August 31, 2010

Did Bill & Ted rip off Doctor Who?

Ah the age old question. Did Bill & Ted rip off Doctor Who? Yes....and uhhhhh no. It's complicated. I think before we say yay or nay, we need to look at exactly what the claim of ripping involves.

As far a plot goes the two couldn't be more different. The hit British TV show and world record holder for longest-running science fiction television show in the world, involves a more Sci-Fi driven plot set against historical events (or more commonly future times or other worlds entirely), with the The Doctor traveling around making things better (hence his moniker The Doctor.) The plot usually find The Doctor fighting off alien threats from outside our world at different points in history.

On the flip side of that coin we have Bill and Ted. A tale of two stoners who travel to the past in order to pass a history report. Unlike Doctor Who, they never encounter aliens. Instead their main nemesis, being the same as most teenagers, is their parents. (More Ted's then Bill's). In this sense Bill and Ted seem to have more in common with the teenage Marty McFly from Back to the Future, then they do our Time Lord here.

The main point that seems to be brought up is the similarity of the two time traveling vehicles. Above on the left we see the Tardis as seen during David Tennant's run as Doctor Who. On the right is Bill and Ted a-top their time traveling Phone Booth. As you can see they are both very similar and very different at the same time. So let's see how they are different and how they are alike.

First off the Tardis is a 1960s era British police box. Now a police box isn't a phone booth. It has a phone in it, but that phone can only make calls and receive calls from the local police station. The police box was more like a mini police station. Far different then the standard red British phone booth, hence its larger size. The light on top of the box (used in the series to show when the Tardis is about to travel through time and space) was actually used to show the beat officer when he had a call from the station. There was also things like evidence books, and first aid kits inside. The police box is a thing of the past. With the advent of wireless communications, the police box is more of a novelty. In fact the BBC actually now owns the image of the blue police box. And when the police tried to sue over it, they lost.

The Phone Booth is...well it's a 1980's phone booth. Like the police box, the phone booth is a thing of the past. You just don't see them anymore and for the almost exact same reason the police box is going the way of the dodo. I don't really have to go into a what a phone booth is do I? Good.

As for similarities, well both travel through time and space. (unlike the DeLorean or H.G. Wells Time Machine that only travel through time) Although Bill and Ted's Phone Booth's traveling through space (which doesn't mean outer space before someone says something) seems to be limited to Earth. The Phone Booth seems to be able to move around on Earth. Showing up in everyplace from California to Mongolia. The Tardis can also travel in space, but it seems to have an almost unlimited range, going to all corners of the Universe.

Both Time machines seem to be disguised more advanced technology. The Tardis from a far a planet far away, and the Phone Booth from the distant future. The Tardis can assume different forms in order to blend into the time it's in and not be noticed. Thing is the Doctor's Tardis got stuck on police box in one of his trips to 1960's England. The Phone Booth is shown, in the opening credits of Bill and Ted, to be a golden cone shaped object with no means of entry. Later in the movie it assumes the shape of phone booth before traveling back to 1988.

Unlike the Tardis, however, the Phone Booth is not bigger on the inside. Although it might seem so in the movie since they cram nine people into it by the end of the film. I bet they wish they had that feature. The inside of the Tardis on the other vast. We only normally see the control room, but according to Tardis lore the inside is really big. Course I'm sure every Time Lord told people it was really huge too.

In a odd little piece of trivia that kinda relates to this. Originally the time machine in Bill and Ted was suppose to be their van. This idea was axed when they thought that would be too similar to the DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies. In fact Back to the Future Part 2 came out the same year as Bill and Ted. Although Bill and Ted was finished in 87 and was in film limbo due to the close of the original distributor, so it didn't come out till 1989.

At the end of the day I wouldn't call Bill and Ted as a movie a rip off of Doctor Who. But is the Phone Booth a rip off of the Tardis? Ehhh....I'd say it was more of an ode to the Tardis. It was different enough to do it's own thing, but similar enough to remind you of it. I really think that's what the film makers were going for here. But really at the end of the day I'll leave it up you to say they did or they didn't.

Until next time, see you on the front line.


August 30, 2010

Duran Duran's A View to a Kill (1985)

Here at the B-Movie Blitzkrieg we have covered both Movies and TV shows so full of cheese that that would look at home on the common Wisconsin man's plate. But today we break ground as we move into cheesy music videos.

Now I want to say before we start that I love Duran Duran. I also love this song. And A View to a Kill is my favorite of the Roger Moore Bond films (The Spy Who Loved Me isn't a great as you think it is, get over it.) but the video to this particular 1985 hit is missing all the style and flair of videos like "Hungry Like the Wolf" and instead is loaded to the brim with the cheese. Let's take a look shall we.

We start out with an establishing shot of the Eiffel Tower lifted directly from the film. As the first electronic chords of the song hit, we see one of the members of the band (I'm not sure who actually. Other then Simon LeBon I can't tell these guys apart) drives up in his creepy, "Hey kid I got a puppy in here.", van. As he parks, he vanishes, only to reappear in the rear of the van in his futurist control chair that looks to be left over from some equally as cheesy 80's Sci-Fi flick.

At the press of a few glowing buttons to activate ,what a flashing light on the wall tells us is a scanner, a flying video camera escapes from the top of the van. Now when I say that a flying video camera comes out of the top of the van, I mean just that. This isn't a camera attached to some kind of R.O.V. or even a camera on wings. It's just a floating camera like someone would shoot the local news with. I mean look at the image above. Now imagine that flying around viva really bad blue screen work. That's exactly what you see in the video.

