Posted on May 2, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
This week’s Flash Fire Mini-Reviews list is going to be a little different…
We have posted reviews of Hellboy: Blood & Iron and Doctor Strange on Flames Rising already. This week we’re going to take a look at some of the other animated features with some of our favorite characters…
The most shocking showdown in Superman history! When Lexcorp accidentally unearths the intergalactic serial killer Doomsday Superman battles the creature head on in the fight of his life…literally. The world collectively mourns their fallen hero; humanity realizes it will never feel truly safe again. Superman’s enemies rejoice all but Lex Luthor who grieves the loss in his own demented manner setting off a chilling chain of events that even he couldn’t have foreseen. Inspired by the bestselling graphic novel of all time DC Comics’ The Death of Superman this feature-length animated adventure boasts exciting action sequences that rivals anything you’ve ever seen starring the Man of Steel!
I was reading the original comics way back when Doomsday made his first appearance and I always wondered if he would show up in a movie. The Justice League Unlimited seasons are pretty awesome so there was no hesitation when it came to ordering this DVD. For a super-hero tale this feature is pretty dark. Plenty of violence, lots of emotion and some all around good writing. It does not follow the original comic book storyline exactly, but it is a good story on its own.
Van Helsing: The London Assignment
Combining thrilling adventure and cutting edge animation, Van Helsing: The London Assignment is the original prequel that unlocks the incredible story behind Van Helsing and Mr. Hyde. Deep in the heart of London, the demonic creature, Mr. Hyde, terrorizes the late-night streets in a haunting crime spree. With the city in a panic, the Knights of the Holy Order send Van Helsing into London with the mission of tracking down and capturing the evil Mr. Hyde. Featuring the voice of Hugh Jackman, this original animated film will thrill you with non-stop adventure and give you an inside look into the world of Van Helsing.
As a prequel to the live-action movie with Hugh Jackman, The London Assignment is pretty entertaining. Several of the cast from the film add their talents to the animation, adding some history and depth to the characters. The animation is pretty good, the story sets up plenty of elements for the film and really adds some depth to several of the characters. I think this prequel makes to live-action film more enjoyable.
The Invincible Iron Man
Past and present collide in this epic adventure that reveals the origin of Iron Man. While raising the ruins of a long buried Chinese kingdom, billionaire inventor Tony Stark digs up far more than he bargained for. He unleashes an age-old prophecy that foretells the resurrection of the Mandarin, the emperor of China’s darkest and most violent dynasty. In order to confront the destructive force, Tony creates an armored suit infused with high-tech weaponry. To stop the evil that he himself has raised form the earth, Tony must become his greatest invention ever, Iron Man! The newly born champion must travel to the four corners of the earth to battle the Mandarin’s henchmen, the Elementals, four magical warriors who harness the power of the elements (earth, water, wind, and fire), with deadly chemistry. But is the Iron Knight, as he his known in the prophecy, strong enough to defy fate and turn back the malevolent forces hell-bent on earth’s destruction?
With the new live-action Iron Man movie coming out this week I wanted to watch this feature again. Iron Man was one of my favorite characters in the Ultimate Avengers feature, although he did not get much screen time compared to other characters. Getting his own film makes up for that a bit. We get a new take on the Mandarin (this version would make a pretty good foe for Doctor Strange). The supporting cast is great and their is plenty enough material for a sequel.
Hellboy: Sword of Storms
In this first animated feature from Director Tad Stones (Buzz Lightyear of Star Command), and Creative Producers Mike Mignola (creator of HELLBOY comics) and Guillermo del Toro (writer/director of the HELLBOY movie), a folklore professor becomes unwittingly possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning. But when The Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense dispatches a team of agents to investigate, a cursed samurai sword sends Hellboy (Ron Perlman) to a supernatural dimension of ghosts, monsters and feudal mayhem.Now while pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and fishboy Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) battle one very pissed-off dragon, a lost and cranky Hellboy must find his way home. Even if he can survive the perilous journey, how much crap does a guy have to put up with from the two most vengeful and ferocious spirits of Japanese legend?
As with Iron Man, there is an upcoming live-action Hellboy movie that I’m very much looking forward to. Of course, this is a sequel to the first live-action Hellboy movie, but anyway…
Sword of Storms is a lot of fun, I didn’t like it quite as much as Blood & Iron, but it is still a really entertaining film. Most of the cast from the live-action films reprise their roles once again, making this a true part of the ongoing storyline. The extra features on the disc are pretty cool as well. They include commentary tracks, storyline origins and “To Hell And Back – How Mike Mignola Created Hellboy” which makes this a must have for any Hellboy fan.
Dark Fury – The Chronicles of Riddick
Extend The Chronicles of Riddick experience with this all-new, visionary animated film that bridges the incredible stories of Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick . Starring Vin Diesel as the voice and likeness of Riddick and created by Peter Chung (The Animatrix, MTV’s “Aeon Flux”), one of the world’s most revered animators, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury delivers thrilling sci-fi adventure that takes Riddick, Jack and Imam on a death-defying confrontation with an intergalactic bounty hunter.
Taking place between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick live action movies, Dark Fury is a short, violent feature that introduces more of the overall setting 9and a few familiar characters). Riddick and the other survivors of Pitch black are captured by a rich, powerful lunatic and forced to fight their way free on a ship full of mercenaries and technological horrors.
Dousing the fire…
That does it for this week’s Flash Fire Mini-Reviews. Let us know your thoughts on these animated features in the comments. Also, let us know what your favorites are and what you think we should cover next time around…