Mary Poppins Review
Mary Poppins is definitely a classic film that I’m sure most of us have heard of at some point or another. It’s a light hearted musical/comedy with a punch of supernatural elements to keep things fresh. It’s definitely held up well and can certainly be considered as the definitive musical. I suppose it depends on how literal you take the term since some films are right on the edge of being counted.

The film starts off with yet another Nanny running away from her responsibilities. She simply can’t handle the two rebellious kids and their constant running away. The father is forced to run an advertisement for a new nanny. That’s when the Professional Reality Warper, Mary Poppins shows up for her first attack. She summons a tornado to (fatally?) take down the competition and hires herself. Will she be able to make the kids be more responsible or will this be beyond her abilities?

The father is definitely the best character in the movie. He sets the tone early on when he bursts through the door at exactly 6:01 and bursts into song. Clearly this is a man of culture and finesse. He isn’t one to be trifled with and commands a very strict home. He reminds his wife that a classic British House is run as tightly as the bank. His song has quite a few great lyrics like that and once the kids return from their brief escapade he is firm but not mean. He comes up with an advertisement in the mail that is quite good. While he may be on the back foot against Mary Poppins, he is always quick to recover. He may have cracked by the end and suddenly become a very happy person but even that role he plays with discipline. He is just the perfect character and certainly the one that I was rooting for.

Mary Poppins is an interesting character. Based on the advertisement that the kids left you would assume that she is a very nice person. Well, that actually isn’t the case. She takes everything personally and does seem to hold a grudge. She seems to have a thing against having fun and always has to be goaded into using her abilities. Mary Poppins completely shuts down when anyone asks her a personal question or just anything about her magic and tries to make everyone look bad by denying its existence. It’s hard to get a bead on her and it just seems like she didn’t really want the position at first and only warms up to the kids by the end. Her abilities are definitely as impressive as they ever were though. She has advanced reality warping abilities which are quite handy in any kind of situation.

There are also the two kids but they don’t seem to be very good characters. For starters they make the Dad seem like the bad guy but if we’re being honest they deserve most of the blame. Since numerous baby sitters have run off over the years we have to assume that running away is nothing new for them. They don’t have any good reason for running away either and cleaning their rooms is apparently too much to ask. While they get some character development over the course of the movie I just couldn’t find myself being able to like the kids. They even sabotaged their father’s career by making a big scene at the bank and tackling an old man. Any respect I may have gained for the kids before this was certainly lost during this moment. The kids have to learn to control themselves. Even singing their advertisement was not a good move as the only thing it did was really push the father away from accepting it.

There is also Mary Poppins friend who knows about her powers. If sounds like they have gone on quite a few adventures so I’m assuming that he follows her around. After all, Mary Poppins seems to travel around quite a bit for each of her cases so I doubt she has been in this town before. Since the guy doesn’t even have a classic job, he probably just gets an occupation at whatever destination she goes too next. He’s a good friend for Mary since she takes everything too seriously while he is the opposite. He may make it harder to cure his uncle from the laughing flu since he is always laughing as well, but that’s his one main weakness.

The film’s actual plot is fairly direct and concise so the film does go on some tangents do but time. Fortunately these tangents are actually good do a change. One such scene is with the laughing uncle which I mentioned earlier. I don’t have any sympathy for the Uncle by the way since he can easily stop floating if he really wants too, but it’s fun to see the friend trolling Mary by getting everyone to laugh. Again, the guy is a pretty solid character. There is also a rather long, but fun Looney Tunes esque skit where Mary suckers a few jockeys into letting her win and the characters mess with the animal Olympics. The scenes would probably not be too good if the music was not in point so this is one of those times where the music really amplified the experience.

A musical lives or dies on the music after all and these songs hold up very well. The tempo/beat of the music is always very fast and lively which is a good thing. The lyrics aren’t bad either as the characters talk quickly and get a lot of messages in a short amount of time. You’ll just find yourself paying more attention to the musical sounds than the lyrics and that’s not a bad thing. The made up word in the film certainly got popular as well and has enough syllables to be in a song as well.

Overall, Mary Poppins is a lot of fun. It’s a film you can enjoy at any time. It’s one of those light hearted films that surprisingly doesn’t get serious or dramatic at the end. It stays whimsical all the way through which is quite rare. It has a lot of replay value and being enjoyable is always the first goal of any film so this one really succeeded. The film doesn’t drag on and the music is on point. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should definitely correct that. It’s a movie that actually does live up to the hype and that is really rare to be honest. Now I’m ready for that sequel coming up but I have my doubts on if it can be as good as this one. Maybe if she has to fight a dark Mary Poppins in a cool CG fight though.

