Review and Analysis: Gargoyles Legion

Previously on Gargoyles, Elisa’s brother found himself the victim of another Xanatos scheme as he and several homeless were forcibly mutated into half-cat, half-bat, half-electric eel hybrids. Derek, now calling himself Talon, swears revenge against Goliath and the gargoyles when he thinks they destroyed his only chance at being cured and Eliza swears revenge against Xanatos for what he’s done to Derek. And to no one’s surprise, Tim Curry turns out to be evil.

But enough focusing on a life Xanatos ruined. Instead let’s focus on a life Demona and Xanatos ruined.

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New In Review: Turning Red

Turning Red is the latest animated movie from Pixar, the story was created by Domee Shi (who also directed), Julia Cho and Sarah Streicher. It features the voices of Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Hyein Park, Orion Lee, Tristan Allerick Chen with Wai Ching Ho and James Hong.

Set in the early 2000’s, the story follows Meilin “Mei” Lee, a Chinese-Canadian dealing with her troop of friends and their shared interests, the pressure of keeping at the top of academics, the pressure of working at her family’s temple and meeting her mother’s approval and the fact that she’s now budding into her teenage years. A fact that’s complicated by the overbearing presence of her mother and that women of her family transform into giant, ferocious red pandas when stressed or excited.

An interesting idea since trying to look ferocious just makes them look even cuter.
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Season Review: The Cuphead Show!

Back in 2014, the first trailer for Cuphead appeared; pioneered by the brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, this run-and-gun styled video game was a love letter to the animation of the 1930’s. The plot was simple, two sentient cup brothers, Cuphead and Mugman are hustled by the Devil himself and the only way to save their souls is to travel across the Inkwell Isles and collect the contracts of other runaway debtors, thus pitting them against a wide bevy of bizarre bosses. Featuring some fantastic hand-drawn animation, toe-tappin’ jazz, wacky bosses and a surprising amount of challenge, Cuphead “Don’t Deal with the Devil” became a surprising success.

So it became an even bigger surprise that Netflix announced an animated series based on the game in 2019.

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Season Review: Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina

Once upon a time, a group of friends and colleagues in L. A.’s voiceover community was approached by the website Geek & Sundry to stream their games over video as a way to expand their entertainment bases and show what professional actors can do with role-playing games. Switching from Pathfinder to the then recent 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the show Critical Role was born. Led by Dungeon Master Matt Mercer, the cast consisted of Orion Acaba (who would unfortunately leave the campaign early on for personal reasons), Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, Travis Willingham, Marisha Ray, Ashley Johnson, Sam Riegel and Taliesin Jaffe. The show followed the exploits of Vox Machina, a ragtag group of adventurers who fought for the protection of their home Tal’Dorei (and for plenty of money). Consisting of the half-elven twins Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan (Bailey and O’Brien), the lecherous bard gnome Scanlan Shorthalt (Riegel), the pious and compassionate gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot (Johnson), the strong but not-so bright goliath barbarian Grog Strongjaw (Willingham), the sweet but naïve druid Keyleth (Ray) and the troubled and mysterious inventor Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III or Percy for short (Jaffe). Their adventures saw them travel to faraway lands, battle the forces of evil (and their eternal enemies, doors) and transcend from a dysfunctional group of mercenaries into proper legends.

This show went over like gangbusters.

Something just clicked with the audience, maybe it was the niche audience of D&D and the niche fans of the voiceover community pooling together in common ground. Maybe it was because watchers could easily see themselves taking part in their adventures. And maybe it was simply because Matt Mercer created a fantastic world to play in and the cast brought all of their acting talents into their characters while still keeping the same chaotic but fun loving atmosphere that can only be found around the table. But for whatever the reason, the show’s popularity couldn’t be denied, quickly becoming one of the most consistently watched channels on Twitch. And now seven years later, and already into their third campaign, they’ve gotten tie-in novels, graphic novels, gamebooks, their own foundation and finally an animated series that surpassed all expectations when they were just trying to fund it.

Not bad for a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors who got together to play Dungeons & Dragons.

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New In Review: Catwoman: Hunted

Catwoman: Hunted is DC’s latest direct-to-video movie, written by Greg Weisman and directed by  Shinsuke Terasawa, it stars Elizabeth Gilles as Catwoman and Stephanie Beatriz as Batwoman. Rounding out the cast is Jonathan Banks, Keith David, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lauren Cohen, Zerah Fazal, Kelly Hu, Steve Blum, Jaqueline Obradors, Andrew Kishino, Eric Lopez, Ron Yuan and Jonathan Frakes.

