animation, crime, drama, movie, movie review, sci-fi

July 7th, 2017 Movie – A Scanner Darkly

a scanner darkly

It’s been a while since I have seen a movie based on a Philip K. Dick story. Given my love for sci-fi, and his prominence as a sci-fi author, I am actually surprised that I only have 2 movies based on his stories. Now today’s movie was one that interested me due to it’s nature, more so than it’s story. The animation technique for this movie intrigued me but unfortunately, I did not get around to seeing this in theaters due to personal reasons so I bought it when it came out on DVD. Now let’s get right into today’s movie, A Scanner Darkly.

The plot: Charles Freck is hallucinating that bugs are crawling all over him and his dog and he can’t get rid of them by showering or spraying insecticide all over himself. Not knowing what else to do, he calls James Barris, who tells him to put some in a jar and tells him where they can meet up. Meanwhile, a meeting is held at the Brown Bear Lodge and the host is discussing the Substance D epidemic, which has 20% of the population addicted to it. He introduces an undercover officer code-named Fred, who is wearing a scramble suit so that nobody there can know what he really looks like. Fred gets up to speak and talks about how the military is attacking countries where the organic component of Substance D, a blue flower, is rumored to grow, hoping to cut off the supply. He ends up rambling for a minute when he forgets his prepared speech and when someone over his suit’s radio tries helping him, he ends up just walking away. Fred heads to an abandoned building and entering a secured room, where he is able to take off the suit and reveals himself to be Robert “Bob” Arctor. After leaving the building, Bob places a call to Donna, a dealer for Substance D, and arranges to buy some D from her. Meanwhile, Freck meets up with Barris at a diner and as they are eating, they discuss New-Path and their rehab centers. The subject then turns to Donna and Barris talks about how Bob talks about sleeping with her but doesn’t really. The subject of her being a coke addict comes up and Barris tells Freck that he knows how to get cocaine for $3, which leads to them heading to a store and buying a spray can, then heading back to the house Barris shares with Bob and Ernie Luckman, where he tells Freck how he will make the cocaine. Freck starts to feel bad about trying to hook up with Donna under Bob’s nose but Barris tells Freck that there are things about Bob he doesn’t know. At the same time, Bob, inside the scramble suit, is talking to his superior agent Hank, who is also wearing a scramble suit. Bob/Fred tells Hank that he is steadily buying more quantities of D from Donna in the hopes she will soon lead him to her supplier. When Hank asks about Barris, Luckman, Freck, and Bob, Bob/Fred says nothing new to report but Hank says they got a tip from an informant about Bob and that they want Fred to step up surveillance on him. Later, Bob goes in for some psychological testing to see how he is doing and if he is becoming addicted to Substance D and Bob think this is because of the speech. After finishing his test, Bob/Fred heads to Hank’s office and is introduced to his informant, which turns out to be Barris. Barris tells them that he believes that Bob is part of a terrorist organization and Hank and Fred say they will keep a close eye on Bob. That night, Barris is attempting to make a homemade silencer and when he tries it out, it ends up waking Bob and causes him to remember his family and wonder how he got there. The next day, Bob, Barris, and Luckman are going to San Diego when their car breaks down and they are forced to pull over. As they get Bob’s car towed back to his house, Luckman gets paranoid that someone did this deliberately and could be stealing their stuff from the house but Barris says he left a device that would record anyone entering the front door. Bob gets upset, as the trip was intended to get everyone out of the house so that Hank could have scanner’s installed, and when he questions Barris more, he can’t figure out of Barris actually did what he said. When they get back to the house, they find evidence that someone had been there recently and Barris and Luckman’s paranoia increases but it turns out to only be Donna, who had fallen asleep while waiting for them. At headquarters, Hank shows Fred the monitoring system and tells him how he can switch out the scanners if need be and he can edit himself out, but tells him not to edit himself out all the time as they will be able to figure out who he really is, as Hank knows he is someone in the house. The next day, Bob starts suffering the effects of Substance D as he sees Barris and Luckman as cockroaches. As Bob watches the video of the house, he sees himself accidentally letting slip that he is a NARC but then pass it off as him being messed up on drugs. He also sees Luckman almost choke to death and Barris doing nothing to help him and when it seems like he is dead, Barris calls 911 but Luckman finally coughs up what he was choking on so Barris hangs up. Elsewhere, Freck decides to commit suicide by taking a bunch of sleeping pills all at once, but his death is merely an alien reading a list of all his sins for eternity. Bob runs into Donna, who takes him back to her place for the D that he asked for. While there, Bob attempts to kiss her but she pushes him away, claiming she doesn’t like being touched after doing coke, and Bob gets upset and leaves, despite Donna’s apologizing to him. Bob ends up hooking up with a girl named Connie but when he wakes up in the morning, he thinks it is Donna at first and freaks out. At headquarters, Bob is made to do some more tests to see if he is suffering the effects of Substance D and he ends up thinking of Fred and Bob as two separate people and worries that they will set up Bob. Later, Bob/Fred goes to Hank’s office, where Barris is there with a supposed tape of Bob and Donna discussing terrorist plots and weapons purchases, but Hank knows the tape is fake and has Barris arrested. Hank then discusses Bob’s addiction to Substance D, and that Hank knows that Fred is really Bob. After Bob leaves, Hank heads into a room to take off his own scramble suit, revealing that he is actually Donna. Donna then takes Bob to a New Path recovery center for help, where Bob sees that Freck is a patient there as well. As Bob goes through his treatment, he is transferred to one of New Path’s farms for his rehab work. When he gets there, he is told that his name is Bruce and he will be staying there for a while and Bob, whose brain is barely functioning, simply repeats back what he is told. Back in the city, Donna meets with her superior, Mike, where they discuss their suspicions that New Path is actually the supplier of the organic component of Substance D and Donna is upset at the fact that they sacrificed Bob by not telling him that his real job was to get so addicted and burnt out on Substance D that New Path would take him to the farm. Back at the farm, Bob is working in some rows of corn when he sees the blue flowers growing in between the corn stalks. When the owner of the farm and the foreman tell Bob to get back to work, Bob starts to remember some aspects of his past life and grabs one of the flowers and hides it in his shoe, planning to give it to the authorities over his Thanksgiving break, though it is unclear if he will remember back then.

A Scanner Darkly met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that it is, “A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author’s conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world.” The film was animated using rotoscoping, which involved animators tracing over the original footage frame by frame, a process which, according to director Richard Linklater, took 18 months though the actual filming only took 23 days. Grossing $7.7 million at the box office, A Scanner Darkly is the highest grossing rotoscoped animated feature but unfortunately, it was also a failure as it didn’t earn back the $8.7 million budget.

