Author Archives: jambareeqi

“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966) TV SPECIAL REVIEW

IIt’s Halloween for Charlie Brown and his friends, but while most kids want to celebrate with the usual traditions, Linus decides to wait for “The Great Pumpkin” in a pumpkin patch, with only Sally willing to keep him company. Meanwhile, Snoopy is getting into his Halloween fancy dress costume of “The Flying Ace”, by imagining he is in a dog fight.

This is a Halloween special that doesn’t aim for scares or spectacles, but simple dry humour and the spirit of spooky festivities. It’s a slice of life cartoon that perfectly illustrates the mood of Fall. You can really feel the atmosphere of the season, from the fallen crisp brown leaves to the gorgeous watercolour backdrops. The kids’ discussions about varied topics are highly amusing, each dead pan setup penned with clever wit by Charles M. Schulz himself; it’s a delightful script.

But this is also a special about one kids’ loyalty towards what he believes in: The Legend of the Great Pumpkin! Did Linus make up this character? Or does he truly exist? That doesn’t really matter, because it’s own belief that makes this running plot endearing, as Linus refuses to give up waiting, even while Sally grumbles about missing out on trick or treating. On the one hand, we understand why Sally might feel betrayed, but on the other hand, it’s hard to get mad at Linus’ sheer faith.

Watching these children going trick or treating is simple enough, but little things make it kind of funny, like the fact that most of them are dressed in the same ghost costume, or how Charlie Brown keeps getting rocks instead of candy at each house. I’d even say that all this trick or treating made me suddenly crave sweet confectionery myself, even though the candy doesn’t even look that appealing, and I guess that’s because the kids themselves made the candy sound fun.

I’ll admit that Snoopy’s subplot does slightly detract from the main focus, as the I’ll admit that Snoopy’s subplot does slightly detract from the main focus, as the short suddenly centres on his imaginary war game. It’s quite a stretch to say how relevant this gag is to the Halloween atmosphere, but it’s still cute seeing the Beagle playing soldier. Not to mention, Snoopy does later end up at the Halloween party, plus he fools Linus and Sally into thinking that he’s the Great Pumpkin too. So he has his purpose in the special.

To Conclude, this is a lovely relaxing Halloween cartoon, a charming special that will get you into the spirit of the season without needing to frighten, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a laid back Halloween atmosphere this month.

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THE EMERALD BANANA Chapter 5: A Battle of Deception

< CHAPTER 4: A FUN WAGER

Sephita made her choice, she declared “Let’s play two truths and a lie”, the wagon riders hummed in amusement at this, Yunkel replied “But how can we tell when someone is telling a lie? This needs to be a fair game”, Sephita replied “Do you have a local wizard? One who knows a lie detection spell? They can be our referee”, and the wagon riders looked at each other in agreement.

So, Yunkel and the wagon riders led Sephita into a tavern called “The Twisted Elephant”, they walked up to a wizard guzzling beer, then Yunkel asked the wizard “Hey Hambridge, we’re playing a game of two truths and a lie, we need your lie detection spell!”, and Hambridge groaned “Why am I always only asked for meaningless tasks?! See, this is why I drink!”. Hambridge finished his pint, then drunkenly got up from his seat, rolled up his sleeves, and stood between the two opposing teams.

Hambridge explained “In order for this to work, I’ll have to cast the spell after a team has decided which statement is the lie, or you fartbags will end up cheating!”, and everyone nodded in agreement. Yunkel got a coin out of his pocket, deciding “Heads we go first, tails you go first”, he flipped the coin, and the coin landed on heads. By now, all the tavern patrons had gathered around this game in the shape of a circle, each spectator having an interest in the duel of guessing the lie.

Yunkel stepped into the circle, cracked his knuckles, then bellowed “I once killed a troll with my pinky finger, I have rode a wagon for the famous minstrel Issac Flattey, and I can do 100 press ups without rest!”, these statements sent the other wagon riders into a loud cheer. Hambridge meanwhile, was ordering another pint from the bar, while rubbing his hands in excitement. 

