Friday, July 26, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: The Lion King 2019 | #TheLionKing

Disney The Lion King 2019.jpg
THE LION KING
Written By Jeff Nathanson
Composed By Hans Zimmer
Produced By Jon Favreau, Jeffrey Silver and Karen Gilchrist
Edited By Mark Livolsi and Adam Gerstel
Directed By Jon Favreau

I'm not gonna lie, I feel very conflicted about this one: on one hand, Disney legitimately had the nerve to make another of their live-action remakes...but this time and of all the films in their animation library, it's with 'The Lion King'...FOR REAL, DUDE?!  I mean, we're talking about animation royalty here-like, it's the king because it's a timeless masterpiece that's widely beloved by millions of generations to come...and with the infamous reputation of these remakes feeling utterly soulless and end up completely inferior to their animated counterparts and easily forgettable, why would they think that a live-action Lion King needs to exist other than to cash in on nostalgia?!  On top of that, there are no human characters in 'The Lion King'-it's literally a talking animals cartoon and we all know that these remakes have no interest whatsoever in paying homage to the Broadway versions, so how can this movie claim to be the live-action version if there are no human characters in the first place?!  BUT...on the other hand, this is directed by Jon Favreau who is not only a solid filmmaker but this is the guy who directed what many agree to be so far the best of the Disney live-action remakes: The Jungle Book-while not a perfect movie, it's got the right materials to make a strong remake from a great cast to amazing visuals that can also bring these animated characters to real life and the right blend of originality as well as familiarity that honors both the Rudyard Kipling story and the 1967 animated film.  If the Lion King remake must exist, then he is the perfect guy to make it especially with a promising cast that includes Donald Glover and Beyonce as well as the comeback of Mufasa himself James Earl Jones.

So you can see how I feel pretty divided on this one-no surprise that I am a huge fan of the original 1994 Lion King and I even consider it one of my favorite Disney films, it was practically my birth movie!  But at the same time though, I am not a fan of these recent live-action remakes-I mean, sure there are some that I actually do enjoy myself like the already mentioned Jungle Book and even 'Cinderella' was actually pretty good...but for the rest, I would say they all range from meh to downright embarrassing and I could see it going either way with 'The Lion King' whether it's totally awesome or totally garbage.  So let's put our minds at ease and see which direction it ultimately goes in the Circle Of Life, this is 'The Lion King!'

THE LION KING: Simba idolizes his father King Mufasa and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa, but not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub's arrival as Mufasa's brother and former heir to the throne Scar has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is soon ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama ultimately resulting in Simba's exile. Now with help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba must figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

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Now that I have finally seen the movie and I am pretty clear on what I have just witnessed, let me go and start this off by saying...holy crap, the visuals are absolutely phenomenal!  Remember back when people praised the visual effects of 'The Jungle Book'...that achievement got amplified in this film!  It is insane to imagine how most if not everything the light touches in that kingdom is made by computers and everything is so lifelike from the plants big and small to the fur and all the different textures to nailing the movements of each animal...everything is crafted with such careful detail to make it all feel as natural and organic as possible that this can almost be considered a nature documentary-in fact, this might as well be a part of the Disneynature lineup on top of how it's often used to recreate some of the most iconic moments of the movie which is especially effective when giving new depth to the 'Circle Of Life' opening.  If there is one title that this movie can proudly hold, it's that it stands as a true testament that technology can perfectly capture realism.

So with visuals this amazing, there's no way that it can be a problem for the movie...right?  Ummm...okay, here's the thing: yes the visuals themselves are fantastic and we can all be on the same page there, but the only problem is that they may not be the right fit for this movie in particular.  You see, 'The Lion King' is a story that's made exclusively for animation and the Broadway show is kind of an exception...but like I said before, it was crafted specifically as a talking animals cartoon and the animators had the liberty as a cartoon of slightly altering the animals to have the characters look distinct from each other and for the viewers to easily read their facial expressions.  You watch the movie and you could tell in their eyes when they have fear or sadness or anger or pride and more which is kind of essential since the film heavily relies on having the audience be emotionally invested.  With the characters in the remake however considering its top priority is the realism, the characters don't have any those facial expressions-no matter how they feel, their face and eyes mostly stay the same making it harder to see how they feel and most consequentially harder to be connected with these characters.  It's weird because this wasn't an issue with 'The Jungle Book', so how can the filmmakers mess that up here?  As a live-action remake, why not have the lions look more human?  Okay, maybe not like the upcoming adaptation of 'Cats'...it's unfortunately the price to pay for being photo-realistic having issues with how the lions all look the same and how every animal always has the same neutral expression, well you get what you pay for when seeing a real-life version of 'The Lion King'.  Another downgrade this causes is with some of the musical numbers...remember how in the original that the animation became more stylized and colorful and everything became lively?  Well, you ain't getting that here...instead, all of that is replaced by a lot of running


