The Sign of Zorro

The Sign of Zorro.
Walt Disney Pictures 1958.

Before watching the movie:

I previously reviewed The Mask of Zorro, but where that is a reboot, this appears to be the actual origin story. I can kind of see now that maybe the other movie didn’t want to reintroduce audiences to a hero who can do the things he does mainly because he’s wealthy. We accept it in Batman because Batman has never been that far away from popular culture, but Zorro’s time in our collective imagination has mostly passed. So instead of a Bruce Wayne story, the reboot gave audiences Terry McGinnis. But I’m not here to talk about “Mask”.

I’m expecting a pretty straightforward classic adventure story, where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad, and right is restored in the end.

Continue reading

Good Burger

Good Burger. Paramount Pictures 1997.

Before watching the movie:

I always thought this was the movie of a series, but it turns out that this is the expansion of a recurring sketch from All That. Keenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell were Keenan And Kel on a completely different (eponymous) show, and Keenan’s character in this movie was not in the All That sketches. All of this just goes to demonstrate that while lots of kids my age were watching All That and Keenan and Kel, I didn’t have Nickelodeon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Limelight Entertainment 1990.

Before watching the movie:

I am broadly aware of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, but I was never all that into it. I briefly thought I was going to watch the cartoon series, but I was given a parental directive to choose one violent show between TMNT and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and I chose the latter. Then a few weeks later I abruptly decided the whole premise of MMPR was silly and dropped it.

Apparently there’s a well-known easter egg that in one telling of the Turtles’ origin story, the radioactive ooze that made them was also involved in making Daredevil. That’s pretty neat. That will not be relevant to this movie.

Continue reading

The Avengers

The Avengers. Warner Bros. 1998.

Before watching the movie:

What can be said about this big-budget adaptation of a beloved, long-lasting sci-fi/fantasy/action/adventure franchise? This movie that brought people’s childhood fantasies to the big screen in an ambitious project that had never been done before? The first time moviegoers assembled for The Avengers?

Of course, I mean the 1998 adaptation of the British ITV series from the 60s. What else could I be referring to?

Continue reading

Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo. Mosaic Media Group 2002.

Before watching the movie:

As someone who was not a fan of Scooby-Doo in the early 2000s, my main impression of this was that, if there was a right way to make a live action Scooby-Doo movie, this wasn’t it. The characters looked overly stylized, and the CGI dog was neither cartoon nor real, just a CGI mess.

I’ve since enjoyed some of the Mystery Incorporated reconstructive take on the franchise, and I have enough familiarity with it to know this probably at least isn’t the worst version.

Continue reading

McHale’s Navy

McHale's Navy. Universal Pictures 1997.
McHale’s Navy. Universal Pictures 1997.

Before watching the movie: This looks way too similar to Down Periscope. Though that’s probably just because of the closeness of subject matter. And tropes of 90s poster design. Some months ago, when I learned of the existence of this movie and queued it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to appraise it well without a better appreciation of the TV show, so I recorded and watched a handful of episodes. I’m sure the rest of the boat was distinctly characterized if one paid attention over the course of the series, but really only four characters stood out to me. So I’m already not too bothered with the fact that they clearly seem to have changed that lineup to move with the times. However, that would just leave a shell of legacy over a story that would otherwise be its own thing. Continue reading

Coneheads

Coneheads. Paramount Pictures 1993.
Coneheads. Paramount Pictures 1993.

Before watching the movie:

Have I seen this before?  There’s something special in my memory about Coneheads, but I can’t quite place it. I’m fairly sure that I had a friend in Kindergarten or first grade who talked about it fondly, but the only concrete recollection I have is that there were a few clips of it in a Paramount promotional montage on a couple of tapes I liked to watch a lot. And more recently, I’ve seen some of the original sketches. Since my memories are so hazy, and there are a few alternative options, I’m going to conclude for now that I haven’t seen it before, and if I did, it was so long ago that nothing really stuck and my view will still be fresh. However, in the interest of transparency, I’m making this decision public.

While not as widely talked about as other Saturday Night Live spinoffs, this seems to have a pretty positive reputation. The concept certainly offers room for a full-fledged plot and lends itself to a higher budget. In fact, it may be so much more of a movie concept than a sketch concept that it becomes hard to remember it got its start on SNL, like Blues Brothers.

Continue reading