Blog Update: 8/21

Greetings! My fellow readers. School resumes for me next week starting Monday. This summer has been my most productive season for writing blog posts.

Thank you all for your continuous support and enthusiasm for my posts.

Welcome to my new readers! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my blog so far.

This summer has been my most productive season for writing blog posts.

The blog will remain on hiatus starting from next week until December during winter vacation.

Feel free to check my backlog of articles from 2017 to 2021.

Until then, Keep following PersonalMusings2017!

Favorite Wishbone Episodes

Wishbone was a tv series that ran from 1995-1998. The show’s star was a Jack Russel terrier called Wishbone who daydreams of being the main character in stories from classic literature.

I enjoyed this series because of the costumes and scene reananctments from different stories.

Hopefully the live-action film in development turns out decent.

I’ll share my favorite episodes in this list. I haven’t watched Wishbone in a long while so I’m going off of memory. In no particular order.

“Fleabitten Bargain” S1. Episode 12 Story: Faust by Goethe

“Rosie, Oh! Rosie, Oh!” S1. Episode 4 Story: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

“Homer Sweet Homer” S1 Episode 5 Story: The Odyssey by Homer

“Cyranose” S1 episode 7 Story: Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostad

“Digging up the Past” S 1 episode 9 Story: Rip by Van WInkle by Washington Irving

“Bone of Arc” S 1 episode 10 Story: Personal Recollections by Mark Twain

“A Tail of Two Sitters” S1 episode 16 Story: A Tale of Two Cities by Mark Twain

“Furst Impressions” S 1 episode 25 Story: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

“The Count’s Account” S1 episode 27 Story: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

“Shakespaw” S1 episode 32 Story: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

“Panting at the Opera” S1 episode 37 Story: Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

“The Roamin’ Nose” S2 episode 10 Story: The Aeneid by Virgil

Thoughts on Mysterious Benedict Society (Tv Series) 2021

Here are my thoughts on the Mysterious Benedict Society Tv series. A proper review will be posted in the future ince I’ve finished reading the first book.

  • Each episode was engaging with plot threads spread throughout.
  • The writing was tight and no scene in the tv series was wasted.
  • Most scenes helped with world-building or character development.
  • The soundtrack for the tv series was good. My favorite piece of music would be the theme song. It’s catchy, memorable, and a perfect fit for the series.
  • The tv series was semi-educational. It made learning fun and might inspire kids to learn Morse code or Braille.
  • Kids could definitely see themselves in Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance,
  • The cast was amazing. Both the adults and the children.
  • The sets for Mr. Benedict’s House and the Institute are my favorite.
  • I’m glad that the ending was left open-ended rather than neatly tied up.
  • I can’t wait to watch Season 2!

Vivo (2021)Movie review

Synopsis: A music-loving kinkajous (honey bear) heads to Miami to deliver a love song for an old friend. -Netflix

Upon watching the trailer for Vivo, I was excited to watch the movie. I like the plotline of Vivo delivering a song to Marta from Andres. I had high hopes for this movie. The movie turned out to be average. Let me start with the positives before diving into the movie’s flaws. Spoilers ahead!

Pros:

#1. The movie does a tremendous job of establishing the close relationship between Andres and Vivo. I wish he had more screen time in the movie.

#2. The 2-D animation sequences are quite colorful and vibrant. They’re a beauty to behold.

#3. I find the character design of Vivo to be adorable. He’s definitely a marketable character for this movie. I could see a toy company make a toy plush out of him or a singing toy. I admire his devotion to Andres even after his death.

#4. The scene of Marta’s farewell concert was beautiful and heart warming. I’m glad that she played Andres’ song for her.

Cons:

#1. It was unnecessary for Lin Manuel Miranda to be the speaking voice of Vivo. They could have gotten an actual voice actor for the role such as Dee Bradley, Frank Welker, or Carlos Alazraaqui. He should’ve stayed as the singing voice. Lin doesn’t create a character with Vivo. When I hear Vivo speak, all I hear is Lin himself. I found it to be distracting. It reminded of the Madagascar films where Ben Stiller and Chris Rock did the voices for Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra respectively. All I could hear from those characters were their voices.

It was a good effort on Lin to attempt voice acting but he should stick to being a playwright and an actor.

#2. The soundtrack for Vivo has 17 tracks. I believe that a few songs like “My Own Drum”, “Love’s Gonna Pick You Up”, “Tough Crowd”, and the remix for “My Own Drum” could’ve been removed from the list and nothing of value would’ve been lost. The soundtrack list should’ve been shorter.

#3. The middle section where Gabi and Vivo are stranded in the Everglades should’ve been shortened. This is the part where the film lacks momentum and drags from scene to scene. The scene with Vivo helping a couple spponbill birds get together contributed nothing to the plot. They would’ve been useful if they flew Gabi and Vivo to Miami.

#4. The development of Gabi and Vivo’s relationship feels rushed. There should’ve been more scenes with Gabi and Vivo bonding over music. It was a missed opportunity that the film didn’t delve deeper into Gabi’s feelings about her father’s death. This could’ve been used to strenghten the relationship between Gabi and Vivo.

#5. I don’t like Gabi’s introduction song, ” My Own Drum”. I found the song to be out of place in the movie. As a character, Gabi is underdeveloped. The audience doesn’t know much about her besides her being a “non-conformist” who marches to the beat of her own drum. More insight should’ve been given into her relationship with her parents and her upbringing.

This film has disappointed me. Vivo is an average movie with a good soundtrack except for a few songs. Kids will definitely enjoy this film. Adults will appreciate the movie’s soundtrack and the heartwarming moments but could find the film predictable and mediocre.

Now streaming on Netflix!

Suggestions for Little House Reboot

There is a Little House on the Prarire Reboot in development for Paramount +. The original series had a good 9 year-run from 1974-1983 with an awesome cast. I have no idea why Paramount is making a reboot for this show besides money and nostalgia from the older crowd and maybe their children. I am not even sure if this show would still work in modern times. If Anne with an E can have a successful tv show distinct from the original movies and books. Maybe the Little House Reboot can have similiar results.

With that said, I have suggestions to make the new show tolerable and decent. I hope the new show is decent and not terrible.

  1. Keep the dialogue in normal English. No modern slang which will outdate the show in 5 years.
  2. Keep the costumes in the time period late 1800’s to 1900’s. No modern clothes.
  3. There shall be no use of cellphones during the filming of the tv show scenes only for behind the scenes.
  4. Keep the original intro or update it.
  5. Cameos from the surving original cast members would be nice.
  6. Take inspiration from the original Little House on the Prairie Set or make a replica of it.
  7. Make sure the new cast is familiar with the Little House books and tv series.
  8. Pay respect to the books and original tv series.
  9. Cast actor/actresses best suited for the role. Big name celebs could audition.
  10. Take criticism and constructive feedback into consideration.
  11. Don’t alienate fans of the original tv series.
  12. No modern pop culture references.
  13. Retain themes about faith, family, community, disability,
  14. Create new storylines so the new series can have a distinct ID set apart from the books and the original tv show.
  15. Have memorable side characters.

