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Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada)

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Lost in Space: Season 3, Volume 1 (Bilingual)
Lost in Space: Season 3, Volume 1 (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Guy Williams
Offered by The Digital Vault
Price: CDN$ 35.77
9 used & new from CDN$ 33.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Back to drama, mixed with comedy!, July 22 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the first half of season three and the production was really ramped up.Not only do we have some new costume changes,we have a new theme song to boot(just as good as the first) and a different ending.The first two seasons always ended with a cliff hangar.This season they eliminated the cliff hangar,so when the show ended it ended.They now employed an approximately one minute segment to introduce us to next weeks hi-jinks,and they are all included in this set.
With the new look and sound we have the Robinson's suddenly leaving the planet they were on and are introduced to a totally new piece of equipment which we had never seen before....a piloted rover which would eject from below the main spacecraft.It looked something like a skinny lunar module from the Apollo moon landings.Neither their sudden departure or the new rover come with any explanations,and we are simply just forced to accept what we see before us,matter-of- factly.
Along with these new things Irwin Allen decided to also get back to more of the dramatic,like season one.However the offset is the robot.He continues to get more human like with every ep.He cackles,laughs,gets exhausted,puts his claws over his "ears" so he can't hear things,throws his arms up in the air in frustration,gets Will to hold his "hands" because he is scared,just to name a few.He has become more human than the Robinsons! You will also see many similar plots that appeared here and on Star Trek like the ship traveling back to an early period on earth,some of the crew confronting their evil opposites,encountering a tribe that is run by a computer,meeting up with space hippies,and others.Most of these were shot on LIS before they were shot on Star Trek.Remember, LIS had consistently better ratings than Star Trek ever did.
I must mention that among other well known supporting actors from the 60s,there is a surprise appearance by none other than Robbie the Robot!
Extras include bumpers and music from the show,and a rather long list of about 45 second "specials"/segments with some of the original cast in them.They seem to have been made for the 30th anniversary celebration on TV land for LIS.
The picture quality in this set is generally very good,though some minor deficiencies are present,to be expected for film of this age.
All in all a nice set and a great TV show for the whole family to watch.The so called special effects,costumes and sets may seem a little dated,but the cast and stories more than make up for any weaknesses in that department.Highly recommended.

Brown Eyed Girls - Sound-G - CD
Brown Eyed Girls - Sound-G - CD
Offered by weeea2
Price: CDN$ 15.85
27 used & new from CDN$ 7.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Another hit by the BEG's!, July 14 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Well,it seems the BEG's have yet another hit on their hands.This CD spans quite a few genre's with rap,dance,electronic and others all wrapped up in some mighty catchy hooks.There are two or three slow dancers such as the beautiful" I won't let you go" and Jea's Wedding.The sound is wonderful and spacious.The best tracks here are the first nine.The rest are some remixes,which includes a re purposing of their hit L.O.V.E.(nothing like the original),How come,You and more.
Before I go any farther,there is some mix up as to the tracks on this CD.This is NOT a two CD set,that another reviewer has posted.It is just ONE CD(as Amazon posts) with 15 tracks.This one is made for the Japanese market, while the two CD set(I assume)was the original South Korean version.The tracks on THIS ONE CD SET are:Glam Girl,Abracadabra,Addicted,Candy Man,Moody Night,So Strange,I won't let you go,Even if your someone Else's,Jea's Wedding,L.O.V.E.(remix),Second(remix),You(remix),Hitchhiker/How come?(remix),Hold the Line(remix) and Abracadabra,the Japanese version.Just so you know what you are buying.
There are also two booklets.One with the lyrics and lots of pics of the BEG's and just a lyric book.
All in all, the BEG's are in fine form on this 15 track CD.The first nine tracks are the best of the bunch and the ones you will probably play again and again.The rest had little interest to me except for the last one,the Japanese version of Abracadabra.