This can be a little confusing at times but it is a fantastic movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Keanu Reeves (Bob), Winona Ryder (Donna), and Robert Downey Jr. (Barris) all doing great jobs. Woody Harrelson ((Luckman) and Rory Cochrane (Freck) were also good but felt a little more like they were just there for comedic relief. I honestly have never read the story it was based on but the plot was pretty good. The animation was really good and very life-like, which made sense given the style employed. The only thing that did bother me with the animation is that it did kinda of hurt my eyes a little at times, mainly the times where they were using scramble suits, but other than that, I couldn’t really find any faults. A great movie that honestly has me ready to go to the library to check out the book.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

action, animation, drama, movie, movie review

June 22nd, 2017 Movie – Rurouni Kenshin: Requiem For The Ishin Patriots

rurouni kenshin

Man, do I miss being able to watch Toonami on Cartoon Network. Back in the day, it was a great way to introduce US audiences to some Japanese anime. Now I had watched various animes before Toonami came around but one show that I was introduced to was Rurouni Kenshin, or Samurai X as it was sometimes called. I really enjoyed this cartoon as it had a great story with a nice mixture of actual historical events adding to the plot. So when I saw that there was a movie I decided to buy it since I enjoyed the anime so much. So let’s see if the feature film holds up to the anime as I watch today’s movie, Rurouni Kenshin: Requiem For The Ishin Patriots.

The plot: In the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a group of swordsman attack a house but the end up being killed by Himura Kenshin, the Hitokiri Battosai or Manslayer. 12 year later, during the Meiji Era, Kenshin has long since given up killing people, choosing to carry a reverse blade sword instead. Kenshin travels to Yokohama with his friends Kamiya Kaoru, Sagara Sanosuke, and Myojin Yahiko to Yokohama to see the influx of Western culture and architecture that has occurred in the city since the borders have been opened. As they wander around the city, they come across some drunken Western sailors harassing a woman but as they are watching, they see a swordsman, step in and rescue the woman, then slice up the weapons the sailors attempt to use on him. When some more sailors go join the fight, Kenshin deals with one of them who attempts to bring a rifle into the fight, but his actions are noticed by the swordsman. When the police show up, Kenshin and the swordsman leave the area, while Sanosuke tricks the sailors into fighting the police, then makes his own escape. Later, Kenshin and the swordsman are talking and when the swordsman introduces himself as Shigure Takimi, Kenshin seems to recognize the name. As he leaves, Kenshin encounters Hajime Saito, a former rival during the war who is now a police officer, who warns Kenshin to stay away from Takimi, as Saito believes he is up to something. As Kenshin rejoins his friends, a group of men attack the British embassy, killing all of the guards there while using explosives to torch the building, then quickly leave as reinforcements, led by Captain Tomono, arrive to try and capture them. Some time later, in Tokyo, Takimi is at his home with Toki, the girl that the sailors were harassing, and the are kneeling before a memorial for Toki’s brother, who was killed during the war. When the man that led the attack on the British embassy arrives, Toki leaves as the man tells Takimi that the British ambassador has changed his plans and will be arriving in Tokyo earlier but he should be ready and wants Takimi to lead the attack. Takimi says he was planning on it as he wants to make up for the decision that cost his friend his life. In flashback, it is revealed that Takimi was one of the leaders of the Izu clan and when they were planning to attack some targets during the war, he chose to split up their forces but when he realized the location he went to was wrong, he raced to the other location to help his friend but got there just in time to see Kenshin kill him. When Takimi leaves with the man, Toki goes to see Kenshin and ask that he talk to Takimi, as Takimi speaks highly of him. When Yahiko walks Toki back home, he meets Takimi and is introduced to Musashino, a young man whose father was in the same samurai clan as Yahiko’s father and the two become friends. The next day, Sanosuke visits his friend and learns that Takimi might be planning a revolt, while Saito’s spy is killed by Takimi’s men. Yahiko had followed Musashino and overhears Takimi telling the assembled men his plans and when he is captured, he asks Takimi to let him join them. Meanwhile, Kenshin and Sanosuke arrive at Takimi’s house but before they can enter, Toki opens the door and, seeing Kenshin, she hands him a note that Takimi left her. When Kaoru arrives and says that Yahiko is missing, the four search the city for Yahiko and Takimi. Takimi leads his men to the dock and they head out in some small boats but Takimi knocks Yahiko unconscious, as he feels Yahiko is too young and he doesn’t want to have one of Kenshin’s friends killed. Elsewhere, the man that led the attack on the embassy in Yokohama secretly meets with Tomono and it is revealed that they are working together to discredit the commander of the Japanese army, so Tomono can take his place, and frame Takimi for everything. After searching all night, Kenshin and the others finally come across Yahiko and Kaoru slaps him before hugging him and saying she is glad he is ok. When Kenshin asks if Yahiko knows what Takimi is planning, Yahiko says they said something about a foreign visitor and Kenshin realizes they plan to attack the ambassador, who will be part of a parade in his honor. As the parade commences, Saito is keeping watch as he also believes the rebels would attack during the parade. As the ambassador reaches the embassy, the rebels attack with cannons, killing several of the guards before charging in to attack the remaining guards. When Takimi goes to kill the ambassador, Kenshin stops him and the two begin fighting, while Sanosuke deals with the other rebels and Saito takes out the cannons. Tomono, seeing his plan falling apart, orders his men to start shooting and ends up killing several of the rebels, including Musashino when he shields Takimi, and Takimi and the others escape. When Kaoru, Toki, and Yahiko arrive at the scene, Yahiko discovers the body of Musashino and cries for his friend while Kenshin stands amidst the bodies and recalls what brought him to give up killing people. When the location of Takimi and the rebels is discovered, Kenshin approaches the commander and asks that he be allowed to go in and talk to Takimi, in order to try and arrange a peaceful end to the fighting. Tomono doesn’t like it but the commander overrules him and allows Kenshin to proceed. Kenshin and Sanosuke head to the rebel’s hideout and after Sanosuke has a brief fight with some of the rebels, Kenshin gets his audience with Takimi. Kenshin tries to get Takimi to surrender but Takimi refuses, saying he doesn’t blame Kenshin for his friend’s death but does blame him for what the government has done since then. The two men start fighting and Takimi appears to have the upperhand, saying he had memorized Kenshin’s fighting style since he first saw it years ago. Kenshin is finally able to defeat Takimi but when Takimi tries to continue fighting, Toki runs up and embraces Takimi and begs him to stop fighting. Takimi agrees to give himself up but before he can, Tomono and some of his men appear and begin firing into the crowd of rebels. Several of them are killed, including Takimi as he tries to shield Toki but before anyone else can be killed. Kenshin renders Tomono unconscious. The commander orders his men to stand down and tend to the wounded while on a hill overlooking the hideout, Saito confronts the man that was working with Tomono and kills him. Some time later, Kenshin goes to see Toki and he admits to her that he killed her brother. Toki accepts Kenshin’s apology and says she plans on taking some of Takimi’s things and burying them next to her brother, and says that she hopes to see Kenshin and the others again.

This was a pretty good movie all in all. I was disappointed that they did not get the same American voice actors from the TV anime to do the movie but I thought the voices for Kenshin and Kaoru were pretty good but Sanosuke and Yahiko’s voices were annoying. The story was good, using a recurring theme from the TV show of former samurai and other people dissatisfied with the current government trying to make changes and Kenshin and his friends trying to stop anyone from getting hurt or killed. The animation was very well done and had a mixture of dark and light tones and colors that did it’s own part in setting the tone as effectively as the story itself. If you are a fan of the anime or martial arts movies, you will probably enjoy this movie.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review

June 15th, 2017 Movie – The Lego Batman Movie

the lego batman movie

Who would have thought that one of the biggest movies to come out of 2014 would involve everyone’s favorite building blocks, or landmine for bare feet depending on your point view. Yes, The Lego Movie was a massive family hit so of course, a sequel was bound to come out. Today’s movie is a spin off of The Lego Movie, though the only  real reference is Batman talking about being a Master Builder. Still, the Lego Batman games are tons of fun to play and since this is a movie involving Legos and Batman, it is bound to be entertaining. So lets see how good it is as I watch today’s movie, The Lego Batman Movie.

