unshaved mouse

Big_Hero_6_(film)_poster

Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #54: Big Hero 6

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
And so, like putting on an old comfortable pair of shoes, I return again to the Disney canon. Good to be back everyone, feels like I never left. Unshaved Mouse doing what he was always meant to do, reviewing Disney movies! Put the Disney dance party album on repeat because the whole gang’s here! Including my collection of traitorous good for nothing maps who betrayed and abandoned me the very second things got rough and have now come crawling back like the worms they are.
“Hooray!”

“Hooray!”

“Ah, don’t be like that, Mouse.”

“Ah, don’t be like that, Mouse.”

“Don’t talk to me.”

“Don’t talk to me.”

"'S only ever love, M. You know that."

“‘S only ever love, M. You know that.”

“Where did you go anyway?”

“Where did you go anyway?”

“We just hung around with Rubber Lotus for a while. At first it was fun, but then it got a little weird. He kept asking us to call him “Mouse”. Did you know he has a shrine to you in his wardrobe?”

“We just hung around with Rubber Lotus for a while. At first it was fun, but then it got a little weird. He kept asking us to call him “Mouse”. Did you know he has a shrine to you in his wardrobe?”

“Yeah. Shrines. Never not creepy.”

“Yeah. Shrines. Never not creepy.”

And of course, sine I’ll be reviewing a Disney movie that means the return of our old pal Walt Disney!
“Hello folks! Good to be back, Mouse. Glad to see there’s no hard feelings over that whole “brainwashing” thing.”

“Hello folks! Good to be back, Mouse. Glad to see there’s no hard feelings over that whole “brainwashing you to do my dark bidding” thing.”

“None. What. So. Ever.”

“None. What. So. Ever.”

"Glad to hear it. Say, you keep gritting your teeth like that you might chip your incisors."

“Glad to hear it. Say, you keep gritting your teeth like that you might chip your incisors.”

After the marriage of Disney and Marvel, the two companies did what many couples do in this situation; put their children from previous marriages in a room together and try to force them to like each other. In this case, Disney CEO Bob Iger told the Disney animators to look through Marvel’s back catalogue to see if they could find properties that would make good animated movies. Now, people who’ve followed my blog from the beginning know that when Disney adapts other properties, fidelity to the source material is not usually high on their list of priorities. Marvel fans, conversely, have a list of priorities that reads
Priorities
Marvel fans tend to get a little…um….Rain Man-esque…about movies changing even small details about their favourite characters, and films that don’t respect the source material tend to get eaten alive like a cow being dipped in a vat of piranhas.
Poor bastards never had a chance.

Poor bastards never had a chance.

So it’s not really surprising that the comic that Don Hall (director of Winnie the Pooh and writer on most of the Lost Era movies) chose the comic Big Hero 6 to adapt instead of a better known property because…well, no one gives a piping hot shit about Big Hero 6 and this way they could mess around with it as much as they needed to. In the comics Big Hero 6 is a Japanese superhero team that operates as a parody of Japanese pop culture tropes. I haven’t read the comic myself but reading up on it raised a few red flags for me, number one being that the mini-series they first appeared in was written by Scott Lobdell, a writer whose work is (if I may be horribly blunt) not my cup of tea.
Secondly…Okay, there are those who would consider this kind of broad cultural parody to be racist in and of itself. I’m not one of them. Irish people come in for a good bit of this kind of thing and I think as a nation our general attitude is…
all in good fun
But…some of the details about this book, like the fact that one of their enemies is the embodiment of all the people who were killed in the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki…
New spittake
Yeah, I think we can all agree that “loose adaptation” was probably the way to go on this one.
So much for the book. What about the movie? Oh, and while I’m not in the habit of putting up spoiler warnings I’m aware this movie only came out in 2014 so yeah, I will be discussing all major plot points just like I always do. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, get on that. The rest of you? Let’s roll.
seal

