Tangled the Series review

I recently finished watching the (currently) 21 episodes of Tangled the Series, having started watching it when it first aired in March of last year. Overall, while I can’t say all the episodes were brilliant, I enjoyed the majority of them, especially the latter part.

Art by mbrleigh

The series premiered with the short television film, Tangled Ever After, which I thought was very good and definitely got me hyped for the episodes to come. Like Tangled itself, Ever After had a good balance of humor and drama, touching moments between Rapunzel and Eugene, catchy new songs by Alan Menken, and revealed the interesting new plot of the mystical black rocks and their connection to Rapunzel’s hair growing long again. It also introduced a new main character alongside Eugene and Rapunzel, Cassandra, who turns out to be a fun and cool character who complements the two of them well.

The first 10 episodes of the series itself were alright and kept my interest enough to keep watching, but they didn’t have that thematic feeling of being a part of something larger and impacting the way Tangled Ever After did – besides the first episode, the mystical rocks and Rapunzel’s hair were hardly brought up again, which puzzled me a bit and made me think the series was just gonna turn into a typical kids show with episodic stories with fairly cliche plots that teach typical lessons. That’s not to say they were bad – I did enjoy most of them (my favorite of the first batch of episodes was definitely “Rapunzel’s Enemy” – unexpected chain of events leading to a great message at the end!) but they won’t win anyone over who doesn’t already like Tangled and its world/characters.

However, episode 11, “Pascal’s Story,” was when the series just started getting better and better. That was such a sweet, heartwarming episode that had the kind of character development and twinge of drama I was hoping to see more of. The next few episodes that followed were good as well, but episode 16, “Queen for a Day,” which was another mini-movie length episode like Ever After was (44 minutes long instead of 22) was when the series hit a higher level of quality that really impressed me. We finally returned to the overarching plot of the mystical rocks, along with more excellent songs, and a wealth of character development for Rapunzel as she struggles with making a very realistic moral decision that I didn’t see coming. Even minor characters like the king and queen had some good scenes, and what the writers did with Varian’s character was fantastic – instead of keeping him as a forgettable side character, they turned him into a real antagonist – a character we disagree with yet we sympathize with and understand his motives, which is again something I didn’t expect.

And from there until the final (for now) episode, “Secret of the Sun Drop” (another 44 minute one) the series really shines! From brilliant song numbers like “Set Yourself Free” and “Ready as I’ll Ever Be,” to heart-wrenching moments like Rapunzel watching in tears as her childhood home crumbles to the ground, to Varian’s sheer desperation as he tries to get the sun drop flower to free his father, to the final intense showdown of Rapunzel’s hair vs Varian’s robot – I was on the edge of my seat from pretty much episode 16 to 21. The only issue I had with these latter episodes was that I couldn’t understand why, after the events of “Queen for a Day,” Rapunzel didn’t go check on Varian after everything with the blizzard was over. She kept saying how bad she felt about turning him away yet it’s never explained why she couldn’t help him afterwards. There were a couple minor hints, like Nigel saying he’s now considered “dangerous,” indicating that maybe she’s wasn’t allowed to go to Old Corona to see him, and Rapunzel mentioned that she had “tried to find him” even though we never see when she did that. So yeah, not a strong enough plot hole to ruin the otherwise great writing of these latter episodes, but still something that should have been addressed.

There will be more episodes in the future as “Secret of the Sun Drop” ended with the definite cliffhanger of Rapunzel going on a journey to follow the mystical rocks, as well as the mysterious new character we catch a glimpse of in the end. I also really like the fact that it ended with Rapunzel NOT mending her relationship with Varian and instead we last see him getting locked up and seething with more anger and vengeance than before – it’s good that whatever impressionable children watching the show learn to understand that things don’t always end with forgiveness and happiness for all. As I said, what the writer’s chose to do with Varian was something I didn’t expect and really enhanced the show’s substance – again, a character like him is a great way to show children that someone can be pushed to do bad things but not because they’re inherently bad.

