Steven Universe: The Movie (2019 TV Movie)
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While i say that this really ends the Renaissance for Cartoon Network, Steven Universe: The Movie really was an Amazing story filled with Laughter, Drama, Heart and soul. It really made me feel like the show ended off with a great ending and it really is one of those movies that can be described as a fun time!
Hate to see this show go away. But the movie itself, AWESOME AND AMAZING!!! Cartoon Network needs more material like this instead of Teen Titans GO!
But take it from a guy who studies animation as an art form, Steven Universe's movie really has my sincere recommendation! I hope that we can all BELIEVE IN STEVEN.........
I'm no critic, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel like I have to say something about this movie. I've watched Steven Universe since it first premiered, and it only gets worse as you get older. There's a lot of reasons to complain about the show, from it's normalization of space Nazis who have killed trillions of people, to it's awful animation. Just look it up on youtube and you will find many in depth reviews that can do a much better job at criticizing it than me. The movie shows promise of making Steven Universe good again, or at least as good as it can be. Lets start out with the good.
As always, the music in Steven Universe is very good, and helps set the tone of all the scenes. It's basically a musical, since most of the major scenes are guided by the music. "Other friends" is an amazing track, speaking of which lets get to the character introduced with that track. The villain is amazing as well. After the flop that was the diamonds, I was expecting Spinel to be the same. Surprisingly though, she is a very good character and makes a great villain who actually deserves to be redeemed. Her entrance is the best scene in the movie, hands down. Great music, great animation and choreography, just all around fantastic. After this however, she falls from her pedestal. While she's her happy go lucky self, she is relegated to a background character, following Steven around while he attempts to bring his friends back. Once she heads back to the garden, she picks up again. Her backstory is sad and actually makes you feel really sorry for her, as one of the many, many people who Pink Diamond screwed over. Her rationalization of Steven betraying her makes sense after all she's gone through, and the final battle with Steven is fun and action packed. The way she moves around is extremely fun and bouncy, providing a different style of fighting from what we're used to, just a breath of fresh air. She is by far the best character in the movie, and I would be glad to see her later in the series.
One big thing that the movie improves on from the show is the animation. I don't know who they got to animate this movie, but it greatly improves it from the show. The action scenes stand out above all else. You'd have to watch them yourselves to see how great they are, like Spinel's entrance fight. I hope the rest of the series looks like this, because that's one of its biggest flaws. As for the other characters, not much has changed except Steven. Steven is now older, and that's really it. He's still the same light hearted kid we all know and hate. His whole thing at the end where he says he has to keep changing and nothing can stay the same forever is a nice little message, but isn't anything ground breaking.
The voice acting and singing is the same as always, good. That's as far as it goes, except for Spinel. Sarah Stiles did a phenomenal job voice acting this crazy and erratic character. Maybe it's because i'm so used to Steven sounding like a squeaker who you meet on 360, but he sounds worse.
Now for the bad. The story is mediocre at best. We have a big macguffin that's going to destroy the planet, we have to stop it. It's at its worst when Steven has to try and bring back his friends, and its at its best when we are focusing on Spinel. She isn't anything new really, but her character really carries the scenes focusing on her, and the whole movie really. She's another person Steven needs to redeem, who wants to destroy the earth, blah blah blah. I'm just glad she actually deserves to be redeemed unlike *cough* the diamonds *cough*. The story does it what it needs to and nothing more.
Now for the really bad. Except there isn't any really. There's a lot more I could go into, like character design, the morals, character development, ect. ect. But I can some most of that up with 1 sentence. It's all mostly average, except for Spinel. Overall nothing is bad or anything, it's just mediocre. Spinel really carries this all the way. If the rest of the movie rose to meet her character, it would be a 8 or 9. Unfortunately, it relies on many things the show has already done. You should give this a watch if you love the show or have hope for it to be good again, like me.
An excellent, emotive, really powerful movie. I love it. I'd watch again.
The problem is that there is too much singing! Like every 10 seconds there is singing. It gets annoying!
I loved the songs throughout the whole show and the songs featured in the movie are some of the franchise's best, but there are too many to the point where the dialogue in between loses any impact because it's interrupted with another song.
Spinel is a mixed bag of a character. She showed good promise as a villain and her personality is likeable for a goofy villain, and it's obvious that she's modelled after 1930s cartoons, but her redemption arc is too fast and the motivations behind her actions are a little weak and unjustified. Also, her "default" setting was funny for a bit but ended up getting really annoying.
