Top 10 Favorite Board Games

BOARD GAMES – Top 10 Favorite Board Games

There’s more to board games than Monopoly, Risk, and Clue. I’ve played quite a few, and I’m going to talk to about my top ten favorite ones.

Now, I haven’t nearly played enough board games and this list is only from the games I have managed to play. But it’s very likely, unless you’re a bigger board game geek than I am, that this list might introduce you to games you’ve never heard of.

And there’s plenty, believe me.  I’m sure that if I played more, this list would look very different.  Still, I’ve played enough to make a top ten list, so here we go:

10. King of Tokyo

A Yatzy style dice game where Monsters fight over who controls Tokyo City.  For 2-5 players.

It’s quick and it’s fun.  My kids and I play it all the time.  It’s that simple.  But the cards in the game make it very replayable.

Plenty of verity here.  Great fun game.

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9. BattleLore (First Edition)

This one is out of print.  BattleLore (Second Edition) is out now.  So you can play the new and improved version.

This is a fun two player lite wargame.  You control an army with the option of using magic and different powers in order to be the one to get the required points to win the game.

The miniatures are great, the tiles and terrain are fun.  The combat is simple and you can only give orders to the your men if you have the correct cards to do so.

Very repayable.  Fun and fast.  Great game.

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8. Nexus Ops

If you like playing real time strategy game on the computer, like StarCraft, and Command and Conquer, this is the game for you.  It’s not  real time but the gameplay is  similar.

Mine your recourse to get better and better units, go out into the field to find more mines, which will get you more resources.

Fight your opponent while completing missions.  First person to 12 points wins.

Good times.  Plays from 2 – 4 players.

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7. PokemonTCG

A game where you play a specially constructed deck of Pokemon cards against your opponent’s specially constructed deck of Pokemon.

Simple rules, great art, fun game play.  Fun for any age group, as long as they can read.

I play this game with my 8 year old daughter and it’s a lot of fun.

The decks can be bought “pre-constructed,” no collecting required unless you really want to.

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6. Mice and Mystics

A cooperative game for 2-5 players.

Everyone at the table plays a mouse who go through a pre-written adventure or quest.  The players work together against the game.

Every area of the board has it’s own events and goals. Cards are turned, monsters move and attack in a prescripted ways.  It’s tricky and fun.

I play this with my kids. Even my 3 year old can play.  He rolls the dice for the bad guys.

Great game.`

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5. DC Comics Deck Building Game

Very simple deckbuilding game.  The point of the game is to be the one with the most points at the end of the game.  The end of the game  happens when the main deck is exhausted or when all the Archenemies are defeated.

You start off by picking a superhero who you play as.  He give you special powers unique to you.  The game play is all about buying card in the middle of the table to add to your deck so you can buy more cards.  Doing so makes you stronger and stronger which help you beat  Archenemies.

I love the theme, and the game play is fast and easy.  I can play this with my 8 year old. It’s fun.

Plays 2 – 4 players.

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4. Cosmic Encounter

This one is a classic from the 70s.  Everyone plays as an alien with a unique set of powers.

First person to control 5 planets not his own, wins the game.  Lots of negotiating and ally building in the game.  Lot’s of backstabbing and ganging up on the leader.

This game is made by the sheer interaction and banter around the table by the players.

Fun unexpected, and silly.

A touch complex for beginners but well worth getting used to.

Plays 3 – 5 players. Best with 4 or 5.

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3. Magic: the Gathering

The original collectable card game that stared it all, and it still holds up.  There’s a reason for this.  It’s FUN.

You play as a wizard using magic to fight other wizards.

Great art, great game play. No need to go crazy collecting decks. Just grab a preconstructed deck or two and you’re ready to go.

I love this game.

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2. Yu-Gi-Oh!

Everything I said about Magic: The Gathering I can say about Yu-Gi-Oh!

The reason it’s higher on my list is because I like the game play of this game more.  It’s a faster game.  You get into the battles much faster. Generally by the first turn you’re already in the fight.

This game is built to turn on a dime.  You might be winning only to have everything turn against you.  If you play right, you might be able to turn it around in your favor again.  It’s so fun.  Love it.

Click the image below to learn how to play the game:



1. DreamBlade

This game is out of print. I loved it, which is why I have all my figures and still play it.

It’s as if Magic: The Gathering , Chess, and Backgammon had a baby and Dreamblade came out.  It’s so fun.

I wrote a whole post about it years ago.  You can read it here:

Why I like Dreamblade

I’m still looking for a replacement for this game.  There’s some interesting contenders that have showed up over the last few years.  I’ll let you know more once I get my hands of them.

What Are Your Top Boardgames?

I told you mine, what are yours?

Have you played any of the games I mentioned above?  If you have, what do you think?

What unique board games have you played?

Did you even know there were other games besides Monopoly, Risk, and Clue?  Sound off on the comments below.

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Four Reasons “Young Justice” is the Best Superhero Animated Series

ANIMATION/SUPERHEROES – Four Reasons Young Justice is the Best Superhero Animated Series

Four Reasons Young Justice is the Best Superhero Animated Series (1)Hands down, Young Justice is the Best Superhero Animated Series.

There are other series superhero shows that come very close.  Justice League animated and Justice League Unlimited do so, but Young Justice takes what those two shows did so well and elevates it to another level.

If you haven’t seen it, you’re really missing out.

Here’s Why:

Fantastic Art

Young Justice is one of the best drawn animated series the U.S. has ever produced.  It’s only rival is The Legend of Korra .

The character designs are great and the action is fantastic.

The look of the show very much appeals to a much older audience.  It captures the superhero comic book feel very well.

I love just looking at the show. It makes the heroes look so darn cool. Very well done.

Great Characters

Four Reasons Young Justice is the Best Superhero Animated Series (3)Although this show doesn’t have nearly as many characters as a show like Justice League Unlimited, the characters that show up are really great.

From the very first episodes you get a taste of what these characters are like and how they work together.

This show is not about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Martian Manhunter, and the rest.  It’s about the young people in all these heroes’ lives.

Characters like:

Superboy, Robin, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Artemis, and a brand new original Aqualad is also introduced.

You might dismiss these characters as “lame” or “just sidekicks,” but the way they’re written makes each one very compelling. You’d think it would be odd to have Aqualad for example, but he’s one of the best characters in the series.  He’s a Water Wizard and does more than just breath underwater and control fish.

The fact that they’re young and are learning to take on more and more dangerous responsibility, makes them even more compelling.  In other words, these characters turn out to be VERY cool.

But the roster of characters doesn’t stop with them.  The team roster eventually increases as we enter into the second season.  Characters like Batgirl, Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, Blue Beetle, Zatana, and even Nightwing make an appearance.

I also like the relationships between the young team and the older Justice Leaguers.  Especially the very tense relationship between Superman and Superboy.  In this show Superboy is clone of Superman and Lex Luthor.  Something Superman is NOT comfortable with, at all.

He expresses this by not wanting to have anything to do with Superboy, who is in desperate need of a father figure like Superman. This really is some of the more dramatic elements of the show.

