Category Archives: Cartoons

Justice League Action

jlacoverThe DC animated spring still hasn’t dried out yet. This thing just keeps pouring fresh content! Right onto my reviewdesk. This time it spat out a two-DVD set called Justice League Action. Which I in turn fed to the designated DVD-player to check and see if it’s any good.

And, lo and behold, it is.

I have to admit, I went in a little prejudiced. Thinking this would be a thinly veiled toy-commercial. I mean, ten minute action-focused sequences aimed at kids? I love me some cool DC heroes actioning, but c’mon? really?
Yes really.
There’s so much more going on than the promised and much advertised ‘action’. For instance: these things stand alone as vignettes, but are actually all connected to a much bigger backstory. Think universe-affecting bad guys and you’d be right.

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And there’s so much of it too! There’s twenty four episodes on these discs, that’s a total of 240 minutes Justice League badassery! And this is just the first part of the first series! I just plowed through the first disc in almost one sitting, and I’m trying to squeeze in episodes from the second disc whenever I can. And considering they’re only ten minutes long, fitting them into a busy schedule is actually pretty easy.

The overarching storyline is pretty clever, and the episodes themselves are well written. Animation has a refreshing young look, and voice acting is pretty great. (Kevin Conroy as Batman just never seems to disappoint.)

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When the box art says Justice League, you already know you’re getting classics like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Green Arrow. What I didn’t expect, is that Justice league action throws in a lot more characters. Swamp Thing is there, Firestorm, Martian Manhunter, Constantine, Zatanna,… Even Booster Gold has a cameo! And the same thing goes for the featured bad guys. You’ve got your old classics, like Luthor, but you also get Lobo and mr. Mind, among others.

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I can’t praise this series enough! Fans of the mighty huge DC universe will absolutely relish the wealth of content, and more casual viewers will like the humour.

Jan

Batman and Harley Quinn

bmanh“What? Another Batman animated movie?”

Yes, another Batman animated movie. A very good one. One that has virtually everything: violence, humour, Harley Quinn in a lead role, Nightwing, song and dance (the Batuzi!), Swamp Thing, blood, sex, fart jokes,… Batman and Harley Quinn is one of the best in not the best Batman animated feature I’ve reviewed to date!

Extradimensional dryad Jason Woodrue partners with Poison Ivy. The green team plans on releasing a virus on the world that would turn all animal and human life into plants. Believing it’s the only way to save the earth from destruction, they go on a trek to find Swamp Things original bayou, as water from there will perfect the virus. Batman and Nightwing are desperate for help and enlist Ivy’s former partner and best friend Harley Quinn. Now a reformed citizen, Harley works shifts at the Superbabes restaurant, but is silently itching for action.

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While the green warriors crusade to protect the earth is a somewhat clichéd given for them, the idea of a reformed Harley Quinn now helping the Caped Crusader is one I hadn’t seen before. And oddly enough, it works. While I thought Harley needed the Joker to be a character that works, she does pretty well on her own.

Storywise, I can’t say I was blown away by the main premise. As I said above, Woodrue’s and Ivy’s plan seems like a thing they always do. Babble about earth and nature’s dying, blame humans and then having some sort of ultimate solution for it all. Mostly a virus, or a pathogen of some sort.
Yawn.
What does work however, is the dynamic between Batman and Harley. Both are believeable as characters and are written really well.

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What also works is the return to the Bruce Timm style of animation. Something I’ve always longed for. While not as dark as the original Timm cartoons, Batman and Harley Quinn really copies well. It even adds blood and some fatalities to the mix, so you might consider it a tad darker in tone.

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So yes. I’m a fan. And I hope Batman and Harley Quinn is the precursor to a whole lot of animated Batmen in this style!

Jan

New cartoons to binge on!

I’ve already blabbered extensively about cartoons on here.  Ad nauseam, some might say.

Well, brace yourselves, ‘cause it’s about to get worse.

I recently got the chance to see two new cartoons.  Well, new isn’t exactly right.  Rehashed is more like it.  Scooby-Doo and Bugs Bunny each got a shiny new layer of paint.

