Halo 2

This Week: Halo 2

It’s 2 because now he can shoot 2 guns.

So, my memory is really kind of fuzzy on this one. I’m pretty sure I didn’t play this one until Halo 3 started getting advertised. But considering they were two different console generations, it just seems weird to me. But that is the narrative that I remember best, so that is what we’re going to go with.

I remember 2 came out and I just passed it by considering I hadn’t even finished CE yet. Then the map packs and stuff came out and I was kind of relieved I didn’t get tied up in that. I just remember a bunch of gamestops had that Halo 2 statue of Master Chief. It was cool, but I would have rather had the Tobey McGuire Spider-man.

Sorry Chief, of the two statues I couldn’t afford, I chose not to buy Spider-man over not buying you.

One of the things I do remember was seeing the “What if you miss?” Trailer. At the time, I wasn’t too invested in reading the text that was popping up too quick to read and just enjoyed the trailer where he jumps out of ship.

And the only reason this stuck with me is when this same scene happens, it is accompanied by, “I’m going to give the Covenant back their Bomb.” Which was just awesome. Watching the trailer now, having played most of the games, the opening text means more. At the time I originally saw it, I hadn’t even finished the first game. So it was cool seeing a trailer for a sequel game to the one I hadn’t finished. It is always nice knowing you are falling further and further behind.

Assassins Creed also taunts me, at least that has a new hero each time and is quite good at hiding what happened the previous game. Halo 2’s trailer spoils the hell out of Halo: CE.

But like I said, 3 paragraphs ago, I didn’t bother reading, so yeah, jokes on you.

Also not knowing what they spoiled helped.

I did play Halo 2 once around the time it came out. I was at my local gaming store and they had Halo 2 in the back room. I hopped on one of the Co-op controllers and played about five minutes. Probably until I died. Like usual.

When I heard Halo 3 was on the horizon, I decided to play catch up. So getting a very satisfying wrap up in Halo: CE with everyone dead except Chief and Cortana, I loaded up Halo 2.

One thing I do remember people telling me was that the ending sucked in Halo 2. But I ignored that, because obviously they aren’t me. I have previously held that I enjoy things that other people don’t. (See previous entry mentioning Shadow The Hedgehog) I’m happy that I just finished a game while other people want a deep meaningful ending. Again, this was also back when I didn’t have the same critical mindset that I do now.

Well, after playing it, I get it. Story wise it’s fine, and it is definitely neat to see more of the story from the point of view of The Arbiter.

No, not that one.

It’s a fun campaign, but my biggest problem is the ending. I’ve always held it as one of the weaker entries for me because the ending left a poor taste in my mouth.

There are essentially two final levels in Halo 2. One as Master Chief and the other as The Arbiter. In Master Chief’s final level you finish off a prophet and then hitch a ride on a ship headed for Earth. Then you switch to The Arbiter and finish off Tartarus. After doing that, we cut back to Master Chief coming back to Earth to Finish the Fight! And it is over.

It wasn’t as bad for me as others. I finished Halo 2 a few months before Halo 3 came out. I already had a release date and pre-order set up and everything. But there were 3 years and console generation between Halo 2 and Halo 3. Also, in what universe do we want to end on The Arbiter?!? Me and my house, we serve The Master Chief!

Your Assault Rifle and RPG Launcher, they comfort me.

Yeah, if they gave us one more level, or at least finished on a Master Chief level, I think it might have been better. There was just a strong, “What? That’s it?” feeling to that ending. So for me, Halo 2 was always the forgotten middle child of the original trilogy. Not even a warthog run to finish it off.

So just like with Halo:CE, I picked it up again for the quarantine with the Master Chief Collection.

In anticipation of Halo 5, they completely redid the graphics and cut scenes of Halo 2. And oh GOD IS IT PRETTY!

SO
DAMN
PRETTY
Well. . . most of it, anyway.

Yeah, I forgot how fantastic certain scenes in this game were. Every cut scene was amazing and I spent a lot of the replay wondering, “Did we do this in the original?” I honestly don’t recall the fight with the heretic in the first Arbiter mission. But then again, it has been over a decade since the last time I played Halo 2.

However, when I got to the end of Halo 2, I still had the same reminder of, “oh yeah, this is why I didn’t like it.” It just wasn’t a satisfying ending.

I think a lot of people really loved Halo 2 because the multiplayer opened up so many more options with the pick ups and the ability to duel wield weapons, but considering I never really played much multiplayer, it didn’t do a lot for me.

