Friday, September 30, 2011

Fluppy Dogs - Part 2 (Final Part)

Part 1

Hey, guys! You know what's awesome? Prismatic canines that have a magic key that can open doors to other dimensions.
"We'll acknowledge Atlantis: Milo's Return and Belle's Magical World but not this."
That's right, today I'm going to tackle the second and final half of Fluppy Dogs, closing the book (at least until I find another one that did just as badly) on forgotten Disney specials that failed miserably in the ratings. So far, this strange special has brought flying beds, dogs that are supposedly not dogs but just look like dogs and happen to be called dogs, a villain that feels like he should be hanging out in France and attacking cursed princes in enchanted castles, and a really cool idea that's somehow buried underneath all of this. The first half set the whole story up, and now the second half is where we'll get to see some action.

But all in all, there's not much more to say about the Fluppy Dogs, cute as they may be, that hasn't already been said in Part 1, so I'm just going to use this space to inform the readers that, as always, start with Part 1 first. Because I'm not responsible for breaking your brain if you enter Part 2 unprepared.

Time to once again touch upon the piece of animation Disney likes to pretend doesn't exist (on account they forgot it exists), this is...

Fluppy Dogs - Part 2

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rayman: The Animated Series - Lac-Mac Napping

This might just be the unluckiest series I ever have to do. Reading about what had happened in the production of this show is really sad. This is the kind of show that other shows use as an example, a horror story of shows, but first, let's talk about the videogame this animated series was based off of, Rayman.

Aw yeah, this game rocked.
Rayman is a platformer game series that debuted in 1995 on the Playstation and PC (well, okay, also the Atari Jaguar and the Sega Saturn, but who the hell owned one of those?) and starred a really strange thing named Rayman that was vaguely humanoid and had a bunch of disembodied floating limbs rotating around a purple ball. It was a delightful sugar-coated happy romp full of bright colors, whimsical characters, and ball-crushing difficulty spikes. I've interviewed everyone in the world and I've found out that most people saw the maze full of sharp musical notes in Bongo Hills (or the maze of sharp tacks in Picture City), said "To hell with this", and returned this game and exchanged it with Spyro the Dragon.

The game was good enough to get a sequel, Rayman 2: The Great Escape aka "one of the best platformer games ever" (my main source being my own personal opinion of course). No seriously, play this game because it's fun. Rayman 2 was more manageable in difficulty, but it traded the sugar coating and the bright colors with a darker and edgier atmosphere filled with giant spiders, poisonous swamps, killer robots from outer space, and zombie chickens.

I'm going to stress the zombie chicken part.

The writer of this blog still can't play the Tomb of the Ancients level without breaking down and sobbing.
And the sequel spawned a TV series. A very ill-fated TV series that lasted...wait for it....


Fun fact: Creepy Crawlers the Animated Series is also French. French shows have the worst luck.
Yes, this show lasted four episodes. The entire show is four episodes long. I've seen series pilots that were longer than Rayman's show. I've encountered farts that lasted longer than this. It never even got broadcast in the United States and literally the only evidence of this show in the United States (besides the Internet) was Nintendo Power hinting towards its existence and a VHS that's rarer than the Creepy Crawlers action figures.

It was planned to be a 13 episode season, but lack of funds and presumably poor writing (although that didn't stop Captain Planet) made the producers pull the plug early. Since Rayman isn't exactly the most popular videogame star in most parts of the world (he's popular in French-speaking countries since he's a French creation, but that's about it) and the relative obscurity of the episodes, this show is pretty much unknown.

But I'm going to talk about this show because what the hell, I might as well. I personally love the Rayman games (at least until they decided that they were going to fill the series with minigame collections instead of releasing a goddamn Rayman 4 like we wanted them to), and it'd at least be fun to see how they interpreted it for the small screen.

