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Reviews

SpongeBob SquarePants
(1999)

It's Surreal and Hilarious!
Now we've come to it: SpongeBob SquarePants, arguably the biggest cartoon of our time! People all over the world know this show! Millions of people are in love with these characters! The episodes are quotable, the moments are memorable - it's just an incredible show!...Well, it was. I know people love this entire series, but I must admit there was a time I found my constant enjoyment of this show cease.

If you don't know the premise, I spit it out in a nutshell. SpongeBob SquarePants is a sponge (a kitchen sponge, not a sea sponge) who lives in the suburbs of the underwater town of Bikini Bottom. His roommate is his pet snail, Gary, and he lives next to Squidward J. Tentacles and Patrick Star. He works at the modest burger joint, the Krusty Krab, owned by Eugene Krabs (who has a whale, Pearl, for a daughter...I don't know how genetics work). Other characters include a squirrel from Texas named Sandy, Mr. Krabs' competition Sheldon J. Plankton, Larry Lobster, and SpongeBob's boating instructor named Mrs. Puff.

I love what everyone else loves about the show, the characters and the crazy situations they get into. It's just crazy, goofiness and fun stupidity. I love watching the characters interact with each other, and I love watching the outcome of their crazy situations. I love watching them get into their crazy situations in the first place! What chaos will SpongeBob cause for Squidward or Sandy today? How has Krabs decided to be cheap in this episode? How will Plankton fail at stealing the Krabby Patty formula this time?

With that being said, I think the element we love most about this show is its comedy. The jokes aren't new, but we haven't seen them in a children's television show. We'd normally see these situations and characters in something like "The Simpsons." This show can't be as adult as "The Simpsons," but the content and humor aren't really sugarcoded. This show takes advantage of every comedic possibility it can with this premise. This is why the show has become so successful since its 1999 premier - it's surreal and hilarious!

OK, so what don't I like about this show? After talking it up so much, you'd think I'd be in love with this show; and I am...kind of. Growing up, this was my favorite cartoon and my favorite show! When I saw the SpongeBob movie, I loved that as well! Then the fourth season premiered in May 2005...This is when the show started going downhill. Even watching now as an adult, I still laugh hard at the first three seasons. They were creative, edgy, and tons of fun! They got better and better as the series continued. The fourth season isn't necessarily bad - there are a lot of moments I enjoy and a lot of jokes I laugh at. But it's not as good as the third season was. You want to see the show progress like it did before the movie, but it didn't here. SpongeBob is just too happy and cartoony during this season. What made him great in the first three seasons was that he wasn't always happy. He could be angry, he could be sad, he could be concerned. It was never too serious to take us out of our fun cartoon, but it was real enough to make us empathize with him. In this season, I find SpongeBob and his characteristics unreal and annoying. Like I said, the fourth season isn't that bad, it just isn't as good as where the series left off. But as the show continued, it got worse and worse.

As "SpongeBob" continued, it also gave us some really uncomfortable adult moments. There was an episode where Squidward wrote a symphony, and he accidentally wrote in the adventures SpongeBob and Patrick were having outside his window. We see SpongeBob wearing a doctor's uniform and Patrick in a patient outfit. Patrick is bent over, SpongeBob puts on a rubber glove, and after we cut to another frame we hear a squeaking sound with Patrick giggling. True, we find out later that SpongeBob was just playing with a rubber duck, but did we really need that joke? Did we really need that innuendo? I know that children's shows are full of adult content, and I'm not going to act like I'm totally against it. I don't think it's necessary, but if it's subtle enough I may find myself laughing at it. THIS is not subtle! It's there, in your face! It's way too adult for children to understand, but they have no choice but to notice it because it's obviously placed in front of them! If your children didn't react to this or ask any questions, that's fine; but I'd be uncomfortable about letting my kids watch it.

Bottom line, if you want a smart show that knows how to be as funny and entertaining as possible, I'd recommend the first three seasons of this show...and the movie (surprisingly, that still holds up after all these years). All the other seasons after that annoy me, and I can't really say they're good. They're annoying, stupid, and painful. There may be some enjoyable moments you can find in the later seasons, but as a whole they just don't work. If you feel differently, that's OK. Take a look, and judge for yourself. God bless you. BOOYIKA!

The Amanda Show
(1999)

The Performers Aren't Bad
OK, this should be a quick review. When this show premiered in 1999, I was excited. I loved Amanda, I loved the other cast members, I loved the sketches - I thought the show was great! Again, though, there was a long period when I didn't watch it. It came on TV again during my teenage years, and I sat down to relive old memories. And it did not hold up well. I didn't laugh much, I didn't smile much, and it didn't bring me much.

The show features "All That" star Amanda Bynes, performing on her own sketch comedy show. She performs a character in nearly every sketch with other cast members. Her characters include Judge Trudy, Blini from Blockblister, Amber from "The Girls Room," Cynthia Worthington, and, of course, Penelope Taynt.

What's wrong with the show? Well, there are a couple of things. First of all, there's not set up for half the jokes. They come out of nowhere, and we're just supposed to accept that they happen. At the end of every "Judge Trudy" sketch, Judy Trudy orders to have the dancing lobsters come out...Huh? What? Why are there dancing lobsters? What do they have to do with anything that happened in the sketch? Why are they dancing? Why are they so big? The only thing we get is dancing lobsters, with no reason or explanation. That's not funny. There has to be some understanding as to why something is funny. While "Moody's Point" isn't exceptionally funny, the idea of it is. It mocks a lot of teen drama television shows. People who watch teen dramas will know why the "Moody's Point" sketch is funny. If we're given dancing lobsters with no lead in or build up, the joke falls flat. Second of all, a lot of these bad jokes are repeated. Let's say you laughed at the "Hillbilly Moment" sketch when you first saw it, the sketch where Amanda hits Drake Bell with a random object after a knock-knock joke. It may have been funny the first time you see it because it surreal that Amanda would have this random object in her hand. But after the sketch repeats itself episode after episode, the shtick dies down quickly. It's not funny because we know what's going to happen. Even though she uses a different object each time, we still know what she's going to do with it.

The show's creator, writer, and executive producer is, once again, Dan Schneider. If you read my review for "All That," you know how I feel about some of his work. His sense of comedy, if you want to call it that, lacks intelligence. There's nothing smart about it. Whether we get dancing lobsters or hillbillies slapping each other, there's no thought behind any of this. It really does feel like he's throwing things in front of the camera because he doesn't care about molding the young mind. It's pandering, it's patronizing, it's insulting, and it is stupid!

Is there anything good I can say about the show? Well, again, the performers aren't bad. I don't think they're as good as the original "All That" cast, but they're not bad. They're energized, entertaining, and they do bring some talent; they don't act like they're getting paid to do what they're told like the last "All That" cast. And the jokes can be funny sometime. Not very often, but sometimes you will giggle or chuckle at what the cast members are doing, or even at what the writers wrote. These two elements work just enough to give the show a pass.

I don't like the show, but maybe you will. If you do, just share with me why. I can't condemn you for having an opinion. Just tell me what you think and why you think that way. If the same things that bother me bother you, however, I recommend you skip the show. BOOYIKA!

Cousin Skeeter
(1998)

Where the Crud Can I See This Show?
I have no idea why this show receives so many bad reviews and comments and blogs on this website. My family and I have always enjoyed this show; we were hooked when it first premiered in 1998. This was my favorite Nickelodeon show growing up. It's funny, clever, and heartfelt.

A teenage boy, Bobby Walker, and his family move from Los Angeles, California to New York City, New York. Not long after they make the move, Bobby's cousin from Atlanta, Georgia moves in with them as well. That cousin, as you've guessed, is Skeeter, a puppet voiced by Bill Bellamy. (And it's not like the Muppets, whose voice and puppeteering are provided by the same person. Bill Bellamy supplies solely the voice.) Bobby also develops a crush on his neighbor and classmate Nina Jones. With Skeeter by his side, however, his life is now full of chaos and trouble.

One of the things I really love about the show is the bond and friendship between Skeeter and Bobby. They really care for each other. They let the other know through their words and actions that they love one another. I think their comradery here is even better than the comradery between the main characters on "Kenan & Kel." While I do believe those two characters loved each other, keep in mind they that Kenan did use Kel as a ploy to get what he wanted a lot, and Kel would often be too dim-witted to realize the pain he caused Kenan. And while some of that happens on this show, we see a lot more of the boys respecting each other and staying together. That doesn't mean they won't get mad at each other at times, but their strong bond and brotherhood will eventually lead them back together again.

Something else I think this show did better than "Kenan & Kel" is the respect for adults. The kids do have some respect for those who have authority over them: their parents, their teachers, the law, etc. Yes they go behind people's back at times, but they do learn their lesson for it. They try not to be disrespectful, but often situations cause them to act a certain way. On "Kenan & Kel," Kenan goes out of his way to show little respect for his boss, teachers, and his parents. He'll lie even when he doesn't need to. Does this mean I dislike "Kenan & Kel?" Crud no, I love that show! I love its comedy! But in terms of how children actually treat adults, I can relate to this program a lot more.

So, why might people not like this show? Is it because it has a puppet? It could be, though I'd argue that shouldn't turn you away from this show. The fact that Skeeter's a puppet just opens the door for more possibilities and jokes. Is it the comedy? Well, it could be. I'll admit, a lot of the jokes aren't as funny now that I'm an adult. But they are still funny, and I still laugh. And, again, since I'm an adult I have a better understanding of some these jokes. Really, I think people just need to give this show a chance. If you like it, great! If you're not a fan of it, that's OK too. Even if you don't like it, though, trust me when I say it's not the worst show ever. There are worst shows Nickelodeon could have given us...and later DID give us!

Let me say two more things before I wrap up: 1) I wish this show was more popular. There have been other Nickelodeon shows people didn't like, but they still got attention and popularity. Even if you don't like this show, it's harmless and not the least bit damaging; give everyone else a chance to see it. 2) Where the crud can I see this show? Why aren't they playing it on TeeNick's "'90s Are All That?" I heard it ran on BET - did I miss it? In fact, I think it's currently playing in France. Why would Nickelodeon play the show in France and not here in the States?! I need my "Cousin Skeeter," too! I NEED MY "COUSIN SKEETER!!"

If you want a sort of realistic comedy with a surreal element and clever and funny moments, this show is for you! I love it, my entire family loves it, and hopefully you will too. Check it out, and judge for yourself. BOOYIKA!

Kenan & Kel
(1996)

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, ooh!
As I said in my "All That" review, what made that show work was the cast members (from the earlier seasons). You could not have been a fan of that show without being a fan of two of the show's stars, Kean Thompson and Kel Mitchell. If you loved them on "All That," you're definitely going to love them here!

