Monday, July 13, 2020

MLEEP Reviews: Sky High - 15 Years Of Super Sidekicks | #RIPKellyPreston

www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/v22vodart/36158/p36158...
SKY HIGH
Written By Paul Hernandez, Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle
Composed By Michael Giacchino
Produced By Andrew Gunn
Edited By Peter Amundson
Directed By Mike Mitchell

A high school for superheroes, that is awesome...Kurt Russell as your father, that is awesome...Lynda Carter as your principal, that is awesome...Bruce Campbell as the gym teacher, this is f--king genius...so why does nobody talk about 'Sky High', a genuinely funny comedy with a real original idea that for some reason nobody ever remembers and I just don’t get it since I thought it was really amusing: it’s not one of the comedic greats, but it has a really fun idea and it takes every advantage that it can with it and it makes really good jokes that the whole family can enjoy which is why it's finally time that I take a look at this in celebration of its fifteenth anniversary right around the corner and also in memory of the recent passing of Kelly Preston who played the part of Josie Stronghold/Jetstream in the film as well...is this film meant to be a superhero or will it forever be stuck as a sidekick? Let's find out, this is 'Sky High'!
SKY HIGH: At a school in the sky where teens learn how to be superheroes, Will Stronghold lands in a class for students who show special promise...but while classmate Gwen quickly cozies up to Will, but it's soon clear that she has other motives when he learns that Gwen's mother is a villain who was defeated by his father Steve Stronghold thus Will realizes that Gwen is aiming for revenge and he rushes to a school dance in the hope of stopping her.
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I really like the angles and the cinematography in this since it really feels like you’re reading a comic book while looking at it particularly with the lighting. While the high schoolers in this don’t talk as much as high schoolers but more like Simpsons characters, the whole thing kind of feels like a Simpsons episode in fact but in a good way: it’s kind of aware of the relationships in both schools and family and kind of mocks and has fun with it. There is a bit of a love triangle but even that gets a few laughs mostly because I enjoy these characters so much: Disney is usually so bad at writing teenage characters but these guys are all really fun and very unique and have their own identities, it’s one of those comedies that just throws joke after joke after joke at you and there’s some real good ones particularly with the running jokes.
For example, there’s sort of a throwaway gag here where these two boys are making fun of this girl and she freezes them: okay, that’s funny enough...but then later in the movie out of nowhere, it cuts back to them and it’s nighttime and they’re still there. Every once in a while in the movie, they’ll just cut back to them still frozen and you just can’t believe it...did nobody ever do anything to help these two, they just left them there the whole time, that’s pretty funny. Sometimes the film gets a little bit into the Disney teen romp and it kind of feels a bit like 'High School Musical' but it’s not really that bad, you kind of expect it in a Disney film and you know they have to do it but I think it rolls out fine yet I think my only problem is that the parents particularly with Kurt Russell as Steve Stronghold/The Commander are a little too forgiving...at first it’s really funny and a good running joke, but then you really start to question their parenting and I think he gets away with murder just one too many times.
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But aside from that, I think 'Sky High' is a lot of fun: it’s a wonderful idea that’s child-friendly and has some great gags for both kids and adults alike...it’s not perfect but it’s not meant to be, it’s supposed to be a fun little comedy adventure with some really creative ideas and that’s exactly what it is. Don’t believe me, check it out and take flight for yourself because 'Sky High' is more than worthy of an 8.5 out of 10 rating

MLEEP Reviews: Pony Life - LIGHTNING ROUND | #PonyLife

Oh my goodness...the craziness, the weirdness, the over-the-top bizarre nature of 'Pony Life' is actually growing on me since I think I'm finally reaching a point where the breakneck pace of every episode is easier for me to handle because it's still go-go-go all the time and now they're even having four different episodes in a twenty-two minute segment.  I hadn't really expected that but given the nature of this show, I really shouldn't be surprised and...holy cow, the jokes they've come up with here since there are some things that hit you completely out of nowhere and you're so taken aback that you can't help but just laugh at it with the most perfect example from this week being a throwaway line by Pinkie Pie of 'I really miss my brother': I mean the scene right before, they're showing Pinkie Pie arriving at this candy shop in the middle of the spooky woods and I'm thinking 'oh my goodness, are they implying that Pinkie Pie had a brother and it was a "Hansel & Gretel" story...oh goodness, the way that could've ended'.  I don't know why but I find that over-the-top hilarious, it's so quick and I'm sure it's just a throwaway line here...but all of a sudden, I'm thinking 'would they ever build on this, would they ever have a future episode where Pinkie Pie is suddenly reunited with her brother and he's all evil because he was taken in by a witch'.  I don't know why but that is just so bizarre, I'm sure it's just a throwaway line by the writers and it was very funny for that little dark humor...it was all of a sudden and I want them to build on that but I'm getting way ahead of myself since there's plenty more to talk about here, so let's dive into our four-pack of episodes and see what made them so much fun!

