The Hobbit (1977)

Hobbit DVD CoverThis time around we review the 1977 animated film The Hobbit.  The Hobbit was adapted from a 1937 Tolkien book of the same name by Rankin-Bass.  Rankin-Bass were the same production/creative team that also created The Last Unicorn, and all of the stop motion holiday classics that ABC Family shoves down Americans throats every winter.

This production was a made for TV movie for children and it shows in the final product.  The animation is stilted and the movie does its best to avoid showing violence while still oddly implying it.  The budget restraints of a made for TV movie are pretty apparent.  The animation is stilted and a large scale war between multiple armies is depicted like a giant dust cloud.  However, there was obvious love for the source material in the production.  The art design is quite nice.  Top Craft, the Japanese studio the animation was filmed at, created some really beautiful hand painted backgrounds.  They production company also respected the source material and didn’t try to add to or dramatically change the story.  Despite it’s short comings, they did the best they could with a TV movie’s budget and time.

Should you see this?  If you’ve read The Hobbit before by all means go for it.  It makes a fun diversion while waiting for the Peter Jackson version.  If you haven’t read the books give it a pass and wait for the live action movies.

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Guest Host Appearance on the Midnight Movie Club!

Kasey has just made a guest host appearance on Lee and Dan’s Midnight Movie Club!  There she discusses the 1983 fantasy movie Krull which was disapointingly not about barbarians.  It sounds like it should be a movie involving dudes in loinclothes right? But alas, there are no dudes in loin clothes.  There is a cyclops, magical horses, marriage rites involving fire, kids choosing puppies over dead relatives, and a horny evil lizard man.

It was a pretty weird movie.

Link: http://midmoclub.com/krull/

Merlin Season 3 – 4

The Adventures of Merlin

Merlin, aka. The Adventures of Merlin, is a British television show that started in 2008. It stars Colin Morgan as a young Merlin who must hide his magical powers because Camelot has outlawed all magic on threat of death. He spends his time secretly protecting Arthur and Camelot in hopes that Arthur will someday grow into a great King.

This review is for season (or series) 3 and 4 of Merlin. If you have not seen season 1 and 2 I encouraged you to check out our season 1-2 review or simply go watch the show. This episode does not even attempt to describe the premise of Merlin and completely spoils all of season three and four. So beware! This is no holds barred magical Arthurian spoiler time!

This television series just keeps getting better! The show makes a steady incline in quality throughout season three until its a really great show in season four. Does that make up for some of the lack luster episodes in season one? Yes, actually. I think it does. Many aspects of Arthur’s character development are finally barring fruit in season four that had seeds planted way back in season one. Merlin himself still has lots of room to grow, but he’s shown some welcome steps into becoming more pro-active instead of reactive (and ignoring Gaius’s terrible advice). Hopefully, in season five we’ll finally see him become the warlock of legend.

The series does have some problems, mostly involving Morganna’s strange character development. In season three, they take some dramatic shortcuts in her development. While its certainly plausible, the show doesn’t bother explaining or even showing the path it took her to reach her new persona. Furthermore, she doesn’t appear to have any remnants of her old persona at all. There’s some weird slippery slope fallacies going on there and odd inconsistencies. I wonder if this was because the writers were so determined to follow the path of the actual Arthurian legends? Who knows, but she’s definitely the weakest link in season three and four.

We highly recommend you check out this series. Make sure to start from the beginning though! If you watched season one and two and are on the fence about watching more, we think you should reconsider. The series gets continually better and really rewards long time listeners.

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Tinman

Tinman Cast

Tinman is a 2007 Syfy Miniseries directed by Nick Willing.  It is loosley based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz book series.  Very loosely.

The miniseries has great production values, intriguing writing, and most of the cast are talented.  Zooey Deschanel gives an odd almost autistic portrayal of the main character D.J.  I’m not sure if she was directed that way or if it’s just Zooey Deschanel being Zooey Deschanel.  The rest of the cast is fantastic, particularly Neal McDonough and Kathleen Robertson.

The world building rivals a Hollywood film.  Everything in the world, from the steampunk technology to the rare glimpse of magic fits well into the world. The technology, politics, history, etc of the O.Z. is well thought out and has its own internal logic.  The world feels like it could really work.

The miniseries updates the world of the O.Z (pronounced ‘Oh Zee’) without disrespecting the original.  There are a lot of homages to the original books and films some obvious, some not.  You can tell there’s a real reverence to the source material.

The miniseries is easy to obtain.  It’s often on Netflix Instant Watch in the U.S. and readily available on blu ray and DVD in most countries.  Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.


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Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow Movie PosterSo here’s a podcast about Tim Burton’s 1999 version of Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp and Christinia Ricci… only a month after Halloween is over! That’s nearly on time! Right? Right? Well, it was recorded on Oct 30th at least.

Tim Burton’s version of Sleepy Hollow is vastly different from the original short story but for the better. It has a great cast, special effects that hold up pretty well, and some top notch spooky atmosphere. Is it great? Not really, there are several plot holes, shortcuts taken with characterization, and Johnny Depp and Christinia Ricci don’t have fantastic chemistry together. It’s still a solid film though, that’s enjoyable to watch every few years on Halloween.

