Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – Suicide Squad Done Right

DC tries to give Harley Quinn a second shot at a decent film along with a team of female anti-heroes.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has been dumped by the Joker (Technically Jared Leto) and is setting out on her own. Unfortunately, during the process of moving on, she earns the ire of Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), the supervillain and mob-boss known as the Black Mask. Sionis is being investigated by Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), who also starts chasing Quinn. Montoya, Harley, singer/asskicker Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and assassin Helena “Huntress” Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) all get caught up in a plot involving Sionis and a young girl named Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco).

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Montoya’s the only one smart enough to carry a gun. Or maybe sane enough.

END SUMMARY

I hated Suicide Squad. Admittedly, a lot of that was because I was angry that I had been suckered by the trailers into thinking it was going to be a good movie, even though I should have known from the earlier trailers that it was never going to work out. The way that characters were introduced, the generic plotlines, the constant desire to be “edgy” but never actually being edgy, all of that just made me hate that film. I even really didn’t like Margot Robbie’s version of Harley Quinn, but I don’t think it had to do with Robbie’s performance. The writing was just awful.

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This is the outfit she wears to fight an evil demi-god. The Fresh Prince has armor.

Unlike that movie’s over-the-top promotion, I almost didn’t realize this movie came out. The advertising focused so heavily on “the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn” over the Birds of Prey that, after Suicide Squad, I really wasn’t that interested in this movie. However, after hearing a few people praise the movie, I gave it a shot, and somehow this movie does almost everything Suicide Squad did, but does it mostly correctly. The writing is still bad, but it’s not AS bad and the characters and directing manage to mostly salvage it.

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And we don’t get a completely unearned “hero walk” in ours.

One of the biggest things about the movie is that it’s narrated by Harley Quinn who stylizes most of the narration, captions, and flashbacks. The first thing this does is actually justify the stylized character screens that were present throughout Suicide Squad, where the introductions were being done by Amanda Waller, a person who would never try to be that cutesy. Also, Waller’s explanations are to other people, whereas Harley is just crazy enough to talk to the imaginary audience. Harley breaking the fourth wall can be a bit over-the-top at times, but for the most part Robbie makes it charming. I’ll admit that the opening 10-15 minutes weren’t great, but once Harley gets a cheese sandwich, it starts to find its feet. In fairness, the sandwich was the emotional center of the movie. Still, having a good point of view to follow actually erases quite a few of the mistakes of its predecessor. 

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Being Fabulous helps.

It also helps that the character introductions are less “blatant narration” and more “scene depicting, through their actions, what kind of people they are.” I admit that Huntress’s backstory is way more narrated, but she’s so damned fun that I will overlook it. Moreover, the characters aren’t all introduced to us en masse, instead, they are explained when they enter the story. It feels less forced and the movie even admits that when the team finally comes together, they’re not really a team at that point, they’re just four women and a kid who have to work together out of necessity. Given their varied personalities and predilections, that’s really the only way they could have ever agreed to cooperate. 

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Professional killer, psychopathic psychiatrist, hero who needs a hair tie.

The characters are very different from their comic counterparts in a lot of ways, but it never annoyed me. Black Canary spends much of the movie refusing a call to heroism because her mother was killed being a superhero. Huntress was raised with a desire to kill her family’s murderers, but this has made her completely insecure and socially awkward. Rene Montoya, as played by Rosie Perez – Actually, I’m going to stop here and just give a round of applause to Rosie Perez for A) playing an action movie character over 50, B) getting work as a leading woman over 40 in a big budget film, and C) selling a character who admits to being a cliche half the time. Seriously, just… good job, Rosie. Anyway, Rene Montoya, as played by Rosie Perez, is a grizzled veteran who has been screwed over by the system repeatedly, a stark contrast to the naive rookie that the character was originally. Cassandra Cain is an in-name-only character, who bears no resemblance to the mute super martial artist of the comics. 

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This character is portrayed as socially awkward and it’s great.

Despite all of the changes, they just serve to drive home that this “team” really has nothing in common. Canary fights because she’s got just too much hero in her to let Sionis capture a girl, Harley does it because she likes Cassandra and because Sionis is going to kill her, Montoya believes in stopping Sionis even if the rest of the department doesn’t support her, and Huntress is just after vengeance. We have a vigilante, a self-serving antihero, a cop, and an assassin, and it somehow comes together organically for the final major action set piece.

