Category Archives: Animated

Box Office

Monday Morning Shower Report: Box Office 7/15-7/17 or A Disappointing start for Ghostbusters

Morning Bleary-Eyed fans, hope everyone had an excellent weekend…well, at least better than Sony did with the new Ghostbusters film.  Only have time for a quick recap of last weekend’s Box Office results, but I really have to apologize for the lack of posts recently and of course I want to spend just a moment to mourn all the lives lost in the past few weeks.  I love films more than a lot of things, but escapism right now feels, I don’t know, wrong.  Especially when so many are suffering. Now I don’t want to speak for anyone other than myself (Manchicken has his own opinions), and it’ll be quick.  So just as simple as it can be: Black Lives Matter, White Lives Matter, All Minority Lives Matter, and NO ONE deserves to die at the hand of another other, absolute extreme circumstances notwithstanding.

Not near enough of a token to those that were killed.
Not near enough of a token to those that were killed.

Also, to keep in the spirit with the subject of the website, but honestly, they had the answer to the future’s woe’s back in 1989.  It was in a slacker time travel comedy that starred a young Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, called Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure:

Just realized this movie is kind of a Doctor Who ripoff...i
Just realized this movie is kind of a Doctor Who ripoff…i

Beauty and the Beast Trailer: Be Out Guest

Happy Monday you beautiful Bleary-Eyed readers!

We don’t have much in the realm of content this morning (while I will do the updated box office since we have some really cool numbers to go over), but based on the recent success of Disney/John Favreau’s The Jungle Book, I wanted to show off Disney’s latest live action update.

Since Maleficent (which was more of a “behind-the-scenes” version of Sleeping Beauty), Disney has been on a constant string of success with their live-action material from their animated films.  Like last year’s Cinderella:

Cinderella
Simply marvelous and beautiful if I do say so myself

To this years’ epic The Jungle Book, it’s now hard to ignore the charm and actually faithfull filmmaking going into these new live-action adaptations.

In 2017, Disney hopes that we will enjoy another update of a classic tale and bring the same care along with it.  As short as it is, I give you the very cinematic looking Beauty and the Beast teaser trailer:

I’m not sure if you saw the same teaser I did, but from the very beginning, with the cold and snow sweapt castle and the lone light at the top of the tower in the Disney logo, I was hooked.

This is my best effort at a screenshot along with cropping, so if it's terrible, I blame lazy cats.
This is my best effort at a screenshot along with cropping, so if it’s terrible, I blame lazy cats.  But isn’t the logo pretty?

I only have a few comments regarding the teaser.  First off, I’m not sure Ewan McGregor (portraying the sex-feind candalabra Lumiere) knows what a French accent actually is.  Hopefully his Jedi training will kick in and he’ll change a bit.  On the opposite spectrum, you have Ian McKellen’s Cogworth using every aspect of Magneto and Gandalf to not giving a flipping crap about what a French accent might be.  Even the titular star, Emma Watson as Belle doesn’t even try.  I will not say she’s stuck as Hermoine from the Harry Potter films, but I’d like the actors to do something like, oh I don’t know, THEIR JOB!

English Accent
He’s throwing shade at Kevin Costner.  This is a very deep inside joke, good luck at getting it.

Secondly, I have to give Disney such props by allowing Alan Menken to do the music for this film.  The reason I say that is that, is Menken also did the score to the 1991 Animated Beauty and the Beast.  It’s almost as if Disney is daring you to call them on it.

Their new bodyguards are pretty serious.
Their new bodyguards are pretty serious.

Finally, I have to get excited with them choosing Bill Condon to direct the film.  While he does have a few Twilight movies on his resume, we can’t hold mistakes against people who lose bets all the time.  The films he did that are spectacular far outweight anything else.

So, I’m excited that one of my favorite Disney films is getting updated with excellent actors, a competent director, and a fantastic (yet repetitve) scoremaster.  Now, if only they would only do my favorite Disney film:

hercules-1997-movie-poster
I will “Go the Distance” for this film. Yeah, I know that’s a bad joke, but hell I want this film.

-Darkmovienight

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

First Annual Oscar Clobber or The First time we rant about the Academy Awards

I honestly had a real plan for this article.  It was going to be a week long event in which we had guest writers discussing things like #OscarsSoWhite, how terrible the panel is due to ridiculous rules, eligibility, and voting, but I just can’t seem to care enough about the award show to make a real effort at posting something profound.

