Category: Cartoons (Page 1 of 28)

South Park Yelp Critic

‘South Park’ Revisited

I don’t know what got me watching South Park again this season. Probably, I just wanted to see them make fun of Trump and Clinton and the race for the White House.

Want to see some considered commentary? Watch Jon Oliver. Want to see the ugliness of humanity writ large? Watch South Park. And so I did. And it was truly hilarious, skewering Clinton and their Trump stand-in, Mr. Garrison, who has always been racist, sexist and homophobic, the PC trifecta, but is now popular with the American electorate because of his outrageous comments.

Don’t get me wrong, South Park was always funny.

I was an early adopter of South Park and, again, I don’t know why. There were these commercials teasing the show where the kids were just standing there saying funny things and I loved it and started watching immediately. I could just listen to Cartman talk all day. There’s just something funny about that. ‘Member when Cartman sang “Come Sail Away?” Hilarious.

So you might be thinking, I’m about to say, “‘Member those old seasons? ‘Member Mecha Streisand? ‘Member Chef? ‘Member Cartman getting that kid to eat his own parents?” [Editor’s note: The episode was “Scott Tenorman Must Die.”] But I’m not.

Somehow without changing creators, South Park has gone through a creative renaissance and become better than it’s ever been before.

It’s the most cathartic story telling I have seen about the election and the worries about Trump. This week, Mr. Garrison was in the situation room and he just had no idea what was going on (or where the Gulf of Mexico was), but was not going to let anyone push him around or tell him what was going on. It was every liberal nightmare about the inevitable testing of President Trump and it was hilarious.

South Park is using sequential story telling. Sure, there have been a handful of two-parters over the years, but this is something truly wonderful. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have always been good at ratcheting up the weird and sticking the landing, but somehow being able to take their time has made them better. ‘Member one of the early attempts at a two-parter? Who was Cartman’s dad? And then everyone is mad at Parker and Stone for a stand-alone Terrance and Phillip episode? Well, perhaps that put them off doing more serial stories for a while. I mean, we’re twenty years into South Park and I think they just started doing this last year. Oh, sure, they would mess with the status quo for a few seasons. ‘Member when Mr. Garrison was a woman? ‘Member when Kenny would die every episode? Watching Cartman try so, so, so hard to be nice to his girlfriend is the best and I love that they’re taking their time to develop it.

So what’s going on?

Well, Kyle’s dad is an internet troll, the worst of the worst, and he drives a Danish woman to commit suicide (more funny than it sounds), and the Danes vow to hunt down the trolls. They invent a device that makes everything you’ve ever done on the internet public knowledge. The Danes beta test of their troll tracking software shuts down society in a small Colorado town, causing suicides and a 100% divorce rate. And the Danes are threatening to bring it online throughout the whole world.

Meanwhile, Mr. Garrison unwittingly found himself running for President against Hillary Clinton. Garrison tried to say more and more outrageous stuff so no one would vote for him, but he won in a landslide and has no idea what to do as world war looms with the Danish and their internet revelations.

And meanwhile, the ‘member berries, a sinister snack food, are reminding people how great the old days were, citing Star Wars and working their way up to racist ideas. The ‘member berries endgame is unknown, but they have taken over the White House.

It’s also possible that time has simply caught up to South Park.

They are showing Butters naked all the time. Whenever Butters feels like he is being attacked because he is a boy, he lowers his pants and raises his fist in solidarity with his brothers. It is consistently hilarious. Garrison’s platform was that he was going to “f*ck our enemies to death” and he is trying to make good on his promise. There’s a lot of swearing and nudity and, contrary to some taste makers, I would say it just keeps getting more and more funny.

So this might have always been a foregone conclusion, but watch South Park. It is hilarious and has perfectly capture the late 2016 zeitgeist.

Do you think South Park’s still got it? Leave us a comment!


Adventure Time: Card Wars

‘Adventure Time: Card Wars’ DVD

The Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD is a themed DVD that includes episodes from different seasons. The result is a mixed bag of episodes, with varying entertainment value.

