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Oct 052016
 

The Scooby-Doo franchise has gone in many directions over the years. So why not a LEGO feature like the TV special LEGO Scooby-Doo: Knight Time Terror.

This time the Scooby gang arrives at a secret treasure is hidden. However, a Black Knight ghost also haunts it. The story plot may sound cliché, but the common gags used in many LEGO features add some great touches to it.

 

Running the mansion are Charlie Grimsley, his brother Kyle, and their cousin Wanda who is a mechanic and groundskeeper. They are struggling to get customers by providing a treasure hunt. Also at the mansion is Adam the house historian, who Velma has a crush on. This makes how many crushes now?

After the Mystery Machine crashes, it shows more stuff inside than usual. It has a small computer, a bulletin board, and luggage which includes a box of monster traps. Most of the time, the Mystery Machine appears empty.

The mansion contains quite a few traps like a swinging morning star that Shaggy and Scooby find by accident.

Speaking of Shaggy and Scooby, those two are always looking for food. However, we don’t actually see them eat since everything is made out of LEGO pieces. Of course that doesn’t stop the giant plant monster from devouring everything.

This was an interesting feature. What LEGO sets will come to life next?

Aug 132014
 

The Scooby-Doo franchise has certainly evolved over the years. Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon actually goes back to its roots by including the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. That used to be an old cartoon series from the 70s and the two of them were on the Scooby Doobies team in Laff-A-Lympics, but in this feature Blue Falcon and Dynomutt are portrayed as old comic book characters that also had a TV series.

The Mystery Inc. gang travels to the city of San de Pedro to attend a comic book convention. Shaggy and Scooby are very excited since they are such huge fans of Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. They even made costumes out of string cheese and food coloring. Now that’s just weird.

I go to comic book conventions all the time. They always provide a great atmosphere with posters, pictures, displays, backdrops, and wall hangings of classic characters randomly placed all around. This one has that too and the characters displayed are all from classic Hanna-Barbera franchises. Ones like Space Ghost, Frankenstein Jr., The Jetsons, Atom Ant, Herculoids, Mightor, Yogi Bear, The Impossibles, The Flintstones, Magilla Gorilla, and others. So these characters were really all just fictional in the Scooby-Doo universe, even though some of them did coexist in Laff-A-Lympics with Shaggy and Scooby?

One of the celebrity guests there is Owen Garrison, who played the original Blue Falcon. Now that’s clever because in the actual Dynomutt cartoon series, Laugh In star Gary Owens voiced the Blue Falcon.

The main event Fred looks forward to is the premiere of the new Blue Falcon movie that’s darker and edgier. The leading actor is Brad Adams, who never really watched the original Blue Falcon TV show in order to prepare for the role. Instead he wanted to give the character a clean slate and only sees the Blue Falcon as an enigma. Somehow this reminds me of the comparison between the old Batman series from the 60s and the Batman movies of today.

Meanwhile, Daphne’s desire is to complete her collection of cute stuffed dolls called Littlest Fuzzies. Man, I have never seen her get so obsessed over anything.

I met Grey Delisle, who was the voice of Daphne, at AFO 2012.

However, Velma isn’t thrilled to be at the convention at all. Her only interest is the mystery going on about a monster terrorizing the place. This is no ordinary monster though. It’s the Blue Falcon’s archenemy Mr. Hyde, who is a creature of chaos. Mr. Hyde wasn’t in the new movie, but he was in the old TV series. That’s why Shaggy and Scooby know about him so well.

As the Mystery Inc. gang gets on the case, Shaggy and Scooby are the most knowledgeable and take the mystery more seriously than they usually do. However, the number one suspect is Owen Garrison because he tried to revive the Blue Falcon and every studio turned him down. And with the new movie version out, Mr. Garrison’s fan base has disappeared. He keeps going on and on about it. It seems obvious, but Shaggy and Scooby refuse to accept that because they still believe in the original Blue Falcon. They even found other suspects, yet Fred, Daphne, and Velma still think Mr. Garrison is Mr. Hyde. Can you believe it?

Meanwhile, Jennifer Severin the writer/producer/director of the new Blue Falcon movie takes advantage of all the publicity involving the Mr. Hyde attacks. What I couldn’t help but notice is that she believes that her movies should have less story line and be more about blowing things up since that’s where the money is.

