When it came time to adapt ‘Doctor Sleep’; Stephen King’s sequel novel to ‘The Shining’, Mike Flanagan seemed to be faced with some tough decisions when writing and directing. Not only were King’s original novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation two different beasts, but they were so dissimilar that the author famously hated Kubrick’s take on his work. However, it seems that Flanagan has succeeded in crafting not only a worthy sequel nearly four decades after the original, yet a movie that seems to work on its own terms (Hey, if it is enough to please the “King”, then I am sure it will work for modern audiences).
When you first log in to Disney+, one of the first things you will see in the streaming competitor to Netflix’s featured category is their “original” film, ‘Lady and the Tramp’. You may either see it as yet another unnecessary live-action remake of a perfect, well-beloved animated classic, or you may bask in its warmth and glow, as you watch two rescue dogs with mouth movements more animated than Jon Favreau’s remake of ‘The Lion King’ (and voices of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux ) trade witticisms, kiss over a candlelit spaghetti dinner, and fall in love yet again.
With My Hero Academia about to enter its fourth season later this year, I thought it’d be fun to finally get around to watching the film that was released last year in 2018. It was a nice way to get excited for season four that felt like watching an extended episode of the show. However, I can’t help but feel the film had a lot of issues which I’d like to discuss today.
First and foremost, this was a good movie. If all you are looking for is a recommendation, then you’ve got it. I have to spoil some of the movie to talk about some of the things I’d like to, so you’ve been warned.
In case you need a refresher, the film sees Deku and All Might going to “I-Island” in order to visit an old friend of All Might’s, David Shield. The island is known for the technological research that’s conducted there and a big event is also going to be held during the visit. Additionally, the island is very safe, so naturally, nothing will go wrong… right?
I do want to say that it was really nice to see some more backstory on All Might and the time he spent with David Shield during his visit in America when he was younger. The two were a good team, and you can see that All Might really inspired David. Unfortunately, this is also one of my biggest complaints with the film
David is such a big character, along with his daughter, Melissa (who spends a lot of time with Deku) that it is weird for them to not play any roll outside of this movie. This film takes place between S2 and S3 events, yet it is never mentioned in the series cannon, despite being, well, cannon.
Everything that happens in Two Heroes is because David is worried about All Might losing his power, and thus, having the world lose its symbol of peace. Really though, he’s worried about losing this figure that he looks up to. While this makes for a great story beat, it was weird that David’s consequences are not at all explored.
Then there is Melissa. She hits it off with Deku and they really seem to be a great team, mirroring what we see with her father and All Might. To not have her influence things in later seasons of the show felt unnatural and clunky with retrospect. If you hadn’t seen the film, then that works, but if you had…
This is most noticeable in the support item that Melissa gives Deku. It’s basically a power glove that lets Deku use 100% of his power without injuring himself. It had me wondering just how they would explain that away since he couldn’t take it off and it was capable of “withstanding 3x the power of Uncle Might’s punches”. The solution was to just have Deku punch so hard it evaporates, which was kind of lame.
Another thing that bothered me was my chief complaint about My Hero Academia as a series, and that would be the amount of recap it has. The film recaps a LOT, which does hurt the runtime, inflating that 1 hour and 36 minutes.
To the film’s credit, this did make the movie watchable if you had seen none of the show before. A movie should be able to stand on its own, and to that effect, it was successful. It just wasn’t great to have so much recap. Really, there’s probably close to a little over an hour of actual film here, which is basically two regular episodes.
At one point I even jokingly mentioned how there was a spot where the credits felt like they should play, because it was an obvious break where an “end of episode” ED would go. This really could have just been a two-part episode set for the series proper.
Finally, the film had to contrive a way to get a lot of its cast to I-Island, which made some things feel kind of forced. I almost rolled my eyes at how some of it was executed. It does make sense for some characters like Momo, Iida, or Todoroki to attend this important conference, but beyond that everyone else is just kind of there.
Past that, everything is solid. The animation, music, and story is a great time. What I’d like to see moving forward, especially with the announcement of a second film, is having these mean more to the series. I’d like to see more of the Shield family, and the additional world details play a more active role in the story proper. This was a nice holdover until season four finally comes out, and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Deku and friends!
