Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Great Mouse Detective


With a film library as large as Disney’s, it’s inevitable that regardless of quality, some films slip through the cracks. One such film, The Great Mouse Detective, has also gained somewhat of a cult following over the years. After finally watching the film for myself, it’s hard not to see why, especially considering it was successful enough on its initial release that it saved Disney Animation from bankruptcy. However, while it’s certainly underrated, it’s also not one of Disney’s best.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Star Wars Racer Revenge (PS4)


Three years after the release of Star Wars Episode I: Racer, a sequel known as Star Wars Racer Revenge was released for the PS2 in 2002, in time for the release of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones later that year. I will admit that I never really knew Racer Revenge existed at the time, in part because I lacked the system to play it on, only hearing about it when Limited Run offered a physical copy of the PS4 port of the game and bought it out of interest. After getting to experience Episode I: Racer again, I decided to check out Racer Revenge for the first time to see how much it changed from the first game, finding a number of these changes to be for the better.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Stubs - Straight Shooting

 


Straight Shooting (1917) Starring: Harry Carey, Duke Lee, George Berrell, Molly Malone, Ted Brooks, Hoot Gibson, Milt Brown, Vester Pegg. Directed by John Ford. Screenplay by George Hively (credited as Story). Producer not credited. USA 62 minutes. Silent. Western.

Westerns had been a staple of American films almost as long as there have been films made in the U.S. One of the earliest examples is Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903). One director who is perhaps most associated with the genre is John Ford, who would direct such classics as Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956) to name only a few of his best-known films. It should come as no surprise that Ford’s first feature film would also be a Western, Straight Shooting (1917).

Friday, May 7, 2021

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Note: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Three years after Attack of the Clones, the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy came to a close with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005, notably the first PG-13 film in the series. Even though I didn’t watch this film very much after its original theatrical release, I remembered its general events the most even over a decade later. To complete our re-evaluation of the Prequel Trilogy, we watched the 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon to help bridge the gap from Attack of the Clones, then watched Revenge of the Sith through the original 2005 DVD release, which features one minor editing change from the theatrical release (two wipes are replaced with straight cuts). While this doesn’t rise to the same heights as the Original Trilogy, it represents a significant improvement over the other Prequel films and is the most memorable and entertaining, even enjoyable.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Second Look - Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)


Note: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003) and the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.

In the time between the releases of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a series of animated shorts was produced to help bridge the gap between them, under the title of Star Wars: Clone Wars, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky of Samurai Jack fame. The series was originally two Seasons of 10 episodes each, each lasting 3-5 minutes, however positive reception led George Lucas to commission a third Season consisting of five episodes lasting 12-15 minutes, with the intent of providing a direct lead-in to Revenge of the Sith. The series was later compiled into two hour-long features spread across two DVD volumes, the first compiling Chapters 1-20 and the second Chapters 21-25, however this would later be superseded by the 2008 series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and even declared part of the non-canon Legends continuity by Disney following their purchase of Lucasfilm.

Having grown up watching Samurai Jack when this series first came out, and being caught up in the Prequel Trilogy hype at the time, I made sure to catch every episode as they came on, even the very short ones, and the strong animation and character writing never failed to disappoint. I even got the two DVDs as they came out, which has since made it much easier to re-watch the series over the years even without the context of the trilogy it was based on. Despite this series being officially designated non-canon material, I choose to pretend it still is for reasons that will become evident. While going through a re-evaluation of the Prequel Trilogy, however, I decided it would be good idea to revisit this series again in between Episode II and Episode III. While my general positive opinion of the series hasn’t changed much, I must admit I got a lot more out of it with the full context of the Prequel Trilogy’s events.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones


Note: This review contains spoilers for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and The Mandalorian.

Following the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999, the Prequel Trilogy continued in 2002 with the release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, furthering the story of Anakin Skywalker. While I did see this movie in the theater when it first premiered, I will admit to have sparsely seen it since then, in part due to the overall negative reputation the Prequels had at the time, though I will also admit further to not fully paying attention to the story since I was young when I first saw it. As part of our re-evaluation of the Prequel Trilogy, I rewatched Attack of the Clones through the original 2002 DVD release, which features the most minimal changes compared to the original theatrical cut of the movie. While my opinion on the movie has overall improved since my initial viewing, my feelings on it are still a bit mixed.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Star Wars Episode I: Racer (PS4)


Around the release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace came a cavalcade of licensed games to cash in on the hype, many of them aimed at children, with varying levels of quality. Arguably the one that best stands the test of time is Star Wars Episode I: Racer, a racing game inspired by the Podracing sequence seen in the film proper. Though this game originally released on the Nintendo 64 system, I have fond memories of playing the PC port as a kid, for which I still have my original copy, and so I was excited when a modern re-release of the game was announced, later picking up a physical copy of the PC reissue and the PS4 port from Limited Run games along with the PS4 port of its sequel, Star Wars Racer Revenge. After finally receiving my copy of Episode I: Racer in the mail, I decided to revisit the game through the PS4 version and found myself having a blast with it despite some technical hiccups with the port.