Which leads me to the other thing I love about this show.  The…

Unexpected Storylines

Four Reasons Young Justice is the Best Superhero Animated Series (2)As you can see from the unexpected reaction Superman has to Superboy, this show loves to throw Monkey Wrenches at your Superhero expectations. These storyline are the heart and soul of the show.  They keep you coming back for more.

Stuff the happens in the this show often leaves you in stunned silence.

The general rule of this show is, expect the unexpected. From the first episode, characters you think will join the team, don’t.  A character you think will lead the team doesn’t.  Characters you don’t expect to get together, do.

There’s characters that are working for bad guys in the team. There’s backstabbing, betrayals, five year skips in time that keep you scrambling to know what happened.

There are even stories where the entire Justice League is not even on Earth for months, leaving the young team in charge of the world.

I LOVE it.  The Stories are so fun.  You never see them coming.  There’s some truly gutsy storytelling in this show. They take elements that we’ve seen in shows like Justice League animated and Justice League Unlimited and take it to a whole other level.

All this leads to…

Fun Drama

Four Reasons Young Justice is the Best Superhero Animated Series (1)The combination of these great characters doing unexpected things through out the show leads to some really dramatic stuff.

I really can’t convey how awesome this stuff is.  It’s very hard, without spoiling it all.  Needless to say, this stuff gets emotionally epic really quick.

That characters are young.  They’re learning to be adults.  They’re reckless and eager to prove themselves.  This combined with all the twists and turns the show throws out is a recipe for very high drama.

It’s good and it’s fun.

The Best Animated Superhero TV Show

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The four things above individually would have made Young Justice a good show, but in unison, they make it the best animated superhero TV show.

It’s so worth watching.  It works as a stand alone show to watch.

It only ran two seasons unfortunately.  Mostly because the Young Justice toys weren’t selling. NOT because of anything wrong with the show.  If there was one flaw the show had, it was that is wasn’t kid friendly enough.

This should tell you right away how much more mature the stories where.

The best part for anyone who has Netflix, is that it was just released on streaming, so you can watch it all whenever you like. I recommend sooner than later.

If you’ve seen this show, sound off on the comments below.

If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe.

8 Reasons Why AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES Animated Cartoon is the Funnest, Easiest Way to Learn About the Marvel Universe.

My Thoughts on Young Justice Animated.

Thoughts on the Legion of Superheroes Animated Cartoon.




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The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime

ANIMATION- The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime

The Four Best and Worst Things About AnimeI love anime. I really do, but it’s not perfect.  There are some awesome things about it and some not so awesome things. That is what this post is all about.

I grew up on watching anime..  Some of the first cartoons I remember watching were Heidi, Gatchaman, and Mazinger Z.

Those shows have influenced my taste in cartoons to this day.  But that doesn’t mean that anime is perfect.

There are some things that REALLY annoy me about watching anime.  But the best things about it keep me coming back for more again and again.

I came up with four things I like and dislike about anime and wrote them down here. I started with the worst so that I can leave you with the positive stuff at the end.

One thing that some American animation elitists will find missing from my “worst” list is the idea that the animation in anime is bad.  I won’t go there because I disagree.

The animation in anime is stylistically different by choice and I like it that way.  It’s not better or worst than American animation, just different.  To think otherwise is to be a snobby animation elitist.

Okay, now that that’s off my chest, let’s get started…


Whinny Protagonists

The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime 01This is by far one of the most annoying conventions in anime, the whinny protagonist.  It’s not in EVERY anime but it’s in enough so that it drives me crazy.

We are meant to follow this guy (it’s usually a male protagonist) through his adventure and identify with him, but how can we? All he does is whine about his circumstances all the time.

The worst is when most of an episode is taken up by the protagonist not taking story furthering action because he’s whining. Effectively stopping the show or movie.

I don’t mind if, the character starts off being scared and as the show or movie goes on, he slowly becomes more self confident. But when he stays whinny from the start of the show till the end, that’s a huge turn off.

The worst I’ve ever seen was in  the show Neon Genesis Evangelion. The character Shinji was a whinny baby from the first episode to the last and never changed.

So annoying.

Lack of Style Variety

Anime lacks style variety.  There I said it.  It has a certain look and it doesn’t veer from it much.

Yes, there is variety of styles within the anime style but that all it is, variations within a SINGLE style  In general anime tends to look the same.  It’s very rare when you see a Japanese cartoon and don’t realize it’s a Japanese cartoon.

There are exceptions but not very many.

I LIKE the style. It’s very appealing to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  But it’s only the one SINGLE style done in slightly different ways.

Pretensions and Preachy

Sometimes anime creators decide to preach their world view via their cartoons.  And they do so in such a heavy handed way that it not only comes off as preachy but also very pretentious.

Now, almost every story has some sort of message.  I’m not against that.  But if it comes across as self righteous preaching, that’s when it gets annoying.  Especially when they stop the story to do so.

And it’s even worse when the world view comes across like something an adolescent hormonal kid came up with and it’s just downright ridiculous.

Even if it’s an interesting world view though. Even when the world view is worth thinking about, when it stops the story so that the characters can preach to the audience about it, it just comes across as pretensions mumbo jumbo.

Let me get out of the story what I want to get out of the story but don’t try forcing it down my throat. It’s annoying.

Sexism and Misogyny

Panty shots, girls with gigantic bouncy boobs bigger than their heads, submissive women, tentacle rape or just plain rape and other abuse of women.  Anime can be very sexist when it comes to objectifying women, and it’s often very misogynist.

I understand that a lot of it is meant to entice male viewer to watch. I get it, but it doesn’t make it right.

“Oh but women in anime are very strong and pro woman.” Really? Then why is she wearing a bikini in every episode? “It’s because women should be proud of their femininity.” Oh, so it’s not because you want to see them wearing as little as possible? *sarcasm*

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One of these outfits is not like the others.

Case in point, Major Kusangi, a character in one of my favorite anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Major Kusanagi is by far one of the strongest, self assured, badass female leads in an anime I’ve ever seen.  She’s awesome, but she’s pretty much wearing underwear in every episode.

All the men are wearing normal clothes.  They’re in suits.  Which makes Major Kusanagi look even more ridiculous.  They give an excuse in the show for her outfits but, it’s lame.  It’s just an excuse to have her wear revealing clothes. It’s sexist.

It’s so bad, that it’s tough to recommend some good anime because of the embarrassing sexist portrayal of women in them.

And, let’s face it, some of  this stuff really screws up the way some guys view women.


So if  anime has so many annoying things like what I wrote above, why even watch it?  Because it’s not ALL universally like that.  Besides, the best in anime makes up for that bad stuff.

Good stuff like…

Variety of Genres

No other animation culture has the variety of genres that anime has.  Not American animation, nor European animation.

Japanese animation has, pretty much every genre under the sun.  There’s something for everyone.  For kids, for grown ups, for teens, for adult males and adult females.

It’s my go to for animation because it actually caters to my tastes.

