Friday, December 24, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas Movie Tropes

Merry Christmas everybody!

This time of year is the time for Christmas specials and holiday movies and, as is my custom, my annual Christmas special editorial. Last year, I wrote about the Rankin Bass Christmas Film Cinematic Universe, showing all the claymation films connected to each other by their shared mythologies and characters. It was a hell of a good time and far more immersive and substantial than I had initially anticipated. It was a ton of fun to write and motivated me to take a closer look at and discuss another aspect of the holiday season that I'm sure everyone is at least tangentially familiar with, for good or ill.

So this year, I will be discussing the tropes and common narrative elements behind the Lifetime/Hallmark Christmas movies. These films have a not undeserved reputation for their repetitive natures, common story beats and almost disgustingly predictable plot lines. With such a reputation, how could I not end a year that has been filled with so many moments of transformation for myself than by discussing a psuedo-genre of films which are nearly identical?

It's only logical really.


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

My Top 5 Yellow Ranger Zords


Continuing on the Zord countdowns, allow me to list some Yellow power. Not too much to say on this one, there weren't many Yellow Rangers that stand out highly in my nostalgic mind. Not one of my favorite colors. Regardless, as an adult I have come to appreciate them more. As for the Zords, there are plenty to choose from this time so click "read more" and let's get this countdown started. Remember, one rule is no 6th or Extra Rangers. (Not that any have ever been yellow.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

South Park Chef's Luv Shack (Sega Dreamcast) - Review


The existence of this game is kind of shocking. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have stated that they hated the South Park games prior to The Stick of Truth and this game is a good example as to why. I am reviewing the Sega Dreamcast version simply because that is the version I happen to own. Click "read more" and let's take a look at this mess.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ghost Ranger - My Top 5 White Ranger Zords

Well, this list is a tricky situation. My rules for these countdowns have been only 1 Zord per Ranger and no Extra or 6th Rangers. However, if you don't count Extra or 6th Rangers than there has only been 3 White Rangers so, following those rules would be impossible without limiting this list to 3. So, just this once I am going to have to break a rule, I will allow Extra Rangers but no 6th, which still barely puts us at 5 Rangers. So, click "read more" and let us see what is left.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

My Top 5 Blue Ranger Zords

Continuing the Zord countdowns, we are feeling blue today. It is honestly hard to choose out of the blue Zords because they rarely get spotlight episodes outside of their introductions. So, we are going to have to depend a lot on design for these choices, among other lists. Click "read more" to see my list.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Incredible Quirks in My Hero Academia

 Boku no Hero Academia Volume 1.png

I have spoken on the world of My Hero Academia in previous articles before, both with what I find enjoyable and frustrating about this superhero franchise. Of all the elements that I enjoy from it, I think the sheer variety and uniqueness of the superpowers presented in universe, known as Quirks, is definitely the highlight.

Superpowers have long been a staple of media, as the thought of possessing an ability which would allow you to have a greater degree of influence or power over the world is exceptionally enticing to most people. Ever since Superman first arrived on comic pages in 1938, debates have raged about the best superpowers and why.

Super strength, flight, super intelligence, laser vision, telepathy, etc.

The debates have raged and the reasonings that have accompanied those debates have ranged from the asinine to the scientific, and everything in-between. I've always personally found the superheroes without superpowers to be far more interesting, though the inherent connections between white privilege, super wealth, and non-powered superheroes has made me more thematically aware of the impacts of such heroes on society as a whole. Despite this position on superpowers, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring by exploring my favorite superpowers in the world of My Hero Academia.

Why My Hero Academia I here you ask? Why not select Marvel or DC? The reason is two-fold. First, My Hero Academia is a widely popular manga and anime and I want to utilize that popularity for more views of this article (Bwahahaha!); and secondly, I think that the sheer variety and number of Quirks presented in universe is utterly fascinating and much more unique than the usual suspects seen in most Western superhero comics.

Some of the Quirks seen in this franchise are just insane when one takes the time to look closely. I will not be taking the character who possesses the Quirk into account, so hero, villain, popular or not; only the power will matter. Starting next week, I will be going on my December Holiday Break so I can prepare for TrotCon 2021 and the Christmas season, so I hope you all enjoy this light-hearted and easy-going countdown.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

My Top 5 Sixth Ranger Zords


I already counted down my favorite rangers of each color, now it is time to do the same thing with their zords. The 6th Rangers get their own separate list because their zords are supposed to stand out from the core rangers so it is unfair to put them in the same lists as their corresponding colors. So, let's begin with my favorite Zords that are under the control of rangers meant to standout.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Green Phoenix - Joseph: King of Dreams Review

Joseph king dreams.jpg

Last week, we discussed DreamWorks Animation's 1998 classic The Prince of Egypt, which is one of my favorite films of all time. The film was an incredible risk for the newly formed DreamWorks to create and represents the highlight of their traditional animated era, with stellar animation and music, tied to a deeply emotional story that was accessible to both religious and irreligious audiences.