The show centers around Kenan Rockmore and his friend Kel Kimble, two teenagers growing up in Chicago. Kenan lives with his younger sister Kyra, who has a crush on Kel, and his parents Sheryl and Roger. Kel lives...at his house. Kenan works for Chris Potter, owner of the Rigby's Grocery Store. Kel works for...whoever will give him orange soda (Kel has a mad passionate love for orange soda). The two young men often find themselves in a crazy situation, caused either by Kenan's schemes or Kel's accidents, which will inevitably lead them into a heap of trouble.

This was another favorite of mine growing up. I've always loved this show; in fact, I found myself laughing at it more in my young adult years than I did in my childhood years. As I sat down to write this review, I thought to myself, "Why is this show so good? What makes it so entertaining?" I think the reason is because this show is a comedy, and it knows that. It doesn't always try to be logical or realistic. Sometimes the humor comes from the situations and the characters, and other times the humor can be surreal. It has visual humor, ironic humor, and other types of humor. The jokes don't always get a laugh, but most of the time they do, and they're very funny.

I do wish the show had more focus on Kel, though. The set up gives us the classic "straight man/comedic foil" routine, in which the straight man is complex and has character development and the comedic foil is...just the comedic foil. In the first couple of episodes we were beginning to see some complexity with Kel. He could be smart and talented and clever, but for the most part he was just there to make us laugh, n the last two seasons, nearly everything he did was tied to a joke. I'm glad Kenan was developed, but I wanted some development with Kel too. Why couldn't we see his family? Why weren't there episodes based on his own worries, concerns, and dilemmas? The show is called "Kenan & Kel" after all!

Although, I must admit this show convinced me to drink more orange soda! I'm not kidding, it's my favorite drink now! "Who loves orange soda? Benjamin Isaiah Black loves orange soda! Is it true? Mm-Hmm! I do, I do, I do, I do, ooh!" For all the comedy this show has, you have to give it credit for creating one of the saddest moments on Nickelodeon ever! Remember the episode Kenan and his family moved to Montana? Did you not feel the weight of the sadness that these two were feeling? I didn't see that episode until my teenage years, and I was genuinely concerned! That was depressing!

If you haven't seen this show before, believe me when I say it's worth checking out! Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't; I've shown it to some of my friends in the past, and not all of them liked it. But if you're looking for a show with a few redeeming values and a whole lot of silly and goofy comedy, you'll love this show! You will, you will, you will, you will, ill! BOOYIKA!

All That
(1994)

They Knew How to Make Us Laugh
I can very easily and proudly say that this was one of my favorite shows growing up. I think it actually had a lot to do with my crazy personality today! We all remember the cast, the characters, the sketches, the funny and memorable moments, and we all love them so much! I find it interesting, though, as I read some of the other comments, reviews, and blogs about this show on this website, a reoccurring line reads, "The old cast was great, but the new cast was just terrible!" And...I'd be lying if I said that weren't true.

Let's start with the premise of the show. If you're familiar with any vaudeville shows or with "Saturday Night Live," then throw kids in there and you'll have an idea what this show is about. It's a show where teenagers and young adults perform reoccurring comedic characters in familiar comedic sketches. They put on a show, after having fun in the Green Room, and at the end of the show a musical guest performs. Some of the best memorable characters include Superdude, Ed from "Good Burger" Ashley from "Ask Ashley," Detective Dan, Ms. Fingerly, Kevin the Stage Manager, and so many others! OK, let's address the elephant in the room: is the old cast really all that bad?...Yes they are. However, I don't think the show's decline is necessarily their fault. Like some of the other Nickelodeon classics, I saw this show all the time when I was a kid, there was a long gap when I didn't see it, and then it reentered my life during my teen/young adult years. When I watched the show again as a young man, I paid more attention to the writing. In all honesty, it wasn't really that great. It was pretty stupid. The sketches included awkward and obvious dialogue and incredibly dumb plots. I really don't think the producers cared that much. "They're only children," they probably said. "We don't have to be smart or anything." Sometimes the lines and the situations would be funny, but most of the time they were really lame. What made them work, however, was the cast! Somehow the cast was talented enough to take the lame words on paper and make them entertaining and funny. In the first several seasons, the show had the right people (and all of them were great) who could make you laugh at the dumbest things! "How is that possible? Why is this supposed to be funny?" Those questions can easily be answered when you're watching Josh Server and Kel Mitchell! I'll always believe that the best season of the show was the fourth season. The show started out pretty good and got better over time, but the fourth season, in my opinion, had the best cast. I wanted to watch all of them and see what type of character each performer would portray next.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: let's take a favorite and familiar sketch, "Vital Information." Imagine your reaction if you heard any person say: "It's rude to talk with your mouth full. It's even ruder to blow your nose in your sister's pants." It wouldn't be that funny; it'd be rather stupid. However, Lori Beth Denberg knows just how to articulate that phrase to crack a smile on your face. After she left the show, Danny Tamberelli began hosting this sketch in the fifth season. It was...not funny. It wasn't ungodly unbearable, there were some funny moments. However, Danny just didn't have the same charm or sense of humor Lori Beth had to deliver the comedy for this sketch. Lori Beth was obviously the perfect choice to have host "Vital Information." But aside from the performers and the set design, did anything else about the sketch change? No, it still had the same writers. But now you're hearing just how stupid these words really are.

Now while the crew may not have changed (at least that much) from one season to the next, it certainly can change over the course of a long time span. Dan Schnider, who served as one of the show's producers and writers in the beginning, took over "All That" a couple of seasons later. And...it tanked. It was gosh awful. There weren't any talented comedic actors and actresses for the writers and producers to hide behind, everyone from the show's glory days were gone. Now the show's stupidity was out in the open with no place to hide. And, yes, I do put the blame of the show's demise on Dan Schnider. Schnider was responsible for other horrendous Nickelodeon shows, but we'll get to those later. He wasn't that bad in the mid to late '90s, but as time went on he got a lot worse. And nowhere does that show more obviously than the later seasons of "All That!" I don't think the problem is that the new actors and actresses couldn't act. I just don't think they were necessarily talented enough to make the stupid scripts funny. This just wasn't the right show for them to lend their talents.

OK, I did an analysis of the bad; what about the good? Well, like I said, the first group of actors and actresses were really charming and funny. Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Leon Frierson, Angelique Bates, Katrina Johnson, Alisa Reyes, Christy Knowings, Danny Tamberelli (when he's not giving vital information) - they were gems! They knew how to make us laugh! Their characters were incredibly entertaining and timeless. If you can watch this show and still laugh at these guys and their characters, clearly they did something right! And like I said before, the writing wasn't always bad; it had its moments. But the main reason we came back was to see these great actors and actresses performing these great characters! So long as I get to see them, I will always come back to this show; and that's ALL THAT! BOOYIKA!

Hey Arnold!
(1996)

Who Would Have Guessed a Cast of Children Characters Would be so Sound Minded?
There's not a whole lot I can say about this show. Not because it's bad, far from it. This is a good show, one of Nickelodeon's best in my opinion. It's funny, it's dramatic, it's relatable - I enjoy it.

The show features Arnold, a fourth grade student, and the situations he gets him, his friends, and his family into. He attends school, P.S. 118, with a colorful group of characters including a likable bully named Harold, a rich kid named Rhonda, a cool and smooth kid named Gerald, and the hateful yet lovable kid named Helga. Arnold lives in a boarding house with his grandparents due to a mysterious disappearance of his parents.

One of the things that makes this show good is the fact that it is relatable. There are some over the top and cartoony moments, but it seems a bit more relatable than the most Nicktoons because of the show's location, characters, and situation. The absence of Arnold's parents is something children who have no parents can relate to. There's an episode focusing on the changes Gerald's voice goes through, and all boys can relate to that. Helga's strange attraction and obsession with Arnold is something children who experience puppy love can relate to. And all the dramatic moments also contribute to the realism of this show. I have a conspiracy, though I can't be the first one to think this, that Chocolate Boy's chocolate addiction is parallel to drug addicts. Seriously, why is he also scratching himself? The other element that makes this show really good is that the kids are smart and mature. They know how to fix their problems. They admit when they're wrong. Of course they make stupid mistakes every now and then, but they learn from those mistakes; they don't keep making the same dumb choices. The kids are even more level-headed than the adults sometimes. How many times has Arnold helped one of the adults like Phil or Oscar solve their problems? They're so mature, you'd swear they were older! Who would have guessed a cast of children characters would be so sound minded? Now, again, that doesn't mean these kids are perfect. Often times they need the adults to aid them in their struggles. Sometimes the kids are arrogant. Sometimes the kids can be flat out selfish; even Arnold! It doesn't mean they're bad characters; it makes them more human and more relatable.

Bottom line: I really like this show. I love the characters, I love the stories, I love the comedy and the drama, and I love how relatable this show is. It doesn't treat kids like morons like a lot of other shows Nickelodeon would later develop (we'll get to those later). This show was so good, my siblings and I got our father into it! I've always said that family shows are the best type of television shows because one has to be really smart to entertain both children and adults without insulting either one's intelligence or intellect. This show definitely succeeded at that! If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend this program...And if you ever find out, please tell me what the crud Arnold's last name is! BOOYIKA!

Rugrats
(1990)

Do Anybody Know Where I Can Find This on Video or DVD?
Hello children, men children, and women children alike; it's time to review productions brought to us by Nickelodeon, the first kids' network! Let's begin right by talking about one of Nickelodeon's hottest shows ever, "Rugrats!" If you don't know what this show was about, you should be ashamed of yourself; but I'll fill you in, anyway. The show features a group of babies and a couple of preschoolers who engage themselves in chaos and adventures. This band of toddlers includes Tommy, the brave leader, his younger brother Dil, who can't speak yet; Chuckie, the scared one, his adventure-loving sister Kimi; twins Phil and Lil, the disgusting ones; Angelica, the 3-year-old trouble-maker; and Susie, 3-year-old the level-headed smart one.

Before we get to the good stuff, let's quickly go over the bad/not-so-good stuff. First of all, the continuity. At the beginning of the series, Tommy, Phil, and Lil are 1, Chuckie is 2, and Susie and Angelica are 3. How did they wind up going back to being 0, 1, and 2 before the end of the series? Secondly, a lot of people say that the later episodes are bad. While I won't say they're bad, I don't think they're as good as some of the episodes earlier in the series. They're good, they're fun; but they didn't have as much focus or thought as the earlier episodes did. Finally...the parents. The parents on this show are horrible. It's ironic because they're not designed to be awful parents like the parents of "Family Guy" or "The Fairly Oddparents;" we're not supposed to ask why in the world these people are parents. They're good, decent, honest human beings who we all can identify with. They're every day people just like us. But...do they ever watch their kids? Ever?! No, wait, I take that back; if the main characters were kids, the parents would be awful. But no. Our main characters are BABIES!!! For all the problems and adventures the parents let their kids get into, I'm surprised the babies haven't died yet! Of course, no parent is perfect, but how many crazy adventures on this show have Stu, Didi, and the rest of the parents allowed their kids to get into - and that's not even mentioning the movies!! Good grief, said Charlie Brown, these people need to be reported!

