Scooby Doo Frankencreepy Review

I saw this Scooby Doo film a while ago, but I have to admit that it was a mixed bag. That’s why writing about it was so difficult as I had a bit of writer’s block. It wasn’t one of the worst Scooby Doo films, but at the same time, it was nowhere near the top. It just lacked a certain depth to it, which made the film feel really…fillery. All of the films are mostly stand alone stories so it’s hard to call one filler, but this one just went by so quickly.

The gang is having fun when Velma’s lawyer tells them to head to a mansion because it is now hers. The heroes don’t really take this seriously and Velma doesn’t even want to go, but someone blows up the Mystery Van. This is now very personal for the heroes so they head to the building to find out what monster resides inside. It must be a guy in a mask right?……let’s hope so! The danger is very real here and there are some actual fatalities.

This film used an interesting technique as we would get a flurry of sound effects as the film would fast forward through some scenes. It was fun the first few times, but I got tired of it by the end. Most jokes lose their humorous edge once they are overused and this was no exception. I’m hoping that this does not make a return in future films.

One new aspect that was pretty cool was the clips of the past adventures. They do serve a purpose so it seems like it’ll be a one time thing, but it would be fun to remember the good ole days. The animation was also pretty good back then and it holds up well. Does it beat the current animation? In some ways it certainly does, but the animation in this film isn’t bad. Everyone looks as they should and their designs are pretty modern. The colors are vibrant and I have no qualms with it. Again, the animation just back then seemed to have some more depth to it.

I liked the car subplot with Fred and he definitely continues to prove why he is my favorite member of the mystery gang. Unfortunately, they do overdo it at times when showing how close he is to his van. Beyond that, I liked his portrayal here and he doesn’t back down from a fight except for when he does. Scooby and Shaggy still haven’t attained any real character development, but they’re decent as far as comic relief goes. I don’t buy the way that they lost their appetite and it will stretch your imagination. Daphne’s trick is even more of a stretch to be honest. She looks decent, but definitely not very good. Velma probably looks the worst as she is easily hypnotized and led astray. This now makes the second time where she has been the big villain and I’m sure that it may have happened even more if we count the TV shows. After all her tough talk about not liking the Franken legend…she didn’t do a good job of resisting.

The writing has definitely become pretty good in the Scooby Doo series as the writers are having more fun with it. A classic example of this is when Velma is telling the heroes their backstory, but they just ignore her and look it up on Wikipedia. The heroes are modernized and they aren’t afraid to show it! It may seem a little mean, but the heroes love to mess with each other nowadays. Again, they’ve kept up with the times, for better or worse. There are many other examples that you will find throughout the film so I give the writing a passing grade.

I must give major credit to the film for its opening as well. Not the opening scene, but the opening credits. The film actually takes itself seriously here and the theme wouldn’t be out of place in an Alien or Terminator film. The horror vibe really gets you in the mood for the film and it’s easily the best opening credits theme for a Scooby Doo film. It would probably rank up there as one of my favorite intros of all time as well. Specifically for the theme as it really makes the intro. The images are decent and fit the tone, but the music deserves all of the credit.

You also have to appreciate the fact that the stakes are a lot higher here than normal. There’s actually a scene where you can argue that a lot of people actually died. The heroes are on a train and the villain starts to blow up the cars and send them crashing into the abyss. He does this to about 2-4 cars before the Mystery Gang decides to uncouple the links to save the first one. They quickly push all of the passengers into the first car. What you need to recognize is the fact that there was a passenger in every single car. This makes it extremely unlikely that the other cars had nobody in it..meaning that this film probably had the largest death count in any Scooby Doo film. (At least in the present setting. Past stories within the film don’t count) I felt bad for the innocent bystanders though and hopefully they found a parachute in time.

So, the film certainly had its pros. At the same time, the main plot wasn’t all that engaging. The monster is actually pretty generic and I’ll never fully buy into Velma’s big plot twist about her last name. We got a lot of backstory for her and this development will certainly change the way that we look at her, but it seems to just be there to push the film along. They almost should have brought in a new character so this twist could have happened to him/her instead. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if this is ever mentioned again. (Not that it necessarily needs too)

I wouldn’t have minded the town appearing a little more though as that part was a little more interesting. The people were fairly unreasonable though and a little exaggerated, but they could have been nice if given the chance. If not for Shaggy and Scooby being full for a change, they had nearly become friends with the townsfolk. Seeing as how Fred was traumatized, playing nice with the people for a while was in their best interest.

Overall, This Scooby Doo film was decent. It’s not going to be remembered as one of the all time greats, but the film experimented with several new techniques and it’ll be interesting to see if they decide to keep any of them. I hope we get another really cool intro and Fred’s side plot of being traumatized was a lot of fun. If the van were to get blown up in every film as a new running gag, that could work. Of course, Fred would need to care less and less each time to really make the gag work. I recommend this to Scooby Doo fans who have enjoyed the previous films and to anyone who wants to watch a funny film. As a comedy with a little adventure in it, this still holds up. Scooby Doo will always adhere to a certain level of quality and it’s a franchise that you can trust through the years. (At least in animated land. It lost its way for a while with the puppets and musicals, but I think it’s back on track) I’m certainly looking forward to their next film as we get to see what an outer space mystery will be like. Pizza is on the cover and that is a terrific sign!

Overall 6/10

Batman & Mr. Freeze SubZero Review

Time to revisit another Batman classic! After the success of the Phantasm film, it was good to see Batman make another theatrical appearance. SubZero is definitely a solid film, but it makes the controversial choice to place plot over action. This will likely work for the critics, but it definitely works against the film on this site. It’s a good film experience, but it could have been better.

Batman and Robin are enjoying themselves at a party when Mr Freeze decides to strike. He has been resting at a hideout far away from Gotham, but the villain was forced to make his move when some humans decided to blow away his kingdom. It was accidental as they panicked and crashed through the ice instead of through the water, but it was a mistake that they won’t get to make again. To restore his wife, Mr Freeze needs someone with the same blood type so that the doctor can unleash a fatal operation on her. Barbara Gordon fits the bill so he kidnaps her. Can the Dynamic Duo reach her in time or is it already too late?

