Director(s): Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan
Writer(s): A Lot of People
Release Date: 22 September, 2017
Thanks to a series of incredibly bizarre events, earlier this evening I found myself in a screening of My Little Pony: The Movie, along with my partner and our daughter, a friend of ours and her son, and what seemed like every pre-teen child in the northern hemisphere. There are surely worse environments to watch a movie in, but none that spring to mind. Then again, though, who’s the idiot here? This film isn’t aimed at me. It’s for the kids; a sugary, shrieking slice of animated adventuring that’s intended to be a revelatory first movie-going experience for the nippers. I’m pleased to report that my daughter, elbow-deep in a seemingly bottomless pick-n’-mix bag, thought it was wonderful.
Unfortunately, she’s not writing the review. And I’m still a little pissed off that I had to pay for all those sweets, so if you’re one of those insufferable maniacs who have made it their mission over the last few days to personally attack any critic who didn’t enjoy 100 minutes of glittery equine frolicking as much as you wanted them to, maybe cut me some slack here. I’m trying. I went in there with an open mind, and I left with one, too. It was just suddenly full of complete bullshit.
The Simpsons: Easily one of, if not the most critically acclaimed animated TV shows to ever grace our screens. A pioneer of animated comedy, perhaps. Everyone has seen at least a full episode of The Simpsons, and the majority of the people you know will be very familiar with America’s favourite family. The Simpsons, like for many, is a huge childhood memory for me; I remember the days where I would eagerly anticipate my evening meal, mainly in part so that I could have my daily, 6 o’clock viewing of The Simpsons on Channel 4. It was the best.
As the years went on, so did The Simpsons. A few more years on, I’d still find myself watching the latest episodes, almost religiously. I began to notice bigger names appearing in some episodes. With the likes of Stephen Hawking, 50 Cent and Ludacris, to name a few, The Simpsons appeared to be successfully continuing in the battle against one of the biggest foes – that is, time. And to this day, it still is. But it appears to me, that this battle is coming to an end. Or at least it needs to.
If I’ve learned anything during my adventures in DC and Warner Bros.’ bizarre catalogue of straight-to-DVD animations, it’s that you can never trust the title. You hardly need to be the World’s Greatest Detective to figure out which of these things are most likely to shift an acceptable number of units. Batman or Superman in the title? Classic story being adapted? Then you’re probably onto a winner.
But a film like Batman: Assault on Arkham, which is based on an original story focusing on the Suicide Squad and set in the continuity of the Batman: Arkham video game series, needs to finesse things a little more. So Batman is there in the title, and he’s technically there in the film (voiced by Kevin Conroy, no less), but this is by no means a film about Batman. It’s a deliriously scuzzy crime thriller that revels in its explicit amorality, giving DC’s oft-neglected second-string villains their own time in the Bat-signal.
For all his high-tech gadgetry and countless millions, Batman (Jason O’Mara) forgot the one thing that was sure to guarantee him a comfortable, stress-free life: Condoms.
Yes, after a late-night tryst – which, it’s implied, involved Batman being date-raped – with Talia al Ghul (Morena Baccarin), the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (Giancarlo Esposito), the Caped Crusader went and made a sprog. Raised by Talia and Ra’s to be the eventual head of the League of Assassins, Damian Wayne (Stuart Allan) is an arrogant, worryingly competent little twerp who finds himself dumped unceremoniously in Batman’s lap after another of Ra’s students, Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson), assaults the League’s headquarters.
You’d never tell judging from the scores I’ve awarded the various entries into the Bruce Timm-shepherded DC Animated Originals catalogue, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: They’re starting to get a bit tedious.
This might be because I’ve watched a significant number of them back-to-back, only taking a brief hiatus to completely upend my life and relocate somewhere else – an endeavour I briefly detailed here – which clearly isn’t the intended way to consume films which are released 6-8 months apart. I once decided I was going to read Chuck Palahniuk’s entire bibliography, and after the second book, Survivor, an extraordinarily cynical meditation on isolated religious cults and fervent media frenzy, I felt so aggressively fed-up with contemporary society that I was tempted to disappear into the wilderness myself.
Surprising absolutely nobody, The Emoji Movie is an insulting travesty without a shred of wit, intelligence or worth; a shameless, unfunny slab of advertising that exists entirely to slobber all over the shiny corporate cock whose limp spurts of digitised ejaculate droop from the movie’s saccharine façade like the tears of all those parents who were dumb enough to buy tickets for their children to see it.
Having said that, it did surprise someone: Dan Hart, my very own colleague here, who insisted live on air that The Emoji Movie would secure a Tomatometer score of over 50%, and even bet ten pounds of Her Majesty’s finest sterling on the matter. I can’t get back the 90 minutes I spent watching this appalling aberration, but at least I’m up ten quid.