That being said, boy, am I in for a ride, because this show happened to follow the Sonic Underground line of thinking in that as long as they stick Rayman in an unrelated setting full of unrelated characters that have nothing to do with the original games, it's still a Rayman cartoon. So thus, let's talk about the first episode of this series. Let's find out what happens when you call a show "Rayman" but really make it about this unrelated blue guy in...

Lac-Mac Napping

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fluppy Dogs - Part 1

Everybody has a cartoon they remember bits and pieces of but can't remember the name or what it's about. A cartoon that you saw as a kid, but now you wish you could remember the name because you're a little unsure if it was actually something you saw or something you made up in your head.

In my case, it was Disney's Fluppy Dogs. Never heard of it? I wouldn't be surprised really.

Whenever some Disney fan acts like they're the only person in the world that
knows about The Black Cauldron, bring this up.
This might sound silly, but for a very large portion of my life I swore I saw an animated film on the Disney Channel about talking dogs that could open up doors out of midair with a magic key but I couldn't remember the plot, the title, or even most of the movie beyond little snippets that would appear in my head. But no matter who I talked to, no one had heard of this film. I quickly became more and more distraught, gradually going from "hey, remember this animated TV special Disney would air in the 90's about talking dogs with magic keys?" to "I swear to god this happened why won't anyone listen to me!?" to unfortunate souls like my various roommates and the people standing in line for Space Mountain. Luckily YouTube came to the rescue and proved that I was at least sort of sane (because no sane person would get an art degree, believe me) and didn't suffer from hallucinations as a child.

The reason this movie hasn't been released on DVD or even so much as mentioned by Disney is that Fluppy Dogs could really be dubbed Floppy Dogs on account, when this special first aired, it was one of Disney's lowest rated programs. I'm picturing a room of animators, all pleased that the grueling months are over and they made this really awesome pilot, and then the Nielsen Ratings come in and everyone starts hitting the bottle.

Which kind of sucked for Disney because they had aspirations of turning this into a series and even had released a couple pieces of merchandise (because Disney can and will release merchandise of anything they make) before they knew how much this movie was going to fail in terms of gaining an audience. See, before they released the special, Disney joined up with Kenner Toys (the makers behind Strawberry Shortcake) in an attempt to make a merchandise-driven cartoon similar to My Little Pony or He-Man. Only problem; no one bought the merchandise. I can tell because this stuff shows up on eBay for dirt cheap.

Yeah, this still probably isn't ringing a bell with anyone.
Had this movie been a hit and had the show been picked up, it would've been in-between Adventures of the Gummi Bears and DuckTales chronologically. As it stands, the closest you'll probably get to having a Fluppy Dogs show is watching reruns of The Wuzzles, which by the way, isn't very well-remembered either.

Since this movie is only like 45-50 minutes long, it makes sense that I divide this analysis of this movie into exactly two parts, like a Subway sandwich meant for two. I will also apologize for the quality of this movie's screenshots because, since it never got a DVD or even a VHS release, the only surviving copies that circulate the darkest reaches of the Internet today was pulled from video recordings from the 80's.

So let's dive into one of the most forgotten TV specials bearing the Disney name. This is...

Fluppy Dogs - Part 1

Monday, September 19, 2011

Creepy Crawlers - Attack Of the Fifty Foot Googengrime

Episode 1-Night of the Creepy Crawlers

I had to pull out this show again for several reasons, but the main reason was that I noticed that since there's only like four episodes online in a language I can understand (because hell no, I'm not watching something off of Rutube and then try to make any coherent sense out of it), this would be the easiest series to write about all of the available goop-filled, creepy crawly, nonsensical episodes.

I sometimes entertain the notion that I'll have this blog ten years from now and will one day review and overanalyze, say, every single available episode of Darkwing Duck or The Mask: The Animated Series, but another part of me knows that will never ever happen because I'm just one person and my interest in ducks or strange green-faced shapeshifters can only go so far.

But come on, only four existing episodes of a cracktastic series? That'd be cake.

