Tag Archives: Negative Review

DTV Wonders: Lilo and Stitch 2

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In my review of Stitch the Movie I praised the Lilo and Stitch franchise, but sadly that is in spite of this film.  It has the major flaws direct-to-video films are notorious for, new actors who are distractingly different and a mess of plots that do not go together.

The creators’ records are mixed.  The cast from the first film is back, except for Lilo’s actress.  Theo Leondis is the writer and his directorial debut is here.  He previously was an assistant writer on other DTV sequels. He wrote Kronk’s New Groove and directed and co-wrote …The Emoji Movie.  Writing and directing is expected to be a weakness.

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It starts with a dream Stitch is having where he is flying and shooting the island.  Then Lilo tells… him to stop, and that is the first problem.  Lilo’s actress was too busy with the show to reprise her role, and Dakota Fanning took over. She sounds very much like an eighteen year old and nothing like Lilo.  It is just jarring hearing her voice from Lilo’s body.

Lilo convinces him that he is just worried about turning bad, and he is really good. She uses his chart to show it.

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The chart is a plot device for showing how good or bad the characters view Stitch. When no one else is around Stitch’s eyes glow green and he breaks things to show the main plot. Then “Hawaiian Roller Coaster” plays. Some viewers prefer sequels reusing old songs, but I prefer new ones. It is a matter of preference.

Two new plots are then introduced. Lilo is in a hula competition involving making an original dance around a them showing “ohana.” She wants to win partly to beat Myrtle, and partly because her mom won it years ago. Another plot is Lilo is fighting and the hula teacher threatens to ban her from the competition if she does not control her violent behavior. Three plots is not too much, as two can easily mirror each other, but sadly the film keeps adding them.

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Pleakley tells David that his romantic spark with Nani is gone. He plays Cyrano to try and get it back, and besides some bad whispering it is very bad comic relief. It is usually unfunny and it just interrupts the plot.   Another plot is added when Jumba realizes what is wrong with Stitch. He tells Pleakley, as they work on building the machine that will fix them. The logical choice is to tell the family. Stitch would volunteer to be locked up to not hurt anyone, as everyone helps them make it until the glitch kills Stitch (I think just turning him evil would be better). Instead they tell no one and hide from Nani why they are taking appliances to build the machine slowing them down. This happens as Pleakley spends more time working with David, whose life is not at risk, than saving Stitch’s life. They have some failures and then build the machine.

Lilo’s plot on not fighting is the worst done. At one point Stitch’s glitching gets her in trouble, and she is banned from the contest. Then she is in it. The actual contest plot has its own big issue. they already did it in the show, where it was done better, not good but better. Lilo being very mean is just not entertaining, and it ends with her leaving the contest to help the main plot anyway.

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Stitch’s glitching is the only plot with any interest, and it has a problem in concept. He is evil by design, not free will. Jumba specially states “it is not his fault.” It should have been about old habits or something he had control over, meaning his problems are a result of his failures. I think the writer might be a hardcore determinist.

There are two good parts. One is a montage of Stitch doing good deeds to bring his goodness back up like feeding a bird worms from his mouth. The other is when he fights with Lilo. It is just good seeing him making mistakes by his own free will like he should have been all movie. Those small insults have more weight than all the glitching, because he has the ability to stop it.

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At the end Jumba builts the magic device, but Stitch then tries to leave the planet in the ship, which has the device. The family just drops the other plots (why were they around in the first place then!) to save him. Stitch does not know the machine will save him, and he starts dying and the ship crashes. Lilo puts him in it, and the film expects us to believe he is dead (he looks asleep to me. He is alive of course, and the film ends.

This film is really, really bad. It is worse than Dragonheart II, and one of the worst films I have reviewed. Only one plot has any danger, and that makes the other four seem so insignificant. Some films like The Land Before Time VII have insignificant plots, but they work, because they are all the same level of importance making the whole film seem important. This films only has one plot that seems like anything important.

Worse off, this is only 68 minutes long, yet it is so padded. With a good TV series going on, these should have been episodes instead. It hardly feels like a movie.

 

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DTV Wonders: Dragonheart a New Beginning

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Sure I have a glaring very negative review, but I have mostly reviewed DTV sequels where they work nearly best, as an animated film.  The place they would natural work worst is as a live action fantasy to a film that a sequel just feels wrong, like Dragonheart.  As a live action film they cannot simply replace actors, and with a  lower budget key special effects would be cheaper, and it is a harder to simply adopt a cheaper style.

