Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

2 Spy 2 Kids

Hello, Spongey here.

I think it’s time to cover a movie that isn’t actually bad for this year. I also wanted to get another franchise done with so here we are. I’ve been covering the Spy Kids franchise on this blog over the years, starting with the weaker last two entries.Than finally last year my brother had my cover the first one to see how well it hold ups.

It held up reasonably well so I’m here to finally close it out. I wanted this done with sooner rather than later and this was a good one to easily pick for review. My picks for this year so far have been very “Eh, this will work”, weird.

Anyway, there isn’t much to say going on. Spy Kids proved to be a big hit so of course a sequel was quickly made and released the following year. It opened to good box office and decent, if unremarkable, reviews. It’s seen as the in-between, lesser than the first but not as bad as the ones that followed.

I feel doing the trilogy so fast lead to the problems they run into but we’ll judge that more by the end. I remember having my problems but still thinking it was fine. Does that still hold true? We’ll find out. The crew of Robert Rodriguez is still the same so we can jump in.

Does this sequel live up to the decently enjoyable first one? Let’s find out.

This, is Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams

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Ghosts of Fear Street – Body Switchers from Outer Space

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for this month’s Stine review, although in this case it’s only kind of one as we’re back to to the ghostwritten realm of Ghosts of Fear Street. We’re gonna get heavy on the main series this Summer so I wanted to slip in at least one from this series beforehand.

I took to the randomizer and got this. I figured we’re due for a random entry given the other two so far were more notable ones. That’s not to say this doesn’t have notable traits of its own but we’re not getting climate change mentions this time. This is one I read at least once back in school but haven’t comeback  to it since. I know the basics of what to expect  so at least it should be fun to revisit.

While Ghosts is basically just Goosebumps, the stories tend at least try to be their own and not just this certain book but not. There are some notable exceptions though and this is one of them and it’ll be clear how once we get into it.

The only other thing to mention is our ghostwriter Nina Kirki Hoffman. Yep, the same one behind I Was a 6th Grade Zombie. I didn’t do that on purpose. I wanted to talk about a different writer but that would be a lame reason for rejecting this book so here we go. I mentioned before that she is usually a Sci-Fi writer and this is a bigger example of that.

Oh and recently I found out that she did stories for Bruce Coville’s “Book of __” short story collections, one of which I read recently. The about the authors section of the last one she joined in for mentions this book, which is neat.

Anyway, I quite liked Zombie and the third one she did that I’ll say the title of later. Can she pull a hat trick?

Let’s see.

This is, Body Switchers from Outer Space

This cover is decent. The shocked kid face isn’t too bad and and the alien design is a bit generic but decently drawn. Background is done well too. Decently eye catching and just a perfectly fine cover for what we got.

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Humanomorphs-Air Morph One Ready for Takeoff

Hello, Spongey here.

Happy April Fools, everyone! Yep, it’s time for that day again where reviewers every trick you out of an actual video/post or at least try to create something fun and unique that only this can day can bring.

For this year I got something that is…something else. I had one idea for this year that fell through but I came up with this as a backup so here we are. Last year, I started a month of reviews of Goosebumps ripoffs with a review for a christian ripoff. Yeah, that still astounds me. I ended that with Shivers, by M.D. Spenser.

I mentioned the only other thing he is credited to and for this year…we are diving deeper. Oh yeah. We’re diving into Humanomophs, which is clearly “inspired” by Animorphs, another big Scholastic franchise. Sadly, Spenser did not complete the trilogy with “The Child Caretakers’ society” or something like that.

Scholastic really wanted Animorphs to have everything Goosebumps did so I guess Paradise Press wanted to include having a ripoff series. Hell, Animorphs had its own Gooflumps with Vegemorphs. Not making that up.

While Shivers took off, this one did not as it lasted only 6 entries, all of which came out in 2000. I assume it didn’t take off due to coming out like right around the time the actual Animorphs was wrapping up, while Shivers struck at the right time.

An interesting thing with this series is that unlike Animorphs,  it’s an anthology like Shivers/Goosebumps following a different kid who has a different weird reason for getting the power to morph into another human.

Shivers has proven to very interesting with the content it gets away with it, but the stories often fall flat. Does this series follow suit? Well, I have access to all of them and after skimming through them I decided to fully read the one we’re reviewing today. And…well there’s a reason I picked it, it’s interesting and you’ll see in which way.

One more  thing though: They’ve started doing Animorphs graphic novels and the artist of them Chris Grine, I kid you not, tweeted a bit ago that he found out about these and ordered them on eBay and was waiting for them to arrive. I am so cur4ious if they ever came and what he makes ov it lol.

