Was Not Angry With This Sequel

The Angry Birds Movie 2 Poster

 

Sequels to animated films are seldom as good as the first movie.  Many times the story was not needed, or the masterpiece is diluted for a gimmick that just doesn’t work.  Fortunately, there are some that have paved the way for the potential to add to the story, continuing the world we love, but at the same time making a movie stand on its own.  Tonight, Sony Pictures continues to try the luck with their surprise success of Angry Birds and see if they can get another round of bills to line the pockets.  And for reviewers like me, we are back in the trenches to see how it fairs and do our best to highlight the observations. So let’s get in there and review once more as I take o:

 

Movie: Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)

Director:

Thurop Van Orman

Writers:

Peter Ackerman (screenplay by), Eyal Podell

Stars:

Jason SudeikisJosh GadLeslie Jones

 

 

LIKES:

Voice Acting

Fun

Funny

Stories Intertwining

Good Morals

Cute

Good Use of Characters

Quick

 

DISLIKES:

Predictable

A Little too political at times

Not Quite As Unique

A Little Too simplified

Trailers Ruined Much

 

SUMMARY:

  Like the first film, the movie’s cast really shines taking the pun filled writing, simplistic dialogue, and joke filled lines and making it work.  Sudeikis as Red is still the sarcastic champion we loved, Josh Gad comes back in all his adorable energy and opera like singing, and Danny McBride is still the same loud, gruff voice that often fools people into thinking he is Seth Rogen. But the new gang to join adds their own spice to the feathery/leathery cast.  Jones has got her usual energetic motions, Sterling K brown is posh and yet funny, and Awkwafina is the same carefree slacker that somehow works in a variety of settings.  It’s an awesome blend of talent that manages to add some dynamic flow to bring the characters to life.  Past the acting, the story is along the same lines as the last one, a very fun, straightforward adventures with a few good moral lessons baked in to give it another layer.  Taking two stories to try the break up the linearity, the movie should move enough to keep everyone’s attentions, all while jamming in enough fun and laughter to have you rolling in the seats.  Yes, like the first installment the film is all about captivating on the cuteness and jokes to get its gimmicks out and enjoyment.  Yet, the smartest component for me, is that the movie manages to utilize most of its characters very well.  Red and the squad still get adequate screen time despite how many characters they introduced.  And the new characters still get used well, allowing for maximum merchandising.

  In regards to some areas of improvements for me, well it starts with the predictability of the film.  The movie suffers from the simplicity they strived for, not doing well with pushing the boundaries of unique or creativity.  Sure, the app to movie transition gets props, but unlike the Disney and DreamWorks group, they have not quite adapted well in the earth-shattering stories or worlds that the bigger studios dream up.  Instead, the movie tries to push a few political boundaries, which is a noble challenge, but got a little too extreme for this reviewer as the various movements we hear about get their own skin in this movie. It still fits well, but it just wasn’t necessary and I would have liked to see the energy transferred into the creativity mode instead.  Yet, the biggest area that I did not enjoy was how much the trailers ruined the film for me.  Many parts have been not only revealed, but smeared in your face with the multiple airings. While still funny, I think there could have been a lot of surprise and kick to it had it not been so advertised. As such, if you and your kids have seen most of the trailers, you have seen much of the movie as there is not quite as much runtime as I had expected.

 

 

The VERDICT:

            The movie is a decent follow up to a movie that was surprisingly deep and fun.  It still has the same colorful energy, fun atmosphere and voice acting that just capitalizes on the silliness to be had.  The story, while layered, still is simple for most to follow and the characters are utilized beautifully for all fans to enjoy and get the most out of the characters in this world.  Yet, Angry Birds Universe is still a shell of some of the worlds built in the animation land, and struggles to break the creative barrier and expand upon its world. It’s a little too simple in terms of movie overall, and thanks to the trailer ruining much, the film holds little in coming to the theater outside of seeing the predictable ending.  Still, it’s a fun adventure to behold this weekend with your little tykes and smile wide at their delight in the film.  Otherwise, hold out for the home release my friends. 

