Thursday, June 27, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Swamp Thing- 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'

Another week of freaky stuff in the Swamp.  Just your average Thursday in some places...
While out Gator Hunting, a corpse seems to attack a man after falling from a tree.
The next day, he freaks out when he 'sees' a snake on his arm.  He mutilates himself trying to kill 'it.'
Meanwhile, Abby studies a sample of Swamp Thing's DNA.  Woodrue sees it too (without context), which is probably not going to end well.
Elsewhere, Xanadu warns of a looming darkness.  Yes, they have her say 'A Storm is Coming.'

As more people get infected and see dark nightmares come to life, can the pair solve the problem before anyone else gets hurt?

To find out, stream the Show.  Given it's Box Office take, they'll probably toss Shazam on there any day now.
An interesting and dark Episode.  The main Plot involving a pathogen that makes you freak out was interesting.  The key here is to find a balance between magic and science.  For this to work, it has to be somewhere in the middle.  Too much magic and Abby can't help.  Too much science and it gets boring.  It is a tricky thing, no?  Right now, everything works.  In place of a true monster, we get people's freaky visions- a fair replacement.  Swamp Thing is used sparingly here, which is also good for balance.  If he's just always hanging out, you get used to him and that's no fun.  Balance is again the key, as some of the 1990's Show Episodes would have him just kind of appear at the beginning, say 2 lines and then vanish until the wrap-up.  So yeah, don't do that either.  They continue to build the Plots moving forward in a slow, steady way.  I hope you made these 10 Episodes count!  The Show continues to be good, which- as noted last week- makes me happy and sad.  I'm right there with you, big guy!
Next time, the mystery deepens.  Is the guy from Sharknado going to be evil?!?  See you then...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Immediate Response: Godzilla- King of the Monsters (2019)

When my plans for tonight, I said to myself 'Use that free Ticket Credit' instead.  So I did.
The Good
* The Movie is big and epic.  In other words, its what the 2014 Film should have been.
* They balance the human Characters and the giant Monsters pretty well, giving them both big moments.
* The stakes are both big and small- which is nice.
* The Action is massive and exciting.
* The Movie looks great

The Bad
* There's definitely too much here.  Too many Characters and Monsters for the Film to keep track of.
* Many things are left open- gotta love that Sequel Bait.
* It can be a *bit* melodramatic at times.

If you like big, spectacle-laden Films like this, see it on the big screen.  It's not perfect, but what Godzilla Film is?

'90s Trash?: Congo

At long last, I see if any of this as good to me as it was in 1995.  Today's Film is Congo, a Film I haven't seen in full since it was actually in Theaters.  It's one of those 'Always on Cable sometime' Movies though.  It's like Russian Roulette with some Films- the ending is just guaranteed to be better.  Having spent a whole $1 on this, will I get my money's worth?  To look at Congo, you have to remember where we were when it came out.  It's based on a Michael Crichton Book and one of those made 'all of the money' just recently.  You know the one, right?  Coming off of that, a bunch of Books became Films, including Disclosure, Sphere and The 13th Warrior.  This is one of the more remembered, but also forgotten.  In fact, the Film is most famous for a Mandela Effect moment.  It's also remembered as 'That Film with Bruce Campbell in it for 5 minutes.'  Somehow the Studio rejected him as the Lead (aw!) and gave him this tiny part instead.  It is the Film that made you ask the question 'Which one is the real Ape and which one is the guy in a suit?'  The Plot involves a 'talking' Ape, some hidden treasure, telecom technology and Ernie Hudson.  He really steals the Movie, which is hard when you consider that he's competing with Tim Curry doing a funny accent!  Is the Film good?  Will I still like it?  To find out, read on...
A Telecom Company has an expedition going to find some diamonds to something something make phones work better.
The Leader- Campbell- is seemingly-killed, although the Movie acts like you don't know that for some reason.
The lead women- Laura Linney- goes against her Boss- 'Mitchell'- and tries to save Bruce.
As such, she buys her way onto an expedition with Not Bruce and Amy, his 'talking' monkey (using sign language to create a form of text to speech via computer).
They team up with Ernie here and Curry (a Character not in the Book) to take Amy back home...but mostly find the diamonds!
After lots of shooting and adventure, they find the hidden place known as King Solomon's Mines.  What's it secret?
They trained gray Gorillas to be the Guards...only to be killed by them and the City lost.
Linney finds the diamond to power this Film's Chekhov's Gun- a laser that cuts up the Gorillas!
They escape the Volcano- which erupts with dramatic timing- and Amy finds her home, leaving the survivors to fly away in a balloon.

