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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Core Member CallumMale/United Kingdom Group :iconpokemontalesfanclub: Pokemontalesfanclub
 
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I read some reviews on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and.... it doesn't look too good. ^^; I think I may go and see Deadpool instead tomorrow. :D 

100%
1 deviant said Does anyone have any thoughts on the film? PLEASE avoid spoilers. :)

My next film review will be for the spiritual predecessor to My Neighbour Totoro - the equally cute Panda! Go Panda! :love: Does anyone have any thoughts to donate? :meow: 

100%
3 deviants said Please comment with any thoughts on the film (I'll be reviewing the original Japanese audio version - my preferred version :aww: )

I know not many Ginga Nagareboshi Gin fans watch my deviations, but I'm thinking about which of the show's characters to draw some of my Ginga OCs with. :D Which one would you like me to try drawing some of them with? :) 

38%
3 deviants said Gin
25%
2 deviants said Akakabuto
13%
1 deviant said Riki
13%
1 deviant said Hyena
13%
1 deviant said The Kai Brothers
0%
No deviants said Smith
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No deviants said Moss
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No deviants said Benizakura
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No deviants said Any other suggestions? :D

Duckyworth's Thoughts

My personal thoughts on films that I have seen!

Bram Stoker's Dracula - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines or How I Flew From London to Paris in 25 Hours and 11 Minutes - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Watership Down - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Coraline - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Home on the Range -duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Rio - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Elephant Man - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Dude, Where's My Car? - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Last Unicorn - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Return to Oz - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Rock and Rule - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Neverending Story - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Dead Space Downfall - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Nosferatu (1922) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Exorcist - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Blair Witch Project - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Evil Dead - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Evil Dead 2 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Army of Darkness - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
An American Werewolf In London - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Ginger Snaps - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Dog Soldiers - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Haunting (1963) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
THEM! - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Frankenweenie (2012) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Theatre of Blood - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
A Clockwork Orange - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Vuk The Little Fox - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Kis Vuk-A Fox's Tale - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Room - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Felidae - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
9 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Plague Dogs - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Skyfall - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Flight Before Christmas -duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Nightmare Before Christmas - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
It's A Wonderful Life - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Lord of the Rings - Return of the King - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Secret of NIMH - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pippi Longstocking (1997) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Black Cauldron - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Top Cat (2011) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Land Before Time - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Wild - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Mario Puzo's The Godfather - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pee Wee's Big Adventure - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Robocop - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Wreck-It Ralph - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Princess Mononoke - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Quest For Camelot - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Ed Wood - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
FernGully - The Last Rainforest - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Where The Wild Things Are - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pan's Labyrinth - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Twilight - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Help! I'm A Fish - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Corpse Bride - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Tron - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Cool World - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Cats Don't Dance - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Secret of Kells - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Titan A.E. - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Cat In The Hat - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Reef - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Balto - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokemon The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon 2000: The Power of One - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon 3: Entei - Spell of the Unown - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi - Voice of the Forest - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon Heroes - Latios and Latias - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - Jirachi Wishmaker - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - Destiny Deoxys - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Pokémon Lucario and The Mystery of Mew - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - The Rise of Darkrai - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Pokémon - Giratina and the Sky Warrior - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - Arceus and the Jewel of Life - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - Zoroark Master of Illusions - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon Black - Victini and Reshiram - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - Kyurem Vs. The Sword of Justice - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Pokémon - Mewtwo Returns - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Brave - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Valiant - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Rise of the Guardians - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga'Hoole (BAD FILM) REVISITED - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
An American Tail - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Dark Crystal - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Monsters University - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Monsters Inc - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Tron Legacy - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
All Dogs Go To Heaven - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Basil the Great Mouse Detective - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Hotel Transylvania - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
ParaNorman - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Little Shop of Horrors (1986) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Killer Klowns From Outer Space - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Stan Helsing - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
ThanksKilling - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Splice - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Nosferatu (1979) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Something Wicked This Way Comes -duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Frighteners - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
ThanksKilling 3 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Little Brother Big Trouble - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Forgotten Toys - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Gremlins - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Elf - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Elf That Rescued Christmas - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1998) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Polar Express - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
A Christmas Carol (Mickey, Muppets and Jim Carrey versions) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Oz The Great and Powerful - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Frozen - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Black Hole - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Brother Bear - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Oliver and Company - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Atlantis The Lost Empire - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Treasure Planet - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Lego Movie - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Ruby Gloom Cartoon - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Bio-Dome - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Artist - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Alpha and Omega - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Return of Jafar - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Aladdin and the King of Thieves - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Belle's Magical World - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Pocahontas 2: Journey To a New World - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Lion King 2: Simba's Pride - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Lion King 1 1/2 Hakuna Mattata - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Emperor's New Groove 2: Kronk's New Groove - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
The Tigger Movie - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Bambi 2 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Boxtrolls - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Rio 2 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Hocus Pocus - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Hellraiser - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Borderlands - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Howling - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Monster House - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Gremlins 2: The New Batch - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Sleepy Hollow - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Eight Crazy Nights - Part 1 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Part 2 - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
(THE WORST FILM I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE)
Arashi No Yoru Ni - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Anastasia (Part 1) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
(Part 2) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Nuttiest Nutcracker (Part 1) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Nuttiest Nutcracker (Part 2) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Nuttiest Nutcracker (Part 3) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Atlantis 2: Milo’s Return - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour… (BAD FILM)
Bartok the Magnificent – duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
A Troll in Central Park (BAD FILM) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Labyrinth – duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Big Hero 6 (Part 1) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
(Part 2) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Shaun the Sheep The Movie – duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Freddy Got Fingered (BAD FILM) (Part 1) - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
(Part 2) – duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Lorax (BAD FILM) – duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
Thumbelina (BAD FILM) – duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…
The Spongebob Movie 2: Sponge Out of Water - duckyworth.deviantart.com/jour…


More on the way! :D

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Duckyworth's Thoughts: A Monster In Paris ~ 2011

Journal Entry: Mon Feb 1, 2016, 2:35 PM
  • Mood: Sweet
  • Listening to: Song of the Sea OST - Lullaby
  • Reading: The Comic Book History of Beer
  • Watching: Ginga Densetsu Weed
  • Drinking: Passionfruit and Apple Cider


Director: Bibo Bergeron

Rating: U

My rating: :star::star::star::star-half::star-empty:

 

Bonjour, mon amis, and welcome to my next Duckyworth’s Thoughts review! :wave:

 

Yep, as we’re getting closer and closer to the big 200, I’d like to dedicate the reviews running up to the milestone as a chance to review films that have been on my hit-list for quite a while, and to start off with – here’s a review of a film that I’ve actually been meaning to watch ever since I started reviewed. Yes, ever since I started reviewing I’ve been meaning to see this film, but it was only recently that I saw the film on TV. And what do I think of the film itself? It’s pretty good. :meow: Not the best out there, but I’m really happy I saw it. And after reading a lot of Asterix and Obelix comics recently, I’ve been looking forward to watching some more French media. So, let’s travel to Paris to meet… A MONSTER IN PARIS. :D

 

Directed by Bibo Bergeron, the same director from Road to El Dorado and… Shark Tale :fear: (but to be fair, it’s perfectly possible for a good director to make a bad film, and I have heard Road to El Dorado is really good – another film I’ve been meaning to watch) and an animator on films like Fievel Goes West, Ferngully, The Iron Giant and Flushed Away, this film is a very warm little film about the creation of a foreboding yet innocent creature who develops a love for music, and becomes a singer at a cabaret theatre, while the two who accidentally created the creature try to hide him from the local authority figure, who wishes to capture the creature to increase his popularity. While this film isn’t the best one out there, I will say that I have to praise it for its high amount of charm it has – both in character designs, the cute moments in the story and the music it has. :meow: The concept ALONE is what caught my attention with this film, and after Ratatouille showing just how lovable and cute a RAT can be, I’d like to see this film make a cuddly GIANT FLEA of all creatures. So, as they say in France – ‘allons-nous commencer?’ :iconfrenchplz:

 

The film takes place during the 1910 floods, beginning by documenting the flooding of the River Seine that year in the opening news reel – and I do like the use of old timey news footage that was actually shown at the time. :) After this, the cameraman at the theatre, Emile, voiced by Jay Harrington, has a fantasy about him starring in the short film being shown about a brave man saving a damsel in distress from a dragon, mixing it up with his own insecurities about asking his crush Maud, voiced by Madeline Zima, on a date to the zoo – resulting in a kind of strange mash up of a classic romance story – with a… crocodile turning into a dragon. Weird – but not as weird as Ludmilla’s transformation into a dragon. :lol: I do like how his fantasy of the dragon setting his umbrella on fire corresponds to the film melting in the theatre as Emile nods off, and has to use his…. Belt to fix the projector. Just outside, as the nicely animated streets of Paris are shown, and Emile is leaving for the day, his friend Raoul, voiced by Adam Goldberg, comes by in his salesman van that he’s affectionately named Catherine. At first, I will admit I did find Raoul to be a tad annoying, but he does become more likeable as the film goes on. :) I also have to admit that the romance between Emile and Maud does… sadly get a bit sidetracked in the end and it feels like that due to the whole monster thing and some problems with the film’s pacing I’ll mention later, some of the screentime that could have been focused on the romance between these is sacrificed, sadly. :hmm:

Now, the animation in this film, considering the fact that this film had a lower budget than many of the animated films to come out at the time, is actually pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, it is a bit stiff in places, and there are some moments when the animation isn’t as polished as some animated films to come out at the time, but I do find a lot of charm in the character designs, the way that they designed France (once again, it’s similar to how well Ratatouille portrayed Paris – during more modern times, true, but still), and of course, the monster design later on. :aww: And hey, it’s much, MUCH better looking than Alpha and Omega – a film which only came out a year before. And need I compare A Monster in Paris to Mars Needs Moms to tell you which one has better animation? :XD: In fact – it looks cleaner than Norm of the North – which may not seem like it’s saying much considering Norm of the North’s animation, but considering the TIME that A Monster in Paris was released, it becomes a very strong statement – both to A Monster in Paris’ credit and Norm of the North’s negate. :lol:

As Emile and Raoul drive around through Paris on Raoul’s delivery job, I do like the light hearted approach that is put into the conversations these two have, such as the two commenting on each other’s flaws. The humour is nothing absolutely extraordinary, but I was still amused by it throughout the film. Raoul cracks some Sly Cooper esque puns (Sly spends a lot of his time cracking lacklustre puns :lol: ) – such as some egg puns I end up smiling at, and showing that Raoul has allergies to birds, and that he has rather questionable taste in fashion – including a coat that is quite literally made of straw. :lol: Emile goes into the local pawnbrokers to get a new belt, while also buying a new film camera which…. Gets stolen by a rather shady looking thief who almost looks like those stereotypical people you’re told to stay away from in school. :lol: Meanwhile, Raoul is shown to be an amateur inventor, who tries showing a customer a remote controller for his van, and with his remote, ends up knocking out the thief who tried to mug Emile – including a moment with the fertilizer bags he’s delivering falling onto the thief. Okay – as the scene jumps forward to the next one – here’s perhaps my first little nitpick about the film’s pacing. Some of the scenes don’t really meld into each other – it just feels a bit odd when the scenes end and the next one starts at the start of the film. It’s hard to explain, but the end and start of some earlier scenes are a tad abrupt and there are one or two scenes that end up dragging a tiny bit. But luckily – one thing I DO have to give the film credit for is that every single thing they bring up serves a purpose – it may seem like a tiny little thing that they brought up the remote control for the van, but I do have to give the film credit for working all the little gags and observations into the later part of the plot – including the straw coat running joke, the remote control and the mention earlier from the newspaper salesman that we see that the local Commissioner is dropping in popularity as the flood levels continue to rise.