With such a reputation, any companion or sequel film would have a powerful shadow to overcome. And the film that the filmmakers decided needed to follow up the story of Moses and the Exodus was a direct-to-video adaptation of the story of Joseph, which they released in 2000.

In some ways, this actually makes sense since the story of Joseph is probably the most well known bible story next to the Story of Exodus and the story of Jesus (if you include the New Testament). Still I've always found this sequel particularly fascinating given the subject matter and how it was DreamWorks Animations only direct-to-video production until Trollhunters: Rise of the Titan in 2021, giving this film quite a degree of notoriety.

Due to the story taking place chronologically before The Prince of Egypt and possessing something of a much more different tone, this film is considered by many of its creators as more of a companion to The Prince of Egypt rather than an out and out sequel. So how does Joseph:King of Dreams, the direct-to-video sequel, compare to its theatrical predecessor?

Let's take a look.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Top 5 Things Super Sentai Does That Power Rangers Could Not Get Away with Doing

Japan has much less censorship rules than America does, to the point where some people thing that Super Sentai is targeted towards an older audience than Power Rangers is. Nope, they are both kids shows. However, with a little more freedom, Super Sentai gets away with things that would never appear on an American kids show. So, just for fun, allow me to countdown what I consider the Top 5 things Super Sentai can do that Power Rangers cannot. (Opinion based.)

Friday, November 12, 2021

Green Phoenix - The Prince of Egypt Review

 Prince of egypt ver2.jpg

I grew up in a deeply religious household, as I'm sure I've mentioned a few time in these articles. As such, I was often watching films of a religious nature in my house, especially around the holidays. Obviously, films like King of Kings, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and The Ten Commandments were always on the television throughout November and December. It was almost unavoidable, though at least the films were actually pretty entertaining to watch. But every so often, my sister and I would get a treat and a chance to watch a religiously-inspired movie that was animated and far better than the drier and more "epic" scale films that tended to get seen.

I am, of course, talking about DreamWorks Animations 1998 animated musical The Prince of Egypt. Now I've talked about this film several times in various countdowns or editorials over the last few years but I've never actually sat down and given my few opinion on the film on its own merits. This is an oversight that I feel is greatly in need of correction, especially given the holiday season.

Yes, I do realize that this movie is more of a Passover movie than a Christian holiday movie, but I did not feel like waiting until next April to review this movie and its prequel (tune in next week ;)). So this is what you all are getting. A nice look at one of DreamWorks Animations most highly regarded traditionally animated movies.

Is it worthy of the hype and does it stand up to films like The Ten Commandments in terms of adaptation of its source material?


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Mark Dalton: Trucker/Detective (Graphic Audio) - Audio Drama Mini Review


This is a story about a private investigator who turns into an owner/operator trucker who lives out of his truck and has a habit of attracting trouble. To clarify, this story is based on a book series, but this review is for the 2 audio drama adaptations made by Graphic Audio and is not a sponsored review. Now, I never read or even heard of the book series before finding this audio play, but I have always had high respect for the trucking profession and it ending up being a very nice whim purchase. Click "read more" for my review.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Green Phoenix - Dune (2021) Review

 Dune (2021 film).jpg

One of the first articles I ever published with Emerald Rangers was a review of David Lynch's 1982 version of Dune. Adapted from the revolutionary science fiction written by Frank Herbert, Lynch's version is notoriously strange and challenging to describe as either a good film or a good adaptation of its source material; with even Lynch himself being unsatisfied with the product he created.

Thinking upon this, Dune as a series has actually garnered a reputation as a franchise which destroys directors and defeats all attempts at adaptation. The source material is just incredibly dense, with many adaptations struggling to properly include everything required to pass as a serviceable adaptation without getting lost in the weeds of Herbert's worldbuilding or missing out on many of the subtextual themes and surrealist imagery which is so fundamental to the entire franchise. It is a precarious precipice to balance upon and I think it is absolutely incredible that Villeneuve was so fearless in his willingness to tackle this issue.

One reason might be his incredibly smart move of dividing this story into two parts. That's correct. Dune is actually only Dune, Part I and I am so fucking thankful for that. If I were to adapt Herbert's series into a visual medium, I would've chosen to do an HBO style TV show in the vein of Game of Thrones, but a two or three part film (if Villeneuve's desire to adapt Dune: Messiah goes through to complete Paul's story arc) is also a fantastic way to balance the story and still allow it to be dense enough to get everything that is so cool about Herbert's world can be on display.

So Villeneuve is on the right track in terms of dividing the story, but does the rest of the film hold up? Or does it fall into the same traps as its predecessors. I normally desire to cover the film as it stands, but for Dune, I think analyzing what it does better than previous adaptations also speaks to what it does well.

Also I think it is important to point out that this is the first film that I have seen in theaters since COVID-19, so what an amazing film to be reintroduced to my favorite setting in, huh?


