Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony: Rainbow Roadtrip Review


It’s time for the latest look at the MLP series. This special throws in the movie type animation which is a nice twist. It’s a good way to keep the fans satisfied as we await the rest of the final season. It’s a pretty fun special that gives each of the main characters a nice role while reminding us that there is always time for friendship. I would have liked a good fight scene though.

The special starts with the Mane 6 getting ready to leave Ponyville as they have been invited to a Rainbow event and Dash will be the guest of honor. However, when the heroes arrive at this town everything appears to be off. None of the events are as advertised and nobody wants to talk to them. The town has had its color drained away and have lost their happiness. Twilight and the others decide to introduce friendship to this town as they get this festival going. Can they really bring the color back!?

The special is definitely pretty solid so I’ll address the only weak point right off the bat. From the premise you are initially expecting some kind of villain here. After all, it’s not like the color left on its own right? Unfortunately the special does not take that route. There are no action scenes in this special nor is there a real villain. Sure, this series isn’t really about that but throwing in a villain would have been great even if she would have been doomed to turn good by the end. In a lot of ways this special feels like a redo of the Starlight Glimmer episode only without a lot of the best parts. Of course this doesn’t really hurt the score since it’s more of a “what if” than anything else, but it would have been pretty cool to have gotten a little more intensity in here.

All of the Mane 6 look pretty good. I’d say that Applejack and Rainbow Dash were the most dependable members of the crew though. Applejack really got the townsfolk to believe in themselves while Rainbow Dash inspired confidence in her fan club. They actively helped bring the color back into the town which was important. They also took the situation in stride pretty well. Twilight Sparkle tried using her science to secure a win here, but at the end of the day this task proved a little too difficult for her on her own. Together with the others she was ultimately able to succeed though.

Pinkie Pie probably looks the worst from the main characters though. She was almost mean with how she was knocking the old couple’s apricot pies. She has to realize that part of the problem here is that without being able to see color the apricots are all going to look the same. Then you’ve also got the issue with the neighbor being the only one with the good fruits. The resolution here is definitely a little on the cheesy side. It’s a decent subplot, but one where Pinkie Pie didn’t help quite as much as she could have.

Rainbow’s subplot is pretty good. The kids definitely mean well and did a good job of making the unofficial fanclub. It’s really one of the only parts of the town that was actually real even if they were short on members. The main plot involves one of the ponies blaming himself for what happened. I can see why though since he really did mess up here. There is a twist about this though so it’s not 100% his fault. He really just needed more confidence in general.

As I mentioned the animation is definitely pretty good here. The character models are on point and in general this style just makes every pony feel a lot more authentic. This style just fills out the characters a lot better than the old flash style could. Meanwhile we do get a big song at the end which is good. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of the strongest songs in MLP or anything like that but it’s always good to have a song regardless.

There isn’t much to say about the special in general because the whole thing is pretty straight forward, but it’s good at what it does. The writing is on point so even if the whole situation seems rather mild it makes for a pretty interesting special. You’ll definitely be on board right away and there’s no part of the special that drags on which is always important. It’s just a fun experience even if it may not leave much of an impression after you’ve finished it.

Overall, Rainbow Roadtrip is definitely a special that I would recommend to all big MLP fans. It definitely feels like one of the old episodes where you didn’t have to worry about supporting characters so the original 6 get all of the screen time. As good as the supporting characters are, it’s always good to be able to focus on the originals once in a while. There’s nothing to really dislike about the special and I hope to see more like this one in the future.

Overall 7/10

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Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Spring Breakdown Review


It’s time to look at the next big Equestria Girls special. One of the big things here was that the gang was finally going to head to Ponyville. Unfortunately this only happens for a few minutes so if you’re here for the crossover aspect then you probably won’t be too satisfied. It’s a solid adventure overall though and continues to show why Equestria Girls has been a solid spinoff. We don’t get any real fights here unfortunately but maybe next time.

The special starts with the gang going on a cruise to celebrate Spring Break. Twilight Sparkle is determined to make it a success, but unfortunately Rainbow Dash is making this difficult as she keeps looking for magical threats to stop. She believes that the main characters are destined to be fighting enemies forever, but the others don’t share this sentiment. Their patience grows thin as Rainbow keeps getting everyone in trouble and their vacation may be ruined at this rate. Still, what if Rainbow Dash is right and there is a threat over the horizon?

