Shorts

Short but not sweet

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s finally time once again to drive into the crazy world of Robert Rodriquez kids movies. I’ve covered the likes of Spy Kids 3 and Sharkboy and Lava Girl which are among the oddest kids movies you will ever see and sadly not always in a good way.

There’s no denying he has a lot of creativity, it’s just that his attempts at kids movies often end up being just…stupid to me. Most of them have been talked about before by plenty of others.

But there’s one he did that no one really talks about it. People don’t seem to find it as interesting as his other works, and I can see why after watching it but I do think it would be fun to look at it anyway.

It really shows off the basic pros and cons of his kids movies so let’s see how it is, especially compared to his others. It came out in 2009 and just sort of came and weak, getting weak reviews and weak box office.

There’s nothing to say for the crew since it’s just him, so we can jump in. How does it fare as a whole and just how insane is it going to get? Let’s dive in.

This, is Shorts

Before we even get a studio logo, the movie starts with two kids having a staring contest. A contest they continue well into school. Random but somewhat funny, I guess.

They even keep it up at night and into the morning, until Mom snaps them out of it. Then we get the Warner Bros logo. I’ve seen this movie and I don’t remember what any of that leads to. I do know why they have something play slightly out of order but we’ll get to that.

After the logos, we get narration telling us about Black Falls and showing some of the characters we’ll see more of later. As obvious as it is that they will be important, I do like the set up here.

We’re introduced to our lead Toe, played by someone who was in Movie 43 so you know he needs a new agent. We see him being bugged by his sister, played by Kat Dennings. She also needs a new agent so people will like her more.

Toe tells us the town is home to a company that makes tons of stuff and every adult works for. It’s typical big cooperation “satire”, complete with a fire happy boss, played by James Spader. That gag had to have been dead even in 2009.

The company has created the Black Box, which can turn into just about anything. Something that’s more magical than the magic object we’re about to see. Then we see something crazy I’ll reveal later, which makes Narrator Toe (That’s seriously his name, I wasn’t making that up earlier) stop.

“See that wishing rock I’m holding? It made things so confusing I can hardly remember the order of events”

You can’t hear it but it’s a child actor so you imagine how good that line ride is.

“I’m probably going to have to tell the story completely out of order, in a series…of shorts”

Okay, first off

And 2nd off, yep that’s our premise. It’s a Monkey’s Paw story…told Momento style. Why? I have no idea. As you’ll see, there is no reason at all for this movie to be told out of order.

I’ll talk more about this as we go on and at the end, but it feels like a pointless gimmick that just makes the movie needlessly confusing. Which is odd given this is a dumb kids movie for most of it.

Anyway, we start with “Episode Two”, starring Toe. His real name is Toby but Toe is better given the film’s quality. Toe starts his story by showing us his morning routine which is so freaking riveting.

He has a bully in the form of the son of Mr. Black and his sister Helvetica Black. …That is creepily close to Rebecca Black, and I don’t like that. By the way, he’s not as silly as the bully from Sharkboy and Lavagirl but he’s still like no bully ever.

After school Cole Black and his posse (because of course he has one) chase Toe until he gets into a tree. They throw rocks at him until they decide to just give up and say it’ll be worse tomorrow. Can’t say I expected them to be any more effectual.

One of the rocks thrown is a rainbow colored one which spoilers, grants wishes and a creepy weird voice tells Toe to make one. He obeys it without questioning a single thing.

“I wish I had friends as interesting and unique as I am”

Oh shut up. Given he’s not even that quirky, I think him saying that is the joke but it doesn’t land.F riends come in the form of aliens because he’s just that unique, guys!

These aliens are in these small ships, and Toe again doesn’t question it or even reacts at all. Be amazed, damn it!

The aliens are a bit annoying but are ultimately helpful, like when they clean his room. They even help him brush his teeth, as a payoff to a dumb bit from before.

Stacey happens to walk into his room while talking on the phone with her boyfriend she broke up with and also happens to touch the rock when she says “I wish you’d grow up”.

Wow, that was forced. And we can tell that he’s already growing. The way he talks while it happens puts my mind in the gutter.

“I don’t feel so good”

Insert very topical reference to a certain movie here.

Toe decides to use the aliens to fight against the bullies, but first they embarrass him in class by making noise. Toe trying to calm them down annoys Helvetica enough to…threaten to eat a class fish.

I don’t get it. Nor do I get how the teacher just isn’t noticing this. Through a confusing series of events, they fall out the window, the fish is saved and the aliens breaks out and go straight to the bullies.

“I think I broke a nail”

“Me Too”

CANNED LAUGHTER.

Shorts will be right back on Disney Channel!

It turns out he broke more of his body and is in a cast at home. The aliens decide to just leave because “he has friends all around, he just doesn’t know it yet”. Whatever, moving on.

All that got both Toe and Helvetica in dentition. Or at least the Dentition space at Lunch. Was that ever a thing? After a bit where she eats with her feet (don’t ask), Toe takes us all the way back to the real start of the story.

Okay, I’ll admit that telling the first two stories out of order didn’t hurt things too much but they could have just done a small cold open if they wanted someone else to start the wishing rock thing.

We meet Loogie, which is another stupid name. He’s with his brothers on a rainy day, and one of them is played by Leo Howard from Kickin’ It. Neat?

It randomly stops raining which makes just want to go outside right away and follow a rainbow that popped up. It leads right to the wishing rock, which was saw was created by lightning hitting a rock.

Sure, It’s not the dumbest thing in this story.

“What do you think it is?”

“I wish I knew”

Haw. Now they know what it is, so they start wishing. A few okay jokes later, they lose the rock due to their fighting. They find it in an area close by which has crocodiles and snakes. Christ, this is an oddly dangerous town.

He gets the rock from the croc (heh), but the croc…wishes and now he and his pals can stand up like a human. Fine, at least this is stupid in an amusing way.

They wish themselves some help in the form of a pterodactyl which carries them to the top of a castle they wished for. Then the pterodactyl shits on Loogie. I’m just surprised it took us this long to get a shit joke.

“Gotta thank about this more carefully”

I had an obvious joke about the writers for this but…too easy.

They wish themselves home and after one says they need to be smart, they wish one of them was super smart. The smarts are given to their baby sister.

A baby so smart she talks through only thoughts. ..Okay, that’s actually pretty funny for how random it is.

This is enough for them to just use a catapult to get rid of the rock, but of course it landed in the area Toe found it in. I know I’m already beating a dead horse but seeing that in order would have worked better.

“I’m gonna jump on over to this short”

We get it, it’s in the title of the movie. (It’s the way he said it, ya know?)

“With that weird kid I was telling you about”

You’re all weird kids!

This kid is called Nose, because no one in this thing has a normal name. He’s a major germphobe which of course is always a great source of comedy. Stacey comes over to be his tutor and picks up the rock on her way in.

“They do not pay me enough for this”

You are gift wrapping these easy jokes, I swear.

Nose is played by Jake Short, who I bet was only cast because of his last name. His Dad (played by William H Macy) is the one who is really against germs to the point where he’s kind of a dick about it.

He’s also an inventor and Nose is touching the rock when he wishes for them to work the way they are supposed to. According to the rock this means his booger that got caught in one his inventions should become a booger monster.

I’m not even surprised at this point. I’m sure there’s a reason this is how the invention is supposed to work but it doesn’t matter.

Toe drops by looking for the rock and Nose says he doesn’t have which he can tell is a lie, so he sneaks in only to bump into the booger monster. And yes, the monster does use the sort of weak cartoon-y CGI these movies always have.

I do love how Dad’s reaction is just “What did I tell you about picking your nose” instead of HOLY CRAP A BOOGER MONSTER.

The monster eats the rock so of course Toe shoves his hand into it to get it back. Ew. It goes as well as you’d expect but this dumb plan holds it back so they can escape.

The monster follows them but thankfully Nose’s Dad turns out to be a bad ass and uses an invention to suck it up. Okay, that’s cool but let’s move because they got the rock back.

Oh and Nose and his Dad see that going outside isn’t so bad, woo hoo. If I went through that fast, it’s because the movie kind of rushed that segment near the end.

And of course that short jumped ahead, so Toe brings us to the night before for an “episode” about his parents, played by John Cryer and Leslie Mann. They’ve been in a few scenes, I just think now is a better time to introduce them.

Also, this is the 3rd lackluster movie I’ve covered Leslie has popped up in, and she doesn’t even stand out as a bright side like in The Change Up. Darn.

They are going to a costume party but before they go they talk about how they aren’t communicating that much anymore. Oh boy, nothing like marital problems in a kids movie!

She talks to Toe for a bit and takes the rock when she sees it because we need her to do so. She wishes they were closer so of course Mom and Dad fuse together.

The music that plays here isn’t quite WAH WAH but it may as well be.

They lose the rock but Helvetica finds it soon after Toe shows up. Her brother helps her in picking on Toe but she turns him into a dung beetle anyway. Also, the way Toe says “Give me my rock back” sounds…wrong.

The rock gets lost again and ends up in Mr. Black’s food and he can’t tell the difference long enough for him to wish everyone had the same “go to the throat spirit” as his daughter.

You can guess what the rock makes everyone do. Helvetica gets a hold of the rock and since he gets mad at Mr. Black, she wishes he’d list to her for a change. This gives him big ears instead of making him her slave or something.

She goes power crazy, and Toe’s attempts to calm her down fail. Maybe it’s because he claimed he’s her friend when they aren’t even frenemies.

Also, I thought this “Episode” was about Toe’s parents. Instead, they’re just there sharing lame jokes.After the next scene they do kiss and make up, but it feels rushed. Because it is.

Eventually Toe gets the rock and wishes everyone back to normal. At this point you should wish the rock was super far away but instead he throws it which we already know fails since this is set before the Nose segment.

These segments more sense in the order we see them than in the order they happen. This craziness makes more sense to happen here than before the sorta tame booger monster stuff,. How that can be called tame I don’t know, but that’s this movie for ya.

Anyway, we get to the final segment which brings us to the present, right after the Nose stuff. Helvetica shows up to grab the rock.

“It must be Christmas”

No, that review is tomorrow.

Mr. Black appears because he wants the rock too and we get a big chase scene with a bunch of jokes, only a couple of which are funny. Eventually Mr. Black gets it and officially becomes the villain.

Well, that’s what happens when you’re literally called Mr. Black. This brings us to the point where Toe started flashbacking, by the way. He plans to use the rock to become all powerful and make his workers obsolete, but then he becomes an idiot.

“You must be joking”

“My girl, I wish I were”

That makes no sense no matter how you spin it.

“The adults are gonna wreck this place for sure”

You kids have been no better with the wishes.

“I wish I was-”

“An Oscar Meyer Weiner!”

DOOF: That wasn’t a wish! It’s just a song! It’s not even a song! It’s a jingle!

Mr. Black gets help from Stacey’s giant boyfriend. Bet you forgot about him. Her reaction to seeing this did kinda make me laugh, to be honest.

Less funny is Loogie hitting on her. Ew.

Mr. Black gets the rock back and wishes to be the most powerful thing in the entire world, which turns him into a robot made out of the Black Box. Fine, giant boyfriend was pointless though.

The rock falls and Helvetica gets it.

“I wish I were a giant wasp!”

Ant-Man and Wasp sure took an odd turn.

It then just turns into all out brawl in an attempt to stop Mr. Black which is almost fun in how insane it is. Eventually the baby comes back and tells everyone they are being stupid.

The rock is being strained by all this use, so everything is being reversed.

“We have to get rid of the rock or it will destroy us all”

Fair enough but I love how no one else is phased by all this. They’re like “Okay, how do get rid of it” There’s a “talking” baby, react to it!

Through some complicated stuff, they stand together and the rock just goes away. I guess just wishing for it to go away wouldn’t be climatic enough.

Either way, it leaves and everything is as normal as it can be in this kind of movie.

“Look over there, the rainbows end”

“Not the end, the beginning”

Please, no.

“For someone else to find”

So this can start all over again? Great idea, rock.

Things wrap up as Mr. Black isn’t bad anymore, Mom and Dad learn to work together, Stacey hooks up with her Non Giant boyfriend, and Toe and Helvetica are basically lovers.

“Let’s settle for no longer enemies”

This is a Hollywood movie, you’re lovers.

Toe’s narration pipes in to tell us what we pretty much already saw but adds in a few more “Where are they now” parts. Basically, everyone lives happily including the big company that is now about Green.

I’m sure it’ll go as well as the Greene company in Norm of the North. Eh, that was forced of me. Sorry.

“Sometimes wishing does make it so. But be sure you’re wishing for something worth wishing for”

Can I wish for a better movie? …I’m losing my touch. Wait, I never had a touch.

“I wish we were in Hollywood movies”

“Like that’s gonna happen”

Haw haw. The end. Yeah, of course we end on a lame joke. Yawn.

Final Thoughts:

Well, that was meh. This review was arguably a bit pointless compared to others this year but I wanted to close the book on Robert Rodriguez and talk a bit more about his kids movies.

This is the least bad of his bad ones but it also makes it the least interesting. At the end of the day this is just a forgettable kids movie with weak characters, average jokes and some awkward child acting. (Actually, even the adults aren’t allowed to be as good as they could be)

Despite the crazy things going on, it feels too strained. It doesn’t nearly as wild as it should so it just feels lightweight as a result. The concept is a good one and it has some funny moments but as a whole it feels like it wasn’t as fun as it could have been.

