Shake It Up-Review It Up

Hello, Spongey here.

It didn’t take long to follow up on my promise, eh? Yep, I said I’d do some TV reviews, and here I am. This time we’re going back to the Wonderful world of Disney Channel.

A while ago, I started a retrospective on Disney Sitcoms. ..Yeah, I’m not finishing it. My work got eaten up and a bunch of crap came up that prevented me from wanting to do it. I bet you all wanted me to go into the deep complexities of Dog with a Blog, but it’s not gonna happen.

Don’t worry, I will do a little something with Disney Sitcoms but that’s going to remain a secret for now. In the meantime, a few of my upcoming TV reviews are of some of my least favorite Disney Sitcom episodes. Won’t that be fun?

First up, we have an episode from Shake It Up. Without going into too much detail (because I promise I will get to it some other time), this one is a tad low on the Disney Sitcom Totem Pole for me.

It’s still a Guilty Pleasure one but it had its share of issues. This one is about two girls named Rocky (Zendya), and Cece (Bella Thorne) who land a spot on this dance show and hilarity ensues.

It mostly fell into some of the traps of stuff like Hannah Montana with the mean humor and stuff like that. It’s still alright but I’m more Apathetic to it than some others. It’s mostly notable in how its stars took off.

Seriously, I didn’t expect Zendya to explode the way she did. She was notably younger than people like Debby Ryan yet she ended up just as important to Disney. She got a couple movies, her own whole show, and a notable music career.

Bella Thorne got an Adam Sandler movie. Life is cruel. Seriously, I like her a bit more but she gets the short of the end of the stick.

And oh hey, she’s going to guest star on K.C. Undercover was part as Gimmick-y Theme Weekend #445. I hope they don’t make any dumb actor al-

“It never hurts to shake it up”:

…Dang it.

To “Celebrate” that, let’s look at my least favorite episode of Shake It Up. I’m sure there’s somehow a worse episode I haven’t watched yet, but I doubt anything can top this. It’s problem goes a bit deeper than just cruelty…though it has plenty of that.

So, let’s see how this show handles a topic that’s already tricky for writers.

This, is Review It Up

Writer: David Holden

The episode starts with Cece telling Rocky if she’s heard of a dud named Andy Burns.

“Andy Burns writes the coolest entertainment blog in Chicago. I only see movies, listen to music, or eat at Restaurants he recommends”

Nah, you’re not getting the Spongebob gag this time.

“He just burned Shake It Up Chicago”

You can immediately tell what the problem with this episode is going to be, can’t you? Yeah, roll the review…Andy’s review, not the one…I’m doing now.

“The teen jam show Shake It Up Chicago showcases some of the worst dancing ever. It should really be called Makes Me Want to Throw Up Chicago”

Eh, you could come up with a better pun than that. How about just “Throw Up Chicago?”. It’s way easier, and a bit funnier.

“The music is juvenile and the set looks like leftovers from a Disco yard sale. The only thing missing is a cheesy, egotistical host, oh wait they have that too”

See, now that’s much better.

“He gave us the grade of C-“

…Worst Dancing ever=C-? That’s way too nice given what he said. Joking aside, this eerily sounds like what a real negative of the show sounds like. Intentional? I don’t know but as we go on I think we’ll have a likely answer.

After the theme song, we start the subplot. The subplot is easily the best part of the episode, so we’ll cover that to save my sanity. Deuce, one of their friends, is hanging out with his girlfriend Dina. He talks to Rocky’s Brother, Ty, as we find out their 1 year Anniversary is coming up.

Naturally, he has trouble coming up with a cool gift and after some jokes, we sadly get back to the main plot. See, Rocky is not too happy with the review, mostly because of the grade. Cece doesn’t really care but Rocky is…well trust me, this isn’t too out of character for her. Unfortunately.

Thus, they decide to visit Andy Burns’ workplace, but are stopped by a guard. Conveniently, Andy Burns walks in at this very moment. He is played by Ben Savage. ..Well, that’s interesting, and I honestly didn’t plan for my tie in for this theme weekend to also belong right on there.

“I’m sure it’s easy to hide behind the internet and say mean things to people”-

Yep. You suck.

-“but I dare you to say it to our faces”

“Okay, your show is terrible and you’re dancing stinks”


Now, I must point out that, as you can tell, they seem to have a hard time decided what kind of person Andy is. On one hand, he seems to have a Straw Man thing going on but he also says some legitmate things here and there, and they really shouldn’t be bothered some random guy who doesn’t like them.

Well, clearly they picked the former because right after that, he is hit in the face by hot coffee, by accident. Oh boy, get ready because Theater Thug is about to look pretty tame in a bit.

Back to the subplot, Dina gets some advice from Rocky and Cece about her anniversary gift. They say she shouldn’t go too overboard with it. Sadly, she has to leave so we can get back to the crappy plot.

“Please, just Let It Go”

I will not let someone from Disney tell me that!

“It’s just a stupid review on a Stupid blog”

No, THIS is a stupid blog.

Rocky brings up a part in the review where Andy insulted Cece’s bangs and now she’s angry. Wait, how did she not see that part before? Also, now neither of these two are likable.

They head back to his building, but this time they approach his office from the side, with one of those….thingys. You know, the things that plenty of Comedies use to give wacky side of building hijinks?

They talk to him about changing the review, but he won’t budge. They try to change his mind with a dance, because dancing on a small platform high up is a great idea!

Of course, their boom box falls down and lands on Andy’s car. Then he randomly walks into the window and hurts his eye. That was contrived and not funny, but you know that already.

Back with Deuce, he tells Ty he’s gonna get Dina a hope ring. Ty says he has to give it to her in a smooth manner and so they practice. Deuce tries out a speech that makes Ty cry. Got nothing to say there, it’s actually a decent scene.

Can’t say the same for the next scene, as our “heroes” try another attempt to woo Andy. They will give him a box of chocolates and dance for him. They gang up on him in an Elevator.

They will try to dance in a small space. Guess how well this turns out.

“Thanks to you, my eye is messed up, I have a concussion, and I need a new windshield”

Ouch, I’m starting to feel kind of bad for him. I hope nothing worse happens to him next. …And the Chocolate they shove into his mouth is Coconut, which he is allergic to. Okay, as long as nothing even worse-and they start dancing in an Elevator. Why do I talk?!

Of course, this leads to him getting injured like 50 times, and it turns out he’s Claustrophobic Okay this was painful at first, but now it’s getting silly. Contstant mean spirited torture is not funny, especially with it happening as fast as it does here!

Sure, it is an accident but after the first one, these girls should know when to quit or at least feel some bad for hurting him instead of just hurting him more!

Then it just kind of moves on after the guard pops up when the Elvator opens. We cut to the next day at school as Rocky decides she just accept that she has a C. Then the subplot starts up again, yay!

Today is the big day and we get some banter. Dina acts like she forget the anniversary and he thinks she actually did. Wah wah. It’s dumb and cliché as that is, it’s still funnier than the real plot.

Dina saying she should just do things her way inspires Rocky to want to go bigger with Andy. Never mind, the subplot sucks now. We cut to his office as we see he has a seriously injured leg. This is starting to get really sad.

The girls pretended to be people offering him a free dinner at their obligatory sitcom hangout, Crusty’s Pizza. He buys it because the plot says so.
We cut to there as we see Andy is with his girlfriend and she is a huge controlling unsympathetic bitch. Seriously, this is depressing. Anyway, Deuce bakes his ring into a pizza as a way to patch things up with Dina.

Guess how well that goes.

Speaking of things going badly, Rocky and Cece pop to dance for Andy. After a few minutes of that, it seems to have gone well…but Decue’s ring ends up in Andy’s girlfriends Pizza.

“Andy, I will marry you!”

Okay, I have to put my foot down here. Usually, constant torture like this is just painful or stupid. This is genuinely depressing. It’s not even slapstick anymore, it’s just giving this guy bad luck for no reason.

Let’s think about this. His girlfriend here is an annoying bitch who barely cares about him, and he spent his whole week being in pain thanks to 2 girls who don’t respect opoins. I feel really bad for this guy!

Seeing this, Deuce tells Dina what happened and she finds it sweet despite the mishap. Thankfully, she got him a ring as well and it’s intact!
“Let’s promise we will always be ourselves when we’re around each other.”

End of subplot. Hmm, that was actually kind of funny, and really sweet with a decent moral. …Why wasn’t that the main plot?!

The girls talk to Andy.

“Are we really that bad?”

He admits their latest dance wasn’t too bad. But he reveals he knows some of the other dancers names, which Rocky points out.

“Tell us the truth or we’ll just follow you around for the rest of your life”

…I’m scared.

He finally reveals the truth: 15 years ago, he auditioned for Shake It Up and got rejected.

“You wrote that review after all these years to get even?”

…Wow, and I thought this episode couldn’t get any worse. Do I even did to mention the problems here?!

Let’s think about it. This whole time the critic was only being negative because he was just petty and jealous. That sends some…unfortunate implication to say the least. And so does the fact that he is tortured for this throughout the whole episode.

I’ll explain more in the final thoughts, but you already know the immediate problem here. I bet you just expected it to be like the Fluttershy Mirco with the bad moral, but this is going the extra mile to screw it up.

And again, the bit just kind of ends there, as he agrees to change the review. And because the critic who bashed them just ended up being a jealous man and changes his review, this sends out a moral even worse than it they just went the Mirco Series #4 route.

We cut to later, as Andy moves into a new place with his new wife…and its next door to Rocky and Cece. Oh come on!

To make it worse, his wife continues to be a bitch, due to this apartment being bigger than his. I won’t comment on what apartment could stand for.

“This is all your fault!”

Well, it’s actually Deuce’s fault…meaning the subplot sucks now.

“I can’t see anymore, I’m going blind, I’m seeing spots. I’ve got to get out of this place!”

He runs and…falls down the stairs.

“Bad fall”

“Eh, I give it a B-“

Ugh. Of course, this is where the episode ends. This has to be the most depressing Tween sitcom episode ever made, with this ending. He’s changing the grade and he’s still being tortured?

Whatever, at least we’re done here.

Final Thoughts:

It’s somewhat common for writers to screw up a story like this. You know how they screw it up: By having the story say ‘screw all Critics”. That’s….not good. However, some have good intentions despite that, like the Austin & Ally episode “Critic & Confidence’ which is flawed but at least tries.

Then there’s the Big Time Rush episode “Big Time Blogger”. Guess how the conflict with the reviewer is solved. It’s solved when the boys stop doing the thing they were criticized for!

Yes, sometimes some people criticize you, you honestly do have a problem to fix. I know, what a novel concept! Sadly, that’s the closest episode like this I’ve seen to getting it right, though a Littlest Pet Shop did manage to spin it in a different direction. So if that counts, it’s the best I’ve seen, but that’s a discussion for another time.

This episode fails even by those standards. We have the obvious problems that come from this kind of story, but it’s even worse here. They seemed to be going the route where they say to ignore criticism but instead they give us a plot point where the critic changes his grade and he was just a jealous douche the whole time.

Again, really unfortunate implications. Most stories like this don’t go THAT far with it, and at least those end up giving the bad moral. This one just avoids it, and while it gives us the moral, it’s due to terrible implications. Somehow, that’s worse because the writers couldn’t even get an easy bad moral right!

Speaking of getting things wrong, we have Andy. Usually the critic is a straw man but they couldn’t decide with this guy. If I cut out the bit with the review, he would just seem like a guy who disliked their show…and that’s it. At no point when he is on screen, does he seem like a terrible jerk by any stretch.

Only at the end does that come out, which means we’re just sitting there watching an innocent man get hurt until then. And of course I just mentioned the problem with that twist.

Then of course we have the torture, which is really cruel even by torture standards. Besides it being painful and repetitive, it just gets really sad.

I see how the usual torture can be funny, especially since the writer clearly sees him as in the wrong, but the crap with the wife is in no way funny.
It’s not slapstick, it’s not silly, and it’s just really really depressing stuff.

Hell, the fact that he was so mad he didn’t get the part that he wrote a negative review to get even, makes him even more of a tragic figure.

With all that crap that happens to him, you just feel bad for him. It’s not funny, and honestly, it’s some of the worst torture I’ve seen in a live action episode. Even a certain one we’re tackling soon doesn’t go THIS far!

On the bright side, the subplot is pretty good and there a few amusing moments here and there. But with how broken the writing is, and how painful and depressing it gets, it’s not worth it.

It’s certainly the worst episode of this show, as well as one of the worst Disney Sitcom episodes in general. I can’t even guy the good intentions argument like with that Austin and Ally episode.

So yeah, it sucks, the end.

Grade: D

I don’t know which episode I’m doing next. Maybe we’ll see who nose best, maybe we’ll go do the dogs. I don’t know, but I do know I’ll see you Wednesday for part 1 of a Bay fest!

See ya.

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Drake & Josh-Theater Thug

Hello, Spongey here.

You know what I’ve been slouching on lately? TV Reviews. I’ve never done a lot of them but in the past year so, I’ve found tons of TV episodes I’ve been wanting to tear apart. You saw the start of it with Rocket Monkeys, and I’ve got tons of turds up my sleep I want to talk about.

I’ve been getting backlogged on not so good TV episodes, and it’s time to look at them. If you love to see me blow up, this time will be great as most of these episodes did make me angry. I really hope to get a decent one in there to balance out this crap.

To start this somewhat marathon, let’s start out slow with a bad episode of a good-ish show. Or at least, I like it. Next to Spongebob, Dan Schneider is one of the biggest money makers for Nick.

He’s pretty much the only person consistently making live action shows that are hits for them, and he’s been doing it for a while. I would go a bit into his flaws and stuff like that, but trust me, I’ll do that some other time…

For now, let’s focus on one of his earlier shows, and arguably most popular, Drake and Josh. Created in 2004, this Nick Sitcom follows the lives of two teenage boys with opposite personalities, Drake Parker (Drake Bell) and Josh Nichols (Josh Peck), who become stepbrothers.

Hilarity ensued.

The show certainly wasn’t high art, but for what it was, it pretty enjoyable. The crazy antics and humor made it fun and the over the top acting actually worked pretty well, especially when it comes to Josh.

However, the show had a few of Dan’s trademarks that would later become the reasons those shows were mixed. He’s become known for really bizarre, and sometimes nonsensical humor, and most of all, Comedic Sociopaththy.

