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Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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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Despicable Me (2010) FILM REVIEW

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 5th November 2018

“Despicable Me” centres on a villain called Gru, an eccentric criminal with a strong European accent, who needs to steal a shrink ray from a fellow bad guy named Vector, but Vector’s home is defended by intricate booby traps. So, Gru adopts three girls called Margo, Edith, and Agnes, then orders them to sell cookies to Vector, but these cookies are really robots designed to snatch the shrink ray from Vector. Gru’s plan is to shrink down the moon, so that he can have power over the whole world, and prove that he’s that best villain ever. However, Gru starts becoming attached to the girls, they bring out his softer side, and he begins falling in love with the precious kids, will this ruin his world domination plans?

I used to consider “Despicable Me” to be just okay, a passable effort, yet re-watching it for this written review, I developed a better appreciation for it, and enjoyed it more than ever. Maybe it’s because of my current wave of paternal feelings, something I’ve been open about recently, but I think that “Despicable Me” deserves more credit than I gave it before. Yes, it’s not the greatest children’s film made, it doesn’t deserve to be put on a pedestal of any kind, but as far as Illumination films go, this one is a cherry in their bowl of raisins.

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While the “Despicable Me” sequels overload themselves with too many plots, the first movie keeps things simple, which is where it’s charm comes from, because it knows exactly what it’s going for, and doesn’t complicate things with a dozens of obstacles. It’s the tale of a villain trying to juggle being a criminal and a foster father the same time, with his inner conflict over these two lives being a central focus for the overall narrative. Sure, the other “Despicable Me” films have Gru facing multiple conflicts, but they rarely address how Gru feels about having more than one predicament, because they just want to keep things busy, while the first film does stop to let Gru’s feelings sink in.

The girls themselves are as one dimensional as they come, Margo the mature one, Edith the weird one, and Agnes the cute one, but that’s not to say that I didn’t like them, because they’re all very cute, and act like real genuine kids. It’s their budding relationship with Gru that serves as the heart of the film, with their natural youthful charm bringing out their adoptive dad’s more sensitive side, and their scenes together as a foster family are too adorable for words. Gru might be a grumpy bum around them at first, reluctant to admit that they are sweet kids, but that’s because he was raised by a rubbish mother who stifled his self esteem, he doesn’t understand how to be nice to kids.

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You can tell that he does have paternal feelings deep down, considering that his minions are child like creatures who look up to him, which makes me believe that he hired them all for a subconscious reason, and they fill a hole that his mother made. The minions themselves, while not as funny as I used to think they were, are entertaining little guys, and the film doesn’t overexpose them as much as the sequels do. Yeah, they can have some unnecessary moments of comic relief, but in the grand scheme of things, they do play a part in the overall narrative, and contribute a little something at points.

Seeing as Gru is a villain, it must have been hard to come up with antagonist, but Illumination found a good compromise! Gru is an underdog in the villain community, someone who struggles to make it big as a criminal, helping us to sympathise with him, and hope that he gets the shrink ray. We boo at Vector, because of his over-privileged advantages, self important personality, and wormy twerp face that needs a good punch.

Unlike Vector, Gru grows as a character, unabashedly embracing his more feminine attributes, while becoming a stronger father to three daughters, and this is why we cheer for him when he goes up against Vector. Oh and isn’t it surreal that Vector is voiced by Jason Segal? An actor renowned for playing big softies? Yet he totally nails the role, having a blast bringing out his darker side.

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The finale, which I refuse to spoil, tests Gru as a dad, pushing him to prove that his love for his daughters is worth cherishing, and super villainy is the right path for him. It’s a very emotional climax, supported by the strength of the bond between Gru and his girls, but it never gets too over-sentimental, because it’s drama is very sincere. I wanted this family to be together, I cared about Gru learning to open up after years of emotional repression, and I totally hated Vector enough to be engaged in his defeat.

To conclude, “Despicable Me” is a simple film, but that’s what so great about it, it doesn’t try overdo itself, and puts all of it’s attention on finely crafting a straight forward story. It’s not something that warrants more attention, or a movie that breaks the mold, but it does deserve to be appreciated as a well made effort for what it is. It’s more than just a cute film, it’s the story of an emotionally repressed man with mummy issues, who learns to love children of his own, in an environment where evil is the norm, and it’s a well executed take on that set up.

I don’t expect everyone to enjoy it as much as I did, because I get why they would be underwhelmed, but after sitting through many mind numbing and insulting kids’ films, revisiting “Despicable Me” made me have a much more optimistic angle on what it’s going for. If “Illumination” stuck to the spirit of this film more often, they could end up making something that’s able to compete with the big boys, but we will have to see about that.

