Piglet’s Big Movie


I wasn’t are An Hour and 7 Minutes was BIG

Hello, Spongey here.

The day this is going up, July 14, happens to be my 22nd birthday. Yeah, it’s crazy I’m already that age given how I was when I started. I haven’t gotten any smarter. I don’t usually do posts for my birthday since it’s a bit egoistical but this year I thought I should do something.

It’s an excuse to do another positive-ish review, honestly. For this one, we’re going back to the first film I ever saw in theaters. At least, that’s what my memory and my mom says. Due to my age, I can’t see myself seeing anything before this came out in __ 2003.

This fillm is of course part of the Winnie the Pooh franchise. There’s not much you can about Pooh in general, it’s one of those things everyone has grown up in one way or another, from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, to the NEW Adventures of the Pooh, to the 2011 film that seems to be the last hurrah for 2D Disney animation for now.

Winnie the Pooh is just one of those innocent charming things everyone likes, it’s hard for any entry to be that bad. Then again maybe there’s some obscure terrible thing out there, there always is.

Anyway, in the Early 2000’s Disney was branching out a bit so DisneyToon, the studio behind all those Direct to Video Sequels, released some of their films to theaters even though they normally would go Direct to Video.

Thus we get 3 Pooh movies. It started with The Tigger Movie in 2000 which was a decent enough hit to get this follow up. It was a hit too (abeit less though than Tigger) so there as another, but let’s focus on this movie. Reactions seems to positive enough to this as it has a 71 on RT.

Of course, I remember liking it as a kid, but as we’ve established, I liked some bad things. The writer has mostly done stuff like this, including the next Pooh movie, and the director has this has only real directing credit, although he did some small work for Disney before and after.

Will this piece of my childhood hold up, or will it fall apart like so many others? Let’s find out.

This, is Piglet’s Big Movie

The movie opens with a rendition of the Winnie the Pooh theme set to Piglet watching the others do stuff. Tigger is disguising himself as a tree while Rabbit is playing music for some bees.

They seem to like Bee-toven”


It’s all part of a big convulsed plan that would never really work. They are leaving Piglet out of it because it’s too “big”, which it’s really not. To be fair, all the roles have been filled I guess. The plan fails and the bees get pissed.

But Piglet is able to actually get them in their little fake hive. …But they somehow didn’t see that so they still say he wasn’t part of the plan. Seriously?

Piglet does a sad hulk walk which would be sadder if this wasn’t quite so contrived. We get another song as Piglet helps out around the woods, which is a pretty cute sequence.

Right after, their plan fails again as the bees escape and chase them. They safely hide out at Piglet’s house where they find his scrapbook full of memories that may or may not be callbacks.

They realize they don’t know where Piglet is and must find him. At least they aren’t acting like jerks in general and here we do see how they care for him. Likewise, Piglet has a hard time finding his friends.

They go to Owl’s place where he rambles on as is want to do. And that’s ti for that scene, I guess. They are using the scrapbook to follow his footsteps and locate him. Then they randomly stop the plot to take us into a flashback involving Kanga.

Uh…okay. With how it’s set up, it’s like a clip show for a show I haven’t seen.

This is about when Kanga and Roo moved on and they thought she was dangerous for some reason. These guys are pretty gullible sometimes. Rabbit comes up with a plan to kidnap Roo and they only give her back if Kanga leaves forever.

Wow, you’re an asshole.

They do their plan which works. That doesn’t mean Kanga won’t the notice than proceed to hilariously troll Piglet. Then she…gives him a bath and this leads to another song. …Okay.

After the pointless bath, Piglet goes to his friends but he’s a bit fuzzy from it so they can’t tell it’s him. I’m starting to realize these guys aren’t very bright. He fixes the fuzz and now that part was pointless.

He tells them that Kanga is actually nice. Also, Rabbit actually had fun with Roo onscreen so he likes her now. Yay forced development. Still kind of cute I guess. So ends that pointlessly long flashback.

They end up at Kanga’s house where they add Roo to their party. Then it’s back to the flashbacks. This is going to be the whole movie, isn’t it? This isn’t exactly new for Pooh but I was expecting more of a story here.

This story is about them, and Christoper Robin trying to find the North Pole. Christmas in July, yay! Although they oddly don’t mention Christmas at all, he just says “let’s find the north pole for no reason”.

They set off and we get another song. At this point I should say that the songs are good, just nothing too special. That first one was the best so far.

Roo pops up and falls into a river and while that is going on, Christopher Robin is wondering where they want as he didn’t hear them fall behind.

Because he’s somehow deaf now. They save Roo and get back to Robin who says they found the North Pole. Oh, and Piglet made a suggestion that helped save Roo, that’s how he’s connected to this one. Lame.

End Story. Cute but kinda lame. I kinda like this idea to an extent but that one barely had Piglet in it. A storm starts brewing and they are worried about Piglet. So let’s jump into another story!

He seems to be the hero of every story”

That or they picked random stories that he was in enough instead of just creating more Piglet centric ones.

Pooh and Piglet were walking in the snow, signing another song but this one is too short to even count as one. Piglet realizes that Eeyore has no house. Speaking of which, at this point Eeyore was voiced by Optimus Prime.


A montage is the fastest way to build a house so we get one with another song. This doesn’t work too well so they just figure Eeyore can live with Pooh. But while they get Eeyore, Piglet actually manages to make his house, incredibly quickly I might add.

Now he has a house. End fo story. Well, that had more Piglet and was kind of cute so it’ll pas. Tensions start to get high as they can’t find piglet, and Tigger and Rabbit both think they can do so better.

They fight over the book and it falls into the river. Wah wah. At least something finally happened. They sulk over this which leads to a sad song. Gotta say, this is really effective. We see how they care about Piglet, and the song itself is really nice.

Plus, it’s raining and that makes everything sadder.

We even get a quick montage of things Piglet has done, most of which are made up and are done in a child’s drawing style which is really charming.

This perks them up and makes them start the search again and they find some pages of the book. See what happens when you drop stories and have a plot?

They even find the book which somehow ended up on a branch. Pooh decides to cross it to get the book, like the badass he is. This leads to a decent climax, helped by Piglet showing up out of nowhere!

It’s capped off the obligatory “totally dead but not really” moment. Everyone’s fine but the book is lost. Gotta give them credit for doing that, leads to a really nice moment where they show they don;t need a book to remember how great Piglet is.

They go back home and see the drawings they made earlier which is another heartwarming moment. I swear every Pooh thing I watch does this and it always works on me, damn.

With that, they have a party to celebrate the events.

Thank you, Piglet”

D’aww. And roll credits! Yeah, rushed ending but I’ve seen worse. This is only an hour and 7 minutes, which is pathetic for a theatrical release, but ah well.

Final Thoughts:

This movie was…good. On the slower side, I will admit. Honestly, I didn’t remember that much from my first viewing aside from the sad scene. Somehow I forgot about a lot of the details and I can kind of see why.

I like the idea of having little stories but some feel like padding, and the actual story is basic as a result. There’s not too much actually wrong here, but less side stuff would have been nice. Thankfully, they make up for it with the heart.

The main story is pretty basic but it is a good one for Piglet. It’s really all about trying to be heartwarming as possibly by showing how much he means to them. Some of it’s cheesy, but most of it is works.

I’m not sure if needed to be a film but for what we got, it’s nice. The nice moments are executed well through the iconic characters and how the execution is. It’s nothing that special, but the nice moments are too damn good not to be drawn into.

There’s not really a whole lot I can say. It’s cheesy as hell but also likable as all hell, in spite of some odd narrative choices here and there. Again, this could have been a half hour special, or going straight to DVD.

But judging on it’s own, it’s nice. The animation is too, I just don’t have much to say about it. It’s pretty simple but effective just like the film itself.

Overall, Piglet’s Big Movie is not much more than “Nice”, but as long as they tried, that’s fine sometimes. It’s clearly made for kids but not in the “let’s just pander” way. You can aim for kids and still make it well enough that adults won’t hate themselves while watching it.

Not much more to say. Not great but I think it holds up fine, even if some parts are skippable. Now I wanna re-visit Tigger Movie and some others which I will do for some upcoming projects, hint hint.

But yeah, Happy Birthday to me.

Grade: B

That was fun. As for next time…well, unless anything I watch soon is urgently bad, next review shall be in August. And in that month, something is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary. So…


See ya.

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General Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

Hello, Spongey here.

Time for the 2nd of three Marvel Cinematic Universe films for the year. This time it’s a bit more interesting due to who is in it. At this point, I’ll talked a lot about Spider-Man. I reviewed the 2nd film in the Rami Trilogy, and a general review for Amazing Spider-Man 2 back when it came out.

Spidey has a an odd film run with ups and dons, with the final film in both series being big disappointments for some. At the moment, I still haven’t seen Spider-Man 3 but I can say I like all the others.

That’s right, I still love Amazing Spider-Man 2 and still don’t get why people hate it so much. But I’ve gone into that before but i’ll skip to the important stuff. As much as I wanted more, Sony felt the need to turn this into a much bigger franchise which tons of spin offs that they teased at in the film.

Because of how much stock they put into it, it ended up under performing so hard that they were forced to give Spidey back to Marvel. Honestly, with what Sony was doing, they don’t deserve Spidey.

Marvel got Spider-Man quick enough to insert him Captain America: Civil War. While I’m still not sure if he needed to be there, he was still really good on it. He was a highlight in many ways and it seems like they got the character right.

