Thursday, October 22, 2015

Return to Halloweentown

Hello and welcome to Eldritch October, all this Month will be media with a spooky theme. Films, comics, and books alike featuring eerie tales. This year I've chosen the Disney TV movie series Halloweentown, where we'll be reviewing each film. That's right, a feature a week for this Eldritch time of the year. Keep your wits about you, as we creep closer to All Hallow Even.

First off, the Starring role of the Oldest Daughter (Kimberly J. Brown) will be played by a new actress (Sara Paxton), so I'll be giving her the name Pari X. Though with this ridiculous name (that I spend more time then I should've on making it) the actress was very good and felt natural in the "teen written by people who haven't been teens for a decade or two". I always find that interesting, how many people it takes to write a teen character for TV, though a lot of Young Adult writers work alone and get it right and convincing.

We open to the narrator of the film, well narrator of this part of the film. Keone Young (my childhood he was Baba Ram, you might know him better as the original voice of  Storm Shadow) starts to speak with his magnificent voice, who is the narrator of the opening, talking about the prophecy (which was never brought up before this story and we really don't hear more about it till midway through the film that Pari X is implied to be apart of it). Pari X (the new Marnie) is blonde and abuses her powers, she looks like she's in her 20's (looking up her age during the film was around 18). The opening of the film is really interesting, since it shows the titled town on a map, with the pumpkin in the center, before it all burns up as the shot pans forward. It feels a bit rushed for the amount of information that was revealed that would be fully revealed later in the movie.

Pari X tells the Mother (April O'Neil, who looks amazing in this part of the series) that she's going to college in Halloweentown. I love the name, since it sounds like a Jay Ward gag, Witch University, so "Which You talkin' 'bout?" it reminds me of Bullwinkle's alma mater (Wossamotta U). The Mother is talking this all over with the Grandmother in soup (also through the film it's any pool of water a witch can talk to other witches)in private, though that failed, since it rang. It's cute, but again this movie, even from scene one is pushing the idea of magic, like really shoving it in your face that they are magic, they have magic, look witch's brew, much magic, so occult.

The house looks like it changed, it's a bit smaller, also the cinematography is amazing in this film. After the fight about going to WU college the Son and Pari X open a portal to Halloweentown, the portal (so no gate nor bus) is different again, though not that great, it seems less like a fantastic little kid's adventure and more like a fantasy movie, which doesn't make it better, just more odd that she's not on a journey to Mount Doom. We get to the castle (that used to be the main family's), the CGI castle looks a little weird, though it's designed well. Okay, wait, no too close, this is a weird transition, we pop into the eye of the stairway's gargoyle and pop out in the office of Keone Young, who was the narrator and is the lead bad guy, I love the colors in this room, all of the fashion and interior design looks amazing, though it's still an odd scene. Not a lot of humor in this movie, though the ascetic is amazing.

Also this is a film with the whole prophesy thing, it's all prophesy this and that, it's never fun for plot, since it's not really a mystery of what will happen, it's all when will they just win the day and do something that's impressive and only they can do in the film, unless they do nothing impressive, then it's poor writing that has taken over their world. Oh, the Son and Pari X are really at each other's throats, for the most part in the series they've been playful, but not this offensive toward each other.

The Son isn't just there to help Pari X move in, he's attending the college too, and there's no magic on school grounds. It's interesting to see that Pari X has really opened up the world that Halloweentown is, like what she did for the worlds has effected things and given reproductions of these actions, it's neat to see that the writers have taken that into account. Since the whole no magic thing was because of the third movie, it opened up the class system in Halloweentown.

Professor Steeping and his niche Tea Steeping are getting one last shot in-front of the giant pumpkin
before moving to a new media in Halloweetown, Gom's good with a camera, well technology.

