This month really didn’t involve too many new movies or TV shows. I only tend to watch movies when my wife is home and a combination of her being busy and not feeling well has not led to much movie watching. Also throw in the fact that our little boy has taken to loving the movie Cars we’ve watched that a handful of times over the past month.
For this post I’ll only be focusing on shows or movies that I wasn’t watching the previous month. In terms of TV shows I am still going through the original Transformers series, which it should be noted is also now on Netflix; I am also still going through Naruto: Shippuden on Hulu as well. We also finished series of Ah! My Goddess. For more info about these shows check last months list. Anyhow, here’s this month.
1. The Muppets (PG) – This is the only movie that we watched the past month. Overall, I enjoyed the movie but I couldn’t help but feel that the movie was more of a appetizer than a full meal. Before I get to why I feel like that I should give you the plot of the movie.
The plot really seems to focus not so much around the Muppets as much as it focuses around two brothers Gary and his brother Walter who is the Muppets’ biggest fan (and also a Muppet himself…somehow). Gary, who is purely human, always wants to be there for his brother and help him, but this is a source of tension for his girlfriend Mary. Particularly as Gary and Mary’s anniversary vacation to Los Angeles involves Walter tagging along so that he can visit the Muppets Studios.
During the tour of a rather dilapidated Muppets Studios, Walter learns of a plot to destroy the Muppets Studio to find oil, under the guise of turning Muppets Studios into a Muppets Museum. So Walter, Gary, and Mary seek to get the Muppets back together so they can earn enough money to save the Muppets Studios from destruction.
Why this seems so much like an appetizer is that after we are introduced to the new characters, find out the plot we’re a decent way into the movie before we even see many of the Muppets. So by the time the crew is back together there is very little Muppet interaction. We instead basically get a series of acts done by various Muppets. This was enjoyable, but I just found myself wanting more. Don’t get the wrong idea I enjoyed the movie. It was everything a Muppets movie should be, fun, musical, wacky, full of physical humor, and needing a large dose of suspension of disbelief (such as traveling by map). I guess at the end of it, I just wanted to have more Muppets.
1. High School of the Dead – Much like a good portion of the culture I enjoy a good zombie movie or TV show. It is interesting to see how different shows will display how the zombies act. However, where these shows really shine for me is how they depict the survivors. Often in these shows the zombies are the obvious enemies, but the stress and tensions within those who are still human are often times just as much of a threat if not more than the zombies. With that being said I’d say this is an average or maybe slightly above average show, but the fact that it is the first anime zombie show I’ve watched gives it a unique place.
The premise is pretty easy to get from the title. The story follows a number of high school students after a zombie apocalypse happens. It follows them as they learn to survive in a world that is not like the one they were used to. Of course it helps when they have a sword expert, a member of a spear martial arts club, and a gun nut among their number. It’s hard to know whether to write that off as awfully coincidental or that honestly those are the types most likely to survive. In terms of the zombie survival angle this was a very enjoyable show. The action was good and the situations for the most part are believable. Sure you may say some parts are a stretch, but remember we’re talking about a zombie apocalypse something that is a bit of a stretch of the imagination in the first place.
There are three things that really detract from this show though. The first and most annoying and mood breaking in my opinion was the out of place use of the female character as eye candy. It’s just really bad in some places, it’s not necessarily straight nudity, but more inordinate focus on breasts and panties. Anyone who has watched a share of anime knows that some of this is to be expected, but this show takes it to the extreme in places. This does get toned down after about half way, but still that first half was pretty bad.
Secondly, the English dub or voice-over was not very good. I don’t know why companies think that Americans always need pop culture references and a lot more swearing to understand what’s going on, but it just winds up being dumb. I watched this on Netflix with the subtitles and it’d be much more enjoyable to me if they stuck with the subtitles as the dialogue instead of altering it so much.
The last detraction is just the fact that the story isn’t finished. There is only twelve episodes and it doesn’t leave much of any resolution. It basically just leaves you wanting more. The thing is I don’t know if any more episodes are planned at all for the future.
2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Before I get into this one it should be noted that there are two Fullmetal Alchemist animes out there. They have the same characters largely, but go two different directions. They are more parallel stories than directly related stories. The only reason I mention this is that it took me a bit to figure this out. This version though is the one that is connected to the graphic novel or manga and is the one I chose to watch.
I’m not done with this show yet, but the basic story pretty much goes like this. The story focuses on two relatively young boys who know the “science” alchemy. In the world of the story alchemy is a “science” that allows transmutation, which is basically the ability to turn one thing into something else. The two main characters in the story Edward and Alphonse learned alchemy at a very young age by studying the books of their absent father. However, their mother dies and the two boys do what is forbidden in the world of alchemy. They try to bring their beloved mother back to life. Due to this Edward loses an arm and a leg and Alphonse loses his whole body and is only able to exist by having his soul bound to a suit of armor.
This is really just the background, the driving force of the story is Edward and Alphonse’s attempt to find a way to get their bodies back to normal. This goal leads Edward to become a government alchemist where he earns the title of Fullmetal Alchemist. His position allows him to hear about the Philosopher’s Stone which is said to amplify the ability to do alchemy and it could be the key to getting their bodies back to normal. However, in their journey towards the Philosopher’s Stone Edward and Alphonse find themselves involved in a conspiracy that threatens their nation and their lives.
I’ve really been enjoying this anime. As with most of the anime I have been watching it is on Neflix. Only the first half of the anime is up though. I’m hoping the second half will be up by the time I get to it though. The anime just has a very good range of themes. At the core despite all the others things that go on it is about the loyalty and love between two brothers who are seeking to get each other back to normal. It deals with many other things though like the limits of mankind, grief, guilt, love, responsibility, doing the right thing even when it goes against everything else, and I’m sure there are more than that. In addition to all the serious stuff it also can be very funny and has some pretty good action sequences. In my opinion it is a well done series at least so far.
If I were to give it one weakness, I would say that the use of alchemy can be a little dubious. Sometimes I wonder is some of the things that are done in the show by using it really follow the rules as they are given within the show itself. In that regard alchemy becomes a lot more like magic than it does science, but really I’m okay with that. It makes for some interesting action sequences in those instances so I’m not really complaining, it just is something that comes to mind occasionally.
Anyhow these were the movies and TV shows that I watched during the past month. Not too many new ones honestly, but I don’t think that is a bad thing necessarily.