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Spoiler: It involves Roller Skates and I love that they point out how insane that is.

Actually, I really liked all of the action sequences in this film. They vary a lot and many of them capture the fun slapstick element of violence that the John Wick films did well. I will admit that some of the gore is a bit more than I was expecting and, honestly, maybe more than the film needed, but they’re overall solid. 

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She uses a confetti gun at one point, just to balance it out.

I also loved Ewan McGregor’s performance as Roman Sionis. He perfectly nails a combination of psychopath and insecure over-compensating douche. He has no emotional strength and whines constantly, but due to his wealth and influence can get away with anything, so he just moves straight to violence as a response. He seems almost unbelievable as a human being, except that YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE MET THIS GUY ON THE INTERNET. It’s also amazing that he is utterly incapable of doing almost anything on his own, but is still threatening to everyone. It helps that his chief henchman, Zsasz (Chris Messina), is a grade-A serial killer, but still, McGregor sells that Sionis can be simultaneously weak and yet overwhelming.

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He’s not the comic book Black Mask, but he’s just so great.

Overall, I genuinely liked this film. I don’t know why it’s failing at the box office aside from the fact that it felt like a tacked-on sequel to a terrible movie, which it absolutely is not. I mean, it’s poorly written, but still better than Aquaman. I wonder if there’s a reason a female superteam movie with some admitted flaws would have 1/10th the box office of Jason Momoa in spandex, despite getting better critical and audience reviews? Dang it, Drogo…

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Doctor Whosday – S12 E8 “The Haunting of Villa Diodati”

The Doctor and The Tardis Trio encounter Mary Shelley on a significant night.

SUMMARY

It’s 1816 and Percy Bysshe Shelley (Lewis Rainer), Lord Byron (Jacob Collins-Levy), Mary Shelley (Lili Miller), her sister Claire Clairmont (Nadia Parkes), and Byron’s physician Dr. John Polidori (Maxim Baldry) are at Byron’s vacation rental, Villa Diodati. There have been a number of storms this year due to it being the year without a Summer. The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) shows up during such a storm along with Ryan, Graham, and Yaz (Tosin Cole, Bradley Walsh, and Mandip Gill). After they arrive, Percy Bysshe Shelley goes missing and his room is covered in gibberish and strange symbols. Strange figures then appear throughout the house, the walls start moving, and dead body parts start moving on their own. 

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It’s no Ozymandias.

The Doctor realizes that these events are caused by a high-tech security system. She manages to prove it just as a figure starts to appear within the house, revealed to be a half-complete Cyberman (Patrick O’Kane). This appears to be the Lone Cyberman that Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) warned the Doctor about in “Fugitive of the Judoon,” but the Doctor chooses to stay and confront it. The Cyberman is revealed to be named Ashad and that he is hunting for the Cyberium, the substance that the security system is protecting. Ashad time traveled to the villa, but his power was drained. He uses the electrical storm to recharge himself, setting out to find the “guardian,” revealed to be Shelley.

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Either the first Modern Prometheus or possibly Galactus’s offspring.

The Doctor and the rest of the house find Shelley, who had found the Cyberium previously. The Cyberium is apparently the accumulated knowledge of the Cybermen. His gibberish was apparently calculations. Ashad threatens to kill Shelley, so the Doctor absorbs the Cyberium from him. Ashad then threatens to destroy Earth, so the Doctor gives him the Cyberium, despite Jack’s warning not to “give it what it wants.” The Doctor and the Tardis Trio depart, using Percy’s scrawlings to follow Ashad. The experience inspires the writing of Frankenstein.

END SUMMARY

Okay, this was a solid build up to the last two episodes. It continued the plotline of the Lone Cyberman started in “Fugitive of the Judoon,” while also being a classic “historical celebrity” episode, and the ending is the perfect antepenultimate cliffhanger. So, right now, the finale could well involve Cybermen, the Master, Doctor Ruth, and Jack Harkness. I know it probably won’t have all of those resolve in this series, but dang, that would be a ride. 

