Strange Magic

This movie is something out there. The style of the movie ranges between odd and wonderfully magical. The story centers around two nations, the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest. And the Dark Forest is the one that’s wonderfully magical. Also, when I saw the trailers, I had no idea that this was a musical. It surprised me, but the musical numbers are all really great. I don’t think they use original songs, but their take on songs is fun, well-sung and animated fantastically.

The beginning of the movie is slow, though. I had no idea what the point of anything was until a bit further into the movie. That wouldn’t be a huge problem but the Fairy Kingdom, where we spend our time, is also a pretty boring place. It’s really normal in terms of fantasy fairy kingdoms. Nothing really drew me in.

Once the Bog King shows up, though, things get rolling. The Bog King is the ruler of the Dark Forest, and he despises love potions. Unfortunately, someone from the Fairy Kingdom makes a love potion, so he has to get down to business destroying it.

There are a lot of well-known plot points in the movie, but also a lot of interesting things I really liked. I’ll talk more about that later. Also, the characters are overall charming and fun to watch, especially the denizens of the Dark Forest. They’re all much more interesting than the characters of the Fairy Kingdom, but I’m not sure if that was intentional.

After a slow beginning, I really enjoyed the film. The scenes are nice, the animation is fluid, things sparkle and glow magically. Some plot points were a bit weak and well-known, but others felt like a great take on a classical idea. And the musical numbers are all pretty rad, too. I think the actors for the characters do all of the singing, and they belt out some powerful songs.

Now for the spoiler part of the review. Don’t read past here if you don’t want to be spoiled!

I sort of figured from the beginning that Roland was going to be an antagonist. He’s just way too slimy. And what I hoped for was that the Bog King would be the love interest to the main character. And he is! That is fantastic. And I really like the Bog King’s portrayal throughout the movie. He’s just the right amount of threatening early on but gets a lot of kinder scenes to show that there’s more to him than being a grouch. He’s the most interesting charater in the movie.

Strange Magic is worth a watch for some of the songs along. And stay for the Dark Forest, it’s a dangerous but fun place.

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Black Panther

Marvel’s Black Panther now has his own movie! First introduced really well in Captain America: Civil War, he is now the star. The Black Panther is T’Challa, king of a fictional African country known a Wakanda. Wakanda is traditionally isolationist and has technology far greater than what the world has.

The movie is fun and really Marvel. I wouldn’t say it’s groundbreaking, but I would say it’s solid and well-made. If you enjoyed the previous Marvel movies, this one is great. If you’re looking for something new, it won’t be here.

What this movie does have is great characters and a cool tour of Wakanda. They enjoyed crafting the country and showing it off to the viewers, and I enjoyed the trip. The country is a mixture of high tech and old traditions, and it combines into a dazzling visual style.

The characters are all great in this film. We get to see a softer side fo T’Challa, but he’s still stern and kingly when he needs to be. And you know from the beginning that T’Challa is ready to be king. This isn’t him learning about that. He does take other lessons from the movie.

The side characters are fun and engaging. T’Challa’s allies are all important. None of them could be removed without drastically changing the film. The villain, Klaue, is fun to watch. He just always seems to be having the best time. The other villain, Killmonger, is really well done. He makes some valid points while going too far to the extreme to achieve them. He’s menacing and out of place in Wakanda, but he knows how to get things done. The ending scenes with him is really fantastic.

But, the one character that stands out the most, M’Baku! Leader of the Jabari tribe! He’s the comical character of the movie, but he’s so much more than that. M’Baku is a leader, and he shows it. At the same time, he’s dismissive of the Black Panther while still being respectful. The man balances things just right to be entertaining all the time he’s on screen.

The movie does get repetitive, though. Like I said earlier, it’s a Marvel movie and follows a lot of the same style and story beats. But it also gets repetitive within itself. Certain events happen multiple times. Each time is important, but it still stands out.

Black Panther is still a great addition and really well done. The villain is engaging. The side characters are fun. Overall, a solid movie in an already-great Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Librarians Season 3

This is going to be a shorter post. This is the third season of the Librarians, and for those that watched the previous 2, you know what you’re getting. If you’re starting out, the Librarians is a cheesy (in the good way) show about people trying to protect the world from magical artifacts. They use a lot of smarts and a decent amount of brawn.

This season feels a lot more focused compared to the last one. There is an ongoing thread of tethering to the Library and who should do it. If the Library isn’t tethered, it’s going to disappear, so one of the Librarians and a Guardian has to do it. Of course, the first choice is Flynn.

