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

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Slinging In Style: SpiderMan Webbing A New Image

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Poster

 

In the modern era, the superhero movies reign supreme in the world of the cinematic, blockbuster films.  While Marvel studios universe continues to reign in dollars, there are many who state they could be getting burnt out given the 4-6 movies that release a year.  As lines blur, and franchises continue to blend together to the modern public, the series needs some extra oomph to help them stand out.  Welcome to another Robbie movie reviews and we are down for another review as we get set to review a massive movie week to come.  Let get cracking on:

 

Movie: Spiderman Into the Spiderverse (20180

 

Directors:

Bob PersichettiPeter Ramsey

Writers:

Phil Lord (screenplay by), Brian Michael Bendis (Miles Morales created by)

Stars:

Shameik MooreJake JohnsonHailee Steinfeld

 

 

LIKES:

 

Animation/Design:  The rest of the reviewers are correct in saying that the animation of this movie is superb to say the least.  Design wise the movie nods to a number of art styles and comic book references to please many eyes of the comic book lover.  It’s a living comic book that has all the edge, frames, and references, but yet has vibrant color and clever use of contrast and color to stand out from the typical live action film.  This dynamic only continues to evolve over the course of the film, adding more styles to the mix and integrating them into a true piece of work.

 

Story:  The movie is certainly geared towards the comedy route, doing its best to make it a slap happy, geeky trendy, kid friendly comic movie for the holiday season.  While zany and certainly silly, the movie surprisingly has a deeper lore to it then I was expecting.  A predictable plot, this movie dives deeper into the darker dynamics of the hero, the important lessons of self-belief, and the character development that many superheroes lack.  Into the Spider-Verse’s compelling story makes for a solid foundation to build much off and the writing helps integrate comedy with story in a wonderful equilibrium.

 

Voice Acting:  Not much to expand upon here, but the film’s characters really thrive in this film with the acting contributing much toe the part. Sure the design and animation brings a piece of them to life, but the voice work adds that extra level to fully bring their inner workings to life.  As the voices further integrate and play off of one another, the characters evolution begins to soar to new heights and somehow further develop the relationships between each other.

 

Clever Wit:  Perhaps the biggest like of all, is how the movie just works to please a variety of fans both comic loving and general.  It’s got well integrated slap-stick that is simple and yet layered, mixed with a nod to a number of references and gimmicks comic fans are used to.  The use of sarcasm is tactfully wielded to help add that aspect our spider heroes often wield, alongside the fantastic one-liners to be printed on T-shirts.  Spider-Verse is a plethora of witty banter and it works when balanced with the rest of the likes mentioned.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Jokes a Little Too Far: The movie has a number of gimmicks into the mix, and while many of them are well-timed, they ran with one a little too far for my taste.  A constant origin story beating you over the head was a nice ace up the sleeve, but that tactic got a little stale for me and my colleague as well.

 

Blurred Lines: I’m not sure if part of the art style, a reference to a style, or perhaps just editing to not smooth out the parts meant for 3-D.  Whatever the case, the outline was a little messy for me, and perhaps a poor attention to detail if not purposefully crafted to have a point.  If so, then kudos, but if you see this one in 3-D, I don’t think this will be much of an issue.

 

More Integration of bad Guys:  Understanding this was meant to be about Miles Morales origin story and the integration with the other spider-verses, I appreciate the work done for this team. Yet, the bad guys ready to face off against the team were a little bit of wasted characters for me, mostly just oddly shaped punching bags for our webslingers.  One villain got the royal treatment, but the others needed some character overhaul to help them stand further out.  I’ll admit there is potential for a sequel to expand upon them, but for this film, a little more diving into them could have helped spruce things up and again give us characters we cared bout.

 

The Action:  The action is there, don’t chew my head off, and in truth it works well with the theme and atmosphere of the movie as it caters to the family atmosphere.  However, being an action junkie I would have liked a little more choreography, integration of heroes, and traditional battles that this odd adventure helped. Yet, the biggest thing I wanted with the action, was a less dynamic camera angle so I could actually enjoy the animation at hand.  I again admit that it felt like a comic, with action taking place off screen, but tidying up the spastic camera could have gone well.  And just as the battles found its stride, the movie was over.