I still love the story and the campaign, but it feels incomplete. Like a teaser for a bigger story. At the end of Halo: CE, you destroyed a ring and closed the chapter. In Halo 2, it feels like you stopped short of the final mission. It’s not like Empire Strikes Back or Endgame where you end in failure and have to find a way back in the next movie. It would be like in Star Wars: A New Hope, cutting off as everyone is approaching Yavin 4.

And ROLL CREDITS!

Yeah, Halo 2 was my first game of major story disappointment. I wanted to enjoy it despite the naysayers, but it just left me wanting.

Fortunately, my wait wasn’t long.

Couldn’t find an Anniversary version.

Next Week: We finish the Fight with Halo 3!

Halo: Combat Evolved

This Week: Halo: Combat Evolved

Yeah, I played the original, so I can use the original box art. As long as Bungie doesn’t sue.

So, am I video game blog now?

No, I am not so broadly well versed in video game lore and history that I think I could do an effective gaming site. I leave that to the pandas.

However, I did want to discuss my history with a few franchises of my past and how I am revisiting them now. Let’s begin with the one that will leave me in financial ruin every time they decide to launch a new console based around him.

So, since the dawn of time, I have loved helmets. Power Rangers, Knights, the Guards in Judge Dredd, Motorcycle helmets, Iron Man, the whole shebang. I particularly preferred ones that covered the whole face. Sorry RoboCop and Dredd.

There is probably some psychological thing in there about me preferring the hero to be an every man so I can self insert myself into that role, but nah, I just think helmets are cool.

So when I got the Xbox, I’m not one hundred percent sure how quickly I got Halo. It might have been bundled in with it, or my parents might have bought it later, but I’m pretty sure I got it fairly quickly.

Oh and I can tell you right now, when I started playing that bad boy I didn’t stop until I got to the second level and put the controller down for like several years.

I kid you not, Halo 2 had already been out for a while before I ended up finishing Halo: CE.

For one, I never was a big fan of First Person Shooters (FPSs). I played Goldeneye on the N64 and got pretty good at setting traps for my friends with a room FILLED with proximity mines, and I finished the game a couple times, but games like Doom, Hexen, Turok, and Duke Nukem all got played for a little bit, but eventually I got killed and gave up.

Finishing games wasn’t a conditioned past time. I died way too often to think games could be finished or had a story. Sonic, Mario, and Tetris all taught me to play the beginning, die, then play the beginning again. The N64 tried to fix me of this with finishing Super Mario 64, Goldeneye, and StarFox, but these were outliers, right?

Also, I was never a multiplayer guy. I didn’t bring my Xbox over to other people’s houses and link up to do a LAN party. That requires, like, friends. Which in the early 2000’s I did not have.

(Oh so you had friends in the late 2000’s?) Shut up.

So I played alone. I played Halo for the story instead of getting my butt kicked in Multiplayer ALL the time.

I actually think I might have had the 360 and been awaiting the release of Halo 3 when I finally dusted off Halo: Combat Evolved. I think I had to relearn how to hold the massive controller after getting used to holding the 360 controller.

Not to brag, but I beat the whole game on Easy.

That’s a lie, I stopped counting after 87.

I never cared much for the multiplayer. I’ve always understood and accepted that I am a low quality wretch of a gamer. Everyone else out there is much more dedicated and have finely honed their skills to become masters of death. I’ve at best developed the habit of shooting until I run out of ammo and then throw a hand grenade to buy time to reload.

I can snipe the hell out of you if you have put down your controller to go make a hotpocket.

So in 2015 when I moved back into my parents house for 2 weeks 4 months while trying to buy a house, I got the Master Chief Collection and decided to try my hand at Legendary.

Interestingly enough, I made it to roughly the same spot I died at the first time I played Halo on easy. I beat the first level, then I made it to the base first base on Halo and kept dying horribly. All the marines I was trying to save were long dead. I eventually was just not having fun and decided to try and decrease the difficulty. I found out I would have to restart the level/game and just went back to Dark Souls.

Because I wasn’t having fun dying, if you recall.

After I moved again, I couldn’t find my Master Chief Collection at all. I kept looking at prices for a new disc, but they weren’t low enough for me to justify buying it again. So for several years I just carried around my empty case and watched as more news about Halo games came out and I still wasn’t ready to pick it back up again.

Then everything changed when the Covid-19 attacked.

I decided I wanted to finally push through my block of playing Halo. I decided to ask my dad if he found the disc and even prepared to buy the Master Chief Collection did not resurface.

