Top Ten Disney Second Dark Age Characters

Disney’s Second Dark Age was very dark indeed as these films are, let’s say, not some of their best. In terms of characterization, they are much better than in either plot or music so this list should be pretty strong after all. So here are the ten best original characters that have arrived during this period.



10. Dr. Jumba and Pleakley

They are not hilarious really, but they are funny from time to time. This alien duo succeeds because of an infectious dynamic they share with each other. They are perfect comic reliefs from this film who never overstayed their welcome and thus they share this tenth spot.

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9. Kenai

We’ve seen this type of protagonist before who changes from selfish to selfless and caring throughout the runtime. However, Kenai is a really well realized character who transcends that familiarity to him. He is complex and memorable and his relationship with Koda is wonderful.

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8. John Silver

John Silver is the best character from Treasure Planet and the most complex out of the bunch. I loved his buddy/bromance relationship with Jim Hawkins and his shift to the good side was done really well as he never really totally changed and admirably stayed in the grey area.

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7. Lilo

Stitch is the more memorable part of this duo, but still Lilo is pretty good herself. She isn’t funny as she’s a straight character, but she’s better than most Disney protagonists as she is a relatable heroine and a very realistically depicted kid who is at times unlikable and at times likable.

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6. Bowler Hat Guy

This superb character from Meet the Robinsons isn’t really a villain by the time the film ends, but still that doesn’t matter as what we got from him is one amazing backstory which was superbly well written and highly moving in emotion. He’s complex and very memorable.

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5. Koda

Who doesn’t love Koda? He’s such an immensely cute, simply adorable bear cub, but as in the case of Lilo, he is also pretty unlikable at times and annoying as most kids can be. Thus he is realistic, his brotherly relationship with Kenai is beautiful and he truly is a character you root for from beginning to end.

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4. Kronk

Now admittedly Kronk is your typical overly dimwitted comic relief cartoon guy. However, he is better than most of his type thanks to Patrick Warburton’s top-notch voice performance and many hilarious lines that he got. His interactions with Yzma are so funny and his funniest scene is the devil/angel one which is hilarious.

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3. Stitch

Stitch is as classic of a Disney character as we got during this new century so far. I loved his dynamic with Lilo, I really admired how funny and yet gross he can be and the highlights are his voices and especially character design which is odd and highly authentic.

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2. Yzma

This old hag just had to be somewhere high on this list and this second place was perfect for her. Thin in structure and exceedingly ugly, she is different than most villains look, but what makes her great is her excellent voice, her personality and her relationship with Kronk which produced many of the funniest moments in the film. She is both a competent and a funny villain.

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1. Emperor Kuzco

So well developed, absolutely hilarious with his many perfectly delivered funny lines, well voiced and animated, Kuzco just had to be on top of this list as he is simply the greatest character from this decade of Disney films. His interactions with all three characters are excellent, but his wonderfully realized and fun buddy relationship with Pacha takes the cake as the best one. He is arrogant and unlikable at first, but consistently funny with his unforgettable one-liners and I just could not get enough of him in this already hilarious flick.

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Honorable Mentions:

Jim Hawkins – A pretty solid hero in Treasure Planet, Jim Hawkins is less memorable than John Silver, but likable and well developed nonetheless.

Mittens – Easily Bolt’s finest character, this cat is very realistically portrayed as cats go and I really liked both her personality and her look.

Alameda Slim – This underrated goofy villain from Home on the Range got some funny lines and one great, enormously entertaining song.


Top Five Disney Second Dark Age Songs


Top Five Disney Second Dark Age Songs

Disney’s Second Dark Age is easily the worst period for the studio not only in terms of the movies themselves, but even more so in terms of the scores and soundtracks as not one of these eleven films is a proper musical and some even have very few or downright no songs. That is why I decided to put together a list of the five best instead of ten songs as there just wasn’t enough to make a top ten this time around. So here we go.


5. I’m Still Here

This rock song from Treasure Planet is admittedly not my cup of tea as I prefer pop over rock. However, I cannot deny that it is original for a Disney movie to feature rock songs and this one is easily the better of the two in the movie as it is very catchy and with pretty good lyrics.