 

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

 

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An Unnecessary Sequel, But It’s Great Quality “Four” All! Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 Poster

            Pixar, one of the two big animation studios vying for the spot of number one in the great world of movies.  In competition with Walt Disney Studios, though supposedly working together for the big company, the studio that blew our minds long ago is back with another “new” movie.  Having difficulties launching new ideas, Pixar seems to fall back on their time-honored films in an attempt to expand upon their timeless characters.  While often good, how far the movie can go is always the question, but these guys have managed to find the magic time and time again.  So I am here once more to review the latest installment to see if Pixar can keep in time with their storytelling.  Robbie K here and get ready for another review this time on:

 

Movie: Toy Story 4 (2019)

 

Director:

Josh Cooley

Writers:

John Lasseter (original story by), Andrew Stanton(original story by

Stars:

Tom HanksTim AllenAnnie Potts

 

 

LIKES:

  • Animation
  • Voice Acting
  • Fun
  • Funny
  • Good Pace
  • Evolution Of Bo Peep and Woody
  • Three-Dimensional Villain
  • Super Emotional to Grip You

 

DISLIKES

  • Trailers Revealed A lot/Predictable
  • New Guys are Okay/Gimmicky
  • The Ending Makes The Points In Three Pointless
  • The Older Characters Are Not Utilized Well

 

Summary:  It’s Disney and It’s Pixar, you know the animation is going to be awesome as beautiful, and improving, graphics are integrated with color and sound design to bring the world to life.  Throw in the voice acting and once more the movie has crafted the usual media to bring their characters to the forefront of Disney heroes and heroines. And through their magic they have crafted fun characters, their army finding a way to bring comedy and emotion to the movie and produce a fun paced movie that entertains many ages and preferences. Yet what impresses me in this movie, is how well they developed some of their characters once more.  Bo Peep, a character who had little involvement out of snarky comments and a crush in the first two installments, is back with a complex story that is balanced, poised, and realistic to really latch onto.  Woody’s ever evolving tale matches perfectly with it, a lock and key that push these characters to new levels and somehow bridges the issues of the first installment.  Even more impressive is Pixar’s way of adding depth to the villain, somehow managing to put more layers in outside of just megalomaniac personas that are famous in Disney movies. This utilization of storytelling and character development, is the example of Disney’s ability to make emotionally gripping tales that pulled me into the adventure once more, keeping my interest and I believe pulling younger members in as well.  It’s those emotional moments that somehow seem to complete the movie and leave you with yet another satisfied conclusion, until they need more money and make the fifth movie.

  Yet, the movie still runs into the art of predictability, not entirely, but certainly enough has been ruined by the copious trailers to have given much away. And much like the trailers and specials, Toy Story also has a new cast of characters to merchandise off to the younger wards.  The new characters are fun, and serve their purpose of bringing laughs, quotes, and new ideas for toys.  They contribute their points, but unlike the original bunch, the involvement with them is not quite as engaging as previous installments.  Through in that the older characters we have grown up with over the last two and half decades are rather poorly integrated and you have some disappointing components to me.  I’m from the school of if you are not going to keep them integrated into the story meaningfully, why put them in to begin with, and this was especially true for Toy Story 4.  Finally, and probably picky, the conclusion of this movie sort of overwrote all the hard work of Toy Story 3 for me.  Certainly there are new lessons to learn at a new stage of the journey, but given the time frame between three and four, I would expect them not to so quickly displace what the gang did in three.  But hey that’s just me.