And of course we have that pointless gimmick of telling it out of order. It doesn’t take away much but it doesn’t add anything either.

That’s the thing with Robert Rodriguez’s kids movies. They are filled with gimmicks that usually distract from the movie rather than serve them. I will give him credit for trying to do some new things and getting a bit ambitious in some palaces, which puts almost all of them above most bad kids movies.

He’s clearly at least trying, even if they don’t always pan out for adults. Spy Kids 4 is just boring shit though, sorry.

This one sticks out as an example of how he tries to do interesting things but either doesn’t go all the way with them or doesn’t do them that well. This one just ends being weak in the end.

If you want a batshit insane kids movie you can make fun of, I’d go with Sharkboy and Lavagirl. This is technically better but that’s more fun if you want something truly special.

Or Spy Kids if you want an actually good kids movie from him, even if it has problems. I very much respect this guys work, I’m just glad he’s back to more adult movies.

So yeah, this movie is so weak I spent more of this section on other movies. That says a lot.

Rating; Meh

Well, that was some pointless fun. This review is ”Obligation-y” but I think I had some decent riffing and said my final piece on these movies. ,…Wait, what was the point of those staring kids at the start? They appear again but never become important!

…Anyway, Speaking of obligation, next time it’s Friday the 13th Part 4. Hopefully it’s better than the last few entries.

See ya.

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Stuck in the Middle-Stuck with No Rules

Hello, Spongey here.

TV Review time again, but for the very first time it’s a collab review. …Yeah, we’re not doing the thing where they interrupt me. Say hello to jontheguy242!

Hey, everybody. John here.

You might remember him from those requests for Harriet the Spy Blog Wars and Kick-Ass. …At least one of those was good.

Yep. I have a YouTube channel for I review episodes of live-action kids shows. Both good ones and bad ones. Here’s a link to that: https://youtube.com/channel/UCzye5xEtZ4jgoYAlcOeIr5w/videos

Before we get into it, I should mention that on top of this collab review, I helped him co-write a review another episode of this show over on his channel. Yep, I’m Nortying it again. …That’s a thing now, shut up.

Anyway, I had a poll on Twitter so people can vote on the next Kidcom I’d do an episode from, and this won which i did not expect. People don’t “Care” about it as much as they “Care” about Bunk’d.

But I’m glad since this is a show I was somewhat interested to see more from and now that I’ve seen pretty much all of it I can say it’s …all right. I would say it’s an upper average, as it has its charms due to the single camera format and it being a family show.

It did get better, especially in the current season, but it does have some flaws that hold it back. Some of the characters (as you’ll see in both episodes I wrote about) aren’t that great and are kinda cliché, and it arguably doesn’t do anything that shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Good Luck Charlie didn’t already do.

It could also have the odd morality problem, which is pretty clear in the episode we’re doing here.

Well, I’m actually doing this because of a poll on my Twitter too. As for my thoughts on the show in general, they’re pretty much the same as Spongey’s. It’s okay. And I also agree that it’s a show that improved as it went along.

With all that said, let’s dive into this episode and see why it’s a lesser one.

This, is Stuck with No Rules

Writers; Erika Kaestle & Patrick McCarthy (Wait, isn’t the latter the same guy who did the Good Luck Charlie episode that fixed Lindy Nose Best? Ouch)

The episode starts with Harley wanting to make a snow machine but Tom, her Dad, won’t allow it which is understandable for someone like him.

Tom randomly finds a gift certificate they had for a Bed and Breakfast, and they want to go but leaving the kids alone doesn’t seem like the best idea to them because as we’ll see, they can’t handle themselves too well.

Don’t forget that the gift certificate just happened to expire this coming up Sunday.

Yeah, but that’s the least of our problems here.

A babysitter is out of the question as explained in a flashback montage that shows how kind of awful the kids can be, especially the younger ones.

Harley wants them to go just so she can build a dumb snow machine but they don’t trust the older sister Rachel because she is also pretty bad. She also never “steps up” which is already making me wanna make Elena jokes, stop it!

You know, shouldn’t Harley be worried that the snow machine might make a mess that could be difficult to clean up?

Yeah, for a kid genius she isn’t too smart

“You still can’t put metal in the microwave?!

She’s also incredibly stupid sometimes.

I don’t know. She makes a good point.

After the theme song, we cut to the next morning as everyone starts acting way better so they can prove they are trustworthy.

“Love the breakfast, not buying the show”

At least they’re smart in this one.

…But then Harley says a few things and suddenly it’s all good and they’re off. I’d complain but there is a reason they were convinced so easily…oh boy, we’ll get to that.

Mom and Dad leave and Rachael proclaims there are no rules. Harley will make her snow machine, Louie and Beast will do an entire list of things they aren’t allowed to do, and Ethan and Georgie will…watch more TV.

What troublemakers you are.

“Boom!”

Stop reminding me of 2016 Disney shows!

The latter two go to do so but Daphne has already taken over the TV. You’d think the biggest troublemaker of the family would do something way worse than this.

Harley goes to her room where Rachel appears and complains that some of her friends went on vacation and didn’t invite her. Sure, it’s a place she hates but she just “Wants to say no”.

“How rude of them, enjoying a vacation you didn’t even want to go on”

Even Harley is aware of how bad Rachel is here.

She wants to use Harley’s snow machine to make it look like she’s on a vacation of her own. Then we get the into one of two big reasons we’re doing this one:

We find out that …Mom and Dad set up camera so they can watch the kids while they are at this B&B. Yes, really. That’s already really bad for a lot of different reasons but I’ll really rant in a bit because it gets worse.

So they spent the whole weekend staring at an iPad? What a fun vacation?

Hey, it’s fun for them since they get to watch their kids mess up the house! …Huh.

Harley and Rachel take the photos after making some snow and Rachel actually wants some with them together, which is the nicest thing she does in the whole episode.

Daphne falls asleep and instead of doing the smart thing and just start watching their stuff, they do the shaving cream prank on her which wakes her up. Daphne is still worse but that makes them bad too.

“Laugh now, because very soon you won’t be.”

That’s okay, I didn’t need to sleep tonight anyway.

Back with the parents, they are not only okay with this but greatly enjoy it and even take bets to see what Daphne does to them.

Not to mention how they’re not even worried about the kids’ safety. Or the fact they might, I don’t know, wreck the house.

Exactly!

“Our kids are really entertaining when we don’t live with them”

Congratulations, one episode turned them into the worst Disney Sitcom parents ever. And that’s still not the worst of it.

They decide to mess with them by calling Louie and Beast and claiming she accidentally left money on the floor of their room and watches them fight until she says “Nah, nevermind I found it’.

…I never thought I’d see an episode of this show where the parents are the ones who are among the most unlikable.

I know, right?!

One of the things that bugs me the most is that they seem to take more joy in the suffering of the two kids who just wanted to watch some TV than the kids who are literally breaking EVERY SINGLE RULE.

Once again, exactly. The more you think about it, the worse this concept gets.

I mean, this is the kind of thing that would make sense in a show like Family Guy where the parents are already not the best people. But this is a family show where the parents are usually pretty decent.

Yeah, they’re definitely out-of-character.

They are usually smart and one step ahead of the kids but that’s usually a good in the end, but here they full on leave the kids alone so they can watch them do all these things and even egg them on!

That’s kind of terrible. In any other context this could have been funny but as it is, it’s not. They’re making Amy in Singin’ Dancin’ Duncans look pretty good right now.

After a redundant scene with Daphne, Harley goes back outside to see that Rachel invited a bunch of people over. What is with this show and parties starting off screen? (Wait, I just referenced something John didn’t mention in his video. Well, just know this happens in Lockdown too)

I don’t know. But you’re not wrong about that scene being redundant. I mean, why did Ethan and Georgie act as if they just then figured out that Daphne was going to get back at them?

Also, she deleted their “selfie” because one of her eyes was squinty. Nevermind, she’s awful again.

Ethan and Georgie lock themselves in their room overnight and seemingly survive but it turns out she got in and shaved their eyebrows. That’s …about the worst an 8 year old could do I guess. But knowing Daphne I think she just wanted to keep this TV-G.

I also have to bring up Louie and Beast taking a pudding bath. First of all, where did they get all that pudding? Secondly, is this something the parents can see them doing? Did they at least hear them talking about doing it? If the answer to at least one of those is yes, then they should be concerned about it.

I don’t have any reply to that, I’m surprised you put that much thought into that, lol.

On top of that, the snow machine went crazy in the house and now it’s full of white stuff.

And apparently the only reason the snow didn’t melt is because Louie and Beast blasted the AC. Yet somehow none of them noticed how cold it was.

At least the machine covered the camera them to call Harley and say they are coming home early.

“We’re coming home early” cliche. DING!

Hey, be careful, Cinema Sins is on my “don’t wanna reference directly anymore” list, right next to Doug Walker.

Couldn’t resist.

Their scramble would have more tension if we didn’t already know the parents know already.

Rachel left the machine on all night, just to make her even worse and Harley rightfully calls her out on it. She does point out that this was all her idea though.

“You’re right. I stuck my neck out. You never stick your neck out for anyone!”

Exactly! For her flaws, Harley is the smartest character.

“You acted like you like me”

“I do like you”

“You sure don’t show it”

And here comes the other big problem.

“I shouldn’t have to. We’re sisters. We’re family. Those are the people you don’t to be nice to. You just know they love you and…you love them back”

Well, that’s a shit excuse. Which would be fine if Harley called her out…but she doesn’t, and things go on as normal.

This is one of the cases where I hope the writers didn’t intend this to come across as bad as it does. Of course, very few creators ever really mean the shitty implications we complain about, but in this case, oh boy.

Because they flat-out said don’t have to be nice to family because they already know you love them and you shouldn’t have to. That’d be fine if Rachel simply didn’t show much affection but in this episode she flat out betrays her by deleting that nice selfie.

Yeah, I think that scene honestly could have worked if they just left out the whole “Those are the people you don’t have to be nice to” part.

Right, that one small part really paints this whole scene in a different and way worse light.

She never apologies her doing such a bad thing because…she doesn’t have to! I mean, they completely ignore that part to address something else which combines to create…this!

Ugh.

Anyway, Rachel very quickly steps up and makes everyone pitch in to clean up the mess. Oh and she posted a new photo of them. Too little too late.

The parents come home and see that everything looks fine. Yay, they got free manual labor out of this crappy set up!

But then they open the fridge and sees a mess in it. Whoops. But they just simply laugh it off and the episode…just kind of ends.

The kids now think the parents found about what they did, but instead of addressing it we’ll have them laugh even then they’re in trouble and just end it here. And once again, the parents watching them makes this ending joke kind of bomb more than it already did.

Yeah, I’m surprised they didn’t really do anything with that. I mean, if you’re going to have a cliched story, do it right dammit!

Man, this family kind of sucks sometimes.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not sure what else to say here for once. This features a lot of the characters at their worst, and even sinks some of the better ones with them. The premise is somewhat okay on it’s own, but it eventually becomes an excuse for mostly everyone to be unlikable in some way, especially Daphne and Rachel.

Then they had to make it worse with how the parents are written. As I said, they can be self aware at times but this just makes pretty horrible and they’re never like this again. Hell, them having cameras is totally dropped after this, thank god. (Granted, it causes an issue in Stuck in Lockdown but ah well)

Them watching the kids also removes any tension. The moral they try is really botched and ends up saying something really bad I doubt they really intended. The show has had problems with characters and morality but this one just takes it to a new level.

If it were more annoying in places, it would have a worse rating with me but as it is it’s still bad, just not one that angers me as much as it should given it’s problems.

Rating: Meh

Yeah, it’s hardly one of the worst things I’ve ever reviewed, I’ll give it that. But it’s still pretty bad. The main thing that ruined it for me was the parents. I mean, it’s bad enough how jerkishly they act. But the fact that what they’re doing isn’t even in their own best interests makes it even worse.

It’s like they took a sitcom plot that’s been done a lot before, and tried to give it a new twist that just didn’t make much sense.

I would say the two episodes we reviewed together are about equally bad. For my rating, I’ll go with a 4.5 out of 10, which I suppose would translate to “Bad” using your system.

Yep, got nothing to really add to that, although I’d say this is much worse than Lockdown which again you can him talk about over at that link.

Well, thank you John for joining me for this one. This was fun, even if the episode at hand wasn’t.

No problem. Thanks for having me.

My next TV Review should hopefully a much simpler one from a show I’ve talked about before. It will also hopefully end my 2018 streak of taking forever to do each TV review, lol.

See ya.

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Ranking the Animated Films of 2007

Hello, Spongey here.

Another two weeks have gone by, which means it’s time to cover another year. Man, we’re really getting through these fast. Don’t worry, we’ll start going more slowly as I’ll explain at the end.

Anyway, this year is mostly business as usual: Everyone flounders except for Pixar, at least in terms of of Box Office. Although Disney starts to climb back up, thanks to he shall not be named. And also other people who don’t suck.