4. He Mele No Lilo

Now I do know that I am in the minority here as most prefer the other song from Lilo & Stitch, but I like this one better as it is much catchier and much more fun. It took me some time to learn all of the Hawaiian words but I eventually did it. I loved the use of that language here.


3. Yodle-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo

I really like this silly song! It is an underrated number in its own right. Now Home on the Range is a mediocre movie, but it does have a pretty solid country soundtrack and this country song is a more different Disney song with a great use of yodeling, funny lyrics and accompanied by good, trippy imagery. It is the greatest moment in the film for Alameda Slim.


2. On My Way

Most people really despise Phil Collins’ songs in Brother Bear, but just as the movie itself, I deem them pretty good and highly underrated. On My Way is the best of the bunch and although far from the quality of the songs from ‘Tarzan’, it is still the most recognizable, wonderful scene in the movie and this song is very catchy, sweet and just a lot of fun.


1. Little Wonders

A hugely underrated song from a very underrated movie, this Meet the Robinsons number is one of my favorite Disney songs for sure. I love it so much. Rob Thomas is the singer here and thus the song is different than your usual Disney ballad, but still it accompanies that beautiful final scene so well and the entire movie too as it features incredibly touching, powerful lyrics and the tune itself is pleasing and strong. It came from an unexpected movie, but it easily takes the number one spot for me here.



Honorable Mentions:

Look Through My Eyes – This is another strong, highly catchy and fun Brother Bear song that is also moving and strong in its lyrics.

Barking at the Moon – This song from Bolt is a surprisingly solid charmer with very good lyrics, an excellent use of the sound bark and accompanied by a wonderfully sweet sequence.

Little Patch of Heaven – This country number serves so well as the theme of the film. It is sung really well and it is immensely catchy and descriptive in quality.

Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Most people love this song the most from Lilo & Stitch, but even though I do like it and it is very catchy and fun, it is the lesser of the two in my opinion.


Bomberman ’93 (1992)

Bomberman '93 Review


Bomberman ’93 Review

Bomberman ’93 is a 1992 maze video game from the Bomberman series and published by Hudson Soft on the PC Engine. It is a pretty good, but far from great entry in the series.

Now I love the Bomberman series, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this early entry honestly. It is very flawed. Still pretty good and I give it a 4 rating, but that is a far cry from the best entries in the franchise. That is mostly because the game is too short and not particularly demanding and I am used to longer and more difficult gaming experiences so this one did not cut it for me.

Bomberman '93 Review

Once again it consists of single-player and multiplayer modes. Let’s talk about single-player. It is the better of the two modes and the more difficult one naturally. I really liked it as a whole even if it wasn’t all that hard or long. It is pretty long, but shorter than most Bomberman campaigns from this period in the franchise’s history.

So it has eight worlds comprised of eight levels and the eighth one is basically a boss battle. Now most of these worlds are not extremely memorable, but they were all pretty well designed and fun to play. And also solidly diverse in both setting and level design. As for the bosses, they were the highlights as they were much more difficult than the normal levels. Actually, the whole final world was very difficult and very competent in its A.I. But the final boss himself was superb as he needed to be beaten thrice and with all the different methods and it was quite interesting and in the end rewarding to finish him off.

Bomberman '93 Review

Bomberman ’93 has a pretty weak multiplayer. I guess I am too harsh to it as ‘Mega Bomberman’ spoiled me, but still this wasn’t up to par to the usually strong gameplay that the series provides. That is mostly because the A.I. opponents are just ridiculously easy to kill and thus you are much better off against the human opponents.

Another problem has to be that very annoying design to each of the areas. Now all of the areas have interesting, different settings and are well animated and I really liked them overall, but I thoroughly disliked those portal holes dispersed in each of the four angles on the screen. Those were only present in one area in ‘Mega Bomberman’, but here they are in every area and they get annoying pretty quickly.