Those eyes...I mean, The End.
A weird and kind of fun Film.  Is it good?  No.  The Plot is all sorts of a mess.  We have a Primatologist and Amy.  We have Linney working for a Tech Company.  We have Curry looking for a Lost City.  We have Ernie Hudson and company just trying to survive.  There's too much going on, but also not enough going on.  They rush through the last part of the Story.  As such, they slow down a lot once they get into Africa.  Pacing is way off in this one, mostly in the middle.  They get to Africa in the first 20 minutes, but then don't get to the City until over an hour in.  Does that feel right?  The big draw here is the Special Effects.  I'll say this- hats off to the people who made those Animatronic Apes and Suits.  That said, they are 100% not convincing.  They look interesting, but never like actual Apes of any kind.  As I said, good work at creating things- just not convincing creatures of any kind.  The evil Gorillas look neat- just not real- and terrifying.  The Plot involving them is so weird that I now really want to see a Prequel explaining it.  Seriously, a group of people bred and trained attack Gorillas to guard a Mine- make that Movie!  In summary, Congo is a fun and silly Film.  If you remember it from the '90s, it won't hold up as well as a good Film...but it's just as fun.  Bonus points for a random Jimmy Buffet Cameo too.
Next time, I hop back to the '70s to see a Film related to a recent box office disappointment.  When in doubt, add more Monsters!  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

My Crazy Youth: The Time That The Ninja Turtles Teamed Up With Themselves (and Other Season 10 Adventures)

I still have a little bit more to say about this final Season.  I might as well milk as much content as I can out of my $1 purchase!

In 1996, we got the final Season of TMNT.  It was weird.  How weird?  Let me tell you...
Lord Dregg is the main Villain (carried over from Season 9).  He's a generic Space Tyrant with gadgets and the like.
Here's a recurring thing I hate from this Season- the Fake Out.

- Episode 1 begins with a big battle...only for it to be a VR Simulation.
- In another Episode, it begins with Michelangelo chased by Monsters...but it's a dream.
- Lord Dregg shows off his evil plan- to teleport parts of the Sun into the middle of cities- with a simulation!
- Another Episode begins In Media Res with a Turtles fight against Dregg...which is him watching a previous battle.  Is this Stock Footage from Season 9?
- Finally, it comes around when they use the same simulation footage- how did they know about it?!?- to trick Dregg into thinking his Sun-based plan worked.
Another thing that goes on too many times- transformations.  The 'Turtles are mutating again' thing seemed to end with Season 9, but comes back for the first 3 Episodes of Season 10.

They eventually cure the Turtles and their buddy- seen on the right.  More on him later.
Shredder and Krang show up for the big 4-Part Story that should have been the finale.  They don't get to do nearly enough and are literally gone between 'camera' changes in the final part.
Said 4-Part Story involves the Turtles fighting Dregg, him stealing their 'life essence' and their friend doing the only logical thing- contacting some Future Folk to bring older Turtles back to help.

Again- how is this NOT the Finale?!?
As for their buddy, he goes from being 'I can't be a Hero without powers' to 'I should go to College' to 'I'll just go to the Future with these guys.  Bye Forever!'

Bear in mind, this follows a ticking-clock scenario where the Past Turtles must return or destroy the Timeline.  Logic!
To highlight how anti-climactic the actual finale- covered already- is, let me tell you what the semi-final Episode involves- the Earth nearly being pulled into a Black Hole!

