Archive for Tom Kenny

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When Bikini Bottom’s livelihood is threatened after a pirate steals the secret Krabby Patty recipe, SpongeBob and his pals head to shore to get it back. But the animated crew will have to get tough to face the live-action villain on land.

What people are saying:

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water won’t win over many viewers who aren’t fans of the show, but for the converted, it’s another colorful burst of manic fun.” 3 1/2 stars

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” remains true to the surrealism of its animated television roots. But it also tries to force a live-action element which isn’t as comfortable a fit as a certain pair of symmetrical trousers.” 3 1/2 stars

“It’s a great way to say goodbye to thI remember loving Spongebob as a kid, and this brings me back to my childhood! It reminds me of Spongebob back in the good old days. I can see how people would find the mixture of computer-animation and live-action distracting whenever the characters would go to the surface, but I don’t find it too bothersome. Besides, they don’t go to the surface until the final act, so most of the movie still has that 2D traditional hand-drawn format that the TV show has. If you love the first SpongeBob movie, then chances are, you’ll probably love the second one.e part of my childhood that was a Spongebob fan who lost his interest in the show catching glimpses of the horrible recent episodes of the show. It feels like a film, though probably filmed in a very short time period and made easily with the directors sitting at a table thinking up of the most ridiculous things they could think of and finishing the script in less than a week…but it’s a fun film. Batshit insane, sure…but it’s fun. I enjoyed it.” 3 stars

“I remember loving Spongebob as a kid, and this brings me back to my childhood! It reminds me of Spongebob back in the good old days. I can see how people would find the mixture of computer-animation and live-action distracting whenever the characters would go to the surface, but I don’t find it too bothersome. Besides, they don’t go to the surface until the final act, so most of the movie still has that 2D traditional hand-drawn format that the TV show has. If you love the first SpongeBob movie, then chances are, you’ll probably love the second one.” 4 1/2 stars

“Despite what Nick’s advertising would have you believe, SpongeBob is a brilliant show that a person of any age can enjoy. Well it used to be. SpongeBob was brilliant in its first 3 seasons and decent in seasons 4 and 5. However in season 6 the quality tanked the show became an annoying and boring shell of its former self with Choir Boys being the series’ masterpiece of failure. Sponge out of Water however managed to be a laugh-out loud ride that brought back my childhood love of the show. The movie is colorful and bursting with creativity, all while showing the immense comedic talents of the cast and characters creating one of the stronger 2010’s comedies.” 4 1/2 stars

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Transformers: The Last Knight

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 484 AD, King Arthur’s wizard Merlin forges an alliance with the Knights of Iacon, a group of twelve Transformers who have hidden on Earth. The knights give Merlin an alien staff, and combine into a dragon to help Arthur triumph over the Saxons.

In the present day, most of the governments on Earth have declared Transformers illegal, and the multinational Transformer Reaction Force (TRF) has been formed to eliminate the alien robots. Despite the absence of Optimus Prime (who left the planet to search for his creator), new Transformers continue to arrive regularly; the newest ship to arrive crash-lands in Chicago, where it is found by a group of children. When a TRF mecha confronts the kids, they are saved by Izabella, a survivor of the Battle of Chicago, and her Transformer companions Sqweeks and Canopy, but Canopy is killed by the TRF in the process. Bumblebee and Cade Yeager arrive and help them escape, but Yeager is unable to save the Transformer, Steelbane, in the ship. Before he dies, Steelbane attaches a metallic talisman to Yeager’s body—an act observed by Decepticon Barricade, who reports to his leader Megatron.

On the far reaches of the Solar System, Optimus Prime discovers that the Transformers’ home world, Cybertron, now disassembled into pieces, is heading directly for Earth. Optimus finds the being in control of Cybertron’s movement, a sorceress named Quintessa, who professes to be the maker he is searching for. The staff which the knights gave to Merlin was stolen from Quintessa, and using her powers, she places Optimus under her control, dubs him “Nemesis Prime,” and charges him with recovering it. Earth, she reveals, is actually Cybertron’s “ancient enemy” Unicron, and she intends to drain his life force so that Cybertron can be restored.

TRF member and former Autobot ally William Lennox brokers a deal between the TRF and Megatron, releasing from their custody a squad of Decepticons who will help Megatron recover the talisman from Yeager. The Decepticons hunt Yeager to his junkyard hideout in South Dakota, where he and many of the surviving Transformers are holed up. During the chaos of the ensuing battle, Yeager is approached by Cogman, the Transformer envoy of British Lord Sir Edmund Burton, who takes him and Bumblebee to England to meet his master. There, Yeager also meets Viviane Wembly, an Oxford professor, who Burton has had the Autobot Hot Rod kidnap. Burton explains that he is the last living member of the “Witwiccan” order, an ancient brotherhood dedicated to guarding the secret history of Transformers on Earth. He also reveals that Viviane is the last descendant of Merlin, and must find and use his staff to prevent the impending destruction of Earth by Cybertron.

