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Psyga3152013-02-05 10:46:35

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Part 1: The Road of Trials

Well, who saw that coming? The Nostalgia Critic is back. It will be fun to see him come back and give us his usual funny jokes, even if it now comes once every two weeks now. Though in his words, it’s to make the jokes more fresher. So, because of his return, I decided to dedicate another liveblog to him. What of? Well, Double Double Toil and Trouble was the movie that kickstarted my Liveblogging, regardless of if it had Pooh in it, so if Doug is reviewing something that has revived his passion to do the Critic, then I have to review something that essentially (as far as I recall) the start of my criticizing period.

See, it all started back in... 2007, was it? Commercials played of two movies. One was about a motorcyclist who made a Deal with the Devil and now must ride with the sins on his back. The other was about two kids discovering a land full of magic and miracles, all while discovering tons of adventure to be had. When asked which of the two movies I’d see, I answered the latter. Behold my shattered hopes that forged into the makings of a critic when I encountered my first instance of Never Trust a Trailer as I went to see the movie.

The warning signs were right there. One parent at the theatre was asking a cashier if the movie was safe for their kids, and the cashier seemed to be dodgy of the question. The trailer kept showing one entire set, which didn’t seem right considering how the people who made this film also brought the land of Narnia to life. And had I been savvy with my internet, I would have known that people would be bitching at the fact that the trailer wasn’t being faithful to the source material: A book with the Newbery medal on it. Had I known of the deadly medal, I would have chosen the Nicolas Cage film. But no. I had no hindsight and didn’t consider the latter two options, so I instead chose the film that would perhaps change my very life forever: Bridge To Terabithia.

Of course, my memory might be exaggerating that one, but if there’s something that it doesn’t exaggerate, it’s that I was furious with the film. By the end of the movie, I wanted to throw my popcorn bag at the screen for destroying every expectation that I have had. I doubt it’s to me what Seven Pounds was to Film Brain, even now, but there was something else I remembered the movie for. It was the first movie I ever ripped into from beginning to end. I recalled watching the entire movie a second time, recapping and snarking on every little detail I could find. This was to be my first liveblog. Sadly, it was Lost Forever in a sea of malfunctions, updates, and other such stuff. But, it was still the first thing I ever reviewed from beginning to end. The movie helped shape the critic in me, and gave me a somewhat cynical outlook on movies (and perhaps life itself) for a brief while. So, I figured that I’d return the favour by giving it a third look over.

Will I be able to forgive this movie? Or will my hatred for it consume me? Either way, expect some heavy casualties. Let’s start burning bridges, shall we?

The burning has begun.

So, as if to convince you that the trailer was telling the truth, our opening has both Disney and Walden’s names on it, and as I mentioned in my monologue, they also made The Chronicles Of Narnia. So, with this, it kind of convinced me that it was a fantasy movie. The second look through had me shaking my fist at them for daring to trick us. However, the warning signs began around the start of the movie as well. It starts with no prologue.

What do I mean? Well, in a usual fantasy... anything, the story starts off with a story to be told that provides the setting. Perhaps an ancient battle that was fought, or a story of how one’s envy caused their downfall. Perhaps it’s a man who tells us the futility that man has over his destiny, or a kid telling us about scientific laws. Even the Seltzerberg movies had some form of prologue that establishes the tone and setting for the story. This is a very persistent trope in fantasy stories, and many Disney films come to think of it, and when one doesn’t include it in their story, it’s either because they’re trying to bring in the fantasy element later... or there’s no fantasy element at all. And I think we’re falling into the latter.