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Please come back to me, Jack.

This episode did a lot of things right that others in this season didn’t pull off well. First, the pacing was great. It had a cold open to set the atmosphere, the Doctor and crew arrive, then we’re slowly given more and more clues that something is very wrong here. The reveals of the secrets are given the proper amount of weight and reactions by the cast, which is something they have sorely lacked at this point this year. 

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They later put on a production of A Christmas Carol, I think.

The moments revealing the essences of the various characters, too, were well done, focusing more on showing us who they are rather than telling us. I particularly love the moments of Lord Byron trying first to seduce the Doctor with his confidence, only to hide behind Claire when he thinks he’s in danger. While Lord Byron’s behavior (he was typically not considered a coward), as well as Claire’s response to it, don’t correspond with their historical personas (she was pregnant with his child at this point and didn’t seem to hate him until after she gave birth), the changes made the episode more interesting. 

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Also, the moment of the Doctor claiming the Cyberium was pretty awesome.

I also loved that, at the end of the episode, there were still more mysteries, including whether or not Graham saw an actual ghost. It really fit the Gothic theme. Overall, just a solid episode to set up for what I hope will be an explosive finale. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Sonic the Hedgehog – It Somehow Wasn’t A Trainwreck

One of the most-hated trailers of all time ended up being a decent movie.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Sonic the Hedgehog (Ben Schwartz) can run fast. As a kid, he was being watched over by an owl named Longclaw (Donna Jay Fulks) until a group of echidnas attacked, trying to capture Sonic for his powers. Sonic used a warp ring to escape to Earth, specifically in Green Hills, Montana. He stays hidden for many years until his presence is detected and the US government sends Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) after him. Sonic seeks help from the local sheriff, Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to help him keep out of the Doctor’s clutches.

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Marsden still thinks he’s looking at the bunny from Hop

END SUMMARY

So, if you are on the internet, you probably saw, or at least heard about, the original Sonic the Hedgehog trailer. It showcased the long-awaited film redesign of Sonic the Hedgehog and, to say the least, it was awful. The production company said that they’d assumed that, while die-hard Sonic fans would dislike it, that the redesign would appeal to the audience at large, like the Michael Bay Ninja Turtles. THEY WERE VERY, VERY WRONG. Not only did it not resemble ANY incarnation of Sonic the Hedgehog up until this point, it was just genuinely unpleasant to look at. The idea appeared to be to make Sonic look more humanoid than his original design, but instead it not only plunged the character into the uncanny valley, it hit the bottom and started digging for Uncanny China. There may have been no more universally despised image on the internet the day that trailer dropped, and that’s saying something since the internet is the place where Lemon Party was born. The use of “Gangsta’s Paradise” in the trailer did not help either, since it seemed out of place for what was clearly a movie for very young children.

Surprisingly, the fan reaction actually did something in this case. In response to everyone calling the film an “abomination,” Director Jeff Fowler agreed to redesign the character and postpone the release of the film, despite the fact that it added $5,000,000 to the budget. The minute they released the second trailer with the redesign, I think most of the world agreed that was money well-spent. The new design pretty much matched up with most of the video game and television versions of Sonic. It was definitely cartoony, but… well, he’s a cartoon. Giving him a more inhuman makeup actually made it easier to believe he was there on the screen. I would advise people to see this movie if only because something like this, delaying a film to correct a mistake, should be rewarded. However, as I pointed out at the time, I still was worried about the movie because it was made by people who thought that the original design was viable for a kids movie, rather than my darkest nightmares. The fact that it was released at the same time as Detective Pikachu’s trailer, which managed to make a solid live-action and animated world out of Pokemon, only added to my unease. 

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Having a flash of the “real” Robotnik in the trailer didn’t help.

I’ll preface my review with this: I wasn’t drunk enough for this film. My plan was to be just shy of blackout and I was only 2 strong drinks in (effectively 7 shots of liquor). I would recommend everyone else who sees this have a blood alcohol over .125 (don’t drive after). You’ll need it to get through some of the scenes in this movie. If you’re in a state that allows for the legal consumption of cannabis, then that’s probably going to help too. This movie should be experienced with an altered state. If you choose to see it sober, though, I will say it’s not the worst thing. 