Sephita stroked her chin, stepped into the ring, then asked “So, how did you kill the troll with your pinky finger?”, Yunkel replied “It was actually quite easy, I shoved my little pinky fingers into his nostrils, swung him around, and threw him against the cave wall!”, but Sephita just smiled at this claim. She then questioned him about meeting Isaac, Yunkel explained “Isaac had come to this town for a gig, it was a a huge hit, but all his fangirls started chasing him, and I offered him a ride to the next city over”. 

This claim seemed to add up, as Sephita saw an old tattered poster for Isaac’s recent performance at this very tavern, so it was hard for her to immediately see this statement as lie, but what about the press ups? Sephita asked Yunkel to prove that he could do this, so the cocky wagon rider got into position, and started doing press ups while his friends encouraged him with barking chants. “99… 100..” said Yunkel, he then smugly stood back up, did a flirty point to some girls in the crowd, and folded his arms. 

Sephita clapped, then announced “Right, I know which is the lie!”, Yunkel rolled his eyes, Sephita confidently said “The troll one, why? Because you said you only used one pinky finger, but went on to say that you used both”, this turned Yunkel’s face white, and Hambridge, who was now almost finished with his newest pint, cast the lie detection spell to reveal… she was right! Yunkel threw his hat on the ground in annoyance, while his friends patted his back for comfort. 

Hambridge warbled “Okay, so, the scary lady in armor wins this round, good on the lass, but if she loses the second round, then we’ll have a tiebreaker of some sort, I don’t bloody know!”. Sephita took centre stage of the ring, held her hips with pride, then loudly stated “I can shoot an arrow through an apple on top someone’s head without missing, I once accidentally started a fire in a barn, and I am the legendary warrior known as the Devil Witch”. 

Yunkel laughed mockingly, stroked his beard, then boastfully said “I know which is the lie right away, there’s no way that you’re the devil witch! The woman who defeated an entire fleet of ships by herself! Pfft! That’s just an urban myth! Haha! Okay, I pick the Devil Witch one as the lie”, so Hambridge cast his lie detection spell, as the spectators watched in anticipation, and Hambridge revealed “Nope, that was true, you lose you greasy wagon pushing plonker!” 

Everyone stared at Sephita in shock, now knowing that she was the legendary Devil Witch, some responded with intrigue, while others stepped back in fear. Sephita went up to Yunkel, smirked, and reminded him “Remember our little wager? It’s time you took me to Zorkstan”. Yunkel pulled up his belt, started muttering under his breath, then went up to the bar to get a drink, while the the other wagon riders took off their hats in shame. 

Hambridge wiped the foamy beer from his mouth, coughed loudly, shuffled himself closer to Sephita, and asked “So, do you need any companions on your quest?”. Sephita turned to the old drunk wizard, folded her arms, and Hambridge stuttered “L-l-look I have no purpose in this town! People just use my spells for pub games, but you are on a special adventure, maybe I could use my magic to help you?”

CHAPTER 6: THE CURSED TOWN>

“Spongebob Squarepants” – Scaredy Pants EPISODE REVIEW

Spongebob has gained a reputation for being easily scared, which has coined him the nickname “Spongebob Scaredypants”, but Spongebob wants to prove that he can be frightening this Halloween, and so he dresses as a ghost of the Flying Dutchman with Patrick’s help. However, Spongebob’s costume is so tacky, that it offends the Flying Dutchman himself, who threatens to steal the souls of everyone at Mr. Krabs’ Halloween party.

The strength of the best Spongebob episodes is their ability to take a simple setup in fun directions, by treating the premise as a spring board for lots of creative gags, and this Halloween special is no exception. We go from Spongebob feeling insecure about his skills as a trick or treater, to finding ways to make him scary, and all this sparks the attention of a supernatural entity.

The comedy comes from Spongebob assuming that he’s genuinely scary, when really, he’s just running away in a fit of giggles before seeing people’s reThe comedy comes from Spongebob assuming that he’s genuinely scary, when really, he’s just running away in a fit of giggles before seeing people’s reactions, with Patrick naively assuring him that he was spooky. I do like how much Patrick cares about Spongebob’s need to scare too, doing everything he can to support his friend, and going as far as shaving his spongey flesh to make him rounder for a ghostly shape.