Lost in Space: Season 2, Volume 2 (Bilingual)
Lost in Space: Season 2, Volume 2 (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Guy Williams
Price: CDN$ 27.99
13 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars From the sublime to the ridiculous and back!, July 10 2014
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Lost In Space continues on with the second half of season two in this four disc set,all in separate snap cases.Each ep has a scene selection option.The picture is very good for the dates it was filmed in(1967) and has the usual"defects" associated with film of that era,but nothing untoward.
In this part of the season we go from the sublime to the silly.There is an ep early on that is so oddly out of place it hits you like a rock.Will is exposed to some alien knowledge and becomes very disillusioned and cynical with the way the adults around him behave. There is a very touching moment where Doctor Smith tells Will(as he walks away) to not grow up too quickly.It is a heart felt moment and one you do not see very often on LIS.On the ridiculous side we have plots that involve a silly knight and a talking dragon,a ghost,a pirate,space vikings and a toymaker.We see the visits of actors Hans Conried, and in the last ep John Carradine.We also see the robot becoming more and more human,with his over acting,cat calls and jabs,usually at the expense of Dr.Smith.
Jonathan Harris by now has become the star of the show.There isn't an ep he isn't in.The audience ate his performances up then and he still is absolutely hilarious with his sneakiness combined with his extreme cowardice.Even though you could hate him,you still couldn't/can't get enough of him.He made it look all too easy,and it shows just what a consummate actor he was.
Included with this set are two audio interviews with cast members Williams and Lockhart together,and one with Harris alone.I especially recommend the latter,as you get a nice glimpse into the mind of Harris the actor.Lastly this is the last season with the same theme song and the "same time,same station" credits at the end of each ep.The last ep here gives us a glimpse at"next week's" upcoming hijinks.Of course,as I previously mentioned in another LIS review, next week refers really to next season.But they re-ran selected eps and the last ep of season two was run a week before season three was about to start.
All in all I highly recommend this show,one the whole family can watch together.The show was getting less serious as the season rolled to an end(more tongue in cheek),but it was/is still enjoyable.

Vol. 5-Black Box-Normal Edition
Vol. 5-Black Box-Normal Edition
Price: CDN$ 29.53
16 used & new from CDN$ 29.53

4.0 out of 5 stars An impressive 5th album from the South Korean sensations!, July 8 2014
Black Box is the Brown Eyed Girls 5th album and I like what I hear.Of course Kill Bill is the star track here,but there are some good dance grooves in After Club,Satisfaction,Recipe and Track 7(sorry it's in Korean!).The girls have even made a nice slow number with a lot of soul,with Good Fellas.
The BEG's producer has really made a CD with lots and lots of headroom,so the sound is going to impress.I must also mention the package itself.The entire case is about 5 1/2" X 7 1/2" in size! It comes with a handsome 15 page colour booklet, so you get a lot of eye candy along with a lot of ear candy.There is a mixture of Korean and English throughout,but when it comes right down to it,it is the sound that matters,right? Put this CD on when company comes.It's bound to liven the party up considerably.
By the way,why are the BEG's not more well known?Their sound and talent rival the best of anything out there today. C'mon world,get with it!

