Better than Streaming: Do you have Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray in your collection?

Welcome back, fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! If you are feeling nostalgic or if you are fond of the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies of the 1990s, then you might be interested to know that they were released on 4K Blu-ray format this past April.

For the newcomers reading this, the Star Trek: TNG films were Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). I have seen all those movies and I can say that all of them had their respective flaws (creatively and technically). In fact, three of those movies were disappointing and are not worth revisiting. Definitely not worth spending money for their 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray releases, and the same goes with the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection 4K Blu-ray set.

Among those four movies, the only one I actually enjoyed was Star Trek: First Contact (directed by Jonathan Frakes). While that movie has flaws and some questionable creative moves, the 1996 movie was still entertaining and turned out to be a lot more engaging than its 1994 predecessor. First Contact was the highlight of the Star Trek: TNG movies before things really went downhill with the 1998 and 2002 films. For the movie collectors and Star Trek fans reading this, Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray has been available since April 4, 2023. Were you able to buy a copy for your movie collection? If you did, were the visuals on the 4K Blu-ray disc really great to watch?

The 4K Blu-ray front cover of Star Trek: First Contact carries the popular image from the 1996 movie poster.

To put things in perspective, posted below are the technical details of Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray as displayed on its Blu-ray.com page

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

German: Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)

French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)

Japanese: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles – English, English SDH, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish.

Discs – 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc, Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Digital – Digital 4K, iTunes, Vudu

Packaging – Slipcover in original pressing

Playback – 4K Blu-ray: Region free, 2K Blu-ray: Region A

To be clear, I have not purchased a copy of Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray as of this writing. I am interested in it but I could not make a decision to do so due to financial and practical reasons. I recently purchased Casablanca 4K Blu-ray, Top Gun: Maverick 4K Blu-ray and a Blu-ray of the James Bond movie Licence to Kill and I really enjoyed watching those three. I am also replaying the 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray movies I already have (note: V: The Original Miniseries and V: The Final Battle have very high replay value respectively, read about their respective Blu-ray releases here and here). As such, there’s no reason for me to rush to acquire Star Trek: First Contact’s 4K Blu-ray release.

I should also state that I was never a fan of the entire Star Trek entertainment franchise even though I enjoyed certain movies of it. While Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is my favorite among the movies of the classic Star Trek cast (led by Captain Kirk), Star Trek: First Contact is the only Star Trek TNG movie I ever enjoyed.  

This is the rear of the Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray. Pay close attention to the technical details as well as the listed special features.

I first saw Star Trek: First Contact on a rented VHS tape in the summer of 1998 (note: I completely missed its 1996 theatrical release) and by the end of it, I felt this impact of fun, dramatics and visual effects. It was also in that movie where I saw Captain Picard really obsessed with saving his crew and saving the humanity’s future while struggling with his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the Borg given his history being captured and assimilated by them. The Borg themselves were really terrifying although the inclusion of a queen brings down the concept of the unrelenting collective hive.

Just years ago, I bought a DVD copy of the 1996 movie. To be clear, I never bought the 2009 Blu-ray disc. At this stage, I have yet to replay Star Trek: First Contact in HD and Ultra HD. According to the Blu-ray.com review, Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray has a great 2160p/Dolby Vision UHD presentation and that the image is “nearly perfect”. For insight watch the comparison video below…

Perhaps someday, I could add the 4K Blu-ray release of Star Trek: First Contact into my collection. I am interested in it and the 4K visuals look attractive and they could look even better on our household’s 4K UHDTV. I should state that the Blu-ray disc of the 4K Blu-ray set contains a whole bunch of extras and special features. It’s a matter of timing, pricing (note: watch out for the occasional online sale) and entertainment-related priority on my part.

In case you are interested or if you have made up your mind, you can order a copy of Star Trek: First Contact 4K Blu-ray right now by clicking https://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-VIII-First-Contact/dp/B0BSNX5ZW8/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Star+Trek+First+Contact+4K&qid=1684818073&s=movies-tv&sr=1-1

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

Planet of Lana now available on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass (XGP) service

Planet of Lana, the newest game from Wishfully Studios and Thunderful Games, is now available for gamers to enjoy on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and on the Xbox Game Pass (XGP) service! As of this writing, the game has been praise from video game critics (click here, here, here, here and here) and I myself just started playing it on my Xbox Series X console and already I am having fun.

For the newcomers reading this, posted below is an excerpt from the official pre-release press release of the game from Thunderful Games. Some parts in boldface…

Appearing on over 40 “most anticipated” lists, including from the likes of IGN, Gamespot, Eurogamer, Polygon, Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, Time and Game Informer, Planet of Lana is one of the most anticipated indie titles of recent years, drawing attention for its stunning art style, rousing soundtrack from D.I.C.E. and BAFTA-nominated composer Takeshi Furukawa, and unique companion-based mechanics.

Nothing like overcoming challenges and obstacles with a good sense of achievement proceeding to the next stage.

Set on an alien world, Planet of Lana tells the story of Lana and her loyal animal companion Mui as they embark on a rescue mission to save her sister. Blending an epic story that takes you on a spectacular journey across stunning natural landscapes with a touching personal relationship built between protagonists Lana and Mui, Planet of Lana is a game filled with wonder and adventure. Expect to encounter strange creatures and dangerous machines as you move through lush forests, mysterious caves and arid desert landscapes during your journey.

Lana swimming her way through the village.

Throughout daring platforming, engaging puzzles and tense stealth sequences, players will discover a game built around the unique companion mechanic that connects Lana and Mui. Only by working in tandem can you solve the puzzles and avoid the dangers that lay ahead of you, from stalking spindle-legged robot menaces that have mysteriously landed on Lana’s planet, to the not-always-friendly fauna that populates Planet of Lana’s breathtaking environments.

More on pre-release stuff, there is also a very detailed preview of Planet of Lana published through Xbox.com. The preview was written by Wishfully Studios creative director Adam Stjärnljus.

