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Author Archives: jambareeqi

“Doug” – Doug & Patti Sittin’ in a Tree (EPISODE REVIEW)

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Written by Jambareeqi

When Patti asks Doug to the movies, with no other guests joining their outing, Doug becomes confused whether it’s a date, and if it is, how will he approach the night out? His schoolmates immaturely tease him, while his family overwhelms him with too much attentive support, but he just doesn’t know what to do.

What I like about this episode, is how it truly captures childhood dating, it doesn’t overromanticize the story, this is how two kids would naturally respond to such a situation like this. When you’re young, dating is more innocent, plus you don’t fully understand the customs, so it makes sense that Doug would be conflicted about Patti’s invite.

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It’s also sweet that his loved ones want to be there for Doug, even if they don’t notice how it’s bothering him, their intentions are well meaning at the end of the day. I couldn’t help but smile at Porkchop pretending to be Patti in a practice date too, it shows that he’s a good friend to his owner, and it’s too cutely humorous how he plays along with the pretend date.

After all the build up, the date finally happens, it’s actually really hard to watch it all play out, because we don’t know how things will go, I’ll admit that I had to kept pausing from the awkwardness haha! I could feel Doug’s fast heartbeats through the screen. I reckon it all works though, as this is what it’s like trying to work out someone’s feelings, it’s always a mind boggling cryptic game at any age.
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We never see things from Patti’s side of things, this helps us to put ourselves in Doug’s shoes, we empathise with his uncertainty, questioning Patti’s thoughts as much as he is doing so. It’s only when Doug abandons social expectations and assumptions, that the date starts to feel less tense, embracing the lesson that a date flows smoother when you relax into being yourself.

After the movie, there’s still skepticism about whether it was even a date, plus we can’t tell if Patti intended for it to be a romantic experience, but it’s their crude attempts at reading each other that makes the final conclusion so cute, their shy sidestepping is too adorable for words. I can’t help but see my own life’s “Does she really like me?” moments in this last act of the episode, the writing is that identifiable and true.

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To Conclude, this is a very endearing coming of age episode of Nickelodeon’s “Doug”, it wonderfully reflects the innocence and naivety of childhood crushes, never trying to frame it in glamorous light to pander to fans. If you are after a big dramatic romantic episode of Doug, you’ll be very let down; but keep in mind that this isn’t supposed to be a sweeping love story, it’s a realistic take on innocent young love.

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“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” – The Phantom of Retroland (EPISODE REVIEW)

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Written by Jambareeqi

When Jimmy tries teaching the pendulum effect to his class, everyone is bored to death by how unexciting his demonstration is, so Miss Fowl encourages him to rush through the experiment, much to the pleasure of his classmates. Jimmy is then upstaged by Nick, who puts on an atmospheric presentation for his Show & Tell, as he details a ghost story about a phantom who haunts the theme park “Retroland”, and everyone is blown away by the spooky tale. Annoyed that Nick’s show & tell got a better reception than his, Jimmy takes on the dare to prove that the phantom is an urban myth, and he drags Sheen & Carl along as witnesses.

This episode pretty much uses the Scooby Doo formula, but with no self awareness about it, so it just becomes a retread of what made old Scooby Doo episodes so predictable, because anyone of any age can immediately guess who is hiding beneath the Phantom’s mask. It makes for a boring mystery, as each “twist” comes as no surprise, especially when there’s only 10 minutes to work with (That’s half a Scooby Doo episode). However, the joke that the last pretend phantom was Jimmy’s mom was kind of funny, because she’s the least likely character to pull off this kind of stunt.

