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I'll be gone for a five days after Thanksgiving on vacation, but I'll be back :D
Story Concept: Master Splinter by jarredspekter
Story Concept: Master Splinter
This is actually an original idea by :iconzavarious: but I was asked to throw my own spin into the mix too.
There's more to this story (MUCH more) but here's a taste of the introduction until I find some time to give this concept more attention. I might even update this when I get permission by the original author.

I LOVE the idea of a Splinter-based story. There's a lot of potential in a character both so recognizable but also fairly mysterious in his origins. Unlike, say, the recent TMNT movie you wouldn't have to re-write the whole original comic-based storyline that Eastman and Laird invented in order to look into the history of Splinter. I naturally extrapolated in a few places and made some ideas up, but it all seems to fit into the general spectrum of my favorite version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mythos. 

I honestly wish that they'd taken this tack instead of just 're-inventing' the TMNT franchise with CGI and making the story less interesting and less character focused.

Imagine if someone took the risk and opened the doors on TMNT with an examination of the as yet unseen backstory to a classic character we never expected to see, instead of making Transformers with miniature Incredible Hulks?

By the way :iconzavarious: if you want anything changed, modified, added let me know!
 
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Crash Bandicoot compared to Sonic Boom by jarredspekter
Crash Bandicoot compared to Sonic Boom
I think I managed to crack...of maybe that should be CRASH...a code here.

Sonic Boom IS Crash Bandicoot for all intents and purposes. 
Suddenly it all makes sense! The barely defined unnamed jungle setting. The fact that all the main characters live in one hut. The weird deformed art style!

Even the logos look similar!

Also consider the character comparisons...

Knuckles versus Crunch the Bandicoot: Both are red, buff, not very bright bruisers who don't say much and when they do it's usually cliche 'muscleman' talk.

Neo Cortex versus Dr. Eggman: Both are ineffectual villains living in island fortresses who build seemingly purposeless inventions to capture the main heroes.  

Amy Rose AND Tails versus Coco Bandicoot: Amy and Tails in the show are basically Coco's main traits split in two: a sporty tomboy who is also a genius inventor. 

Sonic and Crash Bandicoot: Suddenly Sonic's seemingly out of character lethargy and seeming lack of ambition makes sense when you replace him with Crash and replace all his words with grunting sounds.

And lest you think this isn't a fair comparison, consider that Bob Rafei one of the lead art designers for the game Rise of Lyric is responsible for EVERY Crash Bandicoot game!

If they wanted to make a Crash Bandicoot show though, why not just do that? :/
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No, I didn't forget the 'M' in the title.

You probably supposed my review of the show Sonic Boom would be a negative one out of the gate. I tend to be pretty harsh when it comes to entertainment's foibles, I'm a fan of Sonic when he takes chances and not when he's complacent to some kind of pointless dumbing down of character, and I'm not fond of kid's shows that actively diminish IQs. It doesn't help that the game Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is also apparently an unpolished, largely unfinished mess which is making some fondly look back to the glory days of Sonic 2006.

So I could just spend my time on this journal ragging on the show or the game for the numerous little nitpicks as well as big gaping plot holes, quality issues, and just plain lazy pandering steps that all backfired in such a big way as to make even me who was that close to being a die-hard fan nearly concede that Sonic as a franchise might be not only dead but also buried with a stake through it's heart by this point.

OR...

I can do something a little more constructive and explain what I feel is the major issue that crippled this reinvention from the word 'go'.

Sonic as a character and as a franchise has managed to poke its head up above the cloud of pretender mascots by virtue of one thing I'd argue: a definable world. Not necessarily a terribly original one initially or one that made total sense all things considered, but in the original games to about the Adventures series there was some attempt to surround Sonic with a consistent cast of characters, story elements, and even locations that played a part in his journey's like South Island and Station Square. Sonic was forging his own identity, especially pulling away from undue association with his closest rival Mario who also had his own identity, his own world to inhabit. The Mushroom Kingdom is unmistakable from the zones in Sonic while likewise Dr. Egg Man/Robotnik was not just a carbon copy of Bowser.
Sonic was trying to be something else and something definably itself; the big stepping off point which kept that series alive when other mascots like Aero the Acrobat, Bubsy, Awesome Possum,  and numerous others fell by the wayside. None of these pulled themselves together enough to have a united mythos, in fact each game in their series seemed like a completely different universe with only vague associated elements to even remind you that the game had any ties to their franchises.

But Sonic had iconography: the rings, the loops, the robot enemies, the various companions Sonic would fight along side.
Sonic had distinguishable music, style, and yes...attitude.

That of course brings us to The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (SATAM). Both of these shows displayed essentially the two different directions the series could take: a madcap poorly defined colorful character who was not all that different or memorable compared to any other cartoon...or a remarkably daring departure in which all the desperate elements built up over the years were united in a single story with continuity, with concepts that went beyond the simplicity of a game into something verging on a small scale science fiction epic. Adventures was perfectly serviceable as an energetic but forgettable foray into children's entertainment, but SATAM combined Sonic with a strong backing story and world transforming Sonic from just another mascot into a wholly realized sub-universe of characters and history. Just as the still ongoing comic series in the both America and the UK which not only tell their own stories based on the same concepts but are also notable as THE LONGEST RUNNING FRANCHISE BASED COMIC SERIES EVER MADE.

