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Tag Archives: popcorn


Hey guys it’s Sam. There are just some cartoons out there that are so darn popular, they even get interpreted into other terms of media, like Mickey Mouse in Beauty and the Beast or something like that. And some of those people have permission all on their own, like it’s perfectly normal. Especially a specific group of praised puppetry known as the Muppets, created by the late Jim Henson, aka “the Muppeteer”. While they’ve been alive for almost six decades now, the Muppets have also been known [besides their show in the late 70s and early 80s] to star in film, twisting classics like The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol. But there’s been no Muppet mix-up quite like this. Taking you to the days where treasure hunting was practically everything, this Muppet movie from 1996 told you to “set sail for Muppet mayhem!” And Muppet mayhem it was.

You may know them as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, but in this modern twist they are Captain Abraham Smollett and Benjamina Gunn, prisoners of love with a past affiliation of being ex-fiancees.

Muppet Treasure Island (1996), a musical action-dramedy film, the fifth Muppet feature film so far, re-enacts Robert Louis Stevenson’s timeless Treasure Island that’s been with us for over a century. In this revamp, our Muppet pals are back on the attack, with Captain Smollett (Kermit) and his colleagues engaging in wide-open-sea warfare against a pack of ruthless pirates. They’re also headed toward the same goal: a chest of buried treasure, the movie being called Muppet Treasure Island. As with the previous film (A Muppet Christmas Carol), the more essential roles are ironically played by human beings, but they’ve always had a good reason to conceal it. The protagonist of the movie, also of the book, is an orphaned boy named Jim Hawkins who befriends fellow Muppets Rizzo the Rat and the Great Gonzo (he wasn’t Gonzo the Great as of 1996, I guess). If you’re familiar with movies full of shabby, singing seamen who all too easily drain the barrel of rum, then I guess this is gonna be old for you. If you’re familiar with movies full of wisecracking, singing puppets who all too easily make good money, then I guess this is gonna be old for you too.

It’s not that Muppet Treasure Island is bad…it’s just not great, either. I didn’t get completely sucked into the action as I hoped I would for a Muppet movie, and they had bad timing to balance between funny moments, serious moments, and those moments where Muppets unexpectedly break into song annoyingly. And if you see the pie chart above, these musical moments appear all too frequently. You’ll be laughing hysterically at one scene while being completely bored out by the next, but Muppet Treasure Island clearly isn’t the best Muppet movie…just not the worst.  On the bright side, the movie in general is a cheerful and energetic take on the classic, full of supposedly solid gags, though honestly less centric than the originals. But it also does tremendously well breaking the fourth wall more than once (“He’s dead? And this was supposed to be a kids movie!”)  And a Muppet movie should pay reasonable attention on each Muppet throughout the movie (but not as much as an ensemble movie would), not juggle scenes between man and Muppet. That’s just hard to pull off. The music isn’t half-bad, either. Check out these songs from the OST called “Boom Shakalaka” and “Cabin Fever”.

Chart, please.

 2 out of 5 – Educational value –  The movie is meant for amusement only, but it being a Treasure Island twist, it introduces characters and situations from the book. Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver are actually characters from the book, for instance. Also, words are defined like “helm” and “North Star.”

 3 1/2 out of 5 – Positive messages – This movie makes great use of the phrase “Everyone might not be who they say they are.” For example, Long John Silver appears friendly at first to young Hawkins, but this proves later on to be a scam. Hawkins who feels as if he has no family finds out that the conceptualization of family isn’t simply defined: a family can compose from people (or Muppets, or a “whatever” like Gonzo) who aren’t really affiliated with you, but love and protect you and have your best interests anyway.

3 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Young Hawkins, a centric character, is “honest, brave, and true” throughout the movie, and the key Muppet (Captain Smollett) is compassionate, trustworthy, and reliable. The overblown, comical baddies are greedy and destructive, but they do suffer the side-effects of their misbehavior.

3 3/4 out of 5 – Ease of view – Muppet Treasure Island, like I said, isn’t the best Muppet movie to date, nor is it as centric as past and future titles, but its humorous gags, catchy music, and cheerful energy make for a good, acceptable apology for its own flaws. And that’s all that matters in the Muppet world.

