Lonesome Ghosts Review

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I always tell myself that I’m not afraid of ghosts, but watching shorts like this one reminds me that they could be deadly if they were real. Intangibility, Invisibility and reality warping are just the tip of the iceberg for this trio of ghouls. It’s really hard to deal with opponents that are this versatile and skilled in combat. It naturally makes for a good adventure though and this may be the best of the classic Disney shorts. It’s nonstop action as we get the hyped team up of Donald, Mickey, and Goofy.

The three of them are called to a haunted house to deal with a ghost problem. Mickey eagerly accepts the mission and brings along his squadmates, Goofy, and Donald. The three of them are ready to tackle any challenge that comes their way, but they’ll definitely have to use every skill at their disposal if they want to come out on top. Once they get in the house there is no turning back. Not that our brave heroes would run though, the only one who would beat a hasty retreat is Goofy and even he claims that he isn’t afraid of ghosts.

Donald is still my favorite member of the 3 and he does the best against the ghosts. He actually lands a solid haymaker. While the ghost may have quickly bounced back to mess with him some more, it was a satisfying moment. Donald also doesn’t show as much terror as the other characters. Goofy does the worst of course. While he looks so bad throughout that it is pretty funny, you just wish he could be a little more useful at times. Stabbing himself is not the way to win fights. As for Mickey, he’s determined, but he definitely felt outgunned the whole time. He’s a good team leader, but we know his group wouldn’t do too well without Donald.

The animation is consistent and looks really good. Especially when you consider just how old this special is. Disney was certainly ahead of its time in the animation department. The music is also fairly good. Perhaps it isn’t very memorable, but it gets the job done and sets the stage for the hype encounters with the supernatural. The special is only a little over 10 minutes so it definitely ends pretty quickly. While that means we don’t get to see as many pranks and shenanigans as I’d like, it also results in the pacing being quite fast. It doesn’t slow down for an instant and there is really nothing negative to say about this special. It’s a fun way to spend 15 minutes and the premise was just really good. I think it’ll be tough for a Disney short to pass it anytime soon.

Overall, If you haven’t started watching the classic Disney shorts yet, now is a good time to start. This one is very accessible for new viewers and you’ll be able to get the character personalities right away even based on just a few minutes of action. It’s also good to start with this special since you see the three big characters right away as opposed to seeing them separately for a while. It’s hard to name a more iconic trio than these guys.

Overall 7/10

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Good Scouts Review

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It’s been a while, but time to finally check out the next Disney special. Donald Duck always makes for a pretty good protagonist and this time is no different as he tries to survive the harsh elements of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tie up his tent correctly so he gets splattered with honey and then a bear attacks him. Can Donald stop the bear and get back to teaching his nephews what being a professional is all about or is he doomed?

The special is super short as always, but it manages to capture the adventure rather well. The plot/pacing felt a lot tighter than usual which was really good as all of the scenes really had a purpose. When you have to tell a full story in roughly 10-12 minutes you really have to think through every scene to decide if it should be there or not. I can’t think of any scene that should have been removed. Donald was perhaps even more sputtery than usual as it could be hard to hear what he was saying, but it just increases the “Donald” effect that you like to see in his specials. His nephews were pretty solid this time around as well. They did at least try to stop Donald from nearly breaking his back on the stone tree. Perhaps they could have tried a little harder, but they did enough.

Donald also recovered from it pretty well which is why he’s such a good character. He took the whole thing in stride and even decided to play a practical joke on his nephews. It may have failed in every sense of the word and I’m not sure about the spelling of the ketchup (Was the word copyrighted back in the day?) but it showed that Donald was ready to spread the chaos. It just didn’t work this time around.

The animation is pretty fluid and consistent like you’d expect it to be. I do like these simple hand drawn days. You can tell that the animators put a lot of effort into it and I still can’t imagine drawing frame by frame. That just sounds like soooo much work. There isn’t much of a soundtrack in this one, but we get all of the classic sound effects for the chase scene. You could feel the desperation in Donald as he struggled to escape before realizing that it was all ultimately futile. There is just no running away from a big bear.

Overall, I enjoyed this special quite a bit. It’s easily one of Disney’s best shorts. The cast may have been a little smaller than usual, but it just meant that we got to see Donald more. I’m waiting for a special where he challenges Mickey to something like Basketball or Hockey so we could see his competitive side come out a little more. We know that Donald never gives up and is always bursting with confidence after all. Putting him in a situation like that would absolutely make for quite the spectacle. If you haven’t seen this special yet, then I’d advise you to do so ASAP. Prepare yourself for the somber ending though. Donald knows that he’s got to keep running because if it catches him….it’s game over.

Overall 7/10

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Review

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It’s time for one of Disney’s most iconic films of all time. Snow White is a tale that everyone knows about and I dare say that they are aware of the general plot as well. It’s always fun to see the original adaption because the specifics will still be different than you may recall. For example, I didn’t remember the intro being so long in this film. The actual action doesn’t start until you’ve made a lot of progress in the film already. It’s a pretty fun film. Parts of it have aged better than others, but the pacing is good and it’s over rather quickly.