That’s the basic synopsis and as the special isn’t all that long you can pretty much glean all of the plot from this. Rainbow Dash’s antics are exaggerated a bit in order to move the plot. Still, I would say that she is the best character here aside from Sunset Shimmer. (Who is always the best anyway) Rainbow at least tries to prove that she is right and heads off for danger by her lonesome. She didn’t need to be so pushy, but at the end of the day that’s just her nature. You’ll feel bad for Twilight Sparkle here though since she’s trying her best to make this a success and it just isn’t working. She’s fairly low on confidence as it is so these events didn’t help.

Fortunately for everyone on board, Sunset Shimmer is on the case. She still isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and even Rainbow Dash gets her feelings hurt by Sunset’s direct nature. Sunset does take Twilight’s side initially but once the tables turn she is quick to help Rainbow out as well. She’s really the team leader here and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Her only dicey leadership move is when the gang heads to Ponyville and they chat with Princess Sparkle. Surely she would have remembered that the rest of the crew were still in danger right? This part is used for humor as the Mane 6 are panicking without their leader and the ship is sinking. It does further reinforce the point of how they’ve become so relient on Sunset to solve all of their problems. I could definitely see that being a plot for a special at some point down the line.

I will admit that Princess Sparkle doesn’t look so good here. As per usual she panics quite a bit even if it isn’t very warranted. Sure, the Storm King was kind of impressive for 5 minutes when he first appeared, but it’s just his leftover magic striking the ship. Since he isn’t there in person it’s hard to say that the gang was in serious trouble. If worst came to worst they could use their powers to do something. At least Rarity’s abilities would come in handy here since she can reflect things. Once they got to the island then they would have a bunch of other options.

For the other subplots, Rarity’s romance one is basically played for laughs so it wasn’t all that bad. Pinkie Pie trying to get her cake doesn’t work so well because she should have been able to snag it. I could do without Applejack getting sick since that tends to get old pretty quick. Fluttershy definitely has a rough time of it since the animals get scared off by Rainbow. It’s easy to see why they all got upset at Dash by the end. The only person Rainbow didn’t mess with was Sunset and you can probably guess why. Nobody messes with SS unless they want to get hurt. All of the plots were pretty entertaining. I could have used a bit more action, but no parts dragged on or anything so I’ll give the special some kudos there.

I think what would have taken this special to the next level would have been to have had Ponyville get more of a role. I’m still waiting for the big crossover battle where the Mane 6 take on the Mane 6 + Sunset. That would make for a fun special. Alas, with this generation coming to a close it is looking less and less likely. I suppose by having Rainbow Dash be obsessed with combat here it was the writers’ way of reminding us that we shouldn’t always go in expecting fights and such. We can dream though.

As always the animation is pretty solid. I can’t say that flash is the best style out there, but if you gotta go with flash then it’s not all that bad. At the very least the animations are always pretty smooth and easy to follow. It doesn’t really lend itself for fight scenes quite as well, but with none in sight here that isn’t exactly an issue. We only really get one song here, but it’s definitely a pretty solid one. It was nostalgic to see the group get back together as a band here.

Overall, Spring Breakdown is a solid special. It’s not nearly as ambitious as the movies, but does achieve what it set out to do with this special. It’s just a good excuse to see the gang again and watch them go on a trip. There may not be a whole lot of danger for the team to overcome, but the writing is on point and the special doesn’t really do anything wrong. I have no complaints so the special definitely ends up being pretty solid. I’d recommend it to all MLP fans as this could be one of the last times they ever get to see the Equestria Girls star in a special.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rollercoaster of Friendship Review


It’s time to look at the next Equestria Girls special. This time it is centered around Rarity. Once of the Magic specials was also about her so she’s certainly getting around. Unfortunately this is definitely not her best appearance but she finally gets a big fight scene so that was cool. As always, this was a pretty fun special and since it is fairly short we got to the meat of the story right away.

Applejack and Rarity applied for a position a long time ago with a famous movie star. Unfortunately Applejack did not get the position while Rarity did. Rarity even got a promotion before starting. Vignette shows up to introduce herself and unfortunately she seems to be very self absorbed. Immediately Rarity begins gravitating to her more than the other characters and Applejack begins to feel left out. At first she thinks this may just be normal jealousy, but is it possible that Vignette is actually shadier than she appears?