The episode does have a great Halloween theme too! There’s pumpkins everywhere, kids are trick or treating, Krabs is having a fun Halloween party with guests in fancy dress, and the episode is set entirely at night. The Flying Dutchman himself is also quite an imposing villain, being a misty green spirit towering over Bikini Bottom residents, with Brian Doyle Murray’s gravelly booming voice adding to his menace perfectly, but he’s got enough self aware charm to prevent him from being too horrifying for kids.

I’d have to say that the creepiest part of the episode, isn’t actually the Flying Dutchman, but what’s underneath Spongebob’s costume, because it’s revealed that Patrick has shaved him down to his insides. It’s quite unsettling actually, and Spongebob’s nonchalant reaction makes it all the more disturbing haha. I remember being pretty grossed out by this episode’s ending, because it’s just really weird seeing Spongebob’s brain being exposed like this, and I still find it kind of repulsive to this day haha!

To conclude, Scaredy Pants is a terrific Halloween special cartoon, one of the best even, a basic setup that inspires a string of funny gags and eTo conclude, Scaredy Pants is a terrific Halloween special cartoon (one of the best even), it’s a basic setup that inspires a string of funny gags and entertaining child friendly horror. If you’re after a wholesome take on Halloween, with scares that don’t go too far (minus maybe Spongebob’s brain being exposed), then pick this episode of Spongebob, because you won’t be let down.

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“Hey Arnold!” – Arnold’s Halloween EPISODE REVIEW

Written by Jambareeqi

When the grown ups don’t let Arnold and Gerald join their Halloween party meeting, the two boys hatch a plan for revenge, by pranking the adults into thinking that aliens have invaded, by creating a fake radio broadcast, and they rely on the other kids’ coincidental alien costumes to play into their trick. However, the radio transmission was caught by UFO investigator Douglas Cain, who reports what he hears on his TV show, causing the whole city to go into a panic, and an angry mob chases after Arnold’s costumed friends.

This episode is an obvious tribute to Orson Welles’ radio reading of “The This episode is an obvious tribute to Orson Welles’ radio reading of “The War of the Worlds”, which sparked the public into thinking that a real alien invasion was happening. Even Douglas Cain has an Orson Welles inspired voice, provided by Maurice LaMarche – who frequently voices Orson in movies & cartoons. A similar incident happened in the UK, in which a staged ghost hunting show tried to trick British viewers, resulting in an effective prank that offended folks.

What makes this Halloween special unique is that it’s going down a sci-fi route, an underexplored aspect of Hallow’s eve, even though this is a genre renowned for its horror stories. That’s not to say that the aliens cloud over any seasonal atmosphere, because that’s not the case. There’s still a trick or treat spirit throughout the episode, and I did get that fun Halloween feeling from it.

The episode’s conflict and humour, mainly derives from the adult cThe episode’s conflict and humour, mainly derives from the adult characters’ reactions to the alien invasion prank! Some consider themselves soldiers in a war against invaders, others are ready to surrender to a supposed leader, and some just want to stay indoors. It’s a great way to develop the grown ups, demonstrating their instincts in a dangerous situation, even though we know that this is all fake.

I did also find some charm to Arnold’s and Gerald’s radio broadcast, as they clearly put a lot of work into preparing it, fueled by a determination to get back at the grown ups for condescending them. Gerald’s charismatic personality helps him pull off the reporter act (he’s aided by a deep pitch filter), Arnold’s sound effects are endearingly creative, and the technical setup is pretty clever for something put together by kids. I can imagine this episode inspiring kids to make their own radio productions maybe? They might want to try their hand at foley art or voice announcing, because Gerald and Arnold are having such a blast.

If you want to see this episode for some scares, you maybe disappointed, as this isn’t meant to be a story to curdle your blood. It’s more of a comical hi jink, but there are episodes of this show that are about creepy ghost stories. Although, there is something kind of unsettling about trick or treaters being chased by an angry mob, a fear that may tap into children’s imagination at Halloween, even though it’s mainly played for laughs.

