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Angel's Review: Movies
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Posted 9/15/14 , edited 12/2/15


This Boy Caught a Merman, Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita (Nov 9, 2012)
Director: Soubi Yamamoto Producers:
Yaoi, Fantasy, Romance, Shounen Ai,
Key Words:Merman,
Studio: CoMix Wave Films Licensed American Publisher: Sentai Filmworks

Time: 28 mins


Shima was a perfect boy, maybe almost to perfect. When his parents split up, both couldn’t figure out who he would live with so he ended up living with his Grandfather. During his high school year though, his Grandfather passed away. While crying near the ocean, he slips into the water and is saved by a Merman who he names Isaki and brings home. Who knew that it would lead to something a bit deeper though?


My Thoughts: A lonely boy and a lonely merman meet one cold night and soon make a lasting friendship. It’s a pretty sweet story in that regard no matter how choppy the script and imagery was. Shima seriously has an emo sad story which seemed to mess him up badly. It is almost like he wished for someone like Isaki to wash up on shore. Someone to care for him and make him not feel so alone. Someone who was a bit childish himself that could make him smile. Isn’t that what love is all about? In falling in love, it healed a wound that both of them had from being alone.

It made the story even better that they didn’t end up going into a sexual aspect. It stayed in a rather innocent level like two little kids falling for each other. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that went to far for a first meeting. It was just a friendship that blossomed into something more.

The animation was surprising not like any of the main stream shows. It would sometimes be choppy in the animation or very surreal with almost cut and past looking characters while other times it was more fluid. The backgrounds were so detailed and even when they went into just pen and ink designs, they would be pretty high detail for the amount of work that was put into them. Shading always had this sort of water color blotched into colors sort of look with other patterns that were like strips of cloth were glued to the art. I love how original the art style was and how different they tried to make it.

The English voices are a bit awkward with sometimes not matching up with the lip sink. They weren’t bad… just… sometimes bland.

Sorry this review is so short but there really isn’t much to talk about with this. The show was short and not much to it. It’s a great watch for how short it is though.

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My Neighbors the Yamadas,(July 17, 1999)
Director: Isao Takahata Producers: Seiichiro Ujiie, Takashi Shouji, Toshio Suzuki
Sitcom, Slice of Life,
Key Words:Family,
Studio: Studio Ghibli Licensed American Publisher: Disney

Time: 111 mins


Meet the Yamada family, Takashi the father, Matsuko the mother, Shige the grandmother, Noboru the 13 year old son, Nonoko the 5 year old daughter, and Pochi the family dog. This is the story of there every day life.


My Thoughts: This is a very different show then what Studio Ghibli has done before, talking more about a regular family and not having a continuing plot. In my mind, this could have been a couple of 15 minute shorts more then a actual movie and it probably would of done a bit better since as I watched, I became very confused. They time skip a lot making it sometimes hard to figure out where we are in the story but then there are things that really don’t need a time too.

The characters really don’t have anything that actually makes them stand out. They are just a generalization of a mother, a father, and family. There really isn’t much that goes in the sense of there own personality and that did really bother me. I wanted some substance in them, not grasping at straws to feel closer to the characters. To me, that really felt boring and it became like me trying to force myself to watch the whole thing. Normally I could actually grasp at someone in the story and relate to them like the older sibling but this one just seemed off.

The art style is very different then Ghibli’s work as well, going for pastel colors and artwork that doesn’t really fill up the whole screen most of the time. In fact, most of the border areas feel like the artwork blends off into white. It feels much like a comic strip art piece like in the paper rather then a full film. It stays mostly in the real world instead of going into any crazy ideas yet in the beginning and end has a sort of surreal look about being a family as they talk about a poem that deals with life. That was the most interesting part to me actually and it was pretty cool that they started out that strong and ended in the same manner although it made me feeling like I wanted more of that then the other real life stuff.

The English voices are really well done, adding to the whole feeling of family but I wouldn’t expect less from Disney when they get their hands on a cute little show like this. Nonoko is a very believable 5 year old and sounds so cute. The show itself takes things rather literal and I believe that is because we are in the mind of this little girl and how she sees her life. The English dub really does add to this idea that we are seeing everything from the 5 year olds aspects. Plus the fact that Nanoko does not show up all that often. There are times that it deals with her but then there are many times that it is only the parents, son, and Grandmother.

The show might have been alright but it really isn’t the best Ghibli film in my opinion. It was slow and very slice of life-ish that it was hard to watch.

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Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Neighbors_the_Yamadas

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The Naughty List,(Nov 12, 2013)
Director: Gordon Crum Producers:
Comedy, Family,
Key Words:Elves, Christmas,
Studio: Licensed American Publisher:

Time: 46 mins


After two young brother elves named Winter and Snowflake mess up the Christmas tree, they are given a list of things to do to redeem themselves. Can they get themselves off the Naughty List or will they forever be considered bad?


My Thoughts: : So this has the idea that there are some elves who don’t really fit into the main group. It’s a pretty normal story for a show about Christmas. The sad part though is that there is nothing original about it. We have a storyline that picked up more on the don’t cut corners and keep to tradition which in my mind makes no sense. We are always changing tradition and even finding new ways of doing things. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. That’s just human nature so when I see a show that is all about doing things only one way, it makes me want to yell. So what if your different, being different makes you you. To have a show that seemed to have the attitude of being different will get you into trouble just makes me wonder what they were trying to teach younger kids. I might be missing something to the show but if I missed it and this was for younger kids, and then they would have probably missed it too.

The animation is pretty general and cartoony in the CG style. Basic textures and almost every other character besides the main characters looked the same. I mean it; all the elves look exactly the same and all the reindeer except for characters used at a special point look the same. It annoys me but since it was made for younger kids, I guess it works.

