Better than Streaming: Night Shift Blu-ray coming out on October 5, 2021

Welcome back, fellow geeks, movie buffs and fellow Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

If you are nostalgic about 1980s Hollywood or you if you are discovering more of the said era for your Blu-ray collection, then you might be interested in the 1982 comedy Night Shift which is coming out on October 5, 2021 on Blu-ray format via the Warner Archive line of Warner Bros. Night Shift Blu-ray can be ordered right now online.

The cover.

What exactly is Night Shift? For one thing, it was one of the older films directed by Ron Howard (the same guy behind Solo: A Star Wars Story) and starred the famous Henry Winkler (Happy Days) and a very young Michael Keaton (Batman in 1989). Posted below is its synopsis according to Blu-ray.com…

Chuck (Henry Winkler) has given up life as a stockbroker because it was too stressful. Now, he works an easy gig as a night shift attendant at a New York City morgue. His co-worker, Bill Blazejowski (Michael Keaton), on the other hand, is always looking to make a quick buck. When Bill finds out that Chuck’s prostitute neighbor, Belinda (Shelley Long), needs a place to do her work, he convinces Chuck to turn the morgue into a brothel where they can work as her pimps.

Posted below are key details of Night Shift Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

TBA

Subtitles

None

Discs

Blu-ray Disc

Single disc (1 BD)

Playback

2K Blu-ray: Region A

I personally never saw Night Shift, not even on cable TV. The movie received an overall positive reception from movie critics and Keaton won the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. Henry Winkler meanwhile was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globe Awards. To say the least, I find this upcoming Blu-ray release interesting and for those of you who have gotten sick and tired of modern-day Hollywood being dominated by socialists, social justice warriors (SJWs), Marxists, naked Communists and liberals, Night Shift could provide you much needed relief.

The movie poster.

In ending this piece, posted below is classic trailer of Night Shift. Anyone who loves the film or is nostalgic about the 1980s should watch it.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray, Terminator 2: Judgment Day 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray and Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray.

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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

Better than Streaming: Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray coming out on November 2, 2021

Welcome back, fellow geeks, film enthusiasts and fellow Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

I should state that it has been over forty years since Mad Max was first released in cinemas in Australia and because it achieved a lot of success, it went on to establish its own entertainment franchise with three cinematic sequels and has branched out to other entertainment media forms like video games and comic books.

Warner Bros. just announced that all four Mad Max movies (1979-2015) will be released in a 4K Blu-ray set titled Mad Max Anthology set for release on November 2, 2021 and you can order it online right now!

The cover.

Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray has Mad Max, Mad Max: The Road Warrior (AKA Mad Max 2), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road. These four movies combine for more than 400 minutes screen time. For the newcomers reading this, the Mad Max films follow the stories of Max Rockatansky who encounters several violent people and found himself in the wasteland. The film franchise not only helped Mel Gibson climb the ranks among the many movie stars of Hollywood, it also established Australia’s place in cinema. I should state that director George Miller is the creator, the definitive Mad Max storyteller as well as one of the very best action film directors. The Mad Max film franchise is also very well known for having many great car chases!

Posted below are key details of Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page. Take note that as of this writing, it is not yet clear if the visuals will be native 4K or upscaled 4K.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, 2.34:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles

Mad Max 4K

English SDH

Mad Max: The Road Warrior 4K

English SDH, French, Spanish

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 4K

English SDH, French, Spanish

Mad Max: Fury Road 4K

English SDH, French, German SDH, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Four-disc set (4 BD)

Digital

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

The rear of the cover.

I’ve seen these movies and in my view the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road is truly the best action film of the decade of 2010-2019. I own a Blu-ray disc copy of the film that starred Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and I still replay it as it truly is a great movie. My only disappointment is that the 4K Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road only had upscaled 4K visuals. I really hope that the Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray will have all four movies with native 4K visuals complete with proper color grading.

In ending this piece, posted below are some Mad Max-related videos for your enjoyment. Beware of potential spoilers.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray, Terminator 2: Judgment Day 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray.

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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

Better than Streaming: Why I look forward to The Suicide Squad’s eventual 4K Blu-ray release

I want to start by saying that I am not a fan of the Suicide Squad entertainment franchise of DC Comics for the simple reason that I rarely read any of its comic book. In 2016, out of curiosity, I got to watch Suicide Squad in the cinema and even got some enjoyment out of it.

This year, The Suicide Squad got released and what caught my attention was the fact that it was directed and written by the highly creative James Gunn who made his mark in American cinema with the Guardians of the Galaxy films which established their own notable place within the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sadly, being based here in the Philippines, I won’t be able to watch the newest DC Comics movie on the big screen because local cinemas have stopped showing movies since the COVID-19 pandemic started (note: some local cinemas were used as vaccination sites). Although millions of people here in the Philippines have been vaccinated, there are still no new signs that movie theaters will reopen and resume the showing of movies.

The movie poster of The Suicide Squad.

The next best option for me is the eventual 4K Blu-ray release of The Suicide Squad.

Now don’t get me wrong. As of this writing, there is still no official announcement yet that The Suicide Squad will come out on Blu-ray (for 1080p viewing) and 4K Blu-ray. Still, that movie has a 4K Blu-ray page at Blu-ray.com and can see it by clicking right here. Trust me, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray will be announced soon!

Posted below are key details from the said page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Original aspect ratio: 1.90:1

Audio – TBA

Subtitles – None

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (2 BD)

Digital

Digital 4K

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

Why I look forward to this movie’s 4K Blu-ray release

Firstly, being a geek, I find James Gunn’s superhero-related work to be really creative and that includes combining bombastic spectacle with presenting groups of characters whose interactions and respective personalities prove to be memorable. He is also a solid storyteller and has proven to be capable of not only getting solid performances from the actors but also making good use of their respective talents.

Secondly, for some time now, I’ve been checking for updates about how Gunn’s style and approach would make the new Suicide Squad movie of Warner Bros. fun and engaging to watch. The good news here is that, as of this writing, critical reception has been positive.

Of course, movie critics’ tastes are different from my own and it will be some time before I will finally get to watch the The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray.

Thirdly, I find the cast of the new movie interesting and intriguing. John Cena as Peacemaker looks zany. Michael Rooker’s Savant looks intimidating. There is also the iconic Sylvester Stallone providing the voice of King Shark! Of course, there is also Idris Elba as Bloodsport and I wonder how the cinematic version of the character will turn out. Bloodsport debuted in the 1987 comic book Superman #4 (Volume 2) during the time John Byrne spearheaded comics of Superman.

Fourthly, my 4K Blu-ray collection is pretty small as of this writing and when it comes to Warner Bros./DC Comics superhero movies available in 4K Blu-ray format, I want something much better than Wonder Woman 1984 (note: director Patty Jenkins clearly did not take inspiration from the fine works of the legendary George Perez as far as telling a Wonder Woman story set in the 1980s goes. The presentation was also bloated and disappointing.).

From this point on, The Suicide Squad has its chance to recover its huge production and marketing costs by playing in several movie theaters (that managed to stay open or reopened) around the world. How the movie-loving public, geeks and DC Comics fans will react remains to be seen.

