The SpongeBob Movie, Sponge out of Water

Hmm, this came on one night on TV, and I was curious. I’m not a fan of the cartoon show. I’m not not a fan, either, I just haven’t seen it. So aside from all the memes, this is my first look at the world of Bikini Bottom. I remember seeing the trailers and thinking it would mostly be a CGI movie mixing SpongeBob with real people, but that’s not the case. I really enjoyed getting to see the cartoon world a lot.

The movie is fun, fast-paced and pretty irreverent. It’s just a movie for fun. Characters start and end the same, but I suppose that isn’t a bad thing. If I had seen the cartoon series, I might even describe it as just a huge episode.

The movie set things up well. I had no problem understanding what was going on and who was what. SpongeBob was fun to watch, and really, he’s the only one that gets strong character moments. The others are there for the jokes. Plankton also gets some nice scenes, though.

Hmm, it’s a cartoon with a simple plot that succeeds at what it wants to do, I think. I’ll have some minor spoilers about scenes I liked following. I enjoyed the film despite not watching the SpongeBob cartoon.

Alright, I really like the scene where SpongeBob and Plankton are traveling through time. That entire sequence was awesome for me from the music to the visuals to Bubbles. Wow. That scene is trippy to the max.

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Next Gen

What I expected: Wall-e mixed with Flubber

Next Gen is an animated science fiction movie where robots are everywhere. And I mean everywhere. They’re even the dispoable ramen bowls that self make-themselves while advertising. And Mei, the main character, hates all of that. She is a young girl sorely missing human interaction. Her mother is a robot addict, and even school bullies outsource their bullying to the robots.

Then she meets, well, hmm, an experimental robot that’s not given a name. He has a project number, but that’s about it. He kicks off a change in Mei. First, he turns her more violent when she discovers he is full of weapons. Yes, the robot friend is armed to the teeth.

This movie is on Netflix, and I don’t know its official ESRB rating, but I would say it is pushing PG into PG-13. This movie can get quite violent at times, and Mei is a girl full of anger. When your mother spends more time with a robot buddy than you, it tends to cause issues.

The world is quite fun, showing off how everything is a robot. There are lots of jokes about it, and I like the feel. It does paint a picture where somehow, people still have things to do despite robots doing everything. I mean, kids are going to school for some reason. The main reason in film is to give Mei relatable kid problems.

The animation is great. Towards the end of the movie, there are several gorgeous shots. Mei and her robot friend both show a lot of touching moments. They work great together and really make the film fun to watch. Both of them grow throughout the film, though Mei especially. The just-activated robot turns out to be a great teacher and just what she needs. I like the problems Mei deals with is less relating to robots and just what happened to her family. Yet, the futuristic world still comes through at being important.

Next Gen is a fun science fiction movie with a lot of heart between the two main characters. It does get dark and serious, showing the issues a troubled girl gets into. It is on Netflix and is entertaining. The world is fun and the story is good.

Spoiler thoughts.

I did not expect the huge amount of weapons and actions scenes. Whoa. The main antagonist could be better, though. Though they are really creepy, I’ll give them that.

What I got: iRobot mixed with Gundam

The Hollow

What to do when you wake up in a mysterious room with no memories and with two other strangers? It’s a mystery. A real mystery, alright. Oh, and one of you has super powers.

The Hollow is a cartoon about three teenagers that happen to find themselves in such a predicament. They awake in a room and must solve puzzles to get out. The premise starts spooky and mysterious with them trying to figure out why anything is happening. The world outside is spooky, lonely and foreboding.

Soon, though, it takes a turn for the wacky. The world becomes a mishmash of all sorts of strange things from different stories and genres. For the most part, it works well to depeend the mystery, but it also loses a lot of the foreboding feeling. The characters moved on into being annoyed at things rather than worried about it.

The main characters are Adam, Mira and Kai. They bicker and fight, but they come together in the end to pull off victories. Though Adam and Mira don’t change that much. Kai experiences the most growth out of the three of them. I think Mira changes the least. Still, they play off each other well, though they can get annoying at times when they get annoyed with each other.

