The first decade of this millennium is often heralded as some sort of golden age for children’s films. Sure, most of Pixar’s best flicks came out in this period, and there were some winners in general, but I think people tend to view the films of their own childhood with rose-colored glasses. Most of these films are goddamn godawful. Just HOW goddamn godawful, you ask? Let’s find out together by checking out EVERY kids film between 2000 and 2009. From theatrical to direct-to-DVD to Disney Channel Original, we’ll look at ’em all because I am a glutton for punishment.
This week, we look at a movie from my childhood and a thing that is, I think, also a movie.
BLUE’S BIG MUSICAL MOVIE
Well, here we go. Blue’s Clues. A show that I watched nigh-religiously as a child. And I watched this movie just as much. But admittedly I don’t remember almost anything about the film. I haven’t watched it since I was probably five or six, so this is basically me watching it for the first time. Here goes!
We start by approaching Steve’s house, ready for some sort of adventure. We enter through the dog door even though there is an actual door we could be using. My only assumption is that we are breaking into Steve’s house because we are not supposed to be there. We are most likely some sort of master thief, arriving to rob a house only to be accidentally roped into a musical performance.
Unfortunately, before we can steal the living appliances that live with Steve, we’re dragged into his bedroom to help wake him up. When he’s awoken, Steve sits up and yells “Wha… huh… clue” which legitimately made me laugh out loud. Steve gets out of bed in his striped pajamas and goes to get dressed. He then remembers that today is the day of the big musical performance and, because Steve is an atrocious project manager, they haven’t even started work on it. Steve asks if we will help and, to avoid being detected as fleeing criminal masterminds, we say yes.
Ok, GOD, I’ll help. Just stop bugging me about it!
If you’ve never watched “Blue’s Clues” before, I should explain that the show basically functions as a point-and-click adventure game that plays itself. They ask you questions, wait a few seconds, and then answer them themselves. To be a professional about all this, I played along with the movie to the best extent I could. I talked back when they asked me to talk, I clapped along when asked, and when I was told to sing, I said “sure, fuck it, whatever.” And what I found is that they give you WAY too much time to answer. Often, I would answer the question out loud and then spend ten or fifteen seconds staring out into space waiting for the film to move on. But I guess they had to pad it out somehow, especially considering the fact that this film is only an hour and five minutes long.
Anyway, back to the movie. Steve and the gang are putting on a musical show about what they want to be when they grow up. To be honest, I’m not sure if a salt shaker or a mailbox actually CAN grow up, but whatever. Also, the shovel and pail want to be veterinarians and that sure is a dream to shoot for. And while we’re on the subject of these anthropomorphic creatures, let’s talk about the clock. As you can see from the above photo, there is no twelve on that clock. There is instead a music note. (I’m not sure which one, it has been more then seven years since I’ve had to take any sort of a music class). Does that mean that it’s music o’clock? Also, its hands jump around wildly as it gestures to things, not actually telling the time. Or it’s actually possible that time really does work nonlinearly in the “Blue’s Clues” universe.
“Time is a flat circle.”
So now we are off on our quest. But oh no, the clock is sick so Blue needs a singing partner. And, to find one, Blue is going to leave us clues. You know, like the fucking Riddler.
“Riddle me this, Steve!”
It was at this point that I realized that the central conceit of “Blue’s Clues” is kind of needlessly complicated. Blue, just fucking tell us the answer! Don’t leave your goddamn paw prints everywhere like a douchey co-worker leaving passive aggressive post-it notes for fuck’s sake!
Steve’s character arc is about how he’s depressed he never gets to find any clues since the audience always finds them. I’m honestly kinda impressed by how meta that is. It’s legitimately clever and doesn’t take away from the overall story. Plus we get to see sad Steve.
Aw, it’s gonna be ok, buddy.
But by the end, everything is happy! Steve finds a clue for himself, Blue gets a new singing partner, and the performance goes off without a hitch. Yay! Before we move on to the next review, I wanna leave you with one line of dialogue out of context that made me smile.
“Be a train with me, Steve.”