The one returning presence is this film has the same producer as the original.  The film is directed by Doug Lefler, who besides this has directed no movies, but at least he directed some episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journies, and The Last Legion seven years later.  By direct to video standard this was an expensive film, as it cost 11.4 million dollars (one fifth of the original’s budget), and based on what I heard that is way more than an animated sequel.  A live action fantasy film is the worst thing to make work with a low budget, but sometimes looks are deceiving, but sadly this is not one of those times.  I think what this movie needed was mystery, and it gave none.

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For the viewers who will not see the original Dragonheart, or need their memory refreshed it ends with the Dragon, Draco, one of the two main characters dying.  This makes further adventures hard.  This film takes place years alter, and through exposition old Bowen got this egg from his old cave.  Apparently Draco who had been away from his cave for twelve years never checked on the egg or told Bowen about it despite having ample time before dying.  Also it is specifically mentioned Bowen found it right before dying of old age.  For being on his death bed Bowen looks incredibly strong.  The egg hatched in Brother Gilbert’s monastery, which is now controlled by Friar Peter.  Also there is a two tailed comet and according to a prophecy (no explanation for whether it is reliable) says that when it passes the moon in a week an evil will use a dragon’s heart.  Finally a sable boy named Geoff wants to be a night.  Despite having quite a bit of tell, do not show the exposition is actually not a weakness.  The events are both shown and told later, and it is surprisingly both quick and easy to follow.

The film’s real opening is Geoff watching the knights pass, as Friar Peter reminds him to accomplish his chores.  We then get to a problem with a lack of unity in plot.  Quickly the film cuts to Lord Osric being promoted to main advisor, and it is practically stated by the narrator the king is suffering from a mysterious mental illness caused by Osric, and Osric is running the kingdom.  Osric can actually be kind of entertaining, but for everything else this film needed a mysterious villain instead of an obvious one.  To describe his basic plan is that he wants a Dragonheart to make him immortal.  For now he is settling for simple power, and everyone in the kingdom will wear a tunic color coded based on class.  He will also make everyone live by the old code, which is actually quite villainous, as Bowen was against that since it cannot be forced.

 

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Mansel, our narrator, is a monk in charge of watching the young dragon, but Geoff gets by him to explore a place that he knows Mansel refuses to talk about, hence it must be important.  He finds a sword and…

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bad special effects.  His name is Drake, and drake as never been outside or done anything that dragons are expected to do.

I know I am changing to different character too much, but that is because the film changes around every thirty seconds, and I cannot talk about drake and Geoff’s next discussion without first revealing how bad Friar Peter.  Kwon and Lian, two strangers from the East, arrive to discuss the prophecy.  They heard about Drake due to Brother Gilbert’s old writings about dragons and want to stay until the prophecy’s time is gone.  First Friar Peter calls Brother Gilbert moderately dumb, okay.  He then calls him a bad poet. what? Brother Gilbert is quoting The King James Bible over six hundred years before it will be written probably meaning in the Dragonheart Universe his old poetry was used to make it.  Worst of all friar Peter says he does not believe in dragons, due to the Bible.  I have only read the Bible three times, and I know there are hordes of dragons in it described as real beasts.  Friar Peter asks them to see Osric, and he asks them to leave to avoid a peasant panic.  If he was not an obvious villain the audience would see him as a reasonable authority figure with a classist flaw.  Mansel tells Drake Friar Peter is dead, presumably struck dead by God.  Drake takes the news badly, but he does go outside the next day making his mood seem better than usual.

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In outrage at being deemed a commoner with no chance at moving up and becoming a knight Geoff throws his tunic off a cliff and demands that Drake fly him away  Drake refuses and Geoff goes to get his tunic except he gets cornered by some of Osric’s men who are angry at him for not having his uniform tunic.  Basically they are running things like high school with lashings instead of demerits.  Also the secret dragon talked in plain view where the Easterners saw him, and they decide to save Geoff as he can lead them to the dragon.  Lian unarmed wipes out all of the knights, which is probably the worst fight scene I have ever seen.  It does not make Lian seem awesome, but Osric’s minions look like incredibly weak.  It also last a reallllllllllllllly long time.  This whole horrible fight is practically useless except giving them a reason to be allies, s Geoff is again corned by knights and knocked off a cliff.  This time Drake lies and saves him, and Geoff thanks him by telling him to pull quite so hard.  To make it worse the flying effects are really bad.  Already no one is likeable with the possible exception of Mansel (he has nothing important to do, but he offers some comedy), the story is really predictable, and the action and special effects are really bad.

