Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Odds n' Ends

Just a few random bits of news have come my way that I want to pass along.

First up, you might remember, a few blog entries ago, I was telling you about the upcoming DC Comics DTV movie Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.  Well, they have announced one of the big celebrity voices that is contributing to the film.

Summer Glau will be voicing Kara Zor-El/Supergirl!

Glau, of course, is a pin-up girl for all the geeks out there.  She first rose to fame as the psychologically scarred supersoldier River Tam in Firefly/Serenity, and was most recently seen as the good Terminator Cameron on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  This is her first venture into voice acting.

Other voices announced for the film is that the one, true voices of Superman and Batman, Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy, will be back. 

So, since we've had movies based on GI Joe and Transformers, are we ready for another movie based on a classic toy?

Lego is coming to theatres!

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who last directed the animated hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, have just signed on to direct.

Not much is known yet, just that their pitch for the property had to pass both the Warner Brothers brass and the higher-ups at Lego.  Lord and Miller also said that they didn't know if Warner Brothers wanted a pitch for an animated film or a live-action film, so their idea was for an animation/live-action blend.  And it got them the job.

No word yet on when it might be hitting theatres.  I'd still kind of like to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  The reviews were surprisingly good.  And, Lord and Miller were also responsible for that brilliant-but-canceled animated series, Clone High

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whales on the Move

So, if you're my friend on Facebook, you probably saw this picture I snapped last time I was in West Edmonton Mall, along with the distressing message, "Are they dismantling my favourite West Edmonton Mall landmark?"

Well, while listening to the super-awesome reporter on the most awesomest radio station in the world, I have learned that, yes, West Edmonton Mall's classic baleen whale statue/fountain is being dismantled.

Why they are dismantling it is answered in this second photo I snapped, but never posted to Facebook.

See all that pink in the background?  That's Edmonton's first-ever Victoria's Secret store opening up.  West Edmonton Mall officials figure that the space in front of Victoria's Secret will soon be filled with bored husbands and boyfriends waiting outside for their ladies to do their shopping.  So they're dismantling the whale to make room for more benches. 

However, West Edmonton Mall officials assure us that the baleen whale will be fully restored, and moved to another location in the mall.

I sure hope so.  I know that, some where, in one of Mom's old photo albums, there's got to be a dozen or so pictures of me coming out of that whale's mouth.  I'm well into my thirties now, and I still always have a penny to toss in that fountain. 

Here's the Edmonton Sun's report on the matter.

I'm learning so much about the whale thanks to all this news coverage.  For example, the proper name of sculpture is "Open Sea" and it was sculpted by Robin Bell.  It's sat there ever since Phase II of the WEM opened in 1983.

Here's the Edmonton Journal's report on the matter.

And I after I wrote this blog entry and posted it on my Twitter feed, some smarmy reporter at a big city news station had tweet me and tell me she had the story last week.

Here's iNews 880's story on the matter.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Is it that time of the week again? Why, yes it is! It's time for another episode of U62: The Targ!

This week, I've thrown together Episode 3.36: Divisible by 3. Topics this week include a review of Toy Story 3, some fond memories of the Ninth Doctor, and another part of my childhood dies.

Click here to go download it!

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U62: The Targ on Facebook

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Next DC Comics DTV Movie Is....

Alright, readers of the blog know that I've been loving the DC Comics direct-to-DVD animated movies.  The next one, Batman: Under the Red Hood, comes out at the end of July, and they've just revealed what the one coming after that one is.  Coming after that one is....

Superman/Batman: Apocolypse

See, last year's film, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, sold so well that the DC higher-ups ordered a sequel be made.  Seeing as to how Public Enemies was based on the first storyline in the Superman/Batman comic, Apocalypse is based on the second storyline in the Superman/Batman comics.