The film starts off the Queen worrying about who the fairest lady in all the land could be. The mirror hints that Snow White has surpassed her so the Queen forces her to be a maid/slave. This works for a while, but Snow White’s beauty continues to level up with each passing year. The Queen hires a Huntsman to take Snow White down for the count, but he too gets captivated and warns her to escape. The Queen decides that she’ll have to get involved personally. Meanwhile, Snow White befriends a bunch of dwarves and is fairly safe in theory. What can an old queen hope to do against these powerful miners? Not much, not much at all!

Fortunately for her they are away for most of the day. The Queen isn’t one of Disney’s more interesting villains as she doesn’t actually have a lot of personality. She’s just very vain and wants to be as beautiful as she can be. She took the title by force and I wonder how many people she’d had to bump off to reach the top. I imagine it must have been a lot. Her poison apple is certainly a useful tactic even if it wouldn’t work on most main characters. If she had only brought her lightning shield with her, the ending could have been very different.

As for Snow White, she’s a nice lead I suppose. She is very naive which is a problem in these tricky times. That being said, she knows how to make a good first impression and is easy to get along with. She may have less personality than some of the other Disney princesses, but she has heart. There’s nothing wrong with her as she’s basically a perfect heroine. Of course, to be truly perfect she will need to learn how to fight. The Prince has even less personality and is basically just trying to find a princess. He comes through when it counts in the end, but it’s hard to say whether this makes him a great character or his goal just coincided with her path to being alive again.

The characters that I didn’t like are the Dwarves. Their exaggerated personalities ensure that they are all annoying, just in different ways. It’s hard to like them at all as characters and since they couldn’t even protect Snow White in the end…what was the point of them? I wouldn’t have minded if we had gotten 3 Bears instead. If you understand that reference then you’re already ahead of the curve. I think it would be hard to make them good characters due in large part to the very concept behind them. You would have to completely change the characters.

The animation is pretty good. As with just about all of Disney’s classic animations, it looks very smooth. You can see how effort was put into all of the frames and it is quite telling that it looks better than some modern shows. Th animation is bright and you can always see what is happening. The designs have become iconic over the years and I can see why since they work well. Surprisingly, I wouldn’t say that this film has an exceptional soundtrack though. None of the music/song tracks are all that memorable and I can’t say that I remember any at the moment. Perhaps I need to give it a revisit, but some films are memorable from the start. I’d use Let It Go from Frozen as an example…but I just did in this sentence.

Disney’s been remaking a bunch of their old films lately so I can definitely see this one showing up as well at some point. There would definitely need to be a bunch of changes, but that’s part of the fun with the remakes. Seeing how they modernize the story without actually changing it. For example, I doubt they’d play it straight with the poison apple since that’s basically a meme at this point. I also like to think that the Prince’s role will either be changed or he’ll have more screen time before the pivotal moment. No matter what they do though, I’m sure Disney will do the film justice. It’s the kind of film that you certainly don’t want to take lightly since it’s so well known. I’d like to see the film expand a little more on Snow White’s ability to communicate with all of the animals. After all, if Universal can create a Dark Universe and make all of their old monster films supernatural, why can’t Disney give all of its iconic princesses cool super powers? I think that would actually be pretty neat. (So long as Snow White doesn’t send the animals off into battle)

Overall, Snow White is a fun film. From the Disney Princess films, I dare say that it has the lightest plot though. At least half of the film is basically just Snow White hanging out with her animal buddies and teaching them how to keep the house neat. The evil queen doesn’t appear as much as you’d expect and the Prince’s total screen time is probably under 5 minutes. The film’s very short, which helps for pacing, but I fear that it worked against the film when it comes to the story. Everything had to be rushed through which makes the events appear to speed along. That being said, it did get legendary for a reason. It’s still solid overall and I’d recommend checking it out. After all, how can you call yourself a film fan if you haven’t watched this classic?

Overall 6/10

Moana Review

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It’s time for a fairly recent animated film although it feels a little old by now. We haven’t gotten too many films that take place in the islands. Lilo and Stitch is one of the only big ones that I can think of. I’m perfectly okay with this since the big cities are where I like the films to stay. It just makes for a more engaging backdrop. That being said, the film did have some pretty nice visuals along the way thanks to the nice action scene at the end. It’s a good film, but one that does have some issues.

The plot revolves around a girl named Moana. She is destined to rule the island at some point so she is learning as much as she can. That being said, she wants to venture off the island because she feels too constricted there. It’s prohibited because of a risky endeavor led by her father. The choice is taken out of her hands when she is chosen to save the world by delivering a relic to an island where it was stolen long ago. She’ll need to enlist the help of Maui, a demigod whose abilities are matched only by his intelligence. He really doesn’t want to help, but he gets taken along for the ride. Can these two really manage to get the stone to the island where they will have to face off against Te Ka? It certainly won’t be easy!