Top 10 Saddest Anime Films

Time to grab a box of tissues! It’s time to count down the Top 10 Sadddest Anime Films.

I came up with the idea for this list late one night while I was thinking of all the sad anime drama films I have watched in the past. I don’t recommend watching a marathon of these films because of the heavy emotional nature. Instead, you should pace yourself and watch these films one by one with tissues in hand. The tears will start flowing faster than you can wipe them away!

10. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)

9. Wolf Children (2012)

8. The Wind Rises (2013)

7. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (2018)

6. A Silent Voice (2016)

5. Violet Evergarden Movie (2021)

4. Maquia:When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)

3. Okko’s Inn (2018)

2. In this Corner of the World (2016)

  1. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Honorable Mentions: When Marnie Was There (2014), To the Forest of the Fireflies’ Light, (2011) Ride Your Wave(2019), Hans Christen Anderson’s The Little Mermaid (1975), Barefoot Gen (1983)

Underrated Disney Channel Artists

.Here’s my list of underrated Disney Channel Artists that you may have forgotten. Disney barely promoted them outside of their channel and radio station. You shoud check out their music and support them.

Bridgit Mendler

Meghan Jette Martin

Skye Swetnam

Emily Osment

Jordan Pruit

Anna Margaret

Everlife (disbanded in 2013)

Aly & Aj

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle

Mitchel Musso

Vanessa Hudgens

Ashley Tisdale

China Anne McClain

Corbin Bleu

Raven Symone

Jump5 (disbanded in 2007)

A*Teens (disbanded in 2004)

Anneliese Van der Pol

Christy Carlson Romano

Keke Palmer

Pandemic Playlist

Here’s a playlist of songs you can listen to during these hard times.

  1. “Somewhere Out there” by Linda Ronstandt and James Ingram
  2. “If We Hold on Together” by Diana Ross
  3. “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables
  4. “Think of Me” by Andrew Lloyd Webber from Phantom of the Opera
  5. “Someone’s Waiting for You”by Shelby Flint
  6. “It Changes” from Snoopy Come Home
  7. “Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile
  8. “Will the Sun Ever Shine Again” by Alan Menken from Home on the Range
  9. “Once Upon A Time in New York City” by Huey Lewis from Oliver and Company
  10. “Out There”from the Hunchback of Notre Dame
  11. “God Help the Outcasts” from the Hunchback of Notre Dame
  12. “You’ll be in my heart” by Phil Collins
  13. “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella
  14. “Your Heart Will Lead You Home”by Kenny Loggins
  15. “The Call” by Regina Spektor
  16. “Keep Holding On” by Aveil Lavigne
  17. “When You’re Gone” by Avril Lavigne
  18. “Head Above Water” by Avril Lavigne
  19. “No One” by Aly and Aj
  20. “Go Figure” by Everlife
  21. “Protecting Me” by Aly and Aj
  22. “I’m Just a Kid” by Simple Plan
  23. “Before the Parade Passes by” by Barbara Streisand
  24. “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.
  25. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Greenday
  26. “Welcome to the Black Parade”by Chemical Romance
  27. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane
  28. “In My Own Little Corner” from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

My book review of The Answer is…Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek

The Answer Is… by Alex Trebek

The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Starting in high school, I began to watch Jeopardy! on and off throughout the years. It’s only the gameshow I watch semi-regularly. Seeing Trebek’s face on the screen was a delight. He was a true “class act”. I put him on the same caliber as Mr. Rogers. Both distingushed and well respected gentleman in their own right.


The memoir itself is fun to read throught since Trebek gives a “highlights reel” of his life before Jeopardy! and in between hosting Jeopardy! It’s well-written, engaging, and at inspiring at some points. Readers gain a deeper understanding of Alex Trebek.
The introduction section and the middle section on “Toughness” made me cry while reading it. Trebek wrote this book last year in 2020 during the start of the pandemic however, he didn’t live to see the “near end” of it in 2021 due to his death from cancer.

Alex Trebek’s enthusiasm for knowledge and dedication to Jeopardy! won’t be forgotten!

He’ll live on through Jeopardy!and his family.

R.I.P Alex Trebek (1940-2020).
“Dedicated to Alex Trebek
Forever in our Hearts
Always our Inspiration”



View all my reviews

Ranking of Disney Princesses

In this list, I’ll rank the 13 Disney Princesses. Anna and Elsa won’t be included since Elsa became a spirit and Anna became Queen of Arandelle. I’m adding in Raya since I consider her to be a “Disney Princess”. Honorable mentions will be at the bottom.

Image credit goes to Quizmondo.

13. Raya

12. Snow White

11. Pocahontas

10. Aurora

9. Moana

8. Jasmine

7. Merida

6. Mulan

5. Tiana

4. Cinderella

3. Rapunzel

2. Ariel

  1. Belle

Honorable Mentions: Esmeralda, Kida, Giselle, Meg, Jane,

Top 10 Childhood Anime

10. Naruto

9. Inuyasha

8. Beyblade

7. Kirby Right Back at Ya!

6. Hamtaro

5. Bakugan

4. Yugioh

3. Pokemon

2. Digimon

  1. Cardcaptors

Honorable Mentions: Dragon Ball Z, Ruroni Kenshin, Yu Yu Hakusho, One Piece (4kids dub), Zatch Bell, Bobobo, Code Lyoko, Sonic X, Onegai My Melody, Little Women, Shaman King, Prince of Tennis, Akage no Anne, & Fushigi No Kuni Alice (Alice in Wonderland)

Top Tv Dramas

I enjoy watching tv dramas wherever they may come from. If the tv drama has memorable characters and an engaging storyline. I’m sold. Here are my top tv dramas.

10. Encantadia (2016-2017)

9. Darna (2009-2010)

8. The Good Doctor (2017-present)

7. Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983)

6. Wanda Vision (January 15-March 5 2021)

5. Smallville (2001-2011)

4.’Switched At Birth (2011-2017)

3. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (2020-2021)

2. It’s Okay Not To Be Okay (June 20, 2020-August 9, 2020)

  1. This is Us (2016-present)

Honorable Mention: H20 Just Add Water (2006-2010)

Top 5 Sword Art Online Themes

Here’s my ranking of SAO themes. I didn’tinclude music from the movie Ordinal Scale only the anime series. SAO has awesome music despite some lackluster storylines.

5. “Anima” by Reona

4. “Adamas” by LiSA

3. “Courage” by Haruka Tomatsu

2. “Ignite” by Eir Aoi

  1. “Crossing Field” by LiSA

Honorable Mention: “Resolution” by Haruka Tomatsu

Podcast Recommendations

I don’t listen much to podcasts however some of them are pretty good. Here are a couple recommendations.