Then I opened my old Dark Souls case and guess what was inside?

As you should expect from opening Dark Souls, but no.

There it was, my Master Chief Collection. So I called off the search that I initiated twenty minutes earlier and loaded up Halo:CE.

I switched back to my comfortable mode that makes me feel like a god and only died maybe a dozen times the entire playthrough. Most of them coming from that damn Warthog run at the end of the game.

It was really neat to see the graphics upgrade between the original Halo:CE and the Anniversary edition.

I never really took to the Covenant Weapons. Except for the Ghost. I like just driving around and shooting everything to death. The Scorpion tank is fine for just blowing everything up, don’t care for the warthog because you either drive or shoot, not both. Except when you stop, get out, shoot everything for 10 minutes, then move on.

Banshees I have yet to fly effectively across any of the games. Just like the Warthog I have to choose between flying effectively or shooting things to death.

Favorite weapon would probably be the Sniper Rifle when I am in a situation where I can snipe everybody and then move on. However when I am running and gunning, I like the Shotgun and Assault Rifle combo. Only downside is how few shots the Shotgun carries and how long it takes to fully reload.

Now, it is really difficult for me to judge video game stories. Hell, most movies I judged as “good” as long as I finished them. It wasn’t until I started watching online reviews that I actually decided North maybe wasn’t the masterpiece I thought it was simply because I saw the credits.

However, games are a bit different. If you go through the effort of finishing the game, it means you probably enjoyed it enough not to give up. Doesn’t necessarily mean the story is good, but at least the gameplay is enough to keep you interested enough to finish. Am I a good judge of whether a video game story is good?

Well, I enjoyed Shadow the Hedgehog’s story. All 50 of them. So if you want to use that as your-

NO! WAIT! SORRY! I CAN CHANGE!

Nah, there were some things I found weird about Shadow, but I did enjoy the game. But that is for another review. I enjoyed the characters and the overall mythos of the Halo universe enough to keep playing it across 9 soon to be 10 games, 2 movies, 2 mini-series, and 3 books. Is it a good story? I’ll let the more snobbish critics decide, but I enjoy it.

Halo: Combat Evolved is the starting point of a great series. Although I was mainly in for the story rather than the multiplayer madness that everyone else was in for, it was a fun ride.

Yeah, I wasn’t legendary, so no alien groping for me.

Next Week: Halo 2. We get to use 2 GUNS AT ONCE!

“My Console History” or “I Survived Captain Trips and All I got was this Lousy T-Shirt”

When I was a young Warthog, I had the original Nintendo.

I had a handful of games that I don’t remember. I think at one point I had a Jaws game that we rented.
Then we got the Sega Genesis. I played Sonic 1,2, and 3. Sonic Pinball, Mortal Kombat, and whatever I rented from our local video store, Video City was one, maybe Video Zone the other? Then the Blockbuster attacked. We still went to the other stores more often, because Blockbuster was expensive, but eventually we converted.

Anywho, because we had the Sega Genesis, we skipped the Super Nintendo. For the time at least. We even upgraded the Sega Genesis by adding the Sega CD attachment. We didn’t play a lot of games on it, my favorite was this space shooter game where your ship would transform into a gundam like robot.

We got the N64 for Christmas one year and it was my favorite console.

Actually, due to the ad campaigns, I thought the old Super Nintendos were just going to autoupgrade to N64s, because I was stupid. My sister’s friend had a Super Nintendo and I was convinced that when the N64 released, that her system turned into it. I wasn’t convinced this wasn’t the case until I eventually saw it was still the same system.

Anywho, we got the N64 and I immediately delved into Mario 64, Goldeneye, Shadows of the Empire, StarFox 64, and the Mortal Kombat Trilogy. I was kinda miffed that I kept seeing characters in the Mortal Kombat Player’s guide that was Playstation only.

Because I wanted to play some Super Nintendo games I never got to play because we chose the Sega Genesis side, my parents got me a Super Nintendo years after the N64 had come out. I played a few games on it, like Earthbound, but other than that, I don’t remember much.

As I entered middle school, Xbox and Playstation 2 were coming out. I asked for one of them for Christmas. What I also wanted was a DVD player so I could watch DVDs in my room, but I didn’t want to straight up ask for that. So looking at the two options, I figured I would go with the PS2, because that included a DVD player built in without having to buy anything special to make the dvd player work. The Xbox required you to buy an extra remote.

I don’t know why it would have been beyond the pale or suspicious that I wanted a DVD player in my room, but that’s where my head was for some reason.