I love mecha stories, anime has them. I love space operas, anime has them. I love cyberpunk, anime has those too.  Action adventure, Samurai stories, historical fiction, game cartoons, fantasy, cartoon about drawing comics…, you name, they have it.

So awesome.  I love it.

Definitely, hands down, one of the best things about anime.

Great Action

Anime action is tough to beat.  It’s tough to do action in animation without being influence at some level by Japanese cartoons.

They’re visceral and dynamic.  Often epic in scope.

Anime is often coming up with better and better way to show action in animation.

There are even shows that are ONLY about people fighting just because the action itself is so fun and dynamic.

I love this about anime.

Great Draftsmanship

The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime 03Nothing beats a hand drawn action scene of two anime mechas fighting. For an example of what I’m talking about, watch Gundam 00, SO AWESOME!

The draftsmanship involved in drawing something like that is unbelievable.  It’s even better when the drawings of the people are just as well drawn.

Anime has a way of making other animated cartoons look like lazy art.  I’m sometimes amazed at how well drawn the art in these cartoons are.  Especially since they also move. Some more then others but they move none the less.

Yes, there’s some short cuts being taken but the end result is no less beautiful.

It’s eye candy and just inspiring.  I love it, and I love it so much that I strive to draw just as well in my work.

Positive Messages

One of the thing I’ve appreciated more and more as I watch anime is the positive messages being conveyed through many of the protagonists.

It’s often a message of being confident, and having a sense of self worth.  Sometimes it’s a message about friendship, and how we all need the love of others.

There’s also plenty of messages about self sacrifice and putting others ahead of oneself.

I love seeing that.  I think the confidence and self worth messages in anime are by the far the most unique of all. This is mostly done in characters who are the antithesis of the whinny protagonist.

The confident protagonists who doesn’t let anyone get them down.  The character who has goals and is willing (sometimes joyfully) to power through the hardships that will get them to that goal.  Those characters are worth emulating.

The optimism and the drive.  The fearlessness is something I think we should all learn from.

Great positive stuff.

Sound off

I know I’ve made some people very mad at me. Especially because of what I wrote in the first part of this post.  Let me know what you think.

Just be polite or I’ll erase your post.

I love anime.  These are the things I love about it and the things I don’t.  If  you agree with me, I’d love to hear from you as well.

Until next time!

If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like

Top Ten Miyazaki  Movies

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Top Ten Dreamworks Animated Movies.

ANIMATION/MOVIES – Top Ten Dreamworks Animated Movies

Top Ten Dreamworks Animated MoviesAs lousy with bad sequels and spin offs as Dreamworks is, they’re also the studio, I think, is taking the most risks.

What do I mean by this?  Well, they dare to make action adventure movies, catering a tad more to the male audience, than any other American Animation studios.

Yes this means that their movies aren’t as successful, considering it’s a demographic very difficult to get to go watch an animated movie, but they try.  For this, I’m grateful, it means there’s an animation studio that makes movies that I will find appealing.

After thinking about it, I decided to make a list of my top ten Dreamworks movies.

Let’s get started.

10. Turbo

I expected less from this movie.  I really didn’t have any desire to watch this movie based on the trailers.    I think it was poorly marketed.

After watching it, I was pleasantly surprised. It was reminiscent of Pixar’s Ratatouille but much less focused. It also veers away from Pixar’s movie enough to make it it’s own movie.

I liked how it had a lot of minority characters in it. That part was great.  I liked how they incorporated the “Fast and the Furious” racing culture in there too.

Had they stuck more with that I think the movie would have been much more successful,. But they added a big snail culture thing at the beginning and made it more about the Indy 500, which didn’t fit with the other stuff.

They tried to cater to too many groups all at once and really failed to nail all of them.  All that said, I still liked the movie for the bits they did get right.

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9. Shrek

By far one the ugliest movies Dreamworks produced.  A movie so ugly I wasn’t going to go watch it.  But I got curious, so opening weekend I went to watch it and laughed so hard I almost soiled myself.

This is the movie that put Dreamworks on the map.  It’s first real hit.  So very funny. So unexpected.

The ugliness of the designs ended up not being a big deal compared to how fun this movie was.

It’s difficult now, to remember how refreshingly funny and fun this movie was, now that it has so many sequels. That said, this is still a funny movie.

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8. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Aardmann animation and Dreamworks teamed up to bring us Wallace & Gromit the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.  The second stop motion movie Dreamworks produced. This is Aardman charm at it’s best.

It’s a great parody of a horror movie starting Wallace & Gromit.  It’s so good and darn funny.

The animation and action is top notch. It worth watching over and over.

My kids love it with good reason. This is a great movie.

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7. Megamind

Dreamwork’s attempt at a superhero movie.  I really liked this one.  Of course it helps that it’s my favorite genre but I didn’t know if it was going to be any good when I first watched the trailers.

I found myself really enjoying myself. The twists and turns in the movie where fun and it made me laugh.

If I’d liked the designs of the characters a bit more, it may have been higher on my list.

This is a movie I wouldn’t have minded seeing a sequel to.

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6. Rise of the Guardians

This is yet another superhero movie.  Only this group of superheroes are Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, The Sandman and Jack Frost.

The problem is that the audience that they were catering to, which was teenage boys, were’nt going to go watch a movie about Santa even it he DID have swords.

I really liked this movie because it was a superhero movie.  I liked the action and the story was not bad. I also liked the designs of the characters.

This was a fun movie.  I have a feeling adults liked this movie more than the kids who watched it did.  And I doubt enough teenage boys watched it.

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5.  The Prince of Egypt

This one could almost be called a masterpiece.  It’s also got a special place in my heart because I went to the Dreamworks studios for the first time around the time it was being developed and I got to see some amazing concept art for it.

The story was great, the animation was fantastic.  The designs were a bit more watered down than the ones I saw but still, they where great.

The art direction is stunning.  The music is not bad.

This movie moved me and it was such a promising start for the studio.  They did something with hand drawn animation that no big studio had done before.  It was a risky movie that paid off.

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4. Kung Fu Panda 2

Kung Fu Panda 2 was not as surprising as the first movie but still  had everything the first one had.  This made it very good.  It’s the only movie on this list that is a sequel.

I liked this movie quite  a bit.  It was fun, funny and action packed.

It gave me exactly what I wanted and I left happy. I wouldn’t mind seeing yet another one of these.

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3. The Croods

Wow did this one come out of nowhere.  I didn’t expect anything from this movie going in.  It was about a bunch of cavemen leaving their cave, big deal.

By the time the credits where rolling I was wiping tears from my eyes.  What happened?!  This movie was great.

I laughed, I cried, I empathized.  It was really good.

I liked the designs, the characters, the story…wow. So good, and so unexpected.  This movie is so worth watching.

It’s a great family movie.

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2. How to Train Your Dragon

Oh man, definitely one of my favorite movies.  I loved the dragons, I loved the journey the characters take.  I like the setting the characters designs, the action.

Everything about this movie is really fun. If only more animated movies where like this.

Hands down one of my favorite Dreamworks movies.

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1. Kung Fu Panda

It should come as no surprise considering Kung Fu Panda 2 is my number 4.  I love this movie. So fun, so funny and it’s about Kung Fu.

