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“Timon & Pumba” – Timon in Love (EPISODE REVIEW)

Timon Love 1

Written by Jambareeqi

When Cupid shoots his arrow at Timon with the intention of playing meerkat matchmaker, Timon ends up falling in love with himself, and Pumba becomes the third wheel for his best friend’s dates.

I’ll admit that the setup for this episode is a unique twist on the Cupid’s Arrow formula. Most cartoons that use this plot to create misunderstandings or pair up unlikely couples, but this one turns it into a tale of vanity.

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The problem is that this is a one joke premise that can only go so far, and is only funny for the first few minutes. Once we know that the narrative is basically spoofing every romance cliche in the book, but with the constantly same gag of Timon and Timon being the couple, then the humour becomes very predictable.

If anything, the joke just gets weirder and weirder as it goes along; to the point where I stopped laughing and started feeling strange. I was expecting Cupid to fix the mistake any second, so that the episode could find jokes from other pairings, but the Timon and Timon love story just keeps going and going. That’s the issue with stretching out a joke this thin, it can only escalate towards the level of uncomfortable awkwardness.

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Stakes are only introduced once Timon starts blaming Pumba for his failing self-relationship. This leads to the meerkat cutting off his best friend, but that only lasts a minute, because the two patch things up very quickly. After making up, Pumba encourages Timon to marry Timon – which isn’t too far-fetched when self-marriage (also dubbed as “Sologamy”) is a real life ceremony practiced by single people.

While folks are divided on self-marriage being a sign of narcissism or an empowering vow of remaining single, it’s clear that this show is playing the wedding for laughs, and Timon is just going through supernaturally-imposed narcissism – which is what makes the ceremony kind of “iffy” to watch. Luckily, Cupid FINALLY steps in to put an end to all this.

The episode does try to have a heart to it’s bizarre plot, by highlighting Pumba’s loyalty during this whole situation – even though what’s happening really confuses the Warthog. While I do appreciate Pumba’s faithfulness as a friend, I don’t think that his validation of Timon’s narcissism is a good example of healthy friend support (especially when it leads to Timon briefly destroying their friendship).

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To conclude, I think this cartoon is maybe testament to why not many comedy writers have approached the “Cupid’s Arrow” story this way before. There’s only so much you can do with the joke of characters falling in love with themselves before the comedy gets stale or uncomfortable.

It’s also pretty impossible to add genuine sincerity to a tale of vanity, because there’s a big difference between wholesome self-value and straight-up unhealthy egomania. If anything, this plot would have worked far better for a darker TV show, rather than a goofy and wacky cartoon like this, because of the tricky connotations attached to it and limited potential for humour.

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“Batman: The Animated Series” – Baby-Doll (EPISODE REVIEW)

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Written by Jambareeqi

Mary Dahl was a 20 year old actress with systemic hypoplasia – a rare condition that has stopped her from aging and makes her look like she’s 3. Mary was best known for playing the title character in an old sitcom called “Love That Baby”, which made her very famous, but falling ratings led to the producers introducing a character, and Mary left after feeling upstaged.

She struggled to pass auditions or find success due to her condition, and her family rejected her for the way she looked. Years later, Mary kidnaps the cast members of “Love That Baby”, and forces them to play into her fantasy of having the perfect family. Batman and Robin hear of the kidnappings, but aren’t sure who is behind the crime, until they research Mary Dahl herself.

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As a villain, Baby-Doll is quite the creepy antagonist, from how she frequently switches personalities to how she turns her innocent sitcom character into her evil persona. The fact that goofy comedic music plays in the background adds to this tension, because it’s such a jarring juxtaposition that it comes off as disturbing.

There’s something deeply unsettling about seeing these poor actors being used as vessels for Mary’s delusions. They try to keep brave faces in the situation, but there’s no denying how horrified they all are, and they will maybe develop PTSD after the whole experience.

