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Several months ago I heard that a new Gaiking (look him up kids) movie was in the works.
As a longtime fan of the "Super-Robot" anime genre this filled me with excitement.

Now before you all groan in disgust let me say that there have been a few live action anime movies that were good.
Deathnote, Blood, and even Speed Racer, I thought were all good and entertaining.
(No, not Dragonball Evolution).
Personally, I would prefer that no anime ever be made into ANY live action movie at all....I just love cartoons.

This may be old news, but check this out:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qS6E-N…

In terms of design, they did not veer off too much from the original source material, (although the movie itself may still do this....we'll just have to wait and see).
It seems to me that they split the difference between the original Gaiking design and a modern upgrade 'ala the TRANSFORMERS.
Although missing the original bright color scheme (which most super robots generally have), the character is still recognizable as Gaiking.

YES I said the "character"......in these type of shows the giant super robot was just as much a character as the pilots.
The visual design compromise between old and modern in this teaser is something I really would have liked to have seen in the Transformers films.
If Bumblebee was not yellow and Jazz did not have his signature visor eyes, they would have been totally unrecognizable.

And there's the magic word: "recognizable".

Although Sideswipe's design in Transformers 2 is not bad looking (for a Bayformer) I believe that his design is still so far gone from the source material that he really could be ANYBODY.
(but I suppose this happens with every new Transformers property).
But I still hate Prime's lips!!
Transformers, like ANY robot in the universe, do not NEED a physical human mouth to talk:
HAL, Robby, WALL-E, EVE, Ultron, Ed-209, K-9, Cylons (original), and various StarWars droids, etc.
(It's a good thing Shockwave wasn't in these movies.....Mr. Bay probably would have put lips on him too, and that would have really sent Transfans off the deep end).

I really don't think Mr. Bay saw any Transformers as characters at all.
I'm hoping that this Gaiking movie will be a good, and maybe show the industry how it should be done.
(Yes, it could end up as a crap sandwich too.....who knows?)

At least this Gaiking looks right.
Ok, I just saw last night's all new episode of The Boondocks.

The episode was about a kickball game between China and the USA played out like Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer.
(If you've never seen this movie, then may a weird holyman tie you to a love-crazed camel).
Anyway...
What I found most memorable about this episode is regarding a throw away character (OC made specifically for this 1 episode) named "Jennifer".

In the story, Huey believed that he had crippled her in a previous kickball game a year earlier.
As it turns out, it was shown that "Jennifer" was never actually crippled by Huey in the 1st place, but that the whole incident was a plot by Mr. Wuncler to get Huey to quit kickball....which he did.
Mr. Wuncler now needed Huey to play kickball again to win a bet.
So in order to get Huey to play again and relieve him of his false guilt for crippling little "Jennifer", he confesses to the set-up.

Mr. Wuncler has "Jennifer" come out and dance for Huey.
This dance that she does was really cute, and all I could think of was that this might go internet viral 'ala the "Haruhi dance" and the "Lucky Star dance".
Unfortunately, the shots used in this scene did not show "Jennifer" in full body during the entire dance routine.
A full body view of that dance itself lasted only a few seconds, while the rest of the scene only showed the dance routine from her torso up.

But it was still cute.
Well gee it has been awhile since I type up a journal entry.

I just saw How to Train Your Dragon earlier today.
I won't spoil anything, but this is a GREAT movie.
It didn't have any tearjerking moments like Toy Story 2 or UP, (yes I'm a full grown man who is moved to tears by some movies and/or music)......except maybe at the end when the hero wakes up in bed after the last climactic battle, but the scence wasn't emotion evoking to me.
Really love the score in this one too.
Gotta go out and buy the soundtrack.

I advise EVERYBODY in the universe to go see it.
As a WATCHMAN virgin (I still have not read the GN), I probably enjoyed this movie more than WATCHMAN readers did, but I didn't think the movie is as great as "everybody" says
I liked it, but I had more fun watching the Street Fighter movie.

