Monthly Archives: February 2016

Survivor Kaoh Rong Episode 2: Could the Brawn tribe lose everything

I had them ranked from best at challenges to worst as
1. Scot
(very close)
2. Jenny
3. Jason
4. Cydney
5. Darnell
(very close)
6. Alecia
One reason Matsing got so dominated is with no reward challenges the other tribes could sit their weak links like Abi-Maria, Kate, and Dawson every time.  Now tribes can only sit out a player 1 challenge in a row.  I suspect that means Brain will sit Joe and play Debbie.  Beauty will play Julia and sit Anna, Michele, or Tai.  Both Matsing was a very weak tribe all the way through and even by voting out their next to weakest member they still had a very weak player in Angie.  The old brain tribe voted out Garret, probably their second strongest member.  No matter what potentially weak link the other tribe has Alecia could cancel out their vulnerability.
          Their other main problem is the lack of a challenge dominator.  With so few people having one great player is more important than usual.  The challenges in season 31 were so even as each tribe had exactly one dominator (Joe, Mike, and Joaquin).  With Jenny gone all the pressure is on Scot.  He is not as good at challenges as Caleb, Aubrey, or Peter.  Jason and Cyndey have not shown themselves to be good at challenges.
             I have to hand it to the editors.  They gave me no reason to think Beauty would go to tribal council, but I was wondering who would go between Brain and Brawn.  It was also a great tribal council and I was hocked when Jenny got the second vote.  If they do the early voted out season I would prefer her to Darnell.
              Last episode I crowned Aubrey as the player of the week.  This time I have to crown Alecia.  She made fire and saved herself strategically.
          Most lilkely to go next are
Brains- Debbie (I am really getting annoyed by her)
Beauty- I still think Nick
Brawn- I think another loss would result in Jason going home.
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Survivor Kaoh Rong Episode 1

Survivor

The Brawn tribe made the right move.  I thought they were making a bad choice.  Alicia was more of a strategic threat and he seemed to have a (small) physical advantage.  He then gave a very emotional speech making many of his tribe mates cry.  That type of emotional power was a major reason Jeremy won and would only get stronger later.

Episode 1 Projected Winner from each Tribe.

         From the Beauty Tribe I will say Michele.  I think she can stealthily find an idol.  She was also good at making a friendship with everyone.  She is also good at reading people.

           From the Brain Tribe Aubrey was fantastic at the challenge and the episode 1 winner, but she has social problems.  Neal seemed to have a good ability to stay below the radar and stay on top of things.  I will actually predict him to win it all.

            On the Brawn Tribe I will say Scott.  He seems to know when to gain control while staying back a little too much.  Also a lack of competition besides Jenn.  Jenn challenges him for the spot, but I think Scott has a slightly better chance.

Bottom Predictions

From the Brawn tribe Alicia will be gone next.  I think she will target Tony (the Bounty Hunter).

From the beauty tribe I think Tai will save himself with his charm.  Nick (The only player with a name I cannot remember) will be gone next.

From Brains I think Debby will be gone next.

DTV Wonders: Scooby Doo on Zombie Island

Zombie Island

The Scooby-Doo franchise looked to be nearly dead, and then the undead brought it back to life literally.  It was so good the nostalgia for zombies is still going.  The promise of real monsters was too much for my family to pass up and this is normally considered the best of the franchise.  We watched it a few years after it came out and, it was terror time again.

Image result for scooby doo on zombie island opening

The beginning is very good, as it feels like Scooby-doo with the slapstick and all the characters being true to their personalities,  while introducing the darker atmosphere.  It also does some fourth wall breaking.  Since the recent serieses have normally not had the entire gang together (or made them children) the gang starts having gone their separate ways (done much better than in the live-action movie).  They also get back together quickly.  Does it hold up today?  Part of its importance is giving Fred, the generic guy, a personality.  The recent series, Mystery Incorporated, did that making it seem unnecessary.  It does help show what Daphne will be like this film and give the audience a chance to get used to the new voices.  It also helps with the atmosphere of legit friendship between the gang.  Something that direct-to-videos often excel at.

We then get a good reminder of the usual formula, which helps the climax of the film and will potentially be dull.  It is to a notably exciting montage, but keeping it short and the good darker animation keeps it interesting enough.

One thing this does better that anything is showing Louisiana well (more on this when I get to season 16 of Arthur).  For one we do not celebrate Mardi Gras every day, and it is not shown here.  There are not alligators in the city.  Our accents are not impossible to understand.  We call it New Orle-ans not New Orleenes.  I am pretty sure the writers had been to Louisiana.  Daphne is annoyed that no monsters are real.  She wants a new challenge.

Zombie Island

A local, Lena, then tells them about an island with a real pirate ghost.  She offers to take them there, and Fred wants to go, as he has an instant crush on her and wants to find the guy in the mask.  Daphne wants to go for the chance at a real haunted house.  I think Velma mostly wants to solve another mystery.  They go by ferry where to help add to the more dark mood Shaggy and Scooby are nearly eaten by alligators.  Who saves them?

