Archive for November, 2013

eminem

After three whole years, the “Rap god” has returned to grace the mic with lyrics and metaphors that blow up any other rappers attempts to rhyme.

Let me make one thing clear, I am NOT a fan of hip hop/rap of the modern era, I stopped caring in 2004 whether one shitty rap song was better than the other shitty rap song. Nothing about modern rap appeals to me. It uses overly complex, stupid beats, with repeating choruses, and horrible rhyming schemes and lyrics that don’t deviate song-to-song.

The one saving grace of this terrible genre was Eminem. After Wu-Tang stopped making wide-release albums, and Big pun unfortunately passed away. We were introduced to what has to be the worst genre of music I’ve ever heard. The Lil’ Waynes, Drakes, and Kanye Wests of the world dominate the music industry, and it’s frightening and somewhat sickening.

So in 2009, once I saw that Eminem FINALLY released a new album (Relapse) after his stint in rehab, I was thrilled. I don’t think the three year wait was worth it then, although he wasn’t inherently bad (still miles ahead anyone at the time), he returned with a strange accent, and simplified lyrics. He ended up dropping the accent in 2010, when he released the follow-up album “Recovery”, and made it more serious. However, the trend of simplifying lyrics, making metaphors less prevalent and interesting, really hurt his abilities in my mind.

So was this three years’ worth the wait? HELL. YES.

It is clear that Eminem/slim-shady is not what he used to be, or… he is not LIKE he used to be. This is not a jab at his rapping abilities, not at all, I mean he uses a different kind of music. His creative choices were something to marvel at in this album. While a few songs didn’t particularly appeal to me, the album as a whole was technically, and most importantly, lyrically, fantastic.

“Marshall Mathers LP 2” isn’t just a simple rehash of “I’ma make fun of my mom”, this album is an honest and true example of a rappers maturity. Instead of shying away from his somewhat intimidating age of 41, he faces his mid-life head on, and even pokes fun at himself. Of course this is done in the typical Eminem fashion, with supersonic metaphors and lyrics that make your mouth open as you try to wrap your mind around the lyrical mastery that is unfolding in front of you.

I don’t plan to talk about every single song here in detail, but needless to say, this album is hilarious at parts, but extremely emotional in others. A great example of this are two of this album’s standout tracks, “Legacy”, where he discusses the troubles of being different, and “Headlights”. “Headlights” is perhaps his most resonant and touching track in a decade, something to marvel at.

After a decade, Eminem finally forgives and even apologizes to his mother. Stating things like his famous “cleaning out my closet” track is something he cringes at now, vowing to never perform that track again. This song, honest to whatever deity you may or may not believe in, made me choke up a little. I was a fan of Eminem ever since I was a little boy, and seeing him in this state of mind was both shocking and refreshing.

This album may don the name of his first album, but it cannot be more different. It shows a state of maturity from Eminem, while addressing some of his issues and problems. An album that makes you laugh uncontrollably, and perhaps even weep, it is a return to form by an artist that seemingly always had it in him to create some of the best rap/hip-hop tracks in the world.

Album highlights: This albums included many great songs, however, three of his best include “Headlights”, “Legacy”, and my favorite track “Rap god”.

I want to quickly note that “Rap God” is a masterpiece in its own right. If you have the time, I suggest you listen to it, and try wrapping your mind around the countless metaphors he throws at you… in supersonic speed.

Overall, this album was nothing short of a major success, after what had to be over six years of music I didn’t particularly LOVE. Eminem returns with one of his best albums. It’s different no doubt, but in this case, he changed for the better. And I can’t wait till his next one.

Grade: A-

M.L.P Review- Season 3

Posted: November 15, 2013 in My Little Pony- Reviews
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the_fim___favorites_ready_for_season_3_wallpaper_by_raylionheart-d5kvuzk (1)

Welcome to my Season 3 review! I’ll start it off by posting the grades to each episode.

1.) B

2.)B+

3.)B

4.)C-

5.)A-

6.)A

7.)A-

8.)C+

9.)B-

10.)B+

11.)B-

12.)C

13.)C+

Right away you may notice that this season is pretty uneven, in some areas it shines providing episodes of stunning quality. And in other areas it stoops to an all-time low, following trendy clichés to progress a plot, and mostly just treading in the same water until the next episode.

