he tells her of the nuclear missile and how it’s destructive power is like 1000 wars, allowing him to increase his size and strength. Steve sees the missile flying off and gets into Diana’s invisible jet and takes off after it, managing to shoot it down before it destroys Themyscira. As Ares continues to batter Diana, he uses his new found power to summon the spirits of the dead Amazons and sends them to fight the Amazon army, and as each Amazon falls, it rejoins the battle and fights against the remaining Amazons. Artemis ends up fighting against her dead sister Alexa, who continuous says a phrase to her. Realizing that Alexa wants her to say it, Artemis does so and the phrase is revealed to be a spell that removes Ares’s unnatural control over the Amazons. The dead Amazons move to attack Ares but he uses his powers to destroy the dead Amazons. Meanwhile, Hippolyta ends up fighting against Persephone and as Hippolyta kills her and says she betrayed the Amazons, Persephone said Hippolyta betrayed them by denying them the right to have a family or children. Diana and Ares continue fighting and Diana finally defeats him by using the Lasso of Truth to grab Ares and pull him into the path of a bolt of lightning he summoned, then cutting off his head. As Steve lands the plane and approaches Diana, the two embrace and kiss, while the Amazons cheer both them and their victory over Ares army. The Amazons return to Themyscira and Hippolyta comments on Artemis’s attempt at reading a book. She then notes Diana sitting sadly on a bench and, realizing that she misses Steve, hands her back the armor and lasso and tells Diana that she has a new mission, to reopen the lines of communication between man and woman. Diana returns to New York to be with Steve but when they see the super villain Cheetah robbing a bank, Diana quickly changes clothes to stop her, as the newly christened super hero Wonder Woman.

This was a pretty good movie and one of their better examples of their early movies. The voice acting was pretty good, with Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion doing a good job as Diana and Steve respectively. I also thought that Alfred Molina did a great job as Ares, putting a lot of emphasis into making him feel like he was truly evil. The plot was good, though it really was nothing more than an origin story for the most part. I did like how they showed how some of the Amazons, personified in Persephone, might have questioned being forever isolated from the rest of the world and, while not saying they wanted all of the physical things, did wish for a normal life and the chance to have a family as opposed to always training for battle like they do. I also thought they made a decent attempt at not making Diana more sexual but then they had to go and through in the scene with her putting on her uniform and you get the one bit where it is nothing more than a “Hey, check out my boobs” moment and it just shot that all to hell. I thought the animation was pretty good and the colors and shading done during the carious scenes, with the battle scenes and the scenes in Tartarus appearing darker to make it fit the dark mood in the scenes. A good animated movie and a good entry into DC’s library of animated works.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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adventure, animation, fantasy, movie, movie review

June 2nd, 2018 Movie – Wizards

wizards

Now this is how a Saturday morning should be spent, watching cartoons. Back in the early days of the internet, when chat room and forums ruled the data highway, numerous people would sign on with the screen name of Necron 99, or some variation of it. I was always curious about it but not enough to really inquire as to why they chose that name. Then I went through a stage where I would hit up Blockbuster or Hollywood video and rent some cult classic movies and one day I ended up renting today’s movie. I had seen some of the director’s previous movies, most recently Cool World, and figured I would enjoy this one as well. Needless to say, I did and when I decided to go on an animated movie buying spree a few years ago, I made sure that this was one of them. So let’s sit back and enjoy today’s movie, Wizards.

The plot: The Earth was devastated by nuclear war, initially started by 5 terrorists, and it took 2 million years before the radioactive clouds dispersed enough for sunlight to reach the planet’s surface. Only a handful of humans managed to survive unchanged but most had been mutated by the radiation and roam the wastelands known as Scortch, unable to regain their lost humanity. In the good lands of Montagar, the true ancestors of mankind, Fairies, Elves, and Dwarves, return to the surface and begin celebrating a new age of peace. As 3000 years pass, Delia, the queen of the fairies, is at a celebration when suddenly dark clouds begin forming in the sky. Delia, seemingly in a trance, leaves the celebration and heads to her house on a high hill and after a while, the rest of the fairies seem drawn towards the house as well. One of the elves ventures inside to discover that Delia had given birth to twin magic users, which were polar opposites of each other; Avatar, who was kind hearted and used his magic to entertain his mother, and Blackwolf, who never went to see his mother and instead used his magic to change and torture small animals. As the years pass, Delia eventually died and Blackwolf was excited as he felt that he would now be able to rule Montagar. Hearing this, Avatar confronted Blackwolf and the two brothers fought, with Avatar’s grief fueling his magic enough for him to overpower Blackwolf. Blackwolf vowed vengeance, saying that he would make this a planet where mutants rule, and retreated to Scorch, eventually becoming it’s ruler. Years pass, and Blackwolf feels the time is right to strike and sends out 3 assassins to kill several targets in Montagar that teach or believe in magic. As one of the assassins, a robot named Necron 99, heads further into Montagar, he encounters two sentries and kills one of them but the second one, Weehawk, manages to briefly get away when he kills Necron 99’s mount. Weehawk’s mount also dies, overcome with exhaustion, and as he mourns it, Necron 99 attempts to sneak up on him but he steps on a branch and Weehawk attacks him, with both of them stumbling over a cliff and into the waters below. Elsewhere, Avatar is with the president and his daughter Elinore, whom Avatar is tutoring into becoming a full fledged fairy. The president is worried that they have heard no word form their sentries but Avatar is not overly concerned and considers arming his troops with science and technology. However, Avatar reminds him that they have been outlawed in Montagar for centuries and they have had peace in the region ever since. Avatar then continues his history lessons with Elinore, telling her of how after losing the initial battle, Blackwolf assembled an army in Scorch and sent them to attack Montagar several times over the last 5000 years, but each time his armies would get bored or lose focus and end up retreating back to Scorch. Recently, he has learned that Blackwolf has been sending his forces to excavate items from the ruins of the Pre-Holocaust era and he sent some elf spies to find out what he has found. The president is upset that he sent out the spies on nothing more than a hunch but before he can say anything further, Necron 99, who had scaled up the castle tower, kills him. Avatar uses his magic to deactivate Necron 99 and a grieving Elinore attacks the robot’s body while Weehawk enters and apologizes to Avatar for failing him and the president. Back in Scorch, Blackwolf is told that Necron 99’s signal light had gone out and Blackwolf believe that he has succeeded in his mission and believes the time is right to strike. Blackwolf orders his forces to assemble in the courtyard and he shows them the secret weapon to help them succeed in their battle, a movie projector and reels of Nazi propaganda and war footage that he uses to motivate them. As Blackwolf’s army march on Montagar, the elves and fairies make ready to defend the lands when suddenly, Blackwolf uses his magic to send the images from the Nazi war films onto the battlefield, demoralizing the elvish forces and allowing his army to march through and slaughter the opposing forces. Back in the tower, Avatar uses brain reading to learn about the projector and decides to go after it, reluctantly allowing Elinore to go with him. He sends Elinore and Weehawk to make preparations for their journey while he works on reprogramming Necron 99, whom he renames as Peace, as he is linked to the machine and will be able to guide them to it. Back in Scorch, Blackwolf speaks with his bride, getting upset with her that she doesn’t want to rule the world, only Scorch, and tells his troops guarding her that if she gives birth to a daughter, to kill it, as he only wants a son. Meanwhile, Avatar, Elinore, Weehawk, and Peace are making their way towards Scorch when they enter the kingdom of the mountain fairies. The fairies begin playing tricks on the group and during the commotion, Peace wanders away and encounters Blackwolf other two assassins, who are there to stop them. Avatar gets tired of the pranks and begins to use his magic against the fairies when they stop and invite Avatar, Elinore, and Weehawk to a feast. The king’s son Sean asks why they are there but before they can respond, shots suddenly ring out and Sean is killed. Weehawk believes Peace is the shooter and wants to go after him but Avatar stops him and says they have to rescue Elinore, who was taken captive by the fairies. Entering the mountain lair, Weehawk falls into a pit and tells Avatar to continue without him. Weehak then finds himself facing a strange monster and is almost killed but Peace, injured from killing the other assassins, rescues him. Peace then almost falls into a ravine but Weehawk saves him, then both of them collapse onto the ground. Meanwhile, a mob of fairies want the king to execute Elinore, blaming her for bringing men and death to their realm. Elinore uses some of her fledgling magic to try to force the fairies to release her but it only seems to make things worse. Avatar enters the chamber and approaches the king, saying he will not defends himself but will defend Elinore if she is threatened. Avatar explains their reason for being there when suddenly, an image of Blackwolf appears and contradicts him. One of the fairies shoots an arrow at Blackwolf and hits Avatar instead and the king says that Avatar was true to his word, when he chose not to retaliate for being shot by the arrow. He says that he will neither help nor hinder their efforts and transports them out of his lair, onto a snow covered mountain. Avatar and Elinore, believing Peace and Weehawk are dead, make their way down the mountain only for Avatar to find that they have been walking in circles. Hearing riders approaching, they move to defend themselves only to find that the riders were Peace and Weehawk, who were searching for them. After resting, and Avatar consulting with Peace on the best way into Scorch, they continue on their quest but end up ambushed by a patrol of elves. Their leader recognizes Avatar and brings them into their camp, hoping to get Avatar to help them attack Scorch and defeat Blackwolf but Avatar refuses, feeling the elves using guns goes against everything they stand for. As night falls, Elinore goes to check on Peace, who is sitting by himself when they are attacked by one of Blackwolf’s demons. Avatar and Weehawk wake from their sleep and Avatar dispels the demon, but the resulting explosion knocks him down the mountain. As Elinore, Peace, and Weehawk go to check on him, they see a tank approaching them. Peace begins firing at it but as he moves forward to fire into the tank’s cabin, Elinore suddenly throws her sword into his back, killing him while Weehawk is knocked down by one of Blackhawk’s flying creatures. As Avatar and Weehawk react in confusion, Elinore quickly jumps into the tank and rides off into Scorch. Elinore’s betrayal breaks Avatar’s heart, reducing him to a mumbling man who uses his magic to try and make Scorch beautiful, while Weehawk forces him to try and continue. Making their way into the main city, they encounter one of Blackwolf’s generals and Blackwolf’s lizard servant outside a bar and Weehawk kills the general, as well as two creatures, but ends up being slashed in the arm by the lizard, who then runs off to the castle. Avatar seems to come to his senses and apologizes to Weehawk and the two make their way into the castle. Elsewhere, the Elven armies approach the castle and Blackwolf’s forces move forward to intercept them. As the fighting commences, the Blackwolf starts the projector and the elves begin to get demoralized by the footage of the Nazi battles and begin to get slaughtered. In the castle, Avatar and Weehawk sneak into the throne room and Avatar tells Weehawk to destroy the projector, while he battles his brother, not caring if he lives or dies after Elinore’s betrayal. As Weehawk makes his way through the castle, he spots an imprisoned Elinore and moves to kill her, despite her protests of innocence. Weehawk is stopped when Blackwolf’s queen yells out at him, citing that the killing must stop, and as she flees with her daughter, Elinore explains that she was possessed by Blackwolf when she touched Peace and Weehawk realizes that they have to tell Avatar. In the throne room, Avatar approaches his brother and Blackwolf demands he surrender, saying that he can’t beat him and the war is over. Avatar says he wants to show him a trick, then pulls out a gun and proceeds to shoot Blackwolf, killing him. With Blackwolf’s death, the castle begins to fall apart and Weehawk and Elinore arrive and tell Avatar the truth and the three make their way out of the castle. On the battlefield, Blackwolf’s forces stop in their tracks, with some disappearing and others returning to hell. The elves kill the few remaining mutants that continue fighting before declaring the war over. As the elves celebrate, Avatar, Elinore, and Weehawk make their way back to Montagar but before they get there, Elinore tells Weehawk that he will be returning alone, to rule as the new king, while she and Avatar have plans to get married and start their own kingdom somewhere.