Overall 7/10


My Little Pony: The Movie Review

It’s time to finally take a look at the new My Little Pony film. After being a pocket fan of the series for a while, this was the last step I needed to really embrace the franchise. It was pretty eery walking into the theater as it was completely empty, but it help set the tone for the film. Gradually some little kids came in and I can say that the film succeeded in being an emotional roller coaster for them. They cried when Twilight Sparkle cried, laughed at some of the jokes, and even cheered a bit during the hype moments. Definitely a solid group all around. I definitely enjoyed the film and it hit a lot of the right notes. It could have been better if it had been a little more serious at times and made the Mane 6 more reasonable, but all in all you couldn’t ask for much more from the title. Now the series can finally be mainstream.

So the film starts off with Twilight Sparkle preparing a big party. She’s even going to have a singer show up to wow the crowd. Unfortunately Princess Celestia, Luna, and the other pony all say no to Twilight’s plan to make the party even more awesome. They explain that true friendship is knowing when not to lend a hoof in need. Twilight does her best with her friends but Pinkie Pie squashes the cake by mistake and embarrasses Twilight in front of the town. That’s when the Storm King’s minions show up and take over Equestria. Twilight Sparkle and her friends are wrecked in seconds and forced to flee. They must now find a legendary Queen to save them, but they’ll have to travel outside of their home for once. Going into the modern day cities will be tough since everyone is a swindler and the Ponies are used to dealing with nice folk. This could be tough.

Well, for starters I enjoyed the graphics. It feels like an interesting flash/CGI hybrid at times with how the designs look. They look more wholesome and detailed than the TV show, but at the same time I found myself missing the classic TV show versions once in a while. I think you very quickly get pulled back into the film though and this style certainly worked really well for the energy effects. They really stood out.

The soundtrack for the film is excellent as you would expect. The Open Your Eyes song is definitely catchy and even contained a brief origin story within it. The final song that the movie ends with was also quite good. During the movie the Mane 6 sang a few times as well. While the songs couldn’t quite match those 2, they were still really good. Mix that in with the danger themes in this film and you can see why it was so good. I would have liked to have seen the My Little Pony theme song, but I suppose that might have been too much to ask for.

One thing that the film does well is keeping up a sense of danger during the movie. We get the opening attack on Equestria which was quite good. A slice of life movie would have been solid as well but throwing in the action to make the film really feel special was a good move. We got mini action scenes throughout the film as well since the heroes were being pursued the whole time. The end of the movie doesn’t really have much action as it isn’t taken seriously anymore, but it’s better than nothing. I basically got what I expected in this department.

Unfortunately not all of the Mane 6 members look all that good. Twilight Sparkle is definitely a lot less impressive in combat than she should be in this film. At least the villains had an orb that can one shot any pony in their possession so that made the whole scene a little better. Twilight should have no problem with the minions though and using more magic would have helped them get to the goal a lot sooner. She also doesn’t act like a very nice pony at times like when she yells at Pinkie Pie. I do actually agree with her decision to steal from the other Ponies though. It’s nothing personal to the kids, but Twilight has a kingdom to save so she can’t let these “allies” waste a valuable resource like that. She’d bring it back afterwards anyway so it’s all good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t do that without getting tied up though. It’s a close match between her and Rainbow Dash as the best hero in this film. I’d probably give it to Rainbow Dash here though.

Rainbow Dash definitely gets her props as she helps a group of pirates learn how to be heroes again. Her sped is also put on full display for most of the film so you get to see just how strong she is. It’s a shame that Rainbow Dash didn’t get to actually fight at all though. Seeing her take down the villains would have definitely been really cool. Applejack fans won’t be thrilled as she doesn’t do much here. Some shade is thrown her way by the other ponies, but she takes it in stride for the most part. She just doesn’t get to do anything for most of the film.

Rarity is also basically a non factor here. She falls for Capper’s tricks a lot easier than the other Ponies and was one of the weaker characters here. She spends the majority of the film complaining, although most of the Mane 6 are guilty of that at one point or another. Twilight Sparkle may have had an easier time without her friends since they slowed her down quite a bit. Rarity’s a nice enough pony, she’s just really out of her element. Unfortunately, Fluttershy was probably the worst pony here. She spends most of the film crying or shaking in fear from the villains. I get that she is the nervous one of the group who is lacking in confidence for the most part, but I thought she was past that by now. To an extent this film can feel like a bit of a reboot in terms of character development t make it accessible to the general audience. Fluttershy simply fell victim to this.