The plot is thus.  Turns out that giant Kryptonite meteor that threatened the Earth contained a surprise:  a Kryptonian life-support pod.  Inside, in suspended animation, is Kara Zor-El, the woman who will become Supergirl.  Superman leaves her in the care of Wonder Woman and the Amazons in order to help her adjust to life on Earth, but the evil warlord Darkseid abducts her and brainwashes her so she'll join the Female Furies -- Darkseid's all-girl hit squad.  So, once again, the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight must join forces to turn back Darkseid's invasion and bring Kara back from the dark side.

No word yet on who's in the voice cast.  I'm sure that'll all be announced in the bonus features on Batman: Under the Red Hood, because that's how they've done it in the past.  Superman/Batman: Apocalypse hits your favourite DVD emporium on September 28. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Toy Story 3 Review

I finally got my Toy Story 3 review written. In short, it's awesome.

Click here to read it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Is it that time of the week again? Why, yes it is! It's time for another episode of U62: The Targ!

For your listening pleasure this week, I present Episode 3.35: Groovin' on a Sunny Afternoon. The topics this week include my pre-anticipation for Toy Story 3, my early thoughts on the upcoming Smurfs movie, and I eagerly wait by the mailbox for my new obscure film scores.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pixar Keeps Making Me Cry

And I'm back from another day in the city.  As always, there were ups, there downs, there were adventures and misadventures, and it all revolved around catching a movie.  Pixar junkie that I am, I had to be there opening weekend for Toy Story 3.

Wow.  This is the fourth movie in a row that Pixar has made that made me cry at the end.  Would you STOP DOING THAT PIXAR?  I mean, yes the movies are good, and it makes you the money, and you get the Oscar gold and the good reviews and everything, but damn it all, stop being so good.

As I've blogged several times before, I love it when an animated film surprises me.  Usually, it's when they go down a corner that I didn't expect, and it makes me go, "Did they really just go there?"  The benchmark I always use is the scene in The Iron Giant where the character Dean says, "I'd like to apologize in advance for this," and then unzips his pants to let a squirrel out.

Well, there is such a moment in Toy Story 3.  It goes down a dark path at one point and you just can't help but think, "Oh my God.  This is...wow."  I won't say what it is, so as not be spoilerish, but you'll know it when you see it.

Essentially, it boils down to this.  Toy Story 1 + 2 were made by young adults who still played with toys.  Toy Story 3 was made by middle aged folks letting go of their children.  And it shines through. 

(And I'm sure the streak of Pixar films that make me cry will end next year.  Next year, they give us Cars 2.)

And of course, it wouldn't be a trip to the city without spending too much money on DVDs.  I've been on a bit of a Doctor Who kick lately, catching up on the new episodes online, straight out of England.  A couple of months ago, when my Blu-Ray player was new and exciting, I picked up the complete David Tennant specials.  And I started thinking, "Where's the love for the Ninth Doctor?  Where's the love for Christopher Eccleston?"  I mean, this whole Doctor Who resurgence started because of him!

So, when I saw Doctor Who: The Complete First Series on sale for $55, I knew I had to pick it up.  Actually, I thought about picking it up when I was last in the city 2 weeks ago.  Back then, it was on sale for $50.  This week, it was $55, and I thought, "Gee, I'd better snatch it up before it shoots all the way back up to its full price of $120."  So I did.  I'm looking forward to watching it.  I only caught about half the episodes in this series, so I'm finally going to be able to catch the whole thing. 

And, of course, a day in the city is always fun when you can make someone's day.  You know how sometimes, when you go to a store, the clerk will ask you, "Would you like to donate $1 to charity?" and when you say yes they give you this slip of paper you can sign that they'll hang up on the wall?  Well, I donated my $1 to charity today, and the clerk totally geeked out when I signed my name "Optimus Prime."

(I never sign my real name to those things.  I usually go with the first cartoon character that pops to mind.) 

And after that, it was time for the long drive home.  The long drive is good, because it gives me time to reflect on things.  For example, my Friday night movies. 

If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know that, when I was home for vacation a few weeks ago, I finally laid claim to all my old VHS tapes.  So, the theme for my movie nights right now is "Stuff I still own on VHS."  Last night, I threw in the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty.  I remember buying it on VHS all those years ago simply for the novel fact that it was the letterboxed edition.  Ah, the life and times of a home theatre snob in the mid-1990s. 

