Friday, March 31, 2017

Movie Review: Power Rangers (2017 Film)

I was a big fan of the original Power Rangers and watched it everyday in reruns along with Batman: The Animated Series on Fox. I enjoyed the first big screen adaption and was curious to see if the producers would take the obvious "dark and edgy and modern" remake route or do something really interesting. (They took the obvious route in case you were wondering.)

Power Rangers is a 2017 action, science fiction, super sentai film based on the 1990s series Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and Super Sentai, the Japanese drama it was based on. It's rated PG-13 due to language and a few mature elements and is appropriate for tweens and up.

The Good

Decent Underlying Story. The story wasn't that bad. There was definitely a more sensible motivation for the villain to attack than she was evil like in the original series, and events did proceed in a somewhat logical fashion with one scene influencing the next.

Some Character Development & Motivation. The characters had a lot more backstory and motivation in this version, and the interaction between them had a little bit of drama.

The Bad

Weak Storytelling. Everything that happened in this movie always happened at just the right time with just the right people being in just the right places. For a kids movie that's fine, but this film is trying to be more serious and more sophisticated so it doesn't work.

Poor Balance of Adult vs. Juvenile Tone. This story was trying to be more serious than the TV series and even included some harsh language, but then then the motivations and storytelling were very Saturday Morning Cartoony. The producers kept straddling the line between the two, never committing to either and it was a little disjointing. It wasn't serious enough or solid enough for adults, but it was too adult for small children. A lot of shows have had this problem in the past, and it's almost always sunk them.

Action & Fight Scenes. The action and fight scenes in the original series was plentiful, well choreographed, and plain fun. The action in this movie was very sparse, and when there were fight scenes, they were so badly filmed you couldn't really tell what was going on.

Music. The music was very schizophrenic with a mix of several different genres and moods. None of the music or songs were really that good, and they clashed noticeably. The original series had very catchy music that fit the tone of the show perfectly. The music was like the tone of the movie, unsure what it wants to be.

Lack of Fun and Color. One of my favorite things about the Power Rangers is the color and sense of fun. Even though the show is as fake as you can get with mediocre acting and thin stories, it's still a good time and a delight to watch. This movie didn't have any of that. It was very grey and monotone.

Rita Repulsa and Goldar. I recognize that Rita and Goldar were very silly in the original and that they needed a reinvention, but this movie turned Goldar into some mindless brute with no personality and Rita into a psycho, and not the interesting Norman Bates kind of psycho. The film versions made the originals look like literary masterpieces.

Art Direction. I recognize that the monsters and sets in the original series were low budget, cheesy, and downright silly, but they were very creative and imaginative. The zords were cheap Japanese robots, but they still managed to look cool. This movie was the opposite with ugly settings, ugly costume designs, ugly zords, and an ugly Megazord.

Messing with the Mythology. I wish the producers hadn't ignored or changed so many of the elements that worked so well with the original series. If the success of the Marvel movies has taught us anything, it is that being true to the source material and what makes it work is a much better strategy than creating a generic action movie and slapping some franchise name on it. This remake is not interesting enough to draw in new fans or spawn a new franchise. The only people who will really be drawn to this are those who grew up with the show and their children who will be forced to relive their parents' nostalgia. So the movie really should have catered to that, and that would have been more successful in drawing in new fans.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I wish the producers had found a director with a clear vision of a cool and unique reinvention for the franchise instead of taking the obvious (and almost never successful) "dark and realistic" route. The original series had a very distinct and addictive style that is still used in the latest incarnation and still attracting new fans. This movie is pretty generic and forgettable, but it didn't need to be.


Power Rangers is exactly the type of remake you would expect in today's world: it's grim, trying to be serious, and tries to more based in reality but sacrifices the fun and unique elements to do it that made the original so memorable and addictive in the first place. Some of the changes in character motivation and backstory had potential, but it wasn't enough to overcome the negatives, and only a few of the changes were really for the better. I give this film a 3 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Book Review - The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language by Melvyn Bragg

When I was in college, I took a linguistics class and absolutely loved it and felt I had a good grasp of the language's history. When I saw this book on sale, I wasn't sure it would include enough additional information to justify the time to read it. I was wrong.

The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language is a nonfiction history of the English Language (hence the title) written by Melvyn Bragg. It's available in all formats: eBooks, Audiobooks, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good

Information. This book is chuck full of information and answered questions about the language I didn't realize I had. I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of English's development. Nope, I didn't.

