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Funny, fast-paced, and stylishly animated. Scoob! is a pure delight to behold!
Warner Bros. Pictures is one of the biggest and most diverse studios of all-time, known for making some of the most intense but also entertaining features. Their animation department has made some pretty great features in recent years, such as "The Lego Movie", "Storks", and "Smallfoot". Now that they own all Hanna-Barbera properties, they have the right to make any movie out of those characters, and here they have made one in the form of "Scoob!", an action-packed, stylishly animated, fast-paced comedy-adventure with a suspenseful twist of events and scene-stealing characters.
The story follows the origins of Mystery, Incorporated, and how they band together to stop the ruthless criminal supervillain Dick Dastardly from opening up the Greek underworld and unleashing the three-headed dog Cerberus. During the quest, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma learn that Scooby-Doo is the last descendant of Peritas, the dog of Alexander the Great, and is the key to both opening and closing the gates to the Greek underworld. The movie's story also involves a team up with Blue Falcon, who is the son of the original Blue Falcon Radley Crown, Brian, his robotic dog sidekick Dynomutt, and the Falcon Fury jet pilot Dee Dee Skyes, collectively known as the "Falcon Force". I love how convoluted this story is and how action-packed each moment is, as well as the hilarious, cartoony humor involved in the movie's witty moments.
Each member of Mystery Inc. Brings something different to the table: Fred is the charismatic leader, aka the "Tank" of the team, who drives the Mystery Machine around and has a level-headed personality when it comes to solving a mystery. Daphne is the empathetic, kindhearted "people person" member of the team, always willing to help others out in tough situations, and brings up great moments when Scooby and Shaggy find ways out of tense predicaments. Velma is the smart, tech-savvy member of the team, the "Brain" of Mystery Inc. And of course we can't forget Scooby and Shaggy, the food-obsessed, goofy, yet lovable members of the team, or the "Heart" of Mystery Inc. Brian Crown / Blue Falcon is the son of the original Blue Falcon who struggles with confidence, a relatable trait for a new superhero at a young age. Dynomutt is his sarcastic, yet loyal sidekick. Dee Dee Skyes is the tough, go-getter pilot of the Falcon Fury. Dick Dastardly is a ruthless, criminal version of the Wacky Races character who wishes to open the gates to the Greek underworld and reunite himself with his dog partner Muttley, who has been trapped in the underworld for so long after going through a back portal there, unable to escape. And there's an appearance by Captain Caveman, a protective, but comical furry caveman superhero who resides in Messick Mountain.
The animation is very stylish and crafty. I love the blend of realistic texture and cartoony design, which is faithful to the Hanna-Barbera series. The colors, movement, and visuals are bursting with creativity.
The music score, which was composed by Tom Holkenberg (Junkie XL) also adds a lot of momentum to the movie's pacing. Things build up from one to the next, and the music compliments it well. Yes, there are pop songs in the movie, but they don't take away from the music score itself.
It may not be the best Warner Animation Group feature, but "Scoob!" is still a lot of fun! Definite recommend for anyone who wants to see a fun, cartoony animated feature with a fast pace and hilarious, wacky humor.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
A heartwarming, hilarious, and action-packed coming-of-age animated superhero movie!
Disney is always on the look for the next best animated feature to "wow" audiences, showing them how much effort they put into making something spectacular. With Big Hero 6, you really don't expect too much of the Disney charm, since it's based on a Marvel property, but what WILL surprise you is how fantastic this film really is!
The story follows Hiro Hamada, a 14-year old robotics prodigy who lives in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo (a portmanteau of San Francisco, California and Tokyo, Japan) who has an interest in bot fighting. After going with his older brother Tadashi to his college the San Fransokyo Institution of Tech and seeing his inflatable healthcare robot Baymax, Hiro becomes determined to use his intelligence to make the unthinkable: tiny little microbots that can literally do anything humans have already done for years. A fire breaks out during his presentation, and Tadashi is killed, causing Hiro to spiral into a deep grief, where he can't do anything. After learning that one of his microbots is still active and is looking for the others, which are being built by a kabuki-masked supervillain, Hiro is determined to get revenge on the villain for Tadashi's death, and teams up with his old college friends Wasabi, a neurotic African-American student who specializes in laser technology, Honey Lemon, an enthusiastic Latina chemistry student, Go Go Tomago, a tough, athletic student specializing in electromagnetic suspension engineering, and Fred, the laid-back school mascot, to form the superhero team known as "Big Hero 6". The story is well-paced and full of action-packed moments, as well as consistently funny humor.
Hiro Hamada is a relatable person, having lost a sibling and struggling to do anything with his life. A lot of first-year college students are like that, and Hiro's personality fits that very well. Baymax is an inflatable, expressionless robot with a chubby design created by Tadashi to help people, and works with Hiro to figure out where the microbot is going, after learning it is still active. He's incredibly lovable and charming. Tadashi is Hiro's late brother, determined to make the world better through Baymax's creation. Wasabi, Honey Lemon, Go Go, and Fred are Tadashi's friends, who each have quirky personalities and whose roles in the movie shape their superpowers and costumes. Robert Callaghan is the professor of robotics at the San Fransokyo Institution of Tech, later the masked supervillain Yokai, bent on getting revenge on the greedy tech guru Alistair Krei for his daughter's absence via a powerful portal project that is too unstable to carry humans. Aunt Cass is Hiro's supportive, slightly fearful, but loving aunt, who just wants the best for her nephew, and can get easily worried to the point of stress-eating because of certain situations Hiro puts himself in. And finally, Alistair Krei is the greedy tech guru CEO of Krei Tech Industries, always looking for the next best thing for San Fransokyo. Each of the characters has a very unique, crafty, and interesting trait to make the movie both diverse and full of surprises.