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Everyone saw it, and the peasants are mad, but obvious villain to the rescue.  He wants Drake as “Protector of the Realm,” and Geoff is now in a huge position of power.  He tells them to let the Easterners stay, and can now wear a red tunic of a knight.  This flaw does not really go anywhere, but Geoff has a problem with only accepting something if it suits him.  When the tunic marks him as a peasant he hates it.  When it marks him as important he loves it.  When Osric considers him unimportant he hates him, and when Osric values him he thinks Osric s better than Drake.  I do not think this goes anywhere other thank making Geoff seem selfish, but it is at least fun to notice and shows potential with a better script.

Mansel being the narrator decides he had better become important.  He says Drake is the subject of the prophecy.  Geoff says Drake is too innocent.  Mansel has a comeback that the prophecy states it will use a dragon, but Geoff says he will protect drake, and finally Mansel accuses Geoff of helping it.  If not for the narration I would have no idea these two are supposed to be best friends.  Also by not describing everything Geoff is being edited to be way nicer than he is.  Kwon and Lian decide to kill Drake, but Drake knows something I wrong, and ignores them.  They then decide Drake gets to live, as he passed a test.  Again Geoff was too busy training to be a knight with Osric to notice making his protecting abilities beyond horrible.  Also Osric has gained his trust with bare minimum flattery.

The Easterners agree to train Drake, and tell him about Dragon hearts, like how they can be split in two to help a human.  Also they are carrying around with no security the heart to an ancient evil dragon named Griffin, which can still be put in a human, and… Why have they not destroyed this obviously evil thing that fits the prophecy so well?  They wanted to kill drake with minimal evidence he was evil, so why is this inanimate object that can fulfill the prophecy, but not fight back yet burned already.  It is made clear later fire can destroy it.  There is no mention of it having any type of value.  At least do not carry it with only two guards around literally all the way from China to Britain where anyone could use I to fulfill the prophecy of bringing evil back.  Well, this twist that Griffin is the villain is pretty obvious except for how he fits with Osric who is constantly working on his evil plan on camera.  What the audience knows is he will now replace the king if he dies, he wants half of Drake’s heart, and he wants a war.  Griffin wanted the extermination of humans, so maybe an evil vs. evil fight.  Maybe instead of being a knight who slays an evil dragon Geoff will have to get an evil knight to turn good making him a hero maker to ironically his mentor.  Two obvious villains with no common goals can surprisingly make many options.

 

The training scenes can be funny, and Geoff does get called out on not helping Drake enough.  Also due to borrowing his suspicious full body coat Mansel gets mistaken for Kwon, and Osric’s men kidnap him, and Mansel is now in the dungeon. Osric sends more men to capture Kwon and Lian resulting in another horrible fight where Osric’s men look like complete incomptetents.  Lian and Kwon are winning easily with fans (that are like shields as they deflect sword blades).  The Easterners get swords and now have an even easier looking win, but Osric arrives.  Again as Geoff does what is best for Geoff unlike last time he fully trusts Osric’s wonderful argument that… “These foreigners are not like you and me.”  Geoff surrenders and Kwon and Lian follow.  I guess they are different, considering that is all it takes for them to surrender.  Maybe if Geoff came off as important to their fight or even goals now that drake was close to them too, or if the guards were not so horrible.  To make their surrender even more ridiculous when marched to the dungeons tied up and weaponless the guards are still terrified of them and not trying to hide it.  Also Mansel is wearing a diaper like thing, and only a diaper like piece of underwear.

