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Reviews Written by
D. W. Bissett "dave_bissett" (Cumbria, UK)

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Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade - Special Edition [DVD]
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade - Special Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harrison Ford
Price: £5.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The True Conclusion To The INDIANA JONES Series, 16 July 2010
Even though it's absolutely true that THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) doesn't quite surpass RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) as the contender for the 'greatest action-adventure film ever made', it still brings the saga back on tracks after the uneven THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984), and it is a far more satisfying conclusion than THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008), which seems to have gone down with many to be one of the worst films of the Noughties.

Set two years after the events of RAIDERS, Indy (Harrison Ford) learns that his father (Sir Sean Connery, in one of his best non-Bond roles) has gone missing while uncovering the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. Indy travels to Europe to look for him, and soon, they find themsleves in a chase against the Nazis for the Grail.

Despite the plot involving the Grail being a bit formulaic, what makes THE LAST CRUSADE more than just 'another RAIDERS' is the memorable and humorous on-screen chemistry between Ford and Connery. In fact, if Spielberg and Lucas had not inserted the father-son relationship and cast Connery in the role of Indy's father, the film wouldn't have worked. The set-pieces are superb and still exciting, there's decent performances from the rest of the cast and another great score.

There's also a memorbale prologue featuring Indy as a teenager, played by the late River Phoenix (shame it became the main inspiration for the poorly-received THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES [1992-1996]). Another thing I like about CRUSADE is that, in Spielberg's words, the film ends in a personal way rather than an action-packed way such as spirits coming out of a box, a chase leading to a collapsible bridge or, shudders, the revealtion of inter-dimensional beings.

I think it's fair to say that in twenty years time or so, a lot of people are going to regard CRUSADE to be the true conclusion to the INDIANA JONES series. It won't be KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, which has got such a really negative and angry backlash. That ending shot where they ride off into the sunset was the perfect way to end the INDY trilogy.

Reviewer: Ben David W

Eureka Seven Part Two - Anime Legends [DVD] [2005]
Eureka Seven Part Two - Anime Legends [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Tomoki Kyoda

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Easily Rivals Any American Or British Television Production, 16 July 2010
People will know I already wrote my comments on EUREKA SEVEN (2005-2006) when it was released on individual DVDs, well considering that the series has now been released as two DVD boxsets, I decided to give my overall review on the series.

EUREKA SEVEN is one of, if not the, best anime TV programmes of the Noughties. Before you start saying "Oh great! another mecha anime featuring a boy who pilots a giant robot and meets a mysterious girl!", you'll eventually fall in love with it's epic story and characters. The series centres around Renton, a 14-year old boy, who joins Gekkostate, a rebellious and counterculture group and becomes co-pilot of the Nirvash alongside Eureka, a pale girl who he falls attracted to. Throughout the 50-episode series, Renton goes from being a foolish and often immature boy to a brave and determined young man.

Apart from a few filler episodes (such as ep. 18), the series has a lot of top-notch episodes, sometimes hilarious (ep. 5-7 and 38) and sometimes heart-breaking (ep. 27 & 28). Both the art and animation is very impressive and the character designs is good, too. The music is wonderful (it will probably bring a tear to your eye). The story is superb and the characters are great (even the three kids that Eureka adpoted aren't THAT annoying).

One of the main things I love about this series is the relationship between Renton & Eureka. They are the cutest anime couple in the world. They are SO adorable together. Even though they are cartoon characters, I found the romance between Renton & Eureka to be FAR more convincing than say, Anakin & Padme (the STAR WARS Prequels), Will & Elizabeth (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies) and Edward & Bella (TWILIGHT movies). Those three couples are MORE wooden than your average IKEA table.

Three years after the series came to it's conclusion, the much-rumoured EUREKA SEVEN movie was made. But sadly, it's a re-telling of the TV series. Had the movie been a sequel or set during the events of the series, rather than a re-telling, then I would have been looking forward to it. I'm not going to buy the movie when it comes out on DVD, I'm going to stick with the TV Series.