The animation is very stylish. It looks like a living comic book, but it also breathes with life in Disney form. Each character design, costume, and action sequence is well-animated and sharply done and executed, especially the flight sequences with Hiro and Baymax. There are quiet times too, and the dramatic animation compliments these scenes well.
Henry Jackman's score is also action-packed and full of rigorous instrumentation. Every note captures the superhero vibes with a powerful orchestra. Plus it's fun to listen to the movie's theme song "Immortals", which reflects on how Tadashi will live with Hiro forever more, even if he is not physically alive in-person.
Despite the fact it is based on a Marvel comic, Big Hero 6 turned out to be a pleasant surprise, full of heartwarming, funny, and action-packed moments. This movie will please all who sees it. Check it out if you haven't yet!
Delightful, well-paced, and stunningly animated!
From Disney and Pixar, and screenwriter/director Brad Bird comes Ratatouille, an animated comedy that tells us anyone can do anything if they set their mind on something they are passionate about. This is a very well-done animated feature, from start to finish. Everything about this movie is incredible, including the animation, voice cast, and backdrop setting of Paris, France. I don't even know where to begin with this review. But, here I go anyway:
Story: the story is about Remy, a young blue rat with a heightened sense of taste and smell. Feeling outcasted in his family's rat colony, Remy is determined to prove to them he is more than a rat, by going out into the world and making things for people, specifically fancy food. He eventually arrives at a fancy restaurant called "Gusteau's", which hasn't been doing a good business since the evil critic Anton Ego gave it a bad review, causing Chef Auguste Gusteau himself to die of a broken heart. There, he befriends a garbage boy named Linguini, who has lost so many jobs, and together, they want to prove to the world they can make something of themselves. This is a very refreshing take on the buddy comedy formula Pixar relies on so very much. The humor is great, too. I laughed a lot throughout this movie.
Characters: Remy is a blue rat with a heightened sense of taste and smell. I love how he is able to sniff out poisons and know when something won't taste right. It's very interesting since real rats cannot gag or vomit. Linguini as a hapless garbage boy working at Gusteau's, who eventually gets promoted to chef after a soup he serves to a critic gets exceptional results. His unusual alliance with Remy is strange, but that doesn't mean it's weird. Plus, they both bounce off each other's strengths, and it's really fun seeing Remy control Linguini like a puppet. Colette Tatou is the only woman chef in the kitchen, and Linguini's love interest. She is beautiful, but feisty, and that's why she is the perfect female counterpart to the neurotic male chef in training. Skinner is the restaurant's current owner, having been the sous chef of Gusteau during his lifetime. He is determined to expose Linguini's secret to making good food, and hates rats, with most of character being based on B. F. Skinner, a psychologist who did tests on rats. Anton Ego is a strict and cold-hearted food critic who is hoping to give a good review of Gusteau's after learning how exceptional its food is. His cold nature makes him very intimidating, but I do like how he eventually becomes more friendly later on after eating ratatouille. Gusteau is the chef who founded the restaurant seen in the movie. He may not be alive, but his death influences Remy's story in the movie. Django is Remy's father, who runs the rat colony. He does not like Remy's desire to be more human, but eventually accepts it after realizing he has the guts to pull it off. Emile is Remy's obese older brother, who has mixed feelings about his trait. All of these characters bring something interesting to the table. They're funny, heartfelt, and full of personality.
Animation: The animation of this movie is amazing. Pure Pixar CGI. Every detail, design, and color feels like a piece of France in this movie. I especially love the little nuances in the details on the French backgrounds.
Music: Michael Giacchino's score in this movie is a delight. His respect for French instrumentation is high in this feature. I love listening to every bit of the score from this movie.
Final verdict: Ratatouille is a pure delight to behold. The animation, voice acting, characters, story, and music all blend together well for a funny, fast-paced adventure. Do check this film out if you want to see a coming-of-age movie about being true to your passions! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The Pixar movie that makes you think
I love Pixar movies. They're the kind of movies you turn to when you're trying to explain how to make an animated movie right. Soul, a new film from Pixar with deep storytelling, is no exception. This is perhaps a crowning achievement for the studio, mainly thanks to the philosophical writing done by the creative team led by director Pete Docter.
Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx), an African-American middle school band teacher, lands the gig of his life at the Half Note Jazz Club in New York City, and accidentally loses his soul in a manhole incident, causing him to get trapped between the real world and the afterlife. After ending in a place called "The Great Beyond", where dead souls go to lay eternal rest, he jumps off of the moving platform to get back to his body, but accidentally lands in a place called "The Great Before", where he befriends a sarcastic soul named 22 (voice of Tina Fey), and helps her discover the joys of life to get back to his body. During their time together, 22 begins to enjoy life, particularly when she is inside Joe's body. This movie's story is very poignant and thought-provoking, but it also does provide good humor, even if it's not as funny as some of Pixar's previous efforts, like Toy Story or Cars.