Transformers dropped off and then picked up again. G.I Joe had a resurgence after the movies injected a little life into its veins and there's been several one shot comics bringing back nostalgic stories for one last go around...but Sonic has not only never left it's still going. There is so many opportunities to tell stories that Sonic in the comic sense is like the Marvel and DC series with some comic tales based on the past, present, and future of his world without even resorting to showing him on the page. Name another video game/tv show based comic series which has spinoffs devoted entirely to side characters. Sonic has had SERIES based on the adventures of Knuckles. 
KNUCKLES!

The same one-note buff guy that the latest incarnation of Sonic hasn't even bothered to give any personality let alone a backstory or identity. 

And therein lies the issue. 

Where is Sonic Boom set? When is it set? Why are there some animals like Sonic and his friends (and random other ones) who are anthropomorphic in appearance, yet one episode of the show has Sticks the Badger looking for a PET? So...some animals are like regular animals? Why? Are there un-anthro versions of hedgehogs or echidnas or badgers? 
Where did Dr. Eggman come from? Why is he the only human (I assume he's a human) in the world in EITHER the game or the show? Why does he only have a relatively small island fortress and why does he care what happens to Sonic and company?
By the same token, why does Lyric in the game? He's one of the 'ancients' is he? So why do ancients want to replace all living things with robots?
And if he does, how is he any different from Dr. Eggman? 

The answer to all of this is WHO CARES?
And that's not a dismissive shrug on my part, it's a genuine question. It seems nobody cared, not the animators, the writers, the producers, the actors...no one. Sonic has literally been stripped of all meaning, pulled from his world and left to just bumble about in a colorful void of purposelessness.
The literal message we're getting here is that no one cares about Sonic, and neither do the people handling him now either. Why does he have sports tape around his limbs? It makes him look 'cool' I guess. Why does he live in a beach house with Tails? Come to think of it, where are Tails' parents? Where are his parents? Where are Amy's? Are they all the same age or are some of them younger or older?
What motivates any of them? Clearly Sonic doesn't want to have Eggman or anyone else take over the world...but why? Does he have plans for the future? Does he have some history with any of these characters? Does he have any personal principals driving his decisions? Does he even have any quirks of character?

The answer again is WHO CARES. For those complaining that in the past Sonic has had no discernible character this is like a parody of that concern. Sonic has been stripped down so far that we've struck bone and are left with an empty mascot all over again. He has no personality beyond the actor doing an impression of past Sonic actors. He's a copy of a copy of a copy.

Here's another thing that might startle you (or not): My Little Pony did it better.

YES. My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is a children's television show and intended to be one and it has colorful characters, silly humor, and doesn't always make much sense...but STILL.
If you ask me who Pinkie Pie is I can tell you, and anyone could tell you after watching a few episodes, what makes her tick, her quirks of personality, her history, her interests, her fears, her relationships, her goals and motivations.
I can even practically tell you her age! There's a scene where she talks with her friend Fluttershy and is told 'I'm a year older than you.'
That's not specific, granted, but it's SOMETHING. It's an implication that ages exist in the universe of the characters and that they have meaning and difference. 

Ask me anything about Sonic and his gang after watching every aired episode of Sonic Boom so far?

I can't tell you anything.

Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles are cardboard. Even Sticks is like a halfhearted attempt to recreate Pinkie Pie, except that as I noted with Pinkie some effort was put into making Pinkie a person in her own right. Sticks might as well be a synopsis: 'She's a paranoid weirdo'.
Okay...so...why? 
Because she lives in the woods? Is she younger than she looks? 
Nope. She's just weird. 
As for Tails he likes to invent things. Why? Because he does.
Literally, that's all. No indication he has any goals in doing so or any history or personality to prompt what he does. He makes stuff because that's what his CHARACTER does. He's a tool for the plot, not a person.
Knuckles I think is supposed to be a generic jock type who only cares about himself. That's not only cliche it's also really uninteresting because he's not supposed to be a villain, he's supposed to be a hero. Why would I care about someone so self absorbed they are verging on losing association with reality? There are scenes where Knuckles ignores what's going on around him because he's more interested in himself. That's not exactly heroic behavior.
Nor does it actually tell us anything about him. So he's a jerk...so what?
Amy acts like a psychiatrist and juggles sometimes. Is she a showman? Does she have an interest in psychiatry? Nobody cares. She does whatever as long as it's funny.

Again going back to MLP, there were some real risks taken with the characters on the show when it came to what they did and when. Kids don't always like or understand emotional scenes, but shielding them from bad feelings entirely does them no good at all. There are episodes of MLP in which the fun loving Pinkie is left alone or neglected, and suddenly her character trait which by itself would seem tailored to be a joke is taken in a whole new direction. Pinkie examines herself, the fact that perhaps at times she IS a joke...and that makes her very insecure and unhappy. The very notion of comic relief is subverted because the character has stepped outside of the cliche to realize that sometimes they playact their part without knowing what to do if that act ever falls through. 
Name another character recently who reexamined their own context and even second-gussed their reasons for being the way they are.

