Thursday, December 5, 2013

In Which Trish Watches Three Bad Animated Films So You Don't Have To

Recently, I subjected myself to watched three animated feature films that don't *quite* deserve full reviews on their own, since their quality ranges from "the memory of this movie evaporated from my brain-parts an hour after I watched it" to "this is pure hate on film".  Let's get right into it with...

The Never-Really-Accurately-Named Random 90's Animation Month: "Happily Ever After" (1990)

Say what you will about notoriously execrable animation studio Filmation, but I have to admire the ginormous solid brass balls they must have had when they made unauthorized sequels to Disney's "Pinocchio" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" while, you know, being Filmation.  If you did not live during the 70's or 80's, the most you need to know is that Filmation animation was often eye-bleedingly bad, and this is well on display here.  And remember, if you chose to watch this, that this film got a theatrical release.  Ponder that during the eight or ninth time you see that one run cycle Snow White has.

There isn't much to say here because this movie is almost the opposite of interesting.  It turns out the Wicked Queen had an evil wizard brother, so this thing has the same setup as the most embarrassing Disney DTV sequels.  Snow White is joined by seven girl dwarfs because it is the 90's and we need more girl characters.  And I will admit that's kind of an awesome thing to do, except that just having more female characters in your movie doesn't help anyone if their personalities are nonexistent or stereotypical.  Furthermore, the lady dwarfs are basically all the Pokemon you added to your team very early in the game because they were each the first of their elemental types but you ditched them as soon as you could after they died over and over to things they are supposed to be strong against.  For it's next trick, the movie asks the question, "Hey how come Snow White couldn't save the Prince?" and then not only does not chose to answer that question at all but also does everything it possibly can to undermine it, since Snow White ends up a damsel in distress anyway.  Fun times.

Further Random 90's Animation Month Shenanigans: "The Princess and the Goblin" (1991)

"The Princess and the Goblin" is a Welsh/Hungarian co-production, and Wales' first feature-length animated feature.  So it's got that going for it.  Based on the so-excellent-they-deserve-a-far-better-movie-than-this fairy tales of 19'th Century fantasist George MacDonald, the film is... Man, I don't even know.  It is a film.  There are still drawings photographed in such a way as to give the illusion of movement (if not necessarily life in this case, although it will not make your eyes bleed like "Happily Ever After") and there is dialogue and music.  I guess some of the goblin characters are fun and the way they visualized the guardian angel character is kind of cool.  But the main characters are just black holes of charisma.  Furthermore, some of the crazier symbolism MacDonald was known for doesn't really translate literally to film very well.  (Survival tips: "Follow the thread!!!" = one sip, "Stomp on their feet!" = two sips, everybody sings along to Curdy's power-up song in the finale = finish your drink.)

Really, only watch these two films if you are for some reason compelled to watch every animated movie you remember getting a theatrical release in America in the 1990's. On that note, for more in this series, click this link or the "Random 90's Animation Month" tag below.

"My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Equestria Girls: Chaos Reigns"

Now, if you want the full experience of suffering through this end-result of a long, long string of sh**ty marketing board room decisions, read my review of "Friendship is Magic" and then head on over to my Twitter and scroll down until you hit November 24th.  I only have a few more thoughts to share about this thing because honestly, I don't want to give it any more attention and I don't want to commit much more thought to it.

First off, it really is as awful as I figured it would be way back when we first saw that concept art all those months ago.  That concept art, as you may recall, resembled bad fanart -- actually, no.  It resembled uncreative fanart.  If they had taken a cue from bad My Little Pony fanart... well, that at least would have been something.  But no, this movie basically is uncreative fanart/fanfiction.  It's pretty much what you'd get if you asked a very unimaginative person what would happen if the Ponies turned into humans an attended a high school that is totally not a shameless "Monster High" cash-in you guys, it's not.

And honestly, that's the thing that kills me the most about "Equestria Girls": the kind of story the writers chose to tell once they were able to write for human girls in a human setting is EXACTLY the stereotypical girlie-girl show crap Lauren Faust went out of her way to avoid when she was in charge of "Friendship is Magic".  It's heartbreaking.  Every character has been reduced to their most basic personality trait, they all hang out in a high school where classes are evidently optional, Twilight falls for some impressively boring boy character she literally just met - or rather crashed into because she is a clumsy nerd-girl LOL, and there's a long, l-o-n-g montage of the characters shopping for dresses for -of course, of COURSE- the big school Promcoming Festivus Ball.