To Conclude, this is a very enjoyable Halloween special, one that captures the spirit of the season while telling a funny plot. If you want a harmless spooky cartoon this month, then this is the one for you, because it mainly plays things safe, with an emphasis on comedy more than horror. Adults will also enjoy the reference to the Orson Welles radio controversy, as well as the episode’s commentary on media influence on the public, so consider making this episode into a family viewing.

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THE EMERALD BANANA Chapter 4: A Fun Wager

< CHAPTER 3: WELCOME TO WILLAWESA

“Screw it” thought Sephita, as she yanked the coachman out of his carriage, hopped into the seat, and started to drive away. The coachmen were all angered by this, the knocked off coachman jumped onto another carriage, and six carriages started racing after Sephita.

Luckily, for Sephita, a map was kept in the front seat of the carriage, she started reading where to go next, only to hear gunsots, the coachmen had caught up with her, so she urged her horses to go faster. The six carriages chased Sephita into the desert, continuing to fire their pistols at the warrior’s stolen carriage, but Sephita could only keep driving.

Suddenly, one bullet hit Sephita’s carriage wheel, the carriage began falling apart, but Sephita refused to give up, she commanded her horses to go even faster, but the coachmen then managed to shoot the other wheel of Sephita’s carriage. Sephita’s carriage started to wobble, the wheels collapsed off, leaving Sephita stranded, as the coachmen halted their horses.

Sephita stepped away from the carriage, she put the map in her pocket, then the coachmen circled around her, all armed with pistols, each one wearing a smile of victory. Before any coachmen could pull their triggers though, Sephita bent every pistol upwards with her telekinesis, then she used her mind to also empty every gun’s ammo, and the coachmen gasped in frustrated confusion.

Sephita cracked her knuckles, spat at the ground, then confidently said “Look, I’m on my way to Zorkstan for a reason, the Zorkstas have stolen a magic gem that powers the whole of Elkspara, I have been hired to retrieve it”, but the coachmen just groaned at her explanation.

One coachman replied “We don’t care, you forced us to shoot apart Jeff’s carriage, how is he going to make a living now?!”. Sephita rolled her eyes, recalling that Jeff was the coachman who asked her to steal the Sheriff’s badge for him, he didn’t exactly have a moral high ground when it came to thieving himself, but Sephita brushed that thought aside.

Another coachman chimed in saying “All you warriors are the same, thinking that your heroic quest entitles you to do whatever you want, as if good intentions trump possible casualties!”, Sephita sighed and then used her telekinesis to build Jeff’s carriage back together. Jeff was ecstatic, he ran up to his carriage to embrace it, kissed it all over, and the other coachmen were surprised by her kind gesture.

Sephita then pulled out Jeff’s map, she proposed “Look, my map got destroyed, perhaps we can make some kind of deal? I agree that it was wrong of me to resort to stealing, but I can’t give you much gold for a ride to Zorkstan”, she waved the map at Jeff, and the coachmen huddled around to discuss an answer.

Yunkel, the leader of this band of coachmen, coughed loudly, pulled his belt line up, and suggested “How about a game? You can decide which one, we coachmen like our wagers to be fun. If you win, you keep the map, but if we win? You have to work for us!”. Sephita started pacing up and down the sand, the sun scorching over her, as the coachmen laughed and mocked her.

Sephita tried to think of games to play, ones that she knew that she was good at, she needed to have the advantage here. There was Ark Dee Ko? A card game that she played in her youth! Or maybe Skullywonk? A game in which players wrestle blindfolded, but she couldn’t forget that she was a pro at Two truths and a lie. However, she did also remember that she won a pie eating contest a few years ago, could this be the game she should offer to play?

CHAPTER 5: A BATTLE OF DECEPTION >

THE EMERALD BANANA Chapter 3: Welcome to Willawesa

< CHAPTER 2: THE STINKY SWAMP

Without a map, Sephita knew that the best path to take, would be the one leading to the nearby town, because maybe someone there would be able to tell her where she is. So, she followed this path, arriving in a quiet little town, with charming simple houses, it all seemed so lovely, and Sephita felt at ease walking through each street.

