Sky High

Incredibles whom?!

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time to finally review a good movie I’ve had my eyes on for years. Seriously, it’s been on my to do a list for a fair while, I had it on a master list I used to use to decide years. And it was my brother birthday review list too but he was never kind enough to pick it.

So screw it, with Disney giving us Endgame soon I think we should go back to another superhero epic they gave us. I mentioned that Up Up and Away felt like an early version of this movie so here they brought this concept to the big screen.

The concept was created by a screenwriter in the 90’s and Disney was always interested in using it so they had others tighten up and boom, in 2005 the final product was unleashed.

That writer hasn’t done much else but the ones who polished the script were Kim Possible creators Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, so we’re in good hands here. Actually, I heard somewhere that Disney passed on a live action KP movie (that turned into So the Drama) to have them do this instead.

Well, they clearly never re-visited that original plan again.

The director is Mike Mitchell, who I’ve talked enough about. Before LEGO 2, this was his master work. So, let’s see how these supers turned out, now that I can finally dive in.

This, is Sky High

The movie opens, naturally, with a comic style opening explaining the setup. This is a world of Superheros and two of the most well-known are The Commander, played by Kurt Russel, and Jetstream. Okay, the latter name is neat but the former is kind of lame.

They have a son named Will, who is narrating all this and sadly has no powers at the moment and is currently a normal kid.

“It’s nice to know that whatever happens to me, you’ll be around to save the world”

Oh the irony. Well, he does prove to be capable in the end so I guess this is still true.

Will at least has some friendship in the form of Layla, played by Danielle Panbaker, years before she was helping that fast guy.

“It seems like just yesterday you two were swimming naked in a kiddie pool”

Oh my.

The kids head out on the bus for their first day of high school, which is a hero school called…well yeah. Being the son of The Commander means people treat you like you’ll be amazing too since he’s got plenty of pressure put on him.

The school is literally in the sky, which seems rather impractical when you think about it. When we arrive, we get some fun visuals like how the cheer team is just one person who can clone themselves. Certainly saves money on uniforms.

We meet the student body president Gwen, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead who will takes a liking too. I can’t blame him but he’s got a female friend already, so it’s not meant to be.

“Power placement?”

“Sounds fascist”

There’s a line I wasn’t expecting. I’m sure I could read into it if I wasn’t lazy.

They will show their powers and be told if they are a hero or sidekick, and this is being done with the help of Bruce Campbell. This is now the great movie ever made. Don’t worry, he’s as amazing as you’d expect.

After a round of role picking, we have a more defined group as we also have a nerdy kid who can melt (so he’s Meltman?), a punk girl who can shapeshift and a wannabee who can glow. Also, we have a bully/jerk in the form of …Warren Peace.

That’s actually kind of clever when you find out his Mom is a hero and his Dad is a villain, thus War and Peace. After lunch, it’s Will’s turn but he doesn’t have any powers to show off and is told by the nurse that there are cases of someone never getting powers.

The setting already makes this more interesting than it was in Up, Up, and away. Not to mention the humor. Will doesn’t want to break the news to his dad after school, especially after more talk of how amazing Will shall be. Yeah, that cliche but in this case it adds a decent conflict.

After a nice scene with Layla, we go back to school where Kevin McDonald makes an awesome appearance. Also, during a montage we see that two kids that were frozen in a background gag by a girl are still frozen, now that’s funny.

Yeah, the pacing is more lax in this section but it does allow for some amusing and nice moments. Will brings his sidekick friends home and his Dad is cool with it but talks in a way that makes Will reluctant to admit he himself is a sidekick due to having new powers…but he does it anyway, to save us some time. Another way this does it better than Up, Up and Away, no messing around.

“I’m proud to be Hero’s Support”

The matter is not discussed further as Dad goes to talk to Mom about it, and of course has to be the one to tell Dad this won’t be as bad.

“He could always go into real estate”

Now that’s a worse fate than being evil.

The next day, Will gets into a fight with Warren where he ends up discovering he has super strength. I can already tell he faked this, you ain’t fooling me. He still gets detention though, along with Warren.

Thankfully, cares more about the super strength then he does about his son getting into fights. Oh and we see they’re being watch via camera by someone voiced by Patrick Warburton. Is that guy in EVERYTHING?!

The next day at school, he’s now with the heroes which means he’ll get in with the popular kids and lose his friendships. This might be a good movie, but it’s still basically a DCOM with a budget.

He does try to keep it cool for now though, but that doesn’t work when it comes to these other bullies who he can’t help but challenge since they dunked that nerdy kid. You think there’s also a villain school? I mean, the baddies gotta get tips from somewhere.

Now there’s a spin-off I wanna see.

We get a sporting game of “Save the Citizen” which Will wins to further show how amazing he is and at this point I don’t think he was faking and I found the one thing Up, Up and Away did better But this eventually does show that powers ain’t everything so there’s that.

On top of all that good luck, Gwen is taking a liking to him and he even takes her home for dinner, where his parents seem to approve.

“She’s gorgeous”

“And she fixed the disposal”

Never say that first thing again.

But of course this means missing a date with Layla, wah wah. She has a scene with Warren that goes more into how she likes Will and all that, which is nice. But sadly it is Gwen he will take to homecoming.

Seeing him happy about this is rather adorable. Less adorable is how we see that Evil Kronk here will use this event to do his revenge plan. Eve less adorable is him telling Layla he’s going with Gwen, which does not sit well with her.

So she decides to be flirty with Warren to make Will jealous, because we haven’t gone full Disney Channel yet. Gwen gets Will to throw a party while his parents are out. Now we’ve gone full Disney Channel!

Gwen also convinces Will to not invite his real friends, and now I’m auspicious of this girl despite how nice she is. It might be because I know what happens but it’s just a hunch.

Layla shows up anyway, and Gwen goes full bitch on her, so she leaves. That part was basically Gwen’s fault but in the end that’s the whole point. Will finds this out and dumps her on the spot. Awesome.

His parents show up and are mad but not so much so that this has too many consequences for him. But he decides on his own to skip homecoming since he’s sad.

Will sulks by himself, when he happens to be going through an old yearbook and notices someone who looks like Gwen is in it, dun dun dun. You’ll see what that fully means in a bit.

And that bit comes a few minutes later, as the dance Gwen reveals herself to be Royal Pain, aka Evil Patrick Warburton. Yeah, that was a voice changer, weird. And yep, we have a twist villain.

Christ, they really wanna marry that cliche.

She uses a ray to turn people into babies, and now Will (who shows up) and his friends must save the day. Also, Will apologizes and hooks up with Layla but they gotta move on.

Royal Pain’s plan is to raise the baby heroes as villains and create a villain school, which a good response to my earlier comment. Her motivation is that she was placed as a sidekick due to being kind of geeky, so I think we get that the system is bad.

And if you’re wondering how that all works, she was actually an old enemy from years ago became a baby and had to wait 17 years for her revenge. Now that’s dedication, I’ll give er that much.

Wait, that means she is mentally an adult and she….oh god, let’s move on.

“I made out with an old lady”

I SAID MOVE ON.

