Top 11 Wander Over Yonder Episodes

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s always great when you have a good creator that frequently churns out good work with a distant style that they do wonders with. However, as good as that can be, it’s actually hard to keep up the good work.

If a creator has a certain style, it’s very easy for it to get old. What once was refreshing can get stale. Eventually they may start running on fumes if they are a one trick pony who is afraid to do anything new.

Especially if their tricks were hit or miss to begin with.

This is very much true of TV Show creators, be it live action ones such as Dan Schnider (who may as well be the poster boy of my point) or animated people like Seth McFarlane. The ANIMATED poster boy of my point.

Sometimes I can tolerate this if their style still holds up even by show #5, but other times I just get sick of it. And that is why I really like Craig McCraken. Yes, it’s clear what shows he made and what he likes to do, but he actually stands out.

While Power Puff Girls and Foster’s Home feature his basic cartoon-y style, they are differently shows that are written differently, due to have different writers mostly. PPG is a superhero show, while Foster’s is a bit more down to earth, with an emphasis on imagination.

You think his third major show would be the one where his tricks got old, but nope, it’s as strong as ever. Perhaps not as good as PPG, but better than Foster’s. Heck, it’s arguably his most consinent show.

Foster’s was hit or miss and PPG went downhil in later seasons. This was pretty solid for…both of it’s seasons.

That show is of course, Wander Over Yonder. It’s a Sci Fi Space Comedy show about a happy go lucky Nomad name Wander and his badass horse thing Sylvia, who goes around the glaxy helping people while trying to stop/befriend the Evil Lord Hater and his watchdogs, who are walking talking eyeballs.

I’ve talked about this before in my look at Disney Cartoon Halloween and Christmas Specials, but it’s time to go deeper. With this show, Craig jumped ship to Disney which I think was a good thing.

It meant it would be different by default, having to be more Disneyeqsue while still keeping his edge. It did start off a bit rough, as it seemed Wander could get annoying with how he annoys hater ala Spongebob and Squidward.

And the first batch of eps, it just seemed like it would be a good show, but nothing special. Of course, that changed and it become something special. This show is strange in that by the end of the series, it has so much really awesome episodes that blow be away, but also quite a few that are just pretty good.

The shows shifts from pretty good to kind of great. Season 1 especially, as it episodes that will end up high on hear, but is more hit or miss than later.

Things really picked up in Season 2. For one, it got a story arc. Yep, even this show has to be story focused. Thankfully, it’s not a deep story. A new villain named Dominator shows up and the show is all about how their presence shakes things up and makes the characters go through some stuff.

It’s a nice mix of stand alone and storydriven. Aside from the expected stellar animation and voice cast, the shows most notable strength is taking things I’ve seen before and running with them.

Hater is a typical comedy villain with a possible heart of gold, but the extent of how evilly lame he is makes him the best character, especially with how they play with his development. He’s voiced by the same guy who voiced Bloo, which is even. They barely sound alike!

(Insert joke about Bloo being more evil here)

We’re all too familiar with the optimistic annoying protagonist, but Wander works because he’s clearly a good guy who just wants to help. And they really exploring the pro and cons of his nature, and he clearly learns some lessons.

We’ve seen the basic morals about keeping hope and such, but this show manages to go a lot deeper with it, as we’ll see in various episodes. The show does experiments in Season 2 but can still work very well even when it’s normally, meaning it doesn’t rely on gimmicks to be good.

The show truly manages to be something special, which makes it really annoying that Disney gave it the boot. They had tons of plans for Season 3 and had a minor teaser in the finale, but it looks like that won’t happen.

It didn’t have a big cliffhanger like Randy but it’s still annoying. Why do you keep doing this, Disney? You better hope Milo Murphy is good, cuz Future Worm so far is just okay.

Anyway, with this show having more great-ness than expected, I figured I’d count down my favorite episodes. This list was actually harder than expected, because most of the great episodes are on the same level of great, making it hard to rank.

There’s quite a few painful cuts here, which is odd given this isn’t the kind of shows I usually say that about when doing a list. But there you go. With all that, let us got a bit deeper into how this show can.

Which episodes stood out the most to me in terms of comedy, animation, and story? Let us find out as we rock out to the catchiest Disney theme this side of Ducktales!

This, is the Top 11 Wander Over Yonder Episodes

11. The Boy Wander

Writer: Francisco Angones

Looks like once again the day is saved by…Wander and Slyvia”

Oh boy, we’re starting off with an interesting one. The basic premise is that a villain from Wander’s past appears, so he dons a Superhero peronsa to take him down.

I’ve talked before about how I enjoy Superhero episodes, and while this doesn’t quite go as all out as most, it has those elements I enjoy. Wander acting this super serious hero is really funny, especially with how silly the situation ends up being.

Most of the episode has him going to places to figure out the villains plan, with it all ending in an epic battle. So it’s closer to Batman than Superman in terms of heroes, which does give it an edge in a way.

The heroic music makes this enjoyable too, as it gives the whole thing a fun feel, making the jokes even better. It’s the sense of fun that makes this one as enjoyable as it is. The actual jokes are good (like Emperor Awesome trading in Feather Boas with Actual Boas).

Even story wise, this one works. The villain wants to spread joy like Wander does, but forces people to be happy, which goes against Wander’s code. They don’t take it too seriously, but it’s not only a nice moral, but gives Wander a perfect foil.

It figures his most hated enemy would be someone who directly goes against his beliefs, and thus he would take him more seriously. All of this alone would make the episode an honorable mention, but one things puts it on the list.

You know what it is: Weird Al as Screwball Jones. Oh boy. He seems to be doing more villains roles lately, and this could be his best one. Screw Ball Jones is a pretty silly villain, using silly objects for his plans and constantly using puns.

And Weird Al brings that to life really well. He’s quite fun here and helps make the episode as great as it is. Of course, he gets his son via a battle with Wander that’s just awesome. Not only is the singing good, but the lyrics are clever, and the visuals are awesome with how colorful their battle gets.

And of course, we end with a PPG reference, which I quoted above. The character who says that is voiced by Tom Kenny, by the way.

This one’s at the bottom because like I said, it’s one element that makes it as good as it is. Without him, it would be still be fun and be an honorable mention, but it wouldn’t quite be list worthy. I perfer ones with just a bit more to them sometimes.

But I have no real gripes about this one, really. It’s just a blast. The superhero element is cool, Wander gets a great foil, there’s an underlining moral to it, it’s funny, and Weird Al does a great job and gives us a really fun song.

This is just a fun episode. Nothing crazy completed, but it didn’t need to be. It just needed to be fun and that’s what it is. There…isn’t too much to say. Oh yay, we’re already reached that point.

Yeah, it’s one of those shows but I just had to do this list. Anyway, with a fun superhero style and a great guest star, this episode is a blast from start to finish. It’s a pretty nice way to start our list, I think.

This is gonna be a long list…

10. The Void

Writer: Ben Joseph

While the Season 2 is where the show truly began great, Season 1 still had plenty of gems worth remembering, and this is one of them.

The premise is basic as it gets: Wander and Sylvia end up in a white void that lets you have whatever you want. The possibilities are basically endless. It’s fun until Wander refuses to leave.

This episode really shows the creativity of the show. The concept is just brilliant and they take full advantage of it. Perhaps more could have been done if they didn’t have to worry about that pesky story, but they still do a lot.

It’s hard to mention it all without spoiling it, and a lot if is little amusing moments that add up to a lot of fun, so a lot of what I say wouldn’t be as funny without the full context of the episode. That’s not a bad thing because what’s funny is funny.

My favorite part is this door that Sylvia opens tons of times, and it includes tons of amusing jokes, including one so good I won’t spoil it. And of course, we have the musical number from Wander which features some stellar visuals with the colors, and all the Wanders.

Speaking of the visuals, you think an episode set in a void would look dull but the concept allows them to get really creative. The crew even assumed this would be an easier one to do due to the setting, but they were very wrong.

So we have great greatvity and fun, but we also have a decent story to go with it. This one tests Wanders character, as he finds something that can give him anything he once so he doesn’t want to leave, even then it’s best if he does leave.

And of course, it’s quite sweet when he eventually figures out that Sylvia is right. Since Wander didn’t have a ton of tests like this up to this point, this is very interesting to see.

Sadly, this does have the one drawback to the episode. With how the episode is structured, they can’t leave til the end and Sylvia wanting him to leave happens early on enough for this to take up a lot of the episode.

Which means Wander not listening to hear for this long could make him a bit unlikable. It’s done pretty well, and he learns his lesson ,but it is a minor quibble. And it’s more of a writing problem than a character problem.

Outside of him, this one is just a blast. I don’t want to spoil this one even more than the last one, cuz the fun comes from the crazy things they come up with. The creativity is great, with awesome visuals and even a sweet little story to make it even better.

I know most people would have this higher on their lists, but while that problem isn’t huge, it’s enough to make one less flawed ones more. Just my tastes, I suppose. But still, it’s a great episode that’s fun, funny, and even a bit nice.

And again that’s all I got. Looking over the list, it looks like this will happen a lot. I’m an amazing writer. …The void is very good, moving on!

  1. The Legend

Writer: Francisco Angones

Hey, remember that episode of Batman TAS where the kids share stories about their interpretation of Batman? This is pretty much that, but possibly even better.

As you can guess from that, this episode is about a group of people whose planet is being Dominator’d, speculating on what the legendary hero they heard of is really like…while said hero happens to be with them.

Let’s give this out of the way: Yes, of the people is voiced by Sabrina Cartperner. I found that amusing, especially since they already had G Hineilious (I know I butchred that) in two episodes. She does well here.

Now onto the important stuff. This episode is mostly just the stories they tell, but there is one minor bit added onto it with the small kid wanting her plush that looks just a bit like Sylvia. She doesn’t speak but she adds a lot, being the one who clearly understands the hero the most, and even seems to figure out that Wander is said hero at the end.

Now this is another one that won’t leave me with a lot to say, but at least it’s in handy sections so I can pad this out. Each story manages to stand out and be really funny and interesting.

The first one has Wander as simply a giant monster that eats his enemies, and it’s stylized like something a kid would make on his own, with him making all the sound effects, and being drawn on notepaper.

This is the least interesting in terms of concept, but the style makes up for it. It’s so minimalist, it’s hilarious.

The 2nd one has Wander an eddy in your face jackass, straight out of the 90’s. This one’s my favorite in terms of execution. Its’ such an accurate parody of this era, and seeing Wander like this is just great contrast. Gets extra points for involving Major Threat too.

The third is my favorite in terms of style. Wander is a little kid who calls on his friendly giant robot to stop bad guys, and it’s done like an old school anime ala Gigantor. Between this and Perry Tronic, I think Disney really likes Gigantor.

The style is just so perfect here, from the black and white to the refused shots, and the catchy song for “Silver 7”. It’s awesome.

As for the final one…well..

That’s cute for fanfiction, but it’s hardly canon”

..Yeah. It’s basically like a fan fiction, throwing out insane theories that don’t make a ton of sense and it’s very convoluted. It’s very accurate, trust me. It’s not mean though, mostly due to the moral of the episode.

That’s what brings this over the top. The Batman one was more a celebration of the characters legacy, showing how something can wildly change over time. Both of these don’t show any version are really wrong (Well, except maybe Joel Schumaker’s Batman.).

This one goes as far to have Wander say it doesn’t matter how the view the hero, as long as it gives them hope. You can stretch it to them saying there’s nothing wrong with having a different interpretation of a character, as long as you’re not doing anything wrong, or it has a positive effect on you.

In today’s online culture, where you can get really bashed on certain places for daring to disagree with the popular fan theories, this actually a pretty revealant moral which applies to more than situation.

Having a variety of stories with cool styles that really funny is nice, but the moral makes it extra special. My only complaint is that it does take a tad too long to get to the stories, and in general the are fairly short.

As much as I like the first one, it’s so light story wise you could have cut it to make at least one longer, to give the hole just a bit more to it. It’s not a big deal since the stories are still great as they are, but it is a flaw.

I do have a soft spot for these kind of episodes, with a bunch of different stories, so all the positive elements were even better to me. Thus, it’s slightly low due to that and the flaw.

Otherwise, this is a very creative, unique and funny episode that even has some nice meaning to it that I imagine a lot of people can relate to. It’s another one that’s fun with it’s style and message.

Pardon the lame pun, but this one is fairly legendary. …Sorry.

  1. The Pet

Writers: Ben Joseph & Greg White

Like most 11 minute shows, Wander has had a few double length specials and they can be slightly mixed. They fare pretty well, but sometimes they can be like stretch out normal episodes. Thankfully, most manage to get past this by being very good, an this is an example of that.

Wander and Slyvia stumble upon an empty ship they think is abondned…which happens to have a killer monster on the loose.

This was the first special they did, and it does show. This was aired in October of 2013, and you can tell Disney made them make it longer so it can be a Monstober thing. (I didn’t count it for the Hallooween since it was clear Gift 2 was made for Halloween while this wasn’t).

This episode does have drawbacks that could hold it back for some, but the stuff that works is just too. Most notably the atmosphere. They really take advtange of this location. The music and animation really make things intense and geuingely creepy.

The monster doesn’t appear for a bit but his presence is felt, and you really feel like he’s a threat. I love his acid spit forms the title card. His design is great too, it’s freaky while still being cartoon-y enough.

This episode is a big Alien(s) homage and it’s done really well, as it stands on it’s own so if you haven’t seen the films, it will make sense. Even if they make this joke-

Get him away from him you-”

Sylvia!”

Yep.

We find out the ship belonged to Captain Tim, and it’s pretty much stated that this monster killed him and the crew. That just makes everything even creepier and more interesting. As for as the story goes, there’s actually a rather depressing part where Slvyia thinks Wander was killed by the monster, so she has the ship blown up to get rid of the monster.

Besides being pretty dang dark and depressing, it’s nice to see how awesome Sylvia can be, especially when Wander is in danger in some way. This could have been too cruel, but since things end happily, and they don’t dwell on it a otn, it works to the story’s advantage.

The most important element in the story is Wander is not only obvlious to the monster wanting to kill him, but he thinks he’s cute and wants him as a pet. As stupid as this makes him, this really works.

The monster does not want to be his pet and tries to kill him, but Wander keeps dragging him all over the place and avoids his attacks. Seeing the monster trying in vain to kill him while he just doesn’t notice is really funny.

This shitck really works best when it’s real villain, so it’s great here. And storywise it works, because Wander isn’t genuinely seems to like him and nothing he does is harmful. Tim, as Wander names him, is only hurt by this because he’s a bad guy and doesnt’ want his affection.

He could like Wander’s affect if he accepted it, but since he doesn’t, it’s torture for him. It’s a nice balance they strike him .Because Wander likes him, this is actually kind of cute. We even get a song out of it. Not the show’s best song, but it’s nice. In the end, Wander wants to keep Tim even when he finds out what he’s like, but know he has to let him go since he’s a monster that wants to kill him.

It’s strangely quite sweet, and manages to work character wise when it could have just been a joke. And of course, Tim goes to Hater who quite likes him, even if the Watchdogs. Since it’s a quick joke, I can let the Watchdog torture slide, since the Hater winning thing works better here than in The Bounty.

