Why, Charlie Brown, Why? Review

This is the most serious Charlie Brown special. It still has subplots for the comic relief and some jokes to keep it from being too ultra serious, but the tone is certainly darker than what you will be used to from this series. It’s good to tackle themes like this once in a while to spread awareness and act as an infomercial, but I am glad that it is only an occasional thing. Not to mention that some themes are a little too dark regardless. If the ending hadn’t been quite as positive, it definitely would have hurt the special more.

One of Linus’ friends has started to feel sick lately. He advises her to go to the nurse’s office and from there she ends up in the hospital as she has developed cancer. Charlie decides that he and Linus should visit the hospital. The special is mostly focused on describing the treatment and showing how the main characters cope with this sudden development. Some handle it well, but others not so much.

It may be a little iffy for some when we see Lucy in particular. She really doesn’t care that someone got cancer and it fairly rude about it. It’s true that kids probably don’t understand the gravity of the situation, but the special went out of its way to show that everyone was really mean about it aside from Charlie and Linus. Snoopy handled it well as he continued to eat a lot of food whenever possible though. You can never count him out and he stole the show with his “dinner” as he proved to everyone how to enjoy yourself while having a healthy diet at the same time. It did look like a complete meal after all.

A bully showed up for the first time in a while. Naturally Linus was upset about this, but I felt like he could have handled the situation better. He mostly just let the bully talk for a while before clenching his fists and finally yelling at the guy a little, but I was hoping for Linus to throw a solid punch. Linus blew up, but in a rather anticlimactic way and it took him too long to react. Of course, he was able to solve the situation without violence so in a way that’s good…in a way.

Aside from Lucy and the bully, the characters are pretty solid here. Linus did well and the new character seemed nice enough. Charlie was considerate as always and it’s easy to see why he is the main character of the franchise. The others mean well, but they’d definitely be lost without his expert guidance. If not for all of his plans and last second heroics, the town would probably be a lot more depressing and solemn. From winning tournaments to visiting friends in the hospital, Charlie’s the guy you can count on.

The soundtrack is certainly more downcast and less fast paced than usual. This helps the special carry across the feeling that things are more serious than usual. It works well enough and the animation is as good as usual. These specials are nothing if not consistent in their technical quality. As always, the special is definitely very short so you can really watch it whenever you have a free period. It’s not too fun so you’ll want to have some snacks to munch while watching it.

Luckily, as mentioned earlier, the ending is fairly happy. Good endings can always help a film quite a bit. If the friend had died to try to show how serious cancer is, it would have failed pretty badly. She even got her hair back, which was definitely a nice added bonus. All’s well that ends well and that’s why going to the doctor regularly is a good thing so you can catch these conditions right away. I don’t particularly like going to the doctor’s too often since I feel pretty healthy, but I still recommend going. It’s worth it folks, even if I don’t follow my own advice on this.

Overall, This special certainly sticks out from the rest. One watch is really enough though and I would sooner recommend checking out most of the other Charlie Brown specials. Still, at least the special tackled the topic of cancer I suppose. The kid should have been put to sleep before getting the bone marrow shot if you ask me, but beyond that it did a good job of explaining the treatments available. With this, the Charlie Brown animated specials have come to an end for now, but eventually I aim to see the others that I have not checked out yet. Hopefully Snoopy continues to steal the show and show us just why he is such a great character.

Overall 6/10


You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown Review

To counter that last one, it’s time to look at one of the better Charlie Brown specials. I actually may put this one in the top 5 to be honest, but there are a lot of them so I’ve gotta think it through. For sure, the Christmas one, and the Olympics would make it. Flashbeagle as well. That leaves two empty spots and I’m fairly confident that this one would be able to grab one of them. It has everything that a good Peanuts special needs and the ending was also fairly fun even if one character had to be nerfed so that the moral would go smoothly. I suppose that it is the price to pay for having the side characters be a little stronger than the main one. Charlie Brown’s a nice kid, but he does tend to be a little out of his depth when up against Snoopy.