Bomberman '93 Review

Now I am constantly referencing ‘Mega Bomberman’ in this review and that’s because that’s my personal favorite of all video games. However, one aspect that this amazing game owes to Bomberman ’93 is the score. Yes, here we are first introduced to that iconic score in both the title screen as well as the multiplayer mode. Very catchy, classic and a lot of fun, it fits the game perfectly and is the best thing that this game provided for the entire franchise.

It is very well animated and its graphics is admittedly not great, but pretty good and especially the character designs were expectedly excellent and wonderfully cartoony. The game looks and sounds good, but its storyline is very weak, even weaker than the usual for the platformer genre and that was not a big, but a small problem for sure.

Bomberman ’93 is a pretty good, but not great installment in the Bomberman series. It has a slight story, a weaker multiplayer mode and it is too short and easy to beat, but it looks good, it is very fun to play, most of the worlds and levels are very good and the score is particularly strong and influential for the franchise.

My Rating – 4


L’Atalante (1934)

L'Atalante Movie Review


L’Atalante Movie Review

L’Atalante is a 1934 French drama film directed by Jean Vigo and starring Michel Simon, Dita Parlo and Jean Daste. It is a solid, but highly overrated movie.


Don’t you know you can see your beloved’s face in the water


L'Atalante Movie Review


This is another overrated French movie in the world filled with such titles. It obviously influenced the French New Wave and thus is important, but because I am not a fan of the aforementioned period, that hardly mattered to me. The film should have been much more romantic and is basically just a drama in the end which was a problem.

The story itself is very standard and although some parts are memorable, most of it was highly usual and the film moved too slowly and was slight overall in terms of storytelling and felt long even for its very short runtime.

Definitely the highlight is the underwater sequence which inspired Kusturica’s ‘Underground’. Another highlight is that erotic, sensual scene which is very original and progressive for its time. It is unlike any other scene in 1930s film and it thus needs to be respected.

The characters in L’Atalante are very dull and mostly far from memorable. They serve their purpose, but these three ultimately did not interest me personally and I was not invested in their story. I liked some of the conversations here as the dialogue was solid, but the film still needed more substance.


L'Atalante Movie Review


The visuals drive this French flick to much greater heights and again that is a testament to it being the forerunner of the French New Wave decades before it even started. Jean Vigo directed only two movies and made a name for himself in movie history. I wouldn’t go that far to call him great, but he did have a distinct and interesting style nonetheless.

As I said, the cinematography is stunning. The film is so well filmed and some shots are superb. I liked its setting so well and it is explored really well. The score is also quite solid and fitting in style to the plot. So the film sounds and looks excellent, but at its core it is pretty shallow.

L’Atalante is another overrated French movie with excellent cinematography, good score and some superb shots and a couple of very memorable, original sequences, but the film is slight in terms of characterization and storytelling and it was mostly boring even for its short runtime.

My Rating – 3.5


Milk and Money (1936)

Milk and Money ReviewMilk and Money Review

Milk and Money is a 1936 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very good, funny entry.

Tex Avery really made this thing work so well. This film is a textbook example of how to do a tired story right and make it anew in a way. Yes, the story where son and father have to get money or else their farm will be sold out is so cliched and the horse race part was also very typical, but still the gags are so great and the film flows really well that I mostly didn’t mind.

Porky is excellent here, very memorable. Mr. Viper the Snake is a very good villain with a hilarious name and I loved that snake walk gag. Hank Horsefly is the highlight here as he is the mix of a horse and fly and him hitting the horse in the butt to power him up and him following traffic regulations were both hilarious gags perfectly executed. I also adored the animation here, very high quality and the visual where Porky’s dad loses his hope and everything suddenly darkens is an incredibly authentic moment in the film. And the addition of the instrumental version of We’re in the Money is highly appreciated

Milk and Money is cliched in concept, but superb in execution with an exceptionally strong characterization, competent animation and many hilarious gags.

My Rating – 4.2


Ranking Disney Second Dark Age Films


Ranking Disney Second Dark Age Films

Disney’s Second Dark Age is by far the worst period that has ever happened to the studio. Most of these movies are just solid, none of them are truly great and only a couple are truly good and a couple are the only mediocre movies that Disney has produced. But even though this was a very uneven, weak and ultimately too different period for Disney, it still gave us a couple of really good movies. Here is my ranking of all eleven films from this very productive period in Disney history.