Every Taoiseach-Worst to Best: Introduction

Probably the single greatest blog I’ve ever come across is Wait But Why, run by two dudes named Tim Urban and Andrew Finn. It’s the kind of blog that makes other bloggers really, really, really depressed, that’s how good I’m talking here. The kind of blog that blows your mind while giving your funny bone an enthusiastic reach-around. Anyway, WBW is currently in the middle of ranking all 44 American Presidents (give or take a Grover) and that got me thinking, why has no one ever done something similar for the Taoisigh?
Nobody cares
Well I care, dagnabbit. So here it is, my list of every Taoiseach ranked from worst to best, here we go…
Uh, Mouse? What are you doing?
Ah. As I’m aware that the vast majority of my readership consists of perfidious yanks friends from across the water perhaps some explanation is in order.
Yeah. What’s a…no, back up a step. How do I pronounce  Taoiseach?
You don’t. I mean c’mon. Look at this.
Taoiseach
That, my friends, is a trackless jungle of hidden vowel sounds, treacherous guttarals and untameable sibbilants. You even attempt that word and the chances are your saxon tongue will spasm into a knot and choke you. I don’t want that on my conscience. However, “tee-shock” is close enough to be getting on with.
Okay, so what’s a Tee-shock?
Easily offended golf-balls.
1801096-badum_tish_super
No, no, but seriously folks. Ireland, being a republic, has a president as its head of state but in truth the office of President is largely (although not totally) ceremonial. Irish presidents spend most of their time opening museums, visiting other heads of state and trying to find ways to fill the long, empty hours.
Our current president, for instance, spends his nights making shoes for kindly cobblers.

Our current president, for instance, spends his nights making shoes for kindly cobblers.

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Moomin-and-Midsummer-Madness-DVD-L096009113544

Moomin and Midsummer Madness (2008)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

When trying to understand the appeal of the Moomins, you first have to look at their creation back in…
Hello?
Hello?
Anybody?

Anybody?

"Congratulations Mouse. You’ve finally done it. You’ve finally succeeded in completely alienating your entire readership. Bravo. Genius. Take a blog that’s largely supported by Disney fans and devote it to obscure European cartoons, Irish politics and a film that was literally never even released."

“Congratulations Mouse. You’ve done it. You’ve finally succeeded in completely alienating your entire readership. Bravo. Genius. Take a blog that’s largely supported by Disney fans and devote it to obscure European cartoons, Irish politics and a film that was literally never even released.”

WHAT HAVE I DONE!? Surely its not too late?!

“WHAT HAVE I DONE!? Surely its not too late?!”

"Nope. They’re gone. You had your one chance at internet stardom and you blew it. That was it."

“Nope. They’re gone. You had your one chance at internet stardom and you blew it. That was it. Let’s go boys.”

"No! Wait, where are you going?"

“Wait, where are you going?!”

"Back to the Google images page you stole us from. Farewell, Mouse."

“Back to the Google images page you stole us from. Farewell, Mouse.”

"See you, Mouse. It was fun except for that time I was almost fed to wyverns."

“See you, Mouse. It was fun except for that time I was almost fed to wyverns.”

"Peace out, dawg."

“Peace out, dawg.”

"No…my readers. My maps. They’re all gone…"

“No…my readers. My maps. They’re all gone…”

“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.” “There’s a pain goes on and on.” “No more views and no more comments.” “Oh my blog is dead and gone.”

“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.”
“There’s a pain goes on and on.”
“No more views and no more comments.”
“Oh my blog is dead and gone…”

Guys, I swear, I will review a movie you’ve actually heard of as soon as I’ve done this one. Contractual obligations and all. If it helps, I’m as much in the dark about this one as a I think most of you are (with apologies to my Scandinavian readers). That’s not to say that the Moomins are unknown in Ireland, I know quite a few people who are fans, but the whole Moomin phenomenon just kind of completely passed me by. My blind spot on the Moomins honestly extends to most things Scandinavian. I just don’t know that much about those countries apart from the fact they constantly conspire to keep Ireland out of the top five on the Human Development Index, the Nordic Marcia Brady to our Gaelic Jan.
 Nordic Marcia
"Sweden did it again! Sweden, Sweden, Sweden!"

“Sweden did it again! Sweden, Sweden, Sweden!”

 

Okay. So. The Moomins. What are they? I don’t know. I mean literally, I have no idea what they’re supposed to be. Wikipedia describes them as “fairy tale” characters, which is just wonderfully specific. I suppose, since they’re called “Mumintrolls” in Swedish they’re supposed to be trolls from Scandinavian folklore but…
Yeah, how did I not get that?

Yeah, how did I not get that?