The plot in itself isn’t bad. Mr Freeze has always been one of the better DCAU villains and this is a pretty good portrayal of him. As always, he’s not being evil for the lolz, but he is actually doing it to help Nora. It’s a pretty sympathetic goal although the way that he goes about it is not the best. Considering how advanced science is in the DC world, a hospital would probably be able to do something about her condition. Not a normal hospital though, he would have to get some connections to help her. Instead, he opts to just do the transfusion and naturally this makes him a villain, but one that you can sympathize with.

I’ve always had a soft spot for characters who place those closest to them at higher priority than the rest of the world. A Sword Art Online example is Kirito basically saying that he’ll leave everyone to die so that he can take Asuna to safety during one of the final battles or Sasuke deciding to do whatever he had too in order to avenge his clan. You can tell that the acts aren’t exactly heroic, but you can still root for the characters. Naturally, it’s hard to root for Mr Freeze here since it would mean the death of Batgirl, but in his position it’s easy to see why he would make the choice. (Assuming that there is no other way) If it’s between Nora and Barbara, he’s going to pick Nora every time. For us, if it’s a stranger or a family member in a random circumstance, like a sudden fire and you can only pick one, who wouldn’t pick the family member? Naturally, a “true” hero may factor in something like who is younger, who will have a better life, or other things to decide who to save, but it would be hard not to save the family member. Thus, I don’t excuse Mr Freeze’s goal, but it’s one of the reasons why he has always been one of Batman’s best written villains.

Robin gets a bigger role here than usual. Unfortunately, it’s mostly a romance subplot for him as he doesn’t get to act as Robin for a very long time here. There’s not a whole lot of action here so that makes sense, but it doesn’t help his case as a character. I think it’s safe to say that Batman is more likable here. Robin still needs more experience so while he is a good fighter, he still has a ways to go. I would have liked to have seen some more effort from him so that he could save Batgirl. (At least he doesn’t try to throw the fight like Batman does at times) He’s still one of my favorite Batman characters, but this probably wasn’t his best appearance.

Batgirl also gets a big role, but only in her normal identity. She doesn’t put up the greatest fight against Mr Freeze and I think that she should have been able to escape at one point. Not off of the ship of course, but heading to the very top would have bought her a lot of time. She did a good job of buying time for herself, but I’m just saying that she could have done even better if she really put the effort in. Her brief moment as Batgirl made her look pretty good though so that was a preview of how the film could have gone for her. She could have probably given Mr Freeze and his minions a decent fight if she had been prepared.

Batman’s portrayal is pretty spot on as expected. He quickly starts to assemble the clues that he had gotten throughout the film and then he found out where Mr Freeze was hiding. He still is the world’s greatest detective so nothing is too tricky for him to figure out. He also looks pretty tough in the fight scenes and he’s a hero from start to finish. There’s nothing more that you can really ask for from Batman so the portrayal is just about perfect.

The animation is pretty sharp as you would expect. Batman always makes full use of the theater budget so the cape and cowl are sleek and sharp. There are no scenes where they look pale or out of focus. That being said, the film made the unwise choice of deciding to add a lot of CGI to the film. I’ve always thought that CGI is inferior to hand drawn animation so deciding to add some of it to a film because you can is still not a good reason to add it. The normal scenes look better than the CGI moments so they don’t help the film. It’s intriguing to look at since the scenes really stand out. It’s not like it’ll hurt the score or anything like that, but the film would have looked even better without the CGI moments.

Batman’s soundtrack is also about as good as you would expect. The intro theme is pretty good and it gets you in the mood for a good adventure. After that, the themes become a little more generic, but they definitely age well. It gives the film the look and feel of a theater film and that’s what I always expect. Nowadays, that isn’t always a guarantee. It’s not as good as the soundtrack was in Mask of the Phantasm, but it’s definitely good enough.

Mr Freeze didn’t have any human minions this time as he just teamed up with two Polar Bears and I have to say that this was another dicey move on the film’s part. Adding in animals means that there is a chance that they will have to fight so that’s always sad to see. The heroes are pretty passive when fighting them for the most part, but who wants to see the evil bears get blasted with water? I definitely could have done without them having to engage in the fights, but it certainly could have been a whole lot worse.

The main thing that stops this film from getting the usual 7 stars is the lack of action. We only see Batman at the very beginning when he fights a robber and at the very ending where he moves in to save Batgirl. It’s hard to call the movie a Batman film when the main star barely gets to appear. We get some Bruce Wayne scenes of course and Dick Grayson gets development, but I need action. Mr Freeze doesn’t even get to fight the heroes since it’s too late by that point. That’s definitely a missed opportunity right there. Sometimes, the gamble to have more plot than action works out, but that is very rarely and it typically only works when the action scenes wouldn’t have been enjoyable anyway. That is definitely not the case here so the strategy never really had a chance.

You could also argue that the film had a little too much romance in it. I definitely wouldn’t stop that argument since I agree with it. The romance is handled decently well at least since the scenes typically won’t leave you cringing, but it’s still a plot that I could do without. Batgirl and Robin should always stay as just friends especially when you know that it’s not going to last. It also stopped the characters from being as likable as they could have been.

Overall, SubZero is a pretty decent Batman film. As far as the DCAU titles go, it’s probably going to have to take last place, but that’s more of a “by default” thing. 6 stars is still pretty good after all so the film was still fun. The animation and soundtrack are good and Batman looks great. The brief action scenes that we do get are pretty good. The film may drag on a little towards the middle and the romance was probably too heavy as well, but it’s still a film that you will want to see as a Batman fan. I definitely recommend it to DC fans and if you want an even better Batman tale, just check out Mystery of the Batwoman.

Overall 6/10

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Review

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas special that I’ve watched many times in the past. It uses stop motion instead of traditional animation, which can be dicey. That being said, it makes up for this with the classic Rudolph as the main lead. His heartwarming story has inspired millions throughout the ages and who can forget the incredible snowman? The special has its ups and downs, but it is definitely a solid experience.