Voices are very childlike which again works for what they were going for. It’s simple and doesn’t use a lot of ‘large words’ to explain things although the arguing between Winter and Snowflake got on my nerves at times. No matter what they did, they fought. I know siblings get on each others nerves but we don’t have to listen to it all the time.

It was alright but just not my show. It really shows that it was made for younger children.

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Posted 9/19/14 , edited 12/2/15

Mushishi Special: Hihamukage, Mushi-shi Tokubetsu-hen: Hihamu Kage (Jan 4 2014)
Director: Hiroshi Nagahama Producers:
Fantasy, Folklore, Supernatural
Key Words:Supernatural, Occult Detective, Spirits
Studio:Artland Licensed American Publisher: Aniplex

Time: 45 mins


When an eclipse happens in a small town, no one knew that it would blot out the sun for more then a day. Good thing Ginko was there to tell them it was a mushi and explain a cure but is all the villagers happy about it or is there someone who would do anything to go outside in the dark?


My Thoughts: : Let me first remind you what I thought of the TV series. I adored it. The subtle storyline, the calming feeling, the idea of small creatures that are mostly misunderstood taking roles in peoples lives. I love everything about it. It doesn’t go as surprising then that I really love this special then, right? It just felt like a long episode from the TV series. The storyline and soft music was a perfect match to it.

The story followed what happened when an eclipse happened in this strange world of Mushi. Of course the Mushi are misunderstood so when one ends up cutting off the sun for three or four days, it makes life hell for everyone in the town that can’t get crops to grow. Well, I could say everyone but there was one person that was happy just to go outside finally. She had a condition similar to what is called Solar Urticaria, being allergic to the sun. It’s a very rare condition that actually does exsit but in this case, she can’t because of a Mushi. I know right, shocking that it’s because of a mushi in a show all about mushi. Ok I’m kidding but the story of her does become a rather good life lesson about taking things for granted. And I think that’s what I love about this show. It’s about little life lessons that we wouldn’t learn about until someone shows us. In this case, a fictional setting with real life troubles. Whether you want to blame mushi, god, or even your pet, the main question is how do you deal with it? Since you can’t do anything about god or mushi, are you just going to sit and whine about it? If you blame your pet, what has the animal done to deserve the blame? And what will you do about it? These things are stuff I notice while watching such a thoughtful anime like this.

The art style was beautiful, the same as the original. It was a bit different to normal anime out there with their large eyes and comical bright colors. They went more for soft colors. The only thing vibrant was the lush colors of the forest, the soft glows of some almost magical plants and of course the Mushi.

Now this wasn’t dubbed so I had to go for subtitles but I didn’t really care. The way they spoke reminded me much of the Dub. It was soft voices and I was so engrossed in the story that it didn’t bother me non that it was a different language then my own. In fact, I didn’t really have to stop the show to read the subtitles because I could get the basic just of what they were saying. Not saying I didn’t read them but when they went to fast for me, I could get the basics.

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Anime: http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-755352/angels-informational-reviews-anime-and-cartoons#39493517
Manga: http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-618443/angels-review-manga-and-comics?pg=5#45369409
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Akira, (Jul 16 1988)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo Producers: Ryohei Suzuki, Shunzo Kato
Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-fi, Supernatural,
Key Words:Military, Gore, Blood, Future,
Studio:Kodansha Licensed American Publisher: Electric Media, Streamline/Bandai (1988), Animaze/Pioneer-Geneon (2001)

Time: 124 mins


31 years after World War III, a child breaks free from the military with an amazing power. When the military go to retrieve him, they take a gang member who encountered the boy with them back to base. There they experimented on him, altering his mind. The question though, is the world ready for this new power or will it blow up in their faces?


My Thoughts: So I finally got a chance to sit down and watch it, namely the English dub. What do I think about it? It was pretty good for an anime that came out in the 1980’s and it holds up pretty well to this day. I was very surprised that the show was actually directed by the writer of Akira as well. Not many people can write a manga and get to direct it as well when it comes to movie. This means that the show would have come out how he wanted to and not changed around as it went from hand to hand. Just how close is this to the manga? Well as of now, I have not read the manga so I can’t answer that.

Some things do bother me with the story and mostly with the characters though it is more based on my preference of character then anything else. I just think that the biker gangs felt a bit forced. I never been in one, never even been near a gang like that before so I can’t say for sure but I think they wouldn’t be so open with what they were doing for so long without already being caught by the cops. I may just be analyzing it a bit too much but it just got on my nerves. That also goes for Kaneda always trying to get into Kei’s pants.

The main story had a very deep underlining meaning both in psychology and in humanity itself. It’s hard not to spoil anything about this when most of it happens at the end but I do have to talk about this. There is a back and forth aspect that seems to happen of what science could learn but at what price. It’s there when they mess with Tetsuo’s brain and the results that happen after. Let me tell you, the results were not pretty. We are always striving for learning more about ourselves and to push ourselves to the max but at what price do we pay for such an idea? Are we even willing to push us to a point that we ourselves are not considered human anymore? And what would happen if such a power was placed in the hands of someone who didn’t fully understand how to use it? Something that Kiyoko says in the show rings pretty true no matter what you’re talking about. I went something like ‘when you are given this much power, you must chose how you use it.’ Sort of similar to Spiderman’s Uncle telling him ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ but the idea is still the same.

The animation was rather gory and bloody for the most part with a lot of dark depressing textures. The place they lived really did look like a back ally pig sty but I believe that was what they were going for. For the time this came out, the artwork is rather good and I was surprised by just how much detail they put into the background as well as some of the movements. They even placed the streaks from the tail lights of the bikes in. I don’t think I have seen that much detail put into a show that was hand drawn except for Studio Ghibi’s movies. While the design of the characters were pretty realistic as far as anime can go without not looking like anime, they were still rather simple and it is understandable when people have to draw them time and time again. Once in a while, the lighting and shading didn’t work all that well and I don’t remember much shading on the ‘children’ except for the wrinkles.

