The Lego Batman Movie Review

Spoiler Warning.

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So I got to see The Lego Batman movie today and oh my god, it was absolutely incredible. I loved almost every minute of it.This movie is action packed, funny, has a lot of clever homages to past Batman incarnations (mainly the campy 6o’s series) and even has a good amount of heart to it! But the characters are probably the best part.

Batman of course is great. In addition to being hilarious (Will Arnett does a tremendous job voicing him), he’s also just the right amount of brooding. At the beginning he’s kind of an asshole (mainly because he doesn’t want to get close to people after what happened to his parents) but as the film progresses he goes through a lot of character development. Ultimately, the movie takes the notion that superheroes (especially Batman) need to be all alone an angsty and goes “fuck that shit”. Robin is absolutely adorable and compliments Batman perfectly. They’re a very cute father/son team, and the family dynamic between Batman, Robin, Barbara and Alfred is adorable.

I really loved this movie’s depiction of Barbara Gordon and Harley Quinn. Barbara is now Latina (with her dark skin and having a Latina voice actress; Jim Gordon is also dark-skinned with a Latino voice actor so you know this was intentional) AND the commissioner (not just his daughter). She is smart, quick-witted, determined, is able to call Batman out on his shit, is very heroic, and not shoehorned into unnecessary romances or brutalized. She’s a well-defined character in her own right. Harley Quinn is not sexualized whatsoever, and her relationship with the Joker is portrayed as partners in crime, rather than a creepy/unhealthy romantic relationship.

Alfred is also a really great character, playing a huge role in the story and even being able to kick some ass. He was able to actually be a superhero himself, and since you don’t see a lot of old people as superheroes, this was pretty refreshing.

One thing I liked about this movie was how it was able to use all sorts of villains (including characters from other WB property, such as King Kong, Sauron, and Lord Voldemort). It raised the stakes of the film significantly, and makes the action a lot cooler. The villains from Batman’s rouges gallery are of course a treat.

I don’t want to really spoil too much about the film (I really liked the climax and ending but I would have to spoil a lot of it in order to explain why), so go see it for yourself! You’ll have a blast. If you hated DC’s previous movies for being too dark and gritty or overstuffed or any other reason, this movie should restore your faith in the company’s ability to make good movies with their classic characters.

The Best of Scooby-Doo

Out of all the Hanna-Barbera properties, I find it hard to believe that it’s Scooby-Doo of all things to be so prominent and perennial.

While you’ll find the occasional new Tom and Jerry movie and you’ll mostly see other classic properties on reruns or as multivitamins, Scooby-Doo refuses to die. While the original series had its charm, since then the brand had to constantly reinvent itself in order to stay relevant, which often included adding or subtracting characters and having a different gimmick (like a movie where Shaggy and Scooby become monster racers, or where they go to a finishing school for ghouls). In modern times, there have been several different series launched every few years with different animation styles (some of them being hideous) and different themes but none of them would last long. And since 1998, there has been a series of direct-to-video movies that would release, on average, two movies a year.

You know how The Land Before Time brand gets derided for having too many movies? Well, Scooby-Doo (not counting the movies made in the 1970s and 1980s) has a total of 26 movies and counting. 26! And they get increasingly ridiculous. For example, did you know that KISS is still as relevant as ever and is totally a magic girl team now? Or that John Cena (who was a meme 2015 but not as popular now) can totally push a giant moving boulder out of the way to save the gang? There have even been a few attempts to make Scooby-Doo musicals. At any rate, this kind of shows that Scooby-Doo is mostly around to try to keep the Hanna-Barbera brand alive and get some money out of kids who still find Scooby and Shaggy’s antics funny. I mean when Disney dominates everything what else can you do? Still, I think this is proof that Scooby-Doo is way past it’s prime.

Now, I could be biased. I got to be honest: I’m not a fan of Scooby-Doo. I don’t really find the mysteries very good (the reveal is either too predictable or a total ass pull), and I feel that a lot of incarnations are bland, boring and/or too silly. Also, I just don’t see what’s so special about Scooby-Doo himself. He’s not cute or interesting. Everything he does to save the day is by coincidence or sheer luck. This is the main reason why I don’t understand why this franchise is as popular as it is; I can’t see the appeal in the main character. (The other characters’ appeal can change on a whim; Daphne can go from a vapid, fashion-obsessed damsel to a competent detective, there’s no consistency.)

That said, amidst the sea of far-fetched and ridiculousness, there are two movies that stand out as something very brilliant (I don’t have enough energy to invest in all the different series): Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island and Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost.

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With gorgeous animation (with darker shadings and attention to detail), rich atmosphere, awesome music, and updated character designs, these movies deliver clever stories with just enough silliness while having an edge to it to make it actually interesting.

Zombie Island is when the gang, in pursuit of real monsters, get more than they bargained for when they end up on an island in the Louisiana bayous. What makes it stand out so much is that it’s the first Scooby-Doo movie to actually take itself seriously, with some legitimately scary imagery and a good twist. Witch’s Ghost is my personal fave of the two because it contains the first appearance of the Hex Girls and Tim fucking Curry, as well as one of the most intense climaxes in a direct-to-video animated family movie.

It’s kind of sad that the Scooby-Doo brand reached its peak at the end of the 20th century but then did a 180 to become safe but stale. I feel like Scooby-Doo is going to need that edge again because the new movies are getting really poorly received, and if Warner Bros. wants to be a successful name in animation, they should start taking one of their oldest and dearest products more seriously. We’ll have to see if they’re interested in quality or if they only want a quick buck.

The Greatest Short in Cartoon History

This is something you simply have to see to believe. You can find more context for this short on it’s Wikipedia page but you might have more fun without knowing it. This short proves that humanity hasn’t really changed in terms of what we find to be hilarious.

I think my fave two things are the surprising amount of degree and strength the female character is given (which I won’t spoil) and Dan Backslide’s inability to have an indoor voice.

The best part? This cartoon is in the public domain, which means we can do whatever we want with it. Go nuts with it! I’m sure Chuck Jones would’ve encouraged it.