Seriously, I just Googled "Apathy" and this was the first image that came up...
Seriously, I just Googled “Apathy” and this was the first image that came up…

In lieu of an article about how awful the Oscars have become (and pretty much always have been), I’m going to go over some of the major categories and see if we can find something of interest somewhere among them to talk about.

VmHnLxj

Academy Award for Best Actress

First off, I really don’t like the fact that we still distinguish between “Actresses” and “Actors” via gender.  They are all actors and should be treated as such.  In my opinion, we should really put Jennifer Lawrence (nominated this year for the movie Joy) up against Eddie Redmayne (nominated for his (her?) performance in The Danish Girl) or Matt Damon (nominated for The Martian).  If you’ve seen Joy, you know it’s no where near the caliber of her past performances (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, etc.), but it’s still a well put together movie and for her part, she does everything right and again, showcases an immense amount of talent.

"Don't put metal in the SCIENCE OVEN!" Still my favorite line of that movie and quite possibly 2014.
“Don’t put metal in the SCIENCE OVEN!” Still my favorite line of that movie and quite possibly 2014.

Anyway, there are other actors (yes, screw the word Actress) that are nominated as well, here is a quick round up:

  • Cate Blanchett, in Carol Aird, as Carol
  • Brie Larson, in Room, as Joy “Ma” Newsome
  • Jennifer Lawrence, in Joy, as Joy Mangano
  • Charlotte Rampling, in 45 Years, as Kate Mercer
  • Saoirse Ronan, in Brooklyn, as Eilis Lacey

IWTMM’s Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence

Of course it has to be Jennifer Lawrence.  Everyone loves her (she is really seemingly charming by all accounts) and if the panel even recognized any other actor’s name in that pile, then I would be surprised.  Just give her another one, let her trip on the stairs or her dress *cue laughter* and a “surprised” winning speech.

IWTMM’s “Who Should Have Won”: Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Seriously, you’ve likely seen Mad Max: Fury Road, the other nominations, not too likely.  If you have (or even if you haven’t), Charlize Theron kicks so much ass in two hours than all the “Action Stars” of the 80’s combined.  I totally think she should go all Kanye West on the Winner.

"I'm gonna let you finish, but first, I want to shoot a few idiots in the crowd." -Charlize Theron
“I’m gonna let you finish, but first, I want to shoot a few idiots in the crowd.” -Charlize Theron

Academy Award for Best Actor

 I believe they add, “in a Leading Role” to this title, but I don’t really care (that’s going to be a theme during this whole article).  Let’s take a look at our powder-white nominees:

  • Bryan Cranston, in Trumbo, as Dalton Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, in The Martian, as Mark Watney
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, in The Revenant, as Hugh Glass
  • Michael Fassbender, in Steve Jobs, as Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, in The Danish Girl, as Lili Elbe / Einar Wegener

IWTMM’s Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo has been passed over for this award in four separate years.  They skipped a year between nominating him so it didn’t look too suspicious, but I believe DiCaprio has been thoroughly snubbed.  It likely doesn’t make any difference to him.  Did you see what he got to do in The Wolf of Wall Street?

I can just see all the tears spewing from his gold-lined tear ducts...
I can just see all the tears spewing from his gold-lined tear ducts…

I mean, come on, you think Leo cares?  Does he want to win, probably, it’s seemingly a big deal to these Hollywood types.  But if a little gold statue is more important than the millions he rakes in for almost every film he does, then I really think the “art” in film is moot.

I think this is a bit more up everyone's alley...
I think this is a bit more up everyone’s alley…

Academy Award for Best….

You know what, I really don’t give a crap.  The Oscars are horrible.  The monologue is obnoxious and no matter who wins, someone is going to be upset.  I don’t even have enough apathy to finish this article.

IWTMM’s Prediction for Best Director: Adam McKay for The Big Short

IWTMM’s Prediction for Best Picture: The Big Short

Seriously, I don’t care.  The Big Short was a phenomenal movie with excellent actors, a horrifying reality, and was honestly both entertaining and filmed very well.  It’s on the “Unicorn List”.  It’s both entertaining and “Critically” acclaimed.  So, for my money, it’s going to come out the winner, but I really don’t care.  The whole thing is just a big Hollywood circlejer…….