Zombie Island

He instantly demands everyone else leave.  He growls everything he says, has Mark Hamill’s voice.  He is a hunter, a typical acceptable target, and he looks creepy.  Contrary to what the live action movie said the creepy guy was almost never the villain on the original show.  They were the red herring, and when I saw this at four years old I knew he was the red herring.  I also remembered that since the monsters are going to be real then it must be that no human is the villain.  Today I would have not thought that due to how many characters are introduced, but my four year old mind was not that genre savvy.  After that we are introduced to Beau and Simone.  Beau is also like a red herring but I knew for two reasons why he is not the villain.  He is far too handsome and Velma and Fred suspect him too much.  Simone is clearly the victim who needs help.  I forgot those people were often the villain in the original show.

Simone at first seems to dislike the gang, but she is clearly more receptive when she learns they are interested in the hauntings.  Time to discuss the comic relief antics.  In a few later DTV films, What’s New Scooby-Doo, and Mystery Incorporated Scooby and Shaggy’s antics fit into the plot very well.  Here some are fun, but they mostly distract from the plot.  I am amazed the run time is only 77 minutes with all of them.  Still, it is a powerful scene when they are interrupted by a sword drawing “get out.  beware.”

Image result for scooby-doo on zombie island beware

Rewatch perspective:  Why not write “Beware, your hosts and ferry driver are human sacrificing super strong cat creatures.  Flee and steal some way home.  Take the gardener with you preferably.”  In its defense they probably assume their actual method will be more effective, as they do not know how skeptical of real monsters they are.

The scene is always quite freaky as new words appear in between shots, the music, the characters going from in control to having no idea what is happening.

Zombie Island

Fred is still incredibly convinced it is a hologram (that only appears on tapes instead of regular life).  Daphne thinks it is real, and she wants Fred to consider it.  Velma seems to think it is something she will figure out later, and Shaggy and Scooby think it is an excuse for a picnic.  Until they find Morgan  Moonscar’s ghost as a zombie.

This is quite the frightening image.  The characters move slow to add to the suspense, but the villain does not seem slow.  The fright and confusion from Shaggy and Scooby is way more than I had ever seen before.

Rewatch bonus:  Normally the ghosts are supposedly not trying to hurt them clearly are. Here he has a cutlass, yet he never strikes with it, and it quickly disappears.  Even better in the rewatch what previously was just scary is now scary and sad.  His eyes in the above picture look angry, but that is because he is fighting the villains to save the gang.  He looks more sad and in desperate need of help when he first shows up.

They run into Beau whom Velma is now deeply suspecting due to him always appearing and reapearing in accordance with the zombes.  It actually comes off as Velma being over dramatic.

This film relies on the big moments over being consistently good.  The scenes that build up to bigger events do not need to be good in these types of movies, and one of the biggest scenes is where more zombies come.

 

Zombie Island

These zombies are full of body horror.  One eve appears to be a pregnant women.  They all look different.  I knew when watching this it would have real monsters, but this is far more scary than I suspected.  Then Fred rips one of their heads off to unmask it only to have a headless creature put its still moving head back on.  He is still in denial, but now a far less honest one. We then get to the chase to the song, “Terror Time Again.”  It is woderful and really develops a style of fear.  Besides “All Dogs go to Heaven” I have never seen a film this scary and it just gets scarier.  This is even scarier than Mystery Incorporated.

After all this Scooby and Shaggy are still running for their lives.  Velma, Fred, Daphne, and Beau flee to the house.  Velma still suspects Beau.  Fred is now speechless.  Daphne knows no one will believe them.  Beau is mad to be a suspect, but now more upset.  According to Lena, Simone has been captured and…

One line by Daphne is “This is more haunted stuff than I really wanted.”  The entire audience agrees.  It turns out Lena and Simone are cat creatures who need to make human sacrifices to stay alive, as they have done for the past 200 years, putting this movies death count at well over two hundred thirty people.

Image result for scooby-doo on zombie island cat creatures vs zombies
If this is Uncle Beauregard it is like my family reunions. 

The climax is just amazing.  It has zombies saving the gang on multiple occasions.  The comedy helps the drama instead of distracting from it.  It is exciting and we get to root for the previous red herring villains, which would be incredibly fun if all the horror, fridge horror, and plots did not overshadow it making it feel like actually being there.  It also has the sweet ending where a Confederate Zombie stays just long enough to thank Scooby-Doo.  The only problem is the resolution is too quick, but that helps make the zombies responsible for saving the day.

This film has a few methods I do not like such as relying on the big scenes rather than making the entire thing great.  It also has mood problems, but other than that it is great.  The acting is  good.  The animation is very good for the story, the plot is wonderfully complex.  The characters are very good.  The idea is something everyone wanted to see, and it gave us way more than the audience thought they wanted to see.  It is a very good film that revived a franchise.

Arthur Season 1: Part 3

Arthur’s Birthday

I had the VHS for this episode, and I have seen it so many times I could quote it nearly word for word.  It opens with a foreshadowing for “Francine’s Stolen Bike and the middle of the episode.  The opening and actual scene are different and I often watched it just to recognize the slight differences in animation, angles, and dialogue.

