Catwoman Hunted: A New Voice For Catwoman?

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Catwoman, voiced by Elizabeth Gilles, becomes the subject of a manhunt after her attempt to steal a precious jewel lands her on the wrong side of a powerful crime organisation.

I would say as far as DC animated fare goes this was slightly above average. I thought Gillies did a very strong job as Catwoman and nearly perfectly fit the role, bringing just the right amount of charm and capability. Moreover, I liked the way the film handled her character and that it gave her some nice quips as well as strong character motivation.

In terms of the art style, I think of all the recent DC animated films this is the one that is the most obviously anime inspired, barring something like Batman Ninja for obvious reasons. I do like the animation here and think that it has its own distinctive feel which is important in making the film memorable.

My issues with the film would be two fold, firstly that the film has a rather generic story that far out stays its welcome and that gives us nothing that we haven’t seen before. Secondly Stephanie Beatriz is deeply miscast as Batwoman. I don’t quite know why but every time I heard Beatriz’s voice coming out of the character I couldn’t help but be pulled out of the film and think to myself ‘oh my she was miscast’. This is a shame as Encanto proved Beatriz is a talented voice actor.

Overall, in terms of what they did with the character and the wider style of the film it is good, however with regard to the lacklustre story and some of the weaker casting choices the film is let down.

Pros.

Gilles      

The character of Catwoman

The style

Cons.

The story

Beatriz

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The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild: The Day Blue Sky Studios Died

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

None of the original Ice Age voice cast wanted to return, bar Simon Pegg, and Disney needed to do something with the franchise, why not send out a minimal effort picture to litter the empty halls of Disney + ?

Mark this moment dear reader,  for it is not only the moment Ice Age died but also Blue Sky Studios, which is a shame as I was hoping for Rio 3. There is so much wrong with this film that it will be hard to condense down into a breezy review for you.

I think the most glaring issues is that this film looks like it was made on a budget of a few dollars, with the quality of animation not only looking worse than any of the other Ice Age films but also any other animated film you are likely to see this year.

Moreover, the film as a whole feels like it is missing something, this could easily take the form of Scrat the series mascot or as I previously mentioned the entire voice cast of the previous films. Simon Pegg as always gives it an admirable go, but even he can’t save this rather obvious cash in.

As you watch the film you can’t escape the sense that there is no good reason for it to exist.

Overall, more trash for Disney +.

Pros.

Simon Pegg is trying his best

It is watchable

Cons.

It feels like a knock off

The animation is awful

Scrat

It doesn’t need to exist

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Sing 2: Is Illumination The Worst Studio In Animation?

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of talentless animated animals gather together to listen to licensed music with you, as the writers can’t even be bothered to show up to work.

So I didn’t watch the first film, and somehow I don’t really feel like that would have made that much of a difference as there is no plot here, I doubt there was in the last film either, so I haven’t missed much.

Frankly if I were a parent I would feel insulted by this film, Illumination clearly think that they can just send out any old slop to the cinemas and that children and begrudgingly there families will just eat it up: know your worthy families of the world, you deserve more than this. This reeks of greed and cynicism.

Until the last twenty minutes of the film I don’t even remember any of the characters singing, which is baffling as that is what the whole film is supposed to be about. Instead for the most part the characters do very mundane generic quests in the purposes of killing time and the film blares out some equally bland licensed music. This is in no way interesting.

As I left this film I thought for sure this must have been some kind of tax write off, or money laundering scheme, as I can’t see why else  it was made.

Overall, kids deserve better than this.

Pros.

I found it unintentionally hilarious a few times.

Cons.

The characters are awful

There is no plot

The animals barely sing

The music that we do get is generic and forgettable

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Hotel Transylvania Transformania: This Film Needed Adam Sandler

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The monsters are back at it again, only now they have been turned human.

I thought this film was in danger when Adam Sandler and director Genndy Tartakovsky walked away. I know many like to malign Sandler, myself included, but he brought a lot of heart to the role of Dracula and though Brian Hull sounds like the character he can’t bring it to life in the way Sandler did. Yes, I am starting this review by saying the film is worse off for not featuring Sandler, what is the world coming to.

