Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happily Ever After (1993 film) - Part 2

Part 1.

I will conclude the month of November with yet another trip into Happily Ever After, a staple of my video library.

Box office failure or not, this movie will still remain a childhood favorite (and like Felix the Cat: the Movie, I can't bring myself to ever hate this movie), which is basically me saying that this film is a really big guilty pleasure for me. Oh sure, it's bad. I'm not going to deny it. Plot points are unnecessary, and we're about to see stuff that makes the man who can turn into a dragon look sensible, but I still watch this multiple times for enjoyment. It probably doesn't say much about my taste in cartoons, but I get a kick out of movies this cheesy.

And we're journeying into the actual meat of the movie. Compared to the crazy depravity that's going to explode from my disc like an Ecto-Containment Unit in New York City, the intro with the dragon, the He-Man prince, and the rapping owl with a cigar is going to look subdued and downright sane and intelligent. Just warning you ahead of time. We're dealing with Felix the Cat: The Movie levels of crazy here.

Since I can't give too much away, I might as well mention the DVD now that I actually have the DVD of this movie with me. Unless if you really, really, really love this movie, don't buy this thing. The DVD is crap. Oh sure, it's more convenient than the VHS, and I have yet to find a computer that can play VHSes, but this DVD is one of the worst examples I have ever seen of archival quality. There's little things like parts of the screen being out of focus for some scenes, or rings of black surrounding the edges, but it's those little things that just piss me off. From the looks of it, either the movie just hasn't survived that well over the years (and it really wouldn't surprise me, considering Filmation is a defunct company, this movie bombed horribly at the box office, and was critically panned by everybody) and they can't digitally restore the movie, or someone got lazy rushing this thing to DVD.

In short, they did a really poor job and the picture is nowhere near as good as it should be.

Why am I choosing to mention the DVD? Because of the scene selection menu of course.

...yeeeah, what am I supposed to be looking at here? Out of all of the possible stills they could choose for Lord Maliss, they had to go for one where he's trying to be all sensual. The pink curtains in the background certainly don't help.

That being said, don't try to fight it, because you're going to see dragons and feminism aplenty in...

Happily Ever After Part 2

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Mask: The Animated Series - Mask Au Gratin

Sorry this is so late, but in the long run, my finals and visiting my family are probably more important than my blog. Plus I needed the small break. After consistently posting really huge posts every three to five days, a small vacation was imminent.

But judging by both the poll and the pageviews, quite a few people like it when I talk about this show.

Now, when I watched Convention of Evil, this prompted a couple people to ask about the actual episodes in the clip show. And thus, it'd be a smart choice to talk about them.

Course, choosing an episode was hard. My first choice was, of course, The Stinger's episode, but due to language barriers (as of this writing, an English copy still hasn't been located) and the fact that I'll look like a dumbass by trying to talk about a cartoon while muting it, so that was a no go. I'm still waiting for the day that episode crops up online in English, if only because that'll be the day where I can talk about a giant bee man for hours and hours and not be judged by my fellow Americans.

But anyways, I figure I'll go with the second best choice, one that was brought up by friends and e-mails alike, while hanging my head in sadness and wishing this was that glorious, honey-flavored episode. In other words, this is the episode where some Mesopotamian cheese witch attacks a city and turns things into processed food with her laser eyes. Not as cool as some mutant honeybee that forces people to toil in his homemade nectar factory, but you have to admit it's original.

Without further ado...

Mask Au Gratin

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Batman - The Big Dummy

Okay, okay, I assume when people said "Something New" in the polls, they expected something within this decade, not something that their parents grew up with. And, to sweeten the deal, it'll even be about superheroes.

Time for me to talk about an often-forgotten section of an incredibly huge franchise, Batman. The Dark Knight is considered one of the most important characters when it comes to superhero cartoons, if only because he's been in so many influential cartoons. I won't get too much into just how powerful his shows were, if only because there are entire websites designed to talk about the impact Batman: The Animated Series has had on animation (ones more coherent and better-written than my blog, might I add) just as there are entire websites designed to talk about how stupid (whether delightfully stupid or just stupid stupid) the 70's Superfriends show is.