The camera, carried aloft by the ghost of Superman clearly, heads to the top of the Eiffel Tower to spy on the other members of the band as they stand around the observation deck of the Paris landmark. All of this is inter-cut with footage from the movie. Mainly Bond chasing Grace Jones up the tower.

Another of the guys who name I don't know. We also get our first look at Simon LeBon and what I can only assume is Tim Burton getting off the elevator. I mean I'm sure it's another member of the band, but he sure does look like Tim Burton. So if there is a guy in Duran Duran that has a Burtonisk look, then that's this guy. And finally we come to an model posing and an overly made up woman taking pictures of her. What? That's a guy? And a member of Duran Duran? Well who would have thought it.

Now the creepy van guy launches three more flying video camera. Simon LeBon is shown walking around with his state of the art for 1985, Walk Man. Do you guys remember how expensive these things where back then? I do. Now you can't give them away. Same way you can't give your copy of Lou Bega's "Mambo Number 5" away either. Or your copy of Eiffel 65's "Blue". Or Sugar Ray's "Fly". I think I've made my point.

At this point Simon blow up a helicopter.No, not really. We are lead to believe he did, but really it's a scene from the pre-credit sequence where Bond takes down a Russian helicopter with a smoke bomb in Siberia. It's really all the snow that let's you know that Simon didn't blow up a helicopter over Paris. Anyway, I guess this goes against the plan as the creepy guy gets an angry phone call in faux Russian.

And there is that lady again! Oh...still a guy, still a member of Duran Duran. Got ya. He's still posing as photographer taking pictures of a fine foxy lady on the tower. Then he suddenly turns and starts to take images of the footage from the movie. I'm guessing the story here is that Duran Duran are on the tower at the same time Bond is trying to catch Grace Jones. It's about this time that Simon uses his walk man to blow up Zorin's blimp! Wait...doesn't that happen in San Fran? And at the end of the movie? After Zorin's loses his blimp, creepy guy get Ladyman on the phone and he starts taking pictures of the guy from Duran Duran who isn't Simon, Creepy Guy, Lady Man, or Tim Burton.

The other guy as he will be known now (really should find out their real names shouldn't I?) moves over to one of those pay telescopes. He puts in his two cents and the telescope turns into a gun, who he of course turns on the crowd for some some reason. He also takes a few pot shots at Grace Jones viva the miracle of video editing.

Tim Burton is confused because he is blind. It's hard to hear gun shots when you're blind.

With a well placed shot The Other Guy takes out of one of Creepy Guys flying cameras. I have no idea who is bad guys and good guys here. I assume Creepy Guy is bad since he got cursed out in Russian. And Lady Man seems to be taking orders from him, so he must be bad too. Other Guy opened up on a crowd, but he is trying to take out Creepy Guy's cameras. Simon just seems to be blowing up random things through the use of movie footage, but they have all be bad so far so I assume he is good. Tim Burton hasn't done anything yet, no idea where he falls in all of this.

I guess Tim Burton is on the side of right after all, as he uses his accordion to attack Lady Man's ear. The true purpose of all accordions.

I guess Ladyman's head explodes from the accordion music, since we hear an explosion. We cut to Tim Burton making his escape from the tower.

This should be the end, still don't know who was good or bad, but Simon isn't done blowing stuff up. He is randomly punching buttons on his Walkman when a fan comes by and askes him if he is...and he stops the fan to say yes he is "Bon...Simon LeBon." Cheeky bastard.

Anyway since he was too busy being a smart ass he doesn't see that he has in fact set his device for the Eiffel Tower its self. The countdown approaches zero. Is all of Duran Duran going to be killed? Will all that will be left of this iconic Paris landmark be a smoking crater?

No...just a post card at one of the street vendors blows up. Yay! I guess...

Anyway you don't have to take my word on the cheese of this one. Try this link to a Youtube video (not mine) here.

Anyway that's it for this time, so until next time I'll see you on the Frontline.


August 17, 2010

Blitzkrieg Intermisson: The Star Wars Inconsistency Part 2:The Empire Strikes Back.

Last time we looked at what A New Hope has to say about the prequels. Today we take on one of the best sequels to ever come out of Hollywood: The Empire Strikes Back.

If you ask me which Star Wars movie I like best I will tell you The Empire Strikes Back. However this isn't always the case. I seem to flux between which one of these films is my favorite. For a long time when I was a kid Return of the Jedi was my favorite. This, however, was more due to the ROTJ being the only movie that actually had a presence when I was younger. I saw ROTJ in the theater, I bought ROTJ figures. So of course it was my favorite.

When I got older and more cynical, The Empire Strikes Back took over as my favorite of the films. I think this is just because there was less aliens, less flash, and more substance then ROTJ could offer, and that held with my maturing mind better.

Now an odd thing is happening. ESB is still my favorite, but now A New Hope is starting make steps to taking it's place. I think now, as I seem to be feeling my age that I want to return to simpler things. Why I don't just got back to ROTJ? I have no idea. What does this have to do with what The Empire Strikes Back has to tell us about the Prequels? Nothing. So let's get into that.

BEN: Luke...Luke.

LUKE: Ben?

BEN: You will go to the Dagobah system.

LUKE: Dagobah system?

BEN: There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed

We come to one of the most notable of inconsistency between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy. Who trained Obi-Wan? In The Phantom Menace were are shown that Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Padawan Learner of Qui-Gon Jinn, not Yoda as this scene in tells us. The damage control for this inconsistency starts almost as soon as we are presented with it. Young Obi-Wan utters the line "But Master Yoda told me to mindful of the Future." I'm guessing this throw away line was suppose to appease us that at some point maybe Yoda taught Obi-Wan something. But really Obi-Wan didn't say "You will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master that gave me a few pointers one time." No, he said "who instructed him". And that person is clearly Qui-Gon Jinn here.

