Monthly Archives: April 2014

DC Universe Animated Original Movies

I’ve been planning to do this for a while and since I finally sat down and watched Justice League: War, I figured now is as good of time as any to review all the DC Universe Animated Original movies. There have been a lot of good and not-so good moments in this line, so let’s see how they all stand up.

Superman: Doomsday
Considering how jarring this was to watch at when it came out, it being the first DC animated project outside of the DC Animated Universe, I was surprised by how much I liked the movie. Once I got past the different (but still miscast) voices, I found this an enjoyable, action packed Superman story. It has four villains and never feels crowded (a skill these movies actually share), strong animation and condenses the long, complicated Death of Superman story into a short seventy minute movie.
Filed Under: Good

Justice League: The New Frontier
This movie wants to work but the elements never quite come together. I love the concept and the setting, the designs of the characters and even the voice acting. But the plot and final act seem to collapse on themselves. When the main villain shows up, the movie loses all momentum, which is too bad since that’s when the big fight happens and the action kicks into gear. I suppose it would be hard to make an evil, living island compelling, so I’ll give the producers some slack. If the movie had the same nostalgic, retro feel throughout, it would be better. But in reality, it is not to be.
Filed Under: Meh

Batman: Gotham Knight
The first Batman movie in this series and the first bad one as well. I was excited for this before it was released, but it doesn’t work at all. You have six, unconnected stories, set in the Dark Knight movie universe, all with different anime styles and every one seems to be as boring as the next. Many of the stories have the “been there, done that” feel damaging them, especially with the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini show still in memory. It might be that western attempts at mimicking eastern animation result in boring material, it might be that Christopher Nolan’s universe doesn’t translate to animation, it might be a lot of factors. But this movie was a let down and one I’ve yet to rewatch.
Filed Under: Bad

Wonder Woman
This is one of the best DC Animated movies. Focusing on Diana’s origin and first encounter with Man’s World, the story is a tightly plotted action movie with more humor than the previous installments. Wonder Woman’s warrior skills are on full display here as she kicks mythological butt and battles Ares, who is perfectly cast as Alfred Molina. Actually, the whole movie is the first of these films to feel like it nailed the voice acting. unfortunately, the DVD sales were slow at first, so Warner Brothers canceled any chances of a sequel. In hindsight, I wonder if they realize how stupid that move was since it’s gone on to be one of its highest selling movies, above all their Justice League offerings.
Filled Under: Good

Green Lantern: First Flight
This, along with the live action movie, really hampered my getting into the comics. While this DVD doesn’t suffer from repeated stories like Gotham Knights, it is bland. There’s nothing really interesting about this story, which is too bad given its Training Day comparisons. The characters never pop, the actions never sizzles, and the only moment that really works is when Sinestro turns at the beginning of the last act. This is disappointing, since Lantern really needs as much positive exposure as he can get after Ryan Reynolds.
Filed Under: Meh

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies: After five movies of having to adjust to new voice actors, they finally threw a bone to long time fans and brought back Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy. It really did add a lot to this movie, which is great on its own. The animation style is hard to take seriously, and Power Girl is the stupidest character to use, especially in a world with Supergirl. But without those quibbles, the rest is a fun, action powerhouse with great back and forth between the heroes and a perfect Clancy Brown chewing the scenery as Lex Luthor. I watch this when ever I need a pick me up because it just puts a smile on my face.
Filed Under: Good

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
The second Justice League offering and it’s not a winner. CoTE comes complete with uninspired voice casting, bland animation, one heck of a boring story and completely unforgettable action. The one redeeming quality that keeps this from going into the ‘bad’ listing is James Woods as Owlman. His nihilism caused by the knowledge of the multiverse is perfectly translated through the actor and his moments against Batman work well. Maybe if this had been used as a bridge between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited like planned, it would have been better.
Filed Under: Meh

Batman: Under the Red Hood
I did not expect to like this movie. It’s based on a comic I don’t love, the last Batman animated movie was terrible and they Bender Bending Rodriguez doing the voice for the Joker. So, color me surprised when I finally watched the movie and found that it was great. It improves upon the original comic by changing the most problematic elements, it has multiple villains with enough room to breathe, terrific action and the final act is just boiling over from all the pressure. The first animated Batman movie to show that there’s life after Bruce Timm.
Filed Under: Good

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Considering how much I enjoy(ed) the first Superman/Batman movie, I had high hopes for this one. unfortunately, those expectations were not to be matched and this film falls under apart quickly. They somehow made Supergirl a boring character, made Doomsday a non-threat and spent WAY too long on Apokolips (that’s just a ridiculous spelling). I don’t know why they bothered calling this a Superman/Batman story as the Bat is barely in the movie and Superman isn’t much better off. The last fight that is Superman and Supergirl vs. Darkseid is overlong and pointless and is only there to satisfy action junkies. Too bad, considering the first film.
Filed Under: Bad