As I mentioned earlier, I just started playing Planet of Lana on my console. So far, I’m having a good time playing it, and in my decades-long experience of playing video games, I can say that Planet of Lana has vibes of Flashback in terms of 2D platform gameplay and environment interaction. Compared to the mentioned old game, this new game’s controls are very user friendly, easy to learn and also very responsive. The art direction looks really nice and the music is a must-listen! Oh yes, there were these suspenseful moments that I experienced as I had Lana and her companion avoid destructive enemies with timely and strategic moves.

I really like the artistic direction and style of this game!

When it comes to the adventure aspect, this game reminds me of what I saw in anime productions of Studio Ghibli, specifically Princess Mononoke and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The alien machines’ acts of abducting people even reminded me of the 21st century War of the Worlds movie.

As I’m writing this, there still more for me to discover playing Planet of Lana and I am eager to complete it, finish the tale and see what the game developers prepared. For those of you already subscribing to Xbox Game Pass, I encourage you to download the game and start playing it.

The scale is very immense in this part of the game!

Go for Planet of Lana on Xbox platforms, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass now! Click https://www.xbox.com/en-us/games/store/planet-of-lana/9mxk2rsqjqnd

In concluding this article, posted below for your enjoyment are Xbox-related videos.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman #5 (1987)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1987 and explore a chapter of the post-Crisis DC Comics universe through a Superman tale.

To put things in perspective, John Byrne became in charge of redefining the iconic Superman during the post-Crisis age and he sure had a lot of creative freedom to not only modernize the character but also make him relevant to the public while also pleasing long-time fans. To say the least, the post-Crisis era was a time of daring concepts with the established superheroes of DC Comics. For more insight on Byrne’s handling of the Man of Steel, read my other retro comic book review by clicking here.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #5, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by John Byrne.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Clark Kent having an outrageous dream in which he and Wonder Woman fight powerful enemies together. Shortly after arriving at the Daily Planet for duty, Clark learns from his boss Perry White that his office rival Lois Lane is already in South America literally digging on a significant discovery there. After being sent there by his boss, Clark flies to the south as Superman.

Upon arrival, Superman does a super speed reconnoiter at the dig site in the middle of a forest before changing back into Clark Kent. He eventually finds Lois Lane who is very surprised to see him. Even though he explained things to her, Lois remains doubtful of Clark as she still sees him as a journalistic rival who could potentially ruin her hot scoop…

Quality

In his civilian form as Clark Kent, Superman fights the huge mummy figure.

I can say that John Byrne’s brilliance is very evident in this comic book. Firstly, this is a story that sheds light on the journalistic rivalry between Lois and Clark that brings back memories about what happened with the Superman hot scoop in The Man of Steel limited series. Here, Lois remains doubtful about Clark and even shows some bitterness as she is on the verge of a major discovery in South America.

Secondly, this story is also an accidental adventure that creatively has a mix of Indiana Jones, UFOs and ancient horror all throughout. The build-up here is pretty strong as the tale focused strongly on the discovery aspect of the dig site which eventually led to a series of action-packed unfortunate events that really pushed Clark Kent both as civilian and as a superhero. Here, Clark has the tough task to fight an over-sized enemy (note: Byrne’s own take on the mummy) to keep Lois and the others safe while also making certain that he keeps his identity secret.

Along the way, Byrne inserted lots of in-depth details backed with observations (by the characters) which made this action-packed tale a cerebral read. This is a fine example of being creative with handling Superman while catering to readers who love spectacle as well as satisfying those who enjoy a smart presentation of the icon. In other words, there is nothing brainless or dumb to find here.

Conclusion

The journalistic rivalry between Clark and Lois Lane is really engaging to read.

Superman #5 (1987) is a very good read and this is fine showcase of the brilliant handling of the Man of Steel done by John Byrne. Aesthetics aside, this comic book is a relic that highlights the time when Lois and Clark were rival writers and the idea of them getting romantically involved seemed very unlikely at the time of its publishing during the early stage of the post-Crisis era. It was in many ways a defiance of the status quo of the original DC multiverse that had Lois and Superman as lovers. As an adventure, this comic book is very entertaining and engaging and the thing here is that it is only the first part of its arc.   

Overall, Superman #5 (1993) is highly recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Amazing Spider-Man #383 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a part of the Marvel Comics universe through one of the many tales of the Amazing Spider-Man comic book series.

To put things in perspective, the creative team behind the Amazing Spider-Man title decided to shake things up a bit by having the high-tech team called The Jury (the same team that went against Venom led by a powerful man whose son was murdered by Eddie Brock in Amazing Spider-Man #315) as the force of opposition for the webslinger.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Amazing Spider-Man #383, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in New York with the super-powered being Nova flying around which triggers an alert. It turns out, members of The Jury and their leader General Orwell Taylor have been monitoring and scanning areas of the city with several motion detectors to find Spider-Man. As far as Taylor is concerned, Spider-Man is highly responsible for the existence of Venom in their world and is therefore connected to the murder of his son (committed by Venom while escaping from prison in Amazing Spider-Man #315). Taylor is convinced that the if Spider-Man’s freedom is the price for stopping a monster like Venom, then that would be good.

Suddenly, the team notices that one of their motion detectors went offline. Moments later, a technician reaches the rooftop of the building and finds a motion detector severely damaged. Out of nowhere, Spider-Man grabs the technician and puts his life in danger by moving him off the edge using his fist and strength to carry him. Spider-Man pressures him for details…

Quality

The Jury’s hunt for Spider-Man is really entertaining to read!

This is definitely one of the more engaging Amazing Spider-Man stories I read not only from 1993 but from the 1990s in general. In my view, putting Spider-Man up against The Jury is a stroke of genius on the part of the Michelinie-Bagley team and at the same time it was a sound relief after reading so much about the presence of Carnage and Venom on this particular monthly series (note: the Maximum Carnage crossover chapters and Amazing Spider-Man #375 being linked with the Venom: Lethal Protector limited series).