Wizards met with mixed reactions from the critics, holding a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Its central metaphor is a bit too on the nose, but Wizards is an otherwise psychedelic, freaky trip into an alternate version of our world.” The scene with the guard crying out “They killed Fritz” was a reference to Robert Crumb’s Fritz the Cat, whom Crumb killed off in his comic series. Director Ralph Bakshi also directed the animated adaptation of Fritz The Cat and he decided to name the character Fritz just so he could scream out “They killed Fritz”. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $9 million off of a $2 million budget and would go on to become a cult classic of animated movies.

This is a great movie and definitely deserves it’s cult classic status. The voice acting was pretty good, with Bob Holt (Avatar), Jesse Welles (Elinore), and Steve Gravers (Blackwolf) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was really good and honestly did do a decent job of showcasing a good vs evil scenario, while also showing some of the psychological effects war can have on people. I will admit that I was a little unsure of the use of swastikas all over Blackwolf’s castle but you have to admit that there really isn’t a symbol that has been associated with evil more so than the Nazi swastika. That being said, I do think that the scene early on where Larry the lizard was eating a hanging body and as he is ripping it apart, the body turns and a Star of David was on it’s back was a bit much and could be viewed as anti-semitic. The animation was pretty good for the most part, though I am still a little undecided on the whole “shadow person” animation technique. There was one part where Larry was transparent for some reason that just looked odd but aside from that, the colors and movements were pretty tight. Definitely something that is worth giving a watch, and you can judge for yourself if it is worthy of being called a cult classic.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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May 28th, 2018 Movie – Who Framed Roger Rabbit