Great action, great characters, great designs. Very solid story.

It was a brilliant idea very well executed.  I’m glad there was a sequel and I can’t wait to see more.

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What About You?

So that’s my list.  What do you think?  What about you? What’s you to ten Dreamworks movies?

Sound off on the comments below.

If you like this list you may also like:

Top 10 Favorite Animated Movies of All Time

Top 10 Disney Animated Movies

Top 10 Superhero Animated Movies

Top 10 Animated Family Movies

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Top 10 Favorite Animated Movies of All Time

ANIMATION – Top 10 Favorite Animated Movies of All Time

Top 10 Favorite Animated Movies of All Time

I sat down to make my list of my favorite animated movies of all time.  I opened the list to, not only theatrically released American films, but also direct to DVD movies from all over the world.

Granted, I haven’t see everything and the list can and will most certainly change in a year or so. That said, I was a bit shocked with the list I put down.

There aren’t any Disney films in it.  Well one is technically a Disney film but I consider it a Pixar movie more than Disney.  Otherwise, none of the movies that inspired me to get into the industry to begin with made the list.

Has the animation industry really surpassed or outdone the classics or has my taste in animated movies changed that much?

My choices for these movies had nothing to do with the quality of the animation.  That would have produced a completely different list.

This list was based on how much I enjoy watching these movies over and over. What type of movies I gravitate to more and want to spend time immersed in.

So let’s start:

10. How to Train Your Dragon

This is the type of movie I really enjoy.  Funny, exciting, imaginative, unconventional and full of action. This is fantasy done right. Actually I think I I should have put this movie on my list of Top 10 Animated Fantasy movies.  DOH!

Anyway, I love the characters, the story, the designs.  It’s so much fun to watch.

I like the universe of this movie as a whole.  More action adventure movies of this type should be made in America.

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9. Rango

Oh my gosh RANGO! A western “furries” starring a very odd chameleon.  This movie is brilliant.  I can’t say I like the character designs in this movie, but at the same time, it’s one of the qualities of the movie that makes is so interesting.

The fact that it’s a full blown western is mind blowing.  It’s so odd, so unique, and so interesting. A very unexpected movie and I just love it.  Rango.

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8. Brendan and the Secret of Kells

I wrote a whole post just on Secret of Kells.  This is the best movie about an illuminated version of the Gospels ever made.  On top of that, the design of  the characters are based off of medieval illuminated art and Eastern Orthodox Iconography.

It’s eye candy.  The story about a little monk wanting to be an artist is compelling.

Did I mention it’s about Catholic Monks, and it’s a positive representation of said monks? And it treats their faith as something normal? It’s refreshing.

It’s also very dramatic, scary and magical.  A must see.

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7. Coraline – Collector’s Edition

I’ve devoted a whole blog post to this movie as well.

A fantastic fairytale about a girl going to another world.  Great animation, great character designs, and really scary.

The story was based off of a short story by Neil Gaiman and it’s very solid.

Quirky, funny, scary and exciting.  They don’t often make animated  movies like this.

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6. Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2

I love Kung Fu.  I like watching Kung Fu movies. Then suddenly there’s this fantastic animated movie series featuring Kung Fu? I’m in.

Yes, yes, yes, more movies like these please. Fighting movies! Action movies! Yes.  Why doesn’t the animation industry have more of this kind of stuff?  What is wrong with us?

These movies are so good. So fun to watch.

I know I’m cheating putting two movies here but, hey, they kinda feel like one big story.

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5. Spirited Away

Miyazaki, is a genius.  Spirited Away is a brilliant Fairytale in the same vain as Coraline only, it’s somehow just a tad deeper.

I don’t know why I like this movie so much.  I don’t know what resonated with me about it but I really like it.

A girl growing  in confidence and maturity under extremely fantastical circumstances full of magic and mystery.  It’s great. If you haven’t watched it, you own it to yourself to do so.

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4. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Yes, this on the list.  I debated putting it here.  I haven’t watched this movie in ages., but every time  I think about it I can’t help but smile.  This is the movie about being an artist.

This is the movie where Miyazaki talks to the audience about what is is to be creative. He does so completely and totally in an indirect way.

Perhaps that’s why I continue to think about this movie.  It’s also quiet, contemplative and interestingly paced.  If “feels” so real. I love it. Kiki’s Delivery service.

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3. The Incredibles

One of the best family movies ever made. One of the best superhero movies ever made.  This movie really hits home.

The characters are so true and believable.  They feel like a real family, and at the same time, they’re so fantastical. After all, they’re all have superpowers.

Action, adventure, comedy and heart, this movie really has it all.  Including, great character designs.

Such a fantastic movie, The Incredibles.

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2. Batman: Under the Red Hood

This is where this list goes off it’s rocker and gets completely unconventional.  This is a straight to DVD movie! What’s it doing higher on the list than The Incredibles?

Warner Brothers animation are the only studio producing these kind of movies at this caliber of quality. Marvel has yet to catch up.

I think this Batman movie is better written than any of it’s live action counter parts.

Sure, the quality of the animation isn’t the best.  This isn’t full animation but the designs and draftsmanship on the characters is amazing.  Also the story is mind blowingly intense.  This is a very dramatic movie.

The story is so good.  The characters really get put through the ringer here.  A must watch for any superhero fan and any Batman fan.

This movie is not for kids.  My kids have yet to watch it. It’s PG13 for a reason.

Great movie. You gotta watch it.

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1. All-Star Superman

Yup, a made for DVD movie made my number one.  Again, the animation in itself isn’t the draw here.  The character designs aren’t even all the great.  They’re okay but not the best. I’ve seen better Warner animated movie designs, although, just like Batman: Under the Red Hood, the quality of the art is amazing.

So why is it my number one?

One, because I LOVE Superman and I’m a Superman nut, but…

Two, because the story is so mythic.  This is the story about the last days of Superman, based on the comic series by Grant Morrison. This is what Superman does when he finds out he’s terminally ill, is going to die and there’s nothing he can do about it.

This movie is a love letter to the history of Superman as a character.  Just like almost every movie on this list, this movie is full of action, but it’s more than that.

It’s what Superhero stories are best at, morality plays. This is Superman at his most iconic. Perhaps it’s what people wanted from the live action movie Man of Steel.

This movie doesn’t explain itself.  It doesn’t explain Superman, it doesn’t explain the history of the antagonists who he fights, it doesn’t dwell on explaining the universe it takes place in.  It just goes and trusts the audience will let go, be child like, enjoy the fantasy and immerse themselves in the mythic nature of the movie.

The best Superhero movie of all time, and I think it’s the best animated movie of all time.  All Star Superman.  Watch it.

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Am I Crazy?

What’s you favorite movie of all time?  I shared mine.  Would you put a direct to DVD movie at the top of your list?  Somehow I doubt it.

Sound off on the comments below and let me know what you think.