Moana is a good main character. I’d want to leave the island if I was in her shoes as well. The economy wasn’t going well and the job market seemed to be wearing thin as well. The village simply needed new materials and she would have to venture out to get them. Moana is very determined and keeps getting back on the track no matter how many times Maui fails. The ocean’s blessing was also super useful since it meant that Moana couldn’t drown. She had a little crisis of self confidence towards the second half of the film, but fortunately she managed to get past it.

Unfortunately, Moana is perfectly countered by Maui who is one of the worst Disney “heroes” that I’ve ever seen. There is absolutely nothing heroic about this guy. He seriously tries to drown Moana in one scene and then leaves her to die in a blocked off cave in another. Fortunately, the ocean saved her the first time and she found an exit the second. The fact that Maui tried to murder her is glossed over later on and his attempts grow less drastic as time goes on. That being said, he was already too far gone for me to see him as a likable character. Even up to the end, Maui is really just fighting for himself and his ego.

What makes this even worse is the fact that Maui isn’t even very tough. On the contrary, I’d say that he is actually very weak. He can’t really hold his own against anybody. He gets wrecked by a giant crab and doesn’t even put up a good fight against the fire demon. Maui is really just one of those characters who is all talk and no action. He gets old rather quickly. For the other supporting characters, we also have Moana’s father and her grand mother. The Dad gets annoying pretty quick as he tries to stop Moana since he lost in his mission a while back. I definitely don’t think leaving the island should be banned. The grandmother is nice and seems to know a lot, but she also does act a little crazy half the time. Her antics probably could have been dialed down a notch.

There are two main villains here. The first one is Tamatoa, a giant crab who sparkles. This guy humiliates Maui quite a lot so I was on board with that. He’s a fairly intimidating villain as well even if he is easy to trick. He made for some pretty fun scenes so I was glad to have him on board. He didn’t seem that strong, but his strength was ultimately enough anyway. The other big villain is Te Ka, who defeated Maui so completely that the poor guy was scarred for life. Te Ka’s fire abilities were pretty great and the heroes definitely didn’t seem like they had a chance against her. That being said, it does lead to one of the film’s biggest plot holes. Te Ka is probably the best character in the film.

Here’s where the plot gets messy. Okay, the whole point is that the ocean is sentient in this film and wants Moana to save the day. She needs to get the pendent/stone/mcguffin to the island to seal the demon. Here’s where the plot falls apart. We learn that the water can move and walk around. It can grab things and shoot blasts of water. Why isn’t the ocean just placing the item back itself? From what we see in the movie, it would be very easy to stun the fire demon and place it. After all, the ocean finally does take the fire demon down in one shot when it acts at the end. The fire demon keeps healing so it’s not down for the count, but it would be long enough for the water to finish the job. There is no reason for it not to act and I feel like this is a glaring hole in the film’s script/plot. It just made no sense and I was puzzled about that during the entire film.

The film isn’t very long so the pacing is relatively sound. Quite a lot happens during the time frame as the heroes have to reclaim Maui’s weapon, fight off pirates, and go on a bunch of adventures. I have to say that Maui’s shape shifting was as underwhelming as you’d expect though. He made a big deal about how he would get super tough once he had his weapon back and he still had a habit of getting knocked around by everyone. I was just surprised that he never lived up to his own hype.

The animation looks pretty good. The water is crispy and clear. The energy blasts and disaster zone with Te Ka are also visually striking. It’s a pretty well made movie all around in terms of the visuals. The character designs are also on point and I certainly didn’t notice any animation errors. By and large, the writing is pretty good as well. It’s nothing special, but it doesn’t make any mistakes so that is most certainly a good thing.

The humor can be a bit weak in this film. One of the main comedy subplots is that Moana has a bird who can’t really think straight. This means that he is always getting lost, pecking the ground, or just getting in everyone’s way. There’s nothing really fun about seeing a bird just crash into everything all the time and I could never get behind the plot. As far as animal mascots go, this one was a complete dud.

Overall, Moana is a good film. It goes by fairly quick and has some nice action scenes at the end. What holds it back is mainly Maui. The guy is just unbearable whenever he’s on screen and comes off as a total jerk. The bird subplot certainly didn’t do the film any favors either. It’s a fun flick, but odds are that you’ll find yourself choosing something else to watch. There’s nothing that this film does particularly well that isn’t completely surpassed by a better film. Don’t even get me started on comparing the songs to the classic “Let It Go” That won’t end well. Still, if you’re in the mood for a tropical animated film, there aren’t a lot of other options. This will definitely be the option for you.

Overall 6/10

Batman Beyond Review

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It’s time for the final main show in the DCAU lineup. I still haven’t seen the Zeta Project or Static Shock yet so those two won’t be getting reviewed for quite a while. I’ll probably be watching them at some point though. Batman Beyond took a very different approach to the Batman mythos and it certainly worked well. I imagine it was probably pretty controversial back in the day and I can only imagine the reaction it would get nowadays. Still, that’s why you have to take a chance sometimes since it can pay off very well.