Adventure Time, created by Pendleton Ward, is a trippy cartoon on Cartoon Network. Finn is a human boy, and his companion is Jake, a shap-shifting dog. They travel through Kingdoms, helping people (creatures) and defeating monsters. Peabody Award-winning Adventure Time premiered on the Cartoon Network in 2010. It’s won four Emmy Awards and received numerous other awards and nominations. Now in its seventh season, Adventure Time has continues to be a fan-favorite series, with an average of more than two million viewers per episode through its first six complete seasons, according to Cartoon Network.

Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD was released a week after a new Adventure Time episode, “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars,” aired on Cartoon Network. No doubt Cartoon Network is looking to capitalize on the hype surround a new episode release. But the theme of the episodes on this DVD is barely a thread. Some of the episodes revolve around games, others revolve around wars. But overall, Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD seems like a random collection of episodes.

The episodes included are: “Card Wars,” “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars,” “What was Missing,” “Up a Tree,” “A Glitch is a Glitch,” “Nemisis,” “Evergreen,” “Everything’s Jake,” “The Diary,” “Dentist,” “Varmints,” “Football,” “Crossover,” “(The) Hall of Egress,” “Flute Spell” and “The Thin Yellow Line.”

Adventure Time’s “Card Wars” episode is considered a fan-favorite. The episode is about Jake and Finn playing a turn-based card game, like Magic the Gathering. “Card Wars” is also about Finn making sure Jake doesn’t go nanners if he loses the game. From BMO’s insight, to the Dweeb and Cool Guy drinks, to the virtual gameplay of Jake’s game — Card Wars — die-hard fans have plenty to obsess about. For a casual fan, or someone new to Adventure Time, “Card Wars” plays like an ad for actual game that’s available to purchase.

In fact, the DVD includes an exclusive Card Wars playing card, that’s compatible with the Card Wars Doubles Tournament tabletop game coming in August.

 

Once you get past “Card Wars,” however, Adventure Time: Card Wars has some real gems in its episode list.

“What Was Missing” is one of the best episodes on this DVD, for a few reasons. First, the gang gets back together in order to defeat the Door Lord. Meaning, we get Finn, Jake, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline and BMO, working together. Second, they sing! Well, Marceline does, while everyone backs her up on a variety of instruments. Any time Marceline sings, in this case the song is “I’m Just Your Problem,” it’s a good episode.

“Dentist” is easily one of the most entertaining, if not disturbing, episodes on the Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD. Finn gets a toothache, but the dentist is actually a bunch of ants. The ants are led by General Tarsal, who makes a deal with Jake. If Jake helps them defeat an army of evil worms, they will fix his teeth. Believe it or not, the episode gets stranger from there. The twists and turns, and battle action, make “Dentist” highly entertaining.

“Nemesis” is another great episode, simply because it focuses on Peppermint Butler. Peppermint Butler is one of my favorite characters, mainly because he has a funny nickname — Pep But. But this episode gives us a peek into Peppermint Butler’s personality, and his life outside the castle.

My favorite episode on Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD is “Varmints.” This is an episode that digs deep into the relationship between Bonnibel Bubblegum (Princess Bubblegum) and Marceline the Vampire Queen. We find out that their relationship goes back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Plus, we normally see Marceline having bouts of depression. In “Varmints,” we see PB struggling with her responsibilities, the betrayal of the Candy Kingdom, and how her life seems to have gotten out of control. (Man, I want one of those shotguns, right? It does everything!) The action, the dialogue, and the jokes, make “Varmints” my favorite on this DVD.

Earlier I said that Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD was a mixed bag of episodes. That means that some of them aren’t very entertaining.

As I said above, “Card Wars” is about as fun as watching paint dry. If you’re the kind of fan who has seen every episode, possibly twice, then you probably love “Card Wars.” But for someone who’s just looking to watch a fun cartoon, it’s painful.

