A Look Back on Oliver & Company – Oliver Twist, but with Strays

My introduction to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist was Disney’s Oliver & Company, though I was unaware of the source at the time. I saw it as a fun little musical about a cat and some dogs (with one being voiced by none other than Billy Joel). Yet as I got older, I noticed that it was a much darker story than I was led to believe. Underneath its jazzy musical numbers, singing dogs, and New York atmosphere lied a story of crime and survival. The story of Oliver Twist was never really lighthearted to begin with, yet the slums of London are replaced with the streets of New York City as people hustle about getting from one place to the next, while the lowest live in the slums. Also, put in a mafia boss setting a race against time, and you have a recipe for what may be Disney’s grittiest film in animation history.

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A Look Back at ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat’ – The Movie that Killed Future Live-Action Dr. Seuss Adaptations!

After the major success of Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Universal took it upon themselves to adapt another beloved book by Dr. Seuss, the classic story of The Cat in the Hat. Unlike The Grinch however, Bo Welch’s adaptation was a flop, not just critically, but financially as well. I remember wanting to see this movie at age 9 as I loved the source material. But I had heard so many bad things about it. Parents said it was too crass to be shown to children, while Audrey Geisel (Seuss’ wife) thought it was so terrible that she refused any of Seuss’ further works to be adapted for live-action. When I saw it in the store, I ended up putting it in my mom’s cart and she bought it for me, despite her warning. I seemed to like The Cat in the Hat enough, but as I grew older, I ended up dismissing it as an abomination to what Seuss worked on. In many ways, that is true. A lot of the humor was mainly for adults, but not in a clever way that kids could miss, yet adults could appreciate, but in a way that went overboard. I could not understand how it did not get a PG-13 rating. At the behest of my three-year-old son, I decided to revisit this movie on Netflix. I almost refused, but I gave in for the sake of my child. I had not seen this film in years, so I figured “What the hell”. Upon watching, I knew I had to do a write-up to determine whether The Cat in the Hat is as bad as I remember, or if it was just misunderstood.

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A Look Back on ‘Ted’ (2012) – Seth MacFarlane’s Directorial Debut

Back in 2012, I graduated high school! I thought that it would be the best year of my life, since I was embracing adulthood, entering the world on my own as I left my academic years behind. One of the things I did to feel more like my age was go to my first R-rated movie by myself. As soon as I had the money, as I didn’t have a job at the time, I went to my local Regal theater and checked out Ted. Now Ted was a special movie for me, due to the fact that it was the first R-rated movie I had seen in a theater since Watchmen, back in 2009. The only exception was that I was completely on my own, without a parent to accompany me. I couldn’t even believe my actual age as I sat through Ted in all its raunchy glory, yet for the first time, I felt like a real adult. Funny enough that it was a movie about a talking teddy bear with the voice of Seth MacFarlane, who also wrote, produced, and directed this movie.

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A Look Back On ‘Freddy Vs. Jason’ – The Clash of the Horror Titans

Before Godzilla Vs. Kong, Batman V. Superman and Alien Vs. Predator, there was Freddy Vs. Jason; the movie that pitted two horror icons against each other! Just the idea of placing Freddy Kreuger from A Nightmare on Elm Street and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th in a battle to the death seemed like something a slasher movie fan would conjure up. Well, someone took that idea and decided to put it to film as an original idea instead of something based off of a comic (which were the stages for crossover battles like this), yet upon rewatching Freddy Vs. Jason, it seemed that it was probably better left to a horror fan’s wet dream.

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A Look Back at ‘StarFox 64’ – The Most Quotable (and Memeable) Game in Existence

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, there existed a game which would shape my childhood for the rest of my life. That game was StarFox 64. As simple as it was, it came with its share of challenges that would ensure its playability for years to come. Nearly 25 years later, I still find myself reliving its moments of shooting enemy ships and getting feedback from my teammates in so many different interactions. The most important thing about StarFox 64 is how fun it is, even after all this time! For those who do not know (and why wouldn’t you), StarFox 64 is kind of a follow-up to the original StarFox that was on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), but that’s as simple as that gets. The plot, however, is that of an evil scientist named Andross who lays waste to the planet of Corneria, only to be exiled by General Pepper to the barren desert planet of Venom. Years later, the team known as Starfox, which involves James McCloud, Pigma Dengar, and Peppy Hare, are sent to investigate the goings-on in Venom. Upon arriving, Pigma betrays the team, and Andross captures James and Peppy, though Peppy is the only one who makes it out alive, as he goes home to tell James’ son, Fox about his father. Years pass, and Andross is trying to take over the Lylat System. General Pepper thus hires a new StarFox team with Fox taking over as leader, accompanied by Peppy, along with Falco Lombardi, and Slippy Toad to foil Andross’ plans and save the Lylat System. In case the names don’t spell it out for you, they also happen to be animals.

Judging by the synopsis, it is clear that I know this game left and right, front to back, as a lot of what I just explained is part of the opening narration, which could make for a great opener for a film adaptation, if one ever gets made. The whole of the game is basically you, as Fox, flying through different planets and shooting enemy ships while your teammates constantly interact with you. Though the way you explore through different planets depends on the choices that get made, whether it be a teammate’s ship needing repaired after being hit one too many times, or you find a different path, or maybe the offset chance that you mess up an objective. After many playthroughs, you start to get used to a certain path, which can be repetitive. Yet, on some planets, you are given a choice on whether you want to change course, or retry the same planet. The only takeaway is that, if you are a first time player, some plot elements don’t make sense when you get through certain planets. But you can always try for medals by shooting up the highest total amount of ships, if you can, which unlocks bonuses for later play.

Now that I got through the gist of the game, I want to talk about why StarFox 64 was a huge part of my childhood, and why I still enjoy playing it to this day. I have already talked about the fun of the gameplay and the interactions that stay with you. But there is something about the controls that make the flying of the Arwing smooth and the constant shooting fluid to the touch, compared to video games that feel stiff with their controls. Of course, you could say the same thing about any game on the Nintendo 64 (N64). What keeps me coming back for more is the dialogue, which I like to breathe in every time I play. The constant chatter from the teammates is entertaining, to say the least. I can quote this game off the top of my head, added to the voice acting; the wise words and advice from Peppy (“Do a barrel roll”), the snarkiness of Falco (“I guess you’re good for something”), and yes, even the whininess of Slippy (“Fox! Get this guy off me!”). Pure enjoyability! It’s no surprise that this game is the subject of memes!

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