As the title suggests, this is another sport themed special. Charlie Brown is invited to the motorcycle event with the rest of the gang. He decides that while he is entering it, he may as well take home the gold trophy. The main opponents standing in his way are Peppermint Patty and the Masked Rider. They’re good, but Charlie has his own support crew ready in the form of Linus. They pooled their resources and got themselves a fairly decent vehicle so they’re ready. Patty is an old pro at this kind of event so she has a fairly top of the line bike of her own. Finally, the Masked Rider is also around and he has the best vehicle of them all. He only shows up for the biggest races apparently so the other characters are all on edge as soon as he shows up. Seeing as how he is Snoopy by day and a rider by night, this Masked Rider sure knows how to balance his time effectively.

One of the reasons why this special is a lot of fun is because I enjoy sports. I always like seeing a good sport themed cartoon or movie even if I don’t play that particular sport. I don’t think that I’ll ever be getting into Motorcross racing or any of the other forms, but it is still pretty interesting to look at. Furthermore, Charlie Brown and Snoopy both get rather large roles here which is the best of both roles. The bulk of the special is the long race so the pacing is great and it feels like a lot happens in this special. It’s interesting and engaging right from the start. The special should quickly remind you of the Tortoise and the Hare story. Regrettably, you’ll realize right from the start that Snoopy’s chances of winning are quite small. Despite the fact that he is an expert and a dog to be feared in all forms of sports, he never actually wins due to his overconfidence. He starts to pull ahead by such a long gap that he stops for a feast including cake and other such food items. Snoopy handles himself better than the Hare did, but not by a whole lot and ultimately this proved to be his downfall. I would have liked to have seen Charlie take the win here. That being said, seeing Charlie coast to victory was fun as well.

Charlie rarely ever gets to actually win so this was a fairly special event. It’s great to see his hard work and dedication pay off once in a while. It’s a running gag that he loses, but it can only be funny if he manages to win at least once. With that happy ending and the fun sports vibe throughout the special, this one was definitely a winner. Linus was a good supporting character here as well who helped Charlie out of a tough spot. Charlie’s definitely fortunate to have a good friend like Linus around. The animation and soundtrack are about the same as all of the other specials. They are good and hold up well. This is one of the older Charlie Brown specials and you can easily notice how the animation has improved over the years, but the core style is always the same. It’s easy on the eyes and hopefully the series never descends into dicey CGI or Flash animation, but well…that is the ultimate fate for most titles.

Overall, This was a great Charlie Brown special. Even before the actual race started up, the prelude to it was handled well as we got to see Snoopy’s serious tennis skills. Once again, he may have been the superior player, but he couldn’t take the win. As much as the running gag on always losing is focused on Charlie Brown, it tends to happen to Snoopy as well. The dog’s power level fluctuates rather rapidly and he could be dominating one second only to lose the next. Personally, I’d prefer it if Snoopy always defeated everyone at everything and it could be a great running gag in its own right, but Snoopy still looks good through and through. I highly recommend checking this special out and who knows, you may end up considering it as the best Charlie Brown special of them all, although you’d have to make a super strong case to even put it in the same conversation as the legendary Christmas special.

Overall 7/10

Someday You’ll Find Her Charlie Brown Review

Time for another Charlie Brown special. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t quite as good as the others. It decides to go for a romance angle which isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t work for this series all that well. Charlie Brown doesn’t look all that great again either and spends the entire special blushing. Poor kid, he simply got his hopes up too high!

We find out that Charlie has been falling in love with someone every week. He always tunes into a Football game just for the 2 second shot that shows a different person in the audience each week. This time he wants to find her so he enlists the help of Linus. Linus warns Charlie that this will be a difficult task, but ultimately decides to help. The two of them go on a long wild goose chase in hopes of finding her, but the path is filled with perils.

A tough cat attacks Charlie and Linus at one point. They tried to be brave about the situation, but the cat quickly chased them away. Even Snoopy lost round one against the foe, but he managed to make a comeback, which is what separates Snoopy from the average dog. He has guts and isn’t afraid to fight off any opponent who gets in his way. He probably should have won the first time though. Snoopy even managed to stop traffic which was a pretty hardcore moment. The cars better stop before his greatness!

