My Most Anticipated Films of 2017: 5-1

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Welcome back! Yesterday I shared a few of my most anticipated films of 2017, but today we’re looking at the ones that are on the top of my list. These next five films are the ones that I’ll  go out of my way to see on opening night. (Though to be fair, Kong: Skull Island also falls into this category.) Let’s begin!

Number Five: Thor: Ragnarock

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I know that I’m in the minority on this, but the third Thor entry is the upcoming Marvel film that I’m most excited about. It’s being directed by Taika Waititi, the man who gave us the wonderful “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” last year, and I’m really interested to see how he injects his brilliant sense of humour and heart into the Marvel universe. I’ve also made it no secret that Thor: The Dark World was my favourite Superhero film of 2013, so it seems fairly likely that I’ll enjoy this one as well. Plus, any film with Loki in it is going to be worth seeing. It’s been too long since we’ve seen the best Marvel villain back in action.

Number Four: Star Wars: Episode 8

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Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher

It’s Star Wars. What can I say? It might even be your most anticipated movie of the Year. The Force Awakens was a fun ride, but what really gets me excited about Episode 8 s the new directions that it will go. We’ll learn more about Rey, Finn, Poe and all the other new characters, but we’ll also finally get to find out what Luke’s been up to all these years. (and can we please see more of C-3PO and R2D2 this time?) Seeing Carrie Fisher on screen will be a touching and emotional experience for many viewers and fans. and with a great director attached, I’m confident that this will be one of the best Star Wars films we’ve seen yet, and easily one of the best of the “Disney-era” of Star Wars films.

Number Three: Untitled Godzilla Anime

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Truth be told, we know hardly a thing about this film. All we have is that it’s going to be the first full-length animated Godzilla film, it’s going to be animated by Polygon pictures (the animation company that worked on the excellent Transformers Prime and several episodes of the Clone Wars TV show) and we have that image above. To be honest, that’s all I need. A Godzilla Anime has been a fan’s dream for years, and only now is it finally becoming a reality. I have a feeling some may be upset that I ranked such a under-wraps film so high, but Godzilla rarely lets me down. Can’t wait for this one.

Number Two: My Little Pony: The Movie 

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Ever since 2011 when I first fell in love with Equestria and the world of Friendship Is Magic, I’ve hoped and wished that at some point we would get a feature Film based on the newest incarnation of MLP. Now, in 2017, that wish is finally coming true. Despite the fact that I think the most recent Season of the show (Season 6) was really poor, I still adore the first few Seasons of the show, and think that the loveable characters, the expansive lore, and the grand story would really lend itself well to the big screen. The animation is going to be somewhat resembling a traditionally animated film, and even has legendary animator Michel Gagné  (Who’s worked on classics such as An American Tail and The Land Before Time) working on the film as an animator. Very hyped for this one.

Number One: Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie 

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YES. Finally. At long last, The Jungle Movie is finally coming out. For those who don’t know, Hey Arnold! Was a wonderful Nickelodeon series from the 90s. The series had a good run and lasted for about Five Seasons. The series finale ended on a cliffhanger, showcasing Arnold finding a journal and a map to where is long-lost parents might be located, but we’ve never gotten a proper conclusion to that story…until now. Series creator Craig Bartlett is heavily involved with the film, and many of the classic voice actors are returning as well. Out of al the films being released in 2017, This is easily the biggest deal for me. (And that’s saying a lot when there’s also a Godzilla and FIM movie coming out in the same year!) The Jungle Movie will be released as a Two Part film (Each part an hour long!) in November 2017.

And there you have it! Those are the ten films that I am the most excited to see this year. Which films are you most looking forward to. Any of my picks make your list? let me know in the comments! Have a great 2017, everyone. Make it count.

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My Most Anticipated Films of 2017: 10-6

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Welcome to 2017, everyone! 2016 was a pretty bumpy year for movies. We had some Gems like “Arrival” and “10 Cloverfield Lane” but we also had a heap of disappointments (mostly in the blockbuster department, though). Not since 2015 However have I been so excited for a yearly film lineup. For some. this might not be their most anticipated Year, but for me, there are some HUGE releases coming out, and we’re  going to take a look at my Top Ten most anticipated Films of the Year.