 

 

The VERDICT: 

 

Overall, Into the Spiderverse, is the breath of fresh air that the superhero industry needed to help regain interest.  With surprisingly deep lore, well themed comedy, and a design that is flashy, stylized and dynamic, it’s certainly going to appeal to many viewers.  Yet, it’s not the traditional Marvel movie and some limitations in regards to jokes, lack of hot actors, and nonlinear presentation may not ring well with the normal super hero audience.  Throw in a little unorthodox action and you’ll see mixed reviews coming in depending on who attends the showing with you.  My scores for this movie are;

 

Animation/Action/Adventure: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Will This Movie Wreck Your Memories

Ralph Breaks the Internet Poster

 

Popular culture is here to say, but it is also ever changing, much in part to the internet.  Tonight’s movie decides to journey to the center of the internet looking into the world of cyberspace through the eyes of Disney.  Yes, tonight the sequel many never thought would come to bear given the current movements by Disney (Pixar sequels, live animation, and Marvel).  That’s right! Out of Walt Disney Animation Studios is Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet, which based on the massive advertising, holds the potential to be another hilarious adventure.  Robbie K here to review:

 

Movie: Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Wrecks The Internet (2018)

 

Directors:

Phil JohnstonRich Moore

Writers:

Phil Johnston (screenplay by), Pamela Ribon (screenplay by)

Stars:

John C. ReillySarah SilvermanGal Gadot

 

 

LIKES:

Animation: No surprise, Disney knows how to design and animate in the world of children’s animation. Ralph’s newest adventure proves this once more as the cyberworld comes to life in rich textures and colors, as the wonderful world of Disney’s lens reveals a cleverly detailed world.  All ages should appreciate the mood and characterization of each popular app and part of the cyber world, that adds the characteristic this series is famous for. Characters move smoothly in all sequences, and it still holds the personality of a video game.

 

Comedy:  Ralph’s series is always known for the comedy and the dive into the internet immersed the group into new depths of comedy.  This film broadens its horizons in terms of laugh factors and allows more people to laugh at the antics at hand.  The same slapstick remains from the first film, while jabs at our popular culture, alongside quote worthy one-liners ring through the whole film.  Many avenues are not safe from the ridicule of the movie, that will hopefully have you laughing in good fun like I did.  Nevertheless, the film’s laugh fest is still reminiscent of the first film, but bringing a new twist to the mix.

 

Pace:  A Disney movie is often paced quite well and this film is no exception.  Ralph and company will be surfing at the speed of information exchange, having no problems with being deterred or hindered in its ability to bring the entertainment and story we so crave.  With this faster pace, comes an energy that Ralph is famous for, which will captivate the attention of all the intended audience members.

 

Cleverness:  The movie works so well with managing to have geekiness imbued into the film, showing off the whit of the famous studio as they pay tribute to the nerds and nerd alike.  Random cameos, details of buildings, and other popular culture references are well-established into the comedy and seldom forced upon you like some of the films they have made. Still, Disney’s shrewd creativity and imagination continue to shine forth in their ability to make animated films.

 

The Moral:  The movie wouldn’t be a Disney film if there wasn’t a tried and true trail to remain at the center of it all.  Ralph’s first lesson was about self-identity and discovering yourself.  This film expands the already deep characters to new levels as their relationship evolves into the next levels of growth.  As both start to fan out into the cyber world and establish new adventures, Ralph and Venelope will go through their own trials as well.  It’s sweet, it’s strong, and it jam packed with emotion that will have many getting sentimental, especially if it is relevant. Wreck It Ralph’s moral driven plot may not be original, but it certainly is jam packed with the usual Disney magic.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not The First Movie:  Sequels have to be themselves and soar with open wings to establish its only flow.  Still, the sequel lacked some of the creativity, uniqueness, target themes that it had established those years ago.  I missed the video game focused references, and cameos of dad jokes with parodies to those games.  In addition, it still lacked some other things I’ll be mentioning to result in a still good sequel, but maybe not quite as strong as the original to me.

 

The Other characters: it was brilliant to allow other characters and gimmicks to unfold for this film, but a few other characters could have certainly had more involvement given how much a part they were of the main character’s lives.  Why the original characters didn’t go on a journey more, I don’t know, but I missed them in this film very much.

