Ice Age (Movie)
A mammoth followed much to his displeasure by a sloth who talks too much, find a human baby and journey to return it to the hunters. Along the way they are stalked by saber tooth cats and have a lot of adventures. Sid is the comic foil. Manny is patient, stubborn, and despite his protestations, very kind. Diablo is sneaky and conniving but in the end he discovers what it means to be in a herd rather than in a pack. A fun film if not hugely deep. The interaction between the characters, both dialogue and the subtle looks and expressions, is amusing along with the sight gags. The squirrel creature and all the troubles he has getting some nuts is a running gag throughout the film.
Ice Age: The Meltdown (Movie)
Manny, Sid, and Diablo are together again. This time they are in a valley and have to escape before a huge ice dam at one end collapses and floods the place. (This actually happened at the end of the last ice age. Google Missoula Flood for more information). Manny is having a crises early on because he is beginning to think he is the last mammoth alive. As they are traveling they encounter a couple of opossums, and a lady mammoth who was raised with them and consequently thinks she is an opossum as well. It is an amusing film, a bit sillier than the first one but not nearly as bad as some of the reviews make it out to be. The story is pleasant enough, though the plot is more of a string on which to hang a series of jokes than deep literature, but that was the part of the first Ice Age that I liked best anyway. The story is a bit darker than the first, critters actually get killed, and there is real menace from a couple of predators in the water but that makes it a stronger film. On the other hand they softened Diablo a bit too much and frankly the opossum brothers are annoying and it does get a bit schmaltzy towards the end. But Manny is still moody, Sid is even more of an idiot, and the squirrel still has lots of misadventures hunting for his acorn. I liked it more than I expected (it is after all a sequel).
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (Movie)
The third in the series. Manny and Ellie are expecting. Sid is feeling left out, he stumbles on some eggs that he decides to raise. They hatch and turn out be T-Rex. The T-Rex mamma comes to get her kids and takes them and Sid to a hidden underground world where Dinosaurs still live. The rest of the herd follow to save Sid. The story is fun if silly. The animals are a bit more cartoonish. The whole thing is not as edgy as the first but it’s fun. I never thought I’d say it but there is a bit too much of the squirrel. There is a whole parallel plot about him his nut and a lady squirrel that is a bit distracting.
An obvious copy of Camp Laslo. Kids in the form of animals trapped forever in a summer camp run by other animals. Derivative with lower quality animation. At least in Camp Laslo you can tell what the animals are.
IGPX Immortal Grand Prix Extreme
Great concept. 350mph+ racing humanoid Mechs and their pilots. Intrigue. Conflict between teams and within the team. Could be fun except that the writing is lousy. The characters are two dimensional at their best. The young undisciplined rookie. The wise old coach. The over the top bad guys on the other team that stop to fight even when they were already winning. Very quickly it became a high speed version of roller derby.
The Incredibles (Movie)
(Pixar) Lawsuits over collateral damage have put super-heroes out of business. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are trying to live a normal life and they are miserable. Then one of their old enemies returns and Mr. Incredible has to go back to his old job. He gets trapped and the rest of his family along with one of his old colleagues have to rescue him. An amusing film but that is about all.
A school for the pilots of battle robots. Only girls can pilot them until one boy is discovered and is admitted. Amazingly sexist. All the girls fawn over him and seem to want nothing more than to cook dinner for him. When things get slow they toss in a few ecchi shots. It also suffers from Naruto Disease. A great premise with average execution and substandard writing.
Two guys and a young girl are on the run from a horrible military government. Along the way the meet allies, are betrayed, rescued, and such. It has all the right parts, good animation, interesting storyline, well developed characters, Mechs called Gladiators. It should be good, but the best I can say is that it isn’t terrible. Somehow it feels manipulative. I could almost hear the producers pulling the strings in the background. It was that marionette quality that kept it from generating much joy or fear or anything. Gora, the comedy relief is a bit too annoying and mercenary. When Jin changes sides it feels strange but when Sana’s memory changes and she realizes that it was Jo that rescued her after all and not Jin it seemed too convenient. One day a character is a pirate with a sunk ship and then in the next episode he has a fleet. Plot twists don’t make sense with the characters previous actions. Sana developing telepathic abilities out of nowhere for the finale felt contrived. It’s a good idea that got eaten by corporate writing.
Inside the head of each of us are several emotional characters. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger and they run things. This is the story of an eleven year old girl who grew up in Minnesota. Suddenly her parents move to San Francisco. This is her story of coping, and having an emotional meltdown as she deals with all the changes. Inside her head she loses her core memories and emotional structure. The more her emotions tries to hold it all together the worse it gets. There is a big message: all of the feelings are important. You can’t just suppress things like sadness, without causing bigger problems. I did find it odd that so many of the reviews said that the concept of anthropomorphized emotions was new. Doesn’t anyone remember Herman’s Head? Quite enjoyable.
A good premise. A girl who gave up a leg and an eye to become the Godess of Wisdom for supernatural creatures. A guy who has supernatural abilities. They end up teaming up to solve supernatural problems. The problem is the writing is really lousy Kotoko is annoyingly jealous for random things. Kuro is taciturn to an extreme. Worst of all the show is way to talky. Kotoko will explain what she’s going to do, and then explain it again, then explain what she’s doing while she’s doing it. At the end I honestly felt like they had eight episodes worth of story, and padded it with talk talk talk out to twelve. Even the finale felt clumsy because they kept stopping to explain every little thing twice.
An alien space ship makes a touch and go on Earth. In doing so it changes an old man and a teenager into cyborgs. The old man responds by trying to be a hero. The teenager becomes a psychopath. This is the story of their journey dealing with the changes and the old man trying to stop the young one. Well written and animated. Unfortunately the overall feel is just too dark, surreal, and cynical for me. All the young people are self centred nihilists. Middle aged people just don’t care about anyone. And the old guy is an old person written by a young one. He’s too infirm even after his transformation.
Another sorcery and samurai series. This one is better than some. The first few episodes did a good job of filling out the characters and explaining their motivation. After that it became a bit formulaic. The first season was definitely the best. The first few episodes explain where everything came from and why the characters are the way they are. Kagome is also much stronger at first. As they play up the romance between her and Inuyasha she gets weaker and frankly dumber. Inuyasha also changes subtly from just arrogant and self serving, though he will do the right thing in the end, to significantly abusive especially toward Kagome. I just finally got fed up with Inuyasha being such a jerk and Kagome being such an airhead.
Inu-Yasha The Movie 3; Swords of an Honourable Ruler (Movie)
Much better than the series. Actually, vastly better than the series. Better writing, deeper character development. Darker and more menacing. Serious graphic violence, gore, and more adult content. The story has surprising twists and meaning. It is not just a longer version of the regular show. It is actually quite good.
Inuyasha the Movie 4; Fire on the Mystic Island(Movie)
Inuyasha, Kagome, and the rest are drawn to an island where four hugely powerful daemons keep a group of humans and daemons imprisoned as food. Kagome is stronger and more responsible, Inuyasha is more heroic. A nicely written story. Not as good as the third film, but it is still much better than the series.
Iriya No Sora, UFO No Natsu
An amusing story of first love. He’s a teenager, she’s an unusual girl in his class who’s hiding something. He’s part of a group of kids investigating a ‘secret’ military base. She’s secretly a pilot from that base. There is a war in the background but we don’t see any of that. Actually for a show that has UFO in the name and amazing aircraft in the title sequence, it’s amazingly pedestrian. Mostly it’s the story of their attachment and her mental breakdown. Sweet and forgettable.