Jimmu

Why is Jimmy’s mom pretending to be the Phantom? Well, in order to trick his parents that he’s sleeping, Jimmy left a holographic illusion of him snoozing in bed, but the hologram machine glitches, and it ends up displaying Jimmy hanging out in his school playground. I get that this is a way for Jimmy’s parents to clue in on Jimmy’s sneak out, and it’s a setup for the joke that Jimmy’s dad thinks that his son’s playground is in his bedroom, but why would Jimmy even need to have a hologram of him playing in the school yard for his bedroom? I can’t imagine a situation where that would be helpful or beneficial! Just have the hologram machine shut down, then it’ll reveal that Jimmy is not in bed, simple as, don’t over-complicate things to contrive humour. I know that this show thrives on cartoon logic more than actual science, but Jimmy’s inventions need to at least make contextual sense in the series’ universe.

Jimmy Room

But putting aside the bland mystery and confusing mechanics behind Jimmy’s hologram machine, the episode does at least have a good message for Jimmy, teaching him that he shouldn’t use his science to ruin people’s fun, and that silly urban myths can be enjoyed by even the most scientific of people. Cindy, a character who is almost as intelligent as Jimmy, says that she can put aside science to have a bit of fun, pointing out that no one actually believes in the Phantom, they just want to get into the spooky spirit of a campfire style story. It’s good to use science to be sensible and logical, but letting it spoil everyone’s fun just makes you look like an annoying party pooper.

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To conclude, “The Phantom of Retroland” is rather repetitive, rushed, and predictable, but I appreciate the lesson it sets out to teach, plus there are some funny moments that don’t rely on forced humour; like when Carl plans to confess to Jimmy that he’s joining the French Foreign Legion to get out of sneaking out. I can also imagine younger kids being creeped out by the phantom, with his neon lit skull faced mask lunging into the camera, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were scared of this episode as a kid. It’s just, Jimmy Neutron is fully capable of doing really good horror themed stories, like the episode “Nightmare in Retroville”, that was a great campy tribute to classic monsters, so this episode has no excuses to be such a boring let down.

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“The Wild Thornberrys” – Operation Valentine (EPISODE REVIEW)

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Written by Jambareeqi

In this Season 3 episode of “The Wild Thornberrys”, which is set in Australia, Eliza goes in search of fenced off Dingos, while Debbie gets ready for a date with her internet friend, and Marianne finishes building her Valentines gift for Nigel. Tragedy strikes though, when Eliza’s stomach starts hurting, and Darwin doesn’t know what to do.

What I enjoyed about this episode, is that it celebrates love in a variety of ways, not just limited to romantic. Sure, there’s talk of dates and gifts, but the real gestures of love come from the family’s support of Eliza, who may have something worse than a tummy bug. Everyone pitches in to save Eliza: Darwin protects her while help arrives, Donnie tries to tell Nigel, Marianne diagnoses Eliza with Appendicitis, Debbie sacrifices her date to make transport easier, and Nigel bravely flies his daughter to the nearest hospital. It doesn’t always matter if you’re alone on Valentines Day, because your family can be just as special as a date.

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I really felt for Eliza too, her pain seems so real, I totally wanted her to be safely taken to hospital, and didn’t like seeing her suffering. Imagine feeling searing stomach pain in the Australian outback too! The humid scorching weather wouldn’t be helping the unbearable ache in your tummy. This is what makes the race to the hospital so intense, we want her to get there so bad, and any hindrances are infuriating.

However, that’s not to say that this episode is completely devoid of any romance, because we do get to see a big happy smile on Nigel’s face when his Valentines’ gift is unveiled, and Nigel himself does talk about his first ever love (the big twist will make you grin warmly). Debbie’s preparation for her date is kind of cute, from her clumsy baking skills leading to awful cookies, to trying on possible dresses that may impress her friend.

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In terms of animal characters, wildlife interaction is played down, because Eliza is too sick to talk to any critters, but we get to meet some Emu who are afraid of being turned into shampoo. The real guest animal star though, is an eagle, who serves as a recurring antagonist, and boy did I end up despising him! He brings the most conflict to the episode, even getting in the way of Nigel’s flight, and I’ve never hated a bird as much as this Eagle haha!

