Toy Story of Terror! Review


Time for a spooky story with the Toy Story special. It’s pretty impressive that the franchise got a special which effectively works as a true mini movie. It looks just like the actual movies and with the voices back, you could stick this in as a subplot during one of the movies and it would work quite well. It’s a solid self contained story and at less than 30 minutes long, it really goes by in a flash.

The special starts with the owner’s car getting a flat tire so they are forced to stop at a motel. The toys are dropped off and this should all be fine except one by one the toy start vanishing. Jessie warns everyone to stay together but they just can’t help but dash off. Soon Jessie is the only one left. She bumps into a toy named Combat Carl who warns her to stay put. Still, her friends might need her. Can Jessie overcome her claustrophobia and fear of being alone or will this be game over?

Most of the special takes place at night which is cool since it helps establish the atmosphere right away. Same with the Motel itself as it appears to be quite ominous. In a way I feel bad for Motels because in every movie/show I’ve ever seen they always appear to be really shady. I imagine motel owners would like to clean up that image at some point but maybe it’s just too late at this point in time so they’ve all given up.

Jessie works well as the main character since she’s one of the more interesting Toy Story characters. Additionally her fear of being boxed in and of being alone works well in a setting where everyone is being taken out. It works as a solid character arc here and she had to be brave to get past the mysterious monster. At the end of the day the toys would have been toast without her.

The mysterious monster turned out to be a pet named Mr. Jones who worked for the villainous Ron. I was glad to have some antagonists here, it made for a fun little climax since it gave the heroes a real obstacle that they had to overcome as opposed to this being all fun and games. For example, Jones is rather fast so it makes sense that avoiding him wouldn’t be easy. All it takes is one charge/lunge and that’s game over as well. Jones also means well since he knows that he will get his snacks for finding the toys.

Then you have Ron who is really looking to make a quick buck. I’d like to see the story behind this guy because he has to be truly desperate to be stealing toys from little children. I mean, if you’re going to be a criminal you figure there should be more efficient ways to earn money. Why has this guy taken such a path? By the end of the movie you know that he is completely doomed and in a way he just makes it worse for himself by running. It did end up being a fun way to end the special but Ron really didn’t handle the situation well. He’s a fun villain and good at making money but he really took the wrong path in life.

As for the toys, Combat Carl gets a big role here as he gives Jessie the inspirational speech to keep on going on matter what. Without him she may not have ultimately been able to gather her strength in time. In some ways he reminds me of Buzz since they’re both so confident. Buzz and Woody don’t get much to do here but I suppose they have the films for that. Pricklepants gets a big role here but I wasn’t crazy about it. Basically Prickle keeps reminding us about horror movie tropes and how the heroes are nearly doomed. I think this joke got worn a bit thin by the end of the special since that was the entire subplot. You can also blame a lot of this adventure on Mr. Potato Head since he was the first one to run off.

As mentioned, the animation is quite impressive considering that this wouldn’t have gotten the same kind of budget as one of the films. It maintains the art style well. It may not be something that looks as streamlined as a traditional hand drawn title but it does the job. The toys are on point and scenes where the toys have to try and execute complex maneuvers is fun to see since they are constrained by how the toy works. As a result they have a whole lot of difficulty with a paper clip in one scene.

Overall, This is a short special so there isn’t much more to say about it. It’s a fun story and should keep you entertained from start to finish. It’s an adventure with a full beginning, middle, and end that has a good amount of replay value. The writing is on point and the characters are likable so there really isn’t anything to dislike here. It’ll really be over before you know it and you aren’t likely to forget the antagonists any time soon.

Overall 7/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: Rimuru’s Glamorous Life as a Teacher Review


That title’s definitely a mouthful isn’t it? In theory I could have taken out the franchise title since you don’t always need to have that as part of the intro but in this case it did make sense. This one’s a 3 episode special about Rimuru’s days as a teacher. It’s a fun little adventure and works well in this universe where Rimuru already does get to have a lot of down time between battles. You can picture him hanging out at the school for a while to flex and show why he’s a better teacher than the rest. It’s a solid adventure that goes by in a flash.

