Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 2 (2012)

There are probably those in the world who would say “You’re 23, stop watching cartoons!”. And to that I say “Be quiet, fool, I’m trying to watch a cartoon”. Oh, and there will be spoilers for the end of season 1, just so you don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 2.

At the end of the previous season, we saw Optimus (Peter Cullen) defeat the mighty Unicron. But that doesn’t mean him and his fellow Autobots get any time to rest, since they find themselves in a race against Megatron (Frank Welker) and his Decepticons to find and gather up mighty Cybertronian artifacts, all scattered across Earth. Yes, most of this season is a MacGuffin hunt, but so are all the “Indiana Jones” movies, and those are great. And “Transformers Prime” does it really well too by throwing in a lot of enjoyable character development, some clever twists, and genuinely fun sci-fi concepts. It also continues the show’s exploration of “Transformers” lore in really nuanced ways. The narrative manages to be a lot more compelling than a lot of contemporary cartoons… and a lot more compelling than the live action movies… what I’m saying is that the story here is great.

The characters here are flawed, layered, colorful, and just in general great. In season 1, they kinda started out one way, kind of being a cliche. But by the end of it, they had developed further. And they kept that going here in season 2. A lot of cartoons return to the status quo every now and then, just to make syndication easier. But none of that’s here. Character development sticks, and even gets furthered throughout the season. And the voice cast is great too. Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeffrey Combs, Sumalee Montano, Josh Keaton, Tania Gunadi, Steve Blum, Ernie Hudson, and a few more all return from the previous season, all delivering damn good voice performances. And some of the newer additions, including the likes of Tony Todd, David Kaye, and Nolan North, are also great great.

As with the previous outing, the music for season 2 was composed by Brian Tyler, and he once again did a good job with it. It’s a big, bold, badass, brass-based score that fits the tone of the show really well while adding an extra layer of emotion to certain scenes throughout.

In my review of season 1, I praised the show’s animation for being fluid and dynamic without sacrificing much in terms of detail. Well, I can happily say that it’s still the case here. The animation is beautiful. Sure, the human characters look a bit like putty, but that’s an acceptable compromise for the titular robots. My god, they look amazing. The amount of detail on them, from parts, to shine, to wear and tear in their paint… you can tell that the crew really cared to make them look amazing. And the good animation carries over to the action too, which has plenty of exciting fights, shootouts, and chases. It’s all fluid and super fun, without compromising on any of the detail.

On imdb.com the show has a score of 7,8/10.

The crazy bastards did it. They somehow managed to give “Transformers Prime” another terrific season. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and excellent animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Transformers Prime” season 2 is a 9,82/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 2 is now completed.

Roll out…

Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 1 (2010 – 2011)

Hello. My name is Markus. I’m 22 (soon 23) years old, and I watch kids cartoons. And you can’t fucking stop me.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 1.

A heroic group of alien robots known as the Autobots secretly reside on planet Earth as they try to fight off the villainous Decepticons. The setup is basically the same as any other “Transformers” adaptation, Autobots fighting Decepticons, Autobots having some human friends, yada yada yada. No need to dwell on the setup stuff, as it’s basically the same in most shows. However, “Transformers Prime” transcends its well-trodden premise in its execution, which is pretty damn good. While it’s still a kid-friendly action cartoon, it sports a fairly serious tone that isn’t afraid to go to some surprisingly dark places at times, making for a show that can give kids the colorful action fix they might want, while also featuring some surprising nuance for any potential adults (AKA me) watching. Even the filler episodes help further develop the world and characters, while still retaining a relatively closed off plot for those specific episodes. Am I saying this is the deepest plot for a show ever? Of course not. But it’s still way more compelling than I actually expected, leading me to be genuinely invested in what was going on without solely relying on my nostalgia for this franchise.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, and surprisingly nuanced (kinda like the plot). The cast is a bit too big to go into detail for, so here’s just a quick rundown (starting with the core Autobot team). You got Peter Cullen back as the ever inspiring Optimus Prime, you got Kevin Michael Richardson as the strong but not too smart Bulkhead, you got Sumalee Montano as the fierce and loyal Arcee, and you got Jeffrey Combs as the ever cranky but lovable Ratchet. Among the bad guys you got Frank Welker (fuck yeah) back as the menacing Megatron, you got Steve Blum as the ever scheming Starscream, you got Daran Norris (who possibly gives my favorite performance in the show) as the sassy and clever Knock Out, and you got Gina Torres as the sinister Airachnid. As for human characters, you got Josh Keaton as aspiring cool guy Jack, you got Tania Gunadi as the almost annoying, but luckily endearing Miko, you get Andy Pessoa as the young but bright Rafael, and you get Ernie god damn Hudson as Special Agent Fowler. Sorry I won’t go into more detail on each character, but I don’t have the time or willingness to ruin some interesting developments that occur.

