My Top Animated Film every Decade (1910s-2020s)

1910s

There are two films from this era. The first ever animated feature is The Apostle followed by Without a Trace from 1917 and 1918 respectively (I am using the English translation titles). Both were made by Quirino Cristiani. Both films along with almost every thing he did is lost. The Apostle got better reception, and its plot sounds better, but again nothing from this decade survives, so I cannot give either of them the top spot.

1920s

This decade only has one film. The Adventures of Prince Achmed. It is the oldest surviving, and it is very good and fun to watch. That makes it by far the easiest pick for best film.

1930s

This decade there are 5 features (I am not counting hybrids, but there are two Soviet one by the same director). Cristiani again made a film that is considered lost. Peludo City is the first one with sound, and I always heard it was considered his best work. That leaves the French The Tale of the Fox, the German The 7 Ravens, the American Snow White, and the American Gulliver’s Travels (coincidently one of the Soviet films was also about Gulliver).

I know Snow White sounds like the easy win, and it easily wins the overall popularity contest, but this my list. The film is boring. Gulliver is actually a good movie. I could not find Ravens in English. I looked through it, and it looks very nice, but mostly focused on showing off that they made an animated feature like Snow White would later do. It does look much better. Fox is a pretty fun movie. It is about an immoral protagonist trickster (Reynard), and I enjoyed it. It looks great too, but it gets repetitive especially towards the end. Fox is pretty good, but not as good as Gulliver. Gulliver wins.

1940s

26 features this year and for the first time Chile, China, Japan, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Italy, and many other countries made an animated feature. Just looking through the list there is an obvious top two in Pinocchio and Dumbo. Pinocchio wins.

1950s

40 this decade. Frist time Canada and The United Kingdom made one. I am not a fan of The Silver Age of Animation. Unlike the Golden Age I find most of the movies here boring. Of the five Disney films the only one I like at all is Lady and the Tramp. Other than those it is a group of unrecognizable movies except for the easy winner, Animal Farm.

1960s

Israel made their first film. Hanna-Barbera made their first theatrical film. There are many films here I never heard of, and part of that is this is fullly in The Dark Age. Aniamted films were not profitable, and very few were made in America without much ambition. The only contendors I saw ont eh entire list were A Boy Named Charlie Brown and 101 Dalmatians. Dalmatians win. There were many tv specials, but I do not consider specials to be movies. They are too short (made for TV movies do count).

1970s

As I said before I divide the dark age into two parts. Part 1 is full of unambitious films, but that ends in 1977 with films like The Hobbit, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and The Rescuers. Next year has The Lord of The Rings. Funny that my four favorite animated films of the decades came out within 20 months of each other. My pick for top film of the decade of these four is The Hobbit.

1980s

My all time favorite movie, The Land Before Time, came out in 1988 so it wins. 2nd place is All Dogs go to Heaven, and 3rd is An American Tail. This is my absolute favorite decade for animated films. I love so many movies from it.

1990s

Like last decade I know right away what the winner is, Toy Story. The whole year of 1995 is great with films I love such as Balto, The Land Before Time 3, and A Goofy Movie. For the rest of the decade I find myself enjoying the direct-to-video films more than the theatrical ones.

2000s

Unlike last two decades I have no idea what is going to win this decade beforehand, and it takes a while to go through the lists. Early candidates are The Emperor’s New Groove and The Land Before Time 7. Next comes Monsters Inc, Ratatouille near the end of the decade, and those are my four candidates. I am giving the title to… This is by far the hardest to rank. I was born in 1996, so this is where I have the most nostalgia for and all of them seem so right for the pick without something notable to separate them from the top of the pack like the next decade has (the only reason I could do the ’80s so easily is how many days of thought I have put into that decade). I am completely unable to do this, and it will throw off all my coming up charts. Sorry.

2010s

In my previous history of animation post I debated Wreck-It-Ralph, Coco, and The Lego Movie, but those ratings are now out of date. The winner (to the surprise of none of my loyal readers) is The Dark Knight Returns Part II.

2020s

Time to look at all the animated films I have seen from this decade, all… ten of them. Batman Soul of the Dragon currently has the top spot.