Comprehensiveness. This book covers the topic very completely both in length and breadth. Even the difference between North American, British, and Australian English are covered. Some of the more modern developments in the twentieth century were skipped over such as Ebonics, but that's most likely because they didn't a measurable impact. 

Examples. The author includes many great examples that illustrate the point and the changes, although a few of the examples get a little long.

The Bad

Pacing. This book is very even paced which makes it feel longer and slower than it really is.

Social Commentary. I get it, this is the twenty-first century and if you wan to appear "educated" and "open-minded" you have to profess certain social beliefs, but the point of this book is to trace the story of English, not for the author to shoe horn in judgement and commentary to pander to the politically correct. A few parts of the developments of English some might find a little horrifying, but that's history. It happened. Nothing can change that. Present it without judgement. Most of the time this was done, but not all the time.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I really enjoyed the information an all of the examples, but I wish there had been a more interesting and engaging way to present the material. The book felt very long and, as much as I love linguistics, I found myself struggling to finish it.


The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language is an interesting and comprehensive look at the language (as far as anyone really knows) from the beginning to the modern day and its current variations. 
Because of how comprehensive and in depth it goes, students of linguistics will find it fascinating while those who aren't students of linguistics may find it a little slow and boring. I give it 4 out of 5 eReaders.



Monday, March 27, 2017

Blu-ray/DVD Review: Justice League Dark

I've been a huge fan of superheroes for as long as I can remember. When I first hear DC planned to produce a series of direct-to-DVD movies adapting popular storylines, I was stoked. Then I saw them. While there have been a few gems such as Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Justice League: The New Frontier, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Superman vs. The Elite, most of them have been very disappointing and hard to sit thru. So when I heard DC planned a film with secondary characters, and supernatural ones at that, I braced myself for the impending train wreck. Fortunately, it never came.

Justice League Dark is a 2016 direct-to-Blu-ray/DVD original animated movie based on the supernatural DC Comics characters John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, The Demon, and Felix Faust. It's rated R, although I'm not sure why, because it has no more questionable content than any of DC's recent PG-13 movies. There are a few disturbing scenes so only the very youngest viewers shouldn't watch this.

Quick Summary

Several average citizens have visions of demons causing them to commit unspeakable acts. The Justice League investigates and realizes the cause is supernatural. Deadman inspires Batman to contact John Constantine, and a group of supernatural heroes is formed to hunt down and stop the menace.

The Good

Story. This movie had a solid story that was clear, easy to follow, exciting, and fun. Nothing felt forced or contrived. I was completely entertained from start to finish. Even the twist at the end--which was a pretty standard twist I've seen used hundreds of times--wasn't annoying. It wasn't surprising, but it did make sense to the story and helped tie threads presented earlier together. I was even impressed they let a main character die to add impact to the story instead of presenting a magical fix. And the death just happened, no big hyping to make it "edgy" or any other such nonsense.

Choice of Characters. This movie used some of the lesser known and more obscure characters in DC's pantheon: John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, The Demon, and Felix Faust. Each one was presented with a back story, motivation, and given something important to do, and yet none of that felt formulaic or forced. It all fit naturally and smoothly into the overall story.

Action. This movie had some of the best action I've seen in an American animated film in a long time. The fight scenes were all big and felt like something was at stake, yet none of them felt too big or over the top. None were over too quickly or dragged on too long. There was a good mix of types of action and fighting as well so it never felt repetitive. All of the action added to the story and was necessary--no gratuitous fight scenes here, folks!

Pacing. This movie starts off with a bang and never lets up. I never found myself bored or checking the time to see if it was almost over. And yet it never feels rushed or like there is too much action. There are plenty of calmer scenes to space out and balance the intense fight scenes--the perfect mix of both.

The Bad

Character Designs. This film uses the movie version of the New 52 introduced in Justice League: War. I wasn't a fan of it then, and I am not a fan of it now. They are ugly and impractical. They make Superman's red underpants look sleek and fashionable. The New 52 has been over for almost a year. Let the ugly costume designs die with it.