Next up – it’s time to head to one of my favourite sets in the film – the laboratory of the professor that Raoul is delivering the fertiliser to – which, after doing some research, I found that is actually the Jardin des Plantes, a real botanical garden in Paris which was built in 1635. The part that they go into has a very big resemblance to the Mexican Hothouse section, shown HERE - upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia… . Kudos to the film’s attention to detail for getting the design of the Hothouse down. :clap: Actually – one more comment on the settings – it feels a little bit like The Boxtrolls in the film’s old timey feel. A Monster in Paris has such a lovely and nostalgic feel to it, and seeing as that is exactly the feeling I got when I’ve been to Paris in the past, I felt the film evoked this very well. Even Raoul’s way of speaking doesn’t feel TOO out of place – I mean, his smooth talking may seem a bit weird, but I feel that there were suave people who were overconfident in themselves in the 1910s as well. The lab assistant, Charles, passes a note through the door to Raoul, saying that the professor is in New York for a conference. I have to give the film credit for making Charles, who is actually a proboscis monkey, as cute as he is. Because, let’s be honest…. In real life, proboscis monkeys look rather… homely. ^^; But I do find the character design for Charles very cute. And I do like the reference to Charles Darwin in his name and how he communicates through cards – similar to the way Mr Bobo uses cards in ‘The Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists.’ And he has a similar taste in hats to me! :giggle: Raoul, of course, ignores the professor’s warnings to not walk around the greenhouse while he’s away and says Emile can use it as a chance to use his new film camera. Being a chemist myself, I really like the next scene - Raoul starts experimenting with the professor’s potions, despite Charles showing a chalk diagram of Raoul plus potion equals explosion. :rofl: I really do like the creativity behind scenes like this with a scientist and these strange potions – such as an "Atomize-a-Tune" mixture which temporarily gives Charles the voice of an opera singer and an unstable "super fertilizer" which instantly grows a sunflower seed into a giant sunflower – which is very well animated by the way :D. Raoul sees the opportunity for creating sunflower oil for his van, but the sunflower soon topples towards Raoul and Emile – which is why you tie these plants to a branch to keep them from toppling over! Maybe it just wants to sing ‘Feed Me’. :lol: In the ensuing disorder, an explosion occurs and the two chemicals seen earlier are mixed – in an awesomely animated and kind of beautiful explosion. Everyone is unscathed, but Emile is convinced he has glimpsed a monstrous creature in the ensuing smoke. I do like the references to early horror movies in this film, such as the next scene which almost seems to have a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde feel to it – a scientist, through misuse of some kind of concoction to try and do good, ends up creating something completely unexpected. And that silhouette of the monster shown here is pretty awesome.

The monster jumps out the roof of the garden, and starts jumping around Paris, while unintentionally scaring everyone, while I… will admit, I can’t help but stare at the Palace of Justice on the horizon in the one shot – I can just imagine Frollo getting ready to sing Hellfire. Speaking of good music – the music in this part is pretty beautiful. :D Meanwhile, at the cabaret L’Oiseau Rare (The Rare Bird), another setting which is very well made, we get introduced to Commissioner Maynott, voiced by Danny Huston , his second hand man Captain Pate, voiced by Bob Balaban, Albert, voiced by Matthew Géczy, a bumbling waiter who has dreams of becoming an opera singer, and Madame Carlotta (no doubt a reference to Phantom of the Opera :D ), voiced by Catherine O’Hara, the owner of the cabaret theatre who denies Albert his chance for his clumsiness and his… well, less than able singing voice.

Okay, if you’ve heard about this film and seen the posters, I think it’s pretty bloomin’ clear that Commissioner Maynott is the villain of this film, but what I like about this villain is a similar manner to why I like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast as a villain. While Maynott isn’t as funny as Gaston, I still like the idea of a villain who, at the start of the film, is set up as the local hero and while is a bit difficult, does have some popularity due to his actions. And it seems that while Gaston was a local herodue to his strength, good looks and hunting exploits, Maynott wants to help people take their minds off the flooding disaster and their overbearing demands for him to quickly act to raise morale - despite his subordinate Pate, who seems like if Lefou was a bit more reluctant to follow Gaston’s orders, seemingly being a more detail savvy person and thinking more about diverting the water and distributing aid to the victims of the floods. More comments on character designs here – the design of Albert looks a bit like the cyclist from BelleVille Rendezvous, which makes me realise something about the character designs and why I think they have a certain charm to them – they seem very stylized with almost charicature-esque features to them. And I personally like these designs – it reminds me a bit of The Book of Life, in a way (except without as many of The Book of Life’s clichés and jerkish characters – yeah, one thing that bothered me about The Book of Life was that quite a few of the characters were douches to each other – which I’ll pick up on if I ever get around to review The Book of Life.) Speaking of similarities to Gaston – it looks like Maynott is trying to ask Carlotta to arrange a marriage between him and her niece, Lucille, who is a singer at the cabaret. Oh yes – time for another of my favourite elements of this film – the music. The music in this film is actually really, really impressive. And the singing of Vanessa Paradis is really, really gentle, but powerful at the same time. I will admit that this version of ‘La Seine’, while gentle and catchy, isn’t the best rendition of the song – just wait until later on. :clap: During this song, the monster listens in, seemingly as entranced with the song as much as everyone else.

In her dressing room, Lucille and her aunt take part in a very similar conversation to Belle and Maurice regarding Gaston – pretty much how despite their success and good looks, their personalities aren’t up to snuff. I would ask for the Phantom of the Opera to break in through a mirror, but that does not happen here. But enough of that – onto a more interesting scene, which to me, makes me feel that, like Monster House, this film is a bit of an homage to classic monster stories and old thrillers for the younger audiences. Two of the cabaret’s patrons go down a dark alleyway, as the man tries to pick up his wife’s broken pearl necklace – well, considering the fact that he’s got questionable faith to his wife, I think we know what would happen to him if this was, say, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. But instead, the two of them run, while the monster snags the man’s coat, scarf and hat. The next morning, the man tries to report this to the police, which leads to a pretty good joke - the police artist is simply taking a portrait of the man. :lol: The report is sent off to Maynott, who is trying to write a love poem to Lucille (‘What could rhyme with ‘great destiny’? I know! Me.’ :lol: ), while Pate is trying to not only lead the rapid response bicycle unit, but has also done some very good investigations into the monster. I actually really like Pate as a character – he’s this really hard working, really smart guy who puts his all into his work and does a good job organising everything, but his boss unfortunately doesn’t appreciate all the hard work he puts in. I kind of feel for him throughout this film – and actually MORE so than I do for Lefou. Don’t get me wrong, Lefou did bend over backwards to try and get Gaston’s approval, but Pate’s actions seem much more just than Lefou’s – Pate is a more morally sound individual. :aww: Pate’s report leads him to the Jardin de Plantes, while Maynott uses the opportunity to support his mayoral candidacy – being the hero the people need.

Raoul and Lucille meet up, and it seems that the two have known each other since childhood, and the two are picking on each other’s flaws. Lucille says that the only way she will let Raoul into the cabaret if he has a medal of honour. Just then, Raoul hears about the appearance of the monster, just as Pate and his men head to the Jardin de Plantes and find the destroyed potion bottles and a dropped roll of film Emile dropped – just as Emile and Raoul also figure out that they created the monster. Raoul’s line here is pretty funny - ‘He’s got your eyes, and my… hairy legs…’. :lol:

Instead of breaking into his crush’s house and trying to force her into marriage like Gaston did, Maynott takes a more civilised approach by talking over tea, while he tries speaking with fancy words to sound sophisticated – but describes the lower masses as cockroaches while calling those with great destiny as highly above them. Now, once again, I do find him to be a more sophisticated version of Gaston who seems to be a tad smarter in his tactics than just breaking into someone’s house and trying to take advantage of them – he’s still basically a cartoony bad guy, but I like the way the film makes him look more like a civilised gentleman. :) But I do like the way they show this rage inside him trying to break out (who is the monster and who is the maaaan? :lol: ), such as when his voice falters when Pate interrupts him, saying that he has Emile, Raoul and Charles - the three suspects for the creation of the monster, and gives a good account of how the monster was created – a flea from Charles’ fur was combined with the potions to create the monster. But Maynott instead praises the three of them for giving him a chance to prove himself, and gives them each a Medal of Honour. Not much to say about this scene – but I do like the way Charles rolls his eyes at Raoul saying it was ‘the monkey’s fault’ as it was his flea. :lol:

Suddenly cutting to the next scene (yeah, this film sure does jump around a lot, doesn’t it? ^^; ), it turns out that Albert sings as well as….. Snips and Snails’ ‘rap’ from Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks…. Ow. :x While it does… grate a bit, I will admit that Lucille’s reaction is pretty damn hilarious. :rofl: Of course, Albert gets kicked out before he can burst any more ear drums, and bumps into the monster in another scene that feels like a nice little homage to classic monster films where someone walks outside and comes face to face with a monster. After Albert runs off, it turns out that the monster is not as… well, monstrous as appearances would lead you to believe, but Lucille accidentally knocks the monster over with the door, and when she sees his face, her reaction is… to be expected. :lol: And let me be honest right now – I ADORE the design for the monster. :love: As well as being surprisingly cute for being a… well, a giant flea :lol: , I like the way the monster’s clothes he got from the man in the alleyway earlier gives him a kind of Invisible Man feel. Also, I really like the way he has a heart shaped head – most likely symbolizing the fact that he has a kind, passionate personality. And of course, the chirping effects are really sweet. :aww: When Lucille wakes, she runs away back inside – and I like how instead of following, the monster just stands there bewildered – after she understandably slaps him to get away, he doesn’t really react as such, he just doesn’t know how to react – almost like he’s… used to this. :( Daww, poor thing. Instead of following, the monster is instead hypnotised by the melody of the rainfall on the rubbish outside and breaks into a melancholy song about how everyone’s ostracised him for his short time as a giant flea and feels pain as a result…. It’s very, VERY beautiful… :aww: Now, to be perfectly honest, the first time watching this, Sean Lennon, the singer voicing the monster, seemed like an interesting choice. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Sean Lennon is a good singer, but the first time hearing the song ‘A Monster In Paris’, I thought his singing voice sounded a bit more effeminate than I was expecting. *boos from crowd* :boo: HEAR ME OUT, JUST HEAR ME OUT!! I just mean that the voice sounds a tad androgynous. But then, after listening to his singing voice more and more throughout the film, I got used the singing voice – it’s a very gentle singing voice, a bit like the lead singer from Ghost. And to the credit of the casting agents, Sean Lennon DOES sound quite a bit like the singer in the French version of the film. :aww: Lucille hears the monster’s singing – and if the monster is this film’s equivalent of the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, Lucille is definitely Christine Daae, as she takes pity on the monster, and offers him an umbrella to keep the rain off him. She names him Francœur – meaning ‘honest heart’ (a much better alternative to the stupid ‘happy heart’ in Flight Before Christmas :lol: ) – and lets him in from the rain. :aww: This film may be a bit fluffy in places for some people, but I just feel such a warm fuzzy feeling inside while watching it – it is such a cute film in places. :love:

Lucille starts dressing Francœur up in a better disguise – a disguise that I wouldn’t mind wearing, as a matter of fact, as Francœur starts playing music on a comb. :aww: Just like with Anastasia, the inner fashion critic within me has to come out and say that the costumes in this film are really, really pretty – another example of the good character design in this film. :D However, it suddenly looks like the spines on his arms start shrinking in, making him lose his balance, and falling backwards, grabbing the guitar on Lucille’s wall, which he becomes enchanted with and can play incredibly well with. He does such a good job with it, Carlotta invites Francœur into the orchestra. Okay, here’s my main complaint with this film – the pacing is a bit off in the first two thirds of the film – it doesn’t spend as much time with setting up Francœur than I would have liked – the film takes a bit of time to get started, and because of this, some plot elements feel a tad rushed. Maybe if they spent some more time on showing Francœur becoming popular in the theatre, it wouldn’t have become as rushed. :shrug: The pacing slows down and takes it’s time more in the last third, but in the first two thirds, while I appreciate this film having a smaller budget than many other animated films of the time, I feel that if they dedicated more time to the set up, I would have given the film a higher rating. :shrug:

Raoul and Emile come by with their Medal of Honours and are invited to sit at the best table in the house. I will admit, the way Raoul says ‘twinkle twinkle, little star’ was a clever bit of writing into the way he greets Lucille. :clap: Just before the show starts, it looks like here comes another bit of the problem with the pacing being a bit rushed in the first half– in my opinion, I know that the cliché of ‘the two people say they hate each other but secretly love each other’ was bound to happen between Raoul and Lucille, but again, it does feel a bit rushed – seen as the two of them only shared one scene before this. It also feels the same with Emile’s romance with Maud – he finally musters up the courage to write a letter inviting Maud on a data, but again, I would have liked to have seen one or two more scenes with the two developing their affections for each other. I mean, the pacing isn’t as insane as Alpha and Omega 2, but like Brave, it is a bit of a shame that the first half of the film is quite rushed as a result. ^^;

Anyway, as the show begins, Francœur makes his way to the orchestra (by the way, how is it that the part with him accidentally scraping the guitar past the door is LESS painful than Albert’s ‘singing’? :lol: ) starts playing the guitar INCREDIBLY well, and it leads to my favourite song in the film – the second version of La Seine. Don’t get me wrong, the first one was brilliant too, but I feel the use of the guitar and the faster tempo of the drums fits the song better – and of course, Sean Lennon’s singing matches well with Vanessa Paradis. :clap: I also really like the animation on the more trippy parts of the animation where it shows Lucille and Francœur jumping around Paris as Francœur starts getting into the music and starts dancing on stage – it reminds a bit of a rock version of Everybody Wants to be a Cat from The Aristocats for some reason – especially with the use of the bright colours. Vanessa Paradis even sounds a little bit like Eva Gabor, in my opinion. And say what you will about the animation, but I do have to admit that the dancing animation is very well choreographed – with the weirder visuals almost looking a bit like a music video. :D

Raoul swallows his pride and realises just how talented Lucille is, as he and Emile go to congratulate them backstage – with Raoul finding it difficult to word compliments. Unfortunately, as they offer Francœur a handshake, he accidentally reveals his extra arms. Emile and Raoul figure out Francœur is not as monstrous as he appears, and they try to help clear Francœur’s name at the press conference Maynott will have the next day, where Maynott plans to use all the water in Paris to drown Francœur, promising a reward for information – which Albert, who was eavesdropping earlier, gives to Maynott as payback for Lucille snubbing him earlier. As Emile, Raoul and Charles (who was at the press conference… I guess they allowed monkeys into press conferences back then :lol: ) rush back to Lucille’s (after Emile gets a brief chance to drop off his love letter to Maud – yeah… see what I mean by it seeming a bit like a tacked on part? ^^; ) to warn her about the police, as Francœur is composing piano music in a cute way. :love: By the way – I think I noticed what the streets of Paris remind me of – don’t they look a little bit like a more colourful version of the streets in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari? :meow: And speaking of cute, I can’t help but find the way Charles tips his hat to Lucille to be very sweet, and the way you can just see his tail in some scenes. :lol:

Also, maybe it’s just me, but Maynott’s leap from acting like a gentleman to turning into, well, Gaston, feels a tiny bit rushed. I mean, I know that the transition from Gaston’s song to the scene where he paid the asylum owner was only after a short amount of time Gaston had on screen, but considering the amount of time between when Maynott gave the press conference, and when he arrives at the cabaret and starts grabbing Lucille and forcing her to tell him where Francœur is feels a bit rushed in writing. Once again, because of how slow the pacing is in the first half, the second half suffers a bit because of it. :shrug: As Maynott starts searching Lucille’s dressing room and can’t find Francœur – he starts going into King Kong mode – as he starts standing in a bit of a more feral pose. :o He quickly regains his composure, but arrests Albert for lying to the police. I will admit, the way he was standing in the beast-like stance earlier could just be a sign of him losing his temper rather than straight up snapping, and the way he regains his composure when apologising to Francœur before leaving was something I liked – even though I do feel the way he grabs Lucille was a bit too soon (for a transition for a character to go from being gentlemanly to being savage, I feel that it shouldn’t be until close to breaking point when he starts pushing people around), I do like the way it shows he’s not completely transformed into a savage yet when he kisses Lucille’s hand and has a much more apologetic tone – it’s a nice way to show that he’s not COMPLETELY insane yet, but he’s on the way to revealing his true colours. :phew: After he leaves, everyone comes out of their hiding places – (I love Charles’ expression when Raoul sneezes on him after coming into contact with the feather duster), and they come up with a plan to help save Francœur from Maynott.

The next day, it looks like that at Sacré-Cœur, Maynott is revealing the Montmarte Funicular, also while people are being invited to ride on a rather impressive blimp. Oh, I swear, if someone starts singing ‘Goodbye So Soon’ from Basil the Great Mouse Detective while someone rides that. :D Maynott announces his candidacy for becoming mayor, while he announces Lucille singing as the opening act – YAY, another Vanessa Paradis song – not much to say, but I will say that it’s yet another really beautiful song. :clap: While this is going on, Emile sneaks backstage, trying to offer Maynott an ‘antidote’ for ‘the monster’ – and it looks like our heroes are staging a play for a staged ‘killing’ of the monster. Francœur, dressed up in his more awesomely creepy set of clothes, pretends to take Lucille hostage, giving Emile the chance to ask Maynott to throw the antidote. As Maynott throws the antidote, Raoul pretends to stomp on the supposedly shrunk monster, but the ever alert Pate notices a scarf poking out through the trapdoor…. Uh oh. :fear: Looks like the jig is up, as Pate and Maynott find Charles and Francœur, who is forced to flee by jumping away.

After he tries shooting at Francœur, Maynott starts chasing our heroes who try to protect him, as our climactic chase begins. Once again – pacing problems arise – we’re 55 minutes into this 1 hour 20 minute film, and the next 20 minutes is a chase scene. Once again, maybe if the start of the film was a bit longer – like if they made the scenes with Francœur going around Paris a bit longer – it feels a bit like the first two acts are stuck on fast forward slightly. ^^; But with that said, I really do like the epicness and action in this chase scene – including a lot of cool moments like Charles ushering Francœur into the Funicular, and Emile, Lucille and Raoul riding on a billboard down the stairs – leading to a funny exchange. Lucille: ‘If we die, I’ll kill you!’ Raoul: ‘Okay.’ Okay, that exchange was hilarious. :lol: As Maynott turns into an axe wielding maniac, Francœur and Charles get thrown from the cable car onto a bus, as Lucille takes a bike with Lucille riding, and Raoul gets Catherine to chase them. In more examples of payoff, that thief from earlier gets knocked out again by the doors, as Maynott steals the blimp from earlier, and makes Pate start pedalling – reminding me even more of Basil the Great Mouse Detective. And if I had an axe wielding maniac asking me to pedal, I’d go like the clappers! :lol:

I also like how Raoul, in his nice development (as I said, he becomes more likeable as the film goes on), gets the mechanism in his van to work properly, as he opens up the sunroof to let Emile in, opens and closes the boot flawlessly to let Francœur in, and laughs after slamming into a picture of Maynott, crumpling it. :lol: I also give Charles a lot of credit as he not only drives a bus to help Francœur but dislodges some of the scaffolding to block the police from getting any closer to them. Now it’s time for the straw coat running joke to get some nice payoff, as Raoul feeds a horse in the road with it to pull a cart into the road, keeping the police from getting any closer. However, Maynott releases a claw from the blimp to grab the van, and Emile and Francœur, in a nice bit of teamwork, try to dislodge the claw. Meanwhile, Maud gives a guess that the place of their date is the Eiffel Tower based on the postcard, and heads there by boat. Maynott begins lightening the load of the blimp – not by throwing Pate off like Ratigan did with Fidget or Rourke did with :lol: , but by throwing the bags off the blimp, allowing the van to be lifted up, with a tiny bit of a groaner – Emile: ‘Oh my god!’ Raoul: *as the goods fall off the van* ‘Oh, my goods!’ …… Eeeeegh. ^^;

But in all seriousness, the submerged Eiffel Tower is a very nice place for the film’s final battle, as Francœur jumps to the top of it, but while losing his strength, and with his extra arms shrinking in. Alas, it seems that the fertilizer potion is only temporary, as Francœur suddenly notices that his arms are shrinking in – similar to the giant sunflower now shrinking in back at the greenhouse. Raoul cleverly uses the back door of the van to get them to the Eiffel Tower, and just in time, as Catherine sinks…. :ohnoes: Emile runs up the steps to run into Maud, who, realising she only has twenty minutes left to contribute to the plot :lol: , joins them. Meanwhile, to lower the blimp, Maynott shoots the blimp, letting out helium. This helium balloon joke is pretty funny – maybe it’s my inner child, but the simple fact that their voices are getting higher and higher, while Maynott starts feeling the helium get to his head and laughs maniacally with a really funny facial expression tickles my funny bone. :lol:

Maynott suddenly shows his true inner Gaston, and jumps onto the Eiffel Tower to try and kill Francœur.

:icongastonplz::iconsaysplz:‘What’s the matter, flea? Too kind and gentle to fight back?!’