But Sonic Boom doesn't care. From now until the end of time Knuckles will be a self-absorbed jock most likely. Nothing anyone on the show or in the game does has any consequences on purpose. There's times the characters fight but it's as contrived in execution as it is in conclusion.  

And are these really lessons we want kids to learn? Not everything kids watch or enjoy has to have a 'lesson' (and some 'lessons' they do get are very poorly delivered) but everything a child experiences becomes a part of their data bank to call up throughout their lives if it leaves an impression. A kid isn't just watching television to turn off their minds, they're doing it to feed their minds as well.

And Sonic Boom is brain starvation.

No characters. No ideas. No continuity. No logic. No world.

In MLP the first episode was partially devoted to not only the history but the mythology of the world even before we met the main character.

In Sonic Boom the first episode through the last aired so far hasn't had one detour to find out anything about our cast or where they live at all. It's just been a sequence of events meant solely to pad out time and provide leeway for a few tepid jokes.

And even the jokes don't make any sense. I KNOW it's for kids, but do kids not care about logic? When I was a kid things that didn't make sense infuriated me, especially if the person made no effort to explain them.

Dr. Eggman when lifting up a robot with his flying vehicle says 'You might want to burn some calories!'

Um...it's a ROBOT. Is the joke supposed to be that Eggman is stupid?
Yes it's a play on the robot being called Burn Bot but even that makes no sense. Literally none. Eggman admits that Burn Bot can't burn anything. 
That's not funny. That's just stupid. And it's not even stupid in the context of someone IN the show doing some ridiculous. It's the writers all but saying 'We don't care.' straight to your face, and laughing about it.

In MLP there's a scene where the characters joke about a bowl of punch being 'Spiked' since the dragon named Spike has fallen asleep inside of it. 
Now granted kids might not understand the reference, but it actually seems to say something interesting about MLP as a world. The reference makes sense in context because, weirdly enough, to the cast it makes sense as a play on words. Apparently in the MLP universe 'spiking' a drink is something that actually exists in popular knowledge. Weird for a kid's show, yes, but at least it makes some kind of logical sense. The universe hasn't warped just for the sake of a pun.

But in Sonic Boom there are so many, many moments in which the laws of reality break in order to facilitate a humorous moment. Sticks is shown to be kicking robots and breaking them to pieces...but the next moment she's charged a giant robot and is ineffectually hitting it with her wooden boomerang. Why? Because it's funny when characters get frustrated trying to do things that are impossible. Why however is she unable to take on a larger robot when smaller robots she can literally kick to death earlier? No reason.
The world broke so that the 'joke' would work.

And why is there buttons on a table? There's a scene in one episode where a table is scene in the foreground and it appears to have a collection of buttons and a screen on the side? WHY? Does the table activate a holographic game of something like in Star Wars? Does it heat up like a microwave? It looks like the table top is made out of wood so probably not. Does the little screen turn on? Did Tails make this table or did he and Sonic buy it somewhere? Why if they have so much technology does their little house run on wind power and if it does how can they have electric powered tables with so little energy to expend?

I'm nitpicking now ^^;

But seriously. For me the table was the last straw.
Nobody cares so neither will I. 
Until someone shows some effort, some passion, and maybe a bit of sense Sonic needs a nice long dirt nap.
Happy Halloween folks! :iconpumpkinplz:

For many of us it's all about dressing up in costumes that are silly in retrospect and eating candy until we regret it, but having such a fun time we do it all over again next year!

So in the spirit of the that I present in no particular order ten horror related pleasures of mine I look back on with some misgivings, but never enough to not stop enjoying them whenever I need a freaky fix ;)

1: Dead Island

The only true horror genre game I own actually and it qualifies...sometimes. Dead Island is almost the definition of guilty pleasure gaming. The graphics are patchy sometimes. The gameplay is unbalanced in the extreme. The voice acting is hilariously overwrought. The story is all over the place and never settles on a tone or even a plot so is ultimately discardable and the violence is just ridiculous. 
But that last factor makes this an excellent pick-up-and-play stress reliever. There is a strange kind of euphoric joy is smashing a zombie over the head with a lead pipe and the melee encounters (of which there are many) are the place where the game truly shines. There's equal silly excitement in cobbling together new weapons from random junk and, I'll admit, there are times when there's only the wind swept empty shores of the abandoned resort with the moan of distant zombies echoing in the emptiness that this game genuinely gets spine tingling and creepy. 

2: Masters of Horror

This is NOT a good series. I'm sorry if people disagree with me and you're welcome to but for all the horror authors writing the stories and classic horror actors taking part in them this series veered well into extremely silly, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not so much. There is one genuinely good episode called Cigarette Burns by Wes Craven but even this one falls victim to an over-the-top conclusion which ratchets up the goofiness along with the gore. The whole series also has an annoying preachy subtext against the Iraq War, oil, religion...you name it. Thankfully this kind of preachiness just makes it all the more hilarious when you consider what these 'terrifying' episodes are actually about. 
When episodes is about a secret society of cannibals who are dedicated to president George Washington...who was also a cannibal! Zombies return from the battlefield...to vote in the next election! There's Robert England (Freddy Kreuger) who DJs a club for zombies after the apocalypse, a vengeful clown who turns his victims into ice cream, killer fur coats...etc. 
None of it is remotely scary except on very rare occasions but it's all so off the wall and yet so solemn about itself you can't help but enjoy it. At least I can't. It's also fun to see big name actors dress up in funny costumes, overact, and plaster themselves with fake blood.