Pinkie Pie looks pretty good. She is definitely a little on the hyper side as she makes jokes during moments that would be tense otherwise and helps to sabotage the heroes at times. At least she has heart though and is always smiling. Pinkie Pie was a good character here and I’d probably give her 3rd out of the Mane 6. It was also neat seeing all of the cameos in the background like Cheese Sandwich and Big Mac. It felt like the movie tried to get all of the supporting characters. I’d say that it’s a shame not seeing the Cutie Mark Crusaders much, but I can’t because I prefer the Mane 6 anyway.

Time for the film original characters. I liked Tempest Shadow quite a lot. She makes for a very cool villain with a neat design. She’s also quite powerful and is portrayed as one of the strongest ponies in the whole series. It would be cool if she were to start appearing in the TV show. At this point, Ponyville should be known as one of the strongest places in all of Equestria. I mean, I won’t say much about her role even if the trailer makes it pretty obvious but regardless I thought she was a cool character from start to finish. Sure, she’s rather naive the whole time, but every character has a flaw of some kind. I’d say that she got past it and is easily the best film character. The rest were rather lackluster to be honest.

We’ve got Grubber, who is the comic relief sidekick. He got in the good one liners which weren’t bad, but then he has to try and explain them which isn’t very funny. There wasn’t really a point to his scenes. The Storm King may be the main villain technically but he’s played off as a comic relief character for the most part. He could have easily won the day once and for all if he was a little smarter. Alas, he wasn’t and he ended up lowering his guard quite a bit. I definitely wouldn’t have minded if Tempest had simply betrayed him.

Capper is a smart cat who knows the ways of the world. The problem is that he’s a blatant ripoff of the main character’s sidekick in Zootopia down to his fast manner of speaking and mannerisms. He’s not a bad character as his only flaw is being generic, but I don’t think we really needed him. There was also Princess Skystar who showed up to learn about the powers of friendship but then missed out on the whole climax. So much for that character eh? Trying to guilt trip the Mane 6 certainly wasn’t very nice. There were also the Pirates but they didn’t do much either.

Now, I know for a film you want to use your newfound budget to make other backdrops and all, but I kind of wished we had stayed in Ponyville for a bigger chunk of the film. I much prefer that to the desert, ocean, or any of the other places we went too. I can’t fault the film for wanting to leave since most of the Pony episodes take place there, but it would have been neat to have seen it a little more. Perhaps next time. While the film original characters didn’t get the best of write ups, they weren’t bad. It’s just that the film may have tried to cram in too many of them into the film. At least they all had a purpose so in the end the Ponies could see how many people they reached in the end. After all, at the end of the day, the Ponies just want to make new friends.

If there’s something the next film could improve on, it’s the action. I want to see the Mane 6 take names. I was even expecting Derpy to jump in and start chopping the villains down to size. It doesn’t have to become a full blown action movie although I’d be down with that, but since the Ponies can fight, it would be nice to see them utilizing their abilities more. At the very least, Rainbow Dash can speed blitz most of these guys. We definitely got robbed of our Twilight Sparkle vs Tempest Shadow match.

Overall, My Little Pony is a film you should check out. It has a good amount of action and adventure within it. Twilight Sparkle is a nice character who always does her best even if the other Ponies don’t help her out all that much. Once she tunes them out and gets to work, nothing can stop her. It’s a shame that my favorite Pony Starlight Glimmer didn’t get to show up and wreck Tempest, but we all know how OP she is so it makes sense. Whether you’re a Pony fan or not, you’ll be able to enjoy the interactions between the characters and get invested in the story. The film never drags on so it’s a fun ride from start to finish.

Overall 8/10

Dreamgirls Review

It’s time for the first musical that I’ve seen in quite a while. I don’t think it’ll ever get old seeing people debate and fire comebacks through song instead of talking about it. It’s just an interesting way to make your comeback you know? It’s definitely not my kind of film and suffers from the usual problems that come with being a musical, but the film gave it a good effort and I suppose that’s what counts.

Effie, Deena, and a third girl have been trying to make it big for a long time now. They just haven’t gotten the chance to show that their singing abilities are the real deal. This changes when a slick car dealsman named Curtis tells them that he can get them a gig as Jimmy’s backup singers. Effie is worried that they’ll stay backup forever, but Curtis knows a way to shove Jimmy out of the picture at some point. Soon he gets them their own gig, but decides to slowly phase Effie out. Eventually he phases the third girl out as well and makes it all about Deena. Thing is….will Curtis also phase her out once Deena starts to decline in popularity? She’s going to have to do something and fast!

