Tag Archives: disney

TV Review – Obi-Wan Kenobi- Parts 1 and 2 (2022)

May the force be with you, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of the new Disney Plus series, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Failure. It’s a stink that’s difficult, if not impossible to wash out and sometimes it can be so heavy that it burdens us down, crushing us underneath it’s smelly weight. What do you do when you tried, literally tried to do your best and yet somehow, due to unforeseen circumstances, your world came crashing down? Do you try to rebuild it or do you just learn to live with the disappointment?

Here, we see Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of a handful of Jedi and the last remaining Jedi Master, eeking out a meager existence on Tantooine, sticking to the shadows, living in a cave while keeping an eye on young Luke Skywalker from afar. Ten years have passed since the fall of the republic and he has given up all hope of defeating the empire. He keeps his force abilities hidden, refusing to practice them for fear that he will be revealed.

For being a Jedi is dangerous in this new age. “The Jedi hunts himself” is the motto of the inquisitors, force wielding agents of the empire assigned to hunt down the last remaining Jedi. They do so by putting the innocent in harm’s way, and alas, hidden Jedi feel naturally compelled to use their power to come to the aid of those in peril. In so doing, they expose themselves and are taken out by the inquistors.

But there’s no honor among thieves or inquisitors as they war among themselves to be the one who captures the prize that is Obi-Wan Kenobi, the last known legendary Jedi Knight in existence. A power struggle erupts between the Grand Inquisitor (an unrecognizable Rupert Friend of Homeland fame), Fifth Brother (an unrecognizable Sung Kang of Fast and Furious fame) and Third Sister (Moses Ingram who is recognizable as the only one who didn’t get caked on with prosthetics and makeup.)

Downtrodden and defeated, Obi-wan is asked by an old friend to come out of exile to take on a dangerous mission of great importance. Can he do it? Should he do it? He’s been out of training for a decade so the overall question is can he do it?

So far, the series is off to a great start. I’ve read some bad reviews but I really feel the show captures the overall feeling of dread that Obi-Wan must have felt at this dark time with some parallels for real life, i.e. how does one move on when life worked out so badly? No, none of us ever trusted a Jedi apprentice only to realize we were fools who gave them the training they needed to become Space Hitler, but surely we all have done something that we thought was a good idea, only to suffer financial loss, emotional loss, we ended up less than whole and realized we have no choice but to go on rather than waste time on trying to fix something that is irretrievably broken. Somehow, Obi-Wan must find a way to save the day as only he can but continue to live during a time when days saved are bleak at best.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Step aside, Baby Yoda. It’s Baby Leia’s time to shine.

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Movie Review – Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)

Sometimes, some crimes, go slipping through the cracks but these two, gum shoes…are bringing the reboot back?

BQB here with a review of this uber meta movie.

If you’re a middle-aged person, chances are you loved a little slice of networking programming called “The Disney Afternoon” when you were a child. It all started with Ducktales and when young audiences of the late 1980s/early 1990s couldn’t get enough of Scrooge McDuck taking his duck nephews on globetrotting adventures, sure enough pretty much every other House of Mouse character got a reinvention for what was then considered the modern age.

You had TaleSpin, which featured the Jungle Book characters flying planes in search of derring-do and of course, Chip and Dale teamed up with an Australian adventurer mouse (Monterey Jack), a high-tech fixer of all things mouse (Gadget) and a mute fly (Zipper) to create their own detective agency.

Like everyone else now of a certain age where we’re too old to go back but too young to stop moving, I thought that simpler time of afternoon programming, where literally every other kid was watching the same thing so they could bond over it because there was nothing else to watch, were long over.

Thus, I found myself scratching my head in confusion when ads for this flick began circulating. Reboots of old shows/movies so often fail because that media was a product of a different time, so trying to breathe new life into a story that has its roots in the past can be an exercise of Weekend at Bernie’s-ian proportions. Eventually, Hollywood stops trying to drag the corpse of an old franchise around like the fly ridden meat puppet that it is and moves on to something else.