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Power Rangers Battle for the Grid (Steam) - PC Game Review


Well, here is a fighting game that everyone told me I was supposed to be excited for when it was announced. It's a fighting game, which is not a genre I have ever been hardcore into, but I felt a little obligated to give this game a try at some point. Why the Steam version? Because it was on sale. So, click "read more" and I will give you my review.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Green Phoenix - Microsoft Dinosaurs Retrospective


A few weeks back, I took a look at a classic "video game" of my childhood in Microsoft Dangerous Creatures, an interactive encyclopedia released in 1994. I adored this program immensely as a child as it helped to foster a passion for biology and the natural world. It's beautiful pictures and interactive guided tours were enough to stir the mind of an impressionable child to the wonders of the animals which now inhabit the world.

But what if I told you that Microsoft also released another interactive encyclopedia in the same vein, this time focusing on the lifeforms which called Earth home during the Mesozoic Era. Released in 1993, the same year that Jurassic Park revitalized public interest in dinosaurs and revolutionized our visual perception of them, Microsoft Dinosaurs attempted to capture that same degree of wonder through education and exploration. As I was a massive dinosaur nerd as a kid (and still am in point of fact), this was probably my favorite of the two encyclopedias.

But does that love hold up after all these years? Or has Microsoft Dinosaurs not aged as well as it should've, when compared Microsoft Dangerous Creatures?


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Tangent Knights: Caprice of Fate (Audio Drama) - Mini review


This is something very different, an audio drama. Now, I would like to go on record saying that we are not sponsored by Graphic Audio, but I am a big fan of them and this is a story that speaks to Tokusatsu fans. This will not be a very long review because I don't want to spoil too much. Click "read more" for my coverage. You can also click the image above to listen to this story yourself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dog Duty (Steam) - PC Game Review


Interested in some Action & Strategy gameplay that feels like an adventure RTS in the style of old school PC gaming? Then this is the game for you. Dog Duty is not a game that is easy to pickup and play, but giving it a chance and learning how it plays can yield some fun times.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Green Phoenix - Random Fanfiction Idea: The Secret of NIMH/Planet of the Apes

Before we begin the article, I have an announcement to make regarding the release of these articles. Starting next week and occurring roughly every 8 weeks or so (not including my month long vacations), I will be taking a week long mental health break from article writing.

The last two years have shown that my consistent article writing has been taking a severe toll on my mental health and affecting the quality of the articles that I bring to you all. With that in mind, it is my hope that these break weeks can be used to recuperate and use any build up of articles, building up articles without the fear of releasing one that week, and focusing on other projects and personal obligations without worrying about disappointing my readers.

Again, these will occur roughly every eight weeks or so starting next week, though that is not inherently a given as my break weeks will have to fit around my vacations as well. It is my genuine hope that these breaks will ensure a continued quality of articles and minimize the possibility of burnout.

Now with news out of the way, let's move on to the weirdest article topic that I've probably ever written.


Now, I know what you're thinking when you read that title. This is absolutely the weirdest title for an article this dude has ever written. And the fact of the matter is is that you're not entirely wrong. I began my writing and review career by looking at either movies through my Phoenix 8 Productions work or fanfiction through my The Brony Critic channel. As a result, I have developed a deep respect and love for the artistry of fanfiction writing.

Fanfiction occupies a controversial sphere in our modern media. Utilizing already established intellectual properties to create unofficial content of unregulated quality might at first seem deeply troubling and rife with low quality trash, an assumption that at first glance might not be entirely inaccurate.

However, I also hold that fanfiction represents a unique field for practice and creative exploration for writers, allowing writers to skip some of the more difficult and laborious aspects of world-building in favor of focusing more directly on capturing the feel of a character or exposing the narrative strengths of a particular concept. Or simply using a existing property as a framework to enhance the world-building to a much higher degree.

Through this mindset, I have also begun working on various fanfiction ideas from time to time. In fact, I oftentimes have far too many to ever reasonably be able to work on them in any great capacity. But I still want others to hear about my story concepts, even if I never write it myself. So to that end, I decided to create a subset of my editorial segments as sort of a cross between the Building Better Backstories series and the free-form nature of the Let's Talk... articles; thus the creation of the Random Fanfiction Idea, or RFI.

For our first outing of RFI, I decided that we should discuss an idea that I got while watching Don Bluth's 1982 animated classic The Secret of NIMH.  The idea is fairly simple but possesses a fantastic narrative and thematic connection that could lead to a bunch of drama.

What if you wrote a fanfiction sequel to The Secret of NIMH inspired by the modern Planet of the Apes franchise? That is, what if you wrote a series of fanfiction's showing how the evolution of mouse and rat society eventually supplants human culture as a result of our own societal defects and systemic issues?


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The World is Your Weapon (Steam) - PC Game Review


Ever want a game that is cute, has hand drawn art, and a hilarious adventure? Look no further! The World is Your Weapon is a unique experience that is most definitely worth exploring. Click "read more" for my full review.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Green Phoenix - The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars Review

The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.jpg

You all had to know that this was incoming.