Usually this is where you’d chat with your friends to try and think about what you should do next. The problem is that all of the main characters are too busy keeping secrets from each other and playing the rebound game. There’s a lot to keep up with as Jimmy tries to use the moves on the main characters. 2 of them don’t fall for it, but then Curtis gets together with Effie. After he’s had his fun, Curtis moves on to Deena and while all of the characters know about this merry go round, none of them really care since they all think that they’re the special one. It leads to quite a lot of drama the whole time and so I can’t say that the romance was handled well. It felt really fake on all sides. Lets face it, if someone is cheating to be with you, then they’re also probably cheating on you. It’s an iron clad rule that has been around for generations and it doesn’t just go away in a flash. It was also hard to sympathize with any of the characters when they were betrayed because it was just so expected. They were all a little too easy as well as they basically skipped the dating phase.

As a result, none of the characters are all that good. Jimmy was bad from the start as he immediately tried to fool around with the main characters. He ended up getting into drugs and hitting the Game Over moment in life. Curtis may have been a fast talker, but you always knew that about him. It helped the audience not get tricked by his shenanigans and it was just annoying that none of the others could figure it out. He went from being manipulative to totally being a villain by the end. Deena was an all right main character as she stuck up for Effie for a while, but got pretty naive by the end. It turned out to be true that she was cheating with Curtis for a while so that’s certainly not very heroic of her. Curtis even admitted at one point that he had always loved her and not Effie so that should have rang some warning bells since he still stuck around long enough to have a kid. Deena made the right move in the end, but it took her a little too long.

Effie was also not so good. She wasn’t exactly blameless in this affair as she didn’t take moving to the back row very well instead of being happy for her friend. It’s also pretty understandable that a replacement would be hired for her during the Vegas New Year’s Celebration since she abruptly vanished and skipped all of the rehearsals. You can see why she was bitter, but surely she can see how the others had to move on. She was causing a bunch of problems. The song recorder that helped the gang was all right I suppose. He was a little slow on the draw as well, but ended up pretty well off. He didn’t agree with how his music was used at times, but he did get the money. Deena’s Mom was pretty fun considering that she didn’t appear much. I wouldn’t have minded her as more of a main character since she seemed to suspect that something was off from the start.

This isn’t usually much of a problem outside of some old black and white films, but I had a tough time telling each character apart once in a while. They all kept switching their wigs and then the film would constantly jump into the future by a few months or even years at time. It just made it hard to keep them all straight and that’s why I never even learned the third girl’s name. She technically had a reasonably sized role, but the characters never said it all that much since the focus was on the other two. This is why instead of coordinated costumes where everyone wears the same thing, you should always have something different.

There are a lot of songs as you’d expect. The beet for them is usually pretty catchy, but I can’t say that the lyrics were very good. They aren’t exactly something I’d play while at home. I’m not really a big music person to be honest, but when I play music it’s typically extremely epic anime/video game songs. If I play the occasional lyrical song, it’s typically one from those mediums. Instrumental is still the best bet as you get the cool beats without having to worry about the lyrics, but both sides can be good. I think this soundtrack could have been a little better considering that it was a musical, but ironically the fact that it was a musical meant that the music was very mainstream and not quite as epic as it could have been. Look up the Attack on Titan themes and you’ll see what I mean.

I also can’t say that I care much for the competitive/professional dancing that usually accompanies the music. If anything it just makes the music feel more objectionable as they’re trying to hook the audience on them rather than the music. It doesn’t feel quite as legitimite which is why I never bought into music videos. The audience certainly ate it up, but that’s also why you’ll attract a specific crowd based on what you sing and how you sing it.

Overall, Dreamgirls may have tried its best to be an intense musical with a lot of drama, but it didn’t work too well for me. Without likable characters or a stronger plot, you just can’t sing your way out of the tough situations. I do like how the characters banter with songs though as it was extended more than in most films and they had whole conversations. It just wasn’t enough to block out all of the drama and rebounds. I can’t really say that I’ve ever loved a live action musical film though so it’s possibly just a really hard genre to succeed in. Hopefully they can pull it off someday. They just need to take some cues from Frozen. Get some better songs, cut out the dances, and build a better plot. If you can get those aspects of the film together, then I think you’ll end up with a winner on your hands. By the way, if you’re wondering who the standout character of the film was, it was certainly the lawyer. I like how he just showed up out of nowhere and took down the main villain. He probably cost a lot of money, but it was well worth it since a lawyer can save you millions!