The visuals are a big part of the movie, but there's still a lot more to get into especially with the writing...how is the story of this Lion King and how does this give us something new?  Well to be very honest...it's 'The Lion King', what else can I say?  I don't mean it like 'oh, it's immediately good', I mean it like it is exactly the same as the animated film.  What can be the biggest criticism as a movie here is that this is ninety eight percent exactly like the animated film...it remakes so much of what the first film did that it is very near the shot-to-shot levels of the 1998 remake of 'Psycho': no new significant characters, no new musical numbers, no new plot lines that can help extend the already existing characters, it follows the same beat as the 1994 film almost verbatim!  It's not just the story and the characters either, the score is no different from before and even the songs are mostly the same with the exception of 'Be Prepared' which was my favorite song in the original film...I'll admit, I was wrong about the song being removed but I do wish I was right after hearing this version.  The only difference I could find from the original is with the hyenas which were given a fresh and well-crafted take with Florence Kasumba's busting approach and the comedic stylings of Keegan-Michael Key and Eric Andre and I'll also give credit to Timon and Pumbaa by Bill Eichner and Seth Rogen on a side-note respectively for having their share of funny moments...not all the time, but they can hit the mark.  Speaking of which with the voice acting, I'll just say that's fine...not great but they're okay on their own since the actors did a good job and some are good singers especially the kids, but it is noticeable how a lot of them are less giving out their own style and more imitating what the original actors did resulting in the performance to feel less genuine...and as for James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa, I don't know if he's either getting too old for this or he threw all his cares out the window.


There is one more thing I would like to discuss about this movie in particular: I'm not gonna be lecturing about Disney live-action remakes and how they're all unnecessary since I've already done that plenty of times before, but instead I want to finally put my piece on a controversial topic that's been going around ever since the movie's announcement...so it is finally my turn to ask the question 'is the Lion King remake an animated film?'.  I know this may sound like a silly question, but you'd be surprised how this question can spark some heated debates in both the film and animation community and I don't blame both sides either because it is a tricky question to answer with valid points on both ends.  On one hand, this is a part of the Disney live-action remakes whose existence is because of the same reasons as the 2017 'Beauty And The Beast' and recently with 'Aladdin' on top of the fact that everything is depicted realistically like to make it look live-action...on the other hand, everything in this movie if not ninety-nine point nine percent of this is entirely crafted in CGI: there are no real life humans, no real animals, no motion-capture and even the environments are entirely made with computer animation and yet this still leaves people entirely split on what to call it.

Even director Jon Favreau himself is confused with the question-in fact, even he stated:  "Well, it's difficult because it's neither really: it depends what standard you're using because there's no real animals and no real cameras and there's not even any performances that's being captured that's underlying data that's real.  Everything is coming through the hands of artists, but to say it's animated I think is misleading as far as what the expectation might be and it also changes the way you sit and watch it because hopefully you could just watch it without it being introduced".  So after I took some time to sit and think about the question, I think I found the answer to this or at least what I think it is and the answer is it's undeniably an animated film.  Here's the thing: yes it's trying to be photo-realistic...but you do know that photo realism can count as an art style, right?  This is not the first time that an animated film tried to do that like with Warner Brothers' "Happy Feet" and Ralph Bakshi's "American Pop" and there are others that use more live-action elements than the Lion King remake like the motion-capture of 'The Polar Express' and 'The Adventures Of Tintin' and the real backgrounds that were filmed for Disney's 'Dinosaur' yet all those films are still considered an animated feature...so there's no reason to not call this an animated film, right-who would say otherwise?