 

Another boring episode is “Up a Tree.” In true Adventure Time style, the episode is about an existential crisis, with very little storyline. “In the tree, part of the tree” could be the mantra of the corporate world, or a religion, or pretty much any group that has an obsession.

“The Hall of Egress” is one of those episodes that makes me crazy. It’s a seemingly endless sequence of bizarre settings and very little story. While watching it, I take on Finn and Jake’s frustration. The best part of this episode is the relief you feel when it ends.

“Football,” when BMO switches places with his reflection, is another episode that hurts my brain. I love BMO, but watching him talk to himself as if his reflection is real gets old quick. It’s funny, and interesting, for about five minutes. Luckily, the episodes is only 12 minutes long.

Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD has its ups and downs, when it comes to entertaining episodes. Adventure Time: Card Wars DVD has zero extras, but it does include the brand-new episode, “Daddy-Daughter Card Wars.”


Adventure Time Card Wars DVD Review

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Forming Voltron

‘Voltron’ Review for Netflix Cartoon

Voltron: Defender of the Universe was a cultural touchstone in th ’80s. Now, Netflix and DreamWorks Animation are rebooting Voltron with a new look and a new cast. The result is that Voltron Legendary Defender has the makings of an epic cartoon adventure series.

Voltron Legendary Defender is the rebirth of a legend. Five unsuspecting teenagers (well, one seems older than a teenager) are transported from Earth into the middle of a sprawling intergalactic war. They become pilots for five robotic lions in the battle to protect the universe from evil. Only through the true power of teamwork can they unite to form the mighty warrior known as Voltron Legendary Defender.

Voltron Characters

(L-R) Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge and Hunk

While this bold new series will be instantly recognizable to Voltron’s legions of dedicated fans, Joaquim Dos Santos and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery (The Legend of Korra, Avatar: The Last Airbender) have re-engineered core elements of the original show. With a combination of old and new animation techniques, creative transformations of the characters and designs and inventive plot expansions, this fresh Voltron is a great update on a classic cartoon.

Review

Watching Voltron Legendary Defender is terrific. The cartoon doesn’t waste any time on backstory or exposition. Voltron jumps right into the action, giving us a sense of the characters along the way. The story kicks off with a space mission gone wrong, and the return of an officer who was presumed dead. We meet the teens and the officer who will eventually form Voltron.

Although we’re helmet-deep in action right away, the creators still know how to build to a payoff. Knowing how badly we want to see Voltron formed, they hold off on his completion until the very end of the first episode.

Here's Voltron

Here’s Voltron

Along the way, the storytelling is clever. We’re caught up in the current storyline, involving King Zarkon and his alien force. Through that story, however, we learn Princess Allura’s story, and and Voltron’s role in her planet’s history.

The first episode of Voltron Legendary Defender builds to an exciting climax that teases a fantastic, epic series ahead.

The animation is gorgeous. Different animation techniques are used depending on what’s happening; a conversation on a desert landscape has the retro look of an ’80s cartoon, while watching Blue Lion battle aliens has a more fluid and colorful style.

Cast

The cast is full of talented actors, most of whom are recognizable from other great series. Rhys Darby, as Coran, and Jeremy Shada, as Lance, are particular standouts for their comedy. As usualy, Josh Keaton, as the officer, Shiro, is adept at playing a brave, yet vulnerable, hero.

Princess Allura – Kimberly Brooks (Ben 10: Omniverse, Justice League: War)

Coran – Rhys Darby (X-Files, Flight of the Concords)

Shiro, Black Lion – Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Transformers Prime)

Commander Sendak

Commander Sendak

Hunk, Yellow Lion – Tyler Labine (Reaper, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil)

Lance, Blue Lion – Jeremy Shada (Finn in Adventure Time, Batman: The Brave and the Bold)

Pidge, Green Lion – Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow, Scream: The Series, iZombie)

Keith, Red Lion – Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, The Legend of Korra)

Emperor Zarkon – Neil Kaplan (Transformers: Robots in Disguise)

Haggar – Cree Summer (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Croods)


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