So yeah, this Show may have gone off the deep end.  Speaking of ends, here it is.  The End.
A dumb, silly time.  The quality is mixed here.  On one hand, they cheat ALOT (as mentioned) to create Drama.  The Plots are just all kinds of silly.  There is some real creativity shown in them, however, so I can't fault them for trying in that regard.  Dregg also has the power to make continuity loose as they are kicked out of a Nuclear Power Plant in Episode 2 and then just 'settled in' for Episode 3.  Another thing that they seem to have a problem with is stakes and keeping them.  Dregg is defeated and sent to Dimension X in the big Story.  After that, he's immediately back and can just teleport here with ease.  Later on, his ship is seemingly destroyed by the Black Hole...and he's just fine in the Finale.  That's what really hurts the Finale- closure.  Why should I believe that he's dead or defeated this time?  The Show can be fun when it gets out of its own way.  Seeing the Turtles team up to fight Aliens is fun.  The feel of the Show is unique- it's just not a TMNT Show anymore.  All in all, Season 10 is a glorious, silly mess.  As a bonus, it may have inspired Farscape...
Damn strange to see a Show completely change from the way you remember it.  It would be like if G.I. Joe suddenly fought Mutants...oh, right.

Monday, June 24, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Doom Patrol- 'Season Finale'

It's the final adventure!  Considering what's going on behind the Scenes at DC, it could be the last ever!

For now, it is just the Season Finale.  Let's see how it all ends...
A big secret about The Chief is revealed (in both words and flashbacks).  I won't SPOIL it, of course, if you're actually reading this to just get a summary.
In said Flashbacks, they flesh out the relationship between him and others in the Series.  An actual Scene with Cyborg's Mother- you have one up on Justice League!
In the aftermath, the team breaks up, but a new kind of team is born.  It's no Brotherhood of Dada though.
Can one final adventure bring the team back together or has too much happened?

To find out, watch the Episode.  You can also watch the 1990 Swamp Thing Show...or not.  Weird.
A weird, if uneven Finale.  So, right off the bat, I'll make my peace- I don't like this turn with The Chief.  I don't know why every mentor character has to be corrupted by later stories like this.  It's Charles Xavier Syndrome.  He's not a great guy overall, so it's not like you need this twist to make him more complicated.  This does *vaguely* address the idea that nobody seems to be aging in the main group, but just barely.  Was it worth it?  To me, no.  Getting past that, the character moments afterwards are nice.  Everyone reacts in their own way- nice.  I will give them credit for not forgetting one Plot Thread, even if they have to explain why it comes back in a pretty META way.  Mr. Nobody is like Deadpool on steroids, sometimes!  The final Scenes are quite fun and crazy.  If there was more of this all the time with this kind of focus, I'd have had no issues along the way.  All in all, the Episode is a strong and strange send-off.  Now the Show waits in Season Limbo...although there are worse places to be.
Next time, it's...oh, right.  Well, I hope you enjoyed the insanity and we'll wait to find out if this is cancelled or not!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Buy the DVD!: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- Season 10

As it is clear that I have the DVD, I need to more to sell you on it.

Let me show you a BONUS reason why my $1.00 was well spent.

Check out the Special Features...
Interviews with the Artists- meh.

What else is there?
Two free Episodes- neat!

Why are they there?

Well, both Episodes are missing from the proper DVD Releases- Season 5 and Season 4, respectively- and this is basically an attempt to say 'My bad.'

What a silly, silly way to do it.  You wouldn't even know they were there if you didn't look!

Considering that half of the Episodes still have the CBS 'Action Zone' intro on them, they clearly didn't do much work here...so this is no surprise.

Heroes in a half-shell,
Barely Trying!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

How to End A Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)

Ironically, this Segment about the end of something is actually returning after nearly a Decade!

I will be open- I was a HUGE fan of the Ninja Turtles as a kid.  I don't remember which one was my favorite, but it was probably Michelangelo.

What I also don't remember well is how the Show ended.  There's a reason: it died a long, slow death.

Fun Fact: the last Episode aired in 1996.  No, really.

Like most kids, I had moved on by that point, so I finally saw the last Episode of the Series in 2019.
Long story short: found a DVD at a Thrift Store and watched all of the Episodes (all 8).

Let's begin, shall we?
Some quick info...
- This is the infamous 'red sky' run of the Series.  Basically, they were told to be darker like Batman, so it was always night and the sky was red.
- Shredder and Krang were replaced with Lord Dregg, an evil alien guy who wanted to conquer the Universe.