Well, that would be Disney and it's not for any of the artistic reasons...but they don't want you to call this an animated film for marketing reasons: sadly even if fans say otherwise, animation is still viewed by the public as a kid genre.  You say animation and they'll still think of goofy rubber-hose cartoons with over-the-top slapstick comedy geared only for children and it doesn't help either when some animated films nowadays end up enforcing that genre stereotype than to contradict it.  One thing that Jon Favreau was right about was when he said that calling this an animated film would change the way you see it...what Disney wants is for people to take this seriously, to treat it like one of their Marvel or Star Wars movies and to be viewed in the same league as them.  If you call it an animated film, then the public would view 'The Lion King' the same way they do with 'Toy Story' or 'The Secret Life Of Pets' or 'The Angry Birds Movie' and many of the adults would feel less encouraged to see it for themselves or don't have to bring their kids for this...if the purpose of this is the same as their live-action remakes, then why not market it the same way as them especially if it's to differentiate itself from the actual animated film it's based on?

I've seen many who got frustrated about this topic, but it's nothing really personal for Disney...it's just business, they depend on the media to call it a live-action remake in order to have this stand out in order to have this look more unique per se.  If Disney would go and market this as an animated film, then let's be honest: not many people would really be that interested.  Imagine if Disney would go and market it out as another animated Lion King movie, do you think people would go and watch that?  Definitely not...I mean, it's enough that we got two sequels anyways and that is why Disney doesn't want you to call it an animated film so that it would give the remake a purpose to make it stand out and tell you that you need to go see this to experience your favorite movie in a unique way in a way that you have never seen before.  But after seeing this now that I have witnessed that there's very little differences between this and the original animated feature, I think Disney really does need all the marketing they could get to sell this one...

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Overall, it's very tough to express how I feel about this Lion King since the biggest conflict is that its pros are also its cons...sure it did give me 'The Lion King', but it gave me the exact same movie but through a photo-realistic lens and that is not enough for someone like me who was practically raised on the animated classic to merit an entirely new movie.  The live-action remake of 'The Lion King' is just like the original 1994 film, but everything comes with a catch: the visual effects are amazing in capturing realism, but they make the characters hard to connect with due to their lack of facial expressions...the voice acting is good, but the actors are trying to be like the originals than give their own performance...and it stays true to the animated film, but it delivers little to nothing new to differentiate itself from its source material resulting in an experience that ends up feeling dull with no surprises to spice the experience up.

In terms of my recommendation, I'll just say to you that this is the exact same film but with real animals.  If that's enough to make you want to check it out, then more power to you...but if you want a bit more out of this than the same movie as before, then you might as well skip this and stick with the original.  As for my rating, I honestly give the live-action remake of 'The Lion King a 5 out of 10...it has forgotten what it is and forgot that it is more than what it became.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Diesel Glows Away | #BigWorldBigAdventures

Season 23, Episode 12: Diesel Glows Away
Written By Davey Moore
Directed By Dianna Basso


Some engines on the Island Of Sodor give diesels a bad reputation and no engine better exemplifies this than the sinister shunter himself Diesel.  Being the first diesel engine to arrive on the North Western Railway, Diesel views himself and any other diesel as highly above the steam engines and believes that all diesels are "revolutionary" while also claiming diesels should be "rough and tough" as an excuse for bullying the other engines particularly towards Thomas and Duck...but it looks like he may have found a way to light up the night!  Let's go go go on a big adventure as 'Diesel Glows Away'! 

DIESEL GLOWS AWAY: When Diesel hides from the other engines on Sodor, his plans backfire and he gets a surprise

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PROS:
  • The fantasy sequences-with this now being one of the major selling points for the series, this sequence of both steam engines and diesel engines getting emotional about not being able to find Diesel in order for him to help them out only to be surprised and overjoyed to see their 'really useful friend' when Diesel appears out of a giant cake really played into Diesel's egotistical behavior of proving how really useful he can be quite well in my opinion to make for a really humorous experience...on top of that, Stanley gets another speaking role ever since Season 22's "An Engine Of Many Colours" along with Owen ever since Season 18's "Long Lost Friend" and the biggest surprise being that Norman finally gets another speaking role in the series after six years since Season 17's "The Frozen Turntable"-Mattel, seriously make an episode about Norman...he's a character who is in desperate need of development!  You gave it to Paxton and Sidney, why not complete the trilogy?!