This might be controversial but I didn't like the story. I loved the opening sequence showing all the characters and whatnot but when they were all reverted back to their "default" settings, my eyes rolled and hoped it was just a short gag but it persisted for the entire movie so there was no character progression in any of the main cast, which was disappointing to see. I'm especially disappointed by the lack of screen time for Connie as the relationship between her and Steven, whether platonic or romantic, had potential to be expanded but she was only featured for a handful of minutes.
The characters in general just felt a bit off to me. Steven seemed way too serious and stiff, as opposed to being easygoing and goofy but also focused and able to rise to the occasion. Sure, it could be maturation of the character but he was just too goody-goody in this. Also, the new fusion was great but I was sad that there was only Greg/Steven and a short feature of Opal.
Overall, the film was decent enough if you don't think about it for too long and I think the fans of the show are gonna be divided in their opinions. This review sounds like I hated it, but it's because I hold the show in high regard, I'm critiquing it so harshly.
- Great songs
- Good new character design for Steven
- Spinel's animation and creative use of her abilities
- Cool to see the new gems integrating into life on Earth
- Not much character progression
- Characters feel robotic and stiff
- Story was uninspired
- Climax fizzles out
- Felt rushed
The villain was also, so well done. Her design, her animation/physics, her backstory was all so well done I loved her from the beginning. A lot of "new villain intros" in series' can be dull, especially if there's been so many, but Spinel got right in on such a unique and fun way.
I even loved the plot which delved even deeper into Pink Diamond's past and all the mistakes she's made to leave for Steven to deal with.
As someone who really doesn't like musicals, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I can't say for certain if the composition of these songs is decent, with me not being a music person, but I can certainly say I enjoyed most of them. Some of them aren't as good as others, but it's appreciated how motifs are re-incorporated from the show for different characters to set different tones.
The stakes don't really feel threatening, especially when an end-of-the-world scenario has already been done in the show and was treated with the same amount of urgency. Personally, the B-story involving Steven trying to fix the Gems after they lose all their memory seems like a much more interesting conflict, which unfortunately is solved quite quickly for the most part. It seemed more thematically relevant to have the main conflict be focused on this plot line, especially considering one of the main themes of the film is change and how far these characters have come. The movie itself seems to acknowledge how unimportant the world-ending machine is based on how quickly all that gets wrapped up.
That being said, the themes are my favourite part of the movie. Once again, Steven Universe understands character development and speaks to the audience with important life lessons. A movie spin-off of a series that premiered six years ago is the perfect way to present themes of change and progression, both in the sense of how much of your life has changed leading up to the present and how it will always continue to do so, sometimes for the worse. I'm sure this speaks to people of all ages and it's a lovely reminder of why Steven Universe can be so important to a lot of people.
If there's one negative to be said, I can confidently say that fundamentally, the Steven Universe crew struggle with pacing. It's been a frequent complaint among fans and unfortunately, the film suffers from it as well. This links back to the two main conflicts presented in the film; the apocalypse-level crisis and the plot with the Gems. It feels like they had to juggle both of these plot threads, and the one I found interesting almost felt like it was shoved to the side at times so we could get back to what the movie thinks is the main conflict.
Overall, however, I feel like the good far outweighs the bad. At the end of the day, this movie deserves its success. Once again I'm completely enthralled by the world of Steven Universe and I'm glad it exists. I'm glad there's a movie spin-off of a mainstream show where conflicts that carry themes of change, self discovery, sexuality and identity can be solved without a bombastic cartoon battle but with characters learning to move on and repair themselves as people. A Cartoon Network TV movie has never felt so genuine. For fans, it's beautiful, and it feels like this was made with the same intent as something like Avengers: Endgame. It's fan service, but it has a point outside of just being that.
New viewers may not be able to enjoy it on the same level as fans who have five seasons worth of lore built up behind it, but for the intended audience, this needs to be seen.
First of all, too much singing. I like musicals, i like Steven Universe, and i mostly like the songs in Steven Universe. But sometimes, there's just too much of a good thing. There was a point in the movie, where less than ten seconds after a song ended, A NEW ONE BEGAN! then after that, 20 seconds, and A THIRD SONG!
Spinel is a great villain, but her arch is all over the place, it packed plenty of emotion, and Rebecca Sugars strong writing shines through, but her character simply lacks coherence.
Third. it is very obvious that this movie was written by like 17 people. count the credits, 8 people made the story, then 13 wrote and storyboarded it, which makes the movie less consitent, both in tone and quality.
Overall a fun and satisfying movie, but it is flawed in many ways.