But now he’s got his in movie for the MCU. At the director’s chair is a guy who has only done 2 movies I’ve never heard of. And for our writers, we have 6. …Yikes. Between them we have mostly comedies like Horrible Bosses 2 and episodes of Community.

One took part in Lego Batman from earlier this year and another other has the previous films the director did , as well as Robot & Frank. A bit an odd bag but at the moment the film has a 93 on RT, so clearly this is turning out well for others.

But will I get into this web slinging adventure, or will I advise you stay away from this homecoming? Let’s find out.

This, is Spider-Man Homecoming

After getting an internship with Tony Stark, Peter Parker must balance his hectic High School life along with his life as a superhero, and he’s not that great at either yet. And also Micheal Keaton is doing bad guy stuff.

So far this year, I find that I repeat what others have said about a film for the most part. I may not like some as much as others, but my reviews for Logan, Wonder Woman and Captain Underpants are about the same as most, with me liking them for the same reasons most do.

This…is not different. I really liked this movie for the same reasons most did. But let’s go into the minor things first. For the flaws, I didn’t have too many as this is the least flawed Spider-
Man film yet.

In the sense that nothing bugged me as much as MJ in Rami’s 2 or the forced set up in Amazing 2. The flaws are minor. Some parts go on too long, story isn’t the most unpredictable thing ever, and Flash is the lamest bully ever.

He’s not even in most of it, he has two small scenes and that’s it. Oh and as usual the Marvel villain isn’t great. But to be honest, I thought he was fine. He’s on the typical side, but I liked hiis nature of being a Blue Collar worker, as well as Micheal Keaton’s performance.

There’s also a wist with him that I liked.

But anyway, since I’m the Disney Channel about how…Belinda from Kirby Buckets/Fireside Girl Ginger is in it! Okay, Zendaya is in it too but I was surprised she appeared as well in a small role.

I’ve railed about Zendya vs Bella Thorne before but man. Bella gets a bunch of roles in mostly crappy movies and no TV Roles while Zendaya has her own show and her first actual theatrical film role (Yes, really) is in a MARVEL Movie.

Dang. Jokes aside, she’s pretty good. She’s just a snark student but she’s enjoyable in that role. And her final bit hints she may be important in later films which should be fun. The other non Spidey character are rather minor but play good roles.

His friend Ned could have been annoying but she’s mostly funny and helps him out nicely. Aunt May is solid and provides nice support as well. By the way, I don’t mind her being “Young” (Marasa Tomei is 52, guys) her as it makes more sense.

I mean, if my brother (god forbid) knocked someone up and had a kid, I’d be an Uncle and I’m only 21. Anyway, she works and gets the moment that made me laugh the most.

I was worried Tony/Iron Man would take over the film but thankfully he does not. He’s in it enough to leave an impact but he only appears when he needs to. He’s learned his lesson from his own sequel.

He’s more good support and adds to Peter’s arc in the film so I liked that. I’ve heard complaints about the action but I thought it was pretty good. The action isn’t exactly explosive but situations are a bit more intense, focusing on how Spider-Man is going to get out of this.

One involving an elevator was the highlight for me. Some dislike the climax but I was it was good, I had no issue with it, although the very final action bit was a tad shakey. Otherwise, no problem here.

Oh, and Stan’s Lee cameo was amusing. Happens earlier than usual. And while I’m Marvel staples…stay til the end of the credits. Seriously, You won’t regret.

Okay, now onto the big important stuff. More than Spidey movie before this, this is very much a High School film. It really focuses on Peter as he juggles everything which we have seen before, but not to this extent.

This IS a Spider-Man movie, everything revolves around him as he’s rather inexperienced and he’s learning the tools of the trade. Tony gives him a suped up Suit which is a bit odd but pretty cool and I like the odd relationship he had with Female Jarvis as I call her…..OTP? Anyway, it does a really good job of showing all this, especially how he grows during the film.

And let’s get this out of the way, Tom Holland IS Spider-Man/Peter Parker now. The others were pretty good but damn if Tom isn’t PERFECT at every turn. He’s good at being an awkward teen, he’s good at being wise ass Spidey and he’s even good at being a hero.

Spider-Man himself is easily the best thing about this movie. They do a really good job at showing all the aspects of him and his journey was really solid. I like that he’s not great right away, hell he messes up a lot but in a natural way.

He’s very much like a teenager. He’s awkward but very competent in his way. He’s also really excited to be a hero which is excellently shown at in his first scene that I won’t spoil. We see why Tony wants him but also get it when he screws up.

It’s pretty rewarding in the end as a result, with how he’s written. He also provides natural humor. Speaking of comedy, this movie is pretty funny. More so than I expected. Some parts made out loud pretty hard, thankfully my packed theater did too so I didn’t look like an idiot.

But yeah, Spider-Man really pulls this movie together with his personality and how he is handled during the run time. This is the best protrayl of the character on screen so far, and I don’t hesitate to say that.

And because of that, the movie works. Perhaps it’s not as complex as other Spider-Man films can get, it is more consistent than all the others with less bad things. There’s not a whole more to say because others have gone into it and I don’t want to spoil too much.

Overall, Spider-Man Homecoming may not be as “impressive” as some elements in either Spider-Man films or Marvel films, but it is very consistent with fun action, a solid simple story that it thankfully more toned down than most, and the best Spider-Man we’ve ever seen as screen.

If you’re a Spider-Man you will like this movie, at least for him. If you only know of him through certain places, this is a great introduction. It is a lot of fun and very enjoyable, especially for a 2 hour movie.

It’s not a film I have a lot to say about, but it’s highly enjoyable with it’s humor, action, and lead. Go see it.

Grade: B+ (Very Good)

Yeah, I’m putting in the word ratings. …Wait, there’s J Jonah, never mind 0/10.

Anyway, our next general review may be a few days late due to real life issues but when I come back, we will go ape.

See ya.

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General Review: Despicable Me 3

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for another 3rd entry in an animated franchise. This time we’re back to Illumination’s Despicable Me Franchise. I’ve talked a lot about my feelings for this company and their movies so I’ll keep this short.

I reviewed the first back when the sequel came out but in short, after a lukewarm first impression, I like it now. It’s not quite worthy of the praise it got on release due to a cliché story but it made up for it with some heart, a good lead, and decent humor.

It was a decent debut for Illumination, back when they had a lot of promise. 3 years later we got the sequel, which is oddly the only Illumination I haven’t reviewed in some way. It was kinda Good. It was more original and is mostly fun but the script wasn’t tight with too much Minion antics.

Then there was a Minions I just talked about and we can just forget it existed. Because it’s a spin off, I won’t hold it against this franchise. But the fact that they made a cash grab after just two entries does say a lot about this company.

When they announced a third entry, I was worried. DM 2 just barely was a worthy enough sequel, and it honestly seemed likely that this is where the bottom would fall out. Perhaps not to Ice Age 4 levels but weak nonetheless.

The trailers haven’t changed my mind too much, but I like to stay optimistic. I enjoyed 2 more than I thought I would despite the flaws so perhaps this can work out fine. The reviews have not been the best, with almost all of them saying this is the weakest in the series.

But as usual, I’ll keep an open mind. This entry bring in the same duo of writers that also do a lot of Illumination’s films but previously have penned stuff like Horton Hears a Who. (Guess that’s why they got the writing job on The Lorax too).

We have a new co-director in the form of a guy who also co-directed Minions. Yeah, not much to say there. Will this entry turn this into a passable trilogy, or should Gru and his friends be put to rest?

This, is Despicable Me 3


There isn’t a lot to say that I haven’t said about the other Illumination Movies. The designs are hit or miss, but the animation quality is well done. The designs of the gadgets are as cool as always, especially the villains big robot thing in the climax.

The locations look a bit better than usual I suppose, such as Bratt’s hideout. Outside of that, it’s more of the same. It’s well crafted with solid movements and it enhances some of the action scenes such as the opening.

It’s typical Illumination animation. Well crafted but nothing too noteworthy. Perfectly decent but not as impressive as it once was. Still, at least it looks pretty. Yeah that’s all I got.


Gru is fired from the Anti Villain League after failing to catch child star turrned villain Balthazar Bratt, which makes him pretty bummed. Especially after the Minion ditch him. He finds out he has a lost twin brother that was disliked by their villain father. He wants to learn from Gru how to be evil and while he rejects the idea due to his heel turn, Gru starts to wonder if being evil is worth it anymore…

I’ve mentioned before that Gru is my favorite aspect of these movies with funny personality and growth. He is the heart of this franchise to me. This entry starts out the same way. They do a pretty good job of showing of bad his life as a good guy has been getting with him getting fired and all that.

Even the whole twin thing doesn’t seem too bad because of how it feeds into his desire to possibly become evil again. It’s a surprisingly good set up and makes sense with Gru’s arc.

.And as soon as he and Dru have met up and catch up, it all goes downhill. That’s right, this is The 5th Wave of kids’ movies. After a strong set up, it ends up wasting it quite bit The first had a strong focus on setting up the story with the biggest issue being it’s taking a bit too long to get to Dru.

The first problem is of course the subplot. There isn’t really a ton of them but they exist and are sadly too disconnected to really matter. Lucy has a story about wanting to be a good mother which is kind of cute but ends up being rushed and undercooked. It involves a slight story of this kid wanting to marry Margo which only lasts 2 scenes.