 

Overall, the movie is still a work of art, showing that despite ending the movie well, they can find way to keep it going.  Toy Story 4 has heart, class, and does such a good job of expanding its main characters to continue the supposed hero’s journey.  The new characters are fun, the world is still colorful, and it’s all presented in an entertaining and meaningful pace that I thoroughly enjoy.  Sure the tale is still predictable, the characters are imbalanced, and the ending did offset three for me a bit, but the truth is the movie is a fantastic tribute to the art of the animation studio that is Pixar.  No surprise it is worth a trip to theater so take the family, or yourself and get out to enjoy it as the emotional tale of the summer hits theaters this weekend.  Otherwise, it’s definitely one to go on the must see at home list for me.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

 

 

The Fun Adventurous Side Of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets 2 Poster

 

Animated films offer the opportunity for imagination to really come to life.  As they bring CGI and other animation tactics to the table, the stories that follow have a big job of trying to make a film that is entertaining to all ages without dipping down one end over the other.  While there are many animated studios out there ready to give it a shot, not every studio finds a way to achieve those goals, becoming a cash grab instead of a quality adventure.  This week, an early showing of the The Secret Life Of Pets 2 came to screen and I had my suspicions that this sequel might have been just that.  Robbie K back with another review, checking out Illumination Studios’ latest work.  Let’s get started:

 

Movie: The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (2019)

 

Directors:

Chris RenaudJonathan del Val (co-director)

Writer:

Brian Lynch

Stars:

Patton OswaltKevin HartHarrison Ford

 

 

LIKES:

  • Voice Acting
  • Animation
  • Comedy
  • Pacing
  • Adventurous Stories
  • Emotional Moments

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • Short Run Time
  • Not Quite Original
  • More Impasses/Character Development
  • Under Utilized Characters

 

People who like these may like this movie:

 

Secret Life Of Pets 1

Sing

Ferdinand

Homeward Bound

A Dog’s Purpose

 

Summary:

Animated films often require good voice acting to bring the characters to life, and this series’ cast succeeds in bringing the plot to full life.  Hart and Haddish bring their chemistry back to life in the form of Snowball and Daisy, their wild, sarcastic sass coming out beautifully in animated form.  Oswalt’s addition managed to bring Max to the same level as last time, fun and familiar friendliness.  As for the others again they get the job done when utilized to make the same craziness that the first movie used long ago.  Animation wise, it is the same caricature like style that Illumination loves to use, with grandiose character flaws and elongated, angular faces that make up their characters.  As for the pets, they still have that anthropomorphized component that is so sweet to look at, each having some quality to represent the voice actors that play them.  While those components are nice, the thing I enjoyed more about this installment was the pacing of the movie.  Utilizing the adventurous story and splitting it into three separate segments helped keep things dynamic, moving, and fun,  and avoiding those slow parts the first movie had.  It’s this theme that kept me entertained and seeing each subplot having its own time to play out, all the while giving the characters their focused time. Eventually all of these moments tie together, bringing the surprisingly emotional side of the film the conclusion that fit well in the theme of fun and love of pets.   It definitely should strike chords with a few audience members, especially those with ties to pets.

Yet, the movie still suffers from some things that do bring some limitations for this reviewer.  For one thing, the movie is still predictable and pulled no surprises in terms of story presentation.  Illumination’s focus on kid friendly films seems to divert from the options that will shock and amaze, due to the potential of being too sad.  As such, the tale’s originality and magic don’t quite live up to the potential that Disney has made famous in their plethora of tales.  It’s cute don’t get me wrong, and does have some heart pulling moments, but these are only scratching the surface that bigger studios do better.  Also taking away from the tale is the short run time.  Around 80 minutes long, the movie has a lot to cram in the short time, leading to very quick dives into the fun portions of the movie.  However, this is also the undoing as the movie’s quick pace leaves little time for impasses, obstacles, and challenges to help give significant character development.  In addition, the movie could have focused a little more on some of the gimmicks they were promoting if given more time. While the characters are fun, they don’t have that full dynamic and emotional range that other animated characters hold.  Given that animals somehow are more emotional than humans, it would have been nice to see more of this come out, but again, this might have not fit in with the fun slapstick and writing that was built for the audience.  Fan favorites from last installment may also find it disappointing to find their characters left in the kennel, particularly those who liked Pops, Mel, the Dachshund, and the Falcon as they have little outside of comedy stunts. Perhaps more time and planning could have done a bit better in adjusting these characters to have the full punch in each story.

