Saturday, February 16, 2019

The End Of 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic'?!

"A little while ago, my teacher and mentor Princess Celestia sent me to live in Ponyville. She sent me to study friendship, which is something I didn't really care much about. But now, on a day like today, I can honestly say I wouldn't be standing here if it weren't for the friendships I've made with all of you. Each one of you taught me something about friendship, and for that, I will always be grateful. Today, I consider myself the luckiest pony in Equestria. Thank you, friends. Thank you, everypony!"
-Twilight Sparkle, 'Magical Mystery Cure'
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Six years ago was the originally intended and yet highly controversial series finale of 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic' in which Twilight Sparkle became the Princess Of Friendship to all of Equestria...and now six years later, the announcement has finally been made that Season 9 will be the final season of 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic'. We may have known about this for a couple years now since the Great 'Leak-ageddon' Of 2017, but we now have official confirmation at last after months of disbelief...and it just feels like everything is coming together. Before you all start angrily typing away on your keyboards, allow me to explain...
About a month or so after the coronation of Princess Twilight Sparkle, I officially joined the My Little Pony fandom after my sister Marble Archer said to give it a chance by binge-watching all three seasons of the series before the premiere of the fourth that same year...and not only were the characters compelling and the storytelling among some of the best I had seen in a cartoon for a really long time since the days of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender', but I also felt myself grow socially and maturely as a person through the adventures of Twilight Sparkle and her friends. It sparked the creativity among so many people among the community whether it was in animation or music which led to the debut of my very own YouTube channel in July of that same year-My Little Engine Productions before being rebranded as True Blue as of last year
Throughout these past six years in the fandom, I have made so many wonderful friends and met so many incredibly talented people who helped make what was such an impactful show on the lives of so many people possible whether they voice or write for the series and I have even gotten to attend BronyCon annually for the past four years ever since 2015 where I have gotten to meet some of my closest friends in the fandom whether they are content creators or cosplayers as well as the people who helped make 'Friendship Is Magic' possible including the voice behind my personal favorite Twilight Sparkle herself.
However, the good times that we have shared would soon come to an end since the leaks of Generation 5 came out in 2017 and it had been announced this past year during the closing ceremonies that this year's BronyCon would also be the last one...and boy did everypony take the news hard with the amount of hugging and tear-shedding that went down once the news broke, but what people need to think about the most when handling the situation for both BronyCon and the series finale of 'Friendship Is Magic' is what this entire generation of the series has given us from the friendships that have been forged to the memories that have been shared throughout the years. I'm not saying that everyone isn't allowed to be upset about both BronyCon and 'Friendship Is Magic' coming to an end since events like these can effect people differently since the world of My Little Pony has meant a lot to some people...while this chapter of 'My Little Pony' may be coming to an end, a new one is just beginning-there are still plenty of other conventions around the world within the fandom to attend and start new traditions among friends whether it be BABSCon or Everfree Northwest.
Everyone grows and matures over time, but there are plenty of new conventions within the fandom making their debut like with Vanhoover Pony Expo and HarmonyCon...and let's be happy that BronyCon and 'Friendship Is Magic' aren't ending due to drama or negativity since we need to thank those who have helped make the series and convention we've come to know and love possible for putting their heart and hard work into making something truly memorable for everyone whether they be staff members of guests from the series or the community. While BronyCon and 'Friendship Is Magic' may end physically, it will last forever in spirit and mind.
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With all of this in mind, we Bronies and Pegasisters need to come together and make this final year of 'Friendship Is Magic' the biggest and best year yet in order to help what was a legendary generation of 'My Little Pony' go out with a bang...and as our magical equines once sang, 'things may come and things may go, some go fast and some go slow, few things last-that's all I know, but friendship carries on through the ages'. I'm True Blue, and friendship is magic...
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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: The Lego Movie 2 - The Second Part | #TheLEGOMovie2

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
Written By Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Composed By Mark Mothersbaugh
Produced By Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Roy Lee and Jinko Gotoh
Edited By Clare Knight
Directed By Mike Mitchell

Five years ago, an ordinary LEGO construction worker figurine named Emmett found the mythical Piece Of Resistance and was mistakenly identified as 'The Special' who with the help of the Master Builders saved the LEGO universe from being conquered and glued in place by the tyrannical Lord Business...but now five years later, a new threat has been unleashed upon their universe: invaders from Planet DUPLO!  Can Emmett and the Master Builders save the world and show that 'everything is awesome' again?  Let's find out, this is 'The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part'!