Now let's get to the good stuff! There are way too many good things about this show, and I'm sure I won't mention all of them. I'll try to talk about as many as I can, though. First of all, these characters are great! I love them! Again, they're all identifiable, they're funny, and they're memorable. I don't know how people generally feel about Kimi, but I enjoy her. She's fun, she's adventurous, but she still seems to bring something new. Chuckie has to learn to adapt to change and think of someone other than himself. I also love Susie. She is a fantastic role model. She's smart, kind, and caring, but she's not perfect. She still learns and grows. I've got to say, though, my favorite character is probably Phil! Why? Because he's funny as crud! I love the quick remarks he makes to everything!

TOMMY: Uh, guys, do bushes have feet? PHIL: I don't think so. I didn't even know babies grew on trees.

He is cool!

Some of my favorite episodes, much like a lot of other people, are the holiday episodes. This show really captures the essence and heart of the holidays they celebrate! You understand the importance of the holiday, the reason they're so important to people, and you understand what the holidays are about; whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Mothers' Day, etc. I also love the episodes where the babies learn something about life. One of my favorite episodes is probably the classic Mothers' Day episode, where Chuckie learned about his late mother. That was such a wonderful, classy way to handle a subject matter like that, and it worked really well! It was a gem!

I'm surprised how quickly "Rugrats" left after the series ended. This was Nickelodeon's most successful show until "SpongeBob" surpassed its greatness. I really like this show. It was smart, clever, and a lot of fun. I'm glad it's playing on TeeNick's "'90s are All That," otherwise I'd only have the 3 movies and 2 video tapes I have of the show...Though, does anybody know where I can find this on video or DVD? If you do, let me know and then go get a copy for yourself; you'll love it! God bless you, and much love! BOOYIKA!

The Wiz
(1978)

Is it Really All That Bad?
I remember talking with people about this movie and watching it with others as a kid, and all of them loved it. As I got older, I read the reviews and criticisms of the film, and...people seem to hate this movie. Even as I scroll through the reviews on this website, I see a lot of posts that really pan the film. "This is a horrible, terrible movie," people say. Really? Is it really all that bad? I really enjoy it, and can't understand why a lot of people are so hard it. Does my enjoyment come from sheer nostalgia, or is there something here I'm seeing that other people don't?

Well, what's bad about the movie? Well, I guess it's some of the changes to the story the filmmakers made. Like I began saying earlier, a lot of them just don't make sense. Why doesn't Dorothy live in Kansas? Why is she a kindergarten teacher? Why is the Wiz reduced to a scaredy cat? For those of you thinking that they wanted to change it to move away from the original "Wizard of Oz" story, or they wanted the film to appeal to Black people, keep in mind two problems with that: 1) Why would you try to appeal to Black people by changing the content from the original? The original already became timeless by focusing on the characters and story. When you try to make something appeal to a specific demographic of people by changing the location, characteristics, and type of dialogue, it doesn't become appealing, but patronizing. "What? Black people don't live in Kansas?" The audience will be with you so long as you treat them like human beings, not a different species of people. 2) This movie is also based on the Broadway musical, "The Wiz," which had a younger Dorothy set in Kansas, and a lot of other changes from the movie that came from the original story.

Also, I mentioned earlier that Dorothy is a teacher. The reason is because Diana Ross begged the makers of the film to cast her in the movie, and she would ensure that Michael Jackson would also be in the film...Oh, and there's another flaw, I suppose: Michael Jackson, for as much as I love him, isn't a great actor. He has his moments, but overall he's not that great. To be fair, though, he's much better than Diana Ross. Again, I like her, but she just doesn't phase me as an actress. I don't think she's engaged in her character, and she often looks lost. The biggest problem I think this movie has is its changes and adaptations. It's not that they exist themselves - if you're going to make a movie based on a book, story, play, whatever, there are going to be changes. But the changes that are made just don't make sense, and they don't pay off well for the movie.

With that being said, are there no good things to be said about the movie? On the contrary, I think there are a lot of good things about it! First of all, there are the songs! These songs will definitely have you singing and dancing along! They're written great, they're performed great, and they're memorable! I also like the performers in this film! I know I said Diana Ross and Michael Jackson were underwhelming, but there are moments their acting is fine. Plus, their songs are great. I also enjoy Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Mabel King, Thelma Carpenter, and Theresa Merritt. Maybe it wasn't easy for them trying to act through bad writing, but their performances are enjoyable...It's hard to watch this film and not feel sad, though; all the main performers have passed away except for Diana Ross.

For the most part, the costumes looks real. Michael Jackson doesn't look like he's dressed as a scarecrow - he looks like a scarecrow! Nipsey Russell doesn't look like he put on a tinman costume - he is a tinman! Ted Ross...looks like he's in a lion costume - I said "for the most part!" Also, I like how the message is delivered in this version of "The Wizard of Oz." I'll admit, I have seen the 1939 film adaptation in a long time, and I've never read the original book by L. Frank Baum. However, I love the way the message is conveyed in this adaptation out of all the versions I have seen. When you watch this movie, you get that the message is look inside yourself, you'll have what you've been searching for all along. This message isn't as clear, obvious, or memorable in the original movie adaptation. I know I'll have to watch it again, but I remember the message in this movie a lot more.

Maybe I can't defend this as a good movie since there are some major problems with this adaptation, but if it is bad I think it's due to the different changes that were made in the writing, producing, and directing. However, the other aspects are so entertaining that they'll keep you coming back. I love the performers, I love the songs, I love the message, I love the quotable lines. In all honesty, this one is a favorite of mine. Hopefully you can take what I said and see if you agree; check it out. God bless you, and much love! BOOYIKA!

Wreck-It Ralph
(2012)

I'm So Glad That I Was Wrong About this Film.
Much like "The Princess and the Frog" and "Tangled," I was not expecting to like this film when it came out simply because it was Disney. After I accidentally watched it with some friends and acquaintances, however, I was blown away by it! This film is so greatly impressive, smart, creative, and just fantastic! I don't think it's one of my favorite films, but that doesn't mean it's not a great one!

ANIMATION: If you read my review of "Tangled," you'll remember I said the animation in that movie was good, but I'm not a huge fan of CG animation from the Walt Disney Animation Studios. This movie makes me a fan of it! It is beautiful! It's bright, it's colorful, and it actually makes me forget I'm looking at computer animation; it just looks like Disney. My favorite part of the animation is the contrast of the characters. Watching Sgt. Calhoun, a character who is designed so dark in color, walk in a world that is brightly colored and happy-looking, is great! That type of artistic work and creativity is represented throughout this film!

SONGS/MUSIC: There are no songs.

ROMANCE: It is a lot of fun watching Fix-It Felix, Jr. and Sgt. Calhoun together! They're funny, they're adorable, and they're so sweet together. Part of what makes the romance work, and funny, is that Felix and Calhoun are two totally different people. Calhoun is dark (not just in color and design, but her personality and back story too), cynical, and tough; and Felix is happy, joyous, and excited. Much like Belle and Beast, you wouldn't expect these people to fall in love with each other. Yet they're the perfect couple!

CHARACTERS: These are some really good characters. They're great; after having characters who were underwhelming in "Tangled," it's nice to see these characters who are interesting and engaging. Ralph's actions may come from selfish ambitions, but we can relate to him; we can understand how and why he would leave his game. King Candy is a great villain! He may be the first Disney villain I've seen whose evilness wasn't obvious when we first saw him. His villainy character wasn't clear until later in the movie. When his true nature finally was revealed, I was hooked; he is a great character. There's only one character I don't care for, and that's Vanellope. When she was introduced, she was rude, mean, and unlikeable. I do not like the scene where the other children destroy her race car; not because of how cruel they are, but because the movie is trying to get me to feel sorry for Vanellope. If the film wanted me to like her, it should have introduced her in a likable way.

STORY: This story is fantastic! It's unique, it's interesting from beginning to end, and it has plot twists that I couldn't see coming. When the reveal of who King Candy really is took place, my jaw dropped! Maybe other people saw what was coming, but I certainly didn't. I like that the story has, not only a unique plot, but also a unique moral, at least for Disney. Of course, the "stay true to who you are" lesson is nothing new to Disney, but Ralph, who us the bad guy in his game, has to stay content with who he is. What with this coming from Disney, I'd expect the film to try and force him to change from a bad guy to a good guy. Of course he has a story arc and he changes by the end of the movie, but he's content with who he is and what his role is in the grand scheme of things.

CONCLUSION: This is a great movie! It's unique, it's smart, it's stylized, and it's fun! I'm so glad that I was wrong about this film. I look forward to seeing it again in the future. This come from someone who isn't necessarily a fan of video games. If you like video games, you'll love this film. Even if you don't like video games much, there are still elements here that I think will engage you. Check it out and see what you think. God bless you. BOOYIKA!

Tangled
(2010)

Mother Gothel is in Charge Now
As I said in my "Princess and the Frog" review, this movie was more of a financial and popularity success than the former. To be honest, I wasn't really excited about this film when it came out. A Disney film about a blonde-haired girl with bright colors and pop music? Yeah, this does not look like my type of film. After I finally saw it three years later...it's good. I don't think I'm on the bandwagon for this movie everyone else is on, but I think it's good.

ANIMATION: I'll admit, when I think of Walt Disney Animation Studios, I prefer traditional hand-drawn animation. If I wanted to see a CG Disney movie, I'd watch a Pixar film. However, I have to admit that that animation here is not only good, but it's also unique. While "The Princess and the Frog" looks like hand-drawn characters with 3-D backgrounds, this film has 3-D characters with hand-drawn backgrounds. That's very different, and it looks rather nicely here. Disney hasn't lost its touch!

SONGS/MUSIC: I'm glad to see Alan Menken working in Disney again, but...I don't really like these songs. As I mentioned before, I don't really like the pop genre of music - at least, not modern pop/guitar playing/Top 40S/Broadway styled music. I don't remember melodies, lyrics, or anything about any of the songs...Except for "Mother Knows Best (Reprise)!" This song is incredible! Let me make that clear, I referring only to the reprise. This song reveals the shift and dramatic change in the movie. Mother Gothel is in charge now, and it's getting menacing and intimidating! I love that number!

ROMANCE: The romance between Rapunzel and Flynn Rider is...good. Like the songs, the romance didn't really grab me, but that doesn't mean it's bad. These two certainly do have chemistry and they learn a lot from each other. We can see how they fall with each other, and it's enjoyable to watch them.

CHARACTERS: ...Again, the characters are good, but they don't move me in the slightest. I'm just not particularly drawn to any of these characters. They're good, but there's not a lot I can talk about...With the exception of Mother Gothel! My gosh, she is awesome! She actually reminds me of Ursula, if she were to become a mother. She funny, she charming, she's witty, and classy. But she's also devious, deceitful, manipulative, and wicked! If anyone were to meet her for the first time, they may not know how evil she is - she can fool people very well. That's a great characteristic for a villain, I love it! I also like the King and Queen, Rapunzel's parents. They don't verbalize anything in this movie, but they say everything that needs to be said. I love watching them and their concern for their daughter. I love the animation on them, and I love them as characters. They're supportive, they're loving, and they're just all around great people. Gosh, you feel so bad for them, you'll want to reach through the screen and give them a hug!

STORY: The set up is really good for this movie. The introduction lays out all the details excellently. It creates a perfect reason for why Rapunzel is in the tower, why she would want to leave the tower, and why the villain in the story is so determined to keep her locked away. This is the fairy tale Disney used to do well, and it works very well here. For everything that lies in the movie that I wasn't attracted to, this element worked rather nicely.

QUICK QUESTION: The question I ask myself is, why was this movie more successful than "The Princess and the Frog?" Based on what I've heard as well as what I know, here's what I came up with: (1) Some people were turned off by the fact that the other movie featured a Black princess. Not everybody was, clearly, but let's not act like it didn't offend anyone. (2) Guitar playing/Pop music is more popular to the general public than Ragtime. That's why it's called "pop music." (3) Sadly, CG animated films are more popular than hand-drawn are. I do hope that changes, though. Finally, (4) I think that since "The Princess and the Frog" had the word "princess" in the title, many people figured the target-demographic for this picture was little girls. Not a lot of boys want to see a Disney movie with a princess, that's not as exciting as, say "Aladdin." Yes, it had a princess, but it didn't focus on her. By keeping "princess" out of the title for this film, they can market it as an action-adventure, and market it to boys as well as girls.

CONCLUSION: I'd be lying if I said I like this film a lot. However, I do have to be honest; there are a lot of good things in this film. If you can enjoy this type of music and the characters, you'll enjoy the film a lot. It was a lot better than I thought it'd be, and it is a great film - a lot of time and dedication was clearly put into this. While I myself couldn't get as invested as other people, maybe you'll like it. Take a look and see what you think. God bless you. BOOYIKA!

The Princess and the Frog
(2009)

Disney Reminds Us that Hand-Drawn Animation is Not Dead
I have to admit, I wasn't really excited about "The Princess and the Frog" when it was released in theaters. Not just because I was in high school, but also because I didn't like most of the productions (live action movies and TV shows) Disney was creating at the time. However, I finally saw it a few years later and I was blown away by it! I am in love with this film! For the Clements/Musker team to accomplish this, that's incredible! This is my second favorite Disney film after "The Lion King!"

ANIMATION: Do I even have to talk about the animation in this movie? It's fan-frickin-tastic! This is the animation people wanted to see from Disney in years, and it certainly does not disappoint! Look at the bright colors and great visuals during the "When We're Human" song; look at the water throughout the film; pay attention to the lighting - it's just great! It's so beautiful and rich; Disney reminds us that hand-drawn animation is not dead. Who would want it to be dead after seeing this movie? I hope Disney keeps making traditionally animated movies, it cannot be a forgotten, forsaken art!

SONGS/MUSIC: I really wish the songs in this movie were much more appreciated; I think they're incredible!...Well, most of them. I hate "Gonna Take You There," which I just found out is not called "Going Down the Bayou." The characters were already traveling down the bayou, and now they're singing about going down the bayou?! It's annoying! I don't really care for the "Down in New Orleans" number at the beginning of the movie, but at least it sets us up in the location of the movie. It's OK...But I do love the reprise of that song. I like "When We're Human" and "Dig a Little Deeper." Ne-Yo's "Never Knew I Needed" is a great sum up of the romance in movie. "Almost There" allows us to delve into Tiana's psyche. But, of course, my favorite is "Friends on the Other Side!" That may be one of my favorite Disney villain songs! It continues the story, we see how evil the Shadow Man is, and the music is so intense, you feel the weight of Shadow Man's plan. It's great!

ROMANCE: The romance between Tiana and Naveen is really beautiful to watch. I like watching them get to know each other and work together; I like watching them fall in love. This is very reminiscent of the Disney romance we saw in "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin;" of course we know two people can't truly fall in love in 3 days, but you believe how they fall in love and you just can't get over how beautiful their relationship is. It's great!

CHARACTERS: Let me say it now and get it over with, I don't like Ray. He is incredibly annoying! His voice is annoying (no disrespect, Jim Cummings), his character is annoying, his dialogue is annoying, his jokes are out of place and unfunny - I just don't like him. Now that I got that out the way, I love everybody else! Tiana is a fantastic lead character; she's my favorite Disney princess! She's smart, she's quick to think, she's a hard worker, she's kind - she's everything you'd want to see in a female lead character - a lead character period. She's the greatest lead since Belle in "Beauty and the Beast!" Naveen is also a lot of fun. I like that even though he's a party animal, he's not stupid. He's still smart and clever. Charlotte is hilarious - I love her! Her character, her attitude, her behavior - she's great! My favorite character, hands down, is the Shadow Man, voiced by Keith David! (God bless you, Keith David!) My gosh, I love him! The animation on him is quick and lively, he is the coolest Disney character I know, and he is so deliciously evil! Do you hear how he talks to Tiana as he tempts her to give him the talisman? He sounds like the Devil! In my opinion, he's the best Disney villain ever!

STORY: The story is definitely creative, but I think it's way too detailed. As a result of that, there are tons of moments a lot of people would call loopholes. For example, Shadow Man tells Naveen he just wants to be free and hop around, thus turning him into a frog; but since Tiana kisses him and she's not a princess, she turns into a frog herself...OK. But Tiana and Naveen will turn human if Charlotte kisses them on a specific night before midnight because she's technically considered a princess...OK. In the end, Tiana and Naveen get married and become human because by having Naveen, the prince, kiss Tiana, that makes her a princess, thus the spell is broken...Confused yet? That's the main problem with the movie. The story isn't bad, it's just way too complicated.

CONCLUSION: Despite it's complicated story and annoying firefly, this movie is fantastic! I love it! I hear people say that this movie is underrated; while I don't think it's necessarily underrated, I do wish it were more popular. I was upset, but not surprised, that "Tangled" became more popular and successful than this movie. I do think this film will be looked at as one of the great Disney classics. In fact, I think this film apologizes for the racist crows in "Dumbo" and the possible racist primates in "The Jungle Book." In any case, the film was loved when it was released, it's loved now, and we can only hope it'll grow in popularity in the future. Take a look and see what you think. God bless you. BOOYIKA!

The Emperor's New Groove
(2000)

The Characters are Fan-Frickin-Tastic!
I know I said in my "Tarzan" review that it may be underrated, but I think this film is definitely underrated! I don't hear many people talk about it, and it didn't gross as much money as the earlier movies did. Why? I don't get it! This movie is a gem! You wouldn't expect a movie like this from Disney, but maybe that's part of the reason it's good!

ANIMATION: I enjoy how it looks here. First of all, this doesn't look like the films we had just seen from Disney a decade ago. Unlike "Hercules," though, where the animation didn't look very good, here it contributes to the tone of the movie. The movements are fast, so as to compliment the comedic moments and expressions. I guess my only complaint about the animation is Kronk and Pacha look very much alike. Their clothes help us tell one from the other, but their designs look nearly identical.

SONGS/MUSIC: The theme song was cool, I guess...Uh, yeah. Next.

ROMANCE: ...A Disney movie without a romance?! Really? The film even set up a scenario for a romance in the beginning. He's presented young women who he can take as a wife, and the film doesn't move forward with it. We never see it again. Wow, that's rare...

CHARACTERS: Here we go! These characters make this film! I cannot think of a character I don't like. Pacha isn't as entertaining as the rest, but his kindness and pleasantness are enjoyed in comparison to the other main characters who aren't as kind or pleasant. Kuzco is rude and pompous, but he's the type of rude and pompous that's enjoyable. I like watching him. He's funny and entertaining, but he still has a story arc in which he realizes the error of his ways. Of course we all love Yzma and Kronk! These guys are some awesome villains! I know almost nothing they plan ever works, but you don't really want their plans to work because you have such a good time laughing at them! They are a fantastic duo! They work so well together! Pacha's kids can be a little annoying, but I like them overall, and I enjoy the wife too...Dude, did you hear her snort when Pacha got back home? That was funny!

STORY: The story is OK, I suppose. When you really analyze it, it's like any other Disney movie or buddy comedy: two people who don't like each other have to take this voyage together as a villain is causing chaos; the two learn something about each other, a misunderstanding takes place that drives the two away from each other, they come back together, they stop the villain, and they live awesomely. It's not that special, but, like I said, what really drives it are the characters and the jokes. If it weren't for them, this would easily be a dull movie.

CONCLUSION: This movie is amazing; I don't think I've seen a Disney movie that was fantastic solely because of the characters. The jokes are hilarious, the animation is impressive, and, again, the characters are fan-frickin-tastic! If you haven't seen it, check it out! You'll love it! God bless you. BOOYIKA!

Tarzan
(1999)

But That Death Though!! (IMDb won't let me "shout" in my Summary)
Tarzan is kind of like "Mulan;" it gained positive reviews from credits, it was a hit at the box office, and people still seem to like it today. Even though this movie grossed more money, I don't know if people like it more than Mulan now...Maybe that's just me. While I do like this movie, it just doesn't grab me as much as other Disney films. But there are still some good things about the film that I really enjoy.

ANIMATION: This animation is amazing! You really feel like you're in the jungle. Look at the trees, the waterfall, the sky, the contrast between the darkness and brightness - you can't help but be sucked in the atmosphere! I like the animation of the characters, too. The leopard moves so wildly and quick, but that's how they move AND it adds to the threat he brings! Tarzan looks like a strong, bold hero. I love his intense moments because he really looks into it. Whether he's angry, scared, remorseful, or whatever, you get sucked into the emotion he feels.

SONGS/MUSIC: I'll be honest, I can't get into these Phil Collins songs. I'm not saying they're bad, but I myself can't get invested into these music numbers. The last time my brother and I watched this film together, we made fun of the way these songs basically narrate the movie for us. "Two worlds, one family..." Get it? Tarzan is apart of these two worlds because of his upbringing, but he bridges them together, thus they're one. "...Take my hand..." When we heard him say that, Tarzan and Jane literally took hands! Yeah, I just can't get into them. The only song I really love is "Trashin' in the Camp." Though it has nothing to do with anything, it is a lot of fun!

ROMANCE: This is another interesting romance. It's a great set up for a romance, given Tarzan's past and family. I like watching him with Jane, and I love how they both help each other. I have to admit, though, I wanted more. I feel the movie could have given us more insight into their relationship. Don't get me wrong, I believe they're in love, but I think the movie is trying to fight for room for the villain's plan. The romance is good, but I could have taken more of it.

