Search
Welcome to my updated website

Use this space for anything from simple blocks of text to powerful widgets, like our Twitter and Flickr widgets. Learn more.

To access Website Management, hit the 'esc' key or use this Login link.

My email address:dkharris74@gmail.com
Commissions
Blog Index
Powered by Squarespace
This list does not yet contain any items.
This list does not yet contain any items.
Navigation
Monday
Oct152018

Animation Analysis: Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse

*sigh* 2D theatrical animation is dead in hollywood and probably always will be at this point so all we got is cgi.  What makes this even sadder is we’ve gone an entire generation now where kids haven’t ever seen 2D animation in the theaters and when they do see it they’ll be like “aww, how quaint.”.  So, we’re stuck with cgi but if that’s the case why hasn’t any of the studios pushed this form of animation to it’s max.  Yes, yes each year it looks cleaner, colorful and brighter but that’s nothing new.  What I mean is why is there always a sameness to it.  Don’t believe me?  Think about this.  If you didn’t know what studio made what film the last 8 years could you differentiate between them(an recent example would be “Smallfoot” it looks like something SONY Animation would put out even though it’s a Warner Animation Group film.  Here’s the kicker though during the credits I saw that Sony Animation did also work with them on this).  A ton of the character designs and animation look the same.  It’s even worse with the human characters.  Most look like they were created by the same person(stock characters).  Is that too much of a blanket statement?  Maybe a little.  Dreamworks animation shows more of a distinctive style when it come to the designs and animation of their animal characters. 

 

Also another problem with the (cgi)animation style is it always dates faster than 2D or Stop Motion.  What was once bright, smooth, detailed and colorful becomes wooden and plastic looking.  This works in “Toy Story”(’s) favor(except when it comes to the humans and surroundings okay it only works for the toys!)but the only other film that mostly skates by on this is “Finding Nemo” and that’s only because most of the film is underwater and dark.  CGI always looks better in dark surroundings(i.e. CW’s “THE FLASH”).

 

Things however maybe changing after seeing the trailers to Sony Animations “Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse”.    The feel and energy are totally different. The first thing I noticed is the movement of the characters.  There’s a jittery feel to it.  It seem what they did was remove a frame from here and there.  Because of this there is a stop motion feel to the animation.  In this case it also reminds me of the “PEANUTS” movie.  Now I could be mistaken but it appears there could also be some 2D shading put over the 2D models at times.  The most obvious examples would be in the 2nd trailer(full) when Mils leaps off of the building and when Miles and Peter are sitting in the cafe at 01:04.  The creases on his forehead and on and around his nose. Also looking in the background of this scene the menus or pictures of them seem to be in 2D digital. I’m probably wrong about that and it’s just a different style of texture mapping than what other cgi films do.  It would be interesting to see that happen though.  The only time I’ve seen it done was the PIXAR short “Paperman” and with the Japanese animated series “Knights of Sidonia”

 

Character Design/Character Animation

 

I find the character models fascinating as well because in many cgi family films they go for a rounder softer feel.  They make it feel more broadly comedic.  You know more *ahem* “cartoony”.  There seems to be 2D aspects added into the 3D designs of the characters.  I see more sharp angles mixed with some of the roundness in the designs of the characters.  This does two things.  One if makes them more realistic than the normal design would.  Two they look more like comic book characters(show examples).  It makes sense this is an (ugh) “comic book(superhero)movie.  The animators took some of the best visual aspect of the comic book medium and was able to merge with some of the best aspects of the cgi art style.

 

The introduction of Peni Parker, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Ham were done in 2D or 2D digital-ish.  I figured that this would only be for the introduction of the characters, except based on the rest to the trailer Peni and to a degree Spider-Ham keep some 2D aspects.  Which reminds me something that stuck out to me after watching the 2nd trailer the 3rd time…the noses.  There different character to character.  Well, okay it’s more than just the noses of the characters in the film.  It’s their character design. each character looks different from one another.  Whether it’s comic books or animation a big problem is the same face same body different hair syndrome.  Obviously the spider-men from different dimensions will have a different design(because I mean c’mon Spider-Ham!)but all of the other characters that appear in the trailers have distinct looks to them.  

 

The action and special effects  

00:49 that explosion reminded me of “Batman The Animated Series”.  There is “Art Deco” design to it.  That design choice for that moment may seem odd and jarring but that’s the point.  For the intended audience of this film they haven’t seen “BTAS”(sadly)so their frame of reference in terms of animation only will go as far back as 2010(around the time of the cal-arts/not cal-arts style began to take hold).  That dramatic a change in an art style has shown to be affective in the past.  One example would be the 2D segments in “Kung Fu Panda” and on the tv shows “The Amazing World of Gumball”  and “Teen Titans Go!”(as well as it’s movie).  So I can see kids used to this when it occurs in the film.  The parents might be thrown a bit off though. 