Well anyway.
Okay. So. The Moomins. They’re a family of white, hippo…things. Who hang out. And have whimsical adventures tinged with an unmistakeable air of melancholy. They were created by a Swedish-speaking Finn named Tove Jansson who wrote and illustrated nine books featuring the characters between 1945 and 1993 and who also takes a hell of a stylish photograph.
Who you know fresher than Tove, riddle me that?

Who you know fresher than Tove, riddle me that?

There have also been EIGHT cartoon series based on them, and numerous movies with the most recent being released this year. They are, like all things that are cute but difficult to explain, huge in Japan.
And yes, they have their own theme park.
"Because Europe."

Because Europe.

So, now we’re ready to talk about the movie? Oh, we have not even begun to unpack all this.
So, one of those eight (!) cartoon series was  Opowiadania Muminków, an Austrian, German and Polish co-production that ran between 1977-82. Then, in 2008, a Finnish company took that series and edited into a single movie called Moomin and Midsummer Madness, the English dub of which I am reviewing today. So, to recap.
  • Swedish speaking Finn writes a book.
  • Germans, Austrians and Poles adapt it into a TV series.
  • Finns adapt TV series into movie.
  • Americans dub movie.
  • Man kills God.
  • Man creates dinosaurs.
  • Dinsosaur kills man.
  • Woman inherits the earth.
 Got that? Okay, let’s do this.

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Children

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Denis O’Brien but were too busy being sued to ask.

Welcome comrades, to the glorious resistance! If you’re just tuning in and missed my last post about Denis O’Brien’s ongoing assault on Irish democracy…

Inigo

Ireland’s richest man has apparently gone crazy and is suing or threatening to sue everyone who publicly mentions his shady business practices, including, at the time of writing, Waterford Whispers News, Broadsheet.ie and members of the Irish parliament. Not that you’d read about this in almost any Irish newspaper because he owns most of them.

independent_logo

So I have taken the decision to make Unshaved Mouse the Huffington Post of Denis O’Brien news, a place where anything you would ever want to know about this…person, is just a click away. This will be updated as needs be, and feel free to link to stuff I’ve missed in the comments.

So, let’s start with the obvious. His Wikipedia page, which gives an excellent overview of the man.

From Broadsheet.ie:

Their reposting of the Waterford Whispers article that got WWN sued.

Which then got Broadsheet sued.

An excellent guide to all the people Denis O’Brien is suing, and God knows we need the help.

From the Irish Times (which, interestingly, Denis O’Brien does not own).

‘Misplaced’ IBRC minutes confirm Siteserv writedown was €119 million

“Denis O’Brien lawyers demand removal of broadsheet.ie article”

“Denis O’Brien legal challenge a ‘threat to democracy’”

Some practical advice.

Boycott

What needs to change.

From The Journal.ie:

In which the Dáil hears claims about Denis O’Brien’s dealings with disgraced bank Anglo Irish.

In which a committee ruled that these claims were NOT an abuse of parliamentary privilege.

In which Denis O’Brien sues the entire parliament…

…and the committee that made that ruling.

Julien Mercille’s excellent overview of how the Irish media and political system have been complicit in granting Denis O’Brien such a dangerous amount of power and influence over this nation.

Fair is fair, I’ll let the man himself justify his actions.

Obrien

And this from the Daily Beast, an excellent overview of all his shady motherfuckery:

“Why is the Irish government scared of billionaire Denis O’Brien?”

And this is all getting very depressing so, here’s every Denis O’Brien related post from the Waterford Whispers that hasn’t been taken down yet:

Government to discuss what to give Denis O’Brien this time

Denis O’Brien to build moat around evil lair after recent publicity.

“Denis O’Brien renews Illuminati membership.”

Maltese Tax Exile Briefs Government On What To Say Next

“Nation: “We’ve Never Experienced An Assault On Democracy Of This Level””

Possibly the most sarcastic apology in the history of the world.

Denis O’Brien to sue everyone (I don’t get it, that’s supposed to be satire?)

Only the start folks, check back in for more updates and by all means, contribute you own.

Mouse out.

denis

One letter away from “Penis”…

Waterford Whispers News is Ireland’s answer to The Onion, a parody news website that frequently produces satire that is often as brilliant and biting as it is poorly proof-read.