CHARACTERS: Tarzan is...OK. I don't know if it's the acting or the writing, but I don't find him that interesting. I actually invest more concern for Young Tarzan than adult Tarzan; I just thought he was more interesting. He had more to fight for, he had more to prove, and he was not bland. Adult Tarzan...is. He's not totally boring, as he is active, but his character as a whole is just kind of bland. Fortunately, Jane is not that at all! She's funny, eccentric, smart, and active. She's a lot of fun! Her father is the same, I love watching him! I guess some people find Terk annoying - by the way, is Terk male or female; I promise I hear something different every time I watch this movie - but Terk is fine to me. Honestly, Tantor is the annoying character to me. His character gets in the way, his dialogue is stupid, and he's just too much of a worry wart to me. I like him during the climax of the film, but he doesn't do anything for me. Likewise, Clayton doesn't phase me that much. He's not annoying, but he is kind of boring. I just don't remember that much from him. When I think about villains and threats in this movie, I think of the leopard. I don't know if it's his motivation or his character itself, but he just didn't affect me...Though, his death is one of the most darkest and possibly coolest deaths ever put in a Disney movie! Did you see his body swinging in the shadows?!! Good grief, said Charlie Brown!

STORY: The story is good. It's nothing too special, but it does cause a great set up. We've all heard of Tarzan before, but I like that this one delves a bit in the dramatic conflict of what it means for a little boy to be raised by gorillas, and how he reacts when he sees humans for the first time. Honestly, I think this was enough to make a movie. If they had expanded these elements more and removed the plot about selling the gorillas, I think the story would have been better. That part isn't bad, necessarily; it's just that (1) it's been done, and (2) this movie doesn't do anything different or new with it...with the exception of leading to that great death scene! But maybe that's why I like the younger Tarzan more: with him, we actually do focus on him trying to fit in with the animals around him. It's not fighting for a cliché plot. Again, the story is good, but it could have been better if it weren't for Clayton's evil deeds...BUT THAT DEATH THOUGH!! OK, I'm done.

CONCLUSION: I do like this movie. There are some things that could have been done to make the film better, but the final product is still enjoyable. I love the animation, I can't get enough of "Trashin' in the Camp," I like the romance, I like the characters, and the story is good. This film may be a bit underrated, but it's still enjoyed by many. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. God bless you. BOOYIKA!

Mulan
(1998)

All He Needs is a Mic Drop!
The general consensus about this movie is people really like it, and I like it a lot too. I like the story, the characters, the jokes, and the songs. It's not the best movie, but it's really enjoyable and I have a lot of fun watching it.

ANIMATION: The animation is...good. Unlike some of our earlier movies, it doesn't really have bright and popping colors, nor does it really showcase China. We get some great visuals of Chinese culture (The Great Wall, white space, "Girl Worth Fighting For" number), but we don't really see much else. But the designs of the characters are OK, and the backgrounds are nice. All in all, it's good animation.

SONGS/MUSIC: The songs here are pretty good, too. I like "Please Bring Honor to Us All" and "A Girl Worth Fighting For," and the sound of China in them. If the animation doesn't totally bring us to China, the music in these songs do. I really like "Reflections." It shows us the struggle Mulan is battling in the movie. Of course we all know and love "I'll Make a Man Out of You." It's the movie's Number One song: those lyrics, that music, the rhythm - it's awesome! I also really love the "True to Your Heart" song during the credits. It sums up the movie, it's a fantastic song, it has 98 Degrees, and it features FRICKIN' STEVIE WONDER!!! That man wrote and sang the soundtrack to LIFE!!...But I digress. The songs are good.

ROMANCE: You might be thinking there's nothing to talk about here, there wasn't really a romance here. Actually, this movie has what I think is one of the best Disney romances ever. We get a couple hints that Mulan and Li Shang are developing a romance, but the movie doesn't focus on it. It doesn't try to give us a random, unnecessary romantic moment like "The Lion King" did. They don't get married, they don't commit to a relationship, they don't kiss, they don't even talk about being in love. But we know what's going to happen, it does happen, but the movie doesn't focus on it at all. I think that's great!

CHARACTERS: I always thought Mulan and Pocahontas were one and the same. They both feel as though they don't fit in with their environments, they have free spirits, they do something radical to change their cultures, and they're looked at as strong heroines...And it's for that reason I think Mulan is just OK. Don't get me wrong, I really like her, but from an analytical point of view she's just like Pocahontas and other typical strong female characters. I also really enjoy Mushu. He gets a lot of laughs, and I like Eddie Murphy's portrayal of him. But I think my favorite character is the Emperor. Why? Because he's crudded awesome! Did you hear his dialogue? He says some of the most awesome things ever! "No matter how hard the wind howls, the mountain will not bow to it." "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all...You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty!" All he needs is a mic drop! If this Emperor had a mic drop in the movie, he'd be the most awesome character in Disney EVER!

STORY: Like Mulan's character, this movie is very reminiscent of the "I want to be something bigger and better - My heart tells me I have a greater destiny than this" story. It's not a bad story, I enjoy it; but it doesn't really add anything new. I enjoy the scenes, characters, songs, and romance, but the story has been done so many times. Disney already released this movie three years earlier, only it was set in early America. Sadly, the story did not phase me at all.

CONCLUSION: While the movie didn't have a new, exciting story, the characters and songs will still keep you totally engaged. You'll want to see what they'll do, what sort of people they'll become, and what they'll learn. You'll be rooting for all our main characters, and you'll love them. They are totally worth watching this movie. Of course I wasn't able to write about all the characters, but check out the film and see which ones you like the most. They're pretty good and entertaining. It may not give you a lot of culture, at least nothing new; but give this movie credit, it seems to be making up for the possible racist Siamese cats in "Lady and the Tramp." Were those cat racist? I heard that argument, but I don't know for sure...Anyway, watch it and see for yourselves. God bless you. BOOYIKA!

Hercules
(1997)

Thank You, James Woods!
Here is another Clements/Musker movie, and...I don't like this. When I first saw this last year, I felt completely underwhelmed. This isn't one of those films I scratch my head at, trying to figure out why people like it; but for me, this is a stupid film.

ANIMATION: This is the first Disney film I do not have an appreciation for the animation. The design is way too weird. It doesn't look like a Walt Disney Animation Studios film, it looks like a Disney TV show. The only design I enjoy if Hades. He looks awesome. The shot of him glowing when he shakes Hercules' hand is amazing - I want that framed! Everything else is either bland or awkward and weird.

SONGS/MUSIC: Movie...what did you do to Menken? These songs are terrible! Being that I grew up on the style of music of the songs and I love it, you'd think I'd enjoy these songs. But no, I don't! These songs are some of the most bland and forgettable songs I've ever heard! I watched the beginning of this film twice within 30 minutes, and I totally forgot the "Gospel Truth" number! Do you know how bland a song has to be for you to, not only forget it after you saw it once, but to forget it after it repeats itself twice in the first 10 minutes of the film?!? The only song I remember from this film is "Zero to Hero," and that's only because of the "Hercules" preview I would see on the Disney videocassettes we watched growing up! These are bad songs!

ROMANCE: I don't care about the romance. I don't remember the romance. It doesn't draw me at all.

CHARACTERS: Again, most of these characters are just bland and forgettable. I'm not drawn to them, I don't care about them, and they're annoying. Give this movie some credit, though, it has the most annoying characters ever known to Disney: Pain and Panic. GOOD GRIEF, I can't stand them!! Their actions, their characters, their VOICES?!?! MAN!!! The only good character in this film is Hades, voiced by James Woods! He is very entertaining! I was hoping he'd win in the movie. His character, his mannerism, and his character are all wonderful! I just found out James Woods ad-libbed a lot in the recording session. He brought the only good moment in this movie! Thank you, James Woods!

STORY: Again, it's bland and forgettable. I don't remember that much. Nothing really matters to me. I'm sorry, but nothing here grabs me in the least. It's boring, it's stupid, and I don't learn that much about Greek mythology. Give "Pocahontas" some credit, at least we learned a little about American history. The only thing I learn about Greek myth here is the names of the gods. I don't learn anything else.

CONCLUSION: Aside from James Woods as Hades, this movie left me nothing but frustration. This is one of my least favorite Disney movies. Again, if you like it, there's nothing wrong with that. It's cool. Me, however, I would definitely give this film a pass. Check it out and judge for yourselves. BOOYIKA!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(1996)

Did You Hear That Last Note He Hit??!!
Hey kids! Do you want to see a perverted old man lusting after a woman more than half his age, burn people in their homes, and enslave a deformed man? You do! Then, boy, does Disney have a film for you! To be serious, I saw this movie for the first time last year (like "The Little Mermaid"), and I was blown away by it! There are problems I have with it, yes, but in all, it's unbelievable!

ANIMATION: The animation in this movie is really impressive! I don't think it's as grand as "The Lion King," but it comes pretty doggone close! While "Beauty and the Beast" looked like it could take place anywhere, this movie makes me feel like I'm in Paris! Not the romantic, fantasized Paris, but the real, regal, grand part of Paris! It's rich, it's historic, and it's awesome!

SONGS/MUSIC: God bless you, Stephen Sondheim and Alan Menken! God bless you both! The music in this film will blow you away! I'll admit that while "A Guy Like You" is a cool song, it breaks the tone of the movie. It'd be better somewhere else. "Topsy Turvy" is good for the movie, though, in the spirit of the gypsies. "Out There" is nice, and I enjoy "God Help the Outcasts." But let's discuss the two greatest songs of the film: "Hellfire" is absolutely amazing! We've never had a song as intense, disturbing, or creepy as this song, and it's great for that! We also get visual representation of the struggle Frollo is experiencing, and it's incredible! But by far, my favorite song in this movie is "The Bells of Notre Dame!!!" Good grief, this is one of my favorite openings to a movie! The way they tell the story, the lyrics, the movie, the singer - PRAISE GOD, the singer! Did you hear that last note he hit??!! I didn't think he'd get all the way up there, but he did! I need to meet him and shake his hand!

ROMANCE: There's not a lot I have to say about the romance in this film. It was nice that Quasimodo didn't get the main character, though. You'd expect that in a Disney movie, but the movie ends without him getting the woman...and he's OK with that. That's very rare, but nice. And I'm just going to pretend that crap-in-a-hat sequel didn't happen! "The bell's beautiful...on the inside." WHAT?!?

CHARACTERS: Again, most of the characters are just OK; there's nothing too special about them. The gargoyles are annoying as crud, but they get one or two chuckles...if that. Frollo, though, is incredible! He's probably my favorite character in the film! What makes him stand out is that he's not so much evil as much as he is corrupt...Or maybe he's really evil too, but here's what I mean: Frollo commits all these horrible deeds because he thinks he should. He argues that it's what God wants him to do. He sees nothing but goodness in himself. It's actually quite tragic when you think about it, but that's what we love about him!

STORY: I've never read the original Victor Hugo book, and I understand this story goes out of order, but it still follows the story closely, so I'm not upset by that. I think the way Disney tells this story is fine. It's really good, in fact. I also like that this story doesn't say Christians are all hypocrites. Any other movie would have done that; it would have been so easy to have done that because of Frollo's actions. But because of the Archdeacon (I should have mentioned him earlier, he's really cool!), we understand that Frollo is just a corrupted man and a hypocrite; not all Christians are like that. And with the "God Help the Outcasts" song, we see hopeless people seeking help from God, not letting Frollo's evilness blind them from seeing the light. I love that!

CONCLUSION: I'd be lying if I said I think "Hunchback" is anything special, but it's good and enjoyable. I don't think children will be destroyed for life if they watch this, but parents should definitely watch it with them...as all Disney movies are intended. Give it a watch and see what you think. God bless you! BOOYIKA!

Pocahontas
(1995)

Paint with All the Colors of the Wind
This is the movie, as a lot of you know, that many people said began the downward spiral of Walt Disney animated films...And I'd be lying if I said I don't see why. But, on the other hand, there are some really good things in this movie that I think are really underrated.

ANIMATION: This might be one of Disney's best looking movies. It should be, a film that is celebrating nature and becoming one with all creations of the Earth should have some good visuals; only these aren't good visuals - they're great! You never see the outlines on anyone or anything. The colors work really well together, and the style of how everything blends is great! I love watching the animation during the "Savages" number; isn't that what you'd expect to see from Disney?

SONGS/MUSIC: Obviously the songs are some of the best things in this movie. Here we get Alan Menken back, along with lyricist Stephen Sondheim. We all know and love "Colors of the Wind," which, again, is great to both watch and listen to. The lyrics and singer are great, but listen to the music in that song! The orchestrations are great! I mentioned "Savages" before, and that's a great antagonist song! I don't know if I'd call it a villain song. Radcliffe does manipulate the people to get what he wants, but everyone on both sides of the battlefield hate each other. The antagonist here is hate, and it's displayed perfectly in this song. I watched this movie recently and was reminded of the song "Just Around the Riverbed." It's nice, I guess. Again, the orchestrations are really good.

ROMANCE: The more I think about it, I really like the romance in this movie between Pocahontas and John Smith. It stems from something. You can see how they began falling in love with each other. Usually it's so easy for Disney characters to just meet and fall in love. Here, however, they spend time together. They talk, they learn about each other and their differences. I like that they're not working to fall in love, that's not why they're together. They are initially learning from the other person, and they fall in love in due time.

CHARACTERS: These aren't the most memorable characters, but they're not bad...not all of them, anyway. I find the animals annoying...Actually I only find the hummingbird and dog annoying when they're with the raccoon, so maybe it's just him. The other characters are OK, but what really surprised me was my interest in Pocahontas' character. If you read my review for "The Little Mermaid," you may be thinking, "You panned Ariel for rebelling! Why do you like Pocahontas?" Here's the thing: the first time Pocahontas' father told the village to stay away from the White men, Pocahontas was already with John Smith, so she technically didn't disobey that time. After that, though, her rebellion actually brought peace and harmony between two different groups of people. And her rebellion wasn't due to selfish ambition. It began with her curiosity of these different people, which led her to ask the question "Why are we segregated?" She was trying to put a stop to the war and discrimination between them. That's not only selfless, but also brave and responsible! And, yes, her actions did get someone killed, but imagine how many more people would have died if the war she tried to stop had taken place. Ariel? So long as she gets her Prince, what the crud does she care what happens? Pocahontas is a great character and role model!

STORY: I think this is what people take issue with the most. The story is old and boring - we've seen it too many times. This film isn't doing anything new or exciting with the tale of greedy White men conquering the Red people's land, so it's not that interesting. We know that tale, we know the story of Pocahontas, and we know what Disney's going to do to make us smile and live happily ever after. There aren't any surprises or nuances, so it doesn't really matter. There are only two things that shocked me...and they were stupid things. First of all, a tree can talk. What? Second of all, did you see the change in how Pocahontas could suddenly understand and communicate with John Smith? How does that work? How is it possible? You can't take a story about a real person and real events and mix it with fairy tale! The ending was changed, but that's something we can at least say is possible; we can go along with that because people can do that in reality. What ISN'T possible in reality is speaking in another language just because the leaves blow, or having your grandmother be a tree! What the crud!?

CONCLUSION: While the story doesn't grab me and most of the characters are bland and unforgettable, the animation, music, romance, and our main character are enough to keep me coming back and watching this movie all over again! Give Disney credit, delivering this message isn't as easy as one may think it is. In fact, kudos to Disney for doing it period, especially with the characters in this movie. I think this is supposed to make up for the racist Indians we got in "Peter Pan." If you love or like this film, I understand. If you don't like it, again I understand. Bottom line, hopefully we can acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of the movie. Surly we can all "paint with all the colors of the wind." BOOYIKA!

The Lion King
(1994)

You Are More Than What You Have Become
So...I'm going to try not to be too biased here...I'm going to compose myself the best I can...But, I'm not going to lie, that's going to be really hard seeing as though I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS MOVIE!!! I know a lot of people say this film is overrated and all that jazz, but LOOK AT THIS FILM and tell me you don't love it too!

ANIMATION: Spectacular! This movie looks great! Of course it has an epic, grand quality about it, and the animation really takes it to another level! The stampede scene has got to be one of the biggest scenes ever put to traditional animation!

SONGS/MUSIC: This movie brings us the Tim Rice/Elton John team. Even though there's no Alan Menken or Howard Ashman, these songs are still great! They fit the movie's tone, they're not out of place, and they are ALL memorable! This Disney movie has the best soundtrack - there is no Number One hit song from this film - ALL the songs are Number One! I don't just love the songs, but I am in mad love with Hans Zimmer's score! It's beautiful! It tells the story and fits the mood perfectly! The main theme, "Lea Halalela," is fan-frickin-tastic! Gosh, if that theme were a woman, I'd marry her! But the music is what takes us to Africa (which country are we in? I don't know...), and if it weren't for Lebo M's contributions, NO music in this movie would be great!

ROMANCE: For as much as I love this movie, I have to admit that this is one of the weak aspects of the film. I love the "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" number; I love the song, and I love looking at the animation. But...why is the song here? Why is this scene here? First of all, it doesn't match the story at all. It feels like the scene takes place because...Disney movies have romance scenes! Secondly, I don't believe Simba and Nala are in love. Look at how other Disney films show love: characters are smiling, singing, happy, and would do anything to be with their romantic interest. Here, Simba and Nala are arguing and yelling at each other after the scene. I'll tell you what, though, if you look at Nala as she's laying on her back during the song number, look at how she looks at Simba. That says, "I want you, lion man."

CHARACTERS: I am in love with these characters! Much like the "Beauty and the Beast" gang, there's not a person...or animal...in this movie I don't dislike! My two favorite characters are Mufasa and Rafiki. Mufasa wreaks of power! The reason we hate Scar so much is because he kills Mufasa, who we love so much! He is the father of Disney movie fathers - Disney fathers period! He says one of my favorite lines: "Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become." OOOH, that line just OOZES power - just BLEEDS power!!! Rafiki is awesome because he is both funny and wise. He knows just what to say and just what to do for the right moment. He has funny lines like "It means you are a baboon, and I am not!" Yet he knows when to hit Simba over the head with a stick and tell him to learn from his mistakes. Go Rafiki!

STORY: I think the story is excellent. I love watching it, I love watching Simba's arc, I think it is brilliant...Though, there's one other problem the movie has that lies in the story. After Mufasa dies and Simba cries over his body, Scar comes and tells him to run away. Question: if they're all alone, why doesn't Scar just kill Simba himself? At first I thought it was because he didn't want Simba's blood on his hands, but that can't be right. First of all, he has Mufasa's blood on his hands. Second of all, he has a violent fight with Simba at the end of the movie. If Scar wants the throne so badly that he puts together an attack against two children, a Nazi team of hyenas, and a wildebeest stampede, I don't think he was above killing a child. The movie could have been over just like that; why didn't he kill Simba? The only reason I can come up with is "If he killed him, there'd be no movie." Well, that's weak. If that's the case, then the movie didn't need to happen. We should have gotten a better reason for the following events that took place.

CONCLUSION: Despite the two problems I have with the movie, I still adore it! It's epic, it's dramatic, it's funny, it's musical! It is large! It has one of the saddest moments ever in Disney. It is one of the studio's biggest movies for a reason! Find out for yourself in the big Circle of Life! BOOYIKA!

Aladdin
(1992)

The Clements/Musker Team
"Aladdin" is brought to us by the same team who made "The Little Mermaid." So, of course, this movie leaves me a little baffled. There are some things I like and some things I don't.

ANIMATION: The best thing about the animation is the color of the look of Arabia. I didn't see this movie until last December; before I saw it, I heard about how great the colors and the lights were. Everything pops, it's bright, and it's great.

SONGS/MUSIC: Sadly, this was the last Disney film to have Howard Ashman's work in it; he passed away before "Beauty and the Beast" was completed. Fortunately, he left us some really good songs in this movie, along with Alan Menken and Tim Rice. Not every song in this film is memorable, but they almost are. Of course everyone knows and loves "A Whole New World," which both does sound nice and contributes greatly to the movie; we really see our main characters fall in love. My favorite song is "Friend Like Me." Not only are the lyrics, music, and animation great, but Robin Williams gets just as animated as the animation.

ROMANCE: I mentioned our main characters' romance a bit earlier, and, again, you believe they're in love. Though, have you noticed this is the same romance we had in "The Little Mermaid?" The protagonist sees their romantic interest and falls in love. They save their life and admires them, but the two of them are kept apart for some reason. Then our protagonist has to take on a new form/identity to get their romantic interest to fall in love with them, the villain eventually tests their relationship, but they wind up being together again in the end...Huh. I don't see the downside in disliking their relationship, though. It still seems genuine. At least Aladdin has more time with Jasmine before he becomes a prince than Ariel did with Eric before she became human.