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Seriously, they made this scene kind of amusing. Well done.

Thanks to the redesign and Ben Schwartz’s voice acting, Sonic actually is a fairly entertaining character. I should really emphasize Schwartz’s performance, because he makes a lot of terrible lines sound half-decent just through his vocal charisma. While the character does have some issues with being overpowered (he gets two “Quicksilver/Flashtime” scenes), the film does a good job finding ways to keep conflicts legitimate. While he lacks the brash confidence of traditional depictions, the fact that he’s been isolated for 10 years justifies some of his more pronounced eccentricities and they’re played out in clever ways, including having him (somehow) play baseball with himself. James Marsden’s character, while pretty generic, still has some fun lines and moments of sincerity. However, the big standout in the film is Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. He is nothing like his video game counterpart in terms of background, abilities, and appearance, but he almost completely nails the insanity and the need to prove his superiority of the original character. He is so cartoonishly over the top that he perfectly matches the literal cartoonishness of his foe. It’s really entertaining to watch. 

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Yes, Jim Carrey dances in it.

The biggest hole in this film is the writing. It’s unsurprising, I guess, but perhaps the two guys who wrote National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze 2 weren’t the best team to give a kids movie. I’m sure it didn’t help that the film has been pitched and worked on since 1993, when Sonic the Hedgehog was actually relevant. Because of these factors, it’s not surprising that this film can’t manage a consistent tone in either the humor or the characterizations. It goes from having relatively clever jokes to base fart humor frequently and Sonic frequently switches emotional states for no reason other than “conflict needs to happen now.” The plot is so generic I could have easily mapped a dozen other movies onto the same outline. Literally every character arc feels forced and sometimes completely ridiculous. There’s a subplot involving James Marsden’s sister-in-law that comes out of nowhere, is recycled from 1950s comedies, and just flat-out feels like filler. It’s not well written, is what I’m saying. 

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Also, where did he get a headband with his own logo?

It doesn’t help that I am a massive Sonic the Hedgehog fan. Like, I own a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog comic issue #7. I have strong opinions about who Sonic’s love interest should be (Sally Acorn) and why it was super creepy that they had Amy Rose age herself to an adult magically just so they could use her character as his potential partner in Sonic Adventure (she’s still 12 mentally). I PLAYED SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG. All of my love for the series, admittedly, made it harder for me to enjoy parts of this film. I managed to get past the inconsistencies with Sonic’s traditional backstory and powers, but I also got pulled out of it when they would actually reference the source material. However, my biggest letdown was that part of the film takes place in San Francisco, the inspiration for the City Escape level in Sonic Adventure 2, and they didn’t use the song. Aside from the music created for the series created by Michael Jackson, that was the best musical number in the entire franchise, it would have fit perfectly, and yet… nope.

Overall, though, this movie could have been much worse. Kids are definitely going to like it. I just hope that for the sequel they spend that additional $5,000,000 hiring some decent script doctors (OR ME). 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Mini-Review – She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Seasons 2-4): It Got Better

After a mediocre first season, I was told to check in on She-Ra again. The results were promising.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Following the Battle of Bright Moon at the end of Season 1, all of the princesses are now united as one force against the Horde and their leaders: Hordak (Keston John), Catra (AJ Michalka), and Shadow Weaver (Lorraine Toussaint). In the second season, we see the first attempts by Adora/She-Ra (Aimee Carrero), Glimmer (Karen Fukuhara), and Bow (Marcus Scribner) to decipher a message from outside of the planet while leading a force composed of the other princesses: Perfuma, Frosta, Netossa, Spinnerella, and Mermista (Genesis Rodriguez, Merit Leighton, Krystal Joy Brown, Noelle Stevenson, and Vella Lovell). In Season 3, princess Entrapta (Christine Woods) is working with Hordak and Catra accidentally almost destroys reality. In Season 4, the team must deal with the fallout of Entrapta’s and Catra’s actions and must work to stop Hordak from cracking the ancient secret of Etheria. 

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So many characters… but Entrapta’s still the best. 

