Tag Archives: Lionsgate

Review: Thor: Tales of Asgard (2011) Animation | My Reviews 01 MAR 2012

Sam Liu steps back into the director’s chair for Marvel/Lionsgate’s latest animated direct-to-DVD movie to hit the street, namely Thor: Tales of Asgard – and to be honest, it’s another competent, enjoyable outing from him!

Thor: Tales of Asgard delivers to us a tale of a hot-headed, impetuous teenage Thor, well before he ever lifted the mighty Mjolnir – basically when he was nothing more than a prince confined to his kingdom, trying to impress his father by proving his manhood against all comers. After a heated argument with Odin, Thor decides to pick up on a coming of age tradition amongst Asgard’s young men, to head out in search of a legendary sword that has been missing since Odin defeated its demon bearer in the land of the Frost Giants.

Sneaking out of Asgard with his magic-wielding brother Loki aboard the ship of the Warriors Three, Thor’s quest leads them deep into the heart of the enemy territory where they discover the fabled sword, but which in turn initiates a chain of events that leads to all out war as the Frost Giants attack Asgard in an attempt to reclaim what is “rightfully” theirs!

Thor: Tales of Asgard is the eight Marvel release, and despite presenting us a Thor which no one is familiar with, it is quite an enjoyable tale, being a well written, self-contained story that pushes all the right buttons in terms of humor and action, delivers a decent message to the viewer, and is actually pretty likeable despite the decision to cast such a young Avenger. In amongst this, it even manages to hide a decent and unexpected twist, making it quite the enjoyable outing for both newcomers and long time comic book fans.

On the art front, Thor: Tales of Asgard adopts a slightly more cartoonish approach to character design and animation (with particularly silly looking feet), but makes up for this with some gorgeous backgrounds and a striking color palette that raises the overall look of the film. The action and fight sequences are well choreographed and very slickly done, making for some pretty exciting viewing at times.

The voice actors employed are all enjoyable to take in, but there is a dissonance in the age of the voices versus the age of the characters, so it does take some time to get over this. Nevertheless, backed by a great musical score, Thor: Tales of Asgard does come out sounding pretty good.

In summary, this is once again a polished product that offers enough frames of reference for long time fans of comic book Asgard, but at the same time introduces a fresh new spin on old characters which makes for an exciting, enjoyable, and action-packed animated movie outing. It certainly isn’t the most mature of titles out there (unlike the recent slew of DC direct to DVD releases like Batman: Year One for example), but then again, that isn’t the target market (this one fits in more along the Next Avengers line). You and your kids are sure to enjoy it together, and that is pretty much all that counts! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor:_Tales_of_Asgard

Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme My Reviews 18 JUN 2009

Doctor Strange Sorceror Supreme DVD CoverDoctor Stephen Strange, one of the world’s foremost neurosurgeons, but a man haunted by his own demons, greed and personality. An unforeseen, unexplainable turn of events sees him crashing his car and losing the use of his hands, the very tool with which he plies his trade. Countless surgeries and consultations later, and simply no closer to a cure, Dr. Strange is left with nothing. No hope, no money, no will to survive.

Until he is noticed. Noticed by the men who strive day and night to protect our world against forces unseen and beyond our imagination. Beings composed of pure magic and shadows and those sorcerers that stand in their way. With the right guidance Dr. Strange will make a long journey and meet the one that will save him – and in return request his becoming of Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme.

But time is of the essence. Never mind those you need to battle around you… Dormammu is coming.

Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme is a 2007 direct-to-DVD release directed by Patrick Archibald, Jay Oliva and Richard Sebast, the fourth animated film to be produced by Lionsgate Home Entertainment based on Marvel Comics characters (the others being Ultimate Avengers, Ultimate Avengers 2 and The Invincible Iron Man.

The story for the film is kind of an updated, re-imagined origin of the classic Marvel Doctor Strange character, maintaining many of the core origin events and characters associated with his birth but at the same time modernising a number of aspects as well as turning the story into a more action-orientated film, probably to better position it with today’s action-hungry audience.

The film enjoys a fairly leisurely start, building up the character of Stephen Strange quite nicely but at the same time showing us glimpses of what is going on around him in the cloaked world of sorcery and its battle against Dormammu. It then shifts gears a little and thrusts us into the whole training and enlightenment sequences, all the time building up the imminent threat that then eventually takes center stage as we move into the final throes of the movie for a satisfying (albeit a little rushed) ending that ties up the strings quite nicely and leaves us with our newly crowned Sorceror Supreme.

Admittedly the movie doesn’t achieve all that much in terms of evoking any emotion from the viewer, but it certainly is engaging enough to keep your attention for the most part. Furthermore, don’t expect to get too many laughs out of this one either, but do expect a decent amount of action sequences as well as the always cool mist and magic battles that usually accompanies this type of genre.

The animation on Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme is nice and crisp, coming across very modern and very polished. There are a few CG-assisted sequences tossed in here and there that don’t work so well, but thankfully these are kept to a nice minimum and one soon forgets they even existed as the movie rushes along. Backgrounds are nice and detailed as is the attention to detail on everyday objects and this is all complemented by some very smooth and well-thought out magic and physical battle sequences. Colouring is also for the most part very vibrant and organic, with loads of nice shadowing detail and this helps cement the movie well in the realm of a good looking, animated feature film.

The voice actor casting for a change seems to have put all the right feet forward because just about every voice actor, including Bryce Johnson as Doctor Strange and Tara Strong as April Strange, involved puts in a sterling effort with each and every one of the characters and this high level of voice acting is then further complemented by a nice and full musical score to back it all up.

Overall, Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme won’t blow anyone’s socks off, but it is undoubtedly a very well-executed, polished animated film that makes for an excellent rental, will kind of please the fanboys (unless you are character purists of course) and generally delivers the goods.

I liked it, but simply didn’t love it. Still, if you want to see a decent animated film involving lots of magical battles and a particularly well known comic book character, then you simply can’t go wrong with this one then.

Doctor Strange Sorceror Supreme Screenshot

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Strange:_The_Sorcerer_Supreme

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…

Ultimate Avengers21 Ultimate Avengers22 Ultimate Avengers23 Ultimate Avengers24
Ultimate Avengers25 Ultimate Avengers26 Ultimate Avengers27 Ultimate Avengers28
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Avengers_2