Fleeing the TRF, Yeager and Wembly follow clues left by the latter’s father that lead them, Bumblebee, and Cogman to take the submarine HMS Alliance into the sea to find the Cybertronian Knights’ sunken ship, in which they discover the tomb of Merlin and the staff. Wembly activates the staff, and the ship rises to the surface; the TRF arrives to confront the group, but several knights awaken and attack them. The attack is cut short by the arrival of the mind-controlled Optimus, but fortunately, when the normally-mute Bumblebee is finally able to speak, the sound of his voice is enough to break Prime free of Quintessa’s control. A moment later, Megatron arrives to steal the staff; he too has been working for Quintessa all along. As Megatron flees with his prize, the knights attack Optimus for his betrayal, but Yeager, whose talisman becomes the sword Excalibur, stops the fight. Realizing he is the last knight, the knights yield to Yeager, who urges Optimus to protect the Earth once more.

Megatron delivers the staff to Quintessa, who begins draining the life force of Earth/Unicron via Stonehenge. When the military intervenes, Megatron shoots Burton, who dies with Cogman at his side. Using a ship procured by the Autobot Daytrader, the Autobots arrive to join the fight, landing on Cybertron and battling against the Decepticons and Quintessa’s Infernocons. Optimus and his Autobots, backed up by the knights in their dragon form, vanquish their many foes. Optimus defeats Megatron while Bumblebee appears to slay Quintessa. Wembly removes the staff, stopping Cybertron’s destruction of Earth, but leaving the two planets connected. Optimus declares that humans and Transformers must work together to rebuild their worlds, and sends a message calling any surviving Autobots to come home.

In a mid-credits scene, scientists inspect one of the horns of Unicron, which is extending out of the desert. Quintessa, who has survived and is disguised as a human, arrives and offers them a way to destroy Unicron.

REVIEW:

Can you believe it has been 10 yrs since the first Transformers was released? 5 years later, this franchise is still going, though there is some debate about whether it should or not. With this 5th film, Transformers: The Last Knight, the trailers promise something darker and more character driven. Did they tell the truth? Let’s find out!

What is this about?

Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager, Bumblebee, an English Lord, and an Oxford Professor.

What did I like?

Continuity. In the first few films, outside of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream and a couple of others, we had a new lineup of Transformers in every picture. Starting with the last picture, Transformers: Age of Extinction, we seem to be keeping with a steady lineup, only bringing in one or two others…at least on the Autobot side. The Decepticons were all new, except for a returning Barricade, who was last seen running away from the climactic battle in the first film.

Tone. The trailers and all the talk leading up to this film led us to believe that this was going to be the darkest, most serious film in the franchise. In the opening scenes, it seems as if that were going to be the case until we meet Merlin. This iteration of history’s greatest wizard sets the tone for the whole film, a tone filled with comedic action, rather than dark drama. Personally, I prefer it this way. For goodness sakes, this is a film about giant robots that transform into cars and jets. Why on Earth would we want it to be serious?

Welcome back. Barricade isn’t the only returnee. Josh Duhamel makes his return, after last being seen in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. His character seems a bit more battle hardened and conflicted this time out, as he is having to work with the TRF, a group that exists to eradicate all the Transformers. The military seems to still be on their side but working with them out of necessity. Tyrese Gibson was also set to return, but there was a schedule conflict with filming The Fate of the Furious.

What didn’t I like?

History lesson. There seems to be a trend lately of putting fantasy characters into historical events. Wonder Woman showed us that she was in World War I, X- Men Origins: Wolverine (as well as The Wolverine) placed Logan in every war in history. Now, it appears as if the Transformers, who we saw arrive in 2007, have been here since the Middle Ages, if not before (according to this film…we won’t go into the convoluted history of the previous films). My question is why? There was no need to put them there, other than to make it convenient for the plot. I mean, seriously, what did they have to do with Frederick Douglass?!?

Human element. I know I said this about the first film, and maybe some of the others, but there is just too much emphasis placed on the humans in a movie called TRANSFORMERS!!! This is no more apparent than in the amount of time spent trying to develop our new female characters, one of which I suspect was chosen based solely on her resemblance to Megan Fox. Also, the final battle should have been an epic confrontation of clashing, twisted metal, but instead, we get humans jumping out of airplanes and trying to get a date. One more thing, when “Nemesis” Prime comes and Bumblebee takes him on, there is no reason for Mark Wahlberg to get involved in the battle. Seriously, what can a human do against one as powerful as Optimus Prime?