CHARACTERS: Most of the characters are OK. Aladdin, Jasmine, and the Sultan are OK. Iago and the Magic Carpet are a little annoying, but they're not that bad. In my opinion, the Genie - again, voiced by Robin Williams - is the best character! When I was watching this last December I said to myself, "This film is OK, but why was it a hit during the Disney Renaissance?" Then the Genie came on the screen. He is the most entertaining thing in this movie! Robin Williams puts so much energy and passion in playing this role. I like that the Genie isn't just a funny, pop-culture referencing character; he actually has development to him. That makes him both likable and relatable. I don't like Abu, I think he's too annoying and too selfish. The character I can't figure out is the villain, Jafar. People have said he's one of the greatest Disney villains...Really? I'm glad you see that, but I don't. To me, he's not consistent. Based on what I saw of Jafar in the beginning of the movie, I didn't expect him to be the type who would dress as a crazy old man or have witty remarks with a parrot. That's not to say that Jafar can't be funny, but did you really think the guy we saw in the beginning of the movie would speak as he did throughout the movie? Not only that, but his power is weak! Did you notice the Sultan did not fall under Jafar's spell when he tried to hypnotize him before the "Prince Ali" number? Why? What made him come out the spell so easily? He did it TWICE! Jafar's victims can decide when they'll be hypnotize? And why is his evilness so obvious, yet so hidden from everyone else? Out of all the times he's hypnotized the Sultan, NO ONE NOTICED?! Aladdin realized something was wrong the first time he saw it happen - no one else in the palace ever saw it?!

STORY: The story is OK, I guess. One thing bothered me, though: in the beginning, Jasmine tells the Sultan she doesn't want to be forced to be married, she wants to marry for love (Blah, blah, blah, we've heard it before). At the end of the movie when Aladdin and Jasmine come together, the Sultan decides to let them marry. "Am I Sultan, or am I Sultan," he asks. "From this day forth, the Princess will marry whomever she deems worthy." WHY IN THE CRUD DIDN'T HE DO THAT BEFORE!??! He could have stopped this whole thing from happening...MUCH LIKE ARIEL IN "The Little Mermaid!!!" Gosh! What's up with the Clements/Musker team?

CONCLUSION: I couldn't go into too much detail, but you get the gist of it. There are some things I really like, some things I'm indifferent to, and some things I don't like. Overall, I still like this movie, though. I surprisingly find myself attracted to how entertaining this movie is, even the weird Jafar moments. I like it, and hopefully you will too. BOOYIKA!

Beauty and the Beast
(1991)

The Perfect Tale as Old as Time
After reviewing "The Little Mermaid," a film everyone praises, you may wonder if I'll hate on this film as well...No, I won't! This hasn't become Disney's most acclaimed movie for nothing! It's such a great and perfect movie!

ANIMATION: The animation in this movie is gorgeous! There are two moments I LOVE watching: 1) the ceiling as Belle and Beast and dancing, and 2) the changes in Beast's face as he holds Gaston over the edge. Without talking, he goes from wanting to kill Gaston, to realizing he's not that man anymore, to deciding Gaston isn't worth it. It's fantastic!

SONGS/MUSIC: Do I even have to mention the songs in this movie? They're all beautiful and they fit the movie perfectly! One of my favorites is actually a deleted scene the supporting characters sing called "When We're Human Again." Catch it on the DVD or Blu-Ray...Did I just do a plug?

ROMANCE: My gosh, this has got to be Disney's greatest romantic couple in anything the company has ever done! I love that it's not love at first sight. I love that Beast is one of the last people Belle would ever think of falling in love with, but he's the one for her. I often hear the argument that since she didn't kiss him until after his transformation, she's a shallow person. Really? She confessed her love to the Beast. She danced with the Beast. She and her father went back to save the Beast. She was clearly in love with the Beast. The human form is who she'd like to be with, but the soul of character of the Beast is who she fell in love with.

CHARACTERS: I can't go through and talk about all these characters individually. They are all wonderful and memorable. Belle is a fantastic lead - she's smart, beautiful, thoughtful, and kind. Beast is probably my favorite character in the movie. I love his story arc, I love how kind he is, and also tries to be throughout the movie, and I love how funny he is, too! Gaston is one of Disney's finest villains! He has a story arc to him as well; he doesn't just start off as the bad guy. He's the town's celebrity, but he becomes menacing and deceitful after Belle hurts his pride; he's not just power or money-hungry like most of the of Disney villains. The supporting characters are a lot of fun. I don't find any of them annoying or bad! I love everyone!

STORY: There was a lot of detail and time put into the story. It is paced perfectly, and there isn't too much activity going on. There is one flaw that the story has that people seem to look over, though. Belle finds the Beast's castle, where the Beast is imprisoning her father Maurice, because the horse, Philippe led her there. But how did Philippe know where Maurice was? Philippe ran away before Maurice got to the castle, so he couldn't have known where he was...Well, that's OK. Really, everything else about the movie is done so wonderfully that, not only did you not notice this mistake, but you don't care.

CONCLUSION: I know I didn't really say much in this review, but honestly what can I say? This really is a perfect movie! It's a masterpiece, it's colossal, it's the perfect "tale as old as time!" I praise God for you, you wonderful, gorgeous movie! Enjoy it, people! BOOYIKA!

The Little Mermaid
(1989)

Where the Crud Do I Begin?
It's summer time, which means MORE REVIEWS! I'm starting out the season by reviewing Disney animated films, beginning with the Renaissance from the late '80s/early '90s. With that, let's talk about "The Little Mermaid!"

ANIMATION: The animation is really spectacular! I can see why this film sparked the Disney Renaissance - it just looks amazing! I love the colors, the lighting, the fluent movement of the people - but you're always reminded that it's animated. It's a stylized art, and it's animation at its best.

SONGS/MUSIC: Obviously, this movie has some really impressive and memorable songs. Everybody remembers "Under the Sea," and, I have to admit, I like the song as well. The song I enjoy more than that is "Part of Your World." I love the music, I love the way it sounds. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken definitely knew how to make these songs sound like they were taken straight from Broadway! I don't know if I like the lyrics though, but we'll get to that later. My favorite song from the movie, though, is "POOR UNFORTUNATE SOUL!!!!" This song kicks butt! I don't want to talk too much about it now, but my goodness! The lyrics, the music, the singer - the song is just unbelievable! You can tell so much energy and passion was thrown into this!

ROMANCE: I'll be honest, this movie has a nice romantic element. I don't think it's Disney's best, but you do believe these characters are in love. They're willing to risk anything to be together, they can't stop thinking about each other, and, unlike Disney's earlier romances, Eric and Ariel actually have to work to fall in love; it's not necessarily love at first sight...not necessarily. I'll give it a pass here.

CHARACTERS: -URSULA - Good grief, I FRICKIN' LOVE URSULA!! One of the main reasons I love the "Poor Unfortunate Soul" number is because of her! Yes she's diabolical, manipulative, and menacing - and she's crudded awesome at being all those things! - but the real reason I love her is her character! She has a great character in this movie! She's not bland and boring - she has attitude! She has sass! She's a hard cold, lay-the-truth-out-for-you-nice-and-easy, get-what-she-wants type of character! If she were real...and human...and Saved...and not evil...I would totally marry her!

-SEBASTIAN/SCUTTLE - These guys are OK. There are a few times I find them a little annoying, but even then they're not THAT annoying. They have some nice moments, and overall they are some good guys.

ERIC – Who the crud is this guy? Aside from his name and being nice, I don't remember too much from him. He's like the earlier Disney princes...but he talks.

-FLOUNDER - I don't like Flounder! I know he's cute and all, but he's not that good of a character to me. He's Ariel's closest friend, right? Then why doesn't he ever tell her that maybe she shouldn't disobey her father? He's a supportive friend - no question about it. But he should have told her, "Ariel...Stop it."

-KING TRITON - Before I saw this movie, I heard what a strong, powerful father he is. I was expecting him to be a sort of pre-Mufasa. What do we get instead? He's the stereotypical parent who doesn't understand and doesn't want to listen to his child. When he warned Ariel about going near humans, I was expecting there to be a reason for it. Was there a reason? Not at all! He just has a prejudice against land for some unknown reason, and we never figure out why. He's not that bad of a character; in fact, I really like him. He loves his daughter, he's a strong parent, and he has great power. But from a dramatic standpoint, his lack of reason for why Ariel can't go to land makes him look unfair and cruel. To be fair, that's fine. She's your daughter and should do what you say. But if you reward her for doing what she shouldn't despite the fact that you forbade her from doing it in the first place, you look kind of weird.

FINALLY...

-ARIEL - ...Where the crud do I begin? She's selfish! If she had an option to take anything back, I don't think she would! Why? Because not only did she know what she was doing (deliberately going behind her father's back and disobeying him), but she got everything she wanted! Yes, despite her rebellion and causing so much trouble for everyone around her, she still got her precious Happily Ever After! What the crud? Her song "Part of Your World," though it sounds nice, is basically her just whining about her not being content with anything she has; and she won't be satisfied until she has more! It wouldn't bother me as much if it weren't for the fact that Ariel is the main character - the character we're supposed to learn from and identify with? What does she teach us? "Hey kids! If you do the opposite of what your parents say, you'll live happily ever after! They're just parents! Just because they're older than you doesn't mean they're smarter and wiser and more experienced than you!" I'm not asking for her to be perfect, but I don't think she learned a lesson in this film. When she apologizes to her father towards the end, I think she was saying that because Ursula caught her. If she didn't mean any of the trouble she caused, she wouldn't have caused it.

CONCLUSION: There are things I'm passionately against in this movie, but I can't just up and say I hate it. I still think the things I mentioned earlier are great. If some of the characters and the moral wasn't so ethically flawed, I'd enjoy this movie a lot more. As is, it's OK. Take what I said and see if you agree or disagree. BOOYIKA!

Django Unchained
(2012)

Where Did That Come From?
I was really excited to see this film in theaters in the winter, and I was disappointed I didn't get that opportunity. When my family and I saw it in DVD for the first time, I was completely amazed!!! CAN YOU SPELL AWESOME!!! This movie is incredible! I've never seen an entire Quintin Tarintino film before, and this was a great introduction to his style of filmmaking for me! It's funny, it's dramatic, it's suspenseful - it's got everything you'd want in a good movie!

The main two reasons I really love this movie has to do with the two most important things I think every dramatic production should have: a great characters and good stories. The story has a lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. The scene where Dr. Schultz kills Candie, that totally took me by surprise!! While the film has a lot of action and suspense, it doesn't take away from the story of the film. At the heart of it, a man wants to get back with his wife. We're never steered away from that during this film. Also, these characters are just fantastic! Django is a great hero, Dr. Schultz is a hilarious witty bounty hunter, Candie is an enjoyable slaveholder (kind of a contradiction of terms...), and Stephen is a great villain for this movie! Did you ever think a slave would be such a dynamic villain in a slave movie? But, then again, what do you expect when that character is played by Samuel L. Jackson?!

There are some things I find weird about this movie, however. It all centers around the idea that this movie takes place during slavery in the U.S.A. For example, there's a rap song in one of the scenes in this movie. For me personally, it took me out of the magic. I thought to myself, "Wait, what? Rap in the 1800s? That's not right." It doesn't distract too many people, but it did distract me. Another weird moment for me is the Ku Klux Klan scene. Don't get me wrong, it is funny, but is that really what you think of when the KKK comes to your mind? Everyone says this is a movie about slavery, when really it's a movie that just takes place during slavery. I feel like it's 2012 tells the story of 1861, but not exactly 1861. I feel like this a few times during this movie. Again, I really like this movie; but if you want a movie that stays truer to slavery itself and not just its time period, you should probably look at "Roots."