What were your thoughts on Two Heroes? Did you agree with my complaints? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you enjoy my writing, please consider a small donation by pressing the Ko-fi button below. Thanks you once again for reading and I hope to see you again soon!
For anyone expecting better from Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’; no matter how much we would like to see photo-realistic recreations of our favorite animated characters recreate a masterpiece, looks are not everything. As a high-definition remaster, it succeeds in the visual department, yet lacks the heart, emotion, and energy that made the original so beloved in the first place. What was once epic and masterful has been drained of life. You can blame it on the money-milking machine that is Disney for unnecessarily remaking the films we have once held dear in our childhoods, however, as long as audiences clean their wallets for the sake of nostalgia, the studio will not stop until there is nothing left.
Nostalgia is a precious thing for so many people, and Nickelodeon seems to know it all too well. In recent years, the family-oriented TV studio has followed suit with all the other nostalgic cash-ins, and started rebooting their entertainment for those yearning over a simpler decade when VHS tapes were in and cartoons were entertaining; ‘All That’, ‘Hey Arnold’, and now ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ in the form of a special called ‘Static Cling’. ‘Static Cling’ is an ode to the nostalgic memories we hold dear as well as a commentary on an ever-changing world we are trying to keep up with.
Netflix released a “documentary” on August 5th, 2019 titled, Enter the Anime. The premise is simple enough, “What is anime?” and follows a newcomer to the industry, Alex Burunova, as she doesn’t proceed to do anything for approximately 50 minutes. If it had not been for this review, I would never have touched this film. Even in the first few minutes, it was so repulsive that I would have turned it off altogether. Yet here we are, as promised. Today I’ll be discussing Enter the Anime through the lens of a piece a marketing for Netflex, as it transparently seems to only exist to sell you on their shows (and it can’t even do that).
I’m going to be frank with you all. There is not a single positive thing I could say about this “documentary”. Even when it had something interesting to say, it was often cut off, impossible to decipher due to the hyperactive editing, or drowned in a sea of vapid nothingness. Just wanted to be upfront about that.
The thesis statement of this is to find out what anime is. It’s clear that the target audience is folks who have never seen an anime in their life, but it also expects the viewer to be familiar with the material as well. If I were totally new to anime, this would have turned me off to the medium entirely, and in the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain why.
First, Burunova constantly talks about how “clean” and pristine Japan is as a nation but then says that anime is made by these “deranged” individuals who are the fringe of their society. This is not only extremely offensive, and mindbogglingly baffling that this was ever released, it implies that there is this level of taboo to the medium.
She also takes every moment to be as edgy as possible. I hate the “fellow kids” kind of comments people make about things when people are genuinely trying to connect to multiple generations, but this was exactly that. There is a moment where they say that a character in Baki says, “I don’t give a fuck” and she follows that up by saying, “Unlike Baki, I do give a fuck”. Which I guess is an alright line if it weren’t ruined by things like, “The Instagram royalty of yore” or whatever that stupid line is.
Burunova is like this from minute one. She is a terrible narrator and host.
This is followed up by showing the most graphic content that Netflix anime has to offer. Seriously, nonstop. To the “documentary’s” credit, there is a very brief section on “cute culture” and how “anime is for kids”, but it comes so late in, and is so short, that it may well not even have been included.
Finally, the editing and presentation of any topic is just plain awful. It is so transparent that this is just a giant ad for Netflix anime, especially the CG shows (which is fine), that it goes as far as to undermine its entire premise in the opening minutes.
Let me explain, the first interview is with the Castlevania guy. You know, not a Japanese person or a show even made in Japan. I’m not one of those people who think anime is only something from Japan either, but this really undercut any credibility anyone might have for what’s to come, and not just for this reason.
The guy is a massive weirdo! He starts things off by telling the audience that he is a “time traveler” and wastes almost 12 minutes of the runtime talking about his DOG and Kanye West of all things. What does that have to do with anime?
Even when they do finally talk to some industry people, half of the “interviews” are just… nothing. The worst instance of this was when they left a phone call with Yoko Takahashi’s manager in the “documentary”, instead of talking about NGE (which they never even mention by name for some reason) or showing her performance beyond a few seconds. It was just bad.