One of the girls wants to find a Unicorn which again, only has a few scenes and once she finds it (kinda), they drop it and it never feeds into the main story. And of course, the Minions are there in a side story where they somehow end up on a music competition called “Sing” (HAWWWWW), and then in Jail.

It’s weird and just like everything else, barely connects to anything. It’s even too rushed to be as funny as it sounds. The subplot aren’t the worst but barely connect to a larger story and end as soon as they begin.

They also serve to distract from the main focus, so you may go awhile without seeing the best character. The main story becomes far less interesting as a result and even the writing it becomes weaker.

That whole deal with Gru wanting to be evil? Completely dropped. There’s no transition between him thinking of evil and just wanting his job back. It then turns into the typical story of two brothers who are at odds with each other.

It doesn’t help that they use the screw up cliché with Dru being not that best at evil which amounts to some weak slapstick. It’s the opposite of that other Steve Carell movie that did this where, yes, Dru is dumb but he’s far from hateable so Gru honestly looks like a jerk when he chews him out.

This of course leads to the third act split up. Okay, this movie has cemented this as my all time LEAST FAVORITE cliché. It’s in EVERY. MOVIE. EVER. Sometimes it can be done decently like in Zootopia but most of the time it fails, only slowing the movie done.

Here, they make up so quickly it makes it pointless, even more so than usual in this kind of story! It’s a cheap way of creating conflict in Act 3, so stop doing it! Because of they dull the main story becomes, I was so checked out during the climax which is full of action and noise.

Add in the usual weak rushed ending which doesn’t show either character learning that much and you have a very disappointing story. My god, what happened? The writing starts out pretty decent with a good set up that makes sense for the series.

But the subplots distract too much and the main story gets rid of all the potential for depth it had. This creates a script that loses focus and becomes removed from what it should be.

There’s nothing really THAT bad here and there are some chuckles and as I said, the first act does have strong stuff but overall the writing drops the ball big time. Again, much like the 5th Wave although this is a bit better.


Since they drop the ball on the story itself, this sadly applies to the character. They can carry some charm but they either don’t have as much depth or get nothing to do.

Starting with Gru, voiced by Steve Carrel, he is still the best character as his dilemma is interesting. But once his story gets weak, so does he. Now he just wants to get his job back and his personality becomes very weak. And as I said, he becomes a jerk at one point.

So Gru is actually a bit of a but him being good in Act makes him the most developed person in here.

Dru, also voiced by Carell is pretty dull. His backstory is interesting but after that, he’s just a bumbling a guy. No more personality than that and despite an amusing ending with him, he’s not very interesting.

The best character actually ends up being the villain, voiced by Trey Parker. Yes, really. He was a child star whose show was canned due to him getting older and now he resents Hollywood and is stuck in the past. 80’s jokes are nothing new but the animators and Trey Parker make him pretty enjoyable with his crazy antics.

He’s not deep but he is solid for what he’s supposed to be and he is the only elements I say is better than the previous films. He’s fun enough.

The rest are just there to be there, just having those weak subplots. Lucy at least has the mother thing and Kristen Wiig’s voice work which is more than I can say for the others. One girls get a pointless Unicorn plot, one has that one bit with this kid and the other gets nothing at all.

Once Dru arrives, they hardly interact with Gru outside of some pointless bits that add nothing. Way to get rid of the main draw of the first film. Speaking of which, as I said, the Minions don’t do a whole lot which is usually good but what they get is just so tacked on and not funny.

They are even kind of unlikable as they seemed fine with Gru being good before but now they drop him so quickly Plus, in prison they become bullies with no transition. I know that’s the joke but it’s so odd in execution.

When even the Minions involvement feel half hearted, there’s a problem. They also pull an Umbrdige with Jenny Slate taking over the Anti Villain League which only happens so Gru can get fired as she never appeared again. I thought maybe she would turn out to be Bratt in disguise, as that’s a running thing but nope.

Oh and remember Nr Nefarious from the first 2? At the start of this, he’s been frozen in Carbonite and thus doesn’t speak at all. Yes, really. They never unfreeze him, they flat out write him out of the film because I guess even Russel Brand wanted no part in this.


Overall, the character can provide some charm but thanks to the writing,a lot of them feel wasted compared to how they were before.

Final Thoughts;

The film play a lot like the franchise and company itself. It starts with a lot of promise with nice animation and a good set up with a solid story, but it ends up being a disappointment, turning the main story into a lot of tired cliches and filling the story with pointless subplots that waste the once decent cast of characters.

It’s not really the worst as the first half is decent-ish and the villain is fun, plus I didn’t groan a whole lot. However, it’s still not good because the 3rd act gets so weak with the writing. The inspiration was once there seems lost by the end of this.

I’m frustrated as I want t write this off as a cash grab sequel but that first act has promise for an actually good story, and they could have really gone places with it. I don’t need anything that deep but something more than what we got would have been nice.

It feels like they started with good ideas for a solid follow up but some lazy writers/executives came in and were like “Pfft, who needs a good story with depth? The kids just want to see silly antics with cliches and little substance”..

At least that’s what it feels like to me. It’s way better than the Minions movie since it at least have a plot with depth to it, but it’s easily the weakest in the actual main series with how the writing turned out.

It’s sad, it has so much potential but in the end, it falls flat. Look I don’t hate Illumination, they can make some fun stuff but aside from never taking risks, they are now milking Gru for all he’s worth.

They tease a 4th one and I’d like to say it’ll never happened but given my theater was pretty packed, I think people will eat this up and we’ll see Gru again in a few years, after Minions 2, oh god.

By the way, said audience seemed to be into at the start, but by the end they got fairly quiet, only reacting sometimes. I think that says everything. If you liked the first 2 a lot, more than I did, you might get into it more but try to spend as little as possible.

If you either didn’t like either that much, or thought they were merely Decent like myself, I’d say wait until you can rent in. There’s nothing terrible here and you won’t hate yourself but there’s no too much here for you, mostly.

After Cars 3 showed a franchise can learn from it’s mistakes, and despite it’s flaws can try to make an actual movie that fans of the first will entry will get into, Illumination reminds us that 3rd entries typically tend to be disappointments.

It’s mostly just Average but with the promise it had, it disappointments me more than I expected. Eh.

Writing: C+

Animation: B

Characters: B-


That was a sadder review than I was expecting. Given I didn’t expect much, the fact that it started strongly makes this even odder. So what’s the next animated film?


…Well, I’m glad that before then, we’ll see how Marvel handles our favorite webslinger in his latest film.

See ya.

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Goosebumps Hall of Horrors-Why I Quit Zombie School

Hello, Spongey here.

Hall of Horrors time again! There’s not much to say this time and I want to get into the review. The noteable thing is the subject of the book.

This is the first Zombie Goosebumps book in forever. Depending on your definatiom of Zombies. That was actually the big selling point when this came out. There was Welcome to Dead House but that’s about it aside from small ones.

R.L. Stine has said the main reason is that he just couldn’t come up with that many stories involving Zombies compared to other creatures. That’s fine but that doesn’t explain why we’ve only had one Vampire book.

Seriously, we’ve had more Zombies after this but no more Vampire books. Maybe he didn’t want it to some like he was cashing in on Twilight but it’s been long over so you can do it, come on.

Otherwise, not much to say. Will this be a fun zombie romp or not? Let’s take a look.

This is Why I Quit Zombie School

The book opens with Matt on his way to a new school, in his town. So many changes make his head spin. He likes dark stuff a lot which his family sometimes makes fun of. Mom is the only nice one it seems.

He’s going to a boarding school called Romero Academy. Subtle. They get there and Matt says that it looks like the school is covered in a big shadow. Again, Stine is the master of subtilty.

They meet the Principal, Mr. Craven (Okay, the references are amusing but what kid is doing to get them?) and he has a kid named Franny take him on a tour.

What’s it like?’


Why not just put a flashing arrow saying THIS IS A ZOMBIE SCHOOL.

They meet these kids whose eyes are totally white which Matt finds odd.

They’re totally white”


Yeah, are you racist or something?

One of the kids falls down some stairs and they put him on a stretcher but otherwise act like nothing is wrong. We get it, they are zombies, can we move on?

He tells his parents and sister this but they just come up with dumb excuses to not notice anything odd. They leave and Matt hangs out in his room.

He meets up with Franny who tells him about the Reviver room which you go to if you are damaged. Wayne went there but did not “come around”.

He’s gone”

…You know, for kids!

They move on because hearing about kids dying in school is so common, and Matt fails to really fit in that well in school. We see more odd things happen just in case you didn’t get that they were possibly zombies.

Eventually, Franny just up and asks when Matt died. No, it doesn’t turn he’s Bruce Willis the whole time…because that was a ghost and I got my references confused. But jokes aside, that would be an amazing twist.

He tells her has not died and it turns out she’s living as well. She confirms this is a zombie school and of course I do question why a place like this exists and how no one really knows about it.

Matt says they just enrolled quickly and had no time to really look into it. And that why research is good. She tells him he needs to lay low and that’s it for that scene I guess. Did we need to wait until 50 pages in to confirm what we already know anyway

Matt calls his parents and of course they don’t believe him and are horribly condescending about it. Crappy Goosebumps parents, so surprising. After that, Angelo pops and says he knows a guy who went to his old school and knows Matt was a star soccer player.

.If he knows a guy who went to his school, shouldn’t he know Matt is alive since that likely wasn’t a Zombie school?!”

Was I going to be the next great Zombie Soccer Star?”


