Tagged: Warner

REVIEW: Marine Boy Season One

MarineBoyS1_1shtThe first wave of anime to arrive in America was usually found in syndication, filler in the mornings and afternoons for the off-network stations in the New York area. It all started with Astro Boy but was quickly followed by Eighth Man and Gigantor, Kimba the White Lion to the Amazing Three. And then there was Marine Boy, the first of the color animated series to be broadcast in America. In his native Japan, the name translated to Undersea Boy Marine and was therefore Americanized.

Produced by Minoru Adachi and Japan Tele-Cartoons, there were 78 episodes in total and the first season or 26 episodes, have now been collected by Warner Archive, which is fitting since Warner was the company to distribute the series back in the 1960s.

Sometime in the future, there lived a boy, maybe 15, remarkable enough to serve as a full-fledged agent of the Ocean Patrol. Their mission was to troll the seven seas and ensuring that the undersea ranching, mineral and oil exploitation, research, and undersea habitats were safe. With all this prosperity above and below the surface, there seemed to be an unending supply of single-minded villains out to seize control of some portion of this prosperity for themselves.

Thankfully, Dr. Mariner and Professor Fumble were on hand to grow and equip the OP with the gear they needed to keep fish and man safe. Various-sized craft were dispatched but the series focused on the P-1, manned by the comedic duo of Bolton and Piper along with the title character. Marine Boy is an all-around all-star, the perfect athlete, swimmer, tactician, etc. He was beloved by all, including sea life in the form of the friendly dolphin Splasher. Since he insists on heading into action, he’s been equipped with a special wetsuit that allows him to withstand the varying pressure changes underwater along with a ring that can whistle for dolphins and the frequently-used oxy-gum. Odd for the water, but he uses a boomerang with deadly accuracy.

He’s also accompanied by Neptina, a slightly younger girl who just happens to be a mermaid. Little was revealed about her race but she wears a pearl around her neck with a wide array of convenient magical powers.

The vocal work is weak, largely because Corinne Orr, best recognized as Speed Racer’s Trixie, performs the roles of Marine Boy, Neptina and Cli Cli, a small boy who idolized Marine Boy. Sharp-eared fans will recognize the tones of Jack Grimes, Peter Fernandez, and Jack Curtis.

The stories are all long before ecological issues were common so were far more typical adventures such as investigating what happened at drilling Satellite Station 23 or the self-proclaimed Emperor of the Pacific Empire. There’s a certain simple charm to them even if the criminal mastermind of the week grew a little tiring.

Growing up, I never warmed to the show although my siblings liked it well enough. It was certainly engaging enough back in the day and was clearly a stepping stone to the American market and other projects.

The Jetsons Season 2 Volume 2

Warner Archive has been doing an excellent job dipping into the vaults and finding films and television shows for all ages, producing them on-demand for the seriously interested fan. What seems baffling, though, is the time between some of their releases. Take The Jetsons, no, not the 1962 gem but the 1980s revival. Warner released season one from this Saturday morning show a while back and then offered up the first 21 episodes from season two in June 2009. Finally, The Jetsons Season 2, Volume 2 has been released, in time for the holiday season.

Originally, this futuristic situation comedy was modeled at the popular Jackie Gleason series The Honeymooners but found its own voice as the space age family of the future lived a life most families dreamed of: push button cooking, self-folding cars, machines to dress you and help with makeup. It was all far from perfect as we used to see during the end credits as the treadmill George Jetson used to walk Astro went haywire.

Despite a single season of prime time, the original show went on to syndication nirvana, appearing weekdays during the afternoons or weekends as part of the Saturday morning lineup throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The revival was purely kid stuff as you can tell from the more juvenile plotting and more outrageous situations the family found itself in. In addition, young Elroy befriended Orbitty, a fuzzy alien as a sidekick – a seemingly mandatory Hanna-Barbera touch and since they already had a dog, an alien was the next best addition. Also joining the extended supporting cast was Mr. Spacely’s brother Orwell whose inventions propelled more than a few plots.

The stories found in these two discs all have their moments of slapstick and warm humor along with moral lessons they all learn, although George seems to be the one most in need of help. We also get heavy doses of stories lifted from other works such as “Elroy in Wonderland” and “The Swiss Family Jetson” which kick off the set and “A Jetson Christmas Carol” which closes out the season. They also parody the popular ABC series Fantasy Island with “Fantasy Planet” although it just made me miss Ricardo Montalban. In “Jetson’s Millions”, George wins a lottery and suddenly is part of the same class as the Spacely’s and an unflattering rivalry ensues.

