Lightyear: Back In The 90s This Would Have Been A Good Idea

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The film that inspired Andy to buy Buzz in Toy Story.

I think this film makes a pretty clear cut argument for how Disney has slowly corrupted and ruined Pixar, forcing the studio to make sequels, prequels and spin-offs that don’t need to exist and to sacrifice their heart and soul in doing it.

I am not going to say this film is awful and needless all the way through because that isn’t true, it does have good moments here and there, but by and large the biggest issue here is that this film never justifies its existence.

I thought the writing was exceptionally weak, which is a shock coming from Pixar. This can be seen with lazy storytelling choices such as having the important crystal be destroyed but then moments later they just have a new one and can go back out into space, with no mention as to how that is. Moreover, the character journey of Buzz having to learn to trust other people and then having an older version of him be the villain of the piece just feels insultingly obvious and on the nose. I understand that this film is for kids so it is not going to have the best writing, but come on this is just so lazy.

Chris Evans is fairly fine as Buzz Lightyear, you forget it is him after a while and the difference between his voice and Tim Allen’s become less noticeable over time.

Overall, fairly meh. Nothing special.

Pros.

It is watchable

It has a few sweet moments

It is fairly short

Cons.

It doesn’t justify its existence

The writing is poor

It is very forgettable

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Bob’s Burgers The Movie: A Cinema Worthy Event?

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Belcher family gets wrapped up in a murder investigation.

I am a big Bob’s Burgers fan and have watched the series all the way through many times over, as such when I heard about the show getting the movie treatment I was excited and thought it would be a significant event like The Simpsons Movie was. However, upon seeing it I am left feeling mixed.

My major issue with this film is that it didn’t feel like anything special to me. Unlike the previously mentioned Simpsons Movie it didn’t up the scale or do something that couldn’t be done on the small screen. The premise for this film could have worked well as a two or three part episode maybe, but for the series first film I just felt it was underwhelming.

On a more positive note, something I did enjoy about this film was how it gave us a deeper look into the series lore and we were given more information about some of the series big mysteries, such as how Louise, voiced by Kristen Schaal, came by her bunny ears. I also thought it was a nice touch to finally pay off the Tina, voiced by Dan Mintz, Jimmy Jr, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin romance that has run the course of the series. I hope these both play into the series going forward and aren’t just ignore for the sake of maintaining the shows status quo.

Overall, a fun time but maybe lower your expectations going in.  

Pros.

It is fun

It develops the series lore

It pays off one of the shows central romances

Cons.

It doesn’t feel special or like anything that couldn’t have been done on TV

The humour feels weaker

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The Queen’s Corgi: Not Suitable For Kids

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Queen’s priced corgi Rex, voiced by Jack Whitehall, goes missing and must find his way back to the Palace.

In many ways this is not a film for kids. There are a lot of adult jokes and references that kids just won’t understand. Whilst I do enjoy this films lambasting of Trump, I think more broadly that this films comedy should have been toned down. For lack of a better terms these anthropopathic dogs are horny and make constant sex jokes which feels uncomfortable at times. Couple this with a sequence in which Rex is being hunted down by Trump’s female dog in order for the two of them to breed, which Rex, does not want, and is somewhat assaulted and you can see there is a lot of bad taste issues here.

The film as a whole is fairly by the numbers, it is a plot that you have seen many times before with cliched characters that you will have met many times over the years especially if you watch a lot of animated films. I would say that this film approaches so bad it is good range, but doesn’t quite get there as the bad taste stuff holds it back rather than adding any sort of charm to it. Ultimately you are left questioning the screen-play writer.

Overall, a strange film that most certainly isn’t for children.

Pros.

The Trump parody  

The Queen and Prince Phillips relationship

Cons.

The sex jokes

The icky and troublesome sequence with Trump’s dog

It is aggressively by the numbers  

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South Park, The Streaming Wars: Going The Way Of Family Guy And The Simpsons

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Due to a water shortage in South Park streaming services crop up to try and find new ways to supply water to the townsfolk and turn a tidy profit.

This was not a good special and honestly makes me question whether South Park is starting to loose its edge. Recently I have been binge watching all the episodes of the show from the beginning and as such when I compare earlier classic episodes to this I have to say there is a noticeable decline in quality.

My main issues with this special is just how unlikeable everyone is. Both Randy and Cartman, voiced by Trey Parker, are not just being dicks but are deeply unlikeable. One can argue that this is nothing new for Cartman but it is for Randy, who is reduced to a one note cliché here. Honestly, since starting Tegridy Weed the show has really been running Randy into the ground.