who framed roger rabbit

Today’s movie has the unfortunate side effect of making me feel incredibly old recently. See, a couple of girls at my work had recently started calling out “Hi Joey” constantly whenever I walk by their area. I made a comment one day about how they reminded me of the birds from today’s movie but they said they never saw it. I was surprised honestly until I realized that the movie was 30 years old, and they hadn’t yet been born when this movie came out. That was a real “Geez I’m old” moment for me but I shook it off because this movie is still enjoyable, no matter how long ago it came out. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The plot: Toon superstar Roger Rabbit is filming his latest cartoon short with his costar Baby Herman, but at the very end of the movie, when a refrigerator falls on him, Roger screws up and has tweeting birds circling his head instead of stars. As Raoul, the director, calls for lunch and walks off, Roger pleads with him to give him another chance, hitting himself in the head with a hammer to show he can give him stars, and failing each time. Eddie Valiant, a down on his luck private detective, watched the filming occurred then heads up to see R.K. Maroon, head of Maroon Cartoons Studio. Maroon is upset because Roger’s mistakes are causing the latest cartoon to run over budget and he wants Eddie to help him straighten Roger out. He shows him a newspaper stating that Roger’s wife Jessica was seen with a human and he asks Eddie to get some pictures of the two of them together so he can show them to Roger, proving that she is no good for him. Eddie refuses at first, saying that he doesn’t work Toon Town anymore, but when Maroon says that she works at a club in Hollywood with a strictly human clientele, he relents and charges him $100 for the job. Maroon reluctantly agrees to the cost but only pays Eddie half, saying he will get the rest when he gets the pictures. With check in hand, Eddie heads back to his office, noticing that the Red Car trolley service had been bought by a company called Cloverleaf. Eddie heads to the bar next to the station and goes to get a drink but is stopped by his girlfriend Dolores, who is a bartender there. She tells him she needs the money she gave him or else she will be out of a job when her boss checks the books and he gives her the check. Eddie then asks to borrow her camera and she gives it to him, saying there should still be film in it as it hasn’t been developed since their vacation to Catalina. Delores asks if the check is any good and Eddie points out the scrawl, which surprises Dolores. When another customer, Angelo, pesters Eddie about which Toon he is working for, Eddie grabs him and tells him he doesn’t work for toons and as he leaves, Dolores explains that Eddie’s brother was killed by a toon, who dropped a piano on his head. Eddie heads to the club where Jessica works and encounters Marvin Acme, the gag king and owner of Toon Town, sitting by the stage. Eddie is surprised to find Betty Boop working there as a cigarette girl and is shocked to see that Jessica Rabbit is not a rabbit, but a human toon. After her seductive routine, Eddie sees Marvin Acme going into her dressing room and tries to look through the keyhole but he gets tossed out by the bouncer. Eddie then looks in through the window and takes pictures of Marvin and Jessica playing patty-cake, which he finds incredulous. After developing the pictures, Eddie heads back to Maroon Studios, where Maroon shows the pictures to Roger. Roger gets upset and Maroon and Eddie try to cheer him up but Roger grabs Eddie and tells him that he and Jessica will be happy again, before crashing through the window. Eddie returns to his office and begins looking through the rest of the pictures from the camera, smiling as he sees the pictures of him and Dolores, then getting sad when he spots the pictures with him and his brother Teddy. The next morning, Eddie is woken up by Lt. Santino, who tells him that Marvin Acme is dead and Roger is the suspected killer. Santino takes Eddie to Acme factory and as Eddie looks around, Jessica, who was being interviewed by the police when they arrived, slaps him and says she hopes he is happy with himself and the pictures he took. When a crate full of dancing shoes is knocked over and the shoes run all over the place, Eddie goes to retrieve the joy buzzer that fell from Acme’s hand when the gurney was knocked over but is stopped by Judge Doom. Doom questions Eddie briefly before saying that his men, a gang of weasels (Smartass, Greasy, Stupid, Wheezy, and Psycho), will find Roger and once they do, he will try, convict, and execute Roger, grabbing one of the shoes and lowering it in a vat of Dip (a mixture of acetone, benzene and turpentine) as an example. Eddie returns to his office to find Baby Herman waiting for him outside, who swears Roger is being framed. Herman explains that Acme was killed for his will, which promised to leave Toon Town to the toons, but nobody has ever seen the will and Eddie dismisses Herman’s story. As he gets inside, his office, Eddie notices something in the picture from the newspaper and, pulling out his own pictures, realizes that Acme did have his will with him when he was with Jessica but he decides he doesn’t want to get involved. Eddie goes to lay down to discover that Roger is in his bed and when he learns that Roger had asked several people to try and find out where Eddie lived, he tries to get rid of him. Roger explains that when he left the studio, he wanted to talk to Jessica but when she wasn’t in her dressing room, he wrote her a love letter on a blank piece of paper he found. As Eddie refuses to help Roger, Roger goes to leave only to walk into the closet and when Eddie goes to get Roger out of there, Roger handcuffs himself to Eddie. Eddie explains that he doesn’t have the keys to the cuffs just as they hear the Weasels arriving outside, and Roger begs Eddie to help him hide. When the weasels break into the office, they find Eddie washing his socks in the sink and question Eddie but he convinces them that he hasn’t seen Roger so they leave. Eddie dons a trenchcoat to hide Roger and heads over to the bar to get Dolores’s help in getting out of the handcuffs. Dolores takes them to a hideyhole from back when the bar was a speakeasy and Eddie works on sawing off the cuffs, only to learn that Roger could have slipped out of the cuffs at any time. Dolores asks Eddie what his plan is and Eddie feels that he was used as part of a plot for Maroon to get control of Toon Town but Maroon couldn’t find the will after Acme was killed. Eddie asks Dolores to check the probate court to see who was trying to buy Toon Town while he goes back to the office, leaving Roger in the hidey hole for safe keeping. At his office, Eddie is finishing changing clothes when he discovers Jessica in the office, and she tells him that he was set up to take the pictures and she would do anything to help her husband. Dolores shows up, interrupting them, and when Jessica leaves, Dolores yells at Eddie, believing he was trying to fool around with Jessica. Eddie chases after her and pleads his innocence and Dolores tells him that Cloverleaf, not Maroon, was trying to buy Toon Town and if the will doesn’t show up by midnight, they will own it. Eddie tries to figure out why Cloverleaf was trying to buy it when Dolores stops him, as she hears music playing, and they race to the bar to find Roger entertaining the customers with a song and dance routine. Eddie grabs Roger and drags him back to the hidey hole, then starts to yell at him but stops when he sees the signal light flashing in the room. Looking through the peep hole, he sees Doom and the weasels entering the bar and Doom speaks to the crowd, then offers a $500 reward for information about Roger. When the bar patrons refuse to tell him where Roger is, Doom begins knocking out “Shave & a Haircut” on the walls, which causes Roger to instinctively burst through the wall to sing out “Two Bits”. Doom grabs Roger and has the weasels bring in a vat of Dip so he can execute Roger but Eddie, remembering Roger’s violent reaction to liquor in Maroon’s office, convinces Doom to let Roger have a drink as a last request. Using Roger’s reaction as a distraction, Eddie takes out the weasels, then grabs Roger before he falls in the dip, then dumps the vat over, making Doom and the other patrons leap back to avoid being splashed by the liquid. Racing outside, Eddie and Roger start to take the weasels’ van but can’t find the keys. Hearing someone yelling from the back, Roger tells Eddie to open the back and they release Benny the cab, who gives them a lift. After avoiding the weasels and the police, Benny drops them off at a movie theater to hide and Roger asks Eddie why he is always such a grump. Eddie explains about his brother dying and how a toon robbed the First National Bank of Toon Town but he got away. Dolores meets up with them, having packed Eddie’s things and ditched the weasels after he called her. They go to leave as a news reel plays, announcing the sell of Maroon Studios to Cloverleaf and Eddie realizes what the connection to Toon Town is. Eddie goes with Roger to Maroon Studios, having called Maroon and told him that he has the will. Eddie leaves Roger outside to cover him but Jessica knocks him out with a frying pan and puts him in the trunk of her car. Inside, Maroon holds a gun on Eddie and grabs the will, only to find it is Roger’s love letter and Eddie uses the distraction to punch Maroon. Eddie then places Maroon’s tie in the film reader and uses it to threaten Maroon, who tells him that he had a chance to sell his studio but only if Acme sold out as well. When he refused, Maroon planned on using the pictures to blackmail him but he never expected anyone to die or for the toons to be destroyed. Before he can say anything else, someone shoots him and Eddie sees Jessica fleeing the scene. Chasing after her, he stops as she enters the tunnel to Toon Town but Eddie resolves himself to go after her, arming himself with a toon gun and bullets to do so. Once inside Toon Town, Eddie is distracted at first and ends up crashing into Jessica’s car but finds no sign of her. HE then spots her in a hotel room but when he heads up there, he finds it was Lena Hyena, a Toon with a similar body to Jessica’s. After managing to get away from Lena, Eddie encounters Jessica in an alleyway but instead of shooting him, she shoots the gun from Doom’s hand before he could kill Eddie. Jessica explains that she had followed Doom to Maroon Studios but was too late to stop him from killing Maroon. As they return to the street, they find that Roger had gotten out of the trunk and stolen Eddie’s car and driven off. Seeing the weasels approaching, Eddie and Jessica end up getting a ride from Benny and as they escape, Jessica reveals that Marvin had told her about Doom wanting Toon Town and given her the will for safe keeping but when she opened the envelope, it just had a blank piece of paper. As the exit the tunnel from Toon Town, the run into a puddle of Dip that Doom had spilled on the road and Benny ends up crashing, knocking himself unconscious. Doom taunts Eddie and Jessica, then has the weasels grab them and take them to Acme Factory, not noticing that Benny was awake and heard where they were going. At the factory, the weasels search Eddie and Jessica for the will but only find Roger’s love letter. Doom then reveals that at midnight, he will be the owner of Toon Town and will retire as a judge, moving into the private sector as the sole stockholder of Cloverleaf industries. He then reveals a massive vehicle filled with Dip, enough to completely destroy Toon Town, and reveals he had learned of the city’s plans to build a freeway and he decided to make it happen for his own benefit, buying the Red Car Trolley so he could shut it down. Meanwhile, Roger finds Benny, who tells him what is going on, and they head to the factory. Roger tells Benny to go for help while he tries to rescue Eddie and Jessica but before they can get away, he is knocked silly by one of the weasels, who drops a ton of bricks onto Roger. Doom orders Roger and Jessica tied up, planning on killing them with Dip before destroying Toon Town, but as he walks away, he slips and falls. Eddie tries to uses the weasels laughing to grab Smartass’s gun but Doom is able to warn him in time to stop him. Doom then leaves but Eddie, hearing Doom’s comment about the weasels laughing themselves to death, puts on a random vaudeville act that causes Greasy, Psycho, Stupid, and Wheezy to die laughing, while he kicks Smartass into the Dip. Psycho’s ghost activates the water cannon, causing the Dip to start spraying towards Roger and Jessica but Eddie is able to get it’s direction reversed. Suddenly, Doom appears and attacks Eddie and as the two fight, Eddie ends up trapped by a giant magnet and a barrel. Doom attempts to run over Eddie with a steamroller but Eddie is able to use a portable hole to escape, then continues fighting Doom. When Doom ends up getting stuck to the steamroller with industrial glue, he gets flattened while Eddie rushes over and turns off the Dip vehicle. Unbelievably, Doom survives, revealing that he is a toon and when Doom reinflates himself, it is revealed that he is the toon that killed Teddy. Doom then renews his attack on Eddie, turning the vehicle back on as well but Eddie uses a punching glove sledgehammer to hit the tank holding the Dip, causing it to be released and flood the floor of the building. Doom is melted away by the dip and Eddie is able to move Roger and Jessica out of the way of the vehicle, which crashes through the wall of the factory into Toon Town, where it is destroyed by a train. Eddie then uses the fire hydrants in the factory to rinse the Dip down the drains, the lowers Roger and Jessica to the floor and frees them. Santino, Dolores, Benny, and the police arrive, as well as the toons from Toon Town. Eddie explains to Santino what happened, as well as how Doom killed Maroon and Teddy as the toons all wonder what Doom really looked like. Dolores notices a stain on Eddie’s shirt and Eddie says that Acme had squirted him the other day and wondered why it was reappearing. Roger finds a bottle of disappearing/reappearing ink and Eddie, realizing what had happened, tells Roger to read his love letter. As Roger begins reading it, the will suddenly reappears and Roger excitedly reads that Acme left Toon Town to the toons. Roger asks Eddie if he will no longer be a sour puss anduses Acme’s joy buzzer on him and Eddie’s response is to grab Roger, then kiss him. Jessica tells Roger they should go home and they leave hand in hand, accompanied by Eddie and Dolores, as the Toons start singing in celebration while the toon police shoo them out of the building.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was highly praised by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an innovative and entertaining film that features a groundbreaking mix of live action and animation, with a touching and original story to boot.” The only time that cartoon characters from both Disney and Warner Brothers would appear on screen together, Warner Brothers worked out a deal with Disney, who was producing the film, to allow the use of their biggest stars, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, provided that they had an equal amount of screen time with their Disney counterparts, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Disney agreed and solved the problem by having the characters appear on screen together; Mickey with Bugs and Donald with Daffy. Judge Doom’s plot to dismantle the Red Car because of the freeway was based partially in fact, as private corporations did want to eliminate public transportation in the late 40’s-50’s in order to generate more demand for private automobiles. The movie was a box office success, earning$329.8 million off of a $50.6 million budget and would spawn several Roger Rabbit short cartoons, which appeared before various Disney movies afterwards, and would be selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2016.

