Mickey’s Polo Team Review

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All right, I got to see a Mickey special!…sorta. Well, we’ve finally branched away from Donald and Chip, but the special wasn’t what I expected it to be. It’s basically a 4 on 4 competition of Polo Ball between Team Disney and Team Live Action. The plot is basically just seeing which team will claim victory. Technically it’s a great plot with lots of potential and I love a good sports showdown. The special just did something that I was really not expecting and I’m not sure that it worked so well. It decided to give the humans just as much of a role as the real characters and it may have even been bigger.

Here’s where things got a little tricky for me. There are a bunch of characters on screen so I’m thinking I misread the rules at the beginning and there are more teams or they just look too similar. It feels like a bunch of guys are running around the court and Disney’s side has not teamwork. Donald gets completely destroyed by one of the humans as he is humiliated and beaten up quite a bit. I felt bad for him since Donald losing to the Chipmunks is one thing, but losing to an annoying comic relief character? I don’t know about that. The game doesn’t really end so at least you can say that Donald’s opponent didn’t win, but it’s an empty consolation.

As I mentioned, the others just don’t get much of a role. Mickey is here in the match but you would barely know it from watching the special. He is permanently relegated to side character status and might not even get a line. The rest of Team Disney is completely forgotten. It might help if I liked the humans of course, but not really. I’m still just wondering what the point of them was the entire time. It’s not that their gags are bad although they definitely aren’t as good as the Disney ones, but they feel incredibly out of place. It would be like suddenly including the Disney characters in an episode of the Brady Bunch and suddenly they’re the focus of the episode. It’s strange.

At the very least, I can say that the end was actually really good. It had a pretty good twist as the Donkeys decided to turn the tables on the humans. As I was on team Donkey from the start, it was good to see them get the props. It’s what I’d call a really happy ending and does give the special an extra point. I think if they make a sequel special I’d definitely want them to follow up on the ending. It just makes sense and I think people could get behind that. That or let Donald just clobber everyone.

Overall, I’m not sure about this special. It was certainly pretty weird and unexpected. I think they should have played it straight with just the Disney characters having a sport competition. Hopefully we still get that somewhere down the line. I suppose I’d recommend it, but don’t go into the special with big hopes. Think of it like a spinoff special that isn’t really about the Disney characters. Perhaps it is better on a second watch, but I’d definitely say that it is one of the weakest specials from these classics.

Overall 6/10

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Batman vs Two Face Review

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Adam West really had a good run as Batman. His TV show was very successful to the point where we now have comics and movies being released to ride the nostalgia. They’ve been handled very well and while I wasn’t thrilled with how the first film made Batman evil, this one suffers from no such issue. Considering that it’s likely the final Batman movie with this iconic lead, it’s a great way to go out. The film is really well made and balances the humor and action pretty well. It’s a movie that I can easily recommend to any comic fan or moviegoer.

The film starts off by adapting the classic Two Face origin story. Hugo Strange built a device to suck the evil out of all the villains, but it wasn’t stable so some of the residue got on Harvey Dent. This transformed him into the legendary villain and in a surprise twist he is defeated by Batman and Robin during the opening montage. We skip ahead a little while as there are multiple time skips in the intro of the film. Harvey Dent has been cured and rehabilitated. He has to slowly work up the ranks once again, but vows to keep bringing criminals to justice. At first everything seems to be okay, but then Two Face pops up once again. Batman doesn’t believe that it is Harvey, but Robin believes that Bruce is not able to see the truth that is right in front of him because of his friendship with Dent. However, Robin is not impartial either as he wants to put Dent away since he feels like his friendship to Bruce is now playing second fiddle. Tensions are high!

Two Face is a likable villain from the start. He’s cool as Harvey Dent and as Two Face. As Dent he is a charismatic guy who always takes command of the situation and doesn’t back down from the hero types. Even when Robin tries to intimidate him he comes up with quick counters like Robin’s bed time. It was a great comeback and I wouldn’t want him to try and play nice when the other guy is being mean. Dent also looks really good in the court room and even intimidates Batman which was an intense moment. As Two Face his voice may not have the same impact, but his character is still the same. The coin gimmick is always pretty solid and he’s just an interesting character. Two Face never feels like he’s overstayed his welcome and he is certainly a threat since even his underlings are a match for Batman and Robin. In the Batman ’66 universe, it’s safe to say that he is Batman’s greatest foe. The other villains have been reduced to guinea pigs for Hugo Strange’s experiments.

Batman is a great hero as always. His voice perfectly suits the character and he is shown to be a genius. Batman picks up on all of the clues right away and puts justice above all else. Now when it comes to combat you can tell that Batman is getting older. He has a hard time against paid goons and must get captured almost 10 times in the film when you consider the opening montage. He definitely would have benefitted from a little more prep time in this case. He still has a lot of great gadgets as always though so Batman is still prepared. He handled the evil Robin plot pretty well as to be expected.

Robin spends most of the film being jealous of Harvey. This is good in the sense that Robin gets to throw a lot more burns Harvey’s way as a result and even follows him into an abandoned warehouse by his lonesome. THe downside of this is that Robin is the one who usually ends up getting burned and the whole situation doesn’t go well for him at all. He just seems out of his league the whole time and definitely will have to keep training if he wants to be on Batman’s level. The evil Robin plot was fortunately a lot smaller than I had expected. I was worried he would be evil for a while which would have hurt the dynamic like the first film. Part of what makes Batman ’66 fun is the banter between both Batman and Robin. The show simply wouldn’t have been as fun without one of the two heroes being present.