 

Something I also noticed throughout the trailer but really hit me at 00:45 was how certain scenes look toyetic.  Normally that would be seen as an insult(“Batman Forever”/“Batman & Robin”)but not in this case.  There’s an exuberant energy to it.  It looks completely fake but that’s what so fun about it. It’s over the top and not realistic.  If it were realistic that moment wouldn’t work because we’ve all seen realistic animation of fire and energy by this point.  We’ve gotten used to it.  A side note here.  I wonder were certain parts of the film made just for the toy property possibilities?  If so I’m not sure how it would benefit Sony seeing how like with FOX they have the film rights to these properties and not the toy rights(Marvel has that and in any year will make more off of toys and merchandise and the films will ever make)unless the rumor or Sony owning part of the overall character is also is true.

 

I probably should’ve wrote analysis after I see the film.  After all I’ll have more things to discuss and dissect.  Nah if worst comes to worst I’ll either redo this over or just add an addendum to it.  It’s just that this has been on my mind a lot recently and I really wanted to discuss it.  So what do you all think about what I discussed here?  Comment below and let’s continue the conversation. 

Sunday
Oct072018

VENOM Movie Review

So is the film “like a turd in the wind”? Nah.  In many ways it’s just a middle of the road movie So it’s not utter crap.  Part of the reason I feel this way is probably when I go see any movie I have lowered expectactions.  This film is a VERRRRRY loose adaptation of the “Lethal Protector”(Venom’s first mini-series)and “Planet of the Symbiotes” storyline and by that I mean only on the most vague way.  One of the issues many people have with this film is the fact that this is a Spider-Man character but Spider-Man doesn’t exist in this world(even though J. Jonah Jameson apparently does if you listen closely about the surviving astronauts name is Jameson as in John Jameson.  J. Jonah’s son and possibly future “Man Wolf”(does Sony have rights to Man-Wolf?)).  This eliminates both Eddie’s and the symbiotes core motivation.  I decided not to hark on that and instead think of this as an alternate universe and then accept the film on it’s own terms.  How did it work out?

 

Welllll….. 

 

Story:  Screwup reporter Eddie Brock runs afoul Carlton Drake and the “Life Foundation” and in the process loses his fiancé, job and health.  Through shenanigans the symbiote named “Venom” invades his person and both try to stop Carlton Drake/Riot from starting a mass invasion onto the planet.

 

PRO:  

 

Well, it’s uh, shot professionally?  It’s a 100 million dollar film so it should be.  Hmm….I didn’t feel the length of the film.  The film runs at a good pace.  I was never bored.  At 1hr 52mins it’s 4 mins shorter than “Doctor Strange”.  

 

That’s no good.  Let me try again.  

 

1.  It’s a take on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story.  For the most part it works except when you realize that Hyde was the Jekyll’s worst traits in physical form.  It’s not that way with the Eddie/Venom partnership. 

 

2.  The interaction of Eddie and Venom.  While Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock wasn’t very interesting he seem to have fun as the voice of Venom.  His version of Eddie Brock seemed to worked better when he was interacting with Venom.

 

3.  Spoiler but I don’t care the best part of the film is the after credits scene.  Thing is it hasn’t anything to do with the film.  It’s an scene from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”.  I wouldn’t go to see venom just to see that scene since I’m sure Sony will release it online within the next few weeks but it is an incredibly enjoyable look at possibly one of the best films hollywood animated films of the year(but that’s not really saying much).

 

CON:  

 

1.  The cgi was wonky at times.  The most obvious example is with the symbiotes.  At times they came off as pre-rendered sludge that didn’t have any weight in the world.

 

2.  None of the acting is really good.  An example would be Michelle Williams.  She was pointless in the film and her only memorable moment(s) (okay two) is pushing a button and a strangely erotic kiss.  The villain is pretty plain and uninteresting.

 

3.  There are times that it looks like it wants to be an R rated film and. a horror film.  Parts of the film keep changing.  Going from goofy unfunny comedy to not always interesting action to what is supposed to be brutal action and again to dark comedy.  Because of this there’s an inconsistency of tone. 

 

4.  Misplaced comedy and scenes that are funny that I feel the original intention was supposed to serious.  they were just times where I chuckled or laughed during the non comedic scenes the best example was the mid credits scene.