There is also the possibility that James Gunn-directed DC Comics movie might not score highly in ticket sales given the fact that it has been launched also on the streaming service HBO Max. Matching the $746.8 million global ticket sales of 2016’s Suicide Squad is pretty daunting for the new movie in this age of pandemic. Streaming the movie for home viewing is convenient but the best visual experience is still in the movie theaters, especially in the IMAX cinemas (because the movie was filmed with IMAX cameras).

It should be noted that paying for HBO Max does NOT mean you are paying The Suicide Squad producers and investors. Buying movie tickets, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs actually pay the film’s producers, investors and business partners. That being said, I encourage you to go for Blu-ray and/or 4K Blu-ray instead of streaming when it comes to enjoying movies at home.

Too bad the local IMAX cinemas and all regular theaters here in the Philippines remain closed. Clearly the best option for me to watch The Suicide Squad is on 4K Blu-ray in the near future. Streaming is definitely not an option for me and I am not going to waste my money on any streaming service.

Stay tuned for future updates about The Suicide Squad on 4K Blu-ray.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray, The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray, Mortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-ray, Space Jam 4K Blu-ray, V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-ray and Highlander 4K Blu-ray.

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Better than Streaming: Space Jam 4K Blu-ray combo now available!

Are you fond of 1990s Hollywood movies? Do you love Michael Jordan during his reign in the NBA? Have you ever seen the famous Bill Murray act with Jordan and Larry Bird? Have you always been a fan of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang?

Here is the news that could be big to you in relation to the above questions – the 1996 hit live-action/animated comedy movie Space Jam is now available on 4K Blu-ray (with digital copy and Blu-ray disc included) and you can order it now at Amazon!

Space Jam 4K Blu-ray combo.

Here are the details on what comes with Space Jam 4K Blu-ray sourced from Blu-ray.com

Video
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1


Audio

English: Dolby Atmos
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
German: Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Swedish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Norwegian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Finnish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles

English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish


Discs
4K Ultra HD
Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD-100, 1 BD-50)

Extra stuffCommentary with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and director Joe Pytka. Jammin’ with Bug Bunny and Michael Jordan featurette. Two music videos and the theatrical trailer.

For those who are not very aware about the legacy of Space Jam, it was a special project of Warner Bros.’ animation group and not only did it star Michael Jordan (who led the Chicago Bulls to its 4th NBA title in mid-1996), it involved big names like Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) as producer, comedy icon Bill Murray in a key supporting role and a whole lot of great voice talents such as Billy West (Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd), Dee Bradley Baker (Daffy Duck), and Frank Welker (best known for Transformers’ Megatron) to name a few.

Adding further zest to the cast lots of NBA personalities such as Hall of Famer Larry Bird, Mugsy Bogues, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson, plus cameo appearances of Danny Ainge, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr and A.C. Green to name a few.

Personally, I never saw Space Jam in the movie theater but I got to watch it in the airplane going to the United States in April 1997. I was not able to focus fully on its story as watching it on a small screen behind the passenger seat in front of me was never a comfortable experience. Still, the movie caught my attention when I saw Larry Bird (my favorite basketball player of all-time) act with Jordan and with the iconic Bill Murray. Of course, the quality of animation done by Warner Bros.’ creative teams was pretty good for its time. I should state that Elmer Fudd scoring a basket in basketball uniform was fun to watch.

Going back to the above specs and details about Space Jam 4K Blu-ray, it’s really nice to know that the visuals have been confirmed to be native 4K. Personally, I am interested to see how the 1996 mixed live-action/animation film would look like on the screen of our 4K smart TV at home.

In the official Blu-ray.com review for Space Jam 4K Blu-ray, the visuals were partially described as: Advertised as a new HDR-enhanced 4K master, Space Jam arrives on the format with a mostly pleasing 2160p transfer that corrects a few of the 2011 Blu-ray’s visual shortcomings but back-pedals elsewhere. For starters, it’s worth noting that portions of this film have always looked soft and very light on grain, such as Jordan’s arrival and stay in WB world, including the climactic basketball game; this was a necessary style choice to ensure that live-action elements didn’t stick too far out against the more smoothly-rendered animation. Other built-in source “defects” (for lack of a better word) include a bit of aliasing on specific CG backgrounds, such as a few sharp angles and edges on Moron Mountain and the baseline and free-throw paint on animated basketball courts; it’s easily spotted on screenshot #4, but again hardly distracting in-motion.

Space Jam 4K Blu-ray combo is now available and it should appeal to NBA fans, Looney Tunes fans and just about anyone who feels nostalgic about the 1990s. Take note that when Space Jam was released in cinemas in late 1996, Michael Jordan was on his way to a second three-peat of NBA championships and the movie was clearly part of the legacy of his basketball greatness which defined the NBA in the 1990s (note: Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won the NBA championship titles in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998). Space Jam was made at a time when Hollywood not yet dominated by the Satanic Left, those whiny socialists, the naked Communists and all those liberals who love to use movies as pieces to spread their poisonous propaganda. In short, Space Jam of 1996 was simply made to entertain without any political garbage.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-ray, The Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-ray, Mortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-ray, and V: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray disc of Warner Archive (read my retro review).  

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at V: The Original Miniseries (1983)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from watching V: The Original Miniseries 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.

Way back in 1983, I was fortunate to watch the 2-episode sci-fi mini-series on television titled V: The Original Miniseries. Because there was no Netflix, no YouTube, no Internet access and no DVD at the time, getting to replay the said mini-series as well as its sequel V: The Final Battle was really hard. Replays of them on local TV rarely happened.

Then in 2001, V: The Original Miniseries was released on DVD format and I got to watch it all over again with a good amount of enjoyment. In recent times, I purchased the Blu-ray release and replayed the original miniseries in high-definition at last!

You must be wondering if the original mini-series aged well through the decades, and is it still good to watch by today’s standards? While I will comment about its overall quality below, what I can say is that its theme about people fighting to be free from fascism, oppression, terrorism and dictatorship remains relevant to this day.

For his part, star Marc Singer stated: “I think themes of what holds society together and what tears society apart, those themes are universal themes and I think they’re always going to be relevant. I think there’s going to be a necessity for things like V to be revisited in order that society remember what it is that’s cohesive and coherent about it and why is it that we should all stand together and treat each other well.”  

With those details laid down, here is a look back at V: The Original Miniseries, written and directed by Kenneth Johnson. The first episode was broadcast on television in the United States on May 1, 1983.

V: The Original Miniseries

Early story

The story begins in El Salvador where camera operator Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) and his companion Tony risk their lives capturing footage of an armed conflict. As the two tried their best to move away from the heat of battle, a helicopter of the enemy tracks them and corners them. Just as hope seems lost for Mike Donovan, the helicopter suddenly flies away. He turns to the other direction and witnesses the presence of a huge, floating saucer-like space ship coming his way. He begins to record footage of it.

Soon enough, several other space ships arrive and float above many other cities around the world. In America, medical student Julie Parrish (Faye Grant) and her colleagues carefully watch the TV news coverage. In a nice neighborhood, several residents – including Robin Maxwell (Blaire Tefkin), Eleanor Dupres (Neva Patterson), Daniel Bernstein (David Packer) and his grandfather Abraham (Leonardo Cimino) to name a few – marvel at the sight of a space ship above them. At another location, the research of scientist Robert Maxwell (Michael Durrell) and his colleague got interrupted with the arrival of a space ship.