Moreover, the commentary on streaming services, here being water distributors rather than tv and film, is paper thin and feels really quite off the mark. I have noticed some people say how angry and personal the commentary feels and they are then using this reading to imply that Matt Stone and Trey Parker are not happy at Paramount +, however, I think rather than that it is just a regurgitation of other tired complaints against streaming. Odder still, the complaints levelled feel like they have come out of the mid twenty tens rather than our current climate.

Overall, watchable but the decline is clear to see.

Pros.

It is nice to see ManBearPig return

A few good jokes

Cons.

Randy is ruined

Cartman is awful

The commentary doesn’t land

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Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers: The Return Of Monstrous Sonic

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Yet another classic Disney property gets the reboot treatment.

I will preface this review by saying I did not grow up watching Chip an’ Dale and that this film was my first introduction to the characters. In that regard I felt like I understood who everyone was and what was going on so I appreciated that, there is nothing worse than watching a reboot and being entirely lost because it was based off an obscure property from a few decades ago.

Moreover, I did think this film had a few solid laughs, I enjoyed Ugly Sonic, voiced by Tim Robinson, and thought the film got a hell of a lot better when he was in it, I also thought J. K Simmons proved once again how great his comedic timing is and really shone as Captain Putty. The human characters fare far worse and really don’t need to be there at all, if KiKi Layne’s police officer character wasn’t in the film it wouldn’t really change it much at all.

I thought that the story structure and character arcs were a little generic and also far too overly familiar. I understand that expecting quality writing from an animated film aimed at children might be too much to ask for but I am still going to point it out.

Overall, it was a slightly above average film with a few good laughs.

Pros.

Ugly Sonic

Simmons
Samberg is always likeable

Cons.

Layne

The characters across the board feel generic and fairly two dimensional

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The Sonic Shared Universe: The Real Challenge To The MCU

Written by Luke Barnes

In this piece I want to talk about The Sonic franchise and how I think it is the only shared universe that might rival Marvel, in time.

So for those of you that haven’t seen the Sonic sequel yet you might want to look away now, as there will be spoilers in this article.

The Dark Universe, The DCEU, The Power Rangers Universe all failed, in several cases horribly. Now why they failed is up for debate, but most agree that they either didn’t need to exist or were trying too hard to compete with the MCU and so rushed things out of the gate. I don’t think Sonic has either of these issues as firstly there is a strong fan base, as has been reflected by the box office for both films, but also the creatives seem to be in good communication with the fans and listen to what they want. Moreover,  the Sonic films have not rushed to have all their characters appear on screen together as such audiences will have to wait a few years before they get their first taste of Shadow. In other climates at different studios this would have already happened, we would have got twelve spin off films and fifty streaming series to set everything up but for the most part Paramount has been fairly sparing, the most we are getting is a Knuckles tv show.

It is for these reasons that I think the Sonic universe can rival the MCU, as they still have a lot of cool and crucially popular characters left to introduce and there are a number of projects and places where this universe could go next, it is quite exciting. I am obviously a big Sonic fan, I have enjoyed the games, the animated series and now the films so I want them to keep coming and maybe that is making me look at this shared universe future with pre-emptive rose tinted glasses, but hey I think the Knuckles show will be cool and I’d love a Shadow prequel so I won’t be complaining when we get them.

We can all just hope that Paramount keeps up the quality, the heart and the fan commitment that  has made the films so far good.

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The Fairly Oddparents Fairly Odder: Yikes On Multiple Levels

0.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Due to Paramount + lacking content the higher ups forced through a hybrid live action version of The Fairly OddParents, and rather unsurprisingly it crashed and burnt horribly.

On multiple levels this show is a mess, so much so that I can’t see how those making it didn’t foresee how it was going to turn out, in my mind since the ideas inception it was clear this was destined for the scrap head. I understand that Butch Hartman has become somewhat of an internet bogeyman and so needs to cling to this franchise to keep the lights on, but come on Butch you’re driving your cash cow over a cliff and to certain death.

I think the biggest issue with this show is that the hybrid approach doesn’t work, in my mind The Fairly OddParents is and always should be an animated show, the previous jumps to live action with the deviant staring films didn’t work so they really should have realised that this was not the way forward. It is not just that the hybrid approach doesn’t work, but whenever there is an animated character on screen the show seems to come apart at the seams and become a hodgepodge of issues.

