3D Blu-ray Review “James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge 3D”

Actors: James Cameron
Directors: John Bruno, Ray Quint, Andrew Wight
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Millennium Entertainment
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

When you are Academy Award® winner James Cameron, after you make classics like “The Terminator”, “Titanic”, “Avatar”; what do you do next? Well, for Cameron he has been working with the “Deepsea Challenger”, a state-of-the-art deep-diving submersible designed to reach Earth’s lowest known point. This documentary focuses on his successful voyage from March of 2012 to Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, which reaches a depth of over seven miles. If you love James Cameron and his under the sea adventures, this is both entertaining and educational…and of course in 3D.

Official Premise: As a boy, filmmaker James Cameron dreamed of a journey to the deepest part of the ocean. This film is the dramatic fulfillment of that dream. It chronicles Cameron’s solo dive to the depths of the Mariana Trench—nearly seven miles beneath the ocean’s surface—piloting a submersible he designed himself. The risks were astounding. The footage is breathtaking. “Deepsea Challenge 3D” is a celebration of science, courage, and extraordinary human aspiration.

Since it is James Cameron, I expected this to be in 3D. The 3D is definitely the best part of this release. Millennium is releasing this as a combo pack with a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD, so there are plenty of options here. If you can watch this in 3D, I would certainly recommend that for sure. The 1080p transfer is stunning with the underwater footage. It is framed at 1.78:1 aspect ratio and the film has extremely sharp image detail and vibrant colors. The audio is also impressive with an DTS-HD 5-1 Master Audio track.

In terms of special features, there is really not much included. There are two short featurettes included, which add to just over 5 minutes for both. The first is a look at the final dive before it happens and the second a post-dive wrap up. There is also a trailer included for the film. If you are looking for more, I would recommend the Special Collector’s Edition, which features a 36-Page book with imagery of production artwork, stills from filming, charts, depth measurement diagrams.

DVD Review “Challenge of the Gobots: The Series, Volume One”

Starring: Lou Richards, Arthur Burghardt, Frank Welker, Bernard Erhard, Bob Holt, Marilyn Lightstone, Sparky Marcus, Leslie Speights, Morgan Paull, Phil Hartman, B.J. Ward, Brock Peters, Peter Cullen
Number of discs: 3
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner Archive
Run Time: 660 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Being a young boy in the 80’s, I used to be glued to watching cartoons all day and night. Thankfully, Hanna-Barbera helped me grow up with there endless supply of cartoons. “Challenge of the Gobots” was based on the Gobots toy-line released from Tonka. Warner Archive has been behind this series for a while now as they released the “Challenge of The Gobots: The Original Miniseries” back in 2011. This volume one collection includes the first 30 episodes in this 65 episodes series. Hopefully we will not have to wait as long for volume two. Getting a chance to revisit this show has been such a treat and reminded me how much I love giant transforming robot cartoons. I just do. Love them as a kid and nothing has changed now 30 years later. A must have for any 80’s cartoon fan!

Official Premise: They’re mighty robots and mighty vehicles are back at last! Cy-Kill! Leader-1! Cop-Tur! Turbo! Crasher! Scooter! The noble Guardian GoBots and the nefarious Renegade GoBots continue the war begun in The Battle for GoBotron (see Challenge of the GoBots: The Original Mini-Series) across time and space in their epic 60 episode series that comes to you factory fresh and newly remastered – from the original film elements! With Earth as their chosen staging ground, the Renegades deploy Earth’s worst such as the deranged Dr. Braxis (voiced by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Rene Auberjonois) in their quest to conquer Earth and GoBotron, so it’s a good thing the Guardians have Matt, Nick and AJ of UNECOM on their side! This 30-Episode, Three-Disc set collects the first half of the series and finds the amazing, metamorphosing cyborgs taking their fight to Ancient Rome, lost Atlantis and back to GoBotron in a series of adventures that will leave you shouting for “MOAR”!

The first 30 episodes included are: Battle for GoBotron; Target Earth; Conquest of Earth; Earth Bound; The Final Conflict; It’s the Thought That Counts; Renegade Alliance; Time Wars; Terror in Atlantis; Trident’s Triple Threat; Lost on GoBotron; Cy-Kill’s Shrinking Ray; The Quest for Roguestar; Ultra Zod;
Sentinel; Cy-Kill’s Cataclysmic Trap; Speed is of the Essence; Genius and Son; Dawn World; Pacific Overtures; Forced Alliance; Invasion from the 21st Level Pt. 1 & 2; Doppelganger; Scooter Enhanced; Tarnished Image; Cold Spell; Crime Wave; Auto-madic and Renegade Rampage Pt. 1. They are presented with their aspect ratio of 1.37:1. They look good but haven’t been restored. I am personally happy to have them available on DVD for the first time ever in one collection. Bring on volume two!

