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

 

 

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

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

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