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Sep 072016
 

It’s true that there are quite a few movie versions of Snow White, but there are seldom any versions that take place after the events of the classic fairytale. One such feature is Happily Ever After.

After the Wicked Queen’s death, the demonic creatures that served her run amok as though they are glad to not have a ruler anymore. Then who would expect that the queen had a brother? He’s a wizard named Lord Maliss, who is just as evil if not worse. It seems so strange that he just popped in at the castle when he did.

Image result for happily ever after 1993

For added comic relief, another villain that’s commonly featured is Scowl the Owl (voice of Ed Asner) and his friendly companion Batso. Scowl tries to help out Maliss, but ends up bumbling everything. It’s like he’s trying too hard to be evil. Of course the real distraction is that Scowl is always smoking a cigar. It’s so annoying. Who ever heard of an owl that smokes all the time.

As for Snow White, she and her Prince (who is unnamed for some reason) are on their way to get married only to be attacked by Maliss, who has the ability to turn into a dragon at will. By the way, Maliss desires revenge for what happened to his sister.

You might expect the Looking Glass to be creepy, but it really isn’t. That’s mainly because Dom DeLuise, who I can always expect to be funny, voices the role.

With the Prince captured, Snow White seeks out the seven dwarves for help. Unfortunately, they’re no where to be found. Instead, Snow White finds their cousins, the seven Dwarfelles, who are female dwarves with magical powers related to nature. They are Muddy, Sunburn, Blossom, Marina, Critterina, Moonbeam, and little Thunderella. Like the dwarves, these ladies are named after their personalities as well as their powers.

The Dwarfelles’ power comes from Mother Nature (voice of Phyllis Diller). I’ve seen versions of Mother Nature on The Smurfs and on Christmas specials about the Miser Brothers and I’ll tell you, this version is not one to take lightly, especially when she threatens to take away the Dwarfelles’ powers for making mistakes. Since Mother Nature does make mistakes herself, it sounds a bit hypocritical.

Along the way to Lord Maliss’s castle, Snow White finds a strange humanoid called the Shadow Man, who looks like he could be a character from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Snow White believes he’s good, but the Dwarfelles don’t. Could it be because he looks different, or that he doesn’t speak? Either way, I think the Shadow Man could be a good guy that’s just misunderstood.

This was an interesting movie with its level of fairytale adventure. You can really tell that Snow White has grown in skill since her previous adventure in the woods. She’s braver and more resourceful, but could there be any other relatives wanting revenge for the Wicked Queen?

Jun 222016
 

Normally I don’t do follow-ups from previous top 10 lists, but I recently found other pop culture villains I’d like to add. Feel free to check my other list of Top 10 Underrated Villains for a comparison. So here’s another group of favorites.

#10) Spell Binder from The Electric Company (70s version): He is the arch nemesis of Letterman in the reoccurring Letterman animated segments. Spell Binder likes to cause chaos by magically changing letters in words, thus also changes the object, only to be defeated by Letterman who uses letters to change the words and object back to normal. Spell Binder does appear lame compared to other villains, but if you think about it, the chaos he causes is pretty effective in the long run.

#9) Scorpina from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Let’s face it. She was a standout villainess when she fought alongside Goldar. However, Scorpina was removed from the show due to lack of footage, which is understandable. On a side note, Lamy from Super Sentai Zyuranger, who was later known as Scorpina, was just as interesting after seeing what footage had not been used on Power Rangers. My only real concern was that Scorpina wasn’t written out of the show gradually. She just suddenly vanished with no explanation of what became of her.

Mezmeron

#8) Mezmeron from PAC-Man the Animated Series: Normally, PAC-Man’s enemies are the ghosts. In this version, the ghosts have a master who appears more intimidating. As powerful as Mezmeron is, he never fights his own battles. More importantly, this is the only version of PAC-Man he’s ever been featured and even then he hardly ever appeared. It would’ve been nice to see this villain more often, possibly as a final boss in the video game. That already sounds awesome.

