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Found 14 results

  1. Yes, there's a new Star Wars Holiday Special. The most infamous piece of Star Wars lore returns to Disney+, but this time in LEGO form (and yes... LEGO is supposed to be all caps). If you're unaware of the first Star Wars Holiday Special... well, I just don't know how to describe it. It's unbelievable in its awfulness. Imagine some weird, unfunny mash-up of the worst 70's variety show you've ever seen, featuring has-been TV comedians doing painfully unfunny "comedy" sketches, a couple of trippy musical numbers, a cartoon, and mortifyingly embarrassing cameos by the Star Wars cast (with Carrie Fisher singing) and... well, you're not even scratching the surface. This is the train wreck of train wrecks. This is the train wreck that other train wrecks slow down to look at in astonishment, then quickly turn away from because it's so bad. I watched this as a kid when it first aired. It was the first new Star Wars anything after the original movie, while we were all eagerly waiting for what seemed like an eternity for The Empire Strikes Back. There was no home video. No cable. No way to see Star Wars since it had left the theaters. So of course anticipation for the special was high. But in the end, it was a train wreck. It was a train wreck, inside of a train wreck, that was happening on top of another train wreck. It didn't matter that it was Star Wars. Or that I was a kid at the time. I knew awful when I saw it. The cartoon was okay though. Weird looking animation, but still, it was kind of cool. Maybe because it was the only part that wasn't irredeemably awful. It also introduced Boba Fett who didn't once fall into a pit. So good for him! Yay, Boba! But the rest of that mess was genuinely unwatchable. Time for an anecdote! Some years back, I got a bootleg copy of the special on DVD from a sketchy internet site (before it was readily available on YouTube). For our Christmas/Holiday Party at the college where I work, we hosted a screening of it on the big projection system in one of our multipurpose rooms. We have a lot of Star Wars nerds there, and the screening started out with a pretty good crowd, since few had ever seen it. Well, that didn't last too long. The further we got into it, the more people left. Finally, near the end of it, we were down to maybe three or four people, most of whom were asleep on the floor by that point. One of them walked towards the door and we told him, "Don't leave yet - Carrie Fisher is about to sing!" We kidded him about not being a hardcore fan, at which point he rolled up his sleeves to show an Imperial tattoo on one arm, and a Rebel tattoo on the other, and then he said, "I'm a huge Star Wars fan... but I just can't take it anymore!" and left. What I'm getting at here, is if you've never seen it, don't. It's just not worth the two hours* of your life you'll never get back. George Lucas disavowed the Holiday Special. Rumor had it that he was actively trying to track down and destroy every copy of it. It has never, and will never be officially released. Yet now - there's a new one. A LEGO one. But it's not terrible. In fact, apart from the name and it centering around Life Day, it has basically nothing to do with the original. Rather, it's very much in keeping with the cute, irreverent, humorous tone the LEGO Star Wars games (and TV specials) have always had. It even manages to poke more than a little much-needed fun at the sequel trilogy. It's all pretty silly, and the personalities of the Emperor and Darth Vader are almost straight out of Robot Chicken. There's an attempt in there to have a heartfelt story of sorts, but c'mon... it's LEGO + Star Wars + Holiday Special. That should tell you how much time they actually dwell on anything resembling a plot. Some of the cast members from the movies and The Clone Wars series reprise their roles**. Those that don't are voiced by exceptionally good mimics. There are a lot of "blink and you'll miss it" in-jokes, and more than a few that are completely ham-fisted. But hey... holidays and ham go together! I got a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments out of it, including the very final shot which, frankly, made the whole thing worth watching (especially if you're a fan of holiday classics). At less-than-half of the run time of the original Holiday Special, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is just long enough to be entertaining without wearing out its welcome. Pop some popcorn, grab some egg nog***, and curl up in front of the TV. There are worse things to spend 44 minutes watching. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special gets a 6/10. (*With commercials.) (**If you're interested, here's an article on the making of the special.) (***Mix egg nog 50/50 with 7-Up. Makes for a great holiday punch. Watch out for the foam.) Edit: This gives an overview of the original Holiday Special, but still doesn't fully convey how bad it is:
  2. As you know if you've read my blog, I'm a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic. I've bought all of his albums, books, videos, and many years ago went to one of his concerts (and really would like to have gone to more). But one thing I didn't buy, was a boxed set of all of his recordings that came out in 2017 called Squeeze Box. Why? Well, first, I have all of his albums. And even though there was a bonus CD of extras called "Medium Rarities" there just wasn't enough on there to warrant buying the whole set. They weren't really even Medium Rare, as they were Medium Common (I know... that's not a pun). A lot of his early work from the Dr. Demento show wasn't included because, well, he wrote it as a kid and he felt some of it wasn't very good. But that's the sort of stuff fans want. I know this, because I've bought tons of Monkees reissues over the years precisely because of all of the unreleased tracks that have seen the light of day this way. Similarly, I've been subscribing to the Maynard Ferguson Lost Tapes club, which has been releasing a new CD of previously unreleased live recordings every month. They're starting on the third (and final) edition now, and at $100 for six months, that only works out to about $17 per CD. So I don't mind paying for something that I want to own on physical media. Price isn't so much the issue. So, back to Squeeze Box, because it's tangentially relevant to this blog post. The reason I didn't buy it wasn't solely because of the weakness of the bonus CD. It was because of the packaging. It came in an absolutely humongous replica of "Weird Al's" accordion: Those aren't CDs sticking out of the top. They're LPs. That should give you a sense of scale. (You could get CDs instead, but the accordion was the same massive size.) I just didn't have any interest in that. I have no place to put it, and I don't really care to display a giant, fake accordion somewhere. It would just end up getting shoved into a closet somewhere, for the sake of basically getting one CD. Oh, and a book came with it too, although I already had a book about "Weird Al" and didn't feel I needed another one. (Of course since then, I've bought two more, with a third on the way. But they don't come in a giant, fake accordion. They're just books.) So, I didn't buy that set. Just recently though, I bought something stupider. Something else you'd know if you've read my blog, is that I grew up watching Speed Racer. I reviewed the (awful) live action movie here some years ago. I'll leave it to you to find that review, since the blogs here are so horribly broken right now, I can't even find things in my own blog. Which reminds me - yes, I'm starting to blog again. This is my second blog post now in... oh, 9 months or so. I'm on a roll! I've had stuff I wanted to blog about, but the current state of the AtariAge blogs since InVision's last "update" has left me so completely frustrated that I just haven't bothered. So even though nobody wants to slog through the mess that's the front page, can't look up anything by category, and they'd be better off using Bing to search for something than use the built-in search here, I'm going to blog anyway. So there. Good luck finding anything. Right. Speed Racer. For years, the U.S. rights to Speed Racer was owned by Speed Racer Enterprises. Starting in 2003, they put out some DVD releases of the series, but they were mostly disappointing. The main titles and end credits had been overlaid (badly) with modern graphics. And while the first disc had some nice bonus features, none of the other discs did (the biggest omission being the original Japanese version of the series). Also, as more editions were released, the quality began to suffer (including "time compressing" one episode so it played at a higher speed). But okay... at least I could watch the TV series again in some form. Then, there was the packaging. These were all "Limited Editions" in "collectible packaging". Okay... if I had to buy that to get the series, I guess I would. But I'm not a fan of this sort of marketing gimmickry at all. I don't like "exclusives" or "limited editions" or "collectors' editions" that come in non-standard packaging. Just sell me the thing. If you want to add more content and charge more, then add more discs and raise the price. When I buy a DVD, I just buy it, stick it on a shelf, and once in awhile take it down to watch it. I have no interest in displaying them as "collectibles". The first DVD was actually pretty good. It did have some bonus material, mostly in the form of trivia. The packaging included an outer sleeve that featured actual rubber, stamped like a tire tread. To be fair, I could just discard the sleeve and keep the case inside. But this was okay. Pointless, but okay. The second one had a cover that opened like a book, then played a sound clip and the Mach 5's lights would light up. This was actually kind of cool. Until the battery died. So, now it's a cover that does nothing. But hey - foil stamped logo! Woohoo! The next