It took us over ten years, but hell, we finally got a great live action “Transformers” movie. The only thought that came to mind while I was watching the opening ten minutes of “Bumblebee” was: Why didn’t we get this in the first place? Why did Sony opt for such a moronic, nonsensical, incoherent mess of a franchise, rather than deliver what is easily the best live action representation of the franchise I’ve seen so far. Everything in “Bumblebee” is the antithesis of what Michael Bay’s movies were, right down to the lack of racial stereotypes, and the jingoism. Granted, there is a meat head military hero with John Cena, but that’s a miniscule nitpick in a movie that’s just such a great experience from beginning to end.
After suffering a major identity crisis for the last three seasons, “Fear the Walking Dead” finally finds it footing. By throwing everything it’s established out and keeping only a few main characters here and there. What began as an urban retelling of the zombie apocalypse involving two families, the Manawas and the Clarks, is now really nothing more an immigration allegory with characters basically bumping back and forth. “Fear the Walking Dead” managed to have the opportunity to really unfold an epic tale of a mixed race family, and how they learned to get along with get to know each other. Their mixed and uneasy union would have to be tested. Except, all we get is a lot of goofy switches of the premise, and wastes of some good characters.
With Teen Titans getting their own live action television series, and their spin off about to grant them their own movie, inexplicably, Warner finally unleashes season one of the good version of “Teen Titans” on Blu-Ray for fans. It’s a good way to honor the legacy of a great series, but I take it as a great reminder of a time when “Teen Titans” was a very good animated series that wasn’t exclusive to children. “Teen Titans” is a pseudo-anime iteration of the classic comic book series that is bold enough to set itself apart from the usual Bruce Timm animated style.
2014’s “The Lego Movie” surprised fans two fold, not just by being an excellent movie, but by turning Batman in to one of the funniest supporting characters in an animated movie since—well ever. “The Lego Batman Movie” initially had me very skeptical as to how far they could stretch the hilarious side character in to his own feature film, and shocking enough Lego Batman’s spin off is fantastic. It’s laugh out loud funny, very clever, and has a bonafide appeal to both hardcore fans and new audiences looking for a giggle or two. Like the original movie that spawned it, “The Lego Batman Movie” garners a myriad absurdity and off the wall hilarity that will keep many viewers laughing almost non-stop, but the writing team also injects a lot of heart. While Batman is a self confident, obnoxious, egomaniac in love with his own vigilante persona, he’s also a man who doesn’t realize much of it is hollow without a family or someone to lean on.
I’ve given “Fear the Walking Dead” two seasons already and it’s failed to really impress me. It shifts locations constantly, doesn’t seem to garner one interesting character of the bunch, and there are so many sub-plots that are set up only to be left dangling at the end of the season. While most people are saying the show resolves a lot of the sub-plots, I still am asking a bunch of questions after the finale. Also, I’m still trying to figure out why the series builds up these huge storylines only for them to sputter out and run out of gas so suddenly? So Daniel really is dead or what? Why did Ofelia leave the hotel and go out on her own, again? Why didn’t she at least leave a note for Alicia? Was she trying to look for her father? So can Nick talk to walkers or was he hallucinating? Why did Madison and Alicia fight for the hotel and work so hard to clean it out as a refuge only for them to give it up at the drop of a hat?
If you’re like me, you’re a hardcore fan of “The Lion King” and didn’t mind extensions of the mythology. Sadly the follow ups were all sub-par, and “The Lion Guard” muddies up the mythos even further. Granted, “The Lion Guard” is a perfectly fine animated movie, and you’ll likely say “Felix, this series isn’t meant for you,” but even kids will have a difficult time figuring out the time line if they decide to do the math. “The Lion Guard” is set immediately after part one and before part two. So that means everything after “The Lion Guard” doesn’t matter, and the central focus of the series is back on a young lion cub rather than the lioness Kiara, originally Simba’s spunky daughter. “The Lion Guard” works on actively erasing the latter story line by reworking the entirety of future story lines, which include Skar’s children, his wife, and the lack of a mention of the plot elements in the sequels.
Speaking as a guy who loves “Full House,” grew up watching it, and even spent his own money on the complete series on DVD, I’m surprised that I’m not the person “Fuller House” is apparently targeted toward. Granted, I love my fair share of nineties nostalgia, and will spend hours savoring on even the most minute nineties details, but “Fuller House” fails mainly because it is painfully aware that it’s a television show. Granted, I wouldn’t argue “Full House” is high art, but they embraced the sitcom formula, despite the far fetched story line and inconsistencies in story. “Fuller House” knows it’s a sitcom, feels like a very long sketch for a late night talk show, and even breaks the fourth wall. Even in the worst of episodes, “Full House” never broke the fourth wall and never acknowledged that it’s a goofy sitcom mainly for the family.
With “The Lion Guard,” you have to keep telling yourself, it’s mainly a show for the kids, and you might be able to forgive some of the mistakes it makes. While it does make the wise choice of somewhat ignoring the lackluster sequels to “The Lion King,” it also adds unnecessary dimension to what was already a complex animated movie. Since the series “The Lion Guard” is touted for kids, I doubt Disney will do much to patch up continuity problems, so you have to decide if you want to acknowledge “The Lion Guard.” This time around, “The Lion Guard” is set somewhere during Simba’s reign and obviously before “The Lion King 2.” As a matter of fact, “The Lion Guard” essentially ignores “Simba’s Pride,” altogether.