I’m not sure what it is, but torture for Comedy is an all his shows. Some episodes had it worse than others, but these shows were hurt a bit by it, and sadly, Drake & Josh is no exception.

These trademarks made the show fun but they also dragged it down. The torture was minor and it worked because the two usually deserved. But much like Ed, Edd, N Eddy, they got it wrong a few most times.

Most of those times involved Megan, their bratty and “evil” and little sister who was always torturing them. Honestly, I never hated her for for one simple reason: You’re SUPPOSED to hate her. As terrible as she is, at least she’s the VILLAIN most of the time.

She started the trend of Schneider shows having a female character that is terrible but gets away with it (Sam, Jade, etc) but at least this one was never meant to be likable. Of course, she was a problem, and at one point, I would have reviewed her worst appearance, Sheep Thrills.

But of course, I had to go and find a worse episode. However, I will bring that one up as it has the same core problem of this episode, and I’ll get to that.

So why does this episode suck so much? Today, we’re going to find out. I’m at the Bottom of the Ba-


Let’s just dig in and see why Megan may be more innocent than you think.

This, is Theater Thug

Writer: Dan Schneider


The episode, like all of them, starts with our “heroes” talking to us in those weird boxes. Yeah, if you don’t know every episode has a little intro with the two simply talking to us. Drake is giving us his deep thoughts, while Josh is at the same time. Sometimes’ related to the episode, sometimes it isn’t.

Usually, they are funny ways to start the episode. Let’s see how this one plays out.

“Sometimes, people make mistakes”

This episode is proof of that.

Drake and Josh tell a story about how Josh once mistook a man for his Grandma. Yep, we already start with embarrassment and torture for Josh but here it’s kind of funny since we don’t see it.

“He knees Josh in the place you don’t wanna be kneed”


Of course, they reveal Drake told Josh that guy was Grandma on purpose to be a dick. Well, it didn’t’ take me long to hate someone in this episode.

The episode actually starts at the movie theater Josh works at, as Drake accidentally shows up early to pick him up. Drake decides to see a movie to pass the time, and he needs a date.

He gets one from Lucy Hale here (it’s amazing seeing where 2nd tier singers popular with teens got their start) in about a minute. And…it turns out she was with her boyfriend and she just pretty much cheated on him.

Smooth. But…the reveal is kind of funny, and Drake didn’t know it at least. Anyway, some guy, played by Josh Server, shows up, saying he’s with the show FBI’s most wanted.

“I love that show, I watch it every Saturday night”

“I think a teenager like yourself would be out on Saturday night”

“You would think that”


They are shooting one of their crime reenacts here, and he wants Josh to play the criminal because Josh kind of looks like him.

“I’m not much of an Actor”

‘Neither is Jenifer Lopez”

“True that”

…Never mind, best episode ever.

I could nitpick the logic here, but really, I can buy it. Plus, we have more important things to bitch about. I could even talk about how Josh doesn’t really look threatening, but we’ll get to that.

After the theme song, Josh gets Megan to help him rehearse his role. Drake thinks all this work is silly.

“It’s acting, you show up, you say some stuff, you go home. Anyone can do it”

There are a lot of jokes I can make, but …meh. Now, this bit is fairly funny as Josh takes this too seriously and Megan is totally apathetic to all of it. There’s nothing funnier than Josh acting tough. Too bad the fact that people are not scared of Tough Josh here bites the episode in the ass later on.

Yes, this is one of those times where I won’t have anything to bitch about it for a while. The first half, while flawed, is okay. The real crap starts a little later, but trust me, we’ll get there.

After that, we cut to sometime later as they are about to film to reenactment. As the title suggest, this reenactment is covering an incident where a criminal known as the Theater Thug robbed a movie theater.

And a common everyday robbery like this was important enough to get a big reenactment. Eh, as long as it’s funny I can let stuff like that slide.

Drake shows up to watch and he gets a small role as a bystander. Now that’s a contrived thing that’s actually funny. Also, the guy repeats Drake’s views on acting because callback.

The reenactment goes as well as you’d expect with tons of comedic insanity. Honestly, if the whole episode was them simply failing to film for various reasons, it would actually be pretty good.

But nope, after just a bit we move on so the real plot can start. We’re 10 minutes and the plot is STILL going to take a few moments to really get started. This wouldn’t be so bad if this didn’t prove that my suggestion would make for a better episode.

A little later, Josh gets his family to watch his big TV appearance. And the pizza guy ends up watching it. Context is for losers, but yeah, that’s funny too. Can we get to the bad part, please?

After they air the reenactment, they show a picture of the real theater thug. I’m too lazy to get the picture, but trust me, it looks nothing like Josh. I mean, Josh with the full Thug garb looks a bit like him, but without it, he looks nothing like him.

Don’t worry, that’s almost important.

“He does kind of look like Josh”


“If you see him, don’t confront him because he’s known to be extremely violent. Just contact the police”

Keep that in mind too.

We cut to the next day as the two are at the Galleria. Okay, now (around 13 minutes in) things get bad. Josh is just having some food while some old ladies stare at him.

“It’s the Theater Thug!”

Oh boy, here we go. Then they proceed to attack him. There a lot of problems with this, but actually, I’ll save it for a moment. This incident causes Josh to be late for work because this happened a couple other times on the way here.

And when he gets there, some boy scouts spot him and say he’s the Theater Thug. Of course Drake doesn’t help because he’s distracted by a girl. Okay, now it’s ranting time.

The first problem is obvious: This is incredibly repetitive and it’s the same “joke” over and over again. The 2nd problem is that mindless torture to someone innocent like Josh is not funny.

But besides that, my problem is the lack of logic. For one, Josh looks very little like him. A tiny bit, while in the costume, but he looks nothing like him while he’s dressed normally.

I think that’s the joke but my suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Oh, and there’s the matter of the SHOW TELLING THEM NOT TO APPROACH HIM BECAUSE HE’S A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL.

If these were tough guys who just thought they could them, it would be fine, but we’ve seen Elderly women and kids attack him! They seriously think attacking a really dangerous criminal will end well?

If this was the real guy, they would be dead!

The lack of logic astounds me to no end, on top of all the other obvious problems. Oh, and it’s not funny. I think I need to say that again.

Anyway, later on, Megan shows up with a solution to his problem. He just needs a disguise until the real guy gets caught. Actually, this episode could have had them trying to catch the real Theater Thug. That would have been pretty funny and excused the set up.

But nope, this episode doesn’t want to do anything that could be funny.

We cut to the next day as Josh is disguised as a 70’s disco Dude. Now that’s funny. The humor stops when someone recognizes him as the Theater Thug anyway. Seriously? The disguise isn’t the strongest but 70’s disco guy is as far from the Thug as you can get!

People hold him down until cops show up. Oh hey they actually took the smart course of action this time. Wait, Cops just happen to be there?

That night, Josh stays behind a bit at the Theater Thug to lock up while Helen does Helen-y things. While Drake is doing something, the real Theater Thug shows up.

Oh boy. Wait, already? That’s some great pacing, right there!

The Thug does some stuff you would expect him to do, until they hear police sirens. Naturally, he takes Josh as a hostage. Drake pops up and tries to take him out but he hits Josh by accident. Bah.

Thankfully, he gets up and takes out the Thug himself. Awesome.

Drake leaves to get the cops but they storm in…and tackle Josh. …They cart him away…while the real Thug walks off.

….And the episode ends here.

I don’t need to explain why this is bad, right. I don’t need to get over the top angry or anything? I think the episode ending with our main character getting tackled by police while a dangerous criminal gets away, says it all.

I mean, people bitch about a little girl getting away with bad stuff, but not quite as many people cry foul over this shit
Whatever, let’s move on to explain why this ending sucks in greater detail.

Final Thoughts:

Allow me to explain how character abuse works. Contrary to popular belief,t hey don’t always have to deserve it. Abuse to someone who doesn’t deserve it can work…if it isn’t contrived.

The reason why torture humor even exists, is that, like Nostalgia Critic explained, it acknowledges that pain is just a part of life. We encounter bad luck all the time no matter what we do, and its fun to mock that a bit.

For example, the very first episode of Dan Vs starts with Dan waking up and being hit by his ceiling lamp. He gets hit a few times, and just when he stops it, he gets out of bed and slips on something.

At this point, we have no idea if he’s done anything, but it’s funny because it’s just the kind of stuff that happens. Plus, his angry reactions make it work. That’s another way to make it work, but that’s only if you have a Daffy Duck type.

The problem arises when it feels really forced. Contrived cruelty only seems to work if they deserved. A sea bear just happens to pop after Squidward sets it off? I don’t care, because it’s funny!

If the situation leading up to the pain is contrived, it will be painful. Despite how crappy Megan is, it’s not too farfetched to buy that she’s just evil. And then comes this episode.

The real problem with this episode, and Sheep Thrills to a lesser extent, is that it throws logic to the wind to be cruel to someone. Even worse, it makes people dumb just to have Josh get beat up.

Like I said, the fact that they think he’s the hug and attack him has tons of logic issues. And it’s not for any real reason besides …they think Josh getting hurt is funny. Now, some of his reactions are amusing but only once, because it gets really repetitive, really fast.

Because logic is thrown to the wind, the torture is pointless and unfunny. The ending is the biggest slap to the face. Megan getting away with her stuff at least makes some kind of sense, since any little girls can put on a fake act like that. This is just stupid.

Then there’s the general writing problem. The episode takes too long to really get started, and once it does, it’s really rushed. It goes too fast and then the episode just kind of …stops.

I don’t need every episode to have a big moral or anything, but there needs to be SOME kind point to it. Most episodes have that, even the weaker ones. This one just struggles to have a reason to exist.

Now, to be fair, the actors alone give us some funny moments, but it’s mostly in the first half. When the plot starts, there are less amusing moments the episode is so bad otherwise, that a few funny gags can’t save it.

Overall, it may not be the worst thing ever, now the worst thing made by Schneider’s Bakery (Oh, we’ll get there), but it’s still the worst episode of Drake & Josh. It’s not the most painful episode ever, but it’s still bad due to lack of logic and just plain bad writing.

So yeah, it’s not good.

Grade: D-

Stay tuned for more TV reviews. For our next one, we’ll shake things up a bit.

See ya.

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Finally, the biggest slingers of poop are around their own kind.

Finally, the biggest slingers of poop are around their own kind.

Hello, Spongey here.

This is one film that has been on my hit list for awhile, but I haven’t gotten around to it until now. This 2011 comedy was a laughing stock from day one, and as result, I’ve been wanting to watch it to see how bad it is.

Why is it so hated? Well, for one, it’s a Happy Madison. Oh joy, Sandler’s crap factory is rearing it’s ugly head again. Outside of Bucky Larson, I haven’t done many HM films that lack Sandler. I plan to do more in the future (The House Bunny, Here comes the boom, etc) but let’s focus on this one.

With a 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, this was one of the most hated HM movies until Bucky Larson and….you know what, came along. It stars Kevin James, who I mock a lot, but to be honest, he isn’t that bad. He has an air of likability to him that is sadly wasted by his movies, which all have one joke:


Yeah. Also, he has a sequel to his (in)famous film Paul Blart Mall Cop coming out this week. Why aren’t I review that as a tie in? Eh. it’s been done and I don’t think I’d add a lot. This one hasn’t been reviewed a lot, so we’re looking at it, sorry.

But let’s look into the creative team. Our director is the man behind The Waterboy, Here comes to the boom, and Blended. Not looking good. Yes, he did do The Wedding Singer and Click but that hardly makes up for the bad ones. After Blended, I give up on him making good Comedies again.

We have 5 writers. Wait, what?! Goddammit, when will people learn that too many cooks are bad!? There’s Rock Ruben who wrote for King of Queens (which I’ve never seen) and that’s about it. We have Jay Scherik and David Ronn, who wrote Norbit, and Smurfs 1 and 2, It just keeps getting better and better.

And lastly, we have Kevin James himself, and Nick Bakay, who is best known for voicing Norbert on The Angry Beavers and Salem on Sabrina the Teenage Witch ….And my respect for him goes straight down the toilet.

So with this winning staff, let’s see how Kevin James does by himself without Adam Sandler to hold him up.

This, is Zookeeper

The movie opens with Griffin, played by Kevin James on a lovely date on the beach with yet another chick who is too hot for him. Griffin proposes to his girlfriend….through a message put in a bottle for her to find. It’s original, I’ll give it that.

“I’ve done a lot of soul searching, and I know it’s just right”

Whoa, this is guy genuinely sweet and romantic. I don’t hate him at all! Maybe this movie won’t be so bad after all.



“I’m thinking we’ve reached the end of the line. I know it shouldn’t bother me that you’re a zookeeper, but it does”

She dumps this seemingly sweet guy simply because he isn’t tough, and is a zookeeper. ….What a bitch! I figure this is the point, but come on!

“You had to have seen this coming”

Sorry he didn’t have a Bitch-dar.

Also, if you dislike someone for a reason that big (in your eyes) then maybe it was a bad idea to wait this long to dump him! At least that chick in A Million Ways To Die on the west let Seth down gently and wasn’t a bitch about it.

So after this comedy showed us a man getting dumped by a bitch, they leave and we cut to a few years later, on a typical day for Griffin at his job. We see him being an oh so lovable fat guy, as he sets up a tire swing for this big gorilla that everyone is scared of.

After that goes well, he visits the Zoo Vet/obvious love interest, Kate, played by Rosario Dawnsn. We find out that Bernie the Gorilla, is a dick that just sits there all day and no one can get to him. Gee, I wonder if this will be important.

After that, they have to operate on an animal so we can get some cheap gross out humor. That night, they have a party for Griffin’s brother Dave, who is getting married, and we are briefly introduced to the reptile house guys, Venom, played by Ken Jeong. Still better than Deep Wang.

Also, Dave’s girlfriend is played by Kevin James’ real life wife, who, keeping with tradition, is too hot for him. Griffin gives a speech about love or whatever, Naturally, it’s a way to make Griffin mourn his lack of a lover, and give him unearned cheap sympathy points. It goes well…until he spots Stephanie, the bitch from the opening, in the crowd. He gets all nervous after that. It’s not funny. NEXT!

Dave tells Griffin that Robin, his lady friend, invited Stephanie, and we learn in the next bit that Robin knew about what happened with her and Griffin. So she knowingly invited the bitch that broke up with her boyfriend’s brother.

What a bitch.

