Franchise Weekend – Mulan 2 (2004)

Director: Darrell Rooney, Lynne Southerland

Writer: Michael Lucker, Chris Parker, Roger S.H Schulman (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Mark Moseley, Lucy Liu, Harvey Fierstein, Sandra Oh

 

Plot: While preparing for their wedding, Shang and Mulan are suddenly sent off on a secret mission. Mushu starts to meddle, and a surprise attack by Mongolians doesn’t help either.


Tagline – Saving China was just The Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Warrior to Wedding Disappoints

 

Story: Mulan 2 starts as Mulan and Shang are planning to wed, but before they go through with the wedding the Emperor sends them on a mission to escort his daughters to Mongolia to marry to help keep the peace between the countries. Mushu on the other hand learns that he will lose his place as a guardian of Mulan if she marries, leading him to try and sabotage their engagement.

When Mulan’s previous experiences inspire one of the princess’ to follow her own heart, everything plays into Mushu plans to break the couple up, but this could bring war back to China.

 

Thoughts on Mulan 2

 

Characters – Mulan has gone from fearless warrior to bride in waiting, she does continue to show that women in Ancient China need to learn to be independent but is a shell of the person we met in the first movie. Shang is the warrior due to marry Mulan, their latest assignment causes a rift between them as he must learn that not all missions are important to complete. Mushu is the guardian about to lose his position if Mulan gets married, he sets out to sabotage their relationship.

StoryThe story here follows Mulan and Shang as they are planning for their wedding while going on a mission, if I am honest I just don’t want to talk about this story because it took a fearless warrior in Mulan into a character that just wants to prepare for her wedding. We have lost all the adventure that was in the first one to what is just a relationship drama.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThis is branded as an action movie and has one weak action scene to come, the comedy is mostly a miss but this is more family friendly over the first film.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings as well, but still has good visual temples included.

AnimationThe animation look is good and is the only redeeming good part of this film.


Scene of the Movie –
Nothing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me ruining what Mulan created.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak Disney sequel in the darker days of Disney where they just make rubbish sequels to loved games.

 

Overall: Poor sequel.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Mulan (1998)

Director: Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Writer: Rite Hsiao, Chris Sanders, Philip LaZbnik, Raymond Singer, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer (Screenplay) Robert D San Souci (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, Pat Morita, Miguel Ferrer, BD Wong

 

Plot: To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China’s greatest heroines in the process.


Tagline – This time, the princess saves the prince.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Dark Adventure Film

 

Story: Mulan starts in ancient China with Shan-Yu and the invading Hun attack. Mulan is a young woman that hasn’t been following the traditions on the family, she isn’t ready to just be a bride, when her father is summoned to serve in the impending war, she wants to help, running away to fight in her father’s place. Spirit dragon Mushu is sent to be her guardian on this adventure, to return her safely, but Mulan has other plans.

Mulan sets out to join the army in her father’s place under the leadership on Captain Shang, in a hope to rebuild her family honour that she has disrespected.

 

Thoughts on Mulan

 

Characters – Mulan is a young woman, she has been raised to follow tradition, something she wants to break and taking her father’s place in the army shows the independence she wants to achieve. This is a strong anti-princess role which is something Disney broke the mould with. Mushu is the guardian dragon that needs to rescue and watch over Mulan, though he mostly just causes trouble for her. This character is here for all the laughs in the movie. Shan-Yu is the leader of the Hun that are attacking China, his armies are ruthless when it comes to battle, with him being a great and powerful warrior.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that wants to make a difference in a world where only men can become the leaders of the armies, she breaks tradition to make a difference and become great. This brings us the idea of breaking away from the tradition just because the people tell you follow that path. For Disney this movie broke their own traditions of have a princess in distress needing rescuing and now feels like the trailblazer it wanted to be.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure side of the film does give us real peril because it takes Mulan into a war battle which has taken lives of many, this could be slightly too dark for the whole family to enjoy too.

SettingsThe film brings us to Ancient China which brings us a new animated setting for an American movie, we have the mountain range which looks beautiful and the towers that show the empires built.

