Original Video: XBONED

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What the 20th Anniversary of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers means to this fan.

No one will ever take them down. The power lies on their side...GO GO Power Rangers!

Exactly 20 years ago yesterday (Yeah I know, i’m a day late! Busy life is busy…) the first episode, “Day of the Dumpter” of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers premiered. After that, it’s all history.

It’s crazy to think that this show is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. I’ve already celebrated Jurassic Park’s 20th anniversary this year (June 11th, respectively). Man do i feel old. I think i’m gonna go cry now…

Where was I? Ah yes, I remember coming home from school and rushing through my homework just so I could watch the Power Rangers in action. It was something that I could look forward to and I always had my toys with me when the show was playing just so i could re-enact the show as it went. I would even transform my toy Megazord when it would on the show.

Yes, I still buy the toys.

Yes, I still buy the toys.

As a kid, the show was entertaining, fun and awesome just for the fact that 6 teens got to morph into awesome costumes and control amazing machines (Zords) while defeating Rita and Zedd, whilst saving the city that the love.

20 years later however, there is more to this show than meets the eye.

I want to say that I acknowledge that the show can be campy, and have some lame dialogue at times, but this show has a lot of heart and teaches children, and adults for that matter, some really great lifelong morals.

One of the many things this show has taught me that has stuck with me is the importance of not abusing power. One of the things that Zordon, the Power Rangers leader, taught them is to never abuse the powers that have been given to them, otherwise they lose that power. For my generation, this is the equivalent of when Uncle Ben tells Peter Parker that with great power comes great responsibility. It taught me to never abuse power and I feel that 20 years later, that’s a very important message.

However, the most important messages that I took from the show and what I still think of when I watch it is, team work, self sacrifice and committing to something bigger than yourself.

Throughout the run of the show, it was stressed that team work was very important to the success of the team, but also very much needed as a community and as friends. It teaches us that we can put faith and trust in others and allows us to help others in need when they need it. It also teaches us that we don’t have to be selfish and that being a team player pays off for everyone.

These characters were thrust into a position to save the world and while initially reluctant, they know that saving the city and others from evil is the right thing to do, even if it means putting themselves in harms way or possibly facing death. Numerous times throughout the show the Rangers gave up their power coins just so that Rita and Zedd wouldn’t cause anymore harm than they had already. It’s these messages that makes this show last, even if it has a kind of cheesy exterior.

These are the kinds of role models I grew up with. These guys, and girls, were my heroes. The generation before me had Superman and comic books, I had Power Rangers.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a Power Ranger as an adult. As an adult, I can be a Power Ranger. I just don’t need the suit or the Zords to do so.

Avenged Sevenfold Hail To The King Album Review

If I could describe how I feel about this album in one word, that word would be…disappointed.

This is not to say that this is the worst album of all time, but for this band, it surely is not their best and it shows how much creativity that the REV (R.I.P.) brought to this band. One of the great things about this band is how atmospheric their albums have been. They are dark, brooding, have amazing solos, have meaningful lyrics and all of them seem to tell tales of epic proportions. This album fails to do that. It doesn’t really give off any kind of atmosphere and lacks the punch that made the previous albums so great. The album just sounds like a Metallica tribute and sadly I kinda figured this is where they were going when they did Nightmare, where the riffs, drums and vocals had a kind of Metallica sound to them, but at the time it hadn’t taken over their style. The Avenged style was still there, but this album is where they have lost most of that style/sound that made them at least relatively unique.

Despite the fact that the album disappoints, there are a few good songs worth noting. Hail To The King was good, same with Doing Time, and Heretic. These songs felt a little more like the Avenged Sevenfold sound that I know and love. However, I feel that they have let their influences take over their sound and this album is no better than Diamonds In The Rough, which was just a mediocre album in itself. Maybe I need a little more time for the album to sink in, but at the moment, this album is mediocre and hopefully, time will change my mind. As it stands, I’m gonna give this album a 6.5/10.

-Steven

Independence Day Movie Review

Alien_Independence_Day

Guess who’s coming to dinner.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

I wanted to take a few minutes to review quite possibly the biggest 4th of July movie of all time, and that is Independence Day. As a kid, I loved this movie and remember it being one of the best times i’ve had at the theater. But in recent years I haven’t taken the time to sit down and watch it. Not that I think it’s bad, I just haven’t taken the time to commit to watching it with my busy schedule of writing, and reviewing other media. With that said, here is my review of Independence Day!