Brian Henson talks about Syfy’s “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge” and the Sequel to “Dark Crystal”

Brian Henson is the son of Jim Henson, creator of “The Muppets” and the current chairman of The Jim Henson Company. For years Brian has been working with his family in the company as a puppeteer in roles like Jack Pumpkinhead in “Return to Oz” and directing//producing “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppet Treasure Island”. He was also behind the TV series “Farscape” as the Executive Producer. His latest venture is in reality TV on Syfy with the series “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge”, which is similar to other Syfy shows like “Face/Off”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Brian about the TV show and also get the scoop on upcoming projects like “The Power of the Dark Crystal” and “Fraggle Rock: The Movie”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did the idea come about to do this show, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge?
Brian Henson: We were trying to think if there is a show that would make sense for The Jim Henson Company in the reality side of television programming. There aren’t many…because we are The Jim Henson Company. Almost everything we do has an element of fantasy or science-fiction in it. In many ways we are the opposite of reality. We make things that reflect on reality and allow you to objectively compare it to what we are presenting. But we decided that one area that is particularly exciting of our company is in the creature designing area. These artists, who are designing, conceiving and then building these creatures, really are like magic. They are extraordinary artists. We thought that doing a show around that aspect would be the most interesting area to the general audience. It is sort of like this secret world. There are no Academy Awards for creature designers. There are some creature designers who have won Academy Awards for costuming, make-up or special effects. Joe FREID, one of the Executive Producers, really shared the same enthusiasm in that area of our company and also has a strong background in reality TV programming. We went out to pitch it and Syfy loved it. We made it pretty close to the “Face/Off” format or even the “Project Runway” format. But what is different about it is that it is going into an area and a type of artist that is much different than anyone has ever seen. It is taking place in the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and the prize really is a job with us.

MG: How do you come up with the challenges for the show like the first episode’s undersea creature?
BH: We basically kept making lists of creatures that we thought would be interesting. For season one, we said that none of the creatures should be allowed to use any compositing, puppeteer removal or some of the techniques that we would normally use in television or feature films. So that closed us up a little bit and kept us focused for season one. Then we had about 15-20 good ideas on the board and we basically produced what we thought was a good wide range of creatures. One thing that is great about creature making, which perhaps is not true of some of the cousins to our TV show, is they are very different depending on what kind of creature you are looking for and what kind of screen test you presenting at the end of the episode. It means that every episode is able to stand alone and be unique from the one before it, which is a lot of fun. You should also expect the challenges to be more and more ambitious as we go forward, which I think is pretty great.

MG: What are you feelings on CGI versus practical effects like puppet work?
BH: My take on it reflects my background and where I come from and where my dad came from, we are a performance oriented company. So what excites me is performing creatures and puppets. We do some CGI but we call it digital puppetry. The way we do CGI, is that we real-time animate 3D creatures using performers. So if it comes from performance and creating a real moment for the characters then that is what excites me and our company. So in that sense, I prefer the animatronic creatures to the CGI creatures. But that is also due to my background. If someone comes from key frame animation, they may prefer CGI to stop-action animation. But I think there is wonderful space for every technique. There is clearly a sacrifice you make when you decide to go CGI with a creature is that you are not actually creating a real moment that you then photograph. With most of our stuff besides the digital puppetry that we do, what you see has really been created and has been photographed and is now in the movie or TV show. It really happened and was really there. You can’t underestimate the value of that. It may mean that things are not quite as slick or accurate as CGI but it really happened and there is something really delicious and exciting about that. Certainly we have been seeing a big move towards CGI creatures but I think with films like “Where the Wild Things Are”, we are starting to see a movement back towards practical effects. But like I said there is definitely a space for both.

MG: I feel that this show actually brings this type of work back into the spotlight…
BH: Yeah, it’s been like a secret world. Nobody knows how these creatures are built and created. Nobody has done a show like this and it is really interesting watching them work.
MG: Yeah, one thing I would love to learn more about myself is the actual mechanics behind-the-scenes with these creatures.
BH: Well as you watch more of the series you will be more of that as well.

MG: Tell us about choosing your co-judges including Kurt Thatcher and Beth Hathaway?
BH: Initially we weren’t sure if we wanted to go with an all internal panel. Kurt is really an inside guy. Most of the work he has done in his career has been with our company. We wanted it to be as credible as possible because like I said the prize really is a job in the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Kurt is the type of person who would do the hiring along with me who would also be making those judgment calls. At a certain point, we realized it was just too much Henson. So we reached out to Beth Hathaway, who is also a very experienced creature builder but her background is along the lines of Stan Winston and Rick Baker. It was actually really fun bringing her in since she is kind of an outsider but we just love her. It was good having her point of views and opinions on the judging panel.