When it comes to The Jury, Michelinie crafted a script that justifies Taylor’s team to pursue Spider-Man after they failure on getting Venom. This shows that Taylor has acquired information about Venom’s origin being the result of Spider-Man bringing home with him the symbiote (alien costume) from his time on a far-away planet (as seen in the Secret Wars series). Creatively, this results in a very convincing portrayal of Taylor not only as a grieving father but also as a very tactical leader who uses vast intelligence and resources to achieve what he believes is justice and the means for achieving the greater good. As for The Jury’s armored members – Sentry, Ramshot, Screech, Firearm and Bomblast – Michelinie did not simply portray them as straight-forward, mission-focused people here. One of them shows hesitancy which added a nice layer of division and human weakness within the team which is felt in action-packed encounter with Spider-Man.

Being the target of The Jury, Spider-Man at this stage is deeply troubled even though the Maximum Carnage disasters are over. He is portrayed to be very disturbed by the alarm signals of his Spider Sense whenever he gets near one of the sensors of The Jury which is a unique display of his special ability.

Those of you who love superhero spectacle will find a lot to enjoy here! Mark Bagley’s art on emphasizing action and stunts is fantastic to look at as The Jury pursues Spider-Man within New York. There are lots of dynamic shots, flashy high-tech images and really intense superhero action complete with collateral damage!

To be clear, this comic book is not simply all about the webslinger and Taylor’s team. There are some scenes here building up on Aunt May’s suspicion about Peter Parker’s parents which added suspense to the narrative.

Conclusion

As usual, Peter Parker does not have enough quality time for his wife.

Amazing Spider-Man #383 (1993) remains a very solid and highly entertaining comic book to read from start to finish. The Michelinie-Bagley team really delivered the great stuff as they launched a new concept having The Jury hunting Spider-Man in successful fashion. The Jury is clearly a very formidable team that gave Venom and Spider-Man a lot of trouble. The notable thing here is that this is only the first chapter of a new storyline with focus on Spider-Man’s responsibility with the murderous Venom (and all the victims he made).

Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #383 (1993) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Amazing Spider-Man #381 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a part of the Marvel Comics universe through one of the many tales of the Amazing Spider-Man comic book series.

To put things in perspective, 1993 was another busy year for the iconic Spider-Man who not only had four monthly series of his own but also appeared in the Venom: Lethal Protector mini-series, the 14-part Maximum Carnage crossover and in Marvel’s major crossover The Infinity Crusade. As expected, Spider-Man survived through those storylines.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Amazing Spider-Man #381, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the airport in New York where the incredible Hulk/Bruce Banner himself had just arrived from Scotland. Due to his tremendous size, his physical presence easily distract the people around him. Dr. Leonard Samson surprises Banner and informs him of an upcoming scientific demonstration and the scientists behind it have developed something that could have ramifications for people who got exposed to gamma radiation. Samson explains that there is a radiation virus that releases repressed emotions. The Hulk rejects Samson and leaps to the air above towards an unknow destination.

At a school yard in lower Manhattan, two kids bully another kid into giving them his lunch money. Spider-Man suddenly arrives to stop trouble and immediately the two bullies ran away…

Quality

Quality time between Peter Park and wife Mary Jane.

I can say that is one of the more interesting crossovers between Spider-Man and the Hulk who at this stage in Marvel’s comic book history retained his intelligence and personality while in his huge, green-skinned form. Adding variety to the crossover was the presence of Doc Samson who was already an established and notable supporting character in comic books featuring the Hulk.

Set after the events of Maximum Carnage, the Infinity Crusade and Hulk’s time in Scotland (as told in Incredible Hulk #407), this story shows life in New York gradually normalizing. The peace, as it turns out, was only temporary as the big-time scientific demonstration in this story leads to a series of unfortunate events that compels Peter Parker to take action as Spider-Man.

The tale was nicely structured and the creative team took its time to build-up the story concept, the character motivations and execute the superhero spectacle at an overall medium pace. There is simply no boring scene nor any wasted moments. The appearances of Samson and the Hulk in this Spider-Man tale were nicely integrated and they each had their own impact on the plot. There is a lot of stuff here that fans of both Spidey and the green giant can enjoy.

When it comes to the art, I found Mark Bagley’s take on the Hulk distinctive and intriguing to look at. The final shot of this comic book is a must-see.

Conclusion

Hulk and Doc Samson at the airport.

While there clearly is no villain, Amazing Spider-Man #381 (1993) still turned out to be a fun read complete with a fine crossover between Spider-Man, Doc Samson and the Hulk. Apart from the lack of space for character development, nothing here felt half-baked with the executions of the storytelling and the spectacle. This is a fun read and it was also a modern take on the personal encounter between Hulk and Spidey during the 1990s. This comic book has something enjoyable that fans of the two Marvel icons won’t find in any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies and shows.

Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #381 (1993) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman #78 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a chapter of the Reign of the Supermen storyline through one of the issues of the Superman monthly series.

To put things in perspective, DC Comics fulfilled its promise to kill the iconic Man of Steel in Superman #75 (1993) which sold a whole lot of copies and the daring death concept made Superman a hot news item. After a brief period showing what the world is like without Superman, DC resurrected him in Adventures of Superman #500 which spawned the different Supermen and a new storyline (the Reign of the Supermen) which took effect on the four Superman monthly series of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #78, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by Dan Jurgens.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Lois Lane still thinking about Superman as she drives her car on a rainy night. At the moment, she still has not learned to live without him. As she is granted access into a facility of Lexcorp, she carefully thinks about the sudden number of many people around the country who claimed to have seen Superman.

Inside the facility, Dr. Meyer meets her and tells her that had met the Man of Steel sometime prior and he believes that the certain person who saved him and others was definitely the same person. Being skeptical, Lois Lane asked him if some other superhero saved them from certain death. In response, he shows to her an image of the heroic figure captured by security cameras. Lois recognizes the face and head even though some parts were shadowed…

Quality

Cyborg Superman in full appearance.