The rumblings about this didn't end after The Phantom Menace, enter Attack of the Clones. In Attack of the Clones we are shown Yoda instructing young Jedi. Again I think this is way of George Lucas showing that Obi-Wan must also have gone through this training with Yoda. I have to wonder if this scene would even have been in the movie if people hadn't thrown a fit about Yoda not being Obi-Wan's master. I actually think it wouldn't have been. Also later in the movie we learn that Qui-Gon was trained by Count Dooku, who was trained by Yoda. So now we are playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to prove that in some way Yoda trained Obi-Wan?

At the end of day I just have to feel that Lucas failed here. He wanted Qui-Gon in there as Obi-Wan's master and what came before didn't matter. He could have wrote himself out of it, I can think of a few ways to make it work without contradicting what was said in The Empire Strikes Back, but George instead went the route he did. In my opinion Lucas just couldn't be bothered with making this work.

YODA: Not far. Yoda not far. Patience. Soon you will be with him. Rootleaf, I cook. Why wish you become Jedi? Hm?

LUKE: Mostly because of my father, I guess.

YODA: Ah, your father. Powerful Jedi was he, powerful Jedi, mmm.

Anakin was shown to be a powerful Jedi in his time in the prequels. From his abilities as Pod Racer, to his exploits during the war, Anakin is shown to be very powerful in the Force. Lucas is good here.

LUKE: Oh, come on. How could you know my father? You don't even know who I am. Oh, I don't even know what I'm doing here. We're wasting our time.

YODA: I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.

BEN'S VOICE: He will learn patience.

YODA: Much anger in him, like his father.

Anakin is shown always trying to control his anger in the Prequels. From his removal from his mother at such young age, to her death at the hands of Sandpeople. His having to keep his relationship with Padme secret, to the fact that the council refused to make him a Master. Anakin always seems to be angry about something in the Prequels. An anger that when bottled up exploded outwards, like when he killed the Sandpeople. Lucas was very good at showing where the anger that finally consumed Anakin came from, even Hayden wasn't the best at conveying it.

BEN'S VOICE: Was I any different when you taught me?

YODA: Hah. He is not ready.

LUKE: Yoda! I am ready. I...Ben! I can be a Jedi. Ben, tell him I'm ready.

YODA: Ready, are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained! A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life as he looked away. To the future, the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!

BEN'S VOICE: So was I, if you'll remember.

Again we have Obi-Wan confirming that Yoda was in fact his Master, but we covered that above. Just to say this seems to indicate a much more involved Master/Pupil relationship then what is show in the Prequels.

BEN: Luke, I don't want to lose you to the Emperor the way I lost Vader.

LUKE: You won't.

In Revenge of the Sith the Palpatine seduced Anakin away from the light with promises of the power to save Padme. He abandoned the teachings of Obi-Wan and followed the Emperor instead. Obi-Wan lost Anakin to the Darkside, and here is fearful that the same may happen with Luke. This matches up pretty well.

YODA: Stopped they must be. On this depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now, if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.

I don't know if Vader really picked the quick and easy path. He picked the path that he thought would save Padme. A path that the Jedi couldn't teach him. I guess you could say that such a path was part of the Darkside and the Darkside is easier and quicker way to power. So I can give a pass on this one.

VADER: If you only knew the power of the dark side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.

LUKE: He told me enough! He told me you killed him.

VADER: No. I am your father.

LUKE: No. No. That's not true! That's impossible!

VADER: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

LUKE: No! No! No!

And the big reveal. If you had watched the prequels first, this would have been totally ruined for you. Luckily, hardly anyone did that. So no problems here.

In Revenge of the Sith Padme reveals to Anakin that is pregnant with his child. By the end of the movie Anakin thinks that his child had died with it's mother. So he must have been surprised when he found out that the Rebel that blew up the Death Star and was causing the Emperor to get his panties all in a bunch was in fact his son. This matches up pretty good. So nothing really of note here.

Well that does it for The Empire Strikes Back. Next we will be looking at Return of the Jedi. Jedi has a very interesting deleted scene from the script. Also will look at all the people and creatures we lost due to the Special Editions.

Until next time, I'll see you on the font line.


August 15, 2010

Blitzkrieg Intermisson: The Star Wars Inconsistency Part 1: A New Hope.

Today we will are taking a break from reviewing bad movies and TV shows, to talk about well...movies. Some are really good, some are really bad. All are Star Wars.

There was a time in my life when I was a Star Wars fanatic. I admit this freely. Honestly, I wish I still was. But my love was put to the test and I guess it wasn't as strong as I thought it was. You see something started in 1997 and ended in 2005 that showed me that Star Wars and myself should just be friends. Friends with the benefits, but still just friends. The thing that happened where two fold, the first was called the Special Edtions. Greedo shooting first, CGI Jabba, the whole works. It started to put doubt in my mind and then the Prequels came.

I know at this point bashing the prequels has become a little cliché. So that's not what I will be doing here, at least not in the fan boy "KILL JAR JAR" kinda way. Instead what I'm going to look at today is what the original three movies have to say about the time before the events of A New Hope took place and how well they match up with what we finally saw on the big screen. A little spoiler here... sometimes not very well, other times a little better. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Instead we will start at the beginning... a little film called STAR WARS.

LUKE: But what if this Obi-Wan comes looking for him?

OWEN: He won't, I don't think he exists any more. He died about the same time as your father.

This is the first mention in the film of anything that might have taken place before the events of the movie. This does mesh pretty well will what is shown in the Prequels, but there is little, to no, specific information here either. If you take the "certain point of view" to heart then both these men did "die" around the same time. Anakin became Darth Vader, and Obi-Wan went into hiding adopting the name Ben. So far so good.