All in all, this episode has a lot going for it. Yeah, it is flawed. It can drag due to being longer, and some minor elements can be seen as a bit strange. This most likely belongs at the bottom, but the stuff that works is so good I wanted it a tad higher.

While some specials can be argued as better, this has a place in my heart for being so good, and for being of the earliest great episodes. (Only the 6th segment). Also, Tim becomes a part of the show, and this episode has a sort of sequel called The Search for Captain Tim.

It’s not as good, but it’s still fun, mostly with a Ripley parody called Ripov.

I love this show sometimes.

It might be a forced special, but it’s atmosphere, homage, writing, and odd swet-ness makes it a real winner in my books.

As much as I like The Gift 2, this is my favorite of the horror themed episodes with everything it does right. I really dig it.

  1. The Fermengcy Fronfract

Writer: Francisco Angones

I did not spell that wrong.

After getting too much laughing gas at the dentist, Hater becomes a drooling happy go lucky go, who thinks Wander is his friend, which Wander sees as a chance to finally change him for good.

Here’s an episode that’s almost as sweet as it is funny. Just the concept of this one is funny: Hater basically gets high on laughing gag and becomes a drooling idiot. Just his expressions are hilarious in this one.

They have a lot of fun with Hater in this one, from his expressions like I said, to the crazy things he said. My favorite joke is when he’s rambling this sweet strange speech in his head. The punchline to that is funny.

The other best part is the song. Don’t worry, this is our last ep with a song for a little while. It’s a fun montage, topped off with a parody of the theme song. Yes. This ep is quite fun with Wander and Hater’s antics.

But of course, there’s more to it that makes it really interesting. Wander knows full well that Hater is only this way because of this gags, yet keeps doing this silly stuff with Hater instead of giving him back to the watch dogs.

This is interesting because Wander sometimes can seem a bit too perfect, and won’t always be tempted to bad things. Here, he faces a moral dilemma, all to get Hater to be his friend. It’s different and is totally in character, because he tries to do the right thing early on.

It’s an interesting change of pace for the character that is very well written. The best part in terms of writing is the ending. I won’t go into a ton of detail, but there’s a heartbreaking moment when they have to resolve all of this.

That moments turn this episode into one worthy of this list. Actually, you know what this is a better version of? Spongebob’s Breath of Fresh Squidward.

Yeah ,that one has a jerky becoming a goofy guy, but in that episode, they don’t milk as much comedy out of as they could have,and instead play it too straight, which doesn’t work because it’s not written well, and misses it’s mark in a few areas, as Mr. Enter pointed out.

This episode takes full advantage of the concept, and the story mixes in well with it, and creates a far better dilemma than just someone being annoyed. This is everything that one should have been.

This episode manages to take a funny concept and not only make it a lot fun, but also makes it into a well written story with a cool dilemma for Wander, and some very sweet moments. It’s an example of an example that just gets it all right.

The only reason it isn’t higher is that the highs of the other entries are a bit better to me. Besides that, I have no complaints about this one. It doesn’t drag, it keeps the gags coming and is well written.

Overall, just another great episode. By the way, this is paired with The Boy Wander. Best half hour of TV Ever!

(Wow, Shortest section yet)

  1. The Bot

(WARNING: To Discuss the merits of this one, I have to go into the ending. Sorry)

Writer: Noelle Stevenson

Despite being a Comedy, this show has had it’s share of sweet moments, and even a few sad moments. Quite a few at this point, actually. But I wouldn’t say too much of it approaches tearjerker…until thiis one.

…Yeah.

When Dominator sends her best bot to get some Chemi-i mean Volcanuim X, he bumps into Wander who of course tries to befriend him.

Before I get into it, I want to talk about Dominator because this episode does show a bit more of her. We had a grasp on her before, but this shows her dark side quite a bit. Unlike Hater, she’s a real villain who is a genuine threat to anyone she meets.

We saw her fun sun side how silly she gets, but she’s still dangerous. She acts silly because she finds all the dangerous things she does to be FUN. We;ll get to her most heinous act in a bit, but that cemented her character as a really good one.

This episode is pretty simply for most of it. Infact, one small thing puts this one on the list at all, and usually that would make it low. But that thing is ….well, we’ll get to it. This premise isn’t too original, as I’ve seen stories where a villain, or their minion ends up befriending the hero or hanging out with them.

They even did this before with a watch dog in The Little Guy, although I like this one better. And that did hold this one back at first.

The interesting thing is that Bot 13, named Beep Boop doesn’t quite go with Wander’s antics. Wander mostly holds him captive as he does fun stuff on the boardwalk, and Bot 13 just wants to some Volcanuim X.

This does set it apart, and makes for some fun stuff. And it is believable when Bot 13 does what he does, as he doesn’t try to hurt Wander, showing he was growing on him in some way during the episode.

Most of the episode is just silly fun. Perhaps nothing special, but enjoyable enough. Then comes the ending .I know I usually say more before the ending, but there isn’t much to the rest of the episode, so I have to get to it already.

Despite what happened, Bot 13 does leave Wander once he get what he needs. Sylvia wants to warn the others on the planet about Dominator possibly coming, but Wander wants to wait for Beep Boop, because he still thinks he may have changed him.

Bot 13 goes to Dominator and is about to show her where to get some of the stuff so she can get it and dominate that planet. But of course, this is where he looks back on his day with Wander and sees how much fun he had..

So he betrays dominator and deletes his memory file thingy with the location of the stuff. So what happens, he ends up going back to Wander and like in the little guy, the guy is free to be good and such?

…No. Dominator gets mad at him and throws him out the airlock, like she did with another bot earlier. Bot 13 looks at a picture of Wander and him as he burns up…completely.

I am Beep Boop”

…Back with Wander, he is sad Beep Boop isn’t back but since Dominator isn’t here, he knows he wasn’t ratted out, so he thinks Bot 13 is just out there somewhere else. They look at fireworks caused by Bot 13 exploding, which they arne’t aware of.

Good Luck Beep Boop”

…D….damn.

I can safely say I did not see that coming. In most kids shows that do this plot, like the shows previous take on this plot, things end up happily now that the minion is away from the badguy and is friend with the hero.

Speaking of which, where did said little guy go? For someone so important, he never appeared again even though he lived. Did he even make a cameo in the crowd shot in the finale

Anyway, that happy ending doesn’t happen here. No, Bot 13 actually kind of sees that friendship has a price. It’s not always going to end happily. Bot 13 pretty much dies here, and Wander is not aware of it.

It’s not even bittersweet, it’s just straight up sad. This little ending brings the episode to being something really special. Hell, the ending shot is the picture of Beep Boop and Wander, a bit burnt, just floating in space.

Yeesh, just rub it in. And then the credits scene is just a drawing of them in the sand being washed away by the ocean. OH COME ON!

This ending is just great. It takes a pretty simply episode and makes it really complex and sad. The way it’s executed makes it so you do feel something,even though Bot 13 and Wander didn’t exactly bond in the deepest way.

And yeah, I may have cried a tad at this one. Shut up, you did too if you saw it, didn’t lie to me? This episode does conflict me though. The ending alone should make it much higher, but the rest is just so …standard.

It’s fun but not nearly as good as the ending. With other episodes, the reat matches with the big thing that makes it great. While it’s not weak enough to flat out take this off the list, it is enough to dock it a few points.

But damn it, the ending is enough to put it just outside the top 5. It’s not only sad, but rather unexpected. I mean, it may be a bot but he’s still a character and he DIED/ Wander is hardly adult like some other shows, so it makes this moment even more special.

And on a narrative level, it shows the price of friendship and goes against the shows usual formula. It’s even realistic, as usually things go more this way. It’s simple in concept but works so well and makes the episode.

The episode may be mostly standard, but a mature and tear jerking ending makes it really great. Also, it reminds of Iron Giant, which is a big plus. So yeah….it’s great, just some tissues if you wanna watch it.

  1. The End of the Galaxy

Writer: Francisco Angones

..Yeah, it’s everyone favorite part of a Spongey444 list, where I put the biggest choice lower than most would. But in this case, I’m not sure if everyone has it a favorite, or they are on my side, due to the whole nature of it.

While my usual reasoning is true here, in this case I do think the next are all better episodes, even on a story level. It’s not just a personal thing this time. But anyway, this is the finale and despite the circumstances, it’s great.

Dominator has dominated every planet in the galaxy, except for a small one that everyone is taking refuge on. They have to come up with a plan to stop her for good, before she gets to this planet too.

This season finale was turned into a series finale thanks to Disney so a lot was riding on it, because it now had to be a fitting end for the series as a whole, even though it wasn’t written to be.

As I have said before, that is unfair so all I ask is for it not to have too big of a cliffhanger. And thankfully,this fits the bill. Actually, with how it ends, I wondered what they would even do for Season 3, besides develop a few characters further.

But we’ll get to that in a bit. Story-wise this one is fairly simply. It’s mostly them planning, with Dominator wondering what to do now that she’s destroyed the galaxy, and Wander wanting to find out why she is like this.

It’s simple but effective. It’s a finale that keeps it simple and executes it’s simply stuff very well. Plus, it still puts in the themes of the serious and gives us some awesome things to help cap off the season.

Being more plot and action focused, there’s not quite as many great jokes, but it still has it’s share, like the “past season of our lives running gag”. Which does get a bit forced at some points.

You gotta love the continuity here. Every one shot character appears in this, with some even getting a line or too. It fits in the story, and is nice for those who have stuck with this series from the start.

I like how the first planet we saw in the series was the last to be dominated, nice touch

. In general, it seems like people were fine with this finale, given how it was forced on them, but there’s thing people were mixed on: Dominator. They kind of explain what her deal is, and some find it underwhelming.

I won’t go too much into, but it sort of it is, but I also think it was handled well. For one, I’m sure that would have explored it more in Season 3. And 2nd, she still isn’t turned good. They hint at something of the story, but she still doesn’t change sides. Someone else does though, which strengthens the story. We still get the great “some villaisn are just villains” ,message, while also having the “some can change” lesson, it’s a nice mix.

I was mixed on it on my first viewing, but now I get what they were going for, and it works well enough without a 3rd season to explore this. Speaking of, there is a small thing in the credits hinting at what else Season 3 could explore, and I’m mixed on the idea, but we’ll never know if it panned out.

Unless Change.org actually works for once. I’m sure they’ll get to it once they shut down Rotten Tomatoes.

Anyway, there is one thing that puts this high on the list: HATER. Let me put this in perspective. In Season 1, he did have some badassery to him despite being pretty silly, which is why a lot of people were afraid of him.

But by Season 2, he wasted so much time on Wander he becomes ineffectual,especially when Dominator appeared. He tried to get better, but finding out she’s hot set him back. After she turned out to be truly evil, he got better again, leading to this.

Her finishing the galaxy breaks something in him, turning him into a big badass, actually making plans and going all out.

Where has this guy been all Season…of our lives?”

It all comes together in the climax, when he gets the support of everyone and really gets at Dominator. After being mostly comedic, it is amazing to see him step in a way that makes sense. He’s great at helping stop a bigger bad guy sometimes.

It’s also awesome to hear the “Hate’s Great, Best Villain” chant become a more serious chant. Everything about Hater is amazing here, including him maybe becoming goodish. With how the series is, this totally fits.

He alone puts this high, as without him being so good, this would be perhaps sligtly lower, I don’t know. But thanks to him, this thing is awesome.

So overall, this finale was forces on them but they still made something pretty great out of it. It executes it’s simple plot well, with tons of callbacks, the best portrayal of Hater, and even a mix of morals with Dominator being mostly done well, even if it’s not all incredibly satisfying.

As far as forced finales go, this one of the better ones. Even with the problems, it’s a fitting enough end to the series, with a near perfect final shot. I wish we had hour 3rd season, but if it was gonna end hre, at least it ended well.

Wish this was higher so I say bye but there’s four more entries so…bye for the next few seconds, Wander.

(Also, in the big crowd shot at the start, if you look really close, you’ll see a blue blob dude who looks an awful lot like Bloo. Hmm…)

  1. The Epic Quest of Unfathomable Difficulty!!!

Writer: Francisco Angones & Amy Higgins

(This is another one I just have to spoil , and of all the eps on the list, it’s the one that’s the best gone into blind, trust me)

We’ve now reached the point in the list where we have the episodes I knew were going to be on it when I first saw them. The rest were maybes, but they I had to put on here. And it was hard to rank them as I think they are equally amazing for one reason or another to.

To start those episodes, here’s one about Wander trying to find the owner of a lost sock. Yeah, sounds really intense, I know.

With this one, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spoil it because all the best parts are in the end, but there was no way I could explain why this one is go great without going into it. I’ll at least save the ending for last.

As you can tell from the title, this takes something really simple and makes it into something big and epic. And the way they do is just awesome. They do things I was not expecting and get a ton of comedy out of this simple concept.

It just starts with Wander asking around for the owner and it’s fairly simple until someone tells them how to go someone who can answer any question, which is where things back up. It then turns into an actual epic adventure with all the stuff you expect in an actual epic quest.

Except it’s all narrated and it’s treated like a normal montage, making every little bit even funnier. This part can’t be spoiled because it’s just too funny. Even on it’s own, the Comedy is on point.

“Haven’t you ever lost something you wished you could get back?”

“Besides the last ten seconds of this conversation?”

But combine that with a parody of an epic quest, and you get something really funny. But what makes it even better that it manages to work story wise too. As silly as the concept is, it shows how dedicated to helpng people Wander is.

Even if it’s something simple, he wants everyone to be happy even if it’s over something small. There’s even a dramatic moment they manage to find the owner (in a way too funny to spoil here) and he doesn’t seem to really care about the sock.

In a weird way, this shows that even the smallest thing matter. But then they een manage to flip that on it’s head with the ending. Oh boy, you ready for this?

Okay, so this big evil guy gets the sock and then it flashes back to when he as a good kid, and he was playing with the sock when his Dad took it away from him, as a future king can’t play with childish things. He’s so angry about that he turns evil, locks his father up, and rules the whole place with an iron fist.

With the sock back, he turns good, lets everyone free, and Wander and Slyvia are heroes.

…I was just worried someone’s feet might get cold”

  1. almost feel bad for having to spoil this because it’s beyond hilarious. I mean, despite all the parody going on, they seemed to have an actual nice moral about how him the smallest things are important.

Then they turn around and reveal that the shock is literally the most important thing ever. It’s a brilliant of turning a sort of cheesy moment n it’s head, that still leaves that moral intact. I know I’m really talking this episode, but it just blows me away every time.

Which is odd, since the next 3 are arguably more clever in some ways, but it’s just insane what this episode does. It keeps topping itself on every point. Starts out like a simple plot that will have a lot fo comedy, then becomes a parody of an epix adventure, using something dumb as a McGuffin.

Then it pulls out interesting character insight, with a good moral…then totally turns that moral on it’s head with comedic exaggeration! It’s actually really brilliant with how many great things that this episode has.

Any of these could have the episode good fun on it’s own, but having them all in here just make it extra awesome. Not only is this just really funny on it’s own, but really clever writing that has many things done well, helps make it kind of amazing.