 

New Characters Quite Not living To Full potential:  Shank and the new crew might have been beautiful and bold in the film, but they were not nearly as integrated into the film as the previous installment.  Disney has included them enough to give us future merchandising, but the cyber characters didn’t quite have the adventurous involvement the previous one had.  It would have been nice to pull them multiple times to help with facing the internet and I quite missed the sense of adventure the first film specialized in.

 

Comedy In Your Face Moments: There are times where Disney still feels the need to force an idea or comedy style on them.  Sometimes they work and other times are a little too intense for me to really appreciate it.  The Disney princess moment is one of those moments that I felt was a little in your face, pushing too hard to get the point across for the sake of a laugh towards a certain subset of audience members.  I get there is a place for a lot of comedy in this film, the goal of the producers, but perhaps working to integrate characters a little bit might have been the way to go instead of another princess service announcement.

 

The Villain:  Turbo was a great central antagonist that held many tricks in  his arsenal to remain relevant and immortal.  He was deadly enough to threaten people with darker tones, while still a force to brecken with.  However, this one was missing a lot, often much due to underutilization of characters and a gimmick that seemed nothing more than a plot device trying to justify the inclusion of another big bad character.  It’s age appropriate, but not quite the full incredible splendor that the first one did, and I missed that challenge to their never-ending quest for fun, adventure and the truth.

 

The Trailer Ruined Much: Hate when Disney over shows the trailers, making sure to show you so much of the movie without giving away the whole thing.  Ralph has had a lot ruined, not everything mind you, but many powerful laughs and jokes could have held more life to it if they had been introduced in the film, instead of the billions of minutes on television.  As such, some of the more popular jokes were stale to my viewing group.

 

The Verdict:

 

            The sequel had a lot to live up for me, but Ralph’s second film held plenty of the same magic that I fell in love with in the first film.  Still a dazzling delight to watch with fantastic animation and design combined with the usual comedic references we’ve come to expect with this series.  Still, the dive back into pop culture references still needed some software updates to maximize old and new characters, and design the film with the same standards the first held.  Still the film is worth a trip to theater for many reasons and an enjoyable one at that. 

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5-8.0

You’re A Cute Film, Mr. Grinch

The Grinch Poster

            Time honored classics hold a special place in our hearts, sometimes to the point of being unable to ever be touched by remakes or other twists.  Still that does not stop Hollywood from trying to find ways to make an idea modernized to help reel in new generations.  Sometimes these twists are amazing to the point of becoming the new standard, while others should remain in the thought pool to develop some more.  Tonight, Dr. Seuss’ legendary Grinch tries to come in with a chance to make itself relevant to the new age.  Will it run with the two previous versions that are the big dogs in holiday cinema?  That’s where I come in.  Robbie K back this week for the first review on:

 

Movie: The Grinch (2018)

 

Directors:

Yarrow CheneyScott Mosier

Writers:

Michael LeSieur (screenplay by), Dr. Seuss (based on the book by)

Stars:

Rashida JonesTristan O’HareScarlett Estevez

 

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

Animation:  In the modern age of computer cinema, I agree that the new visual style is a welcome addition to the series.  Illumination’s style goes well with this movie, the cartoony visuals, bright colors, and odd shapes fitting right into the imagination of Dr. Seuss.  Little ones will appreciate all the energy in the design and the magical heart of Whoville in their love for Christmas.  In addition to all the colorful and fun displays, the Grinch and company have wonderfully smooth animation, crisp and clean to capture all the slapstick shenanigans these movies are famous for.

Voice Acting:  Not many here, but Benedict Cumberbatchis the lead in this movie, showing off his voice acting skills once more in a fun manner. Perhaps not the most elaborate character in his repertoire, this Grinch has a number of octaves and mannerisms to get my nod of approval, as Cumberbatch once again adds life to the artificially crafted characters.  Cameron Seelyas Cindy Lou Who has some sass to the classical, good souled who that still has that innocence, but with the modern twist.  As for Kenan Thompson, he is funny in his one-liners that take you back into the 90s where he reigned king.

 

Cute:  The movie is a family friendly film, with that youthful energy to kick off the holiday season and get you onto the mood.  The Grinch brings that modern tale to full light and the new twist has been tailored towards the target audience of 4-10-year-old kids and the young at heart.  In addition, all the comedy and story will potentially make your heart grow three sizes.

