Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America
OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! RUN!! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!! It’s the birds! Instead of killing us with their evil bird powers, they’re killing us with their evil bird diseases! The dastardly birds will not be stopped, as they give us a true-to-life Captain Tripps, the H5N1 Bird Flu mutated to human infectious! As the latest made for TV movie for ABC tells us, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! There is no escape….from birds!!!
Starting out with the opening of all openings, a warining informing us that bird flu from the H5N1 has already been found in 48 countries and killed 125 people. The film is careful to tell us that this is a “What if” scenario. Because anyone just tuning in might think a badly acted TV movie is in reality a real-time TV show called Survivor: Flu or something. Instead of conjuring up such images such as “What if the Punisher became Captain America?” or “What if Spiderman joined the Fantastic Four?” we get instead “What if everything bad happened, then suddenly everything good, because we’re America, and then suddenly WE ALL DIED??” The opening credits show Canadian geese-looking birds flying around and getting picked up on radar. Why on radar? Probably because several of them have computer graphics indicating that they are carriers of H5N1, which large size is easily picked up on radar. Scramble the fighters and shoot them all down! Come on, Iceman! Cowboy and Maverick got your back. We can’t have Goose on this mission, because we’re killing geese, and he’s dead.
aka Wu ji
Jang Dong-Kun as Kunlun
Hiroyuki Sanada as General Guangming
Cecilia Cheung as Princess Qingcheng
Nicholas Tse as Duke Wuhuan
Liu Ye as Snow Wolf (Ghost Wolf)
Chen Hong as Goddess Manshen
Qian Cheng as The Emperor
Directed by Chen Kaige
Chen Kaige brings you the most expensive film in Chinese history, with a budget of 282,572,490 Yuan ($35 Million.) Does this increase in budget bring us a film far superior to many to exit China? The answer is sadly no. What should be an outstanding film with beautiful images instead becomes an example in mediocrity, a living example that more money does not make a better film, something that Hollywood should be learning for the past 10 years, but somehow isn’t picking up. The Promise reminds me of the lyrics of Linkin Park’s In The End: “I tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.” Now before I scare all of you off with more Linkin Park lyrics, let me explain myself. This movie tries to be a great Chinese epic, and tries to be a beautiful film, and tries to be an international success. But in the end, all of that is for naught, because the film isn’t well written. The main weakness is with the story, and following that, the special effects the story tried to portray. I’m used to bad CGI in films, but in something that’s supposed to be a beautiful epic the results are jarring, looking cartoonish and pulling you out of the fantasy element into the world of Bugs Bunny.
And now the first installment of Bootleg RoundTable! This time, the Bootleg Toys will be discussion the Summer Blockbusters of 2006.
Mission Impossible 3
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aka All Monsters Attack aka Godzilla-Minya-Gabara: All Monsters Attack! aka Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaiju daishingeki
Tomonori Yazaki as Ichiro Miki
Eisei Amamoto as Toy Consultant Shinpei Inami
Sachio Sakai as Bank Robber Senbayashi
Kazuo Suzuki as Bank Robber Okuda
Kenji Sahara as Ichiro’s Father
Machiko Naka as Ichiro’s Mother
Shigeki Ishida as The Landlord
Directed by Ishiro Honda
SUPER SCARY SATURDAY! BOOOoooOOOoooOOOooOOOOooOOO! Once again, Super Scary Saturday will be our guide through the world of Godzilla! This is the greatest Super Scary Saturday intro of them all! It’s only ironic that it’s on one of the worst Godzilla movies of them all! It’s got stock footage, more stock footage, annoying kids in short shorts, even more stock footage, even more annoying kids in short shorts, and oddly enough was one of my favorite G films as a kid, probably because this movie is marketed for kids (though I suspect the Super Scary Saturday intro also helped.) The stock shots of Godzilla are pulled from several films, so you see Godzilla’s head change shape a few times. We got our grubby paws on the Japanese version as well as the American TV dub, so we’ll be contrasting both as we go along. It’s the same storyline, but there are a few key differences, most notably, the kid in the Japanese version is about twenty times less annoying! He’s almost respectable! It’s amazing. Minya famously talks in this film, and shrinks down in size to have chats with little Ichiro, the Boy of Monster Island. Speaking of Monster Island, this film was the immediate follow-up to Destroy All Monsters, where all the monsters were living on Monsterland, but from this movie forward they all live on Monster Island. Also, Destroy All Monsters took place in the far off future of 1999, while this film is set back in 1969. So either Monster Island becomes Monsterland, or Monsterland is another name for Monster Island, possibly due to Monster Island being really a peninsula.
I hope I didn’t bore you off with that over-analysis there. It’s time to not care about technicalities anymore, as we’re going to be visiting the mind of an 11 year old boy, his monster playmates, a crazy toy inventor, two bumbling master thieves, and two bullies named Gabara! All of this hosted by Al Lewis, Grandpa Munster himself! It’s the last March of Godzilla film until the next March of Godzilla (ignore that this is May and we’re still putting up films) and the last Super Scary Saturday film I have on tape. So let’s Celebrate, Celebrate, Super Station TBS! And bring on Super Scary Saturday!
After the famous Super Scary Saturday commercial scares it’s way by again, we get the opening. “It’s Me, Grandpa!” we get our familiar greeting as Grandpa Munster awaits us sitting in the Super Scary Saturday theater. He’s excited to have us there: “Do I have a treat for you! This is better than having your own Red Cross Blood Bank franchise!” It sure is. Grandpa Munster rules! Grandpa continues: “You heard of Wrestlemania? Well, we have MONSTERmania!” It’s Godzilla vs. All Comers!
Grandpa then jumps to Crazed Grandpa Announcer Don King mode to promote the upcoming fight! Behind him at the podium are cartoons of Godzilla and Gabara, Godzilla in a wrestling suit giving his pointing finger, and Gabara doing his hair! We cut to Gabara for his view of the upcoming fight, and his Godzilla-taunting, which I will transcribe in it’s entirety for your reading pleasure: “Listen up you giant water lizard! I’m the prettiest monster and the meanest Godzilla. You’re going to get the shock of your life when you step on the Monster Island with me, Gabara, the giant cat from Monstermania! I’m the one, the only, the true world champion!”