Posts filed under 'Cartoons'

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers (and half of Maggie). We are thankful for you (and just a little tiny bit late). We hope you had pie and poutine and roasted caribou or whatever your traditional dishes are. In celebration, enjoy your fellow Canadian Ellen Page doing a new spin on this classic Bugs Bunny routine:

October 13th, 2009

Giveaway: To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants

spongebobI have a special place in my heart for Spongebob Squarepants. Not only did I watch a ridiculous amount of him during my lonely year in Boston after I graduated from college, but my whole family (of which I am the youngest) went to go see the movie on Christmas Day a few years ago.

What do I like about it? Something about the lovable absurdity. The fact that I have a sneaking suspicion that if the guys who made it weren’t making cartoons, they’d probably be working for NASA. The fact that it’s both gentle and surprisingly subversive.

On that note, we’ve got another giveaway — this time for the DVD “SpongeBob SquarePants: To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants.” The DVD includes several episodes of the series including “The Splinter,” “The Slumber Party” and “Grooming Gary.”

If you want it, e-mail tifaux -at- gmail -dot- com with the subject line “Bikini Bottom.”

July 14th, 2009

The Simpsons map: That’s a lot of stuff

simpsonstownSometimes I get bogged down by how much work there is to do in the world. There are so many problems to be fixed — the economy, international relations, addressing the national pleated pants issue. It’s like we can only invest so many hours in the day to fixing it all.

And then there’s this — an interactive map of The Simpson’s hometown of Springfield. It has everything from the staples of Moe’s and Monty Burns’ estate to obscure, nerds-only landmarks like Fireworks, Candy and Puppydogs and Styx and Stones Records.

Holy crap, you guys. Can you image the level of research that went into this?  Just in terms of sheer labor in time invested. I’m not thinking that the creators of this map were deciding between this and curing cancer, but wow.  Just wow.

February 27th, 2009

Guest straight columnist: Justice League reviewed

Hey guys, here’s a TiFaux guest contribution! I got my straight guy friend Rob to write up a review of the Justice League: The New Frontier. I keep a few straight guys in my circle of friends to make it seem like I’m open minded about other lifestyles. Seems like most of them have beards these days (Rob, folk singer Justin) — go figure. Anyway, here’s what he had to say…

(Oh, and he wants me to tell you that this probably deserves a PG-13 rating because heads blow up at certain points in the movie.)

superguns.jpg

When Dan made sure that a review copy of Justice League: The New Frontier made it into my hands, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I’m a big fan of the comic book it’s based on, and pretty much everything by its author and artist, Darwyn Cooke, who served as a creative consultant for the movie.

So, apparently the DC comics animation guys who made Batman: The Animated Series and the Justice League cartoons have moved away from television and into the direct-to-DVD market. Fine by me, if it means they can do more mature, long-form stories but still, while The New Frontier is a great book, it’s kind of an odd fit for a film. Y’see, the story takes place in the 1950s, involves a huge cast with several separate storylines and takes its atmospheric cues from Cold War-era paranoia. I can see the instant appeal for comic book readers, but to the uninitiated who haven’t subjected themselves to decades of comics lore, it might be a little bit jarring.

There’s a lot to love in the first two-thirds of the film, though. For the most part, the animation is nice – better than the Batman cartoons, although not on the level of, say, Spirited Away. The book’s cast list was chopped down, so what we’re left with two main plotlines: a hotshot pilot’s path to becoming the Green Lantern and a Martian visitor slowly learning the ways of earth. There are also a handful of other supporting players with their own stories, including a morally conflicted Superman who’s been drafted as a government agent, a really cool interpretation of Wonder Woman who’s built like a linebacker, and my personal favorite, a nice-guy version of the Flash who has a couple of sweet moments with his fiancé. The narratives are filled with fun little 50s-era flourishes, especially Green Lantern’s, which clearly draws much of its inspiration from Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff.”

Unfortunately, all of those storylines come together in a messy pileup at the movie’s end, which pits the assembled heroes against a poorly defined superthreat that turns out to be (spoiler alert) a flying dinosaur island that can shoot energy beams. And, although the movie makes some weak attempts at foreshadowing, this thing basically just appears as an excuse for everyone to provide a common enemy. Plus, a bunch of heroes from the book who were mostly cut from the film appear for the climactic scene, but you’d have no idea who they are, because they have no lines.

Of course, I know all of the characters and I’ve read the book, so I was OK. But, just to test my accessibility theory about this movie, I watched it with the girlfriend. Here’s a sample of our conversation:

g/f: What’s that Wonder Woman’s flying in? A cage made out of blood?
me: No, Wonder Woman has an invisible plane. I think she was just bleeding all over the cockpit.
g/f: Wonder Woman has an invisible plane?
me: Yep.
g/f: That’s awesome.

So, yeah, the uninitiated would probably find much of this movie – especially the last 30 minutes – almost incomprehensible. It seems like the writers either should have further simplified the original material even further or given the story more room to breath, which would have required more than its meager 75-minute run-time. But even with those fairly glaring flaws, it’s still fun for nerds, though, especially those who want a companion piece for the book.

February 26th, 2008


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