Reviewer: Ben David W

Evangelion 1.11 - You Are (Not) Alone [DVD]
Evangelion 1.11 - You Are (Not) Alone [DVD]
Dvd ~ Hideaki Anno
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £14.69

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy for both life-long fans and newcomers, 28 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In Summer 2006, Hideaki Anno, one of Japan's finest animation directors, announced to the world that he was going back to his famous creation, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION (1995-1996), and re-tell the story in THE REBUILD OF EVANGELION, a tetralogy of movies. The first three would be an alternative version of the series with new animation, settings and characters, while the fourth film would have an completely different end. The reaction was mixed - "why go back and re-tell an anime that is so beloved?"

Some people think EVANGELION has become a cash-cow. But that's not true. Anno is re-telling EVANGELION because he wants to make it look and sound better, and allow newcomers of anime to watch it with life-long fans. He also wants to present the EVANGELION in the way he couldn't back in the mid-1990's.

I'm going to get a major flak for saying this, although EVANGELION has a powerful and fantastic storyline, moments of pure genius and great characters (Rei Ayanami is my all-time favourite anime character, alongside Yuki Nagato from the HARUHI SUZUMIYA franchise), it's not a perfect series. Anno had a very ambitious vision for his creation. But GAINAX, who produced the anime, did not received much money nor time to make the episodes they wanted. When the episodes were failing to meet their deadlines, the budget began to decline, and eariler footage started to get re-use alot. The combination of increasing re-use footage and little new animation mid-way through the series was turning the production into a disaster, which was probably one of the reasons why Anno suffered a nervous breakdown.

EVANGELION then ended with two controversial endings, the final two TV episodes which had fans left either confused or enraged, and the theatrical version THE END OF EVANGELION (1997), in which it had the action-packed finale that the fans wanted but was still confusing and downright depressing.

EVA 1.0: YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE (2007) is a partial remake of the first six episodes of the TV series. But Anno has not edited the footage together and give it a CGI makeover. Before production started, he formed a new anime studio called Studio Khara, reunited nearly all of the cast and crew from the TV series, and re-animated the scenes so it can not only look good on the big-screen, but also blend well with the new footage and 3DCG animation.

It's been about six years since I last saw the series, and I must say I was very impress with this film. The EVA vs. Angel battles truly do look epic and exciting. Some of the scenes from the first six episodes, like Shinji meeting his father before piloting the EVA for the first time, or his encounter with Rei at her apartment, are intact. There are some new scenes, of course. But you'll have to get the Blu-Ray or DVD to see what they are!

From what I heard, the next three films are going to be increasingly different, leading to a conclusion that will hopefully won't be as confusing as the TV series one, nor depressing as THE END OF EVA. All I can say is, roll on the next three REBUILD OF EVANGELION films, Anno and Khara!

Reviewer: Ben David W
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2011 7:30 PM GMT

Avatar [DVD]
Avatar [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Worthington
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £3.68

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, James Cameron, 14 April 2010
This review is from: Avatar [DVD] (DVD)
Just months before AVATAR (2009), the first film to be directed by James Cameron since TITANIC (1997) - the world's most-loved and most-hated film - came out, everybody was saying that it was going to fail, having been unimpress with the first trailer. They complained about the way it looked and started making remarks like 'Ferngully with better effects' or 'Pocahontas meets Halo'. It was also made fun of in an episode of TV's SOUTH PARK (1997-????), 'Dances With Smurfs', which aired a month before the film was released.

But, just as he has done with TITANIC, Cameron proved his naysayers wrong. AVATAR became one of the most successful films of all time and it did the unthinkable - it surpassed TITANIC at the worldwide box-office. I was thankful enough to see the film when it was playing at the cinemas and I thought it was worth the hype.

OK, the dialogue can be dodgy at times, but all the other elements of this film - the fantastic concept that was created, the performances from the cast (both live-action and CG), Cameron's assured direction and the action scenes - made it up for it. Also, AVATAR is one of those movies where I did not look at my watch to see how long the film remains.

Neytiri, performed brilliantly by Zoe Saldana (who also appeared in J.J. Abrams' excellent STAR TREK reboot film [2009]), is one of the finest CG-animated characters since Gollum from Peter Jackson's THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (2001-2003). It should be worth pointing out that the VFX company that worked on AVATAR is WETA Ltd., who also worked on the RINGS trilogy.