As Pate begins to realise the error of his boss’ ways (I like the way that, again, unlike Lefou, who despite Gaston’s jerkish actions still blindly went ahead with him, Pate has a conscience of his own and realises just what his boss is up to – kind of like Sullivan realising Jenner’s evil intentions in Secret of NIMH), Lucille and Raoul distract Maynott while Francœur jumps up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Another thing I find interesting is that, unlike many stories of this kind where the monster is forced to fight back, it’s all the people he’s befriended that are trying to protect Francœur from the real monster in Paris. While to some people, this may make the monster a bit of a pushover, I like the fact that it’s really showing that this monster truly DOESN’T have a bad bone in his body – which I personally find like a nice little change. Usually, one of the main conflicts in a film with a monster that the main character has to try and protect is that the monster gives in to primal instincts to fight the villain and the heroes have to snap the monster back to their senses, but here, like with Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, I find it interesting, and kind of cute, how the creature is the defenceless one. :) I also find it interesting how Maynott, after being BITTEN by Lucille to drop the gun :o , pushes her off the central part of the Eiffel Tower, with Raoul having to try and dangle down from the banister to save her, while Emile tries to stick up Maynott, but as he walks towards him, Maynott pushes Emile down the stairs…. Well, yeah, what did you THINK was going to happen, Emile?! :lol: Speaking of which – at the start of the film, I found it odd how the film looked like it was going to set up Emile as the main character, but in the end, Raoul is the one who gets the most development out of the two. Showing just how many uses belts can have, Raoul hangs down to help Lucille, as Emile sees the time to live out his fantasies from earlier, and borrows Maud’s umbrella to fight Maynott.

But okay, Emile does get a very awesome moment, when he gives Maynott a completely different kind of spotlight than the one he wanted – a flood light at the top of the Eiffel Tower, which dazzles Maynott, giving Emile the chance to knock the gun out of his hand, making Maynott lose his footing, fall over the banister and to the floor below….. Ouch. :o Meanwhile, Raoul remembers he has a fertilised sunflower seed from earlier (wait… WHEN did he put that in his pocket? :confused: ) and uses it in the water below (in a beautifully animated manner with equally beautiful music) to grow to a height to save them from the drop. :D

Emile and Maud have a…. weirdly animated kiss, as It seems that Maynott, climbing back up to the top floor, has shot Francœur…. :o And it looks like Maynott has gone off the deep end as he starts rambling to himself in self praise. Pate comes up the stairs at last, and gives one of the most awesome bits in the film. Accusing Maynott of wanton destruction in pursuit of his own ambitions, Pate places him under arrest for the premeditated murder of Francœur. I love the writing on this next line, and the way Pate’s voice actor delivers it – ‘There was more humanity in that flea than the LOUSE I see before me now!’ OOOH – BURN! :wow: DAYUMN, Pate, that was pretty epic! :clap: Everyone sadly rides the boats away from the Eiffel Tower, with a very melancholy song from Sean Lennon is sung – which is perhaps his best song in the film, as the professor from earlier is shown to have returned from New York, seeing what has happened with the giant sunflower.

Later that evening, Lucille is distraught by the "death" of Francœur, but Raoul, in one of his most humble and kind moments, convinces her to sing anyway – not for the crowd, or for Raoul, but for Francœur. Wow, dude, you really matured throughout the film, didn’t you? :D Once again – I know this going to be the fake out death that will come later – but to the film’s credit, we never SAW the bullet ring out from Maynott’s gun, we just heard the sound, and seen as how a shot from the FRONT could do more damage than a shot from the back, I feel that if an audience member saw this for the first time, they could very well think this could kill him. As I’ve said in the past, fake out deaths CAN work for me, but only if the thing thought to have killed them COULD have actually killed them. :o Whilst struggling to begin, she hears Francœur, restored to his natural size, sing in her ear – wow, even in a tiny state, Francœur’s voice is pretty damn strong, isn’t it? :XD: Actually, hang on a minute…. If the fertilizer wore off, why hasn’t the singing potion? It did earlier with Charles, but… I…. yeah, here’s a bit of a continuity error – the amount of time that the potions last for is a bit inconsistent throughout the film. ^^; Later, Raoul, Lucille and Charles explain the situation to Professor Porter (doesn’t the professor look a bit like Professor Porter from Tarzan? :lol: ), he permanently returns Francœur to human size - and after Raoul proves he has dancing skills akin to Flint Lockwood from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Carlotta and the newly promoted Commissioner Pate share a dance, Emile and Maud finding a good use for his film camera and Charles becomes the butler for the cabaret, receives second billing on the posters advertising Lucille's show. Wow – I’d pay good money to see that show. :D If Paris can have a restaurant where a rat can cook brilliant food, I’m not surprised that it has a cabaret where a giant flea is a performer. And best of all, this cabaret has no over-the-top stripper mice to be seen. :phew:

The film does fade to black after this scene, but there is actually one more scene before the credits roll, believe it or not. Now, the next scene is a bit of an odd scene to end on – a younger Raoul and Lucille are shown in a flashback. Lucille playfully takes Raoul’s toy car in the hopes that he would actually go and ask for it back, as they both had a crush on each other – now grown up, they confess their affections for each other, and then they kiss…. Erm, well, not that it was a BAD scene at all, but that was… an odd scene to end on. ^^; Not that I don’t see the reason WHY the scene was put in, but I just feel it could have been placed in a bit earlier in the film – perhaps showing a bit more detail as to the past they had. :shrug: Oh…. WAIT…. WAAAAAAAIT A MINUTE. I just got it – RAOUL!! As in ‘Raoul the Vicomte de Chagny!’ It could have been another Phantom of the Opera reference! :XD: Also – I feel that, like with Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, some people may have been disappointed that Francœur wasn’t the one who got the girl, but…. *looks at Francœur and Lucille and considers what would happen if they got together* …. Come on. :XD:

Despite the odd ending scene, this film does have a very nice addition to the ending credits – a much BETTER version of Alpha and Omega and Kis Vuk: A Fox’s Tale’s ending credits of the film’s storyboards and concept art. While I would like to get the art book for the film, I do personally really like it when a film puts concept art in the credits – as it becomes a much stronger testament to the people who put this all this effort into making the film. :D And the drawings in concept art has a TON of charm to it – and a scene that I probably would have liked to have scene – Maud and Emile having a picnic. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the concept art, as… admittedly, there isn’t MUCH concept art there – I would have liked to have seen concept art of the creation of Francœur and all those lovely visuals in the La Seine song sequence – but what we get is quite nice. :aww: Everyone rides the giant blimp while dropping the fertilised sunflower seeds in the Siene to help drain the water caused by the flooding and fly off into the…. Cloud set rather than a sunset, as the credits continue. The actual final scene is a pretty funny one – the thief and Albert join Maynott in prison, giving Maynott the punishment he deserves – being forced to endure their terrible singing. :lol: Well….. I’m really glad that Francœur can make up for that raping of my eardrums – and Maynott’s reaction to the bad singing is pretty funny. :phew: But it won’t do anything to tarnish the lovely little melody this film has provided me with – true, the song is a bit shorter and a bit too fast in tempo for my liking at times with some rushed verses, but it’s still a very enjoyable and foot-tappingly enjoyable song nonetheless.

 

:iconkarlamon: Although not among the best I've seen, A Monster in Paris does benefit with some nice animation, fun and creative action scenes, and likeable chemistry between the two main characters (which makes sense since director Bibo Bergeron also directed The Road to El Dorado). Plus the "monster" is not only presented as threatening, but also as a sympathetic being, which I think is the film's strongest aspect.

:iconvuk-91: A pretty unique take (I guess) on the Phantom of the opera story

:iconvindurza: that is on my list of animated films I really need to get around to watching purely for the character designs

:iconailemadragonprincess: I haven't seen the movie yet, but judging by some videos and pictures that I got online, I bet it has a great story, great characters, amazing animation and visuals, and some great music.

:iconpkmnrr649:  I've heard nothing but good things about this film. I wish to see it as well to see if it follows such praise. :)

:iconheroman655: My mom and I watched it two years ago. It was great! I especially loved the monster's voice.

:iconlumenblurb: The main buggy character looks like Javier from Monsters University.

 

Most of the problems I have with the film are due to quite a bit of the film being sadly rushed in the first half, and as a result of this, it feels like quite a few elements in the film don’t get as much screentime as they could have – I’ve mentioned this quite a few times throughout the film, but I think this may have been due to there being a few budget issues throughout production or running out of time – just a theory, but that may be the reason why this happened. But despite the first half being more rushed than I would have hoped – there is still a very genuine charm to be gained from this film. :aww: I WAS expecting this film to be funnier – some jokes made me smile, and I liked how they use the straw coat running joke, but I wasn’t laughing like I thought I would. But on the other hand, for a family film to take a route which focuses more on emotion, I respect that. :aww: The character designs and music are the true highlights of the film, but I do like the development on some of the characters, Paris looks really pretty in the background designs, the animation is relatively good (a bit slow in places – but again, being a lower budget studio, I give the film credit for doing what it does :aww: ), and I do like the references to classic monster movies here and there. I think that if the film was a bit more developed in the first half with some scenes expanded out, the film could have been a much bigger hit, but as it is – it’s still a film I recommend watching at least once – even if just for the music and the character designs. It’s worth at least one viewing. :meow: And hey – it’s a giant flea singing and dancing – that ALONE is something that caught my attention hearing about this film. Even THAT alone makes the film worth a watch! :lol:

 

Next time, I’ll be taking a look at yet another very, very cute film, and one of the most underrated Hayao Miyazaki films out there. It was made before Studio Ghibli was formed – and it seems to be the spiritual predecessor to My Neighbour Totoro – and it’s just as adorable. So, join me next time, as I review – Panda! Go Panda! :love: (But just a bit of a warning, there is an oddly high amount of…. Awkward jailbait in the next film…. :lol: )

 

UPCOMING REVIEWS

 

194. Panda! Go Panda!

195. Godzilla (1954)

196. Godzilla (2014)

197. Undecided - Belleville Rendez-Vous or The Illusionist

198. Undecided Horror Film

199. Undecided Don Bluth Film

200. DOMINATOR: THE MOVIE (Perhaps my new most hated film of all time) :fear:



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Duckyworth's Thoughts: Dragonslayer ~ 1981

Journal Entry: Sun Jan 24, 2016, 10:11 AM
  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Hunchback of Notre Dame - God Help the Outcasts
  • Reading: Asterix and the Normans
  • Watching: Coraline
  • Eating: Chinese Pork
  • Drinking: Tea


Directors: Matthew Robbins

Rating: PG

My Rating: :star::star::star::star::star-empty:

 

Hello my friends, and welcome to my next Duckyworth’s Thoughts review! :wave:

Time to go back to the 1980s for another great Disney live action film that I can safely is one of the darker films to come out of Disney – even considering Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Black Hole and The Black Cauldron, it still manages to be pretty dark in places, and another great example of why I have to give Disney kudos in the early 1980s that, with the limited resources that they had at that time, they still managed to pull off a film like this. And speaking of which, I think that even to this day, the effects in the film that I’ve seen look like they could even rival the effects seen in today’s films. :clap: And judging by the title, you can imagine what the awesome effects are on…. :evileye: Yep, time to delve into some awesome dragonslaying action in….. well, DRAGONSLAYER. ^^;

 