  It’s no Secret this movie will do well when it opens because of the intended audience.  It’s cute, funny for many ages, and has that colorful animation to keep attention on them. I myself enjoyed this one better than the original due to the pacing and adventurous side of things, but I still was hoping for a little more balance and originality than what they put in.  It is not the best animated in terms of pushing the limits of imagination, but it does its job and I’d say to come hit this up in theaters when you can.  Otherwise, check it out later when it comes to home entertainment.

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Too Focused On Audience and Music Leads to “Ugly” Limitations

UglyDolls Poster

            The animated world brings many masterpieces, acting as a medium to bring imagination to life and craft impossible things that live action has not quite caught up to.  Given the intended audiences, new worlds and characters are crafted in hopes of delivering fun adventure, potential catchy soundtracks, and of course lessons that can help refresh the morals tarnished by time if left unchecked. This weekend, the latest adventure attempts to take the stage in the form of a band of misfit creations with the potential to change the world.  Will it be another blockbuster hit to withstand the test of time, or is it just more merchandising in a desperate plea to stand up to Disney.  Robbie K here giving his thoughts0. on:

 

Director:

Kelly Asbury

Writers:

Alison Peck (screenplay by), Sun-min Kim (based on characters by)

Stars:

Kelly ClarksonNick JonasJanelle Monáe

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Creative Characters
  • Colorful Environment
  • Cute Atmosphere
  • Voice Cast
  • Messages
  • Music

 

SUMMARY:  As mentioned in the opening, the animated medium offers the ability to let imagination flourish and create some unique looking characters. Ugly Doll takes the concept of “mistakes” and turns them into oddly shaped combinations that hold much value for future action figures and dolls.  Moxy (Clarkson) and her crew are odd and not the most detailed, but their personalities are etched into the design which goes in time with the world crafted. This world may not be the most realistic or detail oriented, but it’s color, angles, and sort of Hodge podge approach lead to a mish-mash world of fun that would be beautiful as a theme park. Ugly Dolls manages to add personality into each of the two worlds, mirroring the approach to life each collective bunch represents.  Regardless of which place you prefer, the movie holds the cute factor that is intended for the key audience, creating the safe, family friendly environment that parents would like their young ones to see.

To help further bring the world to life, a talented voice cast has at least been recruited with singers, comedians, and sassy actresses to assist with bringing that last bit of spark to the characters needed. Clarkson, Jonas, and Monae are the ones who take point using their vocal talents to not only deliver the simplistic writing of the film and even more deliver the lines of the soundtrack this movie was focused on.  The variety of voice talents were marginally used well and balanced to make sure every character got some screen time.

Through whatever means though, the movie has two big selling points that are the selling points with this film.  The first are the morals about inner beauty, self-worth, and believing in yourself.  Cliché? Absolutely, but an important lesson for the young generation, and their chaperones to learn in hopes of establishing new grounds for self-confidence.  That emotional gimmick, touched my heart personally, but for many of the group it may not quite penetrate the cerebral cortex like they wanted.  Instead the morals will be lost to the toe tapping tunes that this movie is going to use.  Much like Frozen, the soundtrack is going to be more memorable than the movie, with a number of reprises used to expand the soundtrack ever so slightly.  Plenty of these songs have much emotion, but it’s going to be the bubble gum pop beat that gets your kids going, bump up sales, and potentially get overplayed

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Very Simplistic Plot
  • Other Characters Only Scratched
  • Rushed Story
  • Little Impasse
  • Unremarkable Moments
  • Too geared on kids
  • Too much focus on the music