All in all, I think you have to have really liked Tangled to enjoy the series, and for some it still may not be worth it to get through the okay-but-not-as-good early episodes. But for someone like me who likes Tangled very much, but not enough to consider it one of my favorite movies or anything, I found the series worthwhile and think the brilliance of the latter episodes was worth watching through the first half.

Revisiting Until Dawn

You can always tell how much a show, movie, game, book, etc., truly resonates with you if you get really into it at first, and then, some years later, you return to it and find that you still enjoy it as much, or even more so, than you did before. Until Dawn is one such game for me.

Until Dawn is a horror/survival adventure game I got really into when it came out in mid-2015. It’s very unique in that it’s more of an interactive movie than a game – the only actual gameplay elements are quick-time events that involve pressing the right button quickly on the controller, and maneuvering the characters through the maps to collect items. The game revolves around the concept of the “butterfly effect,” where choices you make no matter how insignificant or unrelated, can lead to consequences later on. As the fan wiki explains: “…any choice of action by the player may cause unforeseen consequences later on. For example, locating a weapon in an earlier chapter may allow the player to pick it up down the line when a chase scene leads back to the same room. Throughout the game, players will make difficult decisions during ethical or moral dilemmas, such as sacrificing one character to save another. The Butterfly Effect system blurs the line between right and wrong decisions and it is possible for players to keep all eight characters alive as well as having all eight of them die, allowing for many different paths and scenarios as well as offering several different endings for each character.”

The bulk of the game involves making decisions that ultimately determine the relationships and fates of the characters. There’s tons of these choices to be made, each one leading to something different, which equals numerous possible ways the story can progress and end. I have an affinity for games that revolve around “out of the box” premises like this, whether it’s having a creative art style (Cuphead, Okami), completely subverting a genre (Doki Doki Literature Club, Yandere Simulator), packing a complex story into simple packaging (the Five Nights at Freddy’s series), or, like Until Dawn, creating a unique blend of “choose your own ending” books with the immersive, cinematic feel of watching a horror movie. It also has another, much less obvious but very poignant subplot, as The Game Theorists pointed out, about the tragedy of mental illness and the often inept system that treats it.

Art by hansideburns

It also helps to know that the creators put tons of effort into making a game, and again, Until Dawn is no exception to this. “Making of” videos are available with the game (and online) that show the work put into designing its setting and many detailed locations, recording its musical score, researching the indigenous legend of the Wendigo that’s a major part of the plot, the technology utilized to create the life-like models of the characters, and how the creators even monitored the heart rate of people they invited to play test the game and would revise certain scenes if they weren’t scary enough. Its definitely a labor of love! I guess my only complaint about the game, one that I know others share, is that the eight main characters, as a whole, aren’t exactly the most likable bunch. A few of them are appealing, but most of them remind me of the bitchy, jerky teenagers I would avoid like the plague in high school. I think the creators did this to make them fit the stereotypes of your typical horror/slasher B-movies (and maybe so you wouldn’t feel so bad if you got them killed!) However, as you progress through the game, your choices can bring out the better or worse sides of the characters’ personalities, which is a cool experience. But I still would have liked to have felt stronger friendship bonds between them in such a life-or-death story. But even for the ones who weren’t likable, I at least found them somewhat interesting, and strangely, by the end of the 7-9 hour long game, it’s hard to not get attached to all of them in some way when you’ve spent so much time making choices that determine their fate!