Batman Beyond takes place well after the events of the original Batman show. Bruce Wayne started to get older and suffered heart problems. He was forced to take off the Cape and cowl. (The final movie in the series has a plot twist so old age wasn’t the cause for Batman’s retirement, but that’s another story) Gotham City has completely reverted back to how it was before Batman showed up. Crooks are everywhere and the civilians are all scared out of their minds. Terry is a teenager who has grown up in this era and has developed into a tough individual who can look out for himself. One day, his father is murdered by the Joker gang so he decides to steal the Batman suit to avenge him. Wayne is reluctant to agree at first, but gets on board and that’s how Terry becomes Batman for the rest of the series. He may not be the genius that Bruce was, but Bruce assists him through a communicator which makes that a non issue. Terry was also already a fighter so we don’t have to watch him act like a total rookie. He handles his tenure as Batman very well.

Terry is the main character and for the most part he is a great lead. While he may not have Bruce’s charisma, he has the passion and hot headed nature that most great anime characters possess. His first episode was a little rough as he was acting out quite a bit, but a tragic attack forced him to mature a lot in that regard. He always sticks up for the weak and keeps his emotions in control when it counts. Terry has no shortage of confidence either and is never afraid to go up against an opponent, even if Batman thinks he should wait. Like Peter Parker, (A character who has a lot of similarities to Terry) Terry has to deal with a lot of romance drama, but it never becomes the main theme of the show or a priority to the point where it would take away from the plot. I was definitely satisfied with having him as the main character.

Bruce Wayne may not be Batman anymore, but he is still rich and retained his intellect. Batman was never feared purely for his amazing hand to hand combat. His genius is what also intimidated opponents. It can be frustrating to see him so old and unable to defeat opponents like Inque, but at least he continues to try so you have to give him points there. That’s why it was cool to see him turn young again in the Ra’s episode since he got to finally fight at peak strength again. The show even managed to give him a stronger sound effect than Terry’s to show the difference in power. Bruce was only a little unlikable in the first episode and you can understand his reasoning for wanting the Batman legacy to die. The last thing he wants is for another ally to bite the big one. Terry wasn’t even formally trained so he would be in a lot of danger. I can get that, but shutting down Terry’s suit while he was being attacked was going a little overboard. Not to mention that sending Terry away without any real help was also pretty bad since he was essentially helping the villains by doing that. Letting Powers steal the company is also something that is hard to picture for such a strong willed individual. I guess you can say that Bruce also regains his old spark while Terry learns how to be Batman. We also can’t forget that he has a real cool guard dog by the name of Ace. I didn’t care for Ace’s episode as it was one of the iffy ones, but he’s definitely a great character. Ace is fearless and never backs away from an enemy. Terry was lucky to have him around quite a few times.

Max is one of Terry’s friends. She has good hand to hand skills and after she finds out his secret, she helps out in the background a lot like Oracle. The heroes are always hesitant to accept her help, but by the end she is one of the gang. She did give us the weakest two part event with the King Cobra villain, but you can’t really blame the character for that. Max was a solid supporting character and I’m sure that her role would have grown more f we had gotten another season since the heroes were working with her more.

Dana is the main heroine of the show. She is around to give Terry a reason to have a daily life, which prevents him from being Batman close to 24/7 like Bruce. Bruce was always in the Batman mindset at any rate I’d say. Dana is pretty reasonable for the most part and there is certainly less drama than some other super hero romances like Mary Jane and Spider-Man. I’m definitely on Dana’s side more than Terry’s for the show since she was always loyal while Terry did cheat on her with someone else. He broke it off fairly quick, but it shows that he went on the rebound fairly quick. It would have been cool to have seen Dana get a crime fighting suit, but I suppose every supporting character doesn’t have to turn out to be a fighter. Dana is smarter than some of the other characters as well since she actually put the pieces together about Terry’s mysterious disappearances.

Barbara Gordon lost a lot of her personality in the transition to the new era and has become another pencil pusher with no real idea of what goes on in the field. The worst part is that she knows who Batman is so she can effectively blackmail the heroes. It is definitely annoying but luckily Batman is always ready for things like this and Barbara got a fairly small role in the show. It’s a shame, but I guess some superheroes lose their likability after they hand the costume in. Powers is really the main villain of the series. There are other recurring villains of course, but Powers is the only one who lasted a full season. He would show up a lot in both major and minor roles. Powers even got special abilities of his own that made him a real threat. The radiation that he emits would allow him to beat many foes despite a difference in power. Sure, he would lose to a really strong foe, but he would give them cancer so it would essentially be a draw. He was a good villain to have since having someone who’s not one and done is always a good thing.
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Inque was another villain who shows up a few times and I thought that she was definitely better than most of the others. Her powers make her a really powerful threat to Batman. It’s hard to capture her or to even land any damage because of how she can almost become liquid. Electricity is her only weakness and even then you have to be careful how you handle her. Forcing Batman to swallow her was definitely one of the most traumatic moments of the series I’d say since it looked quite painful. Mr Freeze is one of the few old villains who shows up in Beyond. His fate is rather tragic here as he was a head for many years and once he finally gets his body back, he is promptly betrayed. He really wanted to turn over a new leaf and become a good person, but it wasn’t to be. The betrayal made him go off the edge once more and then he lost his motivation to go on. He was easily one of the best “villains” here and it’s too bad that he couldn’t have a happy ending.