Who are you? The only new Autobot introduced is Hot Rod who, though he’s living in England, somehow has a French accent. He has this cool ability to stop time, but we never really get to know him outside of that. He’s not the only one we don’t get to become acquainted with. Megatron has a crew that he asks to be released in exchange for helping the TRF (no clue how it is that these guys are in “jail” and Megatron is just running free). These guys aren’t given anything to do and most are killed in the next 10 minutes! So, instead of giving us a cool new Autobot to get to know and some interesting Decepticons, this time is spent with the schizophrenic C3PO rip-off, Cogman. There is some comedy there, but not worth the trade off. Actually, he reminds me of Alan Tudyk’s character from a previous film, I forgot which one, Dutch.

Final verdict on Transformers: The Last Knight? It makes a valiant attempt to keep this franchise relevant, but truth be told, other than die-hard Transformers fans, no in the US is clamoring for these films. Most people seems to hate them for whatever reason. Personally, I think a new director would do wonders for this franchise. Props to Michael Bay for bringing them to big screen a decade ago, something never thought possible, but now it is time for someone else to take over, preferably a fan of the original cartoon. With that said, this is actually probably the 2nd or 3rd best film in the franchise in my book. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do, but I wouldn’t get in a rush to see it. The theater I was in this afternoon was mostly empty, so I’m sure there will be plenty of seats for you.

4 out of 5 stars

The Batman vs. Dracula

Posted in Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The Joker and the Penguin break out of Arkham Asylum and race each other to find a stash of stolen money hidden within a crypt in Gotham Cemetery. The Joker is quickly intercepted by the Batman and apparently dies when he falls into a river and is electrocuted by his super-charged joy buzzers while the Penguin takes the opportunity to enter the cemetery himself. While searching through a crypt, the Penguin accidentally cuts his hand while using his umbrella-sword to open a coffin he hopes contains the money, finding a body instead. The blood from his hand drips on the corpse’s heart, which brings it to life; it is none other than the vampire lord Count Dracula, his body having been moved from Transylvania to Gotham City after his “death.” After attacking and turning a watchman at the cemetery into a vampire, Dracula hypnotizes the Penguin into becoming his non-vampiric servant so that he may lead him through Gotham to feed and guard his coffin during the day while he regains his strength.

While patrolling the city, the Batman witnesses a vampire attack, but decides to put the incident at the back of his mind and, as Bruce Wayne, proceeds to host a corporate party at his manor. The invigorated Dracula appears at the party, disguised as a cultural anthropologist under the name Dr.”Alucard”, (“Dracula” spelled backwards) claiming to be visiting to study the Batman (believing his legacy had an influence on Batman’s existence), and takes an interest in Vicki Vale, a reporter who is interviewing and dating Bruce. After failing to turn Bruce into a vampire to quench his thirst, Dracula turns a waiter into a vampire that assaults Bruce’s butler Alfred. Realizing the imminent danger, Bruce immediately deduces “Alucard” is Dracula. Upon further research, Bruce learns that Dracula is behind the disappearances of several Gotham citizens, who have been dubbed “Lost Ones” by the media and turned into vampires, and attempts to find a way to synthesize a vaccine for the victims. Due to eyewitnesses claiming to see a bat-like figure during the attacks, however, it is mistakenly reported that the Batman is behind the disappearances instead. When Batman goes to Gotham Cemetery to look for Dracula, he gets chased down by a SWAT unit, all of whose members are taken by Dracula as they chase him back into the city. During a fight with the Batman, Dracula offers him to join him in his conquest of Gotham, though the Batman naturally refuses. Just as Dracula has the Batman at his mercy, the sun rises and Dracula is forced to retreat, vowing to kill Batman for rejecting his offer.

At the cemetery, the Joker reappears alive and well and confronts the Penguin, saying the shock to his head helped. He asks where the treasure is, thinking Penguin has already found it, chasing him into Dracula’s tomb. However, despite Penguin’s warning to not to open Dracula’s coffin, Joker ends up “breakfast in bed, fresh-squeezed” for Dracula. The Batman tracks down the vampire Joker as he feasts in a blood bank and captures him. While the Batman attempts to concoct an antidote from the Joker’s infected cellular structure, Alfred discovers that Dracula once had a vampire bride, Carmilla Karnstein, who met her demise when she was exposed to sunlight. During his research, however, Bruce stands up an understanding Vicki, who is soon kidnapped by Dracula. Finally, the Batman is able to cure the Joker of his vampirism and ascertain the location of Dracula’s lair in Gotham Cemetery before returning him to Arkham. He then proceeds to mass-produce the vaccine to defeat Dracula and cure his victims.