Chart time

CompanyNumber of Films
Warner Bros3 (1970s, 2010s, and 2020s)
Disney2.75 (1940s, 1960s, and most of 2000s).
Universal1.25 (1980s and part of 2000s).
Halas and Batchelor1 (1950s)
Indpenedents1 (1920s)
Paramount1 (1930s)

Aside from Pinocchio ever film here was a financial success with Toy Story being the biggest hit. None were directed or written by the same person but Bruce Timm was in charge of 2 of them and John Lasseter was also in charge of 1.5 of them. 2.25 of these are direct-to-video.

Next time on Tuesday the 25 is Charlotte’s Web 2.

2021 Blog Lookback

Outside of the blog it has been very successful Boy Scouts. On the negative side Grandpa died at age 91. I finally got around to making real financial investments for the future, so I will see how well that pays off.

I finally got around to reviewing Animal Farm, ranking the Don Bluth movies, Shrek Forever After, and Monsters University. I also fixed a past mistake by redoing The Land Before Time 9. Some special lists included top live action movies and animated sequels.

I started my Arthur series quick reviews. 18 more seasons to go.

One big bonus was both watching for the first time and reviewing The Flight of Dragons.

I also (especially in the beginning of the year reviewed many awful films so the worst movies reviewed list is about to be greatly changed.

Looking at the 2021 rewards and shames.

For best review I am going with The Butter Battle Book. I think I had plenty of good insight despite the rushed throw it in nature of the review, since I needed something fast.

For best movie reviewed it all comes down to Monsters University, Justice League vs Fatal Five, and Animal Farm. I give the award to Animal Farm.

For worst review I would have thought Scooby-Doo Where’s my Mummy had it in the bag before hand, but nope. Pokemon Origins easily wins the title.

Funnest review was ranking every episode of Stargirl season 1. Hardest was Batman and Harley Quinn due to my complex feelings on Quinn.

Time to relook at my best and worst lists form the blog’s history.

Worst

10. Son of Batman

9. Batman vs. Robin

8. Scooby-Doo in Arabian Knights

7. Scooby-Doo in Where’s my Mummy

6. Pocahontas 2

5. Lilo and Stitch 2

4. Scooby-Doo Return to Zombie Island

3. The Fox and the Hound 2

2. Pokemon Origins

  1. True Story of Puss ‘n’ Boots

Best

15. Bartok the Magnificent

14. Curious George

13. The Flight of Dragons

12. Monsters University

11. The Land Before Time 3

10. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

9. The Hobbit

8. Justice League vs. Fatal Five

7. Animal Farm

6. The Land Before Time 7

5. The Dark Knight Returns Part 1

4. The Plague Dogs

3. The Land Before Time 5

2. The Dark Knight Returns Part 2

1. The Land Before Time

Sorry Prince Achmed. Most are closer to the bottom of the list, but plenty of films have made the list recently. I will see what makes either list in 2022 with all its adventures awaiting.

Arthur’s New Year’s Eve

This is the finale to Arthur’s first season and my favorite New Year’s special. It is an exploration at remembering the good times.

To start Arthur has always failed to stay up until Midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is full of foreshadowing that D.W. can pull it off. This whole beginning and most of the plot is about exploring the false meaning of New Year’s Eve, staying up until midnight expecting to see something big. Throughout the episode the real meaning will emerge.

On New Year’s Eve Grandma Thora will be babysitting (with how rare she now appears I think she might have died) and Arthur, unlike D.W. is deemed old enough to stay up until midnight. D.W. asks if she is stuck in a time warp and cannot get older. Considering she has been 4 years old (most of the time) for 25 years she has a point. Hard to believe that came from season one and was not an intentional joke about that.

The next few minutes seem to have no significance, but they are important to the theme. Arthur and D.W. have their usual hilarious sibling squabbles (Fallon’s D.W. was so great) and fun with Pal). As it will explained later remembering small moments like these is what New Year’s Eve is about. Arthur is happy with it, and then it starts with his friends telling him various things that happen on New Year’s Eve at midnight. They all claim the other one is wrong, and now Arthur wants to see all those weird things. This is a good reflection on all holidays, getting too caught up on tiny traditions that they overshadow the actual meanings.

The best one by far is Binky’s wrestling one. Honestly I am surprised I never got into wrestling with how great Arthur portrayed it. Maybe I doubted it could live up to this bizarre Groundhog Day/ New Years crossover.

A key part of all these scenes is that they are all clearly enjoying this. Remembering these small moments with friends is part of what the holiday is about.