This fills a request from Monica G. I hope you enjoyed the episode.

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Legend

Legend Movie PosterLegend is a 1986 fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott of Blade Runner and Alien fame. It stars Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry. The plot of the movie is that there’s an evil red demon dude who wants to destroy all goodness and light in the world because he’s evil and that’s what evil dudes do. He gets his chance when a young girl taints a unicorn by touching it, allowing darkness and his minions to kill one of the unicorns and plunge the world into eternal winter.

I’m surprised we haven’t done this movie yet. Its one of the quintessential eighties fantasy films alongside Black Crystal, Labyrinth, and the Neverending Story.   It’s a film that holds up pretty well as long as you watch the director’s cut.     Unlike most director’s cuts, the theatrical version and the director’s cut of legend are drastically different.   The latter even makes sense! If you’ve never seen this movie definitely check it out and if you’ve only ever seen the theatrical version, you should try the vastly improved director’s cut.

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Tangled

Tangled Movie PosterTangled is Disney’s take on Rapunzel. Its a cute and fun movie that’s filled with dangerous lies. Liesssss.

This is the second time we attempted to record this. The first time was a beautiful and magical podcast of wonder but you’ll never be able to hear that because we lost Melanie’s side of the recording. Then my computer crashed so I rebuilt a new one. Soo… yeah. Fun times. Enjoy the filthy Disney liessss.

No seriously, we liked this film.

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Stardust

Stardust is a 2007 fantasy film directed by Mathew Vaughn based on the book by Neil Gaiman.   It has a pretty star studded cast (ha ha ) of Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert Deniro, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Stardust Movie PosterPlot:   An awkward young man named Tristan Thorn crosses a wall into a fantasy realm in order to retrieve a falling star for his beloved Victoria.   Only when he gets there, the fallen star is actually a woman named Yvaine.   And unfortunately, he’s not the only one trying to retrieve the fallen star.

This episode came out okay.   I tried to edit out more of the pauses then I was previously taking out as Podcast Squared suggested.   Can anyone tell a difference?   I didn’t want it to be super snappy, because I wanted to preserve the feeling of just listening to regular people talk about movies.   I think it’s possible to become too polished and come off sounding fake and generic.

Stardust is a mixed bag.   It has some great visuals, fun character moments,  and a stellar cast.   But it also has some major plot problems, and the main couple are anything but star crossed.   However, overall it’s a fun movie that’s worth watching at least once.

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Merlin Season 1-2

Merlin CastMerlin also known as The Adventures of Merlin is a British BBC One TV show that started in 2008.   It was created by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps.   As of this recording in May 2011 it has three television seasons with another slated for next autumn.   The series was created to be a family drama that children to grandparents could enjoy together.

PLOT: Camelot has outlawed magic.   Anyone seen practicing magic or helping someone practicing magic will be put to death by order of the king.   No exceptions.   Magical creatures are killed on sight, whether they are dangerous or not.   The king even killed every dragon in the land save one, which he imprisoned below the castle to serve as an example to anyone who dares to defy the King.

Merlin is sent to Camelot by his mother to stay with the Camelot royal physician named Gaius.   Through a series of fortunate (or unfortunate depending on who you ask) he comes to be the manservant of Prince Arthur.   Now, he must use his powers in secret to help Prince Arthur become a great king someday, knowing that if he is ever found out to be magical he would be put to death.

OH My God.   We must never talk this long again.   It took me 7 hours to edit this episode.   This episode covers only season 1-2 of Merlin.   There are no spoilers for season 3 and onward.   We might go back later and do another episode that covers season 3.   This series has some problems, but I think its a fun ride and worth the effort of tracking down if you’re a fantasy fan.   The first two episodes are a little rough, but the show continuously improves as it goes on.

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Coraline

Coraline Movie PosterThis week we’re discussing the 2009 stop motion movie Coraline.  The movie was directed by Henry Selick, the same amazing man that brought us The Nightmare Before Christmas. The original novel the movie is based on is by Neil Gaiman who is also awesome.  So it stands to reason that this episode is chocked full of awesome.

Plot Synopsis:  Coraline is a brave and inquisitive 11 year old that has moved from Michigan with her family to a run down apartment complex in the middle of nowhere.  While exploring her new home she comes across a door that takes her to a magical land where everything is better.  The house is better, the food is better, even her parents are better.  She has everything she’s ever wished for.  But this fantasy world isn’t as wonderful as it first seems…  And why does her other mother have buttons for eyes.

Is this the newest movie we’ve ever done? Maybe? Anyways, Coraline is a great movie.  It can be a little creepy though, so if you have kids you might want to watch it before hand.  Its got an old school eighties kid movie mentality that’s quite a bit scarier than kids movies of the past twenties years.  I think this episode turned out alright.  We used an outline.  Go us.

What did you think of the movie o’listeners/readers?


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