After awful fight after awful fight we finally get a legitimately well done plan and wording by Osric, genuinely good stuff from Geoff and Drake, and a very good battle scene. To add to the good without the bad script and plot being around it is easier to notice that the angles, cinematography, backgrounds, and sets look very similar to the original and still match this film.  This is not a horrible film, but besides this scene over an hour into the movie it is just consistently bad or poor.  If the whole movie could capture the cost effective and exciting nature of this fight, the intelligence of both hero and villain, and emotion of nearly repeating Draco’s mistake in the original.  Osric’s plan is for some of his minions to pretend to be enemy warriors.  He will save Geoff from one of the, and he will pretend to get injured in the process.  As Geoff trusts him now and will feel indebted to him and get Drake to give him half of his heart.  This plan was not revealed, making me wonder if he did do a legitimate heroic act, get injured, will get the heart, and will turn into a hero later. Instead Geoff discovers he is faking and gets Drake to not give him the heart.  All of the troops turn on Drake and Geoff, but Drake finally masters fire breathing, and he gets them out of there.  Finally this movie is turning around, unless this was just a fluke great scene, but…

 

This film wastes no time confirming it was just a fluke.  Lian uses a bad humming sound to woo a guard into getting close enough for him to be knocked out in one punch, and of course he is the only one, and he loses the keys.  They find Griffin’s heart, and Osric gets back and realizes it is a dragon’s heart.  Out of nowhere Osric reveals what would have otherwise been a good villain backstory.  Griffin was cursed before he died to be reborn into the form he hated, most, man.  Osric is Griffin reborn.  Besides coming out of nowhere it also has the flaw that he was reborn a wealthy lord, instead of say a stable boy.  He grabs the heart after Lian throws it in a fire (should have done that years ago you idiots), Osric kills Kwon with an arrow, and he puts the heart in his chest cavity turning him into

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I owe Drake’s design an apology.  To the movie’s credit the dragons do not look horrible, they just smile and fly horribly and look bad.  I can still believe they are talking and there.  He says he will enslave humanity…

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It has been well established a really good knight is a perfectly good match for a dragon.  One dragon is not powerful enough to take out 100 knights, much less sixty million people.  Drake is mesmerized by a fellow scaled fire breather and nearly joins Griffin until Geoff points out how evil he is, and Drake remembers how he was nearly ticked into giving him half of his heart.  Instead they have a very bad looking duel (a low budget live-action film should stay away from fantasy action), and Drake wins, Geoff gets injured, and Drake shares his heart with him.

That was Dragonheart a new Beginning.  It had good sets, an okay human villain, and not much else.  There was a good movie getting ready to come out in the seventy-five percent the way through battle scene, and Ostric had plenty of potential, but Geoff never learned his lesson about not being selfish.  Mansel and Lian never really go anywhere.  Drake trusts too much, and learns to trust the right people, at least he had a complete arc.  It is no where near as bad as Lion King II, but it is worse than The Land Before Time XIII.

DTV Wonders: The Lion King II Simba’s Pride

I have reviewed the entire The Land Before Time franchise.  I loved it, and it is an example of DTV being great, but Disney also did plenty of DTV films.  I am not going in order this time, and it would be way harder for me to find them all.  I know that the two companies have rivalries over who made better DTV sequels, so I will compare them.  Surprisingly I can find very little behind the scenes information on the creative team.

I know I watched this film a few times just for The Animal Kingdom commercial.  It has great animals and a dinosaur.  Oddly it then has a commercial for the soundtrack, and I do not like seeing the animated characters’ actors.  I think it really harms the illusion.  It also has a horrible commercial for Lion King on Broadway.  It has a Disney channel actor getting all the spotlight instead of Simba, and she keeps saying even adults will “like” it.  So they will only tolerate it, and animation is only for kids according to Disney.  Still that one commercial was awesome and made it worth it.

This film has a large hatedom, and a fandom.  The negative is its fandom seems to hate all DTV films and say this is the least bad, which is a horrible sign.  The first song is… Ugh.  The whole introduction is full of them wasting time with needless references to the original, but that does not really harm a  film much unless it spends more time on referencing than its own plot like this does.  The opening song is very similar to “The Circle of Life,” only notably worse.  The animation is just like the original only notably worse and an ugly version, which is something I have never thought about The Land Befor Time sequels. At least the lyrics are okay.   Even worse Timon and Pumba are in a painfully long joke about thinking the new cub, Kiara, is a boy instead of a girl.  he humor of the original is not going to make it.

 

The poor designs did only distract me for the first 15ish minutes at least.  Kiara is trying to leave, Simba promises to let her have fun by himself, but he secretly appoints a watcher.  Will he pick Zazu, Rfikki?  No he picks the least stealthy animals possible, Timon and Pumba.  Picking help is arguably the most important part of being king, and he is failing.  They watch her through over the top non funny slapstick with no one in the audience laughing.  This really hurts the dark mood that is supposed to be forming.  Kiara finds them obviously, and lots of scenes from the original are referenced.  Kiara is at most shown to not like being a princess.  So our new character getting all the focus is the character who does not want her job, et she does not support making The Lion Republic.  After Timon and Pumba forget to keep watching her…

Missed opportunity alert.  Timon and Pumba were useless for this scene and not necessary.  Why not make no one follow her, she gets into trouble as we see later, and that makes Simba over protective.  It would make this faster paced and Simba would be more likable.

