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Mr. J. R. Coupland (Somewhere on Earth)

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Transformers - Season 3 & 4 [DVD]
Transformers - Season 3 & 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Frank Welker
Offered by ccconsett
Price: £10.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Galvatron, Rodimus Prime and the Quintessons, 2 Jan. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Maybe it's because of Simon Furman's greatest comic stories focussing on the characters, or just because they seemed futuristic and exciting, but I always favoured - a little - the post-movie Transformers over those from the first couple of years. As you can see by a quick look at the various Transformers fansites on the internet, this is a rather rare thing for a fan. For most people, Transformers means Optimus Prime versus Megatron, not Rodimus Prime versus Galvatron.
So, here we have the entireity of the cartoon series' post-movie run. First things first, this presents a vastly different origin for the robots than the comic strip and for a Furman fan such as myself, that presented here just doesn't work. However, if it's accepted that the cartoon continuity is as different from the comic continuity as Generation 1 is from the subsequest generations (in addition, the origins of the Headmasters and Targetmasters, which formed the entireity of the three part fourth season shown here, differs greatly from Marvel's take) this doesn't really matter and the viewer soon becomes swept up into the events.
As a cartoon, Transformers was excellent in differing ways to the comic. Bringing the robots to life on screen allows for some tales to work in ways they wouldn't in comics (a key example being 'The Big Broadcast of 2006' - absolutely atrocious in comic form, but it works just fine here) and, while the cartoons are undoubtedly less mature, less 'real' than the comic stories, taken on its own terms, these are great.
Following on from the excellent movie, however, things suffer a little. The animation is undoubtedly not as good, and the star voice cast of the film (ORSON WELLES!!!) is missed, no more so than with Galvatron. Leonard Nimoy's take was so perfect - maniacal evil personified - that any successor would find it impossible to match.

Transformers Generation One: More Than Meets the Eye Official Guidebook: 2
Transformers Generation One: More Than Meets the Eye Official Guidebook: 2
by Adam Patyk
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars MUST be bought with volume 1!, 2 Jan. 2005
As with 'More than Meets the Eye Volume 1', book 2 publishes the final half of Dreamwave's 'Who's Who' series, looking into the personalities, abilities and weaknesses of every single one of the Generation One characters. Volume 1 covered the Transformers from the Aerialbots through to the Pretender Monsters, this book covers from The Protectobots to Wreck Gar, looks at later versions of some robots (the Classic Pretenders, Powermaster Optimus Prime, the Targetmaster incarnations of the Movie characters) and also delves into Transformers technology, history and their homeworld in the final sections. In fact, because of this, Volume 2 edges ahead of Volume 1 in the 'must buy' stakes.
The slight flaws seen in Volume 1 remain - the index listing all the Transformers from both volumes, and some Transformers being placed in the alphabetical listing of their group name while others (chiefly the Micromasters) are separated out across both volumes. Example - apart from Grimlock, all of the Dinobots (Swoop, Snarl, Slag and Sludge) should have featured here rather than in Volume 1.
Still, buy both volumes and such flaws are completely irrelevant - and for avid Transformers fans, these books - along with Simon Furman's 'Ultimate Guide', and the forthcoming live-action movie - are pretty much what we've been awaiting for twenty years.

Transformers Generation One: More Than Meets the Eye Official Guidebook: 1
Transformers Generation One: More Than Meets the Eye Official Guidebook: 1
by Brad Mick
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A supremely detailed analysis of ALL the Transformers., 1 Jan. 2005
Readers of the old Marvel comics would recognise the format of these entirely new books, as they are very much in the vein of the fact files which appeared periodically in the comics (themselves reprinted from the US 'Transformers Universe' series). Basically, these are 'Who's Who' listings, giving details (personalities, abilities and weaknesses) of the robots.
But they go much beyond that, as Dreamwave have achieved what Marvel never managed - profiles of EVERY SINGLE ONE of the Generation 1 Transformers - including the later sub-groups such as the Pretenders, Micromasters and Action Masters, which the Marvel versions predated and, in Volume 2, detailing Transformers technology and history. Also, these files are occasionally 'written' by the subject's fellow Transformers (Optimus Prime's views on Grimlock and so on), giving an intriguing new slant on things.
Contents wise, the book is perfect and well worth the 5/5. Unfortunately, there are a couple of factors which might draw the mark down. The first of these is that this is only Volume 1 of the book - there are so many Transformers (around 400) that this volume can only cover up to the letter P, and all the robots after that have to be bought in a separate volume. Many of the Transformers listed in this volume's index aren't to be found in its pages, and that's frustrating.
Also, some robots are grouped in the alphabetical order of their sub-group. While it makes some sense to include all members of the Special Team groups together due to their combined form, others such as the Dinobots and Insecticons could really have been split into the correct alphabetical listing... especially as the Micromaster teams are profiled as individual robots, with no reference in the index of which team they belong to (I had to physically go through both volumes and list each member).
Still, these are minor drawbacks in such an impressive, detailed and well researched work - especially as Simon Furman's superior depiction of my personal favourite, Grimlock, now appears to be the official one...