The Good

One of my favorite aspects of this movie is the casting. I’ve always been a big fan of Jeff Goldblum (this movie happened 3 years after Jurassic Park so at the time, I just called him Ian Malcolm), and Will Smith respectively. They all played their roles well and you could tell that everyone was having fun playing their character. This movie also made Bill Pullman a household name to me.

Much like Juarssic Park, and Jaws, we don’t get much Alien screen time. As a kid I really wanted to see the Aliens right from the get go, but upon further viewing, I like that they waited a while to reveal the aliens to us. Speaking of the aliens, I really liked the design choice as well. They have a humanoid look to them without looking too cheesy but also look really creepy, especially when they are wearing the biomech suit.

Spine tingling.

Spine tingling.

A quick note, the miniatures and sets that were used all look great. Even today, seeing a huge alien space ship right over the White House and Empire State building still give chills down my spine.

Let’s not forget, one of the greatest movie speeches of all time from Bill Pullman aka Mr. President himself.

The Bad

At times, the acting in this movie can be over the top or just plain bad. Some coming from Will Smith, some coming from Bill Pullman, and several actors. I don’t think it detracts from the movie much, but there are times where you can tell it’s kinda meh.

The CGI at times is a little rough. You can definitely tell the difference between a CGI shot and practical effects shot most of the time. It’s not horrible, but it’s definitely noticeable.

I also thought it was kind of chessy that in order to defeat the aliens, we had to upload a virus to their mother ship. I can’t really explain why, but it just seemed improbable, ironically enough.

No ugly from me today. Might come off as a little biased, but I don’t care.

Recap and Score

Likeable characters, great imagery, cool villain, some bad cgi and acting, and a cheesy way to defeat the enemy. Minus the poor aspects of the movie, I think this is one of those definitive summer blockbuster movies that everyone should see, which is why I am going to give this movie an 8/10.

-Steven

Arrested Development Season 4 Review

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The oh-so-lovable Bluth family.

Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one writer who had no choice but to critique the new season.

With the long-awaited premiere of Season 4 of Arrested Development, Netflix has undone a huge mistake.

Flash back to 2006: Fox pulls the plug on Arrested Development due to low ratings, despite the show having a cult following (someone explain to me how that works…?). Fox, however, didn’t exactly use the best marketing techniques for the show back in the day. Even I found myself guilty of seeing a commercial for the show and thinking “man this looks boring.”

I later watched an episode and hastily repented my sins.

2013: Netflix releases the long-awaited Season 4 of the show. How did it bode with people? Well, that’s why I’m writing this lovely review and doing all this hard work for you people (don’t tell me watching television is hard, you didn’t have to sit through Victorious).

First, I should mention the completely different episode format they went with for this season: each episode is 30+ minutes, they each focus on one member of the Bluth family, and according to series creator Mitch Hurwitz, they’re “experimental,” meaning they can supposedly be watched in any order. Because most people obviously love skipping to the final episode of the season and watching it backwards. Like a normal person, however, I watched all 15 episodes in order.

So, this show being one of my absolute favorites on TV, what did I think of it? Well…let’s start with the positives first.

Once again, we have the original actors returning to reprise their roles as the members of the incredibly-dysfunctional-but-oh-so-loveable Bluth family. There’s also a myriad of guest stars, including *takes deep breath*: Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, Max Winkler, Henry Winkler, Mary Lynn Rajskub, John Beard, John Slattery, Ed Begley Jr., Rizwan Manji, Ed Helms, Chris Diamantopoulos, Maria Bamford, Scott Baio, Ron Howard, Judy Greer, Carl Weathers, John Krasinski, James Lipton, Conan O’Brien, Andy Richter, Liza Minelli, Terry Crews (seriously you’re still reading this?), Mae Whitman, Ben Stiller, and Justin Grant Wade, just to name a few. Trust me, there’s more. It’s like an overpacked box of celebrity cameo happiness.

If you’ve followed the show in the past, you’ll recognize most of these cameos. If you haven’t been following the show…why are you reading this and starting with season 4? Seriously, you have Netflix, go back and watch the previous 3 seasons. This review will still be here.