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If Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman Were Catholic Saints…

SUPERHEROES/CATHOLICISM – If Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman Were Catholic Saints…

If Super heroes were Catholic SaintsSuperheroes inspire a lot of people to go out and be good people. They often embody the ideal virtues and morals, and overcome obstacles for the greater good of others.  But before superheroes, the western world used to read about and was inspired by another group of people who’s stories had a similar function, namely, Catholic Saints.

How the Comics are Great Podcast Got me Thinking

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. It started after listening to an episode of the Comic are Great podcast called: Give Your Heroes a Reason to Quit with Ben Hatke

Podcast host Jerzy Drozd and  guest Ben Hatke, spoke about heroes in comics in the same way that informed Catholics speak about Saints. And Jerzy, who absolutely LOVES the 80s He-Man cartoons, uses the unintentional Christian morality play that those cartoons are, as part of the basis for his moral outlook.

I find this fascinating but it’s not unusual.

Documentaries like Legend of the Knight, show how people have taken a characters like Batman and have done the same thing that Jerzy does with He-Man.

What strikes me about these things is that, as a Catholic, I do the same thing but not with Superheroes.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Superheroes, but my moral compass and the examples of good morally heroic living are not them, but Christ and His Saints.  In fact, I go so far as to judge the moral virtues and faults of Superheroes next to Christ and His Saints to see if they are indeed good moral examples in the first place.

Saints, History or Legends?

Now many stories of Catholic Saints are almost as fictitious as Superhero comics.  They are only legends.

For example, just about everything we know about St. George is a legend.  The only  thing we can say is factual about him is that he was a…

Martyr…who suffered at or near Lydda, also know as Diospolis, in Palestine, probably before the time of Constantine.

Everything else about him seems to be legend.

Yet, there are other Saints who we know a lot about and whose stories are NOT “just legend” but history. Though many people wouldn’t believe it, some of these people (but by no means all)  showed signs of God given “super powers,” a.k.a. charisms or Catholic terminology.

Superhero Archetypes vs. “Saint Archetypes”

Once upon a time, in the western world, people would read the stories of these Saints and get inspired by them.  ESPECIALLY since they were historical figures. They would read about their heroic virtuous lives, and think, “If they can do it, so can I,” and follow in their footsteps.

For example, St. Ignatius of Layola, founder of The Society of Jesus (a.k.a. The Jesuits) himself became a Saint this way.

All this thinking lead me to wonder, if superheroes have replaced Saints as inspiration, are there any similarities between some Superheroes and some Saints?  Are some Superheroes, archetypes of  Saints?

I was surprised to find out the answer is mostly no.

I decided not to count the legendary Saint stories and only stick to the historical ones (I’m counting biblical stories as historical even though there are some poetic liberties in them). When I did that, I discovered,  that there are no “Saint Archetype” in the same way that there are Superhero archetypes.

Or perhaps I should say, the Saint Archetypes are very different and more diverse than superhero archetypes.

Fortunately I DID find that there are SOME Saints that shared similarities to some Superheroes.  Which brings me, finally, to the point of this article.

Which Superhero Resembles Which Saint?

If superheroes where Catholic Saints, which ones would they be? Which Saint do some superheroes most resemble?

I came up with about eleven.  Here are only three.  Mostly because it took me a long time to draw these pictures.

Here’s the first three from the list, with an explanation of why they resemble each other:

Superman/St. Micheal the Archangel

Superman and St Michael

Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who fights a never ending battle for truth and Justice.

St. Michael, mysterious being from the metaphysical world, who fights evil in all it’s forms for He who IS Truth, Justice, Love and being itself.

Superman and St. Michael both are “Princes” or leaders of their respective groups. Both of them fly and fight to save human kind from those who would do us harm.

They are both paragons of virtue and embodiments of what it is to fight for good.

Both are symbols of hope. Superman, with his optimism and heroic moral virtue fighting the worst of the worst. St. Michael because he is the one who will defeat the dragon and his angels at the end of time as he did  at it’s beginning (Rev. 12: 7-9).

Superman fights super powered  bad guys. St. Michael literally fights against Satan and all his works.

Superman is a  good example of goodness and  saves people from death. St. Michael  rescues “the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.” - New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia

Superman is the champion of and defender of the Earth and it’s inhabitants. St. Michael is  “the champion of God’s people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.” - New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia

Superman tends to send the villains he fights to a places where they can be judged and imprisoned. St. Michael calls “away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgment.” - New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia

If Superman was a Catholic Saint, he would be St. Michael the Archangel.

Batman/St. Martin of Tours

Batman and St Martin of Tours

Batman, loner and crusader of justice.

St. Martin of Tours, hermit and bishop who stood up against injustice.

This comparison is a tad less elegant than the one above.

Batman fights bad guys but doesn’t kill.  St. Martin started his career as a Centurion who, after his conversion, refused to take a life.

Bruce Wayne traveled the world to learn the skills he needed to become Batman. After being discharged from the army, St. Martin traveled, seeking to learn from St. Hilary, how to be a better Christian.

Batman fights in a city where truth and justice are corrupt. He often comes home bruised, scarred, and injured from his adventures. St. Martin opposed the Arian heretics who taught a false Christianity through out Illyricum distorting the truth of orthodox Christianity. He opposed them with such zeal, he was publicly scourged.

Batman prefers to work alone and has a secret headquarters called the “Batcave”. St. Martin preferred to be a hermit. He had several “Martincaves,” of sorts. One on  the island of Gallinaria in the Gulf of Genoa, one on a piece of land, now called Liguge, and one in a desert, enclosed by a steep cliff and tributary on the other at Marmoutier.

Batman has a “batsignal” which is lit when he’s most needed.  He helps those who most need him.  St. Martin was on call by all those who needed him.  And helped all those he could in many parts of his world.

Batman begrudgingly became part of the Justice League.  He prefers to work alone or with a very small team. St. Martin refuses to be a Bishop of the town of Tours. He was tricked into it by having someone tell him his wife was dying and they needed his help, only to  find out it was a lie. The town was waiting for him to declare him Bishop.

Batman’s example has lead other heroes to imitate him, such as Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwing, and Huntress to name a few.  St. Martin’s example lead others to imitate him.  He established monasteries full of followers in all the places he settled at.

Batman does what he does to prevent the type of injustice that lead to his parent’s tragic death to happen to anyone else. Near the end of his life, St. Martin defended the lives of some Spanish Priscillianist heretics, who were threatened with bloody persecution, presumably out of both Christian mercy and because he’d been in a similar spot himself once.

If Batman was a Catholic Saint, he’d most like have been St. Martin of Tours

Wonder Woman/St. Joan of Arc

Wonder Woman and St Joan of Arc

Wonder Woman, super powered Amazon warrior from the island of Themyscira.

St. Joan of Arc, mystic warrior woman of France.

Wonder Woman is known for her compassion for the down trodden.  St. Joan was known for her compassion for the poor.

Wonder Woman is an icon and symbol of the strength women possess.  St. Joan IS the actual example of this very thing.

In many stories, Wonder Woman had to prove herself in the eyes of those who saw her as “just a woman.” St. Joan had to prove that her help and what she said was true to everyone she was trying to help.

