Episode 1 and 2, both pertaining to two important characters, was released on August 31st. 2023 to help showcase the premiere of Fionna and Cake. From what we know of from before, the audience had already seen these characters before in an older series called Adventure Time.
Adventure Time takes place in what looks like the medieval times. With princesses and kings, we get to go on adventures and battles with our old pals Jake The Dog and Finn The Human. During these adventures, we got a sprinkle of how Fionna and Cake had their fun on their own journey as they dealt with their own emotions and personal battles.
Although, what some of us may have forgotten was the fact that Fionna and Cake were written as a story book in the original series. This show is completely different from what was in Adventure Time, although you could picture a connection. Fionna and Cake in Finn’s universe was just a storybook, a swapped version of Finn and Jake. While in this series, it seems like it is a completely different universe.
Fionna And Cake open up the series to topics and emotions that everyone can relate to.
Spoilers ahead in this review. Fionna And Cake releases every Thursday on Max.
Story – A Little Piece of Reality
A piece of nostalgia was launched into my head as I watched the two main characters that we loved so much (aside from Finn and Jake) save little ones as they were captured. It made the whole first act a total nostalgia trip, until we realized that the entire thing was a dream, an otherworldly immersion that nobody wants to leave. Until you wake up.
After Fionna gets up, we see that she is presented in a modernized world. And Cake is just a regular calico. Fionna has to get up to go to her job, which we realize is one that she dislikes like all the previous jobs she has. Relatable right? But nothing is more relatable than Cake acting weirdly and having to be taken to the vet.
At this point, I realized that I thought I knew what this series was going to be. It was an episode of reality for Fionna and Cake, with Cake seeing things that Fionna wasn’t able to see. It reminds us how different this universe is than the one we are used to.
At least, for this first episode.
Characters And Performances – Reviving Old Like New
So far, we are greeted with the main characters; Fionna and Cake. Although, Cake is a regular cat…so far. Fiona on the other hand is just like her usual self. She is the same spunky and well versed character we all love and know.
When she wakes up to reality, we see that her apartment is unorganized and trashed. She herself doesn’t seem to put much effort into making her living space a place where she wants to live in. Fiona feels like her world is bland, so she herself feels bland.
The creators made a very convincing main character, and one that relates to many people.
As for performances, I can really note on how the voice acting of the characters. And I have to say that they did amazing! Madeline Martin plays Fionna so well, with her voice fluctuations and the emotions of irritation and anger from getting fired from her job, to the total sincerity when she tripped over Marshall Lee’s guitar case and spilt her bag of biscuits that Gary was fantastic.
Her voice acting made it feel real, made Fionna feel like she had real emotions. She as well made Fionna have her own personality which I really loved.
Donald Glover as Marshall Lee was, in my opinion, a great choice. Not only does he have a history of writing music, but he puts Marshall’s personality into perspective. Marshall is a laid back musician that nobody really knows about. He portrays his laid backness through his voice; Donald Glover speaks in a monotone tone to keep that chill factor to Marshall.
What I’ve noticed with this character too, is that he has a good facade, acting like everything is all good, everything is ok but meanwhile things in his life are going array in the background.
Cinematography And Sound – It’s Like Something Magical
In this first episode, I can say that the cinematography and sound was a chef’s kiss. It added to the story so well. Some of the sounds sounded magical to indicate that it was important, and some actions, characters and even some offscreen scenes (such as the ice falling from the ice machine on the fridge) added to the foreshadowing.
The twinkling sounds made me wonder if what Cake is seeing is a foreshadow to future episodes. Of course, that’s something a film or series has to do nonetheless. The sounds in this episode make the realness of her world; the bus ride, the bustling of people, the meekness of her reality.
What I enjoyed as well was how her universe was portrayed, living in a boring and bland world. Nothing is as colorful as it is in her dreams. The colors really add into how her perspective of life is, considering she dislike how she is living currently. Nothing excites her, not until she was thrown in a loop with Cake.
Editing And Pacing – It Seems Like It Can Be More Colorful
The editing and pacing of this episode was pretty well done. Many of the scenes felt connected, even the intro song. Since this was about Fionna, it catered to her only.
But what I really appreciated was the fact how they edited scenes to foreshadow specific ideas or things from what had passed. If there isn’t any foreshadowing to certain scenes that the audience can pick up, then the episode will not be so eye-catching. What foreshadowing does is it keeps our interest and makes our thoughts race to what could happen.
Like I said in the previous tab, the ice falling from the fridge was such a perfect scene to indicate that the ice is something important. The pacing between events with Fionna and Cake was a nice interval. With everything, the scenes always had something to do with ice, and it seemed like every 5 or 10 minutes there was something for Cake to get intrigued by.
Another important point was the fact that we were in Cake’s POV in a few scenes, to get an understanding of what she is thinking. The editing in these scenes, such as when we see her looking at all the ice that she passes on the bus and in the arms of Fionna, everything else is grayed out besides the ice. It was such a nice touch to indicate what is important in this episode.
The editing reminded me a lot about Adventure Time. It took time to have the audience look more into the character. Like the intro, we got a good shot of how Fionna’s life went before this moment. The various outfit changes from different jobs, the fact she was with DJ Flame but she ended up being dumped by him, it really adds to her story.
Another editing point that I really enjoyed was the different vibrances between her world and the world she aspires to be in. Like her dream. Her dream was bright and colorful, very action packed, while in her reality, everything is slow, bleak and bland. It isn’t what she wants. Or when she took Marshall’s advice to look for his friend Ellis P. to help with Cake instead of taking her to the vet. Fionna runs into a character that makes a beautiful field of plants that are considered a weed to everyone else, besides him. They took that scene and made the plants lively and bright, while the city in the backdrop was grayed out. The only light that was in the scene shone on the plants and nowhere else.
My Final Thoughts
All in all, I really enjoyed the beginning of this series. I look forward to watching the rest of the series, and how it all pans out. So far, we are seeing what is happening between Fionna and possibly another world. Are her dreams connecting to another universe? Or are they just her aspirations of changing her reality?
Check in next time for my Episode 2 review.