it’s here

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’.”

– Robert Oppenheimer 

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RANKING THE PIXAR MOVIES: No. 14

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NO. 14 – Monsters University (2013)

DIRECTOR: Dan Scanlon

If there’s one thing nobody really expected Pixar would attempt to do, a prequel wouldn’t be low on the list, especially a prequel to what many deem to be one of their best films. Also, weren’t there parts in the teaser for the original and the original itself where Sully tells Mike about how he spent time passing notes to a girl in the fifth grade, and where Mike tells Sully that he (Sully)’s been jealous of his looks since fourth grade? Bizarre decisions and continuity errors aside, how does Monsters University fare on its’ own? Pretty darn good, actually. Okay, it isn’t exactly great and it definetely doesn’t top the original (not that anyone was expecting it to do so), but it’s time we truly start to delve into it. Ever since a fateful elementary school field trip, Mike Wazowski has devoted his life to becoming a professional Scarer for Monsters Inc. Eleven years later, his dream is closer than ever to becoming a reality when he becomes a student for Monsters University. There, he meets his future best friend (I mean, come on, that isn’t really a spoiler) and one of the “jocks” of the university, James “Sulley” P. Sullivan. The two start off on rather rocky terms, and it escalates to the point where an incident results in the both of them failing the semester’s final exam. However, a sheer miracle shines through for them in the form of the “Scare Games”, the only problem being that they’re competing against the university’s strongest fraternity Roar Omega Roar, and that the fraternity they’re on, Ozma Kappa is…well, not the strongest by any means. Now with all odds against them, Mike and Sulley have to find a way to pull through, while also forming a strong bond in the process. With all of that out of the way, let’s get into what’s good. The animation (as to be expected from The Big P) is gorgeous, with the monsters having wildly creative and varied designs, along with some fine textures in terms of their fur, scales, horns, etc. The attention to detail that went towards the university is very impressive as well, as there are times where you’ll really feel like you’re at an actual college (expect with, y’know, monsters) more often than not. Heck, they even made a fake website that’s still up to this day! The development of the relationship between Mike and Sulley is also very well done, as they come to realize that while their obsession with trying to outdo each other has led them to their current situation, they can manage to work together along with Ozma Kappa to get out of it. Speaking of which, the other characters, both old and new, offer plenty of charm and likeability, the lovable misfits of Ozma Kappa being a shining example. In addition, the action sequences are fantastic, being exciting, fast-paced, and even a bit suspenseful at times, the Library scene and the climax being the most worthy of this notion. Now, let’s move on to the flaws. While the plot is executed in a satisfying manner, I won’t deny that it can be a bit slow at times, as a chunk of the plot is spent towards Mike and Sulley’s eventual friendship rather than the Scare Games. There’s also the problem that for a Pixar film, it can get suprisingly mean-spirited at times. I mean, just watch the final exam scene and the (SPOILER WARNING!!!) part where Sulley admits to Mike that he essentially helped him cheat without him knowing and you’ll see what I mean. Regardless, Monsters University is a perfectly good prequel that manages to stand on its’ own ground.

RANKING THE PIXAR MOVIES: No. 15

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NO. 15 – Cars 2 (2011)

DIRECTOR: John Lasseter

Cars is often regarded as Pixar’s lesser franchise, and when people provide evidence to back this statement, they frequently point to the sequel, which is considered by many to be the first ever “not good” Pixar film. However, if you ask me…it’s actually not that bad. I’d even go as far as to call it decent! So, what about the story? Some time after the events of the original film, Lightning McQueen and his allies head overseas to compete in an international racing championship aptly titled the World Grand Prix. However, Mater is mistaken for a spy by a secret agent car named Finn McMissile, and ultimately ends up getting tangled in a fuel conspiracy which inadvertently puts his friendship with Lightning on the line, and holy smokes what isn’t going on in this. With that said, the big issue that everyone has with this film is…well, just take a gander at my plot synopsis. As you can see, the focus has shifted gears towards the main comic relief of the film, Mater, whose reception is quite mixed throughout the Pixar fanbase. If you want my point of view, I actually like him a lot. I guess his whole “dimwitted but big-hearted country guy” shtick can get a bit wearisome after a while, but it doesn’t bother me that much and I do get some good laughs from him. The story itself is well-written, putting a balanced emphasis on both plotlines while also never really losing focus on the other. This also leads into one of the other major strengths, the animation. Not only do you really feel like you’re on a world tour, there’s also some neat action scenes to boot, being frenetic and exciting, with the climax being especially noteworthy. Cars 2: It ain’t Pixar’s finest, but it’s far from being truly awful.