The plot involves Rudolph and the other Reindeer as they begin to bully him when it is found out that his nose glows. Even Santa Claus wants nothing to do with Rudolph so he runs off to brave the world on his own. Meanwhile, there is an Elf who has the same problem. He doesn’t like making toys and he just wants to be a dentist so the others shun him and he runs off. One thing leads to another and the two of them team up with an experienced gold digger to help save Christmas.

Not everyone shuns Rudolph as one of the does by the name of Clarice tries to be his friend. The special definitely has more romance in this plot than most of the other Christmas specials. The actual subplot isn’t great, but it does help us get to the big battle with the Snowman so it was all ultimately worth the effort. Clarice is definitely more of a likable character than most of the other reindeer as they were all pretty unreasonable with Rudolph.

As for Rudolph, he’s a nice little guy, but he’s not quite as likable as Frosty or dare I say Jack Frost? I probably agree with his decision to leave and save his friends since they were all in a tricky spot, but I think he probably overreacted when Clarice complimented him. That’s not going to help his image with the rest of the reindeer although he was definitely the best flier there. He can get pretty defensive about his nose and it’s a good thing that he found Hermey when he did or it could have been all over for him. At least he got a good hit in on the Snowman.

The Abominable Snowman is a pretty intense Kaiju and I have to say that it definitely does look like some of the old Gamera monsters. It seems to be reasonably tough and it was able to climb its way back to the surface after it fell into the cold depths of the ocean. That takes a lot of guts and it seems to move pretty quickly. It was overwhelming a team of reindeer and that’s no small feat.

Santa’s portrayal is very interesting since he’s very mean throughout the whole film and they never try to make us forgive him. He ends the film in just as bad a mood as he was in during the beginning. It’s intriguing to say the least and I think that the writers may not have even realized this as they were writing the script. He insults the Elf’s song, He does care about the fate of Rudolph’s parents except for his sleigh, etc. Santa Claus really tries to put a damper on things and he makes sure that Rudolph never gets to feel good.

The soundtrack is pretty solid and we get a lot of good songs. Many of them are classic like “Silver and Gold” and naturally…”Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” They’re run to listen too and the music is one of the reasons why the special is so fun. The stop motion has never been my favorite technique, but it works well enough. It definitely has a certain unique feel to it and I suppose that it’s pretty iconic for Rudolph at this point.

One of the better subplots in the film is the meanwhile with the Narrator. He’s a talking Snowman like Frosty and he’s the kind of guy that you can sympathize with. He is telling us Rudolph’s story with such detail that even he gets scared by what he remembers. It’s pretty intense to say the least. He’s probably one of the more likable narrators that I’ve seen in the Christmas specials so far.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re pretty unlikable. They are all pretty unfair to Rudolph about his nose and we never get a real reason about why they act so discriminating against Rudolph because of it. Why don’t they like red noses? There is probably something related to a past tragedy with the nose, but it’s still pretty sad to see. The parents getting into it was also pretty overdone since you would expect them to stand up for Rudolph. It’s pretty depressing until he finally leaves to make a name for himself. Of course, that is why the bravery of Rudolph is so revered.

Overall, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is a pretty solid Christmas special. It’s not quite as intense as some of the other ones and while it has aged pretty well, the romance does drag it down to an extent. Not because of the fact that it is romance per say, but the way that it’s handled can be a little tough to watch. Rudolph just doesn’t handle the whole thing very well. The soundtrack is very good and it’s nice to actually have a mean Santa Claus for once. It’s a pretty big change from the norm and that’s always good. Rudolph is a pretty emotional film that I definitely recommend for the New Year. It has some good themes and it reminds you to know that giant monsters prefer pig meat to deer meat. In case you are ever in a pinch this could help you out! (There is also an action scene in the climax for all you Shonen Jump readers)

Overall 6/10

Frosty Returns Review

Frosty Returns is the Frosty film that I have certainly seen the most. As a kid, I watched this title several times and it was always a pretty fun experience. I was too young to fully appreciate the historical significance of Frosty returning, but that didn’t stop me from rooting for him to take out Mr. Twitchell! Unfortunately, this film doesn’t take place during Christmas as it’s just the good ole Winter.

You can certainly tell that Frosty Returns is pretty modern compared to the two other Frosty titles. The animation is a lot sharper as every scene seamlessly transitions to the next one. The audio is clearer and the character personalities are pretty different from what you may have expected. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.

Frosty is no longer the extremely nice guy that he had been. He’s still nice of course, but now he has his witty remarks and quick comebacks to defend himself. It’s all in good fun of course, but you can’t imagine the old Frosty giving out pop culture references and singing in opera styled music right? This Frosty is certainly more street smart and he’s not going to be pushed around by anyone. He’s definitely a pretty solid lead and I just wish that he could have taken on Mr. Twitchell.

Mr. Twitchell is the big villain of this special and he resists the hero transformation for a little longer than the other villains. He wants to destroy all of the snow in the world so that he can be rich and famous. He has an invention that will do just the trick so he just needs everyone to buy it. He’s having a lot of success with this until Holly and the other kids get wind of what he is doing. It quickly becomes a battle of wits and that’s when you know that Mr. Twitchell probably doesn’t stand a chance. He’s a little more extreme than the other villains as he actually sends someone plummeting down a trap hole when she refuses to abide by his plans. He even gets his own song, which doesn’t sound very good and the music doesn’t match the lyrics, but that just adds to the effect right? He’s a pretty decent villain although you know that he’s basically doomed from the start.

Holly is the main character and she’s a pretty decent lead. She’s not really a team player like the lead from the first two films and she just wants to become a really good magician. Luckily, she has a friend by the name of Charles who comes over to help her with the act. One thing leads to another and Holly finds out that she is the only one who can save Frosty from his imminent destruction. Unfortunately, she tends to freeze up when she is talking to a figure of authority so she is going to have to quickly get over this in order to win.

Charles is a pretty nice character even if he isn’t a great singer. I think that he is one of those kids who definitely acts a lot smarter than he really is, but he definitely provides a crucial role in keeping Frosty alive. When Frosty was too slow to dodge the anti snow guns, it was up to Charles to use his quick thinking abilities to think of a way out. From there, he mostly just watched as things went all according to his plan.