Dracula attempts to sacrifice Vicki’s soul to reanimate his bride Carmilla. Upon learning that Vicki has been kidnapped, the Batman rushes to Dracula’s lair with his anti-vampirism vaccine and arsenal of weapons, defeating and curing all the “Lost Ones” that attack him in the catacombs beneath Gotham Cemetery. The Batman then frees Vicki, disrupting the reanimation ritual. Dracula sends the Penguin to recapture Vicki while he fights the Batman, who lures Dracula into the Batcave and towards his prototype solar energy-storing machine and incinerates him with the sunlight stored within, reducing Dracula to a pile of ash and bones. This also frees the Penguin from his control who, while chasing Vicki, finally finds the hidden treasure that caused all the trouble in the first place. Sadly for Penguin, he is arrested and blamed for Dracula’s kidnappings, causing the media to think he was forcing people to find the treasure. Having defeated an ultimate evil, the Batman triumphantly continues his duties to defend Gotham against anyone who may threaten its safety.

REVIEW:

There have been many version of both The Batman and Dracula, even some varying stories involving the both of them, but I believe this is the most popular of those stories.

I guess the first thing that should be said is that this is a film using the Saturday morning cartoon incarnation, The Batman, as opposed to some random DC Universe version or the much-loved Batman: The Animated Series Batman.

The story is what you would expect, somehow Dracula end up in Gotham City, and through some bungling crook’s “luck” he is awakened and does what all Draculas have done, which is start turning people into slaves and vampires. As you can guess, this doesn’t sit too well with Bats, and he has to do something about it.

Yeah, I know, that whole plot seems so predictable, but remember two things, this is mostly a Saturday morning cartoon incarnation, despite the darker, more violent tone that is prevalent here. Also, can we really expect some groundbreaking story in this format, especially given the fact that is isn’t a major production, but rather a simple cash grab for this animated series?

With that said, the animation here is exactly what I remember from the cartoon. Some may say it’s a little cartoony, but I actually don’t mind it. My only complaint about it is the same complain I had when it was on, and that is why does the Joker look like some kind of jungle creature? I’ve never been a fan of that look for him. Call me a purist, but he should be the scrawny clown we’ve all come to know and love. What makes matters worse is that I believe he is the only character that was drastically altered to an almost unrecognizable state, if I’m not mistaken. I could be wrong, though.

This is also the first animated appearance of Vicki Vale. You remember her from the Michael Keaton version of Batman, right? Personally, I think that is the best version, but that’s a debate for another post. I could have sworn that Vicki was in Batman: The Animated Series, but I could be wrong.

Voicing is nothing spectacular, if you washed the cartoon, then all the players are still there, so no changes there, but kudos to the casting of Peter Stormare as Dracula. Hands down on of the best interpretations of Dracula’s voice I’ve ever heard!

So, what is the final verdict on Batman vs. Dracula? Well, it has moments of greatness, but something seems to keeping it from the level of greatness I believe it could achieve. It is above average, but somewhere in the middle is where it drifts into mediocrity, thus hindering the film’s growth. Luckily, the epic final confrontation of Bats and Dracula is worth the wait. Should you see it? I won’t say yes, but I won’t say no, either. It is one of those films that some will love and others will detest. I happen to be one of those that are riding the fence, though.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Winnie the Pooh

Posted in Animation, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film is based on three stories found in the Milne books. Two stories are from Winnie-the-Pooh: “In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One” and “In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump”. The other story is found in The House at Pooh Corner: “In Which Rabbit Has a Busy Day and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings”. Some elements, such as the gang thinking that Christopher Robin has been captured by a monster, are based on events from the film Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin

Pooh wakes up one day to find that he is out of honey. While out searching for more, Pooh discovers that Eeyore has lost his tail. Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and Roo come to the rescue, and Christopher Robin decides to hold a contest to see who can find a replacement for Eeyore’s tail. The prize for the winner is a fresh pot of honey. After many failed attempts for what would replace Eeyore’s tail (such as a cuckoo clock), Kanga suggests they use a scarf, but it unravels.

