All posts by qwipster

33 – Swords of Enchantment: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (1987) – Podcast Film Review



The Cannon Group took a bath with the failure of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE in 1987, a film that had gone over budget and well beyond schedule.

The film starts off in the mythical land of Eternia, where the ruthless villain Skeletor (Frank Langella) has managed, with the help of a powerful musical cosmic key, to capture Castle Grayskull, the source for a wealth of magic and power in the region.  Skeletor has taken the powerful good Sorceress (Christina Pickles) prisoner and has been draining her of her essence to channel into his own, making him more powerful as time goes on.  However, the great hero of Eternia, He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), is still free, and with his cronies, the faithful Man-at-War (Jon Cypher) and his daughter Teela (Chelsea Field), he seeks to thwart Skeletor’s plans for dominion over Eternia and restore Castle Grayskull back to its original state.

Their plans go awry when the cosmic key’s creator, the dwarven creature known as Gwildor (Billy Barty), opens up a portal to modern Earth with a prototype of the same key for them to escape Skeletor’s clutches.  The key is lost on arrival to Earth, soon found by a couple of high school aged teens named Julie (Courteney Cox) and Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill), who activate it thinking it must be some newfangled musical device.  However, using the device alerts Skeletor as to its whereabouts, and once he has pinpointed its location, he sends a band of mercenaries to recover the key and ensnare He-Man, of whom he plans to make an example of in custody to break the will of any would-be heroes left in Eternia.


32 – Swords of Enchantment: EXCALIBUR (1981) – Podcast Film Review



John Boorman’s polarizing but highly ambitious take on Arthurian legend is a visually and aurally striking look into the myth, the fantasy, and the haunting imagery that the medieval Thomas Malory tale has evoked over the last several centuries.  A then-nobody, but now all-star cast that includes Helen Mirren, Liam Neeson, and Patrick Stewart appears alongside stars Nigel Terry and Nicol Williamson to spin this sword-and-sorcery take on this well-known tale unlike any other that has seemingly come before or since.


31 – Swords of Enchantment: THE BLACK CAULDRON (1985) – Podcast Film Review



1985’s THE BLACK CAULDRON represents Disney at its nadir as an animation studio, resulting in a box office failure and years of obscurity.  It’s first PG-rated animated feature struggled to find an audience clamoring for its dark and violent tones.  However, it has garnered a significant cult following over the years, with its tales of swords, sorcerers, and black magic-infused battles brought to life with stunning visuals that incorporate the studios first forays into computer-generated elements into its hand-drawn animated cels.  Does it deserve obscurity, or is it about time to reappraise a hidden gem in Disney’s vast and storied filmography?


30 – No Monster Can Keep Us Apart: DRAGONSLAYER (1981) – Podcast Film Review



Disney collaborated with Paramount Pictures to make a fairly adventure for audiences that were a bit older in DRAGONSLAYER, a rousing but somewhat brutally dark tale of a sorcerer’s apprentice who must undertake the treacherous journey of slaying a dragon that regularly consumes the women of a nearby village as a peace offering.  Adventure and one amazing dragon, perhaps the best ever put to film, make this a notable entry for lovers of 1980s fantasy flicks.


29 – No Monster Can Keep Us Apart: CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) – Podcast Film Review



Ray Harryhausen’s final film marked the popular early 1980s adventure based on ancient Greek myths, CLASH OF THE TITANS.  Harry Hamlin stars as Perseus, the illegitimate mortal son of Zeus who ends up falling for the beautiful princess Andromeda, having to overcome puzzles and a variety of vicious beasts in order to gain her hand in marriage.  If only she weren’t slated to be sacrificed to the giant (and reportedly invincible) Titan known as the Kraken…

Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, and Burgess Meredith are in supporting roles in this dated but charming fantasy flick.


28 – No Monster Can Keep Us Apart: THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989) – Podcast Film Review



The Disney Renaissance kicked off with this smash hit animated feature that brought the studio back in a major way, THE LITTLE MERMAID!  Featuring great vocal talent, quality animation, and a killer score and soundtrack, it delighted a generation, and will delight many more, with its story of Ariel, a teenage mermaid who dreams of love with a hunky sailor prince, Eric, only made possible through a bad deal with a sea witch named Ursula.


27 – The Girl of My Dreams: SPLASH (1984) – Podcast Film Review



Ron Howard directs this delightful romantic comedy that would score one of the biggest hits of 1984, SPLASH.  Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah and John Candy would all propel to a more secure stardom after their roles in this screwball but tender love story between a man who has trouble finding the right woman until a mermaid steps…or swims…into his life.