Most Batman cartoons, at least according to Batman fans, fall under one of three categories: Crap that came before Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Animated Series, and Crap that came after Batman: The Animated Series. It's a pretty common fact that Batman hit its cartoony stride in Batman: The Animated Series, and I'm not confident I can tackle that show yet, lest I want people hunting me down for making the wrong joke or saying that the wrong character sucks.

So, to ruffle the least amount of feathers as possible, I'm choosing a cartoon that's not Batman: The Animated Series (instead I'm going with the Jackie Chan-esque Batman cartoon that came out around 2004) and, to double my protection, I'm going to talk about a character that not many people even notice.

Yep, instead of talking about The Joker, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, or even Bane (just going to say it right now, but I think Bane is stupid), I'm choosing, well...this guy.

Pictured: Seriously a Batman villain.
This character, at least according to my really brief research on the Internet, is like the character that fans can't agree whether he's (or they're) a really awesome or a really stupid idea. Arnold Wesker aka The Ventriloquist and Scarface have appeared on as many Best Batman Villain Lists as Worst Batman Villain Lists. While the Batman nerds can pretty much agree that Crazy Quilt is a stupid idea and that The Joker is full of awesome, no one's really sure if a mentally disturbed middle-aged man who has a murderous personality manifest through his left hand is a good idea or a bad one. Even the writers can't seem to agree, because I've seen just as many Batman stories where this character was played for laughs as there are stories that are really tragic.

So I'm going to talk about Warner Brother's third most controversial cartoon (because even a Batman made by the creators of Jackie Chan can't reach the level of infamousness that Coconut Fred and Loonatics Unleashed have) for a change, because if there's anyone who can make a strange blend of good and bad mixed into one cartoon, it's Warner Brothers.

Let's look at...

The Big Dummy

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happily Ever After (1993 film) - Part 1

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I'm so glad that I can share this movie with you. I can't really express this in words, but I'm practically hopping up and down in my seat like a giddy schoolgirl because I get to talk about THIS.

Aw yeah
, Happily Ever After.

This movie has had a very unlucky past. Originally called "Snow White and The Realm of Doom", it's pretty infamous for being the movie that sent a pretty famous cartoon company, Filmation, into bankruptcy, and for being the subject of a minor legal dispute with Disney on account it's pegged as an unofficial sequel to that particular movie. Finished in 1988 but finally released in theaters in 1993 (a good five years after its completion), it's also known for being a box office bomb (here's how bad it did; it opened on the same weekend as Super Mario Bros. and that movie made eight times more money than this movie), a regular appearance in store bargain bins, and just all-around derivative of one of Disney's first animated classics. It's not as derivative as Happily N'Ever After, that terrible CGI film, but it's pretty up there.

But when I was a kid, I didn't know of any of these things and watched the everliving crap out of this thing. Yes, it's sad that I'm admitting this, but I liked it. Ah, the days when you could just enjoy something without knowing about other people's opinions of it and getting into large flame wars about it. Instead we were free to make our own decisions.

Disney scholars are going to scoff at me and mock me for my lack of bad taste, but when I was a kid, I loved this movie a lot better than Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To me, there was no contest. While Disney's Snow White merely had some weird looking evil queen who has to brew a transformation potion in order to turn her into something that could've just used simple costume props, Happily Ever After had dragons, evil sorcerers that shot lasers out of his eyes, a talking bat, a smoking owl, and freaking packs of evil wolves with rhino horns. And while Disney's Snow White just had dwarfs, Happily Ever After had female dwarfs with freaking magic powers that could summon like thunderstorms and crap.

Yes, my friends. This is basically the tale of Snow White on steroids. And man did I cherish this film for it as a little girl.

It was only until later that I found out that people are actually supposed to hate this movie, which kind of bummed me out, but maybe the rosy glasses of nostalgia are blinding me and this truly is a turd wrapped in a pretty princess gown. Either way, I'm going to be looking at the strange, messed up world that is...

Happily Ever After

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wacky Races - See-Saw to Arkansas

According to the polls, everyone wanted something new, so of course, that means I'm going to cover a cartoon that almost 50 years old. Irony!