 

5.  A waste of a Stan Lee cameo.  Also why couldn’t they have a cameo of the actual creators of Venom Todd McFarlane &  David Michelinie?  Also in previous MCU & DCEU films they’ve given credit to every prominent creator that’s worked on the character.  Sony didn’t do that.  Disappointing.

 

Here are sine thoughts that went threw my mind as I watched the film.

 

Question:  

 

1.  What’s venom’s motivation(why does he want to be on earth) he gives a lame reason in the 3rd act but it takes until the 3rd act in order for him to state his motivation.  Heck what is Eddie Brock’s motivation?  His character is a little all over the place.

 

2.  Why is Venom called Venom and Riot riot?  These are human names.  I mean I know why in the comic they are called that but the movie never does.  Here is the reason Eddie gives “The Amazing Spider-Man# 300”

Peter/Spider-Man: “Wh-Who are you?”

Eddie/Venom: “You may call me VENOM—for that’s what I’m paid to spew out these days!  I’m your victim, Spider-Man—I’m the innocent you RUINED!”

 

3.  If the symboite and human have a parasitic relationship and if as shown earlier in the film when it leaves it’s host the host die why didn’t that happen to Eddie?

 

4.  Who seriously thought to give Woody Harrleson that silly Ronald McDonald reject wig?! 

 

5.  If as the film says one of the weaknesses of the symbiote is fire and fire kills one of the symbiotes in the climax then why isn’t Venom and by extension Eddie dead at the end?  They took a full blast and nope good to go by the end to utter the “turd in the wind” line.

 

RECOMMEND:  Sure, but only if you know what your getting yourself into.

If you saw the trailers and liked what you saw you’ll enjoy this.  If you didn’t like the trailers then you’ll probably won’t like this film.  The acting, story, characters, action and writing all weren’t really good but while watching the film you are a bit invested because of the nonsensical things happening on the screen.  As long you don’t think too hard about the film as your watching, it can be enjoyable.  The problem comes after you see the film and then start thinking about it.  A lot of it won’t make sense.  You’ll start to poke holes in the plot and motivations for the characters including the villain.  I imagine the reason why this is doing well at the box office(at least in the opening weekend)is groups of friends are seeing this film.

 

This isn’t the first time a film was made based off of a supporting comic book character and the main character that actually strengthens said character is missing.  Anybody remember “Catwoman” and “Steel”?  The difference between these 3 films is one “STEEL/CATWOMAN” are DC comic characters and Warner Bros owns DC and has for decades and never really exploited their IP’s(movie wise).  They usually have some other company produce the film and they’ll just distribute.  Because of this there was and to a degree now a lack of quality control.  SONY owns the film rights to spider-man(and perhaps part of the overall character allegedly) and it’s their most bankable property so it’s understandable that they would want to exploit it as much as they can.  The problem is that they’ve been too eager to want to expand the universe.  They want too much too fast and that’s effected the quality of their films and the spider-man property over all.  This all started with when Amy Pascal was head of the studio and has continued with Tom Rothman(I do wonder why sony hired him after what happened to FOX under his watch).  The property keeps being passed around and re-jiggered but it’s not given to anyone that seems to either understand it or care greatly for it.

 

I believe the reason that Venom was made now instead about 10-15 years ago when the character was more popular is because of “Spider-Man: Homecoming”(s) success.  Because of the recent failure of their films and Sony Leak of a few years ago they crawled to Marvel Studios and asked for help on their next Spider-Man Film.  Marvel Studios co-produced(not financially mind you)and it worked out.  Now riding on that good will Sony probably feels good about their self and thinks they can go it alone here on out on the non spider man spider man films and it’ll work out.  And based on early projections they’ve been proven correct.  However this film may just be an exception and not the rule.  When a sequel to this film comes out or if they still go thru with the other films their talking on making(Kraven the Hunter, Moribus the Living Vampire and Silver and Black(Silver Sable & Black Cat)if those are as big a disjointed mess like Venom is then everyone of them will fail.  Because at least with venom he’s a character fans know of and the casual movie goer at least vaguely remembers unlike the other characters I just noted.

 

 

If you want to see a better version of this film just watch one that came out earlier this year called “UPGRADE”.  It’s essentially the same story.  It also has great action, acting and consistent special effects and a gut punch of an ending.  I’m more interested in a sequel to that film than Venom.  I understand what SONY is doing.  They feel since they have the Spider-Man rights and thus access to at least 900 characters that there is a wealth of opportunity to make their own movie universe.  The problem with that however is in order to have any kind of meaning to the characters they HAVE to be linked to Peter Parker/Spider-Man.  It looks like Venom will be a success because: 

 

1.  The curiosity factor.  This is a good group watching film.

2.  People going to hate watch it(which make no sense!) 

3.  Fans of the character and spider-man perhaps hoping that Peter pops up in the film.  He doesn’t.

 

Oh well people(the internet) complained about “The Emoji Movie”(2017) and that made a profit and it looks like the same thing is happening with “VENOM” so I guess SONY is doing something right.