The Narrator for this film is more interesting than the one in the last two mostly thanks to the animation. His eyes make him seem very tricky…almost sinister despite the happy lines that he is uttering. He is always sipping his hot cocoa and he seems to have a handle on things. He does tend to get blown away by the elements and by creatures who are bigger than him, but he never loses sight of his goals and he keeps trying to fill in the audience on what is happening even when he may be risking his life. This is a pretty solid announcer to say the least!

The film also decides to allot a little time to the parents and teachers this time as we see that none of them like the snow. It’s pretty interesting since that’s basically how things go in the real world as well. For every adult you meet that likes snow you’ll meet at least 20 who do not. Even most of the younger generation don’t really care for snow anymore. I blame it on the fact that the world isn’t as innocent as it used to be. Now, we think of car accidents and people losing their electricity when snow falls instead of snowmen and snowball fights. In a way, it feels selfish to want snow nowadays, but I still enjoy it when it is here. It certainly causes negative consequences along with positive ones, but you have to take the good with the bad. I won’t ask for snow, but when it comes you can bet that I’ll be the first one out there to tackle it!

The main reason why Frosty Returns is so enjoyable is that it’s just a fun film to watch. It’s simply enjoyable to look at the snow and listen to the songs. The film only has positive messages to offer and none of the characters are truly bad. It’s the kind of film that you can watch at any time on any day and you’ll still enjoy it. It’s short duration may help in this regard or an extra half an hour would make it even better. It’s hard to tell and it’ll probably just end up being one of life’s mysteries.

Overall, Frosty Returns is a pretty fun special. It’s not quite Christmas themed like the first film, but I like snow as well. While it does lose to the original, it certainly beats Frosty’s Winter Wonderland by a long shote. Mr. Twitchell makes for a pretty sinister villain and he’s the type of character that you want as a villain when you’re a little kid. Frosty The Snowman has grown up with the world and while he is still a nice guy, he can fight if need be. You may be disappointed in most of the kids since they betray the snow after a single day, but you can argue that they were just pawns in the great scheme of things. The soundtrack is pretty good and the animation is the best that I’ve seen for this iconic snowman. I definitely recommend checking this special out and it’s under 30 minutes so you really can’t go wrong there. You’d have time to watch this while eating breakfast!

Overall 7/10

Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town Review

This is one of those old Christmas stories that didn’t become quite as legendary as Rudolph or Frosty. It’s still big enough that you will likely have heard of it though and who doesn’t want to learn about Santa’s origin story? I don’t think that it holds up quite as well as the others though and Santa just isn’t as much of an endearing lead as he could have been. Still, the film is a little more serious than the others and the stakes are much higher than usual.

A nice guy by the name of Mr. Kluger is getting ready to deliver some gifts when he realizes that a lot of children are asking questions about Santa Claus. Since he is the resident expert on the subject he decided to take some time out of his busy schedule to humor them. He tells them the story of Santa’s origin. Santa was left at the doorstep of some nice dwarves and they decided to call him Kris Kringle. They liked to make presents, but they could never deliver them because of a sinister Warlock who lived in the mountains. Time went by and Santa grew up enough so that he could defeat the Warlock. He set off, but little did he know that the true threat was waiting to pounce!

It’s a pretty cool plot on paper and it’s filled with twists, but it didn’t hold my attention quite the same way that the others did. It’s simply less charming and it’s not filled with wonder and excitement like the others. It may be in part because of the stop motion animation though because that style makes the world seem rather bleak in universe. The snow is not quite as majestic even though you can definitely tell that it is in fact snow. The animation isn’t bad for its time though and it’s not hard to watch, but stop motion is certainly one of my least favorite styles of animation.

Burgermeister is the big villain of the film and would you be shocked if I said that he doesn’t end up turning into a good guy by the end? This guy wasn’t going to fold so easily and you can practically see his sinister nature the instant that you hear his name. I know that Burgers are usually synonymous with excellent, but the meister part is what should make his name ominous. He’s not very powerful…he’s just a normal guy, but he has a lot of influence. As a villain, he’s actually quite good and he’s always munching on something. It keeps him ready for what comes next.

Santa Claus is a nice enough guy. He decides that he is going to get the toys to the kids one way or the other and he sets off on a very dangerous quest from which he knows that there may be no return. It’s the kind of heroism that you may remember from the good ole days. He’s pretty selfless and he lets bygones be bygones with the Warlock in the end. His reasoning for only giving gifts once a year by the end is pretty sound since everyone starts to weaken eventually. He’s a nice guy, but I still stand by my claim that he’s not quite as good as Frosty. He’s simply not as charismatic.

The Winter Warlock is an imposing figure who becomes sympathetic as the film goes on. It all happens so fast that you’ll probably be suspicious of the Warlock for a while, but he ultimately seems genuine. That being said, he doesn’t look very good considering that he has a nice array of magical abilities. By the end, we find out that most of his spells are actually pretty useless in a fight and breaking out of a simple prison is beyond his capabilities. He may have powers, which makes him stronger than most of the other Christmas special villains, but it’s still not saying a whole lot.

Jessica has a twist hear that you will start to realize as the film goes on. She plays the main heroine, which may be a first for the Christmas stories. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland had one, but I’m thinking that the title came after this one anyway. She plays a key role when she reminds the Warlock that he has a lot of magic so he takes out the corn. Otherwise, the heroes had basically given up and they wouldn’t have lasted much longer. Her screen time is a little limited, but everyone’s ultimately was since the film is still pretty short.

I think that one more factor which impacted the film was that Santa Claus wasn’t all powerful here. It’s always fun to see him being portrayed as an invincible being who can do just about anything. If we’re going to make a legend, we may as well make him an invincible one right? Santa should have inherited the powers of previous or future Santas in the climax and materialized some kind of super gift. It may be asking for a lot, but that would have been a good way to end the film on a pretty high note.