4 out of 5 – Violence – A surprising amount for a G-rated movie, whether pratfall, slapstick, or actual. Hawkins and his “family” are pursued by angry pirates throughout their home. Pirates are chased by the sparks of gunpowder before eventually having it set off, evoking an explosion with fiery consequences in Hawkins’ home. Gunnery and swordplay occur frequently. There is one minor seaman character named Dead Tom, who is basically a skeleton. Knife threats and torture/death referencing occur, as well as the appearance of wild tribal pigs. Smollett and Benjamina are tied by their feet and dangled precariously above the sea by their own will. Someone dies onscreen, eyes shut and mouth open. A Muppet named Mr. Errol pretends to be a ghost long after walking the plank, and this proves successful, making all the shipmates jump overboard in fear. It’s all exaggerated violence and, like with any kids movie, is meant to be more funny than scary.

 2 3/4 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Benjamina makes a slightly steamy comment to Long John. Smollett ends up grabbing and holding his dress-wearing ex-fiancee by the feet after her rope gives way above the precipice, putting him in a traumatizing stance, if you know what I mean. Play the cards right, I ain’t gonna tell you. One Muppet defines the sea as “the big, blue wet thing”. Hawkins is mistaken by a Muppet as being a girl.

1 out of 5 - Language – Salty language for salty pirates, of course. Slight sprinklings like “hell” and “damnation” occur from the pirates’ oral perspectives.

2 1/2 out of 5 – Product Placement – The Muppets are very famous titles in the cartoon world. Fourth-wall fracture occurs twice: “He’s dead? And this was supposed to be a kids movie!” and “…we couldn’t save the movie!”

3 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – Rowdy pirates are onscreen drinking in a tavern from pewter mugs. Long John Silver brings a couple servings of the best brandy around to toast to the voyage, but Smollett refuses to allow it, saying that there will be “no drinking on this ship.” Long John then proceeds to ensure that every last drop of alcohol is tossed overboard. One Muppet repeatedly fills their cup and dumps it out the window, converting between Long John’s attempts and Smollett’s refusal.

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Smarts: A- (4 points)

See-Again Ratio: A- (4 points)

Fun: A+ (5 points)

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Style: A- (4 points)

FINAL SCORE: 27 out of 30 (not bad, for a Muppet movie), 4 stars out of 5, 82% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: It may not shine as brightly as other titles, and it’s not as Muppet-centric, but Muppet Treasure Island is still a worthwhile entry full of great gags, music, and energy, despite it being arguably the most violent Muppet movie yet.

PRICE: Thy proclaim thee has a desire to possess a version made to be similar or identical to Muppet Treasure Island? Surely! Thou Kermit’s 50th Anniversary particular version will require the payment of $10 with 34% of thy savings. Thee used particular version will require the—y’know what, sounding like a gentlemen is really boring. The used copies of the movie are $7, while the new are $9. The regular version has a new price of $36, and a used one of $7. At Blockbuster, a weekly rental costs $5, no subscription required, with only about a day to wait.

IS THIS A POPCORN PICK?: Despite all I have pointed out, yes, I guess it truly is a popcorn pick.

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HOMEWORK TIME!

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REWARD: Smiley face! :D :D :D :D :D :D Enough of that, thanks for tuning into Sammwak, providing the cure to boredom since 2010, for 23 months, approximately 690 days, 16,560 minutes, 993,600 seconds, and and over 993 million milliseconds. And I’ve never been more honored to say so.

But also, Sammwak will be entering its 24th month of existence this April. And we all know 24 months = 2 years. Which means…Sammwak is having a birthday bash! That’s right, on [Wednesday,] April 11, the same day my first post was created (with 7 others), Sammwak will be turning two at about 6:24 pm that day. And to serve my homages to my blog and faithful, my birthday bash will release the same time. So tune in to Sammwak on April 11 at 6/5c for the biggest birthday bash on Earth! (Even bigger than mine.) But for now, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and/or good night.

- Sam ;)



Hey guys it’s Sam, and I don’t have time to watch a lot of movies on my own time, but I do watch a lot of movies as a class. And one of those was what our class finished in—what seems to be a questionable spot—Spanish class. So yes, the movie was in Spanish, but with English subtitles. And this is a movie I honestly question sometimes about the horrible cases of negativity it received (but then again, the director’s past movies have apparently been bad as well). It’s a rather “true blue” movie that splits two worlds conjoined by one adventure…this movie is The Smurfs, or Los Pitufos in Spanish.