The Visitors formally begin their new relationship with the people of Earth.
Diana of the Visitors played by Jane Badler.

Some time later, the Visitors make verbal contact with the people around the world using varied languages of Earth. In a special arrangement held at the top of the United Nations (UN) building in New York closely viewed on TV by the general public, the Visitors reveal themselves represented by John (Richard Herd) who expresses their message of reaching out peacefully to the people of Earth, seek their help and, in return, share with them their advanced technologies that could help humanity a whole lot for future generations. The Visitors are human in appearance but speak with very distinct sounds.

As a result, the governments of Earth agree to the offer of the Visitors and establish ties with them. Symbolically, a large group of Visitors’ engineers led by Diana (Jane Badler) and security chief Steven (Andrew Pine) arrive at a refinery to formally begin collecting chemicals and minerals.

Then things start to turn bad…

Quality

I can clearly declare that the writing and directing done by Kenneth Johnson remains great, and for many reasons why. On storytelling, Johnson (who was inspired by the anti-fascist novel It Can’t Happen Here and made an adaptation of it before finally coming up with V) clearly took his time on establishing the core concept stage-by-stage, and he also found efficient ways of explaining details to viewers by using in-story news reports and videos and retrospective as effective tools of exposition (these helped cut down the reliance on expository dialogue).

As the story goes on, Johnson carefully introduced the many characters on-screen (including the use of quick introductions of some characters who are located away from others they are connected/related with), established who they are and, most notably, showed how the events that took place affected them.

The Visitors (and one member of their youth auxiliary movement wearing brown) posting propaganda material to condition people’s minds they are friendly and trustworthy. These posters are familiar to many Nazi propaganda materials used in Europe decades earlier. Prior to the release of the Original Miniseries, a real-life marketing campaign of putting up such posters happened in real life.

Johnson also used symbolism which reflects what happened decades ago in Europe with the rise of the Third Reich. The Visitors’ symbol resembles the Nazi Swastika while the persecution of scientists (as well as their families and associates) resembles the Nazi persecution of Jewish people, and the scene of Daniel Bernstein joining the Visitors through their “Friends of Visitors” movement recalls memories of the Hitler Youth. I should state that Earth citizens who chose to collaborate with the aliens from space (strongly symbolized through Eleanor Dupres), images of the armed Visitors watching several helpless Earth people being taken away from their homes and the dominance of propaganda over the free press also reflect what happened back in World War II when the Nazis occupied many parts of Europe. The fact that Johnson used alien humanoids as the Visitors make them a more universal antagonistic force that viewers can relate with.

When it comes to the cast members and their respective performances, there is a whole lot to enjoy here and I can confirm that the quality of dramatic performances is pretty good and adds a whole lot of believability to the story. The most notable performer here is none other than Faye Grant who believably portrayed Julie Parrish on her in-depth transformation from a promising medical student to a reluctant organizer of a movement of freedom-loving people called the Resistance. Faye Grant excellently portrayed emotions and even showed the fragile side of Julie as she struggles to strengthen herself to lead her fellow people who seek freedom and survival. Julie also is the most charismatic and likable character in my view.

Marc Singer’s Mike Donovan is the closest thing this miniseries has to an action hero. Donovan is not a soldier, nor a policeman, nor a combat specialist. He is a hard-working media employee who has covered a lot of armed conflicts overseas and along the way he learned how to fight. As he is not a fighting machine, Donovan was portrayed to be vulnerable and really ends up struggling a lot. In a way, Donovan symbolizes people who take action once they realize what is wrong and what lies they have been fed with. It should be noted that before Bruce Willis wowed audiences as the vulnerable hero John McClane in Die Hard, Marc Singer’s Donovan was the vulnerable and struggling action performer realized ahead in time. On the dramatic side, Donovan’s talk with his mother Eleanor is a great scene to watch, and his contrast with Kristine Walsh (Jenny Sullivan) must be seen! If you ask me, Mike Donovan is Marc Singer at his best!

Faye Grant’s portrayal of Julie Parrish is highly believable complete with a good range of emotions. Her character development all throughout the Original Miniseries is very believable.
Marc Singer as Mike Donovan.

The other most notable role is none other than the Visitors’ commander Diana excellently played by Jane Badler. Diana was played to be charismatic, powerful, and sadistic at the same time. She is not a mere evil figure nor is she your typical pure evil antagonist. In fact, she is the powerful extension of an unseen high authority of the aliens and this alone makes her worth your attention. Also, through her interactions with her fellow aliens Steven and Brian (Peter Nelson), you will see very interesting traits of Diana’s personality. I should state that Jane Badler’s eyes and expressions really gave her character a very commanding presence on-screen. Even though her screen time is not dominant, Diana’s impact remains very strong.

As for the other cast members and their contributions in the film, I can state that Robert Maxwell was excellently portrayed by Michael Durrel to be the very caring father striving to protect his family even as society has been manipulated to demonize scientists like him. Daniel Bernstein is clearly the traitorous Earthling who has gotten so involved with the Visitors, and I am confident that David Packer will get on your nerves. Willie is the good-natured Visitor who tries to fit in with the people of Earth and his friendship with Harmony Moore (Diane Cary) is very symbolic. Given the reputation of Robert Englund as a horror icon, his performance as Willie is a must-see!

The most notable of all the supporting cast members here is none other than Leonardo Cimino’s Abraham Bernstein who is a Jewish man who went through the Holocaust and survived to establish the family in America only to see evil return in the form of the Visitors. His dramatic scene of protecting a certain family is a must-watch, and most likely it will stir your emotions.

This scene shows the contrast between Abraham Bernstein (Leonardo Cimino) in the background and his grandson Daniel (David Packer) in the foreground. Abraham is an old Jewish man who went through the Holocaust and lived on. Daniel, who is 17-years-old, willingly joined the Visitor’s youth auxiliary movement which parallels that Hitler Youth.

In addition to being successful with telling the story, spreading the details and getting solid performances from the cast, Kenneth Johnson also proved to be really crafty with the way the camera captured images and how the very important moments were presented to captivate viewers. Johnson’s work here is clearly a labor of love. As for the music, Joseph Harnell did a good job overall. His style gives V a distinct aesthetic on tunes and I noticed his music becomes more lively late in the 2nd episode. Harnell also knew how to add musical excitement when the narrative needed a boost of energy or speed.

People of Earth, including children, are helpless under the Visitors.

Last but not least, I want to talk about the action and visual effects here. The action is, for the most part, raw and believable to watch. The action performers dressed as the Visitors never looked like they were trained but at least their ways of positioning themselves to fire their laser weapons made up for it. The hard action has that raw aesthetic which I actually liked because the action performers – including Marc Singer himself – were convincing with the way they exerted efforts. In this modern age of wire works and digital effects, seeing raw action and real human effort combined with risk taking is refreshing to watch.