The special starts with Rimuru slacking off at school as per usual when Jeff shows up. This teacher has always had something against Rimuru. Rimuru doesn’t know if it’s because he’s always slacking off or the guy is just jealous that he transformed the most problematic class into the most powerful one. Either way Jeff lets him know that a big protection test is coming up at the school and as always Rimuru’s class won’t be invited since they don’t have equipment. Rimuru quickly changes that so now his class can in fact enter. The rules are simple, the kids will drive a van/wagon past the mountain plains and into town where they will drop off the teacher unharmed. They will all then participate in a cave challenge fighting monsters.

To keep things fair, the students will be guarding different teachers. So for example Jeff’s students will be guarding Rimuru and his students will be guarding another teacher named Tiss. Your points are based on how quickly you make it to the castle along with how smooth a ride it was. Rimuru’s not particularly concerned since his kids are far more powerful than your average class. They each have spirit animals and basic offensive magic skills at the ready. Still, this trip may be more dangerous than they had expected.

The special does deliver on the action as the kids are inevitably attacked by bandits. They handle them rather well and then even have to fight off an actual demon. They don’t look quite as good in that battle but I don’t think anyone would have been quite prepared to handle this guy. Not only does he have regeneration but he is also very fast and powerful. Such a foe is completely outside the limits of a usual school test. Fortunately we had Diablo show up to clean things up by the end. The guy continues to prove why he is one of the best characters in the series which is why it’s almost a bit funny that he hasn’t technically appeared in the main show yet outside of a cliffhanger, a prequel episode, and now an extra episode.

You can tell he will definitely make a splash when he gets a proper role. There’s also a bit of an epilogue as Rimuru helps cure a fatal illness because he’s just that good. One thing you figure out very quickly while watching the slime adventures is that there isn’t much that Rimuru can’t do. Thanks to Great Sage he is a super genius and he has so many extra abilities that he is also a whiz at combat. This makes him pretty much untouchable to at least 90% of the cast which is no small feat. He’s a fun character and definitely looks good in these episodes.

Then you have the rival Jeff who is fun. I mean, you know he is completely and utterly out of his league in the fight but it doesn’t take away from his being a rather amusing character. It’s always fun seeing these characters give the lead a hard time, particularly when like here it isn’t overdone. He’s not trying to frame Rimuru or do anything drastic, he just throws out a lot of insults.

Then you have the third teacher Tiss. She’s a nice person but you feel like she should be a lot stronger than she is. My main issue is that she looked up to Shizu as a great role model and aspires to be as powerful as her. You would expect that she would have started training then right? Unfortunately she acts like she has never held a sword a day in her life. How does that work out? It just doesn’t make any sense no matter how you slice it. I’m hoping when she next appears she would have gotten a lot stronger.

Meanwhile the kids are good, they continue to defy expectations and actually appear as very solid characters. I would say the weakest of the group is Gale mainly because the guy barely seems to have any character next to the others. Kenya is a blast though and is always ready to charge the enemy. With his sword and design he looks like someone out of Dragon Quest. Then you have Chloe who is also always ready for battle. Her chosen weapon may not be the best one but she makes up for it in hidden talent. Then you have Alice who is quite possibly the most powerful of the kids. She is a little more on the timid side but definitely fights when it counts. Ryota is also a fairly quiet kid so you won’t see him make a name for himself, but he is there ready and willing to help at all times.