IT’S! THE! NUTSHACK!

I have seen a wide range of cartoons, whether they be great, okay, bad, or just plain terrible. But with that in mind, none of them, and I mean NONE OF THEM, can manage to hold a candle to the sheer, unmitigated piece of crap that is…The Nutshack.

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Developed and touted as an adult animated series marketed for a Filipino demographic, the series revolves around a self-centered Filipino-American named Phil and his cousin from the Philippines, the slow but friendly Jack, as they frequently find themselves in a never ending series of Wacky And Totally Raunchy™ misadventures while living with their uncle, Tito “Dick” Dickman (subtle). Years after its’ end, however, the show has garnered a reputation as not only one of the worst adult cartoons ever made, but one of the worst cartoons, PERIOD. With that said, however, is it really that bad? Hell yes, but in order to get a better understanding as to why, let’s take a look at one of the episodes, “El Bombadero”.

The episode starts off in Phil, Jack, and Dick’s apartment, and already there’s so, so many things wrong. For starters, the animation is just awful in every sense of the word. Of course, this show was made during a time when television shows animated with Flash was a relatively young technique, but even then it can’t excuse just how stiff and unappealing it is. Secondly, the voice acting. I’ve heard some bad voice acting before, but not to the point where I actually have trouble trying to make out what the characters are saying. Thirdly, this thing.

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What the hell is that!? A cyborg Mogwai? Also, his voice acting is so bad and high-pitched that they actually had to put subtitles for his dialogue. Anyways, after an unfunny drug joke and a remarkably terrible theme song, we cut to Phil and Jack getting ready for a night of spraying graffiti throughout San Fransisco (or “bombing” as it’s referred to in the episode), when Phil’s friend and Jack’s love interest Chita shows up to inform the guys about the death of Monty, an infamous spray painter who Chita went to high school with. Despite an anchorman reporting Monty’s demise on television stating a ban on graffiti throughout San Fransisco by authorities, Phil plans to go ahead with his bombing plans and manages to distract Chita with the Legendary Edition of Halo 3. In an graffiti-strewn graffiti, Phil tells Jack why graffiti is so great, saying that the rush you get from it “grows hair on your nuts”, followed by –

euuugh

…yeah, I TOTALLY needed that imprinted into my brain. Anyways, Phil and Jack meet up with a group of spray-painters (whose names I don’t remember nor care enough to do so), with one of them mistaking Horatio (the aforementioned cyborg Mogwai…rat…whatever) for a bong, because bongs are hilarious or something. While they go on a bombing spree, Dick (who’s somehow still under the influence of the drugs from the opening) stumbles around until he stumbles across one of the spray-painters, followed by a dragged out sequence of the two just saying “what” to each other. As the cops inevitably arrive, the guys are forced to make a break for it, and…the scene just randomly ends and cuts to Jack and Horatio the next day. Transitions? What are these “Transitions” you speak of!? Anyways, Jack and Horatio discover that the entirety of San Fransisco has been covered in graffiti, and while following the trail, they’re led to the culprits and the two main antagonists of the series (or at least, the closest it has to one), Jerome and Jamal. The two are ambushed by the duo’s…gangster ninja clan, and the duo reveal that they have Phil and Chita hostage. Jerome and Jamal reveal their intentions behind their crime, saying that it was revenge for Phil, Jack, and the others for spraying over Jerome’s territory. Jerome explains that unless the group become their servants, they will be killed. After Jack refuses to hand over Horatio to Jerome and Jamal for reprogramming purposes, he is shot in the head and killed.

Oh, how I wish it was, Porky. So yeah, believe it or not it doesn’t up and end there. Instead, as Phil is about to be killed, the group that him and Jack ran into earlier show up and slaughter the crap out of the ninjas, followed by Jack getting resurrected by Jesus Christ. I would follow that with a “believe me, that actually happens”, but at this point anyone can go, I guess. At a bar where Jerome, Jamal, and the ninjas are keeping Chita and Horatio hostage, Jack shows up to rescue them in a lame parody of Zorro, followed by an equally lame fight scene, ultimately ending the episode off with Jerome and Jamal both tied up in a similar fashion to a pinata, about to be hit (and presumably killed) by a fat Hawaiian guy.

So, that was an episode of The Nutshack. Needless to say, it’s one of those shows that has to be legitimately seen to be believed. It’s not even bad in an ironic or humorous way, it’s a genuinely horrid piece of work. But hey, at least we can rest safe knowing that there won’t be any more adult animation on the same level as this –

…*sigh*

BONUS QUESTION: How was your Christmas?