Pup Star: Better 2Gether

2 Pup 2 Tokyo Drift

Hello, Spongey here.

After a big theme month, it’s time to wind down with another trip to the Air-stended Budiverse. (Thank you Bobsheaux).

That’s right, Robert Vince is back once again, this time with a sequel to his epic masterpiece Pup Star, which I reviewed late last year. I didn’t expect to do this so soon but I needed something simple for my sole May review.

Pup Star was another fairly crappy movie for Mr. Vince as it has the usual cliché story and weak attempts at heart but this time it also had a confusing world along with bad puns and loads of stereotypes.

(I’d suggest reading that review for context on some parts:

It must have gone over well as it got a sequel last year…and just got another one just this month! Robert Vince wants to make sure I never run of material, god bless him.

At this point I should say I am aware these movies at mostly for kids but aside from them deserving better, these are more to make fun of them than to actually get that riled up.

At this point, I don’t truly care that deeply if crappy direct to video animal movies exist. Ones that hit theaters are a different story, looking at you Show Dogs, in theaters May 18.

With that said, let’s see how this highly anticipated follow up fares. Spoilers, it’s not good but just how not good is it? Let’s dive in.

This, is Pup Star: Better 2Gether

I love it already.

The movie opens with a music video for Tiny’s new song which is pretty much about how she’s now this big star after the events of the first movie. She even gets a spot on…The Jimmy Kibble Show.

Remember my stereotype counter from last time? This movie still has those but there are less and In their place we have even more bad puns. Thus…

Bad Puns: 1

Also, Jimmy Kibble is voiced by Dave Couiler. No comment.

They play a game of “Who knows Tiny Best?” with a super fan which is just an excuse for clunky exposition. Like how one question makes Tiny reveal she never knew her family and was found by Mr. Russo here.

Gee, I wonder if this will be important later.

We cut to this Karaoke Bar place where we meet up with our villains, Bark aka that guy who stole from Charlie, Kano the Dog Bounty Hunter and Roland the useless human one. They were taken away at the end of the last movie but I guess they’re free now.

We join them as they are booing…Catty Purry.

Bad Puns: 2

Once they’re done being cat racist, a dog named Scrappy comes up to rap. I don’t know what scares me more, her name reminding me of Scrappy Doo or the idea of there being a rap in this movie.

The rap is as good as you’d think it would be. But at least it tells us that Scrappy is a street dog with an attitude, which is important.

The dog who stole from Charlie talks to her backstage to tell her he wants Scrappy as part of his plan. She is going to impersonate Tiny and rise to the top, and eventually lose on purpose in the finale.

Yes, they will end up training her to be good enough as Tiny to make it that far, and have her give up near the end. …Wouldn’t it be easier to have her lose at the very start due to her not great pop singing?

I’m just saying this seems unnecessary but we’ll get more into why this plan sucks later.

Scrappy doesn’t even like the idea of being adored as a big star, so it would just be easier to have her do this quick thing of being bad on the first try and ruin Tiny’s reputation forever.

Instead, they have to wait for her to change her mind. It smash cuts to her singing a forced sad song so short that it’s pretty laughable. The next day, Tiny’s box home is taken away by the garbage men which was clearly done by Kano to force her to work with them.

It’s a good thing she changes her mind right after this and doesn’t have to think for a second. The pacing is pretty great, as you can see. But seriously, the villains did not have to jump through all these hoops.

Now they must train her to look and sound more like Tiny, which is the one part of the plan that makes sense since she at least needs to be like her for Round 1.

“There isn’t enough Pup-pourri in the world”

Bad Puns: 3

At least Tiny’s side will have less crappy puns.

“We’ll start with Rolling Bone Magazine, then go to Vanity Pup, PMZ..”

Nevermind.

Bad Puns: 6

After yet a couple more in the form of Ozzy Ozbark, the Goo Goo Dogs and Vanity Fur (Bad Puns: 9), the bad guys create a distraction so Scrappy can replace Tiny.

This involves capturing Tiny which makes me wonder why they even need all these extra steps. They already have their nemesis captured!

Before the plot can move, we waste time by reintroducing us to the judges, Lady Paw Paw, Dog Gnarly and Simon Growl.

Bad Puns: 12

We’re only 21 minutes in.

The bad guys put Tiny in a cage that Roland built…which means it comes apart right when they leave. Lamest villains ever. Anyway, Scrappy as Tiny goes on and clearly has a slightly different voice but everyone is fooled because of course they are.

Seriously, she even throws in a rap verse and they just simply find it an interesting edition.

“Rap and Pop, they go together like blues and hip hop”

Doesn’t basically every pop song these days have a pointless rap verse?

Owner and her Dad show up and decide “Tiny” needs some family time. You know, if they needed Scrappy to do well in the earlier rounds, they could have used this chance to make her act like a jerk so they start looking down on Tiny and thus her losing can be the final straw.

But nope, they never consider this because these villains failed Evil School. Roland comes into the room where Tiny is and she uses this chance to escape.

“How did Humans ever get to rule the world?”

Honestly, same. But hey, you’re the one who let him make the cage, so it’s kind of your fault too.

Tiny gets out and bumps right into an alley of cats, including Catty Purry from earlier, who is voiced by Madison Pettis. This is what happens when you star in the greatest anime of all time.

“You’re making me furry-us”

Bad Puns: 13

“We can do this the easy way or my purr-fered way, the hard way”

Bad Puns: 14

That sounded…wrong. Some dogs come back to help “Scrappy”, and find her behavior a bit odd.

“Did you get into Catty Purry’s catnip stash or something?”

Is that a drug joke, or what?

We get an okay moment that night with Tiny singing a lullaby from her Mom she doesn’t remember much from, which is indeed cheesy but works slightly better than other moments like that in these movies.

We then get some back and forth showing the difference between Tiny and Scrappy’s temporary new lives, as we see more of how both parties they are hanging with are idiots who can’t notice that something is off.

We get a Wasabi is ice cream joke (because taking jokes from Cars 2 always works) and her finding it quite spicy makes the Latina nanny think she’s possessed.

“My Aunt maria had a priest performs an exorcism on her goat once”

….Wow, these stereotypes aren’t even subtle.

They decide to stop progressing the plot so we can have a random disco dance party with Tiny as Scrappy. We also get a rap battle between two crews because….they needed to reach the 80 minute mark.

This is is easily the worst Epic Rap Battle video I’ve ever seen.

They win but the bad guys show up, although our heroes manage to escape. The bad guys bump into the cat alley and here we find out that bar place from earlier was…the Bark Easy.

Bad Puns: 15

Sigh. They ask Catty Purry for help finding Tiny and they get it, but not before Roland acts scared and useless.

“You’re an embarrassment to the human race”

That’s what I say to INSERT POLITICAL FIGURE YOU DISLIKE HERE.

We get a scene of Scrappy celebrating Tiny’s birthday along with a scene of the bad guys finding the dogs at night, and I can’t tell if we’re time jumping or “Tiny” is only finding out it’s her birthday now.

They are stopped by a security system which gives the dogs a chance to run away and then Kano pisses on Roland. It’s so random it actually made me laugh even though it’s stupid.

To remind us they are evil, they burn down their small home which almost makes for an okay sad moment. Tiny uses this moment to reveal who she really is and comes up with some excuses for why she didn’t tell them that weren’t really hinted at before.

Also, it’s your fault for somehow not figuring out right away she’s not Scrappy.

The next morning the other dogs forgive Tiny so that was all a waste. The bad guys get together at the Bark Easy and watch…Cardrool Karaoke

Bad Puns: 16

And yes, it is a full on spoof of Carpool Karaoke, which means we get a Discount James Corden, because the real one wasn’t bad enough.

Also, his name better be James Corgie.

*Checks credits*

Whew, okay we’re good. Also, Bad Puns: 17

The real Tiny and the crew are watching along and through it find out about Scrappy. The bad guys notice them pretty quickly and they chase them into the Disco place so we can get more dancing.

They interrupt the flow so Tiny can open a box Scrappy’s Mom left for her, which leads to a heart moment that would have worked if it didn’t interrupt anything. A reveal happens here that they fully address in a bit.

They escape and hitch a ride with a Disco Dude that one of the dogs knows.

“Those were some bad actors”

Hey, only I get to the critique the acting!

We cut to Scrappy and Owner going to the Rockstar Hall of Fame where we get more puns like “The Barks” who did “Sgt Puppers” and Elton Bichon,

Bad Puns: 19

But most importantly, we meet up with Charlie and Emily Rose. Bet you forgot they existed. Seriously, they were a big part of the first movie and they’re only just now showing up!

They put on a little show and I just noticed that in the crowd someone has a sign saying “Tiny 4 President”. Insert joke about her being better than our current one here.

Scrappy now thinks she should back out but Bark isn’t having any of it and threatens to do bad guy things if she doesn’t go through with this. I have no comment on that but I can comment on how someone says “trip” in the way I make jokes about twice in a row.

Tiny arrives and one of the dogs bumps into one he hasn’t seen since…Woofstock. Where they pranked a Bone Jovi.

Bad Puns: 21

Have fun googling that one, kids!

They are given directions to Charlie and Emily’s dressing room only to find it was a trap by the bad guys who trap them.

Because they’re idiots, they let Roland keep the captured dogs on his own so of course one of the dogs (the Woofstock one) threatens him until he lets them go.

Why do they keep Roland around? He’s done exactly 1 good thing for them the entire movie.

They hitch a boat ride with John Ratzenburger to get to Pup Star and a few small scenes later we get there. Can’t wait for they’re totally well thought out plan to unfold! I’m still not over how dumb it is.

After some filler (involving Taylor Sniffed…sigh, Bad Puns: 21 and all that) Tiny and crew try to get in.

“I’m Tiny”

“And I’m Arnold Schwarzendogger”

Stop.

Bad Puns: 22

Tiny runs past him but Scrappy tells everyone the truth before she shows up. Bark won’t have it and Kano just leaves because he’s the only smart one. Disco Dog forces Bark to leave…and he does.

And that’s it! You read that right, that’s how the villains get defeated. One just leaves and the other is simply told to leave. And Roland …is somewhere I guess.

Amazing.

Tiny appears and we get the reveal from earlier: Tiny and Scrappy are long lost sisters. That’s right. It’s kind of forced but it explains how they look alike and also we’re almost done, so screw it.

“We’re better together”

It counts, shut up.

They get some mushy stuff out of the way, and Kano tells Roland to book it before the cops show up. The cops that should have been called instead of just letting the bad guys leave.

Actually, we randomly cut to Bark with some cops that weren’t called out so I guess they didn’t let him leave but did so with Kano. I don’t get even care, just end this already.

Tiny and Scrappy sing and they win. The freaking end.

Final Thoughts:

This was about the same as the first one at the end of the day. I don’t have too much to add to what I’ve been saying.