Some episodes have more depth than expected, or manage to combine elements well, but this takes all that up to 11. Yeah, as you can tell I like a lot. It’s kind of underrated (not the most underrated, we’ll get to that) as no one really talks about it.

But man do I love it. It’s a ton of fun and really clever in a lot of ways. Sorry I had to spoil it to explain but trust me, I left out enough gems for you to enjoy. On a last note, this is paired with The Void.

Yet another great half hour of TV.

Overall, this episode takes something simple and makes it really epic, clever, and hilarious. It’s really good one, is what I’m trying to say.

  1. The Cartoon

Writer: Ben Joseph’

Animation is so hard! People who do this thing for a living deserve a lot more credit and respect!”

Remember in the Foster’s post, where I said that Craig said that each show he worked on had one episode he loved working on and had a ton of fun with it? Well, this was was it for Wander Over Yonder, and like with Bloo Supderude, it shows and is awesome. (His post on this ep is where I got that quote from, fitting enough(

The premise is pretty simply: Hater has the Watchdogs make a cartoon to show everyone (especially Dominator) how awesome he is. That’s about it, the whole episode is Hater, Peppers, and two Watchdogs, watching the Cartoon MT3K style.

From that quote, you can already tell this episode is pretty meta. But aside from that, the cartoon itself is just perfect. The whole thing is a parody of old low budget shows, especially He-Man.

I mean, the episode starts with a dead on spoof of the Flimation logo and from there we have someone holding their sword up to power up, and even the logo of the cartoon is very much He-Man, if it starred Skeletor.

The style is captured just perfectly here. Every low budget animation trick is parodied here. Limited animation, reused animation, blatant padding, very redundant dialogue (‘The staff of power is so powerful, it can do the impossible make me even more powerful than I am now”), and covering up action scenes because they blew the budget on other stuff.

Wow, what an impressive fight. Awesome doesn’t stand any chance.”


“We should stop describing it and watch in silence. “

And that’s the animation side of it. It’s hilariously blatant Pro Hater Propaganda, yet still is true to “life’, with the Watchdogs doing the work for him, Peppers bitching at him, and Wander ruining everything.

Once again, I don’t want to mention everything, because what’s the fun in spoiling all the jokes? This episode works because it’s funny, making it hard to talk about. But in terms of writing, it’s pretty clever.

There have been parodies like this before, but they really went all out here, making fun of everything they can. They even make fun of tacked on morals at the end. I’m not 100 percent sure if we needed the MST3K stuff, because it would have been funnier on it’s owner, but it does add an extra layer, I suppose.

It also gives this more of a reason to exist, putting a reason for the parody to be there and such. It even adds a bit at the end, with how it makes fun of the shows formula. So I can let it slide.

My favorite joke, involving Dominator, is so amazing I won’t spoil it here. Let’s just it references something I did not expect, and I love that they got the actors from that to make it even better.

Speaking of actors, Jon Hamm voices Cartoon Hater. He doesn’t quite add a lot, but love that he’s even here, and he does make of the dialogue even funnier. Oh, and this is all funny. The jokes are on there are really, as even how the characters look can get a laugh.

There’s one part where I laughed so hard I cried. That never happens. Granted, it’s a dumb thing to laugh out in hindsight, but it caught me off guard when I first saw it.

So yeah, I have to be short on this one because what I said is all there is to. It’s just them watching a cartoon, and what they do with is just great. They capture the style of old cartoons perfect, while being really funny and making fun of lots of stuff, including their own show.

It’s perfectly done, and is just a blast from start to finish. I got no real problem with this one. The crazy thing is, this episode is paired with the Bot, and this is the a episode. So the silliest episode ever, is followed up by the saddest episode up to that point.

There’s some mood whiplash for you.

So yeah, this episode is a perfect parody, and has a lot to help make it the funniest episode of the series. It’s just plain fun. Not much else to add that. The Cartoon is funny.

And now for a sad episode!

  1. The Flower

Writer: Rachael Vine

(This is another one I have to spoil, sorry)

Of the lists I’ve done, this has to be the closests that 2 and 1 have have. Seriously, I had a hell of a time deciding which one is my favorite episode, because they are equally amazing for similar reasons. I could pick either to represent the show/.

So if my number one doesn’t please you, just know that it was REALLY close. As for the episode…damn. I need to set the stage and go into detail here, but I have to examine this to really show how good it is.

This is the next to last episode, and at this point Domintor has almost dominated the whole glaxy. Most of Arc 3 has had our heroes search for ways to stop Dominator, most of which were dead ends or didn’t provide an ultimate answer.

At the start of the episode, Wander and Silvia look all over all the destruction she’s caused, and Slyvia is losing hope. But hey, no worries. Wander is the biggest ray of sunshine there is, clearly he’s got some optimism to spare

…Nope. At this point, even he’s losing hope, with incredibly tearful eyes. Sylvia don’t have this because if Wander loses hope, then it’s all over. In a desperate attempt to life his spirits, Sylvia finds a flower on a dead planet that seems to be going fine.

If that flower can bloom even in these dark times, then maybe there’s still hope, which makes Wander happy. The episode thrives off this set, and it’s brilliant. I’ve said before how much it works when they test Wander’s character, and we get great stories whenever he has doubt.

This is the perfect test for him. If he has trouble having hope, then we’re truly in trouble. Having the big spot of hope be a Flower is genius too. A bit cliché to an extent, but it was the best option. It’s easier to make it small than have it be a whole planet or something, since they kind of did that already and technically right after.

Most of the episode has them trying to take care of the Flower and finding the perfect home for it. While this could have gotten redundant, they manage to mix it up and even make it funny. Yeah, despite how dramatic this one is, they still fit in comedy.

There’s some amusement in them trying to take care of the thing, and even Wander getting sad is funny thanks to some great expressions. And of course there’s actual jokes, like the giant Bee that keeps chasing them,

It also stays engaging because of the situation Wander goes back to sad mode at every failure and Sylvia tries in vain to keep that from happening. There’s some suspense going on, and you don’t want to see him sad either.

It’s also interesting how Sylvia thinks of Wander so highly that she considers everything to be doomed if he’s sad. This episodes works just as well on charterer level, then it does on a general level.

Eventually, Dominator catches wind of this and goes to get rid of their last bit of hope. If I had one compliant about this episode, it’s with Dominator She kind of works themetically, but I’m not sure we need a phsical force.

The plant almost dying due to natrual causes was enough of a conflict, I think. They also really push Dominator here, which might get slightly annoying. But it’s such a petty nitpick I don’t mind it, and it helps the story with what happens next.

The flower puts out some pollen which Dominator is allergic to. She sneezes so much she can’t give her bots any order, as our heroes escapee. Not only are they free, but they found Domiantor’s Weakness. Like Sylvia says, it’s a bit weird but it’s something!

But unfortunately, it’s too late. That last burst was all the flower had left, and it “dies” in front of them. Yeah, it’s another The Bot moment, only even more soul crushing. They spent the entire episode protecting this thing and their efforts turn out to be in vain.

Wander is not only in full on sad moment…but he finally sheds a tear which hits the ground. Well, looks like all hope is lost. …Right?

Sylvia, you tried you’re hardest to save this flower, and it decided to return the favor by saving us. It’s not bad to be sad”

I can’t have you be sad, or everything’s hopeless”

‘Just because I’m sad doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope”

They cry a bit more, and the episode ends with small parts of the flower landing places, that help sprout a few more possible flowers.

…I’m at a loss for words here. I know exactly how to explain why this is great but every time I see it or think about it, I have to stop for a sec. First of all yes, I did cry at this. With the message, I kind of had to let myself cry.

First of all, that moral. I don’t know where this trend of teaching that it’s okay to be sad came from, but I welcome it so very much. This one even takes a step further. Like he said, you can be hopeful will still being able to be sad over something.

There’s tons of media about keeping up hope even in the darkest hours, and even this shows has the standard stuff with them never really getting sad while trying to do this. But here comes an episode that shows that it’s not bad to be said.

With how the story it set up, this is even more perfect. While just them saving the flower and such would be very typical, I could see them doing that early on with how simple things are. But at this point, the show knows things are more complicated than that.

Now, at first I wasn’t sure if the Flower sacrificing itself is needed, as having it die naturally would be more effective. It wasn’t a problem, just a minor thing. But in context, it works because it gives Wander a reason to have hope.

If even something dying can help then, then there really always will be hope in the universe. That’s actually just as profound as the alternative. Just because something does, doesn’t mean it’s all bad.

And of course the little ending bit is great too, showing that The Flower’s sacrifice helped quite a bit. Death isn’t as helpful in real life, but it’s story about a guy that sounds like Irving, I can cope with this.

The moment itself is presented perfectly, of course. The episode has a very sour tone with the bleak animation and sad music and it works because they clearly put a ton of emotion into it. They play around with emotion a lot, with how things go from hopeful to sad, and the animation, and music have a big part in that.

I’ve noticed just how great the music in Craig’s shows can be. If you pay attention, it can set the mood really well, especially in this and even some Foster’s episodes. I also have to compliment Jack McBrayer’s voice work.

He’s mostly known just being silly, and annoying in the right ways, and he certainly brought that to this show. But scenes like this show he really can act. Those lines I quoted are said perfectly and make the moment even better.

So…yeah, I like this episode. If it makes me pay attention to small things like that, it did something for me. Man, was it so close to number one. I’ll explain further at number one, why it didn’t quite make it.

But man, is The Flower still amazing. It takes a genius set up and pulls it off brilliantly, making it work on a thematic and character level. It has a great moral that has depth to it, and every element makes it as engaging and emotional as can be.

While it isn’t number one on this list, this episode hits the highest highs in the series and is admirable in every sense of the word. I salute you, unnamed Flower. …Well, they call him Planty but I don’t wanna confuse him with Planty the Potted Plant.

But yeah, The Flower is pretty great.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

My Fair Hatey: While it’s fairly simple in terms of what it does for the show, it makes up for it by being a really good musical episode, with every song being well done, espcpecially Dominator’s excellent villain song. This really cemented her as the perfect villain. A fun episode that was an improvement over the previous special.

The Greater Hater: The perfect way to start Season 2. Dominator’s introduction is great, with great atmosphere on her ship, showing how powerful she is without her even really doing anything. It’s interesting to see how this effects the characters, and even if it’s a small element, this somehow does the “not everyone will like you” moral better than any show I’ve seen try it.

The Brainstorm: Another simple premise leading to tons of comedy. The whole episode is just Hater trying to come up with plans to stop Wander, and they don’t even try one until the end. Just like Gumball’s The Plan, there’s tons of creative comedy and it’s all hilarious.

The Breakfast: On it’s own, it’s a fun simple premise, using something basic to show the contrast between Wander and Hater, but what really makes it great is the gimmick of showing both of their days at the same time with a split screen. I can only imagine how hard it was to get this exactly right, and it’s really cool. It even won an Annie, which is impressive given it’s competition include Gravity Falls’ Not What He Seems!

The Eye on the Skullship: Not only is it very funny, with it’s focus on a show starring Watchdogs, but it’;s also kind of sweet as you root for Andy (brilliantly voiced by Andy Daly) who just wants an interview with Hater. The ending is perfect too.

And my personal favorite Wander Over Yonder Episode is..

  1. The Good Deed

Writer:Tim McKeon

By now, you know that the top choice of my episodes lists tend to be the episode I think represents the show best, on top of all it’s other qualities. And no episode basically represents the show more than this one.

Wander and Sylvia do a good deed for someone…which starts a huge chain of their good deeds having bad effects on other people.

On it’s own, this episodes set up is really interesting and funny. It’s pretty much a lot of cause and effect. They give a hungry guy a carrot…which belonged to a guy using it to ride his weird elephant thing. They promised the guy they’ll buy him a new carrot, and when it hears you can just buy one, it leaves. They get him to a wedding but it turns out he wanted to break up the wedding. You get the point, it’s stuff like that.

With this set up, the episode never gets boring because something is always happening. It’s fun to see what will happen next, and it’s a big example of how sometimes what can go wrong, will go wrong.

It’s just fun to watch for most of it because of that, and it leads to funny moments, like the court scene. I won’t spoil it but it’s really funny, especially with Sylvia’s reaction. Most of the episode of just this, and the simplicity works because they get a lot out of it.

But then comes the ending. Wander believes if you do the right thing, you’ll always end up in the right place. But all day, everything they do just makes things worse, defying his beliefs. It gets to the point where it leads to a missile headed towards something.

At this point, Wander considers giving up, because he has seen for himself that everything he believed in is a lie. Which leads to this:

If doing a good deed leads to the universe getting destroyed… Partner, that’s not a universe I wanna live in anyway.”

This moment is small but says a whole lot. On it’s own, it’s a nice test of Wander’s character, showing him having doubts about his word view. And Sylvia’s bit shows that you should keep on going because even if it doesn’t seem like it, you will end up in the right place.

So on it’s own, this episode has plenty going for, by using a great premise for good jokes, and testing Wander pretty well with a very sweet ending. But this is all still seems rather simple compared to later episodes.

Here’s the thing: This was the 5th segment. Yes, this was the growing the beard moment for the show. Most growing the beard moments are simply the first time the show shows it’s true colors and that’s it.

But this one is more than that. At the start, I just assumed the show would be simple. Wander’s hopeful nature would get him through any situation, and in darker moiments he’ll just perk up and keep going.

It would be the typical stuff you would see in this kind of show. We had amusing episodes up to this point but nothing crazy groundbreaking. Then this episode happened. The show was already amusing, but this one was really funny by showing they can do a more unique premise with escalation.

Then it showed that the show may end up being deeper than we thought. This shows that even good deeds can go wrong, and it makes Wander question his own world view. In the end, everything will work out, even if things go really wrong.

These are all things that would be expanded on later, in very interesting and complex ways. Everything this episode does would be expand on later, but this was the first to do it. And honestly, that’s even more impressive. Sure, it’s a bit simple but the way it’s done kind of makes you think and gives you a more balanced experience than previous episodes. When they do this kind of thing again later, we’ve gotten used to the show showing more than meets the eye.

This being so early makes it even more special. Most shows won’t have their big moment until at least 10 episodes in. This is episode 3a and we’re already seeing this. And while one came close, this ended up being my favorite episode of Season 1.

The Flower is almost like the grown up version of this. It also has a simple premise leading to a bunch of cause and effect, and has a dramatic moment showing a deeper message than expected.

To parodon the pun, this was the seed for that episode, and the show as a whole. That’s why the episodes were so close together…and why I picked this one. My god, was I close to picking The Flower.

Objectively, it is the best episode, but the one I personally get into the most is that. Plus, that one is a bit recent and it’s unfair to give something that recent the top spot. It’s also unfair to give the nostalgic one the top spot, but I don’t care.

Again, if this doesn’t please you, consider The Flower number one. On it’s own, The Good Deed is a unique and very funny episode that test Wander and gives us a nice moment with a good message.

And it paved the way for the future of the show. It’s nature of being funny, and surprisingly deep in a sense, would later apply to the whole show. A lot of shows have episodes like that, but this one had a bit more of an effect on me.

While you can disagree with me, all of this is why The Good Deed is my favorite episode of Wander Over Yonder.

And those were my Top 11 Wander Over Yonder episodes. This list was harder to make than I thought. Usually a list for a show like this would be hard due to a lack of episodes, not too many!