While the special is a fairly light hearted endeavor, the action scenes are pretty serious. Kenya actually sliced off one guy’s arm which was unexpected but of course the guy had a potion to regenerate it. I’m glad Kenya had been prepared for this though. The kids put up a brave stand against the demon as well which was nice to see and of course this led to Diablo stealing the show as always. It was a great climax and the perfect way to end the special. If you merge the three parts this works quite well as a mini movie. It’s got a complete plot and while Rimuru doesn’t get to do a whole lot in terms of fighting here, he’ll have plenty of chances in the main series anyway. This one really focuses on why he is known as such a great teacher. He may be rather hands off in his approach but his sheer genius makes up the difference.

The animation is on par with the main show. It’s a very solid display for the character designs and backdrops. I definitely have no complaints with how anything looked. The soundtrack is also taken from the show so this is good as well. It is able to really capture the feeling of just being another pair of episodes which is good. It’s a seamless transition. The pacing is on point so this will also keep your interest all the way through.

Overall, This was a fun trilogy of episodes. I wouldn’t say there is a ton more to discuss since it’s a rather straight forward plot. It’s a quick challenge to see which class is best and we all know that Rimuru’s absolutely destroyed the others no matter what Jeff says. Of course, they all have super powers and spirit boosters so it may not be super fair, but that’s neither here nor there. I’d be cool with Jeff returning in the main series for more of a rivalry with Rimuru from time to time. The kids also still want to visit Rimuru’s village so I assume that is probably going to happen soon. If you want a fun little adventure to see the old characters again this is definitely a good special to check out.

Overall 7/10

Lego Marvel Spider-Man: Vexed by Venom Review


It’s time for the next Marvel Lego special and this time we get Spider-Man as the lead character. One nice thing about these lego adventures is that they always feel like they could take place in the real show. The Black Panther special was like something out of Avengers Assemble and this one is pretty close with the current Spider-Man title. It may not be exact and it certainly isn’t officially in continuity, but it does help make the whole thing gel together pretty well.
The plot of the special is that Venom and Green Goblin have joined forces to get this mystical key item. Spider-Man is on the scene right away, but isn’t able to take them down in his first encounter. He may need some extra tech to win in this round but he’ll have to move fast because these villains are not going to be waiting for anyone. He also may get some unexpected assistance.

Green Goblin and Venom teaming up is an interesting concept and I don’t believe that it has happened before. It makes sense for them to pair up as they are some of Spider-Man’s most dangerous adversaries, but both of them have a lot of pride and like to work solo so that’s probably why it would be difficult to get them on one page. From the two I’d say that Venom definitely gets the bigger role although you may have guessed that from the title of this special.

Green Goblin doesn’t look bad, but he just doesn’t seem to be much of a threat to Spider-Man. Spidey even mentions that he can dodge the villain’s attacks all day and never feels all that threatened. At least with Venom Spider-Man had to bring in his Spider Bot to try and get the upper hand. I didn’t see any of that tech against the goblin.

This special did a good job of really using the lego format to its advantage here by having so many different upgrades for Spider-Man. I liked all of the vehicles and they looked pretty good in their brief screen time. The fights are also good, considerably better than in the last special. A good reason for this is due to the special taking the action scenes more seriously. It’s a bit ironic but this special had more of a serious tone than the Black Panther one. The fights here are just so much better like with the climax as Mecha Spiderman and Ghost Spider take on Venom. It’s real solid.

We still do get some good humor though and Spider-Man is always able to pull that off pretty well. He gets a lot of good one liners and does his best to annoy and mock the villains as much as possible. Spider-Man also looks pretty experienced here and it’s got to be one of his more impressive portrayals recently. He thinks fast to protect civilians and even has a good moment where he uses his webs to stop Venom’s bearhug drop and turns the tables. Spiderman still does whine a lot, but I like to think it’s to get the villains to drop their guard. He’s not actually all that desperate.

At one point in the special Spider-Man decides to take Goblin’s lair for his own. It’s actually a pretty interesting idea that makes a lot of sense. As Spiderman mentioned, it’s not like Green Goblin will be using it anytime soon right? Why let a good lair go to rest? I’m thinking that the only big risk here would be if the villain bugged it with a lot of weapons and traps or some cameras and the hero ends up giving away key information. You’d definitely need to do a clean sweep of it, but otherwise it’s really not a bad idea.