She eventually leaves the pridelands chasing a butterfly and finds Kovu.  He is an outsider.  Apparently Kiara is interested in them having more fun lives with less rules, but that will be horribly contradicted later.  They accidently run into some crocodiles, and I really enjoy this early action scene.  The pacing is very good.  I enjoy seeing both Kiara and Kovu saving the other.  After that their parents arrive.  Kovu’s mom is Zira, and outsider exiled from the pridelands and…

They were loyal followers to Scar.  I thought he had a 0% approval rating.  Why did he not get lions who would follow him instead of the weaker hyenas.  Their numbers are shown to be huge despite their recent poor living conditions, so they should have with the hyenas help won the last film easily.  The only good explanation is they were all away hunting, but I have trouble believing all left due to stealth.  It makes n sense in a logical world, but in a filmmaking world this is good besides that.  She is however a much better orator than Simba.  It has earlier been established that pridelanders and outsiders hate each other and never turn their backs towards each other, but they all turn their backs to each other.  I do not like the beginning at all, but if someone were to like Kiara I think they would like it.

Simba takes Kiara back.  He says that she must be queen (or democracy), and that not being queen is the same as not being a lion.  Does that mean every lion who is not royalty does not have the title of lion?  He sings to her “We are One.”  I like most of the lyrics, but the chorus is annoying.  To make it worse both actors are more focused on sounding pretty instead of making emotion.  The meaning of it is.. he never says what it means, and the meaning in the end is not good.

Kovu and Zira arrive back with the rest of the Outsiders.  Kovu’s siblings I presume are Vitana and… I do not know his name.  When I watched it as a younger viewer I had no idea what his name was until I discovered Wikipedia.  Idiot lion exists for jokes about him being covered in termites, give moderate slapstick, and whine about Kovu being the chosen one. Basically he is a comedic villain.  Vitani is actually competent.  To highlight their clear love for fun she immediately plays with Kovu.  Zira blames comic relief, but Kovu takes the blame.  Being a surprise mastermind that he is Zira goes over possible results of being friends with Kiara and slowly realizes that it could make him closer to Simba, and then he could kill him.  Our villains are definitely more interesting already then our heroes.  Apparently Kovu was the kid of a rogue lion and Scar chose him as his successor.  I thought the head lion killed all the cubs from other males meaning all the young outsiders should be his kids.  Apparently they act nothing like real lions, which is understandable.   The villain song has a horrible name, “My Lullaby,” t the lyrics are good, the callbacks to “Be Prepared” show a contrast and are till good on its own merits.  Comic Relief Villain’s  comedy is still not good, but other than that the song is good.

Despite advertising the main characters as cubs they are already early full grown.  I would prefer that they met as teenagers.  Kiara gets to go hunting, but Simba still sends the unstealthy Timon and Pumba after her right after promising he would not.  I finally found what I think makes some people like or hate this movie.  Some people would like Simba no matter what thanks to the original.   Simba is horribly unlikable in this movie, but some viewers like him in it because of how likable he was in the original.  Other fans are like me, we hate Simba so much here that we also cannot like him in the original.  For us this film does the worst thing a sequel can do, make the original worse.

She is shown to be really bad a t hunting and catches Timon and Pumba making her really mad at Simba.  To make it worse Timon once says she has caught them watching her for her dad “8,000 times.”  Kiara is so mad she leaves the pridelands.  In the meantime for Zira’s plan Vitani and Comic Relief Villain set the savannah on fire.  Well Comic Relief Lion puts the fire around him and leaps out twenty feet into the air.  As the plan Kiara falls unconscious (so many things that could go wrong here like here dying and Simba blaming them and going on revenge), and Kovu saves her.  Kiara recognizes him and Zazu, Nala, and Simba show up.  The resulting political debate is something like this, Simba wants to kill the Outsider.  Kovu insists he is actually a rogue and wants to join the pride.  Kiara and Kovu point out he is the rescuer.  Zazu supports them, but then wants him dead.  Zazu si very confusing.  Simba relents.  He does make Kovu stay outside to hate him more instead of setting up a night watch.

