[REVIEW] Disenchantment Episode 4: Castle Party Massacre

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gkscotty
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[REVIEW] Disenchantment Episode 4: Castle Party Massacre

Post by gkscotty » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:41 pm

For review and discussion of Disenchantment episode 4: Castle Party Massacre
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It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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Re: [REVIEW] Disenchantment Episode 4: Castle Party Massacre

Post by gkscotty » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:13 pm

Spoiler
A fun episode. Interesting to see that there's definitely an ongoing plot here. Grade B.
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It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do bad things. - Jingo, Terry Pratchett
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Re: [REVIEW] Disenchantment Episode 4: Castle Party Massacre

Post by c_nordlander » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:57 pm

So, thanks to leeching Netflix off Steve (remember, ladies leech, whores use rouge), I got to see the first four episodes, so I might as well post my impressions here.

The first two episodes were okay. Nothing special: the quality fell somewhere between the first Shrek and someone's Flash animated fantasy parody series on Youtube. (I originally wrote "between the first Shrek and Bender's Game, but what has Disenchantment done to deserve such harshness?)

Bean and Elfo have potential as main characters, though I find them a bit bland so far: the drunken, somewhat amoral every(wo)man and the fugitive from a happy candy land who longs to see a more interesting world, respectively. And Elfo seems a little bit inconsistent: it feels like he's either a killjoy or overly idealistic depending on what would make him more annoying to the other characters. I do like that Bean isn't an idiot (much as I love Groening's animated work, it feels like The Simpsons popularised an idea that comedy protagonists have to be morons, which is rather limiting), but she's still flawed enough to not be boring. Also fun to have a female lead who's cute but not overly beautiful, what with the buck teeth (which actually become plot-important!).

My favourites of the major characters are Luci and Queen Oona. Luci isn't a deep character (literally), but his weird design and supernatural shenanigans (sleeping in a campfire, making out with a woman's shadow) make him memorable and convincingly otherworldly. He's clearly the Bender of the gang, but while Bender was sometimes called evil, he was really more impulse-driven and egoistic (wait, what if that's all there is to evil??), Luci is apparently actually evil and a servant of the darkness, even if he's not really doing that much wickedness. Let's see where that goes before I can say more. Another good thing about him is that he's inextricably linked to the overarching plot, adding pacing to the storyline. Oona has a great design and is hilarious in her utter eldritchness. Her character is established in her attempt to give Bean sex education in view of her impending marriage while being utterly ignorant of everything concerning human anatomy.

I wasn't bothered by some of the raunchy/gross-out humour: that stuff felt out of place in OFF and F'rama because it was only introduced late in a desperate bid for attention, but if this show wants to be like that from the start, so be it. That doesn't mean I'm happy about that earwax joke, though. That said, some of the lowbrow humour was funny, such as the old chancellor taking a bath with a young hunk who was never referred to again.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Everyone who's talked to me for more than five seconds knows that one of the few things I disliked about Futurama was the Fry/Leela relationship and its vaguely creepy "you just need to work hard enough and eventually the person you love will fall for you because you're the main character" (as opposed to "they may never fall for you because love isn't something you can switch on or off at will") message. But say what you like about the Fry/Leela romance, at least it was well paced, with several episodes of them just interacting and being friends before Fry developed a crush on her, and even more episodes before it became a major part of the plot. In this show, Elfo starts dropping unsubtle hints about his crush on Bean in episode 1. And then the show makes a friendzone joke. Dude. You've known each other for less than a day at that point: already being in the friendzone is pretty good going. What do you expect the girl to do, drop her pants as soon as she sees you? Oh well, I have no idea whether the show will actually have them end up as a couple. Not going to judge until I've seen where it goes.

So, the episodes. First one is kind of slapsticky with some funny moments. The second one was more memorable, with a clever stratagem on Bean's part and some funny twists.
Spoiler
Episode 3 was a massive step up. OK, Oona running around yelling felt a bit lowbrow, but everything else was good. Big Joe the exorcist is far and away my favourite minor character so far with his creepiness and hammy speeches.
Spoiler
The exorcism scene went on a bit, but it was still hilarious. Also, this episode *looked* nice, with lots of Gothic night scenes.

I liked episode 4 as well, though less than the previous one, if only due to the lack of Big Joe. That said, Chazz* was funny and creepy, and Sven the viking was given enough detail not to be generic. Bean throwing a party was funny, the entire concept of land-vikings is great, and
Spoiler

So, time to sum up, I guess? There's a bit more of a progressing plot than in The Simpsons, but less of a one than I was expecting from other people's comments. For example,
Spoiler
Dreamland feels rather generic so far, compared to Springfield and New New York, just basically "generic mediaeval Europe with all the bad stuff turned up to eleven". There are some atmospheric visuals, such as the ship journey in "For Whom the Pig Oinks" or the night-time scenes in "Princess of Darkness", but I'm not getting a great sense of place. That's the kind of thing that will come with time, though.

The CGI feels really obvious in places. Less so after the first two episodes (except in the volcano scene), or maybe I'm just getting used to it. It doesn't look *bad* as such, but I keep noticing it, which might not be a good sign.

Am liking the individualised opening credits.

So far, I'd say the humour is the weakest point. Yes, there are some good jokes, but others just feel plain old. Luci can't remember Bean's full name while possessing her... yes, it's funny, but The Simpsons Already Did It in 1991. There's a running joke where people assume Luci is a cat even though he clearly looks nothing like one, which is great in theory, but never becomes quite as hilarious as it could have been.

Random observations:

The subplot in episode 4 (EDIT: the "secret society" subplot, not the one about King Zøg) was creepily similar to the recent Venture Brothers episode "The Unicorn in Captivity". Not saying that one show ripped off the other (hell, I don't even know which one was produced first). Just made me do a double take, is all.

Weird that Bean's stepbrother, Oona's son, has had no lines and not even been named in four episodes. You'd think he'd be more important. I assume he will be soon, but still.

So, I may sound harsh, but I think this is about on the same quality level as Season 1 Futurama. When it's good, it's really good. I want to see more, but I'm not really desperate, either.

Best dialogue:
"The process may take months, even years."
"So we will have to get chairs."

EDIT: I feel the need to point out that Oona/Zapp Brannigan (or Troy McClure, I guess) is now my new crossover ship. Not shipping Big Joe with anyone, but I do totally want to see him as a witch-hunter in one of the Warhammer universes.


*Not the Mayor's aide
I said: Hey, you! Feed the machine!
Bring them all back down to their knees!
There's no time to waste, remind the slaves
They ain't gonna make it out alive today.
I said: Hey, you! Poison the well!
Watch it all burn, take them straight to hell!
He's got the whole world in his hands
It was nice to know ya
We've all been damned!
C'mon!


-- Poor Man's Poison, "Feed the Machine"
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