Spaceballs [DVD] [1987]
Spaceballs [DVD] [1987]
Dvd ~ Mel Brooks
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.51

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mel Brooks IS George Lucas., 15 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Spaceballs [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
Underrated film, Spaceballs.
I always liked it.
I still do, even though it's stupid and obvious.
Helps if you like Star Wars.
And other Sci-fi films.
There's a neat Transformers parody in it, too.
And a strange bit where they all watch themselves on video.
Hope this review has been helpful.
I doubt it.

Transformers, Vol. 8: Maximum Force
Transformers, Vol. 8: Maximum Force
by Bob Budiansky
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Power to the people!, 21 Nov. 2004
'Maximum Force'? Sounds more like a motoring magazine than a Transformers book... no matter, the title isn't important - all that matters is the stories it collects, and in the latest Transformers US collection we have a pretty mixed bag.
The opening tale, 'Pretender to the Throne', brings the Pretenders into the comic continuity, and sees the return of Optimus Prime (albeit as a computer game character). It's okay, but following on from the preceeding couple of stories starring the Headmasters, it's a bit of a step down - still, the Pretenders always were quite a questionable addition to the Transformers universe anyway - what real use are disguises which resemble monsters and giant humans? - and the story does its best. It's also somewhat ahead of its time in its vision of cyberspace, with 'file-walls' (firewalls, maybe?) and computer defences, even if it does somewhat resemble 'Tron'.
'Totaled' is much better (Budianski's last great story), seeing the rebel Blaster take on the crazed-in-the-US-continuity Autobot commander, Grimlock, in combat. Soon, the Decepticons enter the fray and the story becomes an all-out battle of which the comic did too few, considering the backdrop to all the stories was of a vast civil war. It's a satisfying conclusion to the Blaster vs. Grimlock storyline which had been running for the past year. Just one question - what's Soundwave doing with a mouth?!
The aforementioned 'People Power' is next and, while no real classic, it mirrors Bob Budianski's renewed enthusiam in being able to (literally) combine his love of humanoid characters with the robots. Nowhere near the quality of the 'Headmasters' mini-series, maybe, but it does its job well enough and is a good intorduction for the souped-up new Optimus Prime.
'The Cosmic Carnival', however, is another step down. Returning focus to the annoying children spotlighted in 'Treason', it sees them meet up with Optimus Prime (who for some reason doesn't bother using his new combined form), Goldbug and the Powermasters, as they and Sky-Lynx are being held hostage in a 'Cosmic Carnival' run by an alien. Compare it to Simon Furman's 'Deadly Games', to see how alien characters can work in the Transformers continuity when they are handled well...
In the final story, 'Monstercon From Mars', one of the Decepticon Pretenders, Skullgrin, becomes a film star. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to how good that is, although the story does see the long-overdue return of one of Budianski's better human creations, Circuit Breaker, and I guess the Decepticon Pretenders did rather resemble b-movie monsters...
Ultimately, despite some good storytelling and artwork ('Guest-penciler' Frank Springer's work in particular), 'Maximum Force' sees Bob Budianski's creative spark largely extinguish. The 'Underbase' saga, as we shall see, appears superficially ambitious but is little more than a chance to get rid of redundant characters, while the author's final stories hit rock bottom. Simon Furman's move to the US comic helped save it, but since his US stories have already seen publication, there will now be nothing to save Titan's reprints...
At least they didn't bother including 'The Big Broadcast of 2006'...