This was a great movie with a modernized collaboration of Hanna-Barbera nostalgia. Even the opening credits feature some of the ghosts from the classic Scooby-Doo series. If you’re a fan of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, be sure to observe the backgrounds and cosplayers closely.

 

Mar 112014
 

We all remember the 3 stooges, Moe (Moe Howard), Larry (Larry Fine), and Curly (Curly Howard) as a trio of slapstick buffoons that bumble every job they’re given. The stooges had many short films over the years, but right now I’d like to focus on the animated series The New Three Stooges (1965-1966).

Now this takes place during the Curly Joe era. For those of you unfamiliar, after Curly passed away in the early 50s, there were a couple of fill-ins for the third stooge. One of them was Curly Joe (Joe DeRita). I admit that he wasn’t as hilarious as Curly, but still funny nonetheless.

This series of cartoon shorts features Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe traveling the world while bumbling their various jobs and it usually ends with the three of them running for the hills. The only major difference is that there isn’t as much face slapping and poking at each other. I guess the purpose was to keep it “child-friendly”.

There were also live action segments that went with the cartoons, which I also found enjoyable. However, the show tended to use the same segments with different cartoons. It was confusing sometimes, especially if the intention was for the cartoons and live action segments to coincide as a full episode.

This wasn’t the only time The Three Stooges became an animated series though. There was another version called The Robonic Stooges (1977-1978). This Hanna-Barbera series featured the stooges as bumbling robot heroes with various contraptions to fight evil. Many of the contraptions were inside the big letters on their chests, which I found fascinating. However, unlike the 60s series, the stooges did not voice their own characters. It was confusing at times because Curly returns and it left the impression that Curly was still alive in the 70s, since it sounded a lot like him.

The same voice actor (Frank Welker) also voiced Jabberjaw, whose persona was very similar to Curly.

The stooges also made appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, but didn’t provide their own voices on this show either, unlike other celebrity guest stars that have done so.

The New Three Stooges is truly a classic cartoon series. Even though this was before my time, I still think the stooges were great to watch growing up. They always left me laughing.

Oct 082013
 

Mystery Inc. is back once again in Scooby Doo: Legend of the Phantosaur. After solving a mystery at an old mansion, Shaggy becomes diagnosed with a rare overreaction to fear stimuli. I guess he finally had one spooky mystery too many.

As a result, Shaggy must give up anything frightening, which also means he cannot be part of Mystery Inc. anymore. Meanwhile, Fred has to come up with a science project in order to graduate. Luckily, Daphne has a solution for both problems. There’s a paleontological dig near a spa at the town of La Serena, the least haunted town in America.

Once the Scooby gang arrives at the spa they meet Mr. Hubley who works there and is very hard of hearing. Afterwards, they go to the dig site, where Professor Svankmajor gives them a tour. Just when Shaggy gets completely calm after a nice relaxing ghost free day, they encounter a new supernatural beast called the Phantosaur. Scooby, as the noble dog he is, does all he can to keep Shaggy safe throughout the chase.

Back at the spa, Mr. Hubley uses computerized holographic hypnosis to help Shaggy become more fearless after hearing the word “bad”, and switch back to normal when he hears it again. Unfortunately, Mr. Hubley ends up forgetting the key word. That can only lead to trouble if anyone says it by accident.

This mystery also has an excellent share of hilarity. For instance, while at a coffee joint, Scooby drinks a sip of coffee and goes crazy running all over the place and on the ceiling. That’s definitely a first for Scooby-Doo.

While Fred, Daphne, and Velma search for clues back at the dig site, Shaggy and Scooby get into trouble with a biker gang. While under the affects of the hypnosis, Shaggy kicks all of their butts single-handedly and agrees to a motorcycle race against Tex, the gang’s leader. After Tex says “bad”, Shaggy returns to normal and he remembers everything that happened and is dreading what he got himself into. Luckily, Daphne was able to teach him how to ride a motorcycle, sort of.

Soon, another problem occurs. Velma is love struck by the professor’s assistant Winsor. So much so that she can’t concentrate on the mystery. That’s very unlikely to happen because Velma is usually the most focused.

During the motorcycle race, the Phantosaur returns and it’s revealed that the culprits behind it are a couple of mining engineers who were after silver. Tex and his biker gang become allies with the Scooby gang as they capture the criminals. That’s another case closed, or so they thought.