Lorena from True Blood

#7) Lorena (Mariana Klaveno) from True Blood: Of all the vampires on this show, I find Lorena the most incredible. When it comes to love, she is very possessive and can be short tempered from time to time, especially if anyone speaks against her. Even though Lorena was slayed, I might have expected her to return later on in the series. I mean, if slayed vampires can return on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, why not on True Blood? Of course, that never happened.

#6) Lord Maliss from Happily Ever After: He’s the brother of the Wicked Queen from Snow White that’s even more dangerous. This dark wizard can turn into a dragon and has a cape that can turn anyone into stone. On top of that, no other version of Snow White has such a character. So Maliss truly stands out, even though his only true goal is revenge.

#5) Taminella Grinderfall from Muppets franchise: This classic wicked witch character is an oldie but a goodie. Whether her evil plots are scary or goofy, Taminella was what helped make the classic Muppet Fairytale specials so magical and exciting as part of the fantasy genre, next to King Goshposh and Featherstone. With the Muppets still hugely popular, Taminella has never made an attempt for a comeback. It would be nice if she did. That is, whenever the Muppets decide to make a new fantasy film someday.

#4) Vam-Mi from Ninja Turtles: the Next Mutation: When it comes to vampire women, it seems like Vam-Mi is one of the least likely to come to mind. However, this 2000-year-old Chinese vampire is both dangerous and powerful despite that she can also be a total drama queen when things don’t go right. I find Vam-Mi as interesting as she is unique. Too bad she only appeared in the four-part episode “Unchain My Heart” and was never featured in the franchise again afterward.

Cracklin the Wizard

#3) Cracklin from The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy: I’ll admit that it can be hard to take this dark wizard seriously as a villain because of his intense allergies to animal hair. As the arch nemesis of the Raggedys, Cracklin is very fearsome and powerful when it comes to using magic and will do anything to become even more powerful. His reasons are unknown as well as his background, but one thing is for certain. Cracklin is not one to take lightly, even if his sneezing is strong like the wind.

#2) Zira from The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride: Most of the Disney villains are hugely popular, even the ones that were only in one movie. Zira is one of few who are often overlooked. Sure, Scar was an interesting villain, but Zira is even more ruthless. Even though she was never mentioned in the first movie, Zira knew Scar before his demise and seeks revenge on Simba. She’ll do anything to kill Simba, including training her own cubs to hate and kill. Now that’s just low.

#1) False Face from Batman franchise: Of all the villains Batman has gone up against, this is the creepiest and most mysterious. He’s a master of disguise and commits crimes by leaving his calling card, a false quote. False Face has appeared in several different versions of Batman, which includes Batman Beyond, but the one I remember best is his appearance in Batman (60s version). As one of the most difficult criminals to catch, False Face isn’t featured often. He’s also not on the same level of popularity as Joker, Penguin, Riddler, etc., but I think he ought to be, despite that his origin story isn’t revealed.

Feb 242016
 

Normally when a new season begins, it takes place shortly after the events of the previous season, but not this time. Legend of Korra: Book Four: Balance takes place three years later. The Red Lotus has been taken care of, but the Earth Kingdom is still in chaos without a ruler.

Apparently, Team Avatar has gone their separate ways. Korra has recuperated after a rough battle with Zaheer, but is going through a lot of self-doubt. She even changes her clothes and cut her hair as she slowly gets back in fighting form.

Mako has become the bodyguard of Prince Wu, the heir to the Earth Kingdom. However, Wu is more into living the high life than taking his royal duty seriously, which makes him a handful for Mako.

Meanwhile, Bolin works as an Earth Nation soldier along with Varrick and Zhu Li. Speaking of Zhu Li, it wasn’t until this season when she actually speaks and really lets Varrick know how she feels about him.

Their leader is Kuvira. She was Suyin’s protégé and captain of the guards. Now Kuvira sets out to bring peace to the Earth Kingdom, but believes that the only way to do so is by force. She even uses manipulative methods to get people to join her. Anyone that refuses gets imprisoned, plain and simple. That only makes Kuvira a tyrant, even though she announces herself as the Great Uniter.

Therefore, Kuvira has become the new villain for this season along with her fiancé Baatar Jr., who also happens to be Suyin’s oldest son.