As I was reading up on the making of Sleeping Beauty, I stumbled across the fact that the titular character, Princess Aurora, the Sleeping Beauty herself, is only on-screen for a grand total of 16 minutes in the film.  Reflecting on that, I realized that Aurora really isn't much of a character.  She doesn't have any significant arc or development.  If anything, she's more like a McGuffin. 

For those who don't know what a McGuffin is, it's a movie term.  Alfred Hitchcock, who's generally credited with coining the term, described it thusly:  "It's the object that all the characters desire.  In heist films, it's always the necklace.  In spy films, it's always the papers." 

Think about it.  Prince Philip desires her for romantic purposes.  The evil queen Malificent desires her to use her as a tool of vengeance.  Her father, the king, desires to use her to unite two kingdoms.  And the three fairies desire to keep her safe. 

If anything I'd have to say that three fairies are the true heroes of the film.  They do the most ass-kicking as they keep Aurora safe, bust Prince Philip out of prison, and then aid the prince in the final battle against Malificent. 

But  yeah.  It was good to see it again after all those years.

And while I was doing some reading up on Pixar before heading off to see Toy Story 3, I came across some shocking news.  Newt has been canceled! 

Newt was an animated film that Pixar had in development.  A couple of years ago, they announced with much hype and fanfare that it was to be their animated blockbuster for 2012.  But now it's been taken off all the Pixar schedules, and when the animators are asked about it, they respond with "no comment." 

Newt was to be the feature-length directorial debut of veteran Pixar sound designer Gary Rydstrom.  (Rydstrom made his short-length directorial debut with Lifted, the short in front of Ratatouille.)  It was to follow the adventures of a rare blue newt who discovers he is the last of his kind, and lives in a laboratory.  Then one day, the scientists find the only remaining female newt, capture her, and lock her up with the male newt in the hopes they'll repopulate the species.  One problem though:  it's hate at first sight.  Will they fall in love and save their species?

I wonder why this fell apart.  Maybe because it sounds an awful lot like Rio, the next one from Blue Sky Studios coming out next year.  Just replace with newts with parrots and the laboratory setting with the lush rainforests of Brazil, and they become strikingly similar. 

Oh, well.  Hollywood archives are full of animated films that fell apart in pre-production.  This isn't too shocking.  It's just odd, giving all the hype that surrounded the project's announcement. 

And I'm about all rambled out for this Saturday! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Catching up on Trailers

So, there's a few trailers for some animated movies that have caught my eye, and I thought I'd take a minute today to share them.

First up, the latest from Blue Sky Studios, Rio. Between the titans that are Pixar and Dreamworks, Blue Sky is trying really, really hard to play in the same leage. And they're getting close. Their biggest cash cow, the Ice Age franchise, shows how they're developing in their animation quality, but they still have some ways to go before they reach a Pixar-level of storytelling.

Some in the know say that Rio is going to be their long-awaited break into the big leagues. The director, Carlos Saldanha, is Brazillian, so this film has been a labour of love for him. While the animation looks spectacular, the plot sounds fairly routine. A rare bird lives in a zoo in the USA, and believes that he is the last of his kind. When a news report says that a female of his species has just been discovered in Brazil, he flies south to meet her, and has all kinds of wacky misadventures as he experiences the wild for the first time.

Next up, we have Legend of the Guardians. This is one of thos collaberations that came out of left field. Seriously. From the makers of Happy Feet and the director of 300. And what did they give us? 300 Owls. An epic tale of a small village under seige by an evil army, so a group of young warriors heads off on a quest to find some mythical warriors to help them out. And it's all owls. Apparently, this is based on a best-selling children's book. While this trailer does look spellbinding, the images of owls in battle armor does look some what ridiculous to me. They should have skipped the photorealism and cartooned it up a little more.