Number Ten: Paddington 2

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This may seem like an odd choice to start off my list with, but let me explain. Me and my sister grew up watching the Paddington Cartoon on TVO Kids. It was one of the few Channels we had, and Paddington was one of the most charming and humorous shows on that network. Despite this, I was concerned that 2015’s (or 2014, if you live in the UK) Live-action Paddington film would fall flat on it’s face. The advertisements simply made it look like one of this dreadful Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. Thankfully, Paddington turned out to be one of the most joyful and pleasant surprises of that Year, and it even made it into my top ten favourite films of 2015.  Much like the books and show, It was an incredibly endearing and loveable story that had a very Wes Anderson-ey vibe.  The reason I’m so excited for Paddington 2 is because it looks like much of what made the original so great is coming back. Paul King is back in the director’s chair, the whole Cast is making a return and the writers remain the same. I’m not sure if it’ll top the delightful first entry, but with the creative team involved, it’s very likely that it will come close.

Number Nine: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man is by far my favourite Superhero. His Role in Civil War was brief, but a highlight. It’s no surprise that Marvel Studios pushed for a solo Spider-Man so soon after actor Tom Holland’s Civil War debut, and hey, it looks pretty great! The director has stated time and time again that he’s going for a John Hughes vibe with this film, and it shows. The trailer spends a lot of time  establishing the fact that this is going to be a very high-school centric Spider-man story, which is a fresh way to go about it. (The Sam Rami and Marc Webb films also featured Peter Parker in High school, but only for a short period of time.) Michael Keaton looks intimidating as the Vulture (though this is an ironic role for him to take so soon after Birdman!) and the humour looks spot on. Will it top Rami’s Spider-Man 2?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Number Eight: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2

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As you can probably tell by this point, I really like Marvel. (This isn’t the last Marvel film you’ll see on this list) 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was the surprise hit of the summer, and it’s sequel honestly looks like it could be even better. From the gorgeous cinematography, to the vibrant colours, to the hilarious banter between the team that we grew to love back in 2014, this is shaping up to be one of the biggest highlights of the summer. Despite the comedy that will surely be present, director James Gunn has said that this will be a more emotionally driven film than it’s predecessor, which is kind of scary, because the first film’s ending with Groot was one of the most tearjerking moments in Marvel’s whole cinematic universe. Will the sequel make audiences fall in love with Baby Groot? I think it already has.

Number Seven: Alien: Covenant

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Holy CRAP. That trailer was spooky. I know I’m in the minority on this, but I loved 2012’s Prometheus. I loved the atmosphere, the story, and the different approach Ridley Scott decided to take with it. It wasn’t so much a straight up Horror, as much as it was a pure Science Fiction epic. Alien Covenant however, looks like it’s going back to the series roots…and it looks pretty terrifying. It’s going to be a treat to see the Xenomorph Alien a classic Horror movie icon, back on the big screen, but I’m also incredibly excited for the return of Michael Fassbender as the android and the ways this film will bridge the gap between Prometheus and 1979’s Alien. Between this and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, it’s going to be a Galactic summer. (Sorry that was awful. Please don’t stop reading.)

Number Six: Kong: Skull Island

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You know it’s a packed year when King Kong is only at number six. Make no mistake, despite the fact that it didn’t crack into my Top Five, Kong: Skull Island, looks like an absolute blast. As a huge Godzilla/Kaiju fan, i’ve been waiting for a new King Kong film for a while now. We haven’t seen Kong since Peter jackson’s excellent remake back in 2005, but the great thing about 2017’s Skull Island is that  it’s not following the classic King Kong story. Instead, this is an origin story of sorts, depicting a group of people who get stranded on Skull Island and encounter Kong and other Kaiju-like beasts for the first time. The Cinematography looks atmospheric and beautiful, with some very clear visual nods to “Apocalypse Now”. Did I mention that this film takes place in the same universe as Legendary’s Godzilla film, and that the studio is building up to a Godzilla vs. King Kong film? Kaiju fans, we’re living in a golden age, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