The following dream sequence is really bad.  Instead of making new emotional challenges they reuse Mufassa’s death.  Paying James Earl Jones to come back with a limited budget is horrible money management.  They should have had a dream about Kiara dying a similar way to Mufassa to keep the plot of this movie going and be more stand alone.

Kovu helps teach Kiara how to touch as she somehow cannot see he is getting ready to pounce on her dad.  Both Simba and Kiara need to work on awareness.  The next scene shows the Outsiders do not know what fun is and…  It has been shown the whole film they are better at being fun.  It turns out they do not even know how to roar.  To make it worse Rafiki gives us a horrible song with terrible lyrics, and it portrays love as nothing but heart imagery.  Simba decides it is time to start trusting Kovu thanks to Nala.  It is glossed over in the film too.

Simba and Kovu go to talk.  Simba shows him the fire and says how destruction can be good in the next generation, and he shows him a sapling coming up.  It is a good scene, but the Outsiders surprise them both.  Um?  They do know they are at the borders anyway where enemies are?  Why did he go that far with no reliable help.  Simba really stinks at border management.  Zira lies giving Kovu credit and Simba assumes everything his confirmed enemy says is true.  Did I mention how much this movie makes me hate Simba.  It is heavily implied that male lions are very dominant in fights later.

Well thanks to that the Outsiders have trouble controlling Simba as Kovu is somehow out 3 seconds in.  This male domination makes Comic Relief even more pitiful, but that is what comic relief villains do.  Wait what?  He is one coming closest to killing Simba.  Maybe if he was made out to be a bumbling but very skilled fighter this would be intimidating, but certainly am not intimidated.  To my surprise he dies and Vitani reveals his name is “Nuka.”  You will not be missed bad Tybalt/Mercutio stand in.  Apparently his whole family misses him.  If he was not such poor comic relief, had some redeeming traits, or supported a side that was not simply bloodthirsty this would be sad.  The death mourning is instead overly long.  Zira blames Kovu for doing nothing and gives him a scar like Scar’s scar. She is shocked as if no ne else got scratched near the eye.  Kovu flees to priderock.  Simba exiles him because clearly his arch enemy was not lying.  What do you think he did?  He did not assault you.  He did not lead you to the Outsiders, in fact you lead him to the Outsiders.  If Kovu was somehow leading what were you doing following someone with suspect loyalty to where you had no allies and lots and lots of enemies?  We the get a song from what characters?   How about nameless ones?

       Kiara receives the blame from Simba and banishes her to inside Pride Rock.  Did I mention how much a Lion Republic is needed.  Also Timon and Pumba are still assigned to watch her.  She attacks Simba by saying “You will never be Mufassa.”  Considering it is terrible advise to be exactly like anyone great since every person is different the film is giving us the horrible advice to be someone else instead of the best you, you can be.  She finds a hole to escape out of and leaves.  It leads to he final song, “Love Will Find a Way.”  It is the best song in the film.  It is sung well with emotions.  It ahs some actual discovery, Kovu using the only remotely smart stuff Simba taught him, and it is about the only likable characters in the film.  Kovu wants them to run away together.  I support this.  Kiara says they must help the two prides.  I guess that could work, but between all the nearby animals who clearly do not want the Scar supporters back no way could they go to war.

It turns out Zira got the outsiders to go to war.  Why they did not do this before Kovu jumped ship or years ago, but at least we are promised good action.  Zira would be a good one dimensional villain except this Romeo and Juliet story requires both groups being in the worng, yet they should be likable.  Here both groups are in the wrong and are overly unlikable.

The Outsiders come.  The Pridelanders come.  The naimals tat can fight lions do not come.  I guess they do not car if Simba or Zira rule them despite the elephants and rhinos being in no real danger.  Apparently Scar’s disapproval rating was shockingly low.  The main fight is… Very confusing ad slow.  I cannot tell who is who.  Timon and Pumba have hijinks I never understood until I was 13.  Kiara and Kovu come to break it up.  Kiara gets them to stop fighting by saying “They are us.  What differences do you see?”  So if you look like someone you are them?

According to Kiara they are the same
According to Kiara Charlie Chaplin is Adolf Hitler

 

Congratulations Kovu, you no longer have competition for best character here.  Somehow it makes all of the Outsiders decide to join the Prideleanders except Zira.