And not to worry. This story will reveal the main mystery of who the kids are and why they are trapped. Information is slowly built up over the course of a strange adventure. And it is quite an adventure where they face many challenges and meet strange characters.

I think it’s unfortunate the initial intrigue is changed for more wackiness, and the characters can be a bit generic. It’s still an interesting world and the challenges are fun to be a part of. And I liked having the answers by the end of the season. Of course, people will be divided on if the answers are worthy of the setup, but I liked it.

The Hollow is a fun diversion of a show that doesn’t live up to the original tone set. Though I think the show would be way darker if it did follow that path. The levity and humor in it works well, too.

Reverie

The Reverie, a computer program where you can create a world all your own. But what happens when people no longer want to leave? Their real bodies start to die, so it’s up to our main character, Mara Kint, to bring them out. She is a former crisis negotiator that quit her job after a traumatic experience, and helping people in the Reverie is just what she needs.

The concept of the show reminds me of other mind hacking shows. Usually, though, there’s no crime being committed. The ones in danger are the people that refuse to leave the Reverie. Though with such an experimental program, there are bound to be complications that need to be fixed. I do think they don’t push the dreamworld part of the Reverie far enough. I think it’s mostly budget reasons, but it is cool when the world shows that it is all a computer simulation.

I like the character of Mara, played by Sarah Shahi, a lot. She’s cheerful, helpful and well-meaning. It’s fun seeing her interact with the people refusing to leave the program.  Of course, there is that traumatic thing

Most episodes follow a similar procedure, so I guess this is a procedural, just not a crime one. Having the “victims” be the central story of an episode is nice, though. There’s a different approach that needs to be taken each time since people are different. And the episodes that don’t follow the formula are quite fun.

The rest of the main characters are the scientists and manager running the Reverie program. They’re all pretty cool in their own way. Charlie, played by Dennis Haysbert, is great. He’s tough, but knows people well enough to not be too tough. He knows how to get things done and is the primary guy talking to people outside of the company.

Reverie is a cool sci-fi procedural that’s not all about crime. It’s about people. If you want a different pace from other procedurals, this one is fun. There’s nothing must-see about it, but I enjoyed it.

Cloak and Dagger

A Marvel show for teens. But don’t be fooled. It has a lot of serious and crushing moments. The main characters can be angsty, but they have good reason to be.

Cloak and Dagger, or in their normal names, Tyrone and Tandy respectively, have been linked since they were young. Both of them were present at an accident, and in that event, both of them lost someone close. It’s also where they got their cool powers.

If you want super heroes and hero activity in your superhero show, you’ll want to look elsewhere. These young adults are focused on other things. One of them is actively a terrible person through most of the season. But if you want a character-based drama that shows the trials and growth of the main character, Cloak and Dagger does it fantastically.

The show is entirely focused on the titular characters. There’s only one side character that sort of has a plot not related to Cloak or Dagger, but also not really. I’m speaking of Detective O’reilly, how has her own reasons for being involved. But almost everyone else is only around to serve Tyrone and Tandy’s growth and development.

Which makes it a great thing that that Tyrone and Tandy are both great characters. I like Tandy better. She starts off as a sweet kid, but as a result of the accident, she grows up to be selfish and manipulative. As long as she gets what she wants, it’s fine. Over the course of the season, she fights with Tyrone, grows closer to him, pushes him away, pushes him to be better and comes to rely on him.

Tyrone changes a bit less. His emotions are in constant turmoil, but he pushes it down a lot. It leads to him lashing out, yet he’s the one that is always trying to be optimistic. He’s the one trying to keep Tandy a good person, and he’s the one that’s trying to be hopeful despite his feelings telling him otherwise. The actor, though, can come across a bit stiff at times.

The two of them work together really well, which makes the show work. Cloak and Dagger doesn’t have much heroics. This season is about their growth and learning about their powers. Both main characters are compelling. They’re flawed, but you want to see both of them happy and succeed, even when they’re straying into being full jerks.

