Saturday, March 30, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: My Little Pony - Equestria Girls: Spring Breakdown | #MLPEquestriaGirls

EQUESTRIA GIRLS: SPRING BREAKDOWN
Written By Nick Confalone

Back in the Equestria Girls special 'Dance Magic', it had been mentioned by Sunny Flare of the Crystal Prep Shadowbolts that Principal Cadence would let them have the spring dance on a yacht if they raised the money necessary from the 'Chance To Prance' music video contest...and with the help and teamwork of the Mane 7, they became the Crystal Rainbooms and won the contest to have the maritime spring dance.  Two years later after winning the contest and the dance is about to get underway, but could stormy seas end up rocking the boat?  Let's find out, this is 'Spring Breakdown'!

EQUESTRIA GIRLS - SPRING BREAKDOWN: It's Spring Break and the Mane 7 are about to board the most glorious yacht ever for a relaxing cruise, but Rainbow Dash is convinced that Equestrian magic is on the loose and won't let anyone rest until she finds it leading to disaster on the high seas when Equestrian magic related to the Storm King has seeped into their world and is threatening everyone on board the yacht!

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PROS:

  • Continuity with 'My Little Pony: The Movie'-over halfway through this special, we finally get to the part that I'm sure mostly everyone appreciated: Sunset Shimmer, Rainbow Dash and Sci-Twilight Sparkle in the world of Equestria...seeing them sneak around Ponyville and interacting with both Princess Twilight and Spike were really fun to see like when Spike talks about having been to a dragon wedding of which I'm sure the fandom is gonna make several fanfics about this concept over the coming weeks. Also on a side note if you look really closely, you'll notice that Spike does not have his wings that he received during Season 8 which leads me to believe that this takes place right after the movie and it makes sense because this is the Storm King's magic that has seeped into the Equestria Girls universe and I can get behind the months of waiting before finally showing itself in true threatening fashion in the form of the storm that is threatening the cruise

CONS:

  • The story-unlike in last year's "Forgotten Friendship" which was ten times more memorable than what we got here especially with the way that Equestria was integrated into the moral they were trying to teach with Sunset Shimmer finally making amends with Princess Celestia actually working into the final conflict when she returned to Canterlot High feeling more like a much more flowing story, the story for 'Spring Breakdown' is all over the place where you get really excited to see certain parts of the special and invested in what will happen next...but much like Rainbow Dash herself in this special, it honestly feels like you're just waiting for something to happen for a majority of the time and hoping that they will move on to something much more exciting
  • The sideplots to Rainbow Dash's primary story-I know that there are plenty of people who want to see their favorite characters again through their adventure on this cruise, but I really don't think it was a good idea to try and focus on little tidbits from the rest of the Mane 7 especially when the sideplots are really not interesting from Pinkie Pie's obsession with a bundt cake to Rarity's 'liar revealed' romance...it would've helped if they spent more time focusing on what Rainbow Dash was trying to do instead of rushing through everything to get to the main conflict because the way that they step up her arrogance for this special so that she can get her own way whereas the rest of the group is clearly not interested makes it a little hard to swallow-this is not the first time that this has happened in either Equestria Girls or the main 'Friendship Is Magic' series!
  • The humor-throughout the entirety of the special, the humor is either hit or miss or just falls flat on its face...sometimes the humor can be funny like with Applejack's all too relatable scenario of getting seasick on the cruise and Sci-Twi's initial freak out to becoming a unicorn when she enters Equestria with Sunset Shimmer and Rainbow Dash, but the joke that made me groan the most was when Rainbow Dash was trying fondue in Equestria with Sunset Shimmer and the two Twilight Sparkles and says that it needs to be 'twenty percent cooler' due to how hot it initially is

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Overall, I really wanted to like 'Spring Breakdown' since it did have a lot of potential going for it from what I had seen via the teasers shown at last year's San Diego Comic-Con...but to have a story that is all over the place either moving too slowly or too quickly along with sideplots that really didn't need to happen and with humor that is hit or miss or falls flat, it resulted in me being nearly taken out of the adventure if it weren't for the scenes in the world of Equestria to keep me invested. For that, I unfortunately have to give 'Spring Breakdown' an average rating of a 5 out of 10...but speaking of Equestria and ponies, be sure to join me next week as we kick off the final season of 'My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic'!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: Muppets Most Wanted - 'We're Doing A Sequel' For 5 Years | #MuppetsMostWanted