11. Chicken Little

By far the worst Disney movie of all time and their only film that got a rotten rating from me, Chicken Little truly is the black sheep of the entire studio’s output. Now the film isn’t terrible as it is pretty moving and fun at times, but for the majority of its runtime it is very uneven, it has two very different movies in it and those do not mash well together and the animation is easily the worst that Disney has ever put out.

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10. Home on the Range

Home on the Range is much better than ‘Chicken Little’ as it should prove a nice distraction for children, its characters are fun and the soundtrack is actually quite underrated with a couple of solid songs. However, the film is very garishly animated, it is awfully frenetic in pacing, aggressive in humor and non-existent in plot. It is one of the rare Disney films that only kids could properly enjoy.

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9. Dinosaur

Dinosaur is such a disappointing film. You have a great idea here, but it was executed pretty badly. I loved its beginning and it truly was epic and some scenes here are very ambitious in scope, but the movie is awfully dated in its CGI animation with pretty mediocre character design. Speaking of characters, they are quite bland and dull and the overall storyline is pretty boring and typical. It is probably the most tedious Disney film ever.

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8. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis is another huge missed opportunity. I have a huge respect for Disney for venturing into this very ambitious anime-like project with a much more serious storytelling than usual. However, the end result is decidedly mixed as it has its epic moments and very stellar animation, but awfully forgettable characters and way too much action. It is a movie that should have been exciting and not sluggish and even boring at times.

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7. Bolt

Bolt is a movie for dog persons. If you love dogs, then you are bound to really enjoy it, but otherwise it can get on your nerves with a frustratingly annoying first act and a pretty generic plot as a whole. But the characters, especially sidekicks, are quite solid and the film is well animated and scored. It is nothing special and it is a very forgettable affair, but an enjoyable and fun one nonetheless.

Bolt Movie Review


6. Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet is yet another missed opportunity at making a great anime flick which was basically what Disney tried to do here. The animation is very strong and colorful, the mix of old and new in its story is very refreshing and the film benefits from such a strong relationship between Jim Hawkins and John Silver at its core. But it suffers from some pretty annoying sidekick characters, too much action and not enough substance and magic.

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5. Fantasia 2000

‘Fantasia’s pretty underrated, solid sequel is again an extremely uneven work with some segments that just do not work and are frustrating in their many flaws, but some such as Pomp and Circumstance and Rhapsody on Blue are quite inspired in terms of both animation and story. The film is ultimately a success with great segments overshadowing the lesser ones, but the film is undone by those cringe-worthy transitions with bad humor from its annoying comedians.

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4. Meet the Robinsons

The second most underrated film on this list is Meet the Robinsons which is such a pleasant, wonderful romp. It tries too hard with its eccentric characters and it is highly uneven in pacing and tone. But it is ultimately more than a solid effort and a different Disney film than usual with its very interesting and heartwarming futuristic tale. The score and animation are solid, but the Bowler Hat Guy and his story are the ones that really stand out.

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3. Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch is considered a minor classic for Disney and for many good reasons. It is a great tale of sisterhood that is heartwarming, but never overly sentimental. I loved its message and its painterly Hawaiian backgrounds are gorgeous. The soundtrack is also pretty stellar. But it is its very fun humor and its eponymous characters and their dynamic that really make it a respectable family film.

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2. Brother Bear

And yes, Brother Bear gets the second spot as Disney’s most shamefully underrated film from this period and quite possibly of all time. It is not without its flaws as the ending is too happy, but still this is one wonderful, truly touching story of brotherhood that really resonated with me on multiple levels. The humor is solid, Phil Collins’ songs are a lot of fun and the film juggles the fun with the dark really well. I really like it and I wish more people discover this gem.

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1. The Emperor’s New Groove

And the number one is easily taken by The Emperor’s New Groove which is the funniest Disney film of all time! There is a hilarious joke after joke, gag after gag literally from beginning to end here and it truly is a glorious laugh riot of a movie. But the reason why it ultimately works so well lies in its characterization which is off the roof strong. You have dimwitted and hilarious Kronk here, but you also have such a great villain in Yzma and of course one of the most entertaining protagonists ever in Emperor Kuzco. This infectiously dynamic, hysterical comedy was a different attempt from Disney that paid off stupendously leading to this period’s very best entry.