Jackie Brown - 2 Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [1998]
Jackie Brown - 2 Disc Collector's Edition [DVD] [1998]
Dvd ~ Pam Grier
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.86

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarantino's best film?, 27 Oct. 2004
I first saw 'Jackie Brown' on its release in 97 and was underwhelmed, only picking it up on video when I found a copy at a car boot sale and thought I'd try again. And I'm glad I did. 'Jackie Brown' is an underrated masterpiece, a slow-burning work whose genius comes through after several viewings. Definitely not as immediate as Tarantino's other films, it demands patience and rewards it in spades.
'Reservoir Dogs' may be his tightest film, 'Pulp Fiction' his most entertaining and 'Kill Bill' his most playful, but 'Jackie Brown' stands as Tarantino's most mature and thoughtful work. There is humour here (courtest mostly of Robert DeNiro and Bridget Fonda), killer dialogue (the best lines go to Samuel L. Jackson) and (brief, mostly off-screen) moments of violence, but it's the tentative relationship between Pam Grier's title character and the rightly Oscar nominated Robert Forster's weary bail bondsman, Max Cherry, which stands out. In a rarity for Tarantino's films, these are two hugely sympathetic and likeable characters, who come across as truly touching. You find yourself rooting for them a great deal more than the likes of Mr. Orange, or Butch, or even The Bride.
This is also Tarantino's most straightforward narrative, with few of his trademark jumps through time (the same sequence replayed from three different points of view is as convoluted as it gets). This allows the story to unfold naturally, with events gathering momentum, rather than demanding the viewer piece together the storyline themselves (a technique which works extremely well in 'Reservior Dogs' et al but which would simply get in the way here).
For those who were disappointed with 'Jackie Brown' when they saw it on its release, give it another go - you won't be disappointed.

Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £5.51

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than bringing to mind The Beatles yet again..., 23 Oct. 2004
This review is from: stellastarr* (Audio CD)
Yes, Stellastarr*'s music has similarities to that of Pulp, the Pixies and Talking Heads, as well as Joy Division, The Cure and a few more. The genius here is that the sounds and influences of those bands are taken to produce music which sounds unpredictable, exciting, quirky and fresh.
All music is indebted to the past in some way. Everybody's influenced by somebody. But not all use their influences in such a great way.
Stellastarr* was pretty much my favourite album of 2003. From the majestic, brooding, paranoid opening of 'In The Walls', through ten tracks of genius to the closing intensity of 'Pulp Song', this was a truly exceptional piece of work, without a moment of filler.
The only downside to the album is that it's only ten tracks long, and over far too soon. But as everybody knows, you should always leave 'em wanting more...

Transformers, Vol. 7: Trial By Fire
Transformers, Vol. 7: Trial By Fire
by Bob Budiansky
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transformers lose their heads. Bob Budianski regains his., 20 Oct. 2004
Well, after 'Treason', things really could only get better and, reading the four issue 'Headmasters' series printed here, it's clear why the preceeding volume was so bad - Bob Budianski was too involved in the creation of the spin-off title to bother that much with the main comic. The 'Headmasters' mini-series was infinitely better than recent US stories had been.
Not that it's too surprising - Budianski seemed to be getting very bored very quickly writing about the same or similar characters month after month, and wanted a fresh angle which the Headmasters and Targetmasters toys were able to provide. The introduction of the Headmasters was a major turning point in the history of the Transformers (they were no longer just 'Robots in Disguise') and as this volume demonstrates, the comics embraced the change with style. A whole new fresh spin could be put onto proceedings, developing storylines in new ways, opening up exciting possibilities...
The strengths of the mini-series had a knock on effect as the characters moved into the main comic, in the final two stories of this volume. Suddenly, the focus was off the nauseating children who had starred in the previous few issues, and back onto the robots and the rather more likeable humans in the Witwicky family. In a couple of months the kids would be back, but it was great to be rid of them for a little while.
The 'Headmasters' series itself suffers similar flaws to the original four issue 'Transformers' series, in that the creative team were working blind, with a whole new breed of Transformers, and their Nebulan companions, to introduce and bring to life. The characters were almost all new (although one already established character, Cyclonus, caused a few headaches...) and nobody quite knew how they looked - Chromedome's Nebulan companion, Stylor, for instance, is repeatedly drawn as Chromedome himself, while Fortress Maximus' still-to-come upgrade to double Headmaster status meant that he was often drawn with his head's head (that sentence should make more sense when you read the book)... nevertheless, look beyond these monor flaws and it's easily the best piece of storytelling in the US title since 'The Smelting Pool' and 'The Bridge to Nowhere', a year and a half beforehand, as well as providing a vastly superior origin story for these Transformers than the cartoon could provide...