This is such a great movie and a lot of laughs to boot that still holds up today. The acting was great, with Bob Hoskins doing a great job as Eddie Valiant, and his interactions with the toons, and Roger in particular, were fantastic. I also liked Christopher Lloyd’s performance, as his portrayal of Judge Doom was rather chilling and sinister. The story was great and I loved how they were able to incorporate the characters of Disney and Warner Brothers so seamlessly. I especially loved the interaction between Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, as well as Donald Duck and Daffy Duck, as it was a treat that audiences have never been able to witness, or enjoy ever since. I liked the freeway angle as the for Acme and Maroon’s murders, as it gave it a real world reasoning instead of some wacky toon reasoning. The animation was really well done and the thing I liked the best is that , while they did have the traditional animation with the opening cartoon, and when they were watching the Goofy cartoons in the theater while hiding, When they had the animated characters interact with the real world humans, the toons had a more 3D look to them so you could believe there was a real difference in the toons from in front of the camera and away from it. A great movie and definitely one that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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animation, movie, movie review, sci-fi

April 26th, 2018 Movie – Voltron: Fleet Of Doom

voltron fleet of doom

Ahh, the memories that this brings up. I know that every generation of kids will say that the cartoons from when they grew up were the best but honestly, I loved the 80’s cartoons. One of my favorites of that batch was Voltron, as I remember my dad setting the VCR to record it so my brother and I could watch it on the weekends when we were with him. I remember when this special first aired, I was super excited as it would be a chance to see both Voltrons at the same time. So let’s relive some childhood memories with today’s movie, Voltron: Fleet Of Doom.

The plot: In the far reaches of the galaxy, King Zarkon forms an alliance with Viceroy Throk of the Drule Empire. The two rulers create a massive armada, known as the Fleet of Doom, which they plan to use to conquer the galaxy. When one of Zarkon’s scouting parties locates the secret base that supplies all of the power for the Galaxy Alliance, Zarkon and Throk send out the fleet to destroy the base, though each ruler plans to turn on his ally once the defeat the Galaxy Alliance. The Galaxy Alliance contacts Coran on Planet Arus and Commander James Hawkins of the Exploration Fleet to explain the situation and both men agree to send their respective Voltron’s to assist in defending the base. The Castle of Lions takes off from Planet Arus on it’s way to meet with Commander Hawkins’ ship and as they are flying through space, Keith and the others remember some of the fun times they had with their friends during the academy before Coran suggests they sleep in shifts, telling Keith and Princess Allura to get some rest first. On Planet Doom, Zarkon’s witch Haggar offers her help in dealing with the Voltron Force but when Zarkon refuses, she changes his lead scientist into a monster, then disappears. Haggar heads to a land beyond space and time, which is the source of her magic powers, and calls upon the spirits to increase her magic powers. Haggar then makes her way to the Castle of Lions, and uses her powers to look in on Keith and Allura’s dreams. However, Haggar’s presence is detected by the space mice, who alert Pidge, Hunk, and Lance and they rush off to stop her. They reach Haggar as she enters Allura’s room but Haggar uses her magic to immobolize them, and Keith after he is woken by the commotion and enters the room, then steals Allura’s spirit and disappears. When Coran enters the room, Keith explains what happens and as they try to figure out how to save Allura, the ghost of her father, King Alfor, appears. Keith asks Alfor what they can do to save Allura and when he says it involves a dangerous journey, Keith agrees to undertake it for Allura. Alfor transports Keith to the lad beyond time and space, warning him that in this land dreams become real, and Keith heads out to rescue Allura. Elsewhere, Haggar transfers Allura’s spirit to a spherical prison and Allura tries to plead with her ti turn against Zarkon and stop being evil but Haggar refuses. Back in the real world, Some of Zarkon’s ships attack the castle to try and delay their reaching the secret base and Lance, Hunk, and Pidge take their lions out to stop them, destroying several of the ships before they end up caught in a force field. Back in the dream world, Keith is confronted by creatures from his childhood nightmares and runs from them but when he finds himself surrounded, Alfor speaks to him and reminds him that they are created from his dreams and Keith is able to defeat them. Back in the real world, Commander Cossak attempts to capture the lions but once they are removed from the force field, the lions are able to break free from their bonds and renew their attack, destroying some more ships and damaging Cossak’s flagship, causing him to flee. Lance wants to go after him to finish the job but Coran calls him back, saying that the Fleet of Doom has reached the base and they must stop them from destroying it. Meanwhile, Hawkins pilots his ship through an asteroid field, as it is the only way to reach the base in time, and tells Jeff and the others to get their vehicles ready to launch in case they can’t make it through. Back in the dream world, Keith reaches Haggar, who tries to trick him with multiple copies of Allura but when he is able to pick out the right one, Haggar grabs Allura and flees. Allura continues trying to reach Haggar’s goodness and eventually does so, causing Haggar’s goodness to split from her evil self and fight for control. The fight results in the destruction of the evil world Haggar had created and as Keith rejoins Allura, the two Haggars say that they are free to go. Allura asks Haggar to come with them but she refuses, using her magic to send them back to their bodies. Back in the real world, Lotor and Throk have destroyed most of the base and are preparing to finish it off when the Castle of Lions appears. Coran tries making contact with Hawkins but when he receives no answer, he fears that they have been destroyed by the asteroid field. Lance and the others head out and Lotor decides to send a rhino ro-beast to stop them. Keith and Allura return and head out to help their friends, just as Coran receives word from Hawkins that they made it through the asteroid field. With Keith and Allura joining them, the lions quickly form Voltron and work to beat the ro-beast. Throk sends out two more ro-beasts, a scorpion beast and a beetle beast, and the three ro-beasts are able to knock down Voltron. Lotor launches a 4th ro-beast, the armor beast, but the Vehicle Voltron appears and is able to help free the Lion Voltron. As the two Voltrons prepare to face off against the ro-beasts, Lotor reveals that the ro-beasts are able to combine into a giant robot, with Lotor piloting a special skull ship that forms the head. Lotor begins attacking the two Voltrons, but the Voltrons are able to combine their powers and destroy to robot, while Coran and Hawkins use the Castle of Lions’ defenses and the Exploration Fleets’ forces to defeat the Fleet of Doom. Seeing Zarkon’s defeat, Haggar reabsorbs her good self, using it to change her appearance, then appears before Zarkon as he is yelling at Cossak and Lotor for failing. Meanwhile, the two Voltron Forces, as well as the Castle security and the Exploration Force, congratulate each other on defeating the Fleet of Doom, renewing their vows to defeat Zarkon and the Drule Empire and bring peace to the galaxy.

This is such a dose of nostalgic goodness to watch, you can almost forget about some of the silly plot lines. The voice acting was good, with all of the acotrs doing a good job reprising their various characters, though I think Peter Cullen made Hawkins sound too much like Optimus Prime. The story was a fun way to try and bring the two different shows together, but I felt like it really focused more on the Lion Voltron, which was the more popular of the two shows in the U.S. I would have much rather had it where the various vehicle teams would have partnered with some of the lions to do separate missions, then have them unite at the end for the final battle. I have to admit, the whole side quest bit with Haggar stealing Allura’s spirit was a bit much and really felt stupid. The animation was pretty good, though some scenes were basically just some of the animated cells reused from the show. Some aspects didn’t exactly age well but it is still fun to watch, especially if you are an 80’s kid or a fan of the show.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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adventure, animation, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

April 18th, 2018 Movie – Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust

vampire hunter d bloodlust

About the time that I picked up Vampire Hunter D on DVD, I learned that a sequel had been filmed and was to be released soon. Well, this was something that immediately piqued my interest and I made plans to buy it as soon as it came out. When it did come out, I happened to be on a weekend trip to Savannah but I still went to the local Best Buy and picked up a copy to watch. I was not disappointed in the least in this movie and enjoyed every second of it. So let’s get on with today’s movie, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

The plot: Late one night, the vampire lord Meier Link drives his carriage through a city, causing all the crucifixes in the town to be twisted and ruined. The carriage stops at one house and Meier heads inside and grabs a young woman, Charlotte, carrying her away with him. Some time later, D arrives at a meeting with Charlotte’s brother Alan and her father John, as well as several armed men with their guns drawn on D. Alan offers D a down payment of $500,000 with a finished reward of $10 million for the safe return of Charlotte but warns that they also hired the Marcus brothers, a group of vampire hunters, to do the mission. When D asks what should happen if Charlotte is already turned, Alan says he has to get her before that happens but John tells D to kill her as humanely as possible if that is the case, doubling the reward so long as D brings proof, one way or the other. That night, the Marcus Brothers (Borgoth, Nolt, Kyle, Grove, and a female hunter Leila) arrive at a small town searching for signs of Meier and Charlotte only to discover that the entire population has been turned into zombies/ghouls. They attempt to drive through but when some of the villagers pull a giant crucifix down to block the road, Borgoth, Nolt, Kyle, and Leila head out of their armored transport to kill the swarming villagers. After killing the last of them, they hear the sound of approaching hoofbeats and Borgoth fires a crossbow bolt at where the rider should appear but D manages to snatch the bolt out of the air and break it. Borgoth applauds the feat and attempts to get D to join them but D simply rides off and Leila grabs a mechanical unicycle and follows after him. Coming to the desert, D allows the symbiote in his left hand to examine the tracks, then makes his way across a school of sand mantas to continue after Meier. The eventually reach a vampire resting house and the Symbiote says he can see two people inside but before they are able to locate the door, they are distracted by the arrival of Leila. Leila makes her way past the resting house’s defenses and rides up the resting house, just as the door opens and Meier drives the carriage from the resting house. Leila fires a shot at Meier but he is able to deflect the shell and send the shrapnel back towards her, which hits her in the chest and sends her crashing to the ground. D manages to drop onto the carriage as it enters a tunnel and faces off with Meier, who tells D that Charlotte is there by choice. As the two face off against each other, Charlotte cries out Meier’s name when it appears D has the upper hand, distracting D long enough for Meier to knock him from the carriage. D questions if Meier was telling the truth and heads back to his horse. As he goes to leave, he hears the wounded Leila call out for her mother and, despite the symbiote’s protests, stops to tend to Leila’s injury. When Leila regains consciousness, she questions why D did that as he leaves her, just as Borgoth and the others show up. The Marcus Brothers make their way towards the Barbarois, a territory full of mutants that are used by vampires as mercenaries and bodyguards, as Borgoth suspects Meier is heading there. When they spot the carriage in a clearing, Borgoth, Nolt, and Kyle head out to investigate only to discover it is a cloth decoy. Suddenly, they hear the sound of laughter and the Barbarois known as Benge, someone who can manipulate shadows, taunts them. Benge, creeping out of the shadows on the ground, stabs the shadow of Nolt, who cries out in pain and, seeing Benge jumping towards a cliff, swings his massive hammer at him. When Borgoth and Kyle ask what is going on, Nolt warns them to be careful of the shadows, just before he dies from the wound Benge gave him. D reaches the lair of the Barbarois and meets with their leader, an small old man on a unicycle. D asks that the Barbarois stop their protection of Meier and the Old Man says that the Barbarois have been serving the vampires for 5000 years and are not ready to break their record, though the Old Man adds they might be inclined to do so for D. When D comments about the fairness of having him face all of the Barbarois, Benge comments from the carriage, where he, Caroline, and Machira are sitting, and says he can face them. Meanwhile, Kyle is watching the meeting from a cliff while Leila monitors Grove’s vital signs as Borgoth gives him an injection, allowing Grove to send his astral self out to attack the Barbarois. Firing beams of energy, Grove’s astral form is able to kill several of the Barbarois but his beams have no affect on Benge, who simply absorbs them. Meanwhile, D chases after the carriage, slicing Grove’s astral form in half when it tries to stop him and the pieces return to Grove, who gasps out for breath at the experience. As D follows after the carriage but ends up getting caught in Benge’s shadow trap, which kills D’s horse before absorbing D. The Marcus Brothers chase after the carriage and Kyle fires a bazooka at it, knocking Caroline from the back. As their transport runs her down, Caroline manages to grab onto the undercarriage and uses her elemental shifting powers to send metalloic spikes through the transport, causing Borgoth to crash. Leaving Benge to deal with them, Caroline rejoins Machira while Borgoth, Kyle, and Leila check on each other. In the shadow trap, D has the symbiote dispel the spell so D can free himself, which distracts Benge. Benge goes to attack Kyle when Borgoth, remembering Nolt’s warning, fires several bolts into the nearby shadows, eventually hitting Benge and allowing Kyle to kill him as he tries to escape. Kyle and Leila go to get some fuel for their transport while Borgoth makes repairs and as they finish, they see D approaching the town. Leila sends Kyle back to Borgoth while she stays behind and tells the local sheriff about D. D heads to the town’s stable and buys a new horse from the stable owner but as D saddles the horse, the sheriff and some men show up and tell D to leave without the horse. The owner argues with the sheriff and tells him about how years ago, vampires kidnapped 10 children and a dhampir hunter managed to rescue them but was then run out of town by the townspeople. The owner then reveals that he was one of the kids and recognized D as the one who had saved them and holds the sheriff at bay so D can ride off. The carriage is stopped at a lake so the horses can rest and get water and Charlotte exits the carriage so she can enjoy the sun. D approaches her and Charlotte tells him that she is in love with Meier and as they argue, Leila appears and smacks Charlotte. Leila pulls her gun on D and tells him to keep back but D draws his sword and shouts a warning to Leila, just as Caroline attacks her and knocks her down. D faces off against Caroline but begins suffering from heat syndrome for being out in the sun too long. He finally manages to cut Caroline into pieces but as he works to dig himself a hole to heal himself, Caroline’s head is shown to still be alive. Leila observes D and when she is contacted by Borgoth, she tells him where the carriage is heading but lies about seeing D. As D rests, Leila is attacked by Caroline and Leila throws a knife into her head, which has no affect on her but when lightning starts to strike, the knife serves as a lightning rod and kills Caroline. Leila takes shelter from the rain in the same grove that D is in and starts talking to him, revealing that her mother was kidnapped and turned by a vampire, which is what led her to becoming a hunter. She says she worries about no one remembering her when she is gone and says they should make a pact to put flowers on the others grave if they survive. D agrees to do so and when she asks why he would do that, D says that because he is a dhampir, he doesn’t have the opportunity for a normal life like she could have. Borgoth and Kyle ambush the carriage on a bridge, with Borgoth shooting Machira off the bridge when he tries to stop them. Kyle grabs Charlotte from the carriage and as she struggles with them, they are all shocked to see Meier emerge from the carriage and head towards them. As Meier begins to smolder and catch fire, Borgoth shoots him in the shoulder and knees, taunting him and increasing the agony he is feeling. As Leila watches all of this from afar, Charlotte manages to get free of Kyle and rushes forward to embrace Meier, then pulls out one of the bolts and says she will kill herself so she doesn’t have to live without Meier. Kyle goes to grab Charlotte but is killed by Machira, who has turned into his werewolf form, and Borgoth is wounded and goes to detonate the charges in the bridge only to discover that Machira removed them and placed them in the river below. Machira helps Charlotte and Meier back into the carriage and drives off towards the Castle of Chaythe, home of the vampire Countess Carmilla. Sensing D’s approach, Machira leaves the carriage on it’s course and goes to delay him but is easily killed. At the castle, Carmilla greets Meier and Charlotte and says she is happy for their love, then shows them the rocket that will take them to the City in the Stars, a vampiric refuge on an orbiting satellite, though she isn’t sure if the rocket will still fly. As she shows them to their room, Charlotte tells Meier she wants him to turn her but he refuses, saying she doesn’t know what she is asking. Meier heads out, as he senses D nearby, but when he locates D, he is shocked to find that D has Charlotte with him. D says that Charlotte wants to go back and as Meier approaches in disbelief, an axe from one of the suits of armor suddenly cuts him in half and as he falls, it is revealed that D and Charlotte were merely an illusion cast by Carmilla. Meanwhile, D enters the castle and is soon confronted by Carmilla’s ghost, who says she loved D’s father and that he reminds her of him. Borgoth, Leila, and Grove arrive at the castle and despite Grove saying they should leave, Borgoth and Leila enter the castle and separate to find Charlotte. Borgoth sees two coffins flying towards him and shoots them but sees Kyle and Nolt emerging from them, distracting him long enough to be killed by his own crossbow bolts. Leila is confronted by an illusion of her younger self kneeling by the grave of her mother and Leila tries to comfort the little girl. D is able to dispel the illusion he is met by, then saves Leila from being killed but he is shot by Borgoth, who has been turned by Carmilla. Borgoth grabs Leila and threatens to kill Leila unless D drops his sword but he is attacked by Grove, who had injected himself with the drug, and uses the last of his life to kill Borgoth and save Leila. Meanwhile, Charlotte approaches an illusion of Meier, who embraces and bites her, then drops her to the ground. Charlotte’s blood runs across the ground and merges with Carmilla’s corpse, allowing her to start to revive but D fights with her ghost and manages to slay it, while a revived Meier destroys her corpse before it can reach Charlotte. As the symbiote absorbs the last of Carmilla’s spirit, Meier approaches Charlotte and holds her as she dies in his arms. As the castle begins crumbling around them, Meier moves to take Charlotte with him to the rocket but D stops him, saying he needs to return the body to her family. As the two begin fighting, Leila approaches Charlotte’s body and, having grown tired of all the fighting and death, takes the ring from Charlotte’s finger and tosses it to the ground. D gets the upper hand on Meier and stabs him, missing his heart. When Meier questions why, D picks up the ring and says that Charlotte is dead and the ring will serve as proof of her death. D leaves, with Leila following after him while Meier takes Chalotte’s body and boards the rocket. Outside, Leila asks D for a lift into town, joking that the reward should be hers since she grabbed the ring first, but as she goes to mount onto the horse, she stops to watch the rocket blasting into space, willing it to make it. Some time later, a funeral is held and a little girl spots D observing from the shade of a tree on a nearby hilltop. The girl approaches D and asks if she is here for her grandmother Leila’s funeral and when D turns to her, she recognizes him from her grandmother’s stories. She invites D to their home for dinner but D declines, saying he was merely there to keep a promise to his friend and is happy to see that she was wrong about not being missed. The little girl is sad that D won’t come for dinner but thanks him for coming to the funeral and D smiles at the girl before riding off.