The amount of blue in this movie is simply unbearable.

You may know The Smurfs (based off of the Belgian comic series of the same name, alongside its eponymous TV show) as the competition against Cowboys vs. Aliens, both of the movies releasing on the same day. You might remember how the true blue flick lost by just $0.8 million! You might remember how critics and audiences had different perspectives of the movie in negative and positive ways. But we’re here to learn about what had to say about it. Let’s start off with the story: Papa, Grouchy, Brainy, Clumsy, Gutsy, and Smurfette end up, in a pursuit from evil wizard Gargamel and also via vortex technology, in the human world (more specifically, the Big Apple) apart from their rightful Smurf home. They then must find a way to get back home while still avoiding Gargamel and they run into humans in the process. These humans are Patrick and Grace Winslow, a husband-and-wife couple with a basset hound named Elway. These two merge and learn the benefits of teamwork, leadership, and bravery on the Smurfs’ wild adventure.

The movie actually wasn’t half bad. I don’t know why critics had their usual lip to set on the movie, since it was polar opposite of what it critically received. The movie was inspiring, adventurous (you know I love a good cliffhanger and hero-gets-tortured and beat-up-the-bad-guy scene), epic, and actually quite funny. To add into that, the movie was also full of great messages like leadership and teamwork and putting others first. And for a movie about a bunch of three-apples-high little blue dwarfs running around the NYC looking like obnoxious Na’vi offspring dwarfs (no offense), that’s saying something.

 1 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  The movie is meant for amusement only, but the Smurfs do teach kids about teamwork, while Papa Smurf and the Winslows teach about the importance of putting family first.

 3 out of 5 – Positive messages – The Smurfs offer positive messages about cooperation, teamwork, and family togetherness. Clumsy Smurf’s transformation into a fearless hero in the end (spoiler alert) is a great lesson that none of us is just “one thing,” even if that’s what we’re most known for by our friends and family.

2 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Grace is kind and helpful, even though the Smurfs frighten her at first. Papa always thinks of his fellow Smurfs first, and then himself. The other Smurfs are optimistic and sweet, and Patrick even learns fatherly duties from Papa Smurf.

3 3/4 out of 5 – Ease of view – The Smurfs is a great movie that teaches kids about what it feels like to work as a team and put others before you, although not all the spots of the movie are bright ones. Despite getting the critical hammer lowered on it, and despite losing a rather fierce competition, The Smurfs is a cleverly plotted flick that mixes humor, adventure, and good messages all in one great combo.

4 out of 5 – Violence – Gallons of pratfall and cartoonish violence, but it does get more serious in the clutches of Gargamel, the film’s villain who is always trying to capture the Smurfs. Gargamel’s cat Azrael almost always gets thrown into danger’s path, with his master asking “Are you dead?” to see if he made it. The Smurfs and Gargamel end up in a cat-and-mouse pursuing in a shop, and they  find each other once more in the climax’s epic battle which results in some injuries, but blood and/or death is out of the question. Azrael coughs up a clump of Smurfette’s hair in a graphic style that may disturb some viewers. Papa Smurf “takes one for the team” and stays behind to be captured by Gargamel and have “essence” extracted from him in a rather torturous scene. Gargamel also uses wand magic to capture Smurfs and flash a spell into the sky Voldemort-style. He also gets hit by a bus, but does not die. A sequence that might frighten the very young occurs in which Gargamel terrorizes Smurf Village and destroys many upon many of Smurf homes. A vision predicts that Clumsy will mess everything up by failing to catch a wand.

 1 3/4 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – The Winslows show affection—holding hands, embracing, and finally kissing (twice)—in short-and-sweet manners. Smurfette stands over a subway grate Marilyn Manson-style, but her “brothers” are more interested in the breeze, one even flashing his butt as an “enchanted forest.” One Smurf flashes his boxers before jumping into the portal back home. Grace is pregnant.