Well, Christmas came and I had no idea what my dad had chosen. I was hoping for a PS2 and opened the wrapping paper to find an Xbox. But low and behold, it was also bundled with the DVD remote, so VICTORY ACHIEVED!

As a result, my Dad set me down the path of the Xbox. I played Halo, Simpsons Hit and Run, Altered Echo, Justice League Heroes, and a whole slew of other original games I’ve forgotten about. Everyone complained about the size of the controllers, but because I already had fairly large hands, it was no problem for me. Everyone else immediately switched over to the smaller controllers when they came out, but I remained faithful to the old school controllers until The 360 came out.

My dad ended up getting a used Playstation and Playstation 2 a year or so before the PS3 came out. I only remember playing Megaman Adventures 2 on the original Playstation. I played exactly 5 minute of Final Fantasy 7 before I realized it was a turn based RPG and I noped the hell out.

The only game I remember playing on my Dad’s PS2 before I moved out was a Yu-Gi-Oh game where it was reenacting the War of Roses.

Then I went to college and ended up buying an Xbox 360. I actually bought a 360 game long before I ever had the system. I bought Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Actually the game I was most excited to play on the 360 was Dead Rising. It was what convinced me to get a 360. And I played it once. Died super quickly, and never played it again.

When the PS3 came out, I wait in line for 3 days to buy it. I actually was working at the store I was buying it from. I managed to get my friends and family to help sit in line for me while I was working. I saw people starting to sit in line and then I parked a chair and waited with everyone else. So I bought the top of the line PS3 and IMMEDIATELY sold it on Ebay.

Someone offered me $1200 cash on the spot for it, but I wanted to sell it for more. I actually had it bidding with a Buy It Now option for $10000. One person actually clicked buy it now, but backed out of the sale. I only sold it for about 1,000.

I used that money to buy a big screen for my 360. I also ended up buying a PS2 in order to play one thing and one thing only. The Devil May Cry series. I borrowed my dad’s PS2, but I couldn’t get it to work, so I bought the PS2 Slim.

I also ended up buying a later version of the PS3, but I never really played any games on it. I played God of War a little on it as well as Demon Souls, but it just sat there.

I had a gamecube I never played, a Wii I barely played, a Wii U I played even less, and now I switch I played Breath of the Wild and Pokemon Sword on, but Nintendo has been a backburner for the console wars for me.

Then came the console war of Xbox One VS PS4.

I decided early on that my loyalty was with the Xbox line. I won a $1000 visa gift card through Spectrum and decided to buy an Xbox One. I was excited for a game called Scalebound that looked fantastic. Yes, the PS4 had several games that I wanted to play, but I was sold on this one.

Scalebound went through delay after delay and eventually canceled. I regretted buying my Xbox One. Bloodborne was about to come out and I still had no PS4 to play it on and there were almost no other games I was interested in playing on the Xbox One that were exclusive. I felt like I backed the wrong horse.

So I bought my copy of Bloodborne and had no PS4 on which to play. I decided I would pre-order a PS4 that was coming out. I decided to get the Arkham Knight PS4. It was silver and had the bat symbol on it. It also allowed me to pay in installments rather than all at once.

Then I got a girlfriend right about the same time as the console comes out. And I never play it. I mean seriously, I have had this console for 5 years and I think I played about half an hour on it total. And that half hour was on Elder Scrolls online. What a freaking WASTE!

So now the PS5 and Xbox Series X have both been announced.

I have seen trailer after trailer for PS5 exclusives. Godfall, Demon Souls Remastered, and Spider-man: Miles Morales! These all look great!

Once again I’m looking at the Xbox lineup and see almost nothing.

Almost. . .

I can almost hear the music from this gif.

I keep thinking this will be a tough decision, considering how I felt buyers remorse before, but having an at launch Halo title makes this a no brainer.

Make mine Marv- I mean Xbox!

And honestly, I have bought 3 generations of Playstation and the most playtime I spent on ANY of them was the damn PS2 with Devil May Cry, which I have on Xbox now. I gotta learn the lesson that I just don’t play Playstation at SOME point!

And it will probably be the PS6, because I will definitely pick up the PS5 sooner or later. Demon Souls is calling my damn name!

So first post of the new year, just 6 months late. Isn’t even about movies, just my history of consoles. I’ll try to get back to movie reviews here soon. Still got Stephen King and Christmas to finish.

My bad.