 

After that Zira leaps to knock Simba into a raging river. Kiara gets in the way, and they both go down.  Kiara got to do the speech; therefore, they let Kovu jumps down to save his lionness friend and mother.  No, he just sits there and looks worried.

Remember first film all Simba wet through?  His dad died, he saw his mother get beaten, he was kicked out of home.  Here is wore than useless, and he now has a much bigger pride.  He probably has a bigger ego too.  I hate this movie.  It has mostly poor songs.  No characters end it likable.  It has a story that requires a grey and grey morality with white morality heroes, yet it accidently gives black vs black.  The climax is bad.  The animation never looks better than average.  Nuka is perhaps the worst villain ever, and their version of Simba is just awful.

In comparison to The Land Before Time this has a better climax than 13, and if it was not a sequel it would probably be better, but it fails so horribly as a sequel due to making the first one worse.  It is worse than 13.  Its best song is no where near as good as the twentieth best song in Universal’s flagship DTV series.  I plan on never watching this film again.  At least it had a great commercial.

 

DTV wonders: The Land Before Time XIII The Wisdom of Friends

Am I the only adult in the world who watches this film once a year?  It is considered to be universally panned, but it still has some good parts.  Not enough to make it any where near a good movie, but just maybe enough to stay out of the bottom spot.  It has some immediate bad parts.  With the exception of Journey Through the Mists (4) it is the only one that does not have Littlefoot on the side of the box, which is the first thing the viewer has on the shelf to remind them what series it is from.  Jamie Mitchell for one film takes over as director from Charles Grosvenor.  There is no music from the original film, and I do not think any of the music is original and designed for this film, even though it is still used well, but worst of all the title is horrible.

It starts with a few poor commercials.  The Later Day sequel trilogy was for nine years the last three movies.  They are known for being the worst trilogy in the series, and only one of them is positively viewed.  They really seemed to be for a younger audience and took away most of the interesting things like intense conflict and battles.

At least the Universal logo is good as always.  It then does a similar shot to the beginning of Journey of the Brave (14), but the CGI is much worse.  More on that later.  I actually think that up until the sleep story this has a good beginning.  I like seeing the t-rex chasing the velociraptors and the little creature hiding to show its unique survival skills.  When it shows Littlefoot and Grandma we get to the first two problems.  For one I thought Littlefoot’s actor here was fine the first three watches, but now I find him annoying.  Again Littlefoot is voiced by a one movie actor, but he did return from the TV series.  Another problem is due to Kenneth Mars’s sickness he has no lines.  He was always the wise and more adventurous grandparent, while Grandma was more of the heart.  After 11 movies of clearly seeing that and 12 thinking it I have a problem seeing him not lead the group as Grandma does it, which she never did before.  I actually have no problem with Littlefoot going over the tree on the ditch.  It is no more dangerous than many of his past adventures, but the movie does not present it that way.  I think the director forgot his audience knew they were watching sequels about previously established adventure experienced heroes.  He also showed where it seemed they were shown as experienced in journeys (with the thirsty and drinking when it is available scene) only for Ducky to ruin the moment.  Back to the introduction, a freak Earth shake nearly kills Littlefoot and Grandma nearly dies saving him.  He would have been fine, as that is nothing compared to the similar situation in The Stone of Cold Fire (7).  This is presented with Littlefoot in the wrong, but that doe not work for two reasons.  Littlefoot is the valley’s biggest or second biggest hero because he takes risks like that.  Also he was only in danger because of a freak earthquake.  This scene is way worse on paper, due to Tavera’s score creating needed suspense.  After that Grandma tells him “The Wisdoms.”  They are overly basic for my tastes.  The introduction is probably one of the best parts, which is not saying much.

The theme is very basic for the series.  It is that everyone has their own special way of being good.  It also has some of an epistemological debate, but I do not think that was intended.

Littlefoot has some poor moments here.  He seems to be inexperienced and wrong for most of the film, even though by most standards he should be right about things like the tree and the Yellow Bellies.  He at least pulls of some impressive feats like leading a herd for the first time since The Time of the Great Giving (3).  He shows the theme by being a doubter and representing reason.

Cera is often portrayed as in the right (very surprising).  Littlefoot is presented as making a mistake when he is mad at Cera for playing a game that involves screaming for help (as every parent agrees).  She also says the Yellow Bellies “Were just fine” before they got there.  I think Littlefoot is right they were  just lucky based on their horrible survival skills.  She also gets in an annoying friendship with Doofah (Loofah?  I cannot tell them apart), which means Cera hates her at first and then starts liking her later.