The plot: As a plane full of explosives flies over Gotham, Joker and his men board the plane and plan on hijacking it as part of his master scheme. When one of the pilots says that Batman will stop him, Joker explains that he has gathered every villain in Gotham to help with his plan and he has taken out the Bat-Signal, so Commissioner Gordon has no way to contact Batman. Joker meets up with the rest of the villains and uses the explosives to fashion a giant bomb, which they attach to the base of Gotham City Power’s generator, and threatens to blow it up unless the mayor surrenders the city in 5 minutes. Faced with the threat of the explosion destroying the plates that Gotham sits on, sending the city plummeting into the dark abyss, the mayor agrees to meet with Joker but when she gets there, she reveals herself to really be Batman in disguise. Batman begins taking out all of the villains until only Joker is left but as Batman attempts to capture him, Joker says Batman can either capture his greatest enemy or save the city but he can’t do both. Batman tells Joker that he isn’t his greatest enemy, then lets him go so he can make it down to the bomb and disarm it. As the citizens all celebrate Batman saving them, Batman swings by the orphanage to make the orphans happy before heading home. Once he reaches Wayne Manor, Batman pretends to be ok with his life but Alfred calls him out and says that he is afraid of being a part of family but Batman dismisses the idea. Elsewhere, Joker is depressed about Batman not thinking he is his greatest enemy and complaining about how he doesn’t have any competent villains to work with. When he sees an interview with Superman, who had just sent General Zod to the Phantom Zone, he gets an idea. Bruce Wayne attends the retirement gala for Commissioner Gordon and while he is there, he is questioned by Dick Grayson, one of the orphans performing at the ceremony, on how to get adopted. When he sees Barbara Gordon, the new Commissioner, Bruce becomes infatuated and absent-mindedly agrees to adopt Dick. During her speech, Barbara begins telling people that they relied on Batman to stop crime but Gotham is still the most crime-ridden city in the world so she has a plan to take some of Batman’s idea’s and use them in the police force to make them more effective at stopping crime so that they won’t need Batman anymore. Bruce is upset at hearing that but suddenly, Joker and the other villains crash the gala. Bruce slips away and changes into Batman, then builds a robot suit to take on the Joker, getting in the way of Barbara as she starts to lead an assault on the villains, but Joker surprises both of them when he surrenders, and captures the other villains as well. The citizens celebrate the end of crime but Batman, not knowing what to do with his life now, spends days keeping watch on Joker in Arkham. Barbara tries talking to Batman, saying she knows he is up to something as well and that they should work together to stop him, but Batman says Joker is to dangerous to allow free and decides to send Joker into the Phantom Zone. When Batman returns to the Batcave, he finds that Alfred has locked him out of the computer and tells him that he needs to spend time raising his adopted son, which Batman had completely forgotten about. Alfred then allows Dick into the Batcave and he is shocked to learn that Batman lives underneath Wayne Manor. Batman regains access to the computer but finds he is too big to reach the Phantom Zone projector but when he realizes that Dick will fit, he decides to take him with him and allows him to wear one of his old costumes. Batman and Dick make their way to the Fortress of Solitude and Batman plans on distracting Superman while Robin sneaks in and grabs the projector. As Robin sneaks inside, Batman rings the door and when Superman answers it, Batman discovers that they were holding the Justice League Anniversary Party without him. As all of the other heroes are busy having fun, Batman sneaks away and guides Robin through the defenses so he can steal the projector. They then head to Arkham but Barbara catches them as they try to sneak the projector into the asylum. Batman and Robin fight off the guards and make their way to Joker’s cell, where Batman uses the projector on Joker to send him to the Phantom Zone. As Batman celebrates, Barbara locks him and Robin in the cells and says Batman probably gave Joker exactly what he wanted. Inside the Phantom Zone, Joker is met by Phyllis, the Phantom Zone’s warden, who tells him where the other villains are. Joker convinces the other villains to help him but they asks how he is going to get them out of there. Back in Gotham, Harley, who was in disguise, gets the projector and releases all of the villains from the Phantom Zone, including Voldemort, Sauron, King Kong, the Daleks, and the Gremlins. As the villains attack Gotham, Joker learns that Bruce Wayne is Batman and heads to the Batcave and transforms Wayne Manor into Joker Manor. Barbara releases Batman and Robin, saying they need to work together to save Gotham and, joined by Alfred, they work to build a Bat-plane and head towards the manor. Along the way, they are attacked by Gremlins and Batman tries fending them off on his own but Alfred and Robin proceed to help. When Robin and Alfred find themselves in trouble, Batman manages to save Robin but can’t save Alfred, so Barbara pilots the Bat-plane to save him. Batman comes up with a plan and they work together to take out Sauron but as they celebrate, Batman traps them inside the plane and orders the computer to take them out of the city while he continues on alone. When he reaches the Manor, he is confronted by Joker and the other villains and after Batman refuses to call Joker his greatest enemy, Joker sends him to the Phantom Zone, then grabs all of the bombs in the Batcave so they can blow up Gotham. In the Phantom Zone, Phyllis greets Batman and examines him to determine if he is a bad guy and Batman sees how he treated everyone. When he sees that Barbara, Alfred, and Dick had gone back to help him, Batman begs Phyllis to let him go back and save them and when she wavers, he asks for 24 hours to get all of the bad guys back to the Phantom Zone. Phyllis agrees and Batman is able to save his friends, then apologizes for how he acted. He admits that he was scared and says that he needs their help, and he has released the other Gotham villains, who Joker left in Arkham, to help as well. Batman gives Barbara her own suit so she can become Batgirl, and they work out a plan to defeat the Joker. Working together with Gotham’s villains, they grab the projector and start sending all of the villains to the Phantom Zone but the bombs detonate, splitting the plates underneath the city. Batman tries to get everyone to help pull the plates back together but he is unable to do so at first and Joker mocks him. Batman tells Joker that he is the reason that he puts on the suit and Joker, happy to hear Batman admit he is his greatest enemy, helps Batman save Gotham. As the city rejoices, Batman tells Robin that he has to return to the Phantom Zone and after revealing to Robin that he is really Bruce Wayne, he hugs Robin goodbye before heading towards the Phantom Zone. Batman finds himself rejected and Phyllis explains that he changed in order to save everyone, thus making him a good guy. Joker and the other Gotham villains leave and Barbara asks if they are really going to let them leave but Batman says that they will give them a 30 minute head start as the villains are no match for the 4 of them.

The Lego Batman Movie met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “The Lego Batman Movie continues its block-buster franchise’s winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny — and beautifully animated — family-friendly mayhem.” The movie referenced previous appearances of Batman in both live action and animated films and TV, which was honestly pretty funny, as well as several other film and TV franchises (mostly through their villains). The movie was a box office success, earning $310.9 million off of a $80 million budget.