END SUMMARY

So, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first season of this show. Almost every episode beyond the first one seemed formulaic and way too gimmicky. Every episode basically was “we find a new princess, solve her problem, she joins the team.” The second season was, at least, not repetitive, but it still had trouble finding its feet in terms of story direction and characterization (a few character personalities just seemed to change periodically). The third and fourth seasons, however, did show a remarkable increase in focus and cohesion. The arcs of the seasons made sense, were consistently paced, and actually had some weight to them.

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It also metes out our “Adora vs. Catra” time pretty well, which we need.

The show did expand its focus on what is clearly the best part of the show: The interplay between the characters. We see Entrapta becoming “friends” with Hordak through their shared love of technology and Catra becoming jealous due to her insecurities. We see Scorpia (Lauren Ash) develop and finally try to act on her crush on Catra (with may not be romantic, I think it’s ambiguous). Despite the fantasy setting, most of the emotions are completely human and relatable to the viewer. Most of the character arcs, similarly, are understandable and fun.

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Seriously, find someone who looks at you the way that Scorpia looks at Catra.

While I still have issues with some parts of the writing (mostly that someone in the room needs to learn that there are more types of humor than “sarcastic monotone” and “wacky reactions”), I do appreciate that the show has gotten better. I still don’t put it up there with Gravity Falls or Adventure Time in terms of good children’s shows, but it is pretty good. Also, it’s up there with Steven Universe in representation, which is always a good thing when done organically like those shows do. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Mini-Review: Toast of London – Who Doesn’t Love Berry As Toast in a Jam?

Matt Berry stars in this hilarious comedy about a struggling actor.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Steven Toast (Matt Berry) is an actor who constantly runs into ridiculous situations that are, mostly, the fault of his own incompetence or rampant libido. Aside from being a working voice actor under engineers Danny Bear and Clem Fandango (Tim Downie and Shazad Latif), Toast struggles to break onto both stage and screen due to his mediocre abilities and horrible personality. His career is also hampered by the complete idiocy of his manager, Jane Plough (Doon Mackichan), who routinely conveys wrong information to him. Toast lives with a retired actor, Ed Howzer-Black (Robert Bathurst), who has more than a few skeletons in his closet, and has a standing rivalry with fellow actor Ray Purchase (Harry Peacock) because Toast routinely sleeps with Purchase’s wife (Tracy-Ann Oberman). 

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He also has a bit of a drinking problem.

END SUMMARY

Here’s an alert: If you’re watching this on Netflix, skip the first episode “The Unspeakable Play.” It was the pilot, most of the good parts of it are reused in other episodes, and honestly it just wasn’t as good. If you have already tried the series, watched the first episode, and decided against it, I recommend giving it another shot. 

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And they do the play throughout season 1, so no loss there.

This show has a pretty British sense of humor, or humour, rather, meaning that a lot of the jokes are derived from absurd situations. For example, there’s a Nigerian woman who was the victim of a backroom plastic surgeon that ends up making her look like Bruce Forsyth, a British entertainer who mostly hosted game shows. There’s no real commentary on exactly how ridiculous it is that a young black woman somehow now looks like an old white man, but instead it’s just accepted and used from there. 

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Yes, there is a young, beautiful woman under that mustache. 

This requires that the show has a certain level of surrealism at any given time,  because the people in it never question the insanity of what is happening around them, much like The IT Crowd. Similar to The IT Crowd, too, the show relies on slowly building up a number of running gags and catchphrases that often end up culminating in a huge payoff. It makes sense when you realize that the show was created by people who were all veterans of British comedy, including Berry, Arthur Mathews who worked on Black Books and Father Ted, and Michael Cumming who worked with Berry on Snuff Box

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For example, you’ll have to suspend disbelief and think homeopathy works. *Shots fired*

Overall, I recommend this if you’re a fan of any of the series I’ve name-dropped in the review. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Futurama Fridays – S5 Movie 2 “The Beast with a Billion Backs”

Turns out there’s life outside the universe and it is horny.

REVIEW

I admit this movie isn’t my favorite, but I do love David Cross as Yivo. The idea of another dimension occupied by only a single sentient lifeform isn’t unique to Futurama, but I think the idea of that life-form being super-horny for our universe is. You usually don’t associate galaxy-sized lifeforms from other dimensions with being attracted to normal life forms. It’s like if Cthulhu was featured in a porno… it’s weird on a lot of levels. That’s from a guy who reviewed Call Girl of Cthulhu, too.