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Mary is also one of the most tragic villains to ever appear on “Batman: The Animated Series”. A woman who suffers from body dysphoria due to being self-conscious of her condition, and has developed an extreme sense of loneliness after being abandoned by her own family.

Yes, she’s a criminal who uses her appearance to her devious advantage, but we can still sympathise with the tragedy of what she’s gone through. This is a woman who feels stuck inside a body that doesn’t represent her maturity or inner self, and has parents who never accepted her for who she is,. There’s bound to be mental health issues attached to such trauma.

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She feels betrayed by a world that has demeaned, exploited, and humiliated her. This is where Batman comes in, someone who truly wants to comfort this confused and scared woman. However, Mary’s life experiences have made her distrust everyone she meets, only putting faith in the minions she hires, and this means that she’s immediately reluctant to believe that Bruce has good intentions.

As intimidating as Mary tries to be, she’s terrified and alone deep down, and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her. I genuinely wanted to see her get some medical attention, because it’s clear that her sensitive feelings have been misguided, and a therapist could really help her find her own happiness. I mean, watching her crying as she sees the body she wants to be in being reflected in a house of mirrors is quite sad, and she does express regret for her actions once Batman confronts her in this funhouse.

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Batman and Robin themselves come up with some clever ways to outwit Baby-Doll, including tricking her that Robin is an old cast member – so kudos to them for saving these poor actors from Mary’s tyranny. It’s also super funny seeing Robin groaning at the cheesy sitcom they have to marathon for research (while in costume haha!). However, nothing tugs at my heart more than seeing Mary crying into Batman’s cape after facing her demons.

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To  conclude, I really loved this episode so much – adored it even. Mary Dahl makes for a menacing and fun villain, but her story is also testament to the consequences of neglecting or abusing those with body dysphoria, and how someone can hate their appearance enough to go down the wrong road.

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“House of Mouse” – Max’s Embarrassing Date EPISODE REVIEW

Max Roxanne

Written by Jambareeqi

It’s date night for Max and Roxanne at the House of Mouse, but Max fears that his dad will get in the way, and so the staff agree to keep Goofy distracted. However, Mickey and his friends do exactly what Max was afraid his dad would do! Can Max overcome to the embarrassment of all the attention?

With “House of Mouse” being a clipshow, the plot I’ve just described is only a quarter of the episode’s runtime, so don’t expect a rich detailed story. The episode’s pattern is basically this: Mickey and his friends try too hard to make the date special, Max hides under the table, and we get a cartoon screened in the theatre – rinse and repeat. Most comedy gags that are used to interfere with the date are just the one joke of “Remember that Disney movie?”.

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What makes the episode important though, is that it carries on the romance between Max and Roxanne. “An Extremely Goofy Movie” (2000) completely neglected this plotline, which upset a lot of fans of the original film, and so it’s nice to see the relationship being carried on here – even if it was then later retconned once again in “Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas”.

It is quite cute seeing these two stare into each other’s eyes or Max being his usually nervous self around her. However, because the main joke is that Mickey and Co. are being nuisances, their relationship isn’t explored as much as Goofy Movie fans may want. Their date is more of an excuse to setup gags than a chance to develop a fan favourite romance.

What I did like about the episode is Goofy himself. You see, we get the impression that Goofy is back to his old helicopter parenting ways, because he seems so eager to wait for his son’s date. In a great twist though, we learn that Goofy genuinely just wanted to be a good waiter, and had no intention of bothering the couple. Unlike “An Extremely Goofy Movie”, the episode demonstrates that Goofy HAS improved as a parent.

I’ll also admit that it’s cute that Roxanne ends up admitting that this is the best date she’s been on. This was clearly a complete travesty thanks to all the unnecessary fussing, but Roxanne was too into Max to care about any disasters – plus she’s mature enough to realise that these problems are outside of Max’s power.

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Although, it does kind of bug me that Max doesn’t have faith in his dad, constantly believing that he’s bound to get in the way of the date. The whole point of his character arc in “A Goofy Movie” is that he comes to trust his father, and the two develop a stronger bond founded on mutual understanding.