After the unfortunate problems that Disney were going through in the 1970s, I think this film is especially impressive in just how well the effects have held up in time. The story, set in a fictional medieval kingdom, follows a young wizard who experiences danger and opposition as he attempts to defeat a dragon – doesn’t sound like anything TOO special, but despite the fact that the story sounds like a typical fantasy story, there is a very good charm in this film that makes me glad I saw it – and I feel that despite how impressive the special effects, the film STILL offers more. :aww: But still, here’s a bit of praise for the dragon design from Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro. Guillermo del Toro has stated that along with Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, Vermithrax is his favourite cinematic, Disney dragon. He further stated that "One of the best and one of the strongest landmarks of dragon movies that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made." :meow: But don’t worry – as I said, unlike Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole, which focuses solely on animation and NOTHING ELSE, Dragonslayer DOES something Legend of the Guardians could never do – actually put effort into the story and characters as well and actually KEEPS my attention. :D So, let’s get ready for seeing the most awesome dragon in media since Maleficent. :excited:

 

 

Starting out with music akin to something you’d hear out of The Dark Crystal (which is fitting as this film actually DOES remind me of The Dark Crystal here and there), the film shows a well made shot of a group of travellers with burning torches going to an old castle, owned by an ageing old wizard named Ulrich of Craggenmoor, played by Ralph Richardson. Unkempt Gandalf here certainly has an awesome abode – while he utters incantations while making potions and turning the candles in his home off, he’s got a house that looks like a gloomier version of the home of the Mystics in The Dark Crystal. :iconwooo-plz: Now – looking back at the backgrounds and some of the costume designs in this film nowadays may seem a bit generic, but considering the year that this film came out – 1981 – before films like The Neverending Story, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, The Last Unicorn, The Black Cauldron and other popular fantasy films, it seems to me like this film may very well be one of the films that INSPIRED later fantasy films. :aww: And I can see why, because these are very well made set pieces. :D In a magical fire that Ulrich has (which I can imagine he got on loan from The Nightmare Before Christmas :lol: ), he hears screaming and the growling of a beast which clearly scares him, while Ulrich’s assistant Galen, played by a young Peter MacNicol, and an old man named Hodge, played by Sydney Bromley (who also played Engywook in The Neverending Story), who looks a LOT like the undertaker from the Spaghetti Western Fistful of Dollars, greet the visitors at the door to Kragenmoor. The leader of the group, named Valerian, demands that they get an audience with Ulrich, and Galen, looking an awful lot like Buddy from Elf now that I think about it :lol: , goes to see Ulrich. Ulrich is in a daze, and agrees to see the visitors after revealing he has witnessed his own death in the fire vision. That’s nothing, Ulrich – you should see the messed up stuff that Henwen saw in The Black Cauldron. :lol: He says a great task needs to be done – and that Ulrich’s death will be of consequence to his apprentice – especially considering how he is the last of the sorcerers. By the way, this brings up something that I do find interesting in this film – it’s a medieval film where people are questioning the ways of superstition and magic and are turning to religious practices. In an interview, the film’s writers said "our film has no knights in shining armour, no pennants streaming in the breeze, no delicate ladies with diaphonous veils waving from turreted castles, no courtly love, no holy grail. Instead we set out to create a very strange world with a lot of weird values and customs, steeped in superstition, where the clothes and manners of the people were rough, their homes and villages primitive and their countryside almost primeval, so that the idea of magic would be a natural part of their existence." For this reason, they chose to set the film after the Roman departure from Britain, prior to the arrival of Christianity. I do like this idea – it’s something you don’t often see in fantasy films like this. :)

To greet his visitors, Ulrich gets a very interesting set of clothes – he puts on a Slytherin sorting hat and what you’d get if Yen Sid’s (from Fantasia) cloak wasn’t colourfast and turned red, and an old necklace – which I would really like. :D Even before the dragon appears, the effects are very cool in this film. As Galen starts playing the drum and an old bell to set the mood for the appearance of his master, the effects when Ulrich summons fire and uses telekinesis to move objects across a table are very awesome. :D The visitors from the kingdom of Urland show him some artefacts they’ve brought with them – dragon scales and a dragon tooth, and tell Urland that twice a year, the King selects a virgin girl from a lottery to appease the dragon in return for not destroying their home. Urland is not afraid of the dragon – he says sorcerers were the ones who created dragons, and they used to be proud, majestic creatures. Judging by the artefacts, Urland says that the dragon – which he names Vermithrax Perjorative (by the way, that is a VERY, VERY awesome name for a dragon – sounds like a name that inspired some of the dragon names in Skyrim :D ) is very old and crippled, and at this age, they only know pain and spite. :o

Just before Urland leaves out on his journey, a brutish barbarian guy called Tyrian, played by John Hallam, comes in confront the group. Having followed the group from Urland, he questions Ulrich’s capability, and says he wants to find whether Urland is fit for the job – saying that all sorcerers are just confidence tricksters who are nothing more than false prophets who carry out petty ‘miracles’ that are very common practice. Giving Galen the necklace, Ulrich sends him to get a dagger for him, which Galen throws – very expertly – into a plank of wood by the old well. Ulrich says he can be tested by letting Tyrian stab him, after casting an enchantment on the dagger, and closing the doors in his home to stop Galen from intervening….. However, Tyrian does stab Ulrich – who, before dropping down supposedly dead, takes being stabbed pretty well. Now, the first time I saw this film, I was thinking ‘Wait… did they SERIOUSLY just KILL him in the first fifteen minutes of the film?!’ :ohnoes: I will admit, for most of the film, I thought this was a bit too odd for me that they built up this guy and killed him off early on, but there’s an AWESOME twist in the last third that I really have to give this film credit for. :clap: Unlike Quest For Camelot, any big twists in the film MAKE SENSE and have a good amount of build up, so it doesn’t just feel like an ass pull at the end. :aww: And you know the fact he enchanted the dagger earlier and said ‘don’t worry, you can’t harm me’? Well… something truly enchanting DOES happen later on – this moment right now may seem a bit anticlimactic on first watch, but Ulrich is actually quite an intelligent man – and his planning for this is as impressive as any magic. :D

Ulrich’s corpse is cremated that night after Tyrian leaves, with some very somber music (reminding me of The Dark Crystal again), and the flames turning green and shooting stars seen overhead as Ulrich’s body becomes ash – AGH – HE’S RELATED TO MALEFICENT! :nuu: Okay, he’s not really, but I do like the way that this seems to be a kind of magical epitaph befitting a sorcerer – and by the way, I really like the design of the adornments he had before he was cremated. :) Hodge collects his ashes the next morning, and Galen releases Ulrich’s ravens, and finds Ulrich’s magical necklace. Upon putting it away, he tries on the weird sorting hat, and sees that there’s an odd magical presence in the room – and the necklace actually has a habit of teleporting around the room – IT’S ALIVE! Yep, the necklace, as Galen’s bewildered stares imply, suggest some kind of power still lives on in Ulrich’s old necklace, and with this power, Galen and Hodge leave to travel to Urland, as Galen starts practicing his newfound magic to levitate eggs. Now, say what you will about the characters in this film – but I kind of see a bit of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Galen (fitting because he IS a sorcerer’s apprentice, but I mean the way that Mickey in Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice gets a lot of joy out of using his master’s powers, but doesn’t quite understand the true responsibility he has with his newfound powers). And this scene is rather funny when he playfully removes Hodge’s backpack (with some more awesome effects – and unlike The Black Hole, I can’t see the strings at all :meow: ), and when he… strips off Hodge’s overclothes. :XD: Speaking of which – the way he claps his hands and Hodge’s coat flies back onto him is a great effect. :D

That night, the travelers from Urland lament at the fact that their necromancer was apparently a fraud – but when the fire goes out, Galen offers himself at their service to fight the dragon himself, being the inheritor of Ulrich’s craft and knowledge. Meanwhile, in far away Urland – it’s time for this film to truly delve into Return to Oz territory and show something that may be quite dark compared to something you would expect from Disney – a maiden being sacrificed to a dragon! :ohnoes: ….Yeah – they show this. :o They bring the helpless maiden to the sacrificial altar, which will leave what I assume to be the poor girl’s family to be freed from troubles for the next five years… Wow, something tells me that this King they keep mentioning is NOT an agreeable soul. All the people leave the sacrifice to her fate – but just like with Dario Argento’s Suspiria, I do like the fact that instead of just standing there screaming and crying, the girl actually shows the presence of brain cells, and despite the fact she can hardly outrun a DRAGON, she does at least TRY to escape. And it does take quite a tough girl to try and PULL HER HANDS OUT OF TIGHT CUFFS. OWWWWW The sound effects of her pulling against the cuffs certainly don’t help – it really sounds like someone trying to pull themselves out of handcuffs, and they even show her wrists being red raw and blistered from the ac and blood on her sacrificial gown. :x As she gets one hand free, a dragon claw appears… OH MY GOD. :o I mean, we don’t see the dragon’s head here, but still – I really love the build up to the reveal of the dragon eventually shown later – I love the shots of the dragon leaping in to reach her and catching her on the awesomely designed tail, before towering above the maiden, and…… BURNING HER ALIVE. :o JESUS DISNEY! *grabs something to try and lighten the mood* ‘Lalalala! Tweettweetatweet tweettweetatweet tweettweetatweet tralalala!’ :dummy: ……Yeah, that Bambi song doesn’t really help does it? ^^;

Valerian wakes up from a… prophetic dream of this happening, and goes to the nearby lake for a bathe, while Hodge tells Galen that he’s in way over his head – Galen goes for a dip too, and – here’s another thing I didn’t expect from Disney – a brief shot of Peter MacNicol’s rear as he leaps into the water despite Valerian’s protests. :blush: As a nudity shot of Galen is just about dodged, Galen comes across a shocking discovery while in the water via brief nudity shot of Valerian – Valerian is a GIRL. :blush: Wow… AWKWARD. I understand that this film was seen as slightly controversial during its original release for the violence, darker moments and brief nudity shots, but to be honest, after watching Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain sequence, which depicts some of Chernabog’s demons with VISIBLE NIPPLES, all I can say is – censors, you’re too sensitive. The shot is from BEHIND, and it’s only for a split second, after all. :shrug: But being sexist medieval times and all, I can imagine it would be quite a shock – she’s kept it a secret her whole life, to avoid being picked in the King’s lottery for maidens to be sacrificed to Vermithrax – apparently, only the richest families are able to get out of the lottery via bribery. Wow, this king REALLY sounds like a douche. :o

Meanwhile, Tyrian sees Hodge, and after one of his followers says they can’t allow any of Ulrich’s acquaintances to fill in for Ulrich, he gets his bow, planning to KILL Hodge. Oh no, don’t kill him too, Tyrian, you brute! Galen feels something is amiss in the force/aura/colours of the wind/odd mystical lifeforce of the land (:lol: ) and, no doubt using the mystical act of water staring that Taran used in The Black Cauldron, looks into the lake and sees Tyrian and his men on horseback, followed by Tyrian readying his bow. Galen runs for it, but before he can make it…. It’s too late, Hodge has already been struck – and to Hodge’s defence, for such an old man, he must be quite tough to WALK with an arrow embedded in his gut – even it does suck a bit they killed Galen’s OTHER elderly friend in the first thirty minutes. :o In his last words, Hodge hands Galen Ulrich’s ashes, and tells him to throw the ashes in ‘burning water’…. You know, despite his relatively short screentime, the music that plays during Hodge’s death is actually pretty sad – kudos to the composer of this film, Alex North (who also did the score for the Stanley Kubrick epic Spartacus :clap: ) – the music in this film is like The Black Cauldron in that it can be creepy, epic and foreboding, but it can also be very sad in places. :(