The voice acting was surprisingly well done for the time it was dubbed. I can understand why this movie was what got anime going in America because the voice acting was what I would of imagined the characters to sound like. Because of the somewhat realistic artwork and the constant yelling that characters did, the lip sink suffered slightly. I can only say slightly because what they did do; they did a damn good job in doing it. One person who stood out really well was Kiyoko’s voice actor (The female little child) Melora Harte. For those of you wondering, I did watch the 1988 release of the dubbing and not the new 2001 version; at least I believe it to be.

I can truly understand why this is called a cult classic, being as a symbol of ‘greatness’ in the anime world. As the years have not been all that kind to it, it may not hold that title for animation and voice acting but its story is still something that should be kept in the minds of those who watch it. If you haven’t watched it, you are missing out even if you don’t like this stuff.

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Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_%28film%29

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107 Akira Facts by CartoonHangover - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqV7Ek5mb9I


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Castle in the Sky, Tenku no Shiro, Rapyuta, Laputa (Aug 2, 1986)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki Producers: Isao Takahata
Adventure, Fantasy, Romance,
Key Words:Sky Travel,
Studio:Studio Ghibli Licensed American Publisher: Disney

Time: 126 mins


Two orphans find themselves on an epic quest to find a forgotten city floating in the sky. What they find along the way turns out to be dangerous.


My Thoughts:I feel like the studio and Director would be a give away that this would be good. I don’t know what to fully talk about as everything about this show is amazing from the story to the animation to the dub. Even the comedy doesn’t get in the way of the great story that lies within this show. Only one or two things bother me but they aren’t that big, like when Pazu jumps off his house and ends up breaking through bricks into his basement with no broken bones or nothing. Of course, these problems are minor and don’t happen all that much.

Miyazaki seems to always have a moral to his stories, this is no different. I think the moral is that any civilization can fall if they think they are to powerful. Laputa, a place that seemed like it was a perfect place had power, wealth, and even a sense of magic. They had something special but even they ended up falling. The story line is full of spoilers if I try to explain even more but there is a beautiful story that is as mysterious as it is sad and thoughtful.

The animation is so beautiful and stands up even to this day. All hand done with so much detail and the painting of the backgrounds… I could just go on. If you seen others by Miyazaki, you know his style and he never falters. This is one of those times where I just feel speechless to how wonderful his style of art is, the colors just pop even though at times they do end up taking very small short cuts. I also didn’t really notice any times where the characters would just stop moving for a very long time with only their mouths moving. He would have them moving even slightly and it would feel realistic. There are even small things like how a character would eat from the dainty way Sheeta eats to the mess that Dola’s sons make. One thing I did notice (And it’s a slight spoiler I guess) is that his characters sometimes look better with short hair then with long hair. Not telling you what that means but you will find out. The opening is much different then the actual show, feeling more like it was done in a rather old style, highly detailed, even more so then the animation and like they were from detailed renders.

The music is so beautiful, with amazing orchestral sounds that you could just fall asleep to. I love everything about Studio Ghibi’s work and the music is one of those that I wish I had all the soundtracks. They do not let much go past them that isn’t quality controlled. I could listen to it for days without it getting boring. The English dub is spot on, I’m extremely happy it didn’t turn into a flop like one of their first tries for English translation.

If you have not seen this yet, you have to see it soon. It’s a must watch.

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Hal, , (Jun 8, 2013)
Director: Ryotaro Makihara Producers: Jouji Wada
Sci-fi, Romance,
Key Words: Robots,
Studio:Wit Studio Licensed American Publisher: Funimation

Time: 60 mins


In a world where robots can be programmed to do almost anything, one Robot sets on a quest to help someone who lost a loved one. Can this robot heal a broken heart? Only time will tell.


My Thoughts:The show starts out rather strange with a plain suddenly exploding over a quiet little town. Then they suddenly talk about a boy named Hal who had passed away and a girl who seemed to be his girlfriend is taking it pretty hard. To me, this beginning just feels like it was a promo for the show instead of the actual show because we don’t really get any information at all. We can speculate what’s going on, but that’s all. We don’t get a full picture of what is actually happening. And then we have a robot that becomes human in order to help the young girl. I’m actually not sure if we could really call him human right away though as he doesn’t seem to know how to actually act human or feel human. I know this is going to into philosophy but this really does ask the question, what does it take to be human?

Throughout the whole show, we learn a lot about Hal. I mean the real Hal in fact, not the robot one. I like how we learn through Robotic Hal’s way of learning then just being told straight out. It gives us a mystery to solve then just a romance. In the end, there is a point when Hal’s past seems to haunt the two. And then in the end, it really changes around, making things a bit more confusing but making it really fun all the same. It’s not like any other love story between a robot and human. It’s hard to explain because of it being such a big spoiler that it would mess with you. You really should watch it if you are interested in knowing what the hell I am talking about with switch. And even at the end, there are one or two things that don’t seem to not be closed up, things that should but don’t take away from the story.

The artwork is amazing, and the sort of playful toy aspect to this is rather cute. All the vibrant colors and amazing little adornments all over the place. I didn’t really see any problems with the animation being poor, though I didn’t like some of the design aspects they did for a couple background characters. It doesn’t mess with the story but it makes me frown slightly at that. Still, the design of the rest was wonderful and made me happy to even watch the show.

