Saturday 29 August 2009

DVD Reviews

Robot Chicken: Star Wars - Episode II
Seth Green
Revolver Entertainment

Review by Blake Harmer

Seth Green’s cult TV sketch show is back for more Star Wars themed gags after the success of the first compilation, and whilst the first compilation seemed to have merely taken the Star Wars sketches from the TV show and put them together in a half hour show. It seems they have given the second compilation some special treatment, and it shows.

For those who don’t know what Robot Chicken is, it is a series of 5-10 minute shorts that act as a sketch show but the events are being played out by action figures. Be it joke adverts for My Little Apocalypse Pony, Mr T fighting Fools with the Foo Fighters, or a piss take of seven using the Smurfs to retell the story. It’s insane surreal stuff that only a geeky genius like Seth Green would invent. But being a fan of the show’s biggest influence, which is cult comic strip Twisted Toyfare Theatre, I think it’s fantastic. This special half hour compilation is purely based around the Star Wars universe.

Being a huge fan of Star Wars, I was hugely entertained by this second compilation. The laughs come thick and fast, and there is hardly a single sketch that won’t raise a chuckle. In comparison to it’s competitor which is Family Guy’s Blue Harvest, I found it was a lot funnier and also chose to make sketches about the characters in different situations rather than just doing comedy versions of bits of the film (which Robot Chicken does do, and even funnier I might add). The DVD also contains a wealth of bonus features, including two bonus episodes from the TV series. I also loved the fact that they managed to get a lot of the original cast to do voices for the show, including Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian).

The only downside to such an entertaining program would be the fact that, at the end of the day, the program is only half an hour long, and seeing that the DVD is retailing at around the £12 mark is very expensive considering you can get a full TV series for just a few pounds more. But it is a question of quality over quantity.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Comical slicing and blowing up of characters, not overly gory seeing as they are just action figures. There is an awful lot of Ewok death in the compilation. But that just makes it more awesome.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Used infrequently but to great comic effect. Sadly all swearing is bleeped, but I think that is at the choice of the creators to make it sound more comical.
Summary: An excellent compilation especially aimed at the incredibly geeky Star Wars fans. Fans of Robot Chicken will enjoy it as well, although probably not as much if they are not into Star Wars, too. As mentioned before, it is incredibly short. But it is a question of quality over quantity, so I would recommend you wait for this to come down in price before purchasing it unless you can’t wait to sample this slice of comic awesomeness. 9/10

The Chaser (Chugyeogja)
Hong-Jin Na
In 2 Film

Review by Blake Harmer

Have you ever seen a film that has received so much critical praise that, when you finally watch the film, you cannot see why everyone thought it was so amazing? Normally when this happens to me it’s just some big summer blockbuster that everyone gets swept up by the hype of it only to be hugely disappointed when you finally see it (Brad regularly refers to this feeling as Phantom Menace Syndrome, which sadly shortens to PMS). However, when I was given The Chaser to review, I will admit that I hadn’t heard of it, but big reviewers such as Total Film and Jonathan Ross loved it, so I thought it was going to be awesome, especially with a premise like this:

The Chaser is modern day thriller revolves around an ex-Detective turned Pimp (I am not making this up) called Jung-Ho. Two of his girls have run out on him and he decides to send out one of his last girls, Mi Jin, on a last minute job to bring in some money. However, it is only after he’s sent Mi Jin to the place that he finds out that he had sent her to the last place the other two girls were sent to. Suspecting the girls had been sold he goes to track down the client. Unable to locate the house Mi Jin went to, Jung Ho almost gives up before he crashes into the car of the client. After beating the client and then them both being arrested, Jung-Ho finds out that the client had murdered the girls but Mi Jin could still be alive. But with no evidence, and very few clues, Jung Ho and the police only have 12 hours to find the home and Mi Jin before they have to release the killer.

First of all, I would like to say that I did enjoy this film, the acting is good, the film does take a slightly different direction to most other thrillers of its type, and the plot is engaging and interesting enough to keep you entertained all the way up to its conclusion. I also liked the fact that the violence in it was quite realistic and brutal, and sometimes in a sickening way. Such as the murderer killing his victims by hammering a chisel into their head.

However, at the end of the day, this film just didn’t blow me away. I thought the film was very linear and contained no real plot twist, which I have come to expect from the genre and I therefore found, from a certain point in the film, that I could predict everything that was going to happen. You could argue that the film was different enough from other thrillers to not require a plot twist. However, when you can see what is going to happen from about two thirds into the film, it makes any new and original elements of the film seem redundant, as you knew it was going to happen.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Dark, brutal and realistic violence, blood is plentiful when the killer is committing his deeds but, all in all, all violence and gore is spread out thinly throughout the film to make them all the more impressive when you do see them.
Sex/Nudity: You see some pictures of boobs at the beginning but that’s it.
Swearing: Very common but used in anger and anguish realistically, rather than just shouting "fuck" for the sake of it.
Summary: This is a good film, and for fans of both Asian cinema and of the thriller genre this is well worth a watch. However, it just didn’t amaze me like it obviously has with other big reviewers and I ended up feeling disappointed by it. 7/10,

1 comment:

  1. I really don't know how, considering my tastes, but 'Robot Chicken' has managed to completed slip under my radar. I really must rectify this at some point. I wouldn't pay full price for a DVD when the running time is only half an hour though, 'quality over quantity' arguments be damned.