Thursday, March 20, 2014

Moonlight Movie Reviews - Mr. Peabody and Sherman - Plus, a bit of Fast Food Talk

Yes, I missed a couple weeks of Crush of the Week, and no, you have not escaped seeing my vacation slides from last December's Disney World trip. I've just been extraordinarily busy doing comic book stuff for GrayHaven, celebrating St. Patrick's Day (I'm actually more Irish than anything else, though I seem to also be just about everything else), and stuff like that. I'll post more about my latest comic book work as it goes to print and I get an image of it with the title on, but I'm excited that I finally got to do a cover! Anyway, down to business...

Okay, Mr. Peabody and Sherman. So, this film actually came out nearly two weeks ago, and since I saw it on the day it came out, it kinda sucks that I didn't get to do a more timely review, but what can I say, Friday night is a work night for me. I sometimes make it out to a movie right after work, but that usually doesn't allow me time to do a written review afterwards. I really gotta start doing Cinema Snob style video reviews in my car immediately after film screenings someday, ha.

Well, by now you've probably heard that this movie is doing quite well, and rightly so (meaning this might be a short review, ha, because, yeah, it's just a great movie). But, have you heard of these characters before at all? They're pretty oldschool. For those who don't know, Mr. Peabody and Sherman had a regular segment, "Peabody's Improbable History", on the old Jay Ward "Rocky and Bullwinkle" TV shows of the 50's and 60's. Myself, I grew up watching the reruns on television in the 80's. I believe they aired late Saturday afternoons. I have fond memories of those Saturday late-afternoons, when my mom would make spaghetti and meatballs and I'd watch Rocky and Bullwinkle, and somewhere in there were also viewings of Hee-Haw and The Carol Burnett Show,... and the horse races. Ah yes, the horse races. Our Texas grocer, H.E.B., along with ABC Sports (I think), had this game where you would get scratch offs or something and use them to potentially win money watching the televised horse races on late Saturday afternoons. Weird, I know. I don't know if this happened nationwide or not, but everyone was into it where I lived. But, I digress. At some point, Nickelodeon started airing the Rocky and Bullwinkle shows too (I believe I was previously watching them on NBC), and I'm sure Nick gave them a lot more exposure. Might have aired for a while on Cartoon Network too, back when it ran a lot of classic stuff. So, maybe you remember these guys, but I haven't seen them on TV in quite some time. Anyway, it was Jay Ward, so it was good stuff, even if the animation was extremely simplified. The humor was always very sharp and the voice acting delightful. The characters, of course, were that of a dog-genius, Mr. Peabody, and his boy, Sherman. Together, they traveled through time and got into wacky historical antics via Peabody's invention, the WABAC machine. It's pronounced like "way back," by the way.

Speaking of the original version of this show, the Drafthouse naturally showed a bit of it during their usual preshow for the Peabody and Sherman movie, and it was simply fantastic to see it on the big screen! 

You of course can assume safely that I ordered my usual Carnivore pizza with 2 sides of parmesan and a coke, then settled in to enjoy the show. And that's just what I did. Though I was a little unsure at first, just as with the Lego movie, and I think I tend to be that way with most animated features these days since you just never know which direction they will go. They may be smart and fun for everyone, or they may be totally, 100 percent pandering to small kids with an endless supply of dumb catch phrases and unappealing sass, lamely forcing in jokes "for the parents" every now and then, if adult viewers are being considered at all. A really good animated film though, is one that is not trying to be a "kids' movie". Man, I hate when that label is put on something just because it's animated, but I have to admit that a lot of American animation deserves it, because the filmmakers themselves often go into it with that attitude. If we could just treat an animated film as a movie, not a kids' movie, and get the filmmakers to do so as well, we'd get better animated films. But, it doesn't help when someone makes an animated film that's pleasing for all ages, like PIXAR has done several times in the past, and yet people still refer to them as kids' movies purely based on the medium and the fact that they are family-friendly. My fellow Americans, we really need to get past this negative attitude towards the medium of animation, or you only have yourselves to blame when you take your kids to something animated and end up being bored (or annoyed) to death. And before I get off my soapbox, this goes out to the filmmakers! Make some hand drawn stuff now and again too, and don't treat that like it's gotta be just for kids either! Japan sure doesn't! Heck, they have hand-drawn, beautifully animated porn even! Tons of it! And it's way better than the real thing, frankly... But, again, I digress... Point is, it's just a medium, and you can make great films with it that don't have to be "kids' films", whether they're family friendly or not. When I was a kid, our fave movies weren't the ones that pandered to our age group anyway. And when you do get adult with your animation, it doesn't have to be computer animation!