AnimationThe animation is the usual top notch from Disney never looking out of place for their level of excellency


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain range attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me For me Mushu got annoying after a while.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful animated movie that does show us the courage one woman showed to save her country against tradition.

 

Overall: Disney’s last good movie of the late 90s.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – B – The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Shota Sometani, Koji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Suzu Hirose

 

Plot: When a young orphaned boy living on the streets of Shibuya stumbles upon a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by a gruff warrior beast looking for an apprentice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Animated Movie

 

Story: The Boy and the Beast starts as we learn that Kumatetsu a bear like creature and Iozen will be fighting to become the new Lord of the beast world, Iozen is the favourite to replace the previous Lord because of his ability to teach others while Kumatetsu need to find an apprentice, which takes him to the human world to search for one.

Ren is an orphan boy that has lost his mother leading him to running away from home living on the streets of Shibuya. When Ren has a chance meeting with Kumatetsu he takes him back to the beast world where he renames him Kyuta making him the apprentice, hoping to give him that upper hand in the battle to become the Lord of the beast world.

While the two find themselves constantly arguing the two go around the world to learn, well Kyuta does as Kumatetsu believes he knows everything already making the teaching becoming difficult. Kyuta learns the skills becoming an equal to Kumatetsu but when he finds himself back in the real world where he meets Kaede a young woman that teaches him things he should have been learning in school but his visits to the real world show him the threat coming towards both worlds that he must work with Kumatetsu to defend them both.

 

Thoughts on The Boy and the Beast

 

Characters – Ren runs away after his mother dies finding himself in the Beast world. In the Beast world he is renamed Kyuta and becomes the apprentice to Kumatetsu where he becomes a warrior unlike anything his master, when he grows up he becomes conflicted into which world he would like to be part off. Kumatetsu is the warrior that wants to become the new lord, he has trained himself but it makes him an unpopular figure in the world but once he takes Kyuta in he cleans up his act before the battle to hopefully become the lord the world wants. Kaede gives Ren a reason to stay in the real-world, she is a lonely figure with her age but the light Ren shows her in people gives her a reason to stay strong.

StoryThe story starts off being a mentor and apprentice storyline where the two clash through the training and teach each other life lesson along the way. These lessons will be used in their final showdowns to show how far the two orphans have come. This is a very culture filled idea that we don’t always see in the Western world but the message is simple, learn to prepare because the battle will come from the people you least expect it to.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of the film takes our lead character Ren into a new world, a fantasy world of beasts, it blends the two ideas together perfectly to create the world we enter into.

SettingsThe visual looks of both worlds come of fantastic, we have the Japanese city which is what we know well and the beast world which shows us how the training is completed.

AnimationThe animation is looking flawless again with everything looking and feeling like we are part of this world.

Scene of the Movie – The final battle

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is one film that didn’t annoy me at all.

Final ThoughtsYet another fantastic Japanese animated movie that can be watched, learned from and most of be something to give you an experience unlike any other film.

 

Overall: Must watch for animated fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – # – 009 Re: Cyborg (2012)

Director: Kenji Kamiyama

Writer: Kenji Kamiyama (Screenplay) Shotaro Ishinomori (Manga)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chiwa Saito, Daisuke Ono, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Mamoru Miyano, Noriaki Sugiyama

 

Plot: Anime adventure from ‘Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex’ (2002) director Kenji Kamiyama. Nine cyborgs created for destructive purposes disappeared for over 27 years after they were forced to turn on their creators in the name of justice. Now, as a number of seemingly unrelated terrorist attacks happen in locations throughout the world, the group reunites to battle against the devastating force and restore order to the globe once more.


Tagline – A classic sci-fi tale, reimagined!

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting, but Slow Story

 

Story: 009 Re: Cyborg starts as the see how the world has come under attack from an unknown threat destroying skyscrapers across the globe, Dr Isaac Gilmore recalls his 9 cyborgs from hiding to help their creator stop this impending apocalypse. The cyborgs from all over the world arrive with Joe battle in China, while Great Britain is investigating the streets in search of the answer.