Otherwise, not much to report for history, so onto Awards. The Oscars nominated Surf’s Up, Persepolis and Ratatouille. Of course the Pixar won but this is the strongest set of nominees in awhile. The Golden Globe also went to Pixar, but their other Nominees were The Simpsons Movie…and Bee Movie.

Huh.

The Annies nominated all the above movies and again gave it to the rat. And that’s about it for the Awards.

So, how does 2007 improve on previous years? Just how good is it? Let’s find out.

This, is Ranking the Animated Films of 2007

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Billy and Mandy’s Big Boogy Adventure: I haven’t watched it in ages but I do remember it being enjoyable.

Cinderella 3; https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/requested-reviews-1-american-cinderella-and-max/

Donkey Xiote: A cruddy Shrek knock off with too small of a release to count. I do love how the tagline says “From the Producers who saw Shrek”. Nice.

Elf Bowling the Movie: I had no idea why this exists, why I watched it, why it’s so bad and why Martin Olson of all people wrote it.

Futurama Bender’s Big Score: Ah yes, the start of the movies that brought this show back. Haven’t seen them since they came out but I do recall this being the best one.

El Arca; Weird Argentinian movie that Cartoon Hero did once.

Superman Doomsday; The start of the DC Animated movies. I have nothing to add

BAD;

Happily N’ever After:

At the bottom we have Vanguard round 2 and it’s easily their worst theatrical movie. ..Sort of, we’ll get to that in a few years.

I watched this and the Direct to Video Sequel (which Vanguard had nothing to do with), hoping they would be review worthy. And as you can see, they are quite bad but I couldn’t get much of a review out of them.

That’s because they are BORING. Sticking with this one, it’s a fairy tale spoof comedy so you think it would at least be lively and annoying. But instead it’s incredibly dull most of the time.

The concept with the good and bad scale being shifted isn’t a bad one but it’s executed in a very weak way. It does a lot of what you expect from a Shrek knock off and the story and characters are pretty lame and forgettable.

I don’t even remember much from this movie and I don’t think re-watching it would be worth it. Even the acting isn’t that great, as even Patrick Warburton is barely trying.

But to be fair, I actually kinda like the animation. The rendering is a tad weak but it has a cute style that makes up for it. It’s the best looking Vanguard movie, frankly.

Honestly, it’s not as annoying as some other movies of its kind, so I wouldn’t put as one of the worst to the extent of say, Doogal. But it’s still a pretty poor and boring movie, even though it’s supposedly a comedy.

It’s not the worst movie ever (not even the worst Lionsgate animated movie), but it’s still pretty bad and the worst animated film of 2007.

(As for the sequel more of the same but a bit better and with way worse animation. Seriously, it’s almost Troll Land bad. Almost)

MEH:

The Ten Commandments:

I bet you’ve never heard of this one and there’s a reason for that. This is a low budget Christian movie from a no name studio that had a limited release and bombed horribly.

The only reason I’m even talking about it is because it still had a bigger release than Spark(and made more money, ouch), so I figured I’d allow it. It was about as good as expectedg.

To be fair, it isn’t the worst in terms of story or anything. It’s just a pretty basic retelling of this story that does try but doesn’t really come close to being as nuanced or epic as Prince of Egypt or the Cecil B Demil version.

The budget can be to blame for that, but I still found it mostly dull. I can’t explain why that is, it’s just executed in a fairly stale way. Even the star studded cast mostly does simply fine.

And yes, that sadly includes Alfred Molina as Ramses. The standout is Scott Mcneil and he’s only in it for a few minutes.

But the worst aspect has to be the animation which is some of the worst I’ve seen in a theatrical release. Yes, really. The rendering is really poor and everything looks like late a 90’s video game cut scene.

Even if it was Direct to Video, it would be lesser than others at the time. The movements can be okay, and it’s slightly better than something like Foodfight but it’s still really poor animation.

The only good thing about the animation is that it does make the movie stand out since everything else is so stale. It does seem to be trying compared to so many others but it lacks the nuance needed to be a good version of this story.

It also rushes a lot in the first half, so I didn’t care for anyone compared to other versions. I know it’s unfair to compare it to bigger budget versions, but even the writing itself is just okay.

Overall, it has its heart in the right place at times but as a whole it’s pretty stale with merely passable acting and really bad animation. I’ll mostly just forget about this one so I can’t get too angry at it, but it’s not worth a look either.

Just with pretty much any other version, or even Muhamed the Lost Prophet if you want a low budget religious movie. This one is just…there.

Shrek the Third:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/shrek-the-third/

Despite my spelling and slight overreaction to certain moments, my review still stands. This was a step down for the franchise but I don’t think it’s AS dire as everyone makes to be. There’s some good ideas here, both in terms fo story and comedy.

The problem is that there’s too much going on so a lot of is either not fleshed out, or just pointless. There’s potential for a great Shrek movie but it wastes on pretty mixed writing and jokes. some ideas could have been fleshed out to make a movie as funny and solid as the 2nd one, but as it is it ends up being the weakest.

And the way they kill off the king is still insulting.

The animation’s pretty good though, so there’s that. Still not an awful sequel, but compared to before, it’s not very good either. Shrek would improve next time but that’s for another year. This one though, is just not good.

If you want a 3rd entry in a franchise that includes a green guy and Immigrant song, stick with Thor Ragnarok.

AVERAGE:

Beowulf:

Robert Zemekis and his motion capture return for a movie most people have forgotten, especially compared to his other motion capture movies. It has a fresh on RT so I suppose it has its fans, but there’s also plenty of people who think it’s just okay.

As you can tell, I’m in the latter camp. I don’t dislike it fully like Norty does but I do think it isn’t really the epic they clearly wanted it to be. To be fair, some of my problems are due to the kind of story it’s based on.

They didn’t really care about creating super complex characters and stuff back then, but I do think they could have been a better job of updating it.

For the positives, there are some moments where it tries to be a bit deeper (even if it’s too little to late), the visuals clearly had a lot of effort put into them, and the score has its great moments.

But overall, the film is just kinda dull. The pacing is really slow most of the time, which I know is to build atmosphere and while it can work at times, most of the time it doesn’t.

This even applies to most of the action scenes. Speaking of, the animation sadly does fall into the uncanny valley most of the time. I can see what it was going for, but even more so than his others, it feels like it should have been live action.

The lighting is also really dim most of the time. It’s supposed to be more realistic, which is odd for a movie where a monster’s mother tries to seduce the lead. I am not making that up.But seriously, anyone who complains about the lighting in the DCEU movies should watch this and see what dull lighting looks like.

As a result of the kind of story it is, the overall plot and characters aren’t that interesting. Even the acting is surprisingly nothing special. They really build up Beowulf a lot but he’s mostly a blank slate.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that this is respectfully a PG-13 movie which is refreshing. It actually gets kind of bloody for a PG-13. On the flip side, they decided to have a full action scene where Beowulf is naked.

Yes.

Overall, I can see what Beowulf is trying to do and it has it’s moments but in the end it just is weighed down by the nature of the story it’s based on. It’s mostly dull with very average story and characters.

Ir’s far from bad but it sadly doesn’t reach good. If this is your thing, go ahead and enjoy it but otherwise, there’s better options I imagine.

The only thing I have left to say is that they mention Odin a few times and Anthony Hopkins is this.

…2007, please stop reminding me of Thor movies I should be watching instead.

DECENT:

Bee Movie:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/bee-movie/

Ah yes, the Internet’s favorite movie. Again, I reviewed in that link above so you can see more complete thoughts.

That review is more recent so my thoughts haven’t changed too much. All memes aside, it is a mixed movie with some actually good things and some awkward things.

But overall I think it’s fine. The weird-ness adds to the enjoyment and there are actually good things like some of the twists and the animation.

It could have been better in some areas, but I also feel it could have been a lot worse. It’s somewhat of a guilty pleasure, but in some areas I appreciate a tad more than most.

If nothing else, it stands out and it’’s amazing how the internet turned this once forgotten movie into a movie people won’t soon forget.

So yeah, as a movie it’s merely decent-ish but as a meme, it’s pretty amazing.

TMNT:

We talked about the recent Ninja Turtles movies before, now let’s go back to when they returned via CGI from a then new studio that only did one other movie.

This one leaves me really mixed. The thing with this movie is that it pretty much assumes you’re already familiar with the titles which I suppose makes sense since the 2003 series was still on, but the last TMNT movie was ages ago at that point, so casual audiences and critics likely won’t be able to follow.

And based on the reviews, that seems to be the case. This takes place after some falling out they had but of course they have to get back together and fight some bad guy.

If you don’t know anything about the turtles, you will be lost since they barely introduce them to you especially because they don’t explain what happened to split them apart.

But if you do know the franchise, you will have an easier time getting into. I actually do lie a lot of the character stuff as it is interesting see them split apart like this.

There are some nice moments with this set up and that aspect of the movie is generally engaging. Although that side could have had a more satisfying pay off.

But even then it still has the problem of having a weak plot. The whole thing with Winters is overly complicated and just not that interested, no matter how epic they try to make it.

The animation is also mixed, it’s generally well done but it also pretty video game-ish. Better than most that are like that, but it’s no surprise this director later did Rachet and Clank.

The action scenes are pretty fun though, and the score is incredibly underrated. Seriously, it’s so good at times. The acting is also pretty solid. They aren’t my favorites VA’s for these characters, but they do fine.

Also, I had no idea Chris Evans was in this. Yes, really.

So we’ve got a pretty mixed movie but in the end I decided I enjoy it. It’s not for those unfamiliar with the series and has a sort of weak plot but it has some engaging character work and is generally enjoyable to watch.

It really could have been great but as it is, it’s merely decent but flawed. Ah well. If you know enough about this franchise, you should get a kick out of it. Otherwise, stick with the 1990 one.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Color Movie Film for the Theaters:

Best title ever.

The first of two movies based on an adult cartoon this year. We’ve talked about the show a few times before and how its got a sense of humor that’s very much not for everyone.

For better or worse, this movie is very faithful to that. It’s an extended episode all the way. It’s exactly the kind of humor and writing the show had, just a bit longer and on a slightly bigger scale.

They don’t make any attempt to appeal to anyone outside the fanbase. Even the animation is exactly the same, not too much of an upgrade. The story is more of a series of things that happen, and there’s not much for depth at all.

One on hand, it means it’s true to the series and doesn’t sell out at all. Plus, it is fairly enjoyable as someone who gets into this kind of humor. The sort of dry conversational humor does manage to make me laugh as well as some of the insanity. The story also some crazy things happen that are amusing.

It very much does its job as an extension of the series. It’s just that for one, this series works best in small does so some of the schtick got a bit old after a while.

It’s pretty short but it did drag at points due to the nature of the “story”. It didn’t get so old that it hurts the film too much but I do think there wasn’t much point in making this a full movie.

And while I respect that they didn’t change anything to appeal to a wider audience, I feel in the case it should have been straight to TV. There;s no shame in that, and it makes sense as this appeals way more to fans of the show.

There’s not too much else to say. Overall, it gives you exactly what you’d expect from a movie of this series. It’s the same crazy humor that fans will really enjoy, but anyone else will be just confused by.

It didn’t really need a movie, much less a theatrical one, but as it is at least enjoyable for someone who likes the show fine. And sometimes all you need is something stupid and fun like this.

Oh and one of the bits of marketing caused a bomb scare. That’s a thing that happened.

GOOD:

Surf’s Up:

After a weak debut, Sony Pictures Animation returns with something a bit but still way better. This movie was received quite well but had the misfortune of coming out in that weird time where movies were obsessed with penguins, so audiences passed on it.,

Which is too bad as this movie is pretty good. The main thing that holds it back is how cliche it is for the most part. We have an underdog trying to win against a jerk, and a mentor who stepped down despite having a bunch of glory.

It’s done well in spite of that but the story itself is slightly weak-ish at times as a result. It also that obligatory typical love interest who is kinda likable but nothing special.

But when it comes to the actual content, it gets it right. The gimmick is that it’s done In the style of a documentary and it really nails it. The way it’s “shot” and the editing really captures the style perfectly and makes the film stand out.

It’s a neat way to frame the story and sells us on some of the clichés. The animation is really solid too, maybe not as super impressive as some other studios but there’s solid lovely shots at times and the water looks good too.

The way it’s executed manages to get me invested in the story despite how cliché it can be. Cody (voiced by the legend Shia Lebouf) is a likable lead, and the thing with Big Z is really nicely done.

The most surpassing thing about this movie is how funny it is. I wouldn’t call it hilarious but I laughed way more than I expected. Even the captions in the universe documentary are funny sometimes.

The cast helps too, as we have Dedirich Bader and yes, even James Woods bringing some decent chops to their characters.

Overall, Surf’s Up perhaps needed something extra in the story to make it more notable, but as it is it’s pretty good. It’s decently engaging, has a neat style to it, and is pretty darn funny too.

If you haven’t seen it, and you wanna see how SPA started to find it’s groove, it’s worth a watch.

Stay from the pointless Direct to Video sequel with wrestlers though. It’s the weakest animated thing Sony put out in 2017. Yeah, I said it!

This movie’s good though, watch it.

Paprika:

We return to Satoshi Kohn for the 3rd and sadly final time, as this was his last film before he died in 2010. Speaking of which, it turns out that his previous movies broke my “limited release” rule as they were in like 10 theaters.