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To Conclude, if you want a Valentines Day special episode of “The Wild Thornberrys” where romantic love is the main focus, you maybe disappointed, because while there’s elements of romance here, the central theme is familial love, and there are other episodes of the show that are far more romance heavy. It’s a sweet and touching episode though, that teaches how Valentines Day can also be about showing love to your family, which still manages to include animals even with Eliza suffering from appendicitis.

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Warner Bros. Release “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” Trailer

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 14th November, 2018

There’s finally a live action Pokémon movie coming out soon, but this is no Ash Ketchum adventure, it’s a buddy cop movie about a Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), teaming up with a failed Pokémon trainer called Tim (played by Justice Smith), to uncover the mystery behind Tim’s father’s disappearance.

As a life-long Pokémon fan myself, I’m quite happy to see my favourite pocket monsters in a live action movie, it’s almost surreal to witness, because the concept has been dreamed up by fans for so long, that it became almost impossible to believe it’ll ever happen. Yes, it’s not about Ash, but that doesn’t bother me, as someone who has mixed feelings on that character, and our main character here is roughly the age of a first generation Pokémon fan – which will speak to millennial nostalgia.

Tim Goodman

As I mentioned, Pikachu is voiced by Ryan Reynolds, don’t worry though, he’s the only celebrity voiced character, and it Ikue Ōtani still voices Pikachu when he doesn’t speak English. Confused? Let me explain, this Pikachu can be understood by Tim, while everyone else just hears him say “Pika! Pika!”, which will make for some funny interactions for sure, especially with Ryan Reynold’s natural ability to make any line sound three times more hilarious.

You’re most likely wondering about my thoughts on the animation for the Pokemon, which has divided many fans, some loving them and others finding them to be “gross”. Here’s the thing, translating hand drawn characters into 3D CGI is very tough, you have to make them look faithful to the original designs, but you still need to be certain that they appear organic, it’s a super hard line to meet.

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Failing to reach this balance can have consequences, like with Michael Bay’s Transformers, which put realistic mechanical intricacy before identifiable visual design, leading to characters that look downright unreadable, and it’s that stretch towards the uncanny valley that upset fans. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the potential issue of making the characters look too cartoony, which will make us fail to believe that they are part of a world where Pokémon are real, and that’s something that could kill the movie.

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Personally, I think that Detective Pikachu reaches the standard I’d expect, where the Pokémon are a mix of anime monster aesthetics and biological realism. I don’t even have a personal issue with any of these Pokémon, because I instantly recognise them all, which is very important to me as a fan. Yes, Mr. Mime looks a little creepy, they could have given him a less Tim Burton-esque face, but I don’t think he’s as disturbing as most folks are making him out to be, I’ve seen much worse. I also trust the director, Rob Letterman, because he has a background in directing at Dreamworks Animation, he’s bound to have a high knowledge of animation standards, even if he did co-direct the awful “Shark Tale”.

Mr. Mime

My only real fear is that the film’s story will be bogged down with buddy cop movie cliches, especially after sitting through a Pokéball collection of them in “The Happytime Murders” this year. It’s a genuine concern I had after seeing the trailer, but that’s because the dynamic isn’t explored that much, with most of the trailer centering on the joke that Pikachu is now a talking detective. I’ll remain apprehensive, yet hope that the finished movie takes me by surprise, perhaps it’ll twist the genre’s expectations around, and maybe give a new angle on this setup. What do you think of this trailer? Let me know in the comment section below! Also, if you’re new to this site, consider exploring it, and maybe click the subscribe button.

Illumination Release The Max Trailer for The “Secret Life of Pets 2”

Written By Jambareeqi

Posted 8th November, 2018

Illumination have recently released a trailer for their upcoming film The Secret Life of Pets 2, which is dubbed “The Max Trailer”, it centres on Max reluctantly going to the vet, where he meets a variety of pets, all of whom are there for behavioral therapy. I thought that the original “The Secret Life of Pets” was just fine, it’s simply the “Toy Story” formula with animals, but it had a lot of heart and humour. That being said, I never thought it warranted a sequel?

