Is Buster Moon Still A Monster?

Years ago, I went on a rant about Buster Moon and his villainous antics in Sing. At the time, I had no intention of ever seeing Sing 2, as I didn’t need more of that awful koala in my life. But I have children, and I tend to be a permissive parent. Thus, against my will and better judgment, I found myself sitting down for a viewing of Sing 2 as part of a family movie night.

So, Buster Moon has had an entire film to grow and develop as a character. In the sequel, is he still a monster? The long answer follows, but the short answer is: YES.

Continue reading “Is Buster Moon Still A Monster?”

A Kind of Magic: Highlander 1994

Even when the Highlander franchise met with limited success, nobody in charge of it seemed to know how to handle it. Case in point: Highlander: The Animated Series and Highlander III. Both came about in 1994, when the TV series had hit its stride and made the franchise popular again. The logical thing to do would have been to produce films based on the series and establish some continuity in the property. Instead, we got the exact opposite.

I’m analyzing the animated series and the third movie at the same time for two reasons. First, they were both released in 1994, right around the time Highlander: The Series was in its awesome third season. Second, there’s not a lot to say about them. Yes, they are bad (well, as far as I can tell…more about that in a bit), but they aren’t catastrophically bad. Mention the animated series to a Highlander fan and they might not even know it exists. Mention Highlander III and you might get a laugh at how bad the film is, but nowhere near the seething hatred you’d find from the other sequels. These additions to the franchise aren’t good by any means, but they also aren’t terrible.

Continue reading “A Kind of Magic: Highlander 1994”

Doctor Who and the Skye Boat Song

Spoilers for “The Power of the Doctor” follow.

Patrick Troughton had one of the hardest jobs of any actor to play the Doctor; he had to follow the original. Had he failed, Season Four of Doctor Who would have gone down as a forgettable failed experiment. The science fiction series would have died in the 1960s after the lead actor, William Hartnell, was forced out due to his health issues. But Troughton, an amazing character actor, succeeded by all measures, proving that the show could regenerate and renew itself as needed.

Troughton created a Second Doctor who was most unlike his predecessor, delving into silliness and acting the fool where the First Doctor almost always remained dignified and serious. At the same time, Hartnell had imbued the character with a sense of humor and a streak of childlike curiosity that came to serve as the Doctor’s core across many iterations. Playing a younger and re-energized Doctor, Troughton ran with that sense of fun. To cement this, one of the first things he did was to pick up a recorder and start playing tunes. That instrument became the Second Doctor’s signature, even more so than his use of the sonic screwdriver and the tendency of offering people Jelly Babies (something that Troughton did first before Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor adopted it as his own).

Troughton played many tunes on his recorder, but I’m going to focus on one specifically here: “The Skye Boat Song,” which he first played in “The Web of Fear.” That performance is recognizable enough that it got a reprise in 2022’s “The Power of the Doctor,” and it carries more significance than meets the eye.

Continue reading “Doctor Who and the Skye Boat Song”

Phantom Histories: The 2004 Film

The 2004 Phantom of the Opera film has a fairly large fanbase, and I think that mostly reflects the fact that Gerard Butler is a sexy man. My opinion is…less enthusiastic.

This film is a result of director Joel Schumacher teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Schumacher’s career was still recovering from the debacle that was Batman and Robin, and Webber had lost whatever magic he once had. The result is a lot of pretty sets but a story that has very little substance.

Notably, this film is an adaptation of the Broadway musical, not the original novel. Even so, I deem it to be markedly inferior, dropping the ball as a love story and making just enough changes to render the plot of the musical nonsensical.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 2004 Film”

Nitpicking Movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Should I be concerned that my favorite holiday movies all involve somebody stealing Christmas?

Based on a poem Tim Burton wrote while with Disney, The Nightmare Before Christmas acts as a twofer holiday film, providing viewing pleasure for both Halloween and Christmas. It features an amazing score by Danny Elfman and is probably the film that best showcases Burton’s visual style despite being directed by Henry Selick. (By all reports, Burton actually had little to do with the film aside from providing some sketches and the original poem; Selick essentially did an impression of Burton’s style and did it better than Burton ever did in his own films.)

Overall, the movie is charming, creative, and the right combination of macabre and heartwarming. Let’s see what sort of nitpicks I can toss at it from the peanut gallery.

Continue reading “Nitpicking Movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Nitpicking Movies: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

My favorite Christmas movie, without question, is How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The creative team, which included the likes of Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, and Thurl Ravenscroft, put together an adventure with a gleefully evil villain but still managed to make it one of the most touching Christmas films ever conceived. So, naturally, I’m going to spend some time here picking it apart.

Continue reading “Nitpicking Movies: How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Robocop: A Great Use of the Ol’ Ultraviolence

Despite the fact that I enjoy action movies, I think many films these days have too much violence in them. I’m not against violence in cinema, but I think it often lacks a purpose. Seeing a particularly gory gunfight is like witnessing a jump scare in a horror film; it’s often a cheap audiovisual trick to cover up lazy storytelling.

Of course, there are exceptions to that. For example, Robocop.

Continue reading “Robocop: A Great Use of the Ol’ Ultraviolence”

Phantom Histories: The 1986 Musical

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera is either a lot of flash with little substance or one of the best musicals of all time, depending on your personal tastes. It undoubtedly has incredible sets and costumes paired with beautiful music. Whether that is enough to overcome the way it glosses over many of the meatier parts of Gaston Leroux’s novel is a matter of some debate. One thing is sure, however: it brings the love story from that novel back to scenter stage.

Continue reading “Phantom Histories: The 1986 Musical”

A Kind of Magic: Highlander The Series, seasons five and six

One thing I forgot to mention last rant was that Adrian Paul took over as the director for a couple of episodes in season four (“Homeland” and “Methuselah’s Gift”), and he also got behind the camera for two episodes in the fifth season (“Revelation 6:8” and “The Modern Prometheus”). Probably not coincidentally, three of the four episodes he directed are among the best in the series. Again, Adrian Paul’s contributions made Highlander: The Series the success it was. Unfortunately, as he lost interest in the series, the show also went downhill.

Continue reading “A Kind of Magic: Highlander The Series, seasons five and six”