Starting with the storytelling, I can say that this is one solid tale that really pokes the curiosity regarding Cyborg Superman…is he the real Superman or some very clever and capable impostor? Dan Jurgens really knows his Superman stuff and he used a clever approach on arousing the readers’ curiosity while still managing to move the story forward. As one of the early chapters of the Reign of the Supermen storyline, it was very obvious that things were set in motion to set up future post-death Superman stories.

The most engaging parts of this tale were the scenes between Lois Lane and Cyborg Superman (note: he sure looks like a Terminator-inspired take on the Man of Steel which itself was a daring concept back in 1993). Lois Lane here is clearly intelligent and for personal and professional reasons, she would not settle for words as definitive answers but have evidence scientifically analyzed right in front of her. Once again, this is a lively reminder that in the post-Crisis universe of DC Comics, Lois Lane is persistent on verifying facts to realize the truth (which is something clearly missing in today’s world of social media and news media outlets serving as loudspeakers for political forces).

While the storytelling remains good all these decades, what really aged badly in this comic book was the bastardization of Superman’s iconic imagery with some robotic influences of the Terminator mixed in that made him look science fictional in appearance. Of course, Cyborg Superman was just one of the Supermen in this storyline and the Reign of the Supermen concept was clearly an extension of DC Comics’ dishonesty behind the death and return of the Man of Steel. This also shows DC’s irresponsible handling of one of America’s icons. Let’s be honest with ourselves here…how many of you really want to see Cyborg Superman in live-action form in a future DC superhero movie from Warner Bros. and James Gunn?

Conclusion

How many of you have this poster of a very bastardized image of Superman in your homes right now?

While Superman #78 (1993) has a good story told and added to the mystery about the resurrection of Superman, it ultimately served as a build-up platform to set up further stories not only about the Man of Steel but also that of Doomsday (note: a big rematch happened a few years later). The image of Cyborg Superman is clearly a defamation of the iconic look of the Man of Steel and that alone really brought the overall entertainment value of this comic book way down in my view. I find it baffling that there was no major backlash nor an outrage from Superman fans back in 1993 over this.

Overall, Superman #78 (1993) is serviceable.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Better than Streaming: Jesus Revolution Blu-ray now available!

Welcome back, fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! If you are into films about faith and Lord Jesus told through an American perspective, then you should check out Jesus Revolution on Blu-ray disc format which has been available in the market since April 25, 2023. It also emerged as a top-selling Blu-ray disc release and you can order it online right now!

Jesus Revolution Blu-ray cover.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the description of Jesus Revolution as well as its official trailer…

In the 1970s, young Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney) is searching for all the right things in all the wrong places: until he meets Lonnie Frisbee (Jonathan Roumie), a charismatic hippie-street-preacher. Together with Pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammer), they open the doors of Smith’s languishing church to an unexpected revival of radical and newfound love, leading to what TIME Magazine dubbed a JESUS REVOLUTION.

Posted below are the technical details about Jesus Revolution Blu-ray disc as sourced from the Blu-ray.com page of the movie

Video

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles – English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs – Blu-ray Disc, Two-disc set (1 BD-50, 1 DVD), DVD copy

Digital, Digital HD, Digital copy included

Packaging – Slipcover in original pressing

Playback – 2K Blu-ray: Region A

While I have not seen Jesus Revolution in the local cinemas, I myself am interested in buying the Blu-ray disc soon. I am a person with unbreakable faith in Jesus who is truly the Lord and Savior! More on the what the movie has to offer, its release is timely as America has been so divided as many people moved away from the Lord to embrace evil elements such as critical race theory, homosexuality, LGBTQ culture, transgender concepts, abortion, anti-police movements, anti-Semitism, terrorism, illegal immigration, witchcraft, Communist/socialist/Marxist ideologies, negative elements affecting churches, vandalism of places of worship, Satanic values inserted through entertainment media, and a whole lot more. Watch the related CBN News videos below…

By today’s standards, the social unrest America had during the Vietnam War era looks smaller compared to what has been going on over the past few years. People are getting divided over race, gender, social class and a whole lot more. As such, Jesus Revolution has something that viewers can reflect about.

More importantly, all these matters should remind you all that you must seek Lord Jesus first, behold His light shining through the darkness, and come to Him wholeheartedly to repent and submit to Him to accept Him as your Lord and Savior. With unbreakable faith in the Lord, you can become a part of His fearless and aggressive church.

When it comes to restoring people and societies from the damage caused by evil forces, only the Lord can provide restoration and healing. That being said, you must praise the Lord and have unwavering faith in Him no matter what happens. Being a worldly person means living with unholy elements. A lot of people may not realize it but it is clear they need Jesus in their lives and in their societies! Learn from the holy scriptures below…

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (NASB)

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

John 8:12 (MSG)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (NKJV)

Jesus Revolution movie poster.
The other movie poster.

You can order Jesus Revolution Blu-ray right now by clicking https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Revolution-Blu-ray/dp/B0BV7CQF16?tag=bluray-021-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at Web of Spider-Man #90 (1992)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1992 and explore a part of what was back then the 30th anniversary celebration of Spider-Man

In what was back then a unique approaching to celebrating the anniversary of an American icon, Marvel Comics published not one but four specific Spider-Man comic books that had holographic covers and more pages than the usual. Each of those special comic books were from a different Spider-Man monthly series. Back in 2020, I published a retro review of one of those gimmick cover comic books from the Spider-Man monthly series.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Web of Spider-Man #90, published in 1992 by Marvel Comics with a story by Howard Mackie and drawn by Alex Saviuk.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside an office in Los Angeles. A hat-wearing businessman has several varied figures of Spider-Man near him and recalls the time when the iconic hero participated in one of his events as the Masked Marvel. Moments later, the businessman’s wife arrives and together they departed in a limousine.

