Do you like scary movies?
I do. A downside of reviewing movies for a furry site is that you don't get to review horror very much, and when you do, it kind of feels like you're stretching more than a little (not pseudo-apologizing for this one, though, it's awesome). What you end up reviewing mostly is movies whose intended audience is for kids, and though the primary audience of Flayrah seems to be adults, its sometimes important to acknowledge that there are limits to what can and can't be done in a lot of more mainstream productions featuring talking animals.
Which makes it even wierder to finally get to a wide-release horror movie featuring a bunch of characters the furry fandom has embraced (if e621 is any indication), and my most positive response is, "yes, but the kids'll love it!"
Five Night's At Freddy's is a (very soft) PG-13 horror movie, directed by Emma Tammi, and is an adaptation of the 2014 horror video game of the same name, created by Scott Cawthon, who is a credited writer on this movie. The premise features an abandoned "dinner and a puppet show" pizzeria and arcade haunted by ghosts who possess the old animatronic puppet attractions. Though given a theatrical release, it's also available on the Peacock streaming service.
Captain Laserhawk: Blood Dragon Remix is a Netflix animated series from Ubisoft Film & Television. The executive producer, Adi Shankar, previously worked on Castlevania, another Netflix animated series. The show is loosely based off of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. In fact, this show references multiple Ubisoft franchises, which has led to the show gaining interest online. Most of the notoriety that this show has been gathering has been its depiction of Ubisoft's former mascot, Rayman. I know seeing Rayman swear like a sailor piqued my interest for the show. Luckily, the show is a lot more than just showing beloved gaming mascots swear.
Lookouts is a visual novel Western adventure where you play as a one armed wolf scout for a notorious gang. The 2022 Ursa Major nominated game is available to play in browser, or pay what you want to download at itch.io. It features art by Coldoggo, music by Jamie, and ParanoidHark composing the story and programming.
The art seems to take inspiration from Northwest Indigenous styling to form simple and effective character silhouettes for use in the story. The form not only lends itself well to the Western format, it makes the artstyle instantly recognizable and stand out from its other visual novel peers.
Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a cute, scruffy little mutt who lives with his owner, Doug (Will Forte), who hates Reggie. Reggie was actually adopted by his ex-girlfriend, and Doug blames Reggie for her leaving him, despite the fact that he is generally a terrible person himself. He only kept Reggie around just to hurt her.
Doug continuously tries to get rid of Reggie, who believes the frequent trips far out into the country ending with a tennis ball thrown into a random field followed by Doug not waiting for him to bring it back is a game. Reggie seems not to realize that this is not fetch until, out of desperation, Doug leaves him in a city over two hours away. There, Reggie meets Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who finally is able to explain to him that what’s going on here is so not fetch. Reggie and his new friend, as well as Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) and Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher), decide to make the arduous trek back home, not to reunite Reggie with Doug as dog and master, but so Reggie can seek revenge for his mistreatment, specifically by biting Doug’s penis off.
The Great Wolf Pack ®: A Call to Adventure is a 45-minute 2D animated mini-movie produced in 2022 by Great Wolf Resorts, an American chain of family-friendly hotels featuring indoor waterparks. Most of the animation was outsourced to Mexico, directed by Chris Bailey and written by Kent Redeker. The IMDB page mentions an additional writer I couldn't find in the closing credits, M.J. Offen.
The movie is for young kids and can pretty much be skipped. There's a group of young animal friends in the forest: Violet the wolf and Sammy the squirrel (action girls), and Oliver (a raccoon tinkerer who always talks using the most loquacious and unnecessarily wordy vocabulary), who are joined by newcomer Wiley (the
coyote wolf), and finally Brinley, a young bear with self-confidence issues, who of course gets chosen as the Special One by a spoon-wielding spirit and is given the Magical Rock to guide them on their quest.
The two gold standard TMNT movies, at least for me, are the original live action version and the original animated version. Going the other way, I think the most recent live action movies, plus the third movie in the original trilogy, are a bit over-hated, but still weak. Meanwhile, the movie that most resembles the newest movie, Mutant Mayhem, at least in my reaction to it, is The Secret of the Ooze. They’re both fine, and a lot of fun, and I think a lot of both casual movie-goers and series fans will enjoy them. But they’re not my favorites in the series.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, directed by Jeff Rowe and Kyler Spears, is only the second animated feature for the Ninja Turtles (at least theatrically; various feature length spin-offs of the animated series have gone direct-to-video/streaming/television, but I’m ignoring them), which is surprising, because if there’s one franchise that feels like it just needs to be a cartoon, it’s this one.