We get a quick Soccer scene where Matt tries to pretend he’s a Zombie and also a guy’s leg comes off. Lovely. That Saturday is Visiting Day so Mom and Dad show which is a good chance to prove to them he’s right about le Zombies.

He shows them around the school and shows them the dining area where the Zombie Kids stuff their faces to eat and the parents just find it normal. The sort of have a point, but in execution, it’s just forced.

They note that everyone moves super slowly but Dad just says they are “moving at a relaxed pace”. Idiot. They go outside where the Zombie Kids like to the jump off the balcony for reasons and one does so but the parents just happen to be looking away and they are deaf.

In a last ditch attempt, he takes them to Franny but she just lies because forced. The day wraps up normally after that. I’ve seen forced ways for the parents to not stuff the creepy stuff but wooooow.

Matt talks to Franny who confirms she lied to his parents on purpose because some happened to be listening. Because hiding in a less crowded spot just wasn’t an option. Also, they shook hands with Craven yet he couldn’t tell the parents were not Zombies.

The school has a party that night so PARTY TIME. At the party, filler happens as they have to make sure no one suspects anything. One Zombie girl asks to dance but it doesn’t take long for her to figure out that he’s warm. ‘

It’s convenient that no one ever touched him in any way until now.

They decided to do a test to see if he’s alive, which is really just an excuse to murder him given they are using the balcony. By the way, they say this is a special school and I don’t think Stine knows what that usually means.

Matt saves himself by pulling out a rubber hand and throwing it off, making it seem like his hand came off. And that’s all they need to prove he’s a zombie. These kids aren’t that bright, are they?

He’s not out of the woods yet as they must take him to the reviver room which as we know can kill people. At least that scene had a point now. Ernie takes him there but before he can throw the switch, some kids pop up and take him back to the dance meaning Matt is free from death this time.

Hooray for convenient timing

He’s Scott free so he goes to bed. The next day dung track (something famously creatures love for some reason), the make up he was using comes off exposing more of his Alive-ness. We get a chase which ends at a Graveyard.

Matt of course finds the kids graves…including one for Franny. Dun dun dun. Yeah, I saw that coming, I just forgot to throw that theory out there. I’ve seen worse twists though.

Franny conveniently shows up and says they made her spy on him cuz they gotta do that but she actually liked him which is why she helped in some parts. That’s actually kind of nice, better than just having her be all evil suddenly.

But if she likes him a bit more than just friends….yeah, that would be awkward.

She also says that they will do one more test which involves running him over with an SUV. Christ, isn’t running away from you like that proof enough?

As a list ditch attempt to fool, he gets out all his make up (which I find off he had to begin with) even though it came off in front of them earlier so they won’t be fooled. The next day it works….to well as they think he needs the Reviver room. Whoops.

I quit Zombie school”

Oh, so that’s why it’s called that.

The machine is low on juice thanks to the plot convince fairy. Matt pretends like that weak power revived him which works because I don’t even care anymore. Then we cut to a week later as Matt reveals he begged his parents to take him out of school.

Yep, no actual climax, Matt just magically ends the conflict and somehow makes his parents take him. He says he begged them which I would have liked to see. I mean, after that day where they visisted, you think they wouldn’t budge.

What a load. We’re not even done yet. Matt gets into a new school but it too seems odd. The dean pops up.

Welcome to Dracula Middle School”

..How did he sign up for a scool with that name and not suspect anything? Zombies get a clever pun and Vampires don’t? All they get is a twist and not a full book? Is Stine Vampist?!

.Either way, The (Rushed) End.

Final Thoughts:

Eh. This book had a fun idea and it can be enjoyable but it’s mostly just there. The main problem is that it’s so aimless. It really is just a series of scenes strung together without any cohesion.

They try with the Franny stuff but once again the ending makes it all pointless. There really isn’t that much to the plot outside of Zombie stuff. I’m fine with simple plots but as a result, it feels aimless with no direction or goal.

There’s no real climax, nothing is done with Franny and the twist is lame. To be fair, a lot of it can be enjoyable with all the Zombie stuff, and the concept of Franny is neat. It’s just that it doesn’t really go anywhere.

Some of the fluff can be excused since it is Goosebumps but I was still expecting a much tighter story than this. In short, this book can be fun but it drops interesting ideas to just…do stuff, topped off with a lame non ending.

It’s pretty…eh. But there are other GB Zombie Books after this so hopefully those hold up better.

Grade: B-

Yeah, there wasn’t a lot to say with this book. It’s there. Next time, Stine finally gets around to doing Modern Technology Horror. Be very afraid.

See ya.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized | 2 Comments



Can’t Stop the Feeling that this movie seems familiar…,

Trollland is property of The Asylum

Hello, Spongey here.

You all know know of Video Brenqudo, right? That studio that does a lot of those animated rip off movies? I never truly covered one mostly because they’ve been talked about a lot and I never had much to add,

They’ve given us a lot of materiel but it seems like that has come to an end as they finally got sued up the ass so much that they hand to bow out for good. Kind of bittersweet in a weird way.

Not sure how the other rip off companies like Sparkplug are dong but I do know we still The Asylum.. They are the kings of live action rip offs and have become known for the Sharknado films.

Why do I bring this up? Because The Asylum saw the void that Video Brenquedo left and wanted to fill it in. That’s it, in 2016 they decided to make their animated ripoff films. Really. They started with Izzie’s Way Home (a Finding Nemo/Dory ripoff) and just this month they had one about talking cars.

Oh come on, you’re already ripping movies that have been ripped off before?!

Of course, I was really interested to see how this odd turn turned out. Asylum has gotten better in making some So Bad It’s Good movies, or at least some self aware ones. Perhaps they can make some enjoyably bad animated films.

Maybe we’ll look at the other two someday but for now we’re looking at their 2nd attempt from late 2016 that is about trolls. Gee, can’t imagine what this one is ripping off. I’d like to tell you more but there’s no information on this thing.

Seriously, the writers and director have this listed as their debut and the same goes for most of the animators! At best, some worked on Dory’s Way Nemo. …Wait..

You think they’d get more of the many people that work at this Studio (which relies a lot on Special Effects, by the way) to do this but nope. Perhaps they wanted fresh eyes for their animated film but still, it’s pretty clear this was done by first timers.

But when you get past all the stigma, how is the movie itself? Since I’m here, you might have an idea but let’s find out anyway.

This, is Trollland

(Or Trollz as IMDB calls it)

The movie opens with narration telling us the history of Trolls. They lived in their little place, bored out of their skulls. Because video games hadn’t been invented yet, they fixed that by pranking humans.

They eventually figured out the Trolls were doing that and simply did it back, turning pranking into the Trolls way of life.

The humans have forgotten we still exist”:

Somehow. Also, according to this backstory, the Trolls started it because they were bored. Riveting. Plus it shoots down what the movie tries to do later.

We truly open at a camp as the trolls as pranking this one guy who has dedicated his life to trying to catch the trolls. He gets interrupted because he’s called back to camp as he works for them doing….stuff.

By the way, the girl who tells him he has been called back, can’t act at all. Deep in the cave where these trolls live, we meet our protagonist Fenn who of course is the one troll who doesn’t like pranking. His asshole sister doesn’t like that so she’s an asshole to him all the time.

She wants to the queen of “Prankapolza” this year and the Chief of the trolls (voiced by Dick Van Dyke…somehow) informs us that it’s about to wrap up for the year. While he drones on about nothing, let’s talk about the aspect I really wanted to tear into: The animation.

How do I say this? Oh I got it: This is some of the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a movie. I’m not kidding. Want proof? Here’s a small taste.


Yeah. But honestly, I can’t totally sell the bad-ness of the animation to you in stills. Go find the trailer and it’ll give you a better idea. See, the models are bad but not the worst, aside from a few shots of some trolls, especially Fenn. (The one we follow the most).

But everything else…oh my. The backgrounds are either extremely bland or full on stock images, which the characters never fit into naturally. But that’s nothing compared to the actual character animation.

The characters are constantly clipping through things and their movement are incredibly jittery, or limited. This especially shows in scenes that require a lot of movements. But worst of all, their mouths almost NEVER sync up with what they are saying.

That’s if their mouths open at all. Seriously, a lot of the time they just barely open, making the trolls look like puppets. I know this is Direct to Video but even those kind of movies looked better by 20-freaking-16 when this came out.

I’ve seen copies of Izzie’s Way Home at major stores and if I see this there too, I’ll be mad since something of THIS quality can be legally purchased in stores. I’ll say more as we go on as we have to get back to the “plot”. But for now, here’s more sweet dreams.


Later, Fenn tells Jarvick to stop this as one day they might push the humans too far. He also preaches that some humans are kind. Yes, he already knows not all humans are bad and that is why he is a nice guy.

So when he bonds with one later, Fenn doesn’t really learn anything new. That is like the opposite of how you do this kind of story. As cliché as it is to have the troll learn on his own that humans aren’t as bad as his peers say, it makes logical sense and is an interesting progression.

But nah, let’s just add to this characters’ bland-ness. By the way, we are told later he is supposed to “Young” but he sounds like a grown ass adult. It’s kind of hilarious.

Jarvick doesn’t listen because she’s a bitch (Guess who the worst character is) Fenn goes outside for a walk. Because he was stupid enough to walk out in the open, the animators place Fenn’s model on Olaf’s hand, I mean he picks him up.