Oh yeah! They even recycled footage in this 50 minute piece of garbage. Can you believe that? More than once too! There’s no substance here. One interviewee talked about how many people don’t know him because Netflix lets you skip OP’s and ED’s, but that is given like 2 seconds. Almost all of them laugh about the lack of sleep they get, as if it is some joke you need to “get” about the industry. It was frustrating to watch.
Ok, so what was the point then? Like I said, this is meant to push Netflix shows. I think that’s fine, but they don’t really show much off, and a lot of the things they chose were the edgiest and least accessible titles. Even just choosing from among their “original” properties, they really did not offer variety here. It made anime feel immature, hyper violent, and kind of obnoxious.
Furthermore, they chose almost exclusively CG shows, where much, or even all, of the product was not animated in 2D. Again, this would be fine except that just isn’t what anime is on the whole. Same can be said for the last point.
Also there was this strange focus on titles that haven’t even come out yet. Some not until 2020. This was really dumb, because when those things were stacked up alongside this train wreck, it didn’t make me want to watch them. Seriously, I have less confidence in some of these shows because they were in this “documentary”.
In a lot of ways, this would have been better as a mini series with proper time given to all its topics. The question of “what is anime?” is answered in a lot of ways: culture, food, style, etc… but ultimately settles on saying it doesn’t matter. It chooses to abandon its core premise to say “it brings people together” and “it gives a voice to the outcasts” but, I just couldn’t help but feel it was pandering. Void of all meaning. A genuine waste of time, and a massive mistake on the part of Netflix.
This is slightly longer than the max character limit of 1,000 words I set for these mini reviews, but this was just that bad. I tried to stay focused on the marketing angle, but I just couldn’t avoid airing grievances. Let me know if you liked this in the comments, please tell me how you managed to do that. Support my stuff via the Ko-fi button below. See ya in the next one folks.
If there is one person I’ve wanted to talk about for some time now, it’s the late Satoshi Kon. I’ve seen nearly all of his work and it is something that is certainly worth talking about, but finding the words hasn’t been easy. However, you guys voted and here we are today to discuss the 2003 film Tokyo Godfathers. If you are here just looking for a recommendation, you have it in full. This is a great movie to watch whenever, but especially around Christmas time. You can find the film pretty easily and legally, so go out and watch it.Continue reading “Anime ABC’s T is for Tokyo Godfathers”→
Despite this being his ninth picture, ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ does not feel like a Quentin Tarantino film. It has all the Tarantino touches, fetishes, and obsessions on display (the excessive profanity, graphic violence, and gratuitous shots of bare feet), but it is the director at his most restrained and mellow; relying more on the glitz, glamour, and nostalgia of 60’s culture. Tarantino has crafted a time capsule I could fully immerse myself in, and the style shows. For once, I felt like I was transported back to a time where the Golden Age of Hollywood was ending and the Manson Murders reached infamy (I didn’t say it was all pleasant).
Everyone knows Nicolas Cage as one of the most insane actors who has ever lived; able to give an over-the-top performance in the blink of an eye, which not even John Malkovich can be able to top; which is why the lead role in ‘Mandy’ is perfect for him. Though “Mandy” is not the name of his character, but that of his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), an artist whose hobbies include being out in the wilderness and turning into a deep and meaningful book. The character of Mandy is also a motivational tool for Cage’s Red to go out for some good old-fashioned bloody revenge when a group of hippie Jesus freaks, led by a Charles Manson-esque figure named Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) mess with him and take her from his life.
You would think that ‘Toy Story 4’ was nothing more than a pointless cash grab, but in the case of this continuation of a sweet conclusion to a trilogy, you would be surprised. ‘Toy Story’ is Pixar’s most beloved and meaningful of its properties. Not only did it put Pixar on the map and pave the way for computer animation to be the new norm, it also manages to appeal to both children and adults. Just the name “Toy Story” alone is enough to bring joy into the hearts of those who hear it being mentioned. To ruin such a beloved trilogy for the sake of money and merchandising is basically a crime against humanity. Thankfully, ‘Toy Story 4’ still has enough heart to keep the franchise alive.