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Sunday
Nov042018

THE HATE YOU GIVE 2018

A film made more for white people than black people and other ethnic groups.  Other ethnic groups are already aware how the subject matter in the film is the norm.  It’s the white populace that continues not to take it seriously.  Even though this is about black people I imagine the film won’t do well do to the fact that we want to go to movies mostly for an escape from the every day.  So after seeing constant injustice happen to us in real life with no repercussions done to the guilty why would we want to see enmass a film about that?  It won’t change the prominent ethnic group way of thinking to make changes.  “But what about the film inspiring black people to make a change?”  That sounds nice and for DECADES we’ve tried that(see the CIVIL RIGHTS movement) but without the main ethnic group(white people) believing it, taking it seriously and helping it’s all for naught.

Friday
Oct192018

HALLOWEEN (2018) Film Review

A direct sequel to the 1978 original. Odds are if your seeing this you’ve seen the original.  This film eliminates all of the sequels as well at the 2007 remake.  Overall a good film but here are some things I noticed about it.  It’s executively produced by Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter.  Once I saw that I knew this was going to be taken more seriously than the previous sequels.  During parts of the film long tracking shots are done.  For about half of the film there are times we see Michael as a out of focus shape.  I see what you did there movie.  Updates to John Carpenters musical score was done.  Personally they didn’t do that much for me.  They were okay but if this is what the result is going to be I’d prefer the filmmakers to use some of the original 1978 score and then for the rest of the film come up with something more interesting.  

 

For the most part I liked the characters and story.  The only issue I had was with Ally’s portion when she was at the dance.  It was awfully conveniently that she lost her phone the way that she did to setup for what happens in the 3rd part.  Considering what it was going to lead to she didn’t have to lose it.  Also it was pretty predictable what was going to happen to the good friend after the misunderstanding after the dance.  

 

A couple negatives I have is one there is a clip that is in the trailer that isn’t in the film.  In the trailer the character is sneaked upon by Michael and you assume that they might get killed there.  What happens to them in the film tells me that there must’ve been some heavy reshoots because it introduces a plot point almost out to nowhere.  Which leads me to my second problem(mild spoiler) the new doctor.  Jamie Lee Curtis character jokes that he is a 2nd Loomis.  He really isn’t.  He’s more of an anti Loomis.  What he does right before the 3rd act took me out of the film. It didn’t need to be there.  That sequence added nothing to the film.

 

Sigh I don’t want to really spoil the film so I’ll try to dance around it a bit but a problem I have with the film is that Michael Myers isn’t the only villain in the film.  There’s a twist villain in this film.  Good gravy I thought this was just a thing in recent cgi animated films(PIXAR and DISNEY ANIMATION I’m looking at you!!!).  This added nothing.  I’m sure that people are going to say “Oh, no your wrong!  There were hints cleverly dropped!”  Uh, no.  Yes the character in question was inquisitive about Michael but that doesn’t mean that they would still do what they did.  It came out of nowhere.  Twist villains are a problem because their a lazy story telling devices.  When their done it’s as if the film-makers are saying Welp! we don’t have any other ideas of what to do.

 

I don’t want to come across as being completely negative so here are some positives.  The film was directed well.  There is good comedy in the film(then again one of the writers is Danny McBride so…).  The only black character in the film(a sheriff I think) 1. isn’t the first to die and 2. doesn’t die at all.  AMAZING!  It’s well acted especially by Jamie Lee Curtis.  She comes off well as someone that has suffered enormous PTSD to the point that it’s most destroyed her and her families lives.  I do find it a bit funny that everyone calls her crazy and thinks she’s nuts for being as over prepared for a possible incident BUT in the end she proves them right.  It’s like that old joke: “I’m not paranoid if someone IS coming after me.”.  

 

The way the action and gore happened was interesting.  First it seemed to be all practical (thank you film-makers!)and it wasn’t over indulgent.  There were times when a murder happened but it didn’t all occur onscreen.  I wonder during the reshoots did they have to show restraint because of the MPAA or was this a creative choice.  Hopefully it was the latter.  Personally I would’ve been fine if the action scenes(murder)were all shown onscreen.  With the way the action was done I can see parents taking their kids to see the film.  Actually I did see this in my theater.  Question what is Jamie Lee Curtis made out of?  Most of the victims die after a couple of slams by Michael but she takes a ton more and keeps on trucking.  It’s actually a bit funny when you see some of the hits she takes(I think that was the point during some of the scenes?).  I’m glad to see Judy Greer in a film finally were she has more to do.  Her character does something to Michael that put a smile on my face.

 

Overall a really good film.  I may have to see it again because I didn’t see it in the best condition. After seeing it again I may like it even more.  The film is well under 2 hours(maybe 1 hour 38 mins?)it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.  The film ends in a way where there could be a sequel or this could just be the final part.

 

If you liked the 1978 film then check this out. Heck if you like the sequels then check this out as well.  However if the only Halloween films you’ve seen are the Rob Zombies ones then don’t see this film until you re-watch the original otherwise it won’t make any sense.

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