This is definitely a worthy sequel to the original movie and a great movie in it’s own right. The voice acting was pretty good, with several known actors and voice actors being attached to the film. The story was interesting, adding a touch more sci-fi elements to it, primarily the rocket ships and vampiric cities in orbit around the planet, than in the original. I will say that there were some changes from the novel this was based on but some of them were definitely for the better, as there was some rape involved in the novel that was rather disturbing, not like any sort of rape isn’t disturbing on it’s own. The animation was great and had a much more gothic style to it than the original that really helped give the movie more of a fantasy/horror feel to it. It also felt like the character designs fit more with some of the original artwork used in the novels, which was pretty great on it’s own. A great movie and definitely something that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, animation, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

April 17th, 2018 Movie – Vampire Hunter D

vampire hunter d

The last of the three movies that really got my love of anime going. Years ago, when I first saw this movie, I thought it was great and had managed to set my VCR (yep, it was that long ago) to record the replay of it later that night. I was happy watching that recording for a while until I found a video store that rented and sold anime, at which point I ended up buying a copy. I probably watched that tape hundreds of times over the years before I bought it on DVD, and probably watched it just as many times since. Now let’s see if today’s movie, Vampire Hunter D, holds up or if I am simply looking at things through some fond memories.

The plot: In the distant future, nuclear war has ravaged the world and humanity has begun to rebuild itself but must deal with the rise of mutants and monsters that have started ravaging the planet. One night, a young woman named Doris Lang is out hunting a creature and believes she has killed it, only for it to rear up and attack her horse. Doris uses an electric whip to get it off her horse and finally kills it only for a werewolf to show up and grab her horse and run off. As Doris recovers from the shock, she sees the vampire Count Magnus Lee hovering in the air above her and she tries to defend herself but Lee easily deflects the bolts from her gun and, claiming she is trespassing on his land, attacks her. Some days later, a sword carrying man known only as D is riding his cyborg horse towards town when he is confronted by Doris. Doris asks D if he is a hunter, attacking him with her whip when he doesn’t answer, but D simply shrugs off her attack and continues on his way. Doris calls out to him and apologizes for attacking him, recognizing that D is most likely a vampire hunter and asks to hire him, showing him where Lee bit her. D approaches and examines the wound, then asks when she was bit and Doris happily asks if he will help her. Doris takes D to her home, where her younger brother Dan helps him stable his horse and starts taking a liking to the hunter. The next day, Doris, Dan, and D ride into town, where they are confronted by Greco, the mayor’s son, who asks to speak to Doris in private. When they head into an alley, Greco tells Doris that he knows she was bitten by Lee and says she should have told him, as he could have hired some vampire hunters to take care of him, and she could find some way to pay him back. When Greco tries to kiss her, Doris quickly punches him, telling him she would never accept any favors from him and when he continues to try and kiss her, she uses her whip to disarm him and trip him up. Doris heads back to Dan and D but Greco, feeling his pride has been slighted by her refusing him, follows her and proceeds to shout out to the town that Doris was bitten. In a meeting with the mayor, sheriff, Greco, and Dr. Fehring, D confirms that he is a vampire hunter hired by Doris. The mayor wants to confine Doris to an asylum outside of town but Dr. Fehring argues against it, as the last time Lee had bitten a young girl and they confined her there, Lee attacked and killed 31 villagers in retaliation and the girl committed suicide. D says that killing Lee will cure Doris and she won’t be a threat to anyone else and when the mayor asks for assurance that he can kill him, Doris says she will leave the village if he fails and Dan says he will go with her. Later, Doris and Fehring attempt to buy some supplies for Doris but the shopkeeper refuses to sell to her, as he fears no one will buy from his store if he does. Meanwhile, Dan is crying over everything that is happening and D tells him it is ok to cry but Doris will need him to stay strong and help keep her spirits up while they deal with this. That night, as D examines a sword that is hanging on the wall of Doris’ house, a voice is heard chastising D’s odd behavior and mockingly asks D if he is in love with Doris. Doris comes downstairs and seeing D with the sword, tells him it belonged to her father, who was a werewolf hunter. Doris asks D about vampires and D says that Lee will probably come to get her tonight, as the next night is a sanguine moon, which vampires feel makes women’s blood unclean. He asks Doris about Lee and she says that he is over 5000 years old and D remarks that old ones like him are very powerful, almost invincible. Sensing Lee’s minions approaching, D dons his hat and sword, then removes the glove from his left hand, revealing a face in the hand’s palm, and D touches Doris with his hand, placing her in a deep sleep. As a werewolf destroys some of the crucifixes outside the house, Lee’s daughter, Lamika and one of Lee’s mutants, Rei Ginsei, approach and Rei uses his curved blade to take out the rest. D shuts down the barrier and leaves the house to confront the two, telling them he has no quarrel with them and only wants to deal with the count. Rei attacks D, who easily overpowers him so Rei uses his curved blade, throwing it at D. D deflects the blade back towards Rei and follows it, intending to finish him off, but when Rei grabs his blade and uses it to deflect D’s thrust into his stomach, D is surprised to find his sword actually goes through his own stomach. As D withdraws his sword and collapses to one knee in pain, he says he had heard of a mutant that could warp space around him. Rei laughs and moves in to finish off D but D stops him, revealing his wound to be healing. Lamika recognizes D as a dhampir, a vampire half-breed, and wants to kill him herself but D is easily able to deflect her attack back towards them and gives them a message for the Lee. Back at his castle, Lee finds himself intrigued by the appearance of D, as Rei and Lamika should have easily been able to kill him. The next day, D heads out to the castle to confront Lee during the day, making his way past Gimlet, a winged mutant with blades on his ankles and wrists, and Golem, a towering mutant that throws explosive rocks at his foes. Entering a corridor, D is attacked by a spirit beast but he manages to avoid serious injury and bursts through the wall to confront Rei and the Old Witch that controls the spirit beast. Rei says he would like to kill him but Lee ordered D to be sent elsewhere and springs a trap, plunging D down into the catacombs underneath the castle. The symbiote in D’s hand mocks him for falling into the trap as D makes his way through the catacombs and encounters the Snake Women of Midwich, who manage to ensnare D and plan on draining his life force. Back at the ranch, Fehring is checking in on Doris and warns her about falling in love with D when they are attacked by Rei, Golem, Gimlet, and Chullah, a small, hunchbacked mutant with spiders living in his back. Rei plans on having his men kill Dan and Fehring but when Doris threatens to bite off her tongue and bleed to death unless they release them, Rei relents and orders them to let them go. At the castle, Lee confronts Doris and shows her images of D, revealing that he is a dhampir, and Doris is shocked by the news but begs Lee to spare him. Lee considers it, then renders Doris unconscious so she will be rested for their wedding the next day. Back in the catacombs, the Snake Women continue draining D’s life force but he suddenly bares his fangs and proceeds to bite into them, regaining his strength before killing them. Lamika goes to the room Doris is in, intending to kill her so she won’t marry her father but D arrives and stops her, the grabs Doris. D makes his way out of the castle, killing Chullah, the old witch, and Golem when they try to stop him. Rei and Gimlet follow him but Rei accidentally kills Gimlet, then continues after D, knowing Lee will kill him for failing to recapture Doris. That night, Lee’s messenger arrives in town and meets with Rei, giving him a candle that can paralyze anyone with vampire blood to use against D but unknown to them, Greco listens in to the conversation and makes his own plans. Rei kidnaps Dan and leaves a note for D to come get him and D heads out to confront Rei. Rei goes to use the candle only to find the light has gone out and D manages to cut off Rei’s hand, then says the candle was a fake. Meanwhile, Fehring goes to get Doris and take her to a safehouse he discovered when they are confronted by Lamika. Doris wants to fight but Fehring grabs her whip, revealing himself to have been turned into a vampire. As Lamika approaches, Fehring questions why she is there, as he was supposed to deliver Doris to Lee, and Lamika kills him. Doris questions if she is going to kill her as well but Lamika says that she wants Doris to leave and go far enough away to escape Lee’s influence. Suddenly, they are bathed in a bright light and Lamika begins convulsing before collapsing onto Doris’ lap. Greco walks up, having switched candles with Rei, and he tells Doris he will use the candle on Lee provided that she agree to marry him. When Lamika, unable to move due to the candle, taunts Greco, he moves to kill her but Doris shields Lamika with her own body just as D and Dan arrive and Dan shoots Greco, knocking him off a cliff and putting out the light. D escorts Dan and Doris home then lets Lamika go, who is confused by D’s actions and surprised that he seems to know what her noble ancestor, Count Dracula, would want. After returning home, Doris takes a shower and then goes to see D, asking him to run away with her so he doesn’t have to fight anymore. When D says that won’t work, Doris embraces him and D is tempted to taste her blood, with the temptation growing stronger when she willingly offers herself to him but D is able to refuse his urges. and after Doris goes to sleep, the symbiote taunts D for refusing Doris. Meanwhile, Greco has survived the fall and is walking back to town when he is confronted by Rei, who kills him and takes the candle back. Rei heads to Doris’ farm and confronts D, using the candle to paralyze D, then drives a stake into his heart and cuts off his left hand, in retaliation for his own hand. Meanwhile, Lamika feels D’s pain when he is staked and wonders if he is really dead as Rei grabs Doris and Dan and brings them to Lee’s castle. Lamika goes to her body and begs him not to marry Doris, saying she might be a danger to the House of Lee. Lee tells her that marrying a human every now and then will not damage their family, revealing that her own mother was human. Lamika is shocked by the news and attacks Lee but he easily places her in suspended animation. Lee is then confronted by Rei, who asks that Lee make good on his promise to make him a vampire but Lee laughs and says Rei is lucky to still be alive and maybe in 50-60 years, he will reconsider, angering Rei. That night, the symbiote takes control of D’s hand and heads towards his body, reattaching himself to the body. Noticing a mist monster nearby, the hand tries to remove the stake but when that fails, it eats some dirt and sucks in some air, attempting to gain some more strength. The mist monster sees D’s body and heads towards them as the symbiote tries to wake D but just as it envelopes them, D regains consciousness and kills the mist monster. At the castle, a mesmerized Doris is being led by Lee to the altar when Dan, who had escaped his cell, attempts to rescue her but is easily knocked away by Lee. Dan falls down towards the catacombs but is rescued by Rei, who then goes to confront Lee with the candle. Rei moves to kill Lee but Lee uses his powers to destroy the candle, then toss Rei around the room before making his head explode. Reaching the altar, Lee moves to bite Doris, turning her into a full vampire and making her his bride but D shows up, tossing a knife into Lee’s eye. D moves to attack Lee but his strikes can’t penetrate Lee’s defenses and Lee then uses his powers to toss D around the room. Suspending him above the ceiling, Lee plans on using D’s own sword to kill D but suddenly, waves of power radiate from D, negating Lee’s hold on him. Dgrabs his sword and plunges down towards Lee and Lee is barely able to grasp the blade, keeping it from plunging into him. Lee snaps off the tip and throws it at D, piecing him but D throws his broken sword at Lee and it strikes him in the chest and pins him to the wall. Lee takes control of Doris and has her move to kill D but Lamika, having been freed from her suspension when D wounded Lee, brings Dan into the room and he is able to stop her. Lee begs Lamika to kill D but Lamika refuses, saying that Lee has brought shame to their house and it must be brought down. Lee scoffs at that, then notices the resemblance between D and the picture of Count Dracula and asks if Dracula is his father before finally dying. Lamika realizes that Lee was right and D says she can travel with him, as they are both dhampirs, but Lamika refuses, choosing to die and end the house of Lee and the D, Doris, and Dan leave as the castle sinks down into the earth and is destroyed. The next day, D rides out of town and when Doris and Dan run out onto a hill and call out to him, reminding him that he promised to come see them again, D turns to them and, getting a smile on his face, nods to the waving brother and sister.