Galen vows to fulfil Hodge’s request, and travels with the Urlandian citizens by boat across the sea back to the kingdom of Urland. By the way – most of the shots in this film look a lot like places I’ve been on holiday – which is fitting, because nearly all of the outdoor scenes were shot in North Wales, and the film’s final scene was shot in Skye, Scotland. :meow: Passing an awesome looking Welsh totem, they trek along the moors, with Tyrian’s men keeping a close eye on them from afar – there is some REALLY impressive cinematography and sets of the waterfall valleys and rocky alcoves they walk along – and before long, they actually pass close to Vermithrax’s Lair…. Which is apparently in Snowdonia. :lol: Galen sees the smoking lair of the dragon – which looks to me quite a bit like the entrance to the Nome Kingdom in Return to Oz – and seeing that there’s only one entrance, he….. rather foolishly WALKS INTO THE CAVE TO SEE IF A DRAGON IS REALLY THERE. :o Yep, he’s a bit like Taran – not as douchey at first, but still quite foolish and naïve. After looking through the fittingly creepy entrance to the cave, he runs back out – no doubt the dragon spat smoke at him saying ‘WIPE YOUR FEET BEFORE COMING IN – I MAY BE A BLOODTHIRSTY, RAVENOUS DRAGON, BUT I HAVE STANDARDS, YOU KNOW!’ :lol: , and comes up with a relatively clever idea – using his magical powers to dislodge the Nome King’s face from just above the dragon’s cave entrance and block the dragon in his cave…. The spell works well – but perhaps a little TOO well, as is par with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Galen can’t STOP the spell from making rocks tumble down, and quite the deluge of rocks avalanche into the clearing – well, if the entrance to the lair wasn’t blocked, it sure is now. ^^;

Time for medieval celebrations! :party: Burning wicker dragons, the townspeople celebrate in a similar style to that I saw in a medieval Christmas festival, while Galen shows his tricks to the townspeople, and everyone gets drunk off their rockers :lol: - and Valerian reveals her true gender to everyone now that the dragon is supposedly dead. Galen invites her for a dance which inspires everyone else to join in their merry-go-round circle, while some very nice medieval music plays – as Greil, a friend of Valerian’s father, begins to find it odd that the moment the dragon’s death celebration has been started, a priest appears in the village. Once again, this brings me to an interesting aspect with the film being set during the time when Christianity began to make itself known in England, and the people beginning to lose their belief in superstition and instead starting to follow holy men – such as Ian McDiarmid! :wow: No, seriously, Chancellor Palpatine himself is in this film, having a cameo as a priest who tells Greil that it could well be possible for God to have been the one who brought down the mountain and stopped the dragon. But – here’s the thing that’s weird to me. As much as I like this idea, like in that film The Borderlands, that religious people are the ones who are discounting superstitions, am I the only one thinking that the fact they’re questioning superstitions when DRAGONS exist a bit odd? :confused:

Unfortunately, Tyrian and his men come to crash the party, summoning Galen to be personally congratulated by the King. They ride to a fittingly foreboding castle (which I SWEAR is paired with King Haggard’s castle in The Last Unicorn and the Skeksis Castle from the Dark Crystal – they look JUST as… wrong :fear: ) with King Casiodorus who….. really looks like a bundle of laughs. :hmm: No, seriously, the moment I saw this guy, he looked quite a bit like a douche in my opinion – something about his unimpressed expression just feels like this is NOT a very approachable man. :hmm: And his attitude towards Galen is EQUALLY bitter – despite the fact that Galen IS a bit over his head, and seems to be like a mixture between Schmendrick from The Last Unicorn and Taran from The Black Cauldron (bumbling and a tad overconfident), the words the King chooses to address Galen with are quite harsh, in my opinion. First of all, he notices that Galen is holding his amulet, and after he stops Galen from carrying on his magic tricks, he gets a bit…. Close for comfort. :fear: Erm – Your Majesty, I think you’re getting into borderline bad touch territory with the way you’re touching Galen’s chest here… :fear: King Douche tells Galen that his brother, Gaiseric (after a pretty rude way of saying ‘Have you heard of King Gaiseric? Oh of course not, you weren’t even born…’ :x ), sent a whole army of men to try and kill the dragon, but as well as failing, the attack provoked Vermithrax to create a wave of destruction. He steals Galen’s amulet, and he and Galen get into a tennis match of arguments – and to me, Casiodorus seems like the type of king who really is a lost cause and is corrupt – he tries to sound big and grand, but as Galen says that the lottery is a cowardly means of making peace with the monster (and I agree with that, the way the king says ‘Better that they may die so others might live’ makes me boil with rage at how incompetent this guy is :x ), the King hints that the dragon may not really be dead, and orders his men to take Galen to the dungeon.

Unfortunately, the dragon is indeed still alive – as shown by a very awesome effect of the rocks smoking and breaking through the ground later. :wow: In the dungeon, Galen meets Elspeth, Casiodorus’ daughter – she is a sadly delusional girl who is sadly unaware of how incompetent a king her father is, and believes that she is included in the lottery – although it’s a fact that some families have paid bribes to stay out of the lottery…. Including the king himself. :hmm: And now that the King has the magic amulet, what does he try to do with it? CONVERT LEAD INTO GOLD WITH IT – wow, you have a magical artefact of untold power, and you just try to make yourself richer with it? Not only are you a coward, but you’re a GREEDY coward – I think we have someone who could rival Denethor with the title of Most Incompetent Monarch Ever. :x I did laugh when he got himself burnt on the amulet – he deserved that. :evillaugh: But okay – to be fair, the actor who plays the King, Peter Eyre, is in the same class as Denethor’s actor – even though the character is a very detestable character, the actor is someone I have to give kudos to for pulling off the role well – or at least as far as the acting in this film goes. Yeah, to be fair, I have to admit that the acting in this film feels a bit odd in places, especially on Elspeth. ^^;

But back to the awesomeness – as an earthquake starts as the dragon begins to wake, and Elspeth frees Galen from the dungeon – to see everyone panicking, and Tyrian trying to catch up with him for meddling in the kingdom’s affairs. Is it me, or does this scene remind anyone else of the scenes in The Neverending Story where The Nothing destroys everything? The shot where the stump next to the dragon’s cave reminds me of this especially. Speaking of The Neverending Story, Galen steals Artax (or a relative of Artax :lol: ) and escapes the castle while riding (quite well, I will admit) through some very narrow corridors – and out a very well shot crumbling King’s chambers back to the dragon’s lair, where Brother Palpatine :XD: Brother Jacopus and his followers are there to try and face off again the dragon, saying that the dragon is really the Devil and that prayer can ward off the dragon. And….. wow – let me be honest right here – this is probably one of the most memorable moments of the film. :wow: As well as bringing up that interesting conflict of Christianity against superstitions and magic, the ATMOSPHERE in this scene as Jacopus tries to denounce the creature through prayer is pretty damn epic. Of course, his prayers don’t work, and Vermithrax appears in front of Jacopus – and I like the way that the film TEASES us by hiding Vermithrax’s face behind Jacopus’ head :lol: - but seriously, that shot looks pretty damn CREEPY – the way that what we can see from the dragon looks like an outline of the devil’s horns… I haven’t been so tensed up by a dragon appearing since Maleficent turning into a dragon in Sleeping Beauty. :o And as Jacopus tries yelling ‘Be thou consumed by the fires that made thee’, I just think to myself ‘Come on, Palpatine – just use your force lightning to quell the monster, that should work :XD: ‘, and I’m also reminded of this line from Judge Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame – :iconfrolloplz::iconsaysplz: ‘And he shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!’ Now, bear in mind that Greill stays and sees that the prayers don’t kill the dragon – this makes what happens later a very interesting turn of events.

And how does this turn out? *Sees Brother Jacopus get burned alive (complete with a shot of the hair being burnt off Jacopus’ head and drop dead into the dragon’s cave)* HOLY!! :jawdrop: JEEZ, film! That was….. brutal! Erm… I… don’t worry kids, sing along with me now! ‘Lalalala tweettweet..a…tweet….’ *sees everyone quaking in fear* ….Yeah, Bambi, that song doesn’t help ease tension AT ALL. ^^; After burning alive Palpatine (also, the sound effect when Vermithrax breathes fire is pretty chilling), Vermithrax goes on a rampage, burning alive houses in the local villages before flying off into the moonlight in a very cool looking shot of destruction. :fear: The next morning, Tyrian and his men look around for Galen, and announce to the blacksmith that Valerian is now in danger in taking part of a more recent lottery (moved to an earlier date in light of what’s happened) – and this brings forward something I like about Valerian. Okay – here’s an interesting thing about this film, and it is a bit of a shame that I have to be critical on it for – as much as I do like this film, I will admit that the characters are not as complex as I would have liked, but then again, I do still have a kind of liking towards them – apart from Casiodorus and Tyrian, they aren’t unlikeable characters (and to be fair, Tyrian is a legitimate threat as a side villain) – it’s just that they aren’t the most developed characters out there. But luckily, I will say that all the characters have a purpose in the film – unlike Quest For Camelot, there aren’t any absolutely pointless characters that could have been written out the film entirely, and I do like the way that Galen follows the same kind of story that a lot of classical heroes in epics follow – this kind of inexperienced character who learns that with great power comes great responsibility, and through battling some great evil, learns his true worth. And speaking of which, Valerian here, in a very humble and very BRAVE action, says she wants to take part in the lottery, proving that she’s no different than any girl and no better. Brave girl – especially in this film’s day and age. :aww:

Valerian and her father help Galen out of his hiding place, and Galen asks the blacksmith to help make him a special weapon to fight the dragon. They head to the river and pull out the aptly named Secarius Draconum – Dragonslayer. And let me say right now – that is a VERY awesome spear right there – so sharp, it can SHAVE A HORSESHOE. If THAT was a weapon available in Elder Scrolls, I would definitely try and get it. :wow:  To finish the weapon, they need the amulet from the King – and to get the amulet back, they head to the castle that night, where King Cowardice is due to announce the girl chosen in the new lottery. Once again, say what you will about the film’s story, but the set pieces present in the film have a very genuine charm to them – and once again, even though the story is one of those basic stories where you can pretty much tell how most of the story will go (I saw most – because there’s a plot twist later on that I LOVE in how it was written), the elements come together very well – once again, it makes logical sense and it keeps my interest throughout – same thing goes for The Dark Crystal – even though I could sort of tell how the story would end – the heroes restoring balance and bringing peace to the land – it was still a story that kept my interest. As I said, what separates films like Dragonslayer from Quest For Camelot and Legend of the Guardians is that I can understand the story as it progresses and it does keep me invested to see how it progresses – even if the story has been done various times before, the likeability in the setting, magical elements, music and action keeps me interested. :aww: Speaking of which – the setting of everyone gathered to hear the lottery announced is quite eerie and intense – any one of the poor girls in the crowd could become dragon fodder after it is over. :fear: But I do like the twist in this scene (alright – this is one of two good twists in the film, and it helps me appreciate how strong a certain character is ). Horsrik, the royal vizier, reads out the name on a tile, to the shock that the name reads Elspeth – which of course, has the stupid king realise just what a scenario he’s in now. Haha – now you know how you made EVERY single person you fed to the dragon feel, you incompetent monarch. You may look like a human Asgore, but you’re even worse than Sombra simply in how dumb and cowardly you are. At least Asgore had the noble end goal of freeing his people – and I have to give him credit that he didn’t lose his mind with all the expectations and tragedy he had to face – you just blindly sacrifice your own people to appease a dragon in the hopes it will eventually die in your lifetime. In fact – Casiodorus reminds me of an even WORSE version of 1 from 9. 1 was also a character who just wanted to wait out the machines’ reign of evil, and thought of 2, 3, 4 and 7 as lost to them because they left to explore the world around them – and he was pretty cowardly in how he sent 2 out to scout because he was showing ‘too much interest in a dangerous world’. And at least 1 came full circle at the end, realised his mistake, and sacrificed himself to save the others… Casiodorus sadly does not go through such a change. :hmm:

In actuality, ALL the tiles read Elspeth. King Incompetent calls out that the lottery is invalid, but, understandably, everyone has had enough of this cowardly king’s lies, and demand the long awaited justice for the many killed by this lottery. :w00t: Eventually, it turns out Elspeth put her name on ALL of the tiles in the lottery, and she says that after learning she has been kept out of the lottery for years, she’s willingly and selflessly sacrificing herself for her people. :o During this, Galen sneaks into the King’s chambers and searches for the amulet, before being confronted by Tyrian and his men. Oh, and NOW it turns out that Casiodorus has realised what an incompetent he is, and makes a complete back-heel turn and gives Galen the amulet – which moves across the table in the awesome way again to him. :meow: Galen uses the amulet to enchant the spear (oh, so is the amulet acting like a Soul Gem from Elder Scrolls now? :D), and this gives the spear the ability to CHOP THROUGH A METAL ANVIL in a clean slice. :wow: Wow – must be a Grand Soul Gem. During this time, Valerian goes out to gather dragon scales – probably to forge some DragonScale Armour (sorry, but these Skyrim references are too easy :lol: ) – and ventures into the dragon’s cave to gather them, upon which, she comes across something which is a taster for the awesome designs to come – a brief shot of a BABY DRAGON. :ohnoes: Wow – okay, I’ll talk more about the designs later, but let me tell you – that brief shot of the baby dragon alone was amazing. :clap:

It turns out my DragonScale Armour comment was partially right, as she’s made him a DragonScale Shield – I guess Galen is a Light Armour user – well, he walks about in very light clothes so he wouldn’t want to use DragonBone. (Word of warning here – the Skyrim references are probably going to PILE ON as I talk about the last 35 minutes of the film – wow, still 35 minutes left? :wow: ) But here comes one of the parts of the character development that…. To be honest, comes a bit out of nowhere – the romance between Valerian and Galen. :o Y-yeah, apparently that’s a thing that happens here – as Valerian believes that Galen is in love with Elspeth, but in reality, he cares for Valerian, as they lean in for some… awkward kissing. Okay, it’s not ALL that awkward, but it is a bit odd how the kiss starts. ^^;

It goes from awkward to awesome next. :D As Elspeth is chained up to the sacrificial altar, a magical fire burns the speech Horsrik is reading, and Galen appears in a puff of smoke, ready to kick some scaly tail! :w00t: And I do like the cap he’s wearing too. :) Everyone flees as Galen asks – all except Tyrian, who believes the sacrifice is necessary, and if Galen wants to stop the sacrifice, he has to go through him. This fight scene between Tyrian and Galen is a pretty cool one – of course, it’s nothing to compare with what will come later, but for a build-up, it’s a very awesome fight scene. :aww: Galen cuts Elspeth down, but sadly, Elspeth also believes the sacrifice is necessary, and goes into the dragon’s cave anyway….. :ohnoes: Galen manages to stab Tyrian dead – aha! Revenge for Ulrich and Hodge is yours, Galen! :w00t: And now he proceeds into the dragon cave – sadly, he lost his hat, but at least he picked up his shield he threw on the ground to fight Tyrian earlier. And now it’s time for me to comment on the Baby Dragons design, as Galen sees one of them over Elspeth’s corpse – THAT DESIGN IS AWESOME. :clap: They look and sound a bit like the Bat Gremlin from Gremlins 2, and are just as eerie – in fact, they look a bit like the baby vampires in Van Helsing, don’t they? But they’re just the tip of the iceberg….. :evillaugh:

After dispatching the dragon’s young, Galen heads into the cave to deal with the mother – and… is it me, or does the cave remind anyone else of the depiction of hell from another underrated Disney film ‘The Black Hole’? After an awesome bit of foreshadowing – with an intense set of burning fire and the dragon’s tail seen in the water – we finally get to see Vermithrax in all her glory. And…….. WOW. :wow: Just… WOW. This was DEFINITELY worth the wait. :clap: Twenty-five percent of the film's budget went into the special effects to bring the dragon to life. A very impressive part of the film’s creation comes from just how much effort they put into the dragon and the special effects – especially considering the time it came out. The dragon was composed of a sixteen-foot head and neck assembly, a twenty-foot tail, thighs and legs, claws capable of grabbing a man, and a 30-foot-wide (9.1 m) wing section. And I can see why people saw Vermithrax as what inspired Smaug in The Hobbit and as one of the most awesome creature designs ever made – I personally see it as being on par with the Razorback Boar in…. well, Razorback. :meow: After chasing Galen for a bit, Vermithrax comes across her dead young (daww…. :( ), and needless to say, she does not take it well – is it me, or does she audibly SNIFF after coming across her dead young? :( The next shot is one of my favourites – Vermithrax crawls through a tunnel, and the way the stop motion is done looks MUCH cleaner than is usually associated with the stop motion films that came out around that time. A man in charge of the special effects of the film, Phil Tippett, made the model for scenes in which Vermithrax walked. Tippett did not want to use standard stop motion animation techniques, and had his team build a dragon model which would move during each exposure rather than in between as was once the standard. This process, named "go motion" :lol: by Tippett, recorded the creature's movements in motion as a real animal would move, and removed the jerkiness common in prior stop motion films. And it is VERY smooth motion. :clap: Galen puts his shield down at the end of the corridor, to make Vermithrax think he’s hiding behind it, and leaps onto her from above, getting a chance to stab her a few times, but although Galen gets some very good stabs in, the end of his weapon COMES OFF in Vermithrax’s neck… OUCH. :o You know Galen, you could always hone your Thu’um to kill Vermithrax if you lose your weapon. :lol: Sadly, I don’t think there are any Word Walls nearby, so instead, Galen is forced into a corner, and hides behind his shield again as Vermithrax breathes fire on him.

There is a bit of a….. strange cut to the next scene, as it suddenly cuts to Galen being OUTSIDE, with the cave destroyed. Okay – I saw Vermithrax breathing fire at the ceiling earlier – was she trying to destabilize the ceiling to try and cause a cave in? I’d like to think so. :) But still, it is quite weird how it doesn’t show the cave collapsing, and it cuts directly to Valerian coming across Galen outside the cave. With the dragon still alive, it seems that all is lost for the kingdom of Urland, but luckily, there’s still twenty minutes left, so we still have a chance. :D Valerian and her father both say there’s no life left for them here and that their only chance of survival is to leave, and that magic and magicians are all dying out – which means the dragon will be dying too. As they’re about to leave, Valerian’s father gives her a forged holy cross as a parting gift, just as everyone starts leaving for the church service, led by Greil – believing that prayer and song can kill the dragon. Just make sure Frollo isn’t leading the service… :lol:

Now, here’s one thing I find interesting about the portrayal of Christianity in this film – while I am aware that most people AREN’T like this, and I do know some religious people who aren’t like this – the way that this film takes a stab at early Christianity seems, to me, like the film is showing that some people who take up religion kicked out the previous beliefs in light of their own while showing no respect for other things people may believe and use the power of believing in God to bitter ends – which, sadly, is an issue today with some people carrying out harsh actions, believing that God told them to do it. It’s why I like how Hunchback of Notre Dame shows Judge Claude Frollo using his main villainous actions as using his faith that God told him to act out the way he does as his scapegoat for committing the religious apartheid and perjury of gypsies – which is why I liked the fact there was also the Archdeacon in the film, showing that not EVERY religious person is a complete douche like Frollo. :aww: Now, I’m not trying to enrage any Christian people here and I do respect people believing in what they want to believe, and seen as I am a non-religious agnostic person, maybe it isn’t my place to comment, but that’s my personal take on it. In a way, the film seems to be mourning the abandonment of superstitious beliefs in magic and mystery that used to common practices. I do like films that go into some elements of Christianity, such as The Secret of Kells, but unfortunately, in most instances, I just don’t take much of an interest in Christianity – I take more of an interest in walking around their churches and abbeys than the practices themselves. (And to be perfectly honest, I actually find pagan belief and belief in witchcraft and magic much more interesting.. :lol: ) Sorry, Greil, but I find it interesting that YOU are the one who becomes the new Brother of the villager’s church, when you SAW that the last person who tried using prayer to kill the dragon got turned into a Roman Candle. ^^;

Luckily, just in the nick of time, Galen sees a solar eclipse up ahead, and sees a vision in the water – fires in the water. Seeing this, Galen remembers Hodge’s dying words about throwing Ulrich’s ashes in the ‘burning water’, and realizes the big shocking twist of the film. Okay, this twist is something I REALLY give the film credit for, and it makes Ulrich a very wise and intelligent character, in my opinion – Ulrich knew that he couldn’t make the journey to Urland by himself, so he planned his death and cremation, so that Galen could throw his ashes into the ‘burning water’ in the dragon’s cave. Heading back to the cave (okay, so the cave WASN’T destroyed – I imagine that Vermithrax just tossed Galen out of her cave after she was done with him :lol: ), Galen utters an incantation to light his torch (in an awesome way) and as the solar eclipse gets closer, Galen tosses his master’s ashes into the burning water – which leads for an incredibly awesome resurrection scene. The fires on the water subside, and more of Maleficent’s fire :lol: comes out of the water, which eventually takes the form of Ulfrich’s body, resurrecting him in – a very, VERY cool looking robe and sorcerer’s staff. :clap: I like the way that Ulrich’s first response is like he’s simply been asleep for a few hours and asks ‘you haven’t got any food, by any chance?’ That is pretty badass, I think – being resurrected after a gruesome death and simply saying your only complaint is that you’re hungry. :lol:

And now it’s time for the final showdown against Vermithrax, as the dragon spies her quarry exiting the cave – and flies in for action. But Ulrich, teleporting to the mountaintop to fight the dragon, says Galen has one more task – destroying the amulet and him along with it. :ohnoes: Oh no – come on, Ulrich, you just came back and now you’re willing to kill yourself to kill the dragon? :o But now it’s time for Ulrich to summon the wrath of the heavens, as he summons the best that this film’s special effects have to offer – on par with the dragon herself. He brings the clouds, thunder and lightning overhead, and subsides the storm to let the dragon know he’s there. Ulrich gets his staff like a boss, and summons lightning to attack the dragon – but gets hit pretty badly in the shoulder by the dragon’s claws – I find it funny how he takes the claw attack pretty badly, but can stand there while Vermithrax breathes fire on him. :clap: I do really like the cloud shots of the dragon flying – it’s an incredibly intense sequence. :o Ulrich eventually lets the dragon carry him off, which is the time he was waiting for for Galen to destroy the amulet. Now comes the one part I like about Galen’s ‘trying to be strong’ plot in this film – when Galen resurrected Ulrich, he said he had to be strong, but he didn’t have strength or any kind of power – but to be honest, carrying out your master’s order to KILL YOUR MASTER must take a lot of strength. :o And as Galen destroys the amulet with a rock, Ulrich reveals he must have NITROGLYCERIN for blood, as his last spell is a spell that makes him EXPLODE. :o Jeez, Ulrich, you were one combustible guy, weren’t you? Let’s add ‘explosives for blood’ to the list of things that make this old man incredibly badass. :wow: And of course, this kills the dragon, leaving her plummeting as a shooting meteor into a lake below. Now for the obligatory Jaws reference – ‘Smile, you son of a bitch! *BOOM*’ :XD:

This leaves the water sizzling away like acid, and the solar eclipse ends as the dragon’s life ends. The next morning shows the last awesome model of the dragon – the gory REMAINS of the dragon – having been torn in half by the explosion. Ewww – barbequed dragon, anyone? :lol: Just then, the people of the village come by, and they credit God with the victory, forsaking pagan mysteries and superstitions , and King Douche comes by for one last moment to make me enraged – he drives a sword into the dragon's broken carcass to claim the glory for himself…. :x Wow… that’s… bittersweet. :( Even though the film SHOWED that magic exists in this world, the newly found Christians and the douche king took the credit for killing Vermithrax and saving the kingdom. They leave the kingdom together, and I do really like this scene – Galen says he wishes that they had a horse, and all of a sudden, a beautiful white horse appears on the hill side, signifying that magic is not completely gone from the world, and that Galen may have finally found magic of his own – as they travel on horseback away into the horizon. Some of the people in this film may not believe in mystery and magic – but I know that not only is it a mystery that this film remains so unknown to this day, which is a shame because the film is a strange kind of magic in itself. :aww:

 

:iconvindurza: the dragon still looks awesome in this day and age, you can even see how she inspired smaug

:icondarkoverlord1296: Wow, THIS movie.

While I really can't say that it's great story-wise, it really makes up for it with it's special effects. Seriously, if I didn't knew that it was an 80s movie, and that Vermithrax was made with stop-motion, I would honestly think that it was made with hyper-realistic CGI! It's THAT good, and for early 80s, it's pretty darn impressive! Also, for a Disney film, it's also pretty gruesome, and I've seen "The Black Cauldron"!

:iconailemadragonprincess: I think Dragonslayer is an amazing film. It's got a great story, great characters, amazing special effects, and a setting interesting enough to give me inspiration for the Horned King's backstory, which I'm writing.

 

Yes, I will admit that the characters and story aren’t as complex as many other Disney films I’ve seen, and some of the acting is a bit odd, but this film has a definite charm and likeability to it that Quest For Camelot and Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole just doesn’t. Here’s how the difference works for me – all of these films have a story and characters that are staples of the fantasy genre and follow the typical fairy tale fantasy plot of a hero rising up against an evil threat to save their kingdom. But here’s the thing – Quest For Camelot threw in so many crazy plot twists with no prior build up that it resulted in more plot holes than Swiss cheese, and had a main character that was a useless tool that kept getting captured while boasting she would achieve something she never did on her own. Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole doesn’t respect the world and rules as much as the books did and because of that stupid rewrite that plagued the film’s production process, LOTG feels more like BULLET POINTS of a plot akin to that in a Wikipedia recap than an actual story, and as a result, I don’t care about the world or the characters because I’m so bored throughout it. Dragonslayer succeeds where both those films fail – although the story is a staple story, I can follow the story very well, there are no real plot holes, the world is well established, apart from King Casiodorus I find myself interested in the characters, and it keeps my engagement. :clap: And Ulrich and Galen’s standoffs against the dragon make them extremely badass. :D

But even with that, the effects alone make this film a recommendation for me. The dragon is one of the most IMPRESSIVE dragons I have EVER seen in a film – and as I said earlier, rivals Dragon Maleficent. :clap: The dragon is absolutely TERRIFYING in places, and even though there are one or two moments in animation that there are some flubs in the effects, the dragon has held up REALLY well with time. And as well as the dragon, the effects on the magic are really impressive as well. :aww: The atmosphere, like The Black Cauldron, is really deep, and I have to give kudos to Disney for creating a film that is THIS dark and actually SCARY in places – and I like how the film doesn’t throw in any unnecessary comic relief characters or any Bambi song substitutes (I don’t think inserting ‘Lalalala tweettweetatweet tweettweetatweet tweettweetatweet tralalala’ helps anymore, Disney :lol: ), as I feel that in this film’s case, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as memorable. And unlike The Good Dinosaur randomly throwing in extremely dark stuff that doesn’t fit at all, the atmosphere of Dragonslayer makes the scary moments fit – feeling like a combination of The Black Cauldron and The Dark Crystal. :D And once again, I do feel that this is an example of a family film that proves that family films CAN have scary moments, as they suck you into the action even more. Fitting, considering how this film came out in the same year as The Fox and the Hound, the moment where Disney films has well and truly delved into darker moments – which I give them credit for. :D All set to a very creepily cool score by Alex North. :headbang:

If, like me, you really enjoy awesome dragons and magic in fantasy films – and have been let down by lacklustre rubbish like Quest For Camelot – this will be a welcome breath of fresh air. Just bring along your Thu’um and Dragonbone Armour and you should be fine from any dragon fire. ‘FUS RO DAH!!’

 

Next time, I’ll be reviewing a film that I will admit took me a while to watch since it came out (and has actually been on my list of films I’d been meaning to watch for a while) – and now I’ve seen it, I’m glad I saw it – it feels like a family film combination of Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera – but the idea behind it is a VERY interesting one – and it holds one of my new favourite French songs. :aww: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Z-NbQ…

So, we’ll be going to Paris next time, as I review –

A MONSTER IN PARIS. :iconfrenchplz:

 

UPCOMING REVIEWS

 

193. A Monster In Paris

194. Panda! Go Panda!

195. Godzilla (1954)

196. Godzilla (2014)

197. Undecided - Belleville Rendez-Vous or The Illusionist

198. Undecided Horror Film

199. Undecided Don Bluth Film

200. DOMINATOR: THE MOVIE (Perhaps my new most hated film of all time) :fear:




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MP3 player of choice: iPod
Personal Quote: 'Oh, please, make it stop! It's the squeaking of the hideous boots!!' - Mr Krabs

Duckyworth's Personality Type Results
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:iconpokehero9:
pokehero9 Featured By Owner 7 hours ago
did you see the new pokemon
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:iconpokehero9:
pokehero9 Featured By Owner 7 hours ago
did you see the new pokemon
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:iconalditoquerido:
alditoquerido Featured By Owner Edited 1 day ago
Hey, man, remember your wish list for Season 5 and one of them was 'Pinke Pie apologizing to Fluttershy for what she did in Filli Vanilli? Well, FORGET IT, 'cause that NEVER happened in Season 5 and probably will never happen! In fact, Pinkie Pie is getting too much hatred from the fandom. You think Flash Sentry is overhated? You didn't see anything:

jimkotey.deviantart.com/art/Pi…
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:iconyodajax10:
yodajax10 Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Hi! Thought I'd show you something funny I made.

yodajax10.deviantart.com/art/T…
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:iconvannesteland:
VannesteLand Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
I think you should review a favorite animated film of mine called "Hey There It's Yogi Bear"
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:iconduckyworth:
Duckyworth Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I will admit, Yogi Bear is something I'm not too familiar with (I didn't watch much of it when I was younger) but of I can find it, I'll check it out). :)
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:iconyodajax10:
yodajax10 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016
Hi! I see you like BOTH Celestia and Luna...thought you'd like to see this.

yodajax10.deviantart.com/art/P…
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:iconduckyworth:
Duckyworth Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome comparison there - and you make some very good points. :D
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:iconyodajax10:
yodajax10 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016
Thank you! Have you read some of my other reviews? I also share similar thoughts on Boast Busters!

yodajax10.deviantart.com/art/T…
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:iconbriar-spark:
briar-spark Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi, Duckyworth! Thank you very much for the fav!
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:iconduckyworth:
Duckyworth Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome. :D
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:iconbriar-spark:
briar-spark Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
^^
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:iconnuclearzeon2:
Nuclearzeon2 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2016
So, Norm of the North got a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I'm looking forward to when you tear it apart.
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:iconthe-psychid:
The-Psychid Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016   Writer
Funny; I was gonna suggest the exact same thing. :iconmrkrabsplz:
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:iconduckyworth:
Duckyworth Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm actually considering going along to the cinema when it's released (on a late day screening so I avoid any screeching children :lol: ) to see first hand how bad it is.

..............am I insane? ^^;
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:iconnuclearzeon2:
Nuclearzeon2 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2016
Doubt it. It's common for people to want to see a bad film just to see first hand how bad it is.
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:iconomegaheroes:
OmegaHeroes Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016
I got a question for you. Since Disturbed is in the favorite bands/ musical artists in the intrest folder, can you please list off your Top 10 Disturbed songs. 
(P.S: include at least a couple songs from their current album, Immortalized)
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:iconnightmare-kaltes:
Nightmare-Kaltes Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I see that you're planning on reviewing the original Godzilla, just for the record it came out in 1954.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godzilla…
www.tohokingdom.com/movies/god…

Sorry, not trying to nag here, it's just for when you get around to reviewing it you don't get swarmed by people correcting you on the year.:XD:
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:iconduckyworth:
Duckyworth Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah - thank you for correcting me. :aww:
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:iconchocolatebacon11:
chocolatebacon11 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Here's a link if you want to get involved!

cartoon-reviewers.deviantart.c…
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:iconnilzenmate89:
nilzenmate89 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist
Thank so much for the  Favorites Icon 3D Adorable Girl Anime Emoji (My kawaii plushie) [V6] 
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:iconyodajax10:
yodajax10 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2016
Thank you for adding my list into your favorites? I hope you add a comment on what you thought of it and what you agree or disagree on!
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:iconyodajax10:
yodajax10 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 6, 2016
Hi! I know it's after Christmas, but I can't help but think, with Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, wouldn't it be absolutely hilarious to see how GASTON celebrates Christmas? Think about it...
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:iconduckyworth:
Duckyworth Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Dressing up as Santa and inviting those three girls to sit on his lap while he hunts reindeer. :XD:
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