A new Phantosaur comes to town, which also turns out to be a fake. The mystery gets solved at the dig site, but the Scooby gang must also survive a cave-in. Shaggy manages to help out while under the affects of the hypnosis. If only they could figure out the key word.

This is definitely one of the funniest Scooby-Doo adventures yet. It’s good to know that Mystery Inc. doesn’t break up with Shaggy’s traumatic condition and that his friends are always there for him.

May 142013
 

I have come up with something special for my 600th post. Batman has faced many colorful villains in Gotham City over the years, but one of his first archenemies, who is also one of the most dangerous is the Joker, also known as the clown prince of crime. As Batman has an evolution, so has the Joker. I’ll admit that the Joker has gone through quite a few changes in the comics over the years, but what I remember best are his appearances on various Batman movies and TV shows.

1966: In the original Batman TV series, Cesar Romero played the role. The Joker uses practical joke devices to pull off his crimes, some of which are highly sophisticated contraptions. Other times he leaves riddles as clues, but not like the Riddler does. Joker uses a more joke-like method.

1968: As much as I enjoy the first Batman animated series, The Adventures of Batman, the storylines and characters are pretty mediocre. The Joker is no exception here.

1972: When Batman and Robin made appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, they always go up against the Joker, accompanied by the Penguin. They like to use spooky tactics on the heroes, but are extremely mild in comparison.

1977: The Joker returns to his old tricks in The New Adventures of Batman. The biggest differences are that he likes to leave joke riddles more frequently and has a pet hyena named Giggles. He can also do voice impressions that are highly convincing. Now that’s a rarity.

1989: Next came Tim Burton’s movie version of Batman, which features Jack Nicholson as the Joker. At this point, Joker’s background is finally revealed. He was once a gangster named Jack Napier, who worked for Underworld mob boss Carl Grissom. During a battle with Batman, Napier fell into a vat of acid, which bleached his skin and paralyzed his face. After some cosmetic surgery, Napier kills Grissom and becomes the clown prince of crime. Come to think of it, this is also the first time Joker actually kills anyone.

1992: Mark Hamill voices the Joker on Batman the Animated Series. He is now funnier than ever before and as an added bonus, it’s the first series to feature Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn, who is just as big of a favorite.

2000: When Batman Beyond came along, the colorful archenemies were all new ones, but stay true to some of the original classics, particularly the Joker. One of Gotham City’s biggest street gangs is called the Jokerz, who all dress like Joker minions. However, in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the clown prince of crime himself returns with more of an edge than he ever had before and Mark Hamill reprises the role. How exciting is that?

2002: The Joker (Roger Stoneburner and voice of Mark Hamill) was only featured briefly during the pilot episode of Birds of Prey, but he did leave quite an impact. After losing a major battle against Batman, he took revenge by killing Catwoman and shooting Batgirl, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. And it was all because Batman refused to kill his biggest enemy.

2004: The Joker is back in yet another Batman series called The Batman. This is a more wild and crazy take on the classic super villain. His fighting skills are smooth and his comedic persona leans on the psychotic level more than ever before. When he pulls a crime, he goes all the way.

2008: Then there was the highly popular version of the Joker in The Dark Knight, played by Heath Ledger who brings the character to a whole new level. This Joker is highly psychotic. His background isn’t revealed, only that he wears the white makeup to scare people along with a smile that’s cut on his face. It looks all swollen and creepy with several stories behind it. Whichever story is actually true is anyone’s guess.

2009: It seems like the Joker has gone back to his old roots as a reoccurring villain on Batman the Brave and the Bold when he wasn’t so brutally psychotic. However, Joker still remains to be an unpredictable criminal, considering how many theories there were about his back-story.

2010: Then came the Joker on Batman: Under the Red Hood. He’s comedic, but merciless. Even in the face of danger, Joker can’t help but make funny remarks and not show any fear.

2012: Last, but not least, the most recent version of the Joker was on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He is a lot different from other Batman films because he’s more brutal than ever with the way he kills innocent people so smoothly. Joker still uses comedic remarks, but they’re not as creatively funny as they used to be.

Although the Joker is basically on the same level as Batman’s other archenemies like Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, etc., he will always be Batman’s first biggest foe to bring comic relief to the franchise in his own twisted way.