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"The Hobbit" (1977) Review

blogEntryTopperI have a real treat for you today All Good Fans. I'm home from my local Value Village where I found a copy of The Hobbit on DVD just sitting in a bin! It must be some rough cut which accidentally made its way out of the studio. That's even better than when someone found a rough draft of the Star Wars script in my local library. Its cover doesn't even have the actors, just some of what I assume to be concept art. I'm so excited that I had to start writing this before even watching it. So keep reading and be amongst first to know everything you have wanted to about Peter Jackson's the Hobbit.


This is not Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. Upon watching for 90 seconds I can tell you this is definitely not Peter Jackon's The Hobbit. How embarrassing. I guess I'll just have to review it anyway. Instead keep reading to be amongst the who knows how many to know everything you never knew you wanted to know about Rankin Bass' The Hobbit.

The Hobbit, for those of you who don't know, is the 1937 story about Bilbo Baggins; a reserved fixture of his Hobbit community who one day receives a visit from a wizard and twelve Dwarves that wish to hire him as their expert treasure hunter (e.g. burglar) on a grand adventure across the land to take back what's theirs from a powerful dragon. Of course, Mr. Baggins has no need for dragon treasure, knows nothing of burgling nor has ever been on an adventure but he reluctantly joins them anyway and begins his unexpected journey through Middle-Earth. On his journey, Bilbo learns just how great the world is through its fantastic creatures & settings, changing himself from a quiet homebody to an adventurer of legend.

This version of The Hobbit was released as an animated television special in 1977 from the same production company that would later make The Last Unicorn and Thundercats as well as animated by oh, Topcraft! Topcraft was an animation team who's members later formed a new company you may have heard of called Studio Ghibli. I've got to admit, the animation in this is pretty sharp, especially for 1970s television and I generally really like the art direction/character designs they used even if they took some, shall we say, creative liberties in those designs. For example, Gollum looks like a frog with ears and Smaug has a cat for a face. Now it's been a long time since I've read the novel but to be fair, I don't recall it ever specifically saying he DOESN'T have a cat for a face.

But likewise, the plot and dialogue stay surprisingly faithful to the source material with the exception of few omitted sections (such as the part with Beorn) and some plot points streamlined due to time constraints. It really makes me wonder how Peter Jackson intends to stretch this story out into three movies when this one did it in, let me check my DVD, 77 minutes! Even the music uses the actual lyrics from the poems and songs in the novel, which is a nice touch and now that we've brought it up - the music. Oh the music.

The Hobbit [Õîááèò] (1977) SATRip ñêðèíøîò4
The music is, honestly, it's pretty cheesy. So much so that South Park even made references to how goofy it is with their infamous Lemmywinks episode. Try the links to compare and you'll quickly hear what I mean. Otherwise the sound is generally quite good. The cast includes Hans Conried as Thorin Oakenshield, um Otto Preminger as Thranduil and uh John Huston as Gandalf? What?! Alright, it's an excellent if not random collection making the cast and they do a great job portraying the characters, maybe even better than their live-action counterparts. So overall, I like this. I really like this.

I'd recommend it and if you would like to see this version to compare it with the Peter Jackson version, officially coming to theaters on December 14, 2012, then it is available on DVD along with various digital streaming services. Surprisingly, despite the upcoming live-action adaptation, however, I unfortunately could find no plans to release this on Bluray, which is a shame because if nothing else this is a fun little adventure that should not be forgotten even if future versions turn out to be even better.

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Halloween Special - Resident Evil Remake Review

Resident Evil was originally released by Capcom for the Sony Playstation in 1996 and follows members of a police special operations team called S.T.A.R.S. as they investigate another squad's disappearance in the forests surrounding Raccoon City. During their investigation they get chased into a spooky and mysterious mansion by wild dogs. As one of these members of S.T.A.R.S. you explore the mansion, fight off infected zombies and other creatures (bosses), solve puzzles, and uncover the terrible truth of just what happened there.

It was the game that really kicked off the survival horror genre and is still remembered as a classic. That's why in 2002 it was remade for the Nintendo GameCube then ported over the Nintendo Wii in 2009. This remake is the real classic in my mind however and one my favorite horror games to this day.

How the Remake Differs from the Original

Most obviously, the graphics have been updated along with new areas & enemies for this version and they still hold up remarkably well for a ten year old game.  The backgrounds are beautifully pre-rendered animations and that frees up a lot of processing power to allow character models & other effects to be incredibly detailed. “The mansion's confined hallways and dusty rooms offer a claustrophobic and helpless atmosphere that's been missing from previous episodes. And like the best horror films, RE Zero's environments are portrayed from camera viewpoints that leave you filled with dread at the prospect of what awaits you around the next corner.” (Wales on Sunday, Cardiff Wales, Sept. 22, 2002.)

The music and dialogue have thankfully also been updated. The original was pretty notorious for having terrible voice acting, "Jill, here's a lock pick. It might come in handy if you, the master of unlocking take it with you." Some may argue this was part of the campy, B movie charm that Resident Evil was going for, but I personally find these changes in the audio to be a lot less grating.  