I don’t think Until Dawn will be getting a sequel but I think it’s a perfect candidate for a live-action movie – it’s practically a movie already after all! I’ve watched a lot of play through videos of the game and I believe I’ve seen almost every possible “butterfly effect” outcome, but I’ve only played the game a little bit myself (since I don’t own a PS4). Well, maybe one day I’ll get around to buying a PS4 and can actually play it through myself…even though I suck at quick-time events and get terribly lost in big level maps XD

2017 anime I completed

I meant to write this post at the beginning of the year but I got distracted by other things I wanted to write about XD Anyway, here’s my brief thoughts about the anime that aired in 2017 that I finished watching:

Youjo Senki (a.k.a Saga of Tanya the Evil)

A cool series – not your average action/military show due to the protagonist also being the antagonist. In that sense, it reminded me of Death Note and Code Geass (which is fine since I like both those shows!) It had a strong start but got a bit less engrossing for me as the episodes went on. Still a good show nonetheless.

Kobayashi-san no Maid Dragon

I loved this series! It was just so adorable – the characters are likable, there’s so many genuinely funny and heartwarming moments, and despite seeming like a slice-of-life show, it managed to throw in some good world-building as far as the origin of the dragons; it provided enough background and moments of dramatic tension to flesh out the characters without making it too complex, which always kept the show feeling like slice-of-life despite the fantasy elements. And of course, the animation is gorgeous thanks to Kyoto Animation. I would definitely look forward to more Maid Dragon if it ever happens!

Boku no Hero Academia season 2

I actually watched the first season of Boku no Hero Academia last year as well, despite it airing in 2016. I decided to watch it due to hearing a lot of good things about it, and I really enjoyed the first season so I rolled right into season 2 since it was airing at the time. But yeah, this is a great addition to the shonen anime genre – compelling characters, a creative premise, suspenseful battles, heartfelt messages about righteousness and willpower…it’s got something that anyone can enjoy, especially due to its large cast of characters who are all introduced fairly early in the series. And honestly, as the series went on I grew to like almost all of them…I say “almost” because, well, sorry Bakugo fans, but I can’t stand that guy! I just don’t see the appeal of a character who’s advocated as a protagonist yet is so devoid of any compassion for others and who’s only character traits are unprovoked anger and violence, especially when he doesn’t seem to have any kind of trauma-inducing backstory that could make his actions more forgiving. He’s like, the opposite of everything it means to be a hero and, ultimately, a good role model for society. I don’t like Mineta either but he doesn’t get as much attention as Bakugo. But besides these two, all the many other characters are awesome and I look forward to seeing more of them in future episodes! If you like shonen anime such as Naruto and One Piece, I can’t imagine you not liking this one XD And even if you’re not a shonen fan, it’s still an overall great series that can appeal to many tastes.

Attack on Titan season 2

Unlike Boku no Hero Academia, I did watch the first season of Attack on Titan when it aired in 2013. I wrote a review about it on my old anime blog here and my overall thoughts haven’t changed much in season 2. I was still engrossed by every minute of its unrelenting drama, gut-wrenching tragic moments, fantastic characters, exceptionally choreographed battle scenes, and the fascinatingly hideous designs of the titans. There’s a reason why it’s become one of the most popular series in recent years and I’m glad its still continuing to deliver! Can’t wait for season 3!

Kemono Friends

Another one I decided to watch because I was hearing it talked about a lot on various anime news outlets, stating that it’s become a huge hit in Japan. I watched it and thought it was cute…but I still don’t get what the huge hype was about. All the episodes up until the last two were just mundane, episodic stories about friendship, teamwork, overcoming your flaws, etc., all presented in a very G-rated way…again, they’re cute and nice, but nothing about them stood out to me and made me think “ah, that’s why people like this show so much.” Was its original target audience children, especially girls, and it just happened to get popular with adults, a la My Little Pony style? Because there’s really nothing objectionable or “adult” about its content. The main thing that kept me interested was the mysterious origins of the setting and characters. There were so many questions I had that I was hoping would be answered in the end: Did all animals in this park actually turn into “Friends”? Every Friend that we see in the show is female so what happened with the male animals? How do they breed if they’re all female? How do they survive if they don’t eat each other? How do they upkeep their society without getting any resources from outside the park? Where exactly did Kaban come from and where the heck are the other humans, if any? And what are the Ceruleans and why do they do what they do? But unfortunately by the end of the series practically none of my questions were answered. So I can only hope there’s a season 2 that will expand on the story. But despite most of the episodes being underwhelming and almost boring to me at times, and being disappointed that my questions weren’t addressed in the end, I did like Serval and Kaban – the friendship that formed between them and the sacrifices they made for each other in the last two episodes was very touching and almost made up for the lack of excitement in the other episodes XD If there is a season 2, I hope it has more of a balance of “cute” and “dramatic” episodes, and of course, explains more about the characters’ origins.

