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Here are my top 10 favorite films:
1. The Iron Giant (1999)
2. Hugo (2011)
3. Princess Mononoke (1997)
4. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
5. Amadeus (1984)
6. Aliens (1986)
7. Die Hard (1988)
8. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
9. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
10. Evil Dead II (1987)
And my top 10 favorite directors:
1. Hayao Miyazaki
2. Steven Spielberg
3. Tim Burton
4. Guillermo del Toro
5. Brad Bird
6. James Cameron
7. Don Bluth
8. Mel Brooks
9. John Hughes
10. Peter Jackson
Teen Titans Go! (2013)
An insult to kids and an insult to Teen Titans
I know I'm already 3 years late, but as the old saying goes, better late than never. So, let me start by saying this: I freaking LOVE 'Teen Titans'....well, the original 'Teen Titans' show, anyway.
I wasn't much of a comic book fan growing up, but I always enjoyed action-oriented cartoons like 'Justice League', 'Samurai Jack', 'My Life as a Teenage Robot', and even 'The Powerpuff Girls'. 'Teen Titans' was no exception. Ever since it first premiered on Cartoon Network in 2003, my childhood was never the same again. What stood out for me the most, aside from the elaborate action scenes, were the 5 main characters: Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beastboy. Each of them had their own quirks, flaws, and distinct personality, and unlike most super hero teams, these characters all acted like REAL TEENAGERS WITH REAL PROBLEMS. Raven had an abusive childhood, Starfire had trouble fitting in because she was from a different world, Cyborg was physically handicapped (because of his robot body), Beastboy was usually the goof ball that wanted to make his friends laugh, and Robin was the smartass tough kid that wanted to be taken seriously by his peers.
The Teen Titans in that show weren't just fictional characters to me, they were real kids that I could sympathize with and relate to. What pisses me off about 'Teen Titans Go!', isn't the new animation style, or the more goofy tone. What REALLY pisses me off about 'Teen Titans Go!', is that it took away everything that made the 2003 Titans relatable, and reduced them to unlikable one-note stereotypes!
Beastboy and Cyborg no longer function as the sibling-like dynamic duo, but instead function as the Spongebob and Patrick of the show. Raven is no longer cool and collected badass, but instead a closet Brony...and nothing else. Starfire is no longer the cute, quirky alien girl, but instead a self-centered brat who's obsessed with her looks, and Robin pretty much got the worst personality change of a all. Remember how Robin would sometimes be arrogant and bossy, yet still caring towards his friends in the original show? Well, in this show, he's arrogant and bossy ALL THE TIME, and acts like a complete monster towards his friends! It's kind of like how he behaved in the episode 'Haunted', but imagine an ENTIRE show like that, and you'll get the 'Teen Titans Go!' version of Robin.
Oh yes, it's THAT bad, people!
Oh, and if you want an example of what the "humor" is like in this show, they have an episode where Beastboy and Cyborg say nothing except the word "WAFFLES" for eleven minutes straight. There's also an episode where the Titans sing about "the Pee-Pee Dance" (I am NOT even kidding), and don't even get me started on the second Christmas episode (yes, this show has TWO Christmas specials). To make matters worse there's hardly any action in this show, and every time they try to have a fight scene, it cuts away to something stupid and completely irrelevant to the scene!
I know this show is meant to be a somewhat of a parody, but in order to do a parody right, you have to actually be FUNNY. I also know that this is a "kids show", but let's be honest here, your kids deserve something WAY better. If you're a parent, maybe you try showing your kids other shows. Shows that actually respect your kid's intelligence like 'Steven Universe', or 'Adventure Time', or 'Wander Over Yonder', or even 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic'. 'Teen Titans Go!' does not belong in, nor deserve to be in the same category as those kids shows.
The Last: Naruto the Movie (2014)
As a Naruto fan, I liked this movie
Originally, I wasn't going to post a review for this movie until after I'd have seen an HD subbed version (since the last subbed version I watched was only a cam-rip in very poor quality), but I just didn't have enough patience to wait another couple months. So now, I'm going to explain why I think this movie is underrated and should be looked at from a non- biased perspective.
First, there's the half that says this movie was "falsely advertised" and "tricked" its audience into seeing a NaruHina love story. This is obviously not true, because not only was there footage and images of Japanese NaruHina-focused advertisements leaked online before the movie came out, but the movie's tag line literally is: "The last story of Uzumaki Naruto, is love..."