We apologize for the inconvience as us at I Watch Too Many Movies attempt to appeal to all audiences, thus the ending of the review has been closed and censored.
We apologize for the inconvenience as us at I Watch Too Many Movies attempt to appeal to all audiences, thus the ending of the review has been closed and censored.

…..and that’s all I have to say about that.  At least I get to see Zootopia next weekend.

-Darkmovienight

Kung Fu Panda 3 or The Perfect Way to End a Trilogy…Hopefully

kung-fu-panda-3-poster

I don’t have kids.  That’s Manchicken’s job.  He’s got three boys that are probably the coolest little monsters I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Regardless of the lack of Darkmovienight offspring (seriously, the world is better off), I absolutely love animated comedies.  Some of the absolute best films of all time are animated comedies and we owe it all to just a few people and studios: Disney, Pixar, Don Bluth, and Dreamworks.  Now I know I’m likely missing out on a few key people (Steve Jobs and George Lucas had a LOT to do with the creation of Pixar), but as I see it, those studios and Mr. Bluth are the reasons we have cinematic gems like Kung Fu Panda 3.

If I had it my way, then there would be an army of these (credit to whomever's baby that really is)
If I had it my way, then there would be an army of these (credit to whomever owns this baby)

Despite my unhealthy enjoyment of children’s movies (this doesn’t hurt since Mrs. Darkmovienight and I only have the attention span of 90 minutes anyway), I can still spot a good one, a classic, or just a disaster. Sadly in today’s age, we’re only given those options.  For every Toy Story, there are at least four Alvin and the Chipmunks movies.  Now to kids, this really doesn’t make much of a difference.  I’ve seen some misses where the kids in the audience don’t even laugh (see last year’s The Good Dinosaur), but typically they’ll enjoy anything colorful you put them in front of for an hour and a half.

My soul died when one of the Trolls twerked in the teaser
My soul (what’s left of it) literally died when one of the Trolls twerked in the teaser Trailer

All of the mediocre children’s entertainment out there, it is extremely refreshing and relieving that Dreamworks decided to make a quality animated trilogy based on a Kung Fu Panda.  In almost all regards, these films shouldn’t work.  But somehow, they took a ridiculous idea, one of the largest, clumsiest, and cutest animals out there and turn them into an amazing warrior, sticking Jack Black’s voice in the titular character, and then unleashing it upon the cinematic world.  Well, in 2008 the first Kung Fu Panda was introduced to the public and collected about $215M from the Domestic box office.  Was it the star power?  Sure, you had Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Jackie Chan, and the immortal Dustin Hoffman, but those names meant nothing to the kids. Nah, what you had was an excellent premise, fun looking slapstick action, and of course, a touching story of becoming more than you thought you could ever be.

So you servers out there still have a chance to be a Kung Fu Master!
So you starving collect servers out there still have a chance to be a Kung Fu Master!

Well, eight years from the original Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks releases the third (and hopefully final) chapter to this epic tale of inner peace, humor, kicking butt, and of course…noodles & dumplings.  If they choose to end the franchise right here and right now, then I believe Dreamworks will have succeeded in making one of the most complete trilogies in film during the modern era of animation.

Your eyes should be sweating right now...
Your eyes should be “sweating” right now…

If you’re not familiar with the Kung Fu Panda franchise, let me give you the nickle recap.  A lowly Panda named Po, voiced by Jack Black has an utter obsession with Kung Fu and the protectors of the valley in which he lives: The Furious Five.  These heroes of Kung Fu consist of Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Lui), Crane (David Cross), and Monkey (Jackie Chan).  They’re also under the tutelage of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman).

In the first film, an important ceremony is held in which the Elderly Master Oogway (a tortoise voiced by Randall Duk Kim who is a relative unknown, but tied to many martial arts films), chooses “The Dragon Warrior”.  Prophesies and such as they are, point to The Dragon Warrior mastering Kung Fu, saving the Valley, and bringing the neurotic Master Shifu “Inner Peace”.  Through several slapstick moments and the usual cartoon foolery, Po accidentally interrupts the ceremony and is chosen as The Dragon Warrior to everyone’s disbelief.  Two things then stand out from this film: acceptance of yourself and not judging a Panda by his belly.  Shifu eventually trains Po in the ways of Kung Fu through Po’s exceptional appetite.  The main antagonist, Tai Lung (voiced by the insanely good Ian McShane) is defeated by Po as the Dragon Warrior by not only using Kung Fu, but his true abilities: his bouncy stomach and a lot of luck.  Oh and an amazing and advanced Kung Fu technique called the “Wuxi Finger Hold”.  Shown below the Wuxi Finger Hold is what equates to the Kung Fu version of “The Nuclear Option”.