More on the action scenes, I should state that the concept of showing the humans using conventional guns against the laser-armed Visitors was done in a satisfying and believable manner on-screen. Such concepts could have turned out bad had Kenneth Johnson and his team lacked talent and precision. As for the visual effects, they resulted a mixed bag as far as quality and artistry are concerned. While the laser blasts still look very good (and their impact was felt thanks to excellent timing with the on-set explosions and fireworks), the huge motherships really look dated as they were matte images (not miniatures), and in a few shots the matte lines were clearly exposed in high-definition which broke the immersion for me. The smaller space crafts that were shown flying also had that similar, out-of-place look (note: they did not match the lighting of the live-action footage). Still, the practical effects used are good to see and the matte paintings used for two key shots in the 2nd episode were photo-realistic.  

Conclusion

The free and righteous praying to the Lord.

As it is clearly still great and engaging to watch, V: The Original Miniseries (1983) certainly aged well, it remains essential to watch even by today’s standards and most of all, its theme about the conflict of freedom and dictatorship makes it completely relevant to this day. It is a reminder about what your part in your society is, who you are, what your values are, and why you have freedom in your local society which can be destroyed by an alienating force once your fellow people refuse to resist it. As mentioned earlier, the cast is great and I am confident that you readers will find a character or two to relate with.

The focus of this miniseries on fascism invading the lives of the free people easily reminds me about how, in this modern age, sinister influences like Marxism, socialism, Communism, unrestrained political correctness and fascism poisoned the minds of millions of people through the academic system and turned them into social rebels, domestic terrorists, looters, rioters and new criminals who are so determined to go against their fellow people who do not share their beliefs. In modern-day America, the ongoing movements of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, SJWs, the anti-Semitic BDS movement, the rabid LGBTQ+ movement, the so-called democratic socialists and other agents of Satan have been harming patriotic Americans, attacking their values, taking the innocence of the youth and children away, destroying businesses and tearing down societies as we know it. The 1983 mini-series will remind you that from time to time, social order will be pushed hard by the invaders (be it people or be it influences so alien to the society) and the people who are righteous can choose to restore the said order as well as their respective lives.

Seriously, if you value your freedom, your culture, your values, your people and your faith in the Lord, you certainly would not want to submit yourselves to a foreign people who intend to destroy you.

No matter what happens, people should never lose faith in the Lord and they must look up to Him for deliverance. The Lord will punish the wicked and make ways happen to lift up the faithful. Clearly, V’s theme about the fight for freedom is truly universal.

Symbolism and socio-political relevance aside, V: The Original Miniseries (1983) also comes with a good amount of spectacle that make sense within the narrative. Do not expect to see extensive, over-the-top action scenes of modern-day cinema/television here but I assure you that the spectacle (note: even with the flawed matte imagery of the visual effects) in this production paid-off nicely in relation to the build-up of events throughout the story.

I strongly recommend you acquire V: The Original Miniseries on Blu-ray while it is still available. Watching it in high-definition is a great experience on my part.

Overall, V: The Original Miniseries (1983) is highly recommended! That being said, I strongly encourage you to buy it on Blu-ray disc format while it is still available and affordable. If you want more of Kenneth Johnson’s other work related to V, I suggest you to look for his book V: The Second Generation. Don’t forget to visit Johnson’s website at http://www.kennethjohnson.us/

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more V-related writings of mine, check out my retro comic book reviews of the V comic books (published by DC Comics) issues #1, #2, #3 and #4.

A Look Back at Godzilla #1 (1995)

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, comic book collectors, sci-fi enthusiasts and fellow geeks! You must have heard by now that pop culture icons Godzilla and King Kong will clash together on the big screen in Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). Check out the official trailer below.

Take note that this is NOT the first time the two giant monsters encountered each other on the big screen. In fact, there was a Japanese-produced movie that featured the two released in 1963 and it involved Ishirô Honda who himself directed the 1954 original Godzilla movie. As the decades passed by, Godzilla movies were viewed by lots of people around the world and by the time efforts were taken to realize a Hollywood-produced film showcasing Japan’s icon, its place in global pop culture was already sealed.

And here is the thing that should interest you all – before the 1998 Hollywood Godzilla film (directed by Roland Emmerich) was even released, Dark Horse Comics published a series of Godzilla comic books. Of course, this was not the first time Godzilla made its presence felt in illustrated literature but the mid-1990s series was an effort to modernize Japan’s icon with readers (and comic collectors) of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Godzilla #1, published by Dark Horse Comics in 1995 with a story written by Kevin Maguire and drawn by Brandon McKinney.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with a network television talk show focused on Godzilla and the possibility of it attacking North America. On the air, TV show host Kate Koshiro talks with research team G-Force member Take’ who states that Godzilla has been injected with poison and swam to the bottom of the ocean. Even so, they never found a corpse.

As the show goes on, it is revealed by Take’ that his team uses low-frequency signals which they hope will attract Godzilla and even pacify it. Take’ eventually begins to get nervous as Kate Koshiro presses him for details. Behind the scenes, personnel of G-Force watch the show on their giant monitor.

The G-Force personnel turn their attention away from the TV show as they have been alerted to the sudden emergence of Godzilla, 77 miles northwest of Vancouver…

Quality

The destructive power of Godzilla!

If you are looking for a good, original story of Godzilla to read, this comic book has it! To start with, it has a nice world concept of its own surrounding the monster. G-Force serves as the primary organization the world goes to not only for protection from Godzilla’s attacks but also extensive research-and-development (R&D) that can make breakthroughs the world can benefit from, and intelligence that the respective defense forces of nations can use.

The characters are an interesting mix with elements from G-Force and the American armed services doing most of the interaction, talking and exposition. The closest thing this comic book has to a human protagonist is Take’ who turned out to be more capable than being a researcher of G-Force.

As for Godzilla, there is nothing new with the monster’s portrayal even though it is confirmed to be sick with poison. Wherever Godzilla goes, a lot of destruction happens making it look like the antagonist to the reader. In other words, a typical Godzilla portrayal. Fortunately, the comic book creators succeeded in maintaining the giant’s presence strongly even though the narrative was primarily focused on the human characters.

Conclusion

Nothing like carrying the tremendous pressure that comes with the unexpected emergence of a gigantic monster.

Godzilla #1 (1995) is surprisingly entertaining to read. When I first read this comic book, I had modest expectations and just let myself discover what it has to offer. The good news here is that the comic creators crafted a story that is interesting and fun enough to read. Apart from focusing on Godzilla, the G-Force organization has an interesting cast of characters.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Godzilla #1 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $70.

Overall, Godzilla #1 (1995) is recommended.

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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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Wonder Woman 1984 is coming to BOTH movie theaters and HBO Max streaming service on Christmas Day

The news has spread like wildfire in such a short time and unsurprisingly hashtags like #WonderWoman and #WW84 got really active again on social media. It has officially been announced that the much-delayed Wonder Woman 1984 (starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig) will indeed open in movie theaters in America on Christmas Day PLUS debut also via Warner Bros. own streaming service HBO Max.

Watch the confirming video below…

Already cinema chain AMC is supportive of the movie’s scheduled theatrical release.

