The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Review

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a musical fantasy film starring everyone’s favourite puppet characters, Originally created by the late Jim Henson the Muppets were a huge success on Television and eventually starring in movies until Jim’s death in 1990.

This is a really good video playlist about Jim Hensons career it was made by Youtube Channel called Defunctland and is one of the best documentary series on Jim and his creations, I would highly recommend checking it out

After Jim’s passing his son Brian took the Muppets franchise under his wing and began work on the first movie that would be made after Jim Henson and this film just so happens to be a take on the Chales Dickens story A Christmas Carol.

The story is one of the most well known tales of all time but for those who may be living under a rock, A Christmas Carol is the story of a very angry and unkind man who is shown the error of his ways on one Christmas eve where three different ghosts show him his past, present and future in hopes of giving him a chance to redeem himself and avoid an eternity in Hell.

In this version of the classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge is played by academy award winner and cinema legend Micheal Cain, his performance in this is really good, in fact its my favourite performance of Scrooge in any media. The film is relatively silly as it should be, it is the Muppets after all.

The silliest moments come from Gonzo and Rizzo who are narrating the story while the movie is playing.

Another Great example of Muppet humour is the christmas party scene, it has Animal on the drums, Rolf on the Piano, Bad Jokes from Fozzy Bear and is genuinly one the most memorable parts of the film.

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What makes Cain stand out so well is that he plays such a serious role when the rest of the movie is a Muppets film, his performance in this is so convincing that by the end of the film you even start to feel a little sorry for him, I really do think this is one of his best roles, the only slight issue is that he struggles to carry a tune during his song at the end of the movie and it would have been better if his singing was dubbed.

The rest of the cast is great, I felt the muppets chosen for the characters were really good, Kermit being Bob Cratchett is an obvious choice and Miss Piggy playing his wife Emily also makes sense, but we need to take time to appreciate the smaller roles, Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker play the charity collectors which is seems an odd choice but it works surprisingly well but the best casting which was ingenious in my opinion was the role of Jacob Marley going to

Waldorf and Statler, I dont think anyone expected these guys to play such a large role in the film as they were mainly used for the odd funny remark in the TV show and the previous movies, they are great as Jacob Marley (now split into two brothers) and even sing a catchy musical number.

The music for the film was written and composed by Paul Williams and Miles Goodman, I have very mixed feelings on this I would argue that half of the music is phenomenal and some of the best Christmas themed music put to screen but the other half feels a little lackluster. Some highlights for me were “Scrooge”, “Marley and Marley”, It Feels Like Christmas” and even the “finale Song” was memorable but the rest is so forgettable, I couldn’t recall “One More Sleep til Christmas” or “Bless us All”, the movie had a lot of songs cut from it including songs by Beaker and Dr Honeydew, another by Sam the Eagle, these were not very good so I’m glad they weren’t kept in the film but the track “When Love is Gone” was cut from the film in releases after the theatre since it was deemed to sad and this is a shame because its a really beautiful lyrical piece that helps give more depth to Scrooge and his long lost love Belle’s character.

My favourite track is It Feels Like Christmas sang by the Ghost of Christmas Present, its a really bouncy and fun song about the meaning of Christmas but what makes it most impressive is the Puppet used for the Ghost, he was a life size Puppet made for the movie, a human actor controlled the puppet from the inside while a Puppeteer used robotics to control the eyes and mouth and did the voice acting in sync with the actors dancing and movements.

A Muppet Christmas Carol is a magical movie that is a yearly tradition for many especially Muppet fans like myself, It has a lot going for it with its impressive puppetry, charm that only these characters can bring the the screen and of course you cannot forget about Michael Cain who is just wonderful in this, this is one of the best telling’s of the classic Dickens tale but it’s not my favourite, it falls short is some places I found the commentary from Gonzo and Rizzo a little distracting at times and a few of the songs were forgettable but overall this is a still a really amazing film and it is one of the best in the Muppets library, a lot of love went into it and I have a lot of love for it and I’m sure you will too if you give it a try this Christmas.