The rest of the characters here are all solid as well. Ghost Spider definitely ends up helping out quite a lot in the end. Without her Spiderman would have definitely been in trouble. Then you have Spider-Man himself who was very solid as I mentioned earlier. It’s always nice to see him as an experienced veteran. Finally there’s Venom who is a very imposing villain with several forms. The voice for him was also quite fitting as it was very intimidating. Yeah, Venom was handled perfectly!

Overall, Vexed by Venom is a fun special. It’s got a good blend of plot, action, and humor. It’s easily one of Marvel’s better lego specials and as always the pacing is on point. This is the kind of special that probably could have been extended into a full film and been quite solid. Sometimes it’s best not to push it though. The 20 minutes were filled out quite well. If you haven’t checked this special out yet then you should do so. It’s pretty fun.

Overall 7/10

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

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

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

Pinocchio’s Christmas Review


It’s time to look at a fresh take on Pinocchio. This one is by the Rankin/Bass guys and doubles as both an origin as well as a Christmas special. It’s an interesting version for sure, but it’s fairly short and once again this feels like it ends too soon. I also think the film didn’t work hard enough to make Pinocchio a sympathetic character and by the end you’ll be left unsatisfied with the whole thing.

The film starts with Geppetto looking to get Pinocchio a present. He decides to get the one thing he’s sure the kid always wanted, an arithmetic book. From the start you can tell that Geppetto means well but he is seriously out of touch. Pinocchio immediately sells the book and looks to buy something for his old friend. That’s when his other friends Fox and Cat show up. They tell Pinocchio about magical seeds he can buy. After suckering Pinocchio out of his money he becomes desperate for more options. He joins a travelling circus and even gets kidnapped at one point. What’s a puppet to do?

The problem with Pinocchio is that he’s never particularly sorry about what he does. The lies come very naturally to him here, even more than in other versions. Of course by the end he basically gets over his lying ways, but it took a lot of effort. He even chased out Jiminy cricket early on. Also, Pinocchio is extremely gullible in this version. Fox and Cat trick him numerous times yet he somehow doesn’t ever find out that they aren’t his friends. You’d think that after a while he would put the pieces together, but it would seem that he is simply too trusting. It becomes annoying by the end though as you’d like those characters to have met some kind of justice.

Geppetto also doesn’t look good here. When Pinocchio is lost he starts looking around town, but can’t even recognize Pinocchio through a simple disguise. So much for their strong bond right? He is very old so I guess his eyesight is going a bit, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that he should still be able to do a little better than this. Cat makes for a terrible villain with how she keeps sabotaging Fox, but Fox was reasonable. I think the voice actor had a lot of fun with this role. He was pretty over the top but in an intentional way that just worked well. If you gotta have a villain to mess with Pinocchio, you want someone like this.

As always, I do have to say that the animation style isn’t quite my thing. It’s not terrible but not as smooth as the traditional hand drawn animation we’ve all come to love. I’m also pretty mixed on Pinocchio’s design. It just doesn’t look right as I’m so used to the old one. It’s not a bad design though, it’ll just take some time getting used to it and the special isn’t really long enough for that to happen. There isn’t much of a soundtrack, but the writing is decent. Nothing special, but nothing bad. It’s just around.

Overall, Pinocchio’s Christmas is a decent special, but I wouldn’t call it the most interesting or enjoyable. It’s not a bad time and I don’t think you’ll regret the 40 minutes it took to watch this one, but it just feels bland. The writers grabbed the story of Pinocchio but didn’t actually do anything with it. Switch around the characters with other iconic figures and the plot really wouldn’t change almost at all. That’s always a bad sign. Still, if you want to watch some adventures it’s a reasonable flick to check out. Otherwise, I’d stick to the classic tale. At least in the full movie him turning into a donkey was pure hype.