 

Right?

Tuesday
Aug282018

Thar B Spoilers - Review Recess: School's Out! (SCRIPT)

 

Premiering on the ABC’s “Disney’s One Saturday Morning” block for 6 seasons from Aug 31, 1997 - Nov 5, 2001(Other shows on the block “Disney’s Doug”, “Pepper Ann”, “Teacher’s Pet”(the only other OSM original show to get a theatrical film), “The Weekenders” and “Fillmore!” among others.) “Recess” follows a group of grade school kids and the adventures they have during their school recess.  The main cast consists of Gus “the new kid”.  He’s the viewers point of view character.  Mikey “the gentle giant” a kind, philosophical and overweight boy with the singing voice of Robert Goulet!  Gretchen “The smart kid”.  Vince “The Athlete” with a bit of an ego.  Spinelli the (loyal) roughhousing angry tomboy.  Imagine if Bakugo from MHA were a good(likable) character.  Finally the leader of the group TJ.  He’s the trouble making prank planning mastermind.  Think of him as a better version of Zack Morris(“Saved By The Bell”).  This was Recesses only theatrical film.  However one other show on the “ONE SATURDAY MORNING” block did get a film too.  That would be “Disney’s Teachers Pet”.

 

Maybe I’ll go into One Saturday Morning another day.  Until then ON WITH THE REVIEW!!!

 

The film begins when a secret clandestine group breaks into a military facility for some unknown purpose.  They need secret hideout to initiate their plan…but where?  Why 3rd Street Elementary School OF COURSE!!!  Well, sometime later it’s the last day of school and TJ finds out all of his friends are going to camps for the summer to work on their futures(wait just how long are these camps?  Isn’t it typically 2 weeks and not 2 months?!).  In the dumps, one day TJ passes by the school which seems to flashing itself.  He tries to investigate but get’s scared off by a bald man in black.  After noting the shenanigans that’s happening at the school TJ looks for help from everyone from his family, the police to Principle Prickly.  Principle Prickly agrees to help TJ begrudgingly and well something happens to him. When Principle Prickly got zapped was he teleported and if so why were his shoes left?  Also why were they smoking?!(play “A-Team” theme)So with nothing else to help help and no one to turn to…he brings the old gang back together again.  Well, with a driving assist from his older sister that he blackmails(play blackmail).  Will the gang be able to not only unravel the villains scheme but save the day?  Watch the film to find out. Or I can just keep talking about it.  Either way works.

 

After TJ get’s the gang together they start question his motives thinking he planned all of this because he was lonely.  Why are they just now coming to this conclusion?  Couldn’t they have thought this before he and his sister broke them out?  They’re about to lay into him but then this happens(the satellite pops out scene 08:47).  This was their reaction (08:56).  30mins in and we see the villain(sorta he’s in shadow) but we get a clue on his possible motivation(play scene 11:45).  Something I enjoyed was they had an answer for a plot hole before it even happened.  If they got broken out of their camps how will it be possible for them not to be caught when they do their spying.  Pretty clever guys.  Randall(the snitch)has been spying on the gang during all of this and snitches to Ms. Finster.  Who is doing boxing practice.  Gee, I wonder if this will play a part in the climax?  Well later on the gang investigates some weird sounds in the school.  While that’s happening Finster and Randall try to break in to stop them only to come undone by Finster’s massive junk in the trunk! 

 

Anyhoo the kids find the cause of the noises and spy on group of scientists.  We FINALLY see the villain completely and he seems to have Alfred working for him.  Wait ALFRED?! (play clip/audio)  Master Bruce will be very displeased when he hears about this!  His goal is to move the moon for some insidious reason.  We then see what happens to those who fail him(15:45 “No, not detention!”).  After this the kids get noticed and they get chased by scientists, security, men in black and ninja’s.  Wait NINJAS?!( 16:58 “Ninja’s why did have to be ninja’s?!”).  The gang get’s away, well except for T.J. who get’s tossed in the clink and finds out what happened to Principle Prickly.  Uh, why is he pants-less?  

