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MOVIE REVIEW: "John Carter" (2012)

John Carter.

It’s a venerable name in science fiction, largely unknown to the much vaster universe of consumers marinated in Tarzan at a young age. That makes its fate as a blockbuster quite uncertain (i.e., no Transformers guarantee here). Setting that commercial issue aside, however, what’s it like as a movie?

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KLASSICS FOR KIDS: “Tron” (1981)

Review in a nutshell: Goofy.

Review in a coconut shell: Goofy with a lot of special effects.

PLAY BY PLAY:
A game designer gets ripped off by a company, so he goes into a computer world, leads a revolution, gets proof, comes out again, and takes over the company.

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MADE-FOR-TV MOVIE REVIEW: “Phineas and Ferb: Across The 2nd Dimension” 2011

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I’m always hesitant when they do a movie version of a cartoon. Why? Because in cartoons, the format is an intrinsic, unavoidable part of the storytelling. Think of a haiku: It’s a very rigid format. If you want to stick six more lines in there, it ain’t a haiku. Loony Toons work great as a series of seven-minute shorts, but blowing them up into a feature film just doesn’t work, and there are plenty examples of exactly how pronouncedly they don’t work. Likewise, an animated sitcom like The Simpsons works great as a 22-minute episode, but it pretty much sucks as a 90 minute movie.

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Chicken Little – Movie Review (**)

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So it seems that the great philosophical question of my generation has become “What thinketh thou, Disney?” A lot of times this question comes paired with the popular discussion topic “The Wings of Pixar: Candle Wax or Real Feathers?” Both subjects seem to be generated by the apparent belief that Disney seems to think that Animation for Animation’s sake is all that matters. That they can slap the semblance of a story together, input the whole thing into a render farm, pop out a templatized feature length product and just by the simple fact that they epoxy their Brand name to it, it instantly should make it a quality animated film in the grand tradition of their storied past. While Pixar preaches “Story, story, story” (now whether that will continue to be true in the future is still to be seen…), Disney is all about the Brand. And that fact about Disney is nowhere more evident than in Chicken Little, the newest animated mass market twinkie from the Mouse House’s piece work animation assembly lines.

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B-MOVIE CRAPFEST: “The Black Hole” (1979)

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Happy Armistice Day!

As you’ll probably notice, “The Saturday Afternoon B-Movie Crapfest” is now simply the “B-Movie Crapfest.” This is because producing seven days worth of material, plus current show reviews has frankly burned me out. So I’m doing this feature when possible, and it’ll run on weekdays now. Just so you’ll know.

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THIS USED TO BE THE FUTURE: Progress City

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We’ve all been to Epcot, we’ve all been bored by it, we’ve all seen its sad decline from a kind of permanent world’s fair into a gaggle of thrill rides and theme restaurants. We’ve all thought “Why bother?”

What is somewhat less known is that the original plan for E.P.C.O.T. was vastly more ambitious, a kind of planned city of the future that would have housed about 30,000 people, experimented with new systems of transportation, civil engineering, and social design. It’s all pretty fascinating, as you can see in this promotional film which aired as an episode of “Walt Disney Presents.”

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THIS USED TO BE THE FUTURE: The Original E.P.C.O.T.

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Everybody knows that Epcot was originally intended by Walt Disney to be an actual living, working town. Most, if they think of it at all, tend to write it off as one of crazy Unkie Walt's whacky Futurian daydeams that never would have come off, and now we've got "Celebration," and that's just as good, right?

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Things that never quite made it: Sky High (2005)

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I'm a little burned out on fan films at the moment, so I'm gonna' take a little break. We'll get back to in eventually, but for the moment I think it's more important to bore you with flop movies that were intended as pilots for TV shows that also would have flopped, but never got the chance. When I say "More important," what I mean is "It's something to put here instead of an interesting fan film."

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