Overall, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is a pretty decent film, but it’s one that could have been a little better. Santa Claus just doesn’t draw a crowd the way that his Christmas counterparts do, but it was nice to see how it all began for him. Having a villain with the word “Burger” in his name was pure genius and the Warlock made for a unique villain since most of them didn’t have magic powers back in the day. The special is well over an hour so it won’t take too long to finish it. Considering this, I think it’s probably a good bet to check it out as we are not too far past Christmas, but you could also watch the original Frosty The Snowman as a good alternative. After all, you’ll want to stay frosty during these cold days right?

Overall 5/10

Frosty The Snowman Review

I’m sure that just about everyone has heard of Frosty The Snowman. This guy is a living legend when it comes to Christmas movies and you definitely don’t want to miss the yearly airing of his film. It’s a pretty nice story that leaves you feeling good. It’s rather old, but the animation is still easy to look at and it doesn’t hamper the movie.

The plot is pretty simple as a few kids decide to celebrate as they get off from the final day of school. They didn’t like the magician who came in to entertain the class very much so they dashed outside to build a snowman. They put a magic hat on him and he becomes…Frosty The Snowman! Unfortunately, the weather begins to warm up so their big plans will have to be put on hold. Frosty knows that the only way he can survive is if he makes it to the North Pole so Karen decides to accompany him there. Will they really make it all the way there and still get Karen home in time for supper? This will be close!

This is the kind of film that you just don’t see anymore. It’s charming and it really has no faults. It’s a pretty fun film from start to finish and Frosty is a pretty likable lead. He only wants what is best for everyone and he makes the ultimate sacrifice to help his friends. It’s a very touching story and the implications of one scene are very huge. Let’s just say that Frosty may have had the chance to save his life if he had busted through a window, but he knew that could have endangered the lives of many plants and Karen to he kept still. He is a true hero.

Karen is a pretty good character as well. She makes a rock solid case against Mr. Hickle on why Frosty should keep his hat and she also decides to accompany Frosty to the North Pole without a whole lot of hesitation. Her one negative may be that she didn’t properly thank the rabbit at the beginning. He went to a lot of trouble to help the heroes out so it would have been good if they had acknowledged that.

Mr. Hickle is the main villain and he’s actually pretty sinister. He’ll do just about anything if it means that he can get rich and he resorts to stealing from little kids. It’s a good thing that Frosty and Santa were there or he could have kept embarrassing himself in front of crowds with his fake magic tricks. He is also pretty fast since he chases Frosty across a few hills and he doesn’t feel any remorse when he traps Frosty in the equivalent of an oven to the poor snowman.

Luckily, Santa Clause sets everyone straight by the end. This is Santa Clause as you would expect him to be portrayed. He’s virtually indestructible and his super strength knows no bounds. He is able to basically give every character what he or she wants for Christmas and he does it without breaking a sweat. He probably doesn’t even need the reindeer at this point, but he probably loves the view. It’s a team effort after all so all of the players have to pitch in to help. Santa’s also pretty cunning since he knows just how to break Mr. Hickle without having to use one of his famous energy blasts.

As I mentioned earlier, the animation is pretty decent. It’s old so naturally some of the proportions can be off at times and most of the characters have big heads, but that just gives it an extra boost of nostalgia value. It still feels more real than many of today’s shows and you can tell that a lot of work was put into this one. I’ll still take old hand drawn animation over C.G.I. almost any day. The soundtrack is decent and you’ll hear a lot of Christmas songs. I’m not a huge fan of some of the Frosty The Snowman renditions, but they’re not bad either. They definitely get you in the mood for the film.

Overall, Frosty The Snowman is another good title to watch for Christmas alongside the Little Drummer Boy. It’s a pretty emotional story where the stakes actually end up being pretty high. Frosty may be a little oblivious at some times and you have to question his selective memory, (He knows about thermometers and other snowmen, but he doesn’t know what a traffic light is) but he always tries to learn what to do for next time. Mr. Hickle is a pretty tough villain and he’s someone that you can root against. I’m also sure that everyone will be pleased with Santa’s portrayal since he looks pretty tough from start to finish. The title is only about 30 minutes so you’ll definitely have time to check it out before you go back to your Christmas celebration!

Overall 7/10

Ernest & Celestine Review

It’s time for an animated film that went under the radar. It does have a pretty big actress in the form of Lauren Bacall, but it’s not a film that I had heard of prior to now. It goes for a retro feel and the film is pretty fun. The cover technically explains most of the plot, but don’t get the wrong idea. This is a feel good film, not a heist blockbuster!

The plot involves a bear and a mouse. They live in different worlds (figuratively speaking) and their two species cannot coexist in harmony. The mice live underground and the bears live above it. Humans have been appropriately exterminated (Probably by Aliens) and Bears essentially rule the Earth. Celestine wants to be a great artist, but all mice have to become dentists. It’s just the way that things have to be. They tell her not to return to the underground world until she collects 50 teeth. Meanwhile, Ernest is pretty poor and he gets his musical instruments stolen after trying to earn money in town square. He’s at the end of his ripe and that’s when the two characters meet up. Ernest will help Celestine get the teeth and she’ll help him get some food. Of course, in the wise words of the shop owner of the Zelda CD-I games…”This is illegal you know”. Both of them are now being hunted by both civilizations….and this could get ugly.

The film suffers from a pretty slow start. Particularly Ernest’s subplot as we see him scrambling for money. It’s just about impossible to sympathize with him because he wants to eat the birds and he refuses to share his food with them. That’s not the hero that I was really expecting at that point and I was waiting for him to go back to sleep so that we could go to Celestine’s plot. Hers wasn’t great either, but I did think that the head honcho of the dentist committee knew his stuff. This guy wasn’t playing around and he really knew how to use the teeth to save someone’s speaking career. We have the class bully, the “nice” guy who is too afraid to leave the bully and we even have a sleeping room that is ripped off borrowed from Madeline.

That’s all well and good, but I can’t say that I was really invested into the film until the main characters met up. Then, it was time to escape the authorities and fight back. Celestine’s a lot more aggressive than Ernest when she speaks so she usually clobbers him verbally so that she can get her way. Ernest tries to stick up for himself a few times, but he’s simply no match for her. Everyone knows that Ernest is a nice guy at heart.