The sidekicks use their powers to help them out, and I can comment on how Layla has plant powers which they really should have realized sooner how awesome that can be.

Also, Will can fly now cuz why not. Thankfully that random reveal is following by Gwen’s mook being stopped by Ron Wilson, Bus Driver. I know X will defeat Thanos jokes are overdone but…Ron Wilson will defeat Thanos.

With his powers, Will stops an evil device from crushing Tom Kenny. No seriously, that’s him and his wife Jill Talley as this random couple. He must be the Stan Lee of the Mike Mitchell Cinematic Universe.

The device is stopped and everyone is returned to normal. The climax was going pretty well until it just sort of stopped like that. Anyway, Will and his friends are all heroes and Royal Pain is captured.

“I went through puberty twice for this?!”

With that taken care of, dance party ending time! By the way, this is a weak connection but the score for this movie was by Micheal Giacchino himself, who cored an actual MCU movie, that also heavily involved homecoming. Neat?

Will gives us a comic style wrap up, telling us that he and Lyla hooked up and that he and warren are friends. I feel that she should have gone with Warren but ah well.

“That’s high school”

The End. Oh and Ron Wilson fell into toxic waste and got superheros. Where’s his solo movie?!

(Oh and something rushed ending)

Final Thoughts:

This movies holds up decently well. My main problem was actually the main story. The whole thing with Will becoming popular is pretty cliche and you know here it’s all going. There’s some nice moments like with the scene with Layla and Warren but the resolution does feel rushed.

But everything else is solid. The concept is used well, with some creative jokes and as such, I f find the first half more enjoyable as that’s where they focus on the school itself more.

I like pretty much all the characters, from Will to the villain who is enjoyably hammy if they could have been in the movie more. The actors all do a good job and the humor is decently funny.

Will getting two powers does feel cheap. The first time at least works with the story but again, this is one area where Up, Up and Away did better. But otherwise, the themes and all that work out okay.

Honestly, I kind of want a sequel of some kind so I can see more of this world, I feel like it got shackled a bit by the story at times. I feel that isn’t going to happen anytime soon but we have is still fun.

The concept leads to some fun moments, and it’s filled with enjoyable characters and some neat appearances like Bruce Campbell who really steal the show.

So yeah, Disney’s take on live action superheros turned out pretty well and is worth a visit if you haven’t seen it before. There wasn’t quite as much to comment on as I would have hoped, but I’m glad I finally got re-watch it as it was enjoyable, even with the average story.

Rating: Good

I don’t know what we’ll be doing next time but hopefully it’ll be fun.

See ya.

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

General Review: Missing Link

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s not only animated movie time again but it’s also time for a new Lakia movie. I’ve now reviewed all of them so I’ve grown an even deeper appreciation for what they do. Even their weakest movie, Boxtrolls is a really solid family film.

So now they’re back with a new adventure. It looks a bit simpler but hopefully it should still be fun. The writer/director Chris Butler previously did some of their other works like ParaNorman, so that bodes well..

…And yeah that’s it. They do great work, this looks good, let’s see how it pans out. What do you want from me?!

This, is Missing Link

Sir Lionel Frost, who sets off on an adventure to the Pacific Northwest to prove the existence of a legendary creature—Mr. Link. Frost is accompanied on his journey by Adelina Fortnight, a free-spirited, independent adventurer who just so happens to possess the only known map to their secret destination of trying to find Link.

This as the weakest of Lakia’s films so far…but it was still good. It’s their simplest one in terms of themes and such but it’s still a fun adventure that is to the point. It doesn’t add anything too nee and hits the cliché you expect in this kind of story.

It’s more of a feature than a bug to me though, but it was a tad disappointing compared to some of their other work. In terms of real problems, the villain is a fairly pointless and it can draw in the 2nd act but it picks up in the climax.

Outside of those things, it worked as a Jules Vern style adventure. Frost is a likable lead with his thirst for adventure, while still clearly needed to learn to care more about others. I was worried Link would be annoying but he was actually pretty funny.

Most of the jokes come from him and he works as comic relief, and you feel for him as he tries to find a real family. Adeline is a typical tough woman but she was still cool and she actually doesn’t hook yp with Frost despite them hinting at it, which was cool.

They capture that old school adventure tone pretty well with fun set pieces and fills it with likable characters. There’s no huge twists or anything but it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is.

The themes that are there are basic and nothing that will blow you away, but the emotional moments do work thanks to the script fleshing the characters out well enough. The voice actors help too, most notably Galifianakis as he helps make Link enjoyable.

The animation is great of course, although I don’t have too much to say about it. I wasn’t quite in awe of it like usual, but I think I’m just used to really good stop motion and it didn’t raise the bar too much on that front. Still,the designs are good and the scale is neat.

Once I got used to the simple nature of this movie, I got into it. I enjoy old school adventures and this was a good one, and it didn’t even have any pop culture jokes. It flows pretty well despite some slight padding and the ending plays out nicely, even if it is slightly abrupt. It’s just a well rounded and fun movie despite not being as interesting as the other Lakia movies.

Even Boxtrolls had more going on under the hood, but this did manage to be good without deeper themes. It’s the most audience friendly of their work to date but it’s still better than most out there as it doesn’t pander and is good for families.

If you think you’ll be disappointed by this movie based on how I’m making it sound, perhaps you should keep this in mind if you decide to see it. But most people should, as it is fun. Plus, I bet it’s not going to do well and It needs all the money it can get.

Missing Link is a fun old school adventure with stunning stop motion and likable characters that doesn'[t try to do more than it can. I think you can’t ask for more than that.

Rating: Good

I ended up liking it more than I expected despite it’s nature. I’m more kind to simple movies though, so keep that in mind.

The next time you join me for a general review, things won’t be so simple. Let’s just say we’ll be in the Endgame.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, General Reviews | Leave a comment

A Look at April Fools Episodes

Hello, Spongey here.

Oh wow, it’s April Fools day once again. It’s always a fun time over here, usually by pretending to be someone else or have someone else pretend to be me. But this year, I wanted to be myself and do something simple.

I got this idea exactly 1 year ago and couldn’t wait to actually do it. The original concept was to make a big collab kind of thing but that sounded like too much work and I got lazy so we’ll go solo this time.

Anyway, TV shows like to have fun April Fools day, usually by doing pranks of their own. But sometimes they will just an episode about the holiday. They tend to be fairly similar but it’s still fun when they do these episodes.

So today we’ll honor that. That’s right, surprise holiday review! We’ll be looking at April Fools Cartoon Episodes from Disney, CN and Nick and quickly review them in the format you all know by now.

I’m talking strictly episodes set on April Fools Day in some way, if we included prank episodes we’d be here all day. There’s not a ton, especially these days but still a fair few so it’ll be fun to see these networks handle April fools.

In hindsight, I could have thrown in live action ones too if they exist, but I forgot to so we’ll just ignore them. With that said, let’s get prank-y!

This, is A Look at April Fools Day Episodes

April Pooh [The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh]

Season 3, Episode 6a

Writer: Unknown

Airdate: October 13, 1990

Runtime; 11 Minutes

Pooh and his friends look for the April Fool, not aware that it is Christopher Robin playing jokes on them.

