Scoob! Movie Review

Scoob! is a scrappy attempt at rebooting one of the most beloved animated series/movies. But one thing it definitely is is more of a targeted opening towards creating a Hanna-Barbera universe. The film is perfect for a targeted audience in the younger K-12 demographic. Scoob! looks to write an origin story for our favorite talking dog. It does so in a unique fashion, albeit reutilizing plot devices.

First off, the animation definitely threw me for a loop. It feels close to an attempted realistic look like The Clone Wars, but it really fails miserably. Once you get used to it, you can kind of ignore it. But there are some cases where it feels like it can’t decide between realistic animation, and staying safe in accepting it’s going to look animated. The animation team needed to find a better balance, with transitional points. Or they needed to pick one style and go with it.

One thing Scoob! never fails to do is draw its audience’s emotions out of them. From the play at adult language jokes, (F-bombs away is something I might take up using), to clever Easter eggs for the older generations to recognize from Hanna-Barbera. There’s even a moment at the end that will make you forget where you’re at and start crying. Even though it’s a kids movie.

Scoob!

The plot for Scoob! is one that’s typical. Heck, Scooby-Doo, directed by Raja Gosnell even utilizes something similar. There are two things that vary, but in an effort to remain spoiler-free I won’t touch the details. What I can say, is that what the film tries to do is be a light-hearted opening to a potential Hanna-Barbera universe that pays homage to everything Scooby-Doo before it. From the recreations of the original title sequence, to the inclusions of the Scooby snack. To the iconic final battle sequence that reminded me incredibly of Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase. The ending’s where Scoob! really felt most like an iconic Mystery Inc.

While the writers tried to integrate the best features of Mystery Inc., it fails to provide a plot that connects us to any characters other than Shaggy and Scooby. I would have liked to see more from Fred, Velma, and Daphne. Their utilization seemed to simply provide an easy way to solve a mystery that left them from the grasp of the original storyline. If this truly a film about Mystery Inc., it would have been better if the core five had not been separated for half the film. The team is what makes the movies, and the television series great.

Scoob!

No matter what the flaws Scoob! has, the first thing to remember the targeted audience. The film is written by fans of a series that wanted to bring an iconic franchise a new look, in order to bring in a new generation in on a first fandom for many of us. It’s important to realize this is an introduction to characters many people my age, and older were introduced to on Boomerang. It’s a fairly perfect introduction, if only the title were different.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted film to help alleviate some qualms during the COVID-19, I would say pick up this film. It’s worth it, so long as you can leave your expectations at the door. If you go in looking too close for a Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc. film, you might find yourself disappointed. –Katie Gilstrap

-Rating: 7.5/10

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey or (Birds of Prey (And The Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)) kicked off the superhero films of 2020 with a bang this past weekend. While some were disappointed with it’s box office, 33.3 million domestically, and 81.2 million worldwide (the film has made it’s budget back in a weekend, I don’t consider that disappointing), the film has been loved by many. Birds of Prey takes first place in the first all female superhero team up film, Marvel and DC included. Directed by Cathy Yan, the film stars Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Helen Bertinelli (Huntress), Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Dinah Lance (Black Canary), Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain, Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz, and one Ewan McGregor as Roman Sionis (Black Mask).

Continue reading “HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY : Why Realistic Empowerment Is Important”

Resistance Reborn - cover image
Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse takes place after Star Wars: The Last Jedi and before the upcoming conclusion to The Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. During the year long gap between the two, Resistance Reborn takes place, presumably on the earlier side. In short, the Resistance is looking for a place to hole up after Crait. Poe with his squadron has already picked up some borrowed ships and are trying to find people to join up. The call Leia placed at the end of TLJ has continually gone unnoticed. The Resistance has found out potential leadership are being picked up by The First Order to prevent them from joining up. The goal of the Resistance in Resistance Reborn is to rebuild the Resistance, turning the droplets they have, into a mighty ocean to beat The First Order.

Continue reading “Star Wars: Resistance Reborn – Defining For Star Wars Literature”

Joker came to be out of director Todd Phillips’s brain, intending to be a more grounded comic book film. A DC “black” label film, Joker is outside the normal bounds of the DC film universe. This film has no connection to Shazam, or Man Of Steel, or  Justice League. It still is a DC film, but it is a one-off, with currently no intent to continue the usage of any character brought to life in this movie. Joker was intended to move beyond the current idea of a comic book film, and create something new. And in that aspect, it succeeds, with very few references to the Batman-centric universe the Joker character comes from. Phillips intentionally left the character ambiguous. Is Joker the batman Joker? Or is he someone new?

Continue reading “JOKER (2019) – An Unintentional Way To Spin-Off?”

Thrawn: Alliances is the best of both worlds. Timothy Zahn combines movie characters that have been loved, with newer characters in one space and time, piecing together the final story over two timelines. This novel is a great piece of work, with flow only Zahn could have accomplished. In terms of main characters, there’s Anakin Skywalker, Padme Amidala, a young Thrawn, Darth Vader, an old Thrawn, and of course, characters introduced in Star Wars: Thrawn. A huge plus is the inclusion of another Star Wars: Legends character, a Noghri named Ruk!

