sshumsuper7fan78

IMDb member since January 2002
    Lifetime Total
    5+
    IMDb Member
    18 years

Reviews

Happily Ever After
(1990)

Really not so bad...
As a Filmation fan, when I first saw this, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. A second look however, and I found that this is actually a reasonably decent sequel.

First off, if you watch this expecting Disney, don't. The animation is far from great, but it does have its moments. The chase scene where Maliss, the dragon abducts the Prince is quite good, including a few humorous bits with Scowl crashing into first a tree, then Maliss himself. The Mother Nature's garden scene is nice too, including the one standout song in the film, sung by Phyllis Diller. There are others. The animation is consistent, and at times, quite good.

If you are looking for GREAT animation from Filmation, you are better off seeking out the likes of Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All, Bravestarr: The Legend, and Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night.

The voice cast for the most part are superb, although I agree with some of the others here that Irene Cara seems a bit flat as Snow White. She is passable, at best.

All in all, if you go in expecting a fairly low-budget animated film, you might be surprised. No great shakes, but worth a look.

Flash Gordon
(1979)

Rich, rewarding animated version of Flash Gordon
Filmation's Flash Gordon is a richly realized, beautifully animated serial, a highpoint for television animation. Few animated series have even managed to approach its grace. Prior to it, perhaps The New Adventures of Huck Finn comes to mind, and after, IMO, it's only challengers have been Bravestarr (latter-day Filmation work), Don Bluth's The Pirates of Darkwater, and Batman: The Animated Series.

This version of Flash Gordon is unmatched, by either the wonderful 30s serial, or the camped up but fun Dino Delaurentis version, released the same year.

Filmation captured perfectly the splendor and spirit of Alex Raymond's strip, utilizing (for 1979) the best technology could offer: Body rotoscope, fx animation, moiré patterns, rotoscoping over motion control shots of model ships. The end result? A 16 chapter serial, which, while flawed with repetitive (at times) animation, delivered non-stop action, breathtaking animation and artistry with a truly "full" look and feel to it. Filmation managed this with their earlier Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, basing it partly on the work of comics artist Burne Hogarth.

The first 8 chapters are virtually flawless, if you can put aside the repetition. The best among them are: "A Planet in Peril", "The Beast Men's Prey", "Vultan, King of the Hawkemen", and "To Save Earth". The serial blazes away in epic proportions: There are fighter ship battles (Ming's fleet annihilating the Hawkmen and Vultan's city is utterly brutal and has a tragic beauty), gunfights in grand palaces, exotic locations and alien creations. There is a slight, but noticeable dropoff in animation quality in the latter half of the serial (chapters 9-16), but the standards remain high, and ultimately the viewer is rewarded.

This magnificent series, and it's pilot film: Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All deserve to be preserved on DVD. Commentary from Filmation execs Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott and living Raymond relatives would be GREAT extra features.

Additional notes: Sadly, the serial gained a small, but loyal following in it's first season, the bane of many great SF series. NBC decided that, rather than give the show a bit more time to develop a larger following, that a format change was in order. The serial format was scrapped in favor of 12 minute shorts, which have disappointing animation measured against the serial, juvenile stories, and an overly cute pink dragon named Gremlin added to the cast. Gremlin is up there near the top of sickenly over-cute characters, such as Barney, Jar-Jar Binks, Gurgi (from Disney's The Black Cauldron), and Elmo. On several occasions, for instance, he blows smoke hearts.

Lastly, if you think you have seen Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All having seen the serial, better think again. The animation standards are even higher here, and while some of the footage was used in the series, the vast majority of it will be new to you. It is an overwhelming, highly recommended experience which you won't regret seeking out. While it has not been officially released, it is fairly common among video traders.

Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night
(1987)

An ambitious little animated film
Don't be put off by those who would label this little gem a Disney ripoff. In a time when very few animated features were being produced, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night is a surprisingly nice little animated film. From the opening moments, you can see that this was intended to be something special. There is some great animation, such as the ending on the Emperor of the Night's ship. There are some dark, genuinely frightening moments such as James Earl Jones as the titular Emperor and his macabre carnival, or a scene which has Pinocchio transformed back into a lifeless puppet. There are comical moments with Gee Willikers the wooden glowbug and Grumblebee. There are also bizarre, surreal scenes, notably a sequence where Pinocchio is tempted in a dream-like land by the Emperor and his minions. The song in this scene, "The Neon Cabaret", is jazzy and upbeat, and it enhances strange mood. Don Knotts, James Earl Jones, Ed Asner, and Jonathan Harris all give wonderful voice performances to their respective characters. Rickie Lee Jones as the Fairy Godmother tends to grate though.

The overall impression is that of a very ambitious production. The film moves along at a good pace and boils to a great climactic finish. Definitely worth a look!