The next day, Pooh goes to visit Christopher Robin and he finds a note that says “Gon Out Bizy Back Soon”. Because Pooh is unable to read the note, he asks for Owl’s help. Owl’s poor reading comprehension skills lead Pooh and his friends to believe that Christopher Robin has been abducted by a ruthless and mischievous monster they call the “Backson”. Pooh and his friends plan to trap the Backson in a pit, which they think he’ll fall into after following a trail of items leading to it. Meanwhile, Tigger, wanting a sidekick to help him defeat the Backson, recruits Eeyore to be a second Tigger. He dresses up like the Backson and tries to teach Eeyore how to fight. Eeyore, who is doing this against his will, escapes from Tigger and hides underwater.

After a failed attempt to get honey from a bee hive, Pooh’s imagination combined with his hunger get the better of him, and accidentally falls into the pit meant for the Backson. Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Owl and Eeyore (who had found an anchor whilst he was hiding to replace his own tail) try to get him out, but fall in themselves. Piglet attempts to get Pooh and friends out of the trap (though continuously irritating Rabbit with overintrepretations of his instructions, who is further miffed [though hiding it] when realising that Owl could have flown them out of the pit), but he runs into Tigger, still in his Backson outfit, and mistakes him for the actual monster. Piglet escapes from Tigger on a red balloon, which knocks some of the storybook’s letters into the pit. After the chase, Tigger and Piglet fall into the trap as well, where Eeyore reminds Tigger that he, being “the only one”, is “the most wonderful thing about Tiggers”. Eventually, Pooh figures out to use the fallen letters to form a ladder, and the animals are able to escape the pit. They soon find Christopher Robin, and tell him about the Backson, but he clarifies, saying he meant to be “back soon”.

Later, Pooh visits Owl only to find that Owl was the one that took Eeyore’s tail, not realizing it belonged to Eeyore. Owl had been using Eeyore’s tail as a bell pulley for his door. Pooh chooses to leave and return the tail to Eeyore instead of sharing a pot of honey with Owl. Christopher Robin is proud of Pooh’s kindness and rewards him with a large pot of honey.

Following the credits, it is revealed that the rumored Backson actually exists deep in the woods, but is much friendlier than imagined. He discovers the trail of objects that the animals left, and picks up each one, planning to return them to whoever owns them. He ends up falling into the pit that was originally meant for him and waits for someone to arrive and help him out. He adds, “I sure hope that fellow will be back soon”.

REVIEW:

I believe that it was around this time last year that I left a comment on someone’s blog that it won’t be long before they start remaking animated films. Sure enough, here is our first foray into that area. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Winnie the Pooh isn’t necessarily a remake, as much as it is stories from the book and other films in the Pooh franchise being spliced together with certain details being changed. For instance, remember the Huffalump and that catchy song? Well, in this film they did almost a parody of it and called it the Backson.

I had my preconceived notions of this film before I even watched it, but it got rave reviews, so I decided to see what the hype was about. Let me make one thing clear…this is not a bad film, if this is your first outing with Pooh. However, most of us grew up with the Saturday morning cartoon and probably watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at some point in time.

I think the biggest drawback for me with this film was that they didn’t come up with a new story. If you’re going to release a new Pooh film, then for goodness sakes give us a new story!

I have to give kudos to much of the voice cast, especially Jim Cummings who sounds almost identical to Sterling Holloway’s tenor timbre. I was impressed. Also receiving lauds from me is Craig Ferguson. While he doesn’t sound anywhere near the original voice of Owl, he brings the character to life in his own way and maintains his personality.

The rest of the cast, though, I felt was sadly miscast. My biggest qualm is with Bud Luckey as Eeyore. For those of you who don’t know, Peter Cullen, best known as the voice of Optimus Prime, provided the voice of Eeyore since at least the 80s. I have to wonder why he didn’t for this film, unless there was some schedule conflicts with the Transformers films or he just didn’t want to be a part of what he felt was not going to be any good, which I can totally understand.

Finally, Christopher Robin is too British for my taste here, but I can live with that. What I can’t fathom is how they made Kanga almost a bitch! in every incarnation I’ve seen, Kanga has been uber-mothering, and not more or less a female version of Rabbit. Ugh! That was so frustrating.

The songs in the film are horrible. It was as if they hired some commercial jingle writer to compose all of them in like 10 minutes. The only exception is Zooey Deschanel’s  memorable take on the theme. The rest are quite forgettable.

Disney took a risk with this film. Not only was it a near remake, but it was released against arguably the most anticipated film of the summer, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pt II. I do congratulate them on using hand drawn animation. We don’t get enough of this today. While this film isn’t my favorite in the Disney collection, it isn’t the worst they’ve put out. The sure family fun and sweetness factor makes it worth watching, and be sure to catch the Nessie short, as well. With all that said, this isn’t worth adding to your DVD collection,. just a couple of viewings.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars