Yes, after we marched hundreds of miles and watched an awesome musical spectacle, it wouldn't be a long shot to say that audiences are just penguined out and don't feel like giving Surf's Up the time of day. But if you're willing to forgive the little oversight regarding the species of this film's main characters, you'd realize that it's a true winner within this sea of sequels-- puns not intended.
The film chronicles Cody Maverick, a young penguin ostracized by his fellow rockhopper brethren as being too caught up in surfing while shirking his daily responsibilities and future of separating the fish into their respective piles. However, Cody realizes that there is more to life as a penguin than just that, and he dreams of the day when he can go off, surf some real waves, and make his impact on the sport just like his hero, Big Z. When a talent scout arrives at his home of Shiverpool, he quickly takes his chance and is whisked away to Pen Gu Island just in time for the Big Z Memorial Surf Off. Little Cody is determined to take the trophy from monster surfer Tank Evans, who has won the contest nine times in a row, and bring glory to his name back home. However, after being reluctantly taken under the wing of Geek, a local hermit with a rather familiar vibe, Cody soon realizes what being a real winner is all about.
Despite the familiar storyline, the film's catch is that is not an orthodox presentation. Rather, it's given to us as a documentary detailing the penguins' surfing culture, and the animators take special care in trying to make the world as up-close and personal as the genre suggests: characters react naturally to the invasive paparazzi, the lens is sometimes obscured or dirtied, filming equipment may enter the scene, and the shots are not always in focus.
And of course, there are interviews. These bits help give you an inside look at the characters' personality coupled with a nice joke as their stories may conflict with what is actually happening on the screen. In short, it looks realistically filmed, and the approach helps in allowing you to follow the characters' chronicles better. Adding greatly to the experience is the voice acting. The actors recorded their parts together, feeding off of each other and ad-libbing, and this decision has produced some wonderful characterization and dialogue. All of this combined gives a greatly immersive effect, and you sometimes forget you are watching simple cartoon penguins. You'll feel as if you are right there in the action.
However, the documentary concept is not presented as strongly later in the film as it is in the beginning. Because of this, things tend to mellow out during the second act, sometimes to the point that it seems as if the film just reverts back into a state of natural storytelling and abandons the concept altogether. It becomes rather slow, but a short running time and quick visits to more action-oriented scenes tend to make these moments more bearable than expected.
Speaking of action, the animation is really nothing short of spectacular. Character movement is lively, fluid, and believable, and the world of Pen Gu just might be mistaken for simple rendered footage of some far off tropical paradise. Your effects are standard as well: sand particles fly, vegetation spices up the place, fire effects are well-done, the lighting is appropriate in various scenarios. But, being that this is a surfer movie, your most memorable footage will obviously come from the shots featuring water. No beating around the bush with it: the water looks beautiful and... well, like water, and the ocean's beauty is not wasted in any of the surfing sequences, not even at the very end where we are fed one of the most gorgeous and symbolic ending shots in animated film history, hands down. The surfers also handle these waves like pros whilst throwing in little tricks and moves that would make a seasoned surfer proud.
In summary, Surf's Up is definitely a refreshing and welcome change of pace amidst this blockbuster summer of sequels. It doesn't take itself too seriously and handles its rather oddball, yet original concept extremely well. Backed with a good story, wonderful characterization, and amazing animation, I certainly welcome more penguin features in the future. Now, go see it.
But by NO MEANS the best cartoon to have ever been created storywise. It's POPULAR, but what popular things are really THAT good when you think about it? Let me explain in more detail.
To me, DBZ was a fad that got WAY out of control. It was fun when it first started rolling. We loved the battles, we loved the fast-paced action, we loved Goku whining for food every five minutes or straying from needles, but it gets old fast because it relies too heavily on the same formulaic plot: Bad guy is introduced, good guys fight, part of the good side is eliminated, good guys wonder about what to do, someone fights the bad guy again, then Goku (or in one case, Gohan) comes in and succeeds in beating the foe. Even Akira, the show and manga's creator, knew the outcome of the show's downfall I'm describing. He actually wanted the show to stop being aired after the Freeza saga. He knew what would come, and that's anime that would soon outdo it in ALL aspects (YYH or Naruto anyone?)