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Season 1, Episodes 13-16:
The Trail Less Trotten/Death Of A Sales-Pony/Bighoof Walking/The Fluttershy Effect
Written By Whitney Ralls, Katie Chilson and Taneka Stotts

THE TRAIL LESS TROTTEN/DEATH OF A SALES-PONY: As Fluttershy joins a Trail Trotters troop, her friends try to protect her from a big disappointment...but when the Mane 6 enter a cookie selling contest in the hopes of winning a celebrity meet-n-greet, the high-pressure world of cookie sales has a way of changing ponies.

BIGHOOF WALKING/THE FLUTTERSHY EFFECT: Fluttershy and her friends go after the fabled Bighoof for a Trail Trotters badge while Rainbow Dash's obsessive need for speed causes severe consequences in Ponyville's future.

Having been in Cub Scouts and even Boy Scouts in my youth, I can relate to the excitement of getting a new merit badge...this is ten steps over-the-top excitement here and that's kind of part of the joke but it's kind of fun to see that yet I could tell right from the beginning that 'oh, they're going to be getting into this troop and it's gonna be a quick little fun story and...wait, hold a second: they're not allowed in because they're too old...okay well, they're going to be lying to Fluttershy in order to preserve her feelings but at the end they're obviously going to realize this is way too much work and making things far worse in the long-run' except 'no, they keep the lie going'.  In fact, the very next episode 'Death Of A Sales-Pony' is showing Fluttershy over-the-top excited trying to meet Finn Tastic and trying to sell cookies by the thousands so I think 'well, surely now this is the point where they're gonna have to realize "okay we have to tell Fluttershy the truth, we're gonna have to have a moment where everybody's gonna have to realize that lying is wrong"' except 'no, the lesson is all about Fluttershy focusing too much on getting her merit badge and seeing that her friends were not having fun in the process'...okay, that really took me back since this is gonna be a recurring thing much like the Royal Jelly Juggernaut and I'm suddenly curious if they're going to show that Fluttershy has been lied to this whole time or if it's just gonna be 'oh well, we're gonna do this new merit badge and a quick "hey, we have to explain that we're still lying to Fluttershy but let's move on with the plot real quick"'.

It's a weird way to approach stories and yet if they're going for five and a half minute segments, maybe that is the correct way to approach it: I mean given the last several episodes, I didn't think there was a whole lot of depth with this show particularly with the lessons except when the episode 'The Fluttershy Effect' came on where I figured 'oh, this is gonna be a lesson about Rainbow Dash learning that she shouldn't procrastinate' and then all of a sudden after arriving in a dystopian future commanded by butterfly armies...okay, that's a thing because suddenly you see Tank giving advice about focus and being still and trying to teach that to Rainbow Dash of all characters seems so fitting and they could've done a lot more of it.  I kind of wish they did, but again I have to remember that this is the kind of show where it's go-go-go over-the-top pacing and we're not going to focus too much on the characters growing over long story arcs or learning morals...this is gonna be more 'okay, we're gonna focus on the here and now and...oh hold on a second, we've just forgotten this scene and we've gotta go move on to the next scene'.  It's a weird way to approach stories but like I said earlier, the bizarre over-the-top jokes that are 'blink and you might miss them' are actually growing on me...I don't know why but it's actually growing on me and maybe I've learned to shut my brain off and not focus too much on 'okay, I'm pretty sure I know where this is going and...oh wait, it's not going the way I figured it would'.  You've just gotta sit back and relax, be still...focus and enjoy the moment-I mean seeing Fluttershy being so commanding in her presence particularly through these first three episodes where her over-the-top excitement and literal giant nature being so imposing, it's a different way of handling her character but again it's kind of growing on me and even the moments where she's instantly apologizing and being so tiny are as Rarity said it best 'I'm still miffed but that is so cute'.