So, I have to admit, this movie surprised me…in that it’s pretty good.

Who is it for? That’s the million-dollar question, and frankly, a question I ask whenever an old show is rebooted. So often, Hollywood turns these reboots into a Frankenstein monster that the kids don’t want because the concept doesn’t appeal to the younger generation and the adults don’t want because it doesn’t embrace the essence of what made the show great a long time ago.

Ah, but leave it to the Lonely Island boys to find a humorous way to make something that appeals to everyone.

But first, I have to present the following points:

#1 – There is a world where humans and cartoons live together.

#2 – Cartoons are not animated. Cartoons are performed by cartoon actors, just as any other movie is performed by human actors.

Still with me? Hold on:

#3 – The Chip and Dale you know and love from Rescue Rangers were, in real life, actors who coincidentally have the voices of comedians John Mulaney (Chip) and Andy Samberg (Dale.) The voices from the old show? That was just Chip and Dale (actors) doing silly voices while playing fictional versions of themselves. Remember, they’re a duo of performing chipmunks who met in high school, went to Hollywood after graduation, and became famous performing a funny chipmunk act with characters of the same names, so famous that Disney greenlit their Rescue Rangers show and the rest is history.

Alright, now that you’ve traveled down that Matrix-like cartoon rabbit hole, you can start to wrap your head around this flick. Chip and Dale, the actor-munks, are now, like the kids who watched them back in the day, middle-aged-munks. It’s been years since they broke up and they are settling in with the grim reality that life probably will never be as exciting as they dreamed when they were young. (You know, just like the middle-aged adults who watched the munks when they were kids are doing right now.)

Blah, blah, blah, some stuff that I won’t give away happens and it is up to Chip and Dale to save the day, which will be new for them, because remember, they never actually saved the day in the past. They were just acting. But now they can’t just act. They must do, for they must get to the bottom of a mystery most foul and reunite with their old RR buddies (also toon actors) in the process.

Sounds ridiculous? Yes. Yes, it does, but, I’ll give it props because a) the middle-aged adults who loved RR as kids will get a kick out of it and b) their kids will enjoy it too because remember, at the end of the day, these toons are for the kids. Or are they? Toons for adults have been around so long it’s hard to know anymore but at any rate, with a PG rating, this is one the whole family can enjoy.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. My one criticism is if you ask who were the actors who played Chip and Dale before Rescue Rangers, you know, the chipmunks from the old 1950s cartoons where they just ran around and squeaked and stole apples and stuff from Donald Duck while they made his life a living hell, the whole premise falls apart, though I suppose they could explain that in the sequel, or the reboot. Don’t forget, a Rescue Rangers reboot is theoretically possible outside of this movie because the “real life” versions of Chip and Dale from this movie are just actors, after all.

I know it sounds like you need a flow chart and a slide rule to follow this movie, but don’t worry about it. Just turn it on, enjoy, and wonder how the heck you got so old. Curse you, time!

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TV Review – Moon Knight (2022) – Episode 1

Grab your mummy bandages, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney/Marvel’s latest Disney Plus show.

OK, let me get this straight. For some reason, the Hollywood suits think we need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot outside the theater a hundred times, that we need to see baby Superman crash land his baby spaceship in the Kents’ backyard a hundred times, and that we need to see Spiderman’s Uncle Ben get shot by the crook he let get away a hundred times.

Yet, for some strange reason, Moon Knight, perhaps one of the most obscure, known mainly to hard corps, straight up gangsta comic book nerds, needs no introduction. Here, we just jump into the action where Oscar Isaac plays Steven Grant, a wimpy museum gift shop clerk who, for some inexplicable reason, has been exhibiting strange, bizarre behavior. His body seems to have a literal mind of its own, for one minute he’s fine and the next, he finds himself in dangerous situations – gun fights, car chases, running away from monsters. A mysterious voice keeps telling him to hand his body over to some dude named Marc and somehow its all tied in to Egyptian lore with Ethan Hawke serving as a villain who, guided by an ancient goddess, doles out death as punishment for alleged crimes people have yet to even commit.