Moreover, the idea to create a new lead is a bold idea, it doesn’t pay off at all and it ends up feeling like it was only done for the sake of appealing to a younger audience, whilst still being in some way tied into the older show. However, the real issue with this series is the fact that damn near every character is awful, either as a person or as an inferior carbon copy of the original series, some of the characters bare the same name as those from the original series but in no way hold a candle to them. In addition the way young characters are written in this show in terms of dialogue screams to me of a group of aging executives trying to remember buzz words they have heard from their grandkids and force them in. In reality I don’t think anyone ever talks like how they do on this show.

Pros.

Sometimes it is unintentionally funny

Cons.

The characters suck

The animation seems like it was done on the cheap

The hybrid approach doesn’t work

The decision to create a new lead has no effect and changes very little for the better

It defiles the reputation of the brand at every turn   

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The Good Dinosaur: Pixar’s Darkest Day

1.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young and very American dinosaur, voiced by Raymond Ochoa, goes on a journey of self-discovery after being washed down river.

I won’t go after the voice actor for the lead dinosaur, he was a kid at the time and as such it is low hanging fruit, however, it was a terrible performance. If someone else of more experience had voiced the lead dinosaur then maybe it would have been better than what we got, which was incredibly bland.

Indeed, lifeless and dull are two words that describe this film down to a tee. In the past I have said that I prefer films that are bad to ones that are boring and this is a perfect example of that. This film is so deeply by the numbers that it is neither good nor bad just incredibly forgettable.

The story of the film was likewise played out, you have seen this before it takes the concept nowhere new and has very little fun with it either. Think about the heart and soul of the Land Before Time films and imagine the same sort of idea but without any of the charm and you have this film.

Overall, certainly the worst of Pixar.

Pros.

It is watchable

Sam Elliot does a good job

Cons.

It is bland

It is generic

It doesn’t take the concept anywhere new

It lacks any kind of charm or heart

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Chicken Little: Zach Braff’s Illustrious Career

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A horribly rendered chicken, voiced by Zach Braff, thinks the sky is falling down and no one believes him.

This is one of those films that you look back on it now and ask how did this ever get made? It is the sort of film that only stoners could enjoy, as those of us who attempt to watch this sober have to deal with the frankly disturbing animation that belongs in the deepest recess of the uncanny valley or perhaps the lowest levels of hell.

Truly the animation is a barrier to entry. You can’t really afford the argument of oh that was years ago and CG animation was far less developed, because though there might be some truth to that it ignores the fact that Toy Story came out years before it and looks a million times better.

If you are brave enough to carry on past the awful animation then you will get caught in the reference zone, wherein this film will reference every single other Disney film in the back catalogue, or at least it feels like it does. There is nothing wrong with a few meta jokes here and there or even a lot if done right, but here it is just done for the sake of memberberies, with the references occurring at a speed that only a child could keep up with.

Overall, a very bad early attempt at CG animation by Disney.

Pros.

It is watchable

There is a so bad it is good quality to it

Cons.

The animation

The references

Braff

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Human Resources Season 1: The Desperate Phallus

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A Big Mouth spin-off centred around the various different types of monsters that appear across the show.

I thought this show was considerably weaker than Big Mouth in quite a few ways, but still maintained enough charm to be watchable.

My main criticism of this show would be that if anything it is a little too over the top, like yes within Big Mouth there are a number of out there elements, but it never goes as far as seeing two dicks fight each other, or a full on orgy, both of which feature in this show as it crosses over into bad taste at times.

Moreover, the monsters themselves are in no way as interesting as the kids from Big Mouth, perhaps it is because they lose the relatability factor that the kids of the show have, or perhaps it is because they are demystified to a point whereby you know too much about them. Regardless of which it is you can’t shake the feeling that the characters just aren’t as good here.

I don’t think it is all bad as there are still some funny jokes, and Maury, voiced by Nick Kroll, is just as loveable as ever. However, Maury is given somewhat of a back seat here and therein lies another problem of the show it feels the need to force in a lot of new characters most of which just feel bland, I’m looking at you Emmy, voiced by Aidy Bryant.

Overall, an okay stand in for Big Mouth in the off season but nowhere close to being on the same level.

Pros.

Maury

Connie

A few good jokes

Cons.

A lot of bland new characters

It goes too far with the gross out, to the point of desperation

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