The score for the season was composed by Brian Tyler and Matthew Margeson, and I think they did a good job with it. For the most part it is of course the cool action brass one might expect, but it does get a little more somber when needed. There is also frequent use of the main theme as well, but I’m fine with that, because it’s great. Really, this score is solid.

“Transformers Prime” was developed for the Hub Network by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Duane Capizzi, and Jeff Kline, with writing/directing by a whole load of cool people. And I have to say, this show is way more well crafted than I expected… those last three words seem to be coming up a lot in this review. The first time I saw the art style, I wasn’t really a fan. But when I watched it in action, I grew to really like it, with only a few minor niggles regarding some of the human designs. But the overall animation here is great, showing plenty of detail without sacrificing good movements and such. Usually I tend to lean towards preferring drawn 2D animation, but here I think the animation team made great use of 3D animation to create a lot of fun angles and camera movements, making for some spectacular action scenes.

The show doesn’t really exist on my sites I use for this “other ratings” section. But on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

Season 1 of “Transformers Prime” surprised the hell out of me, it’s one of the best action cartoons I’ve seen in recent years. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “Transformers Prime” is a 9,62/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 1 is now completed.

Roll out…

Movie Review: Justice League vs. Teen Titans (2016)

It feels good to be back. Sure, it wasn’t long ago since my last post, but I haven’t done a normal review since like Wednesday last week. And what do you know, this review is of another DC animated movie… one of those things I always talk about here. So let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League vs. Teen Titans”.

After Robin (Stuart Allan) does something really dangerous during a mission with the Justice League, he gets sent to train with the Teen Titans to learn how to be part of a team. And soon the Titans have to truly prove themselves when the dangerous demon Trigon (Jon Bernthal) emerges to destroy the world. So now we have our plot. And I have to start out with mentioning that the title is quite misleading. Yes, there is a part of this movie that features the Justice League and the Teen Titans being at odds, but it’s quite a brief sequence. Misleading title aside, I thought this was a good plot. The main focus on this plot lies in Robin trying to be part of the team and also Raven (Taissa Farmiga) struggling with her own demons. And it’s actually pretty engaging. Now, there is a scene that doesn’t have much purpose here and actually feels both out of place and like it slows the pacing down a bit. But it doesn’t ruin the overall experience for me, and I do still think this is a really good plot.

The characters here are fun, cool, interesting, and entertaining. Stuart Allan reprises his role as Damien Wayne/Robin from the previous DC animated movies, and Damien is still a bit of a brat, but not to an annoying length. He is actually decently compelling. And Allan is great in the role. Taissa Farmiga plays Raven, the closed-off and mysterious young woman with dark magical powers. And while Farmiga seems like she might be a bit bored at first, you can quickly gather that she’s just pulling off the quiet, closed-off style of Raven quite well. So yeah, she’s good. Then we have Kari Wahlgren as Starfire, the leader of the Titans. She’s tough, slightly naive, brave, and kind. And Wahlgren is great in the role. Then we have Jake T. Austin as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, a young man with some strange alien tech fused to his spine. He’s funny, he’s tough, and he’s just really interesting. And Austin does a really good job in the role. Then we have Brandon Soo Hoo as Garfield Logan/Beast Boy, a young man with the ability to transform into a whole bunch of animals. He’s used mainly for funny moments and cool action beats throughout, but I think that also works well for the character. And Brandon Soo Hoo is good in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as Trigon, the demonic antagonist of the movie. He doesn’t talk too much in the movie, and he does have some modifications to his voice. But you can still hear that it is Bernthal, and he is intimidating in the role. Then we have Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, Shemar Moore, Christopher Gorham, and Sean Maher reprising their roles from previous animated movies (to a more supporting capacity), and they all do very well in their roles. Overall, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by DC animation regular Frederik Wiedmann. And once again he has composed a score that is fun, dramatic, interesting, and just generally exciting. It works quite well for the movie, often elevating certain scenes. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used in a couple scenes in the movie, and they work fine I guess.

This movie was directed by Sam Liu, and he did a really good job here. His direction here is fast and energized without sacrificing any of the smaller, more quiet moments. And the animation in general here looks great (for such a small budget), with it being very fluent and just overall good looking. And the action scenes are a lot of fun. They’re fast, badass, fun, cool, and quit epic. There’s also a decent amount of humor in this movie, and for the most part it landed.