All-Star Superman
I’m willing to except that this movie isn’t for everyone. It’s weird and it draws from Superman’s entire history, as well as focusing on his most bizarre scifi elements. But I love this movie. To be fair, I loved the comic as well but this movie did a great job at adapting the story. All the little moments in the film are great; from the date between Supes and Lois to the tour of the Fortress of Solitude. This Lex Luthor is great as he goes on an evil, superpowered journey to finally kill Superman. This isn’t an action packed take on the character but a thoughtful look at one of pop culture’s greatest icons. Not to be missed, even if you disagree with me on the greatness of the movie.
Filed Under: Good

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
It may have taken a horrible live action movie to make this, but it’s almost worth it. Emerald Knights is the first good Green Lantern movie (and maybe the last). With a slightly anime style and a frame setup, we get a look at all the different aspects of being a Lantern. This movie proves that the Green Lantern Corps could be on equal footing with Star Wars if it was ever handled right. Laira’s story is probably the best of the bunch and it’s a shame she isn’t a prominent character in the comics. A lot of these stories have an epic feel to them and the action feels like a full blockbuster. It’s fun and huge in scope and should win over those who aren’t so sure about Green Lantern.
Filed Under: Good

Batman: Year One
This was a strange choice to me, though I understand wanting to cover the landmark comic. But, in almost every way, Batman Begins is an adaption of this story and Mask of the Phantasm showed a lot of this as well. I would think, post-2005, we’d move past Batman’s origins. But Bruce Timm loves Miller’s work and it’s not a bad story if you’re going to revisit it. The results are faithful, though redundant, hourish movie. Everything is decent in the film, from the animation to the voice acting, but nothing ever jumps out as incredible and I’m not sure how many people would be interested in this anymore.
Filed Under: Meh

Justice League: Doom
I was actually excited for this movie. It had the old animated series crew coming back for voices and it was based on the Tower of Babel story from the Justice League comics. But then they recast Ra’s al Ghul with the bland Vandal Savage, took out Aquaman for Cyborg (a tactic that would come up again) and made the movie more like a version of the Superfriends. All of Batman’s plans for taking out the League pale in comparison to his comic book contingencies. The rest is boring, with Savage having neither motive (they League might be a problem, someday, maybe) or method (oh no, a rocket). It really is a shame, because the source material was ripe for an adaptation but the end product wasn’t up to the task. Another wasted Justice League attempt.
Filed Under: Meh

Superman vs The Elite
You know, from the previews and the awkward character designs, I was sure this movie was another dud. And for the first act or so, the movie doesn’t do much. The Elite are a bunch of losers with powers and Superman seems to be the butt of a joke. But then the Elite go too far and the movie becomes an intelligent character study as well as a discussion on Superman’s place in modern comics. Should all superheroes be written as seriously as the Ultimates, Authority and Watchman? Is there any room left for heroes who don’t believe in killing? In a world like ours, with movies like Man of Steel, this animated movie makes strong cases for old school, super ethics and shows what a Superman with no rules really looks like and why we don’t really want heroes like the Elite. Unless you loved Man of Steel. Then I have no help to give your poor, lost soul.
Filed Under: Good

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
The last Bruce Timm effort in these original animated movies and he goes out with a bang. Adapting one the most classic Batman movies and going all out for it, DKR is a massive story. Originally, the movie was split into two parts, but patient people like me waiting for the release of a supercut combining the films. It’s now as long as a live action piece and as meaty as the comic, though without the narration. With an excellent, 80’s score and appropriate voice casting, the movie looks and sounds like something from both the past and the future. This might not be for everyone but it’s one of the most ambitious projects out of these movies and a fitting end for Bruce Timm’s involvement.
Filed Under: Good

Superman: Unbound
Oh boy. This was is DULL. I don’t know how they did it, but this movie failed to entertain completely. I don’t understand how Superman is unbound in this either. Brainiac has never been less interesting, Supergirl underused and Superman’s voice actor forgettable. This is one of those movies you have to think really hard about afterwards just to remember it exists, like something out of The Graveyard Book. There is far superior interactions between Superman and Brainiac elsewhere so skip this if you’re someone who can skip these kinds of things. People like me? We get stuck enduring crap because of some personal defect.
Filed Under: Bad