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This is really popular in Japan, though.

The plotline of Fry and Colleen is really odd to me. First, why would she not tell Fry she was poly before asking him to move in? Second, she’s still dating new people, but none of her boyfriends appear to be. Are they open or is it just open for her? Third, she’s the Police Chief, but in New York the head of the police is the Commissioner who is appointed by the mayor. The chief of any department is the senior sworn member. Am I being pedantic on that one? Yes, but it still bothered me.

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You brought this on yourself by not being honest, Colleen.

Overall, I do still think the movie has funny moments, but not a ton of them.

FAVORITE JOKE

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Even in hell, bureaucracy reigns.

Bender goes to see the Robot Devil and asks for an army of the damned. The Robot Devil agrees, but only if Bender is willing to give the Devil Bender’s first-born son. Bender immediately goes to see his child. His son is so excited to see him and clearly just wants a hug. This puts him in Bender’s arms, which allows him to throw his son into a pit in Robot Hell. The Robot Devil responds with:

Wow! That was pretty brutal even by my standards.

A close second is the reveal that Kif’s planet’s term for wife, “fonfon ru” translates to “one who does not sleep with my superior officer.” That’s just so bizarrely specific.

SUMMARY

Bender (John DiMaggio) wrecked the universe in the last movie, but apparently there’s just a hole in time and space now. It’s theorized that it’s a hole to another dimension, but no one is sure, so life moves on. Fry (Billy West) has met a new girl named Colleen (Britanny Murphy (R.I.P.)) who Leela (Katey Sagal) surprisingly gets along with. Bender, however, becomes upset when Fry announces he’s moving in with her. Amy (Lauren Tom) has agreed to marry Kif Kroker (Maurice LaMarche) and the ceremony ends up going okay.

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Her parents are judgmental even at her wedding. 

The Professor (West), who has been monitoring the “anomaly,” proposes a team go to explore it, but his rival, Dr. Wernstrom (David Herman), wants to spend his team. They settle this in the top way of scientists: Deathball. Planet Express wins, but it’s revealed that one of the other team members is also dating Colleen, who has five boyfriends. Fry still moves in with her and her other four boyfriends, but quickly breaks up with her over the awkward situation. The crew goes to check the anomaly and Bender is sent to make contact, resulting in him touching the space-time hole with his ass. This causes a massive energy discharge that injures Bender.

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The most scientific place on Earth.

Bender gets a visit from Calculon (LaMarche) at the hospital and becomes his stalker. Farnsworth and Wernstrom combine their minds to discover what the anomaly is made of, determining it to have a field that prevents any electrical devices from entering but not living matter. They are about to head to the anomaly again, but President Nixon (West) sends Zapp Brannigan (West) instead. Wernstrom and Farnsworth protest and are arrested by Colleen, the chief of police. Upon seeing her again, Fry becomes depressed and stows away on Zapp’s ship to find a place to be alone. Meanwhile, Bender becomes a member of the League of Robots, a secret organization that mostly drinks while complaining about Robot suffering. Kif is killed by Zapp trying to blow up the anomaly while Fry walks through it. Wernstrom and Farnsworth confirm that the anomaly is a portal to another dimension as Fry encounters a giant tentacled being. 

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He can touch everything, but look at only one thing at a time.

Tentacles begin to cross through the anomaly and attack every living thing in the universe. Once the tentacle-mass reaches Earth it quickly gets through all of the defenses. Fry appears, connected to the tentacle, and announces that he discovered the meaning of life: To love the Tentacle. The crew members flee and try to protect themselves from being connected to the tentacle, but eventually only Amy, Leela, and Zapp are unaffected. They appeal to Bender (as robots are unaffected by the tentacle) for help. Bender ends up helping them, but it reveals him as a human sympathizer to other robots. Meanwhile, Fry establishes a church to worship the tentacle and free love. After Zapp convinces a grieving Amy to sleep with him, they get caught by the tentacle, leaving only Leela free.

