Film DVD related reviews

DVD title: Destroy All Monsters
Productgroup: DVD
Destroy All Monsters - movie DVD cover picture
Yes, it IS widescreen

Despite the fact that the info says it is standard screen format, this is indeed the NEW dvd re-release by ADV that gives you widescreen. ADV realized their error by releasing it originally in standard, but this proves that they do listen to fans. The new widecreen dvd version of this classic Godzilla movie is a MUST for all fans of the genre.

Studio: A.D. Vision
Director: IshirĂ´ Honda

DVD title: RahXephon - Threshold (Vol. 1)
Productgroup: DVD
RahXephon - Threshold (Vol. 1) - movie DVD cover picture
A truly profound experience (Spoiler Free)

(This will be spoiler free, and as a result, brief. I don't want to give away a thing!)
I recently finished watching this series and I have to say that it has been one of the best viewing experiences of my life.
The animation is fluid, smooth, and breathtaking. Strategic placement of various backdrops and images enhance the story, whether by foreshadowing an event to come, or connecting an event from the past.
You can tell from the titles themselves that RahXephon has a very strong musical undertone, and in fact is an integral part of the story. The result is music that is haunting, stirring...memorable.
Above all else the characters are what makes or breaks a story - and these made it many times over. The diversity of characters ensures that you can relate and empathize with at least one, if not more. They are simple, complex, mysterious, or a little bit of each - tied together with the perfect voices, making these characters come to life. You find yourself laughing with them, crying in sorrow, in rage, in joy. You no longer see 'characters', but real souls going through myriad experiences and taking you along for the ride.
After finishing this story I find myself feeling as if I had lost a close friend, since I will never again be able to discover this world and these people for the 'first time'. I'm sure all of you have gone through a similar experience, and realized how profound it was, and how much you wanted to share it with your family and friends, anyone who would listen. RahXephon has been such an experience for me, and it is one I will not soon forget.

Studio: A.D. Vision
Director: Yutaka Izubuchi

DVD title: Rappaccini's Daughter
Productgroup: DVD
Rappaccini's Daughter - movie DVD cover picture
Never A Flower So Lovely

From a rented apartment overlooking an enchanting botanical garden young Giovanni (Kristoffer Tabori) observes a beautiful girl (Kathleen Beller) walking alone talking to the flowers. There is a reason why she is alone but by the time he learns the dark secret for her isolation he has fallen in love.

This 57 minute PBS Presentation was quite a pleasant surprise. Some may find it a little slow, but I found it absolutely hypnotic. Like a prolonged dream sequence, you are drawn against your will towards the enigmatic Beatrice. I've been an admirer of Kathleen Beller for quite sometime and I must say they couldn't have found a more beautiful woman for this role. She has never looked lovelier than she does here.

Studio: Monterey Home Video
Kristoffer Tabori

DVD title: Clue
Productgroup: DVD
Clue - movie DVD cover picture
So sexy

(...)Yvette the Maid and Lesley Anne Warren set the screen to red hot. Both these women look gorgeous in this movie and they steal the show from under Tim Curry's nose. Yvette overfills her uniform in all the right places and by the way who says youcan't hire good help these days??
The plot goes along pretty much with the game. All the characters, rooms, and weapons are there. Everyone had a motive and opportunity to kill Mr. Body (even those who enjoy monkey's brains for dinner!)
This is a comedy that can be watched countless times. I recommend it as a salute to the decade that had the best of everything, fashion, music, and movies. God I miss the '80s.

Studio: Paramount Home Video
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Eileen Brennan
Tim Curry

DVD title: Patlabor 2
Productgroup: DVD
Patlabor 2 - movie DVD cover picture
An intellectual masterpiece

Like the first, the Patlabor Police are on the move to solve problems set in the future of Japan. This is full of action and something children should not be allowed to see!

Studio: Ryko Distribution - Video
Director: Mamoru Oshii

DVD title: Record of Lodoss War - Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (Complete Series)
Productgroup: DVD
Record of Lodoss War - Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (Complete Series) - movie DVD cover picture
Great Series

I thought that this was agreat series it ends well and has a great story. I liked all the charecters and how the story was told. At the end of each episode there was a little skit that sorta summed up the show in a funny way. The end is a good end for the story and it is a good buy for the money. Any how like anime and this type of setting should definetly pick it up.