Robin tells Stephanie that she thinks she saw her looking at Griffin a certain way. Steph admits that she may feel bad for how things turned out. I’m guessing Griffin will try to get her back and hijinks ensue, right?

Dave offers Griffin a job at his car dealership.

“You can make your annual salary in a month. That is how you get a girl like Stephanie!”

Because all that matters is money and power. Yeah, I’m sure this is part of the moral but it makes Dave out to be a dick. Griffin talks to Stephanie and they seem to hit off again. Yeah, let’s forget about how much of a bitch she was.

After that, we find out this movie’s gimmick: The animals talk. Yep, this movie falls under my least favorite genre: talking animal movie. The animals have a meeting after witnessing Griffin’s love skills. The animals have a meeting after witnessing Griffin’s love skills. They aren’t happy to learn that Stephanie is back.

Now let’s meet our voice cast. We have an Elephant voiced by Judd Adaptow (It’s never a good idea to put a much better comedy writer in your bad Comedy), a Giraffe voiced by Maya Rudolph, Jon Faverau as a bear, Cher as a Lioness, Sylvester Stallone as a Lion, and a monkey voiced by…Adam Sandler.


They exchange bad jokes until they decide they should help Griffin win the heart of this bitch again. However, they have a code saying they can’t talk to Humans so they have to do this discreetly. Hilarity will probably not ensue.

The next day Stephanie shows up for a little date, so it’s time for the animals to help out…by having the lion attack her so Griffin can make a daring rescue. Eh, that’s not a bad plan in concept, but of course, Griffin fails like the ass he is.

“Oh crap”.

Brilliant plan there, guys.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

You know-for kids!

Griffin hears him say that which scares him. We cut to him at home, scared of the talking animals, and we briefly see him watching…Sabrina.
Goddamnit. Also, one talking Lion sends you into a frenzy?

The next day, Griffin tries to pretend nothing happened but he gets knocked out by accident and wakes up with the animals around him. It didn’t take long for you guys to break the code, did it?

As a side note, Sandler is really annoying in this. It’s another role where he just has to talk in the most annoying voice possible with the script giving him lame jokes. It’s almost bad as…that other 2011 movie we shall not speak of.

They explain everything to him and he doesn’t know if he really wants their dating advice. And now he’s just cool with talking animals. Whatever. After thinking about it, Griffin decides he will let the animals help become a ladies man.

Isn’t that the best premise for a movie you ever heard? …Well it’s actually not that bad on paper, but the animals are saddled with are so annoying, that I doubt this will work. It’s not just Sandler, the others, minus Stallone who is okay, has had mostly dead materiel so far.

First up, these Bears give Griffin their advice which of course ties into Bears. It leads to some lame jokes with Kevin James acting like a jackass in front of people by accident. This is gonna be the entire 2nd act, isn’t it?

Thankfully, we get a break from that as we go back to the Bernie the Gorrial subplot. After hearing about the code being broken, he finally lets his guard down, and after we add another Celebrity who wants a paycheck (Nick Noltie in this case), the two bond a bit.

Eventually, Bernie reveals his backstory. He was put in this place after supposedly attacking a Zookeeper named Shane. But as it turns out, Shane has been abusing the animals, and one day he slipped while Bernie was striking back. He lied and said that Bernie attacked him, causing Bernie to lose his trust in humans.

Hey, that’s actually a pretty decent plot point. It gives interesting character insight and the scene actually works. Why couldn’t the movie be about this instead of Kevin James the ladies man?

Speaking of which, we return back to that, which brings me great joy. That’s not Sarcasm, I swear. A wolf tells Kevin his method, which involves…pee. Yeah…that’s his big theory on how to attract ladies.

He tells Griffin to piss on a tree…and he does and he is caught by some people who walk by.

…What am I supposed to say that?

Let’s…try to forget that and cut to that night, as Griffin tries some of his skills out on Stephanie. But his plans are interrupted by a visit from Steph’s over Ex-Boyfriend, Gale who is probably a dick. He hasn’t done a lot yet, but I’ve seen another movie before, so I know he’s a dick.

Griffin backs down and talks to the animals later on. Sandler acts like a jackass and Stallone gives his own advice. He basically tells him to get her alone and away from the Ex. Griffin tries this out the next day while her and the Ex are riding bikes, which means we get a fat man riding a kid bike because it’s funny. There’s a bit more context to that but do you really care?

Griffin eventually gets her alone but she tells him she’s kind of back together with the Ex. Wah wah. He reports this to his animal friends, and Cher the lion suggests making her jealous with another girl. Oh crap, if I was doing a cliché count it would just explode, as this the single most overused cliché in the history of ever.

It tends to work better than some others, but when it pops up in something bad/weak, you know it won’t be done well. Especially since it’s painfully obvious who the fake girlfriend be, and that she will become a real girlfriend.

Sure enough, he asks his friend to be his fake girlfriend and she points out how dumb and cliché this is. She goes along anyway because the plot says so. That part is dropped for now, so Griffin can take Bernie the Gorilla to TGI Fridays.

…Wait, what?

Yeah, for…pretty much no plot related reason besides BIRTHDAY, Griffin takes Bernie out and disguise him as someone in costume. …It’s like the crew wanted to go out to TGI Friday’s but they had to shoot the movie, so they just brought the Gorilla to work it in.

And yes People fall for it because of course they do. This ends up becoming an excuse for the two to bond and have a “sweet” moments. We totally needed this weird detour to do that. To be fair, they have a couple amusing lines here, like when they comment on things “getting weird”.

Don’t ask.

A couple days later or so, Griffin picks up Kate as his date for this wedding Gale and Stephanie are attending. Naturally, this leads to them having awkward moments while trying to make sure Steph sees them.

Eventually it works its way to giving us awkward dance stuff. But then we have “Sweet” dance stuff as they play a slow song and our obvious couple hits it off. After some stupid things happen, Gale tells Griffin to back off his girl. Yep, he’s a dick. I’d say I called it, but so did every single person on earth.

Griffin doesn’t really say anything because when he tries to do some weird Gorilla thing, he splits his pants.

SPONGEBOB: I guess I ripped my pants again.


After…that, he calls the animals (cuz they have a phone now, just roll with it) and asks for some advice. The lion tells him to insult here because that trick always works well in fiction, right? Actually, it kind of does since he compliments here after. Whatever.

He mans up and confronts Gale again. This is the closest you’ll get to Kevin James being a badass. This works and he seems to be closer to Stephanie. After that crazy night, Griffin and Kate have a little moment and Steph pops up to apologize for Gale being a jerk.

They had a such good time here, that Steph asks Griffin out to dinner and they head out. Man, it feels they couldn’t settle on a night scene with Dinner, or a kind of night scene with a Wedding/Reception so they just did both in a row. Feels a bit exhausting.

They hit it off some more, but she’s once again turned off his by his Zoo stuff. But despite her being a bitch again, he’s not bugged by it because we need a character arc about him learning to be himself.

Well…to be fair at least the person he was being before was a nice guy and thus the moral actually works. Huh, didn’t think they’d get that tricky moral right, even if it’s still a bit predictable.

“Let someone else zookeep tomorrow”.

They hang out some more and Griffin seems to be turning into a confident dick. After their fun night, she tells him that the zoo is holding him back and he should take that Dealership job.

He takes it without even thinking. Yep, I know exactly where this is going but it’s going so fast that its feeling kind of forced. But whatever, it means the movie will finish faster. He breaks the news to Kate, who is not happy with this.

Of course she says that Stephanie is changing him and Griffin is a dick about it. These plots are tricky, since I always defend them when people bash them by saying “oh, he’s SUPPOSED to a dick, you idiots”. But in those cases, it’s not super cliché while it kind of is here. So much so that ‘’m just watching this and not really caring.

Also Kevin James is a bit annoying as a dick and the change in character is way too rushed to really feel like a natural progression. Not quite as bad as the Spongebob episode “Porous Pockets” in this regard, but still weak.

Anyway, he talks to Bernie who no longer trusts him because of what happened. Infact, he no longer trusts humans in general. Ouch. Before Griffin leaves, he talks to Shane and says if he does anything crappy like he did 10 years, he…well..

“I will do to your house, and beat you in front of your mother”

Of course, the animals miss him and make lame jokes about it. Kate is so devastated by Griffin’s turn that she decides to get a job somewhere else. She tells this to Chang here and we have a lame joke from him. Yawn.

As you might expect, Griffin starts to regret turning into a jerk and after a couple small scenes of him thinking, he tells Stephanie this isn’t working out. This happens after she proposes to him.

“Come on, you had to see this coming’

Haw haw role reversal, how clever. He could have done it in a nicer way, since she did seem a bit nice in this scene at least. Either way, he tells her off and goes back to the Zoo to apologize to the animals. Well, Bernie actually, the others aren’t as important for some reasons.

Bernie quickly forgives him because the movie is in a real hurry to end itself. Not that I blame it, really. But wait, we have a forced conflict to get through!

Kate is getting on a flight to that other job and Griffin his to get her back. There’s no real point in this but we gotta complete this cliché story somehow!

But first, he beats down Shane…because reasons.

Of course, we have a chase scene where it seems like he’s too late but through some implausible stunts, he gets to her car. He tells her that he’s not a dick and that he loves her. Yeah, him loving her is very forced and lame but I don’t care at this point.

Naturally, she quickly forgives him and they kiss. We cut to 6 months later, as Griffin is happily working again and Bernie has a cool new enclosure. They look at the city and…roll credits.

Yep, another ending that is rushed even by rushed ending standards. Not too shocked really, given how rushed this whole 3rd act was. And the animals sing more than a feeling in the credits as we watch funny outtakes. Yawn.

Final Thoughts:

I think I’m finally getting desensitized by all these crappy Happy Madison movies. If I did this way back in 2012, I’d be all angry with even worsr grammar. But now, I’m just kind of…Meh.

Now, this one is kind of bad, but in a fairly harmless way compared to a lot of other movies. If I did this before I really understood this stuff, I’d be angrier. I would treat it as worse than it really is, and it would be Inspector Gadget 2 all over again.

I’m not sure if I should go into deep detail, since the problems seem pretty obvious. The first half of the movie is incredibly dumbed down with really juvenile humor, and it tries way too hard to get us to like Kevin James.

The 2nd half is really boring and rushed, going through the motions in a very mechanic fashion. It fails in every way I expected, and there’s no point going through story and characters, like I usually do.

But I’ll try. The story had some potential, but it mostly ended up being too cliché for it’s own good. I give it credit for trying to get emotional (more so than some other HM films) but the aforementioned problems drag it down.

As for the characters, only Griffin and Bernie really matter in the end. Seriously, all the animals end up being pointless, only used for dumb jokes in the 1st half. They seemed to be setting up a few arcs with characters like Stallone Lion, but it goes nowhere.

So we have animal characters who are annoying with nothing to talk about. Except that Adam Sandler gives one of his worst performances to date. I blame the dumb jokes he’s given but him talking in an annoying voice doesn’t help. Honestly, its almost on par with his Jill performance.

Everyone else does fine, though. Kevin James is a lot better than in some other HM movies but the script doesn’t do him any favors. His character was a bit pathetic for his own good, and he seemed to just exist for the sake of this cliché story rather than acting like a fully developed character.

Bernie is the most interesting character with a good backstory, and even nice development, but it’s very rushed and he just becomes kind of weak. Oh, and Kate is one of the most painfully obvious and weak love interests I’ve seen in a while.

And did I mention the humor sucks? Cuz there are some painful jokes in this, like the pissing scene. Ugh.

With this movie, you have an annoying first half, and a boring and rushed 2nd half. As flawed as the 2nd half was, it was far more tolerable and I was just kind of meh on it. This film has shades of “pretty bad”: but also shades of a “meh” kind of bad.’

With all that, I’d say this is kind of bad movie that’s honestly pretty harmless when compared to other movies I’ve covered. It’s pretty stupid and dumbed down but I likely won’t remember this in the long run. Except for Sandler and the dumber moments, of course. I just couldn’t gather hatred for it by the time it ended. I just …disliked it. That’s all. Either this one isn’t as terrible as I thought, or I’m just desensitized.

I disliked it more than Film Brain (He declared not “Bad” enough for a review) but liked it slightly more than a lot of critics at the time. Overall, it’s …bad but not the worst. Trust me, even 2011 gave us worse Sandler fare.

Meh, it kind of sucks but I don’t care.

Grade: D-

Next time, we finally do our first two part review of the new Schedule! What shall I be covering for it? Well…

Yep, it’s time.

See ya.

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Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Somewhere over the a better movie. Hopefully.

Somewhere over the rainbow…is a better movie. Hopefully.

Why do people keep taking over the blog on April Fools Day? It’s almost like I planned it as a joke or something! Well, at least it wasn’t Ryan this time. So what I have to review to-….oh no.

Hello, Spongey here.

Seeing as my…buddy just covered a crappy 2013 animated movie, I figured I’d punish myself my taking on a poorly reviewed animated film from last year. I’ve been looking forward to taking this on since the reviews came in.

Usually I’d give you a little history about the source material, but I don’t think you need it. Everyone is familiar with the Wizard of Oz, whether it be the classic 1939 film, or the original books by L Frank Baum. Regardless of who you are, you won’t need a film on History Lesson this time.

Naturally, they have been multiple attempts at translate these classic stories to other mediums. We’ve plenty of interesting versions in the world of TV and Movies, but a lot of them tend to either pool from the ’39 film or do something original.

Either you got Oz The Great and Powerful, which I haven’t seen, or Return to Oz…which I also haven’t seen. But I’m always open to new versions and in 2014 we got one that seemed kind of interesting.

It’s an animated version from a company called Summertime Entertainment. This is their first film which usually means it’s an interesting start or it will fare like Free Birds. The animation itself comes from a studio who has worked with other studios to produce fare such as Planes, the Tinkerbell movies, and Space Chimps 2.

So it’s obvious we’re dealing with DTV quality, but the former films have good animation so we’ll have to see on that front. This is based on Dorothy of Oz, written by L Frank Baum’s son.

Let me get this straight: You have a ton of classic and interesting books, chock full of awesome material to adept to film. And you picked…fanfiction? Cuz that’s what that book pretty much is.

I haven’t read it, it could be awesome. But a lot of people have been wanting the other books to be represented in film and picking that was not a good choice. If you recall, I said this movie had potential to be decent despite lackluster trailers.

Well, that went down the toilet once the film got pretty terrible reviews. Not only does it have a 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but a lot of reviews, most notably Ani- and Mr. Coat called it the worst animated film of the year.