For Animation fanatics:

Animation Addicts: A podcast that reviews animated films from past and present including Disney, Pixar, and everything in between. Along with interviews from industry professionals .

Anime Nostalgia: A podcast that reviews retro anime titles and series from the 70-90’s. Other topics iclude manga history and talking about aspects of anime fandom.

Talkin’ Toons: Voice actor Rob Paulsen interviews your favorite voice actors. Slogan: “Laughter is the best medicine. The coolest thing is You can’t OD and the refills are free.” -Rob Paulsen

Old School Lane: A podcast hosted by Patricia Miranda that focuses on animation, movies, and videogames.

For Mental Health:

Empty Inside- A podcast hosted by Jenette McCurdy where she talks with guests and does a deep dive conversation into a specific topic.

Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown: Actress and Neuroscientist Mayim Bialik helps breakdown myths about mental health and emotional well being.

Inside of You: Actor Michael Rosenbaum {“Lex Luthor” on Smallville & “The Flash”] talks to guests about specific topics.

Bob Saget’s Here for You: Bob Saget “Danny Tanner” from Full House sits down with guests for casual conversations about life.

Top 10 Manga

Here’s a top 10 list of My favorite manga. Honorable mentions are at the bottom.

10. The Girl from the Other Side by Siuil A Run

9. Emma: A Victorian Romance by Kaoru Mori

8. Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro

7. Chobits by CLAMP

6. Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP

5. Crescent Moon by Haruko Iida & Takamura Matsuda

4. Bakuman by Tsugumi Obha &Takeshi Obata

3. Soul Eater by Atushi Okubo

2. Sword Art Online Progressive by Reki Kawahara

  1. The Magius of the Library by Mitsu Izumi

Honorable Mentions: Madoka Magica, Case Study of Vanitas, Flying Witch, A Silent Voice,

Yona of the Dawn, Kakegurui, Tokyo Mew Mew, I want to eat your pancreas, Ancient Magius Bride

Top 10 Graphic Novels

This is my ranking of my top 10 graphic novels. Honorable mentions will be listed at the bottom.

10. Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner

9. Bandette by Paul Tobin

8. The Adventures of Tintin by Herge

7. Cybersix by Carlos Trillo & Carlos Meglia

6. Emily the Strange by Rob Reger

5. Maus by Art Spiegelman

4. Fables by Bill Willingham

3. Trese by Budgete Tan & Kajo Baldisimo

2. Valerian and Laureline by Jean- Claude Mezieres & Pierre Christin

  1. SpiderGwen by Jason Latour & Robbi Rodriguez

Honorable Mentions: WITCH, Sandman, Persepolis, Nimona, Bone, The Kingsman Secret Service,

V for Vendetta, Fight Club, Saga, Monstress, Captain Underpants, The Witcher

Favorite Bands

Here’s a list of my favorite bands. Honorable mentions are at the bottom.

10. Avril Lavigne

9. Bridgit Mendler

8. Ashley Tisdale

7. Simple Plan

6. Carly Rae Jepsen

5. JoJo

4. Plain White T’s

3. Hilary Duff

2. ALy&Aj

  1. Bowling for Soup

Honorable Mentions: Megan & Liz, Jump5, A*Teens, Skye Sweetnam, Kelly Clarkson,

All American Rejects, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Carrie Underwood,

Kellie Pickler, Miranda Cosgrove, Jeanette McCurdy, LISA, Utada Hikaru, Evanescence,

Michelle Branch, Cascada, Rascal Flatts, Phil Collins

First Impressions: Mysterious Benedict Society (2021) Series

The Mysterious Benedict Society is a 2007 book series written by Trenton Lee Stewart. It centers around a group of children (Kate, Reynard, Sticky, and Constance) who have unique talents and gifts. They’re recruited by the mysterious Theodore Benedict to sneak into a school run by his twin brother. -(The Guardian).

I remember hearing about this book series in middle school. It was intriguing to me since it gave me the vibe of a secret hidden society. I had no idea the book was even part of a series. I can’t vouch for story accuracy since I haven’t read the book yet; I plan to do so in the near future.

Here’s the tv series synopsis,

Four kids are recruited by Mr. Benedict to save the world from a worldwide problem called “the Emergency”.

With the exception of Andi Mack (2017-2019), Few live-action shows from Disney have caught my interest in recent years. The Mysterious Benedict Society is another exception.

The show’s set draws on vintage style possibly from the 1960’s or 1970’s with its rotary phones, style of cars, and tv followed by radio as the biggest forms of media. It’s a throwback back to simpler times.

The first two episodes do a fantasic job at world building. For a show being made today, It has a timeless feel to it. The show captures the excitement, fun, and whimsy, of movies like Spy Kids, Agent Cody Banks, Shark Boy and Lava Girl, and Sky High.

I’m glad that Kirsten Schall is working on another “Disney” show. Her prescence is a delight as usual. Aside from a voice over role on Toy Story 4, I’m not familiar with Tony Hale’s work. So far, he’s doing a good job as Mr. Benedict. From a couple interviews I’ve watched, Hale seems to be enthusiastic about his role and the show itself.

This show can be enjoyed by kids and the “young at heart” adults. Kids will enjoy the puzzles and latch onto a favorite character while the adults will be amazed by the creativity and world building. It also doesn’t hurt that the adult characters are just as interesting as the kids.

This kind of adaptation is what Artemis Fowl should’ve been. A mini series that immerses you into the story, introduces the characters, and properly sets up the world. This is most helpful and beneficial for casual viewers and people unfamiliar with the source material.

I can’t wait to find out how the story unfolds! I highly recommend that people should check this series out on Disney+.

Kid-Appropriate Anime Recommendations (ages 6-12)

After reading an article from Karadi about “Kid Anime Recommendations”, I decided to make my own list of “kid-appropriate” anime titles. Here’s the link to Karandi’s article https://100wordanime.blog/recommend-kids-anime/.

This is my list. I tried making it extensive as possible. However, I might have forgotten a few titles.

A bunch of these anime will be based off of books and “toy-brand” related anime.

Pokemon

Digimon

Yugioh

Bakugan

Beyblade

Yokai Watch

Doraemon

Hamtaro

Dinosaur King

Samurai Pizza Cats

Sonic X

Kirby RIght Back At Ya!

Winx Club

W.I.T.C.H.

Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!

Code Lyoko

Oban Star Racers

Miraculous Ladybug

Rilakuma& Kaoru

Onegai My Melody series

Unico the Unicorn

Princess Knight

Kimba the White Lion

Astro Boy

Shaman King

Monster Rancher

Bobobo

Animal Crossing

Delightful Moomin Family

Snow White with the Red Hair

Princess Tutu

Show by Rock!

