Oz is a member of one of the four great houses in Europe. At his coming of age ceremony, there is a supernatural attack and he is thrown into The Abyss, a surrealist nightmare underworld. He escapes by making a deal with a demon named Alice. When he returns to the Earth he finds that ten years have passed. He, Alice, his childhood friend Gil, and several others try to figure out what is happening, what happened in the past, and to prevent a coming disaster. The show has lots of Alice in Wonderland names and references but is not really related. Overall it’s quite good, with an interesting storyline that keeps you guessing. Unfortunately, it falls down at the end. None of the major questions are answered, none of the conflicts resolved. I liked the first twenty three episodes. The last one however, let the whole story down.
As dark and cynical a view of life as I have ever seen. This show is so surreal and twisted I wonder if Salvador Dali could have been reincarnated as a Japanese Menga writer. A fragile designer of stuffed animals, that thinks they come to life is attacked by a small person with a bent baseball bat, and gold roller blades. Then a series of attacks on other people follow. Also involved are the slimiest lawyer/journalist/whatever, character ever created, cops who think she faked the attack, an old homeless woman, a 6th grader who is the best at everything until he is accused, a teacher who has a split personality and lives a double life as a prostitute, an old homeless man. It became apparent that everyone is insane at some level and is somehow related at some level. The tone is set by the opening credits that show each of the characters laughing hysterically in the foreground while scenes of horror and destruction pass by in the background. Deep, Deep social commentary in this one.
A weird kid is bullied at school and not understood by his family at home all because he says he can see ghosts. The thing is, he can. He finds out that he’s the only one who can save the town from a terrible curse, if someone would just believe him. An extremely well done film by the same team that did Coraline. A clear message about not fearing what you don’t understand, but they handled it in a subtle way, not pedantic or preachy at all. Exceedingly well done.
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
A cartoon made from Pac-Man? Really? I guess the studio must have COMPLETELY run out ideas. I mean if they end up not just basing a series on a video game, ALWAYS a terrible idea, but on one with no plot whatsoever. The term nauseatingly awful does not do this monstrosity justice.
The Penguins of Madagascar
Take the B squad of characters from a mildly amusing if uninspired movie and give them their own show. What you get is a silly, mediocrity that is mostly uninteresting. Somehow though after catching a few episodes I found I liked it.
The Phantom Tollbooth (Movie)
A classic film based on the classic book. It was also produced by Chuck Jones and his style comes through very clearly. A lazy little boy is drawn into a world where he needs to save Rhyme and Reason from chaos. The story is a rather heavy handed allegory, nowhere nearly as subtle as the book. The beginning and end are shot in live action and frankly the 1960s too clean plastic looking little boy feels out of place along side the good quality animation that makes up the majority of the film. The film is also a musical which was unnecessary and the songs are uninspired. It’s probably the only film that I think should be redone because it could be done so much better now. Meyazaki could make something fantastic out of the material. Don’t get the impression I dislike the film. It’s fun but could be so much better.
The Pink Panther/New Pink Panther Show
Three shorts. The first and third of the Pink Panther the middle one of a french police Inspector or the Ant and the Anteater. The Inspector is silly and mildly amusing as is the Ant and the Anteater. The Pink Panthers are still quite funny. It is all done with sight gags and great writing. (Ignore the few awful episodes where they gave PP a voice.) The animation is typical clumsy late ’70s stuff. Try to avoid the original opening credits which are embarrassingly bad. The Pink Panther Show was good. The New Pink Panther Show where they replaced the intro and the Inspector with The Ant and the Aardvark was better.
The short that came out with Finding Dory. A baby sandpiper ventures out of the nest and discovers the ocean. Funny and very cute.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
A very silly story. Pirates, Charles Darwin, Queen Victoria, an intelligent chimp, and a dodo. Silly, ridiculous, and a lot of fun. It’s good to see that Aardman Studios can do just as good a job without relying on the Wallace and Grommet characters.