The characters are true to form with George lazy as ever, Jane occasionally giving in to her wild side with disastrous results, boycrazy Judy, and prototypical good boy Elroy. We see their fortunes rise and fall, success coupled with failure and an enduring optimism that keeps you coming back for more. The family housekeeping robot Rosie is nowhere near seen often enough.

The synthesizer sounds added to the score somewhat date the episodes along with the topical references which viewers today may find puzzling. The computer animation also makes things look a bit different than the original cel animated style. As you would expect, transfers from 1980s material are pretty clean but not perfect. The sound is fine and overall, it’s nice to have these for your home, even if they are inferior to the original series.

 

 

 

Superman The Complete Anthology

It’s interesting to watch how time and again, writers, artists, moviemakers, and studio executives struggle to find ways to adapt the very first comic book super-hero. Superman was something readers (and rival publishers) had never seen before, and he served as the template for the heroic fantasy that followed these last seven decades. When you have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, you need visionaries to bring the character from the printed page to other media. Robert Maxwell figured out how to do that with the popular radio serial. In fact, Maxwell came up with various characters and concepts that seeped into the comics, a symbiosis that made both stronger.

I was given to considering Superman in his many forms when the eight-disc Superman The Complete Anthology Blu-ray set arrived for review. Warner Home Video has taken all the previous versions and spruced them up a bit, added some new features, and placed them in a handsome box. Despite the uneven content, this is a must-have for fans.

When the Fleischer brothers got a chance to animate the Man of Steel, they set the standard that all other animators have emulated or strived to match. It certainly raised the bar when Superman came to the movie serials, with Kirk Allyn looking the part but the low budget and low-tech kept his feats to the above-average, not super-human. Things got somewhat better with the George Reeve television series of the 1950s, imprinting the archetype on two generations of television watchers and comics readers. Again, Maxwell receives credit for his serious translation to the half hour demands of syndicated television before he left and it got dumbed down in subsequent seasons. (more…)

Warner now lets you upgrade TV DVDs to Blu-Ray editions

Warner now lets you upgrade TV DVDs to Blu-Ray editions

Warner just sent out word that their successful program to allow fans to upgrade their existing DVD films to Blu-ray editions has now been expanded to include television series. If you’re like me, this is welcome news. Here’s the official release:

Converting your TV collection on DVD to Blu-ray just got easier with the addition of several TV favorites now eligible for upgrade on DVD2Blu.com.

Starting today, through TV on DVD2BLU, consumers can now experience their favorite television series again for the very first time in stunning 1080p picture quality and crisp, superior sound that only comes from a Blu-ray Disc.  Titles such as “Smallville”, “The Sopranos”, “Fringe”, “Supernatural” and more can be upgraded for as low as $14.95 plus shipping.  Consumers who place orders of over $35 will receive free shipping.    

The process to upgrade is simple.  Consumers select the titles they want to upgrade on DVD2BBLU.com, mail in their standard DVDs with pre-paid postage and a short time later receive copies of the same title and complete season on Blu-ray.  See below for a complete list of TV titles available for upgrade with DVD2Blu.com:
 
$19.95

  • Smallville Season 8
  • Supernatural Season 1
  • Supernatural Season 4
  • Chuck Season 2
  • Fringe S1
  • The Sopranos S1

 $14.95

  • Smallville Season 6
  • Smallville Season 7
  • Supernatural Season 3
  • Chuck Season 1
  • Pushing Daisies S1
  • Pushing Daisies S2
  • Terminator SCC S1
  • Terminator SCC S2
  • Nip/Tuck S4
Warner to Release ‘Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics’ in November

Warner to Release ‘Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics’ in November

The long-awaited documentary, Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics, screened at Comic-Con International and was previously announced as being included as a bonus in the forthcoming Batman Beyond complete series boxset. Now we have word that the crown jewel of the company’s 75th anniversary celebration will be available on its own this November.

Here are the official details:

BURBANK, CA (August 11, 2010) – Warner Bros. Pictures presents an enthralling examination of the creative forces behind the World’s Greatest Super Heroes in Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics, an all-new documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes of the iconic company with unprecedented access to the Warner Bros. and DC Comics archives. Narrated by Ryan Reynolds, Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics will be distributed by Warner Home Video on November 9, 2010 on DVD for $24.98 (SRP). Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics will also be available On Demand and for Download.

Behind the amazing tales of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and a host of other well-known characters is the equally impressive story of the challenges, creativity and triumphs of the company that brought those characters to life. Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics is both a celebration of the best writers and artists in comics and a thoughtful exploration of 75 years of DC Comics history.

Produced by the Academy Award ® -nominated team behind Spellbound (Feature Documentary), Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics combines excerpts from comics, films and television series with the insight of some of history’s most influential comic book creators and editors, among them Neal Adams, Karen Berger, Mike Carlin, Dan DiDio, Neil Gaiman, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Paul Levitz, Dwayne McDuffie, Grant Morrison, Dennis O’Neil, Paul Pope, Louise Simonson, Mark Waid, Len Wein, and Marv Wolfman.

Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics is written and directed by Mac Carter. Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound, The Office) served as executive producer. Producer is Gregory Noveck and co-producer is Ivan Cohen.  Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics is produced by Sean Welch and Janet Eckholm.

“From the bans to the breakthroughs, from humble pulp beginnings to the literary rise of the graphic novel, the story of DC Comics holds a mirror to an ever-evolving enterprise and the society reflected in its comic book pages,” said Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment. “It’s a true American story – Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics is a riveting, exciting, surprising revelation of that fascinating history and the men and women who forged it.”

Warner adds ‘Superman II’, ‘V’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and More Genre Titles to DVD2Blu Program

Warner adds ‘Superman II’, ‘V’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and More Genre Titles to DVD2Blu Program

Apparently, Warner Bros. has achieved success with their program of allowing people to upgrade from standard DVD to Blu-ray and has announced an expansion of the DVD2Blu program. The studio called our attention to the growing number of genre titles that ComicMix fans were most likely to be interested in exploring.

This program is a nice idea as is their Archive programming, effectively producing Disc on Demand offerings from their library. Now, if only they would offer some of those lost and forgotten films also in Blu-ray. Maybe in the future. In the meantime, here’s the press release:

Burbank, Calif., May 6, 2010 – Responding to the extraordinary growth of Blu-ray set-top hardware, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has expanded its “DVD2Blu” upgrade program. Starting today, consumers can select from 90 of Warner Home Video’s most popular titles to upgrade that include the action-packed “Under Siege” and “Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut” as well as classics from the 1980s including “Risky Business” and “The Lost Boys.”   

According to recently published figures by the Digital Entertainment Group, sales of Blu-ray hardware for the first quarter of 2010 increased by 125 percent over the same period in 2009.  The DVD2Blu program will serve as a great way for new Blu-ray owners to jump start their Blu-ray Disc collections.

Launched in 2009, DVD2Blu.com is a site that allows consumers to upgrade the movies they already own on DVD to Blu-ray Disc™, the absolute best in 1080p high definition picture and sound. The process to upgrade is simple. Consumers select the titles they want to upgrade on DVD2Blu.com, mail in their standard DVDs with pre-paid postage and a short time later receive copies of the same film on Blu-ray Disc. Titles such as “V for Vendetta,” “Deliverance” and “Ocean’s Eleven” can be upgraded for as little as $4.95 plus shipping and handling charges.  For a complete list of titles visit DVD2Blu.com. 

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group is proud to be an environmentally friendly company and will recycle all DVDs mailed for upgrade.  The discs will be processed and used for future plastic packaging. 
     

(more…)

Fox and Warner go all in on ‘Watchmen’, will let judge decide instead of jury

Fox and Warner go all in on ‘Watchmen’, will let judge decide instead of jury

Here’s your latest test for geekdom: On January 20th, are you going to be more excited by Barack Obama’s inauguration, or by the court hearing to see if Fox can block Warner Brothers from releasing Watchmen?

The two studios have agreed to let Judge Gary Feess decide whether Fox is entitled to an injunction blocking release of the film, instead of going to a jury trial which would delay the release.  The hearing is currently schedule to begin on January 20th, unless the judge grants Warners’ request to move the hearing to an earlier date.

In addition to the agreement that the judge can decide the case, the two have agreed that neither will oppose requests to expedite an appeal.

 

My take? So it’s delayed. You kids today– you don’t even know what a delay is. I remember the months of delays just waiting for Watchmen #11 to come out, in the middle of a huge cliffhanger. Don’t even get me started on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3 or Camelot 3000 #12. (Oh, and while you’re at it, get off my lawn.) That said, I’m certainly looking closely at the outcome.

Fox Wants to Delay ‘Watchmen’ Release

Fox Wants to Delay ‘Watchmen’ Release

Warner Bros and 20th-Century Fox attorneys met with U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess on Monday for a conference in the wake of the Christmas Eve ruling saying 20th had rights to The Watchmen after all.

Fox’s lawyer indicated that the studio would seek to delay the schedule March 6 release which has sent fans awaiting the Zack Snyder-directed feature into despair.

Warner’s attorney, Stephen A. Marenberg, made it clear they were ready to go to trial, as scheduled for January 20 and remain defiant of the ruling. "We respectfully but vigorously disagree with the court’s ruling and are exploring all of our appellate options. We continue to believe that Fox’s claims have no merit and that we will ultimately prevail, whether at trial or in the Court of Appeals. We have no plans to move the release date of the film," the studio said according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We continue to believe that Fox’s claims have no merit and that we will ultimately prevail, whether at trial or in the Court of Appeals."