Catwoman also gets a role in this film. Her dialogue with Batman is always so corny that it’s funny. As a result, I can’t say I mind their romance as much as I would otherwise although I still find it out of character for Batman. If she really does turn good, then I suppose it’s good that Batman never lost hope in her rehabilitation. Of course, would he still have her serve out her jail time or go for a nullification on the grounds of being a hero? She gets to fight in the climax and while Batman seemed to doubt her fighting abilities, I think we’ve seen her as a villain long enough to know that she is definitely a fighter. If the villains have to deal with 3 opponents from now on, Gotham just got a whole lot safer.

Alfred looks really good in this movie so his fans are certainly going to be thrilled. He stands up to the villains and never backs down. He stays stern to the end and does his best to make sure that neither Batman or Robin do something they’ll regret. Aunt Harriett isn’t quite as good though as she doesn’t contribute anything to the film except to annoy everyone. Her role in the first film was a little better when she was caught by Evil Bruce Wayne. Admittedly it was definitely a scene that really worked for the evil plot.

I wouldn’t mind seeing more of the human angle for the next Adam West installment if one were to come out. As it is, this Gotham is a lot happier and less crime infested than the one we’re all used too so it would be cool to see how the heroes interact with everyone on a daily basis. We see Bruce Wayne briefly and there are human scenes around, but it would be interesting to see this Utopia. Gotham seems like a pretty perfect place if we’re being honest so it’s even hard to see how Metropolis could be better. Lets face it, a Batman vs Superman movie in this continuity would be amazing!

The animation is quite solid as you would expect. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds look like something out of a mainstream DC film. After all, the animation is still at that high level for a modern action film, it’s just intentionally drawn to look campy and retro. As a result, it’s a film that still has its usual fun, but looks good while doing it. DC’s always been great with animation and that certainly hasn’t stopped in this film. The soundtrack is also pretty good although less memorable. The themes work well with what is happening on screen and that’s always the important part. It’s not super soft music or something that would distract you from the action.

The film isn’t very long so the pacing is very fast. There’s always something happening and the movie just doesn’t slow down. There are also no negatives to be found here which is quite impressive. I just can’t think of anything I disliked about the movie. I’m sure there are minor nitpicks and the film isn’t a 9 after all, but that’s a case of not enough great elements as opposed to bad ones. The film accomplishes at everything it sets out to do. What you expect from an Adam West Batman movie is a lot of good humor and solid action scenes. We get both in this movie. Who doesn’t like seeing Batman as the ultimate hero who is so over the top that even crossing the street too fast is a violation of rights for him? It’s just great and I can’t stress enough how the voice really sells the performance. That’s why getting another film without Adam West would certainly be risky. I’m sure the writers could handle it snce the writing is also very good, but it may be worth it to call the series something else if that happens. Go for the same tone but put it in a new universe.

Overall, Batman vs. Two Face is a great film. The vs title could be misleading if you were expecting a big fist fight, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that you would be expecting more of a mind battle considering it’s Batman. Two Face can fight when necessary though and does get his action in. The writing is on point and the animation looks good. Batman really gets his full credit and while it wasn’t Robin’s best day, he got a lot of good hits in as well. You really can’t afford to miss this one if you consider yourself to be a big DC fan or a comic fan in general. It’s pretty happy but also transitions well for the serious moments. There’s a nice mystery as to who Two Face is which you can sink your teeth into as you wait for the climax. It’s the perfect blend of why DC is so great.

Overall 8/10

All in a Nutshell Review

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Time for the final Chip n Dale special that I have seen so far. The little guys are still up to their tricks but once again it is actually Donald who starts the fight. He’s been stealing Acorns from them again so they decide to shut down his butter corporation once and for all. Donald had actually been pretty successful so it’s sad to see him be brought down like this.

Of course, you can’t blame the Chipmunks either. What I do blame them for is wasting a lot of butter though. A lot of bottles crash and the butter goes to waste. Maybe they were too stressed out about getting the butter and being undetected, but it just goes to show you that haste makes waste.

It is the weakest of the 3 specials though because the plot is certainly the flimsiest. As it is, to buy time for the special to end we see the Chipmunks bicker a lot and hit each other. One of them takes most of the damage as the other Chipmunk always picks on him, but they both get their share of blows in. Neither one really wants to stay down. Even after getting beaten up one is still trying to steal butter so I guess you have to admire their dedication and all. The animation is good as always. It’s the same old same old as Disney has mastered this art to a science. It’s hard to believe that every frame was drawn and that they didn’t use computers to set this all up. The amount of work behind such an undertaking is just hard to fathom and will never cease to amaze me.

I have wondered how nut butter would taste though. I’m inclined to think that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as normal butter just because nuts don’t seem like they would taste that great. It’s a pure assumption of course, but normal butter from milk makes sense. Nuts….I’m still wrapping my head around that one to be honest. Apparently Donald’s customers love it though based on how much his business was booming. If only he had gotten Chip n Dale on board with stock options or something, he’d still be a millionaire today and could have even passed Uncle Scrooge.