 

The Creativity:  Say what you want about the others installments of this film, but this Grinch gets bonus points for the clever twists brought into the heist scene.  Yes the first one was brilliant and went in time with the song, and Jim Carey’s version had the darker, fun delight that was a little spooky giving the lighting. This one though, adds gadgets and technology that were rather Seuss-like and most likely the subject of action figures and toys alike.  Still, the Grinch’s new genius is just another nice twist to the mix, again matching the talents of the voice actor who portrays him.

 

The Dual Stories:  One part is the tale we’ve come to know and love, while the other running tangent is a small story that gives us more Cindy Lou Who.  The Movie does a nice job of having the two key characters trekking down their own paths, each blazing their own path as they head to the fateful night.  It’s not the most character centric story, but it works well for me and gives little girls a new animated character to pull for.

 

DISLIKES:

 

A Little Too Simple: The Grinch’s modern twist is perfect for the modern age of kid themed movies, being innocent, sweet fun that leaves you with a feeling of Christmas. Yet, the movie still is a little to simple, lacking those qualities the previous installments held that made the memorable. Perhaps a little more story, a little more heart, or just some more injection of adult components into the mix could have taken this film farther.

 

More Character Development: The Grinch seemed rather simple, but the Jim Carey version proved this green curmudgeon held more story than ever imagined.  Sadly, this version sacrificed characters for the slapstick gimmicks to net kids in. Sure, there are backbone framework established, but there was so much more discovery and tales to tell to help strengthen the film.  Other characters could have been involved as well, but they were only momentary colors on the screen, with a few one-line jabs to get some chuckles.  Nevertheless, the movie needed more character utilization for this guy.

 

Predictable/Shown In Trailers:  No surprise that the Grinch is predictable, but why could it not have escaped the curse of the revealing trailers.  The Grinch’s surprises are ruined mostly by the glimpses in the trailer, leaving you with little to discover past the meat of the film.  There are still some special gifts hidden under the trees, but perhaps not in the brightest, shiniest style it could have been.

 

More Cindy Lou Story: I know it’s called the Grinch, but they opened the flood gates for another story that could have been even cuter. Cindy Lou’s story introduced lots of characters that could have again established more of that twist, perhaps giving it that special something this version needed.  Fortunately, there was a major finale to help wrap up and inspire, but some more development was needed in this component to really add that final finesse.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Grinch is a tough challenge to take on given the champion films we have in the past.  Still, this reviewer enjoyed the fun adventure that is appropriate for the whole family.  The animation, design, and comedy are all for the intended audience and one might enjoy seeing their little one’s face light up at the magic of Christmas unfolding. Sadly, the movie still has some work in terms of bringing more to the table, taking the story and gimmicks to the full potential by injecting a few more unique features to escape the trailers revelations.  Still, I applaud the new twist for the creativity and think that a family outing can warrant a visit.  Yet, the classics are free and available at home, and that may be difficult to miss when they are so good. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Comedy/Family: 7.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

 

One Small Step For Music, One Giant Need For More Time

Smallfoot Poster

            Robbie K here with another review, this time hitting the latest animated movie to come into the big screen and help impress your little ones.  While not Disney, tonight’s first review offers the potential to teach, preach, and have your kids dancing in your seats as a new merchandising set debuts on the silver screen.  What’s in store? Read on to find out as I look over

 

Movie: Small Foot (2018)

 

Directors:

Karey KirkpatrickJason Reisig (co-director)

Writers:

Karey Kirkpatrick (screenplay by), Clare Sera (screenplay by)

Stars:

Channing TatumJames CordenZendaya

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  Animated movies often take this approach, but Small Foot especially took the reins of selling the terrifying yeti as a cute, cuddly, anthropomorphized group that look fluffy and stylish at the same time.  It’s characters have that adorable round face, big shining eyes, and a happy, peppy attitude that feeds positivity to the audience around.  As such, hearts will melt and smiles will shine bright as they watch the group come to life.

 

Animation: No surprise here, a big budget production from WB has fluid movement and articulated sequences that show off their computer work.  Small Foot’s design is also colorful, vibrant, and somehow a tribute to the fashion/culture of multiple ethnicities that represent their voice actors. I myself loved the styles of the yeti’s and how chique their fur was structured to make them unique. Definitely not the most realistic, but it works.