one is the one that really started putting me off. At least the first two were standard DVD cases in a sleeve. But for some reason, Volume 3 came in a metal can, wedged into half of a cardboard DVD box. It looked like a film reel, but it was supposedly the Mach 5's steering wheel. Just getting the disc out meant popping open that stupid can (and the disc just bounces around inside it), and the box would break down more every time you took the can out or put it back. But I still have to keep the box to prevent the can from rolling off the shelf. Something which may not be readily apparent, is that the artwork started taking a hit in quality at this point. More on that in a minute. The next one was actually kind-of-cool, because it included a die-cast version of the Mach 5. The outer box was larger than normal, but it did include a normal DVD case inside, and the toy was cool. In fact, they should've just done that for every edition, with a different car for each one. Collectors could display them separate from the DVDs, and kids would have something to play with. And of course, the cars were the stars of the show! ' Here though, is where the artwork really started to go downhill. Speed's outlines look like he was drawn with a paint roller (click to zoom in): The final volume included a small, stamped, metal license plate. So... yay. I guess I could... just leave it in the box forever. I have no idea what else I would do with it. With this one, the artwork finally took a complete and total nose-dive. You probably can't see how atrocious that is, at that size. So here's a zoomed-in version (click for the close-up). Sparky's teeth are just... wrong. I can't tell if Trixie is winking, having a stroke, or was punched in the face. The line "quality" is catastrophically bad (I'm guessing MS Paint). And apparently, Speed ran over Spritle's hand. And face. But okay, I guess at least I had the episodes. And they do fit on a shelf. (At least I didn't buy this thing.) Now, do collectors like this stuff? Maybe when I was ten I would've been into some of that. I don't know. The toy car was the only one that really had any appeal to me. The rest I just found annoying, because what I really want is a DVD in a normal case, that I can easily get the discs out of when I want to watch them. I don't "get" or like the collector's editions that come in weird cases. I don't want some big, oversized, tin, plastic, cardboard, or wooden thing that I have to find someplace to store. Maybe this is one of the reasons I've largely stopped buying physical copies of movies. I can get a set of movies on iTunes, without the trappings. But for some things... I still want to own physical media. Music, for example. I always buy CDs. I only buy downloaded music when it's the ONLY way I can get a piece of music. I want to own my music, physically, so if the cloud-of-the-week that it's on disappears, I still have it. Same with certain movies or TV series. I have a connection to them, and I want to own them. For recent stuff, like the Marvel movies, I genuinely don't care. They're on TV all the time, and I have them on iTunes (and they're on Disney+ as well), so I can watch them whenever. Or not. I don't have that emotional tie to them. Star Wars, on the other hand (and don't ask "which one"... there's only one movie titled "Star Wars"), is something I've bought multiple copies of over the years. I keep hoping (against hope) that Disney will release a proper version of the original theatrical print. And if they do, I'll buy it again. Even if it comes in a big, giant, plastic Death Star or something. For me, owning the movie on a disc is important. And because Speed Racer was a big part of my childhood, the same applies to that series. Which brings me, longwindedly as usual, to the whole point of this blog entry. By the way - did'ja miss me? Because if you've followed this blog at all, you had to know going into it that this blog entry was going to be a rambling, incoherent mess. Regular readers (or irregular ones) wouldn't expect anything less. You wouldn't want me to be brief and to-the-point would you? Where would be the fun in that? Right. Speed Racer. So, Speed Racer Enterprises lost the rights to distribute/market Speed Racer several years ago, after some legal battles with the original animation studio Tatsunoko. Funimation took on the task of releasing the series on Blu-ray in 2017. Now, I didn't even hear about all of this until just recently. I hadn't searched for the series in years. But I ran across one of my Johnny Lightning Speed Racer cars the other day, and thought, "Hey... I wonder if the series ever came out on Blu-ray?" So I checked Amazon, and well, it had. Thanks, Captain Terror! The complete series was available in a nice, standard Blu-ray case for only $20. So, did I buy it? Well... no. Because they had also put out (sigh...) a Collector's Edition. An "Ultimate" Collection, according to Funimation. In a really big box. How big? Well, we'll get to that. Now, what did