Whoops. This one on the other hand, while limited, had a bigger release and made more money then even a few Gihbli movies that we will be including. Thus, here it is.

After Tokyo Godfathers was a bit more toned down, this one goes back to being surreal and complex. I mean, it’s basically Anime Inception.

The set up is that a machine is made that lets you see into peoples dreams and someone starts using it illegally to help out people on the outside, using an alter ego.

As usual with these kind of movies, that’s the basic version but there’s plenty more to it. I actually found this easier to get into then others of it’s kind, despite it’s mind bending nature.

The basic set up just made it a tad more accessible and the way it got weird was pretty engaging for me. Plus, Paprika herself is quite charming so there is some actual entertainment here.

It’s quite a trip and it’s interesting to see it all unfold, especially in the 3rd act. Things really go off the rails and it’s a bit hard to keep track of it all. But it manages to work and doesn’t come across as fully pretentious or anything.

And even if it was, it’s engaging enough for that to not matter as much. My own tastes do it hold it back, but I did enjoy this more than most of it’s kind, so take that for what it’s worth.

The animation is pretty good and fluid too, not an awful lot to say on that front. The dub isn’t the best but it gets the job done.

Overall, Paprika is a solid example of a more surreal movie that works. It was easy to get into for me and it was quite the interesting ride with some neat and crazy moments.

It’s one of things you need to see for yourself so if you’re into this kind of movie, go ahead. It’s a solid swan song.

(Also, in one scene someone goes to a movie theatre and one of the movies playing is Tokyo Godfathers, haw haw)

Meet the Robinsons;

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/meet-the-robinsons/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/2013-review-retrospective/

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

I feel like I’ve talked about this one enough, in both all 3 of those posts. There’s no extra spiel needed. It’s too clunky to be great but it has some really strong stuff that makes an underrated gem for me. It helped get Disney better so yeah, still good.

The Simpsons Movie:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/the-simpsons-movie/

Man, I reviewed a lot of this years movies, didn’t I? Anyway, I don’t have much to add this one.

It’s still among the better animated movies based on an animated series and it managed to do this series justice despite being past it’s prime at this point.

I think my review and many others explained the pros and cons of this movie. It’s generally really solid with great animation and humor with some nice moments as well.

It just some weak points like Lisa’s little pointless-ish love story, and a few other minor odd things that don’t totally work. I wasn’t sure if this was a Good or Very Good but I put it in the former due to some minor things like that.

It’s like Regular Show the Movie in that way. I want to rate it higher but the critical part of my brain makes me rate a tad lower due to the flaws.

But either way, it’s still a high Good and a movie I highly enjoyable, both on it’s own and as an extension of the series. Not sure what else to put here, the reviews speak for themselves.

Overall, The Simpsons Movie isn’t full on great but it’s pretty good and enjoyable. Insert Simpsons Joke/Pun here.

GREAT:

Ratatouille:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/pixarathon-8-ratatouille-3/

“But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so”Antoin Ego

We’re back to Pixar being great. Once again, I have an earlier bad post that goes into it.

But re-watching it now I have a slightly different perspective. For a golden era Pixar movie, it’s actually pretty cliché. It’s about a dreamer who’s Dad disapproves of him and everyone else doesn’t want him to do it either,

You can’t get more cliché than that. That does drag it down compared to other great Pixar movie, but as always it’s all in the execution. I will admit it can be slightly clunky sometimes as it has to juggle Remy, Linguni and other things like the romance the latter gets into, as well as the twist of him being Gusteau’s son.

But in the end it all comes together. Everyone is likable/memorable, and the story gets more engaging as it goes on. The best thing about the movie is still the atmosphere.

The animation, music and pacing really get me engaged in the movie so even when it gets slow, I’m still on board. The solid themes help with that too.

And I don’t think need I say that Ego’s review at the end is amazing, right? It’s one of those things that is way more relevant now than it was in 2007. Speaking of, this movie is one of the times I don’t mind a critic being sown as snooty since they do humanize him a bit, and as I said, the review does actually make a good point that’s true if you look around in our current climate.

Overall, I do think Ratatouille is slightly less great than some of their other movies but it is still great due to how they managed to execute a generic set up. The atmosphere is excellent and the ending is pitch perfect too.

I’ve seen some agree with me on the flaws and others have it as their favorite and I can see both sides. Either way, this movie is still great and further proved Brad Bird’s talents. Heck, this wasn’t even his idea this time and he still made something great out of it.

And that it all makes for a solid recipe for a great dish. Insert cooking pu-…wait that was one. Damn it.

Now, you might have noticed that I didn’t mention it being my favorite in there. That’s because…well…

Persepolis:

That’s right, it finally happened. A year with a great Pixar actually had something else top it. I did not see that coming at all. It was hard to decide between the two but after thinking it over, I decided this one was simply more even for me.

This is a French-Irianian film that’s basically follows a young girl as she comes of age against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing I would think crazy highly of but here we are.

I’ve grown to appreciate this kind of movie so this ended up being pretty appealing to me. But while it is indeed all political and dramatic, it’s really more about Marji as she grows up, and the Iranian Revolution is just sort of going in the background.

That approach helps make it more universal, and plus Maraji ends up being a pretty good lead. Right from the start she’s a likable little girl who acts the way she should and it’s interesting following her into adult hood.

Plus, her and some others give us some humor that adds a little levity and of course this helps pull me in even more. It’s based on an autobiographical Graphic Novel so I guess just being true to life helped this one.

The animation emulates the style of said Graphic Novel by mostly being in black and white with simpler designs. It’s a good look and it’s used in some interesting ways. They even do certain small scenes in the style of shadow puppets.

If I had to nitpick, I’d say that the episodic nature of it does lead to some bits feeling a bit pointless/rushed although usually they serve a good purpose to the overall story. But at least one part could have been a tad stronger, although as it is, it’s done quite well.

Overall, I was expecting Persepolis to be pretty good as these Indies usually are but I didn’t expect it to be this great. It ended up being a really engaging watch with a good coming of age story that leads to some interesting moments, told in a powerful way.

It managed to burst through my semi bias and impress me a fair bit, and be a better than something closer to my tastes! I won’t act like it’s amazing per say, but that alone is impressive.

If this kind of movie is your thing, then I very much think it’s worth a shot. The coming of age angle may even help it appeal to more people, even with the political stuff going on.

For me, it was a pretty good experience and against all odds, it became my favorite animated film of 2007.

And those were the animated films of 2007. Overall, I honestly liked this year. Sure, anything has to be better than 2005 and 2006, but I do think this year was decent. Yes, it has some weak movies and most people aren’t crazy about some of those Good ones but I think they’re on the solid/memorable side of Good. Plus, we had two Greats, with a one managing to surprise me.

This year was around when animation started to pick up, at least in terms of theatrical animation. It’ll be a bit before we’re truly in the Modern Golden Era, this is where it started. I get why some could look down on this year but after the last couple years, this was just a breath of fresh air in some regards.

Either way, that wraps it up for 2007. But before I go, I’d like to announce that starting with the 2008 post coming up in a couple of weeks, these will be only once per month instead of twice. The main reason is that I want to slow down a bit with these instead of going as fast as we are right now.

I want a bit more time to work on these, and more time to watch random movies on my own in between each animated film year I need to watch. Thus, once per month on the first weekend or so of that month. It’ll give me more time to improve these in small ways and it won’t feel like I’m mass producing these or anything like that.

If you’re wondering, that means this will finish February 2019 which is a good place I think. So yeah, I think this is a good move overall.

With all that said, come back soon to see how 2008 treats us as we get close to finishing this decade.

See ya..

Posted in Animation, Lists, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Maximum Ride

More like Minimum, amirite?

Maximum Ride is property of JP Entertainment, Studio 71, and Paramount.

Hello, Spongey here.

After having only one review last month, I’ve got two for ya this month and oh boy do we have a ripe one today. It’s another bad YA movie but it may be the worst one, at least the worst I’ve seen.

This book series is one I had never heard of until this movie but from what I gather it was fairly popular and certainly deserved a big budget adaptation. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

It was announced in 2007 and it didn’t come to screens until 2016 and by that point it become a super low budget affair with a limited theatrical release. Frankly, it getting any kind of theatrical release despite being DTV fodder is some kind of miracle.

I’ve never heard of any of the actors involved, and the directors and writers haven’t done anything of note. That’s not a bad thing but it doesn’t bode too well. Of course, I’ve never read the books, but I hear it’s not too faithful and only adapts the first half of book 1.

Come on, you’re not even waiting until Book 3 to pointlessly split it up?

Anyway, I heard about this movie through a group chat I’m in where it become somewhat of meme/running gag. I finally go to watch it after they built it up and boy is it something.

So let’s dive in and see just how poor it is.

This, is Maximum Ride

(Side note: One of the executive producers is Jenna Marbles. No comment)

This movie opens with a flashback as we see a girl named Max in a cage in “The School”. Yes, that’s actually what it’s called. Don’t care if this is from the book, it’s still dumb.

Some guy comes in to get her but on their way out, some other kid runs out and calls for “Dad!”…and then we get the opening credits. This isn’t too bad as far as mysterious openings go, but don’t worry, it won’t go anywhere too interesting.

Said credits feature the files on the main characters, which give us far more information on them then the rest of the movie.

But just in case you thought this movie seemed even slightly original, they follow up the credits with some narration! It’s pretty typical stuff, and it’s over footage of the girl, now a Teen, running from some bad guys.

And she’s running in slow mo, for some reason. It’s supposed to look cool but it just looks like she runs that way normally.

Then that turns out to be just a dream/vision thing, because we needed to waste some time I guess. We formally meet Max, the leader of our main group known as The Flock. She’s also one of the few actors who’s bad in a kind of charming way.

We meet the rest of the group, mostly made of people who don’t really matter. They also have names like Gazzy and Nudge. If they’re nicknames, we don’t find out why they are called that.

They are cooped up in some house, as they are hiding from bad guys, and have grown a bit tired. It’s gotten to the point where Nudge wanted to sneak out and go shopping but Max naturally won’t have it.

Yeah, I get that they’re cooped up but I agree with Max that it would have incredibly dangerous and stupid. Max…could have handled it better though.

“If you ever even think about leaving this house on your own again, I will take you down so hard you won’t know what hit you”

…Harsh.

This is as good a time as any to talk about the acting. I wish this was a video review so I could show just how poor it is. It’s more the fault of the crappy directing but it doesn’t change the fact that everyone is so stiff and awkward.

They try so hard to be cool but it just ends up making them worse. As I said, Max is the only one who is either okay or at least bad in a charming way. Everyone else is just bad, and it’s hard to really get into what’s going on.

After some talking and moping, we get a bunch of shots of birds. Get it?! Also, Angel (the youngest one) hears voices and is compelled to go outside, where she is captured by the bad guys.

The others hear this and run out, and here is where we get the magical moment you’ve all been waiting for;

I wish you could see them in action because…yeah, the effects are really bad. It’s the budget’s fault but boy are they still poor. This leads to a hilarious moment where Max kicks a guy, with the most comically serious face ever.

The grown version of that other kid from the opening is one of the bad guys, which is one of the few interesting ideas, that really isn’t explored that well.

After he kicks her, we get a flashback of Young Ari and Max that shows that Jeb, the man from the opening, took care of them but paid more attention to Max which makes Ari jealous.

“He takes care of everything. He’s working on something really big. He’s gonna save the world. His job is really important”

I can’t really blame the actors when they’re given dialogue like that.

Max wakes up to find that Angel has been kidnapped and was taken to The School. This scene of them talking about it made me realize this whole movie is shot like a crappy CW drama instead of a real movie.

Max and Fang head out via their CGI wings but that turns out to be a bad idea as Ari stayed behind and goes to their house looking for her. Ari has to be my favorite part of this movie, because he’s so hilariously over the top with how evil he is.

He’s also a wolf person which makes him funnier. I wish the rest of the acting was as lively as this guy’s.

A crappy fight ensues but a bomb that Gazzy was working on goes off and gets rid of the house and presumably Ari as well. The others survive because of course they do.

But then they use up their “villain’s hand pops up in the rubble” shot early, except he flat out punches his way out. Awesome.

We then get an extended scene of Max and Fang flying because they were really proud of their crappy effects I guess. Also, The music is generally fine but here it sounds very royalty free and low rent which is lovely.

They take a break on a rooftop, and overhear a struggle going on. Fang doesn’t want to do anything about it because he’s an asshole. Sure, he says they need to keep a low profile but come on!

Max thankfully helps out, and stops this guy who was harnessing a woman. This part is very Superhero which I kind of love, but then the man just gets a gun and shoots her!

This action made me laugh out loud. That’s a bad thing.

Fang takes out the man and then tends to Max. The woman they saved just so happens to have a Doctor Mom and so they head to her clinic.

“You’re so stupid, why do you not listen to me? You’re selfish”

She saved someone, that’s the opposite of selfish!

Doctor Mom reluctantly helps, and after a random flashback, Max wakes up sometime later. We get some dull filler that only reveals she has a tracking chip in her from when she was young which is important but not that important.

Once she’s healed up, she and Fang head back out into the day for night. Yeah, there’s an awful lot of day for night in this. You gotta wonder why these scenes are even set at night or why they didn’t film at night.