Part of me still has trouble believing this actually exists.
I went with this episode first as opposed to, say, one closer in order (which involves giant zombie bees and important character introductions) because, to be frank, this begged to be written. I built my entire blog just so I can write about craziness like this. It's got a little bit of everything, but mostly, I have to point at the title and tell you that this seriously exists, that the writers seriously thought that this was a good idea and they had people draw storyboards for this.

In short, the 90's! Because if you want to see a jade green skeleton dance around while wearing a monocle, bugs imitate Beavis and Butthead, and a five story wizard with the chin the size of Kuwait yell about Goopmandos and little dips, then there's going to be a cartoon to accommodate for your strange, strange needs.

But really, nothing more needs to be said other than the title at this point. No, really. I can't even warn you for the unbridled insanity that cold, heartless merchandising inflicted on small children in the early 90's other than mentioning that this is...

Attack Of the Fifty Foot Googengrime

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fanboy and Chum Chum - Wizboy

Recent stuff! Whoo! This post should be a good enough reminder that while I do watch and review 90's and 80's shows, I can sometimes do something recent too. That's why I have a 2000's label after all.

Let's see how fast I can lose what little audience I have by talking about this show.

Ah yes, Fanboy and Chum Chum. For some reason this show gets hated on a lot. It's like a punchline. Every time someone says something like "TV animation sucks nowadays!", the first example they usually trot out is this particular show. Man, everything on the air is like Fanboy and Chum Chum! Why can't we have more 2D animation instead of crap like Fanboy and Chum Chum? Kids today have a terrible childhood because they have Fanboy and Chum Chum! I'm not defending the show (I don't really defend ANY show in this blog), but like Loonatics Unleashed, the hatred is a tiny bit overblown and silly.

Probably because I've seen many other shows get similar hate because Western Animation fans just suck. Don't worry, Fanboy and Chum Chum, because Rocket Power, Jimmy Neutron, The Replacements, Teamo Supremo, ChalkZone, and El Tigre all got similar backlash. (Also Butt Ugly Martians and Super Duper Sumos, but they deserved it)

But I'll be honest. The reason I'm doing this show is not because I have any sort of interest in the show, that I'm curious as to why it gets hated on, or that someone requested it to me. Instead, my reasoning is a bit more shallow. I'm doing this review because my Computer Animation teacher was Lead Character Technical Artist on this show. I'm not going to make unfounded claims I can't back up, but if I remember correctly, he designed either Fanboy or Chum Chum. He's honestly proud of his work on this show (he also did work Tak and the Power of Juju, but in his opinion, this show is better) so I'm going to try to judge it more fairly than say, anyone who thinks that CGI is the cheap alternative to 2D. It's not.

Anyways, I'm going to watch what else but this show's premiere episode, Wizboy. This is yet another show that's divided into a two shows/ 11 minute format, so at the very least, it should give me a light, fluffy post after posting those monsters about the Loonatics and The Mask.

With that being said, will I end up being like every single 18 years and older cartoon fan who says that Invader Zim and Rocko's Modern Life is totally better than this new-aged, CGI drivel they're forcefeeding the children, or will I have a deep penetrating shame over the fact that I find something to like out of this show? Don't try to fight it folks, because I'm introducing you to...


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Loonatics Unleashed - The World is My Circus

This may be the first show that I'm choosing to revisit on account of popular demand as opposed to me just picking out shows at random. Today, I'm going to once again tackle the show known as Loonatics Unleashed on account quite a few people liked it when I talked about the episode where a balding chubby nerd with a rock arm fought giant talking rabbits. Not only was the Going Underground post one of the most popular blog posts I've ever done, but I actually got an e-mail response about it saying that I was "a lot fairer than most cartoon review sites".

Which kind of says a lot when my site makes fun of everything I watch. When I said that Ace Bunny's lasers looked really ludicrous and that his personality was bland, that Lexi made some very stupid mistakes, or that Tech was being a pretentious smartass, that was still being a lot fairer than most sites that cover Western Animation. Probably because I actually said nice things inbetween the snark, but still...