this Collector's Edition offer? Not only the complete Speed Racer series... but also the original Japanese version of the series: Mach Go Go Go! Yeah. I had to have that. (Yes, I have the manga. Thanks for asking.) And of course, it wasn't available in normal packaging. You could only get it in this ridiculous, giant-sized Collector's Edition. But it had the bonus content I wanted. Content worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, and predictably, it also included superfluous junk I didn't want: the 1997 remake series (Mach Go Go Go Restart), DVD copies of the Blu-ray content (why??), and a keychain. Oh, and a giant plastic head. Ugh. This thing is huge. It's the size of a bowling ball (note - these are pictures from Funimation, I didn't want to waste the time setting up a space big enough to take pictures of mine). It's well made, I guess. But it's really the stupidest thing I've ever bought. It's huge. And I have no interest in seeing Speed's gaping mouth yawning at me from a shelf (I actually don't have any shelves big enough for this thing). Currently, and forever more, it sits in the box. That huge, huge box. I have to find space in a closet for it somewhere. I suppose there's a keychain in there too, but I haven't looked for it. Now, given the (brace yourselves) $300 !!!!! sticker price for this, you may be thinking I'm insane for having bought this. Well, Amazon is currently selling it for $224. Which is better. But when I ordered it (from Amazon) a couple of weeks ago, for some reason, it was only $109. So that's why I bought it. Totally worth that price for the discs. Despite the stupid head. Besides, the discs themselves actually come in cardboard booklets, that can be removed by taking the back of Speed's head off, and reaching into his skull. Did I mention this is the stupidest thing I've ever bought? Anyway... the episodes themselves look as well as can be expected, for 50+ year-old TV animation. The transfers are clean, and you get to see the series as it was made. Warts and all. In fact, there are some interesting artifacts visible around the edges of the screen, as they shot this on full-frame film, and around the edges you can see unfinished artwork that was meant to be cut off by televisions of the day. I'm glad they didn't mask those out - it's part of the charm of something like this. The titles and end credits still have modern overlays for some reason, but they're more in keeping with the style of the originals. They were clearly created with modern technology though, with little attempt to try to match the look of the original filmed elements. That's disappointing, because someone with just a couple of hours work in After Effects could've easily made them at least appear more authentic. For a Collector's Edition, I'd expect that. As far as bonus content, well, there's Mach Go Go Go and the reboot series. Otherwise, just a single interview with Connie Orr (Trixie). I would've thought there would've been more interviews done over the years, or other archival materials that could've been included. But maybe Speed's brain only had so much space in it. Anyway, I don't regret the purchase, because I got the discs I wanted, and am enjoying watching the series. After an episode or two I'm skipping through the titles and end credits anyway (there's only so many times you can listen to that theme song). I've only looked briefly at the Japanese series - I want to re-watch Speed Racer first, then go through Mach Go Go Go and see what the differences are (I don't think it was heavily edited like some later anime series, but there are certainly dialog changes to "Americanize" the language). It gives me something else to binge watch, which is good. Since the Coronavirus pandemic started, I've been working my way through every episode of This Old House, and I'm 24 seasons into it. I could stand to change things up a little. Well... that took awhile to write. What to do next? I suppose I could do an Artie the Atari episode. I even have one written. And I can guarantee it's the funniest one in over a year! Mainly since I haven't done one in over a year. I think this is the longest stretch without an episode ever. I have a ton of New Old Music I could write about. Which is easily the least popular feature of my blog. So that would seem apropos for a blog that nobody can find anything in anyway. Or maybe it's time for a movie review. Not that I've actually been to the movies since... December. But I'll figure something out. Well, there will be some sort of blog entry. You may not be able to find it. But it'll be here.
  3. Live - RIGHT NOW. The Virtual 2020 CalArts Character Animation Open Show: https://youtu.be/zjXrDox2a08 We didn't have a show in the Spring, and can't meet in person yet. So we're kicking off the fall semester remotely by screening the films online that our students were able to complete over the summer despite the craziness of the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting campus shutdown. Enjoy!