Denis O’Brien is Ireland’s answer to Rupert Murdoch. He is the wealthiest man in Ireland (or whatever tax shelter he currently rests his head). He is the owner of Communicorp which owns a total of fifty one radio stations across Europe and the Middle East, and basically every Irish radio station not run by the State. He has also substantial interests in energy and telecommunications. In 1995, he was awarded the Irish GSM mobile phone licence, as a result of his corrupt payments to now disgraced energy and communications minister Michael Lowry. He also controls Independent News and Media, an Irish media conglomerate that owns newspapers across 22 countries and owns many Irish newspapers including the Irish Independent (oh why am I not surprised?). He has used this position to quash reporting of his financial affairs in the Irish media, in one case even forcing the Sunday Independent to stop mid-press to remove a single sentence that remove a single sentence identifying him as the controlling shareholder of INM.* He has also threatened to sue media outlets who reported on remarks made in Dáil Éireann (the Irish parliament) regarding his dealings with disgraced bank Anglo Irish which were made under Dáil privilege.
So why am I even writing about him? He’s a filthy rich asshat who looks like his mother cuts his hair. World’s full of them. One even looks more and more likely to become president of the United States with every passing day.
Okay America. Stop. It's not funny anymore.

Okay America. Stop. It was funny in the beginning, but you’re taking this too far.

Well because WWN published a satirical article entitled “Denis O’Brien Receives 20 Year Jail Sentence For Mobile Phone Licence Bribe in Parallel Universe”. O’Brien’s lawyers responded thought this was so hi-larious that they threatened WWN with legal action, forcing the site to remove the post.

Clearly, this can only mean one thing.

Denis O’Brien has won. That article, the last feeble gasp of defiance against his stranglehold on the Irish media has been quashed. That article shall never be seen by anyone again, and Denis O’Brien can rest easy knowing that he has triumphed totally and utterly and oh look here’s the entire thing courtesy of Imgur…

Oh well. I’m sure that was just a once off. A glitch it the system. Surely that article will never again resurface on the internet oh lord amercy there it is again…

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Fantastic-four-movie-poster

The Fantastic Four (1994)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

Sometimes, a movie comes along that is so notorious, so terrible, so gosh-fucked appalling that no one reviewer may safely tackle it alone. To that end, Unshaved Mouse has teamed up with the illustrious NewtCave and Erik Copper to review the never-released Roger Corman-produced superhero movie; The Fantastic Four. 

UM: Hi guys and welcome to Unshaved Mouse. Make yourselves comfortable, don’t touch the continents. They bite.

“Hssssssssssss!”

 

UM: So. Erik. Newt. What the fuck did we just watch?

EC: I was under the impression that we were just witness to the birth of the anti-christ of comic book movies.

NC: Pretty much. This thing gets my vote for “Worst Marvel Film.” Including Howard the Duck.

UM: Was it though? I mean, can’t we grade of a curve? There were extenuating circumstances here.

NC: Fair point, furry one. But let me put it this way. Elektra? Released in theatres. Hulk? Released in theatres. Howard the Duck? For some reason, still released in theatres. Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four? Kept secret. Kept safe.

EC: Gandalf’s wise words were still not strong enough to keep this mess off of the internet, though. Because as we all know, technology is the MOST powerful of the dark arts.

UM: Speaking of dark arts, Erik, aren’t you supposed to be dead? 

EC: Huh?

UM: Yeah. I totally fed you to a shark at the end of our last review.

EC: Oh yeah. Dick! That was the single most tortorous experience of my life! I had to chew my way out of the shark’s stomach! I still have nightmares! I

UM: Heh.

EC: It’s not funny!

UM: It was funny to everyone who wasn’t you. Which, y’know, was the entire human race. Needs of the many, Erik.

NC: Should I step outside while you two work through your prior history?

UM: Nah baby, we cool. Let’s get started. Newt, as our resident Marvel buff, what can you tell us about the good ol’ Fantastic Four?

NC: Probably more than is either necessary or interesting. But, limiting myself to relevant information, the Fantastic Four have often been referred to as “Marvel’s First Family.” and that’s only because that’s exactly what they are. Back in the ancient past of 1961, Stan Lee took it upon himself to create a team of superheroes like none that had come before. Instead of a bunch of square-jawed Super Friends, he elected to make a team that was more like a family trying to make the best of a bad situation.

UM: With Square Jaws.

EC: Rather rubbery and slightly malleable jaws, too.

NC: When The Fantastic Four #1 hit newsstands, they didn’t even have costumes or secret identities. They were all about breaking the norms of what people had come to expect from the superhero genre.