Now that seems to be every superhero show's plot, DBZ fans will argue. For example, even the popular YYH, or Yu Yu Hakusho (which is being revived in its homeland and getting another manga series produced RIGHT NOW. Where's DBZs?) relies on this type of plot. But it's the WAY it is carried out that separates these two shows. DBZ relies more on the battles and predictable suspense to keep you entertained. You know every bad guy's motive in DBZ: to destroy the world or Goku. In YYH, each villain has secret incentives and motives you would not be able to predict, and that's where YYH's charm comes from. Besides (in my opinion) the fighters in YYH are far more smarter than the ones from DBZ.
There is a lot of better anime rolling around out there somewhere, and it's being given an undeserving rap of being absolute garbage from prior fans who got over DBZ after noticing the show was the same roller-coaster ride time and time again. True, it has its funny moments and great battles, but when the thought wears on you that you KNOW the villain's motives and you can EASILY predict every single battle that you come across, it just ruins the fun, no matter what battle you watch. DBZ may have gotten so big that it's described as being, heh heh, the "best anime/animated show of all time" but like all fads, DBZ has had its go and has long worn out its welcome. I know very well because sadly...
Undoubtedly One of the Best Non-Disney Animated Musicals.
I was quite small when I saw this movie inside of the local Blockbuster. Naturally, being the animal/animation lover that I am, I immediately picked it up. Watched it, loved it. Then it quickly disappeared from my memory and everyone else's since all of its hype burned out; however, it suddenly started popping up on television a few years later, and I must say, it's as good a watch as the first.
The plot: We find our hero, Danny the Cat, heading out to Hollywood in pursuit of his dreams: to become a star. The cat is bursting with musical talent, as well as his other animal friends, like Tillie, Frances, and especially Sawyer. However, the business only has its eye on musically talented humans and our friends are left out of the spotlight. Can Danny overcome firmly established prejudiced ways and the fake child star Darla Dimple, and make it to the big time, or will he and his friends be stuck with the two-bit roles?
The first thing that sticks out about this movie is the animation. Wonderful, bright,zany, and fast-paced: a very different take on the more, slower moving animated movies. From the memorable ark ride to simply the characters being themselves, the animation was simply fantastic. It dared to be different, and not only did it pay off well with the lasting appeal of the movie itself, but it greatly helped the musical numbers, which were just wonderful.
Of course, with this being a musical, you're going to be like "not another Disney-wannabe. Their songs are already bad enough...." CDD pleasantly surprised me. The songs were very enjoyable. Witty lyrics coupled with good music actually made me feel the writer's took time to develop these songs and the score. Songs ranging from the all-around fun "I've Got Rhythm" to the soulful tune of "Tell Me Lies" greatly moved the story to the wonderful finale that had me with my eyes glued to the screen.
All in all, this movie is a nice little break from many of the overworked Disney movies of today. Good plot, wonderful, colorful animation, and actually GOOD songs make this a feature that is not to be missed. And as a little token to this wonderful movie: "See you in the movies!"
To someone picking up this little flick without bothering to go into it a bit more, you are probably expecting some Disney-like movie (Just look at the box cover) and the premise even suggest it: A man is reincarnated as a dog and goes on a search to find his family. Boy, was I surprised. Not only is the dog trying to find his family, he's out for revenge against the man who put him in the situation in the first place. Full of mature themes and gripping moments, this is one of those rare movies that will definitely make you think and- as stated by everyone else here- shed a few tears.
We follow Fluke from puppyhood to adulthood as he starts trying desperately to find out who he once was. After putting 2 and 2 together, Fluke does indeed set out on a journey to find his wife and son, much to the dismay of his ill-fated friend Rumbo, a dog who was also human. When Fluke finds them, he's living the good life- that is, until his crooked business partner comes in and crashes the party. Fluke is determined to make sure he won't do any harm to his family as he did to him. But is Fluke going by truth, or what he wants to believe?...
The main thing about this movie that hit me at first was the music. The beautiful orchestra soundtrack accompanied this film perfectly. There were a few times I watched the credits simply to hear the music. And of course, what's good music without good filmography to go with it? This movie has that too. Some of the most bright, natural filming can be seen with the dog as he braves mountains and rivers on his long journey, or during the more peaceful moments as he plays with his family out in the sunshine. All in all, the filming and soundtrack itself is definitely a step up from a few of the more well-known animal movies, like Homeward Bound for instance.
The story itself is very unpredictable, another thing I was not expecting from a movie such as this. Fluke's acts and visions will keep you watching to find out the real story behind his past. But while he's fending away his partner, he's trying to convince his family that he's more than just some old dog. Many of these scenes had me stop the movie just to pull myself together, such as when he did his "fatherly" duties of tucking his son in and laying on his side of the bed during the night.
Acting in the movie ranges from good to alright. It's not the best acting in the world, but the humans weren't the ones I paid attention to and even then, the dogs still had the best lines and voicing, despite the fact that they talked only for a short while. The little boy had to be the most irritating of all though, especially in scenes when he was distressed in any way. I also feel the lab scene could have been executed a bit better. That scene seemed to pass by too quickly or just put in the middle of the movie with no purpose, but it did help explain a major event, so I can't complain.
In conclusion: Fluke is a timeless gem and a very impressive attempt at a family drama from such an unknown director. The filmography, score, and plot itself made this movie one of best animal-oriented movies of the last century. Only the acting from the humans and a few of the sometimes out-of-place scenes hurt the movie just a tad, but not enough to stop me from giving this underrated movie the recommendation it truly deserves.
I must say, I'm shocked at how much bashing this show tends to get on this site. Personally, I love it! (Sure, a few of the new episodes are kinda...eh) Aside from Spongebob, this show is the pure definition of comedy and one the only one that keeps me, and a lot of other people, tuned in to the Nick channel in the first place.
The basic plot is that Timmy Turner is a lonely, misunderstood ten-year-old boy who must deal with more than any boy his age should handle.... Ever. So out of sympathy, he is given Cosmo and Wanda, two bumbling fairies for personal servitude and company from Fairy World. But even with the two fairies at his side to help him 24/7, he quickly learns life is full of complications that even magic can't fix.
One of the reasons this show does so well is the large cast of characters. Everyone on the show gets a good laugh from me and that's what's important. Timmy's father, for example, is a clumsy, dense man and always undertaking some stupid task to get back at the... Dinklebergs.... Look up the word "evil" in the dictionary and you'll see a mug shot of Vicky, Timmy's babysitter, who cares only about money, the pain of a child, and... well, money.
Another reason of this show's success are the plots themselves. To get through life's challenges, Timmy uses his fairies' magic to the advantage. But, of course, nothing ever works out right. One reason is because of the rules added to the power of magic. After all, without restrictions on what Timmy could do, this show would be over in a snap. Also, each episode constantly throws in joke after joke after joke and, coupled with the quick animation and scene switching, it rarely slows down on its humor.
Now onto the heart of this wonderful show: the fairies. A regular comic pair. Wanda is sensible and smart, totally opposite of the purile idiot known as Cosmo. Their interactions with each other are often rib-cracking, especially since Cosmo is constantly getting on her nerves to no end. Adding to the fact that they are wed can ensure worse punishment for Cosmo in the end. They're always trying to work together as a team (a horribly dysfunctional one) and help Timmy, but you can always be sure Cosmo will add some "fun" along the way.
For real people, I can see nothing wrong with this show. Some of the reasons stated on here for its atrocity are total non-sense, such as the animation is bad or the characters all act dumb. Hello, it's a comedy. The characters act like that for a reason. As for the animation, there is worse, such as some of the things on Cartoon Network. (Dexter's Lab, PPG) It, and other shows like it, is actually a revival and tribute of an old style in the 30s and 40s that relied on an abstract look for uniqueness, so it had few details and the characters looked flat. And besides, so what if there's little detail and such? Is that really important in an animated comedy?
Alright, enough personal ranting for one day. Back to business. This show is absolutely wonderful. Good, quick humor, a huge and colorful cast of characters coupled with the premise of a boy with (nearly) infinite magical powers make this a must-see show for all. If you've barred this show from your schedule of "Must-Watches," at least give it a good chance. You may be extremely happy with the result.
Now I'm a huge Don Bluth fan, so it's no wonder I love all of his films to death, with the exception of Rock-A-Doodle-Doo, which had potential but dived like a nailed duck than sang like a rooster.