SUMMARY:  When it comes to animated kids films there is a balance that I look for in my reviews so that they may bring more people into the film.  Ugly Dolls struggled with this for me.  It starts with the simplistic plot, essentially a linear plot that holds very few curves to mix things up.  It’s simple story is cute and endearing, but lacks some of the fundamental moments that Disney does so well.  Most of the characters do contribute in the form of comedy, but the character development is lacking for the others, leading to merely colorful outlines that will be perfect for action figures.  Perhaps this could have been accomplished if the plot did not seem so rushed, trying to get from start to finish in the rapid time limit they set. In doing this, the impasses for our dolls were not that impressive and easily bypassed, the threat level essentially nullified by the cute antics of our group.  The result is that the movie does not quite have the most memorable moments that will stay with us until the end of time.

Why is this the case?  I believe the two sources of weakness that took away from this movie are the kid focused atmosphere and the fixation on music.  Ugly Dolls is perfect for the early aged viewers in terms of lacking any really scary or haunting features. Yet, in removing the threats the plot became a little too boring as the adventure just devolved into sort of an elementary school education lesson.  Taking the adventure out of this movie therefore limits it for older members who will need to focus on the occasional adult joke and watching their young ones smiles.  In addition, the music was too much the theme of this film.  With all the singers casted, it’s not surprising they wanted to turn out a soundtrack, and sure enough the studio has put a lot of investment in the toe tapping music to boost sales.  Despite the catchy music, that focus took away much from the story as mentioned above, all in the name of cramming as many songs as possible to again boost their sales. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall Ugly Dolls is cute and I loved the themes, world building and energy built into its design and the presentation.  Yet, the movie fails to find the balance and sense of adventure that others have held from other studios with bigger budgets. More story planning was needed, and less focus on limited audiences would have been nice, with a little more maturity ingrained to help out.  Yet, the movie really needed to steer away from the focus on merchandising to leave an imprint and be known as one of the greats.  It is not horrible at all, but the limited audience scope is going to be the main hesitation to go to the theaters for this.  Instead, you might be better off buying the sound track and waiting for this to hit home. 

Scores:

Animated/Family/Adventure/Comedy:  6.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Wonder Park or Blunder Park?

Wonder Park Poster

 

Fan of Roller coaster Tycoon, or Simulation coasters?  Were you one of those people who had an imagination that could take you to anywhere you wanted to think of?  Have you wanted to go to a place of wonder where girls didn’t blow up to blueberries?  Well tonight’s movie attempts to bring all of this to you in a package that looks to people overwhelmingly cute.  Robbie K back with his thought on yet another movie to hit the silver screen in hopes of not getting lost to the reruns of the theater.  Let’s get started!

 

Movie: Wonder Park (2019)

 

Writers:

Josh Appelbaum (screenplay by), André Nemec(screenplay by)

Stars:

Sofia MaliJennifer GarnerKen Hudson Campbell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute

  • Voice Work
  • Special Effects
  • Animation
  • Energy
  • Jokes
  • Imagination
  • Message

 

Summary: Disney movies make it difficult to try to bring animated features out because of the not so big budget or army of animators/ideas.  Nickelodeon is able to still work some charming magic into this piece though, managing once more to bring the cute factor into their film and get the feelings going.  It’s got some surprising emotional work, with voice acting and story coming together to sell the feelings lying deep in the fun, cute charm that the trailers show. Much like the opening scene of Up, Wonder Park has some surprisingly deep messages that will hopefully motivate the young and refresh the older generations on the importance of imagination and wonder.