Overall 3/10

Phantom of the Opera Review

It’s time for a retro film that is rather iconic. I guess I should say that the Phantom of the Opera is rather iconic to be precise. It has had many adaptions on just about every medium over the years, but this is the first one that I’ve checked out. (Pretty sure) It’s a decent enough story with some fun characters and okay dialogue, but it doesn’t stand out as one of the all time greats or even as a super solid story. It gets you through the film all right and the pacing is good, but I would have liked the main character to have stopped leading everyone on by the end.

The story starts off with the Phantom being kicked off the opera because his hands are going bad and he can’t play well anymore. While he should have been rich since he served for 20 years, he spent all his money getting lessons for a girl named Christine. She doesn’t even know that he is providing the lessons for her and believes that she is getting them for free. While the Phantom is at least 20 years older than her, he wants her to be with him, but lacks the courage to say so. In the meantime, he will help her as much as possible from the shadows so she will owe him later in life. He realizes that if the opera won’t let her be the lead singer on their own, he’ll have to take the top singers out of the picture and threaten the opera into making the switch.

It’s a classic story of a villain thinking that since he is doing nice things for someone, they have to reciprocate. The whole situation is also his fault as he mistakenly thinks that someone stole his song and murders a guy for it. (Not even the guy that he thought stole his song) As a result his face is half burned off and he is forced into hiding. Fortunately for him, the Phantom is a master of hand to hand combat and has a surprising amount of physical strength. He murders a bunch of people with ease and the film hints that he could have taken on the two male leads as well before losing to a cave in. He’s not a very good/interesting villain, but at least the design worked rather well. Who doesn’t like the simplicity of a cape and mask combo? It’s why Batman got so popular.

I do have some issues with the main heroine though as she was annoying throughout the film. Christine has a lot of admirers as you can tell by now. The main two are Anatole and Raoul. She knows that they are both interested in her, but decides to play the field. She goes out to dinner and accepts flowers/gifts from both of them. She notices that they constantly fight over her, but seems to thrive on the attention. It’s rather inconsiderate of her, but that’s consistent in the film. She is not upset at all to learn that the main singer was poisoned and even celebrates in front of everyone since she will now have a chance to be on the big stage. There’s nothing really heroic about her and she even feels bad for the Phantom at the end. Sure he murdered a bunch of people, but he liked her so he couldn’t have been a bad person. You have to take a double take at her reasoning there since it’s rather outlandish. She was glad he got to hear his music one last time while I think it would have been poetic if he had gotten caved in before hearing it. That’s just me though.

While Christine is leading them on, I can’t feel bad for Raoul and Anatole since they know it. It’s hard to say who the better character is, but I’ll give Anatole the edge. At least he does know music and is a professional. He’s polite and ultimately has the better plan which ends up capturing the Phantom. On the other side, Raoul’s plan ends up failing and he seems to enjoy her musical career a little less. He basically wanted her to retire when he first showed up which instantly signals a bunch of warning bells. Fortunately, one of the higher ups told Christine that music is more important than anything else and it seems like she has decided to follow that advice.

The character roster is small, but that means they all got a lot of screen time. The film’s writing was pretty solid as well. While I didn’t care for the characters as much as in some of the other retro films, the script was still on point. I enjoyed all of the sarcastic/passive aggressive banter from all of the characters. Most of them did not get along in the slightest, but they were very subtle about it. The humor may not have been a great success, but it was also handled very mildly so it didn’t get irritating or go in the way of the story. The main comedy angle was that one character believed that a ghost was causing all of the trouble and would constantly describe him by pulling out his nose and imagining a beard. I forgot why, but he would never want to refer to the ghost by name. Perhaps he thought people would make fun of him, but the ones that he did tell took it pretty seriously for the most part. There was only one guy who disagreed and that’s not bad considering that I thought everyone would make fun of him for it.

Overall, This is a fairly good film. It’s not the greatest out there, but it was enjoyable during the run. As I mentioned, it’s rather short as well so the pacing is on point. It’s cool to see just how large an opera house is. I imagine that it would be difficult to find a criminal since there are 2500 rooms and he can keep hiding in different ones. Hopefully this will teach the Opera staff not to put the Master Key in an unlocked drawer in the main room that anyone can break into. Especially since their ex staff member was the main suspect of a crime and everyone knew about it. These guys just didn’t think ahead. The actual plays in the film didn’t seem all that interesting, but fortunately they never got all that much screen time at all. With a better cast, this film would get another star. As it is, I’d recommend checking it out. There’s not much to the film, but sometimes that makes it easier to watch. The plot is as simple as can be so you can just follow the journey from start to finish without thinking about it much.