And lastly, we come to The Smurfs. As you know, fair readers of this blog, I've been mildly amused by this live-action movie version of the classic cartoon. When I first heard it would be from the director of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, I was frightened. But when I saw the first pictures of Hank Azaria as Gargamel, I though that maybe, just maybe, there would be enough goofy charm to make a halfway decent film.

Well, the first trailer just went online, and I'm weeping for humanity. A little bit of my childhood died when I saw this.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Movie Quick Hits

So, I keep lamenting how 2010 is looking to be a lame summer for movies. There's really only two I'm looking forward to. The first was Iron Man 2. Came out a month ago, and was the first movie of 2010 that didn't disappoint me. The second one comes out this Friday, and that's Toy Story 3.

I'm so glad that Pixar finally put this clip online. This bit of animation was prepared for the San Diego ComiCon last year, and gives out introduction to Pixar's take on Barbie's longtime boyfriend, Ken. Long story short: Ken is a swingin' metrosexual playboy who is deeply bitter at being thought of as a girl's toy.

Toy Story 3 in theatres this Friday. And, apparently, in front of it, we're going to get our first teaser for the upcoming live-action movie version of The Smurfs. In anticipation of that teaser, Paramount has just released the first image of the CGI Smurfs.

I'm still mildly curious about this live-action film. As already said, the plot involves the Smurfs being accidentally transported to modern-day New York, with Gargamel hot on their heels and still wanting to caputre the Smurfs for his own nerfarious purposes. The words that make me shudder, though: "From the director of Scooby-Doo and Beverly Hills Chihuahua."

It's still on track for an August 2011 release.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review -- The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!

I once read the statistic that 60% of all DVDs sold contain straight-to-DVD productions.  I scoffed at that statistic, until I took a look at my own DVD library and realized I've got quite a few.  The bulk of my straight-to-DVD movies tend to be the animated fare based on superheroes I like.  I've been debating whether to review my latest straight-to-DVD purchase here on the blog, but since I have for every other straight-to-DVD film I've ever bought, I figured I should maintain consistency.  So, let's take a look at....

The Drawn Together Movie:  The Movie!

Directed by Greg Franklin

Starring the voices of Tara Strong, Cree Summer, Adam Carolla, Jess Harnell, Abbey DiGregorio, James Arnold Taylor, Jack Plotnick, Vernon Wells, and special guest star Seth MacFarlane as I.S.R.E.A.L. 

Backstory:  So, Drawn Together was this cartoon that was a pretty minor hit a few years back.  A spoof of reality TV shows, the premise was a whole bunch of animated characters from different genres of cartoons (superhero, Disney princess, Internet flash cartoons, anime, etc) were all thrown together into a house, put through challenges, and your typical reality TV stuff.  I explained that to my brother, and he summed it up thusly:  "So, it's The Surreal Life with cartoon characters."  It was Comedy Central in the USA, the Comedy Network here in Canada.  I watched it, and I loved.  It's rude, crass, racist, sexist, gross, and oh so funny.  It was canceled a few years back after 3 season, but had enough of a following to create a straight-to-DVD movie to end it properly. 

Plot:  One day, Foxxy Love realizes she can swear with out having it bleeped out, and this leads her to discover that Drawn Together has been canceled.  It turns out they've been living their lives for the past few years with no one watching them on TV.  When they seek answers from the show's producers, the head of the network is angered to discover that the characters were never erased, and dispatches the giant killer robot I.S.R.E.A.L. to erase the Drawn Together gang once and for all.  The characters go to the cartoon character that replaced them, the Suck my Taint Girl, for help.  The Suck My Taint Girl reveals that the main reason why they were canceled is because their show had no point.  If they can finally find a point, perhaps the show will get back on the air.  So, the characters embark on a quest to Make-a-Point Land to get a point from the Make-a-Point Wizard, with I.S.R.E.A.L. hot in their tale, determined to erase them once and for all.  And along the way, the characters learn a shocking truth about their existence.