 

The gang do the sensible thing and go to the cops but they just make fun of them.  Gah, the cops are so useless!  Uh-oh I’m starting to get New Years Evil flashbacks again!  We then learn about the villain Dr. Phillium Benedict(as in Benedict Arnold?  Really movie?  REALLY?!)he’s a rouge teacher.  FLASH BACK TIME!  See back in the 60’s these guys were young and hip educators.  Prickly was a Beatles clone, Finister was hot and Benedict was the cool principle.  But it was all a facade!  Benedict wants to change the education system by eliminating recess and giving kids more tests.  Starting with 3rd Street Elementary!  Boy does this sound familiar.  I believe stuff like this is happening even today.  I remember as a kid weeks of our school time was used to study for standardize tests.  Then later in the year more weeks would used just to take the test that we studied for earlier in the year that we already forgot about!(CAT and MEAP tests) ARRRGH!  Oh, uh sorry on with the review.   

 

The point is Benedict isn’t doing this to help the kids but to further his career in the government.  Oh and this plot point didn’t come out of nowhere because remember that seemingly throw away scene in the first 15mins about the Secretary of Education plan to end the national recess failed and he disappeared?  That was Benedict!  Anyway the idealistic Prickly is against this and goes to the Superintendent(voice by Robbert Stack!) of the district to put a stop to this.  He does but also immediately appoints Prickly as the new principle.  Thus a life long grudge was born.   

 

Sometime later after gang pilfers some secret documents from the school the master plan starts to finally becomes clearer.  Benedict has created a tractor beam and wants to use it on the moon(clip “but what ever does he want?”).  How will controlling the moon end recess?  Welp, TJ finds Chekov’s ball while he and Principle Prickly try to escape and the final plan finally comes into focus.  Benedict wants to end summer vacation.  Waitaminute!  Isn’t this a plot to a Phineas & Ferb film about a decade later?  Well, Disney does like to recycle so…anyway TJ and Prickly are captured(again)and the gang realize that they need help but since the cops don’t take them seriously they go to the only one left…a giant talking dog!  No, TJ’s sister.  She’s helping them gather reinforcements.  Meanwhile Bill pontificates to Prickly and TJ and laments of losing his job and Finster.  Uh…he hasn’t seen her recently has he?  Ok this is the 3rd time someone has gone to the cops to get help (this time it’s ms finister)and the cops just wind up making fun of the people each time.  Man are they useless.  This never would’ve happen if Officer Green was on the case!

 

While caught in a bird cage TJ and Prickly have a heated heart to heart(play clip) that’s actually some good writing and acting.  Elsewhere the cavalry is in disarray without a strategist like TJ to lead them.  So they get someone possibly better.  George S. Patton uh, I mean Gus.  (play clip along with the Animal House German bombing Peal Harbor clip) This all leads to a climax that includes a chase scene done to the tune of the theme from SWAT.  Nope!  No good.  This song is better(play “Scooby Doo Chase Music BGM”)!  Well after some shenanigans the gang and Prickly try to stop Bill from pushing the red button(push the button Max!) but first he has to monologue his master plan to them(play part of the plan).  So basically cold weather countries have better test scores because it’s too cold and that gives them plenty of time to study?  Also if this plan succeeds he can become President of the United States?  See this is why you got fire your Secretary of Education job!  Out of nowhere Finster and the teachers arrive to save the day!  Also, uh, it appears Bill likes his women a bit thick now(play “EXTRA THICC”).

 

With the exception of Ms Crokie the teachers really aren’t helping that much.  Also these ninja’s should be ashamed getting taken out by shaken pop!  I guess they were running low on chakra.  You know what song would’ve been great to play during this climax?  Ah, screw it I’ll do it myself!(play “Yaketty Sax”).  Well the lever is pulled but thanks to Chekov’s baseball the day or rather summer vacation is saved.  Oh now the cops are doing something. So useless.  The film end with both TJ and Principle Prickly thanking each other and coming to an understanding.  With that the film ends and that is the perfect way to end the series.  Heartwarming a bit bittersweet but still open ended enough to wonder what will happen next for all of the characters since this would be the last we see of them.  Except this wasn’t quite the end of Recess.

 

REVIEW

 

PRO: 

 

Good story, the characters personalities are consistent to the original series.  Usually movies that are adapted from a tv series remake or ugh, reboot the series in order to be put it on screen.  “Schools Out” didn’t do that.  It went with another option.  It’s a continuation of the series(ex of other show to movies “The Simpsons” and “The X-Files”)Normally this would be a problem since it would only be made for the fans and would be difficult for outsiders to get into it.  However, since the characters personalities and their group dynamic is so straight forward it’s easy for anyone to get into the film(there isn’t any heavy lifting).