I’ve already talked a lot about Ernest and you can tell that he’s not really my kind of character. He gets a lot better by the end of course, but he messes up during his “hardcore” scenes and he should have put up more of a fight against the mice. He seems to be a bit of a pacifist, but the survival instinct should have kicked in and taken him to the next level. I also like to think that the other bears may have helped him out if Ernest had just asked them, but maybe these guys are meaner than they look.

Celestine’s plight isn’t quite as serious as Ernest, but it’s a lot more dangerous. Collecting teeth isn’t for the faint of heart since the bears will eat/crush you if they spot the mouse. I don’t blame Celestine for wanting to be an artist instead since that seems like a pretty raw deal. She’s a more likable character than Ernest and she also acts a lot tougher. She does have a few moments where she breaks down, but they both have some pretty dicey nightmares so that evens things up a bit.

I do have to say that the animation is downright terrible for a 2012 film. Of course, they likely had a very limited budget and were going for a nostalgic feel, but I’ve seen 60’s/70’s/80’s shows (Gundam, Transformers) that had better animation. I think the film could have tried a little harder to be more interesting visually. This kind of animation would have definitely had some trouble trying to get a fight scene going. I’d actually take CG-I or Flash over this animation and that’s a little dicey. There isn’t much of a soundtrack here so we’ll just skip that section altogether.

The film’s fairly short, but it’s pretty fun as stated above. There’s not a whole lot of depth to it and it may be hard to really like any of the characters, but none of them are downright awful. We have some cringe worthy figures like the kid who lost his tooth and Ernest, but the others are pretty good. It’s hard not to grin at the Candy and Dentist combo since that racket can really earn the two bears a lot of money. It’s a smart plan and at least they’re open about how they want to make money out of everyone’s misfortune. This is definitely not the happy little town that you may have been expecting since everyone has a hidden agenda.

Ernest & Celestine is fun for what it is, but it leaves less of an impact than other kid friendly films/shows. The colors aren’t as vibrant or engaging as what you may have seen from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Arthur has the more interesting characters. Carmen Sandiego had the more intense chase scenes and Strawberry Shortcake never forgets the morals. So, it’s not that Ernest & Celestine really did anything wrong, but it doesn’t really stand out. It’s like the classic Naruto film 1 argument. It’s a solid film, but why watch it when you can watch (almost) any of the other films for a richer experience. I think that’s the case with this film. It’s pretty fun, but we’ve seen most of the messages and character development in other media and they’ve done it more successfully. (Auto points for no sing alongs though)

Overall, Ernest & Celestine is a happy team up film that shows how the powers of friendship can always result in magical occurrences. The cops never stood a chance against these guys. One dicey thing for fans of the throwback genre may be that there isn’t really a big moral at the end. Ernest isn’t really sad about breaking the law and he would probably do it again if he was given the chance. The judge for the bears was pretty intense and nothing can faze him, but it could just be that he’s a little slow on the uptake. I would recommend this to people that are looking for a fun animated film to watch. It’s decent and there aren’t really any big mistakes that the film made. Of course, I would sooner recommend one of the animated features that I mentioned earlier since they do a better job at conquering this genre.

Overall 5/10

Iron Man and Hulk Heroes United Review

Technically speaking there is no and in the title, but I don’t really care for using the & symbol that much and just leaving it blank could be odd. In this case, I’d say that using “and” is the right move. Is this film really as terrible as its reputation? Well, that would have been nearly impossible from the get go and it’s still a decently good Marvel film. The animation is the main thing that really holds it back. First off, let’s get the plot out of the way!

The Hulk and the Abomination get into a brawl as the film begins. The Hulk was just resting and showing the world that he is not to be trifled with so he wasn’t prepared for such an attack. The Hulk is quickly subdued (By a pair of robots…he did beat the Abomination btw!) and kidnapped. After the scientists realize that they are in over their heads, they leave. (They so say sorry though!) The Hulk breaks out the saves the Abomination’s life, but a spark escapes from the battle. Ironman appears and they quickly get into a fight. The Hulk quickly takes him down and they agree to make a temporary truce to defeat the mighty Zzzax. Ironman and Hulk are as different as two heroes can be and they Really don’t get along. Will they really be able to pull off such an ambitious team up!?

Well, that’s the plot in a nutshell! The film is a little over an hour, but they do try to cram a lot of things in. We get a bunch of Wendigo creatures at one point that really come out of nowhere! The Abomination is here of course and Zzzax serves as the main villain as he uses many of Ironman’s old armors. It’s a pretty good array of villains that we’ve got here and the film has almost nonstop action. What is keeping this film from cracking a solid 7 like your average action film? It’s the animation!

This film uses CG-I and that was mistake number one. Always go for Hand Drawn when you’re making a true animated film. Ironically, these graphics would be perfectly acceptable for a PS4 cash in game or something on the mobile. For a real video game or a film…this just won’t cut it! There is a lot of lag to be seen between character movements and the fight scenes can look really fake at times. The bullets leave random explosions when they hit that appear as if they were put on the Hulk’s character by photoshop. Nothing about this really screams professional and the animation really brings it down. Contrary to popular belief, animation is easily one of the most important factors in a film. It’s (nearly) as important as the writing. Examples of this include Samurai Jack and Symbiotic Titan. Both of those shows are in the pretty good range, but they easily could have jumped up an extra point or two into the great category. 1-2 points may sound pretty small, but considering that it is out of 10…that is a pretty big jump. Let’s face it, a 6/10 looks much worse than an 8/10 and a 2/10 is scarier than a 4/10. Two points can make a difference. In this case, the film lost a firm point with the animation.

That being said, if the movie was incredible in all of the other areas, I’m sure that it would have still done pretty well. The problem is that the rest of the film is really only average. The writing is what you would expect from Marvel. Ironman and Hulk have settled into their stereotypical personalities pretty well and you can really tell what they will say before they even speak. There are several puns in the film at least, but they aren’t as original as the ones over at DC. (Not to play the DC card this early in the fight…)

The soundtrack is actually really good in this film. I’ll say that it was one of the surprising positives involved. It really felt like they stole some music from the DCAU, but I’m not going to go there. Wherever the music was from, it was really good and it definitely made the film a little more enjoyable. A good tune can make everything seem cooler.