The protagonist, Joe Gardner, has a very deep passion for jazz and wishes to become a member of a quartet led by the much-respected Dorothea Williams (voice of Angela Bassett). I love how he is a musician, because musicians have lots of pathos (emotion) in them, and their music can compliment their deep, heartfelt tone about their interests. 22 is a sarcastic soul with a pessimistic, dim view on life, but after being in Joe's body and experiencing things in life more, begins to appreciate living and doesn't quite view it the way she initially did. Moonwind (voice of Graham Norton) is a hilarious spiritual sign twirler who helps Joe and 22 get back to normal, but he also provides lots of insight into Joe's desires to return to his body, and helps 22 learn a little more about life. Curly (voice of rapper Questlove) is Joe's old student and drummer, who acts like his best friend. His cool personality and love of Joe's old class is one of the many reasons that he is a true confidant to our hero pianist. The counselors in the Great Before are all named Jerry (voices of Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, etc.) and I love that. They all act as guides to the new souls, and that's very interesting. Terry (voice of Rachel House) is a soul in The Great Beyond, who desperately wishes to catch Joe, after learning he cheated the system to escape death. I love her scene-stealing personality and firm, but hilarious nature. And Libba Gardner (voice of Phylicia Rashad) is Joe's mother, always hoping for Joe to get the best possible job, and not liking his decisions to chase after dreams of being big-stage pianists at the jazz club, though learns to appreciate his passion after talking with him at her tailor shop.
I really like the animation of this movie. It's a nice blend of realistic New York and cartoony astral planes. The details in both is very well-done, and how they are able to merge together beautifully. It's so colorful but also so uniquely crafted, with inspiration from caricature artists Pablo Picasso and Al Hirschfeld.
Also, the music has a respect for African-American jazz. Each note played actually sounds like a real part of the jazz music, and I especially love it when you can tell that the musicians playing it are doing it authentically, rather than forced or fake. I also love listening to rap song from the movie, "Rappin' Ced", which is performed by Paul's voice actor in the movie, Daveed Diggs.
Soul is by far one of the best Pixar movies ever made. The story, animation, voices, and music is deep, serious, and philosophical, and allows people to ponder their own decisions in life. Highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with their purpose in life.
A heartwarming tale of friendship
From Disney and Pixar comes "Luca", their newest animated feature, starring Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Maya Rudolph. What a film this was. I cannot describe enough how much I enjoy this movie.
The story follows a 12-year old sea monster named Luca Paguro, who lives on the Italian Riviera near the town of Portorosso with his family and herds goatfish, as he ventures to the surfaces and befriends a 13-year old sea monster named Alberto Scorfano, eventually learning about the human world and meeting a human girl named Guila Marcovaldo. What I like about the story is how it's briskly paced and loaded with heartfelt moments of friendship. That's not to say "Luca" is devoid of comedy; the humor is very subtle and faint, but very funny and entertaining.
Luca is also a very relatable character, reflecting on how I once refused to explore other areas and see the world, even to the point where I had very few friends. I love how he and Alberto bond well with each other because they're both curious creatures, and eventually desire to gain a special moped called a "Vespa" to explore other areas beyond Portorosso. Alberto might be a rebel, but as that is part of growing up, it seems understandable he would be portrayed that way. Guila Marcovaldo is a very tough and go-getter kind of girl, determined to not let anything get in her way, until she befriends Luca and Alberto and allows them to compete with her in the Portorosso Cup. Daniela and Lorenzo Paguro are scene stealers, with hilarious voices and weird, wild personalities. Ercole Visconti is the movie's antagonist, whose characterization ranges from snobby bully to cruel killer. His mixed nature makes him one of the most unusual Pixar villains ever. Massimo Marcovaldo is Guila's father, very caring and loving, and is also like a mentor to Luca and Alberto, when they work with him to earn money for the race.
The animation is very stylish and well-crafted, with some very beautiful visuals and interesting Hayao Miyazaki-style character designs. The use of color is interesting too, such as Luca's green, Alberto's purple, and Ercole's blue. I also like how the sea monsters have humanoid designs to make their transitions to real humans on land believable and real.
The music also brings about that warm, nostalgic feel to the table. Composer Dan Romer adds a very rich orchestra into the heartwarming feel of the film's tone, and captures the spirit of Italy very well in the style of instrumentation. I also like how it gets intense when Ercole's tension rises and he attempts to murder Luca and Alberto outright.
Although it plays it safe, "Luca" is a very emotional tale about friendship with some memorable characters and incredible animation and visuals. The movie proves that Pixar can make entertaining features even with simple plots (although "Cars", an earlier effort from the studio, already proved this). You won't be disappointed if you check this one out.
Trolls World Tour (2020)
A good sequel to a fast-paced animated musical, if a little bit less ambitious than its predecessor
I really like Trolls. It may not be the most flawless animated musical, but it sure is a lot of fun. When I heard that Trolls World Tour was going to be released, I immediately got excited! This is my full honest opinion about the movie: it was a good sequel, but nowhere near as good as the first film's.
The story carries on four years after Trolls ended, and follows Poppy and Branch as they find a way to unite the trolls together after the evil Queen Barb of the Hard Rock Trolls attempts to turn every land of music into rock music. During the journey, Poppy begins to understand what true harmony means and uses her newfound knowledge to bring all the trolls together once again. The story is well-written in the sense that it's historically based compared with the first film and has more music to explore, but it's not quite as good as the first movie's. I also love how there's a side plot where Branch tries desperately to confess his feelings of love for Poppy, which is a relatable problem to people with crushes. The humor is good, too.
