Tag Archives: Genndy Tartakovsky

Cinema Dispatch: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky

If I was reviewing films back when the first Hotel Transylvania film came out, it would have easily been in the top five films of that year.  Avengers?  Whatever!  Flight?  Forget about it!  21 Jump Street, Prometheus, Skyfall, Chronicle?  Okay, SOME of those might have made it on the list, but Hotel Transylvania was an absolute surprise that I don’t think anyone has really managed to top in regards to its animation and flat out hilarity.  Now that’s not to say that films like Coco, Wreck-It Ralph, and The LEGO Movie aren’t great in their own way, but what Tartakovsky did with Hotel Transylvania was sheer brilliance and just hasn’t been replicated since.  Except for MAYBE The Peanuts Movie which ingeniously recreated the art style in CG, no other film has felt so AUTHENTICALLY cartoonish as this series, and that certainly earns it a massive amount of respect from me even if the sequel was FINE but not up to the first one.  Now that we’re at the third film though with Tartakovsky STILL directing these (wasn’t he supposed to make a film called Can You Imagine, or that new Popeye movie?), so with this film has the spark FINALLY gone out for this franchise or did they fix the mistakes of the sequel to bring something just as fantastic as the first film?  Let’s find out!!

Following the events of Part 2, the titular Hotel Transylvania has been doing well with Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selina Gomez), and his son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), keeping down the fort as the place becomes a popular tourist attractions for both humans and monsters, and ESPECIALLY for monster wedding; presumably both in terms of scale and as a description of those tying the knot.  However, all this lovey-dovey stuff has made it more clear than ever that Drac himself has been alone for at least a hundred years since his wife (and Mavis’s mom) died at the hands of a torch wielding mob of humans, so maybe it’s time to get him back in the saddle.  At least you’d THINK that’s what everyone is thinking, but Mavis thinks he just needs a vacation and takes him on a cruise along with all his buddies (Kevin James as Frankenstein, David Spade as The Invisible Man, Steve Buscemi as The Werewolf, and Keegan-Michael Key as The Mummy) along with THEIR significant others (Fran Drescher, Chrissy Teigen, and Molly Shannon), as well all the monsters who have ever stayed at the Hotel so you can see them do their classic bits, and of course we cannot forget Drac’s dad Vlad (Mel Brooks)!  Oh, and don’t forget the kids Dennis and Winnie (Asher Blinkoff and Sadie Sandler) who are on this trip as well but are doing their own thing with Dennis’s giant pet dog Tinkles.  Said vacation by the way is being hosted by the adventurous and very much human Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) who’s not just whisking these monsters on a fabulous journey; she’s also managed to immediately steal the heart of Drac who ZINGED the moment he caught sight of her!  Now Drac has to find a way to confess his feelings for Captain Ericka while also keeping it from Mavis who he worries might not accept him dating again after the death of her mother all those years ago.  Can Drac find love out on the open sea, or will his duties as a loving father (and grandfather!) keep him from finding love once again?  Is Captain Ericka as wonderful as she seems and the perfect match for good ol’ Drac, or is there more to her than meets the eye?  If this movie is a hit, can we finally get Tartakovsky to do that Popeye movie?  PLEASE!?

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“We’ve made Sony a BILLION dollars!  You’d think they’d throw him a bone at some point!!”

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An Open Letter to Adult Swim/Toonami

Dear Adult Swim/Toonami:

     Bringing back Samurai Jack turned out to be a pretty fantastic idea. It was an even better idea to allow this to happen by bringing in Genndy Tartakovsky instead of simply taking the rights of the show (owned by Cartoon Network) and hand them to some kind of mercenary with no real understanding of what the show is or what made it interesting in the first place. I think we can all agree that it was a success all around. Critics loved it, fans loved it (except for that one or two things here and there) and the ratings were pretty terrific. I believe I speak for plenty when I say that this is a new standard for what it means to successfully re-boot a long dormant series (Yes, I know calling it a re-boot is a bit inaccurate given that it’s a continuation of the series that Mr. Tartakovsky had always intended to deliver one way or another, but that’s a bit beside the point). It managed to stay faithful to the original series while expanding our understanding of it in exciting, unexpected ways. You have my gratitude, as well as that of many, many fans because of this.

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Samurai Jack: A Retrospective

    It’s only been a week, yet I’m still processing the fact that Samurai Jack is over. That his big comeback has left us as soon as it arrived, and in its wake, it left something spectacular: a revival of a beloved TV show that remains true to the spirit of the original while updating it in all the right ways. Outside of the recent comeback for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix, I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like this, but even then, the evolution of Samurai Jack is one less of superficial style (all in all, it’s the same), but rather a narrative one. In recent memory, when you see a franchise get a new life, you expect it to draw inspiration and some basic building blocks from its predecessors, but other than that, it feels like a totally different creation. Sometimes that new direction is for its benefit, such as what Marvel Studios has been doing with its movie adaptations. Other times, you end up with something like the live-action Transformers movies. Still, this comparison feels inaccurate. Samurai Jack 2017 isn’t just a revival or a re-adaptation, it’s a continuation of the show’s original continuity with the intention of wrapping up a story that was left open-ended. Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve reviewed each episode, covering the in-the-moment developments as they were presented to us. I feel like I’ve covered plenty of ground regarding the show’s evolution and sense of theming, but now that it’s all said and done, we can see how far we came and take a look at the season as a whole so we can appreciate what made this conclusion of Jack’s story such a success. But first, we must take a look at what came before…

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Samurai Jack Season 5 Episode 8 Review (XCIX)

    So now that Jack is back to “classic” Jack as of last episode, having wrapped up his arc about re-discovering himself and coming to terms with his past mistakes, one has to wonder how the rest of the season is gonna play out. Will it be the more traditional structure of the original, episodic run or will we still get to see new developments for Jack before he reaches his final showdown with Aku? Turns out the answer is a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B. This week’s episode might be the most straightforward one we’ve had all season, and the most reminiscent of the first four seasons: the story is driven primarily by action and set-pieces as Jack and Ashi fight a new enemy along their journey to defeat Aku. Even so, it manages to throw in elements that tie into both heroes’ overarching story…

… and oh man is it a doozy.

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Samurai Jack Season 5 Episode 6 Review (XCVII)

    In previous reviews, I’ve brought up the significance of episodes of Samurai Jack that don’t feature Jack as the protagonist. This has resulted in some very unique stories, even some of the best the series has ever seen. What we have here is yet another such episode, but one that probably won’t carry as much memorability…at least the same kind.

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