Now, you could argue that my complaints don’t matter when the show isn’t canon, but the episode still features beloved “Goofy Movie” characters in it’s story, and a sense of responsibility is sort-of attached to using them. Not to mention, this is the closest we ever get to seeing Roxanne and Max’s romance carrying on, and that makes this a missed opportunity to fill an empty void for fans.

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In terms of being a clipshow, this episode includes two cartoons. One short is a cute and funny Pluto story that ties into the episode’s theme of impressing a girl. The other cartoon is a random Goofy skit about riding a bike? Which has nothing at all to do with the episode’s story – besides featuring Max’s dad. Neither cartoon plays an important part in the plot of the date too, and you could easily replace them with ANY other Disney short without any consequences.

To Conclude, this was a passable “House of Mouse” episode about respecting people on dates. However, it’s quite the let down in terms of satisfying fans of “A Goofy Movie”, either offering nothing new or rewinding development entirely. Sometimes it understands the appeal of these characters, but most of the episode is a series of excuses to setup mediocre gags or tired slapstick.

It’s fine for Saturday morning cartoon entertainment, but not entirely meritable as a tribute to “A Goofy Movie” – using these characters I love as vessels for cheaply-animated and not-that-funny content to bridge the gaps of a clipshow. If you want to just see a cute date being frequently ruined by Disney references, then this episode will satisfy you just fine, but others will be left with wanting more.

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“Kim Possible” – The Ron Factor EPISODE REVIEW

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Written by Jambareeqi

When Global Justice tells Kim that they believe Ron could be the secret to her skills, she feels both insulted and puzzled, because Ron is best renowned for his clumsiness. Unfortunately, GJ’s revelation goes to straight to Ron’s head, which puts pressure on his friendship with Kim. Meanwhile, an evil supervillain called Gemini plans to kidnap Ron in a bid to steal “The Ron Factor”.

This episode is very much about how Ron changes as a character. He does become quite the jerk, but not to the point where he goes TOO overboard, because this is still dorky Ron the sidekick. As the episode goes on, he continues to embrace his newfound narcissism, all until he’s kidnapped by Gemini.

Gemini

Gemini himself is your run-of-the-mill action show baddie, from his generic villain costume to the fact he coddles a little pet in a spinning chair. However, there’s a twist to his cliche character, because it’s revealed that he’s the fraternal twin brother of Betty – the head of Global Justice.

This makes the kidnapping way more personal, because it ties into Betty and Gemini’s sibling complex, and the two become more invested in their rivalry than Ron himself. It’s also quite hilarious seeing a sinister supervillain and the a badass authority figure squabbling like children.

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Of course, the kidnapping also completely dismantles all theories about the “Ron Factor”, because Stoppable proves to be quite useless without his best friend. This both teaches Ron to better appreciate Kim and shows that Global Justice were overlooking why Kim is so great.

Overthinking why something works can distract you from the simple truth, because sometimes the reason for success isn’t THAT complicated, but unfortunately Global Justice don’t learn from this, and shift their focus to Rufus the naked mole rat haha.

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To Conclude, this is an okay episode of Kim Possible. Nothing spectacular or remarkable, but a decent attempt to expand on Ron’s part in Kim’s missions. It’s nice to see him accepting himself as a splash of season on a well cooked meal. The whole fraternal twin aspect helps give the episode thematic identity, but is mainly used for comedy, and there was a missed opportunity to juxtapose it against Ron’s dual personalities.

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“Futurama” – The Luck of the Fryrish EPISODE REVIEW

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Fry is having a series of rotten luck in life lately, with one misfortune after another happening to him – often due to his own inherent stupidity. Fry remarks that he’d never have this kind of bad fate if he still had his seven leaf clover, a charm that brought him success during his teen years, and so he ventures to his childhood home to recover it.

While in Old New York, Fry comes to learn that another Phillip J. Fry existed in his former timeline; who looked just like his brother Yancy and wore the 7 leaf clover on his suit! Could Yancy have stolen his seven leaf clover in a bid to steal Fry’s life?