Lost In Space: Season 2, Volume 1 (Bilingual)
Lost In Space: Season 2, Volume 1 (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Guy Williams
Price: CDN$ 32.76
14 used & new from CDN$ 27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars LIS moves into the 2nd season!, June 27 2014
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This is the start of Season two of Lost in Space,the first 16 eps.It is the /66-67 season and it is in colour, as many of their competitors were doing the same.It didn't matter to most folks,as they didn't have colour sets.For one they were too expensive,and two the colour back in those days was a gooey looking mixture of greens and reds.Nothing like the clarity of sets today.I never owned a colour set until the later 70s,so I never ever saw these in their original form...until now.
This season finds the robot becoming more and more human like.He laughs at and jibs Dr.Smith,while also getting his "feelings" hurt very easily.Jonathan Harris has become the virtual star of the show.His masterful portrayal of the deceitful doctor has earned him a central place in each story.We also see a loving and tightly bonded family.Very understanding and the type of parents you would want as a kid yourself.
The story line has the family being forced to flee the planet they were on in the first season,only to have to land on one very similar to the first.We see the appearance of such guest stars as lovely Vitina Marcus who plays the" green woman" in two eps,Wally Cox,Malachi Throne,Henry Jones,Allen Melvin and Hans Conried.
And as usual the eps all use that old chestnut,the cliffhangar.Just about as old as movies themselves,this technique has the eps playing out their story and including an exciting moment from next weeks ep at the end.They freeze the picture at that moment and tell us to tune in next week at the same time.The show Batman,also filmed on the same lot,utilized this tool and took it a step further,using its famous encouragement at the end to be here next week: "same bat-time,same bat-channel".
The eps themselves look in good condition although there are some minor imperfections,to be expected of a show this old.They are generally all clear and crisp and come in four discs,each in their own slip cases.I recommend this show as one the entire FAMILY can watch together and enjoy.Try and find one of those on today's television landscape.

Combat: The Complete Series
Combat: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Vic Morrow
Offered by Canadian Apple Sales
Price: CDN$ 208.99
8 used & new from CDN$ 199.88

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The real skinny on this set!, June 26 2014
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This review is from: Combat: The Complete Series (DVD)
Let me start by saying Combat is on my list of top ten shows of all time....nearly at the top actually.It had great visuals and even though it was strictly fictional,it did seem to capture some of the essence of what made WW2 what it was.However this set is a disservice to the cast and crew that made it the hit it was.Its biggest selling point,besides the eps themselves,is the extras which abound in it.Interviews with the original cast and crew, cast clips from shows other than Combat,bloopers.It is hard to believe the latter exists because such things in those days were either relegated to the cutting room floor or taken home by directors or other subordinates as a private keepsakes.
Now,I do not usually read other reviews, but I must admit to glancing at a few older ones.They mention picture freezing,pixelation and the eps being short,for which no one seems to have the answer.I will address these issues and solve the mystery.
A)The eps being too short.Yes,they are.The eps in this set run about 46 1/2 minutes.That makes them all about 7 minutes too short(they didn't have as many commercials back then).
As soon as I started the first ep I thought the "pace" was a little quick, but didn't think anymore of it until the opening credits rolled.My spider senses tingling, I immediately checked the closing credits.I knew then I had the answer,as plain as the nose on my face....and THAT is pretty plain!
Ladies and gentlemen,through some neat electronic manipulation the makers have increased the speed of the eps.They have also totally reworked the opening credits.That is not how the opening creds originally ran.Right off the top the voice of the announcer telling us this is a Selmur production,was an obvious few tones higher than it should be.The music was also too obviously a few tones higher, AND much faster to boot.The original pace of the music was your average march speed.This new opening,and the closing music,virtually runs away,as do the background bayonets.I can cite any number of 60s shows on the market today such as Star Trek,Rat Patrol,The Andy Griffith Show,Time Tunnel,The Twilight Zone,Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,The Lucy Show,etc.etc.None of these shows were ever sped up or had any part of its show changed.It seems Selmur Productions wanted to create a new version that was more in keeping with today's show lengths/time constraints, for syndication purposes.The flaw here being that the home DVD market doesn't need the compacted show length.They could have at least created two versions,one for the TV market and one for the home market.But instead we get this....a terrible and unforgivable cheat.
B)Freezing of the picture and pixelation.Yes,it does happen...only if you do not check your discs thoroughly.Always check DVDs in low lighting.Anywhere near bright outside light and it floods the disc surface and you cannot see surface flaws as readily.I have literally gone through six sets trying to find just ONE that was without flaws and have failed in my attempts(I have bought through and .com).I usually find around 6-8 discs with some type of scratch,dent,scuff or what have you on them.I just recently found the same disc in the same season(in the original and the replacement set)both scratched in the same spot.I have also found the same disc in the same season(of the original and replacement set) broken-one right in half and the other partially in the middle!!So you see,this is a set that definitely needs to be checked thoroughly or else running into these defects will cause problems on your playback.
In conclusion,other than the eps themselves(which look pretty good)and the extras,this set is one to avoid.The makers have cheated us and sped up the picture to run within a more modern time limit.This is NOT what the original looked or sounded like.And due to the fact that I have never been able to successfully find a set without more than a few "flaws" ,it is the straw that broke this camels back.I have no alternative but to NOT recommend this set.If you are looking for the original Combat,the way it was seen back in the 60s,this is NOT it.A big black mark goes to Selmur and Image Entertainment.The former for not caring enough about the original integrity of the show and its fans to release Combat in its original and best form.The latter for its abhorrent lack of quality control.

