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Marvel’s What If…?- Season 1 Episode 8 Review

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What If…?  is the latest Marvel Studios project to arrive on our small screens on Disney +.

The animated anthology series, created by Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia writer A.C. Bradley and Marvel vet Bryan Andrews flips the script on the MCU as following the creation of the multiverse in Loki’s first season finale, What If…? reimagines famous events from the films in unexpected ways.

After last weeks party with Thor, What If…? is back with the penultimate episode which truly showcased some of the best animated sequences that the series has offered this far. Yes we’ve seen some great animation such as the Zombie episode but in episode 8 they really had a chance to go full on with incredible mind boggling visuals. 

This weeks episode continues from that epic cliffhanger aka the entrance of Ultron, and in this Universe we get to find out what would happen if Ultron ultimately uploaded himself into the vibranium body he had made for him in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This moment erases the creation of Vision. 

“The entire Multiverse at your fingertips, and you spent all your time up there? Wow. Isn’t this more fun than just watching? And to be honest, a lot less creepy on your part. The boundaries of the multiverse are irrelevant to beings like you and me. I didn’t evolve by staying inside the lines. Run, watch, it doesn’t matter. From here, I can see everything. No one can stop me now.”

Ultron to the watcher

What If… Ultron Won?

Synopsis

Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton seek to destroy the killer-robot Ultron following a cataclysmic event.

Review

In Moscow, which is now an apocalyptic wasteland Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton are the only survivors of the nuclear catastrophe. They spend the remainder of their days outrunning Ultron sentries as they infiltrate KGB archives and attempt to find intel regarding an AI that can take on Ultron.

We are then shown the moments leading up to the catastrophe as Ultron successfully uploads himself into Visions body. Loaded with the mind stone, the AI manages to kill Thor, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers and once again Tony Stark. Ultron now powerful unleashes Earth’s entire arsenal of nuclear weapons in order to eradicate the planet. 

When Thanos arrives on Earth with the other five Infinity Stones, Ultron effortlessly kills him and takes the stones for himself and eventually becomes aware of the other worlds in the universe. But even that’s not enough for this maniacal android as he senses the Watcher’s presence, for the first time he starts to attack our not so silent observer. The pair battle their way through the Multiverse crashing through multiple realities, including one where Steve Rogers aka Captain America becomes the President of the United States. 

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Finally we also get to see Jeffrey Wright’s Uatu The Watcher hesitate to intervene as he helps in the sidelines inside the Nexus of All Realities. He certainly puts up a brave fight, and at the right moment escapes after his giant bald head is almost crushed. Realising that he’s out of options, the Watcher asks episode four’s Dark Strange Supreme for help. Lets hope he can stop the Multiverses impending doom. 

The show is certainly positioning itself for the grandest finale as the eighth episode sets up for what seems to be an explosive one indeed . This episode truly introduces us to a great threat in the form of this new version of Ultron and I for one can’t wait to see the Guardians of the Multiverse next week. 

 

 

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Animation

‘The Garfield Movie’ Review | A Delicious Blend of Humour, Adventure, and Heart!

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This review was made possible by watching an advanced screening

Love at first bite…Mark Dindal’s “The Garfield Movie” is a purrrfect adventure, filled with whisker-twitching humour and heartwarming moments, just like a perfectly crafted lasagna, offering delicious layers of enjoyment for viewers of all ages to devour. The animation is a feast for the eyes, with vibrant colours and sharp, snappy visuals that bring Jim Davis’s iconic comic strip to life in a captivating way. 

The iconic cartoon cat has been delighting audiences for over four decades with his unique blend of wit, humour, and relatable charm. Since his debut in 1978, Garfield has become a cultural phenomenon, captivating readers with his unapologetic love of lasagna, naps, and sarcastic remarks. Despite his blunt demeanour and self-centred nature, the lovable feline has won over generations of fans with his endearing deadpan delivery. The character’s long-lasting popularity is a testament to creator Jim Davis and his vision of crafting a relatable and dependable protagonist. 