As long as I'm willing to accept that this is not going to be characters learning great morals and trying to grow over story arcs over a long time and focus on 'oh, well this is the premise...we're gonna continue this little bit here and a little bit there but we're going to go quickly through the characters and go quickly through the jokes and we're gonna be just blindsiding you with over-the-top moments like Pinkie Pie's "I really miss my brother" line'...oh goodness, I mean there was even a moment during 'Bighoof Walking' where they think it's going to be Bighoof except it's Fluttershy in a tree.  I'm sorry, could they possibly be referring to all the Fluttertree jokes that were very present in the fandom back in the early days of Generation 4-I mean even in the second season, they were making references to this so I have to believe that the writers are intentionally trying to build on that...again it's super quick and you might miss it, but it's gotta be intentional.

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I'm definitely having more fun with each subsequent episode of 'Pony Life', I felt like it had a bit of a rocky start since I felt like it was trying to find its identity...but the more I'm watching it, the more I'm getting a feel for the show and the more I'm enjoying it. I understand that this is a completely different product from Generation 4 of My Little Pony, it's the same characters and the same voice actresses but...oh goodness, it's a different approach to how they do stories and how they do interactions and especially how they do the jokes. For anyone out there who's still on the fence about 'Pony Life', I would still recommend that you give it more of a watch...give it more of a chance because over time despite my hesitations and despite really having trouble getting into the over-the-top pacing, I'm enjoying it with every new episode. I'm not entirely sure why but it's just growing on me, but then I'm just one individual who's been watching My Little Pony for the past seven years and I would very much like to hear each of your opinions on these stories and these over-the-top bizarre moments. I mean even in just the 'blink and you'll miss it' jokes, there's a lot of story potential you can do with it and I really hope that they build on it someday...but even in the shorter segments where they're focusing on being still, that really works for a character like Rainbow Dash because it's a sweet-magic-fast-posh-fun-cute Pony Life!


Pony Life LIGHTNING ROUND-9/10

SEASON 1 OVERALL RATING: 8.12/10

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Cleo's First Snow | #Thomas75

Season 24, Episode 25: Cleo's First Snow
Written By Becky Overton
Directed By Ian Cherry


When we last left Cleo The Road Engine, she had challenged her new friend Thomas to a race on their way to Knapford to see who was the fastest of which she would've won if she didn't have to keep being stopped by Ruth whether to post some letters or pick up eggs from Farmer McColl's farm...but on their next race to Wellsworth, Cleo didn't listen to Ruth's advice to head back home to their workshop and drove onto the railway tracks determined to win the race against Thomas but soon learned how dangerous that was when they ran into danger with Gordon heading straight for them with the express in the opposite direction.  While Cleo may have to learn to be safe on the roads first before she thinks about riding on the rails again, she is about to discover something so amazing that she doesn't want it to end...let's go go go on a big adventure as we experience a wintry wonderland for the very first time with 'Cleo's First Snow'!

CLEO'S FIRST SNOW: When Cleo discovers how amazing snow can be, she is determined to enjoy it while it lasts even if it means saving every snowman on Sodor

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PROS:
  • 'Enjoy It While It Lasts'-with Cleo feeling just like a child who is new to the world, I like that the whole episode makes you sympathetic towards her when it comes to her enjoying the snow whether making a snow angel or rolling snowballs with Sir Topham Hatt's grandchildren and their friends before she sees the awful sight of the snow beginning to melt away from the annual changing of seasons despite her efforts to save her new snowman friend whether taking him to the dairy to put him in their fridge where the dairy worker makes a very cheesy pun or to the ice cream stand in Tidmouth which was rightfully closed during the winter season as Bertie explains how people don't want ice cream in cold weather before returning home to the workshop while Ruth serves as a mother to Cleo serving the moral of how we should enjoy things while they last which makes it very relatable with things that we enjoy like a television or book series since they can't always last forever while also using her inventive mind to create a snow machine which upon a closer look was a repainted version of Mr. Bubbles' Bubble Machine from the 'Bubbling Boilers' special so that Cleo can enjoy the snow for as long as she wants even when the weather is getting warmer which made for a really heartwarming ending since the mother and child bond that they share with each other is just so sweet and believable...although I find it ironic that they're talking about enjoying things while they last especially since we're about to go into an indefinite hiatus after tomorrow's season finale due to still not receiving any word as to which animation studio has picked up the series after Jam Filled Toronto's tenure officially ends nor do we even know if a twenty-fifth season of the series has even been commissioned yet since we usually would've heard something by now but it's completely understandable as of lately due to the global pandemic, I just hope that the episode's moral isn't foreshadowing that this could be the final season of the show