There’s not much of a soundtrack and the visuals are the same as ever so we’ll bypass that section this time. I will say that the blush around Charlie the entire time was annoying though and Linus falling for the girl in the end was a little predictable. I certainly wasn’t expecting him to rub it in Charlie’s face the whole time though. Man, he simply wouldn’t stop as he kept reminding Charlie just how tricky of a situation this was. Linus was clearly having a blast while Charlie’s week probably got ruined as a result.

Still, Charlie probably should have been a little braver. This all happened because he sent Linus in to do all of the hard work. It makes sense that the girl wouldn’t give Charlie the time of day at that point. As a result, Charlie lost out on his milk and cookies. It’s hard to sympathize with Charlie here, but it is definitely a sad ending for him. Ah well, better luck next time Mr. Brown.

This special is easily one of the weakest ones though. The scenes tended to drag out quite a bit after a while and the romance didn’t really add anything to the story. It was just the same old story with each person that they came across. It might have been helpful if the rest of the gang had decided to come along for the ride as a class field trip. The more characters the better right? I do think that the supporting cast can help out quite a bit in a film like this one. I was glad to have a change of scenery though.

Overall, Someday You’ll Find Her Charlie Brown is probably the worst Charlie Brown TV special that I’ve seen. Not saying that it’s terrible or anything, but it’s not as entertaining as the average special and the romance really starts to bog it down after a while. At least Linus had a happy ending I suppose. More Snoopy scenes and a different plot would have done wonders for this special. After all, seeing Snoopy use his hand to hand skills to claim victory over the cat was pretty impressive. If you want to watch a Charlie Brown special, watch the Christmas one instead. It’s more fun and teaches you valuable lessons.

Overall 5/10

Lego Scooby Doo Knight Time Terror Review

It’s time to take a look at a Lego Scooby Doo film. Legos aren’t my favorite animation style to say the least, but they beat the puppets so I’ll take it I suppose. The special did feel incredibly short so that’s a good thing since it would have still dragged on a little if the plot had been boring. It’s a standard mini Scooby Doo adventure so the mystery’s fun and I still like the main cast. They get the job done and don’t pull their punches. That’s what I like to see from the heroes.

They head to a mansion where there is supposedly some treasure that’s been hidden. Unfortunately, the Mystery Gang may not be able to make it there alive since there is a mysterious Knight that haunts the castle. He has an axe and isn’t afraid to use it so one good hit would mean curtains for Fred and the gang. They’ll have to get to the bottom of this before something dicey happens!

The Knight was pretty hype. He actually had a lethal weapon and he had a good chase scene so I’ll give the villain a thumbs up. In a Scooby Doo film, you always want a villain who’s hardcore, but still has enough character to pull off the comedy moments. For the rest of the gang, they’re about the same as usual. Fred’s still the best member as he takes charge and never backs down from a good mystery. The gang wouldn’t have even heard about the treasure if not for good ole Fred. Daphne doesn’t really get a role this time as she mostly stays on the sidelines and allows Scooby and Shaggy to do the hard work.

They’re classic as per usual. Since Legos still don’t have enough parts to actually eat food, it wasn’t surprising to see that the heroes did’t get to eat this time. I’m sure that they could have bluffed it with some cut aways and shifty camera angles though. Shaggy did try his best to stop the Knight, but it proved to all be for naught. The villain was simply too strong this time. I do wish that Shaggy and Scooby would fight a little more, but I suppose that such a big change might be too much for the fanbase. The status quo would never be the same after that.

Unfortunately, Velma once again reminds me why she is the worst member of the group. She falls for yet another guy in this special and the romance is handled poorly as expected. It’s crammed in for no real reason and just serves to bring the whole thing down. Luckily, the subplot isn’t on screen for very long since the actual special isn’t that long either. We can’t forget about the suspects either although I didn’t bother trying to guess who it was this time. I privately figured that it was the nice assistant, but turns out that I wasn’t right on the money this time.