Naturally you’ll be a little irritated at Rarity betraying her friends so quickly. It’s not out of character or anything as Rarity tends to do this a lot, but after all they’ve been through together you’d just expect her to do a little better. That’s why Rarity has never been one of the better members of the Mane 6. She’s probably the only one who doesn’t really fit her element all that much. Still, she does work to make amends for all of this during the film. Her fight with Vignette is fun as she can reflect energy while Vignette can project it. I would have liked to have seen Rarity fight a little more, but what we got was certainly sound so I can’t complain there.

Vignette makes for a solid villain. You always want to have a rich villain because it makes sense when they take the whole thing in stride. Vignette has always gotten what she wanted in the past so it makes sense that once she got such a cool weapon she would begin using it. She doesn’t owe society anything after all. The ending can maybe get a little cheesy with her, but she was never inherently evil I suppose. She was just super naive and possibly evil. She just needed to remember that social media friends are real friends. Once she accepts that then she will really be a better person.

Applejack looks reasonably good here even if she possibly does take Rarity’s betrayal a little too hard. She’s still friends with the rest of the girls so that should be a nice consolation. Even if Rarity were to leave she would have a bunch of friends. Still, it’s because she took the whole thing so seriously that she was able to find out Vignette’s real objective. Applejack may not have been able to win in their encounter, but it’s hard to deal with one hit KO attacks.

The other characters mainly get the shaft here as naturally not everyone can get a whole lot of screen time. Still, they all contribute here and there. Sunset once again showed that she has the greatest skills out of all the characters. She was able to win in a game that was made to be rigged. If that’s not talent then I don’t know what it is! Twilight did her best but playing by the book doesn’t always work. She needed to throw her ring with her heart instead of her mind.

There’s only one bad subplot here and that is the one with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. It’s an annoying trope that I can’t say I’m surprised to see. Rainbow Dash is usually the brave character so naturally the film thought it would be humorous if she got scared of the roller coaster while Fluttershy could handle it. I’m fine with Fluttershy not being scared for once even if that seems odd, but Rainbow Dash shouldn’t be nerfed. The whole thing feels super forced and as a result Rainbow Dash looked pretty bad here.

Naturally the animation is pretty consistent with the rest of the series. The character designs aren’t bad and the animation is pretty good. There aren’t really any memorable songs here this time, but the intro theme to the special is always fun. It does remind me that the main MLP show needs a theme song revamp at some point. Something with a cool techno/rock beat to it. I think that would take the music to the next level.

Overall, The Rollercoaster of Friendship was a good special. It’s not quite as good as any of the main movies, but with only about an hour to work with I think it did a good job of including everything it could. Take away that one subplot with Rainbow Dash and it would be even better. Still, this is definitely a title that I can recommend to anyone. It’s got a lot of heart and there’s nothing all that bad about it. With this I am basically caught up with all the big Equestria Girl stuff. All I have to do now is watch a bunch of the shorts and I can say with confidence that I have finished the world of MLP. (Until more stuff air)

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Mirror Magic Review


It’s time to look at the big climax to the trilogy! The Mane 7 have gone to the theater to see how the film went. Naturally it was quite good, possibly the best film they ever saw. The heroes are pretty nice people so they don’t want to make a big deal of this, but then they see that Juniper is working here and decide to pay her a visit. After trying to sabotage the film, Juniper was fired and forced to work as a sweeper at the theater. The Mane 7 remind her of this and let her know that it’s what she deserves. Juniper decides to get back at the heroes and finds a mirror. With it she can throw people into other dimensions and even finish her chores quicker. She slowly begins to use this mirror more and more until she is completely hooked on it. Now she does not want to ever turn away from it. Why should she when this grants her super abilities?

Sunset realizes that she’s going to need pony power for this one and calls up Starlight Glimmer. Together they can succeed where the Equestria Girls failed. Juniper may have magical abilities, but the heroes have the power of friendship on their side! The big battle between good and evil starts here and it will definitely ensure that you never look at the characters the same way again. It was nice to see Juniper get a super form here as the other specials had been pretty down to Earth. Seeing the characters go cosmic again was definitely a blast.

Meanwhile, Juniper is a pretty fun villain here like in the other special. I do think that it’s basically impossible to sympathize with her at all. Considering how many crimes she committed in the last special, you’d think that she would be incredibly grateful to be working anywhere right? Instead she spends this time griping the whole while. She’s clearly very bitter about everything and hasn’t learned a thing in her exile. By the end we find out that she just wanted friends, but I’m not sure that I buy this. There was certainly no indication that this was the case until the very end. I think the heroes basically tricked her into believing that this was the case.