What I Liked:  Well, free from TV censors, needless to say, nothing is bleeped out or pixellated.  Everything that made the show so funny is here.  It's the kind of comedy where you feel guilty about laughing afterwards.  And there is one particularly great gag where the characters get stuck in a corner, so they decide to listen to the DVD running commentary to find a way out. 

What I Didn't Like:  The show really did work better in 22 minute installments.  At 75 minutes, the standard length for a straight-to-DVD animated film, it really does seem to drag in some places.  Still not exactly sure why they needed Seth MacFarlane in there, as I'm not sure what his contribution was.  And, like a lot of shock humour, it probably won't have much replay value. 

Final Verdict:  If you're a fan of the TV show, you'll get a charge out of it.

3 Nibs

DVD Bonus Features:  For bonus features, you get featurettes on the making of the movie, interviews with the voice cast, deleted scenes, a running commentary with the show's creators, and bonus scenes in 3D.  3D glasses aren't included, though, so it also has a tutorial on how to make your own 3D glasses.  I haven't tried the 3D scenes yet, so I don't know if it actually is in 3D, or just a very elaborate gag.  

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

Another week means I'm pumping out a new episode of U62: The Targ!

This week, I threw together Episode 3.34: Summertime Fun! I run through some summertime activities, I rant about Ninja Turtles, and I remember the good ol' days of VHS.

Click here to go download it!

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tangled Trailer

Well, we finally have our first look at Disney's latest animated epic, Tangled. And, like a lot of Disney animated films these days, it's had a long and dramatic journey to finally get to the big screen.

We have to go back in time around 10 years or so. Disney was starting to wind down on their traditionally animated films and starting to gear up on computer animated films. And while some impressive computer animation was being done, none of it really sat too well with veteran Disney animator Glen Keane. As amazing as the computer animation was, there were still some things that you could do in traditional animation that you could not do in computer animation. So, Keane became a man on a mission. He wanted to push computer animation to the point where it could do those things that traditional animation could do. Keane wanted to make computers as "pliable as the pencil," and have a film that looked like a "three-dimensional drawing."

Since fairy tale adaptations have always been the bread and butter of Disney's animated pantheon, Keane chose to adapt Rapunzel. Disney had been toying with the idea of doing it for some time, so why not?

However, the plot of the film underwent many, many revisions. Thanks to the popularity of Shrek, it seems as though you can't have a straight fairy tale adaptation any more...they have to be sarcastic, self-referential, and self-parodying. Hence, the first pass was called Rapunzel Unbraided, and was going to follow the misadventures of two cynical teenagers who are forced to reenact the tale of Rapunzel when they anger an old witch. Man, that title and premise just scream Shrek ripoff.

Here's how long this film has been in development...that picture is some old Rapunzel Unbraided concept art I downloaded back in 2004.

A few more revisions, and the plot was going to be a more conventional retelling of the Rapunzel, with a few more modern touches.

And Keane, he wasn't letting up. He wanted the film to have a lush, vibrant look. He said he wanted to the film's visual style to be based on the classic painting The Swing, and rumor has it the painting was converted into computer animation as a test.

However, all of this pushing began to take its toll. Keane had to step down from the project in 2008, citing "non-life-threatening health issues." I'm sorry, but putting "non-life-threatening" in front of "health issues" doesn't make it sound any less scary. The directors now are Nathan Greno and Byron Howard, with Keane still on board as an executive producer.

And along with the directorial change came some casting changes. It was originally announced that Kristen Chenowith would be voicing Rapunzel, but when the new directors came on board, Chenowith was replaced with actress/pop star Mandy Moore. I was kind of disappointed by that...I found Chenowith to be incredibly adorable on Pushing Daisies, playing lovelorn waitress Olive Snook.

And, of course, silly studio politics came into play as well. Earlier this year, the Disney beancounters insisted that the film's name be changed from Rapunzel to Tangled. Why is this? Well, Disney's last animated film, The Princess and the Frog, actually underperformed at the box office. The beancounters figure that this was because the film's advertising emphasized princesses too much, thus making little boys not want to see. So, they changed the title to Tangled to downplay the whole princess thing and maybe more boys will go see it. I tell ya, demographics will get you every time.

