ABC Film Challenge – 80’s Movies – U – Masters of the Universe (1987) Movie Review

This is under U because it is about the Universe being saved.

Director: Gary Goddard

Writer: David Odell (Screenplay)

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Billy Barty, Courteney Cox, Robert Duncan McNeill, Jon Cypher

Plot: The heroic warrior He-Man battles against the evil lord Skeletor and his armies of darkness for control of Castle Grayskull.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Cult Classic 101

Story: Masters of the Universe starts as the evil Skeletor (Langella) is looking to gain the power of Grayskull, with only one threat He-Man (Lundgren) needing to stop him before he takes his new power and takes control of the land, which sees the two sides clash and He-Man, Teela (Field), Gwildor (Barty) and Duncan (Cypher) leaving the Eternia world, finding themselves in America.

When Julie (Cox) finds the key to which Skeletor needs, he sends soldiers to retrieve it, which leads her to He-Man that must step up and fight to protect Earth too now.

Thoughts on Masters of the Universe

Characters – He-Man is the fearless warrior that defends Eternia, the good following, the evil want him dead, he is stronger than any other person on the planet and will never back down from a fight no matter what the odds are against him. Skeletor is the evil lord looking to gain complete power of Eternia, he does this by force over anything else, killing anyone that goes against him. Evil-Lyn is the one leading the hunt for the key and He-Man, she has powers which will let her get anything she wants, proving to be an asset for Skeletor to have by his side. Gwildor is one of the soldiers that works with He-Man, he likes what he finds on Earth and is usually used for a laugh along the way.

PerformancesDolph Lundgren in the leading role has the look for the role, which is needed for the film, he looks like he would beat most people in a fight too. Frank Langella as Skeletor is great because his voice adds even more evil to the role. The rest of the cast fit in well, working for the characters they are playing.

StoryThe story here follows the adventures of He-Man as he looks to save the universe from the evil Skeletor who is trying to gain control and take over the universe using force. When superhero style movies weren’t a big thing, this was one that gave us the first live-action version of a comic book character, it is big, it is cheesy, being everything it needs to be for the concept behind the film of good versus evil, with the battle showing how one will always try for more power and the other will always step up to prevent it.

Action/FantasyThe action is big, it is everything you would imagine a live action animated character would have, with the fantasy worlds showing the different mindsets between the characters.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, with Eternia and Earth, it shows the different in beliefs and styles when it comes to fighting evil.

Special EffectsBeing made in the 80s this does have effects that work for the large scale style of the film, they add the charm to what makes this one of the cult classics of a generation.


Scene of the Movie – The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The humans are annoying.

Final Thoughts This is a fun over the top 80s movie, it does show how you can bring the larger than life animated characters to life and can enjoy the over the top battles they find themselves in.

Overall: Fun Movie

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – S – Splash (1984) Movie Review

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (Screenplay) Brian Grazer (Story)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Dody Goodman, Shecky Greene, Richard B Shull

Plot: A young man is reunited with a mermaid who saved him from drowning as a boy. He falls in love with her, not knowing who or what she is.


Tagline – She was the woman of his dreams… she had large dark eyes, a beautiful smile and a great pair of fins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fantasy Love Story 101

Story: Splash starts as we see businessmen brothers, Allen (Hanks) who has his head straight when it comes to business, while Freddie (Candy) tends to get them both in trouble more often than not. When Allen decides to return to his family holiday home in Cape Cod, he gets to be reunited with a mermaid Madison (Hannah) who saved his life as a child and again as an adult.

Returning to New York, Allen finds that Madison has followed him their to return his wallet and finds himself needing to take care of her, as the two fall in love once again, though Madison is trying to keep her secret from Allen.

Thoughts on Splash

Characters – Allen is the straight-headed businessman, he doesn’t have much in his life outside of work with his latest relationship going down the drain and his brother always causing more problems at work. He tries to escape his work life, only to find himself returning to a holiday home, where he is saved by a mysterious woman, who later comes into his life in New York, showing him to fall in love. Madison is a mermaid, she saved Allen’s life when he was young and again when he was older, she decides to visit him in New York to spend one week with him, where she learns the culture quickly as she spends time in New York, but struggles to keep her secret safe from him. Walter is a scientist that is determined to discover a mermaid and spends most of the film trying to prove Madison is a mermaid. Freddie is the reckless brother of Allen that has always gotten him into trouble, strangely we seem to forget about him for a large part of the film.

PerformancesTom Hanks is wonderful in the leading role, he was a perfect choice for a comical lead that can do both serious and funny moments with ease. Daryl Hannah is great to bringing the beauty to the mermaid character as well as the naïve nature at times. Eugene Levy does get laughs, while John Candy gives us a couple of awkward moments.