AUNT BERU: Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.

OWEN: That's what I'm afraid of.

Likewise here we see that the Prequels do match up well. Owen would have no doubt heard what had become of Anakin when Obi-Wan brought Luke to him. He'd know of his fall to the Darkside and wouldn't want his nephew, really his adopted son, to follow his father down that same path.

LUKE: This little droid. I think he's searching for his former master...I've never seen such devotion in a droid before. He claims to be the property of an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Is he a relative of yours? Do you know who he's talking about?

BEN: Obi-Wan Kenobi...Obi-Wan? Now that's a name I haven't heard in a
long time... a long time.

LUKE: I think my uncle knew him. He said he was dead.

BEN: Oh, he's not dead...not yet.

LUKE: You know him!

BEN: Well of course I know him. He's me! I haven't gone by
the name Obi-Wan since oh, before you were born.

This is Luke's first meeting, that he remembers anyway, with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It also contains the first inconsistency, with the Prequels. Although, it is a small one. Ben claims that he hasn't used the name Obi-Wan since before Luke was born. In fact the way he said implies that he had adopted the name Ben awhile before Luke was born. In the Prequels Ben uses the name Obi-Wan right up till the end. It really is a small thing though in the end and something that is easy to just shrug off. I wish the others where this easy as well, but they aren't

LUKE: No, my father didn't fight in the wars. He was a navigator on a spice freighter.

BEN: That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved.

The events that Ben is speaking of here were never shown in the prequels at all. In fact Owen and Anakin barely know each other. This seems to speak of a much more familiar relationship then is shown in Attack of the Clones. A debate, a difference in ideology ,and a concern for Anakin and what he might be getting himself into. In Attack of the Clones we see Anakin arrive at the Lars homestead looking for his mother, then he makes is way to the Sandpeople camp, and then back to the Lars homestead and then away to save Obi-Wan. Anakin and Owen's interaction is very limited and none of the above conversation seems to take place.

LUKE: You fought in the Clone Wars?

BEN: Yes, I was once a Jedi Knight the same as your father.

LUKE: I wish I'd known him.

BEN: He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. I understand you've become quite a good pilot yourself. And he was a good friend. Which reminds me...I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.

The fact that Anakin was the best star-pilot in the galaxy was shown to some extent in Revenge of the Sith. So at least this first line of Obi-Wan recounting tales of his father to Luke was shown in the Prequels.

Then we come to the Lightsaber. Obi-Wan tells Luke that his father wanted him to have it when he was old enough. This never took place, in fact Obi-Wan took the saber from Anakin after cutting his arms and legs off and leaving him to burn to death. You could rationalize that Obi-Wan wanted to glass this over and maybe that is why he told Luke this. And had the Prequels been made first I would have bought that too. Problem is they weren't, and it was George's responsibility to work some these scenes into these movies in order to connect them to what came before.

There was even a rumor that George had not even had Obi-wan retrieve Anakin's Lightsaber during their duel, and thus there was no way he could have it to give to Luke in ANH, and had to correct that with re-shoots. No idea if that actually happened, but it wouldn't have shocked me. In the end one of two things could have happened here, and both are troubling. One, Lucas could have thought this little scene wouldn't fit with what he wanted to do when writing the Prequels and thus just disregarded it completely, or he simply forgot what he wrote back then and didn't bother to check before writing the Prequels. Both are scary thoughts, but explain much.

We also get another mention of Uncle Owen here fearing that Luke would follow Obi-Wan like his father did on some idealistic crusade. Again we are hinted at a deeper relationship between Owen and Anakin. And since he is Uncle Owen, one would assume that they were in fact brothers even though they do not share the same last name. It could also be possible that Owen was in fact Anakin's brother-in-law and that Beru could have been Anakin's sister. Whatever the case, it seems that Anakin and Owen did not agree on things and that Anakin followed a path that Owen did not agree with when he went with Obi-Wan. That much is clear here.

Again nothing like this is shown in Prequels. Anakin does not follow Obi-Wan on an idealistic crusade. He is rescued from slavery by Qui-Gon Jinn before he ever met Owen, and follows him to become a Jedi. He only meets Obi-Wan after he has already made up his mind to leave. When Anakin finally meets Owen he is already a almost fully trained Jedi Knight, and when he leaves he doesn't follow Obi-Wan, instead he leaves to rescue Obi-Wan. It's likely that Owen didn't even know who Obi-Wan was until he dropped baby Luke off on his doorstep.

I'll be honest, I like the idea of a 16-17 year old Anakin working in his Brother-in-Law Owen's shop in Mos Espa. Doing space runs for Jabba or whoever will hire him on the side for a little extra cash. He is also caught up in Pod Racing. Which of course his Brother-In-Law Owen, who is just trying to save enough money to buy his own moisture farm and get out of the dangerous city, doesn't approve of. Anakin is feeling his life couldn't get anymore boring when in walks Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padme looking to buy a new Hyperdrive for the Naboo starship. That at least makes some sense and keeps most of the TPM story intact.

BEN: An elegant weapon for a more civilized time. For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.

LUKE: How did my father die?

BEN: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Now the Jedi are all but extinct. Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.

Now George comes back to actually staying close to his own source material. All of this was shown in the Prequels. The Jedi keep the peace, and fight to protect the Republic in times of war. The role of the Jedi is shown through out The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.

Likewise Anakin is shown helping the Emperor hunt down and kill Jedi when he assaults the Jedi Temple. We also are shown Anakin's seduction and fall to the Darkside of the Force. Before this Anakin was in fact Obi-Wan's pupil. So these lines are pretty much in line with what we are shown.