Wow. That was a mouthful.

I have a hunch that this season is going to be an origin story in and of itself. We see a brief sequence with the titular Moon Knight at the end of this episode but apparently, the writers decided to start with the action already underway and I assume they will Tarantino their way back to the beginning where we learn why Steven keeps losing control of his body, who is Marc, and who is the voice speaking to him.

It’s just…I don’t get it. Even in the most recent caped crusader flick, “The Batman,” Bruce Waynes’ parents deaths was heavily alluded to. While never shown, their demise was a central plot point so it’s just like, it seems that there must be always a Hollywood suit somewhere who is very concerned there might be one schmuck in the movie theater who was frozen in a block of ice 100 years ago, then thawed out by scientists, and then he left the lab and went straight to the theater and there’s a great concern that this thawed former ice man will have no idea how Batman’s parents died so we better mention it.

But Moon Knight? The character that only the prom dateless knew about up until Disney Plus put the show into production? A tale that seems very complicated with Egyptian gods and magic and body sharing and so on…yeah, we’ll just jump right in and let the viewers figure it out. No need to start at the beginning and move in a straight line at all.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Oscar Isaac becomes an entirely different person, although this takes place in England and not to goof on our friends across the pond but sometimes with the accents I feel like I need an English to English translator. Worth a watch and I’ll tune in for episode two.

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TV Review – The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 7

Wowie zowie, 3.5 readers! Talk about a fantastic season finale!

BQB here with a review.

I stand corrected. I have been complaining that the B of BF stunk with a lot of blah blah blahing and not enough action but it turns out the show was just throwing us breadcrumbs that really pay off in a major way in this episode.

Even so, Mando and Grogu remain the dynamic duo of this universe, though the Boba-ster did get his moment, though he really is at his best when his helmet is on and he is blasting his enemies rather than talking to them.

It was a fight to the finish on the streets of Mos Eisley, with Boba “I turned over a new leaf” Fett and Mando taking on the Pike Syndicate and stopping their evil spice trade for good. Remember kids, space drugs are bad, mmkay?

Sidenote – not to give away a spoiler but that thing Boba did at the end, why didn’t he just do it at the beginning? So the show could happen I suppose.

There was even legit character development. All of the little bit players got a moment that showed us who they are.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Rogue One was great. Solo, I think, was better than the bad rep it got. The saga sequels had their moments but by and large were unintelligible with the plot being an afterthought. The Mandos, be it Mando who is a true believer of Mando-ism or Boba, a cynic who just likes their armor, are carrying the Star Wars franchise on their beskar protected backs.

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The Book of Boba Fett – Episode 6

Dun dun da dun dun dun…hah!

Why does it always sound like the guy singing that “hah!” in the theme song is having a hernia?

BQB here with a review.

I can’t help but notice the two best episodes of The Book of Boba Fett had very little to do with this new fangled “I want out of bounty hunting” version of Boba Fett. They transferred all of his bad ass stoicism to The Mandalorian and now Mando gets all the cool episodes.

BTW, these past two episodes were visually stunning, filled with gratuitous fan service (cameos by R2, CGI Luke, Cad Bane and Ahsoka from the cartoons) but more importantly, graced by plotlines that make me think Disney might finally be getting the hang of building a post-Empire universe…maybe. We’re not there quite yet but it’s looking good.

Here, Mando tries to visit his teensy weensy BFF Grogu or the Artist Formerly Known as Baby Yodo. G-Spot is knee deep into his Jedi training from a CGI’d up Young Master Luke, and as Ahsoka warns Mando, Jedis can be badass space monks or they can be part of a family but they can’t be both. (Sidenote – why did this scene make me wish I’d abandoned my extended family and become my own personal version of a kickass space monk years ago? Is this orange tentacled babe (Rosario Dawson) right? You can be awesome or you can have a family but you can’t have both? Hmm.

Moving on, CGI Luke was cool yet not overly convincing last season. They have it done better this time around though I noticed much of the action occurs with the camera zoomed out of Luke so perhaps a body double did the far away action scenes?