D.W. is trying to stay up and offers to help Arthur who is just upset at her for trying. I do remember how moments like this and the blanket from earlier made one thing clear, at least in the earlier seasons D.W. was the better sibling.

Arthur of course falls asleep, while D.W. makes herself stay up and then it is almost midnight. I think this does a great job at portraying it. Lots and lots of buildup only for another minute to pass. I really do find it underwhelming, and that is how D.W. feels.

Arthur wakes up and now D.W. makes up some nonsense stuff that happened. It also shows how Arthur’s friends had all those weird New Year’s traditions, they made stuff up to make it sound more important than it was missing the actual meaning.

Arthur is very upset at missing the entire point of the holiday until Grandma gives him the real meaning.

It is really about remembering everything great he did the past year. It shows flashbacks to moments of season 1. Curiously they are not key highlights of Arthur’s year like winning the spelling bee, getting Pal, saving buster’s academic life, managing the Tibbles, bonding with Kate, fixing the farm, the video show, cleaning the park, or the poetry read. I had to think this through, and I think I know why the clips are from such normal every day activities, that is for the viewer to reflect on their own life. For an “average” guy Arthur has an amazing life, and the point of the episode is to look back on the amazing things we, not Arthur, did this past year. The clips are normal things like having fun with friends since that is a much more realistic year. The clips show laughing at their harmless mistakes, fun amidst their flaws, fun from their abilities, and just playing with them. This happy reminiscing does make a great scene for what could have been the end of the series.

A small detail I like is Arthur still looks outside with a sad look. After the flashbacks only then does it switch to a happy voice about what he will do next year showing he is now happily looking forward to next year’s lookback.

Next time on Tuesday January 11th- After my upcoming new Year’s look back I want to go through animation history- my favorite animated film of each decade.

The Looney Tunes Show: A Christmas Carol

The Looney Tunes Show is my favorite version of The Looney Tunes, and season 2 had their Christmas episode. Obviously from the title they would parody A Christmas Carol and…

Or it is a massive heatwave dividing us into two plots. Lola tries to put on a play with the same name as the book, but nothing in common, while Daffy and Foghorn got o the North Pole to install a fan to end the heatwave. This is exactly what the show is- a crazy group of early twists and turns that uses typical sitcom plots starring The Looney Tunes in really crazy ways. In addition I really love all the desert imagery.

So for plot A we have (from left to right) Porky, Tosh/Mac(?), Mac/Tosh(?), Yosemite Sam, Lola, and Bugs. The theater has ice cold air conditioner, so it is a guaranteed hit in 104 degree weather like when Don Bluth made A Troll in Central P… Okay nothing is a guaranteed hit.

They get to a few gags like Speedy was cast as a basketball player and Porky is a non-anamorphic pig. Lola is the lead, but she cannot remember the lines that she wrote. Everybody else agrees the script sucks, but they are sticking with it for their friend. It also is shown that the dialogue is very generic. At the play Lola needs Bugs to give her a line.

Every

Single

Word.

It really is very funny.

Because of this Bugs memorizes the entire play to his sadness, and everybody but Lola agrees the play is terrible. Everybody but Bugs stuck in a trap door, and now he is trying to please Lola by doing every role.

Daffy and Foghorn have to jump out the plane with Daffy already questioning Foghorn’s sanity. He is the one bird who makes Daffy look normal after all. Daffy quits, but he then comes back to keep pushing the fan, and they get to The North Pole.

Daffy proclaims he always knew they would make it except for that time he laid down in the snow to die and that time to tried to kill Foghorn to lie in his corpse to keep warm. Even Foghorn stops smiling at that.

Unfortunately Foghorn made it power plugged, and they obviously have no outlet. This leads them to looking for Santa’s workshop while freezing to death. Daffy gets hypothermia and starts hallucinating, but he finds Santa Claus and gets it on film. They tell everybody the good news and watch the film.

He was hallucinating, and they are already talking about going back with a battery powered fan.

Seems to me that everybody but the main characters like it.

This is where the two plots come together. Daffy and Foghorn go to the play thinking it is the normal version. Instead they see a mess where Bugs also goes through the trap door only for Santa Claus to arrive. He gives a few messages like how Christmas and all the work that goes into it brings us together, how horribly made works of fiction still have lots of effort put into them, and that nothing worth doing is easy.