The season highlight being “Sleepless in Ponyville” which I hailed as the best episode this show has ever done. A few honorable mentions being: “Wonderbolts Academy” and “Magic Duel”. There weren’t any inherently terrible, but they did have a lot of missteps dragging down the entire experience.

For example, the worst episode of the season (and perhaps the show) was “One bad Apple”, which trivialized bullying (not immensely, but a little), and missed a glaring opportunity. This accumulated in a below-average score and a disappointing episode.

This season also had a lot of “fluff”, it included episodes that weren’t bad, and they just weren’t as entertaining as I’m used to.

Overall, it was a disjointed and uneven experience, but a good one non-the-less. It had some fantastic episodes, and some that weren’t so fantastic. All I can do is chock it up to the shortened season (only 13 episodes) and hope that season 4 returns back into consistently good family entertainment, jam packed with references, good continuity, and great pacing.

At the end of the day, this season did its job in entertaining me. While it wasn’t up to par to lets say, Season 2, it still provided enough good episodes to keep me satisfied.

Grade: B- 

1000px-The_Main_5_singing_S3E13

 

Well here we are… the most controversial episode of the season. And I get to air my opinions about it before Season 4 gets released. It is clear that this episode pretty much split the fandom in half, half were saying it was great, half were saying they hated this episodes guts.

“Magical Mystery Cure” had one job to accomplish, to turn Twilight into a princess. Did it accomplish this? Sort of… the entirety of the episode was rushed to an abnormal extreme, it was jammed together to the point where one scene was comedy and the next was sadness. This provided a very unbalanced experience that dragged this episode down.

What occurs is that there is some sort of problem in Ponyville where the “Mane 6’s” cutie marks have all been shuffled, and they all suck at their new “jobs” (for example, Rarity controlling the weather). May I just say, this idea is AWESOME, I really loved this entire concept. Even if it makes cutie marks seem like destiny-controlling patches of fur, but I can let that slide.

Did this episode utilize this great concept? NOPE! Because in a split second it gets solved, and Twilight gets given two oversized wings, and then happiness and parades for the other six minutes of the episode. If only this episode was a two parter, it could have been a major success.

The entirety of it was done in a musical fashion, which is understandable because of the speed the plot has to progress. But does that excuse the fact that it was rushed? NO!

I must say, the songs were all great, especially the final one. However, the issue is that the story just begun (3 minutes in) and twilight is already knee-deep in figurative shit with trying to figure out what’s going on. The unfortunate bit is, we don’t have enough time in this plot to truly feel sorry for Twilight when she is sitting on her bed sad. Even the pretty song she sings (with a different color palette in the scene) isn’t enough to make me relate and feel bad for her, BECAUSE THE EPISODE JUST STARTED!

These are just some of the issues with the episode being rushed so much. However, it still provided an entertaining bit of TV that I sure as hell won’t forget. It wasn’t overly good, but it wasn’t overly bad either. The entire “Twilight is a Princess” change hasn’t really grown on me either. It’s still something that should have been postponed until the SERIES finale, not the season finale.

I say this because now Twilight has completed her circle (just like Dash, but in a bigger way). For example, when a “Will they, won’t they” couple finally gets married in a sitcom. That pretty much marks the end of their story, and from then on you can expect some repetitive malarkey. I’m hoping that they won’t resort to that with Twilight, but everything points to the fact that they will, because in the end, this show IS catered to a younger audience… and to sell toys.

Right after watching this episode, I already knew some of the stuff planned for Season 4. The entire cliché “oh no! I’m a new princess and I don’t know if I’ll be good!” Episode will probably be the season premier, and from then on they will explore what it’s like to be Princess for her. THIS. IS. NOT. GOOD. If I can guess how an episode will be done, and how it turns out, that automatically makes it BORING.

Now, I’m not saying the story in the premier will be bad, I’m just saying that the lesson (usually a big part of every episode) may be overdone and cliché, which is going to drag the entire episode down. The fact that this show was never truly “the Twilight Sparkle show” made me happy as well, the fact that she was put at the same level as all her friends made this somewhat of an ensemble cast instead of the other five being just supporting characters.