Overall 6/10

It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown Review

It’s time to look at another classic Charlie Brown special. This one is a musical so that is definitely a change of pace for the series. It’s also one of the stronger entries in the series as the whole dancing gimmick is handled very well. Aside from Peppermint Patty’s song, the rest of them do a good job of copying the style of the 80’s. The retro songs can definitely be a lot of fun like in the classic Transformers animated film. The main theme is still as hype as it was when the first film came out and I think good tunes like this can be timeless. As a result, Snoopy’s dancing numbers are quite good.

The plot is fairly nonexistent here since the music takes center stage. One part of the plot is that Snoopy dances a lot by night and by day he sleeps a lot. This makes Charlie think that his dog is slacking off, but luckily Sally takes him to school for show and tell. Snoopy reveals his true identity as a dancing mastermind and the day is saved. Charlie didn’t get to do much in this special and even Sally told him off in the end. It wasn’t his best showing, but at least he put in some decent effort. Charlie’s probably just expecting too much out of Snoopy.

His faithful dog certainly stole the show here. The dancing numbers were great and Snoopy really knows how to dance to a tune. I wouldn’t have minded if the special had added even more dance numbers for the guy. They wouldn’t drag on because of how solidly it was handled. If you ever start to wonder why Snoopy is such a fan favorite, make sure to watch this special. You certainly won’t have any more doubts after that.

The animation is up to the usual Peanuts standard. Everything looks clear and the character designs are good. The soundtrack is what has significantly improved from the other specials, which is really the whole point of this movie when you think about it. It almost goes without saying. As per usual, this special is very short so it’s very easy to just breeze through. It never starts to drag on as a result and that’s one of the positives of being so short.

Flashbeagle is a fun little feature. The writing is solid and the characters are likable. In the end, that’s what typically makes for a good Peanuts special even if there’s not a whole lot more to say about this one. The whole thing is over in the blink of an eye and Snoopy is left on top once again. Snoopy can be a little inconsistent at times in these specials as he is a pro one second and a rookie the next, but it’s the price to pay for being in a comedy. No character is safe as they could be nerfed/weakened at any point in order to get a joke across. That’s definitely a double edged sword if you ask me, but as I said earlier, the writing is solid for the most part here.

Overall, Flashbeagle was a lot of fun and it shows that parodies/homages can certainly be good if they are handled right. Nowadays, parodies have a bit of a bad reputation thanks to titles like Transmorphers and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. Well done parodies are rare, but I’m still waiting for one to really hit it out of the park. I can’t quite say that Flashbeagle’s that home run hit since it can only go so far in its format, but it is a good title that I would recommend. I’m one step closer to watching all of the Charlie Brown shorts.

Overall 7/10

Labyrinth Review

I saw Labyrinth a while back and it’s one of those classic 80’s-90’s films that they just don’t make anymore. I definitely hadn’t heard of it until about 5 minutes before I started the film so it’s always interesting to delve into the unknown realms. We get some catchy songs and the overall soundtrack is quite good. It’s certainly heavily inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but instead of a Card Queen, we’ve got a reality warping trickster! He’s no Cheshire Cat though!

Sarah has always loved fairy tales. She often imagined herself being the heroine who would defeat the Goblin King, but a sudden rain shower completely destroyed her ambitions. Her parents decide to have a nice dinner outside so they leave Sarah to babysit her baby brother. Unfortunately, the two don’t get along very well so Sarah quickly makes a contract with the Goblin King to spirit the baby away. The plan works and the baby is gone, but Sarah quickly realizes that her situation won’t be very good if the parents discover this predicament. She must now venture into the Goblin Kingdom, destroy the kind, and save her brother. Hopefully she brought a weapon along!

Luckily, the Goblin King does have a sense of humor and doesn’t mind making the game a little fair. (As far as Sarah knows anyway) He teleports her to the kingdom so that she has a fighting chance, but Sarah must get through a long maze before sunset to rescue the baby or he will turn into a goblin. The maze is rigged with invisible exits and a lot of turns so she will have to rely on the locals to help her. However, are they really here to help or is it all just another trick? It’s time for her to find out!

You can probably already guess this, but Sarah’s not a very likable character. Babysitting is so fun when it’s just a baby since you can turn on some video games and just play for a few hours. Sarah just can’t take this level of stress though and panics just from a little crying. Sure, she saves the baby in the end, but her character just isn’t likable throughout the film and the development wasn’t enough to save her. Her dog is the true hero here as he outruns the villains and constantly gets in the way of the villains. He’d do Scooby Doo proud with his various antics! The villains know better than to mess with him.