 

Strong Messages:  What would a kid’s movie be without important life lessons and adult politics present to provide a double layered story?  Small Foot is just that, working to teach the audience the importance of trust, the questioning of theories to pursue truth and make life better, bringing cultures together to make for peace, and a variety of other messages that the world can stand to learn.  It’s powerfully done, with all the magic thrown in to help bring the message to full light and let it fully settle in.  Where other films are a little more subtle, Small Foot decides to just blare it full blast to get the message across, even promoting a few songs to teach the lessons.

 

Funny at times:  I think this states it enough, but Small Foot attempts a lot of comedic styles to entertain all ages.  Many of the running jokes are tributes to vine and internet videos that should be familiar to the modern era.  Some are brilliantly timed, and others are included haphazardly, there to be funny for the kids alone.  I myself like the cleverer references or clever wordplay, which there is actually a decent amount, so kudos to them.

 

Songs: While it seems the modern trend is to turn everything animated into a musical to get soundtracks out and money in.  While that trend gets annoying at times, have to say that the music of Small Foot was very entertaining and fitting to the scenes that were designed with them. Beautiful, passionate songs led by Zendaya gave me the goosebumps and held such emotional fire to motivate your desire to learn new things, while the Corben’s twist on Pressure was clever, fun, and humorous to break things up.  Nevertheless, this would be a fun setlist to play in the car and one worth investing in.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Lacking The Disney Magic: We know there are plenty of reasons why this is the case, but for me Small Foot is lacking the same power that bigger budget productions hold.  Small Foot may be cute, but it didn’t push the boundaries of creativity, character cultivation or design.  It’s not bad by any means, and while there is some originality, all the pieces don’t quite line up.

 

The Overdone Comedy: Again, I like many of the things this movie offers in terms of laughs, but Small Foot has difficulties with finding that balance between too much and too little.  The movie loves beating running joke horses to death, while skimping on jokes that were more diverse and bridged multiple ages.

 

More Songs:  Can’t believe I’m saying this, but in truth, the movie actually needed a few more songs to round out the experience.  Zendaya’s song is amazing, but for me not so much to fashion most of the screen time songs around it.  At least three different renditions were played during the film, plenty of opportunity for some of those more humorous songs to fill instead.

 

Character Usage/Development: Lots of voices, means lots of time management needs, and Small Foot does okay to some degree.  The problem is, that they just don’t integrate the characters as well as I think they could have  done.  So many potential plot points, hindrances, and obstacles could have been introduced to add more to the story, but musical theatrics and cuteness took over.  Much more was needed on many fronts to really tie all the characters together and launch more stories to the mix.  This is probably due to lower run time, which was appreciated, but perhaps will set up for some type of Netflix series.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

Overall, Small Foot is a fun ride that will appease the target audience easily enough.  Music is fun, the jokes are a variety of references to get on board with, and it has that cute atmosphere you got from the trailers.  And if you’ve got the little ones enjoy it with them, but realize this one doesn’t quite have the magic behind it like it wanted.  It’s a little off balance, did not take the potential of developing characters, and needed more of the gimmicks to help give it that push it needed.  So overall, most are going to either avoid or reserve this one for NetFlix/Redbox.

 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

Pooh or Poo? Have We Found The Golden Honey Pot Of The Summer?

Christopher Robin Poster

 

Being a kid of the 90s, you got exposed to a lot of generational cartoons.  From a young age I got exposed to the classic Winnie the Pooh cartoons with the memorable moments of pooh stuck in the hole, or on the balloon.  Shortly thereafter the new adventures strapped in and brought new life to the series that was even more endearing tone before dropping further into kids territory.  Then, Pooh and the crew kind of phased out, with only those less than 5 really caring about what they could offer, thus they faded from memory.  Now, Disney is trying to recapture the magic of A.A. Milne’s in a live action version of the stuffed animals journey through the eyes of the owner.  Robbie K here with another review, this time on:

 

Movie: Christopher Robin (2018)

 

Director:

Marc Forster

Writers:

Alex Ross Perry (screenplay by),  Tom McCarthy(screenplay by)

Stars:

Ewan McGregor,  Hayley Atwell,  Bronte Carmichael

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute/Charming:  When it comes to Pooh and the crew, the adventures are almost always cute and adorable.  Christopher Robin continues this trend, making sure to rope in all of the classic goodness, but modernize it to the new families of the modern age. It is perfect for kids as the stuffed animals bounce around the town, but also for the current parents who grew up with the cartoons like I did.  Nevertheless, that nostalgic atmosphere will come in this charming adventure that somehow brings the feel of the classics into the new form of live action.