CONS:
  • The story-while it starts off just being a rehash of Season 18's "Disappearing Diesels" like I had originally thought going into the episode, it soon becomes a jumbled up mess of a role reversal rehash to Season 19's "Diesel's Ghostly Christmas" (my favorite episode from that season!) while bringing back the glow in the dark paint concept from Season 20's "Henry In The Dark" and the concept of Diesel needing to change his ways in order to make friends from throughout Season 21 with episodes like 'Springtime For Diesel' and 'A Most Singular Engine'...granted it was funny to see that Paxton and Nia (who actually worked great together in my opinion) weren't fooled by Diesel's glow in the dark ghostly appearance while embarking on their own mystery investigation in a nod to Season 22's "The Case Of The Puzzling Parts" and even getting involved with the glowing paint in order to get back at Diesel, all that it managed to do was make that glow in the dark TrackMaster pack that featured Diesel canon in the series-I know that Thomas is only still around because the toys sell so well, but toys should be the byproduct of a franchise...not the other way around!


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Overall...while the story to 'Diesel Glows Away' is a jumbled mess, it still managed to be a pretty alright episode throughout the delightful duo of Paxton and Nia who like I said earlier work really well together.  So for that, 'Diesel Glows Away' gets a rating of a 7.5 out of 10.


Grudge Match-9.5/10
Batucada-9.5/10
Diesel Glows Away-7.5/10

SEASON 23 OVERALL RATING: 8.83/10

MLEEP Reviews: Thomas & Friends - Wish You Were Here | #BigWorldBigAdventures

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Season 23, Episode 11: Wish You Were Here
Written By Camille Ucan and Rose Johnson
Directed By Dianna Basso

Ever since Percy first came to the Island Of Sodor to help out Edward when the other big engines went on strike, he has made so many great friends whether they ride the rails and roads or hover in the air...but his best friend on the North Western Railway has always been the Number One Engine himself Thomas.  Sure they may get into disagreements from time to time, but they always find a way to strengthen their friendship in the end with a happy toot of their 'best friends whistle' as they tell each other everything...but one can only wonder how the two of them feel when they are separated or in Thomas' case in different countries.  Let's go go go on a big world adventure back to China with Thomas as we 'Wish You Were Here'!

WISH YOU WERE HERE: Thomas misses his best friend Percy while working on the Chinese Railway

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PROS:
  • 'Best Friends Forever'-while a majority of the fandom will argue that the story to 'Wish You Were Here' is basically a Chinese version of Season 18's "Missing Gator" where Percy was missing his faraway friend Gator that he met back in 'Tale Of The Brave' complete with the main character learning the same lesson about bravery in order to get his job done even though he is scared and while I can see why people would have a problem with this, one of the biggest complaints that people raised about the 'Big World Big Adventures' movie is that Thomas just left Sodor to go on his international travels without even saying goodbye to his friends on Sodor because it looked like it had been months before Thomas returns to Sodor with Nia in what appeared to be the season of autumn...so with a mention of the fact that Hong-Mei pulls the mail train in China and a continuity nod from Thomas to the Season 3 episode 'Thomas, Percy And The Mail Train', to see that Thomas genuinely misses his best friend Percy while he is busy helping out on the Chinese Railway was really heartwarming especially when Thomas is given the idea of sending a postcard to his friend while he is taking the main train which is something that Season 18's "Missing Gator" never did-it may not be as memorable as Season 18's "Missing Gator", but it's still really good for an international episode!
  • Teaching Chinese culture-some or even many fans might be turned off by this due to feeling like that they are back in school learning things that they don't want to (as if they didn't want to learn anything before), I'm all for learning new things about different cultures because I actually did take Chinese classes a while back and it was great getting to learn about one of the most popular events in China being the annual Dragon Boat Race from Yong Bao and Hong Mei as well as making plenty of continuity nods from Season 3's "Thomas, Percy And The Dragon" as well as Season 22's "Thomas And The Dragon"...but while first seen cleverly with sparks flying from behind the dragon boat, you would think that Thomas would know by now that dragons don't really exist from all the adventures that he has had involving dragons whether on Sodor or on his international travels!
  • The animation-even if they had to reuse a lot of assets from Sodor in order to create the railways of China like they did for the movie such as the shunting yards and Tidmouth Sheds, you can't deny that the team at Jam Filled still did an amazing job in capturing the beauty and tranquility of China from the hills to the valleys...not to mention that I love the team at Jam Filled brought back some old locations from throughout the China episodes such as the bamboo forest from Season 22's 'Thomas In The Wild' where the giant pandas live as well as Tu Zi Quan from Season 22's 'The Water Wheel' where the water wheel is still bringing water to the rice fields!
  • The fantasy sequences-with this now being one of the major selling points for the series, this sequence (even if it is just doing what Season 18's "Missing Gator" did in terms of the main character remembering his faraway friend during their time on Sodor) of Thomas fantasizing about his best friend Percy being in China as well as introducing him to his new international friends albeit having already met Yong Bao in 'The Great Race' and showing him the sights of China from the Nature Reserve from Season 22's "Thomas In The Wild" to Tu Zi Quan where the water wheel is still bringing water to the rice fields from Season 22's "The Water Wheel" that we have seen from throughout the revamped series was truly heartwarming especially when Percy suddenly disappears from the fantasy as Thomas is being woken up to start work by Hong Mei-in fact if you're into comics and superheroes, you could make the joke that Percy basically got Thanos'd!