Zatanna. I love the character Zatanna. I wish the director had stuck closer to the comic and previous cartoon versions, because this version is very generic and uninteresting. Her entire characterization is nothing more than a plot device, and not a very interesting one at that. In the comics and shows she is sweet, caring, and clever. They forgot all three of these traits and instead chose to portrait her as a

John Stuart. Green Lantern in the New 52 is Hal Jordan, and he's been used in all previous New 52 films when Green Lantern was needed. I'm not sure why he was on vacation with John Stewart filling in other than provide the usual "token black guy" every superhero project seems to need. And that's all he was. He was completely unnecessary to the movie and added nothing to the story other than the very racist stereotype of "token black guy".

What I Would Like to Have Seen

The only suggestions I have are pretty minor. I wish they would have shown Swamp Thing a little more and given him a bit more to do. He is an interesting character and didn't feel as fully used or fully fleshed out as the other characters. I also wish DC had made this PG-13. There really wasn't anything R-rated except for the bodies hanging in the shed, and those were mostly in shadow so you really couldn't see them, just sense them.


After years of disappointing original animated movies, DC finally delivers a thoroughly entertaining and action-packed movie worth 1 hour and 15 minutes of my time. Justice League Dark presented lesser known characters, made them interesting, and made me want more. I give it 4 boxes of popcorn out of 5.



Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Review: Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

I love science fiction, but most of the good stories seem to have already been told. So on the rare occasions I do find something new and different, I get really excited. When I saw the retro-60s cover of Agent to the Stars and read Wil Wheaton narrated it, I decided to give it a chance. Wil Wheaton tends to narrate a certain type of story, so you have a pretty good idea what you're getting into.

Agent to the Stars is scifi comedy written by John Scalzi. It's available in all formats: eBooks, Audiobooks, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.


Agent to the Stars is the story of a Hollywood agent who represents a handful of movie and TV "stars" without much hope of a big career and one movie star who will have a bright albeit brief career due to her looks. He is assigned to help an alien race make first contact with Earth and somehow make them appear friendly and not start a riot.

The Good

Writing. I had never read anything by John Scalzi before I listened to this book, but he is an excellent writer. His tone is very conversational. The prose is clean and crisp and moves at a great pace. The wit and personality of the author comes thru in the words no matter what the situation.

Characters. The characters are all basically caricatures of those who work in film and television, but the author manages to make each one zany enough to be fun and likable, but it does take time for each one to reach that point.

Pace. This book moves really quickly and never feels stagnant or rushed. 

Humor. This book is very funny, but with a more intellectual and understated sense of humor. There were a few scenes where I laughed out loud, but most of the time I just had an amused smile on my face.

Situations and Twists. This book has such outlandish characters and situations that it almost feels like a cartoon, but the author is skillful enough to always keep it in a believable real-world setting. The author never holds back with how far he can push things, but each one serves a purpose and adds something to the story or the characters so nothing feels superfluous.

The Bad

Overused Stereotypes. The main characters of this book are all involved in the movies or TV somehow and are basically caricatures that have appeared frequently over the last century in movies and TV. The author manages to make each one zany enough to be fun and likable, but it wouldn't of hurt to be a little more original.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

The only thing I can think of is having more interesting aliens. As much as I love green Jell-O, I was glad when the story went away from the alien. Some of the cultural criticism it brought up were entertaining, but that was just a small part of the alien's page time.


Agent to the Stars is an entertaining and hilarious scifi comedy. The characters are all a lot of fun with outlandish situations that couldn't happen anywhere else. I was entertained from start to finish. I give it a 5 out of 5 eReaders.



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

I've enjoyed spy thriller stories and action adventures since I first saw them parodied on Saturday Morning cartoons. I saw my first James Bond flick at a younger age than I probably should have. In the last few years I've become a voracious reader of crime comic books like Criminal, Sin City, and Whiteout: Melt and crime/spy thriller novels such as The Dispatcher, The Wheelman, and Johnathan Quinn. So when I saw Orphan X was on sale and and was narrated by Scott Brick, I got pretty excited expecting to discover another great writer.

Orphan X is an adventure spy thriller written by Gregg Hurwitz. It's available in all formats: eBooks, Audiobooks, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.


Orphan X is the story of an ex-government-trained assassin who left because of moral objections and personal loss. He now spends his time and uses his skills to help those who have no one else to turn to. But the government is not content to just "let him go".

The Good

Writing. The writing is good. The author does an excellent job of painting each scene in the readers' minds and making the action come alive. He also spends sufficient time developing each character so the readers understand who they are and what motivates them.