In some ways it’s better as some of the heart works better and it’s less complicated, but in some ways it’s worse as it has more puns and a flimsier foundation.

The villains plan makes them go through hoops to do something that could have been way easier. You could have told a similar story without making them so dumb, especially since only one is meant to be dumb.

The first had more problems but this has less going on and is more dull. The first could be So Bad It’s Good in the right mind but this is slightly more competent and as a result, is less interesting.

Either way, it’s still not very good. It has some okay moments, and the acting again is generally fine but it’s mostly a cliche and dull dog movie that only it’s target audience will enjoy.

Which is fine, but I at least wanted something more batshit insane, ya know?

Overall, Pup Star 2 is pretty weak just like the first one was. Still better than a fair few of the Buddies movies but still nothing too good. Will the 3rd one be better?

Guess we’ll find out when I get to it either in the last part of this year or early next year. Until then, the first two aren’t good.

Rating: Meh

I have no idea what the next review is but hopefully it’s less stupid. Doubt it but I can dream.

See ya.

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General Review: Deadpool 2

ello, Spongey here.

I’m not doing the Show Dogs fake out again. Sorry. It would fit with the humor of this film series but I did it before, don’t wanna do it again.

Anyway, Deadpool. 2 years ago the merc with a mouth finally got his movie and people really loved it.. I reviewed it back then ( https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/general-review-deadpool/ ) and thought it was very good.

I don’t think it’s exactly a masterwork since it can succumb to the cliches it mocks, but clearly the focus was more on the comedy and style so it’s no big deal.

I get why certain people jumped the gun a tad due to it’s highs but I think it’s mostly in the pretty fun category, since it clearly isn’t really meant to be life changing in terms of plot.

Now two years later, we have the highly anticipated sequel. Due to the first one having to play some parts safe, a lot of riding on the sequel to be even better and wilder. We’ll see if it does.

The main writing team is the same (including the guy who wrote the Clifford movie, I’m not letting that go) with the addition of Ryan Reynolds himself. But the director has been changed to the guy who did John Wick and Atomic Blonde.

So at least the action should be amazing.

With that said, is Deadpool as funny the 2nd time around? Let’s find out.

This, is Deadpool 2

Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool joins forces with three mutants — Bedlam, Shatterstar and Domino — to protect a boy from the all-powerful Cable.

Most of the reviews are about the same: Pretty good but not as good as the first one. I really hate joining the crowd but I have to this time…sort of. I haven’t revisited the first as I said, so I’m sure it’s just “pretty good with some really good parts” in hindsight.

Either way, that’s how this one is. I can honestly say I was slightly disappointed in some ways, even though overall it pulled through. I’m not saying that because it doesn’t live up to this godly image of the first one I have.

There are some things it genuinely drops the ball on. For the first hour or so it feels oddly too retrained. Sure, it’s still good and gives you lot of what you want but it doesn’; quite go all out until the last half hour or so.

I get they wanted to save the best stuff for the end, but they could have really ramped up a lot of stuff in the middle The very first scene for example is pretty lackluster both compared to the first movie and on it’s own.

There’s a few places where they could have done something a lot funnier or more interesting than what they did. Even with the title, how could they NOT called it Untitled Deadpool sequel?!

Certain characters could have done more and there’s one thing that happens early on I did not like. I get why they did it but it just rubbed me the wrong way. But enough bitching, let’s get into why it still works.

Some has pegged the first one as just a bunch of easy dick jokes and I will admit that is part of it, but I feel like there’s more to it. No, it’s not super smart humor by any means but that’s exactly the point.,

It’s immature in the good way. Sure it has the clever 4th wall breaks but it’s not super smart by any means, you don’t need a very high IQ to understand Deadpool. This carries that over, as the humor is pretty solid.

Maybe not as many really funny ones this time but it has some good moments. It’s 4th walls shattering, immature and quite funny for most of it. Although there are some easy jokes, like the obvious Martha joke.

Ryan Reynolds once again kills it and makes everything with Deadpool funnier, even jokes that aren’t as good. The story is more interesting one than before in general, and the direction is better too.

The action has more style and there’s some pretty solid lighting as you’d expect from this director. The last 40 minutes are where it kicks into high gear as we get more energetic, better jokes and even some heart.

No spoilers of course, but the way things turn out tend to be pretty interesting and it does show there is more going on than just dumb funny jokes. That is the focus but they do know you need more to make for a good movie.

Although I will say even the third act has minor issues and some bits that go on a tad too long. Still, it is the best part.

I wish the rest was as good. Again, I get why they were holding back but there’s still more they could have done. But instead of harping on what could have been, I’ll just be happy it’s as good as it is.

Oh and there’s only a mid credits scene and IT IS…fine. Yeah, for once a freaking mid credits scene was overhyped. It was funny sure, but nothing that special. Sorry.

Overall, Deadpool 2 is a solid follow up that gives us fourth wall breaking fun with a really solid 3rd act and good action. But it does hold back a bit too much in the first half, compared to what they could have done.

Just be aware of that and you’ll enjoy yourself fine. If you liked the first one, you will at least like it fine. Maybe those who didn’t like the first may warm up to this one but I kind of doubt it.

Either way, it’s a fun sequel that at least goes out on a solid note. I’m really interested to see what they do for the next one, especially with how this one ends.

Rating: Good

Oh and they could have done something about TJ Miller, just saying.

In a week and a few days, we’ll have a side mission in that galaxy far far away.

See ya.

Posted in Comic Book/Superhero Reviews, General Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spongey’s Favorite Episodes: Harvey Beaks

Hello, Spongey here. I think it’s time for a new Spongey’s Favorite Episodes!

This one is going to be different as it will be a full “Top” 10 rather than 5 like with most of these. SPF is for when I have less to say, not just for ones I only have a certain amount of episodes to talk about.

This of this as a Top List but approached like a SPF, that is labeled as the latter since it gives you an idea of what to expect. With that said, Harvey Beaks!

Created by CH. Greenblatt, Harvey Beaks premiered in 2015 and it did not take too long for Nick to not treat it too well as it mostly just sat there.

It got worse when they scored a bigger hit with The Loud House which made them ignore Harvey to the point that it got booted to Nicktoons Network and of course was canned after 2 Seasons.

This was so made that the creator himself complained about it, which is still pretty amazing. It really sucks it got screwed over big time as it seriously was a great show to me.

I’ve been growing a bigger soft spot for Slice of Life of shows lately and I think Harvey lead to that. The adventures of a nice bird boy Harvey and his friends in Littlebark were really charming, sweet and also pretty funny at times.

I really liked how they balanced all these things and didn’t make the show too sweet for it’s own good, while still of course having plenty of feels. Add in a cast of memorable characters and some really gorgeous backgrounds and you have a really solid series.

(Also, great music but we’ll get to that)

So of course I’m here to share some of it’s highlights today, in a weird hybrid of two post styles. Let’s see which stories stood out to me most over its 2 seasons.

These are my favorite episodes of Harvey Beaks

(It’s Christmas, You Dorks will not be here since I went into twice but trust me, it’s still fantastic)

LINK TO THE MAIN TIME I TALKED ABOUT IT: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/a-look-at-modern-nicktoons-christmas-episodes/

The Feelings

Writers: Kevin A. Kramer, Monica Ray, and Nicholas Sumida

That’s right, we’re starting off with an episode literally called The Feelings. Clearly this will be a substance free comedy romp.

Jokes aside, I picked this to start us off as I feel it’s best to start with the kind of episode I was required to love just from the set up.

Harvey and his Dad, Irving go on a little outdoor trip where Irving hopes he can connect with his own father who is a bit too emotionally distant. Yep, it’s a Daddy issues type story, which some have informed me I tend to like a lot.

And between having my favorite movie of 2017 being basically Daddy Issues the Movie, and episodes like this, I get that.

Although here the issue is that Irving’s Dad simply doesn’t show off his feelings that much. And that’s the main reason I like this episode. He’s not a jerk or anything like that, he’s just not that good at showing emotions which in itself isn’t the worst thing.

It takes prodding for him to realize this but he’s clearly cool with hanging out with Irving and Harvey. Both sides are shown off nicely, and we get plenty of nice moments right from the start with Irving reminiscing about his childhood.

The way they get Grandpa to starting opening up is a decent one and leads to most of the comedy here as well.

You’ll see quickly that most of the shows stories are simple and it really works in most of the episodes on here, as it’s just simply all really nice without needing to be super complicated.

It’s about Irving wanting his Dad to open a bit, and that’s really all you need for a story with plenty of nice moments and a few laughs. But it is how they handle this conflict that makes the episode work, as it makes them both understandable without making one a jerk in any way.

Oh and the ending is really nice, of course.

So yeah, it shows off some of the shows strengths while adding a little something extra. A pretty good and sweet choice to start this list with.

Expect the rest of the sections to be as long as this one was.

Terrybear

Writers: Kevin A. Kramer, Aaron Austin, and Hannah Ayoubi

One of the best parts of a slice of life show like this is getting to explore the interesting side characters and this is one of the standout examples for this show.

This episode is about Technobear, a bear who dances. That sounds one note and he sort of is but his joke works and they do a god job of creating a story for him.

He finds out his real name is actually Terrybear and he starts going through an identity crisis, thinking he has to change his entire personality to match his new name.

Even compared to the others on here, there isn’t too much to say about this one. It’s a solid set up with a really solid execution. You know what moral it’s going to have but the ride is enjoyable enough to make up for it.

It’s both interesting and funny to see Technobear reinvent himself simply due to his name. He eventually settles on a Cowboy persona which is as funny as it sounds.

This one has more comedy to it some of the others on here which I like, because as I said earlier, this show can be pretty funny on top of everything else.

TechnoBear is just a funny character in general so him getting a story like this is going to lead to some good jokes along with the solid story. My favorite jokes come from his parents who are equally amusing.

The moral of being who you want to be is an obvious one but also an important one. It helps that it’s done with some really nice moments with his parents. I really like supportive they are here.

Overall, it’s a good example of how focusing on a certain character can lead to a really sold episode and this one is amusing with a good story about how your name or anything like that doesn’t dictate your personality.

It’s a simple but effective episode that’s both funny and interesting. Whether you’re a Technobear or a Terrybear, it’s definitely a solid watch.

Icky Chicky

Writers: Shane Houghton, Aaron Austin, and Hannah Ayoubi

Insert Fairly Odd Parents joke here.

Harvey decides he’s too old to keep a childhood to so he gives it to Foo only to not be happy with how Foo plays with it.

This episode is interesting because you think it would focus on just one theme with this concept but it actually touches on a couple at once. The two themes being getting too old for something and being able to let go of things you used to be attached to.

Most takes on this plot usually focus on just one but this combines both which makes for a really solid story. It starts with a flashback to how Harvey got Chicky, which does a great job of making us understand why he’s so attached. But we also see that Chicky came apart a tad over time, so we also see why maybe it would be best to get rid of it.