Nostalgia Feels 03: Lost Kingdoms II

Today I want to talk about one of my most favorite video games ever, Lost Kingdoms II (as well as its prequel, Lost Kingdoms). What’s always been notable to me about these games is that you play as a (badass) female protagonist – a princess (later queen) in the first one and a bandit with a mysterious past in the second. Video games starring women, especially from the early 2000s when these games were released, was pretty unusual.

Lost Kingdoms

The games are fantasy adventure/action RPGs where you use cards to summon magical creatures to combat enemies and maneuver through various levels. But the reason I like Lost Kingdoms II so much more is because there’s no distinction between the overworld and battle-mode, which was the case with the original Lost Kingdoms. In Lost Kingdoms II, battles occur seamlessly as you move freely within the overworld, which completely changes the dynamics of the gameplay and makes the game so much more engrossing.

The monsters you summon will continuous follow you throughout the map in Lost Kingdoms II (while in the original they disappear when the battle mode ends)

Above is a picture from the Lost Kingdoms II strategy guide (I still have it!) that has an index of the 226 different cards.

And just to prove how much I love this game, here’s a picture of my current save file, 88+ hours of gameplay…but this is my second save file: my old one reached the max of 99:99, but I still continued to play it a lot after it stopped counting the hours XD I eventually restarted so I could get the “good ending” to the game and collect all the cards (because I made a wrong choice in my old save and couldn’t get one of the cards).

So yeah, I highly recommend Lost Kingdoms II (not necessary to play the original first, unless you want to). I’m not sure why it never became a big hit. It originated in Japan under the name Rune and Rune II – maybe playing as a female protagonist just wasn’t as appealing to mainstream gamers at the time? Or maybe the fantasy world is too generic? I don’t know, I think it’s tons of fun! I’ll have to hang onto my Wii and/or GameCube so I can keep playing it forever~ And to end my gushing, I’ll leave the intro animation to both games below. It doesn’t reveal much about them…but it is pretty :3

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon: parallel worlds in the Pokemon universe

Now that Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon have been out for a few months, I’ve been thinking about how the games fit into the Pokemon game canon. Their position among the main series games is unlike other generations. First off, they’re definitely not sequels in the way Black 2 and White 2 were to Black and White, or the way the Gen2 games are to Gen1. As mentioned in my previous post about the games, the majority of the plot and in-game events is identical to Sun/Moon, so not a sequel for sure. The connection they have with their predecessor games is more like the “extra version” games we’ve gotten in past Pokemon generations, like what Yellow is to Red and Blue, and Crystal is to Gold and Silver: they’re basically the same game with a few differences and expansions on certain story elements. But even so, I felt that the handful of differences in Ultra Sun/Moon compared to Sun/Moon were more extreme than Crystal was to Gold/Silver and Platinum was to Diamond/Pearl, to the point where things in the two games contradict each other, most notably Lusamine’s story arc. But what makes the status of these games in the canon even more interesting is the post-game mission involving Team Rainbow Rocket, “Episode RR” as it’s called in the games.