Overall, If you like the classic Disney specials then you’ll like this one. There’s certainly not much reason to dislike it and at least it’ll all be over very quickly either way. Donald will make or break this special for you since he’s always the most interesting character. After being with the Chipmunks for so long, I’m ready to go back to Mickey Mouse and his fun supporting cast. He doesn’t even need to steal butter since Mickey has his whole Turkey from the Christmas specials. You can’t stop a mouse on a mission.

Overall 6/10

Transformers Robots in Disguise Review

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Robots in Disguise lasted for a pretty long time even if it never seemed to get ultra popular or anything. It did well enough for itself to continue and kept the Transformers Prime continuity alive a little longer. It was a pretty good show that was consistently entertaining week after week but never made it to the next level as a Great show.

Well, let’s get the humans out of the way. Their role is rarely all that big episode but they are basically guaranteed some kind of subplot in most of the episodes. Russell is an ok kid, but it sure was selfish of him to be willing to throw away his football team’s chance at a championship just because he was nervous. The team was counting on him. The worst moment though was when the team was actually getting ready to win the game without him when Russell shows up to get the winning kick. They were about to win despite being ditched so if I was them I probably would have politely declined the help. These kids also rarely showed up at all during the series which was odd. Definitely not a bad thing by the way since I’d rather focus on the robots anyway. Russell also took his TV too seriously as he actually sulks and guilt trips everyone for a full episode when it breaks. In short, Russell’s not a bad character but he is still a kid so he often gets in the way or only does well thanks to plot hax.

Denny Clay often gets the short end of the stick in this series. He collects a lot of little trinkets which he then plans to sell. He doesn’t get a lot of buyers but at the very least you can’t deny that the guy has heart. At the end of the day you feel bad for him because the Autobots are always breaking his figures and collectibles either intentionally or by accident but they rarely apologize. Even when they do it is hard to think of them as genuine since they keep on doing it. They’re really costing Denny a lot of money which is a shame.

Bumblebee is the heroic leader of the series and I think this is the first time I’ve ever liked him in the entire franchise. Usually he’s not my kind of character because he’s either very weak and annoying or he just doesn’t really have a personality. I blame the live action films for making him a non character for a while but this series stopped that. Bumblebee is now a capable leader and warrior. He resisted arrest when the cops were corrupted and while he was already the best character in the series for a while by that point, it sealed the deal. It was just a great scene since there is definitely no way that Bumblebee could possibly lose to these guys. He should definitely not go willingly with those guys when the safest bet is to press forward. Bumblebee gets a lot of development throughout the series and is always the voice of reason when everyone else is panicking. I’m not sure what the heroes would possibly do without him and his tactical precision.

Drift has been a character who is a very mixed bag in the Transformers series. Sometimes he is a really cool character with a very streamlined design who can fight well like in the comics. Other times they take the Samurai motif all the way so he is a heavy set warrior who talks about honor a lot. This is the latter and I just never cared for the character all that much. He is very by the books and a strict old guy., that’s just not what I look for in my favorite characters. His pupils weren’t any better either though as their training never seemed to end. This show isn’t always very consistent with character development so having two characters work to improve during the series was naturally a bad idea from the start. It simply wasn’t going to work nor was it ever going to work. They’re basically just kids so they aren’t ready to be fighting here with the big kids.

Strongarm is another one of the main characters and she looks up to Bumblebee since he rose so high in the chain of command. With her mastery over the rules she figures that she has a bright future ahead of her as well. She quickly finds out that this will be difficult as she is often paired up with Sideswipe, an ex con who loves breaking all of the rules. While Strongarm’s character doesn’t really change much during the course of the show, she is one of the better supporting characters. She is certainly more interesting than Grimlock or Drift and is usually more dependable than Sideswipe. I also tend to like the police bots since they can be fairly unique. She does have a bad habit of reading a villain his rights before actually securing the arrest.

Grimlock is another one of the main characters and he is easily the worst one. He is the main comic relief character of the series which his fans will probably be sad about. He isn’t very smart but you would st least think that he is very strong right? Well, that isn’t the case as he is overpowered by just about every con around. While he is slightly stronger than the rest of the Autobots he is so slow that it is rendered moot. He simply can’t keep up with the others and pretty much any Grimlock episode you could assume would be one of the weaker ones. He just can’t hold his own story all that well. Definitely not my kind of character.
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Sideswipe is the final main member of the Autobot fighter squad. At first he defies authority and does whatever he wants but by the end he is basically a team player even if he would never admit it. At times the show didn’t seem to know how strong he should be so Sideswipe can look really good in some episodes and really bad in others. At his best he is portrayed as potentially being the secret weapon of the team since he used to be a really powerful stealth fighter. Of course, with how much he talks I’m definitely not sure about that. Basically you have to be able to get over the act that he is constantly picking fights and arguing with Strongarm. It’s certainly better than most of the show’s other attempts at humor though so I can get behind that.

Fixit is the team’s main comic relief character. He is broken despite his name so he always ends up sayings words that sound like what he wants to say but is always off by a letter. He will then punch himself which causes the right word to come out. You better like this gimmick because it is featured in every single episode that he is in and sometimes more than once. I can’t say that it’s my kind of gimmick but the punch is always handled very well. You can hear the strain in his voice after the smack. He definitely wasn’t needed in the show though and never really added anything to the main cast’s dynamic.