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Let’s dig right in with Be Cool Scooby-Doo!  There’s really nothing new here.  The gang is drawn into a mystery (involving a scary ghost. I know: shocker!) and can’t resist solving it.  Shaggy and Scoob get scared and hungry a lot, Fred is a fearless leader, Velma uses her brains more than once and Daphne is along for looks.  Nothing different from the original.

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What is different is the animation style.  It’s more dynamic and vibrant, a much needed update.  There’s also more humor in this version, relying on throwaway jokes and recalls much more than the original.  And it’s these little updates that made me like it a lot.  I never was a huge fan of the originals, but I can see myself watching this reboot.

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Next up is the new Bugs Bunny, aptly titled “Bugs”.  I’m not gonna lie here: I loved Bugs when I was a kid.  I watched the hare religiously, his antics never failed to crack me up.  So I was a bit wary going in here…  Would this new version ruin the old one?

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I’m happy to say that it didn’t.  I enjoyed watching Bugs face off against a team of ninja’s, I smiled as he outwitted Yosemite Sam…  But I never laughed out loud.  That’s an honor I reserve for the old Bugs.  This one seemed a bit too polished and far-fetched…  Just watch Bugs take on four mini-ninjas that just morphed together into one supermuscular badass, you’ll know what I mean.

All in all, not a bad way to spend an hour.

Jan

We Bare Bears

wbbYou guys!  I just watched a new cartoon, and it’s awesome!

I am, of course, talking about We Bare Bears.  The internet comic turned cartoon by Daniel Chong.  It’s all about three brothers living together in a cave and trying their best to blend in with humans.  Did I mention they’re bears?  You’ve got Grizzly, the de facto leader, who’s got a carefree personality.  Then there’s the ever-cool Ice and the anxious Panda.  I know this sound like a recipe for a bad 80’s sitcom, but bear with me (pun very much intended).

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I was shown the pilot.  In it, Panda’s trying to recover from a breakup with his internet girlfriend.  Panda and Ice try to cheer him up by taking him out for cake.  In the end, the brothers end up crashing a child’s birthday bash.  They are eventually found out by the kids and a fight breaks out.  In the end, kids and bears reconcile and the bears have a great time together.
I just made it sound even more clichéd, didn’t I?
Crap.

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Look, you’re just gonna have to trust me on this: We Bare Bears is awesome.  It’s on Cartoon Network and you should watch it.

Jan

Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom

ljlpackWhat do you get when you mix Batman with Lego bricks?
What? Highly enjoyable playtime? Well… yes that too, but what else? A videogame-series? Yes, well… I guess you’re right… But what else? Bat-bricks? Batman with an extremely sore foot?

Let’s just stop it, shall we?

What you get (for the purpose of this review anyway) is an animated feature that had me giggling like a six year-old in a candy store. In Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom, the Lego Justice League faces off against Luthor and his cronies. The league with fresh member Cyborg must try and overcome Luthor’s newest addition to the team: Martian Manhunter.

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When I said I giggled throughout, I was serious. There’s so much humor in this feature. You get the overtly, not-so-subtle jokes aimed at the young target audience obviously, but there are a lot of more subtle jokes, aimed at parents and comic book geeks. What’s not to like here?

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The answer is nothing. The animation couldn’t be better. Writing is great and voiceacting nails it. It’s always fun to hear Mark Hammil speak, even when he’s not being the Joker.

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So would I recommend this one? Abso-brickin’-lutely! Kids will go love it, parents will like it too, and comic book enthousiast will most certainly appreciate this fresh take. Go watch it, now!

Jan

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem

Batman_Unlimited_Monster_MayhemAs you all may (or to be realistic: won’t) recall: I wasn’t exactly blown away by Batman Unlimited Animal Instincts. I didn’t think it was bad, I was just a bit…  underwhelmed by it. Not one to back out immediately (I was the one guy who watched Lost ‘till the very end, holding on to the belief it would regain its footing in the end…), I decided to give the series a second go with the next installment: Monster Mayhem.

In it, the Joker gangs up with Scarecrow, Silver Banshee, Clayface and Solomon Grundy. His plan is to take over Gotham City by means of an extremely powerful virus that blocks all technology.  It’s once again up to Batman and his band of merry crimefighters to take him out.  The only problem is that good guy Cyborg is infected with the virus as well, and is now under Joker’s control.