The film actually has some pretty deep environmental messages. Zzzax isn’t completely bad as he just wants to protect the planet from the humans who continue to fill the landfills across the world. As with Ultron, Zzzax realizes that the extinction of mankind is the only way to save the day. Ironman reminds him that humans are still a pretty young race and that they are getting closer to using clean energy. It’s all empty words and Zzzax knows it. Humans continue to use up more and more power while polluting the planet, but I suppose that it’s an issue for another time. Still, it was interesting that Marvel added this part in and combined with the elements from the Technovore film…maybe they will start including things like this in their films. I’m always ready to talk about the environment so I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the film.

So, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Ironman and Hulk. Ironman loves to find some humor in the situations that he gets involved in and he’s pretty proud of himself. He takes the credit for everything and he acts as if he was tougher than everyone else. He’s so confident that he will beat the Hulk until he’s quickly crushed. He’s a pretty good character here since he doesn’t have time to fulfill his less desirable character traits in the film. Trying to blast Hulk in the eyes wasn’t cool even though he claimed that it could help the Hulk. (He didn’t try again so I’m not sure if I buy that) The Hulk is also what you would expect. This is the smarter Hulk that we are used too from the various Avenger cartoons. He puts Abomination in his place, but he’s easily crushed by robots several times in the films. He’s another big punching bag when it all boils down to it. It’s a trait that many superheroes have at this point. They act all high and mighty, but they crumble at the first attack from a decent villain. It’s films like this that really make me pick Link or Gagaga Girl in a fight against these guys.

Zzzax has a pretty nifty design and he makes for a good villain. The way that he talks can be annoying though since he has a hisssssss for each word and he likes to take his time a little too much. Abomination is another confident fighter who can’t back up his tough words. He also has a fun CGI design for this one. Power wise, he does seem to be clearly outmatched by the Hulk though. The Wendigos didn’t have any character in this film, but maybe that’s for the best.

Surprisingly, the movie actually drags on a bit. It’s only a little over an hour, but thanks to the CGI it’ll feel like a lot longer. Each fight scene looks the same and you’ll get tired of seeing the two heroes getting beaten up by the electro robots for so long. They’re basically powerless and it’s more than a little embarrassing. It really could have ended after the first 30 minutes and it may have been a little cooler. It would have had the same score though so maybe this is for the best. Ironically, the fact that it’s pure action without much plot gives it a lot of replay value. This is actually a film that I wouldn’t mind rewatching in the near future.

We can’t forget to mention that there is an after credits scene! It leads into the next film for those of you who are actually interested. I guess the writers really want to keep things confined though since the two scientists from this film seem like they will be returning with a new threat. It’s an epic scene in theory, but not in execution as the film couldn’t really make the scene as threatening and intense as it really could have been.

Comparing this to DC’s last big superhero team’s pretty sad. Superman/Batman Apocalypse (Notice how I appropriately switched the title a little bit?) smashed this film in animation, crushed it in fight scenes, demolished it in character development, burned it in pacing, and thoroughly destroyed it overall. This is why I don’t even think that there is a debate in as far as who creates the better films/TV shows overall between Marvel and DC. DC is just too good at this point. I don’t think that Marvel will ever make a film to match the DC title that I mentioned. It’s bold, but I seriously don’t think that Marvel has it in them. We can hope of course. (While we are “hoping” I’ll be checking out Throne of Atlantis!)

Overall, This film is nowhere near as bad as the reviews suggest. It’s par for the course for Marvel and while it’s nothing special, it’s nothing bad either. It’s just a good action story where we get to see two iconic heroes team up. It could certainly be a lot worse and one plus is that it’s always enjoyable to see a classic Avengers battle. I like to think that Ironman would have won the battle though and Jarvis’ statistics seemed flawed. No way does the power type end up beating the speed type more often than not. The only reason why Ironman was humiliated in that fight was because he wasn’t fighting properly. The point of a speed type is to use your speed…not fly right into the power type to make it a fist fight. I recommend checking this out if you’re just looking for a casual watch (Since this is basically just a pilot to “insert any Marvel show” it works as a Saturday Morning Cartoon) to see your favorite Marvel heroes duking it out. Of course, I would sooner just recommend watching the original Ultimate Avengers since that one was pretty solid! (The Hulk fight there was intense!)

Overall 6/10

Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery Review

It’s time for the next Scooby Doo adventure! The franchise has always been pretty fun and it’s good to see that it is powering along. The films won’t be stopping anytime soon so the Mystery Gang can continue to prove that they are the best in the biz. This one features some famous wrestlers as well, but will they be of help to the gang..or a hindrance!? It’s going to take everything that Scooby Doo has and more if he wants to save the day!

The film opens with a poor jogger getting attacked by a monster. He puts up a fight, but he’s definitely outmatched. Can this monster actually be real!? Meanwhile, Shaggy and Scooby Doo win a contest by completing their favorite wrestling game. They can now travel to WWE city and show the world what it means to be a fan. The rest of the gang is coerced into coming along via black mail. Unfortunately, they find out about the bear incidents that have been occurring in town. They quickly band together to solve the mystery, but the stakes are high. WWE’s reputation could be tarnished forever if the bear shows up during their big event. It’s a good thing that Fred’s always prepared.

It’s definitely interesting to have real people in the film aside from Scooby and friends. Because of that, there are actually live action segments in the opening credits! I have to say that the opening was one of the best ones that we’ve seen in Scooby Doo though. The song was pretty catchy and the explosion began things off on a good note. After that, it was time to get ready for the mystery. So, quickly I shall talk about each of the main characters and also about the suspects.

Scooby Doo is basically the main character of this adventure. We already know that he’s the heart of the Mystery Inc, but we find out that he’s also the most talented wrestler in this film. His role is a little worse than usual though since he is basically a pawn in the grand scheme of things. Not a very flattering way to leave an impression eh? Let’s just say that Scooby Doo doesn’t have a lot of “strength of character” in this installment and he can’t outrun the other animals. His final fight scene almost helps to fix this, but it’s not handled as well as it could be in terms of courage. Scooby Doo is the heart of the team…but that’s not saying much.