Cover story. This book contains a minor subplot which is basically the protagonist's cover as an ordinary man so his enemies can't find him. The characters and minor conflicts from bullies at school to an assistant DA who is targeted by organized crime to the home owners' association and their bizarre rules are probably the most entertaining and interesting parts of the novel.

The Bad

Characters. The main characters are well developed, but none of them are interesting. The minor characters who are part of the protagonist's cover are the most compelling, but unfortunately they have little page time. The main character, the villains, the victims, are all shallow and one-dimensional. They look like the author saw a crime triller or read a spy novel and said, "That was cool! I want to write that." And did.

Motivation. The motivation for the characters is pretty prosaic and tired. The main character is pretty bland and generic and sounds like dozens of other action heroes. The victims are all minorities with the stereotypical problems of minorities from domestic disputes to immigration concerns and debt. Not a single one is memorable. The villains are little more than the mustached bad guy of mellow dramas tying someone to the train, only they have much better and cooler tech than a steam-powered locomotive. Again, this feels like a bad remake of shows and books I've seen and read before.

Twist. This novel is supposed to have a twist at the climax, but it's something that a reader with even half a brain saw coming from before the middle of the book. In fact, it's the only answer that actually makes sense, because the author neglected to offer any even semi-likely alternatives.

Surprise Ending. I think the end was meant to be a shocker and a twist with the unexpected reveal, but the character involved wasn't interesting enough for me to care, and having a character fake his death only to reappear happens in almost every spy or crime thriller if it lasts very long.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I wish the author would have done something original and interesting with the main story. He tries to make Orphan X seem all powerful and clever, but nothing he does is different than what every other version of this character does. The story itself is supposed to be intense and filled with intrigue and twists, but instead it's the same ride I've taken many, many times with each twist an expected and overused turn. Which is a shame, because the author is a good writer with talent, just not much imagination or originality.


Orphan X is a competent book that is entertaining but nothing special. This is the first in a series I have no desire to read. One was enough. I don't regret reading it, but I'm not going to waste my time or money reading anymore. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 eReaders.



Monday, March 20, 2017

TV Show Review: Marvel's Iron Fist

When Netflix first announced they would create a series of original mini-series starring Marvel characters, I was excited for only two of the four characters announced: Daredevil and Iron Fist. I was pretty upset that I had to wait years since Iron Fist was the last one to debut, but I figured it would be worth it. Oh, Netflix, why? Why?

Marvel's Iron Fist is a 13-episode Netflix original series based on the Iron Fist character in Marvel Comics. It is rated TV-MA for a few brief scenes of gore, but otherwise is pretty PG.

The Good

Story. This series actually has a pretty story, it's just badly told. But I was hooked enough to finish this in three days.

Joy and Ward. The brother and sister duo who run Rand are the most interesting characters in the show and actually show a lot of range and go thru a lot of changes. Both the characters and the acting are actually really interesting.

The Bad

Pacing. The biggest problem with this series, and probably the reason so many people are hating on it, is the sloooooooow pacing. The first two episodes could easily have been wrapped up in one episode without losing a single thing.

Fan Film Quality. The second major problem that has most people upset is the low quality. After the masterpiece that is Daredevil, fans expect a similar quality. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were both let downs and not in the same league, and this was another rung down the ladder. The acting was stiff. The dialogue was amateurish and too wordy. The fight scenes were few and poorly executed. The storytelling was weak. The direction was not at a professional level. The cinematography was disappointing. It really felt like a couple of high school buddies went out behind one of their houses and shot this in a weekend.

Weak Source Material. There is a reason Iron Fist is not one of the main character in the Marvel Universe and why he hasn't had a long running series. He just isn't that interesting. There aren't that many good stories to tell with him. He works much better as a minor character in someone else's story.

Cry Baby Protagonist. It really annoyed me how petty and easily angered Iron Fist was. He encountered the smallest obstacle and suddenly he flew into a violent rage. And his confidence swung from ridiculous bravado to a loss of all hope with no degrees in between. Not what I want to see from my heroes.

Power Constantly Shorting Out. One of the really cool things about superheroes that sets them apart from every other genre is their superpowers. I love to see the powers, I love to see what unique and clever ways characters come up with using those powers. I don't like seeing powers on the fritz for the entire 13 hours. Why even bother having them if that's what you're going to do? It didn't add to the story or the character.