This wasn’t quite what I expected but this was still a really funny movie to watch. The voice acting was really good, with Will Arnett doing a great job reprising his role as Batman, while Zach Galifianakis (Joker), Michael Cera (Robin), and Rosario Dawson (Barbara) were equally good. The story was a lot better than I thought it would be, as I honestly thought they might just do a full length version of one of the games, and did something that pretty much no other Batman movie has done before; actually give him some character development. The animation was really good and really liked how they mixture of real life and animation, mainly when Batman is watching relationship movies or when they are referencing “that weird phase in the 1966” and I personally found it hilarious that they used the Condiment King in the movie, as that was one of my favorite nonsense villains from the Animated Series. A fun, silly movie to watch no matter how old you are.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5


action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review, Uncategorized

March 20th, 2017 Movie – Justice League Dark

justice league dark

Now when I first heard about this movie, I got pretty excited for a number of reasons. First off was because it has Constantine in it and they got Matt Ryan, who was great playing the role in the short lived series, to do the voice acting for it. The second reason was because it has Swamp Thing, who I always thought was one of the more interesting, yet underused, characters in DC comics. So with two characters that I like in this movie, it only made sense for me to pre-order it. So let’s see just how good DC’s latest animated movie as I watch Justice League Dark.

The plot: In Washington DC, a woman believes everyone is a monster and starts running them down until Wonder Woman stops her. In Metropolis, a man threatens to shoot his family, believing they are monsters but Superman stops him only to learn the man has also killed his neighbors. In Gotham, a woman stands on top of the church and prepares to throw her baby off the roof, believing that she gave birth to the devil. Batman tries to talk her out of it but when she throws the baby, he manages to rescue it but is unable to stop the woman from throwing herself off the roof. Back at Justice League headquarters, the League go over what has happened and notice that the pattern is happening all over the world. When Wonder Woman suggest magic might be the cause, Batman gets annoyed at the suggestion and leaves but when he is shaving at Wayne manor, he temporarily blacks out and finds the name Constantine written in the steam on the mirror, as well as all over the wall of his bedroom. One week earlier, Constantine and Jason Blood are playing poker with The Demons Three in Las Vegas. When he doesn’t have enough money to cover the final bet, Constantine bets the House of Mystery and all the contents inside so the demons summon up a treasure chest of magical artifacts to match it. Constantine wins the bet after cancelling the magic that the demons were using to cheat and they attack him. When Jason refuses to help, Constantine uses magic to temporarily possess Jason, forcing him to summon the demon Etrigan to defeat the demons. After the battle, Etrigan changes back into Jason, who proceeds to punch Constantine and chastise him for letting Etrigan loose. Back in the present, Batman goes to see Zatanna after one of her shows and asks her how to find Constantine, as he knows they used to date. As they are talking, Batman is temporarily possessed by Boston Brand (a.k.a. Deadman), who tells Zatanna that both Batman and her need to find Constantine, before Batman kicks Boston out of his body. Zatanna agrees to help Batman find Constantine and along the way, tells him the story of what happened with Boston. As they head for the house of mystery, a tornado suddenly appears and Zatanna uses her magic to help protect the Batmobile as they make it to the House of Mystery and Constantine ushers them inside. Once they are safe, Constantine uses his magic to make it so Batman can see and speak to Boston, just as Black Orchid appears and Constantine explains that the magic of the house decided to give itself a body in order to understand humanity better. Orchid seems fascinated with Boston, commenting that he is just like her, and also reveals that Zatanna still has feelings for Constantine, which shocks Constantine and embarrasses Zatanna. After Batman explains what is going on, Constantine uses magic to see what had happened and Boston tells him that Rama Kushna, the Hindu god that gave Boston’s spirit the power to possess the living in order to seek vengeance, says that even the afterlife will be affected. Constantine wants to handle it alone, but says he could use Zatanna’s magic as well but Zatanna refuses to go unless they all go and Constantine reluctantly agrees. Constantine takes them to see an old friend named Ritchie Simpson but as they approach Ritchie’s house, they see a group of Shrouds there waiting to take Ritchie’s soul and Constantine chases them away. Inside, Ritchie is upset that Constantine isn’t there to apologize for what happened to him but only to get the Keshanti Key from him but eventually gives it to Batman. The group head to the hospital in Metropolis where the man Superman stopped is being held, and Constantine and Zatanna use the key to enter the man’s mind and look through his memories in order to find out what possessed him. Meanwhile, someone summons an excremental ( a demon made of fecal matter) to attack them and Boston and Batman do their best to stop it but it manages to grab the body and starts to dissolve it. Constantine and Zatanna find the memory they were looking for and Constantine grabs the fragment showing a strange ring before they leave the body and Zatanna is able to get rid of the demon. Unable to identify the ring, the group heads back to Ritchie’s place only to find him almost dead, with Jason Blood standing over him while the Shrouds are trying to collect his soul. Batman manages to revive Ritchie while Constantine captures Jason and they head back to the house. At the house, Constantine questions Jason and Jason says that he had gone to Ritchie’s to see if he had an artifact that could get him inside the House of Mystery. He then explains that one of the artifacts that Constantine won from the demons is actually the Stone of Destiny, a gem full of dark magic that was used by an evil magician named Destiny back in the time of Camelot. Jason, who was a knight in King Arthur’s court at the time, had died in battle fighting Destiny but after Merlin’s pet demon Etrigan defeated Destiny, Merlin bonds Jason to Etrigan as a precaution against Destiny’s return. Ritchie regains consciousness and identifies the ring as belonging to Felix Faust but Constantine is unable to locate him. With no other choice, Constantine takes the group into the swamp to locate Swamp Thing, who is convinced to help them locate Faust by Zatanna. Swamp Thing uses his elemental powers to transport them to Faust’s location but refuses to help them any further. Jason changes into Etrigan, who bursts into Faust observatory but Faust easily deflects the attack and summons three demons to fight him. When Zatanna enters, she finds that Faust has made it so she can not speak, thereby cancelling her ability to cast spells so while Constantine, Batman, and Boston face off against Faust, she tries to locate the object that is keeping her from speaking. She manages to find it just as Faust is about to kill her and uses her magic to save herself, then defeat Faust but when she goes to kill Faust, Constantine stops her and helps her regain control of her magic. Faust questions why they attacked him and Jason realizes that he is not the one behind things, recognizing the three demons Etrigan faced as the demons he and Constantine played poker against. Realizing that Faust could have had the Stone fo Destiny at any time, Batman says that Ritchie was the one that sent them after Faust, indicating that he is behind what happened. Back at the house, Ritchie awakens and reveals that he has the missing piece of the Stone of Destiny hidden in his cane and uses it to help keep himself alive. Black Orchid tries to stop him but he reminds her that Constantine said to help him in whatever way and uses her to get the other part of the gem. When Constantine and the others arrive at the house, they find Ritchie with both parts of the gem and saying he is now super charged but Constantine says that Ritchie has been played for a fool. Suddenly, the piece that Ritchie had used to save his life is ripped from his body and attaches to the main gem, and Ritchie is suddenly taken over by a reformed Destiny. Destiny blows up the house and heads off to the city in order to cause chaos so he can get stronger. Zatanna manages to save the group but falls unconscious due to all the magic she has used and Constantine places a charm on her to help her heal and keep her safe, then takes the others to fight Destiny. When they get to the city, they find people attacking each other and even the Justice League become infected, with John Stewart, filling in for Hal Jordan on Earth, attacking Batman. Jason summons Etrigan and attacks Destiny but Destiny uses his powers to separate Jason and Etrigan. Constantine uses magic to damage a tree near Destiny, which causes Swamp Thing to appear and begin fighting Destiny but Destiny is able to get the upper hand and rips Alec Holland’s body from Swamp Thing, causing him to revert back into swamp vegetation. Batman is able to defeat John Stewart and Zatanna arrives to defeat Wonder Woman, then keeps Superman at bay while Batman helps take on Destiny. Constantine has Boston inhabit his body, then allows himself to be captured by Destiny and taken into his protective sphere, where Boston then leaps into Destiny’s body. Boston is able to dispel the protective sphere before Destiny kicks him out of his body but when Destiny goes to attack Boston and Constantine, Jason Blood runs Etrigan’s sword through Destiny’s chest. As Constantine uses his magic to exorcise Destiny, Batman destroys the crystal to keep him from regaining his powers and Destiny is defeated, leaving Ritchie standing there and the Shrouds appear and drag his soul to Hell. With Destiny defeated, Jason succumbs to the wound he received back in Medieval times and dies. Constantine, Zatanna, and Etrigan take Jason’s body and bury it where his village once stood, then Etrigan disappears. Zatanna tells Constantine that she is joining the Justice League and that the have extended an offer to Constantine, who scoffs until she tells him Batman was the one that suggested he join. Constantine refuses at first but when Zatanna goes to leave, he stops her and says they can talk about it, then invites her back to the restored house for a drink. The two enter the house, where Black Orchid hands them both a pint and as they head inside, Boston is seen to have been watching them and he heads inside the house as well to spend time with Black Orchid.