Lost in Space: Complete 1st season (Bilingual)
Lost in Space: Complete 1st season (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Guy Williams
Offered by The Digital Vault
Price: CDN$ 79.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 69.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LIS on DVD-4 1/2 stars., June 16 2014
Lost in Space,the first Season,is now out on DVD which contains all of the original 29 eps of that season,plus the pilot and a promo for the show.Approximately the first five eps of this season incorporate the pilot ep into its plot.The main difference between the pilot and the first five eps is Doctor Smith.He is not seen in the pilot (nor is the Robot),but in the season eps themselves.I suppose Fox wanted someone the Robinson family could"play" off of.They found the perfect villain in Doctor Smith,played beautifully by Jonathan Harris.His character is a sneaky,low down,egotistic,conniving coward who is always looking out for himself first and foremost.Harris just chews up the scenery each and every time he is on.An absolute delight to watch.
If you have never seen the show it is about a family that takes off from earth on their way to Alpha Centauri.They never make it there as their ship gets into trouble and they're forced to crash land on an unknown planet.The show highlights their trials and tribulations,as they eke out a living and have to deal with creatures the planet harbours or from visitors from afar.The first season really emphasizes the family bond, but as the season progresses Harris' character blossoms and an ep without him simply isn't the same.
The show was a precursor to Star Trek and in fact we see many of the things Star Trek would later bring to the table here first,such as a discipline collar/ring on the neck,a Horta like creature and the Robot even brings up the Prime Directive! In fact the first ep of the second season talks about the essence of the life force that is everywhere in the universe and that binds us all together,beating Star Wars by quite a few years!
There are many stars that appear in the first season that you will recognize such as Mercedes McCambridge,a young Kurt Russell and Warren Oates.The name of the family was of course the Robinsons,an obvious reference to the Swiss Family Robinson who also became a stranded family.One will notice that the show,even in the first season,starts to reuse footage from one ep to another.One in particular is a scene in an early ep that shows the Chariot being bombarded during a meteorite storm.Later in the season the same scene is played out once more but now it is a volcanic eruption that has the chariot in its grasp.And savvy viewers will notice in a later ep that part of the Seaview set from Voyage from the Bottom of the Sea was used to flesh out the story(also filmed on the same lot).
The show remains in the minds of the original viewers not only due to Dr.Smith and his outbursts towards the Robot like"You bumble headed booby",or "Never fear,Smith is here" or"The pain,the pain",but also the Robot's own outbursts like"Danger,danger".As the season wore on the Robot also got more cheeky with the doctor,even to the extent of laughing and making fun of him.
The wonderful catchy theme song was written by none other than John(Johnny in the titles)Williams.And speaking of music,those in the know will recognize the background music used quite frequently in these eps, from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.This was after all 20th Century Fox and this production had full access to its vast musical library.
No,it was quite the show then,and it still has that certain something to this day.There hasn't been an ep I cannot recall seeing when originally aired in /65-/66.The show has been remastered quite well but does have some slight defects/graininess due to its age,but nothing major.The first season is in b&w until the last cliffhanger of the last ep,when it turns to colour and on into the second and third season.Oh yes those cliffhangers.Each ep ends with a heart stopping moment which freezes and invites the viewer to be there same time,same station next week to see how it turns out.You may wonder why even the last ep of this season carries that same type of ending(same time,next week,etc), as one wouldn't theoretically see how it turns out until a few months later in the fall.Well back in those days the networks would rerun their most popular shows throughout the summer.They would time the very last ep to coincide with the start of the NEW season in the fall! That way if you happened to miss the last ep during the regular season showing,you'd be able to catch it then.The old season leading naturally into the new one! Smart.
I highly recommend Lost in Space to everyone.It is a show the whole family can watch together.That's something terribly lacking in today's TV wasteland.