After I reviewed The Brave Little Toaster and then its confusingly created direct-to-VHS sequel, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, that the third film in the trilogy, which was released a year before the second film in 1998, would have to have a review inbound. And sure enough, the focus of today's article is the final and weirdest entry in the...sigh... Brave Little Toaster trilogy.

I cannot believe that that is actually a thing.

And yet, The Brave Little Toaster goes to Mars is a very real entry in the franchise. From traveling the American wilderness to the vast reaches of space, Toaster and his friends sure have gotten far in their mechanical lives. And this film would also mark itself as the last performances of DeForrest Kelly, Thurl Ravenscroft, and Carol Channing. Quite a piece of notoriety for such an...eclectic film.

I grew up watching this film quite a few times and can remember quite a bit of the story, even before my rewatch. It has a presence in my childhood, however minor. And as you'll be able to tell, that presence was weird then and its weird now.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Space Toads Mayhem (Steam) - PC game review


Here is a flashy little space shooter. I mean that quite literally, there are a lot of flashing white lights along with other nit-picks that hurt what could have been a nice little retro style shoot-em-up. Click "read more" for my full review.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Green Phoenix - Yes Man Review


Many of you may not really be aware of my hobbies and interests outside of film and television, though I have spoken about them to friends and mentioned them at various points on social media; but I have been a active participant in micronationalism since I was 14 years old. Micronationalism is, in its simplest form, a form of political organization where individuals declare their own sovereignty without legal recognition. It can be seen as a form of political LARPing but with a far more serious tone and intention.

I was drawn into the hobby after researching and uncovering several interesting micronational projects, including Molossia in Nevada, Sealand in the English Channel, and the Kingdom of Lovely, a humorous joke nation founded by comedian Danny Wallace for his BBC comedy show How to Start Your Own Country.

I felt the need to mention this because it was through How to Start Your Own Country that I was introduced to Wallace's other work like his 2005 book Yes Man, which eventually loosely inspired the 2008 Jim Carrey comedy of the same name.

It is this film that will be the subject of today's article. Apologies for the long description but I felt the need to mention it not only because I love my hobbies and relish the chance to explain them to outsiders, but also because this film's inclusion in my review schedule is so out of left field for my usual fare that I felt the need to explore why I wanted to talk about it.

So let's get right into it shall we?


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan Ep. 1: The Machine Empire of the North Pole - Summary/Review

Here we have the 5th Super Sentai, first 3 ranger team, and the only one in history to lack any female rangers. Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. Roughly translating into Solar Squadron Sun Vulcan. Only thing I know about this season is that it got backlash for not having any girl rangers and is the only Sentai to be a direct sequel to the previous season, Denziman. The theme this time is Air, Land, and Sea. Because Fire isn't good enough. Click "read more" for my full coverage.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Amazing Animated Canines

Back when I was working on my Balto review, I was suddenly struck by a bout of inspiration regarding a new countdown. Dogs have long been a quintessential part of human culture and media, owing to their long-standing relationship as "Man's Best Friend". Growing up, I certainly remember seeing many amazing animated canines that helped to transform me into the dog person that I am today (even if I have no plans to have a pet dog of my own).

Whether they talk or not, are protagonists or simple side characters, many dogs have become iconic or much beloved members of their respective franchises. There are obviously far too many examples of great cartoon dogs to ever be effectively condensed or listed in a single article without it being overwhelmingly long. So I decided to do just a general list of some particularly standout dogs from my childhood and early teenage years.

With that in mind, I decided that today's article should be slightly lighter fare than usual and a just short, yet sweet tribute to cartoon canines. So without any further ado, let's present 8 Amazing Animated Canines.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Olson's Boxing Challenge (Steam) - PC Game Review


With Fight Night not looking like it will come back anytime soon and the new Creed game looking like a disappointment, I have been starved for a new boxing game experience. Sadly, nothing mainstream is in development and I have no interest in MMA. So, I turned to Steam to try and find something to fill this desire; sadly most of the titles that looked interesting were VR only games and I do not have access to VR. However, there is a new E-sports boxing coming next year, but until then, I found this little title that looks like a re-make of an Atari 2600 game. So, click "read more" and I will give you my review on Real Boxing and we can decide if it fills that need for leather gloves.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Green Phoenix - The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Retrospective


Going to elementary and middle school in the early 2000s made me and I'm sure many others very aware of educational computer games. Chief among these were those produced by the now defunct The Learning Company and distributed throughout schools as a form of summer supplemental learning programs. I know that my school district participated in such a program, despite the generally low quality of games issued out.

As a result, I have very fond memories of the Reader Rabbit franchise, which was aimed towards kindergarten through 2nd grade children, and the focus of today's retrospective, The ClueFinders franchise. Aimed towards older elementary and early middle school children, The ClueFinders really was a personal favorite of mine growing up, with my sister and I playing the games constantly.