StoryThe story here follows a man that meets what he thinks is a perfect woman, only for her to have a secret, she is a mermaid. This is a story that does focus on the idea of falling in love with somebody you might not see coming, while mixing the idea that scientists would want to make the most out of a potential new discovery. This is a story that does want you to believe somebody can fall in love over a week long time together and that your business partner won’t notice you being missing for a week.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceThe comedy is a mixed bag because Hanks and Levy do hit hard, while John Candy’s comedy has dated pretty badly now. The fantasy idea in the film does focus on the idea of mermaids being part of the world, with the romance needing to look at how the two people can fall in love quickly.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which does literally show Madison being a fish out of water.


Scene of the Movie – Hanks in a boat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Freddie’s up-skirt actions.

Final Thoughts This is a fun fantasy comedy that just hasn’t dated on the same level it could have, but it does show just how talents Tom Hanks was going to be.

Overall: Dated Comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Films – Q – Red Sonja (1985)

This is being used for Q because of he evil Queen Gedren.

 

Director: Richard Fleischer

Writer: Clive Exton, George MacDonald Fraser (Screenplay) Robert E Howard (Characters)

Starring: Brigitte Nielsen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandahl Bergman, Paul L Smith, Ernie Reyer Jr, Ronald Lacey

 

Plot: A female Redhead sets out on a killing spree to avenge her family’s murder.


Tagline – A woman and a warrior that became a legend.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure 80s Cheese

 

Story: Red Sonja starts in a wasteland of a world, Red Sonja (Nielsen) has seen her family butchered and been left for dead by the evil Queen Gedren (Bergman), who has gone onto rule the land with terror including take a relic which will be able to control the land.

With Queen Gedren’s rule continuing to grow, Red Sonja joins forces with fearless warrior Kalidor (Schwarzenegger) and abandoned Prince Tarn (Reyes Jr) to fight back and free the land from her terror.

 

Thoughts on Red Sonja

 

Characters – Red Sonja is a fearless warrior, her rebellious nature has seen the Queen turn on her, murdering her family, seeing her left brutally attacked. She rides the land in search of the Queen, where she leads a small group in battle to show how tough she is in battle. Kalidor follows before helping Sonja on her quest, he too in a fierce warrior roaming the lands fighting for the good of the people. Queen Gedren is the evil ruler that kills anybody that doesn’t follow her beliefs, using her newly acquired relic that can bring destruction unlike anything seen before.

PerformancesBrigitte Nielsen is the star of the movie bring us a strong action heavy female character, sadly this movie is overly marketed on Arnold Schwarzenegger who is nothing more than just a strong support character in the film, it was an early role that showed just what we were going to be getting from him. Sandahl Bergman in the villainous queen role does everything needing to make her feel in control and not like her character.

StoryThe story brings us to a world of warriors where one woman warrior is going on a revenge quest against the evil ruler that killed her family. This is one of the easiest styles of stories to tell, we just need a lead character we support, a villain we hate and a series of quests which will become more challenging the closer they get to their target. This does everything right without being a complete edge of your seat film because we focus on moments of comedy that don’t always work, as well as looking to show off the muscles involved from both the leads. This is easy to watch and can be enjoyed by the fans of the 80s action fantasy genre.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy The action involved in the film comes with the sword wielding fights which are watchable without being edge of the seat, which become bigger as the adventure continues on, going hand in hand together in the genre side of things, with the fantasy world showing how the different creatures can come from the world.

SettingsThe world feels big and baron like it would be completely under control by an evil ruler, with candle room look beautiful for the closing fight.


Scene of the Movie –
Candle room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It isn’t the most standout in the genre.

Final ThoughtsThis is an 80s movie you can easily watch and enjoy, everything is basic, so just enjoy it without expecting anything ground breaking.

 

Overall: Enjoyable 80s film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – A – Always (1989)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Jerry Belson, Dalton Trumbo, Frederick Hazlitt Brennan (Screenplay) Chandler Sprague, David Boehm (Story)

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson, John Goodman, Audrey Hepburn, Roberts Blossom, Keith David

 

Plot: The spirit of a recently deceased expert pilot mentors a newer pilot while watching him fall in love with the girlfriend that he left behind.


Tagline – They couldn’t hear him. They couldn’t see him. But he was there when they needed him… Even after he was gone.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantasy Romance 101

 

Story: Always starts as we see how daring pilot Pete Sandich (Dreyfuss) is when it comes to dealing with fires from the air, he always risks his life, but now he has fallen in love with Dorinda (Hunter) he must start to think about his future, Pete takes one last rescue mission which sees him save his best friend Al’s (Goodman) life, only to get killed in the fire.

Pete returns as a ghost 6 months later, here he gets to see Al following through with the training idea, where he new batch of trainees include young pilot Ted Baker (Johnson) who is trying to get back into the game. Pete witnesses Dorinda still dealing with his death and the broken promise he made and ends up helping Ted give her the happiness she deserves.

