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Movie review: 'Perlimps' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Perlimps (trailer) is a Brazilian 2D animated film, the second from animator and director Alê Abreu. After seeing his earlier film, Boy and the World (O Menino e o Mundo, 2013), I really wanted to see what his next project would be like. I wasn't expecting to wait nine years!

Abreu's films definitely do not adhere to typical Hollywood narrative structures, veering towards the artsy without being self-indulgent. Boy and the World, for example, has no dialog at all, and conveys things entirely with sounds and visuals. (As well as being an abstract statement about growing up and the poverty that comes from the exploitation of labor.)

Perlimps is way more approachable in comparison. On the surface, judging by its trailer, I thought it was going to be another film about the devastation of the environment by humans. It does some of that, sure, but that's just surface stuff.

The rest of the film's surface is all in the trailer. Claé (an orange wolf) and Bruô (a blue bear) are secret agents from the opposing kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon, trying to find the Perlimps, mysterious entities who can help save the forest from the encroachment of man.

Stray - A simple and focused game in a world of games that go astray

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Stray.jpgOkay, this one may not technically be a “furry game”. If the late Fred Patten were to start this review off, he may have asked something along the lines that if you as a player moves around the world as a cat with a robot companion augmenting their ability to interpret the society around them, is that game actually anthropomorphic? Perhaps it’s more in line with transhumanism, but in this case more transfelinism, where your feline character is augmented by their technological companion.

And like Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the cat you play certainly didn’t ask for this.

Review: 'DC League of Super-Pets'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (5 votes)

DC League of Super-Pets poster Between the time I went to see DC League of Super-Pets and writing this, things got weird at Warner Bros. Two movies that were reportedly near completion were suddenly shelved. Most mainstream movie press outlets covered this as "What does this mean for this group of comic book superhero movies?". Even Flayrah's Newsbyte on the subject only mentioned Batgirl, despite the fact that Scoob! Holiday Haunt, an actual movie featuring anthropomorphic animals, rather than just one superhero in a pseudo-fursuit, was also cancelled.

And that has some bearing on my thoughts on this movie. Warner Animation Group is looking like it could be in trouble. Even though it appears that the studio will survive in some capacity, people are going to lose jobs in this area. So, it doesn't feel like a good time to take a look at their latest output, shrug, and say, "It was okay, I guess?"

DC League of Super-Pets was directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine, and stars Dwayne Johnson as Krypto, Superman's superpowered pet dog. When the evil guinea pig Lulu (voiced by Kate McKinnon) manages to depower Krypto, he must lead a team of newly-empowered shelter pets in order to rescue his kidnapped master.

It was okay, I guess?

Movie review: 'Luck' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Luck (teaser trailer) is a 2022 computer-animated movie released on August 5 on the Apple TV+ streaming service. It's the first animated film from Skydance, to be followed by Spellbound.

The story follows Sam, an extremely unlucky 18-year-old. After years in an orphanage and never being adopted, she moves into her first apartment. When she encounters a black cat, her luck suddenly changes, becoming good - and when it reverts to her previous bad luck, she follows the cat into the magical Land of Luck, the source of all luck in our world (both good and bad).

Most of the film revolves around Sam trying to regain luck - not for herself, but to help a younger girl at the orphanage - while a series of evasions and accidents escalate into circumstances that threaten the Land of Luck itself.

It's an ok film, with a really nice magical world, although the story has tons of holes if you think about it too much. Furry-wise, besides the cat, most of the characters are leprechauns. Here and there are some cartoony bunnies and pigs, plus a couple of other background creatures that you don't often see anthropomorphized (goats and root vegetables). And a large, pink, six-limbed dragoness, in charge of good luck. She's not in too many scenes, but she's definitely one of the highlights!

Interestingly, this film lacks a clear antagonist; most of the conflict is situational in nature. I wouldn't say this movie is a must-see, but it's fine to pass the time with, and I think it shows a lot of potential for what Skydance could make in the future, if they polish up their writing a bit.