All I’m doing is just assuming, I don’t know anything yet. So it is to be seen soon, with season 4. But until then, I’m highly skeptical. As this episode would have made a decent ending to the show, it doesn’t really make a remarkable ending to a season.

 

Pros:

–          All songs were well sung

–          Applejack trying to make clothes

–          Pinkamena returns, for a bit

–          We get to see Celestia sing

 

Cons:

–          Rushed to an EXTREME!

–          Not enough time to relate to the characters problems

–          A worrying change that I’m not certain about

–          Six minutes of useless parades instead of actual story

 

Grade: C+

1000px-Peachbottom_shakes_hooves_with_Twilight_S03E12

 

Was I the only one that was pretty disappointed with this episode? The season had this large (albeit unexplored) arch surrounding Twilight Sparkle. Originally, I didn’t want them to overdo it, but at least add SOMETHING!

I was expecting some grand Olympics-esq games! Massive and impressive scenes with splendid animation! I got ponies running around a Crystal Empire in a cliché, and somewhat dumb fashion. Instead of gigantic games, we just got preparation. Which is sort of underwhelming for a penultimate episode!

Let me make this clear, the entirety of this episode was surrounding a misconception, in which a “Games inspector” was thought to be some overly-excited claustrophobic pony, instead of a… you know… GAMES INSPECTOR. I have no idea why they didn’t even ask “You are the Games Inspector, right?”

Stuff like this bites at me throughout the entire episode detracting from the experience. The entirety of it was somewhat anti-climactic and at times, boring. However, it doesn’t mean it was a terrible episode. In fact, it provided some really funny physical comedy (courtesy of mister Shining Armor’s reaction to Ms.Peachbottom’s advancements) and some delicious dialogue.

In fact, the entire scene where Ms. Peachbottom slowly goes nuts in the claustrophobic Crystal kingdom is gold. I think that scene has to include some of my favorite dialogue of the season, when the ponies try to give her an educated tour of the place, not actually knowing what they are looking at.

Also, here’s where I thought we’d be getting a Rarity sub-plot… NOPE, she is in like three scenes and after that, they sometimes ask her how the Princesses hair is doing… that’s about it. This was a big disappointment for me, as a Rarity fan.

Unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to write a lot about this episode, it was honestly very unremarkable. Even after re-watching it for a third time, I couldn’t see past the downright stupidity of a few plot-choices. Although it provides some funny bits, the entirety of this episode is far too simplistic, cliché, and overdone. Especially the third act when the REAL games inspector arrives (kindly named Ms. Harshwhinny) and comes off as a complete bitch… which she isn’t of course, she actually loves everything! Like that hasn’t been done on a thousand different cartoons…

This was a penultimate episode that didn’t have too much going for it, however, it did bring in a lot of laughs from me, and at the end of the day, that’s all I truly ask for. If the story, and the characterization isn’t too great, just throw some laughs at me and I won’t hate it.

Pros:

-Ms. Peachbottom’s breakdown

-Pretending to know the inside of the Crystal Empire

-Shining armor was being hit on. By a pony with a chicken for a cutie mark.

-Dash sliding off the glass ceiling=hilarious

 

Cons:

-Again, re-treading water

-A penultimate episode that was severly underwhelming

-Too many clichés to count

-Rarity is once again forgotten

 

Grade: C

1000px-Spike_and_the_pets_S3E11

 

This episode is yet another Spike episode, in a season with two spike episodes (counting this one) and absolutely no Rarity episodes. The writers were clearly smoking some sort of crazy pony hallucinogen that causes them to think that a small purple dragon is actually a white mare.

Anyway, this episode finds spike in over his head after he offers to take in all the pets of the “mane 6” who are off to this massive event being held in the now peaceful Crystal Empire. Right away, this episode is prone to clichés and over-written scripts with less dialogue, and more physical comedy. Cause “crazy pets be funnzies right?!”

Spike episodes have always been hit or miss, or at most just decent episodes of the show period. The writers never put him on some grand quest, and when they do (Dragon’s Quest) it turns out to be a major disappointment. This episode, although not treading in any new water, ends up succeeding where it matters.