In fact, that's another thing most (western) audiences didn't get: how Naruto fell in love with Hinata. Now, I am fully aware that there were one or two NaruHina flashbacks in the movie that didn't exactly happen in the manga. However, those that DID happen in the manga were still heavily emphasized. One of the most common complaints I've seen regarding this movie, is: "Naruto had to love with Hinata through a genjutsu!" Obviously, those people have missed the point of that scene entirely, because the genjutsu scene with all of those NaruHina flashbacks were meant to remind Naruto (and the audience) that his feelings for Hinata were there the whole time.
Then of course, you have the fans who insist that Naruto was "out of character" in this movie, because he somehow "threw away his feelings for Sakura." As someone who was an avid reader of the manga, I can tell you right now that this was NOT the case!
Naruto never really "loved" Sakura. His feelings for her were nothing more than a crush. Now, you could argue that Sakura's feelings for Sasuke were just a crush as well, and they were...AT FIRST, but when she slowly began to learn the reasons behind Sasuke's goals, her crush developed into genuine love and concern for his well being. With that said, we never actually see Naruto's crush on Sakura develop into genuine love, because not only was he more concerned about winning the Chuunin Exams (and beating Neji), but once Sasuke had left Konoha to go with Orochimaru, he finally learned that Sakura really does love Sasuke. That was the moment when Naruto's crush had faded, and if that wasn't enough, they confirmed this AGAIN in chapter 469.
Anyway, back to the movie. While I did enjoy most of it, there were some things in there that I definitely would've changed. Sasuke, for example, should have gotten more screen time, as well as Kiba and Shino (since they were the closest friends Hinata had in the manga). I also would have given the movie more action, and less emphasis on the red scarf (though I did appreciate it's symbolic role as a red string of fate for Naruto and Hinata).
Overall, if you ship NaruSaku or SasuNaru, or just don't care for "romantic" action movies at all, then you might as well skip this one. However, if you're like me, and weren't really bothered by the pairings at the end of the manga, then try giving this movie at least one viewing.
This personally insults me as a Transformers fan!
Go see it, they said. It's the best of the trilogy, they said...Why did I even watch this movie? I really wanted to like it, honest! Okay, so 'Transformers' wasn't a great film, but it was watchable, then came 'Revenge of the Fallen', which was awful, and now there's this movie and it's almost as bad (if not worse) than "Revenge of the Fallen". Why? Because truth be told, it takes all the worst aspects of the first 2 movies, and molds them all together into one 2 1/2 hour pile of crap. That's how bad this film is.
Now with this movie, there's both good news, and bad news.
- Good News: Skids and Mudflap are out of the picture.
- Bad News: We now have to settle for Wheelie, and his new "sidekick" Brainy.
- Good News: No more racist Hispanic stereotypes.
- Bad News: There's a Ferari Transformer with a really bad Italian accent, a Russian butler who beats up women for no reason, and this really annoying Asain nerd who *thankfully* doesn't last very long in the movie.
- Good News: SHOCKWAVE'S IN THIS MOVIE! :D
- Bad News: He only has 2 lines of dialog in the whole thing.
- Good News: Megatron is no longer playing 2nd Banana to The Fallen.
- Bad News: He's now playing 2nd Banana to Sentinal Prime.
And of course, you'll get the obnoxious lens flares, pointless shaky cam, pointless slow- motion, and Rosie Huntington-Whitely who, quite frankly, can't act her way out of a paper bag.
Here was Michael Bay's chance to redeem himself from 'Revenge of the Fallen', and he failed. He failed MISERABLY! So, here's a piece of advice: If you were disappointed with 'Revenge of the Fallen', AVOID THIS MOVIE LIKE THE PLAGUE.
My Overall Rating-- 3 out of 10, and that's being generous.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
The Best Dreamworks film since 'The Prince of Egypt'
Ever since 'Shrek', Dreamworks have been giving us the standard "hip, pop-culture savvy" type of animated film. It was fun for a while, but the trope got really old after a couple of years. It wasn't until 'Kung-Fu Panda' did we get an almost-serious animated Dreamworks film again, then came a little film called 'How to Train Your Dragon'. When I first saw the teaser for this film, I just rolled my eyes and said, "Pfft, no one will take this film seriously, the dragons look too silly and the Vikings seem boring". Guess what? I was dragged to the theater with my mother and grandmother to see this thing, and I didn't like it........I LOVED IT!!!