Most of the episode has Foo messing with Chicky and while this could have been made him unlikable, it’s made clear he’s just playing with it in the way he wants to, rather than actually being anger inducingly (shut up, that’s a word now) stupid .

Harvey’s worry is understandable but at some points it does seem like he just wants Foo to play the way HE does. Once again, they strike a really good balance here.

Speaking of balance, the ending does a good job of showing these two themes I mentioned. They do talk about being willing to let go of your childhood but it’s done in a nuanced way rather than just picking one easy route.

It proves the show can get some nuance in there, along with the simple cute stories. This has elements of that too of course, like the opening and the way the ending plays out.

It conveys it’s themes in a nuanced way that makes for a well written and very sweet episode as a whole. Chicky might be Icky, but this episode sure isn’t.

A Day of No To Do

Writers: Katie Mattila, Aaron Austin, and Hannah Ayoubi

Season 1 of the show was really good, especially for a first season but it was slightly brought down by a formula they would sometimes use. Harvey does things a certain way Fee and Foo don’t like so they make him change only for it to turn his way worked better to begin with.

I went over it when I reviewed the first Halloween episodes and I feel like it made episodes pretty predictable when they kept going back to it. Thankfully they dropped it in Season 2 but before that, they managed to perfect it with this episode.

Mostly because it subverts it. Harvey gets a day planner and starts making a strict schedule for his day and of course Fee and Foo try to teach him to not do that.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, this is a better version of Freaky Fido, possibly the best take on this plot I’ve seen, at least in terms of the episode quality.

This episode has him learning to let loose in a fairly straight way, instead of doing the “the way he was is fine” thing other episodes do, but it’s not quite as simple as that.

He does struggle with being looser and there is a moment where says he likes living by a schedule, so you think they would do that but soon after they just have him be glad the planner got lost.

But they do make him a new one at the very end to show that do want him to use it since he likes doing so, he just simply needs to be willingly to not rely on it.

In the end, he does have to learn to change but he is allowed to sometimes use a planner if he wishes, because he personally likes it. It’s not as perfect of a balance as other episodes on this list but it is still done really well.

But honestly as good as all that is, the main reason this gets on here is the ending. They witness a parade of these crazy woodland creatures and it is beautiful.

It’s hard to describe but it’s just simply amazing due to the music and visuals. Even though it’s not a sad or even emotional scene, the way it’s done still makes me feel big time.

I suggest watching the scene for yourself, which Nick was kind enough to upload. You can watch it several times and be just as happy as you would if you watched the whole episode to get to it:

But the rest of the episode is great too. It takes a good but flawed formula for this show and applies to a good but flawed plot type and tweaks things to create a well written episode with an amazing ending.

Overall, it is a really good take on some iffy plot types that is worth adding to your to do list.

The Ballad of Museli and Jangles

Writers: Amalia Levari, Aaron Austin, and Hannah Ayoubi

We have plenty of “feels-y” episodes on here, but here’s an episode I like for how fun it is. Sure, it is sweet too but it’s the comedy and makes it as good as it is.

Harvey, Fee, and Foo want Irving to tell them a story that, to quote Simpsons, is down to earth and swarming with magical robots. Irving gives it to them by telling the story of how he met Miriam, with a fantasy and later Sci-Fi setting.

This episode is a really good mix of sweet and funny and while it would have been really good if it did just one, I think combining them both worked best. The basic story as it is, is pretty cute but not exactly the complex or original.

Miriam used to be in with a bad crowd and is forced to work at the college’s (which is like a castle, but with debt!) library which Irving also works at and they bond over how she’s surprisingly good at organizing books.

And of course eventually she starts to like being a “Nerd” and her bad friends don’t like it. Nothing too complicated here but that’s why it works. It’s a simple and cute story that works because it’s simple and cute.

Plus, Miriam is never really a jerk at the start, she’s just more into making trouble. Right off the bat she’s not a jerk to Irving so their bond becomes believable.

Slightly rushed but it’s fine for the episode it is. I almost wish this was a 22 minute episode so things can get fleshed out but it is meant to be just a simple story so that may have ruined that somewhat.

But as I said, it mostly works because of the comedy. Foo, Fee, and Harvey wanting fantasy elements leads to a lot of comedy.

“She was a real-”

“Pirate!”

I won’t spoil the best jokes but my favorite parts are the random major setting changes, just for how jarring it is when it happens. They have a lot of fun adding in fantasy/Sci Fi elements to this cute little story.

They never step on each either, the comedy and story are allowed to breathe without either being too strong. That’s why keeping the story simple works, it allows for more comedy.

And of course, it does end up pretty sweet with a nice ending.

Overall, it’s a really fun episode that manages to be pretty funny with it’s set up and decently sweet with the nature of the story. It balances two things really well, making a really fun and nice episode.

I don’t have a good pun to end this one on.

Secret Gordon

Writers: Amalia Levari, Monica Ray, and Nicholas Sumida

Okay, back to ones with story/heart as the focus.

Harvey and Piri Piri discover a magic secret garden which they name Gordon. Piri Piri wants to spend some time in there alone with Harvey but he invites his friend which upsets her…and the garden.

This one should be simpler to explain. This kind of plot isn’t really my thing but this episode really makes it work. Piri Piri liking Harvey is slightly out of the blue (and isn’t really explored much again) but it does fit and it works really well in this episode.

She’s a really enjoyable character with how she’s this super upbeat dreamer and episodes about her tend to give us more depth, this being the best example.

Her crush on Harvey is really cute and doesn’t become too cringe-y. It helps that Harvey’s side simply has her liking her without it getting all weird, since they are still kids after all.

It’s another one that strikes a good balance as Harvey isn’t being a jerk by inviting people over, he just wants his friends to see the cool garden. The problem is more with Piri Piri not being able to admit that she wants to spend some time alone with him.

And when she does, he totally understands. Also, she gets a really good song about her feelings, which gets a reprise that is equally good.

Then we have the garden itself, which is another excuse to show off the beautiful animation. Seriously, it’s especially good with they show off the garden.

As you’d expect, it all comes together in a really sweet ending. You know it’s done well when a Non-Shipper like me finds it quite enjoyable. It’s impressive they managed to keep this Innocent and solid when it could have been just cheap shipping bait.

I think some shows these days can learn a few things from this episode, as it makes something that is slightly out nowhere work really well.

Overall, it’s a very sweet episode with a cool location, a great song and a solid story where both parties are likable and share some nice moments. It’s a great way to do this king of thing.

And that’s no secrets. I’m not sorry.

The Negatives of being Positively Charged

Writers: Shane Houghton, Charlie Gavin, and Chris Houghton

Sometimes when I do these kind of things I talk about really early episodes that I feel were the Growing the Beard moments for the shows in question. And this is the one for this show.

The early episodes were actually a lot better than most shows, only suffering from that formula which wasn’t present around the time this episode aired. But this is the moment where that showed Harvey Beaks can be more than just charming, it can be legit great.

Some magic rocks turn Fee and Foo into living magnets which is fun at times, until they realize that means they can’t directly touch each other anymore. Drama ensues.

The way the show wrote Fee and Foo always impressed me. They could have been really unlikable or the type of siblings who fight a lot but they actually made them really enjoyable and they clearly love each other.

They only “fight” in a joking way, as shown in this episode. Most of their play involves hitting each other so you can see how becoming magnets is a problem for them.

This episode is pretty simple, it’s mostly just them having fun being magnets until they realize why it’s bad and get sad over. But it manages to be really enjoyable because of the emotion.

Plus, the scenes of them playing around early on are pretty funny.

As you can imagine, it gets pretty emotional in the 2nd half. It’s really sad seeing them try to do their usual things when they’re stuck like this. Oh and there’s another great song that comes in to show off the emotion further.

I swear this isn’t the most musical show ever, it just happens to have some songs sometimes. Even the music outside of the songs is great, hence why the Christmas episode turned out so well.

The song in this one was the first really big emotional moment in the show, and it did get to me. It’s not the most emotional I’ve gotten over this show (we’ll get to that one) but it’s up there.

The song is straight up beautiful and they did a great job setting things up so that it really hits home. It makes the ending even more satisfying.

It’s another really solid simple story with a genius set up that is done just as well as it should be done. Some episodes had bits of this before but this was the first episode to be this emotional.

And even now it holds up as one of the shows best and most well executed stories. It’s taking me too long to finish this section as it is due to not having much to say so we’ll wrap this up.

It’s a great up with an equally great and emotional execution. I’m positive about that. Man, I’m killing it with the puns today!

Comet Night?

Writers: Kevin A. Kramer, Zeus Cervas, and Colin Heck

If I made this a couple of years ago I would have commented on that 2nd writer, but I don’t really care about that anymore.

Harvey and his Dad, along with his friends go camping to see a comet Irving saw with his Dad that only comes once every (some number) years. Their plans get hindered a bit though when Irving is knocked out.

While there are two episodes to go, I think this one represents the show the best, since the last two are different compared to most episodes.

It’s a simple set up that leads to a lot of heart and some good jokes. This has some of the other kids get together like Techonbear and Dade, and they provide the best jokes like when Techno Bear abruptly leaves due to the lack of ladies.

Harvey’s desire to see the comet with his Dad like he did with his drives this episode and gives it a ticking clock which helps make it engaging. They do a good job of making you see why this is important which helps it even more.

It’s somewhat of an adventure with how they get to the comet watching spot, while Irving is out of commission. It’s a fun one too with what they deal with and how Irving just babbles random stuff…that Foo of course can understand.

It also leads to some nice moments when the kids come back after having left, to help Harvey and especially the ending.

This is Harvey Beaks: A show about some genuinely nice people who care about each other, with a lot of heart and some good comedy. This episode really shows all that off the most and certainly most evenly.

It’s nothing complicated but it’s simple, straight forward, and really engaging and sweet. It’s the definition of a feel good episode and a perfect example of one from a feel good show.

The only thing left to mention is that it’s sister episode actually shows what Miriam and Fee were doing at home while this was going. It’s a fun episode, but not nearly as good as this one.

Although it’s worth noting that at one point Harvey calls the babysitter who is having trouble that the other episodes goes into. Wasn’t expecting this to be compared to a Pixar short, but there you go.

Overall, this episode shows off everything the show is about and on it’s own it’s just a really sweet and fun little episode. I have no comet pun to end this on.

Later, Dingus

Writers: Kevin A. Kramer, Aaron Austin, and Hannah Ayoubi

Oh boy,I said the episode I get the most emotional over was coming up, and here we are. I’ll say more about this one, due to it’s very nature.

In a previous episode, Fee was forced to visit an old man named Blister who she eventually bonded with, mostly because they both love pranking people.

That episode was great (the only reason it’s not on here is because of this entry) and did a good job at making us care about Blister.