Yes, people hated it more than The Nut Job. Given how I thought that one was just Meh, I fear for my sanity on this one. Plus, it bombed pretty hard at the Box Office.

On the production side of things, we got 2 writers and 2 directors. Between the writers, their credits include a couple Disney cartoon episodes, and some episode of Girl Meets World. That sounds…kind of promising. While one director has directed nothing theatrical, the other has directed Home on the Range!

…That’s not so promising.

\But hey, as always, we must keep an open mind. That usually doesn’t end well but if I’m negative all the time, this blog would be very boring.
So let’s take a little look and see if the world of Oz still has some magic left in it.

This, is Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

The movie opens in the ever so Iconic Emerald city, as we are reintroduced to our old friends, the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Man. They are voiced by Dan Acykrod, Jim Belushi, and Kelsey Grammer. It’s worth nothing that Kelsey won a Razzie for this role.

Yes, it was lumped in with his other bad 2014 roles (mostly Bayformers 4) but still, this was the first animated film to win a Razzie since Thumbelina. Ouch.

They are in major danger and want to contact Dorothy. Conveniently, time moves differently in Oz so while it’s been years to them, it will be only be a day to them. Oh, and it looks it wasn’t a dream in this version, okay then.

They use some weird machine to call her and we cut to her waking up in Kansas. She’s voiced by Lea Michelle who I know is a person people know about. She walks outside only to find that her Aunt and Uncle want to sell the house since it got pretty ravaged by that tornado.

Then some dude (in) conveniently shows up, claiming to be an Appraiser, wanting to to condemn the farmhouse. It’s nice to know this crap is happening right before we can get to know anyone. Yeah, most people are familiar with the story, but a recap for the little kids who may not have seen it would be nice.

He leaves and Dorothy isn’t exactly up for leaving. Her Aunt and Uncle are on his side. She walks away and tries to see if she can fix a few things. This leads to a song. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this is a musical. 2014 sure has a lot of musicals, didn’t it? From the one awesome song in The Lego Movie, to Into the Woods, to this, to that one human pony movie that I’ve never talked about.

How is this first song? It’s… generic. It’s typical I Want Song and it’s not all that memorable. It’s kind of pleasant and they try to make very sweet but it’s kind of…eh. Tolerable, but not their best foot forward.

After the song, a Rainbow shows up and grabs her. Yes, it grabs her and takes her on a weird colorful trip. Turns out, this is the message they sent. The machine is a rainbow mover that sends her back to Oz. Eh, I can forgive going a bit too fast now as long as the rest is good.

By the way, Tin Man is annoyingly emotional now that he has a heart. Yay. Their message is interrupted by the bad guys breaking into the room. Turns out these bad guys are the flying monkeys, and Dorothy lands in the familiar land of Oz.

We cut to Glinda the Good Witch as she has been captured and taken to our villain, The Jester, voiced by Martin Short. She can’t take him seriously to how weird he is, and explains that he has a curse that prevents him from taking the costume off. His sister did it to him. Yeah, it’s done through weak exposition but I expected that.

Apparently The Jester took over and Oz is in ruins. It would nice to find out more instead of just being told that this is the case, but eh it’s a small thing. He reveals that he used a magic broomstick with a crystal ball on it to turn people into puppets. By the way, Martin Short brought his Santa Clause 3 performance to the table. That’s…a mixed thing.

He turns her into a puppet and she’s kind of creepy. A couple reviewers have made jokes about how creepy she is but…she’s not that creepy. She’s about as creepy as she should be, really.

Also, it is bugged me all that this crap with the villain is dumped on his instead of letting it flow naturally. Maybe putting us straight into the adventure without much build up was not the best idea.

He uses his big crystal ball to see where Dorothy is, and reacts by screaming as loud as he can. He laughs when he sees that the big witch slayer is just a little girl. Hah, its funny cuz she’s gonna stop him later.

He sends a flying monkey after our heroes, and he will take care of the girl himself. Speaking of which, we cut back to her as she bumps into a new character. This is Wiser the owl, who is fat and supposedly smart. He’s kind of annoying with his babbling. It’s hard to explain but trust me on this.
“I must warn you, I also talk incessantly.”

…You win this round.

She asks him to lead the way to the Emerald City which means we are stuck with him on this road trip. First, they enter a discount version of the Candy Kingdom, and start to ear everything…because the signs said.

As you all expect, this comes with a rock song by about eating Candy. …Wait, what? Is this Phineas and Ferb all of a sudden? The Jester sings this as he’s watching them for whatever reason. It’s better than the first song but it’s weird and dumb.

After the song, they are arrested by the Candy people. Most notably, Marshall Mellow. Haw. Turns out the signs saying eating was okay was placed by our villain. Wait, they say the owl has been arrested for this before, which means he knows the rule…yet hr didn’t point out how odd it was that the signs were changed?!


After a detour with the other Oz heroes, Dorothy and Wiser are taken to the Candy Courthouse where they are judged by a jury of their…peeps. Sigh.

They are proved guilty and are sentenced to death. …Ouch. But once they hear that this is the famous Dorothy, they let her off the hook. Yes, being a hero excuses her from breaking your most sacred rule. Fine. Wait, how did they not know what the most famous hero in Oz looks like?

By the way, Jude Jawbreaker here (sigh) is voiced by BRIAN BLESSED. You know, the other bad guy in Freddie as FR07.

Never mind, this movie is amazing. With that settled they let Mellow join their party since he is looking for a Candy general that got lost In Emerald City. Hmm, this sounds like that other movie where stops on the way to the goal gets them new members of their group…can’t place the name though…

Their next stop is the China Country, where they bump into the wall of China. Ugh, so many terrible puns. They ask to see the China Princess so they can get through the place, but she’s busy waiting for suitors. Thus, they say that Marshall Mellow is a suitor. Oh joy.

They head in and see her dealing with suitors…via song. Yay. At least this one moves the plot in some way. It’s…meh. As memorable as the others but I think they almost tried with this one, plus Megan Hilty can sing.

The most memorable aspect is that two of the suitors are voiced by Richard Hortiz and Tom Kenny. Sigh, another blemish on her resume. At one point, she sings so high the china suitors actually crack and fall apart.

….They are fine despite their pieces being all over the places but what the hell?!! She blows them up for the horrible crime of…having cracks?!There’s being shallow, and there’s being horrible!

Mellow goes up and wows her with his singing voice. But then a random earthquake appears and they all flee the city. The city is really damaged and Dorothy asks to walk through the country on the yellow brick road.

Uh…her country just kind of got cracked. Show some respect!

She brings up the whole “I’m Dorothy” excuse which changes her mind a bit. That’s twice now she is excused despite the situation. Weird. Despite that, she blames Dorothy and says she did all this somehow.

“You’re just a little girl, what can you do?”

…Kill a witch. She’s kind of famous for that.

Then she just kind of…looks at the ruined city and decides she is right, and she will go with Dorothy. Random change of heart is random. Also, you gotta love that she was worried that her people got cracked a bit here but she has no problems with SHATTERING SEVERAL PEOPLE.

Back with the Jester, our Oz Heroes have been captured and he shows them the creepy puppets he has made, such as Glinda. And of course, he sings about it. Yay, villain song!

It’s…alright. It’s the most pleasing song in the film so far, but it’s still fairly average. Martin Short is having fun but it’s just a generic villain song. That’s it. Not too disappointing compared to something like Sealed with a Kiss, but still a bit average.

In the song, he reveals his backstory. His sister was the Wicked Witch and she pushed him around and he got super jealous. Now that she’s dead, he took her broomstick and took over.

We’ll see how they follow up on this but for there one issue right away: Where the hell was he in the original?! This claims to be a sequel to the famous movie, so where was he? They don’t say he was anywhere else, so for all we know he, for some reason, didn’t partake in any of her plan or peek in. If they said he ran away then came back when he heard of her death, that would he fine

But they say no such thing and leave it too vague. They botched up the most basic thing! Ugh. Oh, and there’s also the matter how him being doing due to being angry he got cursed by his sister…and now that he has the broom that did it, he doesn’t try to undo the curse. Whatever.

Our main team bumps into an end to the yellow brick road, as a part that went over a river is missing. Which means they gotta build a boat. Dorothy starts by pulling a tree’s branch.

Of course, the tree objects. Wait, she knows some trees are alive, and given what happened last time, why did she think that was a good idea?! She’s lucky they weren’t Evil Dead trees.

“Isn’t she the one that stole the apples off uncle Manny?”


Thankfully, one tree is so old, he’s willingly to sacrifice some of him. He is Tugg, voiced by Patrick Stewart. More talent wasted by the almighty paycheck.

So they get to using his wood to build a boat…set to a song. Seriously, this needs a pointless background song? Yes, it’s generic and not memorable. You catching on yet?

After turning Patrick Stewart into a boat, they head out. They arrive at the Emerald City only to find it abandoned. They fool around a bit before The Jester contacts them and basically them he has her friends and gloats about it.

He sics the monkeys after them and they run away, quickly boarding Picard and escape. Ah, that was the cliché meeting with the villain before they move on to get to the final battle. …Which I think was also in that movie the general formula reminds me of…It’s on the top of my head, I know it!

They head into some caves where they relax a bit. But The Jester’s float pops up and sends them though a fork in the cave which leads them off a waterfall. Insert Emperor’s New Grove joke here.

They crash safely until they see that the crash broke and killed China Princesses. This would shocking and needlessly dark…if we didn’t see those suitors clearly surviving from this kind of thing earlier.

Shock moment FAIL.

Even if that bit wasn’t there to contradict this, we mostly saw her as bitch and we never got to see her as a likable character, so this would fail either way!

To their credit, she stays dead for the time being and her death even leads to Dorothy wanting to go to Jester’s place alone. But for that reason, the death itself feels poorly done.

The owl flies off to get help, so the Mellow guy stays behind to sing about his love for the china girl. Oh, they had a romance. I didn’t mention cuz it just amounted to them giggle at each other in a couple action bits. That’s it.

I have no idea why he even likes her beyond looks. It’s so forced and the fact that they expect us to take it seriously while they sing about love. Come on, no matter how fantastical your story is, if you have a big moment like this, making us care about the characters in so
me way is a major requirement.

And of course, he’s able to fix her and they finish their song. Yep, they could have just fixed her easily this whole time. Okay to be fair, even if they did this, Dorothy may still quit due to a fear of hurting other people like this.

Still doesn’t excuse the love story failing on every level. Oh, and the song is lame, if you wanna know. Back with Dorothy, she reaches the Jester’s castle and heads in, only to bump into Puppet Glinda. She’s…kind of creepy here, but I still don’t see why Ani-Mat pissed his pants of it. The Jester pops up in his best Joker makeup along with her captured friends. He brags up how he has the witch’s broomstick.

“I gave that to the Wizard, for the protection of Oz”

…Hey, where is that guy anyway?

She fiddles with some stuff, and a curtain falls on him, then her friends are saved. I’d say that’s anti climatic but he pops back up as one of the monkeys takes his broomstick crystal ball thing.

This leads to a chase which ends with Dorothy almost falling to her doom. But of course she’s saved by the owl. Then her other friends barrage in to help, including Tugg, who is now a tank.

…Okay then.

The Crystal ends up jumping around the castle like a rube Goldberg machine. Holy crap, something that’s almost fun and imaginative? Get it away!

Actually, this whole battle with the other flying monkeys is the closest to a fun scene in the movie. It’s nothing big but it’s close to being what I wanted. If I actually gave a single fuck about the characters, we would have something!

The Jester gets sick of this and once he gets the ball back, he summons a twister to kill Dorothy. Hardy har har. She keeps going and eventually starts fighting with The Jester over his weapon.

Dorothy gets it and after a “Badass” line, she breaks the crystal ball, saving all the puppet people. Then Jester throws himself into the Twister and vanishes. That was either weird suicide or a poor sequel hook.

Either way, it’s weird how a movie like this would have something resembling a nice drawn out climax, even if it ended up being slightly anti climatic…and generic.

Glinda returns to normal and thanks everyone for stopping The Jester. Dorothy just says she wants to go home and they say their goodbyes. No checking to if everyone in Oz is okay or anything like that, she just wants to leave her new and old friends with a quick goodbye. Whatever.

We get a quick goodbye scene that reminds me of some other movie, and the only one she hugs is the owl guy…she barely knew, even more so than the others. And I thought she was being dumb when she said she’d miss one certain person more than the others in the original!

Then Glinda just sends her home. Well, that was rushed. Dorothy wakes up back home just in time for her and her family to leave forever. Oh yeah, there was that plot point. Dorothy talks to the appraiser guy, and I should mention that this place looks pretty modern for a story that takes place in Sepia tone times.

“There are our homes, and nobody has the right to take them away from us”

…Except him, cuz this is his job.

He brings that up and shows a document saying he can do this, and she takes it to show everyone. Nice going, dumbass.

They look at his Wallet and find out he has just a fake all long, pretending to be an appraiser guy …And no thought to do any kind of background check before now?!

Everyone’s house is safe, and it’s all happy rainbows. Roll credits. After what I say through, I’m not shocked the ending was pretty weak despite an okay climax. I ain’t even mad.

…But seriously, where was the Wizard?

Final Thoughts:

Yep, that was bad. It wasn’t exactly horrible, nor was it as annoying as something like Hoodwinked 2 or Walking with Dinosaurs, but it still commits plenty of sins. And lacking a lapdance is the least of them.

I’ll touch on the animation first, as the budget restriction of the film can forgive this problem. Also, apparently the producers were involved in shady and immoral business participles which Wikipedia failed to mention hence why this was stuck in here instead of the intro.

( )

The animation is fairly cheap, but nothing terrible. The character animation is flat and fairly stiff. To their credits, the background and effects can be nice but are still weak when compared to other films. It’s nothing terrible but very little of it is impressive. Given the budget and background, I can forgive this.

I can’t forgive the rest, though. The biggest problem of the film, where the other issues stem from, is that it is really generic. Usually, I can forgive this since those kind of movies escape my wrath.

But leave it to this movie to make its generic-ness bug me. The main reason is that this is an Oz movie. It should be wildly colorful, imaginative with a great sense of fun. Instead this movie is super generic with from its songs, characters, and especially the story.

Instead of an actually attempt to bring Oz to the big screen, it’s just a giant cash grab where every element is there just because it’s supposed to be, instead of actually having a point. As a result, it lacks a sense of wonder or creativity.

