Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fantasy Flicks


Adjacent to the "Barbarians", category I suppose..

Anyway, here's these...


Beowulf (2007)


The film-

About the newest movie here, but, the oldest story.

Eh, pretty good, best adaptation of the book I've seen so far.
Could be more faithful, sure.
Certainly better than the ones SyFy shat out, but who CAN'T do better than them?

*Checks* huh, Neil Gaiman did the script for this....

The history-

Had to read excerpts from the book in High School English class.
Always wished we'd done the whole book.
Tch...


The Hobbit/ 
The Lord of the Rings/ 
Return of the King



The films-

The Hobbit-

Loved it, grew up with it.
Looking at it now, wow, did they ever puss out on the violence...WTF was up with the whole sword swing, and a trip-out swirl?
Something an 80's vidya game might do...

Anyway, like with their Christmas specials, I love and miss Rankin/Bass.
Their forays into fantasy stuff I especially miss.
No one else is doing that stuff anymore.
I mean, yeah, there's fantasy stuff done with CG...but...it ain't the same....
I mean, even the properties they're digging up aren't as good.
Golden Compass? Eragon? PPPT!
Yeah, guess there's no more Princess Brides coming up the pike...

Lord of the Rings-

Oh, man, did the Jackson version ever rip off bits of this, and not give credit.
The Frodo/Sam/Golem stuff is dead on.

Lotta trimming, lotta cheesey budget saver stuff like that cheap rotoscope process that looks like grainy Xerox prints colored in with 3 marker colors.

BUT, at least the battles aren't Wile E. Coyote dust clouds like in Hobbit.
You see kills.

Anyway, Bakshi tried to get his own "Return of the King", going, and couldn't scrape together the financing, and then Rankin/Bass already had their own ROTK planned when they did Hobbit, so...a lot of folks get confused, and think these were a direct trilogy, but...there's a few inconsistencies...but, they do sorta work together though...in fact, I've seen them released as a set before.

Return of the King-

Oooof....it...gets the story accomplished, and fairly well, but with all the flaws of Hobbit cranked up to full blast, and man, the music is often annoying as hell.
"Frodo of the nine fingers", in particular will haunt your fucking sleep.

The "Lemmiwinks", episodes of South Park clearly draw their inspiration from the Rankin/Bass rings movies.

Yes, yes, Hyla, I know you love the whip song...

The history-

TV, SelectaVision Disc, TV.


The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)


The film/history-




*Laughs self hoarse*

No, no, they were good.
Just couldn't help myself.

Um, what I said about the animated one.
Animated was the rough draft for these.


Clash of the Titans

The film-

Rates right up there with Star Wars.
Sweatlessly.

You've got Harryhausen doing stop-motion affects, you've got a parade of old-time Hollyood in the cast, clearly, this was the oldsters showing that whippersnapper Lucas they could still get it done too.

It works.
They did.

The history-

Beloved.....beloved film....fuck the remake.
A remake misses the point of why this existed.
Fuckin' dumbass suits.


Dragonslayer


The film-

Another one you'll never see the like of again thanks to CG.

The dragon would be so easy to make now, they'd think the audience would be bored if they didn't cram more and more shit into the frame until you're carsick.

Be grateful we've got all this great old stuff on DVD.

I love how "real", this is.
The king is shitty, the townsfolk are stupid cowards, the clergy are weasels, it's all how it would really be...except with a wizard, and a dragon thrown in.

The history-

The fucking DRIVE-IN, bitches!
YEAH!


Heavy Metal


The film/history-

See here.


The Last Unicorn


The film-

This is a hard movie to sell to friends.

People hear "unicorn", and forget it, you're done, it's "a fag movie", or "for little girls", no sale.
They shut you right down.
Conversation dead.

But...they're missing out, it kicks ass.
Come on "Princess Bride", is a girly title, but that rocks the fucking house.

This is right up in the league of that one too.
Now, the book, and the film of this predate Princess Bride by a smidge, and PB does top it, but you see in this one the zeitgeist that was floating around people's typewriters.
It's in the same foodgroup.

And, as mentioned in "The Return Of Captain Invincible", you got Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee sparring in both films.
If you dig one, you'll dig the other.

And, this is a Rankin/Bass, so it has that style going on.
Musical duties are handed over to the folk supergroup America this time.
They learned their lesson from "Frodo of the nine fingers".

The history-

A billion HBO viewings, and a lifetime of chasing this around on video.
Almost as much as Heavy Metal.
Got the novel too.