Sap fest aside though, the movie accomplishes the goal of still being fun, managing to inject the wonder of imagination in terms of visuals and adventures.  Nickelodeon’s team injects a lot of kid friendly energy into the mix, making an infectious, thrill seeking ride that is perfect for the intended audience.  The smooth animation, with high paced speed keeps in time with the nature of the animals and imaginative girl, while the design manages to bring in the magic that theme parks and kids movies have.  All the unlimited potential of a child’s imagination is unleashed in this film and it is certain to bring you back into the world of pure imagination.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Too Simple
  • Lacking Intense Suspense
  • Short

 

Summary: As we have talked about, animation movies require a story to be very dynamic, fun, and have a sense of adventure that takes us out of our world.  While Wonder Park does semi-accomplish this, it doesn’t quite do it as well as some of the other bigger studios have done.  For one thing the movie is predictable, all the symbolism, mystery, and potential twists are easily discernible and lacking the finesse and mind-blowing moments that the sister studio is famous for. In addition, despite all the fun that Wonder Park did in helping you relive your childhood, it was a little too simplistic in the adventure department, not quite having the drive or dive that Pixar and DreamWorks is able to concoct.  This means for me that there was not too many suspenseful parts in the mix, most of the chases reduced to quick bouts of falling, or lost in another joke.  All the dark challenges and impasses are very diluted avenues, that act as symbolic psyche components of humans rather than true antagonists.  Yet the main thing that is semi disappointing, is how short the movie is. Clocking in at just around 80 minutes, this film certainly moves fast, but not so much in the good way as the content feels a little lacking to be honest.  Oh well, it got me out a little early, but the length may not be the most bang for your buck in terms of the expensive movie ticket price.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Wonder park is certainly an important illustration about the important components of life, including the importance of maintaining your imagination and wonder.  It makes great use of the kid friendly energy, yet has a few things for adults to latch onto, especially those touching, pull at your heart string moments. Yet despite all the fun I had in this movie, the film still feels like a Nickelodeon tv special that could have been left to the network.  It needed some more adventure, it needed more suspense for me, and more importantly it needed more of that magic they talked about.  Wonder Park certainly has the makings for a fun merchandising series, it just needs a little more finesse to finish the deal.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Hmmm kind of, but this one is probably waiting for streaming for most.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Dragon Sized Adventure With Not So Hidden Ending

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Poster

 

 

Movies series are always difficult to let go when they are good.  It’s been years since a beloved book series turned animated film flew into theaters and brought with it a memorable friendship that has led to merchandising galore. Yes, it’s Dreamworks leading duo of Viking and scales, with the third installment to the trilogy hoping to tie things up nicely.  Robbie K back and ready to give you his thoughts on:

 

Movie:  How To Train Your Dragon 3: Hidden World

 

Director:

Dean DeBlois

Writers:

Dean DeBloisCressida Cowell (based upon the “How to Train Your Dragon” book series

Stars:

Jay BaruchelAmerica FerreraF. Murray Abraham

 

 

LIKES:

 

Voice Acting

Character Development

Expansion of Story

Animation

Funny

Emotional Infusion

Balanced

 

Summary:

The movie has been all about characters, which in turn has relied on voice acting to bring them to life.  Jay, America and the gang have filled the shoes again, adding the emotional depth to the characters who we have grown up with the last decade or so.  The movie has taken the foundations and built upon it taking the characters to new levels and helping push them to new frontiers that the series requires.  Expanding on the story like it did, this sequel accomplishes the goal of standing on its own, and yet helping the characters evolve into new beings and new stagesIt’s all gorgeously done in the animation we have come to love, and this installment has shown that Dreamworks can continue to push the details of their work to new depths and heights to help bring the mythical beasts to life without going too dark.

Yet, this is a movie meant for kids and you might want to know does it still have the effects that made the first two installments special.  The answer is yes on many levels.  The comedy is still there a good blend of one-liners, banter, slapstick, and adorable, charming presentation that works so well to bring the youthful energy.  Not too overdone, but yet not too adult, the comedy does well to support the other components of the story.  Emotion runs heavy in this film cascading through the emotional roller coaster depending on the scene. Want the thrill of flying?  It’s in there.  Need the touching bond between friends?  Again it’s in there!  Need some other touches?  You’ve got that too.  The third installment continues to find the ability to infuse the emotions and bring you fully into the scene, especially when one adds the musical score to support the visuals.  It works very well, because the writers have found balance of many aspects and it works beautifully to bring all the ages and fans together for the latest ride to the film.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Short

