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Thomas Chung "listen2me" RSS Feed (NYC)
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G.I. Joe Renegades: Season 1, Vol. 1
G.I. Joe Renegades: Season 1, Vol. 1
DVD ~ Jason Marsden
Price: $14.19
46 used & new from $4.28

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Job, but Not a "Keeper", April 13, 2012
I'm an avid fan of the original animated show (and its DIC follow up) and the Marvel comics of the 80s, the former of which being sometimes silly but always charming adventure (often sci-fi) stories and the latter a gritty action serial. The recent movie is what is, for better or worse, and perhaps it's most significant flaws (of which there are legion) are it panders with plot, misfires with characterization, and is too focused towards very small children and really, really stupid people.

Renegades is a very solid reimagining of the GI Joe mythos that does an excellent job of delivering well paced action plots and characters with very distinctive and memorable personalities. Much like Transformers Prime and the current series of Thundercats, it doesn't literally connect to what came before, but draws from it respectfully while at the same time diverges in smart and new ways to make it fresh and relevant.

My one issue with the series is the animation style - specifically, the character model design. The action boarding and acting is very sharp, but the look of the show doesn't sit well with me. Equivocally, you can call it "stylized," but I think it's just cheap and simplistic for the sake of making the animation process quicker and less costly.

Bottom line: well done show, but looks a little sloppy. I'm on the fence, leaning towards "not buy."


Birds of Prey: The Complete Series
Birds of Prey: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Ashley Scott
Offered by The Big Lebowski
Price: $16.25
112 used & new from $2.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Things to Love, Things to Hate, August 6, 2008
Riding on the coattails of Smallville during its heyday, this was a show that was by far more ambitious. Birds of Prey was--and still is--a great concept that is hard to do wrong, withstanding significant retooling from the source material (as was the case with this show). Back when Birds of Prey first aired, the comic book series by Gail Simone and various artists was at a creative and commercial peak and the show could have drawn more from that success by translating elements that made the comic book successful (woman's POV inner monologues; well-structured plot arcs; cool action fighting).

What came out in the end was far from ideal; I liken BoP's translation from comics to screen to what happened with Garth Ennis' initial run on Marvel's Punisher when it was turned into the 2004 film. It just came out wrong. The production value on Birds of Prey is jarringly uneven; the intro looks like a promo that was run for that Batman-themed Six Flags stunt show. And there are times when the show looks the same as, if not worse than, all those syndicated sci-fi shows that are run late nights or weekend afternoons (i.e. Mutant X, Earth: Final Conflict).

That being said, there are more than a few shining moments for this show. Most notable is the casting--this was a star-making role for Ashley Scott and both Dina Meyer and Mia Sara are inspired choices for their respective roles. And Rachel Skarsten and Shemar Moore do a more than adequate job with their parts. Ian Abercrombie is a fine actor, but his Alfred Pennyworth doesn't work for me at all. The show itself is pretty well written, if you can divorce the writing from certain interpretations by production and some bits of guest casting (Clayface in this show was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen--no joke).

So if you can give this show a huge grain of salt, there's genuine enjoyment to be had. If you want something in the vein of The Dark Knight, don't come anywhere near this show.


Transformers Cybertron: The Ultimate Collection (2008)
Transformers Cybertron: The Ultimate Collection (2008)
Offered by cds_dvds_guaranteed
Price: $147.89
17 used & new from $15.93

5.0 out of 5 stars I was never a fan of TF Japanese import shows, but this one's pretty good, August 6, 2008
Translated and modified slightly from Japan's Galaxy Force series, Cybertron holds up very well as a stand-alone series that is loosely connected to its two predecesors (Armada and Energon). Other than a handful of references to Unicron and a fleeting cameo of aged versions of the humans from the prior series, there isn't anything that ties it to the other shows. I imagine that's why Paramount saw fit to package this set as such.

Cybertron draws some notable plot points and character references from the Marvel Comics continuity, as did Energon before it, and blends in bits and pieces in nostalgic homage to the original animated series. Its story arcs are heavily serialized, so it's nice to have the whole series in one package -- Energon is spread in incongruous bits and pieces across four discs; Armada is in two halves which, in my opinion, are pretty overpriced anywhere you can find them; and there'll probably never be definitive set of Robots in Disguise DVDs given the nature of the first few episodes in relation to 9/11.

I'm not a particular fan of the Japanese shows that have been brought over after the end of Beast Machines. I liked overall story and animation of Robots in Disguise, but there were far too many goofy childrens' anime moments for my taste. I couldn't keep up with Armada because it was just hard to look at; even those few episodes of the original series that didn't look quite right never looked that bad. I did like that the voiceover cast from the Mainframe shows was brought over, however. As far as Energon is concerned, I wasn't able to catch a lot of it, but from what I saw it seemed pretty decent; I enjoyed the leap to the CG-cel animation and the story was pretty interesting for the most part.

But Cybertron is hands-down the best Transformers series from Japan to air in the US -- the story arcs are well paced and the animation is breathtaking. Though unavoidable, what few silly anime moments that are there are tolerable. As a hardcore TF fan, I heartily endorse Cybertron; even though it's clearly not canon to the original TV shows (Gen. 1 through Beast Machines), it's a fun, well thought out riff on the franchise as a whole. Fans will enjoy the little echoes from the original show and movie that the translators wrote in.

One product side note: the last episode on the last disc ("Inferno") is a repeat of an early episode; the series ends with the penultimate episode on the disc.


Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (Special Edition)
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series (Special Edition)
DVD ~ Edward Asner
Price: $10.99
83 used & new from $0.45

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Underrated MTV Animated Series, November 13, 2003
Although I don't know the specific features of this disc set, I am familiar with the show and those responsible for it to offer some insight. This show was in development just after the Spider-Man movie hit big in summer '02 and was developed under the supervision of Brian Michael Bendis, acclaimed and highly-popular writer of the comics series Powers, Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-Man and, most recently, Ultimate X-Men. His influence on the show is notable in the snappy dialogue, solid plots and story arcs, and fresh continuity and character re-establishment. The show loosely takes off from where the movie ends: Peter Parker, Harry Osborn, and Mary Jane Watson are students at Columbia University and Peter's identity is secret from everyone. The animation style is reminiscent of the X-Box game "Jet Set Radio Future;" it has the line and flatter of cell animation, but with a noticeable CG look to it. Unlike other shows that are actual digital-cell animation like Futurama, this show is a little more experimental. The backgrounds are somewhat basic-looking, but the animation itself is pretty cool. The recording and animation studio that put out this series is Canada's Mainframe, who gave us Reboot, the Beast Wars/Beast Machines Transformers series, and X-Men Evolution. Among their core bank of voice talent, Neil Patrick Harris (of Doogie Howser and Starship Troopers fame) voices Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210's "Steve") plays Harry Osborn; and songstress Lisa Loeb plays Mary Jane. Guest stars (that I've noticed so far) have included Stan Lee, Michael Dorn (of Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Kraven, and couple MTV VJs/news people. The series owes much to the movie and Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man; the stories are all very contemporary and the villains (revamped or new) all make for a fun-to-watch animation experience.


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