The episodes take place over a period of 5 years, showing what happened with each character between the ending of the last season, and Cinco de Quatro, a holiday that Lucille Bluth began to spite Cinco de Mayo. The overall plot of the season is done in a very clever way, linking each episode together without you even realizing it until later. If you’re confused at first about some things (and trust me, a LOT of people were), just hold out and it’ll all be explained over time.

As usual, the show has its blend of humor ranging from the very subtle, to the in-your-face gags. There are some running gags from the older seasons that are brought back and work perfectly. Heck, there’s even some gags from the very early episodes of the show that are brought back that you may or may not remember. Might wanna dust off your DVD sets of the earlier 3 seasons just in case, because you’ll likely need them to remember everything that happened prior to season 4.

Now, for the moment everybody’s been waiting for, the things that I didn’t really like about the new season. The things that irked me or rubbed me the wrong way. The things that were in the back of my mind while watching that were like a horrible voice of reason (seriously, I just can’t shut my brain off while watching TV). To clear this up right now though: none of these things were terrible. None of these things would prevent me from going back and watching the entire season again, or buying it if/when it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray.

The first and foremost thing: the fact that each episode only stars one character, with occasional appearances of a second character. One of the things that made this show so hilarious in the past was the characters’ personalities, and how they could just bounce off each other so easily. They were so believable and convincing that I honestly forgot they were just actors. In fact, some of my most memorable scenes from the previous seasons came from the entire Bluth family sitting in one room together and watching them go at it.

We don’t get that here. Instead, Michael gets a couple episodes, Gob gets a couple episodes, George Michael gets a couple episodes, Buster gets an episode, Tobias gets an episode (and maybe one or two gay jokes…yeah, if you were hoping to see that, you’re out of luck), and so on. There’s one scene in the entire season where the entire family is together in one room. To me, it just didn’t feel like true Arrested Development. Although to be fair, I’ve heard that due to the actors’ schedules, they couldn’t all be there at once to film episodes, so the writers had to work around that, something they did very well.

One of the staples of the show was how everything could be going okay until the last few minutes of an episode, and then out of nowhere, things would get incredibly chaotic and everything would fall apart (perfect example: go back and watch the episode Mr. F). This season just feels…much more calm. It felt more like I was watching pilot episodes for spin-off shows based on each member of the Bluth family.

Something else that bothered me was how mean spirited this season could be at times. Obviously the Bluth family was a bunch of jerks in the previous season, but they were still loveable despite that. This season, however…well, for a good example, just go watch Buster’s episode, which was just kind of depressing (especially since Buster is one of my favorite characters).

Okay, those were the major things for me. I’ll mention a couple other small things and then wrap it up here.

Without giving too much away, there are a lot, and I mean A LOT of unresolved plot issues in this season. However, I’m relatively positive that these will be resolved in the upcoming Arrested Development movie (something which is teased all throughout the season).

Also: Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen as Lucille and George Bluth in flashback scenes.

Let me Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V that for you: Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogen as Lucille and George Bluth in flashback scenes.

Errr…not that I have anything against these actors, but…why? What was wrong with just slapping a wig on Jeffrey Tambor’s head like in the past? These two were just…kind of awkward and stiff. They really didn’t make me believe that they were truly Lucille and George from 20-something years ago. I thought having Jessica Walters and Jeffrey Tambor playing their own characters in flashback scenes was always funny. Seriously, try to imagine the old “and that’s why you always do this and this” scenes from the first season without Jeffrey Tambor in them. Not the same, is it?

Well, I think I’ve rambled on long enough, so what’s my final verdict?

Absolutely check out Season 4. Wait WHAT?! Didn’t I just complain about it for like 20 minutes?!

Well, in the end, it’s still Arrested Development. It’s still the characters we’ve come to love over the past 10 years. It’s still the same brand of witty, tongue-in-cheek humor, and creative and funny plots that won us over.

If you’re a fan of Arrested Development, you’ll likely love this new season. If you’re not a fan of the show and you’re just now beginning your journey, you’ll probably like it, but you’ll probably be confused as all sin. And if you’re not a fan of the show, well, you’ll probably just complain. I don’t even know why you’d be watching it in the first place if you don’t like it.

Final rating: 4 out of 5.

-Jik