Pari X has to deal with Scarlett Sinister while writing an essay, then Doctor Grog says she has a hexed paper and people will look into it. Later the Head Mistress says "Magic leaves a genetic fingerprint" no, no, that's no, so no, magic yes has elements that are personal, though this isn't a murder weapon that you can wear gloves and get away with anything, this is magic, no movie. Okay, so the Head Misstress is too obviously evil, she's telling her students to go into a dark hole in the ground and try to discover something in this pulsating hole, their grade is based on what they pull out of said hole… Then Pari X finds a box, well it floats straight to her, Link style finds a box, well it finds her, but still it floats over her head and everything, before grabbing it.

Oh, and why are the Sinister Sisters and the Genie RA in freshmen courses or is Pari X not a freshmen? I mean, it's been established that the Sinister Sisters have been on campus as students, also one can't be an RA in their first year of college. Did Pari X go to college in the human world and transfer credits? And the Sinister Sisters all look and act like they're Libby Chessler, or any other 90's TV female antagonist, it's weird since it feels like it's a hive mind, one brain functioning for three people. Musical Witch is in this film too (he was seen in the third movie and a famous Disney High Song Film Franchise) and is going hard on trying to pick up Pari X, what happened to Cody? Why isn't Cody in this film fighting with Musical Witch? I mean, it's been a year or something, has it been a year in this world or more, since we never knew what year Pari X was in High School, though what happened to their relationship?

Next scene, Pari X becomes self-aware in this film, she felt that this suggestion (given by the Head Mistress, Queen Obviously Evil) was an odd request  from an educator or the Head Mistress of a college. It was weird and Pari X asked if it was a trap, like flat out didn't hold back with asking the most powerful person in her career if the box with her family name on it was a trap set by the Head Mistress. I think this is where I realize that most of these films, if not all, are written organically, like there wasn't a plan or an outline, it just comes in and out with plot and character development. So Pari X tries to open the box, since her character reacted properly and questioned something really out of place, though does the opposite.

In this film magic is produced from snapping, I miss the wafting and Welsh. Though the nods to magical incantations is really cute, everything from wiggling fingers to twitching one's nose. Then the I Dream of Jeanie arm fold and nod, also I think there was a little Jean Grey too. The box stays shut, so the film moves onto more padding, which is fine, since it involves more social development and gives depth to everything, so it starts to feel less like a fail pilot and more like a movie.

Again heritage and race come into play in this film, then just as fast disregarded. Pari X said some ignorant things about fairies and brushed it off, since she wasn't finished making her point, though there are fairies in the classroom (also they changed sizes from the third movie to this one). One time in this series I'd like to see them talk about the idea of race and heritage in a serious manner, though I'm pretty much asking for a tasteful sex scene in an Animated feature with a 13 and up demographic. Still it would be interesting to hear about heritage and race since it wouldn't be a focus on a villain, just one's personal demons, though knowing this film series it would be a literal demon.

The plot is revealed in full for this remake of Halloweentown High, there's less than 30 minutes of the movie and it turns into a medieval crusade into the past as Pari X goes to find the key for the box. I hope someone asks her to take a ring or a person only with 9 fingers. Anyhow, Pari X finds her estranged ancestor (It's the Grandmother, but younger) looks just like her and the box key is given to her because she is her Grandmother's twin and is able to open the box in the future. What is with this movie and allowing the bad guy to take the ultimate power away from the good guys then giving it back? Again the bad guys lose and they walk away before being punished, with not really being punished. Since Halloweentown High everyone bad is Phantom Zoned into a witch's glass, though where does their magic go, since it's taken from them, though not placed in a box or anything (remember in this film magic is pretty much a party popper with confetti).

Short and long of is all, this felt like the most TV movie of the series. The over all feeling of the movie was cliche and taken from every 90's magical TV show plot, then mashed together into one flick. The change of the actors and the less use of the sword wielding Grandmother was a choice that really brought the film down. Films about college, well kid's films that have high school teens in college, aren't my favorite, but this wasn't that bad. The thing that bothered me the most, is the franchise should have gone more mature, or have gone beyond college at least. It didn't leave me wanting more, though it did leave me wanting a final film that really completed the journey of the characters.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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