This show did manage to defy expectations. Sometimes it was exactly what it looked like, and other times it was a lot deeper and could be really great. Don’t think I’m saying it’s amazing, be cause most of it is simply pretty good, but man did it have plenty of great-ness.

It’s a bit like Gumball in that way. Huh, guess the title gimmick isn’t the only thing they stole from the show. It really does show that a show doesn’t need to be as “perfect” as some to be kind of great.

I bet if I went on longer like this, it would be even better, but all well. Let’s hope Disney stops with this. At least Star Vs is getting Season 3, and we also have Penn Zer-

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…GOD. DAMN IT. You’ve gotta be kidding, that was our only hope! You are incredibly thin ice now, Disney! If I spoken about this before, whoops, I planned to do it here. I hope Milo Murphy and the next few are good enough to make me want more.

Anyway, even with Disney’s antics, the showing is quite and these episodes alone make it very worthwhile. I can’t wait to see what Craig has up his sleeve, with this current track record.

As for what’s next for me, well you can expect a Season 7 list for Adventure Time and Regular Show. (Speaking of recently announced cancellations..). With how their latest seasons turned out, they deserve it. I also will do Season 4 of Gumball, but I’m not sure on other shows just yet.

Either way, look forward to all that and check out this show or these episodes if you haven’t already. And remember: It never hurts to help!

See ya.

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General Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

Hello, Spongey here.

There have been a number of animation studios to compete with the big dogs that are Disney and Dreamworks. They give us some nice variety and have made for themselves, and have made tons of money.

But…honestly, I don’t think any of the mainstream ones have quite matched them in quality. It’s not that I’m expecting them to reach Toy Story 3 levels or anything but the likes of Blue Sky and Illumation tend to make films that are…fine.

They have their own style, but they have their problems that keep them from being better, which I have gone over before. However, there is one studio that I think does great work more often than not, and could be a mighty force…if they made more money.

That would be Lakia. So far they have really impressed me, not only with how they keep stop motion alive, but with how different and awesome their films have mostly been. Coraline was surprisingly creepy and original, more so than most horror films these days.

Paranorman managed to get pretty deep for a movie of it’s kind, and it did the whole “gay character in a family product” before it was cool to do. The Boxtrolls wasn’t quite as good, but it was still fun, with the stop motion being as impressive as ever.

Stop Motion might my favorite of the three main mediums, if only because I never see it done badly and it’s way harder to do for obvious reasons, making it more respectable, even if the product is flawed. I don’t think I’ve personally bad a full stop motion film, and yes I know Hell and Back exists, but can you think of any more genuinely bad ones aside from that?

But that aside, Lakia really succeeds with the writing most of the time. It sucks that they aren’t quite mainstream, thus not making nearly as much money as the other studios. The latest mediocre Ice Age Sequels always rakes in the dough but Paranorman mostly just made a modest profit.

Anyway, if their films keep that same quality, then we can finally have our great Non-Disney animation studio. All this is why I was pumped for this film. When the first trailer hit, I was all over it.

It was interesting that they were branching out and basically doing a Japanese style epic. A bit of an odd choice but the trailers showed that they would bring the same awesome-ness to this one.

Especially with the animation, but I wanna focus on the more important aspects. Everything about this looked cool, and that’s why it was my anticipated animated feature of 2016. Yes, more than Kung Fu Panda 3 and the like.

I didn’t have some of the reservations I did for the others. This just looked like it would at least be pretty good. Now, I was worried that it could turn out like some films that look complex and epic, and just ends up being too simple or cliché. Like …well, Epic. Even though I still like it, mostly.

But I trust the studio enough. And I got pretty excited when the reviews came in, as this currently has a 94 on RT. Okay, I did recently learn that the 90’s aren’t as safe of a bet as they used to be, but that’s higher than all the other Lakia films so far!

Now, some reviews did so the story is a bit empty, but tons have said it’s as complex as their previous works, with tons of praise going toward it. And hey, 94 is still awesome. The other interesting thing about the film is that it’s directed by Travis Knight, the CEO of Lakia and former rapper.

Not making that up.

This is his directorial debut. Yeah, a bit weird he waited this long but this is quite cool. Of our two writers, one did nothing and the other was on Paranorman. That alone makes up for the other guy.

So, after all the hype, will this live up to their previous awesome works, or will it be another semi disappointment? Time to find out.

This, is Kubo and the Two Strings

ANIMATION:

Regardless of how you feel, everyone will say this element stands out the most, and for good reason. Stop Motion is already respectable, and Lakia can really make it strong, and this has to be their best work in that regard.

The puppets a bit more realistic than before, and have unique designs. Their moments are really fluid and never feel like jittery like in other stop motion products. Honestly, I sometimes they were stop motion, they moved so well.

But even when I remembered they were, it’s not bad because their stop motion charm makes them better. The general style is really cool and like their previous films, they add in extra details to make the visuals pop.

Especially when Kubo breaks out his guitar. They do some really dazzling things with that, even fit in some origami in there. The stop motion is blended in with the minor CG elements too. Yeah, some people may take issue with stop motion films using more CG, but it’s mostly a tool with stop motion creating the most important elements.

Lakia is great at blending them and this is no exception. The animation works on all levels, from the character moments to the big set pieces. There’s a skeleton in this that must have taken a long time to make, and he looks awesome.

There’s no real fault in the animation, as everything is detailed and fluid, with some effects that create some truly dazzling visuals. This studio really pushes the boundaries of what stop motion can do, and this film really shows that with all of what it does.

So yeah, the animation is very strong here.

WRITNG:

In Ancient Japan, an eyepatch-wearing young boy named Kubo cares for his sick mother in a village. A spirit from the past turns Kubo’s life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo. In order to survive, Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor once sought by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.

When it comes to the writing of a film, I judge it in a different than most would. A lot of people seem to focus on the story itself, or by unique the main elements are. Depending on the film. I’ll judge the writing on various levels.

But a lot of the time, a film will use a typical strutuce, or cliché elements in order to do something even great. Finding Dory for example used the struruce of the it’s predorocser, to get itself to a well told story about Dory, with neat themes along the well.

In other words, I focus on how the story is told rather than the basic plot on paper. If the story is told in a very safe way like with say Rachet and Clank, then that will be the problem more than anything else.

As you can guess, that ties into the film. The story may not stand out at first, but the actual writing manages to be pretty solid and leads to some great things. In essence, the film is about stories.

Kubo tells stories to the villagers, and the film is structured a bit like a classic hero’s journey story. The stories being told here become important to the characters, and lead to the greater development.

A lot is in the details, some of which I can’t spoil here. Stuff like what the spirit from the past and why the characters do what they do are well done and quite interesting in execution. I like how the sick-ness Mom has involves her sometimes forgetting things. I don’t know, stories where the kid has to take care of the their parent hook me in, because there’s already a great tragedy there.

The little details really make the writing strong in places, and the story is told in an interesting way. With all that said, some parts can feel under cooked. The typical structure may bother others, and some elements still end being slightly cliché.

Some parts can feel rushed to, like when Kubo is thrust into the adventure the way he is, and of course the ending could have dragged on a bit more even if is mostly satisfying. A lot of these details aren’t too important to me, but they may be to some.

There are reviews that say it can be a bit typical in the story department. I will freely admit the story isn’t as immediately compelling like other films, but I wouldn’t call the story itself “weak’. If it has a charm in how it is, because it is told like the kind of classic story Kubo tells here.

And as I said, the details make the writing itself solid. Maybe it’s not as multi layered and deep as something Paranorman but it’s still as good as their previous works, if you really look into the interesting details.

As I said, some of them are spoilers, so I can’t go too into them here. I can say certain elements are well done when fully revealed. Sorry, I can’t go into a ton of detail, but the film focuses mostly one big theme with some details, so I can’t go as crazy like with last weeks film.

Overall, the writing does have familiar elements, but the it’s told makes it quite interesting with how the details come together. It also does a few refreshing things I won’t spoil. I’ll just say I was reminded of How to Train Your Dragon 2 and leave it at that

While it has small issues, the script is overall pretty well done.

ENJOYMENT:

Yep, this is back. Here, it’s my like The Little Prince with the enjoyment coming from personal investment. This stuff is solid on page, but the way it’s executed on the screen makes it really engaging.

Like the other Lakia films, this film really respects it’s audiences and is able to do small and sweet moments. There’s a real atmosphere to the film that makes it as good as it is. There’s so much heart here, and like Little Prince, it made some bits really interesting to me personally.

No tears this time, but there were certainly some very heartfelt moments that made me feel, which is almost as good. On a writing level, everything checks out but it’s my personal that makes me like as much as I do.

And it’s not just the heart. The action is really exciting, some of the best you’ll see in stop motion, and there’s even some good humor with the character interactions that made the slow bits worthwhile.

The script is well written, but with it’s full execution, I was totally engaged due to how charming, epic and sweet the whole thing can be, especially when everything comes together in the end.

To me, I didn’t get bored or annoyed once, even with the weaker elements. Personally, I was engaged and entertained all the way through, and even touched a few times. It’s not a big feels fest like Inside Out or anything, you won’t cry or anything, I’m just saying it’s quite…nice.

So even if the story isn’t always great, at least the execution kept me engaged all the way through.

CHARACTERS:

This is another film with a limited cast, but it mostly manages to use them better than I expected. Our main character Kubo, seems kind of bland but the writing helps him solid. What he goes through is engaging, and you feel his connection to the other characters.

He’s not hugely complex, but the execution does make him solid enough, and he’s even amusing when interacting with the others.

Next is his mother. She’s arguably the most interesting character, as the film’s best elements come from her. I already mention her sick-ness, but she becomes more interesting when you find out her backstory and her whole deal plays out.

There’s also a certain twist I won’t spoil here that adds to her as well. Then comes Kubo’s compains on his quest, starting with a Monkey named…Monkey, voiced Charlize Theron. She’s the snarky one, which helps make her enjoyable.

Her dedicated to helping Kubo is admirable and fleshes her out quite nicely. There’s also a twist with her that really adds to her too. She’s the most entertaining, to be certain.

Then we have Beattle, voiced by Matthew McConaughey. He’s the dumb one, but only because he doesn’t remember anything. He’s not as interesting but his nature makes him funny, especially when he interacts with money. So he’s fine by mine.

Then there is the villain, voiced by Ralph Fiennes. I can’t say anything here because of spoilers, but I can say how he works for me. He’s…okay. Mostly due to his motivation. Like everyone says, it’s a bit murky once you actually think about it.

It almost makes sense but it could have been explained better. What do they with him in the end is kind of nice, if a bit weird.

Frankly, I think Mom’s Sisters, voiced by Rooney Mara are better villains. They are pretty dang creepy and have a presence to them that makes them threatening. So they are cool.

And yeah, that’s it. There are some villagers, but there is just there. There’s one voiced by Geroge Takei who says “Oh My” at one point because he’s obligated to say that every time he appears.

Seriously, it’s especially lame here because it doesn’t fit with the rest of the film,’s humor. It git better in Free Birds!

While the cast is limited, a lot is done with them that makes the character entertaining, and quite compelling by the end of it. They’re cool.

Final Thoughts:

Minor elements of Kubo and the Two Strings may make it underwhelming to some, especially compared to Lakia’s other works, but for me, the film is incredibly engaging from start to finish.

The animation is outstanding, the characters are enjoyable, and the writing manages to stand out with certain details that make it very interesting. Add in a lot of heart and you have something I greatly enjoyable.

Now, on an objective level I consider it to be very good, with how it flesh out certain things and all that. But man does the personal enjoyment add a lot. I had a blast with this one and really got into it.

And really, the weak elements aren’t too bad. They are just minor quibbles more than actual problems, because the heart and good elements stand out that much. The problems with Zootopia bothered me more, really.

So even if some elements may not be hugely complex, what they do with it is great in the end.

If you like classic epics like this, you’ll get a kick out of this, along with fans of Laki’s other works. If you need a more original concept, then perhaps you could maybe to rent it depending on how this all sounds to you.

Either way, I’d recommend it most people because it’s that enjoyable in the end. The strong animation and heart alone should give people something to like. Good to see more strong animation, after a couple of average ones.

I’d put this roughly on par with Zootopia, although a few re-watches might make one better. We’ll see. Either way, Kubo and the Two Strings comes highly recommend. At worst, you’ll find it average, and that’s not too bad.

So yeah, I liked it.

Writing: B+

Animation: A

Enjoyment: A-

Characters: B+

OVERALL: B+ (Subject to change)

Ah, that was so good. Sorry I rushed it sometimes, there isn’t as much to say in terms of small details and such. As usual, I hope I got my point out there. The animated film should be…The Wild Life.

Not really sure about it, or if it’ll even come here, I got the trailer a few times and the poster is in the theater, but the same went for 9 Lives and they didn’t’ get it. Since it’s animated, I will have to see if it plays in my town at all.

But if something happens, next will be Storks, which should be fine. Which may also be the next reviews period, since there’s nothing live action that interests me until Tim Burton’s X-Men, I mean Perrigreene’s Home for Peculiar Children.

But my mind could change. So yeah, not too much else to say.

See ya.

Posted in General Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Cinderella Story

Movie_poster_a_cinderella_story

I’m back, and tweenier than ever

Hello, Spongey here.

Guess what’s back. Back again. ….Lame joke aside, holy crap. It feels like it was just yesterday that I put up my final weekly review. And yet it’s been a bit over a full month. Crazy.

Things have been fine since then. Did plenty of general reviews and other projects. You should expect more coming, including a list next week. Anyway, if you recall, I didn’t so much quit as much as I just changed the schedule to…whenever I feel like.

I have considered doing one at month on a random day and I might end up doing that since I have plans to do something on each month of the rest of 2016, but that was a coincidence.

I did what I did because I didn’t want all that work on my plate every week, so making it be when I personally feel like it just makes things easier for me. I always planned to do one in August as a small comeback from my break.

And the film I chose was on my list of things I always wanted to do, and I sadly never got to it. Granted it was only because I wanted to do it’s sequel feautring Selena Gomez, but I still wanted to do it.

So here we are. At first glance it doesn’t’ seem worth getting to, but see from now on I am watching the film at least once before I review it. I did so here and while it’s nothing crazy, it is worth reviewing for certain parts, so there you go.

Despite basically being a DCOM, this was a Warner Bros Picture. Made more odd given that it stars Hilary Duff. Yeah, in the long time I’ve been doing this I’ve never really discussed her before, or done something she’s in.

Foodfight doesn’t count.

She’s pretty the Disney child who started it all, and she’s actually done okay for herself, going under the radar instead of going crazy. I haven’t seen a ton of work, but she mostly seems fine as an actress and singer.

Since she didn’t do too much I don’t have quite as much to say about her. Maybe I’ll have more if I finally do the Lizzie McGuire movie. And since I’m talking about a conventionally attractive Disney Star-

1118full-hilary-duff

It’s good to be back.

Released in 2004, this was a hit but ogt fairly negative reviews. (Although 11 Percent is a bit much. Yikes).That didn’t stop it from spawning a bunch of In Name Only Sequels. Heck, they randomly did a new one this year that is the reason I even wanted to do this now.