“We hope movie lovers enjoy ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ during the holidays this year at AMC,” AMC Entertainment CEO and President Adam Aron stated.

Personally, I am surprised that Warner Bros. decided to do the simultaneous theater-and-streaming approach because the move is pretty risky in terms of doing business as well as reaching out to the many millions of fans willing to pay to watch the movie. It is a fact that a lot of movie theaters in America remain closed and families are forced to stay at home especially in states where the state governments strictly implemented lockdowns due to the COVID-19 crisis.

It is also a fact that HBO Max is not exactly massively large with its subscribers. According to a Variety report, HBO Max users grew to 8.6 million at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020. Also reported was 28.7 million customers described to be eligible to avail of the mentioned streaming service. Combined subscribers of standalone HBO and HBO Max in the United States reached 38 million as of the end of September. When it comes to the global scale, 57 million subscribers of both HBO and the streaming service were reported. The numbers look big but there is no guarantee that 100% of standalone HBO subscribers will actually avail of HBO Max for WW84. There is also the issue of generating a lot of funds to help Warner Bros. recover their investment in making and marketing Wonder Woman 1984.

As I stated before, the best way to watch Wonder Woman 1984 is still in the movie theater for it is a fact that it is such a very big production as a whole and it has certain sequences filmed with IMAX cameras (the highest quality visuals of which will not be captured perfectly via streaming). While it is a fact that way below 100% of movie theaters worldwide are open for business, it is now high time for Wonder Woman fans, superhero movie enthusiasts and geeks to contact their local cinema operators and find out once and for all if they will screen Wonder Woman 1984. Don’t just sit down waiting for something to come to you, take action by reaching out to the movie theaters online or by the phone if you really want to watch the movie!

If there is an AMC theater near you operating (or planning to open for the Christmas holiday), you are fortunate because WW84 will be screened. If there is an IMAX cinema near you that will really play the movie, go for the movie there for the best visual experience!

While I noticed online that there are a lot of self-described Wonder Woman fans who arrogantly disregard movie theater operators only because they selfishly want WW84 to be streamed directly to them, I myself will not avail of the movie via streaming because there is a better option for home viewing that has yet to be announced…Wonder Woman 1984 on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray. Personally, I don’t have anything against VOD streaming services but when it comes to enjoying movies at home with the HDTV, I prefer Blu-ray over streaming anytime! Blu-ray has undeniable advantages over streaming!

What I intend to do on watching Wonder Woman 1984 is quite simple: movie theater first followed by Blu-ray months later. Really, I’m not rushing to avail HBO Max this Christmas.

Going back to movie theaters, Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins announced via social media a program is in development to allow moviegoers, fans and other people to be able to rent their own theaters out to screen the movie with group safety in mind.

“We will try to help to bring it to as many of you as we can and thank you all for your support,” Jenkins stated via Twitter.

For its part, AMC Entertainment made moves to not only screen Wonder Woman 1984 but also ensure safety and reducing health risks. Check out the full statement of AMC CEO and President Aron below:

Movie fans across the United States, Europe and the Middle East will be excited to learn that the release of Wonder Woman 1984 this holiday season is right around the corner, and that AMC will show this eagerly awaited movie on our big screens all across our global network.

For many months, AMC has been in active and deep dialogue with Warner Brothers to figure out how best this cinematic blockbuster could be seen at AMC Theatres in these unprecedented times. Given that atypical circumstances call for atypical economic relationships between studios and theatres, and atypical windows and releasing strategies, AMC is fully onboard for Warner Brothers’ announcement today.

AMC continues to believe that exclusive theatrical releases benefit consumers, filmmakers, studios and exhibitors. Even so, we also have clearly demonstrated this year that we are flexible and remain open to evolving long-standing business models, provided that we do so in ways that improve the industry ecosystem for all players. We have instituted novel approaches with other movie studios this year. We are doing so again, this time with Warner Brothers to facilitate the specific release of this important movie.  We hope movie lovers enjoy Wonder Woman 1984 during the holidays this year at AMC.

In showcasing Wonder Woman 1984, we especially note AMC’s commitment to the safety and health of our moviegoing guests and associates at our theatres. Our comprehensive and extensive AMC Safe & Clean protocols were unveiled this summer, having been designed in consultation with current and former faculty of Harvard University’s prestigious School of Public Health and in partnership with Clorox. Our commitment to AMC Safe & Clean already has allowed us to responsibly and safely welcome literally millions of moviegoers to enjoy seeing movies at AMC Theatres.

To put things in perspective, AMC has around one thousand movie theaters and over 10,000 screens worldwide. That being said, their support to screen Wonder Woman 1984 is crucial not only for Warner Bros. and the fans but for the movie industry as a whole. Also I am confident that other cinema operators (who are already struggling financially and have been trying to retain their employees) are observing and may decide soon to follow AMC’s move. The more movie screens for Wonder Woman 1984, the better!

In ending this piece, here are some Wonder Woman-related videos for your enjoyment. Also check out my retro reviews of the George Perez-drawn Wonder Woman comic books such as issue #1 and issue #9 (required reading as it includes Cheetah). Check out also my review of the 2017 movie as well as my feature of the No Man’s Land scene.

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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. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. 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 as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Total Recall Movie Special #1

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book, 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.

I already published that I really love the 1990 sci-fi action movie Total Recall which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside and Rachel Ticotin under the direction of the highly talented Paul Verhoeven. The movie is one of my all-time favorites and most notably it has aesthetics that are totally unique mainly due to the combined expressions and artistry of Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven. Behind it all, Total Recall would not have been realized without the short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale written by the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick whose published works led to other movies from Hollywood.

As part of a business strategy, Total Recall also had multi-media releases in the form of a novel (by Piers Anthony), video games and a comic book published by DC Comics. Very recently I was able to finally read the comic book adaptation of the film titled Total Recall Movie Special #1. It had a cover that was technically a copy of the American movie poster with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face dominating it and it came with a cover price of $2.95 which was pretty high for 1990.

Is the comic book adaptation any good? Does it capture the essence of the blockbuster film? We can find out by finally starting this look back at Total Recall Movie Special #1, published in 1990 by DC Comics with a story written by Elliot S. Maggin and drawn by the late Tom Lyle (read my first article of Lyle’s work).

Cover
The cover of the comic book.

Early story

The story begins on the surface of planet Mars where a man and a woman (both wearing space suits) walk together heading towards an unknown destination. Suddenly a small stone cracks the glass face shield of the man’s helmet exposing him to the deadly atmosphere of Mars.

2
Like in the movie, Douglas Quaid and Lori wake up.

It turns out it was just a dream for Douglas Quaid who was in bed with his wife Lori. The dream turned out to be a recurring one as Lori asked him if the dream lady was in there again. Lori then asked Doug who the dream lady was. A short time later, Doug reports to work and while doing construction work on the field, he asked a colleague about Rekall (note: he saw a video ad of it on his way to work). The guy told Doug about someone getting lobotomized at Rekall and discouraged him from availing of their service.