Now, the beloved feline returns to the big screen in an all-new CGI-animated feature from Columbia Pictures and Alcon Entertainment, produced by DNEG and directed by acclaimed animation veteran Mark Dindal, known for his work on The Emperor’s New Groove and Chicken Little. When Garfield’s life takes an unexpected turn with the reunion of his long-lost father, Vic, the world-famous feline is catapulted from his indulgent lifestyle to join Vic on a high-stakes caper. Voiced by Chris Pratt, Garfield’s lovable yet lazy persona is put to the test as he navigates a thrilling outdoor adventure alongside his loyal canine companion Odie. As they join forces with Vic, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, the trio embark on a hilarious and action-packed heist that will leave fans on the edge of their seats. 

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

Since his birth, the lazy tubby tabby has solidified his position as a cultural phenomenon, rivalling the enduring popularity of many other beloved cartoon characters. Ultimately becoming an integral part of our collective consciousness, transcending generations and mediums to delight audiences worldwide. So as I sat down to watch “The Garfield movie”, I was instantly transported back to a nostalgic era of childhood memories and cherished moments that I shared with a loved one. The film’s portrayal of the beloved cartoon character’s wit and sass resonated deeply with me, as Garfield has been an integral part of my life, serving as a common thread that bonded us together over our shared love for the lovable yet cynical cat. Throughout his lifetime we would often collect Garfield-themed novelties, such as the iconic handheld massager among many others. To me the film’s nostalgic value was palpable, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of warmth and appreciation for the impact that Garfield has had on my life. 

Marking a new era in the beloved franchise “The Garfield Movie” masterfully serves up a plate of wit and emotional depth, a hallmark of Dindal’s directorial aesthetic. This cinematic adaptation takes an approach by exploring the formative years of the iconic cat, Garfield, and his poignant bond with his human companion, Jon Arbuckle. Audiences especially young children will delight in seeing Baby Garfield, showcasing his irresistible charm and hunger, ultimately forming an unbreakable bond. These heartwarming sequences are infused with humour, setting the tone for a narrative that skillfully blends nostalgia with fresh perspectives.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

To further elaborate the Garfield franchise, Davis created a cast of well-defined characters, including the endearing yet awkward Jon Arbuckle and the lovable but clueless Odie. In “The Garfield Movie”, we witness the integral elements that have contributed to the character’s enduring success, including his affinity for lasagna, as well as his penchant for embracing a life of comfort and luxury. This indulgence is facilitated by his owner Jon (Nicholas Hoult) and loyal companion Odie (Harvey Guillén), who serves as Garfield’s benevolent guardian angel, receiving a nuanced portrayal in the film that diverges from the more one-dimensional depiction in the comics.

As the story unfolds, Garfield embarks on a thrilling mission with two distinct objectives. With his sarcasm, and somewhat agility, he must outwit the sinister clutches of a vengeful female feline and her loyal canine accomplices to pilfer a vast quantity of milk from a farm-turned-amusement park. Meanwhile, he must confront the complex emotions surrounding his father, Vic, whose abandonment has left a lasting impact on Garfield’s life. Throughout the film, these two narrative threads maintain a harmonious balance between action-packed adventure and heartwarming sentimentality, blending seamlessly into profound themes of self-discovery and empathy. As Garfield navigates this journey, both father and son learn valuable lessons about growth, forgiveness, and the power of second chances.

One of the film’s standout qualities is its ability to reiterate timeless messages about friendship and family without feeling overly clichéd. The relationship between Garfield and Vic evolves naturally, reflecting the complexities of estranged family dynamics. The lessons they learn about trust, forgiveness, and the importance of family are conveyed with sincerity, making the emotional beats of the film resonate with families in the audience. Doing so with charm and wit makes “The Garfield Movie” an enjoyable experience. Mark Dinal’s direction delivers a mix of humour, adventure, and heartfelt moment, creating a film that is both entertaining and meaningful.

As Garfield navigates the complexities of the digital age, with food apps and drone delivery playing a significant role in the story, the film seamlessly weaves in Easter eggs that pay homage to the character’s rich history. Moreover, the movie’s clever nods to iconic action-adventure films are expertly woven throughout the narrative, creating a delightful sense of familiarity and nostalgia.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

“The Garfield Movie” shines with an impressive ensemble of voice talent, anchored by Chris Pratt, who has recently captivated audiences with his notable performances in films like the Super Mario Bros. Movie. In this latest endeavour, Pratt whose the cats meow brings his signature charm and charisma to the titular character, infusing Garfield with a delightful sense of humour and wit. His vocal performance effortlessly captures the essence of the beloved cartoon cat’s lazy yet lovable personality.