While “Futurama” is renowned for it’s sci-fi comedy rooted in futuristic absurdity or techno-wizardry, it’s also the story of a young man who was whisked away from his timeline, and the show often reminded audiences of that fact.

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This episode really dives into Fry’s past in great detail, by expanding on his eccentric and emotionally-distant family. The show finds gallows humour in their poor parenting or American paranoia, by poking fun at Fry’s dad’s cold war fears or his mom’s obsession with sports. However, it’s also revealed that Fry’s disappearance really changed his family, as his absence created a hole in their lives.

Fry’s relationship with his brother Yancy (voiced by Tom Kenny) is troubled, because Yance had a habit of copying his sibling; much to Fry’s frustration. This is mainly just teen angst and sibling jealousy, but there’s maybe more to Yancy’s need to imitate his brother.

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This all ties into Fry’s life in the future, where he feels like the world is against him, and that he has nothing to prove his worth. Fry, Leela, and Bender try to rob the grave of this other Phillip J. Fry, still under the assumption that he was a Yancy being a devious fraud, but then the truth is provided at long last.

It turns out that after Fry went missing, Yancy decided to name his own son after his lost brother, in a loving and affectionate tribute to the sibling he never got a chance to grow up with. It’s a really emotional twist that not only proves that Yancy was aggressively repressing his admiration for Fry, but also shifts Fry’s assumptions entirely.

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Fry has come to a timeline that’s completely alien to him, from a past where he felt neglected or disrespected, and this new truth about Yancy makes him realise that he did make an impact in some way. As the episode draws to a close, Fry solemnly sits at his nephew’s grave, the clover no longer on his mind, as he tries to process how Yancy really felt and the heartbreak of never being able to rekindle what was lost.

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Expressing your feelings healthily can be difficult as a confused teenager, but growing up will inevitably help a person better translate their raw emotions. Unfortunately, Yancy didn’t mature until Fry became absent from his life, so he had to grieve over his brother while also accepting the rift he created between them as teenagers.

This is what makes the ending such a tearjerker to fans. Yancy’s decision to name his son after Phillip isn’t just an endearing homage, but also a message through time to an insecure man trapped in the year 3000 – letting Fry know that he has a legacy and that his family did love him deep down.

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To Conclude, this is one of the more sentimental episodes of “Futurama”, but that’s why it’s treasured so much by fans! It’s beautiful message of unrequited brotherly love and finding self value in time of misfortune REALLY speaks to people.

It’s a poignant reminder to let your loved ones know you cherish them, because we tend to sometimes only appreciate someone once they leave our lives, and the memories we create can leave a lasting impression. If you hide in how your love for someone or misdirect your feelings into aggression, you’ll one day regret it when you drift apart.

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“Spongebob Squarepants” – The Camping Episode EPISODE REVIEW

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Written by Jambareeqi

In this Spongebob episode, Spongebob, Patrick, and Squidward go camping outside, but only plant their tents directly outside their houses. They hang out, play a song, eat marshmallows, and try to protect themselves from the legendary Seabear.

This is considered a classic episode by Spongebob fans. I think it’s appeal mainly comes down to how it really captures the camping spirit; without even being set in real outdoors. Our characters’ maybe only a few metres from their homes, but the episode is fantastic at creating a fun camping atmosphere by simply following the usual traditions.

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Heck, I sometimes forgot that these campers were still in the city, because the episode gets us so sucked into the campfire vibe. I can taste the sticky marshmallows, feel the warmth of the fire, and recall my own childhood memories of camping.

Of course, a lot of the comedy comes from seeing stuffy Squidward being wound up by Spongebob & Patrick’s childish behavior. Squidward boasts that he’s a camping genius, but clearly doesn’t get what makes camping so special, and that’s why the other two have are having more fun – as annoying as their antics are to Squidward. Camping is not about how impressive your tent making skills are or how brave you are for leaving home, but the magic of enjoying yourself in spite of limitations.