Then there's the main plot, which is about -I promise I am not making this up- cyberbullying.  Yes, the minute computers and the internet are introduced to the world of My Little Pony, they are used by the villain to ruin everything for our heroes.  And maybe I'm overreacting but when the character we see most prominantly using technology uses it for ill and then literally turns into a demon-thing (by the way, what in the actual f**k?), that strikes me as a really sh**ty message for little girls for whom society has already done a capital job of steering away from STEM interests.

The good news is, from all evidence so far, it appears as though the main "Friendship is Magic" show is pretending that none of the events in this movie ever happened.  So I guess we can pretend it never happened as well.

Next week, I plan on exploring a Random 90's Animated Movie that might actually be kind of awesome and at least has a fascinating origin story.  And if everything works out, then just in time for Christmas I may be seeing and reviewing another animated movie with girl characters in it that I hear is pretty good...

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Sketch of the Day!  Silliness based on a Twitter discussion a few weeks ago of a very oddly arranged display at the University of Wyoming photographed by Brian Switek.

Marshmalloceratops!


4 comments:

raptor_044 said...

"The Princess and the Goblin"

I remember watching that movie back in the day, but until this blog post, I couldn't remember the title or anything else about the movie other than the main characters being some kids who like to sing & some monsters who don't like singing.

"Yes, the minute computers and the internet are introduced to the world of My Little Pony, they are used by the villain -and ONLY the villain- to ruin everything for our heroes."

No offense, but the above quote isn't completely accurate. As far as I remember, computers/the internet are introduced when Human Fluttershy mentioned "the techies". Also, Twilight, the CMCs, & Pinkie all used computers/the internet. If we're talking about modern technology in general, then there were also several ppl using what I think were iPhones during the "Helping Twilight Win the Crown" song. W/that said, I have a confession: I didn't hate the EG movie. I thought I was gonna, but I didn't. Don't get me wrong as I didn't love it either (E.g. Among other things, I didn't like how overly girlie the high school stuff was). However, I do think the good & the bad balanced out more-or-less (Digibrony sums up what I did like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6HKOI6AB30 ). Overall, I thought it was an OK movie that had its moments.

"The good news is, from all evidence so far, it appears as though the main "Friendship is Magic" show is pretending that none of the events in this movie ever happened."

What do you think of the Season 4 so far? I know it's a bit soon to say, but I like it so far (especially for Discord).

"Sketch of the Day! I'm just going to present this one without comment:"

Why's the Triceratops so angry? Does he/she not like marshmallows or doing favors for the Tyrannosaurus or something else entirely? Also, did you mean for his/her color scheme to be JP Chaos Effect-ish? Just wondering b/c he/she seemed bolder/more striking than your other dino sketches. Maybe it's just me.

-JD-man

Brian Malbon said...

As a father of a three-year old I've spent an awful lot of time with Equestria Girls in the last few months, and I have to say... I don't hate it. I won't deny it's not a good as the show, which I've admittedly seen very little of. But the "cyber-bullying" plot was just a one-time element to a more pervasive concept of bullying in general, and how the bully's power can be stripped away just by presenting a unified front.
(I might be wrong, but I don't think little girls will read into the message that technology = evil and girls shouldn't be smart - I think that's an adult putting their feelings onto it - especially since the technology in question is something that girls' lives practically revolve around)
The other thing I like, and maybe you didn't notice it because you were too angry with all the rest, is the message at the end. With Twilight Sparkle a princess now it seemed the show was headed for vapid "Disney princess"-land, but Celestia's final speech to Twilight suggests to me that they intend to turn the concept of a princess upside down - this is a world where a princess us a real leader, not a useless figurehead, and the message of Equestria Girls as I saw it was that you can lead better through inspiration than intimidation - something boys learn very early on, but I've never seen it expressed for girls before.

Then again, maybe I'm just glad my daughter choose this movie to watch over and over, and not Barbie: Three Princess and the Popstar.

Brian Malbon said...

Raptor 044 -.I interpret the drawing as the triceratops tried to open a pop can with his horn and now it's stuck. T-Rex is helping out, and well she should - this kind of thing has probably happened to her before too. Enjoying prepackaged snacks without benefit of prehensile forearms requires teamwork.

raptor_044 said...

@Brian Malbon

In retrospect, that makes more sense. I originally thought the Triceratops was roasting marshmallows for the T.rex.