"Peabody and Sherman", however, IS computer animated. Let's face it, it is getting impossible to find hand drawn animation at the theater anymore. Don't get me wrong though, I like computer animation, but I also like variety, and I LOVE hand drawn animation. I won't go on about that anymore, though (today, anyway). Computer animation can also look gorgeous, and this film looks gorgeous. They did an excellent job modernizing the characters and the set up too. And, they did a fantastic job elaborating on the story of Peabody and Sherman's relationship as dog-genius and his adopted, human son. The plot in this feature film take on the classic TV segments deals with Sherman getting into a skirmish on his first day of school (presumably, he has been home-schooled up to this point) when he is picked on by a preppy girl named Penny who is jealous that Sherman has taken over as the history know-it-all. This gives an angry social services worker who doesn't approve of dogs adopting humans an excuse to investigate the Peabody household and possibly take Sherman away from his doggy daddy.

To rectify the situation, Peabody invites the girl, Penny, and her parents, over for dinner one evening, and the social worker as well. This of course is when the spit hits the fan, as Sherman tries to impress Penny by showing her the WABAC machine. They take an unchaperoned trip to the past, and mayhem ensues. What follows is a fantastic time-travel adventure that would make Doc Brown and Bill and Ted proud! It's full of action and laughs, excellent voice talent, and is just an all-out boatload of fun! There's really nothing to complain about in this one. It's a great ride for the time-travel enthusiast, and it handles the source material sooo respectfully, which is so very important for those of us who remember it fondly. This is a proper way to reboot a classic, and I'm all for anything that keeps the greats alive! If you haven't yet, go see this one! Two claws up for sure!

Now, one thing I was less impressed by was the short before the film. And I hate to say this, because it starred the voice of Steve Martin, whom I love. See, there was a short before the film, "Almost Home", about a group of aliens trying to find a new home planet and having bad luck with each try. Bottom line, it was brief, it was dumb, it was predictable. Unless you're going to a theater like the Drafthouse with a great preshow, don't worry if you arrive too late to see "Almost Home", but do go see "Mr. Peabody and Sherman"! You'll have a great time!

In fact, you may have such a great time that you want some souvenirs from the experience! At least, that's how I am about movies, especially animated ones. I'm a bigtime toy lover, and I really wanted some proper figures or something of Peabody and Sherman, and Penny if possible. Unfortunately, at the moment, there are no toys for this film to be found aside from the McDonald's Happy Meal collection currently available. I checked this out for you guys, by the way (you're welcome)...

Yeah, admittedly, I used to full-on collect Happy Meal toys. A very bad habit. Now, I might find a set or a couple from a set that peak my interest about once a year, if even that much. It's usually in a case like this, when I want something from the film and nothing else is out there. Makes for a nice, once a year, nostalgic treat nowadays, actually. Oddly, I was trimmer when I was eating all those Happy Meals, ha. I think my home cooking is too good...

Anyway, here are all the offerings McDonald's currently has, though not sure for how much longer (they used to run for a month, but these days I have no idea).

On the bright side, this selection of U.S. toys includes two great bobble heads (I'd rather have action figures, but bobbles are fine). Not all countries got these two. On the downside, there is no Penny bobble, and everything else here sucks in my figure loving opinion. By the way, I don't think the glider comes with that stand. I'll admit, the glider and perhaps a couple of the others might be fun to play with, but I'm looking for simple display pieces. I ended up picking up the Sherman and Peabody bobbles. They are NICE, folks, seriously. They can be removed (and still stand up fine) from their yellow brick stands. Sadly, Peabody is in a pharoah costume, while I would have preferred to just have a regular Peabody. But it's cool, I guess it does better illustrate the time-traveling nature of the characters.  

Now, I have to admit, I wouldn't have minded getting the Peabody and Sherman in a scooter with sidecar that some countries' Happy Meals had. That way I could have killed 2 birds with one stone and only eaten one Happy Meal, ha. And some countries got a Cleopatra outfitted Penny, awkwardly posed as it is (similar to Peabody, but her legs are posed like that as well). But what I REALLY wanted were figures like the ones below, minus the black bases. They are actually cup toppers from movie theaters in Russia, or some place like that. Now those are some proper figures! And a Penny one too! They might not be as large as I'd like though. I have to give the Mickey-D's bobbles credit in that department, but I love the basic Peabody and the very cute Penny fig. Argh! Oh well. With the popularity of this film, who knows. Might be trading off my bobbles for actual figures in the near future, anyway.

Okay, finally, and really quickly, folks, moving on from Mr. Peabody all together...