But let’s play Sayaka for a bit and pretend this is still a fantasy film. This could also be a prologue after all, showing the kid’s life before he gets the Call to Adventure. Then the title appears. It just fades in and out. Second warning sign: no grand title sequence. You know what I mean. Loud orchestral performances. Large titles scrolling in. A sequence that calls forth the grand title, to show us what to expect. It’s almost as expected as the prologues, so when the title for Terabithia comes in the form of a “poof hi poof bye” sequence that wouldn’t look out of place for a Windows Movie Maker video, there’s something amiss. In fact, it’s not even the same title they used for the trailers. That alone is a warning sign. In fact, I think this calls for a counter gag. (Warning Signs: 3)

Our movie then features our main star, who is played by Josh Hutcherson. Had he not played a certain male lead in a certain popular movie based off a certain popular book, I would have said, “he played in Zathura, which I think is an okay film that may or may not hold a candle to Jumanji. But instead... Nah. I’m gonna save the jokes for later. We all know who I’m talking about by now. If not... five seconds on Google will solve everything. Then again, five seconds on Google would have saved me some strife with this film... So...

Peeta Mellark decides to practice for the 75th annual Hunger Games by running as fast as he could while someone draws in the background what I consider the rejected concept art for the movie that was scrapped when the drawing staff realized that this wasn’t a fantasy movie. Okay, if you really want to be picky about it, this could be considered the grand title sequence I was talking about, but it’s not really what I was talking about. If it went with this, then showed the title “Bridge to Terabithia”, then that would have not been a warning sign.

Also, what was the point of that running? Other than to show the opening credits? In fact, where the hell was he running from anyway? We know he ran to his home, but where did he run from? His home? So he ran in circles? Oh, family drama. Yaaaaaaaaaay. Because that’s what I need in my pseudo-fantasy film. Cold hard reality. The guys behind this do realize that fantasy is an escapist genre, right? We watch it to get away from the Slice of Life. Or, I could be wrong and it could be how shitty the kid’s life is before he gets the Call to Adventure. One Jump Cut of time later and he’s dressed and ready to go to school, oh and his mom threw out his shoes because they’re shit, and she gives him hand-me-downs. Girly hand-me-downs.

And as if his life can’t get any worse, his father is the T-1000. This won’t end well. Or not, considering how he actually sides with Jesse on the sneakers and asks the wife to buy new ones. Let’s see... Is the excuse for no new sneakers being that they’re poor? {DING DING!} Thought so. So far in our exposition, we know of one thing: This kid’s life sucks. If this was a fantasy or sci-fi, this kid would be looking to the sun and go “someday I’ll get off this rock” in a matter of minutes.

So he decides the only temporary solution is to vandalize his own sneakers with black marker. Hope it’s a sharpie or some other permanent marker that doesn’t come off. I would feel so sorry for him if he was to, say, not use a permanent marker and instead use one that comes off with running water... Then again, given how much pink he missed, no one will notice otherwise. Oh, and let me guess again, his life in school also sucks.

Random Bully #365525600: {steals a slice of bread from another kid, then throws it at Jesse} Consider that a free lunch program, farmer boy!

Lovely. I can’t wait for the scene where the scorpion monster comes to him, switch in hand, and tells him to wish upon the stars. That way he can deliver some karma and have the real hero come and go “No! Revenge won’t solve everything! Let me be your friend!” Oh, sorry, I was remembering another school-based story. Well, let’s see what else his school life is plagued with... I’m gonna guess he has a teacher that’s mean.

{cut to the Sadist Teacher}

Eeeeyup! They’re really pulling out all the stops to show us how shitty this kid’s life is. I mean, at this point, if this was in a darker setting like Kamen Rider Fourze, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes for the Zodiarts Switch and goes on a revenge spree. Then again, now I’m thinking about Narutaru. Waiter, can I have a pair of annoying fat and skinny bullies for my side order?

{gets the bullies}

Thanks. Now the trifecta is complete. So, from what I can see if this was a fantasy film, this is to show the kid’s life before he leaves for the fantasy world. Problem is, if it did went with that route, I doubt he would ever want to leave, even if it’s practically impossible for him to do so. I mean, if you had to choose between a life where you’re considered shit by your friends and family or a life where you can fight monsters and go on adventures, even if there’s a high risk of death, which would you choose? Considering this is a slice of life, I’m just wondering now where the fuck are the therapists.