But then again, considering how much the viewers of Cartoon Brew were collectively filling their underwear with raw anger over the release of The Looney Tunes Show, that really doesn't surprise me. And it's kind of sad that it doesn't.

For this post, I just happened to pick an episode that appealed to my interests on account I'm shallow and that going in episode order would be boring. In this case, there's evil circuses, Tim Curry, mutant animal hybrids, physical transformations, and superheroes, which I think sounds like just the coolest mixture of stuff in an episode. Again, not related to Looney Tunes at all, but you'd be lying if you said this didn't sound cool. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, witness the greatest show on the face of the Earth in...

The World is My Circus

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Mask: The Animated Series - Convention of Evil

You know, animated adaptations of big hit Hollywood movies get a really bad rap these days. What was once a big staple of the 90's (ironic considering how often nostalgia fans praise the 90's for being the most original) is now seen as unoriginal, banal pieces of crap that ride upon the coattails of a successful movie franchise and are almost never good. The words "the animated series" are like the brightly colored skin of a poison dart arrow frog, warning off potential viewers of the show's toxicity.

Usually, this is correct (because oh man can I name some animated adaptations that suck all that is wholesome and good out of the animation medium), but first I'm going to show off an animated adaptation that, in my opinion, works better than the movie it spawned from. Say hello to The Mask, and let me answer your first question: yes, there was an actual The Mask cartoon.

There are a ton of things are wrong about this show, making its 3 season, 52 episode success almost baffling. It's better to just go about them in list form, and really, it ends up sounding like a recipe list for making the perfect disaster.

1. It's a superhero cartoon about a movie that was nothing about superheroes.
2. Key elements are discarded. The mask can now work during the day and Stanley's girlfriend (who was Cameron Diaz in her very first star role, by the way) is completely missing. And Peggy, who was considered a villain and was even killed in a deleted scene, becomes The Mask's friend in the series.
3. 80% of the cast was completely fabricated from scratch and would so not fit in with the movie's cast. Okay, ask yourself. When you watched that Jim Carrey film, did you ever stop and think "You know what this needs? A mutant honeybee monster, a half-balloon man, a talking fish, a Mesopotamian woman who controls cheese, and Satan!" to yourself? If you answered "yes", then you were one of the character designers on this show.
4. This was created during the peak of a Jim Carrey craze and two other Jim Carrey films were being adapted into cartoons as well.
5. They turned two iconic lines in the movie into catchphrases. "Sssssmokin'!" and "Somebody stop me!" were used ad nausem in this show's run.

and worst of all...

6. It's a watered-down animated adaptation of a movie that's a watered-down adaptation of a very violent comic book. Fans of the Mirage TMNT comic books should instantly know this feeling all too well.

I'm willing to bet that a large amount of people will respond to this with "There was a comic!?"
So okay, what's the punchline, you might be thinking. This couldn't possibly have ended well.

Well, it did. Partly because Film Roman knew just what the hell they were doing and allowed the show to have an actual budget. I don't want to risk gushing too much about how inexplicably awesome this show is, but let's just say it's way more well-remembered than the two other Jim Carrey shows, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura, for a very good reason. Plus it helps that I like this cartoon when I don't particularly care for the movie (I can't enjoy Jim Carrey unless if he's in small doses), so it does its job well.

Anyways, I'm done talking about the show. Now for the actual episode I'm going to dive right into. For the first episode I'm covering from this show, I'm going to cover...the first episode I ever personally watched, thanks to a friend linking me and telling me "this is better than it sounds, trust me". Not the first episode of the show; the one that first exposed me to the show. Which doesn't make much sense, but hey. My blog; my rules.

