TV show

Review of “Very CatDog Christmas” (1999)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

Cat and Dog are preparing for Christmas and go to the mall, where various animal children stand in line to sit on Santa’s lap. Santa is also the only human in that universe. Not long after, a VIP’s spoiled daughter, Rancine, whines about how she wants the CatDog. Dog convinces Cat to take the offer, but he doesn’t agree with it. So, Rancine cries while on Santa’s lap.

Shortly after, Santa is furious and cancels Christmas, where his sleigh erases every holiday element and decoration. Even CatDog’s Christmas tree is gone, so they get creative and try making their own. Then they realize that spending time with loved ones matters more for Christmas than the stuff.

This special interested me a bit when one of my friends wanted to play it at my 24th birthday party a few years ago. Like my guests, I found it odd that Santa was the only person in an animal world. I also found Rancine unlikable, not to mention that her dress is so short and her underwear shows. That’s not exactly age-appropriate for someone as old as her.

But the strengths include the morals and the engaging element of a childhood show. I think it’s a great special that everyone can enjoy. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

movie

A “Hercules” Theory: Was Hercules Better Off Living as a Mortal? (1997 film)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Although the Disney adaptation of “Hercules” differed a lot from the original myth and was probably highly sugarcoated (which should not be surprising), it still pleases me a lot. I honestly like that stuff.

Anyway, onto the topic. Hercules was born a god, but was turned into a mortal by Hades’ assistants, Pain and Panic. The other gods look for him, but when they finally find him, he is mortal and can’t go back to Mount Olympus.

Years later, when Hercules is a teenager, he discovers from his adoptive parents that they actually found him when he was an infant and took him in. They also kept the metal Hercules had worn when he was a baby, and Hercules takes it to the temple of Zeus. That is where he discovers his true heritage and that he was born a god. The Zeus statue (which could be controlled by the actual Zeus in the movie) tells Hercules that he can become a god again if he proves himself a true hero. He tries to achieve that goal throughout the rest of the story and earns his immortality back. But then he realizes that he’d rather live as a mortal with Meg, his love interest.

So, this is where my question comes into place. Only gods can live on Mount Olympus, but can they leave Mount Olympus voluntarily? What if one of them wanted to go to the market, or go for a walk, or make friends? Are the gods allowed to do that?

Because Disney changes a lot from the original source materials, it’s probably a mystery if the gods can leave Mount Olympus and go out in public. But I am leaning toward an unlikely. I could be wrong for the Disney version, though. If I am correct, then I think Hercules would have been better off living as a mortal instead of a god.

If he hadn’t been turned into a mortal and got to grow up with his birth parents, would he have had limited understanding of the human world? Would he have been extra socially awkward from not being exposed to people?

What do you think?

movie

It’s Going to be a Good Evaluation of “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” (2004)

Warning: contains spoilers***

I first saw this film in a car ride with Girl Scouts many years ago. Then I watched it again recently and picked up more of the story, not to mention that being older also likely played a part. Anyway, let me start the evaluation.

A bunch of pirates have tickets to “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie”, sing the theme song, and enter the movie theater, which is close to a boating dock (pretty odd). Then it focuses on Bikini Bottom—only for there to be a police investigation due to a customer not having cheese in his crabby patty. SpongeBob saves the day by placing cheese in the guy’s sandwich and is cheered for as the Krusty Krab manager… but it was all just a dream. Nevertheless, SpongeBob looks forward to earning his position as the new manager. However, the prize is given to Squidward, and poor SpongeBob is heartbroken. Meanwhile, Plankton envies Mr. Krabs’ expanding business and steals not only the secret formula to the crabby patties, but also King Neptune’s crown. King Neptune angrily blames Mr. Krabs for it and freezes him with his rake. It is up to SpongeBob and Patrick to save everything.

As usual, the humor succeeded very much and I laughed my brains out throughout the film. I especially found the part where Patrick and SpongeBob ate so much ice cream and got drunk because of it. Other strengths include the songs, like “Now That We’re Men” and “Goofy Goober”, both the original and rock versions, and much more.