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: The Polar Express

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

7. The Polar Express

When this movie came out, I originally didn’t want anything to do with it. The animation looked bad, and I was much more into The Incredibles(which I saw 3-4 times in theaters). I went years without seeing it until 2012 when I was strongly gripped in the Christmas spirit and more willing to enjoy bad movies for the sake of trashing them.

It actually is fairly heartwarming and can hit the spot if you are in the mood for Christmas joy. And the animation is pretty good, as long as you only pay attention to the main characters. If you look at say, the waiters on the train serving Hot Chocolate, you see the deadfaced soulless faces of the damned, forced to live on the train for all eternity for sins of a most egregious nature.

The story follows a young boy known only as boy. Played by Tom Hanks. Yeah, I kid you not, they have his voice altered to sound like a young boy. Why can’t we have voice actors do that ALL the time instead of having women voice them all the time? Oh right. Money.

Yeah, Tom Hanks gets around in this movie. Most of them are obvious, but it wasn’t until I was watching Tom Hanks do the motion capture that I realized he was also playing the boy.

Well, Boy is having doubts about there even being a Santa Claus. He doesn’t send a letter to Santa and his parents are worried about him.

The kid from The Santa Clause and this kid need to swap families. It would divert the entire plot of both movies.

As Boy is about to slip off to dreamland, a Train pulls up outside and he goes out to investigate. Tom Hanks the Conductor greets Tom Hanks the Boy and invites him onto the Polar Express.

The Boy continues to be dubious, but decides to get on. They make another stop to pick up the only kid with a name in this movie, Billy.

Billy annoys me. Apparently, Christmas just “never works out for him.” Which I understand. However, he continuously excludes himself from everything. He almost decides to not get on the Polar Express except at the LAST minute, causing the whole train to come to a screeching halt. Then he decides to sit in the back of the train away from everybody.

Being antisocial myself, I get that one wholeheartedly.

Later he decides he won’t even get off the train to see Santa Claus. Until Boy and Girl convince him to go(before going into an entirely different adventure). He finally sees that he WILL be getting a present, but he refuses to let the present go, causing further mayhem and padding the movie out further.

I just find him annoying in his pessimism.

So going back to after they pick Billy up, the train conductor has the waitstaff of the damned serve hot chocolate to the children onboard. It is a fun little song and dance, but the song gets kind of annoying without the visuals.

As disturbing as those visuals can be. . .

The Girl notices that Billy didn’t get any Hot Chocolate, so her and the Boy take him back some. This is where we get the best song of the movie, “When Christmas Comes to Town.” It’s a nice duet between The Girl and Billy where The Girl talks about all the magical moments she experiences during Christmas and Billy lamenting all the things he has missed out on Christmas.

Through a weird series of events, the Boy somehow loses the Girl’s ticket and The Conductor seems like he is going to throw her from the train. The ticket goes on its own adventure before returning to the Boy. He decides to climb on top of the train to fight terrorists to return the ticket.

While climbing on the train, the Boy meets Hobo Tom Hanks. Hobo Tom Hanks is the voice of doubt in the Boy. But he also helps the Boy get to the front of the train. Just in time, because Thanos just snapped his fingers and Hobo Tom Hanks isn’t feeling very well.

The train nearly runs into a pack of caribou, then has to go ice skating to get back on course. They finally make it to the North Pole. Once there, Boy, Girl, and Billy all end up taking an unsupervised back lot tour of the toy factory and due to Billy’s clinginess, get caught up in Santa’s sack.

The elves who are loading the sack onto the sleigh manage to get them out and the children join the others waiting for Santa.

This last 15 minutes is honestly the heart of the movie. And honestly that is how most good holiday movies are made. The first 80% of the movie can honestly be absolutely bonkers insanity, but it is usually in that last 20% that the feeling of the season takes over and usually where the good movies separate from the bad.

The Boy sees the bells of Santa’s Sleigh being brought out and everyone can hear them except for him. Everyone is saying they are the greatest sound they ever heard, but he hears nothing. Then Santa steps out, but the Boy can’t get a good look at him due to the crowd. A bell falls off the sleigh and rolls to the Boy. He shakes it and hears. . . nothing.

Finally, the Boy chooses to believe and when he shakes the bell again, a ringing sound comes out. And Santa is right behind him.

Santa chooses the Boy as the one to receive the first present and the Boy asks for the bell. After Santa flies away, the children return to the Polar Express. Once back on the Train, the Boy realizes the bell fell out of the hole in his pocket. All the children are returned home.

