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Jul 152015
 

There are many different villains in pop culture. Some live on to become as iconic as the heroes who fight them while others, not so much. So I put together a list of old villains from movies and TV shows that seem underrated, but still stand out as favorites of mine.

#10) Mouser from The Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Originally featured as a bomb-throwing boss from the Super Mario Bros. 2 NES game, this talking mouse often serves as King Bowser Koopa’s right hand man. Mouser is a stooge but a worthy adversary. However, he hasn’t been featured in the Super Mario Bros. franchise for a long time, among other old characters that seemed to have disappeared off the radar. I wonder why that is.

#9) The Witches from the Volcano of Gloom from My Little Pony (1986 version): They are known as Hydia and her two daughters Reeka and Draggle and come from a long line of evildoers. This trio, along with their giant spider monster Ahgg, is intent on turning the world dark, dank, and dreary and the little ponies are the only ones standing in their way. The witches were the main villains on My Little Pony the Movie (1986) and the ten-part episode The End of Flutter Valley. After that, the witches never returned. It would’ve been nice if they did but this series was not known for its consistency when it comes to villains.

#8) Hurricane Harry from Cool McCool: It does seem that the villains on this show are very similar to the ones in the Batman franchise. That’s mainly because the series was co-created by Bob Kane, the original creator of Batman. However, Hurricane Harry stands out the most. His lungs are so powerful that a single deep breath can easily affect the world’s weather. The most impressive example is when Harry shows his ability to inhale the power of the sun and spit fire like a dragon. It’s unknown how Harry acquired this power to begin with, but it is enough to overlook his lisp.

#7) Jean- Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) from The Fifth Element: Gary Oldman has had quite a few villainous roles before. Unfortunately, this was not labeled among his best. Zorg is an industrialist who believes that preserving life comes from destruction and chaos. He may come off as a lame villain at times, but don’t underestimate him. Zorg is ruthless and never likes to be disappointed by anyone. When that happens he won’t hesitate to blow you up.

#6) Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Batman & Robin: I know this sounds strange since Mr. Freeze is a popular Batman villain. However, this particular version is often frowned upon due to the fact that this movie was constantly mentioned as a box office flop, based on many reviews. Sure his dialogue mostly consists of ice puns but Mr. Freeze is highly skilled. He can move around smoothly in that extremely heavy suit and his freeze gun is amazing. It can encase people and objects within ice in only a matter of seconds. The special effects really blew my mind, especially when compared to the effects used in this movie’s predecessor Batman Forever. Seriously, how can you not find this interesting?

#5) Velasca (Melinda Clarke) from Xena: Warrior Princess: This amazon warrior from season 2 was the adopted daughter of Queen Melosa and intended to be queen of the Amazons. When Gabrielle was selected as heir, Velasca became incredibly jealous. Soon after, she ate ambrosia and became a goddess completely intent on killing Gabrielle. Velasca was eventually plunged into a lava pit along with Callisto, leaving the possibility that they would both return. Although Callisto did return in the third season, Velasca didn’t. There were plenty of opportunities to bring Velasca back throughout the series run but it never happened. Any ideas why?

#4) Beastur from My Pet Monster: He’s the evil master of Monster Land and always pops into the real world in his many attempts to bring Monster back with him. The confrontations are always big chases, but I always liked how Beastur keeps getting sent back to Monster Land when he’s defeated. He does have his hilarious moments too and that’s what makes Beastur so memorable.

#3) Tweeg from The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: It’s no surprise that this troll grunge makes this list. Although Tweeg’s biggest evil trait is his greed, many of his evil plots are focused on trying to meet the standards of MAVO (The Monsters and Villains Organization) as well as his troll mother Eleanor. Tweeg is sneaky and cunning, but even with a group of bounders serving him Tweeg always seems to fall short. He can’t even hit anything with a cannonball. Sometimes you just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.