The one thing we have found out about Spike, is that he can be sort of an asshole sometimes. This is not his true intentions, but it’s when he does stuff without thinking it through. In this case, it’s taking six pets under his wing just for some gem-incrusted cake. Clearly, this is due to spiral out of control.

The fun doesn’t truly start until Spike starts trekking around Ponyville trying to find a truly masochistic and maniacal bunny rabbit. From then on, the episode finally picks up its pace and provides some entertaining character “cameos”, like from Zecora, and some humorous bits. What stood out to me was the entire few minute scene with the CMC, whom Spike tricks into taking his pets only to return after a little to hear Scootaloo cry “Has anyone seen Tanks head!”

Tank of course being Rainbow Dashes turtle that she found in “May the Best Pet Win” (continuity!). So after that, Angel (the bunny) hops onto the “Mane 6’s” train, and spike has to find a way to sneak onto it. Queue emotional lesson about not being a turd, and then the episode pretty much comes to an end.

I’m not saying this episode was bad, I’m saying this episode doesn’t go anywhere unique or creative. It utilizes a few clichés to progress the story, and isn’t some remarkable episode that I felt excited to re watch. But, it did its job. At the end of the day it was yet another re-tread of territory by the writers, especially with Spike, a character that seems to not be too developed in general. This retread thankfully got enough right to be an entertaining departure into the world of massive pet dust clouds, and at the end of the day, that’s all I’m asking for.

 

Pros:

–          Enter fun little clichés that don’t take away from the episode!

–          Spike has some killer one liners

–          The scenes with the CMC

–          It may be a re-tread, but it’s a damn entertaining one

–          Buying an industrial sized pet dryer!

Cons:

–          Although it may be an entertaining re-tread, it’s still a re-tread and comes off as lazy

–          Too much unsuccessful physical comedy.

–          So spike can bake a cake NOW, but when he had to help Applejack he messes up!

–          Two spike episodes, no Rarity episodes. What heresy is this?!

Grade: B-

1000px-Discord_holding_Fluttershy_S3E10

Discord makes his return in this cleverly made episode, that I’m sure some fans love, and some fans hate. I say this because at the end of this episode (and actually throughout its entirety) it changes the character of Discord. Discord has always been a fan favorite, so seeing him return was a huge surprise for me, but in the best way possible. I love Discord, and I love Q, and I love John De Lancie!

However, this episode does have a few missteps that are worth noting. Firstly, the biggest and probably most controversial aspect of this episode was the whole change to Discord. I, personally, do not find it inherently wrong to quote on quote “resurrect” a villain, especially a fan favorite, to be all evil for one more episode. But the writers clearly had a plan in mind to make him somewhat of a guest appearance (perhaps each season?) and they dove right into the “lets reform him” party and stuck Fluttershy at head.

This… I’m not really sure (even after like five re watches) what my true opinion on this is. I suppose the most prevalent word circling throughout my melon-shaped head is “nervous”, as I’m not sure if they ruined the Discord character. Now… I’m not saying they did, but he sure-as-hell acted differently even when he was released from his stone prison. In fact, dare I say he was less “chaotic” and more random?

I mean, this is the man-deer-snake-goat… thingy that turned Ponyville upside down! LITERALLY! So having him have peaceful discussion (albeit with chaotic connotations) was sort of jarring. But, that’s not to say that he isn’t Discord, because he is, and he still is the most original character this show has to offer, constantly making me laugh and gasp in amazement.

In fact, the entire idea of this episode was actually pretty interesting and fun. Putting the most nervous and shy character with the most outspoken and nutty one? Sounds amazing! Of course I’m still waiting for my Pinkie x Discord episode… but I digress. This provided for an interesting 2/3, but when the third act came about, I couldn’t help but bite my teeth in nervousness. This is mostly because I’m guessing they wouldn’t have made an episode like this if they didn’t plan on making him return.

The writing error of this entire episode starts at its core. How could the GOD of CHAOS become benign and nice? IT’S THE GOD OF CHAOS! That’s where the paradox kicks in and you are left scratching your head.