Lady Takes a Chance
Lady Takes a Chance
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 10.74
6 used & new from CDN$ 10.74

2.0 out of 5 stars Less than mediocre film with the Duke and Jean Arthur, May 21 2014
This review is from: Lady Takes a Chance (DVD)
A Lady takes a Chance(released Aug/43)is a less than mediocre entry starring the Duke and the lovely Jean Arthur.That coupled with the abominable print presented here it makes this an easily passable film.
The plot involves our Jean in New York on her way to somewhere out west,in need of a break.She has three suitors,one being old Roach Taxi Boy Grady Sutton and Hans Conried,the future Dr Tewilliger of the 5,000 fingers of Dr T and his myriad appearances and voice over work on television in the 50s and 60s.Arthur gets on the bus and heads west,young lady.It's a frustrating ride with disruptions by bratty kids and the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.She arrives in this very western style town to witness a rodeo,which is part of the tour she is on.At one point she gets smacked down after the Duke,riding after a steer,ends up on top of Arthur while she tries to take a snap shot of him.Arthur is immediately smitten by the tall,lean and sexy Duke.In a restaurant later while they are drinking together she asks to feel his arms.
Duke lives with his sidekick in the form of an old crusty Charles Winninger.The Duke is resistant to the whole romantic gig and the pair fall in and out with each other throughout the rest of the film.But you just know in these kinds of films that the girl always gets her man.Of course when she lands back in New York by herself we think all is lost,but in the good old fashioned spirit of such see through comedies,the Duke appears carrying Arthur back into the bus and into his life for good.
This is a very poor outing for Arthur.The script finds her in more than one compromising position throughout the film,as there IS quite the sexual tension created between the two;quite racy actually for a film of this time.Arthur is certainly after some action as her love life back home is boring with a capital "B".And it is even more impactful because the majority of the "push" is coming from Arthur herself.The rest of the plot is pretty see through stuff we've seen dozens of times before and done much better than this.The Duke has little to do but act like a macho galoot,which he does as he has alot of wells,maybes and I don't knows to say.Besides this there is little in the movie to recommend it.This is a film that has gone public domain I know,but one should seek Arthur's other mid 40s release The Devil and Miss Jones for a great and classic Arthur film.It too went domain and was last restored and released by the UCLA archives on VHS.
The technical side of this DVD is what is even more disappointing than the film itself.This DVD is like watching a bad VHS copy.It needs a total remastering as the film has many defects and the picture washes out very badly at times.This significantly drops the enjoyment factor by miles.I just recently reviewed TCM's release of Lon Chaney silent films and I can tell you unequivocally that those films are in far,far better shape than this one and they are 20s pictures.What a disappointment.
All in all,for little to non existent picture quality to a poor script,despite the box office potential of its stars,give this DVD a pass,period.It's not worth your hard earned money at any price.