#2) Prince Gasket and Archerina from Power Rangers Zeo: The oldest son of King Mondo had fallen in love with the daughter of King Aragon (not featured in the series). Since their families were at war with one another, the two of them eloped. That scenario is much like in Romeo & Juliet, except that Gasket and Archerina mostly lived in hiding from their fathers. These two are both skilled fighters intent on conquering the Earth and ruling the Machine Empire. Once King Mondo caught up with them, Gasket and Archerina retreated and were never seen or heard from again. It leaves you wondering what could’ve become of this duo since they only appeared in 10 episodes out of 50.

#1) Prime Evil from Ghostbusters (1986 version): Who better to take the top spot than the Ghostbusters’ biggest archenemy. This creepy character is intent on taking over the human world and has many different ghosts and ghouls serving him. Of course, Prime Evil has his comedic moments also. He takes insults as compliments, struggles to say “Ghostbusters”, and has a hot temper when putting up with his henchmen. Unfortunately, with the other version of Ghostbusters completely overshadowing this series, Prime Evil went down with it but he’s one villain I’ll never forget.

Special Note: It wasn’t easy putting this list together since there were so many underrated villains to choose from. I was also going to include Scorpina from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as an honorable mention, but after learning the reason behind her disappearance from voice actress Wendee Lee at Anime Festival Orlando 2011, I’m going to let that one pass.

Feb 252011
 

The young wizard in training, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is back in the third installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Widescreen Edition). It starts with Harry once again dealing with his Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) and Aunt Petunia  (Fiona Shaw) at home, but this time it gets worse when Harry’s Aunt Marge (Pam Ferris) visits. She hates Harry a lot, but loves Dudley (Harry Melling) to pieces.

Marge also insults Harry’s parents, which makes him so angry that he unknowingly uses magic on her. It serves her right. Of course Harry is the one who gets in trouble, but this time he doesn’t take it. Harry runs away from home and finds a magical bus, which takes him straight to the Leaky Cauldron Hotel. It’s fast and efficient, but is in serious need of seatbelts.

At the hotel, Harry meets up with his pals Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson). However, a major problem has occurred. Convicted killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has escaped from Azkaban Prison and is on the loose. That’s not the worst of it though. On the train to Hogwarts, a dementor nearly kills Harry. Oddly, it doesn’t attack the others.

Dementors are creepy beings that guard Azkaban Prison and kill all happiness everywhere they go. Now they guard Hogwarts until Sirius is recaptured. However, dementors will attack anyone they encounter, good or evil, which is why I hate them.

Dementors

Since Richard Harris passed away, Michael Gambon takes his place as Dumbledore from this movie on.

The Quidditch match in this film is played in the rainy weather. I guess it’s like football, nothing stops it. Unless there’s a threat that endangers the lives of the students like in the last film.

The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is Professor Lupin (David Thewlis). His lesson on Bogarts was interesting. The Bogart turns into whatever you fear the most. Then with the spell “ridiculous”, it becomes something silly, like Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) wearing women’s clothing, or a spider on roller skates. It’s too bad that Harry couldn’t do the spell himself when the Bogart turns into a dementor instead of Voldemort, who by the way is not in this movie.

Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) also gets in on teaching with a lesson on hippogriffs with one named Buckbeak. A hippogriff is difficult to tame, but Harry befriends Buckbeak quite easily. Then it’s Draco’s (Tom Feldon) turn. He insults Buckbeak and gets attacked. Then Draco milks his injury to the point that Buckbeak should be executed, even if it is Draco’s own fault for being careless.

After the Christmas break, Professor Lupin teaches Harry how to fight dementors with a patronus charm. Unfortunately, Lupin has a dark secret. One that relates to an unfair homework assignment, courtesy of Professor Snape.

Other new secrets are revealed in this film also, which include the story behind Ron’s pet rat Scabbers, Hermione popping in and out of classes randomly, and the truth about Sirius Black.

This was a good movie with an exciting climax. I have definitely noticed a lot of growth spurts among the young wizards, especially Neville (Matthew Lewis, who I met at DraconCon 2008), but they still have a lot more growing to do.