And that’s part 1 of my most anticipated films of the year list! Stay tuned for Part 2, and let me know what films you’re most looking forward to! I’d love to read your thoughts! Happy New Year!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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This is one’s a biggie. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is likely a lot of people’s most anticipated film of the year and it’s undoubtably going to be a lot of Star Wars Fans favourite movie of 2016. As for what Star Wars means to me, my thoughts on the series have remained unchanged since my Force Awakens review from last year. I’ve grown up with and enjoyed with all 6 original Lucas-era films (Attack of the Clones is my ultimate guilty pleasure) and get really hyped whenever a new film is released. While I’m not as hardcore of a fan as some of my friends, I still love Star Wars. A LOT. Rogue One was in fact my third most anticipated movie of the year (Right behind Kung Fu Panda 3 and Shin Godzilla) and I was interested in seeing how Disney would handle a darker Star Wars movie, and how they would handle these Spin-offs in general. While I do have issues with it, I think this is a pretty good first step into a larger world.

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Rogue One’s biggest weakness is the way it handles its characters. Not because the characters are necessarily bad, a few of them are actually really interesting. My personal favourites were the Sarcastic Imperial Droid known as K2SO, and the Force faithful warrior Chirrut Îmwe. Both of these characters I found endlessly fascinating and intriguing (not to mention hilarious at times. Both K2SO and Chirrut get some quotable one-liners.) While those two are great and memorable, the rest of the cast struggles. The acting is good across the board, but there are so many characters fighting for screen time that it can be a little hard to follow. (At least in the beginning) The way the film jumps from Planet to planet and character to character felt a little messy near the beginning. Thankfully, The film does smooth out as it goes along, and by the final climax you do like a lot of these characters. Just don’t expect them to be as memorable as the cast featured in last year’s “Force Awakens.”

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However, There are some returning characters that do steal the show, particularly Darth Vader. Holy crap….While his screen time is minimal, it’s very impactful. This film truly reminds you why he’s considered to be the most iconic movie villain of all time. Vader’s presence in this film is one of the highlights of not just Rogue One, but the entire Saga. One area that this film vastly improves upon Force Awakens in the action sequences. As much as I loved Force Awakens back in 2015, I was a little underwhelmed by the action set pieces. Not the case with Rogue One. Nearly every battle and fight is exhilarating and has real stakes involved.

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Rogue One might just be the most beautiful looking Star Wars movie ever made. The cinematography blows almost every other film this year out of the water, This is a gorgeous looking film right from frame one, and it keeps that constancy through the entire running time. Visually, this movie is near- perfect. Director Gareth Edwards really loves playing around with scale (as seen in 2014’s Godzilla) and it proves to be effective when we get a good look at a Star Destroyer and see just how big it is compared to it’s surroundings as it looms over locations filled with characters.

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Rogue One is a relentlessly exciting, if a little flawed, entry into the Star Wars Saga. It’s going to be really interesting to see where Disney goes from here, now that this darker tone seems to be proving successful. Will we finally get a Darth Vader movie? I’m still hoping for a Droid movie myself, but that’s besides the point. While it doesn’t quite top The Force Awakens for me, This is still la beautifully made film that begs to be seen on the Big Screen at least once. Go out and see it. Despite the flaws, it’s one of the better blockbusters of the year.

Just a Quick Word on Arrival

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I’ve once again hit a nasty wall. Unhappy with the way my written reviews for this amazing film were turning out, I’ve decided to give you all an audio review for the film which should be due out sometime this weekend (hopefully.) All I’ll say right now is that I firmly believe  that this film will go down as one of the greatest Science Fiction films of the Decade. You read that right. Go see it now. It’s the best film currently in theatres. It’ll move you, it’ll challenge you, and you’ll see some cool aliens. What else could you want?