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
And so, the New 52 breaks into film, joining DC’s comic book continuation and leaving the old world and reality behind. But, where Flashpoint was an unimpressive comic borrowing too much from Age of Apocalypse, this movie feels bigger and far more interesting. The action scenes are huge and full of characters not seen since the JLU ages. It’s also nice to see the first Flash centered movie, even if he has to get paired with Batman to do so. It’s sometimes too gruesome for its own good, as if it’s trying to prove something but the action is impressive. I wish Barry’s mother was a bigger part of the story rather than just the reason, but the emotion isn’t completely lost between the characters and the climax is exciting. Too bad it brought about the New 52.
Filed Under: Good

Justice League: War
And now we come to the first New 52 adaptation. It doesn’t look like classic stories that have stood the test of time are up for movies anymore but instead we get to watch animated version of mediocre comics that haven’t even stood the test of this time. The first Justice League story in the New 52 was shaky and lacking, focusing on big action scenes and characters that are more jerks than heroes. The movie is about the same, with lots of repetitive fighting, character being mean to one another for no reason, and a completely wasted Darkseid who goes from would-be conqueror to JL punching bag. There are moments when the movie is funny and I almost wish they had gone for complete comedy over what we got. I’m sure there’s plenty that liked this, but it’s not for me; weak voice acting, animation that can’t make up its cultural mind (just pick a coast) and characters who are just too cool and mature to be taken seriously.
Filed Under: Bad

So, there you have it, a complete rundown of all the DC Animated Original movies, and my own personal commentary on all of them. I’m sure plenty will disagree with me as taste will vary. I found half of them to be good, six to be dull and uninspiring and four to be downright bad. I don’t know what the future holds, but if Justice League: War is any indication, I’m not too thrilled to find out. Batman and Son does not look like something I want to watch since I hate Damian Wayne. And the idea of more Justice League movies does not do it for me anymore. I don’t know if they’ll ever go back to non-New 52 stories like The Long Halloween and Sinestro Corps War, so I guess I’ll keep checking their next release plans with hope in my heart.

Eric’s Favorites!
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
Wonder Woman
Batman: Under the Red Hood
All-Star Superman
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights

Living in the Fridge

I made this forever ago. What carefree days those were!

My Anime History

I realize that by reviewing Attack on Titan, I put myself up as someone who could review anime but I showed no evidence for it! So I’m just going to list and summarize the anime series (not movies) I have watched to establish some sort of background when I review something else. Also, you might notice that I owe a lot to the early days of Adult Swim.

Inuyasha
Whether or not I should be embarrassed to admit this, the fact is Inuyasha was the first anime I ever watched. It was back when I was staying up later and later and starting giving Adult Swim a try. It would be the first anime that would come on during the block and I would just leave the channel on and passively watch the show while doing other stuff. But then I started giving the show more attention and found myself really liking it. For a while, this is what I thought all anime was, j-pop fulled intros and outtros, feudal japan fantasy, white haired villains and skirt wearing heroins. I still haven’t watched the whole series but it has a warm place in my heart for introducing me to the medium and it’s not as bad as some of my manly friends say it is.

cowboy-bebop-spike-spiegel-thinking-tanks-yoko-littner-1600x1200-wallpaper_www-wallpaperwell-com_27Cowboy Bebop
This was the second anime I started watching and I had no idea what to make of it. It seemed so cool and mature to my closed off teenage mindset. It was space, it was jazz, it was episodic, it was retro and forward thinking. It was the first anime series I ever bought I loved it so much. Spike was the coolest character I had ever seen at the time and I loved how gritty the series was and how dirty the future had become. Inuyasha introduced me to anime, but Cowboy Bebop brought me to a strange existential point in my life. When I went looking for this anime online, I discovered fan-made anime music videos. All of a sudden, I realized I could do that to and it started me off on what would become a very defining path in my life. If I hadn’t started watching Cowboy Bebop, I might never had been introduced to video editing and who knows where I would have headed in life?

Trigun
The first episode had me in stitches and I kept watching happily, thinking Vash was the most interesting person in the world (so much so I once considered it for a my future son’s name). Then the series started becoming darker and introduced Wolfwood and I was glued. This is another series that I own, because I find it completely rewatchable and entertaining and it changes gears so well throughout the course of the series that it doesn’t lose any appeal during all twenty-six episodes. I actually just watched the movie on Netflix and made me miss this series all over again.

Kakaider
What a weird show this was. My sister and I got into this slightly passively, only watching when we weren’t doing anything else. But near the end, I became hooked and didn’t miss any of the last few episodes. It was so strange to me at the time, like a dark Megaman. The last battles still stick with me today and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to create something as interesting as this one.

Dragon Ball Z
While all my friends were watching this show, I was basically ignoring it. I did read the manga for both the original and second series, and I did start watching attentively during the Buu Saga. It’s a fun show and I can see why people love it as an entry piece, but it’s only something I slightly enjoyed and I have to admit I still have never seen the Cell Saga.