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The thing that most fans remember this episode for, would have to be “The Campfire Song”. This song sung by Spongebob is as basic as they come, but the humour derives from Patrick keeping up with it’s simple lyrics and Squidward refusing to singalong. It’s also funny that it’s supposed to be a relaxing camping track, but it elevates into something more explosive and intense.

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I did mention that the episode features a Seabear, and you read that right. At first, this creature seems to be an urban myth, and the fact that Spongebob & Patrick know it’s existence from tabloid newspapers adds to that implausibility. The silliness is made even nonsensical when we see the excessively ridiculous things that attract Seabears – as illustrated in the picture below.

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However, the brilliantly genius punchline to this is that it’s a real animal, and what’s even better is that the ridiculous rules surrounding the legend are 100% true. A big part of us has been made to side with Squidward’s common sense, but the great payoff is that Spongebob & Patrick’s story is grounded in reality – making our naive childish goofballs the actual survival-savvy ones.

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To Conclude, this is a laugh-out-loud funny episode of Spongebob, that authentically captures the spirit and atmosphere of camping without even trying too hard. It’s simplicity is it’s charm, like most episodes of the show, and I can’t suggest it enough as a gateway into the series itself.

Does this episode help us give a good idea of what the upcoming Spongebob spin-off show “Kamp Koral” will be like? Kind of! It does show us the sort of dynamic that the average episode may go for, but keep in mind that characters will be much younger for that series.

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“The Prince and the Pauper” (1990) SHORT FILM REVIEW

Princey

Written by Jambareeqi

In this adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel of the same name, “The Prince and the Pauper” features Mickey as a peasant who switches places with an English Prince – who looks just like him. With the King on his deathbed, the evil Captain Pete is screwing over peasants in the name of his majesty. While living as a poor mouse on the streets, the Prince discovers what Pete  has been up to, and he vows to save his Kingdom from the corrupt Captain of the guards. 

Even though this film is only 25 minutes long, it has all the weight and effort of one of Disney’s animated features. I kept forgetting that this was a half an hour special, because it’s so easy to get invested in the story being told, and that’s down to the work put into everything. 

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While many scenes are very slapstick driven, these physical antics are always played into character development; whether that means establishing Goofy’s clumsy nature or Donald’s short temper. Heck, slapstick can also bring some creative dynamic to the action scenes, because character’s butterfingers or slippy feet will make a fight or conflict more intense. 

When the short gets a bit sombre or emotional, the slapstick is immediately sidelined, and the film will successfully achieve a level of dramatic nuance that may take you by surprise. The death of the king is such example, a sad moment that’s directed with a sense of respectful melancholy, but intrinsically tied to the story’s themes of leadership and hope. 

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I also LOVE how director George Scribner paints Tudor England under the thumb of Pete. The wooden-framed crooked houses are lightly-covered in cold snow, the sky is a murky grey, and poverty-stricken citizens look worse-for-wear. You really get a strong atmosphere of sorrow and hardship from it all. 

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At the heart of this film though is the story of two drastically different people trading worlds, and how it affects them as characters. Mickey learns that a position of royalty may give him privilege, but the obligations attached make such freedoms redundant. While the Prince gets a first-hand experience of Pete’s tyranny, after years of being blind to the corruption happening behind his back. 

I’ve not read Mark Twain’s novel, so I’m no expert on the book’s intentions, but this short really conveys a message of a royal leader’s responsibility towards their people. The Prince is first introduced as a cheeky scamp who doesn’t take things too seriously, but he’s someone who truly believes in justice and compassion; important traits that his father preaches.

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Once out in the wide world, the Prince embraces the fun and games of being a free mouse, but he also finds himself in the shoes of a peasant. He realises that his rose-tinted glasses have over-romaticised the merits of living with his people. He’s not a bad person at any stretch, but being born with a silver spoon has clearly distracted him from the bigger picture. 