And before you ask, yes it still uses what are known as "
tank controls.” Tank controls mean rather than pressing left to go left or right to go right, you pivot on the spot in the direction you press then use up or down to move forwards and backwards. It's definitely something to get used to but many people think it's just too hard. “Resident Evil Zero forces players to turn the character left and right with the analog stick and then push forward to move forward. This means no strafing or free movement of any kind. Some gamers will swear by this control scheme.” (IGG, Clementes, Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero Review.)

RE’s Contribution to the Zombie Revival

Around the turn of the century, there was a zombie renaissance in the US. It started with films like “28 Days Later” and Zack Snyder’s remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” but Shinji Mikami's phenomenally popular Resident Evil video game - the most prominent of more than 70 zombie game titles - definitely played its part in the zombie revival. The game alone has spawned at least four movies starring B-queen Milla Jovovich, all of which could be considered “zombie flicks.”

For me, however, it's not only the zombies that create tension; it's the consequences of potentially crossing one. It's something few current gen horror games have given me. They just make it too easy to avoid or defeat enemies, and even if I die, so what? I saved only a few minutes ago.

Not in Resident Evil. Ammunition is scarce so you have to choose between wasting what little you have, finding another route if you can or whether it's worth risking damage by trying to run past an enemy despite the controls. That's all part of the game and if you die, you could be set back hours because even when you cross a save point, you have a limited number of items that let you use it. It gives this game the scariest thing of all - pacing.

Deliberate Pacing

It's the moments between encounters that are scariest of all. I play by creeping around, letting the fear grow and grow about what could be around the next corner and whether or not I'll be able to even survive long enough to get that next item I need to heal or save or progress. It's stressful but it makes the pay off all the sweeter and in a sick way, it's kind of fun.

It's fun to be scared. It's fun even when I get killed or have to play a part over and believe me those things will happen. It's encouraged to go through multiple times however because there's even two different playable characters, each with their own scenarios. This “replayability” and level of immersion definitely makes the Resident Evil Remake a game worth owning for those darkened evenings alone.

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Method Man/Freddie Gibbs/Streetlife - Built For This Review

From the soundtrack for the upcoming kung fu flick
The Man with the Iron Fists comes this funky new track by Streetlife, Freddie Gibbs and Method Man. I know what you're thinking "a member of the Wu Tang Clan collaborating on an Asian themed project?" It's unprecedented, yes, but hear me out. They're really good at it.

"Built For This" combines the sounds of both eastern and western live instrumentals with the gritty lyrics these artists are known for, turning it into another great tune that just makes you want to pull your arms in and start bobbing your head.

The video splices in clips of the movie along with clips of Method, Gibbs & Street doing what they do best. So check it out and if you like what you see/hear then be sure to watch out for other tracks from the official soundtrack being produced by fellow Wu Tang alumni the RZA, as well as the movie itself being released to theaters on November 2, 2012.

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Scott Pilgrim Vol 1 Review

Scott Pilgrim Color
You've probably heard of the movie but have you ever read the original graphic novels for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? If not then I think you should and now's the perfect time to pick them up, better than ever. Oni Press started printing a new colorized edition in August 2012 with future volumes scheduled for release every six months. And since I haven't read it either or have any plans coming up for the next three years, I figured that I might as well start picking them up too.
Hey don't judge me. At least the writer/artist Bryan Lee O'Malley understands. Plans, commitments, pursuits, that stuff's complicated and I don't even like to buy bananas when they're still green. Neither does Scott Pilgrim. He's just your average twenty-something slacker who's drifting through life on a few bucks, playing in a garage band and splitting his friend's futon mattress. Really what more do any of us need other than a slice of pizza, some tunes and a place to crash?
Sex, you say? Companionship? Enter Ramona Flowers.
But her affections are not easily won. Not only does Scott have to convince Ramona to date him (even though he's already dating a sweet catholic school girl whom he hasn't quite gotten around to dumping), but he also has to fight Ramona's seven evil exes in order to keep dating her. So it's a good thing that aside from being your average twenty-something slacker, he also happens to be the greatest fighter in Ontario Canada.
Sex-Bob-Omb Jamming
Scott Pilgrim quickly moves into surreal territory, drawing upon themes and cues from the cartoons, movies, video games and comics people of Scott's age experienced while growing up. From the name of his band "Sex Bob-Omb" to the X-Men patch on his jacket, it is all a love letter from O'Malley to an entire subculture.
Even Scott's having to fight seven evil exes is a reference to shonen style manga like Dragon Ball. But that's not what it's about, even if O’Malley drops many references to things from his time growing up. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is about becoming an adult and fighting for things in life, because just skirting by can hurt the people around you and leave you really alone whether or not you've realized it yet.
This edition is also hardbound and comes with bonus material from the creator, discussing the origins of the characters and conception of the series. So for the many of us who missed out on this critically acclaimed graphic novel the first time, this volume entitled "Scott Pilgrim''s Precious Little Life" is a great place to start on a journey of our own.

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