Wonder Woman is an example of feminine virtue. St. Joan, The Maid, truly was virtuous in every way.  Not only a great example for women but a great example of strength and virtue for men as well.

Wonder Woman has an origin full of the mysticism of Greek Myth.  St. Joan’s journey began through her supernatural experience.

Wonder Woman has some powerful and cool looking armor which she wears over her regular costume when she goes to war.  St. Joan donned armor when she went into battle.

Wonder Woman fought in wars.  St. Joan did as well.

If Wonder Woman was a Catholic Saint, she’d be Joan of Arc.

There’s More

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Like I wrote above, I came up with a list of eleven comparisons but the drawing above take a long time to do.

I might do another batch of comparisons at a later date.

I will say that I’ve found a match of the 80s He-Man and it’s just PERFECT.  I may just do that one as a one off just for Jerzy.

What do you think?  Can you come up with some good matches, or better matches? Sound off on the comments below.

If you like this sort of thing, there’s more if you sign up for my newsletter.  You get a free digital book with my drawings in it too.

Thanks for reading!

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3 Reasons to play “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign.”

VIDEO GAMES – 3 Reasons to play “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign.”

3 Reasons I play Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign (1)There’s plenty of video games out there to play.  Too many in fact. Today I’ll be talking about “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign,” the game I’ve been playing a lot lately.

I used to play a lot of video games.  I own hundreds of them because I was so obsessively playing them for so long, I ended up getting pretty burned out on them.  I don’t often play that many video games anymore.

If I play a game, I like it to be a table top game.

That said, one of the games I own that I really liked a few years ago was “Puzzle Quest”.  A month or two back, I decided to see if there was a Puzzle Quest type game out for my iOS devices.  That’s when I discovered “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign.”

I was intrigued.  It seemed to have the Puzzle Quest game play but this time it had a Marvel Superhero theme.  I’ve been looking for a good superhero portable game for a while. It was free so I downloaded it.

It quickly became my “go to” game to play whenever I have a little down time.  Here’s why:

1. Simple Game Play

3 Reasons I play Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign (1)All the Puzzle Quest games are basically “Bejeweled”.  Or if that’s too dated a reference “Candy Crush Saga.” It has that game play. It’s that simple.

The brilliant thing about the Puzzle Quest games though, is that they attach a story and RPG elements to their games.  More on that below.

The point is, this game, like all the Puzzle Quest games, it’s really easy to pick up and play.  The better you are at these types of game, the better you’ll do in this one.

2. Fun Story

3 Reasons I play Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark ReignLike other Puzzle Quest games, this one has a story.  It’s taken from the “Dark Reign” story arc that happened at Marvel quite a few years ago.

Although it’s  an old story line there are plenty of “up to date” characters and character designs of the characters you play in the game.

The game starts you off in a standard group of quests that you play through to get your characters to level up and improve.  But there’s also unique two or three day quests that send you on different fun stories.

Many of which are inspired directly by stories from the comics.

RPG Game Play

3 Reasons I play Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign (2)This is what makes Puzzle Quest games awesome.  The fact that they combine “Bejeweled” game play and Role-Playing games together.

In the case of “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign,” you tend to choose from group of heroes. Usually three maximum. These heroes tend to have foes which they fight in every game.

Each hero has special powers.  Each power has a meter with a color, like blue or red. The meter goes up anytime to rid the board of some of those colored pieces. Doing this also deals damage to your opponents. Once the meter is full, you activate the power by clicking on it and it gives you some sort of useful effect themed to the hero that posses it.

Knowing when what colors to get rid of and what powers to activate when, makes the game very strategic.

Each hero also has hit points.  Every time the computer opponent attacks, the character in your group who last attacked loses hit points.  Once that character’s hit point reach zero he’s out of the game and his powers cannot be used.  If all your characters lose their hit points, the game is over and you have to try again.

If you manage to reduce your opponent’s hit points first, you win.

It’s fun and thematic.  It’s what make playing the game fun.

BUT the thing that makes the game addictive is the rewards and the leveling up.

Each character starts at a certain level. Depending on the “rarity” of the character, it can be from Level 1 to Level 15.  After each battle, you might get rewarded with Experience points in the form of gems. These points are spent to increase you character’s levels.

But each character has a level cap, and you can only increase the level of a character past it’s level cap if you’re rewarded with a “Comic Cover” of that character which usually gives him/her a new power or a power increase on a power they already possess.

You don’t always get rewarded gems to increase your character’s levels though.  Sometimes you get reward boosts you can use during battles.  And sometimes you get rewarded “coins” that you can use to purchase different things. Among them, new characters, which you receive at random.  You also get the ability to receive new characters as rewards as well.

Many of these rewards are purchasable by spending real money.

The point is, the more you play, the better your character’s get.

But playing a lot is difficult unless you want to spend money.  After each fight, your characters may end up wounded.  You’re given five recovery tokens to get you back to full health, but once you use them up you have to wait a few hours to get them back.  Also, your characters recover overtime.  The time it takes for them to recover depends on the how badly they got damaged.

This is a good way, if your cheap like me and don’t want to spend money, to force yourself to quit playing and get back to your life.  I find it very useful.

3 Reasons I play Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign (3)

My One Gripe

There’s only one thing I don’t like about this game, you have to be online to play it.  If you’re phone cannot connect to the internet or you have an iPod with no wi fi, there’s no way you can play this game.

I understand why, but it makes it difficult to play the game sometimes.

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Do I Recommend It?

If you like Puzzle Quest games, this game is a no brainer.  If you like “Bejeweled” type games but you want a game with a little more meat on it, a story and addictive RPG elements and strategy, this game is for you.

If you simply want to play a straight forward “Bejeweled” type game, this may not be for you.

Like I said, I been playing this game a lot lately and I usually don’t play all that many video games anymore.  I like the theme and the game play is tons of fun.

Have you played this game?  Sound off on the comments below. What do you think?

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3 Reasons “Attack on Titan” Anime Blew Me Away.

ANIMATION – 3 Reasons “Attack on Titan” Anime Blew Me Away

3 Reasons Attack on Titan Anime Blew Me AwayIt’s no secret that I like anime.  I grew up watching it.  I think it’s one of the few sources for unique animated cartoons in the world.

The Japanese are not afraid to take risks when it comes to stories and genres in animation. Most of the time because the anime is based off of already successful Manga with huge fan bases.

When I start watching a new anime show or movie I’ve never seen or heard of, I watch it hoping for the best but expecting something mediocre of bad.  I’ve watched enough anime to know that there’s some pretty bad stuff out there.

Recently on Netflix, a new anime by the name of Attack on Titan came to my attention. It was recently released yet it had four stars.  This was quite surprising.

The title made it seem like it would be a science fiction story.  Maybe, it would take place in outer space.

I had to take care of holding Baby Gio at the time. I didn’t really have much to do since I had to hold and rock him to sleep, so I put the cartoon on to pass the time. Imagine my surprise when I was instantly gripped by this cartoon.