When they go outside he says he plugged the fan in, and a snow storm has ended the heatwave. That ends the main plot and starts a merry melody to end, “Christmas Rules.” It is mostly just a sweet song that has basically every character from the show, and my dad and I’s favorite line.

Daffy: what a lovely Christmas Wraith.

Buggs: You mean wreath?

This is the first time I just reviewed a normal tv show episode, which is quick but not that fun to analyze. Overall this is just a funny episode from one of my favorite shows. It is nothing profound like A Charlie Brow Christmas or even that funny like The Santa Clause, but it is a fun usage of 23 minutes.

Next time. For New Year’s Eve I am reviewing “Arthur’s Shiny New Year.”

Arthur Season 25 Episodes

We are around 2 months from when the final 4 episodes air. No writers or summaries are known, but we have the titles.

“Binky Wrestles with a story.” Sounds like a rehash of “Rhyme for your Life to Me.” I love that episode, but I want the final season to try and top season 7, not just redo the classics. Still Binky is probably the most consistently good character in the show. Even in sucky episodes he is always a breath of fresh air.

“All will be Revealed.” An obvious call back to the premiere of season 10. Probably something to do with Dark and Bionic Bunny. Honestly I miss the much nerdier Arthur from seasons 10-14, and I am excited for this episode. Now that I am a comic book nerd, I find these much more relatable. This is the one I think will be the best.

“Making Conversation” Probably a disability episode about Marina. Not excited.

“A Cloudy Day” Maybe a rehash of “Arthur’s Almost Boring Day.” Hard to guess what it is.

“Listen Up.” I predict a Tibble episode. I do not have high hopes.

“Arthur’s New Old Vacation” A rehash of “Arthur’s Family Vacation I guess. Honestly I think this could be really good.

“Blabbermouth.” Maybe a D.W. episode. I have no idea what to think for the last first segment.

“All Grown Up.” The final segment. I always thought it would end with a full 30 minute episode. I picture this being a very sentimental episode and those are hit or miss.

All Stargirl Season 2 Episodes Ranked

1- A two parter that blends in with the next part.

2- First two episodes have many problems. On the positive side the comedy is very good. The second is better due to greater focus on their biggest strengths, the villains. The Eclipso, Cindy, and Shade scenes are great. Their are two main problems. Jenny is boring. It is the typical polite person who is bottling up anger. Her actress is way too quiet and fake sounding. I think she has plenty of good dialogue, but she cannot make it seem like real emotions despite being somebody powered by them. The other problem is in a comic book world Stargirl is completely right. I have trouble seeing most of this civilians stuff being important, and she just discovered her principal, mom’s boss/friendly adult, gym teacher, dad’s best friend/ neighbor are super villains. IT is not paranoia if everybody is out to get you. Oh, and she did not steal the lantern. She moved it from a place with literally no security, brought it to a place with great security, and defended it. Yes, in a world of super villains she does have a duty to stay vigilant. The second part gets a higher rating due to the increased focus on the villains who have to carry these two episodes. These are the only episodes so far I would really call “bad.”

7- The next few episodes are Eclipso messing with their minds. I think the creators knew it would get repetitive and saved good ideas for later. Despite that is has some great drama with the team dynamics, but it is more depressing than anything despite the mystery elements (that are still unresolved). These next few episodes blend together.

8- Before this I kept saying on reddit the darkness this season is nothing compared to Justice League of America. After this I stopped saying that. Rick’s story really got depressing. I know Beth’s story got he attention, but I just find her plot so lacking compared to everybody else’s plots. Still it had some great atmosphere.

10- Journey episode. Jenny’s acting is much improved, and I enjoyed Shade’s backstory and the comedy. It still has that plot hole of how well maintained the JSA headquarters looks, and by this point I was tired of so many downer endings in a row.

9- This is by far the best of the downer episodes. The Eclipso illusions with so many characters at once was great, I think the JSAers who decided to kill flashback was well explained and rational for them. Hourman has trouble keeping it under control. Wildcat is nervous about losing his son. Starman thinks it is the only way (and was responsible for the A-bomb).

11- A happy ending that had me pumped for next episode. New twists being thrown in and some major victories for the heroes. In addition the trip to the shadowlands did happen in the comics, but it was very different here giving a comic fan like me both a familiar adaptation but a different experience.

12- Mostly great build up, but there is more. They have big debates about teaming up with villains, trying to gather every weapon and person they still have, and it is actually believable that the villain has been planning this all along.