7
Douglas Quaid at Rekall for his virtual holiday.

Doug eventually visits Rekall after work and availed of their virtual holiday as a secret agent. Something goes wrong as Doug goes berserk while strapped on one of Rekall’s seats. Dr. Lull (in-charge of the operation) explains to her boss that Doug was not acting out his virtual holiday as her team has not even implanted it yet on him…

Quality

14
The bad guys on the hunt for Douglas Quaid.

When it comes to presenting the story, Elliot S. Maggin clearly paid close attention to the details, the plot and dialogue of the movie while implementing adjustments along with artist Tom Lyle to make the story work in comic book format. Clearly, this is not a word-for-word, scene-for-scene adaptation but it comes close to capturing the essence of the film. Unsurprisingly, the comic book adaptation never captured the unique Schwarzenegger-Verhoeven aesthetics of the movie but it still performed well on replicating the sci-fi, hard action moments. I find it surprising that Total Recall Movie Special #1 carried the seal of approval of the Comics Code Authority (CCA) as there were some bloody shots and several moments of strong violence inspired by the R-rated film.

When it comes to the visuals, Tom Lyle succeeded in capturing the sci-fi look of the movie and even had the literary Douglas Quaid occasionally resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lyle’s drawings on other characters like Lori, Melina, Coohagen and Richter looked NOTHING like the actors who played them but that’s not a problem at all as this gives this comic book its own unique touch. In fact, there were some drawings of people that sometimes reminded me of what I saw in EC Comics’ Weird Science comic books.

While Lyle scored nicely with the action scenes, his own drawings of planet Mars and the human colony are quite nice to look at. With regards to the urban environment, Lyle drew a nice mix of 20th century inspired urban areas laced with futurism. Unsurprisingly, the futurism got stronger when the story was set in Mars.

If there is anything lacking with the art, it would be visual dynamism. This can be forgiven however given the high amount of dialogue and story details that had to be presented with each page carrying a lot of panels.

Conclusion

23
The human colony in planet Mars.

I can say it out loud that Total Recall Movie Special #1 is a fun read and serves nicely as a literary companion to the cinematic masterpiece Total Recall. As a comic book adaptation of a blockbuster movie, this one is pretty good and in some ways captured some of the flair of the film even as it never successfully replicated the Verhoeven-Schwarzenegger aesthetic in the film. Really, if you want the best of Total Recall you really should watch the movie. This comic book on its own is entertaining and should encourage you to watch the film.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Total Recall Movie Special #1 (1990), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $11 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $31. If you are looking for something more valuable, the near-mint copy of the numbered-and-signed edition of the comic book costs $51.

Overall, Total Recall Movie Special #1 (1990) is highly recommended!


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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Night of the Creeps

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.

When you craft a story meant to entertain people, it is already tough to mix genre elements and make them work together while still telling a cohesive story. Imagine how hard that could be when making a movie with the mentioned creative mix?

Back in the mid-1980s, a young film enthusiast named Fred Dekker not only pulled it off but actually made a feature-length film titled Night of the Creeps which was his cinematic directorial debut. Before making that science fiction/horror/comedy movie, Dekker grew up watching movies of horror, science fiction and fantasy and developed a passion for movies (and movie production eventually).

After much learning through UCLA, Dekker broke into Hollywood and started a professional career in film and eventually got his dream project in the form of Night of the Creeps.

“Night of the Creeps is very much a first feature with the attitude of many first features. The I-may-not-get-to-do-another-movie-so-I’m-going-to-do-everything-I-want-to-do-in-this-movie attitude. It’s an attitude that often backfires, but in this case, it’s exactly what makes Night of the Creeps so much fun,” Dekker stated.

With the short film history lesson done, it’s now time to take a look back at Night of the Creeps written and directed by Fred Dekker, and released in 1986 by TriStar Pictures.

Screenshot_20200620-215521_YouTube.jpg
If you were the police chief, how many police officers would send to corner one zombie?

Early story

The story begins inside a space ship where one alien creature (carrying a canister) is running away from two armed personnel. With the two chasers delayed, the creature manages to shoot the canister into the realm of space.

On Earth, the year is 1959. In a typical American suburb, a college student visits a sorority house to pick up his date. Together, along with a few other pairs in cars, they spend time at a parking spot with a nice night view. A young police officer, who is aware of the news about a potential killer on the loose, approaches the pair and recognizes the lady from the sorority house. He tells them to go home for their safety, and then leaves them.

Shortly after, the canister from space arrives and crashes nearby causing the college student to drive the car (with his date with him) and find the spot of the crash. He parks the car by the woods and moves into woods leaving the sorority girl alone, sitting and waiting. He finds the canister and decides to look at it closely. Through an opening, an alien slug suddenly jumps from the canister and into his mouth. Meanwhile, the lone lady in the car hears the news about the loose killer and realizes the details about their location (being the destination of the killer). Slowly creeping up on her is a man with an axe.

Screenshot_20200620-213549_YouTube.jpg
What teenagers in America used to do in the 1950s.

Screenshot_20200620-213751_YouTube.jpg
Someone closing in…

In 1986, at the same locality, college students party around and engage in lots of activities in relation to pledge week being organized at a local university. Among the students walking down the sidewalk are Chris Romero and his handicapped friend J.C. Chris spots a pretty girl from a distance and instantly falls for her at first sight. With the help of J.C., he decides to pursue her…

Quality

Even with a low budget, Night of the Creeps is very creatively done and comes with a good amount of fun for viewers who enjoy elements of horror or sci-fi, 1950s romance, 1980s teen comedy and even detective story. What made this movie a cinematic gem is that Fred Dekker and his creative team combined their strengths with the talents of their cast members specifically Jason Lively, James Marshall, Jill Whitlow and Tom Atkins.

At its core, Night of the Creeps is a zombie horror flick that had sci-fi elements of UFOs and the 1950s as a strong foundation (in addition to serving in the background of the plot). Those combined genre elements alone (backed with a plot that is cohesive enough thanks to Dekker) made this movie solid and yet, the implementation of detective/crime storytelling and 1980s teen comedy (specifically college culture) further added more punch and variety in making the film really engaging and fun.

That being said, the actors delivered the goods with their respective performances. Jason Lively and Steve Marshall have excellent chemistry together as the 1980s college boys Chris Romero and J.C. They started their acts as typical college guys trying to achieve something when it comes to campus achievements and winning the girl’s heart. They also delivered strong performances on the comedy and they pushed their dramatic limits further when the film’s tone shifted to horror. Jill Whitlow is interesting as sorority girl Cynthia who has that girl-next-door charm. She proved to be talented with acting as she had convincing romantic chemistry with a certain jerk and Chris.

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Steve Marshal, Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow as J.C., Chris Romero and Cynthia.

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The horror film genre legend himself, Tom Atkins!

The standout performer among them all, unsurprisingly, is Tom Atkins as detective Ray Cameron. Before making this movie, Atkins worked in horror movies and a few cult movies, and got involved with the legendary John Carpenter. As such, playing the veteran detective Cameron here was a natural fit for the actor. As the aging and troubled detective, Atkins portrayed him dramatically and because of his very rugged touch, the actor really looked like he actually lived through decades of police work in the fictional town. Atkins also proved to be very good with quotes, specifically with “Thrill me!” It should be noted that this is Atkins’ personal favorite role in the horror genre.