After stealing a priceless jewel, Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman, finds herself on the hit list of a conglomerate of crime bosses known as “Leviathan.” Having been forced to team up with Kate Kane a.k.a. Batwoman and Interpol agents Julia Pennyworth (Cohen) and King Faraday (Frakes), Catwoman now has to help take down this cadre if she wants to avoid prison or death.

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Season Review: Arcane

Arcane is a Netflix animated series based on the online multiplayer game League of Legends by Riot Games. Set in the game’s world of Runeterra, the show acts as a prequel of sorts to the game. Detailing the conflict and rising independence of undercity Zaun from Piltover as viewed through the growing conflict between sisters Vi and Jinx. It features the voices of Hailee Steinfeld, Ella Purnell, Mia Sinclair Jenness, Kevin Alejandro, Katie Leung, JB Blanc, Toks Olagundoye, Remy Hill, Mick Wingert, Harry Lloyd, Reed Shannon, Yuri Lowenthal, Roger Craig Smith, Josh Keaton and Jason Spisak.

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New In Review: Batman The Long Halloween Part 2

Batman The Long Halloween Part 2 is the follow up to the direct-to-video animated film released last month. It features the return of Jensen Ackles as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, Jim Pirri as Sal Maroni, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, David Dastmalchian as the Calendar Man, Naya Rivera as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy and Troy Baker as the Joker. New additions include Laila Berzins as Sophia Falcone, Robin Atkin Downes as the Scarecrow, John DiMaggio as the Mad Hatter and Katie Sackhoff as Poison Ivy.

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New In Review: Batman The Long Halloween Part 1

Batman The Long Halloween Part 1 is the latest direct-to-video animated film from Warner Bros. and is adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Directed by Chris Palmer it stars Jensen Ackles as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid as Alberto Falcone, David Dastmalchian as the Calendar Man and the late Naya Rivera as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. The film also features a few reprisals with Alastair Duncan as Alfred, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy and Troy Baker as the Joker.

DC’s animated films are something of a mixed bag, on the one hand, their attempts at being more “mature” than the average cartoon can swing too heavily into the darker end of things and leave the film so bleak that there’s little chance of rewatching. Then there’s the attempts at drawing in viewers through star power, usually by casting television stars or veteran film actors in the lead roles, even if they have little to no voice-over experience and the performance sounds rough and amateurish because of it. And that’s not even getting into the fact these films have almost exclusively focused on Batman and thus other characters and their stories are shoved aside.

But on the other hand, when done right the animated films can stand out in ways their live-action counterparts can’t and highlight the characters in their own unique way. Thankfully, this film is an example of the latter.

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New In Review: Luca

Luca is the latest animated film from Pixar and the second to be released through the Disney+ streaming service. It was directed by Enrico Casarosa and features the voice talents of Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Burnam, Marco Barricelli, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan.

Off the coast of the fictional Liguria village of Portorosso, a young sea monster by the name of Luca (Tremblay) dreams of visiting the surface, when a chance encounter with another more outgoing sea monster Alberto (Grazer) forces him out of his comfort zone and onto dry land. There the two engage in wacky hijinks, befriend the spunky Giulia (Berman) and seek independence (mostly through acquiring a vespa) while Luca’s parents try to keep him away from the surface.

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Review and Analysis: Gargoyles Metamorphosis

We enter episode 2 of Season 2 with a “Previously On…” recapping the events of “Her Brother’s Keeper.” Detailing Elisa’s brother Derek and his concern over what he believes is an obsession on her part over Xanatos, him quitting the police force to work as Xanatos’ personal pilot and bodyguard, and Elisa admitting that Derek does need to live his own life but she still knows Xanatos is bad news.

The episode begins properly down in the lowly streets of New York City where we see several homeless gathering around, trying to keep warm. One young woman (Kath Soucie) is explaining to a shadowy figure that her situation is just a temporary setback and she expects to be back on her feet soon enough. The figure voiced by…Tim Curry?!

“You rang?”
“Gah! How many evil people are in this series anyway?!

“Less than you think, more than you can imagine!”

Brrr. Anyway the stranger explains that he’s in need of a temporary assistant and he’s more than willing to help her out, all while wearing an expression usually reserved for members on the Family Watchdog list.

Ugh
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