CONS:
  • N/A

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Overall...it may be China's "Missing Gator", but 'Wish You Were Here' is still a very heartwarming episode that strengthens one of the longest running friendships from throughout the series even after the international revamp and that is why I am giving it a rating of a 9 out of 10.


Grudge Match-9.5/10
Batucada-9.5/10
Wish You Were Here-9/10

SEASON 23 OVERALL RATING: 8.95/10

Friday, July 19, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: My Little Pony - A Horse Shoe-In | #MLPSeason9

Season 9, Episode 20: A Horse Shoe-In
Written By Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim

When we last left Starlight Glimmer, she had been forced by her best friend Trixie to close her guidance counselor's office early for spring break in order to attend a Spring Solstice party with their friends...but in doing so, she abandoned Silverstream in her time of need with completing a project resulting in her nearly getting killed with the fact that she was doing a report on cockatrices and Starlight once again getting off easy without any consequences for her abusive and nasty behavior towards one of her own students!  If you couldn't already tell, I friggin' hated 'Student Counsel' with how it basically said that counseling and therapy are nothing more than fake happiness especially with Starlight Glimmer in the leading role and one can only wonder what she will get away with this time...let's just get this over with and hope for a miracle with 'Starlight Glimmer: Round 2', this is 'A Horse Shoe-In'!

A HORSE SHOE-IN: Because of the Mane 6's new leadership positions, Starlight has to find new teachers to take their places

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PROS:
  • 'Finding Your Voice'-not only does this episode mark the first and probably only time in the entire series that Big McIntosh appears without Applejack (without a cameo appearance, it's no wonder the fandom calls her a 'background pony' or Apple Bloom, but characters who we thought would never get another speaking role again in the series finally found their voices once again ranging from Spoiled Rich ever since Season 6's "Where The Apple Lies' to Doctor Whooves and Octavia Melody ever since Season 5's "Slice Of Life' which was the celebratory one hundredth episode of the series...it's great that the show staff are using as many of the classic and fan favorite characters from throughout the years of My Little Pony more often in my opinion and it especially makes sense to do considering that this is the final season!
  • The Student 6-with how Silverstream was the center of attention back in 'Student Counsel' while the rest of the main students at the School Of Friendship were pretty much reduced to silent cameos, it is interesting to see that the roles have been reversed for this episode where the rest of the students get speaking roles again whereas Silverstream is reduced to a silent cameo...speaking of the other students, I don't know if we have seen them before but we finally got to hear Yona's parents speak in the series albeit we never do find out what their names are and we also get to hear Sky Beak speak once again ever since Season 8's "Surf And/Or Turf" after having been mentioned and made a silent cameo so far throughout this final season during a one on one meeting with their kids and their substitute teachers-like I said, it's great that the show staff are using as many of the classic and fan favorite characters from throughout the years of My Little Pony more often in my opinion and it especially makes sense to do considering that this is the final season!