I do think Starlight Glimmer was pretty out of character here though. This seems to be the case a lot of the time when the Ponies show up in Equestria Girls though. Starlight acts like a complete beginner here. She isn’t very powerful or confident which isn’t like her. She gives some advice here and there, but spends most of the time just staying in the background. She could have been cut out of the film and nothing would have changed. That’s my main problem with the whole thing. Starlight should have been brought in to have a big fight with Juniper or something. Otherwise why even show up? Still, at least we finally got the big meeting between the two characters even if it was handled poorly.

All told, this trilogy ended on a pretty high note. The writing was good and the special’s short length really allows for the action to start up right away. I still say that Starlight was misused here, but you can’t win them all I suppose. The mirror was a good piece of tech so hopefully it shows up again. It could easily be used for a bunch of different plots which would certainly be fun.

Overall,, I have finally finished all of the Magic specials. With this I am one step closer to catching up with the MLP series. That will certainly be a pretty big milestone. If you haven’t seen these specials yet then you should do so. All 3 of them combined are barely an hour so you really can’t go wrong there. The low key best character of this is probably still Juniper’s uncle. the guy really did his best to help her turn over a new leaf. It’s just a shame that she persisted in staying with the darkness. At least now that she’s friends with the MLP characters she’ll have positive influences. (Provided they remember to check up on her from time to time)

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Movie Magic Review


It’s time to look at the next installment in the Magic trilogy. The heroes have arrived on the set of a Daring Do movie and are looking forward to seeing it be made first hand. As Rainbow Dash is a big fan she is determined to help the crew do it right. Unfortunately a ghost has been scaring people off the set and now even the props for the movie have vanished. Without those the movie will have to be put on indefinite hold. Dash can’t have that and so she decides that the group will find this ghost. She even brought along her super speed amulet so she can take this villain down a few pegs. Still, will that be enough to defeat an actual ghost?

This really plays out like a classic Scooby Doo film. It’s pretty neat to see how the MLP crew would handle such a task. Of course, it is a bit obvious who the culprit is from the start. I think the one area where the special made a mistake is in only having a small cast around. From those characters only 2 of them feel like actual suspects. You have a spoiled actress who keeps saying that she wants out of this film and then you have a movie attendant who really loves being in the film business. Hmmmm, who’s the likely culprit? Well, the actress would be the obvious guess since she doesn’t like the movie, but through that you know who is actually guilty. Still, even if you know who it is the actual mystery is still pretty fun.

I do think it was a bit of a stretch how the villain outran Rainbow Dash though and then captured her. Rainbow Dash isn’t a normal human like the rest of these characters, she has actual super speed? The whole thing felt like plot hax to be honest. Still, it did add a little sense of danger which is always good though. The team’s plan to capture the villain was also pretty well thought out. It just goes to show that the ponies have brainpower as well as brawn.

The ending was handled pretty well as the villain starts to go through the motions of pretending to turn over a new leaf and all of that. The director doesn’t buy into it and wants the person off the set. This time the culprit basically gets off with a slap on the wrist, but I guess it makes sense since this character is likely still a minor and as such can’t do a whole lot of hard time anyway. She’s banned from the set and that’s really all you could ask for.

From what we saw it looks like the Daring Do film will be a riveting success. I was half expecting the actual Daring Do to show up, but I guess she could have ended up stealing the show. Surprisingly there aren’t any real songs here, but I suppose maybe that would have been out of place with the whole mystery angle going on. I’d say that the first special beat this one as a result, but Movie Magic certainly did have a little more danger and suspense in the plot so it was pretty close. There’s not much to say about the graphics as they are effectively the same as in the first special.

Overall, Movie Magic is a good follow up to the first special. The main characters are a pretty close knit team by this point so it’s nice to see them making plans and such to catch the enemy. The villain was also fairly memorable and made for a good antagonist. I’ll talk more about her in the final special review. The 2nd special in a trilogy is usually more for set up than anything else and that’s exactly the case here. The third special is where everything finally connects and we learn who is really pulling the strings here. Lets just say that everything has been leading up to this moment.

Overall 7/10

Animated Short Reviews, Animated Shorts, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Dance Magic Review


It’s time to look at the first of 3 Equestria Girl shorts. Initially I was going to review the 3 specials as one post as some sites seem to list it as season 1 episodes 1-3, but at the same time it’s hard to find an actual title for what that series would be. It sort of tows the line between being 3 separate specials and a quick miniseries. To make it simple I figured I would just treat it as 3 quick specials. As such these reviews will be a bit smaller since it’s like reviewing an episode.