Back on topic, I felt that "Penguin" is a vastly underrated film. The basic story is that Hubie, our shy, lovestruck hero, must make his way back to his love Marina after being left for dead by the jealous Drake, whose also got his eye on Marina. Accompanied by the strong and hyper-active Rocko, Hubie braves the waters to make the 3000 mile journey and give her his unique "engagement pebble" before his love is banished forever.
The adventure itself is everything I want in this type of movie: Action. Hubie and Rocko's flights from the numerous seals and whales who see our fair duo as an appetizer are always enough to hold my attention, because it was fast. And the faster and livelier the animation, the better for me.
But of course, the slower moments made me like this movie also. In these scenes, we see the birds' true personality emerge. Hubie is this shy and timid thing in the beginning...Quite lame actually (Who calls anyone a "big bully" anymore?) And in the end, he's brave and not afraid to speak his mind. In fact, he learns to fight and defend himself, taught by the tough-guy Rocko, who begins showing compassion and friendship for Hubie as the movie goes on. He also shares his dream with the penguin: To be the first penguin to fly, a cute little personality quirk to this diamond in the rough.
It has your typical Bluth animation: Fluid, bright, lively, and Disney-like, and that's the main thing I've come to love from animation produced during the bygone era. Just plain beautiful in all aspects.
The songs are pretty charming... once they wear on you. After all, this is a movie intended more so for 7,8,9,10 year olds, so these songs aren't "Lion King" material. But I've come to find something I like about each. For instance, Hubie's jokes in "Looks Like I Got Me a Friend" are lame... but I've come to love that about the cute lil' penguin!! All songs are acceptable, excluding "Misery." Waaaay too childish. But the score was absolutely breathtaking.
To me, this movie only had one setback: Drake, the aforementioned villain. He's not the most likable villain at all and only held my attention with one or two threats, and a few lines from his song "Don't Make Me Laugh." He's more annoying than anything else, and made me all the more happier Hubie kicked his white-and-black behind.
In conclusion, "Penguin" has been adored by me since the first time I laid eyes on these quirky birds. Given this is a children's movie really makes me appreciate it even more. The music, main characters, action scenes and character development of Rocko and Hubie were perfect. The villain and a few songs were the only drawback to a wonderful movie. Don Bluth is one of the best, independent animators of the 80s-90s and he has kept his rep very well.
Like the Second Movie, is Nowhere Close to the Original
The original concept of "Lilo and Stitch" is simple, yet bursting with genius. Take the old "boy and his dog" routine, except replace the boy with a lonely girl, the dog with an evil, yet huggable blue alien, and set this all in Hawaii. Add fun music, play your cards right, and you have one of the best Disney movies of the new century. Naturally with this movie's success, a sequel was bound to happen. Now we all know Stitch is Experiment 626. What about the other 625? What can they do? You have the basis for a good story that turned into nothing but a simple marketing ploy with little thought put into it. And unlike most Disney flicks, the sequel set the tone for a possible TV show.
Like the movie, the plot of the series is for Lilo and Stitch to hunt down the other 623 experiments floating around the island before Gantu can get his greedy paws on them, convert them to good, and find the one place they all belong on the island. I admit, although I was skeptical of the movie, I was virtually ecstatic that Disney was making a TV show on this idea. I love the oldies: "101 Dalmatians," "Raw Toonage," Tale Spin," "Timon and Pumbaa," yada yada yada, and thought to give it a shot. Like the movie, this series is too bland to satisfy my taste for something as likable as the original.
First of all, it's too predictable. They confront a creature and turn it to good, learn a moral in the process, done. However there have been a few times, emphasis on few, that Gantu has succeeded against them. Secondly, a lot of characters seem out of character. In the first movie, Gantu was a strong, important, and disciplined military leader. Now, he's bumbling, clumsy, silly, and lost my respect. Pleakley and Jumba, who had very good comedic value to add, are now repetitive and boring. The only characters who remain virtually the same are Stitch and Lilo. Also, for such a grand saga that Disney created, you think they could have a bigger, better, more menacing villain than the small alien rodent, Dr. Hamsterveil. In plain words, he's downright annoying.
Now throughout my ranting, there are a few things I love about the series too. 625, the "sandwich-making freak", has lasting appeal and is actually very funny in my opinion, and gives the show a little more reason to watch. Also, it's fun seeing all those experiments run amuck on the island. They're all lovable. And of course, Stitch. How can we forget him? He's still that evil, loving creature and always will be, no matter how much Disney destroys him.