However, a word of advice. This DVD only contains the 2D version, not the 3D one, and they are no extras. I don't know why 20th Century Fox are just releasing the normal version on DVD. Because Cameron is already planning a special DVD edition which will include the 3D version. So rent this DVD and then, when it comes out, buy the special DVD edition, and watch AVATAR in 3D, the way it's meant to be seen.

Reviewer: Ben David W

Star Trek (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Star Trek (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Chris Pine

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Only Good Blockbuster In Another Disappointing Summer, 18 Dec. 2009
While I do understand the cultural impact STAR TREK has had since the late-1960's, I was never really a 'Trekkie'. The reasons why I wanted to see this film is 1) how it would look like seeing the crew of the Enterprise in their early years, and 2) that both Zachary Quinto (TV's HEROES [2006-????]) and Simon Pegg (who's career has flown into the stars since TV's SPACED [1999-2001]) were in it as Spock and Scotty.

I must say both actors did a good job (even though Pegg didn't appear until the second half of the movie), but I was also impress how this film turned out. It was exciting and cool with great performances, superb special effects and plenty of emotional drama as well as humour. They are some 'Trekkies' who aren't going to be very happy with the way this film turned out.

But director J.J. Abrams did warn us before the film came out that 'this isn't your daddy's STAR TREK'. He's made this film for non-Trekkies as well, while inserting some much-needed energy into what has become a moribund franchise. If he just made it for the fans only, then it wouldn't have been very successful, both commercially and critically.

Will this be regarded as the BEST STAR TREK film? We'll see, but it does deserve to be up there alongside THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982), THE VOYAGE HOME (1986) and THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991). However, when Abrams and co. get to do another film, I don't think they should have the Enterprise crew confront Khan. They should come up with an original story. You don't want to be repeating yourself.

Reviewer: Ben David W

Sword Of The Stranger [DVD] [2007]
Sword Of The Stranger [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Masahiro Andō

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the coolest anime movies in recent years, 6 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
While SWORD OF THE STRANGER (2007) isn't going to change the way anime is made, it's still a brilliant and exciting action-packed anime, and another winner from Studio Bones, the same people who have animated such classics like RAHXEPHON (2002), the FULL METAL ACLHEMIST franchise (2003-????) and EUREKA SEVEN (2005-2006) (they've recently made another hit that just aired on Japanese TV called TOKYO MAGNITUDE 8.0 [2009]).

The storyline is simple, but compelling and easy to understand. The characters are also interesting. Kotaro, the orphan boy may be a bit of a loud-mouth, but you see why he doesn't trust No-Name during the first half of the movie and I found him OK. Of course, the dog Tombimaru, who Kotaro journeys with, is adorable and clever.

One of the other reasons why SWORD OF THE STRANGER is such a great movie is the animation, which just goes to show you don't always need CGI, and the action scenes, which rivals any samurai flick. Thumbs-up also goes to the music score as well.

A must buy. It's a great one.

Reviewer: Ben David W

Tokyo Godfathers [DVD] [2004]
Tokyo Godfathers [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Satoshi Kon
Price: £2.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably my favourite Christmas movie!, 2 Dec. 2009
After watching this terrific and wonderful film, one question came to my mind: Why can't all Christmas movies be as brilliant as TOKYO GODFATHERS (2003)? Because for every Frank Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), there are one-hundred JINGLE ALL THE WAYs (1996) or DECK THE HALLS (2006).

This must have been a very strange choice, doing an anime film set during Christmas and focusing on the homeless living on the streets of Tokyo. Happily, Satoshi Kon (my favourite anime filmmaker after Hayao Miyazaki) pulls it off superbly, by giving us a funny and often touching film as we follow three homeless characters - Gin, Hana and Miyuki - as they try to search the parents of an abandoned baby girl.

Even though TOKYO GODFATHERS may not have Kon's trademark theme of blending fantasy with reality (like in his other classics PERFECT BLUE [1998] and PAPRIKA [2006]), it's still filled with memorable sequences and characters who we can care for. And of course, who cannot feel overjoyed by hearing Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy'?

Want to watch an Christmas film that's very good? Then see TOKYO GODFATHERS. It's another anime masterpiece.