The 2nd one is called Another Cinderella Story, and yet the next one isn’t called “Yet Another Cinderella Story”. Huge missed opportunity!

Anyway, as for the creative team, the director did Life Size (one of those I used to think was a DCOM but is not) and the writer has done nothing. Exciting.

So before we can get into the one I really wanted to do, let’s see if the first film has anything to offer. You can already guess it’s not the best, but let’s see exactly what moments made me wanna mock it on here. Was it worth coming back for?

This, is A Cinderella Story

The movie opens with narration by our protagonist, played by Hilary Duff, telling us everything we need to know because everyone knows you tell instead of showing. She grew up happy with her father and they were pretty much best friends.

And of course it’s when this credits montage is at it’s happiest is when something goes wrong. Dad met the woman of his dreams and Hilraiy her herself a step mom, and some step sisters.

Shouldn’t take you too long to figure out where they are going with this. But before that, a lame joke.’

Where do Princesses go to college?”

Princeton’

One day, an Earthquake hit.

I’ll be right back”

Well, he’s a goner. And sure enough, he died…i know this because the narrator TOLD it to me, as we never see a funeral or the like. I’m okay with this stuff being stuffed at the start, with the kind of movie this is, but showing a bit more would be nice.

Father mysteriously didn’t leave a will (Yes, this is important) so Jennifer Coolidge gets everything, including Hillary. I’m sure there’s complex legal reasons why she can’t simply kick her out since as we see, she’s not a fan.

Of course, Step Mom waited til he was dead to be a controlling bitch. In this situation, I don’t get how she is like this without Dad knowing. We saw a small bit of her being bad at the wedding, so is Dad blind, or what?

But anyway, we join her in the present day as Step Mom bosses Hillary around all the time. Also, one of the step sisters farts because….comedy.

Dad happened to own a diner, so Step Mom owns it now, and forces Hillary to work there. The diner is really 50’s for 2004. After leaving work, she picks up her male friend who is decked out in the stupidest “trying to be cool” getup ever.

What are you wearing?”

At least they’re aware of it. She actually forces him to put on something decent. Okay, I like her.

After we see the male friend looks like a fusion of Gordo from Lizzie McGuire (Can’t imagine why that popped into my head) and Joey from Liv and Maddie, they bump into the Alpha Bitch.

Male friend has a crush on her, which is actually important instead of just a lame gag. Granted, the arc this starts is lame but we;ll get there. And yes, Shelby is a fun Alpha Bitch and is the main reason I stuck with this one.

Then we meet Austin, the good looking popular guy who is with Shelby. He is also our love interest. I’d say “Spoilers” but they give it away fairly quickly, as you’ll see. Yes, they do that thing instead of putting her with the male friend. With how the current product is, I would have preferred the latter.

We find out that Hilary has a secret admirer who she texts to all the time, that she doesn’t know the true identity of. He doesn’t know who she is either. They hit it off pretty well though.

I think we should have start with her discovering this guy and slowly starting to like him, because at is, they pretty much already like each other for who they are, making anything that happens less interesting by default.

My point is even stronger when we find out the guy is Austin. Yes, they show his face right at this moment. Because who cares about suspense, just spoil it right away! Oh, this becomes much worse later.

I can be surrounded by a sea of people, but still feel all alone”

It was better when Lars said something like that.

You’re not a guy, right?. Cuz if you are, I’ll kick your butt”

Make your own comment her,e I’m lazy.

This montage of them texting and emailing, clunkily tells us bits about Austin, like how he wants to be a writer and stuff hasn’t told his Dad about that. That barely factors into anything, because we can’t make him TOO interesting.

He wants to meet his secret girl at the homecoming dance, and she’s not sure.

MALE FRIEND: It’s about month since you met him in that Princeton chatroom.

This isn’t quite bad enough to earn the Gag, but yeah, exposition!

We get a bit of something with Austin’s Dad, as he has Austn’s future set and doens’t want him doing anything else, because cliché. Back home with Step Mom.

Did you finish those errands?”

Not gonna say it.

She wants Hilary to work tonight,, but she wants to go to the ball-i mean Halloween Dance at school. …Crap, I did this too early. Hilary pleads with her but of course Step Mom is a bitch about it.

You’re not very pretty, and you’re not very bright”

…Yikes. I’m not sure how to feel about her. I love how apologetically evil she is, but it makes the story problem I have with her even worse. Speaking of her, I don’t think I know she’s evil, so let’s give her a scene in the diner to be a bitch again so the head chick there can snark at her.

She’s the best character by the way, cuz she’s so snarky to Step Mom and stuff.

Alpha Bitch and her gang just so happen to be here to force her bitchy-ness some more. This scene does have a further purpose, as Austin is there and tries to tell Alpha Bitch he might like someone else. She doesn’t accept that and things just move on like normal.

From how he talked, Hilary should be very suspicious.

Male Friend shows up dressed as Zorro (that is important) and long story short, Hilraiy decides to sneak off to the dance after all. But she needs a costume so CLOTHING MONTAGTE SET TO AN EARLY 2000’S POP SONG TIME!

Ronda (the diner head chicken) to happens to have a generic pretty dress for her, so they are off. At the dance, we see Austin as dressed as prince charming. SUBTLE.

Hillary arrives and people are blown away by her dress.

ALPHA BITCH: Love her dress, hate her.

You’ll see why I showed that line in a bit.

MALE FRIEND: Any guy would have to be insane not to like you.

Which is why you don’t end up with her. Yeah, I think some re-writes happened.

Hilary bumps into weird a guy who eventually claims to be her unknown boyfriend, in a completely pointless section. Mostly because she finds out Austin is him RIGHT after. So now our lovers have met, and everyone know each other.

What’s your name?”

…Uh, you should know she is. She’s …whatever Hilary’s characters name is. I mean, a mask isn’t gonna hide who clearly is. I mean, it’s not like the writers would make him this dumb after the Alpha Bitch CLEARLY saw who it is.

Wait, did he and Hilary have any extended interaction, to the point that he would know he her if he was this close to her? I don’t think so…one of the big points I had planned for the review just got shot down.

You’re Austin Ames, Football Captain, and Student Body President”

Thanks for reminding us, we have the memories of goldfish.

They hit it off, and Hilary sees how nice Austin truly is. Meanwhile, a random guy creepily hits on Alpha Bitch so Male Friend saves her, while doing his Zorro stuff. She can’t tell it’s him so she likes him at the moment.

When I first saw this, I thought it was weird but it clunkily comes into play later. I don’t know why would need another Cinderella-esque story to go along with the main one.

Hilary and Austin dance a bit, and Hilary confirms he has technically seen her before.

How can I have seen you before, and not know who you are now?”

I would ask the same if, if this didn’t actually make sense since one small look at her in one scene wouldn’t embedded her in your memory. Seriously, I should have paid a bit more attention on my first viewing.

Their little date thing goes well, until it’s almost midnight. Yeah, gotta get that in there, as she has to be home before Step Mom gets there. It’s a bit hard for to leave, since she and Austin have been declared Homecoming Queen and King.

Hillary is nicknamed Cinderella because SUBTETLY.

She manages to escape and tells Male Friend she didn’t’ tell Austin she was her because of how they are from different worlds and yada yada. Even though she has seen that he’s nice at his core. Whatever, this gets worse later.

Long story short, they make it to the diner in time to pretend they were there the whole time. You’re lucky I skipped some dumb dialogue in the middle of all that.

So by now you’ve notice that the plot is pretty much just Cinderella in modern times. That’s a fine idea but they don’t really add much else to it to make it more interesting. Everything you’ve seen up to this point is as interesting and deep as it goes.

The cliches and contrived writing don’t help too much either.

The next school day, there is a big mystery about Austin’s girl. Austin is even somehow allowed to put posters all over the school asking who the girl is. ….Uh, the Alpha Bitch clearly saw that it’s Hilary, she even commented on it.

So why doesn’t she speak up in order to humilate her in some way? And if she noticed that it was her, how come everyone else who stared at her coming in didn’t put two and two together?!

See, if you wanna do Cinderella, you should make use the most iconic basic story element actually makes sense.

Instead of a shoe being dropped, it’s her cell phone which is conveniently locked. Yet he still gets the texts sent to her, which one of the friends think sounds….kinky.

Ew.

Alpha Bitch is infatuated with her Zorro lover, and it makes sense that she doesn’t know it was him because he changed his hair quite a bit, and it’s not literally JUST a mask. And Male Friend actually wants to tell her the truth, mostly to get Hillary to do the same with Austin.

Yeah, his plot only exists to “help” main one. He tells her the truth and she’s so not pleased that she claims she never really liked him, to save face and such. Ouch. After that, Hilairy isn’t sure about telling Austin.

And that’s the only reason his plot was here. And it doesn’t make too much sense because she already knows Austin is nicer than this bitch. Also, this plot isn’t even resolved until so much later that it doesn’t even matter.

Austin tries to find his girl by basically having a bunch of girl approach him and sees if he can tell who is his girl. Even though he at least knows she’s blonde and it’s clear which ones obviously at least sort of resemble her, and which don’t.

It takes way too long for someone of authority to stop this. Back with Step Mom, she sees that Hilary has been accepted to Princeton, which means she’ll be leaving sooner than expected. She doesn’t like that and hides it.

Like a lot of plot points, this ends up being poorly handled later.

Later, Hillary is chatting with him online again and is about to tell him who she is, when she is interrupted by one of the step sisters. While Hilairy is off doing a thing for her, Step Sister looks at her computer and finds out about her online boyfriend and that he is Austin.

And that’s why you don’t leave that crap out of in the open like that if someone else is in the room when you leave.

Now that the step sisters know of this, they both pretend they are his Cinderella and go to him. Thankfully, he’s not THAT dumb and doesn’t buy it. This is never brought up again making this scene entirely pointless.

But that won’t stop them from padding it out, by having the sisters fight in a car wash because…we gotta reach that 80 something minute mark somehow. After that, Austin visits the dinner and ends up talking with Hilary.

You know what bugs me?”

There are so many jokes I can make from this line, but I’m lazy.

He opens a bit about his whole deal and she kind of relates to what he’s feeling. The way she talks makes it painfully obvious she is his girl but like I said, he’s a dumb blind idiot. But otherwise, the scene is nice enough, but like the Alpha Bitch Dress line, it’s gonna bite them in the butt later.

The Step Sister’s thing does start to matter when they tell the Alpha Bitch about Sam (yes, Hilary does have a name in this) being Cinderella. Sam tells Male Friend about her meeting with Austin, and this makes her want to tell him the truth.’

Yes, it’s about time for the 3rd act misunderstanding. Not even hiding it, you all know it’s coming.

At the Pep Rally, Alpha Bitch and goons tell everyone the truth about Sam and Austin. Needless to say, this is embarrassing and everyone mocks Sam, for obvious reasons. There’s probably a reason their reaction is dumb but I’m tired at this point.

I can say that EVERYONE here besides Male Friend is an ass for being okay with her leaking this stuff. Also, no authority figures tries to stop this AGAIN.

The embarrassment and mocking is too much for her, so she goes home to cry. To make her more miserable (because being mocked by all of her peers clearly isn’t enough),Step Mom gives her a fake letter saying she was not accepted into Princeton.

This is really here to add more needless torture than anything else. And with it comes the sad pop song! During this montage, Sam never thinks of talking to Austin to straighten things out, and I can say the same for his side.

…You know, it just hit me how weird it is that Sam is mocked for being this ugly geek even though she looks like Hillary Duff.

Sam does at least grow some balls and stand up to Step Mom. She quits the diner job and says she’s moving out. I will admit this scene is kind of awesome, because there’s not much in the way of dumb things, and it’s at least of cool to see her stand up to her oppressor like this.

Especially when the other dinner people follow her example. Although this would work better as the climax, as here it’s a bit more important than some guy she likes.

With that having gone well, Sam goes to finally talk to Austin. Okay, this should be a nice little ending.

You turned out to be exactly who I thought you were”

…Huh?

I never pretended to be somebody else”

You kind of did.

It was me who was hurt in front of everyone. I came to tell you I know what it feels like to be afraid to show who you are. I was but I’m not anymore…..It’s you that I feel sorry for. I know the person who sent me those sweet emails is somewhere inside of you.”

.You’ve gotta be kidding me. Words cannot describe how absolutely stupid and contrived this is. I don’t even need to explain because it’s so obvious, but I have to.

There are two main reasons this fails:

  1. In that previous scene, he did NOTHING. It was all the Alpha Bitches fault, and if in story she thinks Austin found out and leaked it, then it’s not conveyed at all. He was fairly embarrassed too. None of this is his at all, so why is she acting like he did something?
  1. This is the most important: SHE HAD A SCENE WHERE SHE SEES HE CAN LIKE HER FOR HERSELF. She saw he’s a nice guy with his own baggage, and they can have a nice conversation.

It’s painfully clear he’s just as much of a victim as she is, yet she’s acting like she found out he’s an asshole. It’s not even a misunderstanding, there’s nothing to mis understand! To be fair, it’s written as if she knows he can be nice, but thinks that is just deep within due to recent events.

But she has NO reason to believe otherwise. Right before she spoke up, he seemed to be willingly to apologize or set the record straight, and he never outright said anything bad. He looked as embarrassed as she was in that scene!

Look, it’s one thing to have a contrived misunderstanding. It was standard at the time. But it’s another to not even have misunderstanding, yet act like one happened! That’s lazy writing if I’ve ever seen it.

Because of that, I am not engaged in the story because I can’t believe the situation, or the characters actions. It’s just stupid.

…Wow, haven’t ranted like that in a while. This isn’t even as bad as even something like Jem but this bit got to me. Let’s move on.

After that, she bumps into Male Friend and has another bit that makes me think they were gonna hook up in an original draft. Because we need an ending, she goes to the homecoming game.

In the middle of game, Sam leaves since she can’t bear to look at him, and this makes him want to rush and set things right with her. He could have done this after she left earlier but whatever, this is more dramatic.

He goes up to her and kisses her. He doesn’t apolgoize, doesn’t set her straight. Nope, he just kisses her and it’s all good. Then it rains because cliché.

You gotta love High School”

No. Then,..that’s it! Not it for the film, there’s still an important scene left, but for their development, that’s it. They break up for the dumbest reason ever, he kisses her and…that’s it!

With hiow she stormed out, she should need more than that, but nope. Let’s use a lame cliché to resolve this. Because they don’t want me to care about anything that’s going on. This ending is so badly written on a few levels. Even if it’s well meaning enough.

Then Sam pipes in with narration to wrap this up. Okay, I’ll just say everything in one go,because it happens about as fast as I put it here: It turns out Dad had a will that was just hidden, and it left everything to Sam who would have been too young at the time they were meant to see it.

Sam somehow finds out about Princeton thing and is able to get in. Austin’s just kind of…decided to stop being a dick and let him do what he wants. Male Friend landed the Alpa Bitch…somehow.

We wound up going to Princeton together, and lived happily ever after”

Until the seq-wait, it’s in name only. Nevermind.

At least for now”

Sorry, I just said it’s in name only.

The end. Yeah, abrupt ending, no surprise here. But what is surprising is how rushed it is. Instead of just ending things naturally, they really rush it. They drop it tons of information on you you, some of which doesn’t make any sense and rushes important plot points.

