Tag Archives: animation

Review: Green Lantern: The Animated Series (2011) My Reviews 25 OCT 2012

Unfortunately the live-action outing for Green Lantern didn’t really catch anyone’s attention (not really a surprise there to be honest), but nevertheless, the guys at DC and the television studios decided that there is still money to be had from the emerald green franchise, the end result of which is this, Green Lantern: The Animated Series. To be fair, a different, more specific title would probably have gone down much better.

Anyway, the main plot revolves around vicious Red Lanterns who seem to be making it their business to kill off all the Green Lanterns patrolling the remote border planets. Of course, impulsive test pilot Hal Jordan can’t stand by and do nothing, and with the aid of Kilowog, steals an experimental ship to head out on an intercept and assist mission to the farthest reaches of space!

The series and scenarios are actually well written, and each episode serves to drive the main storyline, a great thing to come across in any animated series. And whilst there is some humor to be had, on the whole, Green Lantern: The Animated Series is far more about delivering a steady dose of drama intermixed with plenty of GL action!

The voice acting cast do a sterling job by bringing their respective characters alive with exactly the right attitudes, all of which is then wrapped up in some neat background music.

The animation front pleases me a little less though. In a very similar vein to Star Wars: Clone Wars, the producers have gone with the CG approach, the result of which is some fairly stiff characters and a loss of some of the more stylized, outlandish action that would have been a snap to include if animating using the traditional 2D method.

Still, the CG isn’t all that bad and it does have a style all of its own, meaning it is passable, and probably not such a hurdle if you are already sold on the look of Star Wars: The Clone Wars franchise.

Overall, it really isn’t a bad series to watch, the stories are well told and very engaging. There is plenty of super hero action to be had, as well as the necessary drama associated with it. Unfortunately the animation is a little stiff thanks to having gone the full CG route, but oh well, this is still a decent enough addition to the animated DC Comics universe.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Lantern:_The_Animated_Series

Review: Teen Titans: The Complete Fourth Season (2005) My Reviews 22 OCT 2012

The loveable, accessible to all ages but aimed at the younger viewer, Teen Titans animated television series is certainly is a lot darker than normal with the show’s 13 episode long fourth season outing, this time focusing on a far more evil and powerful entity that is tied to Raven’s destiny, and who is for all intent and purposes, completely unstoppable and most likely the bringer of the end of the world as we know it!

Despite this rather dark premise for the season, the writers go out of their way to balance the run with a run of much lighter, more comedic episodes in the middle, resulting in a series that once again manages to cater to a much wider audience than just its core target demographic (i.e. young kids) and in the process manage to be a completely fun and action-packed outing that everyone ought to be able to enjoy and probably pull a good number of laughs in the process as well.

All the same goofy looking characters are brought back into the mix once again (i.e. Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven and Starfire), and the wonderfully fun, loose and often super-deformed, cutesy anime-inspired, animation style is retained, making for a visually light show, that funnily enough works across the rather wide spectrum of both serious and silly episodes that the season throws at us.

Great voice acting mixed up with a good sound track and the same energetic plus insanely cute theme song as always, adds the final bits to what is yet again a totally worthwhile and fun animated series to pick up and watch with the kids.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Titans_%28TV_series%29

Review: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) My Reviews 01 OCT 2012

Eternia has seen the end of tyranny and evil. Its community lives in peace, safe in the knowledge that its greatest threats are trapped behind the great barrier in the badlands near Snake Mountain. But little do they suspect of the danger to awaken, for Skeletor has broken through the barrier at last, and hopes to spread his bane once more, beginning with the capture of King Randor.

Their liberation is detected within Castle Grayskull by The Sorceress, who informs Man-At-Arms, captain of the guards within Randor’s kingdom and a trustworthy ally, that the time has come for destiny to be fulfilled.

He-Man must appear.

2002 saw the re-appearance of an 80’s fan favourite, the revival of the classic He-Man and the Masters of the Universe franchise. Consisting of two seasons and 39 episodes, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe returned the storyline back to its original roots, and expanded greatly on the characters from original Mattel toy line, bringing a lot more depth and character development to the classic characters that one was accustomed to from an animated television series.

Given the fairly large cast of characters available to the writers, the episodes cover a wide array of stories which get told, and pleasingly, the show carries all the right quantities of action, drama, fantasy and comedy that one requires from a decent animated show, making for a pretty enjoyable watch – even more so if you grew up with the toys yourself back in the 80’s!