DVD title: The Lord of the Rings
Productgroup: DVD
The Lord of the Rings - movie DVD cover picture
Hoping I get it for Christmas, I already do have "The Return Of The King".

Long ago, in the early years of the Second Age, the great Elven-smiths forged Rings of Power -- Nine for mortal Men, Seven for the Dwarf-lords, and three for the tall Elf-kings.
But then, the Dark Lord Sauron learned the craft of ring-making and made the Master Ring -- The One Ring to rule them all.
With the One Ring, Middle-earth is his and he cannot be overcome.
As the last alliance of Men and Elves fell beneath his power, the ring fell into the hands of Prince Isildur of the mighty kings from across the sea.

He did not destroy the ring, and because of this, the spirit of Sauron lived on and began to take shape and grow again.
The Ring had a will of its own, and had a way of slipping from hand to hand, so that it might at last get back to its master.
The Ring lay in the bottom of a lake for thousands of years.
During those years, Sauron captured the nine Rings that were made for Men and turned their owners into the Ringwraiths: Terrible shadows under his great shadow who roamed the world searching for the One Ring.

The Ring, meanwhile, was found by two friends.
One of which, was so enticed by the Ring's power that he killed his friend to gain control of it.
Smeagol possessed the Ring for years, until it was discovered (some might say stolen) by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
In a land called the Shire, Frodo inherits the Ring from his uncle, Bilbo. Now Frodo must take a journey across Middle-earth, and throw the Ring into the volcano, Mt. Doom, the only place it can be destroyed.

The background designs and paintings are absolutely beautiful.
Bakshi captures an amazing vision of Middle Earth.

I also think that the rotoscoped animation is good, too.
But then again, that's just me.

Critics are always hypocritical when it comes to rotoscoping, a technique invented by Max Fleischer (the man who, along with his brother Dave Fleischer, made several series of shorts -- including the 'Out of the Inkwell' shorts with Koko the Clown, the Betty Boop shorts, and the Superman shorts, all of which feature the rotoscoping technique), which consists of using live-action footage as a guide for animation, or rather tracing over footage shot directly for the animation or stock footage.

On one hand, they bash The Lord of the Rings because of Bakshi's use of rotoscoping, saying that the rotoscoping looks like crap. But then they go off and praise something like The Polar Express, the recently released Robert Zemeckis feature which was done entirely with the "motion capture" technique (having live actors act out their parts and then converting the live footage into CGI animation), for doing THE EXACT SAME THING ... on COMPUTERS.

I don't get that. You don't just bash one film's hand-drawn rotoscoping and then praise rotoscoping done on computers (Motion Capture IS rotoscoping...that is, it's REALLY BAD ROTOSCOPING).

But some critics have the same additude -- "If it's done on computers, it's fantastic!"
That is idiotic.

Back to the review.

Bakshi's fascination with rotoscoping began with Wizards.

For Wizards, Bakshi took several bits of live-action stock footage, broke it down into individual frames, removed most of the detail, and painted over the footage.

This created a unique and unusual, but highly effective and artistic look.

Bakshi used this technique because he had spent all the money that 20th Century FOX had paid him to make the movie, he was now paying for the film with his own money and he needed a cheap way to finish the battle scenes -- which were the only unfinished scenes left in the film.

So, he rotoscoped the battle sequences in Wizards, finished the movie, got it out, and it was a huge hit.
The film made a great deal of money (for an animated movie), and it was only after Star Wars came out two weeks later that Wizards started getting beaten at the box office.

Now, because of Wizards, because Bakshi knew that it was cheaper (it is, really -- the entire film The Lord of the Rings cost $8 million, and it made $40 million at the box office) to use live-action footage and rotoscope it instead of animating the film entirely from scratch, he decided that he would entirely rotoscope The Lord of The Rings (which he got the rights to because J. R. R. Tolkien's daughter loved Wizards).

The end results, to me at least, are absolutely perfect.
I wouldn't do an animated The Lord of The Rings any other way.

Because of Bakshi's love of changing from style to style to fit the mood of the film, the rotoscoping ranges from lighter rotoscoping (which looks closer to traditional animation) to rougher rotoscoping (which looks like early CGI, like a prelude to CGI).