 

Clever Wit:  The references in Pooh are not for the casual audience member, but for fans like me, there is hidden treasure in the references. Nostalgia again is the leading quality, but Christopher Robin had me chuckling with all the well-timed, well-delivered, bumbling of Pooh and the Crew.  There are plenty of misunderstanding moments that will have the older audience members enjoying it the most, while the kids will love the goofy slapstick that follows from the disbelief of the supporting casts.  I can easily say that this movie is definitely a little more targeted for the older crowd in terms of dialogue.

 

Emotional Growth: Where most of the Pooh adventures are silly, whimsical feats of seeking out enough honey to fill Pooh, Christopher Robin falls on the spectrum of those episodes that were more serious.  It’s about a new stage of life through McGregor’s character and it does a nice job of balancing the numerous emotional stressors that comes with growing up.  This film does a fantastic job of portraying that line between kid and adult, and how both are important for raising the family.  It will speak deeply to those with families of their own, and seal a spot in the heart as the greatest Pooh movie of all time.

 

The original voices/Animation:  With a Disney movie, the animation is always good, so no need to go into too many details. The big thing to mention, is that the stuffed animals look like stuffed animals, so the design is great on that lone. However, my favorite aspect is that Jim Cummingscame back to bring Pooh/Tigger to life once more.  His voice alone is the source of Pooh’s comedy, bringing that sweet innocence with it that pulls at your heart strings like the silly old bear can.  As for Tigger, he is still the energetic, manic tiger who doesn’t understand the word limits.  While the other voice actors were good, Jim was the winner for me as a key pillar of the movie.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  No surprise, the movie doesn’t have too many twists and turns for being a family movie.  It pretty much hits a line drive to the family life lessons, to keep it perfect for its target audience, (aka staying away from the dark and obscure). It’s not that I was surprised at all, but as a reviewer I have to look at all aspects.

 

Limited audience:  Pooh is not for everyone, and unlike other Disney movies, not everyone is going to love this.  While I did enjoy the comedy, it’s specificity for Pooh comedy is going to limit it to a small number of people, and not all kids are going to enjoy the mellow pace of the movie.  So, its branching out was not quite achieved the way they wanted to in my opinion.

 

More Haley Atwell:  I know the film is about Christopher Robin (hence the title), but you would have expected a little more integration of the wife if they were going to pull the daughter in.  Atwell played her part well, but I wished they had incorporated her side of the story more and helped round out Christopher’s story. 

 

More Of The Other Animals: Again, I know the relationship between Pooh and Christopher is the key, but I do wish that the other animals had their appendages in the film a little better.  Still more screen time than I anticipated, but they could have been incorporated a bit more to really max things out.

 

Missing The Whimsy: This comes from loving the new adventures, but I really missed the full-on imagination that came with the original cartoon series.  Because the emotional aspect is blended so well into the movie it takes away from the adventure theme that I loved.  Not bad at all mind you, I just missed that favorite aspect from my childhood.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            By far Christopher Robin is the best family movie of the summer, and the must watch for those with young members in their family. It hits its key demographic hard and manages to balance the movie in many aspects to grab kids and original generation hard.  Sadly, they may have done this job a little too well, because general audiences may not appreciate the full glory of this movie, and the styles they chose.  In addition, the movie just misses that adventure component that Disney movies are famous for, to instead go down the predictable, preachy, emotional pathway that they tend to do.  So, is it worth a theater visit?  The answer is yes if you are that key demographic, but otherwise skip this until you get it in theaters.  

