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Average score: (260.5/63)=4.135
Laughably poor adaptation
Based on the classic story by Henry Van Dyke we have this cheesy animated film. The animation is pretty clunky and the dialogue at first seemed to be lip- synced to the characters, especially at the beginning. We have to deal with Artaban giving exposition and lamenting about how he has to give away his treasures. The story of a wise man traveling for more than 30 years to find the "newborn" King kind of makes sense if you really let yourself go and "believe". We get a little sense of Christ's ministry for a movie that covers his life and death with the acts of service that the wise man gives to the people meets. The best part was when he helped the lady save her baby from the soldiers. It gets to the point where some of the parts are inadvertently funny, like with Artaban talking to his horse and the ending which I'm not going to spoil.
Jurassic World (2015)
Alright, but nothing Groundbreaking
Disclaimers: I've never really watched the original movie or its two sequels. Going out of the movie I got what I was expecting: big dinosaurs chasing people while the fate of some island is at stake. The effects were pretty good and the chase scenes will keep you on your toes. Pretty much all the characters give decent performances for an action flick but almost all the characters have been taken from other films. The plot kind of resembles How To Train Your Dragon 2 near the end though I'm not complaining that much because it does add that "animal food chain/social dominance" theme created by the big dino asset. There's a enough funny and heartwarming moments to make this film good popcorn, but nothing groundbreaking.
No Dialogue, One Train & No Plot ***(3/10)***
I haven't seen "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" (at least not recently) so I might not be the right person to review it. I could barely gather from the mostly inaudible dialog which was mostly drowned out by the engine noise of the train. Would it have killed them to make the train car more acoustic? We don't need traveling realism when it's just a three-minute sort.
The story follows two men are being bothered by another man named Vincent. When he takes a bathroom break, the two men change seats and Vincent still finds them. As a short film with a title reference I was hoping for at least some funny stuff to happen, but nothing did. Somehow the writers thought two expletives in the short would make it funny. I give it three stars for the unfunny three minutes I spent watching it.
Meddling Sand-Drip Kids ***(7/10)***
This episode takes place in an Australian sand castle tournament. The general premise is that a coral monster is kidnapping the sand castle builders however things are not as they seem as we learn in at the end. Suspects include a very loud band that knocks down sand castles with their loud music, two surfers, and all of the sand castle builders. One partially explained scene that left me confused after Velma solved the mystery is when Scooby and Shaggy are almost dragged into the sea by seaweed and then a rubber tube is found. Velma at first thinks this tube came from the monster, but then it becomes clear that it came from a pair of upside-down surfers. As always, Fred's plan ends up something along the lines of "Run!" although this time he doesn't need a trap to catch the criminal.
Modern Times (1936)
Before WALL-E ***(10/10)***
Back in 1936, and more recently in 2008, two different directors made two mostly silent film about a devoted worker who finds love against all odds. Both of these films infused slap-stick with societal satire and won audiences over with its charming characters. A factory worker discovers a waif and a trash compacter robot discovers a probe droid; Factory Worker is to Gamin as WALL-E is to EVE.
Anyone familiar with the working industry can appreciate the sequence of a herd of sheep turn into a factory line of workers or when Chaplin has to improvise the words of a song with nonsense. My favorite scenes in Modern Times include the nervous breakdown at the beginning and the roller-skating tricks in the mall. A must-see for fans of classic comedy and aficionados of Chaplin!
Frontline: Digital Nation (2010)
Life On the Virtual Frontier ***(8/10)***
This episode examines how technology has impacted our daily lives and its effect on how we perceive it from real life. It starts in MIT to analyze how the brain handles multitasking, from which I formed the acronym MulITasking. From there, it jumps into psychology with interviews from the prestigious Professor Nass. I found their coverage of research that the brain has more activity during an internet search verses reading a book particularly unbiased, never opting for a bandwagon approach. We move to South Korea to learn more about the net cafés and online gaming and how these games have permeated to school and war training. References to past technological changes never become heavy handed as I'm sure we've all heard about the change from papyri to print many times.
The King Is Born ***(5/10)***
"The King is Born" has one subplot. That is with Simeon and when he blesses the baby Jesus at the temple. The main story tells how Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the flight to Egypt. On the way, we are introduced to the shepherds, the three wise men, and the evil King Herod. For some reason not fully explained in the short, one of the shepherds wants to go to Zarahemla before the angel tells the others to go there. The cover told me it was a story about "God's Grace, Love, and Mercy," although I think this lesson applies more to Christ's ministry than his birth. In the end, I recommend this for a very slow Sunday watch.
Spidey Gets the "Dumbest" Treatment ***(7/10)***
After doing his Top 11 Dumbest Superman Moments, the Nostalgia Critic ventures to the Marvel Universe to do the same thing to the Spider-Man Movies. The episode opens with the Critic talking to a group Confessional where he admits he actually kinda likes Spider-Man 3. Then he clarifies that he finds all of the Spider-Man movies "goofy" and counts down some of the worst moments in these popcorn flicks including the effects in the original Spider-Man to the dance scene in Spidey 3. A major improvement of Spidey 2 over the original is its villain, but Doug still makes fun of Doc Ock and wonders what his claws are saying. If he had really wanted to know this, he would've read the novelization by Peter David where it is revealed that Ock adopted the claws as his children after the death of his wife. Nothing very goofy about that right?
Clowny Comedy Could Use Less Fluff *** (6/10) ***
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter star in this goofy comedy in which history gets rewritten for a history project. There are just some things that work in this movie and some things that don't. For example, at one point in the movie we are supposed to believe that Ted dies while they are in a medieval castle. However this is hard to believe because we saw them in a previous scene talking to their future selves. The film starts to come up with some real insight near the end when they have gathered all of the historical figures for their presentation. Bill and Ted learn how to plan ahead of time using time travel after the presentation to put the keys behind a sign they remember.
"Be excellent to each other!"
Filler episode *** (5/10) ***
Out of all the episodes in the series Avatar: The Last Airbender, this one always has appeared to me as one that never contributed to the whole story arc. The extras try to defend this episode, noting that King Bumi of Omashu later appears, but you can tell he isn't given much depth beyond his insanity. A few moments of fun happen when Aang and his friends travel on the mail system. The advice King Bumi gives to Aang ("Keep your mind open to the possibilities") is soon forgotten for other, more straight forward pieces of advice given in future episodes. Avant-garde fans of the series should watch for the Cabbage Man appearance outside the city gates.