So, will this long, 10-year journey to the big screen finally be worth it? We'll know when it hits theatres this November.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Latest Targ's Up!

U62: The Targ -- My podcast

I'm back from my one week of vacation! And I come armed with a new episode of U62: The Targ!

I'm going to hit you with Episode 3.33: Mountain Mix. I play for you exactly what a "mountain mix" is, and I also talk about some unexpected fandoms and contemplate which DVDs I should upgrade to Blu-Ray.

Click here to go download it!

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Turtle Origins

I love it when I happen into a stroke of luck, that happens to bring a quest to an end.  Just a couple of days ago, I ran into such a stroke of luck.  There's this one particular DVD I've been after.  It's been out of print for a while.  I thought about special-ordering it online, but never got around to it.  Most of my favourite DVD emporiums wanted too much money for it.  And there I was, in Canadian Tire the other day, and I found it in a discount bin.

What DVD is it?  This little gem.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 1!

Yup, this is the original, 1980s cartoon.  See, what some people may not remember is that Ninja Turtles, much like its fellow 1980s 'toon G.I. Joe, began its run with a 5-episode miniseries.  This DVD contains that 5-episode miniseries.  In this miniseries, you get to see the origins of the Turtles, the origin of the Shredder, the origins of Bebop and Rocksteady, the origins of Krang...this is where it all began.

When it comes to the original TMNT 'toon, those first 5 episodes are the ones that I am most nostalgic for.  I remember being just 10 years old, visiting my grandparents in Red Deer, who had this magical thing called "cable TV" which meant they got a heck of a lot more channels.  I was watching this new channel called "YTV" which was nothing but kids shows, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came on.  For those who want a quick primer in basic cable history, TMNT was actually a launch title on YTV and was a mainstay in their lineup until 1991 or so.  But I digress.

What I saw was the fifth and final episode of the original miniseries, and what I saw just blew my mind.  Compared to G.I. Joe and Transformers and He-Man, TMNT just seemed so...different and original.  I couldn't help but get sucked in.

Two years later, 1989, my family finally got cable TV, and along with it, YTV.  TMNT was on every night at 6, and my brother and I often implored our parents to let us watch it instead of the boring ol' 6 o'clock news.

And then, in the fall of 1990, TMNT was plucked from syndicated obscurity and became the lynch pin in the CBS Saturday morning lineup, thanks to the overwhelming success of the live-action movie.  I remember that well, because I was still working as a paperboy at the time, and had begun reading the newspaper every morning, and there was actually a huge write-up about that in the paper about TMNT being picked up by the networks.  Following suit, CFRN added it to their Saturday morning lineup, and that's when all my friends who didn't have cable finally got to start watching it. 

There's not much for bonus materials on the DVD.  As a great contrast to the show's origins, it also contains the final four episodes of the show!  Can you believe that the original TMNT cartoon was actually in production and ran on CBS until 1996?  As I said, it kind of faded off of YTV around 1991, and I'm pretty sure CFRN stopped showing it around 1993 or so.  I remember stumbling across the final episodes on CBS when I was in high school, and only watched one or two.  For the shows final season on CBS, they decided to overhaul it and it got kind of weird.

The animation style changed.  It got all darker and grittier and Batman: The Animated Series-ish.  Shredder and Krang were permanently banished to Dimension X, and the new archenemy of the TMNT was an alien warlord named Lord Dregg.  Lord Dregg activated a "hypermutation" in the Turtles that essentially turned them all into Hulks.  Literally.  When the Turtles got angry, they would grow in size and gain superstrength.  They were also joined by a Rick Jones-like kid who was similarilly "hypermutated" and would turn into a Hulk-like creature when he got angry.  Like I said...really weird.

But yeah.  Looking into it online, pretty much off the original TMNT is now on DVD, save for those final seasons with Lord Dregg. 