In this special, the Mane 7 are trying to earn some money to repair Camp Everfree after the events of the film. Unfortunately things are not going very well on this front. The group has not made a lot of money and the deadline is almost here. That’s when Rarity has the idea of entering a Dance competition where the grand prize would give them all the money they need. The risk is that the entry fee will clean them out so they either win it all or lose everything. The rest of the MLP members reluctantly agree to this. Rarity is confident that they will win, but another wrinkle is thrown into the plan when a group of rival classmates steal Rarity’s idea for the show. With only minutes remaining, can Rarity think of a way to still claim first place?

This plot has been used before in the main series where some characters stole Rarity’s ideas as well. As she has the mark of generosity that makes her a very easy target for hooligans like this. It can be a bit annoying to see Rarity so oblivious, but this is why she isn’t the leader of the team. You can bet that this wouldn’t have worked on Sunset Shimmer or Starlight Glimmer. It’s a good conflict here as the heroes can naturally go and beat these kids up with their super powers or they can make the heroic call and let them be. I’d at least report them, but it’s your word vs theirs which makes things fishy.

Alas, this special isn’t really about big conflicts and such. The heroes decide to help the bullies out anyway since they were so desperate. It turns out that these students weren’t so bad after all and all of that. It’s a bit hard to swallow of course, but I suppose it is what it is. The Mane 7 have always been pretty good at forgiving people so it’s not exactly surprising that it would play out this way. I do think Sunset was ready to fight if necessary though which is why she’s such a good character.

This was a good way to start off the trilogy as we got some good musical beats during the dances. The special had a lot of energy throughout and had good writing. The animation looks pretty similar to the movies although naturally it’s not quite as detailed. It’s bright and colorful which is the important thing. I’d compare the animation to Rescue Bots or something of that nature. It won’t be winning any awards, but it’s not bad either.

From the villains, Sugarcoat is annoying though. She’s not grateful in the slightest and is quick to mock the heroes even once they are all on the same side. She seems to think that she is a little better than everyone else and her arrogance is unwarranted. Look, I’m all for arrogant characters, but if you just got saved by someone in this contest you probably shouldn’t be talking tough for a while. The others may have also started out as villains, but at least they knew to stay quiet once the Mane 7 had pity on them.

Overall, Dance Magic shows that it’s good to be kind, but you also have to be ready for all of the cheaters in the world. They aren’t going to just let you get past without a fight. It’s one thing to help someone out if they seem nervous, but if you’re in a competition you shouldn’t show off your routine before you have it securely patented and registered. Rarity taught us these valuable life lessons. If you haven’t seen this special yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s pretty fun and easily works as an episode in the series.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree Review


It’s time to look at the next Equestria Girls film. The first ones were pretty solid so I was confident that this one would be more of the same. It’s definitely another good installment. While I still miss the real Twilight, I suppose this version of the character is still reasonable. This movie has less action and intensity than the previous ones, but is able to focus more on the writing and emotional aspect of the characters. With quality writing throughout there really isn’t much to dislike here.

The film starts with Twilight and the gang heading to a forest for summer camp. They’re all eager to participate in the various activities. They can finally feel like normal people again after their crazy magical adventures in the previous films. Unfortunately Twilight is having a tough time relaxing because her evil alter ego is determined not to let her succeed. At this point, she is out of options and starts to think that she may be doomed to plummet into the darkness. Sunset decides to help her, but meanwhile the Mane 6 are being wrecked by their own powers. Can Sunset help these poor teens or will they have to learn to fend for themselves?

One interesting part of the Equestria Girls section has always been how Sunset took over the leadership role. The rest of the Mane 6 appear to be lost without her and tend to panic quite a lot. I suppose they have less magical experience than their pony counterparts so this makes sense, but they really tend to pale in comparison to the others. Without Sunset and Twilight they would have given up many times over. None of them get particularly large roles here as it’s all about the 2 leaders, but they’re still around of course. I am glad we got to see their super forms again as that’s always pretty cool.

As always Sunset is pretty great here. She doesn’t jump to conclusions even when the facts appear to be self evident and she makes sure everyone calms down so nobody does anything crazy. Sunset also acts as the veteran of the group and constantly gives everyone sound advice. She also doesn’t mince words or beat around the bush. You can see how she is clearly the best member here. Sunset just gives the whole group a lot of focus and determination that they wouldn’t otherwise have. That’s not a skill you can just learn.