I know that many of the DC animated movies have taken on a darker edge to them but this one took it to a different level. I don’t know how different this is from the comic series but this is a really good movie. The voice acting was really good, with Matt Ryan (Constantine), Jason O’Mara (Batman), and Camilla Luddington (Zatanna) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good and while I was glad to see that it ended with some magic users being added to the Justice League, I was sad that they killed Swamp Thing and Jason Blood (which essentially sent Etrigan back to Hell) as they had potential to be used a lot more in future movies. As much as Batman gets overused in movies (I know that may be sacrilegious to most but it is kind of true), I did like his use in this movie as he himself is closer to the darker aspects of humanity than most of the Justice League but he also helped keep things somewhat grounded. The animation was incredible, with the overall color scheme of the movie being pretty dark while the various magic used was bright, the contrast and effect that much more effective. A great movie to watch and a great way to showcase some under used characters.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review

March 19th, 2017 Movie – Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis

justice league throne of atlantis

This has been a weekend full of watching comic books shows/movies. Aside from the animated Justice League movies I have been watching, Iron Fist came out on Netflix Friday so I have been watching episodes of that while writing up these blogs. But I am not here to talk about a TV show, today it is about yet another animated movie. So, I have watched yesterday’s and today’s movie before but I chose not to buy them at the time. However, I had pre-ordered the latest Justice League movie, Justice League Dark, and after it came in, decided to go ahead and get the two earlier films in the shared universe. So let’s get right into the next adventure for DC’s greatest heroes with today’s movie, Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis.