I’ve rarely been so enthralled so quickly.  Here’s the three reasons why this cartoon blue my mind:

1. It’s a Fantastic Premise

3 Reasons Attack on Titan Anime Blew Me Away 02This is NOT a cartoon about outer space like I thought it was. If anything, the title almost makes no sense.  It should have been called, “Attack on the Titans,” or “Attack of the Titans.”

It’s a fantasy story about the last of humanity and the giants who have all but wiped them out.

This isn’t your happy fairyland and magic type of fantasy, this is dark, dreadful, “we’re all going to die” kind of fantasy.

After a century of safety and peace behind these giant walls that protect humanity from the giants that have wiped out almost all humans, the giants manage to breach the first wall, thus starting humanity’s last stand.

It’s as intense as it sounds.

And the world building is really well done.

2. It’s Got Some Fantastic Cinematography

3 Reasons Attack on Titan Anime Blew Me Away 01One of the things that is just mindbogglingly good is the use of the camera in this cartoon.  It’s a hand drawn cartoon but uses CG backgrounds to move through the streets, following the soldiers as they do their thing.

Believe me when I say that what the soldiers do in this cartoon is very dynamic.

The cinematography adds a visceral flair that really builds the intensity of show. I can imagine how much duller this show would be with static cameras.

3. It’s Gripping

From the very first minute of this show, you’re hooked.  THIS is how to tell a story.  It’s truly gripping.

It’s one scary show.  Very intense.  Very creepy. Very suspenseful.

If you’ve watched the Battlestar Gallactica reboot from a few years back, you have a bit of an idea of the intensity of the situation the characters in this story are dealing with.  It’s a very similar premise.

And the giants in this show are really horrific.  The show goes out of it’s way to make you realize how awful these things are.  The are REALLY SCARY.  And humanity really doesn’t stand much of a chance against them.

You empathize with the protagonists right away, simply because their situation is so dire.

This is one of the reason the show is so gripping. On top of that, the story is so full of twists and turns, shows often end in these crazy cliff hangers. And just when you think things are finally going to be okay, they throw in another twist.

It’s brilliant.

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Watch It

If you have Netflix streaming and you want a great, intense show and don’t mind reading subtitles, this is the a show you should watch.

I’ve watched a lot of anime, and they rarely grip you like this.  This show is obviously based on a manga series.  Now that I’ve watched the anime, I’m curious how much more story there is in the manga.

Have you seen this show?  If you have, what do you think? Do you agree?

Sound off in the comments below.

If You Like This You Might also Like

The Four Best and Worst Things About Anime

Top Ten Miyazaki  Movies

Top Ten Anime Series

Top Ten Anime Worth Watching

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10 American Animated Movies With Great Premises That Didn’t Deliver

ANIMATION – 10 American Animated Movies With Great Premises That Didn’t Deliver

9 American Animated Movies With Great Premises That Didn't DeliverIt’s not the idea, it’s the execution.  You can have the greatest idea for an animated movie ever, but if you don’t put together the right story and tell it in the most compelling way, it can fall flat on it’s face.

Too often I’ve been excited about the prospect of an animated movie only to have it  fall short of my expectations.

I don’t mean to be mean.

The people that worked on these movies worked their butts off.  They did their best to make the best movie they could. I actually KNOW people who worked on some of these movies personally.  I have nothing against the effort and art they put into making these movies. In fact, the stuff I saw them do was actually really great.  But for whatever reason, the movies just didn’t work out as well as they should have.

Perhaps we can learn something from these.

Let’s get started:

10. TMNT

Out of all the movie on this list, this movie came the closest to actually being good.  The character designs where amazing.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where great.  The action was superb.

It really felt right.

But the story was lacking. It was only okay.  There was nothing about it that really made this movie outstanding.

It’s really too bad, it’s not a horrible movie.  I own it, and I enjoy watching it for the action and the look of it.  It just didn’t turn out to be as good as it should have.

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9. The Road to El Dorado

Out of all the movie on this list, this movie has the least exciting premise.  When you hear the premise it doesn’t really get you all that exciting. That said, the pedigree behind the movie was incredible.

This was the movie that was made right around the time Dreamworks was first formed.  At the height of their headhunting the greatest artists and animators in the world.

Dreamworks potentially could have done no wrong here.

Visually, this movie was exactly what was promised.  It’s a masterpiece of animation.  The art direction and character designs are amazing.  The draftsmanship top notch.

But the story…well, it fell short.  It’s really too bad. This is a beautiful movie.

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8. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Man, this movie got a lot of people excited.  It had the potential to  “fixing” the bad after taste of the Star Wars prequels.

Problem was, it was never meant to a movie.  It was just the pilot for the TV show released theatrically.

The show was animated overseas, the assets the show had to work with where limited.  The budget was that of a TV show, and the story wasn’t as ambitious or epic as the show later became.

It was a “meh” story.  It shouldn’t have been released theatrically. It disappointed.  It was a bad start to what eventually became one of the best animated shows on television.

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7. Astro Boy

Oh man, I love Astroboy.  I was excited for this movie.  How could you go wrong?

Simply adapt one of Osama Tezuka’s many great Astro Boy stories into a CG animated movie and watch the money come in. Simple.  The character has lasted this long for a reason.

So what happens? They ignore the source material and end up with some weird Americanized version of the character that lacks any of the “Kokoro” of the actual Japanese version.

Missed opportunity.  The movie looked good but it was really disappointing.

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6. The Black Cauldron

I’ve never read the  The Chronicles of Prydain books. I’ve heard from a friend of mine who read them as a kid that they were quite good.

This movie had the potential to be The Lord of the Rings of Disney animated movies.

Unfortunately it wasn’t.  I don’t know what happened during it’s production but the movie just didn’t grab anyone’s attention and the story didn’t quite get executed well.

Fans of the book series where disappointment and the movie has gained cult status as THE worst of the Disney animated movies.

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5. Beowulf

Wow, Beowulf.  This was an ambitious premise to tackle.  The epic of all epics.

Perfect for animation…but it wasn’t animated, it was motion captured.  And the characters where made to look as life like as possible, which put the movie in that odd “uncanny value” territory.

Then the adaptation of the story  which was written by non other than Neil Gaiman wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

The best thing in the movie was the dragon. I’m pretty sure, that part wasn’t  motion captured.

Great premise, good attempt at a mature animated movie.  I appreciated that part, but the overall movie was disappointing.

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4. Treasure Planet

FINALLY Disney was going to start making the type of movies I wanted to watch.  This movie had it all, Pirates, treasure, adventure, a proven story and it was going to be science fiction.

How can you go wrong?

I don’t know what it is about this but it just wasn’t as good it could have been.  I had VERY high hopes for this.

The art direction, the animation, the character designs, where all there. I even liked the song. It SHOULD have worked…but it didn’t.

This movie sealed the coffin on Disney movies moving further in this direction with their animated movies.

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3. Atlantis – The Lost Empire

Before Treasure Planet there was Atlantis.

This is the movie Disney wanted Miyazaki to direct.  More than Treasure Planet, this one really seemed like it was going to change Disney animation.

This was the closest Disney got to an animated Indiana Jones movie.