Once again, the animation is nicely-stylized and well-designed. The scrapbook-like texture makes the Trolls universe look colorful and lively, but, as with the first movie, the scenes of animation do slow down at times. I like the different usage of coloring for each kingdom, such as black and red for rock, deep ocean blue for techno, and gold for classical.
The soundtrack is full of catchy song with all different sorts of rhythms and beats. Composer Theodore Shapiro and the creative team behind the soundtrack wrote some interesting songs, with my favorites being "The Other Side", "Don't Slack", "It's All Love", and "Just Sing". The soundtrack is actually an improvement over the first movie's due to the add-in of more original tracks and not just covers.
Overall, Trolls World Tour is not an improvement over the first film, but it is still a fun sequel with colorful animation, a well-told story, and a catchy soundtrack. I just wish the runtime was longer but I also understand why it was so short (because of the COVID-19 pandemic). 8/10.
A hilarious romantic musical film with scene-stealing characters and well-drawn animation!
I love Disney animated musicals. They've always got the best 2D characters and the catchiest songs, and "Aladdin" is no exception: it's got great animation that was heavily inspired by the works of Al Hirschfeld, characters with scene-stealing moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and memorable songs by Alan Menken, the late Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice.
The premise and story of the movie is about an impoverished teenage thief from the streets of Agrabah named Aladdin, who so longs for a life outside of theft and poverty, and falls in love with a beautiful princess named Jasmine, who so longs to see the world. As the movie goes on, both of them express their desires for freedom, and blossom with beautiful, loving chemistry and a heartfelt song called "A Whole New World", which is treated as both a romantic duet and a song about freedom. Al's story also deals with his newfound friendship with the hilarious Genie, whose array of jokes and pop culture references make him a riot. The story is well-paced with a bit of momentum that feels warranted. It also satirizes a lot of things besides famous actors and Disney movies, including the way the characters are depicted.
The animation is very stylish, inspired by the works of Al Hirschfeld. The round curves and lines, as well as the different color styles, really blend in together well. The use of CGI also helps make the movie cinematic, particularly with the Cave of Wonders scenes and the character of the Magic Carpet. I also love how they designed Jafar. His face is so creepy, yet it's full of detail and shape. Also Iago is animated very comically, particularly in the way his eyes and beak are drawn.
The music is amazing. Alan Menken's score adds a Broadway-esque twist to Arabian instrumentation, and makes the score grand and glorious. Plus, the songs, such as "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali", are catchy and full of memorable lyrics. This has to be his best work on a Disney masterpiece ever.
"Aladdin" is, by far, one of Disney's best movies, and one of their funniest, too. Definite recommend!
A philosophical musical feature with catchy songs and a deep message about acceptance and misunderstandings
I never got to see Smallfoot in theaters, but when I did see it for the first time, it was a true delight to behold. The visually-stunning animation, voice acting, story, songs, and message about acceptance and misconceptions of human culture all blend very well together to make a fun, heartfelt feature about a tribe of yetis finding out that humans, which they call "smallfoot", are real and not a myth. Plus, this movie doesn't even have a true antagonist, unlike with previous Warner Animation Group films, which I like because it branches away from the studio's norms. Go check this movie out for yourself if you haven't, as it's deeper than you would think!
PAW Patrol: The Movie (2021)
Fantastic family film!
I have to admit I never saw a single full-length episode of PAW Patrol before, but when I heard this was coming out, I was interested in what it had to offer. Here is my full, honest review of PAW Patrol: The Movie:
The story is about Ryder and the pups having to go to Adventure City to stop their biggest rival Mayor Humdinger from destroying it all after being elected its mayor. Throughout the movie, we learn that Chase, the member of the team who serves as police pup, once lived in Adventure City and has had some terrible past experiences with the metropolis. Over the course of the film's runtime, he develops into a strong, courageous hero, and helps save everyone from harm when a powerful storm caused by a machine called a "cloudcatcher" goes haywire. What I really like about this story is that we get to see Chase's backstory and see him grow stronger as a member of the team. He really develops into a brave, determined puppy and does his part in saving everyone from harm, redeeming himself in the end. Plus I like how the story of the film doesn't feel like a long episode. It actually feels like a feature-length movie plotline.
The characters are so enjoyable and entertaining, especially the newcomers like Liberty, a dachshund who so desperately wishes to become a member of the PAW Patrol, and Mayor Humdinger's goons, Ruben and Butch, who as a running gag will repeatedly argue over who is the more competent henchman, although they do work together for the most part. Plus the voice actors really put in a lot of effort to make their characters sound like they have a lot of personality.
One thing that movies based on Nickelodeon animated shows do well is the animation. The animation of this movie is incredible. I was expecting it to look very low-budget and mediocre, but it actually turned out to be some nice-looking computer-generated visuals. I especially loved the realistic-looking fur details on the animal characters in the movie.
The ending is also very heartwarming and inspiring. Seeing the team welcome Liberty in as a new member and get much obliged respect from the residents of Adventure City really shows that they are a competent, always ready for action rescue squad.
Even though I never watched the series, I still thought PAW Patrol: The Movie was thoroughly entertaining, and I would happily watch it again! Please check it out if you haven't done so yet!
The Loud House (2021)
An excellent film adaptation of a popular cartoon series!