As nerdy as that might seem, I really loved the hell out of the tone that the series maintained throughout its entire run and have enjoyed watching people playing the games online for years, even as the quality continues to age poorly (a staple of the entire Learning Company brand). The games had a heightened level of world-building and the combination of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery wasn't what one might expect from an educational game. So in that spirit of nostalgia, today's retrospective will focus on the first game in The ClueFinders franchise that I remember playing, The ClueFinders 3rd Grade - The Mystery of Mathra.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 2: Did You Guys See a Fairy!? - Summary/Review

More Turborangers. The first episode was mostly just a clip-show celebrating Super Sentai so, hopefully this second episode will gives us a proper introduction to this season. Click "read more" for my coverage.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Green Phoenix - 1634: The Bavarian Crisis

 1634 The Bavarian Crisis-Eric Flint.jpg

It's time once again for me to give yet another literary recommendation by going down the line for the next book in the Ring of Fire lineup. This time around, we are taking a look at a collaborative effort between head writer Eric Flint and co-author Virginia DeMarce, who also worked on several stories in the Grantville Gazettes and the anthology story, 1634: The Ram Rebellion (Which I will cover on a later article).

Released in 2007, 1634: The Bavarian Crisis was a sequel to Eric Flint's short story The Wallenstein Gambit from Ring of Fire I (A collection of anthology stories written by Flint and others), as well as continuing the story lines from 1634: The Ram Rebellion and 1634: The Baltic War. All in all, this book plays a fairly major role in setting up the state of politics in Central Europe during and immediately following the Ostend War first set up in 1633. The book also helps to set up several players that have been very big in the years following 1634, as the Emperor of Austria finally makes a big role and the presence of Bavaria as a major regional player against the USE begins with the outcome of this book.

This makes the reading of 1634: The Bavarian Crisis a rather important stepping stone for the rest of the franchise. Which is interesting given how much I'm not taken to DeMarce's particular writing style when all is said and done.

But I will cover that in the actual meat of the article. Speaking of which, let's get into it as we take a short look at 1634: The Bavarian Crisis.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 1: The Great Gathering of 10 Sentai: Counting on You! Turboranger - Summary/Review

This is a strange case. When this season came out it celebrated the 10th year anniversary of Super Sentai as the 11th team, now it is classified as the 13th. Fun fact, there was a point in time when Gorenger and J.A.K.Q. were not counted as Super Sentai incarnations and Turboranger came out during that time. Anyway, what we have here is Sentai's first vehicle theme team as well as the first team of all high schoolers. Kousoku Sentai Turboranger, roughly translated to High Speed/Speeding Squadron Turboranger. Click "read more" and let's see what this first episode has in store.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Pachinko Time (Gameboy - 1989 Japan Only)

 If you have never imported a retro game from Japan, you might not have run into these. Pachinko games are somewhat of an anomaly. They are ubiquitous in Japan, however they are completely absent in the United States. Consequently, when you look into importing for the first time, the cheapest options are usually pachinko games, and ever system has them. 

Pachinko Time is a game for the Gameboy where you play as a pachinko ball walking around a pachinko parlor with access to several pachinko simulations. On each machine, you are trying to completely bankrupt the payout base of the game, Thus "completing" that machine. Completing three machines will open a path to the next pachinko parlor. If you can complete three machines, you are able to move on to another parlor with newer machines to play on.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...DreamWorks Traditional Animation

 DreamWorks Animation SKG logo with fishing boy.svg

At the height of the Disney Renaissance during the mid-1990s, the company Walt built stood almost completely unopposed in the field of animation. Their only major competitor from a creative and financial standpoint was arguably Don Bluth Animations, and even they were beginning to replicate the Disney formula in order to attempt to achieve some level of equal financial success, to middling results. By the release of Beauty and the Beast, it seemed like Disney was on top of the world and absolutely unstoppable under the triumvirate leadership of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Then came the unfortunate passing of Frank Wells in a helicopter accident. Suddenly the unifying element of the Disney triumvirate was broken and a power vacuum formed in the wake of Wells' passing. A battle raged for the soul of Disney between Disney's CEO Michael Eisner and the head of Disney animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg. As you can no doubt imagine by their positions within the company, the winner was a foregone conclusion and Katzenberg soon found himself fired and with a major chip on his shoulders.

Normally, that might be the end of the story. But Katzenberg had many friends in Hollywood and had been the largest force within the Disney triumvirate behind the Disney Renaissance. So when he made an alliance with Stephen Spielberg and David Geffen, DreamWorks Pictures was founded. For the most part, DreamWorks established a reputation as the edgier CGI counterpart to Disney, with some of their first outings like Antz and Shrek being either near rip-off of other Disney/Pixar projects or a criticism of the Disney corporation as a whole. And so was Disney's hegemony over the industry destroyed, ironically by the politics within their own rank-and-file.

However, in the early days of DreamWorks, a few traditionally animated films did pass through its halls. Nowadays, traditional animation is not very common from any of the studios. But I feel that the films that are spoken of tend to be exclusively from Disney.