4- Mostly a comedy that was fun to watch.

3- After lackluster previous two episodes this was needed. I did not see the ending coming, a very good fight, plenty of great team dynamics, and plenty of comedy.

5- I do love seeing superheroes saving people, and I really enjoyed this completely original version of Paintball. This also foreshadows Eclipso’s ability to make plans where he wins either way and can make long term plans based on using misdirection.

13- Here was the dramatic finale where everything clicks. Mostly one giant fight like last finale. Unlike last finale where the villains are constantly falling but getting reinforcements it is the heroes who are constantly falling and getting reinforcements. I am impressed the producers said so many fake spoilers to avoid the ending getting spoiled.

6- Easily the best episode and probably the second best in the series so far. The fights and buildup were amazing and then it becomes clear that none of this was important compared to the ending and how big it gets setting up the rest of the season’s main plotlines.

Overall not as good as season 1, but a very solid season up there with the best seasons of Smallville. I hope season 3 is better, but if this is the quality for the rest of the show’s run then it should still be great.

Time for my very busy December when I lose my schedule. I will write a few things that come to mind then and review at least one Christmas special.

Arthur’s End: a Lookback (s5-7)

Season 5

Trust me, Buster about to chop up fat Arthur makes perfect sense in context.

In season 5 Ken Scarborough is gone and Joe Fallon now has a much smaller job. Peter K. Hirsch takes over as main writer, so the show in a big transition phase. Since Fallon is still around they cans till use “Crazy Bus,” but this is the final season. These episodes are lacking and constantly saved by Binky. Granted it still has some greats, which are dominantly written by Hirsch. The best is “Just Desserts.” The worst episode is “The Election.” It just lacks fun whenever Binky and D.W. are not on screen and makes me miserable thinking about our real problems with people like Muffy being elected. “Bitzi’s Beau” starts a long term plot of Buster’s mom dating Harry Mills. It is not filled with bad episodes, but they get more boring and preachier resulting in a drop of quality. They have plenty of drama and good morals, but for the most part they lack fun.

One notably different epsidoe is “”You are Arthur” for beign in first person, and it does capture how running works right down to the shoe problems.

This season is full of the episodes you watch, remember them being pretty good but not spectacular, and then watch them again and realize how much of a letdown this season is.

I previously reviewed the hour long special to end the season, Arthur’s Perfect Christmas. You might remember I am far from a fan. It is a sucky way to end Michael Yarmush’s run.

I do not think Fern said a single word all season. I guess she regained her shyness.

Season 6

After that season 6 has Justin Bradley take over as Arthur’s voice, and this is very important to showing the show can survive without Fallon. Thankfully it is a big improvement.

The first episodes are about Virtual Goose. They teach great lessons about not being addicted to games or taking them too seriously, but more importantly they are really funny and always a pleasure to watch. That is what the show is back to being, fun.

Without Fallon they were out of things for Mr. Sipple to do, so he was replaced with the Molina family. I think Vicita is pretty dull, but I do love Alberto and his status as a super nerd who has no shame in it.

Many of the episodes are about looking for one thing, and instead finding joy in something unexpected. Many episodes are also about unexpected skills like Binky’s rhyming.

My favorite episode is easily “The Boy who Cried Comet.” For one Fern is back, and I do love the surprisingly simple and realistic detective work, and that wacky ending. I am sure it helps that this is basically purely about my favorite characters/

For disabilities George now has dyslexia. I miss it when George did not have Wally. He was a way better character without being obsessed with his dummy. I also miss when he was voiced by a boy, as I constantly find the woman sound way too… feminine for him. This look back really made me see how much George has changed, and in my opinion for the worse. Nowadays he has stolen Arthur’s role as the everyman, but he is too cartoony.

This season introduced the Pal and Kate episodes. They are hated, and you probably think I am going to viciously attack them. No, that comes later, as this first episode with them is fine, in fact it will a while until I attack them. This season came out when I was 5, and I remember this being a refreshing change of pace. There is one disastrous part of this episode, Nemo. They completely butchered him to make him far more of a generic fictional mean cat.

Speaking of cats Jenna sucks. She finally becomes more than a walking prop this season, and with that design that is all she should ever be. What is with her weird human nose? That dress is all wrong for a sports fanatic.