Before anything, she knew she would need something to eat, so she stepped into a restaurant, ordered a salmon fillet with salad, then sat down at a table. She noticed that the restaurant didn’t have many customers, just an old man smoking a piper in the corner and a mother feeding her baby by the window. The waitress had gone into the kitchen, to announce Sephita’s order, the chef growled back to confirm he had heard, and Sephita gave an awkward slanted smile to the waitress.

The walls were a patchily painted creamy white, small cracks could be seen in the ceiling, the furniture looked worn out, and the floor was covered in sawdust. The counter had a full display of homemade cakes for sale, which made Sephita lick her lips, but she knew that all those calories wouldn’t be good for her long walks ahead, she had to eat healthily, as tasty as that chocolate fudge cake appeared.

After a while, a waitress gave Sephita her salmon, the telekinetic warrior chowed down happily, starving after trudging through the swamp, savoring the salty chewy fish in her mouth. She then ordered a glass of mango juice to quench her first, the tropical fruity flavour tingled her tongue, with her dry throat soothed by much needed liquid, and she felt fully refreshed.

She then stepped away from her table, went up to the counter, paid 140 gold, and collected her change. Before leaving though, she forwardly asked the waitress “Excuse me, but can you tell me the name of this town?”, Sephita retained her intimidating serious look while saying this though, and the waitress nervously replied “Oh… erm… It’s… You’re in Willawesa”.

Sephita left the restaurant, she tried to recall where Willawesa was on the map, but her memory was a blur, how could she go anywhere if she didn’t even know where she was? So, she looked around for a map shop, but no such thing seemed to be in Willawesa! There was a book shop that only had books about feta cheese, a store that sold wooden sporks that looked more like spoons, a cafe full of elderly ladies arguing about the best kind of sand, but no map shop.

She checked her wallet, counted her gold, then thought about hiring a carriage to take her to Zorksta, but could she afford it? She approached a coachman, offered him 200 gold, asked “Can you take me to Zorkstan?”, but he looked back at her in disgust, like she had just offered him a dead bird with a missing eye. The coachman snarled, spat at Sephita’s feet, shook his fist, and shouted “You dare give me your chump change for a ride all the way to Zorkstan?!”

So, she asked another coachman for a ride to Zorkstan, offering 210 gold this time, the coachman stroked his beard, and proposed “I’ll take you to Zorkstan, for 230 gold, but I also want you to steal me the Sheriff’s badge, because then people would respect me more!”. Could Sephita steal a sheriff’s badge? Heck, if she had the cheek to do that, she could steal the carriage itself! Or maybe she could offer a higher price to the other coachman?

THE EMERALD BANANA Chapter 2: The Stinky Swamp

< CHAPTER 1: BLUE FEATHER

After careful consideration, Queen Merosa knew who would be most ideal for this quest, the telekinetic Sephita, because her supernatural powers would give her an advantage over most enemies, it was a choice that the Queen was very certain about. Sephita had long bright purple hair, a mysterious jagged scar across her face, bright green eyes, a piece of her ear was missing, and her body’s muscles were bulked up from years of strenuous physical training. Unlike the other warriors, she had a serious look to her expression, almost deadpan, this look even scared the other warriors who auditioned.

Sephita packed her bag with resources, from healing potions to nutritious snacks, knowing what kind of adventure she’d be facing. She then put on her Armour, which looked very scratched up, but was still good enough to wear, she was confident that the metal was strong enough to withstand her journey ahead. After getting herself ready, Sephita did a brief little practice with her powers, by waving her hand in the direction of a chair, using her mind to lift the furniture high into the air, only to smash it into wooden pieces against the wall.

As she left her house, Sephita was greeted by a crowd of cheering Elksparans, many throwing flowers at her feet, but this celebratory praise washed over Sephita, who retained her blank expression, she didn’t even bat an eye when an old man threw his underwear at her in smitten gratitude. At the end of this crowd, was the Queen herself, who smiled warmly at Sephita, shaking the warrior’s hand with a jolly thankfulness, but Sephita’s just stared back coldly.

