Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Felix the Cat

The oldest Felix the Cat cartoons were silly and gentle, suitable for any audience.  There were mildly amusing jokes, good animation, and some adequate music.  Felix himself was sweet and fun-loving.  I’d recommend these rare shorts to just about anyone, whether they liked old cartoons or not.  There was also a television show based on the character in the ’50s and ’60s.  But this time, Felix was more of a comic foil for his nemesis.  The plots were typical and unimaginative, made more so by the presence of a magic bag that held anything Felix needed to get out of any situation.  The animation was sparse and cheap, and the voice acting was the same.  The whole show didn’t really live up to the greatness of its namesake.


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Casper, the Friendly Ghost

The old Casper cartoons had a different tone from what people in the modern era have seen in the newer movies and specials.  The oldest ones were pretty tame, and the ghost himself was always crying, literally.  The later ones were a bit more plot-heavy and silly, focusing more on humor.  They’re all a bit slow for modern audiences, especially kids who are used to the crazier cartoons of today.  But they’re still cute and interesting to watch if you have an interest in the old stuff.  Don’t expect anything terribly compelling, but there’s always a happy ending of sorts, and the animation was pretty good for the time, even if the voice acting wasn’t.

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Case Closed

This anime series started a number of years ago and is still running, with a large number of movies and specials, some of which don’t seem to be entirely canon.  It’s a cute little mystery show that will appeal to anyone who likes that sort of thing.  Every episode is a new murder, kidnapping, theft, or espionage mystery, solved by the protagonist, who is de-aged by a mystery poison in the first episode.  Originally a teenager, he is now a young child again, struggling to continue his work without anyone knowing who he really is.  His reasons for not revealing his true identity are sympathetic but illogical, and ultimately the show would have worked just as well without this unnecessary alteration to the main character.  It could have been about a teen sleuth, or he could have been a kid from the start, and either way, it would have worked fine.  This is only a complaint because the show is still going with no end in sight, so the poor kid is unlikely to ever get re-aged, and his closest friends will never find out what really happened to him.  It’s a frustrating and unnecessary addition to the plot.  The rest of the cast are largely annoying at first, and the voice acting is terribly cheap, at least in the English dub.  Only the first 130 episodes were dubbed into English, unfortunately, so I haven’t seen much past that.  The main character’s best friend is the most empathetic and interesting character in the show, but the main appeal is the mystery-solving.  If you’re a mystery addict, you’ll get a kick out of this one, even if most of its plots are somewhat simplified for the sake of the assumed audience of children.  The overarching plot about looking for the mysterious men who poisoned the hero is just a sort of background piece, and the most annoying characters mostly take a backseat to the mysteries.  There isn’t a lot of heavy plotting or in-depth character studies.  This is a show you could watch in bits and pieces whenever you have 25 minutes to kill.  The clues and mystery-solving are compelling enough for what they are; just don’t expect brilliant character growth or great acting.  The animation is basic but pleasant to look at.  It has the feel of an old Saturday morning cartoon show.  One major plus is that female characters come in a variety of personalities, if not a variety of body types.  Also, characters are drawn in a way that seems to match their stated ages and roles, an unusual method for most anime.  This element of realism may be appealing if you don’t usually get into anime.  If you’re not a mystery fan, though, there isn’t much else to recommend this one, but if you are, it’s worth a look, even if it doesn’t hook you.

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Rudolph’s Shiny New Year

This old Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation special is supposed to come right after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, chronologically.  It doesn’t have quite the same tone, since Rudolph is now being treated as a competent hero instead of the outcast that he was in his original story.  There’s a moral about being kind to others who are different, but it comes off more like “it’s okay if people make fun of you because you’re serving as their entertainment.”  The music is fun and catchy, and the voice acting is pretty good.  The animation is as good as ever for this company.  It’s a cute, if somewhat awkward, story that visits other time periods and doesn’t really feel like a Christmas tale.

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12 Days of Christmas

This cute little cartoon purports to explain the origin of the Christmas song of the same title.  The humor is heavy in this one, with a disaffected princess, an oblivious king, an arrogant knight trying to woo the princess, and a clumsy squire who has to do all the heavy lifting.  These characters are as simple as the animation, but it all works.  The voice acting is good, especially when the castle servants start imitating various musical styles when singing the song.  The jokes tend to be somewhat basic, but they’re cleanly funny, and you might even care what happens to the main characters by the time you’re near the end.  They’re not terribly complex, but they’re sympathetic.  The whole thing is a short, fun romp through silliness and musicality, nothing special or deep, but definitely a Christmas bright spot.

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Horton Hears a Who

This old Seuss cartoon tells the tale of a poor elephant who can hear the tiniest of tiny creatures, the Whos, in their dust molecule universe.  It’s a strange story about not being believed and being persecuted for being crazy, even though you’re the only one who knows the truth.  Horton is eventually able to prove that the Whos exist, just before they’re about to be destroyed.  The odd moral to the story seems to be “Don’t be mean to people who believe something crazy; they might be right in the end.”  It’s a cute little cartoon with good animation, adequate voice acting, and the usual assortment of Seussian words and rhythm.  It’s strangeness will be most off-putting to adults, but it makes perfect sense within the childlike world of Seuss.

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Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas cartoon is hard to escape.  Even if you haven’t seen it in its entirety, you’ve seen clips of it on other shows and heard its iconic music being played in the mall.  It’s well-known for a reason.  It’s sweet, fun, and entertaining.  It tells the story of the grumpy Grinch and his efforts to ruin the Christmas of the Whos in Whoville.  The familiar Seussian vocabulary is used to great effect to tell the tale, and the narration makes it feel like having a children’s book read to you by a particularly good narrator.  The famous songs are fun and catchy and fit the story extremely well.  The show has a happy ending, of course, that sees the Grinch experiencing a literal change of heart.  The animation is well-done if a bit old-fashioned, but overall, everything combined will hold your kid’s attention, even if they’re used to more exciting fare.  Of course, they’ve probably already seen it.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Grinch.

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