But before I get to that, I think it would be helpful to first lay out the chronological order of the main series Pokemon games. Bulbapedia has already done this in great detail in their post “History of the Pokemon World.” Since that page is long and all the details aren’t necessary for what I’m trying to bring out in my post here, I put together a simple list below of all the games in their chronological order (based on the events in the games themselves). Games in the same number on the list take place at roughly the same time:

1) Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, LeafGreen and Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire

2) Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, SoulSilver and Diamond, Pearl, Platinum

3) Black, White

4) Black 2, White 2 and X, Y

5) Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon

Again, if you want the full version of the timeline that starts millions of years in the past when Arceus created the world and every detail that goes on in between each generation of games, I highly recommend reading Bulbapedia’s post (and just to clarify, the Pokemon anime timeline is separate from the games so don’t let that confuse you!) But back to what I was saying about the Team Rainbow Rocket mission. During the mission, the player encounters the leaders of all the villainous organizations from past Pokemon games, claiming that they were pulled into this world from their world…meaning that Maxie, Archie, Cyrus, and the others must have come from a world that’s not the world of Ultra Sun/Moon. This is further reinforced by the fact that, in their world, they claim to have succeeded in their evil schemes when clearly that’s not the case at the end of every Pokemon game where the protagonist succeeds in thwarting them. So does this mean that Ultra Sun/Moon is bringing in the concept of parallel worlds in the Pokemon timeline? Is it now canon that there exists many different possible worlds (or dimensions, or universes, or whatever you want to call them) where events turned out differently, i.e, in the X/Y we know, Lysandre is defeated but the Lysandre we see in Ultra Sun/Moon is from a universe parallel to that, one where he succeeded in using the ultimate weapon? The games further hammer this concept down by introducing the Ultra Recon Squad, who plainly state they’re from another world entirely! Yet rather than seem like aliens, they indeed feel more like people from a different, parallel world.

But in a way, the Pokemon games have already had the concept of parallel worlds coexisting. What I mean is that, for example, even though Red, Blue, and Yellow are different games, their story events as far as a canonical timeline are the same. So the timeline isn’t Red, Blue, and Yellow occurring one after the other or at the same time – it’s one of the three existing in a given timeline. From an official perspective, different versions of the same game exist in the Pokemon franchise to flesh out the trading and other game mechanics, but from a story perspective, versions of the same game like Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver should be counted as a single group of events in the timeline…and different variations of the same events from parallel worlds! In one variation, Mankey can be found in the wild (Gold exclusive) but in another parallel world, Vulpix is found instead (Silver exclusive). In one variation of Hoenn history, Maxie succeeds in reviving Groudon, while in another, Archie does the same for Kyogre. If we view the different game versions this way – as different outcomes of the same events from parallel worlds, then the Team Rainbow Rocket mission in Ultra Sun/Moon makes more sense. It’s an explicit example of parallel worlds that have always been a thing in the Pokemon franchise. It would place Ultra Sun/Moon as a parallel world version of Sun/Moon – in the Sun/Moon world, Lusamine gets way too obsessed with Ultra Beasts and the Ultra Recon Squad never visit Alola, while in the parallel world that is Ultra Sun/Moon, Lusamine doesn’t get too consumed by her Ultra Beast obsession and the Ultra Recon Squad does visit Alola. And of course, we can go further with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being parallel worlds to each other, i.e, in Ultra Sun, Blacephalon is the Ultra Beast first encountered and not Stakataka in Ultra Moon.

With Ultra Sun/Moon more or less confirming the idea of parallel worlds in the Pokemon universe, I’m very excited to see how they’ll expand (or not) on this concept in future games. Ultra Sun/Moon are supposedly the last main series Pokemon games for the 3DS family so I have a feeling there’ll be a big overhaul to the franchise when it moves to the next generation on a new console. Whatever turn it takes, I’ll be there to see it through and continue my 20+ relationship with the Pokemon world!