I am a big fan of The Loud House, and when I heard about them making a movie adaptation of the show, I was instantaneously excited to see it! After waiting for a few years, I finally got to watch it and it was awesome! The animation, voice cast, humor, writing, and musical numbers were a perfect way to level up on the show's cartoony antics and behavior. It may not equal The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in terms of the cinematic experience or all-star guest performers, but The Loud House Movie is a pure delight to behold. If you love The Loud House as much as I do, then you will love this movie! Please check it out! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A hilarious, fast-paced animated musical with a catchy soundtrack and intriguing story!
DreamWorks Animation is always a go-to studio for the most comedic animated features, such as Shrek, Madagascar, and Bee Movie. One thing that the studio very rarely does is musicals. When I first heard about this one, I was very interested to see where the direction was going. To my surprise, Trolls turned out to be a wacky, fast-paced animated feature with colorful CGI, sharp wit, talented cast members, and a catchy soundtrack.
The movie's story is that two trolls named Poppy (voice of Anna Kendrick) and Branch (voice of Justin Timberlake) have to embark on a quest to save their friends from these evil creatures called "Bergens", which eat Trolls for happiness during a holiday called "Trollstice". Throughout the runtime, Poppy learns a little bit about Branch's past and why he doesn't sing, and Branch learns to be happy once again. I love how the two trolls work together to free their friends despite their differences. It really does support the statement that "opposites attract". Plus their singing feels very authentic, particularly in that actual Hollywood celebrities who can sing are their voice actors.
The animation is colorful and energetic. I love how everything resembles a scrapbook to reflect on how the characters are based on a toy line-up, especially when wooden versions of the trolls are seen at the start of the movie resembling their real-life designs made by Thomas Dam in 1958. The animation does know how to slow down for quieter scenes, and we get to see Poppy and Branch express each other through more subtle moments, rather than just moving all the time. The use of bright and dark colors also greatly shows how happy the Trolls' world is and how dark and brooding the Bergens' home Bergen Town is, and why eating trolls makes them feel happy.
The soundtrack is so catchy and full of fun musical numbers. My two favorites are "Can't Stop the Feeling" and "Hair Up", both of which have excellent singing done from Justin Timberlake and a few others, such as Gwen Stefani, Ron Funches, and even Zooey Deschanel (the voices of DJ Suki, Cooper, and Bridget, respectively).
Also, this movie's message about how happiness is inside us is very heartwarming and touching. It tells us that we all can feel joy, and that sometimes we have to look inside of ourselves to do so. When Branch revealed his true colors, it inspired me to be more friendly to people.
Even though the movie is far from flawless, Trolls is still a fun, fast-paced musical comedy film with colorful animation, sharp wit, and a catchy soundtrack, as well as talented voice actors, especially Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake. Do check it out if you haven't yet!
The Croods: A New Age (2020)
A worthy successor to a hilarious, well-told DreamWorks animated feature!
The Croods has to be one of my top ten favorite movies of 2013. The story, dialogue, characters, humor, and animation all make for a very likable, if simply-written, animated feature film. Now with The Croods: A New Age, there are lots more to expect: more colorful visuals, modern family archetypes, appealing humor to all ages, and a story worth a 95-minute runtime. I have to admit I was very impressed with this sequel's execution of its plot and character development.
Carrying on from where the first film ended, the prehistoric family the Croods encounter a wall at the edge of the world, and encounter a lavish land full of delictable plants, including corn, watermelon, grapes, and even bananas. But this home is currently inhabited by a modern family called the "Bettermans" (emphasis on the "better"). What follows afterwards are a series of mishaps between both families, such as Grug eating all of the bananas that Phil Betterman (voice of Peter Dinklage) told him not to eat, Eep taking Phil's daughter Dawn (voice of Kelly Marie Tran) for a joyride that gets her hand stung, and a battle between the "Thunder Sisters" and the Punch Monkeys from the first film.
The animation is stunning, even more realistic than the first film's, showing how far DreamWorks Animation's technology is growing. Every piece of the appearance of the movie, both in characters and background, is beautfiul and colorful. I love it so much.
The jokes are a little bit more juvenile in this movie, but they'll still appeal to all ages, and some of them I was even surprised were coming from the characters' lines and not just the humorous mishaps.
Also, this movie gives off the most realistic depiction of a break-up between two lovers (Guy and Eep) that I've ever seen. I expected that to be passed off as "it's complicated" but the movie nicely stretches it to show how Eep is coping without the love of her life, and how she reconciles with Guy in the end.
My only criticisms towards this movie are the pacing and the scene where Hope Betterman (voice of Leslie Mann) refuses to drill air holes in Dawn's panic cubby out of fear snakes will get in. What the heck?! I'd rather risk getting attacked by a snake than suffocate inside a dark and cramped cubby hole.
Even though it is not an improvement over the first film, The Croods: A New Age is still a worthy successor to the 2013 blockbuster. Definite recommend and I hope to see a third one in the near future!