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This trailer doesn’t give away too much about the plot for the sequel, but apparently the film is about the pets taking on an evil abusive veterinarian, which explains the setting in the trailer. I do wish that we got a glimpse of the vet, I’m curious how Illumination will villainize someone assigned to animal medical care, it’s not the immediate profession that comes to mind when you think bad guy (Thinking back though, I do recall that Scott Evil from “Austin Powers” wanted to be a vet), but maybe a future trailer will showcase them.

The other animals in the veterinary clinic are amusing enough, I’m not sure what they’ll be like for a whole feature story though, because so far, their personalities are limited to their behavioral issues. I will admit that their jokes are a little predictable, from a cat who gets annoyed at her owner for not appreciating dead gifts, to a hamster who can’t stop running on their wheel, but they have another comedic level in the context of why the pets are there.

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With this trailer being named after Max, I’m guessing that there will be other trailers for each character? Which seems like a decent idea, good way to showcase the cast of animals in the film, could give us a chance to get to know them beyond their behavioral problems. For a first trailer, this gives very little in terms of story, but at least it has a glimpse into the setting, and it’s a decent introduction to the new pets.

LAIKA Release First Trailer For “The Missing Link”

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 8th November, 2018

LAIKA, the animation studio behind such great stop motion films as “Coraline” and “Paranorman”, have released a new trailer for their upcoming feature film “The Missing Link”, a movie about an eccentric explorer Sir. Lionel Frost, discovering a legendary creature called Mr. Link, and how he helps Mr. Link find his own kind.

This film looks cute, but nothing too remarkable, it seems less daring and more light hearted compared to LAIKA’s usual films, which isn’t bad thing, it just makes it hard for me to get too excited about it. We’ve seen a lot of movies about a protagonist returning a character to their family, so I can’t say that LAIKA isn’t playing things safe, because it is familiar ground. I’ll admit that most of the trailer’s jokes didn’t make me laugh, bar the one where Mr. Link smashes a train window to get some fresh air, after the explorer suggests that he “cracks open a window”, but most of the other jokes weren’t that laugh worthy.

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I do think that Mr. Link himself, who will be voiced by comedian Zach Galifianakis, seems a bit charming, there’s an every man quality to his personality that amusingly contrasts against his furry Sasquatch appearance, but I do fear that he could be too annoying, because of his verbal diarrhea. Sir. Lionel, played by Hugh Jackman, has a dry personality that may bounce off well against Mr. Link’s chatty nature, there’s something there in the trailer.

The Animation looks very pretty, there’s sort of a vintage look to everything, a bit like LAIKA’s other film “The Boxtrolls”, I dig that kind of aesthetic personally, and the nature backgrounds appear rather lovely. Nothing in the trailer indicates anything visually spectacular though, another reason why I’m not too giddy about the movie, considering that LAIKA’s movies are renowned for being mindblowingly experimental when it comes to stop motion.

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I think that this might be in the “Okay” spectrum of quality, based on what has been teased so far, as nothing in the trailer says that it’ll be as impressive as “Kubo and the Two Strings” or “Coraline”, but there’s also nothing too noticeably off-putting about it either (minus maybe Mr. Link’s frequent dialogue). I’m fine with that, if it’s the case, as I don’t expect every film from a studio to be creatively ambitious, a nice quiet understated movie can mix things up; but it does give the film a disadvantage if it wants to be remembered by a wide audience, compete with other studios, or make a big impact. What do you think of this trailer? Let me know in the comment section below!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) TV MOVIE REVIEW