He had one other major appearance before this one and here is where things get interesting. After a day of pranking, Blister tells Fee he is planning a big prank for Tomorrow, that he is keeping a secret from her from now.

But that is sadly cut short because the next day, Fee is informed that Blister passed away. You read that correctly. The premise of this episode is that an established character died for real.

It’s already surprising when death is brought up in a family show in past tense, so imagine my surprise when an entire episode about it popped up on Nickelodeon.

It’s handled just as well as it needed to be. I will admit this has a minor flaw compared to some other episodes, and it’s that some of the pranking is slightly cruel at points. Nothing that goes overboard, but I don’t really want anything cruel in an episode like this.

I can overlook it to enjoy the episode, and some of it with Fee is understandable. See, Fee thinks his death is just part of the big prank so she pretty much is okay with letting everyone think someone is dead when they are not.

However, it’s more of her way with coping. The prank thing is her way of rationalizing all this. Who knows what would have happened if the death really was a prank,but as it is it all makes sense.

It really just makes this sadder. Not only is he dead but Fee doesn’t even believe it yet, and can’t quite seem to cope with it. Yeah, you can see why this one gets pretty emotional.

I won’t fully spoil in exact detail but the moment where Fee figures out what is going in extremely heartbreaking. Especially if you have had any kind of loved one die.

It’s still sad either way but boy will it add an extra layer for you. This is an episode where even the funny moments lead to emotion as some if it shows their bond which of course is quite sweet.

Hell, this episode has the saddest Roll Credits moment of all time.

I wish I could fully describe it but I don’t think anything really can. The way it’s done is just beautiful. On it’s own it works because of the music, writing and animation but they did a great job setting Blister up before this one which makes everything even more heart wrenching.

Yes, I did cry at the end. All 3 times I’ve seen this episode, infact. It really is amazing what they pulled off in this episode. A Nicktoon was allowed to deal with death and they did it really well.

It’s especially impressive since Blister was pretty much created so this episode can exist. Yes, really. I kind of suspected that to be honest, but I’m glad they did a good job of hiding it.

Overall, this episode manages to tackle death really well and it proves this show could even handle some tough topics on top of just being generally nice.

It’s a really emotional watch that build on a previous quite well and is just simple great. I don’t have an ending pun, I want to move on before we drown in tears.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Even something that still isn’t a full “top” list needs one of these.

The Sleepover’s Over: Harvey tries to make it through his first sleepover which leads to a pretty nice ending.

The Storm: Harvey makes Fee and Foo move in to his house after sewing their conditions. Another one where it’s all in the ending.

Technoscare: See the Modern Nicktoons Halloween Episode post for me but in short, It’s A Christmas Carol on Halloween. Yeah.

Arbor Day: Easily the greatest Arbor Day Episode ever made. Jokes aside, the story is pretty solid here with how Piri Piri has to deal with her beloved holiday being different from how they taught her.

And the episode I’d pick as my favorite is…

The End and the Beginning

Writers: C. H. Greenblatt, Ashlyn Anstee, and Nicholas Sumida

This might seem like an odd choice, as I’m not the one to put a big episode like this one as my favorite, especially since is the somewhat forced on them finale to a show that didn’t exactly seem like it could pull one that great, at least compared to others.

But here we are. This episode is impossible to talk about without spoiling something,but I won’t give away the exact way things happen, hopefully.

The basic premise is the Fee and Foo’s parents show up. …Yeah. We’ve wondered exactly what is going on with them, and this was finally brought up in The Grunicorn.

And it gets a pay off here. It turns out they are from the “Impland Empire”, and their parents simply lost track of them one day because they….aren’t that bright. Don’t worry, they’re the likable kind of stupid, and they are less stupid in the present.

They are very much Cloud Cuckoolanders though, which surprises Foo as she expected her parents to be more like Harvey’s. This has a hard time dealing with this, and would prefer things to be like they were when it was her and Foo taking care of each other,

Between this and the last one, I feel really bad for Fee.

A lot of this episode is told in flashbacks, mostly going from when Fee and Foo got lost to when they befriend Harvey, and they do a great job of exploring all this.

We really see how Fee and Foo felt during all this, and it makes a lot of things from previous episodes make even more sense. Seeing how everything came to be here makes their friendship with Harvey even stronger.

It goes without saying a lot of emotion is involved, and a lot of is very cute at times. Things got even more interesting at the end where something happens that I wasn’t quite expecting.

It likely only happened due to this being the finale but C.H. Greenblatt did say on Tumblr he had plans for Season 3 that would involve what happens here, so I guess that’s not totally the case.

It leads to an incredibly emotional ending that again uses music really well. Except this time it’s the theme song, which is used for an amazing book end.

I thought this would be one of those solid finales that’s brought down by being clearly forced onto them, which are quite popular lately. But instead this was basically the perfect ending.

Sure, it is clear it was forced on them but Nick still at least let CH and his crew end things the way they more or less wanted to, just like Disney did with Penn Zero. Maybe Networks are finally learning!

This finale managed to close the series in a way I find to be perfectly satisfying. Even tough I wanted more, this was done so well I think having more would just ruin it, although I trust they’d pull it off well enough.

But regardless if it gets any chances to continue or not, this finale is still excellent. Even the small rushed things are fine since it leads to some great moments of emotion.

Oh and some comedy, this still has parents from a crazy country after all.

Overall, this episode used a good setup to close the series on a perfect note. I’m not sure what the “Best” episode is but this is honestly my personal favorite. Weird to say for an episode that’s still somewhat recent but that’s just how much it means to me.

It shows that this show can do it’s best even when it’s forced to end. It’s a really great emotional ride and that gives us a really great ending.

It’s not quite the beginning but it quite the great, both for the show and for this kinda sorta list. And for that, it’s my favorite Harvey Beaks Episode.

And those were my favorite Harvey Beaks Episodes. The format was a tad odd, as I originally started writing this as a top list but changed my mind due to how short the sections are.

It doesn’t really matter but you know how I am sometimes. Either way, I’m glad I got to gush about Harvey Beaks. Right from the start, I really got into it and I feel like it’s now among the best Nicktoons.

Hell, I actually have it above Rocko and Danny Phantom which shows you how much I’ve grown to like it. Regardless of what it’s better than, it’s still a really charming show that helped make Nick just a bit better.

Now if only they’d get more shows aside from just relying on two big ones, they’d be actually good overall!

I’m still a bit salty over them canning it but at least they let it happen. I think I said what I need to say about Harvey, it’;s great, especially compared to some other Harvey’s lately.

That was fun but our next post on one show should be another Look At one, I feel like we’re due for one since the Milo one was short-ish.

It has to be a show I can say something about, perhaps one I’ve been thinking about it since it started and decided to do A Look At rather than a SPF of some kind, just so I can talk about it more generally.

Yep, that’s a good choice.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, Lists | Leave a comment

Ranking the Animated Films of 2004

Hello, Spongey Here.

It’s time once again to dive into some animated movies. These posts will hopefully start being a bit better in some ways, but I’ll talk about that more next month when something will change about them.

Anyway, today we discuss 2004, which right away I will say is better than 2003. I’ll talk about my thoughts on the year as a whole later though, but just know that.

There’s not much to say on the history side, aside from the fact that this is the year that pretty much killed 2D animation. Disney’s big attempt failed while Dreamworks made a CGI movie that grossed over 900 million worldwide.

To be fair, one 2D movie made money but it was based on a popular series so that didn’t really mean anything to Hollywood. I personally don’t care what style a movie uses as long it’s good, but it is a bit sad this happened.

At least we’ll get some via foreign movies and hell, big budget ones will pop up in the next few years at least.

As for Awards, the Pixar one won (it even got legit Oscar noms for screenplay and Sound Editing/Mixing) but that’s not too hard when your competition includes Shark Tale. That still baffles me to this very day.

I know they weren’t as big on nominating smaller movies back then but A. They could have gone with SpongeBob if they wanted a good underwater movie and B. They nominated Triplets of Bellivile the previous year so clearly they were willingly to throw the indies a bone so I’m just confused.

As for the Annies, they actually bothered to nominate a foreign movie, along with SpongeBob. Sure, Incredibles still won but there you go.

With all that said, how did did they fare for them overall? Let’s find out.

This, is Ranking the Animated Films of 2004

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Balto 3: Left out Balto 2 in a previous year so here’s the 3rd one. Yes, it exists.

Kangaroo Jack G’Day U.S.A: Yes, this is real. I wanna watch it some day but sadly that day has to wait.

Lion King 1 and a Half: Decently enjoyable midquel.

Mickey Donald and Goofy the Three Musketeers: Heard mixed things about it, but I’m sure it’s fine.

The Place Promised in our Early Days: Remember Your Name? The director of that did some films before, this being one of them. I wanted to watch it despite it not getting a big enough release to count for the full ranking but I couldn’t squeeze it in before this was supposed to go up and it’s not THAT important so hopefully some other time.

Tentacolino: 10/10

Now onto the ranking.

BAD:


Shark Tale::

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/shark-tale-2/

We start with one I’ve gone into twice, the 2nd time being in that year’s review Retrospective. This is our first film in these to be given a rating worse than Meh and yes, it deserves it.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse but in short, this has everything wrong with feature animation from a studio we all know can do better, even back then. To be fair, at the time they only had Shrek and Antz to their name in terms of CGI movies so it makes sense to mess up like this vs later on after trial and error.

But a bad movie is sadly still a bad movie. It’s still an annoying movie with ugly designs and a badly written cliche story with a lead I can’t stand. It can have its amusing moments I suppose, but sadly all the okay parts are drowned out by the many issues.

Dreamworks has problems but even their lesser films can have some of the great traits of their better works, but for the most part this lacks those. So yeah, even as someone who kind of grew up with it, i think it has aged badly and it was already not that great to begin with.

I’m not sure if it has a following but I can see it having one, possibly ironically. But I’ll take Bee Movie and even The Boss Baby over this as far as that goes. Shark Tale on the other hand, just sucks.

MEH:

Home on the Range:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/ranking-the-disney-animated-canon-2000s/

The obligatory Disney one I already covered. In short, it has good animation and music but it is indeed one of Disney’s weakest due to the childish tone. Not horrible but still not good.

AVERAGE:

Yu-Gi-Oh the Movie: Pyramid of Light:

Here we have our first of a few anime movies and quite a few movies based on a cartoon for this year. I have memories of at least watching some of this show as a kid but I don’t remember much aside from the basic set up.

I do remember when this movie came out and was always interested to see how it turned out. Well, I got my chance and yeah, it’s pretty average. It’s a lot like Pokemon 2000 (one writer is on both, naturally) where it can be enjoyable but the more you think about it, the more problems you find.

The movie raises the stakes okay and has a decently epic scope with good enough animation and music, even if the obligatory Early 2000’s pop songs are there. And sometimes it’s so goofy in how serious they take it that it can be fun.