Artwork is actually not bad at all, simple lines but well animated and choreographed, and the classic character designs, which although quite colourful, do happen to work quite well in this particular universe.

The musical score for the show is top notch, and for the most part, the voice actors employed to bring the characters to life all do a really good job. That said, it is a pity that Cam Clarke produces such an annoying pitch for his role as Prince Adam (basically the same voice that you got accustomed to coming out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle – he was Leonardo in case you’re wondering), as does Brian Dobson who gives Skeletor a far too comical instead of menacing tone.

Overall, this is a solid action television cartoon which should entertain and please most boy viewers, and if you are a child of the 80’s, bonus, because then the nostalgia alone is enough to instantly make you fall in love with this show.

Certainly an enjoyable and action-packed watch to pass the time then.

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He-Man_and_the_Masters_of_the_Universe_(2002_TV_series)

Review: Teen Titans – The Complete Third Season (2004) My Reviews 13 AUG 2012

There is virtually nothing that you can dislike about the insanely fun, targeted at young kids, Teen Titans, who return for their third 13 part season, this time ditching the manipulative Slade as lead bad guy and instead replacing him with the hypnotic, cult leader Brother Blood instead!

Terra who was introduced in the last season is dropped and the team is returned to the core of level-headed leader Robin, the adorable and likeable Starfire, the cool techno wizard Cyborg, the enigmatic and grouchy Raven, and of course the over the top, ball of silliness that is Beast Boy.

Stories are again an equal mix of all out action and over the top silliness, where pretty much anything goes, as seen in particular by the groovy Mad Mod and out of the hat Amazing Mumbo episodes. In-addition to the variety of villains, both old and new, that get tossed at us during the run, we also get treated in the latter part of the series with the introduction of the new Titans East franchise, consisting of Bumblebee, Speedy, Aqualad, and the super fast Guatemalan twins Más y Menos.

With just the right mix of action and slapstick comedy, combined with a great voice cast, fun music, and the loose but fun animation style that often dips into the super deformed sort of stuff one usually only encounters on Japanese anime shows, Teen Titans is an absolute delight that is sure to be loved by your kids, and if you are a comic book fan, will probably entertain you in the process of watching it with them as well!

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Titans_%28TV_series%29

Review: Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006) My Reviews 20 JUL 2012

Embittered by Superman’s heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac. Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel. But when Brainiac betrays Luthor and reveals its sinister plans for world domination, Superman must brave the mysterious Phantom Zone to find the strength to survive this deadly showdown – and save the life of his beloved Lois Lane!

Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a 2006 direct-to-video animated film directed by Curt Geda for Warner Bros. Animation, based on a script by Duane Capizzi and Christopher Simmons.

In terms of story, Superman: Brainiac Attacks delivers knockout action from start to finish, mixing a touch of humor here and there and tempered by plenty of drama, just as was done in the original Superman: The Animated Series run. On top of the whole Brainiac and Lex Luthor plot, the film also weaves in a subtle inner turmoil as Clark Kent continues to pine for Lois and toys with the idea of letting her in on his secret identity. However, whilst the build-up to the big finale is pretty well handled, I must say that the film kind of loses it two thirds of the way in, where it rushes the whole Phantom Zone scenario, provides a rather silly golden liquid solution to the problem at hand, before end off with a rather cheesy “kiss saves her life” routine, which feels rather out of place amongst all the action going on in the background.

Nevertheless, the film isn’t all bad and the heavy hitting action it delivers is pretty top notch (even if the design of the Brainiac robot isn’t exactly the most menacing around) – in other words, certainly doing enough to satisfy most fans of the Man of Steel.

Animation is done in the same visual style as what was used in the original Superman: The Animated Series television franchise, which does mean fairly simple lines, but also means immediate familiarity for anyone who grew up watching the revival of the Man of Steel on the Silver Screen. That said, there are moments where the animation is spotty, particularly in terms of proportions and face layouts, but for the most part the animation is solid, complemented by some great choreography, especially during the many explosive fight scenes.

The soundtrack by Thomas Chase Jones is top-notch, and the voice cast sees the welcome return of many of the voices who did Superman: The Animated Series, including Tim Daly who had been absent from the character during the Justice League animation run. However, the choice of franchise newcomer Powers Boothe is a bit of a mistake, as the character of Lex Luthor is completely off, coming across as more of a Joker from the Batman universe than anything else, detracting from what is normally quite a menacing figure in the Superman universe.

