Sunday, July 24, 2011

WATCH THIS: The Pirates! Trailer

Aardman is releasing their newest stop-motion cartoon. While Flushed Away was rendered to look stop-moed, it was still CGI, and the texture from clay and hands was missed. I look forward to this in a big, big way.

And after you've watched that, watch the British version, with more music and more name.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Cheetara Comparison

From athletic B to a thundering D.

I have posted a full review of the new Thundercats here.

Cartoon Network is releasing a new Thundercats show. Aside from the fact that Lion-O is apparently voiced by some prepubescent 15-year-old boy, it was Cheetara that pissed me off the most. (A number of people have pointed out who voices Lion-O. I am well aware that it is Will Friedle. I looked at the cast before writing this. I still don't like the voice. He sounds like his testicles haven't formed yet, which is impossible for a man who looks like a body builder.)

Let's break down the new Cheetara in comparison to the gold standard, the actual Cheetara.

Is there a fucking chunk missing from her?! Where the hell are her internal organs? Why does she look 17, yet have breasts that would net her lifetime membership as a Playboy centerfold?

Why doesn't she look like, I dunno', a woman? A woman who is capable of doing things, like saving the day?

And this is only the beginning. They repeatedly misspell WilyKit and WilyKat in the written media.

They spell the names differently ON THE SAME PAGE.

And as WilyKit so wonderfully illustrates, having a bare midriff is apparently one of the defining characteristics of being female in modern cartoons. Just like in Teen Titans, where 50% of the female population is bare! Except for the outsider goth chick. She's the only one covered. What the fuck is this? The Breakfast Club with 25% more fiber and sexism? And notice how the females have their legs and feet posed compared to the males? Yeah.

Remember girls, don't stand too strong or you risk being intimidating to boys!

Obviously, this blog is somewhat predicated on the objectification of women, but I make it explicit, and also make sure to explicitly state that images are just that, images. Women are not actual objects, they are people! Cartoon obectification, like with Betty Boop, is fun precisely because it is cartoonish. No one has ever aspired to look like Jessica Rabbit or Betty Boop.

When we try to sell narratives to kids, we're selling a huge package of ideas, values, concepts, and images to them. If we want to sell them strong female characters, we need to sell them something that isn't so stupid-sexist. REAL women are not objects. REAL women are capable. REAL women can be strong heroes without also being sexy. When we make cartoon versions of comics for kids, we should avoid copying over the worst aspects of comic books, such as the almost comical level of female objectification and sexism.

Compare this to Harry Potter, because, why not? It's big. It has female characters. Like Hermione. Is she sexy? Does she spend all of her time in skin-tight spandex with her belly button showing? NO! Of course she doesn't! Because she is an actual character, whose values come from her actions and personality, not because she's got a flat stomach.

I mean, what the HELL is next?! Are we going to see a Wonder Woman cartoon where she's selling diet pills, or Tygra offering Ripped Fuel in episode 2?

To the creators of the new Thundercats. Thanks for ass-fucking my childhood memories. Go fuck yourselves. And learn how to spell.

UPDATE: Comics Alliance has a good article discussing the rampant sexism in comics that I see here. It's annoying in the comic book world, but it is positively infuriating in a TV show aimed primarily at children.

UPDATE: I've received more comments on this post than any post I've ever done, so please take the time to read the other comments and responses before commenting yourself.

And while I have posted a few of them to make a point, I will delete any posts that are basically just swearing at me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Very Short Cars 2 Review

The lesson of Cars 2 can be summed up in "be nice to retards, they just might save the world."

Cars 2 opens fabulously, with a thrilling, action-packed five minutes centered around the British spy Finn McMissile. It is both legitimiate in its own creative right, while also being a spoof of spy films. This is the high point of the movie. It's all downhill from here.

We then cut to Mater, who is helping some car which has broken down in the desert. The dialog immediately shifts from witty and fun to being lifted straight from an episode of Full House. It. Is. Awful. It gets worse when Lightning McQueen shows up a minute or two later, since McQueen is not a moron, and any dialog between someone who is a moron and someone who isn't is necessarily going to be strained and unrealistic. And holy shit, is it strained and unrealistic. The relationship between Mater and McQueen would only make sense if written and staged like the relationship between Charlie and Ray in Rain Man.

Mater is a wholly unlikeable character for all but the youngest or stupidest. He is a raging idiot with essentially no redeeming qualities other than that he is not mean. This does not a person make. McQueen would not be his friend. Half of the shit that Mater pulls in Tokyo (spelled Towkyo... cute) would ruin a friendship in real life or in any other movie.

When McQueen feels bad for snapping at Mater, it should not be in the way of a friend as proposed in the movie, but in the way that one feels bad for slapping a dog for peeing in a corner. It makes no sense. And this doesn't even touch on the logical issues regarding McQueen's regret for not standing by his friend, when his friend happily abandons him during a race for a pretty lady. The lesson is hollow on all levels.

Mater takes up the vast majority of the movie, reminding you in nearly every second how contrived and stupid the setup is. His story is a fish-out-of-water tale where he is mistaken for a spy and it reminded me of The Man Who Knew Too Little. That was another movie where a goof is mistaken for a spy, but at least in that one, the protagonist is actually somewhat skilled, even if some of it is unintentional. And even there, it didn't work all of the time! So you can imagine how badly Cars 2 fails in this regard.

I liked Cars well enough. It was very simple, but pleasant. Cars 2, on the other hand, annoyed me at nearly every turn. It's fun for all the time that Mater isn't on screen, but he's on screen for 90% of the movie. Or if, barring reduced Mater time, they had toned down Mater's profound retardation by five to eight notches, it would have worked. But they did neither, and the movie suffers for it.