But as it goes on, it gets repetitive. There’s only so many times I can watch people play a children’s card game, you know?

Sometimes this movie is like watching people play an actual card game, that you can’t play and don’t know anything about. It becomes white noise at a certain point, ya know?

Not too much in the way of story, as you’d imagine. I just watched it as of writing this section and I don’t remember that much aside from just general random stuff and also some random thing about friendship.

It’s clearly more about the scale and such than telling a real story and at times that works fine but by the end you just don’t really care. This is coming from someone who knew little going on, so maybe die hard fans get more out of it.

But I personally thought it was just okay. It can be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure but it has too many problems to be actually good and it can get tiring.

Not a bad movie at all as it had plenty of effort put into it, but as it is it’s pretty much a typical example of a movie based on a cartoon that doesn’t add a lot. Although it doesn’t seem to betray it at least.

Overall, it has it’s moments, but it’s nothing special.

DECENT:

Muhammad The Last Prophet:

Here’s one not even I had heard of. This got a limited release and was completed a bit before (It even says 2001 in the credits) and took til this year to get that U.S. Release.

It comes to us from Richard Rich. Yes, the Swan Princess/Trumpet of the Swan guy. Odd choice but sure. I had no idea what to expect and I got something that was…fine.

It’s a light Decent as I personally wasn’t that invested in it but It doesn’t do anything too bad, it’s just for some reason I wasn’t quite as attached as I should be.

Granted, having the title character not be shown for obvious reasons is rather limiting but I feel like they could have given me a tad more to connect to. I do like how they get around this by showing things from his POV and having a narrator paraphrase him, it gets the point across decently even if it means we get talking up of someone we can’t know.

But to be fair, the overall movie seems to be made to simply tell the story to kids, rather than make us really connect on a personal level. I’ve seen better examples of this kind of thing but I’ve also seen far worse.

The animation also holds it back, as the low budget really shows with a cheap overall look and sometimes poor lip sync, although it has decent designs and movements for the most part.

To its credit, it actually does have a serious tone and does show some harsher stuff even if there is no blood or anything. There’s no pointless comedy like The Star and others of its kind, which is good.

I respect this movie quite a bit, especially given the company that made it but I just found myself a bit bored when I should have been really liking it.

But I guess that is more of a me thing. To me it felt like just a kind of dull version of this story with some nice moments here and there. Others may get into it way more.

So if it’s your thing, I’d say give it a shot. Don’t expect too much and you may get more out of it. But even as it is, it’s totally fine and is far more respectable than the films below this spot.

I feel it could have been better but as it is, it also could have been worse and I certainly respect it a fair bit.

Clifford’s Really Big Movie:

And once again I am forced to review something made for a much younger audience because they decided to give this a wide theatrical release. Clifford is one of those things I somewhat remember but otherwise know very little about.

I didn’t have many expectations going into this, and all I knew was that one of the writers went on to write Deadpool. (I had good timing on this one, heh) I am not kidding. And in the end it was what I more or less expected: Another example of something being made for kids but it’s well made enough to not be insulting for adults.

It is on the lower side of Decent at times as it does nothing too great and it can feel like an extended episode. There’s not much reason for this to be a movie, especially with how short it is.

Aside from that, the only real issues would be some contrived plot points and the overuse of random pop songs. It’s nothing too distracting but enough to keep it from being more solid.

As it is, it’s perfectly cute for the kind of movie it is. The animation is nice enough with solid movements. It’s not the most cinematic animation ever but it clearly had effort put into it compared to what I expected.

It has its heart in the right place and it has some likable moments. It also has a decent cast, with the standout being Wayne Brady, no surprise there. His deal could have been written slightly better but he does have the most development.

Don’t expect too much in terms of character, but it gets the job done. I like how one neighbor guy does question what it’s like feeding a giant dog, it even gives Clifford motivation to go to the circus to make extra money.

Although personally I’d be more concerned about…the cleanup.

Overall, it’s about what you’d expect. It’s a pretty alright movie for kids that won’t have high appeal for adults. But it’s innocent and cute enough to be passable enough for what it is.

So yeah, another one of those. I don’t quite like reviewing these kind of thing but for what it is, it’s perfectly fine.

(And yeah, you can say Muhammad is technically better in some ways so consider them almost even, despite how different they are)

GOOD:

Teacher’s Pet the Movie:

Here’s one a lot of people forgot existed. Teacher’s Pet the show is in the middle ground of memorability for some (decently liked but far from super popular) so it’s weird that Disney thought it warranted a big screen upgrade.

The fact that it bombed isn’t too surprising, but all that aside I enjoyed it. I’ve only seen a few episodes but it more or less matches what I remember and makes for a decent ending to the series.

The main problem is that it can be rushed at times, especially the ending which is one of the most rushed endings I’ve seen in a while although it is satisfying enough to not ruin anything.

Also, Leonard is kind of a jerk sometimes, even from the very start. Shouldn’t he just be a bit more supportive of Spot’s dream to be boy?

Besides that, it’s a decently charming movie. Spot is pretty likable and has a decent arc with how he (spoilers) becomes human and learns what it’s like. The comedy is decent and the animation is upgraded while still keeping that really odd but charming art style.

And while the songs are a bit pointless, they are still enjoyable, especially the updated version of the theme song.

It does get kinda weird at times, mostly the part where Human Spot decides the best way for him to still live with Leonard is to marry his Mom.

Ew.

It does get in some nice moments and a fun villain so it becomes a well rounded enough experience. It just needed a slightly better ending and some beefing up here and there.

But given this didn’t really need to exist as a theatrical release, I’m happy with it as it is. I’d suggest watching a tiny bit of the show to get a feel for it, but either way if you got some time, I’d recommend it.

It’s no classic (nor as good as the other TV to Movie Adaptation this year) but for what it is, it’s charming enough for me. It’s a good boy.

(Also, it hit me that Dog with a Blog kind of partly rips off the whole “Dog wanting to fit in with humans” thing from here…)

Steamboy:

Anime movie #2. This is one I hadn’t heard of until I had to do this and I’m a bit surprised I hadn’t given that this is from the director of Akira and the English cast includes Patrick Stewart and Alfred Molina.

After watching it, I somewhat get it as it’s one of those movies that wants to be great but is simply pretty good. Let’s just go through the problems first.

The main character is intentionally made to be a blank slate but I still wish there was more to him, maybe an arc or something. As it is, we have all this cool stuff going on…and then this guy. There’s also this spoiled girl he ends up with that’s just kind of there, as her development isn’t too strong. She’s at least tolerable later on though.

The movie is also a bit too long, at exactly 2 hours without credits. It gets there with some padding and while I was never truly bored, it did feel too long and yet it still has a somewhat rushed ending. I feel like if the story was tightened up in a few areas, this could have been the epic it wants to be.

But here’s why it’s still good. It still has that epic feeling with everything going, especially with the high quality animation. The scope is decently big and there’s some cool action scenes.

Story-wise, the highlight would be Lloyd and Edward, two scientists who have different views on Science thanks to an accident. Their opposing view points make for some interesting themes and their moments make the movie more interesting.

I wouldn’t say it’s especially complex but it is interesting and of course having Alfred Molina as your villain is always a win.

I wish it was the grand epic it wants to be, but as it is, I enjoy it. It has it’s shortcomings but it’s able to make up for them with impressive action and some interesting themes plus a solid English dub.

As long as you keep your expectations in check, there’s plenty to enjoy here even if I wish it were better in places.

Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence:

I don’t have as much to say about this one as you might think. I hadn’t seen the 1995 original so I watched these both back to back. The first managed to inspire people like The Washowskis and also clearly took some clues from Blade Runner.

I mention the latter because both this and the sequel are comparable to that movie and it’s own sequel. This sequel keeps everything that made the first film work, but I would say I prefer the first overall.

And of course, all of them are smart movies that make me feel stupid…er.

Both this and the first are very intellectual with deep themes and all that. That’s of course what makes them good, as they are smarter than most films of their kind. Although this does cause me to be a bit lost at times, especially this one as I watched the sub,

Of course this is more on me but just know this is a movie you need to use your brain for, which is never a bad thing.

But perhaps less random philosophy would be nice, Especially with how the sub explains every single quote even though we don’t really need it. And while it’s not meant to be too character driven, I got more into them in the first movie.

I felt a bit more of a connection to what was going on there but this one still works, especially with the pretty stunning animation and atmosphere.

It is a step down but with it’s smart writing and animation, it stands out pretty well. Also, it’s not a total direct sequel which I thought was a good choice.

If you can more into this kind of thing, give both movies a shot. Also, I haven’t seen the 2017 version so I can’t say anything about it.

The Polar Express:

It’s finally time for me to dig into the Robert Zemickis motion capture movies, which for the most part I haven’t talked about besides Monster House. (Which he didn’t direct but Image Movers was involved).

This was the first of them and is seen as the best, and from what I recall, it is. I loved it as a kid and I feel it still holds up, although it has it’s issues.

The main problem is that is does run a tad long despite it’s thin plot, and being based on a picture book. Certain moments feel like filler as a result and it also sometimes tries a tad too hard to be the next great Christmas classic.

That prevents it from being a rating higher but as it is, it’s still really good. The best thing about is the overall production.. The direction is solid and the visuals are honestly still amazing.

Yes, the humans do look a bit creepy but they are well done enough that it’s rarely an issue for me. Besides, the rest makes up for it. You really feel the size of this train, mostly due to the way it’s shot and even the sound design.

There’s a sense of wonder here that makes it charming, especially with Alan Silverstri’s score. There of course is a lot of heart too especially with how it goes into faith in Santa and all that.

It’s an interesting angle that makes the story more interesting. The characters do get some decent arcs, even if some are a bit bland and went to the David Lubar school of naming characters.

Man, that’s an old chestnut…

It’s the kind of movie that just makes you feel good and of course is really good Christmas viewing. It’s just so darn magical and sweet. I wish it was a bit shorter or less try hard, because it can come close to being the amazing classic it wants to be,

But as it is, it is a really solid movie and Robert and his crew created something special here, even with some flaws.

If you need some extra spirit this December, and haven’t seen it, I’d give it a shot. It’s not quite one of my favorites, but it still stands strong in a lot of ways despite that.


VERY GOOD:

Tokyo Godfathers:

It’s time for more Christmas in May from Satoshi Kohn. This is a bit different from the last film of his we looked at, as it’s an easy to follow lighthearted-ish drama/comedy.

This was the first of his films I had even heard of (Thank you, Cartoon Hero) so I was looking forward to it quite a bit and thankfully it was really good. The premise is that 3 homeless people (A jerky dude, a woman and a trans woman) stumble upon a Baby and try to get find it’s proper parents.

From the simple premise we of course get a lot of shenanigans and also a lot of drama as we develop these characters and find out what the baby’s deal is to begin with.