This episode was decent. It’s fairly typical of Pooh, with a misunderstanding that leads to amusing antics until they figure out the truth. It doesn’t break  new ground but it is cute with some amusing moments and lines.

“When I pretend to be a stump, that’s usually the reason”

It’s a simple episode with a simple goal and it’s enjoyable all the way through, but it doesn’t do anything you wouldn’t expect. It’s not one you need to rush to watch but it gets the job done as far as this kind of episode goes.

A simple start to all this but a fine one. And…yeah, that’s all I got, it’s pretty simple.

Pranksters [Rocko’s Modern Life]

Season 4, Episode 2a

Writers: George Maestri, Tim Hill, Mark Hare, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

Airdate: July 10, 1996

Runtime; 11 Minutes

April Fool’s day arrives in O-Town and Filburt becomes the butt of Rocko and Heffer’s pranks. But things change when a relative of Rocko’s is expected to visit.

This episode was pretty decent. It goes in some fun directions and it manages to stay enjoyable despite some cruel pranks. Even the cruel parks manage to be funny as the biggest jerk, Heffer, does end up being punished in a decent way.

It’s not one of the funniest episode but it’s fun to watch and the big twist is a solid one. You can see it coming but it’s still done well and is  a good pay off. I was worried at the start of this but it ended working fairly well overal.

It’s a basic prank episode but a good one, so this is one to check out for a fun prank-y watch. That’s a word now because I said so. Another basic but energetic and fun viewing experience.

Fool’s in April [SpongeBob]

Season 1, Episode 19a

Writers: Aaron Springeer, Erik Weis, Merriweather Williams.

Runtime; 11 Minutes

Airdate: April 1, 2000

Squidward plays a nasty prank on SpongeBob

This episode was pretty decent. The pacing is solid with how it spends time setting up why Squidward gets annoyed but still has time to show the prank and the fall out.

There’s some good jokes at the start with SpongeBob’s “pranks”, like that classic ice cube bit. It’s interesting to see Squid start to feel bad for the big prank and struggle to say “Sorry”.

It’s a good story that has some solid jokes. The ending can take away from it though, s the reveal of this being some sort of prank by SpongeBob gives me too many questions and seems oddly cruel.

I think all the guilt was punishment enough but ah well. The rest of the episode is good enough that I can look past the ending, but I see how it could bother others.

Otherwise,a fun episode with an interesting story for Squidward., even if the ending is a bit off.

Kooky Prank Day [CatDog]

Season 3, Episode 14a

Writers: Jon Ross and Dan Povenmire (!)

Airdate: April 1, 2000

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Cat is the butt of all the days’ pranks until he prepares his ultimate practical joke.

This episode was decent. Most of it did what I expected but it least did it okay. I expected it to be cruel at times but even when it did border on that, it wasn’t as bad as i feared. They do some unexpected jokes, like some bits that they they think are pranks but turn out to be real but they make up for those with some other parks.

Like one joke that’s a prank, then real, then a prank again, but then a joke is added that joke that makes it pretty funny.  The ending is the best part as it packs on quite a bit and Cat actually wins in the end, which I was certainly not expecting.

It’s mostly a basic episode but the fun touches like the ending make it enjoyable. Not a must watch but worth  a look if you’re interested, it might slightly surprise you compared to what you expected..

Also, on top of Tom Kenny voicing Dog, he voices an alien (don’t ask) here and uses his exact SpongeBob voice, and he talks about how he lives for prank day which was amuing given the episode I talked about right before this one.

Fool for a Day [Johnny Bravo]

Season 3, Episode 6a

Writers: John Crane, Gene Grillo, and Jed Spingarn

Runtime; 7 Minutes

Airdate: October 13, 2000

After being the butt of everyone’s April Fool’s jokes (including Suzy’s class), Johnny thinks of a way to get revenge on their teacher.

This episode was okay, It has the usual decent gags but it felt too short and nothing too new happens until the end. When Johnny gets his big idea, the episode is almost over and while the final gag is fine, it’s too predictable to be anything hilarious.

Of curse Johnny won’t think of anything until the next day, when the person he thought was pranking him is not doing so. I feel like it would have worked better if that was still on April 1st, and someone was happening to be nice, so it would make more sense.

Otherwise, it’s fine but doesn’t quite land as well as it should. An okay viewing expereince, but it’s one you can skip. Also, Tom Kenny 3 episodes in a row!

Donald’s Pumbaa Prank [House of Mouse]

Season 1, Episode 11

Writer: Henry Gilory

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: March 31, 2001

It is April Fool’s Day, and after Mickey plays a friendly prank on Donald, Pete takes advantage of Donald and convinces him to play a nasty prank that could shut down the club for good.

This episode was pretty decent. It’s another that does what you would expect, but it does it fairly well. The plot flows okay and it even has a nice ending with no dumb joke to mess it up. The pranks are funny without being cruel and even Timon gets a nice moment in here.

The cartoons are the highlight though, with the 2nd one having funny Donald/Daisy antics and the first being predictable but with well timed gags, even if Mickey feels oddly cruel early on. Still, always nice to see him being savage.

It’s a fun episode with fun cartoons and a nice ending. It worked out better than I expected to be honest. This show mostly exists to display those shorts so the plots are simple but they generally work and this was on the higher end of the many I’ve reviewed at this point.

I’d recommend it.

April Fools Day [The Wild Thornberries]

Season 3, Episode 18

Writer: Joan Considine Johnson

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: April 1, 2001

It’s April Fools’ Day, and The Thornberrys are trying to outdo each other by way of April Fool’s jokes. At first it’s a lot of fun, but when Tyler and Eliza encounter some quicksand and a lion, will they learn not to cry wolf

This episode was okay. It does everything we’ve seen so far and is nothing too special. This shows episodes are 22 minutes by default but this one could have been 11 minutes, as it does drag in places.

It’s fine to watch but I wasn’t too engaged nor was is that funny for the most part. Nigel isn’t even in that much. There is some nice stuff with Debbie and the ending was decent but the rest is pretty average.

It’s perfectly fine. It goes in the directions you’d expect and has a fine ending and won’t wow you but it’ll be a passable watch. If you want anything noteworthy, you skip this one but I’ve seen worse and it doesn’t do anything too bad.

Also, Tyler is voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Neat.

April Fools Day [Hey Arnold]

Season 5, Episode 14

Writers; Craig Bartlett, Michelle Lamoreaux & Joseph Purdy

Runtime; 22 Minutes

Airdate: April 1, 2002

Arnold is sick and tired of everybody performing their April Fools jokes on him (especially Helga), so he tries one of his own, but it backfires when it temporarily blinds Helga.

This episode was surprisingly meh. The start is okay with a few amusing gas, and Eugene gets some good bits in but otherwise this felt overlong and wasn’t very funny/interesting.

This should have been an 11 minute episode, with Arnold’s prank being the climax but here it moves forward and basically becomes a rehash of that episode where Helga pretends to lose her memory.