Cyborg (Widescreen/Full Screen)
Cyborg (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Jean-Claude Van Damme
Offered by First Choice Video
Price: CDN$ 14.97
9 used & new from CDN$ 6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 -4 stars for this Van Damme futuristic charmer, May 21 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Cyborg,released April/89,was his second film after the groundbreaking film Bloodsport,released a year earlier.It's a futuristic potboiler and Van Damme's character of an intense,gunslinger for hire,shows alot of depth and is much more than just a one dimensional figure.Directed by the eclectic Albert Pyun,the movie at times has a "The Good,The Bad and the Ugly" feel to it,while the sound effects(punches especially)sound like they're straight out of a 70s Hong Kong movie.
The story involves one Gibson Rickenbacker(Van Damme)who is called a "slinger",someone who basically is protection for hire,in this post apocalyptic world.The reigning band of no good-nicks is head by Fender Tremelo(Vincent Klyn)who wants this warped world to stay like it is so he can reign supreme.However an underground group implants a cyborg(Dayle Haddon)with the formula for a cure to the plague that stains the land,and she heads to Atlanta where a like-group of individuals is awaiting her arrival to perfect the cure.
When the cyborg's protection is taken out Gibson agrees to take her to Atlanta.Fender and his gang are not far behind though and they capture the cyborg and take her to Atlanta themselves so they can control the cure and thus become demi-gods of sorts.
Gibson recovers from his clash with Fender and meets up with another young lady named Nady(Deborah Richter)who implores him to follow the cyborg to Atlanta and to protect her.Off they go but Gibson has other thoughts than just protection on his mind.It seems that Gibson at one point some years earlier had had a family of his own.It had started out as just a slinger protection job of a mom and two children.However once Gibson had gotten them out of the city and to a seemingly safe area,they fell in love and it looked like Gibson was giving up slinging and settling down.However enter Fender and his boys and girls and they tied Gibson,the mom and one child up with barbed wire,and dangled them in a well.The mom's other child stood by the well with the gang where she was given the end of the barbed wire to hold onto.She tried to hold them up but the weight was too much and the three plunged into the well.The child and mom perished while Gibson barely made it out alive.Fender took the remaining child with him.
With vengeance burning in his heart Gibson and Nady are hot on Fender's trail.Gibson catches up to Fender in an old abandoned factory where Nady is captured and injured.Gibson is forced to confront the gang but the odds are against him and he is forced to flee,carrying Nady.Gibson goes underground through a sewer and comes out into an open swampy area.Nady eventually comes to but Gibson cannot fight the onslaught of Fender's numerous gang members.He is captured,beaten and is crucified(nailed to a cross-actually a plank across a mast of a ship).
Fender continues to Atlanta but Gibson,while down is not out.Still surviving until the next morning the continuous pelting of bad memories of the family he lost give him reason to live.He is able to topple the mast and Nady reappears to help him out the rest of the way.
Gibson and Fender,in a rainy night in Georgia,have their final showdown.It's High Noon but at night and it is one spectacular fight scene.Fender dominates most of the fight until finally Gibson gets the upper hand and stabs him.It is now revealed that one of the young girls with Fender is none other than the daughter who survived the death of her mother and sister in that well years before.They hug but Fender suddenly arises again to wreak more havoc.Gibson with all his remaining strength sends Fender airborne with a flying kick which propels him backwards and onto a hook.While Gibson is reunited with the girl he hadn't seen for years,they both mourn the loss of Nady who died trying to intervene with Fender.Gibson escorts the cyborg to the labs where he is asked to join them.He refuses and off he and his new charge go to new adventures.
Director Pyun like visuals in his films and this one is no different.His placement of his actors is very important to convey a strong sense of menace and evil.The only person who knows of Gibson's past is Gibson himself and reminds one very much of the Man with no Name.Pyun is well known to be an admirer of Sergio Leone.And of course there are Pyun's symbolic touches(no holds barred or apologies) as in the scene of Gibson crucified.Like Christ himself you know Gibson will arise again to cleanse the sins of the world;in the form of Fender.
Pyun also makes great use of lighting and its contrasts.Watch for the scene in the sewer where Gibson flees through.There is a beautifully framed shot of Van Damme with legs spread horizontally between two concrete abutments above the sewer bottom;this predates by four years his famous "splits" on the kitchen counter in Time Cop.With subtle lighting above Van Damme his pursuer unknowingly passes right underneath him and he dispatches the bad guy in an instant.The plot may be thin at times but Pyun's direction,the editing and the bigger-than-life nature of the characters carries the film to a satisfactory conclusion.I found myself yelling out loud at Van Damme during the finale as if I was at a live event.Not something I do too often.
Technically the film has been transferred well and is in a 1:85:1 a/r,along with a fullscreen version. This is a one sided DVD and comes in a thick keepcase.Other than the theatrical trailer there are no special features at all.
As Van Damme films go this one(one of his earlier efforts with his star on the rise)is a good one which his fans especially will enjoy.You will notice the names of the good and bad guy are those of brands of guitars,but they could have been called Mickey and Minny for all that it mattered;the names are an identification mark and nothing more.The director makes the characters larger than life and it is they,rather than the plot,that really carry the picture.Pyun utilizes many interesting influences here not the least of which are the Hong Kong quickies and the westerns influence of the Man with No Name films.Recommended.