No Costume. Iron Fist has one of the few comic book costumes that could be directly translated onto the screen and both look cool and make sense for the character (minus the giant yellow color from the 70s), and yet no attempt was made to show any sort of a costume. And the character had long, curly hair and a beard, two things that he doesn't have in the comic. Something that's made the latest Marvel adaptions so successful is their faithfulness to the comic. This is a huge step backwards by throwing away so much of the comic.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I was so excited for this series. I wish they had a better director who knew how to shoot a movie and pace it. I wish better actors had been hired. I wish the script didn't feel like a first draft. I wish Iron Fist had appeared in costume. I wish the fight scenes looked cool and there were more of them. I wish Iron Fist's power would work for more than ten seconds.


Overall, Marvel's Iron Fist had a pretty good story, it just wasn't well told. The script, the acting, the fight scenes, and pretty much everything else felt like a first draft and needed a lot more thought and work. I give it 3 out of 5 remotes and recommend it for hardcore comic fans who'll watch anything with their favorite character in it. It's not a waste of time, but it is disappointing.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Book Review - Meet Me in Atlantis: My Quest to Find the 2,000-Year-Old Sunken City by Mark Adams

I've been a lover of mythology since I first heard listened to the tales of gods and heroes as a little child. The fact that many of these stories were likely based on real events intrigued my young mind at the time and continues to intrigue my old mind making it wonder what really happened all those thousands of years ago.

Meet Me in Atlantis: My Quest to Find the 2,000-Year-Old Sunken City is a nonfiction adventure / travelogue written by Mark Adams. It's available in all formats: eBooks, Audiobooks, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.


Meet Me in Atlantis: My Quest to Find the 2,000-Year-Old Sunken City is the story of one man's journey to discover the lost city of Atlantis. He begins by summarizing the myth as told by Plato and then travels to several possible locations and explores the pros and cons of each.

The Good

Writing. This is really a fun book. The writing sounds like a buddy has just returned from a great adventure, and he is so excited to tell you all about it. It's crisp and clear and never drags or gets bogged down in scholarly prose.

Explanation of the Myth. The author does an excellent job retelling the original tale first told by Plato and then elaborated on by later writers and philosophers. He presents several new interpretations from scholars and experts on ancient ways and how they constructed myths and hid messages using numbers and placement. It was very fascinating and gave whole new meanings to familiar old tales.

Travelogue. I love traveling. I love travelogues. A good travelogue makes you feel like you've truly experienced a distant local, and this book does that marvelously. The author's descriptions are so vivid with concrete, relevant details. Each place he spends an appropriate amount of time painting the milieu, introducing the reader to the people and cultures and history. I feel like I've been to Morocco and Crete and locations in between.

The Bad

Purpose/Point. The title of this book is "quest" which naturally leads the reader to suppose that at the end of the journey he will discover something wonderful. There's nothing wonderful at the end of this book. It just ends. We're no closer to finding Atlantis than when the author started. I was pretty sure the author wouldn't be walking the streets of the ancient city situated beneath a dome at the bottom of the ocean or in another dimension, but I had hoped at least something would have been accomplished by the end. 

Guides along the road. At each stop the author meets with an "expert" who believes his or her location is the site of Atlantis. The idea of such a guide is great, but I question his choice. They aren't the most interesting of souls and are pretty blind to contrary evidence. 

What I Would Like to Have Seen

As much as I enjoyed the journey--and many people will tell you that the journey is more important than the destination--I still like a meaningful destination, and this book really didn't have one. We're no closer to finding Atlantas or even knowing if it ever really existed than we were before the author took his journey. I wish he had added something to the search.


Meet Me in Atlantis is an incredibly enjoyable ride with stops in several interesting and exotic locals and a fascinating look at history and possible history I'd never heard of before. Though nothing is really accomplished or discovered by the end of the book, the journey itself is enchanting enough to make the trip worthwhile. I give it a solid 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.



Monday, March 13, 2017

Movie Serial Review: Tim Tyler's Luck

I love old Saturday matinee movie serials from the 30s and 40s. They were fun, exciting, and escapists in the best sense of the word. Each week the movie viewer could find himself swept off to exotic locals both real and imagined. And it was the first time most fictional characters from comic strips, comic books, and radio dramas were portrayed in live action, something that makes every fan giddy. They were low budget and most followed a very similar formula, but still they contained that element of fun which makes them classic and enjoyable to watch today.