But here it just feels cruel and gets very repetitive.  Also, the episode rightfully know it’s bad that Arnold goes too far in getting back at Helga…but then he gets back at her when the truth comes out and it’s treated as a good thing.

Way to go against your own message! I’d forgive this if the story or humor were good, but the story is a repetitive rehash and only some of it was funny. It just ends up being a waste of an episode that is confused by it’s own message.

That episode it rehashes and the SpongeBob episode did these ideas a lot better. This episode on the other hand is just mediocre and easily a skip. I see where it could have worked but overall, it is confusing and overlong.

Disappointing, to say the least.

April’s Fools [A Told by Ginger]

Season 2, Episode 10

Writer; Vera Duffy

Runtime: 22 minutes

Airdate: April 21, 2002

Ginger decided to play an April’s Fools joke on Dodie by forging a love note from the weirdest guy in school.

This episode was decent. I should dislike it for the cruel nature of some of it, but Ginger does regret it fairly quickly in a natural way and it makes for an okay story of escalation.  Things get out of control in an amusing way and Carl’s subplot involving a weird prank of his own breaks things up okay.

It doesn’t break new ground but it works better than it should.  The ending is sort of cruel but they make up for it with Ginger’s reaction and it’s again, better than it should be. It’s not super funny or a really great story, but it’s a fine one.

Yeah, fine is the word of the day. Better than I expected, but not a must see or anything.

Fools Day Out [Fairly Odd Parents]

Season 2, Episode 11a

Writers: Jack Thomas, Butch Hartman & Steve Marmel

Runtime; 11 Minutes

Airdate: October 11, 2002

Tired of being pranked by everyone, Timmy summons the April Fool, the ultimate prankster, but Timmy does not know that once the April Fool starts, he does not know when to stop. Now, Timmy and his fairies have to stop him.

This episode was pretty decent. The April Fools being a Seinfeld parody alone makes it worth watching as that idea is just the best. He was in the Christmas episode but this full episode of him works fairly well.

There’s a decent message about the line between being funny and cruel, which is amusing given the kind of stuff this show can do sometimes. But it’s done well here and it handles that balance okay.

Some of it doesn’t land totally but the jokes that work do work, like Jorgen’s appearance or how Cosmo keeps laughing at the most random things.  This episode could have bombed but they keep it funny and it’s a solid ride.

They even set up how they defeat April Fool, as obvious as it is. The ending works out nicely and overall it’s just a fun foolish time that’s worth a watch.

…Pudding.

April Fools [Penguins of Madagascar]

Season 2, Episode 11a

Writers: Bill Motz & Bob Roth

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: October 2, 2010

After learning about April Fools Day, Julien then decides to set about pulling pranks on the zoo animals, claiming that it is OK to do so in August because he had only just learned of the concept.

I’m slightly cheating with this one but it’s tied enough to April Fools to count for me. Anyway, this episode was decent. I was worried at the start but it got better as the penguins try to resist his pranks and Julien gets what he deserves.

It has good fast paced humor and the story works out okay. Julien learns his lesson, even if he’s just gonna forget about it in the next episode. There’s some fun antics and Julien’s behavior is generally enjoyable  here as they keep it funny and there’s an equal balance in the end with the others.

It’s interesting to see a prank retaliation be seen as good but it works for a comedy show and it’s refreshing. Not a must see, but still  a fun watch.

April Fools Rules  [The Loud House]

Season 1, Episode 18a

Writers: Sammie Crowley & Whitney Wetta

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: September 23, 2016

On April Fools’ Day, Luan’s pranking is at its all-time high, causing Lincoln, his other sisters, his parents, and Clyde to do all they can to try to avoid Luan’s pranks.

This actually started a series of episodes that will take up the rest of this post. They are a bit divisive, because it is odd to have Luan turn into a psychopath and then we’re expected to like here in other episodes.

I get that but I still think think this first one is pretty good. Her pranks are kept funny and don’t get too mean for the most part. I like how “evil” she is here, complete with a bond villain cat.  It feels cartoon-y enough to not be harsh.

And aside from that, we have Lincoln being willingly to prank himself so that Ronnie-Ann isn’t pranked when she gets here which is pretty nice. Then there’s a twist that winds up working well and gives Luan some solid comeuppance.

This episode holds up pretty well, even after the sequel episodes. Luan’s anitcs are funny, it’s a neat concept and has a great ending. Seeing her classic puns being applied to these pranks is a funny combo and the episode overall is a solid effort.

It’s one to watch if you’re open to the idea.

Fool’s Paradise [The Loud House]

Season 2, Episode 16a

Writers: Sammie Crowley & Whitney Wetta

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: June 12, 2017

April Fools’ Day is approaching as the Loud Family discover a brochure for a clown camp, which they drop Luan off at. When they stop at a motel, strange pranks start happening to them such as the van breaking down unexpectedly.

This episode made me realized exactly why people took issue with the first one, as  Luan feels more cruel here as this plays out like a slasher movie with the family being “picked off”. Then there’s the very end which is a bit iffy on here.

But despite that, I enjoy this one. The horror vibe makes it pretty fun and a family member that betrayed them makes up for it and Luan again gets punished. The very end takes away from it but it still works.

It’s a fun follow up that raises the stakes, even if it comes at the expense of the charecter. If you can look past that, it’s a pretty fun story all around, even if it’s lesser than the first one. And finally…

Fool Me Twice [The Loud House]

Season 3, Episode 5a

Writer: Kyle Marshall

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: February 9, 2018

April Fools’ Day is tomorrow, and the Loud family works to find a way to keep Luan from pranking them. The Loud family hires stunt doubles in order to fool Luan.

This was the best of the trilogy, mostly due to the ending. Luan finally ends up feeling about her actions, ontop of getting what she deserves. The ending is way better and happier this time, while still having plenty of wacky jokes.

Those mixed on the others will enjoy this one more. The doubles are fun (especially Lincoln’s, who is an old man) and lead to good comedy. Add a solid story and great ending and you have an episode most people can get fooled by.

All 3 were fun but this felt the most complete to me, all are worth watching to me. And it’s a good note to end on.

 

And those were some april fools episode, from the main kids networks. Overall, these episodes were…there. There’s only so much you can do with April Fools so a lot of those were pretty same-y. Most were at least (except for Hey Arnold. Somehow that’s the only show that had a pretty weak one) but they tended to be fairly standard.

Thus, they were were hard to review but I think I did okay. My favorites were the Loud House ones are they felt the most creative to me, but SpongeBob and Fairly Odd Parents’ were solid efforts too.

Those are the ones to check out but most of those aren’t bad if you want to get silly. I hope if any of these networks do new ones, they get more creative so they can out more. I think episodes that serve as jokes themselves tend to be better but ah well.

This was  a quick fun time for me. Next year I might be more ambitious but we’ll see. With all that said, have a happy April Fools day!

See ya.

Posted in A Look At, Animation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pup Star World Tour

Easily the most boring movie to feature a dog rap battle ever.

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/pup-star/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/pup-star-better-2gether/

Hello, Spongey here.