Fenn escapes easily making this scene entirely pointless. We then meet our main kid Hayden, who sounds even more like an adult than Fenn does. At least Fenn doesn’t look that young, this is clearly a kid model but he sounds so…not a kid, it’s amazing.

He’s getting bullied by Beast Boy (No really, that’s Greg Cipes as the main bully) and his goons, but they are pointless so I don’t care. They just establish that Hayden is lonely, otherwise they are generic bullies.

But then the Consumer sees this and chews them out. Holy shit, the adults aren’t useless for once! Okay, that’s one point for this movie. ONE.

Hayden actually gets caught in a trap but Fenn helps him out. Of course he thinks Fenn is a monster until he just explains what the real deal is. This whole scene is done with close ups on their faces which just highlights the terrible lip sync.

Keep in mind, this was made in English, it’s not a dub. It doesn’t get that excuse.

The two talk it out hit it off right away. I’d complain about the rushed-ness of this but that’s the least of the problems going on here. That night the animation gets even worse as we see Hayden’s nearly unfinished Cabin, then we see this place at night.


Ugh. He sneaks out to meet Fenn and they just talk. Yeah, the first half of this movie is mostly just boring as the story and characters are just really typical. If the writing was the least bit good, interactions could have worked, but as it is it’s just dull.

The distractingly (Fuck you Open Office, that’s a word) bad animation does not help.

The next morning he interacts with Fen some more, and he wants to take Hayden to see his troll friends. Yep, they just met but he already trusts Hayen enough to do this. Thankfully, lunch interrupts them.

Meanwhile, Jarvick plans to take out the Water Tower and pretty get everyone super wet. Fenn happens to overhear it.

This is so bad:”

He said it, not me.

She hears about what happened with Olaf and assumes he pranked him so she stops being quite as bitch-y, even as Fenn tells her it’s not a prank. Huh, he actually just told the truth instead of letting this become some liar revealed thing. The rest of this isn’t good enough for this to matter though.

He even tells them about Hayden and they don’t react to a human knowing a troll .They just wonder if Fenn can really trust him. Fenn decides to just leave his home forever because of this which seems a bit foolish.

And again, they don’t react much outside of Jarvick saying she’ll get him back. He told a human about you guys and is leaving, do something!

Fenn tells Hayden about what happened.

It wasn’t an easy choice”

That’s why you did it so quickly!

After some messing around, Olaf captures some of Jarvick’s friends and I will admit he goes get a funny line sometimes. Nothing memorable enough to quote but given this movie has barely any humor (aside from how hilariously bad the animation is ), I’ll take it.

Jarvick goes up to Hayden and tells him that Fenn has been lying to him this whole time. Hayden at first rightfully thinks she’s full of shit but after she says more, he believes her. Because he’s an idiot.

No, that’s not true. That’s impossible!”

Search your heart you kn-actually no, it doesn’t deserve it. But yeah, he befriended Fenn and he seemed pretty believable, to the point of saving Hayden, but this one troll he hasn’t properly met before (and only has bad word of mouth to go by) says some stuff and now he’s against him.

Jarvick tried to give a compelling argument but she’s so clearly full of shit. To be fair, Fenn isn’t here right now and he takes that to mean she’s right but still, he”s way too quick to believe her. Then she tears up these papers he has saying Fenn was good, he wouldn’t let her do this.

Doesn’t this bad action make it really hard to believe anything you say? And remember, he doesn’t see any clear evidence of this! It’s her worst against his! Okay, right before he saw his notepad floating away (Trolls can go invisible because why not) but that hardly means anything since he can’t see who it is.

I’m sorry I ever met you! I hate you!”

I hate you, if you’re going to be this much of a gullible idiot. I get what they were trying to do but it’s so contrived and cliché that it just ruins this character for me. Hayden walks away and Fenn shows up.

Jarvick tells Fenn that Hayden is a bad guy but he doesn’t believe he. Hey, he’s actually intelligent! He uses logic to show that she’s full of shit. Good on you movie, but it just makes the previous scene even worse.

Speaking of which, he meets up with Hayden, but he’s being a prick. Seriously, Fenn is pouring his heart out and says Hayden knows him well enough to know Jarvick is full of crap. He says all this stuff and uses all this logic but Hayen’s still not like nope.

Jarvicks trolls always lie”

Then how do you know she isn’t lying about that?! Congratulations, this character is completely unlikable. Sure, their bond was rushed but this fails hard regardless of how well done that whole set up was.

You also gotta love how Hayden’s mouth moves during this, barely ever syncing up. This animation is just so bad, I swear.

This is so bad”

I agree.

Olaf takes the trolls he got back to his cabin and as he rants, his mouth doesn’t move at all! Are you sure this isn’t from the late 90’s? He also has this tirade about dancing with the first lady. This came out before November so….lol.

The have the trolls be invisible for no other reason than they were too lazy to animate models that are trapped and thus don’t have to do anything!

Olaf, number one trollhunter!”

Number one? You look more like zero to me!”

POPPY: Solid Burn, Branch.

Sorry, had to remind myself of the way better version of this, that I wasn’t even crazy about to begin with!

Olaf leaves to chase Fenn and Hayden comes in to rescue the trolls….became reasons.

I was mad about what you did but even you guys don’t deserve this”

Hooray for rushed transition! Actually, I mean NO transition at all! He goes from hating them to this because fuck you, that’s why! This movie really goes from dull to broken and stupid in no time.

You’ve got nothing better to do than chase us? That’s sad, really”

I don’t know why I find that line funny but I do.

Fenn gets away but Olaf presents this machine he’s been working on that will catch trolls. Hayden meets up with Fenn and they make up. Way to make that scene pointless on top of it’s other problems!

Now Olaf knows where he lives and he has a sort of weapon. He’s even able to suck up the chief guy but the quickly clog up the machine and then save him. Well, that was way too quick. Olaf’s still a threat but come on.

They find Jarvick about to do her whole water tower plan as she somehow doesn’t know or care about Olaf running around. They try to convince her to stop all this because someone might get hurt, which seems to be what she wants. They pull out a cheesy speech and-

I just wanna punch something really hard!”

Olaf’s attacking the warren, will that do?”


It works! Yep, the most unlikable character who had a pretty deep human hatred just changes her mind because of one short speech. I’m not even surprised at this point. They find Olaf and Fenn offers to help him.

Yes, just like with Jarvick they prepare some speeches to get him to change his ways. Fenn apologizes for an entire races actions and it turns out the Cheif dude was the troll that started Olaf’s hatred of them to begin with.

They explicitly state that the trolls started it and only made things worse by egging him on. They try to go for a “No one knows how it started so the fighting is pointless” but they just ruined that and caused a lot of bad implications.

This is just…wow. Everyone just makes up after YEARS after fighting just because of a bunch of dumb speeches? Both Jarvick and Olaf change their ways on a dime. They try to have Jarvick still act like herself sort of but it fails. It just makes sure she’s still somewhat of a bitch.

I get that we need a happy end and a “Just get along” message but this is way too optimistic and watered down. In the end, there are no more bad guys and everyone just changes on a dime. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. People don’t get years of prejudice go just like that and not everyone will suddenly change like that.

All the trolls decide to stop pranking now and everything is all hunkey dorey. Given the real life parallels this can have, this just feels so off. Even Trolls felt liked forced in it’s message than this. This would have worked a lot better if, say Jarvick and/or Olaf stayed evil while everyone else changed their mind or something.

But whatever, let’s wrap this up. The Chief decides Fenn will be his heir.

But he’s just a kid”

A kid looks no younger than the other trolls and sounds like a grown man. Oh and Jarvick winds Prankaloza because I guess you cared. By the way, where’s Hayden in all this? We see him in a pan out but he said nothing despite being pretty important to all this.

We’re still not done as we get another scene with the pointless bullies. Also, Olaf makes a crack about Bigfoot and we pan out to see a badly animated Bigfoot. ..I say that like this whole movie wasn’t badly animated.

But we STILL aren’t done as the narration kicks to tell us everything that happens next, just so we never see a Trolland 2, where the trolls are now goblins. The trolls enjoy peace with humans and help them in secret.

Sometime later, the trolls introduce themselves to the humans and of course none of them hate the trolls and everyone just gets along. And Fenn becomes Chief, the end roll credits.

That was one of the worst rushed endings in a while. I know this is only an
Hour 13 minutes but just wow. The closure is extremely rushed and of course it makes the problem I ranted on even worse.

I don’t even care, let’s wrap this shit up. Oh and this used motion capture, that actually explains a lot.

Final Thoughts:

I knew this would be bad going on but just…wow. It did not get better on a 2nd viewing. I’m a bit frustrated because I want to call this one of the worst animated films ever, but to be honest,on a pure writing level it doesn’t quite get there.

But that only excuses so much. Yes, this is a Direct to Video film but I’ve seen plenty that look better than this…as in all of them! This makes Foodfight look like Toy Story 3 in terms of animation and I know I can’t take that back but it’s true.

I’ll rant on the animation one more time: It’s really bad. As I’ve said, every single Direct to Video movie I’ve seen looks better. At least in Barbie Movie #454 or Fantastic Force, the characters belong in their environment and don’t clip through everything!

Most of the models don’t look THAT bad but some Trolls do look bad, especially the main one! I’ve seen the trailers for Izzie’s Way Home and Cargo and they look better. They still look bad but at least they mostly deal with non human characters so clipping and movements isn’t as much of an issue.