There’s barely any data on the sites I usually use for this. On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Misleading title aside, “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a damn good DC animated movie. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/animation/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is a 9,64/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Justice League vs. Teen Titans” is now completed.

Why not just call it “Teen Titans: Terror of Trigon”? Would’ve made more sense.

Movie Review: Batman: Bad Blood (2016)

Name: Markus. Likes: DC animation. Has he stated this fact many times before: Yes. Shall we move on to the review: Yes.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman: Bad Blood”.

After a tough battle with a new enemy, Batman (Jason O’Mara) goes missing. So Dick Grayson (Sean Maher) has to take up the mantle to keep Gotham’s criminals at bay while also trying to find out what the hell happened to Bruce. All of this while a mysterious woman calling herself Batwoman (Yvonne Strahovski) enters the scene to take on the city’s criminals. So now we have our plot. And is it any good? Sure. While not as intimate and interesting as the previous movie, “Batman vs. Robin”, or as dark and layered as “Mask of the Phantasm”, it is a functional plot. For the most part I just followed along, finding the journey of Dick and Damien (Stuart Allan) interesting, while the big mystery plot to be just fine. It isn’t quite as focused as I would’ve wanted it, but I also didn’t dislike it. It’s pretty good.

The characters here are for the most part fun and interesting. For the first time in this cinematic universe, Dick Grayson gets to take center stage. He’s like a more fun version of Batman, and I enjoy the levity that he brings to the table without sacrificing any emotion that exists with the character and his relationship to Batman. And Sean Maher is once again great in the role. Stuart Allan once again does the voice of Damien Wayne/Robin, the bastard son of Batman. And I have to say, he’s really grown on me as he’s been given time to develop. His relationship with Dick is one of my favorite parts of these movies. And Allan is great in the role. Jason O’Mara of course once again plays Bruce Wayne/Batman (briefly) in the movie, and he’s of course great. Alfred of course also returns, but this time he’s voiced by James Garrett instead of David McCallum. And while it’s a bit weird to have a different voice for him, I think Garrett does a really good job voicing Alfred. Yvonne Stranhovski plays Batwoman, a mysterious new vigilante that we get to know through the movie. And she’s a pretty interesting character. She’s like Batman but a woman… and she uses guns… yeah, she’s pretty cool. And Strahovski does a really good job in the role. Then without getting too in-depth/spoiler-y with more characters/actors here, we get some realy solid supporting performances from people like Steve Blum, Gaius Charles, Ernie Hudson, Morena Baccarin, Robin Atkin Downes, Matthew Mercer, John DiMaggio, and more. ’tis a well acted movie.

As with a lot of DC animated movies these days, the score for “Batman: Bad Blood” was composed by Frederik Wiedmann (who I’ve had some pleasant interactions with on twitter. Just thought I’d mention that for fun). And he did a really good job with his score here. It’s fun, cool, exciting, badass, and just overall helps in making certain scenes a bit better. Not saying that it’s his best DC score (that still goes to “Flashpoint Paradox), but the music here is still really good.

Jay Oliva is the director for this one, and he did a good job. The directing/animation has a lot of energy, keeping it from feeling dull. As for the animation itself, it’s fine. In action scenes it flows very nicely and is a ton of fun to watch. In slower, more talky scenes it is just fine. Seen better, seen worse. It’s fine.

This has been decently well received (despite having barely any data on my usual sites). On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Batman: Bad Blood” isn’t one of the best DC animated movies ever, but it’s still an entertaining little action flick. It has an okay plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and good directing/animation. My main flaw comes in the form of the plot feeling a bit unfocused. Time for my final score. *I am the night*. My final score for “Batman: Bad Blood” is an 8,76/10. While flawed, I’d say it’s worth buying.

My review of “Batman: Bad Blood” is now completed.

This has put me in the mood to rewatch “Mystery of the Batwoman”…

Movie Review: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013)

4h4vswoaizkjubfd5vi4b1ntzri

I’ve made my love for DC’s animated movies very clear several times on my blog, so I’m not gonna ramble on anymore about that on this post. So let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox”.

Barry Allen (Justin Chambers) wakes up one day to find that everything is different from what he’s used to. His mother’s alive and he no longer has his powers. So he then teams up with a very different Batman (Kevin McKidd) to try to get everything back to normal. And with that said, I do think that the plot here is surprisingly good. Sure, parts can feel a little bit rushed at times because of the 75 minute runtime, but it’s still a really interesting premise that was kept me interested and entertained for all of those minutes.

