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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blu-Ray review: PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL

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PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL
Directed by: David DeCoteau
Produced and Distributed by: Full Moon Features
Release date: 2010

I recently watched the 9th installment in the highly successful PUPPET MASTER film franchise titled PUPPET MASTER: AXIS OF EVIL. Before I go on with the review, here is the basic plot from the film's imdb page:

In a Stateside hotel during the height of World War II, young Danny Coogan dreams of joining the war effort. Following the murder of hotel guest Mr. Toulon by Nazi assassins, Danny finds the old man's crate of mysterious puppets and is suddenly thrust into a battle all his own. He discovers that Nazis Max and Klaus, along with beautiful Japanese saboteur Ozu, plan to attack a secret American manufacturing plant. After his family is attacked and his girlfriend Beth is kidnapped, it is up to Danny and the living deadly Puppets to stop this Axis of Evil.

I have to make a confession here....I have only seen the first PUPPET MASTER film, and that was years ago when I was a kid. Somehow, I missed the next 7 films, which brings us to this 9th (and definitely not the last) PUPPET MASTER film. First off, I have to say that I LOVED this film. It brought back memories of watching the first film years ago, and seeing the same puppets in all their glory really brought back the memories. Luckily, with puppets, they don't age like actors do, obviously, so they look exactly the same as I remember them from so many years ago! One of the excellent things about this film is that you do not have to have seen all the other films in this series to understand or enjoy this film, as I am proof of that. I understood everything perfectly, as basically all you need to know is explained here.

The acting in the film is surprisingly good, as is the direction and camera work. Director David DeCoteau has worked on some earlier installments of the franchise, so he knows what he is doing and what looks best on film when it comes to filming the puppets. The camera work is very impressive with some great shots of the puppets, including some first "person" views from the eyes of the puppets. One thing that surprised me about this film is how clean and sharp it looked. Now, I did watch the Blu-ray version, which may have something to do with it, but the film looked amazing. While we are on the technical stuff, I want to mention a couple more things. The lighting in this film, which I really don't notice or pay attention to in most films, really jumped out at me and made an impression. Some of the close up shots of the puppets and the use of lights and shadows on their faces was truly remarkable.

The other thing I must mention is the music. Composer Richard Band (brother of producer, Charles Band) has done tons of work on Full Moon films before, including most all the previous entries into this franchise, and he is back to work on this installment as well. I first really took notice of Richard Band and his music when he did the music to the film, RE-ANIMATOR. That is one of my all time favorite movies and one of my favorite movie themes. I was glad to see Mr. Band did the music for this film as well, and it definitely shows. In fact, a few times in the film I noticed some music that had parts sounding very similar to the RE-ANIMATOR theme which was definitely a pleasant thing to hear. On a side note, the use of the glowing green stuff to make the puppets come alive was a similarity to RE-ANIMATOR which I can't help but wonder how intentional it was. But back to the music, I don't often take notice of the music in films as much as I should, but I couldn't help to notice the great caliber of music this film had. That was a very nice addition to an already great film.

If I had to have a complaint about this film, it would be that I would have liked a little more gore, but that is just a personal preference. While that would have been fun, it is not necessary and the movie is still great without it. I also wasn't big on the ending as it ended rather abruptly, but at the same time, the way it ended perfectly set up the possibility of a new PUPPET MASTER film, so that is a good thing for sure!

Fans of the PUPPET MASTER series should really enjoy this latest installment, and as stated before, don't worry if you haven't seen the other films in this series, as the film should still be very enjoyable to those that haven't.

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD, Blu-Ray, and related Puppet Master merchandise!


CLICK HERE to visit the official website of Full Moon Features

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