The comedy was well-timed for the most part, however, it seems like there was once again some continuity issues with the character. If he needed to turn normal beavers into evil beavers just to flood the dam… how the hell did he flip Ponyville on its ass in the season 2 premier? Couldn’t he just snap his… claws? Together and make it happen? I mean, the thing made ponyville have a checkered floor pattern.

But this isn’t to say the episode isn’t entertaining, oh no, this episode was really good, and downright hilarious at times. Apart from the controversial third act, I really did enjoy this episode and what it could have possibly opened up to be explored in the future. So this ended up being a welcome return of Discord, and I eagerly await seeing him again, hopefully in a more chaotic position.

Pros:

-Discord’s long awaited return!

-Great comedic timing

-“Eat any good books today?” YES!

-Fluttershy getting the starring role in this entertaining episode

-The “Q snap” should be both an action, and a name of an 80’s cheesy dance move

-Every character getting some entertaining dialogue in this character-driven episode

Cons:

-Continuity issues with Discord as a character

-Less chaotic!

-All Discord needed… was a friend? Tell that to all the ponies he brainwashed!

-The third act could be either good or bad… we’ll have to see.

Grade: B+

1000px-Spike_-my_honor_and_my_duty-_S03E09

 

So this week’s episode “Spike at your service” explores what it would be like if Spike were to ditch Twilight, and run off to the Apple family. Let me just say that I heard that this episode was meant to be a Rarity/Spike episode, but for some odd and bad reason they changed it to another Applejack episode. However, this paring has not yet been explored, so it did provide for some fresh onscreen dynamics.

The plot is pretty self-evident and clear in this episode. Spike gets lost, Spike gets saved by Applejack, he pulls some “dragon code” out of his ass, and starts trying to be a servant to Applejack. A few things wrong here… first, the whole idea of being bound as a servant forever is stupid, dumb, and sort of scary. Second, they made Spike completely inept at doing anything. Half of me understands, because, well, this is a new environment for him, and maybe he’s nervous. But they didn’t hint at that in the episode. All I needed was “man… I’m a bit nervous working for you,” or something along those lines.

Also, the entire idea that Twilight didn’t notice Spike saying his goodbyes… sort of scary. Since wasn’t his BIGGEST fear (from the crystal empire) the idea of Twilight leaving him? And now, he’s leaving Twilight? WHAT?!

This downright dreadful (almost purposefully so) continuity really damages this episode. But… once all of that is said and done, we get treated to a very entertaining twenty minutes. This is mostly due to the writers having splendid animation, especially with the Timberwolves, whom are yet another fantastic addition to the lore of Equestria. I say this because not only are they unique and original, but because they have a surprisingly frightening concept behind them.

This, plus the absolutely fantastic 3D animation they used to show them (especially the scenes when they explode into a hundred shards of wood) provided some really intense action.

Of course Applejack doesn’t want spike to work for her, so they set up this elaborate scheme to try and get him to save Applejack. This provided a really funny bit when Rarity pretty much tried to teach Applejack how to be “prissy and girly” and the entirety of it was comedy gold.

The fact of the matter is, that this episode really did a fantastic job everywhere apart from those massive drops in intelligence (from spike) and the big continuity problems that dragged it down. But at the end of the day, I was having a blast. Whether it was staring at the pretty animation, or the intense action sequences, or maybe just the timberwolf raising its paw to the ponies in attempt to clear it’s throat… there was so much to love, but a good amount to get disappointed in also.

This doesn’t mean this episode was bad though, in fact, I’ll go so far as to say that this episode is in fact sort of awesome! None of it felt like it was dragging along the floor like a dog with worms, all of it was quick, fast paced, and fun! Even if there are those issues that I mentioned, I still recommend a re watch as this episode shows that this series still has a lot of unique character pairs up its sleeve… even if Rarity instead of Applejack would have been better, in my opinion.

 

Pros:

-Fantastic animation

-More creatures to the Equestrian lore

-A decent pairing that did its job

-Applejack trying to act girly

-Splendidly paced action sequences

-counting grass

 

Cons:

-Glaring continuity issues that made me cringe to watch

-The “dragon’s code”

-Spike acting like a fool

-Needed Rarity more!

 

Grade: B-