(Spoilers and griping under this cut.)

The dragon

'Fuga: Melodies of Steel' - A game that tanks, but in a good way

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FUGA Did you ever want to play a game with animal people in a World War 2 inspired environment with characters and plots that have anime aesthetic as you drive a literal kaiju tank through the countryside and melt away your opponents in turn-based tactical combat? Well, that request is rather specific, but Fuga: Melodies of Steel is here to fill that void.

You control six youths who find themselves piloting a powerful weapon of unknown origin after they are forced to fight back against the Berman army that has been attacking their homeland of Gasco. As you journey, you'll find others to help along the way, develop friendships between the characters, and power up your machine of death as you move forth to free your captured relatives.

However, things may not be so simple. Aboard this tank there is also a mysterious voice on a radio driving the crew forward, and a strange ghost that seems to haunt the halls. Also this monstrous tank, named Taranis, has a dormant weapon that sleeps, awaiting a desperate hour to arise and unleash its devastation, but at a great cost.

If you like tactical RPG combat with good art direction and an orchestrated soundtrack, you'd do well to play this one. More details and minor spoilers found past the divider.

Review: 'Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank'

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

pawsoffury.jpg"You couldn't make a Mel Brooks movie today. I saw Blazing Saddles yesterday."
-SR-71, "Politically Correct"

With all the delayed releases for movies in the last couple of years, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank fits right in. Of course, it's been delayed a bit longer than most. It was originally supposed to come out in August of 2017. It's been juggled around distribution companies in the last five years, and somehow managed to avoid the straight-to-video route, or the more modern straight-to-streaming path that even Pixar couldn't avoid recently. It's managed to keep hope alive, and now it's finally hitting theaters, and with a plushy summer month release date, too.

Directed by the duo of theatrical feature first time directors Chris Bailey and Mark Koetsier along with veteran Rob Minkoff (with directing credits on The Lion King and Mr. Peabody and Sherman), the movie is set in a cartoon version of feudal Japan inhabited by anthropomorphic cats. When an evil local governor (voiced by Ricky Gervais) decides he wants to get rid of a small village, he finds out he is tasked with finding them a new samurai to help them fight off his own thugs. Thinking outside the box, he decides to send them a replacement samurai that will, by his very nature, offend the sensibilities of the townsfolk so much that he might be the last straw that finally destroys the town. He sends Hank (voiced by Michael Cera), a dog.

If this set up sounds familiar, it should. The movie is a funny animal take on the 1974 Mel Brooks Western spoof Blazing Saddles, but also for some reason set in Japan. Paws of Fury was originally even entitled Blazing Samurai. What the heck are you worried about? This is Edo Japan! You'll be able to sue him! Mel Brooks even shows up to voice the shogun, so he seems to be well aware of what they are doing and completely fine with it. Who says you can't make a Mel Brooks movie today?

Tunic - The hero's adventure reforged

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

TUNIC.jpgThis game is going to be tough to review, in essence the game’s strength only remains a strength the less I say about it and what makes it so good. I suppose the best way to approach it is how it displays on its surface. A fox protagonist in a green tunic raises his sword and blue shield to go on an adventure. Many would instantly connect this iconography to the Zelda franchise.

The game can be Zelda-like for sure, but it’s important to know that not all of Zelda’s Link’s outings are created equal. So the best way I can describe this is that it’s a Zelda-like, also known as a “Hero’s Adventure” game, that feels very much like the franchise before it went into a heavy handed narrative focus.

Streaming review: 'Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

'Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers' movie posterChip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers is the Disney+ streaming service's newest exclusive movie, directed by Akiva Schaffer and starring John Mulaney as the voice of Chip and Andy Samberg as Dale, the titular pair of cartoon chipmunks. The movie is mostly live action, but features cartoon characters interacting with this live action world. The movie's relationship with the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers animated television show is a bit complicated. This movie is not a sequel or reboot, but instead takes as its premise that the characters of that show were actors playing parts in a world where cartoons and humans coexist.