In reruns Mark Rendall dubbed over Bradley for Arthur. In home media Bradley is still there. It is a big debate about this, but I prefer the Rendall dub. He just sounds like an 8 year old and has much more range. I think Hartley always sounds bored, and the episodes are way better without him. Sorry Hartley.

Season 7

Season 7 starts with another hour long special, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Arthur. This one is way superior. I love it mainly for continuing the Fern-Francine frenemyship, but this was a great watch and way to start the season. I think part of this is Arthur, D.W., and Brain all had new actors, and this was to help them get into the roles when they only had minor parts.

I am not a big fan of “Cast Away” due to Jason’s Szwimmer’s poor job at crying when playing D.W., but “The Great Sock Mystery” is by far the best Kate and Pal episode. After that it is classic after classic again. Mark Rendall is the best Arthur. Alex Hood’s brain sounds notably younger letting them emphasize that the child genius is still very much just a kid.

After that comes the best Tibble episode, a wonderful episode about dealing with reacting to a disability, some very wholesome D.W. and Arthur episodes where they do come across as realistic loving siblings, and a great conclusion to the snowball mystery.

Before this the show never had a full 30 minute episode. Plenty had continuity between the segments, but they always had distinct morals and plots. This season had 2 full 30 minute episodes. The first is the one hundredth episode, “Elwood City Turns 100.” The comedy, songs, acting, plot, pacing, references, guest appearances, and drama are all on point. This is the best episode in the show.

It ends with “April 9th” which really feels like a finale. It is a great episode.

With the possible exception of season 2, this is the best season of the show. Thus ends the golden age of Arthur after 7 years.

DTV Wonders: 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure

I think it is no secret I do not like the Disney sequels despite overall liking DTV films, so here is one I do like. It is by no means a great movie, but it is fine. It feels like a movie and does not fall for the usual Disney sequel traps of having their kid do the movie over or just be three TV show episodes. Instead it is a movie that goes in a very different direction with a some minor characters.

Over the credits a single spot is getting smothered by the rest and hopelessly trying to escape them.  I normally like opening like this but I think the foreshadowing is way too obvious.  This does show one of the problems, as the film does not rely on subtly enough despite being very good at it.

The movie begins with them about to move to the farm. Most of the British accents are too thick.  Roger’s voice is off and his song sucks.  It was a bad idea to sing it and “Dalmatian Plantation” at the same time.  They clash too badly.  There are a few scenes showing that Patch is having a middle child crisis (I can relate) and Pongo is not much help due to being an overworked dad. It helps that Patch actually has a good British accent. Admittedly Roger and Pongo are voiced by British people, so I am wondering if my memory of British accents is off. Interestingly now they get Roly’s book name right.  As a chicken owner I hate the casual joke about chasing chickens.

They watch the Thunderbolt show to introduce our second lead. It is very interesting that they put last film’s main characters in the background and focus on two very minor characters from the first film, and I like that. It helps to have its own voice. Why does Thunderbolt now have a pitiful sidekick?  The show looks repetitive and slow.  Watching it does capture the family dynamics, and they are accurate to what siblings are like, lots of mockery and insults despite all the love.  Patch wants to be One of a Kind like Thunderbolt instead of one of 101. 

It may have been a mistake reviewing this right after a Pixar film. 

Cruella De Vil is trying to buy furs despite her probabtions aying she cannot do that. The store owner is really devoted to helping Cruella in her probation, and stops her, what a pal.  She gets in her horribly broken down car that plays “Cruella De Vil” on the radio. Can Cruella sue Roger for that song?  What type of cop allows that thing on the road. 

Art scene is where it gets good.  I cannot tell if it is praising or parodying modern art, and that is part of the charm.  Cruella now wants  a spot painting or something when she sees Lars’s spot art.  It is just so weird seeing a psychopath talking to a guy who is roleplaying as crazy and slowly turning from it, and it is entertaining.

They accidently leaves Patch behind and he decides the best course of action is to see Thunderbolt’s public show that day with the usual trope of not knowing he is an actor. Thunderbolt is an arrogant imbecile, and that is how he works as a side character.  He gets a hard fall due to being easily duped by Lightning into leaving to try to do heroics in the real world while talking to his own merchandise.  Lightning tricks him into thinking they are going to replace him, and he needs to go out and do heroic things to impress the public.