This is the kind of movie I've been waiting for! A refreshing callback to the classic fantasy films, namely 'E.T.', 'The NeverEnding Story', and 'The Iron Giant'. It's got everything I love about those films: drama, tasteful humor, intense action scenes, a sympathetic main character, and above all...HEART! It's not the most original fantasy film, but once you get sucked into the environment, and attached to the characters, you'll hardly notice.
Toothless is adorable, Stoic and Gobber are pretty cool, and the Rookie Vikings are very funny. Now, Hiccup and Astrid are very basic when it comes to characters. Astrid is the typical tomboy love interest, and Hiccup is your standard rookie/underdog hero, but once you learn their backgrounds and their motives, you'll start to enjoy them. So, while it might be a generic story, it's still a very beautiful, touching, thrilling adventure that I DID NOT regret seeing in theaters (and the 3-D was totally worth it)!
My Overall Score-- A solid 10!
One of the most influential anime of my youth
There was only a small amount of anime shows I watched as a kid, but by the time I got to my teen years, I grew more fascinated with young adult anime. Though when I first heard about 'Naruto' on Cartoon Network, I thought it looked like one of the dumbest things on television, but then, something very interesting happened. It was Fall 2006, I was 14, and my 9-year old cousin made me watch one of the "newer" episodes with him (it was the one were Sasuke had to fight The Sand Siblings in the forest). When I started watching it, something in my mind just clicked. So I gave the show another chance, and started watching reruns leading up to that episode. Once I did, BOOM! It ultimately became one of my favorite shows of all time.
Another thing that makes 'Naruto' so great for me, are its characters. Naruto himself is a good example, because he's the ultimate underdog. He's stupid, he's clumsy, he always gets into trouble, and gets shunned by his classmates; but he tries so hard to change himself, and that's what I really love about this character! His back story is very interesting too, but I won't spoil it, because it's a huge plot point in the show. The supporting characters are great too (my favorites are: Itachi, Gaara, Shikamaru, and Hinata), though some of them may start out to be incredibly annoying (like Sakura, Neji, and Sasuke), but once you get further into the series, they'll eventually grow on you.
My Score-- A solid 10!
Transformers: Animated (2007)
NEVER judge a show by it's art style!
As a fellow Transformers fan, there's a little confession I would like to make: I was almost a Bayformers fan!!! But don't worry, even though I thought the first movie was good, it still wasn't enough to make me a genuine "Trans-Fan". My best friend knew much more about Transformers than I did, as she grew up with the franchise, so I've mostly learned about the main premise of the story from her.
Anyway, by 2007 I knew almost nothing about G1, Beast Wars, or the Unicorn Trilogy (though, from what I've heard, I didn't miss anything from the Unicron Trilogy). Then it just so happened, on Cartoon Network, I came across a TV promo for this new show simply titled, "Transformers: Animated". The moment I first saw their new designs I thought, "It would never catch on, the proportions of the robots look all wrong!" However, when the show finally aired, I took a look at one episode. My first thought was, "Well, the story seems pretty basic, but this Starscream guy looks like a cool character (by the way, this was the show that made me a Starscream fan-girl).
A couple years later, I soon forgot about it, until my friend show me the Allspark Allminac (which is a book that has information about everything from the show). Eventually, my interest for the show lit up again, and I've watched reruns of it on The Hub, then I realized everything I first thought about this show was wrong. The main Autobots, for example, are not the Superman archetypes you see in the original show, in fact Optimus here isn't even leader of the Autobots, but the leader of a small group of rookies. I really like this change, because not only does it make it a lot easier to root for them, but it also makes them more realistic and sympathetic.
Now the main human character, Sari, is another interesting aspect of this show. At first, she appears to be an annoying tag-a-long that never does what she's told. This of course, was a very common trope in Transformers since G1, but instead of just being a tag-a-long, Sari actually has a story arc in this series! She's also not as useless as most Trans-Fans like to believe, she actually helps the Autobots multiple times. Her father, Prof. Isaac Sumdac, is one of the "weaker" characters in the show. He's way too trusting towards Megatron in Season 1, and is clearly irresponsible letting his 8-year old daughter handle the AllSpark Key, but he's not too annoying and you'll eventually grow to love him.
I was also impressed by how the Decepticons were portrayed. Megatron doesn't get a very big role in the first season, but he is BY FAR superior to the clumsy G1 version, and the bland TF: Prime version of the character. The other Cons are also very well written. Blackarachnia and Waspinator both have tragic and interesting back stories, Blitzwing the triple-changer is given a split-personality, and Shockwave is given a more prominent role in Season 3.