The obvious point of comparison is the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, made even more obvious by the fact that Roger Rabbit himself makes a small cameo in this movie. If anything, a few people have interpreted this as taking place in the same world as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, though I'd argue it's actually a bit more meta than that. Unless I'm getting this wrong, the Roger Rabbit that cameos here is another actor who played himself in a movie that is equally fictional in both our world and the world of this movie. Cartoon actors share their names with their characters, for whatever reason. But, the point is, the movie is very meta like that, and though it never explicitly acknowledges it's own fictionality, it's showbiz savvy characters are likely to treat their situation as if it were a movie.

Also like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a major appeal of the movie is nostalgia for its animated characters, both specifically for its titular duo, as well as a series of cameos and walk-ons from others. While this sort of thing can be fun, it can also come off as a cynical branding exercise. However, the movie manages to avoid the pitfalls of this sort of thing better than most.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Heartful, Artful, and another anthro 2021 Game that's wonderful

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Chicory.jpgWhile 2021 was a pretty crappy year overall, for anthro gaming titles it was certainly a renaissance. It also did an excellent job curb stomping my 2018 statements that visual novels seem to be the genre of choice for anthro game developers. In 2021 we had a Metroid-vania mixed with a brawler in Ursa Nominated FIST. We had an isometric top-down combat adventure in Ursa Nominated Death’s Door. Now we have a game that is a narrative and art focused 2D grid exploration and creativity game in Chircoy: A Colorful Tale. Unfortunately this one didn’t get a nomination, because I would not have complained if it did.

This game is interestingly one I would recommend to furries who are artists more than gamers. While it doesn’t require being an artist by any means, and traditional gamers would be able to complete the story just fine, the narrative has more reflection on the power of being a creative type and the stress of societal expectations that comes with artistic pursuits. Imposter syndrome, having people demand things from you for exposure, and other such tropes in the artist world are addressed through your character’s trials.

There is a full world to explore and color to your heart’s content and it's more about the journey than the conflict. But there is no art without some struggle. While your character named after your favorite dish may have started their adventure wanting to wield the magic brush of this world, heavy is the hand who wields.

To avoid spoilers stop reading at Art within the Art

Movie Review: 'The Bad Guys' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (8 votes)

The Bad GuysThe Bad Guys, a DreamWorks Animation film directed by Pierre Perifel, should be a slam dunk, right?

With a voice cast of personal favorites such as Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina and Craig Robinson? Full of anthropomorphic animal characters in a kid-friendly Tarantino take-off? And there's even a furry vixen in the mix? What, is it my birthday? (Actually, that's Saturday.) [Happy Birthday! --The editors]

Featuring a criminal gang of five predatory animals, meet Mr. Wolf (Rockwell), Mr. Snake (voiced by Marc Maron), Miss Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Shark (Robinson) and Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos).

After a television interview with the local governor, a vixen named Diane Foxington, Mr. Wolf is goaded into carrying out a ridiculously difficult heist. Which correspondingly goes ridiculously wrong. The gang are put in the care of Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), a guinea pig who tries to teach them how to be good guys.

Review: 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2'

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (9 votes)

sonicthehedgehog2.jpgSonic the Hedgehog 2 is that thing which, as a furry reviewer, I feel like I should run into more, but actually don’t. It is a perfectly acceptable kid’s movie. Which is a bit of a problem, because that makes it the worst type of movie to review. A movie that’s just okay. It’s fine. Alright, even.

I’m tempted to write more about how the Sonic the Hedgehog movies bookend the Covid-19 pandemic, which is just a coincidence, than this movie. I'll keep it short, but I want to make clear I’m a guy who reviews kid’s movies for adults, not a virologist, so while I may feel safe enough to go back to theaters, you do what you feel comfortable with.