The Amazing Maurice (trailer) is a 93-minute UK-Germany computer-animated film released in late 2022. Directed by Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann, the screenplay by Terry Rossio (Shrek, and many others) is an adaptation of the 2001 children's fantasy novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.
"One day, when he was naughty, Mr. Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and it was full of green lettuces. Mr. Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair."
-- from Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure
Set in Pratchett's Discworld comedic fantasy universe, The Amazing Maurice is the story of a cat (Maurice, voiced by Hugh Laurie) and a group of rats who have acquired speech and intelligence. Together they travel from town to town with a young human musician named Keith, running a pied piper scam. Maurice wants them to make as much money as possible, but the rats would like to move on and find a place where they can live in peace and harmony, finding inspiration in their revered text, Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure.
With the (very delayed) release of episode 8 of Helluva Boss to YouTube June 24, the first season of the show is now officially over. With eight episodes released, beginning Halloween 2020 (plus a pilot episode released November 25, 2019, which will be part of this ranking even if it's not officially part of this season), the show is the creation of Vivienne "Vivziepop" Medrano, and is produced by SpindleHorse Toons.
Set in a version of Hell, the main cast consists of Brandon Rogers as the titular "boss", imp Blitzø (the "o" is silent), leader of demonic assassination business Immediate Murder Professionals, or I.M.P.; Richard Steven Horvitz and Vivian Nixon as Moxxie and Millie, a married couple of imp employees; Erica Lindbeck as Loona, his hellhound adopted daughter and I.M.P.'s receptionist; and Bryce Pinkham as Stolas, a member of Hell's ruling class who serves as a sort of silent backer for I.M.P. while also becoming romantically entangled with Blitzø.
The show's second season is up to its fourth episode, out of twelve, and a third season has been confirmed. Currently, Helluva Boss is only available on YouTube, though completely for free; there are no rumors or even much desire for a physical media release.
The Transformers movies are hardly thought of as either particularly furry movies, or particularly good movies in general. Because of the latter, nobody has really argued the former, despite the fact that the Transformers are definitely anthropomorphic robots. If, as some furries argue, anthropomorphism by itself is of interest to furries, the near complete lack of said interest in this franchise from furries would seem to contradict that hypothesis.
But, as far as Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is concerned, some of the robots turn into animals instead of cars, as is traditional in the series. So, Acadamy Award winner Michelle Yeoh voices Airazor, a giant hawk robot, for instance. So that’s kind of neat.
Transformers: Rise of the Beast is the seventh film in the Transformers series of movies, and the second prequel movie not directed by Michael Bay, this one being directed by Steven Caple Jr. I have seen the first two of Bay’s movies, but tapped out after that.
I didn’t feel like I was missing much need to know information.
Only your letters, and, mostly, your support can bring it back for a third try ... now somewhere in the black holes of Sirius Major there lived a young boy by the name of Rocket Raccoon ... the fact that it really doesn’t make a lot of sense is part of its charm ... it basically retcons Rocket’s original mini-series out of existence, positing it as a false memory ... it’s a good time to be a fan of raccoons with rocket launchers ... Blam! Murdered you! ... I couldn’t find a picture of Rocket Raccoon wearing a party hat ... ooga chaka, ooga chaka, ooga ooga ooga chaka ... we just get a glimpse of his scarred bare back, which implies that his transformation was painful ... I am the fox you've been waiting for ... Rocket is fine. He's fine. He'll be fine. It's fine ... oh, I'm definitely putting copyrighted Avengers music in this ... at one point, the "snap" apparently reached out into the real world and even claimed their director, but it's okay, he got better ... now you’re just making it sad.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is the third and final instalment of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy of movies, featuring the adventures of the titular group of spacefaring superheroes. James Gunn returns to direct, and the movie stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star Lord), Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, and, last but certainly not least, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket.
Dissident Signals is a compilation of post-apocalyptic furry fiction published by FurPlanet and edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip-Wolf. The individual stories are (very) loosely linked by short paragraphs, written by Slip-Wolf, that relate all the stories as broadcasts intended for any survivors of the ruined world to use to understand what went wrong and how to rebuild. It's an idea which would've been more effective had all the stories been set in the same universe but which does serve as a nice bookending device.
