The Sequelcast Network features the Sequelcast, Video Game Sequelcast, Sequelcast Special, SequelCommentary, and Video Game Sequelcast Special podcasts. Visit our website at www.sequelcast.com. The Sequelcast is now part of the Battleship Pretension Podcast Fleet.

Hosted by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi and William Thrasher, the podcasts on the Sequelcast Network look at movies and video games in franchises.

The theme songs to the Sequelcast, Sequelcast Special, and SequelCommentary podcasts are written and performed by Marc With a C . The Sequelcast is a proud member of the Battleship Pretension Podcast Fleet.

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It’s hard to state in words how hyped I was for the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace. I got into Star Wars kind of late, right before I started high school. As a kid, I actually watched Mel Brooks’ parody Spaceballs first! Once I got into the series from the 1995 VHS box set, I was hooked. I played any Star Wars video game or read any book I could get my hand on. I kept myself free from spoilers. 

Sadly, my spoiler-free came to a bad end. I gave a friend of mine money to get me a ticket to the show on opening day right after school. When the movie was released, I was sick and didn’t feel up to it. My friend was angry I had not gone to the movie with him, so he spoiled the entire movie for me the next day in Spanish class. 

That weekend, I saw the film with my family. The opening scroll started, mentioning something about taxation of trade routes. I got nervous. Aliens appeared on a communication screen in a starship. They started to speak, sounding like a stereotypical Japanese accent out of an old Godzilla movie. I muttered “Oh, no!” This was less than five minutes into the movie.  

Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace was the first film George Lucas had directed since the original Star Wars in 1977. It had a story that was larger in scope than anything from the original Star Wars trilogy. There was political betrayal, armies of robots, and a pod race. There was a two-on-one lightsaber battle. What could possibly go wrong?

In spite of all the detailed planets the characters go to, the entire movie is brought down by the main characters being Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). They are devoid of emotion as is befitting of the Jedi Order, but they also make the story lack much of the fun of the original films. Harrison Ford’s shining performance of Han Solo brought a wink and a rakish grin to the witty dialogue, letting us in on the fun. The closest to humor Episode I gets is the obnoxious alien Jar Jar Binks getting his tongue grabbed at the dinner table. 

Visually, the movie is impressive. The pod race is a fun, if overlong, sequence. The lightsaber battle at the end with Darth Maul is by far the best in the entire Star Wars saga to date. John Williams has the best score out of the prequel trilogy here, with the climactic Duel of the Fates piece being a real standout. Liam Neeson gives such a comforting presence as Qui-Gon Jinn that it makes one wish he would have become a force ghost in the other two prequels.

The story feels too stretched out at 133 minutes. The story of Anakin Skywalker might have been better told if it had started when he was older. Anakin is so young in this film that his major actions are performed alone without help of the rest of the heroes, making him curiously divorced from the story. He wins the pod race by himself, and he takes out a Federation ship. He’s not involved in any notable action scenes with Obi-Wan Kenobi or Qui-Gon Jinn. Part of the fun of the best characters in Star Wars is how they play off each other, and Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace gives Anakin precious little time to do that. 

In retrospect, this flick is not unwatchable. There are a few good moments and many tedious ones. If you’re going to watch the prequel trilogy again, skip straight to Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones

Category:general -- posted at: 5:08 PM

Mat, Thrasher, and Jersey Jason discuss The Addams Family in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. Based on a TV show that was based on a popular series of comics by Charles Addams from The New Yorker, The Addams Family details a case of mistaken identity (or is it?) when a con-man pretends to be the long lost Uncle Fester. The directorial debut of Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black 3), this flick had a sick sense of humor best demonstrated in the numerous one-liners from Wednesday, played by Christina Ricci (The Smurfs 2). Check out past episodes of the Sequelcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat wonders if the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man spin-off flick Venom will be any good. Thrasher raves about some recent test footage that popped up online from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? They all applaud Katey Sagal and Mel Brooks getting stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Jason and Mat quibble about the ending to Guardians of the Galaxy. Mat enjoys I Am Road Comic. Jason recommends its earlier companion film, I Am Comic. Jason also enjoys the recent Doug Benson comedy documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled

Direct download: sequelcast190.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:44 AM

Thrasher and Jersey Jason provide an audio commentary for Street Fighter in this episode of the SequelCommentary podcast. 

Direct download: sequelcommentary18.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:08 AM

Long before Peter Jackson gussied up J.R.R. Tolkien’s text with extended battle sequences and a parade of endings, maverick director Ralph Bakshi had an animated take on The Lord of the Rings in 1978. The film was meant to be released under the title of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Part 1. United Artists balked at this request, feeling it would result in a lower box office gross. Audiences flocked to the film only to be surprised that it “ends” halfway through the story. The film was a hit, but Bakshi had such a rotten time making it that he passed on directing a sequel.  

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has some wondrous things going for it. Leonard Rosenman’s score colors the settings of the story from the pastoral Hobbiton to the chaotic Helm's Deep. Many of the character designs have a delightful 1970s funkiness to them. The voice cast is strong all around never taking the audience out of the moment with stunt casting. John Hurt makes for a fine Aragorn and Anthony Daniels is near unrecognizable as Legolas. Peter S. Beagle and Chris Conkling’s screenplay does a reasonable compression of nearly two books worth of material into a robust feature-length narrative. 

And yet something is missing here. After the flick dicks around in Hobbiton for way too long setting up the simplistic overall plot (the first novel in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, has the same problem), the rest of the film hobbles its way to the finish line. Bakshi brings a lack of urgency to the story. It looks and sound pretty, but it’s not compelling. The legacy of Tolkien’s original text puts Bakshi on a pretty tight leash, resulting in a film that’s light on personality. Best to watch it with the sound turned off and your favorite fantasy film soundtrack blaring instead while enjoying your favorite variety of pipe-weed.  

