Watching: Lady and the Tramp on Blu-ray

The kids and I had a Disney movie night tonight, watching Lady and the Tramp
for the first time in a while. My son has seen at least a dozen times, it was one of his favorites when he was younger, but I don’t think we’ve watched it he scratched the DVD a couple years ago.

Lady and the Tramp still ranks as one of my favorite Disney films.  For one, it is  accessible for children of any age. It lacks the violence (and fire, lots of Disney films have fire) that most of the modern films have.  I have a couple of gentle souls in the house, my kids are really scaredy-cats when it comes to movies. Witches? Forgetabout. I still can’t get them to watch Snow White or Sleeping Beauty — if there is a witch anywhere on the cover of a film, they won’t watch it. Lady and the Tramp is just about the right speed for any movie night, so it was a good pick tonight.

I recall how good it looked when they re-masted the film for the 50th Anniversary DVD, it was a marked jump from the VHS edition. The Blu-ray looks stellar, but I found that the differences between it and the DVD were small (full disclosure, I’m still rocking a 36″ Sony CRT 1080p HDTV, it may be prettier on a more modern LED).  I always forget how thin the 2.55:1 aspect ratio is, but it fades away quickly as the story progresses.

And the story? Well it still gets me at all the same places: Lady meeting the baby during “Star Sweeper,” during “Bella Noche” at Tony’s, when Rusty takes the long walk to the one-way door in the pound along with Peg singing “He’s a Tramp,” and finally when Trusty holds the wagon at bay and gets severely himself injured in the process.

As for the kids, they were QUIET during most of the film. That alone shows it’s just solid entertainment.

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Watching: My Little Pony: Frindship is Magic

Our house is officially Bronyville.

I turned my kids onto My Little Pony about a month or so ago, mostly because I was tired of hearing the same Spongebob episodes over and over again. I figured the show would appeal to my 6-year-old daughter — but I’m slightly surprised at how much my 8-year-old son likes it as well. I’d heard the ponys have universal appeal, and a lot of 30-something dudes watch the show — so I was only slightly surprised.

I’m not sure how many of the 40-some-odd episodes I have on the DVR that I’ve seen, but I wager it’s most of them. I gave up on watching them in order by the second week.

The show certainly does have some universal appeal, and a much better message than many of the current shows out there. From a geek perspective, it also has lots of crossover appeal. They keep putting in allusions to all sorts of things, from Star Wars to Star Trek. Hell, John de Lancie (Q from ST:TNG — though that probably goes without saying) was in the episode I watched tonight. He played a semi-Omnipotent character, Discord, that caused utter chaos in Ponyville … a fitting part I’d say.

My Little Pony joins a growing list of 80’s reboots (I’m looking at you Thundercats) that surpassed the original in every way. It has smart writing, enduring characters, and enjoyable stories for the entire family. Although my son is a little worried about what his friends would say when he gets back to school, right now he’s enjoying a MLP: FiM summer with the rest of us.

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Revisiting: Please Twins!

In part 2 of our retrospective look at titles we enjoyed in the past, we look at Please Twins! So, how did it hold up after nearly 7 years?

Overall, it held up better than Please Teacher! Please Twins is funnier than its predecessor, and has more likeable characters, but what bothered me this time around was the overall youth of the cast and the underling sexual tension and connotations/risk of potential incest. (Who is the relative and who is the stranger?) The creepy factor is particularity overt with the minor character of Matagu Shidou, at least that little perv gets some payback in the end.

That said, both Please! titles attempt to make situations of forbidden love both funny and OK, be it student/teacher relationships, homosexuality, or family entanglements. That tension is in part what makes the comedy so good, but when it crosses the line it could be a turn-off to some folks — as could the nudity throughout the series. It’s a shame too, because if it dialed back a little on both it could have been a lot stronger show overall.

Where the show really does hit its stride is with the odd love triangle between Mikau, Karen, and Miina. Since their story is the heart of the series, it rises above the rest, and makes for an enjoyable viewing. I knocked out the 12 episode main arc in two sittings, with the bonus episode on the third night. I think I’d revise the grade down to a solid B or B+ — making it worth the new viewing after all these years.

 

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Revisiting: Please Teacher!