The plot: In the depths of the Marianas Trench, the USS California is doing routine maneuvers when it detects human shaped objects approaching on sonar. The sub tries to avoid the objects but when they impact the ship, the captain tries to radio an S.O.S. before he and his crew are killed. In Metropolis, the S.T.A.R. Labs facility is being converted into the new headquarters for the Justice League. Cyborg is having a dream about being human but is woken up by his systems internal clock to find Dr. Sarah Charles there checking up on him after they removed his lung in order to improve his environmental systems. After she leaves, Steve Trevor, the government liaison to the Justice League, shows up to tell Cyborg about the missing sub. Cyborg says he will go investigate and Steve suggest he call in the other members of the league for help but Cyborg says that the other members don’t show up. In a bar in Maine, Arthur Curry is getting drunk after burying his father and starts talking to a lobster in the tank but when someone orders the lobster to eat, Arthur stops the cook from killing it and ends up getting in a fight with the men that ordered it. As the fight rages, Dr. Shin and his associate David are observing the fight and Dr. Shin wants to confront Arthur about who he is but David suggests waiting until the morning. Arthur wins the fight and releases the lobster back into the sea, unaware he had a second observer, an Atlantean named Mera, who watches him head home before diving into the sea. Back in the Marianas Trench, Cyborg finds the subs wreckage and discovers a hand print on the sub’s hull. Heading inside, Cyborg accesses the security footage of the sub’s wreckage but the footage is damaged. After learning that the sub’s missiles are missing, Cyborg is attacked by some unseen assailants and after getting stabbed in the shoulder, manages to get away and use a boom tube back to headquarters. Cyborg sends a signal for the other members of the League to meet at headquarters but Flash and Shazam are the only two members to show up so Flash suggests they go get the others in person. Flash goes to get Green Lantern from the Air Force base while Shazam and Cyborg use a boom tube to get Superman and Wonder Woman and are shocked to find the two heroes on a date. When he learns that Batman hasn’t shown up, Green Lantern goes to get Batman and catches some of Scarecrow’s henchmen that Batman was chasing but Batman chastises Green Lantern, as he was hoping to get information from the henchmen or at the very least, learn where Scarecrow is hiding. Back at Justice League headquarters, the members examine the wreckage of the sub and when Flash notices multiple hand prints moving in sync and Batman agrees, saying that it was a coordinated attack. Watching the replay of Cyborg’s attack, Wonder Woman recognizes the blade as coming from Atlantis and tells the others of what the legends said happened to it’s inhabitants. Shazam mentions a TV story about a professor and Atlantis and Batman takes Superman with him to go talk to Dr. Shin while the others try to locate where Atlantis is. In Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta are discussing their plan before the go to see Queen Atlanna, who chastises Orm for attacking the sub. Orm blames the surface world for his fathers death, though Atlanna says it was Darkseid, not the surface world, that killed the king and says that as long as she is queen, they will keep peace with the surface world. After Orm leaves, Atlanna says that Orm is not ready for the crown and asks Mera to bring her other son, Arthur, to her. Back on the surface, Shin calls David and tells him that he is going to go see Arthur and thanks David for his help, not knowing that David is Black Manta. After hanging up with Shin, Black Manta sends a squad of his men to kill Shin and Arthur, then pilots his sub towards Atlantis, where he disguises it as a human sub and fires the stolen missiles at the outskirts of the city, killing dozens of Atlanteans. At Arthur’s light house, Shin arrives and tries to speak with Arthur but before he can say anything, he is killed by Black Manta’s men. Arthur manages to fend them off for a while but when he is knocked unconscious, he is saved by Mera, who kills the rest of his attackers and takes him under water with her. Meanwhile, Batman and Superman arrive at Shin’s lab to find the place ransacked and Batman believes Shin is dead. When Superman finds a ripped up picture of Arthur and a letter from his father, Batman contacts Cyborg through his cowl and tells him to track down Arthur. In Atlantis, Atlanna is trying to reassure her people after the attack and Orm demands that they unseal the Atlantean War Plans that his father had made. Atlanna says that war would only bring destruction to both sides but agrees that it is time they made contact with the surface world and asks Black Manta to set up a meeting with the Justice League. In a hidden ruins of Atlantis, Arthur regains consciousness and Mera explains about Arthur’s mother, who had fallen in love with Arthur’s father but since she was Atlantean nobility and promised to the king, could not stay with them. Mera shows Arthur his father’s armor, which Atlanna had hidden for Arthur and has him put it on but Arthur removes the armor, leaving only the orange and green bodysuit and swims back to the surface, as he is overwhelmed by all of the information. Resting on an island for a few minutes, Arthur and Mera resume talking when they are suddenly attacked by Trenchers and are forced to fend them off. Flash spots them and radios the rest of the team, who show up and help defend Arthur and Mera from the Trenchers. After the battle, MEra explains to Arthur that it is Alanna’s hope that Arthur, being part of both Atlantis and the surface world, will act as a beacon to inspire peace between the two races, and Arthur agrees to go with her, along with Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Green Lantern. Meanwhile, Orm is upset when he learns that the Trenchers failed and when Atlanna enters the throne room, tells her that the thought of peace dishonors his father’s memory just as much as the fact that she bore another son. Atlanna says if anyone dishonors Atlantis it is him, revealing that she knows he attacked his own people in order to provoke a war. When she goes to leave and meet with the Justice League, Black Manta tries to stop her but is blasted away by her trident but Orm uses the opportunity to stab her in the back and kill her. When Arthur and the others arrive in Atlantis, they find it practically deserted and Mera learns that Atlanna has been killed and a surface dweller is blamed for the attack. When they go to see the body, Orm shows up, garbed as Ocean Master, and admits to killing Atlanna in order to follow through with his plans. Arthur tries to attack him but Orm uses the trident to easily overpower him, as well as Mera and the Justice League and trap them in cocoons, then orders Black Manta to drop the cocoons in the trench and let the horrors there deal with them. Orm then gathers the Atlantean army and leads them to attack the surface world, summoning a massive tidal wave to hide his army’s approach to Metropolis. In the trench, Arthur is able to escape the cocoon, due to his royal blood allowing him control of the magic, and frees Superman to deal with the monster approaching them while he summons a whale to grab the cocoons that the others are trapped in. When the others are freed, Cyborg contacts Batman and learns about what is happening so he uses a boom tube to get the others back to the surface and they race back to Metropolis. As the Atlantean army begins attacking Metropolis, Arthur, Mera, and the Justice League fight to stop them. At one point, Black Manta confronts Arthur and as he battles him, admits that he was the one that pushed Orm into starting the war, as he plans to kill Orm and take Atlantis for himself but Arthur summons a massive shark to rise up and grab Black Manta, killing him as it drags his body back into the ocean. Orm makes his way into the city and manages to defeat Mera, then takes on the Justice League single handedly. He uses the staff to summon lightning to change Shazam back into Billy Batson, then damages Cyborg and shorts him out when Cyborg defends the helpless Billy. Wonder Woman manages to disarm Orm but though she tries to prevent it, he is able to summon the trident back to him and defeats her, then Flash and Green Lantern. Superman attempts to stop him but, due to the trident’s magical nature, Orm is able to stab Superman in the chest with it and electrocute him. Arthur challenges Orm and the two begin fighting but Orm manages to overpower Arthur with the trident. Batman speaks with Green Lantern and learns that Orm killed Atlanna, then heads over to Cyborg and manages to use a taser to revive him. As Orm is about to kill Arthur, Cyborg uses his holographic projections to show the Atlantean army Orm admitting to killing Atlanna, causing the army to turn against Orm. Arthur manages to knock Orm out, then grabs the trident and speaks out to the Atlantean army, asking if they want a king who would cower and lie to them or one that would help bring about peace between them and the surface world. The Atlantean army listens to Arthur and stand down, as he embraces Mera and kisses her. Some time later, the Justice League is invited as guests to Arthur’s coronation and Batman says they need to solidify their team, as more threats seem to be popping up. Cyborg mentions having plans for a watchtower and Superman suggests inviting Arthur to become a member, Arthur agrees, feeling it would do good to restore relations between the two races if he was seen to be helping defend the world and Shazam suggests they call him Aquaman, due to reports on the internet calling him that and Green Lantern quickly agrees, though Arthur hates the name. When Mera tells him that an army of Trenchers was approaching the city, Arthur heads off with her, summoning an army of whales, sharks, and other sea creatures to help them fend off the approaching army. Meanwhile, in a special cell at Belle Reve prison, Orm demands to be allowed to speak to his brother when he is approached by Lex Luthor, who says he has a proposition for him.

I have to admit, DC stepped up their game with the animation on this movie. The voice acting was good, with Jerry O’Connel, Rosario Dawson, and Nathan Fillion doing a good job taking up the roles of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern respectively. I also liked Matt Lanter as Aquaman but thought that Sam Witwer was a little too over the top with Orm. The story was actually a little disappointing to be honest; as it felt like it could have been made into a decent stand alone Aquaman movie, but with the addition of the Justice League, it made it seem a little weak. That being said, I did like how they made the team appear able to work together a lot better than in the previous movie, but the final battle still showed them mostly going solo against Orm instead of trying to work as a team. The animation was a lot better in this movie and definitely improved on some of the character designs. Weak plot aspects aside, this is still a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

action, adventure, animation, movie, movie review

March 18th, 2017 Movie – Justice League: War

justice league war

Have you ever gone to bed feeling like complete crap and woken up feeling even worse? That pretty much sums up my day so far. Went to bed with a migraine last night and it has not exactly gone away, while leaving my head a somewhat befogged mess. Hopefully, today’s movie will help shake the cobwebs from me. Now years ago, DC Comics somewhat rebooted their franchise after the Flashpoint crossover arc. DC then decided to do something similar to their animated universe after their own movie version of Flashpoint came out. Today’s movie is the first movie that relaunches the Justice League and starts a new continuity universe in their animated franchise. So let’s see how the start things with today’s movie, Justice League: War.