LEIA: General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone

This single line spoken by Leia hints at a connection between her father, who later we will know as Bail Organa, and Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars. I guess this one is up for debate on if it's actually shown or not. I know before the Prequels the impression I got was that Leia's father had been a military commander during the war and that Obi-Wan in his duties as Jedi Knight had served under him. This wasn't the case in the movies, as Bail was shown as Senator. Not really a mistake, but more something that didn't live up to my preconceived notion. And while Obi-Wan is not shown serving Bail directly it's clear in Revenge of the Sith that they know each other, and it's not hard to think that maybe Obi-Wan had worked with Bail in the past. I think this could have been shown more clearly in order to connect these movies better, but it doesn't really contradict anything from the Prequels either.

VADER: I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.

Ben: Only a master of evil, Darth.

Not much here, but what is said here did happen in the Prequels. The last time Obi-Wan and Anakin met it was in a fight to the death. At the time Anakin had just begun his path down the Darkside. He was still a student of the teachings of the Sith. After 20 years of training by Palpatine I'm sure Darth Vader believed himself to be a master of the Darkside. The Darkside that Obi-Wan says is evil. So this all checks out pretty well.

This wraps up what A New Hope can tell us of the past. Next time we will come to A New Hope's sequel and what many consider to be the best of all the Star Wars films: The Empire Strikes Back and see what it can tell use about the Prequel times.

Until then. See you next time, on the front line.


August 11, 2010

Super Robot Red Baron: Episode 1 "Conspiarcy of the Robot Empire." (1973) Part 2

Welcome back to B-Movie Blitzkrieg and part two of our review of episode 1 of Super Robot: Red Baron. When we left out heroes things where pretty bad. Ken's brother had been kidnapped by the evil Iron Alliance and was going to become a human slave, as opposed to a monkey slave, or dog slave. Also, the S.S.I had failed to protect the giant robots at the Tokyo Robot Expo, and they had all been stolen by the Iron Alliance. And Mari hasn't once wore a school girl outfit. Like I said, bad man. So lets jump right back into the action here and see if things start to look up.

After a sound defeat and the only family you have left being taken prisoner, Ken decided to go for a nice drive in the country out to his brother's lab. You'd think he'd be out looking for his brother, or trying to find out where the Iron Alliance's hidden base is so he mount a rescue. Course, he might be in line to inherit all his brother's stuff now that he is gone. So maybe he's not that broken up about it. Whatever the case he's at the lab now. OK!

As he enters he hears the sound of equipment running, which it shouldn't be. So he rushes into the lab. What does he find inside? His brother! Wow, that y himself? Cause that's impressive if the answer is yes. Apparently the robot was built for Ken to use. No idea why. It's like he knew that the robots would be stolen. And if he did why not just prevent them from being stolen in the first place. eh.

The duo enter the robot in the foot and ride a hotel elevator up to the head. And I mean that literally. It's a hotel elevator. One of those nice glass ones that let's you look out over the city, or some massive lobby. They just used that. What makes it so sad is that they shot it from the outside, so it's clearly not in the confined space of a robot's leg. There is even sun reflections on the glass. *Sigh*

When they reach the top we see a control rooms full of buttons, and knobs, and switches. Oh my! The control room is in the left eye of Red Baron, which I would think would really affect Red Baron's depth perception. Anyway, Ken is like super stoked about this. Everything is just amazing to him. So of course when he is about to have a joygasim knowing he going to drive a giant robot and smash things, his brother has to be all Captain Buzzkill and pick this time to tell him that the Iron Alliance has killed the rest of their family. Way to kill the mood man.

While Ken is trying to deal with this devastating news, Ken's brother commands him to put his hands on his yoke. Do what with the what now? Oh...Red Baron's control yoke. Oh, good. I was worried there for a moment. Apparently the yoke will memorize his fingerprints to make sure that only Ken will be able to pilot Red Baron. After Ken places his hands on the yoke, the giant robot moves backwards towards a tunnel that leads to the surface and Red Baron breaks out to the surface. This footage will be used over and over again throughout the whole series to show Red Baron launching from base. It may even be reversed to show him returning at some point.

Ken decides to takes the Red Baron for a test spin. Somehow Ken's brother has somehow got out Red Baron's cockpit. He must of did it when Ken changed cloths, because he is now wearing his S.S.I. Cowboy outfit. So Ken goes stomping around his brother's yard, no doubt ruining the flowers in the process, and just as he's about to get hang of it they hear the sounds of rockets. Wouldn't you know know it Troy Robot has decided to make visit. Looks like it's time for some good old robot fist to cuffs!

So we get ready to fight. Ken yells to his brother asking him what he is suppose to do, but before he can answer Troy Robot knocks Red Baron the hell out. I mean one punch and he goes down. Never thought Red Baron would have a glass jaw, but there you go. Ken's brother tells him to pull the main lever to auto. I'm sure this means the robot will then do everything for it's self. Makes you wonder why we need Ken at all doesn't it? I guess so he can pull the Fight Lever. That's right, there is a fight lever. With fight lever on, Red Baron starts to kick ass.

Seeing as he is now going to be bested in a fair fight, Troy Robot brings out his spinning drill of death and starts trying to aerate Red Baron. Ken blocks most of the attacks, but a few find home and bounce of Red Baron's armor. After a few seconds of this, Ken's decides he has had enough of this and activated BARON PUNCH! Which is just him launching his fists at the bad guy. This seems to be standard equipment on all giant robots from Japan, since they all seem to be able to do it. After taking a set of giant metal fists to the chest, Troy Robot comes up with yet another plan and starts blasting away at Red Baron with laser from it's head. Red Baron is getting totally roasted now.