I will warn you, since this show currently doesn't have a DVD release, that means the copies I find on the Internet all contain network bugs. That being said, let's watch a cyborg, a hideous bee mutant, Satan, a woman with a cheese obsession, a half-shark mobster, Ickis from Aaahhh! Real Monsters, and a nerd in skintight underwear sit around at a table and discuss their mental issues with Ben Stein in...

Convention of Evil

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) - Cowabunga Shredhead

Lately I've been noticing that I've been sneaking a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references into my other blog posts. So you know what? It's turtle time!

If you have no idea what this show is, then I feel nothing but immense pity for you.
I really can't really say much about this show as a whole that hasn't already been said by at least 500 other people. This show is one of those shows where, even if you haven't watched an episode of it, you know what it is. It remains one of the most popular animated television shows of all time. I personally don't think I've run into anyone over the age of 18 who hasn't heard of the turtles.

Also, well, there's a lot to cover about this show.
The average cartoon has 2 or 3 seasons, with around 26-50 episodes.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had 11 Seasons and 193 episodes.

To put this in perspective, think of all the merchandise Spongebob Squarepants has, and then double it. You still won't hit the amount of merchandise this show had. This show honest to god actually made pizza more popular. Dwell on that for a second. To say that this show was popular is an understatement and shames this cartoon. This thing was so humongogigantic in the early 80's that they haven't even invented a word as to how popular it was.

But it's not my job to be a ninja turtle historian. It's my job to digest one of their episodes and regurgitate it up in word form in a way that's at least slightly amusing.

The reason I went with this episode first as opposed to say, the first episode ever is that I've seen quite a few fans of this show, when they cover this show, conveniently only cover the major story arcs from Seasons 1 and 2 (and occasionally the Baxter Stockman arc that spans several seasons, but I'll hit on that later) and then just conveniently ignore the entire rest of the show like it's something that never happened. That apparently the show's best moments were when it was deep, thoughtful, serious, and all those other delightful metaphors usually applied to the 2003 TMNT series.

So because of this, instead of drama and intrigue, I'm going to show you an episode where a ninja covered in cheese graters is programmed by a laser beam to think that he's a giant mutant turtle with a verbal tic while other villains plan to kidnap the president with holograms. Behold how everyone in the 80's was on something in this glorious golden-plated trophy of an episode named...

Cowabunga Shredhead

Friday, September 2, 2011

Felix the Cat: The Movie - Part 4 (Final Part)

Part 1.
Part 2.

Part 3.

What a better way to issue in a brand new month than by closing up on this strange, delightful acid trip to my eyes that is this movie?

...I can probably think of a million better ways to celebrate the month of September than by sitting all by my lonesome in a quiet room and watching the hopes and dreams of Hungarian animators get silently crushed by horrible time schedules and weak budgets, but since I went for a specific theme for my blog, this is what I'll write about. Otherwise I'd be boring you all about anecdotes involving the colorful people that inhabit my dorms.

Anyways, Felix the Cat! I just recently learned this, but there are a couple Felix the Cat black and white shorts involving circuses. There aren't any women dancing in bubbles or overweight alligators with throat scars in them, but this proves that I was wrong about the filmmakers. They were making a really clever allusion to "Felix Wins Out" and "The Circus", very classic silent 1920's shorts.

...either that, or they were making this crap up as the film was being produced. It's hard to tell.  

Also, you know how I said that the animation is only going to get even worse as time goes on? Well, yeah, that was mainly to warn you ahead of time about the last portion of the film. Even fans of this movie can't excuse the last fifteen minutes of this film, it's that bad. Characters start to melt, eyeballs start to slide off faces, animation clips starts to be reused, and it's just a horrible thing to watch because you know they could do better because anyone could do better than this. It's a sliding scale of badness with this film, unfortunately, and it's really sad when the high point of any animated film is when the main character is being held captive by an overweight lizard mutant.

So be prepared for the final reckoning as we see this movie finally get out of the circus and reach its conclusion. And trust me, you will be disappointed once you see how this movie ends in...

Felix the Cat: The Movie Part 4!