Often, such as during the scenes with the Orcs, Bakshi leaves some of the live-action black and white footage in, and it mixes with the animation.
These scenes are the oddest scenes in the film.
But I like them.

So, if you enjoy Bakshi's use of rotoscoping, you will enjoy this film.
But as far as rotoscoping goes, it's a technique that you either love or hate.

Depending on where you stand on rotoscoping, you will either love this movie or hate it.
So, if you really hate rotoscoping, I wouldn't suggest this movie.

But if you're like me, you should enjoy this movie.

Now, the only bad thing about this movie, as far as I can see is that the story is incomplete.

Although The Lord of the Rings has been incorrectly referred to as a "trilogy," the story is actually six books released in three parts (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King).

This is part one of a two-part adaptation of Tolkien's masterwork.

Part one covers books 1 and 2 of The Fellowship of the Ring, and book 1 of The Two Towers.

It was originally negotiated to film the series as two films, but production was stopped on the second film (which was to cover book 2 of The Two Towers, and books 1 and 2 of Return of the King), because some Warner Brothers studio exec felt it was complete enough as it is -- they didn't want to put extra money into a second installment because, to them, it didn't matter.

All of The Lord of the Rings, the whole story, all six books, looked the same to the Warner Brothers execs -- they didn't think it would matter if they put out a second installment or not.

Thus, the story was never completed by Bakshi due to studio idiocy.

When asked if he would like to go back and do the second film, Bakshi originally showed some interest.

However, in later interviews, he stated: "[I've been asked] to finish Rings in animation. I really don't want to....The picture was just done. I don't want to do a picture that's been done. [Peter Jackson] finished it! It's no fun doing something that's been done. It's just no fun for me. Why would I want to spend three or five years working doing something that someone else did?....If I got the same money he had, I could grind him into the ground with mine, but the point is, why bother? Everyone knows that anyhow."

This is one of those movies that has a hard time finding an audience.
J. R. R. Tolkien fans may not like it very much.
They've read the books back to front, and know all of the details on Middle Earth and its inhabitants, and may feel a little cheated as the film only gets up to halfway through The Two Towers and stops abruptly (I won't get into any big details, because I don't want to reveal any spoilers).

Animation fans might attack Bakshi for his use of rotoscoping, as some see it as "cheating"; "taking the easy route"; or whatever, while praising CGI and motion-capture animation (which are really just high-tech rotoscoping).

The group most likely to enjoy this film are Ralph Bakshi fans.

Also, The Lord of the Rings was the first major motion picture that Tim Burton had worked on (previously he had made his own low-budget animated short films). He was the in-between artist.

Burton would go on to become an animator for Disney and later to direct the films Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, the upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a stop-motion animated feature based on the Russian folk tale "The Corpse Bride."

Burton fanatics may want to check this film out to see some of his early, pre-Disney work as an animator.

Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings also holds some historic value as the first entirely rotoscoped animated film, so film students may want to check this out.

I can't tell what kind of person you are, and as such, I can't tell whether or not you'll enjoy this film.

But if you like fantasy, you may enjoy this film.
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings is the greatest fantasy of all time, and Ralph Bakshi has created an interesting, energetic, and entertaining adaptation of Tolkien's masterwork. Check it out.

Bakshi's film has introduced many to J. R. R. Tolkien's masterwork, including director Peter Jackson.

Recently, Jackson filmed The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy of live-action films, which many Tolkien fans consider to be superior to Bakshi's film.

I don't agree with this -- Bakshi's version is definitely the superior adaptation.

Jackson 'borrowed' many things from Bakshi's animated film.

Here are some short examples:
1. The opening. Jackson's opening narration for The Fellowship of the Ring was copied directly from the opening narration to Ralph Bakshi's film. Except that Bakshi has a male narrator, and Peter Jackson has a female narrator. (Perhaps Jackson was thinking of Susan Tyrell's narration for Wizards when he made that decision?)

2. Bilbo's birthday party. When Bilbo disappears, there is a direct visual reference to Bakshi's film.

3. The hobbits hiding from the "dark riders" under the roots of a giant tree. This was not in the book. The idea came from Ralph Bakshi and Ralph Bakshi only and was used in Jackson's live-action adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring.