CONS:
  • The story-while not as insultingly stupid as 'Student Counsel' was, the basic concept of Starlight Glimmer finding new teachers for the School Of Friendship while the Mane 6 are busy elsewhere is basically a lazy rehash of one of the sequences from Season 8's "A Matter Of Principals" where Discord offered to get substitute teachers for Starlight albeit getting Iron Will and Cranky Doodle Donkey along with a Dragon Sneeze Tree of all things while Starlight managed to get Spitfire and Maud as well as her best friend Trixie to fill in...speaking of Trixie, she has also had a really bad track record for this final season from being a whiny attention seeking brat forcing her best friend to close up early from her job to basically filling in the role of Discord from 'A Matter Of Principals' putting Starlight Glimmer on the spot with figuring out the best way to get rid of her as a substitute teacher with the fact that she didn't care about lecturing the class and only managed to put them and herself to sleep!


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Overall with this being the final Starlight Glimmer episode in the entire series, all I can say is that 'A Horse Shoe-In' was definitely a little better than 'Student Counsel' in how it made Starlight Glimmer look more competent as a guidance counselor as well as the new leader for the School Of Friendship when Twilight Sparkle eventually takes the throne...but it's still not that great of an episode either mostly due to recycling the story from the very first time Starlight was put in charge of the school and making Trixie into the most incompetent asshole in Equestria, so for that it earns a rating of a 6.5 out of 10.


Uprooted-8/10
Dragon Dropped-8/10
A Horse Shoe-In-6.5/10

SEASON 9 OVERALL RATING: 8.36/10

MLEEP Reviews: My Little Pony - Dragon Dropped | #MLPSeason9

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Season 9, Episode 19: Dragon Dropped
Written By Josh Haber

When Twilight Sparkle and Spike first arrived in Ponyville back in the series pilot of 'My Little Pony', our little dragon was immediately head over hooves in love with the generous fashionista Rarity and went to great lengths to show his affection albeit not originally planned out from the beginning since series creator Lauren Faust wanted the audience to understand that Rarity was very beautiful even if she is visually similar to the other ponies except for her mane style as well as her eyes and eyelashes.  However, we have seen that Spike and Rarity's relationship with each other has grown stronger throughout the series from Spike giving Rarity a coveted fire ruby in Season 2's "Secret Of My Excess" to singing a special song for her as her Hearth's Warming Helper recently in the 'Best Gift Ever' special...but it seems like their relationship may have hit rock bottom because Spike may have found a new 'special somepony' resulting in Rarity being 'Dragon Dropped'!  Let's take a look...

DRAGON DROPPED: When Spike makes plans to spend time with his pen pal Gabby Griffon instead of helping Rarity at the Gem Cave, it soon becomes a battle for Spike's heart

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PROS:

  • 'Sparity VS. Spabby'-some people seem to think this episode brings an end to the 'Sparity' shipping, but yet it's far from being sunk since it gave more strength to it contrary to what some people may think: people keep thinking Rarity was ignoring Spike and yet she learned the hard way about how useful and helpful he's been to her while at the same time having to learn that Spike isn't always going to be with her and she got jealous of him hanging with Gabby. Speaking of Gabby, not only is it awesome to see her finally have another speaking role in the series since her debut Season 6 episode 'The Fault In Our Cutie Marks' along with a nice re-introduction of Gabby for those who weren't familiar with her and her new position with the Griffonstone Post Office but she too realized that she was hogging Spike a bit too much and learned the same feeling Rarity had about Spike not being around her...they both learned to share Spike in their own way through what was quite an entertaining case of the classic 'love triangle' situation even if it's a plot that we have seen countless times before not just with My Little Pony but with other shows and movies and even other media as well!
  • Spike-while Rarity and Gabby had to learn to share Spike in their own way through the classic case of a 'love triangle' situation, something I should point out is that Spike seemed like he was still very much interested in Rarity like he's been since the very beginning of the series and he was still wanting to be with her...he was even shocked to learn Rarity loved being with him and that in the end he always looks forward to being with Rarity and spending time with her even if he is forced to play along in her shenanigans. So no, I don't think Sparity has been sunk like I said earlier but rather it's just gained a new rival in the form of 'Spabby'. So while this episode doesn't 100% confirm the 'Sparity' ship, I still hold a belief that it's still strong as ever...besides there's always a harem if it comes down to it, but am I the only one who's noticed that Spike seems to find new friendships among all of the side female leads on the show like with Sweetie Belle or Ember and Smolder in recent years and why do I see people making new Rule 34 fan art and fan fictions about Spike and his 'new soulmate'?!