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Is There Hope Or Just Plain Nope: Go At Your Own Risk

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies Poster

 

Cartoons were amazing back in my day when cable was the preferred means of entertaining.  Whether it was the classics of Hannah Barbara, or the modern age 90s cartoons there were plenty that had bite and engaging elements that many modern shows lack.  One in particular was Teen Titans, a comic book inspired television that packed heat, excitement, and engaging episodes/characters that hooked generations. Then came Teen Titans Go, a chibi like, watered down version that took all those elements away and replaced them with bathroom humor, vomit slaps, and rants of babbling gibberish that did little to impress past the age of like 8.  So naturally, it’s popular for today’s group and with it comes a big screen picture to try and impress.  Robbie K is back with another review, so let’s get to it as I review:

 

Movie:  Teen Titans Go To The Movies (2018)

 

Directors:

Aaron Horvath,  Peter Rida Michail

Writers:

Aaron Horvath,  Michael Jelenic

Stars:

Will Arnett,  Eric Bauza,  Kristen Bell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Original Voice Actors: There are timeless voices that will always be remembered, and breathe life into the very character they are voicing. Fortunately, Teen Titans Go was smart enough to retain the original voice cast of Scott Menville, Khary Payton,Greg Cipes, Tara Strongand Hynden Walch.  The crew continues to lend their talents to try and redeem what little these big headed/small bodied forms have left for them, and kept me in the movie to support their work.  No last-minute switches here people, and fortunately it does work.

 

Animation:  While nothing close to some of the other comic book inspired shows, this reviewer still applauds some of the animation style in this movie.  Colorful designs, fluid motion, and clever art styles to culminate in some of the cleverer scenes, which is always appreciated when you break away from the style they’ve been dependent on us.

 

Short Time Frame:  If you can’t stand stupidity (then avoid this movie), but if you are going for your little one, fear not, the craziness lasts for only about 80 minutes and then you are free.  Thank goodness the editing was on top of the game.

 

Clever moments:  While Teen Titans Go seldom falls into this category, I couldn’t help but laugh at how the cartoon pokes fun at the obsession with super hero movies, Disney’s monopoly over things, and of course the obsession of only being recognized if you have a movie.  Bravo for the writer’s integrating these moments, because at the right times, these moments packed a punch.

 

The Mid-Credit Scene: There is hope for the future, and this entire movie’s excuse may be summed up in this short two-minute scene that happens after the cast.  We can only hope the momentum keeps going.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Zero Action:  The original series was so good at balancing this components with everything else to make the tales exciting and suspenseful. While there are some, faster paced scenes, the action is sub-par, dropped only after slightly building momentum so we can cram more juvenile jokes into the mix.  The finale helps remedy this for merely a few seconds, but it just happened too late in the movie for it to count for me.

 

Poop Jokes:  Bathroom jokes are great for me, but only when they are either well-time or super relevant.  The movie became a little too obsessed with this bodily function, taking grandiose tangents to cram one of these jokes in at an inappropriate time. It shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve seen the show, but as a reviewer I have to point these out so don’t shoot the messenger.  The target audience is not going to get enough of the crude humor this movie loves to endorse, but for the older fans… well brace yourselves in whatever means you can.

 

The Story:  It’s an awesome poke at Hollywood, but given how incredible the proceeding series was, I find it hard to enjoy the story in this movie.  The writers had an underlying staple, but it criss crosses through so many sub-plots, it pretty much makes for a hodge-podge of mediocrity that just doesn’t do much outside of provide a platform to spring more jokes off.  I know, this wasn’t the intended path, but I miss my Teen Titans comic plot more than ever watching this mess.

 

Pointless Super Hero cameos: A few cameos were funny, but the advertisements endorsed super heroes and perhaps that means integrate them more. Teen Titans Goes down yet another pointless tangent, that leave much to be desired.  Outside of a few perfectly executed jokes, the older super heroes were pretty pathetic in this movie for me.  Sorry, but I have to speak my opinions.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Teen Titans is probably being seen as the worst movie to come to theaters this year.  While it certainly isn’t a masterpiece, the movie does have some high moments, primarily in mocking the obsession Hollywood has with comics these days.  Truth is, this movie is meant for die-hard fans of the show (mainly kids) and it sticks to its guns to keep their attention with all the bright colors and stuck in your head songs.  I can’t recommend this one to the theater unless you are trying to please your little one, but regardless there is hope that the golden age can soon return.  It may be the only thing worthy of seeing this movie for. 

 

My scores:

 

Animation/Action/Comedy: 5.5

Movie Overall:  4.0