CONS:
  • N/A

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With the final episode of Thomas' twenty-fourth season about to officially air on television tomorrow after accidentally being leaked online when the season first began, it's for the best that we enjoy the series while it lasts because we won't be receiving any new episodes for quite a while afterwards...while many can see the moral of 'Cleo's First Snow' coming as we get older of how nothing lasts forever, sometimes it's best to enjoy the simple things in life even if it's something as simple as having fun in the snow which made the episode not only relatable but also incredibly heartwarming the bond between the characters and that is why I'm giving this episode a rating of a 9.5 out of 10.  With that said, see you all tomorrow for the season finale!



Cleo's First Snow-9.5/10

SEASON 24 OVERALL RATING: 9/10

Sunday, July 12, 2020

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Nia's Bright Idea | #Thomas75

Season 24, Episode 24: Nia's Bright Idea
Written By Camille Ucan and Rose Johnson
Directed By Ian Cherry


Ever since she first joined Thomas The Tank Engine on his international adventure to become the first railway engine to go all the way around the world much to his dismay due to following Ace The Rally Car, Nia has proven herself to be a very clever engine in times of trouble: from making a funnel out of leaves to catch rainwater to fill Thomas' tanks after running out on their delivery of coffee to San Francisco from Brazil to helping sort out the muddle of trucks at Brendam Docks for the engines and the cranes to finding a relatable way of getting a new elephant to trust her in taking her to the animal park, there seems to be no problem that Nia can't solve...and with stormy weather on the horizon for Sir Robert Norramby's annual Christmas fair, it's gonna take a ray of hope to shine through in celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.  Let's go go go on a big adventure as we light the way for some festive Christmas cheer with 'Nia's Bright Idea'! 

NIA'S BRIGHT IDEA: Nia uses what she learns about lighthouses to suggest covering a big wheel in Christmas lights so that Harold can see where he's going in a storm.

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PROS:
  • 'Nia Lights The Way'-I had originally thought that ABC Australia would be holding back on both this episode and 'Cleo's First Snow' for December as part of their festive lineup being that they're winter themed like they did with Season 22's 'Kangaroo Christmas' back in 2018 although I think with Season 24 airing around June and July that it would be a while since December is nearly five months away as writing this review goes thus I was a bit surprised at this decision...but anyway with the episode itself, I think it was good that Nia was learning new things about Sodor ever since she first arrived on the railway from joining Thomas on his big world adventure like about the lighthouse at Arlesburgh Harbor which was awesome to see for the first time in a wintry setting especially with the nicely added touch of Captain Joe's snowman and how the lighthouse is used to help guide ships into the harbor safely at night or in a storm with its bright light being used as a beacon for ships to see where they're going yet I have seen some people within the community wish that Nia went through some conflict into helping Harold such as maybe having her go through with an idea that wasn't so clever in the end until she came up with a clever one which is using the Earl Of Sodor's giant wheel as a light beacon especially since the episode recapped Season 20's 'Blown Away' as an example of the moral that the episode was giving but Skiff had actually went through conflict which is him feeling belittled by Duck and Oliver unintentionally of course for being small thus many feel that Nia needs to go through some conflict since 'Nia And The Unfriendly Elephant' from earlier this season was a good example of that because she's a good character in many people's opinions with her cleverness but they feel that more is needed to make her well rounded.  While I can see why some people in the community would make that complaint especially since Rebecca seems to be the more developed newbie among our main cast versus Nia ever since their debuts into the series, y'all need to chill out-ba dum tsh-and remember that not every character introduced into the series is gonna be as fully developed as someone like Judge Frollo from Disney's 'The Hunchback Of Notre Dame' since it's better to judge enjoy the adventure being presented instead of obsessing over the little things since I personally really enjoyed this episode because we haven't seen a Christmas special in the series of this intense tone since the days of the Brenaissance as fans call it with episodes such as Season 18's 'Last Train For Christmas' or Season 21's 'Terence Breaks The Ice' and to finally have another festive episode after we hardly had any during the previous season is always welcome especially when not only teaching the viewers the importance of lighthouses in stormy weather but also in helping to further develop one of the Island Of Sodor's newest and most popular arrivals on the railway whether or not the fandom approves of her