Continue reading “Thrawn: Alliances – A Better Step Forward For Thrawn”

Star Wars: Thrawn is the first real introduction of a Star Wars Legends character into current canon mythos. That character being Mitth’raw’nuruodo, or Thrawn as he is called by most. Thrawn is a Chiss, a species that is part of the Unknown Regions territories in space. The species is rarely seen around the galaxy, and it is often thought they were a myth. This novel follows Thrawn’s introduction to the central worlds a couple of years after the Empire was formed in Revenge of the Sith. It serves as a prequel to the third season of Star Wars Rebels, introducing the characters of Arihnda Pryce, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and Commander Eli Vanto. Though Vanto is not present in Rebels, his character is a vital part of Thrawn’s plot line.

Continue reading “Thrawn – Or Arihnda Pryce, Eli Vanto, and Thrawn”

The Pink Panther - cover image

The Pink Panther is a redesign/reboot of the Pink Panther franchise that started in 1963 with the movie The Pink Panther(which I have not seen). In this film, we don’t see the iconic animated panther himself, but we do hear the traditional ‘duh done du-don” theme. We do have the clumsy Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin), and he’s investigating the disappearance of the pink panther diamond, as well as the death of national soccer coach Yves Gluant. The setting is France, so we have some intense accent work from Martin, but most of his work in this movie, and in its sequel is over exaggeration on his part. It’s to mimic all of the cartoons that have Clouseau doing everything the klutzy way.

Continue reading “THE PINK PANTHER – A Classic Comfort Film”

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22186885 The Terminator
The Terminator is a science fiction action film from 1984 that has aged incredibly well. The CGI is a product of its time, but represents rather well for 80s technological advances. The plot is well done, manipulating the damsel in distress typical story to its advantage. It’s definitely a highlight of science fiction movies, with time travel and robots involved. Especially for being a movie from the 80s. The characters are all rather well done, and I can see why Linda Hamilton is being brought back for Terminator: Dark Fate. She’s special in this movie, and I’m glad to see the focus for the future is on her.
The film’s special effects seem very well put together. There’s a few slight instances where the age of the film shows, like when Schwarzenegger’s robot body climes out of the flames, and chases Sarah Connor (Hamilton), and Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn). Other than those moments, it’s some really brilliant work by the team. Costumes and sets all for very well, seems like an 80s movie definitely.
I absolutely love the plot of the film. The manipulation of the damsel in distress plot works really well, and it suits the film. Sarah Connor starts out as the damsel in distress, but works her way up towards the hero of the film, turning Reese into the soldier he’s always been after he gives up. She’s lost in the beginning of the movie, wondering who she’s meant to be after getting stood up, and she comes into her own with this story line. It’s perfect. Hamilton makes a great star, and I wanna say this is her at her A-game, but don’t quote me on that. I haven’t seen her in anything else. 
Biehn made me a little angry though. It is hard convincing that someone can fall in love based off of a picture, but maybe that’s my cynical side. Anyways, Reese feels underdeveloped. Seeing more of his future, maybe how he grew up, instead of just him as a soldier would have helped me feel more connected to him.
The science fiction and action elements are superb. Robots, explosions, apocalyptic future, and time travel. What more could a girl ask for? The action sequences are great, really fun to watch. The idea of a “phonebook” killer? (thank you Scott) Super crazy, but I liked it. The robot controlled future is a neat idea, and I believe this movie was the first in the dystopian phenomena, making it even more unique. It’s scary to think how accurate that future could be, especially with the AI usage increasing everyday. 
What a great film. Definitely rememberable, and a cult classic (Ghostbusters, not so much). I can see why this film spawned so many sequels, even if the timeline of those sequels are a bit mixed.

Science Fiction Aspects: 5/5

Character Development: 4/5

Plot: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Ocean's Eleven Poster - By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9045976
This movie has been out for 18 years, but if you’re like me before a couple months ago and haven’t seen Ocean’s Eleven, you should be warned there will be spoilers below.
Ocean’s Eleven is a fun puzzle of a heist movie for every second of the film. There is not a minute out of place, if you miss one moment you can be lost. The characters work extraordinarily well together, and they really draw you in more to the story. The story is ingenious, and several key twists are embedded so well, it’s hard to catch them. Most of the movie is spent building up a heist to steal money from Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), by Danny Ocean (George Clooney), and his crew: Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), Virgil and Turk Malloy (Casey Affleck/Scott Caan), Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), Basher Tarr 
(Don Cheadle), Yen (Shaobo Qin), Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). Despite the possessiveness in the title, the crew as a whole numbers 11 – including Ocean. 
The plot of Ocean’s Eleven is laid out fairly simply, but the complexity of the plot, movie wise and heist wise, grows as the film progresses. The intricacies of the heist and the reasons for it slowly get revealed, with hints along the way as to the way stuff plays out. It’s so fascinating, and refreshing, especially if you’re in to puzzles. I enjoyed the retort from Tess (Julia Roberts) to Terry, where she turns his camera words back on him at the end of the movie. There’s not really much else she’s used for here, she’s still important to the story, mostly as motivation for the heist. That is a bit of a bummer, because obviously Roberts is a talented actress.