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Even the Funkalistics get taken.

Fry reveals that the tentacled creature is named Yivo (David Cross) and that shkle (the preferred gender pronoun because Yivo is all genders) loves the universe. Leela then breaks into the church and reveals that the tentacles are “gentacles,” and that Yivo is having sex with everyone in the universe at once. Everyone turns on Yivo and rejects the tentacles, even Fry. Yivo admits that shkle just wanted to bang the universe, but now shkle wants to love everyone truly. To show shkler power, Yivo resurrects Kif, who promptly dumps Amy for sleeping with Zapp. Yivo asks out everyone in the universe and they all go on a date at the same time. The universe is about to dump Yivo, but Yivo asks the universe to move in with shkler. Bender wants to go, but can’t, since robots can’t touch Yivo. Bender instead decides to take over Earth and sells his first-born son to the Robot Devil (Dan Castellaneta) for an army. However, as he approaches, everyone in the universe leaves for Yivo. Bender now feels lonely without his friends.

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Another sex scandal in the church.

Yivo makes everyone promise not to talk to Earth, but Fry sends a letter anyway. Bender receives it and uses it as a justification to attack Yivo. Bender’s army drags Yivo into their universe and attacks him with Fry’s letter, which, being made of Yivo, can hurt Yivo. Yivo realizes Fry betrayed shkler and dumps the universe… except for Colleen. Life returns to normal as the anomaly disappears.

END SUMMARY

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 73: Bender’s Big Score

NEXT – Episode 75: Bender’s Game

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Mini-Review: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

A post-apocalyptic fantasy world with a surprising amount of humor and emotion.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

It’s about 2222 AD and humans pretty much screwed everything up, because we’re the bad guys, duh. Most humans now live underground in “burrows” to avoid the giant mutant animals that now rule the surface. Kipo Oak (Karen Fukuhara) is a 12-year-old girl who lives in an underground city called the Clover. One day, she is caught up in a “mute-quake,” an earthquake caused by giant animals, which blows her out of a river to the surface. There, she meets Wolf (Sydney Mikayla), a young girl who manages to survive the dangers of the surface, as well as Benson (Coy Stewart) and his bug best-friend Dave (Deon Cole). There’s also an adorable four-eyed pig named Mandu (Dee Bradley Baker). Together, they accompany Kipo as she tries to reunite with her father (Sterling K. Brown) and her tribe. Along the way, they deal with frogs dressed in Mod clothing, giant bunnies, hyper-intelligent wolves (voiced by GZA and John Hodgman), and the sadistic Scarlemagne (Dan Stevens). 

Image result for kipo and the age of the wonderbeasts
Yes, that’s a giant turtle in the background.

END SUMMARY

It’s hard to set a kids show in the post-apocalypse without it becoming super dark like Adventure Time. There are only 10 episodes up so far and there are already some horrifying elements and implications, but the show thus far is mostly really upbeat. A lot of that comes from the fact that Kipo is relentlessly positive, despite the fact that she is always about 10 seconds from dying horribly. Benson is similarly carefree, which makes them an interesting pair, particularly when contrasted with Wolf who acts serious all the time to compensate for the fact that she’s a little girl surviving on her own. 

Image result for kipo and the age of the wonderbeasts
There are giant cat lumberjacks. Giant. Cat. Lumberjacks.

The series is based on a webcomic and mostly manages to duplicate the art style for animation. It’s very colorful, despite the apocalyptic setting, with a lot of pinks, purples, and blues. It makes it feel less like a dead world and more like a wonderland. There are a ton of sentient and even talking animals, many of which have humorous eccentricities, as well as just horrible mutant animals. The fact that one of the scariest creatures is the MegaBunny is hilarious to me. 

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It’s a giant fluffy wall of doom.

Honestly, it was a fun series and had some good morals. It manages to avoid most of the pitfalls of other Netflix kids shows and perhaps has one of the most inclusive casts without ever making a big deal about it. I recommend it for anyone with kids or for anyone that liked Gravity Falls. It’s not quite at that level, but I think it gets some of the same elements right. Mostly, it’s really only just started and it has a lot of strong worldbuilding and character development, which is impressive for almost any show.  

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.