Turns out he really sucks at imrpov, so he needs Patch with his perfect memory of the show to tell him everything to do, but the stuff he wants to do are the opposite of heroic.  For some reason they think Lightning can take over like he planned.  I like his dark jokes, but that is like replacing The Rock with Kevin Hart.  That is more than a rewrite for a new direction. 

Patch and Thunderbolt bond over being pushed away from the top and off the top. They do seem to have a legit friendship that grows organically, and I like most of their scenes together, even if there is nothing too interesting to write about.

Horace and Jasper are setnenced to prison but Cruella pays their bale and… That is not how bale works.  The cop just stands there as they discuss going back to crime and does nothing over their car theft with witness.  These cops are the real villains. 

Thunderbolt and Patch’s picture did get in the newspaper, and they use a magnifying glass to tread their new address (not going to work). They go to the farm to do more dognapping. Since they keep showing the puppies chasing chickens I am upset with them too, and I am really enjoying Horace and Jasper’s comedy. Were they brothers int he first film? In the first one being robbed is scary and treated as serious business.  Here it is comedy.  Why steal instead of just buy some dogs?  Got to be revenge motivated since this is pointlessly evil.

They take the puppies to Lars who ditches his cool façade and just loves on them hoping to make a painting of them, and Cruella informs him he will be making a painting with them (their coats as canvases).  He refuses as long as he has anything to say about it, so they gag him.  I love how he asks how they can morally do it, and they answer thinking he means how they can physically do it.  I always love that trope. 

The twilight bark scene is too repetitive, but I like that the puppies start it.  It shows growth and learning from the last time, as they now know to start it themselves to get help. According to IMDB Sgt. Tibbs from the first one was supposed to be kidnapped with them, but he was written out. Honestly all of the main characters from last film are absent or have minor roles. SInce the Disney sequels are so bad at using the main characters I think this change works for the best.

Word gets to Patch and Thunderbolt, and Thunderbolt realizes saving puppies is the media stunt he needs. Thunderbolt is still the same dumb gloryhound, but he at least gets Patch’s name right now.  Lightning hears and joins them to sabotage it.  Patch suggests a stealth maneuver and rescuing without any fighting, but Lightning appeals to Thunderbolt’s ego to get him to instead to a frontal assault.  It does not scare them, and Cruella does Patch’s plan of stealthily knocking him out.

Lightning then brags about betraying Thunderbolt, how he will take over the show, and reveals all of Thunderbolt’s lying. He then leaves while laughing evilly the whole time. Patch is furious at Thunderbolt, and Thunderbolt is just lying there too depressed to do anything and just calling himself an “actor”.

After talking about the show with Lucky Patch accepts that Thundebolt is an actor, and he uses things he learned from the show to escape in a realistic way… Scratch that the tone does a complete 180 from realism to Looney Tunes. Now the laws of physics are constantly broken and it is a huge car chase all over London in absolute insanity.

I am kind of mixed on this. For one it is such a turn and breaks the movie’s own feeling. On the other hand the original book would get very crazy too, and this is very entertaining.

Lightning and Cruella are both the main villains but until now they have never shared the screen at all. They have completely different goals and keep coincidently indirectly helping the other. The party bus runs into Lightning making the two villains finally interact. Part of what I like about Lightning is the film knows he is not intimidating in a physical fight. From now on he is a non entity.

Thunderbolt is inspired by their faith in his TV character’s heroics. He finally gets out of the cage to help, and he “arrives in the nick of time.” He accepts what he is by being an actor and faking a heart attack throwing all four villains off. Horace and Jasper just stand there in confusion, while Cruella accidently hits them both with the crowbar.

The movie has not been subtle but this Lightning and Thunderbolt scene is. Thunderbolt pretends to die and Lightning cries over it. Earlier Thunderbolt told him he always wanted a great death scene, and here he gets it. In addition Lightning keeps calling him a sucky actor, and here he is proven wrong. Why was Lightning crying over his enemy? He probably just never thought he would actually see him dead.

After that is the basic wrap up of villains arrested and the family is reunited. It ends with a few newspaper jokes like Horace and Jasper make a chain of women’s clothes stores.

There is a seemingly pointless credit scene where Thunderbolt got all 99 puppies on the show. This is actually him making good on his promise to Patch showing character growth.

This film is pretty good. It has a basic plot with the third act breakup and liar revealed, but it is entertaining for children (I did see it at the target age first and rewatched it twice for this post). Enough for three Tree Stars.

Next time Stargirl Season 2’s review.