Untitled.png

This feels more like a season 3 episode than one with the execution.  Season 3 episodes had worse plots but near perfect writing, while season 1 had great writing and wonderful plots.  Here we begin with things that could have been really boring like counting down days, shopping, and writing invitations.  Arthur counted down days by holding Pal’s paw and moving it, which was cute.  D.W. kept being a dead pan Snarker.  Shopping was surprisingly good thanks to D.W.’s humor with how she imitated Arthur, tried to turn it into a pony party, and that Arthur found a decoration that looked just like Principal Haney.

The real plot then starts.  I remember saying “Arthur goes to Camp” is the reigning worst episode and it had a boys vs girls plot.  Well this episode does a boys vs girls plot well.  Instead of just being set up like that it is them acting like third graders.  They are closer to people their own gender and start to fight based on that, while knowing it is bad and hoping to end it.

The tug of war part is especially memorable.  Binky ties it to his waist (legal I heard) and Prunella tied it to the swing set (illegal).  Fern was dressed as Brain.  She was apparently subbed out for Jenna in the middle of the game.

The way Arthur resolved two birthdays at the same time was very good writing.  The actual party was not as fun as the rest of the episode, but the rest was great.  This is the first time a character is referred to by their species.

Francine Frensky, Superstar

FFS Buster's Revenge

Since I had Arthur’s Birthday on VHS I normally turned it off when it came on TV, and as a result I have very little nostalgia for this episode.  The opening is hilarious.  I especially like her role as Isaac Newton.  The plot itself is really good, as it offers intense emotional conflict with the characters and brings that.  Francine is shown crying.  IT is not as good as scene of her crying in a later episode, but it helps turn Francine from an unsympathetic character with good intentions into a well intended extremists.  This episode really is similar to “Draw!”  It is not as good as the show’s current best, but it is really funny and emotional.

Some early installment weirdness in the beginning.  Sue Ellen suggests a monster story, and without a doubt any other season Fern would have had that role.  Even more so in recent seasons Sue Ellen hates horror stories at first for being boring and then for being gross.

          Arthur’s Baby

The Baby Orchestra
          It starts with Arthur mentioning how everyone has been a baby before.  It gives the continuity error of showing Mr. Ratburn as a baby being named “Emil” instead of “Nigel.”  Apparently he s named Emil Nigel Ratburn and started going by his middle name, or he changed his name later.  All of his math problems are correct that he wrote on the wall.
           We get the swimming title card again, hinting this will be more about Arthur than his family.  Arthur discusses how everyone was a baby once.  It shows Buster.  Apparently as a baby he pulled food of supermarket shelves and licked them.  Bitzi then put them back on the shelves.  Good thing Buster is so clean.  Mr. Ratburn is called Emil as a baby instead of Nigel.  It seems like a plot hole, but I solved it.  He is named Emil Nigel Ratburn.  He started going by his middle name later.
        It starts with D.W. beating Arthur in a eating contest.  Seem inconsequential, but it foreshadows D.W. being better with the baby than Arthur his episode.  That is also why I do not call this a two part episode like some do.  There is no foreshadowing or related morals I could find in both segments.
           Mom and Dad tell Arthur that they are getting a baby (and they are considering making Arthur move out).  D.W. is enthusiastic, but Arthur is horrified.  He is worried about another D.W.  Arthur is still worried about being teased, and he worries he will be given baby based nicknames again.
          The ending is a good scene where tension is built up by D.W.’s methods to calm Kate down failing.  Arthur helps bring the hero down to his lowest point by mentioning his failings with Kate.  He then really tries to help rather than let D.W. do everything and he solves the problem.

D.W.’s Baby

     This is superior to “Arthur’s Baby.”

1x11b

        For I think the first time Arthur is talking right into a cartoon camera, which D.W. holds upside down to make Arthur more interesting.  Considering D.W. is the reason the Read Family segments work so well I think she has a point.

          We then get the “Super Sister” title card, which indicates it will be a D.W. episode.  The end of “Arthur’s Baby” is shown from D.W.’s point of view.  As a younger (and more evil) sibling most of the trust and responsibility is placed on Arthur.  She is also no longer the bay of the family, and she is having a middle child syndrome.  As a middle child I can relate and laugh at how they realistically exaggerated it.  It was really fun watching this with my older sisters, as they kept saying how I was less annoying as a baby than Kate.  Unlike Kate I did not cry at night.

            The best humor came from D.W. trying to get rid of Kate by saying she was for sell (Did Elwood City never get the 13th amendment?), blaming her for a building falling down, and saying Kate put dad’s shows in the freezer, while trying to sound like a gangster.  Unfortunately Dad is not an idiot.

            In probably the first moment to show that D.W. I Grandma’s favorite she goes to Thora for help and she pretends to go along with helping her to runaway to an island.  She talks her out of it on the way by appealing to Kate’s need for an older sister that is not Arthur.  D.W. realizes that with only Arthur to be her older sibling Kate would be miserable (should that mean D.W. is miserable?)  D.W. comes back to save her little sister.

           I love this episode.  D.W. was great in it.  She gets further developed with her arrogance ad insecurity.  Grandma Thora is shown to be wise.  It has an extremely relatable and important moral.