Shriek had a cool design. I figured that was worth giving him a quick write up here. He’s basically a generic villain otherwise. There’s not much to him otherwise. Kobra is a fairly annoying villain who took over the big villain organization at a young age. He’s just that much of a prodigy I suppose, but he went from being a fairly decent rival/classmate to being a generic villain. Now, Ra’s is a more interesting opponent. Granted, his method of kidnapping Bruce Wayne and going about his plan was rather off. He could have planned things out a bit better and then maybe his plan would have been successful. It was still neat to see how he had survived all of these years though. He certainly was a very cunning opponent for the dark knight.

The Royal Flush Gang went after Batman a few times. This show’s Ten got the biggest role out of all the members. They made for good opponents because while they were weak individually, they were a threat as a group. Defeating Batman with sheer numbers was always their plan, even if it wasn’t always an effective one. I like the designs and the concept is fun too. They’re just rich people with a bunch of time on their hands so why not become thieves right?

Finally, we also had the Justice League show up. Their members may not be as impressive as the ones you’re used too, but they can still deal some damage. Superman is still around and while his powers have lessened over the years, he’s still quite powerful. He’s as smart and dependable as always even if his will power isn’t quite as good as it should be. I do like his Justice Lords design, but I do have to wonder why he would ever don that costume. It certainly makes you wonder. Aquagirl’s probably the only super nice member of the group and she does her best to help Batman fit in with the others. She doesn’t seem to be all that powerful when it comes to combat though. Green Lantern comes off as rather annoying and is easily my least favorite GL. He doesn’t appear to have a great imagination and his voice just got on my nerves. It’s easy to see how he died in Justice League. Warhawk is basically a male version of Hawkgirl. He’s loud and talks a good game, but he’s not all that strong. The design was good though and at least he did have enough strategic awareness to come up with a plan when things started to get out of control. I’d say that this already makes him a better character than Hawkgirl for me. Big Barda’s another tough member who doesn’t like Batman. It should come as no surprise that Batman was eager to get away from the team as soon as possible. Lets face it, there was no reason for him to stay somewhere where he’s not wanted.

Lets take a look at some of the episodes of Batman Beyond. Naturally, the opening two parter was a lot of fun. It got a high budget and started the whole series off. It was very fast paced and I was satisfied with the origin. It’s sad that gangs can break in and out so easily in Gotham, but the city has always been like that so it’s not too surprising. The place has always been corrupt and that’s why Batman is always needed. A Gotham without any crime fighters is a very scary place indeed.

There was an episode with a homage to the Fantastic Four as an experiment went wrong (Don’t they always?) and a group of individuals got super powers. It was nice to see how the FF would fare in a DC world and needless to say, it goes as you’d expect. They can’t really handle Batman, but it made for some nice battle scenes. Another good episode was Inque’s debut. As mentioned, she’s an interesting villain and a very deadly one. Batman really had to think fast in order to keep up with her. Since she also ends up finding the Batcave, the heroes have to think about making the place even more secure. Not that it worked as Return of the Joker showed us…

The Mr. Freeze episode is golden. His fight with Powers was a lot of fun. Now, I think Powers should definitely have the edge here and he was winning, but it was good to see Mr. Freeze put up a fight. Powers’ brief fight with Batman was also good. The episode just had a lot of action throughout and the animation was stellar. It’s the kind of episode that you could even watch directly after the first Batman series since it’s a sequel in part to the original. It’s a tragic episode, but an enjoyable one.

Another episode saw the debut of Curare, a skilled assassin. I forgot if the show explicitly said that she was from the League of Assassins, but if not, then an equivalent organization anyway. Her skills were certainly very good and as she has never failed an assignment before, Batman really had to be careful here. By the end she has to watch her back as well since the League is after her, but given her track record, she should be able to hold her own right? Well, that’s exactly what happens as she appears in another episode and we find out that she simply got rid of the organization. That’s why you probably shouldn’t try to destroy your best agent on a whim like that. Both episodes were great and some of the best in the series.

Lost Soul was a pretty interesting episode as someone takes over the Batman suit so Terry must used his hand to hand skills without backup for a change. It’s a fun change of pace since we don’t get to see Terry do a lot of formal sleuthing. He does check things out in his alter ego, but seeing him stick to the shadows is rare. Back to a more conventional episode, Terry is challenged by The Stalker. The Stalker wants to destroy Batman to prove that he can hunt anyone. Unfortunately, he’s bitten off more than he can chew and starts to suffer delusions by the end. Batman completely broke him. The Stalker made for a good enemy though. Babel was another fun episode as Shriek eliminates language. Nobody can understand each other now so that makes Batman’s job a lot harder. He’s got to find Shriek without Bruce’s help. It’s tough, but Terry never gives up so he’s got this.

Another solid episode is when Spellbinder frames Batman for murder. Barbara Gordan is very quick to jump on this so Batman must dodge the official lines and find a way to win. I believe that Mad Stan was also in this episode. I forgot to mention him earlier, but he’s easily one of the best villains in the entire series. I’m being serious here folks, Mad Stan is just amazing. He’s a conspiracy guy who is always yelling and talking a good game. Tell me with a straight face that he doesn’t sound amazing. It’s just not possible. He’s easily one of the funniest figures in the show.