They find a cabin to stop at for the night where they argue over Max saving the girl. I’m on her side, Fang almost has a point but he comes across as just a jerk to me.

Thankfully, their argument is interrupted by the others who somehow have made it to where they are this quickly. Guess their pit stop gave them extra time?

“It’s a long story”

“The house is gone”

“I kinda blew it up”

“I guess it’s not that long of a story”

lol.

They catch up and Max talks about the tracking chip but then they decide to focus on Ari’s scar for some reason. We even get a flashback which does have a bigger purpose but it’s odd that it was launched by a dumb scar.

We see Young Ari mocking Max, mostly about the fact that she’s a human/bird hybrid person. I know I shouldn’t pick on child actors but once again the poor directing leads to Young Ari being far less enjoyable than his grown up counterpart.

The flashback ends because like most scenes in this movie, we have to cut away before getting too interesting. Thankfully it picks back up as Max goes outside and Ari randomly appears!

A really crappy fight ensues and the others show up to help. But Ari gets out some device that makes noise that hurts them and so then his crew captures them all. It’s like they know Ari is the most enjoyable thing and want to make sure his scenes are short lived.

They all wake up in cages, in the same room where Angel now is. We’ve had a small scenes with Angel that didn’t add much and for some odd reason I first thought those scenes and the flashbacks were the same so when Angel appeared here I somehow though the editing was just that bad.

But it turns out they flat out tell you via text that the Angel scenes are indeed with her. Usually I’d complain about them thinking you need that but it turns I did and I still missed it!

Ari tells Max with his suddenly pupil-less eyes that someone wants to talk to her and she is taken to Jeb, the guy from the opening who “Saved” her. Jeb menacingly offers her some cookies, which is the best sentence I’ve typed…today.

“I’m trying really hard to come up with a story that would explain any of this”

Said the screenwriters.

So yeah, that guy who saved them was actually using that safe house as a test so they can learn independence and stuff like that. He says some stuff about how what he did was for the greater good (insert Hot Fuzz clip) and yada yada.

“There’s only success and failure, and you Max are a success”

That’s more than I can say for the movie. Since Max knows the truth, she has to be kept here.

Even after all that, I still have no idea what is going on. I get that they were building up mystery but there wasn’t much to latch onto and even by the end I only have a vague idea of anything, really.

Also, he has a note under the cookies saying “You don’t know everything, Trust me”. I agree with half of that.

She’s done with him and is sent back to the cage.

“Jeb’s alive”

“Alive and a traitor. I’d rather he was dead”

No one is allowed to insult Shayamlan’s writing or direction of actors ever again. Don’t insult this director either but you know what I mean.

Max actually thinks they should trust him…but then she tells Angel telephatically that they can’t trust him so I guess she just told them that for no reason. Also, she has this power because why the fuck not.

After a scene I don’t have to say about, Max breaks out using a key she stole while Ari wasn’t looking and attacks him in hilarious slow motion, with the fakest punches ever.

They escape and we get to see Max running in more slow motion while lights flicker because the direction isn’t getting any better. They get out of the building but Jeb shows up to plead with them.

“This experiment’s over”

Thank god for that.

They leave and sometime later they stop in the woods for Max can black out a random vision of things we’ve already seen. It’s more or less a recap that makes as much sense as the full version.

It also has an image of a file on her in New York and they think it means something and they should go there. What does it all mean?

It doesn’t matter because the movie is over. That’s right, it ends on a cliffhanger. That’s to be expected but here it almost feels the movie was unfinished. Almost like they only adapted half a book.

Oh wait..

The final shot is footage of her saying the “Experiment’s over” being watched by someone. Fitting because this franchise is over before it even begun..

Final Thoughts:

This was pretty bad. It wasn’t offensive in any way but it was very boring. I’ll give it some credit as sometimes it can be hilarious, especially with Ari. Plus, the lead tries and the Sound Mix/ADR is acceptable compared to the rest of the production.

I also think there are some good ideas, which I’m sure are fleshed out in the book. But as it is, this movie is a mess. By the end, I do have a grasp of what the story is but it took me too long to figure it out and it’s not written very well.

The story could have worked if they fleshed out anything but as it is, they care more about being mysterious and setting up another movie. It’s also ruined by the execution of the direction.

I’ve made that point pretty clear. The effects are bad and the actors end up being incredibly stiff even when they try to emote. The overall direction is just really poor and ruins any chances of getting me invested.

It just shows you how important production values and directing are. They likely tried their best but it didn’t exactly pan out. The sad thing is that as a whole isn’t as So Bad It’s Good as I wanted.

It had it’s moments but a lot of was mostly dull especially on a 2nd viewing. I think they should gone have more bonkers, or put Ari in it more. The latter would have led to the former at least.

Overall, this move is incredibly poorly made and not very well written either. From what I can tell, even fans of the book won’t get much out of it, even if they will understand the plot more.

Skip it, it’s not even as hilarious as it should have been, save for a few scenes.

Rating: Bad

Okay, that’s enough for bad serious movies. I want a mediocre silly movie!

Yep, that will do.

See ya.

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

General Review: Incredibles 2

Hello, Spongey here.

Time for out sole General Review for June…sort of, you’ll see what I mean next week. Anyway, here we have possibly the most anticipated animated sequel.

This of course is the sequel to Brad Bird’s The Incredibles. I talked about it in my 2004 Animated Films Ranking so you can go there for more detail but in short, it truly is incredibly, even with the odd issues here and there.

It still holds up as a great Superhero movie even with all the ones coming out these days. Now is as good a time as any for Pixar’s hero family tor return. Since then, Brad Bird has proved to be a great director, both with how he directs and how good his movies are.

He certainly made the best Animation to Live Action transition I can think of. Yep, I’m on the side that quite likes Tomorrowland. But now he’s back to animation with this movie. AKA the one people have been annoyingly begging for.

And now they have it, so the “90’s kids” can shut up. Jokes aside, our patience seems to have paid off as the reviews are quite good so far. But will I think this is a worthy follow up?

Let’s finally find out.

This, is Incredibles 2

(But first, the short in front of it, Bao, was super cute and emotional, even if the ending is a bit confusing)

When we last saw The Incredibles they were about to face off against The Underminer. They stop him but cause damage in the process, leading to the Supers again before force underground. However, some people want to prove to everyone that Supers are great so Bob and Helen jump at the chance to do this.

Helen is the one they want to use to test this, leaving Bob to stay at home and take care of the kids. But when a new villain rises, everyone will have to rise up and stop the threat.

I’m happy to report this sequel was worth the wait and I highly enjoy it. Spoilers, there’s a big But to that later, but I need to start with all my praise, it’ll make sense in a bit.

The best thing about this sequel is how much it recaptures what the first movie did. Everything I loved about is back here and it was such a joy to watch. The action is still incredibly fun and energetic, Micheal Giachino’s score is still fantastic and most of all, the dialogue is still on point.

I said that the way the characters talk felt realistic and that continues here. Sometimes just seeing them talk is more fun than watching them fight bad guys. Bob’s subplot is especially well handled with how has to deal with all kids, especially Jack Jack who is getting crazy powers.

This family is just great and everyone is really good here. Violet gets more to do, even if Dash does a tad less. The animation is also great, they’ve really come a long way since 2004.

I also quite enjoyed the new characters, even if some don’t do a lot and others could have been more interesting. All this combined makes the film highly enjoyable and engaging, just like the first one.

Before we get to the big but, I should mention that the lighting, while great, uses a lot of red which is a tad bit of a strain on the eyes. Speaking of eye strain, there’s a lot of flashing lights in scenes with the villain that are so bad that I’ve seen some epilepsy warnings going around.

So proceed with caution in that regard.

As for that big but, I’ve seen some say that they’re worried that this would be a re-hash of the first movie. Their worries…were kind of right. The story structure is basically the same. Seriously, even the way it goes from the opening to the first proper scene to when we get acquainted to the characters is note for note the same.

That’s not to say it’s a soulless rehash. It does have the new angle of Bob having to stay home while his wife does the hero work. The part is where it shines the most as we get the perfect mix of family drama and superhero action.

But then in the 3rd act it goes back to borrowing, mostly in a way I can’t spoil .I can say that while the villain is decent, I saw their identity coming a mile away.

It leaves me conflicted, because the story is well really well executed. The family drama is so engaging and it’s really amazing how Brad Bird captures how real people act. His direction is also on point, no shock there.

If the first movie didn’t exist, my problem wouldn’t even exist as I could just enjoy the story. But as it is, it keeps reminding me of the first. Although it’s more through the story, there’s very few ‘MEMBER THIS moments.

Also, that niggling issue with the first I mentioned before is sadly repeated here, if you’ve seen it you know what I mean. Oh and it feels a tad too long, even more so than the first.

It kinda sucks because this movie was so much fun and so engaging and nice. My favorite moment is with one of the new supers, that’s all I can say. But the story doesn’t offer that much new, especially compared to what they could have done.

I really wanted to see what made the first film great alongside some crazy new twists or turn but this mostly lacked that. This will be a big point of contention. Some don’t mind and still love it, while some do really wish it had a more original story even if they still like it.

Usually it would be a bigger problem for me since rehash sequels are usually not good…but this was so good despite that. It really gets everything right but I really wish it had more to it.

The themes and such aren’t too much deeper this time around, which is fine on its own but the story structure being the same is an issue. I want to flat out love but I feel like I more so less got the same viewing experience, just slightly different even though it’s not like a total rehash.

When you see my rating, you will be surprised based on how big of an issue that is for me. But everything else is just so good and highly engaging in the same way it was before. It’s so enjoyable that it makes the lack of new twists even odder.

I was hoping this be a Great Pixar movie or a high Very Good like Coco but I will mostly settle for what we have.

Overall, Incredibles 2 is a worthy sequel that was worth the wait. The magic of the first is captured with the characters being as great as ever. The music and animation are top notch (even with the flashing lights) and it combines superhero action with family drama as well as before.

But it has the same story structure, which means you don’t get anything too new compared to what I expected. So I enjoyed it on a Very Good level, but it’s issue would normally mean it’s just Good.

But when you combine all that together, you get the rating you’ll see in a bit. It’s almost like Finding Dory…only I liked that one more. Don’t @ Me

But yeah, it’s a blast just like before, don’t expect Toy Story 3 or anything.

Rating: Very Good

Told you it’s a result of my combined feelings. It’s complicated and I feel odd having to give an Asterisk to that rating, but here we are. Still, you should check out, especially if you like the first film.

The next animated film takes monsters to the seas, but our next general review will keep us with heroes, just smaller ones.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, General Reviews | Leave a comment

Requested Reviews #3: Castle of Barbie Spawn Almighty

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for more requested reviews. Yeah, it hasn’t been too long since the last one, or at least it wasn’t when I got two of these requests. One is recent and the other will be explained. These mostly came without me making a call for them so that’s great.

Nothing else top say so let’s jump in and see how these 4 films are. No double dipping this time, I swear.

This, is Requested Reviews #3: Castle of Barbie Spawn Almighty

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979/1991);

We start with another request from JIMATION-AKA-LX. He actually made 4 requests but I of course couldn’t fit them all here so I’m doing one of them now and the rest in the next batch.

We have our first anime request with this one, and it happens to be Hayao Miyazaki’s directorial debut. I had only heard about this movie in that context and hadn’t looked into it further until now.

This is based on a Manga series which already had one movie but thankfully Lupin III’s adventures seem to be stand alone enough that you don’t need any backstory for this one at least.

It didn’t do too well when it came out but eventually became beloved and yeah, it’s pretty good. Not the best adventure movie ever made or anything but still plenty of fun.

It’s more focused on the overall adventure rather than anything deeper and it works pretty well. The story has some interesting aspects to it with how Lupin goes to this country and gets wrapped up in this big adventure.

Lupin is a fun lead and some of the characters like his partner can be enjoyable too. The action is thrilling and the when the pacing is good, it’s a pretty fun ride.

The character animation is slightly limited compared to what I’m used to but it’s charming in it’s own way and the backgrounds are really good.

My main real problem is that is can be a tad slow at times. I expect that sometimes but these slow scenes are made worse by a lack of music when there’;s usually music all over the place, and it’s not usually taken away for any real reason.

It’s no big deal but in this kind of movie that doesn’t have any deeper emotional stuff, it’s already easy to get slow so those bits didn’t help. Sometimes these kind of movies can be better than just good if I find them well executed or exciting enough, not unlike comedies in that way.

This is one of those cases since the average ratings I see for this tend to be a bit higher but I don’t blame them. It’s pretty fun overall and I did enjoy it more than I expected in places.

I can see why some really like it more than I did. Either way, it was quite fun and was a good start for Miyazaki. He’d go on to make even better movies but as far as debuts go, it’s surprisingly good.

I’m sure there’s plenty of other reviews that go deeper into what makes this one work but hopefully this was fine enough. Not much more to say. Didn’t totally love it but it was still pretty fun, if a bit slow at some points.

Spawn (1997):

We start off with a request froCm Will Walker aka The Movie Doctorful on YouTube. Yeah, he’s another reviewer who approves of me even if he’s small enough to have crossed over with Norty.

That’s less of an insult than it sounds, I swear.