3: Saw

The original. 
This movie is stupid. More than a few minutes thought tears down the premise, the plot, everything. The acting with a few notable exceptions (Like Carey Elwes and Tobin Bell) is awful. The editing is so spastic it borders on becoming a parody of itself. This movie also inspired the worst and laziest torture porn excuses for 'horror' movies that basically killed the genre for years, if not for good since I've yet to see a good horror film in a good long while.
But this movie has one undeniable factor in it's favor: atmosphere.
The grungy setting, the iconic images, the simple concept of a trap which belies any supernatural evil beyond the madness of one twisted man, and perhaps most of all the strange thrumming music put this otherwise cheap and dopey horror movie over the top. People wanted to see more of this world where abandoned structures became gauntlets of doom and where a puppet suddenly became pretty scary just because of the implications of it showing up on a TV screen. 
This kind of craftsmanship to make a disused bathroom somehow feel like a horrifying place just by virtue of a few chains and two saws might have been a mistaken bit of subtlety (judging by the increasingly bombastic and even dumber sequels) but there is no denying how influential it became on the popular consciousness for horror in general to the point that the latest survival horror game The Evil Within practically owes it's existence to the original trap movie. Worth seeing despite it's flaws if you like even a convoluted and ultimately nonsensical plot to suck you in by virtue of good old fashioned mystery and suspense. 

4: The Ice Cream Man

A lot of people call this 'unwatchable'...and I can see why. It's surprisingly relentlessly grim for a movie you'd assume would be just another slasher with a silly gimmick. The real star of the show here isn't the pretty generic plot but the unconventional star of the show who never turns in a half performance even in shlock: Clint Howard. I genuinely like this guy. He's a regular cast member of Uwe Boll films and even there he seems to be having a great time with the awful dialogue, bad costumes, and general incompetence. He also seems to be a remarkably gifted improvisor. Without makeup he establishes himself quickly as a scary, scary man with something seriously wrong with him and in a somewhat novel twist is portrayed as equally a victim and a villain. He's the killer, true, but he's genuinely childlike in his attitude: the nearly benign kind of crazy. He's not undead or possessed or anything of that sort either, he's just really, really messed up in the head and that lends an air of originality to this weird little horror film. The direction is also frequently surreal with memories of an insane asylum resembling a play and lunatics wandering the deserted halls of the modern day asylum but not meaning harm, just jostling passersby and chuckling at them. It's sluggishly paced, gets pretty unbelievable after awhile, and is grungy and depressing in many places but it's also curiously unique among it's ilk and overlooked for it's qualities and it's, I believe, severely undervalued lead.  
 
5: Ravenous

This is a WEIRD movie, but so compelling I come back to it again and again.
The setting is almost unprecedented for a horror movie: a colonial era fort. The tone shifts on a whim from being brutal and dark to being awkwardly humorous to the point that the whole production feels uneasy and unstable. In the space of literally a single music cue a character being chased by a knife wielding mad man can go from tense and frightening to bizarrely comic as a chipper period jig kicks in so that the chase scene almost seems like a Benny Hill sketch...at least until the pursued man is found later with his rib cage sliced open. This isn't even getting into the out of nowhere potentially supernatural elements to the plot that seem at once indispensable but also jarring compared to other moments of scrupulous realism.  
This is a bloody, gritty, at times ugly movie but the cast makes it click like magic. You get Jeffrey Jones, Guy Pearce, and Robert Carlyle who play their roles perfectly. No matter how quirky the situations become they never betray themselves as being in on the dark humor, and that ultimately makes the film a satisfying horror movie in opinion as opposed to an even split between comedy and horror. Carlyle especially turns in I'd say an Oscar worthy performance as an enigmatic survivor whose recounting of his story is worth the price of admission.
The other star of the movie besides the vast forbidding wilderness and the rundown fort itself is the music which is so off-putting you'll likely be confused the first time you hear it. It seems to repeat a lot, skip, and although it contains the instruments for period specific music the odd way it plays is very unsettling. It even uses sample recordings from the time period, but it overlays them with an original strange and winding score that turns the most cheerful folk melody into a disturbing droning, like buzzing insects or an indistinct war chant. It's some of the most effective, memorable, and original scoring I've heard for a horror movie. 

