Posted tagged ‘american pride’

X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men – Movie Review

June 14, 2010

Press Rewind if I Haven't Blown Ya Mind.

What’s that? Pryde of the X-Men isn’t a movie? Well, you’re right in the respect that it isn’t a feature length motion picture. No, instead, it’s a scrapped television pilot sent straight to VHS to in efforts to entice kids and pacify man-children clamoring for yet another animated action adventure. Therefore, as the majority of its target audience would refer to it as ‘my X-Men Movie,’ we’re calling this a Movie Review. On June, 4th 1993 on my first day of summer vacation ever, this VHS was the first videotape I ever rented. Commemorating that anniversary along with the various Pride festivals this past weekend (which, as I discovered, are surprisingly NOT X-Men related at all) made this seem topical. Now, on to business.

Pryde of the X-Men was the first animated adventure starring everyone’s favorite mutants. While they had previously made appearances in the 1960s “Sub-Mariner” cartoon and the 1980s “Spiderman and His Amazing Friends” series, this was their opportunity to carry a half-hour and see if the Blackbird would fly on Saturday Mornings. Well, after failing to connect with test audiences in the mid-80s it was relegated to “Special Presentation” status that networks used to run when they want to make a “special event” of something they know would not and will not lead to anything else. It then remained in the Marvel Vaults until the popular 90s “X-Men” show and 2000s movie made the brand hot again, allowing the pilot to be an ever-flowing teat on the mutant cash cow.

"Oh, Hi X-Men!"

Pride of the X-Men focuses on teenage Kitty Pride’s first day with the team as Magneto storms the X-Mansion and steals Professor X’s iPad valuable supercomputer Cerebro which he needs to redirect a comet to smash into the Earth. The X-Men travel to Magneto’s asteroid and SPOILER ALERT! save the day. Over 20 minutes we get glimpses of potential toys the colorful characters, action and, dare I say, potential conflicts?! Realistically speaking, it’s hard to judge a pilot because, as many forget, most pilots suck. They’re “solid” at absolute best, and even then never really come anywhere near to the level of quality a show can reach. All things considered, I can think of *maybe* two pilot episodes of a show ever that I would consider “good episodes.” That in mind, it’s still just alright.

Watching this for the first time in years, I’m immediately taken aback by how stunning the animation is. This was produced by Toei Animation (most famous for “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers”), and even by their standards the stylization is exceptional. The action is also fluid and the editing is really well done. While the bare-bones story doesn’t allow for much to be done with these tremendous advantages, they really are something special.

The real legacy of Pryde of the X-Men is twofold. Most notably, it’s the basis for the 1992 painfully classic Konami X-Men Six-Person Arcade Game. Yes, the plot was lifted and turned into countless hours of quarter-spending English-butchering action. And by butchered I mean mercilessly slaughtered. Also memorable about the film is the startling revelation that Wolverine is Austrailian. Eerily predicting Hugh Jackman’s involvement with the character by over a decade, legend has it a line of dialogue involving Wolverine mocking an Australian character by calling him a “dingo” went unchanged after the scene was altered to have him addressing a non-Austrailian character. As a result, we have a Canadian character who talks like this:

Overall, the story falling short of the visuals really stands out and make the entire affair somewhat empty. Austrailian Wolverine aside, the voice talent is really well done, and the dialogue so freely using concepts like death and prejudice was pretty ahead of its time, particularly for a Reagan-era cartoon. As a launching point for a series, I can understand the hesitance and its failure is probably for the better with how quickly it would have become dated, as opposed to the timeless far superior 90s incarnation. Still, without factoring nostalgia, it’s a nice artifact of what 80s children’s programming was geared for, with hints of where it was going to go within the next decade.

We give X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men a Three Out of Five.

Oh, and as a bonus, I’ve worked my Catholic magic to put the entire thing up here to watch right now! Hooray internet!

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

Memorial Day – Holiday Review

May 31, 2010

FLAGGRAVESFIREWORKS!