CONS:
  • N/A

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Overall while the story of 'love triangles' is one that we know all too well in the 'Friendship Is Magic' series, 'Dragon Dropped' helped one of the longest running ships in the series rise to new heights with the highly anticipated return of one of the fandom's most loved characters in recent years and for that earns a rating of a 8 out of 10.


Uprooted-8/10
Dragon Dropped-8/10

SEASON 9 OVERALL RATING: 8.47/10

Friday, July 12, 2019

MLEEP Reviews: My Little Pony - She Talks To Angel | #MLPSeason9


Season 9, Episode 18: She Talks To Angel
Written By Nick Confalone

Ever since he made his debut back in the Season 1 episode 'Dragonshy', Angel Bunny has been among one of the fandom's most hated characters in the entire series...while Fluttershy thinks he's as cute as can be, Angel is always keeping her on her hooves with his bossy and demanding and even childish ways thinking he can get away with just about anything and it looks like he could end up putting Fluttershy's animal sanctuary in jeopardy thanks to some help from an old friend.  Let's take a look at our next episode for My Little Pony's final season because the fur will fly when 'She Talks To Angel'!

SHE TALKS TO ANGEL: When Fluttershy's and Angel Bunny's relationship hits the skids, Zecora gives them a potion to help them understand each other


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PROS:
  • 'Swapping The Bodies'-sure we've had cutie mark swaps in the past with episodes like the Season 3 finale 'Magical Mystery Cure' when Twilight Sparkle accidentally changed the cutie marks of her friends as well as in Season 7's "A Royal Problem" when Starlight Glimmer swapped the cutie marks of Princess Celestia and Luna for them to walk a mile in each other's hooves, but never have we had a full-on body swap style episode in the series...and thanks to the potion master herself Zecora who it is always great to have her on screen especially with this being the final season since I feel that she doesn't get the love that she deserves, Fluttershy and Angel Bunny under the influence of the potion get to truly see how hard each other's lives are when the other is either ignoring them or not constantly giving them everything that they want as they swap bodies which results in some great comedy which reminded me a lot of Disney's theatrical take of 'Freaky Friday' with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis such as the initial discovery of when they're in each other's bodies like Angel Bunny trying to hop in Fluttershy's body along with the reveal that Fluttershy wants to marry Discord which I'm sure sounds like the trigger for the community to make fan fictions and fan projects of this concept especially with the popular 'Bride/Daughter Of Discord' series by DisneyFanatic2364...but all I can say is that you ain't seen nothing yet if you really weren't a fan of Angel Bunny before in the series up to this point especially since it reaches Season 2's "Putting Your Hoof Down" levels of hatred for this little rodent especially when he is in Fluttershy's body!

CONS:
  • N/A

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Overall, 'She Talks To Angel' is an episode that I feel a lot of people are gonna be split on: there will be some who hate it because of their hatred for Angel Bunny as well as retreading old grounds in a way and there will be some who will enjoy it for either Fluttershy herself or the whole concept of body swapping...if you can manage to get through all of the scenes involving Angel Bunny acting like the biggest asshole in all of Equestria, you'll find that you might actually enjoy 'She Talks To Angel' and that is why it gets a rating of a 9 out of 10.


Uprooted-8/10
The Summer Sun Setback-10/10
She Talks To Angel-9/10

SEASON 9 OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10

MLEEP Reviews: My Little Pony - The Summer Sun Setback | #MLPSeason9

Image result for my little pony the summer sun setback
Season 9, Episode 17: The Summer Sun Setback
Written By Michael Vogel

When we last left Twilight Sparkle on her route towards becoming Equestria's new ruler, she and her friends were put in charge of preparing for the Royal Swanifying while Princess Celestia and Princess Luna went on a 'bucket list' sister vacation.  However, Twilight was so determined in showing her mentors that they can handle whatever the job of the princesses requires that she didn't think to ask for help from the Royal Swanifying Committee nor could she properly raise the sun and moon without managing to break the amulet that her mentors provided for her.  But now that the swans have been celebrated, we are about to celebrate a very special occasion: Princess Celestia and Luna's last Summer Sun Celebration...the event that started it all for our six best friends, but it's not gonna be without its problems because we could soon be celebrating 'The Summer Sun Setback'!  Let's take a look...