UM: I think the FF was really the big bang of the modern Marvel universe. So many of the characters and concepts that make up that world got their start in the pages of Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom, Black Panther, the Inhumans, the Skrulls, the Kree, the list just goes on and on.

NC: Exactly. The company wasn’t even called “Marvel” before the FF came along. Anything before that was published under the not-so-timeless brand of “Timely.”

EC: It was incredible how fast the superhero boom took off. Most of the heroes we know today didn’t even start off as anything other than one-off stories that were just too popular to remain that way. Spider-Man? He first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. Thor? He was first introduced in Journey into Mystery. Iron Man? Tales of Suspense. These heroes didn’t start off timeless, but they slowly captured our hearts. The Fantastic Four is no different.

UM: Which is kind of why it’s so sickening how Marvel are treating this title now, basically sweeping it under the rug because they can’t get the movie rights back from Fox.

NC: Well, to be fair, they’re doing that with ALL the properties they haven’t regained the movie rights to, which seems a bit like dirty pool to me.

UM: I dunno dude. The day I see Wolverine and Spidey at the dole office maybe. It seems like the Fantastic Four have gotten it worse than anyone.

EC: I don’t even know who’s side to be on. Fox is being a child not willing to share its toy, and Marvel is being a child throwing a tantrum because they want that toy SO VERY BAD.

NC: It’s a crappy situation, and I think everybody involved lost. I mean, I know we’re supposed to reserve judgement on Fant-four-stic… but yeah. ‘Nuff said, am I right?

UM: I will lay good money on it being the best Fantastic Four film ever.

EC: I will lay good money on it being an attempt. And that’s about all I can give it.

NC: I will lay good money on the team being rebooted with the SAME DAMN STORY enough times that the filmmakers all throw their hands in the air and finally adapt Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602.

UM: Ah, the Fantastick Four!

EC: Yes, and Peter Parquagh! (GOD WHY?!)

UM: Okay, but what about today’s movie? If I may?

NC: Go right ahead.

UM: I thank ye. So, back before Marvel decided to stop letting other companies fuck up their characters and just do it right themselves, they sold the movie rights to the Fantastic Four for a song and a wink to a German producer named Bernd Eichinger. Eichinger had a limited amount of time to make the movie or else the rights would revert to Marvel so, when he couldn’t get the money in time, he teamed up with legendary cheapo movie-maker Roger Corman to make a superhero movie in three weeks with $1 million. The resulting…thing…was never meant to be seen by human eyes. It was solely created to allow the company to hold on to the movie rights. Thankfully, such shady business practices would never occur in Hollywood today.

Ha! It's a joke! Because it happens all the damn time!

Now how did that get there?

UM: So, just how bad can it be?

(more…)

Asterix_in_Britain_(Astérix_chez_les_Bretons)_poster

Asterix in Britain (1986)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

TINTIN CAN SUCK A DICK!

Sorry! Sorry! That was uncalled for. I apologise unreservedly. Old habits just die hard. See, when I was growing up, every public library in Ireland had a well stocked collection of both Asterix books and Tintin books (because this is the greatest damn country on Earth). And pretty much every playground was divided, Sharks and Jets style, between Tintin fans and those of us who felt that the tales of a group of superpowered Celtic warriors battling against the most powerful empire on earth might be a tad more compelling than the adventures of LITERALLY THE MOST GENERIC MAIN CHARACTER IN ALL OF FICTION…

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

I apologise to all fans of Tintin and Hergé and his wonderfully crisp ligne claire style.  Some wars are still being fought long after they say “We have peace.”

I acually love the Tintin books, I just wish Herge had wised up and renamed them "The Adventures of Captain Haddock and his ginger sober companion."

I acually love the Tintin books, I just wish Herge had wised up and renamed them “The Adventures of Captain Haddock and his ginger sober companion.”

Okay. So. Asterix. When I announced two weeks ago that I’d be reviewing an Asterix movie the response was predictable mix of “Yay Asterix!” from my non-American readers and a big “who’s the blonde midget Viking?” from my American readers so now’s probably a good time to explain who and what Asterix is.

Hey, I know which side my blog is buttered.

Hey, I know which side my blog is buttered.