More Action/Thrills

New Dragon Designs

The Villain

The Trailer Syndrome

 

Summary:

For once I actually wanted a movie longer, more so because of some of the other areas I wanted to see improved in this film.  One of these is to get more of that action and thrill that the first two had, the sense of flying into the heart of danger, or through the skies in the daring mission.  Hidden World has these components, but some of the moments didn’t quite have the impact the first two installments did for me.  In addition, I had hoped for a few new dragons that held the designs of those in the journals, getting glimpses of designs that break the molds from those seen before.  It did this somewhat, but I’d have liked to see a few more changes to the mold.  All of these are minder areas for me the majors are next.

The Villain is not the worst and I didn’t hate it, after all the look and malice ooze from him in terms of design and acting.  Yet, the part that failed is I don’t think he had quite the same texture and depth that the previous villains held.  This guy has build up and some impressive skill sets, but I felt that they didn’t quite deliver the terrifying components that they wanted, sort of diluting the villain for the film.  Again, good for the most part, but no quite having the same punch I had expected it.  Yet the biggest thing I held, was that the trailers have given you most of the endings, so if you have the trailer memorized you have much of the film’s ending laid out for you.  So, while it is a good prep for those who are trying to get their kids ready for it, guys like me don’t like having everything laid out for you.

 

The VERDICT: 

 

            Truth is, the third movie didn’t meet the first one for me in terms of all the wonders I had, but it certainly accomplishes much and as a movie sequel is very, very good.  I hands down love this sequel and found it having the balance the series is famous for, but yet expanding up on it.  With fantastic storytelling, animation that brings it to life, and all the emotions for both adults and kids to love, this series ends on a mighty roar that will take many to new heights and leave you feeling many things by the end of the film.  It did not deliver to the same extent on some things, but the movie hands down took all the made it special and capitalized it.  I loved much of this movie and encourage many to come enjoy the experience in theaters. 

 

My scores are:

           

Animation/Action/Adventure: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0-8.5

BumbleBee Did Not Stumble For Me

Bumblebee Poster

 

Hollywood touches everything it can, finding topics that can potentially be turned into a new movie franchises until every inch of profit is squeezed out.  A toy series turned cartoon, that soon became a live action motion picture series that at one time blew our minds and soon blew our wallets.  After many hardships, the series was about to crash and burn, until the Bay era was handed over to a new team to try and bring it back to life.  Tonight, the full world release is upon us and given the trailers, can this film succeed where the others have failed?  That’s where my review comes in, so here we go as I review:

 

Movie: Bumblebee (2018)

 

Director:

Travis Knight

Writers:

Christina Hodson (screenplay by), Christina Hodson(story by)

Stars:

Hailee SteinfeldDylan O’BrienMegyn Price

 

 

LIKES:

 

Character Development: Bumblebee starts off on the right foot by bringing some character development the film sorely needed.  The titular characters get a gross dive into the psyche, finding new ways to expand the quiet hero’s role outside of new weapons to shoot. In addition, Steinfeld’s character is much more realistic than the mess we had in the other five installments.  Her history, her outlook on life, and social dynamics are covered extraordinarily well, making sure to connect the points and actually give some growth.  The relationship between the robot and girl is heartwarming and an appealing dynamic to invest your time into.

 

The Story:  The movie succeeds again where the others had trouble. While not the most in depth, this prequel, and potential reboot, does make a much more connected plot that wasn’t too cheesy or stuffed in comic craziness.  It bridges the Cybertron to Earth transition well, while setting up the plot for potential sequels, while also standing on its own with the previously mentioned character development.  Dropping the convoluted tangled subplots opened the movie to more fun in both comedy and action.  Speaking of which.