(And as I look it up to ask him, I discover he appeared at one of the Animorphs podcasts to discuss the first two, awesome: https://www.mindsatyeerk.com/episodes/bearhead )

Oh and for those who don’t pay attention to my Twitter/Goodreads, I have started reading the actual Animorphs but there isn’t room for direct comparisons here so i guess that won’t come in super handy. But anyway…

This, is Air Morph One: Ready for Takeoff!

The artist here is Nicholas Forder and boy you can see the Animorphs influence here. Otherwise, it’s fine. Not the highest quality art but it fits the story okay enough (it fudges the details as we’ll see though) and it looks decent. Nothing great but fine.

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Open Season 2

It’s not good.

Hello, Spongey here.

Oh boy, we’ve got  a ripe one today. After some more tame bad movies so far, it’s time for one I dislike a bit more. Most people would rate something like Sir Billi even worse than this but as you know by now, I’m not most people. Anyway, remember Open Season?

Most people don’t these days. I talked about it back in my ranking of the animated films of 2006. The short version is that it was meh. Close to average not being majorly awful, as it mostly just a dull retread of other animated films from the time. But it was brought down by the character of Elliot, who was fairly annoying and caused all the problems.

Otherwise, it’s just kind of forgettable. Thankfully Sony Pictures Animation moved on to better things…but Sony wasn’t quite done with these characters yet. The film was a decent box office but did especially well on DVD, which was enough for them to green-light a direct to video sequel that came out in 2009.

I do not miss the era where basically any movie could get a direct to video sequel like this. Sure, some still happen but not as much as back in the 2000’s. This turned Open Season into a franchise, which continued with a 3rd and even fourth film! I watched this a bit ago and wanted to possibly review it but wanted to watch 3 first, as I heard it was worse. Spoilers, I don’t agree, hence why I’m here with 2. I’ll talk more about how I feel about 3  and 4 at the end, as I watched 4 after I wrote this intro.

I needed a scene by scene for the month so once again I picked something I watched a while back that I should have done ages ago. I remember kind of strongly disliking this to put it lightly so this will be fun. As I said before, getting too mad at direct to video movies is a bit silly but at the same time, it is possible for even something like this to be merely mediocre. Thus, there’s not much excuse for it to be way worse than that.

But we’ll see how it “holds up”. This actually is not a proper SPA movie, as the animation was done by Reel FX., Yep, the same studio that went on to do Free Birds and Book of Life. Anyone else hoping they finally make a proper movie again instead of just doing animation for other people’s movies like they’ve been doing since Book of Life? Wikipedia says Rumble will be counting as one but at the moment I’m counting it as  Paramount Animation movie that Reel FX again just happens to be supplying animation for.

Back on topic, the writer hasn’t done too much, his biggest thing of note aside from this is being on the story for Free Birds and coming back for Open Season 3. The directors are more notable though. One went on to co-direct Abominable but when I say more notable I’m referring to how the other director is Matthew O Callaghn. He’s had a pretty extensive career in animation, which an old Mr. Coat video goes into. His only other feature directing gig so far has been Curious George, which was pretty good.

It’s a bit sad to see him on something this weak but at least it shows even stuff like can have some great talent working on it. With all that, what is the damage here? How bad can it be? Let’s see.

This, is Open Season 2

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An Interview With Erik Patterson

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for a post that has been in the works for.,..uh over a year. Sorry about that. Anyway, a few years ago I did an interview with Phineas and Ferb writer Jon Colton Batry. I made a big deal back then about doing an interview and here I am again with another. And between then I’ve had contact with people who worked on things I talked about in small ways.

Not to mention that whole Jim Kreig thing which was basically an interview. And hey, he worked on a show that had Haunting Hour people on it which is a good transition! yep, this time around I’ve snagged Erik Patterson, who is part of the duo that also includes Jessica Scott. He’s got some extensive experience so it was another pretty interesting experience.

Please introduce yourself, Erik.

Hey there. So I’m Erik Patterson. I’m a screenwriter and a playwright. My career has spanned several genres, from horror to rom coms to drama and comedy. My writing partner and I were nominated for two Emmy Awards for The Haunting Hour. We had a great experience on that show, so I’m excited to revisit it with you.

There, we’ve all our introduction stuff out of the way. As a result of him being busy, the responses took a bit which is why this took so long. I’ll say up front this won’t be as big as that Jon one mostly due to us wanting to get us out at this point. That and I basically got in the major questions, didn’t have too many left by the end of this. With said, let’s just get into it.

This, is An Interview With Erik Patterson

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The Adventures of Shrinkman

Hello, Spongey here.

For this month’s R.L. Stine review, I once again left it to a poll. This time it was based around his other work. Choices included Blind Date, The Beast, The Adventures of Shrinkman, and Rainy Night Theater. That last one is a bunch of short stories done as audio dramas. This was an especially tough race. At first those first two kept trading places as the winner…and then near the end this ended up getting a lead which it kept until the end.