So if you want superheros, this show will probably disappoint you. But if you want to see the characters react and grow after a horrible event in their lives, and for that problem to continue even during their current lives, this show does it well.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Okay, mild spoilers for something that happens in the first ten or so minutes of the movie. This movie is about time travel, suprisingly enough. Yeah, I didn’t get that from any of the trailers at all. But Jake wants to feel closer to his grandfather, so he goes to his grandfathers old group home. His granfather has been telling stories about the home and about all of the peculiar children that live there and the woman that runs it, Miss Peregrine.

And when I say peculiar, I mean all this children have some kind of ability, like X-men.

Of course it’s all true. And so, Jake gets drawn into a strange new world of time travel. It’s kind of confusing time travel, too. There are some stories that don’t make time travel so confusing. This one just rolls with it and hopes people don’t think about it that much. It just feels like a really convoluted way to hide the peculiar children.

I have not read the books, but I think it was that way in the books, too. Might as well keep it the same for the movie.

The movie is a bit slow paced. It takes a long while before we get to know why the peculiars all need to hide within a time loop. I do not mind that at all. I really liked the parts where Jake is just getting to known the children. There’s a lot of them, and they all get some cool or cute scenes to show off. I hear most of them are pretty different from the book, but I do like the movie versions. The group is a family, and that comes through over the first part of the film where they’re just living and getting along.

Miss Peregrine is a sharp figure that has a tight control on keeping the children safe. It’s also a prison of sorts, but there are dangers out in the world for the peculiar children.

The atmosphere of the movie is pretty nice. Miss Peregrine’s home is locked in a loop back in World War 2, and everything has that old feel charm without the horrors of war. Overall, the feel of the movie is engaging and really adds to it.

Once the action starts, things get weirder than before. The CGI could use some work, but the monsters are still really creepy. And Samuel L. Jackson is great in the film. He’s just so over the top in all instances, and it’s hilarious how he acts like minor things are personal affronts to his very being.

It is a peculiar movie that builds up a great atmosphere throughout. The pacing in the beginning is really slow. I enjoy it, but I can see it as being a bit too much consecutive moments of just building characters. Then the second part happens with all the danger and action. It still retains the feeling of the first half, which is good, but I felt it was weaker than the first part.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is enjoyable, especially for someone like me that enjoys a glance at people just living their strange life.

The Accountant

It’s like John Wick, but with an accountant! Alright, perhaps not as badass as John Wick. No one is. Still The Accountant strikes up a good tone and an interesting main character.

Christian Wolff, a total fake name, is an accountant. He has some sort of autism, which makes him socially awkward but also really great at certain things. His father, wanting to toughen him up, gives him all sorts of harsh training ever since he was a kid. It leaves him really skilled not but social at all.

As an adult, he works as an accountant since he’s great at numbers. He gets hired to check over the numbers of a company and he finds something weird. That’s when people start to die and everything goes wrong. Someone is trying to cover things up, and Christian Wolff can’t have that. He needs to finish things, and he also needs to protect his new friend, Dana.

Aside from the main character, the other characters all just come and go. They still feel important to the story, but it’s just not clear how until the end. The story bounces around a bit here and there. At first, I didn’t think the out of order sequence was necessary. A lot of things just seem to happen. Once everything is explained, though, it all makes sense and really adds to the movie. For the most part, the out of order parts were alright, but perhaps one scene too many.

I think having a more stable base would help the movie.

Once the action starts, however, I think the movie doesn’t live up to what it built. The fighting isn’t bad by any means, but I guess I had some ideas of how awesome it could be. As it is in the film, Christian Wolff is merely alright within the movie realm of legends.

The Accountant is a cool film that slowly builds up an atmosphere around our mysterious accountant. I think maybe not setting up how much of a badass the main character is would make parts of the film better. And then they could go into just what the accountant did to earn his reputation. Or maybe that’s what they did in the movie, but I already knew about things from the trailer, and thus, it colored my perception of the film. Oh well.