 

Comedy: Ever since number one Transformers has had a special spot for overdone comedy antics and ridiculous levels of meme worthy gags.  Noticing the declining trend in quality of the jokes, Bumblebee’s writers did a fantastic job of integrating some fresh laughs into the mix without going too far into the stale territory.  The 80s nostalgic references and pop culture power with Bee is sensational and by avoiding the tacky toilet humor, it doesn’t lose its stride. Even more impressive is how the comedy flows into the story, working with it and not trying to overtake it as has been seen in the past.  A few tangential scenes did occur mind you, but limited their time limit to get back on track in the short time limit.

 

Pacing:  The last two films proved that the writing struggled to fill the nearly 3 hour run times with engaging material, leading to a sluggish rambling with little value.  Bumblebee shines here as well, not only by shortening the run time by nearly an hour, but also with a pace that kept moving and in time with the other antics. As such, don’t expect too much boredom in this installment.

 

The Action:  Hands down the aspect I was watching for the most, Bumblebee again manages to achieve the goal of improving upon the action that it sold for so long.  The yellow bug had much more epic and fluid moves, with improve choreography and some dynamic sequences that were captured beautifully and not lost too sketchy camera work.  Throw in the fact that the special effects weren’t too overdone, nor the focus of the film, and it led to cleaner action moments that hooked me into the get go.  By not forcing the action too much, I think it made the moments shine a little brighter, and kept the theater quality up.

 

The Soundtrack:  When it comes to the 80s, you know the music was legendary in its synthesizers and emotional rantings.  Well, Bumblebee seems to have a good ear for some legendary tracks and while comically integrated well, the selection was just wonderful to listen too throughout the film.  Be ready to tap your toes to the beats my friend, or at least get set for lip syncing.

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Action:  A small dislike, but an action junkie like me wanted more of the epic display of battling between robotic factions. Cybertron was a great introduction, but why could we not get more of it throughout the film.  Perhaps another prequel about the war for Cybertron will be in the future, but a little more of the fighting on Earth could have helped relieve this want.

 

Attention To Detail: Again, a small dislike, but Bumblebee’s writers may have missed some of the story elements from the previous film. The way this is set up suggests that this film will be reboot of the series, a good thing in terms of story. Yet if it is going to continue on and serve as the first film in the Michael Bay Series, then it loses points for trying to ignore the details they once cherished.

 

John Cena:  His character isn’t bad, and his acting fits the character, but I was disappointed with the way to took the character given the previous history of human agents.  Cena’s character goes through the usual ringers, but misses the target in terms of being a little too silly, not getting the full integrative procedures, and not having the same bite that others have had.  As such, I kind of felt it was a wasted character for me, and could have been an added character bonus and story plot for whatever the plans for this series are.  Not utilizing this actor to the mix… was a wasted opportunity.

 

The Decepticons:  The antagonist robots have got some more flare and sass than a few of the other portrayals, but something that still blows my mind is that the studio struggles to maximize on some of the heavy hitters the show once had .  Don’t get me wrong, the two in this film were still deadly rivals for Bee to fight, but they just lacked depth, and investment again when once more they had the potential to start out on the right foot.  Perhaps if there had been more Cybertron, or they had chosen a historical legend to be the main head this would have helped this area, but for now the record of still choosing some nameless borgs rings true ad they need to get a better handle for the next movie.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Okay, the cinematic Transformers is still not perfect, but this movie is definitely a fun installment that greatly improved on the weaknesses the original 5 were holding.  With greater character development, a wonderful relationship investment, comedy that worked with the story, and action that was miles better given they used better camera work and coordination, this series could finally get the upgrade it needed.  However, the film still needs to find some investment into the other characters for me, and choose the route it wants to take from here as either reboot (my preferred option) or continuation, as this will help make up for a few details and choices that didn’t quite work for me.  One thing for certain though is this:  the balance of story, character development, and action was miles above the Bay quintology, and proves that special effects is not the answer to Transformers.  Definitely worth a trip to theater for the special effects though.  My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5