  4. In the last few weeks, I've been working on sprite extraction and insertion scripts for use in animations. As a test case, I made a mosaic of Space Invaders aliens: The animations were compiled from the arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, MSX, NES, and ZX Spectrum versions. How many of these have you played and which is your favorite?
  5. Hi everyone. I've been working on a project I'm calling AtasciiTube. It's a HTML5/JS app to play for ATASCII animations. I'm still refining the code, but it's working pretty well so far. Check it out: http://breakintochat.com/collections/atascii. Also, I want to send out a plea to anyone who saved any ATASCII animations from years ago. I have found quite a few, but I know there have to more out there. If you were an 8-bit sysop or user back in the day, or maybe you dabbled in creating these animations yourself, please give me a holler! I'd love to add any animations you can send me.
  6. Hey guys, I am not a programmer by any means.I was experimenting with visual bb and decided to make a sprite using both player sprites. I am now wondering if anyone would be willing to show me a code where I can combine both sprites as one. My first goal is to combine both sprites and then hopefully add some code so I can design a walk cycle. Anyone willing to share an animated double sprite code to an artist?I just wanna create art, I wish I understand programming. I provided art example below, I'm sure it will be nice to see if someone was willing to help out. My next step is walk cycle if someone can help with the code. I've seen this code for flicking, but I am not sure how to use it or write it in a code for my character. Assuming flicker is best. My understanding is, it allows you to use one player sprite instead of two? frame1 player0x = x gosub ShowLeftSide goto frame2 frame2 player0x = x + 8 gosub ShowRightSide goto frame1 Art player0: %01011010 %00110100 %00101000 %00110000 %00011000 %00110000 %00110000 %00110000 %01010000 %11100000 %01000000 %00000000 %10101010 %11111111 %00000001 %10110110 %01011000 %01010000 %01100000 %11000000 %10000000 %10000000 %11100000 %10000000 player0: %10110000 %01011000 %00111000 %00011000 %00110000 %00011000 %00011000 %00010100 %00001100 %00001110 %00110111 %01001011 %01010000 %01101111 %01011111 %01011000 %01011101 %01011101 %01011011 %01100110 %00111001 %00000011 %00000011 %00000001
  7. Classic games that have smooth controls & animation: The Super Mario Bros. game series on NES are a given. Many NES games have smooth, refined controls and are well-animated. Jungle Hunt on ColecoVision is another one. Your pith-helmet-wearing character controls as smooth/refined as on a good NES game. Jumping is smooth and well-animated. The falling boulders and crocodiles animate well. Swinging ropes move as smooth as windshield wipers. Looks like everything was done in a high framerate for smoothness. Even the side-scrolling was pretty decent. Very impressive for it's time! Other versions of Jungle Hunt at the time have choppier, more 'computer-y' looking animation -- like they were done at a much lower framerate. They also don't control as well. Post some examples of smooth animated/controlled games and discuss
  8. Highly inspired by this : http://68000.web.fc2.com/bad_apple.html I decided to do my own version of this demo for the sega megadrive I initially wanted to proof it was possible to achieve full resolution video while keeping 30 FPS playback rate. After many effort i finally completed it. 4 MB version : https://dl.dropbox.com/u/93332624/dev/megadrive/demo/BadApple_p1.bin https://dl.dropbox.com/u/93332624/dev/megadrive/demo/BadApple_p2.bin 8 MB version (without bank switch) : https://dl.dropbox.com/u/93332624/dev/megadrive/demo/BadApple.bin Note that the 8 MB version can work only with Mega Everdrive or custom flash cart supporting full 8 MB mapping (without SSF2 bank switch style). Also some special emulator can support it as well as this one : http://umk3.hacking-cult.org/2.11hack.zip The good point is that it does work on real hardware exactly as on emulator