Starcrash
(1978)

A fun sci-fi throwback to the old 30s and 40s serials
In the same vein as Jason of Star Command and Flesh Gordon, Starcrash is a campy, fun throwback to the old serials of the 30s and 40s. It looks, feels, and tastes like an old serial, minus the chapters. Yep, it is a cheesey attempt to cash in on the great sci-fi craze of the late 70s, fueled by the likes of Logan's Run, Close Encounters, Space: 1999, and ESPECIALLY Star Wars, of course. It is guilty as charged. That said, it is an absoloute low-budget blast. For detractors, here's your first clue that this film is not to be taken seriously: A robot with a long, southern drawl. L the cowardly robot is a riot!

Starcrash shamelessly pilfers elements from Invaders from Mars (1953) (a brief appearance by an alien judicial judge), Ray Harryhausen films (a couple of model animated aliens & robots), and Star Wars (a lightsaber duel), not to mention the old serials.

The whole thing never stops to catch its breath, and neither does the viewer, overwhelmed by alternately cheesey and surprisingly good special fx and generally porn-level acting and dialogue. One minute Stella and L are battling Amazons, the next L is gunning it out with troglodytes, and the next Akton is having a lightsaber duel with those model-animated robots. There are psychadelic images and scenes, almost worthy of the equally bizarre Barbarella. And along the way are allusions to classic sf authors Edmond Hamilton, Murray Leinster, and Ray Bradbury.

For the b-movie or old time serial lover, or someone who doesn't mind some campy lightweight space opera, Starcrash really can't be topped.

Starcrash
(1978)

A fun sci-fi throwback to the old 30s and 40s serials
In the same vein as Jason of Star Command and Flesh Gordon, Starcrash is a campy, fun throwback to the old serials of the 30s and 40s. It looks, feels, and tastes like an old serial, minus the chapters. Yep, it is a cheesey attempt to cash in on the great sci-fi craze of the late 70s, fueled by the likes of Logan's Run, Close Encounters, Space: 1999, and ESPECIALLY Star Wars, of course. It is guilty as charged. That said, it is an absoloute low-budget blast. For detractors, here's your first clue that this film is not to be taken seriously: A robot with a long, southern drawl. L the cowardly robot is a riot!

Starcrash shamelessly pilfers elements from Invaders from Mars (1953) (a brief appearance by an alien judicial judge), Ray Harryhausen films (a couple of model animated aliens & robots), and Star Wars (a lightsaber duel), not to mention the old serials.

The whole thing never stops to catch its breath, and neither does the viewer, overwhelmed by alternately cheesey and surprisingly good special fx and generally porn-level acting and dialogue. One minute Stella and L are battling Amazons, the next L is gunning it out with troglodytes, and the next Akton is having a lightsaber duel with those model-animated robots. There are psychadelic images and scenes, almost worthy of the equally bizarre Barbarella. And along the way are allusions to classic sf authors Edmond Hamilton, Murray Leinster, and Ray Bradbury.

For the b-movie or old time serial lover, or someone who doesn't mind some campy lightweight space opera, Starcrash really can't be topped.

Jason of Star Command
(1978)

Great fun!!
Jason of Star Command is one of my favorite shows. As a young teenager, I had already enjoyed earlier related Filmation shows, Tarzan, and Space Academy both of which were great stuff. When Jason came out as part of the whole Tarzan and the Super 7 package, the whole 90 minutes worth of action just about blew me out of the water, and Jason was one of my favorite segments.

Jason was packed to the gills with great special effects produced on a shoestring budget. The whole production moved along at a brisk, sledgehammer pace, with solid stories, and reasonably good performances, in particular those of Charlie Dell (as Professor E.J. Parsafoot) and Sid Haig (Dragos), both of whom obviously had a great time filling their roles.

The whole thing was reminiscent of the old science fiction movie serials of the 40s, such as Undersea Kingdom and the Phantom Empire, as well as its contemporary serial like films Flesh Gordon and Starcrash.

The show (deservedly) earned its own half-hour time slot, but faded all to quickly, for my money.

Filmation did two other fine science fiction serials, both animated, in 1979, following Jason: Mighty Mouse: The Great Space Chase (as part of the New Adventures of Mighty Mouse, and later repackaged inaccurately for home video as Mighty Mouse's first "feature legnth movie") which was camped up to the hilt, and the beautifully animated (New Adventures of) Flash Gordon.

Tarzan and the Super 7
(1978)

Great fun stuff!!
Tarzan and the Super 7 was ninety minutes of solid, slam-bang action from start to finish. Though the stories were pro-social, as was the norm for kidvid of the era, Filmation lavished the shorts with attention, with body rotoscope, motion control, effects animation, and superb background artwork.

Each of the 7 segments were solid. Tarzan was beautifully animated, a highwater mark for tv animation up until that point. The New Adventures of Batman weren't quite as good, but respectably so, and a great deal of fun in their own right. Of the original animated segments, it's hard to choose just one favorite. Web Woman, Superstretch and Microwoman, and Manta and Moray were all good shorts with good animation and stories. Jason of Star Command was a wonderful little science fiction serial, with great special effects, and reminiscent of the old sf serials of the 40s like Undersea Kingdom and Flash Gordon.

All in all, a spectacular little series, with high quality segments and a pace that doesn't let up from start to finish. The series should be seen again!!

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