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 8th November, 2018

Illumination Studios’ “The Grinch” is now out cinemas in some parts of Europe, but it won’t be released on the UK until tomorrow, so I’ll have to play the waiting game, but I can always finally watch Chuck Jones’ TV adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story! Yes, you read that right, I didn’t grow up with this Christmas Special, I just never caught it on TV, and today was the first ever time that I watched it all the way through.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” tells the tale of the Grinch, a green furred grump who lives in a mountain cave in the land of Whoville, always looking down on the cheery Whos with disgust, judging their happiness with spite. He becomes particularly surly around Christmas, he actually hates this holiday with passion, frustrated at all the joyful noise that the Whos make at this festive time, and so he decides to steal Christmas under the disguise of Santa Claus.

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Adapting a children’s picture book can be tricky if you’re aiming for something longer than 5 minutes, but not when Chuck Jones is at the director’s helm, because this acclaimed animation filmmaker knew no bounds. Nothing in this film seems tacked on for filler or over-extended to help the special reach 25 minutes, it’s all organically played out with a faithful love to the spirit of Dr. Seuss. Jones always had a knack for bringing personality and humour to the simplest set pieces, so every scene is supported with comic energy, whether it’s the Grinch’s race down the mountain or his night of thieving.

The animation for the Grinch is deviously charismatic, as Jones lets the animation pause at the best poses, giving the audience a chance to read the Grinch’s thoughts through his mischievous face, and it’s all delightfully fun to watch. When the Grinch monologues to himself, his actions are reminiscent of a Shakespearean villain, with his broad hand gestures and visually loud expressions. There’s something arresting about watching him, he never looks emotionally stifled, he wears his evil proudly on his sleeves, and we can’t help but be endeared by his passion for ruining this holiday.

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The Whos may not have much screen time, but there’s a charm to their innocence that wonderfully contrasts against the malicious Grinch, a wholesome sweetness that makes us despise the Grinch even more for his Christmas sabotage. 2 year old Cindy Lou Who, the only Who that gets any dialogue, serves as an antagonist for Grinchy when she wakes up to see him stealing from her, but also shows that the green grouch can be vulnerable when exposed for his crimes, foreshadowing his eventual turn later on. Heck, let’s not forget Grinch’s adorable pet dog Max, who is a loyal but goofy sidekick for the villain, and indicates that maybe Grinchy was once a loving man, why else would he adopt a cutie like Max?

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Boris Karloff, one of the great masters of acting, not only narrates the TV Special, but also provides the voice of the Grinch. Karloff’s narration is softly tender, the kind of reading that’s perfect for a Christmas story by the fire, it’s a captivating performance that adds to Chuck Jones’ magnetic character animation, and it never takes anything away from the visuals. It’s Karloff’s voice as the Grinch that really steals the show though, he uses his background in horror to bring a malevolent venom to the Grinch, and we can’t help but smile as he sinks his teeth into the beastly Scrooge.

The film is also remembered for it’s song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, penned by Seuss himself, and performed by the bass singer Thurl Ravenscroft. I love this song, it’s always finding funny ways to criticise the Grinch, going into great detail to get across how much we should hate him, and Ravenscroft’s deep vocals make the singer’s character sound like a courtroom judge bellowing a verdict.

After the Grinch completes his mission of stealing Christmas, he is surprised to see that robbing all of the Whos’ material goods didn’t hinder their celebrations, as they still have the spirit to sing together in centre of their town, and they carry on like nothing of value was taken away. The Grinch has a change of heart, realises that he has done something wrong, then speeds down the mountain to return the Whos’ gifts, and they warmly invite him to Christmas in spite of what he did.

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What I like about the Grinch’s growth here, is that he comes to the conclusion of what Christmas really means all by myself, no one preaches to him about shallow capitalism, he actually stops to think why the Whos go ahead with their Christmas plans, and he seems genuinely moved by their optimism. It’s like the Grinch assumed that the Whos celebrated out of deliberate annoyance towards him, when really, they were just simple happy folk who enjoyed eachother’s company, and the Grinch’s guilt over this comes off as very honest.