Hoggle is Sarah’s main ally during the film. He likes to play both sides as he pretends to be working with Sarah while still in the employ of the Goblin King and vice versa. In the end, he decides to throw in his lot with Sarah and they become friends, but I can’t say that Hoggle was very good either. He’s more annoying than anything and I rarely like Goblins although maybe that can change once we get a planet busting one. Hoggle certainly betrays the whole cast a lot, but at least he’s helpful at times.

The Goblin King was probably my favorite character of the film. Only probably since the dog naturally wins if he counts. The Goblin King doesn’t play fair and he has the massive advantage against the other characters since his abilities are nigh infinite. Still, he knows how to have a good time and he even has a few dance scenes and sings a song to the baby. He throws the baby up and down a few times, but always takes care to not let him get even slightly injured. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy and just wanted more goblins to play with. The only character that he was typically antagonistic towards was Hoggle and Sarah towards the end. He’s still a villain of course, but a likable one. I also liked the design as it was quite retro.

Of course, plot hax had to ensue in the climax. After all, how could an all powerful villain lose to a teenage girl with no combat experience without some form of plot hax? Let’s just say that he underestimates her speed and determination. Yeah…that’s really all I can say on how he’s defeated. There are hundreds of ways that he could have won, but maybe he just wanted the whole game to be over at that point. Most of his henchmen had started to like the baby and Sarah anyway so he may have known that it was all a losing battle by then.

For a while though, the whole world was against Sarah. It was almost sad to see all of her tricks backfire since some were clever. One trick that Sarah had was to draw on the ground so that she could backtrack effectively, but the tiles are actually roofs for some goblins so they were promptly flipped over. Sarah tried to solve the maze by going in a straight line, but due to a reality limbo spell, the line kept moving in time along with her speed so it essentially resulted in her not going anywhere. Nothing worked because nothing could work. How do you defeat a living maze? Even with Hoggle’s help they were nearly crushed by giant boulders or simply overpowered. Along the way we met the classic 2 heads, one who can tell the truth and one who can’t. Behind one of them is a door that leads to a pit and one that leads to the castle. Turns out…they were both leading to pits. That, or they simply lied about their roles in the first place or were just trolling her with false hints.

Unlike Alice in Wonderland though, I can’t say that I cared for most of the bit players. In Alice, we had the Cat, the classic Card Soldiers, and the Queen was pretty memorable. I never cared for the guys at the tea table, but that’s another story. Here, I didn’t care for the gimmicks of the minions. We had the guys whose heads would keep rolling off and that was…interesting I guess. I didn’t care for the actual designs, but they could be nice and creepy for younger viewers. They can fight, which is always a plus and get ready for cannons that fire more lethal objects than cannon balls.

It was a rough journey, but Sarah succeeded. For a while there, it looked like the whole thing was a dream based on the ending, but I like to think that it was real. The turning point was really just seeing all of the creatures suddenly appear and start dancing in the room. Sure, she could be completely delusional, but I like to think that these guys were on the level and the fact that it got a manga sequel should help this case. It would have been even better to have seen the parents stumble into the room though as they would have been pretty shocked. It was definitely a crazy sight for the average person after all.

As essentially mentioned earlier, the soundtrack is very good. We get a lot of good tunes and you can definitely dance to them as you wait for the plot to return. The Goblin King’s magic ball was also very fascinating as it would change density from scene to scene. It would bounce and then it would be glass. The latter was something that the Goblin King probably should have watched out for. We even got some action scenes like the Village fight, which was certainly intriguing.

Overall, The Labyrinth was an interesting film. It’s old and you can feel its age so that may turn some people off, but at the same time, it’s what creates that retro feel. Behind the scenes, you can also think of it as a classic story of going from having a normal life to stopping an army of powerful villains. Every good character has to go through that gauntlet at some point or another and in theory Sarah should have become a better character as a result. I’m sure that she would probably be more likable in a sequel film. The characters do hold the film back a bit, but it’s still an enjoyable film and I would recommend checking it out as I’m sure that most of you readers have not seen this one yet.

Overall 6/10

Singin’ in the Rain Review

This is a movie that is as classic as the original Godzilla! It’s hard to picture any big film fan not being aware of this title. That being said, I’ve seen many classics that simply didn’t live up to their reputation in the olden days so would this film be as good as I had hoped? It’s not quite as good as I had imagined, but the film has its moments. There were just two factors keeping it from being a good movie for me.

Don is an actor who is proud of his work. He’s done well for himself and everything is going smoothly until he meets a girl who reminds him that movie actors aren’t real actors. Don’s life is torn to pieces at this revelation, but he recovers from this once the lady admits that she has seen all of his movies and wants to be an actress someday as well. Hollywood never stops and the owner of the company finds out that movies will have sound from now on so he has Don make a new film. The problem is that his co-host can’t sing. What will they do!?