After watching that DVD, I got all hungry for more Ninja Turtles.  I was recently home for a bit of a vacation, and while I was there, I finally claimed all my old VHS tapes.  If you follow me on Twitter, you know that a bit of a Friday night routine of mine is to pop one of my old movies into the DVD player and re-discover it.  For the next few weeks, the theme of movie nights will be "stuff I haven't upgraded to DVD yet."  And of course, right on top of the pile of old VHS tapes, is the first live-action film from 1990.  I popped it into the VCR and watched the first few minutes.

My God, it's been a long time since I've seen it.  I forgot it has that great, gritty, low-budget 1980s sci-fi look to it.  (Look at the first Terminator film for another great example of that look.)  I'm sure it was accentuated by the fact I was watching it on VHS.  Man, how come I haven't bought this on DVD yet?  It was released on Blu-Ray last year...apparently, on Blu, the resolution is so high you can actually see the performers inside the suits when the Turtles open their mouths. 

I know why I haven't upgraded it to DVD yet.  The original live-action film is high on my list of films where I'm holding out for a special edition packed with bonus features.  Even when it was released on Blu-Ray last year, in a highly-touted "25th Anniversary Edition," there were NO bonus features on the DVD.  What do I want for bonus features?  How about a running commentary with the film's director, Steve Barron, and the creators of the TMNT, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird?  How about a massive featurette about the creation of the animatronic turtles?

I said this when the film came out in 1990, and I still believe it 20 years on:  those animatronic turtles represented a gigantic leap forward in animatronics for film.  Built by Jim  Henson's Creature Shop.  They were the last animatronic creations that Jim Henson personally had a hand in building before his untimely death in 1990.  Before TMNT, animatronics like that were manipulated by a massive series of cables leading to the puppeteers off camera, and the cables were cleverly hidden in the set.  When Jim Henson's Creature Shop got the contract to bring the Ninja Turtles to animatronic life, they looked at all the martial arts stunts the animatronic suits would be doing, looked at all the cables, and said, "OK, we're going to have to make all this stuff wireless."  And they did.

And while I'm putting together a wish list like this, I'm starting to love my obscure film scores.  How about if someone out there puts out John Du Prez's score for the film?  As part of that "gritty, low-budget, 1980s" look, the entire score is on synthesizers.  And while I'm ranting Du Prez's film work, I wouldn't mind his score for UHF, either.

But anyway, it's been fun reminiscing about this chapter of TMNT.  A year ago, it was announced the Nickelodeon just bought the "global rights" to TMNT, meaning they can now adapt it to every other medium.  A new movie is in development...rather than being all animated, or with animatronics, it'll be live-action, with the Turtles being animated.  A new cartoon is in development.  And a new chapter will begin.

Not bad for a low-budget parody of Daredevil that was thrown together one drunken night by a couple of starving artists desperate to break into comics.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

And the new Transformers girl is....

Well, the world has been all a twitter the past few weeks asking one question:

Who's going to replace Megan Fox in Transformers 3?

For those who've been out of the loop, around a month ago, the world was shocked to learn that Megan Fox would not be returning to the role that made her famous...Shia LeBeouf's girlfriend in the Transfomers films.

There's still no clear reason as to why Megan Fox isn't coming back. She says she quit...Transformers director Michael Bay says he fired her. The one thing we all know was that they just did not like each other. Heck, last year, Megan Fox even went on the record as comparing Bay to Hitler.

So, it was a bit of a schock, but somewhat expected, when it was announced that Megan Fox would not be back for the Autobots waging their third battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons. And for the past month, every pretty young thing in Hollywood has been rumored to be the new "Transformers girl."

Well, today, it was officially announced that it will be...Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a model who's been modeling since 2003. Since 2006, she's modeled exclusively for the Victoria's Secret catalogue. This will be her first acting role ever.

If it's like how Transformers made Megan Fox a star, expect this face to grace *every* magazine cover when Transformers 3 hits theatres next year.

Now, we can get back to more important issues for Transformers 3...like getting Frank Welker to voice Megatron.