To Conclude, I do really wish that this special was part of my childhood, rather than the  Jim Carrey adaptation from 2000, because this version is far more sincere and wholesome, plus Karloff’s Grinch has an endearing nuance to it. If you’ve never seen it before, maybe check it out before watching Illumination’s take on the Dr. Seuss book, or perhaps save it for a nice Christmas afternoon with some eggnog and mince pies. I’m nervous about seeing the Illumination version now, because this short is just so perfect as it is, I don’t see how another animation studio can improve on it or compete with it, but we will have to see.

5 Strawberries

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Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) FILM REVIEW

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 7th November, 2018

Sinbad is a sea captain leading a band of thieves, his next steal is the book of peace, an item that brings harmony to 12 cities, but when Eris, the Goddess of Discord, takes it from it’s guarded tower in disguise as Sinbad, he is sent to death by beheading. His childhood friend, Prince Proteus of Syracuse, volunteers to take Sinbad’s place, and Sinbad has 10 days to get the book back from Eris, or Proteus will be beheaded. With help from Proteus’ fiancée, and his loyal crew, Sinbad travels the seas to retrieve the book of peace from Eris’ domain, but Eris has some obstacles in store for them.

This film doesn’t really do anything exceptional, following the usual formula for most sea fantasy adventure movies, a band of travelers take a quest across the ocean while facing monsters, and it doesn’t really leave the guideline of this formulaic setup. That being said, it’s not a bad film, it’s still a fun movie that will keep families entertained, and I can safely say that I enjoyed it just fine. I get why it wasn’t smash hit, it’s as generic as they come, but it shouldn’t have deterred Dreamworks from making anymore hand drawn movies.

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Each monster is a new surprise, they all have their own unique designs, one even gets mistaken for an island at first, while another requires Eris to freeze the sea in order for it to inhabit the crew’s path. The confrontations with the monsters are a blast, as you can tell that a lot of energy went into the film’s action, there’s constant momentum as our heroes use their wits and sword skills to conquer their obstacles, it never gets boring because of this. Their ship is also pushed and pulled in every battle, it’s scars showing how unforgiving every threat is, with Eris throwing everything she can at the sailors.

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Sinbad makes for a charming anti-hero, he’s grumpy and surly, but there’s a smoothness to his confidence and a wink in his eye when he shows off. Sure, he’s sometimes a bit of a dick, but his passion for the sea is endearing, and he does have a good heart deep down. Marina isn’t your typical token female or damsel in distress, she’s a feisty heroine who proves the sexist Sinbad wrong, when she ends up saving the day, demonstrating that she is a fully capable sailor when things get tense. Sinbad’s crew aren’t exactly memorable, each one limited to having a simple one dimensional trait or even no distinct personality at all, but they likable enough company with their own funny moments.

Sinbad and Marina’s relationship is your cliche Hollywood romance, starting off with the usual bickering and arguing, then developing into something more intimate, it’s nothing new for a movie love story. However, their banter can be funny or cute at times, they do have a spark once they warm up to each other, and the romantic tension is a little saucy, because it’s a forbidden love due to Marina’s engagement to Proteus. I didn’t end up buying their eventual “I love you” though, because they spend a lot of the movie together down each other’s throats, and only develop chemistry much later on.

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Eris is actually a rather interesting villainess for who she is, as she is mainly committing evil out of fun, creepily using her mortal spying to get inside our protagonist’s head, and I do love how she transforms her fluid watery body (especially in a scene that requires her to step into a Sinbad disguise). A lot of the film explores Sinbad’s lost heroism, something that faded when he and Proteus went their separate ways, with Eris tapping into his conscience by manipulating him into doubting his moral compass, and this all makes for an engaging hero-villainess dynamic. Not to mention, Michelle Pfeiffer sizzles as the voice of Eris, playing her with a spiteful tongue and flirty sexuality, it’s a terrific vocal performance.