Speaking of rock, it’s unknown how SpongeBob got a supernatural guitar and costume when he freed the Bikini Bottom citizen being Plankton’s controlled slaves. I felt it was too much of a deus ex machina moment, which is when something saves the day with little to no believability and merely for plot convenience, just out of nothing. Other deus ex machina moments include David Hasselhoff taking SpongeBob and Patrick back to the ocean (and being a perfectly good swimmer and literal human motor) and when the water revived all the dead sea creatures in Shell City. Unless the sprinklers had magic in them, it was pretty unbelievable. Someone on YouTube made a good point. Except for Patrick and SpongeBob, who had just recently and briefly drowned in the air, pouring water onto dead sea animals would not bring them back to life. But maybe the water was enchanted, since SpongeBob and Patrick’s tears traveled to a nearby outlet and caused the emergency sprinklers to come on.

While focusing on the emergency, King Neptune’s daughter, Princess Mindy, told SpongeBob and Patrick that they were the only ones left who could receive the crown since all the other residents in Bikini Bottom have become Plankton’s slaves with their bucket helmets. However, King Neptune and his servants (at least one of them), were not under the curse of Plankton’s helmets. So, they technically could have contributed somehow. But King Neptune was too insecure about his baldness (or what he called thinning) to go out.

Which reminds me—it was not nice for the Bikini Bottom residents to freak out over King Neptune’s baldness. Not just because he was the ruler, but it’s also rude in general. You never make fun of or freak out over somebody being bald. What else is ironic is that the Bikini Bottom dwellers are sea creatures (except for Sandy), and none of them have hair. So, that would put them in the same boat as King Neptune, even if he abused his power. Mindy was right to ask him to use kindness and compassion. Like the YouTuber, Brooks Show, I have to agree that Mindy is a bit like Velma from “Scooby Doo”. Part of her also reminds me of Ariel and King Neptune as Triton in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Their beliefs and relationship are quite similar.

Another part I would like to comment on include the cyclops, who is really just some guy in a diving suit. But I think he is an extreme psychopath. Brooks Show also made another good point that he didn’t have to be in that big suit once on land. When Patrick’s Goofy Goober underwear showed after SpongeBob believed that the two were just kids, Patrick ran away in tears without pulling his shorts up. I whispered, “Pull your pants up,” and then SpongeBob did the same. Funny.

So, that’s it for my evaluation. I would rate “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” 5 out of 5 stars. Do you agree?

fiction, movie

I Want to Make Comic Book Adaptations of My Books

Who wouldn’t love to see visual versions of their novels? Many writers dream of their books becoming movies. But only a handful of books get adapted to films, and the authors usually don’t have any creative control whatsoever. Only big names, like J.K. Rowling, may be allowed control. The filmmakers often say that what looks good written on paper may not necessarily translate well to the screen. They also worry about their chances of success if they permitted the author creative control.

Regardless of what movie crews claim, I notice that it often backfires. Many film-adaptations of books where the authors were completely left out of the projects have mixed or negative overall reactions. Those, such as ” Harry Potter”, do better. The books already sold well on their own prior to the movies being optioned.

I, too, have dreamed of my books being movies. In fact, I used to try and sell film rights through certain sites many times. But it was too premature and no one would accept them. And I am quite glad that they didn’t.

I’ve gotten to know myself better and how much of a control freak I am over my work. So, now I realize how much I would hate film versions of my novels. I feel the need for input and having things happen exactly how I envision them. In fact, I am teaching myself to have a new mindset, where certain publicity services should be avoided because they will mess with my ideas.

Okay, that may sound crazy. I am not necessarily saying this is a good mindset to have. But for me, it’s realistic. I get very annoyed when people do things to my work that aren’t how I intend or envision them. So, no selling film rights, traditional publishing rights, or foreign language rights, is a message to me.

I did once consider animating my books into movies myself. But, of course, that would be a huge overkill, even if I worked with others. So, that is why I want to make comics of the stories instead.

Yes, the characters won’t move. Yes, no one will hear them speak out loud like in cartoons. But it would be far less work than animating. I would just have to practice my illustration skills over time. Then I would maybe test them by offering them as free downloads from my website. If they succeeded, I would then sell them.

movie

Let’s Get Kicking with This Critique of “Early Man” (2018)

I’ve always wanted to watch this film as the trailer engaged and cracked me up a lot. Then I saw it recently on my computer and really enjoyed it.

So, without further ado, let the critique begin. I’ll start off with the strengths.

1: The humor

I cannot keep track of how many times I’ve laughed throughout this movie. It was made by the same company who did “Wallace and Gromit”. The characters were fantastic, especially the main one, Dug, who was voiced by Eddie Redmayne. You probably know him from the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.

Some of the funny moments include the giant duck, the rabbit, and the characters’ actions.