This movie is just as good as the first time I saw it, which is saying something considering how much animation has changed in the past 33 years. The voice acting was ok, with the actors doing a good job attempting to match the lip movements with the dubbed script and portraying a lot of the various emotions you would expect in this type of movie. The story was good though I will admit that there were a lot of changes from the novel it was based on. The animation was somewhat typical of the 80’s style, where the characters would be still but the backgrounds would be flashing by, and there was a lot of flashing lights during several scenes. However, the characters were well drawn and a lot of the background settings looked amazing. A great anime that still holds up to make for some entertaining movie watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review

April 1st, 2018 Movie – Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise Of The Panther

ultimate avengers 2

Happy Easter/April Fools everybody. I am curious how many people are pulling some pranks regarding Easter candy today. Anyways, today’s movie is one of Marvel’s early animated features that the released to DVD. Now I know you might be asking why I am starting with the second movie and not the first one. The answer to that is quite simple; I was too lazy to rebuy the first movie when it wound up to scratched up to be playable. Anyways, the one thing I thought was funny regarding the two movies was that they were based on the Marvel Ultimate version of the Avengers, which is also a little bit of the basis for the MCU movies. The timing of me reaching this movie now is pretty amazing, as this introduces the Black Panther to the series, where as Black Panther is winding down it’s takeover of the Hollywood box office and Avengers: Infinity War is coming out later this month. So let’s have fun with today’s movie, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise Of The Panther.