So Asterix is a Franco-Belgian comic that is still going since its first appearence in 1959 but was originally created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The setup is this; it’s 50 BC and Rome has conquered all of Gaul (modern day France). All? Not quite. A tiny village of indomitable Gauls stills holds out against the Roman invaders thanks to a magic potion brewed by their druid, Getafix, that gives the Gauls superhuman strength. The heroes of these stories are Asterix, the blonde short-arse, and his buddy Obelix, who was dropped in a cauldron of magic potion as a baby and so is just superhumanly strong all the time (why the Gauls don’t just do this with all their babies is never explained). The main gag is not entirely dissimilar to that of the Flintstones, the past and present are pretty much exactly the same. The series draws its humour from many sources; slapstick, political satire, puns (as in, every single character’s name is some kind of play on words) and especially from affectionate riffs on European cultural stereotypes (the Goths are always punctual, the Greeks have flat noses like figures on urns etc). Despite the basic premise being “French people make fun of foreigners” the series is hugely popular, not only in its native France but everywhere in Europe from Malta to Finland.

"I literally could not give two fucks about...holy shit, ASTERIX!?"

“I literally could not give two fucks about…holy shit, ASTERIX!? I love that guy!”

Asterix is also huge in Latin America, India and even China. How popular is he? Goscinny and Uderzo have sold more books worldwide than any other French author. That’s right. More than Victor Hugo. More than Balzac. More than Dumas.

Well, its not like DArtagnan has his own theme park, does he?

Well, D’Artagnan doesn’t have his own theme park, does he?

So why are these books so popular? Well firstly, they’re just really, really good. Seriously. The artwork is beautiful, the character designs are Disney good in terms of being expressive, appealing and versatile and they’re goddamn hilarious. Also, the Asterix series have been blessed with legendarily good translators (the series has been adapted into over 100 languages). And yet Asterix has never really found much purchase in the United States. Why is that? Culture gap, partially. A joke about how Corsicans are constantly swearing vendetta would probably prompt some head-scratching on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Youve made an enemy today, Mouse."

“You’ve made an enemy today, Mouse.”

"Oh get in line."

“Oh, get in line.”

But mostly I think it was just due to bad timing. To get a foothold in the United States comic market Asterix would have needed to become popular in the fifties, before the Silver Age began and American comics just became SUPER HEROES SUPER HEROES SUPER HEROES SUPER HEROES FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME. The distributors for European comics just weren’t there and so Asterix missed his shot unfortunately. Oh well. Fear not Americans. It may be tricky for you to track down copies of his books but you can still watch one of the many fine animated adaptations of Asterix books that have been made over the years HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAHAHAAAAAA …*collapses into a weeping pile.*

Oh Christ.

There have been nine (NINE!) animated Asterix movies and four live-action movies (all starring Gerard Depardieu as Obelix).

My God man! You were in JEAN DE FLORETTE.

My God man. You were in Jean De Florette.

Now, I haven’t seen all of the animated movies. But I have seen a LOT of them. And they can be broken down into four categories;

1) The ones with terrible animation,

2) The ones with terrible voice acting,

3) The ones with terrible animation and voice acting.

4) The ones with ALL THREE.

But honestly I think that even with top-notch talent in every area it would be damn hard to make a good Asterix movie that still resembled the original in any meaningful way. The comedy just doesn’t…work when you translate it to film. The timing is always off, it just doesn’t translate well (which is ironic, since Asterix is one of the most successful examples of translating comedy in human history). Today’s movie is Asterix in Britain, an adaptation of the eighth Asterix book and one of my personal favourites, firstly because it’s just classic Asterix and also because it included this guy:

His name is Overoptimistix. He was the only Irish character to ever appear in these books. He had one line, that included the word "Begorrah". And I loved him.

His name is O’veroptimistix. He was the only Irish character to ever appear in these books. He had one line, that included the word “Begorrah”. And I loved him.

So. Will the movie be a one, a two, a three or a four? Let’s find out.