6: Van Helsing
 
Here's an oddity: a movie which spawned lots of awesome things but itself was not so great.
The Van Helsing game ranks up there with the few competent and well crafted video game tie-ins to movies like Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and Spiderman 2. The animated movie Van Helsing: The London Assignment is a genuinely exciting and I'd say far above average stand alone film with great writing, a great story, and even better acting somehow than the movie it was supposed to advertise.
Van Helsing the movie is a mess. It's a bloated, convoluted, unforgivably campy train wreck which isn't so much a love letter to classic monster movies as it is a spoof of them. 
But that said I've been waiting all my life for a movie like this.
The lightning flecked castles and cramped mountainside hamlets, the cross-over of classic movie monsters from Frankenstein to the Wolfman to Dracula, the monster hunters with nifty gadgets versus creatures of the night by the literal hundreds: this is everything I love about the genre! I without (much) guilt consider the original Universal horror pictures to be great works of filmmaking which wove atmosphere and story together into a creepy package that will survive the ages. All of those tropes are there in Van Helsing and someone did indeed put effort into making them polished and stylized just as I hoped but added their own touches too. There's something so nifty about a steampunk Frankenstein's monster or a dance macabre featuring exclusively vampires in Romania or gypsies hunting a giant werewolf with silver bullet revolvers. For all this movie fell flat on it's face in terms of missed humor jabs, suspect acting, and just plain idiotic plot details (the Gypsy Queen is killed by being thrown onto a couch?) when this movie settles into good old nostalgia with a budget it is a sight to behold from gigantic gothic fortresses to a Transylvanian town out of Bram Stoker's worst nightmares to a horse and buggy chase along a treacherous road it all feels straight out of an alternate world Universal Horror film if the creators back then had had unlimited budgets.
It's not scary, but its that special kind of Halloween freaky that adults and kids can get behind. You aren't frightened by the people dressed up as monsters, but you pretend to be so and invest yourself in the game to pay homage to the season, and Van Helsing for better or worse is like the soul of that game summed up in one overlong, cartoonish, but occasionally greatly entertaining ride. 

7: Army of Darkness

This movie never lets up. Just when you think you're in for down time you're thrown into yet another insane situation the likes of which you'd never dream someone would have the guts to throw on screen. Speaking of guts there's almost no gore to speak of here so you could watch this with your kids if you wanted to. There's a massive geyser of blood which is so over the top it comes across as a joke and there's some language, but other than that why wouldn't a little tyke with an interest in some things horror not enjoy a movie where an army of skeletons attacks a castle, Bruce Campbell fights tiny clones of himself, a car is turned into a blade whirling engine of undead destruction, and it all wraps up with a shotgun fight in a department store? This is nigh perfect the Halloween family film personified. You don't need to have seen the previous far gorier Evil Dead movies to understand this one, the humor is clever but also extremely silly, and the monster effects are more creative then they are horrific.
It's FUN packed into a breezy horror/comedy picture that never fails to make me smile, from the endlessly quotable lines to the ingenious practical effects, to the classic score by Danny Elfman, to the fact that some dreamer had the guff to make a movie with all those things that begin with 'Wouldn't it be cool if...?'. 

8: Dr. Giggles

This is a great horror movie in the most classic sense of the word!
Larry Drake is excellent as the titular killer. There's some great spooky sets. The kills are creative and the humor is both creepy and I'd say truly funny. The thing that makes this a guilty pleasure is that it's a great horror movie in the same way that Grand Theft Auto is an exceptionally well made video game. At the end of the day you have to look back and say 'That was trashy, at times reprehensible, exploitation appealing to my most primitive urges.' Then again it's so much fun I'm not interested in debating social value so much as I am laughing, shivering, and cheering.
The story is nothing special. The villain is basically just another wise-cracking insane killer but with the gimmick of doctor's equipment for his rampage. This is both everything and nothing that 80s era horror films were in the age of Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Vorhees.
But what makes it special is the absolute dedication of the filmmakers to make the best darn horror film they could. The pace is quick. The writing crisp. The kills are inventive. The humor has thought put into making it dark humor but also chuckle worthy. The ending confrontation is hilariously over the top, but the film seems to know this and pokes fun at climaxes in horror films deliberately (concluding with Giggles breaking the fourth wall!) This movie fell through the cracks because it wasn't quite original enough to break out of the distinction of being 'just another horror movie' and wasn't bad enough to earn immortality, but if you want a horror film that makes a concentrated effort to be worth your time by providing everything you might want from it this is the doctor to see.

9: Ernest: Scared Stupid

Jim Varney was one of my favorite characters growing up. 
Not just Ernest but also Slinky from Toy Story, Cookie from Atlantis the Lost Empire...I was fond of every time I recognized his voice. And Ernest himself was just a delightful character. He was never spiteful, never cruel. His bumbling was charming and his destructive mishaps never had lasting damage or harm. You might argue this made him a toothless comic to which I say what's wrong with that when all is said and done? He was funny. He was friendly. He was creative with his jokes.
And Scared Stupid is like the crown jewel of the odd phenomena which was Ernest P. Whorrel.  
This is, for all intents and purposes, a horror movie which somehow got blended into an Ernest movie. The parts with the trolls, especially Trantor, are actually paced, shot, written and acted like legitimate moments from a perhaps strange but nonetheless scary movie. Trantor isn't fooling around when he threatens to kill Ernest with his sword and spends much of the movie kidnapping the souls of children by stalking, impersonating, and trapping them. The story surrounding Trantor isn't played for laughs either with all the hallmarks of a classic genre picture from a preacher being cursed to a town held in sway to ancient legends of a evil buried long ago.
But mingled with this is Ernest being his benign redneck self and participating in cartoon antics, mishearing things, and playing up his own wisdom and ego for the inevitable fall. There are lots of regulars from the Ernest library also playing around in town like a crazy old soothsayer lady with a flamethrower and two clowning car salesmen to lighten the mood too so that kids (myself included) wouldn't be too shaken by the moments this film seems to forget it's a comedy and plays it for straight up suspense. The kids might have seemed an annoying focus to this film, but the writing again throws this for a weird loop since most of the real scares occurs with the children themselves. You always know something creepy is going to happen with the kids are involved. When the adults are on screen something funny is about to happen instead: it's a strange dichotomy.
And the intro to Scared Stupid is one of the most scary things I remember as a kid. In all honesty. The music has a funny quality to it, but there's a bridge in the theme song with an organ playing that still sends chills up my back. It's all played out over black and white horror movie footage which you think would deaden the impact of the scares, but for a kid like me who had never seen those films before it was genuinely freaky to watch brain monsters with glowing eyes and skeletons in wedding dresses drift through doorways. It's all part of the weird somewhat disjointed but curiously refreshing honesty this movie has about both it's scares and its laughs.  