Ducky and Petrie are not important, but Petrie gets some good lines at least.  Spike is important to Foobie.

The songs are not good.  “Say So” is the worst song in the franchise for about forty minutes.  It has horrible animation, gets bad after the first verse, and it is rather annoying.   I was tempted to say it is better than “Yellow Belly Dance”, but it at least has some character development in it and catchy lyrics.  As poor as it is it fells like it was from The Land Before Time franchise, while “Say So seems to be from a Disney song, while Land Before Time is an alternative to.  “How Do You Know” is the champion of the first two movies.  It is about the epistemological debate.  It concludes that the way is through experience, and I like that.  I like the song.

As I said earlier the animation is not good.  Many shots look off.  The clouds and grass are blatantly CGI.  Littlefoot’s eyelashes disappear and reappear.

The major problem is the Yellow Bellies for one Loofah and Doofah have way to similar names to see them as characters.  Foobie is the wise one.  It is foreshadowed too much and was too obvious.  It does help that he mirrors Spike like that, and one very good subtle foreshadowing was he was shown storing food for later and sharing it.  Besides that I knew he was the wise one almost immediately.  They are said to be very fast runners

as shown in this six pack.  They are meant to be portrayed as capable of surviving, but it is not a wonder they went extinct after Foobie died of old age.  They thought a herd of sharpteeth was a mirage as they “Could even hear it and smell its breath.”  Doofah (Loofah) after annoyingly saying “You’re beautiful” four times also wonders into a mudslide and chokes on flowers.  she is definitely going to die soon.  Besides her the rest the pack is surprisingly fine and not annoying with Foobie and Littlefoot’s help.  Most of their humor actually is pretty funny, so I will give them that.  They also give some fairly okay arguments for intuition.

To my surprise John Loy was still the writer, and he was not ready for an epistemological debate, but he could still write sharpteeth.  The scar one has did not work but having four did, as it was more than in The Great Longneck Migration (10).  Unfortunatly the climax is just horrible.  It is so bad the sharpteeth jump off a cliff to get away from it.  I wish I was exaggerating.  After that Grandma finds the rest of the group and tells them “The most important wisdom, do not leave the great valley.”  Lets analyze that from each movie.

1- An impossibility, thus the most important wisdom (They should have looked up some synonyms) is irrelevant.

2- If not done then Ducky loses a sibling, and future friends die.  In her defense leaving did create problems.

3- Everyone dies of fire, thirst or hunger.

4- Grandpa dies, and without his leadership I think all the residents of the Great Valley die later.

5- Everyone des of hunger.  If they did not leave the group later everyone splits up and most die later.

6- She is right this time except they had to follow others leaving, so two toddlers are eventually eaten.

7- Ducky dies and the possibility of future dictator gets supernatural powers.  Also aliens view Earth negatively and conqueror it making everyone die.

8- Everyone starves and dies.

9- They are forever separated from everyone else.

10- They think leaving was important and Grandma championed leaving.  Also Bron dies in 14.

11- They never left in this one, yet still make all of the films problems..

12- Guido dies.

13- The yellow bellies Loofah, Doofah, and Foobie die.  Without Foobie the rest die.

(later) 14- Bron dies and his herd is in trouble.

I guess Grandma does not value life.  Another oddity is this is to my knowledge the only one where Mr. Threehorn does not speak.  Tria does it instead.  It also ends with a title drop.

Some more good parts include that Miriam Flynn acted very well as Grandma.  It attacked the critics who said the mysterious beyond is somehow both a desert and a rain forest by showing it is large and the area has both terrains.  It was also shown in 14, 4, and 10.  Basically the later sequels prefer the desert and earlier ones prefer the rain forest.  It also had a good middle action scene.

This film has some good parts, but it is consistently bad, which makes it hard to please anyone.  Besides a Land Before Time collection there is not much point to it.

The new running time rankings are 14 (82 minutes), 13 (76 minutes)

The worst three songs are 3. Hot and Stinky (14) 2. Yellow Belly Dance (13) 1. Say So

The three best songs are 3.Today is the Day (14)  2.Better off Alone  (14) 1. How do you Know.

The climax rating is 14, 13.

The film rating is now 14, 13.  I think this will be at the bottom for a long time.