Sephita began walking out of Elkspara, with the aid of the continent’s map in her right hand, her adventure had finally started. At the edge of Elkspara, was a foggy swamp, Sephita had to trudge through this bog in order to reach her next stop, even if it meant taking in a strong horrible stench of wet frogs and putrid sludge. Sephita pinched her nose, while trapsing through sloppy mud with the grace of a gangly flamingo, even this stoic warrior found such a terrain to be difficult to travel through, she kept pushing on through though.

Now, she had no choice but to walk through the swamp’s river, to cross to other side, she reluctantly stepped into the water, still holding her nose with clenched fingers, but then she noticed something bubbling, the bubbles grew bigger, and up popped a snarling jaw! It was a Grozuck, a beastly creature that looked like an alligator from hell, with glowing red eyes that even sent shivers down Sephita’s spine. While Sephita was telekinetic, she could only control objects with her mind, not living things, so she had to use something nearby for defence.

Sephita looked around, the Grozuck snapped maniacally at her, she then spotted a boulder that she could use, she reached her hand towards the boulder, straining to lift it’s immense weight, as the Grozuck’s jaws started biting nearer towards her, could she lift the boulder in time to save her life? Slowly, but surely, the boulder began to wobble into the air, Sephita directed the floating big rock closer to her, and dropped it on the Grozuck.

The boulder landed with a thump on the Grozuck, which had thick hard skin, the monster wasn’t killed, but it fainted from the intense impact of the boulder. Sephita knew that she had to start running through the river, fearful that the Grozuck would wake up soon, and she safely climbed onto the other side of the bank. Once on the other side, she inspected her surroundings, spotting an exit from the swamp, a bright gap of light between two vine wrapped trees, and ran towards it.

Now out of the swamp, Sephita stopped pinching her nose, she took in the fresh air with a deep breath of relief, noticed that she was now in a green valley, and saw that she had three paths to choose from. She checked her map, but realised that the Grozuck had snapped a bite out of it, with her current location now missing from the paper, she scrunched it up in frustration, and looked at her choices. One path spiraled into a dark forest, another path stretched towards a nearby quaint town, and the last path went towards a tall rocky mountain.

CHAPTER 3: WELCOME TO WILLWESA>

THE EMERALD BANANA Chapter 1: Blue Feather

In the land of Elkspara, things were peacefully calm, with the kindly Queen Merosa overlooking everything, so no one really ever lived in fear, and each day passed by with a breeze. One day though, there was a disturbance in the harmony, when the Queen’s special emerald banana was stolen, not even her trusted guards could track down the thief, but why was this emerald banana so important? Well, it was the life source of Elkspara, the energy that powered everything and everyone.

Merosa paced up and down her thrown room, puzzled by the idea of someone breaking into her palace, when she knew that her security had always been very tight, it was a peculiar mystery that deeply upset her. She went out of her to way to investigate herself, tracking down potential clues that would expose the culprit, but it was like the thief had flown in and out without leaving any evidence behind.

Then, Merosa found a very strong clue, she discovered a blue feather in the room that kept the emerald banana safe, only one kind of creature would be behind all this, a Zorksta! These devilish humanoid birds have always wanted power, frequently attempting to overthrow many kingdoms across the world, but they always failed, their frustration must have led them to desperate measures, which means bad news for Elkspara.

To make things worse, the guards of Elkspara suddenly developed a terrible disease, with no known cure available to save them, meaning that her majesty had no army to retrieve the emerald banana from the Zorkstas, who could take their place? Well, Merosa made a decision, she would hold auditions for a warrior, someone who could be courageous enough to brave their way to Zorksta, to rescue the emerald banana, thus saving Elkspara from losing their power.

Many Elksparan people tried out, each one displaying an impressive skill! Roberta the archer, with her slick use of a bow and arrow, Kunk the huge wrestler, who could squash boulders with his pinky finger, Sephita the psychic, a woman with amazing telekinetic abilities, and finally, there was Jastro, an elf that blew spectators away with his swordsmanship. Unfortunately, Merosa could only hire ONE warrior, due to most of the royal budget going towards finding a cure for the guards’ disease, but who?