The first suspect is the owner of the house. Maybe he wants to collect on the insurance by scaring everyone away. There’s also the two guys in the monster costumes. Maybe they finally cracked and have decided to take things too far. Finally, there’s the nice assistant, but you can rule her out from this equation. Choose wisely since your bragging rights are on the line this time. There’s not really anything to say about the soundtrack of the animation. It’s legos so you know how it looks and the soundtrack is basically nonexistent this time. It works well enough, which will have to do. It’s not a bad soundtrack by any means.

Overall, Knight Time Terror is a good Scooby Doo special. Lego has really gotten popular over the last few years. I think Scooby Doo probably waited a little too long to jump on the bandwagon, but Lego’s still got a lot of products coming out so it’s not toooo late I suppose. If you like the Scooby Doo films then you’ll like this one. If you don’t, then this won’t change your mind either. At the very least, just remember that this is only around 20 minutes, if not shorter. It’ll be over in the blink of an eye and the plot never drags on so you don’t need to worry about that. Prepare yourself for the mystery!

Overall 7/10

ScoobyDoo and the Beach Beastie Review

It’s time to review the final special from the 4 Scooby Doo specials marathon. This special sees the group head to the Beach for some much needed RnR, but things don’t turn out that smoothly because a Water Dragon has begun to attack them all. Saddle up guys because we’re in for one epic show! The gang’s really going to have to bring their A game this time…not that they usually don’t of course!

See, Fred was traumatized because nets are and always will be his life. That’s the real reason why the group needed the RnR in the first place, but they took Fred to a net hotel, which may not have been their best move. That’s when the Water Dragon shows up and wrecks the place, which leads to our usual array of suspects. We’ve got the shady hotel owner who admits that he is a little crazy and he certainly has the motive. An accident of this scale could get him quite a lot of insurance money. We’ve got the owner of a dog who has ensnared Scooby Doo with her chibi charm. Perhaps this is just a tactic to get the heroes to lower their guards so that she can steal the place. There’s also the owner of a rival company which is getting some water exhibits soon…one of them uses solidified water. Hmmmmm. There’s also the dog owner’s husband who lately has no time for her and the dog, which has made them all tense. So many suspects and so little time!

As always, the special is around 20 minutes give or take so the pacing is solid. The animation is solid and the soundtrack is nonexistent, etc, etc. I may as well not repeat myself from the last 3 specials right? The water dino is pretty hype since it busts into the Hotel and is actually there. No smoke and mirrors this time folks, since we have solidified water, this dino/dragon is actually a very real threat. There’s definitely quite a bit of plot hax about the design once we find out the twist though. Are we expected to believe that nobody noticed a person in the center of the dragon? I don’t think so!

Unfortunately, this film was bogged down by a really annoying subplot involving good ole Scooby. As mentioned earlier, he takes a fancy to another dog and then decides to stop being pals with Shaggy as he even gives away his Scooby Snacks. If the other dog had any personality and if she could talk, then maybe (I doubt it) this plot would be more bearable, but as this dog seems rather generic and forced into the plot, it just comes off as unnecessary. Luckily Shaggy drags Scooby back to reality by the end, but trust me when I say that this was a pretty rough side plot.

Another iffy scene is when Velma grabs the owner’s priceless necklace and then uses it as bait for the monster without any actual plan. Granted, we find out that the necklace was a fake, but the owner didn’t know that and there would be no way to prove it if Velma had actually lost this prize. That would have been quite the blow to the team’s public relations image and that’s why you should solve cases without putting innocent items in the line of fire.

Naturally, a good chunk of the main plot was about helping Fred to cope with his obsession with nets. He prefers to dodge the issue by running away and yelling, but eventually everyone admits that he’s actually got the right idea. Nets are the future and we just have to learn to accept it. This does lead to a plot hax moment where Fred turns the brown VHS cords into a clear net that looks nothing like his materials, but we can assume that he gave up and just grabbed a proper net. That still works when it comes to my head canon.

