What Daniel Sun excels at the most with these Power Star flash movies are fluid animation, keeping the audience engaged with the violence by way of new ways Mario kills and new ways Mario and Luigi fight, as well as finding different ways to present the action to the viewer with each new Power Star entry. The last point achieved in by a synthesis of the point before it, new ways of violence, as well as camera work and editing.
Let's look at examples exclusive to Power Star 1: The changing up of how Mario bisects toads, as well as general escalation:
1. Mario throws a toad against the ceiling and punches the toad in half at the hip.
2. Mario throws a toad against a corner block, bisecting the toad. The toad's lower half still kicks, making it much more visually interesting than the first time Mario did this.
3. Mario takes a sword from a toad and cuts him in half horizontally.
4. Earlier on we saw Mario take on multiple toads with his fists. Now that he has a sword, we get to see him take on multiple toads with that. Daniel Sun keeps the camera slowly crawling right mimicking a steadicam shot from films. In a blink and you'll miss it moment, Mario cuts a toad in half vertically.
6. Later, in case you missed it, Mario cuts another toad in half vertically (but not before Daniel Sun shows off slick camera work by zooming out from Mario to reveal two toads).
Just when a viewer might think "boy this gratuitous violence sure is getting old," Daniel Sun changes it up to keep the viewer interested in what new ways Mario will kill. It simply never gets tiring, and it's extremely entertaining to see what Daniel Sun has Mario do next. This keeps up for the entire series, though probably at its weakest in Power Star 4. I could write a near unending review about all the examples Daniel Sun does to keep the violence interesting, (and I probably will once I get a better mic).
Some other things exclusive to Power Star 1 having to do with presentation:
Power Star 1 makes good use of Mario's generally joyful sound bytes of "yeehaw, haha, wooo!" For the viewer, it is a kind of whiplash, as well as humorous to varying degrees hearing Mario make these sounds while slaughtering Toads. But in the context of Power Star's story, it lets us know that the boos that have possessed Mario take great pleasure in their actions. It gives them personality we wouldn't otherwise know they had. Daniel Sun makes the correct decision of omitting these sounds for the rest of Power Star. we don't need to hear it over and over.
Something missing from Power Star 2 and 3 was the light horror elements introduced here. I can practically hear D-Mac screaming "GET THE STAR!" at Mario as the movie ends while the entirety of the frame begins warping in extreme ways. I wonder how 2 and 3 would've turned out had Daniel Sun expanded on that more.
These flash movies really do well with giving viewers unfettered and fluid action. One of the standout examples is Power Star III's "3D" fight in the castle courtyard. Had it been an anime fight, or a live action fight, there would've been cut after cut, simply because what Daniel Sun accomplished with that sequence isn't rightly possible without cuts. You get to see the whole action sequence right up until Mario and Luigi clash and are spread apart. It's wonderful stuff to behold, really pleasing to the eye. It is a shame we do not see this kind of fluidity of action on a regular basis in entertainment. Another reason would be that such aforementioned entertainment as anime and live action would be restricted by budget and the need to make the budget back. I'm sure Daniel Sun had deadlines for himself, but with the Power Star series he clearly had intense and creative focus on the action, much to the benefit of the series' longevity as a visually interesting and violently entertaining series. And it has both of these things going for it by a lot.
I have some misgivings about dialogue, about progression of events, but those were sacrificed in favor of the animation and action so it's fine in the end. Well worth five stars. I hadn't watched these movies since maybe 2009. I remember watching Power Star 1 and 2 in middle school computer class. I remember being so damn excited when 3 and 4 were released. I watched them all in a row just now and almost can't believe how thoroughly entertained I was, as well as being able to greater appreciate a piece of my childhood. Thank you Daniel Sun. Hope you're doing well with your endeavors.
Wow! Last thing I was expecting was a detailed review of my early day works! Thanks for the review! This put a smile on my face - a trip down memory lane. Happy to have provided you with entertainment.
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