Anyway, he was a bit late on this one given we did Superhero Movies last time but sure, why not. This is one of those disliked comic book movies but it does have some fans, including him.

Thus, I wanted to be like this one…but I couldn’t. I don’t think it’s as bad as a lot of people say, but I didn’t care too much for it either.

Let’s just get the obvious problem out of the way: The CGI is pretty terrible. Even by the standards of the time. Calling it a video game would be an insult to video games.

I won’t dwell on it since others have done so but yeah, the CGi is the worst aspect of this movie. Which is odd as the makeup is pretty good, it’s just the digital stuff that’s bad.

For the positives, the acting is generally good. Micheal Jai White is solid as the lead, even if he sometimes tries too hard to sound intimidating and John Legizamo certainly stands out as the gross clown dude called The Violator.

And while Martin Short is so clearly putting on a voice, it at least makes him enjoyable. On the flip side, Frank Waeker is shockingly bad as the devil. He sounds like a bad impression from an internet review.

I do like the general premise of an assassin who is killed and makes a deal with the devil to come back and get revenge. They manage to make him likable enough due to showing that he cares about his family.

The problem is that they focus more about the villains doing stuff a lot of time instead of fleshing out Al a bit more. He has some nice moments but by the end it feels like not much interesting happened.

The writing isn’t bad I suppose (better than you’d expect from the writer of Basaltic Ecks vs Sever), but it wasn’t really that interesting to me. Hell, it takes an hour for Spawn to start exploring his powers and there isn’t much time left when we get that.

I see what it’s trying to do and it’s not bad but I couldn’t get into it. It has a cool premise but it’s brought down by generally weak writing and villain that are sometimes enjoyable but nothing special.

The Violator is kind of fun but his shtick gets old after a while.

I did want to stand up for this one, or at least really dislike it but it ended up being just…okay. It has some decent ideas but it doesn’t really go anywhere and in the end it just felt a tad empty despite it’s best efforts.

The crappy CGI didn’t exactly help either. The climax takes place in the CGI Hell…so that was fun.

So yeah, not as bad as I thought but not quite as good as it could have been. They’re of course working on a reboot so hopefully it can be better. Sorry Will.


Rating: Average

(Also, director of Pixel Perfect and HalloweenTown High. Weird)

Evan Almighty (2007):

This request comes from 13mcjunkinm. You might recall that back in 2014 I reviewed Bruce Almighty and quite liked it. And since I reviewed Dumber and Dumberer and Son of the Mask, it makes sense that I would eventually cover BA’s Jim Carrey-less sequel.

I kept putting it off but thankfully I was asked to do it and sadly it wasn’t scene by scene review worthy but I’ve got a fair bit to say. This was arguably better than the other Jim Carrey-less follow ups but it was still not very good. How did this have the same director?

It’s reasonably well made and the actors are at least trying. But while the scale is impressive, the CGI and green screen is a tad obvious which is bad for what was the most expensive comedy up to that point.

But that doesn’t cover my main two problems. The first is that it simply wasn’t that funny. They didn’t even try to be funny a lot of time. It’s mostly dull with some wacky antics and a couple mild chuckles.

The bigger problem is that while Bruce Almighty had the best God ever, this has the worst God ever. Seriously, almost all the conflict is either his fault, or he just makes things worse.

They all would have listened to Evan sooner if God showed up to prove that he’s right. But instead he doesn’t get to save the day until the last minute because it takes until then for everyone to be able to even figure what the nature of this flood is.

I know God works in mysterious ways and it’d be a short movie if he did everything himself, but he’s still too careless and just makes Evan’s life way worse.

Speaking of Evan, he doesn’t really grow at all. Sure, he’s a workaholic but he’s not much of one and in the end it’s his family that needs to change by going to him. Which they only do when God prods them, by the way.

So what’s the lesson here? If there’s not supposed to be a lesson, there should be clear growth on Evan’s part but there really isn’t.

In the end, there isn’t much of a point to this movie and it’s not funny or interesting enough to make up for that. Everything builds up to making the arc and because of the problems I mentioned, it’s all wasted.

There’s no reason for this to be a sequel, by the way. Evan was an asshole before but now he’s just a normal guy. It’s almost like the script started off as an original idea before being retooled into a Bruce Almighty sequel.

Oh wait, it was. That explains so much.. Also, this one is PG but it’s still pretty heavy in references no kid will get, and at one point someone says Jackass.

Overall, Evan Almighty isn’t god awful but it’s still weak. The comedy isn’t really there, and God is such a jerk that makes everything worse. There’s no one to connect to, so in the end it’s all pointless.

Just stick with the first one. And I’m sure there’s plenty of better Noah’s Arc stories you can watch instead. This one however, is just dull and sometimes a bit frustrating.

(Also, the general step up, the animals, and the dancing in the credits gave me serious Furry Vengeance flashbacks) (Also also, from the writer of Barnyard!)

Barbie Video Game Hero (2017):

(This one’s a bit longer because somehow my brain thinks more about this movie than these others)

“Barbie jumped the shark!”-Actual line from the movie

I’m sorta cheating with this one. See, I did a poll on Twitter full of random movies and the winner would be watched for a possible review. I said if it wasn’t worthy, I’d do as a Requested Review as voting for it counts as a request and winning would mean a lot of people want it.

It won and it sadly wouldn’t quite work as a Scene by Scene review so here we are. You may recall that Barbie Month I did in 2015, where I reviewed some of the Direct to Video Barbie Movies.

I had fun, even if some were a bit too dull and in hindsight I was a bit hard on something clearly meant for actual children. I was at least mostly doing it for fun rather than actually wanting to dissect them.

I said to myself If I were ever to go back to Barbie, that is what I’d do. Since I last saw her, they seemed to have gone in an an odd direction. For one, they started a 3rd phase where once again Kelly Sheridan has been replaced. Darn.

Just from the Netflix Description I wanted to look at this one just to see how wild these movies have gotten. And boy did it deliver.

The premise is that Barbie is sucked into a video game (that’s on her tablet because we’re so hip) and has to save the game from an Emoji Virus. Oh, we’ll get back to that in a bit.

Apparently the Tutorial thingy in the game is sentient and can suck Barbie into the game, after he saw she could code and thus save them. Yeah, we saw she made a game but this isn’t the one she made so there’s just explanation for how the game is just alive like this.

Yeah, this movie makes no sense, even by Barbie movie standards. Which is odd given how simple the premise is. Even Spy Kids 3 has better logic!

That’s the main problem, not much makes sense in this since it’s more focused on the basic set up of her doing things in a game than it is on logic. Or even themes.

There’s a pretty clear teamwork message that works fine, but they try to have this moral about “changing the game” which works fine in real life, meaning thinking outside the box. It just doesn’t apply to games since not many can code and change stuff this easily.

But of course it’s more about the real world applications so that’s fine. On those levels, the writing itself is kinda weak, and there’s some humor that tries to be hip, although I guess that is expected.

Animation wise, it’s surprisingly good. Each level has a distinct style and they are all really well done, with a lot of creativity put into how they look. One even has a neat 2.5 D style, although using it on a Bejewled type game was weird.

So yeah, the animation is very well done for this kind of movie.

And then there’s one other aspect I knew I had to talk about, oh boy. Okay, I said before the virus is an Emoji Virus. That of course lends itself to jokes about a certain other animated movie that came out in 2017.

But here’s the thing: …This movie has Just Dance product placement.

I am not kidding. They randomly mention early on that Barbie loves Just Dance and she later uses that game to stop the virus. Hell, at the end someone actually says “You know what else is cool? Just Dance!”?

I am not kidding. It’s one thing to mention Emoji but to also have incredibly blatant Just Dance shilling? How does that even happen?! This was very early 2017, before most knew Emoji Movie had Just Dance in it, so this is the creepiest coincidence in history.

The weird thing is, the placement is even more blatant here because helps defeats the villain…but the overall movie is still much better. Go figure. There, got that out of my system.

Anyway, The focus is on the game stuff, and it oddly kind of works. I dare say it’s even kind of fun when it simply is about them going through the games. There is ironic enjoyment with how dumb and weird it all is, but there is some legit fun that makes it work in the way it’s supposed to.

So yes, this is the best of the Barbie Movies I’ve seen so far because it is simply more enjoyable and the flaws aren’t exactly the worse. Granted, some may have more to them which is good for it’s target audience but I was more entertained by this one with all the craziness going on.

It’s a mix of average and meh in that way, especially in the 2nd half where it can feel a bit long (despite being really short) and some writing issues become apparent.

I suppose it’s a guilty pleasure where the enjoyable parts bring it up a rating, much like certain DCOM’s. Kids will full on get into it, while people like me at best get ironic enjoyment due to how odd it all is, but still wouldn’t go to it if you want a legit good movie.

Not that people really go to a Barbie movie for that, but these do have a legit fanbase which is honestly fine. Given what I’m into, I’m in no place to judge what people enjoy.

So yeah, I’m glad Barbie has gotten wild because it leads to wild movies like this. I’d suggest it to the kind of people who watch not so good movies ironically.

Rating: Average

Can you tell I wanted to do a Scene by Scene for it and has to resort to a slightly overlong mini review here?

And that was round 3 of requested reviews. Mostly a rather meh batch but at least we had one pretty good movie in here. Not as good as the previous batch but not too terrible either.

That’s all I got for this one, next one should be sooner than usual due to already having 3 on my plate. So if ya got at least one more so we can have more than 1 person in there, go ahead.

See ya.

Posted in Animation, General Reviews | Leave a comment

Ranking the Animated Films of 2006

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time again to rank some animated movies of a year from worst to best, an idea I totally didn’t take from a YouTube Channel you should be subbed to.

…Should have made that joke at the start of this.

Anyway, we’re at the point where there isn’t that much for history. Things are looking uncertain as Disney is really struggling and Pixar is rising. Although even they showed this year that they aren’t perfect.

More than any other year so far, we saw quite a bit of variety in terms of style and studios. And yet, most of this year has been forgotten. Seriously, even the bigger hits this year can be called Underrated to some.

We’ll see if they deserve more attention. Awards wise, the Oscar Nominees were Cars, Happy Feet and Monster House. I like the latter two fine as you recall but they weren’t the stronger choices…and yet Pixar ended up losing.

You’ll see if I agree with them or not later. The Annies nominated those along with…Open Season and Over the Hedge. Huh. At least they gave Cars the award.

The Golden Globes finally started their own Animated Feature Category and the nominees were the same as the Oscars,but they gave it to Cars.

With that said, let’s take a look at what 2006 has to offer. It has a whopping 15 movies we have to get through so we gotta get to it. Is it better than 2005? Are the movies worth remembering?

Let’s see.

This, is Ranking the Animated Films of 2006

HONORABLE MENTIONS;

Arthur and the Invisibles: It’s almost an animated movie but it’;s too much of a live action hybrid to count for me. Looks somewhat interesting though.

Animal Crossing the Movie: Yes, this exists and it has no American release. Apparently it’s another actually good video game movie so there’s that.

The Girl Who Lept Through Time: I’ve heard good things about this one. Release was too limited to count for the full list but hopefully someday I’ll watch it.

Bambi 2: I hear it’s another decent Disney sequel, neat,

Brother Bear 2: This one, not so much.

Codename Kids Next Door Operation ZERO: I really like this one, it’s a good movie of the series with some great stuff. It honestly is one of the best ones from this year.

The Fox and the Hound 2: I’ve seen this one and still don’t get why it exists.

Full Metal Alchemist the Movie: I’ve actually seen this anime and can this movie was a good ending for it.

Leoory and Stitch: Great end for the series IMO.

The Little Cars: Ah yes, the legendary start for Video Brenquedo. …Yeah.

Romeo and Juliet Sealed with a Kiss: Yeah, another too limited one. But here’s my review that goes into why this one is so bad: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/romeo-and-juliet-sealed-with-a-kiss/

Teen Titans Trouble in Tokyo: I think it’s pretty solid.

Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/requested-reviews-2-superhero-edition/

Onto our many movies.

BAD:

Doogal:

“I wanna apologize for Doogal”-Butch Hatman

When I started this, there where some movies that popped in my head as ones I couldn’t wait to watch, either because they sounded really interesting…or they sounded really bad and it would be fun to tear them apart.

This is the latter and it did not disappoint…sort of.

For those who don’t know, in the U.K they made a movie out of an old kids show and for some reason, The Company that Shall not be named wanted to bring it over here, so they re dubbed the whole thing with an American cast and re-wrote it.

They even brought in Butch Hartman himself to help out…and then threw away most of his stuff without telling him. The result is a big mess that everyone hated.

Now, I didn’t watch the original version since some reviewers like Rebel Taxi already did the thing of comparing both, so I felt it would be better to just judge it on it’s own.

From what I can tell, it’s much like the Not Cool/Holidaysberg thing where the other is better but still not very good. It seems pretty boring but with some slight charm to make it not terrible.

This kept the boredom and added obnoxious-ness. You’ve likely heard the main complaint before, that it’s almost nothing but annoying jokes like fart gags and pop culture references.

Most of which amount to them just mentioning a thing and calling it a joke. You already know all that but I was surprised by how boring it is. There’s not too much to it other than a pretty typical story that has nothing special and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

During the few breaks between the really bad jokes, there’s not much it has to offer. If the original was like this, they should at least TRIED to improve on it instead of making it worse.