For those with small kids this film is just more of the same. In that you can know what to expect, if your kids liked the other three films it is likely they will like this one as well. However, if you or your kids are more discerning then this is easily the worst in the franchise. The jokes come off as far more bland and tame then they do in the other films, with not a one making me laugh. Adding to that the plot feels like a rehash of the Dracula/ Johnny, voiced by Andy Samberg, plot from the first film and sees the two at odds with one another only for them to come to like and understand each other by the end of the film. We’ve already been there and done that.

The actual transformation gimmick here is nothing impressive either it is mainly just used as set up for bad jokes and to make Dracula less capable and so able to see Johnny from a new light. It is a fairly lazy body swap approach.

Overall, a clear decline in the franchise, hopefully this will be the last one.

Pros.

Selina Gomez has far more time to shine here as Mavis

It is watchable

Cons.

It is lame

It is unfunny

The film needed Sandler and Tartakovsky

The dance number  

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Storks: Time To Tell Your Kids The Truth

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Some American children still believe that storks bring babies to parents, this film imagines a world where once that was true but now they are basically Amazon delivery drivers.

This film is made watchable by the charm of Andy Samberg, a film would have to be deeply terrible for the charm of Samberg to not  be able to salvage it, he truly is the only thing that makes this film good. That is not to say that the film is bad however, I would say it doesn’t do anything bold enough to be bad, rather it is happy to sit in the generic.

The human plot line of the young boy, voiced by Anton Starkman, who writes to the Storks to get a baby brother despite this not being his parents wishes, not only doesn’t land in terms of emotional impact but instead seems to be going out of its way to make the boy seem unlikeable and brattish. I think the whole human plotline should have been cut out.

The story is fairly boring and uninspired you know everything that is going to happen as it has happened time and again in other better films before this one. On the whole the film seems scared to try and do anything new.

Overall, a very generic animated film.

Pros.

Samberg

It is watchable

A few unintentionally funny scenes

Cons.

The human plot line

Pacing issues

It is deeply generic   

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South Park The Return Of Covid: We All Wish We Could Escape This Bleak Future

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The residents of South Park try to travel back in time and stop the outbreak of the covid epidemic.

I enjoyed this special far more than I did the last, mainly because I thought the message of learning to live with the disease, saying enough is enough, and trying to regain a semblance of our old lives, where being locked down for several months a year isn’t the norm, is not only agreeable but should be encouraged. It is nice to see things like this as a counter weight to the scare-mongering.

I enjoyed the friendship of the boys being the central focus and thought that the future Cartman, voiced by Trey Parker, storyline was actually quite sweet and well done. I know some fans will not like the final fate of Cartman but I thought in some ways it was poetic to the character we knew all along, though this is by no means the end and probably a series of the show years from now will give him a whole different future.

This special I also found to be funnier than the last and it made me chuckle a good number of times during it. I am still quite apathetic to the topic of covid and hopefully this will be the last time the show mentions it as the jokes are starting to run dry.

Overall, better than the last and hopefully the last time we will see the series tackle covid.

Pros.

The message

The ending

The jokes

Cons.

The covid jokes have been done to death

It goes on for a bit too long  

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Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Disney Coming In To Ruin Another Franchise

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A new animated take on the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney.

Where to begin on what went wrong with this film.

I think the most obvious place to start is that this film is a carbon copy of the much better live action version, it lifts scenes and lines of dialogue from that film and that just serves to remind you how needless this film really is, it is an animated reskin of a better product that came out just long ago enough for kids today to not remember it.

Speaking of the animation there is something noticeably off with it. I can’t quite put my finger on what is wrong, but there is certainly something going wrong with the lighting and the framing of it a lot of the time throughout the film. The animation style itself is fairly ugly, I understand they have chosen it to look closer to the books however it looks cheap and low rent.

The voice cast for the most part is doing their best to mimic the performances from the beloved live action films, and whilst in a few cases the effort is valiant, it never really rises to the occasion and lacks a lot of the charm and the warmth that made the performances in the live action films what they were.