It’s okay enough, and the Sonic franchise has a passionate enough fanbase, if you want to spend full price for a movie ticket, I won’t judge too much. But it’s not so good I don’t still recommend waiting until it hits streaming.

New Super Lucky's Tale - A casual but memorable 3D platformer

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

NSLT.jpgNew Lucky’s Tale is through and through a 3D Platformer. It’s odd to play a game that so easily fits into one game genre after playing so many hybrids, but this game is what it is and it does it well. Each level has four challenges to complete: finishing the level, finding the hidden page, collecting the hidden letters L-U-C-K-Y in one run, and collecting 100 paw coins in the level. The coins can be used to buy new clothes for your character as well.

This game has a very light difficulty. If you want to introduce someone to the 3D Platformer genre this would be a good game to do so. By the time I had finished with the game I had gained a life count in the 60s. I don’t remember any games that I was able to acquire a 1-man count that high on the first play through. Extra lives are plentiful, and even the most challenging content that comes post-credits, the difficulty never gets higher than maybe being three quarters the way through a modern Mario game like Odyssey.

But if you’re fine with a relaxing and atmospheric platformer with fun and memorable characters, this one will not disappoint.

'Turning Red': Does this make you uncomfortable?

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (12 votes)

Turning Red Does this sound familiar?

Pixar's newest movie is a woman-directed, coming-of-age film where a red-headed daughter finds herself rebelling against an overbearing mother during the course of an adventure involving human-to-animal transformation of a bear-like nature; that worked out so well for all involved last time.

Let's see: they replaced Brenda Chapman half-way through production, and her career still hasn't recovered; the movie was the first non-Cars Pixar movie to not reach a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes; and, most importantly, readers didn't like my review of it very much. Seriously, the best thing to come out of Brave was the line "She's from the other studio." in Ralph Breaks the Internet, which unfortunately was the best thing to come out of Ralph Breaks the Internet.

F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch - Part Brawler, Part Metroidvania, All Fur Fighting Fun

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

FIST.jpgWhen some Western furries hear about anthropomorphic content from China they may typically think of web pages that sell knock off fursuits, but F.I.S.T. is here and gives that stereotype a good solid punch in the face. This original property developed by the Eastern developer of Bilibili for the PlayStation (4 & 5) and PC pounds in the action and exploration of any player willing to fight on behalf of the furtizens being oppressed by the Legion’s mechanical beings.

Furtizens, by the way is not my word, but the game’s own neologism describing the furry citizens. It is such a simple word, and it amazes me that of all things a game would be the etymology of it and not from popularization from furry fans (visa vi: fursona). The story’s main conflict is on two rabbit characters: Ray and Cicero.

It is one of three furry games I played released in 2021, and is certainly going on my list of nominations for this year’s Ursa Major. It is a game of two main elements that have been blended together quite well. Combat is intimate and has the feel of a brawler game of old like a more polished Double Dragon, but it takes place in an open and explorable world where your weapons can double as traversal items, putting it in the Metroid space. So it’s part brawler and part metroidvania and it blends these two elements seamlessly.

Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Timely Appreciation

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (6 votes)

I was just going to sit on this particular entry until a later time, since Maus is a novel I rather grew up with, having discovered it in college. Current events have ratcheted my schedule up to today. See the details in Sonious' article.

As such, Maus is also the latest example in a long line of important literature to see censorship such as To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, or even The Lorax. Like any of those other examples, the motivation for this censorship grays in contrast to the social and cultural impact the work has.

The story re-imagines the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor, through the anthropomorphic template of Jewish mice suffering at the paws of SS cats. The involved plot revolves around main character Artie and his tight-knit neighborhood of survivors, as they reflect on the horrors of the past. Of course, the weight of these events is more than enough to color their relatively safe present. Much of the novel does indeed read like a Jewish Historical Society compendium, and does not skimp an iota on content of the dire situation they survived.