Back at S.S.I. headquarters the alarm goes off. Minoru Daigo, who everyone just calls Boss so we will too, is there to hear it and goes to a secret door and places his hand on it. A blue light comes over him for a moment and the door open and he steps into what can only be a 40 somethings bachelor pad circa 1973. It looks like the place your creepy uncle would take way to young girls too, to try to get into their pants. Lucky for us it doesn't stay this way, it soon changes over like the Spider-Friends rec room into a super secret spy H.Q. No only that, but Boss plays his piano in order to control the various items around the room.

After changing H.Q. from creepy shag pad to useful command center, he calls the other members of S.S.I. and directs them to Ken's location. Of course Mari jumps into her yellow S.S.I. sports car and as soon as she does a large phallic like gun extends from the roof. Only in Japan. Meanwhile Tetsuya also answer the call in his kick ass jeep. B.I. and Daisaku also rush to the scene. B.I. on his bicycle, of course, and Daisaku on his killer motorcycle. Of course Daisaku has to point out how much fast his bike is then B.I. cycle, much to B.I. annoyance as he screams "I'm vexed!" No, he really said that. I'm vexed.

At the giant robot fight, Ken decides the best way to avoid Troy Robot is to take to the air. Of course his fiendish foe has an answer for that and his head disconnects from his body and gives chase. So now Red Baron is taking laser blasts right up the old poop shoot, from a flying head. It's getting real embarrassing. Something must be done. I think it's time for BARON BARRIER!

You know, I don't know how he knows all these attacks. He didn't know where the fight lever was, but somehow knows every single special move that that this this giant robot is packing. However he learned it, the Baron Barrier is just Red Baron spinning in a circle real fast and that deflects laser blast back at Troy Robot knocking him from the sky. And I'm sure it took hours to scrap Ken's vomit off the walls after this little move.

On the ground the members of S.S.I have arrived just in time to be surrounded by Robotic Henchmen. There is one flaw in the Henchmen's plan though. All the S.S.I guys are in the motor vehicles, while they are on foot. So of course S.S.I. proceeds to just run the bad guys down with their cars. At least Tetsuya decides this is an unfair advantage and jumps from his Jeep to kick ass the old fashioned way. Daisaku on the other hand is completely content to just keep putting robotic body parts under the wheelt and his head disconnects from his body and gives chase. So now Red Baron is taking laser blasts right up the old poop shoot, from a flying head. It's getting real embarrassing. Something must be done. I think it's time for BARON BARRIER!

You know, I don't know how he knows all these attacks. He didn't know where the fight lever was, but somehow knows every single special move that that this this giant robot is packing. However he learned it, the Baron Barrier is just Red Baron spinning in a circle real fast and that deflects laser blast back at Troy Robot knocking him from the sky. And I'm sure it took hours to scrap Ken's vomit off the walls after this little move.

On the ground the members of S.S.I have arrived just in time to be surrounded by Robotic Henchmen. There is one flaw in the Henchmen's plan though. All the S.S.I guys are in the motor vehicles, while they are on foot. So of course S.S.I. proceeds to just run the bad guys down with their cars. At least Tetsuya decides this is an unfair advantage and jumps from his Jeep to kick ass the old fashioned way. Daisaku on the other hand is completely content to just keep putting robotic body parts under the wheel of his totally awesome bike. B.I. just not arrives and begins slashing and cutting up the baddies with this bike pump sword.

At the real fight, Red Baron is now beating the living crap out of Troy Robot. With a few devastating punches R.B. knocks him down for the count. Not happy with just putting his foe to the canvas, Red Baron picks Troy Robot up and throws him through the air. This turns out to be a big mistake. Instead of landing hundreds of feet away on top of some small poor fishing village with a satisfying crunch, Troy Robot's legs come off his body in mid air and form a giant boomerang. The body hovers a short distance away while the legs spin wildly at Big Red here, and somehow making the ground around him explode into sparks. Red Baron is totally getting fire bombed to death now.

In comes Ken's brother to saves the day. He notes that the main body is controlling the legs and tells Ken to attack the body with Elec-Trigger. Ken does as he is told and two huge guns appear on Red Baron's head and shoot massive bolts of electricity at Troy Robot, who explodes in a blaze of foam rubber glory. The same fate awaits the legs as another beam of super heated plasma arcs out to destroy them as well. Troy Robot is defeated, much to the joy of our heroes.

We now cut back to Prof. Deviler. He is disappointed in the loss, but commands Ken's brother to bring Red Baron to them. Uhhhhhhh...wouldn't that have been easier to do from the start? Like before he showed his brother how to use Red Baron and did the whole fingerprint thing, and it trashed the other super robot that must have cost billions to build? I mean that would have been boring, but it would have at least been logical.

Ken's Brother's mind control implants begin to do their work to try to force him to bring Red Baron too them, but despite the pain he is able to throw off their evil control. He is told that if he disobeys it will mean death, but he still refuses.

Ken discovers his brother in a heap on ground and runs to him demanding to know what is wrong. His brother tells him to take care of Red Baron, and not to let the the Iron Alliance defeat him. He then cuts the bandage from his neck to reveal the cutest little choker you ever saw. Now I think chokers are really sexy on the ladies, but like capri pants and thong underwear are not something men should venture into. Course he is rocking it pretty hard. I guess I'd have to see him a thong to see if he could change my mind about that too...*Cough* Any-hoo...

Ken's brother tells him that he has become a human slave to the Iron Alliance. And then...and then I must have missed something. I mean there has to be a scene missing here. We go from that to Ken running through the field yelling for his brother. When he finally does find him, he's being crucified not unlike Arnie in the Conan movie. Only without the all the vulture throat tearing out with his teeth stuff. How Ken's brother got like this we will never know as they never show it. All we know is that it has happened.