The English dub was so good; I couldn’t believe how wonderful the voice acting was. Of course funimation did give it the dub so I shouldn’t have expected anything less and yet I have seen some that felt like they needed a bit more. Each person sounded like what I thought they should sound like, even the ladies at the adult day care sounded good and those are normally the ones that would of sounded bad if there was a bad voice. The strange thing is that there were not that many names that stood out to me in the cast. I mean, there were people like Todd Haberkorn and Chris Burnett but the rest seemed like they did mostly background characters before this. They may still do background characters in this one too but the characters give a better connection with the world and emotions.

This is one that I definitely think you should watch even if you’re not into sci-fi or romance. It’s not one or the other and it sort of opens up the idea of just what a Robot could be as well as just what a human could be.

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Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_%28film%29

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Justin and the Knights of Valour, , (Sep 13, 2013)
Director: Manuel Sicilia Producers: Marcelino Almansa, Antonio Banderas, Kerry Fulton, Ralph Kamp
Adventure, Action, Fantasy,
Key Words: Knights, Medieval,
Studio:Aliwood Mediterraneo Producciones, Kandor Graphics, Out of the Box Feature Licensed American Publisher: Entertainment One, Sony Pictures

Time: 96 mins


In a far off land, bureaucrats rule the kingdom and knights have been ousted. Justin lives in this world with his father, dreaming one day to be a valiant knight like his grandfather. Sadly, his father will not have it and tries to make him a lawyer just like himself. That gives him only one choice, to run away and become a knight but will he find that he might not be cut out for what his grandfather was?


My Thoughts:Well, this is a pretty normal story of a man trying to become a knight but in a different reason for doing so. Although all his life he wanted to be a knight, he lives in a time where it was outlawed to be a knight. His father wants him to be a lawyer but of course he doesn’t want to be one so he runs away to become what he wants. I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of clichés but they still were able to keep it slightly new. We have a boy that goes against his father’s wishes, a love interest who doesn’t actually care about him, a sort crazy wizard (mimicking the dragon from ‘Quest for Camelot’), a cast out knight as the bad guy, and normal teachers for the boy to learn from. Though there are all these clichés, there are some things that stand out such as the laws that were being passed but sadly those are not as prominent. I mostly see a movie that tried to be like every other story about a knight. It’s sad because they could have done so much to make it better and yet stuck with the normal ideas.

The animation is actually rather nice, looking a bit cartoony but overall similar to ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ in some of the detail work. The background is so detailed that it makes the characters look slightly bland. They do fit in with the rest of the world but sometimes they I wish that they had a bit more texture to them. As for the movement, it’s actually very fluid and believable even if slightly overboard. The characters don’t really stand still very long, always using there hands and being a bit over the top in some occasions.

The voices are alright although somewhat hard to listen to at times since our main character has such an overpowering old English voice. This is a voice that I would have thought would be on a person in a romance type setting, not from a pip squeak body like him. Don’t get me wrong, the voice is pleasant compared to what they could have picked for him but it’s not a voice I picture coming out of our main character. When other characters speak in the old English dialect, sometimes I can’t understand what they are saying like the old man in the beginning or the little girl. The voices seem to be muddled together, like they are mumbling. The music really does not fit the show. It’s just to pop starish and not enough medieval tone. I felt like I was pulled out of the story every time they started playing the soft pop songs. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are good but they just don’t fit.

I liked the show but it didn’t stand out for me. It felt as though I was watching similar movies so I can’t give it a very high rating.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_and_the_Knights_of_Valour

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Princess Mononoke, Mononoke-hime, (Jul 12, 1997)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki Producers: Toshio Suzuki
Historical Fantasy, Drama,
Key Words: Spirits, Japanese History,
Studio:Studio Ghibli Licensed American Publisher: Miramax Films
Tumblr: http://angelsreview.tumblr.com/post/117414308352/angels-movie-review-princess-mononoke

Time: 134 minutes ( 2 hours 14 minutes)


Ashitaka is the last prince of the Emishi people. One day, he is cursed by a large Boar demon as he killed him and was forced to leave his people and go on a quest to find a way to break the curse. Along the way, he finds an iron town that is fighting against the god of the forest and is caught in a struggle between man and nature.


My Thoughts: First off, I LOVE Hayao Miyazaki and a lot of his movies. I fell in love with Studio Ghibli’s artwork, music, and pretty much anything about them. This is one of my all time favorite movies in fact. Just the story line is so beautiful about how man and nature are supposed to live side by side but when one fights against the other, there can be both misunderstandings and consequences. The story is open to interpretation but it feels like a timeless tale. A lot of times, I found myself believing that he could have made the story in this time frame and it would have had the same meaning behind the story. I’m going to sort of talk about what I consider part of this Psychology of this show, and this is only what I feel is part of this. What you take from it may be different.

The story is set in the Muromachi period of Japan when there were few Emishi people. The Emishi were actually a real people in Japan much like the Native Americans were to America. They lived in harmony with the land and had different tribes slightly different cultures and so on. Not much is actually known of the Emishi like where they came from and from what I have read, there are very few groups left.

The story of this movie follows the ‘last prince’ Ashitaka. I looked around but I couldn't find much on if this was a real person or not. I don’t believe he is a real character and was more symbolic of how that tribe was dying out. Anyway, in order to protect his village, he kills a demon that was rampaging nearby and is cursed by the demon as he died. It turns out the demon was actually a boar god who was driven crazy by an iron ball that was shot into his body. In order to save himself and protect his village further, he leaves his people and travels west never to return to his people. I see this sort of a symbolic image, the idea of the young leaving their native land, the land they were born into and the culture they were born into, and being integrated into the Japanese basic ideas. It’s similar to the way Native Americans turned away from their culture to become part of the ‘white man’s world’ here in America. Not being able to return pretty much is the same where once you learn something different, you’re never really the same person as you once were.