The characters are mostly one note and annoying, especially the villain who gets the worst jokes. I don’t really care about anyone, which gets rid of any tension.

The animation is…actually okay for the most part, but the rendering can make it as cheap looking as it is. There’s some nice-ish looking moments but overall it looks pretty Direct to DVD.

However, I actually do have one positive they could have expanded on.

Doogal has this human owner/friend girl who gets frozen/trapped and they attempt to show how much he cares about her and tries to save her, especially since it’s his fault she got trapped, as he is rather clumsy.

It doesn’t add up to much but I could easily see this working in a better written movie. The fact that I actually managed to find itself that could have worked in this puts it above a few other animated movies I’ve seen.

(Also, the actors are trying and there a few okay jokes)

That and the fact that it’s just a butchered dub of a movie that likely isn’t one of the worst. I’ll take over something that was crap from the start.

But either way, Doogal is a mess. The humor is all bad, the animation is nothing great and it’s all an incredibly boring butchering of what I assume is a better movie.

Regardless how it compares to the other one, it’s still preeety bad overall. At least helped make the other weak movies on this ranking look way better.

Everyone’s Hero:

Here’s one you likely haven’t heard, or at least don’t know much about. I kept seeing it on Cartoon Network in the late 2000’s or so and would also see it at Walmart.

I assumed it was some random direct to video thing…but when I sat down to do this project, I found out it was given a wide theatrical release. After watching it, I have no idea why.

I won’t harp on the animation too much as they animators apparently weren’t given much time to work on this, but it’s still fairly poor with weak rendering. It very much looks like it belongs on the Direct to Video market.

Don’t worry, the writing isn’t much better. The story is fairly generic with this loser kid with a workaholic Dad (this aspect isn’t even important overall), who is fairly one note, as are most of the other characters.

But the most notable thing about this movie is how bonkers it is. The kid finds a talking ball that only he can hear and he has to track down Babe Ruth’s bat after it’s stolen by some guy who works for the Cubs’ manager who wants it stolen so the Yankee’s can close.

Oh and the bat can talk too. She’s voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.

…Yeah. Nothing here makes any sense. Things often just happen because the characters are idiots, like when the kid’s Dad blames his son for the theft even though he clearly mentions seeing someone steal it.

There’s no real explantion given as to why the Ball and Bat can talk. It’s implied it’s because Yankee (that’s actually his name) believes in the spirit of Baseball or some crap but that’s not really good enough.

I may not know why they talk but I sure wish they didn’t because they are bickering jerks most of the time. Also, Robin Williams voices the manager and he goes uncredited despite having a decent sized role.

Yikes. While we’re on the subject of the manager, I love that the Cubs signed on for a movie where they’re the villains.

The interesting thing about this movie is that it was actually a passion project from Superman himself, Christopher Reeve. Yes, really. As such, it does somewhat have it’s heart in the right place.

Plus, there are a few okay moments, and the voice work is generally solid, even if some can be annoying due to what they have to work with.

Overall, Everyone’s Hero is a bonkers combination of insane and generic. It’s almost worth watching just because of how crazy it gets. It does get fairly dull in the 2nd half, which is why I didn’t do a full blown review for this even though part of me wanted to.

But some ironic enjoyment and heart doesn’t make up for how odd and weak this one is. It just barely escaped being Bad for me.

Everyone’s Hero: The Baseball equivalent to NFL Rush Zone…even if it’s not as bad.

The Wild:

Bet you forgot about this one, and I don’t blame you. The only reason I remembered it is that I actually watched it sometime in the late 2000’s because it was on TV.

I don’t think I liked it even back then and I still don’t. The most baffling thing about it is that was released by Disney, and unlike Valiant their logo is right on it.

I assume this was going to be a Canon film at one point and while they canned it, they needed a film for 2006 so they just put this one anyway. It’s actually part of the canon in some countries in place of Dinosaur.

It’s not really that bad of a movie as it is more competent than some others of it’s kind. The animation at least has good movements, the acting is pretty good and there are some chuckles here and there.

It also at least tries to tell a story. It doesn’t do it that well but at least it tries. I actually do like the part where Samson’s Dad was an actual asshole and that had an effect on him.

It’s small but it was interesting to have some kind of parental figure but an asshole in a way that works. Even if Samson himself is a bit dick-ish early on.

The rest of the movie however, is pretty dull. The story is mostly full of cliches that reminds me of better movies like The Lion King, Finding Nemo and of course, Madagascar..

Now, this was put into production first so the last one I can forgive but it doesn’t change the fact that it indeed is a better movie.

The characters are pretty one note and weak (we don’t even get to know Ryan that well before he gets taken to “The Wild”), and the humor mostly isn’t that good. The villains are just kind of odd (They want to become carnivores to get higher on the food chain…yeah), although Patrick Warburton is always a win.

Even the animation has this realistic style that does not fit at all with the tone. Plus, the rendering can be a tad weak at times, especially by 2006 standards.

The film is just really forgettable. Even it’s flaws have been done worse in others movies. There’s just nothing especially memorable about it which would be fine if it was at least okay despite that but it really isn’t.

A lot of it is just the animals running around without much to really support it, and the comedy isn’t good enough to make me forgive it. It never really angers me, I was mostly just bored.

It’s fairly competent in some ways but overall, The Wild is a pretty forgettable movie where ever aspect is just not that well done. It’s better than some others I’ve seen, but it’s still not very good.

Still better than another animated movie with Wild in the title at least.

(Also, this was the last Disney movie with that classic logo before it was changed. What a way for it to go out)

Open Season:

“If your kids like poop jokes as much as I do, Open Season will put a big smile on their faces”-Kevin Smith

Now we reach the debut of Sony Pictures Animation. Before they gave us food, monsters, and Emojis, they started with this little picture that no one remembers.

And yeah, there’s a reason for that. It’s very clearly a first effort. But to be honest, it’s on the higher side of Meh for me.

There’s nothing really THAT bad here, it just overall feels very routine and forgettable. There are a few things that are okay here, and you can see that it had the potential to be at least a bit better.

The relationship with Boog and Beth is honestly kinda sweet and I do like the general premise of him ending up in the woods and being forced to fend for himself.

The villain is enjoyable due to Gary Sinse’s performance, and the animation on him which gives us a taste of that cartoon-y style that SPA would later perfect.

Speaking of animation, even that’s fairly standard. Passable in terms of movements but the rendering needed a tad more work.

Most of the movie is just sort of dull, with not much in the way of laughs or anything that interesting. But the main thing that pushes this right into Meh is Eliot.

Besides being generally annoying, he pretty much causes most of the problems in the movie. He convinces Boog to come with him and get kid friendly high, which causes Boog to be Tranq’d and taken to the woods to begin with.

And of course he never really makes up for it that much and when he’s yelled at, I am totally on Boog’s side. He’s far from the worst example of this kind of thing, but he still drags it down for me.

I don’t really blame Ashton Kutcher since the witting didn’t give him much to work with. He manages to be fine despite this at least.

Overall, Open Season is a weak animated debut for Sony. It has it’s moments and is mostly harmless but it doesn’t offer you anything you can’t get anywhere else.

This is fine for a first movie though, and they would improve a lot in the future. But for this first movie still stands as fairly lackluster and just kind of generic.

Also, how did this get 3 Direct to Video sequels?!

(Also also does Patrick Warburton have to be in everything?!)

AVERAGE:

Barnyard:

We’ve talked about the series a couple of times, now it’s time to finally discuss the movie that started it all. I remember not caring for it as a kid simply because the plot was different from what the trailers promised.

But now that I’m older I can have better reasons to not care for it! Actually, the weird thing is that this was better than I thought would be. As you can see, it’s still not good but it oddly could have been.

But let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, the male cows have udders. Yes, it’s weird and icky, especially these days. It’s also odd that they simply did it because they thought it was funny, mostly because it ties into my main problem.

Also, the animation is pretty okay. The rendering and character animation is pretty passable for the budget they had, but it’s nothing that special either.

Anyway, from the advertising you’d think this would be just a big silly comedy and it starts off that way. But then it suddenly decides to be surprisingly dramatic and serious.

Seriously, I criticized Ferdinand for it’s tone shifts but it has nothing on this. You have the iconic rap from Biggie Cheese, along side a dramatic death scene from Ben. (That’s not a spoiler, it happens in the first half hour).

I feel it should have juggled them better or at least picked the former like the TV Series did. The comedy itself is fairly weak, not awful but it only made me chuckle a few times.

But the weird thing is that the drama itself is…kind of executed decently sometimes. Seriously, some of it actually does work, and there’s even some nice looking shots.

The story itself is pretty predictable but I feel the general concept of Otis needing to step up as a leader after Be dies is an interesting one that does lead to some decent moments.

But besides the tone issue, the story can feel aimless at times. There’s a whole section with him getting revenge on a kid that is supposed to show him giving in to his silly side but it just ends up going nowhere.

It comes really close to being decent as it has some okay themes and can pull off dramatic scenes better than you might think. Plus, the acting is generally pretty solid, with Sam Elliot being the stand out as Ben. Yes, even Kevin James is decent even if I prefer Chris Hardwick’s Otis.

Overall, Barnyard actually could worked as it has some surprisingly good dramatic moments. But it does not mix well with the wacky comedy, especially when your lead has these udders that were only put on to be funny.

I don’t regret watching it but I feel there’s better out there when it comes to both comedy and drama. It’s better than you think it would be, but not as good as it could be.

The Series has problems but I’d stick with that one. These party animals just work a bit better there, at least for me.

GOOD:

The Ant Bully:

The folks who brought you Jimmy Neutron bring us their sadly last theatrical film. As far as animated ant films go, I think it’s not as good as A Bug’s Life but it’s better than Antz.

It’s not the highest good as it some flaws, mostly stemming from the clunky first act. Lucas (voiced by Aang) is a bit too whiny early on and that can make it hard to care about him, at least in the first half.

And there’s some of that same slightly cringe-y humor Jimmy had, although that’s mostly with the humans. Also, the human designs look kind of off at times.

But once the ant world takes over, it becomes more solid. The animation on the ants is pretty solid and their world is a well thought out one. It’s interesting to see how they work together as a colony.

There’s a pretty good scene where Lucas explains how the humans don’t really work together all the time like the ants do and they say it’s kind of a shame. These days, I’m inclined to agree.

I wasn’t totally sure about the dynamic Lucas, Zoc and Hova at first but it managed to be fairly interesting, even if it’s fairly cliche.

The other characters manage to be likable enough, and the voice work is pretty good, including Nicolas Cage has been kind of hit or miss with his voice work.

The story isn’t especially original but it gets the job done and there are some nice moments. Plus, it can have an epic feel at times with some of the battle scenes, including the climax.

It has some clunky moments and a few cliches but overall it’s a passable diversion as far as these kind of movies go. It’s far from a must see but for what it is, I did manage to enjoy it.

Plus, in the climax the ants bite the villain in the nuts. What’s not to like?

Happy Feet:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/happy-feet/

Here’s one I reviewed 5 plus years ago I can skip. I decided to re-watch it just to see if my opinion has changed and it hasn’t, I just have a better idea of what to make of it.

I really want to love this one, as it has a lot going for it. Mostly in terms of the well executed songs and the excellent animation. But on a writing level, I still feel it’s mostly just fine.

The main conflict is interesting enough despite how cliché it is, but it does feel aimless at times. Especially in the middle, where it’s clear they weren’t sure where to go from here.

The environmental stuff is less intrusive than I thought it was, but it’s still a tad annoying. Speaking of annoying, still not big on Ramon, sorry

It ends up being a pretty enjoyable movie, just nothing that special in terms of the script. It’s a shame as it should have been great, or at least higher on this ranking.

But as it is, it’s a fun movie, just a flawed one.

Over the Hedge:

We’ve hit the period where Dreamworks mostly made sorta middling movies, at least in terms of how people remember them and this is one such example. But in this case, I do enjoy it.

It’s actually better than I remember it being, but I do think it could have been better in some areas. The problems actually don’t bother me that much given I don’t think it was ever going to be a classic but they do exist.

The main one is that is fairly cliche and predictable when it comes to the main story of RJ getting them ot steal food for the bear and Vern doesn’t trust him at all, especially when the other starts to prefer RJ.

I’ve seen worse offenders but some parts get a bit slow since you know what will happen. It’s also weird how we get two big sad moments when just the one we get later one worked fine.

On the bright side, the split up is part is actually really short and still works for the story, so that’s good.

Plus, the animation on the humans still isn’t quite there.

The rest works fairly well though. It does have some nice moments where I did care, at least more than I was expecting. The characters are likable/enjoyable and the comedy is actually pretty decent.

I laughed more than I expected at least, and yes that scene with Hammy near the end is the best part. Even if an X Men movie totally ripped it off.

I also like the satire it has on how humans consume a lot, as it leads to some funny moments and it doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Although I’m not sure this message works quite as well coming from a company like Dreamworks…

The celeb actors, while kinda pointless as usual do at least do a pretty good job, although I wish a few like Allison Janey got to do a little more.

The animation as a whole isn’t Dreamworks’ best, but it gets the job done decently well, not too much to say there.