"You know the hardest part of this? The hardest part... is cleaning up afterwards." -Master Shifu
“You know the hardest part of this? The hardest part… is cleaning up afterwards.”          -Master Shifu threatening Po with the Wuxi Finger Hold

At any rate, Kung Fu Panda succeeded on all levels: animation, storytelling, character development, comedy, action, and a well tuned lesson to both children and adults.  Not to mention the absolutely jaw-dropping escape of Tai Lung from his prison in a mountain.  Not only is it possibly the best animated fight scene I’ve ever seen, but it truly blows you away with gorgeous animation and A-FREAKING-MAZING audio.  I just have to show it, see below.

Kung Fu Panda 2 followed a lot of the same plot and of course added 3D, another prophecy, and the villain, Shen, voiced by Gary Oldman (which is again a step up from so many other animated films).  This prophecy was about how a warrior of “White and Black” would eventually defeat Shen and save all of China.  Shen attempts panda genocide and Po goes all Moses in a radish basket.  It ends much the same way with good action, some pretty funny dialogue, and excellent animation.  Still, it falls into the dreaded “Sophomore Slump” and doesn’t exactly have the most vibrant life from the first movie.

Went through the first two films in record time, so have to take a reviewer breather. No, it has nothing to do with all the dumplings I ate today...
Went through the first two films in record time, so have to take a reviewer breather. No, it has nothing to do with all the dumplings I ate today…It’s none of your business anyway.

The first two films in the series do great jobs of everything discussed, but Kung Fu Panda 3 does something even more special: it ends a series well.  Again, this is so rare that you just have to admire Dreamworks for finishing strong.  It really did come full circle.  If you watched the first two, there are so many jokes that have continued throughout the entire series and they find their way into the third iteration with ease.

As far as the animation, it was beautiful, but I’ll be honest that it seems we’ve hit a plateau for computer generated animated features.  I honestly don’t know what is the next jump, but it’ll likely be about water, hair or grass…so we probably won’t even notice.

Again, taking Kung Fu Panda as an entire connected trilogy, you definitely see the growth of every main character (Dustin Hoffman’s consistent exasperation with Po learning complicated Kung Fu concepts that should take years is kinda brilliant).  Along with the characters that have grown well over the past few movies, the story continues to be stellar.  If you’ve seen the trailer, then you know Po attempts to train other pandas in the ways of Kung Fu.  Not only does this concept bring the series full circle, as Po teaches them Kung Fu that fits each of the other pandas’ skills, just as Shifu did for him in the first movie.  I really loved that symmetry.

While the first few films dealt with prophecies, Kung Fu Panda 3 concerns itself with legends.  This an important distinction and one of the reasons why I feel it was brilliant and will ultimately end the Kung Fu adventures of Po.  The latest baddie is Kai, again, voiced by the phenomenal J.K. Simmons, is out to take over all of Kung Fu and conquer China.  Only the Dragon Warrior can stand in his way.

"I can see the headline now...'Kai kicks the crap out of everyone', front page material!"
“I can see the headline now…’Kai kicks the crap out of everyone’, front page material!”

My only hope is that Dreamworks quits while it is ahead.  I’m sure that everyone went and saw Kung Fu Panda 3 this week, so it made money.  I just really want them to be smart and let this film be the end.  I know there will be HUGE temptations to keep going, but there are plenty of examples that show why a franchise shouldn’t go too long (I’m looking at you Pirates of the Caribbean franchise).