I will say this though......after seeing this movie, I can't wait for Alan Moore's LOST GIRLS to be made into a movie.
This in my take/review/etc on the movie....spoilers ahead if you haven't seen it.
(I'm well aware of the Balrog/M.Bison/Vega name switcharoo's, but for the simplicities sake, I'm just gonna stick with the American names).
I freely admit that I am very longwinded, and this will probably the one of the driest reads ever, but the internet has long since taught us all that a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters will not produce Shakespeare.

Bottom Line on top if you don't want read on:
I LIKED IT, I THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD.

By now many of you have heard or read somewhere that this movie is CRAP, but everybody has their opinions, and I disagree with this one.
Was it a GREAT movie?.....No.
Was it a BAD movie?......No.
Of course as a Street fighter fan there was more that I wanted to see in it, and other things that i things that I thought should have been done differently, and I have more gripes about it than praises, but overall, I think the movie was done pretty well.

It seems to me that the makers wanted follow the HEROES, and Smallville formula of "no flights, no tights".
Granted, the SF characters don't really have superheroes costumes, but they DO have distinctive costumes.
The 1st Mortal Kombat film got this right along with the signature moves and made it look cool, (This movie only got this partially right, but let's talk about that later).
Having fewer character in it than Steven DeSouza's opus was certainly better in terms of film storytelling, and the character were written better and (more or less) character acurate.
(I've never held Van Damme responsible for the 1st live action SF movie, he didn't write it or direct it, Steven DeSouza did. I would recommend SF fans check out another Van Damme film "The Quest").
At times it seems like the movie makers only went halfway with things.....as if they couldn't decide what kind of movie they wanted to make.
The fight scenes looked better than I thought they would  (I did have low expectations for the movie), and one highlight is a scene that looks exactly like Chun Li's original stage.
Another highlight being the cameo of who I think was Cheng Peipei (Jade Fox from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
Chun Li's fight with Vega was a disappointment...he stalked her with the stealth and grace a street thug, and what should have been a really cool fight (at least like the original animated movie)  ended really quickly and was way too short.

CASTING and CHARACTERS
I had misgivings about the casting, but after seeing the movie, I think for the most part they did ok....except for Chris Klein as Charlie, and Taboo as Vega.

The Vega actor from the DeSouza Flick-O-Pain looked right and "acted' the Vega character better.
(I recall this dude never spoke on camera. All his lines were spoken off camera. I always got the feeling that his voice was dubbed over 'ala Darth Vader/Darth Maul).

Chris Klein's Charlie was just-a-cop.
I certainly didn't expect him to have that Coolwhip head, but he barely fought at all in this movie.
He was written too light hearted and not serious enough.
Of course he partnered with the all-new-character-standard-local-hot-cop: Maya.
I like new characters, and I can see why for the sake of a film extra character are needed, but it seems to me like this would have been a good opportunity to have made Maya into someone like C. Viper instead.
(I'm certain SF4 was already well under way before the movie's pre-production was started).

Kristin Kreuk as Chun Li was fine, she looked and acted the part great.
In what I believe is the only truly laughable part of the film is in a nightclub when Chun Li uses her great detective skill to determine that M. Bison's secretary seems to be gay, and is oogling all the girls in the club, and proceeds to do a seductive dance to get her away from the bodyguards.
(I admit I really didn't mind watching  Kristin Kreuk's dance).
Chun Li is also the only character in this movie who has her signature move.
While she is given her crazy wirework moves, everybody else doesn't.....1 of those "things" that make it seem that they were going only halfway with this movie.

Neal McDonough as M. Bison was fine too. I think he did a good job.
M.Bison was shown more like a typical Kung Fu movie stereotype crime boss rather than a Manuel Noriega-esque military-like drug lord, but it worked for this film.
Unfortunately, all his signature moves were nowhere to be seen.
The closest thing to hinting at his Psycho Power is this weird lion growl sound playing when he appears, and his speculated ressurection at the end of the film after being killed by Chun Li earlier.
His origin story seems ripped from Marvel, when it is shown that he killed his wife for more power, (something Dr. Doom also did to the only woman who ever loved him).
I've always loved M.Bison's character design/outfit, (I once made it into a Halloween costume), and I would have liked to have seen some sort of paramilitary uniform (a 3 piece suit will only go so far), he should have at least dyed his hair black,

Rose was made out to be M.Bison's daughter in this movie, which really didn't bother me as much as Rose not having any of her Soul Power/psychic powers.
She was just this skeetering girl running around.
With no mysterious powers around M. Bison, why would Rose have any?
(Again with the going halfway on this movie).
Which begs the questions how did M. Bison lose the kid after he ripped out of her mother and why was he interested in getting her back?
(I've only seen the film once, and can't remember if they go into this).

Mortal Kombat's Robin Shou as Gen was done good if inaccurately, (every SF fan knows that Gen's chi/ki powers do not involve fireballs).
It would have been cool to have seen a couple of kids as Yun and Yang hanging around him.

Balrog's boxing career was downplayed, and he came off more like Birdie, but he did have a good presence throughout the film.

Overall, I LIKED IT, I THOUGHT IT WAS GOOD.
It was superior to the to the other live action SF movie (I know that's not saying much).
The movie entertained me.
Check it out, and don't look at it for what it isn't.

(Sigh) , let the hate mail commence.
I realize this is later than everyone else, but I just saw Batman.

It was a great movie, the best that has come out this year.
And I don't just mean a great comicbook movie....I mean one of the best movies period.
I love CGI animation... I also love traditional animation too.

But let's face it, Studios have to make a profit, and they just can't bank on traditional animation.
I hope I can say this without being misunderstood, but I look at CGI animation/traditional animation like the light and dark sides of the Force.
Where CGI is the darkside because it is "quicker, easier".
Of course traditional animation can look bad much easier than CGI (consult the many works of Hanna-Barberra for this)

With deadlines for production in existence, CGI is more practical, and great films, shows, and shorts can and are made.
I love watching traditional animated TV shows, but it just really saddens me to see traditional animated films go extinct.
NO ONE will produce an artsy traditional animation feature.
At film festivals around the world there's always the buzz around some great independent film that's a must see.
How often is this an animated film?
Animated films, CGI or traditional are far more difficult to make than going out and shooting a small production, and if an animated film is done, it's done in CGI.
Again, because it is "quicker, easier" and practical.

There are several CGI  TV shows that are done in a 2D style, which I love, because the directors know what to do with it.
But sometimes this is not the case.

The Transformers Beast Wars/Machines CGI, I thought was done much better than what was done in the  Energon, and Cybertron.
NOT because of the different art styles, but because of the animation itself.
The Transformers Beast Wars/Machines shows took some liberties with what the charter's looked like compared with the toys of the characters.
Those design liberties taken added with small subtle whimsical movements, gave the characters ....more character.
The  Transformers Energon, and Cybertron character designs were exact scans of the toy line that were then animated very blandly.....they were boring to watch and look at.
I actually enjoyed watching the human character's antics over the Transformers,
(The human character designs in these 2 shows were visually better than the drab looking humans of the original  series).
I love GONZO's other shows, but these 2 were just lazy.
One small example, in TBW/TBM, if a charcter was not the focus of a scene, and was in the background somewhere...they would be doing something, or at least seem a little restless.
Where as the same scenario in TE and TC, a background character was just standing there like a still frame cel shot ala'TOS.
(In this regard, these modern shows were actually more like the original badly animated Transformer TV show).
I enjoy the current Transformers Animated show, but I would love to see  a Transformers show where the robot action was fast and furious and just plain cool to look at.
Recent anime shows like Eureka7, and Code Geoss which mix CGI/traditional animation much bettr than TE, or TC .
Even an old show like Mighty Orbots had great (better) robot action.