At the South Bronx in New York, Spider-Man chases a speeding car with one of its passengers firing a gun at him. Suddenly, his spider sense bothers him a lot and when he looks around, he suddenly sees Galactus standing with members of the Avengers, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four lying down helpless on the ground…

Quality

Spider-Man on the set of an entertainment project. It’s a lively reminder about how sickening Hollywood (AKA Commiewood) can get.

To make things clear and without spoiling the plot, this story deals with illusions and the distortion of reality. Quite ironically, the said distortion made it a challenge to follow the narrative and I can say that a good amount of the spotlight was on the businessman. Spider-Man is clearly the protagonist here but it made sense for the creative team to focus a bit on the businessman (who has been doing entertainment showcases for a long time) to justify the core concept about the conflicts between what is real and what is imaginary.

In relation to the illusion aspect of the story, you will get to see established Spider-Man arch-villains such as the Green Goblin, the Hobgoblin and Venom taking on the superhero himself. As the creative team focused more on providing a great amount of spectacle, there clearly was no room left for character development on Spider-Man. Don’t expect to see Peter Parker in dramatic moments nor see him interact with the established supporting characters.

If there is any moral lesson to learn from this comic book, it would be this – living with a powerful delusion (the result of personal obsession mixed with the personal failure to separate illusion from reality) can lead you to the wrong directions in life.

Conclusion

To justify the 30th anniversary celebration, distorted flashbacks into Peter Parker’s past were presented here.

Web of Spider-Man #90 (1992) does not have much depth for those who seek engaging storytelling. That being said, the story itself is not memorable nor would it leave a long lasting impact on you. This comic book was made to entertain readers with lots of action and wild fantasy images that eerily justify its concept about illusion and reality conflicting each other. In fairness to the creative team, the said conflict was consistently visualized and there were some dialogue that related to it in a somewhat philosophical manner. The comic book’s entertainment value is satisfying enough although it does not justify the holographic cover that was part of the gimmick with celebrating Spider-Man’s 30th anniversary. As for who was the main antagonist of the comic book, I simply encourage you all to read and find out for yourselves.

Overall, Web of Spider-Man #90 (1992) is satisfactory.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

The prayer scene of V: The Original Miniseries

Welcome back my readers, fellow people of faith and those who love entertainment. Today, I want to emphasize something within the 1983 sci-fi epic TV miniseries V: The Original Miniseries.

Before I proceed, I want to address the newcomers reading this. V: The Original Miniseries was about alien humanoids from space who arrived on Earth “in peace” but gradually took control of the world and its people through varied means. Told through the viewpoints of affected Americans in California, V: The Original Miniseries was a cerebral and reflective form of science fiction entertainment that strongly parallels Nazi German’s occupation and takeover of countries in Europe in relation to World War II. As expected, a group of resisting people forms led by a reluctant young woman.

I personally love V: The Original Miniseries as well as its 1984 sequel V: The Final Battle. I own Blu-ray discs of the two mini-series (click here and here) and I encourage you to check out my retro reviews (click here and here). To this day, both mini-series remain solid to watch and are worth replaying all over again in my experience.

Going back to the subject matter of this post, the one significant scene of V: The Original Miniseries I want to emphasize is the prayer scene in the 2nd episode. The prayer scene took place just before the human resistance (led by Julie Parrish played by Faye Grant supported by Mike Donovan played by Marc Singer, Caleb Taylor played by Jason Bernard and others) execute their desperate moves to free their people from the Visitors (the aliens). Watch below the video clip I recorded off-screen while replaying V: The Original Miniseries on Blu-ray disc…

The prayer scene of V: The Original Miniseries.

As you can see in the above clip, the affected people were about to pull off a major push back against the Visitors from outer space. They no longer had the local police (who are already working with the aliens) nor the National Guard, nor the State Government of California nor any American authority to help them. Caleb, who lost a son, reminded Julie of having a prayer as he knew that without the Lord, everything they will do will fail. Caleb knew that as a rebelling force, they could not succeed against the Visitors by focusing on themselves, their resources and their abilities. Caleb knew they had to look up to God even though he does not know the state of each group member’s personal connection with Him. It was also symbolic to see Julie Parrish declare amen before finally giving the go-signal for their next operation which eventually served as the series of spectacle (action scenes) and suspense serving as the big pay-off for viewers.

Within the context of the what happened in the 2nd episode of the mini-series, Julie and her crew moved to secure essential equipment and military hardware at a local facility guarded by the Visitors which results in acts of violence as both sides fire at each other. These scenes happened after the prayer scene.

That being said, I want to make clear that I am not emphasizing the concept of praying to God to be able to win against the opposition by means of violence. Violence and using the very methods of wicked people as a means of getting back at them are clearly not the ways under the watch of the Lord. God has a plan for each and every one of us and we have Lord Jesus to follow to save the lost and unsaved souls. The Lord has His ways of defeating Satan and his pawns, and we only need to follow the Lord instead of taking matters on our own hands.

If you are oppressed and you truly need the Lord’s help for favor and breakthroughs, let the Holy Spirit guide you instead of giving in to your fleshly desire of using force on those who attacked you. Do not even think about using the ways the evil ones used against you. Trust in Him, not the worldly and certainly not your flesh. Always remember that vengeance is the Lord’s. Read the bible verses below…

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21 (NKJV)

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.

But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.

Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21 (AMPC)

Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, in the time when their foot shall slide; for the day of their disaster is at hand and their doom comes speedily.

Deuteronomy 32:35 (AMPC)

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

Romans 1:18 (NLT)

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

As seen among the bible scriptures above, Romans 12:19-21 should remind you all that vengeance is the Lord’s and we only need to follow Him because He knows best and has the means to help us overcome the forces of evil. In relation to that, this should remind you all that V: The Original Miniseries is not a faith-based story. Rather, it is a science fiction tale designed to entertain viewers while emphasizing the concept of what the world would be like if people welcomed foreign entities to come in peace pretentiously and take over societies by means of force, violence and fascism. Take note that the mini-series was released at a time when science fiction movies and TV shows were in high demand arguably due to George LucasStar Wars.