"But if I don't do these movies...how will I pay for the rum?" -Johnny Depp...I assume
“But if I don’t do these movies…how will I pay for the rum?” -Johnny Depp…I assume

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Kung Fu Panda 3  succeeded on all levels just like the first film: slick animation, compelling storytelling, true character development over three films, comedy with tons of call backs throughout the entire franchise, killer Kung Fu action, and finally the lesson that this series has consistently hammered- believe in yourself and you can do anything.  I loved it and at least up North, you and your kids have been stuck inside all week and you’re bouncing off the wall, so go see this film, you won’t regret it at all.  Every kid will love it and it has everything that you loved about the first few movies.  Just be ready for a little bit of Kung Fu Fighting:

-Darkmovienight

Toonsday Review: Aladdin Diamond Edition

Aladdin Poster

Imagine if you had three wishes, three hopes, three dreams, and they all could come true.

Those are the words adorned across the beautifully simplistic original movie poster of Aladdin.  In 1992, Disney was in the early stages of what many call “The Disney Renaissance”.  It started in 1989 with The Little Mermaid and ended in 1999 with Tarzan.  In that time we were gifted films like Mulan, The Lion King, Hercules (my personal favorite), and the first animated film to receive an Academy Awards nomination for Best Picture, Beauty and the Beast.  As with all Renaissance periods, it wasn’t until afterwards did many recognize these great achievements in film making history.

With the release of Aladdin on Blu-Ray, which you can buy here, we can finally pitch our VHS copies and toss in one of many next gen devices we have hanging out around the house.  Anytime you watch a film from your childhood, you run the risk of nostalgia and quality clashing.  I absolutely adore the film My Science Project from 1985, but it absolutely blows by film standards.  So, you have two options at this junction:

  1. Keep it in your memory where it may belong -or-
  2. Take the plunge and revisit your childhood love and discover if the film was indeed as good as you remember

Let’s hold our breath and take that plunge.

Aladdin is not only the hilarious madhouse I remember it to be, but so much more as I view as an adult.  I can only imagine my family sitting in the theater, watching Aladdin with me, and enjoying it just as much as I was.  As I giggled at Robin Williams’ Genie, my family likely saw the lush, colorful animation, heard the catchy tunes, and were wrapped up in the brilliant storytelling which they could only hope to see in any live-action film that year. Viewing it now, I just cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by what they just watched.

While discussing Aladdin, we really have to start with Robin Williams’ and his pitch perfect performance of the Genie.  The character was full of enough zany energy and 90’s pop culture to choke a camel.  I cannot for the life of me imagine anyone not finding the Genie just the perfect centerpiece to this film.  Most of, if not all, the comedy comes from the Genie and his transformations, dialogue, and songs.  I mean, I don’t know anyone who can watch Aladdin and not have “Friend Like Me” stuck in their heads. Even if you haven’t seen it recently, you are now humming that song.

There
Just some imagery in case you’re a visual person

I just don’t believe they’ve written such a beautiful and tragic character in any of their films.  The Genie is a slave to the lamp and whomever holds it and here he has a master that says he’ll wish him free.  However unlikely that he would give up a wish, it’s what we’ve come to expect from our hero Aladdin “The Diamond in the Rough”. Which is exactly why it’s such a gut punch when Aladdin may not hold up his end of the bargain later in the film.

All of the other voice actors do a fantastic job and the professional singers they bring in for some of the songs are just perfect.  A lot of this can be attributed to the lyrics of Sir Timothy Rice (yeah, he was Knighted, how awesome is that?) and the score of Alan Menken.  Much of the music from the Disney Renaissance was done by these two talented men.  It also helps when your songs get radio play versions and some are even sung by Sir Elton John.

Seriously
Seriously, how many Knights does Disney get to have on their team?

The whole cast of characters are great, but Abu, the Carpet & Jafar/Iago really stand out to me.  I don’t know about you, but I wanted a monkey sidekick after seeing this movie.  I had great plans for him all the adventures we would go on.  Then one flung poo at me while visiting the zoo, so that fantasy ended pretty quickly. And you would have to be inhuman to not love the Carpet.  Let’s face it, every kid wants to fly.  I know that every one of you, even if you’re afraid of heights, has wanted to fly.  Not only do the Disney Animators work their magic by introducing another means for flight, but they actually have the Carpet emote. Think about that for a second.  Tons of characters on screen at any time, and they took the time to make it look like a rug can be happy or sad.  That’s just utter dedication to your film and its audience.