Eris

Visually, the film is full of exciting colours and charismatic animation, everything certainly pops, especially when characters break out into a sword fight or battle a monster. The only thing that lets the film’s imagery down, is it’s terribly aged CGI animation, which is used for sets, props, and monsters; it’s painfully bad to look at, because it doesn’t naturally blend with the hand drawn characters, and the rendering has aged as well as a sandwich crust that fell under the sofa. Of course, Dreamworks would one day become giants in the computer animation industry, with such hits as “Shrek” and “How to train your dragon”, but their primitive CGI effects for this film are pretty ghastly (even critics at the time were appalled by them).

To Conclude, “Sinbad and the Seven Seas” doesn’t break any molds, it’s basically “Jason and the Argonauts” for the 2000’s, but it has a fun bouncy energy! It’s action packed with cool combat choreography, there’s a diverse collection of monsters, and the villain is quite entertaining to watch. It follows many cliches of Hollywood action adventures, particularly with it’s romance elements, yet there’s still a likable charm to it that stopped me from yawning every 5 minutes. I’m not surprised that it didn’t blow people away, it’s nothing original compared to what’s come before in it’s genre; I just don’t think it deserves to be seen as Dreamworks’ embarrassment, because they have done MUCH worse since.

3 and a half strawberries

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Bambi II (2006) FILM REVIEW

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 6th November, 2018

In this midquel to “Bambi”, we begin right after Bambi’s mother was shot, as his father, the great prince (wonderfully voiced by a nuanced Patrick Stewart), takes him in, and we focus on the relationship between the fawn & stag. At first, the great prince is reluctant to bond with his son, because he’s so stubborn and serious, but Bambi’s adorable youthful energy charms the stag out of his stuffiness.

I thought that the first “Bambi” movie was okay at best (click here to read my review of it), most of it’s appeal comes from the amazing animal animation and seasonal atmospheres, while it’s story & characters lack anything special. It’s not bad by any stretch, but it didn’t connect with me personally on any emotional level, giving me a very hollow feeling of dissatisfaction, and I’d even call it one of the more overrated Disney films. All power to anyone who resonates with it’s simplicity, that’s totally cool for you, I just found it to be too bland to share most people’s sentiments.

Like the first film, “Bambi II” is clogged up with lots of sickly sweet scenes of animals being cute, which may entertain very small children, but everyone else might be bored to tears by them. A lot of the film has the same storytelling weight as a Saturday morning cartoon too, with Bambi trying to woo a token female love interest, while also dealing with a generic bully who picks on him.

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It’s this low stakes padding that stops the film from being a bigger improvement on the original, because while I love cute baby animals, there’s only so much saccharine coated nothingness I can sit through, especially when these scenes are no more creative than a formulaic average cartoon on TV. If you love tiny critters with children’s voices acting all innocent, then maybe you’ll really enjoy these scenes, but they dragged the film down for me.

However, unlike most Disney sequels, “Bambi II” exists for a reason, it has the necessary purposes of exploring Bambi’s grief over his mother, and showing Bambi bonding with his royal father. It always bothered me that the first film brushed off Bambi’s mother’s death so easily, which is why I enjoyed watching Bambi finally getting to address her passing, because it’s all brilliantly handled. Not only do we see Bambi realistically struggling to accept her death (not to mention, his father’s grief is amazingly subtle), but there’s also a beautiful dream sequence that teaches death to kids in very good taste, by telling the important truths of saying goodbye to a loved one, and I commend DisneyToon for their efforts here.

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Bambi’s relationship with his father is where the movie shines the most, as there’s a fascinating mystery to the great prince’s subdued nobility, making his interactions with his energetic curious son very charming. I wouldn’t say that the great prince is a bad father, you can tell that he cares about Bambi, he’s just having to keep up his public persona, not out of arrogance, but because he has to show the herd that he’s a strong level headed leader. It’s quite adorable seeing the great prince shake off his sternness when playing with Bambi, it’s a funny change in character that warms my heart, and I loved seeing his softer playful side come out.