It’s interesting to find out more as these characters are all pretty likable, and some emotional stuff comes out of all this. Oh and I may as well say that for the most part I feel like Hanna, the trans woman, is handled well. But I’m in no position to make that call I guess. Still, she worked well and is shown as a good person and all that.

And her deal does tie into the greater theme of how family can come in all shapes and sizes. Not an uncommon theme but the way it’s done is really good.

It gets especially good in the 3rd act, and even kind of intense in a few moments. It also does a good job of keeping you invested all the way through, and the comedy that’s there blends pretty well.

Don’t have much to really nitpick here. It came close to hitting me hard enough to be called Great and while it didn’t quite do that, there’s nothing too wrong here. Yeah, there’s less of the 3 bonding later on due the other stuff but we still get enough of it and said other stuff is really good too.

Overall, if you want a Christmas movie that’s less traditional while still keeping the spirit, this is worth a work. It’s very enjoyable with it’s humor and character drama.

It’s the kind of thing you need to see for yourself so yeah, it’s well worth a watch.

Shrek 2:

After the first Shrek held up merely pretty well, I was both excited and worrried going into this one. Thankfully, it actually holds up really well even if it’s not quite as amazing as it once was.

There are still a couple dragged out jokes, a few cliches that perhaps could have been done differently to make the story more interesting and the jokes about the “Gender confused wolf” and Pinocchio wearing a thong…have not aged well.

Just…sigh.

But despite that, this is still an example of a really good sequel. While it does ramp up the humor, it not only keeps the heart but it is also ramped up.

The overall story executes its somewhat cliche beats pretty well with how Shrek meets her parents and wants to become “Handsome” for her. And while a misunderstanding is involved, they avoid the scene of him overhearing her say things she doesn’t mean. Thank Shrek.

And the humor still really works for me, mostly due to the timing which you can thank the actors for as well as the editing. Seriously, scenes like the dinner are really well edited and enhance both the humor and story.

I never expected to praise the editing in a Shrek movie but here we are.

Yeah, there’s more pop culture references this time but most of them work in context and I feel like it’s not as overboard as in some other movies but that’s just me.

And they managed to make the usually typical dissaproving Dad into the most interesting character with the reveal and how he really isn’t a bad guy. He just wants what he feels is best for Fiona and gets roped into Fairy Godmother’s scheme.

Also, the climax is the best thing ever, and the animation is nicely upgraded, especially with the lighting and certain characters like Puss. Oh yeah, he’s great too.

Overall, Shrek 2 avoids the usual problems with sequels of it’s kind and creates something easily better with tons of good jokes, and a more engaging story with all the characters being enjoyable.

Some parts don’t quite work as well but the fact that it’s still as good as it is is enough for me. It’s easy to see why it made almost 900 million worldwide. Man, Dreamworks saw more green than was seen in all 4 Shreks combined.

I’m not sorry for that joke.

GREAT:

The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie:

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

I’ve talked about this one a fair bit. There’s not much new to say given I’ve talked about it many times before. I will add that I admit I would like it a bit less without the Nostalgia factor. Sure, I still quite it like when I remove it, but I imagine maybe some of the minor flaws may have gotten more in the way for me if I wasn’t so dang used to the movie after having seen seen it so much as a kid.

I can seperate it enough as a critic, and I’m not taking back it’s rating or placement, I was just saying things may be different in that AU where it’s not a big part of me. Either way, it’s still pretty great.

The Incredibles;

Don’t worry, this is our last obvious choice for a little bit. But like our last few, there really was nothing that could take this slot. Even if my Nostalgia Goggles for SpongeBob were strapped on, I’d still pick this.

Granted, this as it’s own nostalgia connection but trust me, if it was lesser, I’d be honest about it. But damn, this holds up even better today as one of the best Superhero Movies.

I have that bad Blogger Post for further thoughts and others have also gone into it. I’ll just say that the main reason it works for me is the realism..

Sure, it has bombastic action but the dialogue feels very naturalistic and it never feels like actors reading a script. A lot of scenes have them saying things real people would say, and it leads to some great moments of both comedy and drama.

It’s crazy how a family film managed to do this but the family thing means they also throw light stuff in there so it’s not all moody and boring.

But looking back, I do have one small issue. I find it a bit interesting/odd that Syndrome makes this stuff to show someone can be super with powers and he’s the villain. Given most movies/shows that have a part where it shows that powers aren’t nee-dded to be a hero, this does have it’s unfortunate implications if you look hard enough.

I don’t usually care about these things but that is something I noticed and I have seen some take issue with it nowadays, along with other aspects that I don’t wish to get into here. But that isn’t too a big deal as there’s other great story/thematic elements to make up for it.

So yeah, Pixar did it again with it’s first film from an outsider and it put Brad Bird one the map as honestly one of my favorite directors, even though as of now I haven’t seen his live action works. The animated stuff is just that good. (Iron Giant is better than this one by the way.)

Even with one off aspect, it’s still a great Superhero movie with a unique take on them along with great realism, animation and music. All you need for my favorite animated film of 2004.

And those were the animated films of 2004. Overall, this year was fairly solid. It wasn’t the best year for animation but it wasn’t too bad either. Sure, it had Shark Tale and Home on the Range but the best ones were generally quite solid.

The Good’s could have been better but the top 4 films managed to make up for it. It’s weird how many movies base don animated series we had this year though, and they did show the range they have at least. After 2003, this was a solid breath of fresh air.

How will 2005 stack up? You’ll just have to see, even though I kinda spoiled my thoughts on Twitter already. …I’ve said too much. Come back in two weeks for that.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, Christmas Reviews, Lists, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Goosebumps Most Wanted-Creature Teacher: The Final Exam

Hello, Spongey here.

10 years ago to the month, Goosebumps was relaunched with the Horrorland Series. Yes, it’s been that long, holy crap. It’s weird, it feels like as long as ago as original things I feel nostalgic about but it’s actually a new version of an old thing.

I kinda wish Stine did something for it but I didn’t quite expect him too. (Although, the movie sequel is coming out so close enough?). I’m not doing anything different for it, just another Most Wanted review. But this is a sequel so at least it ties into past Goosebumps stuff in some way.

Today we have an odd one: A “sequel” to a Goosebumps Series 2000 book. Yeah, as you can tell from the title this ties into Creature Teacher. I say ties into because this is in name only, the story isn’t followed up on at all.

It just has the titular teacher from that book. I haven’t read it so I can’t comment on how it compares. Just how it is on it’s own. It’s odd to follow up a 2000 book but it’s nice to change things up I guess.

Side note, from this point forward all the book covers have the obligatory NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE thing at the top. This came out January 2014, which is jumping the gun a bit.

Hence why the poster for the movie at the end of the book is not one that was ever used elsewhere. They don’t even change it until the DVD came out for them to advertise.

Anyway… is this a good one to do in this month? Let’s see.

This, Creature Teacher; The Final Exam

Love that title.

The book opens with our lead Tommy telling us he’s going to camp instead of hanging with his friends. Yay, surprise camp book!

It’s called Winner Island and it’s focused on competition. One page in and it’s already a re-hash of Camp Jellyjam. Wow.

But to be fair, this time the whole family is obsessed with being A WINNER, not just simply good. Tommy is pressured to be the best, so him just being merely passable isn’t enough for them.

Okay, this is interesting. Spoilers, it does it better than Jellyjam but let’s see if it’s still good on it’s own.

I mean hey, it’s already using bad parenting as a plot point instead of just having them be awful for no reason, like our last book.

The Camp Brochure says Losers never leave Winner Island. Totally not suspicion at all. Nor is the fact the when he gets someone tells him he hopes he sees Tommy on the way back.

He arrives at camp where we see their idea of a morning warmup is for the kids to …wrestle, I think? Tommy describes it as some weird battle that they’re just watching. Huh.

Also, at one point, Tommy plays Angry Birds. So the knock off from Son of Slappy an in universe knock off?

Another taste of this camp comes when Tommy sees a sign saying Don’t Knock…and it’s a test, as he’s supposed to ignore it and don’t knock. Lamest test ever.

“Why does everyone keep calling me Dog?”

“Because this is a dog eat dog camp?’

Okay, can you say Try Hard?

Before meeting Uncle Felix, he met Robb was going to take his stuff to Cabin Twelve…but whoops, that was a test too as his stuff pretty much got robbed.

“Robbed by a guy who said his name was Rob?’

Even he knows how subtle that was.

Well okay, he wasn’t part of a bigger test per say, just some guy who tricked him. Which they allow because lolwinning.

Tommy goes to find his cabin and meets a girl who point blank tells him what is going on: Losers get fed to Mrs. Maaaargh and that dog eat dog thing was literal.

That was fast, even Stine knows he can’t keep this secret forever. Tommy of course doesn’t belelive since we gotta keep suspense somehow.

He finds his cabin and meets a nice enough kid who also had his stuff stolen, meaing it must be a bigger test. Or there’s just a lot of jerks here.

His guy’s name was Steele. I’ll ignore the bad joke to instead wonder if his first name is Troy. Another thing I bet you forgot about! And then Sophie comes in and claims that Mrs. Maaargh wants to eat him this afternoon.

This doesn’t seem to be a prank for now but Tommy still doesn’t buy it. Appeanrlty she just showed up one day and Felix is too scared to do anything about her so he lets her have one kid and spare the others.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to eat Felix when she got there so she can rule the camp or have her pick of anyone?

Tommy decides to find out if she’s real and stomps down to her office. He gets face to face with the ugly monster teacher and finds out right away that she’s the real deal.

At least we got it out of the way, and Tommy gets on her bad side in a way that honestly doesn’t make him look too dumb. Even if he’s pretty much doomed now.

She punishes him by making him pick her nose. Ew.

Tommy runs off and tries to escape the island but is caught by Felix pretty quickly. After the obligatory failed phone call scene, he is forced to take a “class” with Mrs. Maaargh.

So question: Is she new here and thus hasn’t eaten a loser kid yet? Because if she had, there would certainly be whispers about it and it wouldn’t be hard to track this place down.

I assume she has not and they just know it’s best not to anger someone who looks and acts like…this. I’d just like clarification, is all.

“I’m gong to give you several tests are part of the Final Exam”

Not doing the picture this time but yes, this counts as a title drop.

Their first test is to go eat worms…and Tommy actually does it. …But no one else does as the test was to NOT eat one!”

“It was a test to see who in this room had the courage NOT to eat an innocent earthworm. Anyone who would eat an Earthworm is a loser”

I swear you’re making stuff up as you go along just to punish him.

Maargh then has some lunch in the form of an innocent rat. Well, that’s hy-

“You said I shouldn’t eat an innocent wor . But you just ate an innocent white rat”

Damn it, don’t steal my job!

Later, Tommy talks with a kid named Ricardo who says his Dad is some Wall Street guy. Make your own joke there. He doesn’t want to be a “winner” either but of course is stuck here due to a jerk Dad.