Sadly he just learned what Rule 34 of the Internet is
Sadly he just learned what Rule 34 is and his involvement in Aladdin “Slash Fiction”…

Jafar and Iago’s villainy ranks right up there with some of the worst in Disney history (Hades being my favorite) in my opinion.  Sure Jafar only has a single song and it’s a reprise, but it’s still pretty menacing.  And Jafar is such a classic villain, which is absolutely perfect here.  In a film where you’re dealing with the ambiguity of stealing for food, making selfish wishes, and forcing others into slavery, both the Genie and to some extent Jasmine, they really needed a defined villain.  Not to mention Gilbert Gottfried’s Iago which his manic energy is only rivaled by the Genie (I can only imagine those recording sessions with those two comedians in the room together).   Both Jafar and Iago combine to be an absolutely diabolical team and we know it from the very first scene. Just like audiences knew it when they saw Darth Vader in Star Wars.

He does
Although I will say he looks a bit less menacing these days

I could go on for another several pages but you all know that Aladdin ranks up there with some of the all time greatest films, animated or otherwise.  Aladdin is just perfect and it’s a shame they don’t make them like that anymore.  We’ll just have to deal with all of our tears while watching a Pixar movie.

If the tears don't immediately start just looking at this picture, you have no heart
If you don’t immediately start crying just looking at this picture, you have no heart

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Eh, who am I kidding, I know what you want:

Dedicated to Mr. Robin Williams, RIP

-Darkmovienight

Throwback Thursday: The Iron Giant or They Just Don’t Make Them Like They Use To

The_Iron_Giant_Poster

Brad Bird is a genius.  Not only has he entertained us with films from Pixar (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) but an incredible action film: Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol.  But in my humble opinion, his magnum opus was done sixteen years ago and it was this film, The Iron Giant.  

Now I want to say right up front that this review is going to be exceptionally short.  There are two reasons.  One, I’m on my tablet with a tiny Bluetooth keyboard typing this out on a decidedly non-mobile website.  Two, if I talk about this movie too much I’m going to cry my eyes out like I did last night.

If you haven’t seen The Iron Giant you either have no interest in animated films, have no kids, or in 1999 you were too scared about Y2K to come out of your fallout shelter.  Whichever kept you from seeing this film, you’ve missed out on something truly wonderful.

Since Walt Disney put together the Beautiful work of Snow White, I seriously don’t believe there has been a better hand drawn animated feature out there.  There is also a bit of sadness here because it is one of the last hand-drawn animated films out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore any form of animation, but we’re losing the art that started it all and that’s a shame.  Not only is the artwork pure beauty, but the writing, the direction, the characters, and even the plot are perfect.  It seriously is a lesson in how to create good cinema.

I know you’re looking for more from us here at I Watch Too Many Movies, but I just can’t say enough good about the work.  Not only is it a wonderful, funny, and endearing film, it also gives excellent ideas on personal strength and growth.  Not enough films today work to inspire young people to be all that they can be and they can be anything.   That’s truly special and needs to be repeated more often.

Didn’t Read My Fancy Words, Here is the Short Version:

The Iron Giant is a brilliant film that is criminally underated.  I wish more people can see the beauty I see when the film rolls.  Soon it will be out on Blu-Ray and you’ll have the chance to experience it.  For now, I want to leave you with a line that has resonated with me for years.  One line of dialog from an almost perfect film: “You are who you choose to be.”  This film was made for everyone and no matter what stage of life you are in…You are who you choose to be.

-Darkmovienight

Big-Hero-6-banner

Toonsday Review: Big Hero 6

Too… much… text… quick… review

So, the quick review is that I love this film. It’s everything that a childhood hero film should be, and it shows us a good example of how revenge for hurt can be destructive and turn us into something we never wanted to be.

I love this film, my kids love this film, my girlfriend loves this film, you will also love this film. If you don’t love this film, just mention it in the comments section the purchase price for this review will be refunded to you.

Whos-it? (Cast)

  • Hiro Hamada – Ryan Potter
  • Tadashi Hamada – Daniel Henney
  • Baymax – Scott Adsit
  • Fred – T.J. Miller
  • Go Go – Jamie Chung
  • Wasabi – Damon Wayans Jr.
  • Honey Lemon – Genesis Rodriguez
  • Robert Callaghan – James Cromwell

What-it (Plot Summary)

Set in the city of San Fransokyo (yes, half San Franciso half Tokyo) Hiro Hamada is a kid genius – who graduated high school at 14 years old – who is throwing his talent away making fighting robots and hustling others out of money betting on his own fights. His older brother, Tadashi, is off at his “nerd school” doing research on his project to make a personal medical companion.