Windblade is one of the experienced Autobot guest stars who shows up later to help. I always like the classic “all star” character who seems to know everything and is always willing to lend a helping hand. That being said, she isn’t always as skilled as you would expect from the confident attitude that she has. She has a cool design either way though and I liked her well enough. Adding her to the main cast probably would have made the show more exciting and she is undoubtedly better than some of the main cast members like Drift and Grimlock. You can make a good case for her being better than Strongarm and Sideswipe as well but at least within the comedy atmosphere of the show they are more entertaining. To see Windblade in a show where she can really show off her stuff, you should take a look at the Machinima show.

This wouldn’t be a Transformers show without Optimus Prime appearing so naturally he does manage to get in on the action. He still had his cool jet boosters from Transformers Prime and is acknowledged as one of the heavy hitters. As you would probably expect there is some tension between him and Bumblebee since both of them are leaders now. At times Prime is to blame for their fights as he does undermine Bumblebee at times but sometimes Bumblebee is simply being jealous. Either way it is always cool to see Optimus. I would have liked him to have had more of an active role in fighting some of the opponents. Instead the show usually finds an excuse to keep him out of the way. It makes sense from a Power Level perspective though since the show would be tempted to nerf him. Since the main cast loses in every episode, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do the same to Prime. As it is, they did have him lose to Laserbeak which was really surprising. Nice hype for the little guy though. Prime probably should have told Bumblebee what was happening in Cybertron a lot sooner than he did though. Taking down the evil council should have been really easy for them to be honest and it should have been obvious that it was mind control since Prime should absolutely be acknowledged as a hero. It all worked out in the end though. Prime is always a consistent character and is still one of the best.

Steeljaw is basically the main villain of the series as he just comes back for more in each and every arc. He’s a strategic wolf bot who is good with sub-Sonic waves and tricks people with his cunning. His hand to hand skills are enough to typically make him able to fight on par with Bumblebee. It can be hard to take him seriously due to the fact that he appears constantly which results in a lot of losses but he is played seriously. He also is a credible threat who actually does get the upper hand on the Autobots from time to time. His design is good and the character does get his share of good scenes so ultimately I suppose he did good.
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Megatronus was certainly more of a threat to the heroes though. He got a large amount of hype throughout and when he finally appeared the heroes were certainly no match for him. He has a great design and really good abilities. His big two part adventure were probably the best episodes in the series and it was a shame to see him go. He was the closest that we got to a Megatron in the series and definitely served the role well. I dare say that he’s probably the strongest villain in the series.

Another big boss during the series was Overload, but he is less memorable. He’s another strong bot and one that Bumblebee has a personal vendetta against. He was a credible threat which is always the important thing in the end though. Menasor was one of the last big bots to show up. He’s the fusion of Motormaster and his lackeys. While he doesn’t look too intelligent at first and you have to wonder how the villains haven’t mastered the form yet, he does good by the end. It was fun to see the large robots even if it was only briefly. The Titan battles of the show were always entertaining but were largely left unexplored. Bumblebee and his team barely even got to master it before it was all over.

Glowstrike and Scorponok were rather disappointing as far as big villains go. They weren’t just weak, they were naive. They somehow didn’t expect Steeljaw to betray them even though that is basically his whole character. They had a lot of potential and in general that arc was pretty hype, but they just folded when the situation got tough. It was rather unfortunate and in the end they were no better than some of the lackeys. From the minions, a few of them were fairly memorable with how often they kept showing up. Underbite comes to mind right away as he is the Decepticon’s answer to Grimlock. He’s also really strong and gets even stronger whenever he eats metal. He gets to do this quite often so he is almost always stronger than Grimlock. I liked him well enough and typically the heroes could only beat him with plot hax.

Thunderhoof is an old mob boss who always talks tough. At first he was on roughly equal ground with Steeljaw, but gradually the gap between them widened until he was not really a match anymore. He’s still a fun opponent though and his rivalry with Sideswipe is pretty good. There’s also Quillfire whose abilities are very unique. He can hit you with his quills which will affect you in a random way. Certainly a good way to win a fight, but also a way to lose one if the effect ends up being a positive one. His personality was fun as he always talked about the revolution. Finally we have the comic relief Clampdown. He’s scared of everyone and will certainly rat out his teammates if given the chance. Not much more to add on to that guy as I can’t say that I was a fan. There are a multitude of other bots in the show, but you get the general idea.

Starscream surprisingly got a big role in the show and was one of the cooler guest stars. He looked really good and a quick Prime reference also means that he looked better in that show since he found a way to escape and come back for revenge. He’s a fun opponent as always and he’s definitely still one of my favorite characters. It’s just hard to see how you can not enjoy the character. Starscream clearly enjoys himself while blasting the Autobots away and while he was careless in letting the Minicons get away, he was still pretty imposing throughout the arc.

Soundwave got to appear as a guest star two times and was given a lot of respect in each appearance. The heroes treated him as a legendary villain who was out of their league which his fans will certainly appreciate. That does mean that the way he loses can be a little suspect of course as the film typically has a problem when the power levels are vastly different like that. Instead of thinking up a clever plan to stop the villain, the heroes will usually just win with plot hax. Definitely a little cheesy, but by and large Soundwave definitely looks really good and lives up to the hype. Laserbeak definitely deserves some recognition as well as he looked great when he appeared. Still as loyal as ever and even stronger than he used to be.
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The show has some long running story arcs like finding all of the Decepticons who were launched from the ship and the Cybertron conspiracy, but for the most part the series is an episodic one. Each episode will have a self contained plot so you definitely need to enjoy the characters or you won’t be a big fan of this show. Fortunately, thanks in part to the character designs and the overall writing, the series is pretty fun. It may be an advantage of the series going for comedy from the start. Some titles can do both pretty well like DBZ, by others like Naruto Shippuden can only handle the action part and the normal scenes can get a little dull. I’d argue that Robots in Disguise has the funnier cast and the talking scenes are more enjoyable. Naturally the action scenes can’t really hold their own in comparison though.