Overall, entirely needless.

Pros.

It is short and if you close your eyes at times it feels like you are watching the live action version.

Cons.

The animation is off

It feels wholly unneeded and unoriginal

It is unfunny

It lacks any charm or warmth

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Santa Inc: Father Christmas Is A Patriarchal White Supremacist

0/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young elf, voiced by Sarah Silverman, dreams of becoming the new Santa Clause and whilst doing it preaches on every hot button political topic and takes a big dump all over Christmas itself.

This show highlights everything wrong with modern day Hollywood to the letter. It is not funny, it makes constant political statements in an attempt to be funny or topical but fails at both, none of the characters are likeable and each is more annoying than the last, and finally it preaches and in that I take my biggest issue.

Don’t be like me, don’t sit through eight hours of being preached to and told how bad you are and how bad humanity in general is. Within the first few minutes of the show they make a joke about vaccination and the holocaust, because why have fun at all right? This show feels like the worst parts of adult animated comedy the parts that want to be edgy for the sake of being edgy and ultimately just feel needless and irritating.

Another major issue with this show is that it clearly hates Christmas, it takes every attempt it is given to tear down Christmas and those associated with it, do you like Santa Clause? Not anymore because he is part of the patriarchy. That is the essence of this show.

Finally in a move that shows just how out of touch actors are Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen, both key voices in the show, have allegedly said that anyone who doesn’t like the show is a white supremacist, which makes zero sense. However, what it does do is make me less likely to check out Rogen’s work in the future.

Overall, making something to attack Christmas and that is edgy for edgy sake is never going to be good.

Pros.

None

Cons.

It is too long

It isn’t funny

None of the characters are likeable

The constant political points/preaching

Being edgy for the sake of being edgy

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South Park Post Covid: The Future Is Bleak, Especially If You Are Apathetic To Covid

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The kids of South Park are now men forced to return to their home town after the death of one of their own, in a world still ravaged by covid.

Honestly I think the main reason for my low score is because I am personally I am really bored of covid and talking about it, seeing this whole hour special just go on and on about it became old quickly. I wish it could have been about anything else.

That said I do admire the show for lampooning the current crisis and laughing at how extremely over the top some people have been about it, acting like it is the end of days or something. I thought this coupled with the side plot about comedy in the era of cancel culture/ woke comedy were really interesting and insightful comments on where we are right now as a species.

I didn’t think this was the funniest thing I have ever seen from South Park as though there were a few jokes that landed, and landed well for that matter, for the most part they left me cold. I don’t know if it is because of my apathy towards hearing about covid but I didn’t find myself laughing a whole lot here.

Overall, if this hadn’t been about covid I probably would have found it funnier.

Pros.

A few good jokes

Not being afraid to laughable at how over the top some people have been with covid

Comments about woke comedy

Cons.

I am bored of covid narratives

It is not hugely funny

The central mystery is not all that interesting

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Robin Robin: Whilst You Sleep At Night Mice Steal Your Food

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young robin called Robin, voiced by Bronte Carmichael, is taken in by a family of mice, but must then find out who she is after she realises she doesn’t make for a very good mouse.

My track record with Aardman Animation is mixed, I liked Wallace and Gromit and thought Early Man was okay, but I really didn’t like Chicken Run. So when it came to watching this I was mixed, however I have to say this is easily the best Aardman feature to date and if this is any indication for what they are going to produce through their collaboration with Netflix then I am very on board for what is to come.

I thought the film was sweet and really sold its message of being yourself and being proud of who you are well. I enjoyed all the characters and thought each had their moments to shine over the features run time. I thought the pace was well decided as well, as by keeping it short it allowed the film to have a real momentum that lead to it be constantly engaging and never boring.

Finally, there is a musical element to this film which could be hit or miss for people, for me I thought it worked and I enjoyed almost all of the songs, bar the final proper one during the third act, but for the most part I thought the songs added to the film’s charm.

Overall, a lovely little animated Christmas film.

Pros.

It is sweet

It is well paced

It has fun characters

The songs work well

Cons.

The third act could use work as it is a little played out  

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