 

Thoughts on Always

 

Characters – Pete Sandich is a daredevil pilot that risks his life putting out fires, his girlfriend wants him to take a safer job which he promises to do, until his last call sees him killed in action. He does return as a ghost watching over a new pilot, his best friend and the woman he loved, where he gets watch and guide them to become happy with the rest of their lives. Dorinda is the woman Pete loved, she worked at the airport and is just as good a pilot, she wants to move into a safer role still involving planes which doesn’t go as planned, she is left filled with loss until Ted brings new light to her life. Ted is a pilot who is trying to get back into the game after problems in his past, he meets Pete when he is alive, only to try and track down Dorinda because he had fallen for her on the moment they met. Al is the best friend to Pete who had seen his friend save hi life only to lose his own in the process. He doesn’t like Ted because of his reckless behaviour and is easy to trick.

PerformancesRichard Dreyfuss in the leading role is good through the film, we get to see how much off an emotional impact seeing the woman you love move on with their life after they die can have on a person. Holly Hunter is good too as we get to see how the grief can be shown while being hidden through new emotions of happiness. Brad Johnson is the weakest of the main four because he just lacks the charm you feel the character requires. John Goodman gives us the light-hearted moments in the film which shows us his comic timing.

StoryThe story shows us how the life of an air firefighter can be turned upside after his death, his loved ones must cope without him and his ghost visits to help keep a young pilot on track and make sure his former love lives the rest of her life happy. This film does have the heart it wants to give the characters, only for it to lack the fantasy elements you want to be seeing, it wants to explain how the promises will be broken and the regret we have from breaking them will tear you up in the afterlife.  We try to have some sort of message about being able to saw goodbye, but it is completely overplayed through the film falling into the average material we have seen before.

Fantasy/RomanceThe fantasy elements of the film revolve around how Pete can watch over his loved ones and finds a way to push people into following certain actions to get where they want to be. The romance shows the undying love that Pete will have for Dorinda that will stay with him even after passing on.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the action around an airport or in the air showing us just how intense the firefighting can be from the skies and how the bond between the people on the base will be strong throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
Dorinda’s flight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It doesn’t feel as fantasy based as it wants to because we should have a lot more of the maybe seeing each other moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantasy film that wants to give us hope of an afterlife, where someone will watch over you when they are gone, it doesn’t hit the marks it wants to only feeling disappointing, while enjoyable at the same time.

 

Overall: Fantasy made simple.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – X – FernGully the Last Rainforest (1992) Movie Review

We are going under X because of Hexxus, the villainous character.

Director: Bill Kroyer

Writer: Jim Cox (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Tim Curry, Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Jonathan Ward, Robin Williams, Grace Zabriskie

Plot: The magical inhabitants of a rainforest fight to save their home, which is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.


Tagline – They live in a secret world touched by magic and surrounded by nature, and the only human who has ever been there, must now fight to save it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark and Important Message

Story: FernGully: The Last Rainforest starts as we meet the fairies in the rainforest, Crysta is a young fairy learning from the wise Magi Lune who defeated the evil Hexxus that would bring devastation to the rainforest if released, spreading the poison to the land.

When Crysta discovers smoke in the distance, she wants to explore, with Magi Lune knowing the threat the return of the humans could bring to the rainforest, with Hexxus being given something to feed and grow on, so it can consume the rainforest once again. Crysta must work with the other fairies and the human she accidentally shrunk Zak to save the rainforest.

Thoughts on FernGully: The Last Rainforest

Characters – Crysta is a young fairy that is still learning how to control her magic like the elders, she is curious about what she could discover in the world, where she brings a human back to the village, where she must learn the harsh reality of humans involvement in the world as well as stop an evil coming to the land. Magi Lune is the mentor of Crysta, she has fought the battles for years and is ready to pass on her experience to Crysta to fight for the next generation of fairies. Zak is the human that gets shrunk, he is a city boy that is just working mostly as a slacker, only he learns the magic of the rainforest with his time with the fairies. Hexxus is the evil toxic poison that was defeated from consuming the rainforest, now he has been freed and looks to bring his devastation on the fairies and other creatures in the rainforest.

StoryThe story here shows how an evil toxic poison created by humans will destroy a rainforest unless the fairies can come together to look for a way to defeat it before they lose their homes. This is a story that seems like it is way before its time, with the message about deforestation coming through clearly, we might well have a fantasy element involved, but the idea that humans will destroy different species homes unless they can learn is clear here. We have the musical numbers and the side of the story that is about someone learning their own potential coming through strong too. The message is clear, the importance is relevant, this is a great story for all to understand.

FantasyThe fantasy side of this film is about the idea that fairies and toxic poisons are real in the fight for nature, rather than just the battle between humans and nature.

SettingsThe film uses the rainforest setting to show the beauty that was once there, the destruction caused and how we can have beauty once again in the world.

AnimationThe animation is on the top level for the early 1990s, we see the brightness of the beauty and the darkness that could consume the world.


Scene of the Movie – Hexxus growing into the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It isn’t long enough.

Final Thoughts This is an important animation that has a clear message that should be told to all, it has beauty and darkness through the film and is one that could become one of the most important for years to come.

Overall: Important Animation.