The series could get serious when necessary though like the climaxes of each season. The first season’s fight brought with it some super firms and a really cool fight with Prime and Bumblebee against the new villain. It’s still my favorite climax in the show. The final season had the cool fight against the High Council and the team finally got to put their Super form to good use. The fight was also a little more brutal than the first ones as the villains landed quite a few hits. In general I thought the final season did up the intensity from the earlier episodes. The one where Sideswipe got traumatized was also pretty dark (relative to this show) even if I didn’t buy into the trauma. Losing the homebase was definitely a big event at any rate.

The sheer length of the show is also impressive but it can be a double edged sword. On one hand it’s great that we get so many adventures with the team. It helps them get more likable and you’re happy that you get a consistent adventure every week. So much happens that it’s hard to even remember it all. I barely remember the Optimus Prime training subplot during the first season, but it was actually handled very well and it was thrilling to see him return after such a long time. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of that plot and it was actually pretty serious throughout. While the show is almost always light hearted, it did get quite serious when necessary. This is basically the case during all of the climax events and like any good action series, the climax is where the show reaches its peak.

On the other hand, the budget begins to show and quite a lot of enemies end up reusing designs. This happens quite extensively as you watch more and more of the show. The designs are good but reusing them is never the answer. I think they could have certainly gotten more creative even if it only meant changing a few parts and making them Chimeras or something. There are also some additions that feel rather pointless like the Minicons. The Minicons don’t only show up for one season, but get almost the same plot in the final arc as a few minicons are working for the enemies. They’re too weak to be a threat and never add anything to the show. We didn’t need the minies that could fuse with other bots and the mini traitors also serves no real role. Some subplots like that never really hit it off.

The animation is actually pretty good. To be specific, I’m not sure if it’s the animation that I always thought looked really good or if it’s the character designs. Whichever of the two it is, it makes the episodes pretty fun to look at. The fight scenes may not be all that long typically but the ones we get are satisfying. This really isn’t the kind of show that does a good job on the power levels though. The whole team of heroes are often defeated by a single opponent with ease and then they will be able to take on far stronger opponents at a later date. At one point the heroes were basically losing in every single episode which was pretty amusing but in a sad way. At least the team always talks tough despite this so they clearly don’t let it get to them.

As you may expect, the soundtrack is rather ordinary. The tunes are catchy enough but they do come across as generic. You will certainly remember them quite well by the end but that’s thanks in part to the fact that the music selection is quite limited so they end up throwing the same songs at you. The music doesn’t really help or hurt the series. It’s basically just around and you won’t get much of an impression from it.
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Overall, Robots in Disguise will probably end up fading from memory for most compared to the other Transformer shows. It’s a good show but it certainly doesn’t try to be all that distinct or memorable. Whatever it may do well, other shows have done it even more impressively. It’s really a great way to keep enjoying the Transformers franchise since it’s a pretty long show at least. If you’re a Transformers fan and haven’t seen this show yet then I would definitely recommend this one. Even if you are not a Transformers fan I would recommend checking it out since it’s a solid all around action show. It’s very easy to just turn on and enjoy since most episodes are stand alone titles and most of the plots are rather basic. At the very least, I’ll miss having the show around. In particular, I’ll definitely miss Bumblebee since he was handled perfectly. I guess we’ll see if the next Bumblebee show coming up can top this one.

Overall 7/10

Winter Storage Review

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Another special has Chip n Dale at it again but this time Donald starts the fight. He has started a very successful Nut Butter company by turning Acorns into butter. The problem is that he is running out of butter and business is still booming. He decides to steal the nut supply from the Chipmunks which is where all of the trouble starts. They don’t take kindly to this and initiate a counter strike where they don’t leave a single acorn behind.

To Donald’s credit he does a good job of defending himself once he knows what’s up. An intense hockey game starts up with the highest stakes possible, the nuts. Donald tries blocking the Chipmunks from slamming the nuts into their treehouse but 2 v 1 just aren’t good odds and Donald is getting roasted. He is clearly out of practice and needs to find his inner champion again.

As it is, Donald did deflect some of the nets and held his own in the skirmishes. They just overwhelmed him with the sheer amount of nuts that they were swinging around. Even then he didn’t back down and took them head in which was pretty impressive. I can’t blame the Chipmunks for their actions at all this time either since Donald is the one who stole their nuts. You simply can’t let that happen.

I’d definitely like to see some more sports with Donald and the crew. Honestly I’d probably say that Donald would even outrank Mickey in this area since he just seems the most agile. Donald definitely has the most competitive spirit as well so he wouldn’t mind roughing Mickey up a bit during the plays which would give him the edge. As long as he isn’t unfairly outnumbered like in this special, my money is always on the duck.

There’s not much to say about the animation as it’s basically the usual. Solid and streamlined as always with a lot of heart out into it. I’d expect nothing less from Disney since they always deliver. I’ll give a shoutout to the fact that they always manage to put a lot of plot into the special even with no dialogue. They definitely mastered the art of show don’t tell.