2: The rabbit

I can’t skip this one. The rabbit acted silly and excited, even when over a bonfire. It did a hokey pokey move while tied to a stick. Even though it’s a minor character, I still enjoyed the bunny.

3: The twists and turns

This film brought a lot of surprises. One example includes the giant duck. A not-so-bright member of the cave people tribe sees a duck from a distance, wants it for food, and hits it with a rock. Little does he and the others know that it’s a giant duck, which becomes of use later. I won’t say how.

Another surprise was when Dug is lost in the civilized village near a stadium, he sees an attractive girl named Goona, who ends up helping him and his tribe win the soccer (or football outside the US) tournament. I predicted Dug and Goona would become a romantic couple. Well, barely at most, which I admire since that feels a little cliched to me.

4: The importance of teamwork

When the cave people have to win a soccer game with the civilization nearby, after being banished from their valley, someone (I don’t remember whom) points out that what they possess is togetherness. I considered that a great moral.

Now onto the parts that I felt could have been better:

1: Chief is only in his early 30’s—about 32

What?! He looks so much older. I thought he was no younger than 60 at first. I get that the creators probably wanted to emphasize on how cave people didn’t live very long. I’m not sure if it’s prehistorically accurate for early 30’s to be elderly with old age signs during the stone age. But for today’s standards, it’s way too awkward.

2: Why are there cave people during the time the dinosaurs went extinct?

This, for sure, is prehistorically inaccurate. Humans didn’t come about until millions and millions of years after the dinosaurs perished. In the movie, though, unlike the tribe Dug belongs to, the humans during the dinosaur times had no speech. Still—I hope this doesn’t mislead children into thinking cave people and dinosaurs co-existed together. Nope.

3: Why does Dug’s pet pig sound like a dog?

He howls and barks, but never oinks. Unless that’s prehistorically accurate, it looks kind of sloppy. That being said, he and Dug do share a sweet bond.

4: Some hidden (or not-so-hidden) adult content

This movie is rated PG and is supposed to be family-friendly. However, there were a few moments that shocked me, such as when Dug slipped into the shower under a naked man’s legs. Of course, they don’t show anything that would make parents forbid their kids to watch it. Still, as an adult, I was pretty astounded by this. Hopefully, it glossed over children’s heads. There were a few other subtle, but mature moments as well.

Regardless of the even amount of strengths and weaknesses, I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. The humor is what really drew me in. And I would still gladly recommend it to everyone of all ages.

movie

Disney Princess Mystery: How are the Princesses Educated?

I have thought about this for quite some time. I know education doesn’t usually play roles in Disney Princess movies. But I still get curious about it.

I’ve read that Aurora was homeschooled by her fairy guardians. Belle and Tiana must have also been educated. Belle loves to read and Tiana loves her job as a waitress. Since they became princesses by marriage, it is possible that they attended normal school, especially Tiana. She lives in the early 20th century Louisiana. While child protection and education laws were different at that time in real life, they could have been more satisfying and unique in “The Princess and the Frog” universe.

As for those like Snow White and Cinderella, I wonder if they received little to no formal education. Not just because of their decisions and behaviors, but also how their stepmothers treated them. Cinderella was forced to be a servant to her unkind stepmother and stepsisters. Even though I am unaware of how she learned things when her father was around, I can’t imagine that her stepfamily would arrange her an education. Snow White was abandoned in the woods by her wicked stepmother. Like Cinderella, I don’t know a lot about Snow White’s life before her stepmother took over. But if she was left in the wilderness, I don’t think her stepmother would even think about getting her educated. Maybe she wanted to keep Snow White uneducated. There was even a scene where she said to wild animals, “Don’t be afraid,” which I think someone her age is too old to do. However, maybe she never learned about wild animals fearing humans. Of course, later, they are not afraid of Snow White.

Let’s not forget about Elsa, who has to hide from pretty much everyone growing up, including her sister, Anna. If she can know that people can’t marry others that they just met, then she must have been educated. Maybe her parents slipped her some parchment under her door and would only come in if she needed help. Who knows?

So, aside from plot convenience, do Disney princesses received formal education prior to the events in their stories? Or when they’re off-screen? Do they end it earlier than 12th grade-level, depending on their ages? The movies are set in historical time periods, so the answer to the last question could be a yes. I would assume that those born into royalty are homeschooled. But I could be wrong.

TV show

Holy Magic Mackerel! I’ve Noticed These Details in “The Fairly OddParents”

As a childhood favorite, I not only learned a lot about “The Fairly OddParents”, but I also picked up many details, both as a kid and now as an adult.