Sneak Peek is a good episode where a reporter learns how to go intangible. Unfortunately, this slowly corrupts him since the powers were too much and he ultimately meets a sad fate. Batman got lucky here since he was completely out of his league by the end. Seriously, there was basically nothing that he could do against this guy since no attack would work. It’s why nobody likes dealing with intangible foes. Repeller had a villain who couldn’t be touched. He had a barrier around him at all times. This guy was also crazy strong and Terry needed some luck to take him out. It’s always been a fun concept and the original X-Men comics had a villain named Unus with the same ability. It’s not used too often though because of how overly powerful it is. Finally, Where’s Terry is another good episode as we see Max and Bruce be the main characters instead of Batman for a change. It plays out like a mystery as they follow a lot of clues to see where Batman is. The episode is a little embarrassing for Terry, but you can’t win em all right?

The show’s animation holds up very well to this day. The futuristic look ensures that it looks about as good as Justice League despite airing sooner. The colors are very good and everything is sleek. Batman’s suit is better than a lot of the redesigns that you see nowadays and is still one of Batman’s best costumes. It may be the best besides the classic DCAU one. (Yes, Batman had 2, so I’m talking about the Justice League one) Likewise, the soundtrack is excellent and one of the best that you will hear in a show. Certainly the best in western animation. It’s just hard to get better than this since every theme is very fast paced and techno. It fits the future environment very well. It also goes without saying that the writing is very solid in this show. It’s the DCAU so you’ve probably come to expect this by now, but it’s still a nice credit to its resume. Nowadays, shows would do a lot to grab writing as solid as this.
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Overall, Batman Beyond is a great show. It did a good job of showing what it would be like to be Batman in a future DC universe. It was dark toned throughout, but it was usually not dark for the sake of it and never got super violent or anything like that. There may have been one or two episodes that went a little too far with that, but they were few and far between. The average episode was very solid and this is a series that I recommend to all action fans and especially to DC fans. It’s the next generation of Batman, how can you afford to miss it? Even if you don’t ultimately end up finding Batman Beyond to be more likable than the original, you should end up being a fan by the end. To be fair, Bruce Wayne is still the definitive Batman for me as well, but I actually like Terry more than all of the Robins in the DCAU. He was just written really well.

Overall 8/10

Guardians of the Galaxy

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Well, Marvel Animation has gotten its next show! It perfectly follows the formula of the others so if you like Avengers Assemble or Ultimate Spiderman, copy and past the episodes from those into Guardians while switching the characters and you’ll know if you’ll like it or not. This will probably be a 7 by the end and it’s a fairly nice show. We just need the characters to become more likable. I shall review the show once it’s over.

Overall 6/10

Jack Frost Review

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You didn’t think that the Christmas specials were over yet did you? No, it’s time to see what Jack Frost can do as he plays the main character of this film. It’s probably his most heroic portrayal yet and unfortunately this means that it’s probably going to be a heartbreaker. Let’s just say that it’s the saddest Christmas film I’ve seen since Jingle All The Way although both films try to throw you a curve ball with a sudden happy twist. I can’t say that it works, but it’s a fairly unique approach.

Jack Frost was making the world cold for Winter as per usual when he decides that he wants to be a human. Father Winter warns him that this may not be a good idea, but Frost won’t take no for an answer. The proposition that is given to him is one that is unfair and dangerous…just the kind of challenge that Jack Frost was looking for! He is to find his partner, a house, a bag of gold, and a tough horse before Winter ends. To do this, he will have to liberate the city that has been overtaken by a dictator. The old man is outnumbered a few dozen to one, but he does have 1000 metal soldiers who do his bidding so this may be a little tougher than expected.

This Christmas special probably had more action than all of the others put together. I was surprised at how intense the villain was. His name is Mr. Kraus and he is one of the better villains. He likes talking to himself via a metal sock puppet and this helps him get through his lonely days. He is all alone after all since his minions all ran away except for the empty, metal soldiers. That’s for good reason of course since he steals all of the money from the townsfolk and he never lets them live in peace. He was interesting even if he was no match for the Prince.

Elsa Elisa is the main heroine and she gives Jack Frost hope during his ghost days. That being said, she had made it clear that she wouldn’t be free anymore once a knight in shining armor appeared. She just didn’t expect that such a figure would come back so quickly for Christmas. She gets kidnapped at one point, but she puts up a decent struggle (Off screen of course) and we all knew that she was safe with the knight. She may not have made the choice that Jack Frost was hoping for, but it was a pretty decent choice nonetheless.

The knight is a pretty good character and the film resisted the temptation to make him a mean guy for no reason. He just wanted what was best for Elisa and he never strayed from his path. He can also fight and that is a big plus. The film has one action scene and it naturally involves him. He brutally slices his way through the army of robots and saves Elisa at the expense of his health. It’s easy to root for the guy and he also ignored Jack Frost’s insults because he is above such things. It’s safe to say that Superman’s later incarnations may have been inspired from this guy…it’s conceivable anyway.