I don’t know that bugs me, but it does. Even with the cool battle scene, and a few locations, it’s very light on creativity, all the way through. The story is pretty much the original movie, which would be fine if the script filled it with any imagination at all.

Seriously, they rip off the basic formula to a tee and misses the point of it. I didn’t’ feel any weight was given to make it charming and fun. As far as creativity, they fail to put in any of that.

There a couple things like some locations but they are either used for bad jokes or simply glossed over. It feels like a typical fantasy story that could take place in any world, really.

And that’s not even going into continuity issues with the original film it’s supposed to be a sequel to. And what was the point of that appraiser subplot?

The songs are pretty weak. They are…kind of tolerable but they are mostly generic and forgettable. We have the love song, the I want song, the villain song and more. That’s all they are and they exist just cuz they needed a song for that. Some are a bit catchy like the villain song but most of them are just…there.

But that’s nothing compared to the characters. Now, I’m not going to pretend the characters in the original were amazing, but they were good. They each had goals that told us a lot about their character, and they did a good job at giving them weight so we can care about them.

Can’t say the same for this. Dorothy is too much of a blank slate, The owl is just an annoying owl, Marshall Mellow has a romance, and the princess is just a bitch who murders people for no reason.

They kind of have goals but they are very weak and they do not have any weight to them. They add nothing to the film except just…people who help Dorothy. Marshall is the worst in the generic category, as the only thing he has is a crappy undeveloped romance that vanishes after a song.

The Princesses is just flat out unlikable, especially after …that scene. Seriously, she doesn’t even learn not to be a bitch, she just falls in love and shuts up. They do very little in the end and we are given nothing to care about, and that’s without comparing them to the original cast.

Speaking of which, the original characters are shafted. Scarecrow, Lion and Tin-Man are flanderized and given nothing to do, and Glinda exists to give pussies nightmares. Then there’s the Villain, who is the best character with an okay backstory, but they never follow up on it and he ends up being a generic villain.

The voice acting is average. Only Martin Short really seems to be having fun while the others simply read their lines. Some of them are good choices, but they get nothing to do. Also, Lea is sadly not a good choice for a 10- year old girl.

Oh, and some of the characters are kind of annoying.

This movie may not be as baffling as some other films, but it got on my nerves by sucking all the creativity and fun out of something that is nothing but creativity and fun. Not to mention various plot holes and logic problems.

It’s just bad. It’s just another cash cow that cares more about putting in tired elements to fill 84 minutes, instead of actually trying to capture the magic of Oz. If this was direct to video, I could forgive since I expect all that going on. But in theaters, that is not the case.

The credits are full are very talented artists, including the directors, so how they ended up wasting their skills on such a dull movie is mind boggling.

I’ve seen much worse but this is still way worse than it should be. Even I don’t know why it on my nerves, but it did. It lacks any creativity at all with a dull story that rips the original, weak songs, average animation, and a cruddy cast of characters. The fact that it butchers a classic film is just adding salt to the wound.

It’s easily the worst animated film of 2014, mostly cuz it’s the only one I thought was bad. But then again, I haven’t’ seen Planes 2 yet.

Grade: D

Next time, we’re heading back to a world you are dread: The world of Happy Maddison.

See ya.

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Movie Review: Angry Video Game Nerd The Movie

Hello, Spongey here.

In this day and age, reviewing has become something of a monopoly, and it’d all thanks to the Internet. Sure, reviewing has always been popular but in recent years, it’s become popular to review things online.

And we’re not talk about boring vlogs, people have started create entire shows dedicated to reviewing, complete with characters. Instead of just reviewing a movie, they put on a show for us and treat like an actual scripted show.

Of course, doing over the top storyline and stuff has died down in favor of more analytical stuff, but reviewing it still a lucrative business and people have even made jobs off of it.
I mean, that’s kinds of why I’m here. I review movies and other stuff in a fashion that is designed to entertain as much as inform. Even if I don’t do either of those things. And of course, all of this started due to a man known as The Angry Video Game Nerd.

Everyone knows him, as not only a fun entertainer, but as the creator of the style of reviewing we know today. Sure, The Nostalgia Critic was a more direct inspiration, and lead to the kind of reviews I do, but AVGN was the first, even if NC really started the idea that reviewing could be a real show.

Think of AVGN as the X-Men to NC’s Spider-Man.

Created by James Rolfe, this is an angry character who reviews bad retro video games in a humorous and crass fashion, often blowing up at dumb things and shouting fuck a lot. Like a lot of people, I love James and his work.

The AVGN is always hilarious with his over the top mannerisms and reviewing style. However, his real strong point is as a Critic. He can actually deliver solid critiques and information in between the humor, especially in later videos.

I personally don’t think he’s lost his steam, but regardless of what you think people respect him. James Rolfe is a pretty cool guy, since as the show went on he become better known, and we see the passion puts into his work.

We saw his love of horror movies and film making in general. We didn’t just see a fun guy making reviewing, we saw a respectable man sharing his love of film to everyone. That’s why other videos, as his normal films reviews and Monster Madness series are just as popular as AVGN.

But then in 2014, he became more respectable ever. Because he went out and made a movie. Not some silly little online movie. No, an actual movie that was screened for Critics and even released on Blu-Ray!

Do you have an idea how amazing this is? Some Internet guy was able to scrap up the money and fans needed to make a real movie. His fans helped make this possible, and if you saw any behind the scenes videos he did, you know how much passion and effort he put into this movie.

It took a LOGNB time to get this movie made, and after reading and watching about of all this info, you’ll have a newfound respect for this film. Hell, even Confused Matthew, who was lukewarm to it despite being a huge AVGN fan, had deep respect for it and what it means for James. He was even glad others liked it, and was nice.

Which means no one has any excuse for being a jerk.

Needless, I was hyped as hell. I loved the concept for it and I really wanted to see how James turned this character into a film. Despite a few jerks here and there, the film had positive reception from fans and certain Critics.

Why has it taken me so long to watch it? Money. Yeah, you had to pay for this, either through a screening or on Blu-Ray or Youtube. Unlike other movies, I’m fine with this since he deserves to be paid for his hard work in some way, though I have no idea what this money is going to.

But it does mean I had to wait a little bit until I had money to rent it off of YouTube. So after all that, I’m going to see what this movie is all about and tell you how I feel. I could have done a real review, but like with A Million Ways, I felt like doing this instead.

So, does James’ hard work pay off and give us an awesome movie, or is a cowafucking piece of dogshit? Let’s this out.

This, is Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie

E.T for the Atari 2600 has been one of the Nerd’s biggest request for years, but the game just so happens to be the one game the Nerd never plays, and after being pressured by fans to review it, he decides to embark on a quest to prove the burial is a hoax and that there’s nothing really there. Then federal authorities step in, led by General Dark Onward, who believes the Nerd is investigating Area 51 and a UFO crash. Fucking Hilarity fucking ensues….fuck.

There’s one thing I must make clear before I begin. This is in no way meant to be a serious movie. It’s not mean to have an awesome engaging story with complex 3 dimensional characters. It’s meant to be kind of cruddy and a love letter to all things bad and cheap. Hell, it plays into the themes which I’ll get into in a moment.

The effects are intentionally bad, and the movie is in no way to meant to see as a real movie akin to others. I point this out because that plays into how I will review the movie, and how it should be reviewed. It’s impossible to review on the standards you judge other movies.

I mention this because a lot of people fail to see this, even the fans. Of course, this doesn’t excuse it from having any actual flaws but it’s always important to judge the movie on what it’s supposed to be. Hell, Matthew’s complaints were based on these merits as even HE knew what to expect and only gave critiques that made sense. Yes, Confused Matthew was able to make more sense than a lot of people, including a few professional critics.

Please rethink your life.

But back on point. With all this in mind, how does the work as a whole? Well, taking everything into account, it is….awesome. Yes, it truly is. When I really thought what the film stood for and everything like that, I realized it truly is a great film…by my standards.

Now, it’s not exactly a “great” film by traditional standards. Not just because of everything I mentioned, but because of the real flaws it has. It has actual problems that James could have fixed to make a more fun experience.

But hell, even the flaws add to the quality. You know how Ed Wood films are “So bad it’s good” mostly because they are truly admirable when you see how much passion he put into that? This is kind of like that. Except it’s actually put into the script and plays into the theme of the film.

It’s an intentionally so bad its good movie that transcends itself and because great. Yeah. Honestly, with stuff like the ending that brings it full circle, this would just be a fun Nerd movie and that’s it.

It’s hard to review it like I would any other movie, by looking at the story and other such stuff. Every element is meant to play into the fun bad-ness of it. However, it has flaws in the story and characters so I got to talk about it.

This is a Big Damn Movie as you may expect and that’s a good and bad thing. Bad since it makes it more of a weird conspiracy movie than a Nerd movie, but Good because it puts him into a big plot that fits the characters.

If you ask me, the huge plot plays into his show fine with its themes and subject matters. ET is the Nerd’s biggest request, but that game has been covered so many times that it would be dumb to just do his usual crap. So it makes sense for the plot of the movie to be about the game, and how he’s afraid to ever play it.

Does it become too big for its own good? In a way, yes. It turns out this this huge reason the game is infamous, and why the creator made it and all that. There’s also a subplot involving a company making a sequel to the game and wanting the Nerd to help sell it.

Given the themes of the film, they could have stuck to them with that subplot alone. However, the conspiracy plot does work…because it’s so convoluted and out of place! That’s the joke!

I mean, it makes just as much sense to put him into a conspiracy plot than it does to have him fight Bugs Bunny.

Sure, there are ways they could fit Nerd stuff it, like make LJN the real evil behind everything or something like that. But it fits because of how weird it is! Part of the fun is seeing a character in a situation he clearly doesn’t belong in. Having it be game relate makes it better.

In other words, it’s a spoof of a Big Damn Movie. Yeah.

That being said, there are plot elements that were either not needed or needed some rewrites. Without spoiling too much, I’ll try to explain. As I said, a company wants Nerd to endorse this new ET to make money out of people’s love for bad things. A chick is sent to help him dig up the old one and get him to endorse their game.

However, she kind of lies to them and pretends to be a friendly nerd wanting to just dig up the landfill and prove the hoax for what it is. That’s right, it’s that kind of plot.

I honestly am shocked James went and did that since putting clichés like that doesn’t even fit with the various homages the film has.

However, it is underplayed…which is a problem. While The Nerd finds out her lie, it’s from someone else and it’s treated like nothing. Her plot line is so weirdly usless it might as well not be there.

She is somewhat important in a way but her lying thing really adds nothing except a…romance? I don’t know, they set one up, with the cliché where the best friend is angry cuz they had the whole nerds before birds mantra.

It also adds a weird joke that feels like it’s from Austin Powers.

It’s nothing painful but that it is kind of pointless. Her character is fun but perhaps she needed better materiel. She does end up getting captured, of course, but even that is pointless. Because the other pointless plotline comes from that.

I can’t spoil what it is here but I’ll say it involves that weird robot monster you saw in some of the Behind the scenes videos.That whole deal is just odd and it simply adds more action where plenty came from the main Area 51 stuff to make the climax work.

They aren’t the worst, but if they were removed or change, the film could have been shorter and better. Maybe the monster could have been more tied into the real villain or something.

Speaking of the length, I’ve heard complaints about that. Without credits, it is 1 hour and 48 minutes…except that the credits are REALLY important for reasons I can’t spoil. So thus, the movie is about an hour 54 or so minutes.

That’s a tiny bit too long, which is odd since James does complain about Modern movies being overly long. It’s not a huge problem since it flew by but there are points where I did think it was going on too long.

Most of it is so big and cool that it didn’t matter, but if they trimmed down some parts, it would be at least 10 minutes longer. It’s not quite as annoying as our last General review, though.

Now onto some other things people have brought up. You know a lot of those “classic” characters the Nerd has created, like Board James, Shit Pickle, The Bullshit Man and more? Yeah, they aren’t in it. The latter two have cameos while the former isn’t there at all. No other characters you can think of appear.

With people like Bugs bunny, I get it since they are copyrighted but it’s odd for them to not be in it. People wish they teamed up with the Nerd on the road trip…but I don’t know.

Could any of his character sustain a plot like this? Especially since most of his characters are played by James, which would be odd.

However, they could have easily made established people like Mike part of the team. He gets a cameo but that’s it, and the same goes with Kevin Finn, who helped write the movie with James.

Given this is part of his biggest issue with Ninja Turtles 3, it’s odd he would do this. However, it does kind of work since I do enjoy the new characters enough. I think it makes more sense to have new characters for the villains at least.

The main one is this sidekick named Cooper. He’s the typical Black sidekick but he does grow on you. They establish that he just started working for the Nerd so there you go. He makes for a solid ally, even if I would preferred Mike.

The other new guys are fine too. The chick I mentioned is fun even if her plot is weak, and I really enjoy the villain. He’s over the top and fun like you would expect. I don’t like the angry boss guy but he’s in one scene so it’s okay.

I can’t really talk about the characters cuz while there are plenty of them, most of them are just jokes and only a couple serve as allies.

I could mention the villain’s hot sidekick who fights that chick (“I hoped I could make it through this without objectifying myself with a sexy catfight”) but she’s kind of pointless.

There is one that appears near the end it’s a spoiler. I will say this guy was one of the funniest parts of the movie and I loved that they guy this actor. No spoilers though, and I don’t plan to do a spoiler section here.

Does it suck to have mostly new guys? Yeah but they work and the film is more focused on plot than character. Speaking of which, The Nerd is in top form. He is completely “in character” and he’s not only a lot of fun but he gets some nice depth thanks to the themes.

We’ll get to that, trust me. By the way, all the actors for a very solid job. Some are better than others, but James is as strong as ever.

The effects are of course crummy, but they are actually pretty impressive for the budget. Everything is obviously face, from the monster, to the green screens to stuff like the airplane. Yes, they do use it to reference the infamous Top Gun thing.

It’s crummy but it’s all rather ambitious and it’s so overblown and cool that it’s actually pretty good when you consider all the hard work that went into it. It makes the over the top stuff even cooler. It adds to the feel of the film.

Now we finally get to the themes and story. The story itself is basic, and nothing too amazing. But it works due to themes, which we shall finally discuss. The film flat out opens with a company noticing that the AVGN bashing games lead to bad games being bought due to bile fascination.

