Sunday Cinema: Tron [1982]

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Greetings Programs,

   Today we are screening Disney’s “Tron” [1982]. This is one of those ambiguous movies from my youth. I was 12 years old, and personal computers were still a really new concept for the public at large. Video game arcades were still bigger business that home gaming consoles. This move came off like some sort of techno-magery. The computer graphics still hold up well, probably because they are hyper stylised. Some of the dialog isn’t as timeless as the design aesthetic, but I love the programing jargon that was turned into characters and destinations in the film. They even have a few homages to Star Wars.

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   While this may be, perhaps, only my 4th or 5th time watching this movie, I find that it gets better with age. The 12 year old me found it to be interesting, and at times, exhilarating, but there were plenty of dull areas that he couldn’t appreciate. Fast forward 35 years. There are many things to appreciate and celebrate in Tron. If you have not watched it lately, or ever, grab the family and boot it up. Find the “Making of Tron” if you really want to treat yourself to some nerd nirvana.

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   While you’re at it, check out a favorite early CGI animated show, “Reboot”. More on that show another time.

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Star Wars: The OT Retrospectives

   These retrospectives, by Oliver Harper, are very informative and a “Must Watch” for any fan of the original trilogy. He delves into pre production, filming, merchandising, games, music, and much more. It’s an extremely entertaining watch, or even re-watch. Oliver is a talented editor, plus he is easy to listen to. If you haven’t heard of these before, you’re welcome. If you have, give them a another view… this is my 3rd or 4th time on each.

Of Carrie, Leia, CGI, and Abrupt Endings

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   Not everybody’s story get’s a clean wrap up ending. John Lennon didn’t. JFK didn’t. MLK didn’t. Some people light is extinguished before they have a chance to burn out. We go on and deal with their all to obvious absence. I am OK with seeing a CGI General Leia fall during a surprise attack on the Resistance base.

   What I am NOT OK with is trying to recast the role, just so we can have story integrity. The lived in universe of Star Wars isn’t about neat and clean solutions. Sure there are some oversimplified concepts in the films, but we saw what neat and clean got us in the Prequels. I am not bashing them, they just didn’t have the feel of the originals. Leia needs an ending. It should be while she is serving, in battle. With chaos all around her, the CGI will be much easier to watch because there will be no time to focus on what’s not quite right about the construct.

   Carrie would have loved to have a powerful ending for Leia. CGI is the only answer, unless her ending is detailed in the opening crawl. The crawl would be a huge disservice. She deserves an ending that suits her character.

   We all love Carrie. We all love Leia. They are inseparable [discounting a young Han Solo treatment of her character]. I hope episode 9 sends her off with the respect that any great General deserves.

Executioners from Shaolin turns 40!

   Star Wars isn’t the only film [that I care about] that turns 40 this year. The Shaw Brother’s classic, Executioners from Shaolin, was also released in 1977. It was a great year, I was 7 and having a great time with great shows, and toys… it also was the year my lovely wife was born.

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Paraphrasing Wikipedia: This movie, directed by the late & Great Lau Kar-leung, is a multi-generational story of revenge pitting the disciples of Shaolin temple against the Daoist priest, Pai Mei. [Wudan never mentioned in this film]

Star Wars: What iF Kenner kept Going?

   Ever wanted more vintage style Kenner Star Wars action figures? Or wondered what else they could have come up with in their 5 P.O.A. [five points of articulation] line? I’ve seen companies like Funko make their line of ReAction Figures of properties from the 70’s and 80’s, and hoping that Hasbro might release some throwback style figures is pointless.

   I went on the Imperial Commissary group [a closed Facebook group] and asked the members if they would support such a retro line, and if so which ones would they like to see. The answers were interesting to be sure. More importantly, there were a few posts that told me what I was wishing for was a fact [from a certain point of view].

   They told me about The Vintage Studio! While the site doesn’t host my desired Holiday Special characters, the spirit of this site is vast. Kenner would be proud. They even have a Kenner style product catalog… wonderful!

  The craftsmanship looks to be quality, and I plan on saving up my Imperial Credits to pick up a few. Check out The Vintage Studio… You will NOT be disappointed.

Princess Mononoke 🐺

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Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli (1997)

   So, I guess, I’ve been living under a rock for roughly 20 years now. I have never seen this movie. Sure, I’ve heard of it, but when I watch Japanese Animation it’s usually containing Ninja, Samurai or Giant Mechs & Kaiju. It is entirely understandable how a movie about a “Princess” could fly under my radar. Last week it was being played in select theaters, and a much younger co-worker was all about it. I was curious so that evening I went home and found a trailer for the film. I was surprised to find out that it was just my sort of thing. My wife was impressed as well. I found it on Netflix, the next thing you know it’s here and we’re enjoying it immensely.

   According to the young man that I work with, I have more to look forward to in other titles from Studio Ghibli. I cannot wait!