In conclusion: "Lilo and Stitch: The Series" is nothing more than a simple sequel to the sequel that will only be loved by small kids and hard-core fans of the blue UFO, and even a few of them choose to tune this one out. Like every show, it has its moments, but not enough to do justice to the first movie. It's like the Disney version of "Pokemon", predictable and too kid-friendly. I love Stitch and his mysterious, funny babbling to death, but Disney fails us again.
The Angry Beavers is everything one should expect of a silly, fun show: Likable, understandable characters, memorable slapstick humor and one-liners, and good plot lines (for the most part...) The show can take some getting used to, as it did for me, for people who are willing to give this masterpiece a good try but once you do, sit down and prepare to be fully entertained and laughing throughout the entire show.
The basic premise is that two brothers, the hyper, overreacting Daggett and his calmer, more intelligent brother Norbert have left their home to fend for themselves in a forest full of a bunch of crazy characters, getting into hilarious situations and devising over-the-top plots for their own "personal gain", all the while trying to be a good brother and just plainly, do what beavers do. The show's originality of natural, yet unnatural animals and the unique style of humor is the core of the show. Norbert's talking about his younger brother behind his back and Daggett tries a dumb, but funny comeback, they may be flying all over the place, or they're trying in vain to outdo the other in such oddball competitions, like the infamous staring contest, you can help but be entertained.
The story lines for each episode are for the most part, well thought out and taken up a step. Even the overly used ones. Most have some interesting twists that will usually happen throughout, especially when the beavers are competing, or on rare occasions, when Daggett gets the upper hand on his brother. Unfortunately, there have been those few episodes like "Stinky Toe" or "Sans-A-Pelt" that come along and just seem out of place or even worse, unentertaining, but they should be overlooked with amusing classics like "Beaver Fever" or "H2-Whoa!!"
The voice acting is superb, funny when both the main actors worked at the same time. Nick's laid back and mature, perfect for Norb, while the powerful, loud, and in-you-face Richard suits Daggett like a glove. Their lines are executed perfectly, mostly found during their arguments, and will have you wondering whether these crazy rodents weren't indeed based on real brothers. Norb notes Dag's stupidity, Dag does a comeback, while Norb ends it with something like "Yeah, you need to order a new brain" or "When this is over, I'm selling you to science." Even their beaver slang and crazily mispronounced words are something special. Hard-core fans will be saying "spoothead" to their friends after having watching an episode.
The show only has one short-coming. There are numerous inside jokes and culture references scattered throughout, and it can be very confusing for the younger crowd of like 5 or 6 sometimes, so most in this category tend to leave this one alone, unless they just live for cartoon animals, truly understand the humor, or want to see what Dag has done today. Once paid attention to enough, kids from 10 up should quickly find this a favorite.
All in all, there is truly nothing wrong with this show, except it may not be someone's cup of tea. It delivers exactly what it promised: Good, clean fun. The characters, the antics, the animation, nothing short of amazing. Even with a hard established fan-base from young and old, Nickelodeon failed to realize this show's real potential, which led to it's bad time slots and ultimately, cancellation. Definitely worthy of everyone's attention and deserving a long overdue DVD/VHS release. Norb and Dag are a true comic duo.
This new anime is certainly a few steps up from the American cartoons, especially the awful Sonic Underground. However, for hard-core anime and Sonic fans, you can't judge a book by its cover.
The basic story is that Sonic and his friends have been stranded in a new world. They befriend a little boy named Chris who aids them in their quest to stop Dr. Eggman from ruling the world, all the while trying to get back home. As interesting as the story sounds, it falls short because of the repetitiveness in each episode. Sonic's hanging out, Eggman shows up, he runs and destroys a robot. That's it, most times saving the little boy in the process. And it seems that the creators try to develop Chris a whole lot more than realizing Sonic's potential to entertain us with his stunts and attitude. Don't get me wrong, there are several episodes that had me in stitches or crying like a baby, but mostly, it's the same old thing. Also, character development is almost non-existent (not counting humans), mostly because the show was intended only for Sonic fans who know the blue dude well. And for those who are familiar with the games, the voice acting is quite good. It sounds like normal conversation, with the exception of a few of Sonic's one-liner's and the unimportant humans.
