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Welcome to Wonders! Millennial Marvel Movies, Stephen Bissette’s guided tour of the millennial science-fiction, fantasy, and animated feature films released on video and DVD from 1999-2001. They’re all here, from Battlefield Earth to The Matrix, from Akira to Yellow Submarine!
This comprehensive genre-focused special ebook edition gathers the complete science-fiction, fantasy, and animated feature film reviews from the four S.R. Bissette’s Blur print volumes collecting the complete weekly "Video Views" columns (1999-2001) by veteran cartoonist, author, and film scholar Stephen R. Bissette. Renowned for his work as an artist, writer, publisher and writer (Swamp Thing, Taboo, Tyrant, Deep Red, Video Watchdog, The Monster Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman, Teen Angels & New Mutants, etc.), Bissette brought always-unique insights to his industry-insider views of the sf, fantasy, and animated films unleashed at the turn of the century.
Here is Bissette’s scathing dissection of George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace ("...the young man's dreams implicit and explicit in Star Wars swept up a generation; the rich man's fantasies of The Phantom Menace are lumbering, sterile, and mercantile in nature, as mechanical as the Droid army at the center of its most spectacular set pieces..."), which was in print years before the populist online attacks on this once-sacred cow. He brought a lifetime of genre expertise to his scrutiny of botched mega-budget efforts like Supernova and Bicentennial Man, while bucking the critical status quo with his affection for despised films like Alan Rudolph's adaptation of the late Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. Fantasy film fans will particularly savor the satiric holiday "Woodchuck Video Turkey Feasts," Bissette’s seasonal odes to the worst Thanksgiving and Christmas movies of all time.
From first to last page, Wonders! covers the underrated sleepers—Galaxy Quest, The Lathe of Heaven, The 13th Warrior, Pitch Black—the overlooked foreign films—Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), Fritz Lang's The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse—and already-forgotten curios like Trekkies and Monkeybone. Graphic novel, comics, and animation fans will savor Bissette’s attentive analysis of "comicbook movies" like Mystery Men and analysis of animated features like The Iron Giant, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Heavy Metal 2000, Bill Plympton’s I Married a Strange Person, Walt Disney's Tarzan, Pokemon, Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, and the entire anime invasion.
Kevin M. Flanagan on S.R. Bissette’s Blur book series:
“…This brings me to Stephen R. Bissette. Although known primarily for his work in comics—as an artist for a famed run of Swamp Thing, publisher of the innovative Tyrant, and creator or co-creator of several long-lived characters (including John Constantine)—I first became familiar with him as a writer on film. As an avid reader of Video Watchdog, I'd seen his name attached to many fine DVD reviews. Years after this initial notice, I stumbled upon his website/personal blog Myrant, a thoroughly illustrated and often encyclopedic web portal that contains many multi-part film and pop culture essays. The level of detail continues to astonish…. His Blur series, now totaling five volumes, was originally conceived as a place to collect his voluminous film criticism, much of which dates to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although he had been writing for genre publications for years, much of stuff corresponds to a moment where he was also managing a video store: his reviews, published mainly in regional newspapers and Video Watchdog, directly related to the weekly world of new release video. To read volumes 1-4 is to see a comprehensive account of American (and some "world") cinema during that important transitional moment from VHS to DVD. This vantage was particularly resonant for me…I remember seeing many of these films with the same sense of urgency… Bissette's project—collections of his writings, both ephemeral and timeless—strikes me as important (and as a model for other prolific critics)…”
From “The Modest Proposal,” http://www.mpjournal.com/2011-spring/bissette.php