  9. Hey all, I tried to spend the weekend learning the basics (ha!) of IntyBasic. And what better way to learn for a "retro" console than to make a PONG clone? So I made a very rough PONG clone called "PONGadelic" to learn: Simple sprite definition and rendering. Controller input and translating input to sprite movement. Simple collision detection. How to handle color-switching on the Inty. I've attached the BAS and ROM files for your perusal. The PONGadelic_title.BAS simple renders the classic title screen (adapted from the SDK's classic title screen example - thanks!). So down to my questions - I've got the Inty in ColorStack mode: MODE SCREEN_COLOR_STACK, STACK_BLACK, STACK_CYAN, STACK_BROWN, STACK_YELLOW 'I have no idea how to use anything after STACK_BLACK BORDER BORDER_BLACK This results in my entire play field being BLACK, which is what I want for now. Great. But say, after either player scores a point, I want to change the whole play field to the next color in the stack - that is everything that was STACK_BLACK should now be STACK_CYAN. I was not able to figure out how to accomplish this. Is there some sort of "advance color stack to next color" command? I saw something about setting $2000 but I'm not sure how or where to do that. I don't want to change the color of a sprite or printed object; I want to make the entire play field a new color. Second question - I have a Ball object (SPRITE 6) that I want to animate in a simple, back-and-forth kind of deal. I have two sprites loaded into GRAM for this purpose; SPR03 and SPR04. SPRITE 6,ballX+HIT+VISIBLE,ballY+ZOOMY2,SPR03 + ballColor 'this is where Id like to animate the ball, (i.e. change to SPR04 for X frames, wait X frames, then change back to SPR03). My assumption is we need some kind of counter that switches the line from using SPR03 to SPR04 every X frames, then starts over and switches back to SPR03 after X frames elapse again - but I struggled with how to implement this. When I had counters swapping the sprites, I ran into collision detection issues. Final question - WAITs - I don't really understand when I should (and shouldn't) be using them. I understand that certain things need to "settle" sometimes, or you can only do certain operations once every "cycle"... but I'm kind of lost . Besides those (probably obvious!) questions, PONGadelic is a totally functional albeit rough PONG clone! If you feel like trying it out, here's how it works: Classic PONG - use your paddle to bounce the ball and prevent it from going out the back of your side. Left Controller - Left Side; Right Controller - Right Side. Player who just gave up a point gets to "serve" the ball using any of the Side Buttons (serving merely sends the ball in a random direction from the center). When the game first starts, Left Player gets to "serve". First player to 9 points wins the game. Walls, Paddles, and Ball have a random color during each round of the game (hence PONGadelic). Thanks in advance for your help! J. Lewis pongadelic_title.bas pongadelic.bas constants.bas pongadelic.rom
  10. Not one of the high points of the series!
  11. Hello all! I thought I would post a project I've been working on. It's a small animated thing that pays homage to Hideaki Anno's anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion. I was a bit chuffed to learn that they dropped the Frank Sinatra song from the end credits, so I decided to make my own rendition on the Apple II. 😀 Requires: Apple II Plus or higher, 64KB of RAM (as it runs under ProDOS only). Real hardware tested on: Apple //e (64kB early, with 6502), Apple //e Enhanced (128KB w/ 65c02). It should work on the rest, though I'd love to hear your experiences! Location to download (including source code): Evangelion A.2 You can watch what it does in this video recording (made with AppleWin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4U1Gg--7JU
  12. Here's a little animation I did with my APAC interlaced converter. Clash of the Lightsabers 130XE - english.atr
  13. Well, that was weird. No, not the movie. My last blog post. Well, not the post, but the way it got posted. It used to be, that when you posted a new blog entry, it would move to the top of the main blog page. But mine didn't. It stayed down at the bottom, right below Eric Ball's latest entry: The weird thing is, I posted my entry on August 10: And Eric had posted his on July 10: And uh... Wait. Why did the blog software make that graphic so big? It's huge!! Give me a minute here. (Several annoying minutes and edits later...) Okay. So, one of the things I hate about high resolution monitors, is that everything arbitrarily scales things to the size they think they "should" be. This includes screenshots in whatever Apple OS I'm using this week. It used to be a pixel was a pixel. Now you're just guessing at what size things may or may not display at. And this brings up another problem with Invision's lousy blog software (in case you're wondering what I'm talking about, hang in there a minute...). You see, for the most part, I link directly to image files I use in my blog, rather than uploading them. This way I can simply replace files in my FTP folder when I want to update something. But not anymore. Now, Invision's stupid blog software cache's its own local version of a linked file. So when I upload a new