You probably know the premise: a young boy named Timmy Turner is miserable and has two fairies that grant him wishes. But he has to keep them secret, or else he’ll lose them forever.

Anyway, if you’ve watched a lot of the show, you might follow this better. So, without further ado, here are some insane and interesting details from the show.

1: A lot of deus ex machina moments

If you don’t know what it is, deus ex machina is a term for when something in a story happens merely for plot convenience. It is often frowned upon in creating any form of fiction, written or visual.

But one detail I found that constantly happens throughout the series are characters saying, “It’s not like this (whatever it is) will happen.” And then it does. Or when somebody watches TV, the hosts or reporters will say things to the viewers as if they knew who was watching and when they were. Even as a child, I found this a little annoying, although I didn’t know the term, deus ex machina. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the show.

I must also mention the convenient use of tomato-throwing when people are mad at something or somebody.

2: Characters seem to be “stupid” and not notice anything, just for plot convenience

In the episode, “Chin Up!”, Cosmo and Wanda appear as their normal fairy forms, in front of a bunch of people. Timmy freaks out loudly, and reveals that if anyone finds out they’re his fairy godparents, they’ll have to go away forever. But Wanda tells Timmy that the others will think they’re big kids in costumes, and somebody walks by and compliments on their “costumes.” This is very unbelievable. Timmy would have lost his fairies from there, even though they kind of are at fault. Moments like this occurred several times throughout later episodes, too. Characters would speak their thoughts out loud and nobody would pay attention or even seem to hear. Another aspect that’s not believable. But I guess that is enough with the criticism.

3: There are a lot of similarities to “The Simpsons”

I noticed this in recent years. Some details include how Mr. Crocker sounds like Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons”, although they’re not voiced by the same actor. Vicky’s head changing to something related to one of the episodes about to show is also similar to how the couch gag changes for different stories of “The Simpsons.”

4: Wand magic doesn’t always work fully

I assume this based of the events in the episodes, “Babyface” and “Teacher’s Pet” (no relation to the Toon Disney cartoon or movie). In the first one listed, Timmy accidentally runs into a daycare away from Francis and a bunch of other big, mean kids. So, he wishes to be a baby in order to hide from Francis. However, not long after, he realizes that he can’t talk. Therefore, he can’t wish himself back to being age 10 normally. That being said, he can still read, spell, and think like a 10-year-old. He points to the blocks and Wanda agrees with the idea to spell out his wish. But if the magic worked fully, not only would Timmy have lost his ability to speak, he also would have forgotten to know how to spell, read, or even think and solve problems like an older kid. In fact, he would have put the blocks in his mouth as that’s how babies explore their world. Yet, then there wouldn’t really be a story.

In the episode, “Teacher’s Pet”, Timmy wishes to be teacher’s pet, and Cosmo and Wanda’s infant son, Poof, grants him the wish and turns him into a guinea pig. He can still talk, though. Once again, if the wish worked completely, Timmy would only be able to squeak and function like a real guinea pig, and not a human.

There you have it. I hope you find this list helpful.

movie

Oh, I Just Can’t Wait to Compare and Contrast “The Lion King” Adaptations (1994 and 2019)

Pretty much everyone I’ve met has enjoyed 1994’s “The Lion King”. Many consider it their favorite movie. Only one person I’ve met has said that she wasn’t really into “The Lion King.”

Obviously, I’ve seen the cartoon of it and enjoyed it. In fact, as a high school senior, I enjoyed the film so much that I performed the end credit version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” at a school spotlight night (like a talent show).

Anyway, the cartoon depicted and released a lot of emotional experiences to the audience. The songs are great, the characters are well-developed, and the mood is powerful.

That being said, someone pointed out that there might be some damsel-in-distress moments. The person said that rather than resolving Scar’s abuse of power on their own, the female lions wait for Simba to return. He was assumed dead, though. Yet, when Nala found him and he refused to come back since he thought he was responsible for his father, Mufasa’s death, Nala didn’t seem to take a lot of action on her own.

Another moment that stands out to me is the line Mufasa says to Simba after he goes to the elephant graveyard, “You deliberately disobeyed me.” Yes, they were different tones, but I consider that kind of lazy, unless there’s a purpose (i.e. “My boy, my little Hercules,” from 1997’s “Hercules”). It was as if the writers copied and pasted that same line, whether or not Microsoft Word existed.