10: Big Trouble in Little China

You couldn't ask for more fun, more variety, more creativity in a horror/comedy/action movie.
True this isn't strictly a horror film, but John Carpenter hasn't forgotten his roots. There's plenty of moments where the monsters play all the same tricks as horror villains past and present have for the sake of a good scare. And I mean a GOOD scare, not jump scares; whether it be standing, beckoning and grinning in the path of a speeding truck, making creepy statements about torture and hellish afterlives, or just plain looking creepy.
This is a horror/comedy that doesn't let on that it's a comedy. I dare you to find a moment in this film when the universe of the movie deliberately altered to make a joke. Logic (even weird logic) works here and the humor stems from the reactions and mishaps of the cast rather than something silly happening in the plot itself. If you watched the moments in this film without Kurt Russell and his merry band of rescuers you'd swear that this was just a Japanese tinged horror film. The villains are not jokes. The heroes do not take their jobs lightly and seem truly frightened a lot of the time at the tremendous odds stacked against them.
This is comedy I say done right alongside horror also done right. It's funny when Kurt Russell fires his gun shouting in preparing for battle, only to hit the ceiling and dislodge stones that knock him out for most of the fight. The reason it's funny is because it's not intentional and seems like an accident that might really happen given the circumstances. Alongside this 'slapstick' scene are martial arts fights that feel real and intense, powerful and menacing enemies who never stray from their calm demeanors or dire purposes, and massively creative designs for demons and evil spirits that stand out till today as great examples of practical visual effects.
It's funny, at times creepy, moves along at breakneck speed but doesn't sacrifice interesting and likable characters, the score by John Carpenter is great (he even sings the ending credits song), there's quotable lines, great costumes, classic special effects, awesome sets, great martial arts...
Why haven't you seen this movie if you haven't?
This is just waiting I believe to be your go to Halloween feature. I know it's mine :) 
Why is it a guilty pleasure? Probably because I've watched it so many times.
No, I didn't forget the 'M' in the title.

You probably supposed my review of the show Sonic Boom would be a negative one out of the gate. I tend to be pretty harsh when it comes to entertainment's foibles, I'm a fan of Sonic when he takes chances and not when he's complacent to some kind of pointless dumbing down of character, and I'm not fond of kid's shows that actively diminish IQs. It doesn't help that the game Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is also apparently an unpolished, largely unfinished mess which is making some fondly look back to the glory days of Sonic 2006.

So I could just spend my time on this journal ragging on the show or the game for the numerous little nitpicks as well as big gaping plot holes, quality issues, and just plain lazy pandering steps that all backfired in such a big way as to make even me who was that close to being a die-hard fan nearly concede that Sonic as a franchise might be not only dead but also buried with a stake through it's heart by this point.

OR...

I can do something a little more constructive and explain what I feel is the major issue that crippled this reinvention from the word 'go'.

Sonic as a character and as a franchise has managed to poke its head up above the cloud of pretender mascots by virtue of one thing I'd argue: a definable world. Not necessarily a terribly original one initially or one that made total sense all things considered, but in the original games to about the Adventures series there was some attempt to surround Sonic with a consistent cast of characters, story elements, and even locations that played a part in his journey's like South Island and Station Square. Sonic was forging his own identity, especially pulling away from undue association with his closest rival Mario who also had his own identity, his own world to inhabit. The Mushroom Kingdom is unmistakable from the zones in Sonic while likewise Dr. Egg Man/Robotnik was not just a carbon copy of Bowser.
Sonic was trying to be something else and something definably itself; the big stepping off point which kept that series alive when other mascots like Aero the Acrobat, Bubsy, Awesome Possum,  and numerous others fell by the wayside. None of these pulled themselves together enough to have a united mythos, in fact each game in their series seemed like a completely different universe with only vague associated elements to even remind you that the game had any ties to their franchises.

But Sonic had iconography: the rings, the loops, the robot enemies, the various companions Sonic would fight along side.
Sonic had distinguishable music, style, and yes...attitude.

That of course brings us to The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (SATAM). Both of these shows displayed essentially the two different directions the series could take: a madcap poorly defined colorful character who was not all that different or memorable compared to any other cartoon...or a remarkably daring departure in which all the desperate elements built up over the years were united in a single story with continuity, with concepts that went beyond the simplicity of a game into something verging on a small scale science fiction epic. Adventures was perfectly serviceable as an energetic but forgettable foray into children's entertainment, but SATAM combined Sonic with a strong backing story and world transforming Sonic from just another mascot into a wholly realized sub-universe of characters and history. Just as the still ongoing comic series in the both America and the UK which not only tell their own stories based on the same concepts but are also notable as THE LONGEST RUNNING FRANCHISE BASED COMIC SERIES EVER MADE.