The next morning, the Boy finds a present under the tree from Santa containing the missing bell. The parents can’t hear it, but the Boy and his sister can. The narrator tells how the bell fell silent for everyone, even his sister, except for him.

I honestly recommend this film to anyone who hasn’t seen it. If you get the chance to see it in theaters in 3-D, even better. Like I said, The visuals are amazing as long as you stick to the main characters and not the background stuff.

Next Time: An animated Movie where you should look at EVERYTHING. . . though technically an easter movie.

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: Mrs. Santa Claus

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

OH DEAR GOD NOT THAT ONE!

THIS one!

8. Mrs. Santa Claus

I’m not sure how many people are aware this movie even exists. For me the most memorable song was where the evil toy factory owner was singing about how the toys only needed to last until Christmas.

Obviously back before return policies.

Angela Lansbury plays Mrs. Santa Claus. And of course she is the epitome of grandmotherly grace. She is so heartwarming I would let her bake me into a pie and feel good about it.

We seriously need to have Angela Lansbury and Betty White do a buddy cop film before one of them dies.

Mrs. Clause(DAMNIT)-Claus appears to be the soul behind the toyshop in the North Pole. She is the one the elves credit with keeping everything perfect. However, she feels neglected and that she could be doing more. Santa is busy reading all the letters because they are addressed to him and he doesn’t want to shortchange the writer by delegating it to someone else.

Mrs. Claus suggests that he take a different route this Christmas in order to save time. Santa ignores her because he’s busy. So Mrs. Claus steals the reindeer and sleigh and decides to test run her route.

She ends up crash landing in Florida and getting help from the Ice Cream Bunny New York in year 1910. One of the reindeer sprains its leg and she has to stay in New York for one week while it heals. Oh and this is a week before Christmas.

So Mrs. Clause(F***!)-Claus decides to go under the Pseudonym Mrs. North which will thankfully be easier to not misspell in this review.

She ends up working in a Toy Shop called Tavish Toys run by a man who looks a LOT like Hugh Laurie, but in fact played Bob in the Dresden Files TV series. He sings a song mirroring the opening Mrs. Santa Claus song where instead of the elves singing her praises, he sings about the toys will break immediately.

Mrs. North is staying with Tzeitel from Fiddler on a Roof and her Suffragette daughter, Sadie. Mrs. North assists Sadie with her cause, and Sadie in turn gives advice on how to deal with Tavish.

Throughout the movie, they break into several musical numbers. No other real commentary.

Back in the North Pole, Santa has noticed that the Hot Cocoa tastes bad. This results in him finally noticing that Mrs. Claus has been gone for two days. This results in him getting depressed. The elves try and break him out of it with a surprise dance number, but it just results in a lot of awkward stares.

Returning to New York, Mrs. North decides to enact a slow down at Tavish toys. They manage to stick together and route Tavish’s threats. For about 30 seconds. Then forces them to work Christmas day. Then they sell out Mrs. North immediately. She gets fired.

Mrs. North then decides to not only steal the plot from Mary Poppins but Newsies as well. She inspires all the children in New York to Strike! Sadly no awesome strike song, but I can imagine it being cut in later. Tavish is seen fuming.

Mrs. North goes to the Policeman’s ball where she is dubbed “The Mrs. Santa Claus of Avenue A.” Throughout the movie she nudged a few couples together, but now she is finally missing her Mr. Santa Claus. So she decides it is time to go home, now that the reindeer is all better.

But the Reindeer ARE GONE! Mr. Tavish has stolen them, after detailing out how he figured out Mrs. North’s TRUE IDENTITY! Dastardly clever of him, even to admit Santa is real. Apparently his brother stole his teddy bear as a child and thus he hated the Holiday ever since.

Mrs. North convinces him to give up evil and he agrees. CHRISTMAS IS SAVED! Mrs. Claus makes it back to North Pole. Santa decides to let Mrs. Claus join in on the sleigh ride this year.

Honestly, it is a nice little movie that I recommend most people check out.

Next Time: Animated Musical next. . .

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: The Muppet Christmas Carol

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol

There are dozens of Christmas Carol adaptations, and this one is my favorite. It has songs, it has double the Marley’s, Michael Caine as Scrooge, and of course MUPPETS!

I do enjoy the fact they make new muppets for the spirits instead of converting existing characters into the spirits(such as the Micky Mouse version).

Honestly, the thing that clinches this for me is the songs. My favorite being “Marley and Marley.”

Of course, Michael Caine doesn’t do the best job singing, but what Caine ya do?