Again, I love CGI, but...

Let's look at Final Fantasy The Sprits Within/Advent Children, The Incredibles, Beowulf, and the upcoming Star Wars Clone Wars.
I've always preferred the cartoony look of FF characters better than the modern look that's more photo realistic that was used in TSW.
I feel any FANSTASY character should not look totally realistic.
Even though Advent Children movie's character designs leaned more towards the photo realistic look than I would have liked, it still split he difference between the photo realistic and cartoony styles.
The characters can be just as believable if not more so when they're cartoony as in The Incredibles
In animation, MOVING realistic and LOOKING realistic are 2 different and separate things.
Apparently this was never part of the producer's plan for the flick-O-pain Beowulf.
They seemed to be counting on the 3D gimmick, so you know the movie was weak to begin with.
No amount of 3D would make this movie better.
Star Wars Clone Wars, (can't wait for this one) is a good example.
In a live action movie filled with live action actors, it makes sense for a digital stunt double, or character to look as photo realistic as possible.
(This also applies to the Superman, Batman, Spiderman, the Hulk, and Ironman movies too).
The SWCW cartoony artstyle characters designs against the (more or less) realistic look of the backgrounds fits really well.
Complete photo realism in an entirely CGI movie is only sometimes great.
Even changing the character designs of the flick-O-pain Beowulf would not have made me like it, but making The Incredibles look more like Beowulf would have really made me dislike that film.
God bless Brad Bird.

Again I love CGI animation... I also love traditional animation too.
These are only some of my feelings on CGI/Traditional animation.
I think It can be done both ways depending on what the feature would be produced.

ZING!
I've  digressed into a rave.
If you read all the way to the end thanx.
I just saw WALL-E.

This is a great film mostly about (robot) love and compassion....and a little social commentary on apathy.

To it's credit, this movie does focus more on robot action and "romance" (what else can you call it?)  all throughout.....something that I really wish the Transformers film, and Battlestar Galactica TV show would have done.
For all it's cartoonyness (live action sequences not withstanding) the robots are all fairly believable and fun to watch.
I got a chuckle out of how the Macintosh/Apple boot-up sound played whenever the robots activate/start up.
The film didn't make me cry like the Iron Giant did (I am older now than then), but I felt like it should have.
The use of old movie Musicals to relay the mood I thought was done very well, but I would have preferred all original music, and maybe more musical score than vocal tracks ala'silent film, but I suppose that wouldn't have worked out.

The movie has very little dialog until the 2nd half when human characters are introduced, and except for the captain, they're really not saying anything when they talk.
The human race never communicates face to face.
This I found especially funny because I've actually seen this in real life, (not to the extreme as depicted in the film, but I'm sure everybody out there has seen this too and knows what I'm talking about).
Fat lazy people in motorized scooters I've also seen in real life, but in the case of this movie, the space population actually had environmental reasons for being that way, and were afflicted with what I can only describe as a medical condition.
At the same time it is shown that they could chose to be otherwise.
I guess I shouldn't talk though....I myself am overweight and lazy too, but I've never ridden a scooter, and don't even own a cellphone.
Ah America, a country so great an rich that obesity is considered a disease here, while at the same time people here still go hungry.
Argh!  get'n to heavy here (no pun intended).

Go see the film.
You will not be disappointed.
(I do advise going to a late showing of the film to avoid having to hear the parents and children in the audience).
4/12/08
Hey Kids!

I've never done a Journal here before, but I feel this is something that should be shared.

READ THIS AND SHARE IT!

mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=Co…

As artists, it is up to us to do something about this, and I'm certain even the general public is appalled by this.

4/14/08
Additional Orphan Works info

READ THIS AND SHARE IT TOO!

maradydd.livejournal.com/37488….

I'd like to thank UDON and company for setting my mind at ease.
They're not just another bowl of noodles.