And it is with that in mind, that today's Let's Talk... will discuss the short list of traditionally animated DreamWorks films. They don't make them anymore, but they were a vital part of the company's early history and represent a very unique aspect of the company's identity.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger: E2 - Iiiit's Chi-Power!!! - Summary/Review

Time to continue our quest for thunder and chi. This is the second part of the intro saga that will now introduce the mecha in action. Click "read more" for my full coverage of episode 2.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger Ep 1: L-e-e-et's Tenshin!!! (Transform) - Summary/Review


It's the missing Power Rangers. Gosei Sentai Dairanger, roughly translating to Five-Star Squadron Great Ranger. The 17th Super Sentai and the source of the Thunderzords from season 2 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This season is an ancient Chinese themed one against an evil empire from 8000 years ago. How does it hold up? Click "read more" for my thoughts.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Green Phoenix - Batman Begins Review

 Batman hovers over the film's title as the principle actors are listed.

I absolutely adore Batman. Despite not being particularly excited by most of the DC lineup (I'm an unrepentant Marvel fan), the Dark Knight of Gotham has always had a special place in my heart in terms of superheroes. I just love the fact that he is a normal human being with no superpowers beyond stupid amounts of money. In a world of Gods and Monsters, Batman really does stick out of the crowd in a thematically fantastic way.

And this love of Batman is shared with a lot of other people because Batman has been adapted into film and television...a lot. Like its actually kind of ridiculous. There is obviously the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher-era Batman films, the Adam West Batman TV show, and the atrocities that were the DC Extended Universe. Out of all the adaptations however, one really stands above the rest as peak Batman.
Batman: The Animated Series. Absolutely no fucking contest in any way shape or form.
But if I had to pick a close second, it would have to fall to the obvious choice of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. Released in the late 2000s as a realistic take on the Batman mythos, this trilogy has achieved an almost legendary status among superhero films, even if that legacy might now be hurting the DC live-action films
I plan to discuss all the films in the franchise eventually, as well as all other adaptations of Batman down the line. Today however, we will start off with the film that brought Batman back into popular consciousness after the utter silliness of Batman and Robin. While it may be forgotten when standing beside its more famous and successful sequel, 2005's Batman Begins propelled Batman back onto the big screens and may be responsible for kick-starting the entire superhero film craze that we are still going through.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Mighty Morphin Power Ranger - 5 Cases of Unused Stock Footage


Here is a list for the sake of fun trivia. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers used stock footage from 3 different Super Sentai incarnations, Zyuranger, Dairanger, and Kakuranger. But, not all of it. Rather than giving a long boring list of everything that was changed or unused, allow me to point out 5 cases of unused footage that I found interesting. Just for fun.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Green Phoenix - I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years... Review

It's been a couple of weeks since my last anime review and I think I want to cover some light faire this week. A fantasy isekai slice-of-life that was released earlier this year called I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Levels.

In many ways this anime is tremendously blase in terms of the frankly over-saturated isekai anime market and I think it fell through the radar for many people because of that. However, I'm a sucker for isekai anime in general, especially those that focus on more domestic or nontraditional fantasy elements in the overall story.

It's why I adore anime like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and How a Realist Hero Rebuilt a Kingdom (which I will definitely be reviewing down the line). Thankfully I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years... (as I will shorthand from here on out for my own sanity, thank you very much) fits into this nontraditional slice-of-life focus, for the most part.

The anime we look at today will prove that sometimes all a production company has to do is make a decently well-adapted show. Nothing extraordinary or ground-breaking, just well done.


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Temple of Snek (Steam) - Beta Review


Temple of Snek, developed by Aetheric Games and published by Pixeljam. Thank you for this early access review code. We've got a snake game that promises puzzle aspects involving rhythm and snake-length. What can we except? Click "read more" for my review.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Green Phoenix - Microsoft Dangerous Creatures Retrospective



With the advent of Wikipedia and the mass accessibility of encyclopedic information through the internet, I think that most individuals my age and younger can't really appreciate just how lucky we are to live in an era of such easily available information.
When Wikipedia was launched in 2001, most encyclopedias were locked behind paywalls (like Encyclopedia Britannica) or were available on CD-ROM and large physical hardbacks. I remember very specifically growing up reading my dad's 1985 World Book Encyclopedia Collection.

Yes, I was the kind of kid who read encyclopedia's growing up. We are just going to move on from that factoid to the point at hand.

Of all the encyclopedia's that I had access to in the 1990s, Microsoft's Multimedia Collection was definitely one of the biggest surprises. In particular were two applications within the collection, Microsoft Dinosaurs, which I will absolutely talk about at another date; and the subject of today's retrospective, Microsoft Dangerous Creatures.

Released in 1994 and first available for Windows 3.1 (Yes, that old), Microsoft Dangerous Creatures was a multimedia encyclopedia on various aspects and members of the animal kingdom, with a sub-textual focus on environmentalism and conservationism.

Today will not be a review, but another retrospective detailing my memories and experiences with a "computer game" from my childhood that had a truly transformative impact on my life.


Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: - Quest 01: The Lion Roars!!