4 Strawberries

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“King of the Hill” – New Cowboy on the Block (EPISODE REVIEW)

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 5th November, 2018

With the NFL season getting American sports fans excited right now, I thought that I’d talk about a “King of the Hill” episode on American football, a topic that was a frequent central focus on show, due to Hank and his friends being big fans of the Dallas Cowboys (who will be facing the Tennessee Titans tomorrow).

In this episode, a former Dallas Cowboys back-up lineman called Willie Lane, who is most famous for blocking a kick during the 70’s, moves next door to Hank Hill, and this makes the Cowboys fan very excited. At first, Hank is enamored by the retired athlete, constantly in awe of knowing that he’s now friends with a famous football star, but then, Willie reveals his true self, and turns out to be the worst neighbor ever.

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This episode does start off slow, with Hank gushing over Willie to begin with, but I always find Hank adorable when he gets giddy over a hero, because it’s rare that he expresses emotional admiration for others face to face, and it’s cute that even the level headed Hank has his own idols. When Willie starts teaches Bobby a violent football trick, Hank becomes less forgiving of his hero, realising that he let his celebrity worship cloud his judgement, and he has a duty as block captain. The episode livens up from this point on, pitting the drunk rude Dallas Cowboy against Hank & Kahn, and we have no idea what destructive or annoying thing Willie will do next.

“New Cowboy on the Block” satirizes the privilege that comes with being celebrity, with everyone fawning over Willie, never questioning his moral compass, just because he blocked a kick a few decades ago. It’s a part of celebrity culture that’s still relevant, with fans refusing to believe that their favourite stars could be a bad person, because they are so in love with their on camera personas. Behind the glitz and glamour, some famous folk can be real jerks when cameras aren’t pointed at them, and this “King of the Hill” episode exposes that dark side of celebrity worship.

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It’s also an episode that many people can relate to, as lots of us have had annoyingly obnoxious neighbors or roommates, myself included, so we totally resonate with Hank’s frustrations, and want him to make his street feel safe again. That’s something I love about Hank in this episode, despite his friends abandoning, even though he is losing his temper with this awful man, he still tries to stick to his block rules and state law when making a change. So, no matter what, Hank can defend himself if he ends up in court, because he cleverly works around the laws, and we can side with him easier as an audience.

There’s something very satisfying about the moments when a character stands up to Willie, whether it’s Hank playing tough ball as block captain, or Kahn breaking down Willie’s ego with honest thoughts on the washed up football star, because we’ve grown to hate Willie so much, and can see our own awful neighbors in his character. We grind our teeth when the police shrug off Hank’s accusations, each cop siding with Willie out of celebrity worship, but that’s what makes the episode’s ending taste so sweet, when Willie punches Hank with his Super Bowl ring, and leaves a mark for assault evidence.

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To conclude, “New Cowboy on the Block” is a good episode about fighting for what’s right while staying true, the dangers of cult like admiration for famous people, and how some celebrities can be terrible people when their Hollywood masks are removed. You’ll cheer for Hank when he fights to save his street, boo at Willie’s disgusting habits as a poor neighbor, and yell at the screen every time a cop brushes off Hank’s claims. Check this one out if it sounds like your cup of tea, plus if you want to see more “King of the Hill” episodes about American football, then I suggest watching “A Beer Can Named Desire” and “The Suite Smell of Success”.

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“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” – Stranded (EPISODE REVIEW)

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 4th November, 2018

In this episode of “Jimmy Neutron”, Cindy and Jimmy argue over the visibility of the equator line, which pushes them to travel to the actual equator in Jimmy’s hover car, with their friends as company, but Jimmy and Cindy fall into the ocean, and the hovercar’s autopilot causes their friends to fly far away. Jimmy and Cindy end up stranded on an island, while Sheen, Libby, and Carl try to survive on the hover car.

Throughout the “Jimmy Neutron” TV Show, Cindy and Jimmy’s romantic interest in eachother has been teased, often hidden under a passionate rivalry, which is why they are always fighting, but this is an episode that lets the two get closer. Due to being stranded, Cindy and Jimmy have no choice but to work together, plus their distance from others makes them more open about their feelings, it’s all very cute stuff that made me squee a little (Okay, a lot). The stand out moment has to be when it’s revealed that Jimmy has been opening mollusks all day, just to find a pearl to give to Cindy, revealing that he IS willing to show his love to her, and how sweet is that?

Jimmy Cindy Island

You can tell that they really enjoy each other’s company, when not feeling pressured to mask how they really feel for social reputation, knowing that they can express their love without being teased or questioned. Unlike most shipwreck stories for cartoons, where survivors struggle to live the paradise dream, Cindy and Jimmy actually get to relax in the bounties of the island, with help from Jimmy’s scientific brain, and that makes it even easier for them to both get a long. It also helps that they end up choosing to stay from the jungle, which is swarming with dangerous animals, like slimy snakes and a giant spider.

