Friday, September 30, 2016

ANI-MOVIES, *Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United

Heroes United was intended to be a series of made-for-video CGI-animated which takes the approach of Marvel Comics' old Team-Up and Two-In-One featuring various Avengers team-ups. This first one had the invincible Iron Man fighting with-and alongside the Incredible Hulk. It was produced through Marvel Entertainment itself, and not bothering with other studios like Disney, using a special in-house technique called 2-D Wrap which is a step up from old cell-shading, but appears choppy sometimes, especially in the facial ticks.

Hulk fights his old enemy Abomination in a wrecked town, and is brought into HYDRA's custody to use both of the gamma-powered monsters to amp up their own personal gamma-arc reactor. This of course goes horribly wrong, giving birth to a living energy creature calling itself Zzzax. Iron Man shows up in his own personal SHIELD Helicarier(which has a bunch of fighter jets in it for some reason), and thinks Hulk is the one responsible for all the damage to the damn Hydra was using, but changes his tune when he sees Zzzax. They chase the electric beast into the Helicarrier, and blasts them out after possessing some of Stark's old suits. Awakening in an graveyard, the damaged Iron Man and blinded fight of a completely random wendigo attack! Making it back into the Helicarrier, Iron Man suits Hulk up in some Hulkbuster armor to finally smash Zzzax. The movie ends with the two HYDRA scientist responsible for making Zzzax briefing Red Skull who has plans for Iron Man and Captain America.

The first Heroes United was decent, but seriously lacked in story content and plot. It was more of the two heroes bantering and going from one fight to another. It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray, but the sales and reviews were so negative that the sequal wasn't released for the video market at all. It makes for a reasonable watch for ol' school Marvel Zombies, but even for an "all-ages" feature its pretty tame.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

ANI-MOVIES, *Magnos The Robot

What most modern otaku might recognized as one of the anthropomorphized stars of Robot Girls, Magnos was a giant robot show from the mid-70s which has been put out on VHS and DVD in America several times. Usually as an episodic series titled Renegade Force, or Super Magnetron in Australia, but in the case of Liberty International as this compilation of the first few episodes of the TV series.

Sir Miles is a resourceful scientist who is convinced that recent disasters plaguing the world are being caused by aliens. The United Nations say he's crazy for thinking that, and refuse to support his theory. So, Sir Miles sets out with his daughter Lady Ester to recruit a karate champ Janus to join their super robot crew and fight the oncoming invasion. The aliens use grotesque giant animal hybrids to attack major cities, which our heroes fight off with their dual mechas, Magnon and Magenta. When the heat turns up though, they ditch their more Gobot looking mecha for the mighty Magnos, which uses the other two robots as laser guns, and occasionally as huge drill bits to completely screw over the attacking kaiju. The feature ends with the aliens failing to stop the Magnos team, and their alien overlord seemingly destroying his lackeys, vowing to continue their invasion.

Magnos The Robot is definitely one of the strangest of the 70s super robots, especially with its totally impractical habit of shifting the pilots from one mecha/vehicle to the other, instead of combining them like Mazinger Z or Getter Robo. It's worth a look though to get the totally trippy action that you could only get from Bronze Age sci-fi action shows!

Friday, September 16, 2016

ANI-MOVIES, *Dead Space: Downfall

There were a few direct-to-video movies in the late 00's that were done as vehicles for a popular video game, usually for an upcoming release. Some of which like Halo and Mass Effect got turned into an actual anime. Dead Space: Downfall was produced as lead in to the first video game, and one of the first titles to begin this trend. Directed by Chuck Patton who also worked on the Spawn cartoon, this was developed by Film Roman, and the games creators, Electronic Arts.

Set centuries from now, mankind is under a new religion called Unitology after an alien artifact was located on Earth. Sometime later, a similar one known as the Marker(called the "Red Marker" in game canon)is found on another planet, so the the Unitology church sends a ship to bring it back to Earth. A comic book mini-series released prior to this showed how the space colony where the Marker was bring kept slowly descended into madness. The Ishimura starship shows up and takes possession of the Marker, but unleashes a mad plague upon the crew where the start turning into mutated space zombies called Necromorphs. Everyone on board eventually gets killed by the Necromorphs, or from each other's madness. The last survivor is the movies main heroine Alissa who is the head of security. She manages to send a special warning on a beacon into space, but along with herself dying of asphyxiation. This ends with the first games hero boarding the Ishimura.

Downfall works as a fairly good sci-fi horror movie in its own right, without having to have been exposed to any other Dead Space media. It does has some pretty good animation, and doesn't hold back on the gore. There's some good performances by voice actors like Jim Cummings, Kevin Michael Richardson, and Bruce Boxleitner, especially in the scenes highlighting the crew's fall into insanity. It's as good as we're probably going to get to an animated version of Aliens, so give it a watch.