Due to this, they made a sequel to ET that is even worse, and need him to help make it sell.

This helps drive the movie, but on top of that, the AVGN is genuinely scared of played of reviewing the game, much less playing it. It’s hinted that it is due to a traumatic experience from when he played it as a kid. He wants to protect his fans from the horrible game.

Eventually, Nerd learns not to shelter his fans from some game and other stuff happens I can’t spoil. The point is, the story is somewhat driven by people’s love for bad things. How people will still watch or play bad things after someone they enjoy tears it apart.

There’s a scene where The Nerd spits on a game and the customer, played one of the cameos, wants to buy it because of that. See what I mean? This film seems to have a theme about how even bad things have their worth and can bring people together

And that’s where the movie shines. Beyond the conspiracy stuff and the explosions, it’s really about that. Which is fitting since the entire reason AVGN is popular is because it’s fun to watch someone tear something you hate apart.

Sure, it’s always important to be positive, but being negative can have a positive effect as well. Of course, it doesn’t really go all that in-depth. It just says that bad things can bring people together.

Plus, it also says true bad-ness can’t be forced. That’s why the company’s ET’s sequel fails, because its attempts to be horrible just make it forgettable. They are just lucky they didn’t have a Wacky Deli thing going on.

That’s a pretty nice message and the film does a good job tying into the character. Then we have the part that really plays the fans. As in, it’s a love letter to the fans. It has Nerd dealing with fans wanting him to review ET, as he learns that he shouldn’t try to hide bad games from them, since it could bring them together, and it may not even be that bad.

Yes, we get a game review, and it’s pretty awesome. I won’t spoil anything about it though.

So onto of the Nerd elements and reference, it has themes that really tie into the fan base and in the end it really warms your heart. With how the movie ends and the statement it makes, it really makes you proud to an AVGN fan, if you are one anyway.

This is the ultimate fan movie, since it really will appeal most to fans. But I think most people will find that aspect admirable, since even if you just watch this is a silly movie, you will like how it respects its fan and has a nice message. It’s not totally alienating.

Call it pandering all you want, but with how it’s written, it’s a love letter and instead of just pandering. Some bits do that but not a lot. It’s always hard to make a movie out of a show, as you have to balance making a movie, with making something for fans of the show.

Which is why it mostly has new characters and stuff like that. However, it mostly strikes that balance since even normal people can identify with a fun bad movie and its message.

Besides, while you must pay money for it, it’s mostly an online independent thing, so it’s not like it should be held on the standards of a real movie anyway. Which is why I think, despite its flaws, it’s an awesome love letter to the fans.

While it has some weak writing in places, and other minor issues, it has funny moments, and some admirable themes that make you proud to be a fan. It just leaves you with a good feeling at the end.

Not to mention it’s just awesome that James was able to follow his dreams and make an actual movie. Even if it wasn’t that good, it would still be admirable, and awesome. I really got a kick out of this film with its themes and how it made me happy to be fan.

Overall, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Its cheese-y and kind of bad, which makes it a lot of fun along with the fan themes I’ve talked about.

It’s no masterpiece but it’s just a fun fan film. There really isn’t a lot more to say, really. Like I said, it’s hard to review this like a normal movie, and I’ve said all I can say.

It’s a big stupid love letter to the fans, and if you’re a fan, please check it out, for the ending alone. If you’re not a fan…avoid it unless you still respect James and am glad he did this. Maybe then you can at least respect the movie.

Assholes need not apply.

It may not be perfect, but I enjoyed it.

Grade: B+

Fred The Movie no longer has an excuse.

See ya.

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Movie Review: A Million Ways to Die in the West

Hello, Spongey here.

You know, I haven’t done a live action general review in a while. This is mostly because I haven’t seen a live action movie in theaters for a awhile mostly due to time reasons. It’s a not big deal, but since you likely won’t get a lot this year, I figured I’d crank one out.

That and it’s a movie I honestly feel doesn’t give me too much too say for a full review. I have a lot to say but this film is a Comedy and its pros and cons are best discussed in general more than just telling you all the jokes. At least with this type of Comedy, anyway.

You can argue all you want about this apply to other comedies I plan on reviewing but I just feel better doing those in my usual style. That and those movies are way shorter and it would be less boring than it would be reviewing this one.

With that out of the way…Seth MacFarlane. I’ve talked about before, to say the least. Regardless of how you feel about him and his work, he has a Comedy style of his own and that won’t appeal to everyone.

He’s very talented but he wastes that talent sometimes. Sometimes his humor works well, other times it’s tasteless and terrible. Sometimes he has good character and decent stories, and other times the characters are as lovable as getting stabbed in the balls.

He’s not very consistent, even in the mostly bad Modern Family Guy and Cleveland Show. However, his main talents as an actor and oddly enough, songwriter, are still there. I’m saying all this to be fair, since I am one of those who is mixed on him as of late.

Despite all that, I was surprised by his 2012 film debut Ted. I actually reviewed it awhile back, if you recall, I heavily praised that movie for its dramatic story and writing. Yes, really. The humor was hit or miss, (but nothing pissed me off too much) and the story shined despite using clichés.

Due to that, I was looking forward to his follow up film. It even made it on my list of my Most Anticipated Films of 2014. …It didn’t seem to work out so well. While critics liked Ted, they pretty lukewarm to this film, and it got weak reviews. Mostly negative but that seems to have calmed down.

It even underperformed compared to what they expect, but it didn’t exactly bomb too hard either. What happened here? Why did people respond poorly to this, despite responding well to his first film?

And most importantly, do I agree with the critics? Let’s take a look.

This, is A Million Ways to die in the West

In the dangerous old west, a cowardly Sheep Farmer is dumped by his girlfriend due to not being enough of a man. Things perk up when he hits it off with a lady that just arrived in town. But his luck seems to be running out, as he must deal with the harsh-ness of the West, as well as his Ex’s boyfriend and an evil crook who roams into town..

Might as well rip the big bandage out right now: I thought this movie was…alright. Not as bad as I feared going into it, but not as good as Ted, or as it could have been. It’s consistently …okay.

But there’s some important reasons for that, so let’s go over them. I’ll go ahead and push a few positives first. Seth clearly has love for classic Westerns and this movie does a fantastic job at capturing that.

The sets look really good, and the music and cinematography capture the feeling of an old Western really well. Honestly, if you took out the jokes, this could work really well as a real western with how well made it is. Some decent jokes play off the setting and due those reasons that works.
There’s also two songs in the movie, one of which is in the credits. As per Seth tradition, they are both really catchy and a lot of fun. Hell, even Albert says the first one never leaves your head.

The performances are also solid all around, but I’ll get to that when I discuss the characters. Now for my main criticisms of the movie. Now, we’ll ignore the story issues since this is a Comedy and a bad story can be excused if it’s funny.

Seth’s humor is usually hit or miss, and this film is no exception. However, that’s not exactly the problem. The problem is that it tries way too hard a lot of the time. Instead of following naturally, the writers try too hard to put in jokes whenever possible. Most of this comes from Seth himself, who acts like he’s doing a really long stand up routine about the old west.

Some jokes go on too long, as you might expect. That or they make certain jokes too much. Hey, do you get the old west sucks? Well the movie doesn’t think so because they hammer that in a lot in the first half hour or so. The part in the trailer where Seth lists off things that can kill you goes on way too long, and they hammer it even more with an overlong joke regarding the dead mayor.

And when it’s not doing that, it’s trying too hard to be crass. There a lot of jokes about shit and death, and most of them are stupid, overlong, or just pointless. One example is where one character takes a shit…and that’s the only joke for like 30 seconds.

A lot of this comes from Seth who is a bit overbearing as he inserts a lot of jokes in his dialogue when he can. I can’t blame the acting since it’s the writers who made him talk so much.

With that said, the humor isn’t THAT bad. My issues are kind of small when it comes to the vindual jokes, and most of them aren’t painful. They are usually this just kind of lame or go on too long.

There are some funny moments, and most of them are smaller moments instead of the big parts they want you to laugh it. Albert gets some decent lines in sometimes, and a lot of the times the actor will make you smile more than their lines as they are written. Some of the “old west sucked” jokes are funny, and the leads chemistry leads to nice moments.

However, the single funniest thing in the movie isn’t even really a written line. I won’t even spoil but I will say it happens during the most pointless scene. Overall, the humor itself isn’t the most painful but it suffers from trying a bit too hard.

That leads to my next big problem. The runtime is around an hour and 50 minutes. It’s close to 2 hours and my god, does it feel like it. That problem of jokes running on too long, plays a part in this. It seems small when it happens but when you think about it, the runtime would be greatly reduced if they took a few more trips to the editing room and chopping out a lot of the minor filling.

Despite this, the pace feels fine …until the 3rd act. Without spoiling anything huge yet, there’s a point where Albert finds out the big thing the film was leading up to and he then ends up in a part that you think is the big climax, or is leading up to the climax and wrap up.

Then the movies goes for half an hour more. Yeah, Albert ends up out of town and then we the next 20 minutes before he heads back for the climax are completely pointless. The film acts like it’s adding to his growth as a character, but it seemed to doing that fine without this scene.

Without it, I can still buy that he’s learning to buck up and yada yada. We didn’t need an acid trip with Indians straight out The Simpsons Movie to tell us that. The pacing got slow before they popped, so when they did i sighed,

Things pick back up after that but it doesn’t make up for anything. Oh, and there’s an abrupt ending! It’s not the worst, but sorry, you can’t have an abrupt ending when your runtime tells us you’re not exactly under any constraint.

Oh, and there’s a subplot with Sarah Silverman and some other guy that shows promise but goes nowhere. Which is too bad since they are very charming in their roles.

So yeah, they needed a better editor. Now let’s briefly go over the story itself. Like with Ted, it’s pretty cliché. But unlike that one, it doesn’t really fix the problems with them.

We have a cowardly guy being dumped for being a loser, with him learning to man up. And of course, we got the liar revealed! Oh yeah. See, Anna, Albert’s love interest, is actually working with the bad guy. She was ordered to lay low in town while he does bad guy stuff. You can guess what happens.

To be fair, it’s not the worst. I mean, since they develop the romance semi decently, I kind of forgot she was with the bad guy and when she is found out, it’s not quite as bad with some other movies. There isn’t a ton of moping and while they do have Seth chew her out, it’s not really the most distracting thing ever.

It’s a problem with the film but not a huge one. I wish they had a more interesting story, or at least didn’t rely on this cliché. From the setting, it’s obvious this would be less story based than Ted, but having this cliché isn’t that necessary in the long run. At least that’s how I feel.

But hey, it’s not a big deal in a Comedy like this, and while the Comedy is mixed, it’s not a huge problem. It’s still an issue though. Before I go further, we gotta discuss the other characters.

Louise, Albert’s Ex-Girlfriend played by Amanda Seyfriend, is weird. From how she acts, she doesn’t seem too bitchy since she is calm when explaining why she doesn’t feel Albert is right. She mostly just kind of stands there while being with her jerk-y boyfriend. Oh yeah, that cliché. I’ve seen worse when it comes to it.

However, she still fills that archetype with how the script plays out and of course, she asks Albert when he proves himself only for him to say “hell no bitch”. He doesn’t actually say that but you wouldn’t be shocked if he did.

So overall, she’s that kind of weak. Then there’s that Jerk boyfriend, Foy, played by Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, his charm makes this cliché tolerable. He’s a lot of fun when he’s on screen. But that’s the problem. He’s wasted as he isn’t in the movie much. He’s in it enough for the story but given who is playing him, it’s a shame he wasn’t given a lot to. Plus, his last joke is that shit joke I mention. Yay.

I already told you my problem with Sarah Silverman and that other guy. Yeah, I already forget their name, even though they are the most memorable supporting characters. They are a married couple but Sarah doesn’t want to have sex due to her religious beliefs.

She’s a prostitute.

Yeah, that’s the joke and it’s kind of funny when it isn’t overly crude. I like they these two are very charming and nice to each other despite all this and even when the dude starts to want sex, they aren’t fighting too much over it. Which makes the fact that it goes nowhere even worse. Sarah Silveman is especially good here but she doesn’t get enough to do in the end.

And there’s our villain, played by Liam Neeson. He’s very good in this role but he doesn’t do a lot. I can forgive this seeing this is the kind of plot where the villain is mostly in the climax, but it is a shame there isn’t a lot for him.

But at least Liam Neeson kills people in the movie.

And that’s really it. There are a few cameos, most of which are pretty funny so I won’t spoil them. I’m fine with only a few characters, but perhaps better written ones would live up the film more.

Which leads us to our leads, Alert and Anna, played by Seth (duh) and Charlize Theron. On their own, they are actually fairly solid. Charlize is as good as usually, with her charm, but I actually Seth does an okay job. …Sort of.

He does pretty well when it comes to the calm and naturally humor that comes from his interactions with Anna, and his dramatic moments. He do a more calm type of humor pretty well.

His weakest moments come when the script calls him to try too hard with the gags. He can be a bit annoying in a lot of these moments, but it’s not really his fault. Well, he was one of the writers but he’s not his fault he couldn’t handle some of the materiel he came up with. In general, he’s a pretty good leading man when it more subtle comedic or dramatic parts. But if he’s given too much crass comedy, he kind of gets annoying. Though maybe if the jokes were funnier this wouldn’t be a problem.

The characters themselves aren’t too special. Albert fills in the typical role of a Coward who becomes a man but he’s likable enough when he isn’t giving us bad stand up. Anna is also not the best, but her tough side and sweet-ness make her decent enough. They don’t explain how she ended up with the bad crowd though.

The real highlight of these two performances is the chemistry. If there’s one thing the actors and writers do well it’s the romance. They are genuinely cute together and have nice chemistry as they hang out over the course of the movie. From the training parts to their talks, they are fun to watch and they do a good job at slowly showing this.

Their romance plays out nicely and the better Comedy bits come from their interactions. It’s not hugely original but it’s nice to watch. They just work pretty well and their scenes shine the most on a scripting level, and on an acting level.

I’ve gone on about the drama being the best part of Ted, and in a way the same is true here. As cliché as the dramatic scenes are, and while they aren’t that well written, they do handle them pretty well and the actors make me get sucked in. The drama works despite the script not being the best.

Like I said, if you take out the Comedy, this works as a serious Western. If the story was cliché and flawed, this could’ve been awesome. Oh, and I have another flaw with Albert. The movie really tries hard to show him as misunderstood soul, and Louise is constantly shamed for dumping him.