On a final note, this film definitely cements the fact that the Mystery gang depends on Fred. Without him, they were toast since the rest of the members couldn’t think of any good strategies to deal with the water monster. They were simply out of their depth by that point. The Fred plot would have been even more intense if they had gotten his old rival from the prequel show, but I’m going to assume that they’re saving him for a huge film that’ll come out and rock our world. The other Mystery Inc. members are good as per usual with the exception of Scooby Doo.

Overall, This was a solid Scooby Doo film. The Scooby subplot was disappointing, but you can’t go wrong with a Fred plot to headline the story so go check this one out! Technically, the film is consistent as always and throwing in the cool villain and original locale makes for a fun special. It’ll be over before you know it and the experience should be a good one. Just sit back and enjoy the adventure. I’m not sure when I’ll be checking out the next Scooby Doo special or film, but there are always more of them out there so stay tuned!

Overall 7/10

Lego DC Comics: Batman Be-Leaguered Review

It’s time to take a look at the quick animated special that came out a while ago. It was included with the main movie in the DVD so I got to check it out. This is a fun adventure and it’s certainly very short. At just a little over 20 minutes, you can bet that it’ll be over in a flash. It was short, but I do think that it holds its own against the first Lego film thanks to the Justice League interactions. Those were certainly a lot of fun.

Superman invites Batman to join the Justice League, but the Dark Knight refuses. He doesn’t trust Superman after all and the thought of being in a league is not for him. Batman is a solo act after all, but the League members start to disappear one after the other. It’s up to Batman to find out who is doing this and stop the villain before someone actually gets hurt. It’s time to see if Batman has the skills needed to pull this off.

The voices have been switched along with some of the designs. It took a minute to get used to Batman’s new look and voice, but it worked out quite well. Batman is much more paranoid this time around and he is constantly thinking about how he can’t trust Superman. The Dark Knight brings up a lot of valid points so you may start to agree with him after a while. How can he be wrong right? Once again, Batman is really the star of the show and the main reason why this special is so much fun. Batman proves that he can hold his own against any of the other members.

Superman’s voice isn’t as good as the last one, but he’s still a fun powerhouse to have around. He does a good job of trying to recruit Batman. The other Justice League members were fun to see as well. Cyborg is purposely portrayed like his Teen Titans self, which is cool. The writers decided to make Wonder Woman a little mean this time, which was interesting. I can’t say that she was likable here and I guess that means that I just didn’t care for her parody as opposed to most of the others. From the other League members, The Flash is the one who looked the best. His speed is definitely legendary and it’s good to see how fast he can move. You can argue that the film makes him look a little too fast for comedy, but I’d argue that he actually is this fast. He’s the Flash after all! Besides Superman, I’d consider him to be one of the fastest heroes of all time.

I’m still not crazy about the Lego animation, but it’s here and it’s here to stay. These films are mainly comedies so that’s how the style is used. I would prefer another style, but it wouldn’t be a Lego film if they weren’t using Lego animation right? We do get some action scenes, which is always fun and the ending shows why the Justice League are feared as one of the strongest fighting units out there. Stopping them is simply tough, even for Luthor and the other villains. A certain cosmic being also appears. This guy is certainly strong and nearly invincible so I’m glad that the League didn’t try to fight him. I don’t like seeing the heroes lose to guys who can’t be defeated. It doesn’t end up feeling like a fair fight.

Overall, This was a fun special to watch. It was incredibly short, but Batman still had enough time to outshine the rest of the Justice League and also save the day. As far as I am concerned, the film succeeded there. Batman’s reason for joining the League at the end is also pretty intense. You’ll definitely want to stick around for the final part in the Lego series (for now) as it directly continues from this film as Batman’s plot continues to advance. He is not going to let Superman endanger the world….not on his watch! If you like the Lego series or are looking for a humorous adventure with your favorite DC heroes, this is definitely the film to check out.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon XY The Strongest Mega Evolution Act II Review

Well, the Mega specials continue here as Alain carries on in his journey to defeat all of the Mega evolved Pokemon. Unfortunately, this is a goal that is even more difficult than Ash’s dream of being a Pokemon Master so it shall never happen. Still, Alain can just try to defeat all of the Mega Pokemon that he encounters. That would be a nice start to his goal. This special is pretty good, but it’s not quite as engaging as the first special. There simply isn’t as much action to be found here.