When he steered the argument back to the core issues, Feess said, “I have spent more time than I think you can imagine working on your case at a time when I didn’t expect to be working on it.” As a result, he was looking for remedies not rehashing.

"We are gratified by the recognition of our rights in the Judge’s order, which speaks for itself," Fox said in a statement.

Fox’s contention has been that their agreement with producer Lawrence Gordon required him to offer them first dibs on the feature each time it was reconfigured.  They claim the Zack Snyder version, which was ultimately filmed, was never offered to them. Gordon, who has not been named in the lawsuit, did not testify during the hearings to date and Feess said Monday that his silence hurt Warners’ case. “The court takes a dim view of this conduct,” Feess wrote as a footnote to his December 24 ruling, according to The New York Times. “The court will not, during the remainder of this case, receive any evidence from Gordon that attempts to contradict any aspect of this court’s ruling on the copyright issues under discussion.”

Warner has said when they signed with Gordon, he never mentioned his obligation to Fox and if anyone owes the studio money, it should be the producer not Warner Bros.

Judge’s Ruling Favors 20th Over Warner on ‘Watchmen’

Judge’s Ruling Favors 20th Over Warner on ‘Watchmen’

Judge Gary Allen Feess handed Warner Bros. a legal lump of coal on Christmas Eve, as he issued a brief ruling indicating 20th-Century Fox has the distribution rights to Watchmen, according to Variety.

His five-page ruling said, “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture.”

Frees, over the fall, urged Warner Bros. and 20th to iron out their differences.  He repeated the suggestion in the document, saying, “The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review.” Warner is set to release the film on March 6, 2009.

Fox acquired the rights from DC Comics in the 1980s with producer Lawrence Gordon’s production company.  When 20th lost interest, Gordon moved the project to Universal and Paramount Pictures before landing it with Warner, parent company to DC.

Fox contends that Gordon never obtained all rights from them and they have a controlling interest in the highly-anticipated feature based on the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic.

Given the holidays, Freees promised a lengthier explanation prior to the January 20 trial date.  Warner Bros. had no comment on Wednesday.

‘Watchmen’ Trial Pushed to January 20

‘Watchmen’ Trial Pushed to January 20

The eagerly awaited trial pitting 20th Century Fox against Warner Bros. over The Watchmen has been delayed from January 6 to January 20, according to Variety. On Monday, Judge Gary Allen Feess declined to “issue a ruling on whether Fox or Warner Bros. controls the rights to the project.”

The delay is a result of the judge having a criminal matter also scheduled for the 6th, which takes precedence over Hollywood behemoths. He declined both sides’ request for summary judgment regarding the rights, saying, “the contracts between Fox and Watchmen producer Larry Gordon are so open to interpretation that a trial is required.”

Warner insists the movie will still open, as scheduled, on March 6.

Watchmen has had a complicated history from when the rights were first sold to Fox in 1986.  The rights have been with Warners once before, when Joel Silver and Terry Gilliam were attached to produce and direct, respectively.  Universal had the rights for what seem like 15 minutes where they had David Hayter write a draft of the script.  Creator Alan Moore praised this draft saying it was, “as close as I could imagine anyone getting to Watchmen.”  The Hayter draft was the basis for the version that was eventually filmed.  After Universal the project went to Paramount, who dropped the project because of budget issues as management changed from Sherry Lansing to Brad Grey.  Paramount has received the international distribution rights in exchange for their turnaround rights.

The issue of contention comes from an agreement between Fox and producer Lawrence Gordon.  Gordon has been attached to the project since it’s inception and when his company, Largo International, dissolved he purchased the rights from Fox and moved it around until the film found it’s final home with Warner, parent company to DC Comics which published the maxiseries in the first place.  Fox contends that their deal with Gordon required him to resubmit the film to Fox every time there was a changed element.  In this context "element" can mean anything from a new subplot to a new starring actor.  Fox says that Gordon’s failure to do this when the project moved to Warner and acquired director Zack Snyder means that they retain some of the rights to make this film.

Fox said they spent in excess of $1 million in developing the film before giving up and Gordon has said he has paid nearly $400,000 to Fox to settle that debt.

Warner contends that they have settled all the rights issues through their settlement with Paramount, the previous rights holder.  They dispute that Fox has any claim on the property at all.

Fox’s suit, filed in February, contends that it retains distribution rights to the graphic novel penned by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons. It asserts that Gordon’s option to acquire Fox’s remaining interest in "Watchmen" was never exercised, thereby leaving Fox with its rights under a 1994 turnaround agreement.