26 – The Girl of My Dreams: MANNEQUIN (1987) – Podcast Film Review



Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall star in this smash hit bubblegum romance about a struggling artist who falls in love with a mannequin possessed by a lovelorn ancient Egyptian spirit who turns his life around.  James Spader, Estell Getty, and Meshach Taylor have supporting roles in this quintessential 80s fantasy-romance.  Does it hold up?


25 – The Girl of My Dreams: XANADU (1980) – Podcast Film Review



The much-maligned 1980 musical gets re-evaluated in this podcast review.  Olivia Newton-John plays a muse who is sent to earth to inspire a struggling artist (Michael Beck) fulfill his dream of starting a roller-disco club with a retired construction magnate (Gene Kelly).  Newton-John and pop group ELO deliver a powerhouse soundtrack in this visually impressive first effort from future political documentarian Robert Greenwald.


24 – Brink of Extinction: LEGEND (1985) – Podcast Film Review



Following up two sci-fi masterpieces in ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, Ridley Scott turned his gaze toward the realm of fantasy with LEGEND, starring Tom Cruise and Mia Sara.  Critics greeted the film with a shrug upon its initial release, but it has gained a cult following over the years, and the Director’s Cut release has had some re-evaluate it.  Is it still problematic, or is it a film that has aged well over time?


23 – Brink of Extinction: THE LAST UNICORN (1982) – Film Podcast Review



Rankin and Bass, the team that brought us Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as well as the ThunderCats, brought this charming animated feature featuring Japanese animation from the team who would go on to form Studio Ghibli, and voiced by stars like Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Lee.  Peter S. Beagle adapts his own children’s book, tapping into the metaphorical journey from the safety and security of youth to the strange and perilous odyssey of growing up, with the last unicorn as our guide.  Featuring folk-rock tracks sung by America and written and composed by Jimmy Webb, he nostalgia is strong with this one.


22 – Brink of Extinction: THE DARK CRYSTAL (1982) – Podcast Film Review



Jim Henson conceived of this elaborate realm of fantasy in which two competing races vie for the destiny of a faraway planet, as the evil Skeksis try to thwart the Gelflings of prophecy from uniting the planet yet again and bringing equilibrium to life there for those enslaved.  This imaginative film had been a disappointment on early release but has gained a rabid following among fantasy fans.  Frank Oz co-directs this film done entirely with puppets, and is a rare film that doesn’t a human character in sight.


21 – BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III (1990) – Podcast Film Review



The third and final entry in the BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy sees Marty and Doc in the Old West of Hill Valley in 1885, where Marty must save Doc from getting gunned down by an ancestor of Biff Tannen.  It’s a softer, and more romantic effort, as Doc finds love with the charming schoolteacher, Clara Clayton, who is also supposed to meet her maker, unless Marty can figure out a way to save them both without messing things up for the future!

 

 


20 – BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989) – Podcast Film Review



Marty and Doc must head 30 years into the future to save Marty’s kids from calamity,l but end up making a mess of the past when Biff Tannen takes over the DeLorean.  Will they save themselves, and their pasts, as well as their futures?

This ingenious sequel takes the premise of the original film for a loop-de-loop of logic few were expecting it to go, from the minds of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale.


19 – BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985) – Film Podcast Review



Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale and Steven Spielberg present the original 1985 class, BACK TO THE FUTURE!

Michael J. Fox plays 17-year-old Marty McFly, a spirited teenager who doesn’t seem to quite fit in with his current family, so much so that he spends a great deal of his time helping out an eccentric local scientist, Doc Brown, in his kooky experiments.  One night, Doc calls Marty out to an empty mall parking lot to witness his latest triumph, a souped- up DeLorean that he has modified as a time machine.  Upset that Doc has used the plutonium given to make a proposed nuclear bomb for his own machine, some angry terrorists gun him down in cold blood, leaving Marty with no other choice than to escape in the DeLorean, which sends him back in time to the date Doc first came up with the idea for time travel, November 5th, 1955, which also happens to be the date that Marty’s parents met and fell for each other.  Problems ensue when Marty’s mother begins to fall for him instead, which would completely negate the existence of Marty and his siblings.  Marty must find a way for his parents to fall in love, and get back to the future without the nuclear component necessary, with only the younger Doc Brown to help him.