SoCal Retro Gaming Expo 2018

Below are links to photos I took at the SoCal Retro Gaming Expo yesterday, a small convention highlighting video games of the 80s to early 2000s. It had tons of vendors selling retro games and consoles, as well as other related collectibles like fan art and old school toys. And probably what was most unique about it was that it had about 20 some (pre-paid) arcade machines where attendees could play all their favorite retro games, including Tetris, Mario Bros., Space Invaders, Dragon’s Lair, Pac Man, and many more.

It was held at the Frank & Son Collectible Trade Show, which has its own vendors selling all kinds of collectibles such as trading cards, Disney pins, anime goods, comic books, toys, figures, and much more. Definitely my kind of place!

Photos Set #1
Photo Set #2
Photo Set #3

I bought a few goodies at the event, but my most prized buy was this amazing Pokemon artwork (a 24 by 36 inch version that I quickly got a frame for :3) – it’s literally the most exceptional Pokemon fan art I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot!) The artist, Christopher Cayco, put in hours upon hours of work to make sure and include all 800+ species of pokemon, including different forms and even unreleased pokemon! I highly recommend watching his live drawing video of the project here.

Revisiting Five Nights at Freddy’s lore

I’ve always been fascinated by the lore of the Five Night’s at Freddy’s games since the first game came out in mid-2014 – so much in fact that I even wrote a 16K+ word post of how I interpreted the full timeline of events from the (then three) games. I was planning to revise the post when more games came out but never got around to it. But while randomly browsing the FNAF wiki the other day, I discovered that the creator, Scott Cawthon, actually wrote two novels that shed even more light on the FNAF universe (plus a couple other books). Why did I not know about these books until now!? Well, better late than never, so I bought them!

The two novels, The Silver Eyes and The Twisted Ones, explain more about the events and mystery that the games entail – can’t wait to get through them! The Freddy Files goes into depth about each of the games and all the secrets, and the Security Logbook is just that, with a twisted sense of humor…below are a few pictures from the book to illustrate XD I love that the book uses original artwork that’s actually kind of cute considering the subject matter of the games! And I also love how blood stains are put on the pages for contrast.

And below are a couple of pages from The Freddy Files book, also with some original artwork but mostly screenshots from the games. Still very nicely designed.

Looking forward to reading all of these books and, if I feel inspired, I may revise the timeline I wrote. It seems like the 6th game that recently came out was the last, but who knows. And isn’t a live-action movie in the works? Whatever’s happening, I have a feeling there’s more FNAF material to come!

Preparing for Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card-hen

Cardcaptor Sakura has been one of my most favorite anime for over 15 years and I’m super excited about the new Clear Card-hen anime that’s starting today! I watched the prologue episode and am already so happy just hearing all the original seiyuu again =D To get me even more hyped, I felt like taking a look at the Cardcaptor Sakura goods I’ve collected over the years.

There used to be a little anime shop in my neighborhood where I bought many anime products, including the above poster that’s still on my wall today! It’s actually a page from the Japanese Cardcaptor Sakura calendar for the year 2000 (yeah, it’s that old) but the store was selling the pages separately as posters.

This is the one CCS artbook I have. There are two other books in the Cheerio! series but I only ever knew of this one.

A sample of the pretty anime art inside the book.

When the (godawful) English dub of CCS was airing in the US, they actually had a US release of the Clow Book complete with all the Clow Cards inside. I still keep my copy in the closet :3

These are Japanese cards I bought featuring the first movie.

These are sticker cards I bought at random Japanese shops back in the day.

Cardcaptor Sakura was actually the very first anime I watched in Japanese, starting with subtitled VHS releases by Pioneer (who later became Geneon, then later went out of business =/) I eventually stopped buying VHS in favor of DVDs, and in Christmas of 2006 I came across an amazing holiday sale at an online anime store – all 70 episodes of CCS on 18 DVDs for only $75!

Included in (most) of the DVDs were these adorable postcards, which I saved of course.

 And here’s the Pioneer DVDs for the two movies. They both came with pencil boards, and the Movie 2 set also came with a nice little artbook.