Sophie shows up and suggests giving Maargh some flowers which seems a bit odd for a monster like her. To the surprise of no one, this plan fails as she is allergic to them.

And before I can say that Sophie clearly tricked him…she confirms it herself. Come on, I can’t even predict obvious twists anymore!

“We were trying to teach you not to touch anyone”

So you’re actually assholes, got it.

Tommy decides the best way to survive is to just hide somewhere. I bet they planned for that kind of thing but let’s see.

He goes out into the woods, where he actully finds his stuff as Robb just dumped it it there. Appearntly that’s important enough that he shows it to Ricardo who tries some chocolate sauce that is in there.

And…it turns out to be hot sauce. Even better: Tommy did it on purpose to get him back for the flowers thing. Even though it was Sophie’s idea and he just simply went with it.

I’d call this out as dick-ish but this makes Ricardo go to his side since they’re even now. Sure, whatever.

He tells him that tonight is “Bat Run Night”, where go out in the dark and get covered in bats and pray to god they aren’t bitten. Yeah, makes sense for a monster lead camp I suppose.

He gives Tommy bat spray and of course he wonders if he should trust him since he could have been lying. Do I even need to be here?!

He decides to just not trust him …and of freaking course it turns out he was not lying and everyone is using bat spray. This is why you should have went out of your way to assure Tommy you’re not lying, since he you should have known you’d be hard to trust.

Whatever, this is all pretty contrived.

The next is an swim in some kind of underground river, and Ricardo gives him a small light to tuck in his sim suit that can help him get through the darkness. I’ll just assume he’s fully trustworthy now, until he isn’t.

And so later the underground race starts and when he tries out the light, it doesn’t work. Moral of the story; NEVER TRUST ANYONE.

Tommy misses the first turn and gets lost right away which he doesn’t figure out until he gets saved. He of course gets pissed at Ricardo but to be fair, you missed that turn all on your own. That light would not have changed that.

Ricardo claims he didn’t know it didn’t work which I can sort of buy but for the sake of this book let’s say it’s up in the air.

Later, it’s time for Creature Teacher The Final Exam. From what I can gather, they have to get across this ladder without falling into the quicksand pit and the loser goes first.

Ricardo tells him the 10th rung is fake…and just guess on how truthful that is. Spoilers, not very. At least we’re almost done.

Ricardo of course tries to convince him this is simply what he overheard, so he was the one tricked but at this point even I don’t know who to trust. Sophie even vouches for him, although it’s too little too late.

Tommy is taken Mrs. Maaargh for dinner, with him as the main course. …And it turns out Tommy finally did a trick of his own and put hot sauce on himself. A bit of a cheat but still awesome.

It burns so much she runs out and keeps running until she hits the lake and keeps swimming until she just vanishes in the distance. Who know a creature that eats rats hated hot sauce that much?

So Tommy is a hero and everyone celebrates their now 5 free days. But two days later, Felix welcome a new teacher because it totally isn’t pointless with 2 days left.

“I am Mr. Baaarggh”

He’s a two head monster. So did you hire him or did he just show up like Maargh did?

Either way, this is where the book ends. Kinda lame but ah well.

Final Thoughts:

In general, I like this one but perhaps it could have been better. It’s pretty much Camp Jellyjam done right as it has the same themes but doesn’t piss them all away.

The main issue with this one as it can get repetitive and they kind of beat you over the head with the Loser thing. And at times it seems like they’re making stuff up just to torture Tommy.

But at the same time, the book does make a good point about how some people get so obsessed with being the best. It’s not good enough that you’re solid or passable, you gotta be the best at everything.

As bad as his family is, I imagine some are really like that. I kind of wish they did more with this, as the thing that resolves everything is something he got from his family’s need to be tough.

Just saying, you can get the wrong message if you look deeply enough. But as it is, it’s pretty interesting. And while I did complain about the back and forth, I do like how you can never be sure how he can trust and the last few parts do kind of help that.

Overall, this could have been one of the really strong ones but as it is, it is a better one for me. It does more with it’s themes than Jellyjam did and is decently intense.

It tries too hard at points and could have been better, but as it is it’s fine. One of the better camp books at least.

Rating: Good

Not a bad way to celebrate 10 years of Modern Goosebumps, honestly. Hopefully I can read the 2000 book to see if it’s as good as this one. But for now, next time we’re doing Halloween in May!

See ya.

Posted in R.L Stine Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ranking the Animated Films of 2003

Hello,Spongey here.

Welcome to our next part of our journey of going through a bunch of animated movies for no reason other than I felt like it. I did a list for 2002 some time ago so now we get to 2003. I’ll save my thoughts on the year itself at the end as I have…opinions.

This year isn’t too much more important than previous years,m it mostly just showed more of CGI takiing over, as the 2D ones didn’t do that well and Pixar brought their A game again. The Oscars nominated The Pixar One, The Disney One they only nominated because they had to, and The Foreign One.

It’s nice that they gave love to other countries for the first time. Keep that in mind for next year though..

The Annies gave more love to those …and also Looney Tunes Back in Action, even though it only barely counts. Whatever, Nemo swept them anyway..

So how good is this year? Does it have anything to offer besides Nemo? Let’s take a look.

This, is Ranking the Animated Films of 2003

Honorable Mentions:

Atlantis 2: I wanted to watch it to see if it is one of the worst Disney sequels but I didn’t have time. I’m sure it is though.

The Animatrix: Somehow I didn’t see this on the Wikipedia list until the last minute so I haven’t seen it…or the other Matrix mo0vies. But i hear it’s good.

Batman Mystery of the Batwoman: This is tied to Batman TAS which I wanna (re)watch all of before watching this one but I hope its as good the other TAS movies.

Bionicle Mask of Light: I honestly have no interest in this or the other ones in this series but I hear they are okay-ish for the most part.

Charlotte’s Web 2: Not sure who was asking for this but it looks pointless and bad

Kim Possible a Sitch in Time: Covered this in the So the Drama review: Hardly counts as a full movie and it has a dumb ending but everything else is solid.

Looney Tunes Back in Action: Another hybrid that sadly doesn’t fully count but I do enjoy this one for what it is, especially compared to Space Jam.

Stitch the Movie: It’s a pilot but a good one that sets up a solid series nicely .

Wizards and Giants: The only thing I know about this Mexican film is that it was the animated feature fully animated in Flash which is neat, even if this being 2003 means the animation likely sucks.

Now onto the films.

MEH:

The Jungle Book 2:

And at the bottom we have a non-surprise. Disney had some success with their Direct to Video Sequels so I suppose they had to try putting one or two in theaters.

But while Return to Neverland ended up pretty decent despite perhaps not belonging in theaters, this is a 65 minute waste of time. It does boast strong animation and voice acting from the replacement actors, which does lead to a few somewhat enjoyable moments.

But everything else is weak. There’s no reason this sequel needed to exist at all, the story they picked was simply not worth telling. Mogwi just ends up back where he started and it doesn’t feel like learned anything that substation.

I bet the original books had plenty of stories that could have been told, but the one we got is weak and quite padded which is sad for an already short movie. Some bits almost show promise I suppose but in the end I simply didn’t feel much weight to anything.

It doesn’t do anything insulting per say, but it just adds nothing even on it’s own. But as something put in theaters, this is quite pathetic aside from the animation.

I knew this would be a weaker one but I was expecting to be a bit more interesting than it ended up being. Even when it comes to Disney sequels, some of the bad ones at least attempt to be good, this honestly doesn’t that much.

It’s not horrible I guess but it’s just a big waste of time and an even bigger waste of strong animation. Just stick with the original, the books and the live action version. They’re all better, as is Return to Neverland as far as Theatrical DisneyToons Movies go.

This jungle is sadly not worth revisiting.

Rugrats Go Wild:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/rugrats-go-wild/

Here’s the first of two movies I reviewed so I can mostly skip it. My opinion is mostly the same but I do rate it a bit lower than before.

The thing with this one is that it’s pretty weak on a wirtting level but a bit better on an enjoyment level as nothing is too annoying or boring. And even with the writing, nothing is truly awful.

It’s just a bit messy, especially compared to the other movies. So while it is a meh, it’s on the higher side of it due to not being too bad. But as a whole, it’s fairly weak and really feels like it should have been a TV Special.

Oh and the 4D Smell gimmick was dumb too. Meeeh.

GOOD:

Brother Bear:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/ranking-the-disney-animated-canon-2000s/

Another Disney one I can skip. Short version is that it has glaring flaws such as Koda being a bit annoying but it makes up for it the set up and some nice moments/animation. Flawed but good.

Pokemon Heroes:

And we our last theatrical Pokemon movie. First off, I did like the 4th one. Not as good as 3 but still pretty decent with an interesting twist and the best animation of the 5, even if it had some timey wimey stuff.

This one is weaker than the previous stuff, but I still like it and it was a decent note to end the theatrical ones on. This one even simpler than those as mostly a bunch of action and dealing with more Legendary Pokemon.

But it at least has nothing annoying or stupid. I like that it keeps things on the simpler side, even it means less in terms of notable character stuff. It has some decent villains with Annie and Oakley who are fun and interesting enough.

Latios and Latias are also interesting especially with how one can turn into people and the ending does into some nice stuff. It’s that stuff that made like the movie as it gave a bit more depth to a story that mostly kept it simple.

This around the point where these did become simply yearly things to pump out rather than major events, so I see why they went Direct to Video from this point on.

But from what I can tell, they still have better quality than most DTV franchises and this was still a good one for me. It was simple fun with some elements bringing it up a bit.

So yeah, nothing crazy great or anything but still fairly solid. While I am glad to move on from Pokemon and leave reviewing those movies to Cartoon Hero, I am glad I watched them since I got some solid ones.

And this was a fine way to end me covering them in this way.

Piglet’s Big Movie:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/piglets-big-movie/

And we have our 2nd movie I’ve already reviewed. I covered that one pretty well but I short, this movie is nice. Yes, it’s a bit stuck between being a bunch of stories and being one normal story, but it does make up for it with quite a bit of heart.

Despite it’s nature,I put it above Pokemon simply because I have more of a connection with it even if that’s probably better. So yeah, a tiny pointless to put it in theaters but overall still a nice enough movie, and it was good for my first theater experience.

Sinbad Legend of the 7 Seas:

And we come to the final 2D Animated Dreamworks movie and in general, it’s a good one to come out on, even if possibly the weakest of them.

It’s more even I suppose than Spirit but I did come out mostly liking that one a bit more.

I’ll get my issues out of the way; There’s some annoying anachronistic dialogue, some annoying slap stick kiss stuff, and the CGi is possibly the most distracting I’ve seen in a 2D movie. There’s just so damn much of it!

That stuff can drag it down and prevent it from being a really strong movie as it is, it’s enjoyable. The 2D animation is great especially on the villain, and the overall vibe is pretty fun.