Overall 5/10

The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas Review


Time for another Christmas special but this one is by a different crew so we’re back to traditional animation. It definitely looks pretty good and right away it’s an improvement for me at least. As for the actual story, that part is a little less engaging but I blame the main character on that one. So prepare yourself as we enter the world of the Bears!

The special starts by showing us how the Bears all work at this large honey factory. They work for most of the year and then take a break to hibernate. It’s a system that has been in place for generations and the Bears have learned to love it. After all, who wouldn’t want to sleep for a few months? That’s what they all thought until Ted showed up. He wants to stay awake for Christmas and has tried to do so for years. The problem is that every time he ends up falling asleep which certainly doesn’t play into his plans. This year he is determined to stay up and even ends up travelling to the Human World to do so. (Well, it’s the same world but they may as well be separate)

I don’t think that Ted’s plan is bad or even that selfish. If he wants to stay up then that’s fine. It won’t hurt anybody and at most he’ll just be really tired once the hibernation is over since he’ll have had less sleep. The problem is that he does end up hurting others which is certainly no good. First he forgets to turn the honey off which is pretty bad since they waste a few gallons and that ends up hurting the company’s bottom line very quick. Fortunately for Ted his boss was very understanding and told him that he could overlook this but not to let it happen again. Then Ted runs outside and does an interview where he tells the world his plans. This isn’t a good look and it reflects poorly on the job. When you’re an employee like Ted you can’t just give interviews without going through HR first.

I’m probably being a bit hard on Ted, but it’s for his own good. If he was a little more careful I think he could have been a very good main character. Most of the special is about Ted finally making it to the human world/Christmas. Once he does make it we realize that this was all part of Santa’s plan from the start. It’s all rather genius from that holiday icon’s perspective. Everyone is just another piece on the chessboard for him. The whole situation can be a little odd if you really think about it as Ted got to the human world pretty easily all things considered but when you throw magic into the equation then things start to make sense. It’s also possible that without Santa Ted would have been doomed from the start.

Overall, The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas is a pretty good special. Ted could be annoying at times but at least he had a goal and saw it through. His determination is admirable for sure and he succeeded in his goal. The ending is pretty nice and a best case scenario for all parties involved. I’m sure even his boss is happy about the whole thing since now his operation can be back on target just as he likes it. I recommend checking this special out. It’ll help remind you to look forward to Christmas since it’s always a blast and a half. You just can’t go wrong on this day.

Overall 7/10

The Leprechauns’ Christmas Gold Review


Leprechauns are usually seen as villainous little guys who want gold at any cost. Typically they will resort to violent means as soon as possible in order to fulfill their ambitions. At the same time then you also have the shoemakers who are always seen as nice in the various stories. Well, this special finally explains that both sides separated a while back. The shoemakers are just a lot nicer.

The short starts with a sailor crash landing on an island from his boat. Then a heavy rain storm appears and the sailor immediately gives up hope that he will ever escape. Fortunately there is a pine cone tree and the hero rips it out of the ground before joining an old Leprechaun for some tea. It turns out that by ripping away the tree the sailor has released an ancient witch who will do everything in her power to steal the gold. Can the sailor make amends or is it all over?

Now that’s the plot on the surface but there is a little nuance here. For starters you have to ask yourself who the true enemy is here. I would argue that the witch isn’t as bad as the Leprechauns. One thing you need to be aware of is that the witch will die if she doesn’t receive a piece of gold before Christmas. Moreover, she can’t steal it, she must convince a leprechaun to give it to her in order for the spell to be broken. The Leprechauns are rich beyond belief so surely they could have given her at least one piece right? The fact that they didn’t shows how petty they are. They kept treating it as an all or nothing issue when that was simply not the case.