Samuel L. Jackson brings a delightful energy to his role as Vic, Garfield’s father, the other notable character in the film. His presence is always a welcome addition, and he effortlessly matches Chris Pratt’s charm with his own unique flair. Notably, Jackson’s scruffy father performance is a standout, thanks to the creative freedom director Mark Dindal gave him to bring a fresh perspective to the Garfield universe. Jackson in addition ad-libbed, putting his own spin on the character, making his performance truly memorable.

The supporting cast of lovable characters shines brightly in this cinematic treat, led by the steadfast and endearing Odie (Harvey Guillen), who brings a sense of warmth and loyalty to the screen. Meanwhile, the towering yet benevolent Otto (Ving Rhames) injects a sense of gravity and authority, his rugged presence perfectly balanced by the wit and charm of Garfield. Their dynamic interplay is a joy to behold, as their combined talents and personalities create a thrilling and heartwarming heist that will leave audiences smiling. Cecily Strong is another welcome surprise.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

Get ready to purr-fectly be delighted by the cat-tastic villainy of Jinx, the sassy and cunning feline criminal mastermind! Hannah Waddingham brings Jinx to life with a voice that’s as smooth as silk, as sharp as a claw, and as captivating as a cat in a sunbeam. Her dramatic flair and theatrical presence will have you hooked from the start, as she weaves a web of chaos and mischief with ease. Jinx, the Minxy mastermind diva, brings a level of gravitas and flair to “The Garfield Movie” elevating this caper that’s simply paw-some. As the feline thieves catch up with history between her and Vic , she’s evolved into a compassionate and self-actualised Persian cat effortlessly purr-suading her way through the most intricate of schemes with a wit as sharp as a cat’s whisker.

From her mood-changing necklace to her Milktini and Meowmosa at hand, Jinx is the epitome of feline finesse. Her dramatic moments are nothing short of theatrical, and you’ll be clawing your way to the edge of your seat to see what she does next. But don’t stop watching after the credits roll – stick around for a special performance by Waddingham herself. Her loyal cainine companions Roland and Nolan also provide comic relief voiced by her fellow Ted Lasso cast member Brett Goldstein and SNL’s Bowen Yang.

courtesy of DNEG Animation.

The digital revitalisation of the iconic orange figure, Garfield, demanded a high level of care and responsibility. Thankfully, Dindal and Jason Boose, animation supervisor at DNEG, rose to the challenge with aplomb. The entire visual performance, expertly handled by Boose and his team, was inspired by the revered legacy of this beloved cartoon cat. The film’s success lies in its ability to balance the simplicity of the comic strips’ human emotions and relatable situations with its vibrant animation. Screenwriting duties were entrusted to Oscar-nominated David Reynolds, co-writer of The Emperor’s New Groove, who collaborated with Paul A. Kaplan and Mark Torgove to craft a fun, family-friendly plot that expands Garfield’s universe.

To maintain the classic charm of the original comic strip, Boose was meticulous in preserving the iconic character design, colour palette, and poses that fans have grown to adore. The result is a watercolour-inspired storybook quality, with painterly brushstrokes and backlit backgrounds. This unique aesthetic perfectly complements Garfield’s adventures.

DNEG’s innovative animation style is another highlight, as they seamlessly blend naturalistic and stylized movements to drive the story. The animation is both relatable and whimsical, often hovering between the two. This stylistic approach was influenced by Director Mark Dindal’s nostalgic feel of playing with View-Master toys.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion, “The Garfield Movie” is a delightful cinematic experience that will leave audiences of all ages in stitches. With its masterful blend of humour, adventure, and heartwarming moments, this film is a true treasure for the whole family. It’s clear that the filmmakers’ passion for the beloved cartoon character has resulted in a film that is both faithful to its source material and innovative in its storytelling. By skillfully weaving together the classic charm of Garfield’s 45-year history, the filmmakers have created a culinary treat that will leave viewers feeling satisfied, entertained, and perhaps even a little bit nostalgic. So, if you’re looking for a film that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart, It’s truly the cat’s pyjamas – a whimsical ride that will have you purring with delight and hungry for more.