The 25th anniversary season for Super Sentai and the footage source for Power Rangers Wild Force which aired in Japan from 2001-2002. Shout out to Shout Factory for the free legal english sub. Hyakujuu Senai Gaoranger, roughly translating to Hundred-beasts Squadron Roar Ranger. This theme is about animals with some environmentalism thrown in and the source of my personal favorite Zords or Mecha. How will this season hold the test of time? Click "read more" and let's take a look.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Green Phoenix - The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue Review

 The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue.jpg

A little over two months ago, I released my review of The Brave Little Toaster, a deeply loved children's film of mine that has thrown me into a nostalgic spiral for the past few weeks. While writing that article, I realized that I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the entire series.

Because for reasons that I still cannot fathom, The Brave Little Toaster is actually the first film in a trilogy of films. Admittedly, these films are direct to VHS but the point that of all films, this one would have not one but two sequels kind of boggles the mind.

Of the two films, the final chronological film in the trilogy, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, is far and away the more popular of the two, given that it is adapted from another of Thomas M. Disch's books. However, despite being the first released, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars actually follows the events of the much less well known and subject of today's article, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, released in 1999.

The two sequels were actually developed by the production at the same time, which helps explain much of the similarities between the two films. Normally, I would have touched upon The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars first as it was the first sequel released, being released in 1998. However, characters and events are introduced in The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue that are necessary to understand the plot of The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.

That was a hell of a mouthful to write, not going to lie. I will almost certainly examine The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars down the line; but for today, let's take a good look at the "hidden" sequel to The Brave Little Toaster.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger Ep 2: The Revival - Summary/Review

This episode is going to be the continuation of the last. Previously, the Zyurangers got their powers and almost rescued the child astronauts, but were ambushed by a giant. No time to waste, click "read more" and let's see how this chapter ends.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Homefront (PC/Steam/Xbox360/PS3 2011)

 Homefront is an FPS video game version of the movie Red Dawn, complete with a "Go Wolverines" scene. America has been invaded and occupied. And you must lead a rebellion through the war torn suburbs against the Korean occupying force. You play as Jacob, the silent protagonist who is rescued from a prison transport and thrust into battle. 

The campaign took me 4.5 hours to beat. This is very telling of first-person shooters of the 2010s. Most of them play by having you follow a leader character who walks you through the scripted action. That is how this plays out as well. Although, the rails don't seem quite as tight as the Call of Duty games of the time, make no mistake. This is on rails. You will need to keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle until the plot comes to a complete stop.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...Schoolhouse Rock!

 School House Rock!.png

So I realize that it is entirely possible that I might have been far too subtle for you all to pick up on my general personality, despite my many personal stories. I know that you all must think of me as this incredibly suave and cool individual, always aware of the latest trends and a person well-liked by everyone I meet.

Thus it is with a heavy heart that I must break this notion to you all. For you see, I am, in point of fact, a massive nerd with an obsession for not only countless fandoms but intellectual pursuits in general.

Okay all kidding aside, I really do enjoy watching educational content, even to this day. My Netflix account is filled with documentary films and series and I even have a subscription to CuriosityStream to feed my educational media fascination. And this fascination goes back to my very earliest moments of childhood. I've spoken of the Walking with... series and its impact on my love of biological and paleontological documentaries, but my general love of learning stemmed from Bill Nye the Science Guy and the focus of today's article: School House Rock!.

Developed in the early 1970s and airing until 1984 before returning intermittently in the 1990s and 2000s, Schoolhouse Rock! was a series of short animated music videos that touched on specific subjects in numerous general subjects. It was developed after the creator noticed that his child often struggled to remember their multiplication tables, despite being able to memorize all the lyrics to Rolling Stones songs.

Schoolhouse Rock! helped generations of kids learn all kinds of fascinating subjects and I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss my personal experience and what the series means to me. This isn't a review, but more of a general retrospective.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger Episode 1: The Birth - Summary/Review

This is a long time coming for me, the first Super Sentai I ever watched and the one used for the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The first of many Dinosaur themed Super Sentai and one during the darker writing area of the franchise. I have seen this before, but a refresher sounds nice. Click "read more" and let us re-live this classic.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films

From the earliest days of my childhood, film and television have had an indelible impact upon me. Films like The Lion King, Toy Story, Jurassic Park, and The Indiana Jones franchise have continued to thrill and excite me even into adulthood and drive me into a pleasurable nostalgic haze.

And yet, there have also been those films that, for one reason or another, I can remember watching only after being prompted or otherwise reminded. Regardless of the quality of the film, some pieces of my childhood were locked behind some vague glance at my old VHS tapes or a mention by some online film reviewer.

Today's article is honor of those films. Irrespective of their quality or my personal opinions on the films, this list is intended rather to be an exploration and retrospective on films that I remember that have, for one reason or another, fallen under the radar of my generally excellent sense of nostalgia. Some are films I enjoyed watching that I simply have forgotten, others are so vague that I can remember only small sections or parts.

Without further ado, let us take a quick retrospective look at 8 Nearly Forgotten Films from my Childhood.