When it comes to telling a cohesive story to emphasize the mixed genre elements, I should say Fred Dekker and his team succeeded. The pacing ran at a medium pace for the most part and even during the slower scenes, there was never a boring moment. More on storytelling, Night of the Creeps’ concept made sense for the most part (about how a slug from outer space would gradually cause zombification on people and even animals, in the midst of college-related events happening) and still had room for suspense, spectacle (note: Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow themselves used dangerous weapons near the end of the film) and, yes, character development! All of that pulled of nicely in roughly ninety minutes and the viewing experience was ultimately fun and engaging.

Screenshot_20200620-214622_YouTube.jpg
I wonder if this image would be considered offensive by the SJWs…

Screenshot_20200620-213511_YouTube.jpg
Perhaps this will inspire you to research what American life was like back in the 1950s.

It should be noted that, in terms of presentation, key scenes were very well directed and strong performances from the actors were realized. The scene where detective Cameron and Chris had a private talk was intriguing to watch, and that one had the strongest act Tom Atkins made in the film. I should also mention that, apart from the dramatics and performances, I enjoyed the cinematography done by Robert C. New especially with the way the camera moved as the actors delivered their lines in key sequences. There were closeups that perfectly captured the moments when the actors delivered their strongest acts. Last but not least, the music by Barry De Vorzon fit the film’s tone and concept smoothly.

Conclusion

Screenshot_20200620-215940_YouTube.jpg
Here they come…

I really love Night of the Creeps and I want you – my readers and fellow film buffs and pop culture geeks – to watch it from start to finish. I never saw this movie in the cinemas in the 1980s but was fortunate enough to watch it on cable TV on a late night in 1998 (twelve years after its cinematic release). That was a night I’ll never forget because Night of the Creeps delivered the fun and exceeded my expectations. Then years ago, I finally acquired the Sony Pictures Blu-ray disc release which I replayed from time to time at the comfort of home with my Xbox One console as the disc player. The film looks even better in high-definition!

The best thing I love about Night of the Creeps is its big mix of genre elements which was supported by solid storytelling and performances. When it comes to spectacle or shock moments, it should be stated that the practical effects used (note: no CGI or computer-generated images here) in the movie still stand up strongly until now although I must say that the aliens creatures in the early part of the story were just not convincing enough.

Even by today’s standards, Night of the Creeps is enjoyable and gripping to watch, and the fact is nobody in Hollywood is making anything like it, nor are there any filmmakers willing to do a big mix of genre elements and tell a cohesive story with good performance from hired talents. This alone makes Fred Dekker’s directorial debut a cinematic gem that has been overlooked by too many people

In light of modern society and its norms, I declare that Night of the Creeps will give you a good dose of escapism not only from real life but also from the corrupted and highly politicized culture of Hollywood which points to the Political Left (whose central figure Barack Obama supports Iran, the terrorists and illegal immigrants) and its trouble makers (examples: social justice warriors or SJWS, the socialists, the radical feminists, the LGBTQ) who managed to infiltrate the American film industry and even the American media (note: you can tell if a movie review was written by an SJW who only writes something to fit his/her social justice agenda). This old movie was made to deliver fun without any political garbage whatsoever. That being said, it will make you wish that Hollywood would just focus on making their movies truly entertaining and be free from political poison at the same time. Movies that carry political overtones or emphasize identity politics are major turn-offs.

Overall, Night of the Creeps is highly recommended! That being said, I urge you to order a Blu-ray copy of Night of the Creeps now at Shout Factory and Amazon. Whichever Blu-ray version you acquire (note: the Shout Factory version has newer and more extra stuff), you can’t go wrong with Night of the Creeps in high-definition.


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. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Wonder Woman (2017)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced by means of watching the movie and doing 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.

I just love watching superhero movies, especially the ones that were well crafted by the filmmakers complete with solid storytelling, sufficient spectacle as well as memorable performances by the hired talents (both behind and in front of the camera).

Of all the superhero movies made by the forces of Hollywood starting with 1978’s Superman, I can clearly say that 2017’s Wonder Woman is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong. I did not limit myself to just DC Comics superhero movies. I saw all the X-Men movies and their spinoffs, almost all the Spider-Man flicks, almost all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and even the obscure ones. Along the way, there were some great superhero flicks that became modern-day classics like Logan and Avengers: Infinity War.

Still it is the Gal Gadot-led, Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman that I loved watching the most.

Let’s start with my retro review of Wonder Woman, the one film that arguably saved the DC Comics Cinematic Universe for Warner Bros.

WWposter1
The Wonder Woman movie poster from 2017.

Early Story

The story begins sometime after the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice during which Diana finds a long lost photograph recovered by Bruce Wayne. Then she remembers her past in Themyscira where she grew up as the only little girl among the women called the Amazons and her mother is none other than Queen Hippolyta. Concerned that the wicked Aries is still alive, Hippolyta’s sister Antiope trains Diana (initially in secret until they were discovered) to be strong, brave and more capable than their fellow Amazon warriors.

One day, Steve Trevor arrives in Themyscira becoming the first-ever man Diana ever met. Tension rises when the Germans (from World War I Earth) arrive on their island causing the Amazons to fight in defense. A lot of people lost their lives, including someone very close to Diana.

While interrogated with the Lasso of Truth, Steve reveals who he is and what he has been doing. He states that back in his world, World War I is ravaging the world costing many people their lives. This causes Diana to stand up and stop the war somehow (she believes Aries is responsible). Queen Hippolyta disapproves of Diana’s analysis. After privately meeting with Steve, Diana then starts her move for a mission to stop the war in Man’s World.

Quality

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Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the middle of German soldiers.

Let me start with the performances. Gal Gadot definitely IS Wonder Woman in this movie. Regardless of how many versions of Wonder Woman there are in comics, the Israeli actress truly captured the essence of Diana’s early development which includes her special place among the Amazons (note: she is the only Amazon who was born in Themyscira and grew up from infant into a mature woman), her fateful meeting with Steve Trevor, her entry into Man’s World and how she adapts with the events and people outside of Themyscira. Wonder Woman’s purity on saving the world, doing what is right and emphasizing love and compassion were all nicely translated into cinematic art by Gal Gadot. From doing the action scenes to saving people, speaking her mind among her fellow Amazons and interacting with others as she adapts with Man’s World, I really love Gadot’s work on bringing Wonder Woman to life. As her cinematic work is great, there is no doubt that Gadot will always be iconic to fans of the Queen of Superheroes and superhero enthusiasts in general in the decades to come right beside Lynda Carter (who played the icon on TV), Christopher Reeve (Superman), Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) and Chris Evans (Captain America). Meanwhile, the portrayals of Diana as an 8-year-old girl as well as a 12-year-old were perfectly done by Lilly Aspell (who is truly skilled with horse riding) and Emily Carey.

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Lilly Aspell as young Diana with Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta.

Chris Pine is excellent as Steve Trevor who is portrayed to be very dedicated to his work, brave in what he does and still shows compassion instead of arrogance towards others. He also has great chemistry with Gal Gadot and, like in the comic books, their relationship is nicely translated on the big screen. Pine’s performance here is, in my view, the best superhero movie supporting role to date.