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Bolt (2008)

Bolt Movie Review


Bolt Movie Review

Bolt is a 2008 computer animated comedy film which is Disney’s 48th animated feature. It is one of their weaker efforts.


They always pick the cute ones, the ones that look

like you, Bolt, but the rest of us never come back out


Bolt Movie Review


So we follow a white shepherd dog named Bolt who is a dog actor in a superhero show and once he gets separated from his human person, he sets out to find her along with his new friends, a cat and a hamster, and along the way he has to learn to cope with the fact that he doesn’t really have superpowers.

Now, a disillusioned protagonist is a familiar concept and a dog setting out to find his master is also a very tired story been told countless times by now. The movie is interesting as it deals with both of those things, but it is still a very unoriginal film and that is probably why it is ultimately forgettable and one of Disney’s weaker flicks.

Now in terms of storytelling, the film doesn’t really flow all that well. The pacing is off and although the film is very entertaining and sometimes even sweet, the beginning does drag and the film definitely started in a very unappealing manner. The ending is sweet, but typical. And the film shines in the middle parts where you get most of the adventure and fun humor.


Bolt Movie Review


So let’s talk about each of the film’s characters which are surprisingly solid in development. Bolt himself is honestly a bit boring as he is portrayed as too good-natured and heroic. He is fine, but a typical protagonist nonetheless. Penny is also a forgettable Disney kid, but the relationship between the two is heartwarming of course.

Bolt shines in its supporting characters as both Mittens and Rhino are such good sidekicks. Rhino the hamster is a lot of fun with his many nerdy lines and the concept of a hamster in a bowl is interesting and different. Mittens is the film’s finest character. I understood from the beginning that her backstory involves a human, but it was still a well done backstory. And I really liked how she was at first an unlikable cat, but Bolt grew on her eventually and the two became friends.


Bolt Movie Review


This is basically a dog film made for dog persons. I honestly think that a dog person is bound to like this movie much more than non-dog people and the film is definitely fun and charming, but so cliched and forgettable. I myself am in the middle section. I am a dog person so the film was suited for me, but I still could not deny its unoriginality and the overall forgettable nature to it. I don’t know what it is about it, but it is one of those movies that are at first quite enjoyable and you do love it in the moment, but quickly forget it afterwards much in the vein of ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ and ‘Meet the Robinsons’.

But dogs are well portrayed and cats as well. Stereotyped, but those stereotypes are mostly realistic so I did not mind it. The designs of the animals are actually different than usual and the film is memorable in its characters’ looks for sure. The humor is quite stupendous. I really laughed out loud a couple of times and the scene that shows how dogs make cute faces to get food and how cats cannot quite do that was hilarious.

Bolt is not a musical, but it does have two songs nonetheless. I Thought I Lost You is a very forgettable, typical number, but Barking at the Moon is honestly a lot of fun. The song is accompanied by such a cute sequence and I loved how catchy it was and how well it utilized on the barking sound in its lyrics. Jenny Lewis was much better here than Miley Cyrus.


Bolt Movie Review


Speaking of Miley, she did a good job as Penny. Her voice is too recognizable, but she did okay. Susie Essman is excellent as Mittens and Mark Walton is very funny. John Travolta does not have that recognizable a voice so he was pretty good as Bolt.

The animation here is very good. The film looks and sounds too much like a Pixar movie, but still the visuals are mostly quite good for 2008 and it looked quite polished and especially accomplished in the character design department. The score is solid, the pacing is bad and overall the film is emotional, but sometimes a bit too emotionally manipulative. It is one of the weaker Disney films, but for Second Dark Age, it is quite solid.

Bolt is one of the weaker Disney films as it is very forgettable, the storyline is mostly pretty generic and some parts were not as fun as the others were, but it is well animated with especially good character design, the voice acting is solid, the humor is actually quite good and the film is moving at times and mostly just a lot of fun, especially if you’re a dog person.