I was excited.  Mike Mignola was brought in to help with the art direction.  This was going to be like a high octane comic book movie.

Even some of the characters look like comic characters.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite deliver.  The story  wasn’t compelling enough.

The animation was great, the art direction was exceptional, but the characters designs were all over the place.  None of the characters looked like they belonged in the same universe.

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2. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Out of all the Dreamworks movies, this is the one that most disappointed me. Once again you have some of the best artists, animators and designers in the world working on a movie but THIS time the premise is AWESOME.

The adventures of Sinbad.  This promised to have some superheroics and monster fighting.  This sounded awesome!  Just going to watch a movie of the concept art alone would have been mind blowing.

So I went to the theater excited.  Finally the kind of animated movie I wanted to see coming from a major studio and it would be really well animated. Only to come out of the movie theater so darn disappointed.

The movie was as beautiful as it promised to be. The art was great, the animation great, the designs…where a little watered down and a touch generic. And I say this because I’ve seen the concept art of the characters which were more interesting than the final version. The action WAS there but it was empty.  I didn’t care. The story was lacking.  I could see what they were going for but it missed the mark.

That movie marked the end of hand drawn animation at Dreamworks.

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1. Titan AE

Don Bluth’s animated movies are really inconsistent at best.  Some of his movies are AWESOME and some are just down right awful.  I don’t know why. I don’t know the circumstances behind the inconsistencies.

All I know is that when I saw the trailer for Titan AE I was totally in.  It was the first, full blown attempt at an American hand drawn science fiction feature film by a big studio in years.

I couldn’t have been more excited.

The movie started off very promising, only to slowly become more and more meandering as it went.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good either.  The characters where generic and the animation was rotoscoped, which puts the motion  in that “uncanny valley” place. Which I hate.

I own this movie. Once in a while I take it out and watch it.  Just the attempt at such an epic science fiction idea goes a long way in my book.

The idea was so great only to be so disappointing.  It’s really too bad.

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What About You?

What animated movie have you seen that had great potential only to not live up to your expectations?  Sound off in the comments. I’ll like to hear it.

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6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe.

ANIMATION – 6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe.

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC UniverseIf you’ve been watching Arrow, enjoyed the The Dark Knight Trilogy or the Man of Steel movie and want to learn more about the DC universe where do you go? What’s the least painful way to do so without having to read a ton of comics?

Well, actually, since the New 52 reboot of the DC Universe, the comics are actually a great place to start.  BUT if you want an alternate way, then watching Justice League animated along with all the other shows of it’s kinds is a great way to go.

You can watch the video below or read the article yourself.  This video is different. You’ll actually see me reading this article. Usually I just get my video transcribed:

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(Many of the links in this post are affiliate links. thank you for your support.)

Now, I know that the title of this post is how watching JUSTICE LEAGUE animated is a great way to learn about the DC universe, BUT the truth is, Justice League is only one of FOUR DC animated shows the revolve around the same animated Universe.

The four shows are Batman: The Animated Series,, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. All of these shows are part of one big story and all take place in one connected superhero universe.

I recommend you start with Batman The Animated series Season 4, then watch Superman The Animated Series followed by Batman Beyond so when you watch Justice League/Justice League Unlimited, you can get the most out of the show.

BUT since that may be WAY too much to ask, then starting with the Justice League animated series by itself is just about as  good a place to start as any.

Just recognize that the six reasons below can just as easily be applied to the other animated shows I mentioned as they can to the Justice League show.  Alright then, let’s begin:

1. It Introduces You to the Core Members

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (8)The first episode of Justice League introduces you to the core members of the League, witch include: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl.  Everyone of the these characters that didn’t have their own animated series gets quite a few “spot light” episodes where you get to know background about them.

Mostly though, you get to know them by the way they act in high pressure and dangerous situations.

When it comes to Superman and Batman, their animated series goes into further depth on those characters than the Justice League show does.  The Superman animated series is especially good in this regard.

2. It Introduces You to All the Toughest DC Villains

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (7)Right off the bat the Justice League series needed to bring out the big guns.  This is the Justice League cartoon after all.  They’re the best and most power heroes in the DC universe. For the story to be interesting you need to bring out the meanest bad guys the DC universe has to offer: The Manhunters, Felix Faust, Mongul, Morgaine le Fey, Vandal Savage, Dark Seid, Braniac, Despero are just some of the many villains that make their appearance in this show.

3. It Stories Takes you Through Time and Space of the DC Universe

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (5)This show goes EVERYWHERE.  From Dark Seid’s planet Apokolips, to the Wild West, from the Batman Beyond future, to the Green Lantern Planet OA, from the far future Earth where the sun is Red, to Skartaris (a hidden world inside the Earth’s core). This show takes you to some amazing DC locations.

It’s pretty impressive how vast the DC universe is.

4. You’re Introduced to Practically Every Superhero and Villain in the DC Universe.

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (4)One you hit season 3 of the Justice League show called, Justice League Unlimited, the flood gates open and every superhero in the DC universe is invited to become a member of the Justice League.

For you fans of Arrow, this is where Green Arrow makes his appearance, along with Black Canary,  and Roy Harper. But you also get characters like Supergirl, The Question, Booster Gold, Hawk and Dove, even Batman Beyond makes an appearance, I mean, just about every single superhero ever created in the DC Universe make, at least, a cameo.

And you can’t have that many superheroes without almost all the villains in the DC Universe showing up too.  Lex, Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold, The Trickster, The Leech,The Crime Syndicate. There’s whole episodes with the Legion of Doom, swamp Headquarters and all.

It’s pretty fantastic.

Although, I will say, that if you want to get  the full story of Dark Seid, the New Gods and their history with Superman, the place to go is the second season of Superman The Animated Series. You will also find the full origin of Braniac there as well.

5. The Stories From the Show Where so Good That They Influenced the Comics.

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (2)Alan Moore’s story “For the Man Who Has Everything,” is adapted into an animated episode. It’s a great one, but mostly the episodes of the show were original.  They were so good in fact that, as I read comics, I saw the same stories from the animated cartoon start popping up in the comics.

There’s a whole series where the Earth Governments go to war with The Justice League because they’re afraid of how powerful they are.  It’s really dramatic stuff.

There are just too many great stories to count in this show.  I’m going to have to make a top ten list.

6. It Acclimates You To the Type of Action You Get in the Comics

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (1)This is something I think is important.  Especially after the backlash that the movie Man of Steel got from the crazy over the top Zod vs. Superman fight at the end of the movie.

Movie audience that never pick up a comic where shocked at the destruction, but if you read the comics, that kind of damage is very common.

Watching these cartoons will help.  Once you’re used to seeing that superhero action is always over the top and very destructive, when you watch the live action heroes do it, it will feel a bit more true to form.

So There You Have It

6 Reasons Why Watching Justice League Animated is a Great Way to Learn About the DC Universe02 (6)Alright, so those are the reason why you should watch Justice League/Justice League Unlimited.  I still recommend you start with season four of Batman The Animated series and move on to the other shows before getting to Justice League, BUT if you only start with Justice League, you’ll be alright.

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