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Chris Pine as Steve Trevor with Gal Gadot as Diana in disguise.

Connie Nielsen meanwhile is great in playing Queen Hippolyta and all throughout, there is always a sense of leadership complete with a touch of motherly love just like in the comic books. Her sister Antiope was nicely portrayed by Robin Wright as the one Amazon who taught Diana to be brave, strong and highly capable as an Amazon warrior.

Danny Huston, who played the lead villain in the 2009 movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played yet another military bad guy here but this time he’s a World War I German officer. He’s a villain with a purpose who not only fights for the glory of Germany but also strongly believes that war is natural and inevitable for humanity. In some ways, Huston’s Ludendorff reminds me Michael Shannon’s General Zod in Man of Steel.

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Robin Wright is excellent as Antiope.

When it comes to presentation, this film is Patty Jenkins’ 2nd movie as director (her debut was way back in 2003) and the great turnout of Wonder Woman as a high quality movie (as opposed to being a critical and commercial success) only proved yet again that the old saying in Hollywood – The director’s second movie is his/her best movie – is true. Jenkins, who also worked on television, not only prepared a lot to make this movie but also researched Wonder Woman, developed ways to get the most out of the cast members, tweak the written story of the film (by Allan Heinberg, Zach Snyder and Jason Fuchs) and, most notably, she led the production with a lot of passion. To put it short, Wonder Woman is a labor of love (and the No Man’s Land scene is iconic) that not only resonated with fans of the Queen of Superheroes but also with the film critics and moviegoers.

Regarding storytelling, I noticed that a key story from Wonder Woman’s origin in the comics (the contest of the Amazons) did not happen at all in the film. While there were die-hard fans of the icon who complained about it, I felt that the contest of the Amazons would have made this movie more complicated and surely would have lessened the impact of World War I as a key story element. Since the purpose of this movie was to emphasize Diana’s origin and her entry into Man’s World with a major mission, I believe that the contest of the Amazons can be made cinematically later in a future movie.

The way the story was told cinematically, it also captured Diana’s reactions to the events that happened around her. The scene in which she saw the village destroyed showed how death and destruction compelled Wonder Woman to accomplish her mission even though others find ending the war impossible. Along the way, the actors – specifically Gal Gadot – really added life into the narrative with their strong performances.

When it comes to on-screen humor, which is popular among moviegoers and is almost a requirement for most new superhero movies that come out, having it done by supporting players Lucy Davis and Saïd Taghmaoui was a clever move since it allows Gal Gadot to portray Wonder Woman without any performance disruption. Considering her short screen time, Davis as Etta Candy is really funny. The amount of humor in this film, in my view, was just right and never annoying.

Spectacle? Wonder Woman is loaded with action, stunts and exciting stuff! The action involving Wonder Woman was brutal and satisfying to watch, and Patty Jenkins’ use of slow motion on key moments was great (even comparable to John Woo’s past work) and at the same time not too excessive. The Themyscira battle between the Germans and the Amazons at the beach was engaging and strategically filmed. Also, it was fitting that the action ramped up nicely starting with the iconic No Man’s Land sequence. The final battle in the film, unsurprisingly, had lots of computer-generated images (CGI) which is understandable considering the fantasy element of Wonder Woman.

More on the action, I love the way Patty Jenkins had Gal Gadot, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen and Chris Pine perform the action themselves which all made their characters even more believable. Of course, there were certain moments in which stunt doubles were used to do the more dangerous moments on behalf of the actors.

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This happened just before the iconic No Man’s Land scene.

Apart from the core cast, a lot of the actresses playing the Amazons trained for several months not just to look the part but also to perform action sequences using weapons with actual skill. The stunt coordinators and specialists hired by the filmmakers deserve praise for contributing nicely on making the cinematic Amazons highly believable. This alone not only makes Wonder Woman stand out nicely among all Hollywood superhero movies but also reflects nicely what was portrayed in the comic books.

The production design is also top-notch. I love the scenic locations of Italy used for scenes set in Themyscira. The filmmakers also did a great job recapturing the look of World War I Europe from the historical pictures to the big screen. The costume designs were fantastic, and the standout designs were, unsurprisingly, the costumes of the Amazons which really made their fantasy culture look believable. The filmmakers decided to have much more colorful visuals instead of following the look of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.

On the music, the work by Rupert Gregson-Williams was great. His rendition of the Wonder Woman theme was very lively to listen to. The same can be said about the music he provided in the memorable No Man’s Land scene which had a nice build-up as Wonder Woman made her first full appearance in costume on the field. Other tunes played in the film suited the scenes well.

If there were any weak spots in this movie, it would be certain shots of action that were not filmed with precision. I’m talking about filming action scenes way too close to the camera combined with music video-style editing that’s supposed to make film look flashy. It’s not only disorienting, it also took me out of the movie.

Conclusion

Overall, Wonder Woman is one of the best-ever superhero movies ever made and easily my favorite of them all. It has an excellent balance between storytelling, character development and spectacle, and Gal Gadot gave the performance of a lifetime not only by bringing Wonder Woman into life in cinematic form but also emphasizing what the Queen of Superheroes stood for. As part of the current DC Comics Cinematic Universe, this movie stood out by having optimism and heroism as core themes (as opposed to the dark, gritty and even cynical approach of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad) and, more importantly, by focusing strongly on Wonder Woman instead of building up for the Justice League movie (which was released months after this one).

Apart from high-quality production values and a strong creative approach, the cast and cinematic performances are easily among the best in the superhero movie genre. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is an excellent example of a supporting role that is engaging without ever overshadowing the lead role. By the end of the film, you will realize the impact that Queen Hippolyta and Antiope had on Diana’s personal development.

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Connie Nielsen made a great queen and mother in this movie.

Being strongly focused on heroism with optimism, director Patty Jenkins and her crew succeeded in making this film without ever succumbing to the extreme views of the Political Left in Hollywood and the loudmouth social feminists. When I see the battle between the Amazons and the German soldiers on the beach of Themyscira happen, I simply saw armed women defending their homeland not from men who intend to rape them but rather men who had no right to intrude in the first place. Even as there were scenes showing men in power in World War I Europe (putting Diana in a powerless position), there still was no feminist-inspired hatred towards men. Also the bond between Steve and Diana developing from friendship into a romantic relationship literally shut the door on extreme feminism.

As a Wonder Woman-focused story, this film succeeded on emphasizing the Queen of Superheroes to both long-time fans and mainstream moviegoers. This movie also had a nice mix of having a fantasy setting with Themyscira moving on to a historic setting with World War I Europe. On the origins of Wonder Woman herself, I don’t mind at all that the contest of Amazons was not told because this movie’s concept is already great to begin with and its running time of 141 minutes was just right.

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Gal Gadot will be remembered for a very long time for her excellent portray of Wonder Woman in cinema.

With all the greatness it was made with, I kept coming back to Wonder Woman when replaying superhero movies here at the comfort of home. In the cinemas back in 2017, I saw the film three times. Ultimately, I can say out loud that Wonder Woman is highly recommended and it is truly essential!


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If you are looking forward to Wonder Woman 1984, check out my preview and opinion about the first movie trailer.