FLCL
Okay, I suppose I shouldn’t have claimed Kakaider was weird if I knew this was coming. I had zero idea what to make of this show, but I knew after the first episode that I loved it. It had a robot with a TV head, rock music, a cat girl with a guitar and it actually had a lot of heart. The last episode is particularity good for a final and made me excited to have experienced the show.

Witch Hunter Robin
This was a show that actually lost me for a while. I was interested in the beginning but it just became to slow and introspective for me to keep watching. But, again, near the end of the series I was more into the show and it always struck me as a show that I wanted to like. The concept and animation were cool but I could never fully get past the poor pacing.

Big O
Now here’s a show that I would own if it wasn’t for the poor second season. During the first thirteen episodes, this show was as cool as Bebop, it had that Batman feel, likable characters, giant robots and one heck of a great soundtrack. But the second season seemed so lazy compared to the original. The show went from episodic to arch based and it wasn’t for the better. The last episode is decent, but a letdown compared to everything that came before. Still, it’s a show I’ll rewatch again just for Roger and Annie.

Neon Genesis Evagelion
This show was one I watched like a madman with my friend. We couldn’t watch this show in anything less than huge chunks. Every episode seemed to offer new information while posing twice as many question. The action was brutal and on an epic scale, but I remember grimacing at some of the dark corners this show went and still feel slightly disturbed for having watched the whole thing. The last two episodes are as bad as their reputation states but the movie that came after was much better and helped clear up a lot of questions for me. Until the last five seconds.

Hack.Sign
I don’t have a lot to say about this show other than I gave it my whole attention for thirteen episodes and it was boring the whole time. Maybe I missed the real draw since I didn’t play the video games but I felt very disappointed by the show.

Samurai Champloo
I had a very strange relationship with this show. Sometimes it was brilliant and as good as Bebop. Other times, it was lacking and left me ready for bed. I still think the show was unbalanced with character focus and development, which is too bad since there are only three characters. But it’s still an extremely cool show with some superb episodes. I’d watch anything by the director after this.

Outlaw Star
I wanted to like this show, I really did. It just never worked for me. It was too weird and grouchy and the ending was so far from the meter I couldn’t invest enough in the outcome. I don’t think any of the characters ever clicked for me and I have a hard time recalling anything I really cared about in this show. I know some people love it, but Outlaw star never worked for me.

Samurai 7
It felt like forever since I had watched my last anime before I started this series but it was on Netflix Instant Watch when I started my subscription. It had been on my radar for a while too. Luckily, the show was great. I liked all the characters and style and I thought it was cool that the story went beyond Seven Samurai‘s ending. I haven’t rewatched it yet, though I should. It really is one of the best series I’ve seen and the final assault on the Emperor is visually and emotionally effective.

Fullmetal Alchemest: Brotherhood
I’m not going to get into how long it took me to finish this series, but it’s one of my favorites. I own the series and can’t wait to rewatch it again. I remember dropping my jaw every other episode and waiting every week for a new episode felt like torture. The Alchemy in the show is great and the characters are all so likable it’s amazing. Even during the show’s downtime, I was hooked and all the locations felt real. While the twists (and what twists they were!) kept me craving more, it’s the pure story of two brothers that will keep me rewatching.

Xenosaga
Man, this show was boring. I played the video game and this felt like a bad attempt at clip notes. I’m not sure how the screwed this up but show really is compelling. Somehow, I was able to put eighty plus hours into the PS2 game but couldn’t be bothered to put six into the show.

Attack on Titan
See my review here!

I think I remembered everything. It’s been a while since I started watching anime. I still haven’t gotten around to seeing Hellsing, Excel Saga, Blue Gender, Berserk, Noir or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Right now, the wife and I are watching Eden of the East and Hetalia: Axis Powers, with Gundam Seed up after those. I’m sure I’ll review those as we finish them but if you have any suggestions, please, let me know in the comments. I could always use some direction when looking for shows!

 

 

A Mumford & Sons Template

I love the band but it dawned on me today that most of their songs follow a specific format. Maybe you disagree with me, maybe I had too much Coke. Here’s what I came up with.

The quiet part
(You should turn this up, bro. I can’t hear anything)

The words. Most likely the will include the following;
Heart, You, Find, Dark, F**k, Won’t

The Loud Part
(Turn it down, bro. I can’t hear over the music)

The Instrumental Part
(Strings and Brass)

The part where they go
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhahhhhhhhhhhhhahhhhhhhhhh

The end
(That’s a dope song, bro)

The part where you ask you’re friend to stop calling you bro all the time. Seriously, what’s with him lately? Ever since his girlfriend left him for a job overseas he’s been totally annoying. He either needs to meet someone else or buy an X-Box.