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Ben 10 (2005)
Like a tight spring: lots of energy, and most of it's potential
I was like (almost) everyone else in my initial reaction to the torrent of advertisements that Cartoon Network ran on a new series about a boy with a watch. It was mainly along the lines of, "Oh, wonderful. Another pointless show to displace my favorite regulars." Rarely have I "Ben" more wrong, and rarely have I been this glad to be wrong.
My brothers were watching it long before I saw my first complete episode, but they will watch anything that moves on the television screen, so I thought little of it. After my first episode, I watched another, and so on. Yes, I noticed that it was primarily for 8-14 year olds, but I still found it entertaining. Here's the thing, though: yes, my brothers like it, and they are the target age group, I like it, and I am 18 years old; my dad even likes it, a little, and he's 40 and hates cartoons. I humbly submit that age has less to do with it than one might think.
To those of you who have not seen the series, watch it (at least one episode, start to finish) before you criticize. Okay, fine, the presentation is aimed at the younger audiences, but the concept is solid super-hero-hits-sci-fi awesomeness: A person finds a watch-like, alien device that is "the key to an ancient power-struggle..." (Presented like that, I'm interested already). This person (a kid in the cartoon (probably) because that is their target audience) decides to use the abilities of the watch fight for good and serve those around him. But his struggle is not so easy, as the forces of the galaxy are not all so benevolent. An alien warlord wants the device to equip an army to conquer (it's not cliché, it's classic). Now he must do battle with the evil in his own people, as well as that within other races of the galaxy. And he must do it using the powers of a device that does not enhance his own power, but gives him the great strengths of others.
I'd be sold after a description like that, but that's not the point. The point is that it could be one of the great superhero stories along the lines of Batman, Superman, Spider-man, etc., and maybe even a live-action movie. Maybe one day, but for now, I can't wait to see how the next episode turns out.
Son of the Mask (2005)
Unpredictable, at the very least
The original "Mask" was a hilarious movie that, while it isn't particularly inspiring or profound, is worth sitting down and watching every once in a while for a good laugh. The raucous antics of Carrey are refreshing and make my mouth hurt from smiling. Needless to say, I enjoyed the original very much.
That being said, it is that much more sad to say how bad the sequel is in comparison. At the end, the only thing hurting was my head because I was trying so hard to make something funny out of the vast majority of the ridiculous (in a bad way) jokes. The title of this article refers to the fact that every time I braced myself and smiled, certain that a big funny joke was coming, they let off a stinky that left me feeling like Loki on the receiving end of the "stink like a skunk" joke during the boxing match. To the people who were responsible for this fiasco, I say, "Uugh, you caught me with my mouth open!"
The Incredibles (2004)
Easily the best Pixar movie I have ever seen
This movie is the best I have seen in a while. After so many half-hearted or, pardon the harshness, half-witted movies, it is awesome to see a movie (an animated movie, no less) that operates on so many levels. The movie is hilarious while it comments on society's unwillingness to accept greatness without jealousy or fear. Bob Parr (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) said it the best, "It's psychotic. They invent new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but when someone is truly exceptional..." Very profound. Being in school, I see this the most clearly of all the movie's themes. Acknowledging greatness itself belittles none. Everyone is good at something. Sorry, a little bit of a sore spot for me. Moving along, the visual quality of this feature is excellent. The people at Pixar deserve a round of applause. Having programmed in 3-D a little myself, I have a little bit of an idea how much work they had to do. From the shape of the characters and the environments to the very physics of the Incredibles' world, they had to make it all. Bravo! I would love to see an "Incredibles 2". I have heard some say that it was second rate. No offense to those people, but they don't know what they are talking about.