Most of these fail because it’s so rushed it has no impact. The will being hidden kind of makes sense but it was never hinted at, and makes you wonder why she kept Sam on purpose when she proved to be a burden.

What was the point of the Princeton letter subplot if it would be resolved so quickly it never mattered? It existed for cheap emotion that doesn’t worked due to being forced. Why does Austin’s Dad change his mind? We never see his doubts about him being with Sam we are just TOLD that he changed.

Don’t make it a thing if you aren’t willing to put time into resolving it. And does Alpha Bitch randomly accept Male Friend? We are told he landed a commercial, is that it? If so, that just proves her nature.

That bothers me the most, because it seemed to exist for an okay reason but this ruins it. None of it makes any sense! I’m not asking for Return of the King here, but either resovle them well, or don’t bring them up at all!

Okay, I’m done.

Final Thoughts:

Good to be back, eh? Yeah, this was pretty meh. Despite all my ranting, I can’t bring myself to call it bad, because only the ending is truly bad, the rest is just kind of average, with some dumb parents.

As you can guess, the writing really kills it. The characters are bland, but are at least tolerable. I like the idea of just retelling Cinderella, but they don’t add anything to it.

They boil it down to being too basic, and the things they add make it too dumb and silly. But if that was the main problem ,i would be okay. No, instead they had to make the writing incredibly contrvied.

Besides the cliches they use, a lot of it makes no sense. They bring up plot points only for none to matter, and the moments that matter the most are screwed up. Austin is too dumb for the “Shoe” thing to really work, and the climax fails for reasons I’ve ranted on it.

If it just small things that were badly written, I could handle that, but I can’t forgive ruining things thts matter. We can’t care about the characters if the biggest moments make no sense and make them dumber.

On the bright side, the acting is fine, and there is some emotion here and there, that shows they at least put some effort into it. Just not in the actual writing. And honestly, it can be enjoyable as a guilty pleasure.

The ending bugs me too much for it to fully become that, but it comes close with how tweeny it is. Things like the Alpha Bitch can make it enjoyable for dumb it is. The ending ruins it, but comes close.

So if you can get into dumb stuff like this, or are a tween, it might be worth watching. But otherwise, you can skip it. Not the best start for Hillary Duff on here…but at least it’s not Foodifght.

(Hopefully the sequels will be better)

Grade: C

I do genuinely enjoy doing these, but I’m glad it’s not weekly anymore, I need to recover from these more easier. I’ll be back next month for the Brother birthday review, whatever he picks. In the meantime, there’s plenty of general reviews. This week it’s Kubo and the Two Strings, and Saturday will see the release of my Wander over Yonder list.

There’s plenty to enjoy if the big reviews won’t be as frequent. I do plan to do the sequels if they give me something to talk about. That’s all I got so..

See ya.

Posted in Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

General Review: Sausage Party

(Another long intro, so skip to the review if you don’t care about my feelings on adult animation)

Hello, Spongey here.

Remember when Kids Entertainment was really scrutinized, and people treated any good kids product like a miracle? Seriously, I remember as time when that was the case, but it’s hard to remember with how things have changed.

Sure, not everything is great but in general we’ve accept that most kids entertainment, especially cartoons, are fine by default. Now the hate has been directed at adult animation. Oh boy, that’s a can of worms.

Thanks to some lesser entertainment, cartoons were seen as a kids stuff, so it was pretty shocking when they made animation for adults. At the time it was seen as shocking and clever when something seen as for kids could have adult themes.

And as of 2016…the landscape hasn’t changed too much. Yeah, it’s no secret that a lot of adult animation basically amounts to being shocking for the sake of being shocking. You know the examples. Modern Family Guy, Mr Pickles, etc etc.

In other mediums, like books and live action film, we’ve seen how using adult themes can pay off, but animation doesn’t always take advantage of that. I like to think things changing a bit with Rick & Morty, and BoJack Horseman, and there being less really bad ones, but we still got Bordertown this year.

But like in the example I provided at the start, there does seem to be a sort of unfair scurrility. Yes, there’s plenty of bad adult animation ,but good stuff isn’t as rare as you think. Besides the two I mentioned, Bob’s Burgers, Archer, and Venture Bros are still on air and pretty good/well recviered.

And even the bad ones can have their moments, I did a whole list to prove that last year. What I’m trying to say is that just because some of it’s bad, doesn’t mean it’s all bad. There also seems to be a belif that just becomes an adult cartoon uses gore or shock humor, it’s automcially horrible trash.

That is certainly not true, as you can have that stuff and still be good. South Park proved that, Just like it’s unfair to pan any kids show with gross out, it’s unfair to pan an adult show just for having gore in some way.

A show doesn’t need to be “deep” like Bojack to be worthwhile. The reason I say all this because it ties into the film being reviewed today. Adult Animation on TV is pretty common thanks to Adult Swim, but Adult Animation on the big screen is really rare.

The only examples I can think of are older, or feel old, like 9. Yeah, that was PG-13, for those who haven’t seen it. So when it was announced that Seth Rogen would do an R Rated Animated film, there was plenty of discussion.

Seth Rogen’s involvement is important, because he is known for some raunchy stuff, meaning the content here isn’t too shocking. I like him fine, even if he ends up playing himself in everything he’s in.

As you can imagine, when the trailers hit, a lot of people were already whining because it seemed to be exactly what adult animation tends to be. Shock for the sake of it, and tons of F Bombs.

But I saw something a bit more interesting, and as we found out more, I became more interested. The concept actually seemed a bit clever, and since I already like Seth Rogen, I trust him way more than someone like Seth MacFarlane.

My optimism did go down a bit, when the script got leaked and some people I know got a hold of it. I refuse to look at leaks when they are full episodes (Cough Steven Universe) so there was no way I was reading this, but the stuff I kept hearing did not sound great.

But on the bright side, so far it’s getting good reviews, with an 83 on Rt. Granted, I’ve noticed many of the reviewers are not familiar with this kind of thing so they think any animation that isn’t for kids is “clever”, so this isn’t a great sign.

But 83 is nothing to scoff at. For our actual creative team, we have two directors. One did Madagascar 3, and the other has worked on things involving Thomas the Tank Engine. …Quite the tonal shift there.

For our our 4 writers, two are the usual team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and the others are also Seth’s buddies, having written The Night Before.

So after that long intro, could this possibly be another good adult animated product, or will I have to crash this party? Let’s find out!

This, is Sausage Party

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ANIMATION:

Besides the writing issues I brought up, adult animation can sometimes fail with the…well, animation. Because most kids shows look pleasing and can feature a lot of detail, some adult cartoons look ugly or linted by contrast.

And again, that got old. I prefer it when it actually looks really nice, to make the contrast better. Just look at The Boondocks for an example of this. This movie does fall prey to it…but it works in some ways too.

The human designs aren’t really that great, as can be a tad ugly with their weird body proportions. But to be fair, that is the point since the humans are basically the bad guys to them.

In terms of the actual style, I like how from the foods’ POV, everything is bright and colorful but in reality, the world is pretty bleak and Grey. It’s a nice contrast, and is shown best when a guy does bath salts to see the food world.

Yeah.

Speaking of the food, they do look fine. They all pretty much look like they do in real life, just with arms and legs. A bit lazy but there is variety, and they play around by giving some more human features.

Even if a means getting bun boobies.

The food character animation is decent. They move fine, and they do get some good expressions and this can work in the more action heavy scenes. There’s not much to really say other than that, really.

Yes, it can be too limited and is generally nothing special, but the animation is mostly serviceable enough for me to be okay with it. And hey, at least most of it isn’t too ugly.

WRITING:

In a grocery store, food are not only alive, but they think when they leave, they go a great beyond. A sausage named Frank and his bun girlfriend end up separated when their friends are taken to the beyond, and not only get lost in the store, but find out the horrible truth about the beyond…

I already went into how adult animation tends to go for the shock jokes, instead of taking advantage of the medium to do something truly deep.

In film, that problem could become worse. I mean, animated food swearing can be amusing for a short, but that can wear thin at feature length. To an adult animated film, you can actually need a story to back it up, especially if you’re a raunchy comedy with the mixed reactions these kind of things get.

And this movie….kind of…has it! No, I’m not joking, this actually has a story with…something to say! I’m not even looking deep, it’s obvious with how they talk about the situation and call humans the gods. This movie is kind of about faith. The food blindly believe that there is a great beyond simply because they were told that, and they learn the consequences, in a very comedic way of course.

The story in general is actually a good one. The film cleverly address religion and how much faith is okay, Now, you can argue there are problems, because the religion here is bad. If you believe in the great beyond, you will die.

That’s…not the best thing to say. However, you can argue this is all for comedic exaggeration. This is their silly way of showing where blind faith can take you, it’s not meant to be taken literally.

And they don’t bash the followers. Frank doesn’t get to them until he realizes they aren’t idiots for believing in the great beyond. After all, he believes in it, because that’s all he knew, there was no evidence at his disposal to the contrary.

So as a story, this movie can actually be fairly smart with how it looks at religion. …However, it doesn’t 100 percent work as a whole. Yeah, as you guessed, the adult nature sadly gets in the way.

The film uses a bit much shock and vulgar humor sometimes. Actually, most of the time in the former’s case. Now, to be fair, the shocking parts aren’t as horrific as I figured they would be. There is some clever-ness to some of it, like that certain bit you see in the trailer.

(Which doesn’t happen until halfway through, by the way).

But there are some parts that feel like too much, like a certain death, and a bit at the end some of you may already know about. I’m not offended, it’s just distracting on a narrative level.

And man, do they abuse the F word here. In the first 5 minutes, I was sick of it. It toned down a bit in the 2nd half, but it gets pretty tiresome. That is a stapl eof Seth’s comedy in general, but it felt even more forced here.

They start too early as well. They should have eased into it, started out almost like it will be a family film before breaking out the swear but instead, the very first word spoken is “Shit”.

Back to the story, they could have done more. There aren’t a ton of interesting twists, which is fine. But at points they touch on some things that could have been really interesting, but it’s just a throwaway scene. I’ll go into this more in the character section.

I won’t do an enjoyment section here (But I will still rate it at the end) as there isn’t much to say. It’s brought down by too much swearing and some failed shock humor, but I did laugh a few times. Mostly at the side comments, and certain performances, especially from who the villain exactly is.

My favorite part is the ending. No spoilers…but it made me want to see a sequel. Yeah.

In a way, the writing surprise me and features some of my concerns. It is brought down by lame shock humor, and too many F bombs, as well as not going all the way with a few themes, but it can be amusing and actually give us a smart, almost thought provoking story about faith.

It’s a mixed bag, but still much better than I expected.

CHARACTERS:

The film is more about the concepts, so there’s nothing deep in terms of characters, so they decided to go for quantity over quality like in Secret Life of Pets…some but like that one, some of it works.

Starting with Frank, voiced by Seth Rogen, he’s basically just the hero who finds about the world and tries to get everyone to listen. There’s not much to him, but he’s at least not an asshole like he could have been, especially later on. Seth’s voice work does add some enjoyment to him at least.

Then there is his girlfriend, Brenda the bun, voiced by Kristen Wiig. While he is just the love interest, she gets an arc with how she thinks the gods are angry with her and having to deal with the truth. She gets some nice moments to make her a bit more interesting, even if she’s still not anything special.

Then there’s my favorite character, the villain, voiced by Nick Kroll, who is a douche. …As in, a literal Douche. His concept alone makes him funny, and the best shock jokes come with him and how he gains power. He even has a good motivation that fits in the themes. Sadly, he’s not the best threat in the end, and he doesn’t leave a huge impact. Still, he’s a fun villain.

(Oddly enough, he isn’t shown at all in the trailers, so I guess he’s a spoiler? Didn’t mark it, cuz it’s not like I’ll get comments saying I’m a spoiling asshole when it’s not a big deal.

…Seriously, Enchantress being the villain isn’t that big of a spoiler, I only marked it to be nice)

The best written character would be Barry, voiced by Micheal Cera. He’s a smaller sausage who is always mocked and is taken to the “great beyond” and must escape after finding out the truth. The arc he gets actually makes him interesting, and he has some actually nice moments. He’s not too complex, but he was the most likable one.

The rest are just there, so we can go pretty fast. There’s a taco named Teresa, voiced by Selma Hayek. She’s a lesbian with the hots for Brenda. Yeah, they use this for lame jokes…but this is where that wasted theme I mentioned comes into play.

She knows this is seen as wrong so she doesn’t just out and asks Brenda to do her. She does tell her, and Brenda is open but she can’t due to what she was that. Now, they could have used to really go deep into the themes, and maybe have Brenda realize she only loves Frank because she’s supposed to or something.

Nope, it amounts to nothing more than a joke. The scene itself isn’t ruined and makes the taco more interesting, but man, what a waste of a good idea.

With her are a Lavah voiced by David Krumholtz, and a bagel voiced by Edward Norten. They can be amusing thanks to their voice actors, but like a lot of the others, they are just there to help out.

A bit more important would be Firewater, voiced by Bill Hader. He’s a native American guy who tells them of the great beyond. He pretty much exists for that, but he works on that level. That’s about it, same for his buddies.

Our main human character is a drug addict voiced by James Franco, who in the end only helps get Barry home. You think him seeing the world would lead to do a big thing, but no. That seems to be the joke, though.

And the rest aren’t worth mentioning, as they tend to one off jokes, or are ditched early on, like a Honey Mustard that start the idea of the great beyond being bad. There is one small guy worth mentioning.

Remember how in Rachet and Clank, Vincent Tong voiced a character and a few other MLP provided smaller roles? …That happened here. I’m not kidding. He’s just a small guy this time…but yeah, they are here. …I did not expect that.

With the characters, there are too many like in other films, but some can stand out as amusing enough, and none are really hatable, so I’ll be nice.

Final Thoughts:

In a way, Sausage Party represent adult animation in general. In can use the meduim to just throw a bunch of shock humor and swear words, with some story elements being under cooked, and a few too many character and stereotypes. But it can also manage to give us nice enough animation, and a surprisingly interesting story about faith can help give us a few decent characters.

This was so close to being flat out pretty good, as it has some clever and smart ideas for an animated feature. The bad parts don’t even bug me as much as I thought they might. But it sadly does fall in short, due to some lacking humor and overly shocking or gross bits.

When you get past the filth, it does have something to say and it’s easy to see. However, that filth can be a big distraction. I do think it has more to offer than some may say. You can argue the good parts become worse once you see that they are brought down by typical adult animation antics.

And while I can see that, the fact that it actually tries to be clever and smart at all, is a big plus. It’s a step in the right direction, although I fear it will spawn rip offs that mess the point and are JUST bad shock humor.

I’d mostly recommend this to fans of this kind of messed up humor, because you will really get into this. And, no, you are not a dumb person if you enjoy adult animation with shock humor. There is a place for that, and some people really enjoy thayt and it’s fine. If you can enjoy Mr Pickles or the weirder parts of this, rock on.

In the end, I thought it was okay. It is brought down by some problems, but it manages to be amusing in some areas and has some interesting stuff to chew on, even if it doesn’t all work. There is some honest effort, and it’s clear Seth and pals at least tried to make what they think is funny.