So for this review I was going to cover Swan Princess 6…but I found that it didn’t give me much to talk about. It was a bit better than some of the others, but it was just really boring and not funny bad like the previous movie was. So I watched the 7th one and it was the same. I hardly even remember them and I watched them a couple weeks ago!

I’ll try the 8th one someday but I fear it won’t give me much to say either, meaning we may be done with that franchise. But don’t worry, I’ve got other franchises I can take care of. So today we’re going back to Pup Star.

Yep, Robert Vince’s current amazing franchise just keeps on chugging. 2018 even blessed us with two of these so of course we gotta cover them. The first two were pretty weak, with plenty of stereotypes, dumb jokes, and even dumber villains.

You can check out those reviews for more details but the short version is that they were sucky. So how did the 3rd attempt pan out? We all know it will be more of the same but exactly how bad is it?

We have the same crew as always so let’s jump in and see how Vince’s work continues to amaze.

This, is Pup Star World Tour

The movie starts with an animated music video from our superstar hero Tiny, which is honestly less honestly catch than the opening song from the last movie. This video is her way of announcing that Pup Star is going on a world tour.

The first movie was pretty much a world tour but okay. Also, Tiny’s a Pup Star Judge now.

“She’s quite a pup, huh? What’s next, Bark’s back?”

….Wow, that was beyond force. And lo and behold, Bark is back but he’s getting help from a canine corectionel facility that is lead by someone who is clearly Roland in disguise. How did he set all this up? How does no one know who this is? How did they escape from prison?

Never explained, of course. He’s showing off the place, and we see some dogs watching sad movie clips and the one they are watching right now…is from Air Bud.

…I think the universe just imploded on itself.

Once my brain settles from that, we get the Pup Star Judges calling their family back home, which leads to even more stereotypes than the first movie, if you can believe that.

I’m not doing the counter since I already did it and I think you’ll get the point pretty quickly. In this scene alone, we got stuffy brits, Jamacans, and some Jersey Dogs.

A bit later, Tiny and the gang (and her owner) head out on their world tour, with their first stop being India, oh boy. It’s what you would expect, but the song we get here from Raji is actually pretty okay. Even if it’s so clearly not his voice. (He’s the Baljeet dog from the first one).

We go back to the Brits, as Roland manages to kidnap Simon Growl’s family because they are idiots who fall for anything. Side note, there’s a small bit where Tiny is calling Scrappy and it reminds me that she is barely in this. Despite being part of an important reveal in the last one.

They repeat that formula for about 10 minutes: They go to a country to offend people, someone sings, and Roland captures a judge’s family. Seriously, not much really progresses beyond that.

The movie is 20 something minutes in once they’re done with all that and we get some new plot points. Can you tell this won’t be the most plot heavy film ever?

One of the contestants is Mexican Soap Opera Star Julio, voiced by Gabe from Elena of Avalor. He’s got a name but that’s what I know him as. The villains approach him and pretty much force him to do what they say.

They make him lip sync to Bark’s singing, and thankfully no one minds that his accent is way less pronounced than before. Yes, they did do a plan like this in the last movie, but they tweaked it so it’s totally different.

Their full plan is for Tiny to fall for Julio so they mess with her and stuff. It’s smarter than their last plan but it’s pretty convoluted in places. It also requires everyone else to be stupid.

The world tour ends and Julio will be staying with Tiny for a while. Yes, the titular world tour ends about 30 minutes in. I mean, at least now the rest can be less repetitive but come on!

Also, the clips of the Spanish Soap Opera we see are far more enjoyable than the actual movie we’re watching. And before we move on, I must inform you we still have some puns, such as Canine West. Because life is suffering.

Roland and Kano meet up with Julio that night, and tells him to get some tabloid pics of him with Tiny. This seems like an unneeded add on to their plan but whatever, it’s not the stupidest part of it.

The next day, Julio and Tiny go out for dinner and Kano does that thing where you feed someone lines for them to say. I like how she can’t hear Kano’s voice despite him not being that quiet.

She says she’s with P.U.P., a character who’s just kind of existed in this and not in the other movies from what I recall. Nor has there been any indication they were together so unless she means in some other way, I think she’s lying.

The scene just kind of ends and the next day the pics leak.

“Don’t believe their lies and fake news!”

….I’m done. Well, not really but like, in a figurative sense I’m done.

Julio pins this on their manager and he’s fired, as they don’t even try to hear him out. Jerks.

“It’s all right Julio, it’s not like you published the photos”

Oh the irony!

Roland captures Scrappy at a recording studio with clearly the worst security ever and take her to that facility. Bark tells Scrappy his plan to win pup star with his singing voice, and I guess him winning under the guise of someone else validates him and that’s why the plan is supposed to be good.

I mean, it’s better than his plan in the 2nd one, but it’s a lot of hoops to go through for lame reasons. Why not just use the romance angle to get Tiny over here? That sounds easier.

“Oh my dog!”

Die.

We move on the finale, where the equipment shorts out and Julio’s real singing voice is revealed. They sweep under the rug but Tiny finds it odd and thankfully it doesn’t take her too long to put two and two together.

Julio left behind a paper that mentions that facility (for some reason’) and then they find out Roland runs out. As in, he runs it under his name, he’s pretty much not in disguise.

And people still trust this place and don’t recognize him because this movie is stupid.

Tiny’s Owners Dad and some others show up in disguise and for no reason P.U.P and Scrappy get into a rap battle. The previous one had one too and both times I wanted to die.

The dogs then band together and manage to break out. This takes longer than I would have liked and it basically gives me nothing to joke about because of how dry it is while also being stupid.

They put in some musical numbers, some of which are the same from earlier, in-between all this to pad this out even more. Back at the show, the judges find out their families were dognapped and they are being bribed into voting for Julio.

Okay, now their plan makes sense but it’s still to an odd means. Tiny finds out about all this but there’s not much she can do for now, but thankfully it does not take long for Julio to be exposed for lip syncing. That was fast but at least we’re almost done.

Scrappy and the others show up, meaning everything kind of worked itself out and Tiny was pretty useless in this movie.

“And I would have gotten away with if it too, if it weren’t for you meddling pups!”

Sigh.

“I’ll be back”

Yeah, there’s a 4th movie because my work is never done.

The bad guys are arrested and Tiny has a forced speech to make us think this movie was about something. This leads into the final song, just like the other movies.

And the film abruptly ends after that, which I’m okay with because I can finally finish this thing. There’s some mid credits stuff but it’s just quick little bits and nothing important.

The freaking end.

Final Thoughts:

This review wasn’t exactly my best, mostly because the movie gave me very little to work with. Yet I did it anyway because I had some stuff to say and…I needed to get a review out.

Plus, I wanted to get across how weak this one is. It’s easily the worst of these movies so far. The songs are better and there’s a few amusing moments with the villains but everything else is so weak.

This feels like a plot for a TV episode stretched out to 80 minutes, there’s that much blatant padding. The first two weren’t exactly plot heavy but this feels so light on substance.

They at least tried to have some takeaway in the first two but this really has nothing. That’d be fine if what we had was still okay but it is not. The actual world tour ends early on and the actual story takes like a half hour to truly get started.