Love The Cup
Love The Cup
Price: £9.63

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something special., 25 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Love The Cup (Audio CD)
I first encountered Sons and Daughters supporting Franz Ferdinand, and have probably listened to this album quite a few times more than that of the headliners.
Although only 25 minutes, and seven tracks, long, 'Love the Cup' has given me much greater value for money than many 'proper, full-length' releases. From start to end (to quote the band) it's a minor masterpiece of music, a breath of fresh air in the indie scene and music in general.
Reminiscent of the likes of New Model Army, with its Scottish folk influences and military drumbeat, it's hugely engrossing music and bodes well for a proper, full length record.

Transformers: Second Generation
Transformers: Second Generation
by Simon Furman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No, it's not 'Generation 2'..., 4 Sept. 2004
The introduction of the Special Teams - groups of five robots able to combine into one giant - was an important moment in the Transformers toy line, and Hasbro were eager that the Transformers comic should heavily promote the characters. Unfortunately, the US reprints showing the debuts of the robots were several months away from being published in the UK at the time the toys came out, and so the toy company forced Marvel UK's hand into creating an early introduction...
This volume relies heavily on events in early issues of the US comic - Optimus Prime transferred the essence of the Creation Matrix into the head of the Autobots' human friend, Buster Witwicky, to prevent its powers from falling into Decepticon hands while he was held prisoner. As seen in 'New Order', the Matrix was ultimately returned but, as the story begins, Buster is being plagued by nightmares about a new form of Transformer, which the Autobots decide to investigate further.
'Second Generation' suffers for the reasons I mentioned earlier - in effect, it is little more than a toy commercial. While previous UK only stories - 'Dinobot Hunt', 'Crisis in Command' - were used by the writers to tell exciting and adventurous stories, here Simon Furman was pushed into selling the Special Teams' powers at every opportunity. This gives the story as a whole a rather forced feel. Not that the three part 'Second Generation' is a bad story - it is still well written, excellently drawn and exciting enough - but it doesn't really stand up in the same way as other stories. The situation would arise again, with the introduction of the Headmasters, and in both cases Simon Furman's talent and enthusiasm means he just about pulls it off, although often these tales really do seem less like comic stories than extended Hasbro adverts. Interestingly, the third part of 'Second Generation' veers off at a completely different tangent - ignoring the Special Teams almost entirely to focus on the Decepticon leadership battle - and, while it does feel tagged on and might have benefitted from being a stand alone tale, it is largely superior to the preceeding two parts.
The volume opens with two stories which tie into the events of the title story, focussing on Buster's nightmares coming to life. In 'Robot Buster', Wheeljack and Ratchet build their friend a robot suit to protect him against the Decepticons, but he bites off more than he can chew when, almost immediately, he encounters Shockwave, and 'Deveatation Derby' finds the Constructicons (in effect, the first Special Team) on Buster's tail. This story, in its second half, is little more than one big fight - but it's a good one...
Following the events of 'Second Generation', the volume presents three of the UK comic's annual Christmas stories. While nothing essential - they amount to little more than various Transformers learning of the meaning of Christmas - they were always something I looked forward to as a child, and it's nice to have them collected here - although with them being here it would have made more sense to release this book in December, rather than August... Also present is 'Dreadwing Down', a neat little tale starring the Powermasters.
As a whole, 'Second Generation' is easily the least essential UK volume, although it does demonstrate the stories Simon Furman could come up with under pressure and showcases one of the main traditions of the UK comic. Now, how about a few volumes of black and white stories...?

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