Meanwhile, this is one of Twilight’s weaker appearances I’m afraid. She spends most of the film being scared of her inner darkness. It’s a plot point that is as old as time and it’s certainly not bad to be afraid. That being said, she just gets less time to really look good as a result. At least this film does mainly dodge the romance angle that plagued the last few films. Trust me, that’s a subplot that you will be glad is gone. It didn’t actually add anything to the story. Granted, we did get some minor tricky moments with Timber, but fortunately they weren’t occurring often.

I’ll give the film credit for giving us a proper climax. The main antagonist actually gets super powers which I was not expecting to see. That was pretty cool. We also did get a bit of a fight towards the end or at least you could call it a skirmish. Having everyone transform into their powered up forms was just what I was hoping to see. It was a nice way to end the film and completed the experience. It makes all the difference.

There were two new characters for this movie so lets quickly talk about them. One of these is Gloriosa. She runs the camp and is very enthusiastic about making it a good time for everyone. She seems nice enough and since it’s a lot of work it is good that she has a cheerful disposition. I’d say she made for a fun new character. Unfortunately, Timber is not nearly as good. The guy can be pretty annoying at times and gets too much screen time. Ultimately you never feel like he has a handle on the situation.

The animation is pretty consistent as always. If you liked the animation for the previous installments then you will certainly enjoy this one as well. It’s flash style so the colors all look pretty good even if the designs don’t have that 3D depth to them. I certainly wouldn’t give the graphics a thumbs down. What is a little surprising is that this movie doesn’t have as many songs as you would expect. They are noticeably absent. I suppose MLP doesn’t always have to break out the songs but you’ll have come to expect them after a while. The soundtrack isn’t bad, but you just feel like you are missing something without them.

Overall, This is a pretty good Equestria Girls installment. The change of locale is pretty fun. A forest is about as different from a school as you can get right? The movie plays out like an extended episode would and it works smoothly. You have your main story, problem, and then resolution. It all ties together pretty well. There may not be a lot of stakes this time around, but the references to the previous film do remind you that the supernatural enemies could be around any corner. I’d recommend checking this film out. The writing is on point and it’s an enjoyable experience. I do hope that down the road we can see the Mane 6 contribute a bit more though. Don’t get me wrong, Sunset can handle her own movies just fine, but the old guard should at least get something to do other than watch during all of the crucial moments.

Overall 7/10

TV Shows

Transformers Rescue Bots Academy


Transformers has had many shows over the years but Rescue Bots is one of the few installments that is actually not an action title. That’s a pretty unique twist in itself. It’s off to a fun enough start after the first 2 episodes. I’m not expecting too much from this one, but I don’t expect it’ll make any real mistakes either. It should be pretty consistent. I’ll have a review for it once the series is finished.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Bumblebee Review


It’s time to look at the new Transformers prequel/reboot that came out. I’ve never been a big fan of the live action Transformer films. The franchise is still awesome and the G1 animated film was excellent, but for some reason it just couldn’t make the jump to live action. A large part of this could likely be blamed on Michael Bay and the Transformers not getting enough the respect a franchise of its caliber should have. A good adaption should be amazing. This one isn’t quite there yet, but Bumblebee is certainly an improvement and is actually a good film overall.

The film starts with a really nice action scene on Cybertron as we see Optimus Prime and a lot of the classic Autobots dealing with a Decepticon invasion. They are being pushed back though and Prime decides that they have to fall back. He sends Bumblebee to Earth to protect it and ultimately they will all converge on the planet to set up a counter strike. Bumblebee manages to make it to Earth, but a Decepticon follows and breaks his voice box. He has also lost most of his memories. We then cut to the main heroine of the film, Charlie. Charlie’s going through a pretty tough time as her father died and was quickly replaced with a new one. She has yet to warm up to him and has started distancing herself from her family. Her life begins to change when she finds Bumblebee and he becomes her first friend. Can she help him protect Earth from incoming Decepticons or is this all too big for one person?

I can’t stress enough how awesome the first scene is. I would certainly watch a movie all about the Cybertron fights and I think it would very quickly go down as the best Transformers title. It would basically be a CGI film at that point but the human characters really aren’t necessary so that’s not a bad thing. There’s no reason why Transformers has to be live action, especially if it’s a prequel. It’s almost a bit of a tease since you know the bulk of this film will be on Earth, but a strong opener is always a good thing to have for any film so I think this was the right move.