One thing I don't understand, however, is the controversy surrounding this movie. A lot of the talk is simply mind boggling to me! Many people have said that this movie is racist...Uh, what? Where did that come from? I can understand some people not liking the movie, but how in the world is it racist? Is it because it takes place during slavery? So, then, is "Roots" racist, too? Is it because a number of White people are killed in this movie? What about the movies that have 1 Black person, and he/she is killed before the end of the film? What about the movies that have no Black people? Are those racist? Is it because it showed mean and cruel White men and women as vicious slaveholders and racists? What about the movies with negative stereotypes of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, etc.? Are those racist as well? I'm sorry, but I cannot sit by so calmly while people protest movies like this racist while other films that gave America minorities no justice are considered beloved classics! This movie is simply trying to tell a story and show excellent, strong characters. What's wrong with that?

Again, I love this movie. It is a fantastic, brilliant film that I think you'll really love. The moments I mentioned earlier that expels me from being fully in 1861 can be distracting, but I'm still captured by the magnificent story and characters. For me, that's where the greatness of this movie lies! The effects are great, the suspense is awesome, but the story and characters are the elements that make this movie great! You'll enjoy it! BOOYIKA!

Are We There Yet?
(2005)

Those Demon Kids...
Ah, Ice Cube! You've given us so many great characters and movies: "Boyz in the Hood," "Friday," and the "Barbershop" series. You've become a favorite name to Hollywood fans everywhere! How could you do any wrong?...Surely this movie will give us the answer!

In this movie, Ice Cube plays Nick, a man who owns a sports store and catches the eye of Suzanne, played by Nia Long. He wants to date her, but they both realize they can't because of Suzanne's kids. When Suzanne needs to go to Vancover for business, she learns the father of the kids can't take them to the airport. Nick volunteers to take them, and learn just what it means to host a pair of really bad, undisciplined kids.

OK, let's start with the good things; to be fair, there are a few good things. First of all, Ice Cube is in this movie. Remember what I said about Queen Latifah as an actress in "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz?" Ice Cube is the same way. Also, I like the nice and quiet moment his character has with the kids. Scenes like when he tells them good bye toward the end or when he talks to them about their father. Those are nice, subtle moments.

Now, what doesn't work about the movie?...A LOT OF THINGS!!! First of all, I don't like these characters at all! Ice Cube's character is cool, he's pretty much playing a PG-rated version of himself. But the other characters are just despicable and unlikeable! The kids are obviously just cruel and mean! I know we're supposed to feel sorry for them because of their father, but I can't stand them at all! First of all, look at everything they put Nick through! That's not innocent kids acting out because of a lack of a father, that's kids who need to be whooped! Second of all, they're not charming or caring; they're rude, mean, and selfish! Remember the scene at the birthday party where some kid was bullying Kevin, the son? His sister didn't lift a finger to help him! She just stood there and looked at him!

One can see why these rotten kids are so selfish, because their mom is equally as selfish! She had Nick jump her car in the rain...just because! He gave her a ride home once, and she asks him to ride her to and from the house everyday! She expects him to get on the plane with her kids, KNOWING what her kids do to her boyfriends! After EVERYTHING that she allows those demon kids to put Nick through, she chooses to get mad at Nick without gathering all the facts! And after she's determined that Nick was irresponsible with the kids, she decides to fall in love with him simply because he sits on the bed and talks to the kids! WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!? Hey Suzanne, maybe if you had taken care of your own kids, you wouldn't have gone through any of this or allowed anyone else to go through this!

How about the numerous movie clichés in this movie that we've seen to death in other movies: the man who realizes the kids only need a father figure, the slapstick action with the kids, the animal that goes unbelievably crazy after a camera flash - even the kid who throws up in the car after someone says "What could you possibly do worse to this car?" It's predictable, boring, and just weird.

Believe me, there are other stupid, very awkward moments - like the bobblehead voiced by Tracy Morgan, or the deer/kangaroo (what was that thing?), or the fact that NO PARENTS at the birthday party did anything with the kids!!! - but the deal breaker for me is the characters. These are just awful characters! The only character I really like or feel anything for is Ice Cube playing...Ice Cube, really! The kids suck, the mom sucks, the babysitter sucks, the kids & parents at the party suck, the truck drivers suck! If you want to see Ice Cube experience a lot of things he doesn't deserve, you may like this movie. If you don't want to see awful characters do terrible things to an innocent man, you should definitely skip this film! BOOYIKA!

The Muppets
(2011)

Can You Spell Awesome!!! (IMDb won't let me "shout" in the Summary)
Due to the past productions the Muppets released, I was not at all excited when I heard they were coming out with another theatrical film. I just knew it would be crap, and that "Green With Envy" teaser confirmed what I believed! (You know, the one where Jason Segal looks in the camera and asks "Are there Muppets in this movie?") I was not impressed! But after it came out and EVERYBODY began praising it - including everyone around me - I agreed to sit down and watch it. What did I think?...CAN YOU SPELL AWESOME!!! This movie was nothing like I thought it would be, and was everything I wanted to see in their past productions! I'll try to be brief here, but know it will be hard!

I do have a few problems with the movie, and I'll start with those first since I have a lot of things I love about this film. First, I wish I had seen more of some of the Muppets. We saw Gonzo for about 25% of the film, and I wanted more of him. I saw Rizzo in 2 shots, and wanted more of him! He didn't get any lines! I read that a cameo was written for Elmo, but Sesame Workshop wouldn't let him be used; I was greatly disappointed by that! True, Pepe appears in the film, but, thankfully, he only has 3 lines! Anytime I look at a poster or picture of this movie, I hate looking at the "Disney" name; it still bothers me that the Muppets are owned by Disney. To be honest, I don't like Jason Segal's acting here. I can't say he's a bad actor because I've never seen him in anything else (I haven't even heard of him before this movie). Maybe this is just a new form of entertainment for him. Finally, some people were a little upset with the ending. It led up to be a mature ending, but the Muppets get everything back during the credits. I do understand they had to get their stuff back - what would they have been called if they didn't get their name back; they reference their productions all the time! But to have it rushed like that during the credits is a bit sloppy. That's all my bad stuff, but all of those are really, really minor problems.

I LOVE EVERYTHING ELSE! While I'm not fond of Jason Segal's acting here, I love the man and his writing partner for bringing the Muppets back in the form we remember them! This movie is comedy gold! I can't think of a joke in this movie that doesn't work! I especially love when they reference their older productions, like when Sweetums runs down the street from Mad Monty's, or Beauregard's return! Richman's "Maniacal Laugh" is the funniest villain laugh ever in film! I love Rowlf's return here! It's so classic!

Not only is the movie insanely funny, but it's also very touching and heartfelt! Other Muppet movies and moments have been heartfelt in the past, but this film takes it to a whole new level for them! The scene where Kermit walks down the hallway in his house and sees the pictures of his friends is a huge tear jerker. Another great emotional moment is when the Muppets sing "The Rainbow Connection" in their telethon - especially when Animal begins playing his drums again! We also feel for the Muppets when Kermit makes his speech after the telethon, and we celebrate with them when they go outside and hear people cheer their names!

The songs are really awesome! Bret McKenzie has become the new Paul Williams of Muppet songs, he captures the tone and moments just right! These songs are both hilarious and emotional. I also jam to "Me Party" when I hear it; "Man or Muppet" is just great; and I was shocked and upset about Richman's rap when I first saw the movie, but I love it now!

I read that there was some controversy among some of the Muppet performers about this movie. One of the things they didn't like was the joke with Fozzie's fart shoes. On one hand, I'm glad that they finally took a stand after ALL of their past bad productions. But, when you think about it...they had ALL of those bad productions! They hated Fozzie's fart shoes, but had no problem with "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz?!?" REALLY?!? Need I remind you all that Fozzie and Gonzo used to make jokes about whoopee cushions - and that was while Jim Henson was alive!...But I digress.

I can't say too much because this space does not allow me. This is just a too good, too wonderful movie! I love it! I'm excited about their sequel, but I don't think it could be as big as this film because this was their comeback...But we'll see. Thank you to everyone who was apart of this movie to make it as great as it was, especially Jim Henson for the spirit and characters this movie has, and to Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller for giving us the spirit and characters back! You'll love this film, I promise you! BOOYIKA!

P.S. I love that teaser now!

A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa
(2008)

"I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus"
To be fair, this special was a lot better than "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," but it's still not that good. There aren't any adult jokes that'll make your kids embarrassed to watch it with you or vice versa, but there are some other things that make this film pretty weak.

Following the classic Muppet Christmas special tradition: the premise is pretty simple: after an event at the post office Christmas Eve morning, Gonzo accidentally doesn't mail a letter to Santa Claus for one of his friends. He, Kermit, Fozzie, Rizzo, and...Pepe (I will pay someone to step on him) fly to the North Pole to give the letter to Santa...Yeah, that's it.

What's good about this special? Well, it has a lot of nice, tender, heartfelt moments. Gonzo sings the intro to a song in the film; he sings "What's in your heart?" I don't care for the rest of the song, but that part is very nice; I still find myself singing that sometimes. There's another song he shares with Fozzie later called "I Wish I Could Be Santa Claus." To be honest, it really doesn't fit with the scene, but it's a very lovely song. The special ends with all the Muppets gathering together for Christmas; that's rather nice. Also, there are a few funny moments. My favorite part is Nathan Lane's cameo! Not only is he funny, but his interaction with Bobo is funny as well (this is probably the first film I found myself fully enjoying Bobo without him being annoying)!

So what doesn't work? Well, for starters, it's slow. Some scenes feel like filer; like the scene where Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo are on the roof, or where Pepe talks to the gentlemen in the restaurant. Besides the musical numbers I mentioned earlier, I can't name any other song; they're either annoying or forgettable. Also, why are the Muppets in an urban New York setting here? It seems too weird. Finally, I think it goes back to one of the problems "Kermit Swamp Years" had: it's very childish. There's one adult joke I noticed (of course it came up, Pepe's here!), but other than that I can't really think of any material here that will get adults invested. I will say, though, kudos to this film for having Santa Claus be in this movie without saying Christmas is about Santa! Christmas specials today often do that, and it's really annoying, irritating, and, well, just untrue. Especially with the Muppets conforming their entertainment in their past productions, they could have easily taken that route. I'm glad they didn't.

I think this special is cute. It's a nice special kids will enjoy OK; but I don't think adults will enjoy it too much aside from a couple of heartfelt moments and a few jokes. To be honest, this special is kind of forgettable aside from those things. It's cute, but it's not what I want to see from the Muppets. I'd say give this one a pass. BOOYIKA!

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