The set up doesn’t make much sense and it’s just not very interesting or fun. It’s not even funny bad like the others could be, this is just straight up boring. If a dumb kids animal movie isn’t going to be so good, at least be memorable insane.

This isn’t. It’s boring and really only should be viewed by kids and even then there’s better, even in Vince’s amazing filmography. This is just dull, weakly written and not really worth it, not even ironically.

Rating: Meh

Again, sorry about the weak review but I did what I could do. Hopefully the next Pup Star film will give me more to discuss but it’s a Christmas movie so it’ll be a bit before we discover its wonders.

Anyway, next time we’ll cover a good movie, and it’s fairly super.

See ya.

Posted in Scene by Scene Reviews | Leave a comment

General Review: Wonder Park

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s finally time for a 2019 animated film that isn’t a sequel, and it comes to us from Nickelodeon. It’s been way too long since they’re last original animated film, so I was interesting in this one.

The concept sounded like an interesting one with some fun possibilities. The trailers weren’t the best but the later ones worked better at selling this movie, at least compared to the previous ones.

Nick clearly has a lot riding on this one, with plans to maybe turn into into an animated series, along with all the ads. The buzz isn’t too high though, so we’ll see how that turns out.

The writers worked on Mission Impossible 4 and the recent live action TMNT movies, which seems like an odd choice but whatever. As of writing this section, the director is still unknown as the original one was booted off due to sexual harassment, because Sigh.

(UPDATE: There s no credited director. I have now idea why that is. They couldn’t find a replacement in time, I guess)

With that said, is this park truly full of wonder? Let’s see.

This, is Wonder Park

A young imaginative 10-year old girl named Cameron “June” Bailey spends her days constructing an amusement park filled with fantastical rides and inhabited by talking animals called Wonderland  (Yeah, the title is a lie) with her mother and her friends, but she losses her sense of imagination and wonder after her mother gets sick, until she finds the real Wonderland in the woods while at math camp. She needs to team up with the animals to stop the destruction of Wonderland by Chimpanzombies and bring it back to life.

This movie was fine. Yeah, despite the mixed reviews I enjoyed it well enough. It’s fairly flawed but perfectly passable. The main problem for me was the pacing., It felt too fast for a lot of it, and there didn’t seem to9 be much space between each line.

That sounds like a small issue but it did cause the movie too feel more hyper than it needed to be, even during the emotional moments. The general story is fairly basic and it’s easy to tell where it’s all going. This is made for kids, despite some heavy moments. Like how the mom very clearly has cancer.

Yes.

The comic relief can be annoying at times, and there’s this romance with a couple of them that is fairly pointless. But despite that, this movie fared well enough for what it is. It has a nice message about keeping that wonder even things get dark and they at least point out that the darkness might always stay there in some form.

Although I will say the ending was a total cop out. I can see it bringing things down for people, even if I’m still letting the movie off easy despite it.

It flows well enough with a decent amount of charm, and the lead is pretty likable. The others don’t make that much of an impact, but they aren’t the worst at least. Even the annoying ones are far from awful. There’s some solid emotional moments as well, and I think they’re decently handled.

The animation is really good, with strong movements and some decent creative moments, even if the overall style isn’t going to blow you away or anything. In the least, it’s a pretty movie to look at.

Oh and the voice acting is good, but I wouldn’t say anyone stands out a ton, even with the big names. Although the lead does really well.

As I said, this does feel more for kid with how simplistic it is, especially with how it handles the themes. But it’s still good enough for that audience, and I feel they’ll get plenty out of it as an introduction to these ideas. My oddly packed audience seemed to enjoy it fine.

If you’re an adult, you won’t mind this too much but you aren’t missing a ton if you choose to just wait til home video. Kids will get into more and if you have them then it would make for a decent family outing.

I know this isn’t the most ringing endorsement but that’s how I feel. It’s a cute kids movie with some fun moments and some nice emotional beats. It would have been much better (and deeper) but it worked better than I expected, for the most part.

Not sure how they’ll get a TV Show out of this though. But this one movie is perfectly fine as it is.

Rating; Decent

Yeah, that rating alone says it all. Not exactly that good, but perfectly decent. Next time, more animation as we find the missing link.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, General Reviews | Leave a comment

General Review: Captain Marvel

Hello, Spongey here,

It’s finally time for our first MCU film of the year. They’ve got 3 for us again, which is a bit overkill but hopefully they’re good. Before we reach the Endgame, it’s time for someone else to get the spotlight.

In this case it’s Captain Marvel, which will give us our first female lead MCU film. DC’s turned out well so I trust Marvel can do the same. Not a lot to say for the movie itself, hopefully it’ll lead into Endgame well enough.

The directors did a few movies I’m not familiar with, and they also were the writers, alongside someone who did re-writers for last years Tomb Raider movie, which I haven’t seen. Yeah, not a ton to say there.

So how good will this Marvel movie be? Will it be another actually good female superhero movie? Let’s see.

This, is Captain Marvel

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

As far as MCU movies go, this is in “Nothing great but still enjoyable” camp. It’s simply a solid and fun superhero movie that doesn’t anything exemplary. If you’re expecting the next Black Panther, you should lower your expectations.

If these kind of MCU movies don’t do much for yo, I get it and you’d be okay if you skipped out. But for everyone else, this will be another fun entry. The story doesn’t have deep themes and the script mostly plays it safe and sticks to the Marvel formula, with a merely passable villain.

But what makes it is the chemistry between Brie Larson as Carol and Samuel Jackson as Fury. Their back and forth is highly enjoyable and brings the movie up a fair bit,. The deaging effects have basically been perfected on Fury, so that makes their scenes extra impressive.

Carol is a good and very likable hero, being charming and badass. She starts out with a lost memory so the movie slowly reveals her backstory, which is the highlight of the story. It leads t some nice moments later on.

The action is enjoyable, just nothing amazing. The effects are of course solid, and there’s some nice lighting at times so those who care about that kind of thing won’t be too upset.

Captain Marvel does exactly what it needs to do and it does it pretty well. When it gets going, it’s a lot of fun with likable leads and and decent action. It doesn’t rewrite the MCU or anything, but it’s a nice way to lead into Endgame.

Speaking of, the mid credits is pretty typical but the post credits scene is great. As for the other MCU staple, the Stan Lee cameo is one of the best ones and of course there is an amazing tribute to him at the start.

I know some people scoff when a MCU movie is on this level, and basically acts like they’re terrible not being super deep masterpieces or whatever. It’s fine to prefer more complicated stuff, but sometimes a simple and fun movie is what you need.

Even the lesser MCU’s still have plenty of effort put into them and aren’t super stupid like certain blockbusters out there. You can have any opinions on these movies you want, but anyone who likes ones like this aren’t idiots praising mediocrity or whatever.

But still, pretty solid entry with a pretty likable lead. Not much else to say, bring on Endgame.

Rating; Good

I wish it was perhaps a bit better but as it is, I can live with it being pretty good. Next week, an animated amusement park.

See ya.

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

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Still a better Goosebumps sequel than Monster Blood 2
 

Goosebumps 2 is property of Sony

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/goosebumps/

Hello, Spongey here.