The character development in Ocean’s Eleven is really interesting. We’re introduced to most of the characters via a recruitment process, which makes the start of the movie unique as compared to others. We’re given the information we need to know about them and really we were given just enough. It’s quite perfect, and works for most of the cast. The only thing I felt like I was missing for with characters was a bit more on Danny himself, as well as a little bit of background between Rusty and Danny’s relationship.

The cinematography and costume work all seem pretty standard for the early 2000s. There’s not much need for CGI here, so everything has aged quite gracefully in Ocean’s Eleven. This film is one everyone should check out and I hope people do. I was hooked from the moment the movie started to the very end.

Plot: 5/5

Character Development: 4/5

Amount of Puzzle: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Spider-Man Far From Home is a wonderful conclusion to the MCU’s Infinity Saga, and an even better opening for what’s to come from the MCU. This film reminds me a lot of Iron Man 3, where we’re dealing with our superhero experiencing trauma from a prior experience, in this case an Avengers movie. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) experiences a ton of growth, moving from the “small town” boy he’s been, to someone who realizes he has a bigger influence than he thought. Holland does a great job, but the real star of this movie? Jake Gyllenhaal. The rest of the cast backfills quite nicely, and I love Jon Favreau’s return to a more prominent character. It’s great to see how far Happy and Peter’s relationship has come.
Gyllenhaal plays a phenomenal Mysterio. His character as a whole is so charismatic, I loved him more and more as the movie progressed. Quentin Beck is so charismatic, such a leader, even I was following what he was saying. Even though I disagreed with what he was saying profusely. More on that below. Mysterio now sits atop one of my favorite character lists in the MCU, and it makes me very happy Marvel picked him up, instead of Warner Bros. for Batman. His charisma in this role is what makes every moment glorious and it would have been lost as Bruce Wayne.
I am in love with Zendaya as MJ. She’s not the traditional take by any means, but she’s really killing it as Peter’s love. Holland took a big step up on my Spider-Man favorites list, as Tony was truly his Uncle Benn, and it is felt in this movie. Personally, I still wish we’d see Uncle Ben, but I can’t fault the MCU for going this direction. Tony’s death in Avengers: Endgame was obviously widely felt, but the impact he had on Peter makes the death even more widely important. 
The emotions will take you on a roller coaster in this movie. Young love, old love, remembering our Avengers. I didn’t cry, but I really could have. Watching Peter as well as Happy break down over losing Tony, really takes a toll on you. Peter’s growth over this movie is extraordinarily well done, he becomes a different Spider-Man than I’ve seen in any of the animated or live action television shows or movies. He becomes bigger than the neighborhood, and realizes he has to step up to the plate. Please note my wording, he doesn’t step into Tony’s shoes. He takes his own path towards the idealistic worldwide superhero. Well done on the story y’all, well done. This movie also has some of my new favorite quotes. 
I am missing some of the scenes we saw in the trailer. I think it would have benefitted the story more, showing Peter tackling neighborhood problems at the beginning of the movie. There would have been more connection to his growth in the movie. There’s plenty of action, yes. But those scenes really would have shown the progression from neighborhood Spider-Man, to the Spider-Man at the end of the movie. 

Emotional Connectivity: 5/5

Plot: 4.25/5

Cast: 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5

There are a few spoilers I would like to talk about, but this movie is just coming out, so be warned, and if you’re interested, check it out below!

Mysterio tops the list of my favorite MCU villains. He’s charismatic, crazy, maniacal, and lovable all at the same time.  I would have followed him like the rest of his crew did. The fact that he developed the illusionistic projectors used in Captain America: Civil War was an inspiring take, to make Tony Stark the villain to many people. I saw the twist from Mysterio fooling people, to the villain, but to incorporate people who hated Tony Stark as a person? It was almost as if this Spider-Man Far From Home is Tony Stark’s last bit of his journey, filling in pieces of his journey as a CEO, and hero. It was a perfect incorporation of Stark, strengthening his character all the more.
So those post credit scenes. First of all, J.K. Simmons is my favorite part of the Raimi trilogy, and to see him return was everything! Please, Sony please bring him back. For that moment I stood up and clapped. For Mysterio’s contingency of coming off still as a hero, naming Spider-Man, as his killer, and revealing his identity? Well I saw that coming. Naming him as a killer, not revealing he is Peter Parker. That I was left stunned so well done Sony. Another emotional twist the crew did well, making Peter like Tony, but following his “own” path. The fact that Skrulls are still involved, well that just follows the many rumors about Infinity War and Endgame had originally. Blynn and Mendelsohn reprise their roles from Captain Marvel as they play Maria Hill and Nick Fury, so the opening of doors for the cosmic universe is needless to say, a big one.
Spider-Man Far From Home is in theaters now!