As Ashitaka leaves, he sees the world outside his home as different and we get to see it through his eyes as bandits sort of rampage through another village he runs into. The places we see and the world we see outside his village just ends up looking like a rather cruel and selfish place. I think that was done on purpose as it again shows everything through the eyes of a boy who grew up in a place where everyone took care of everyone else. He goes farther from his village and the areas seem to get harsher until he finds Irontown which in many ways could be like Tokyo or New York in our age. It is a place with ‘futuristic machines’, guns, iron working and so on. Actually, I think the better thought of this place would probably be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was pretty much known for their Steel work.

And here in lies a problem. In order to get iron sand for making their weapons and machines, they must clear down the forest near them. Unfortunately, the forest spirits don't like this, which leads to the war between nature and humans. I consider San as like the ‘hippie’ or hard core nature lovers who think they are fighting for natures rights. Without giving away the ending, the whole feel of this movie seems to be about trying to find a balance between humans destructive nature and of nature itself. And that’s what I love about this movie. It’s something that a lot of people are trying to do now as well with all the new eco friendly things we have been doing lately to protect the earth.

The artwork is astounding and that’s saying a lot since it was almost all cel done. Each background, character, and lighting had to be hand drawn over and over again. In fact, according to the wiki, there were over 144,000 cels and Miyazaki personally oversaw each and every one of them, including redrawing parts of 80,000 of them. That is dedication to his work guys and that is why I love his work so much. They even give them a lot of detail down to small crust near the boar’s eyes and the almost realistic backgrounds that seemed to capture your eyes with every detail. There was very little computer animation used in the show, parts like the demon flesh on Ashitaka but I never noticed. They perfectly made it seamless. In fact, I had no clue it was computer animated in those parts until I did a little research for this review and that is what surprised me more.

I only watched this show in English, and I was not sorry. I fell in love with the voices; each person did a wonderful job trying to give the characters a realistic way of talking that worked well with that character. I do have some little nit picks though that I have to do. I might have praised this show up and down but I can also see some of the ‘mistakes’ that were done in it. Billy Crudup was the voice of Ashitaka and he played the character a bit too bland I think. I understand the character is not a wild and brave guy, he is just an average guy who left his family but he just sounds a bit to shy at times. Also, even though Billy Bob Thornton was the rather good voice of an old monk named Jiko-bo, he just never really grabbed me as much as I think that character should of. I don’t know exactly if this was intended but Jiko-bo just felt like he didn't know what he wanted to be. I could never tell if he was a good guy, a bad guy, or even what he was. You would think him being a monk would mean he would be one with the spiritual side of things but then on the other hand, he seems to be against them as well. He was a very confusing character for me and though Billy did a good job conveying that confusion in what he was, I wish he would of leaned a little more to one side instead of being so in the middle.

I fell in love with this movie so much, and it is definitely a must see for anyone who loves Studio Ghibli or movies with deep meaning behind them. That’s why this gets a very high rating from me.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Mononoke

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, , (Dec 21, 1937)
Director: David Hand, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen Producers: Walt Disney
Fantasy,
Key Words: Disney, Storybook, Classic,
Studio: Licensed American Publisher: Walt Disney Productions
Tumblr Link

Time: 83 mins


In a land far away, there lived the lonely princess Snow White and her vain stepmother. For years, the stepmother would go to her magic mirror and ask ‘Who is the fairest one of all?’ to which the mirror answered that it was her. One day, Snow White was deemed the fairest in the land which made the Queen jealous and sought to kill her but Snow White found comfort with Seven dwarves in the forest. Will she forever be safe or will the Queen still wish for her death?


My Thoughts: Everybody who hasn’t lived under a rock has at least heard of the classic tale Snow White, and many of us including myself have grown up watching the Disney rendition at least once. Well, this review is going to be kind of hard to talk about since it is very nostalgic. While I can’t say that it was the first Disney movie I watched, I can say it is the first one I can remember.

When getting into the characters personalities, there really aren’t many of them. Sure, there might be 7 dwarves but only 4 of them really stood out and they pretty much were the personality of their name. Doc was fatherly, Dopey was always silly and didn’t seem to be able to talk at all, Bashful was very shy, Sleepy kept falling asleep, and so on. The only one that actually seemed to have a more complex personality was Grumpy. Sure he was always Grumpy, but there were times in which you could see him actually showing some interest in Snow White or what the other dwarves were doing. In anime terms, I would actually consider him a tsundara in fact. The Prince had even less personality then the dwarves, partly because he had very little time to show any personality. It would be funny if they did a squeal where Snow White is fed up with the prince because their personalities didn’t fit well. The two barely had time together at all, only one scene in the beginning where she pretty much runs from him and then the last scene. Only in a fairy tale would this actually work out.

Then we come to Snow White… um… her personality is basically perfect. No, literally, her personality is to be perfect, naive, and pretty. At no time did she ever seem like she actually was not a complete airhead. Sure, she cooked, cleaned, and did other things as though she was a mother figure for the dwarves but can I ask you this? When they leave, telling her not to talk to anybody and don’t let anyone in, what does she do? She lets the witch in disguised as a old lady and eats a apple from her. It was like asking for her to be put to sleep.

The animation is pretty good for being one of the first color movies out there. Here and there are small points in which the coloring is slightly off or a line that seems to of been missed but overall the animation is very good. Surprisingly it can also be rather dark as some of the scenes can be frightening. Even as an adult, the lost in the woods scene and the point where they fight the witch sort of gets me, though not as badly as when I was a child. The Dwarf’s were of course one of my favorites as a kid but there were only a few that actually stood out enough in design. Doc, Grumpy, Dopey, and Bashful are the only ones I could pick out easily if they were in a lineup, probably because they got the most screen time. Doc had these sort of papa like spectacles that no other Dwarf had while Dopey had large ears and a really silly grin. Watching the show again with reviewing it in mind, I actually noticed that you could never really see the prince’s face all that well, and when you did see it, he was the most basic looking prince charming I had ever seen. Sure he looked nice, but he didn’t really have anything that would make him stand out… except maybe the pucker lips he seemed to have.