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Prometheus (2012) Review

As the first prequel to the beloved Alien franchise Prometheus at the time was exciting and had garnered high expectations from the franchises fan base but was it what we had expected or did we leave theatres disappointed?

The film may catch viewers by surprise as it doesnt just look at the origin of the aliens but at society as a whole. The movie opens to a humanoid figure consuming a substance and disintegrating, we are then introduced to our main characters before the plot starts to unfold.

I really dislike the casting in the movie because in my opinion apart two characters everyone is really forgettable, I couldn’t tell you much about this crew apart from there a geologist, an android called David and the female lead of the film Elizabeth Shaw.

The two characters that were memorable were fantastic, Noomi Rapace is a great actress and gives some really emotional work in this film, this is best seen in a really well directed segment where she is told by David she is pregnant, since she in infertile she realises that there is an alien inside of her and in a panic she quickly uses the ships mechanics to remove it from her stomach before she is killed.

David is the best android the franchise has ever had, All of the movies previous to this had an android and all of them have been portrayed by very good actors and actresses but from a personality point of view I think David is the most relatable and a lot of this is in part due to the portrayal by Michael Fassbender and Davids ability to make his own decisions beyond his programming this is shown later on in the film.

Thankfully compared to Alien 3 the CGI here is really good and I think it works really well and is better than some CGI you see in films today, the alien designs are really cool and have a prehistoric look to them which helps to emphasise that this is an origin story so these creatures have not evolved to the form we know and love.

I like Prometheus a lot as it helps me to appreciate the origins of a franchise I hold very dear to me but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to follow even for people who know the original movies and I think if this was your introduction you may be left confused and not quite understanding what you just watched.

Overall an interesting start to the Alien prequels and one that I would recommend seeing but at least see the original film first to get an idea of the xenomorphs and to compare the complete difference in tone, pacing and story telling between the two movies.

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Tomb Raider (1996) Review

Tomb Raider is a 1996 3D platformer-puzzle game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for the Sega Saturn, Playstation 1 and MS DOS. The game was the first release in the popular video game series that sees Tomb Raider Lara Croft solving dungeons to discover treasures.

Relaxing in a Hotel in India, Lara is approached by a texan man named Larson who shows her a video feed to his boss Jaqueline Natla who offers her a job to travel to various countries to seek out the Scion of Atlantis which had been split into separate parts and hidden in tombs across Peru, Greece and Egypt.

The first Tomb Raider game while not limited in it’s environments definitely is forgettable, nothing about these areas stand out much apart from the enemies that you would fight, for example Peru has wolves and bears, Greece has lions and gorillas, Egypt has panthers and Atlantis has bleeding skin demons.

In the game you will have to solve puzzles and commit to some tricky platforming in order to survive the many tombs in the game, unfortunately you would be best playing the game on an original PS1 controller as more modern controllers make the platforming difficult as the game really was made with the Playstation’s original limited controller in mind.

while general control is rather clunky and a little stiff I found that swimming in the game worked really well and controlled smoothly, I believe this is why I enjoyed the underwater segments the most.

For an early PS1 game the graphics are really good and even hold up better than some games released later on in the systems life time, the game focuses primarily on tombs and is actually quite realistic as Lara will die constantly due to small mistakes and the tombs feel like they could exist in real life due to their simplicity by using mainly levers, switches and difficult platforming sections, there is nothing in the game that feels fantasy minus a few additions such as the Lara Doppelganger in Atlantis which is a puzzle in its self.

The soundtrack is great, it uses simple tunes but mixed in with orchestral music that fits perfectly into the lonely tombs and helps to amp up serious moments in what is a very quiet game. The developers decided to not have music playing constantly in the game but to only have it appear on certain cues such as discovering a secret or triggering a boss fight.

Tomb Raider on PS1 is a very important game as it was the introduction of Lara Croft who would go on to become one of video games most famous female icons. I wish the game controlled a little better or at least would save after every challenge as the controls really did make the gameplay unnecessarily difficult, I also wish that the environments were more memorable as apart from Atlantis and the dinosaur section nothing else really stands out. Overall I dont think is one of the best games I have ever played but its far from the worst and I look forward to checking out Tomb Raider 2 in the future.