Columbia Pictures and Alcon Entertainment will release The Garfield Movie in theatres nationwide on May 24.

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Kung Fu Panda 4 Review: Po and Co are Back to Pack Hilarious Punches.

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I’ve seen too many great animation franchises deliver diminishing returns with more and more sequels. To name some recent examples one could include How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Cars, etc. Kung Fu Panda is another franchise that unfortunately falls in this category. The threequel that released in 2016, was most people’s choice for the weakest entry in the beloved franchise. So that made me pretty skeptical whether the world was ready for this franchise to return and gave us good cause not to have expectations set too high, especially given the weak marketing campaign and smaller production budget. To make things worse, it was being reported that the furious five would not be a part of the story.

So I went in with my expectations in check but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been 8 years since the last Kung Fu Panda movie, but the characters are somehow still fresh and fun. One of the best things that the makers are able to do is remind the viewers what makes Po such a darling and why we love him so much. Jack Black is such a natural fit for his voice and makes this character special with his wit and wisdom in this latest entry. 

This entry is notably structured in a very different way from the other 3 entries. This one focuses on Po’s search for a successor and his ascension to the Master of Peace. The main characters are split up pretty early in the movie and are sent on separate adventures in a sort of buddy-cop-style scenario. On one side we have Po and Awkwafina’s Zhen, and on the other, we have Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Po’s dads. These two duos are a lot of fun in their own ways.

(from left) Po (Jack Black) and Zhen (Awkwafina) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Po and Xen have more of a good boy-bad boy dynamic, while the dads have more of a light-hearted brotherhood between them. Both pairs of misfits deliver a string of humorously entertaining sequences that will have you laughing your heart out. The humor here works for most parts apart from one or two instances and the dialogue in particular is very smartly written. The story, on the other hand, is where the movie is at its weakest.

The structuring is pretty generic with a very cliche twist at the beginning of the second half and the script mostly fails to provide significantly fresh plot points. But credit to it for executing the successor plotline better than a lot of movies that have tried it, especially Cars 3. The writers make sure to put their entire focus on humor and entertainment value, but they do come up with a couple of charming moments and some subplots that come full circle.

The animation here is surprisingly really good, especially given the significantly lower budget. The trailers didn’t get too many people encouraged about the quality of animation, but I can tell you that even though it’s not DreamWorks’ best, it’s still really well done. The background score also hits the right spot where it’s able to compliment the scene and lift it at the same time. The voice work here is also pretty solid. Jack Black is amazing as always and Awkwafina Ke Huy Quan are welcome additions.

(Center) Chameleon (Viola Davis) in Kung Fu Panda 4 directed by Mike Mitchell.

Apart from Po, the best part of the movie is Li and Ping. They are the heart of this movie. The two of them have incredible chemistry and Mike Mitchell finds a way to bring out the best from the both of them. They play off of each other in the most silly, but whimsical manner which is just a joy to watch. We could do with a spin-off of them. Ian McShane’s return as Tai Lung is another highlight here. He is nicely integrated and fits well into the story being told. On the other hand, Viola Davis’ Chameleon is somewhat of a disappointment. For a villain that has the powers of all the previous villains, she was a rather tame antagonist.

Overall, Kung Fu Panda 4 is a return to form for the beloved franchise. It has a lot of elements that made the franchise successful and is a much-needed reminder of how much we love these characters and in particular, Po. Jack Black knocks it out of the park with Bryan Cranston and James Hong emerging as surprise standouts. It lacks the emotional depth of the first two entries and has a disappointingly tame villain. But it is a major improvement from the last entry and unsurprisingly very very entertaining.

Kung Fu Panda 4 releases in cinemas on March 8.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_inKs4eeHiI&pp=ygUXa3VuZyBmdSBwYW5kYSA0IHRyYWlsZXI%3D

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Marvel Animation’s X-Men ’97 | Official Trailer — Disney +

Continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992)

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Genre:

Animation, Action, Adventure

Release Date:

March 20, 2024

Director:

Disney +

Cast:

Jennifer Hale, Ray Chase, Lenore Zann

Post Summary:

Continuation of X-Men: The Animated Series (1992)

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