The prayer scene should serve as a reminder that we the faithful in real life should keep trusting in the Lord and we need to support each other and strengthen our faith in Him no matter how twisted the world is around us. That is what makes it significant as part of the mini-series. Learn from the scriptures below…

For wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them!

Matthew 18:20 (TPT)

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6 (NKJV)

In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).

Ephesians 3:12 (AMPC)

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)

Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ’s appearing], we might live together with Him and share His life.

Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (AMPC)

Finally, while focusing on being with other people of faith and praying to the Lord together as a united body of His, learn from the scriptures below pertaining to Lord Jesus’ ascension to Heaven and His faithful followers (the early Christians) who stayed united together at the Upper Room in Jerusalem and prayed together knowing they are living on with His victory. May this encourage you to be with your fellow spiritual family (God’s family) members and pray to Him together.

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Acts 1:9-14 (NKJV)

Now watch this video I recorded during my first-ever visit to the Upper Room in Jerusalem which was part of the pilgrimage tour I joined with my local church.

This was from my 2nd visit to the Upper Room in Jerusalem. I went to Israel on a pilgrimage tour with my local church because I desired to seek God’s kingdom there (read Matthew 6:33).

From this point on, I would like to reach out to all the lost and the unsaved people reading this. Did a religious and idolatrous extremist ruin your life? Have you been living in bondage for too long? Did the atheists, the humanists and the secularists fool you and abused you? Were you involved in the terrorist activities of Iran or the Palestinians? Have you been living as a homosexual or as a transgendered person? Are you still addicted to sex, drugs and other inappropriate elements? Did you spend an entire life worshiping statues, statuettes, images, people and relics? Are you a toxic person or one of those modern-day Leftist activists (Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, Antifa, the abortionists and others) who got fed up fighting for worthless causes? Did you kill someone and have been living so long with the guilt?

All of the darkness related to what was mentioned above can finally end and you can decide to do it! How? You can save yourselves by submitting yourselves to the Lord Jesus willingly and realize He is the Light! There is no force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now and gain salvation, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from a pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Father God,

I thank You. I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe that He died for me and redeemed me from all of my sins. He took my sins and, Father, thank You for loving me and You demonstrated Your love for me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all of my sins. Jesus, I open my heart to You. I welcome You to enter into my heart. I confess today that You are now my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiveness. I receive forgiveness. Thank You for Your blood that cleansed me from all of my sins. I will follow You, Jesus. Thank You for Your plan. I receive the Holy Spirit. And Holy Spirit, help me to follow the will of God in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always used religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord. Also, do not ever hail Mary (the mother of Lord Jesus) because all the praise and honor belong to God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit only.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward and the best is yet to come! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to get yourself copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a local Christian church that God has chosen for you (note: ask Him for a local church!) and find your place in the spiritual family (God’s family!).  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God. When you are at home, be in your room with the door shut and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. On a personal level, practice Christian Habits here and there. Remember the truth that God rewards the faithful abundantlyonly He can lift you up and restore you fully,  and continue to be people of the WordDeclare your love for Him as well!

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it for it is the Word of God. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future. His return is what we must always remember and keep living with holiness under the watch of God. We can do our part in building up God’s kingdom here on Earth by preaching His Word, blessing the Jewish people and saving the countless lost and unsaved souls around us by leading them to Lord Jesus. Living as a Christian is always about the personal relationship with the Lord, and it is certainly not about religion. Never let the idolaters, the idol makers, the ritual practitioners and other sinister forces fool you into becoming unholy.

In ending this, here are some videos of Christian worship music for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Carlo Carrasco’s Movie Review: Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching the movie and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, readers! For only the 2nd time since the COVID-19 pandemic affected the world, I managed to watch a movie inside the local cinema at SM Southmall in Las Piñas City. What is intriguing is that the movie I saw is actually a carefully edited compilation of footage sourced from an upcoming live-action series that is an ambitious Philippine adaptation of a certain giant robot anime from Japan. The movie I saw was Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience. Behind it all, the movie is part of GMA Network’s strategy of building up awareness for the Voltes V: Legacy TV series set to launch on May 8, 2023.

For the newcomers reading this, the original Voltes V anime series (Japanese title: Chôdenji mashin Borutesu Faibu) was launched in Japan in 1977. Shortly after, it made its English language debut here in the Philippines (note: Japanese characters’ names were Westernized) and ultimately it became very popular and it made an impact on millions of Filipinos who saw it and replayed it in the many years that followed. I noticed that many Filipinos of my generation think of Voltes V first when anime comes to mind. While I myself never became a fan, I saw lots of Voltes V anime episodes on TV at a time when Internet access, video streaming and social media were not yet realized here in the Philippines. I even saw GMA’s edited Voltes V anime movie (containing footage of the final five episodes of the anime series) in the cinema in 1999.

In recent years, GMA Network and its local talents joined forces with Toei Company of Japan to create a live-action TV series adaptation of the anime and there will be eighty episodes (double the anime TV series’ episode count) for broadcasting nationwide. This is Voltes V: Legacy and already the local production team went through lots of hard work making the episodes, the sets, the props, the costumes and the computer-generated images (CGI) to bring the classic series into life in coordination with Toei which reviewed and supervised the production. A lot of money has been spent into Voltes V: Legacy which was felt in GMA’s increased production costs.

So far this year, Voltes V: Legacy is in the minds of many entertainment-loving Filipinos. Already the big TV series trailer opened 2023 with a loud bang attracting millions of views. Toei Company itself was delighted and expressed thanks to the Filipinos for their support of the anime. 

As for Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience, the so-called movie contains varied footage allegedly from the first three weeks’ worth of TV episodes and it was exclusively screened in SM Cinema sites around the country for a limited time.