With my recent visit to McDonald's, and the fact that it was nearing Saint Patrick's Day, I was reminded that I recently said I wanted to finally try the Shamrock Shake this year, especially since I missed out on the Eggnog shake during the holidays. I think I really would have liked that one. As for the Shamrock Shake, well, there it was on the menu, but ya know what? I didn't try it! Why, you ask? Because I discovered (if I knew this before, I had forgotten) that it was a mint flavored shake. MINT! I am NOT a big mint fan. I'm just not. Sure, I like Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies and I like Andes mints, and I can even handle a York Peppermint Patty, but with those, particularly the first two, well, the chocolate proportions are strong enough to overpower the mint and make them plenty enjoyable anyway. But in general, for me, I taste mint, I think of toothpaste! It doesn't seem like something that should be swallowed! Granted, I do love those Girl Scout cookies, but dang, those are so chocolatey they are practically black in color! And, me, I LOVE chocolate.
Regardless, I did try something new at McDonald's on my recent visit, and even though they seem to no longer be available, I'm gonna talk about them very quickly before I go, as well as something I tried at KFC soon after.

Yes, radio ads had me curious, and when I saw these advertised in the store, I couldn't resist. Though, looking back, it was a pretty bad bargain. I'm pretty sure these things were a buck a wing, basically! Unless I'm remembering wrong. I did notice a lot of things are overpriced at McD's lately. I mean, the Big Macs, without the meal even, are over 4 bucks. Seriously? Anyways, I bought 'em, and as I said, it seems like I bought them right before they stopped offering them, so that was lucky, though it might make this basically a pointless thing to talk about unless they come back someday. Though, I think I heard they were not breaking even on these or something like that, so they probably won't. And, honestly, that's too bad, because they were really good!

Yeah, basically, these are the same as KFC Hot Wings used to be. Maybe a bit less greasy, ha, but with fried chicken that translates to less succulent. But they were still darn good! Taste-wise, yeah, they were very similar to KFC Hot Wings, though maybe not quite as delicious. But really close!  And, myself, I had greatly been missing KFC Hot Wings, because the last time I checked before finding these, well, KFC told me they didn't carry them anymore (I know, I know, they're back, but I'll get to that in a minute).

As you can see in the pic above, they're a nice little piece of meat. Yeah, they have bones, even though you can't see the bone in this shot. And, yeah, they are not as succulent/juicy as KFC Hot Wings, but really, these were very close. Too bad they disappeared too. Otherwise, I would be recommending them right now.

Yes, even with Hot Wings back at KFCs, I would probably be recommending McDonald's Mighty Wings. Why? Well, a few days after getting these, I decided to check on KFC's Hot Wing situation one more time. And, yeah, they were back! And I chose to buy them in the new "Go Cup".

So, the Go Cup is around 2.50, it comes with various options, and it's supposed to be designed for your car. Because that's a smart place to eat bone-in wings. I mean, you can order other stuff, but they have the Hot Wing option, which is what I went there for. The Hot Wing Go Cup has 3 Hot Wings and a bunch of these seasoned wedge potatoes.

I didn't even know it came with the potatoes. But then, I didn't realize something. The Hot Wings have gotten insanely small. It's a damn good thing they give you some potatoes! 

And the potatoes are REALLY GOOD too, I gotta be honestly. VERY GOOD potatoes.

But the wings. Oy. This was one of the bigger ones!

Yeah, these are more succulent, but they're also all bone. That's why I would recommend the McDonald's Mighty Wings more if they were still available. KFC's taste a bit better, but really, you hardly get anything at all! Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. I'm sorta glad Hot Wings are back, but it might have been better to just keep Mighty Wings around instead.

At any rate, that's all for now, guys. I'll post a Crush of the Week soon, and lots of other great stuff! We have more guest articles on the way, and I have more things planned, and I WILL get the comic strip back on track! It's just hard to do with a day job and the occasional, paying art gigs. I'll start posting more about those later too, but of course, I would love to actually have a webcomic on my webcomic site again someday, ha. Soon, I guarantee it. For now though, I hope everyone enjoyed Saint Patrick's Day, even dry folks like myself! Personally, I cooked a crock pot full of Irish (lamb) stew! Man, it was delicious! Also cooked my magical Leprechaun brownies! And no, they don't have pot in them! Just green sprinkles on top! It's just Duncan Hines California Walnut brownies with green sprinkles on top, but aren't they gorgeous? Man, it was one delicious, perfect meal! I mean, what more could a werewolf want on St. Patty's? Besides some delectable Janet Munro, some lovely Nicole Kidman, and, uh, Warwick Davis? Yeah, that's my traditional movie marathon every March 17th, occasionally with a few others.

Anyway guys, that's it for me tonight! Off to get my 3 hours sleep before work in the morning! I'll talk to ya soon! Actually, I'm gonna go cry myself to sleep, because whoever is running Tomia Cosplay's Facebook fanpage thought it would be cute to post a pic of her with her boyfriend today. Now I am truly, truly depressed. Later!

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