 

Moana

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I’m so happy that Disney’s been on top of the world this decade. It feels like the 90s all over again, when the studio would release success after success. While I  don’t think any of their recent “Revival Era” films have quite reached the heights of classics like “The Lion King”  or “Aladdin”, they’ve still proven to be fantastic and highly entertaining films that are worthy of the Disney name, and Moana is no different.

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Moana treads familiar ground during its first act. As the film is from the same creative team behind “The Little Mermaid”, parallels can be easily made between the two films. A feisty teenager longs to explore the world beyond her home and venture out into the open seas, but her stern father initially says “Nuh.” Eventually Discoveries are made, an adventure begins and memorable characters are introduced. There’s a bit more to it than that, but If you think that sounds straightforward, that’s because it kinda is. Moana doesn’t break new ground in terms of storytelling, but it does get a lot of mileage out of its terrific main characters characters. Where do I begin? First thing’s first; The demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) pleasantly surprised me. The trailers made the character look like little more than the comic relief, but there’s more to him then that. His backstory is interesting, he’s irresistibly charming throughout, and his back-and-fourth Dialogue with Moana results in some of the funniest comedy that Disney’s written.

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Speaking of Moana, she’s a solid lead. Her drive for wanting to explore the world beyond her island doesn’t come across as selfish or rash, but instead feels rather genuine and even heartfelt. (Teehee, those of you who’ve seen the movie will hopefully get it.) Even the Ocean is a character! There are several points in the film where the ocean assists Moana and Maui on their adventure, and while it’s mostly played up for comedy, it does carry a significant weight to the story that pays off nicely towards the end. There’s some fun comic relief to be had in the form of a dopey wall-eyed chicken that tags along for the ride, as well as a monstrous Crab who sings a catchy “flight of the Conchords” style song, but the real standouts are Maui and Moana, particularly when they share screentime. The animation is, of course, crisp and beautiful. Disney’s stepped it up yet again with endless shimmering oceans and  luscious green islands that make you wish you could leap into the screen to take it all in. There’s even some nice little bits of Traditional animation to be found, most notably mini-Maui (Maui’s living tattoo that serves as his conscience throughout the film, and also helps provide some of the biggest laughs.)

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Moana’s really good, but is it great? It doesn’t quite make it there, but almost. The biggest problem I had with with the film was it’s tendency to rush some of the character development. There’s A LOT that happens in the film, and because of this, some of the character development feels a tad light. I won’t spoil them here, but there’s a few turnarounds near the end of the film that feel a bit too quick and easy, causing them to feel less impactful. While the film is a lot of fun to watch, it doesn’t truly come alive until Moana and Maui meet eachother. The first act is fine, but it plays out a little too closely to your typical Disney Princess story, which was especially noticeable after films like Tangled and Frozen have really shaken up the genre. There’s also a reveal of the film’s antagonist a little too early on, leaving it’s grand entrance during the climax feeling a tad underwhelming. On a more positive note, the music in the film is very well done, with songs like “You’re welcome” and “Shiny” still stuck in my head as I write this review. The soundtrack itself is culturally unique and fresh, helping this film stand out amongst other Disney animated musicals.

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Moana may not be as surprising or inventive as Disney’s earlier 2016 film “Zootopia”, but it’s still a fun and enjoyable ride that easily fits in nice and snuggly with the rest of the “Revival Era” films. It’s actually nice to have two vastly Disney films in one year, with Zootopia being the more “out there and unique” one, and Moana being a very comforting classical Disney story. 2016, for the most part, has been a really weak year for film, but Moana will be fondly remembered as one of the good ones.

Friendship Is Magic Finales: Ranked Worst to Best

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There are very few television events that are more exciting for me than a “Friendship is Magic” Season Finale. Despite the show’s  steady decline (In my opinion) and regardless of how the rest of the Season plays out, the finales are always exciting because, for the most part, they feel like events. Whether that be from the promotional material, the story buildup, or the amount of hype the writers love to tease us with. Now that Season 6 has come and gone, there’s no better time to take a look back and see which Finales still hold up and which seem to be lacking. Let’s get started!! (WARNING: Here be spoilers.)

