Avatar: The Legend of Korra Season One


Avatar: The Legend of Korra is a 2012 American animated series that is a direct sequel to the series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Legend of Korra is set 70 years after the last series and the world is very different.  Medevil technology has been replaced by an industrial revolution filled with cars, streetlamps and even mass media.  The world even has a new avatar: Korra, a young woman from the water bending tribe.

In this episode we dicuss the first 13 episodes of Legend of Korra which constitutes the shows first season.  It felt like it was the show’s entire run, but it has since been confirmed that it will have another season.

You get the most out of this show if you’ve seen Avatar: The Last Airbender but it’s not required. The show can definitly stand on its own merits.  Korra, the show’s protagonist, is an awesome female character.  Heck, even her character design is awesome.  How often do you get a female character with drawn arm muscles without them being some kind of parody?  Korra looks like someone who has been trained since she was small to fight.  Her personality is great and a fun contrast to Aang’s passifism.

The creators excelled at world building in the last series and they reach new heights in this one. This is a world that is so well realized it feels like it would really work.  The effects of the industrial revolution are well integrated within the existing world.  For instance, the world now has electricity, but their power stations are fend with lightning bending.  Amusingly, lightning bending is not the stuff of legends it was in the previous series.  They must now teach it in schools.  Similiarly, Toph has went forth and taught the secret of metal bending which is now used by the police.

Some of the side characters characterization suffers from the low episode count of the first season.  Mako and Bolen, Korra’s best friends, rely a bit too much on a few key personality quirks.  Furthermore, the last two episodes of the series feel REALLY rushed.  But overall, the series was fantastic and everyone should try it out especially fans of the previous series.

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My Little Pony: Friendship is *&%^&$* Magic!

Today we’re going to talk about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic instead of Scott Pilgrim because Charlie did not show up to podcast with us.  So instead we’re going to inflict ponies upon you.  This episode is chocked so full of magical talking ponies, love, friendship, and happiness that it’s like a giant candy coated plague that makes you smile so hard your face stays that way forever and little children point and laugh at you as you walk down the street and you never ever get a date again and live in lonely abject misery where even that weird guy down the street who is obsessed with paper cups won’t talk to you and when you gaze into the mirror at the horror your visage has now become you say to yourself “DAMN YOU FANTASY MOVIE PODCAST! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”

That’s what this episode is about.  Enjoy.


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Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

Beauty and the Beast PosterBeauty and the Beast is a 1991 Disney animated film that is part of the Disney Renaissance.  It is an adaption of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast.  This version is quite different from the original, but still keeps the essential themes of looking beyond the surface and not judging a book by its cover.

Melanie likes the film and Kasey doesn’t.  On one hand, it’s a very beautifully animated film that’s rich in detail.  The themes it portrays are universal and it has a good message for children to learn.   On the other hand… Belle is such a Mary Sue.  A completely and totally Mary freakin Sue.  And the couple fall deeply in love in like a week.  Sure that’s improvement upon love at first sight but…

What do you think of Beauty and the Beast? Was Kasey’s hate for Belle justified?  Do you think it portrays positive values or does it just reinforce negative gender stereotypes? Does Gaston’s friend Lafou really have a gay crush on him?   Let us know what you think!

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The Hobbit (1977)

Hobbit DVD CoverThis time around we review the 1977 animated film The Hobbit.  The Hobbit was adapted from a 1937 Tolkien book of the same name by Rankin-Bass.  Rankin-Bass were the same production/creative team that also created The Last Unicorn, and all of the stop motion holiday classics that ABC Family shoves down Americans throats every winter.

This production was a made for TV movie for children and it shows in the final product.  The animation is stilted and the movie does its best to avoid showing violence while still oddly implying it.  The budget restraints of a made for TV movie are pretty apparent.  The animation is stilted and a large scale war between multiple armies is depicted like a giant dust cloud.  However, there was obvious love for the source material in the production.  The art design is quite nice.  Top Craft, the Japanese studio the animation was filmed at, created some really beautiful hand painted backgrounds.  They production company also respected the source material and didn’t try to add to or dramatically change the story.  Despite it’s short comings, they did the best they could with a TV movie’s budget and time.

Should you see this?  If you’ve read The Hobbit before by all means go for it.  It makes a fun diversion while waiting for the Peter Jackson version.  If you haven’t read the books give it a pass and wait for the live action movies.

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Tangled

Tangled Movie PosterTangled is Disney’s take on Rapunzel. Its a cute and fun movie that’s filled with dangerous lies. Liesssss.

This is the second time we attempted to record this. The first time was a beautiful and magical podcast of wonder but you’ll never be able to hear that because we lost Melanie’s side of the recording. Then my computer crashed so I rebuilt a new one. Soo… yeah. Fun times. Enjoy the filthy Disney liessss.