With that, we have the drama, the action, the excitement, and most importantly…the musical numbers! Let’s tackle this one area at a time. For starters, the writing is really good. This is a classic film so it makes sense, but the characters trade barbs and insults rather well in that sophisticated way that people used to speak. The tongue twisters of the old days were also a lot of fun and definitely could test anyone’s mettle. This is one crucial element in the film’s favor.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the pacing, which is a little erratic. Before I get into this, I should note that I was practically expecting a completely different film as I walked into this one. Sure, I knew that it was a musical and I had already seen the famous scene sometime ago. The difference was the fact that Don was an actor. So, the setting and environment was much different than I had anticipated. Even so, I felt like the beginning was a little slow. Once the characters decided that they wanted to make a film with sound, I felt like the plot really started moving. The beginning was pleasant enough, but it didn’t immediately grab my interest the way most old films do because of the main character. More on that later!

Just when the film was going well, the characters have a very trippy dream where some guy decides to hang out with the girl friend of a mob boss. The scene then cuts away as the guy becomes a professional dancer, but the girl appears again and they both have a dangerous dance where the guy barely escapes with his life. The scene drags on for so long that I legitimately began to wonder if this wasn’t a dream and the movie had actually started. When the characters woke up, it was like someone had stolen the last scoop of ice cream at the local deli.

It was a pretty poor montage and that was before we found out that it was all a dream. While most of the film is enjoyable and fun, these scenes weren’t. They were clearly trying to re enact the tale of a classic hero who is seduced by a villainous lady who tricks him into dying, but it always makes the main character look bad. It was also a little more intense than I would have expected from such a classic film with such a good reputation and that’s considering that several seconds were apparently cut out for being too sketchy. This is really where the film lost most of its points. (Plural…that’s a bad sign)

I really just had one more main complaint with the film. While the movie that the heroes realizes was supposed to look pretty bad, it was terrible for another reason and that was due to the retro plot as the villain attacked the heroine. It’s a negative for sure, but not the other main one. The other main negative is actually Don himself who essentially acts like an old school Tony Stark or a mild version of James Bond. Apparently he is quite the flirt and immediately starts to flirt with the heroine after only seeing her for a few seconds.

This guy is far from being heroic and I knew that I would not like the main character after his opening scene with Kathy. (The heroine) There was no recovery from such a thing. Kathy is all right although she definitely goes from one extreme to the other as she dislikes Don before changing her mind and the whole climax is basically her going from sad tears to happy ones. Cosmo is really the guy who stole most of the show even if his antics could be a bit much at times. He definitely seems to have more talent to Don and a more charismatic personality so I could easily see him holding his own film. He got a lot of the best barbs and burns throughout the film and also came up with most of the ideas when the other characters were in a pinch.

I also liked the president of the company as he talked a good game and always allowed others to manipulate him by bringing up the fact that he’s President of the company. His sarcastic remarks would typically backfire on him and he only narrowly managed to have a happy ending here. Through it all, he never lost his nerve and that takes guts. Lina was the co-star for the films and is essentially the main antagonist for the film. She gets friend zoned the whole film, but keeps going after Don. If not for that part of her personality she wouldn’t be a bad character. I actually felt a little bad for her since most of the film is about the heroes making fun of her voice and getting someone else to sing her roles instead. Lina naturally gets a little resentful of this, especially after having trained so long and hard for this opportunity. Just another showing of how the heroes could be a little cruel. Lina’s not really a good character anyway as she gets others fired and is too obsessive over Don, but the heroes did not help matters.

This is a musical, but I can’t say that any of the songs were very memorable. There are certainly no “Let It Go” award winning songs in this playbook. The famous Singing in the Rain scene is a lot of fun, but more for the action than for the actual song. I liked how the policeman dashed over to put Don in his place. It is probably against some laws to skip and dance in the street on such a slippery day. Luckily for Don, there were no cars around so the danger was kept to a minimum.

Overall, Singin in the Rain was a film where I can see how it became a classic, but I can’t say that it totally floats my boat. As far as drama, musical, romance, comedy films go, I’ve seen better ones. The songs were not quite masterpieces and Don was terrible as the main character. Cutting him out of the film or eliminating the dream sequence likely would have been enough to put the film in the clear. As it was, the film could not overcome having two big negatives. If you’re looking for a retro film and don’t mind long scenes of questionable dancing, then check this out at your own peril, but if you want a film with a lot of heart and meaningful character development, I recommend checking out Madoka Magica Rebellion!

Overall 4/10