Meanwhile, Sheen, Libby, and Carl are having a hard time on the hover car, which is where most of the episode’s comedy comes from, with the trio having no idea how the hover car works or what they can do to help Jimmy and Cindy. Sheen begins developing the naive delusion that everything is a mirage (even though that isn’t true), Carl secretly hogs some chocolate bars like a greedy pig, and Libby attempts to keep everyone calm until she discovers Carl’s secret.

Sheen Carl Libby Stranded Jimmy Neutron

When their friends finally arrive at the island, Jimmy and Cindy’s romance is cut short, as everyone focuses their attention on the hover car, but you can really tell that Cindy doesn’t want this paradise to be over, even though we know that they need to get home. I assumed that the episode would end with returning the status quo, which it sort of does, but it also indicates that there’s still something there, and we end with the two cheekily finding another excuse to travel far away together.

To Conclude, while this episode as Sci-Fi heavy as most “Jimmy Neutron” stories usually are, it’s certainly a very romantic one, plus there’s still some comedy from the Jimmy & Cindy’s friends, and fans of Jimmy’s inventions can appreciate his awesome tree house on the island. This episode actually made me curious to see where things go for Jimmy and Cindy, but I doubt it’ll progress further, I just get the feeling that “Stranded” is the height of their romance, unless I’m hopefully wrong?

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Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997) FILM REVIEW

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Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 3rd November, 2018

In this straight to video Winnie the Pooh movie, the Hundred Acre Wood gang wake up to realise that Christopher Robin is gone, leaving a note for Pooh on a honeypot, and Owl interprets the letter as a cry for help. Owl further explains that Christopher has been taken far away to a place called “Skull”, he insists that Pooh & his friends journey to this location, and rescue Christopher, but to be aware of the dangerous Skullasaurus.

Even though this is a STV release, it’s actually the most adventurous of all the Pooh films I’ve seen (I’m yet to watch the Heffalump films), to the point where it could have been released in cinemas; if the animation didn’t look like a slightly tidied up episode of “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, that is. Characters are put in peril quite often, to the point where we think that they might fall to their deaths or get lost, and the constant growls of the apparent Skullasaurus keeps everyone on their toes.

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The Adventure our fluffy heroes take feels like it’s an arduous journey, with jagged foggy backgrounds that create a menacing atmosphere, and the fact that the characters have to stop for sleep at one point adds to the scale of the trip. Sure, the characters can get distracted at points, but that’s not unusual for a Pooh movie, as these characters are always drawn away to something unrelated, and the film will create consequences for their moments of lost attention.

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It is very clear that Pooh & Co. do really want to find Christopher Robin too, they’ll keep going no matter what, calling out Christopher Robin’s name when scared, and even Pooh bear himself can’t sleep at night, because he’s so worried about finding Christopher. So, even if they stop to sing or admire a pretty meadow, we always know that Christopher Robin is in their heart, and they love him very much.

The film also has a lovely message about giving yourself realistic expectations, to not underestimate or overestimate what you can do, with Christopher leaving an endearing message for Pooh that says ” You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”, and even though Pooh forgets these words, he does want to recall them to motivate his friends.

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Not to mention, Rabbit realises that he shouldn’t have been so eager to be leader, because he later admits that he can’t depend entirely on the map, and that he is a scared bunny deep down. These are really great values for kids, teaching them that it’s okay to not pressure yourself to be perfect, but you are still capable of great things if you try, and parents will love setting such good standards for their children’s self esteem.

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I’ll admit that I’ve already forgotten most of the songs, I didn’t find any of them to be particularly catchy, but I do recall that each one played into the story somehow or developed characterization, so I wouldn’t say that they are pointless. The stand out song, in my opinion, is “Wherever you are”, a sweetly sentimental piece about Pooh missing Christopher Robin, that captures the spirit of why the adventure is so important, and is sang on a hauntingly empty background that darkly parallel’s Pooh & Christopher’s favourite meeting spot.

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To Conclude, in the big scheme of things, Pooh’s Grand Adventure is rather generic when put alongside most animated adventure movies, as it has all the tropes of any random cartoon feature about characters traveling far (Heck, you could argue that it’s eerily similar to Don Bluth’s “The Land Before Time” in some ways), but it really stands out compared to the more laid back slice of life Pooh movies, because it riskily pushes the Hundred Acre Wood characters into more dangerous situations than usual. Even though it gets dark at times, it still retains the wholesomeness of a Pooh story, staying true to Disney’s cute take on A. A. Milne’s characters, and there’s some great messages about self expectation that are very healthy for kids.