CHAPTER 2: THE STINKY SWAMP >

“Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus” MOVIE REVIEW

By the end of 2002, the beloved black comedy scif-fi cartoon series “Invader Zim” was abruptly cancelled by Nickelodeon, disappointing fans everywhere, but we all rejoiced when a feature film was announced in April 2017, and it’s now available on NETFLIX.

In this movie, Zim finds out that the tallest aren’t coming to visit Earth, so he uses Professor Membrane’s new invention to steer the Irken mothership’s course, much to the tallest’s frustration – who hilariously refuses to go any direction except straight. Unfortunately, Zim has created a fracture in time and space, a black hole called a “Florpus”, so Dib and Gaz need to rescue the Professor from space prison, and save Earth from the Florpus.

If you’re worried if anything has changed since 2002, then abandon all your fears, because this is the same Invader Zim we all know and love. It’s like creator Jhonen Vasquez is carrying things on as normal, as if Season 2 never ended, so fans will be pleased that nothing has been dramatically altered or ruined.

I was concerned that this was just going to be a long episode of the series, the same usual formula we’ve come to expect, with Zim once again failing in his conquest, while Dib breathes a sigh of relief. At first, it does seem that way, but once the Florpus appears, we know that things have been pushed out of the status quo template, because we now have a far more apocalyptic narrative at hand.

While the show was set in a dark dystopia, things were often kept quite small, with Zim’s schemes only affecting the school, town, or Dib’s life, but this film justifies it’s feature length by expanding the threat’s size. There’s a constant feeling of impending doom, especially when we have no idea what the Florpus is, with no one ever explaining where it’s portal will lead to; it’s a great way to make everything feel big and tense.

There’s also a running subplot about Dib’s relationship with his father, exploring a more sentimental side of their family bond, and adding some drama to all the chaos of the world ending. It is funny how Membrane doesn’t believe his son about Zim being an alien, because he is so faithful to science, but there’s only so much that joke can do, so it’s nice to finally see their relationship develop. Heck, Membrane even gets to play the badass hero, a role that he’s never been cast as (as far as I remember), it’s awesome seeing him looking THIS cool.

Oh and the inclusion of a “Fake Dad” is brilliant, this botched Zim experiment is a delight, a big loud mouthed monster dressed like the professor, determined to nail his character – even though he doesn’t represent membrane at all. He may have been built for evil, but there’s something very endearing about him! His purpose is to keep Dib and Gaz trapped, yet he has this big childish heart, really believing that this is his family.

Expect the same Invader Zim sense of humour as before, a strange hybrid of surrealism, black comedy, and random silliness! Pretty much every joke landed for me, to the point where my stomach would hurt sometimes. It’s a style of comedy that I personally love, weirdly sinister yet stupidly ridiculous too. If you are nervous whether Invader Zim can still make you laugh, let me reassure you that the writers have not lost their magic, because this is one of the funniest films that I’ve watched this year.

For the most part, the animation is pretty much the same as the TV show, which does give the film a TV Movie look, even with an apocalypse narrative to work with. However, the cartoony style serves well for the comedy, with the stupidity of everything being enhanced by over the top expressions – even though the animation can have some iffy movement for some shots. That’s not to say that the animation is devoid of anything special, because there are some pretty creative visuals, especially when the camera is allowed to glide or depict something cinematic.

The animation is at it’s peak, when the Florpus starts coming closer to earth as the art styles begin frequently changing, giving us a wide array of mediums, each depicting a wild series of glitchy imagery. Heck, you’ll totally get “Into the Spider-Verse” vibes with this film, as the animation does get that imaginative in the finale, bending reality like Spider-verse did. The laser explosion effects are pure eye candy too, intricately vibrant zaps and booms that are splendidly impressive, often making the film look almost anime-esque.

To Conclude, this Invader Zim movie is the continuation that fans wanted, with everything we love about the show still in tact, but it knows that it needed to return with a bang, so we’re also given a story that feels like a spectacular event. It maybe more valuable to longtime fans of the TV show, with it’s many references or in jokes. Plus it’s also not exactly a franchise that’ll be easy to get a new generation into easily (I mean, it’s pretty damn weird haha), but it all makes for a fantastic Invader Zim special that fans have dreamed of for almost 17 years.