Albert isn’t a jackass or anything, and this isn’t a huge problem, but I did get sick of it after a while. We get it, he’s a special flower and Louise is a bitch. Please move on.

It is odd how the more dramatic aspects of both Seth’s film are better than the Comedy, but I’m glad either way. I don’t know if I should be shocked the humor is flawed or not. I could be shocked since the same writers wrote Ted, which has okay Comedy.

But I also shouldn’t since the other writers besides Seth were Alec Sulkin and Wesley Wild. Between them, they have classic Family Guy episode such as Seahorse Seashell Party and Screams of Silence, and they created the sitcom Dads.

….Yeah. And keep in mind, those episodes they wrote had failed drama along with failed Comedy so that makes it even weirder. So is there anything else to say before I wrap things up?

Hmm…I don’t think. I touched on Comedy, pacing, story, characters, and all that good stuff. So yeah, we’re almost done here.

As a whole, the movie is rather uneven with many good and bad aspects. The humor can be overly crude and it tries too hard but it can decent. The story is weak and badly paced in the 3rd act but it has decent drama. It looks fantastic and the acting is very good, with the leads having very nice chemistry but some supporting characters are underused.

Overall, the movie itself is fairly disappointing given how talent these people are and how much I liked Ted. Here’s my theory: Despite Seth being huge on TV, he had some restraint on Ted for various reason. When that movie was a huge hit, they gave him more range on this movie, which is why it had so many issues with its overbearing Comedy.

I find that Seth is better when he restrains himself, and that’s not even going into the individual writers on his shows. The best scenes in both movies are more dramatic or subtle parts for this reason.

I suggest that Seth make his next movie a smaller film, perhaps a simple romantic Comedy or something like that. Or, since he clearly loves musicals so much, an old school style musical. Both would be great.

As for this movie, it’s okay. Sure, the flaws make me groan but nothing was really that awful. For most of it I latched on the decent moments and was able to enjoy myself in some parts. However, its way too flawed, especially with the humor, for me to really enjoy it that much.

The good parts aren’t great enough for it to be good, but the bad parts aren’t’ awful enough to make it bad. It’s more an average Comedy with some parts going below Average, and some going above.

I really want to like this one a lot but it didn’t really pan out too well. It’s not as bad as you heard it was, but it is sadly flawed. I’m fairly apathetic to it as a whole. It’s just simply a kind of weak Comedy that needed a few rewrites here and there.

Which in the end, makes it…okay. This is another time where a grade is hard to give. Yeah, it’s been awhile but…

Score: 6/10

All I can say, I hope Ted 2 ends up being better. Yeah, there’s doing a sequel. The plot sounds odd and not what I wanted, but it could be solid. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Before I sign off, I have something to mention. Usually I don’t tease the next general review, since I do these randomly and even when I plan to do them I still don’t know when they could be.

But as a special present, I have another General review coming to you this weekend. It’s another film I wanted to discuss, and it’s from the same year. It also a comedy, but a different kind.

And here’s the poster:


Oh yeah, it’s finally time for it.

See ya.

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Walking With Dinosaurs

If this is how Dinosaurs really acted, than the meteor is a national hero.

If this is how Dinosaurs really acted, than the meteor is a national hero.

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, it’s time to look at something I’ve been meaning to review for a while – dinosaurs. Specifically, a big budget movie based off one of the most popular dinosaur based franchises. Specifically, a really popular – if dated – six part series that spawned continuations in the same prehistoric timeline, similar shows, a bunch of spin-offs and a load of dino nerds complaining about how no documentary has come close to challenging its glory. But will this edition to the franchise live up to the glory of the series that started it? Let’s take a look.

This, is Walking with Dinosaurs

The movie starts with a teenage boy, a girl and their uncle driving to – hang on a minute, humans are in this movie? Since when did the Walking with series need present day humans?

Anyway, their uncle is a palaeontologist and he explains they are going to a fossil site, and he then shows the kids the tooth of a Gorgosaurus, which was a smaller, sleeker relative of Tyrannosaurus that lived a few million years earlier. The girl is in awe, while the boy doesn’t care and acts like dinosaurs are for kids and that we shouldn’t care because they’re extinct and all they left behind were birds.

Well, at least he seems to know that birds are dinosaurs (or at least direct descendants, even though that’s pretty much the same thing as far as science is concerned – okay, I’m getting technical now).

When they arrive, the boy stays behind with the Gorgosaurus tooth while the others go digging for fossils. He is then approached by a talking rook voiced by John Leguizamo. Does this boy freak out? Not at all! He just looks at it like it’s something mundane, even when the bird is making fun of him and expressing how he is offended by his words about his ancestors.

He then transports back in time to Cretaceous Alaska and transforms into Alex the Alexornis, which was a prehistoric bird from… Mexico. Okay, I don’t think there’s any described bird species from this location so they had to borrow from elsewhere, but still.

So Alex starts telling the story of how the fossil tooth came to be, and we get introduced to out protagonist, Patchi the Pachyrhinosaurus. However, when we first see him, we are introduced to his species through a pause, showing the sort of dinosaur, the name’s meaning and what sort of diet they had. If that didn’t take you out of the movie, then the fact that we have a little kid reading it out will.

Hey, isn’t having a kid explain things to the audience kind of going against the whole “dinosaurs can be for everyone and not just kids” thing? I think we know who this movie is meant for, folks.

So we then get to see Patchi introduce himself… hang on, the dinosaurs talk? Okay, Alex is ridiculous too but you could at least make the excuse that he is some weird version of a narrator. But Patchi, seriously? Why does a movie about dinosaurs living like dinosaurs need voices to access audiences? And to make things worse, he’s voiced by the guy who plays Alvin from the live action Alvin and the Chipmunks movies!

I don’t want to compare to the original Walking with Dinosaurs series too much, but all that used was narration, and it was used appropriately. It’s like the studio executives think kids are too stupid to get into anything without talking!

“Executives at 20th Century Fox, one of the film’s main distributors, viewed a rough cut and thought the film needed voiceovers so children in the audience could connect to the characters.”

…and apparently they do.

So Patchi, a newborn Pachyrhinosaurus, explains how he is the underdog and how his life isn’t all that great through annoying narration, and then we get to meet his brother, Scowler, who is basically your stereotypical dumb jock/jerkass brother. And guess what? He talks too!

Unsurprisingly the dialogue sucks, but the big thing is that since the film was conceived without the intention of it being Talking with Dinosaurs (old joke, but it’s a funny old joke, don’t judge!), the dialogue doesn’t add anything to the visuals except for being annoying. Since it was also a last minute decision from Fox, there’s no lip-syncing, so it feels more like you’re watching a bad parody of the movie on YouTube rather than the actual movie itself.

When Patchi tries to find a way to get to the food provided by his mother – which the characters also make a big deal about it being vomit, which is a really human centric point of view by the way – he gets attacked by a Troodon (which gets pronounced without an extra O sound in the middle), a smallish birdlike dinosaur. Of course, along with Alexornis, this dinosaur gets a description read out by a little kid too. At least it’s mostly feathered though, except for the face. Jurassic World should take notes from you on how to design dinosaurs!

Oh, ahem, so of course Patchi survives the incident, but the attack leaves a hole in his head. This sends him on a little adventure followed by Alex, where he gets pooped on by an ankylosaur, which is an armoured dinosaur. Apparently it’s supposed to be based off Edmontonia, an ankylosaur from Alberta, Canada, but I’m pretty sure there’s evidence of a species of it from Alaska as well.

Anyway, we get a kid explaining this as well, though as you can probably tell they only identify it as an “ankylosaur,” which is weird.

After more stupid dialogue and exploration, Patchi arrives at a lake and is amazed at the sight of everything. You’d think they would let the audience soak the moment in, but of course, Alex has to make a remark on how that you shouldn’t get too excited because this is going to become a future oil field. So to add yet another reason for why the dialogue was a bad idea, we now have characters ruining the mood of scenes.

Patchi also encounters some Hesperonychus, which are basically a kind of dromaeosaur, the sort of dinosaur that Velociraptor is. They don’t do much besides briefly trying to attack Patchi, but they’re worth noting because they’re actually anachronistic – not only did they live in Alberta, but they lived several million years earlier then what’s shown here.

It’s also a shame because there were other dromaeosaurs that actually lived at this time, too. Like Troodon they’re mostly feathered properly except for the face, too. We also get to see the ONLY dinosaur in the film without an explanation attached to it – Parksosaurus, a small sleek herbivore, which apparently isn’t worth anyone’s time because it isn’t big, carnivorous or has anything fancy to show off – and the mammal Alphadon, which does get an introduction despite Patchi encountering it earlier, though I guess they didn’t want to crowd too many identifications at the start.

So after a little while, we get… a pop song. Pop music, in a Walking with Dinosaurs film? Don’t tell me this was Fox’s idea too!

Anyway, our next big scene is Patchi exploring again only for him to meet Juniper, voiced by Tiya Sircar, aka… Mishti from Phineas and Ferb, apparently. And guess what? She’s Patchi’s love interest! The scene where they meet is so clichéd, with your typical “she’s beautiful,” slow motion, awkward hellos and “I have to go nows.” All the dialogue does is amplify it. Oh, and when she leaves, we get this from Patchi after Juniper comments on the hole in his frill.

“She likes me! And she likes my hole.”

Before Juniper leaves though, she tells Patchi to meet him at the same spot they met each other at. Patchi does that, but she isn’t there. He keeps doing it in the exact same way he did the first time, since apparently recycling footage isn’t an issue, and Alex continues to narrate the scene in a “poetic” way. Alex then tells Patchi that she left to migrate with her herd because of the coming Winter, but also that he knew for five days without telling Patchi. As if we don’t need more reasons to hate Alex, we now have pointless jerkassery.

Since Patchi obviously wouldn’t want to leave Juniper, he joins his own herd and they soon head south. This leads to more annoying banter between him and Scowler, who pretty much insults his brother at every chance he gets, including making fun of him for liking Juniper. Alex then talks about how the “scary part” of the story is coming up, because apparently we need to know when something is scary to find it to be that.

Basically the so-called “scary part” is that a forest fire that starts, which ends up leaving Patchi and Scowler separated from their herd. Of course, Alex has to ruin the scene by making a remark about how we humans think we discovered fire when it’s been around for millions of years, which is dumb anyway because by “discovering” fire we mean learning how to use and control it. Just another one of Alex’s “witty” lines, folks.

Patchi and Scowler are then forced to hide from a Gorgosaurus – another animal that’s anachronistic, unless some undescribed remains mean anything, which actually sucks in hindsight because a few months after the film was released an actual tyrannosaur from Alaska called Nanuqsaurus was discovered and named. What also sucks in hindsight is that there was also a discovery of a tyrannosaur from China that was covered in feathers, which unfortunately couldn’t be added to the Gorgosaurus model because the discovery came too late for it to update the model.

Anyway, Patchi’s father comes in to save the two dinosaurs – or just Scowler according to himself, since of course he’s a jerk to his brother – and gets killed by the Gorgosaurus. Scowler, along with some A+ screams for his dad, doesn’t believe that this happens, but of course he faces the truth and he and Patchi eventually return to their herd.

Patchi eventually gets to meet up with Juniper, but not before the hole in his frill starts making annoying whistling noises. Juniper asks what he’s doing, and he replies that he’s whistling out of his whole. Gosh dang it movie, that earlier line about his hole completely ruined my perception of any future hole lines! And of course, since Juniper is the love interest, she likes the noises. Totally original.

We are soon properly introduced to the pterosaurs after a bad “comedic” moment with them, which like Alphadon are introduced earlier in the movie but get identification later. They’re also not dinosaurs, but a group of closely related reptiles, though for some reason the movie decided to identify them at the broadest level possible and not actually call them by their familial name, azhdarchids. It would be like Pachyrhinosaurus being the only dinosaur in the film and just calling them “dinosaurs” instead of anything more specific. Then again, pterosaur is probably easier to remember and the pronunciation of azhdarchid in the promos for the film was awful – it didn’t emphasise the middle syllable, which would make it “az-DAR-kid,” but instead came across more like “AZ-dur-kid.” Specifically they’re based off Quetzalcoatlus, one of the largest pterosaurs that ever lived which lived in Texas but remains of animals that were their size have been found in other places, plus they could fly so it’s not as big of a stretch as some of the other animals.

After more ridiculous pedantry on my part, we get the pterosaurs fishing – oh great, outdated animal stereotypes! Pterosaurs as a whole have always been portrayed as fish eaters, even though there were hundreds of species that all lead different lifestyles, not to mention the methods shown would’ve been suicidal for many species. Azhdarchids in particular were more like storks, in the sense that they hunted terrestrially and ate any animal that was small enough for them to swallow.

…ANYWAY, Alex decided to say more dumb stuff about how pterosaurs have no natural predators, which is complete bogus purely to set up a punchline of a Gorgosaurus taking one down mid-air. Speaking of Gorgosaurus, we might have what very well may be the worst scene in the entire movie – an extended bio.

Of course Gorgosaurus gets introduced by some kid, but for some reason – maybe because the carnivores are supposedly the most “interesting” or something – Alex decides to elaborate on it and go into detail about it. This scene comes completely out of nowhere, and there are no more like it after this. Some facts about it are given, which as far as I can tell aren’t wrong, but the presentation is awful. Not only do we get typical Alex dialogue, but we also get cartoony sound effects, sparkling teeth and… tiny arms.

Basically, Alex cannot stop laughing at the tiny arms of the Gorgosaurus, saying stuff like that he can’t take it seriously because of them and that they’re “little baby arms” and that they’re “so cute.” One might wonder why this gets me more than some of the other stuff Alex says, but the core issue is that the joke is really anthropocentric – like a lot of the other things said in the film – and that if Alex behaved like a normal bird, he wouldn’t care because he doesn’t have arms to compare the Gorgosaurus’ to. Jokes about tiny tyrannosaur arms suck anyway, since not only are they done to death, it also doesn’t matter in the first place because they have huge heads with some of the most powerful bite forces of any terrestrial animals that ever lived, which meant that having tiny arms wasn’t a big deal and using just your head is fine for attacking. Alex’s emphasis on making them funny and silly just makes it worse. Oh, and did you know that the social media campaign for the movie actually wanted to get #tinyarms trending on Twitter? We could’ve gotten an incredibly unfunny joke spread around by people with unoriginal tastes in humour, but thankfully it went nowhere as far as I know so that’s something.