It’s not all mindless and it has enough smart elements to make it…passable for me, and great for others. If you want some raunchier humor with your animation, go ahead. It’s not all for me, but don’t let that stop you, they tried hard enough with the good elements to make itokay..

And yeah…now I do want that sequel, with how this ends.

(Insert comment about Foodfight here)

Writing: B-

Enjoyment: B-

Animation: B

Characters: B-

OVERALL: B-

(And yes, there were some kids at my screenings. Two looked like teens though, and one had a parent and didn’t react to the bad bits so…i guess it’s fine)

Well, that was interesting. Even with it’s flaws, it proved to be more interesting than I thought. I had a lot to say about adult animation here, and I hope people realize that having some shock stuff is okay.

Yes, it’s better to have smart stuff, but you shouldn’t shun something because it’s not always your taste. And we are getting enough good stuff with Bojack. I hope this leads to other adult features that are better, instead of worse stuff.

Anyway, what’s next?

New films from the makers of Caroline and Paranorman, that is a Japanese style epic with insanely ambitious looking stop motion.

…SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

See ya.

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General Review: The Little Prince

Hello, Spongey here.

I don’t usually bust out two general reviews in one weekend, but I had to this time. But first a bit of backstory. In 1943, french author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry released a novellea…i had never heard of until Mr Coat did a video on it.

It has since become a beloved classic with tons of adaption. Seriously, there have been graphic novels, plays, radio shows, and of course plenty of films. With this many versions, how have I never heard of it?!

However, there hasn’t been a theatrically released film version here in America…and it kind of still hasn’t happened but now they’ve come close. Apparently this is an English Language film made in France.

It saw release in a few countries, enough to get plenty of reviews. They full planed a US Release back in March, to the point where I even got the trailer…in front of Norm of the north. No comment.

But at last minute, Paramount pulled it. Why? I have no idea. Maybe they thought Monster Trucks was more important. Thankfully, Netflix picked it up and put it out this weekend. Because it was going to be in theaters here, I decided to count it out for a full review.

And thus, it is illegible for my best and worst of the year lists. Before you ask, Killing Joke won’t be reviewed because it is a pure DVD film that happened to get a few special screenings.

Since this comes to us from the director of Kung Fu Panda, and the writer of The Boxtrolls, I was already interested in it, but I became more hype when I read the reviews. It currently has a 93 on RT with some plenty loving it.

As someone who hasn’t read the book, it’ll be interesting judging this on it’s own. Now that I can finally see it, will it deserves it’s high percentage like Zootopia, or will it be underwhelming to me like Jungle book? Let’s find out!

This, is The Little Prince

ANIMATION:

The animation is interesting because it actually uses two different styles. Most of the new stuff is in CGI, while the stuff from the book is in stop motion. This is an interesting concept and I think they pull it off in terms of style.

The CGI models do a look a bit too much like everything else out there, but the look makes up for it. The character animation itself is nothing special, but I like how everything looks bleak to match the girl’s situation and how her mother wants thing to be orderly.

It looks better in the 3rd act, but we’ll get to that. Of course, the stop motion shines the most. It’s hard to describe but it’s very stylized and simple, and looks very unique and interesting. It makes up for the fact that it’s not quite mind blowing like some stop motion out there.

The animation itself is simply decent but the style they go for makes it unique and nice to look at. Not much else to say but trust me, the rest of the review will make up for it.

WRITING:

A prestigious mother wants to enroll her daughter into Werth Academy, imposing a life plan that leaves little for leisure. The Little Girl however becomes distracted an elderly retired aviator who tells her the story of “The Little Prince”, whom he supposedly encountered in the Sahara after crash-landing.

As you can tell, this does something a bit different than the book. They took a cue from The Lorax and had a wraparound where a kid is told the story of the source materiel. I was slightly mixed on how that one does it, so how does this far?

It’s…mixed. In the sense that some parts are very well done, while some are not done that great. Starting with the little girl’s side, it can do a fine job of pushing the moral and making it more relatable to kids.

But other times it can be used to make the message as preachy as possibly. The scenes with her mother really drive home the point a bit too much. Her scenes work better when she’s with the aviator, as the charm really shines there.

The stuff with the mother isn’t really resolve the best. Despite a stretched out 3rd act (oh boy, we’ll get to that) the ending is a bit abrupt, with the mother not quite developing in the way she should have. We can just assume she learned her lesson, I guess.

The film is at it’s best when connected to the book, either though the guy telling it or the scenes lifted from it. Little Prince is a children’s story, and they near perfectly capture that feeling it with it being heartfelt, simple, but strange and quirky.

There the message feels more natural, and the goal is more fully realized. The way they mix in these two stories can work sometimes, and be wonky other times. Then we have the 3rd act. Oh boy.

This is a bit dvisise and I can not blame them. I won’t spoil it here, but the writers take things in an odd direction. It has a place on a thematic level, and I get what they were going for. Some elements of it work and could have worked quite well.

But in execution, it’s very jarring and strange. They don’t explain exactly how this happen, or even if it’s happening. When things wrap up, it’s almost like the prior events didn’t’ even happen.

And of course, it causes the rushed ending I mentioned. Oh, and it pushes the message even further. I love this type of message most of the time (i’ts the whole 16 Wishes thing again) but here it can go overboard.

Overall, the writing is certainly mixed. When it’s taken from the book, it’s charming and engaging ,but when it’s something these writers came up with, it can be messy, even if it’s well meaning.

The weak bits are by no means bad, just a bit sloppy. But even with that, the writing manages to be solid enough.

ENJOYMENT:

Yep, this is back already. I had to put this aside because it ties further into how conflicted I am. Usually enjoyment will refer to humor and how I was entertained. But here it refers to personal investment and…heart.

Yeah, it’s that kind of movie. When connected to the story like I said, it goes from charming to really heartwarming. It’s another hard to explain, the main connect with the girl and the aviator is done quite well, and causes some nice moments I enjoyed.

The story itself is delightful too, with the message being it’s strongest there because it feels like a charming story instead of just a moral being shoved down our throats. While I wouldn’t say there are tear jerker scenes, some bits come close, and of course they are related to the prince and the aviator.

As you can guess, my enjoyment only went down in the 3rd act. Once the story truly got started, I kept engaging even when the mom popped back in. There are fun moments in this section, but it more confused me than anything else.

It does sadly take away from my enjoyment, but the stuff they do well makes me want to be nice. While it stumbles slightly, my enjoyment is mostly high with the charm and emotion put into it.

CHARECTERS:

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but with this cast works best when it’s the character releated to the book, rather than the ones made for the film. Starting with a little girl named…uh…little girl. Did David Lubar write this? Anyway, she’s voiced by the chick from Return of Lilly D.

She is kind of bland, I think it works as she is the one who has to learn the big lesson. As a way to teach it, she works fine and is likable enough despite not being too complex. Really, the problem with her is in it the writing more than anything.

I’m not as kind to the mother, voiced by Racheal McAdams. To be fair, they attempt to make her nice-ish but in the end she’s just there to really push the message by forcing her daughter to be orderly to get into a prestigious school.

The writing issue I mentioned with her doesn’t help either. So yeah, she’s the weak link. The character that works the best is The Aviator, voiced by Jeff Bridges.

As the storyteller, he works because his relationship with the girl is engaging and he does a good job of getting me engrossed into the story itself. He’s pretty solid.

The character of the story itself are simple but work in that children’s book way. The Little Prince, voiced by the director’s daughter, is charming with his curiosity and the journey he goes through.

The Fox, voiced by James Franco, and The Rose, make for good companions and his relationship with them provides the best parts of the film. The other characters who exist are either small, or in the 3rd act so I can’t go into them.

All I can say is that the 3rd act one’s just make the moral more anvilious and one gives Albert Brooks his third voice role this year. Meh on them.

Overall, like everything else, the characters connected to the story are charming enough, but the others don’t do it as much for me. They can work in bits, and aren’t bad, but that’s about. Still, the ones that work do make the cast solid.

Final Thoughts:

I’m slightly conflicted. When it’s at it’s best, The Little Prince is damn near great with the solid animation combining two styles, and how charming and heartfelt it is when it focuses on the core story and it’s message, with some good characters.

But it stumbles slightly with the new elements, as they can make the message too obvious and the third act is just confusing and too out there. The weak parts are by no means awful, and they have a reason to be there, but they slow the film down sometimes.

At some points, I found the film to be great, but with all of these elements together, it’s just pretty good. But even with that, this is a strong family film I think most people will enjoy. If you think you can look past the flaws and focus on the strong parts, I would recommend you check it out.

Depending on how you feel about the book. If you haven’t’ read it, you will be more open if you have, you will be more critical if you want a straight adaptation. I could look past the problems, but not everyone will.

Even with some wonky parts, I very much enjoyed this film and think it’s worth a look if you have Netflix. I am mixed on the grade, so I will just cheat a bit. Sorry. So yeah, a bit mixed but mostly good film.

Writing: B

Enjoyment: B+

Animation: B

Characters: B

OVERALL: B/B+. Sorry. Subject to change, of course.

Made up for my own more even more mixed feelings on the film I reviewed before this. Check in next week for a much discussed animated film…for the adults. Oh boy.

See ya.

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General Review: Suicide Squad

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, it’s safe to say DC is in a spot of trouble. I went over a bit of this in the Batman v Superman review but the problem has gotten worse. Taking my feelings out of it, their attempts to catch up with Marvel have met with mixed results.

Batman v Superman was especially messy, due to harsh reactions and a big box office drop in the other weekends. It did make it’s money back of course but it was still a mess for them. They still seem to be going through with Wonder Woman and Justice Leauge, which had popular Comic Con trailers.

But honestly, even I’m not sure about all this. There’s plenty of effort put into things, and they can’t be fully cynical if some things work. But the people working at these studios can be kind of stupid especially with how much they cut out of BvS.

Speaking of, I haven’t seen the Ultimate Edition yet. Maybe someday but at the moment, I don’t want a longer version of an already overlong film. Again, regardless of how you feel this whole thing is a messy with the behind the scenes trouble and how the films have fared with people.

But in spite of this, I’ll go into the future films with an open mind. Maybe their attempts to fix people’s problems will be genuine. We’ll just have to see. So our first entry from them after BvS is something that is currently getting negative reviews.

God. Damn. It.

Okay, to be fair, I’ve had different opinions than critics tons of times, even this year. I even like one a bit less with Hail Ceaser! And yes, the whole Rotten Tomatoes Petition thing is stupid, and you don’t need me to say that.

Let’s ignore that and judge this fairly. I thought BvS didn’t deserve it’s low percentage at all, even with it’s flaws. Anyway, this one looks interesting. It’s about a group of villains this time, and while I’m familiar with some of the baddies, I’m not too familiar with the group itself.

So it’s a nice middle ground. The trailers basically made it out to be DC’s big Comedy film after some more dramatic ones. As such people were looking forward to it, even after Reshoots were announced.

I certainly was among those people. After Batman v Superman, I was hoping for this one to help give DC a boost. Even after the early reaction, I think I could like this one. The director and writer previous has worked on films like Training Day and End of Watch, which I’ve heard are excellent.

Add in some great casting choices, and you have something that sounds awesome. Will I think it’s a fun bright spot in DC’s lineup, or will it make me want to commit Suicide? Let’s find out!

This, is Suicide Squad

(Gonna try something a bit different. Sometimes the quality of the script may be differently from my personal enjoyment, so I changed things to reflect that. You’ll see)

WRITING:

After the events of Batman v Superman, government type person Amanda Waller gathers a group of villains to help with more danger matters, including an even more evil threat who wants to destroy the world.

In this section, I’m focus’s entirely on the script. The narrative, pacing, general development, and such. More subjective stuff goes in the next section. Anyway, as you can tell, this is DC’s attempt to show they can be more subversive and funny.

It stars quirky villains and focuses a bit more on humor, and tries to have more character moments compared to the more “epic” previous films. And for what’s it worth, it knows more about what it’s trying to be, and it’s more focused.

When it’s focuses on smaller moments, it tends to work okay and be a bit genuine. These DC films can do small subtle things right when they want to, usually. These movies aren’t the best with plots sometimes…and sadly this continues the trend.

The actual plot is pretty lackluster. An evil witch chick is doing evil stuff because reasons, and has a portal thingy that is nothing like the avengers at all. They have a bit of something regarding the villain, but that’s it.

I get that they are trying to keep the plot smaller, compared to their other films, this is just a lame plot. I can forgive it some places, but it’s hard for me to care sometimes due to this. The actual writing isn’t the greatest movie.

It is hard to do a team movie like this if you haven’t featured the characters before, since you have to introudce them in an organic way and make me care about them. And to be fair, they tried in some parts to do this.

But they clearly only care about Harely Quinn and Deadshot because they get the most development. Despite some shoddy editing at the start, they are developed passably with their backstories being shown okay.

The rest are kind of thrown to the side, with their backstories kind of just being told randomly in the 2nd half. This kind of thing has been done worse, but it could have been done better. People have been complaining about the editing and while it’s not as bad as people say, it can be shoddy.

It’s clear a lot has been cut so some scenes don’t flow that well because important parts are missing. There’s a part where Joker just…appears. He pops in with no build up or explanation, and it’s not written like that was the point, it’s just bad editing.

On the bright side, the script isn’t awful per say. It makes just enough sense in some places, and it didn’t piss me off like some bits of MOS and BVS. Some of the characters are written well enough and there is some good humor. That kind of goes in the next section that plays into the writing being not terrible.

The only thing left to mention about the writing is the concept itself. With this premise, you have to make them real villains, while also having us root for them. Here, they can be too heroic. Honestly, only Harely seems like a bad person, and that’s mostly due to her connection to the joker.

This goes in charecters, but it is minor quibble here. So yeah, an underwhelming script in places. There wasn’t much to say because there’s not much to it, aside from things I can’t spoil.

I understand making it simple, but it ends up being too bland for the kind of film they want to make. It’s not awful writing, just nothing special. I’ll take this over some of the bloated writing in BvS but it could have been better.

ENJOYMENT:

I’m not sure if this will be in every review, but sometimes I need it to make my full thoughts clear. While the film could have been writing better, it’s not a hard sit. On a personal evel, it’s just in the middle.

The humor mostly works. The little comments from the crew can be funny and there is plenty of humor. DC can do humor when it actually fits, and it can fit here. Sometimes it clashes when the film gets boring in the climax, but ah well.

Sadly, it does get boring sometimes. When it’s focusing on the antagonist, I simply don’t care. There’s no flair to those parts, so I just nod off. The actions are also shockingly underclothing. I’ve seen waaaaaay worse but there’s not much to them,

Aside from a few bits, there’s not much style to them. The writing doesn’t make them more exciting either. So on an enjoyment level it is better, because it is kind of watchable with good humor, but some lackluster action bits and boring parts lower it’s grade a bit.

But hey, at least it’s not painful.

CHARACTERS:

WARNING: Some consider the villain to be a spoiler so here’s your warning

The big selling point in a movie like this is the cast, and Iin some ways they divd well, but in other ways, not so much. Mostly because the writer clearly only cares about two characters.

Let’s start with Harely Quinn, played by Margot Robbie. She’s easily the best one, cuz while her backstory is rushed, she herself is fun. The character is portrayed well with her crazy nature kept intact.