Transformers dropped off and then picked up again. G.I Joe had a resurgence after the movies injected a little life into its veins and there's been several one shot comics bringing back nostalgic stories for one last go around...but Sonic has not only never left it's still going. There is so many opportunities to tell stories that Sonic in the comic sense is like the Marvel and DC series with some comic tales based on the past, present, and future of his world without even resorting to showing him on the page. Name another video game/tv show based comic series which has spinoffs devoted entirely to side characters. Sonic has had SERIES based on the adventures of Knuckles. 
KNUCKLES!

The same one-note buff guy that the latest incarnation of Sonic hasn't even bothered to give any personality let alone a backstory or identity. 

And therein lies the issue. 

Where is Sonic Boom set? When is it set? Why are there some animals like Sonic and his friends (and random other ones) who are anthropomorphic in appearance, yet one episode of the show has Sticks the Badger looking for a PET? So...some animals are like regular animals? Why? Are there un-anthro versions of hedgehogs or echidnas or badgers? 
Where did Dr. Eggman come from? Why is he the only human (I assume he's a human) in the world in EITHER the game or the show? Why does he only have a relatively small island fortress and why does he care what happens to Sonic and company?
By the same token, why does Lyric in the game? He's one of the 'ancients' is he? So why do ancients want to replace all living things with robots?
And if he does, how is he any different from Dr. Eggman? 

The answer to all of this is WHO CARES?
And that's not a dismissive shrug on my part, it's a genuine question. It seems nobody cared, not the animators, the writers, the producers, the actors...no one. Sonic has literally been stripped of all meaning, pulled from his world and left to just bumble about in a colorful void of purposelessness.
The literal message we're getting here is that no one cares about Sonic, and neither do the people handling him now either. Why does he have sports tape around his limbs? It makes him look 'cool' I guess. Why does he live in a beach house with Tails? Come to think of it, where are Tails' parents? Where are his parents? Where are Amy's? Are they all the same age or are some of them younger or older?
What motivates any of them? Clearly Sonic doesn't want to have Eggman or anyone else take over the world...but why? Does he have plans for the future? Does he have some history with any of these characters? Does he have any personal principals driving his decisions? Does he even have any quirks of character?

The answer again is WHO CARES. For those complaining that in the past Sonic has had no discernible character this is like a parody of that concern. Sonic has been stripped down so far that we've struck bone and are left with an empty mascot all over again. He has no personality beyond the actor doing an impression of past Sonic actors. He's a copy of a copy of a copy.

Here's another thing that might startle you (or not): My Little Pony did it better.

YES. My Little Pony Friendship is Magic is a children's television show and intended to be one and it has colorful characters, silly humor, and doesn't always make much sense...but STILL.
If you ask me who Pinkie Pie is I can tell you, and anyone could tell you after watching a few episodes, what makes her tick, her quirks of personality, her history, her interests, her fears, her relationships, her goals and motivations.
I can even practically tell you her age! There's a scene where she talks with her friend Fluttershy and is told 'I'm a year older than you.'
That's not specific, granted, but it's SOMETHING. It's an implication that ages exist in the universe of the characters and that they have meaning and difference. 

Ask me anything about Sonic and his gang after watching every aired episode of Sonic Boom so far?

I can't tell you anything.

Sonic, Amy, Tails and Knuckles are cardboard. Even Sticks is like a halfhearted attempt to recreate Pinkie Pie, except that as I noted with Pinkie some effort was put into making Pinkie a person in her own right. Sticks might as well be a synopsis: 'She's a paranoid weirdo'.
Okay...so...why? 
Because she lives in the woods? Is she younger than she looks? 
Nope. She's just weird. 
As for Tails he likes to invent things. Why? Because he does.
Literally, that's all. No indication he has any goals in doing so or any history or personality to prompt what he does. He makes stuff because that's what his CHARACTER does. He's a tool for the plot, not a person.
Knuckles I think is supposed to be a generic jock type who only cares about himself. That's not only cliche it's also really uninteresting because he's not supposed to be a villain, he's supposed to be a hero. Why would I care about someone so self absorbed they are verging on losing association with reality? There are scenes where Knuckles ignores what's going on around him because he's more interested in himself. That's not exactly heroic behavior.
Nor does it actually tell us anything about him. So he's a jerk...so what?
Amy acts like a psychiatrist and juggles sometimes. Is she a showman? Does she have an interest in psychiatry? Nobody cares. She does whatever as long as it's funny.

Again going back to MLP, there were some real risks taken with the characters on the show when it came to what they did and when. Kids don't always like or understand emotional scenes, but shielding them from bad feelings entirely does them no good at all. There are episodes of MLP in which the fun loving Pinkie is left alone or neglected, and suddenly her character trait which by itself would seem tailored to be a joke is taken in a whole new direction. Pinkie examines herself, the fact that perhaps at times she IS a joke...and that makes her very insecure and unhappy. The very notion of comic relief is subverted because the character has stepped outside of the cliche to realize that sometimes they playact their part without knowing what to do if that act ever falls through. 
Name another character recently who reexamined their own context and even second-gussed their reasons for being the way they are.