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Pixar: Lava - Quick Thoughts


Pixar often shows a short film before their feature length, but this one always stood out in my memory. It is a 6 minute music video that tells a simple love story about a volcano. Interesting to me is that fact that this short film has just as much story as a full length film. Click "read more" for my full thoughts.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Green Phoenix - Technical Problems...Upcoming Article will drop next week

 Hey everybody.

Terribly sorry, but there have been a series of longstanding technical issues at both home and work that have deeply delayed my workload on many of these articles. I have the next few weeks of articles planned, as well as ideas for new content in the future, but as I explained to my Patreon supporters, work and home have not been great for my productivity as of late.

The next article 8 Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films is now set to be published next week. I will attempt to use the next week to, possibly write the next article and figure out a system to work around my technical problems.

In the meantime, I hope all of you stay safe out there and feel free to support me on Patreon here.


Also, feel free to check out my panel at TrotCon 2021, airing online July 16th - 18th. My friend Drew Flashy and I will be talking about DnD and regaling the audiences with our humorous stories and anecdotes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Kyouryu Sentai Zyuranger Dino Video - Summary/Review

Well, here is something I never knew existed. Zyuranger is a season of Sentai without any movies (besides legacy appearances), but there was one odd special staring a green dino puppet brought to us by Shogakukan Video. The first of a new series of "Super Videos". This are made-for-video bonus content.  Not sure what to expect, so click "read more" and let's find out.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Kaiserkast #9 - Hey man! I've been to WA!

Kaiser is back from holiday and talks about it.  Boring, but accurate description but eh, it's showbiz. 
 Download here.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Green Phoenix - Godzilla (1954) Review

 Gojira 1954 Japanese poster.jpg

This week's article is a very special one. Our first ever Patreon requested article, submitted and suggested by none other than my fellow contributor and friend Cendoo. Cendoo's official request was to review anything remotely associated with the Godzilla franchise, so I felt that looking at the original 1954 Godzilla film was as good a place as any to start.

The original Godzilla has achieved an almost legendary status in the annals of cinematic history. Following Japan's defeat in World War 2, Japanese media was heavily regulated by the occupying American military. This censorship tended to avoid any mention of the world wars or nuclear weapons for fear of growing Japanese resentment to the occupation.

When the American censorship relaxed in the mid 1950s, Japan was finally allowed to deal with the trauma and fear that resulted from World War 2 and the legacy of being the only nation in the world to have a nuclear weapon dropped on their population during wartime. At the same time, Japanese fishing trawler's were getting caught up in American and French nuclear testing in the Pacific, resulting in several diplomatic incidents.

All this led to an era of nuclear awareness in Japanese cinema that Godzilla fully played into. The film was a monumental success that launched one the longest running film franchise in cinema history, set the standard for the kaiju film, and established many of the ongoing expectations of the kaiju and science fiction genre; with an "Americanized" version being released in 1956 that altered the tone of the film tremendously.

While I grew up watching the "Americanized" version and even own a copy, I will be focusing today's article on the original Japanese film, touching upon the American verison only when the need for comparison arises. I want to once again thank Cendoo for supporting my articles through Patreon.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Would Sonic X-Treme have saved the Sega Saturn if Finished?


Of all the canceled Sonic titles, this one is probably the most famous. The Sega Saturn was a commercial failure in America, and some people blame that on not having a mainline Sonic title. While having a proper Sonic game would have moved some systems, it is impossible to know for sure if it would have been enough to keep the Saturn in the market. However, if you care to hear my educated guess and why, click "read more" for my full article.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ranking Every Sonic Cartoon from Best to Worse


With Sonic Prime on the horizon and with me caught up with all past Sonic Cartoons, I figured why not go ahead and share my quick take on each one. While I am a bit too bias to give each series a proper review, I can at least give a general idea of what to expect and maybe you can find some enjoyment in re-visiting these old animations. So, click "read more" and let the countdown begin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Could Sonic work in an Open World style game?

Open world style gameplay is one that Sonic has never officially tried beyond hub worlds. Many fans ask for it, and several others have questioned if it would work. So, may as well throw my hat into the ring. Click "read more" if you'd like to know my take.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

My Top 10 Favorite Sonic Games

Happy Sonic Month from Emerald Rangers. This is Ghost Ranger giving my top 10 favorite Sonic games. Not the most original article, but one that I wanted to get out of the way to get the ball rolling. Click "read more" for my countdown.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Omega Boost: Polyphony's One and Only Mecha Shooter


I think it's safe to say that almost everyone loves the idea of giant robots in theory. Say what you will about the Mecha genre as a whole, but it's hard to deny the cultural impact it's had on the world, especially when it comes to interactive media. Though while on the tabletop, games like Battletech and Mekton were showing a strong showing, unless you were willing to put up with what few licensed games were out there for series like Mobile Suit Gundam (or had the money and patience to import such titles from Japan), you had pretty slim pickings for getting your Mecha fix. Pretty much your only options back then for good games were either Armored Core or MechWarrior, with the latter still being a licensed game. That was, except, for one particular oddity that came out in '99.

That game was Omega Boost.

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