With those details laid down, here is my review of Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience directed by Mark A. Reyes and written by Suzette Doctolero with a cast composed of Miguel Tanfelix (Steve Armstrong), Radson Flores (Mark Gordon), Matt Lozano (Big Bert Armstrong), Raphael Landicho (Little Jon Armstrong), Ysabel Ortega (Jamie Robinson), Martin Del Rosario (Prince Zardoz), Liezel Lopez (Princess Zandra), Jeffrey Quizon (Zuhl), Carlo Gonzalez (Draco), Gabby Eigenmann (Commander Robinson), Albert Martinez (Dr. Smith), Carla Abellana (Mary Ann Armstrong), Christian Vasquez (Emperor Zambojil), and Dennis Trillo (Hrothgar/Ned Armstrong).

The movie poster.

Early story

The story begins in the planet of Boazan where people with horns live in prosperity and privilege while those without horns have no choice but to live a hard, lower life. A gifted young Boazanian man named Hrothgar – who was born into royalty without horns and lived with his personal secret long enough into adulthood – was exposed by Zambojil’s group to be hornless and unworthy of Boazan’s throne. Sometime later, Hrothgar leads several fellow slaves and prisoners in an uprising against Emperor Zambojil’s authority. Before getting overwhelmed by the imperial forces, Hrothgar escapes into space with an Boazanian spacecraft and crashes into the sea on Earth.

He is discovered by Mary Ann and he gets introduced to Dr. Smith and Commander Robinson. Hrothgar informs them of his Boazanian origin and he expressed to them that Earth’s defenses are too weak to protect its people from alien invaders. As he adjusts with Earth life, Hrothgar changes his name into Ned Armstrong, marries Mary Ann and have children together. After several years on Earth, Ned Armstrong worked closely with Dr. Smith to prepare the people for future invasions…

Quality

The iconic Voltes V looks bulkier and more mechanical in CGI form and the good news is that the overall quality is great and there is a lot of fun seeing the giant robot in action. (photo source – the Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience trailer)

To begin with, the creative team of GMA managed to establish a cohesive narrative for the cinematic experience which is not an easy thing to do considering all the content from many selected episodes that had to be edited and arranged properly. This involves the presentation of the story details, the live-action elements, the CGI-heavy shots and the human performances to create a narrative that was easy enough to follow and absorb in my experience. I noticed that the so-called movie moved at a medium-to-fast pace which is not surprising because the goal of GMA was to entertain moviegoers and convince them to anticipate the live action TV series. Considering the speed of the pacing, there were some moments when I felt that some scenes were missing which only reminded me that the slower and more dramatic moments were being saved for the TV series.

When it comes to adapting the classic anime’s elements into live action, the creative team did a pretty good job most of the time. The costumes of the five pilots were made with a more practical physical design (note: they are not body tight) while retaining the classic colors and the V logo. The interior set of the Camp Big Falcon operations room looked more futuristic complete with having many people simultaneously operating. The interior set showing Prince Zardoz and his trusted companions closely resembles that of the anime. There was one particular physical set that did not look convincing – the outdoor street market in Boazan early in the movie had that indoor feel which not even the lighting could hide and the CGI shot showing the rest of the outdoor area and the far distance did not match with the place.

More on the artistic side of the presentation, I enjoyed the way the production people emulated the classic anime designs of not only the characters but also the key structures (places) and the giant robots (Voltes V and the two beast fighters) into live action. The cinematic Prince Zardoz looks so much like his anime counterpart and the same can be said about Dr. Smith and Mrs. Armstrong. The two beast fighters here were rendered to look much like their anime versions but were animated in a way to emphasize mass and scale.     

The strategic posing in this notable shot is a fun and honorable throwback to a key moment in the very first episode of the original Voltes V anime TV series. (photo source – the Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience trailer)

There were some notable artistic discrepancies and flaws however. The cinematic Princess Zandra, Draco and Commander Robinson clearly did not quite match their anime counterparts. For some reason, Princess Zandra appeared with a very different costume displaying subtle sexiness instead of royalty. Could it be possible the creative team took inspiration from the Fatima Blush character (played by Barbara Carrera) in the 1983 James Bond movie Never Say Never Again while modernizing Princess Zandra? As for Draco, he does not look as intimidating as his anime version and he even looks more like a cosplayer! Commander Robinson here does not display the maturity of the anime version due to the questionable quality of the costume provided and the actor’s appearance. In my experience watching the anime series, Commander Robinson looked and felt like a military man in his early fifties which the live action version never captured. 

Now I want to talk about Voltes V itself. The highlight of the CGI combined with really good art direction is the iconic giant robot, including the five vehicles that compose it. To begin with, the use of CGI emphasizing multiple moving mechanical parts to emphasize Voltes V is a very smart move done by special effects team. While each vehicle has a new visual aesthetic to match the live action approach, they still remained recognizable to me. The biggest visual highlight in the movie is the volt-in sequence when each vehicle combined to form Voltes V in robotic form. As each vehicle connected to each other, the classic sequence from the anime was replicated excellently. Given the artistic direction and the CGI’s emphasis of multiple moving parts, the volt-in sequence here is much more detailed than the anime version! I should state that it is very likely that the visual effects team worked overtime to achieve the high-level of detail, the vibrant colors and the impressive animation on Voltes V.

Watch this. Share to others. Thanks!

With the approach on multiple moving parts, Voltes V itself looks bulkier in a mechanical fashion which I really admire. It should be stated that showcasing the iconic giant robot in action – complete with CGI presentation of the many Voltes weapons – is a visual feast complete with very vibrant colors! Each time Voltes V hits a beast fighter by punching or using a weapon, there is strong impact felt with each blow! The sound effects team really did good work adding weight and power to the action.