Nevertheless, the animated version of “The Lion King” pleased me very much. Sadly, when the live-action remake came out, it didn’t cause any emotional reactions or anything nearly as much the way the cartoon did. In fact, it was pretty much a carbon copy of the 1994 adaptation. Most scenes were the same shots, but in a “live-action” way. It was mostly realistic CGI, except for one scene, and obviously, because getting those types of animals to act is too dangerous. Despite that, animators need to draw from live models of those creatures, and who knows how those animals stay calm and not maul or hurt anyone?

While the remake did reduce the “You deliberately disobeyed me” line to one use, the facial expressions were quite limited, and I couldn’t get into it nearly as much as the animated movie.

I would rate the cartoon 5 out of 5 stars, but the reboot 2.5 out of 5 stars. Even my friends didn’t enjoy it too much, either.

TV show

Beware! It’s My Top Memorable Moments from “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy”

A skeleton is friends with two children. There is Mandy, who has a dark attitude and hardly ever smiles, despite her blonde hair and pink top. Then there is Billy, who is enthusiastic and silly.

This show aired on Cartoon Network for a while in the 2000’s. It was a great show.

Now here are the top memorable moments from the show.

7: When Grim wore a bra

Okay, okay, I can guess what you’re probably thinking. But it’s true. There was one episode where his cloak was removed and he had a bra on. Really.

6: When Billy’s friend, Irwin, turned into a dog

Billy found a dog with glasses, not realizing that it was his friend, Irwin. He asked his parents if he could keep him. His mom said no, but his dad said yes. Then, at some point, Irwin turns back into a human in a stadium, naked in front of everybody.

5: When Grim and Billy switch personalities

Grim acts silly like Billy and Billy behaves like Grim. Eventually, their physical appearances switch, too.

4: When Billy loses his sight from a video game

Billy presses his eyes against the TV monitor while playing a video game, which could have ruined his eyes, according to Mandy. And it did. At some point later, Billy even thought Mandy held up 74 fingers.

3: When Billy and Mandy told stories

Mandy’s story was so inconsiderate and lazy. It went, “Once upon a time, the end.” Then she told a story about Humpty Dumpty where it ended where everybody had eggs for all three of their meals. However, Billy’s involved a villain who couldn’t defeat anyone because they were so happy. Even he became joyous, himself.

2: When Billy and Grim celebrated Mandy’s “birthday”

Billy has Grim help him plan a birthday bash for Mandy. When Mandy arrives, Grim and Billy go, “Happy birthday, happy birthday, it’s your happy day.” But Mandy reveals that her birthday isn’t for another 5 months.

1: The song, “Under the Ocean”

Ah, a parody of “Under the Sea” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”. This was a great moment.

So, there you have it.

TV show

Now Calling, Kids Next Door Mysteries

Since lockdown began in March in my area (although things reopened with restrictions), I have been visiting old childhood TV shows. Not only did I read synopses of my favorite episodes, but I also watched some. One of them included “Codename: Kids Next Door”.

I saw a few episodes recently. A couple of them breezed by, but the other two were a bit slow and less engaging.

Anyway, while I researched the program, I came up with a few unanswered questions that I wonder.

1: Why do the kids next door have to steal the delightful children’s birthday cake every time they have birthday bashes?

I’ve only seen the first episode, known as C.A.K.E.D, which I believe is the pilot that set the show up. There, the KND try to take the delightful children’s cake, and then the delightful children trap them in their home and have them play party games. But what is wrong with the delightful children’s cakes?

2: Why aren’t the KND’s parents’ faces shown in the early episodes?

This practice has been going on since the beginning of animation. Sometimes there are reasons for hiding certain characters’ faces, and other times there aren’t. That used to really bug me, and maybe others, too.

However, for some reason, the creators seemed to have changed their minds later and decided to show the KND’s parents faces. But I read that they kept Numbuh 5’s mom and dads’ faces unseen.

3: Why do the creators like Numbuh 5’s braid exposed, but not Numbuh 3’s hair?

In the L.I.C.E episode, all the KND’s hair has been eaten (although lice don’t feast on hair in real life), but Numbuh 5’s braid remained. Also, Numbuh 3 wears swim caps when going in the water. And the KND’s logo originally had Numbuh 3’s ear hidden, but then made it exposed. This pattern has happened many other times. Not just in the show, but also in some computer games.

If that’s so frequent, then couldn’t the creators have just chopped off Numbuh 3’s hair from the start? Who says she needs to have long hair?

And those are the three mysteries I wonder about “Codename: Kids Next Door.”