4 Strawberries

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NEWS: Blue Sky Studios Release Trailer For “Spies In Disguise”

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 2nd November, 2018

Blue Sky Studios have just released a brand new trailer for their upcoming animated feature “Spies in disguise”. It stars Will Smith as a secret agent, who ends up being transformed into a pigeon by a teenage scientist voiced by Tom Holland.

A lot of people are amazed by the twist of this trailer, which opens up with slick badass action clips, and then reveals that our secret agent star is now a pigeon. Personally, I don’t think this is THAT subversive, because the animation industry factory produces talking animal movies every year, there’s no surprise in seeing an animated character being turned into a pigeon for me.

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Why can’t this movie be about a secret agent’s mission? Or why can’t he be turned invisible? What’s stopping Blue Sky from mutating Will Smith into an alien vampire wizard? It’s like the animation industry can’t think outside the box of talking animals, when animation has the potential to create ANYTHING, are studios that afraid of doing something different? Look, I have nothing against talking animal stories, I really don’t, I just don’t like them dominating a medium with no imagination limits. If this was a live action movie, then sure, the twist would be shocking, but that’s not the case.

I also don’t know how the film will carry it’s premise of a secret agent disguised as a pigeon, what can be done with this concept? Yeah, Pigeons are common enough to help the secret agent stay inconspicuous, but what if his mission requires going indoors? Pigeons don’t tend to hang inside buildings; except churches maybe. While the trailer features a joke about Pigeon-vision, I can’t imagine what other jokes can be played out, especially when “Valiant” (2005) has already crossed off all the obvious pigeon gags.

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However, let’s look at what MIGHT be cool about this film, there’s got to be some things that could work. It might be awesome to see a pigeon using unique gadgets while on his mission, like enhanced cyber wings or a potion that turns his poop acidic. It’s also great to hear Will Smith’s charming voice as an animated character (Smith’s last voice role was in “Shark Tale” over 14 years ago), perhaps that will be the strength of the film, because what we do hear of him so far is very funny.

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I just don’t feel that excited about the movie’s premise, as the trailer doesn’t go beyond the joke of “Derpy Derp Secret Agent Will Smith is a Pigeon now”, but maybe a longer trailer will be released soon? Until then, I’m not as charmed as everyone else is, and the next trailer will need to prove that there’s more here than one simple joke. What do you all think of the trailer? Let me know in the comment section below!

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NEWS: Cartoon Network Themed Hotel Coming Next Year

Written by Jambareeqi

Posted 1st November, 2018

Yes, you read the headline right, Cartoon Network are planning to open up a resort hotel inspired by their shows next year, as part of a deal with Palace Entertainment, and it’ll be located Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The hotel will feature a whopping 165 bookable rooms, an interactive lobby, outdoor and indoor pools, water play zone, outdoor amphitheater, lawn games, fire pits, game rooms and play areas.

This all sounds pretty awesome, imagine staying at a hotel that celebrates Cartoon Network’s most popular content of today! It’ll appeal to not only children, but adults who haven’t let go on their kid in their heart. The interactive lobby part is pretty unique for a hotel too, I was curious what this actually meant, and CN President Christina Miller has explained “With just the right mix of technology, design and animation, we’re aiming to bring our characters to life in a way that we haven’t seen done before”, which is vague but exciting.

I also like the sound of an outdoor amphitheater, that could be an awesome part of the hotel, especially if they screen movies owned by Cartoon Network for guests, or maybe marathons of shows. Even if parents aren’t fans of Cartoon Network, they can enjoy swimming in pool, or maybe visit the wine bar in the evening, and there’s even games to play too.

However, it’s a shame that only their modern popular shows will be the basis for design ideas, with no indication that 90’s TV series will be make appearances. I get that this is to appeal to the zeitgeist, with such series as “The Powerpuff Girls” reboot, “Adventure Time”, and “We Bare Bears” making CN tonnes of revenue. It’s just, sometimes I feel like Cartoon Network don’t really embrace their legacy that often, cartoons like “Cow and Chicken” and “Dexter’s Laboratory” are shows that put the company on the map, why be ashamed of that?

Of course, I’m personally at a disadvantage, being a UK resident, but if I ever plan to visit Pennsylvania after next year, then the Cartoon Network hotel would certainly be a resort for me to consider staying in. The Hotel will be located very close to Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park too, so a trip to Lancaster could be a blast for those who want a fun Pennsylvania experience. Would you like to book a room at this new hotel? Let me know in the comment section below! Also, consider liking this article, and maybe subscribe to Jambareeqi.com

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