The plot: In Gotham, a mysterious cloaked figure has been kidnapping people off the streets and Batman is considered the prime suspect. When the latest victim is grabbed, the figure is stopped by the Green Lantern, so the figure throws the woman off the roof. Green Lantern rescues the woman and then goes looking for the kidnapper, only to be blind-sided and knocked onto another roof. As the assailant continues to attack Green Lantern, it’s disguise is burned off and is revealed to be an alien in high-tech armor but before it can kill Green Lantern, he is saved by Batman. Batman questions the alien about it’s activities at the dock but it attacks him and he is saved by Green Lantern. As the two argue, Batman tells Green Lantern to shut off the light from his ring but it is too late as the police show to arrest them. The alien escapes, with Batman and Green Lantern in pursuit and it eventually ends up crashing into the sewers. As Batman and Green Lantern follow after it, Green Lantern questions Batman and is shocked to learn that Batman is just an ordinary guy in a costume. Batman smirks at Green Lantern and reveals that he stole his power ring, causing Green Lantern to lose his costume, and he figures out how the ring works. Green Lantern summons the ring back to him and is about to fight with Batman but Batman quiets him and points out the alien nearby. The alien places a device on the sewer wall then blows itself up, crying out “For Darkseid” before it does. After the smoke clears, Green Lantern tries to examine the device and is surprised that his ring can’t identify it. When Batman says it is alien, Green Lantern suggests it might be like Superman and Batman reluctantly agrees to go with him to Metropolis. At S.T.A.R. Labs in Metropolis, Dr. Silas Stone is studying another alien corpse and a device that was brought to them by the Flash. When The Flash calls for information, Silas says he doesn’t have any yet and says to call back later, and after hanging up with the Flash, he gets a notice on his phone about his son Victor’s football game but ignores it. At the stadium, young Billy Bastion sneaks into the stadium and watches as Victor Stone throws the game winning touchdown but Victor is disappointed to see that Billy is in the seat reserved for his father. After the game, Billy sneaks into the locker room and speaks with Victor after Victor helps him avoid the security guard but afterwards, Victor discovers that Billy stole his jersey. In Washington D.C., Steve Trevor takes Wonder Woman to the White House to meet the president but they find protesters gathered at the entrance and Wonder Woman is shocked to learn they are protesting her. Back in Metropolis, Batman and Green Lantern find Superman battling another alien creature and when Green Lantern gets involved, Superman believes they might be working with the alien, as Batman is holding onto the device they brought. Batman is able to stop the fight by calling out Superman’s real name, stopping Superman short and he uses his x-ray vision to learn Batman’s identity. Batman questions Superman about the device and Superman says it isn’t Kryptonian but the three are forced to run when the police show up. On the planet Apokolips, Darkseid learns from Desaad that the heroes are getting wise to what is going on and he orders Desaad to begin the invasion. Back on Earth, the device Batman is holding suddenly activates and opens up a portal, and hordes of parademons begin flying out and attacking the heroes. At S.T.A.R. Labs, the portal there activates just as Victor grabs it during his argument with his dad and the explosion severely injures Victor. As parademons fly out of the portal and begin grabbing the scientists, Silas, along with his assistants Thomas Morrow and Sarah Charles, grab Victor’s body and take him to an emergency shelter, where Silas uses the alien technology stored inside to try and save Victor’s life. Placing Victor inside a metal chamber, Silas injects him with nanites and activates the machinery to save him but Victor ends up flat-lining but then he suddenly regains consciousness as the metal cylinder is modified by the alien energy and nanites to form an armored cocoon. As the parademons enter the room, the Flash calls and Silas yells for help while protecting Victor when Victor emerges from the cocoon and kills the parademons, using technology absorbed into his new armored body to form weapons, just as the Flash shows up. In D.C., Wonder Woman gets tired of waiting for the President and walks outside, where she ends up eating ice cream with a young girl. When Steve goes to bring her back inside, parademons are shown to be storming out of the White House and Wonder Woman leaps into battle. Back in Metropolis, Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman are fighting off the parademons but Superman hears a communication about the capital being under attack and flies off, leaving the other two heroes to fend for themselves. Elsewhere, Billy sneaks back into his foster home, where he is confronted by his foster siblings Darla and Freddy Freeman about his sneaking out. As they leave, Billy sees a parademon crash through his backyard carrying a neighbor and when he goes outside to check, another one comes after him but he transforms into Shazam and easily defeats the parademon then flies off. Back in D.C., the parademons attack Air Force One as the president is evacuated and Wonder Woman manages to save him but one of the engines is damaged during the fight. As the plane is about to crash, Superman manages to stop it and safely land the plane and Wonder Woman becomes infatuated with Superman, who returns the attention. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Victor is horrified to discover what happened to him and yells at Silas about the only way he could care about him is to turn him into one of his experiments. Complaining about a buzzing in his head, Victor heads to the main lab, where he is able to speak to the alien device, known as a Mother Box, and learns Darkseid’s plans for the Earth. Victor absorbs the Mother Box into his armor just as Shazam appears with some defeated parademons. Back in the city, Batman and Green Lantern finish defeating the initial parademon force just as Flash, Superman, and Wonder Woman arrive. Victor and Shazam arrive soon after and Victor explains what is going on, just as Batman notices the parademons circling an area in the ocean where the water is on fire. As massive towers emerge in the city, Darkseid appears and heads towards the gathered heroes. Green Lantern rushes in to face Darkseid and is easily beaten and has his arm broken. Darkseid knocks back the other heroes, then uses his Omega Beams on Flash and Superman and while Flash is able to avoid them and use the beams to defeat some parademons, Superman is struck and taken prisoner. When Flash tells the others what happens, Green Lantern starts to go after him but Batman stops him, taking off his mask as he tells Green Lantern to lead the others in a counter attack on Darkseid while he puts on a coat and lets himself be captured in order to rescue Superman. Green Lantern regroups with the others and stumbles his way through a speech to get them to work together and they come up with a plan to blind Darkseid. When Flash asks about the parademons, Victor says he thinks he can send them back to where they came from and the heroes take off. Along the way, Shazam speaks with Victor, who calls himself Cyborg and is questioning where he would fit in the world now and Shazam says that his place is with the rest of the heroes. When the group reaches Darkseid, Shazam rushes in and is easily grabbed by Darkseid and the others are forced to rescue him, with Wonder Woman punching Shazam and telling him to stop acting like a charged. Refocused, the team manage to take out Darkseid’s eyes, with Wonder Woman stabbing him with her sword in one eye while Flash uses a crowbar to take out the other one. Back on Apokolips, Batman escapes his captors and makes his way to Desaad’s lab, where Desaad is trying to transform Superman into a parademon but Batman manages to stop the process, only for an enraged Superman to kill Desaad and his parademon guards and attack Batman. Back on Earth, the team is still battling Darkseid and Cyborg manages to access the Mother Box and open up portals across the world, which begin sucking the parademons into them. He then opens one close to Darkseid and the heroes work to force him through it but he is able to overpower them. Suddenly, Superman and Batman emerge from the portal to help fight Darkseid, while Shazam helps Cyborg by saying “Shazam”, summoning a mystic lightning bolt to help power him enough to close the portal after Darkseid is pushed through. Cyborg rescues Billy, who had transformed and was falling from the sky, and recognizes him as the kid from the stadium and Billy asks Cyborg not to tell the others his secret. When Cyborg returns to the group, Batman asks on if Darkseid will be able to return and Cyborg says that all of the other Mother Boxes were fried, then uses the one he has to rescue the humans that were taken to Apokolips. When a crowd of people approach the heroes, they wonder if they should leave but are shocked to find the people are applauding them. Some time later, the 7 heroes are gathered at the White House, where the President is honoring them. As he gives his speech, the heroes all comment about him thinking they are a team, with some arguing for continuing to work together while others say they have too many other responsibilities. When the President asks the group if they have a name, Shazam says that they are the “Super 7”, which brings about groans from the other heroes. Meanwhile, out in the ocean, an Atlantean sub surfaces and Ocean Master appears, holding the body of his father, and he blames the surface dwellers for the king’s death and says it is an act of war.

