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Slumberland 2022

Once again, it’s been a bit since I’ve written anything here but my wife picked out this movie on Netflix for us to watch and it got me thinking about it. I immediately recognized it as a new adaptation of Little Nemo, I remember seeing the animated movie from the ’80’s and playing the NES game when I was younger. I always knew it was based on a previous work but I never really knew what specifically that was until I looked it up and saw that it was based on an old comic strip. It’s a full page, multi-panel strip that’s mostly one-off adventures that always ends with Nemo waking up on the last panel but there are ongoing story threads that were enough to convince me to add this movie to the site and I plan on revisiting the classic cartoon movie before too much longer after I manage to watch the new Black Panther movie. Anyway, the movie was fun enough even though it fell into what’s seemingly become a trope for these types of coming of age fantasy movies using fantasy issues to resolve real life issues. And, as this is a fairly recent film, here is your spoiler warning.

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Brenda Starr

Brenda Starr 1989

This review was decided on in part by a monthly poll over at our Patreon page where you can also join for just $1 a month to vote in a monthly poll to help decide what I review here. This is a movie that I’ve had on my radar for quite a while even though I didn’t really know a whole lot about it. All I knew was that it was based on a serial comic strip back in the day and it starred Brooke Shields and Timothy Dalton. When watching it, I soon realized that it was some cross between Dick Tracy and Cool World which is funny because both of those movies would come out just a few years later. The film struggled with a low budget, then legal issues caused it to be shelved for three years to eventually come out with little fanfare and awful reviews. Looking back at it, the film definitely has some issues, but feels a little bit ahead of its time with its bright comic costumes and tongue in cheek humor.

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Over the Hedge

Over the Hedge 2006

I vaguely remember watching Over the Hedge back when it was relatively new. I don’t think I made it to theaters to watch it, but eventually after it came out on home video. I mostly remember the fact that it starred Bruce Willis and Garry Shandling as the two main characters and at some point I got an Over the Hedge comic strip collection. I’m also reviewing this in part for Movie Rob’s Genre Guesstimation where he tasked me with deciding the genre for him to examine during February. I chose animated comic book/comic strip adaptations and while I’ve pretty much covered every American animated comic book movie, I thought I’d expand things to cover this movie based on a comic strip. And unlike comic strips like Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, or the Addams Family which are generally a series of stand-alone strips or panels, Over the Hedge is a serialized comic strip that you can read online here, which is close enough to a comic book for my purposes here on this site.

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Jane and the Lost City

Jane and the Lost City 1987

After watching the Jane movie from the 1940s, I just had to follow it up with what would probably be called a reboot today. Nearly forty years later (after a couple television series) they made another Jane movie only this time it felt much more like the spirit of the comic, at least how it’s described in Wikipedia articles. When compared to the classic movie, this has a lot more humor and actually gives Jane a bit of agency here and there. And while it had a lot more moments of clothes ripping off of Jane, it still retained the comical spirit and never really veered off into creepy exploitation. Overall, it was a lot of fun to watch.

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The Adventures of Jane

The Adventures of Jane 1949

I’ve gotten another free month of Amazon Prime and I thought I’d put it to good use to watch a couple movies based on a serialized comic strip that I knew very little about. Really the only thing I knew about it was that it was serialized, and that the main character Jane often had her clothes ripped off of her body, leaving her in her underwear. It very rarely or only just once went fully nude, it was generally just slightly bawdy for that era and treated with a Benny Hill-esque sense that the nudity was intended more for comedy and embarrassment rather than eroticism. This was the first adaptation and it was apparently made quick and cheap and it really shows. There wasn’t a whole lot going on for this movie other than a couple cheap laughs and the bare minimum of a story to it.

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Friday Foster

Friday Foster 1975

As February nears its end, it’s time for me to wrap up my short lived celebration of Black History Month in superhero and comic book movies since this is absolutely the last one that I could find. It’s a mid-seventies Blacksploitation film starring the great Pam Grier along with a very impressive cast for the time and film company possibly most well known for their exploitation films like Blacula. The film itself was based on a serialized comic strip of the same name that ran for just four years and actually ended the year before the film was made. Considering I don’t have an extensive background at watching many exploitation films aside from the parody Black Dynamite I don’t have much to go off of, but this ended up being a rather fun watch. Even without the experience of those films to go off of, it was bogged down a bit by a rather nonsensical and drab plot as well as a lack of any notable action or nudity which I would have thought would be more present in one of these types of films.
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Tamara Drewe

Tamara Drewe 2010

This is one of those movies where I end up drawing a bit of a blurry line as to what I consider a comic book movie and I realize that I don’t think I’ll ever come up with a set of criteria that won’t be too exclusive without also being too inclusive. But similar to Dick Tracy, Tamara Drewe actually started out its life as a weekly serialized comic strip that ran in the UK newspaper the Guardian starting in 2005. Then it was released in a collected form as a graphic novel in 2007 and then just a few years later it was turned into a movie. It’s a loose retelling of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd but that’s not really a story that I’m familiar with so any references and allusions to it would have been lost on me. There were some funny bits, but the more I think about the film, the less it really sticks with me.
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Dick Tracy, Detective

Dick Tracy, Detective 1945

Getting ready for the 1947 blogathon later this week I decided to jump in and go all the way back to 1945 with the only comic related heroes in film back then outside of serials with Dick Tracy. There were a total of four Dick Tracy films released within a few years of each other. As far as my knowledge of Dick Tracy goes, it really begins and ends with the 1990 film starring Warren Beatty. This film starts out with many of the iconic Tracy villains in cartoon form alongside the credits, but once things get going it is much more of a typical noir mystery thriller with some comic relief. I was actually quite surprised at how well some of the humor hit me and all in all it was a fairly decent not to mention that it was only about an hour long and to top it off, it’s available right on Hulu right along with the other three.
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