The Outpost

The Outpost is a fantasy show with magic, swords and even some monsters. There are not enough of those shows on TV, other than the big Game of Thrones one, of course. So I checked it out. The show is on the CW, so it does go into some relationship drama and the characeters are all unusually attractive, even if they live in olden times. But they do throw in some other characters that I enjoyed.

The main character is Talon. She starts out as one of the most young adult story female protagonist I remember in recent times. Even the name is so young adult cool style. Tough, cynical, a better warrior than most, shows nothing but a scowl. Her character felt really uninteresting in the first episode, but later on, she really starts to grow on me. As Talon builds relationships with other characters, she starts to loosen up and open up. And I really like her character by the end of the season.

The Outpost takes place at a, well, outpost on the far edge of the kingdom. There, they stand watch against another race known as the greyskins. But there are more politics at play. The world is slowly introduced, starting at first with Talon’s personal quest. Soon, it gains more intrique and plotting.

Meanwhile, Talon is more focused on her mission, but she makes friends with a few characters. There’s Gwyn. I’m not going to go into her story too much, but I do want more interactions between Gwyn and Talon. They’re pretty fun together.

Janzo turns out to be one of her allies through all the trouble she gets up to. He’s an awkward character, but he’s done really well. And the actor can pull off some amazing eyebrow motions with him.

Then there’s Garret, a captain in the army. He’s a more straightlaced character, but somehow, I think he’s more interesting. I’m not sure why, since other times they make straightlaced characters I find them just there, but Garret has a bit of spark in there.

Another character I want to mention is Dano. He is a mute, but he shows a lot of character. And it helps he’s there in most episodes. I like his scenes and his reactions a lot, especially once he starts to interact with more characters.

The way the story goes makes me feel like this is based on a book, though I don’t think it is. Side plots carry on through multiple episodes and side characters get slow but decent amount of screentime showing their personality throughout the season. It starts off a bit cliche, but I think it turned out pretty well.

I’m interested in the world they built and I’m interested in the characters.

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this movie. I knew it was by the guys from Lonely Island, and I kind of wanted a long movie based on those zany music antics. There was a good amount of antics, but it was different from their music videos. It’s more down to earth and plausible rather than quirky and weird.

Popstar tells the standard story of a guy that gets famous and then crashes. It stars Andy Samberg as Connor, who started with a band but went solo and took off in popularity. His former band members, Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) and Owen (Jorma Taccone) are upset, of course. Lawrence goes his own way but, and I like this turn, Owen stays with Connor as his DJ. Owen is like the bridge that wants to reunite the band. He’s nice and takes a lot of unappreciation.

The movie isn’t too long, which is good. It told a fine story about the rise, fall and return of Connor. There’s no real surprises here, but the actors are fun to watch. They’re animated and get thrown into wild situations. And there are a lot of appearanced by musicians as themselves. It really makes the movie feel like a documentary on the greatest musician ever.

Popstar has some fun music in a similar style to their Lonely Island stuff. I really wanted more of that, but the end song was fun to watch. I sort of wanted the entire movie to be wackier, like Lonely Island, but it was probably made to be something more serious while still having a lot of humor.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a parody of those musical stories told with hints of that Lonely Island flair. The band members aren’t together enough during the movie, but it’s great when they are.

Trolls

This is the animated childrens film released in 2016. And this movie is a childrens film through and through. Though instead of popular modern songs, they go for remixes of older songs. Yeah, it was the stuff I heard when I was a kid, so I actually really liked the music. And there is a decent amount of lewd humor thrown in.

But the movie is fun, bright, with a strange mixture of being super sweet and kinda dark. In the film, the trolls are magical beings that, when eaten, gives great happiness. Yes, when eating. And there are the bergens, who are incable of experiecing happiness unless they eat trolls.

Now, upon seeing the first few scenes, I had a prediction for how the movie was going to play out, and it did. That isn’t a bad thing, though. I really liked the way the movie goes. And the journey along the way was fun and sparkle-filled. I will say that I did not expect a Cinderella plot, but it weaves in really nicely.

Poppy, our main character, is outgoing in the face of all adversity. Branch, our other main character, is cynical at all times. And they are great together. Poppy is skilled and smart, so she’s not just a naive princess. And Branch shows himself to be caring even in the beginning.

You feel for all of the major characters. They all have their vulnerable scenes, some better than others.

Trolls is a pretty fun film. Its fun, colorful and has lots of interesting characters. While yes, it can be predictable and is solidly a children’s film, it’s a pretty good one.

There are more things to go into in the spoilers section, so here we go.

The bergens. Just from how they’re introduced, I felt they wouldn’t be the bad guys. They’re just misunderstood. And some of my favorite parts involve Poppy getting to know Bridget, the bergen scullery maid.

My second favorite scene is just Poppy and Branche’s travel to Bergen town. It runs on all sorts of cartoon logic, but there’s just so many interesting things to see that I don’t care nothing makes sense.

Hair up!

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.

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.