Sgt. Frog

Speed Racer

Prince of Tennis

Magi

Anime based off of books

Akage No Anne (Anne of Green Gables)

Fushigi No Kuni Alice (Alice in Wonderland)

Little Women

Deltora Quest

Robin Hood

Diary of Anne Frank

Laura the Prairie Girl (Little House)

Himitsu no Hanazoo (The Secret Garden)

Princess Sarah (A Little Princess)

Peter Pan:The Animated Series

Shoujo Cosette (Les Miserables)

Zorro

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Swan Lake (film)

Nutcracker Fantasy(film) (The Nutcracker)

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Huckleberry Finn

Favorite Movie Musicals

In celebration of In the Heights’ release, Here’s my list of movie musicals with honorable mentions at the end.

10. The Sound of Music (1965)

9. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)

8. Hello Dolly! (1969)

7. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

6. In the Heights (2021)

5. Annie (1982)

4. Hairspray (2005)

3. Once Upon A Mattress (2005)

2. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

  1. Cinderella (1998)

Honorable Mentions: Mary Poppins (1964), My Fair Lady (1964), Grease (1978)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum(1967), The Greatest Showman (2017),

Into the Woods (2014), La La Land (2016),

West Side Story (1961), Chicago (2002)

Blog Update: 5/31/

Hello my fellow readers, I’ll begin summer classes the second day of June until August 12th.

I may post a few articles here and there if I have any free time in between classes. This blog will remain on hiatus until then. Feel free to check my long backlog of posts from 2017 up to 2021.

I made a few new posts for everybody to read including my top 5 favorite Disney Villian songs and a movie review on “Cruella”(2021).

Thanks again for your continuous encouragement and enthusiasm for this blog.

Stay tuned and keep following PersonalMusings2017!

“Cruella” Movie Review

“Cruella” is a reimaging of Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmatians. The movie serves as a prequel to 101 Dalmatians with Glen Close, an executive producer on the film.

Spoilers ahead!

Positives:

#1. The Cast

The cast has a few notable standouts.

Emma Stone is having a “blast” as Estella/Cruella. She hasn’t played many villianous roles so it’s refreshing to see her play a “villian role”. Her performance as Cruella is energetic and full of enthusiasm. She leans into the character’s devilish side.

Emma Thompson plays a “Miranda Priestly” like character in Baroness Hellman. She’s ruthless and career-focused. Her presence is quite intimidating. With a single note from her whistle, her Dalmatians were menacing and scary.

Joel Fry as Jasper was definitely the “heart’ of the movie. He has a good dynamic with Emma Stone and Paul Water Hauser (Horace). Their friendship is believable and genuine. They support each other and aren’t afraid to call each other when necessary.

John Mcrea as Artie was a fun character. Artie and Cruella are “kindred spirits”. Both have an interest in fashion and similar taste for bold & unique designs. He has a fun personality.

I’d buy a dress from his shop.

#2 The Soundtrack

The soundtrack is full of songs hits from 70’s or earlier. A few songs I recognized were: “One Way or Another”(1978) by Blondie “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (1966) by Nancy Sinatra, “Should I Stay or Go” (1982) by the Clash and “Smile”(1963) Judy Garland Version

#3 The Costumes

The fashion in this movie was top notch. So many beautiful costumes to choose from. My favorite pieces were the period costumes from Baroness Hellman’s Black and White Ball in 1963, Cruella’s red dress, the green dress design by Estella, the gold bead dress, and the long dumpster truck dress made of trash.

#4 Easter Eggs:

There were a few nods to the original 101 Dalmatians animated film.

Anita and Cruella met each other as classmates in school.

Roger is a piano player and composes the song “Cruella Deville” during an end credit scene.

Ponga& Perdita have cameos however in this different continuity, they’re siblings.

Jasper comments how some dogs resemble their owners. This line was lifted straight from the animated film.

Similar to the live action 101 Dalmatian movies, actual animals such as dogs were used in the film instead of CGI animals.

#5 Cruella

Throughout the film, Cruella flip flops between “the sweet and kind Estella” and the bad troublemaking Cruella”. After a moment of clarity, Cruella realizes that “Estella” isn’t who she really is, It’s a made-up persona to fit into society and please her “adoptive mom”. Cruella is her true self.

She embraces her villanous troublemaking nature.

Cons:

#1 The twist reveals

-1. “Baroness Hellman is Cruella’s mother not the sweet maid Catherine.”

I kind of saw this twist reveal coming. I figured Catherine had a previous connection to the Baroness that’s why she came to her begging for money. In addition, I’ve seen this plotline before in a different movie (for example Mother’s Day). The mother becomes pregnant with a child. She views the child as a hindrance to her career so she abandons it. The baby grows up with no knowledge of her birth parents until later on. She’s raised by adoptive parents.

Despite being an adoptive mom, Catherine was more of a mother to Cruella than the Baroness ever was.

” Cruella’s plan to reveal herself as the Baroness’s daughter was a bit convoluted. However, it makes for a great heist scene. It showcases that the Baroness is ruthless and self-focused. She’ll dispose of anyone including her own daughter who stand in her way to reach “the top” and keep her place there.

#2. Pacing

The film has a run time over 2 hours. A few scenes could’ve been shortened or cut altogether to keep the movie under 2 hours. This runtime made the movie feel sluggish toward the end.

#3 “Dalmatian Fur Coat”

In the movie, Cruella steals Baroness Hellman’s dalmatians to retrieve a necklace.

In a later scene, she’s seen wearing a “Dalmatian fur coat” at her fashion show, Baroness assumes that she killed her dalmatians for that fur. Cruella doesn’t deny the rumor, instead she supports it. She steps into the “villian role”.

The dalmatian fur coat was probably made out of faux fur since PETA wouldn’t approve of “animal cruelty” onscreen. Also the dalmatians are unharmed by the second to last scene.

Unlike the previous bunch of Live-action Adaptations, Cruella feels fresh, energetic, and has a ton of enthusiasm& passion put behind it. I recommend, you give Cruella a watch either in theaters (if they’re open in your area) or on Disney + once it’s free to stream. You’ll have a fun time laughing and being in awe of the various fashion pieces.

Top 5 Disney Villain songs

Disney is best known for its music. They have created countless memorable songs for both their heroes and villians. Here’s my list of the top 5 Disney Villian songs. Honorable mentions will be at the end.

5. “Cruella Deville” from 101 Dalmatians

4. ” Be Prepared” from the Lion King

3. ” Friends on the Other Side” from The Princess and the Frog

2. “Hellfire” from Hunchback of NotreDame

  1. “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid

Honorable Mentions: “Snuff out the Light” from Emperor’s New Groove, “In or Out” from Aladdin and the 40 thieves, “Siamese Cat Song from Lady & the Tramp”, “My Lullaby” from the Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, “Mother Knows Best” from Tangled, “Mad Madame Mim” from the Sword in the Stone, ” “Heffalumps & Wozzles “from The Many Adventures of WInnie the Pooh, “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast

“This Is Us” character ranking

Spoilers ahead!