Bombi

The animation never reaches the same artistic level as the original, which I will admit is a very high bar to reach, considering that the first film was animated by Disney animation gods, but that’s not to say that this new generation of animators don’t try, because I have to admit that this is the most beautiful looking Disney sequel (remember, I’ve seen them all), it’s so damn pretty compared to all those television budget quickies.

The filmmakers clearly studied the lighting, colours, and aesthetics of the original, because they do a great job recapturing the essence of what made Bambi visually captivating. The character animation can also be downright stunning too, I was really impressed by the little touches, especially from the enigmatic great prince, who actually shows more facial emotion than he thinks.

Bambi's Dad

“Bambi II” might not be a wildly huge improvement on it’s predecessor, but it at least gives me more to get invested in emotionally, and I’d even say that it’s one of the better straight to video Disney sequels out there. I do wish that the relationship between Bambi and his dad was a bigger focus, with the boring cutesy baby animal scenes maybe being replaced with more father-son development, yet what we got, was still more substantial than most straight to video sequels pumped out by Disney.

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3 and a half strawberries

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“Hey Arnold!” – Mr. Green Runs (EPISODE REVIEW)

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 6th November, 2018

Seeing as it’s the midterm elections in the US right now, I thought I’d talk about something related to this major political event, and I went with a classic episode of “Hey Arnold”. In this episode’s second story (following “Helga’s Masquerade”), Mr. Green the butcher is getting fed up of all the pot holes in the neighborhood, but the local councilman Gladhand couldn’t care less about filling them. So, with encouragement from his fellow residents, Mr. Green decides to enter the upcoming councilman elections, with Arnold serving as his campaign manager.

This episode tackles the importance of the relationship between the public and politicians, showing that fancy showmanship doesn’t compensate for insincerity or lazy incompetence. Gladhand relies on buzzwords and overconfident bravado, which people seem to eat up, so Mr. Green feels pressured to do likewise, but when it comes down to it, being himself is what will help the public resonate with him.

Nervous Green

Too many politicians hide behind an act, so that they can win an election out of self serving ego, it’s an all too common problem that makes voting difficult, which is why it’s vital for political candidates to show how human they are. Gladhand symbolises everything wrong with bad politicians, from arrogant selfishness to careless ignorance, so we end up seeing our least favourite politicians in him, and that’s one major reason to hope that he’ll lose.

Gladhand.png

Mr. Green may not have a background in politics, but he is a passionate working class man who loves his neighborhood, qualities that make him down to earth and relatable compared to Gladhand. We want him to win the elections, because he seems to enthusiastic and sincere about filling the potholes, but it’s not just about the potholes, he truly cares about his town so much, and it’s a love that never seems forced or faked.

Arnold is just a kid, yet as Mr. Green’s campaign manager, he can use his strong moral compass to steer his candidate’s passion in the right direction, convincing Mr. Green that being himself is the key to making the town put confidence in him, and this once again proves that Arnold is remarkably mature for a child his age. Not to mention, kids watching this show, can feel empowered, motivating them to take an interest in politics, just like their hero Arnold. While Mr. Green’s meat analogies maybe silly, they relate to something he’s keen about, helping him to better explain why he’s the man for the job, and better formulate how much he cares about this neighborhood.

Arnold & Green

To Conclude, “Mr. Green Runs” is a great story, that promotes the righteous value of being yourself in politics, rather than putting on a stage show to distract the masses from your lack of humanity or compassion, and this sentiment remains relevant even 18 years later. The episode also leaves a motivational message, that even the everyday ordinary person can make a change, as long as their heart is in their campaign, and that’s something that can apply to anyone at all. If you’re an American citizen with the right to vote, please make sure to participate in the elections today!

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