THE LEGO MOVIE 2 - THE SECOND PART: The citizens of Bricksburg face a dangerous new threat when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space start to wreck everything in their path. The battle to defeat the enemy and restore harmony to the LEGO universe takes Emmet, Lucy, Batman and the rest of their friends to faraway unexplored worlds that test their courage and creativity.

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PROS:
  • The story-much like its predecessor, it all sounds like it was written by a seven-year-old kid if you've seen the trailers or read what this film is about as well as all the random cameos of other superheroes and villains to the point where you would question why an executive would green-light a project like this. However with the context of this being a LEGO movie, it miraculously works in how it pays homage to a simpler time of our youth when we would make up our own tales of adventure and have whoever we want in them as the characters like it was one big crossover along the lines of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' and in doing so makes the film capable of doing something that normally wouldn't be capable of doing with how original it tries to be-sure it may sound like everything was made up on the spot, but who didn't do that when they were playing with their toys as kids?
  • The animation-again much like its predecessor, the team at Warner Animation Group uses the same seamlessly-blended mixed style of CGI/stop-motion animation and I don't think we will see another film that gave so much attention to detail in their animation quite like this. Making LEGOs look like LEGOs is tricky enough, but to make them feel like actual characters is no easy task as the team made sure to make every little detail on our characters and locations count and look like the toys and heroes/villains that we've come to know and love like with the limitations of how the toys can move which is also a part of the humor for certain scenes that I won't spoil for you and it truly feels like the team is transporting us into the familiar locations that we know so well as well as welcoming us to brand new locations as well
  • The characters-much like last time, there's a bit of a mixed relationship with the characters-I'm not saying they're bad since there are some memorable ones, but they're not the ones that we focus on.  Emmett is still the happy-go-lucky construction worker wanting to find ways to stand out among the crowd, Lucy (formerly Wyldstyle) is still the edgy member of the Master Builders who aims to have more with herself in life and all of the other characters from last time like UniKitty and Benny are still the same characters that we all know and love...and as for the cameos of other recognizable properties, you never know who's gonna appear onscreen and it's so spontaneous that you can't help but laugh.  As for the new characters, I can only really name one that is truly memorable or had some actual reason to be a part of the story and that is Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi-the shape shifting alien queen of the Systar System who wants to wed Batman...I can already smell the cosplays and fan art of this character by the Bronies and Pegasisters of the My Little Pony fandom

CONS:
  • The pacing-since this film feels like it can do whatever it wants, one of the problems is that it is very fast-paced and has a 'no time to explain, just go' attitude to the point where you can't breathe or comprehend what's going on at certain points and the other being the hit-and-miss humor that can either be really funny or fall flat on its face by trying to shoot out so many jokes at once.  Much like last time, I think there were some things that were skipped in the instructions...
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Overall...for the first of many sequels coming out this year that I was initially skeptical for and while not quite as good as the first movie, 'The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part' is still an extremely creative and enjoyable animated movie that anyone who has ever played with the classic plastic construction bricks will enjoy and for that earns a rating of an 8.5 out of 10. Also, have fun trying to get 'Catchy Song' out of your head...

Friday, February 1, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: The LEGO Movie - Everything Is Awesome For 5 Years | #LEGOMovie

Image result for the lego movie 2014
THE LEGO MOVIE
Written By Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Composed By Mark Mothersbaugh
Produced By Dan Lin and Roy Lee
Edited By David Burrows and Chris McKay
Directed By Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Five years ago, it was funny seeing everybody getting themselves all hyped up like crazy over 'The LEGO Movie' considering how LEGOs are pretty much involved with everybody's childhood...yes, even I had a few sets when I was a kid plus not only did I actually have an officially licensed LEGO Duplo Thomas The Tank Engine but the last thing that I recall building with LEGOs was of Toby The Tram Engine while visiting Yankee Candle in Virginia but I wouldn't say that playing with LEGOs are an unforgettable moment of my childhood-even with the LEGO Duplo Thomas, I associate that more with Thomas than LEGOs.  But going back to The LEGO Movie itself, is it everything in the five-year old movie really awesome or will it be as enjoyable as stepping on one of those razor sharp edges on the bricks?

Actually before I move on, I need to address the elephant in the room that I'm sure a lot of people are curious about: as you may know, this movie is directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller in which their directorial debut is one of my nemesis in form of a film by the name of 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs'.  For the sake of this review, I'm only going to look at The LEGO Movie on its own...I'm not going to have the Sony Pictures animated film influence this review nor make any comparisons or references, this review will be all and only about The LEGO Movie-besides, we all make terrible mistakes on our first try especially in a studio run by idiots.  Now with that out of the way, let's find out...this is 'The LEGO Movie'!