But Sonic Boom doesn't care. From now until the end of time Knuckles will be a self-absorbed jock most likely. Nothing anyone on the show or in the game does has any consequences on purpose. There's times the characters fight but it's as contrived in execution as it is in conclusion.  

And are these really lessons we want kids to learn? Not everything kids watch or enjoy has to have a 'lesson' (and some 'lessons' they do get are very poorly delivered) but everything a child experiences becomes a part of their data bank to call up throughout their lives if it leaves an impression. A kid isn't just watching television to turn off their minds, they're doing it to feed their minds as well.

And Sonic Boom is brain starvation.

No characters. No ideas. No continuity. No logic. No world.

In MLP the first episode was partially devoted to not only the history but the mythology of the world even before we met the main character.

In Sonic Boom the first episode through the last aired so far hasn't had one detour to find out anything about our cast or where they live at all. It's just been a sequence of events meant solely to pad out time and provide leeway for a few tepid jokes.

And even the jokes don't make any sense. I KNOW it's for kids, but do kids not care about logic? When I was a kid things that didn't make sense infuriated me, especially if the person made no effort to explain them.

Dr. Eggman when lifting up a robot with his flying vehicle says 'You might want to burn some calories!'

Um...it's a ROBOT. Is the joke supposed to be that Eggman is stupid?
Yes it's a play on the robot being called Burn Bot but even that makes no sense. Literally none. Eggman admits that Burn Bot can't burn anything. 
That's not funny. That's just stupid. And it's not even stupid in the context of someone IN the show doing some ridiculous. It's the writers all but saying 'We don't care.' straight to your face, and laughing about it.

In MLP there's a scene where the characters joke about a bowl of punch being 'Spiked' since the dragon named Spike has fallen asleep inside of it. 
Now granted kids might not understand the reference, but it actually seems to say something interesting about MLP as a world. The reference makes sense in context because, weirdly enough, to the cast it makes sense as a play on words. Apparently in the MLP universe 'spiking' a drink is something that actually exists in popular knowledge. Weird for a kid's show, yes, but at least it makes some kind of logical sense. The universe hasn't warped just for the sake of a pun.

But in Sonic Boom there are so many, many moments in which the laws of reality break in order to facilitate a humorous moment. Sticks is shown to be kicking robots and breaking them to pieces...but the next moment she's charged a giant robot and is ineffectually hitting it with her wooden boomerang. Why? Because it's funny when characters get frustrated trying to do things that are impossible. Why however is she unable to take on a larger robot when smaller robots she can literally kick to death earlier? No reason.
The world broke so that the 'joke' would work.

And why is there buttons on a table? There's a scene in one episode where a table is scene in the foreground and it appears to have a collection of buttons and a screen on the side? WHY? Does the table activate a holographic game of something like in Star Wars? Does it heat up like a microwave? It looks like the table top is made out of wood so probably not. Does the little screen turn on? Did Tails make this table or did he and Sonic buy it somewhere? Why if they have so much technology does their little house run on wind power and if it does how can they have electric powered tables with so little energy to expend?

I'm nitpicking now ^^;

But seriously. For me the table was the last straw.
Nobody cares so neither will I. 
Until someone shows some effort, some passion, and maybe a bit of sense Sonic needs a nice long dirt nap.

deviantID

jarredspekter
Dan
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Current Residence: Seattle
Favourite genre of music: Techno, Rock, Industrial, Alternate
Favourite style of art: Bold pencil
Operating System: Macintosh
Shell of choice: Moonsnail
Wallpaper of choice: Something epic :D
Favourite cartoon character: Dib, Samurai Jack, Darkwolf
Personal Quote: The Joker can't win.
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:iconedthesupersaiyan:
edthesupersaiyan Featured By Owner 13 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
I know you said that you don't particularly enjoy linkara's storylines, but is there at least one that you did get some enjoyment out of?
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:iconzeeponi:
ZeePoni Featured By Owner 19 hours ago  New member Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch!
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:iconedthesupersaiyan:
edthesupersaiyan Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
what is the funniest movie you've ever seen? Where beat for beat, scene for scene, you were on your butt laughing
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:iconjarredspekter:
jarredspekter Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
The Great Race :D
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:iconedthesupersaiyan:
edthesupersaiyan Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
okay, other side of the spectrum, what is the SADDEST movie you've ever seen?
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:iconjarredspekter:
jarredspekter Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Das Boot, The Yearling, and Land Before Time are sort of tied.
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:icontheautisticonenamedm:
Theautisticonenamedm Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Here's an idea for an episode of season 2 of Freebound!

Rouge, Tiara, and Honey investigate Scourge's fortress of crime and discover that Scourge abuses Fiona Fox, while making it looks like he treats her well. Rouge is disgusted and plans to rescue Fiona. She also finds out Alicia and Buns are also being abused. In the end, the three are saved and they turn out to be pregnant.

Thoughts?
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:iconedthesupersaiyan:
edthesupersaiyan Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
what, to you, is the best "buddy cop" movie?
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:iconjarredspekter:
jarredspekter Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Tango and Cash :lol:
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:iconedthesupersaiyan:
edthesupersaiyan Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
okay, on another subject, what is your favorite episode of MLP and why?
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