Sorry, I had to.

So my runners up for A Christmas Carol are the George C Scott version and the Jim Carrey animated version.

The George C Scott version is just an absolute CLASSIC. When I think of A Christmas Carol, this is honestly the one I think of. It has some very neat effects and portrays all the characters perfectly.

The Jim Carrey version on the other hand is honestly very creepy and frightening at times. It gets balanced out with humor and is just amazing in its animation quality at times. However, it loses some points because some aspects are CLEARLY just to show off its 3-D effects.

However, the most disappointing Christmas Carol for me was the one with Patrick Stewart.

I honestly wanted to like it so much because I love Patrick Stewart, but I was just disappointed. It has been so many years, I can’t even tell you why, but I just remember it not being up to my Christmas Carol snuff.

Next Time: While on the subject of Christmas musicals. . .

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: Scrooged

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

10. Scrooged

Like everybody else, I love A Christmas Carol, particularly representations of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Whenever a new version comes out, I just eat it up. Due to there being SO MANY versions of it, I decided to stick to only 1 version of A Christmas Carol on my list, to avoid just having a dozen different versions and clogging the list.

This is NOT that version. This is a modern retelling of the story without a Scrooge, Crachets, or even properly named spirits. So loophole bitches!

Honestly, despite this largely being a comedy, at the end when Bill Murray is filled with Christmas spirit, it actually is fairly joyous and heartfelt. Heartfelt at gunpoint, but hey, it worked in Christmas Vacation.

Yeah, not a lot to change here, take your gifs and get out of my face.

Next Time: And my Favorite Version of the A Christmas Carol is. . .

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

11. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Saw this for the first time about three or four (or seven) years ago. Again, due to my mother dictating what I watched for much of my childhood, and her disliking “stupid movies,” this movie never really crossed my path.

Watched it for the first time, and became entranced. You’d think I’d use this to then go see the other Vacation movies, but no. Still haven’t seen the others.

Three years later and this still remains true. Wally World to me is just a name for Wal-Mart. When I was younger, the first National Lampoon movies I became aware of were Senior Trip and Vegas Vacation. Somehow I mentally put them together and for decades thought that Chevy Chase took seniors on a trip to Las Vegas.

Hey, are they still trying to get the Community movie off the ground? Tell them to call me, I have a GREAT (or Terrible) idea!

The first National Lampoon movie I saw was actually Van Wilder. I saw a smattering of the other films like Animal House(because it needs to be on the shelf of every College boys dorm), Dorm Daze, and (mouth vomit) Christmas Vacation 2.

But I digress, for good reason. This movie is a Christmas classic and is honestly something everyone should check out. It IS kind of stupid, as my mother would say, but it also has that heartwarming Christmas feeling along with it.

Next Time: Time for a Modern Retelling of a Classic

Favorite Holiday Movies HD Re-Mastered!: While You Were Sleeping

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

12. While You Were Sleeping

Yeah, growing up, due to spending more time watching tv with my mother and sister than my dad(because it was apparently more acceptable for me to be exposed to stuff like Exit To Eden and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas than the action and horror movies my dad watched) I ended up watching a bunch of chick flicks and musicals. So as a result, rom coms are a decent portion of my movie catalogue.

Also, Sandra Bullock. Hummina hummina hummina

I will have to say that this movie ONLY works because it was the 90’s and it was a woman crushing on an unconscious man. Good freaking luck pulling this off with the roles reversed.

THAT DOESN’T COUNT! But yeah, if Prince Phillip decided to fall in love with Aurora’s sister while she was cursed and unconscious, some fairy godmothers would be arguing over the color of Prince Philip’s full body cast.

Honestly the love story is decent, but the actual heart and soul of the movie is Sandra Bullock’s interactions with the family and the side characters.

Joe Junior is probably my favorite.

Yeah, the holiday kind of takes a back seat, but hey, it has a Christmas tree bursting through a window, so it COUNTS!

Next Time: CHRISTMAS TREES THROUGH ALL THE WINDOWS!

Favorite Holiday Movies HD-Remastered!: Babes in Toyland

TEMPLARKNIGHT’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIES

13. Babes in Toyland

“Well for instance,” he pressed on,” I rented the strangest movie last night. Did you know that ‘Babes in Toyland’ was a Christmas movie?”

“Of course! What did you THINK it was?”

“Well, I thought, well . . .”

-excerpt from The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, by Christopher Moore.

Yeah, the title always seemed weird to me. Especially considering Keanu Reeves is in it.