Number 6: To Where and Back Again (Written by Josh Haber and Mike Vogel)

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It was both easy and hard to decide which Season Finale I was least fond of. For a long time, This episode had the Number 5 spot. But after letting TWABA Sit with me for a few weeks, I’m confident in placing this one last. It’s no secret that I thought Season 6 was below average, and while I thought this episode was one of the better entries in the Season, it still featured many of the issues that plagued previous S6 episodes. The dialogue and character interactions mostly fell flat and felt Unnatural,  Starlight Glimmer and her squad isn’t nearly as strong or interesting as the Main 6, the slow pacing in Part 1 was questionable and the ending, which reveals an atrocious Changeling re-design, just left me feeling underwhelmed.

With that said, is there anything the episode did well? Of course. The Changeling Kingdom itself is oozing with atmosphere and creativity, Queen Chrysalis is an effective villain and is particularly brutal during the episode’s Climax, and Discord (voiced by the always charming John De Lance) is always a fun character to have around. Beyond that however, this Finale really didn’t have the same “Grand finale” feeling that many of the others did (Did I mention there’s no song!?) But that’s somewhat understandable, since the show staff knew there was a feature film and a whole other Season on the horizon. Is it a terrible episode? Mmm….Not sure, but it’s without a doubt my least favourite of the usually stellar Season Finales. A mediocre Finale for a mediocre Season.

Number 5: The Cutie Re-Mark (Written by Josh Haber) 

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The Cutie Re-Mark is a frustrating episode. I’m not really a big fan of time travel stories, simply because they often leave me feeling like nothing of consequence actually happened, since they’re often about preventing some disaster from happening in the first place. The Cutie Re-Mark is not much different, but it does have a few bright spots. The first alternate Future, where King Sombra declares war on the rest of Equestria, is downright AWESOME. I was loving every second of that timeline, but the problem is that’s where the episode peeks. After that, it becomes rather repetitive and by-the-numbers for a time travel story. Sure, it was cool to see all the major villains make a return, but that’s about all this episode has going for it (at least for me.) Starlight’s redemption is poorly handled and far too rushed, the ending song is terribly unmemorable compared to others, and the rest of the main cast don’t really get anything to do aside from spout exposition about the alternate timelines. Overall, The Cutie Re-mark can be fun at times, but it doesn’t offer much beyond some flashy eye-candy and the thrill of seeing familiar foes return for brief cameos.

Number 4: Twilight’s Kingdom (Written by Meghan McCarthy)

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What’s this!? The critical darling “Twilight’s Kingdom” is only at fourth place? The truth is, I think Twilight’s Kingdom is simply decent. That’s not to say I don’t understand why most people love it. It actually has quite a bit going for it in terms of spectacle and entertainment value. Make no mistake, Twilight’s Kingdom is by no means a bad episode. I don’t even really dislike it. It just has elements that unfortunately bog it down a few notches for me. Celestia’s plan involving transferring the Magic  in part 2 feels half-baked and makes no sense. (And I mean NO sense when you see how it plays out.) Lord Tirek is an interesting character in Part 1, but by the time he grows into a giant he loses a lot of his personality and becomes a mere brute, rather than the cunning and spooky baddie we were introduced to.

I also have a lot of issues with various aspects of the ending; from the ugly Rainbow Power designs, to the way the sky changes from hellish red to bright and sunny with hardly any transition, to that horrible new Castle that replaces the Golden Oak Library, all the way to the weak final song. That being said, Twilight’s Kingdom is still good popcorn fun if you view it as such. The final showdown between Tirek and Twilight is engrossing and surprisingly intense, The opening song “You’ll Play Your part” is a gorgeous Lion King-esc Show stopper, Discord gets some good laughs, and the overall  presentation of the two episodes is admittedly quite epic, but for me, the episode ends up being just barely below average. Not one of the best, not one of the worst, just somewhere in between.