Overall Over the Hedge is solid. Hardly any special due to a just okay story but they do manage to make you care about the situation and there;s enough solid comedy and nice moments to make it a solid experience.

It’s a weaker good from Dreamworks but for what is, it’s an okay way to waste 81 minutes. It’s a perfectly serviceable family film which is fine sometimes.

Flushed Away:

We’re come to the final Aardman Movie they did with Dreamworks and after watching this I’ve finally seen all the Dreamworks movie at least once. And it’s a solid one to end on in that regard.

It’s on the same level as Early Man where it’s a tad weaker story wise but it has enough charm to make enjoyable. The story itself isn’t really the focus here, it’s more about this crazy situation Roddy finds himself in.

The main weak thing about is that it falls back on some cliches, especially with Roddy and Rita’s dyanmic. I don’t even need to say what it is. They’re a Male/Female pairing in a kids movie, you know exactly what their dynamic is.

It’s not done too badly but it is a bit eye rolling sometimes. I think the thing I appreciate the most about the movie is the pacing.

It mostly goes at a steady clip, not really slowing down too much so it can just focus on crazy antics. That’s good because it doesn’t force in any unnecessary plot elements that could slow it down.

Maybe it could have been deeper but Aardman has never been too deep, and with this plot it would have been hard to be complex anyway. The comedy hits more often than not, and this sewer city is pretty creative.

The story does get sort of crazy with the amusing villain’s plan too. Honestly, the leads end up being the least interesting characters compared to everyone else, who are mostly more enjoyable.

Although those singing slugs are kind of annoying. And in hindsight they give me some Minion vibes.

While they did sadly switch to CGI for this one, they did give it a Stop Motion feel that was pretty well done. Sometimes I forgot it was CGI, so it was pulled off well.

It’s clear Dreamworks meddled a lot with this one (hence they split up), but it still managed to be enjoyable. It’s nothing too special but it has enough charm and creativity to be worth a watch.

Far from great but still fun for what it is.

A Scanner Darkly;

A few posts back I talked about Richard Linklater’s Waking Life, which I was honestly not a fan of as I mostly found it kind of pretentious. Now he brings us his 2nd Rotoscope movie which is thankfully a lot better.

But I still wouldn’t say it’s that great. I can’t totally blame him this time as this is based on a Philip K Dick novel so maybe the flaws are more with the book.

There’s really nothing wrong with this movie per say, you all know how my taste works when it comes to these kind of movies. Sometimes I will give in and like them quite bit like Blade Runner (heh, speaking of Phillip K Dick) and other times I can’t quite get totally into it.

This movie can be just a tad too slow and aimless for my tastes and I think perhaps there could have a bit more to it in some areas. I can’t put quite my finger on what but I think maybe it could have hit me harder.

Still, it does work. The style gives it an interesting feel, which fits for the kind of movie it is.

The premise is that in the future someone goes undercover to infiltrate the drug underworld as this new substance has made things way worse and he uses this Scramble Suit that changes his appearance to maintain privacy, even from his fellow officers.

It’s decently interesting as we see how Bob gets sucked into all this and there are some interesting ideas. That Scramble suit shows off the Rotoscope style really well, by the way with how it changes every part of you all the time.

The performances elevate it a fair bit, especially Robert Downey Jr as you’d expect, although Keanu Reeves is surprisingly good as well.

It’s a solid cerebral movie with an interesting premise it explores decently well. I just couldn’t get fully into it at times, and I’m not totally sure why. I guess it is my taste although this does just have a 69 (Nice) on RT so maybe it really is missing a little something,.

Still, I really do respect it a lot for at least giving us this kind of movie in American animation. It isn’t 100 percent my thing but for the most part I would say it is good and does quite a bit right.

If you’re into this kind of movie, I say at least give it a shot. There’s better examples but it’s at least unique and stands out among other animated films this year.

I have nothing else to say, nor do I have a bad pun. Moving on.

Monster House:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/spongeys-fright-fest-2-monster-house/

I reviewed this one too and I actually still agree with it. It has some problems in all 3 main areas but it has plenty to like and has some pretty neat stuff in it. It’s not one of the great creepy kids movies, but it’s still a decently fun one.

Ice Age: The Meltdown

And so we have our first Ice Age sequel. I reviewed 4 and 5 and only touched on the other sequels so now I get to re-visit them to see how they hold up.

I always felt the series was solid until 4 and this was honestly a pretty good sequel. It is lesser than the first but it’s not like the first was perfect anyway.

I think this one is at least a bit better than most people give it credit for. The main issue is that it does have a few more annoying moments, mostly with Sid and some of the slap slap kiss stuff with Ellie.

It’s not too bad but it can be annoying and sometimes it can feel a bit longer than it is Also, that scene with the tribe is…random. Oh and Crash and Eddie can be annoying,

But as a whole, I think this is a solid follow up. The humor is pretty decent, especially with the Scrat stuff. (The ending is the highlight). The characters are still likable enough, even if we can already see Diego being downgraded.

The animation is nicely upgraded, mostly when it comes to the fur and the lighting. And watching it again, the score adds a certain epic-ness that is pretty neat.

The main reason it works though is that it keeps the heart from the first movie.

They explore how Manny feels to be the last of his kind and why it’s important he and Ellie get together. Speaking of, her deal of thinking she’s a possum is amusing and the flashback where she finds Crash and Eddie works pretty well.

It’s a tad sillier to be sure but it keeps most of what made the first film work. Even after the other sequels, this still holds up with what it does right. Even if seeing the signs does make me wince a little now.

Still, I think The Meltdown is a solid sequel with how expands things a bit and has it’s pretty nice moments. It has some annoying moments and some characters take a back seat but as a whole it works more than it should.

While it does put Blue Sky on a dark path, Ice Age The Meltdown is pretty enjoyable with decent humor and sweet moments. Far from the best animated sequel ever but still solid.

Also, I still think Scrat died for real.

Hoodwinked!:

I’ve reviewed the sequel so now it’s finally time to dive into the first one, to actually explain why I like it which I failed to really get across last time.

This is one of those movies that is slightly lesser compared to how I remember it but still holds up surprisingly well, Even it’s flaws are somewhat understandable and it could have been way worse.

Let’s get the obvious problem out of the way: The animation is pretty poor. It was made on a very low budget and was stylized to look like Stop Motion so I can let some of it slide and at times it can have a charm to it.

But most of the time it looks like pretty poor, with creepy faces and rendering that makes everything look really plastic-y. A good animated movie shouldn’t have visuals on par with Vanguard.

Still, it can be forgiven somewhat. There are also choices clearly forced in by The Company that Shall not be Named like the pop songs and some of the celebrities, who replaced actual voice actors.

Thankfully, they only came in at the last minute so they couldn’t change things too much.

The emotional element feels a tad tacked on at times, since it’s given less time compared to everything else, although it’s done okay. Also, the ending is pretty rushed.

Oh and it’s obvious it was meant to be a bigger musical then it ended it being, with how cut down the few songs are.

But the main thing that makes the movie work is the unique spin it has compared to every other attempt to copy Shrek. Instead of just doing exactly what it did, it’s basically a Rashomon/Mystery version of a classic fairy tale.

It doesn’t even have as many pop culture references as you may expect. I feel like people were hard on this simply because it’s kinda like Shrek and didn’t quite judge it fairly.

The story does a good job of showing different sides to the story and that on it’s own can lead to some funny stuff, like the entire reason the Woodsman is here.

The humor is generally pretty good, with some good quips and plenty of times where I laughed. The characters are also a solid bunch, with Wolf and Boingo being the standouts, mostly due to the performances from Patrick Warburton and Andy Dick.

It manages to be fairly unique and fun with how it presents it’s story, even if the twist with the villain is pretty obvious. When you compare it to so many other movies that do this kind of thing, it’s pretty impressive.

It’s fairly clear they did this because they thought it was a fun idea, rather than just to copy Shrek, even if that element is there. (They even said they tried to distance itself by making it less of a full satire)

It has some problems but given that this kind of movie usually turns out really poor, the fact that it’s any good at all is amazing.

Overall, Hoodwinked has it’s rough elements, especially on a visual level, but it rises above it with a unique spin on it’s concepts and actually pretty decent humor and characters.

And for something that came out in January and was distributed by you know who, that’s something to be admired.

Curious George:

This is another one where I feel like I’m one of few the people who remembered it exists, purely because I saw some ads for it when it came out. I’m slightly surprised it isn’t brought up more often as it’s a rare Non Disney 2D Animated Movie released in the mid 2000’s.

It’s also a movie you can add to the pile of actually good movies based on a classic kids source material. It’s not quite good as Paddington but it’s still pretty cute.

The issues are fairly small and aren’t too bad all things considered. There’s only so much you can do with this concept so it can be a bit repetitive with the scenes of George messing things up.

The CGI is as distracting as you’d expect and there are some elements that are done reasonably well but are somewhat pointless, like the romance. It’s done better than most but it doesn’t add too much.

But the problems are to be expected given what they had to work with,and looking back it’s the good things that stick out.

First off, the animation is beautiful. The character animation is solid but it’s the backgrounds and lighting that really stand out. It really does look quite good.

The voice cast does pretty well, mostly David Cross having fun as the “villain”, and surprising Will Ferrell is toned down from usual. Speaking of, the villain is ineffectual but that’s kind of the joke, and it works.

The main strength is how sweet it is. Seriously, right from the start this movie tries to pull at your heartstrings and for me it really worked. George is instantly likable and there’s plenty of nice moments all over the place.

Just when it starts to get a bit slow, it has a really nice moment to win you over. George messing things up can get slightly annoying but they are able to reign him out at the right moments.

Even the 3rd act sad stuff works decently due to some tweaks to make sure no one is unlikable.. It’s not perfect but it works. It’s just a really cute movie all the way through, there’s not a cynical bone in it’s body.

That’s really refreshing whenever you see it. There’s also some decent humor like when tis one keeps brushing off these random crazy things as things he’s seen before.

Overall, this movie is like George himself. It messes up slightly in some areas, but is just so cute and innocent that it’s hard to resist. I put it above Hoodwinked as it’s flaws are more understandable, although it only just barely got put a slot higher.

If you’ve never seen it, I’d give it a shot,, especially if you’ve seen and enjoyed Paddington. It’s not great but it’s worth checking out…if you’re curious.

I regret everything.

And by default, my favorite animated movie of 2006 is…

Cars:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/pixar-a-thon-7-cars/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/general-review-cars-3/

This is a tad… awkward. We come back to Pixar after a break for one that has mixed reactions, especially after it became a big franchise. I already re-watched it before Cars 3 came out and it really is interesting looking back.

I explained why both work in the bad early post (which I have to link now due to being on WordPress) and the intro of the Cars 3 review and it all still stands.

This is still one of the better Good Pixar movies due to having a lot to really like on a deeper level, despite the cliches and slow pace. It does manage to hit hard in some places like a lot of their best works.

So on that level,it wasn’t hard to put this as the top as the highs make up for the lows.

But recently a monkey wrench has been thrown into this movie. See, one of the reasons I liked this movie to the extent I do is that it was clearly a passion project for John Lassetter.

…You can see how that’s less praise worthy now.

I’m somewhat willingly to look past that but it was recently revealed that he kinda stole the general concept from someone else and eventually booted him off and did not credit him.

There’s more to it ( https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/he-who-not-be-named-can-john-lasseter-ever-return-disney-1105297 ) but that’s more or less what happened It’s a bit hard to appreciate certain aspects of this movie after knowing that.

Plus, the problem of the film feeling a tad indulgent on John’s part is now more an issue, but it’s more of a problem with 2 which we’ll discuss when we get there.,

With all that said, that doesn’t change my view of the film on an objective level. It still rises above some flaws with some strong story elements, the usual great animation and some emotional moments, especially the Our Town scene.

As a “Critic” I try to keep objective, so that’s why I put it at this post because I do feel it deserves it on that level despite it’s flaws. But just know that I am aware of the baggage this one has.

It is the movie is most hurt by the John thing, which is saying something given he did a movie with Kevin Spacey.

But I think ranking it lower due to that would be unfair to an otherwise solid movie. And besides, it’s in that Good but not great category that’s so popular this year.

So…yeah, awkward-ness aside, Cars makes it to the finish line. Only I can end this with a bad pun.

And those were the animated films of 2006. Overall, they were…not that much better than 2005. Sure, we had more variety but that was due to how many more there were.

As a whole, the percentage of ones that stood out were about the same but we had more weak ones and one really bad film. We again had none that were better than Good and even the best movie had some flaws and baggage, more so than the top film of last year.

But while we’re still trudging it,we at least had a few pleasant surprises like Hoodwinked and we showed even lesser/problematic Pixar can be quite good. See, even in lesser years I can at least try to look on the bright side.

This year was another weak one, which is sad given how many chances it had. People seem to agree with me as some before me have said 2006 was a weak year for animation.

I would say I was fascinated by this year than last year so they are about the same. But enough complaining, let’s hope 2007 is better. Spoilers, like 2004 it is but is it better by a little or a lot?

You’ll have to wait to find out, ha ha. Hope you enjoyed this super long edition, next one will be thankfully shorter. And it will have Bee Movie, so it’s already the best year ever

Anyway, See ya.

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