The Lord of the Rings

The biggest memory I have around this film is when I was younger and we were planning on watching it, a friend was tasked with renting it, but accidentally got a wrestling tape called The Lords of the Ring instead (maybe he had just called to reserve it, without seeing the box). I’ve always had mixed feelings for this film. I do find it to be quite interesting and fascinating, and it is a well done retelling (albeit unfortunately cut short) of the Lord of the Rings saga — and I was quite surprised to see how Jackson’s film does in fact follow so many of the same beats as this earlier film. Where I have mixed feelings is with the aesthetics. The character designs are great, but I’m not a huge fan of rotoscoping when it comes to animation — it gives everything too much of a jerky motion, since it maps too closely to realistic movement — and so would have much preferred a more traditional animation style. But what I dislike the most is that they in fact eschew animation a lot of times (maybe for budget reasons) and so you occasionally get real actors with a slight color overlay — often suddenly and with no transition — and that’s something I don’t like. Where it does slightly work is with the orcs, since it makes them look so creepy (but I would still have preferred to have them properly animated). Still an interesting film to revisit though.


I was pretty interested in watching this, even though I can’t say I’ve always been the biggest Groening follower. Sure, I liked the Simpsons back in the day, but haven’t watched any of it in over a decade (at least), and watched bits of Futurama here and there, and liked it enough, but that’s it. As for this, I’ve watched half of the episodes, and, well, I like it enough to watch more. It’s nothing amazing, it’s fun but not incredibly funny (although I absolutely love Elfo), but I find myself sometimes in the right mood to watch an episode, and do so. All this to say I like it fine — wow, what a noncommittal critique — and will watch all that’s there.

Justice League Dark

There was a time when I watched all of the DC animated films, and liked them, but eventually I grew tired of watching them and just stopped — the one exception was the recent, and terrific, Batman Ninja movie. I did find myself suddenly in the mood to watch one the other night, and picked this one out of the bunch (there are quite a few available on Netflix). As I find with all of these, the quality of the animation is always disappointing (it’s barely above TV cartoon quality), but I did enjoy the movie despite that, especially the dynamic between Constantine and Zatanna. I’ll probably watch a few more, since I’m in the mood for animated super-hero stuff of late (I’m also slowly watching the Young Justice series). 

Flavors of Youth

This is a new anime anthology film out on Netflix, and it’s an absolute wonderful watch. It looks like it’s a co-production with China (the settings are Chinese as well, and of the three parts, two are directed by Chinese directors), but feels a lot like the films of Makoto Shinkai (Your Name), with hyper-realistic backdrops, and beautiful use of colors and soundtrack. I think the middle part (about the fashion model) is the weakest, but overall I enjoyed this immensely.

Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle

I quite liked the first Godzilla anime film on Netflix, that marked the start of trilogy. The second part is now out, and I really enjoyed this one as well. Just like the first movie, it’s a hardcore sci-fi take on Godzilla, and this one features even cooler mech-on-Godzilla battles. Do make sure to stay for the after-credit tease, as it’s a big one, and makes me that much more excited for the next film.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Season 3)

As I just wrote, after finishing the Rebels series I decided to go back and finish watching The Clone Wars. I did like that series, but for some reason had only watched the first 2-3 seasons. I picked up in the second half of season 3, which I’ve now finished, and I’m liking it quite a bit — and it was especially interesting to watch the sequence of episodes that involved the three Force users that we see on the temple wall towards the end of Rebels. I prefer the aesthetic of The Clone Wars over Rebels, as it uses a more realistic look in terms of style and lighting, and more defined features on the characters, and more detailed vehicles. Seeing as how I’m enjoying going through the remaining seasons, I’m now that much more excited that we’re going to get an extra season.

Star Wars Rebels (Season 4)

I recently got around to watching the fourth and final season of Star Wars Rebels. I can’t say I was super crazy about the series in general, but enjoyed certain sections of it — basically, anything that involved the return of Ahsoka Tano, my favorite Star Wars character. Since finishing it, I went back to watching The Clone Wars, which I had never watched in its entirety, and I’m now also realizing that I much preferred the look of that series, more than the slightly simplified/cartoony  aesthetic they used on Rebels. I also didn’t really like most of the characters, especially their design — Sabine Wren would be the exception. So overall, I had fun watching most of it, but can’t say that I really loved it, and so I’m not sad at all that it ended. I am quite looking forward to seeing what Star Wars: Resistance (the upcoming series) will be like.

Batman Ninja

This movie is insanely good, and by far the best animated Batman film I’ve seen. Created entirely by a Japanese staff, it’s a Japanese take on the Batman mythos, but with tongue lodged deeply in cheek, and with stunning visuals that although CG feel more like they were taken from traditional paintings (well, inspired by them at least). The whole story is batshit insane (you can quote me on that), and seriously fun — Batman and friends, and villains, are all transported to feudal Japan, and in the climax we have giant robot battles. We get Sengoku Batman even. This was just so much fun to watch, and a treat for the eyes.

Mazinger Z: Infinity

The Mazinger Z that I watched when I was a kid was in fact the Grendizer series (that I watched in French as Goldorak), and so although I’m not really familiar with the entire Mazinger series, I was pretty excited to watch this new movie. The main character ends up being Koji Kabuto, who was the pilot of Grendizer, so it did feel somewhat familiar — and it was fun seeing my wife sing along with the theme song at the start, as she was a big fan of the original series. The story here is pretty forgettable — and close to nonsensical — but I was in it just for the robot battles, and those at least were well done. I especially like how despite the modern look of the animation — with robots rendered in CG — all the evil robots still kept the crazy color patterns they had back in the original shows. Not a great movie, but it has its moments when the action happens.