The action scenes are generally pretty good and Sinbad is mostly a charming lead with Marina also being enjoyable even with their forced slap slap kiss shtick.

Seriously, Sinbad and Porteus get a better love story. Seriously, their whole thing with past and such is cliche but decently interesting and does add to Sinbad’s arc.

Oh and the villain herself is pretty cool with her design and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance. This movie is generally a solid and fun adventure that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and adds some small dept here and there.

I just wish the more annoying elements were ironed out as this did have the chance to possibly be better as it is the bad stuff isn’t too bad and I still enjoy. It only barely got above the movie it’s above though.

So even with it’s annoying problems, it’s a fun adventure that’s worth a look and was a solid finale to Dreamworks’ 2D Movies. (I wish they’d do more but I guess it’s too late for that now…)

The Triplets of Belleville:

Now to start the more memorable movies and two of them are smaller foreign movies. This is a French film I had heard great things about for awhile and I finally got to see it.

I like it…but I felt like it was hurt by own expectations. I wasn’t expecting some grand epic or anything but given it’s high RT Score and seeing some people call it a master piece, I was expecting more than a …quint/neat little movie.

Not that those kind of movies can’t be great but I think perhaps people over sold this one. I don’t even have a lot to say.

The premise is that an elderly woman’s son is kidnapped by the mafia and she has to save him with the help of these timer singer people, the titular triplets.

Spoilers, not as epic as the premise suggests but that’s kind of the point. It’s meant to be simple and enjoyable movie and that is what it is. The main situation is set up in a way that makes you like the characters, so thus you care about what’s going on.

And I also do like that it’s mostly told without actual dialogue, at least from the main characters, most movies that do earn my respect, usually. Oh and the animation is quite good, and I do like the uncontieial character designs.

The thing is that I do feel like maybe it needed more to it in some places. It’s another case where it maybe needed more agency given the situation. Sometimes I kind of forgot about the Mafia thing since the movie seemed to forget it at times. I know this is the tone it’s going for, but at times it was a tad bit aimless.

And overall, I would call It simply a quaint little movie and not anything too great. Movies of this nature can be great but this isn’t quite that with how it’s done.

Buuut there’s nothing wrong per say, it’s again a taste thing. But usually I do understand the high praise something like that would get, but in this case I just would understand people simply enjoying it more, not the super duper praise I sometimes hear.

The only reason I’m focusing on that is because there isn’t much to say on it’s own. As I said, just a unique and quaint little movie that’s fun and interesting at times.

Not much more than that but for the most part that’s all it needs to be. I may not love it like others seem to, but as it is, it’s pretty enjoyable for what it is.

Millennium Actress:

And the 2nd of our foreign films. This anime film comes to us from Satshi Kohn, a fairly well known director whose films I’m only now getting to see thanks to this.

And for my first one, this was good. But the thing is, thanks to Wikipedia I first thought this came out in the US in 2002, so I watched it along with the 2002 ones for reasons I mentioned.

…But then I found out later it came out in 2003 meaning I have to talk about. But I watched it about a few weeks ago now so I don’t have the advantage of having just seen it like the others.

I wouldn’t have said a lot a few weeks ago but I can say less now due to my crappy memory. Either way, this movie is mostly pretty strong.

It’s a solid premise with these Documentary filmmakers investigating the life of a retired acting legend. We got into her story and it’s some pretty interesting stuff.’

It’s one of those movies where it’s just interesting to see this story unfold, and it’s pretty engaging and well told. Huh, accident rhyme there. Nice.

My only problem is that sometimes the narrative is a tiny bit hard to follow. There’s a whole thing where the filmmakers are part of the story too, and I kind get it why they did it but it was slightly confusing for me.

I would have liked it a bit more if it was streamlined but as it, it’s a pretty solid and strong movie overall. It’s one I can see others liking more but as it is, it’s a pretty solid and a good start with me for this guy.

That’s all I got for this one, and it took me forever to even write this much because I just didn’t have the motivation due to my viewing because a bit ago and me generally not being as totally passionate as I am about some of these others.

Either way, pretty good movie.

(Side note, a trailer for this is on the Shrek 2 DVD. …Not really the same target audience)

And as you guessed, my favorite animated film of 2003 is…

GREAT:

Finding Nemo:

Don’t worry, just one more year or being predictable before we get a small break. But more so than the other years, this was my only choice given the mostly average selection we had this year.

Not to mention this being possibly my personal favorite Pixar movie. Yeah, I’ve given back and forth on what it is but for now I pick this one. I feel like it pretty much perfected the formula and pretty much does everything right.

By the way, still not linking the Blogger posts although when get to the Pixar-a-Thons posted here on WordPress I may link them then. Anyway, this one is more or less perfect to me.

Okay, I guess you can nitpick things like how perhaps they hammer in the moral a tad too much or how in this world Sea Cucumber a can’t talk or how snails belong in Zoos but that’s pretty much it.

It’s got all: Animation that still holds amazingly well to this day, tons of quotable lines, a slew of memorable characters and a really well told story which of course has tons of emotion.

The basic plot being simpler compared to later films honestly helps as it makes everything more even for me, being able to be great and emotional without needing super super complex ideas.

Nothing against those that have that though, it’s a personal preference. But yeah, all that aside is Finding Nemo is great with pretty much everything I like about Pixar and more.

It’s especially impressive compared to everything else this year. Once again, something is easily my favorite animated film of it’s year as Nemo is indeed the best animated film of 2003.

And those were the animated films of 2003. ..Yeah, easily the weakest year so far. At least there was nothing THAT terrible but wow was there a lack of many memorable ones this year. Sure, there’s plenty I liked but only one was above Good, and only 2 aside from Nemo were really memorable.

No offensive to Sinbad and the like, they’re just far from classics. I won’t damn the entire year but it was pretty dry, so I can see why Pixar ruled for so long. Thank god for other countries.

That’s all I got for this year. I’ll say right now that 2004 is better but just how much better is it? You’ll find out in two weeks.

See ya..

Posted in Animation, Lists, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

General Review: Avengers Infinity War

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, time to look at the big one. The movie we were all hyped for the moment it was announced. It was clearly an epic master work in the making, you can tell from the very concept.

I am of course talking about Show Dogs./

..Pfft, nah. Sadly we gotta wait a few weeks for that. For one, here’s some dumb comic book movie.

All jokes aside, man this is gonna be interesting. The Marvel Cinematic Universe started off with a bang 10 years ago and now we’re up to the 3rd Avengers movie, which is Part 1 of the pay off to quite a few movies.

For all it’s flaws, the MCU has been strong with plenty of solid films and at this point I’m on board for anything. So an epic team up of pretty much everyone just sounds amazing.

Now, I know to keep my expectations in check since it’s easy to either overhype it if it’s good or be too hard on it if it’s not exactly like I imagined. For the moment, I could care less about the reactions.

I just want to go in and see how the film is for me. Anyway, the Russos that brought up Cap 2 and 3 return to hopefully bring their strong directing once again. The writers of them also return, so yeah I expect something solid based on that.

So how does the most ambitious crossover event in history fare? Time to finally find out.

This, is Avengers; Infinity War

Thanos the big purple space dude arrives and seeks to have the full Infinity Gauntlet to do some evil stuff, so the Avengers plus more must get together to stop him. There’s more but…well #ThanosDemandsYourSilence and all that.

If I were to compare this to any recent film, it would be The Last Jedi. Because just like that one, certain fans have issues with it while some things those same things are why the film is one of the best in it’s franchise.

And just like how I loved Last Jedi…I loved this movie, especially as an MCU fan. Honestly, any issues I have are simply due to it’s nature. \

It’s a 2 hour plus film with tons of characters, of course some may not due as much as I would have liked. Of course it can feel a bit long at times.

The only issue that has nothing to do with is this random love triangle type thing that is not only annoying, but never mentioned again aside from a throwaway line. No idea why that was even there.

If you recall, this and next Avengers film were going to be called Part 1 and 2 but they changed it since the felt each film stood on it’s own. I think that was a mistake because this is very clearly part 1 of a big story. It stands on it’s own of course but don’t be surprised if certain things are held off for next years movie.

I’m going to have to be vague as it’s honestly hard for me to talk about this one without spoiling something. So this may be short, I don’t know. I’ll start by saying the direction is as strong as I expected.

The Russos took some cues from Joss and the overall style is like Avengers with how the scenes flow and how they handle tons of stuff going on without getting confusing. The color grading is also better than their previous films. It never bugged me to begin with but less gray is nice.

The action scenes are naturally excellent as a result with plenty of speculate along with some intense moments. Writing wise, they do a good job of balancing all these characters. Some get more to do than others but everyone at least does something.

Everyone is as solid as ever and it’s interesting to see certain people deal with the fallout of previous movies. Infact, this actually starts where Ragnarok left off which certainly makes for quite the tone shift from that one.

Putting them in groups makes it so it’s easier to take them all in. Without spoiling anything,, they go to some interesting places, to say the least. But the one that steals the show is Thanos.

I expected him to e at least a good threat all the build up but I wasn’t expecting him to be possibly my new favorite. I won’t say more other than he does indeed get some depth, and that is all I can say.

Emotionally, you will go through quite a bit if you’re attached to this franchise. I wish I could say exactly how but I can only say that they did a great job of giving us gut punches and keeping me at the edge of my seat.

It rewards you a fair bit for sticking around if you’ve seen most of the others. And if you think needing to see most of the others is a problem, by that logic it’s stupid that you might need to watch most of the Harry Potters before watching Deathly Hallows.

So yeah, it did a lot for me and any issues I have are due to it’s nature and can easily be fixed or addressed in the next film. If some still stand, I will say so then and take points off. But for now, we have to wait.

Oh and the ending is…dang. Saying what it reminds me of would be a spoiler, I’ll just say someone may call it a “really old movie”.

Overalls, Avengers Infinity War gave me what I wanted and more. It’ll be a pain having to wait to see how it all pans out next year but as it is, it’s really well done. The direction is tight, the action is great and al these characters are mostly balanced well and are taken to some interesting places, topped off with a great villain.

It’s a movie where I am kind of riding off a high as man did I get into it. But even thinking about it, I think it’s very well done and at least a top 5 MCU movie.

How will it end up looking overall once this story comes to a close next year? We shall see but for now, what we have is quite good. Oh and yeah, you should see it. Mostly if you’re a big MCU fan, although even otherwise it might be worth a look if you’re interested.

And yes, stay after the credits. It’s worth it this time.

Rating: Great

Whew, that was something. I may do a spoiler thing on DA, and the Phase 3 post will just cover both this and the next one at once to see how they fare when put together. We’ll see.

Next movie should likely be Deadpool 2, hopefully.

See ya.

Posted in Comic Book/Superhero Reviews, General Reviews | Leave a comment