MG: What do you see that the future has planned for this type of practical effects and for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop?
BH: I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to do more creature work. I think we are coming out of a time where the industry has been in a flux. I think people are now starting to stabilize and spend more money for cool fantasy/science-fiction characters. I think you will start to see more practical effects…but probably mixed in with some CGI, which is like what “Where the Wild Things Are” was. I think the best creatures yet to come are going to be a little bit of everything used to bring that creature to life.

MG: Do you have any update on The Power of Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock movie?
BH: The truth is that it took me five years to get “Farscape” on the air. These things take time. Some of that time feels like you are just waiting around. There is a lot of things that need to come together in order to make these projects work. You need to have the right talent, financing and distribution partners. But I can tell you that these both in active development currently within our company. We are determined to get them made. It is big though and a lot of elements need to come together to get a movie made.

Photos courtesy of Syfy

Win a “Friends” Prize Pack during our 30 Days of Trivia Challenge [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!
To celebrate Warner Bros. Pictures release of Friends: The Complete Series Blu-ray Box Set on November 13th 2012, Media Mikes would like to giveaway a limited Edition “Friends” prize pack with two oversized cappuccino mugs and a picture frame just like the one on Monica’s door to giveaway to your audience.

If you would like to win one of these great prizes, we have a Media Mikes first, YOU ARE ALLOWED MULTIPLE ENTRIES WEEKLY!!!, post your favorite moments below or send us an email from the Mashup Clip Countdown as the new videos get unlocked! Also you can enter by taking the “Which Friend Are You Most Like” quiz and post their results! This giveaway will be open until November 30th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

Be sure to check out the 30 Days of Friends: Trivia Challenge Blog App and Video Player below and come back to the video player every Thursday to see the new unlocked Friends Mashup clips running throughout November starting with an exclusive clip featuring Friends fan favorite Janice!!

30 Days of Friends: Trivia Challenge! Come back everyday to earn a different Friends character badge, unlock hidden badges, and earn awesome Friends content along the way.  

Mashup Clip Countdown! Relive all your favorite Friends moments in these fun clips.  Each week a new clip will be unlocked.  Let your readers know so they come back week after week to check them out!

Which Friend Are You Most Like Quiz! Everybody loves the characters of Friends for their distinct and quirky personalities. Chandler’s wit, Monica’s OCD, and Phoebe with her free-spirit. Take this quiz to find out what Friends character you are most like!

HBO’s “Luck” $50K Challenge

MediaMikes.com is proud to be working with HBO on this contest for their new TV series “Luck”. The contest is called “LUCK $50K CHALLENGE”. Check out below on how you can get involved with this contest and for the chance to win $50K. Good luck, thanks for visiting and don’t forget to spread the word on this great contest.

The App
To celebrate the premiere of the new original series, LUCK, HBO is launching the LUCK $50K CHALLENGE on Facebook. This innovative horseracing app offers Facebook users a chance to win $50,000 by submitting their picks for the winning horses in a series of six REAL thoroughbred horse races.

The Races
The six races – known collectively as THE HBO LUCK PICK SIX – will be run at Santa Anita Park (Los Angeles) and Gulfstream Park (Miami) on Saturday, January 28th. Post time for the first race of THE HBO LUCK PICK SIX is tentatively scheduled for 4pm EST.

The Challenge
The LUCK $50K CHALLENGE on Facebook was designed for everyone – from first-time betters to hard core handicappers – and is easy to enter. Go to facebook.com/LUCKHBO today, “like” the page, and reserve your “betting ticket.”

Visitors to the HBO LUCK Facebook page can try their LUCK on three practice races to familiarize themselves with the Challenge. Official entries can be made starting on Monday, January 23rd at 6pm EST until one hour before the start of THE HBO LUCK PICK SIX at 3pm on Saturday, January 28th.

To Enter:
Visit the LUCK $50K CHALLENGE app on Facebook.com/LUCKHBO starting on Monday, January 23rd
– Select one horse per race in each race of THE HBO LUCK PICK SIX
Horses who place in the top 3 spots (Win, Place and Show) will earn points based on their odds and actual payouts at the track
The bigger the underdog, the more points you will earn if the horse finishes in the top 3

THE HBO LUCK PICK SIX races will be broadcast LIVE on the HBO LUCK Facebook page on Saturday, January 28th at 4PM EST. Be sure to tune-in to the premiere of LUCK on Sunday, January 29th at 9pm only on HBO.

About LUCK
From acclaimed director, Michael Mann and the creator of Deadwood®, David Milch, ‘Luck’ is a provocative behind-the-track look at the world of horse racing and gambling’s denizens – the owners, jockeys and gamblers – starring two-time Academy-Award winning actor, Dustin Hoffman. To build buzz for the series, HBO is developing an innovative branded racing and gaming-themed promotion designed to engage and excite horseracing enthusiasts, hardcore handicappers, casual gamblers and the broader consumer audience and give them an opportunity to experience a little bit of “Luck”. The show premiers January 29th at 9pm EST.