Shaggy is also around of course and he’s basically here to get crushed by the big fighters. He gets insulted to his face at one point and he barely bats an eye. That’s a little disappointing for his fans. He’s very slow on the uptake and you can’t count on Shaggy to win the big fights. It was good to see him blackmail the others, but that was really his only hardcore scene.

Velma and Fred are basically non factors in this film. There was a good scene where Fred and Velma had to start backpedaling faster than Microsoft’s Xbox One policies when Shaggy brought out the blackmail. They definitely underestimated him and that’s not a mistake that you really want to make. At the end, we get a really generic scene where Velma becomes a huge wrestling fan and I’ll admit that it was a little sad to see. It was over the top. Daphne doesn’t do so well in this film. She becomes a little too friendly with John Cena and she forgets what Wrestling is really about. She forgot about the integrity of the sport and she also forgot to stay true ti herself and her anti wrestlingness. This was definitely one of her worst films and hopefully she steps it up from here on out.

John Cena is the main wrestler and he really looks good. He looks insanely good! The writers must have really loved his personality since he’s basically Superman in this film. He’s able to stop a giant rampaging bolder with ease. He’s always got his cell phone at the ready to accept the texts and quickly save the mystery gang. He thinks up plans on the fly like when he had to save the city from the EMP. He is portrayed to be a genius and the strongest human fighter out there. I’ll admit that he was definitely pretty awesome in this film. It goes without saying that he was the best character of the bunch.

Cookie is another one of the suspects. He’s the coach who trains all of the wrestlers and his leg was injured a long time ago during one of the matches. Because of this, he doesn’t want Ruben (Enter the next suspect) to become a wrestler. Ruben is a computer whiz, but he wants to be a wrestler and he’s sad that Cookie keeps trying to stop him. One of them’s going to have to give by the end and neither one of them wants to back down. They were both decent characters, but they were about as generic as they come. I slightly preferred Cookie to Ruben.

Time for the next two suspects. Kane is a wrestler from the old days who wants to get back into the ring. He doesn’t talk all that often, but his fists speak for him. He scares a lot of people along the way and he is a pretty mean individual. Mr. McMahon is the head honcho for the wrestling events and he always has a lot of gusto about him. He talks with pride and he seems to love the wrestling events. He’s a pretty reasonable guy and he is the one who brings the Mystery gang in on the action.

Sin Cara is my second favorite character and his design is pretty cool. It can be a little annoying to see that he doesn’t talk. Not that he can’t talk btw…he just refuses to do so. Luckily, he can talk through is dancing and (Super Indestructible) John Cena knows how to translate. Sin Cara has a lot of knowledge from the olden days and he’s a fighter, but he gets one shotted in his first fight with the bear. Luckily, he makes a comeback and he does much better in round 2. Sin Cara may lack John’s physical might, but he’s very quick and that works to his advantage.

Finally, AJ Lee and Ms. Richards round out the list of suspects. AJ Lee is your typical all star female wrestler who always wins and makes sure to verbally and physically pawn Shaggy and Scooby Doo. She never takes a loss on screen and she’s very confident. Could she be the monster? Ms. Richards doesn’t like the Mystery Gang and she’s in charge of security. She wishes that the gang wasn’t on the case and she’s confident in her tech. Nothing gets past her and she could lose her job if the bear attacks continue to occur.

The Fire Bear is one of the most intense monsters to be seen in the Scooby Doo franchise. Whoever it is, The Fire Bear has a good degree of super strength and speed. It actually knocked away a missile that Fred launched and it was able to take out several professional wrestlers even when they were teaming up. It’s the only being to ever give John Cena a good fight in the film and it kicked one fighter across a long distance. I became an instant fan of the monster!

I definitely enjoyed this film and it was one of the better Scooby Doo adventures. It had its problems of course, but it also succeeded in various ways. The soundtrack was probably the best in the series and it was pretty impressive. The theme that played before the fighters took the stage was like something out of Justice League and the opening credits were solid as well. You felt like you were going in to watch a theater film. The soundtrack definitely gets a 4/5 at the very least. It was limited, but effective.

The fights were also fun to watch. Of course, most of the blows were off screen and someone would quickly get in the way so we missed all of the elbow drops. It was still fun to see some high powered wrestling and it was pretty serious business. It was like playing an old PS1 game. The wrestler slowly picks up and opponent and you get a lot of lag before executing the move. The animation may have been choppy, but it was done in an intentional way that made it fun.

The animation is decent. It’s nothing special of course and you can’t really see much improvement compared to a few years ago. Anime from about 10 years ago can likely top it, but Scooby Doo isn’t about transcending its animation limits. It’s about having fun and the animation definitely isn’t bad.

One negative that I would have with the film is the fact that it does drag on a little bit at some points. The ironic part is that the dragged out moments all involve the gang trying to solve the mystery. I guess the wrestling part was just more interesting this time around. I tried to make the detective work more fun by making a guess based off of all the suspects. My early guess was Sin Cara..which may have been a little dicey. Nontheless, I had to stand by him!

It’s also a little sad to see Daphne being to obvious the whole time about her liking John Cena and Shaggy/Scooby Doo shouldn’t be so nervous anymore. They’ve been through a lot worse. Now, it’s for the sake of tradition and all, but I wouldn’t mind a little character development for these guys. Seeing them make the same mistakes over and over again can be a little sad.

Overall, This was a pretty good Scooby Doo film. It stays true to formula. The fighting scenes were surprisingly intense and we also got some Young Justice cameos. Don’t worry, if you miss it the first time, the film makes sure to keep on showing them until you can’t miss the scene! It was also good to see the video games finally get their props and the film was more enjoyable than most of the others. The food scenes may have lacked some heart and I’m not sure about the new scooby snacks, but seeing food is always fun anyway. I recommend this to any Scooby Doo fan and wrestling fans might like it as a nice homage to the show. John Cena definitely gets a lot of feats.

Overall 6/10