You get the idea, even the standards of a studio that makes decent money at this point, this looks terrible. It’s the worst aspect but the writing it also bad. The story is incredibly generic which wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t so boring.

The first half is mostly stuff we’ve seen before with no real charm to it. The leads have no personality and in fact, all the characters suck. Fenn is bland, Hayden becomes an idiot, and Jarvick is just a bitch. Everyone else is just there. Olaf gets an okay line but that’s about it for positives in general.

If the main problem with being generic and boring with bad animation, I may not have reviewed itself. But then we get the 2nd half where it all just becomes incompetent. Things start happening for no one reason and we get that stupid scene that makes Hayden unlikable.

And of course, the ending is way too clear cut and happy. I get what they were going for but even for a movie like this, it’s too unrealistic and rushed. That’s my real problem, nothing happens naturally. It’s a short movie but either make it longer or learn to write!

There’s some aspects I can respect but it’s done so badly that I can’t give it too much credit. This movie just bad. As if being a shameless rip off of a much better movie (that again, I thought was only Average to begin with) wasn’t bad enough, we get bad writing with insultingly awful animation.

It’s not even so bad it’s good. It’s mostly boring. The animation almost is but at a certain point you get used to it and it becomes boring. Doesn’t help that it’s so ugly to look at in general. I would only suggest watching it just to see first hand how bad the animation is.

Otherwise, it’s just…bad. Maybe we’ll look at the other Asylum Animated movies but I doubt they’ll be worse than this.

Grade: D

By the way, if I included Direct to Video movies on my worst of 2016 list than this would be there, at Number 5. Yep.

Next time, we lighten up with a a piece of my childhood I haven’t looked at yet.

See ya.

Posted in Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

General Review: Baby Driver

Hello, Spongey here.

Time for another general review of something did not plan to cover, in the vein of 10 Cloverfeild Lane and Split. In this case, I just found the extra money and when I found out my theater would get it, I got hyped.

This time we have the latest film from Edgar Wright. A lot you are hopefully familiar with his work, especially the “Cornetto” trilogy. (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End). He’s got a unique style that not everyone be it, but most are.

Now that I’ve finally seen his major films, I can say I dig him as much as everyone else does. His films have this charm and it’s clear he knows what he’s doing, especially when it comes to Comedy. Everyone has gone on about those films and how they are funny but also good examples of their genres, with good stories to boot.

So of course, most were hyped for his latest film. It has an interesting concept and certain details I heard about made it sound pretty cool. At the moment it has a 98 on RT…so I imagine it’s pretty good.

But will it stand up to his other works? I hope so but guess we’re about to see.

This, is Baby Driver

A young and talented getaway driver named Baby relies on the personal beat of his preferred soundtrack to be the best in the world of crime, as music heightens his focus and reflexes to extreme levels.

He is preferred as a driver by Doc, a mastermind organizer of bank robberies and other high-earning heists. But then he falls in love and it’s all downhill from there.

I’ll make this somewhat quick as I don’t have much to add from what others are saying. This movie is great. It has flaws like any movie but it”s still highly enjoyable from start to finish. Let’s get through the flaws.

The main one is that it runs a little long. The gimmick doesn’t wear thin thanks to the writing but I do think some stuff could have been shaved off. The film is so well paced that it sticks out when it slows down or seems to go on a bit too long.

The 3rd especially can drag at times. It’s not a big problem but it clashes with the pacing enough to dock a point. Plus, in can lose focus in the midsection as it forgets about the waitress for a while although the ending does make up for it.

Otherwise, the movie was as good as everyone in saying. When you look at the story, it is a bit typical with the guy in crime who wants out of it and falls in love, but it’s executed so well that I don’t mind, plus it gives the film a classic feel.

Which certainly fits due to the soundtrack. As you can tell from the summary, music plays a big part. All these songs play a part in the film’s story in every way. Even the editing uses it and it’s the main thing that sticks out about the film. And thankfully it fits into the story and the writing itself is good enough to carry the gimmick.

As I said, it’s not hugely ordinal but it works mostly because it makes you care about the characters and situation. Baby is likable with how he is clearly is not a bad person but is doing all this to make money and of course his love of music is extremely releatable. He has a reason as you can see and that helps flesh out the character and story.

I even like the romance. He and Debby have good chemistry and right from their first interaction, I wanted them to get together. It’s not the deepest romance but it is a sweet one. Debby herself even manages to be a good character and isn’t just a love interest for the sake of it.

I can’t really go into a lot of detail without spoiling anything but the story is well told with the help of the other factors. As everyone has commented on, the editing is excellent. The music fits with the situation so well that it makes said situation more enjoyable, especially the car chases.

Edgar Wright’s films have always had great editing with how everything is balanced with many parts being very rhythmic. Fitting that this one tackles music. The style very much is the substance which I think works because there are moments where you care about Baby and his dilemma.

Everyone else works well with their roles from the criminals he works with to his boss played by Kevin Spacey, who clearly wants us to forget about Nine Lives. On a side note, Monsters inc is referenced twice which I of course dug.

(Oh and Jon Hamm becomes the standout by the end.)

The film thankfully can slow down and even when it does, it’s engaging. Even in the bloated parts I pointed out it stays enjoyable enough, even if I still think it could have been tighter.

Everything works together to create an incredibly fun experience. The music, action, and likable leads, make it a blast to watch. It’s another film where I just enjoyed it and didn’t think so hard about everything.

It is a film to be enjoyed for all it’s aspects and it works extremely well. Could it have been tighter to become THE best film of 2017 so far instead of the top 3? Sure, but everything else works so well that I don’t care.

Sorry to pretty much join in on the choir with this one but sometimes a move comes out that I agree is as great as everyone says. I like it for the same reasons most people do and I don’t have a lot to add.

Hence the short review. The movie is better if you go into it not knowing too much as it’s just that kind of movie. It’s not like it has a ton of twists and turns, but it’s hard to say in words how good the movie is, you have to experience.

Needless to say, fans of Edgar Wright will enjoy this a lot and anyone who is into this kind of thing will enjoy it. I’d recommend it to about anyone who is old enough to see it at least. If you are, please see it, I don’t want another Nice Guys.

Overall, Baby Driver is a really fun ride that uses it’s style to create a great experience with a story and characters worth caring about. It can run a bit long but that’s forgivable. I’m not sure how it compares to his other works, but every film of his I’ve seen has been at least “Very Good” and this is another great film in his lineup.

So yeah, it’s good.

Grade: B+ (Subject to change)

Well, that was fun. Tune in Friday for something a bit more despicable.

See ya.

Posted in General Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Penguins of Madagascar Vs Minions

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for another Movie Battle! This is a series where I compare two movies of similar quality to see which one I like more. I liked how the Princess and the Frog/Tangled turned out so I will do more.

I promise I’ll throw in Live Action at some point but for now, more animation. This time it’s Dreamworks Vs Illumination, oh boy. But first, some backstory. One thing Studios like do is take a Supporting character from a work and give them the spotlight in their own series or movie.

This is usually a bad idea for obvious reasons. We like those characters because they are supporting so giving them the spotlight sometimes ruins the point of the character. It can work sometimes but for every Finding Dory there’s a Cars 2, or Planet Sheen.

And within the past few years, two sets of characters from hit franchises got their own films that are similar in terms of how they approach things but different with how they did. First, The Penguins of Madagascar from well…the Madagascar series got the treatment in 2014.

I reviewed the movies so you know that I really like them and feel they were the highlights with how they work like a spy team. They got a Nicktoon and I was personally fan. I thought it was an example of this kind of thing done right with how it fleshed them out further and created some fun episodes.

Adding King Julien helped, but I haven’t seen his show so don’t ask how I feel yet. It’s worth nothing the show is set on an alternate continuity from the movies (Word of God said so) which is why the film ignores and it starts where the 3rd film left off.

The movie came in a bit late hence why it was sadly another Box Office Disappointment for Dreamworks. But The Boss Baby was a hit, life’s not fair. On the bright side, it got Decent reviews. (Even if the RT consensus is oddly kinda negative despite the 72 score. Same happened in reverse recently wit Cars 3. Proof RT is bullcrap).

In the other corner, we have the Minions from the Despicable Me Franchise and their film from just a year later. I’m a bit more mixed in these characters. They can be fun with their simple comedy ways but aren’t the most interesting and worked better in the first DM film than some other places.

The Critical reaction was more mixed for this one…only this time the RT Consensus is closer to positive with the Score being a Rotten 56. Did I mention RT is Garbage? But in contrast, this film was a bit more of a hit. How?

It grossed over a billion dollars. It’s the 2nd highest grossing animated film of ALL TIME. (Even these guys couldn’t topple Frozen). Yeah. Now, I was an odd positron going into both films. With the first, I was a fan of the characters but since the show was over (minus the episodes Nick held on too because…Nick) so I wasn’t as hyped as I would be if it was the hype of their popularity.

The Minions Movie was made at a time when I was getting sick of them due to how…out of hand the usage of them had gotten. You know why, the ads, the products, the awful Facebook posts. I didn’t even like the idea of the film frankly so I was more mixed going on. However, in both cases I tried to enjoy as best as I could and since they are appearing on here, I find both to have similar good qualities.

I won’t reveal my full thoughts on them as a whole until we get to the big categories, as this case is more complicated then the previous Movie Battle. Both films focus more on Comedy involving their leads than a real story, so it makes perfect sense compare them.