I should note something. This story was set sometime during the Vietnam War, and thus, there will be some... changes in values and in the difference of time. For example, the teacher mentions electronics and being “downloaded into detention”, even though if this was based on the book, it would be impossible for her to say that. However, I wanna give some mercy points and this bit seems to be a good place to give ‘em. I’m a fan of adaptations that try to go in different routes than the thing they’re adapting from, especially considering that I was raised on Power Rangers, the core example of what I mean. Would it make any difference if this was stuck in the 70’s? No. Not really. The setting of time doesn’t really affect the overall plot or tone. It’s not exactly the kind of thing people should cry “ruined for-”

Random Bully #365525601: Nice Sneaks, Aaron. You wear your sister’s hand-me-down underwear too?


Random Bully #365525602: He asked you a question, twinkletoes.

That line just happened not one second after he asked about the... ugh... question. Seriously? You expect anyone to respond in that range of time? Even the fastest of computers won’t be able to answer that question in a millisecond. There’s incompetent bullies, and then there’s you two. I mean, at least wait for one comment to scar the kid before you lay another. And here we have Leslie, played by Anna Sophia Robb who is recognized in that time as the person who played Tim Burton’s version of Violet Beauregarde. Now she’s recognized as the girl who played an armless surfer whose movie title would have been a great title for a sci-fi story about a man who can Body Surf.

She’ll be playing the new transfer student. Let’s see what her role will be. {pulls the lever.}

{the roulette spins between “The Rival”, “The Dark Magical Girl who tries to convince The Hero to not try and change who they are”, “The Magnetic Hero who wants to befriend everyone”, and finally, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl”. It stops on the last one}

Alright! We got ourselves a Manic Pixie Dream Girl! Hopefully she’ll be able to liven up the kid’s spirits and get him to look at the bright side of life before she shuffles off the mortal coil and becomes fridge meat. ... Oh what? It’s based off a Newbery book, and we haven’t seen a single dog. Besides, it’s a Foregone Conclusion for me. Okay, mercy point giving time. Casting is nice. They managed to pick some good child actors for this, and even had good foresight to pick a really good one who would go on to play in one of the most well known literature-based books. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised that Retroactive Recognition was in effect for some of you.

Miss Myers: Write a one-page essay about your hobby.

Random Kid #555913315333000: When you say one page, do you mean both sides of the paper?

Miss Myers: You can just do one side.

Random Kid #555913315333000: I’ll do two.

... Well that was random. I don’t mean Birdemic random either, since those usually have a point. I mean this exchange had no actual rhyme or reason. I mean, yes, it’s silly, but where’s the punch line? What purpose did that exchange serve other than to establish a trait of a random kid who I doubt will have any lines in the future? In fact, after that we cut to Leslie outside of school, who encounters the Girl Bully from a while back, who is charging for the bathroom usage. The more I think about the setting of this school, the more I weep for how stupid the adults are for not noticing this sort of harassment. Truth in Television and all, but still.

Okay, next mercy point. Leslie compares the bully to a troll, and no, not the modern day use of it, but I mean the Troll under the bridge story, which actually serves as good foreshadowing for what is to come, and a good comparison to what is going on with her charging a dollar for the bathroom. Then we have this... random race scene. Oh, and get used to hearing “beep beep beep” and “dead meat”, because they stop being catchphrases and more verbal tics by the minute.

So the race begins, and the MPDG beats Jesse by a mile.

Token Mini-Moe: Did you win?

Take a fucking guess.

Clementine: {gasp} That was a swear!

Okay, sorry, I’ll try to be a little nicer to May-Belle, especially since she probably couldn’t see Leslie anyways. The part ends with the revelation that Aunt Agatha is a Witch... I mean Leslie is Jesse’s new neighbour who happens to live in a Big Fancy House that is a stone’s throw away from Jesse’s own house. What are the odds?

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