She also gets the best jokes and has the best chemistry with her co-stars. Any issues with her can be blamed on the pacing and writing more than anything else. So good job on her at least,

Next is Deadshot, played by Will Smith. He has the biggest arc, as he has a daughter and isn’t really too bad of a guy. Because of this, some bits can be slightly engaging , even if the writing isn’t always the best. Will Smith manages to be charming the roll.

So yeah, he’s fine enough too. Sadly the rest are pretty meh. Although I do kind of enjoy Amanda Waller, played by Viola Davis. She’s cool as the no nonsense person who set all this up. There’s not much to her, but she’s okay.

And I may as well discuss the joker, played by Jared Leto, while we are here. Its already well known that he’s not in too much because a lot of his scenes were cut. I’m mixed on this because year, it’s clear some of his bits are gone, like the one I mentioned.

But at the same time, we’ve had Joker at the center of films a lot by now, I think it’s okay for him to take a backseat this time. But yeah, they should have kept some of his scene’s in. As for Joker himself…he’s fine!

Yeah, he’s written to be a bit crazier and less dark, and it works. Jared Leto does a fine job and he can be enjoyable. Far from my favorite version of the character, but I think he’s done well despite not being in a lot.

Then comes the rest of the squad. Chato Santana/ El Diablo, played by Jay Hermandaz, has neat pyro powers, an okay backstory, but that’s about it. Like the others we have left, he’s not terrible but a bit dull besides his powers.

Then there is Captain Boomerage, played by Jail Courtney. Not too much to him besides being tough, but Jail Courtney gave him some life with his toughness. Wait…Jail Courtney gives a character life and is good? Huh?!

To round out the Squad, we have Killer Croc, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. He’s the weakest because there’s nothing to him. He barely says anything memorable, honestly. Given his character you would think he would be more interesting but ah well.

Lastly, there’s our Antagonist, Enchantress, played by Cara Delevingne. She contribuesto the weakest element of the film, so I didnt’ care for her, She looks cool but otherwise she’s evil because reason. There is one element with her but it;’s weak in execution. You think a film about villains would have a better baddie.

And again there are some I forgot about and have to mention at the last minute, Also kind of on the team is Katana. She’s a badass chick with a sword, and that’s about it. She has some cool moments at least but otherwise, eh.

And finally for real this time is Rick Flag, played by Remake Robocop. Once again, he’s just there. His acting has gotten better at least but otherwise he’s just kind of okay.

Most of the characters are just there, but at least the acting is good and we have two solid characters in the line up.

Final Thoughts:

The current DC films frustrate me, They aren’t bad and tend to be fine, with plenty to like. But they usually end up being middle of the road with too many flaws for me to like, even though they come so close.

Sadly, Suicide Squad continues that trend. It’s a set up in the right direction, with two solid characters, and good humor, but it’s weakened by poor editing a weak story, with mostly empty characters.

And once again, it’s not even bad! It has plenty of effort and it’s almostt there, but it falls short. This one /I’m even more mixed, because I almost enjoy it, but the problems take away from it.

It’s nowhere near as bad as people say, and again does to deserve a 27 on RT. Seriously, that’s lower than Brothers Grimsby! (More on that at the end of the year…).

They almost have it, because it has it’s own feel sometimes, with decent humor and a director’s unique vision. But they need to either improve their writing, or fire the excuses who keep cutting these movies!

Like their other films, it’s close to being good, but just falls short. But eh, still not bad at least. I’d recommend it to those who think this looks fun and don’t mind a weak-ish plot. And those who liked the other DC films, since there’s no reason you would dislike this.

Others, should just stay away or wait until you can rent it. There’s some good here, but not enough to be fully good.

Ugh, at least this is a filler so it won’t hurt them as much as BvS. But man…please let Wonder Woman be good.

Writing: C+

Enjoyment: B- (Also applies to production values)

Characters: B-

OVERALL: C+ (On a Critical Level at least)

Usually I’d tease next week, but the next General Review shall come…Tomorrow! Because I will be watching none other than…Nine Lives. Just kidding, I’m doing The Little Prince, the film yanked off the theaters and put into Netflix.

Should be good, has a 90 something on RT. But seriously, my theater oddly doesn’t carry Nine Lives and I don’t wanna go out of my for it, so you’ll have to wait til DVD for me to tell you how I feel. Sorry.

See ya.

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Goosebumps HorrorLand-When The Ghost Dog Howls

When_The_Ghost_Dog_Howls

Will this Arc opener make me howl in pain?

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, we manged to finish RL’s Stine Goosebumps Horrorland…or not. Yep, that series was such a big hit that people wanted more. And clearly Stine enjoyed making it an arc, so he did another one, which is what shall start covering now.

This arc worked a bit differently. It resolves around a strange news shop in Horrorland run by Jonathan Chiller. No one knows where he came from, but his shop has various trinkets that can cause all kinds of trouble.

Each book actually begins in Horrorland, and they get something from his shop that starts the plot. I’ll go into how this panned out in the end, but it is a neat idea. The “strange thing from a shop” fomrula has worked before, and you can get creative with the concept.

There’s not as much of a mystery this time, but we still got some good stuff. This one is shorter, so it should be easier to get through. I’ll do this monthly as usual, since this has worked so far.

So let’s find out how Arc 2 pans out. This first one is notable for being the first Goosebumps books published in the 2010’s. Don’t have anything to add to that, I just wanted to point it out.

With that said, let us see if this can better a first impression than Arc 1’s opening.

This, is When the Ghost Dog Howls

The book opens with our main character Andy and his cousin Marnie. Sorry but no one will ever top Monster Blood’s Andy.

They have been staying at Horrorland are having a fun time so far, since all that Menace business is ever. They are Haunted Theater for a show and are introduced to Murder the clown.

Ah yes, the guy so popular he kind of appeared again, and made it into the movie. He randomly drags Andy on stage, and tells him he’s been volunteered. ..I don’t know that’s how that works.

The act involves dressing Andy (and Marnie) up as clowns and then doing weird stuff like taking off their own heads. Then the audience randomly turn into ghouls, then the clowns vanish, and the audience zombies start attacking them.

…That escalated quickly.

Thankfully, Andy holds them back and it turns out that was all a test. Of course this seems to be a lie of sorts with how he says it, but this never comes back so I don’t care. He randomly shoves into through a door, which leads them right into a certain shop where our plot begins.

I can only assume Murder was hired to get these kids to the shop or something. I don’t remember if this is ever confirmed. They find themselves in Chiller House and bump into it’s owner Jonathan Chiller.

He is described as looking like the guy on the oatmeal Box. And now we’ve found the scariest Goosebumps villain of all time. Until we get to Weirdo Halloween at least.

He seems nice enough for now, but he warns the kids when they interested in a dog tooth necklace. There’s a backstory behind it, but I’m lazy so I’ll just say it involves a ghost dog that supposedly haunts the tooth as it grants wishes.

So this is Be Careful what you wish for meets Barking Ghost. Got it.

At least it grants all wishes, not just three. They take it for shits and giggles, and they don’t even have to pay!

You will pay me back next time you see me”

…That’s not suspicious at all.

That ends part one, which is short I question why it’s even split into parts. Part 2 is where the plot really begins. Andy doesn’t really buy the whole wish thing but Marnie wants to try it out. To shut her up, Andy wishes they could go out for dinner, and boom Mom says it’s time to go out.

Well, at least we’re getting started right away.

Of course Andy thinks it might be a coincidence, so they wish Dad has a big new car, and it comes true. Dad’s pretty happy about it.

Look how east it will be to drive the soccer team”

But I’m not on the Soccer team!”

You might get on the socer team sometime”

Good one, Dad”

…Hardy har?

Thanks to the tooth, dinner goes pretty well but already Andy is worried it’s too go to be true. Nah, this will go perfectly and there will be no conflict whatsoever.

That night, /Andy hears a dog howling even though he’s never heard such a thing before. Yep, I know what’s going on. A ghost cat will come for the tooth! …Wait…

The next day, Marnie is really excited about the tooth and wants to shiw it off, but Andy wisely wants to keep it to themselves because she assumes a riot will happen if word gets out on it. At least he’s self aware about all this.

I wish school will get out early because there’s a COW loose in the building!”

…A bit too random for people to write off, but okay. And…it cuts to them at the mall, with no explanation of what happened after that. …Okay, then?

Marnie starts being annoying, wanting to wish for every little thing in the world. They go to a store named../Boutique Boutique. The sing says “No nice we named it twice”

.Huh, that’s actually funny.

I wish you’d stop talking about the tooth!”

…Ooops.

Sure enough, Marnie can no longer talk. Wait, she said stop talking about the tooth, not stop talking in general.

Andy Is worried…until she just wishes for her to talk again. That was easy. After that, Marnie swears she’ll shut up about the tooth if she gets to make one wish. With only one wish for a while, she of course uses it to…get free sneakers.

Great prioritizes, kid.

But instead of granting the wish, the tooth shocks Andy. He passes out and wakes up in the hospital…with people he’s never seen before, claiming to be his parents, and a girl claiming to be his sister.

Not sure where they are going with this, but let’s see.

Thankfully, Marnie is here to pitch a theory. In a bit I skipped, Chiller said not to get the tooth wet, and it landed in a puddle before they made the wish. I’m not sure how that takes us to this weird other world where Marnie conveniently remembers everything but okay.

Frightned, Andy takes the tooth and wishes to be far away and with another shock, he randomly finds himself far out in a space ship, looking at Earth. I see we’re now in the stage where the wishes come true in hilarious ironic ways!

After some stuff happens, Andy wishes to be back home but ends up in a zoo with a big ape. Okay, he actually wished to be in his bed, so the wish put his bed in a dangerous place. A bit lazy but okay.

Andy gets the tooth back in time and wishes he was back home, safe and sound. And thankfully, this turns out well and he ends up back where this whole bit all started. Things seem fine…except that Marnie doesn’t remember any of what happened and acts like Andy is crazy.

…But they move on from that and focus on something else. Yeah, here’s the thing about this scene, All that crazy stuff that just happened? …Never mentioned again.

What exactly happened back there? I don’t know. This extended bit that lasted for almost 30 pages came out of nowhere, was weird, had little to do with the plot, and after it happens, no one ever mentions it again.

Yes, I’ll pull it out.

Big_Lipped_Alligator_Moment

Seriously, ever since I first read this I wanted to talk about this, because it’s one of the biggest BLAMS I’ve seen in a while. I mean, all it does is get Andy knocked out so something can happen in a sec.

You could have done that with the acid trip.

Anyway, Andy sees the tooth necklace on Marnie but she claims she has always had it.. It seems like Andy’s memory was off and the shock restored it. That makes so little sense, it’s painfully obvious Marnie is lying.

They go home and Andy point blank tells them what happened and they don’t care because they are too busy arguing to listen. Parents of the year, people.

That night, Andy looks up info on the Ghost Dog and finds out each wish is basically a signal that attracts the Evil Ghost Dog. He immediately buys this and goes to warn Marnie. Keep in mind Andy currently thinks his memory is screwed up and thinks not everything is true.

Andy calls up Marnie but of course she doesn’t believe her and is a big bitch about it. Yeah, she’s another character I don’t care about the fate of. The next day, Andy has entered some kind of essay contest that gives a good prize, and the teacher (who Andy has the hots for. Ew) says his essay is the best in her opinion, but she’s not the judge.

Marnie will wish to win.

The grand prize winner is 6th grader Marnie Meyers”

What a surprise.

Now, there was a bit where earlier where Andy got a minor bruise after Marnie tried to get necklace off him. He sees it’s still there, meaning Marnie lied. Kind of a weak way to make Andy realize this, but okay.

Also, her whole lie makes Marnie even more unlikable.

Andy gets pissed off and Mom hears his anger.

I’m not okay. I have to murder my cousin”

Go ahead, that’s no problem. I don’t like her either”

Chapter Break

That didnt’ reslly happen”

…Wow. That was the lamest fake out scare in Goosebumps history. Just….wow. You didn’t even TRY to have suspense, you just flat out said it didn’t happen. And it’s so dumb it clearly didnt’ happen!

Let’s…move on.

I know who I really wanted to pound”

I SAID MOVE ON!

Andy decides to get some revenge, which I’m sure will backfire horribly. Long story short, he makes Marnie think the dog has come after her for “her” necklace. That’s kind of clever but also pretty cruel. But fitting since it gives Marnie comeuppance.

This works and Marnie confesses to lying.

You’re busted, Marnie!”

Busted_dance_19

Shut up, I had to.

He tricked her by painting a neighborhood. dog Blue. Turns out he caused the howling earlier. It’s gonna turn out that this is the actual evil ghost dog, isn’t it”

Wait! That’s the wrong dog!”

Gee, I must be psychic!

So now the ghost dog has shown his face. Instead of just giving him the tooth back, they wish to be invisible so they won’t be caught by him. But of course, the wish makes them ghost-ish meaning they go right through stuff.

They still manage to hide in their house, and the dog knows they are in there but just stands outside waiting for them instead of just…charging in, since it knows they are there.

Being ghost-ish people means Andy can’t pick up the tooth to make a wish. Well, you’re boned. …Heh, get it. Cuz dogs…bones…I’m funny.

But thankfully you can make wishes just by being near it. How convinnt and anti climatic. Then Andy does what I suggested and just gives the tooth back, driving the dog away. Nevermind, THAT was Anti Climatic.

And yeah, the horror part is over. They go home but that night, Marnie calls Andy and tells him he found the tooth and took it. Okay, first off, the dog surely must have gotten to it first inthat time.

2nd, Wow, fuck you. You’re officaly on my list.

This time, I’ll share”

Seriously, how did you not learn you’re lesson? At least we’re don-

Slimy_Dancing_43

…Really?

I have no idea if Andy chewed her out because we just cut to later with him trying to sleep. Then this little horror figure that came with the tooth that I forgot to mention starts to glow. Then suddenly Andy finds himself back in Chiller House with Jonathan.

Time to pay for your gift….the fun is just beginning! My kind of fun!”

The end. I kind of get why this is here but you could have brought all the kids here at once I the last book or something. Each book in this Arc ends like this and on their own, the sections add nothing.

There, now we’re done.

Final Thoughts:

This was alright. But it’s another one where I can’t say too much. It’s pretty straight forward, without too many twists. Nothing is done too terrible, but nothing is that great either. It is better than Camp Slither, due to having some fun with it’s premise of wishing.

There’s some enjoyable stuff with it, and I suppose the idea of Marnie’s trick is interesting. And while she was a huge bitch, she did get her comeuppance apologize. Even if the ending ruins it.

As far as flaws, the only big ones are the BLAM and Marnie. The rest is just….fine. It’s not as bland as Camp Slither, as the wishing and BLAM makes it stick out well. But it’s nothing too special. Better than Arc 1’s start, at least.

So yeah, it’s fine. Not a must read but a passable start with a fun opening act. There’s nto much else to say, it’s that basic. Nothing crazy special, but mostly fine.

Grade: B

Decent start. We’ll see how this pans out as we continue Join me next month for one the silliest titles in quite a while, one Jack Black approves of, I guess.

See ya.

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