No seriously, we liked this film.

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Coraline

Coraline Movie PosterThis week we’re discussing the 2009 stop motion movie Coraline.  The movie was directed by Henry Selick, the same amazing man that brought us The Nightmare Before Christmas. The original novel the movie is based on is by Neil Gaiman who is also awesome.  So it stands to reason that this episode is chocked full of awesome.

Plot Synopsis:  Coraline is a brave and inquisitive 11 year old that has moved from Michigan with her family to a run down apartment complex in the middle of nowhere.  While exploring her new home she comes across a door that takes her to a magical land where everything is better.  The house is better, the food is better, even her parents are better.  She has everything she’s ever wished for.  But this fantasy world isn’t as wonderful as it first seems…  And why does her other mother have buttons for eyes.

Is this the newest movie we’ve ever done? Maybe? Anyways, Coraline is a great movie.  It can be a little creepy though, so if you have kids you might want to watch it before hand.  Its got an old school eighties kid movie mentality that’s quite a bit scarier than kids movies of the past twenties years.  I think this episode turned out alright.  We used an outline.  Go us.

What did you think of the movie o’listeners/readers?


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The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before ChristmasI did it! Somehow, barely, I got the Nightmare Before Christmas episode out before Christmas.   It’s a holiday miracle!

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop motion animated feature directed by Henry Selick with music by Danny Elfman.   Tim Burton wrote the original three page narrative poem the story is based on, and also created the character designs for the main characters.

The story is pretty simple and straight-forward.   Jack is the Pumpkin King and the leader of Halloween town.   Halloween town is a mystical realm that’s dedicated to running Halloween across the mortal world.   One day after Halloween, Jack starts to get emo and decides he needs a change.   He accidently wanders into Christmas town and decides that he’d like to try  Christmas out instead.   Problem is, he and the rest of the people of Halloween town can’t quite mentally grasp a holiday that’s about good will and cheer…   Also he has to kidnap Santa Claus.   For his own good.

Melanie’s side of the audio sounds pretty horrible.   Her new laptop defaulted back to the built in microphone instead   of the good standalone one we usually use.    We had no idea the  quality had been borked until I started to edit it and then it was either put out borked  sound or miss the Christmas deadline.   Hopefully it’s still entertaining.

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Corpse Bride

Corpse BrideThis episode was way easy to edit.   I think Melanie and I leveled up our talking skills.

The Corpse Bride is a 2005 film directed by Tim Burton and Mike Johnson.   The film is set in Victorian era England where the son of a rich fish monger, Victor, is to be engaged to the daughter of an ‘old money’ couple named Victoria.   The match is a business arrangement.   Love isn’t even a factor.   However, when the two young people  meet they hit it off right away.   Unfortunately, Victor is so nervous he screws up the wedding reception and after a stroke of bad luck, accidentally marries a dead  woman named Emily.

This is a great stop motion film that’s surprisingly touching and romantic despite its horror appearance.   The Corpse Bride seems like she’d be a horror from the underworld who rises from the dead to exact revenge upon the living, but she’s actually a sweet tragic heroine who you really feel for even if she’s scary looking.

We tried to do a little more research for this review than normal, and hopefully it shows.

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The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn DVD CoverEpisode  18 is here and it’s infused with UNICORN POWER! We’re reviewing the 1982 animated classic The Last Unicorn. This film was produced by Rankin/Bass for and animated by Topcraft who would later become Studio Ghibli.   The film is beautiful to look at and really shows its pedigree, especially in the hand painted backgrounds.   There are some really beautiful pastoral scenes in this film.

The Last Unicorn is the story  of a unicorn who one day finds out that she may be the last unicorn in the world.   She goes on a quest to discover if this is true and if it is, to free the rest of the unicorns.   It’s a fairly simple setup but the characters are very well developed and bring a depth to this animated film that isn’t often seen in english produced productions.

Thanks  for requesting this  episode  Doe and Monica!

Links:
Buy a Signed Copy of The Last Unicorn novel by Peter S. Beagle!
History of Topcraft/Studio Ghibli
 

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The Secret of NIMH

Secret of NIMHMelanie made me watch a furry movie.

The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 movie directed by Don Bluth.   The premise is that a widowed mother must find a way to stop the plow from destroying her house in order to save her very ill son.   There are also several rodents with psychic powers.   It was the 80s, go figure.

We tried recording in the same room poor people style (with one microphone). It sounds like we’re recording from within the core of the earth. Oh well, we won’t try that again. I tried to enhance this episode in the post-editing process by inserting smartass comments throughout.   I’m not sure how that turned out.   Any comments pertaining to my success or epic fail  would be greatly appreciated.

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