Sunday, July 16, 2017

MLEEP Reviews: The Perfect Pear

Season 7, Episode 13: The Perfect Pear
Written By Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco
Ever since Day 1 of ‘My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic’, there has been only one question on the minds of everypony in the fandom: where have Applejack’s parents been all this time?!?  We’ve never seen them on the farm nor during any flashbacks or when Apple Bloom finally got her cutie mark…what have they been doing?!?  And after seven years of waiting and hoping and praying for an answer, we have finally gotten our wish…let’s take a look at the highly-anticipated episode simply called ‘The Perfect Pear’!

The Apple Siblings learn about their parent's love story and find out that they're half Pear.  When news of this episode first surfaced long before Season 7 premiered, the entire fandom including myself was going crazy with excitement.  Finally…after seven years, we were finally getting the story about the Apple Parents and maybe even learn about what happened to them in order to explain why they haven’t been around for the entirety of the show’s run.  But did our excitement and hype all pay off in the best way possible?  The answer is…yes, yes it did.

When it comes to the story, it is a loving tribute to the classic William Shakespeare tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and writers Joanna Lewis & Kristine Songco knew to include the key moments from that story into this truly heartwarming episode with a moral of how loved ones need to put aside their arguments for the sake of others…but as we all know, we couldn’t have it end like the original story of ‘Romeo and Juliet because 1) this is a kid’s show and having young lovers take both of their lives would really be pushing it…and 2) they would both have to live long enough to bare three children…still, it would’ve been nice to see what happened to the Apple Parents and why they aren’t around in the show at all.

As for the animation…with an episode as highly-anticipated as this being told through flashbacks, the team at DHX really had to bring their A-game and man did they ever as we got to see so many old and new locations like Sweet Apple Acres and the Pear Farm as well as finally getting our first look at the parents of the Apple siblings Bright McIntosh and Pear Butter.  But where the animation truly shines is in the song ‘You’re In My Head Like A Catchy Song’ and…while it is a weird name for a song, it is truly beautiful in how it feels like something straight out of the time period that ‘Romeo And Juliet’ is set in but with a country flare that fits with both the Apples and Pears.

And when it comes to the characters, you really do feel for the Apple siblings in this episode since they knew absolutely nothing about their history nor what happened to them…and if it weren’t for Apple Bloom, they would’ve spent the rest of their lives asking questions about their past and getting no answers at all.  Speaking of family members, this is also the highly anticipated episode to have both William Shatner and Felicia Day guest star as the voices of Grand Pear and Pear Butter and let me just say that they both did an outstanding job with their performances.  Shatner knew how to make Grand Pear a truly interesting character in how he held on to his resentment of his rivalry for a very long time while at the same time is the catalyst as to why it’s been so long since the Apples and Pears realized that they have stronger family bonds than they thought while Felicia’s kind and loving performance makes her seem feel like that hometown girl that you can’t help falling in love with-even Bright McIntosh!
I didn’t think there was gonna be an episode that was gonna top ‘Parental Glideance’ as my favorite of Season 7 as well as the entire series, but ‘The Perfect Pear’ is easily the perfect episode to answer the questions we Bronies have asked for years and I’m proud to give it a rating of a 10 out of 10.

MLEEP Reviews: Discordant Harmony

Season 7, Episode 12: Discordant Harmony
Written By Michael P. Fox and Wil Fox
We’ve had a really weird broadcasting schedule for Season 7, haven’t we?  I mean, it started off as one episode a weekend over here in the U.S. and then Canada and Australia started leaking more and more episodes from the season…this must be the doing of that delightful draconequus himself Discord, but we all know that he would do anything for the sake of Fluttershy-even changing his ways for good!  Let’s take a look at ‘Discordant Harmony’!

When Discord invites Fluttershy to his realm for tea, he worries she won't be comfortable there and begins to change it and him with disastrous results.  When this episode was announced, I was super excited for more of Discord’s charming and yet chaotically comedic shenanigans after the performance that he gave last season with ‘Dungeons And Discords’-one of my Top 5 favorites from that season.  But could the spirit of chaos deliver another truly entertaining episode?  The answer is…heck yeah, he did!

When it comes to the story, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at a Discord episode in a long time with how much comedy that the Fox Brothers were throwing at us-in my opinion, they are slowly becoming the new Dave Polsky of the series since the timing of the jokes was brilliant and they didn’t hang too long on one joke and expect you to get it with how it immediately moves into the next one at a rapid speed delivery…but the Fox Brothers also knew how to make the episode incredibly heartwarming at the same time especially with the moral of how being different is what makes you special; in other words-be yourself…and this is a moral that I love and can relate with on a personal level, so it was great to see the Fox Brothers attempt this moral.

