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by Rosemary Benton

Very little deters me from seeking out science fiction films. Even if the venue is a little disreputable I will still venture in. Even when a film is being trashed by critics I'll still give it a chance. But in the case of Valley of the Dragons I wish I had turned around at the entrance to the seedy theater I found it in. I wish I had heeded the warnings of fellow film reviewers. Valley of the Dragons is this month's science fiction B-movie and 1961's third Jules Verne inspired motion picture. It has everything including a story slower than my Greek tortoise, well known bit-role actors and of course copious use of stock footage. But is it still watchable? No.

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And here is Ms. Rosemary Benton with her monthly report, this time on a subject near and dear to my heart: Japan...



July 14th was a red letter day for me. Not only did I receive word that my uncle was marrying his long time Japanese girlfriend, Mika, but Alakazam The Great was released in theaters across America. This film is a beautiful piece of animation from Toei Animation Company Ltd.



Released in Japan in August last year under the title Journey to the West, the story of Alakazam the Great is actually a retelling of a very old and popular tale from China known as Saiyuuki. Scholars of this 16th century morality epic will recognize Sun Wukong in our protagonist, Alakazam, as well as his dealings with the Buddha, named King Amo in the film. There are far fewer acts in the film than there are in the original story of Sun Wukong, but the writers did do an impressive job of compacting the four main arcs of the epic into an 88 minute movie.

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

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