Overall, This was another pretty fun special. The Hockey Game was definitely the highlight and just made the special a blast to watch. Donald also did get the last laugh even if wha he did still helped his opponents. At least he got to go down on his own terms which isn’t something that just anyone can say. I still say that 1 on 1 Donald would have claimed victory here. He doesn’t hold back against any opponent and would have used his size advantage and competitive intensity to control the court. Nobody stops this duck!

Overall 7/10

Out of Scale Review

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This is the start of the Chip n Dale triple feature. The two match wits against Donald on 3 occasions. Naturally you know who I’m rooting for as Donald just seems like a good guy…sometimes. I’m not really a big Chip n Dale fan with all their infighting and constantly getting in Donald’s way. Donald does start the fight in two of the specials but let’s put that to the side for now.

The two chipmunks were heading home for the day when they realize that it has gotten a lot smaller somehow. Little do they know that Donald has removed their tree as it was deemed to be too big and he replaced it with a much smaller one. He is trying to build a tiny sized world that he can rule. The Chipmunks enjoy it for a bit but eventually Donald goes mad with power and takes it too far. Can the Chipmunks stop him or is it game over?

The special was pretty good and squarely in the middle of the 3. For once Donald and the Chipmunks basically got along the entire time. It seems like Donald just can’t resist making a prank and that’s when the tensions start to rise. The Chipmunks do make a great peace offering at the end though so for once it ends on a happy note for everyone. I can tell you that this is certainly a very rare event indeed. The animation is pretty smooth as always. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds look realistic and cheerful. It is able to make the plots work on screen as all of Donald’s gadgets can be instantly recognized. Disney was still ahead of its time in animation at this time.

The Chipmunks almost should have kept on living under Donald’s care. They would have had a home in the winter and enough food to live comfortably. Sure, he’ll have his pranks and all, but I doubt he would do anything to wreck the house so they’re only in trouble if they go outside. It may not be an exciting life, but it could be a pretty solid one all the same. That being said, I’m sure Donald would get bored after a while so it’d be more like a hotel stay. Once the service ends it’s time to go.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with this classic short. It’s only a few minutes so the pacing is pretty tight. Even if you didn’t like the special it wouldn’t be all that bad for the same reason since it finished very quickly. I still prefer to see Donald hanging out with Mickey or Scrooge but he certainly does help Chip n Dale be more interesting as well. Donald can hold his own specials easily so throwing him with other characters is a way to bring any special up. Now a Goofy and Chip n Dale team up….let’s not even think about that!

Overall 7/10

Transformers Beast Machines Review

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There have been a bunch of Transformer cartoons. They’ve all been pretty good as they ranged from decent to excellent. That being said, the bulk of the shows all take place during the same time period. The war between Autobots and Decepticons always rage on with neither side ever managing to achieve complete victory. That’s why it’s always cool when they changed things up a bit by having a show take place in the future. The Machinima show got the premise right there as we explored new territory. The execution may not have been the best, but I was really hyped for the new location and plot. It had some of the most potential for any Transformers show. Fast forward to Beast Machines even though it’s a lot older. This series takes place so far in the future that the original characters are mere memories at this point. There are no more Autobots and Decepticons. There are barely even any Maximals and their opponents anymore. It’s the End Game for life as we know it with the final Maximals making their final attempt to save the world.

I saw Beast Wars a while ago and it was surprisingly good. One of the areas where the show really shined was how they had an epic cliff hanger at the end of pretty much every season. Those moments are incredible. Beast Machines keeps that up. There are only 2 seasons to work with this time so it at least pulls this off for season 1. The cliffhanger is really epic and while it may seem like I’m jumping ahead in this review, that is the core of why the show is so good. Beast Machines is really epic with almost nonstop action and a desolate world as the battlefield. The heroes are outnumbered and are hunted down 24/7 until they are destroyed. They never have time to relax or regroup so their guards are always up. It’s the tense Transformers show that I’ve always wanted. It has the atmosphere of Attack on Titan with the proper execution of the DBZ Trunks timeline.

Lets back up to the plot though. Optimus Primal and the Maximals had nearly defeated Megatron once and for all, but unfortunately they didn’t see their victory through to the end. At the last possible moment something happened and they all woke up on Cybertron with their memories wiped. The mystery of how this all happened doesn’t come up for several episodes although you can probably guess what happened. The answer doesn’t matter as much as the situation. Primal quickly gets a grasp of the situation and escapes to safety with Cheetor and Rattrap. They have to stay in Beast Mode most of the time because whenever they switch to Robot mode Megatron’s armies can track them.

See, Megatron has taken over Cybertron. He murdered all of its inhabitants and is locking their Sparks (AKA Souls) inside of a chamber. He plans to absorb them into himself so he will be All Powerful and one with the spark, but first he has to purge himself of his organic Dinosaur/Dragon form. He has grown to deeply dislike anything organic and wants to be a pure robot again. The end goal is that he’ll be able to make Cybertron metal again. Meanwhile, Primal has grown to like the Organic way of life and wants to make Cybertron like Earth. To do that he will need to free all of the sparks and stop Megatron. It’ll be tough, but he’s ready to happen.