Fire up the BBQ and hose down the BBW, it’s Memorial Day once again! Federally mandated, it’s a solemn day of respectful reflection and INCREDIBLE DEALS ON ELECTRONICS! Seen by many as the official kickoff weekend of summer, Memorial Day is actually a nationally recognized Holiday where we’re supposed to remember those who gave their lives for this country, preserving our freedom here and overseas. I know a lot of you kids with your black fingernail polish, Hot Topic gift certificates and revolutionary rock music may disagree, but in all seriousness I love this country with all my heart and, contrary to how this paragraph may read, take the sacrifice those before us have made to ensure our tremendous fortune pretty seriously. So now, them in mind, let’s take a look at Memorial Day.

Like all good things, Memorial Day originated with black people. In the 1860s following the Civil War, Freedmen (former slaves who were now freed men) began dedicating a day to moving their fallen Union brethren from the mass Confederate graves into proper individual burials. This day (originally May 1st) was marked with sermons, prayers and picnics. Commemorating graves soon became custom in America, ultimately resulting in the holiday being officially named “Decoration Day” in 1868. This date was later moved to May 30th as it “Wasn’t the anniversary of a battle.” There was also a separate day of remembrance for Confederate soldiers on June 3rd until the 1968 Uniform Holidays Bill which moved the now universal Memorial Day to the final Monday of May, giving us all a three-day weekend. Seeing that Memorial Day had its origins in the Civil War and the World War vets wanted their own designated day, Veterans Day was created in 1971 to add more specificity to the original May holiday.

Memorial Day!

Of course, when you’re a child, Memorial Day is the greatest tease of summer there is. Typically the last “day off” before the final week of school, the sleeping in and outdoor shenanigans are that first hit that makes the last four or so day of class unbearable. This made Memorial Day all good until you hit high school and it became a day of “Study” before 2-3 days of nonstop finals. Then the holiday became one of procrastination where I just watched Combat Shock or Naked Lunch and listened to the Lunachicks while I walked around the park or something. Once college (rock and) rolled around and classes ended three weeks prior, I began really observing what the Holiday was about, visiting graveyard and watching actual parades honoring our brave veterans.

But being an obscure rap fan, when I think of Memorial Day, I first think of this –

Possibly the worst anything No Limit ever released.

Wow. What an awful, awful, awful, awful, awful album. I know many of you probably consider “awful” and “No Limit” to go together like a horse and carriage. But ask the local Kangas and he will say “well, during their decade-long existence, No Limit put out 140 (!) releases and by the law of averages, they all can’t suck.” I’m more of a No Limit apologist than most, to the point where four years ago I was writing a book about the label and dove deep into their catalog. I stand by Fiend, Young Bleed, Mac, Tru, Kane & Abel, Mystikal and Mr. Serv-On all having put out good-to-great ahead of their time* albums on the label, but even then I’m not delusional enough to not acknowledge that the tank fired off some of the absolute worst rap CDs and Tapes of all time. Even as someone who owns the Lil Soldiers record, I can state with some authority that Full Blooded’s Memorial Day is quite possibly the far-and-away absolute worst.

“Dog S***,” the apropos above track, is all the evidence I need. Beginning with butchering a Geto Boys quote in an attempted homage, Full Blooded ruins an alright Beats by the Pound production with some of the absolute worst rapping ever released on a national level. Half riding the “I’m a dog” theme, the garbled voice and mushmouthed delivery is Master P’s door-prize record deal distributing at its worst. Not to base an album off one song, but folks, this is as good as it gets. 70+ minutes of Beats By the Pound production wasted on this awful, awful, awful rapper. The saddest part about this is how awesome the packaging looks. Classic No Limit blood-red plastic with a cover that once inspired a friend of mine to write “My grandma is going to be so pissed that Full Blooded is f***ing with my grandpa’s grave at Fort Snelling. He was a paratrooper who fought for his country! You have no right Mr. Blooded!”

So on this Memorial Day, the only day sacred enough to not have a horror film themed after it, remember the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms around the world. Don’t remember the awful album you wouldn’t have known about had I not just written about it and brought it to your attention just now. Cool? Alright, let’s go shopping!

We give the holiday Memorial Day a Four Out of Five.

We give the Full Blooded album Memorial Day a One out of Five.

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

*Remember “conscious” rap fans that No Limit rapper Mac had a song chastising the ignorance of homophobia on his 1999 album World War III at a time when the ever-enlightened Common and Mos Def were letting the word “faggot” fly left and right. Mad progressive, yo.