2 out of 5 - Language – The word “smurf” is used frequently as a substitute for many other words (like how Finn and Jake use this same formula for the word “math”), the results including “Smurf off”, “You smurfin’ crossed the wrong smurf”, and “Smurf me”, among other clean words like “smurfabunga” and “hypersmurfilating”. Real live words that rank on the colorful-language list include “oh my God” and briefly “d-mn”.

3 1/2 out of 5 – Product Placement – It’s not a surprise that the consumerism levels are literally flowing through the roofs, with appearances like the Blue Man Group, NBC’s Community (it’s true), Samsung Blu-Ray, Apple Inc., M&M’s, Aerosmith Guitar Hero, CBGB, Bluetooths, FAO Schwarz, ALEX toys, Madame Alexander dolls, and references to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” (which is coincidental due to the fact that Katy provides the voice of Smurfette) and Braveheart.

0 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – This aspect is not featured.

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Smarts: B+ (3.5 points)

See-Again Ratio: A- (4 points)

Fun: A (4 points)

Entertainment: A (4 points)

Humor: A (4 points)

Style: B (3 points)

FINAL SCORE: 26.5 out of 30 (I did not see that coming), 3 stars out of 5, 77% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: It may not shine as brightly as advertised, but The Smurfs is a diverse movie with the humor, adventure, and positive messages to make it worthwhile, but it honestly can’t be saved from its sometimes blunt expectations.

PRICE: You sure you wanna go all true and all blue? See what I did there, I made the word blue. Anyway, The Smurfs costs $20 with a 44% savings addition. Too outrageous for you? $8.50 is the narrowed-down new price, while $7 is the used price. Take your pick, and if you can’t, go to Blockbuster where you can buy the movie new for $24, or have it for a solid 7 days with the weekly rental price of $5. And if you can’t accept that, well…I don’t think you can trust me anymore, can you?

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Like, rate, comment, and sing that Smurf song to the subscribe button until it explodes of annoyance overload! And stay tuned for more awesome stuff on Sammwak! Can you believe it? It’s already Valentine’s Day! <3 Sorry for a little late delay, but you know what that meant: more awesomeness!

- Sam



WARNING! Before proceeding any further on this post, please note that it contains recklessly speckled spoilers, so this post is labeled with a “SPOILER ALERT” seal. Proceed with known caution. And if we spoiled the movie for you, we are 0% responsible.

Hey guys it’s Sam, back with a review about not books, or games, but movies! If you’ve seen that I haven’t been releasing much movie reviews lately, raise your hand. ************* I bet everyone in the room just raised their hands. Anyway, I’m going to review a Disney classic that I’m lucky I got off of my “movies I’m embarrassed I haven’t seen yet” list. Why was the 20th century just that one collection of 100 years to start whipping up Disney classics? Snow White, Pinocchio, the list is just too big to name! Could this be a pick worth your popcorn? Let’s find out. Is it Beauty and the Beast? Nope. Peter Pan? No, not that classic. Cinderella? That’s just gross. Who couldn’t have guessed Pocahontas?

“If you kill him, you’ll have to kill me, too.”

- Pocahontas stands between her father and her true love.

Pocahontas was that super-old movie that became the first Disney movie to star a real historical character, Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, as well as the thirty-third Walt Disney Animated Classic. This movie was a 1995 flick that actually mixed true olden facts with humor, romance, and even sorrow. But hey—history was full of hard times. This movie was about indeed Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas who has been sentenced to marriage with the “extremely serious” Kocoum. She then finds love for the Englishman John Smith soon after he saves a young man’s life from a watery grave, who turns out to be from the people the Indians plan to attack. So it’s sort of like a Gnomeo and Juliet story. Or Alpha and Omega. This love gets accompanied by the hilarious acts of Percy the dog, Meeko the raccoon, and Flit the hummingbird. Seriously. My hats go off to these Three Stooges.

It’s a guilty pleasure kind of movie, since things slow down a bit throughout the movie. People break into song at unnecessary times without warning, the scene where Pocahontas talks with Grandmother “Tree Monster” Willow drags by unnecessarily, etc. etc. etc. Make sense? But still, it does teach you about Pocahontas, John Smith, and just how funny a menagerie of three completely different animals can make me laugh my shoes off. Pocahontas is pretty much a 81-minute social studies lesson. And what’s better? A soundtrack’s worth of amazing music, almost 30 tracks? Don’t mind if I do, folks!