There is a lot of variety in the stories themselves: while most go with a science fiction premise, others include aspects of magic or worlds that barely differ from our own. There are stories where humans and furries coexist (to a certain extent), worlds which are completely furred, and even one story where all the characters are human and the furry aspect comes in a very unique way. Despite all the variety in settings, ideas and originality, nearly all of them are excellently written, though most are quite bleak.
There are a few stories which really stood out to me and which I would like to highlight for various reasons. I will present them in the order in which they appear in the compilation.
Is In a Dog's World set in a dog's world? Well, yes and no. Humans have vanished from Earth, and several species are now "uplifted," gaining human-level intelligence and an anthropomorphic form. The story focuses on dogs and cats, which are now the main inhabitants of North America, and there, if you'll pardon the expression, dogs rule the roost.
Everywhere she looked in the world, it was dogs on top. Politicians, CEOs, the biggest celebrities, even the most innovative scientists -- they were all dogs.
Our main character, Katasha, is a tabby point Siamese cat, preparing for her high school prom and awaiting the results of her college application. She is not happy with the status that most cats have and wants to be a success. As dogs are successful, that is her aim: not to be a dog but to be a part of their world. She wishes to emulate the traits that dogs possess, wants to go to a predominantly dog college, and desires to date a dog.
The Adventures of Peter Gray (Written Dreams Publishing, $16.99) is the first novel by Nathan Hopp. It's told from the perspective of the titular Peter Gray, a young wolf living on the streets of an alternate history New York City in 1899. The Adventures of Peter Gray invites us to experience the city through the eyes of one who loves it and see how both it and Peter's life changes over the year.
I want to start off with the biggest weakness of this book [as a product]: the blurb. The problem with it is that it sets up misplaced expectations and reading then becomes frustrating when those expectations aren't met. The first paragraph of the blurb is fine, but then it makes the whole book sound like it's about Peter's quest for a family and the Newsies' strike. The Newsies' strike is introduced and finished in fewer than 30 pages; the book has 240.
Ignore the blurb and appreciate the book for what it is: a collection of adventures of a young, orphaned wolf in the big city. There is an overall arc to Peter's story, but it develops slowly and organically while many smaller incidents build up to the climax. It's a good structure that works, making the whole book very suitable for quickly picking up and reading without having to worry about forgetting what happened last time.
Nearly all the chapters are self-contained. We meet new characters that stay with us but each chapter has a distinct story. Maybe it's Peter having a picnic with his friends, maybe it's a time when he deals with bullies, or maybe he goes to visit the Statue of Liberty. The various adventures are entertaining and reminiscent of the carefree days as a child. However, that carefree feeling is tempered by the reality that Peter is an orphan, homeless, and broke.
A Wasteful Death is a cross between a murder mystery and a love story set in a city populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals. While the main characters are two Registered Investigators, sort of like police, this story is nothing like Zootopia. Instincts remain, and everyone in this world is acutely aware of the distinction between predator and prey.
The main characters are Marlot Blackclaw, a wolf, and Trembor Goldenmane, a lion. Both are Registered Investigators who, unusually for their territorial profession, work together. What exactly is a Registered Investigator? Their job is to investigate unclaimed kills and track down the person responsible. Unclaimed being the key word here.
In the world of A Wasteful Death, predation is legal and, with a few exceptions such as students or anyone in a hospital, everyone is a potential target. Once someone is killed, there is a tax that the hunter must pay which is scaled according the value the kill had to society. The tax on a homeless drunk would be low but the tax on a wealthy CEO like Aiden Spottedfur is massive, and it falls on Marlot and Trembor to find out who killed her.
Rise of the Patcheé is a self-published collection of three short stories by Eben Prentzler. The three stories are "Part 1 - The Scavenger Wars," "Part 2 - The Scribe’s Crystal" and "Part 3 - Touch of the Firstborn." They are all set in a fantasy world established in his earlier novel, Chronicles of Solo - Moments Away, and revolve around Mother, the title given to the leader of a Patcheé (African wild dog) pack.
When reviewing, or writing in general, it is good practice to keep your audience in mind. I see reviewing as generally having three potential audiences and functions: giving feedback to the author of a piece in order to help them improve, using a piece as an example to teach others what they should or should not do, and providing information to potential readers so that they can judge whether a piece is suitable for them. I feel that, in the furry fandom, all three of these functions overlap: authors are likely to read reviews by other furs, potential readers read the reviews and, with the fandom focused on creation, many of those readers are themselves aspiring authors. As such, I will talk about what does and does not work in this collection and why.