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with Hannah-Barbera, the creators of this ancient work of art. I mean, sure, they've single-handedly defined an entire decade (or decades, depending on how nice you want to be) of animation, but at the same time, they're pretty renowned for basically cranking show after show after show and being one of the harbingers of the animation dark ages. They have great characters, but for every Huckleberry Hound and Tom and Jerry, you have pale knockoffs like Goober and the Ghost Chasers (hint: Goober is a dog) or just plain failtastic ideas like The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang. 

That being said, I can't bring myself to hate Wacky Races. This was truly one of Hannah-Barbera's better ideas and I like it more than I like Scooby-Doo. Sorry Scooby, but your antics just can't top Pat Pending's Convert-a-Car no matter how hard you try.

For those of you who don't know about Wacky Races (which would make me sad if you didn't, because it's one of the landmark shows of the 60's and 70's), it was a 17 episode racing show produced in the late 60's that was wacky, pretty much. One of the things that made it unique was that, unlike a lot of Hannah-Barbera's other shows, it had a pretty big cast. It had eleven vehicles and twenty three characters spread among these cars, so if you got bored with one guy, there was always at least twenty other racers to watch instead. It was formulaic, but then again, racing as a whole has a formula to it so you end up not minding too much. Probably because you're watching a cartoon that has mobsters, scientists, cavemen, vampires, and freaking Dick Dastardly. A little formula isn't going to deter you too much from watching someone in a biplane shoot a gun at some hillbilly on the road.

And, like Scooby-Doo, the reason I'm so familiar with this show is because, before the Cartoon Cartoons were created, Cartoon Network used to air reruns of this show all the freakin' time in the early 90's, when the channel was first created. So much that I'm surprised this show only had 17 full episodes.

Pictured: The inspiration for Mario Kart. Don't deny it.
That, and the fact that this show didn't get the overexposure that Scooby later suffered from. There were only two spinoffs to the show (one with Dick Dastardly and one with Penelope Pitstop and the Anthill Mob) and the Wacky Races legacy was able to retire with quiet dignity before a Flim-Flam racer and a Scrappy-Doo racer could show up.

That being said, the easiest way to cover a show is to look at its first episode, (or in this case, the first half of the first episode, since each episode contains two 11 minute segments) so let's see how our loveable racers deal with their most insidious obstacle yet, for they're going to dive into the dark, clammy, largely unexplored evil that is...Arkansas.

Let's look at an episode that literally has nothing to do with actual Seesaws and just made up a pun on the fly, See-Saw to Arkansas.

See-Saw to Arkansas

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog - Road Hog

This show won third place in that poll I posted in the first half of October, so I figure why not? Making fun of Sonic is one of my favorite pastimes, next to crossword puzzles and judging other people for their choice in music.

The last time I talked about this show, I covered an episode where Scratch (the chicken robot who chases Sonic, for those not completely caught up to the Sonic lore) bumped his head and thought he was a character on TV, emulating a cheesy sitcom for a day. But before I talked about his strange love affair with poultry, I mentioned that I wanted to cover all the episodes that were on the VHSes first.

Well, here's another one!

That's some motorcycle design, artist!
This episode happens to be on the rarest VHS out of the classic AoStH movie lot (and I base this statement purely off of something I made up), Road Hog. I owned a couple of VHSes of this show (I owned the Grounder the Genius and the Sonic's Song VHSes, for the people in the audience who must know every aspect of my life), but literally the only copy I knew existed of this bastion of insanity was at the local Blockbuster. Oh, I rented it a couple times, because a blue hedgehog riding a motorcycle and then fighting a morbidly obese man on a blimp never stops being entertaining, but I could swear I've never seen this VHS sold anywhere. It was like an endangered species of animal; there was evidence of its existence in certain institutions, but I was having too hard of a time spotting one in the wild, ready to be purchased by my allowance money.

Anyways, I'm going to talk about this episode because this always stuck out to me as a kid as just unbelievably bizarre and unpleasant for a Sonic cartoon. Yes, this is weird for an Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, a show that practically invented the word. That's just sad that there is an episode that's weird even by this show's standards, since this is the show where tanks have articulate butts, a chicken can fall in love with a turkey, and you can somehow make a robot by cracking an egg into a strange, cauldron-shaped machine.

So let's see Sonic deal with hypnotic flowers, speed limits, a giant blimp, and a group of pigs riding motorcycles in...

Road Hog