There’s also something really relatable about Mickey and Goofy’s dreams of better lives. Their failing self-made businesses are getting them nowhere, while they work in an eye’s view of the palace, where everyone is lucky enough to afford anything they want. This is a position that many people can resonate with, especially those who are less-than-privileged, because sometimes day-dreaming is all some people have. 

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Pete makes for a brilliant antagonist as always. His imposingly large pot-bellied size, the burning light of his cigar, crooked smile, and villainous laugh, all help make this one baddie that’s easy to hate with a passion. We’ve already developed pity for the peasants, but Pete’s sick joy from his cruelty makes us wish for his downfall even more. 

Pete

To Conclude, this is one of the best Mickey Mouse shorts ever made. It’s blend of comedy and drama is neatly-handled with good taste, we empathise with the hardships of our down trodden heroes, and the film whole-heartedly believes in it’s message of justice and compassion for the poor. If you need your spirits lifted right now then I can’t recommend this short enough. 

5 Strawberries

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“Tweety’s High-Flying Adventure” (2000) FILM REVIEW

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In this straight to video Looney Tunes movie, Granny makes a wager with an eccentric colonel, betting that Tweety bird can fly around the world to collect 80 cat paw prints under 80 days (along with evidence of travel). Meanwhile, Sylvester the cat is adamant as always to catch Tweety as a snack, and so he chases after the little canary.

This film very much rushes to the point at it’s start. In the first two minutes, the movie dumps the entire set-up on us, and  makes no time for audience investment or natural pacing. We don’t get to actually visit this park to see how great it is, so who cares? Yes, two children are dependent on it for their flower selling business, but these two have like 2 or 3 lines in the film.

You could argue that the film just wants to jump into it’s main story, confident that the meat of the premise is too fun to require too much substance, but the central narrative is far from creative. The film is less of a feature film experience, and more of a bunch of Looney Tunes cartoons stitched together – mediocre cartoons at best.

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Most of the film is just the whole bird Vs. cat formula from the Sylvester & Tweety cartoons, but on a global scale and lasting for 70 minutes. Sylvester’s motivation to catch Tweety made sense in the shorts, because there was a bird conveniently in the same home as him; he was worth the cat’s effort. However, I don’t buy Sylvester being willing to chase Tweety around the world for a small snack; especially when we start seeing him traveling through locations widely populated by lots of bird-life.

Even when you put aside the limp reason why Sylvester is the antagonist, we are still left with a very boring cycle: Tweety arrives in a country, a predator chases after him, he outwits them, and then he stamps their paw print into his passport. It’s this same beat all the way through. Switching out the country and predator each scene doesn’t make these set pieces any less repetitive, because it’s still the same sequence again and again.

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Sure, there’s also a thief that wants to steal Tweety’s passport, but he’s mainly in the background for most scenes; only HINTING that he will do something. When Tweety finally comes face to face with this villain, it’s a very very short confrontation that only happens in the last 10 minutes, and it’s not exactly worth the build up. The movie is already over-bloated with antagonists anyway.

Tweety doesn’t even have anything to really overcome as a character either. Right from the start, he seems incredibly confident about the mission, and he keeps this optimistic attitude all the way through. He does get a flying partner called Aoogah, but she’s just a bland female doppelganger of Tweety (her one character trait is that she can honk a loud noise), and her friendship with Tweety isn’t anything special or deeply emotional.

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In the finale, Tweety and Aoogah get stuck in a hurricane, which causes Aoogah to be split from Tweety. Suddenly, Tweety sings about appreciating friendship more than winning? Erm, what? At no point did Tweety demonstrate that he had a bad habit of caring more about the mission than Arooga! Also, this quest isn’t exactly a shallow cause, because he’s doing it to save a children’s park! This self reflective musical number is clearly just a last minute effort to make the story deeper than it really is.

The only time that Tweety expresses doubt is in the last 10 minutes, when he assumes that he’s too late to finish the race back to London, but this pessimistic side of him fades VERY quickly – all thanks to the convenience of time zone differences. I know that this is supposed to be a joke, but such a gag becomes annoying when Tweety has never had his optimism challenged.