The heroes are always at a disadvantage here. In season 1 it’s only 4 of them for quite a while. By season 2 they slowly start to build up their forces and have much better odds. In Robot form the heroes are considerably stronger than Megatron’s forces one on one, but the villains make up for that in sheer numbers. They outnumber the heroes with around 1000-7 fighters. The heroes can also keep getting rebuilt while it’s game over for the Maximals if they even die once. Throw in the fact that Optimus Primal slowly seems to be turning crazy and the heroes have their work cut out for them.
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The graphics are infamous since the show is pure CGI. That being said, it’s a CGI that isn’t terrible. It looks like an old PS1 video game. You feel like you’re watching nonstop cutscenes and as a big video game fan myself, I thought it worked out well enough. It still beats out several other animation styles like Samurai Jack’s or the average Flash show for me. It’s a bit of a case by case basis as some of those likely beat this one out as well, but the character designs and Playstation look just make it all the more convincing for me. The show could also animate the energy effects and destruction quite well when it wanted too. The new design for Cybertron was really great as well.

I’ve always said that city landscapes are the absolute best backdrop for any show/movie/game/comic. Name any form of media and the city is the best. It just looks amazing and can make any scene that much more epic. I’ve always felt that way and can name a number of shows/movies that used a city and it helped the media succeed. Justice League, Index, Man of Steel, etc. It’s just so much better than being in a desert, forest, under water, in a cave, on a mountain, in The Room, or even in space. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a normal city. A metallic one like this show or a sci-fi version works as well. As long as it’s a city it’ll work well. It’s deserted of course since the show didn’t want to animate too many character models, but it just helps the apocalyptic effect get across even more. The show show feels like the heroes are devoid of hope without overplaying that card and it worked quite brilliantly.

The soundtrack is also amazing. It’s pretty limited as you’ll hear the same 2-3 themes almost every single episode but they are great so you won’t get tired of them. They help get the epicness of the show across well. There are some titles where the music makes a difference and this is one of them. I could honestly see the show dropping 2 stars if the soundtrack had been bad since it would destroy the entire illusion that the show was going for. It needs a fast soundtrack that will keep you pumped throughout all of the episodes and fights.

Lets talk about the characters. The main character is Optimus Primal and he can be a mixed bag. On one hand, I like that he’s a little more intense than in Beast Wars. He took his loss quite badly and has distanced himself from the others. He cares more about saving everyone than saving himself which is good even if he can be extreme about it. He also no longer cares about being regarded as a hero so when Megatron prepares to destroy his team, Primal decides to retaliate by destroying everyone else. Mutual destruction is the option he’ll go with now even if he would not have before. It’s an intense scene and since it’s the cliff hanger of season 1 it’s amazing. Primal maybe overthought things a lot and trusted in the Oracle way too much when it was clearly hacked, but it’s consistent with his character development. He’s no longer the leader that he used to be, but this new edgy version of Primal worked well.

Another character that changed quite a bit was Cheetor. He’s no inexperienced rookie anymore and has become a seasoned commander. Part of the drama in the show is that he has become a better leader than Primal and keeps undercutting him. This leads to quite a lot of tension between the two characters and they bicker a lot. Cheetor does really respect Primal a lot though and backs off most of the time, but feels like he has to press the point at times or Primal will lead them to their doom. I liked how his super speed was emphasized quite a lot in this show when he’s in robot mode. He can deflect many blasts at once and he became my favorite character in the title. I think the Maximals will be in a good spot as long as he’s around.

Rattrap is the same as always. He’s very weak and rather annoying. He only serves as the main comic relief character for the show although he’s not nearly as obnoxious as most. You may have guessed this, but the show isn’t what you’d call a happy one. Rattrap’s humor moments are far apart and not very frequent. He complains about everything and tries to hold the heroes back, but that’s about it. His robot form has some nice hacking abilities to make up for his lack of power at least. I personally didn’t like him, but he’s not a terrible character.
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Blackarachnia is another one of the main maximals. She’s pretty upset since her pal Silverbolt has yet to be found in the future. Something seems to have happened to him and gradually the characters find out what occurred. Unfortunately once that happens she loses interest in anything else and has a one track mind. Her persistence is impressive, but since I don’t even like Silverbolt, I can’t say that I was too thrilled at that. Her thunder abilities certainly make her a useful ally to have around.

Nightscream is a new character for this show. He’s a teenager robot so he can be a lot edgier than the others. He defies Primal at every turn and is always trying to stir up the group. He’s a nice guy super deep down of course, but rarely shows it. He’s one of the most overpowered heroes since he is super dangerous in beast mode, let alone his robot form. He can be entertaining to watch, but not the most reliable fellow. I didn’t mind him all that much. He doesn’t quite fit into the rival role, but that’s sort of the angle the show was going with him. Watch out for when his head moves to his chest, it makes him definitely look rather disturbing.

Rhinox certainly has an interesting role here. Like everyone else his personality has changed quite drastically. In his case, he’s had an ephiphany that he’s been on the wrong side all this time. Metal must live and nature must die. It’s certainly interesting and he’s not on either side. He wants Megatron and Primal to finish each other off so he can take over the planet. It’s an interesting goal and I did like having a third party at the ready. That being said, I was quite pleased when Megatron made his final mode involving the character. Lets just say that a traitor is rarely a match for the real main villain.