There are some more ideas/shots in Peter Jackson's animated film that were borrowed from Ralph Bakshi's animated film.
If you like, you can also buy a copy of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring along with a copy of Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings to compare.

I wouldn't recommend it, though.

Perhaps one of the most disappointing things about the Lord of the Rings DVD is the fact that it was done on the cheap by Warner Brothers -- quickly formatted and released in an obvious attempt to cash in on the release of Peter Jackson's trilogy.
The back cover clearly states the inclusion of the original theatrical trailer, but no such clip is to be found on the DVD.
The disc's only special features include a cast list, filmographies for director Ralph Bakshi and producer Saul Zaentz, and a biography of author J. R. R. Tolkien.

Instead of the usual plastic boxes, Warner Brothers has packed the DVD of The Lord of the Rings in one of their usual, cheap-o cardboard-box-type-packages.
If you have never seen one of these DVD boxes, let me tell you how it looks: it has a plastic backing with a shape cut into the front side of it to hold the disc.
The back side is equipped with tiny little sprocket holes to fit in the front/back covers, which are printed on a piece of light cardboard.

Still, even though there are no extras and the packaging sucks, I can't complain.
This is an amazing movie that I got at a cheap price.

Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Christopher Guard
William Squire

DVD title: Ju Dou
Productgroup: DVD
Ju Dou - movie DVD cover picture
It was a very good movie

I am totally diappointed with this DVD re-production. The video and sund are the worst I have ever seen and listened. It seems that I am watching a movie from late 30s. I bought it, because it was reproduced by Pionner, the leading home electronic giant. However, they totoally screw up on this maganificent movie. There is not a single special feature on DVD, no trailer, no production notes, no nothing. Simply a scene selection, that is it. A totally diaster.

Studio: Pioneer Video
Li Gong
Wei Li
Baotian Li

DVD title: The Others
Productgroup: DVD
The Others - movie DVD cover picture
Scariest movie ever!

The Others was the best movie I've seen in a long time. It really shouldn't be compared to The Sixth Sense, however.
This movie was written and directed with such style and detail. What they did was they took a typical haunting story and changed it around; to let us see what the other side experiences. Here we have three different groups. Each three have the same goal in common, to acquire the house. The house is everyone's purpose. In the end, their purpose comes together to reveal all. Everything comes together so neatly.
All actors in this movies were fantastic; they played their role well. Even the little girl was a treat to watch.
This is one of those kinds of movies that is scary yet not scary, more suspenseful than anything else. there is no killing or blood, or any of that sort of junk we see in so called horror movies nowadays.
See this movie; you will not be dissapointed. And if you appreciate movies and how movies are created, you will definitely fall in love with the style of this movie and the directing.

Studio: Miramax
Director: Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar
Nicole Kidman
Christopher Eccleston

DVD title: Hurt
Productgroup: Music
Hurt - movie DVD cover picture
Worth Every Penny

I've never seen such a powerful, sorrowful expression of contrition. Cash is a tortured soul who knows his time is coming soon, and his video depicts his life in a nutshell; in his eyes he has failed himself, his family and his God, squandering everything along the way. He asks all for forgiveness.
I watch this and it feels like a punch in the gut. Mark Romanek is to be commended for providing such a multimedia vehicle for Cash. In this video Cash is an old, used-up man and he knows it, but he isn't feeling sorry for himself. Rather, he is acknowledging his own humanity, asking all to forgive him and accept him as he is. Through this acknowledgment of his failings and his humanity, he reveals his deep love of God, life and family. Few individuals could have the emotional depth necessary to leave such a parting gift as this.
The songwriting of Trent Reznor is powerful, and Cash is a powerful interpreter. Cash has taken this song and made it his own. Reznor's lyrics are raw, intense knives that twist and turn their way into the soul... and in laying his soul bare for us all to see, Cash wields Reznor's knives to perfection.
I've never seen a video like this one, and doubt I ever will again. It was worth every penny I paid. While I have never been a great fan of Johnny Cash's music, I find this video to be overwhelmingly beautiful. The experience leaves me with the impression that Johnny Cash was a very human being and a priceless national treasure... someone to be forgiven for his transgressions. I sincerely hope he is resting in peace.

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