CONS:
  • N/A

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Nia may not be the most interesting of characters in the series with how little development she has received so far but that doesn't mean that her episodes don't shine brightly when they do...while it's easy to see that there may have been some lost opportunity with 'Nia's Bright Idea' in putting her through some sort of conflict like some fans hoped she would be, the intense tone of the story overall along with the wonderfully wintry visuals and cast off characters more than made up the viewing experience for me and that is why I'm giving this episode a rating of a 9.5 out of 10.


Friday, July 10, 2020

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Cleo The Road Engine | #Thomas75

Season 24, Episode 23: Cleo The Road Engine
Written By Laura Beaumont and Paul Larson
Directed By Ian Cherry

Ever since she first arrived on the Island Of Sodor to announce the exciting news of a special technology fair happening at Ulfstead Castle, Ruth has proven herself to not only be a positive role model for young girls in the community looking to excel in science and technology but also has proven to be incredibly imaginative with her inventions that she has brought to the railway: from road-planes and hover-cars soaring through the skies which all the engines originally thought was an alien spaceship to turning an old and rundown windmill on Thomas' branch line to her new home and workshop to building a brand new walking bridge for Toby's branch line after the rickety old bridge collapsed, there seems to be nothing standing in her way of Ruth creating anything that she can imagine...and with what she has just invented in today's episode, we're in for quite a wild ride!  Let's go go go on a big adventure and go full speed ahead as we meet 'Cleo The Road Engine'!

CLEO THE ROAD ENGINE: When Ruth's new car Cleo takes to the rails to race Thomas, she soon discovers why she is designed to stick to the roads

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PROS:
  • 'Thomas And Cleo's Great Race'-When IMDB first revealed Cleo, many thought she was going to be a road steam engine hence the title of the episode but it turned out that she was original design by Ruth once Mattel revealed the character on the official website as a coloring page and I can see how she is supposed to be like a steam engine upon a closer look at her design since it's the headlights looking like buffers as well as her grille looking a bit like a cowcatcher and her wheels looking like steam engine wheels...while her basis does seem odd compared to the real life basis that the characters are based on considering how she gave me vibes of Revvin' Evan from 'Jay Jay The Jet Plane' as well as the famed musical 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' of which I made into a music video of her character when the episode accidentally got leaked, I think it's good that they'd made her as an original design since Ruth is an inventor after all whom I feel is a positive role model for girls within the community looking to get into science and technology in their futures thus it makes sense why Cleo is not based on any actual car.  As for the story itself that serves as our introduction to Cleo, the story gave me a 'Thomas & Bertie/Thomas And Bertie's Great Race' vibe with Thomas and Cleo being cocky about whose the fastest of which Thomas' cockiness was one of the best moments of the episode since I can't remember the last time that we saw him acting like this in the television series barring the specials since it captured what he was like during the early years of the classic series although many will feel that the whole racing theme is getting overused now since it was fine back when they had reintroduced it in 2013 during 'King Of The Railway'/Season 17 because we hadn't seen it for so long but now many think that it's being overdone...although this isn't a Thomas and Bertie story, the same can be applied to those two depending on who you ask in the fandom for their opinions-not to mention that I also think that Ruth should've been a bit firm with Cleo about driving on a railway line since it's very dangerous, and you would think that Thomas would've done the same as well for Cleo after his encounter with Max and Monty in Season 20's 'Mucking About' when it comes to road vehicles riding on rails:  sure Cleo is young and had no idea about the dangers of it all, but she was carrying Ruth and would've cost her her life!