The Croods (2013)
A simple, well-told adventure about the modern prehistoric period
The Croods is a very interesting animated feature to me, especially for one set during the Stone Age. It's definitely more simple in terms of plot structure compared to some of DWA's other animated features, but the screenplay is still lots of fun and full of philosophical moments, particularly when the character of Guy shows up and introduces us to these wonderous ideas, such as shoes, fire, and even the use of Stone Age-style silverware for eating. I love how the Croods themselves are portrayed like a modern suburban family but in prehistoric times: Grug is the overprotective dad, Eep is the mischievous teenager, Thunk is the kind, loving young boy, Sandy is the rambunctious baby, Ugga is the positive, open-minded mom, and Gran is the wisecracking elderly grandmother. The jokes are hilarious and will appeal to both children and adults and the animation is gorgeous and colorful. All in all, The Croods is a very simple movie, but one with lots of appeal and plenty of serious moments where characters think. Please check this movie out if you haven't yet!
Toy Story 4 (2019)
A satisfying conclusion to the franchise that made Pixar famous
The Toy Story movies have always been my favorite movies growing up, and when I heard that they were making a fourth film, I was immediately excited to see it! Here's my full, honest opinion on Toy Story 4:
1. The story directly follows where Toy Story 3 ended, in which Woody and the rest of Andy's toys are living with Bonnie. During kindergarten orientation, Bonnie creates a spork toy named Forky, and he starts suffering an existential crisis, and has suicidal tendencies. The whole gang embarks on a road trip adventure afterwards, where Woody and Buzz Lightyear take up the role of caring for the talking spork. Woody and Forky get stranded in the middle of nowhere and Woody ends up reuniting with his old girlfriend Bo Peep, where he begins to question his identity and role in life. Things get really serious and emotional in this film, and the narrative adds a little bit of romance into the story to lighten up the tone from the last film, but it's not complete without having a character like Forky adding in some dark social commentary. There's also loads of well-written funny moments too, from Forky's suicidal tendencies also making viewers laugh at his misfortune to Ducky and Bunny, a pair of carnival plushies, giving us wacky comedic antics and a touch of black comedy with their "Plush Rush" routine to Duke Caboom's charismatic, scene-stealing poses and Canadian-related puns. The pacing is fast, but not like where we feel like things are being rushed.
2. The characters are memorable and full of personality. Woody is the assertive, mature, and level-headed leader of the toys, trying very hard to keep everybody in check, and even taking up the role of caring for Forky himself. Buzz Lightyear is his calm, but firm best friend and second-in-command. Bo Peep is the voice of reason behind Woody's screw-ups in the movie, and even adds a little romantic tension into the screenplay. Forky, as mentioned above, is a spork toy with suicidal tendencies. Ducky and Bunny are a pair of carnival plushies who want a kid to love them and give off the best laughs. Gabby Gabby is a pullstring female doll who wants to be loved by a kid of her own and has antagonistic, but sympathetic intentions and is accompanied by several creepy ventriloquist dummy henchmen. Duke Caboom is a charismatic Canadian stuntman toy inspired by Evil Knievel who gives off the most scene-stealing moments. And Giggle McDimples is a tiny pocket cop who is Bo Peep's best friend. The rest of the toys from the first three movies play smaller roles, but this really is Woody's coming-of-age story, and therefore them getting smaller roles is okay. They still play significant roles of their own, such as when Jessie pops one of the Andersen family RV's tires.
3. As with the first three movies, the animation is incredible. The detail on the characters and backgrounds are very realistic, showing how far Pixar's computer technology has come since the first film back in 1995. They even animated a cat with realistic features besides texture, which is very impressive and shows how far Pixar is willing to go to make characters look in an animated feature. I also adore Bo Peep's humanistic design in this movie.
4. The ending is also very sad. Seeing Woody leave his old life behind to be with Bo Peep is very tear-jerking, and I cried a lot when this scene happened. However, I also knew that his character arc had come full circle, so it was also satisfying seeing him leave the rest of the toys to be with Bo Peep, and Randy Newman's score for his character's theme in the original played, signifying the completion of his character development.
This movie may as well be called simply "Woody", since it focuses a lot more on his character arc than anyone else's. It really shows how far Woody has come since the first film, and how far Pixar was willing to go to show how much has come with these characters.
Despite initial complaints that this was coming out, Toy Story 4 turned out to be a solidly entertaining feature! Wonderful work from everyone who wrote and produced this feature! If you haven't checked Toy Story 4 out, then you aren't done with Toy Story yet!
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 3- an emotional, hilarious, and beautifully animated continuation of the first two films that made Pixar famous
It's been a while since Pixar made another Toy Story movie, but when this one was released, it was a delight to behold!
Carrying on from where Toy Story 2 ended, Toy Story 3 tells the story of how Woody and company try to move on after their owner Andy grows up and no longer wants to keep his toys in his bedroom anymore. As the movie pushes itself forward, the gang accidentally get donated to a daycare named Sunnyside, but Woody believes that they weren't abandoned and tries to convince his friends they should return home. Eventually, he learns the truth about the daycare center: it's a terrible place, run by a cruel teddy bear named Lotso, who was abandoned and replaced by his owner Daisy years ago. After learning about the truth about Sunnyside, Woody is determined to help his friends escape and return home before Andy leaves for college. The story has many philosophical themes, including fate, change, acceptance, and growing up. Plus, the wit of this movie is as strong as the first two films, if not stronger.
The new characters in the movie are incredibly expressive, including Andy's neighbor Bonnie, Lotso, Barbie and Ken, and even Bonnie's toys Dolly, Trixie, Buttercup, and Mr. Pricklepants. I also love it when Buzz Lightyear gets turned into Spanish Buzz, a hilarious, Spanish-accented depiction of the character.