The voices are… an object of the times. Adriana Caselotti did a rather good job as the Princess Snow White for what its worth even though the singing and sometimes the character herself sounded a bit more Betty Boop (I had a hard time figuring out exactly how to explain her voice until I watched Nostalgia Critic’s review). I do wonder if it was just because she was trying to have a rather cute voice and went a bit too high because when she sings, it seems a little bit gravelly as she hits the notes. Lucille La Verne did an awesome job though on the Evil Queen. She had the perfect sort of tone that sounded like she meant business.

So as you can tell by my review, there are things that don’t seem to add up in this movie but I don’t think it’s all that important. When reviewing, the object is to pick at a show and unravel things that are there, at least for me. Most of my review is talking about the logical aspects to the show and yet, if you don’t think about any of that, the show just seems very simple. Nostalgia said it rather well in his review (linked in Other Reviews) that the whole idea of this show and what makes it a timeless classic is the emotions you get from it. I did enjoy the show but only when I wasn’t reviewing it. Reviewing it just over complicated the rather simple story.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_White_and_the_Seven_Dwarfs_(1937_film)

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Colorful: The Motion Picture, , (Aug 21, 2010)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki Producers: Toshio Suzuki
Psychological,
Key Words: Slice of Life,
Studio:Sunrise, Ascension Licensed American Publisher:
Tumblr Link

Time: 127 mins


A dejected soul is told he was the lucky person to have earned the right at another chance at life. He is placed within the body of a 14 year old boy who committed suicide to see if he could atone for his mistakes.


My Thoughts: So this actually confused me as I had watched an anime of this name before and was rather off put by it. For those that didn’t read my review of Colorful (The anime), let me give you a word that described it… Perverted. The whole anime was about guys trying to see women’s bodies and just being complete creeps about it. The artwork was not that great and just made the characters look even creepier with the jagged lines and sort of spots of color. As with that, I thought that the movie was going to be the exact same way. Boy was I wrong; in fact this show was absolutely nothing like that anime and is only connected to it by name alone.

Let me set the stage just as the movie started us out with. We start out in the first person perspective of a person walking though a rather hazy looking transit room. It’s gloomy and almost has this strange grunge about the people and walls but there really isn’t anything that stands out. There is nothing to show where we are, who we are, or even why we are in a place like that. There is a strange gray boy standing in front of us and he tells us that we had won a chance to atone for our past discretions. It turns out we are in the land of the dead and if we do not atone for the things we did in our past, we will not be able to be reborn again into the land of the living. We are then forced by this little boy to possess a young boy named Makoto Kobayashi, a young boy who had committed suicide by overdosing on some pills. And here is where we are given a chance to fix things. Once our main character takes over Makoto’s life, we are finally given a third person perspective on all the things he does.

Now, given the way this story started out, you would think they would head more into the supernatural mystery side of the genre, wouldn’t you? Well, strangely enough, you would be wrong in that aspect. What we get is more of a modern day slice of life of a middle school boy who is just trying to get by. The only supernatural thing around him would be the strange ‘angel’ or the gray little boy who goes by the name of Purapura. Purapura tended to be more of an informational character to help us learn more about Makoto’s back story and sometimes ended up being sort of a conscience for the Makoto we follow. The most interesting part about all this is that our main character that was given no name before he was put into Makoto’s body actually seems like he is right at home after a while.

The amazing thing about this show is that it seems to dive into the psychology of a young boy having to go through a lot of tough times. We are given information from Purapura about the problems that Makoto had to go through. Things I would be very surprised a child could deal with on their own. He was bulled, had his crush seen going into a shady hotel with an older man, saw his mother having an affair, had a father who rarely was at home, an older brother who barely spoke to him, and just overall was alone with no friends. Looking at the psychological aspect of his life, it was no wonder he chose a way out. And in this, I guess it might be time to bring out a rather sad story of my own.

You see, I was a lot like this main character growing up. I had problems keeping friends, fought with my mother many times, had a younger brother who seemed to always belittle me as I am very bad when it comes to computers, and my father was always busy with work so I sometimes would rarely see him. I wasn’t exceptionally good at school although I wasn’t the worst one in the class and was always so sensitive about stuff that probably shouldn’t have bothered me. I started to cut myself to feel something different then the pain I felt inside, and even almost killed myself as well. I just felt alone for so long and couldn’t understand why. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder, which helped to explain some of the reasons why I felt so out of touch with the world, but this was when I was 25 years old. For those 25 years before, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I think that because of my experience, I feel a bit more connected to the main character, or at least Makoto himself. In fact, there is a line in this show that might be considered a little bit of a spoiler, but its one that jumped out at me that became very dear to my heart. Our main character says this, ‘…People are not just monochromatic; they all have so many colors to them. It’s fine to have many beautiful colors… for a long time, I didn’t know my true colors and was at a loss.’ For someone with BPD, this stands out a lot as my different personalities feel like those different colors and it was hard for me to believe that it was normal to have them.