I’m rather surprised as I thought it had no chance, not being quite as well known as those. Honestly, this was the one I was rooting for, for that reason. Plus, it has an interesting history. So now that it won, let’s get into that history.

First off, back in 2000/2001, Stine did 6 stand alone middle grade books, all with Tim Jacobus covers. These  were reprinted in 2011, all with new introductions by Stine. These versions are much easier to find these days, I’m not sure if there’s any interesting differences though.

This of course was one of those 6. The other bit of history brings us back to Goosebumps Series 2000. See, only 25 books were released but more were planned. The next was meant to be The Incredible Shrinking 5th Grader, and Tim even did the cover for it. But after he made it, he was told the series was canned and it didn’t get used. This was all due to a bunch of stuff with Scholastic too complicated to get into.

Then not long after, this eerily similar in concept book comes out. A bit ago, someone straight up asked Stine if he simply reused the draft for this book and…he said yes. Yep, it’s confirmed this is basically the same basic outline. It’s unknown if anything was changed but either way, we’re basically covering a Series 2000 book n a way. That made me really excited to finally read it.

Then there’s the fact that Goosebumps eventually did this idea with Night of the Giant Everything, which you’ll recall I didn’t care for. Btw, that came out the same year as the reprint of this,  Can this earlier effort be better? Let’s take a look and how it fares.

This, is The Adventures of Shrinkman

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General Review: Raya and the Last Dragon

Hello, Spongey here.

We get to do two general reviews in one week, that’s pretty wild. But this one is special as with this one, I’m going back to the theaters. Yeah, even once they started to repon a bit, I was very hesitant to do so for obvious reasons. Ultimately, I chose not to go, as most people were on my side. I almost did for The New Mutants but backed out since it’s better to be safe than sorry. …And also everyone on Twitter would guilt trip me over it.

Actually, that’s the primary reason, if I’m being honest lol. However, with things calming down a bit and the circumstances around this movie, I decided to just do it. My local theater is taking solid precautions, even if they are also jacking the price for some reason.  So yeah, on the rough one year anniversary of the last time I went to a theater, I’m back. I plan to wait a bit until the next time, depending on what happens of course.

Anyway, here we have Walt Disney Animation’s latest effort. They are doing that whole extra 30 dollar fee thing they did with Mulan, because they didn’t learn their lesson. I ain’t doing that and honestly if I used…alternative means, no one would believed that i paid that price. So that’s way I was better off just going out to see it.

Anyhoo, this was of course one of the many films that got delayed that is now finally coming out, I don’t have a lot to say here. Disney’s been on a hot streak with the WDAS movies, so hopefully this can keep this up and be a solid adventure.

We’ve got two directors. One of them has done some other Disney movies, like Big Hero 6 and Moana. The other is the guy who directed Blindspotting. …Random but hey that was great so whatever. As for our writers, one has mostly done TV like Peg+ Cat and (we live in) The Society, and the other was a writer on Crazy Rich Asians.

So with all that said, how does this one fare? Let’s see.

This, is Raya and the Last Dragon

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General Review: The Spongebob Movie Sponge on the Run

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/100th-review-special/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/the-spongebob-movie-sponge-out-of-water/

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s finally time for our first general review of the year. Last year, I did not get do too many for…obvious reasons. Hopefully this year there will be able to be more. Honestly, I’ve gotten so used to not doing as many of these that it’s be annoying having to work more into my schedule. But whatever, we’ll see.

To start, we’ve got something I should have reviewed last year. Seriously, I need to vent for a bit. This was released on Netflix late last year for literally every other country except for America. They saved the American release for this year, basically just as a way to promote Paramount+. I suppose it makes sense under that lens, but it is very annoying. Plus, it was put in theaters in Canada in August of last year, and only that country. I realize movie releases are getting weirder due to the circumstances but Paramount was really weird wit this one.

But whatever, we finally have it. With this, we have our third Spongebob film. It’s interesitng following these movies over time. I’ve talked quite a bit about them, especially that first one. I still hold it pretty high regard, but the second one is still fun. The above links have more details on all that.

This third one has quite the odd production history. It was originally announced as “It’s a Wonderful Sponge”, implying it would be a It’s a Wonderful Life kind of story. Then later it was announced it would be part origin story, and done totally in CGI, and eventually we got the name change.

But it turned out the story line changed was bigger than expected, as apparently the original story involved alien cat people. Yes. It sounded like…something but I get why they changed it to be less out there. And ontop of all that, the origin part was announced to be spinoff into a whole series, Kamp Koral.

That is all I will say because frankly that can of worms is not worth getting into, I think you all understand why.

So yeah, this movie is an interesting and yet, from what I hear, all this is more interesting than the actual movie but we’ll about that. Our director is Tim Hill, who has actually worked on the show before, even going all the way back to Help Wanted. But of course now he’s best known for gems like Hop and Alvin and the Chipmunks. And also War With Grandpa which somehow had a smoother release than this.