Tadashi convinces Hiro to try his hand at applying for the university, and then gets him to make a project which would allow him in. After a very successful demonstration and presentation, a seemingly-accidental fire breaks out. In the course of re-entering the building to rescue his mentor, Tadashi tragically dies leaving Hiro alone and paralyzed with grief.

He stumbles upon a nefarious plot involving his brother’s death, and seeks to deliver justice to the wrong-doer with the help of his brother’s college lab buddies, and the help of his brother’s science project. They all become what every kid has wanted to be: a super hero.

How’s-it (Voice Acting and Animation)

I really enjoyed the voice-acting in this film, as well as the animation. The detail in the animation is amazing. Hiro’s hair has so much detail you can make out strands of hair. When they show carbon-fiber mesh you can see individual bound fibers. Somehow, though, it still remains true-to-form for an animated feature: it’s more colorful than real life, it still feels more fantastical, and the features of faces and other things are glorious caricatures of their real life analogs.

Ryan Potter gives a voice acting performance that I hope will has opened some doors for him. It’s compelling, and it fits the character perfectly. Likewise, Daniel Henney made me believe that he was his animated character (though it’s not his time acting in a comic film). Scott Adsit does amazing in his role as the robotic voice of Baymax, and my kids all lose their marbles when he delivers the line “hairy baby.”

The city of San Fransokyo is amazing as well. The Golden Gate bridge has been merged with very stylized traditional Japanese architecture to make something neat and different. Also, this film’s animation succeeded where so many other animated films fail or seem to avoid: the action-packed dark room.

I won’t spoil any more of this for you, but it’s just great.

Done-it (Conclusion)

I really enjoy this film. I bought this on Disney Blu-Ray and I think my kids and I have watched it at least three times. I also remember going to watch this with my two oldest kids and my girlfriend as a group and it was a treat in theaters as well (IF YOU GET THE CHANCE TO SEE THIS ON THE BIG SCREEN, DO IT).

I really hope you enjoy this film as much as I did.

The Toonsday Review Segment

Every Tuesday I will endeavor to review an animated or comics-related feature film. This time it was Big Hero 6, next time I don’t know what I will pick (I’m spontaneous, what can I say?). If you have an animated film you would like me to review, please say so in the comments and I’ll be happy to add that to my list.

Inside Out

TL;DR Portion

I love this film, I think you will, too. I took my two older boys (four and seven) to this film, and they liked it as well. I think your kids will understand and love the film as well. This is Pixar at its finest, which is something we haven’t seen a whole lot of lately.

The Premise of the Film

The story is that of a girl from birth up to adolescence, following how different aspects of her life form her personality, feels about things, and how all of that affects her decision making skills. All of this is manifest through the characters which are her feelings, which are:

  • Joy (Amy Poehler)
  • Fear (Bill Hader)
  • Anger (Lewis Black)
  • Disgust (Mindy Kaling)
  • Sadness (Phyllis Smith)

You get to see glimpses into how other characters in the film have their feelings arranged as well, which is nice.

As the young girl’s parents move the family for her father’s new company, you get to see how those changes affect her and how that combined with the angst of adolescence take her feelings on a rather action-packed journey of discovery, change, and growth.

What I liked

I liked how all of the characters interacted with one another, and the ways that they chose to manifest the feelings in the young girl. Most of all, I really enjoyed the animation style, the whimsical nature of the animation and story flow, and I found the voice acting to be a joy in and of itself. I could have watched this film blind-folded and I would have still found it super fun.

Amy Poehler was amazing as Joy, and Lewis Black was his usual amazing self as Angry (he’s very believable). I think the real amazing star here was Phyllis Smith, as Sad. She pulled off the funniest depression I’ve ever seen portrayed ever, and I think that between Sadness and Joy we all got a really clear picture of what the film was trying to say about how sadness isn’t a bad thing.

What I didn’t like

I think that fear and disgust were really throw-away characters. I think that they could have done a lot more with those characters and they really wasted an opportunity. Sure, Fear did a great job of lousing things up as fear usually does, but as supporting characters Fear and Disgust were just weaksauce.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this film, I will probably buy it on Blu-Ray. I give it four out of five broccoli crowns.