Main cast

14. Tess

13. Annie

12. Miguel

11. Deja

10. Malik

9. Kevin

8. Madison

7. Zoe

6. William (Randall’s birth father)

5. Uncle Nicky

4. Randall

3.Kate

2. Rebecca

  1. Jack

Supporting characters

5. Dr. K

4. Cassidy (Kevin’s ex)

3. Carol Clark (Beth’s mother)

2. Laurel Dubois (Randall’s birth mother)

  1. Hai Lang (Laurel’s lover)

Thoughts on Fate: the Winx Saga

Fate: The Winx Saga could’ve worked as its own show.

When I first heard the announcement for this adaptation, I was intrigued since a live-action Winx Club could work if the series leaned into the fantasy aspect. Netflix could’ve even marketed this as a fantasy drama. But alas, I began to feel skeptical after the official trailer came out. Instead of the series being lighthearted and focusing on the girls’ friendship, The show is gloomy and too melodramatic. The drama and conflict come across as unnecessary and forced (i.e. the love triangle between Bloom, Sky, and Stella).

The girls’ friendship is non-existent until the end. The world of the show seems generic and bland unlike the cartoon where the world was colorful and fantastical. The show lacks personality and doesn’t stand out from all the other Netflix drama shows.

A couple missed opportunities are the fashion and the cast.

The fashion could’ve been a throwback to either early or late 00’s. Pop culture references from the 2000’s could still be used since a handful survive through memes. Just pick and choose.

The WInx Club has been praised for its “natural” diversity.

It’s a huge shame that Asian and Latina actresses weren’t picked for Musa and Flora. The studio should’ve stuck to their guns and hired POC actresses.

If Flora wasn’t going to appear in the show, her character should’ve been replaced with a new character unrelated to her.

Do I think this show has the potential to be successful?

Maybe. With show renewed for a second season, I’d want to see an engaging plot, expanded world-building, and more emphasis on the growth/ development on the individual girls and their friendship. I’ll stop watching after 3 episodes if I get bored.

Alternative Graduations songs besides “Pomp &Circumstance

It’s graduation season. Congrats to the class of 2021 wherever you are !”

Pomp & Circumstance” will probably be overplayed 20 or 30 times.

Here’s a list of alternative graduation songs to replace “Pomp and Circumstance. ”

  1. “Don’t You forget about me” by Simple Minds
  2. Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C.
  3. “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
  4. “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
  5. “We’ve only just begun” by the Carpenters
  6. “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
  7. “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
  8. “My Shot” from Hamiliton
  9. “Long Live” by Taylor Swift
  10. “For Good” from “Wicked”
  11. “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson
  12. “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper
  13. “We are the Champions” by Queen
  14. “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart
  15. “On my way” by Phil Collins from Brother Bear
  16. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
  17. “Fly”- Hilary Duff
  18. “All Star” by Smash Mouth
  19. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel
  20. “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha
  21. “Go the Distance” by Michael Bolton from Hercules
  22. “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera

First Impressions: Digimon Last Evolution Kizuna

Here are my inital thoughs on the film Digimon Last Evolution Kizuna. The last film starting the original digi-destined from Digimon Adventure. Minor Spoilers. You’ve been warned!

Must watch film for fellow Digimon fans!

Intial Thoughts:

  • Better as one whole movie rather split up into individual parts unlike Digimon Tri.
  • Digimon 02 crew present & supporting role in the film. (Most members in college, Cody in high school)
  • Fun nostalgic callbacks to the series
  • Actual ending with stakes
  • Bittersweet but hopeful ending
  • Most focus on Matt & Tai in their senior year of college -Other cast memebrs mentioned and shown
  • Watch the clip, To Sora on Youtube for more context on Sora’s character
  • Sora-no reunion with the others
  • Same plotline with antagonist but delves deeper into character psychology
  • Digital universe called “Never world”
  • Same voice cast as Digimon Tri with a couple new voices and old ones
  • Cried tears of nostalgia and sadness
  • Cameo of Meicomon and Meiko in the “Neverworld” dimension of the Digital World.

Book Bucket-List

Here are books that I haven’t read but plan to read in the future.

  1. Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
  2. Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wyn Jones
  4. 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
  5. Chronicles of Pyrdain by Lloyd Alexander
  6. Mary Poppins book series by P.L. Travers
  7. Nanny McPhee book series by Christianna Brand
  8. John Carter Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  9. Earth Sea Trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin
  10. Sandman series by Neil Gaiman
  11. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  12. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  13. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  14. Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  15. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  16. Avalon High by Meg Cabot
  17. Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

Top 10 Romance Films

Surprise! Fellow readers! I have some time in between finals to post new blog posts.

I hope you enjoy them.

This is a top 10 list I’ve wanted to make for a while. This is my list.

Feel free to share any polite comments including constructive criticism.

  1. A Walk to Remember (2002)
  2. Starting Over Again (2014) Filipino film available in English
  3. She’s Dating the Gangster * Despite the gimmicky title and a few cringeworthy scenes, the movie is heartwrenching. (Filipino film available in English )
  4. Never Been Kissed (1999)
  5. Penelope (2007)
  6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2001)
  7. Because I Said So (2007)
  8. Becoming Jane (2007)
  9. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)
  10. Bride for Rent (2014) (Filipino film available in English)

Honorable Mentions: 13 Going on 30, (2004), Bridget Jones Diary (2001), Letters to Juliet (2010), Definitely Maybe (2008), Ever After (1998), Roman Holiday (1953), Leap Year (2010),

Romeo & Juliet (1968)

An Animated Dissection: Connecting ‘The Cat Returns,’ to ‘Whisper of the Heart’

The Entertainment Nut

As I’ve stated in several previous reviews/dissections, I am quite fond of the Studio Ghibli film, Whisper of the Heart.

The film proved to be an intriguing story about creativity, music, and writing…traits that one doesn’t necessarily find in animated films, let alone those involving high schoolers.

One of the selling points of the film, was the fictional story-world that the lead character, Shizuku Tsukishima, creates. After coming across an antique store with a statue of a dapper, humanized cat-figure in its window, she is compelled to write a story revolving around the statue.

Even so, Whisper’s overall story was moreso one of high school drama, which made it tie very closely to the manga it was based off of, which was written and illustrated by Aoi Hiiragi. Ms Hiiragi noted in several interviews, that she was surprised that her manga was chosen by Hayao Miyazaki to be used…

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Blog Update:4/30

Hello my fellow readers. I’m writing this blog update a month early in April. May will be busy time for me especially because of school. Starting in June, I’ll take a couple of summer classes. This blog will remain on extended hiatus until I have more free time to write. In the meantime, I have a couple of posts already prepared to share with all of you. Once I have posted them, I can’t wait to see your reactions.

Keep following PersonalMusings2017! and Stay tuned for Initial Thoughts on Fate:The Winx Saga season 1 eps. 1-6 & Digimon Last Evolution Kizuna.

Thanks again to all my readers new and old for their patience, interest, and enthusiasm for my blog!