He is also a writer, and the story is credited to the credited writers of the second one. Granted, those have a mixed record, going from Kung Fu Panda 2 to Chipwrecked in the same damn year.

So with how all that said, how will this one fare? My expectations have been lowered by this point so I’ll likely enjoy it. But let’s see if that is the case.

This, is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

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The Stray

This Dog with a Blog reboot looks weird.

Hello, Spongey here.

This time we’ve got a last minute decision for a review. This is why I left it open last time, yet I thought I’d do what I planned. The plan was to cover the 1995 TV movie The Great Mom Swamp, based on the 1986 book by Betsy Haynes of Bone Chillers fame. Yeah, I’m like that even it’s only slightly related to Goosebumps.

I even read that book just to add more to the review. Sadly, the movie didn’t give me much to work with. It was fine,but was mostly just there and wasn’t too mock-able past the first act. It’s an In Name Only adaptation so there weren’t too many comparison to be made. I thought over it and eventually decided to just ditch it, since I don’t wanna do something just because I feel like I have to. Especially when no one asked for it.

Instead, I present to you a review that should have been done ages ago. I watched this back in 2018 after hearing it about from another He Who Shall Not be Named, not the other one but he has backed that one so that’s why he gets the Voldemort treatment.

I thought it was pretty review worthy…and yet I forgot to do it. It was in the back of my head but I just forgot about it. Then when Mom Swap fell through, I thought of something I could pick easily and this came to mind. So…here we are.

This came out in 2017 and didn’t make a big splash. It failed with critics and audience and yet the internet crowd caught wind of it and spread stories of how weirdly bad it was. It’s a religious movie (sort of) but thankfully from what I recall it’s in the well meaning but baffling camp. Which is interesting as, if my copy is correct, this was a Pureflix movie. Oh yes, we finally pop that cherry.

The director did The Other Side of Heaven and its 2019 sequel. To his credit, he’s had an interesting career based on his Wikipedia page. He also wrote it along with someone with his last name, who I will assume his brother or something.

With that said, just how bad is this one? Let’s take this stray in and see.

This, is The Stray

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Spongey’s Favorite Episodes: Elena of Avalor Seasons 2 and 3

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/a-look-at-elena-of-avalor/

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for another round of me talking about a show I went into before, in order to go into my favorite episodes that have been made since the last time I did a big look at it. Yeah,  we’re gonna do that again. I didn’t do it for something like Steven Universe but I am doing it for this show. It really shows where my priorities are, eh?

But anyway, I’ve talked about Elena of Avalor my fair share of times, from my look at the show, to my song lists on Deviant Art, to reviewing the holiday episodes in those yearly posts.  It has interested me ever since it was announced way back when. It was essentially a spinoff of Sofia the First but was more of its own show that happened to use that as a springboard. It’s pretty interesting in that way. They even manage to have the occasional nod to Sofia, without going overboard with it.

Sometimes I forgot it was even tied to Sofia. This is a good thing, it’s managed to be a step up in some ways due to being a bit more mature and all that. I went into all that back in the big post though. What we’re focusing on today is what went on after I did it, as the show reached the end last year.

While it could it been neat for it to do 4 seasons like Sofia did, it’s fine since it did complete the story. From the beginning, it was all meant to end with Elena’s coronation after coming of age anyway, it just felt like it went by faster than I expected. As for the seasons themselves, Season 2 starts to embrace the serial storytelling more, although I do find there was less episodes I really really liked per say. I brought up way back how the way the stories are written can weigh things down a tad with it being, not quite formulaic per say but it being clear what the point of each story is from the start with sometimes mildly forced ways to get characters to learn whatever that point.

It felt it weighed some of the Season 2 episodes a bit, not to the point of being fully weak or anything but it prevent some from being better. That’s why I had less choices from that season although of course still a few to pick from. Season 3 was a big step up though. i suppose that problem still existed but it felt toned down and the stories generally felt stronger to me.

The story as a whole went into some interesting directions, mostly in one big way that oh boy we’ll at least touch on. It wasn’t come clunky aspects here and there, but it was still done well and we’ll get to discuss some of the details here and there. Although the whole thing with Naomi leaving a bit wasted as she left at the end of one episode then of course came back just a couple later, so it felt a bit clumsy in the execution.

But as a whole, Season 3 was pretty impressive. Now that it has ended its strong run, it’s time to over the standouts in the last two seasons. I wanted to possibly have 10 but it ended up being last 5 but the honorable mentions will make up for it. It’ll be in airing order, as per the usual at this point.

So, which episodes ended up my favorites of these seasons? Which ones keep things going strong til the end? Will I be talking about the big finale like I always do? You can guess the answer to that last one. Anyway…

These, are my favorite episodes of Elena of Avalor (Season 2 and 3)

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