The characters here are all interesting and entertaining in some way. Justin Chambers does a good job as Barry Allen/Flash. I thought C. Thomas Howell was great as Professor Zoom, he really was the perfect mix of menacing and cocky. Kevin McKidd was great as the flashpoint version of Batman, perfectly playing this very angry individual who also happens to be a little bit of a dick. Then we get a bunch of other really good vocal performances from people like Michael B. Jordan, Steve Blum, Cary Elwes, Nathan Fillion, Danny Huston, and a bunch of others.

The score for the movie was composed by Frederik Weidmann and it was pretty damn good. It’s a really exciting and even at times dramatic score that perfectly works to the movie’s advantage. Yeah, it’s kind of awesome.

So how is the animation in this animated movie? Well, since this was a direct-to-DVD animation I have to judge it a little differently than any big Disney animations we seee in theaters. But I do overall think the animation was really good. Especially during the action scenes, they looked really good and were loads of fun to watch.

Since this is a DC animated movie, it barely exists on the sites I tend to use here. But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

“Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is another great animated movie from DC. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great animation/action (for this kind of movie). Time for my final score. *ZOOM*. My final score for “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is a 9,88/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox” is now completed.

Makes you wonder what certain characters that we didn’t see would be up to in the flashpoint timeline.

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)

re_degeneration

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen… and welcome to the first official post for the Month of Spooks! I know that it’s October 2nd today, but I’m at least starting way earlier than I did last year when I half-assed everything. Anyway, this is the first of *insert amount* posts that will be released by me and some of the poor souls who decided to take part in this. So far, there are three people involved. And if you feel left out, don’t worry, since it’s so early in the month you can still enter by messaging me on twitter and then we’ll talk about it. Anyway, done with that clumsy intro… let’s get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Resident Evil: Degeneration”.

Set between the events of “Resident Evil 4” and “Resident Evil 5”, this movie tells the story of returning characters Leon S. Kennedy (Paul Mercier) and Claire Redfield (Alyson Court) as they after a zombie outbreak at an airport have to stop an angry man looking for revenge from causing a lot of destruction and death. And that’s basically all I can say there without getting into spoilers. With that said, this is a pretty interesting plot. Sure, it is relatively predictable, especially if you’re a “Resident Evil” fan (like I am), but it’s not bad. I enjoyed seeing where the plot went throughout the movie. The only real problem I have with it is that towards the middle of the movie it slowed down and slightly ruined the pacing. I felt like the movie came to a halt. Luckily it picked up again a few minutes later, but I still felt that slower bit. So overall the plot is pretty good, with that slower stuff near the middle.

The characters in the movie are all fitting pretty snugly into their respective roles. Leon Kennedy has always been a capable guy, and it still shows here. First time we saw him he was a police officer, first day on the job. Second time, he was a bit more cocky and confident. And here we have someone who is a lot more calm, hardened, and overall cool. Paul Mercier who voiced him in “Resident Evil 4” (AKA the best one) returned to do the voice in this movie and he is great in the role. His vocal performance is really good and fits the character perfectly. Alyson Court as Claire was really good, playing this character who knows what she’s doing, but isn’t perfect in every way. And then we also get a lot of other supporting voice performances from various veteran voice actors. And they all do a good job.

The original score for the movie was composed by Tetsuya Takahashi and it is pretty good. It’s not something that will stick out in my mind long after the movie is done, but it’s also not bad. It’s an orchestral score that works for the various scenes in the movie to help elevate the scenes to a minor extent.

Seeing as this is an animated feature, we have to talk about the animation. And it is really good. Sure, there are stiff character movements and facial expressions throughout. But for a 100% CG movie that aims for a more realistic feel, it looks great. Not as great as a movie like “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”, but still really good. I mean, when I was watching the movie I didn’t go “Yeah, that looks like shit”. The animation is really good, if a bit stiff at times. That said, the action in the movie looks great, I was really entertained by it. Especially towards the second half, where the movie goes full-on “Resi-Cheese”. Also, it’s not really scary, but it’s at least decently tense at a few points.

It’s difficult to find what people think about this movie, since it barely exists on the movie sites I usually utilize. Oh well, at least imdb properly has it. On that site it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Resident Evil: Degeneration” is a pretty interesting movie. It has a pretty interesting plot (with a slow part near the middle), good characters, good voice acting, good music, and really good animation. So now it’s time for my final score. *Zombie moan*. My final score for “Resident Evil: Degeneration” is an 8,99/10. I’d say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Resident Evil: Degeneration” is now completed.