Alain was looking for more people to fight when his sidekick ended up falling down only to be helped up by the Pokemon Champion, Steven. Alain quickly challenges Steven to a fight that the champion cannot refuse and Alain’s big fight is here. His Charizard is powerful, but he’s up against a champion right now so you can bet that it won’t be an easy fight. That’s the meat of the episode and after that the heroes use some ruins that they have found to locate a large energy source. It could be the ultimate Mega Stone…let’s hope that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands!

Speaking of which, Lysandre has a pretty big role in the special. There will be no drama for the kids who played Pokemon X/Y, but for those of you who do not play the games, you’ll still realize that something is fishy with this guy. I didn’t care for him anyway as Lysandre interrupted a good fight and he seems a little condescending. His hairstyle is pretty good though since it stands out. Hopefully Alain turns against him quickly and uses his good ole Charizard to take his boss down!

Steven is a pretty likable character and you can tell that his skills are worthy of being a Pokemon Master. I don’t like the fact that his Metagross is not blue, but I suppose that making it a shiny version makes the kid look even more impressive. Suffice to say, I was rooting for Alain, but it definitely makes sense that he was being crushed in the fight. One simply does not defeat a Pokemon Champion and especially someone with Alain’s track record. See, Alain talks a good game, but he has a habit of losing when the going gets tough.

Alain’s goal is to defeat all of the Mega Pokemon, but he’s already been defeated twice if I recall correctly and he suffered a tie that would have been a loss in this special as well. Alain is a nice guy and he’s finally getting used to the power of friendship, but he’s still going to have to improve his fighting skills if he wants to stay relevant in the Pokemon world. He’s definitely no Ash Ketchum, but he’s a cool lead.

I still can’t wait until the anime starts to use Mega Evolutions more as it is certainly a good step in the Pokemon universe. Imagine seeing Pikachu having a Mega Stone and gradually mastering his new form as the series goes on! It would add a Shonen Twist to keep Pokemon going and the visuals are always great once that happens. The Mega energy that envelops the Pokemon and causes many cool destruction scenes is something that we need to see more of.

The animation is naturally very good for this special. The fight scenes are a lot of fun to watch and the energy attacks all have a lot of detail. The character designs are easy to look at and it’s a win all around. Pokemon definitely proves that it can still hold up with the best mon shows. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is another story. It wrecks the tension and excitement that the fights have because the music is so slow and happy. It’s simply not well suited to accompany these action scenes and I have to wonder what the channel was thinking. Throw in some rock themes from GX or rip some music from Pokemon Advanced, but just about anything would have been an improvement over what we got. Music is a key ingredient in anything and especially an anime so they need to get that fixed before act III comes out.

Unfortunately, this special is still really short and it’s basically equivalent to watching a normal episode of Pokemon. To an extent, it does feel like a normal episode and you would probably just call this filler if it was occurring alongside Ash’s adventures. That would have actually been interesting, but this way is better since we get to have both. Hopefully this series gets many acts although I hope that they make it bi weekly or at least monthly soon since the wait can be pretty bad. It will certainly help with the pacing since nothing really happened in this episode, but it wouldn’t feel as bad if we had the next one coming in a few weeks.

Overall, Act II may not be as intense as Act I, but it’s still a pretty fun Pokemon special. It’s really everything that you would expect from the classic franchise as we get some cool action scenes and some world building for the future. It’s almost inevitable that Alain will have to fight his boss so that should be a pretty intense fight. I hope that we get to see some more game characters like Red and Blue as the special series goes on. The most important thing is for the specials to fix the soundtrack. That negative really needs to be addressed before the third Act arrives since it really limits the special’s potential. It’s only about 20 minutes so I’ll expect all of my blog followers to give it a shot by then unless you plan to watch all of the acts as a film once they end. Otherwise, see you then!

Overall 7/10