Tag Archives: Guy Michelmore

Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther Comic Books | My Reviews 13 FEB 2009

Ultimate Avengers2Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther is yet another release in the ever-increasing Marvel/Lionsgate animated movie stable and this time it is a direct follow-on sequel to their 2006 Ultimate Avengers: The Movie release. Like last time the screenplay is once again handled by Greg Johnson, but directorship however falls to newcomer Will Meugniot, a man better known for his comic book work than anything else.

The story continues where the first movie left off, but this time the focus is shifted to the African kingdom of Wakanda, famed for its technical prowess as well as vibranium ore resource. However, things are not quite right in his usually peaceful home as T’Challa, Prince of Wakanda, soon finds out on his return from the outside world. The alien Chitauari menace, led by the shape-shifting Herr Kleiser, are after the nation’s vibranium and will stop at nothing to get it.

Even the legendary protector Black Panther’s might is not enough to resist them and soon T’Challa realises that in order to survive, Wakanda must summon reinforcements from the West – a job that the revenge-seeking Captain American and the rest of the Avengers are more than willing to accept!

It’s interesting that it was decided to move forth by continuing directly on from the last outing’s story because it means that all the baggage from the first movie essentially travels through to this one from the get go. We’ve still got the Avengers who don’t quite seem to fight like a unit just yet (though they are much better at it this time around) and all the cringing and whining amongst the principal characters continues unabated, though at least this time no space has to be wasted in introducing the enemy and the story simply jumps straight into the action-packed business of putting the alien menace down!

Again, as with any team-based movie, the story jumps in and out of a number of plot threads which do serve to keep everything interesting but unfortunately carries the disadvantage of making the movie feel a little rushed and perhaps a little incomplete as all this jumping around generally leaves a couple or so of threads not fully developed, unanswered, or at least answered rather poorly in the first place. Perhaps this leaves space for another sequel, I don’t know, but it would have been perhaps a little nicer to have a bit of a tighter, more complete story in my opinion.

However, Johnson does manage to pull his story together towards the end and we finish up with a huge slobber-knocker epic event that is sure to please every hot-blooded action-orientated male watching and at the same time give us some pretty exciting fanboy sequences that pulls one right to the edge of their seat. There is intrigue, drama, romance, action and even sacrifice – seriously, what more could one ask for?

Well perhaps for everything not to feel quite so boring at times I guess – or at least not everything all at once for a change!

Visually Ultimate Avengers retains the fairly detailed but simplistically styled animation that worked so well for it in its first outing and apart from a few enhanced battle sequences and explosions, there isn’t all that much to write home about. That said, the action sequences ARE particularly well handled and there really are some great visual moments to take in. Fight choreography also seems to have been improved and this adds an additional level of enjoyment to the already pretty decent visuals on display, so I am assuming that we can thank Tae-Ho Han who is in charge of cinematography for this one then.

Guy Michelmore returns as the music composer for the series once more and as per usual he comes up with some brilliantly inspiring and epic compositions that fits the story like a glove. Similarly most of the original voice cast return and their familiarity with the characters proves itself as they all provide some sterling voice performances.

Overall, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther is a worthy addition to the ever-growing Marvel animated features library. It has good, consistent production values that both look and sound good and as a whole it comes across as a finely polished package. The story on the other hand is a little bit too full of different threads for my liking and also unfortunately slows to a bit of a crawl at times, but that said there are some fantastic action sequences that pulls the movie right back up and makes it an enjoyable watch for anyone who calls themselves a Marvel fanboy.

So not bad boys, not bad at all. I’m looking forward to the next installment then…

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Avengers_2

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie My Reviews 20 JUL 2008

Ultimate AvengersTowards the end of World War II, America’s greatest hero in the form of the US super soldier Captain America was lost at sea as he battled to prevent a Nazi nuclear missile launch – but only after he had discovered that the real threat was in fact not the Nazis…

…but rather an alien life form that we now call the Chitauri!

Present day and the body of Captain America has finally been located, seemingly alive and in a cryogenically frozen state. S.H.I.E.L.D director General Nick Fury needs this living legend up and running as soon as possible as the scramble is on to set up a meta human task force (Project Avenger) in order to deal with the rising threat of the Chitauri aliens who are now coming out of their long dormant state and threatening the world as we know it.

Nick Fury is targeting Iron Man, Giant-Man, Wasp, Thor and the Black Widow to form part of the team under Captain America’s leadership, but assembling this kind of super-powered team is certainly easier said than done. And then of course there is the ever present threat of the dormant savage Hulk lurking within the obsessed scientist Bruce Banner – who happens to be leading the team in charge of resurrecting Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum project!

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie is a 2006 direct-to-DVD animated film based on the Marvel comic book The Ultimates and is directed by Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon and Bob Richardson. It is produced and distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment and Marvel Studios.

Ultimate Avengers assumes that you at least have a little bit of knowledge when it comes to Marvel characters and pretty much jumps straight into the story without hashing character origins too much. Of course, familiarity with the normal Marvel universe isn’t paramount, as The Ultimates pretty much rebooted the original character origins anyway, and you would be better off being familiar with that comic run so as not to be to annoyed at the ‘different’ way in which some of your favourite characters may be depicted.

The story isn’t too complex and pretty much follows three separate storylines, namely Captain America waking up and finding himself in a completely foreign time, the battle against the powerful Chitauri aliens and Bruce Banner’s losing battle with sanity as the Hulk remains trapped within him. Of course, the Avengers being about a team dynamic means that story attention pretty much has to be spread over everyone, and this does take away any depth that you might liked to have seen with regards to any one particular character – with the exception perhaps of Captain America and Bruce Banner as they admittedly do manage to steal a large chunk of the screen time in the end.

The story is pretty formulaic, straightforward and ends off on a nice action high, so youngsters should get a good bit of enjoyment out of the movie as a whole, though it should be noted that it doesn’t follow the usual norm of cartoon violence – bystanders do actually die for a change and not everyone gets saved at the last minute.

Visually, the animation and backgrounds aren’t quite as nicely detailed as one would have hoped for considering this is Marvel and Lions Gate production, but it is solid and smooth and manages to be pretty easy on the eye in the end. Colouring feels a little dull in places, but this is easily explained away as most sequences tend to take place at night anyway. I guess that one could sum up the visuals on Ultimate Avengers as being pretty much standard American cartoon fare.

This being an direct-to-DVD production means that no big name actors or actresses were brought in for the voice acting duties, but the production staff have made sure to include a lot of established voice actors from the industry with the result that Ultimate Avengers ends up sounding pretty good – even the goofy sounding Thor!

British composer Guy Michelmore is the current favourite for Marvel’s animated releases, and produces a pretty good sounding score for this movie that manages to convey that feel good heroic tone that is so essential for these types of super hero movies in the first place.

In summary, Ultimate Avengers: The Movie is a solid, action-packed and enjoyable movie for fans of the Marvel universe but doesn’t try and do anything special and ends up feeling pretty much ordinary. Your kids may pull a bit of entertainment value from it, but don’t expect it to sit on the top of anyone’s DVD pile just yet.

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Related link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0491703/