After the polarizing “adaptation” from 2007, DC and Warner take another crack at the taking one of the most controversial and news making comic book storylines of the nineties and bring it to the big screen. With a little tweaks, of course. The whole of “The Death and Return of Superman” is compact, but it takes a good effort in streamlining the entire arc for a movie. The whole epic storyline spanned a ton of DC titles from Supergirl, Green Lantern, and Justice League, so Jake Castorena and Sam Liu have to squeeze it in to two whole movies, and they do a pretty great job of it, save for glaring flaws here and there.
Premiering in 1994, during a time where Disney was really trying to create series with mythos and complexities, Gargoyles stands out as one of company’s most ambitious animated series of the nineties, and a bonafide masterpiece of the decade. Gargoyles came with an unparalleled production quality that was just impressive all around. From an excellent score to a massive cast of voice actors (comprised mostly from “Star Trek” alums) right down to the amazing animation, Gargoyles was anything but a gimmick. The writers unfolded a complex mythos, and great back stories for each of the gargoyles (many of whom had their own strengths and weakness) all delivering an episodic fantasy with substance.
Laika has the ability to conjure up magic and unique premises that you can’t find anywhere else, and it’s why I think they’re bringing so much to the animation medium. While “The Box Trolls” isn’t their best title, it surely is a meaningful and heartfelt work of art that works as an entertaining allegory about the class structure and the idea of the dream of wealth and whether or not it can ever live up to our fantasies. Is there such a thing as too much? And it is really as ideal as we think?
When I was a kid whenever councils or committees tried to encourage kids to read, they always invented some kind of mascot, and for me it was Cap’n O. G. Readmore. Every Saturday morning after the cartoons, he’d show up to remind kids to read, and explain how much fun reading was. “The Pagemaster” has good intentions but deep down it feels disingenuous and an awful lot like a glorified Saturday Morning special turned in to a big feature. At barely eighty minutes in length, it’s a mediocre, dreary, occasionally boring film that you can’t help but feel like it could have been shown as a TV movie.
I don’t know what you can chalk it up to. Maybe it was the unfortunate illness of the late great Sid Haig that caused Rob Zombie to re-write a lot of “3 From Hell.” Or maybe he just didn’t know where to take his characters next. For a movie that takes great pains to explaining in detail how and why the Firefly Clan survived, it’s disappointing when “3 From Hell” does absolutely nothing new with them. Rob Zombie has a lot of windows to basically re-invent his characters and present some kind of social commentary, but in the end it’s just Zombie treading water with middling results.
Tony D’Aquino’s “The Furies” is teeming with potential but is a movie that seems to be hell bent on pissing away any and all entertainment value at every turn. Everything in “The Furies” could have used another draft, from the motives of the mysterious villains, the motivation of the protagonists, and of course the final scene that ends on the presumption that a sequel is coming up the pipe line or something.
“Avatar” was and is one of the most interesting animated epics on television in years. With an industry looking to bring nothing but disposable cartoons and lame comedy even years after its end, it’s rare that we were able to sit and watch animated epics. “Avatar” was engaging, beautiful, and often very emotional. As a person who fancies himself an animation aficionado, it’s rare to find excellent storytelling in the medium anymore beyond movies, and “Avatar” proved me wrong in many instances as a simple children’s fantasy series.
In 2000, the late great John Singleton’s mediocre reboot of “Shaft” seemed like a great vehicle franchise for Samuel L. Jackson to bring to life one of the most popular anti-heroes of the seventies. Then suddenly nothing. And there was nothing for a long time, no sequels, or follow ups, or even a TV show. Twenty years later, the fans finally get a follow up, but nothing more than a cheap, lazy, and ridiculous legacy sequel/soft reboot by Tim Story that completely undoes a lot of what we saw in the 2000 Singleton version, right down to the gritty crime atmosphere.