My Rating – 3.5


The Sand Castle (1977)

The Sand Castle ReviewThe Sand Castle Review

The Sand Castle is a 1977 Oscar-winning animated short that is so good.

This is definitely one of the most authentic winners in this category and it deserved its Oscar for the sheer originality presented here. It is basically a sand animated film where everything revolves in sand and with creatures out of sand. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I reckon that it must have been hard to make, but it looks so superb that I really appreciate the effort, especially from the character design perspective as the creatures are very intriguing in their looks.

But The Sand Castle is a very good film overall and not just in terms of the animation. Certainly the pacing is off as the beginning is prolonged and the ending is abrupt, but I really liked the story of creatures building other creatures and then their castle and eventually the wind blows it off. It does end on a sad note, but you do expect the whole cycle to repeat itself over and over again. The score is just phenomenal and so moving too.

The Sand Castle is a wonderful film that is original in animation and moving in score and story.

My Rating – 4.2


Alien Resurrection (1997)

Alien Resurrection Movie Review


Alien Resurrection Movie Review

Alien Resurrection is a 1997 science fiction horror film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Sigourney Weaver and Winona Ryder. It is a surprisingly solid flick.


I thought you were dead. Yeah, I get that a lot


Alien Resurrection Movie Review


Now after the mediocrity that was ‘Alien 3’, I expected the same level of incompetence in Alien 4, but what I got is actually a pretty solid film and it caught be my surprise. I was so pleasantly surprised to find out that this fourth installment got back to the series’ roots with more memorable horror and less boredom.

So the plot is pretty solid, not great, but serviceable. I really liked the twist with Call, really well done and it made me like her character even more. The ending was memorable and the inclusion of Newborn creature which is a Xenomorph but with human traits was very interesting. Because it is basically sort of Ripley’s child, her killing it in the end provided an unexpectedly emotionally resonant moment. I also really liked that plot point with all the genetically modified Xenomorphs with humans. Creepy and disturbing, but memorable and visually very intriguing.

Ellen Ripley is as strong as ever here and Sigourney Weaver once again killed it in her signature role, but Winona Ryder is also surprisingly strong in the role of Call. Her performance and her character provided one of the standouts here. But unfortunately all of the other characters are pointless, disposable and so underdeveloped that it was ridiculous that we only got two memorable characters.


Alien Resurrection Movie Review


Alien Resurrection is very memorable in a couple of scenes. As I said above, everything with the hybrid creatures was unforgettable, but the action was also surprisingly strong here with a couple of standout action sequences such as that unforgettable water run which I absolutely adored because of a unique concept and a great chase.

The film is well made, but weakly directed and I thought that this French director was not a good fit for this franchise. The score is also lacking, but the effects are excellent. The major problem with this movie is that the first half is so boring, it takes time getting used to and it felt uninspired and basically like a cash grab that the very entertaining second half couldn’t quite save the entire movie for being so dull before.

Alien Resurrection is actually a very solid, surprisingly competent film and a huge improvement over the previous installment. Its first half is very dull, it takes time getting used to and most of the characters are disposable, but Winona Ryder and of course Sigourney Weaver are very good, the film has a couple of excellent, truly memorable action sequences and the addition of hybrid Xenomorphs was a very interesting, creepy idea.

My Rating – 3.5


Toy Town Hall (1936)

Toy Town Hall ReviewToy Town Hall Review

Toy Town Hall is a 1936 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is an okay short.

So the premise where the baby falls asleep and dreams about an orchestra is such a tired, uninspired concept that I’ve seen a billion times before in animated shorts. This time around we’ve got actors parodied and whether or not their designs were odd, I did not recognize who these actors were which is troublesome. The film is sorely lacking in gags and should have been funny, but isn’t.

The animation is pretty pleasing and with nice colors and the score is so good with the Merrily We Roll Along famous theme being used well in the film itself. I cannot wait for the next Merry Melody as from then on that classic theme will be used in the titles forever.

Toy Town Hall is well scored and animated, but so uninspired and typical in its storyline.

My Rating – 3.4