Image result for muppets most wanted
MUPPETS MOST WANTED
Written By Nicholas Stoller and James Bobin
Composed By Christophe Beck
Produced By David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman
Edited By James Thomas
Directed By James Bobin

As you may remember at the end of 2011, the Muppets came back to the big screen and became a household name all over again not only winning an Oscar for Best Original Song with 'Man Or Muppet' but also getting their own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and even had the honor of hosting a gala at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal...so it would make sense that everyone would be excited when Disney announced plans for the sequel that quite literally takes place directly after the events of the first film-I'm serious, we literally go from seeing them waving goodbye to jumping right into the sequel to the point where you could just edit the two films together and make it one big movie if you really wanted to.  But would coming 'Together Again Again' continue the success of the Muppets or would it result in them getting thrown in 'The Big House'?  Let's find out, this is 'Muppets Most Wanted'!

MUPPETS MOST WANTED: Dominic Badguy-the Muppets' new manager-convinces the gang to embark on a world tour with Kermit The Frog doubting that it's a good idea only to be proven right when look-alike Constantine escapes from prison taking Kermit's place and landing Miss Piggy's sweetie in a Siberian prison. While Kermit tries to convince his captors of his true identity, Constantine and Dominic are free to carry out their plan to steal London's crown jewels.

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Sounds incredibly standard on paper due to recycling the same by-the-numbers doppelganger story we have seen several times before with Constantine replacing Kermit and fooling everyone into thinking that he is the real Kermit which I feel could definitely turn some people off, but it is incredibly funny and the Muppets even acknowledge that they're doing that cheesy story as established during the opening number 'We're Doing A Sequel'...whereas the previous film was trying to be similar to that of the original Muppet movie, 'Muppets Most Wanted' is trying to be like that of the second movie 'The Great Muppet Caper'.  Now some people didn't like this because they liked the emotion of the last movie only to have it not really be there with 'Muppets Most Wanted', but here's the thing: it's not supposed to be there since this one was just returning to the straight-on jokes with clever writing, catchy song numbers and goofy sequences with all of them working extremely well especially for those who have a nostalgic connection to 'The Great Muppet Caper' for its comedy and creativity.

In fact, I'd go as far to say that 'Muppets Most Wanted' even fixed a lot of problems with its predecessor most notably due to feeling more like a Muppet movie where the Muppets are the main focus especially when bringing out the fun and humor that we all know and love with all different kinds of jokes rather they be unexpected or meta or just plain goofy-it's honestly what makes the Muppets who they are.  Another improvement worth noting is that 'Muppets Most Wanted' tries to be more like a movie itself rather than doing more distracting things from the experience like how they removed all those dumb advertisements for other Disney products as to not feel like a complete sellout and even toning down all of the references to the original show as to feel more welcoming to a general audience over being one big nostalgia trip for huge fans ...anyone else remember them advertising 'Cars 2' during the production of the last movie?

So as you can imagine, I was scratching my head as to why people weren't getting into 'Muppets Most Wanted' as they did with the previous Muppet movie...now I don't know anyone who hated the movie, but people either didn't think too much of it or just found it okay.  I think the only thing that I can gather as to why is because the first one while having more problems than 'Muppets Most Wanted' took more risks and the emotional moments could've very easily bombed or been awkward while not paying off which would cause people to not only dislike it but really dislike it.  But because they took those risks and it worked, a lot of people got a lot more emotional to it and connected it with something much bigger than the other Muppet movies...and while 'Muppets Most Wanted' is a very standard movie with being nothing but jokes to the point where even the plot is one big joke to the point where the audience may be wanting something more, but I'm not bothered by this because that's just how the traditional Muppets were to the point where they even acknowledge in the opening number that sequels are usually not as good as the first one which ended up getting a good laugh out of me.


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Overall...while I do admire the risky chances that the previous Muppet movie took more and even if the story isn't that original, I can definitely say that 'Muppets Most Wanted' was the one that made me laugh harder to the point where it's kinda like 'pick your own poison'-the previous Muppet movie if you want emotion and laughs, but 'Muppets Most Wanted' for straight up comedy and I'm proud to give it a rating of a 9 out of 10.  Now that the Muppets seem to have a bright future ahead of them, who knows where we're gonna see them next...but until the credits roll, we'll have to wait for another go they can show so they can do it all again