Not only does the story suffer, but the animation suffers as well. In the first episode, it was beautiful. Sonic's running through tunnels, on walls, on the highway, bullets flying, cars chasing him, all in smooth animation you expect from a Japanese action anime. But as the story progresses on to later sagas, the animation suffers a huge downfall. Frames skip or characters will sometimes look weird, all the while you wondering how the animation got bad and the artists didn't realize, however they do straighten their act up in special episodes, like Sonic's long-awaited transformation to Super Sonic.
All in all, it's not what I expected when I saw the raw Japanese version of episode one. This anime is quite predictable and the art gets bad as the story goes on. However, one good thing is that this story has some good humor and a lot of heart, expressed mostly in Sonic and Chris's growing love and friendship. It's no Dragonball Z, but it's definitely a step up from the American shows and has enough appeal to keep the interested interested. Maybe, just maybe, when the new episodes are produced and aired this fall, fans will get what they asked for and Sonic will get the true adventure he deserves.
EDIT: Hmm... ya know... the more I watch this show, the more I can't get enough of it. While waiting for the extremely-longed-for Season Three to be produced in Japan, I figured I might as well watch the old ones while I'm waiting. If you really look inbetween the lines of this show, it speaks one important thing very loudly: love. Not only is Sonic a funny and cool person to be around, but the hedgehog is wise beyond his years, and he constantly teaches the new kid what true friendship is all about in a non sugar-coated way, like like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon do for example, and it's very satisfying. Now, I really don't like this new kid that much as some other people do. In fact, I don't care what happens to him, but I like to see a character grow throughout a movie or show. It's heart-warming, and it should be to the other people who('ve) realize this, even though it does like a cheap, one-shot kid's fare on the surface. Maybe Sonic did get his adventure after all, or maybe it's all waiting right around the corner in April....
Funimation is the company well known for the dubbing of the Dragonball series, which was not as good as it was several years ago during the peak of its popularity. However, they soon got hold of another anime to put out on our television screens. Bad, right? Wrong.
YYH is the story of a street kid named Yusuke with unnatural and extreme fighting skills who becomes a Spirit Detective, a special official who battles demons who pose a threat to our Earth, after he surprises his boss for saving a child's life, something not expected because of his brash manner and horrible social life. From there, Yusuke is involved in many cases, ranging from returning artifacts to their rightful place to an Underworld fighting tournament, aided closely by his loyal friends and his girlfriend, who has a good hand on her as well.
The best thing about this series is that the only real edit is the voicing (as far as the uncut version goes). Everything else is the same: the names of the people, about 90% of the dialog, and more importantly the music. It's the closest thing to the original version I've seen in a long time, which is a very good call in my opinion to a well dubbed anime. And the voice actors are phenomenal. Everyone fits their roles perfectly and knows how to execute a joke, verbal and slapstick, so well that I found myself rewinding the recorded episodes I have just to see them again. Nicely done.
And the battles in the show themselves are very attention-grabbing and at times unpredictable. Yusuke may be winning a fight one minute and the next he can barely fight back because of his opponent's hidden technique they had all along. The fighters in this show can pull some unexpected tricks from up their sleeves and they are extremely intelligent and calculating in their each of their actions. They'll make you go "Wow. I never saw that one coming". Another good thing about the fighting is that long battles last no more than 5 or 6 episodes, unlike a 20 episode long battle in Dragonball Z. They get to the point quickly, with fireworks galore. These gripping moments never cease to let you go.
And the characters themselves are outstanding. Their personalities are so well brought out and so diverse. Yusuke's reckless and free-spirited, while Hiei (pronounced Hee-ay for those who don't know) is a dark loner who is only interested in number one most of the time. They are so developed and life-like you can't help but imagine someone close who resembles of few characters to the letter. And as perfect as this all sounds, it has one major downfall. Because of the similarities of the basic storyline to DBZ, people tend to look at it as just a DBZ rip-off and skip it. If the likeness is forgotten, it can become a well loved anime by most people who see it is a bad show.
In conclusion, YYH is a well done dub, as far as the uncut version goes. Wonderful voices, good humor, and battles that will have you hooked, all done without leaving out too much of the show's Japanese feel. Good job, Funimation, you've mastered the art of professional anime dubbing. Hey 4Kids, if you're reading this, maybe you'll learn something.