Thursday, July 27, 2017

ANI-MOVIES, *The Lego Batman Movie

Having no direct connection to Lego Batman: The Movie, this theatrically-released film was a semi-spinoff of The Lego Movie, apparently dealing with the Batman that exists in that "reality". Lego established that the Batman from their video games and made-for-TV/video animated movies is in a completely different universe from The Lego Movie, as in the Lego Dimensions game had both Batmans meeting up with the video game Batman beating out The Lego Movie Batman as the one you play as who meets up with characters like Gandalf and Doctor Who. Chris McCay directed The Lego Movie, and takes up the reigns again with a satirical look at the Batman universe, who also exists in the same Lego universe as various other Warner Bros. licensed titles.

Joker gets all of Gotham's villains(including some really obscure ones)to take over the city, but as usual, Batman shows up and takes them all down by himself. Joker gets miffed when Batman tells him he's not his main enemy. Bruce Wayne later attends James Gordon's retirement from police commissioner, whose position is replaced by his daughter Barbara that in this reality was never a librarian or part of the House of Representatives, but a top cop from Bludhaven, and plans on having the police work closer with Batman as he's never actually caught any of Gotham's villains(except for the opening scene!). Batman plans on sending Joker to the Phantom Zone to permanently get rid of him, so he takes his newly adopted ward Dick to sneak into the Fortress of Solitude and snatch the zone's generator it right under Superman's super-senses, all while him and the rest of the Superfriends(not the JLA!)are partying down. Batman then busts into Arkham and sends him off to the zone which also has several other Warner Bros. villains like the Eye of Sauron(the actual tower), Voldemort, King Kong, Jaws, flying monkeys, and gremlins, although oddly enough we don't see General Zod there as Batman gets the idea for the Phantom Zone from a news report on Superman having previously sent the mad Kryptonian to. Joker along with the WB lot baddies take over Gotham, so Batman teams up with the newly named Robin, Alfred(now dressed like Kato), Barbara Gordon as 60's Batgirl, along with the other Arkham inmates to form their own "Suicide Squad", a concept that Batman: The Return Of The Caped Crusaders handled a little better. All this destruction causes the entire city breaking apart, and all the heroes and villains have to unite to pull Gotham back together, but for some reason with no help from the Superfriends who are supposedly still having their hero orgy at the North Pole.

The Lego Batman Movie is a visually intriguing production, and a real payoff for longtime Batfans. However, this version of Batman is a gross exaggeration of the Dark Knight, even by parody standards. For a better Lego adaptation of Bats, albeit of a lower production value, it's better to stick with the "official" Lego Batman/Justice League animated projects and video games.

Friday, July 14, 2017


ANI-MOVIES, *DC Super Hero Girls: Intergalactic Games

Branching out from the online animated series, Intergalactic Games is the second made-for-video full-length movie made for the DC Super Hero Girls line. Probably taking place sometime during what is now Season 3 of the web series, this shows teenage versions of most of the various DC Comics characters all attending Super Hero High School in Metropolis, mostly used as a vehicle to sell dolls, similar to how Batman Unlimited was intended to sell action figures.

The Intergalactic Games comes to Earth where Super Hero High is competing with the only other school, Korugar Academy, composed mostly of alien bad guys like Sinestro, Mongal, Maxima, Lobo, and Starfire's sister Blackfire. Later, the Female Furies arrive to represent Apokalips, although their real intention is to steal some advanced robot tech that teacher Doc Magnus used to create the Metal Men. Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Starfire, and Bumblebee represent SHHS in the game, while Lena Luthor is planning on using Magnus' tech along with a reprogrammed Platinum to take down the superheroes. It's later revealed that Lena was secretly working with Brainiac who shows up after the games end to act as a stand in "final boss" for the heroes to fight.

This was a decent outing for the Super Hero Girls, although there was less of a coherent plot, and acted more like a series of plots loosely tied together to form a "movie". It might have worked better as just a season of the web show. It's interesting to see some re-imagined DC characters, like a teenage version of the original 70s Black Orchid, or a Yellow Lantern version of Red Lantern Bleez. But the film is mostly for younger viewers with substandard animation.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Spider-Man's Invisible Jet?

Spider-Man: Homecoming. Phrasing! Boom!

Aw Shit...Spider-Man!

ANI-MOVIES, *April And The Extraordinary World

Created as an international production between Belgian, Canadian, and French studios, this full-length animated movie is done as one of the few steampunk stories that takes place outside of the normal given boundaries of the average points in time that would normally carry over into the "deiselpunk" era. Inspired by the artworks of cartoonist Jacque, this is an original story that spans decades set in an alternate history version of Europe.

Beginning in 1870, Napoleon the 3rd comes to inspect a new weapon his leading scientist Gustave Franklin, but instead of his army of super ape soldiers he was hoping for, Nappy III gets a pair of super-intelligent reptiles(possibly dinosaurs). In his anger, Napoleon causes a lab accident leading to his own premature death along with Gustav Franklin. Over the next few decades, several different "Napoleons" take up the leadership of France, while the rest of the world suffers from having their most brilliant scientists go missing. Due to this, there were no World Wars, and mankind's technology has been reduced to a slow pace with still relying on producing steam. In 1931, Gustav's grandson Pops along with his own grandson Paul, Paul's wife Annette, and their daughter April, have created special elixir which gave their cat Darwin that enables him the powers of speech and human intelligence. However, the French government is rounding up every scientist they can to bolster their arsenal, and track the Franklins down to their secret hideout, which has Pops going missing, and April's parents seemingly disintegrated by a bizarre thundercloud that chased them. Cut to 1941 where April has been living in secret on her own with Darwin. Meanwhile, a French policeman is tracking April down for any connection to her family, and using a vagrant pickpocket named Julius to do his legwork for him. Julius ends up falling for April, and joins her after she finally gets word that her parents are still alive, along with reuniting with her grandfather Pops as they unite to try to find out the conspiracy of the missing scientists, all while being chased by the French government.

The animation in this has its own unique style of animation and the look of the characters, very reminiscent of The Adventures Of Tintin, while blending in the feel of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec comic that also got its own French-created live-action movie. Those who have seen A Cat In Paris should be familiar with the quirky style of storytelling that usually goes into a European high adventure/chase plot when it comes to this film. It makes for an interesting all-ages movie to, featuring American voice actors like Susan Sarandon, J.K. Simmons, and Paul Giamatti, even though they are mainly playing supporting characters. For real makes for an excellent entry in any steampunk movie marathon!