 2 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  Some facts may be tattered over time and time again, but at least the movie gives a clear image of Pocahontas and John Smith, although they really did not find each other…it’s what was told in my social studies book. Historically inaccurate, yes. A clear telling of different stories, yes.

 2 out of 5 – Positive messages – Pocahontas has divine messages that educate John about the use of the word “savage”, assuming that Pocahontas’s people live simply for a lack of sophistication, when they really use communication in far more advance that John’s colleagues. The youngest of viewers might be confused with messages like, “A man is not a man unless he knows how to shoot.”

2 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Pocahontas is considered a headstrong daughter to her father, Chief Powhatan. He takes her words very seriously upon decisions, and the British leadership is not as kind or thoughtful.

3 out of 5 – Ease of view – Pocahontas is a good movie that suffers bland tempo decrease from time to time, with a hugely boring outcome once the credits roll. Good award-winning music? Yes. Romantically heartbreaking? Yes. All flash, no substance? Yessiree!

3 1/4 out of 5 – Violence – Two Native Americans get shot, one actually killed. Pocahontas’s father nearly kills John at the edge of a cliff if it hadn’t been for his daughter’s quick rescue. Much of the plot is about two warring sides: the British and the Indian natives. Expect to see sharpened and brandished knives, swords, muskets, and shootouts. There is one perilous scene with a ship on a stormy ocean where a man almost drowns. A song sang by the British ranting against savages, using phrases like “Their skin’s a hellish red”, “Dirty shrieking devils”, and “Killers at the core” will probably terrify younger audiences, and even audiences like me.

 2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Pocahontas and John share the main love of the movie, always taking time to look into each other’s eyes. The two even share passionate but steamy make-outs…twice! Another mature aspect is that the Pocahontas-John pair is quickly intimate with their body language.

1 out of 5 - Language – Lots of mean phrases like “dirty savages” and “filthy heathens” that are as mean as they get. The phrase “hellish” appears in one of the verses of “Savages” (“their skin’s a hellish red”), which somewhat says that H-E-double hockey sticks is a bad word.

3 1/2 out of 5 – Product Placement – Pocahontas is now the seventh-announced Disney Princess, whose brand reaches tall and wide. Expect to see branding on consumer’s merch, food, books, sites, and other media.

1 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – A ship scene features men filling their mugs with uncorked wine from a keg.

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Smarts: B- (3 points)

See-Again Ratio: B+ (3.5 points)

Fun: B+ (3.5 points)

Entertainment: A- (4 points)

Humor: A (4 points)

Style: A- (3.5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 21.5 out of 30 (ouch?), 3 stars out of 5, 70% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: It’s a beautiful story followed by impressive voice acting and realistic emotion, and it deserves its right as a Walt Disney Animated Classic, but Pocahontas takes way too long to progress from sequence to sequence, and that’s when the blandness begins to pour in…

RENT, BUY, OR SKIP?: Rent it. Please. If you’re probably 5 years old, you could skip this off the griddle. If you’re mature enough to maintain this violence, buy it for your own good. It’s a bit of everything, with different opinions.

PRICE: If you’re really willing to take the hit, Amazon sells the tenth-anniversary edition for an astounding 31 dollars. But hey—at least I didn’t fork over that huge $79 price. Some Instant Click method Amazon has sells the regular edition for a quick $15. The golden classic collection sells for 83 freaking dollars! But its used price of $30 doesn’t really improve things much. Blockbuster sells it for a weekly rental of $5.00. Pick your price and stay with it.

IS THIS A PICK WORTH YOUR POPCORN?: That’s the question you may have all been dying to hear the answer of. My answer is sorta, because it’s a great movie and all, but it’s terribly slow and bland, is its problem. Definitely a yes to those three animals, however.

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Well, that’s all for a Monday of Sammwak-ness! Come back next Monday for another sweet-as-sugar post here on Sammwak! And come back the Monday after that for our “2nd” annual Christmas special! Don’t miss it, or I’ll miss you when we celebrate hardcore!

Your friend,

Sam

p.s. Here’s our question of the day: These creepy things called Animorphs invented by a crazy lady from right here in Michigan named K.A. Applegate are now my most feared behemoths. What scares you the most? Respond in your comment below!



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