The work done by the special effects crew in this external shot of Jamie Robinson’s cockpit is very impressive and detailed! Ysabel Ortega acted convincingly to what happened. (photo source – the Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience trailer)

Considering the high detail and strong animation on Voltes V, the two beast fighters shown in this movie had very similar visual qualities. There was no major discrepancy on visual quality between the iconic robot and the enemy during battles.

More on the CGI, I can declare that the locally produced visual effects (by GMA Video and Riot, Inc.) looked very good for the most part! Apart from the battles between the giant figures, the sequences of animating the Voltes V vehicles, the Boazanian flying saucers (with fast moving sharp edges that make them resemble motorized wood-cutting blades), the fighter planes and physical damage of places were nice to see. There were, however, several explosions that were badly rendered (note: even looking flat and out of place) in key scenes and there were moments when military vehicles looked more like they belong in video games from a few console generations ago. The formation of the blade of Voltes V’s laser sword clearly needs more work as it looks unpolished. In the post-credits scene, CGI for Octo 1 was badly done!

Apart from action scenes, the giant robots and their weapons, CGI was also used on established places or structures. Camp Big Falcon really looks magnificent while the floating mechanical Boazanian skull appeared very creepy. In shots showing the far distance, Camp Big Falcon in the background still looks good even though the visual quality falls short of capturing true photo-realism.

Considering the way GMA edited the footage and selected visual effects shots for this so-called movie, the overall quality of the CGI literally landed some notches short of photo-realistic levels. That’s not criticism at all but a confirmation that Filipino-produced CGI showcased here is the best I have seen yet! All in all, an impressive ton of work by the special effects teams using computers.

As for the human performances, I can say that the cast collectively did a good job bringing the characters to life and this includes paying special attention to details from anime while adding certain elements that reflect modernization. Zardoz was portrayed to be sadistic and obsessed on conquering planet Earth which reflects his imperial task and the pressure that comes with it. Sometimes, Zardoz looked and acted even psychotic. Mary Ann Armstrong is the definitive mother figure here and the producers emphasized her more with scenes showing her as a very focused authority during crisis as well as a tender and loving woman during her time with the family. In some ways, Mary Ann Armstrong is almost like the protagonist of this so-called movie and the live action version looks deeper than the anime version. While the live action Commander Robinson needs a lot of improving, Dr. Smith here really looks and feels like he was instantly ripped off the anime resulting in a very straightforward version fans will recognize. The live action Ned Armstrong here has some elements that deviate from what was portrayed in the anime (note: a very skilled fighter whose moves were so obviously choreographed during an action scene) while retaining key elements that still made him recognizable.

The actors who played the five pilots of Voltes V performed nicely. Even with all the layered Tagalog expressions (including gestures that we Filipinos are familiar with), Steve, Big Bert, Little Jon, Mark and Jamie are all very recognizable not in terms of looks but through the dialogue, character details and acting. The production team really worked hard to not only balance their respective shares of the spotlight, but also get good enough performances from the actors. Take note that apart from the on-set dramatization, the actors of the Voltes V team had to perform accordingly in their respective cockpit scenes (note: the special effects teams painstakingly provided all the CGI to specifically reflect what had been happening with the pilots and with their machines) and this includes internal communications between the members. What we have right now are the best actors available portraying Steve, Big Bert, Little Jon, Mark and Jamie and making them recognizable in terms of characterization.

With regards to the music, I can say that this one clearly needs improvement. There is orchestrated music in this cinematic experience that played new tunes while also redoing/recycling classic tunes from the anime TV series. When the anime tunes were played by the orchestra with a modern approach, they were recognizable to my ears but the power and essence of the original tunes were not replicated successfully. Sometimes, I just wished that the anime tunes were played more while the orchestra focused more on providing new music.

As for the famous Voltes V theme song, the new version performed by Julie Anne San Jose is a letdown! I’m not saying San Jose is a bad singer but her version – which even used the Japanese lyrics – lacked impact compared to the original version. While the volt-in sequence proved to be a grand visual feast for the fans and viewers who love great looking CGI sequences, its cinematic impact was brought down a bit by San Jose’s version of the theme song. How I wish that the movie producers just used the classic song from the 1970s anime series!

This original theme song should have been used in Voltes V: Legacy instead of the new version.

Conclusion

As expected, Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience has a mix of strong points and flaws. The good news is that the good outweighed the bad and I pretty much enjoyed this cinematic version of the live action adaptation done by GMA, its strategic partners and the local talents. As this so-called movie was a mix of content from several episodes edited to form a suitable narrative, it succeeded in entertaining and engaging me. Yes, there were flaws and there were some parts showing weaknesses but those things did not damage the viewing experience too much. There is a good amount of fun with this so-called movie.

Obviously this cinematic version is part of GMA Network’s strategy to build up anticipation for the upcoming TV series (which has a declared 80 episodes for broadcasting). While some people will perceive Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience as a blatant form of marketing or even as corporate gimmick, I personally see it as a worthy showcase in the local cinema (note: cinemas here in the Philippines are still recovering from the massive damage of COVID-19) and it just might not be repeated. Let me remind you readers that this newest Voltes V adaptation highlights the peak of Filipino-produced CGI visuals and the Filipinos’ collective efforts to really make a worthy live action adaptation of a foreign entertainment property. This so-called movie is clearly not perfect (note: it is not deserving of perfect 10/10 scores that others gave it) but it is pretty good to watch in the cinema.

Voltes V looks better than ever and made a big entertaining impact in the cinema. How will Voltes V: Legacy turn out on TV given the fact that there are so many episodes set for broadcasting? (photo source – the Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience trailer)

As mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of the Voltes V anime and I’m not exactly anticipating the Voltes V: Legacy TV series. I do confirm that the long-lasting legacy Voltes V is clearly thriving here in the Philippines and the new TV series could potentially make a deep impact on Filipinos who love entertainment and possibly replicate what happened in the 1970s and 1980s when the classic anime TV aired on TV nationwide. How the new TV series will turn out is clearly GMA’s own problem.

Overall, Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience is recommended.

+++++

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