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Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

So one day Music was walking down the street somewhere in early twentieth century America and he was feeling on top of the world. Thanks to fancy new technologies like the wireless and phonograph, and this crazy new thing called “Jasz”, more people were listening to Music than ever before and that suited Music just fine.
“Hey there Mistah Music!” the newspaper boys would call as they heard him pass by and Music would tip his hat to them courteously.
Occasionally a bum would yell “You think yer so big! With your phonygrams an’ ragtime! I remember when you was bein’ spit out of a harmonica!” And then Music would drag the loud-mouthed drunk into an alley way, knife him repeatedly, and leave his body as a warning to the other bums.
He stopped on a street corner to roll himself a ludicrously expensive old-timey cigar. It was then that Music saw a tiny, starving artform, no more than a few years old, flickering and shivering on a filthy doorstep.
“Hey kid.” Said Music “What’s eatin’ ya?”
“Golly gee!” Said the infant artform “Who said that?” (Because of course, Music cannot be seen, as Music is an eight legged dragon covered in hooks and shimmering scales that go up and down, up and down and anyone who saw him would instantly go mad.)
“What’s your name, son?” Music asked kindly.
“Animation, mistah.” said Animation “I was just born and ain’t got no cultural relevancy. And I wants cultural relevancy so bad!”
“Well Animation.” Said Music “I’ve been looking for a smart young visual medium to help me expand my business ventures. I like you kid, ya got moxie. You got razzmatazz comin’ out the hooey. You and me could do great things together, kid. Whattya say?”
And so Music and his young new protégé formed a partnership that would stand the test of time. So influential was the fusion of music and animation that it even wiped out other artforms that were hugely popular at the time but have now been almost totally forgotten, like smell sculpture, colour-dancing and Grand Schmopera.
Animation has grown up a lot since the early days and can now stand on its own two feet as a medium. But if you look at the very early animated shorts from the twenties and thirties, you see that animation was almost solely used to give a visual component to music. There’s a reason those series of cartoon shorts have names like Looney Tunes, Silly Symphonies and Merry Melodies. And the link lasted long after animation had started maturing into a more narrative based style with its own way of telling stories. At Disney, even after Snow White and Pinocchio we still had movies like Make Mine Music, Melody Time and Fantasia where the animation is very much guided by and in service to the music.
Animation and Music, to put it plainly, are tight. They go way back. They’re best buds. When Film kicks Animation out of the house, he crashes on Music’s couch. Music was the best man at Animation’s wedding, Animation is the godfather of Music’s child…Music…Junior…okay the analogies are breaking down in a big way, moving on.
 
Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is French electro act Daft Punk’s 2003 album Discovery. Daft Punk are a band who…
Um…
Shit shit shit. Okay, I really didn’t want to do this, but I’m going to have to ask for some help from by evil brother, The Unscrupulous Mouse. See, he may be a twisted maniac, but he’s also a pretty awesome musician and he knows more about house music than anyone else I know.
"Ha" I knew the day would come when you would bow before my greatness, brother!"

“Ha! I knew the day would come when you would bow before my genius, brother!”

"Oh just get it over with."

“Oh get on with it.”

"Wait a minute, Mouse."

“Wait a minute, Mouse.”

"What is it, Nit?"

“What is it, Nit?”

"I thought The Unscrupulous Mouse was your brother Eamonn? Donal's your brother who's a musician!"

“I thought The Unscrupulous Mouse was your brother Eamonn? Donal’s your brother who’s a musician!”

"Eh...he's...look, he's a composite character. I have three younger brothers. He's based on all of them."

“Eh…he’s…look, he’s a composite character. I have three younger brothers. He’s based on all of them.”

"Younger? But TV Tropes said he's based on your OLDER brother!"

“Younger? But TV Tropes said he’s based on your OLDER brother!”

"Yes. Sometimes TV Tropes can be wrong."

“Yes. Sometimes TV Tropes can be wrong.”

"Gasp!"

“Gasp!”

"I thought The Unscrupulous Mouse was your brother Eamonn? Donal's your brother who's a musician!"

“Look, are we doing this thing or what?”

"Enlighten us, Maestro."

“Enlighten us, Maestro.”

"A person can talk endlessly about Daft Punk's music career. Their iconic house tracks revolutionised dance music in the mid 90's and their re-imagining of funk music brought it roaring back into the mainstream until pretty much right now."

“A person can talk endlessly about Daft Punk’s music career. Their iconic house tracks revolutionised dance music in the mid 90’s and their re-imagining of funk music brought it roaring back into the mainstream right up to the present day.”

"But the main reason for Daft Punk's success is that they are completely anonymous. That means that it is impossible to hate them! They have no opinions, attributes or features and so can be judged solely on the merits of their music. The hipsters can't hate them because they're earlier music can be compared to what is popular in the underground scene at the minute, and all of the main stream listeners can't dislike them because....well I honestly believe that social media has brainwashed these people so they will like anything they've heard more than fifty times in the one day (Example: Get Lucky)."