As the terrorist attacks increase the rest of the cyborgs much come together to learn he truth behind the mysterious attacks which leave the line ‘his voice’ surrounding any attack.

 

Thoughts on 009 Re: Cyborg

 

Characters – The characters we meet are the main 9 cyborgs, each from different countries in the world, each trying to protect it from destruction, our main cyborg is 009 Joe who both gets framed and goes face to face with the attacker. Each one of the cyborgs does offer something different about them which does help the story unfold.

StoryThe story follows a string of mysterious terrorist attacks hitting the population of the world and nine cyborgs must come together to stop the world be destroyed only to learn more of the origin which plays into religious beliefs. This does make things very interesting to see unfolding even if we do spend way too much time getting through the details.

Action/Sci-FiThe action is big and plays into the animation style which is what we know we will be getting with the sci-fi world mixing with the religious beliefs.

SettingsThe film does take us to known location around the world for the destruction sequences throughout the film.

AnimationThe animation throughout the film looks great and helps improve the look of the action.


Scene of the Movie –
Final sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much explanation about the origin.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good animated movie that tells an interesting story even if it can be slow in places.

 

Overall: Animation well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – Z – Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)

Director: Hiroshi Aoyama, Kazumi Fukushima, Jim Stenstrum

Writer: Davis Boi, Glenn Leopold (Screenplay) William Hanna, Joseph Barbera (Characters)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Scott Innes, Billy West, Mary Kay Bergman, Frank Welker, B.J. Ward, Adrienne Barbeau Tara Strong, Cam Clarke, Jim Cummings, Mark Hamill

 

Plot: The Mystery Gang reunite and visit Moonscar Island, a remote island with a dark secret. Daphne wants more than just a villain in a costume, and they get more than they ever expected.


Tagline – This time, the monsters are real!

Runtime: 1 Hour 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun as Always

 

Story: Scooby Doo on Zombie Island starts as the gang as gone their separate ways, Daphne has become a reporter along with Fred as her producer and is setting out to discover real ghosts, Velma now working in a book story and Shaggy and Scooby work in airport security.

To celebrate Daphne’s birthday the gang come back together to investigate New Orleans, first unsuccessful before they meet Lena a chef on Moonscar Island who brings the gang to Simon Lenoir’s mansion which has a haunted history and it isn’t long before the gang find themselves facing a brand new mystery.

 

Thoughts on Scooby Doo on Zombie Island

 

Characters – We know the gang from before, but this is one of the few animated movies that addresses any sort of career away from the mystery solving antics and a romantic angle between Fred and Daphne. Scooby and Shaggy always getting haunting and searching for their next meal. The suspect list is interesting because we get the home owner Simone who has a mysterious past when it comes to being able to keep the house in a certain style. We have Lena the sexy chef that has a seductive way about her. The gardener Beau that is only ever seen alone or in the aftermath of an incident and Snakebite Scruggs who has been hunting a legendary catfish and hates tourists.

StoryThe story follows the Mystery Inc gang as they have gone into the real world with jobs and careers, they end up coming back together in search for real ghosts with the new mystery being one of the realest they have ever faced. The story does have hints a more adult themes than the television show had ever given us, the mystery being real does seem different and works for a feature film, it does feel like one of the scarier of the stories too.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/MysteryThe adventure the gang find themselves on does feel like one of the scariest in their history, even though the comedy does lighten the mood for the most part, this one will not be for the younger audience though, the horror side will be too much for them to handle, solving the mystery is what we love to do with the gang and what we get to do here.

SettingsThe film keeps most of the action on Moonscar Island in New Orleans, a location known for his mysterious sightings and beliefs, this adds to the horror side of the adventure because elements could be based on real stories.

AnimationThe animation standard is what we have come to expect from the Scooby-Doo franchise, everything works well and we get good moments throughout.


Scene of the Movie –
The on running ‘Dog where’ line.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This does actually feel like a Daphne movie over the rest of the gang.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the animated Scooby-Doo franchise, while slightly scarier than the rest it does hit the marks needed.

 

Overall: Scooby-Doo fans will enjoy this one.

Rating