Book Review “The Lone Ranger: Behind the Mask”

Author: Michael Singer
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: July 3, 2013

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

If you look at a film like “The Lone Ranger” you can tell that it was one hell of a production and cost around $250 million dollars to make.  So when it comes to the behind-the-scenes making of book, I was hoping for a huge elaborate look in the making-of the film.  I have to admit, I was a little bit let down. I feel that this book would have benefited more from a “Art of” book then a behind-the-scenes look.  “The Lone Ranger: Behind the Mask” tells a story of the long and hard road that it took in order to get this movie made. I would maybe recommend this to die-hard Depp fans. But be warned though of spoilers included towards the end of the book.

Since this was such an enormous production, we get an inside look at the huge sets in Albuquerque, the epic vistas of Monument Valley, and the sound stages of Los Angeles.  Accompanying that with some great shots of the cast and crew as well as some candid behind-the-scenes look.  There is some concept art and planning work for the characters and sets. Like I said, I would have loved to seen more focus on the art behind the film but at least we get a little taste of that in this book. The photos included though are high quality and do show a great deal of scale from the production.

One thing I should point out after this book is that is filled with celebrity cameos.  There are afterwords from Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.  There is an introduction by director Gore Verbinski.  There is a special photo foreword from Jerry Bruckheimer. At first when I show the cover of this book, I thought to myself if there was actually anything in between all these various afterwords and forewords.  The author of the book, Michael Singer, definitely brings a great knowledge of books based on behind-the-scenes of films.  He worked on “Bring Me That Horizon: The Making of Pirates of the Caribbean”, again also with Bruckheimer, Depp and Verbinski.  So I guess you can call this project a family reunion. 


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Blu-ray Review "Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon"

Starring: Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Grey DeLisle, Mindy Cohn
Directed By: Michael Goguen
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Run Time: 78 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When it comes to “Scooby Doo”, I don’t know what it is but I always enjoy them.  Every since I was a kid and I was watching the classic series and these character have power over me.  This latest original movie “Mask of the Blue Falcon” is a real blast.  It is funny, action packed and features classic characters like Herculoids and Space Ghost and obviously Blue Falcon. Warner Premiere has been releasing new animated feature films at least two per year.  Next up is “Scooby-Doo and the Maniacal Mecha Mutt”, as well as “Scooby-Doo and the Scarecrow”.  Warner is a real pusher of this franchise and I do not see it slowing down anytime soon.  Keep them coming, I can’t wait to introduce my daughter to these films. If you are a Scooby fan or a comic book fan then this release is really for you.

Official Premise: The Mega Mondo Pop Cartoon-a-Con in sunny California marks the spot for mystery in this all-new original Scooby-Doo adventure! Herculoids Frankenstein Jr. and Space Ghost are just a few of the celebrated comic book characters headlining at the unconventional convention plus there’s a megabucks movie premiere starring Scooby-Doo and Shaggy’s all-time favorite super heroes Blue Falcon and Dynomutt! So when the gruesome villain Mr. Hyde unleashes monster bats howling hounds and sinister slime upon the festivities it’s time for Mystery Incorporated to follow the clues and set their monster traps. But it’s the pizza-snacking super-powered tag team of Shaggy and Scooby-Doo who tap into their inner super hero to prevent the entire event from being smothered in ghoulish green goo! Like right on Dog Wonder!

Warner has given this franchise much love over the years. This 1080p transfer really looks amazing on Blu-ray. The combo pack includes not only a Blu-ray plus also a DVD and Ultraviolet Digital Copy. The animation really shines on this release, within its aspect ratio: 1.78:1. The colors are very crisp and sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 works well with the action and crazy antics. Overall this is a very solid release but Warner has yet to disappoint with their animation department. The special features are not jam packed but include three great vintage cartoons. They are “Comic Book Caper”, “Reflections in Ghoulish Eye” and “The Scooby Coupe”. They are a blast to revisit on this release and really look great.