“But the main reason for Daft Punk’s success is that they are completely anonymous. That means that it is impossible to hate them! They have no opinions, attributes or features and so can be judged solely on the merits of their music. The hipsters can’t hate them because their earlier music can be compared to what is popular in the underground scene at the minute, and all of the mainstream listeners can’t dislike them because….well I honestly believe that social media has brainwashed these people so they will like anything they’ve heard more than fifty times in the one day (Example: Get Lucky). “

"You don't like Get Lucky? You monster!"

“You don’t like Get Lucky? You monster!”

"In conclusion, the only reason you can hate Daft Punk is because they're French and have silly names."

“In conclusion, the only reason you can hate Daft Punk is because they’re French and have silly names. Now if you’ll excuse, my dark genius is needed elsewhere.”

 

Interstella 5555 is certainly not the first attempt to turn an album into a full length movie (you’re got The Wall and Yellow Submarine to name two), nor is it the first time Japan and France have collaborated in animation (Uly-seeee-eeeeeeeeee-eeeee-es). You might not know this (I certainly didn’t), but manga is absolutely HUGE in France, making up around half of all comics published there.

Likewise, animé has had a big presence on French TV for many decades, with most young Frenchlings having grown up watching shows like Dragon Ball Z and Robotech. Little wonder then, when Daft Punk were looking for a studio to animate their album, they looked East, not West. Specifically, they turned to legendary animator Leiji Matsumoto (the guy behind practically every animé TV series from the seventies and eighties) and Interstella 5555 is the product of their creative union. How did it turn out? Let’s take a look.
So the movie begins with footage of an interview with Matsumoto, flanked by Daft Punk in their robot costumes, discussing the origin of the film. Although, what with the grainy black and white footage, it looks more like the bit in a fifties sci-fi movie where the mad scientist announces to the world that his robot army will destroy them all.
“Fools! You called me mad! You denied the beauty of my children! But now the whole world shall bow before the steel legions of Doctor Matsumoto!”

“Fools! You called me mad! You denied the beauty of my children! But now the whole world shall bow before the steel legions of Doctor Matsumoto!”

(more…)

Blog Awards

Please nominate me, or whatever.

It’s Blog Awards Ireland season people! You know what that means!

It means I have to dance like a monkey to get as many of you to vote for me. More updates, more reviews, more content, more work, and all so I can funnel page views to the Blog Awards website and their advertisers before inevitably losing to the Waterford Whispers.

"Oh God. Not again. Not again!"

“Oh God. Not again. Not again!”

And why? Why do I do it? Because clearly, I didn’t get enough validation as a child.

"Um, we could just not nominate you this year, Mouse?"

“Um, we could just not nominate you this year, Mouse?”

"Are you kidding, I'd kill myself!"

“Are you kidding?! I’d kill myself!”

Fortunately, this year I’ve actually prepared. In fact, for all of September, when the actual voting takes place, I will be unveiling a new project and updating every two days. Yes. Every two days. NOT counting the regular reviews. It’s going to be a goddamn posting smorgasbord.

So yes. Please nominate me here. Please nominate this blog.

You goddamn bunch of enablers.

Kokurikozaka_kara_film_poster

From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)

Remember how, ages ago, I did that list of my favourite non-Disney animated movies? Yeah, that list is probably due an update. There are so many fantastic films that I’ve discovered or re-discovered since then: Coraline, Prince of Egypt and of course Princess Mononoke. Still the highest scoring animated movie I’ve ever reviewed on this blog (or tied for first place if you count Who Framed Roger Rabbit). So when I was asked to review From Up On Poppy Hill, another Studio Ghibli film by Miyazaki that I’d never even heard of I was pumped. 

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

More

More.

Again.

Again.

Yes.

Yes.

More please.

More please.

So this is the 17th Studio Ghibli film, released in 2011 after Arrietty and before Miyazaki’s final film as director, The Wind Rises. Aaaand that’s about as much as I know about it. I’m going into this one completely cold.
I mean, c’mon. What else do I need to know? It’s a Studio Ghibli film directed by Miyazaki. The only question is; Great Movie or the Greatest Movie? Let’s take a look.

(more…)