SIDENOTE: As CGI rendering continues to make old actors young, or rather, rebuilds their youthful bodies anew, are actors/actresses getting worried? As this tech improves, what’s to stop the studios from just giving all the human talent the boot and creating movies featuring CGI humans rendered entirely from scratch? Maybe someday some zit faced teenager will render an entire Oscar worthy film on his laptop. (Come to think of it, most of today’s “Oscar worthy” films look like they were rendered on a zit faced teenager’s laptop but I don’t mean that in a good way.

Cameo from Timothy Olyphant was fun.

Finally, the plot centers around Mando and others coming together to help Boba Fett fight off the Pikes, i.e. a syndicate of alien spice runners. Double sidenote – In Star Wars, “spice” is totes code for drugs, but since it’s a kids show, if your kids ask you what spice is, you can tell them all the aliens are just fighting over a yummy food topping. (Honestly, you adults who want to retain your innocence can feel free to assume they are fighting over a yummy food topping and what? You already thought they were fighting over a yummy food topping? Oh um…hey! What’s that over there? Squirrel!)

My main question is if The Fettmeister is against the drug (er yummy topping) trade…but he also wants to solidify his position as Tatooine’s top crime boss, um…what other crimes will he be ok with? Because seriously, if he wants to be a crime boss and he’s not cool with spice (oregano or otherwise) then what crimes will he support? Murder? Extortion? Space whores? I knew it. He’s totally pimping out space whores.

Or maybe not. It is a Disney Plus show, after all, so don’t think about the space crime lord’s space crime too much. (It’s space whores.)

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TV Review – The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 5

I hate to say it, 3.5 readers, but this was the best episode of the Book of Boba Fett so far and it’s because the new, I don’t wear my mask anymore and I don’t hunt bounties anymore because I’m trying to be a crime boss Boba Fett wasn’t in it.

The Mandalorian returns and it was all about Mando, from a duel with a fellow mando over the dark saber, to a fixing up a broken down starfighter montage with wacky mechanic friend Amy Sedaris, this installment was a lot of fun and makes me wonder if Disney Plus might have been better off just focusing on putting out a third season of Mando.

I feel like they ruined the Boba character but technically, they just took all his patented stoicism and bad guy killing skills at the flick of a wrist techniques and transferred them to Mando as well as the followers of the mando religion. So you still get kick ass bounty hunting missions, you just have to watch as Mando does them.

Book of Boba does have its moments but Mando seems to be the superior series, with hints in this episode of what Mando might be up to if there is a Mando Season 3.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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TV Review – The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 3

Mmm boy there’s a lot of fan service in this one, 3.5 readers.

Two hutts to replace Mighty Jabba. A defeated wookie who I’m going to guess will return. Speaking of returns, a new rancor is back.

Meanwhile, the speeder bike gang going to work for Boba is something new.

I’m enjoying this series. I do think Disney/Star Wars has lost its way a bit in charting a course and perhaps the overall lesson is that stories that veer too far away from the Empire timeline don’t work.

Anyway, that’s it. That’s my review.

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TV Review – The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 2

Boba is back and there are so many hutts to blast and so little time, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review.

I have mixed feelings on this show. On one hand, the Boba Fett of the original films was a surprise breakout star. George Lucas was a baby boomer who like those of his generation, grew up on a steady diet of Western films, so when he had his chance to put space on film, he imagined much of it as wild, lawless territory – places where might makes right and those who can kick ass live to fight another day.

Boba Fett always reminded me of Clint Eastwood’s silent but deadly (seriously, no pun intended, I just don’t know how else to describe him) old West character. He never said much but he could punk a man out with a cold stare. Thus, when it came to Boba, less was always more. He said very little but his armor, helmet and gadgets were quite menacing indeed.

Ergo, I’m not sure we needed a story about who the person is under that mask. He was way cooler with it on.