The artwork is really simple and mostly on the subtle side. We don’t get splashes of bright colors or the normal anime tropes of huge eyes, girls in small skirts, and even strange colored hair. In that way, I consider it more real life then most anime even if the design of the characters is bland. None of the characters really stand out though and sometimes get lost within the background including our main character. This would probably be a bad thing if the story didn’t seem to make more sense as to why he was lost within the world he seemed to be in himself. Even with this, there is a fine line between the world of the dead and the living as the world of the dead looked even more run down and depressing then the world of the living. The world of the dead looked hazy, with sort of this murky brown while the world of the living did have some sharper looking lines and was a bit cleaner to see.

The dubbed voices are… alright I guess. Again, they don’t stand out just as the characters don’t really stand out that much. I think that the lip sink is fairly good at some parts of the show while in other parts they seemed to lose it. I blame the fact that when the character is overly distort, their mouth tends to move much more freely and seem to express their words fuller. The words they are saying in the movie are actually from the Japanese sound track I believe so it can tend to lose it when it was transferred over to the dub. Still, with all those problems, the dubbed voice actors did a really good job putting Emotion into their characters. I was extremely surprised when I found out that Greg Ayres did the voice of Makoto because he was able to get the right soft of tone for a boy who had not hit puberty yet was not annoying when he got so emotional.

So this show might be a bit boring for those who love fast passed stuff or those that are really into the supernatural aspect, but I still think this is a show that many people should watch at least once. The show has a really beautiful story to it and a very deep meaning that really needs to be explored. In this way, you might actually be able to see why everyone is so colorful and except who you are.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorful_(film)

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The Boxcar Children, , (Aug 25, 2014)
Director: Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippe, Kyungho Jo Producers: Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippe
Adventure,
Key Words: Children, Book to Movie,
Studio: Hammerhead Productions, Village Roadshow Pictures, Warner Brothers Licensed American Publisher:
Tumblr Link

Time: 86 mins


Four siblings, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, leave on an adventure after their parents die to find a place they belong. Along the way, they find an old abandoned Boxcar sitting in the woods and turn it into a home.


My Thoughts: So I’m not going to lie, when I first saw this in the Target for five dollars and the large ‘Kaboom! Entertainment’ logo on the box, I really did not have high expectations for the movie. I should probably give you a bit of backstory about the series as it all started a very long time ago, and also a bit of backstory on why this review means a lot to me.

‘The Boxcar Children’ was a series of children's books written by a first grade school teacher, Gertrude Chandler Warner, which was aimed for children in the second grade through sixth grade. It was first published in 1924, then revised in 1942 to the way it is now. It’s funny because when I talked with my friends, most of them have never really heard of those books even though in 2012 it was listed in the top 100 Chapter Books for children. The books follow the story of four orphans that are trying to live on their own. They don’t want to live with their Grandfather because they believe he is a mean and spiteful man who doesn’t care for them, so they traveled around until finally finding a small boxcar lost and forgotten in the woods. Here they make a home for themselves though still always scared that their Grandfather or someone will tear them apart.

When I was growing up, we used to collect the Boxcar Children books and I would read them for the amazing stories the children would get into. Though they were called the Boxcar Children, not all the books centered on the boxcar, but it was where the story first began and was one of my favorites from the series. As I grew older, the books were put into a box and sat in our basement for a couple years until about a year ago when I placed them in a bookcase and have been trying to get time to read them again. The movie I’m reviewing is based off the first book in fact.

The movie itself isn’t exactly like the books from what I remember. Again, it has been a few years since I read the book, but the movie feels like it takes things a bit faster, leaving out a couple things that the children had to overcome. Strangely though, this did not destroy the story as the characters were written with the same feel and personality I fell in love with in the book. We have Henry, the oldest and the most mature. He pretty much acts like a loving father to the younger children and is always trying to make sure they are happy and healthy. Then we have Jessie, the second child. She is much like a mother figure. The two were the oldest and while one left to work, the other would stay home and look after the younger ones. Then there is Violet, who was the sweet and innocent one of the group. She was always very quiet and crafty. The very last was Benny and though he was the youngest of the group, I never felt like he was annoying. The ages are hard to figure out as they never really explain but by how Benny acted, I could believe he was about five years old. In most shows, children that young can end up very annoying but in this case, he actually felt like a real little boy instead of an actor trying to play it.

Now unlike the books, we did get a bit of backstory on the boxcar and how it ended up being where it was. I don’t know if I liked that addition though. Sure it made the boxcar have a bit more personality to it but I feel it would of gotten that personality anyway from how the children fell in love with their makeshift home. To show a backstory (and this isn’t a spoiler, it happens in the beginning of the movie) that was of a lightning bolt hitting a coupling to the car while a train was moving, which sent the car flying down another track… It pulls the idea of the boxcar from being realistic to more of this fantasy. The reason why I liked the books so much was because of how real they were. I felt like I could have actually gone out there and did what they did.

The artwork is amazing, like a picture book that came to life. The movie was done in CG but with a sort of cel shaded texture to everything. There are two different styles of cel shaded CG textures, those that are hard edged, and then the rather soft style. The softer style was used in this and seemed to give the whole movie a very gentle atmosphere perfect for the story. It isn’t a story about how these children are saving the world, it isn’t about them defeating a bad guy… it’s just about them trying to live on their own. Although I praise most of the art style for this movie, there are some things that I didn’t get. Benny’s head and eyes were a bit too big for the body he had and I was just waiting for him to fall over. There was also a point in the show where it sort of felt like they were heading into a bit more of the fantasy ‘fairy magic made everything possible’ style which is not in the books at all. It was only in the very beginning though, and so I was happy they didn’t do much with that.

The voices were surprisingly good! I did not expect how the voices fit the characters and how close they sounded to what I pictured in the books. I really don’t know what else to say about the voices actually as it just was so good to me. The music was the same, feeling as though it was made to fit the art style and story so well. Again, I am extremely surprised that I am writing these words because normally there is at least one person or a bit of music that would not fit to the show and yet, I have no problems with this movie.