As for good ole Jack Frost, he is a pretty great character. Unfortunately, his bark is much worse than his bite. He talks a good game right from the start about how he’s going to crush Mr. Kraus and steal back the gold, but then he can’t even climb up the hill. It’s probably the most humiliating moment that I’ve seen for a protagonist since Goku got hurt by Uub’s kick!! (And that’s saying something) Jack is a nice guy, but he let his emotions get the best of him and he didn’t have enough practical training. His deal with the Groundhog was some pretty quick thinking on his part though so he got to end on a high note. Even you (meaning all of my blog viewers as well as my blog readers) will be shocked at how quickly he gets over the tragic ending of the film.

The animation is a little sharper than some of the other Christmas specials. It uses an intriguing stop motion technique with Barbie dolls for the characters so their cheek bones really stand out, but you get used to it as the film rolls on. The fight scene looked pretty clear and the snow looked good as well. This is what I like to see from my Christmas specials even if the soundtrack was basically nonexistent. We got a song for Mr. Kraus, but it was (intentionally) not very enjoyable and Jack Frost’s song was only all right. This definitely isn’t Frosty level in the audio department, but it will do.

The film has a bit of a slow beginning unless you’re a big fan of Pardon Me Pete. Every film has a cartoon narrator or at least they did back in the day so it makes sense that he would be here. He’s not bad, but his eyes make him look a little sinister and you’re always waiting for him to finish his sentences so that the actual film can begin. He’s probably the smartest character in the film though so you definitely don’t want to underestimate him. His plan was pretty foolproof after all. The part of the intro that I found a little more uneventful though was probably when the film decided to introduce all of the characters. It was basically a parody since most of their names were basically what you would expect. Still, it was certainly intriguing.

Finally, there was one part of the ending that will make you wonder. Jack Frost is a ghost so he can’t have fun with the people…but we find out that he can have contact with them. They feel it when he touches them and he can turn into a solid, shadow creature to scare people. He seems to be pretty solid like that so why did he really need to become a human in the first place. “What is Love” may be a song that tries to clear this up, but I’m not buying it. I think that the writers may have jumped the gun by giving him such incredible powers during the ending. Ah well, what’s a plot “hole” or two. (The film did have a lot of good puns inside of it though so I give it bonus points for the writing)

Overall, You’ve probably heard of films that will leave you in tears before. Chances are that the people you heard were talking about this film. Technically, the ending isn’t played up to be a tear jerker, but if you really think about what just happened…it’s quite sad. It’s the kind of thing that just wasn’t thought about a whole lot back then, but it would be now. This was easily one of the more enjoyable Christmas specials even if it had a pretty slow start. It was more action packed and exciting than I had expected and I definitely recommend checking this one out for Christmas New Year’s Eve. It’s under an hour so you definitely can’t go wrong there. Haven’t you ever wanted to see Jack Frost play the lead? No worries, Frosty and Rudolph get cameos….heh heh heh.

Overall 7/10

Frozen Review

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Frozen is one of the highest grossing films of all time and it appears to be highly likely that it will join the top 5. That’s pretty impressive and the film is still out in theaters in case you want to go and check it out. I’ve finally had the pleasure of viewing the film on DVD and it is definitely one of Disney’s better projects. It has a Barbie feeling to it, but with a little more danger and intrigue. Why did Frozen succeed? Well, in the words of a respectable business man turned villain…”Isn’t that the question of the day?”

Looking at the posters and promotions for Frozen; the film always looked interesting but I had no idea on what the plot would be about. Even after I read a review for the film on another site…I still didn’t remember the plot by the end. Plot is a crucial part of a film, but it can be overshadowed by visuals and character development, which is what happens in this film. It does help that the plot does involve some…plot hax. (Or plot holes if you wish. Not in continuity, but more of a suspense for disbelief issue)

The story begins with two sisters, Elsa and Anna. They were great friends until Elsa managed to knock Anna out with a single ice blast. Their parents quickly save Anna, but at the cost of her memories. Anna remembers Elsa, but she believes that her sister is a mere mortal. (Which is a fair assumption) Elsa’s parents tell her to stay in her room for the next 10+ years until she masters her abilities and no one can ever know that she has powers! Unfortunately, Elsa cannot control her powers so she never gets to see another human being until her coronation ceremony. Anna has always wanted to rekindle their friendship and she attempts to do so, but things do not work out. Anna must now track down Elsa and get her to reverse the curse that she has placed on the town. It will be a dangerous trek!

Elsa is arguably the main character although one could make a very strong case for Anna being the true main character. Elsa is a lot more charismatic than Anna and one can sympathize with her plight. I had some issues with it, but I shall address those in due time. Her ice abilities are a lot more powerful than I had imagined and she can definitely hold her own against fellow Disney protagonists. (She could possibly hold her own against the Avengers depending on how thick she can make the ice that she creates.) She also has more common sense than Anna as she realizes that any man who would claim to be in love with someone after an hour or two and then propose cannot be trusted. He’s either greedy, evil, confused or all of the above!