I met Todd Haberkorn, the voice of Baatar Jr., at MegaCon 2012.

It turns out another old character from Avatar: The Last Airbender is still around. Toph Beifong, who was once the chief of police, now lives in a swamp as a hermit. She has fought many battles in her time, but Toph gave up that life knowing that crime would never stop. So she decided that living in the swamp was the only way to live peacefully.

Tenzin’s children have also grown as stronger air benders and even have an adventure like the original Team Avatar used to have.

With the chaos worse than ever, Korra must stop Kuvira but first she must defeat the enemy within herself in order to do so. It goes to show that the biggest heroes/heroines always seem to go through the biggest torture when going up against tough enemies.

There you have it, an excellent series about the next generation of Avatar: the Last Airbender. It had plenty of action and adventure with the usefulness of more modern conveniences. However, there was also quite a bit of romantic drama throughout the series that I didn’t care for. That could’ve been toned down, just a little bit.

Feb 172016
 

In Legend of Korra: Book Three – Change, the results of Korra’s last major battle now allows people and creatures from the spirit world to coexist. This also automatically unlocks air bending powers from certain individuals, starting with Bumi. In hopes of rebuilding the Air Nation, Team Avatar is on the search for the air benders so Tenzin can train them as Air Nomads.

Unfortunately one of those air benders is Zaheer, the new villain for this season. He is the leader of a group of dangerous criminals called the Red Lotus. This is a group that believes that the way to maintain world peace is to take out all of the world leaders, including the Avatar.

Unlike the previous two seasons, there are more colorful henchmen that work along side Zaheer. First there’s Ghazan an earth bender that can also bend lava.

P'Li

P’Li is a fire bender with a third eye and is Zaheer’s girlfriend.

The third member is Ming-Hua a freaky water bender. It took me a while for me to discover that she has no arms.

I met Grey Delisle, who was the voice of Ming-Hua, at Anime Festival Orlando 2012.

This season also introduces an entire city of metal benders called Zaofu that’s run by Lin’s sister Suyin. And to think, Zaofu would not be possible without their mother Toph Beifong who discovered metal bending for the first time in the Last Airbender series.

It’s also revealed that Lord Zuko is still around and can still kick butt as a fire bender.

Korra and her friends have grown a lot since the series began, but it’s not over yet. Check my blog for Part 4 to see what happens in the final season.

Feb 102016
 

Welcome back. By this point in The Legend of Korra – Book Two: Spirits, Korra has mastered all four elements. Now she has to focus on the more spiritual side of being the Avatar by mastering how to go in and out of the spirit world and controlling the Avatar State.

The Fire Ferrets pro bending team is no more. Mako has become a policeman working for police Chief Lin Beifong, who is the daughter of Toph Beifong. She is tough as nails and takes a while to warm up to Korra, even though they’re both fighting for the same cause.

Meanwhile, Bolin works for an eccentric businessman / inventor named Varrick. Their biggest accomplishment was the ability to make moving pictures. We call them movies, but in this series they’re called movers.

Varrick is also highly reliant on his assistant Zhu Li. When he wants anything done he just tells her to “do the thing”. That could mean anything, but Zhu Li always seems to know.

As it turns out Aang and Katara had not one, but three children. There’s Tenzin, his waterbending sister Kya, and their non-bender brother Bumi. I’m sure that Aang named him after King Bumi from the original series.

As Korra struggles to understand the spirit world, she meets up with Iroh who helps her understand it better. It’s a good thing Iroh was there because the other spirits did not like Korra at all no matter how hard she tried to remain calm.

In addition to that, Korra learns about how the very first Avatar came to be. It all started with a boy named Wan and a spiritual embodiment called Raava. The original series had backtracked in Avatar history before, but it never went this far back.

Even though Amon is no longer a threat, Korra ends up facing a new enemy, her Uncle Unalaq. He intends to seize power over the Southern Water Tribe by freeing Vaatu the dark Avatar.

Things become way more intense this season unlike anything Aang has ever faced in the original series. Check my blog for Part 3 as Korra’s adventures get even more exciting.