James Rolf on the ‘Alien’ Franchise

James Rolf of Cinemassacre is reposting several monster movie reviews for Fall (or what I like to call “Pumpkin Spice Season”). His overview of the Alien franchise is entertaining and informative.

I always respect Rolf’s thoughtful reviews. I have a slightly better opinion than he does (and than most people do) of Alien 3, and I note that he doesn’t mention either the bizarre, disjointed sexual subtext of Alien, nor the dependence of Aliens on the Rambo movies, but this is nonetheless a thorough set of involved reviews. His discussion of the influence of Alien on video games such as Metroid, Xenophobe, and R-Type is interesting; certainly, the influence of its set and creature design is felt still today.

And I agree with him that Alien vs. Predator: Requiem totally sucks. I don’t remember why I even saw that, but I do remember it being my second worst experience in a theater, right after Pluto Nash.

Grape-kun Is with Harambe Now

Waifus out for Grape-kun.

Okay, I admit I’d never heard of Grape-kun before yesterday, but all of a sudden, my social media timelines were full of him.

The handy website Know Your Meme breaks down the facts. Grape-kun was an elderly Humboldt penguin in the Tobu Zoo in Japan. For a while, the zoo had placed cardboard cutouts of characters from the manga and anime series Kemono Friends in the pens of various animals as an advertising gimmick. I’ve never seen Kemono Friends, but it is apparently yet another of the innumerable manga/anime about random objects anthropomorphized as little girls; in this case, the random objects are animals. The anime series is on Crunchyroll.

Anyway, the zoo placed an image of a character named Hululu, an anthropomorphized penguin, in the pen of Grape-kun. Thereafter, people noticed the penguin frequently staring at the image.

He’s probably wondering what happened to Hululu’s pants.

Naturally, people leapt to conclusions, and Goboiano reported on April 27 with the headline, “Japan Puts Anime in Zoo and Penguin Adopts a Waifu.”

Grape-kun died yesterday, October 12th. The zoo reported that the cut-out of Hululu was with Grape-kun through his final moments.

Four months ago, this comic showed up on the Internet. I’ve been unable to figure out if this is from the manga version of Kemono Friends, or if this is someone’s fan art, but either way, it is now relevant:

Rest in peace, Grape-kun.

#WaifuWednesday Special: Andalusia Trading Card is 50% Off!

On this Waifu Wednesday, are you alone? Are you lonely and miserable, sitting in your mom’s basement with your fedora askew on your unwashed hair as you scratch your unshorn neck and pick at your acne? Are your hot pockets tasteless, no longer satisfying? Does your anime character body pillow no longer comfort you as it once did? Do you wonder if this is all there is to life? Do you yearn for something more? Are you in need of a warrior dame named after an autonomous community of Spain to lift you out of your doldrums?

I think so. In fact, I know so.

That’s why, in honor of Waifu Wednesday, our one-of-a-kind Magical Girl Lady Paladin Andalusia trading cards are half off for one day only! Featuring Andalusia’s genuine signature and the professional photography of artist Roffles Lowell, this card depicts Andalusia in a striking yet sensitive pose, eyes humbly cast down as she thanks God and the Moon Princess for her latest victory over monsters and Saracens … or maybe she’s just thinking about the Backdoor Boys, because, I mean, Donnie in those tight jeans? Like, OMP.

So don’t delay. Shut up and let me take your money … or something like that.

Movie Review: ‘My Little Pony: The Movie’

Possibly the best thing ever to come out of the My Little Pony franchise.

My Little Pony: The Movie. Directed by Jayson Thiessen. Written by Joe Ballarini, Meghan McCarthy, Rita Hsiao, and Michael Vogel. Lionsgate and Allspark Pictures, 2017. 99 minutes. Rated PG. CNS Rating is A-I, General Patronage.

As I expected, critics are panning it, and it might turn out that My Little Pony: The Movie will prove to be a financial mistake for Hasbro and Lionsgate.

That being said, I honestly don’t know what the complaints are about. I thought this was a great movie. My only (mild) criticisms are that none of the musical numbers are among the franchise’s catchiest, and some of the animation could be better, but aside from that, this is a fine, if not exactly stunning, children’s film. Looking at a few of the negative reviews, I get the distinct impression that the critics are turning up their noses not because it’s a bad movie per se, but simply because it’s My Little Pony.

However, in my humble opinion, this may be the best thing ever to come out of the franchise. I daresay this is the first time My Little Pony has come close to living up to its potential.

G4’s central cast, from left to right: Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, Spike, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Applejack.

Continue reading “Movie Review: ‘My Little Pony: The Movie’”

Comic Book Review: ‘Cleopatra in Space’

“But why are they in space? There’s no reason for them to be in space!”

Cleopatra in Space, written and illustrated by Mike Maihack. 3 vols. New York: Scholastic, 2014-2016.

We have before us a highly entertaining space opera swashbuckler aimed at a younger audience but also suitable for adults.

Author and illustrator Mike Maihack has worked on several different comics projects, including the webcomic Cow and Buffalo. He also produced an earlier webcomic version of the present story under the more facetious title of Cleopatra in SPAAAACE, which he halted abruptly in order to reimagine Cleopatra’s tale as a series of graphic novels, published through Scholastic’s Graphix Imprint. The stories of the graphic novels and webcomic differ in some details and do not overlap.

The series currently stands at four volumes, the fourth having released recently this year. I am here discussing only the first three, which are all I’ve got my hands on so far.

Continue reading “Comic Book Review: ‘Cleopatra in Space’”

Bad Signs for the ‘My Little Pony’ Movie

The above image is screencapped from Rotten Tomatoes. At the time of this writing, My Little Pony: The Movie has no critical reviews, which means they’re withholding it from critics.

It’s also opening the same weekend as Blade Runner. They don’t have exactly the same target audience, but still.

I smell a bomb.

‘Miraculous Ladybug’ Season 2 Official Trailer

The official trailer for the long-awaited second season of the French CGI magical girl series Miraculous has made its appearance just today. It’s a silent montage with accompanying music. Based on what we see here, season 2 will likely follow the pattern of season 1—which would be a good thing, as season 1 was enormously entertaining, if formulaic.

Rumors have been going around for a long while that additional superheroes will appear in the second season: particularly, Internet legend has it that Marinette’s bestie Alya will acquire the fox miraculous and that her enemy Chloé will acquire the bee miraculous. There’s no evidence of such a thing in the trailer; it may be rumor, an early idea that got nixed, or something they’re still planning but decided to leave out of the preview. But the symbols on that little box, suggest, at any rate, that more superheroes should be making an appearance.