And yes, the upcoming DM 3 made me want to do this now. I promise the next one won’t be a tie in like this. After watching both twice now, so it’s time to take a deeper look at them than most to see which one is did the better job at giving some these side characters the spotlight.

Which was more enjoyable? Time to take a look, putting away all biases and give them each a fair shot. It’s gonna be a fun one.

This, is Penguins of Madagascar Vs Minions


I normally won’t compare animation in these because of how a lot of it comes to personal preference but for one, I needed an extra category and 2nd, both sum up how both studios handle animation in their films.

Now, both films are just keeping the style from their franchises so I can’t really praise or bash either too much for just keeping what they felt worked. But there are minor differences here and there which is why I’ll go into detail.

Both are of course very cartoon, especially Penguins. The designs are done in a way to fit the goofy tone and they move very quickly. The Madagascar made more of an attempt to look pretty as they went on but this dials it back a bit to focus more on the quick movements.

There are nice locations, fun action sequences and Dave the Octopus is really cool with his moments, especially in his human disguise. It doesn’t look as good as Madgascar 3 but it has a nice cartoon-y-ness to it while still being appealing. That’s what Dreamworks mostly is able to do especially in this series.

Illuminations has been criticized pretty heavily for the look of it’s films and I can see why. Minions technically is really nice looking good. The character animation is pretty comptent and the locations are well crafted and it’s clear a lot effort goes into the animation itself.

But the actual look of the film is kind of dull. The locations are just there. We have an ice cave, a palace and a dungeon where the Minions almost get hanged. …More on that later. It’s all technically well done but nothing truly pops out.

Illumination’s focus as usually been on stuff like the characters themselves and on things like the technology they use, it’s especially noticeable in these movies and Secret Life of Pets on the character front.

That’s fine and the main Minions look distint enough but the rest don’t. Seriously, they have 3 default designs for them and that’s it. When you look at a crowd, you can’t tell them apart unless they are wearing something different which is cheating.

Given the backstory of them (oh, we’ll get to that too) it makes no sense for only like 3 varitions of the same design to exist. The humans have the weird thing where they all look “quirky” with big noses even the ones that are meant to be normal. Illumination always does this, even on the Owner in Pets who isn’t weird at all.

It works okay here for someone like Scarlett I suppose but not the background humans. Now, none of this really matters as the animators did a fine job but it’s minor things like this that make the film blend into the background visually.

Penguins looks simpler than some of it’s predecessor yes but the character animation and how things move makes it stand out and makes you remember it. There’s plenty of fast quick movement in Minions but there’s as much in terms of good timing with it, it’s just stuff happening quickly.

I’m not gonna act like Penguins is artistic by any means and Minions is technically well made but in terms of overall design and movement, this style works a lot better in Penguins and just leaves more an impression.

At first it was a tough call, but after looking deeper into it, I’m picking Penguins. I don’t want be too hard on Minions are like I said, it’s more of Illumination’s problem then that exact movie but Penguins also keeps a style that the studio established so there you go.

WINNER: Penguins of Madagascar


These films are literally about supporting characters but even these writers know they need their own supporting cast bounce off off and both created some kind of sort of interesting original characters.

Penguins of Madagascar has the North Wind and the villain, and that’s pretty much. North Wind is this other spy team that helps the penguins, doesn’t like them but has to team up eventually as the Penguins prove to be better.

They’re there. They exist to do what I just said and they can get some amusing moments, especially Bendict Cumberbatch but for the most part, they just kind of exist. One is a nice Polar bear, one is Ken Jeong (Wait, Ken Jeong….Nice Polar Bear….AAAAAAAAA FLASHBACKS), and one gets crushed on by Klowaski.

They do their job but don’t leave too much of an impression. The villain Debbie-i mean Dave though, is decently memorable. As I said, his animation is pretty cool and he’s another one of though highly comedic and fun villains.

He also has a decent backstory which isn’t that deep but at least gives him some kind of depth and his “Arc” ends in a good way since it has a decent joke that comes with it. He’s not one of my favorite Dreamworks Villains or anything but he is the best character in the movie.

Minions is interesting with how the supporting characters get almost as focus while still being upstaged sometimes, at least on a writing level. Of course there’s Scarlett Overkill and her husband Herb. She’s very over the top and as a result, actually pretty entertaining.

Herb is just kind of there but I like their weird relationship where they actually do seem to love each other. Scarlett is a bit odd on a writing level though. She’s given a motivation for why she wants to do all this but the writers have trouble balance her implied good moments and her evil-ness.

I get that she’s supposed to be evil (we see that when she tells the Minions to get the crown or she’ll pretty much kill them) but some nice moments work almost too well which makes it a bit jarring when she is just full on evil by the end.

But then she ends on an unironic nice moment which is just weird given everything that came before. Penguins did the same thing but added a joke onto it, as I said, which made it work. Still, I can still enjoy her.

As far as other characters go, the only ones of note would be this family that the Minions get a ride from. The family turns out to be an evil family on their way to Evil Con as well. And they are the best thing about the movie.

Seriously, the joke where they are revealed to be evil was the biggest laugh I got because I actually didn’t see it coming. And besides that, I like how nice they are to the Minions and I’m amused by one of the evil family members being voiced by Charlene Doofenshmirtz herself.

And of course after Evil Con, we never see them again. If we do, it’s telling that I forgot. As much as I like them, I kind of wish the whole movie about them rather than Scarlett, or hell even the Minions.

It would be like The Incredibles, except everyone is Syndrome! Make it happen!

Both films happen to have cameos from a character in their franchise. In Penguins it’s King Julian and Mort, in a post credits scene that is amusing enough. Kind of odd Julien has his VA from the TV Show while everyone has their movie actor.

Minions has Gru, in my favorite part of the whole movie. I like exactly how and why he pops up and it was an unexpected surprised, mostly because it wasn’t spoiled in the trailer like everything else. (Well, it was in the Honest Trailer that I foolishly watched before seeing the movie but whatever).

I just wish they maybe built up to him on a story level. Yeah, it’s about finding a master but Gru literally just appears out of nowhere, with no explanation of why he’s there other than we need the actual best part of the franchise in this.

I wish he was in more of it, maybe explore how the Minions found him and stuff. Maybe the sequel (Ugggggh) will explore it but whatever. Either way, Gru’s part was pretty cool on it’s own.

So which is better? Hmmm…I’m actually picking Minions. The supporting cast is fine and has less writing issues but they don’t leave a big impact besides Dave. Minions has some more memorable side characters who have their writing issues but are at least fun to watch and the fact that I wanted more of some shows that they did something right.

It is close call as one has supporting players that are competent but not that memorable and the other has some that are memorable and funny but either aren’t written that well or aren’t in it enough.

But in terms of being enjoyable and leaving some impact to an extent, I’ll pick Minions if only for that family. They aren’t in it a lot but they were unexpected and funny, which is always a good thing.

Close call, but I pick the one I simply enjoy a tad more in this case. So there you go.

WINNER: Minions


Okay, I normally would put this last. But the thing is, both movies focus more on the humor and the leads than the story, which is totally fine. But that means there’s no point in covering it last so, here we go.

I’ve got a lot to say on both fronts because of how they approach. However, I will not talk about the writing in regards to the leads and/or their development. Only in terms of the stoy itself, got it?

Okay, first Penguins as there is shockingly little to say on it’s own. The actual story is pretty simple. Dave wants to make Penguins ugly because of his backstory and the Penguins team up with the North Wind to do so and action and hilarity ensues.

This film mostly focuses on the action and the arc it has with Skipper and Private I’ll say more about later. As a result, the story can seem kind of weak as there isn’t a whole to it and not much if amazingly memorable.

But it is effective as at least the action is fun and we do get clear arcs for some characters, with motivations. As goofy as it is, at least remembered to throw in that. That can be a bad thing for some, as the fact that it has elements makes the fact that the story is just “eh” stand out more.

But at the same time, they do wisely keep it simple and nothing is too confusing or distracting. The best part of the movie in terms would actually be the opening.

It starts with their backstory with them meeting as kids, as we establish that Skipper is unhappy with the conformity going around and they all try to get this egg in danger, that turns out to be Private. It does a very good job of establishing the tone with the humor of action, as well as the characters and why they do what they do.

The stuff after it cuts to the present is pretty good, but once Arctic Wind shows up, it becomes a tad more hit or miss. Still enjoyable but not quite as much. The problem with being simple is that it does drag in the mid section, although it perks up again in the climax.

As for Minions, the story is similarly simple. The Minions wanted a master and find one in Scarlett Overkill who wants them to get this crown. That in itself is fine. The problem I have is that it often gets distracted.

A lot of the movie is less about moving plot, and more about the Minions doing…stuff. Some of it at the start is fine to establish who they are but the part where they walk around a city goes on forever and there’s a lot of parts like that.

But the odd thing about the story is that it has flat out problems with logic in some parts. I shouldn’t be thinking the logic of a silly comedy like this. Bob becomes King of England after a crazy chase scene, because he…pulled the sword from the stone.

Yes, it happened not only be real, but right in the open has no one has tried to pull it before now I guess and the Queen of England is just ready to give the crown to this little guy because he pulled a sword.

It makes no sense and the best part is that this just an excuse for more jokes with the Minoans doing stuff. It does give Scarlett an easy way to get power after she betrays them again. Speaking of, she betrays them again so fast that it’s almost like her reversing the previous turn was pointless.

Yeah, see what I mean? Despite it being simple, it still manages to have these writing problems. You’ll see later if the humor makes up for it, but on it’s own the writing is not that good.