The plot: In the African nation of Wakanda, two warriors are racing back to their city, being chased by two Chitauri soldiers. In the city, King T’Chaka is holding a ceremony welcoming back his son, Prince T’Challa, who had been studying abroad, though some of T’Chaka’s advisors are not happy with T’Challa’s leaving the country to learn other ideas. Suddenly one of the Wakandan warriors appears on the cliff overlooking and shouts out a warning before he is killed. T’Chaka goes to don the garb of the Black Panther and head out to face the inturders, despite T’Challa saying that he is not fit to do battle. T’Chaka finds a group of Chitauri soldiers and kills them but ends up being stabbed by Herr Kleiser, who had survived his encounter with the Avengers. T’Challa, who had followed his father, cries out at seeing his father mortally wounded and Kleiser approaches him, hoping to finish off the royal bloodline. Seeing this, T’Chaka uses the last of his strength to turn more cat like and attack Kleiser, sending them both off a cliff, which finishes off T’Chaka but Kleiser is able to get up and walk away. Some time later, T’Challa oversees the funeral of his father and is escorted by the high priestess to the sacred chamber of the Black Panther, where T’Challa sees articles about Captain America’s own encounter with Kleiser back during WWII and his return. In the U.S., Captain America (Steve Rogers) is foiling a robbery by Hydra soldiers, getting shot in the process. Natalia Romanov (Black Widow) and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive after he is finished and Black Widow chastises Captain America for going in on his own and asks if he wants to kill himself. When Captain America brushes past her, Black Widow has Nick Fury try to talk to Captain America, and Fury ends up telling Captain America that he is pulled from the mission he plans on going on, threatening to have him arrested like Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, Bruce is being interrogated by Dr. Oiler,  a former colleague, over his assault of the Avengers during the Chitauri invasion and when Bruce gets riled up, asking to see Betty Ross, he is sedated and Oiler tells them to keep the video of the Hulk’s rampage playing on a continuous loop in Banner’s cell. That night, as Captain America is attempting to sleep, he is plagued by dreams involving Kleiser and when he wakes up, finds T’Challa, in the Black Panther costume, in his room. Thinking he is being attacked, Captain America grabs T’Challa and throws him out the window, then follows after him but as he grabs T’Challa and asks him who he is, they find themselves surrounded by S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Fury explains that the intruder is Black Panther but is shocked to see that is is T’Challa behind the mask. T’Challa explains that his father is dead and he needs to speak to Captain America about Kleiser, asking him how to kill him. Captain America says that he can’t be killed, as he had killed Kleiser twice before, and Fury tells T’Challa his only chance against the Chitauri is to open Wakanda’s borders so the Avengers can help. T’Challa refuses, saying he has betrayed his people already just by coming to seek Captain America’s aid and, asking one last time if there is any information Captain America can give him, T’Challa leaves, and Fury decides to bring in the other Avengers. In his lab, Hank Pym (Giant-Man) is working on increasing his maximum size beyond 60 but when the strain on him becomes too dangerous, Janet Pym (the Wasp) orders the experiment stopped and Hank gets angry at her for ruining his work. When Janet suggests him trying to go back to shrinking, he gets even angrier and storms out of the lab. Meanwhile, Tony Stark )Iron-Man) is on a business retreat when he gets the call from Fury while Thor is using rune stones to see the future and gets a vision of the dead bodies of his teammates. Back in New York, Betty Ross is examining the wreckage of a Chitauri ship and discovers sections of it have become incredibly brittle. Deciding to no longer put it off, Betty goes to see Bruce, who is happy to see her, and she mentions the strange phenomenon with the wreckage but when Bruce offers to help, she tells him that nobody wants his help or trusts him. When Janet, Hank, and Tony show up, Fury leads a mission briefing, telling them about Kleiser and what little they know of Wakanda, due to their isolationist tendencies. Fury wants the Avengers to head to Wakanda on an information gathering mission, telling them to try not to be seen as he doesn’t want an international incident, then places Natalia in charge, as Steve is to angry over Kleiser’s involvement to think clearly. When the Avengers arrive in Wakanda, they encounter T’Challa, who angrily tells them to leave, then relents and says that Steve can come with him but the rest must go back to their ship. T’Challa and Steve sneak into the city and T’Challa explains that in 1942, during the reign of his grandfather, the Wakandans were approached by Kleiser, who offered friendship between his country and theirs, but he betrayed them and attempted to steak the Heart of Wakanda. The Wakandans fought back and were able to bring down the Chitauri ship but it left the people untrusting of the outside world, prompting their adaptation of a more isolationist society. Meanwhile, the Avengers continue to look around and are discovered by T’Challa’s soldiers, who begin attacking them. Hank is drugged by multiple arrows while at giant size and Iron-Man is severely damaged when T’Challa shows up and puts an end to the fight. T’Challa says he will provide the antidote for Hank but they must leave immediately and Fury orders the team back to New York. Meanwhile, Kleiser contacts his commander and tells him that they had trouble securing the planet and his commander tells them that nothing must stop their takeover, revealing a Chitauri flagship heading towards Earth. Elsewhere, Thor contacts Odin to ask him about the vision he was shown and Odin reveals the Chitauri flagship on it’s approach towards Earth. Thor says that he must warn the Avengers and Odin says that Midgard has turned it’s back on the gods and he should no longer meddle in the affairs of mortals but Thor refuses to abandon his friends. Back at the Triskelion, Betty Ross is examining a cube of pure vibranium from the downed Chitauri ship and tells Fury she can’t get any readings off of it but knows that it has stored an incredible amount of energy. Meanwhile, Bruce notices something during the constant replays of his attack and asks to see Betty but Oiler has him sedated again, using increased doses to keep him under. As the Avengers are leaving Wakanda, Steve notices a Chitauri wandering in the jungle below and, defying Natalia’s orders, takes the jump ship back to Wakanda. Meanwhile, T’Challa faces the council of elders, who strip him of his authority to rule due to his bringing outsiders into Wakanda and defying Wakandan law. As he leaves the chamber, T’Challa notices the Chitauri and, donning the Black Panther costume, he goes after it. When Steve lands, he hears the sounds of struggling and sees T’Challa defeating with the Chitauri and Steve says to let them find out what it’s plan is and T’Challa agrees provided that he goes with them. They take the Chitauri back to the Avengers ship, where Natalia chastises Steve for risking their lives and T’Challa suddenly reveals himself to be Kleiser. The Chitauri reveals that it was playing possum and it begins attacking, injuring Janet in the process. Kleiser and the Chitauri soldier get into the jump ship and leave, contacting the flagship and telling it to fire on the Avengers’ ship. Meanwhile, Thor returns to the Triskelion and warns Fury of the approaching flagship and they get it on the screen just as the flagship blasts the Avengers’s ship but Thor is able to teleport there and bring his friends back to safety. Hank takes Janet to sick bay, angrily blaming Steve for her injuries, while Stark returns to Stark Tower, where he preps his War Machine armor for battle. In the detention center, Betty goes to see Bruce, who points out the Hulk attacking the Chitauri ship and theorizes that the Hulk’s gamma radiation affected the hull, causing it to become brittle. He tells Betty he has a small gamma generator she can use to test it and begs her to let him help but she says she can’t as Fury won’t allow it. Meanwhile, the Chitauri flagship extends a membrane like barrier across the planet, then proceeds to launch it’s armies onto the surface. In Wakanda, the people retreat into the palace and the palace defenses begin attacking the Chitauri. Inside the control room, the elders point out that they don’t need the help of any outsiders but T’Challa expresses his doubts. T’Challa  contacts S.H.I.E.L.D. and asks for their help and explains that the Chitauri are after the Heart of Wakanda, which is the mountain deposit of vibranium that fuels their technology but his transmission is broken up by the chief elder. Outside the city, Kleiser discovers that the Wakandans are using the wreckage of one of their ships to power their defenses and orders the flagship to blast it, and the resulting explosion powers down the palace defenses. Thor teleports Fury and the Avengers to Wakanda, where they are met by T’Challa and begin to lead a counter attack. Meanwhile, Betty finds test the gamma generator and discovers it does work against the Chitauri, just as the Chitauri begin to attack the Triskelion. Three Chitauri soldiers enter the detention center and attempt to kill Banner but when they can’t penetrate the glass, they order Oiler to give Banner a lethal dose of sedative gas in order to kill him. The Chitauri kill Oiler but are then killed by Betty and Janet, who wants to revive Bruce but he says it is better that he dies in order to ensure the Hulk doesn’t hurt anyone else and Betty cries as he dies. Betty and Janet take the generator to Wakanda and come up with a plan to take out the flagship. While Thor deals with the cannon, Tony will fly into the flagship and take out the core and Hank says he will go with him. Janet tells him no, as the strain of shrinking might be too much for him but Hank says he will be fine and shrinks down to go with Tony. Meanwhile, Steve and T’Challa are fighting with Kleiser and both end up being severely wounded by him but they manage to knock him into the smelting facility and pour molten vibranium on him, and he ends up sinking beneath the molten metal before it quickly hardens and entombs him inside. Meanwhile, the Triskelion is still under attack when suddenly, Banner transforms into the Hulk and breaks free from his containment, then proceeds to start battling the Chitauri. Back at Wakanda, Thor distracts the cannon long enough for Tony and hank to make it inside the flagship but is then blasted by the cannon and falls to the ground. Inside, Hank grows to giant size and holds off the Chitauri so that Tony can reach the core. Tony begins using the generator on the core but when it runs out of power, he throws the generator into the core in frustration. The generator cause a chain reaction that causes the core to explode, destroying the barrier covering the earth and depowering all of the Chitauri troops and vehicles around the world. Hank grabs Tony as they are blasted out of the flagship but some debris knocks him unconscious and Tony is forced to make Hank shrink back to normal size so he can save his carry him. When they land, Janet rushes to Hank who briefly speaks with her before dying from the strain he placed on his body. When they notice the flagship heading towards the city, Tony flies off to try and divert it, using up all of the power in his suit to do so, then he crashes to the ground while the ship safely crashes away from the city. Steve rushes to his friend just as Thor recovers and uses his lightning to serve as a defibrillator to revive Tony, but they are unable to revive Hank. The elders all apologize to T’Challa and restore his authority as king as the Avengers head back to New York. When they reach the Triskelion, they are unaware that they are being observed by the Hulk, who quietly whispers “Betty” before ducking away when she looks towards him, then leaps away and leaves the city. As Betty looks at the empty cell that Banner was in, Janet approaches and tells her that at least she knows he is alive somewhere, then they head off together. The Avengers all gather to hold a wake for Hank and afterwards, Tony goes to comfort Janet and Betty for each of their losses, Steve approaches Natalia and says they should think about their future before kissing her, while Fury and Thor share a drink and Thor tells Fury about how he once saved Midgard from Surtur.

When it comes to animated comic book movies, DC almost always beats out Marvel, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a good movie because it actually is. The voice acting was pretty good, with the various actors returning to voice the characters from the first movie. The story was pretty good, though I don’t know if it necessarily follows an actual comic story line or not. The animation was pretty good and did a great job in helping to sell the action. It’s a fun movie to watch but I will be honest, the only thing it does right now is make me want to see Black Panther again and get me further hyped to see Infinity War.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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