CARDCAPTOR SAKURA MOVIE 2: THE SEALED CARD
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck me, this one was a painful sit. Of the six movies I’ve so far had to watch for this series, this one was far and away the worst viewing experience I had. And before I get a bunch of angry hateful tweets from Cardcaptor Sakura fans, hear me out.
For those who don’t know (which included me until two nights ago), Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: the Sealed Card isn’t JUST a sequel to the previous Cardcaptor Sakura film, it also serves as the series finale to the Cardcaptor Sakura anime television series. So as someone for whom this is the FIRST exposure to the franchise, I was fucked from the beginning.
So thankfully, I was able to find an english dub of the movie, because if I hadn’t, this review would just have been me sobbing into my keyboard for a page and a half. Unfortunately, the upload I found (YOU try finding a way to legally watch this movie, it’s harder than it sounds) had some major issues. For one, it was split into two parts, but did not tell me that, meaning that I got to what I thought was the end of the film only to find there were forty minutes left of movie. Another issue was that, for whatever reason, the player would randomly skip back ten seconds art random intervals, making me watch certain sections multiple times. Lastly, this player also refused to pause, no matter how hard I begged, meaning I had to marathon this baby without taking a single break.
DailyMotion can go fuck itself to death.
Ok, so the movie. First of all, lets go over what I THINK the show was about. So there’s a girl named Sakura, and she has some magical cards called Sakura cards. She was fighting a guy named Clow? I think? And she fought him by transforming his Clow cards into Sakura cards? But she beat him? And she also has a magical cat beast friend who is so annoying I wanted to shove him(?) into a toaster. Not that the movie fucking explained any of that, I just had to pick it up via context clues.
Perhaps it’s because of the dubbing, but the exposition in this is holy shitting atrocious. Here is an actual line of dialogue I transcribed verbatim:
“It’s almost hard to believe it’s been four months since Li returned to Hong Kong.”
I’m sorry, but if you wrote that, go the fuck to your room, and don’t come out until you learn LITERALLY ANYTHING about writing. And you know what makes all this shitty exposition a million times worse? All of it is explaining pointless bullshit and none of it is explaining the magic cards cat beasts winged men with bows and arrows bullshit, which I DESPERATELY NEEDED EXPLAINED TO ME.
So Sakura had a crush on this boy Li, and he told her he loved her but she didn’t say it back and now Li’s gone and she’s starring in a play about a princess. Ok, sure. Li and some girl return to Japan. This girl implies three things in rapid succession during her and Sakura’s conversation: 1. She (and by extension all the other main characters in this movie) is in the sixth grade. 2. She and Li were engaged but aren’t anymore. 3. She and Li are cousins.
This was the moment where I actually gave up. I could feel my soul float out of my body and away from me forever. Just… what the fuck? What the actual literal fuck-ity fuck?If you would like to send me elaborate explanations of the Cardcaptor Sakura mythology, please do it care of IDontGiveAFuckingFuck@LeaveMeAlone.hotmail.com, thank you.
So, here’s a thing I don’t get. Why, if Sakura KNOWS FOR A FACT that Li likes her, is she still nervous to tell him how she feels? I mean I get being scared if you’re uncertain, but if the girl I had feelings for turned to me and said “hey, if you asked me out, I’d say yes” I WOULD STOP BEING NERVOUS!
This movie is completely full of bullshit you don’t think about, but is weird and dumb anyway. For instance, at one point Sakura’s brother mentions that his college has taken over an ice cream shop. It’s one of those things that makes you go.
“Wait, hang on, WHAT?”
I don’t even huh?
So Sakura saves the day and defeats the evil force once and for all. Then she confesses her love for Li and leaps forward over a huge gap as if she’s leaping into his arms and then freeze frame. Unfortunetaly for her, given the trajectory of her leap and the remaining distance she has left to cross, I feel certain in predicting that she is gonna fall seven stories to her death. So good news, Cardcaptor Sakura fans, your series definitely ends with the protagonist turning into a red smear at the bottom of a stone tower. Good.
And that is it for this week! Next week… I haven’t actually checked what I’m gonna review next week. Hopefully it’ll be a more uniform slate than this week was.
‘Til next time!