4th year anniversary:

On this day April 7th, 4 years ago, I created this blog, PersonalMusings 2017 during a break from college. My content covers movie reviews, tv shows, life, books, animation, etc. I’m proud of it’s growth and progress through these past few years. It took several tries and a few experiments however, I found my “groove” with producing blog posts.  Thank you to all my followers old and new for their support, encouragement, and continued enthusiasm toward my blog,  I couldn’t have gotten this far without you!

Once the spring semester is over in June,  I maybe stepping back from my blog to work on a personal project. I’m unsure when I’ll return to the blog but I will return. Rest assured, dear readers, I’ll keep you updated with plans for this summer. The blog isn’t going anywhere just another extended hiatus.

Stay tuned and keep following PersonalMusings2017!

Blog Update: 1/18

Hello, my fellow readers! I return to online classes next week. The blog will be put on hiatus until summer break starting in June. To my new readers, Welcome to PersonalMusings2017and Thank you for enjoying my blog posts. Feel free to check out my back catalog during hiatus.

My thoughts on Soul (2020) turned out quite well. Thanks for your interest!

As always, thank you all for your continued support and encouragement!

Keep following PersonalMusings2017!

Soul (2020)Thoughts

  • I found it cool that the highlights of a person’s life was presented like museum exhibits in the movie.
  • My mind keeps forgetting how the movie explains the concept of a “soul”.
  • Despite the movie’s music being jazz, I was reminded of Sonny’s Blues’ by James Baldwin. In both stories, music is a big plot point since it talks about the character’s passion to become a musician.
  • Seeing 22 experience life in Joe’s body is precious; That first taste of pizza and getting a haircut.
  • Joe’s soul moving into a cat’s body with all the wacky hi-jinks was unnecessary.
  • Joe forgot to appreciate the little things in life because he pinned his hopes on the jazz performance to change his life. Afterwards, he felt disappointed and empty.
  • Your spark serves an inspiration or guide to help you find happiness. There are various ways to find happiness/purpose.
  • In 22’s new life, I see them becoming either a motivational speaker, life coach, or guidance counselor.

Top 10 Animated Fairytale Films (Non-Disney).

With the release of “Charming” on Netflix, I’ll count down the top 10 animated fairytales outside of Disney.

10. The Princess and the Pea (2003) Available on Youtube

9. The Princess and the Goblin (1994) Available on Youtube

8. Thumbelina (1994) Available on Disney Plus and DVD

7. Hoodwinked! (2005) Available for rent on Amazon, buy DVD

6. The Snow Queen (2012) Available on Tubi TV (free), buy DVD on Amazon

5. Red Shoes and the seven dwarves (2019) Available for rent on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Buy on DVD from Target

4. The Stolen Princess (2018), Available on Amazon Prime, rent or buy on Google Play

3. Legend of White Snake (2019) Available for Rent on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, Youtube

2. Swan Lake (1981) Available on Youtube, Retro Crush, and Tubi Tv, Buy on Amazon Prime

  1. Han Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid (1975), Available on Youtube or Japantown Video.

Honorable Mentions: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2014), Song of the Sea (2014), The Sea Prince and Fire Child (1981), The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina (2002), Big Fish and Begonia (2018), The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut, The Last Unicorn (1982),

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

Wonder Woman (1984) Movie Review

The much anticipated Wonder Woman sequel has mixed reviews. Most people outright dislike while others like it okay.

I’d compare it to Spider-Man 3 by Sam Raimi. Both films have their good parts and bad parts. The main flaws would be in the script and overstuffing the film with too many villians. Both films would’ve benefit from a main villian and better scripts. There’s a good film underneath.

With that sentiment, I’ll start the review. Spoilers ahead!

Wonder Woman 1984 had potential to be a good sequel however it falters in execution.

Cons

  1. I enjoyed seeing Chris Pine as Steve Trevor again. However, his reappearance is questionable and unclear. The most information, the audience gets is that he wakes up suddenly in a hospital and takes possession of Diana’s nameless next-door neighbor. I understand that Diana is blinded by her desire to reunite with Steve. This is the reason why Diana sees Steve in her neighbor’s body. Steve’s possession of her neighbor’s body makes you wonder what happens to him during the film. Does he disappear or just lay dormant? These questions are waved away going unanswered.

2. As much I enjoyed Steve Trevor, his reappearance in this film was unnecessary. Throughout the film, Diana is in grief and closes herself off from the world. Instead of wishing for Steve’s return, Her friendship with Barbara Minerva could’ve been further developed. She could’ve helped Diana through her grief over Steve. In this way, Barbara’s change into Cheetah would’ve had more impact on the audience. With this direction, the story’s stakes would’ve been raised.

3. Barbara’s character was too predictable. I didn’t realize this trope until it was pointed out to me. Having the nerdy character wish to become someone more confident and powerful has been overdone in other movies. I wish her character had a distinct personality and was fleshed out more with proper development.

4. Pedro Pascual does a fantastic job as Max Lord. Max Lord is a sympathetic character. His desire is for his son to be proud of him. A father he can look up to. His backstory should’ve been placed earlier in the movie rather than near the end. It lessened the impact for me. The movie needed more scenes with him and his son Alistair to build their close relationship.

5. The wishing stone makes no sense. On the statue, it states that people can only make one wish and in return, they give up what’s most important to them. How come when Max Lord became a wish-granting genie, there wasn’t a limit on wishes? Barbara was able to gain a second wish: become as strong and powerful as Diana. Why didn’t the screen writers add rules in? Does this mean that Max can give out multiple wishes at once for everyone?

Also what happens after the wishes are revoked/returned, are people’s memories just magically erased and the wishes forgotten?

If Alistair would’ve wished for Max to quit working and spend more quality time with him, How would that affect Max and Alistair? Would Max been taken away for his crimes?

6. The costumes for Cheetah and Wonder Woman were underutilized. For Cheetah, I was thinking a full-on costume complete with whiskers and makeup. As for Wonder Woman’s Golden Eagle costume, It was only used once. I hope that costume returns in a future sequel.

7. The director should’ve stuck with one villian Cheetah or Max Lord.

Pros

Despite the movie’s flaws, I did find a few scenes fun and enjoyable.

  1. The opening scene with Diana and the Amazons training for the Olympics was amazing. It’s one of my favorites scenes. I’d want a miniseries based in Paradise Island on Diana’s childhood and upbringing before adulthood.

2. I like the friendship between Diana and Barbara. Their friendship should’ve been the movie’s focus instead of the inconsistent wishing stone.

3. Diana’s and Steve are still my favorite couple. Their chemistry together is natural. Their final farewell before Diana revokes her wish made me tear up.

4. Lynda Carter’s cameo as Asteria was an unexpected delight.

Conclusion:

Wonder Woman 1984 is a flawed mess. There’s a good movie underneath however, the movie’s script and plot holes prevent the film from becoming a top-tier sequel. Hopefully with a third Wonder Woman film in development, Wonder Woman can have a worthy follow-up to the 2016 film.