Anna plays a large role in this film. She is a lot more outgoing than Elsa, but she’s also a little more naive. She takes her dangerous situations in stride because she doesn’t really seem to know how much danger she is in. She was involved in the scene that made me cringe a little inside and it definitely hurt the film a bit. I will go into that scene in a short while, but it wasn’t a great moment for the film. Anna’s a good character for the most part, but it’s too bad that she succumbed to the romance part of the film. The romance itself wasn’t a huge issue, but one day is way too quick to make any decisions.

At one point in the film, Elsa creates an Ice Creature to protect her Kingdom. This Ice Monster is pretty skilled in the art of fighting as he quickly takes down a few fighters. His durability is also shown to be at a high level and he’s pretty merciless. At one point, he attempts to destroy one of the main characters and you may find yourself at the edge of your seat as you wonder if the heroes will survive. (So long as you haven’t seen a film in a while) This creature never gets a name, but fans of the film aren’t likely to forget him anytime soon!

Hans is one of the first characters to appear, but he may come across as a little cheesy. As one point, Anna bursts into song and he quickly interrupts her to say that he was thinking the same thing…and then he continues the song. I can’t buy that! Anna should have immediately dashed out of there because coincidences like that don’t work. Hans just seemed really fake and he definitely is not someone that you would want to hang out with. He is one of the fighters who goes up against the ice creature and only one of them gets to walk away. Hans isn’t a likable character and he’s definitely one of the worst ones. Why? You’ll need to watch the film to find out!

Olaf is not someone that you want to cross. Once he realized that Kristoff had gone crazy, he quickly decided to hold him off so that Anna could escape. That’s what I call bravery and he should definitely be considered as a hero. He’s easily one of the best characters in the film and he is always ready for a hug. His body is a little frail, which gets in the way of his heroics, but Olaf never gives up. He’s always ready to risk life and limb to help his friends and hopefully he gets a nice role when he returns for the inevitable sequel.

Kristoff is another one of the main characters and I can’t say that I was a big fan of him. His friends are known as the “love experts” and I really didn’t like them either. Kristoff has his “hero” moment at the end, but it was a little hard to watch. Kristoff was really mean to one of the shop owners, going as far as to call him a thief. (I believe that is the term that he used…or maybe he called the owner a crook) Kristoff has a reindeer by his side named Sven. Sven is decently cool and he’s never afraid to speak his mind. He makes sure to keep Kristoff in line and he also knows when it’s time for Kristoff to take a swim. Once again, I do have to say that Kristoff’s friends weren’t that cool. They didn’t do a great job of helping out in the opening and they had the worst song in the entire film. Their scenes tended to drag on and I believe that they could have been written out.

The one scene that hurt the film more than anything else was the Wolf scene. In it, Anna and Kristoff are forced to throw away their heroic nature as they injure a group of wolves. That was pretty terrible and I lost a lot of respect for both of them. Anna’s still a decently good character overall, but that really threw away her character development. Kristoff never recovered from the incident as well and the film’s score took a bit of a hit. The film also had a lot of romance, but that’s to be expected. I think the film should have cut it out though since it wasn’t needed in this film. If Kristoff and Anna decided to just be pen pals and if Anna and Hans had decided to stay as rivals…then that would have worked out perfectly.

Finally, Elsa’s predicament is pretty hard to believe. How she hid from her sister for about a decade by staying in her room all day is beyond me. The parents made a pretty bad decision in that regard as they left the sisters in that state as they headed off for a cruise or something. Elsa shouldn’t have gone along with this plan and she could have stayed friends with Anna through mail. (Or phone calls if those were around back then) Their first meeting at the ball room could have gone better as well if Elsa had just explained things. She can definitely trust Anna with her secret so that shouldn’t be a concern. Ah well…the plot had to get rolling somehow right?

The animation for the film is decent. The ice abilities that Elsa possessed were pretty impressive visually. Character wise, this isn’t my favorite art style. It’s the way that most American animated films look, but give me the Super Friends or the original Gundam show’s animation any day. There’s something about these visuals that just don’t strike me in the same way.

The soundtrack for the film was pretty forgettable. That is not counting the lyrical songs of course. Elsa’s main song was pretty good when she first goes to the castle in her new hairdo. Beyond that, I can’t say that I really cared for the other songs. I’m not into lyrical songs (for the most part) so that was to be expected. At least it’s not a bad soundtrack!

Overall, this was a pretty solid Disney film. I really got a Barbie feeling from it, which was nostalgic since I used to watch a lot of those films. Elsa is a solid protagonist and her ice abilities are fun to watch. The film had more action than your typical animated film and we really only had one scene that would make you cringe a little inside. I can definitely see why everyone loves the film so much and I won’t mind seeing it in the top 5. It’s a fun film and you’ll walk away remembering how much fun the songs were and hoping that Elsa will be in Kingdom Hearts III. I definitely recommend this film to all audiences. I just don’t see how you can dislike this film unless the Wolf scene is the first scene of the film that you witness.

Overall 6/10