5.3/10

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The Spongebob Movie – Sponge out of Water (2015) Review

Sponge out of Water is the second Spongebob film that was released in theatres, in brought back the original voice cast and starred Antonio Bandares as a new villain. Stephen Hillenburg returned to write this film as well as future episodes of the television series before his untimely death in 2018.

Similarly to the previous Spongebob film this opens with a live action Pirate sequence but instead of going to see the movie this Pirate played by Antonio Banderes actually plays a major role in the film when he steals the Krabby Patty formula using a magic book.

Because of the Formula disappearing food production at the Krusty Krab is put on hold causing the citizens of Bikini Bottom to go into an apocalyptic meltdown, leaving Spongebob and Plankton to try and save the town and recover the secret formula.

What I really like about this movie is that it showed a different side to Plankton that I feel hasn’t been shown before this. In the movie he and Spongebob are forced to work together to retrieve to formula and while at the beginning his plan is to take the formula for himself throughout the movie he starts to see the benefit of team work and friendship ultimately giving up what he has always desired for the benefit of others.

I really appreciate the the various styles of animation used in the movie but my favourite was during the time travels scenes where the animation got really silly and creative, every time that the machine was used a different idea was used for animation styles so each time there was something new to look forward too.

Another part I really enjoyed was when Plankton climbs into Spongebob’s brain, this highly animated scene shows to the full extent how sweet and innocent Spongebob’s mind is, of course the sweetness is too much for Plankton to handle which ends in a few good laughs.

The third act of the movie focuses on live action animation hybrid which puts CGI versions of the Spongebob characters into the real world above the ocean where they eventually gain super powers to take on the Antonio Banderes pirate.

When I first saw trailers for this movie I was concerned that it was going to use the cliche of characters from an one world come to our world and thats where all the jokes would come from. While this does happen and some jokes are at this expense I was pleased when the main goal of the film remained the focus and the comedy was more clever than easy to write humour to keeps the kids happy.

The entire film does a great job of explaining who the Spongebob characters are along with their personalities and goals so that new comers can understand whats happening without making this come across as a forced narrative.

Sponge out of Water is a really fun movie, there is a lot of different plot points going on which I think a younger audience might struggle to follow but overall its a very funny and entertaining film that is sure to keep the attention of both children and adults and shows that Spongebob is still relevant enough to make a film good enough for a theatrical release.

My favourite Spongebob episodes – F.U.N

Whats a better time than now to talk about the very famous Spongebob episode F.U.N?

After once again having his plans foiled Plankton is sent back to his computer wife Karen utterly defeated. After seeing him so sad Spongebob decides to show Plankton the power of friendship and change his evil ways.

At first Plankton is against the idea of befriending Spongebob but is convinced by his computer wife Karen that it’s the perfect chance for him to learn the formula so he ultimately agrees.

This leads into one of the most famous songs in the shows history where Spongebob tries to teach plankton how to have fun with plankton eventually fooling Spongebob into thinking he has changed.

One of the more silly episodes of the show which has more random moments than clever comedy but I feel it works really well and flows nicely as a simple story. I really love the song F.U.N and I often sing it to myself and have never forgotten the lyrics.

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Book Review: God’s Timing by Janet. E. Green

A huge thank you to the Publishing Push for sending me a review copy of this book.

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I was one of a very lucky group of people to be sent a copy of this book which has not yet been released so I cant give away too many details however I will explain things the best way that I can.

I will start by saying that I really enjoyed parts of this book more than I did others. The main focus of the story is on a young girl who is suffering with anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness which I feel in this day and age is very relatable and some people will connect with this character and feel their pain.

To be honest all of the characters in the book are really interesting and are extremely likeable, some are love interests or family to other characters in the story but some are there to help the young girl in this story to overcome her problems and become a much healthier and happier person.

The settings are really well described and it helps the reader to picture the various locations of the story and some of these places are dull and depressing which works well for certain parts of the book and others are full of wonder and creativity which I personally really enjoyed.

So for the most part I really enjoyed this book however I like to be honest even when I get sent stuff to review and a recurring theme of this book really did not work for me and that was the Bible stories.