one, it doesn't change. And it's not my browser cache either, because I cleared that. And I also confirmed this in another browser that I hadn't even logged into AtariAge with. If this looks twice as large as the other one, then you're seeing Invision's stupid caching: Because if you open the actual image link in another window, you'll see the actual size of the file: http://cheeptech.com/misc/blog_pics/july-10.jpg (Here's a screenshot, since this will probably eventually be fixed accidentally by Invision or the cache will randomly expire): In order to update the screenshot to the smaller version, I had to rename, re-upload and replace it. That completely defeats the purpose of linking to the FILE IN THE FIRST PLACE!! (sigh) Yeah, I'm on another Invision rant. You may have missed the last one, because instead of putting that blog entry at the top, it buried it amongst the older entries. Like I was mentioning before. That entry, by the way, was a movie review. But it devolved into a rant about Invision's stupid blog software. But clearly, Invision doesn't care about blogs, because they've now been relegated to a submenu under Apps, rather than having their own link. Thanks, Invision. So, why did my other post get posted out-of-order? Well, if I had to guess, it was probably because I didn't click "Immediately" for "Publish Time". I had saved it while working on it, so the time stamp was a little bit earlier than "Immediately" would've been. Since the blogs no longer list when entries were actually posted, but just show "Latest", I'm guessing the time stamp is screwed-up, or missing, or whatever. So this time, I'll click "Immediately" and see what happens. Why not? should be fun. Anyway, onto the movie review. As with Spider-Man: Far From Home, I actually saw this a few weeks ago while on vacation, but never got around to typing up a review for it. Actually though, I never planned on seeing it in the first place. You see, I'm kind of done with Pixar. And Toy Story. I'm just tired of them. When I saw Toy Story 3, I really, really liked it and... WHAT IS A WEB BROWSER POLL DOING IN MY TOY STORY 3 MOVIE REVIEW?!?! WHAT THE INVISION IS GOING ON HERE?!?!? I did NOT put that in there. Now admittedly, that would've been a pretty funny joke. But I have no idea where that came from!!! Wow. Maybe I need to move my blog. MySpace is still a thing, right? Sheesh. Okay... let's try and finish this. So, I really liked Toy Story 3 when I saw it in theaters. But the weird thing is, I never re-watched it. Whenever it comes on TV, I avoid it. Not ignore - avoid. Why? Well, I'm just kind of tired of those characters. Oversaturated with them. And the movie, while it does have some really funny moments, in hindsight the emotional stuff is all a bit cloying and manipulative now. I still think Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are really good movies (although they're starting to look pretty dated now), but that's because they were still exploring new ideas. But with Toy Story 3, it was the whole unloved/lost/abandoned/Woody-is-all-angsty toy schtick again. But it closed out the series, and that was fine. The toys were in good hands, happy ending, the end. Of course, Disney wasn't going to let it end there. They became sequel-happy. And the sequels have been ridiculously successful, with Toy Story 3, Incredibles 2, and Finding Dory each earning over $1 billion worldwide. In fact, now including Toy Story 4, the only Pixar movies that have cleared a billion dollars worldwide have been sequels. Sure, Pixar has recently said that they won't be doing any more sequels, but don't you believe it. I never bothered seeing Cars 3 or Finding Dory, but even beyond the sequels, I've grown weary of Pixar's original films as well. The Good Dinosaur was a train wreck, Inside Out did nothing for me (and I've never re-watched it), and I didn't think much of Coco either and... wait, WHY IS THERE A YOUTUBE VIDEO IN THE MIDDLE OF MY COCO REVIEW?!?! Oh right... that used to be a link, and Invision arbitrarily decided to turn it into an embedded video. Idiots. You know, writing movie reviews didn't used to be this difficult. Anyway, so... I'm tired of Toy Story, Pixar, blah, blah, blah. But we needed something to go see during vacation, and there was nothing else in the theaters worth seeing (I'd already seen Spider-Man), so we figured Toy Story 4 was well-reviewed enough to justify seeing. And it was okay. It was well-animated. Had some funny scenes. And the new characters: Forky, Ducky and Bunny really need to get their own road-trip movie. Seriously - I'd pay good money to see that. But I'm just tired of Woody and his endlessly repeating need to re-learn some valuable life