Silverbolt may not be quite as changed as Rhinox, but he’s supremely annoying. He has the worst re design from all of the characters and he just comes across as rather arrogant for no good reason. He hasn’t earned the right to be overconfident like the others. He should take a back seat and try to learn from the others instead of saying what he wants. He was also the reason one of my favorite characters missed most or all of Arc 2 which was sad.

Botanica joined the team at the very end. She’s portrayed as super powerful as she can shoot lightning and manipulate the environment. I admit that I was hoping for a different character when the rocket landed. Her hype vanishes after the first episode and she gets a very random romance subplot so in the end the show was probably better off without her. You may have guessed this, but the romance in the show is not handled well and could have easily been removed. At least the Blackarachnia one had been going on since the first show, Botanica’s really came out of left field.

Lets talk about the villains. Megatron got a really cool redesign, complete with a cape and everything. He certainly stole the show from the villains for the most part. He was a lot more serious than in Beast Wars and while he didn’t get to fight all that much, his presence was felt. I also liked that he did at least have a code of honor as he kept to his part of the agreement with Rattrap. His final fight with Primal in the last episode was quite great. It’s an extended battle and the show really puts its budget to the max. It’s not rushed to make way for the rest of the episode, but came across as the main focus which is how it should be. It’s probably one of the longer fights in Transformers and was a good way to cap off the rivalry. It made up for the fact that Megatron didn’t fight much here.

Another great villain was Jetstorm. He was pretty confident and had the most charisma from Megatron’s generals. He had one liners at the ready and was extremely loyal. Unlike the others, he never had any doubts about his job and just took out any Maximal that he could find. Thrust was also pretty good. He may have gotten confused at several points, but at the end of the day he knew where his loyalties were. He may not be as powerful as Jetstorm, but he can hold his own in a fight.

Megatron added two more generals by the name of Obsidion and Strika, but they didn’t do much. They got hype for one episode as they’re master strategists, but that was it. They were then relegated to normal lackey status after that and faded away. Waspinator appears a bit and it was nostalgic to see him, but his role was really just a cameo for the fans. I appreciated the effort though. Finally, we have Noble, a werewolf esque robot that is unpredictable. I preferred him as an enemy. Once they tried to make him a sympathetic pet for Nightscream who had to be sacrificed for the greater good, it reminded you that he was only added for edge. He had a really cool design too so it’s a shame that the show couldn’t do more with him.

The show could get dark, but it was never too over the top. The Noble plot was probably the darkest if you ask me and it’s fairly brief. It keeps up the atmosphere without constantly reminding you of the fact that it’s hopeless with characters begging for their lives. (Attack on Titan) You’re reminded of this by the fact that the Maximals are always running though. They are forced to retreat in almost every single episode. The deck is definitely stacked against them, you can’t forget that part.

The team isn’t a well oiled unit either. The heroes spend a lot of time bickering amongst themselves and there is constant tension. You’ll have to eventually choose which characters to root for and then hope they win during the arguments. I’m always on Cheetor’s side for the record. Now, where do I stand on Metal vs Organic? Personally I think Cybertron should stay metal. Turning it organic just seems kind of odd to me even if the oracle claims that it was organic to start with. I have a hard time swallowing it. Of course, eradicating all of the organic elements turns the plan into villain territory so I wouldn’t roll with that, but I’m just used to a metal Cybertron. Seeing the robot monkeys at the end was surreal.

So where does this show stack up against the other Transformer shows? It’s been a while since I ranked them so I think it’s about time I did so. I’m not looking at my older reviews for reference so this is based purely on my memory. As it stands I’d say that the first place victor is Transformers Victory, 2nd is the original Transformers, 3rd is Masterforce, 4th is Headmasters, 5th is Transformers Prime, 6th is Transformers Beast Machines, 7th is Robots in Disguise, 8th is Beast Wars, 9th is Combiner Wars 10th is Animated, 11th is Rescue Bots. Beast Machines is almost perfectly halfway at this point. It may sink a little once I see the Unicron Trilogy as I expect great things from those titles, but I suppose we’ll see how it goes. It’s definitely impressive just how many shows the franchise has gotten so far. It’s definitely not slowing down either with several new titles over the horizon.
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Overall, This is definitely a really fun Transformers show. The average episode is solid and the series really steps it up further with the multi parters like End Game. If anything it’s a shame that the show was so short, but I suppose the concept could have gotten a little dragged out if the writers weren’t careful. Since the series was only 26 episodes and had an ongoing plot, there wasn’t really time for filler or a lot of padding which may not have been possible if the episode count had been doubled. It’s a very different Transformers show so it may take you some getting used too, but it’s well worth the effort. On the other hand, the beginning is very fast and epic so you may get on board right away like I did. It’s rare for a show like this to come out so I’m always up for an adventure like this one. Hopefully the Combiner War sequel that is coming out soon will be able to do a better job of executing the concept so it can be like having Beast Machines return. After all, imagine this setting but with the classic characters? The sky’s the limit. Speaking of classic characters though, watch out for the Soundwave cameo because it gets pretty intense. There’s also a Prime cameo, but with a fun twist!

Overall 7/10

Spider-Man

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It’s time for the latest Spiderman adventure. Ultimate still feels pretty fresh but I’m glad that they churned out another show so soon. I never want the gap between titles to be too long. It’s off to a good start and should make for a solid Superhero show. The animation may not be that good, but considering how animation has been dropping off in American television for years now, it could have been a lot worse. I’ll definitely be sticking with it and will have a review up when the series is over.

Overall 7/10

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

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