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So there.  Pretty straightforward (if not a tad clichéd) plot. Joker happens to be one of my favourite bad guys, so this can’t possibly go wrong. Animation is fine, voiceacting was done well… I like this one better than its predecessor! The fact that there are a bunch of nice extra’s included on the DVD helps things as well.  All in all, I got a good two hours worth of animated fun.

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I still have one gripe with this “Unlimited” series however. During the action sequences, I get the overwhelming feeling I’m watching a commercial for Batman action figures. Joker suddenly gets a souped up motorcycle, with pop-up guns? Batman owning a robotic dog that can change into a motorcycle? Reeks of merchandising to me.  Further on, we even get Batman riding a mecha t-rex into battle. While that’s probably one of the most awesome sights you’ll ever see, it strangely feels out of place. On an aisle in the toy store? Yes. During this movie? Not so much.

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So if you can get over this (very minor) gripe, you actually like toytoons or you’d just like to see Batman on a t-rex, then this is the animated feature you’ve been looking for!

Jan

Edit: See, I knew I was right…

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Adventure Time strikes again!

advtimeYay! A new season of adventure time is being aired on Cartoon Network. I just caught a new episode called “The Mountain” and frankly…

I have no idea what I just watched.

Jake and Finn spot the earl of Lemongrab entering the Mountain of Matthew, and Finn decides to follow.  Inside, Lemongrab goes through an existential crisis, I guess? There’s a lot of metaphors and discovering of the self. Stuff psychiatrists really dig.  Also, the earl destroys Matthew with three lemonflavoured candies, proving Matthew was just a combination of different people, absorbed into one single hivemind.
Yeah, I know.

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Complicated as it may be, it sure is fun to watch.  I cannot stress enough how wonderfully weird it all is.  Sure, there is the feeling you’re watching a dream written by David Lynch, but it feels so…  Right?  I dunno.  Something about Adventure Time just tickles my funny bone, no matter how weird or incomprehensible it seems.

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Seriously, if you haven’t checked this cartoon out already, take some time and go do it now! Just don’t operate any heavy machinery or motorized vehicles afterwards…

Jan

Tusken Tuesdays!

1125_star_wars-prevI am a huge Star Wars nerd.  That fact alone already makes it strange I have yet to write anything about the phenomenon (Yes, I am calling it a phenomenon.  Because it is.  And because I really wanted to use the word phenomenon for once.  It’s such an underappreciated word.  I mean, can you recall the last time you said, let alone typed out phenomenon?  Exactly.)

So starting next week, I’m declaring tuesday to be Tusken Tuesday on this site.  Yes, every tuesday  I will go out and try to find something for the collection and report my findings here.

It’ll be fun, I promise!

Jan

Disclaimer: author cannot be held responsible for tardiness, and as such, Tusken Tuesdays could alternatively be called Watto Wednesdays, Threepio Thursdays, Fierfek Fridays, Sith Saturdays, Sebulba Sundays or even Mon Mothma Mondays.

Gumball

Gumball8[1]_8268_Seems like I’m late to the party again.  While the rest of the world has been enjoying Gumball for a couple of seasons already, I just watched my first two episodes.

And I enjoyed them massively.  Even though they we’re dubbed in Dutch.  Dutch dubbing: the bane of every cartoonloving manchild in the Benelux.  It always baffles me why Dutch voiceacting for cartoons must be hyperactive/highpitched/and incredibly awful.  If you know why, please write in.  Enlighten me.

Voiceacting aside, I can say this is a gem.  I loved the humour, the all too normal weirdness of the show.  Gumballs parents are a cat and a rabbit and his adopted brother is a goldfish with legs and among his friends is a talking banana.  And noone seems to think anything of it.  Not even when Bananaboy’s mom is squashed and peeled repeatedly in one episode.  I loved it!

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And I really dug the style as well.  Nicely drawn characters mixed with animated characters put in drawn and photographic backgrounds?  The originality of that alone puts it down as a win in my book!

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I can go on and on, and elaborate even more on how nice and funny this is, but I need to tune in to Cartoon Network and get me my Gumball fix.  Come join me, why don’t you?

Jan