The nostalgia factor was really high on this show but I thought it was going to bomb. My expectations of the movie was pretty low after seeing how much it was and the cover that it left me pleasantly surprised. The directors really took the time and energy into making the movie much like the books and it really shows. If you are looking for a really calming story about four kids looking for a place to belong or if you used to read the books, I think you would also be pleasantly surprised. If your looking for a action packed show though, this isn’t the one for you.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boxcar_Children_(film)

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Zootopia, , (Feb 10, 2016)
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore Producers: Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippe
Mystery, Drama, Comedy,
Key Words: Cop, CG Animation, Anthropomorphic
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios Licensed American Publisher:
Tumblr Link

Time: 108 Mins


Judy Hopps was just an average little Bunny with big dreams of making the world a better place. To do so, she worked really hard to make it into the Police Department of the amazing city of Zootopia. But has she bitten off more then she can chew when she ends up on the case of 14 predatory animals going missing? With 48 hours to solve the case or lose her badge, what awaits her might just challenge not only her career but her morals as well.


My Thoughts: This might be one of the only movies I actually went to see while it was still in theaters (Kind of went on a date for a night showing in fact). From day one, I was rather interested in seeing this movie as so many people were talking about how awesome it was and how more adult it was from many of the other shows Disney had put out. They were not wrong. The show actually felt very similar to a buddy cop show that was live action. There was a lot of mystery and suspense so I will try to keep spoilers at a minimum and yet it is very deep rooted in the reason why I love this show so much.

The story follows a young bunny named Judy Hopps (Already with the puns) who wanted to be a cop ever since she was little. This of course was slightly taboo as there had never been a bunny in the police force. It was all full of Large muscular animals such as elephants, Water Buffalo, and even predators like wolves. Even when she got into the police force, she wasn’t really taken seriously. The chief put her on parking duty (which in the real world wouldn’t have been such a strange thing to do) but she wanted a chance to prove herself. She ends up getting 48 hours to find an otter that went missing or lose her badge, making her team up with unlikely ally, a fox, and show she can be one of the big boys. Sounds like story line that has already been done before? Well it has… and yet it hasn’t. The fun about this story is that the characters, however cliché they are, have something very charming about them.

Judy is a really optimistic character who believes she can make the world a better place by being a cop. There are times though when she will actually end up losing face, falling into depression and just believing she failed. It’s almost sadistic in saying this, but I love those scenes. They make her so much more human then the traditional heroine of Disney films. One thing I would have loved to see more of though would have been the interaction with her family, not just her mother and father. She has so many brothers and sisters that it would have been cool to see a bit more interaction with them… not sure where they would have had that, but it’s something fun for the next movie if they do a sequel.

Nick the fox is almost the exact opposite of Judy. Pessimistic, sarcastic, and sly, he just acts how the world sees him. I think he is my favorite character in fact with just how relaxed he is. Unlike Judy, his hopes and dreams were dashed away when he was just a child so I feel as though I am sort of in the same line with him. I had many people try to tell me I couldn’t do something or I was not good enough that I sort of lost myself in the idea that they were right.

The show is littered with adult references on things like racism, commentary on life’s problems, and even a joke about how slow the DMV is. For a children’s show, the feeling I got from the movie was that it was actually aimed towards adults and teens rather then the children. Disney has always been one of those studios we see for children, where princesses sing and their problems go away and where there is a clear line between the good guys and the bad guys. The amount of detail and deep thought that went into this story is not something you would expect from Disney and I have to say it’s a really nice change. It’s also a bit surprising that the story of this movie changed so much over the years. It was actually going to be much darker then the finished project which makes me wonder a bit just what road they were going to go down. It still holds a dark story even now so just how much darker were they planning on going?

The animation is so amazing. They had to make all the different textures for the fur strand by strand. I watched 107 facts about the show and they had to program a new way of doing hair and fur that was even better then the one they did for Frozen and Tangled. Each animal had its own texture, pattern, and beautiful eyes that seem to spring to life. I’m sorry if I sound like I’m just praising it up and down but they really deserve it. I didn’t find any mistakes the two times I watched (the second wasn’t in a theater) and you can tell they really cared about the movie. It’s something you got to watch in order to understand just why I praise it so much. I guess the only thing I feel like nit picking would be the design style of the feet of each animal and just how they showed them but that is a design choice that doesn’t really destroy the show. Like I said, the feet thing is only a tiny nit pick as I can’t find anything else really wrong with it.

The voice acting gave all the characters life. Ginnifer Goodwin was seriously perfect for Judy. If you don’t know who she is, she played Snow White in ABC’s ‘Once Upon a Time’. Her spunky personality just explodes as Judy, and the way she can push all the emotions in her just made that character stand out. On the other side, Jason Bateman did the most amazing version of a sly con-artist that made me feel as though he could have been one in real life. Other note worthy voices that seemed to fit the characters were J.K. Simmons as the lion Mayor, Idris Elba as Chief Bogo, and even Shakira and the pop star Gazelle. Normally I would feel as though they only put pop idols into shows just to have their names on the project but for the small parts Shakira was doing, she seriously seemed to fit the character… who was a Gazelle but I never gave them props for the names.

I seriously think that of all the shows that Disney has been putting out, this one might have been the best one out there. I can’t give props on originality on the all the points of the story or the names of the characters, but just how they executed it in a way that I feel all ages can fall in love with it. Sure, I liked Frozen, I liked Tangled, but Zootopia feels as though Disney is actually starting to try and step outside there stereotypical stories and into things that actually have a much deeper and more meaningful concept behind it.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zootopia

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107 Zootopia Facts YOU should Know by ToonedUp - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcF_D6c5NwY


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