Number 3: Magical Mystery Cure (Kinda Written By M.A. Larson, though it’s complicated.) 

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Oh Boy howdy, here’s where things get good. Remember when FIM finales were, y’know, Full-on EVENTS? Remember when it seemed like they were going to try something new  with every Finale instead of repeating the same “threat to Equestria” storyline over and over? While it’s not as brilliant nor as funny as the the episodes I’ve placed in slots 1 and 2,  this is still one of the better Season Finales the show has produced.

Feeling more like a Series Finale than anything else, this episode miraculously ties up nearly all loose ends in under a half-hour. This does make the episode feel a little rushed, but it also makes the entire ride fuelled by pure emotion and heart thanks to a sweeping score by William Anderson and some ridiculously catchy and touching songs by Daniel Ingram. (I don’t care if you say you didn’t cry during “Celestia’s Balled”. You totally did and you know it.) The whole Princess Coronation was surprise to no one, thanks to a massive and hype-enducing marketing campaign, and while I was left cold with how they handled Twilight’s new Princess role in later Seasons, I enjoy how it’s established here. I said this back in February of 2013 when the episode first aired, and I’m saying it again now; If the Series ended right here,  I would’ve been very satisfied. (Maybe throw in that  full circle “Elements of Harmony book closing” original shot that Larson had in mind though) Pacing issues aside, this is one kickass Season Finale.

Number 2: The Best Night Ever (Written By Amy Keating Rogers)

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I didn’t even watch this episode until a few weeks after it aired, because I was afraid that there would be no more episodes of my new favourite show at the time. Eventually my sister convinced me to watch it, and I’m very glad that she did, because this is by far The funniest Finale on this list, and definitely the one with the tightest script. “The Best Night Ever” was a big deal upon its release. Back then, many of us were unsure if the show was going to get another Season. While the show was critically well received, it wasn’t doing super well with TV ratings because the time-slot it had was junk. (New episodes in S1 aired during the day while kids where still in school!) And on top of that, many fans were anticipating the Grand Galloping Gala itself. We were right there with the Mane 6, looking forward to the big night, and what we got was nothing short of excellent.

While some have complained that the episode feels “Less eventful” than other two parters, I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, there’s no big monster to fight, nor is there any “end of the world” conflict to be found, but you know what IS in this episode? Character. Loads and loads of character. Each of the mane cast get their moment to shine here, presenting us with some very funny and insightful facts about their personalities. (Who knew Fluttershy was a little insane?)  The Songs…what can I say? They’re some of the show’s best. “At the Gala” is my personal favourite, the epic choir, fun choreography and clever lyrics provide a real showstopper of a musical number, and Pinkie’s songs while attempting to “Liven things up” are all very funny and memorable, if a little short. It’s both hilarious and heartbreaking to see the “Best Night Ever”unfold into a total disaster for each of them, but the way the episode wraps itself up, with a message of simply enjoying life as it is and not feeling distraught when things don’t go as perfectly as planned, is a good and even sobering moral  with a message that many children and adults alike could take away from the episode. All in all, The Best Night Ever is one of the most charming and satisfying episodes of the series, and is one of the most personal Finales for me.

Number 1: A Canterlot Wedding (Written By Meghan McCarthy)