There are lots of Looney Tunes cameos in the film! Each one popping in as a foil, helpful friend, or commentator. Now, it can be fun to spot these characters, but it’s really not enough to make up for the paper thin storytelling. Yeah its great seeing Bugs or Daffy, but their guest appearances are mainly for blatant fan-service or Deus Ex Machina solutions. Heck, some characters just end up serving as filler! Cameos that are only extended to stretch the film out with even more long chase sequences.

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The animation isn’t even enough to make up for what very little the film has. It’s not horribly animated, but the straight to video budget very much hampers the overall quality. The slapstick action is missing creativity or precision, because there’s a stale stiffness to character movement that makes everything “standard” at best. There was only one gag that made me laugh out loud, but every other joke either got nothing out of me or resulted in a quiet little chortle.

The only saving grace for this film is the voice acting. With an array of top tier voice actors in the cast, each under the expert direction of the renowned Andrea Romano. Yes, there are better Looney Tunes titles out there that feature these talents in the same roles, but when the material is THIS uninspired, such qualities stand out as remarkable achievements.

To conclude, “Tweety’s High-Flying Adventure” is a boringly average comedy adventure, that dramatically failed to make me care about it’s characters or story. It might entertain very young kids who only require moving drawings to be happily distracted, but it’s not got much to offer as a film. I actually yawned more times than a I laughed. It also fails to understand what made Looney Tunes cartoons so great, because it mistakes frantic antics for creative humour and cheesy remarks for witty dialogue.

It shares the same problem as many Tom & Jerry films, because it too struggles to stretch out a 5 minute cartoon formula into a 70 minute narrative. If I’m honest, this could have worked 10 times better as an actual short! There’s nothing about “Tweety’s High-Flying Adventure” that screams that it NEEDED to be a feature length movie, and I can imagine everything been executed at a snappier pace under 5 minutes.

2 Strawberries

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“Dexter’s Laboratory” – Rude Removal EPISODE REVIEW

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WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS STRONG PROFANITY

In this unaired episode of “Dexter’s Lab”, Dexter invents a machine to remove Deedee’s rudeness, but the siblings break out into a fight over who is more rude, and they accidentally end up turning both of their rude sides into clones!

This episode was originally made for Season 2 of the Dexter’s Lab TV show, but Cartoon Network deemed it too inappropriate, and they refused to air it. However, creator Genndy Tartakovsky happily screens it at conventions, and Adult Swim has made available online.

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Yes, seeing the clones spilling profanities is what makes this episode funny! Sure, these characters can be abrasive, but this is a show designed for kids, so watching them swear is inherently hilarious. Yes, the swearing is censored with bleeps, so you can’t hear them saying “Fuck off!”, yet that makes it even funnier, because our imagination fills in the blanks (heck, any adult can easily work out what was originally said). Mind you, there’s actually an uncensored version on Dailymotion, but apparently that’s a fan edit?

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The episode isn’t just characters saying fuck constantly though. Luckily, there’s more to the comedy dynamic beyond that. Polite Dexter and Deedee are startled by the obnoxious behavior of the clones, but they retain their friendly manners and stay naively optimistic. While it is funny seeing the clones being dicks, its equally amusing witnessing Dexter and Deedee acting like the Flanders kids.

However, its their mother’s response to the rude clones that REALLY steals the episode, because you can tell that she’s genuinely offended and taken back! Her over-the-top dramatic reactions help to make the clone’s profanity even more hilarious, due to sheer horror and rage she’s clearly expressing.

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To conclude, this is one of the funniest Cartoon Network show episodes I’ve EVER seen. Yes, that’s mainly due to how crass it is for a children’s show (especially if watched uncensored), but there’s still strong comedic value to seeing the rude clones bounce off everyone.