CONS:
  • N/A

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Yes, 'Cleo The Road Engine' may not be all that original in its story...yes, it's unrealistic when Cleo turns her body around while running away from Gordon...but I have said this time and time again that the show was never ultra-realistic since the fifth season and yet some people are okay with Toby floating on a bridge despite him being a heavy steam tram and yet continues to berate fans who enjoy 'Big World, Big Adventures' for these moments which is why I say that I actually thought 'Cleo The Road Engine' served as a great introduction to the newest vehicle on the railway who I look forward to getting to know more especially with her second episode of the season which we will get to later and I am gonna give this episode a rating of a 9.5 out of 10



Cleo The Road Engine-9.5/10

SEASON 24 OVERALL RATING: 8.94/10

Thursday, July 9, 2020

MLEEP Reviews: Despicable Me - 10 Years Of Stealing Our Hearts | #DespicableMe

www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/v22vodart/8000398/p800...
DESPICABLE ME
Written By Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio
Composed By Heitor Pereira and Pharrell Williams
Produced By Chris Meledandri, John Cohen and Janet Healy
Edited By Pamela Ziegenhagen-Shefland and Gregory Perler
Directed By Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

‘Despicable Me’ has established itself in becoming one of the biggest animated franchises of the past decade with Disney being their biggest competitor: whether you love or hate the franchise, Gru and his minions have managed to build an empire of a billion dollars with their movies-most notably the 2013 and 2017 sequels as well as the Minions prequel in 2015 with an upcoming sequel to the prequel on the way depending on how long the current global pandemic lasts and it’s still impossible to this day to look around and not to see a Minion somewhere. But as we journey back to where it all began ten years ago not just for Gru and his minions but for the dawn of a new animation studio, can they still find a way to steal our hearts and make them love them as much as the Minions love bananas? Let's find out, this is 'Despicable Me'!
DESPICABLE ME: A man who delights in all things wicked, supervillain Gru hatches a plan to steal the moon surrounded by an army of little yellow minions and his impenetrable arsenal of weapons and war machines as he makes ready to vanquish all who stand in his way...but nothing in his calculations and groundwork has prepared him for his greatest challenge: three adorable orphan girls who want to make him their dad.
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Although I didn't realize it at first, but the story really sounds familiar since it's a lot like 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' or Lemony Snicket's 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events'...the fact that I didn't realize it during the movie could probably be a good thing because it's more of a character-driven film than others. Another thing is that even though it's a story we've heard of before now that I think about it, it's actually better told than the other films that I mentioned: if this makes you feel all these different emotions for the movie with a generic story, then they really did something right that the others didn't.
I have to say that this is pretty impressive animation for Illumination's first time: there are many things that I really liked like some of the clothing and the fur and some of the effects and not to mention that the animation itself is also impressive like the emotions on the characters' faces and the functions of the gadgets are really good. While the character designs though are pretty much lazy and generic like the kind that we see in all computer animated movies...for the studio's first attempt to do an animated film, I say they were heading off to a good start.
Now here with the characters is where the film truly shines since this film provides us with some great and memorable characters: first off, Gru starts off as an okay villain not the best but at the same time not bad but later on becomes a character that you really do care for him...as for the orphan girls that Gru adopts, I have mixed feelings with at first but then they become likable when time moves on...then there's Vector who is just too over-the-top to be a villain and at most times can be annoying...and then there are the Minions, how can you not love these guys since they're like the Rabbids from 'Rayman': they're so silly and so hilarious that you really want to see more of them like in some animated shorts or something. Also, the acting in this is really good too and there are even some people that really surprised me. As you can see, the characters are the main reason why you'll like this film.
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'Despicable Me' is just one big Looney Tunes cartoon: it's got both the humor and the charm of those cartoons, there are times when it gets a little too over-the-top but it's still entertaining and that is why it earns a rating of an 8.5 out of 10, here's to Illumination Entertainment and the hopes of a successful future

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Kenji On The Rails Again | #Thomas75

Season 24, Episode 22: Kenji On The Rails Again
Written By Laura Beaumont and Paul Larson
Directed By Ian Cherry