The Last Airbender / Le Dernier Maître de l'air (Bilingual)
The Last Airbender / Le Dernier Maître de l'air (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Noah Ringer
Price: CDN$ 7.99
9 used & new from CDN$ 5.55

4.0 out of 5 stars A fantasy tale for the whole family!, May 11 2014
The Last Airbender(released June/10)stars,among others, Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel,Jackson Rathbone and Cliff Curtis.This is a nicely done fantasy film directed by M.Shyamalam.Together with an interesting story and some bang up S/Fx and computer enhancements,it is bound to please viewers of all ages.
The story finds a world where humans live in tribes based on the elements earth,air,water and fire.Each tribe has at least one who can control their particular elements.Looking over the earth are four spirits who symbolize each element.The only person that can commune both with humans and spirits,and unites the world,is the avatar.The avatar has not been seen in 100 years and as such the fire tribe has been on a quest to take over the world.
In the south lives a brother and sister who are under the water elements and the it is the sister who is the last remaining water user/bender in their tribe.Out looking for food they discover something under the ice.They dig it out and find a large ball of ice.Seeing something in it the sister opens it.In it lies a young boy and an animal that looks like the Luck dragon from The Never Ending Story,on steroids! He claims he ran away from his induction ceremony as the new avatar,without finishing his lessons and learning to bend other elements,besides air.
In the area happens to be an exiled prince and his uncle from the fire nation.The prince is looking to capture and return the avatar to his father in order to regain his rightful place by his side.They enter the water village and end up capturing the young boy,but he soon escapes from their grasp.He returns to the brother and sister who accompanying him on his flying animal to his home village.However the village has been destroyed in the 100 years since his disappearance.Upset he enters a dream state and communes with a dragon spirit.The spirit tells him to go far north to learn to master water bending first,then move on to other elements after.
On the way north the now trio decide to stop off at an earth element tribe to try and incite them to start a rebellion against the dominant fire tribe.Members of the fire tribe that are there are fought and pushed out of the village.While there the sister is given a water bending scroll and she practices her craft while also trying to teach the avatar those skills also.The man responsible for the local forces of fire is a commander who is virtually competing to get back the avatar to the king,over the kings son and his uncle.The commander welcomes the uncle and prince aboard his fire ship for a dinner but embarrasses them,during which they walk out.
Farther on the avatar visits a northern air temple and there meets a very kind priest who has been waiting for the avatars return.The avatar is taken to a room with statues of his former incarnations, but is soon captured by the commanders forces,having bribed the priest.However the avatar is not easily taken and in fact is helped to escape by an unknown masked warrior.It turns out the masked warrior is none other than the prince.The prince also cannot keep the avatar and he again escapes back to his friends.After a four day trek there and back the prince returns to his uncle and goes aboard their ship to rest before sailing the next day.However the prince barely escapes death as an explosive device detonates and destroys the ship.The uncle is given passage on board the commanders ship and the prince sneaks aboard.