On the other hand, Disney paid boku bucks for the Star Wars IP and if you count it all as one great big expensive experiment, they’ve learned so far that all the money at the House of Mouse’s disposal can’t put together a writing team that can make a decent Star Wars flick set outside of the time of Luke vs. Darth Vader (or directly thereafter).

Long story short, Boba is one of the last few characters from that era who is still alive and kicking, so we must make do.

My next complaint is Boba is the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter, isn’t he? Don’t we want to see him, oh, I don’t know, hunting bounties?

But I admit, the after credits scene following the last episode of The Mandalorian where Boba blasts Bib Fortuna and takes a load off on the late Jabba’s throne was pretty kick ass and enough to get me invested in a Boba series. The past two episodes have piqued my interest, so all in and all, I’ll give it a try.

To Disney’s credit, if you preferred the Boba who rarely spoke, The Mandalorian introduced us to the Manadalorian religion, where the most devout from that respective planet travel the galaxy, earning a living as bounty hunters and never taking their helmets off, believing the only way to not incur an enemy’s wrath is to keep their identities hidden. Ultimately, we’re given a whole race of silent but deadly (sorry) Boba types and we further learn the actual Boba was never a Mandalorian religion practitioner but rather was just a dude who liked the armor.

In this episode, we are given a double hutt douse, a brother and sister team who have returned to Tatooine to fight Boba for Jabba’s throne. They have a kickass wookie, so that’s cool. I gotta be honest, a lot of this feels like fan service but I’ll take it.

Meanwhile, we’ve yet to learn why Boba sleeps in a bacta tank, but whenever he does, he has flashbacks to a Dances with Wolves type of arc where he was captured by the sand people only to win them over and become their BFF.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Disney Plus does seem to be a better home for Star Wars, at least until they figure out how to make a decent film.

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TV Review – Hawkeye (2021)

So many arrows, so little time, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney Plus’ Hawkeye.

It’s about time The Avengers’ arrow blasting badass got his own movie…except I guess they didn’t want to give him one so this TV show will have to do. That’s ok, Hawky. The Hulk could never carry a movie by himself either, even with those big green mitts. Hulk smash everything…except box office records.

Here, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is on a holiday vacay to NYC with his kids, the hawklets, in tow. After taking in an Avengers style broadway show (watch the entire thing after the end credits of the last episode), he has a run in with Kate Bishop (Hailey Steinfeld), an archery champ who was inspired to become a champion arrow slinger in her own right after witnessing Hawkeye take out some alien villains during Loki’s attack on New York back in the 2012 film when she was just a child. My, how time flies.

Kate has had her own run in with the aptly named Track Suit Mafia over a misunderstanding when she accidentally dons the Ronin costume, the same garb that Hawkeye wore during the blip phase of the last Avengers’ film, a time when he missed his deleted family and took vengeance out on the evildoers of the world with no remorse.

Assuming Kate is Ronin and wanting revenge, it’s a mad cat arrow infused romp as Clint and Kate shoot their way out of this mess, one flying pointy stick at a time.

At first, I felt there was a bit of a bait and switch here. Vile patriarchist that I am, I’m not a fan of this trend to replace longstanding male characters with females. In some cases, like when a character is more of an idea than a person and anyone can step in and be them, it works. In other cases, where the studio is just like, “OK this dude has a vag now” it makes little sense. It’s like the studios are saying that women can never be fully complete unless they grow ding dongs and become dudes, as if they were born deficient when they were born vaginized.

Moving on, my main complaint was that it looked like we were going to get very little Hawkeye and a lot of Kate Bishop, which seemed deceptive for a show called Hawkeye, but ultimately, we got a lot of the Hawkster. It’s basically like a mismatched buddy cop show about an old veteran arrow slinger taking a fresh, naive, lots to learn rookie arrow slinger under his wing.

I have to give this show kudos because it does show the dangerous side of super-heroing, particularly when the hero is just like, a person with no supernatural and/or scientifically assisted abilities. (Sidenote – isn’t it a gaping plot hole that Tony Stark never just outfitted the entire team with his Iron Man armor?)