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“Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003) TV SERIES REVIEW

Written by Jambareeqi

“Star Wars: Clone Wars” is an animated micro-series from director Genndy Tartakovsky. It serves as a midquel series set between episodes 2 and 3 of the Star Wars movies saga.

The biggest strength of the series is how it illustrates the sheer scope of this war, by detailing it’s ramifications on a galactic scale. The show pans between various raging battles across the galaxy, vividly painting the possibility of a successful Sith uprising, by showing that there’s now a chance that the Jedi COULD be outmatched.

The series also stays very true to the recurring themes of the Star Wars prequels. Anakin and Obi-Wan’s bond is carried on, with the two sharing a lot of scenes together that demonstrate their relationship – that being wise master and disobedient student. Palpatine is also still doing his best to convince the Jedi Order that he’s not really Darth Sidious, by keeping up his efforts to retain a consistent act and pretending to be a naive old man.

Although, a larger purpose for this series is to provide a bridge between episodes 2 and 3. At first, I wasn’t sure how it was going to do that? But we do get to see many important firsts! Big moments that further explain story beats that were maybe glossed over in the prequel movies. While there’s a wink to the audience about some more cosmetic developments (like C3PO’s new gold plating), the show knows how to handle certain integral changes with nuance, and will tastefully address these scenes with the required level of grace.

However, the most important part the show plays in the franchise, is how it examines Anakin’s relationship with his future. Throughout the series, Anakin displays both contrasting sides of his personality: reckless immaturity and heartfelt compassion. The show uses a spiritual journey plot to foreshadow Anakin’s path, while also admitting that this wasn’t always set in stone, and that there was a glimmer of hope for him to go another direction.

This space war maybe a series of relentless battles, but that’s not to say that the action is just repetitive sequences of explosions and gunfire; heck I’d say it’s anything BUT uninspired. Each action scene is oozing with charismatic tension and inventive tenacity, always finding ways to make the fights visually impressive or simply badass cool, but all while never forgetting the purpose of each confrontation.

Genndy Tartakovsky maybe renowned for his more comedic work, like Dexter’s Lab or the Hotel Transylvania films, but he’s also the visionary behind more dramatic animation projects like Samurai Jack and Primal. While Tartakovsky’s art style is quirkily angular and his animation techniques rely on a snappy dynamic, this never takes away from the seriousness of the war narrative or any intense tragedies that play out. Quite the opposite actually! The show uses it’s uniquely bold aesthetics to enhance character’s emotions or intensify gestures.

Heck, there are scenes in this show that are down-right cinematic! Little atmospheric sequences that let weather elements or empty silence set the stage for drama. Not to mention, Tartakovsky REALLY knows how to take advantage of the 2D animation medium, giving us imaginative imagery that would have had a different impact in live action, because the effects are so uniquely set in this animation style. Side Note: expect a couple of nods to the cult anime Akira!

There’s comedy here or there, but never in a distracting silly way. It’s the kind of dry humour you’d expect from Star Wars in general, with an emphasis on character relationships to spur on snarky banter – particularly derived from the brotherly bond between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Tartakovsky tones down the inherent cartoony nature of his animation, and let’s little tounge-in-cheek exchanges sell the subtle comedy.

To Conclude, Tartakovsky’s “Star Wars: Clone Wars” serves as a highly satisfying middle chapter for the Star Wars prequels. If Lucasfilm released this as “Star Wars Episode 2.5: Clone Wars”, I would have believed it was intended to be an official prequel film, because it bridges the gap THAT smoothly. It stays true to George Lucas’ mythos and lore, but relies on it’s chosen animation medium to embrace ideas that could have looked too over-the-top in live action.

Now, I know that we were given ANOTHER Clone Wars animated TV show years later, but I’ve not seen that rendition yet (though I have watched the pilot movie, which I’ve reviewed on my Youtube channel). However, after seeing this series, I am curious how Lucasfilm expanded this arc into something longer! I’m wondering what more could be explored in this timeline. Maybe I’ll give it a watch someday, but no promises when though.

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