Overall, Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a competent animated superhero movie, though it did feel a little more cheesy than normal. Nevertheless, it does pack in quite a lot of walloping Superman action, so fans of the Man of Steel will probably enjoy catching this one.

I personally can’t really see myself bothering to watch it again though, truth be told.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Brainiac_Attacks

Review: Teen Titans – The Complete Second Season (2004) My Reviews 12 JUL 2012

The insanely catchy and fun opening theme by Puffy AmiYumi is back, heralding of course the return of the awesomely fun superheroes for kids television series, Teen Titans!

The second season of Warner Bros. Animation’s Teen Titans consists of 13 episodes (just like the first season), and was aired back in 2004, making it pretty old already.

Following on from the first season, this new outing kicks off with the introduction of the new and sixth Teen Titan, Terra, who has the ability to manipulate rock (although she only hangs around for the first episode or two, then disappearing for most of the remainder of season, before returning right before the end to kick off the big finale arc).

As you might imagine, everyone that made up the team in the first season is back for this second run, giving us the adorable and likeable Starfire, the level-headed but headstrong Robin, the cool techno wizard Cyborg, the enigmatic and grouchy Raven, and of course the over the top, ball of silliness that is Beast Boy.

The series also brings back Slade (Deathstroke) as the principle manipulator behind the scenes, and after an enjoyable and action-packed two thirds of the episodes are done, the show really kicks into high gear, shifting to an even heavier amount of action and drama as Slade shows his hand and things get pretty serious!

With just the right mix of action and slapstick comedy, combined with the loose but fun animation style that often dips into the super deformed sort of stuff one usually only encounters on Japanese anime shows, Teen Titans is an absolute delight that is sure to be loved by your kids, and if you are a comic book fan, will probably entertain you in the process of watching it with them as well.

Light hearted (but with plenty of butt kicking superhero action), and with a great voice cast, fun music and silly but enjoyable animation, Teen Titans shouldn’t disappoint anyone in their target market – i.e. your youngsters! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Titans_%28TV_series%29

Review: Hulk Vs (2009) My Reviews 05 JUL 2012

Hulk Vs Wolverine: The Incredible Hulk has been tearing a line across the Canadian countryside, leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. He must be stopped at all costs, and there’s only one man up to the job. He’s the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice. He’s Wolverine.

Hulk Vs Thor: With the forces protecting Asgard at their weakest, Loki the trickster seizes the opportunity to destroy his cursed stepbrother, Thor, once and for all. In an epic battle that pits god against monster, the Mighty Thor is forced to clash with the only creature that has ever been able to match his strength – the Incredible Hulk!

Hulk Vs is an interesting experiment I guess, in that it consists of two unrelated short Hulk battle movies, pasted together on one disc to be sold as a single animated feature film. Sure, this feels like a bit of a cheat, but when you think of it, it is actually pretty cool that for a change they didn’t cheat you by asking you to only buy one disc instead of two!

The first tale, Hulk Vs Wolverine is directed by Takuji Endo and is based on a screenplay by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle. This is very much a no holds barred slobber-knocker-fest, as for the first two thirds of its shortish runtime, the feature consists of little more than Hulk and Wolverine brutally pummelling one another (with a surprisingly large amount of blood for a Marvel animated feature).

However, things take a twist with the arrival of a couple of super villains towards the end, which adds a little more depth to the tale, and thanks to the inclusion of Deadpool, injects a little humour into proceedings.

In terms of animation, it does take a moment or two to get into the heavily stylized character designs, but the animation itself is fluid and the fights well choreographed, making for a good looking animated feature. Similarly, the voice actors used work well, and are accompanied by a decent music score to take in, the end result of it all being a non-stop guy-orientated feature, with lots of animated violence and the occasional chuckle or two to go along with this entertaining little piece of Marvel eye-candy.

The second tale, Hulk Vs Thor, is a little more cerebral than the first fight-fest, also based on a screenplay by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle, and is directed by Takuji Endo and Sam Liu.

This one sees the usual plot device of Loki attacking Asgard whilst Odin is in his Odin Sleep state, but this time around Loki manipulates Hulk into doing his dirty work for him, by extracting Bruce Banner out of the Hulk, leaving behind a rampaging monster over which Loki has some control and who pretty threatens to rip Odin’s kingdom apart if left unchecked. Enter Thor and what follows is again a great big battle movie (with less blood that the previous feature funnily enough), though this time around there are more than a few fronts on which fights need to be fought.