 

The soundtrack is great. I want the soundtrack!  Heck I probably have the soundtrack in pieces scattered around my place.  The music plays well with each scene it’s in.  Whether it comedic, action pack and so on.  Plus these are good songs and if this film can expand it’s target demo musical knowledge I see that as a good thing.

 

The voice acting is great.  The regular cast knocks it out of the park but what is really good is the celeb voices that weren’t from the series were good as well.  James Woods was great as the villain and initially I was worried that he would just do Hade’s again.  While there is some of that here he does make Dr. Benedict feel like a different character.  Also, I didn’t realize until editing this review that Melissa Joan Hart was the voice of T.J.’s sister Becky so props there for her.

 

Save the world plot.  Yes as with most (if almost all)animated movies aimed at kids they have to go on an adventure to save the day.  (And yes)The plot of the villain is ridiculous if you think about it but considering the tone of the show this was probably the best way to go.(the show was about recess so to have it possibly being eliminated is going to mean a lot to characters in the film and by extension the fans of the show)That adventure is of course going to be much grander than anything in their regular series.  Still I think it was executed well.  

 

Best Quotes:  

TJ:“You”ll never take summer vacation!”  Bill: “Well I can try!” 

Bill: “All my hopes and dreams, ruined…RUINED!”  The Kids: “YAHH!”

 

CON: 

The CGI isn’t integrated that well.  It stands out like a sore thumb.  I give it a bit of a pass because: 

1. It’s not in every or even most of the scenes. 

2. This is early cgi.  The film came out only a few years after Beast Wars and Reboot.  So there were still kinks to be worked out.

 

The Soundtrack is too age specific.  Since the songs were even by that point decades old they might not be the hit with the young demo that this film aiming it.  While the songs work in the context of the story, they might work more if your an adult than a child.

 

The Animation.  It is an improvement over the tv series but not as substantial as I wanted it too be. 

 

RECOMMEND:  (That said)Yes, It’s a perfect sendoff to a great series.

 

Or it would have been if the series ended here.  See, the series didn’t actually end until October of that year.  Yet even then that wasn’t the end of the series!  Sorta.  Earlier I said that this was the only theatrical film for the series and there was…it’s just that the other films were straight to video.  The reason for this was simple: “RECESS: Schools Out” bombed(23 million budget 44.5 million box office a film needs to usually make 2 1/2 times it’s production budget to make a profit and 3 times to be considered a hit).  The other films were “Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street”, “Recess: All Growed Down” and ending with “Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade”.  I’ve yet to see these movies but after reading about them, they aren’t “real” films and by that I mean that each film is really only 3-4 episodes of the show slapped together(just like Belle’s magical world and the Atlantis sequels).

 

(skip this)But just for information purposes I’ll go over the basic plot of each “movie”.

 

“Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street”: Is about Prickly, Finster & Grotke stuck in a snowstorm and to pass time they tell stories about the recess gang. That is framed by 4 episodes:”Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave”, “The Great Can Drive”, Weekend at Muriel’s” and “Principle for a Day”.(skip this)

 

 

So it seems that the straight to video films were just a repackage cash grab.  But maybe not.  Re-runs of the show kept running on ABC & UPN until September 2, 2003 and on Disney Channel until June 30, 2010 and TOON DISNEY until October 27, 2011.  So it stayed in re-runs for over a decade after the last new episode.  Even today the show is still remembered fondly(for the few that remember it). The series currently isn’t available on dvd. Sorta.  You can find dvd copies of it however it seems those maybe just someone recording off of their own vhs copies.  Schools Out did have a dvd release in 2001 but is out of print as are the other films.  You can however rent or buy the films on Amazon Prime Video(Amazon also has a few of the older dvd floating around and their remarkably cheap).

 

Let me end on this.  My goal for this review was to give attention to a great series that I feel has started to be forgotten.  I want to bring up some happy memories for fans of the series and give a recommendation to any potential new fans.  Recess was a series that was fun for all ages.  It didn’t insult the intelligence of the viewer whether they were 5 years old or 50.  I’ll end on this quote from writers Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Zoller Sepinwall from their book “TV(The Book)” on their feelings about Recess: 

 

"Easily one of the smartest, most prankishly playful adult cartoons ever passed off as children's entertainment.... Recess is a highly ritualized bit of entertainment that strikes the same notes over and over again, but always in infinite variation and with a surprising eye for psychological grace notes, especially when characters you thought of as brusque and one-dimensional reveal their fears and dreams to one another.”

 

*Miriam play EXTRA THICC!

*Part 7 00:24 shh he’s on a roll(play Animal house forget it he’s rolling

*Mikey singing

*Bill: “All my hopes and dreams, ruined…RUINED!”  The Kids: “YAHH!”