Repopulating the site reminded me how much Anime I have, and how long it’s been since I watched much of it. It seems like a real waste just to let it sit on the shelf, so I decided to revisit some of what I enjoyed in the past and see how it held up over the years.

I first reviewed Please Teacher! seven years ago, and at the time gave it glowing reviews. It has since gone out of print, but can be found on used on eBay and Amazon if you really want to hunt for it. But is it worth it?

Honestly, the show did not hold up quite as well as I’d hoped. Don’t get me wrong, the production values are still top-notch, even presented in its 4:3 format, and Please Teacher! is also still very funny, there are some laugh out loud moments throughout.

Perhaps I’m just getting old, but I had less patience with Kei’s immaturity this time around — as well as the “stillness” disease. Frankly Key animation does unexplained illnesses (al la Clannad, Air, or Kanon) better, but it is a serviceable plot device. Also, I really wanted to put Mizuho’s bratty little sister, Maho, in time-out — but thankfully her scenes were limited to just a couple of episodes. The rest of the supporting cast was OK, falling flat in a few areas and rising up in others.

Still, Bridget Hoffman really shines in her portrayal of the alien-turned-teacher, Mizuho. Her performance carries the show, and her portrayal of Mizuho and made it so worth watching all over again. Please Teacher! still has some very funny moments, and it gets stronger as the episodes progress, but I don’t think it’s a top-5 worthy series in 2012 as it was in 2004. My re-grade bumps it down to a B-, still worth a look if you stumble across it, but no real worries if you don’t. I will probably follow up with Please Twins! next as it was the pseudo-sequel.

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Old content repopulated… new content to come as I watch

It’s pretty clear to me after going though the archives that the second child was the end of this little hobby. As I said in an earlier post, I never had the heart to kill the site in the mean time, I always expected to get back to it, but life just gets in the way. I really don’t like thinking about the hosting fees I payed over those years to keep the site up and running, I never made much off ads or links.

Well, my “little” girl is almost 6 now, so I hope I can do a little more activity on this site.

So, this site and the new sister site gnonno.com will hopefully be more active from this point out. Facebook just does not cut it for my rants, and twitter is not my thing. Boy those two got huge in the years since I stopped writing.

WordPress also helps, soooo much better than the old Nucleus engine I used back in the day. Couple it with my iPhone and I can even make posts on the train o-O.

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Wow, I watched a lot of good stuff in 2005

AnimationUnlimited was really active for about 1.5 years back in the mid-2000s. In rebuilding all of my past reviews and going through the old content, I realized I watched a ton of Anime that year. I mean a ton — and all purchased on my own dime.

It’s a feat I don’t think I’ve done since.

There are plenty of reasons — kids, house, dog, wife, work — and my viewing habits have changed a lot since then. Now online streaming and Bluray take up much of my viewing space, then it was DVDs and DVR. Anime was a lot more expensive then, before the bottom fell out of the market. Nowadays you can get a whole season for between $25-50, back then it was each disc.

I’m happy for progress in that regard.

Still, after rebuilding the site I find I face a new challenge. I’m going to want to re-watch a ton of what I own in addition to that which I’ve not seen yet. I won’t write as much or as long as I did back in the day, but at least I’ll pen my thoughts when I can.

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Testing 1, 2, 3

Reboot starting now. Repopulating the stories from when the site was active before the Google links die.

Coming soon, the rebirth of animationunlimited.

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There’s something happening here…

Years and years now this site has gone feral. I’d never had the heart to shut to down completely, though I’ve been tempted many times.

Well, its about to change. I’ll be relaunching the site within a few weeks — and a new sister site TBA. I never stopped watching animation, I just stopped writing about it.

Stay tuned.

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Warner Brothers/Maguire Entertainment to do Robotech movie

Wow, this is news to dust off the site and get it working again.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Toby Maguire has just penned a deal with Warner Brothers to do a Live action Robotech movie.

Wow, guess with Transformers making the big bucks they decided to go for it. I think Toby Maguire is too old for Rick Hunter though.

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Wow, has it really been six months?!?!!?

Well, as I stated in my last post, kids sure can take the life out of hobbies… but the tradeoff it so worth it. I’m going to dust off this site over the next few weeks, writing info on what I have been watching and trying a few new designs.

Things have been stagnant on this site for so long. Ironically, it is getting more hits than ever. Time to capitalize on some new readership.

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