The next scene is all of the juvenile Pachyrhinosaurus still in the herd, only for not just one, but an entire pack of Gorgosaurus attacking them so they can pick out the young and weak, much like real predators do today. Of course, this scene gets ruined by the talking, with Alex throwing in random Spanish phrases and the young Pachyrhinosaurus talking about fear, which then ends up becoming a euphemism for farting and poop. I know those are natural bodily functions, but they don’t even appear here so it’s just more toiler humor for the sake of toiler humor.

Oh and OF COURSE, Juniper, being the girl and love interest, falls into the river behind them and Patchi goes to save her. This ends up with another stupid scene with Patchi and Alex arguing about how Patchi “dived” into the river, complete with a rewind to show what happened. Another scene that comes out of nowhere and has none of its kind later. Great.

Anyway, Scowler also ends up in the river and the three Pachyrhinosaurus end up on a beach. Scowler goes ahead without them because he’s a jerk, leaving behind Patchi and Juniper, with Alex tagging along of course. They decide to follow a herd of Edmontosaurus, large duck-billed herbivores since they are probably going to lead them to a food supply.

“If you want to know where the food is, follow the fat guys!”

Making fun of fat people are we, Alex? Also… is this why the ankylosaur wasn’t identified as Edmontonia? Because apparently it and Edmontosaurus would be confused too easily? Okay, they are pretty similar names, but still.

Soon however the two Pachyrhinosaurus are then attacked by crabs because Juniper injured her foot and needed to rest. This leads to more stupid lines, including Alex “dancing” while mentioning Spanish dances, or at least ones from Spanish speaking countries, because HEY DID YOU KNOW THAT ALEX IS HISPANIC? So this means we have “ethnic stereotyping” to add to the reasons why Alex sucks? Oh, and of course we get stupid puns.

“Holy crab!”

Eventually some pterosaurs show up and start feasting on the crabs – at least they broke that outdated “fishing bird” stereotype – and Patchi and Juniper head into a forest, where they get annoyed by an Alphadon and make a “witty” remark about how mammals will go extinct one day and that dinosaurs will still be around. They even mention being stealthy like ninjas, which makes no sense. They then get attacked by a bunch of Chirostenotes, another birdlike dinosaur except it’s larger than Troodon and has a beak and bony crest. Not only is this another anachronistic dinosaur that has a similar species from this time, Epichirostenotes (even if it lived in Alberta and not Alaska) – but we also get the silly name “skinny neck pecky thing” because Patchi hates big words. That isn’t before making clumsy attempts to say the name though, like “Chirostenachos” – yay for more anthropocentric humor!

After managing to scare them away, since it’s now Winter Patchi and Juniper take a look at the northern lights, or aurora borealis if you want to be technical. Not only do we get cliché “it’s beautiful” lines, but Patchi also makes a drug reference by stating that he thought the aurora was from a rancid pinecone he ate. Oh, and we also get ANOTHER pop song.

During this song, Patchi and Juniper reunite with Scowler – who is still a jerk – and the rest of the herd. We get a montage of the Pachyrhinosaurus doing stuff in the newly formed snow, including a stupid moment where Patchi calls fish “swimmy things.” I will give this scene props for showing that sometimes generally herbivorous animals will be okay with eating animals sometimes though – there’s all sorts of videos of this happening online, for example deer eating birds. Special props for showing a ceratopsian (if you couldn’t tell already, Pachyrhinosaurus is in the same family as Triceratops) doing it though, given that there is speculation that they may have been omnivores. Whether that was intentional or not is a different matter though, so I could be praising something completely unintentional.

We then get a montage of several different migrations and Patchi growing up. Of course, Alex butts in and says that he gets bored of the dinosaurs always migrating in the same direction, which is a stupid attempt at humor since he obviously doesn’t get how migration works, and he then talks about how Patchi’s hole is now “filled with greatness.” Yeah, not only do we get more accidental innuendo, but what Alex means is that he can now fit into it and stay there. Interesting idea from a creative standpoint, but Alex being an egotistical asshole pretty much ruins the scene.

So now Patchi and the others have grown up, and now the males of the herd are challenging its leader for dominance. Patchi complains about how the males just lose their minds and how “it’s so prehistoric” – good on you for making another “witty” joke, movie – and Alex gives more of his “poetic” narration. Excuse the amount of quotation marks I have to use, but it fits what the movie is doing perfectly. I mean, it’s a “Walking with Dinosaurs” movie, right?

Anyway Scowler challenges the herd leader and wins, which unsurprisingly immediately gets to his head. He starts putting down Patchi even more, separates Juniper from him and starts giving everyone stupid rules like to never question or contradict him. Patchi is reassured that everything will be alright, even if it means another cringe worthy palaeontology joke.

“Don’t worry Patchi, it’s not the end of the world. That won’t come for a couple of years.”

Yeah, more like 4 million years, Alex. Get your timing right!

We then are shown another migration, where Scowler in his arrogance decides to lead the herd onto a frozen lake, which then starts to break. Patchi, realizing that if the herd continues to follow Scowler, they will get themselves killed and thus decides to lead the herd back to shore. Of course this angers Scowler, who stays on the other side of the lake with a few others because he cares about his own ego more than the lives of the rest of the herd. Patchi is also able to knock down trees through sheer force, which I’m not sure is possible, but it seems like something the filmmakers would probably research.

Scowler being a doofus and tree knocking logic aside… this actually isn’t too bad of a scene. The dialogue doesn’t have any stupid jokes that plagued the rest of the movie, and if it wasn’t there at all this could’ve been great.

Scowler then meets up with Patchi afterwards, obviously furious about what happened, and goads Patchi into fighting him. Patchi naturally falls for it since he doesn’t want to lose Juniper. Like the previous scene, this is actually decent – the dialogue even seems to be reduced in some parts, and if it wasn’t there at all it could’ve been great. Since Patchi is weaker than his brother, he loses and becomes trapped under a fallen tree. Scowler orders everyone to leave, and even stopped Juniper from helping him, saying “I don’t have a brother.”

Ouch. That’s pretty much the line you can summaries his characterization in, people.

Unfortunately the movie’s newfound watchability comes to an end, since we’re back to in your face clichés amplified by the dialogue. Patchi has a heroic blue screen of death, and Alex has to encourage him to get back up because various animals have sought an opportunity for an easy meal to eat him while he’s helpless. Hang on… some of the scavengers are azhdarchid pterosaurs… great, more outdated stereotypes that I’m not even sure were physically possible for the animal! Why can’t they just be portrayed as the giant giraffe storks that they are?

Anyway, along with being bitten by scavengers, the thought of Juniper – complete with a flashback of when he first met her – gets him up. The power of love, folks! Patchi then goes to his old self – saying stupid dialogue like “scram, punks!”

Oh, and don’t forget the skinny neck pecky things! That was such a blast to hear again, right?

So Patchi manages to return to the herd, only to realise that Scowler made an error in judgement yet again and has led them into the same place where the Gorgosaurus pack attacked them earlier in the movie. Of course, they get attacked yet again, and Scowler fends them off, only to be overwhelmed. Patchi decides to risk his life to save him against Scowler’s wishes.

This leads into a big fight where Patchi, Juniper and the rest of the herd get into a big battle with the Gorgosaurus, and of course they win. Not only win, but win with no casualties whatsoever! Scowler doesn’t even show any wounds – hey, come to think of it, there’s next to no blood or graphic injuries in the movie, unless you count the hole in Patchi’s frill. Maybe another way to appeal to kids? Of course a movie with dinosaurs doesn’t HAVE to be filled with blood and gore everywhere, but completely avoiding it with scenes like this is pretty jarring when you have a dinosaur like Scowler that was brutally attacked.

Oh, and of course we had to get another mention of the Gorgosaurus’ arms during the fight. Speaking of Gorgosaurus, Patchi hits one in the face, which sends teeth flying out of its mouth. It’s also in slow motion to emphasis that it is the tooth that the people in the beginning had.

After the fight, we get the typical apology from Scowler and Patchi forgiving him, as well as him getting back with Juniper. They then decide to talk about the future, the Cenozoic era – no, that’s just another cheap palaeontology joke they make, but what they really mean is having kids.

We then flash forward to see Patchi and Juniper with their nest of eggs, which Patchi is impatient for them to hatch. He doesn’t have to wait much longer though, since they do, and of course Alex shows up for the occasion. The bad dialogue isn’t forgotten though, since they say some more stupid stuff, including Alex suggesting that they name one of their hatchlings after him like the egotistical jerk he is. Oh, and pop music once again!

We then return to the present, where the boy is not traumatized that a shapeshifting time travelling prehistoric bird showed him the past against his will or even in absolute awe that he even got to see such a thing, but merely enthusiastic about dinosaurs again. He then goes to meet back up with the rest of his family and brings the Gorgosaurus tooth, only to see that they manage to discover more of it. Nevermind the fact that such a complete and perfectly preserved fossil is incredibly unrealistic and is just there as a plot point, but they also fit the tooth in its jaw perfectly. I guess this means that Gorgosaurus died soon after the fight, and that it conveniently died in the same place its tooth was buried?

After that, Alex finishes the movie, only to have a random Gorgosaurus smash through the screen and roar, presumably for the sake of 3D effects. Hey, remember when everyone used to always complain about 3D movies?

Anyway, Alex mentions he forgot that part like the jerk he is, and then the movie ends for real, with the credits rolling with pop music – yeah, what else? At least the credits showcase the art of Luis V. Rey, one of the most renowned and respected dinosaur artists from today.

Final Thoughts:

This movie as a whole is pretty bad. However, there is good stuff in it.

First of all, the CGI is mostly well done. The animals manage to fit in well with the real filmed environments they get put in. Unlike the original Walking with Dinosaurs series, no animatronics seem to have been used, but the animals do look quite realistic in most shots. My only real issue in this regard is that the Alphadon didn’t always look too realistic, and some of the eyes made the dinosaurs look too anthropomorphised.

I also have to give the film props for being scientifically accurate for the most part. If there’s one thing it actually does better than the original series it was based on, it’s this. While there are some anachronisms and animal misplacements, as well as some anatomy issues here and there (in particular with Gorgosaurus and its lack of feathers), the original Walking with Dinosaurs too way bigger liberties and made much bigger mistakes. Making a seven metre long marine reptile as large as some of the largest whales alive today based on the vaguest evidence? Come on!

What the original series does far better though is…everything else. Everyone who has seen this movie probably will agree that the biggest problem is the added dialogue. While the original series merely had Kenneth Branagh narrating and letting the visuals do the majority of the work, it’s obvious that this film was conceived without the intention of having any, which it was. But of course, those studio executives at Fox decided that the characters needed to talk extremely late in production because apparently kids are morons, so we got three talking Pachyrhinosaurus and one talking Alexornis who would narrate the movie.

This presents many problems, the biggest of which is that it’s completely unnecessary. The film was made so that the visuals alone would be able to tell the story, and the added dialogue doesn’t do anything but state exactly what is happening on screen. This becomes worse when the added voices are incredibly grating and often unbearable to watch. The characters say the silliest and most pointless things, often thinking that they witty and funny when they really aren’t, not to mention that several potentially good scenes had their mood ruined by its edition. Alex and Scowler are particularly insufferable – both are massive jerks, the former has bad narration, unfunny lines and even a few cases of ethnic stereotyping, and the latter is really dumb to the point of being facepalm worthy. Patchi and Juniper aren’t as bad, but they’re still both incredibly irritating.

What’s a shame is that this isn’t even the first movie that has suffered this fate – Disney’s Dinosaur was originally planned to have no dialogue, but executive meddling made it so that the filmmakers would include it. The fact that people don’t seem to think that people can watch a dinosaur movie without any talking really is a shame.

The story has also been done before – Disney’s Dinosaur had a sort of similar plot about migrating dinosaurs escaping danger, but March of the Dinosaurs has had that plot done, and while it wasn’t anything spectacular all it had was Stephen Fry’s narration and no annoying dialogue, and was somewhat decent. The characters are also pretty simplistic – we have the underdog, the bully big brother, the love interest and the annoying sidekick/narrator. Even without the dialogue they may still have been slightly anthropomorphised to add to the story, but even still they would’ve been pretty simple, though it would feel more natural and less annoying without the dialogue.

The music is yet another thing the original series did better – it suited the mood of what story they were telling, and was actually pretty powerful in some parts. Some of the score here is good enough, but a lot of it does feel kind of awkward, which makes me wonder if some of the unnecessary silliness would still have been in the film even if there wasn’t dialogue. Oh, and of course, there’s the use of pop music – I could sort of picture it being used in advertising or something, but it really feels out of place in the movie. A movie about dinosaurs doing dinosaur things and pop music don’t exactly mash well in my eyes.

The present day segments aren’t too good either – the narrative here is as clichéd as Patchi’s, with the whole boy who has grown out of dinosaurs and whatnot and his family who are interested in the whole thing. In the original Walking with Dinosaurs, all the present was for was to set a starting ground, and to have a final moment showing that dinosaurs still live on as birds. The film does kind of do these, but the uninteresting side story about the boy doesn’t really add anything. I’m also curious as to whether these were a fairly late edition or something planned from the start.

The stuff about how you are never too old for dinosaurs also clashes with how the film treats its audience, with adding the voiceovers because executives think kids aren’t able to connect with non-verbal animals and the edition of having little kids spell out the names of the animals. Having one of your main messages conflicting with how you treat your audience doesn’t exactly work well.

Some scenes like the fight between Patchi and Scowler weren’t as bad as the rest, everything is mostly scientifically accurate and the visuals were mostly good, but overall this moviewas not good. The fact that studio executives underestimated their target audience is the main factor, which of course led to stuff like the pointless dialogue. There are other parts of the movie that I’m not sure about how they would fare without it though, for example the cliché story.

There is a cut out on the #D Blu-Ray that doesn’t have the dialogue in it, so I’m curious to see how different that would be compared to what we got and how much stuff from the final that was left in. So yeah, besides a few good things, not much here to like. If you haven’t seen it check out the original Walking with Dinosaurs instead of this, even if it’s pretty dated by now. It’s basically a mockumentary almost similar to something by David Attenborough, and the stories told are way better even with the animals acting normally. If you have to see this then try to find the version without dialogue, since I’m sure it will be at least somewhat better and much closer to the original vision of the film.

Grade: D

One and one last thing…


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