He’s around a lot more this time around. At times, it seems like he takes over as the main Librarian again, and the three that I got to know and enjoy were pushed to the side. But Flynn is still cool to watch.

Also, the others all get a focus episode, so that really helps. The characterization is really good and fun to watch. I enjoyed all of them getting a chance to be the star. Also, Jenkins. He is great this season. He get’s quite a bit of focus and I really liked his episode.

Now, for some super spoilers on the last episode. Don’t read past here if you haven’t seen the season finale.

Whoa. I am kind of upset they did a time reset thing. All the character development, gone! Especially Jenkins! I liked the new him, with actual friends outside of the library. I hope he still somehow still gets friends outside of the Library.

Overall, I liked this season a lot. It brings back a good plot running through the season and mixes in really enjoyable episodes for each character. Hoping for more.

Over the Garden Wall, My Favorites

Over the Garden Wall is a charming and short series that is awesome all of the time. It stars two children lost in the woods and trying to get home. On their way, they encounter all sorts of crazy situations and strange characters. Each episode is short and packed with so much to see and experience. The world over the garden wall is an imaginative and whimsical one that still has its dark spots.

I really like the series because it’s like a modern-day fairy tale. I mean, it takes place in the past, of course, but it’s made up by modern minds. There are witches, talking birds, ghastly spirits and more roaming the woods. The world is mysterious and unsettling. Like peeling off the thin layer of happiness would reveal some thing horrible underneath.

The main characters are a pair of brothers. The older one, Wirt, wants to get home and doesn’t have time for all of the strangeness that goes on. The younger brother, Gregory, is boundlessly happy and upbeat at all times. They are joined by a guide leading them through the woods, a talking bluebird, Beatrice. Beatrice has her own brand of snark and sarcasm at whatever the brothers are going through.

Their chatty banter is great as is how each one interacts with the world. It becomes especially clear when they split up at times. Wirt tends to get roped into things while Gregory gleefully goes in. Beatrice gets roped in, too, by the brothers wandering nature. The group just works together.

Oh, and the songs. There are songs in this show and they are charming and haunting at the same time.

Over the Garden Wall is an imaginative fairy tale story that has several layers to what’s being shown. While the story sounds simple, it’s not. There’s more going on. The individual episodes are great, even when not considering the overall story. This is a great cartoon for all to experience.

Bright

Netflix’s most advertised movie, as of the writing of this post. Bright is part fantasy, part modern. There used to be a dark lord, but he’s been defeated. Now, humans, elves, orcs and other fantasy people all live in the modern world, as it is in the real world. That means the movie takes place in Los Angeles. Their history is some strange blend of what happened with the magical races and what happened in the real world. For instance, the Alamo still occured and the Illuminati was wiped out.

I found the movie a lot of fun with cool characters, nice designs, and some interesting blend of settings. Some things are super obvious in the movie, such as the messages on social issues, but there’s still a lot of subtler parts to the film, too.

Bright, as in the title of the movie, refers to anyone that can use magic wands. Normal people that touch wands with their bare hands will just explode into dust, but Brights can use their full power and survive. Two cops, a human, Ward, and the Orc diversity hire, Jakoby, stumble across a wand and must keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

The plot is standard fantasy stuff, but putting it in a modern world with guns and stuff just makes it fun again. The two cops have a really rough night as they try to keep the wand away from everyone, including the really dangerous original owners. They butt heads a lot along the way, however it’s always great to see them come together. Ward and Jakoby play off each other great, and I always enjoyed the two of them together.

There is a third main character, Tikkah. She’s an elf on the run, but I feel overall, she’s less important than the two cops. Yeah, she has her moments, but for the most part, it’s all them. Later on in the movie, she gets some better scenes.

I feel the plot can be a bit too busy, even with just three main characters. They do a lot of stuff for just one night and go through a lot of people trying to get the wand. I think cutting down on things by one would make a smoother movie.

The movie doesn’t go into the world history much, but I had a lot of fun with what was presented. I am always up for world-building, but I didn’t find myself questioning why things were the same except for the parts that were different. I think it works and adds to the feel and tone of the movie. It allowed for a more compact experience rather than having to explain everything. And they are getting a sequel, so maybe more world-building stuff can go in there.

I had a lot of fun going through the movie with some interesting to watch characters. The side characters are all pretty cool, too. I want to know more about the races and the world, but I didn’t exactly miss it while watching the movie. It works as a fun modern fantasy film.