You’re probably gonna get more enjoyment out of this if you’re a fan of the games. But if you’re just a normal person looking for a good movie… yeah, you might get some entertainment here. Also… let the Month of Spooks officially commence!

 

My Favorite Scenes: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie – Opening Scene

How’s it going, guys? So this little series of mine has been dead for quite a while now. I mean the last one was in… Holy shit, February. So I thought it was time to bring it back. For any new(ish) people here, let me explain. On this “series” as I call it, I share a scene that I like from a movie or TV-show and I explain why I enjoy it. There, now let’s move on to the scene in question.

In this edition of “My Favorite Scenes” we are taking a look at the opening scene for “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie”… Also known as “Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” in some cases, but I digress. First off, a little backstory. This movie is a sequel/tie-in for the anime series “Cowboy Bebop”, which is a series I absolutely fucking love. If you have not seen the show or the movie I recommend you to do this: Watch the show (English dub, the superior version) and then watch the movie (Same as with the show). Now, let’s move on to the scene. So in this scene we get to see two of our main protagonists, Spike (Steve Blum) and Jet (Beau Billingslea), just doing their job. What is their job exactly? Well, they’re bounty hunters and they are going after some guys who are worth some cash. And I will not say more because it is such a great scene that it should simply be witnessed. What I like about the scene is that it is a simple opening to a movie that will escalate everything later on while also being pretty much everything that “Cowboy Bebop” incorporates. Funny, action-packed, badass, cool… it’s just “Cowboy Bebop”. The animation is beautiful, the voice acting fantastic, and everything is just perfect. It’s a great scene from a great movie.
Enjoy!

Cartoon/Movie Review: Justice League: War (2014)

f72b3e071e6f8b3ef8440cfcc9ab39b7

I love superhero movies. Both live action and animation. I mean, one of my favorite superhero movies is the animated movie “Batman: Under the Red Hood”. So when a new animated superhero movie gets released I immediately get a little excited. Especially if it’s DC… because they have a good track record when it comes to animated movies. So now I finally got to watch one of their latest animated movies. Plus, I needed a small break in the whole “F&F” thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: War”.

So this is basically a reboot of the entire franchise. The Justice League hasn’t been founded yet. But in the movie we see Batman (Jason O’Mara), Superman (Alan Tudyk), The Flash (Christopher Gorham), Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Cyborg (Shemar Moore) and Shazam (Sean Astin) teaming up to take out the evil Darkseid (Steve Blum) who is invading planet earth with his army of whatever the hell they are. And seeing that was really entertaining. I just like seeing all these characters come together and kick ass. One of the biggest flaws however is that the movie is only 80 minutes long and therefore couldn’t evolve a great narrative. Believe me when I say that the story was fun, but it felt really rushed when they tried to cram it into an 80 minute movie.

The characters were all pretty fun. They were all pretty well-written and got decent time split between them. Except for Flash, I wish he had gotten a bit more time (Sidenote: That is mostly because I love the character of The Flash). There isn’t much more I can say here when it comes to the characters in general. They were enjoyable, that’s it.

The score for the movie by composer Kevin Kliesch was really good. It really helped sell the action scenes and it helped set the fast-paced and exhilarating mood. It was fast, big and cool. Not much more to say here. And the voice cast of the movie was pretty stellar as usual. Every time a new DC animated movie comes out I’m always curious to hear how different actors portray different characters. And the cast was pretty great in this movie. Jason O’Mara has voiced Batman in other projects before and he nails it. Alan Tudyk as Superman is also great. You know to be fair, every cast member was great in the movie. No one was weak. Sure, it wasn’t exactly as great as maybe some earlier animated DC movies, but it was still really good.

The animation in the movie was really good, but that is something I have come to expect from these movies. They all look good when it comes to the animation. The only problem I had with it was a few facial animations/details on Flash and occasionally on Shazam. Sometimes it looked kinda like a not very good drawing. But most times the animation was as great as other previous movies.

I was surprsied at how much humor there was in this movie and also how good it actually was. Not that it was like the best humor ever, but it was still really funny and really well-written. I got nothing else here.

I couldn’t find much about reception for this movie on my usual sites. I could only really find on imdb.com  where it has a 7,2/10.

“Justice League: War” is a pretty enjoyable action movie and a welcome addition to the DC animated movie library. Even though the story feels rushed because of the short runtime, it still had a decent story, really good animation, a really score, great action, really good humor and a great voice cast. Time for my final score. SHAZAM! My final score for “Justice League: War” is an 8,84/10. It is definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Justice League: War” is completed.

SHAZAM!