*Scooby Doo chase music plays

Friday
Aug242018

GD Comic Review: Fantastic Four Vol 6 #1 Script

GD Comic Review: Fantastic Four Vol 6 #1

 

Well, for whatever reason I can’t upload the webcomic I’ve been working on for 2 MONTHS on to Webtoons for their 80 Grand contest.  ARRGH!!!  Is there anything else interesting I can partake in?  (sees FF Vol. 6 #1)Heh, heh, heh,  Hit it Barney!

 

Barney: “It Begins!” (play opening)

 

Let’s see roughly a year after Ike Perlmutter’s influence(and power) has been marginilzed at marvel and months after Disney’s bid to buy FOX(which has the Fantast Four Film rights)the Fantastic Four FINALLY RETURNS TO COMIC BOOKS!  Coincidence? I think not! 

 

This issue is a 40-ish page giant and consists of 2 tales.  The first one deals with Ben, Johnny, Alicia(who isn’t a skrull now I guess)as well the rest of New York still dealing with the disappreance of Reed, Sue the kids and the Future Foundation.  Today is more relevant because it’s the anniversary of the FF’s failed jaunt to space that gave them their powers.  The story initially starts off well with Johnny’s enjoying a Mets game with Wyatt Wingfoot(jeez it’s been years since he’s popped up or it’s felt like that anyway!)and Ben and Alicia are enjoying a walk around town until a fantastic four flare is seen in the sky.  Are Sue, Reed and the kids back or is this some insidious plot?

 

One of the things I enjoyed about this story how it focused on how both Ben and Johnny are taking the loss of their family.  With one they accept the loss but now is trying to create a new chapter in his life(a new legacy) and with the other there is a a ton of repressed pain that finally bursts out during a what is supposed to be a happy occasion.  What I find interesting is in the past these roles would’ve been switched. 

 

Writing: Dan Slott writes pretty much a spot on depiction of members of the fantastic four.  An example of this would be during a flashback the gang are coming back from saving the universe or something like that but are now lost.  The only way to get home is by the power of song!  This was funny and heartwarming(and I feel a tad bit bad Sue.  After all these years and no one told her she was a bad singer) and a creative way to get out of a situation.  The lesson learned here: If you ever get lost start singing “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” I guess.

 

Art: Sara Pichelli’s work here is good but it does feel, a bit odd.  I can tell her style is there it just feels a bit different.  Part of the reason may have to be because I believe this is the first time she’s worked with these characters so it will take awhile before she can get a handle on them.  I imagine by issue 6 they’ll look totally different.  Another reason for the differing style may have to deal with the inker she’s working with(Elisabetta D’Amico).  I believe in the past she usually inks her own work.  When your a penciler your work will always look different depending on the inker.  

 

The second story takes place in Latveria and is about Doom’s return to the country.  A rebel breaks into his castle and begs for help.  A couple of things interests me about this:  

 

1. It seems he won’t rely on a mixture of science and magic anymore and is only going to use magic.  

 

2.  After having his face healed it’s somehow gotten scarred again.  

 

3.  While he was gone from Latveria someone used Dooms technology and took over the country and named themselves as President for life(even though we didn’t get the name of the person that runs the country now)I don’t think that’s how dictatorships work.  

 

4.  Has his character reset itself?  I know this is a thing to do with Peter Parker/Spider-Man(in that case because writers and editorial seem to want to keep him as a kid even though he’s been out of high school since the 60’s and an adult since the early 70’s!)but over the last few years without Reed being around Doom’s character has gone in some very interesting directions(just like Peter until Amazing Spider-Man #1 GRRRRR!).  If he’s going to revert back to his old ways then this is going to be disappointing.

 

Writing: This story was also written by Dan Slott.  It is a good start for a larger story but it feels a bit rushed.  The first story felt more well paced.  It hit on several points and was able give at least one character an arc.  In this one Doom is grouchy in a “Dang kids, get off my lawn!” kind of way and it only takes a few words in order for him to change his mindset even though he was about to kill this woman seconds beforehand.  

 

Art: The art this time is done by Simone Bianchi.  This has a darker tone and more realistic detail than the first story.  With some of the character models and background details I get a paintery feel at times. 

 

Recommend:  Yes.

 

Overall the issue is good.  More the first story than the Doom one.  The Doom story would be better if it had a entire 22 pages so it could breath.  I wonder though, will this series have multiple stories in each issue be something the series will do for the foreseeable future?  This issue cost 5.99  I imagine the future issue will be 3.99.  For 4 bucks it might be worth collecting the series as long as there are at least 30 pages.  Of course the other option is to do what DC did with Wonder Woman a couple years ago. Alternate the stories with each issue(ex. #1 the FF, #2 Doom, #3 FF and so on).  That probably won’t happen.  That wasn’t very well received by the WW fans.