Certainly more serious than the first tale, but at the same time equivalent in terms of the amount of raw, untamed action you get subjected to.

The art style switches for this second feature, featuring slightly less stylized characters than in the first outing, but nevertheless stylized enough to set it apart from other animated features found on television at the moment. Again action and animation is fluid and well executed, making for a polished visual outing, complemented by a good voice acting cast as well as solid supporting soundtrack.

So in summary, Hulk Vs is an interesting experiment and well worth picking up for the short bursts of exciting comic book hero mayhem that it delivers, though you must go into it not expecting a story masterpiece to be able to get the most out of it.

A worth entry into the Marvel comic book film stable then, even if it does feel slightly out of place.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulk_Vs

Review: Legion of Super Heroes (Volume 3) (2008) Animation | My Reviews 28 JUN 2012

Legion of Super Heroes volume 3 wraps up the first season of this great kid’s super hero show, bringing it home with five episodes, namely “The Substitutes”, “Child’s Play”, “Chain of Command”, and finally “Sundown” parts 1 and 2.

Continuing where the first two volumes left off, volume 3 has a young Superman who is now quite comfortable with his position in the Legion, and the first two episodes are really two fun entries, the first playing around with a team of misfits who fail the Legion draft, but end up helping anyway, followed by a tale involving a magical imp child who causes headaches for everyone in his path.

The third episode starts picking up the intensity of the storytelling, dealing with the picking of a new leader for the Legion of Super Heroes, before ending off the season on an action-packed note by having the team call in just about all their members as they battle to deal with the ultimate weapon – a sun eater device capable of destroying any star it comes into contact with!

The writing is still aimed at the younger audience, think Teen Titans which is a similar target demographic, but despite this, I found the series to be an enjoyable, light-hearted (at times) super hero romp that is fun to watch (particularly if you are already a fan of the Legion), and thus the perfect title to catch with in the company of either your young son or daughter when they finally give you a break in order to catch your breath! :)

The animation is vibrant and fun, and suits the tone of the show perfectly. Simple designs and line work, but fluid animation, good choreography, and thus quite visually entertaining. Similarly, the voice cast all do a stellar job, making for an all round enjoyable viewing experience.

In summary, well worth watching if you can find it and are already a comic book fan with exposure to either Superman or Legion of Super Heroes. Lots of fun to watch with your kids, but enjoyable enough if you just want to sit down and take in some uncomplicated super hero fare when you get a chance.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_Super_Heroes_%28TV_series%29

Review: Teen Titans – The Complete First Season (2003) My Reviews 07 JUN 2012

Pint-sized teenage heroes doing good, saving lives, being silly, and having fun, pretty much sums up what truly is an awesome super hero animated show for the younger comic book fans (and their easy-going parents) out there.

Teen Titans chronicles the adventures of Robin, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven, who for the super-powered team Teen Titans, based in their fantastical Titan Tower headquarters – shaped as a giant T.

This pretty much sets the tone for this surprisingly action-packed, but very humorous and fun take on the classic Teen Titans comic book franchise. Whilst there exists an overarching plot involving a rather sinister Deathstroke (referred to only as Slade for the most part), each episode sees the team up against some or other super-powered villain, but with the focus firmly on their youthful shenanigans and relationships with one another – made particularly interesting thanks to the wide array of personalities that makes up the group.

Physical humor and jokes abound, and the heavy use of super deformed character reactions borrowed straight from Japanese anime makes for a very fun and light-hearted show that carries enough meat to keep it interesting for the slightly older children (and parents too), but is guaranteed to entertain quite a wide spectrum of younger viewers.

The animation is as light-hearted as the tone of the show itself, and its bright and colorful, stylized images that borrow heavily from Japanese anime aesthetics is actually quite pleasing on the eye. In addition to the fun visuals, the actual quality of the animation and fight choreography is surprisingly good and as a whole, the Teen Titans is actually a pretty well animated show.

Aurally, in addition to the fun theme songs from the whimsical Japanese J-Pop duo of Puffy AmiYumi, and a great selection of background music, the voice actors tasked with bringing to life these young characters have been well chosen and suit the style and tone of the stories perfectly.

In summary, Teen Titans does very little, if anything, wrong. It is visually fun, kids can easily identify with the characters, the humor is there, and most important of all, there is more than enough action to satisfy pretty much all the comic book fans out there.

If you have a kid, then you’ll kick yourself if you don’t grab this show to sit down and watch with them. Definitely loads of fun! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Titans_%28TV_series%29