Time to tackle another film from last year I pretty had to cover. Those monthly Goosebumps reviews may be over for the moment but of course least year gave us a sequel to the 2015 film for me to take a look at.

I reviewed it back in 2016 so check that out if you want some extra details. The short version is that much the series itself, it’s pretty flawed but still enjoyable with Jack Black’s R.L. Stine being an unexpected highlight.

It was a hit so of course they green lit a sequel, but the road to it reaching theaters was a bit bumpy. The release date was shifted a few times and they kept changing their minds on what it would even be all about, as the title that was revealed in 2017 was “Goosebumps HorrorLand”, implying an amazing concept that we is not in the final product.

The director of the first movie was going to return but he had to do something else so he was replaced with the director of The Duff. At least the main original writer came back, along with a new one who previously was a writer on the Peter Rabbit movie from earlier the same year.

They weren’t sure if they could even get Jack Black back, so they wrote two versions of the script, one with him and one without him. This was reported in December 2017,  meaning whichever they went with happened at the last minute.

They did kind of go with the former but we’ll get to that. We’ve got a new cast aside from him which I’m okay with as it is fits the anthology nature of the series,  but the way this connects itself is odd, but that’s another thing we’ll get to.

The was released to mediocre reviews and even more mediocre box office, but it cost way less to make it so I don’t think it hurt Sony too much. But this sadly means we may not get another movie, at least not one connected directly to these first two.

But is all that deserved? Does it truly continue the streak of lackluster Goosebumps sequels? Well, yeah but how so? And why did they randomly put the Sony Pictures Animation name on both of these? Let’s take a peek and see what the damage is.

This, is Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.

…Or just Goosebumps 2, as it’s called in the home release. The weird thing is this is the 2nd 2018 Sony release to remove the subtitle in home release, but at least Hotel 3 got its subtitle back in the Netflix version…for some reason.

Anyway, the movie opens on one of our protagonists Sarah (played by a 22 year old playing a high schooler), writing an essay on fear, in hopes of getting into college. Yes, cuz that’s the kind of conflict Goosebumps is all about!

But yeah, I’m sure nothing in this story will happen to give her something to write about. She hears a creepy noise but wait, it’s just her boyfriend Tyler. Well, they still have those fake outs down.

“I got you a care package, Pringles”

#NotSponsored

Her Mom, played by Wendi McLedon-Vovey, comes in and comments on how totally not quiet they were being. At least she’s self aware. Tyler leaves and we cut to the next morning as we join her brother Sonny and his friend Sam, the latter of which is played by Clyde from The Loud House.

The family goes to the store where we get discussion of Sarah’s future and an appearance from Chris Parnell who is only slightly less wasted here than in Life of the Party.

“Thanks for checking me out…ringing up my purchases!”

…I ship it.

Later at school, the boys face against some Goosebumps bullies but then that scene just ends as we join Sarah in the library as she works there and tells Tyler his account is frozen.

“Damn”

Whoa, and I thought them saying “sucks” in the first movie was pushing it!

Tyler wants to sneak out that night but before then, the kids are working on their garbage cleanup business. This is a scheme that is more at home on Loud House then in a Goosebumps movie but whatever, it if gets the plot started.

They are called up to clean out a scary looking house where we get a literal cat scare. They find a secret compartment in the house where Sam thinks there may be something nice, like bitcoins.

These writers are down with the kids. Sonny points out the obvious, by the way.

The only thing in there is a locked manuscript that doesn’t even have a title on it. But of course, it’s still able to unleash horrors in the form of Slappy. But while the version of Slappy that comes out of the book in the first one was already alive, this one needs the words to bring him to life and thankfully those are there.

They read it and for the next while, this movie becomes a Living Dummy story, because I’m not having enough of those with the SlappyWorld books. He isn’t moving at the moment so they decide to take him and they bump into the bullies.

Slappy actually helps them out as he uses his mind powers to pants them. This is never been a power he has but it’ll make some sort of sense later. The kids escape and make it back home, where Sarah leaves to hang out with her boyfriend.

But that turns sour when she sees him kissing another girl. Yeah, totally the kind of scene I expected to see in a Goosebumps movie. Well okay, the first had plenty of that kind of thing too but this is especially cliche so I don’t like it.

And it doesn’t have a huge impact on the plot, although it does come back somewhat. Meanwhile, Sonny is working on a project in his room, while has a Spider-Man plush In the background to remind me of a better 2018 Sony movie featuring someone writing an essay I could be watching

It’s not going well and his night gets worse, as it’s now of the living dummy. Slappy speaks up, I mean. Jack Black didn’t come back to voice him as he is replaced by Mick Wingert who does a good enough job that I couldn’t tell until the credits, so good on him.

“I’ve always wanted a brother”

You had a bride, a son and technically a daughter, who more do you need?

Slappy actually pretends to be nice, which fails given what this is a sequel to and is based on. But hey, it’s something new for a Slappy story at least. Slappy uses his powers to do things for them and that convinces them he’s on the up and up.

They are taking this “talking dummy” thing oddly well.

Slappy can also bring other things to life by speaking those words, which is another cool power to give him that I wish the books used. He even brings some Street Fighter action figures to life!

Yes, that happens.

They chill out with some video games (I knew Slappy was a gamer!), then Sarah comes home and then less than a minute later we cut to them all asleep. The character balancing in this isn’t the best.

Slappy stows away in Sarah’s backpack the next day so he can track down her boyfriend and get revenge on him. It’s a nice gesture even if he’s doing it to be evil.

I will say this scene where he makes Tyler fall of a ladder is pretty good, decently creepy compared to most of the stuff in these movies and it works. I honestly find Slappy more threatening in these movies than in the books, so it gets points for that.

Tyler is hauled away while Sonny is showing off his project in class, which goes wrong because Slappy messed with it. Sonny and Sam run into Sarah who tells them that Tyler was talking about a dummy, and boom she thinks something is up.

One of the few times where I’m okay with a Goosebumps character jumping to conclusions.

“You discovered a walking talking dummy, and you didn’t tell me?”

Would you have believed them? Thought so.

“As a general rule, when an animated doll tells you to keep secrets, that’s a red flag”

She’s got you there.

They go home where they try saying the words again to put him to sleep but it fails because even the movies flip flop on if that works. Mom gets a call about the science fair disaster, so she cancels Halloween for them.

Yes, even Sarah even though she didn’t do anything besides claim Slappy was alive. The first movie actually had a good Goosebumps parent, so I’m glad the sequel fixed that.

Sarah awesomely knocks Slappy out and they dump his body out in the woods, which I’m sure will work as well as that always does. Sam mentioned the fireplace which makes me think they should just burn the dummy but whatever.

“We just killed a puppet”

10/10.

Then Slappy magically appears on their car on their way home (in a totally convincing effect), somehow. They get him off and go home to forget about that I guess.

Now it is Halloween night, because there’s no way I was waiting until October to review this. They do some research and find out about the events of the first movie, with monsters rampaging all over a town and what not.