Once again, Pixar dazzles us with beautiful animation. The crafty and uniqueness of this movie's animation makes Toy Story 3 a very intriguing film to watch, especially with the different animation movements, like the restrained doll movements of Barbie and Ken, the realistic childlike movements of Bonnie, and even Lotso's soft, lovable plush animation. The expressions of the characters are also well-animated, with each attention to detail being very noticeable.
Randy Newman's score pushes the franchise to new lengths, and even includes different types of scores for each character:
-There's Cajun rhythms for Lotso.
-Latin guitar for Spanish Buzz.
-And chill, relaxed lounge music for Ken.
Lastly, the ending is very moving. I like how it allows Andy to bond with his toys one last time, before he says goodbye to them forever. I was very teary-eyed when I saw this ending, so much so that I actually felt like it was over.
Even with the bar raised high, Toy Story 3 is a very heartwarming, hilarious, and well-crafted feature that continues Pixar's winning streak of successful animated features. Well-done, Pixar!
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Excellent sequel! Better than the original!
Toy Story 2 does the impossible as an animated sequel: improves on its predecessor. Most animated sequels up to this point were simple rehashes of the first film but with new characters and setpieces to seem "different". But this sequel does what many others don't, which is building up on the characters' growth and relationship development, dive deeper into their past experiences, and still retain the spirit of the previous entry.
The film is about Woody reconnecting with his past when he finds out that he is the star of an old tv series called "Woody's Roundup". He also reunites with his co-stars Jessie the Cowgirl, Bullseye the Horse, and Stinky Pete the Prospector, who is the movie's villain. Meanwhile, his friends Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, Rex, and Slinky Dog embark on a quest to bring him home before Andy finds out he's missing. The story really dives into Woody's past effectively, both in terms of heart and humor. His co-stars are also hilarious, but they also are not afraid to get sentimental, Jessie in particular, who had a similar life like Woody, until she was abandoned by her owner Emily.
The animation is also beautiful and stunning. It looks far more realistic than the first film's, showing Pixar's technology gradually improving over the course of just four years. At times I forgot this was an animated feature because of how realistic this movie looked.
Also, this movie's message about moving on and accepting change is a very poignant thing to teach children. It allows them to grow up without fear of abandonment or neglect, which is shown when Woody allows Jessie to live with Andy's toys, and how Woody starts to feel more comfortable with Andy getting older.
Toy Story 2 is hands down the best animated sequel of all-time, and a worthy continuation of the first film! You've done it again, Pixar!
Toy Story (1995)
A wonderful, funny, and brilliantly-crafted animated feature!
As the first film from Pixar Animation Studios, Toy Story is an excellent effort. The animation, humor, voice performances, writing, and Randy Newman's musical score all add up to a heartfelt, funny animated feature that teaches us the importance of friendship and that jealousy can corrupt a person if they become too envious of someone else getting attention and love. Plus, I really enjoy watching the scenes where Woody and Buzz Lightyear start to bond more after Woody begins to accept Buzz as Andy's new favorite toy, and Buzz understands that Woody resented him out of fear.
The animation is crafty and full of life-like characters. Pixar did the impossible when creating this film: came up with unique character designs that look extravagant and polished, with immense detail and form. Although the animation of the 1995 original does look partially like a video game's animation style, keep in mind that the film was released during a time when there were limitations in CGI, so the art style is going to look a tad low-budget.
To infinity and beyond, Toy Story is a perfect start to a life-long career for Pixar Animation Studios! 10/10 highly recommend!
A worthy live-action update of the 1992 animated classic!
Aladdin is one of my favorite animated movies ever made, complete with hilarious wacky humor, stunning animation, an all-star cast, grand musical numbers, and plenty of fun story-telling to boot. When I found out that Disney was making a live-action remake of the film, I was immediately swept away by the look of the film, especially the setting of Agrabah. This movie was, in my honest opinion, one of the rare Disney remakes to be superior to the original. Here's why:
1. The story is far more dramatic and weighted compared to the original, and we get to sympathize with Aladdin more. Plus, Jasmine's intentions really add emotional weight to John August and Guy Ritchie (who also serves as the film's director)'s screenplay. The story is also darker with less witty moments, but still has enough satirical humor to charm both children and adults.
2. The characters have more fleshed out archetypes compared to the original, such as Jasmine wanting to become the next Sultan, Genie being more human, and Jafar having once undergone a similar character to Aladdin's, and supposedly murdered Jasmine's mother. Also, Jafar's bird sidekick Iago is far more intelligent than his animated counterpart.
3. The visuals are spectacular, from the backgrounds of Agrabah to the CGI effects on Genie, Abu, Rajah, Iago, and even the Cave of Wonders.
4. Alan Menken's score is more enchanting than the original's, drawing us into the setting even more so than in the original film.
5. The musical numbers have surprisingly well-correographed movements from the characters, such as with "One Jump Ahead" or "Friend Like Me".
6. The ending is actually better than the original's, where a party is hosted for Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding. I like that they get married here rather than engaged because it shows just how right Jasmine is for the role of next sultan and that Aladdin is what makes her really happy.
Overall, Guy Ritchie's live-action adaptation of Aladdin is a fun reboot, and one of the few times a live-action Disney remake is actually better than the animated original. If you have not checked Aladdin (2019) out, you don't know what ur missing!
Monsters at Work (2021)
A hilarious series and effective continuation of the original Monsters, Inc. movie!