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“The Tigger Movie” (2000) MOVIE REVIEW

WARNING: The Following review contains possible spoilers

Tigger is upset that his friends can’t bounce with him, because they’re not equipped or skilled enough to keep up with him, so Tigger wonders who he could bounce with? When he learns that he could have a family, he becomes determined to find them, but his friends are worried that this will lead to disappointment. So they write him a letter to keep up his spirits. This letter though, makes Tigger assume that his family is coming to visit him, sending his friends into a panic, so they decide to dress up as Tiggers, in hopes that he won’t be sad.

As to be expected from a movie about Tigger, this is a very bouncy and hyperactive film, with a frantic pacing that can often get distracted. While it’s not surprising, it still makes it difficult for me to say “Oh yeah, the story is really well told and has a nice flow”, because the choice to make Tigger into the star, has inherently resulted in a film that reflects his unpredictable, off-the-wall personality, which isn’t going to make for a solid narrative.

So yeah, I get that a film about Tigger was bound to be unfocused, but that doesn’t mean that this an entirely a good thing, as the story’s cohesion is sacrificed for the purpose of staying true to Tigger’s personality, and this does explain why Tigger best suits being a supporting character in an ensemble cast. To be fair though, Pooh also brings the film to a hault in one scene, turning the search for Tigger’s family into a chance to steal honey, by singing a lullaby to some bees, which adds nothing to the main story.

The film also opens by addressing Tigger’s flaw of getting carried away, criticising that he doesn’t watch where he’s bouncing, but this fault is brushed aside, because the movie wants to focus more on Tigger’s search for his family. For most of the film, it felt like Tigger’s poor actions weren’t that big of deal, even though the movie wanted to draw attention to them at the start, which made me feel distracted, often asking “Are we going to go back to helping Tigger be a more careful bouncer?”.

It’s not until the very very end, that Tigger tries to make up for this, and while it’s sweet how he does this, it all seems… last minute? When he could have learned how to be more sensible while bouncing throughout the film, maybe even while also on an adventure to find his family, like discovering that safe bouncing is more practical.

However, the strength of the film, is it’s theme of non-biological family, this is where the film shines the most. While Tigger is adamant to find his “real” family, he doesn’t seem to notice that he already has a loving family. They just don’t happen to be Tiggers, with Roo in particular showing a remarkable brotherly affection to Tigger.

This leads to a surprisingly deep conclusion, with Tigger never finding his fellow Tiggers, and the realisation that his adoptive family is his true family, and rhat’s a rather risky ending for a Winnie the Pooh movie! It teaches possibly orphaned kids in the audience, that they might not reunite with their biological family, but that’s okay, because the family you make yourself or get adopted by is just as valid and special.

Something great about this film too, is that it was the first time in 28 years that the Sherman brothers had worked with Disney, with the talented duo providing a string of new original songs. These musical numbers do seem to appear out of nowhere, and sometimes don’t really do much for the story, but they’re all very fun and lively. Oozing with the wacky charisma we expect from the Shermans, which perfectly fits a film about the silly Tigger.

To be honest, I don’t remember many of them that well, except maybe Pooh’s lullaby to the bees, but I can imagine some people (particularly the target audience of little kids), to remember all the lyrics by heart. Like I said, they are entertaining songs, I just don’t think they’re catchy or memorable enough to stick with me personally.

To Conclude, “The Tigger Movie” is a very hyperactive and unfocused film, letting Tigger’s boundless energy drive the story. Which is fine if you just want to see Tigger being Tigger, but this is a film that’s still trying to tell an adventure tale, and Tigger isn’t exactly a character designed for moving a story forward.

That being said, its message about finding your family is quite mature, plus Roo and Tigger’s brotherly bond is super cute to watch, and the Shermans’ songs are great additions. Overall, it’s an okay Disney Pooh film, certainly one of the more flawed ones, and one that lacks the franchise’s quiet atmosphere that I usually enjoy, but it’s a good effort for what it is.

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