Tim Tyler's Luck is a 12-chapter action, adventure movie serial from 1937 based on the comic strip Tim Tyler's Luck created by Lyman Young that ran from 1928 to 1996. It's appropriate for all audiences.


Tim Tyler is a young boy whose father is an expert in gorillas and has gone off to Africa to study them. Tim becomes worried about him after receiving a letter and sneaks aboard a ship traveling to Africa. On the ship he encounters a young woman hunting a dangerous criminal, Spider Webb, who can help free her brother currently serving time in jail for a crime Spider committed. The action continues to Africa and the search for the legendary elephant graveyard.

The Good

Story. Most movie serials introduce a MacGuffin during the first chapter (a new scientific invention, archeological discovery, or some other thing) and the remaining chapters are spent trying to obtain the device. Often it's divided into parts and each chapter is devoted to the search for one of those parts. They're written very episodically with it possible to watch the first and last chapter and miss very little of importance in between with each chapter serving as a mini story that is exciting on its own but adds little to the overall story beyond obtaining one more piece of the MacGuffin. Tim Tyler's Luck broke from this tradition by presenting one long story broken into chapters like a novel. Each chapter was essential to the overall story and moved the plot forward presenting significant events. There were almost no gratuitous action scenes or side stories. Everything that happened directly and significantly contributed to the resolution. This was really, really strong storytelling.

Visuals. This serial takes place in the jungles of Africa and on a riverboat. We see lots of exotic animals from lions to monkeys to gorillas to crocodiles to elephants. We see great jungle scenery, the Ivory Patrols fort, the swamp base of the bad guys, nicely designed caves, and beautiful costuming. It was a visual feast.

Stunt Work and Action. This was made in the 1930s before special effects were very advanced, which means all the action is practical and real. While not as big and explosive as today's blockbuster action scenes overflowing with the wirework and cgi, there is something more exciting about knowing a real person is jumping into real water, swinging on a real rope or vine, or riding thru a real jungle. It actually looks better than a computer generated fantasy and is more far more exciting and satisfying. Visual production may have improved over the years, but quality of stuntmen was high even back then, and this serial used some good ones.

Fun. Movie serials are just plan fun. They were made with a single intent: to entertain and help the viewer escape, and they do this beautifully, even the bad ones. The strong story and beautiful visuals only added to an already good time.

Cliffhangers that didn't cheat. Saturday matinee movie serials are famous for their cliffhanger endings. At the end of each chapter the hero is placed in a life or death peril they can't possible escape from forcing the viewer to return the next Saturday to see if the hero can possible survive. Often the footage at the end of one chapter is different from the beginning of the next chapter showing some additional scene where the hero sneaks thru a secret door and hides in a closet or box to escape the explosion or fire or jumps out of the car just before it goes over the cliff, something that clearly was impossible the week before. Because the chapters were shown a week apart, the filmmakers may have been able to get away with such cheats, but watching the chapters altogether makes such sloppy filmmaking unforgivable. Tim Tyler's Luck did not have one single cheat, something I can't recall seeing in any other movie serial. This also meant that the perils weren't as great, but I'm okay with that. It adds believability to an otherwise fantastic story.

The Bad

Acting. Rarely do you see major actors appear in movie serials. Their low budgets usually meant they used second- and third-tier actors. This serial is no exception. Most of the lines are recited while characters stand stiffly. There is about as much acting here as a grade school play.

Convenient plot points. Most stories are guilty of convenient plot points--things that happen at just the right moment to advance the story. They always feel like cheating and weaken the story. This serial has a few of them, but they're pretty small and don't ruin the rest of the story as long as you don't think too hard about them.

Transfer Quality. The transfer was very poor with a fuzzy picture and poor audio. It looked like they tried to digitally remaster a public domain copy. Several times I really wasn't sure what was being said. And maybe a quality print doesn't exist and this is the best we have. Movie serials were created as disposable entertainment.

What I Would Like to Have Seen

I wish a good print or even the original negatives had existed so a better print could have be produced. The fuzzy picture and hard-to-understand audio really detracted from an otherwise great experience.


Tim Tyler's Luck is one of the most enjoyable movie serials I've ever watched. It featured beautiful visuals and had the strongest story I've ever seen in a movie serial with a lot of variety in action and locations. I watched all 4+ hours in one sitting. I give it a solid 4.5 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.