As Ken rushes up to save his brother, Iron Alliance Robot Henchmen appear and try to hold him back, but he fights his way through them trying to gain the top of the hill and save his brother. Not only that, but another evil giant robot appears called Big Bison. He has huge spinning horns on either side of his head, so I'm guessing that's where he got his name. Anyway, as Ken rushes forward the light on his brother's choker begins to blink faster and faster which seems to cause him more, and more pain until...

The episode ends. That's right folks it's a cliffhanger. If we want to find out what happens to Ken and his brother we have to tune in to the next episode.

Overall, Super Robot: Red Baron seems to be a fun trip through the 1970's before shows like this became real common place and before Power Ranger hit big in America. It's nice little campy slice of cheese pie from the Land of the Rising Sun and does make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's the kinda thing you put on Saturday afternoon when it's too hot to go outside, or on snow day from school and just sit back and enjoy not having to think for a half hour or so.

It gets a 2 on the Cheese-O-Meter. It's actually really fun to watch and it's cheesiness is in that really good absurd way that makes it so much fun.

Anyway I still haven't decided what the next blog entry will be about, but I do plan to review more episodes of show in the future, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. So I'll see you next time, on the front line.


August 9, 2010

Super Robot Red Baron: Episode 1 "Conspiarcy of the Robot Empire." (1973) Part 1

Well look here. It's the grand return of the B-Movie Blitzkrieg. I heard the lack of demands for more of my particular form of movie review (which is pretty much me just ruining everything for you and telling you exactly what would happen. Oh well, I saved you from having to sit through it. SO YOU OWE ME!) and brought this little blog of mine back.

Today we aren't reviewing a movie at all, but instead episode 1 of the Japanese imported series Super Robot: Red Baron. The basic plot of this show is that a young good looking man, who is part of a team of heroes, finds himself piloting a giant robot in fights against other giant robots. Thing is this is the plot of about a hundred other shows from Japan. Hopefully in the course of the episode reviews of this show we will find out what makes this show unique, but to be honest I'll just be happy if I can write a review for all 40 episodes.

So I guess we should get this party started. You will know it is time to turn the page when you here R2-D2 beep like this...let's begin now.

The theme song to this thing is catchy. I mean really catchy. Look it up on the youtubes. Even more catchy then Zorro [Shameless plug]see our past review of this film right here. [/shameless plug].

Most theme songs tell you the plot of the show, this one kinda does that too. Kinda. It tells us that the earth is beautiful, and that we can't let the Iron Alliance seize it. Granted we don't know who the Iron Alliance is at this point, but we will. Just wait for it. We are also told that Red Baron is a million horse powered robot. So I have to assume he has a BMW engine under the hood. And...AND FEEL THE MIGHT OF THE ELEC-TRIGGER AND BARON HAMMER STRIKE!!!! They threw that in too.

We start out in what I can only assume is the future given the future looking HO scale sets we open on, but it's also says we are heralding in the 21st century. So it's the future of the past I guess. Whatever, no big whoop. We are told that the World Robot Expo will be held in Tokyo. Countries from all over the world have for some reason built giant killer robots and are now bringing them under one roof. I sure hope some mad man doesn't steal them all cause then we will totally be boned, but I'm sure that won't happen right?

It turns out that while all these giant robots are being moved to Tokyo and set up, the scientist that invented them are being kidnapped one by one. Ken, our hero, arrives at the Expo to see his brother, who is one of scientist that have worked on these giant robots. Ken's brother confides that he fears that he might be next on the kidnappers list. He also points out that the disappearances are similar to their own Parents and younger brothers four years earlier. Ken's brother then asks that he come to his research lab, that he has something he wants to give him.

Ken tells his brother not to worry, that S.S.I is here to protect him. Ken's brother is reassured by this. Now, you may be asking "What is S.S.I?" and you'd be right to ask, but they aren't going to explain that too you right now, because now enters our comic relief; The Bicycle Inspector! His intro tells you all you need to know about this guy. He promptly falls down while pushing his bicycle, throwing his butt full on into the camera. Now I'm not really sure if this guy is an inspector of bicycles who fancies himself a crime fighter, or an inspector that happens to ride a bicycle. Later episodes contain evidence for both theories, but for this one I think we will go with the latter.

We will be calling the Bicycle Inspector, B.I. from now on out to make it a little easier. Anyway, Ken asks what B.I. is doing here. He tells him that his mission is the same as S.S.I (Still no explanation of what S.S.I is.) and that he is here to keep an eye on the expo and make sure no evil is afoot. No sooner has B.I. said this then they notice a head being put on a mysterious evil looking robot. Ken's brother check the plaque next to the robot which says it's name is "The Invasion Robot Troy Horse" built by The Iron Alliance Robot Empire. OK, who exactly in was in charge of letting these robots in? "Oh Troy Horse ...Invasion ...Robot Empire. Sounds safe enough. OK, take in guys. Next robot please. Nuclear Powered Child Raping Robot built by The Kingdom of Molesters. Sounds good. Second door on the right." I think it's time to get a head of security guys.

It's at this point that the Troy robot comes alive and begins to monologue. He proclaims that the Iron Alliance will conquer all of Japan, and that they will all become slaves. He also claims responsibility for kidnapping the missing scientists, and that now they have come for Ken's brother. The head of the robot opens and out jump Putties! OK, not Putties, but Putty like. They are evil henchmen robot of the Iron Alliance. You know the kinda fodder that all these kinds of shows have to have. They attack B.I. first, but he pulls out his magic bullet proof umbrella and deflects the shots. Then he pulls a trigger and mows them down with a hidden gun inside the umbrella. I can only assume that B.I. has broken into Penguin's house and stole a bunch of his stuff at this point.