My review of Trese on Goodreads

Murder on Balete Drive by Budjette Tan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Trese by Budjete Tan is the first Filipino comic I’ve read that’s been translated into English. Living in America specifically California, it’s rare to find Filipino comics more so those translated in English. The only other comic I found was Mythology Class by Arnold Arre. This comic has been difficult to purchase outside of the Philippines.
If I were to describe to someone, I’d say it’s similar to Fables by Bill Willingham where fairytale creatures and humans live together in present-day New York. It’s the same concept except with mythological creatures from Filipino myths/folktales and set in Manila.
Here’s the basic set up for this comic, It starts with a myth like the White Lady on Balete Drive. After a short introduction, the main character Trese is brought in to investigate the case. During the investigation, she contacts various creatures from different myths as the aswang. At the end, a journal entry pops up written by her father Anton. He was a paranormal investigator before his death. The entry gives further background and possible whereabouts of the creature.
The art style gives off a crime noir style because the comic is done in black and white style. In addition, the characters are drawn with realistic proportions. This style makes Trese stand out in contrast to manga and Western comic books.
The integration of Filipino phrases along with English words adds to Trese’ worldbuilding.
As a first volume, this comic is fun and serves a good introduction to Filipino myths.
I look forward to reading future volumes. 5 stars.




View all my reviews

Thoughts on the Notebook (1996) novel

Happy New Year 2021 everyone! A few days ago, I finished reading the Notebook (1996) novel. Here are my thoughts on the book.

The book is better than the 2004 film.

The main couple’s relationship has further development across a wider span of time. The reader gets to see the ups and downs of their relationship throughout their lives from adolescence to old-age.

The side characters such as Allies’ parents, Lon, Noah’s dad and many more are fleshed out as individual characters. There’s more character development for Allie’s mom and Lon.

The carnival scene where Noah is dangling from the Ferris Wheel is movie exclusive and isn’t in the book.

The descriptions at times could get repetitive and unnecessary.

I liked the inclusion of various poems from different poets throughout the story. It felt natural since Noah enjoys reading poetry.

Noah and Allie have their own lives outside of each other.

The scene with the swans is one of my favorite scenes in the book. It isn’t played up to be this grand romantic gesture. In the book, It’s a surprise that Noah shows to Allie since she might enjoy it.

I teared up a bit during their second farewell to each other.

The book captured the feeling of “nostalgia” quite well.

The ending was unexpected.

Trese Book Reviews

Thank you for the information and the links!-Jo

Br. Allen

I bought the 4 volumes of Trese. I highly recommend this local comic series. I know I’m not good in writing book reviews so I’ll just put here a link log of different book reviews about Trese. I picked five good book reviews and it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll like it or not.

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My Thoughts About Trese Comic Book Volume #1 (Murder on Balete Drive) (Book Review #13)

BONGBONGBOOKS

image

And I finally decided to start reading comic books and what better way to start than on Filipino comic books. 🙂

Trese is a horror/crime comic book by Filipino writer Budjette Tan and Filipibo artist Kajo Baldisimo.

I have reservations before in buying comic books because I am not really into reading that type of material aside from it being so expensive sometimes and you only got to read so little out of it. And I don’t know what got into me when I walked into a bookstore one day I passed the comic book section and I saw the Trese series that I have been seeing everytime I pass that section. I also am hearing alot of buzz about this series especially from my friends so I said to myself why not give it a try.

I browse through a couple of pages which is about a white lady…

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Animation is a medium for Everyone!

Animation is for everyone video from Mother’s Basement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb3cvohPsRY

The West needs to appreciate animation more as a medium than a genre. Animation can be both serious/mature and silly/light-hearted. They can coexist together. There’s no need for live-action adaptations of animated shows to go grim dark and edgy to appeal to older audiences. Shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, H20 Just Add Water, and many others could be goofy and comedic however, people of all ages could enjoy these shows. I consider The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as an exception since it’s a different continuity from the original 90’s series. Animation doesn’t need validation from live-action tv to be successful; it already does that on its own.

This quote from C.S, Lewis sums up this sentiment. “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
C.S Lewis.

Mulan (2020) Review

Disclaimers: I’ll be writing this review from my perspective. For a Chinese person’s viewpoint, check out this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3QKq24e0HM by Xiran Jay Zhao, a Chinese historian.

I’ll only mention criticisms I found within the film itself. I won’t mention the various controversies this film’s production has.

On with the review!

In all honesty, I was cautiously optimistic when I heard this film was being made. The animated film is one of my favorite Disney films up there with the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and various others. The thought of film adaptation closer to the original folk tale was intriguing to me. The final product turned out to be lackluster.

Pros

Before diving into the film’s flaws, Credit should be given for the good parts of the film.

This film isn’t a musical like the animated one. Instead, instrumentals for Reflection, Bring honor to us all can be heard. I also enjoyed the inclusion of a lyric from “A Man like you” during a training scene. Here’s the lyric, “Tranquil as a forest but of fire within”.

In addition, Christina Aguilera was brought back to re-record a new cover of Reflection. Comparing the original version from 1998 to the new version, you can hear how much her voice has matured and evolved. Her vocal range remains to be a “powerhouse”.

The Mandarin version of Reflection by Liu Yufei sounds beautiful. It’s just as good as the original by Christina. The actress there shows more emotion in that video than the entire movie.

The martial arts sequences with Mulan were great. While watching the movie, I stood there in awe. The action sequences are definitely a highlight.

My favorite side character would have to be the shape-shifter witch. Her desire was to be accepted instead of vilified because of her powers. Seen as a “warrior” not a “witch”.

I had sympathy for her character.

It was good seeing the actress Rosalind Chao in another movie. I liked her performance as the Chinese restaurant owner (Pei Pei) in Freaky Friday (2003).

In the start of the film, there was a reference to the original poem, where a male and female rabbit were running side by side as Mulan rode her horse.

This is the last positive comment.

The commander’s message to Mulan in disguise was memorable to me.

“Don’t allow your father’s legacy to hold you back. Cultivate your gift.”

He’s told Mulan that she shouldn’t hold herself back to appease her family. Instead, she should work hard to cultivate her gift. Regardless of the message’s circumstance, it’s applicable to anyone and everyone. People should work on whatever gifts or talents they have. They shouldn’t be forced or obligated to follow their parents’ footsteps if it’s not what they’re interested in.

Cons

This movie has a bunch of flaws.

From the very beginning, Mulan is already set up to be perfect. She’s been a martial arts prodigy since childhood . Her skills are unmatched. Also, she barely emotes in the film. Her facial expressions are blank. It’s impractical for Mulan to fight with long hair. It needs to be tied up and out of the way so it won’t be a distraction. Having her long hair visible makes her an easy target for the enemy. With one yank of her hair.