Now, since I haven’t really followed much with the DC52, I don’t know all of the details about the “new universe” but on the whole, I liked this movie. The voice acting was pretty good, with Jason O’Mara doing a great job as Batman, while the other voice actors did a good job bringing their own characters to life. The story was pretty good, but the way some of the characters came across was a little irritating, particularly Superman, who came across as more of an arrogant ass instead of the more reserved and humble character that he is mainly known for being. I did like that they put in Cyborg questioning himself, as that is something that was always an issue in the comics but didn’t always come to the surface. The tone was definitely a bit darker than most people were probably expecting but that seems to be the way today’s comics seem to be doing. The animation was a little different than what I am used to, with some of the characters seeming a little more angled at times than others, but overall, the movie looked really good. A fun movie to watch and a great building block for future movies.

Rating: 4 out of 5

movie, movie review

February 8th, 2017 Movie – Dracula: Sovereign Of The Damned


Now this is a movie I was highly interested in owning. See, I wasn’t alive during the main portion of Marvel’s “Tomb Of Dracula” comic run. However, I wound up going back and reading most of the issues due to the reemergence of three of the characters (Blade, Frank Drake, and Hannibal King) being brought back to be part of the Ghost Rider portion of the Marvel Universe. Then, a while back I was reading a list of “forgotten/unknown” Marvel movies and saw that there was an animated movie based on “Tomb Of Dracula.” Well, that was a movie I had to own so I bought it and now that brings us to today’s movie, Dracula: Sovereign Of The Damned.

The plot: Having been chased out of Transylvania by a group of vampire hunters, Dracula has made it’s way to Boston. In the city, he happens to stumble upon a Satanic cult that is offering a woman to act as a bride for Satan and Dracula pretends to be Satan and takes the woman, Delores, and flies off into the night. Taking Delores to the mansion he calls home, Dracula intends to turn Delores into a vampire so she will be with him forever but as he gets close, he finds himself entranced with her and unable to harm her so he flies off to get blood elsewhere. Dracula kills two women and a news story with an interview of the drunk who witnessed the attack is shown at the bar that Frank Drake is at. Frank receives a call from a woman, who asks him to meet her at the park and when he heads there, he meets Quincy Harker and Rachel Van Helsing. Quincy explains that they are direct descendants of Jonathan Harker and Abraham Van Helsing, and are sworn to continue the fight against Dracula and after some trials, manage to convince Frank to help them, as he is a descendant of Dracula. Meanwhile, the leader of the cult wonders why Satan has ignored them since accepting Delores and summons Satan, who tells him that Dracula was the one who took his bride. The cult leader wants to go after Dracula but Satan tells him to wait, as he has something planned for Dracula. While the cult wonders what Satan has planned, Frank, Quincy, and Rachel go hunting for Dracula, using a dog named Delijah, who is sensitive to the smell of evil. After months of searching, Frank believes that they have been wasting their time but Quincy believes he has narrowed down the area where Dracula is hiding. Meanwhile, Delores has given birth to Dracula’s son, Janus, and Dracula tells Delores the truth about who he is. Delores tells him that she knew the moment they met that he wasn’t Satan and believes that the bond of love they have will be enough to defeat Satan. Dracula then tells her who he was before he became a vampire, and how his actions in defending his homeland caught the attention of Satan and when he died, Satan brought him back as a vampire. He also tells her how he had learned of the cult, and wanting revenge against Satan for what he did, he planned on stealing the bride and turning her into a vampire but his love for her stopped him. Satan appears before the cult leader and tells them their moment for revenge is at hand. The leader sends out a carrier pigeon to Delores, with a message reading that they wish to give Janus a proper baptism so that he can receive Satan’s protection. Delores is worried that the cult leader will use the opportunity to get revenge on them but Satan says he will protect them but thinks they should go as the protection they are offering to Janus might be useful. As they head to the cult’s lair, they are spotted by Frank and the others, who plan on killing Dracula but are curious about Delores and the baby. When the reach the church that the cult gathers in, they realize that it is a trap as steel shutters engraved with crucifixes slam shut over the doors and windows. With Dracula weakened by the crucifixes, the cult leader tries to shoot him with silver bullets but ends up shooting Janus instead. In a rage at the death of his son, Dracula kills the cult leader and begins destroying the church. Frank and the others arrive and fight with Dracula, but he easily defeats them. As he goes to kill Quincy, Delores pleads with Dracula to stop the killing as it won’t bring their son back and Dracula flies off alone and rages into the night. In New York, a female vampire has been killing people and Frank considers going to investigate but Quincy says that he feels Dracula is still in Boston. They follow Delores as she goes to Janus’ grave and watch as she prepares to kill herself but she is stopped by a voice from heaven and a light from the sky falls upon Janus’ grave. In a cave in the mountains, Dracula sees the light and realizes that Janus is being brought back to destroy him so he flies down to stop it. Dracula arrives at the cemetery but is unable to prevent Janus from being brought back to life and transformed into an adult in order to destroy Dracula. As Dracula leaves, Delores pleads with Janus not to kill him but Janus says that that was his purpose for being brought back and flies off after him, while Quincy and the others approach and speak with Delores. Janus finds Dracula as he is about to feed and fights with him, showing that he has some powers to use against him, but Dracula manages to use his own powers to escape. When a dark cloud envelopes Delores and takes her from their home, Dracula sees this and follows after her, eventually finding her in the ruins of the cult’s church. Once there, they are confronted by Satan, who uses his powers to turn Dracula mortal but before he can kill him, Delores uses her hidden powers to chase Dracula away. Mortal now, Dracula heads to New York to try and find Layla, the female vampire in the area, and have her change him back to a vampire. When he gets there, he finds Layla and asks her to change him but she refuses, attacking him briefly before flying off. Quincy and the others see the fight and Rachel wants to kill him since he is powerless but Quincy says they have no right as he is mortal now. Dracula decides to head to Transylvania to regain his powers and unearths one of his vampiric minions but she refuses, saying that she serves a new master now. As more undead rise up to destroy him, Dracula is forced to run and takes shelter in a house with three children. As the undead break into the house, Dracula grabs a cross and uses it to fend them off and save the children. He then goes to face Torgo, who has become the new lord of the vampires and, due to the mark of the cross that was burned into his hands, he is able to defeat them. Returning to his castle, Dracula finds that he has regained his vampiric powers but is confronted by Quincy, who pierces Dracula with a silver spoke from his wheelchair. As Dracula pulls out the spoke and goes to attack Quincy, Quincy activates a bomb on his wheelchair, destroying both Dracula and Quincy, as well as the castle. Janus returns to Delores to tell her the news and as she embraces him, Janus is transformed back into a baby for her to raise, while the ruined castle of Dracula is said to be haunted by his ghost.

This was a pretty interesting movie, since it was basically an animated comic book. The voice acting was pretty decent, but over the top at times. The story was essentially taken straight from the comics, at least the ones I remember, but several of the names were changed from the comics, such as Delores and Layla instead of Domini and Lilith. The animation was pretty typical of the late 70’s/early 80’s Japanese animation, which actually worked as it made it seem like it was essentially the comic book pages coming to life. I wish it had some of the other characters from the comic in it but all in all, this isn’t a bad movie to watch.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5