It just makes me said that they were never able to release a Season 4 before it got canceled! This is a vastly underrated show, that has more emotional depth than "Transformers Prime", and much more character development than G1.
My Overall rating-- 8.5 out of 10!
Good animation, but not much else...
They do say that art is subjective, but in this film's case, it is VERY subjective. Yes, I was one of those people that loved this movie as a little kid, and being the Don Bluth fan that I am, I wanted to give it a try again as an adult, and I must say, while it is marginally better than "Bartok the Magnificent"and "A Troll in Central Park", it fails to have the lasting impact of the 80's Don Bluth films, and "Anastasia".
"Thumbelina", as a film, is mediocre at best. I know that the Hans Christian Anderson version didn't have a lot of substance to it either, but that story was written in a time were fairy tales were more simpler and by-the-book. This movie's main problem was that it tries to stick too close to the original fairy tale, that it comes off as boring and well, rather, predictable. Thumbelina herself, unfortunately, is not very interesting as a heroine. She's constantly getting kidnapped by shady-looking animals, and never really learning from her mistakes (except when it involves love or romance). Then we have her love interest, Cornielious, who's hardly in the movie, an obnoxious love-crazy Swallow named Jaquimoe, and a group of antagonistic animals who have only one common goal: Steal Thumbelina's hand in marriage and/or use her talents for money!
I know "Rock-A-Doodle" and "Pebble and the Penguin" weren't particularly spectacular either, but at least they had some creativity put into their stories. "Rock-A-Doodle" even had a handful of likable characters, this movie only had one likable character (Mr. Beetle). The point is, Don Bluth was usually known for making original stories. Stories that often separate themselves from the Disney formula. This movie tries so hard to be like a Disney film, that it ends up looking like a shallow ripoff.
So Don, where ever you are right now, don't stop doing what you love, and please stick with what you're really good at.
Transformers Prime (2010)
Looks good, but feels empty and lifeless
For those who don't know, I'm a genuine Transformers fan, but I didn't start out that way. A good friend of mine got me into the franchise when I was 12. Then at age 15, I saw the first live-action "Transformers" movie in theaters. It wasn't perfect, but it was a commendable effort on Michael Bay's part, but then he ruined it with "Revenge of the Fallen"! Although, the more I got into the shows, the less I cared about the movies.
So, I decided to watch the original G1 cartoon on YouTube, I found the 1986 movie and really enjoyed it. Lots of action, cheesy 80's humor, a KILLER soundtrack, and it even made me cry! A couple years later, I've almost forgotten about Transformers, until one day I found the G1 series on The Hub. It didn't really give me that same "intrigued" feel I had with "Animated", but it was WAY less frustrating to sit through than the Michael Bay sequels.
Finally, I saw a commercial for "Transformers Prime". I was a bit skeptical, then I thought, "Why not? It might be even better than Animated". I was wrong. First time I started watching it, all I got were flat characters, a sloppy story, and a boring soundtrack.
Optimus is now a deadpan, stick in the mud with no emotion whatsoever; Ratchet, who really loves shouting out most of his dialog; Bumblebee who (like Bay's version) is a mute puppy dog; Arcee, who's basically Prowl with boobs; and finally Bulkhead. Remember that clumsy, lovable gentle giant who started out as an Energon farmer, but learned how to become a Space-Bridge technician? Well, that character is tossed aside in favor of an obnoxious slob whose dialog consists of "YEAH!!!" and "COWABUNGA!". If that wasn't bad enough, Sari, the spunky, resourceful daughter of Professor Sumdac, is now replaced by these 3 little turds: Jack Darby, the moody teenager with a hidden agenda; Rafael Esqiuvez, the stereotypical computer geek; and finally, Miko Nadakai, who is the most annoying human kid since Daniel from G1.
The Decepticons aren't any better either. They're completely underpowered and lose almost every battle. Megatron is the same old clichéd comic book villain as he was in G1, and Starscream is even more pathetic than he was in G1 and "Animated".
This series, as a whole, is dull and soulless. Every time a character dies, I don't feel sorry for them, and every time they try to inject humor into certain episodes, it comes off as forced and contrived. The fight scenes aren't really that exciting either, because they look like they were taken straight out of the Michael Bay trilogy.
The only merits I can point out are: Soundwave's design, the animation, Knockout (the only character that's close to being funny), and of course, Peter Cullen.
My Overall Rating-- 5/10