“An FBI spokesperson said strange weather patterns were to blown but there were rumors of a cover up for something far stranger”

….Really? We’re going the Transformers 2 route where they somehow cover up a giant rampage? Seriously? I appreciate the connection to the first one but this is just dumb.

But whatever, they figure out Slappy is R.L. Stine’s creation and that the book they found unleashed him. Google tells them that book was his first unpublished manuscript, titled Haunted Halloween

Oh that’s why it’s called that.

Apparently Slappy was at the center of his first attempt at a story, and it was left in his old house hence how this is all going on. Okay, this explains the story on some level but you gotta wonder why this Stine kept making Slappy books to begin with given how the first one turned out.

Speaking of the devil, Slappy goes to the store and uses his powers to bring masks of the Goosebumps monsters to life. Yep, they aren’t coming from the books this time, as they are instead just masks brought to life.

I guess that’s all they could do given most of the books were burned but come on. And the monsters this time are either just ones from the first, or totally original ones I don’t care about. So we’ve lost that nostalgia grab aspect the first ran on, but not in a good way.

Well okay, we get one new addition from the books: The Haunted Mask….and by that I mean the old man mask from Haunted Mask II, which Slappy puts on Chris Parnell, and he doesn’t even act much like an old man. That disappointed me on so many levels.

But on the bright side, I can now comment on how The Werewolf of Fever Swap is wearing Converse sneakers. You know, the shoes Tim Jacobus had a fetish for. Nevermind, both films are 10/10/.

The kids can’t track down Stine as apparently he’s back into hiding, which kind of ruins the ending of the first one. There’s no sign of Hannah, by the way. We do quickly find out he’s back  tocalling himself Mr. Shivers and they put two and two together.

They call him and while he isn’t home, we get to finally Jack Black’s voice on the answering machine. Enjoy that, it’s all you got for a while. They head outside and bump into the bullies and demand they give them the book back, cuz oh yeah they took it earlier I guess.

Also, Sarah gets an awesome moment where she stands up to them and says “Hell” in a Goosebumps movie!

-”And the only thing you’ll be using that toilet paper for is to wipe your-”

PERFECT FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT.

They go to their house to get the book, while Slappy uses a tesla tower to hopefully project his power. This Telsa thing was built up, so you can’t say this movie isn’t educational.

He uses it and a bunch of new monsters are made, including evil gummi bears. Yes. They even do the “Maybe their friendly” shtick they did with the lawn gnomes in the first one, but I’ll admit this is still a creative enough idea.

They defeat them by sucking them into the book, even though they didn’t come from that book, or any book. Or did the plot of the book involve him bringing these monsters to life? They imply that later on but don’t really say.

“Who would write this?!”

That’s what a lot of people say when they read a Stine book.

The book says Slappy wanted to create a family, including a mother. I see the other Slappy books left that part out. Then again he had a son once so it’s almost in line?

They figure their Mom is in danger so they go around sucking monsters into the book. We also get a stupid pumpkin who is stupid after apparently crushed by one of the kids.

You can read into that however you like.

Sonny then murders him along with his other living pumpkin friends. Now that is some perfect family entertainment.

They fight off more monsters and bump into some help via their neighbor, played by Ken Jeong who is annoying mode for this one. At least this scene has a nice moment where Sarah blames herself for all this and Sonny assures her it isn’t.

“This is a classic Goosebumps moment”

Not really. I think Living Dummy 2 is the closest they got t a moment like this.

They get to where Slappy is hiding out, while Jack Black Stine finally makes his grand appearance back outside.

“Oh, my writing was so cliche back then”

….No comment. Oh and then he sees a red balloon.

“I knew I came up with that first!”

Okay, that’s funny. This small appearance reminded of how he really is the star of these movies. Anyway, what is Slappy up to?

…Oh. Now that’s scarier than anything in the books. Yeah, he turned Mom into a puppet and is going to end the story his way.

“Momma, babysit the children for me”

Man, Mary Ellen is gonna be pissed.

We get a showdown at the top of the tower as Sarah eventually tricks Slappy into getting electrocuted and sucks the monsters back into the books. Not exactly super epic (Slappy doesn’t get to say his last words) but I’ve seen worse, I can live.

Mom is saved and Stine shows up only to see everything has been taken care of. I think they went with the Black-less script but he agreed at the last minute and this was the result.

It is amusing see Jack Black next to the person he sort of played by Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle though.

Mom and Chris Parnell had their  memories conveniently erased, along with everyone else. Now that’s just cheap but whatever. Stine gives Sarah some extra confidence and we go back her doing her essay to wrap up whatever we learned today.

“What I’ve learned is that it’s good to be scared sometimes”

Yeah, sure. Then we get our now obligatory R.L. Stine cameo, as he gives Sonny his award for winning the science fair and he just says “Congratulations Sonny”. Lame.

She gets into college, which she finds it out during Christmas break so Goosebumps 2 is now a Christmas movie, yay! Things seem to be happy but this is still a Goosebumps movie, so it’s time for the twist ending.

Stine finishes up a book in his cabin (again, no sign of Hannah or anyone else) when Slappy appears! Apparently the book happened to not get him, somehow.

“You know I always survive. You wrote me that way”

Okay, I like the lampshading there.

“Infact, I wrote my own story while I was gone. And guess what? You’re the main character”

Stine is sucked into the book, the end Okay, this is actually kind of an awesome concept. Imagine a 3rd movie where they go into this book Slappy made and face off against the crazy things he made for it.

This frankly should have been this movie, Sony did this concept already with Jumanji after all. But nope, it gets relegated to a sequel hook that will never be paid off. Darn.

Ah well.

Final Thoughts:

This was pretty middling. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t that good either way. To start with the positives, I like that it’s a bit closer tonally to the books with part of the focus being on two kids, and there’s some fun moments and ideas. The actors are all pretty good, and Jack Black steals the show with his limited screen time.

Everything else is pretty eh. The characters aren’t that interesting, some of the humor falls flat, and the overall story is just a Slappy book combined with the table scraps of the first movie.

While the first at least had some clever humor and references to get some adults in, this barely has any of that. It’s weird how it’s close to the Goosebumps mold while appealing less to me. And it’s not like that couldn’t work, movies like Monster House pull off that formula pretty well while still having a charm to it.

The effects, while not awful, can be weak at times, although the composer does a good job replicating Danny Elfman’s score for the first one at least. It doesn’t do anything too terrible, but it mostly goes through the motions with rather flat characters.

You can tell this was rushed out the door and that’s a shame. There’s plenty of directions they could have gone, but instead we got a very middling affair with a few decent moments here and there.

The first movie was very flawed but sitll decently enjoyable for what is. This, is the kind of movies kids will eat up while everyone else will be pretty ambivalent. Far from the worst Goosebumps sequel, but still…eh.

Rating: Average

The funny thing is, around when this came out, Jack Black was in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which at times plays out like a better version of this movie. It’s nothing fantastic but still a fun enough romp. Watch that instead.

Happy, Marchtoper everyone!

Next time, more of some “old” friends.

See ya.

Posted in Halloween/Horror Reviews, R.L Stine Reviews, Scene by Scene Reviews, Uncategorized | 2 Comments