Adventure Time: Distant Lands REVIEW - Bad Magic
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Adventure Time: Distant Lands REVIEW – Bad Magic

Adventure Time: Distant Lands REVIEW - Bad Magic

Adventure Time: Distant Lands REVIEW – Bad Magic

Fans learned about four new episodes of Adventure Time: Distant Lands. They were focused on BMO and Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, Jake, and Finn. But one episode wasn’t as good as the other. Peppermint Butler is the only one of those characters not to have any episodes of the original show focused solely on him. He doesn’t even get a starring role in any of the Grayble episodes. He makes every second of his screen count, and each ritual we see is a glimpse into what we might see if we were allowed to enter his daily life. Fans of Peppermint Butler were thrilled to hear that Wizard City would offer us almost an hour of Peppermint Butler.

The special’s premise is that Peppermint will be attending Wizard School, which is located in Wizard City, to redevelop his magic skills after being struck by dum dum juice and then revert to a child in Season 4, which sounded appealing.

To add to Wizard City’s mystery, Peppermint Butler appears to be involved in a mysterious and possibly villainous plot. Wizard City seemed to be an essential part of Adventure Time for Peppermint Butler fans, following not one but two hilarious, lore-expanding specials. Unfortunately, the special fails in the most important areas.

The film opens with Abracadaniel, Steve Little, partially witnessing the murder of Choose Goose (Jeff Bennett) in a dark alleyway of the city. He then introduces us to the now tween Peppermint Butter (Mace Montgomery Miskel), or “Pep,” as his new name is, so that he won’t be mistaken for the dark magician banned from entering Wizard City. Pep isn’t just the younger version of the Peppermint Butler that fans have grown to love throughout the series. Pep is a completely new character that Steve Little also voiced. He’s a ghost-like Peppermint Butler who can speak to the youngster.

If the original Peppermint Butler was there to help Pep with his demonology and transmutation skills, this dynamic might be quite entertaining. Pep is instead presented with the original butler as an antagonistic character who scolds him for not being good enough and needs to be eviler. This does more than making Marceline’s relationship with her father seem less interesting. It also makes Adventure Time feel rote and familiar.

Although Peppermint Butler was a powerful master of dark arts, he wasn’t a bad person. He admits in one episode that he has humiliated a nemesis, while another shows him struggling to get the Vampire King to sign autographs. Peppermint Butler doesn’t act like a villain or even like Magic Man. He’s a decent guy who is also a master of the occult and friends with Death.

Pep is a tween Peppermint who is interested in becoming a wizard but not as passionate about the dark arts and charming as Peppermint. The special does not offer much of the character the special is supposed to focus on. He only appears to Pep about five times during the 49-minute special.

This means that the story is centered on Pep and his investigation of the mystery surrounding Choose Goose and the disappearances of other characters. This story feels like Harry Potter fanfiction. Anyone who has ever read or watched stories about Hogwarts’ favorite son will be familiar with the setting at a school for magic and the mystery they need to solve. The special feels like Wizard City is somewhere between Harry Potter, Steven Universe, and Steven Universe.

Pep’s new school friend is a part of this cutesiness. Cadabra (Chloe Coleman), Abracadaniel’s niece, is more interested in being a magician than a skilled magician. Pep ends up with her in the lower ranks of school, and they form a bond that allows them to work together and defeat the villains.

Abracadaniel tells Abracadaniel that she’s being targeted because she’s different. She suggests that she stop being different. This joke feels very true to the more cynical humor present throughout Wizard City’s original run. The special ends with the message that people can pursue their dreams. This feels straight from Steven Universe. It also appears that the special renounces dark magic as pure evil, which speaks to what feels to be a sanitization of Adventure Time’s ability to play with darkness (especially after Together Again), which fully leaned into it) and emphasizes the betrayal by Peppermint Butler.

Wizard City can still be enjoyable, but it could use a little more Adventure Time. Many of the school’s teachers are familiar characters from the original series. Many jokes work well, including one about a student who is transformed into a rock and then gets carried around by friends to be talked to like a human. The animation looks fantastic, and changes to the style are less evident here than in previous specials. This is because nearly all of the characters are either new or updated versions of themselves. The special does not live up to its potential.

The previous specials did a great job of introducing Adventure Time characters into new stories that expand their worlds. Wizard City, however, is disappointing. This is especially disappointing considering that it’s the only special that focuses on a beloved character who never saw the spotlight on the original show. Instead of building on Peppermint Butler’s character and diving into this world of the occult, Wizard City gives us something that feels more like a distillation from two other media pieces and ultimately betrays what it was meant for to celebrate.

Adventure Time: Distant Lands REVIEW – Bad Magic
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