Also, the action does stay at a high level even on Earth. The previous films didn’t really have any choreography. The characters would typically just slam each other with normal hits but there wasn’t much to the fight scenes beyond that. In this film you actually see a lot of good hand to hand combat. Bumblebee is a really small Autobot compared to most of the others so as you would expect he needs to fight with a lot of throws and judo combos. The film shows that to great effect and the fights here have so much more energy than previous films.

The special effects are also much better. The characters actually look like Autobots and Decepticons here as opposed to being generic robots in the last few films. The designs are very faithful to the source material. Cybertron itself looks amazing and all of the visuals are just top notch. The soundtrack is also quite good. A lot of big 80s songs pop up here. Sometimes back to back in the same scene. It’s always nostalgic to hear these tunes. I can’t say that I knew too many of them, but the style itself just feels very nostalgic right from the start. It helps make the human scenes more fun.

Jack steals the show here as far as the human characters are concerned. From the start he suspects that the Decepticons are up to no good and is pretty reasonable about it. As he explains….their name is the Deceptiocns! That should be the end of the story. Unfortunately he is outvoted by the top brass so he is forced to work with the Decepticons, but I like that he voices his displeasure over this constantly. He doesn’t even pretend to play ball with them which is good. If you’re that confident that they’re up to no good you can’t shake on it. I hope he will return for a sequel.

Charlie is the actual main character here and she’s pretty reasonable. Naturally she is going through a tough time so she isn’t in the best of moods, but she isn’t nearly as sour as other main characters who were in a similar predicament. She does a good job of doing what she needs to and even her inevitable blowup moment isn’t nearly as dramatic as you might expect. She also ends up helping during the climax. The only moment where Charlie doesn’t look particularly good involves a diving situation. Granted, she never agreed to anything but the way she handled the situation wasn’t amazing. Also, I probably would have kept the window closed in the next scene. Memo is the next door neighbor who shows up and acts as the comic relief here. He’s not nearly as bad as he could have been, but I can’t say that I was a big fan. He seemed a little too desperate to hang out with Charlie the whole time and I don’t think it was just so they could be friends considering how quickly he was going.

So the film had a lot of positives, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. I do think that some of the humor scenes could drag on a little too long. Bumblebee stumbling through the house and breaking everything is definitely an overdone trope. After breaking a bunch of stuff you’d think that he would learn and adapt quick enough to stop making things worse. That doesn’t happen and he almost completely totals the place. I also think Bumblebee being so scared during his first appearance was a little odd. That subplot seemed to stick around as he didn’t even put up a fight towards the climax. I suppose the damage from the opening scene may have also prevented him from fighting, but I was still a little puzzled the whole time. Other humor scenes worked fairly well though like the Ricky Roll theme getting a quick cameo.

Charlie’s family also wasn’t too bad. I can see why she wouldn’t get along with them, but I thought the parents did a reasonable job of being annoying while still feeling genuine about looking after her. They weren’t trying to be annoying and at the end of the day they were a little helpful. The new dad more than the Mom, she could be a bit much at times since she was more reluctant to help. The bullies were certainly dramatized, but I did like the fact that they didn’t recognize Charlie outside of her job. In movies a lot of time they seem to have perfect memory but realistically I doubt they would remember everyone they make fun of. The revenge against the bully was a bit drastic though and I think that scene could have been cut. I didn’t find it particularly funny.

Overall, Bumblebee was pretty good. It was certainly a lot better than I had expected it to be which helps its case quite a lot. I think it will hold up to repeat viewings as well even though I certainly don’t plan on re-watching it anytime soon. The pacing is on point with an action scene always being around the corner. The film can try a bit hard with the humor at times, but at least it never devolves into dirty jokes like the old film. Whether you find them funny or not, I wouldn’t say that any of them are terrible. If you are avoiding the film because you have had poor experiences with the previous installments don’t let that stop you from watching this one. Bumblebee really feels like a brand new start for the series and if the quality stays at this level then I can finally start looking forward to these Transformer films again.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games Review


It’s time to take a look at the third Equestria Girls film. While the first 2 tried to be taken very seriously as slice of life films with a little danger and tension thrown in this one opts for a more low key experience. Instead of a very dark and mysterious intro song during the credits we get a very happy piece. Instead of seeing a thief break into Equestria and stealing a relic during the opening scene we have…Rainbow Dash pulling a prank on the main characters. Sunset even breaks the third wall to let us know that there won’t be any big end of the world stuff this time. It’s a bold move on the writers part but not necessarily a bad one. Not every film has to be a life and death scenario. Sometimes it’s fun just to see the heroes hanging out…but if that’s the case then why did I feel sad for a split second?