Yeah, by the time I saw it in the 90’s, “babes” had a very different meaning than when the title was originally made in 1903.

I saw this movie in class when I was very young and thought it was fantastic. Watching it now, yes there is so much stuff to make fun of about this movie, but I still enjoy it.

The story begins with 11 year old Drew Barrymore braving a winter storm on foot in order to tell her older sister to come home because the storm is getting worse.

Thing is, she manages to travel to the Toy store her sister works at on foot, but then coming back it goes through some treacherous forest path via jeep. That’s some weird geography.

Anywho, when she gets to her sister’s toy store, her sister and Keanu Reeves believe that they should send all the customers home because of the storm. Her boss scoffs at this and suggests she be nicer to him while stroking her arm.

As a result, she and everyone else quits while Drew Barrymore announces via the intercom that everyone should go home because she saw a report on the news about bad weather. And her sister steals a sled to give to Drew.

They then drive home and sing a song about Cincinnati. It is annoying enough that Drew Barrymore bails out of the car on her new sled.

She rides the sled all the way into a tree Toyland where she finds new versions of all the people she knows. Her sister is Mary Contrary, Keanu is Jack, and their boss is Barnaby.

Barnaby lives in a bowling ball.

The biggest threat is Barnaby getting in his bowling ball house and rolling it down through town knocking people over. Apparently this is just something he does.

Barnaby is about to get married to Mary. Everyone is just going along with this because nothing can be done. Until Drew Barrymore shouts that Mary can’t marry Barnaby because she loves Jack. This is apparently enough to disrupt the wedding and thwart Barnaby’s plans.

Everyone at the wedding cheers and sings a song for Drew Barrymore for saving the day.

Barnaby decides to go for his OTHER evil plan and steals all the cookies. Then he convinces everyone that Jack stole the cookies. And by everyone, I mean the Judge. The Judge locks up Jack.

What happens next is a cunning escape plan where Georgie Porgy simply walks in and unlocks Jack’s cell.

Everyone then goes to talk to the Toy Master, played by Mr. Miyagi. The Toy Master then tells them about bottling up all the evil in the world. Then he places it on a high shelf next to Chekov’s Gun.

Jack returns to the cookie factory to investigate the dissappeared cookies and discovers a trap door! The trap door leads down to a cell in Barnaby’s lair. Barnaby then tortures Jack with the villain song about how he wants to take over ToyLand and make it evil.

Drew, Mary, and Georgie go to Barnaby’s bowling ball and debate going inside. Mary decides she will be the one to go in AND gets immediately captured.

Drew and Georgie go to the Toy Master before Barnaby storms in and ties everyone up. Barnaby steals the evil bottle and leaves one cyclopian bird monster to eat them. The bird cuts the rope on Drew Barrymore and then gets led into a giant box. Good plan.

Georgie and Drew then arm themselves with bats and decide to take the fight to Barnaby! And get captured via another trap door slide. Seriously, that is three trap door slides that ALL lead to the same cell.

Barnaby sprays them all with the evil gas and Drew Barrymore is imune because she is not fictional from Cincinnati. She then cures them of the evil by making them sing the Cincinnati song from earlier. This also allows them to escape.

After a brief Mario Kart race with Barnaby and his minions, Barnaby decides to unleash a horde of evil monsters made from the evil gas on Toyland and everyone else retreats to the Toy Master’s shop.

Now, a big thing about this movie is Drew Barrymore CONSTANTLY screaming about how she isn’t a child. She’s eleven and has left such childish things behind her. Well, the Toy Master tells her that as long as she keeps screaming she’s not a child, the toys can’t help her. He then sings a song about it.

Drew Barrymore bends to peer pressure and tells all the toys she believes in them. This is enough to go out and destroy all the evil monsters. With bullets. And cannons.

Jack Wick then beats up Barnaby and throws him into the forest of the night with all the evil monsters that he no longer controls. He is apparently torn apart. The crowd celebrates with a wedding and returning to Cincinnati with Santa Claus.

Drew Barrymore wakes up in the hospital with a severe headwound from flying out of a moving car and slamming full force into a tree her home perfectly fine. She briefly tells of her Oz like dream and says she will embrace christmas because her heart grew three sizes.

Yeah, it is a weird movie, but I love it. It probably is the super nostalgia.

I’ve tried to watch the old one(s) but they just bore me. In fairness, I probably haven’t given them a fair shot, but who has the time.

Next Time: speaking of movies that occur while a character is knocked out. . .