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This is it. The Big One. A Canterlot Wedding isn’t just my favourite Season Finale. It’s not just my favourite episode of FIM. It’s one of my favourite episodes of ANY show ever. What a joyfully grand and epic episode. Does anyone remember how amazingly marketed this episode was? There were banners, commercials, wedding invitations and more surrounding the episode’s airing. It aired around the same time as the real UK Royal Wedding back in 2012, and the Hub Network took full advantage of that and advertised the heck out of this thing. Much like magical Mystery Cure (Only died up to eleven) This really did feel like a major event. And how was the episode itself? Even better. What we were given was essentially FIM meets a film straight out of the Disney  Renaissance. The epic scale brings to mind the likes of animated classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. The musical numbers are the best the show has ever conceived. “This Day Aria” continues to be in my top ten favourite villain songs, and “B.B.B.F.F. is a very sweet and touching opening number. What makes this episode better than something like “Twilight’s Kingdom” for me is the story. This Two-parter doesn’t hold back when it comes to the real emotional punches, ( the ending of Part 1, anyone?) and the story is unpredictable enough to where the emotional scenes don’t feel contrived.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about villains. Spoiler alert: Queen Chrysalis is diabolical, creepy, and gorgeously designed, and is to this day one of the best villains FIM has ever had. (Second only to Discord) The Changelings are a brilliant addition to the world of Equestria (despite the fact that I think they butchered them in S6) and the fight scene between the Mane 6 and the Changeling Army is one of the best action sequences…nah, scratch that, it IS the best action scene in the show, thanks to how strikingly well it balances the humour and intensity. I friggin love this episode so much, I could gush about it forever, but I thin kI’ll save that for another time. Bottom line; This is where the show peaked. (At least for me.) It was the episode I alway wanted,  A Disney-style FIM adventure, presented to me in a way that was better than I could’ve ever imagined. It’s my favourite episode of the series, and one of my favourite pieces of Media in general, and I hope one day I can truly do it justice with a proper write-up.

And there you have it! my own personal ranking of the Season Finales. If you’re a FIM fan, how would you rank the Finales? Let me know in the comments!

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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I’m not gonna lie, the promotional material for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” never really hooked me. The premise had potential, yet I just wasn’t getting a feel for the story or characters, which lead to very little excitement when going into the theatre. But hey, I like Harry Potter, So I was still anticipating this Film to at least be enjoyable. Sadly, I don’t feel very different about the film after seeing it than I did when watching the trailers, as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is simply the latest in a long line of underwhelming 2016 Blockbusters.

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The characters (For the most part) are flat and uninteresting, as is the general look of the film. The only character I was able to latch onto was Kowalski, who can offer some welcome comic relief every so often. There are two main storylines taking place, one that focuses on the Beasts and another that focuses on the film’s main antagonists, but they never feel connected, giving off this strange disjointed feel. There’s this weird unbalanced tone of trying to be very cutesy (particularly during all the “catch the beast!” shenanigans) while also throwing in some rather horrific scenes involving talks of child abuse and the main threat gruesomely taking out some minor characters. Speaking of which, I didn’t think the Big Dark Cloud baddie was explained very well, which left me feeling disinterested during the film’s big climax.

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But for me, the one thing this movie should’ve had going for it was the Beasts themselves. Unfortunately, those fail to impress as well. Most of the time, the CGI used to create the Beasts looks rather poor and weightless (A scene that comes to mind in particular is when Kowalski hits a Goblin character in the face, which just looked terrible. I was waiting for a fierce Dragon to appear, or something that felt threatening but alas, we’re stuck with the cutesy Beasts that don’t offer much other than a bit of visual comedy. I hate comparing this movie to the other Harry Potter films, because when doing that, this film seems even worse. The Harry Potter franchise was filled with heroes that you loved or villains that you loved to hate. Here however, most everyone is kind of a jerk, which leaves the movie feeling mean spirited and not very enjoyable to watch. Not even the music is worth a mention. I can’t recall a single memorable theme featured here, aside from the very brief re-usage of the Harry Potter theme during the opening logos.

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I don’t really feel disappointed with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but I am a little surprised at just how bad it turned out. All the right pieces were there; a competent director (who has experience with this fictional universe I might add. Four movies of experience.) J.K Rowling was helming the script, and we had a decent cast to work with too. But somehow, the film came out of the oven as a dull and messy effort. I understand that this is one of the biggest releases of the year, and that many fans will flock to defend it (just don’t Phantom Menace it you guys. And that’s coming from someone who actually kinda likes Phantom Menace.) For me however, this was a dud. Here’s hoping they get things figured out for the next…Four sequels?? What??