Clint is deaf, having had a front row seat to plenty of gunfire and explosions in his day. Movies never tell the viewer this, but explosions and guns are loud. In the movies, people just stand around explosions like nothing’s wrong but in reality, if you’re lucky enough to not be vaporized in the blast radius, you’d still most likely be knocked on your butt and/or left with long-lasting, perhaps life-long hearing loss.

Kate and Clint get knocked around throughout the show and to the show’s credit, the pain shows. They’re constantly hurt, and they are never without band-aids and stitches on their face, so A plus to Disney for giving us a look at how hard it is to be a super-hero when you’re not a God, or haven’t been gifted with amazing strength and/or health regeneration, be it through magic or science. When you’re just Joe or Jane Average, getting your ass kicked hurts, a lot, and afterwards, you’re going to be limping and covered with bandages and you’re probably going to need a drink and a nap. Also, a dog. Bonus points to the show for adding a dog.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but SPOILER ALERT. Looks like Kate will take over the Hawkeye role, so where does that leave Clint? Where does that leave Jeremy Renner? Is he exiting the franchise? Will he come back as Ronin? Probably not since he burned the costume, then again, a new costume is only a call to the tailor shop away.

Meanwhile, Lady Thor is on the way and I guess, I don’t know, they’ll probably chop off the Hulk’s ding-a-ling eventually just to be fair to out of control green lady rage monsters.

Double bonus points because Vera Farmiga is in it. I have had a crush on her since she appeared scantily clad in The Departed.

Triple bonus points because the show is Christmas themed.

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Movie Review – Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)

Keep the change, you filthy animals.

BQB here with a review of the latest Home Alone sequel.

Little Archie Yates stole the show as Jojo’s BFF slash fellow sufferer in the Hitler Youth Nazi Scout Corps in Jojo Rabbit, so it was only a matter of time before Disney put him in something. That something was a Home Alone knockoff, none of which have been as good as the original but if you’re looking for a fun diversion to watch with the kids, you could do worse than this movie.

Here, Yates plays Max Mercer, a little boy who, you guessed it, is accidentally left home alone when his large, hard to count family runs off to Tokyo without him. Cue the various overdone cliches and homages to the original Macauley Culkin film of old.

Naturally, bandits must invade the home, which the lad defends at all costs with a series of traps that cause cartoonish violence in the film (though in real life, they’d leave said intruders dead or vegetablized). Here though, the home invasion is all over a misunderstanding about a rare German doll worth $200,000. Parents Pam and Jeff McKenzie (Rob Delaney and Kimmy Schmidt’s Ellie Kemper) think Max swiped it and in so doing, robbed them of their chance to keep their home from being foreclosed on. Max says he would never swipe a doll that ugly, or anything for that matter. In the end, it will all somehow be sorted out.

I’ll give the film kudos for finding a way to make the home invading crooks more likeable/understandable. I’ll tell you, back when the original came out in 1991 – well, it didn’t matter if you were black or white, male or female, gay or straight, or a member of any of the various religions, literally everyone at the time was united in the belief that if crooks dared to cross the threshold of a home that wasn’t theirs with the intention of stealing, they deserved any form of hilarious comic punishment a little boy was able to dish out. Alas, today, people worry more about those crooks, their bad childhoods, how it was really society’s fault that they became criminals and do the McAllister’s really need such a big house and so much stuff? Why can’t they share?

There’s a cameo from the original film’s mean big brother Buzz (Devin Ratray.) Unfortunately, the cameo is kind of pointless as it sort of leads you to think Buzz is going to bumble his way through the entire film as a bumbling cop who fails to foil the break in plot, but then he sort of just disappears and goes nowhere. A little more Buzz would have gone a long way.

STATUS: Shelf worthy. IMO, it reminds me of a glorified Hallmark film. I do wonder why with all the money and talent in the world to draw from, why Hollywood can’t bang out more hits like the original Home Alone…i.e. a movie that is funny, unique and gives us an experience like we’re seeing something fun for the first time. Ah, but maybe therein lies the rub. It’s all been done before.

Stream on Disney Plus.

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