The Witch has some reasonable plans to trick the Leprechauns in the meanwhile. Putting a serum into the Leprechaun’s tea was pretty clever and that plan almost worked. Then The witch correctly assumed that the sailor wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and moved on to manipulating him. It just gave more reason to remind you that the sailor was certainly not on point.

While I was on team witch I suppose the main Leprechaun was a solid character. He was quick on the draw and would have defeated the sailor if he had a better weapon. His disagreement with the wife was certainly not one of his better moments though. Again, he could have given some gold rather than having to live apart for the next few decades. That part of the plot is actually a little tragic if you think about it. The fact that the lead acknowledges the existence of Gold Fever just proves the point even more. On the other side of the spectrum though, the wife shouldn’t even suggest getting rid of all the gold. Cmon, that’s not very practical.

As far as the animation goes, stop motion still isn’t the best style out there. It’s around LEGO level with that style bring a little more polished at this point. Still, the animation could be worse (Water colors) and as this special is quite short I wouldn’t call it a real issue. The constant crying effect for the Witch was certainly something. If anything the style makes you feel bad for the characters whenever they are sad as they tend to shake a lot.

Overall, This was a fun little special. I do think the movie could have done more to show us why the witch was the antagonist if we were really supposed to root for the Leprechauns. Perhaps it was intentional though in which case the film did a good job. If you haven’t seen this film yet and don’t mind the art style then I would recommend it. It’s not every day that you get to watch a film about Leprechauns after all.

Overall 6/10

Pluto’s Sweater Review


It’s time to look at an old Disney special about Pluto. Pluto typically can’t hold his own special as well as Donald or Mickey but the character always has potential. After all, Snoopy ended up becoming quite the hit in Peanuts even if their circumstances may be a little different. This special is also a lot less tragic than Pluto’s last one which helps quite a bit.

The general premise is that Minnie has made a new sweater for Pluto. The problem is that she’s not the smartest character on the block and made Pluto a pink sweater despite knowing that he wouldn’t want to wear such a thing. She forces it on him and Pluto spends the remainder of the special trying to get it off. It’s tough because the sweater is sentient and wants a host so that it can continue to survive and thrive. Honestly it really isn’t a bad strategy when you think about it. The sweater just wants to live so you may be rooting for it.

Naturally as with most of the Disney special this one is only a few minutes long so it goes by real quick. The pacing is on point and it stays interesting throughout. As I mentioned this special isn’t tragic which is definitely important. There is a cat that mocks Pluto for a while, but eventually the tables are turned and it learns that embracing the sweater ultimately isn’t a choice. You just have to roll with the punches, better now than later. Pluto is now safe once more, until next Christmas.

As far as the animation goes it is just as solid as the rest of the Disney specials. The colors are all pretty vibrant and the characters are on point. Consistency is the key to success and it’s an area where Disney has excelled for years and years. There is always something happening on screen whether it is in the forefront or in the background. Part of what makes the specials a lot of fun is how chaotic and energetic the animation is. It’s something that you simply can’t duplicate with traditional CGI or some of the more low budget hand drawn stuff that you see nowadays.

I do have to say one last time that Minnie wasn’t a great character here though. She is brought to tears way too quickly and basically starts to guilt trip Pluto. Naturally the fact that she didn’t notice how much Pluto didn’t want to wear the sweater is used for comedy, but it doesn’t make you any more likely to take her side. If she had noticed that Pluto didn’t want to wear the sweater then she probably wouldn’t have felt quite as bad about it being shrunk down to size.

Overall, Pluto’s a fun character but I still do think he can’t hold his own specials quite as well as Mickey of Donald. That’s not to say that the special is bad or anything, but the other two just add an extra element through their dialogue that Pluto can’t match. He has to rely on pure animation as a visual medium which is fine, but it just won’t have the same impact as the others. How could it? Dialogue (With good writing) is just too powerful to be matched in most situations. If you haven’t seen this special yet then I would recommend checking it out. You’ll get to see the sweater in action and what could be a greater honor than that?

Overall 6/10