When the Island Of Sodor was abuzz with excitement as the preparations for the technology fair at Ulfstead Castle were underway, Gordon and Rebecca were sent to Brendam Docks to collect a surprise guest for the fair who had come by ferry all the way from Japan in the form of Kenji The Bullet Train...and while the engines were fearing that they would be replaced by engines like him, Kenji was actually very friendly especially when he shared with Thomas how he would love to go around the world himself having been inspired by Thomas' big world adventure who returned the favor to his new friend when the thieves Baz and Bernie used him as a getaway vehicle after stealing Ruth's hovercar plans while Sonny was used as a distraction.  Now that the technology fair has come to an end and Ruth has found herself a new home on Sodor, one can only wonder whatever happened to Kenji after his wild ride and if he'll be able to return home again...let's find out and go go go on a big adventure as we travel along with 'Kenji On The Rails Again'!

KENJI ON THE RAILS AGAIN: When Kenji hears that he must travel home to Japan alone, he gets scared and tries to hide leaving Thomas setting out to find him.

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PROS:
  • 'Kenji All At Sea'-a little over a month since the 'Marvelous Machinery two-part special was released on Netflix, we received the brand new music video for the song How Does It Work where many in the fandom were questioning how Kenji was able to travel along the tracks without the electricity from his panto-graph and thankfully not only do we get our answer in the form of Ruth fixing up Kenji with a battery pack so that he can be really useful while on Sodor just like Stafford but also getting quite a humorous fantasy sequence of Kenji going at what appears to be ludicrous speed ('Spaceballs' anyone?) and launching himself into the sky before we get into our main plot of the episode with Kenji helping out on the railway before receiving news that he is to travel home to Japan on his own leaving him worried at the thought...while this may sound very similar to Season 19's 'Salty All At Sea' which may turn some fans off considering how at least a third of the episode is spent on Thomas searching for Kenji after he goes into hiding much like how Salty was looking for ways to be really useful to prevent going to the mainland by sea, this episode thankfully is not only different in its concept which works a lot better this time around for Kenji than it did for someone like Salty when it should've been Porter instead but is actually surprisingly relatable for anyone who is afraid of traveling to new places on their own especially when you have two people who share the same cultural background which is how we get our heartwarming and satisfying ending when a familiar face of the same nationality travels back home with Kenji and planting the seed for future adventures in the series
  • 'Master Of The Railway'-if there is one engine from the entirety of the Nitrogen Studios era of the series that a lot of people in the fandom really enjoyed when they started bringing in more international diversity, it was without a doubt the 'Master Of The Railway' himself Hiro who not only had a very interesting backstory but you really felt bad for him being left in the Whistling Woods to rust when the mechanics didn't have parts to fix him which is why you felt happy again when Hiro did eventually get fully restored but also got to travel back home again after being away for so long...but then came Season 13's 'The Biggest Present Of All' when Hiro came back to help with the summer visitors and then he never left which was only made worse in Season 15's 'Happy Hiro' when he longed to go home and yet Thomas took him to Misty Island so he wouldn't feel homesick and this made a lot of people in the fandom furious at that fact, however I will admit that it is so great to both see and Hiro speak in the series again after Season 20's 'Letters To Santa'-no, his cameo appearance in 'Journey Beyond Sodor' does not count-and not only does he get to meet Kenji for the first time in the very place where Thomas first found him over a decade ago of which I am so happy that this potential wasn't missed but also finally gives the fans what they have been wanting to see happen for a long time in the form of Hiro traveling back home to Japan with Kenji but not without planting the seed for hopeful new big world adventures in the series of which all depends on how long the upcoming hiatus lasts

CONS:
  • N/A

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This may be a series about talking trains but I never expected an episode like this to be as human as it was in its subject matter: while I can see the common complaints people have in regards to the story for 'Kenji On The Rails Again' from its reused story and pacing that can go from slow and dragging to full speed ahead, the breathtaking visuals and the humanly relatable between the characters especially among those of the same heritage made this episode all the more worth the viewing experience when it all comes together as we bid farewell to a fan favorite and that is why it earns a rating of a 9.5 out of 10...Sodor will always be your home too, Hiro.



Kenji On The Rails Again-9.5/10

SEASON 24 OVERALL RATING: 8.91/10