Well, the plot of the film is that the Friendship Games are coming up. Rainbow Dash wants the team to be prepared to give it their 100% during this competition because anything less than a gold trophy will be disappointing for her. I can understand the sentiment but she has to realize that the rest of her teammates aren’t quite on her level. Still, she is confident that they can win, especially since the Mane 6 can Pony up when they start singing. Sunset thinks that the games sound like a lot of fun, but none of the characters invite her to sing with them so she doesn’t say anything. Still, she senses that something is wrong. Someone is draining the last remnants of magic from this world and that’s not a good thing.

Meanwhile we then cut away to the second part of the plot. Most good films let you see both sides of the situation and this one is no exception. Just as we had the heroes earlier now as get to see the drainer. False Twilight Sparkle has appeared in the world and she is trying to find out why there is magic in her seemingly normal world. She starts to drain the Mane 6 of their abilities while also helping her school win the Friendship games. Twilight isn’t a bad person, she’s just been making a lot of bad decisions. As for the Friendship Games part, she is being blackmailed into entering by her principal. Losing isn’t an option so if she has to crush the Mane 6 in order to succeed…so be it!

I knew we would eventually get to see Twilight Sparkle of this world so it was nice to finally have her make a debut appearance. She definitely seems like a very reasonable character and I think it’s fair to say that she is a good character. She takes things in stride for the most part and it’s nice to see her hold her own against the Mane 6. It also opened the door for a school against school rivalry. While none of the students like Twilight, they do go to her defense when the Mane 6 arrive. While the film sets up some parallels between the characters for a nice rivalry it unfortunately doesn’t go anywhere. It was still a cool scene though and I appreciate the film trying to give the other characters some personality there. Twilight ultimately comes close to forsaking everything for power and shows that she may not have the strongest will power of the group. No matter though, she is still the strongest and even Sunset was losing in their skirmish.

Yes, this film actually had a cool climax with a real fight in it. After the last two films I was a little worried about how this one would be handled, but it turns out that my worries were unfounded. I am very happy to report that you can expect some lasers to be thrown. I’m also fine with Twilight having the edge since no matter what universe it is you would expect her to have the strongest abilities. It’s why I would like her to go all out in the main show a little more since we can plainly see just how much potential she has at her disposal.

While the animation and soundtrack aren’t quite as dynamic as in the first two films I would say that it still holds up well. As I mentioned earlier this film isn’t trying to be cinematic and opts to act like it’s just another episode. That’s not a bad thing though as the classic episodes are pretty solid so if anything the movie is trying to puts its fans at ease right away. We get some nice songs during the movie as well which were nice. If the film had been longer we could have seen more events before the final one. I like to think that the Cutie Mark Crusaders may have ended up stealing the show. They’d probably ace these events. The short length helps the film keep its tight pacing, but I think adding in another 20 minutes would have helped the movie flesh out its various subplots.

Of course, you can’t have an MLP film without the Mane 6 getting into more disagreements. This part of the film feels a little forced as the friends should be over this kind of thing by now. They’re all getting on each other’s nerves for minor things like Rarity making costumes for everyone, Pinkie Pie not liking how the group is taking things seriously, Fluttershy’s music being annoyed (Slightly more major) etc. This paves the way for Sunset to show up and remind the heroes that she is their true leader. It was nice to see Sunset step up and everything, but I do think that the main characters shouldn’t fall to pieces so quickly. It just goes to show that they need Twilight or Sunset around for guidance. As always I would say that Rainbow Dash was the best of the main characters though. She’s here to win and doesn’t believe in holding back. The others could learn a thing or two from her. Still, none of the characters are bad, they’ve all got their moments.

Overall, The Friendship Games were fun. I’m always up for a competition and since the film also added in a little extra danger in the climax I was certainly hyped for that. I do think that the plot for this film can feel a little similar to the last one since they’re both competitions in a way, but singing is a lot different than running a relay race so I’ll let that slide. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend doing so. It’s a fun movie that has the right balance of slice of life with a little action by the end. What else could you ask for? We’ll see how the next film fares as the heroes head to the forest.

Overall 7/10