The Flight of Dragons


The film-

Another Rankin/Bass.
I'd personally put it up there with Last Unicorn.

Great cast, you got Harry Morgan (who we recently lost), John Ritter (who was also Captain Avenger), and James Earl Jones.

Opening theme by Don Mclean (bye, bye, Miss American Pie).

James Earl Jones is a hoot as Ommadon, if you ever always wondered what Vader would sound like laughing, well, here you go. (fuggin' embed blocking)

So...Darth Vader is in this, Count Dooku is in Unicorn, Rankin/Bass did Hobbit/ROTK, and Dooku was in Peter Jackson LOTR.

Whole bunch of six-degrees of Star Wars there.

The history-

My mother's friend (from the Transformers Optimus spoiler story) had satellite TV (the old fashioned costs-a-fortune giant dish), and this played all the time on one of the satellite stations, and she gifted a tape of this finally to me.
Well, that was cool, that totally made up for the Transformers incident, I loved this thing.
Hooray!
See? You gotta read all of these, there's continuity; redemption stories abound.


Excalibur


The film-

The definitive King Arthur movie.
No one can touch it.
Don't even try.
They do another shitty redo every 5-10 years, and they're all crap.
This one hit it out of the park.

The history-

HBO had two cuts of this, R rated for nighttime, and PG rated with all the nudity cut, and references to incest, and hypno-rape made obscure.
The blood stayed in though.
Ah...80's...ah, America...


Sword of the Valiant


The film-

Hey, speaking of Arthurian stuff....this is adapted from "the legend of Sir Gawain", which is sort of a medieval-era fanfic spinoff/sequel to the Arthurian legend.

Hey, who knew fanfic spinoffs went back that far?

Well....The Apocrypha, for darned sure, and IMHO, the New Testament...but...let's not break into a theology fight...

So, you've got Sean Connery, Peter Cushing, John Rhys-Davies, and Miles (Ator) O' Keefe.

Filmed for a budget of what seems like thousands, and scored by...it feels like the guy who did the Filmation Tarzan, and Blackstar, that theme will not leave you for months.
(Trailer)

But, as cheesey as this is budget wise, it still beats the shit out of another Connery Arthur movie, "First Knight".
Yes, I hate that one that much.
Richard Gere makes Miles O'Keefe look like Anthony Hopkins.

The history-

Cable.


The Sword and the Sorcerer

The film-

Ehh...better'n Ator, not in the same family as Conan, or even Red Sonja, I guess...I'd put it almost on the level of the first Beastmaster...

The history-

I...I don't get it...
I was always allowed as a kid to see Beastmaster, and that's got some intense shit in it, this one has some gore, but it's also got titties, so...this was forbidden, like Conan to me.

But....there was a bigger fucking deal made about this one.

Like, my (then younger than me now) parents acted naughty about it, like they'd seen a porno or something, and kids at school who had hipster parents that let 'em see everything acted like they were the baddest asses in the world.
As if it were the Human Centipede or something.

I've finally fucking seen it now...and it's...okay...but intensity wise, it's fucking nothing.
NOTHING!
I saw way worse even back in those days!
What was the big fucking deal?
What was it??

I'll never know, I brought it up to Ma once, she gives me a blank stare, and can't even remember the fucking thing.
Acts like I've hallucinated the existence of this movie.
I mean, she believes it exists, I watched the fucking thing, but...as far as inserting it back into 80's history, our 80's history....wall of incredulity there.
Fuck sakes....


Ladyhawke


The film-

Ferris Bueller, Catwoman, and Roy Batty play D&D with the director of Superman as the DM.

Way better than it sounds, because that's an awful description.

The history-

HBO
Man, HBO had everything, why did we get rid of the damned thing?
Oh, right, movies got shitty, and rental was cheaper.
80's were the golden age, though.
Or, maybe it's nostalgia that makes me think so....


The Dark Crystal


The film-

So, Jim Henson's shop makes Yoda for Empire, and he just had to be like..."fuck, Yoda was the star of that baby, and this Lucas is actually a hack now that I've met him...why don't I just make a whole movie like that with these advanced puppets, and kick his overrated ass?".

And...it is pretty good.
The humanoid Gelflings weren't quite there yet, a bit stiff in the face, but all the monster-y things were nailed down.

An under-appreciated little gem.
Shit, it's better story-wise than Avatar.

The history-

HBO again.
Loved the shit out of it, had the read-along-cassette storybook.


Labyrinth


The film-

As much as I loved Dark Crystal, this blows it out of the water.

The more time goes by, I'm more and more of the opinion that this was Henson's masterpiece.
Best thing he ever did.