THE LEGO MOVIE: Emmet, an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules is mistakenly identified as the Special-an extraordinary being and the key to saving the world. He finds himself drafted into a fellowship of strangers who are on a mission to stop an evil tyrant's plans to conquer the world. Unfortunately for Emmet, he is hopelessly and hilariously unprepared for such a task but he'll give it his all nonetheless.

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Upon seeing the trailers or listening to what this movie is about, it all sounds like it was written by some seven-year old kid with the Special being the most important special person ever trying to stop the evil Lord Business and all the random cameos like Batman or Superman or whatever.  On paper, this sounds absolutely stupid and there would be no way an executive would be dumb enough to actually pick this up.  However with the context that this is a LEGO Movie, it somehow miraculously made it work: in a sense, yes everything sounds like it was all made up on the spot...but let's be honest when we were playing with toys like LEGOs as kids, who didn't do that?  The whole movie pays homage to a simpler time of our youth when we would just make up our own epic tales and have whoever we want in there like it's all one big 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' style crossover and by doing that the movie would give the audience something that no other film would be capable of doing resulting in something that's completely original and has no rules by doing so.  Now with that said since it's making its own rules, there wouldn't be any flaws with it...right?  Not really, no...even if the movie can do whatever it wants, there are still a few things that they skipped in the instructions that are important.  One of the key features of this movie is that it's very fast-paced from beginning to end, but it doesn't really handle that well: often it has a more 'no time to explain, just go' attitude and it's a little bothersome at times since there's not much room to breathe and comprehend what's going on, that and the humor is a bit of a mix since there are times when it can get really funny but it tries to shoot out so many at once that some of them just fall flat.

I'm not sure if I will see a movie that gave out such attention to detail in their animation quite like this.  This has been brought to us by what I'm starting to believe is possibly the most underrated animation/visual effects studio Animal Logic and what they did here is as amazing as their previous works: from what I saw in the movie, it seems like a mix of both computer animation and some stop-motion and the way they blend it together just feel seamless.  Making the LEGOs look like LEGOs is one thing, but to also make them feel like actual characters is no easy task and the animators managed to make it work since they went down to put some very precise details into each character to make them look exactly like the plastic toys we all love...they work within the limitations of how the toys can move.  Now when I say that everything in the movie is made out of LEGOs, the key word here is everything: from the buildings to the characters, the special effects to the landscapes, whatever you see on screen...it's 100% LEGOs, with that it feels like it brings the audience to a whole new world and in a way the amount of detail to make everything LEGOs is a part of the humor of the film and it's quite effective.

There's a bit of a mixed relationship with the characters, I'm not saying they're bad or anything and there are some memorable ones...they're just not the ones we focus on: Emmet is just a regular construction worker who suddenly was mistaken for the most important special guy ever, there's not really much about this guy other than the shtick of him being all happy-go-lucky and just out of place of everything...sure he wants to find ways to stand out from the rest, but there's nothing really special about him and I know it seems like they did that on purpose but they didn't really do anything about it.  Wyldstyle is a surprisingly interesting character: sure she has a bit of the love interest role, but she's also a member of the Master Builders who are a group of LEGO people that just make everything out of anything since...well, the world is made out of LEGOs and she aims to have more with herself in life.  There's Lord Business, the evil ruler in charge of the LEGO world who doesn't understand the ideology of the Master Builders and plots to freeze everything...sounds weird, I know but it has a very logical explanation at the end of the film.  Then there's Vitruvius and Bad Cop/Good Cop who are actually more of the comic reliefs of the film and they are quite funny while maintaining an important role in their world.  There are plenty of other characters, sure...but they don't play an important role in the film since they're used more as jokes and I will admit they're the most effective ones since you never know who will pop out on screen and it's just so spontaneous that you can't do anything else but laugh.

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I'll be honest...when I first heard about this movie, I never expected to be this pleasantly surprised about it: The LEGO Movie is one of the most creative animated films released in a long time with an enjoyable story, amazingly innovative animation and humor that will sometimes catch you off guard.  This is hands-down a must watch for kids...they will eat this thing up, buy whatever LEGO Movie set is out there and love it forever.  As for the people who are older, that kinda depends: now there's no hiding that this is like a big dumb LEGO commercial for kids...if you can accept or don't care about that and still want to see it, then you'll enjoy it but you're not gonna like it if you're not interested in seeing this and think that this is a big dumb LEGO commercial for kids thus I can see that this might not be for everyone.  If there's just one more thing I would like to add, I just want to say: Phil, Chris, if you guys are ever reading this...I know I may have sometimes smacked a bit of your previous project to the ground, but you made me proud with The LEGO Movie and that is why I'm giving it a rating of an 8.5 out of 10.