lesson. It's just worn thin. To the writers' credit, they did come up with an interesting take on the whole "lost toy" idea, but by far the most interesting character in the film was Forky, and they didn't spend nearly enough time delving into what makes him tick. They touch on it here and there, and it makes for some of the best scenes in the film (including a scene during the credits that's almost worth the price of admission), but just as they get into it, it becomes about Woody again. As for the rest of the Toy Story characters, they were effectively relegated to support roles, when they showed up at all. And yes, that includes Buzz. In Toy Story 3, his gimmick was that he was reset and spoke Spanish. In this one, he has another gimmick related to his digitized voice, and given how long the character has been around, it seems he's actually regressed in this film, from where we would expect him to be. They did bring back Bo Peep who had been missing after Toy Story 2, and we get to find out a little bit about what she's been up to. But again, this is Woody's film, and even her story becomes about him. So while she probably has a really interesting story to tell, it becomes more about his reactions to where she is now, than giving her the center stage. It almost seems a little like they're pandering to girls in the audience, without really following through with the character in any meaningful way. Speaking of pandering, that's the only way I can describe the ending of the villain's story in this film. It was shlocky and lazy. It's like someone saw an early Pixar movie, and decided they wanted to copy the feeling they got from watching it without understanding how it was accomplished. As an aside, there was just some weird stuff in this movie, too. Previously, the toys didn't impact the world around them much or interact with people directly (except Woody's line to Sid at the end of the first film), and the movie even alludes to those being rules that aren't allowed to be broken in a couple of really funny scenes with Ducky and Bunny. But then near the end of the film, the toys completely throw those rules out the window in a really big way. It just doesn't fit in with the established Toy Story universe, and it seems like a lazy solution to a story problem the writers found themselves in. Toy Story 4 would've been a better film if it were used as a vehicle to pass the torch to the next generation of characters (as mentioned, Forky, Ducky and Bunny were standouts), but this was more like Toy Story 2.5, than Toy Story 4. It's not that it's a bad film, but it missed its best opportunities to be something new and different. Toy Story 4 gets a 6/10. But in hindsight, I'll probably look back at it and think I should've given it a 4 or 5. That always happens when I go back and look at old movie reviews. I often score a movie I've seen in the theater higher than I otherwise would, probably because the theatrical experience enhances my perception of the film. Maybe having waited a few weeks to write this review will have tempered that somewhat, but these are pretty-much the thoughts I had when I was leaving the theater. Maybe 5.5 would be better.
  14. Hey everyone, Back then, Richard Williams had a dream. He promised to make the greatest animated film of all time. It took 30 years just to get close to finishing the film. Unfortunately, it never was finished. Only 85% was done, and then the film was taken from Richard William's hands. It was finished by other people, but butchered beyond relief. Several scenes of amazing animation were cut, and third rate songs, voice-overs, and animation were put in. Richard Williams created a work print before Thief was taken from him, and that reflected his vision. It has been horribly bootlegged to death though, and many copies are almost literally unwatchable. But, in 2006, a man named Garrett Gilchrist created a nonprofit restored version called The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut. This version has many old deleted scenes, and many discovered storyboards and pencil tests. He is still updating the film, and is planning to release a Mark IV version for free online sometime next year. Please help spread the word and support this great man. I am only a fan that is trying to create awareness. Here is his youtube channel. You can watch the whole Recobbled Cut for free. http://www.youtube.com/user/TheThiefArchive And this is also his official production website. He has several other projects and a forum as well. You can even donate too. http://orangecow.org/ Have a great day everyone, and please enjoy and preserve this lost masterpiece of animation.
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