Now Ken joins up, with what we were kinda told, were the members of S.S.I and they begin to fight the evil henchmen with KARATE! HI YA! We finally get to find out what S.S.I is here. S.S.I stands for Scientific Secret Investigation Team. Wouldn't that be S.S.I.T? Guess not. I guess we should just be glad that it was wasn't Scientific House Secret Investigation Team. S.S.I's mission is to expose and destroy the enemies of mankind. That doesn't sound like a very scientific investigation to me. And with these flashy costumes, fighting out in public, they aren't very secret either.

We also start to get our introductions to the members of S.S.I at this point, along with the mandatory magical costume change. As each are introduced they are shown changing into a costume that looks like a Cowboy outfit that would have shown up in the 50's minus the hat. They also each have a color coded scarf which is also mandatory in these shows.

The members are as follows:

Ken Kurenai- He is our hero. In the real world he works a car dealer. His scarf is red or course.

Minoru Daigo- He is captain of the S.S.I. He owns a auto repair factory in real life. His scarf is white.

Tetsuya Sakai- Standard second man. Not as brave or good looking as the main Hero, but almost. He is an Auto Salesman in real life. His scarf is green.

Daisaku Hori-The pudgy comic guy. He is almost always the dumb one as well, having to have things explained to him and getting hit by the other members a lot for saying or doing something stupid. In real life he is Newspaper Copy Boy. His scarf is blue.

Mari Matsubara-The chick. That's pretty much all you need know, cause that's as deep as they are going to go into her anyway. In real life she is a News Photographer.

The team begins to fight better in their new Cowboy outfits and the tide turns in S.S.I's favor. This is when the Troy robot, who I guess has just been standing their this whole time, decides to get involved. B.I. pulls out his bicycle tire pump and aims it at the Troy robot. I don't know what he plans to do with that. It's just a pum....holy crap it's a rocket launcher! The pump handle also becomes a sword! Anyway he unloads on the robot to no effect. Ken grabs his brother and runs out of the building to escape the rampaging robot.

As Ken and his brother run for the car, Troy robot smashes through the roof of the expo center. Not only that, but robot henchmen follow them outside. As Ken fights them off, his brother looks on in horror as helicopters arrive and steal all the giant robots from the expo. Ken shoves his brother inside his car. The car speeds away as Ken continues to hold off the henchmen.

But Ken's brother isn't getting away that easy. Oh, no. Troy Robot notes the attempted escape and moves to intercept him. Ken's brother drives right into the giant robot's hand. Ken watches helpless, as the giant robot flies off with his brother as well as the rest of the stolen robots from expo. So right off the bat, our heroes have been soundly beaten by the forces of evil. They didn't save Ken's brother, they didn't keep the giant robots safe. S.S.I. sucks!

Now we cut to the stolen robots being carried out over the ocean. They are then dropped by the helicopters into the sea. Underwater trains are waiting to take the robots into the hidden Iron Alliance base. Now that is precision there. I mean what would they have done had the current pushed the robot a little off course and it didn't land on the train? Huh? Now you got a huge metal robot sitting uselessly on bottom of the ocean. And how come crazed mad men always have underwater bases? They always do. Eh, I guess these are questions for another day.

Anyway, Ken's brother is brought before the mastermind behind the Iron Alliance,Professor Deviler! Professor Deviler? What a name. I mean what other job could you go into other then super villainy with a name like that? Would you trust an OGBYN with that name? Or a Lawyer? Actually, maybe you would on that one. The point is, that like Doctor Doom before him, it seems Professor Deviler was destined to be evil.

Deviler now shows Ken's brother that the other kidnapped scientist have become "Human Slaves" (his words, not mine)and they are being made to modify the deadly giant robots they have stolen. Ken's brother asks if this is to be his fate too, but Deviler is after something else with him. He wants the Super Robot Red Baron! Ken's Brother refuses to turn it over to the Iron Alliance. Deviler then shows a video of Ken's Father, Mother, and younger Brother being killed. Deviler tells him that people who defy the Iron Alliance die. Ken's brother still refuses. The robot henchmen then knock him out, and prepare him for "Cybernetic Surgery" (again, his words not mine.) It seems that Ken's Brother is to become a human slave after all.

Things are looking pretty bad for the good guys here. Ken's Brother is to become a human slave. All the nations Robots are being converted into killing machines for the Iron Alliance. And Ken hasn't gotten into Mari's panties yet. It's bad people. So of course this is where I leave you hanging. Be sure to come back next time for the conclusion to this review, and see Red Baron go head to head with Troy Robot! See you next time on the front line.


The B-Movie Blitzkrieg Strikes Back.

After the all too soon, and sad death of the web comic, "Simon Says" that I was writing and failed attempts to starts a new comic, I have needed a outlet for my creative juices in the mode of verse that most of the time takes the form of fart jokes. So from the vault of short lived ideas that were good, but I become disheartened and gave up on them, comes the return of the B-Movie Blitzkrieg. (Holds for Applause).

And what delectable treat of celluloid sweetness to I plan do make my grand return to all 4 of my fans (who maybe one of will actually read this)? Will I finally take on Gone with the Wind and give it a proper reaming it deserves? Sadly no. It won't even be a movie, but instead Episode 1 of the Japanese TV series "Super Robot: Red Baron." in a new segment that we (and every time I say we I pretty much just mean me and my cat, and honestly the cat does most of the work.) here at the Blitzkrieg are calling "SUPER ROBO: FUN TIME GO 7!!!!" Or wait, SRFT7...well we will work on that. So hope to see you on the front line here for some hot Robot on Robot action!