 

This is a good starting point for this volume and has me intrigued on where their going next.  I’ll give this a try after reading Dan Slott’s run on Silver Surfer and The Amazing Spider-Man(well parts of it anyway!).  FYI for anyone disappointed in the lack FF in the issue Marvel hear’s ya!  There’s a 1 page Impossible Man(by Dan Slott, Scottie Young & Jeremy Treece) strip at the end of the issue that briefly tackles that issue.

 

Wednesday
Aug222018

REVIEW: DISNEY'S RECESS: SCHOOLS OUT

What you need to know: Premiering on the ABC’s “Disney’s One Saturday Morning” block for 6 seasons from Aug 31, 1997 - Nov 5, 2001(Other shows on the block “Disney’s Doug”, “Pepper Ann”, “Teacher’s Pet”(the only other OSM original show to get a theatrical film), “The Weekenders” and “Fillmore!” among others.) Recess follows a group of grade school kids and the adventures they have during their school recess.  The main cast consists of Gus the new kid.  He’s the viewers point of view character.  Mikey the kind, philosophical and overweight boy with the singing voice of Robert Goulet!  Gretchen  The smart kid.  Vince The Athlete with a bit of an ego.  Spinelli the loyal roughhousing angry tomboy.  Imagine if Bakugo from MHA were a good(likable) character.  Finally the leader of the group TJ.  He’s the trouble making prank planning mastermind.  Think of him as a better version of Zack Morris(“Saved By The Bell”).  This was Recesses only theatrical film.  However one other show on the “ONE SATURDAY MORNING” did get a film too.  That would be “Disney’s Teachers Pet”.
The film begins when a secret clandestine group breaks into a military facility for some unknown purpose. They need secret hideout to initiate their plan…but where?
Lesson of the film: Kids should enjoy there time and adults should remember how to be a kid?  Naw maybe both adults and kids have something to learn from each other.  Both sides should appreciate where their are at this point in life and give some lee way with each other.  Or something like that. 
PRO: 
Good story, the characters personalities are consistent to the original series.  Usually movies that are adapted from a tv series remake or ugh, reboot the series in order to be put on screen.  “Schools Out” didn’t do that.  It went with another option.  It’s a continuation of the series(ex of other show to movies “The Simpsons” and “The X-Files”)Normally this would be a problem since it would only be made for the fans and would be difficult for outsiders to get into it.  However, since the characters personalities and their group dynamic is so straight forward it’s easy for anyone to get into the film(there isn’t any heavy lifting).
The soundtrack is great. I want the soundtrack!  Heck I probably have the soundtrack in pieces scattered around my place.
Save the world plot.  Yes as with most (if almost all)animated movies aimed at kids they have to save go on an adventure to save the day.  That adventure is of course going to be much grander than anything in their regular series.  Still I think it was executed well.  Everyone in the main cast got enough time in the film.
Best Quotes:  
TJ:“You”ll never take summer vacation!”  Bill: “Well I can try!”  why don’t more villains respond with that?
Bill: “All my hopes and dreams, ruined…RUINED!”  The Kids: “YAHH!”
CON: 
The CGI isn’t integrated that well.  It stands out like a sore thumb.  I give it a bit of a pass because 1. It’s not in every or even most of the scenes and 2. This is early cgi.  The film came out only a few years after Beast Wars and Reboot.  So there were still kinks to be worked out.
The Soundtrack is too age specific.  Since the songs were even by that point decades old they might not be the hit with the young demo that this film aiming it.  While the songs work in the context of the story, they might work more if your an adult than a child.
The Animation.  It is an improvement over the tv series but not as substantial as I wanted it too be.
RECOMMEND:  Yes, It’s a perfect sendoff to a great series.  Or it would've been...

Or it would have been if the series ended here.  See, the series didn’t actually end until October of that year.  Yet even then that wasn’t the end of the series!  Sorta.  Earlier I said that this was the only theatrical film for the series and there was…it’s just that the other films were straight to video.  The reason for this was simple: “RECESS: Schools Out” bombed(23 million budget 44.5 million box office a film needs to usually make 2 1/2 times it’s production budget to make a profit and 3 times to be considered a hit).  The other films were “Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street”, “Recess: All Growed Down” and ending with “Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade”.
Still this is a really good (forgotten)movie based on a beloved show.  It's enjoyable whether you know anything about the show or not.