Category:general -- posted at: 1:39 PM

Mat and Thrasher discuss the Professor Layton video games for the Nintendo DS and 3DS in this episode of the Video Game Sequelcast podcast: Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS); Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS); Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS); Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS); Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS); Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS); and Layton Brothers: Mystery Room (iOS). Download more episodes of the podcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat and Thrasher also chat about replaying Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II in preparation for the upcoming release of Dragon Age: Inquisition for the PS3, 360, Xbox One, and PS4. Thrasher heaps brick upon brick of praise onto Lego Marvel Heroes. Mat goes crazy for Warriors Orochi 3 with its beat-em-up gameplay wrought large with a time travel plot. 

Direct download: vgsequelcast17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:57 PM

Mat and Thrasher discuss Police Story 4: First Strike (released in the United States as Jackie Chan's First Strike) in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. This time around, Jackie Chan travels from Hong Kong to Ukraine and Australia to spy on a Russian KGB agent. When she flees the airport before the CIA agents can catch up to her, Chan is on the chase. The animal antics on display (two long sequences revolve around koalas and sharks) are fitting with the lighter tone of the film. Check out past episodes of the Sequelcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat worries about the potential quality of a pair of sequels Ridley Scott plans to direct in the somewhat near future: Blade Runner 2 and Prometheus 2. Thrasher thinks the rumor reported by Drew McWeeny for HitFix that the upcoming slate of DC Comics flicks will have "no jokes" because of Green Lantern's weak box office performance in upsetting. 

Thrasher likes the new Netflix exclusive animated series Bojack Horseman because it reminds him of The Critic. Mat finds Orange is the New Black to be growing on him. 

Direct download: sequelcast189.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:33 AM

Mat and Thrasher discuss Police Story 3: Super Cop in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. Jackie Chan stepped away from the director's chair for this flick. Director Stanley Tong (The Myth) gives a bigger sense of scope to the action. The most memorable character in the film is Jessica Yang, played by Michelle Yeoh (Babylon A.D.). She's just as limber as Jackie Chan in the many action scenes that pair the two together.  Check out past episodes of the Sequelcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat expresses interest in Kevin Smith's upcoming True North Trilogy. All three are set in Canada and based off stories from his popular Smodcast podcast. The first film in the series, Tusk, comes out in September 19, 2014 in the United States. Thrasher gets interested at some of the casting in Jungle Book: Origins, a take on the classic Rudyard Kipling novel from director Andy Serkis. They also express admiration for the late Don Pardo. 

Mat and Thrasher voice their approval to the recent Guardians of the Galaxy film and speculate on what their appearance could be in the upcoming Avengers sequels.

Direct download: sequelcast188.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:31 AM

Mat and special guest Paul Goebel discuss the career of Robin Williams in this episode of the Sequelcast Special podcast. Listen to Paul's podcasts here: Hey, Watch This! and Brief Interviews With The Opposite Sex. Thrasher and Jersey Jason also discuss Robin Williams' legacy. 

No film is left unturned in these two thoughtful conversations. Mat admires the little seen science-fiction thriller The Final Cut. Paul brings up a solo appearance of Robin Williams on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that lasted for an entire episode. Thrasher notes how Robin Williams turned him onto the career of another comedy legend, Jonathan Winters. Jersey Jason shares his love of the scenes pairing Robin Williams and Harvey Fierstein in Mrs. Doubtfire. From the artistic flourishes in What Dreams May Come to the revolutionary monologues to the audience in Mork & Mindy, the work of Robin Williams will always be loved, and the man will never be forgotten.  

Direct download: sequelcastspecial35.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:06 AM

Mat discusses Police Story 2 in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. After the wild success of Police Story, Jackie Chan directed a sequel with more explosions than you could shake a firecracker at. A strong emphasis on narrative makes for a more pedestrian police story this time around. Download past episodes of the Sequelcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat gets excited at the news that a new Vampire Chronicles film franchise based off the series by Anne Rice might be on the horizon. He suggests casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Lestat and Liam Hemsworth as Louis. Ricky Gervais is set to do a feature film mockumentary spin-off of The Office featuring his David Brent character titled Life on the Road. Mat also recommends a documentary on character actors titled That Guy... Who Was In That Thing

Next week we'll be discussing Police Story 3: Supercop (released as just Supercop in the United States). Thrasher should be returning to the show next week. 

Direct download: sequelcast187.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:15 AM

Mat discusses Police Story in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. Disgusted at the experience of making an American cop movie, Jackie Chan returned to Hong Kong to direct a cop movie his way with Police Story. Filled with stunts that destroy an entire village and a shopping mall, this is one of the best examples of a pure action film with just a dollop of narrative. Check out past episodes of the Sequelcast podcast at www.sequelcast.com! 

Mat admits he's never read a Dragonriders of Pern novel, but he just might give one a try with Warner Bros. trying to develop it as a massive film franchise. He also touches on Universal trying to remake The Mummy yet again. An animated film gets a live-action sequel with SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water, a decision Mat finds as mystifying as the animated series itself.

Mat gave The Battered Bastards of Baseball a watch and found himself enjoying this quirky sports documentary about the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team in Portland, Oregon in the 1970s owned by Bing Russell, Kurt Russell's father (!!). He also talks about the Karate episode of Penn and Teller's Bullshit.

 

Direct download: sequelcast186.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:37 AM