And Bowie is the prototype for a zillion anime/Squaresoft villains.

The history-

Got this kicking around somewhere...


Legend


The film-

Ridley Scott, Tim Curry, Tangerine Dream, bam, put it in the blender, you got gold.

GOLD, baby!

The history-

Fantasy Ballooning rental!


Krull


The film-

Everyone was trying to make another Star Wars.

This....fell short...BUT, it's still a nifty little film.

Notable for having a prototype morph.
Not the actual morph Willow had, but hand-animated.
A guy turns back and forth to a goose.
Impressive, but I do not envy the carpal joints of that animator.
Yeah, before CG, they really were bumping up to the very limits of what could be done.

The history-

More fuggin' HBO, man.


Highlander


The film-

Great fuckin' flick.
Pure fan adoration makes this a classic by act of willpower, every stuffy textbook on filmmaking probably says this is shit, but....somehow, it WORKS.
It's like peanut butter, bananas, and bacon, those ingredients are wrong, but the result is RIGHT.

Sprinkle Queen all over it, you've got fireworks.

The history-

Sequels? What sequels?
Show? What show?
No, those never happened. You've been bamboozled.

I noted the Terminator similarities, right?
Hm...nope, that's it, I guess.


Time Bandits


The film-

The best goddamned movie that nobody fucking seems to know about.

Buy this, dammit.
Don't rent, buy.

Own this.

David Warner as The Secular Devil, a pack of thieving dwarves as the heroes, Monty Python alums, and Sean Connery, it's the best thing you'll see in your life.

Your LIFE!

The history-

Like Heavy Metal, I'll have this until I'm dead on whatever medium.


The Princess Bride


The film-

The only reason "Time Bandits", isn't the perfect movie, is because this is.
You can't have two perfect movies, it would break the universe.

From here...

Masterpiece. 
The perfect movie. 
Told my personal story about it here

The history-

So...from here...

Anyway, Smitty's used to be Cines 8, and before that..."The Bijou", I think.

Always been a theater despite the name changes, and remodels.

When it was Cines 8, I almost saw The Princess Bride there, but instead, I saw fucking Arachnophobia.

Ma went to see Princess Bride, and Arachnophobia was a piece of utter shit, and she told me how awesome Princess Bride was, and described all the best scenes on the ride home.

Godammit.

Some things in life, you can never get back.

I saw it on video, and love it to this day, but...the theater, dammit, the theater!
I was right there!
Arachnophobia!?!?!
Fuck!!!. 


The Adventures of the Baron Munchausen


The film-

Another Terry Gilliam.

Not as great as Time Bandits, but still great.

Alas, we lost John Neville this year. :(

The history-

I can't remember not owning this.

Oh, yeah, Munchausen was previously adapted as this.


Willow


The film-

As mentioned, this has the first real morph.

I dunno, I like the flick, lotta people turn their nose up at it.
Whatever.

The history-

Not a lotta people know, the NES game of this kicked ass.
It was actually better than Zelda.
See, most people assume all movie property games sucked eggs, but this had the one good one, and no one knew, cuz they hated the movie.
Tch, oh well.

Now...those Chris Claremont novels spun off of this, they sucked eggs.
Ruined everything within the first chapter.
Ptooey.


Masters of the Universe


The film/history-

See here.


Army of Darkness


The film/history-

Eats "Sword and the Sorcerer"s fucking lunch.

See here.


And phew, there, half hour until New Years, made it....


4 comments:

hyla2 said...

My slumbering inner dice-rollin-dork-self weeps with joy!

WOW! This was way more thorough than I'd anticipated! Awesome.

And, BTW:

"Ferris Bueller, Catwoman, and Roy Batty play D&D with the director of Superman as the DM.

"Way better than it sounds, because that's an awful description."

Almost lost some champagne out the nose on that one. An awful description? Not at all! Fabulous description! . . . Just . . . misleading. The flick's fail, not yours. ;)

Diacanu said...

Aw, shucks, well, all right then. :)

Diacanu said...

Re-watched Rankin/Bass "Return Of The King", like dit batter this tgime knowing what to expect.

The "the wearer of the ring! The wearer of the ring!", playing EVERY time someone clutched the ring, and tasted of its evil still grated a bit.

Re-watcing Bakshi LOTR right now.

Peter S. Beagle, author of "Last Unicorn", wrote the screenplay, forgot that connection.

Diacanu said...

Ah, and Anthony Daniels (C3PO) was Legolas, another Star Wars connection!

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