This one begins right in the action with the team battling a random alien.  He talks about 'lasting 90 seconds' and then teleports away.
It's all part of Dregg's latest (and last) plan.  He was testing the aliens to find the best ones...
...for him to absorb the powers of.

At this point, he abandons his 'conquer the Universe plans' and just wants to kill the Turtles.
The suit gives more power than ever, making him nigh unstoppable.

Weirdly though, the physics here are bonkers.  He's giant, but a burst water pipe shoots him back like 100 feet and the gang escapes.
The only solution to stop him: retrieve Krang's robot body to battle Dregg.

It's actually a nice call back, even if they ruin it a bit later.  You see...
Their plan involves fighting Dregg until the suit will explode from using its power (the one Krang used 100s of times).

They use the super move of 'jump on his back' and toss him into a portal, seemingly killing him (for the 3rd time in 8 Episodes).
The only thing to signify that this is the end: Splinter declaring that they are now his equals.

Aw, that's...it?  That's the final Episode?  The f--k?!?
What a letdown.  To note, half of this Season- assuming that the DVD Set is accurate- was taken up by one big Story.  After that, they just give you a few one-off Stories and...that's it.  Why not do it the other way around?  That Story involved big battles, giant robots, the return of villains like Krang and Shredder, time travel and two sets of Turtles.  That's not your Series Finale?  Instead, you just have the villain go extra-mental and try to kill them with one last scheme.  With no clear proof that he's dead, Splinter just decides that they are fully-trained and he's their equal now.  As noted, Dregg escaped seeming death twice already this Season alone, so why does this one seem final to them?  It's probably not the most anti-climactic ending to a Show like this- as you could maybe argue that the threat is over-, but it has to be up there.  This is the culmination of 10 Seasons!  For contrast, Justice League Unlimited ended with a two-part battle for Earth against Darkseid, a threat so big that they teamed up with the villains!  Now imagine if that was the culmination of the first four Episodes and they ended with a random one-off (for instance, The Great Brain Robbery).  What a letdown, right?  The Show had been on a bit of a downward slide, to be fair, as it faced a changing market- with Batman and others- and tried to change too much to match it.  There's more silliness that I'll cover in a separate Post, but, trust me, this is a weird and dumb Season.  To cap things off, they end with...an exploding popcorn bag!
What a sudden, abrupt end.  Considering that this was Season 10, this sure is...well, anti-climactic.  Cowabunga?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Swamp Thing- 'He Speaks'

Another week of watching the end come to this Show.  Can I continue to enjoy its last weeks?
In the aftermath of the bloody conclusion, Swamp Thing/Alec has, well, mixed feelings about what he did.
Woodrue is put on the case by Avery (to cover things up) and must work with Abby.

The last time we got a live-action Jason Woodrue was Batman & Robin.  The last Animated Appearance was Batman & Harley Quinn.  THIS is an upgrade!
Liv looks into the situation from another angle, pressing a man who was apparently doing money laundering for Avery.
A strange creature is brought to life while all of this is going on.  Will this be too much to handle?

To find out, stream the Show.  You can also enjoy watching Titans and its....and I can't complete that sentence without laughing.
Another good Episode, which makes the pain of the Show's cancellation all the worse.  As a fan of the Character, I was obviously hoping for a really good Show.  Once I found out that it was cancelled, I was kind of hoping for it to do something wrong.  That may sound bad, but hear me out.  If it gets bad, I could rationalize the decision to cancel it easier and not be bothered.  Sadly (I guess), it's still quite good.  The Acting and Production Values continue to be solid.  As noted before, the Suit (surely enhanced by CGI in some way) looks amazing.  I've never really *disliked* a Swamp Thing look, although maybe the under-detailed one from the first Movie comes closest.  The Plot moves along nicely and Characters get little wrinkles to them.  Woodrue has some backstory to make him relatable, while 'Blue Devil' has some to make him possibly-evil.  Avery and his wife also have some interesting stuff to explore, which should be good.  We also get a neat creature- which I won't SPOIL- that fits in nicely with the Show.  Why do you have to be so good?  I'm just going to miss you more!  I'll take solace in enjoying the insane amount of detail put into this look, I guess...
Next time, more intrigue, creatures and, most likely, murder.  Here's hoping they paced this one correctly!  See you then...