THE SUMMER SUN SETBACK: Twilight is determined to make Princess Celestia and Luna's last Summer Sun Celebration memorable, but things start going horribly wrong


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PROS:
  • The return of Grogar-after having done research on Grogar before sitting down to watch the Season 9 premiere back in April, it is so cool to have another Generation 1 character from 'My Little Pony' to join the ranks of Lord Tirek and the Smooze when they made their debuts back in Seasons 4 and 5 and we can see that this blue coated ram means business when getting the rest of our team of villains to work together in destroying Twilight Sparkle and her friends....and after his team 'failed' to retrive his bewitching bell back in 'Frenemies' as a means of getting them to work together, he has taken it upon himself to send his team of villains to retrieve.  Doc Harris has done an amazing job in bringing this retro character to life for a new generation and I know this won't be the last we see of him during this final season with him having forced our non-reformed villains to stick with him after they 'failed' to retrieve his bewitching bell like I said earlier!  But it looks like we'll have to wait until I would assume the series finale to find out...although I still fear that what our other villains have planned ever since the events of 'Frenemies' will lead to yet another 'trusting in traitors' reformation!
  • The return of Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek and Cozy Glow-with these three characters being the only villains not to be reformed throughout the entirety of the series, we all knew that we would see them again soon after their big returns last season during 'The Mean Six' as well as during the season finale 'School Raze' as they are summoned by the legendary Grogar to help him finally destroy Twilight Sparkle and her friends...and as we saw towards the end of the season premiere 'The Beginning Of The End', our ragtag team of villains are having second thoughts about working together with Grogar after he uses King Sombra's defeat as an example to secure their loyalty to him to the point where they even plan to use Grogar's mystical bell that Gusty The Great took away of which they were supposed to return to their leader as part of their own plan to take over Equestria. Now that they have precured Grogar's bewitching bell, they have to figure out how it works and it leads them on a journey to the restricted area of the Canterlot Archives thanks to an exposition dump/continuity nod to Season 2's "It's About Time" via Cozy Glow during the prologue avoiding the security system that Shining Armor still has set up from the celebratory two hundredth episode 'Sparkle's Seven' to draining magic from anypony that they feel is useful to their plan including Braeburn of all characters. What our villains have planned for their Equestrian takeover, we'll just have to wait and see in what I would assume the series finale like I said earlier...
  • Twilight Sparkle and the Festival Of The Two Sisters-when the final season of My Little Pony first began, Princess Celestia and Luna announced to the Mane 6 that they had decided to retire with Equestria enjoying its longest period of peace in years and to leave the protection of Equestria to the Mane 6 much to the stunned worry of Twilight Sparkle at the thought of being Equestria's new ruler...and after the events of the Royal Swanifying Ceremony back in 'Between Dark And Dawn', I was really questioning whether or not Twilight Sparkle was truly worthy of taking on this new role in her life.  But as she plans the final Summer Sun Celebration for Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, it would appear that she has finally learnt to take things smoothly and really let up on her constant anxiety attacks thanks to what she learnt about delegating from Fancy Pants especially this is a very significant event in pony history: the defeat of Nightmare Moon and the reunion of Princess Luna with her sister thanks to Twilight Sparkle and her friends that she made in the series pilot!
  • The return of Discord-considering the fact that we haven't seen Discord ever since the events of the Season 9 premiere, it is so great to see him come back in all of his comedic and chaotic glory as only John de Lancie himself can provide with how Discord wants to help Twilight Sparkle and her friends go all out for the final Summer Sun Celebration with Princess Celestia and Luna ruling over Equestria while supplying his usual brand of pop culture references from referencing the events of him being turned to stone by Princess Celestia and Luna to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ himself when Twilight Sparkle's friends need a miracle from all of the chaos caused by Lord Tirek and Cozy Glow as well as Queen Chrysalis in order to sabotage the Summer Sun Celebration in order to break into the restricted section of the Canterlot Archives...I will admit, this particular reference caught me offguard!

CONS:
  • N/A

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Overall as the first episode in the second half of My Little Pony's final season to continue with the ongoing arc, 'The Summer Sun Setback' was not only an amazing episode but it was just the rebound that Season 9 of My Little Pony needed after two less than stellar episodes in order to get back on track and for that earns a rating of a 10 out of 10.




Uprooted-8/10
The Summer Sun Setback-10/10

SEASON 9 OVERALL RATING: 8.46/10