The father-daughter relationship is weaker compared to the animated version. The father was alright just not memorable.

The concept of chi sounds confusing and sexist. According to this film, only men can possess strong “chi” and become “warriors” whereas women are forced to hide their “chi”. If they embrace it, they’re labeled as “witches”. This thinking makes no sense. Also, a clear explanation of “chi” as a concept followed by a demonstration would’ve been helpful.

The reveal scene was rushed and lacked the emotional impact of the original. The action of having Mulan willingly disclose her identity in front of the army takes away the stakes and the tension of the situation.

In the end credits of this film, The credits read that it was filmed at CPC Xinijiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This location is a concentration camp in China for the detainment of Muslims. I bet Disney is kicking themselves for leaving this evidence in the film’s end credits. I would be ignorant of this fact had it not been prominently mentioned by other people.

I don’t support this!

As it’s own film, Mulan (2020) is good for its action sequences and instrumental music.

However as a remake, The film is sub-par. You’re better off reading the original poem and watching the animated film (1998).

If you’re looking for a good live-action retelling, I’ve heard that Mulan: Legend of A Warrior (2009) is a better film despite its flaws.

Top Favorite Rankin Bass Specials

Ahhh! Good Old’ Rankin Bass. The holiday season would be incomplete without the yearly airing of their tv specials. This list will be about my favorite Rankin Bass Specials. Don’t see your favorite on the list, Comment below to add your suggestion(s)!

10. The Little Drummer Boy

9. Nestor the Long- Eared Donkey

8. Frosty the Snowman

7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

6. Jack Frost

5. Frosty’s Winter Wonderland

4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

3. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus 1985/2000 version

2. A Year Without A Santa Claus

  1. Rudolph’ s Shiny New Year

Honorable Mention: Twas the Night Before Christmas 

Christmas Specials of my Childhood

To celebrate the Christmas season, I’ll be making two lists. One is Christmas Specials from my Childhood while the other is My favorite Rankin Bass specials .  

Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I watched a ton of tv especially around Christmas.  The major tv networks such as Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon each had their own holiday block with a  showcase of  holiday-themed episodes of their shows. Including ABC family’s (Now freeform) 25 Days of Christmas. Those were such fun memorable times.

Here’s the list in no particular order. There will probably be a couple versions of A Christmas Carol mentioned. 

Olive the Other Reindeer (1999) 

Eloise at Christmastime (2003) 

Bah Humduck A Looney Tunes Christmas Carol (2006) 

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) 

The Legend of Frosty the Snowman (2005)

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas (1999) 

Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas  (2004) 

A Wonderful Life (1946)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas-  animated (1966)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas-live-action (2000)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Movie (1998)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys (2001)

Frosty Returns (1992) 

Beauty and the Beast 2:Belle’s Enchanted Christmas (1997)

Elf (2003)

Madeline’s Christmas (1990) 

The Nightmare before Christmas (1992)

The Santa Clause trilogy 

Miracle on 34th St. (1994) 

Disney Sing Along Songs: Very Merry Christmas (1988), found on Youtube 

Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too! (1991) 

Winnie the Pooh :The Seasons of Giving (1999)

The Polar Express (2005) 

Barbie as the Nutcracker (1999) R.I.P. Kirby Morrow. =(

A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Movie Review

My apologies for the late movie review. I meant to post this up earlier but I got busy.

Pros

The cast is full of good actors such as Chris Pine, Mindy Kahling and Reese Witherspoon. I’m glad to see that Deric McCabe. a fellow Filipino  was cast as Charles Wallace.

The dynamic between Mr. and Mrs. Murray was solid. I bought their relationship as husband and wife. 

Throughout the film, Mrs Who speaks in famous quotes from movies in place of literary quotes to mimic the character. The attempt was alright. I just wish better quotes were chosen. 

The planet Uriel was a green valley filled with talking flowers and green meadows. The colors were so vibrant. 

Before leaving, Meg is “her faults” and Mrs. Who’s glasses similar to the book. 

In Camazotz, there’s a  neighborhood where all the kids are bouncing their balls in perfect rhythm. The scene is exactly how I imagined it in the book. Down to the lack of individuality. Complete with the mothers calling them inside for dinner. When one kid drops his ball, that mistake causes a break in the pattern. He’s sent to Central Central Intelligence for “reprogramming”.  The scene is exactly how I imagined it in the book.

  • the Man with the Red Eyes- In the film, he’s referred to as “Red”. He’s a charismatic character who feigns knowledge about their father. “Red” is the personification of “temptation”, he entices people to sit back and relax. They forget about their cares or worries. It’s similar to Pleasure Island from Pinocchio.  The actor behind is this character is a highlight of the film.  Saying the multiplication times table in rhythm is one way to break from his hypnotic stare. 

Although this movie missed the book’s message, I do like this film’s message. To defeat the “darkness”, We must bring the “best of  [ourselves] to the world as a beacon of hope. “Become a light to the world”. 

I was reminded of Yoda’s monologue about the “Dark side”.  ” Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” 

Cons

The  high school  bully Veronica played Rowan Blanchard was an unnecessary addition to the film; she was just a typical mean girl.

“Be a warrior theme”

There’s a line in the film where Mrs Which (played by Oprah) tells Meg (Storm Reid) to be a warrior. Meg says that “I’ll try”.  This theme of being a warrior bothered me. In the book, Meg was reluctant and unsure to save Charles Wallace from IT. Despite her reservations, Meg was the best candidate to go.  She was the only person able to get through to Charles Wallace. It wasn’t about being a warrior, it was about saving her little brother through her love. The scene was more compelling in the book compared to the movie.

  • No build-up between scenes (rushed)
  • Less interactions between Meg and her father

More scenes between Meg and her father before his disappearance would’ve fleshed out their relationship more. 

  • Scene trying to save Charles Wallace
  • Meg has an underdeveloped character arc. 
  • Calvin has no personality.  He’s a blank slate just following Meg and Charles Wallace out of boredom. 

Tessering scenes were a huge disappointment.

The special effects for the Tessering scenes look horrible. The sequences show a blank screen with the Earth folding up and covered with a black blanket. These scenes would’ve been better in animation. If only this was an animated film instead of live-action. 

Mrs. Whatsit is turned from a majestic flying centaur in the book to a flying piece of lettuce. The animal should’ve been a bird or a bat instead of “flying lettuce”. 

Instead of “IT” being a disembodied brain, “IT” is the personification of darkness or pain. I see the potential behind this idea however, the execution was sloppy. 

The Happy Medium was changed from a woman to a man. I have no problem with this alteration, however, it was unnecessary for him to be the ex-boyfriend of Mrs. Who. 

Overall, Disney’s second adaption of A Wrinkle in Time is worse than the first one in 2003. At least that version had Aunt Beast and Meg’s brothers Sandy and Dennys from the book.

You’re better off skipping this movie and watching either the 2003 version or reading the original book by Madeleine L’Engle.