Dec 222010
 

One of the most beloved Christmas tales is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s about Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy old miser who hates Christmas, but goes through the ultimate transformation after being visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come all on Christmas Eve night.

There were many movie versions over the years, which even include movies with female Scrooges that are usually only found on networks like the Lifetime Channel. The story line has also been used for Christmas episodes on various TV shows. Here are some of my favorite movie versions.

Scrooge (1970): This classic musical stars Albert Finney as the old miser, who scrunches his face to appear sour. It sometimes comes off funny, especially when he sings after drinking that good wine the Ghost of Christmas Present (Kenneth Moore) provides.

There were other funny songs also. They include a group of boys singing “Father Christmas” as if it was Scrooge, and “Thank You Very Much” sung by the townspeople, who are grateful to Scrooge for whatever the reason.

What really makes this movie stand out is the extra material at the climax, which no other version features. After Scrooge finds his tombstone, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come reveals himself to be the Grim Reaper, which would explain why he never speaks or shows his face. Soon after, Scrooge finds himself in a whole new place, where he meets up with Marley (Alec Guinness) again and receives his chains before waking up Christmas morning.

Disney Animation Collection 7: Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983): The classic Disney characters play the different roles, along with Scrooge McDuck as the lead. Goofy was such an unlikely choice as Jacob Marley, but I found his performance both funny and memorable because he keeps tripping over Scrooge’s cane on the floor.

The Muppet Christmas Carol – Kermit’s 50th Anniversary Edition (1992): Now here is a creative musical version, which features the Muppets as the different characters, including quite a few Muppet characters that I recognize from The Muppet Show that haven’t been featured in a long time. Was that Sprocket throwing a snowball from a window?

Michael Caine’s performance as Scrooge was brilliant and the comedic hijinks of narrators Gonzo and Rizzo also add to the fun.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009): Last, but definitely not least, is the latest animated movie version, which stars Jim Carrey as Scrooge and several other characters. The graphics are incredible with its 3-D effects, which includes the creepiest version of Jacob Marley (voice of Gary Oldman) I’ve ever seen.

There are also other spirits which are seldom featured in other versions of A Christmas Carol, like the Phantom Hearse as well as Ignorance Boy (voice of Ryan Ochoa) and Want Girl (voice of Sammi Hanratty) , who come from the Ghost of Christmas Present (voice of Jim Carrey). That sure makes it more intense. Not something you would expect from a Disney movie. Wouldn’t you agree?

Dec 282009
 

Even though I was never much into Star Wars or Star Trek, The Fifth Element is a well made sci-fi classic with great action, humor and story line. Heck, it already begins with a memorable catch phrase, “Aziz, light!”

Corbin Dallas (Bruce Willis) is a retired army Major turned cab driver, who has been chosen to save the world from a dark planet that is intent on destroying the Earth. Only one thing can stop it. Corbin has to find four magic stones, each representing the elements of life; earth, fire, water, and wind. Along with a modelesque alien beauty named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), who is the fifth.

The special effects are amazing with all those different hover vehicles flying through on many layers. I do believe that it could help solve the major traffic problems we have today. In the 23rd century, even the McDonald’s restaurants are bigger and the waitresses have more cute and colorful uniforms.

Although Gary Oldman is known for playing villains, Zorg is a more mild and humorous character. I like that. In the scene where the dark planet makes Zorg’s head bleed, it puzzles me because there was no scrape where the blood came out. I’m guessing that the dark planet squeezed Zorg’s head in the same manner as how Darth Vader strangles his victims with his Jedi power.

multipass

Milla Jovovich kicks butt in this movie as Leeloo. I wonder if that’s what got her those roles in Ultraviolet and the Resident Evil films. One detail I have noticed recently is in Leeloo’s orange hair. She has some blonde streaks in it. I’m surprised that her orange hair dye didn’t wash out completely in the auto wash.

I love this movie. Some of the most humorous scenes are the parts with brilliant editing. Two or three different scenes intertwine as the dialogue runs smoothly. Oh, and did I mention that Milla Jovovich kicks butt?