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Pixar continues to fall
I remember the early years of Pixar movies. Time after time, they gave us more than any other studio, with fantastic stories, animation, acting and heart. Something for everyone, regardless of their age.
Then came Cars. This was not so good. Not bad, but not up to Pixar's standard.
Then there were Ratatouille and Wall-E. Both had great concepts and started their movies so strongly, only to slide into a boring mess.
And that brings us to Up.
The movie started so beautifully. The story of Carl and Ellie was like magic. It was incredible story telling, with so few words actually spoken. Could Pixar keep this up for the whole movie?
Sadly, the answer for me was NO. Everything collapsed as soon as the house went UP. All the other characters were annoying. The story was weak. The humour was juvenile. I felt like I was watching an episode of a Saturday morning Disney cartoon from the 80s.
So Up concludes the trilogy of good concepts badly executed. Another great start that peters out far too quickly.
This movie has a lot going for it. This is a wonderful mix of action and comedy, set in the old west. There are plenty of thrills, jokes, twists and turns, and even some excellent cameos.
The cast all look like they had a good time. They all have great chemistry and are extremely likeable, even the villains.
While the story is totally implausible, I'm happy to go along for the ride because it is just so much fun.
The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
A childhood favourite, but...
I grew up watching the muppet show. I loved the muppet movie. I loved the great muppet caper. I loved muppets take Manhattan.
Now as an adult, I still love the muppet show and the muppet movie. I hadn't rewatched the great muppet caper since I was a kid. I remember it was great fun but couldn't remember any real details. So I was excited to watch it again with my kids.
The start was fantastic. Lots of jokes and everything was fun. However, once they got to Miss Piggy and the jewel plot, it all started to drag. There were still some good jokes here and there, and some very impressive puppetry too, but the story bored me to tears. My kids were very restless in the second half.
So all in all, it was a real let-down to revisit this movie. Thank goodness for Fozzy and Gonzo, who were the real stars of the show.
If I don't love it, I don't swallow.
This movie looks great. The idea has lots of imagination. The set-up is superb.
So why is it so boring?
Once we get Remi and Linguini together, and they figure out how to work together, it all feels cliched. There is no real excitement to the story. Everything just slowly works its course.
Remi is cute and has a lot of heart, but the whole story of his family didn't really go anywhere. Linguini is very annoying, being such a clutz yet everyone just ignoring it. The love story was irrelevant. And what was going on with the bad guy (the little guy who was originally the head chef)? That whole story of him trying to use the restaurant's name for hocking instant food didn't really seem to fit with anything else.
Over all, this was a dish that looked and smelled great but had no real flavour.
I didn't swallow.
I watched this movie with my 12yo son who had read the books. I had never heard of it. We were both disappointed.
I was confused by the story, since there is almost no time given to plot direction. There is lots of running, jumping, weird fighting and weirder characters. Without reading the books, I had no idea who the characters were.
My son was annoyed because the movie was a poor imitation of the book.
A brilliant start to the series
It is amazing how much is fit into just one episode. We are introduced to almost all of the major cast, and immediately get a picture of what makes them tick. Many of the running gags from the series are there on display. And the basic stories that stretched through most of the series, that of the missing painting and the stranded British airmen, kick off right here.
And there is still time to get some great laughs in as well. Highlights are Rene and Gruber's first interaction at the cafe, the struggle between the French and English to communicate, and Hans hiding the cuckoo clock.
Truly, the perfect start to a wonderful series!
Rewatched again after many years
I remember the excitement of seeing this movie when it was first released. The hype in the cinema was palpable.
The opening was near perfect. The music and effects felt just right. The introduction of Obi Wan and Qui Gon was really cool, and the droids were an interesting addition.
From there, the movie went down. The acting was stiff (largely due to the types of characters concentrated on, jedis and politicians). There was little chemistry between any of the actors (something that was always present in the original trilogy). And Anikin was this annoying little kid, saying "yippee" and "oops". Let's not mention the comic relief character.
The script was very uninspiring, full of dull conversations about politics. The story jumped from one thing to the next seemingly randomly. The pod race felt like a 10 minute ad for a new computer game. Given it was obvious Anikin was going to win, the whole thing lacked any real tension. The realisation that Palpatine was going to be the Emperor came early and then that spoiled any other real drama.
Then the big battle(s) at the end. We had comic relief character falling over and killing people, the jedi chopping endless droid in half, and Anikin winning the whole war by accidentally pressing the wrong buttons over and over.
The only shining light was the fight between the jedi and Darth Maul. This was far superior to anything in the original trilogy, but was nowhere near enough to save this movie.
Now, over 20 years later, here I was watching this movie again. The only reason I was watching it was because I had shown my kids the original trilogy and now they wanted to see more. I hoped that my initial disappointment was due to having too high expectations.
I sat there for 2 hours, watching stiff acting, awful scripts and now dated special effects. The humour fell flat. Chemistry was non-existent. I had to keep listening to my kids asking why people were doing what they were doing (something that never happened in their watching of the original trilogy).
At least the Darth Maul fight was still good.