Finally, after all these years, my lifelong dream for a Monsters, Inc. Series has come true! This is a very hilarious series, and I think that it deserves a little more attention than it's already getting.
Basically, the series is about Tylor Tuskmon, a recent college graduate who has been accepted into Monsters, Inc. As a scarer. But moments before reporting to the factory, the whole system switches to laughter power. Now Tuskmon has to work for the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team (MIFT). What follows afterwards is a series of unfortunate events including caring for a baby after a wall in the door is damaged, Mike Wazowski's lookalike rival beating him in bowling, and a power outage in all of the factory.
The MIFT team may be a little bit quirky, but they all care about each other a lot, and have the best interest for Tylor at heart. Plus, Henry Winkler, Mindy Kaling, Lucas Neff, and Alannah Ubach do an excellent job at voicing each character.
Mike's Comedy Class scenes are a real treat, and show us that he is truly the star when it comes to comedic talent. Some of the funniest parts are whenever a character doesn't get something he is teaching.
Unusual for an animated series based on a theatrical film, "Monsters at Work" looks rather theatrical and cinematic, with realistic visuals on the characters' bodies and on the backgrounds. It's almost as if this were a midquel that had been somehow stretched into several episodic segments rather than one whole movie.
The intro to the show alone will get you gripped into the series' intriguing premise and characters, manly thanks to the 2D animation that moves the titular logo around, and the acapella recreation of Randy Newman's score from the original film.
This is, in my opinion, an entertaining web series set within the Monsters, Inc. Universe. Highly recommend!
The Emoji Movie (2017)
A simple, funny, and surprisingly well-animated coming-of-age story
The Emoji Movie may not be a masterpiece, but the simplicity of the storytelling, the unique CGI, characters, voices, humor, and direction is still loads of fun. I'm shocked that it got really poor reviews from critics.
Please check this movie out. There's something for both kids and adults to enjoy.
The Lion King (2019)
The original Lion King is marginally better but this is still a good film!
I love The Lion King. It's one of my favorite animated movies of all-time, full of emotion, fantastic animation, and a catchy soundtrack. When I heard that Disney was going to make a remake of the movie, I immediately knew some childhood nostalgia would be involved in this film. While I admit this film is excessively similar to the original and its emotionless animals make it hard to tell what they're feeling, I actually think this is a good remake. Reasons are:
1. The background visuals are beautiful, and it allows for some glorious wide angle shots, as well as some unique environments for the characters to interact in.
2. Hans Zimmer's score is slightly more epic and grand, and, per promise of director Jon Favreau, does capture the emotion of some of the scenes in the movie. Plus the songs, although sound vaguely familiar to the original film's versions, also sound more grand and glorious, especially with the redoing of "Be Prepared".
3. Donald Glover plays Simba a little more personally than Matthew Broderick did, having lost his own father back in September of 2018, allowing for a more relatable connection to the audience.
4. During the final battle at Pride Rock, there's more action going on than the original, and we also get to see a personal fight between Shenzi and Nala.
5. The realistic appearance compliments the movie's dramatic tone. When I was watching the original film, the tone was too inconsistent, going from somber to comical at times where it was unnecessary. Here, the comedic elements blend in with the dramatic elements more, which is complimented by the realistic visuals.
6. It's not a "shot-for-shot" remake. Many people are complaining that this remake is shot exactly like the original film is. While there are shots in this film that are the same as the original's, a lot of the shots are new, particularly during the scenes in the jungle. Plus only the shots that are faithful to the original are the ones that are exact replicas.
In conclusion, The Lion King remake is a good remake, but it does have certain flaws, such as being excessively similar to the original and having emotionless animal designs. Animation/Adventure/Drama/Family/Musical - 8.5. Overall - 8.
Finding Nemo (2003)
An aquatic tale for all to enjoy!
Finding Nemo is an exciting, funny, poignant, and thought-provoking film from Pixar that truly explores what it means to be a good parent. Director Andrew Stanton and his creative team carefully chose the cast members and geniusly came up with the storyline that they would be placed into, full of jaw-dropping adventure and solid comedy! Plus Dory is a riot as a scene-stealing supporting character! If you haven't seen Finding Nemo, than it means that you haven't seen enough of what Pixar can do.
A hilarious, action-packed adventure full of catchy musical numbers and colorful visuals!
To me, Moana is a return form to Walt Disney Animation Studios. The animation, voice acting, music, and overall vibrant, warm feeling all make it a pleasure to watch! It has some of the catchiest songs, bold, colorful imagery, and deep, serious storytelling that perfectly captures the feeling of Polynesian culture. This is what Disney movie should be! Definite recommend!
Went in for the visuals, stayed for the storytelling!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a film that I was going in with very low expectations. To my surprise, this was a very unique, thought-provoking animated feature with plenty of great superhero action, hilarious humor, fantastic characters, and brilliant animation. Pop culture references were also cool. Thank u Sony and Marvel for making an animated superhero movie (besides Pixar's The Incredibles) that actually feels like a superhero movie.
The most relatable movie I've ever seen!
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is hands down my new favorite movie of all-time! Why? Because I feel so connected to it, and everything involved in the movie feels like a part of my life. Katie Mitchell is a protagonist I can resonate with a lot. Forget Pixar, this is where it's at! Sony Pictures Animation has done the impossible: made a relatable animated feature with some very surprising depth and superb storytelling. Highly recommend!