Reviewer: Ben David W

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince [DVD]
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £3.95

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not As Brilliant As Some People Say, 2 Dec. 2009
Apart from some of the performances and the cinematography, this is another disjointed mess, as we come to except from the HARRY POTTER films (only THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN [2004] has impress me). The best performances come from Michael Gambon and Jim Broadbent. The biggest surprise, though, comes from Tom Felton, as Harry's archnemesis, Draco, who gets to do more than just sneer or say insulting remarks at Harry.

But this film is boring (I looked at my watch several times), slow-paced and there's far too many humour in this film, it feels like a fantasy version of those teen-comedies. Most of the other supporting actors are once again reduced to extended cameos (some dialogue and few reaction shots).

I'm disappointed with the three main leads. Daniel Radcliffe does not seem to bring much effort into his acting as Harry, poor Rupert Grint spends most of his screen time grinning like an idiot, and Emma Watson, as Hermione Granger, has nothing to do other than worry as a love-sick puppy.

Several parts of the story, such as seeing Snape as the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, and how Draco got that 'magic wardrobe' into Hogwarts, are never revealed, and the ending to the movie is very anticlimatic.

Who's to blame? director David Yates (a truly bland hack who has made the series dull) and screenwriter Steve Kloves (a one-trick pony), but also producer David Heyman. It's his job to bring in all the people, including the director and screenwriter, to help bring J.K. Rowling's vision to the big-screen, and he's made more bad decisions than good.

This is strictly for die-hard POTTER fans only. Everyone else, watch THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (2001-2003), SPIRITED AWAY (2001) and PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006) instead.

Reviewer: Ben David W
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2010 1:50 PM GMT

Bruno [DVD]
Bruno [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sacha Baron Cohen
Price: £1.28

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not As Good As Borat, But There Are Some Funny Parts, 8 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Bruno [DVD] (DVD)
Sacha Baron Cohen probably knew that BRUNO (2009) wasn't going to surpass BORAT (2006). The biggest problem with this film is that it feels like a rehash. In BORAT, the titular character goes to America, accidentally causing havoc along the way. And in BRUNO, it's the same, only with a different character Cohen is playing. The 'subplot' invloving the relationship between Bruno and his 'assistant's assistant', Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), feels forced, and the less said about the scene during the cage-fight match, the better!

However, there are bits in the film that save BRUNO from being a 1-star film - Bruno promoting his pilot for a proposed TV series, appearing as an extra on TV's MEDIUM, as well as a talk show, and trying to join the National Guard. There are more, but I won't spoil it for you.

Baron Cohen recently announced that he's moving on to new things, which I think is a wise decision. Because if he did another film like BORAT or BRUNO, then it would have lost it's impact completely. Overall, BRUNO is an OK film to rent, but it's not a comedy classic like BORAT.

Reviewer: Ben David W

Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode 2 [Adult Swim] [DVD]
Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode 2 [Adult Swim] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Seth Green
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.40

5.0 out of 5 stars If they do another special like this, I will be very happy, 25 Oct. 2009
Following the much-deserved success of the first ROBOT CHICKEN: STAR WARS special, Seth Green, along with his writers and producers were given the go-ahead by Lucasfilm to do another special. Rather than do sketches they couldn't fit into the first special, they wisely decide to put a bit more story such as 'what the bounty hunters (from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK [1980]) do?' and more into the daily life of Emperor Palatine (brilliantly voiced by FAMILY GUY [1999-????] creator Seth MacFarlane).

Classic sketches also include 'the deal between Darth Vader and Lando (Billy Dee Williams reprising the latter role) getting worse!' and 'taking your daughter to work a stormtrooper'. Seth and his team also got Carrie Fisher to reprise her role as Princess Leia and Ahmed Best as the now-notorious Jar-Jar Binks.

For the DVD, the Robot Chicken team got to finished the deleted sketches. There's one towards the end of the special which had a friend of mine laughing so hard. I won't say what it is, but let's just it won't end happily for the Ewoks!

The second special was also a success - winning three Annies (an awards that hands out to the best of animation in films and television) and recently an Emmy. This is truly a must-buy for any fan of Star Wars and Robot Chicken. Kudos to Seth Green and his team.

Reviewer: Ben David W

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