Meanwhile the brother,sister and avatar have made it to the northern water tribe and are welcomed.The tribe prepare themselves for the upcoming conflict as the avatar slowly but surely gains more knowledge and control over his water bending skills.The fire tribe fleet arrives outside the icy walls of the city. The avatar communes with the dragon spirit once more to try and gain some insight as to what he should do.He is told to show the fire tribe what water will do and to let his emotions flow.Back with his friends and the northern tribe,the conflict has started.The commander knows that the moon spirits will help the northern tribe as the sun sinks so with information obtained by a rare scroll,he finds a pond containing what look like two over sized goldfish;one the moon spirit and the other its counterpart the ocean spirit.The commander kills the moon spirit fish and the northern tribes advantage starts to disappear.However a northern tribe princess is there,who was originally given life by the moon spirit.She gives her life essence back to the the fish and restores the balance of power.
The prince who had already sneaked inside the city and had captured the avatar briefly,is now confronting the commander.His uncle steps in and tells him to let the commander alone.Four members of the northern tribe appear behind him and in the ensuing brief battle,the four easily over power and kill him.Back at the city wall the avatar is now concentrating on the advice the dragon spirit gave him and creates and huge wall of water which towers over the fleet,ready at any moment to fall on them all and drown them.The avatar however lets the wall hang for a while then slowly lets it down.The fleet,scared off by what could have been, flees.
The young avatar now stands in front of the entire village and the brother and sister who are bending down in reverence to him.
He now does what he couldn't do 100 years before and accepts their devotion.Back at the castle of the fire king/lord, he has learned of his fleets defeat and his brother and sons betrayals.He now tasks his daughter with stopping the avatar before he can learn earth and fire bending.
Sequel anyone? Well,considering the appalling criticism that was originally leveled at this film on its release,I'd say probably not.The series has been expanded in anime' and in comics and is available in those formats as we speak.The negative reaction to this film citing everything from racial and ethnic slurs,the lack of proper 3D,the script,to the lousy plot,you name it,was all thrown out there.And alot of it stuck on poor Syhamalam,who really took a personal and professional hit for this film.Shyamalam's "The Happening" ,which I saw at the theatre,deserved a far bitter lashing than this film.
You see I must admit until today I(deliberately) had not seen the film.When such negative reactions occur to the extent they did for this one,I will get a copy but put it away for a period of time and THEN view it.I let time wash away the negative so in my mind I can look at it with fresh eyes and mind.Another movie I did this to was Waterworld,as it had a similar gross over panning,much by so called "respected" critics.Well sometimes maybe a film will deserve what it gets,but I happen to like this film despite everything that was said.It moves along well,the acting is good,the computer enhancements and S/Fx are superb, and I liked the story.I think it is a fun family fantasy that deserved MUCH better than it originally got.There is also a mish mash of eastern culture on display,right down to their fighting skills.As an aside,it was nice to see the New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis again as the fire lord,whom I first saw in Xena,back in the day.
The bad reaction also reminds me of the absolutely ludicrous reaction to " The Golden Compass",another well made movie that got panned in the same fashion,except they threw in religion into the mix.And there has never been a sequel to that one either.You have to love Hollywood.....not!
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 1:86:1 and is clear and crisp.Extras include and featurette,deleted scenes and a gag reel.
All in all I found The Last Airbender a good film.Never mind the big negs on this one,watch it for yourself and enjoy it for what it is,a wonderful fantasy film for the whole family.A solid four stars!

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