And I have these two figures, which were both purchased within the last few years (since I didn’t know about anime figure buying when I was a kid XD)

I have the original manga volumes from Tokyo Pop as well but they’re stuffed up in the closet and I didn’t feel like taking them out XD But yeah, I never thought there’d be more Cardcaptor Sakura all these years later. Honestly, I thought the original anime+movies was perfect and nothing more needs to be added as far as story and characters (the manga is good too but I always liked the anime better because there’s more episodes and thus we see more of the story, i.e, how Sakura captures all the Clow Cards). But hey, if this new series elaborates on this already greatly developed show, I’m all for it! Can’t wait to watch the first episode later~

Disney Musing 03: The dogs from Up

Before people start brandishing pitchforks at me, I want to say that I think Up is a great movie and I enjoy watching it. BUT! With that said, I can still like something even if I find an aspect to criticize, and there is one thing about Up that’s always bothered me the handful of times I’ve seen it.

The setting of Up seems to be a version of our world from the mid-1900s, with some slight fictional liberties, like the fact that balloons can carry a house to such an extent. But for the most part it functions with the same logic as the real world, most importantly for the sake of what I’m going to bring out, animals in the world of Up are portrayed as typical Speech-Impaired Animals from most Disney movies and other cartoons (where humans are the stars and animals are their sidekicks). They can understand human speech fairly well, but are still basically like real-world animals. Of course, the only animals in Up are Muntz’s dogs and Kevin the bird, but I think that’s enough to make this conclusion.

We find out that Muntz created a special collar that allows him to not only communicate with his dogs via a video chat-like feature, but allows his dogs’ thoughts to be heard as human speech! When this part of the movie comes up, I can’t help but frustratingly think “What the hell is this asshat doing spending all his time on this island chasing a bird when he has literally created a gold mine of an invention – somehow with 1950s technology – that would make him a millionaire in a minute?” If he’s still upset that he was accused of fabricating the existence of the bird, I think all would be forgiven if he put this animal translator on the market!

Which leads to my next point…when it’s revealed that not only are Muntz’s dogs equipped with this amazing technology that even reality hasn’t been able to create, but apparently they can also cook (Muntz tells Carl and Russell that his dog Epsilon did this) and can freakin’ fly airplanes! I wouldn’t have a problem with this if it was established that dogs having such human-like capabilities was a common thing in Up’s universe, like, if there was a scene in Carl’s town where we see a dog cooking in a restaurant or driving a car or something. But based on the information we’re given about the setting, I think the assumption is that they’re supposed to be more or less like real-world dogs. So whenever that scene of the dogs flying the planes comes on I think “Aren’t dogs supposed to be pets in this world? But they’re capable of cooking and flying planes? I’m confused.” It would be like, while watching The Little Mermaid, suddenly Eric’s dog Max is seen cooking in the kitchen or driving the carriage. I’m willing to suspend my belief that balloons can be that resilient, but the fact that some old dude alone on an island somehow had the technology to create a dog-to-human communication device (plus an army of dog-sized planes!), and the fact that dogs can cook and fly planes when they’re portrayed the same as real-world dogs throughout most of the movie (maybe that’s the twist!), pushes my suspension of belief a bit too far.

While this slight shattering of world-building in Up does bother me, like I said at the beginning of this post, it’s definitely not enough for me to dislike the movie as a whole – its other good qualities make up for this. I think it’s more of a nitpick of mine than a glaring flaw.

Screencaps courtesy of DisneyScreencaps.com

Universal Studios and Disneyland photos

In case you missed it, here are links to the photos I took during my trips to Universal Studios and Disneyland this past week (posted on my Tumblr):

Universal Studios photos #1
Universal Studios photos #2
Universal Studios photos #3
Universal Studios photos #4
Universal Studios photos #5

Disneyland #1
Disneyland #2
Disneyland #3
Disneyland #4
Disneyland #5

You can also check my recent Twitter feed to see additional photos.