As for the animation, just like with every Discord episode before this one…you know you’re in for a wave of creative and comedic visuals with Discord as the star of an episode and man did the team at DHX deliver for our draconequus as we got to see some good ol’ chaotic comedy shenaningans in many old and new locations like Fluttershy’s cottage, the tea shops and even getting to see Discord’s home in Chaosville again after not having seen it since Season 5 and not to mention that the pop culture references were plentiful as usual where I swear that Discord was making a reference to ‘Mister Roger’s Neighborhood’ in terms of his demeanor and outfit in the episode’s climax.

And when it comes to the characters, you really do feel for Discord in this episode since he realizes that he has been taking advantage of Fluttershy’s kindness and hospitality at her tea parties for far too long and actually takes the initiative to return the favor while at the same time doing everything he can to make the first real friend he’s ever had feel comfortable in his realm and accept his differences while Fluttershy on the other hoof can relate with Discord’s struggles in how she and Discord don’t make sense to anypony else…but she’s the only one who understands Discord and wouldn’t have him any other way to open her up so many more possibilities and even impossibilities-bravo to John de Lancie and Andrea Libman for a truly heartwarming performance!

Overall, ‘Discordant Harmony’ is a delightfully heartwarming episode for a delightful draconequus and gets a rating of 10 out of 10.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MLEEP Reviews: Captain Underpants - The First Epic Movie

Written By Nicholas Stoller
Composed By Theodore Shapiro
Produced By Mireille Soria and Mark Swift
Edited By Matthew Landon
Directed By David Soren

Long ago during my elementary and middle school years, I LOVED Captain Underpants and the books by Dav Pilkey from ‘The Adventures Of Captain Underpants’ to ‘Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle Of The Bionic Booger Boy’ along with the ‘Extra-Crunchy Books O’ Fun’ and ‘The Adventures Of Super Diaper Baby’ were my shit-heh, no pun intended!  Sure they may rely on immature humor, but the book series also manages to mix in clever jokes that even adults can find very smart and witty at times-not to mention making the books interactive in areas to make the experience more memorable.  But can the team at DreamWorks honor truth, justice and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony?  Let’s find out, this is ‘Captain Underpants’!

To say what the story to this film is about is almost silly-we all know it!  George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When their mean principal Mr. Krupp threatens to separate them into different classes, the mischievous boys accidentally hypnotize him into thinking that he's a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.  The story to this film mostly uses the first and fourth books in order to build the structure of the plot while using elements from the second to fill in the gaps and what I love is how it stays true to the book series while the added original elements can be recognized as components that would fit in to Dav Pilkey’s works.  But the important part of the story was getting the tone to match that of the books and this has to be the one to take itself seriously the least because there’s no way that there would be a down-to-earth moment with a title like ‘Captain Underpants’, so they went to the max with the childish and witty silliness of the humor ranging from toilet humor to breaking the fourth wall at times to the point where even the adults would have no choice but to turn off their brains and to enjoy the ride.

Moving on to the animation, it’s a rather interesting case for DreamWorks as it wasn’t directly animated at the studio itself but rather at Mikros Image to cut down costs which resulted in a look that’s far different than any other DreamWorks film and that’s exactly what it needed since the goal was to translate the art style of Pilkey into a 3-D world in a similar way to how Blue Sky animated ‘The Peanuts Movie’.  Even if there are defined textures on things like hair and clothes, the designs remain true to how they are in the original books and keep them as simple as possible.  And considering the style that the animation had to work with, they had no choice but to go cartoony with the character animation while at the same time not going over the top and it really comes into play during the action sequences where Captain Underpants would go out and try to fight crime as well as the special moments of 2-D animation with George and Harold’s drawings and even a scene that is depicted through sock puppets.

And now, we come to the characters that are fun to watch and can give a great laugh starting with George Beard and Harold Hutchins…oh uh, by the way: George is the one with the tie and the flat-top while Harold is the one with the t-shirt and the bad haircut, remember that now.  One of the key elements in the movie is their friendship and how it seems to be on the line when Mr. Krupp would have to send them to separate classes due to them being pranksters who want to have fun during their time at school which looks like the kid equivalent of jail.  Moving on to Mr. Krupp, he’s the mean principal who is against everything George and Harold stand for and would have such delight in their misery while at the same time is lonely with a crush on the lunch lady…but when he becomes Captain Underpants, it’s like if he jumped straight from the comics that George and Harold made with his over-the-top behavior and lack of sense on how the real world works.  And we come to our villain who comes straight from the fourth book-Professor Poopypants.  Unlike in the books, he comes off as evil right from the start with a goal of getting rid of the world’s laughter in order to stop people laughing at his name with the help of snobby Melvin Sneedly…but with the tone and humor of the movie, it definitely proved effective.

Overall, ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’ may be one of the stupidest and most immature animated movies ever made…but that’s what makes it so great with how it takes the famous book series and turns it into a fun-filled adventure that fans of the books are sure to love and I’m proud to give it a 8 out of 10