There are some good ideas, I like that it’s set in the 60’s as it sets it apart from other kid’s movies and it gives the movie a decent Soundtrack. Granted, it doesn’t do much with the 60’s setting aside from aesthetic things but ah well.

And as I said, Gru’s cameo was neat, as was that family.

(Oh, and despite both films being short, Minions feels the need to have more mid credits scenes than Guardians 2 and a post credits with the cast dancing that goes on FOREVER. I mean, are you that desperate to keep me here?!)

But overall, the writing is kind of weak. The simple story is fine but it gets sidetracked sometimes with odd plot holes and a lot is just Minions doing things.

Penguins of Madagascar keeps itself simple and manages to actually tell a story. It is mostly just a big silly cartoon but it at least tries to have a story. Minions similarly keeps itself simple but doesn’t offer a whole lot in terms of the actual story and keeps itself distracted a bit too much.

The story isn’t important in either but I think Penguins did a better job of balancing the simple story with the Comedy than Minions which doesn’t quite get it right, most of the time.

At first glance it seems both are about the same in terms of how they handle the script but when I watched them both twice now and anazle them, it clear Penguins handles the writing better by being more focused and having at least an attempt at depth.

So yeah, there you go.

WINNER: Penguins of Penguins of Madagascar

And finally, the element both films favor other the script:


Since these films are titled after their leads and are Comedies, we’ll do this last as well as both in one go since there’s not a ton to say about the humor itself.

Penguins of Madagascar has what you’d expect from Madagascar, including slap tack and wordplay. The wordplay humor is honestly the best humor in the film as even when it’s cheesy, it is amusing.

Most of the characters get some good lines and there are some fun interactions, even with the less interesting characters. Nothing is quite hilarious but there is a steady stream of decent jokes.

There’s a running gag involving actor’s names that is way funnier than it should have been, especially after Escape From Planet Earth tried a similar gag. My faovirte joke was the fact the Penguins left Alex and his crew because….they were sick of Afro Circus.

Yes, really. That freaking killed me.

The biggest flaw in the humor is just a lack of it in some parts. Sometimes the laughs dry up which is sad as sometimes there’s a good stream of them.

Till, the humor does work and it is what makes the film work, mostly

The humor in Minions is of course a lot more slapstick based, being as silly and over the top as possible. It works sometimes like with certain characters I mentioned, and even the Minions can have their moment, mostly with how some people bounce off time.

However, since it so much silly-ness and spends a lot of time just doing stuff, the humor can get really old really fast. There’s only so many times you can see the Minions just…do stuff before it gets tiring.

I can see some finding it funny but some of it just felt like noise to me. Certain other problems in terms of writing don’t quite help either as the humor being tiring plus the writing being off doesn’t make for the best viewing experience.

There’s one odd element to the humor some like and some don’t: There’s some dark jokes in it. And by that I mean we get a montage of the Minions causing the deaths of their masters. Yes, really.

I’m all for dark humor/moments in kids movies…but it felt so off here. The humor is so silly and safe most of the time that it just feels jarring in a bad way. Plus, how do we root for characters who cause so many casualties? Keep in mind, only some were evil and for all we know, this version of Dracula is nice as the one in Hotel Transylvania! (Speaking of, how are do the Minions not know that sunlight is bad for vampires?).

(On another side note, another dark joke involves Herb trying to hang the Minoans. Yes really. And it fails due to their shape. YOU CAN[‘T KILL THE MINIONS)

So yeah, in terms of humor, it’s mostly harmless but also mostly shallow. Now onto the leads we’ve come to see. First, let’s compare the origins. For the Penguins it’s simple. They grew up in the Arctic, became a spy team and eventually get to New York which the rest is history.

Nothing too complicated. My only question is, if they left Antarctica because Skipper didn’t like the conformity, why did they want to go there in the first movie? But that’s overlookable.

The Minions are meant to be a different species entirely which was part of the fun of them, as you have no idea what they really are. But ignoring the fact that the first Despicable Me implied Gru created them, the backstory this movie reveals makes no sense.

Okay, so Minions existed long before humans and I guess are immortal? I mean, are the minions we see early on the same as the ones in the cave that the main trio leaves behind? Did those earlier Minions die with new Minions coming like how how all over species work ?

Infact, do Minions…reproduce? Are there female Minions? Do they even have genders? ARE THE MINIONS IMMORTAL?!

I know this doesn’t matter a whole lot but if you can’t buy into the explanation of the origin of the main characters, it kind of takes you of the movie. The Minions are oddly complicated in this.

But now onto the leads themselves. The Penguins aren’t too deep in general but perhaps there could have been more to them. The show did a good job of fleshing them out but there isn’t as much in the movie.

But there’s at least something. Let’s go over and see what I can tell you about them, only going off this movie.

Skipper: He’s the leader and he doesn’t like just following the crowd. He has a bit an ego sometimes and he really likes Private but sometimes underestimates him because he’s cute. He learns to give Private more chances to be awesome.

Private: He’s cute and isn’t always respected because of it. But it turns out he can help out a lot, even with his cute looks.

Klowaski: He’s the brains, and has a tendency to be brutality honest which can make him seem a bit careless sometimes.

Rico: He throws up stuff.

Yeah, not a ton of depth but you can get some sort of personalty out of each which I like The Skipper/Private arc is decent. It’s nothing we’ve never seen before but leads to some nice moments. Again, nothing groundbreaking but it has it’s heartwarming momenta and I’m glad they included a clear arc somewhere in it.

Now let’s talk about the Minions and do the personality thing again:

Kevin: He’s the leader. ….That’s it, he rolls at his at dumb stuff at some points but that is it.

Bob: He’s cute and at first they don’t think he should go but they’re like why not. He becomes king because reasons and that’s about it.

Stuart: He…uh…um….exists?

The Minions or more less joke machines there really is not much to them. To be fair, they try to establish arcs very early on in the scene where they leave the cave to find a master but those arcs vanish once the plot starts.

Seriously, outside of a few very breif moments, there’s no attempt at depth ever again. I’m not asking for anything Shakespearean, just something other than small moments that don’t go anywhere.

I mean, the Minion form a bond with a villain that betrays them, this should feed into some kind of arc with them but not really. I can at least tell you something 2 of them but their characters don’t go any deeper than what I said.

In a movie like this it’s not a huge deal but even Penguins gave me something to them which gave me a reason to care in some way. If you care about the Minions in this movie, fine but I didn’t because they are just joke machines in this film and it gets tiring after awhile.

That’s the big reason I find Minions to be just….eh. The title characters are not interesting and can’t hold up a full film. Their simple antics work fine in shorts or as supporting but in a full film it gets old and they don’t add enough to make me care.

Penguins of Madagascar doesn’t make it leads THAT much more interesting than before but it does keep them intact somewhere, even if some elements are kind of forced to make the plot work.

The leads in that film just come across as more fleshed out and importantly, more enjoyable to watch for 80 minutes than the rambling twinkes. This is all a long way of saying that the humor of Penguins of Madagascar is more varied and the leads offer a bit more and the film justifies it’s concept better.

Neither is ground breaking on either level but to me, Penguins stands taller by being funnier with better written leads. So thus it gets the final point.

WINNER: Penguins of Madagascar

With Minions only getting 1 point and Penguins getting 3 points, it’s pretty clear who wins here.

OVERALL WINNER: Penguins of Madagascar

Yeah, I know I said I wanted to avoid curb stomp battles but both are in the same league in terms of putting humor over story and it’s not like Penguins is amazingly better. Plus, since I originally saw both I preferred Penguins and wanted to really find out why.

And now I know. Minions isn’t really bad per say but I liked it even less on a 2nd viewing. As we’ve seen, as it has some amusing moments/elements but as a whole, it really does feel like a pilot for a Saturday Morning Cartoon on Nickelodeon (They did make a cartoons for the Minions of Gaming after all…) that somehow got stretched to 80 plus minutes.

Penguins is also kind of a stretched cartoon episode at times but at least has the excuse of following an actual TV series and at least had more to on a writing level.

Penguins is hardly a ground breaking film and when it comes to Dreamworks films that give the supporting the spotlight, Puss in Boots is waaaay better (Where’s that sequel, by the way?) but if you just turn your brain off a bit, you can have some goofy fun with it.

Minions has it’s moments but even by the standards of a film like it, it has no reason to exist. They tried but they could have tried harder. Again, Penguins managed to have an arc with the leads, so there’s no excuse.

I can’t be too hard on Minions since it’s not awful, and I’d rather watch it on a 24 hour loop than even look at the lemmings again. But still, it’s not good and my least favorite fully animated Illumination film so far (Because overall, it’s still better than Hop).

I did mostly to show how two films that seems pretty much the same due their goal but can still be different in execution. Again, both are the same artistically but in terms of my honest opinion, Penguins is full on Decent while Minions is …Average.

So there you go, a further look into two films no one has given much thought of after their releases. This is likely the closest you’ll get to the Curb Stomp Battle in this series so I hope you enjoyed.

I didn’t want to make it seem like Penguins is amazing or Minions is crap, it just became clearer which one I liked more as I wrote this. Still, these are fun to make. Shoot me any Movie Battle ideas you have. Especially Live Action ones, these won’t all be animated.

I’ll only say one more thing: I’ll take both films over what my next Scene by Scene Review will cover. Ugh. Until next time, Minions 4 Life out!

…I mean See ya.

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