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Battlestar Galactica: Razor

By Your Command!
Excellent stand alone/season 4 intro (watch it how you want) that finally puts the whole franchise's roots on screen.

Centurions, vox-boxes, Gold Centurions! Ah, finally. And they don't look clunky, move poorly OR suffer from Stormtrooper Syndrome.

If, like me, you were not yet 10 when Ben Cartwright began to lead his Wagon Train toward earth, then you probably thought it was the most amazing thing you'd ever seen when first broadcast. Oh, how memory leads you astray. Damn you, VHS cassette and VCR, for ever allowing my golden, hazy dreams of days yore to be punctured by cruel reality. Amazing SFX (but what else from Richard Edlund?), blow-them-out-of-the-water opening (complete with sacrificial-lamb), boring, sermonising speeches, standard over-focus on leads (why does Apollo, a pilot, have to space-walk for the blast/oxygen vent, where are the engineers?), zero development of universe (oh, one comment about "loose" Geminese women) and (come the series) repeated FX shots that weren't simply repeated, but were obviously so.

If, like me, you saw all this, but refused to by bowed by it, then Ronald Moore's arrival on the scene (after Todd Moyer's departure, whew, that was close) was cause for pure rejoicing.

But as the series progressed, it gave fewer and fewer nods to its, admittedly dodgy, source material.

Until Razor. How to meld the painful past with the amazing now without destroying either or, worse, both? Write Razor.

Anybody who says that original Galactica was brilliant, current Galactica is a pale shadow and Razor is just crap is lying. Lying to themselves and you. Original Galactica was hamstrung by budget, pacing and imagination (yes, you read that right, imagination, see "over-focus on leads"), modern Galactica needed the legitimacy of the original. Casting Richard Hatch as Zarek was a good start, this is the perfect bridge.

Oh, and it's a great script, involving three time periods, moral conflicts, interpersonal conflicts and some kind of redemption. And centurions, vox-boxes and Gold Centurions.

By your command! 7.5/10

The Private War of Major Benson

Excellent comedy, even after superannuation!
The first of Heston's two comedies (The Pigeon That Took Rome followed in 1962) and the best of the pair.

Understanding his gift perfectly, Heston chased a comedy role that didn't actually require him to be funny. The pay-off is this little film that has no room for self-indulgence or ego.

The success of Benson led to Heston doing The Pigeon That Took Rome. That one isn't bad (and way ahead of some of the "comedies" that get greenlit today), but this one doesn't hit an off-key note.

Far, FAR superior to the truly dire remake (Major Payne) with Damon Wayans.

Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes

If The Adventures of Batman resurrected superhero cartoons, this will sink them...
I really hope the other poster was kidding when he said JLU was cancelled to put this on air.

Bryan Singer did so much to make Marvel a success in adaptations, but let's face it, it's always been DC making the running. First with Christopher Reeve, then with Kevin Conroy...

Why, oh why can't executives look at WHAT makes a series or a film a success and copy that, instead of looking for a source to butcher. Batman (conroy's) was all style (like West's), but with enough substance to sustain it. It had visuals, it had villains, it had stories and it had PACE. Plus, being a cartoon, they got the best voices available. All the things that were transferred into Superman and then Justice League.

Fantastic Four has none of these. The action (for desperate want of a better word) is so slow it nearly put me to sleep. The voices are awful, not necessarily because the actors can't act (don't know what else they've done), but, I suspect, because the directors haven't got a clue about emoting in English. The nationalities don't inspire confidence in this department. The scripts are almost passable, but the direction (see "action" and "voices") sinks everything.

I suspect I may be too old for this, as YouTubing Battle of the Planets brought me face to face with things my memory had edited out (such as the stupid R2D2 clone and his girlfriend on Pluto), but, given the acclaim and success of the recent DC animated adaptations across a broad audience spectrum, I'm willing to say this sucks.

There just isn't any joy in it. There is no way the cast are having fun recording the dialogue, you can hear it in their voices, or, rather, you can't.


know your facts
ojfosterbrown, the only hyperbole here is yours. The statements you take such a dislike to accurately reflect history. The 39th were poorly trained and ill-equipped and Australians did think the Japanese were about to invade.

Ralph Honnor and his immediate superiors were screwed by Australian High Command (Blamey) and the "boys" of the 39th were later directly insulted to their faces by Blamey.

Ifra, if you think Private Ryan is an ideal to strive for, then you'd better develop a taste for that Chardonnay.

Pacific400, I'm no right-winger, but the fact is Japan has consistently refused to acknowledge its heinous crimes in WW2, why shouldn't audiences be shown what went on? Do you object to films showing Nazi crimes? Did you object to the NKVD machine-gunning Soviet grunts in Enemy at the Gates? Yes, let's not forget the great job the US did, they certainly never have, and they have no problem taking credit for others' work (U571), but how many of them know this story? How many of us know this story? Technical quibbles correct. Old .303s were standard, as were new Brens, militia definitely didn't have Thompsons and may not have had Owens, the thing only went into production in 1941 and the militia may not have had first pick of the weapons...

As for those saying the movie is missing the Big Picture, this isn't A Bridge Too Far, it shows the Kokoda campaign exactly as experienced by the 39th Bn, a series of small engagements where some cracked and some were heroes and the enemy were "faceless", "mysterious", utterly unknown by Australians, capable of astonishing cruelty and eventually forced into cannibalism.

As to those saying we don't make WW2 movies (or TV), try The Last Bullet, The Heroes, The Cowra Breakout, Attack Force Z (with Mel and Sam), Blood Oath, The Rats of Tobruk, Piece of Cake, Kokoda Front Line (academy award-winning documentary filmed where this film is set in the period immediately after - cameraman Damien Parrer died in combat on his return to New Guinea) and Death of a Soldier (even Paradise Road and Map of the Human Heart). What we don't do is make VN or Korean War movies.

This movie had its flaws, all movies do, but instead of castigating a first-time director for his lack of budget, castigate the studios for never having told this story before.

A war movie that finally showed what it's really like, "green" reservists climbing jungle-covered mountains while suffering from dysentery, malaria, not knowing where the enemy is and being in desperate need of a crap.

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