Before I continue I want to elaborate that I have no issue with religion and I feel that it can be worked into any story if done in a way that is more subtle and a little less forced.

In the book the main character meets a person that wants to understand their mental illnesses and help them to overcome those problems but a lot of the time the way this is done is with Bible stories being told to the main character.

These sections really dragged on more than I felt was necessary and while I will admit that I have not read the original stories it seemed as if the entirety of those stories were being told.

On top of this I struggled to understand some of the morals of these stories and how they were meant to help the main character.

Perhaps if I did know the Bible stories it would make more sense but you shouldn’t need to know material from one thing to understand another thing and that is why I think the book didn’t keep my interest.

I also felt that it really affected the story because for the most part the book was great and I wish it kept its focus on the original characters and ideas instead of bouncing between that and the Bible.

I think that 60 percent of this book is great but the other 40 percent really holds it back, my biggest issue was the constant jump between this story and the Bible stories, I think a religious theme could of worked extremely well if it was executed a little bit differently, for example the main character could have joined a church or made friends with a pastor among other ideas like that but the stories were just too much because in the nicest way I can put this if I wanted to read Bible stories I would just read the Bible.

Again huge thank-you to the Publishing Push for sending me another book.

I feel a little bad for not enjoying this one as much as other books I have read but honesty is a huge part of my job and it would not feel right to pretend I enjoyed something that I didn’t.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Gods Timing by Janet. E. Green

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Pom Poko (1994) Review

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Pom Poko is a dramatic comedy film about Raccoons who want to stop a development project that may destroy their home. The film was directed by Isao Takahata

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In 1960 Tokyo Japan, a group of Raccoons are forced to leave their home in Tama Hills after greedy humans knock it down to build a new developmental project. This upsets the Raccoons who want to get revenge on the humans and get back their home.

The Raccoons end up fighting with each-other when they disagree on the best way to deal with the humans, some want to scare them away while others would rather kill them off.

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According to Japanese folk lore, Raccoons are able to transform and this ability is present in the film and plays a major role, many of the Raccoons have forgotten how to transform so they need to practice this ability to have any chance of scaring away the humans.

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While they do well in learning to transform they have to call in the help of three transformation masters, these masters help the Raccoons to pull of a spectacular parade of horrors which is the best scene in the movie. Its filled with strange imagery and weird scenarios.

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I love the transformation scenes of the Raccoons but its the regular formation of Raccoon that is my favourite they are so cute and even though they are animated they are quite realistic in design.

Recognisable names are Jonathan Taylor Thomas who plays Shōkichi and J.K. Simmons who plays Seizaemon.

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Pom Poko is a truly wonderful movie its full of charm and comedy that you will remember for a very long time, It tells its plot through a serious issue that happens to forests and homes of woodland creatures all over the world. You may be a human reading this but you will definitely be rooting for the Raccoons of Tama Hills when you watch Pom Poko.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Pom Poko

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Porco Rosso (1992) Review

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Porco Rosso is an action-comedy film directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

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An Italian fighter pilot who fought in the first World War has been turned into a pig due to a curse.

Now as a pig Marco (AKA Porco Rosso) keeps the town of Dubrovnik safe by taking out air pilots who are causing trouble for the locals.

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An American pilot called Donald Curtis arrives in Dubrovnik to work with the pirates, he is a talented flyer and is the only person that is able to best Porco and eventually taking out his plane. Porco feeling defeated takes his plane to Milan to get it repaired and upgraded ready to return and beat Donald in a competition to earn back his credibility and respect.

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I absolutely love the scenery of this film especially the flying shots which look breathtaking and beautiful, I have always loved the way that Studio Ghibli does the ocean and water in their films but the water in Porco Rosso is one of my favourites.

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Michael Keeton plays the main character Porco Rosso and he does a great job of portraying the grumpy and rough nature of his character but the entire voice cast also gave a wonderful performance.

Porco Rosso is a hilarious comedy film that is filled with romance and action. It may at times come across as a little bit silly but that only adds to its personality and makes it even more lovable, its a film that I feel anyone could get into and enjoy.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Porco Rosso

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